CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Tariq Aziz Surrenders in Iraq; Legal Panel Discusses Laci Peterson Murder Case
Aired April 24, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, if Scott Peterson is convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, would he get the death penalty? The district attorney says if he has his way, yes. Joining us, Kelly Huston, spokesman for the Stanislaus County sheriff's department, which is holding Scott Peterson in jail. Plus, Ted Rowlands of KTVU in Modesto, on top of the story since it broke last Christmas Eve. Court TV's Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor, high-profile defense attorney Mark Geragos, San Francisco assistant district attorney Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and defense attorney Jayne Weintraub. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Before we check in with Kelly Huston of the sheriff's department and our panel, let's get an update with Nic Robertson in Baghdad about the capture of Tariq Aziz, probably the best known Iraqi other than Saddam Hussein. Was he captured, Nic, or did he surrender?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a negotiated deal, Larry, working through an intermediary. We know from talking to people in Baghdad there was intense military activity about three miles east of the city center, in a -- what's known as a Christian neighborhood. And Tariq Aziz was a Christian, so that could have been when and where he was arrested. But it does seem to have been a negotiated deal, and he could have a lot of information that he may be able to pass on, Larry.
KING: And where is he being held, as of now?
ROBERTSON: We know he was picked up here. We don't know yet if he's been taken out of the country or where he's been taken to for questioning -- still Central Command not putting out that information. Very little information coming out from Central Command at all.
What Iraqis are telling us, Larry, is they really hope that Aziz is going to be able to give the coalition information on where Saddam Hussein is. Why? Because people here are still worried Saddam Hussein may come back, and they want to know where the Iraqi -- the former Iraqi leader is. Is he alive? Is he dead? They want proof that he's been captured, as well. So that's one of the key things people here want out of this, Larry.
KING: And one other thing, Nic. As a Christian, was Tariq Aziz part of the inner circle?
ROBERTSON: Oh, as inner as anyone could be. Since the late '50s, he'd been a member of the Ba'ath Party, a close associate of Saddam Hussein, 1977 getting on the RCC, the Revolutionary Command Council, the top echelons of Saddam Hussein's government, the foreign minister from the mid-1980s, the international spokesman, essentially, for the country during the last Gulf war, the deputy prime minister, an even more senior position, in recent years. He was very much part of the inner circle, Larry.
KING: Thank you, Nic Robertson, always on the scene, our CNN senior international correspondent.
Let's go to Modesto, California, and Kelly Huston, spokesman for the Stanislaus County sheriff's department. Scott Peterson is being kept in jail.
Do you get to see him every day, Kelly?
KELLY HUSTON, SPOKESMAN, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I do, just about every day.
KING: What can you tell us about his mood, his activities? Give us a rundown.
HUSTON: He seems to have calmed down quite a bit, although he still is apprehensive in the facility here. What he has received is a lot of mail from people and a lot of requests from the media to interview him, and he has not allowed that to happen as of yet. He has been a fairly good inmate for us. In fact, he has been, like I had spoke before, almost a model inmate. Some of the other folks on the tier that he's in are a problem for us, but Scott is not. So right now, he is just sitting and waiting.
KING: Does his counsel speak to him often?
HUSTON: The counsel has been here a few times to speak with him. They're trying to figure out exactly who's going to be the consistent counsel to come in and talk with him. And he has had his two visits from his parents. He will not have the opportunity to have any more visitors until next Monday, which starts the new week.
KING: Now, how about phone calls and -- can he make phone calls?
HUSTON: He can, and he has been making a lot of phone calls using the pay phone. There's a pay phone that's on casters or rollers and goes up and down this old cellblock, which is our maximum-security area. He can get on that phone and make collect phone calls to whoever he wants during the normal waking hours.
KING: He has no contact with any other prisoner?
HUSTON: No, and we don't want that. There are a lot of people in our system here that have unfavorable opinions of him. In fact, some of them that want to be noteworthy themselves and would take any opportunity they could to try to do something to harm him or to make themselves attached to this case. So that's a special concern that we have. But up to this point, he has not had any contact with any other inmates, and he is not afforded really much range because in the maximum-security environment, he's kind of stuck in that cell for about 99 percent of the day, unless he's going to the shower or he's going to go to the exercise yard for his three hours of week of exercise.
KING: Have any of those other inmates expressed any verbal feelings about him?
HUSTON: Oh, yes. There's a lot of inmates that have some disfavorable -- disfavorable opinions about him. It is the gossip within this system and throughout this area. Everybody seems to have some sort of an opinion. And of course, we want to try to make sure that that opinion doesn't turn into action against him and make sure he doesn't get harmed before his trial or after his trial or at any point while he's in custody here.
KING: In cases like this, we always here about groupies, women who write to prisoners or women who want to marry -- is he running into that? Are you getting a lot of that?
HUSTON: Well, I would imagine he is. I haven't been reading through his mail. We check to make sure there's not any pornography in there or any contraband that he might have received or any actual weapons, but I can only imagine that the whole stacks of mail that he's receiving, that he's probably getting some mail like that.
KING: How's the sheriff's department handling all this media intensity?
HUSTON: As best we can. It's been interesting. I got to tell you that I've been here for all my life. I was born and raised here. And I've gone through the Yosemite sightseer case and saw the media and actually dealt with the media in that case, and then the Chandra Levy case. This case is just -- blows those out of the water. There has just been so much media here. You go anywhere around our jail or you go in front of the courthouse or the police department, and you've got satellite trucks blocking the parking. You've got reporters chasing people up and down the street. It has been crazy. But luckily, over the last day or so, it's finally started to calm down somewhat. I'm hoping we get kind of a quiet weekend.
KING: Now, Kelly, is that where he'll remain, assuming he doesn't get bail, right up until and including during trial?
HUSTON: Unless there's some change, like a security issue or perhaps he -- we need to put him in a cell for some sort of a suicide watch, which he is not on, he'll stay right here in this facility, which is right next to the courthouse, until he goes to trial or until he has his next hearing, at least, and will stay here. We have no intentions of moving him anywhere else.
KING: Do you have anything to do with the investigation?
HUSTON: I don't. We had a few of our investigators that were involved in a very minor portion of it. And of course, we were very much involved in the search for Laci, when we were looking through all of our waterways and diving in rivers and streams, but we don't have anything to do with the actual investigation.
KING: Kelly, thank you so much for getting us up to date. We'll be calling on you frequently. Kelly Huston, spokesman for the Stanislaus County sheriff's department.
Our panel assembles. Your phone calls will be included. All that ahead. Don't go away.
KING: let's meet our panel. In Modesto, California, Ted Rowlands, reporter for KTVU-TV. He's been covering the Laci Peterson case from the get-go. In New York, Nancy Grace, anchor for Court TV "Trial Heat," former prosecutor and a regular around these parts, as is defense attorney Mark Geragos. Our new regular is Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, assistant district attorney from San Francisco. Among other things, she was one of the prosecutors in San Francisco's notorious dog-mauling case. And in Miami, Jayne Weintraub. Jayne is a defense attorney. Among other things, she's the attorney that Rosie O'Donnell used to take on the case of Derek and Alex King, the two young Florida boys who eventually pled guilty to killing their dad, you'll remember, with a baseball bat.
Ted Rowlands, the latest from Modesto. We understand the public defender team is all in place. Is that right?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Yes. There's -- the battle lines seem to have been drawn legally here. Yesterday, the DA had some comments about the death penalty, saying if it were up to him, he would like to go forward with that. Today, one of the public defenders came out publicly with a bit of a barb -- a jab at the DA, saying that he thought that was inappropriate. So the battle lines seemed to be drawing here.
Also, we're hearing from the state. Attorney General Bill Lockyer says he fully expects Stanislaus County to petition for financial aid in helping the defense in this case, opening up the possibility that there could be more attorneys and/or experts involved in the case. And so you're getting some names, some high-profile names are being thrown about possibly joining the case. Mark Geragos is one of those names, in fact.
KING: In fact, I'm going to ask him about that. By the way, this case is everywhere, as you know. "People" magazine just out, "Laci's murder," "Scott's double life," "Family's anguish," "The other woman," "The latest evidence." It is, as they say, everywhere.
Nancy Grace, I was surprised last night. I was speaking in Kansas City. Three different lawyers and a prosecutor came over, and all said that this case is not a slam dunk. This is going to be a difficult prove. What do you make of that?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: I don't necessarily think it's a slam dunk. Let me just say three words: O.J. Simpson. That says it all! I think that the attorney general said slam dunk in referring to the DNA results, like, 1 in 16 billion. But never, never, Larry, have I gone into a murder case or worked on a death penalty case that I said beforehand is a slam dunk. You never know with a jury! It's always a crapshoot!
KING: Mark Geragos, would you take this case? There have been stories that they may widen it from the public defender.
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if they widen it from the public defenders, I don't know. I mean, I would never say never about any case. And this case is intriguing, if for nothing else than the more there's a lynch mob mentality out there for him, the more that it's intriguing.
KING: Do you believe that, at this point this is -- this is -- he's got a shot?
GERAGOS: Look, I think I said the first (UNINTELLIGIBLE) going in, they've got more than enough probable cause. I mean, there isn't a question but that he becomes a suspect when the bodies float up two miles from where he puts himself. That having been said, absent other evidence that we haven't seen yet -- and I don't know what the evidence is -- it's a long way from probable cause to be on to reasonable doubt, and that's what they have to prove. And Nancy's right to this extent -- and I apologize, Nancy, for agreeing with you once again. I'm getting e-mails from people very upset that I'm...
GRACE: Yes. Me, too. You're not the only one!
GERAGOS: ... that I'm agreeing -- I know...
GRACE: And I don't like it!
GERAGOS: They're very upset about that, and I -- I apologize to all those people. I will try to do something...
KING: What do you agree on?
GERAGOS: We agree to this extent, that you never know what a jury is going to do. You have no idea. You don't know how that evidence is going to unfold. When you take a look at a police report that interviews a witness, sometimes the witness may look good and have devastating things to say on paper, and you get that witness into the witness stand, and you start to do some cross-examination, and it's amazing what unfolds.
KING: Is there a lot of pressure on the prosecution, Kimberly?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM, ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAN FRANCISCO: Yes, in a case like this, there is because this the public perception is that this is a case that is so obvious that what is there left to talk about? And I think that's far from the case. Do I think Scott Peterson is the person responsible? Absolutely. Do I think that this is going to be a tough case for the prosecution to prove and put their ducks in order to get a conviction? Yes.
KING: Jayne Weintraub, someone told me last night, a lawyer, that if this were not -- gotten all the attention it was getting, this might be a walk. What do you think of that?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that was a very brazen statement said by someone, but I would agree that it is a defense lawyer's dream for a murder case. Larry, let me remind you, this is a case that from the beginning, they have -- the police have focused on Scott Peterson as a suspect, and they've lied to his face. With the same brazen attitude, they come in and they say it's a slam dunk for the prosecution -- not the DNA results. See, I'll disagree with Nancy. The attorney general was saying it was a slam dunk case. Then they come in -- it's not a death penalty case. We're not sure if it's a death penalty case. There could be nothing further from the truth than to say -- Jim Brazelton...
GRACE: You know what?
WEINTRAUB: ... taped a John Walsh show this morning...
GRACE: That is so unfair!
WEINTRAUB: ... and they now said they're to seek the death penalty...
GRACE: Because if they had named...
KING: Hold on, Nancy!
GRACE: ... Scott Peterson on day two, Larry, the defense team, including the two on the panel tonight, would be screaming from the rooftops, Rush to judgment! No, instead, police take their time. They cover all their bases. They cross their T's. They dot their I's...
KING: One at a time.
GRACE: ... and still people are claiming they somehow framed...
GRACE: ... or attacked Scott Peterson. Not true!
WEINTRAUB: I didn't say that they framed him.
GERAGOS: Nobody's saying -- she didn't say framed!
WEINTRAUB: I said they arrested him without any evidence. I have not heard...
GRACE: But you said there was never another suspect. They interviewed every sex offender in that area, hundreds of people, everyone that hung out in that park, transient, old boyfriends, you name it! They did not immediately focus on...
KING: By the way...
GRACE: ... Scott Peterson! You are wrong!
KING: Before -- hold on. Hold on. Before Mark comments, we have a clip here from Jim Brazelton this morning on that television show with John Walsh. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM BRAZELTON, STANISLAUS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think in this case, I owe it to Laci, Conner, the community, and especially the family -- they're the most important people here -- to seek the ultimate penalty in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What's your reaction to that, Mark?
GERAGOS: Well, I -- my reaction is, is that's completely unorthodox for the DA to make that decision. Normally, what happens is, you take it to a committee. You talk to the family...
KING: That's what he said on this show he was going to do.
GERAGOS: ... you take it to the -- right. Well, he says, I owe it to them already. No. You go to the family. You talk to the family. You let the defense make a presentation. And you do a little bit more investigation. You don't come out 48 hours later, in response to media inquiries, and then say, I'm going to seek the death penalty.
NEWSOM: Yes. I didn't think it was appropriate that was done on the John Walsh show. That was troubling to me. And again, they need to proceed by way of the committee that decides these cases, so there is a uniform and fair practice and he is treated like anyone else facing charges like this. That's what's appropriate here. And he shouldn't make statements like that unless he's going to do it.
KING: Jayne, doesn't this look like a death penalty -- if there is a death penalty...
KING: ... case, this looks like it.
WEINTRAUB: Actually, it doesn't look like a death penalty case, Larry. When there's a death penalty case, the factors normally to consider in most states, including California, among others, is whether or not there's a multiple murder. Here that is the only factor that we've even heard bandied about. We have not heard anything for pecuniary gain. We've not heard anything that it was a heinous or atrocious, horrible, languishing killing -- forgive the gruesome -- or graphics here. But when you're dealing with murder cases, Larry...
GRACE: I'll tell you what...
WEINTRAUB: ... the evidence must be...
KING: Nancy, let her finish!
WEINTRAUB: ... scrutinized very carefully before you can decide whether or not to go for the death penalty. It's not killing a federal witness, which is an aggravating factor normally for consideration. And what Mark was talking about not only applies to most states with these committees, but it applies even to the federal government under the attorney general, Ashcroft. I'm going up to the Department of Justice Monday, as a defense lawyer, to make a presentation on a case that's three months old already, so that the committee can first begin to evaluate and assess the evidence as to whether or not they will ask for the death penalty.
KING: So -- all right. Her point, Nancy, is that the only reason this is going to be a capital case is because it was a double murder. Is that right, Nancy?
GRACE: Huh! A double murder? That's the only reason? Does anybody hear what they're saying?
WEINTRAUB: ... under the penal code.
GRACE: What I'm saying to you, Jayne, is I respect you and your work as a defense lawyer, but to suggest murdering an eight-month- pregnant five-foot-one defenseless woman, letting her give birth at the bottom of salty water...
GRACE: She didn't give birth.
GRACE: I'd like to finish, please!
WEINTRAUB: Listen to the medical examiners.
GRACE: I'd like to finish...
GRACE: She had what is termed as "coffin birth," birth after death. If you don't think that's heinous, I advise you to go back and look up the law book...
GERAGOS: Hey, Nancy...
GRACE: ... because that is heinous!
WEINTRAUB: It won't be considered heinous...
KING: Mark -- hold it!
WEINTRAUB: ... for purposes of the death penalty, though, Nancy.
GRACE: You ask the jury that!
GERAGOS: Look, the problem, Nancy, is from a legal standpoint here. You can make an argument about virtually any murder. There's no murder that's a nice murder. There's no murder that you say...
GRACE: A baby!
GERAGOS: ... Hey, I'm glad this murder -- or this murder is more tasteful...
GRACE: A baby!
GERAGOS: ... than another murder. The problem you have here is that there is a setup. There is a procedure that you go through. And the reason you do that is before you exact the ultimate penalty on somebody, especially in this day and age, where we have people being exonerated on death row around this country, you have to have a dispassionate look at whether or not it's appropriate under the circumstances. And I'll tell you something. Jim Brazelton has made himself a horrible -- or put himself in a horrible...
GRACE: But that's not what I'm saying!
GERAGOS: ... position because...
GRACE: I'm not saying that, Mark!
GERAGOS: ... some defense lawyer is going to get up there and say, Maybe this guy should not be prosecuting this case if he's doing his prosecuting on the John Walsh show. Maybe this guy...
GRACE: That's not what I'm saying!
GERAGOS: Maybe this needs to go over to the attorney general.
KING: I got to take a break. Hold on. We'll come right back. We'll also be including at the bottom of the hour your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Our last interview with the late Dr. Robert Atkins tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.
Ted Rowlands, you wanted to clarify something?
ROWLANDS: Yes. The attorney general here in California, Bill Lockyer, made the slam dunk statement. He most definitely was just talking about the DNA identification. We interviewed him yesterday. He clarified it. And if you go back and look at it, that's exactly what he was talking about.
GERAGOS: Exactly right.
ROWLANDS: Another thing. There may not be a lot of evidence here right now, but the Modesto Police Department is still looking for evidence. Those bodies were presumably weighed down with something, and they are going to find that something. Or at least, that's what they're attempting to do. So the amount of evidence in this case by no many means is over.
KING: Nancy Grace, you have something about a getaway car?
GRACE: Yes. I don't know that I would actually call it, at this point, a getaway car, but we'll find out about that at trial, I'm sure. But as it turns out, the Mercedes that Scott Peterson was driving at the time he was arrested, 30 miles from the Mexican border, on his way to play golf, while his wife's remains were at the medical examiner's office -- it was purchased in cash, over $3,000. He found it in the "Auto Trader." And he bought it under the name -- insisting his name was Jacqueline (ph). Not only that, he used as proof a Florida driver's license.
Now, Mark, I'm sure you've got an explanation for that.
GERAGOS: Guess what, Nancy? It's titillating and it makes for great TV, but it's never going to see the inside of a courtroom, so it's a...
GRACE: It may not.
GERAGOS: It's a great big "so what" in terms of evidence.
GRACE: It may not.
WEINTRAUB: But what is it evidence to? It's irrelevant to whether or not he committed a murder.
GRACE: Well, you two can argue until you're blue in the face that it's irrelevant to you! But to me, I find it highly interesting that he had bought a car...
KING: All right, let's let the other prosecutor...
GRACE: ... in a fake name and...
KING: Kimberly -- Kimberly, do you find...
WEINTRAUB: ... Modesto Police...
KING: All right, hold on, Jayne!
Do you find that interesting? NEWSOM: I actually do, and I think that there will be a motion in front of the judge to say, Hey, this is evidence that's persuasive, that shows either efforts to suppress evidence, consciousness of guilt, attempts to flee. And I think that a judge could let it in. So I'm going to respectfully disagree with the two defense lawyers.
GERAGOS: Yes, the only way the judge would let it in is if they could show that he had knowledge that there was an arrest warrant out for him and that he was attempting to flee. Otherwise, it's never coming in because there's no consciousness of guilt and it's not probative of anything.
KING: Jayne, does the state have to show cause of death?
WEINTRAUB: No. All they have to do is show that it was a homicide, that it's a murder, because that's what he's charged with. Here, I don't believe they're ever going to show the manner of death. In other words, they're not going to be able to show how Laci Peterson died. They're just going to be able to say that Laci Peterson is dead. They're going to have to rely on other evidence, which, Larry, I don't think they have. And I am completely offended when I hear things like, They're still investigating the case. They're gathering the evidence.
Larry, when you make an arrest and you charge somebody with a first-degree murder and you're seeking the death penalty, you better have the evidence right then and there!
GRACE: ... they don't...
WEINTRAUB: ... should move for A prompt and fair trial somewhere in another county. Probably somewhere out of this country, he'd get a fair trial. But I think that he should move for a prompt trial...
WEINTRAUB: ... so that they don't have six months to manufacture evidence that they don't have now.
KING: Nancy, why do you have to further investigate if you've already arrested?
GRACE: Larry, every murder case, including death penalty cases that I worked on, just because you make an arrest doesn't mean there's not more evidence out there! How do we know who Peterson may have talked to, what he said, where he went? Of course they're still working the case!
GRACE: Larry, I would work a case up until the time the evidence was rested by the state!
KING: What -- Kimberly, if you find evidence that points away from Peterson in this investigation, what do you do then?
NEWSOM: Well, the DA's office is under an obligation, obviously, immediately to notify the defense. And that's the Brady law, basically. And any exculpatory evidence that points in his favor, they need to tell him right away.
KING: Why are you smirking, Mark?
GERAGOS: I'm smirking because usually what happens...
WEINTRAUB: I never got one of those notices!
GERAGOS: Usually what happens, I hate to say it, is when they find evidence that points away from their theory, they just invent a new theory. So I mean, I hate to say it. I've had cases where ballistics tests come back in the middle of trial and turn out that my -- the gun that my client supposedly used is not the gun at the scene. Instead of dismissing, the prosecutor says, Aha! There was a second gun. We've now got this new theory.
KING: Why is this going to take two years to come to trial?
NEWSOM: I'm hoping that it's not. It really is going to be an issue as to whether or not the judge is going to manage this case effectively and keep a tight rein on motion work. Then you will make it long.
GERAGOS: This is a very interesting issue because there's two schools of thought here. The defense, normally, in a special circumstance death penalty case, wants to take as much time as possible. And it's not unusual. I've got a case right now that's been pending for three-and-a-half years, a special circumstance case. But in this case, depending on what they see in that first murder book, the preview of the discovery, if it turns out that they do not have everything that they've been kind of leaking out there that they do have, the defense might just say, We're not waiving time. We want trial within our 70 days, 74 days out here, and we're going to put your pedal to the metal here.
KING: Let me take a break. We'll come right back and include your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: Let's start to include your phone calls. Flint, Michigan, hello.
CALLER: Hi there. I was wondering do they know a cause of death yet and if not, when will they?
KING: Ted Rowlands, they don't, do they?
ROWLANDS: No. They may not know a cause of death. They're still working on it, but at this point, the answer is no.
KING: If this were, just hypothetically, Mark, before I take the next call, this scenario, he comes home, I have a girlfriend, they have a fight, she hits her head and falls down and dies and he panics.
GERAGOS: If he struck her, probably a manslaughter. If she falls during a struggle, probably not guilty.
KING: But what he did after - with the body after is not germane.
GERAGOS: Absolutely irrelevant to that decision.
KING: Rochester, New York, hello.
CALLER: Yes. My question is the insurance policy, is that now going to be paid now that they have declared that she is dead? And is there any other insurance policies that maybe her parents might have had that could have been - that will be paid?
KING: Nancy Grace, what do we know about insurance policy?
GRACE: I do know that when the beneficiary is on trial for the murder, the insurance company will not pay. As far as whether other insurance policies are out there...
GERAGOS: Can't even get them to pay when you're not on murder.
GRACE: Yes. You're right about that.
GERAGOS: You can't get an insurance company to pay, number one.
GRACE: If there are other insurance policies out there by other family members, I don't think the state would deem it relevant here if, say, the mom or dad - Laci's mom or dad had a policy on her.
KING: Anderson, Indiana, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: First of all, I'd like to say how sorry I am for Laci's family. And my question is does anyone know about the person that introduced Scott to Amber, and if so is he a concern?
KING: Do you know about that?
GRACE: I know that they were introduced by mutual friends. I know that police have interviewed them and have extensively interviewed Amber Frey and exonerated her and in fact got her to cooperate with police.
GERAGOS: Cooperate. Right.
WEINTRAUB: Cooperate or completely change her story? The first story was she didn't know he was married and didn't know where he lived. The second story is she gave a different statement when she came out last week and said she called his house Christmas Eve. So I'd like to cross-examine Miss Fray myself.
GERAGOS: Right. For law enforcement that's called cooperation. That's when you cooperate in saying in whatever it is we want you to say.
KING: By the way, is she a witness?
WEINTRAUB: Larry, Larry, may I pose a cause of death question?
GERAGOS: Yes. She is a witness.
KING: Jayne, yes, go ahead.
WEINTRAUB: The cause of death question that was just called in is very interesting question. And it raises something that we're never going to be able to deal with in this case that's very important. One way and the most common way that the medical examiner's office does determine the cause of death is using ocular fluid. And it's something I started thinking about last night when I said something about, well, we'll never know if she was desperate or despondent or if she had taken sleeping pills, we'll just never know any of that. And the reason that we'll never know any of that is because when you do that autopsy to make those determinations and those findings, it comes from the ocular fluid.
So the defense is almost forever banned from having the opportunity to find those things out. And I think that's critical. And also, one other thing that I want to mention with the cause of death is we will be able to know whether or not it was a sharp object, which I'm sure has already been ruled out or we would have heard about it, since everything else is being leaked in this case except real evidence. But I believe that the torso was separated out of natural causes and not out of some kind of decapitation.
KING: Kimberly, do you think it is going to be moved to another county?
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: I think there's good chance of that. But there are several options in a change of venue. Specifically they could bring jurors in. They could go to another county, voir dire the jurors there and then transport them and relocate them to Stanislaus County, or move the whole case together to like Los Angeles.
KING: Palatka, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry.
CALLER: I'd like to know, when she talked to her mother that night, was Scott home or what time did he get home if he wasn't there?
KING: Do we know, Mark?
GERAGOS: Supposedly Scott was home the night before when she talked to her mother.
GRACE: He was home. And he is on video earlier that evening between 5:30 and 7:30 at Laci Peterson's sister's hair salon. Amy Rocha trimmed his hair. And they apparently have that on video. At that time from leaving there they made another stop and then went home. That next afternoon at 4:30 - he was home at that time, 8:30 p.m., the father called asking them to bring whipped cream for dinner at 4:30, no Laci.
KING: How do you explain to me, Kimberly. This is asked just - someone asked me to ask this this morning, pretty good question. Here's a guy that seemed to have an exemplary record. Everybody likes him. his friends like him. His in-laws loved him, right? A good guy. OK. He had an affair, but basically a terrific guy. What would lead someone like that to kill?
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Sometimes good people do bad things and we see this in criminal cases all the time...
KING: Not unusual.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: No. It's not unusual at all.
KING: Someone with a perfect, spotless record.
KING: One day kills somebody.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Someone with like a Ted Bundy-type that's charming and very charismatic.
KING: Well, that's a serial killer. I'm talking about a guy who everybody you ever met would say, this guy is a wonderful guy.
WEINTRAUB: He's working three jobs.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Right. He's like a cub scout, you wouldn't suspect him. But obviously things we're finding out about him now doesn't show that he's the person of the character that people thought he was.
KING: So that was misleading.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: I think so.
KING: OK. Santa Monica, California, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Scott's parents have stated that there are other pregnant women who had gone missing in the area, et cetera. Has that been verified or discounted?
KING: What's the story on that?
GERAGOS: It was verified in three cases, two of which I think were recovered. One - recovered, when I say, came back alive. And I think the other one was killed.
GRACE: I have the info right here. There are four out there. Only one of them really similar, Mark is correct, one of the four came back. They don't ever know what became of her. There was one that is similar, however, that whole family was wiped out, the woman pregnant, as well as her 5-year-old son was found in the bay. Not really similar.
GERAGOS: Right. I know. Nancy, I heard you say that the other day, but if you're going to use the whole family was wiped out, you could make the argument here that this whole family was wiped out as well. And so...
GRACE: Well, that's what I mean, is a child was also murdered in that case, a 5-year-old boy.
GERAGOS: Right. A 5-year-old boy was, granted. But under the evidence code here in California, an 1101, this would actually be what's called a reverse 1101. You would say that there were similar acts of somebody else and that that tends to show that it was not him.
GRACE: But somebody else is not enough to come into court. They have got to have a definite somebody else.
WEINTRAUB: It has come into court. You cross-examine a forensic expert about it and it's coming into court, Nancy.
GERAGOS: Hold on, Jayne.
WEINTRAUB: All you have to do is cross-examine the medical examiner by saying, isn't it - to a reasonable scientific certainty, isn't it possible that in another situation, for example, if you had a body wash up x amount of miles from so and so, as in the case of such and such. And you can always get that kind of evidence and hypothetical into evidence of the forensics.
GRACE: That's a great question. The body of so and so washed up at such and such, I hardly think the judge is going to allow evidence...
WEINTRAUB: I didn't want to name her name.
GRACE: ... years ago with a 5-year-old boy included. I don't think that's similar to this case.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll be back with more phone calls. Don't forget, our last interview with the late Dr. Robert Atkins, will be repeated tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Before we take our next call, both of our California jurists here think this case will be telecast, right?
GERAGOS: Yes, I think it will be. I think that's clear. The trend of the courts, the appellate courts is to telecast and to allow for complete freedom.
KING: Ted Rowlands, you have some information about shift of power of attorney that Scott did with his parents.
ROWLANDS: Yes. Scott gave power of attorney to his parents. There has been some speculation that they would try to possibly sell the house on Covena but it's a joint tenancy and there's a provision there for homicide. So real estate folks in this area - real estate attorneys say there's no way anybody will touch that. So it will probably - I'm not sure what will happen to it, but they probably won't be able to sell it.
KING: Orlando, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This question is - actually two, for the great Nancy. Nancy, you just said - you just made a remark about Laci's sister. Well, when her mother made a statement she said Laci was her only daughter.
GRACE: I heard that. I heard that, I'm wondering if Laci's sister, who Larry has interviewed several times, is the stepsister, I think. That's right?
KING: That must be it. Yes. Ted, you know?
ROWLANDS: Larry, I can - yes. Laci was Sharon's only daughter in that Dennis and Sharon had Laci. But Amy has the same father as Laci and Dennis Rocha along with Brent Rocha. So Brent and Amy apparently lived with Dennis and Laci with Sharon. So that was the only daughter.
GERAGOS: Brought to you by Ted Rowlands, anthropologist.
KING: Go ahead. Sounds like "Hamlet." Las Vegas, Nevada. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. Yes. My question is I keep hearing that Scott and his family are not a wealthy family. However the parents do live in a rather affluent area outside of San Diego. And I'm wondering why they would have not foot the bill for Scott's defense by hiring some type of dream team instead of using a public defender?
WEINTRAUB: Well, there are several reasons. Number one, nobody says that that's not in the makings. Number two, nobody has that kind of cash that normal working people or recently retired people. She's obviously sick. And I would never walk in someone else's shoes and say, why didn't you do this with the money? Do you have any idea what these expert witnesses will cost? You're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars when you're talking that.
GRACE: That's a really good point. I was looking that up, Jayne. And a local public defender stated that to do independent DNA for the defense alone would be around $100,000. And they expect the defense to run up to a million dollars. Jayne's right about that.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Yes. I mean, the costs are going to get high. With respect to the Peterson family, they are putting their money towards their own private investigation team because again they feel this was a rush to judgment and a slipshod job by the Modesto Police Department. So that's where their funds are going to be.
WEINTRAUB: And whatever that turns up of course will help the defense. Let's not forget there are four mourning grandparents here. And as Larry said at the top of the show, they had a very good relationship with Laci and with Scott both, and all the parents are suffering here.
KING: Tannersville, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. My question was kind of answered but still in all I have...
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: If the defense attorneys feel that this is a case that could be opened up for Mr. Peterson, why is there not a person coming in and taking the case pro bono? Is it because of the class factor like a dream team, like O.J. had, Shapiro. Why isn't Mr. Geragos stepping up to the plate?
KING: A lot of people are saying that. Why isn't Geragos...
GERAGOS: Let me tell you something...
GRACE: Don't you have any bills to pay?
GERAGOS: All of the other lawyers in my office, it would be an insurrection. Let me just give you an example of what goes into a special circumstance case and the preparation for it. The case I'd mentioned earlier that's been knocking around for three-and-a-half years. There's probably an excess of 3000 lawyer hours involved in that case. We've been to the Supreme Court and back three times, I think, on various issues in that case. It's an enormous amount of money. Plus the lawyer who gets involved at some point, and I've said this before, Nancy, I think has agreed. When you get into one of these cases, you take a part of your life and basically you throw it away for whatever period of time. You have to be truly committed to get into it. And most lawyers, most ethical lawyers aren't going to go out and seek the case. If the family were to come to them, present them with some kind of options, then that's a completely different issue. But it's an enormous financial impact on a lawyer in these cases.
KING: Puyallup, Washington, hello?
CALLER: Hi, Larry. KING: Hi.
CALLER: Mark and Nancy, first off, I want to say I just love watching you guys. And I have two questions. The first is, why has it taken Scott to be arrested for his parents to now be publicly defending him? And also will Amber Frey be a witness for the prosecution?
GERAGOS: I'll let Nancy answer the second one. The first question is they have been defending him all along.
GRACE: All along.
GERAGOS: It just is not - the sound bites are not as good until after he gets arrested. And that's why you haven't seen them.
GRACE: Right. In fact, they were both on with Larry King defending Scott way back when, back in February, as I recall. But earlier the question was, why don't other attorneys come forward? The public defender in this case stated that he has gotten at least 12, I believe the number was, offers to help on the case. So that may still happen. And Amber will definitely be a state's witness. She's been cooperating all along. And sources say that Peterson has been calling her up until the last two weeks.
KING: Kimberly, you have no doubt the state will use her.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Absolutely. Yes. And I think she's going to be a very important witness. We mentioned this the other night. I think she has got a lot of important information. Yes, she's been cooperative. But again, it doesn't help to continue to question and talk to her about it.
KING: Surrey, British Colombia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry. I was wondering, and this question is for Nancy, were there any clothing on the body and what about the maternity smock?
GRACE: Yes. And I'm wondering if that is how they got the initial idea. You know, it's pretty quick. They said, we think this is Laci, if someone could identify the clothing. The clothing she was wearing the night before was on that video camera. And her sister Amy saw what she had on. Amy went shortly after that into the home with the police on a search and came out in tears. It's my understanding she had on - the remains had on - and this is really heartbreaking, the remains had on some maternity clothes, I think, possibly a maternity bra.
KING: We'll be right back with more and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: Back to the calls. Canton, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. First of all, I want start out by saying how much I love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: And I send all my love and prayers out to Laci, Connor and the Rocha family. And my question is for Nancy Grace. First I wanted to start out by saying how incredibly intelligent I think you are. And my question is why do you think it took the Modesto police so long to arrest Scott Peterson?
GRACE: Now see, I'm telling you, I was starting to think that same thing. What's going on? Do they really know what they're doing? But now that we are hearing leaks or the edits (ph) of what they have been doing: tapping phones; putting GPS locators on his vehicles; doing DNA results out of that home; doing double searches of the home, the boat, the warehouse, the car, you name it. They have been working overtime, nights, weekends on this case. Why did it take so long? I really think, and it goes back to something Jayne said earlier, we were fighting about it, I think they wanted to be ready that once they indict, they will be prepared in case a speedy trial demand is filed that they can go straightforward immediately.
KING: Ted Rowlands, are they...
WEINTRAUB: Then Nancy, why do you suppose they want two years to get ready for this case? And you know, of all the litany of things...
GRACE: I think that's just something Brazelton said. I don't think it's going to be two years.
WEINTRAUB: Nancy, of all of the things that you just said, is there any evidence that you have heard of or seen or looked at or even has been revealed in a motion? No. There's been no scientific or forensic evidence. And I will tell you...
GRACE: Evidence of what?
GRACE: ... but I believe in circumstantial evidence. And from what I can see, he went fishing at the same exact hour, day and month that she was kidnapped.
WEINTRAUB: And that doesn't make him a killer. That doesn't make him a killer.
GRACE: By all accounts, all of the circumstantial evidence points to him.
KING: Ted Rowlands, is that police force generally highly regarded?
ROWLANDS: Well, yes. You know, I work out of San Francisco, but I don't know them too well, but I've definitely been following them closely here. And one of the other things that they've been doing which has been taking so much time is following all of the other potential leads. This case has gotten so much publicity that they've received thousands of phone calls. And they've had to go out and pursue the ones to make sure that they weren't legitimate leads. And they say that that's a big part of what's taken them so long to get to this point. They were ready to make an arrest without a body. And that's what they were preparing to do.
WEINTRAUB: You know what? Let me remind you of something. That if they were so ready, why didn't they? They had the month and they had the time. And under the law they could have made the arrest. If they had any other corroborating evidence, which I don't think they do, they could have made the arrest without the body.
ROWLANDS: Well, they made the arrest without the DNA - they made arrest without the positive DNA. They made it hours before they got the word from (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
GERAGOS: Except, Ted, I have to disagree in this sense. They knew based on the preliminary DNA what the result was going to be. They had narrowed it down maybe one in a million as opposed to one in a billion. At that point because of this concern or at least expressed concern he was going to flee, they made the arrest. But they were already in one in a million land at that point.
GRACE: That was so disingenuous. Not what you just said, Mark, but, Jayne, if they had arrested three weeks after she disappeared, you would be screaming about rush to judgment. OK. They wait over four months and now you think that they were too slow? I mean, you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
WEINTRAUB: You say that he was running away because he was close to the border. He went back with his mom and his dad.
GRACE: I didn't say he was running away.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: I think that they tried to do a very thorough job.
WEINTRAUB: You raise the circumstance of being near his parents.
KING: Hold on, Kimberly?
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: I think they tried to do a thorough job. I think this was an end result and a conclusion that they desperately hoped wasn't true, that Scott Peterson was responsible for this heinous crime.
KING: Springfield, Massachusetts, hello?
CALLER: Hello. This is for your panel. And the question is shortly after Laci Peterson was missing, her husband Scott stopped staying in the house. What do they think about this, if anything?
GERAGOS: I think it's to be expected. In every case I've ever had where there's any kind of high profile media frenzy around, the last place you are going find any kind of solace or ability or privacy is in your own house because people are camping around there.
KING: Milton, Delaware, hello?
CALLER: Hi. hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I certainly appreciate it. The reason for my call is I realize and agree that the likelihood that Scott is guilty, but I've been in situations where people are unjustly accused, and, yes, it was a horrendous crime. But my question is to everyone, everyone listening, is that has anyone stopped to think what the ramifications might be or will be for Scott and his family if he's found innocent?
KING: What if he didn't do it?
WEINTRAUB: Nobody will care.
GUILFOYLE-NEWSOM: Well, that's certainly a possibility. Absolutely. And that's why we have our justice system.
KING: The guilt or innocence?
GRACE: I've thought about it. I've thought about it a lot.
KING: One more call. El Paso, hello.
CALLER: Hi, good evening, Larry. This is a question for your panel.
KING: All right, quickly.
CALLER: Does anybody know if Laci's OB doctor has been interviewed by the police, if not, do you think the OB will be interviewed? And what information...
KING: All right. We have only got have 30 seconds. Who wants to take it?
GRACE: He has been and they tried to get DNA from the doctor, is my understanding.
WEINTRAUB: Probably only that it was a viable fetus, and that is going to be - I'm sure that will be testified about in the course of the trial.
KING: It gets curiouser and curiouser. Thank you, Ted Rowlands, reporter for KTVU. Nancy Grace of COURT TV's "Trial Heat." Defense attorney Mark Geragos, the crowd wants him to take the case. Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom, assistant district attorney, San Francisco. And the Miami defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub.
And I'll be back in a couple of moments to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Dr. Robert Atkins, arguably America's most famous diet doctor who died in an accident recently, we are going to repeat our last interview with him tomorrow night. Dr. Robert Atkins. Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT" follows preceded by Fredericka Whitfield and the news headlines. I'm Larry King. Thanks for joining us, and good night.
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