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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis Day 11 of Scott Peterson Preliminary Hearing
Aired November 17, 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: Day 11 of Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing. Scott leaves the courtroom as detectives graphically describe the decomposed bodies of his wife Laci and unborn son, Conner. The defense keeps questioning just how old Conner was when Laci died. And the judge overrules defense objections to the prosecution's only piece of physical evidence.
We'll get first-hand details on all of today's key testimony from Ted Rowlands of KTVU, inside the courtroom all day; Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; renowned defense attorney Johnnie Cochran; Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, district attorney, Westchester County, New York; high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley; the famed forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, consulting with the defense; Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and frequent Court TV commentator; and Gloria Allred, attorney for Scott Peterson's other woman, Amber Frey. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
I'm in Washington tonight. A couple of notes. Jessica Lynch was due to be our guest tonight, and it had been advertised and promoted heavily. Jessica Lynch was very under the weather. We received notice of it late last night. And we're informed that she will make her first appearance, when she gets better, on this program. And we'll let you know as soon as that occurs.
And a couple of other notes. Dan Rather's our guest tomorrow night. Regis Philbin on Wednesday. Nelly Connally on Thursday, the only survivor in the motorcade where John F. Kennedy was killed. And Friday night, a panel of doctors, all of whom were in Parkland Hospital when Kennedy's body arrived.
We begin tonight with Ted Rowlands. He'll get us up to date on what took place on another day in the endless preliminary hearing in the Scott Peterson matter. What happened, Ted?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, the bulk of the morning was taken up by the forensic pathologist that performed the autopsy on Laci Peterson and the autopsy on Conner Peterson. He described the decomposition levels of both, saying that Laci's body and remains were severely decomposed, while he said that Conner's remains were relatively intact, considering how long they had been in the bay. He said, really, that Conner was only unprotected in the water for about two days. And he attributed that, in his opinion, to the fact that he believes that Conner was inside the uterus, and that is what kept him safe and that is what preserved his body.
However, on cross-examination, the forensic pathologist did admit that he couldn't rule out an artificial source for that protection, basically saying that it could be a bag or something else.
A lot of the redirect was spent talking about that tape that we've been hearing about that was around the neck of the baby. The pathologist said that when it was pulled tight in the back of the neck, there was just two centimeters between the neck and the edge of that tape and that the tape was in a knot. The judge even, at one point, stopped and asked for clarification about it, saying, How could this tape really come over the head? The pathologist said that in his opinion, there's a chance that it could have come over the head when the baby was in the water because he said that the baby's skull had collapsed to the point where it was conceivable. The defense, however, really hammered away at that. And as I said, even the judge was taken aback by that.
KING: And that mitochondrial he allowed in, right?
ROWLANDS: The mitochondrial DNA, those two hairs, or one hair, however you want to look at it, will be allowed. However, the defense is going to put the jury through the same painstaking DNA lessons that they put the judge through in this case. So the jury -- or the defense will have an opportunity to basically argue away that science and say it is unreliable. However, it will be admitted as evidence.
Also today, we did hear from another detective in the case. He talked about the search warrant process. And again, he was questioned on the chain of custody situation. And he also brought up -- remember those cement blocks that we heard about, that there was going to be evidence of five cement blocks possibly being made? He sort of hinted at that but didn't go very far with it. It's unclear where they're going with that.
KING: Let's round around with the panel. Nancy, what does all this say to you?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, it says to me that the defense is grasping for straws regarding Conner being in a plastic bag. Let me just cut to the chase, Larry. The medical examiner said there's no sign of a normal vaginal delivery. The cervix was intact. So Laci didn't give birth naturally under water, a vaginal delivery. He said there were no signs that there had been a C-section or that the child had been cut out of Laci. As graphic as that is, that's the harsh reality in that courtroom.
So all this rigmarole about, Was he in a bag, and so forth, it's impossible, based on science. The child was not born normally, vaginally, or through C-section. So there's no way it was floating inside of a bag.
KING: Johnnie Cochran, why is that, if Nancy's correct, important?
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it's very important because I think the defense would contend, Larry, if Laci was alive beyond December 24, 25 or 26, with these two men that somebody say them with, Ms. Campos (ph), that she may have given birth later on, the child may have been born alive and that the child was not in utero at the time that she met her death. That could be very important because that only eliminates Scott Peterson, clearly. I don't think it's as easy as she's making it out to be. The coroner has to admit he really doesn't know. It's a lot of speculation that -- as to whether or not the child was born before this, or whether the child was broke loose by virtue of the body being in the sea all that time. It's a real tough situation.
With regard to the mitochondrial DNA, what's going to happen, Larry, it goes to -- it's going to be admissible. But this is a science that the defense is going to argue is not reliable. And I think that -- as they said at the top of the program, I think they'll will talk about the unreliability, the lack of an appropriate database, and that, you know, I think a jury could rule that that evidence is not very important.
KING: So it'll be up to a jury, naturally.
COCHRAN: It will be.
KING: How they view it.
COCHRAN: That's the way it should be.
KING: All right, Jeanine, how do you square between Johnnie and Nancy?
JEANINE FERRIS PIRRO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What the defense is trying to do in this case, Larry is they're trying to put Conner's birth possibly past December 23. And the more they can put it past December 23, the more they can say Scott is not responsible because at some point, Scott was on 24-hours -- or under 24-hour surveillance. That's what this argument is all about, putting Conner as far away as possible, in terms of the birth.
But clearly, there was no C-section, no vaginal delivery. The cervix was intact. But the most significant thing to me, Larry, is that I haven't heard any testimony or any reference to whether or not Conner was born alive. In fact, apparently, the question put to the pathologist was, Can you rule out that he might have been born alive? Bottom line is this, that if the baby, Conner, had air or water in his lungs, that is a definitive he was born and born alive. If that's not the case, then Conner was probably the result of coffin birth, where once the uterus of Laci, the upper portion of it was decomposed, the baby came out.
KING: Chris, is this all going to be -- this with the mitochondrial -- I can never pronounce it right -- and with the baby born -- is this all going to be made by the defense confusing to the jury?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, you only obfuscate the facts, Larry, if you really don't have a case and you really don't have an explanation. I don't think that Mark Geragos and the defense team's job in this case, or their goal in this case, is going to be to confuse everyone. I think what they're pointing out, even in the preliminary hearing, is the fact that the prosecution's own story doesn't add up.
Nancy's made the argument, the judge has made the argument that, Wait a second, the defense is really grasping at straws here. But the prosecution is grasping at straws when they try to explain why there is a knotted length of tape -- clear tape, not the duct tape that was around Laci's body -- the tape didn't get around Conner's body when he was expelled from the womb, if it happened according to the prosecution and the prosecutors here on the panel, their theory. And so the prosecution now has a theory that is difficult to explain.
It also is important that in today's testimony, this forensic pathologist said, I can't rule out the possibility that Conner was born alive. That says to me that the pathologist has looked into the questions that Judge Pirro raised.
And there's also another issue that came up today. That's the fact that the pathologist said, Look, on the one hand, the baby looked to be between 33 and 38 weeks. That puts it at between 1 and 6 weeks older than it was at the time Laci disappeared. But he attributes that to the fact that he thinks the body was probably swollen from the elements.
On the other hand, he says, Look, the body's in great condition because it was protected by the womb until only a few days before it washed up. Well, you've got to go one way or the other.
So it's not so much that the defense is going to try to obfuscate things, Larry. I think what they're going to point out is the prosecution doesn't have a clear theory of how this happened. And again, they don't have evidence of how all of this happened.
KING: We'll be back with more in just a moment. And then Johnnie will have a word, and then Nancy. And we'll get everybody in. Dr. Cyril Wecht will be joining us in a little while. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY FOR SCOTT PETERSON: I can't comment on any specific witness, under the protective order. All I can tell you is any decision to call a witness will wait until they call their -- one or the other of the detectives that they mentioned in court today. So until that time, I haven't made a decision. It depends on what that person testifies to. And once that happens, then we'll make a decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Johnnie Cochran, you were going to say?
COCHRAN: Just a couple things, Larry. I think -- keep in mind, Larry, this is just the preliminary hearing. Remember, with regard to the defense, they have two of perhaps the greatest experts in the world to testify, if necessary -- one's on the panel tonight, the great Cyril Wecht, and of course, Henry Lee -- with regard to all of these matters. And I think we should keep that in mind.
The prosecutor's having a lot of trouble with -- you know, just with the evidence they have. Now, imagine when the defense puts on their evidence. And keep in mind that Dr. Peterson said he couldn't rule out that Conner was born alive, and secondly, that two other analysts who had seen this baby had said it was more than 32 weeks old. And you know, on the date of December 23, Laci had seen a doctor, who had ruled it was the 32nd week of her pregnancy. If it was more than 32 weeks of age, and this baby was born alive and seen (ph) with other people, you can see where the defense is going to go, that coupled with the fact they've got these great witnesses.
KING: Nancy Grace, would you agree that the term "slam dunk" doesn't apply anymore?
GRACE: I'm not sure yet. I think, in my mind, it could still apply. But I don't want any misleading facts floating around out there. There is no sworn testimony or no doctor's report that has been made public that Conner Peterson was over 32 weeks developed. And let me remind everyone that a fetus develops almost 50 percent more, once they hit the 32-week mark. Therefore, I would suggest that a sonogram is not the most reliable method. This is very commonly known with anyone that has ever handled fetal homicide cases.
What you have to do in a case like this to determine the age of the fetus is to do an X-ray. Why? Because you can determine the rate of calcium in the ,bone as it turns from cartilage to bone, almost to the exact week of the development. And I would like to point out the defense and the state have taken those X-rays. So don't be fooled by a sonogram at the 32-week period. Again, fetuses typically double after week 32.
KING: Ted Rowlands, why did Scott Peterson leave the courtroom before the pathologist -- who happened to have the same name, Dr. Peterson (ph), no relation -- testified?
ROWLANDS: Well, because he knew it was coming and that was going to be graphic testimony about the condition of his wife and child. The Rocha family did not even show up this morning. They also knew what was going to happen off the bat. And the judge asked Scott Peterson if he was aware of his rights. And after questioning, he said, All right, go ahead. And then Peterson got up and left. He did come back for the other half of the session, as did the Rocha family.
KING: Was the pathologist, Jeanine, a good witness?
PIRRO: Well, you know, other than the one issue that I think is a huge issue -- and that is, you should be able to tell whether the -- Conner was born alive, based upon the simple analysis of air or water in his lungs. Other than that, and the fact that there's no question that a sonogram is not necessarily accurate -- I mean, I've had two children. Anyone who knows -- who's had a sonogram when they're pregnant knows that they're not absolutely accurate. But I think he's good, but maybe the prosecution would consider using another pathologist because, generally, there are two that get involved in the actual autopsy itself.
KING: How long does this go on, Chris? Now, we've got another detective testifying tomorrow. You got a time gauge here?
PIXLEY: I don't. And I think Ted probably has a better idea. We heard today, obviously, from Mark Geragos that he intends to make his decision tomorrow as to whether he's going to be putting on his own witnesses. And that's understandable. You want to wait and see, really, what comes out of the prosecution. I don't expect him to put on any more witnesses, and so I think that it will be short-lived, at this point. And you know, if we didn't have the Kelly (ph) hearing and all of the fighting over mitochondrial DNA, Larry, this really would have been a five or six, tops seven-day preliminary hearing. So I think it's been prolonged because of that one issue.
KING: Johnnie, wouldn't the defense only put on witnesses if they expected not to be bound over? If it's going to be bound over, what's the point of showing any part of their case?
COCHRAN: Generally, that's true, Larry. There really is now, at this point. I mean, he's going to be -- Scott Peterson will be bound over by this judge. Once he let that mitochondrial DNA evidence in, he's going to bind him over. So it would be -- I'd be very surprised, as Chris says, if he put any witnesses on. Maybe he wants to impeach somebody on something simple. But I don't think he'll put anyone on. Clearly, he's not going to call Amber Frey or anybody like that, I don't think.
KING: Would you agree, Nancy?
GRACE: Yes. Definitely. We all believe that this case will be bound over. I think it's a lose-lose situation for Geragos to put anything up. He may try to make a symbolic show of it, fighting the state. I don't think it's wise.
But I want to just clear something up Larry. I think the BS-o- meter is way off the chart here tonight because all this speculation regarding what the ME said today -- look, let's just get real about it. I don't care how a lawyer twists and turns and argues in a courtroom, the woman either had to have a C-section or vaginal birth. Now, unless she coughed the baby up under water, that child was not born any other way!
COCHRAN: But Larry...
GRACE: So all of this back and forth is impossible!
COCHRAN: Larry, the problem is -- and you know, Nancy is a very effective advocate, as we all know. But she wasn't...
GRACE: Because it's true!
COCHRAN: ... in the court testifying. Plus that, she's not sworn as a witness. But Dr. Peterson, the sworn pathologist in this case, said he could not rule out that that baby was born alive. Now, he's the doctor. Now, who are we going to take, the doctor's word...
GRACE: No, that's not what he said!
COCHRAN: ... or your word?
GRACE: That's not what he said, Johnnie!
PIRRO: That's the problem.
COCHRAN: That's what he said!
GRACE: He said that this theory of the baby being in the plastic bag...
COCHRAN: Oh, no.
GRACE: He disagreed with it.
GRACE: He said there was no vaginal delivery and no C-section.
COCHRAN: But he couldn't rule out that baby was born alive.
PIRRO: Larry -- Larry, Johnnie...
KING: All right, Chris? Oh, Jeanine. I'm sorry...
PIXLEY: ... again, I mean, Nancy...
PIXLEY: Nancy's talking about...
KING: Jeanine, and then Chris. Jeanine, go ahead.
PIRRO: OK. Larry, Johnnie is right on this one. Dr. Peterson specifically said he could not rule out that Conner was born alive. I looked at the transcript on this one. And that is very disturbing for the prosecution. If they -- either they didn't know he was going to say that, or they have to live with that. And that is a problem for the prosecution.
PIXLEY: And I'm going to agree with the judge and also with Johnnie and say, look, Nancy is very effective as an advocate. But when she says it's not true...
GRACE: Well, you tell me, Chris...
PIXLEY: ... what the -- what the witness said and then... GRACE: You tell me how it happened. Not vaginal, not C-section! Is there something...
KING: Well, why wouldn't the doctor say...
GRACE: ... I don't know about?
KING: Well, why, then, Nancy...
GRACE: Could she cough the baby...
KING: ... wouldn't the doctor -- why wouldn't the doctor rule it out?
GRACE: I don't know why the doctor didn't rule it out, but I can tell you this much, and this is the reality. If it's not a vaginal birth and it's not a C-section, then somebody, I dare you, on this panel, to tell me what was it!
KING: Well, why didn't the doctor say that?
COCHRAN: Why didn't he say that?
GRACE: I can't answer that. But we all know it wasn't vaginal and it wasn't C-section, which leaves the obvious, the uterus, which is the last female organ to decompose, finally was worn down under water and the child escaped that way.
PIXLEY: This is the point of cross-examination, Larry. He says he doesn't believe that it was a vaginal delivery. He doesn't believe it was a C-section.
KING: All right, let me get a...
PIXLEY: And on cross-examination, he says, I can't rule it out.
KING: We'll get a break and come back. This is a dilemma. And we'll talk to Dr. Cyril Wecht. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: In California, you can take pre-trial writs of mandamus, or in the alternative, writs of prohibition on any rules. But normally, what happens is, is that somebody would wait if there's a binding-over order -- and I'm talking completely generically, not this particular case. But if somebody's bound over in a preliminary hearing, you then run what's called a 995 motion, which is a motion to dismiss. If that is denied, then you take the writ from that denial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A few questions now for Dr. Cyril Wecht, one of the world's foremost pathologists. He's in Pittsburgh. He's consulted with Scott Peterson's defense team, coroner of Allegheny County and author of the new book, "Mortal Evidence: The Forensics Behind Nine Shocking Crimes."
With no cause of death determined, how common is that, Dr. Wecht?
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, CONSULTING FOR THE DEFENSE: It's not very common. Most of the time, we are successful in determining the cause of death. This case -- which I can't talk about specifically, but let me speak generically. If you don't have a cause of death or a mechanism of death -- i.e., strangulation, shooting, stabbing, beating, multiple fractures of the skull -- and you don't have a time of death and you don't have a place of death, you've got some real problems because then you cannot scientifically establish the manner of the death -- i.e., natural, accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined. That presents some problems, so...
KING: What does a jury do with dueling pathologists?
WECHT: Well, who knows what a jury does? I've never had the opportunity to sit in. I'd like to be a mouse in somebody's pocket. But there's a lot of things that come into play. I'd like to comment, again, generically. I always get a kick out of...
KING: I know.
WECHT: ... a physician, pathologist or someone else, particularly a forensic pathologist in a homicide case, expressing some things with a reasonable degree of medical probability, recognizing other possibilities and then having a trial attorney convert that into an impossibility. There is a big difference.
I want to point out, too, generically, from a forensic anthropological standpoint, that you have observations made by these people who take measurements and who make observations at the time of autopsy, in conjunction with the forensic pathologist. Specific measurements are made. And that's very important to look at in any case. What does the forensic anthropologist think about the development of the bones, insofar as the gestation...
KING: Well, what -- what are we getting to?
WECHT: Well, the -- look at what has been stated in any particular case. Another thing I would like to point out, whether you're trying to determine the trajectory of gunfire or whether you're trying to determine an angle or range of anything else, or temporally, you're trying to determine something, if you have more than one point, you can establish a line that has a lesser degree of potential invalidity. If you have one or more sonograms in a particular pregnancy and you have one or more examinations by the attending obstetrician, now you have two or three or four points. And the degree, then, of potential error... KING: Connect the dots.
WECHT: ... lessens with each increasing point.
KING: I got you.
WECHT: And so that's something else that has to be looked at in any given case.
KING: Is this case going to be very, very tough to read?
WECHT: Well, it's a difficult case. There's no question. Dr. Brian Peterson, I think, has been honest, as I've read the testimony. He's a competent, experienced forensic pathologist. I can't comment on his testimony, except to say that he was there. He's a forensic pathologist. He's done thousands of autopsies.
There was a forensic anthropologist there, who has presumably examined many, many bodies. There are records in this case, as in other cases, of past sonograms and past gestational age estimates, and so on. And so when you look and see what these people have said, then you have the science, as has been argued by some people panel on the panel. And that means more to a jury, in the final analysis...
KING: Right. Sure.
WECHT: ... than the obviously biased words of attorneys on one side or the other.
KING: Now, we don't know yet whether you will testify. That's to be determined, right?
WECHT: Yes, to be determined.
KING: Dr. Cyril Wecht. Thank you very much, as always.
Let's get a call or two in for our panel. Aiken, South Carolina. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. We think you're great and watch you all the time.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is, when the cameras are in the courtroom on the whole people in there, we want to know, why doesn't Scott ever look at the cameras? Does he not do it because he knows he is guilty? What is the reason he doesn't look at the camera?
KING: That's your -- all right, Johnnie, why -- if your client doesn't look at the camera, put him away!
COCHRAN: Well, that's pretty much -- that's a lot of speculation there. I think that maybe (UNINTELLIGIBLE) told him not to look at the cameras. Maybe he's thinking about the fact they're asking for the death penalty and he's thinking about real serious things about this case and that he's lost his wife and his child. There are a lot of things could be going on. I hate to see speculation like that, Larry. I mean, the camera's not very important.
KING: Do you have a guess, Nancy?
GRACE: I think that, right now, Scott Peterson wants to shield his emotions from any portrayal or interpretation of them. And I think that's one of the reasons he left the courtroom today. I mean, just a little reality check. When his wife's and child's remains washed up, he didn't dash over to the medical examiner's office. No way. No way! So I'm not sure why he left the courtroom today, but I guess that Geragos told him, advised him he should, because no matter what he did, it would be construed with a nefarious stroke. If he cried, if he didn't cry, regardless of what he did, I think that this is all part...
KING: He's in a no-win.
GRACE: Yes, he was in a no-win situation. I think it's all very well choreographed on his part.
KING: Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. I'd like to ask the panel, did Scott Peterson ever request viewing his child?
KING: Do you know, Judge Pirro?
PIRRO: I don't know that. But I think if his behavior that day is any indication, when they were doing the autopsy, he went and played golf. I'm not sure that he actually did that. I would venture a guess, but I don't know for sure.
But I have to tell you, Larry, that it's a good question because I think that today was one of the most difficult days for the Rocha family. To have to hear about the fact that, you know, Laci's body and the condition it was in, without extremities, without flesh and being battered by the tidal currents -- this is a very hard time for crime victims' families. And our sympathies go out to them.
KING: Let me get a break and come back...
COCHRAN: Larry, can I say something?
KING: ... and we'll ask -- yes. Go ahead. Quickly, Johnnie.
COCHRAN: All I was going to say, Larry -- I think it's really a hard time, and I think even for the defense. And I'm sure Chris joins me in this. Everybody -- nobody likes to deal with this. This is very, very difficult, you know, in a case. And we -- and our heart goes out to this family because they really are crime victims, and they don't deserve to be in this position.
KING: You agree, Chris? PIXLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. This holds true for everyone.
KING: Let me get a break, and we'll ask Dr. Ludwig about that decision not to be in court, the Rocha family and for Scott Peterson. And more of your calls coming, too. Don't go away.
KING: To reintroduce our panel: In Modesto, Ted Rowlands, of KTVU. In New York, Nancy Grace of Court TV. In Atlanta, the defense attorney Chris Pixley. In Los Angeles, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. And in New York, Judge Jeanine Pirro, district attorney of Westchester County, New York. We're joined in New York by Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist.
Before I ask Dr. Ludwig a question, Ted, do you have any idea when this is going to be over, this preliminary hearing?
ROWLANDS: Yes. Good news for both sides. At the end of court today, the judge established that everybody expects this hearing to be over tomorrow, if Geragos does not call Amber Frey. And he said afterwards the likelihood of that is very low, so it looks like this thing is going to be wrapped up finally by tomorrow.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, the decision not to be in court for Scott when the pathologist testified. Good idea?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It is a good idea. I absolutely agree with Nancy that this was very choreographed. I'm sure he was advised he was in a no-win situation. People would be watching his every reaction. It would be talked about and scrutinized. And this is not a guy who is so great at showing or hiding his emotions. He's not what you would call a great actor. So leaving is a way to keep his character intact. And when it's all said and done, when you have a primarily circumstantial case, it is a person's character who is up on the trial. And with all this knowledge about his affairs and secret life, he really needs to do whatever he can to rehabilitate his failed image.
KING: How important is courtroom demeanor?
LUDWIG: Very important. Because the jury is looking and assessing and imagining and recreating the story. Could this man really have killed his wife? And if he did it, why did he do it? And again, you know, we know that motive does not need to be stated or proven. But every juror is going to want to construct a story that makes sense. So they're going to be looking and assessing. And it's not clear whether his image will work for him or against him.
KING: And also, the fact that he's a nice, clean-cut looking man. Is there such a thing as not looking like a murderer, if that's possible? What does a murderer look like?
LUDWIG: There's interesting studies where it could go either way. If somebody's considered good looking, it could work to their disadvantage. Because somebody would say, you know, this guy looks like he thinks he could just get away with anything. And that could just have a ricochet effect and work to his disadvantage. But again, if the jury looks at him and says, hey, listen, I can't imagine this guy killing his wife, look how cute they looked, even though they had their problems, I can't see it, that, again, is going to be very hard to overcome.
KING: When Amber Frey does testify in the trial, will that be the high point of this trial?
LUDWIG: She is the star witness, absolutely. Because anything she says will definitely hurt him. She will show how he was a liar, how she was a victim of his words and she was a victim in the relationship. And she just managed to survive so she could talk about it. So absolutely. And also, Gloria's done a really beautiful job at rehabilitating her image. So we no longer see her as this nude model semi prostitute, but a massage therapist who's a single mother, who goes to church, who really was just looking for love in all the wrong places.
KING: Thanks, Robi. Dr. Robi Ludwig, we call on her a lot. Psychotherapist.
Back to the panel and the phone calls. Pompano Beach, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Do you know if any other women Scott's had an affair with have come forward?
KING: Chris, do we know of any others?
PIXLEY: Well, it's been reported that there are other women, but we haven't seen any of that in the preliminary hearing. And there's a real question as to whether we're going to hear anything about that in the trial. It doesn't seem to serve the prosecution's theory. It also doesn't necessarily serve the defense theory, unless they want to trash their own client in the hope that people will understand that he couldn't have cared enough about Amber Frey to murder for. If she is the motive, I don't think they're going to have to go that far, because, again, he didn't spend significant time with her. This is not a woman that he had been having an affair with for months, or years. It's a woman that he had known barely a month. And that alone will matter.
KING: And Nancy, they don't have to show motive, right?
GRACE: Absolutely not. But Robi was right in the sense that jurors want to have an explanation in their own heads. They really do, just like you and I, we want to know why, if he did this, why did he do it. And as to other women, there are reports out there -- Ted Rowlands discussed it many times -- where the tally is up to six, including a stripper. Has it been confirmed? Don't know. But I predict we will hear about it at trial.
KING: But wouldn't that indicate then why would he kill someone over one woman if he's fooling around with six? GRACE: Well, have you ever considered he killed her over many women? In other words, he killed over a lifestyle. He did not want to be tied down. He didn't want the financial drain. He told Amber Frey he wanted to move to Europe and start all over. Obviously, this was a lot of wishful thinking on his part. He didn't want to be married.
KING: But you don't know what he said to the five other women.
GRACE: No, I don't know yet. But I bet we will know.
COCHRAN: And Larry, there is still divorce, isn't there?
KING: That's heard of, yes.
KING: Bristol, Tennessee, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. Thank you for taking my call.
KING: Yeah. Sure.
CALLER: This call is for Nancy. I would like to find out if the doctor who did the autopsy on baby Connor revealed the weight of baby Connor?
GRACE: I looked for that very thing. And it is in the autopsy report, because the first thing you see in an autopsy report is the length in inches, and the weight. And any characteristics, such as a tattoo or a scar. That is in the autopsy report. We did not hear that in court today.
KING: Little River, California, hello. Little River, hello. Are you there? All right. We lost it. Do we have another caller? I didn't get it, they didn't give me another city.
Ted Rowlands, you said it definitely ends tomorrow. Are you saying there's no chance Amber Frey's going to be called?
ROWLANDS: No, not no chance. There's a slim chance. According to Gloria Allred, Mark Geragos has told her that the possibility that she'll be subpoenaed and then brought in to testify is a very remote possibility at this point. He wants to reserve judgment, however, because he wants to see what John Bueller (ph) says. This is the Modesto police detective that basically handled Amber Frey throughout this investigation. He is expected to take the stand tomorrow at some point, and depending, according to Gloria Allred, where they go with that, then Geragos would make that decision. We can hear more from Gloria when she's on.
KING: We'll ask Gloria in a couple of minutes.
Now we have Little River, California, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
KING: Hi. CALLER: This question is for those on the panel who actually heard or read the testimony during this hearing.
KING: I think they all have.
CALLER: Was the pathologist or the medical examiner asked specifically whether there was air or water in Connor's lungs? And if they were, if he was, what was the answer? If he was not, why not?
KING: Johnnie, do you know?
COCHRAN: I don't know. I don't recall him being specifically asked that. And I think Jeanine pointed out earlier, that's a critical question. And I think that if he wasn't asked that, you can count on the fact that the other experts will be talking about that a lot, Larry, because if there was air in the lungs of this child, who lived on his own outside the womb, that will be very critical in this case.
I don't know the answer to that. I don't think I saw that.
KING: Jeanine, do you know?
PIRRO: No, I didn't see it either. But your caller is absolutely right. That is the most important question. Because once the doctor said I can't rule out that Connor was born alive, then maybe he's talking about possibilities, and then it's up to the prosecution to come back on redirect and say, did you find any evidence of water or air in the lungs? And I saw nothing that reflects that question.
KING: Chris? Chris and then Nancy.
PIXLEY: The possibility exists that the question wasn't asked by the prosecution because they don't like the answer. There are a lot of -- there are a lot of loose ends that have not been tied up in this preliminary hearing. I think everyone would agree with that. There's a lot of evidence that's been thrown out there. And then no explanation has been given for it, or how it ties together with the whole theory.
Remember, we still have yet to hear any evidence that places this murder in the home, that shows the murder occurred in the home. And we have one piece of evidence, possibly two, one or two pieces of hair that say that Laci Peterson may have been in Scott's boat. That's all we have in terms of what's really the relevant hard evidence that shows that the prosecution's theory of how this murder occurred actually can be proven.
GRACE: Well, back to the question as to whether there was air in the lungs, I looked at the transcript, did not see the question. But I do know this -- I know that in an autopsy, after having been to them and read about many of them, thousands, as a matter of fact, that each one of the body parts is dissected and looked at, including the lungs. I would also like to point out that Connor's insides, what was left of his internal organs had begun to liquefy. Which may have made it -- just think about it a minute -- may have made it impossible to determine if there had ever been air or water in the lungs. A correction from Mr. Pixley, you are right, the state didn't ask that question, but neither did the defense on cross. So hold on pot, don't call the kettle black. And one last issue, this doctor did say it was his opinion, based on the scientific evidence, that Laci was thrown into that cold water still carrying her child. You make what you want to of that.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll talk with Gloria Allred and more phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: We'd like to spend a few moments with Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey, the former girlfriend of Scott Peterson. The latest there, as Ted Rowlands has brought us up to date, Gloria, it looks like your client is not going to be called, right, to testify in the preliminary hearing?
Is that the read you get?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Hi, Larry. I did talk to Mr. Geragos today, and he is not saying 100 percent certainty that he will not call her. But it's pretty likely that he will not. He'll make that determination after the prosecution rests its case. And then he will decide whether or not he needs to call her. I do expect that one of the detectives who testifies tomorrow and who's had probably the most communication with Miss Frey, may testify about some of that communication. And I think based on that, Mr. Geragos will make his decision.
KING: Legally, though, as an attorney, when would you call someone like this in a case like this?
Under what circumstances would you?
ALLRED: Well, I think that if Mr. Geragos were to call her, he would have to show that in some way that would assist in his affirmative defense to the case. And I don't know how he thinks that the testimony of Amber Frey who potentially was going to be called by the prosecution, could possibly help him in his defense. But maybe he knows something that I don't know. I think it's highly unlikely he's going to call her, or that she would help. But, of course, she'll be there to testify. Truthfully if it helps the defense or prosecution. Her concern is only to tell the truth.
KING: In retrospect, Gloria, was the prosecution correct in not calling her?
ALLRED: I think that they were, Larry. If you judge by the standard of, do they think that they have enough evidence, that they have produced, and that has been admitted into evidence, to argue to the judge that Scott Peterson should be bound over for trial on the double murder charge. And I think that they have produced enough evidence. And I don't think that it would be necessary to call my client, Amber Frey, in order for them to make that argument to the judge. And I think that they made the right decision in not calling her.
KING: Did you get to read the "People Magazine" story?
ALLRED: I did, very briefly, yes.
KING: Any thoughts?
ALLRED: Not really. I just always feel for any client who has her privacy invaded in the way that she did. And, of course, there are statements in there that we feel were taken out of context, and that may portray her in a light that is not as favorable, that if all the facts were known, people would look at her in a more favorable light. However, all of those explanations, you know, will come about at a later point. This is not the time to further invade her privacy by trying to give explanations. I think that would be wrong to do so. And I think that she just basically has to kind of suffer through a lot of what comes out, that is not authorized, and, you know, there were good things in there from her friends. And to try to stay positive throughout all of this ordeal.
KING: How is she doing?
ALLRED: I think she's doing as well as can be expected. I did speak with her today. And she's going about leading her life, and, you know, paying attention to, and being very involved with her little child, and with her work. And she has the support of her friends. I think she's doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
KING: Thanks, Gloria. Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey, expecting things to wind up tomorrow at the preliminary hearing. Back to the calls for our panel.
CALLER: Yes, my question is for Nancy.
CALLER: Nancy, there was a man who came forward from prison he was in solitary confinement, and he said he heard after he got out that Laci was kidnapped, and he said that Scott had actually asked him to kidnap his wife. And when he showed up to meet Scott for more details, Scott changed the story and asked him to murder his wife. And he said, no, he wouldn't do it, and he laughed. So I didn't know if there was validity to his claims and if you knew anything about that. And Nancy, you're wonderful, thank you.
GRACE: Thank you, friend, for the compliment. But as to that man's claims, I understand also his representative says he passed a polygraph. Now, on the other hand, it's my understanding it went from Peterson claiming he wanted the guy to steal Laci's car for insurance, to kidnapping, to murder. Now, I have to hear, and 2,000 miles away, had to say that's quite a stretch for one story. But piece it together, if it exists, I think we would have heard more of it. I think that person would have been added to a witness list, even if they weren't called to the preliminary hearing. Discovery would have gone back and forth about that person. So I'm guessing that it is invalid. I heard the same report myself.
KING: San Antonio, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Yes, what does the panel think about this detective testifying tomorrow, kind of tipping the hand of what Amber Frey really knows?
KING: Yes, Johnnie Cochran, what do you make of that?
COCHRAN: I think it will be interesting to see how that goes. I think that at the preliminary hearing, in the California laws, they allow a lot of hearsay as to what the witness said and that sort of thing. Obviously the best testimony is Amber Frey there, because you can't cross-examine some statement or whatever. So, it would be interesting to see how much leeway the judge gives him. It's not necessary and I trust it's going to be some limited purpose. I do not expect a full-blown statement or hearing regarding what Amber Frey had to say. I would be very surprised if they did that, Larry.
KING: Jacksonville, North Carolina, hello.
KING: Yes, go ahead.
CALLER: Yes. My question is in regard to Scott, and his wife, where they said that he was just a wonderful gentleman, and he never cheated on his wife or anything to that effect. The story comes out now that he had an affair, one affair while he was married. Why -- how -- my question is, how does this come out now when his parents and her parents were on there, and they just raved about, you know, that they never argued. Where did this story come out, and when did it come out?
ROWLANDS: What's come out is that, according to the folks who are knowledgeable about the discovery, that they've identified six people that Peterson...
KING: No, but how did the Amber Frey story first break? Where did this come from?
ROWLANDS: Oh, because she called the detectives. She saw the guy that she was supposedly dating on television, and immediately called the Modesto Police Department. And that was on December 30.
KING: And that's what opened this whole thing up, right? That's when the parents started to doubt him?
ROWLANDS: Yeah, absolutely. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) between the two families. Exactly. Exactly. KING: All right. We'll take a break and come back with our remaining moments with our outstanding panel, with the regulars. Don't go away.
KING: Ted Rowlands, you wanted to add something before we take another call?
ROWLANDS: Yeah, just something Nancy was talking about. No evidence of a C-section. That's what the pathologist testified to today, there was no evidence of it. He didn't rule it out, because in fact the flesh left on Laci Peterson's body was basically gone. The soft tissue was all gone and the ribs were completely exposed. All the internal organs around the uterus were also gone. The defense theory is that indeed that is what happened. The pathologist only testified that there was no evidence. But with no flesh there, there wouldn't be any evidence.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Hold on, Ted. It's not just the skin that gets cut for a C-section. The uterus, all those muscles are cut, too. Yes, I know the muscles were gone, but part of her uterus was still intact.
ROWLANDS: But there was a part of the uterus that was completely gone. The pathologist said that there was a section of the uterus that was completely eroded away, which still opens up the theory. That's why the pathologist said that he couldn't rule out a live birth.
KING: Pittsburgh, hello?
CALLER: Hello, Larry. My question is for Chris.
KING: Hi. Yeah?
CALLER: I would like to know, Chris -- you're great, by the way.
PIXLEY: Thank you.
CALLER: When the cameras started, when all this started to go on and the cameras were in the courtroom and we saw Laci's mom run out crying. As a defense attorney, wouldn't this bother you in front of the jury members? And A, wouldn't you either go to the judge and say, we need to stop this, or go to Laci's mom and say, do the same thing? Because as a jury member, I would probably look at this and say, wow...
KING: You mean at the trial?
CALLER: At the trial, right. And seeing her run out like this.
PIXLEY: Well, you know, we've talked a little bit today about the histrionics and about whether Scott's being coached, versus whether his behavior is actually being orchestrated. You know, we're in a preliminary hearing. I don't expect that to happen at the time of trial.
Yes, jurors will pay attention to the family members. But as the panel has pointed out, already, the jurors are primarily focusing on the defendant. That is where their attention will be.
I disagree with the idea that defense attorneys are orchestrating Scott's behavior. You coach your client, you coach them to be attentive, you coach them to be respectful. These are very long proceedings. They can last weeks or months. And they go hours per day. And the defendant is the only person that doesn't get to do anything. You tell them, despite all of that, they have to remain attentive, because they're being watched. But what you don't do is orchestrate their behavior, tell them what to do or what not to do or when to cry.
KING: We only have 30 seconds left. Johnnie, as a defense attorney, what in the prosecution's case so far worries you the most if you were defending Peterson?
COCHRAN: I think that there are a couple of things, Larry. The fact that those bodies washed up near where Scott Peterson said he went fishing on that date, I think that's probably going to be a difficult point. I think -- when you think about common sense, that's a difficult thing. I think, also, if he did in fact say to Amber Frey that his wife was lost or missing on December 9, you know, two weeks before she turned up missing, that would be another difficult problem.
KING: Thank you all very much. We've got lots more to cover next time. Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Johnnie Cochran and Judge Jeanine Pirro. And I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, Dan Rather will be our special guest. Regis Philbin joins us on Wednesday. Nelly Connally on Thursday night. And then that panel of physicians all of whom were in the emergency room at Parkham Hospital 40 years ago, that will be Friday night.
Right now, it's time for "NEWSNIGHT." I'm in Washington, he's up the road a bit in New York. He is of course Aaron Brown, Mr. B.
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