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Panel Discusses Laci Peterson Case; Interview With John Kerry

Aired September 2, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S FATHER: My daughter-in-law, Laci, and the baby, Conner, were alive probably two to three weeks, or four or five or six weeks after the abduction. And the police did not follow up on really good, solid leads that started to come in hours after the abduction.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: With Scott Peterson in court today, his family's angry about the case and it being shut out of last Friday's burial of the wife Scott is accused of killing, and their unborn son, too. With us to go over all the latest, Ted Rowlands of KTVU, on location at the county courthouse in Modesto, California; Court TV's Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor; high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley; and psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig, a frequent Court TV commentator.

And later on: Can he beat President Bush? Massachusetts senator John Kerry has thrown his hat into the ring, and he'll join us from Des Moines, Iowa. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

All right, Ted Rowlands, on top of this from the get-go at KTVU- TV. He's in Modesto. Now, have the hearings been postponed? Why?

TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, it took about 15 minutes for Peterson's legal team to convince the judge that they needed a postponement in the preliminary hearing, first off because of the amount of discovery they say they've received. They say they have received a huge batch of it just last Friday. They simply say they just don't have time to go through it all. They also made references to the pace at which the discovery is coming in to them. The prosecution got up and denied any allegation or any inference that it was their fault that this thing was slowing down. They maintain that they're still ready to go.

Mark Geragos then brought up some scheduling conflicts, as well. That seemed to really do it. The prosecution said, Well, we can't really have any argument to that. The judge said OK. They'll do it on the 20th of October. So Geragos will have the delay he was looking for.

He also told the judge today that he is planning to challenge a little bit of the evidence that the prosecution is planning to introduce at the preliminary hearing, with 402 challenges. The legal panel can go more into that, but four specific things, including DNA, bloodhounds, one witness that was supposedly hypnotized, and then GPS evidence off one of Scott Peterson's or more -- one or more of Scott Peterson's vehicles.

So a short hearing today, but I guess a lot was accomplished, if you look at it at least from the Geragos side.

KING: Nancy, the area of discovery, what does the prosecution have to turn over?

NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, in this case, since it's a death penalty case, Larry, the safest bet is to basically hand over your file. And very often, that includes your work product. When you've gone out and found witnesses, interviewed them, created questions and answers for them, you got to hand that over to the defense. But specifically, the statute demands that you give the defense a list of witnesses, all scientific evidence. And I think part of the lead has been buried, that Geragos is going to challenge some scientific evidence, specifically mitochondrial DNA, which means the state did find DNA evidence. That's been up in the air for months now. But Geragos is going to challenge it, as well as any statements made by the defendant.

But most important, something called exculpatory evidence. Under a case called Brady v. Maryland, the state must hand over anything that they believe could exculpate or prove Scott Peterson innocent.

KING: Now, Chris, this is very important to the defense. They say they have mounds of it. Do you understand the need for a continuance?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely, Larry. I mean, this is a case -- it's a capital murder case that involved a four- month pre-arrest investigation. It's only been four months since that arrest. And during that period of time, we've been informed -- the public -- that the prosecution has over 30,000 documents that are part of their investigative file. So I don't think it's all that unusual that a postponement was requested, especially under the circumstances. These are the same circumstance we saw the first time around, when the defense asked for the first postponement of the preliminary hearing, simply that the prosecution has not yet been able to get all of the discovery over to the defense, all the discovery they have a right to, Larry.

GRACE: That's not what they said today, though, Larry! That's not what they said! The state said they complied with discovery in a timely manner. The issue today was not the state's non-compliance. That's not true. It's that the defense said they don't have enough time to sift through it.

PIXLEY: Well, in part, that's true. Of course, the state has acknowledged that they've turned over 27,000 of the 30,000 documents that they have. The defense has said that they still have documents to receive. And yes, you're right, Nancy, they also have a right to assimilate that information between now and the time of the preliminary hearing. And you brought up the Brady rule. It's a fact that in California, the defense has a right to see all of the exculpatory evidence not just before the time of trial but before the preliminary hearing. They can't know what evidence that the state may have that could exonerate Scott. They basically have to turn it all over, and they have to have time to sift through it all.

KING: I want to cover other bases. Dr. Ludwig, do you know why Scott Peterson's parents weren't invited to the burial ceremony for their daughter-in-law and their grandchild?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. In some regards, it seems like the Petersons are the silent victims in this case because, obviously, they lost a beloved daughter-in-law and they also are grieving the loss of the grandson that they never got to meet.

One thought that I have is that the Rochas are psychically numb -- I mean, to experience not only the loss of a child, which no parent should have to do, they're bombarded with these images all of the time -- it is so public -- that in some regard, they probably are just numb to what the Petersons are feeling. And also, they may blame the Petersons for giving birth to a child, like they did. I mean, still, we don't know whether, you know, a person who allegedly kills, whether it is due to nature or nurture, but it does show that they are inclined to think that their son is guilty. And also, legally they may be advised...

GRACE: They were charging them with burglary! I mean, I'm all for Robi Ludwig's psychological analysis here, but recall, Larry, about a month ago, we were discussing on this show -- you, Larry, were talking about the Peterson family charging the Rochas with felony burglary! All right? Remember that? That was just a few weeks ago!

KING: Yes, but hold it. Hold it.

GRACE: Now the Petersons...

KING: Nancy...

GRACE: ... can't...

KING: What does that have to do with it being their grandchild? It's still their grandchild.

GRACE: This has to do with the fact that the Rochas are Laci's closest next of kin, and the family that wants to come to the funeral has just charged these people or tried to charge them with burglary!

KING: Does that mean the family, then, didn't lose a grandchild, because they wanted to charge them...

GRACE: No, of course it doesn't!

KING: ... with burglary? So why couldn't...

GRACE: It does not. But your question...

KING: ... they go?

GRACE: ... was why didn't they invite them to the funeral.


GRACE: ... if somebody charged -- wanted you charged and arrested for burglary, I don't think you would invite them to a family affair, would you?

LUDWIG: The other thing is, too, is, I don't know, legally, whether they are being advised not to invite Petersons because how it might look and it might taint the potential jury into thinking, Hey, maybe Scott is innocent. So they may be advised...

KING: Ted, what did Lee Peterson...

LUDWIG: ... that way.

KING: Ted, what did Lee Peterson mean when -- at the statement we played at the beginning, that the discovery of -- that there may have been a longer period of time before there was discovery here and that they're being gypped?

ROWLANDS: Well, he made his comments last night, after he came out from visiting Scott. And he attributed his change in attitude to the recent events, the "People" magazine article. And he says that he's learning more and more about the case that -- or lack of it, in his mind, that the state has against his son. And he says he's just -- as he put it, he says he's done with it. And the hell with them, he said. I'm going to speak my mind here. And he truly believes that there is evidence that Laci and Conner may have been alive for some period of time. Whether or not that is...

KING: Did "People" report that?


ROWLANDS: ... found it, we don't know. But he believes that. And the -- where he got that, we can't be quite sure, but he did refer to the "People" magazine article specifically and discovery specifically. So he was fired up about that.

I did talk to Adam Stewart, the lawyer for the Rocha family today, and he pointed out -- he said, You know, what? You got two families who are dealing with raw emotion at the ultimate levels. And the Rocha family is going through a horrible situation right now, and they decided that they didn't necessarily want the Petersons there. They didn't not invite them, they just didn't tell them about it. They didn't want them there because they honestly believe in the DA here in Modesto County -- or in Stanislaus County, in Modesto. They honestly believe that Scott Peterson is guilty. He said this -- and so it is difficult for them.

On the other side, you can understand the Petersons very upset that they were not invited to this. They pointed out 250 people were there, and they thought that they would be one of the 250 people closest to Laci and Conner.

KING: We'll take break and be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


LEE PETERSON: But the evidence is coming out now, "People" magazine and the cable news. I was frustrated before, but I'm much more frustrated now, and angry, because my daughter-in-law, Laci, and the baby, Conner, were alive probably two to three weeks, or four or five or six weeks after the abduction. And the police did not follow up on really good, solid leads that started to come in hours after the abduction.



JACKIE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S MOTHER: Seems like a kick in the gut to see our grandson and daughter-in-law's funeral on -- well, we read it in the newspaper, is where we saw it first. It just felt someone had hit us. It's unforgivable, and I think Laci would have just been appalled. She would have never done that to us. She loved us. We loved her a lot. And we've only tried to help and to work towards finding her and support in any way we could. It's just cruel.


KING: This is the "People" magazine article that we've been referring to. In a moment, I'll ask Nancy what she thought about the article.

But Chris, you wanted to add something about the parents not going to the service.

PIXLEY: Larry, I just think it's indicative of how far we've gone toward publicly convicting Scott Peterson that the media is fairly protective of Laci Peterson's family but dismissive of Scott Peterson's. I mean, if Scott Peterson's parents had taken control of the remains of Laci and Conner Peterson and performed a memorial service without inviting the Rochas, everyone here would be up in Americans and it would be front-page news.

I'm not attacking the Rochas, but the fact of the matter is, if they're seeking the moral high ground in this case, I think they've lost it, at this point. Lee and Jackie Peterson, no matter what happened in this case, are blameless here. And regardless of what's going on between the families, you would hope that for the one and only memorial service, they would have been invited.

So I disagree with Nancy. I understand the motivation and I understand what Robi is saying, as well, but I think it was the wrong thing to do.

KING: All right, the disagreement is clear. Nancy, did the "People" article impress you at all? Apparently, they quote a source as saying there's some evidence the child may have been born alive. Did anything in that article cause you to think differently?

GRACE: I found it very, very interesting. And now I see exactly where the defense is headed. And also, on yet another statement contrary to the subpoena order, Lee Peterson has now divulged what I believe to be the defense theory, and that is that the child was born some three to four weeks afterwards, after Laci had been killed. That is why there's a gag order in this case that the Peterson family is totally ignoring.

But back to the "People" article you asked me about. My initial reaction, Larry, was that it was totally defense-oriented. However, I did see the chief medical examiner from Santa Clara County describing exactly the state's theory in his analysis of the baby's body -- that being that the child was expelled as a result of coffin birth. It's very hard for me to look at this picture you're showing of Laci and that big smile and imagining what happened, but coffin birth is when Laci would have been under water for some time. And then the uterus, which is the last thing in a woman's body to disintegrate, ultimately disintegrated, and then Conner came out through her stomach in that manner. That is in the "People" magazine article and makes perfect sense to me, and it goes along with the state's theory in this case.

KING: Now, Ted Rowlands, what is this issue about the mitochondrial DNA evidence?

ROWLANDS: Well, it's one of the four things that the defense said today, that they will challenge, in some portion, when the preliminary hearing takes place. The judge is going to envelope all of that at the preliminary hearing on October 20. Specifically, sources that are very close to the evidence in this case say that that is referring to the hair that was found in Scott Peterson's boat attached to a pair of pliers. Evidently, that initial analysis of that was a little bit more than inconclusive, but there's a legal spot there, which I'm not very well-versed on, but apparently, it may be challenged with this 402 situation. Maybe the other lawyers can talk more about the specifics of what that entails.

KING: What does it entail? Let's start with Chris.

PIXLEY: Well, the defense is going to be challenging a number of prosecution evidence pieces -- that was brought up today -- this one, with respect to the hair. Under California evidence code section 402, you have an opportunity to -- it's the basis for which you bring a challenge of any proffered evidence that either side wants to offer up at trial. And in this particular situation, Larry, we're talking about mitochondrial DNA evidence that would be used to try to link this hair -- this strand of hair to Laci Peterson and say it's hers.

The fact of the matter is, hair samples are not like a fingerprint. Mitochondrial DNA is not as reliable as other DNA testing. So that's why the defense is going to be challenging it.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, how much a part of this case do you think is going to be psychological, as opposed to physical? LUDWIG: Oh, that's a good question. A lot of it has to do with, I think in part, also who gets selected in the jury and how the judge handles the gag order because if the jury pool is tainted -- and already, in this kind of case, you have to have a death-qualified jury. So that already skews the type of people who will be sitting on that jury. And statistics show that they're more inclined to be prosecution-oriented, that they tend to think that a defendant is guilty and are more inclined to get to that conclusion quicker than other types of juries. So there are a lot of different factors here.

But what's interesting is that every person on the jury will construct the evidence, based on an idea that they already have. That's why it is so important that we really are careful about what information gets out there because even if jurors are honest and are trying to just listen to the details that go on in the courtroom, there's only so much that they can do, in terms of having preexisting ideas.

GRACE: Larry, I want to clear something up about mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA can pinpoint someone to one in millions. It is highly reliable. It's simply a new form of DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is based on the mother's contribution to your genes. You've got your mom's and your dad's. And this hair, not only do I think it will be traced back in one in millions to Laci Peterson, but the context in which it was found allegedly is what is so important about this hair. It allegedly is found in a pair of pliers on Scott Peterson's boat. Important? Laci had never been on the boat! The virgin voyage of the boat was the day Laci went missing, and on this boat turns up her hair. And the only way you can get...

KING: Wait a minute.

GRACE: ... mitochondrial is if it's pulled from the roots!

KING: Nancy, her alleged hair.

GRACE: Well...

KING: Right? You don't know...


GRACE: Yes. You know what? I'll go out on a limb here, Larry. If Geragos is challenging the hair, I can guarantee you the state is alleging it is her hair. And if there is a mitochondrial DNA match -- I'm a firm believer in DNA, if it proves you guilty or innocent. If they're saying this is Laci's DNA, mitochondrial match, it is, Larry!

PIXLEY: And Larry -- here's why it doesn't really matter. Because if it's one single strand of hair, let's remember, Nancy, they're man and wife. Scott Peterson could have her hair on his clothes.

GRACE: On a set of pliers!

PIXLEY: They live in the same home, and it could have... GRACE: Wound in a set of a pliers!

PIXLEY: ... could have come off of his clothing...

KING: Nancy, don't interrupt him!

PIXLEY: ... and found its way into the boat.

KING: OK? Nancy, don't interrupt. Let him finish his sentence, and then comment.

Chris, the defense plans evidence code 402 motion on dog-scent tracking. What do you make of that?

PIXLEY: Yes. Well, you know, prosecution has a number of different techniques that they've used to try to prove this case. One of them apparently is the dog tracking that they used, the dogs going off in various directions, reportedly, when it came to trying to find where Laci may have gone when she left the home. You know, again, this is a technique, Larry, that has questionable reliability. It comes down, ultimately, to how well that dog has done in the past, how reliable it's been in the past.

KING: I see.

PIXLEY: And testimony comes from the dog's handler.

KING: Nancy...

PIXLEY: So it's something that's worth challenging, absolutely.

KING: Nancy, in your estimation, just from a prosecution standpoint, how is the defense doing so far?

GRACE: They're doing a great job so far. They've muddied the water. They've shifted focus from, Will he get the death penalty? to, Did a satanic cult do it? Which I find amazing. To your question regarding hounddogs, bloodhounds -- I have handled dog cases in court. There are many, many kinds, Larry. It is not voodoo science, as Geragos would have you believe. There are cadaver dogs, drug dogs, explosive dogs, accelerant or fire dogs. And in this case, the significance is that this bloodhound, as we used to call them -- now they're a scent dog. This bloodhound says to its handler, She did not leave by foot, walking a dog in the park. She left the driveway of that house in a vehicle.

KING: But they have done a good job, right?

GRACE: Oh, they've -- Geragos has done a great job muddying the water, in my opinion.

KING: All right, let me get a -- let me get a break, and we'll come back with more. And we'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LEE PETERSON: The police either did not follow up at all, they took phone reports, or they did just kind of a cursory investigation. You know, it didn't amount to much. And they did that because they had focused in on Scott, and they didn't want anything to interfere with their scenario. And it just makes me madder than hell because my daughter-in-law could have been saved and brought back to us, possibly, if the police would have done their job.




JOHN GOOLD, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Before that evidence gets admitted at the preliminary hearing, the defense wants to hear the judge make a ruling that the evidence admissible. And they may raise a number of issues regarding that, whatever the evidence is.


KING: Go to some calls. Elk Grove, Illinois, for Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley and Dr. Robi Ludwig. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. Good evening.


CALLER: I'm calling -- actually, I want Nancy to answer this first, and then Chris.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Listening to the comments about the Peterson family feeling that it's unforgivable, were they over -- did they go and see the site where the bodies were found? Or did they contact the parents when the bodies were found to say how sorry we are? I have never heard anything about this nor read anything. Can you comment?

KING: Do we know, Nancy, whether they did, or is that private?

GRACE: I do not -- I think you're talking about Scott Peterson's family. Did they ever go to the location. You know what? I would be willing to put money on that they did not because you know what, Larry? The press has been following them and Laci's parents relentlessly, and if they had gone to the scene, there would be zoom- in photos of it. So for that reason, I would be willing to guess that they have not gone to the scene.

And also, as a crime victim, I can tell you, it is very, very painful to go back to the scene of the crime, for a victim's family. And for that reason, I think they may not have gone back to the scene.

KING: Virginia Beach, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. KING: Hi.

CALLER: Yes. I'd like to ask the panel -- several months ago, it was reported that Scott had said to Amber Frey that he knew who did it. Well, I was wondering, have they thought of the theory he hired -- maybe hired somebody to do this for him?

KING: Ted, has that been kicked around?

ROWLANDS: Well, I think everything has been kicked around in this case, and I'm sure that that was one of the things that they looked into. But as far as I have been told from sources that are close to this investigation, there's no proof of that. And I don't believe that that is a direction that the prosecution is going. But I'm sure that they looked into that possibility.

KING: Indianapolis. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Mark Geragos claims Scott Peterson is factually innocent of the crime of murder. Could the panel please distinguish between factual innocence and just plain innocence?

KING: Chris?

PIXLEY: Well, essentially, Larry, there is factual proof and there's legal proof, and that's really the answer to the caller's question. Factual proof is what actually went on. That's something that none of us may ever know in this case. Legal proof is what can be proved in a court of law. That's what the prosecution's job is to do in this case, to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt against Scott Peterson. That's all that really matters.

And so when Mark Geragos says that Scott Peterson is factually innocent, that means that he believes that, ultimately, evidence could be revealed that will demonstrate beyond a shadow of doubt not only Scott Peterson's innocence but that there is someone else identifiable who's responsible for the crime.

KING: Yes, we never really "know" know, do we, Robi?

LUDWIG: No, we never, ever know for sure. People have theories. People have ideas. But we never quite know for sure, unless there's DNA evidence, and then we do have a sense that we have the right person.

KING: Yes. We'll take a break and come back with more phone calls. As we go to break, here's a statement by Mr. Geragos today.


MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: It is kind of a methodical process. I would suggest, all in all, that I think we could have all of this well in hand by October the 20th. I would, though, probably increase the estimate of the preliminary hearing by a day to give us time to deal with the 402 issues. I think, specifically, the hypnosis and the dog scent 402s are going to take a little bit of time.




LEE PETERSON: He's an innocent man. He's lost his wife. He's lost his baby. He's lost his freedom. What more you can lose?

And here's these guys not doing an adequate job, not supervised, obviously. It's just -- it's so sad. It just -- you know, one of those leads might have panned out and they could have rescued her. I really feel that way.


KING: Let's reintroduce our panel in Modesto.

Ted Rowlands of KTUV-TV has been covering the Peterson case since the beginning.

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

In Atlanta, defense attorney Chris Pixley.

And in New York, psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig, we'll be back with the panel and calls, but first we have on the phone, Adam Stewart. He's the attorney for the Rocha family and invited caller.

Adam, are you there?

ADAM STEWART, SHARON ROCHA'S ATTY.: Yes, I am. Hi, how are you?

KING: OK, you want to comment on why the Peterson family wasn't invited to the service?

STEWART: Yes. You know, the funeral, the services were arranged in absolute secrecy for some very obvious reasons. And the family didn't feel it was appropriate to have anybody there except close family and friends. And I think under the circumstances of this where their son-in-law stands accused of these things, it is simply not appropriate for them to be there. This was the last opportunity for Sharon's family and friends to say good-bye to Laci and Connor and they wanted to do it in their own personal way.

KING: Adam, do they understand the pain of the Petersons?

STEWART: I think they understand the pain of the Peterson's as best they can at this point. The relationships from the family, it's pretty much strained to say the least at this time. But we received some communications from the family shortly before the funeral that they had requested we hold off on any funeral arrangements for perhaps several months or years until Scott was eventually exonerated. We thought that request was completely inappropriate and unreasonable.

KING: What does the family make, Adam, and you, of what has been going on in court so far?

STEWART: I don't want to speak to that the reason being the family has tried and I think successfully so to honor the letter and spirit of the gag order and I'm complying with it myself. They stand behind law enforcement. They stand behind the excellent job the district attorney's office is doing and I think inferences can be drawn from that but I won't say anything further.

KING: Did you agree with the gag order?

STEWART: Again, I don't want to speak to that issue. I'm not specificly mentioned in gag order, as a civil attorney on the cause, but I think it was a good idea, sure.

KING: Does the family intend to attend the trial?

STEWART: Absolutely.

KING: Definitely. They'll be there every day there's a trial?


KING: Thank you, Adam, as always.

STEWART: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Adam Stewart, attorney for the would Rocha family.

Lets go back to the calls for the panel.

Glen Allen, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have a comment and question for Nancy Grace, please.

KING: Sure. Go ahead.

CALLER: I would like to comment to thank you for the way that you cover this, because you seem to be the only person who has nerve to tell it the way it truly is on this case. I want to thank you for that. And my question is, even though not admissible in court, do you know if Scott Peterson has taken a polygraph test and if not, why wouldn't he?

Because in the public's eye he's so guilty. I mean, why wouldn't he just to let the public know if he seems -- since he's so innocent why wouldn't he take that, just to say hey I proved to you all I'm not guilty?

GRACE: Well, you know, that was the big controversy prior to Laci and Connor being found as to why Scott would not take a polygraph, rule himself out, so police could focus on other leads and again, Mr. Peterson has violated the gag order, I'm referring to Lee Peterson by his continued comments to press, including today in stating that it's police's fault they didn't find real person. Well, if Scott Peterson had taken a polygraph at the get-go and ruled himself out maybe police would have followed other leads.

KING: Why is Lee Peterson covered by gag order, he is not a witness.

GRACE: As a matter of fact he's been subpoenaed and Jackie Peterson by the state to be a witness. He may ask why and I would suggest because Scott Peterson lived with them for a period of time following his leaving the 523 Covina address. So the phone calls, the items that he had there in his home will become an issue at trial. They are on the state's witness list and they are violating the gag order. And back to the lady's question question...

KING: What can the state do to them?

GRACE: Well, they could if they wanted to bring a contempt order against them.

KING: They wouldn't do that.

GRACE: No, I don't think they would but you asked me what could they do. But, I think the state would never do that. As opposed to the defense wanting to have Laci's family arrested for burglary. Back to the lady's question, why didn't he take a polygraph probably because he thought he'd flunk. If he passed a polygraph, I promise you the defense would have screamed it from the mountain top.

KING: Port Richie, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Good evening. This question is to Nancy but I think she answered about the gag order. So that's about...

GRACE: They are under a gag order. And if you notice, this lawyer that just called in, Adam Stewart, like Gloria Allred may face a contempt issue, he's a civil lawyer and he's not even commenting because he thinks he might be covered by gag order.

KING: Chris, did you agree the Peterson's are covered by the gag order?

PIXLEY: Well, it's interesting, Nancy point us out they have been identified has potential state witnesses, of course they were subpoenaed in anticipation of the preliminary hearing and I think Nancy would have to admit there is probably no chance that they'll be called as witnesses at the state's preliminary hearing. The fact remains, however, that to the extent they have been subpoenaed and identified as witnesses, they now are under the gag order.

KING: So he broke it today, then?

PIXLEY: To some extent I agree with what Nancy is saying, yes, I think that Lee may have violated the gag order.

KING: Does it run -- Ted Rowlands, does gag orders run against your grain as a journalist?

ROWLANDS: Well, not really. You know, as was predicted a long time ago when the judge was contemplating putting a protective order in, you just have to dig a little deeper. But people are still, you know, in communication with you, relationships you established before the gag order was in place are still there. It's just that you step around them and make sure you don't burn that person. But really there hasn't been much that has come out since the protective order was established. A lot of the stuff in this case had been leaked for the four, four and a half months prior to the gag order being put in place. And quite frankly, I don't know what is left there. That's the big question. I guess we'll find out at the preliminary hearing what other evidence is out there is out there that we don't know about.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, doesn't it bother you that people are not allowed to talk?

LUDWIG: Well, I am primarily concerned with the fact that Scott Peterson gets a fair trial. Now, you know, the media's job is very different. Their job is to report the story. And the judge has to be concerned whether there is a fair trial, whether it can take place. So although I might be curious and might not like it personally I certainly understand why it's happening and think there is a place for a gag order, especially in such a public trial.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more phone calls for Ted, Nancy and Chris and Dr. Robi Ludwig on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.


GERAGOS: Last week I received for the first time the videotape of one of the other witnesses that Mr. Distaso tells me they are going to call. This videotape indicates that, it's a videotape of her being hypnotized. Going back through the discovery it looks to me, at least from one of the reports prepared by the detective Grogan -- that at least the Detective Grogan was unaware that she had been hypnotized until July. It was his understanding, at least from discovery it was a cognitive interview and not a hypnosis.



KIRK MCALLISTER, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: The volume of discovery we just recently got prevents us from going forward on the date that we have now.


KING: Gardner, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.


CALLER: Thank you for take my phone call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question is for the panel. Has any famous psychics been allowed to be brought into the Peterson home in Modesto or...

KING: Anybody use that? Nancy, ever use a psychic?

GRACE: Have I used a psychic in a case? No, I have not but I understand that a psychic was consulted before the bodies were found...


GRACE ...and not by the state.

KING: Denver, Colorado, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Thank you for giving us such great quality shows every night.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And my question is for Ted and Nancy.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Lee Peterson refers to Scott as quote -- "a caring and loving kid." But has Lee Peterson ever acknowledged or commented on the fact that while Laci was eight months pregnant Scott was having affairs with several women and telling them he was a widower?

KING: Ted?

ROWLANDS: Well, he hasn't gone into detail on it. He has acknowledged that he, in his eyes, made a mistake and that of course from Lee's perspective he is looking out for his son and he knows the situation he's in. But to the extent he's commented has been that, yes, my son made -- would -- a mistake and did something awful but he is not guilty of murder. And that's Lee Peterson's perspective on it.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, that is certainly going to damage Scott Peterson in court, though, isn't it? That evidence about extramarital affairs leading right up to a pregnant wife and a child?

LUDWIG: It does not make him look good. It makes him look like a narcissist, a guy who's just doing what he wants to do. And God -- you know, God knows what happened in a moment when he felt that Laci was stopping him from doing what he wanted to do.

And again, we don't know what happened between the two of them. And that is something that every single juror is going to think about, even though, granted, having an affair doesn't make you a murderer. But a lot of people who murder their wives have affairs.

KING: Olympia, Washington, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thanks for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question is for Nancy and Chris. When all of the evidence starts coming out and it's, like, overwhelmingly positive that Scott Peterson is guilty, would Mark Geragos possibly try to plead guilty for lesser charges?

KING: Chris?

PIXLEY: Well, that can happen. It really depends on how the evidence is coming out. Again, you know, I've got to with the evidence that we've seen today, most of it that's been -- that came out from the police investigators prior to the gag order itself. And we don't have any blood or DNA evidence. We don't have a murder weapon. We don't have a cause of death according to the coroner. So, it's a long way from where we are now to the caller's question. That's -- certainly the defense strategy could change, but we're not hearing any indication that's going to happen. I think the defense is digging in.

KING: Nancy, when would the prosecution ask a plea?

GRACE: Well, in this case I don't think the prosecution is going to offer a plea. Now, at one point we know for a fact, that the prosecution did offer a plea to Scott Peterson in exchange for the location of Laci and Conner's bodies, all right? Before anything could happen, the bodies were found is my understanding of how it went down.

Right now, they don't need a plea any more and yes, in death penalty cases I have seen at a certain juncture, when the evidence is stacking up against the defendant, they try to plea. But the bottom line is, once the state has prepared a case and they believe in it enough to seek the ultimate punishment, the death penalty, I don't think they're going to plea. At this point, forget about it at this point.

KING: Ted Rowlands, when do you think this actual trial will start?

ROWLANDS: Well, conservatively, I think next summer. Could be even later though. I think it all depends on the defense. You know, they could delay it considerably. It is a death penalty case and if they don't feel comfortable with the amount of evidence here, I think they would have a good argument to delay this initially. Right out of the gate, the prosecution estimated that it would be two years and that also may be a possibility.

KING: Chris, when do you think it's going to start?

PIXLEY: I don't know that it's going to be two years off. We've seen an awful lot happen just in the four months since Scott Peterson's arrest and if the preliminary hearing does goes forward on October 20, and I expect that it will, I don't think it will be postponed again. I think you clearly see the trial occurring within a year. But I do think that this is a case that could take, you know, 18 months from arrest to trial very easily.

KING: We thank or panel very much. We'll be calling on them again. Nancy will be back on Thursday night on another matter that's very interesting as well.

Ted Rowlands in Modesto, California, Nancy Grace in New York, Chris Pixley in Atlanta, and Dr. Robi Ludwig in New York as well, the psychologist who often appears on Court TV.

Senator John Kerry officially threw his hat into the ring today. He did it in South Carolina. He'll join us from Des Moines right after these words.


KING: We now welcome Senator John Kerry, joining us from Des Moines, Democrat of Massachusetts, now an official candidate for his party's nomination. Why did you announce in South Carolina rather than your home state?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm going back to my home state tomorrow, Larry, but I thought it would be great to begin in a place that was different, number one, and number two, I wanted to send a signal, I'm going to talk to the whole country. This is not a regional campaign, it's a national campaign. And I believe that the message of changing the direction of our country, putting people back to work, showing greater responsibility and more connection to American values in our foreign policy, it's important for South Carolina, it's important for the south, the southwest, the west, all parts of our country.

KING: Any special reason why you were accompanied by crew members of your Navy gunboat that you commanded during the Vietnam War? Was this an attempt to kind of take on President Bush who landed on an aircraft carrier?

KERRY: It's an attempt to remind people that there are those of us in the country who have served our nation, who have a different sense of how one behaves in the world and how you live up to the responsibilities of the United States. And many of us who served in the military have a sense of patriotism that doesn't belong to either party, it belongs to the country. The flag doesn't belong to either party, it belongs to the country. And I think that President Bush, frankly, right now, is letting down a lot of veterans, because veterans across the country are having a harder time getting into the VA. There are thousands of them waiting for first visits to a doctor, over 135,000 wait six months to see a doctor.

KING: The president can do something about that?

KERRY: You bet the president can do something about that. He can put it in the budget and fight for it. And the president hasn't fought -- he has a VA, he has a VA administrator, and that administrator has sent a message to veterans all across the country, we can't serve all of you because we don't have enough money. The reason we don't have enough money, Larry, is because we the president thought it was more important to give people earning more than $200,000 a year a tax cut. I don't agree with that. That's the wrong direction, and it's not my definition of patriotism.

KING: The new issue of "TIME" magazine, you told them and they expressed surprise that you are not surprised that Governor Dean and how well he's doing. You're not surprised?

KERRY: No, I'm not surprised, because the war was very divisive and he was the only person on that side of it. I believe that over time, as people realize why we voted to go with a legitimate threat of force and to hold Saddam Hussein accountable, it was in fact important to the security of our country. The vote was correct. What was not correct was George Bush rushing to war, not building an international coalition, not doing the work of planning for the peace, for winning the peace. And I warned the president, way back last January, I said Mr. President, do not rush to war. Take the time to build the peace. It was appropriate, Larry, to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. But it was appropriate to do it in a responsible and thoughtful way.

KING: So you are not surprised that Governor Dean, based on that, is ahead?

KERRY: Well, also, he's been on television, he's had a lot of publicity. No, I fully expect as -- look, 66 percent of the American people can't name anyone who's running for president of the United States. This campaign is just starting, and I believe over the course of the next months, as Americans, look at who is ready to be commander in chief.

I am the only person running who has 19 years experience in foreign policy. I know that I can make our country safer and stronger, and I don't think the presidency is the place, as George Bush has proven, for on the job training for people who don't have any foreign policy or security experience.

KING: Are you surprised to be behind in the polls early on in New Hampshire, a state where it's a border state of yours?

KERRY: No, because there's television, as you know better than anybody, Larry, is a very powerful instrument. And the governor has been on it for about three weeks or so with advertising. We're just going to start -- I look forward to the next months. What is important here is who can be president. What's important here is who can lead our country and take us to a better place.

And I believe that the work that I've done shows that I can do that. I can do that in foreign policy. I can put people back to work.

And I might add, you know, Governor Dean and Dick Gephardt both want to get rid of the entire Bush tax cut. That means that we're going to turn to waitresses, or to police officers, construction workers and say to them, you are going to have to kick back in more money now, and we're going to take away the child care credit, and by the way we're going to penalize people who get married in America, we're going to have a tax charge on marriage. I don't want to do that. I don't think the middle class is getting too much money in America today. And I think what we ought to do is roll back the high- end of the Bush tax cut, protect the middle class, help people to be able to hold on to the jobs they have. And those are big differences. So I think as we go forward here, people will become aware of the differences and of who is really qualified to be president.

KING: We'll be seeing a lot of you, of course, in the days and months ahead.

KERRY: I look forward to it.

KING: How is the prostate cancer?

KERRY: Oh, you're really nice to ask. I'm able to say that I am cured. I had a spectacular amount of great health care. And that's one of the things that motivates me, Larry. You know, I had health care because I'm a United States senator and I could afford it. But millions of Americans can't get what I got. And I think that every family in America is as important as any politician in Washington, and that's why I'm going to see to it that everyone in America can buy into the same health care plan that senators and congressmen give themselves. We need to change the health care system.

KING: We only have a minute. Did you have surgery?

KERRY: Larry, I did have surgery. Yes, I did. I had surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Dr. Patrick Walsh (ph) did an extraordinary job.

KING: Know him well.

KERRY: ... and I'm here, and I'm campaigning, and I was very lucky. I had early detection. And I'm able to say that I'm here, cured, and I want to stay that way.

KING: Great doctor, Dr. Walsh (ph), he's been on this show. We only have 30 seconds left, do you really believe the president is beatable?

KERRY: Oh, absolutely. There is no question in my mind, and I believe that I can beat him. And I believe I can beat him because I have a vision for how we make our country more secure.

Look, look at North Korea, Larry. We can do a better job in terms of protecting ourselves with North Korea and the Middle East, with global warming problems, with the former Soviet Union and the nuclear missiles there. There is much work to be done on an international basis. And I don't believe the president has shown the kind of leadership that makes America stronger and safer.

I intend to do that. And I'm going to put Americans back to work. And I am going to keep the promise of guaranteeing that we have the best education system in the country. Leave no child behind has been made a mockery by the president.

KING: We're out of time. Thank you, senator. We'll be seeing you again soon.

KERRY: Thanks so much. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Senator John Kerry, now an official candidate for his party's nomination.

Be back in a moment to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, we'll relive the life and times with relatives and friends of Princess Grace of Monaco. And tomorrow night, this program will come to you from New York, where I can turn to my right and I can say, there he is, Aaron Brown.



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