CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Guest Panel Analyzes Mark Geragos's Representation of Scott Peterson
Aired May 5, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We've set the bar extremely high. And that's to prove that Scott is not only factually innocent, but to figure out exactly who it is did this horrible thing to Scott's wife and to Scott's son.
LARRY KING, HOST: Bold talk after a big day in court for Scott Peterson and his new lawyer, Mark Geragos.
Joining us for all the latest, Ted Rowlands of KTVU in Modesto, where he's covered this story from the very beginning.
Plus Court TV's Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor.
Defense attorney Chris Pixley, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, assistant district attorney from San Francisco.
And defense attorney Mickey Sherman. He represented Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel.
And joining us later, Kim Petersen, spokeswoman for Laci's family.
All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Some questions for each of our guests, and then a full panel discussion. Chris Pixley -- I understand Chris is in Atlanta -- that you just spoke to Mark Geragos on the phone. What did he have to say?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, I think he's very excited. I just got off the phone with him, and I think he senses that this is a whole new ballgame now. And what a difference a day makes, or in this case, two days. You know, on Friday, Mark was allowed to replace Scott Peterson's state-appointed counsel, and now today, Mark was back in court, asking the court to keep these documents, these search warrants, sealed, and essentially arguing that if the court can't control media leaks that maybe the judge ought to recuse himself.
It seems as though now the court of appeals has watched television and listened to Mark because in just the past hour, Mark tells me that the 5th District Court of Appeals has, in fact, issued an order saying that it would be an abuse of discretion for the court -- the trial court, that is -- to unseal these documents. So he's had two major victories just in the past two days, and I think that there's change afoot.
KING: But the judge is remaining the judge, right? The judge did not recuse himself.
PIXLEY: That's right, Larry. The judge will not be recusing himself in this case, and I really don't think that that was something that the defense team wanted. Mark made it clear in the hearing today he didn't want to lose Judge Girolami (ph). Girolami's a good judge. But right now, we've had essentially a trial by committee to this point. There's Judge Boshane (ph) and Judge Girolami, both of which have been handling different aspects of the case. And I think Mark sent a clear message today that allowing the judges to hide behind each other's robes will not be the right to go.
KING: What does the sealed indictments mean -- the sealed evidence?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, S.F.: Search warrants. Right. Basically, that means that the judge is not going to allow that information to be disseminated to the public or the media at large.
KING: And the press wanted that information.
NEWSOM: Absolutely. The press always fights very hard to get lawyers on their side...
KING: Why is it to Geragos's benefit not to have it released?
NEWSOM: It's interesting that Geragos asked for the information to remain sealed. There must be information in there that could be damaging, he's saying irrelevant or inflammatory about his client. That tells me there's more to this case than we've seen.
KING: Nancy, I know you had a rough time the other night, having to listen to the father of Scott Peterson. And then there was an interesting poll the other day. CNN did the poll. I just saw in passing. Sixty-five percent of the people -- of the people polled think that Scott Peterson is being treated unfairly. What do you make of that?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Regarding Mr. Peterson calling...
KING: By the press.
GRACE: ... in or a poll?
KING: No. Well, I'm attaching the two. In other words, that people feel that we, the collective media, are mistreating his son.
GRACE: Well, I think that, so far, all we know is what we have been told by various news outlets. We don't really know the evidence. And we are taking logical deductions, based on what we are told, and a lot of people probably don't like that. Regarding Mr. Peterson calling in the other night -- this is America. He's got a right to say whatever he wants. And frankly, Larry, I've tried out plenty of murder cases, and no murder defendant's parents want to hear what the state has to say. And I don't blame Mr. Peterson. I wouldn't want to hear it, either, if it were my child. And he is lashing out and angry and protective, and I don't find that unusual at all.
Regarding treating Scott Peterson fairly -- we've already seen today that the search warrants in this case will remain secret, pursuant to an appellate court. Now, interestingly, I don't see that as necessarily a win for Mark Geragos because the state is originally the one who wanted those to remain sealed, although Geragos did jump on board that ship. Now, we can only deduce why Mark does not want that information leaked. Obviously, it will release more information about the state's case against Scott Peterson. He says it will prejudice Scott Peterson, and it probably will. But that doesn't mean it's not true.
KING: Mickey Sherman, what do you make of the treatment of Scott Peterson by all concerned?
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with the public, and I think it's very heartening to see that the American public overwhelmingly thinks that, You know something? We should not make the call on whether or not we think he's guilty or is probably guilty, but let the public wait until the jury comes in on this case. And they are in favor of the presumption of innocence. And as I say, I think that's very comforting to know that the majority of this country believes in the presumption of innocence and is telling us -- tell us, the folks on these programs, Don't tell us what you think, if you think he's guilty or not guilty, for that matter. Let the facts come out.
And I agree that the unsealing of the documents -- it is a win for Mark Geragos. And he didn't jump on any bandwagon. He's got to keep the state's side out of the public for as long as possible. Those documents are not an adversarial proceeding. It's not a fair and balanced presentation of what the evidence is or is not. It is one side. And when that -- just the one side gets out, it ain't fair.
KING: Ted Rowlands, now, he was allowed, Scott Peterson, to wear a suit today in court. Was that unusual?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, it's sure different. You know, Mr. Geragos won that right last week in court. The judge immediately allowed him not only to come in dressed in a suit but also to lose the shackles and the handcuffs, and it made a big difference in his appearance, obviously. And whether that will translate beneficially to Mr. Geragos, who knows. But he won that battle, as well. He's won a few of them here. The only one really that he has lost is to get the judge to recuse himself. And underlying in that, they wanted to establish that a 170.6 (ph) was utilized by the prosecution, and as these lawyers will tell you, that's a one-shot deal of getting rid of a judge. They wanted that on the record. Get it out now. In case there's a change of venue, they won't have that in their back pocket.
KING: Chris Pixley -- yes, Nancy. Go ahead.
GRACE: I just wanted to add, regarding his clothing that he is wearing in court -- that is pursuant to a long-standing Supreme Court ruling, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, where a defendant cannot be portrayed in front of a jury or a potential jury, in this case, wearing shackles and prison clothes. In fact, Mark would have been derelict had he not moved for Peterson to have street clothes, as we call them. That was to be expected, and it is the norm.
KING: Chris Pixley, where do we, in a matter, go from here? Mark Geragos says his main concern is to find the killers. Does that mean that that family and he are spending money on investigators, investigating who might have done this?
PIXLEY: Well, what they're doing immediately, Larry, is getting their own medical examiners, their own forensic experts and their own investigators. I think it might be overstating things to say that Mark and the team are actively looking for the killer right now, but one of the things they've got to do to properly defend Scott Peterson here is find an alternative explanation. The good news is there's no weapon. There's no cause of death yet determined, and the coroner's office suggests that that may never be determined. But I don't think that they're actually out on the hunt right now. I do think that they're looking for all other alternative explanations.
KING: Kimberly, you told me right before we went on that one thing benefiting the prosecution is that the death -- you have to death-qualify the jury. What does that mean?
NEWSOM: Basically, in this case, because it's a death penalty case, any juror has to be questioned as to whether or not, if the death penalty is sought in this office by, you know, the DA's office there, could they impose it? So naturally, you're going get people that would have to say, Yes, I could impose the death penalty, if I needed to and felt the evidence was there. Those are going to be more law-and-order and law-abiding types of citizens.
KING: In other words, if you're opposed morally to the death penalty, you can't sit on this jury.
NEWSOM: If you tell the truth and say that that is how you feel, absolutely.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more. Later, Kim Petersen, not related to Scott Peterson, but a friend of the Rocha family and executive director of the Sun-Carrington (ph) Foundation, will join us. And we'll be including your phone calls, of course. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: ... just go out and create reasonable doubt, if you will, or argue reasonable doubt. We're not into arguing reasonable doubt in this case. We've set the bar extremely high and that's to prove Scott is not only factually innocent but to figure out exactly who it is did this horrible thing to Scott's wife and to Scott's son and to their grandson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: ... appears to me to be, on its face, a due process violation, both federal and state, of Mr. Peterson's right to a fair trial because a trial judge needs to, obviously -- and by all accounts, your reputation is such that you have no hesitation in doing such -- take control of the proceedings and take control of everything surrounding the proceedings. Here, by law, the position that you've been put in is that you cannot do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mickey Sherman, we note that Scott's first attorney, Kirk McAllister (ph), is back on the new defense team as legal counsel. What do you think the strategy's going to be -- and then I'll ask Nancy Grace to give me the prosecution strategy -- again, based only on what information we've heard? There's a lot of lack of things we haven't heard. Mickey?
SHERMAN: Exactly. I think it's a very gutsy move on Mark's part to even hint that there may be some kind of asking a judge to recuse himself because judges tend to draw their wagons in a circle and become very defensive. But as you see, he does these things extraordinarily diplomatically, which I think Mark is well known for.
His strategy is going to be both outside of the courtroom and in the courtroom. And you saw outside of the courtroom. He's going to take the party line. Mark (sic) didn't do it. He's innocent. He's more than not guilty.
KING: Scott didn't do it.
SHERMAN: He's actually -- excuse me. Scott is innocent, which people like to hear. And the obligatory tag line -- And we're going to try and find the real killer. You know, you kind of have to say that if you're trying to be consistent that your client is not the killer. And in the courtroom, I think what we're going see, hopefully, is damn good lawyering. And that's what people forget when they talk about high-profile, high-priced, famed lawyers. When it all comes down to it, they've got to be a damn good lawyer inside the courtroom. And that's -- that has nothing to do with being on television.
KING: Well said. Nancy, so, too, does the prosecutor have to be a damn good lawyer, right?
GRACE: You're darn right, especially when you're talking about a death penalty case. And Larry, don't even get me started on Mark Geragos! This guy practically had a jury convinced that the poor security guards at a Lord & Taylor or a Saks had a vendetta, a conspiracy to get Winona, one of the most beloved Hollywood stars there are. He nearly had them convinced of that! So I really think that with Geragos on his side, Peterson has a really good chance.
And we saw a hint of where Geragos was heading today. He openly stated -- and I'm quoting -- "the voodoo-type investigation police have launched." So we see where they're going. They're going to be attacking the police. Where is the state coming from? I think it is all going to be in the sealed search warrants and arrest warrants, and we know those items were sent to the serology unit. I predict DNA results.
KING: Ted Rowlands, will this case be televised?
ROWLANDS: That's a good question. They have a lot of camera into each proceeding, the first time no audio, the second time full audio and no restrictions. It'll be interesting to see, if this case stays here, whether or not the judge will allow it to be televised. I can tell you it seems as though the district attorney here and a lot of folks are getting a little bit sick of the media and a little bit curt with the media. So whether or not they'll lobby against it remains to be seen. But all indications are, at this point, yes.
KING: Kimberly, would you want it telecast if you were prosecuting it?
NEWSOM: Well, in our case, they only televised portions of the dog-mauling trial. In this case, I think Geragos is going to want it to be televised. It seems like that, which is another reason for him to keep this judge. And by the way, even if a change of venue is granted, this judge will likely travel with the case.
KING: Would you want it telecast?
NEWSOM: In this case, I think yes. I think it's important, and the public has a right to know. And if I was the defense lawyer, I would want it televised. And depending how strong the case was, if I was the prosecutor, then yes or no.
KING: Mickey, would you want it telecast?
SHERMAN: Yes, I would. I've found that people act a little more responsibly -- judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, everyone. When they see that they're being not only judged by the people in the courtroom but by people across the country, their peers of the judges, they're going to want to make darn sure that they're doing the right thing. I think it raises the level of people's performance.
PIXLEY: I'd agree. I don't know that there's anything to add. I think that when you have the television screens in the courtroom, less monkey business goes on -- not to say that this courtroom is not run tightly, and I think Girolami's an excellent judge. But I agree with Mickey.
KING: Could be a circus, though, couldn't it, Nancy?
GRACE: Well, yes, it could be. If you take a look at the O.J. Simpson case, it was. However, that had a lot to do with the way that courtroom was run. Larry, I'll tell it to you straight. I have had murder cases televised live while I was trying them. I've had serial rape cases televised live while I was trying them. And frankly, I forgot all about the camera. I was so focused on the witnesses and what the judge was doing and watching the jury. If you're doing your job, you don't notice a little lens sitting in the back of the courtroom.
KING: When we come back, Kim Petersen will join us. We'll ask some questions. The panel may have questions of her, as well -- a very close friend of the Rocha family. As we go to break, her is Laci's brother, Brent, the only immediate family member who spoke at a special memorial service yesterday. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENT ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S BROTHER: Today is a good day. Today is Laci's birthday, and all of us are given an opportunity to come here and remember Laci and Connor (ph). And Laci would be very grateful and just astounded that she would get this kind attention. I think with all of us here, we're sending a very powerful message. And I know Laci and Connor can hear us now and know that we love them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a good teacher. When I think of Laci, I think of playing volleyball at the park on Easter and the fun we had. Even though Laci's not here with us today, she'll always be in my heart, in my memories. Happy birthday, Laci.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Laci's cousin, T.J. (ph), at the memorial service yesterday.
Joining us now in Modesto is Kim Petersen, a friend of the Rocha family, executive director of the Sun-Carrington Foundation. How are they doing, the family?
KIM PETERSEN, SPOKESPERSON FOR LACI'S FAMILY: Well, As you can imagine, Larry, it's been a tough couple weeks for them. It's been a tough four-and-a-half months. But they're a strong family. They're a close family. And they will make it through this, but they know that they have a long road ahead of them.
KING: Are a lot of people contacting them? PETERSEN: Oh, they've had cards and letters and e-mails from all over the world. All of the cards have been coming in to our office, and I deliver them daily, and they have had boxes and boxes of mail delivered every day. And the e-mails on the guest book have been unbelievable. I mean, I can't believe how many countries people are writing from. The support and the love for Laci and Connor and for their family is tremendous. I've never seen anything like it.
KING: Can it get overboard? Are they getting phone calls at the house? Do they have any privacy?
PETERSEN: They actually -- people have been generally pretty respectful of them. At the beginning, in the first few months, people were calling from all over the country. They would get their number, even though it's unlisted, and they would call. And they received calls at 3:00 o'clock in the morning and 4:00 o'clock in the morning from people who didn't even know them. And that's difficult. And while the people were well-meaning in doing it, it was very painful for them. As you can imagine, when their daughter's missing, receiving a phone call in the middle of the night panics you.
KING: Did they tell you what they thought of Mark Geragos being retained as the lawyer for Scott Peterson?
PETERSEN: They haven't really talked a lot about that. They really these last two weeks since Laci and Connor's remains were identified have focused hard on preparing for the memorial service and making it such a great tribute to Laci, and I think they achieved that. And that's really been their primary concern.
KING: Speaking of that, when do they get the remains of Laci and Connor?
PETERSEN: They don't have a date on that yet. They have not been told that. They don't know.
KING: And I understand there's a new fund for the family. You can get details at www.lacipeterson.com. That fund is for what, Kim?
PETERSEN: A lot of people asked what they could do, how they could help the family. And so the family set up the Laci Peterson Fund. And as you can imagine, they've missed a tremendous amount of work the last four-and-a-half months and incurred enormous expenses. And with the upcoming trial, they have a long way to go still, and a lot of time that they aren't going to be able to work. And people wanted to know what they could do to help the family, and this is what they can do.
KING: Let's go around the panel, see if they have any questions of Kim. Kimberly?
NEWSOM: Hi, Kim. I was just curious if the family has made any comments about Mark Geragos's statements today that he feels that Scott Peterson is innocent and that they want to actively seek out who was responsible for Laci and Connor's deaths. PETERSEN: They've been really good about letting the court system do its job, and they are depending on the court system to find justice and not really sharing a lot of their thoughts and opinions, that they feel that's what our court system is all about.
KING: Ted Rowlands, you have a question...
KING: You have a question for Kim?
ROWLANDS: Yes. The Peterson family is planning their own funeral service or some sort of memorial service, presumably with Scott present. Is the family open to both families coming together for a private ceremony? I know that the Petersons stayed away, not to make a spectacle of the public ceremony. What's their stance on bringing the two families -- because as I understand it, they have no animosity towards the Peterson family.
PETERSEN: I don't. As far as I know, Ted, that has not been discussed among the two families, as far as something coming together for something like that. So I couldn't say how they feel about it because I don't believe it's been discussed between them.
KING: Nancy Grace, you have a question or a comment for Kim?
GRACE: Yes. Yes, I have two. First, Kim, how is the family taking it that they don't have Laci's remains yet? They can't even bury her. They had this memorial service, and then at some point, they'll have her remains and Connor's remains. How are they taking that? Are they even looking that far ahead?
PETERSEN: They want to make sure that all of the tests that need to be done are done, and so they understand that that's part of this process. Certainly, it's painful. Certainly, they would like to have that step taken care of. But they also don't want to rush things. They want to make sure everything is completed, all the tests are completed thoroughly.
GRACE: And the other thing was, I know that Scott Peterson had made a request to come out of jail, to come to the memorial. That was denied. But there are also rumors floating around that Amber Frey wanted to come to the memorial, which would have made it a complete circus and focus off Laci. How did they head that off?
PETERSEN: Well, the family from day one wanted the focus to be on Laci, and I believe that it was. I believe that this was their tribute, and they shared their daughter with the whole world at that memorial service. And I -- they're thankful Amber's family realized that, as well, and that they knew that that would just detract from that, and they appreciate that. You know, this was all about Laci and Connor.
KING: Chris, you have a question?
PIXLEY: Kim, if I could -- just interested if there still is communication between Laci's family and Scott Peterson's.
PETERSEN: Yes, there is.
KING: There is communication?
PETERSEN: Yes, there has been. Yes.
KING: OK. And do you have a question, Mickey?
SHERMAN: Yes, I do. Kim, does the family have a position on whether or not this case should be tried in Modesto or taken out of town, given the overwhelming community support that's been shown to the family?
PETERSEN: Certainly, their preference is that it would be held here. It's such an inconvenience for families when a change of venue occurs, when they have to basically pack up and relocate and move, and they have to miss their work, et cetera. And it certainly would be less of a strain on the family if it was here in Stanislaus County. But they understand that it's a possibility, but their hope is that it can stay here.
KING: Kim, are they surprised by all this attention this is getting?
PETERSEN: They have been. And I think Brent said it really well yesterday at the memorial service when he said Laci would just be completely shocked. but I think because of the way this family has handled themselves in the midst of the incredible stress they've been under, people have come to love them. They've come to love Laci because they shared Laci with people. And people said yesterday, I wish I would have had the opportunity to know her. And I think because of that, because of how they've handled themselves and because of Laci and who she was, that's what's drawn this attention.
KING: Kim, would you like to stay with us a little while? We're going to take phone calls. Will you hang with the panel?
KING: OK, Kim Petersen will remain with us. Ted Rowlands. I'll reintroduce the whole panel when we come back. And we'll go to your phone calls.
Reminder. Tomorrow night, Lisa Marie Presley will be with us. And our special guest on Wednesday night is Diane Sawyer. Lisa Marie Presley tomorrow night. Diane Sawyer on Wednesday night. And more on this case Thursday night.
We'll be right back, reintroduce the panel and go to your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GERAGOS: The people who know him best are standing behind him and standing behind me today 100 percent because they believe totally unequivocally in this young man's innocence. They turned my head around and I think it is only a matter of time before we are able to turn America's head around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's reintroduce the panel in Modesto, it's Ted Rowlands of KTVU TV.
In New York, Nancy Grace, the anchor of "Trial Heat" on Court TV.
In Atlanta, Chris Pixley, the well known defense attorney.
In Los Angeles, here with us is Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, assistant district attorney San Francisco.
And defense attorney in New York is Mickey Sherman.
And in Modesto, Kim Petersen, friend of the Rocha family, executive director of the Sund/Carrington Foundation.
One thing I want to pick up on, and then we'll go to calls with you, Kim. You said members of the Peterson family are talking to Scott.
Who and about what?
PETERSEN: No, the question was are the Peterson and Rocha families communicating and, yes, they are.
KING: I thought you meant they were talking to Scott. The Peterson and Rocha families are communicating?
KING: Because they're still friends?
PETERSEN: Yes. They've all suffered a loss here. They all love Laci and they all loved Connor. And they suffered a great loss.
KING: Modesto, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This question is for Nancy.
A day or two after Scott's arrest, Mark Geragos was say something very different things, and why do you think he's changing his tune?
And is there any way he can get Nancy on the prosecution team?
GRACE: Thank you. That is a huge compliment. But as I told Mr. Peterson the other night when he so kindly called in to lambaste me, I would not even presume to speak for him, because they know so much about this case that we on the outside don't know. And you're darn right about Mark Geragos or I finely refer to him as Geragos, did have a lot to say anti-the defense.
But he's has been hired now and I promise you by the time this is all over, he will have you convinced that you're all wrong. I've seen him try a case. He will have you convinced that your all wrong. I have seen him try a case. He's very likable. He's very charming in front of the jury. But remember, I am predicting right here that the state has the facts on their side. Remember this is not just a whim. He has been arrested and charged with the death penalty in that jurisdiction.
KING: But there have been errors in the past. People have been arrested and charged who did not do what they were charged with, Nancy, right?
GRACE: Obviously there have been people that have gotten a not guilty verdict so yes, it is possible.
SHERMAN: There are people that are innocent, not merely getting a not guilty verdict.
GRACE: You can argue that, too, until you're blue in the face. I want to tell you that the police have taken a lot of blasts here. But they seem very firm in their conviction, that they've got a case and so far I haven't heard anything different. I believe them.
SHERMAN: The trial hasn't occurred yet.
GRACE: That's right.
SHERMAN: We won't hear anything for a long time. The police supposed to believe in their case.
KING: Why do we -- Chris Pixley, how can we believe anything until facts are issued?
PIXLEY: That's a great point, Larry. I don't think we can necessarily make our decision necessarily. Of course, so much of the public has made up their mind based on the circumstantial evidence that the prosecution has put out there. And you know in talking to Mark just today, I think, Nancy, you shouldn't be so quick to assume that Mark is disingenuous in saying that he believes in Scott Peterson. He pointed out to me a couple of pieces of evidence. First of all, Mark -- or excuse me, Scott was with his wife, accompanied her to the doctor the day before her disappearance to check on the progress of the baby, and renovated a room in their home to build a nursery. And, remember, also this is Christmas Eve. It is a strange time to plot and carry out the murder of your wife.
GRACE: Yes, that's true. And based on what we have heard, it is not all coming from police most of this is coming from Scott Peterson himself, I don't know if you two remember, but remember that big, long interview he gave to Diane Sawyer in which he lied, and you're quick to point out he was working on the nursery that was also the day he was on the phone to his girlfriend Amber Frey trying to get together with her. So I'm not too impressed with that.
KING: Elyria, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Good evening. I'm wondering about Scott's financial situation.
Could he have owed a great deal of money to someone or a group who threatened to kidnap his wife if he did not pay?
Because from the very beginning he behaved as someone who knew who had her and had no control over the unfolding events.
KING: Another thought. Kimberly, extenuating circumstances.
NEWSOM: We haven't heard anything about that Larry. But again I think more is going to unfold. But we do know is he sold his country club membership. I don't think that was the reason he took out the life insurance policy. I think it is something much more different than just a financial issue there. I think there was an issue maybe between he and Laci. And obviously there was discord in the marriage or some kind of unhappiness on his part.
KING: Kim, is the family convinced of his guilt?
PETERSEN: You know, Larry, I can't comment on that. The family has been very protective and careful they will not do anything to damage this case and won't try it in the media. They are going let the court system do its job. And so I really can't comment on that.
KING: Milan, Minnesota, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, the question I have is if they unseal those search warrants, wouldn't it help actually find the real killer?
PIXLEY: Well, it really depends what the search warrants are looking into, Larry. We know three of the eight search warrants for searches of the home. I don't know that necessarily is going to reveal anything. Obviously it shows that the prosecution is pursuing Scott Peterson. It doesn't necessarily tell us who the killer is.
GRACE: It does tell us something else, though. It tells us -- we know the defense, Mark Geragos, my sparring partner, does not want the public to know, does not want the public to know what the state has in those warrants. Now that should be a pretty strong indicator that it is anti-defense, anti-Scott Peterson.
PIXLEY: He's not being tried by the public. He's being tried by the jury of his peers. So there is no reason why the public has to make the judgment now. And all information there doesn't go to a third party culpability situation or point the finger at someone else. Every bit of information there is met and deem and designed to incriminate Scott Peterson. That's why the police officers do it.
KING: Nashville, Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy Grace. Thank you so very, very much for being the voice for victims. And I was wondering in regards to Scott Peterson what he was caught, he was carrying his brother's ID, beside the blond hair, isn't that illegal. And also he had $10,000 in cash.
Is there a way to trace where that came from?
For instance did his parents give it to him?
Isn't that obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting?
Please, somebody comment on that, and again, thank you, Nancy.
GRACE: Thank you for your compliment. Carrying someone else's driver's license, is not against the law. Pretending you that person or giving false identification to police is a misdemeanor. Giving someone 10,000 bucks, not a crime if you are aiding and abetting them leave the jurisdiction after they've been charged, that could be helping to harbor a fugitive. He hadn't been charged that the point yet.
SHERMAN: Nothing he did there constitutes a crime, period.
KING: Right. That's right.
NEWSOM: That's correct. Again, the prosecution is going to try and get some of that evidence in to show consciousness of guilty or efforts on his behalf...
KING: In other words it look bad.
NEWSOM: It makes him look very guilty, yes.
KING: We'll be back with Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixly, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Mickey Sherman, and Kim Petersen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first met Laci, I knew this was a person who was compassionate, funny, charming and considerate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been so fortunate to share the greatest moments ever with you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know she made us all better people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a friend. But to those who knew Laci, she was that and so much more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ask all of you when you bow your head at night to continue to pray that the lord provides peace and comfort for Laci's family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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GERAGOS: In terms of what happened in court today, we're as pleased as we can be. We don't want to lose Judge Geralami, obviously, but we do have an issue as to whether or not one judge can put his arms around, so to speak, the entire case.
Judge Boshane (ph), I think, made the right decision in not doing anything on this case until we get up to the 5th District so that the 5th District can sort this out. And we're very happy with that.
KING: Back to the calls. Tulsa, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is for Nancy. Nancy, you're right on the money all the time, girl.
CALLER: Could you tell me, this being a high profile case, like the O.J. Simpson, where he got off...
GRACE: Oh, yes.
CALLER: ....do you think this is going to happen again?
GRACE: Well, let me tell you something. We've been talking about that all day long. And I think there is a possibility. You know why? They don't know the mode of death yet. They don't have a murder weapon yet. And they are not connecting him up to her at that time. Unless we get DNA, some type of intimidating -- incriminating statement by him over the Internet, the phone or to police or they find those anchors at the bottom of the bay, the state will have a hard time.
KING: All right. And the other possibility is he didn't do it, right?
SHERMAN: It doesn't mean he gets off. Sometimes juries do the right thing. I mean, you know, people are unhappy by and large with the O.J. Simpson decision. But they're not unhappy with the civil case. People don't get off. Juries make decisions. And if we're going rely on them, then we rely on them.
KING: Cleveland, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Good Evening, Larry. Question for Chris, please.
CALLER: Chris, assuming your representing or defending someone in the case such as this and during your private discussions you uncover evidence that that person is absolutely guilty, how you to proceed? Thank you.
PIXLEY: Well, I think you have to step away from the case at that point in time. There are different philosophies about that.
KING: You would leave the case?
PIXLEY: Larry, you know, it's funny. In the rules of procedure, at some point in time wouldn't even allow you to leave the case.
For example, if this happens at the time of trial, you won't have that opportunity.
GRACE: Wait. So all your clients are innocent, Chris? Are you telling me all your clients you ever represented are innocent?
PIXLEY: I'm telling you, Nancy, that I haven't had clients that have stepped forward and said, I'm guilty, but I want you to defend me as though I'm not. No. I've not had that.
SHERMAN: I have. I have, Larry.
KING: What you're duty bound to do then, Chris, is that you can't let any witness lie, right?
PIXLEY: That's right. That's exactly right.
KING: But you're still also duty bound to see that he gets a completely fair trial.
PIXLEY: That's exactly right, Larry.
KING: Right. OK. I just want to clear that up. You do have a duty, do they not, Kimberly? The defense attorney has a duty that the prosecution can introduce wrong evidence that they have the right to challenge, the right to object, even though any know the client did it and they might try to plea bargain.
NEWSOM: And I have yet to see a defense attorney get off a case. I mean, I think a lot of them know their clients are guilty. It's technicality is they didn't tell them, Oh, I'm not guilty, by the way, so...
KING: Are there some prosecutors who prosecute cases where they're not sure, Kimberly?
NEWSOM: None that I know. If you have reasonable doubt, you don't believe in the case....
KING: Then you don't prosecute.
NEWSOM: No, some of my finest moments as a prosecutor, I stand up and say in the interest of justice this case should be dismissed. And I take that obligation very seriously.
SHERMAN: I must practice on a different planet. Larry, I must practice on a different planet. I've got to tell you, there are prosecutors who just don't know. They have gut feelings, but they just go with what the state gives them.
GRACE: Hey Mickey, have you ever walked off a case when you thought your client was guilty? Have you ever walked off a case, Mickey, when you thought a client was a guilty?
SHERMAN: No. When a client tells you they're guilty, you generally try and make a deal get the best possible disposition for him. But as -- Larry, as you pointed out you don't get people to lie.
KING: And conversely, Nancy, would you say if you thought the person was not guilty, that you wouldn't prosecute the case?
GRACE: You're darn right. And I have actually done that before. I have done that several times when I was prosecuting cases.
KING: New York City, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi.
KING: We've already called down New York. Hello.
CALLER: Does anyone know if Scott watched the funeral yesterday?
KING: Would anyone know that? I guess only his lawyer would know. Would anyone know?
GRACE: I know he tried to go and he was turned down.
KING: He tried to attend.
ROWLANDS: Larry, I can tell you. Larry, he did not watch it. He was meeting with his attorney at the time. Met with him for seven hours and just happened to be meeting with the attorney during the time of the memorial service.
KING: Columbia, South Carolina, hello.
CALLER: Hi,. My question is for Kim Petersen. There has been a lot of talk about Brent Rocha and his mother. But I haven't heard anything about his sister, Amy. And I -- on the statement that her mother made, recently, she said something about her only daughter. And I thought that she another daughter, Amy. Can you answer that?
PETERSEN: Amy is actually Laci and Brent's half sister. They all share the same father, but Amy has a different mother. So Sharon is not Amy's mother, although she's like a second mom to her. So a lot of people have had that confused.
KING: Kim, thanks for spend something extra time with us. We appreciate it.
PETERSEN: No problem.
KING: Kim Petersen, the friend of the Rocha family. We always appreciate seeing you. We'll be back with our panel and more phone calls right after this. Don't go away.
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KING: Phoenix, Arizona and then Nancy will have a question for Ted.
Phoenix, go ahead.
CALLER: Hello, Nancy, a question. Why would Mark Geragos want to represent Scott Peterson?
GRACE: Well, he is a criminal defense attorney. It's his business. It's a huge -- it's a huge challenge for him. He's meet with the Peterson, he likes him, they like him. There's no way that I ever thought Geragos would turn down the Peterson case. No way!
KING: What's your question for Ted, Nancy?
GRACE: And yes, Larry, this does not mean that Scott Peterson is guilty. But Ted, are you telling me -- and I know that there are TV is that facility, he didn't even attempt to view his wife's funeral.
ROWLANDS: According the sheriffs deputy spokesperson here at the jail. He was meeting in an area that had no television coverage. There was no TV around it and during the entire ceremony, he did not watch any of that ceremony because he was meeting with his attorney. Not necessarily Mr. Geragos, but it couldn't have been another attorney.
KING: Rocks springs, Wyoming, hello.
CALLER: Hello, good evening. Quickly, kudos to Nancy for her grace under pressure when dealing with the Peterson family phone call. God knows, charming can be alarming.
As to my question, Mr. King, Miss Grace and the prestigious panel, oftentimes pregnant women use the temporary insanity defense because of an unbalanced hormone level. Would a perspective father- to-be be eligible to utilize such a defense due to the environment in which he was living in?
PIXLEY: I don't think that's probably the case. I never read a decision that found that way, Larry.
KING: On other words I went nuts because she wants pickles and ice cream at 8:00 in the morning?
PIXLEY: No. And another point that goes to that issue, too. I don't think that the prosecution wants to suggest for a moment that there is any sanity issue here. They don't want to open the door. If the case does go south at some point in time, they don't want to be the ones that started the discussion of whether or not Scott Peterson was rational.
SHERMAN: I think the last thing anyone wants to see is someone sullying the reputation of Laci Peterson. This is not going to be a victim bashing case.
KING: That would not work.
NEWSOM: That's not going to work at all because America loves her. She's got a Julia Roberts smile. It is not the Robert Blake case where you have an unsympathetic victim. Totally different case.
KING: Winnebago, Minnesota, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is a question for Ted. Earlier in the investigation when Scott went fishing, they said there was no salt water found in the boat. I guess is this the same boat that he would use to take out to dispose the bodies of?
ROWLANDS: Well, you know, the bottom line there is that information that we've gotten is there was salt water tested in the boat. In fact they probably wouldn't have been out looking in the bay if they didn't find some there. I think that was an erroneous report that released early on that there was no salt water. I think the fact of the matter is that there was.
KING: Ted what do we know know?
ROWLANDS: Well, that's a tough question because we know know a lot of things that different people are telling people and you have to take everything with a grain of salt. So what we know know is not much. It's the same things that have been coming out on this program.
But one thing I can tell you that seems to be the fact, judging by Mr. Geragos and the Peterson family and the elation they seem have to internally is that whatever discovery's been transferred to them, the 6,000 plus pages, it hasn't been the smoking gun. It hasn't been damning and they seem to be very confident in what the case is right now as they see it.
And I'd like to ask the panel, do they think that given the fact that the Modesto Police Department is still going to be searching for more evidence up in the bay, isn't this a situation where Mr. Geragos should jam this thing through as quick as possible and not waste time?
KING: Good question. Kimberly, should he ask for a quick trial?
NEWSOM: We talked about that earlier. Absolutely. If prosecution's case is thin, speed it up. If there's a lot of evidence there in those search warrants, then he's going to age the case.
KING: Chris, what should he do in that case?
PIXLEY: The problem is right now, Larry, and I think Mark highlighted it in the hearing today, he doesn't know what is in the search warrants. Part of the reason he wants to keep them sealed is that there has been, as he puts it, this drip, drip, drip of evidence that's been coming forward. And he doesn't really know where it's coming from.
If the search warrants show that as Mark suggested today the prosecution is really looking for a lot of nefarious facts and their using voice distress analysis or voice stress analysis, using psychics to try to find the actual killer or to suggest that Scott's the killer, then, yes, you want to keep that out of the public sight.
But what he first needs to do is get his arms around the evidence and the defense team doesn't have that now.
KING: Nancy, when will the prosecution want a quick trial?
GRACE: The state will want a quick trial when they are anxious to go forward. In this case, I don't see that happening. However, the worst thing that could happen to the defense is for the state to finally find anchors, if they exist at the bottom of the bay, through the use of a very interesting technique called side scan sonar. If those anchors are found and linked back to Scott Peterson, it is over. And for that reason, I think Geragos should rush the case forward with a speedy trial demand.
KING: One more quick call. Burlington, North Carolina, hello.
CALLER: This question is for Nancy. Nancy, we have a case in Burlington that is just almost identical to the Scott Peterson case. And the gentlemen in this case did dismember his girlfriend and she was 8 months pregnant. He has only been charged with one homicide because that is all that North Carolina will allow. Is North Carolina the exception or are there other states...
KING: We're running out of time, Nancy. What's the ruling?
GRACE: Twenty-seven states allow it. The California statute is one of the most stringent.
KING: OK, with regard that a fetus is a person.
KING: OK. Thank you, all, very much. Ted Rowlands for KTVU TV, we'll all probably be seeing you all again on Thursday night. Nancy Grace of "Trial Heat" on Court TV. Chris Pixley in Atlanta, the famed defense attorney. Here in Los Angeles, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, the assistant district attorney from San Francisco. And equally famed criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman in New York.
I'll come back and tell you about what's coming up tomorrow -- no in fact I'll tell you now what's coming up tomorrow. What is coming up tomorrow is Lisa Marie Presley and Diane Sawyer will be with us Wednesday. And Arthel Neville will have news headlines and Aaron Brown will host NEWSNIGHT. That's all ahead.
Thanks for joining us and good night.
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