CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Legal Analysis of Laci Peterson Murder Case Developments
Aired July 9, 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: Scott Peterson's back in court, as his attorneys are denied access to the files of another unsolved murder of another pregnant woman found in San Francisco Bay. Scott's defense can only see the autopsy and autopsy photos of Evelyn Hernandez. Will that be enough to link her killing to Laci Peterson's? And how about those newly discovered wiretaps of Scott's phone calls? Today the judge ruled that prosecutors can have all but one of those 176 recordings.
We'll get into all the news from today's hearing and your phone calls with Ted Rowlands of KTVU, on location in Modesto, Court TV host and former prosecutor Nancy Grace, defense attorney Chris Pixley, defense attorney Jayne Weintraub, and Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, district attorney, Westchester County, New York. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
By the way, we'll also spend a few moments in a little while with Dennis Herrera, the city attorney for San Francisco. His office argued to quash the Peterson defense subpoena for the investigative files of the other case, the Hernandez case.
And one program note. Colin Powell, from Africa, will be our guest tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.
All right, Ted Rowlands, what happened today?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, as you mentioned at the top there, Mark Geragos and Scott's defense team did not get full access to the Evelyn Hernandez case file, but they did get access to 30 autopsy photos, and they also have the autopsy report, which is public information at this time. It's tough to say whether or not this was a defeat for the defense because the judge, Al Girolami, went in camera in a secret meeting to review that file. And when he came out, he said, in his opinion, none of the information in that file would pertain to the Peterson case. And it is pretty much well known that the San Francisco Police Department has a specific suspect in the Hernandez case. It's assumed the bulk of that file was directed at that person. Whether or not the autopsy photos will be enough for them to prove some sort of link remains to be seen.
Also in court, phone calls were discussed by the judge. The media will get an opportunity to listen to their conversations with Scott Peterson. They'll have to come in on an individual basis. They'll be given an opportunity just to listen to their calls, and that is it. Geragos in court said, Quite frankly, we don't care. He thinks most of the media members will be embarrassed by what they said. And also, those 176 calls will all be transferred over to the prosecution. The defense has heard them. One of the calls will not go over there -- that call between Scott Peterson and his attorney, Kirk McAllister.
KING: Nancy Grace, what do you make of the defense's attempt to look into this other killing?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, Larry, Mark Geragos is simply covering all his bases. I'm not surprised. I think he will also want to look at a Las Vegas body that has turned up. In that case, they already have a suspect in custody. But here, he would not be doing his job if he did not put up a defense that the same person killed both.
Will it work? I don't think so. Reason? You've got to, under the law, Larry, have more of a foundation to suggest to a jury that the same perpetrator committed both crimes. You can't just say two pregnant women turned up dead in the same body of water that borders on San Jose, San Francisco, five major bridges. That's not enough.
But when you take a tally at the end of the day, Larry, they wanted the file, which is six binders, was brought over in somebody's car trunk. Did they get that file? No. All they got was the autopsy report that was already public matter and 30 photographs. And where they are headed, Larry, is they're going to try, because of these photographs, to say that the injuries to both ladies' bodies were similar. That's where the defense is headed.
KING: Chris Pixley, what do you make of that move?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don't think that it's really any defeat to have been told today that the Evelyn Hernandez file wasn't going to be turned over. This is an ongoing criminal investigative file. By its very nature, it is confidential, Larry. The autopsy report is a matter of public record. It has been turned over. I've had an opportunity to take a look at it today, and Nancy's right. What Geragos is going to try to do is make a connection between the physical evidence in the Hernandez case and that in the Laci Peterson case.
But remember, you know, you've got to step back and see the forest from the trees here. Mark Geragos does not have an obligation to prove Scott Peterson's innocence here. He simply has to prove that the prosecution cannot show beyond a reasonable doubt that Scott is responsible for this murder. I think going after information like the Evelyn Hernandez file -- is it the right way to get started? I just don't know if they are going to be able to show, on the basis of the autopsy report, the kind of connection between these two cases to make it something that will be admissible at trial.
KING: Judge, is it just, at this point, good lawyering?
JEANINE FERRIS PIRRO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK: I don't know if it's good lawyering, Larry, because, you know, I consider this a blow to the defense, and I'll tell you why. We started with a satanic cult. Then we had Donnie in the van. Then we had the mystery woman. Now we have the Evelyn Hernandez case and a Las Vegas case.
And the court did what they're required to do by law. They recognized the Evelyn Hernandez case as an open, pending homicide file. And you know, Evelyn Hernandez has no fewer rights than anyone else in this situation. Her case is not yet solved. It shouldn't be leaked. It shouldn't be disclosed. And just as the investigators have said that there's no connection between Evelyn Hernandez and the Las Vegas case and Laci Peterson, apparently, the judge feels the same way.
So I think that Mark Geragos has to start pulling in the reins a little bit before he starts throwing out these theories. He's starting to lose his credibility.
KING: Jayne Weintraub, shouldn't a defense lawyer, though, throw out a lot of theories in a case that is as perplexing as this one?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that a lawyer should throw out whatever is reasonable. In this case, we know it's reasonable because -- I disagree with the panel. No. 1, Mark Geragos didn't make this stuff up or pull it out of thin air. He gathered this information from a report that he was given by the Modesto prosecutors in the Laci Peterson case. So remember, the San Francisco police contacted Modesto police and said, Due to the unique factual circumstances of both of these cases, we think it warrants further discussion, et cetera, et cetera. So this, of course, made Mark Geragos say, Let me see what you have there.
And it was a defeat today because he was not given the police reports that led them to that conclusion. He was also not given any other interviews or information that would help him to further investigate the defense. Why do I think that was a mistake by the court? I think it was a mistake, Larry, because this is a capital case. And as such, they're trying to kill his client. He's the one with the rights. Scott Peterson is the one who stands to lose his life right now. And as a capital case, I think it should have been weighed more heavily about, what would have been the harm to let Mark Geragos and his investigative team review that -- review the information and not disseminate it to the public.
KING: All right, Nancy...
KING: You made your point, Jayne. Nancy, what would have been the harm?
GRACE: Well, the harm is that just because the defense wants a particular thing does not mean this judge or any other judge in their right mind is going to throw out the rules of evidence in order to please Mark Geragos and the defense team! You've got to take a long, hard look at what we know so far about the Evelyn Hernandez case. We know that police are honing in on someone else, someone else that is not Scott Peterson. We know that her wallet, full of money and a disability check -- this was not a robbery -- was found two blocks from her married boyfriend's place of business. We also know that there has been very little support because her only relative in this country -- Larry, she is an immigrant from El Salvador -- is her deaf sister, who cannot speak.
That's why this case didn't take the forefront at the beginning. The similarities end with a pregnant woman dead, found in a body of water.
KING: Well, why is it not...
GRACE: The rules of evidence are not going to be...
KING: Why is it not possible that the same person did both things? Why is that impossible?
GRACE: Well, not having seen the district attorney's file, I would suggest that the timeline would make it impossible for the same killer to have killed both. But if you look at it just simply -- forget your law degree, forget being a forensic pathologist. Look at this. This would have to be an awfully busy satanic cult that not only killed two women but left two calling cards to frame their lovers -- A, the receipt Scott got from the marina, and B, the wallet belonging to Hernandez, left at her boyfriend's place of business.
KING: All right, I got to get...
GRACE: That's an awfully smart serial killer!
KING: Let me get a break, and we'll pick right back up here. And we'll talk with Dennis Herrera, who argued for the San Francisco office to quash that Peterson defense subpoena. Here's the judge speaking as we go to break. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE AL GIROLAMI: I feel that what's there, it's highly speculative that it could be you used to assist the investigation in this case, and especially in light of the fact that the investigation in that case is still ongoing and could easily be jeopardized if that material were made public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we get back to our panel, I want to spend a couple of moments with Dennis Herrera. He's the city attorney for the city of San Francisco. His office argued to quash the Peterson defense subpoena for the investigative files on the Evelyn Hernandez case.
Were you happy, Dennis, with the judge's ruling?
DENNIS HERRERA, S.F. CITY ATTORNEY ON HERNANDEZ CASE: Larry, yes, I think our office was very happy for one main reason that I think that one of your panelists hit on earlier. And that is, we did what we could to maintain the integrity of the investigation into the Hernandez case because that case is still ongoing. The San Francisco police are continuing their investigation and focusing their investigation. And our job was to ensure that the integrity of that investigation was not compromised. So we're very happy with the results.
KING: Are you okay with the turning over of the autopsy?
HERRERA: Absolutely. The fact of the matter is, the autopsy record -- report itself is a public document and part of the criminal investigative file. And as for the photographs, while they weren't part of the investigative file -- and that's an additional thing that the judge made available -- we have no problem with that at all.
KING: How would it have compromised the case, Dennis, for information to go to the defense, if they're trying to see if possibly -- if they believe their client -- if their client didn't do it, then they've got to look for someone else to do it, and they're looking for other avenues. How would it compromise that investigation?
HERRERA: Well, what you have here, Larry, is essentially two conflicting things motivated out of the same intent. Mr. Geragos and his defense team own absolute duty to present a vigorous defense for their client. But the San Francisco police have the obligation to sit there and carry out their investigative duties. Obviously, there is information there that could lead to suspects or potential suspects, that if that information got out, it could be detrimental to the course of the investigation. At the same time, there is criminal history information in that file. If that information was made public, it could be detrimental to potential suspects or other people.
KING: What about the -- a purely hypothetical thought that that suspect may have also been involved in Laci Peterson's death?
HERRERA: Well, that's why the onus is on the Peterson defense team to meet a materiality standard. This information, the police investigative file, is confidential unless the defense team can show materiality -- i.e., whether Mr. Peterson would have been denied his due process right to a fair trial. And they had that opportunity to make that showing to the court today in an in-camera hearing, and obviously, he was not satisfied that they had met that burden.
KING: I see. In other words...
HERRERA: So if they do it, they can do it.
KING: In other words, the judge didn't see the connection.
HERRERA: Absolutely right. While relevance is not the standard that is applicable, it's materiality. There has to be a connection that is shown. And at this point, the judge, obviously, was not satisfied that that connection had been made.
KING: Thank you, Dennis. Dennis Herrera, city attorney for San Francisco.
HERRERA: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Thank you.
Chris Pixley, if you're the attorney for someone and you totally believe that someone, you have to go to other areas, right?
PIXLEY: Absolutely, Larry.
KING: You got to find out what might have happened.
PIXLEY: Absolutely. And you know, it's kind of interesting. I understand where the city attorney is coming from, and I understand where Nancy's coming from when they say, Listen, this can compromise the investigation into Evelyn Hernandez's murder. But the fact of the matter is Nancy just revealed on national TV the identity of the most likely suspect right now, Evelyn Hernandez's boyfriend.
So you know, this information, it seems, is released piecemeal by investigators as they see fit. But for whatever reason, the city attorney's office thought that it shouldn't be released to the Peterson defense team, who, of course, is under a gag order right now and would not be releasing any of it to the press. So you know, on one hand, you understand why the investigators in San Francisco don't want this information turned over to anyone else. But I don't think that this is a situation that would have caused any real harm.
PIXLEY: And yes, you do want to go after every possible lead.
PIRRO: Larry, let me tell you what the harm is. You know, we have had -- just today, we indicted an individual for murder and chopping up a body in Westchester County. Last week, we got a conviction for a murder and a dismemberment. There are open homicide investigative files. Witnesses come forward under the presumption that what they say is not going to be released to the public or anyone who just tries to throw out a theory that, Maybe somebody else did it because I didn't do it. There are protective privacy issues that are involved in these cases.
And for us to say that Mark Geragos is a better judge of whether or not the investigators in Las Vegas and the investigator in San Francisco as to whether or not Scott Peterson is responsible is ridiculous. And the judge has said Geragos did not meet his burden. There is a statute...
WEINTRAUB: ... the information.
PIRRO: There is -- oh, no, wait! Because it's a fishing expedition. That's exactly what it was! He had no information. He said, Give me the file, and the judge said, You didn't make out the materiality. The law is clear. We've got to protect Evelyn Hernandez.
KING: Jayne, isn't that obvious?
WEINTRAUB: It's a Catch-22. The information that Mark is going on is not a fishing expedition. It comes from the police report...
PIRRO: What is the information?
WEINTRAUB: ... from when the body washed up.
PIRRO: What is the information?
KING: One at a time.
WEINTRAUB: The police in San Francisco...
PIRRO: What is the information?
WEINTRAUB: The police in San Francisco called the Modesto police when the body washed up, saying there were unique facts and circumstances surrounding both of these cases.
WEINTRAUB: And it was that...
PIRRO: And when the police compared the files, they said there was no connection! Are you in a better position to make that judgment than the police? I think not!
WEINTRAUB: Well, are those the same police that are making that judgment that told Scott Peterson to his face that he wasn't a suspect, when they were already wiretapping his house? Why should we believe them? Come on!
PIRRO: Well, you know what? You can wiretap someone, Jayne, and not necessarily end up arresting them. Wiretap, as you well know, is an investigative technique that is approved by a judge, OK?
PIRRO: And all of that was legal. And the police agreed that these were different circumstances. The judge agreed. And right now, this is another tempest in a teapot!
KING: All right, let me get a break, and I'll ask about the wiretaps. We'll be taking calls at the bottom of the hour. As we go to break, Lee Peterson, Scott's father, comments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you say to Evelyn Hernandez's family that this would be drenched up again and those photos, you know -- it's up to them if they want to release them? What do you say to them?
LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S FATHER: I don't know. I haven't given it that much thought. I know they're grieving. It must be terrible. But there's an innocent man in this jail, and that evidence can help. If I were in their place, I think I would try to be helpful. We need justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: He's very sad because of his wife and baby. He's depressed. He's anxious. He's frustrated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ted Rowlands, since the media can hear their own conversations in the wiretap, what's the point to that, since one would assume you knew what you said?
ROWLANDS: Well, the media argued for access to get that right, and the judge basically granted that today. Both sides said that they didn't really care if the media listened to these things. I think at the beginning, when the media, you included, were sent out these letters of notice that they had been involved in this tapping, people's imaginations went a little wild. And people wanted to know, Oh, my gosh, what happened there? But as it turns out, as Mark said in court today, really, there's nothing to it. And most -- or a lot of the media folks, he said, will be, quite frankly, embarrassed by what they hear when they go back and they listen to their conversations with Scott.
KING: You're thinking that they might have promised things or the like?
ROWLANDS: Yes, or hearing that people call and say, you know, Oh, Scott, I know you're innocent. Please do an interview with me. Or supposedly, people were flirting with him, things of that nature, according to some sources. But you know, who knows? And of course, when each media person goes in and listens to their own, they're going to come out and say, Oh, yes, nothing happened there. So we'll really never know because I don't think it'll be material to this case. I don't think it'll ever be a part of this trial.
KING: Nancy Grace, is this trial going to be telecast?
GRACE: Well, if the prosecution has their way, no. I don't know that the judge will necessarily side with the prosecution. I'm anxious to hear those media calls too, Larry. I guess there's some felony sucking up going on in those wiretaps, begging Scott Peterson to come on for an interview.
But another thing about that, Larry, which we cannot discount. If you look back at all the photos we have of Scott Peterson prior to his arrest, he was always walking around with a cell phone to his ear, even if he went to go empty his trash, go to the car, you name it, on the cell phone. He was on the phone with Ted Rowlands a lot, as I recall. And if one defendant gives so many -- there he is! -- conversations, you can count on one thing, Larry. He's going to have an inconsistency, be it material or immaterial. And I think that is something very powerful.
KING: Is that introduceable, Chris?
PIXLEY: Yes, the wiretapped phone calls can be introduced at the trial, Larry. In fact, it would appear, since there are over 3,800 wiretaps in this case, that that would make up the bulk of the prosecution's case. But you know, wiretaps are not the icing on a prosecutor's case. They're usually a last-ditch effort. The fact of the matter is, you don't get them without showing both probable cause and necessity, and necessity means that normal investigative procedures haven't been successful. So you don't get the wiretaps until you've kind of run out of other good options. It can happen early on in a case like this.
But I think, with 3,800 wiretapped conversations over a period of about four months -- what is that, over 40 calls a day? I think the prosecution is really fishing for a case right now.
KING: How about, Judge, unsealing the warrants? The judge ruled that they can be unsealed, pending appeals by the prosecution and defense. What's wrong with unsealing them?
PIRRO: Is he talking to me?
KING: Judge Pirro.
PIRRO: Sorry. You know, unsealing the warrants -- the judge, as I understand it, has made the decision that the warrants will not be unsealed for two reasons. Number one, the integrity of the case. It still is a pending case and an investigation. And number two, for the protection of the defendant. I mean, the judge made the decision that, for both sides, it should not be -- this information should not be released.
KING: My note said...
WEINTRAUB: A pending investigation?
KING: ... that Judge Beauchesne ordered them unsealed yesterday, pending appeals.
PIRRO: But the appeal, as I understand it, based upon the last notice that I got, was that the judge made the decision that they should remain sealed.
KING: OK. And why, Jayne?
PIRRO: Do you have that? WEINTRAUB: The reason is, number one, that I believe that Judge Beauchesne did rule that they should be unsealed, and that's what the pending appeal is about. But more importantly, what we have here is a pending investigation, the judge just said? The man has already been charged with a murder, first-degree, death penalty case. Do you think that they should have investigated before they took away his liberty and locked him in a solitary cell? I sure do. This is no time for them to be investigating.
PIRRO: As you well know...
WEINTRAUB: Excuse me. This is time that their evidence should have been gathered and ready to present. This is no time for looking for evidence. That time has passed.
PIRRO: Are you suggesting that the police should stop working on the case and say, That's it?
WEINTRAUB: I'm suggesting...
PIRRO: ... work on a case until the actual date of the trial. That happens every day.
WEINTRAUB: You know, the fact remains, Judge, that they have no forensic evidence, no physical evidence, no confession, no witnesses. They have no evidence of premeditation in this case. So you tell me about all these phone calls. I'll tell you one thing, it's consistent. He denies all wrongdoing, and he protests his innocence on all these phone calls. So that's what's consistent.
PIRRO: Well, what is very interesting, though, is that we talked about these 176 phone calls, and there was all kinds of claims that they were illegal, that they were improper. The judge allowed them to be given to the prosecution...
WEINTRAUB: That doesn't mean that they're legal!
PIRRO: ... except for one phone call. No, no, no! Except for one phone call. There was discussion that these calls were all illegal, they were all not allowed, they were not supposed to be overheard. The judge gave them to the prosecution. That means the prosecution will decide whether or not to use them.
PIXLEY: You know, Judge, I don't remember that discussion at all. The only discussion...
PIRRO: Oh, I do!
PIXLEY: ... that I remember is discussion about the fact that, all of a sudden, they came out of nowhere, and that indicated that possibly the prosecution or their experts that were handling...
PIXLEY: ... these computer buffers didn't know what they were doing.
KING: Hold it, Chris.
PIXLEY: I thought that was really the main issue.
KING: I got to get a break. When we come back, I'll reintroduce the panel, and we'll take your phone calls.
Colin Powell, secretary of state, tomorrow night. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: I've listened to as many of the media calls as I can stomach, and I don't have an objection if they want to listen to them. If I were them -- I kiddingly told one of the lawyers yesterday -- I'd be fighting tooth and nail to keep them under protective order, as well. So if they want to listen to them, that's fine. Embarrassing as they are, I don't have a problem with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.
Our guests are in Modesto, California, Ted Rowlands of KTVU. He's been covering this case from the get go.
In New York, Nancy Grace, anchor of "Trial Heat" on Court TV. Nancy, of course, a former prosecutor.
In Atlanta, the noted criminal defense attorney Chris Pixley.
In Miami, herself a noted criminal defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub.
In New York, Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, she's the district attorney for Westchester County, New York and former judge.
Let's go to calls.
Paduka, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have two questions for Nancy. Nancy, from the autopsy, can they decide if she was dead before she was put in the water, or was she put in the water and then, you know...
GRACE: Right now, there are two autopsies on the table. One is Laci, and they cannot tell if she was dead prior to entering the water. With Evelyn Hernandez, don't know yet. But something interesting about Miss Hernandez, to the caller, is that her leg was also recovered, unlike in Laci's case none of her limbs have been found yet. And what also will be interesting -- and this is where the defense is headed -- is if the markings on the remains are startlingly similar, they will be able to argue to a jury that the same person did both. I predict they will call in a forensic pathologist to take a look at the remains and try to create or find or notice similarities in the injuries.
KING: Port Richie, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, good evening, Larry.
My question is to Nancy. Nancy, you're great.
What is the story about the hotel manager being let go because of an incident with the Peterson?
GRACE: I just was reading about that this afternoon. Apparently, a manager at the Red Lion, which, as you recall, was the command center for the find Laci effort, where they got the snapshots of Scott Peterson having a drink down in the lobby. One of those managers, when the Peterson family came to stay there, suggested that they could get better rates elsewhere. And he says that is why he was let go. That that was not the hotel's policy, and he has been, in fact, booted, canned for not letting the Peterson family stay there.
KING: Why didn't he let them stay there?
GRACE: Well, from what he says, when the Peterson family went on air and suggested that the Laci family had committed a burglary and was somehow wrong in going into the Covina home to get the wedding dress and the journals and the degrees of Laci's...
WEINTRAUB: When they broke into the house, Larry.
GRACE: As I was saying, what this manager said was that rubbed him so wrong, and he thought that comment was such an injustice, he didn't want the Peterson's there in the hotel. Truth, don't know. But that was his reason for disallowing them to stay there.
KING: Paris, Ontario. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. Love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: If Mark Geragos can use the Hernandez case as a defense for Scott Peterson, implying that there's a serial killer on the loose, couldn't the prosecution use the same Hernandez case as an accusation against Scott, that he's the copycat killer, and used the same method to kill Laci to deflect attention from himself?
KING: Jane Weintraub, could the prosecution do the reverse?
WEINTRAUB: No. Because at the time of her murder, Scott Peterson was already locked up and put in solitary. KING: Batesville, Arkansas. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Nancy actually. My question is that I would like to know what she thinks the case against Scott Peterson truly is, that they have or have not yet determined a cause of death of Laci.
GRACE: I think they have not yet determined a cause of death. I think it's going to be very impossible to do based on the amount of remains that washed up on shore. I think that they'll learn more from Conner's body, who was protected because of the pregnancy. Any suggestion of GHB, is probably lost, that dissipates within 4 to 24 hours within your body. I think what they're going to have to rely on is what they found in the home and other forensic evidence.
Such as, what was on that computer?
When exactly did he look up the tide and wind patterns where Laci's body was found?
Was it the week before, the night of?
What had he said to Amber Frey?
And what was found in his boat and car?
Remember, the police still have those vehicles and that boat. They must have contained something because the other vehicle was released back to Peterson.
KING: Coral Springs, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. It's an honor to talk to the whole panel. Nancy, you're great. I've agreed with everything you've said throughout the entire thing. This is for the defense attorneys. What do you do when, if you're in the middle of this trial, and all of a sudden you realize you don't actually believe your client anymore.
How do you deal with that at that point?
I find it odd that Mark Geragos was on national TV three days before he took the case and was totally against what he was doing.
So how do you do that?
KING: All right, Chris. What do you do if you think your client did it halfway through?
PIXLEY: A couple of things. First of all, we don't have that situation brewing right now. Nancy makes the comment there may be evidence of Scott Peterson looking at tides or looking into GHB on his computer. We knew he went fishing the day of Christmas Eve. So, of course, he may have been looking at tides, and that's really innocuous. If something like that happens in the middle of the trial and you get actual evidence that is fairly conclusive, your job still as a defense attorney is to be a counselor. We are attorneys and counselors at law, and one of the responsibilities we have, as any representative, is to counsel our client, let them know what their options are, and try to do the best we can for them. State's obligation is to make the case against them. The defense's obligation under our constitution is to protect a criminal defendant. And those roles are to be held inviolate.
KING: You can't let a witness lie, though.
PIXLEY: That's right. You are still an officer of the court. You can't allow, or at least assist your client in any way in perpetrating a fraud on the court. Beyond that, you're trying to do the best you can for them, and maybe that means at some point you try to get a plea arrangement or some other arrangement worked out. That obviously is not something that's going to happen in this case, I don't think, with a death penalty being sought.
KING: San Luis Obispo, California. Hello. Hello.
KING: Go ahead. You're on.
CALLER: Yes. I would like to ask the panel a question. If someone other than Scott killed Laci, wouldn't it be to their advantage to dump the body where he said he was fishing?
PIRRO: You know, the interesting answer to that question is that no one knew where Scott was fishing that day. So it's not like it was a situation where he normally went fishing in this place. So if you wanted to set up Scott Peterson, you would dump the body in the area where he was fishing. Even his own family didn't know that he was going on this voyage with his new boat. So that's pretty inconsistent based upon his history.
PIXLEY: Judge, that statement assumes that the person dumped the body on or around the 24th because we know, within days of Laci's disappearance, all of Scott's comings and goings were reported in the national media. I don't think it's consistent at all to suggest that someone couldn't have done this to frame Scott. I think it's more likely that they did dump the body. Of course, what we know is the autopsy report shows that the body has been decomposing between 33 and 38 weeks. That's a period of time that allows a person to have dumped the body after the 24th, after they heard the news reports of what Scott was doing on the day of Laci's disappearance. So I think a setup could absolutely have occurred.
PIRRO: OK. Two things...
GRACE: Don't forget...
No. 1, two things you would have to actually know that Scott's whereabouts would come out. So you hold onto the body for a few days, figure out if Scott was going to admit where he was and talk to the police...
PIXLEY: Or maybe you didn't kill her on the 24th. KING: One at a time.
PIRRO: No, let me finish. Let me finish. And then you dump the body. And then also you would have to have someone who really was interested in framing Scott Peterson. I don't know that we've heard about any enemies of Scott Peterson.
KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back with more and more phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GOOLD, PROSECUTOR: I think preliminary hearings and trials by their nature in this country are open to where the public's allowed in. I've never been involved in a preliminary hearing that was actually closed. I'm sure they may have occurred in a particular unique case. But I would be surprised if it remained closed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Toronto, Canada, hello.
CALLER: Hi Larry, love you show. I just want to know why the panel doesn't believe Scott is guilty. If he in fact hid the Amber Frey affair. If his wife is missing you think that would be the first thing he would tell the police.
I know that if my husband was missing I would be truthfully, totally honest with them. What does your panel think on that thank you.
PIXLEY: I think it's the last thing you'd tell the police that your wife is missing. Scott knew within days of Laci's disappearance that he was being -- that he was the focus of the investigation. On the 26th and the 27th of December, just days after she disappeared, his home was being searched by the police. I think that it takes an awfully brave man in that situation to come forward and say, "oh by the way, I'm having a relationship, or I'm involved with some sort of relationship with another woman who lives 90 miles away.
KING: By the way...
PIXLEY: Maybe it would have been helpful for him to have done that. But I don't think that...
GRACE: No Larry...
PIXLEY: he is expecting -- I think it's expecting an awful lot of him, I should say, to think he would.
PIRRO: Chris that's too easy. You know, if you've got a wife and an unborn child -- the woman whose 8 months pregnant whose missing -- the first thing you do is you try to be as honest as possible regarding everything that you've ever done. And Chris, as you suggest, if maybe he was being framed. That should be something that he should be explaining to the police in the hopes of finding his wife. His phone calls to Amber Frey also reflect an enormous amount of inconsideration where he still tells Amber Frey that he loves her while his wife is missing...
KING: Well it doesn't judge...
PIRRO: ...but that's irrelevant...
KING: He may be weird. He may do things wrong, but it doesn't make him a killer.
PIRRO: I'm not saying that he's a killer.
GRACE: Larry I'd like to clarify something...
PIRRO: But his behavior is highly unusual
KING: OK that's right.
PIRRO: in the sense that most human beings would be very concerned about making sure that their wife will be found.
PIXLEY: I think most of human beings want their wife to be found and hope none of this will come out about them, Jeanine. I don't think that it's too convenient, I think that it's human nature.
PIRRO: You're worried about your own reputation when your wife is missing and her life may be at stake?
PIXLEY: When police are rummaging through your home and you know your the focus of the investigation.
KING: Nancy, you are (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...I want to ask Ted something. Nancy to you want to say something.
GRACE: Yes Larry, I think it was misstated. Not only did he not tell police, he actively lied about the Frey affair. And he went so far as to go on national television and lie. And Larry...
KING: By the way, millions of husbands would lie.
GRACE: Yes, they would and you know what, fine, I'd be mad if they didn't Larry, fine go have an affair, but when you don't know whether your wife is dead or alive or whether -- somehow that affair or the knowledge of that affair could have some impact on whether she lives or dies. You tell police. Not only did he conceal it, he actively lied about it.
KING: So in your opinion does that make him a murder, because he lied about it?
GRACE: No it does not make him a murderer, however, the theory that he would of had at his advantage at his trial that he had a loving and happy marriage, and why would he ever kill his wife has now been totally torpedoed.
KING: Ted, what's the latest on the change of venue.
ROWLANDS: Well it hasn't been formally filed yet but there sure is a lot of discussion about it because everybody knows it is coming today after the hearing. In fact, the deputy district attorney, the chief deputy John Gould came out and basically reiterated the prosecution stance that they want to keep this in Stantislaus County, they want to keep it in Modesto. It's going to cost a lot of money. It'll be a huge headache for them to move this trial. Everybody, obviously, is anticipating that the defense is going to ask for a change of venue, but already it's going back and forth and we'll have to wait and see what this judge does. He has made some inferences in open court that he doesn't believe -- or at least he doesn't seem like doesn't believe -- that Scott can get any different type of a trial no matter where you go in California because of the coverage.
KING: Muskoka, Canada, Hello.
CALLER: Hi there.
CALLER: One of the things I don't understand, and it doesn't really matter who this question is addressed to, probably Nancy, was that initially there was all this talk about the fact that he changed his hair color, he was selling her car, he was headed for the Mexico border. And now it hasn't been brought up again. I've really tried desperately to be open minded, but those actions sound to me just of a guilty man.
Like I would hope if something like that happened to me, that my husband would stay in our house, nurture our kids, protect our belongings, make his claim. I think that if there was anywhere that I would return to, that would be where it was. His actions were so peculiar. He dyed his hair and grew a goatee. What is the deal with that?
KING: By the way, he was driving away from Mexico, not to Mexico, just to be fair.
CALLER: A costume, a disguise?
KING: He was driving away from Mexico. But Nancy, all that is peculiar but it doesn't make you guilty, right?
GRACE: I'll tell you what it means.
KING: You can dye your hair.
GRACE: You're darn right, it doesn't make you guilty, but the way that caller just phrased that were that, what she would hope if she died and her husband were left behind, the way she said that, I got to tell you, made my throat choke. And that is what it means to a jury. Does it prove he's guilty? No. But the jury will ask themselves, if my wife was missing and possibly murdered, would I sell her car? Would I try to find out what I could get for the house? Would I unload her jewelry? Would I be continuing an affair? No. The jury knows it smells, and it does smell. Does it mean he's guilty of murder? No. But it means he did not love his wife.
KING: Your saying, your saying. All right. That's what it means. You're saying that all those things will send this guy to the chair.
GRACE: I would say it would suggest to the jury that he knew she wasn't coming back home to crank that car up. That's what it says.
PIRRO: Larry, it will not...
KING: Hold on, judge. Hold on, judge. Let me get a break and come back with more. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KING: Want to get some more calls in, but Judge Pirro, you were going to say something.
PIRRO: You know, one of the things that we talk about, when we talk about Scott Peterson's behavior and his actions, is not so much to indicate that he is therefore responsible for the death of Laci and their unborn child, but what it does, Larry, is it all comes together. You put one fact after another fact, and understand we haven't even gotten to the essence of the case. We haven't gotten to the elements of the crime and the actual facts...
PIRRO: ... that only the prosecutor knows. But this will all play into the jury's assessment. Why is it that Scott Peterson is still talking to Amber Frey?
KING: But they're going to need more proof than this, right? This is all extenuating?
PIRRO: This is just the dressing.
PIRRO: I mean, the meat is yet to come in the case.
WEINTRAUB: It's a character assassination.
PIRRO: Well, it's just his behavior. If he assassinated himself, then he did it himself.
KING: Springfield, Massachusetts. Hello.
CALLER: I'd like to know what the panel thinks about comparing the Carol Stewart (ph) case that took place in Boston, Massachusetts, about eight years ago, where the husband shot his wife in the head when she was about eight months pregnant.
KING: What's the comparison?
CALLER: How would you compare this case to that?
KING: Can anyone compare those two cases?
WEINTRAUB: There's no evidence of a shooting, and we don't really know if there's any physical evidence whatsoever here to even connect Scott to this crime.
GRACE: Well, in that case...
KING: I'm sorry.
GRACE: ... in the other case, Larry, there was reams of physical evidence, as well, that directly pointed to him. So far, we don't know that there is physical evidence pointing towards Peterson.
PIXLEY: In fact, everything that ...
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Chris.
PIXLEY: I'm sorry, Larry. Just everything that we know suggests that there isn't physical evidence pointing to Scott Peterson, at least in the home. We know that the search warrants were executed between December and February.
KING: Again, we don't know what the prosecution has.
PIXLEY: And he wasn't arrested until April. So that tells you something.
KING: All right. Edinburgh. Edinburgh, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. A while back the "Enquirer" photographed Laci's house on the interior. Did they pay somebody to get in there? And then when the Laci's mother went in, they were upset and said that they contaminated the place. Do you all have any information on (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
KING: Ted, do we know how those pictures were taken, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Well, we don't know who allowed the "Enquirer" photographer in, or who actually went in there and took those photographs, but you can assume that whoever did it was compensated monetarily.
ROWLANDS: And you're right. The caller's right. The family, Laci's family was very, very upset by that, and that too was part of their motivation to go in and get Laci's stuff.
KING: I hear you, Nancy, just don't interrupt.
ROWLANDS: And yet (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the defense maybe had something to do with it. The defense, of course, says they had nothing to do with it. It could have been someone who had a key, a neighbor, a cleaning person. Who knows who it was? But you can bet they were compensated.
GRACE: Larry, I'm sorry. I'm having trouble hearing you. But no one did go into the home to take those photos, I have heard from a source close to the family. If you take a look at those photos of the inside of 523 Covina, they were taken through the windows. Caller, take another look at those. I did. Nobody went into the home to get those shots. Every one is actually taken through windows. That's the cooky part. So speculation as to who got into the home is moot.
KING: Appleton, New York, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Thank you very much for taking my call. My question to the panel is, if I remember distinctly, I heard that Scott Peterson bought his wife Laci a wallet for Christmas. I was wondering if he -- if that's all he bought her was just a wallet for Christmas? And did he buy the baby anything for Christmas? Any gifts or anything? It just seems so strange that his wife was pregnant, he was expecting his first child, and that's...
KING: How do we know that that's all he bought her?
WEINTRAUB: The baby wasn't even born yet.
GRACE: I asked the family. I asked the Peterson family point blank, and they told me a wallet. And from what I have heard, I understand that he bought Amber Frey jewelry, and he got his wife a wallet. Ladies, you can take that for what it's worth.
KING: How do we know...
WEINTRAUB: Being an adulterer is not a murderer.
KING: How do you know he didn't have something else for Christmas morning? How do you know he didn't tell the family?
GRACE: Because that is what his family told me, and that is what he told them. Now, maybe they're wrong, but that is what they told me.
PIXLEY: If we fight the battle on the basis of this kind of evidence, it's going to be a wonderful case for the defense.
KING: You're not kidding. Basilea, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes. My question is for Jayne.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: How good of a witness is Amber Frey going to be with her background?
WEINTRAUB: I think she's going to be a horrible witness for the prosecution, and I think she's a defense lawyer's dream. She's motivated to lie through and through.
KING: Nancy, you disagree?
GRACE: I'll tell you what. I would be awfully careful calling somebody a liar before they take the stand. Because you're looking right down the wrong end of a libel or a slander barrel of a shotgun. I don't see anything to suggest this woman is going to lie. In fact, I'm sure she's probably been polygraphed before police relied on her to institute wiretaps and an arrest warrant.
PIRRO: And by the way, Amber Frey was not married at the time of this affair. Scott Peterson is the one who was married. Amber Frey didn't know that Scott Peterson was married. In fact, he told her his wife was dead.
WEINTRAUB: Why? Because she says so? Come on. We all know -- we all know the road of the makeover.
PIRRO: The wiretaps will tell it all.
KING: More to come. Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Jayne Weintraub and Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro. That's it for tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE, but I will return to tell you about what's coming up tomorrow and in the nights ahead. Don't go away.
KING: Sports fans, it's Wednesday. Don't forget to read my column, "Sports a la King." It's posted every week on CNN Sports Illustrated on the Web. The address to get right to us is www.si.com/larryking. And "Sports a la King" is interactive. Give it a read, send me your e-mails and we'll write you back in the weekly mail bag. Once again, the address is www.si.com/larryking. Log on tonight, and we'll talk sports.
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