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Interview with Harvey Levin

Aired May 28, 2003 - 20:04   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to turn to the latest now in the Laci Peterson case. A far different story. CNN has learned that lawyers for her husband, Scott, the man accused of the killing, of course, plan to argue that the D.A. encouraged police to put a wiretap on phone conversations between Scott and his attorney earlier this year. Now, just yesterday a judge ordered prosecutors to turn over records of those calls.
For more on that I'm joined by Harvey Levin from Los Angeles. He's the executive producer of the television show "Celebrity Justice."

Harvey, good to talk to you as always.

How big a deal is this?

HARVEY LEVIN, EXEC. PRODUCER, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": It's potentially a big deal. I'm just reviewed the papers that Mark Geragos filed. And what really stands out for me is that apparently he is saying that the -- that the prosecutors and the investigators in this case, knowingly violated the California law that says they cannot monitor lawyer-client privilege. And that's what Mark Geragos says happened between Scott Peterson's first lawyer and Mr. Peterson. Now, the rule in California is that if the investigators are listening to a conversation on a wiretap and they hear that it's the person's lawyer they have to get off the line for at least two minutes, and then they can come back on for 30 seconds to see if it's the same conversation.

Here's what's interesting, Anderson. According to the documents, and the prosecutors apparently agree with this, the prosecutors say that they kept coming back on the line, they weren't waiting the full two minutes, and they were determining whether the call had changed from a business-related call to anything else pertinent. So it seems like, at least according to Geragos, they knew that they were listening to a conversation between Scott Peterson and his first lawyer. And Geragos says that's mighty serious.

COOPER: And he wants what, those -- anything gathered based on those conversations to be thrown out?

LEVIN: Well, that's one of the remedies in the event a judge determines that it was an illegal wiretap. But in addition, Geragos mentions in the papers that if this is a really egregious case of prosecutorial misconduct, if the judge so finds, the Supreme Court of the United States has said charges could theoretically be dismissed. He hasn't formally asked for that, but I think he's setting the stage.

COOPER: Now the judge has not given a final ruling on the autopsy results, whether or not those will be released to the public. I assume at some point they will be because they're going to be shown to the jury at some point, but it's a question of when that may happen.

Why do you think the judge has not ruled, and when do you think he's going to?

LEVIN: Well, I think the ruling is probably going to come fairly soon. I think you're right, that this is information that will come before the jury, so it's going to be hard to taint the jury with the information. But I think the judge right now is so concerned about leaks from the media, leaks from witnesses, prejudicing the potential jury pool, I think he's exercising as much caution as he can. And my guess is he's not going to release anything unless he absolutely has to.

COOPER: Also allowing cameras in the courtroom, do you think that's going to happen?

LEVIN: Well, I've got to tell you, i've been listening to some lawyers talking about this, and I think it's a really lousy argument to say that cameras are necessary in this case because we don't want a star chamber, we don't want secret proceedings. This is not going to be any kind of a secret trial. And obviously, as the producer of "Celebrity Justice, " I'd love to see cameras, but I don't think that's a very good argument. I think a lot of lawyers want to be on television and that's why they want cameras in the courtroom. But bottom line I think it's going to depend on whether this case stays in Modesto, whether it goes to Los Angeles, and I have a feeling that there will be a change of venue. And how much pressure this judge feels to either make it public or protect himself from another (UNINTELLIGIBLE) situation.

COOPER: Is there a little bit of double-talk coming from both sides, from attorneys on both sides?

I mean, on the one hand in court they're arguing they want these proceedings, you know, limited to the media, they don't want these autopsy results going out, they want information kept hidden. And then on the other hand under the table there are all these leaks coming from seemingly all different directions.

LEVIN: You know, we all talk about the fact that there's prejudicial pretrial publicity. The fact is that really both sides want prejudicial publicity just in their favor. And even though prosecutors, their job is to do justice, clearly there have been leaks in this case. They have a point of view. So does the defense. And I agree with you. I think it's a little bit less than honest to say that they don't want information to come out. They just want it to come out their way.

COOPER: All right. Harvey Levin, "Celebrity Justice."

Appreciate you joining us, Harvey. Thanks a lot.

Looking at some other stories across the map right now. Sources tell cnn the nation's threat level could be lowered from elevated to high as early as tomorrow. They say memorial day passed without incident and there is no credible information about an imminent threat. Officials also cite concern over the financial toll in the move to orange, which forced state and local governments to tighten security even more.

Well, two more toronto residents die of sars, bringing the death toll in canada to 29. The latest victims -- both elderly women who died overnight. Now, last week toronto was put back on the world health organization's list of sars-affected areas.

Saudi arabia now arrests at least 11 in connection to the suicide bombings in riyadh earlier this month. The mastermind of those attacks is reportedly among those in custody. 34 people died in the bombings, including eight americans.

We have a lot coming up tonight. A little boy abandoned. Now a mysterious message left on voice mail. Will it lead police to the boy's mother?

Also ahead --

Clozma. C-h-l-o-m-a, is-m-a.

Smart kids showing their stuff in the national spelling bee. And speaking of kids, is paul mccartney going to be changing diapers? he and wife heather mills have some news. That's a little bit later on. Making the impossible, possible. henry ford had the vision of building cars everyone could afford. The innovation to pay his workers $5 a day. And the passion to put the world on wheels. Today, we celebrate our 100th anniversary visit the family of ford dealers and be a part of who we are today... And where we're going tomorrow. If you haven't looked at ford lately, look again. {

Welcome back. Find a good home for my son. That is one of the messages in a mysterious voice mail left for the bakersfield, california, police. The caller claimed to be the mother of a 2-year- old boy found wandering in bakersfield ten days ago. I'm sure you remember seeing the story. The call may be the break that investigators need to find out who this little boy is. Cnn's kevin sites reports.

Reporter: Bakersfield police say that a phone call from a woman named sochi, claiming to be the boy's mother, is generating new information that may get them closer to cracking the case. They're following up on two leads in particular -- one from a woman who says she may have gone to high school with sochi, another from someone who says he knows the boy's father. That initial call from sochi ended up in the voice mailbox of detective herman caldes on friday. Police say the woman spoke in spanish and claimed to be the mother of the boy they've been calling mateo.

She sounded distraught. She was upset. She identified herself as sochi, and she said the boy's name is not mateo, that it's actually jesus perez flores.

Reporter: Police say she also asked the police to find a good home for the boy because she could not provide for him. But it was something else she told me that makes them believe she really is the boy's mother.

She gave information about the boy's sfizical characteristics that maybe someone that didn't know him wouldn't know.

Reporter: The boy was found here at this busy intersection just east of the city. It was 10:30 at night, and he was alone until a motorist stopped to help. Here in the same neighborhood people with children around the same age as the mystery boy have shaken their heads in disbelief. Some surprised he wasn't hit by a car. Others just that someone could leave their child at all.

I don't know what could bring a parent to do that. I love my kids too much to even think of something like that.

Reporter: Anderson, despite this new information, tracking down this boy's parents, the police still may have a way to go on that. They're currently following up on 100 leads. 16 of those alone are named sochi. Anderson?

Unbelievable story. Kevin sites, appreciate it. Thank you.

The police say the little boy was found in good condition and he is now in foster care looking -- being kept safe, being looked after. This could of course begin an odyssey both for him and for investigators. With I look at where things stand and what comes next for the little boy, let's bring in detective mary degiguere. The public information officer for the bakersfield police. Sorry I mauled your last name for a second. Tell us a little bit about the boy now, his condition, where he's being kept.

He's in foster care. He's with a very nice foster mother. And the very last contact we had with him yesterday. Detective caldes went up to interview him once again and to get some fingerprints from him. And he was happy. He had a really good appetite. And detective caldes said that he was just a pleasure to be around.

It's so unbelievable when you look at those pictures to imagine anybody


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