CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of Day Five of Scott Peterson Preliminary Hearing
Aired November 4, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, inside day five of Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing. His defense suggests that investigators may have planted evidence at the Peterson home the day that Laci was reported missing. We'll get a first-hand account from Ted Rowlands of KTVU, who was inside the courtroom. Plus Dr. Henry Lee, the forensic legend, consulting with the Scott Peterson defense team; Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; high-profile defense attorney, Chris Pixley; Court TV reporter Vinnie Politan, a former attorney; Gloria Allred, attorney for Scott's other woman, Amber Frey. When will Amber take the stand? And Johnnie Cochran, the renowned defense attorney from the O.J. Simpson "dream team," with his verdict on how the defense is handling the hearing. It's become a mini-trial. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Let's start with Ted Rowlands in Modesto, reporter for KTVU. The highlights of today, Ted?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, Detective John Evers completed his testimony. He was a patrolman at the time that Laci Peterson reported missing. He was the first person to respond to the call of a missing person. He went over basically what happened that night again. He detailed for the second time the fact that Scott Peterson apparently either didn't answer or couldn't answer the question of, What were you fishing for, when questioned about his fishing alibi.
Then the detective went on to talk about the house itself. He again brought up a mop and a bucket. During cross-examination, however, it came out that he said that there was absolutely no smell of bleach or no smell of any sort of cleaning supply at all in the house. He also, through cross-examination, stated that it did not appear as though any of the floors in the Peterson house were wet.
He then detailed a trip that Peterson apparently took with detectives over to the warehouse to get a look at the boat. And what was interesting about that -- it was a bit cryptic at times -- apparently, Peterson either said there was no power or he was told -- detectives were told that there was no power in the warehouse. It is expected to come out later that, indeed, the power was working, and it is expected that the prosecution will use this against Peterson, basically painting him as uncooperative.
From there, he detailed a few other things through cross- examination about Peterson's demeanor. He said, basically, he was cooperative throughout the entire process. And then one thing that also came out was that Modesto police detectives took as possible evidence that pail and those mops just a few hours after they came to the Modesto house, and they did not give Mr. Peterson a receipt when that took that out of the home.
KING: Nancy Grace, what was the stick-out to you?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, what stuck out to me, really, Larry, is not so much what I learned about the prosecution today because Detective Evers was really rehashing his walkthrough in the house. We already knew Scott allegedly didn't know what he'd been fishing for that very day.
But I learned a lot about the defense today, where they're going. We now see they've taken a page from Johnnie Cochran's book -- it was successful when Johnnie did it -- and they're going to suggest the DNA evidence was planted. They're referring specifically to Detective Al Bertini (ph). I think that they will suggest that he planted some of Laci's hair in the pliers. Why? Because they asked Detective Evers on cross-examination if he stayed with Bertini throughout the walkthrough in the house, and Evers responded, We were not joined at the hip. And Larry, this is where they're going.
Upon further investigation that I did on the defense expert Dr. William Shields, I found out quite a bit. One, he has never extracted mitochondrial DNA for forensic purposes. In fact, his expertise, Larry, some of his articles are "Inbreeding and the Evolution of Sex," "The Management of the Wolf." I looked up his Web site, and I found this picture of two little birds. Why is he testifying about MTDNA? Somebody explain!
KING: Chris Pixley, what's your view of the proceedings to this minute?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, a couple of things are important that came out today. And I'd like to address a few things Nancy said, as well. First of all, the fact that the detective himself debunked one of the main theories the prosecution has been bandying about in the press for a while now, that there was a sense of bleach in the house when the detectives originally arrived on the scene, is I think significant for the defense.
Not only that, but as Ted pointed out, the fact that there really wasn't any evidence that this was a freshly sanitized crime scene. And what they're focusing on now is, you know, whether or not dogs or cats had been in the house, whether or not Scott Peterson should be testifying or telling them that a dog or a cat was in the house. It really is a stretch.
Now, when you talk about mitochondrial DNA evidence, you know, again, the fact of the matter is, there are some major questions about how this hair, which was originally inventoried as a single hair by the police, multiplied into two hairs. And I don't think that this is a witch hunt that the defense is going on, asking Detective Evers if he was at the side of the other detective who ultimately discovered that hair. When one hair becomes two and when the hair then becomes the chief piece of evidence for the prosecution to tie Laci Peterson to the boat, you've got reason to scratch your head and ask how that happened. KING: We're showing Mark Geragos in a picture, but he was not present today. Today was a shortened version, and the defense duties were handled by Kirk McAllister. Geragos was in court in Los Angeles on another case.
Ted Rowlands, this is looking like a trial. It's a hearing.
KING: Why so much coming out?
ROWLANDS: Well, that's probably up to the lawyers to talk about. It's expected -- or it's suspected that this is being played more towards the court of public opinion, in an attempt to taint the jury pool. Both sides want to, obviously, take advantage of the media coverage of this preliminary hearing. But you're right, most preliminary hearings last an afternoon, maybe a day or two. We're into day five, and boy, nowhere close to wrapping this thing up.
KING: Nancy, why is it going so many days?
GRACE: I think both sides are trying to create a record, especially Mark Geragos. And I would expect that from the defense. They have to challenge -- No. 1, they spent so many days challenging mitochondrial DNA. Larry, this was done decades ago with fingerprints, then a few years ago on regular DNA. Now's the time for the challenge to be raised with MTDNA. I know it's irritating. I know it drags on, but this is to be expected. And yes, it is dragging on. I'm waiting for the state to bring in Amber Frey. I think that will put the lid on the pot.
But again, what I'm seeing revealed in the courtroom today is the tactic the defense are going to use -- one, claiming police planted evidence. I'd like to respond immediately to Chris Pixley's suggestion that a hair was planted. The police have already come forward and stated that they were examining the single hair, that the hair broke in half. There's no suggestion there were ever more than one hair.
And I tell you, the defense is between a rock and a hand spot. And you can ask the expert, Johnnie Cochran, when you get to him, Chris, but when your DNA expert writes articles about "Barn Swallow Mobbing: Is It Self Defense"...
GRACE: A barn swallow is a bird, Chris!
PIXLEY: I want to ask...
GRACE: This is not about DNA!
PIXLEY: I want to ask the resident expert, Dr. Lee, about hair. You know, hair is awfully strong...
GRACE: Breakable. PIXLEY: ... and the fact that the -- the fact that the prosecution argues that it just broke in two when they were handling it...
PIXLEY: Either they were mishandling it, or it's somebody else's hair. I don't know if Henry Lee can respond.
KING: Well, the truth is, isn't it, that nobody knows how a jury will react. And they're going to the be ones who make the decision.
PIXLEY: That's exactly correct. But here's the point, Larry. Even if the -- even, excuse me, if the defense loses on this argument of mitochondrial DNA, they still win. The reason? Because the prosecution has focused days upon days arguing over a single piece of hair that could have gotten into the boat a thousand different ways. And what that implicitly says to the jury is they don't have any other evidence. And you know what? They don't. Where's the evidence of the GHB date rape drug research that was supposedly on Scott's computer? Where's the evidence of the vomit and blood on the mop in the house? You know, we've talked so much about mops...
GRACE: Somebody's been reading "The Enquirer"!
PIXLEY: Apparently, there is...
GRACE: And I think it's you, Chris!
PIXLEY: Nancy, the interesting thing is the evidence that...
KING: One a time! All right, I'm going to take a break. No more interrupting. I'm going to take a break. When we come back, Gloria Allred will join us for a few minutes. Dr. Henry Lee is arriving by airplane and is little late getting in from Salt Lake, but he should be here shortly. And then Johnnie Cochran's going to join us. His book, "A Lawyer's Life," is now out in trade paperback. It was, of course, a runaway best-seller in hardcover.
We'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. In a couple of moments, we'll talk with Gloria Allred.
Nancy Grace, since it's so easy to bound someone over for trial and there's enough here to say there is, why not just put on a couple of witnesses and get it bound over and have a trial? Why -- why...
KING: ... four days on a hair?
GRACE: Well, two words: cross-examination. Because once the state made its intentions known that they were trying to bring in this hair as evidence, the defense rightly challenged it, as they would challenge any other scientific evidence. So largely, the battle in the courtroom has been over this one single hair strand. If you notice...
KING: But now it's gone beyond that, right?
GRACE: Yes. And if you'd notice, when other witnesses take the stand, it clips along at a pretty good pace. But it got really bogged down in scientific DNA, and that is expected. Remember how long the DNA evidence went in O.J.? That's what we will see in this case.
KING: Yes. Chris, when do you expect this preliminary hearing to end?
PIXLEY: Oh, God, Larry, I think that we are probably going to be going for another probably four days or so. It really depends on whether Amber Frey is the final witness that the state wants to put on, or whether they actually want to try to tie together all of this the disparate pieces of evidence that they have into a common theme.
I think, again, that their theme is that Scott killed his wife in his home, that he then transported her to the marina in Berkeley and then dumped her in the bay. They've got to put it all together. And if they end with Amber, they've got a motive, but they really haven't put it together.
KING: And like a trial, the defense puts on its side, too, right?
PIXLEY: Well, typically, they would not.
KING: It can, if it wishes.
PIXLEY: But it can, if it wishes. And I think that we may see some of that.
KING: Concerning Amber Frey, let's her attorney. She's on the scene in -- Gloria Allred, the familiar face of Gloria Allred, in shocking green today. Nice look, Gloria.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR AMBER FREY: Thanks, Larry.
KING: When will your client -- when is your client expected to testify? Have they told you?
ALLRED: Well, Larry, I'm not going to be able to comment, unfortunately, on if she is going to testify, or if she is, when she's going to testify.
KING: Why can't you comment, since you were ruled not under the gag order? ALLRED: Well, that's true. I could if I wished, but frankly, I'm very protective of Ms. Frey. I'm concerned about her security. So I think out of an abundance of caution, it would be best not to announce if she's going to, or if she is going to, when she is going to testify and when. The district attorney will certainly be the one who makes the ultimate decision as to whether she will be called, and...
KING: Can you tell us this...
ALLRED: ... I don't expect her to be called tomorrow.
KING: OK. Do they tell you...
ALLRED: I'll tell you that much.
KING: Do they -- she won't be called tomorrow. Do they tell you...
ALLRED: I don't expect that.
KING: You won't be informed?
ALLRED: No. I will be informed if, as and when she is going to testify.
KING: Is she nervous?
ALLRED: There is, understandably, a great deal of stress and tension and pressure. And it's a difficult situation to be in, where she may be a witness in a high-profile double murder case. And she knows that if she takes the witness stand that millions of people will then analyzing what she has said and why she has said it. And it's a difficult position for somebody who's never testified before, and she never has.
It's going to take a lot of courage to -- you know, to be there, facing Mark Geragos, who may be an attack dog, who may engage in aggressive cross-examination and try to discredit her. But he's going to have a tough time because she's going to tell the truth. Much of what she says will be corroborated. She's a very brave young woman, and I really admire her courage in facing the prospect of testifying.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she will tell the truth only as to what she doesn't know about the murder. She knows just about the relationship she had with the defendant, right?
ALLRED: She knows about...
KING: She has no knowledge of the crime?
ALLRED: ... the relationship she had with Mr. Peterson. And of course, she had reportedly had extensive communications with Mr. Peterson before and after Laci's disappearance, and she would be able to testify as to that and -- if, in fact, it's relevant to the case.
KING: Nancy Grace, do you fully expect her to testify in this hearing?
GRACE: I fully expect her to testify in this hearing. And I know, Larry, that her main -- the main gist of us on the outside looking in is of her relationship with Peterson.
GRACE: But who wants to hear hours and hours of pillow talk? Nobody. Not even a jury. What is significant as to what she has to say is, What did Scott say, if anything, about his relationship with Laci, how he felt about the birth of Conner? What was he doing, if anything, to aid in the search effort? And did he ever make a statement that suggests he was involved?
Right now, we have already heard reports -- don't know if they're true or not -- that the conversations revealed she asked him, Listen, did you have anything to do with it? Response, Um, no, but, um, er...
KING: Wait a minute. Hold it.
GRACE: ... I know who did it.
KING: You don't know -- hold it. This is a danger we get into. You don't know that that happened.
GRACE: As I said at the very beginning, it is a report that I think...
KING: OK, well...
GRACE: ... may be corroborated in the courtroom.
KING: OK. Chris, do you fully expect her to testify?
PIXLEY: I wouldn't expect her to testify under normal circumstances. I do think, as each day passes, Larry, without any real bombshell being dropped, that the prosecution will need her to testify, if they want to use this preliminary hearing for public purposes. And remember, Larry, they fought against this being a closed preliminary hearing, so every indication is they do want to get their story out to the public.
KING: And Gloria, one other thing. I know you won't tell us -- you tell us that she will not testify tomorrow, but you won't tell us if she will or if she won't. Do you...
ALLRED: That's right. I...
KING: Personally, would you guess that she will testify? If you were the prosecutor, would you call her?
ALLRED: You know, if I were the prosecutor, I'd have to weigh her testimony against all the other evidence that's being presented and make that decision. And I also want to allow the prosecutor to have the ultimate discretion because, you know, even if she were on a list, it might not mean that she would be called because the prosecutor might decide not to call certain people. So I think he has to reserve the right to make his judgment calls as he goes. But she's prepared and she's brave and she knows she may be attacked for doing the right thing. The defense may do that. But she's going to go ahead and tell the truth, if she is asked to do so.
GRACE: Hey, Larry...
KING: Thank you, Gloria Allred. Yes, I got to take a break. And when we come back...
KING: ... Johnnie Cochran will join us. And then Johnnie will remain with us, and the panel will resume at the bottom of the hour. And one thing we do know is that Amber Frey will not testify tomorrow. We'll come back with Johnnie Cochran, spend some moments with him, and then Johnnie will remain with us and the panel will resume. Don't go away.
KING: Our panel will resume in a little while, and Johnnie will remain for that. But it's always good, finally, to welcome him back to the show. It's been a while. Johnnie Cochran, the renowned defense attorney, who practices mostly in New York, but this is his home. He's the author of a terrific book, "A Lawyer's Life." It was a best-seller in hardcover. It is now out -- and there you see its cover -- in paperback. "The New York Times Book Review" said, "Cochran has produced an engaging, anecdote-laden book that leaves the reader with an increased respect for his life in the law."
And I see the ties are still as bright as ever, John.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, of course. Some things don't change, Larry.
KING: The dashing Mr. Cochran. What is it like to defend -- what's it like to be in the position of defending someone that the general public thinks is guilty?
COCHRAN: It's very difficult, and that's what our friend Geragos is facing now. People like -- Americans like to make up their mind early. They really do. They like this kind of instant gratification. This man has not been tried. He's presumed to be innocent. But many Americans believe that he's already guilty.
KING: So what's it like when you're in that position?
COCHRAN: It is a difficult, difficult task because in addition to that, he's under -- Geragos is under a gag order. And of course, the leaks come from the prosecution. So you're sitting there, trying to defend the guy. You can't speak out. And you're waiting for your turn. So people are talking about the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this preliminary hearing. Cross-examination is what you can do. You're trying to get the message out there. You're trying to plant seeds of doubt in the trier of fact.
Now, there's going to come a time when Geragos stands up at the opening statement. You remember when I did that, I mean, people, you know, went berserk, you know, when finally somebody said, Hey, wait a minute. This guy's innocent. It's really difficult. And what I'm saying to all of your viewers -- keep an open mind until you hear all the evidence. And that's -- that's the American way.
KING: Because what we hear a lot of is speculation now, right?
COCHRAN: Sure. What might be -- you know, what is it, The fact that you have a relationship with Amber Frey doesn't mean that you committed murder, killed your wife and unborn child, does it.
KING: How about the planting of evidence issue today, something you dealt with with Mark Fuhrman.
COCHRAN: Well, you know, I think that when we dealt with it, people never believed this was possible. Now, it is possible. But I mean, the real issue really here is whether or not this mitochondrial DNA really will pass the test. Has it reached -- has the science reached the level? It's not nuclear DNA. And it's a different kind of situation, a different animal. Now, you know, it can work, but it has to do with how it's collected, has a lot to do with the proficiency of the people who are dealing with it. And I think it's right for Geragos to deal with that. If their case rides and falls on that, that may not be enough.
KING: What do you make of the length of this hearing?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, again, we're seeing longer and longer hearings and I think it's because the defense, you know, has to test this evidence, you know? You expect this man would be bound over for trial, but you got to test it.
KING: So why does the prosecution have to put so much on? Why don't they just do a few fragmentary things? He's going to be bound over anyway.
COCHRAN: Probably so. But I think the prosecution also wants (UNINTELLIGIBLE) know, Hey, we got some evidence here, because you know, it's looking kind of slight. Keep in mind, Larry, this is a circumstantial evidence case. There's no witnesses going to say, I saw him do such-and-such, as far as we know. And so they're going to link all these -- you know, it's kind of linking a chain together. If there's a break in the chain, Scott Peterson will probably go free.
KING: Change of venue?
COCHRAN: You know, it's going to be hard for them, you know, to move anyplace, I suppose, in California, but the lawyers, I'm sure, will analyze that. They might want to move out of that community. They might want to. Probably some real strong feelings there. Geragos will look at that closely.
KING: How do you rate the legal abilities so far of both sides? COCHRAN: I think they're both able. I think they're both able. I think that the prosecutor's shown some ability in this case, and I know Geragos is very effective. And I think it's going to be a real battle here. I really do.
KING: You mean like a war?
COCHRAN: A real war. This is a war. You're fighting for a man's life. And the state wants to take Scott Peterson's life. And the question is whether or not that's warranted given, the evidence that's going to be presented to this jury. And we should keep an open mind (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that. This is the most serious of cases, Larry.
KING: Geragos vowed, though, did he not, that he'd find the real killers? Did he say that?
COCHRAN: I think he did say that, and we're going to be asking him. Now, I get asked that question a lot, you know, even now. And I think he will probably be asked that question a lot down the road. So maybe...
KING: It's fair, isn't it?
COCHRAN: It is a fair question. It really is. It really is a fair question.
KING: Do you -- emotionally, does the lawyer take this home?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, I think if you're human, you do that, Larry. But I think also that you've got a job to do, and your client needs your best efforts. You can't get bogged down with, you know, the distractions that come every day. You got to do your job. But you know, you'd be less than human if you didn't because, you know, one mistake, your client could end up, you know, on death row. And nobody wants to have that, you know? And presumably, Geragos believes that his client is innocent. He's doing everything he can to establish that he is.
KING: Is it -- do you handle it differently if you believe he isn't?
COCHRAN: Oh, I think probably so. I think you're...
KING: You try to get the best for him.
COCHRAN: You try to get the best deal. You probably try to save his life. You try to maybe working a plea out. I mean, that's what...
KING: Isn't Amber Frey important in this?
COCHRAN: Oh, I think she's...
KING: I mean, these supposed conversations about, My wife is dead or...
KING: Again, speculation.
COCHRAN: Again, I think it'll be circumstantial evidence. I don't think there'll be any evidence that he confessed to Amber Frey. I think that if she's a lover spurned, if he lied to her, she may not like him so much now and she got to look at what she has to say. But the fact that he had a relationship with her does not make him a murderer.
KING: Does the defense have to tread lightly in crossing her?
COCHRAN: Oh, I they probably should. I think -- at the preliminary hearing, they can go after her perhaps more than with the jury. I mean, at the jury trial, it may be that people become offended if they attack her. But you know, they got to look and see what she says. If -- you know, I don't think she knows anything, really. The fact that, you know, he told her that he wasn't married, apparently, and had a relationship with her. And so -- but that doesn't make him a killer. And I don't think there's going to any -- any, you know, bombs, blockbuster bombs dropped by something she says. I think the prosecutor is methodically putting his case together, and it's going to be circumstantial evidence. And the question is, do the proved circumstances point only to guilt, or could they point equally to innocence?
KING: Well, one other quick thing, and then you'll remain with us with the panel.
COCHRAN: It's good to have you back with us.
COCHRAN: It's good being with you.
KING: The book, by the way, is "A Lawyer's Life." It's in trade paperback, and it's a terrific read. Kobe going to get a fair shot in Colorado?
COCHRAN: Well, you know, I think that Kobe will ultimately be acquitted. I'm not sure it's going to be in Eagle, Colorado. I would suspect that his lawyers will look long and hard about moving it from there. I mean, that's a small, small area. Everybody in that town everybody knows everybody else. They know the young lady, the victim. And you know, he's perceived as kind of an outsider. And so I think that -- I'd be surprised if his lawyers didn't try to get the case moved. Now, where can they get it moved? And you know...
COCHRAN: Is it -- Denver might be the most appropriate place. And I think -- I think, you know, everybody's entitled to a fair trial of unbiased jurors who haven't made up their mind. And I certainly hope that happens in that case.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. The entire panel will assemble. Johnnie will remain with us. And we'll include some of your calls, too. Don't go away.
KING: Our entire panel is now assembled. By the way David Blaine will make his first appearance since the starvation bit in London the illusionist. David Blaine here tomorrow night we are going have a wild hour. Let's reintroduce the panel. Ted Rowlands of KTVU. He's in Modesto, California, covered this from the get go.
Now, with us here in Los Angeles Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists just arrived by plane. In New York Nancy Grace, the host of "Closing Arguments" on Court TV, the former prosecutor.
In Atlanta, defense attorney Chris Pixley.
In Modesto, California now joining us is Vinny Politan who covered the Peterson trial for Court TV. Prior to becoming a journalist he was an attorney.
And remaining us with is Johnnie Cochran, who's book a "Lawyer's Life" is not out on trade paperback. And when we resume on Thursday night Johnnie will be back with us on again on the panel.
Before going to the panel, Johnnie this is historic. You and Lee together again.
KING: Who can forget the O.J. Simpson trial. What is Henry like. HE is going to testify maybe for the defense.
COCHRAN: Henry Lee is the best forensic expert in the entire world. There's no question about it. When Henry Lee comes and testifies, everything stops. He's the only person that the judge -- when he comes in the court, the jurors sitting there waiting to hear what he has to say. He's had impeachment credible in law enforcement background. He's just a great witness.
KING: But you may not testify, right, Henry?
LEE: Thank you, Johnnie, for the compliment.
COCHRAN: If he testifies...
LEE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'll come with the scientific evidence, you know, I say expert witness will call us. If my finding is not in favor of a defense, they're not probably calling me.
KING: Vinny Politan, what is your take so far on this hearing?
VINNY POLITAN, COURT TV: Well, so far, I think we have heard lots of little pieces of evidence. We haven't heard a big piece of evidence yet and I think we're still waiting to hear that. And perhaps when the lead detective takes the stand, that's when we start to hear it.
KING: Ted Rowlands, do you agree? When -- do you know when the lead detective comes on board, the Ted.
ROWLANDS: He's next up on deck right now and he's expected to take the stand tomorrow as soon as we resume. And that is Al Brocchini. He's the guy that really ran the show as from the time that he became the lead -- the time that he arrived on scene, that night, when Laci was reported missing. And he's the guy that the Peterson family before the gag order had a problem with. And the guy the defense had a problem with before the gag order. They are going to argue that this is a guy with an one-track mind and figured out Scott Peterson was guilty and tailored the investigation one way. Modesto Police Department says he's one of many that worked the case and we had an army of people following up on thousands of leads. And in fact, we looked into everything and think that Scott Peterson is guilty.
KING: Nancy Grace, must your police who testified be good witnesses?
GRACE: Yes, they really must be good witnesses because we saw in the Kobe Bryant case when the detective took the stand, he waffled quite a bit when he was on cross-examination. And in this particular case, Broccini better put on a crash helmet because Geragos is coming after him with guns a blazing.
A, going to say that there was slob pi police work. B, allege that Broccini planted evidence. And C, he's going to argue that Broccini has an one-track mind and that was to convict Peterson, there by ruling out all and any other possible leads. The reality is, however, that thousands of leads were pursued. I think the defense is bark up the wrong tree, but they are doing what they have got to do to tear down, Broccini.
KING: Chris, is that what you would do?
PIXLEY: Well, I don't think there's any one formula for defending the capital case. Every case is different, Larry, but in this particular case, I think there's reason to question the police motives here. Very early on they were focused solely on Scott Peterson. And I think there's also a general benefit to debunking the common misconceptions we have about the police. You know, we digest and consume a lot of mythology in this country about the infallibility of our police work. We watch "Law and Order" and the "CSI"s and they get wonderful ratings. And we tend to think that the police are god like in the ability to solve crimes. And invariably, when we put the expectations into the real world, we find that we're let down. That they're human beings. That's what you want the jury to know.
KING: You were rather tough on cops?
COCHRAN: Yes. I'm not anti-police. You know, my son is a police officer. But your job is to demonstrate, as Chris just said, police are human beings. You know, they have same biases. They make a judgment in a case, Larry. They're not sitting there as an independent witness. Once they make it a judgment they think it's this man, Peterson -- Scott Peterson, they're going after him. It becomes a real contest.
KING: But the judgment is based on something.
COCHRAN: It's based upon the fact their biased at the beginning. Sure, we'll see the evidence unfolding. Now, don't disappointed if he doesn't have blockbusters. Because they made a judgment in this case. And from the point on they are trying to presume it. The police never back up and say, hey you know, we got it wrong. And that's always a problem.
KING: Now what about reverse. When you're retained by the defense, do you make a judgment. Do you go and say, I'm going to do everything to show that Scott Peterson didn't do this?
LEE: We have an open mind. As a matter of fact, the investigator this morning I was (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And everybody should have an open mind, totally objective. If you walk in, we say, concept or so-called theory, somebody's guilty already, you're there.
KING: But your there Henry, for the defense. They hired you.
LEE: Doesn't matter what the lawyer -- I usually -- Johnnie knows, I tell them honest truth whatever the facts show.
KING: When he hired you in the Simpson case?
KING: You knew that he would if he's called, he's going to testifying honestly.
KING: Not there with a pre...
LEE: For example, DNA, during the O.J. trial. I say DNA fine. DNA could be used. And Johnnie probably wanted to strangle me. And I become a prosecution witness for a while.
KING: Nancy, are you generally tough on forensic experts for the other side?
GRACE: You darn right I am. For instance...
KING: I had that feeling.
GRACE: This Dr. William Shields that they brought in, I mean, when I investigated him and found out that most of the publications are about the animal word, how they propagate, about birds and wolves and there he is testifying as a DNA forensic expert, in my mind, unheard of. And I heard something that Johnnie said earlier. He said all the leaks from the prosecution. Hold on, Johnnie, who said satanic cult?
Who said Donnie (ph) and the brown van and the dope dealer?
Who said the missing shoe?
That all came from the defense. The defense is leaking just as much as anybody.
COCHRAN: But, Nancy, that wasn't a leak. That was a statement by Geragos. I am talking about the leaks, the reports come out about the suspected evidence waiting for. And that's what happens. Once there is a gag, the evidence gets out there always comes from the prosecution. And nobody can find the leakers. That bothers me.
GRACE: If they can't find them, why do you say they're from the prosecution?
You know something the rest of us don't know?
COCHRAN: Geragos is not doing that to his own case, is he?
GRACE: I don't think he would. But I think all the defense theories are being leaked from the defense. It's very obvious, both sides are leaking.
COCHRAN: I don't think so.
KING: What is -- Vinnie, to you, what is a leak?
POLITAN: A leak is something that's not supposed to be told to members of the media that is. In the cases of gag orders are in place, where witnesses can't talk, lawyers can't talk, somebody is talking because there are reporters out there who are reporting things. But then you have to take everything with a grain of salt, because do all the leaks pan out?
Well, one of the leaks in this case about the smell of bleach, Larry.
KING: Where did that come from, Vinnie?
POLITAN: We're not sure were it came from. But I'll what happened in the courtroom today, the first witness, the first police officer inside the house didn't smell any bleach, didn't smell any chlorine, didn't smell any Mr. Clean. So, we'll see if some witness did. But at least the first police officer in there didn't smell the bleach.
KING: Now, Nancy, that has been mentioned as kind of a fact on this program and others, right, that there was a smell of bleach.
GRACE: I have heard that. I don't think anybody on this program commented on it as fact. I came to my knowledge in an article in "The Enquirer." And I would suggest that you take that not with a grain but with a box of salt. They near a feeding frenzy like everybody else. They get false leaks and they run to press with it.
KING: We're going to take a break, and come back and include some phone calls for this outstanding panel. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE PETERSON, FATHER OF SCOTT PETERSON: He's in there. He's an innocent man. He's lost his wife. He's lost his baby. He's lost his freedom. What more can you lose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Let's include some phone calls.
St. John's, Newfoundland, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call.
CALLER: My question is for Nancy.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: OK. Hi, Nancy. I think you're great. And I would love to have you on my side.
OK. Actuall, the question I wanted to have answered I think it was sometime during the summer, before the gag order, there was someone on the defense team who was arguing about tennis shoes or something that went missing, like someone had taken them. Police put them back. Like, these are walking shoes. Why were they on the property if Laci whad gone walking that day?
GRACE: What it was, was the attorney, first name Matt, that is no longer on the defense team, was suggesting to the public that a missing pair of Laci's shoes would be the answer to a lot of secrets to the case. They turned out to be some sandals that were later recovered that I don't think really proved anything in the case.
But you are correct. And then, that like many of the other defense theories, has just kind of evaporateed into the air. You've got a good memory.
KING: Johnnie, do lawyers like these shows, when trials are discussed? Did you enjoy all that went on, like...
COCHRAN: It -- it was tough, larry. KING: It affects you.
COCHRAN: It affects the case because, you know, jurors are watching, potential jurors are watching. And it makes it tough.
Now, there are some really good analysts who really, you know, analyze the evidence, and -- but it's very hard to watch, you know, these kinds of problems when you're in trial. You've got to be concentrating anyway.
But it is difficult. But it's part of the American way now because of (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
KING: It is what it is.
COCHRAN: Yes. It is what it is.
KING: Victoria, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Thank you, Mr. King, for taking my call.
CALLER: What role, if any, will the dog play being found with the leash on? And where is the dog now?
KING: What do you know? Do you know anything about the dog, Henry?
LEE: No. That's not my area.
KING: Vinnie, do you know anything about the dog?
POLITAN: Well, we know that the dog was in the backyard, at least according to Scott Peterson when he came back from this fishing trip. It had the leash on which, you know, the defense will argue that the leash was on because Laci was out walking the dog. And, you know, something happened when she went walking with the dog. And, you know, the prosecution will either say the leash wasn't on there or will say that it was part of the master plan of Scott Peterson to make it look like Laci Peterson was abducted.
KING: Ted, do you know where the dog is? Hold it. Ted, do you know where the dog is?
ROWLANDS: Yes. It's in San Diego and it is being taken care of by a family friend and it is doing quite well.
KING: What were you going to say, Nancy?
GRACE: Yes. About the Mckenzie (ph), the dog. I think that the significance of the dog, the dog leash, the dog being in the backyard is even more important for the state because the dog being found by a neighbor at 10:30 a.m., which she can back up with a receipt from a local store, tells us of a timeline, a very crucial point in the timeline and that is -- Scott Peterson says he left his wife, Laci, around 9:30, a pair of black pants and a white shirt for her to walk the dog. At 10:30, Lary, the neighbor gets dog and puts it in the backyard.
What does that mean? In one hour, from the time Scott Peterson says he left the house without Laci, it was over. She was gone. The dog had been recovered and put in the backyard. What happened to Laci happened at approximately the same time Peterson left the house.
LEE: How about other witness saw Laci walking with the dog around 10:00, 10:30. There are a couple of other witnesses coming forward with a statement.
KING: And the truth is, Chris, we don't know what happened, do we?
PIXLEY: No. We don't know what happened. But I would have to take issue with a Nancy suggesting that's a strong fact for the state. The dog being discovered at 10:30 gives you a window of time between 9:30 and 10:30 for all of these witnesses, as Dr. Lee has just mentioned, to come out and say, We saw her. And not only are they all out there, the Vivian Mitchells (ph) and Homer Maldonados (ph) and Mike Chavetz (ph), but they all have a very interesting common story, and that's that they called the police to report the story, to report that they saw this missing woman, whose face was being posted around the community, and that the police did nothing.
GRACE: Yes, and I have interviewed one of them, Larry, and he told me that he could identify the dog. Not Laci. And I happened to notice that he was wearing glasses and had a glass eye. I dare the defense to call him as a witness.
KING: I wear glasses. I could be a witness.
GRACE: Do you have a glass eye -- do you have a glass eye, Larry?
KING: I assume the other eye works.
COCHRAN: ...I wouldn't discriminate because he had a glass eye, Nancy.
KING: Peter Falk could be a witness.
COCHRAN: But you know what? You can see from the evidence and it's enveloping. And this is what makes a case so fascinating. Everybody, depending upon their own particular bent (ph), will put different spins on the evidence.
COCHRAN: Nancy sees this as something that helps the prosecution. Mr. Pixley right says, Wait a minute. There's other witnesses. This is not -- this is the window of opportunity for whatever -- for whoever may have abducted, you know, Miss Peterson. So that, that's what happens in a case.
There will be no eyewitnesses, that's -- keep that in mind. That makes it difficult to make a determinative view of what happens. And that's why the science bcomes so important in a case like this.
KING: Henry's important.
COCHAN: And that's why Henry will be...
KING: are you entighted to see all their -- all the evidence they have?
LEE: I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) call discovery eventually going to see everything. Right now, I can't tell you what I saw but...
KING: Oh, that's right, because you're under a gag order, right?
Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.
CALLER: Oh, yes. Hello?
CALLER: I would like to...
CALLER: Hello? Yes, I would like to ask the lawyers why when someone is accused of something, a defendant, can they not, you know, proclaim their innocence? I know that if I was going to be tried for the death penalty for something that I didn't do, I certainly wouldn't be sitting down not saying anything.
KING: Oh, we said that in the O.J. Why don't they -- why doesn't we say -- (UNITELLIGIBLE) why don't defendant that is didn't do it, jump up?
COCHRAN: You know (UNITNELLIGIBLE)
KING: Killer loose!
COCHRAN: Basically, you know, you're cautioned by the court to maintain decorum.
Now clearly, the defendant -- you remember even Simpson, when he enters his not guilty, said I'm 100 percnet absolutely not guilty. So you make that statement.
From that point on, you can't say it every day. You know, once your not guilty plea is entered, you're assumed to plead not guilty. And I understand what the lady's saying. And it's almost as though you want to cry it out every time. But you can't. You have got to set about dealing with the evidence to try to convince the jury.
KING: Nancy, is witness demeanor -- is the demeanor of the defendant important?
GRACE: The demeanor of the defendant is incredibly important. And I keep noticing -- you showed that shot of Scott Peterson squeaking out that one little tear. He cried one time, and we keep seeing that shot.
And I have got to say, Peterson has a very good demeanor. Geragos has schooled him and prepared him very well. He comes into the courtroom looking calm, cool, collected, dressed in a great suit looking like he's got the world by the tail. The jury will see that. And it will make an affect on them because whether we admit it or not, what we perceive, our senses, is primary to how we view someone. And what a jury thinks, it may not matter. It's what they feel about him, what they perceive about him.
KING: Well said. Perception is reality.
COCHRAN: It is. Perception becomes reality. Nancy, we agree on a point. I think that's absolutely right.
KING: Who wanted to say something? Was that Vinnie or Chris -- who was that? Vinnie? Chris?
KING: Yes. Go ahead.
ROWLANDS: Today in court, Peterson seemed to change his demeanor today in court. He was actively participating in the cross- examination of the detective, whispering to McAllister and it seemed as though he was -- fed him a few questions there. He really has become confident, especially in the last couple of days, sitting in court. Whether or not that's a good thing, maybe the lawyers could comment.
KING: You want your defendant to help you?
COCHRAN: You like him to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Maybe because Geragos wasn't there today, also. You know, he probably -- he's the No. 1 lawyer, so that could be also.
But I think defendants should tell. You know, if the officer is saying certain things about the investigation and your client was there, he knows.
KING: The lawyer wasn't there.
COCHRAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wrong, so he can tell you and I think you need that kind of help, clearly.
KING: Back with more moments with our panel. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON'S MOTHER: We searched and searched and searched, and still no Laci. I love my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, when David Blaine visits us tomorrow night, he will have with him the famous box that he lived in for over 40 days while starving in that time in London. Famous story, it's his first appearance anywhere since all of that. Will be tomorrow night.
I know Vinnie Politan has to leave us. Before you go, Vinnie, how long do you think this is going to go?
POLITAN: Well, I think we've got a few more days left. We've got to get through these detectives. And that may take one or two days. Amber Frey is looming. We are on full Amber alert out here in Modesto, and I think what's going to happen is, once she gets on the stand, there's going to have to be a decision made by the defense, how do we go after Amber Frey at this point. Do we want to get all the discovery and tie her down to as much as possible, or do we want her on and off as quickly as possible to not dirty up the further information that could be there for potential jurors?
KING: Well said. Thanks. Vinnie, we'll be calling on you again. Chris Pixley, how would you cross-examine Amber?
PIXLEY: Well, I think Johnny made a really good point. You are not in front of the jury right now. And in fact, there aren't even any cameras in the court room. You can actually do more with her this time around than you may want to do at the time of trial.
You know, I have said it, though, from the beginning. I don't think that Amber has any relevant testimony. And what I would want to focus on is the short period of time that she and Scott were together. They only knew each other for 30 days before Laci's disappearance. The number of times they physically were together, which may only be a handful of times. She lived 90 miles away from the guy. And I would want to elicit testimony that really helps the world to understand and my potential jury that this woman didn't have any promises from Scott Peterson, that she didn't have a future with him planned.
Now, if that's the case, and the evidence shows that, I'm definitely going to get it out.
KING: How many pieces of evidence, Henry, are we going to have? How many things you are going to have to wind up looking through?
LEE: Well, so far, you know, you know, early reporting of 96 bags of evidence. Of course, we're probably talking about 1,000 pieces of evidence, but how many pieces really are going to link the suspect to a case, that's become crucial.
KING: Rockaway, New Jersey, hello. CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call.
CALLER: I have a couple of questions for Nancy. Hi, Nancy.
CALLER: Some months back, it was reported that the fishing equipment was never used. I'd like to know why that issue was dropped? And second, wouldn't it look better for Scott if he agreed to take that lie detector test?
GRACE: Oh, yes. Of course, it would look better for him. It would really look good if he had taken it and passed it. OK? Because if he had, you know that that would be leaked to the press by the defense. And we're talking again tonight about the significance of Amber Frey, because she's probably the most important witness the state is putting up at the prelim phase. And as Chris and Johnny have been pointing out, what does she know? I think we'll hear from her, it's all about inconsistencies in Scott's story, and what we heard today was the beginning of that, when we heard a detective state that that very day, 12:24, the day he went fishing, he couldn't even tell police what he went fishing for. We're going to hear that type of inconsistency throughout her testimony.
KING: We're in closing moments here. You'll be back with us again Thursday with other panelists. Henry Lee, it's always good seeing you. Do you agree with Nancy there? That she's going to be -- you don't think she's going to be...
COCHRAN: I don't think she's that relevant. I think that basically, I think Chris is absolutely right. You can limit what she should talk about, really. I mean, the rest of it is speculation. And you know, the fact they had an affair is not relevant to this investigation, unless there is something that related to something he told her about or something that she garnered from him or whatever. The rest is speculation. You would like to get something from her, but I don't think it's really relevant. I really don't.
KING: Thank you all very much. See you again. Tomorrow night, we'll do another subject and I'll tell you all about what's going to happen tomorrow night, and then Thursday, our panel will be back. Maybe some little different faces, but trust me, Cochran and Grace will be -- good having you back, Johnny.
COCHRAN: It's good to be back.
KING: Johnny and Nancy. Chris Pixley, what a group.
I'll be back in a couple of minutes. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, illusionist David Blaine. Friday night, the Schindlers, the parents of Terri Schiavo, that unfortunately is in the vegetative state in Florida, the subject of so many disputes. Before we say good night, our best wishes to David Letterman. Became a dad for the first time last night. The son is Harry Joseph Letterman, born, appropriately enough, just before midnight on Monday. And get this, he weighed in at nine pounds and 11 ounces. Congratulations, David Letterman.
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