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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of British Royal Family, Princess Diana's Death
Aired January 7, 2004 - 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: a new royal shocker. Yesterday a British tabloid identified Prince Charles as the man Diana accused of wanting her killed in a memo written months before her fatal car crash. And that stunning report came out just hours before Britain opened its first inquest into Diana's death. We'll get into that and the allegations that Diana was pregnant when she died, and a lot more, with our panel of royal watchers.
In London, Robert Lacey, best-selling author of books like "Monarch"; in Washington, Kitty Kelley, also a best-selling royals biographer; in London, Hugo Vickers, another best-selling author; Dickie Arbiter, former press secretary to the Queen; and Harold Brooks-Baker, the publishing director of "Burke's Peerage."
Then later: a critical day in the Scott Peterson case tomorrow, a hearing to determine if his trial should be moved from Modesto, California. We'll get the latest with Ted Rowlands of KTVU, on the scene in Modesto, on top of the story from day one, high-profile jury consultant Jo-Elan Demetrius (ph), and psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We start with the big story out of the mother country, the allegation by "The Daily Mirror" that Prince Charles is somehow the person named in that series of memos and letters printed by the butler.
Robert Lacey, how big is -- I understand you have some newspapers there. How big is this story today in London?
ROBERT LACEY, AUTHOR, "MONARCH": Well, it's massive. All the newspapers have jumped on the bandwagon. I think you've already shown this story already from "The Mirror," and there's just a pile of them. We've all been looking at them here. Of course, one of the interesting things is the way now, having created interest in these extraordinary conspiracy theories, now members of the press are saying, Well, why are we having this inquest in any case? And some papers are staking out a position of saying it's a waste of public money because the royal coroner has announced that he's actually putting senior detectives at Scotland Yard into looking into all the charges. So yes, it's a massive story here.
KING: Kitty, wouldn't you say this is a shocking accusation made prior to her death by the person killed? KITTY KELLEY, AUTHOR, "THE ROYALS": Well, it's very spooky. It's very spooky because she did, indeed, die that way. And it shows you what Diana's state of mind was at the time and what she was thinking. And of course, it really does feed the conspiracy theories, which is why I think this inquest is going to have to be conducted with absolute transparency. The royal family has got to stand behind it, make every single effort to cooperate. Now, there'll be some conspiracy theorists that you'll never satisfy, but I saw the polls that 27 percent of the British public believe there is a conspiracy and 49 percent believe that there has been some kind of a cover-up. So I think this inquest is quite important.
KING: Hugo, the butler is very angry that the name was released by "The Mirror." He's the one that released the letters and blocked out the name. What's the reason for his anger?
HUGO VICKERS, AUTHOR, "ALICE: PRINCESS ANDREW OF GREECE": Well, we are told that he is angry, and unless some other evidence comes up, I guess we must believe him. But it appears Morgan (ph), who's the editor of "The Daily Mirror," published that letter yesterday with the revelation that that was the name, which actually, if you read the letter carefully, you could have worked out very simply for yourself. The reason for publishing the letter, he said, was because it was sensational. That was the only reason he gave. He didn't believe it was true. He didn't think it added anything else. But he thought it was sensational, therefore he published it.
You can read into that what you like. I think the whole thing is pretty disgraceful.
KING: By the way, Paul Burrell was on this program, as you all know. We're going to show you a clip now, when I asked him a question concerning that letter. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - October 30, 2003)
KING: If the name that was blacked out were printed, would we all know it?
PAUL BURRELL, PRINCESS DIANA'S FORMER BUTLER AND CONFIDANT: I think you would recognize whatever was underneath that tape, but that should only ever be released to the proper authorities. I think it should only ever go to a proper inquiry and not be released to the media. I think it's very important not to release these secrets into the open world.
KING: But it would be either an organization or a person known to -- we would say, Oh, boy, right, if we saw it?
BURRELL: I think so, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dickie Arbiter, assuming that that is correct, would you be more inclined to think she was really onto something, or was she a little paranoiac? DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN: Well, before I get onto that, I think that was a bit hypocritical of Burrell because he's the one that released the letter, in the first place. And if he didn't want it to get anybody's hands...
KING: But he blacked out the name.
ARBITER: He blacked out the name, but the letter should have probably gone to the French authorities during their investigation and should have been given to the British authorities but not given to a newspaper.
But no, she wasn't paranoid. She was a prolific writer, and she very often wrote down her thoughts. And that may well have been a thought note to herself and not to anybody else. But as we know, so much got swept up by various people when she died, and we've seen a lot of that revealed in Burrell's book. She wasn't paranoid. She had mood swings. She had ups and downs. She was the consummate professional when she was on the royal road, but when she was at home alone, she had a lot of time to think and a lot of time to write and a lot of time to put her thoughts to paper. And that's what she did.
KING: Harold, assuming the note is authentic, what does it say to you?
HAROLD BROOKS-BAKER, PUB. DIR., "BURKE'S PEERAGE": It says very little except that the late Princess of Wales was fighting shadows wherever they might appear. And one of the things that most people haven't bothered to do is to think about what is practical.
Was it practical for any member of the royal family or any adviser to the royal family to wish the Princess of Wales out of the way? No. She was incorrect in feeling that the Prince of Wales would be free to marry again. Of course, he was free to marry again. He was already -- he was divorced. He could marry. As far as the Church of England is concerned, he, as you know, with Mrs. Parker Bowles is not free -- at that time, he was not free to marry within the church. Now, the church has changed its rules since last July, so there is a real possibility he could marry now.
KING: Robert Lacey, then why...
BROOKS-BAKER: The Princess of Wales -- the Princess of Wales...
KING: ... on earth do you -- why do you think, Robert Lacey -- why do you think she would think that?
LACEY: Well, I think Dickie's given us a very good clue there. And of course, he was someone who worked very closely with her. I was speaking yesterday to Patrick Jefferson (ph), who was another member of her staff. And he said She would write down things not necessarily true.
Let's not forget, we're only looking here at one page of a document. We don't know what the rest of it says. It could well be -- and Burrell himself has said -- that it wasn't the letter that she sent to him. It followed a sort of home-made therapy session, where she went through all her fears and then said she would write them down. It was a sort of exorcism. So maybe the first page of this document says, Here are my fears at the moment. According to one of her soothsayers, she'd had astrological predictions of a conspiracy against her. So maybe the first page of this document says, Here's what my astrologer says.
I think what's clear to everybody in Britain is that if you like Prince Charles, you just don't believe he'd ever dream of assassinating or think of assassinating the mother of his children. And if you don't like Prince Charles, you say, How could such a ditherer, a man who's never really been decisive in his life, actually get down to plotting a murder? It just doesn't make sense.
KING: Kitty, what would you guess is the impact on the two boys?
KELLEY: Well, I would think it's -- it's sad because they know that they're in for a long, long media circus over this inquest. And I think it's going to be very difficult for them. And I think they'll probably be called to testify.
May I just say one thing, though, Robert, about what you just said about the letter. This was not a letter. You were right. It was a note that the princess wrote. But she said that she gave it -- I mean, according to Paul Burrell, she gave it to him. She marked it and she said, I want you to keep this for safekeeping, in case something does happen to me. So this was not just something that she was writing as a diary or as a journal.
KING: Yes, well said.
We'll take a break and come right back with more. We'll be including your phone calls, as well. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE, with this amazing story out of Great Britain. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - AUGUST, 1997)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some very sad news to bring you. We are just getting word that the French government has informed all of us that Princess Diana has died. The 36-year-old princess is -- has succumbed to her injuries. We have not been able to independently confirm that, but we are telling you what the French government at this time is telling us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - JANUARY 6, 2004)
MOHAMED AL FAYED, FATHER OF DI'S LOVER, DODI FAYED: I'm always saying this from the beginning, that is the head of the royal family. And I suspect not only Prince Charles, but without (ph) Prince Philip, who is racist at the core.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) damning allegations. AL FAYED: No, but it's -- I'm saying it. I'm not worried. I'm saying it all the time from the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Hugo, how big a part in the inquest will this letter or statement play?
VICKERS: Well, I don't know that it will play a huge thing. I think the inquest has to examine a lot of different issues, and I think it has to knock on the head a lot of the nonsense that has surrounded the stories, conspiracy theories, et cetera, concerning the death of the Princess of Wales. But the inquest is something which is required by law in this country and has to -- really, the main purpose of it is to establish the reason why the Princess of Wales died.
And actually, I want to be like Fayed and start suggesting that we already know this, so we pretty much know why she died. She died in a car accident because the -- his chauffeur had had too much to drink and the car was being pursued by photographers. And therefore, you know, it was a difficult, chaotic situation. That's why she died.
KING: Dickie, isn't it a little wild to you that she says her husband might do it and says it'll be a car crash? I mean, isn't that a little -- that's pretty way out.
ARBITER: Well, it is way out, but you've got to understand the lady, that she would go back to Kensington Palace, she'd be on her own and she'd have her thoughts with her, and she'd be thinking all sorts of things. And you know, therapists will say that if you've got a problem, write it down. It'll get it out of the system. She was a prolific writer. But I don't think you have to link what she said 10 months -- or what she wrote 10 months before the accident with the accident itself.
No, she wrote the note. I was amazed, actually, what Kitty was saying earlier on, that she had given it to Burrell and trusted him with the care of it. We don't know that. We have to take Burrell's word for that. And he has shown over the past year that he's a bit economical with the truth. You know, he said after the trial -- after her death, he would never write a book. He said after her trial he would never write a book. What did he do 10 months later? He wrote a book. He said he would -- he might not write a sequel, but circumstances change. So watch this space.
So I don't think she gave it to Burrell. I think it was probably for somebody else or just for her own safekeeping. But I don't think this letter will really play a significant part in this inquest. We've heard today from the previous coroner that she wasn't pregnant and he knows that she wasn't pregnant. So that's knocked that conspiracy theory out of the way.
As far as other conspiracies -- look, I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I think most thinking people aren't. What we've got are the British police are going to investigate it. They're going to present their findings to the coroner. The coroner had got to go through the French document, which is 6,000 pages. It's not bedtime reading. And that's why the inquest is going to take so long before we get to the hearings around about maybe this time or even later next year.
KING: Harold, where did the pregnancy idea come from?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think it came from people who felt that the royal family might be confused or embarrassed about the idea of having a child produced who was part Arab. What most people don't realize is that the queen herself is part Arab, part Jewish, part French, part every nationality you can think of. She's a walking United Nations. The whole idea is completely ridiculous. And our late chairman, Serian Moncrief (ph), did the research on the Arab side, and the queen descends directly from a sister of the prophet. So let's not really spend too much time on conspiracy theories.
Also, the French had 6,000 pieces of paper involved with their investigation and 3,000 people investigated. And I doubt very much, even with Sir John Stephens (ph), who is one of the most important people in the police force in this country, that much new is going to come out of this, except sadness for the poor children of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
KING: Robert, has the meeting between Mr. Burrell and Prince William taken place as yet? They had agreed to meet, the son and the butler.
LACEY: That we don't know. And there, at least, Paul Burrell seems to be keeping some sort of confidence.
As everyone's saying here, not least thanks to Mr. Al Fayed, with whom you started this -- this sector, people seem to have taken leave of their senses. In fact, there was a cartoon in one of the papers this morning saying, Did Elvis tamper with the princess's car? Now, that's, you know, taking things to extremes.
But one of the things we should remember, that the great delays, which we've actually talked on, on previous shows and attributed -- falsely, it now turns out -- to the royal family, are actually the result of Mr. Fayed himself. The reason it's taken so long and fueled the conspiracy theories is because he has brought ceaseless lawsuits in the French courts, and it's only just in the last month or so the French have felt able to release the papers. So we have this strange situation of the man who's calling conspiracy is actually creating the conditions.
And let's not forget on Mr. Fayed, if you don't accept the conspiracy, you have to accept the fact that she died in a Fayed car with a Fayed driver with a plan that we know was approved by Mr. Fayed himself personally that night. And so as the evidence stands for most people, he's the one who's responsible for the death of his son.
KING: Let me get a break, and when we come back, we'll start taking phone calls for our panel. I'll reintroduce the panel, as well. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. And then we'll get into -- it's going to be a big day tomorrow in the Peterson trial. We'll get an advance look at that, as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES SPENCER, DIANA'S BROTHER: We give thanks for the life of a woman I'm so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana, whose beauty both internal and external will never be extinguished from our minds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURRELL: I'm not happy about it. I only learned about it late last night. And it was always my intention never to publish that name. I never, ever wanted it to be known.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you angry towards "The Daily Mirror," Mr. Burrell?
BURRELL: I'm not very happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you plan to do now?
BURRELL: I'm going to speak to my lawyer and my agent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Let's reintroduce our panel before we go to phone calls. In London is Robert Lacey, best-selling author, veteran royal watcher. By the way, his book, "Great Tales From English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionhearted and More," was due for release in the United States this summer. His book, "Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II," is out in paperback. Kitty Kelley is in Washington, best-selling biographer. "New York Times" best-sellers include "The Royals." She's working on a biography of the Bush family dynasty scheduled for publication later this year. In London is Hugo Vickers, best-selling biographer, veteran royal watcher. His books include "Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece," and a biography of Prince Philip's mother. In London is Dickie Arbiter, the former spokesman for Buckingham Palace, former press secretary for the Queen and the Prince and Princess of Wales. And also in London is Harold Brooks-Baker, the publishing director of "Burke's Peerage."
Let's go to calls. Fredericton, New Brunswick. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
CALLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I enjoy your show very much.
KING: Sure. What's the question? CALLER: Am I correct in my understanding that the royal family has their own coroner? And why, if so, were any autopsies not published by the French government or by the royal family?
KING: Kitty, you know?
KELLEY: The royal family does have its own coroner, and this coroner, Michael Burgess, happens to be from Surrey, which is also the -- is going to be doing the inquest for Dodi Fayed. Any time a member of the royal family is killed in an unnatural or a violent way, there is a special inquest. I think the last time it was done was in 1972. But there will be two inquests, one for the princess and one for Dodi Fayed.
KING: OK. Redlands, California. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. My question is, why is Diana being discredited with statements like she had mood swings or she was alone a lot with her thoughts, suggesting she lived her life in fantasy, when her prediction happened exactly the way she said it would?
KING: Good question. Hugo, it's a fair question. It certainly wasn't a fantasy. She died in a car crash.
VICKERS: Yes, but it's unfair to say that it's -- that her prediction came true because Prince Charles most certainly was not behind that car crash. That is completely ludicrous. I don't any of us actually believe that at all.
I don't think that it's discrediting to the princess to say that she had mood swings and that she was alone a lot. I think these thing are unfortunately true. You know, it's one of those things. She was several different people. She was a very good public performer. She was quite often a sad and confused and unhappy person privately. And Dickie Arbiter, who said that, he knows that very well because he was working with her largely at that time. But we all saw that.
No, I mean, the allegation is not true, and it's -- the fact that she wrote that particular note -- I'm sure she wrote dozens of other notes, and if she'd written a note saying, I think I'm going to fall off a horse, had she written -- had she actually fallen off a horse, that note would probably have been produced. That's as far as I can take that one.
KING: Germantown, Ohio. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call.
CALLER: I was just wondering. Did Princess Diana talk to her sons before her death of her feelings or did she leave any letters to them?
KING: Dickie Arbiter, do you know?
ARBITER: Well, she did talk to her sons because she was on holiday with her sons before she went -- her sons went up to Balmoral with their father and she returned to the south of France with Dodi Fayed. She had long conversations with her sons. She was very close to them. They knew her and she knew them. And she confided in them. But I think, you know, that's really as far as it goes. She did talk to them, and she was with them on holiday before they went to Balmoral and, as I said a moment ago, she went back to the south of France.
KING: Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I wanted -- this is 2004. The Princess died in 1996. Why was this information not released then? I mean, was -- was anybody aware that it existed?
KING: She died in '97, I think.
CALLER: In '97.
KING: Harold Baker, why now?
BROOKS-BAKER: Well, I think that the great problem here is that, obviously, what the butler knew is important and the information that Burrell had was kept for future publication. He has now become a very rich man. Who has benefited out of this? He, and he alone so far, has benefited greatly. So I think that it's rather unfair to feel that the Princess of Wales, who wrote constantly, who said millions of things in writing, should be accused of being able to predict her own death. What about all the other little pieces of paper?
If you look at the record from Paris during this 6,000 documents they have and 300 people who were interviewed, you can certainly realize that the Princess of Wales was an unguided missile. I mean, certainly, she was the most loved and adored person in the world, but she had become a very unhappy person. And unhappy people do rather strange things and write rather strange things.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with some more calls, and then we'll get to our other panel discussing the Scott Peterson matter coming up tomorrow in Modesto. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAYED: I already mention it, and I'm mentioning it all the time. It is absolute black-and-white horrendous murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back. New York City, hello.
CALLER: Yes. I'm an attorney from actually originally Buffalo, New York. I have political connections having to do with the military and the university system and I'm calling to see whether or not your guests have any idea whether or not the covert relationships between Britain, the United States and the Middle East having to do with the depletion of the Middle Eastern oil fields that have been predicted 40 years ago by the American oil industry. Whether they understand whether or not that's figured into the conspiracies?
KING: You buy any of that, Robert?
LACEY: Well, I don't. I mean one of the theories that circulating even links this thing with 9/11 and says here is an Englishwoman with an Arab Muslim man and Diana, apparently said she had a great ambition to bring the Muslim and the English worlds together and, therefore, you can even bring al Qaeda into this, if you want.
I think things got totally out of hand and now there's talk that Paul Burrell's wife will write a book about life with Paul Burrell after he has written a book about life with the princess.
It's got out of hand. I agree, Larry, I can see your fascination with the thing she wrote. It puts her in a Nostradamus category. So as everybody says, it's just one piece of paper and we shouldn't, I think, attach that much importance to it.
KING: Long Island, New York.
CALLER: Hello. My question is for Mr. Arbiter and I am wondering why he is so skeptical about a conspiracy theory when even the queen warned Mr. Burrell about powers that are much more powerful than she. And the very thought that there is a power out there that the queen herself was leery of or wary of.
ARBITER: We only have Paul Burrell's word that that is what the queen said. I am skeptical and I will remain skeptical. I am not a conspiracy theorist and I don't think most thinking people are.
This was an accident that happened, should never have happened. Look, if you're going to have a conspiracy, you have to have an itinerary for the people you're going to target. You have to have a plan. When they left the south of France, they were going to fly straight back to London, but they didn't, they dropped into Paris. That's the number one break in the plan because there's no plan.
And then they went to the Ritz hotel and then decided they were going to go to Dodi's flat and that wasn't in the plan either. If you haven't got a plan, you don't have a conspiracy.
KING: Well said. Toronto. CALLER: Hi, Larry. It's Judy from Canada. I have a huge concern for Prince William and Prince Harry. Has he brought Prince Harry back in from Australia and is he concerned about security for the boys?
KELLEY: Well, I understand that Harry came home for Christmas and spent Christmas with the family and, of course, security is a huge problem. Even when Harry went swimming in Australia not so long ago, he was accompanied by three bodyguards, so, yes, indeed, security is a huge problem for those children. Those young men, excuse me.
KING: Topeka, Kansas.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I have two questions, actually. What was the time period from when the note was written to when the accident actually happened? No. 2, what did Diana -- do we know what she based this note on? Where did she come up with this idea? What was the background that led her to believe this accident or this was going to happen?
KING: Hugo, when was the note written compared to the date of death?
VICKERS: It was ten months before, which immediately, obviously, means that it had nothing to do with Dodi Fayed who didn't come into her life to some time after that. Where did she get all these ideas from?
She said she thinks Prince Charles wanted to do something in order that he could remarry and there's no evidence for anything at all, absolutely no evidence behind it. Had she given any evidence, I suspect we would have seen it by now. I suggest there is none.
KING: Tampa, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. Thank you for taking my call. If the current investigation of Princess Diana's death has not produced any concrete evidence, does the panel see that the tabloids and conspiracy theorists actually saying that this is the royal family protecting their own and making sure that the monarchy continues?
KING: You think that's the case, Harold?
Well, I think the monarchy will continue, the only thing that might be put off for a while is a possible marriage between Camilla Parker Bowles and the prince of Wales, but certainly, with all the damage you can do to the children and their future, the monarchy will definitely continue.
It's a great asset to the United Kingdom. It's a great asset to the 54 countries in the Commonwealth. So, don't push this thing too far. As far as conspiracy theories are concerned, nobody has bothered to think about the fact that Dodi Fayed was the son of one of the most controversial and hated businessmen in the world. So why does the public center its attention on the late princess of Wales more than Dodi Fayed? Simply because the late princess of Wales was adored and loved all over the world.
KING: This could lead to a book by Fayed's butler. We thank Robert Lacey, Kitty Kelley, Hugo Vickers, Dickie Arbiter, and Harold Brooks-Baker.
When we come back, Ted Rowlands, Jo-Ellan Demitrius, and Dr. Robi Ludwig on the Peterson matter. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow, Thursday, January 8. A critical day in the Scott Peterson double murder case. The county Superior Court judge will hold a hearing to determine whether there should be a change of venue.
We get a little preview of that in Modesto, California, Ted Rowlands of KTVU, he's been covering the Peterson case since it began. In Los Angeles, Jo-Ellan Demitrius, easily said, the best known jury consultant anywhere working with the Peterson defense team, by the way, and president of Demetrius and Associates. And in New York, the psychotherapist, Dr. Robi Ludwig.
All right, Ted, what's the latest? What's going to happen tomorrow?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV CORRESPONDENT: The judge most likely has come to a conclusion or at least a preliminary one on what he wants to do. Both sides have had opportunities to file briefs on this. Tomorrow they will be given an opportunity to argue in front of him and he will want specific areas covered. But both sides also believe he will make a ruling from the bench here. His task is to decide whether or not a jury can be impaneled in this county. Court rules will dictate he will do everything possible to do just that. But if he thinks its are a foregone conclusion that the defendant cannot get a fair trial, looking at the numbers then it is his responsibility to grant the change of venue motion that the defense has put forward.
KING: Is, Ted, his ruling appealable by either side?
ROWLANDS: Yes, if the defense -- let's say he says, no change of venue, we want to do it here, Geragos could take it to the Fifth Court of Appeals, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals here. And I guess the other way would happen as well. But the prosecution came out and said we're not necessarily against a change of venue, we want the right thing to be done, because, of course, an appeal later, if the right thing is not done here, you would think that an appeal later would overturn a potential verdict here. So nobody wants the wrong thing to be done here. I think the judge will come in here very carefully and has already looked over all of this and presumably this is a big decision he's been thinking about for a long time.
KING: Would you say Jo-Ellan, we are working with the Peterson defense team, right? They want a change of venue?
JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: Absolutely, we do. What's going to be really interesting about the motion tomorrow and the arguments -- there are two things that the judge has to find. No. 1 is the percentage of awareness of the case. And, No. 2, what is the predisposition of those people who are aware of the case?
What we know from all the surveys that have been done so far is the awareness is like 97 percent. You know, unless you live under a rock, most people have heard about the case. The percentage of people who have predisposed at this point, based on a survey that just came out after December, is something like 40 percent. In the courts, what traditionally judges have found is anywhere between 31 to 40 percent is what they will look at as being an appropriate amount for granting motion.
KING: Is the judge, therefore, on safe ground granting it?
KING: The prosecution is not going to appeal. He grants it, you get a fairer trial, right?
KING: Would you say the betting is he will grant it?
DIMITRIUS: My bet would be that he will grant it. Interesting match up tomorrow because the prosecution is using an expert name Eddy Ebingson (ph) and the defense is using Dr. Paul Strahan (ph). They were just up against one another in the Jason Williams case back in New Jersey.
KING: The basketball player.
DIMITRIUS: The basketball player. They granted the change of motion as a result of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) testimony.
KING: Where will his trial?
DIMITRIUS: His trial will start next Tuesday.
KING: In what city?
DIMITRIUS: In Somerset County.
KING: Moved it from (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DIMITRIUS: Moved from (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what's the thinking psychologically on a juror who has knowledge of a case?
ROBI LUDWIG, ATTORNEY: Well, as Jo-Ellen can tell you, jurors go in, certainly, with a bias, even if they're not aware of it. So you want to reduce the likelihood of someone going in with a bias that can be devastating to a client. Because we certainly want our defendants to have a fair trial. Nobody wins if there's not a fair trial. And the American public certainly wants to see that a guilty man gets punished, but we don't want to see an innocent man get accused of something he didn't do. So, if in this case, a change of venue would help the case to operate more fairly, I'm sure it's a win/win for everybody.
KING: Will a juror, not even knowing how they feel, say they have not made an opinion when they may have?
LUDWIG: Yes. Especially if they want to be part of the case. They may be inclined to say whatever it is they think the person who is interviewing them wants to hear. And again, everybody goes in with a preconceived notion. It's whether those ideas can be changed when they are exposed to new and important information. And its it certainly sounds like Scott Peterson has an amazing team that can help him get the appropriate jurors. But you have to consider about, you know, the location. I mean, in Modesto there's probably less degree of separation, which will impact a person's ability to be fair.
DIMITRIUS: You know, that's absolutely right, Dr. Ludwig makes a good point. That because of the closeness and the intimacy factor within Modesto, that is, you know, people know each other and know the pharmacist perhaps that used to deal with the family, they know the barber or whatever it may be. It's going to be much difficult for free information delivered to that particular community than something someplace like, you know, San Diego or Los Angeles, sure.
KING: What, Ted, is the buzz about tomorrow?
Is the buzz they're going to move it?
ROWLANDS: You know, it's gone back and forth to be quite frank. I think the prevailing theory was that this was a slam dunk, if you will, that it will be moved. But then there's a little bit of a current that the judge may try to impanel a jury here that rules of the court would instruct him to do if he doesn't think it's a slam dunk. That maybe an option. If they can't do it, then he could grant a change of venue. The problem with that is you lose a lot of time and it costs the state a lot of money. So, it's very interesting to see what this judge does.
KING: If he grants the change, Jo-Ellan, do you a say or a request as to where it's changed? Or Could he move it to San Francisco, fairly close by but a much bigger city?
DIMITRIUS: Often times the defense will suggest a remedy, that being another county. I know that at one point the judge had made some suggestion about bringing people in from another county into Modesto. Doing that. I've heard that done.
KING: Does that work? Bus them in?
DIMITRIUS: Right, bus them in. I saw it done in one case that did not have as much media coverage, and it worked successfully down here in Los Angeles. But I think the judge, I would imagine, has probably been in contact with the judicial counsel because while he has the final say -- you know, he's getting guidance from the powers at be within the California Judicial Council. And he's looking at a couple different locations at this point.
KING: Is he says moves it to San Diego is he the judge? Does he go down for the trial or is another judge appointed?
DIMITRIUS: He would be the judge that goes down with it.
KING: He would be the judge?
KING: Is it necessarily true Dr. Ludwig, that the juror in Los Angeles is more open minded than the juror in Modesto?
LUDWIG: As Jo-Ellen said the only way they know about the case is what they read or seen in the media. It's not likely they would have had personal contact with any of the players involved. So, of course, that would help a person to be more objective and, as a result, less bias. If someone in the town knew of somebody who knew Laci when she was a cheerleader and had a strong set of feelings about her feeling more of a knowingness, more of a sense of intimacy, it is harder to be objective. And the other issue, too, perhaps people in the town have a feeling about this taking place. I mean, Modesto is now synonymous with Scott Peterson who could have potentially murdered his pregnant wife. And they could have feelings of their town being perceived in that way and their own sense of safety being altered.
KING: Are you going to be there tomorrow?
DIMITRIUS: I'm not going to be there tomorrow, but I wanted to add to all this component to say that there's another factor going on, as well. I know that Mark filed papers about it and that is that there have been two break ins at the Peterson home fairly recently. You know, one can say, well, that's just, you know, it's just circumstance, but it sort of seems a little bit ironic that all of this is going on.
KING: Let me get a break and when we come back, we'll take some more calls for Ted Rowlands, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Dr. Robi Ludwig. And of course, tomorrow night following this important hearing we'll do a major show on this. We'll be right back.
KING: By the way, it should be noted that the former mayor of Modesto Carmen Sabatino, publicly stated he did think did not think Scott Peterson could get a fair trial in his city. Bolton, Ontario, Canada hello.
CALLER: Hi, my question is, I saw a report this morning that they were transferring an inmate that was going to be testifying in the trial. Is that why they're planning to keep it in Modesto?
ROWLANDS: Well, I think they had to procedurally ask that this inmate be move to the Stanislaus County Jail. Of course, if the change of venue is granted, they'll again have to move the inmate to the new venue.
This inmate we're talking about, is actually one of the burglars, one of the two guys that burgled the home across the street from the Peterson home. This person, according to sources who are familiar with the case, is going to testify on the prosecution's behalf to say that he saw Scott Peterson milling about his house and supposedly possibly loading something in his truck at about 2:30 in the morning on the day before Christmas Eve, the day before -- or Christmas Eve morning at 2:30 in the morning.
This would be the first part of their timeline that they plan to lay out for the jury. So this convicted felon is going to actually be testifying on behalf of the prosecution.
KING: Be tough for him, won't it? It will sound tough.
DIMITRIUS: It certainly sounds tough, but, again, what the public has heard is only one side of the case and there's a lot of very interesting information that will come out at the trial.
KING: There's a lot then that we don't know.
DIMITRIUS: Absolutely. I think people will be shocked to learn what else is out there.
KING: Are you saying the defense in this case, no matter where this trial is held, will surprise us?
DIMITRIUS: Oh, my goodness, yes. Absolutely.
KING: You're so affirmative. Things you know.
DIMITRIUS: Things I know.
KING: Ashtabula, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry, how are you?
CALLER: My question is this, if there is not a change of venue and he's found guilty, is that an appealable issue? Do you think with all this publicity surrounding this case that there should be sequestered jury? Thank you.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what do you think? LUDWIG: We saw in the Dr. Sam Shepard case. He was a doctor who was also convicted of killing his pregnant wife in 1962, that decision was reversed because of all the media attention it received and it was decided he couldn't get a fair trial, so yes, it could be reversed.
And it may be wise to sequester a jury. I know that jurors don't like that, because it's very restrictive and they often feel they're in prison, which is not right. But, again, we have to think about the greater good and what's in the best interest of this defendant and of the trial.
KING: Ted, will this trial be telecast?
ROWLANDS: It remains to be seen. I think there is a good possibility that it will be. This judge has been back and forth with his decisions about allowing a camera into the courtroom, but I would think that because he is familiar with how it's done and he hasn't seemed to put up much of a fight except for during the preliminary hearing, that he may allow a camera in once the jury is impaneled.
One other thing I want to pass along, Larry, the confidence that Joe Ellen had just a moment ago I got from Jackie Peterson tonight. She came out of the jail visiting Scott and she said in the end he is going to walk and she did seem very confident going into this thing.
KING: Joe Ellen, do you agree with the proposition that they should be sequestered?
DIMITRIUS: Well, the one thing that we learned from O.J. after having those folks sequestered for nine months is that, you know, we're taking people out of what they do on a normal basis and we're throwing them into a hotel where they are watched and scrutinized by deputies 24 hours a day. It's a very abnormal situation for people to be in.
I think there are steps that can be taken short of sequestering that would be a much healthier environment. And I think, I hope, the one thing we learned out of O.J. is they do not sequester, at least, for the trial. Maybe for deliberations, but not for the trial.
KING: Do you expect a long trial?
DIMITRIUS: I would expect, probably, at least four-month trial.
KING: Silver Spring, Maryland, hello.
CALLER: Yes, what is the source of the funding for the defense team?
KING: I think the Petersons have money.
DIMITRIUS: They do.
KING: The father is in business, they employ a lot of people. They live in Rancho Santa Fe. They have money. Esparto, California, hello. CALLER: Larry King, my question is for Jo-Ellen. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bald spot?
KING: What? A very intelligent question sir. I know Don and Mike, and of course, one of them fell out of the crib as a child, as I remember, when they were in Washington. I think the other one pushed them. I think they know eachother since childhood, but I have no idea what he's talking about.
But a very good question, it shows you're really keen on things. I'm glad you waited an hour to ask it. I have no idea what he's talking about.
What do you expect. Make a prediction, Ted, what is going to happen tomorrow.
ROWLANDS: I don't know and I'm looking forward to see what this judge is going to do. I know that talking to people who know him, he would like to keep it here in Modesto, but I don't think he will do that if he honestly believes that it will not provide a fair venue for Scott Peterson.
DIMITRIUS: I think he's going to move it.
KING: Prediction where? Or you don't know?
DIMITRIUS: Don't know where yet, but I think he will move it.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what do you think he's going to do?
LUDWIG: I think it will be moved. And under the circumstances, probably a wise idea.
KING: Thank you very much, a lot more on it tomorrow night. We'll tell you more on it tomorrow about tomorrow night when we come back.
We thank Ted Rowlands, Jo-Ellen Dimitrius and Dr. Robi Ludwig for joining us. We also thank our guests earlier for discussing the incredible goings on in Great Britain.
I'm Larry King and we'll be right back. Don't go away.
KING: That hearing tomorrow will be the subject of tomorrow night's program. It is a major step in this case, whether a change of venue will be granted or not.
One thing we don't change at CNN, we don't change the 10:00 Eastern time hour. And why don't we change it? Because it means "NEWSNIGHT." And it means Aaron Brown is ready to step forward and take over across this planet.
Mr. Brown, the stage is yours. Carry on.
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