LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview With Lisa Bloom
Aired August 11, 2003 - 19:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's begin with today's developments in the Laci Peterson case. Defense attorneys and forensic experts for Scott Peterson spent much of today examining the remains of Mrs. Peterson and her unborn child. Scott Peterson is, of course, behind bars, charged with murder in the two deaths, and his defense is looking for any clues that might help his case. CNN's Rusty Dornin has the latest.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An official autopsy wasn't enough. Scott Peterson's defense team wanted to see and test the remains of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Connor, themselves. Attorney Mark Geragos claimed early on the bodies that washed ashore in April could provide evidence that what exonerate his client Scott Peterson. In tow with the defense team, two high profile forensic experts, Henry Lee, a well known criminalist involved in the O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey cases, and Dr. Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist from Pennsylvania. After three hours in the coroner's office, they emerged.
MARK GERAGOS, PETERSON ATTORNEY: It was as smooth and as performed as well as could be under the circumstances. Other than that, there is not much else that I can say because of the protective or gag order.
DORNIN: A gag order that now applies to forensic scientists Lee and Wecht. The team photographed and videotaped the remains and took tissue samples. A source told CNN the exam took place after nearly two weeks of haggling. Who would be present, what could they do, and even which agency's forensic utensils would be used. The defense was required to bring their own equipment and pay any additional costs. Prosecutors were on hand for the procedure, but also told reporters they nothing to say.
DAVID HARRIS, ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Pursuant to the court order, we can't talk.
DORNIN: The defense team wants also to examine physical evidence obtained from Scott Peterson's house, boat and warehouse, but first must get permission from prosecutors to view the evidence at a criminal lab near Modesto.
DORNIN: Now, meantime, we have just learned that as we speak, the two forensic scientists along with a member of the defense team are at Scott and Laci Peterson's home in Modesto looking around the yard and apparently taking a tour of the house. Next on the agenda in this case, a hearing on Thursday to determine whether cameras can be present in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing, and as for Laci Peterson and her son, Connor's remains, it is up to the judge to decide when to release the bodies to the family. Anderson?
COOPER: All right. Rusty Dornin, Thanks very much for the update.
Now joining us now to discuss the legal implication from today's developments is "Court TV" anchor, Lisa Bloom. Lisa, good to see you.
LISA BLOOM, "COURT TV": Hi, Anderson.
COOPER: This is a key date for the defense, obviously. If they're trying to bring up, by the reasonable doubt or any alternate, basically, defense, this is the day to try to find it.
BLOOM: Well, we know the physical evidence is going to be important in this case. We know that because the defense hired, probably, the two most prominent forensic pathologists in the country, Dr. Henry Lee and Dr. Cyril Wecht. They have been all over the airwaves taking about this case and now retained by the defense, which means they can't talk about it publicly anymore.
COOPER: Is there anyone talked about in this case who has not been publicly retained?
BLOOM: That would be me.
COOPER: That would be you. All right. All right.
BLOOM: So, I'm sure what they did today was they carefully reviewed the remains of both Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Connor. Not only looking at remains, but conducting lab tests that would be sent out to labs, toxicology reports to find out if there was any substances in the bodies that are foreign substances that you wouldn't expect to be there.
I'm sure they're looking for lacerations, cuts, anything to support the satanic cult theory and any foreign objects that are trapped within the bodies, wrapped around the neck of Connor -- we've heard rumors to that effect. And lastly, anything to undercut what the prosecution autopsy results say.
Keep in mind they already have that. The prosecution medical examiners have already done an autopsy. That's been turned over to the defense. So, these two gentlemen would be looking for anything to undercut what the prosecution medical examiner has found.
COOPER: The defense has said they are going to prove that other people were involved in this. You know, there has been talk about the satanic cult, you know, possibly others involved.
BLOOM: Right. COOPER: So they're looking for any evidence that could suggest an alternate explanation for how these two died. But, from everything we heard from forensic pathologists that we've talked to and others have talked to, it is going to be very difficult and it is very open to interpretation.
BLOOM: Well, exactly. And that's why it is going to be a very interesting trial. Keep in mind, there is also some kind of secret evidence that the defense has talked about from the beginning. Everything has remained sealed in this case. We don't know what that secret evidence is. But I'm intrigued by Rusty Dornin's report that Henry Lee and Cyril Wecht went to the home. They may be looking for some kind of...
COOPER: They're there right now, as a matter of fact.
BLOOM: They're there now after doing their medical examination of the bodies. They may be looking for some evidence to tie in to something to tie into something that they found in their medical exams today.
COOPER: There is a hearing on Thursday. What happens there.
BLOOM: That is a question about cameras in the courtroom. We have the preliminary hearing coming up on September 9. That's when the prosecution lays out their case. It is a mini trial. The question is will we get cameras in. We at "Court TV", of course, think we should get cameras in.
It is an open proceeding. Our system of justice is open to everyone. We should be able to take a look at it. The defense says no because there is this secret evidence. They don't want the real killer to find out what it is. They're lobbying to keep the cameras out.
COOPER: Change of venue likely?
BLOOM: I think a change of venue is likely. The prosecution is asking the judge for permission to do a poll -- people throughout California -- to find out what attitudes are about the case.
COOPER: Is that to preempt the defense? I mean...
BLOOM: Probably to respond to the likely defense motion for the change of venue. We've heard rumors from the defense that they are going to move for a change of venue, although they haven't done that yet. Modesto is, you know, a relatively small town. Many people there were personally involved in the search for Laci Peterson and the memorial service. I think it might make sense in this case to have a change of venue somewhere else where people weren't personally tainted.
COOPER: And when does the ruling on that happen, or when will they... (CROSSTALK)
BLOOM: There hasn't been a motion yet. Whenever the motion is made -- it certainly will be before trial at some point.
COOPER: All right. Lisa Bloom, thanks very much.
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