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Interview With Spencer Abraham; Panel Discusses Laci Peterson

Aired August 15, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: day two of the blackout. Who's to blame? We'll ask secretary of energy Spencer Abraham. Plus: Scott Peterson was back in court yesterday. The judge orders the hearings to be open to the public and the remains of Laci and Conner to be released to the Rochas.
Joining us tonight to discuss this and more, from New York, in the middle of the blackout, Court TV anchor and former prosecutor Nancy Grace. Defense attorney Chris Pixley's in Atlanta. Noted psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig is also in New York. And in Modesto, California, is Ted Rowlands, the KTVU reporter who's covered this story from day one. That's all tonight on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin tonight with the United States secretary of energy, Spencer Abraham. It's a great pleasure to welcome him to LARRY KING LIVE.

What's the latest update, Mr. Secretary, on this -- on this outage?

SPENCER ABRAHAM, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Well, there's two or three things that are going on right now, Larry. First of all, of course, we're trying to restore power everywhere that we can, to try to move that process ahead. And slowly but surely, it's happening. But it's going to take time. And then late today, President Bush and Prime Minister Chretien of Canada announced that my energy counterpart in Canada and I will be co-chairing a task force to basically investigate and determine the cause of this problem and what we need to do to make sure it doesn't happen again.

KING: How do we know it wasn't terrorism?

ABRAHAM: Well, obviously, we haven't solved the riddle yet of what happened here, but it's -- the Department of Homeland Security's conclusion, at this point, as well as all the various folks who have been involved on all levels of government -- there's no evidence whatsoever that this was an intentional act. And certainly, until we fully and completely investigate it, we can't determine what the cause was, but no evidence that it was an intentional act.

KING: Last night, Mr. Secretary, a former energy secretary, Bill Richardson, was on this show. And I want you to listen to what he said and comment. This is what happened last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), FORMER ENERGY SECRETARY: When I was secretary of energy, I went around the country, warning that this could happen. We held what we called "reliability summits" around the country, saying, one, we in America, we're a superpower, but we have a third-world grid that needs to be modernized, that is antiquated. We've got an overload on our transmission lines. We've got to build more transmission lines in the country because we've got more technology. We've got more computer demand. We've got more heat waves. We've got more people. And unless we take those steps, we're going to have massive blackouts.


KING: Your comments, Secretary Abraham? The "third world grid" he called it.

ABRAHAM: Well, Larry, you know, the grid we have is old. It was in many places built years and years ago. And the demand for electricity continues to grow. We expect it to increase by 40 to 50 percent over the next 15 to 20 years. From our first year in office, we've been calling on Congress to pass energy legislation that would include modernization of our electricity laws. I subscribe to the theory we do need to have enforceable reliability standards. We need to put some incentives in place so that the transmission system's updated. And we also are continuing an effort within our department to research how to make the lines work more efficiently with the superconductivity research that we're conducted.

So we need all of those things. We don't know for sure what caused this problem, but updating and modernizing the national grid is important.

KING: So you agree with Secretary Richardson.

ABRAHAM: I don't think you can be in the job of secretary of energy and not reach this conclusion. We did a national grid study last year and came up with about 51 recommendations, including the need to modernize. But we also need state and local communities to agree to site the additional transmission we need. You know, everybody wants the electricity, but it does mean that we have to put more lines in place.

KING: Why can't we get a bill through?

ABRAHAM: Well, it's been frustrating to us. Last Congress, bills were passed in the House and Senate, but the two couldn't get together. Happily, just before the summer recess, the Senate joined the House this year in passing a bill. And so I suspect when they get back after Labor Day that they're going to work very hard to complete the job. Every time one of these events happens, it becomes clear we need to modernize our energy laws. We need to bring things up to date. And we need to get this job done. I hope Congress will finish it.

KING: Couple of other things. The Democrats, as you know, are criticizing the administration, accusing it of rejecting modernization. Dick Gephardt, the presidential candidate, said that, "Inexorably, this administration is tied to Persian Gulf oil and old energy incapable of devising a comprehensive, forward-looking energy strategy." How do you respond?

ABRAHAM: I don't know what he's talking about. You know, it's the Congress that won't pass the legislation. We've been criticized, as you know, Larry, from early in our administration because we have been pushing to modernize the laws, to add more production and more transmission capability. And I find it somewhat ironic that now we would be criticized by the people who were against us when we were calling for these changes because they have failed to pass them. So I think that's the kind of partisanship we don't need now. We need to get the power back on to the families of this country who are without it. We need to figure out what was the cause of this problem, make sure it doesn't happen again. And that's what our department intends to do.

KING: Likelihood it could happen again?

ABRAHAM: Well, you know, we had an event 25 years ago or so in New York, in that region. I mean, these things are not totally avoidable, I suppose. But at the same time, I think the systems are designed to work effectively. They seem to have worked effectively for a quarter of a century. We don't know yet what caused this, but we're taking every step required to figure it out and to determine -- now, you know, part of the problem, too, Larry, is that we have systems that are designed also to go off line, like our nuclear reactors, for safety reasons. And so...

KING: Yes.

ABRAHAM: ... when this started, some of those things happened. That denies power to the grid, but it also protects us from a problem at a nuclear reactor. So to some extent, the fragility of the system is also a strength of it.

KING: Are you optimistic?

ABRAHAM: Yes, I am.

KING: Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary. Always good seeing you.

ABRAHAM: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Do you miss politics, by the way?

ABRAHAM: Well, this job has an occasional political moment to it.


KING: The United States secretary of energy, Spencer Abraham, coming to us from our studios in Washington.

We'll come back with our panel on the Scott Peterson case right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The Scott Peterson matter in full swing again. Let's meet our panel. In San Francisco, Ted Rowlands of KTVU. He's been with us from the get-go. In New York is Nancy Grace, the anchor of "Closing Arguments" on Court TV, a former prosecutor. In Atlanta, defense attorney Chris Pixley. And in New York, Dr. Robi Ludwig, the clinical psychologist who's a regular commentator on Court TV.

First for Nancy and Robi. Where were you, Nancy, when the lights went out?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: I was covering this hearing live, as a matter of fact, Larry, with my colleague, Fred Graham (ph) out in Modesto, out in front of the courthouse, when everything went black. And after about an hour and a half of covering it live, we turned it over to Fred to continue from there on. Then I managed to make my way out in the dark, down 19 flights of stairs.

KING: And Robi, where were you?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I was actually in my office, in my private practice, typing on my computer, preparing for this case, putting in satanic cult, and with that the lights went out. And I thought I blew something out, so -- and then I walked outside, and we realized how pervasive it was. It was a little frightening at first because no one knew whether it was terrorism or just something that happened.

KING: All right, let's get to the case at hand. Ted, what happened in court yesterday?

TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, Mark Geragos had asked the judge to close the preliminary hearing completely. The judge heard those arguments for a considerable amount of time, took a recess, and then came back and said that, no, that there wasn't enough there for him to warrant a closed preliminary hearing. So the hearing will be open to the press.

The question then was whether or not to allow cameras into the courtroom. Again, a long argument, this one basically put forth by the media attorneys. And then Geragos himself got up and said he wants cameras in the courtroom, arguing that if you're going to allow this hearing to be open, it might as well be interpreted correctly, saying that reporters really can't be counted on to report the facts correctly. So he wants a live camera.

The judge is expected to make a ruling in the next few days. In fact, the prevailing theory was that he would make the ruling sometime this afternoon, but it hasn't come down yet. We're waiting to see what happens. It could be a live camera. It could be a tape-delayed situation. We'll have to wait and see.

KING: Nancy, on what occasions are hearings closed to the public, closed to the press? GRACE: It's actually very, very rare. For instance, when you've got a, for instance, child molestation victim or child victim of violent crime, occasionally you will have the courtroom closed. If you've got a police informant or if you have an undercover cop, where the -- revealing their identity could drastically harm them, you might get a closed courtroom. But in this case, the judge pointedly asked Mark Geragos, Give me a case. And there really wasn't a case on point. Then Mark did a complete about-turn and said, Hey, you know what? If you're not going to close the courtroom, then really open it up, cameras and everything.

KING: Now, Chris, the prosecution is arguing against cameras out of respect to Laci's family. What do you make of that argument?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Laci's family's wishes will be considered by the judge, Larry. But in all fairness, they won't be given the same consideration that the media's requests are given. They won't be given the same consideration that Scott Peterson's requests are. And that's as it should be. Scott Peterson, remember, has constitutional rights here. The Rocha family does not. He has a 6th Amendment right to a fair trial. And if he, in his exercise of that right, asks for cameras in the courtroom, if the media, in the exercise of their 1st Amendment rights, asks for cameras in the courtroom, their preferences are going to be given a lot more consideration than the Rocha family's.

So the judge will consider it. The judge will consider what the prosecution is asking on behalf of the Rochas. But what actual weight he will give to that request is really anyone's guess.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, do we know the effect, one way or the other, of cameras in a room, cameras in a courtroom?

LUDWIG: It probably depends on the attorney. What we do know is that Mark Geragos is brilliant at this. He knows how to orchestrate the media. That is probably why he was hired for this case. We know once he kind of threw out information, the case went from, Scott Peterson definitely did it to, Well, maybe he didn't do it. So I think the concern is always that it will dramatize the case and influence the jury in a way that can have, you know, an influence in the trial, obviously.

KING: By the way, the hearing is set for September 9. Any indication what way the judge will go, Ted?

ROWLANDS: Well, I think the folks at the courtroom left thinking, Well, the judge is really contemplating this. He was asking specific questions as to how it would work. Mr. Graham from Court TV, Nancy's co-host, was in the courtroom and actually briefed the judge on the specifics about how Court TV would facilitate this, assuring the judge that it would not be intrusive, assuring the judge that there would be no problems, in terms of pool sharing. So the judge was asking very specific questions, which leads a lot of people to believe that he will allow some sort of camera inside the courtroom.

KING: Nancy, a request by the prosecution for a jury venue survey was denied by the judge as being premature. The defense can make their request again. Why, Nancy?

GRACE: Well, right now, I think the judge is waiting for the issue to become, as we call in the law, ripe. "Ripe for the picking" is where that comes from, by the way. Right now, the judge has got to see that there's a possibility of some taint to this jury pool. And then, as we approach that preliminary hearing, as we get closer to the actual trial, the defense or the state may be allowed to do this polling. And very simply, it is reaching out to potential jurors and asking, Can they be impartial, Have they been swayed, Have they already made up their mind? Another issue, Larry, was, they wanted to ask jurors coming in on cases, for instance, this week if they thought -- if they had feelings about the Scott Peterson trial.

KING: Sort of like a poll?

GRACE: So it's premature right now.

KING: Like a poll.

GRACE: Yes. It's premature right now. That's exactly what it is. It's a poll. And it has been done in other jurisdictions. And the state wanted to do it amongst three or four surrounding counties, as well. I think the judge will allow it, as we get closer to jury selection.

KING: The judge is also going to consider, Chris, after a preliminary hearing, whether the defense violated the court-imposed gag order. He's referring to a story in "The Modesto Bee" yesterday that included extensive details of the defense attorney's visit to the crime lab.


KING: What happens if they're in violation of a gag order?

PIXLEY: I don't think there's any chance that they're in violation of the gag order, Larry. And "The Modesto Bee" is the one that broke this story. Most of what we know comes from their newspaper reports. It was their reporters that were actually inside the state crime lab, who overheard conversations between...

GRACE: Where do you think they got that picture, Chris?

PIXLEY: ... Matt Dalton -- they snapped a picture, also, from inside the crime lab. You know, Nancy, it's really very interesting. The defense has been trying...

GRACE: This was so orchestrated, Larry!

PIXLEY: ... to get into the crime lab themselves, to see this physical evidence, for months. They're finally allowed into the crime lab, and it looks as though the press is allowed...


GRACE: ... the defense allowed them... PIXLEY: ... you have to wonder if the press to...


KING: Nancy, hold on.


KING: Nancy, let him finish.

PIXLEY: ... playing with some of the physical evidence in this case. Now, whether Nancy thinks it's contrived or not, the "Modesto Bee" reporters snapped a photo. What they have also reported the following day, yesterday, was that after snapping that photograph, one of the defense team's own investigators came over to Matt Dalton and to the forensic experts, Cyril Wecht and Henry Lee, and said, Listen, the press is here. We need to get to more private quarters.

Now, to me, that is not a violation of the gag order, Larry. We're not talking about a press release here. We're not talking about photographs released...

KING: The question was, Chris, if it is a violation, what's the penalty?

PIXLEY: If it's a violation, then they can be found in contempt of court. They are exposed to the same kind of penalties that the DA, Jim Brazelton, is exposed to for his interview with "The Modesto Bee" weeks back.

KING: The parents, Dr. Ludwig, of Laci Peterson have begged the news media to omit unnecessary graphic details. They sent a fax out saying the events of the past week have only added pain, and they asked the media to be sensitive. Do you think the media generally will be?

LUDWIG: I would hope so. But it's just so seductive to show whatever you can. Again, that is what happens when there are cameras in the courtroom and it is a national case. Everybody's interested and can't get enough information. So it's going to be very hard for reporters to kind of respect that line of grieving family members because they're going to want to get the story out. It's just, again, in a way, like a drama. And when that happens, the reality of the story almost gets lost.

KING: Now, what is this, Ted, about Lee Peterson being subpoenaed?

ROWLANDS: Well, during -- or just after the hearing, an investigator from the Modesto Police Department came up and handed Lee Peterson a subpoena, saying that, basically, he should consider himself a potential witness. Lee was upset by that. He walked out of the courtroom and held it up and basically said that this was an attempt by the Modesto police and the DA to shut him up and for him to not proclaim his son's innocence. He took offense to it. Whether or not the Modesto police had that in mind or whether or not they believe he will be a potential witness, who knows? But Lee definitely took exception to it, saying, I'm going to still talk about my son's innocence, and I believe that this is something that is contrived against me, and he left. But he was very hot.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more. We'll be including your phone calls, as well. Don't go away.


MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: Apparently, the media does not believe that there's been a sufficient showing of the extent of the media interest in this case. And so I had somebody just do a very quick computer run and identified that out of the 7,000 national and international sources that have been monitored, that as of today, the initial findings reveal that over 5,000 individual articles, consisting of 7,000 to 10,000 pages of printed text, have already been written about and disseminated and published in this case, and we haven't reached the preliminary hearing yet.



JACKIE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S MOTHER: All I can say is, how would you be doing if someone killed your wife and child? That's really what it's all about. It's painful. It's very painful. And to think that someone's out there that did this still and they're not being looked for, as they should be, is -- it's incredible.


KING: Ted Rowlands, what was the occasion there?

ROWLANDS: Jackie Peterson, who you just heard from, Lee Peterson and Janey Peterson, Scott's sister-in-law, just left the Stanislaus County jail before the hearing, the night before the Thursday hearing. And they came out and they just stopped and talked with us for a little bit and continued to proclaim their son's innocence, saying it's been a tough road for them but they believe that the truth, in their mind, will come out. And they have stuck by him from the very beginning.

KING: Nancy, what do you make of the defense, according to "The Modesto Bee," briefing their -- Henry Lee and Cyril Wecht on satanic cults? They included paintings and artwork near San Francisco Bay, depictions of ritualistic killings. They included a theory that the pregnant Laci Peterson's body could have been placed in the water at the art site. They placed weighted flotation devices at the end of the peninsula, ended up in the Richmond inner harbor, not far from where her body and her unborn son came ashore. What do you make of all of that, Nancy?

GRACE: Well, actually, the reality is that the artist that drew these paintings is a 50-year-old general contractor. His name is Bruce Rayburn (ph). And he and his family, along with a lot of other freelance artists, amateur artists, go out there. They're part of an artist collective known as SNIF (ph). And none of them are satanists or members of the occult.

And what I think Geragos is trying to do is to suggest to this jury that someone who drew these pictures is responsible for Laci's death. The flotation that they -- the weighted flotation device started at the peninsula. It's called "the bulb." And the flotation device floated along and turned up somewhere near where Laci turned up, along with Conner.

Now, what do I make of this defense? I think, A, the fact that he briefed his two experts in full view of a photographer -- and you know, Larry, if you don't believe it, look at it with your own eyes, that photo of the experts with the defense investigator. I mean, how could they not know they were being photographed? So I find this to be orchestrated. But hey, that's just me.

And as far as claiming these photos are going to show some type of satanic ritual related to this murder, you know, Van Gogh and Picasso drew similar things. I guess Geragos will ask the jury to join hands and take part in a seance to bring those two artists back and ask what were they thinking!

KING: But you don't know that it wasn't a satanic cult.

GRACE: They found the artist! He's not a satanist. He's a general contractor.

KING: No, I said you don't know that it wasn't a satanic cult that is guilty of this crime. You don't know that for a fact. You can't know that.

GRACE: You know what? I would be willing to bet everything I own that a satanic cult is not responsible for this. I know it with a great degree of certainty. And if they're trying to pin this artist with something to do with Laci's murder, good luck, Geragos.

KING: Chris, what do you make of that?

PIXLEY: Well, I think Nancy's in the majority on this one, Larry. The media seems to have almost immediately dismissed these pictures. To me, they're fairly disturbing, not just for the violence they depict but for the characters. You've got, you know, these goat- headed figures. You've got beheadings. You have children with babies with umbilical cords submerged in the water, women with their hands cut off, pregnant women in these pictures. And when the media interviews this artist, he says, Listen, this is just good clean fun, and of course, I didn't have anything to do with Laci Peterson's disappearance. Well, Scott Peterson has also said he doesn't have anything to do with Laci Peterson's disappearance, and he's in jail.

So I'm not suggesting that this man is responsible for the murder or disappearance, but when the themes are so close to what we believe may have happened to Laci Peterson and what we know physically happened to her body, I don't think you can just dismiss them out of hand, and that's what the press has done.

KING: Robi, you said you were typing in satanic cults when the power went out. What do you know about them?

LUDWIG: Well, it is very rare for a satanic cult to be responsible for a murder. If they were responsible for more murders, we would certainly hear about it. So it sounds like Geragos is very creatively creating a smokescreen. As long as we're looking over at the artwork and the artist, then maybe we'll forget the facts. Satanic cults are not all destructive. Some are, but most of the cults attract teenage boys, who are coming together in order to -- they're usually alienated teenage boys...

KING: But...


KING: Robi, if...

LUDWIG: Who come to -- yes?

KING: If Geragos believes his client and his client tells him he didn't do it, shouldn't he be looking for other things? Isn't that what he's supposed to do?

LUDWIG: He is just doing his job. If he cannot...

KING: So why do you say smokescreen, if he believes his client?

LUDWIG: Well, because it just sounds like a creative stretch. And if you look at satanic cults, if you look at the reality of them, they usually attract teenage boys that are feeling alienated. They group together in order to feel stronger. Usually, it's more about anti-authoritarian ideas. When they get together, they're more inclined to pray to Satan, to just throw out curses on people...

KING: In other words, they don't kill?

LUDWIG: Not -- I mean, what they've...

KING: Not usually.

LUDWIG: ... found is that when there is a murder, it's not usually motivated by the satanic cult, but the individual who murders usually is mentally ill, like psychotic or sociopathic.

KING: I got you. OK.

PIXLEY: Like the kids at Columbine. So you know, to say that somebody that's part of a satanic cult or a cult or that's somehow disenfranchised might not have anything to do or can't have anything to do with Laci's disappearance...

LUDWIG: I'm not saying...

PIXLEY: ... I'm sorry, I have to disagree with you.

LUDWIG: I'm not saying that it can't happen, but it would be very rare. And then why isn't there a pattern? Why did it just stop with Laci?

PIXLEY: Well, that's what...

KING: All right, let me get a...

PIXLEY: ... I think the defense has tried to show with Evelyn Hernandez and now Perry Monroe (ph), who was arrested for this murder in Las Vegas. So I think they are trying to show a pattern.

LUDWIG: But that could also be explained by more traditional studies that say...

KING: All right, let me -- let me get a break, guys. I got to get a break. We'll come back, and we'll start to include your phone calls. I'll reintroduce the panel. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


GERAGOS: If your ruling was to not close the preliminary hearing, then my position is, is that the cameras should be here. I don't think that -- if you don't think that there's any problem, then we might as well just open it up. And I would quote your honor. They did it in O.J. Simpson. They did it in Robert Blake. So what the heck? Let's just pollute the entire state.




DAVID HARRIS, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You put cameras in there, this is something, as we point out -- this is not for entertainment. This is not for ratings. The cameras have no place in the courtroom in the people's position. And we'd ask the court to exclude the cameras.


KING: That was the deputy district attorney making his plea in court yesterday.

Let's reintroduce our panel and go to phone calls.

In San Francisco, is Ted Rowlands of KTVU. He's been on top of this story from the beginning.

In New York, Nancy Grace, who is the anchor of "Closing Arguments" on Court TV, the former prosecutor.

In Atlanta is defense attorney Chris Pixley.

And in New York is Dr. Robi Ludwig, clinical psychologist and regular commentator on Court TV. I don't know who that was walking in front of dr. Ludwig. Griswold, Connecticut, as we go to calls, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: My call is for Nancy.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: What possible advantage will the media play in covering this hearing with cameras in the courtroom?

GRACE: What -- it may be an advantage, depending on how that preliminary hearing goes. I think that at the get-go Geragos did not want what is in that search warrant -- that's where the police outline their probable cause, exactly what they are looking for, and then what they found as a result.

Remember, that warrant was to the home, the boat, the warehouse, the office, the truck and the car. Now, if we were to find out the results of that, including the scientific results from the crime lab, it could be damning. And we know that at the get-go, Geragos wanted this totally closed. So I would suggest that the advantage is to the state because then the public finds out more about the evidence.

KING: So in other words, Chris, it could be prejudicial?

PIXLEY: Well, you're trying to avoid -- and the judge is going to try to avoid this preliminary hearing prejudicing any potential jury down the line. In fact, if he thought it would prejudice the jury, then under Section 868 of the California penal code he probably would have closed it. Obviously, he didn't think that that in fact would happen, Larry.

KING: Bellingham, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: Hi. This question is for the entire panel.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: First, I just want to say Nancy, you're great. But I have a little bit of a background in psychology, and it seems to me through Scott's interviews that he meets a lot of the Harris checklists for psychopathy, the superficial charm, the pathological lying, the lack of remorse, lack of skills, shallow affect, promiscuous sexual behavior, and I'm wondering if either the defense or the state has ordered a psychological for this guy?

KING: Dr. Ludwig.

LUDWIG: That would be an excellent idea and your caller is absolutely right. The fact that he had an affair and presented himself to be one way when he was really doing something else would suggest a sociopathy, that he felt the rules did not apply to him, that he was special in some way. So that would be an excellent idea because that would -- you know, if he comes out as a sociopath, then he certainly would look more guilty and more suspicious.

KING: You mean everyone who has an affair, Dr. Ludwig, is a sociopath? Is that what you're saying?

LUDWIG: Well, there are all different levels of sociopathy. Not necessarily. And not all sociopaths are murderers. But it does suggest a certain way of operating, that the rules don't apply to me. And also, he was describing himself as a widow to one of his girlfriends, I believe. So he certainly was thinking about a dead wife somewhere along the line.

KING: So you could stretch that to Kobe Bryant, then.

LUDWIG: Well, the difference with Kobe Bryant is in his world everybody has affairs, in Hollywood, when you're a celebrity. So if he has an affair, it might mean something slightly different...


LUDWIG: ...than the neighbor who lives across the street.

KING: Nancy, you want...

GRACE: Larry, I think there's a big difference because Kobe Bryant never made a secret that he was married. The world knows Kobe Bryant is married if they ever read a single newspaper. You'd have to live in a cave, whereas Scott Peterson not only had one affair but many affairs including strippers, this Amber Frey. Not only keeping it a secret he was married but going so far, allegedly, to tell his lovers he was a widow. And then boom, the next week he was. I don't think he's clairvoyant, Larry.


KING: The question, was, though, if you have many affairs are you a sociopath?

GRACE: I think it shows a certain bending of the rules, but I'm no shrink. I can't tell you that. But I know how this will affect a jury if they find out.

KING: Tampa, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for your panel is regarding the camera's influence on the courtroom how much influence does it have as far as the decision-making of the judge, prosecution, and defense. And also, with the most famous case, the O.J. Simpson case as far as cameras, have we learned anything since then on what to do or what not to do?

KING: I'd like everybody on the panel handle this, starting with Chris. What do you think?

PIXLEY: Well, I think since the O.J. Simpson case we've learned an awful lot about the effect the cameras have in the courtroom and the judges have become much more sophisticated having watched Lance Ito go through his misadventures for a year.

You know, cameras, I think, for the most part can be real positive in the courtroom. You know, you think of our three branches of government. The press covers the president on a daily, moment-by- moment basis. We cover Congress. And CSPAN is inside their chambers on a regular basis. And we don't really know about the courts. It's one of the most mysterious, if not the most mysterious branches of government. So for us to see how the process works I think is a positive.

I don't think it changes all that greatly how the participants act, at least not the attorneys and the judge. If it does, it has a positive effect. I think it ends some of the grandstanding and the judge has to watch more closely what's going on.

KING: Ted, you're a journalist. What do you think?

ROWLANDS: Well, I think this judge specifically is not going to be changed at all from the camera in the courtroom. He doesn't seem to have any interest in it at all. He's not someone who you get the feeling could care less about what people think of him. He takes it very seriously. He's a guy that really takes his time, it seems. And it would have absolutely no effect, in my opinion, just being in the courtroom with Judge Girolami, just because he just seems like a veteran guy that really could care less what people think about him. He cares simply about the law.

As for the attorneys, same thing. I don't think it will change the way they are inherently, each side with their own different styles. I guess it would just be the witnesses.

KING: And what effect on witnesses, Dr. Ludwig?

LUDWIG: Well, it could affect who actually wants to speak in the courtroom. It could affect what juries they get -- jurors they get. Some people may not feel comfortable with cameras in the courtroom. They may not want their life being mentioned in the newspapers. So I suppose that's the down side.

The up side, and I agree with Chris, is that it certainly helps the public know more about the judicial system, which is a positive thing. And it also calls the attention to important social issues.

KING: Next caller is from St. John's, Newfoundland, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is, if Scott is found guilty how long will it be for an appeal?

KING: How do appeals work, Chris?

PIXLEY: Well, you'd be filing your appeal immediately. The question is on what basis are you filing the appeal? Are these discretionary issues or are you filing them as a matter of right? And then it's -- you know, in each state it really varies as to how quickly those appeals are taken up. But what you want to do right out of the gate is get your appeal filed immediately. And of course, the rules dictate how immediate that has to be.

KING: You can't appeal, Chris, just for disagreeing with the jury?

PIXLEY: No, you need to have specific grounds for the appeal. And disagreeing with the jury, disagreeing with the jury's decision isn't usually one of them.

But there are going to be a lot of evidentiary issues in this case. And of course, things like this change of venue that potentially is going to be requested down the line, if that's denied, again, it's a discretionary issue but it's one that could have...

GRACE: Larry.

PIXLEY: ....a huge impact on the case.

GRACE: Larry, in this case, since it's a death penalty case, this will be governed by what is called the Uniform Appellate Procedure Act, a uniform appeals process. The states all have put together their death penalty law. All of these cases have gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. It will dictate the time of the appeal. It's very carefully monitored. If Peterson is found guilty, if he gets the death penalty, you can count on 10 to 15 years of appeals process.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, and Dr. Robi Ludwig on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nobody has ever, with any kind of precision, addressed to this court and explained to this court why it is that any of this stuff needs to be released to the media and to the public and disseminated to the public on an immediate, contemporaneous basis.






KING: That's Scott Peterson's dad. Vancouver, British Columbia, hello. CALLER: Yes. Hi. Thanks for taking my call, Larry. Love you and love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I would like to, after hearing the compliments for Nancy, just state that as a real victim of crime myself I actually don't find that Nancy is very supportive of victims with her opinionated opinions. However, I'm directing my comment to Nancy and the psychologist there. You've basically pooh-poohed this whole idea of satanic cults here like it's so offhand and can be pooh-poohed, and yet Dr. Henry Lee is in my own estimation, and I believe the world's, one of the most renowned forensic specialists we have. Do you really believe that Dr. Lee would devote any of his time and energy to this matter if he did not really believe that there was something to investigate there?

KING: Nancy?

LUDWIG: Nancy, you want to take that one first?

GRACE: Sure. I think Dr. Henry Lee is paid to take a look at these remains and give a scientific opinion.

As to the caller espousing that she's a crime victim, so am I, and I'm sorry you don't appreciate what I have to say, but there's nothing I can do about that. I'm not changing the truth as I see it.

As far as Lee goes, he's very well respected, and I think he can only add to the defense team. Do I believe the satanic cult theory? No. Because there are less than 10 founded and substantiated satanic cult killings in the history of this country, and I don't think Laci Peterson and Connor Peterson's death is the 11th.

KING: Dr. Ludwig?

LUDWIG: Yeah. I mean, I respect Dr. Lee's work absolutely, and he should explore absolutely all of the possibilities. We should hear about all of them. I'm certainly not pooh-poohing the idea. But I just don't think it's the most likely reason for Laci Peterson's death. But it should all be explored. Absolutely.

KING: Ashtabula, Ohio. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry. How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: My question is the other night and also tonight I hear comments about the money that Dr. Henry Lee gets. And the thing is that Dr. Henry Lee -- I believe that Nancy Grace should know this, along with other members of the panel, that whatever he's paid for whatever testimony, he does not personally profit from it. He gives it to the state in furtherance of the field that he's in, forensics, or whatever.

KING: I think that's true, Nancy. I think he does give it to...

CALLER: So whenever he testifies, he does not profit from it personally. Thank you.

KING: All right. You want to comment, Nancy?

GRACE: Sure. I take no issue with what the caller said. I still don't believe this is a satanic cult killing, and I firmly respect Dr. Henry Lee. I think he has been called in to give a professional opinion to suggest, hopefully for the defense, that there's some other alternative to Scott Peterson being guilty. And if there's any scientific evidence to support that theory, he will find it, as he did in the O.J. Simpson defense.

KING: And that's what his job is, right?

GRACE: Yeah, I don't have any problem with that. I'm just saying -- I'm calling it like it is, Larry. And this is the way it is. There.

KING: Lancaster, Kentucky. Hello. Are you there, Lancaster? OK. Apparently, we lost Lancaster. Ted Rowlands, what's next?

ROWLANDS: Well, on September 2, the defense will have an opportunity for a discovery hearing if they so wish. It is on the calendar. If they have problems with the rate of discovery or other issues, there will be a hearing on that date. Otherwise, the prelim at this point is scheduled for September 9. There was a prevailing theory that it would be extended and pushed back. But at this point, it's still on the calendar for the 9th.

KING: Nancy, trial when, do you think?

GRACE: I think the trial will be sooner than we think at the beginning. Your call -- Brazilton (ph) suggested that it could be two years. No way. The pressure's building, the temperature's about to boil over. And you know, another thing, Larry, we keep seeing those shots of Scott Peterson's family giving statements, recent statements to the press. If the Rocha family had given those statements that Scott Peterson, they thought, was guilty, they would be hauled into the courtroom and held in contempt.

And I find a double standard going on here. I understand they're in a lot of pain, but their continued violation of this gag order I don't think is appropriate.

KING: All right. We've run out of time. There's lots more to discuss on this and we'll be doing more programs on it. We thank Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley and Dr. Robi Ludwig for being with us. And I'll be back in a couple of moments to tell you what's coming up over the weekend. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, we'll repeat our interviews with Ann Coulter and Ryan Seacrest of "American Idol." Sunday night, Governor Ann Richards of Texas. Monday night, Elvis Presley will have been gone 26 years Monday. We'll do a special program about the life and times of The King.

Aaron Brown is off tonight. Anderson Cooper is about to host a two-hour edition of "NEWSNIGHT." Stay tuned for that.



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