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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of Developments in Scott Peterson Murder Case
Aired January 8, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your reaction?
MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: It's a very, very good day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the judge decides to move Scott Peterson's murder trial, saying he felt Scott could not get a fair trial in the home town of Modesto, California. We'll get all the latest with Ted Rowlands of KTVU, in court in Modesto today and so on top of the story, he's now under subpoena himself, plus Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor. Also with us, defense attorney Chris Pixley, high-powered jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We start with Ted Rowlands, our man on the scene. All right, Ted, get us up to date and add in, please, why you are under subpoena.
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, first, the big news is that after looking at all of the data in this, Al Girolami, the judge in this case, decided that a change of venue is needed, so he ruled today that that is indeed what's going to happen. The trial will not take place in Stanislaus County, won't take place in Modesto.
From here, they're going to try to figure out where to do. They'll talk to the administration of courts in San Francisco. The judge here will submit three counties of interest that they would like the case to be tried at. All of them are in the Bay area -- Alameda County, which is the home of Oakland, California; Santa Clara County, which is where San Jose, California, is; and then what's called the peninsula, the area in between San Francisco and San Jose, San Mateo County. From there, if there's availability, they'll come back and both sides will have their say on this.
Mark Geragos said that he wants Los Angeles County as his first choice, but then said that Alameda County would also be a preference for him. This is where Oakland is, of course. The prosecution said they do not want Los Angeles. And they also said they didn't want Alameda County, saying that it would be a transportation issue for them.
And as far as that subpoena, it was a subpoena given to me because, basically, the prosecution just wants me to validate that we interviewed Scott Peterson, and they plan to use that tape of the interview, which was broadcast in court.
KING: I see.
All right, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, you are a jury consultant for the Peterson defense team. You were on this show last night and predicted that the venue would be changed. What more do you know about what happened?
JO-ELLAN DIMITRIUS, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, today it was interesting because the judge came in and actually read his tentative ruling before he heard anything from the lawyers. And basically, after saying that he'd made his decision based on the information presented by Dr. Paul Strand (ph), he also said he was relying on the information of Dr. Schoenthaler (ph), who is a professor up at Stanislaus, and then basically looked at the prosecution and said, Do you want to cross-examine anybody? So they cross-examined, I believe, Dr. Schoenthaler for a brief session, and whatever came out during that period of time did not convince the judge to change his mind.
KING: What was the key reason, Jo-Ellan?
DIMITRIUS: Well, the key reason was the awareness factor, and the predisposition is really what the judge seemed to focus on, and they were all words taken right out of the affidavit of Dr. Strand. So we're absolutely elated about it because it will be absolutely wonderful. And of the counties that were mentioned, the three counties, certainly, I think Alameda County would be a wonderful place for the trial to be held.
KING: And Dr. Strand is an expert?
DIMITRIUS: He is an expert. He testifies regarding surveys related to change-of-venue motions, and he has been very successful around the country.
KING: Nancy Grace, is it safe to say that all prosecutors are against change of venues?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, it certainly makes it much more difficult to proceed with the case. In this particular instance, Larry, I think everyone pretty much had predicted a change of venue. I think here the pre-trial publicity was overwhelming. And why entertain another issue on appeal, in case there is a conviction?
Although there's more to the judge's thinking. We all know Geragos wants the trial moved to LA, as close to Hollywood as possible, I would suggest. But the judge has suggested that wherever it's moved, it's got to be within driving distance for the witnesses. It's got to be a bigger jurisdiction than Modesto, to get a bigger jury pool. And also, got to be near an airport. So we have three big indicators. I'm guessing Santa Clara. Why? Because trials, including death penalty cases, have been moved from Modesto to Santa Clara in the past.
KING: Chris Pixley, from the defense standpoint, how significant is this? CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's tremendously significant. The fact of the matter is, any time you can get a more diverse and disinterested jury pool in a criminal trial, the better off you are. And in this particular case, you've got a Modesto population that was very much invested in this case from the very beginning. They were involved in this. They were involved in the search for Laci Peterson. They manned hotlines. They went out on searches.
And so in addition to the fact that they have been reading their local newspapers and reading stories that the rest of us haven't seen, stories that show up in their newspaper on a daily basis, whereas they show up for us on a weekly basis, there's just more vested. It's a personal story to the people of Modesto. The further away from Modesto you get, the further away from Stanislaus County, the less personal in nature it is. So it's a huge victory.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, we understand that this program was mentioned frequently in the discussions about change of venue. And this program is seen worldwide, so the question would be, wouldn't it have the same effect if it has in Stanislaus County than it would in San Diego?
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYD.: Not necessarily, again, because of what Chris said. The more familiar one is, with all of the players involved in this case, the less objective they're going to be able to be. And it is true when you live in a particular town that the local newspapers will give certain attention to stories locally that won't get the same kind of attention on a national or international level. So the investment will not be the same for somebody who's watching CNN who doesn't live in the county, as somebody who is in the county. They are going to experience it very differently.
KING: Ted, do you know if the judge goes to hear the trial no matter where it is, or is it a different judge?
ROWLANDS: Well, the judge in this case has the right to do that. And if he wants to do it, he most certainly can do it. And he's sort of indicated -- he didn't indicate one way or another. Afterwards, a representative from the district attorney's office came out to say that the judge has the -- basically, has the choice to do either one. What also could happen is that a retired judge in one of the counties, or the county that it goes to, could take on the case. That was the case during the Yosemite murders, where the case was moved to Santa Clara County. That was a death penalty case. And Thomas Hastings (ph), a retired judge, handled that case.
So whether or not Girolami will go, folks that know him just really aren't quite sure. I think it has a lot to do with where it goes. If by some chance it ends up in LA, you might think that maybe, at that point, he would say he's not going.
KING: Jo-Ellan, would you say, although you'd like LA, and Mark Geragos would like LA, LA is doubtful?
DIMITRIUS: I would say it's probably a long shot. You know, I mean, the most recent case that we've seen that was moved to Los Angeles from northern California was the dog-mauling case, which of course, was moved from San Francisco. So it is possible. But you know, they're going to look at the convenience factor for the witnesses and possibly as the judge, as well, if the judge decides to stay on.
KING: Nancy Grace, you mentioned Hollywood. Are you saying that they wouldn't get a fair trial in Hollywood?
GRACE: Hey, you're not going to box me into a corner this early in the game, Larry!
KING: Well, I mean, you -- you mentioned it. I didn't. You said Hollywood.
GRACE: No, I did not say that they could not get a fair trial in Hollywood. I said...
KING: Well, that's why I asked why...
GRACE: I said that I think...
KING: ... you mentioned Hollywood.
GRACE: ... Geragos, Mark Geragos, would love -- I've said a million times on this show that Geragos wants this trial moved to LA! It's like him falling in a pot of honey! Another thing interesting happened today, Larry, and that is the judge walked onto the bench and he basically gave a tentative ruling. The BS-o-meter off the chart because when a judge gives a tentative ruling before he even hears the arguments, that's going to be the ruling. And I was surprised the judge did that before the DA even got up to say boo! He already made a ruling. It's surprising.
KING: Does that mean he read the briefs?
GRACE: It means he read the briefs. Obviously, he was very familiar with the briefs. But if you're going to have oral argument, normally, that means you're going to listen to the cross-examination of the witnesses. So this judge's mind was already made up. And frankly, I don't disagree with him. He should throw the defense a bone. But since he has done this back-bend, I don't think he's going to give Geragos LA.
KING: We'll be back with more. We'll be including your phone calls on this case that has fascinated so many. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE AL GIROLAMI, STANISLAUS COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Despite the court's best efforts, the nature and extent of the publicity this case has received has rendered Stanislaus County an inappropriate venue. Given enough time, I believe it would be possible to seat a fair and impartial jury from our citizens. However, based on the case law from both the appellate and supreme court's of the state of California and the Supreme Court of the United States and the surveys submitted, I must conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that in the absence of a change of venue, the defendant would not be tried by a fair and impartial jury.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: Did that show also that LA was a -- there were lesser numbers of people who had a pre-formed opinion as to my client's guilt in Los Angeles County?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jo-Ellan, what is the prototype that you want for the defense on the jury?
DIMITRIUS: Well, you know, it's really too early to tell because now that the trial is going to be changed, depending on what venue it's going to be sent to, you know, we can find very different demographics and -- but I don't think it will come down to demographics. I think what it will come down to for both sides is really their attitudes and opinions about everything from infidelity to fishing to -- I mean, you name it. The death penalty obviously is going to be a very serious consideration during this process. But it's too early for me to say exactly what it will be.
KING: Chris, when a case is a death penalty case, does that make the jury-picking harder?
DIMITRIUS: Oh, of course it does. Because essentially, what you have to do...
KING: No, I asked Chris.
DIMITRIUS: Oh. Sorry.
PIXLEY: And I'm going to agree with Jo-Ellan. It does make it more difficult. It makes it more difficult for everyone. You know, one of the things that was said early on in this case was, well, if they're going for the death penalty -- and remember, they made that announcement very, very early, back in April, after the arrest -- that they must have a great case against Scott Peterson. Well, anytime you go for the death penalty, especially in a state like California, you're going to have a difficult time. You're going to have to death- qualify the jury. You have to get a jury that is willing to, in fact, sentence someone to death.
And the other reality is, you're talking about a state with 34 million people, and over the last 25 years, there have only been 11 executions in that state. Texas has half as many people, they've had over 300 executions in last 20 years alone. So it's not something that's easy for the prosecution to do. That means they're looking long and hard at the jurors. And of course, the defense also wants to make sure that they've got people who will listen to them, both pre- and post-conviction because you're not only trying the case to save Scott Peterson from a conviction, if he is convicted, you're going to be going back to that jury and looking to try to save and spare his life.
DIMITRIUS: Larry, can I...
KING: Nancy, the prosecution -- I'm sorry, Jo-Ellan. Go ahead.
DIMITRIUS: I was just going to add to what Chris said, that what's interesting about having to death-qualify a jury is that, essentially, you're putting the cart before the horse. You have to ask them about punishment before you even get to whether or not...
DIMITRIUS: ... he's guilty. And there's a lot of research out there that shows that just going through that process, jurors are predisposed to voting guilty.
KING: Nancy, when the prosecution makes a decision to go for the death penalty, they realize that jury selection's going to be tough, right?
GRACE: That's right. There's a similar (ph) case, and it's used among lawyers often, it's called the Witherspoon test, that death- qualifies a jury. And bottom line -- it's not as awful as it sounds -- you simply ask the jury panel, Is there anybody on here, no matter what the case is, no matter what the circumstances are, that you cannot give the death penalty? Those people are automatically thrown off the panel.
It is a lot more difficult getting a death-qualified or a Witherspoon jury. And also, very often, when it comes right down to it, it's a very difficult decision for a jury to make. And I think that is going to go into the thinking when the prosecution asks for certain jurisdictions, as well as the defense.
Also, I want to make one quick correction regarding the death penalty in California. The state of California has handed down more death penalty sentences than any other state in the union. It is, however, correct when Chris Pixley says it hasn't implemented them as often as other states. So getting the death penalty sentence is a lot easier in California than getting it implemented.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, is it possible that a -- someone fanatically opposed to the death penalty, or fanatically in favor of it, would lie?
LUDWIG: Oh, that's a good question. I would like to think not. And if someone is lying, especially when you have a professional team, that those people could be identified and weeded out. However, what they have found with death penalty cases and death-qualified juries is that people who tend to be in favor of the death penalty, or feel somewhat OK about it, tend to look at the defendant as guilty and also tend to be slightly more moralistic and judgmental. So there are other hallmarks of what would indicate a person who is OK with the death penalty. So I would like to think if someone were lying, they could be weeded out. But Jo-Ellan would probably be able to answer that question, as well.
DIMITRIUS: Well, you know...
DIMITRIUS: ... those people who are emphatically against death penalty, by their very political nature, Larry, they will not be able to sit. They will say in no uncertain terms, I'm sorry, I can't sit. What we've found, on the other hand, are those people that are more favorable towards the death penalty, they're a little bit more likely to kind of figure out the process and kind of, you know, give you the answer that you think you want to hear. So that's really where the task becomes the most dangerous for the defense, is in evaluating those people that say, you know, that they might favor the death penalty but only in certain cases. Then you have to find out, as Robi referred to, you know, what's the moralistic expectations that they may have.
KING: Ted Rowlands, is this going to be a very, very long process?
ROWLANDS: Well, I think jury selection itself is going to be a long process. It was alluded to today in court. Both sides agreed that it would be a long process. In fact, Geragos said it's going to be long and quite boring for a lot of spectators. He said it's the first cousin to a DNA analysis. So it is going to be very deliberate because there is a lot at stake, obviously, for both sides.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. In a while, we'll be going to your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GOOLD, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, STANISLAUS COUNTY: This is a murder case. It's like other cases we've all handled here in this office. And it's one more ruling. There's going to be a lot of rulings like this as time goes by. They'll go for us, they may go against us. It's just part of the process, is how we view it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)/
JACKIE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S MOTHER: Scott losing his wife and child is the worst thing that could possibly happen to him. The worst has happened. And that's where it is for Scott. We expect him to be exonerated, if it's a fair trial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ted Rowlands, did you talk to the Petersons today?
ROWLANDS: Yes, briefly, in and out of court, just small talk. We did that interview with them last night, after they finished their visit with Scott. And I'll tell you, after that interview, I really picked up a sense of confidence and sort of a peace, maybe, that they haven't had. I don't know what to attribute that to, but really, they do seem very confident, for whatever reason, that in the end, their son is going to be exonerated, as Jackie just said there.
KING: How, Ted, did Scott appear when the ruling was announced?
ROWLANDS: I was in back of him, so I couldn't see his facial expression, and I'm not sure that he really had any outward expression. But you could feel sort of the feeling in the room when the judge came out. It was unexpected that he would come out and give this preliminary ruling in such detail. And when it was over, everybody in the courtroom pretty much knew there was nothing that the prosecution could do and that any testimony would really be a waste of time. This judge really had thought it out, and understandably so. This is the biggest issue on the table since this has started, and this judge has had a lot of time to take it in and think about it.
GRACE: I saw him, Larry.
KING: What did you say?
GRACE: I saw Scott during the proceeding and during the judge's initial ruling, and then later on several times today. I was very taken aback, frankly, because I saw Scott Peterson smiling and laughing and apparently making funny comments back and forth to Geragos seated there beside him. And while they may be -- have levity behind closed doors, frankly, I was surprised. I've tried a lot of murder cases. I've never seen someone looking down the barrel of two murder-ones laughing and smiling throughout court proceedings.
KING: Well, Jo-Ellan said we're going to learn a lot we never thought we'd learn when this trial goes on. Could it be, Jo-Ellan, that they know a lot more than we know?
DIMITRIUS: Well, we do. We know a lot more than anyone knows.
KING: Therefore, there could be reason for the smiling? Is that what you're saying?
DIMITRIUS: Well, yes. And I think that Nancy, you know, has got to take into consideration that, you know, really, the only time there's any sort of interaction, you know, that people are seeing is in the courtroom. And you know, a defendant can't just sit there and glower and look at though he's mad at the world. You know, I mean, certainly, one of the things that he's always been criticized for is, you know, that he looks like he's mean. So you know, he's a person, and he's going to reflect his emotions in the courtroom, whatever that may be. Inappropriate or not, that's going to happen. GRACE: Well, you know what? That's a very good point. And I'm glad to see how -- how -- what good spirits he's in, here at the anniversary of the one-year mark of his wife's death and his son's death! So if he's in a good mood, great! I just wonder if he's going to show that face in front of a jury. Just an observation.
KING: Memphis, Tennessee. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I watch your show all the time.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: And I just love it. But my question is, does anyone think that there's a possibility that the trial could be moved completely out of the state of California?
KING: It cannot, right, Chris?
PIXLEY: That's right. It can't be moved out of the state of California. And the fact is, I think Jo-Ellan and Nancy are correct in saying it's probably not going to be moved very far from where it is right now. It will be moved to a district, to a venue that has a good basis for transportation for all the witnesses and the parties involved. And we've heard a number of those already tonight that have been reported.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, are there some people who really want to serve on this jury?
CALLER: Oh, I'm sure that there are. There are people that very much enjoy being a part of the judicial process and believe in it and want to participate in it. And let's face it, this is a famous trial that is very interesting, and people are very curious to know all the details. And even though we don't know everything, people know that there is a lot to know that we don't know yet, even though it's been talked about a lot in the media.
KING: Nancy, with there being a gag order, can we do -- can either side do much to influence the jury pool, media-wise?
GRACE: No, not really, not media-wise. I find it very interesting, too -- I'm glad you brought that up, Larry, because I don't know how Mrs. Peterson continues to declare her son's innocence when there's a gag order in place. I never see Sharon Rocha or Ron Grantski going out or Amy Rocha declaring Scott's guilt or commenting on the evidence. But I think, frankly, for the prosecution to complain about Ms. Peterson would be heavy-handed, so I don't think there's going to be a complaint. But that's a clear violation of the gag order.
KING: Well, are you saying Sharon Rocha can't go on?
GRACE: I'm saying that Sharon Rocha is bound by a gag order, just like Mrs. Peterson is. And I find it odd that...
KING: What are they...
GRACE: ... there are so many public statements by Mrs. Peterson.
KING: What are you going to do to her?
GRACE: I'm not doing anything, but she's violating a gag order...
KING: OK, but what would you...
GRACE: ... and I don't...
KING: But what would you do? You going to charge her with something?
GRACE: Well, frankly, she could be charged with contempt. But I don't think...
KING: I know. The question is, would you charge her with contempt?
GRACE: Me? As a prosecutor, no. I would have the judge remind her of the gag order because, frankly, it's unfair. It's an unfair playing field for Scott's mother to go out all the time after meeting with Scott, teary-eyed, declaring his innocence, while Ms. Rocha, having lost her daughter and grandchild, suffers silently. I don't think it's fair.
PIXLEY: I don't think it's suffering silently to do a special on television, national television with Katie Couric and the whole family...
GRACE: Before the gag order.
PIXLEY: ... talking about how strangely Scott acted. No, that was after the gag order...
GRACE: Before the gag order!
PIXLEY: ... actually, Nancy.
GRACE: No, it wasn't.
PIXLEY: All right...
KING: All right, let me get a break. We'll get a break. We'll check on that, whether it was before or after the gag order, and maybe come up with an answer. And then again, maybe not. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GERAGOS: I've got stacks of this, Judge. The idea that "The Modesto Bee" has not carried this any more or less than the national media is belied by one fact and one fact alone. The day of the arraignment, the next day in the coverage, here it was front page, in "The Modesto Bee." In Los Angeles, it was B-6, one paragraph, in "The LA Times," and "The San Francisco Chronicle" similarly, not anywhere near as played in "The Modesto Bee."
GIROLAMI: How do I know that? Because it's not in -- you have to testify to that because there's no declaration, I don't think, regarding where they are...
GERAGOS: I'll -- I'll get sworn in and tell you that B-6 of "The LA Times" was a small news brief on the day after the arraignment, and it was front page in "The Modesto Bee."
GIROLAMI: Are you saying that under penalty...
GERAGOS: In fact, I've got...
GIROLAMI: You saying that under penalty of perjury?
GERAGOS: Yes. And I believe -- here we go. I've got "The Modesto Bee" right here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GIROLAMI, JUDGE: In my over 30 years in this community, I've not seen anything like the publicity generated in this case. As I mentioned, there have been over 8,000 articles listed in defendant's a, with over 850 locally since the homicides. And in issue here is the nature of the publicity, whether it was inflammatory or sensational. Most of the articles are factual, but a significant number is noted on pages 12 to 14 of the defendant's brief are quite speculative and intend to be biased against the defendant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. We're going to go to your phone calls at length now. But let's reintroduce the panel.
In Modesto, Ted Rowlands, reporter for KTUV TV. He's been covering the Peterson case since the beginning, and subpoenaed by the prosecution in connection with his taped interview with Scott Peterson.
In New York, is Nancy Grace of Court TV, the anchor on Court TV and former prosecutor.
In Atlanta is defense attorney Chris Pixley.
In Salt Lake City tonight is Jo-Ellan Demitrius. She's a jury consultant for the Peterson defense team.
And in New York, the noted psychotherapist, Dr. Robi Ludwig.
Let's go to calls.
Port Richie, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi good evening Larry.
I have to agree with everything Nancy said about the demeanor in the courtroom. My question is to Miss Dimitrius. If you are working for the defense team dear, as a jury consultant, how if there is a gag order are you allowed on LARRY KING last evening and this evening speaking of the case?
DIMITRIUS: I am not an expert that's testifying in the case. So that's how it happens.
KING: The gag order covers what now?
DIMITRIUS: The gag order covers the witnesses, the lawyers, and the experts. And that's it.
KING: You're not considered an expert in any field there?
Pueblo, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for taking my call this evening.
CALLER: My question is for the panel. In light of Mr. Geragos' full case load now, and the fact that Mr. Geragos wants a change of venue to Los Angeles, who is going to benefit the most if the trial is moved to L.A.
Is it Geragos or Peterson?
KING: Nancy, I guess you would say both, right?
GRACE: Yes, I would say both. I think that it's going to be very, very convenient for Geragos' office, which is about a mile from there. And his support staff and so forth. It's going to be very difficult for the state to move all of its staff, the witnesses are going to have to move. The police department, everybody.
But any change of venue is going to help Scott Peterson.
KING: Wouldn't you say, Chris, the larger the community, the better the chance for the defendant? The bigger the pool?
PIXLEY: That's the traditional thinking. And I don't find anything wrong with that. Again, when you're dealing with a criminal trial, and you're dealing with a death penalty case, you want the most diverse population that you can find. And you want people that have other news in a high-profile case, other news stories that they've been focused in on.
And Robi Ludwig said it best. The fact is, this is a national story of importance over the course of the past year. But it is the story in Modesto. You go someplace larger, you go someplace like L.A. and you're going to find jurors who know about it. You aren't going to find anybody who is ignorant, but you are going to find jurors who have much more on their plate.
KING: Pembroke Pines, Florida. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I want to know why the jury couldn't be brought into Modesto from a different county instead of everyone else having to move.
ROWLANDS: Well, that was thought about early on. But the thought would be a daily moving of this jury by bus, which would have to be a neighboring county. And the judge today ruled that any neighboring county here has to be off. In fact, he took Sacramento off as a possibility and Fresno County, saying they're too close and saturated. Sacramento has the same media market as Modesto. So, those are both gone. Meaning the logistics of busing jurors, it just wouldn't work, because they'd have to sequester them here. And that's not something they wanted to do to a jury. Especially during a trial that's expected to last four to six months.
KING: By the way -- yes, nancy?
GRACE: I wanted to tell you something about that regarding the busing in of the jurors. I agree with Ted, that's exactly what west down today. But interesting, Geragos wanted a non-Modesto jury, but yet he opposed jurors being bused in. Now, that makes me wonder the obvious question, what is it he really wants, a fair jury, a non- Modesto jury, or to get home to L.A. for his own benefit?
Because busing a jury in...
KING: Why not want something for your own benefit?
What's wrong with that?
GRACE: There's not a darn thing wrong with that.
KING: It's called normal.
GRACE: What I'm saying is, it's inconsistent. The fact that you don't want a Modesto jury, but yet you're opposed from busing jurors from two counties over. That's a non-Modesto jury. So it makes wonder what is his motivation.
PIXLEY: I think it's entirely consistent. It was in the briefs, and the judge in fact found in favor of the defense position. And that's that, listen, beyond Modesto and beyond Stanislaus County, there is a reach of this local media. And as Ted pointed out, there is a media market that goes beyond reaches of Stanislaus County that reaches into Fresno, that reaches into Sacramento Counties. And that's what Mark Geragos very clearly, and he made it clear in his brief, was looking to avoid. I don't find anything inconsistent in that.
KING: Dr. Ludwig.
DIMITRIUS: I was going to also add to that, it's not just about Mark Geragos, it's about the jurors. Anytime you take folks from another community, you load them in a bus, as Ted talked about, you bring them in for a four to six-month trial. You're creating all sorts of nightmares for the jurors. I've seen it done in maybe one- week trials, but not four to six months. So, I'm sure that's one of the considerations that the judge took into account.
KING: Dr. Ludwig, what happens when a jury is sequestered?
What's the psychological effect on the jury?
LUDWIG: Well, it's been said that it often feels like they're in prison or jail, and that their first amendment rights are actually being interfered with. Because very often they may get a newspaper where certain stories are cut out. And it really does interfere with them living life in the way that they know it. And that also can interfere with the thinking process. It could encourage a jury to make a decision quicker, just to get out of an uncomfortable, suffocating situation. So ideally, jurors don't want to be sequestered. And I am sure most people don't want to go that direction if they can avoid it.
KING: Nancy, when would the prosecution want to sequester a jury?
GRACE: When you think your jury is going to be tainted, or read -- basically no way they can avoid exposure to facts about the case that they're getting from outside the courtroom. And Larry, I'm very firmly in agreement with changing the venue in this case. I think that it's just too dangerous for Scott Peterson to be tried in Modesto. In that it's going to be somebody on that jury, Larry, that's five times removed from the maid or the cousin or the beauty operator that knows a player in this case. So I'm all for it. I'm just concerned about the way it went down and where we go from here. Where it's going to be moved.
KING: Brooklyn, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Chris.
KING: Yes. CALLER: It has to do with Amber Frey. Do you feel that the defense, now that it's come out that she's had other boyfriends, that she went and taped their conversations as well, that her credibility is not as good?
And why would she tape conversations with him after a month of only going with him?
And what bothered me is when she did the press conference, she related to Laci's parents crying saying how bad she felt about Laci and the baby when they weren't even found yet.
PIXLEY: Right. Obviously, and we've talked about it before, and jurors understand it, and viewers understand it, as you do. Credibility counts. It matters. And Amber Frey has always been, to some extent, a credibility problem, or has potential credibility problems. Now, we won't learn completely what a jury is likely to think of her until she gets on the stand and gives her testimony. And at that point in time we'll know a great deal more about her. But does she have areas in her background, and things that actually will come out at trial -- not everything that you've mentioned here will be a matter that can be examined at Scott Peterson's trial.
But are either aspects of her background and things she's done in this case that will hurt her credibility?
I think there are, and I think some of them will hurt her tremendously. And the prosecution, the state hasn't done the best job they could with her. They wanted to put the spotlight on Scott from the very beginning. They paraded her in front of the media, in the middle of January. And yet, they had her taping conversations with him. If they really wanted to get the most out of those conversations, they probably would have kept her knowledge of the case a secret. But they wanted the media to get this. They wanted the public to see that Scott Peterson was a bad guy. So the focus came on him. Ultimately now, as you pointed out, that may hurt them when they go to trial.
KING: We'll be right back and come back.
And Nancy's thoughts on what just said and take more phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GOOLD, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, STANISLAUS COUNTY: It is my understanding that the judge is going to recommend to the administrative office of the courts that we'd like to go to one of the counties over in the Bay area. Alameda, San (UNINTELLIGIBLE), or Santa Clara.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: When have you ever recommended a change of venue? When was the most recent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
GERAGOS: So there's never been a time when you recommended a change of venue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nancy, you want to comment on what Chris Pixley said about Amber Frey?
GRACE: Yes, I would be very careful. Because this is the pot calling the kettle black. Sure, Amber Frey has some credibility problems. She's going to be attacked by the defense. We all know that. We've known that from day one. But how are they going to attack her without Scott's team looking -- the Peterson camp looking at total hypocrites. That she dated a lot of people?
Hello. At least she wasn't married to him. And a spouse pregnant at the time. Does she have a child out of wedlock? Yes. But her child is being raised and didn't turn up in the Berkeley Bay. So before they attack Amber Frey in a court of law on lifestyle, they better be very careful.
KING: Pleasanton, California. Hello.
CALLER: I have a couple of questions and it's for the panel. I want to know who was paying these jurors and the witnesses for their hotel rooms if they have to go to a different county. And then my second question is, does Peterson have very many visitors other than his family?
KING: Chris, on the first part, and then Ted on the second. Chris, who pays the witnesses?
PIXLEY: On the first part, when this trial is moved, wherever it is moved to, Stanislaus county will be paying those costs. Now, Stanislaus county in return has already made a request for money from the state and they will in fact be getting additional funds from the state to pay for this. But the county that is transferring the case ultimately pays those costs, not the county that receives the case.
KING: And who visits -- Ted, who visits Scott Peterson?
ROWLANDS: Well, at this point, I believe it is only family members. There's a very small list that -- of people that can see him. And his family has been very dedicated, specifically his parents, Lee and Jackie Peterson drive all the way from San Diego on a weekly visit -- two visits a week. And they use them all. They have been very dedicated even when they're not court proceedings, they make the trip to support and see their son.
KING: And lawyers can come anytime, right?
ROWLANDS: Yes, correct. They can come and go as they please.
KING: Greenwood, Nova Scotia, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. This question is for Chris. Is all the evidence circumstantial or concrete against Scott? And if it's circumstantial, can he be convicted?
PIXLEY: He can be convicted on circumstantial evidence.
KING: Most cases are, aren't they?
PIXLEY: That's exactly right. We may have a difference of opinion on the panel as to whether there's any evidence that isn't entirely circumstantial in this case. As to whether there is any real evidence in this case. What matters here, at least what the defense is focused on, and what they may very well be focusing on at the trial is the lack of evidence tying Scott Peterson to this disappearance, let alone to the body.
But there is circumstantial evidence. And that's, of course, what we saw at the preliminary hearing.
KING: Jo-Ellan, if this gets complicated, does that mean you need a smart jury?
DIMITRIUS: Well, complicated, you know, is going to be a matter of putting together, as Chris said, the circumstantial evidence. And, you know, clearly, the burden the prosecution has is to you know, prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And that's a very high standard to meet. So, you know, it doesn't necessarily have to be a smart juror, it just has to be a jury that is able to go through analytically each and every piece, and then put it together as a whole.
KING: Wouldn't you want a smart jury, Dr. Ludwig, on either side?
LUDWIG: Well, my understanding is that, you know, jurors that can assess the details and not be biased are the type of jurors that lawyers are looking for. I know there are a lot of jokes, you know, the easily influenced jurors are the ones that you want. But hopefully you want one that can assess the information properly and be able to come out with a verdict that is true and just. That is what we're going for.
KING: Romeo, Michigan, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I was just wondering if Scott Peterson had purchased any Christmas gifts for Laci? Thank you.
KING: Do we know, Nancy? GRACE: Yes, I asked that question. And I was told that Scott Peterson bought his wife a change purse, a Louis Vuitton change purse. I've been very interested to find out was that purse recovered, was it under the Christmas tree, had it really been purchased, and was there proof of that, or did Scott know ahead of time that his wife, as he told Amber Frey, this would be the first Christmas without his wife, and poof, the next week, it was.
KING: Jo-Ellan, do you know if she got the Christmas gift or what happened to it?
DIMITRIUS: I don't know the answer to that question.
KING: To Rochester, New York, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is, is Laci Peterson's family, do they have any say on the change of venue, where it is moved to? Has their opinion been said on how they feel about today's outcome?
KING: Chris, does that have any weight at all?
PIXLEY: No. Certainly they can communicate with the prosecution if they choose to, and talk to them about it. And the prosecution, just as the defense, is making their preferences known. But Laci's family, although they have say in some other matters, won't have any say in this one.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for our outstanding panel. We'll also ask what happens next. Don't go away.
KING: As we come back, we see Ted Rowlands, one of our guests being served with his subpoena over his interview with Scott Peterson which we discussed earlier. Diane Sawyer has also been served. She also having interviewed the defendant. Ionia, Michigan, hello. Hello?
KING: Ionia go ahead.
CALLER: My question is, if Jo-Ellan Dimitrius knows such pertinent information to make the defense so confident right now, why wouldn't that information have been brought up much earlier to keep him from being bound over from trial in the first place?
KING: They might have learned it later, but go ahead, Jo-Ellan.
DIMITRIUS: We all believe that the information will come out at trial. Which is the place that it should be coming out. As we've seen from the motion today, the media that's been out there has been absolutely totally negative. And our belief, it's been our belief all along, is that the truth will come out during the trial.
KING: Okay. To Las Vegas, Nevada, hello.
CALLER: Mr. King, my question is for Nancy Grace.
KING: Go right ahead.
CALLER: Nancy, I was wondering, I've been listening to you for a year and I always wondered, did Laci Peterson know that her husband bought a boat? And I find it strange that he is fixing to be a father and he would buy a boat.
GRACE: Let me tell you something. On Larry's show, on LARRY KING LIVE, both families stated to me and to Larry that they did not know the boat had been purchased.
Laci's mother said Laci did not know anything about a boat, and that Laci would have told her. And Mr. Peterson stated at the preliminary hearing under oath, he didn't know anything about a boat. And went so far, ma'am, as to the time Scott Peterson was supposed to be out on the boat, or just getting off the boat, he was on the phone, on that cell phone with his father, and didn't say, hey, dad, I'm out in the middle of Berkeley Bay fishing. Not a word was spoken. I agree with you. It stinks.
KING: Fort Walton Beach, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Your show is a bright spot in the nighttime.
KING: We try.
CALLER: I love you, Nancy.
GRACE: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is for the panel. Hello?
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: My question is for the panel. I have heard for a year, and I've been listening to everything you guys have been saying, I've been hearing for a year that when Laci went missing, the police were called. They came to Scott's residence. Scott told the police when they got there that if they wanted to search his house, they had to have a warrant. Is this true? Somebody please clear this up for me.
KING: Do we know that, Ted, to be a fact?
ROWLANDS: No, absolutely it was not true. In fact, the police were given permission by Scott on the original night to search the house. And he at no time said that they couldn't come into the house. When they served him with the search warrant the second time they didn't have to ask him, they just produced the warrant.
But on the night that Laci was reported missing, Scott gave them cart blanche, and that came out in the preliminary hearing. They spent pretty much all night in that house.
KING: In fairness, Chris, some people can refuse to have a warrant served. What if you had marijuana in the house? That doesn't mean you're a killer.
PIXLEY: Exactly. Now we know the Ramseys, that family went through an awful lot, and they were derided in the press for not having given more access to the police for standing behind their attorneys. But they also knew that they were the target of the investigation.
At some point Scott Peterson in all of this knew that he was the target of the police investigation. And he began acting differently. And he's been attacked for that, but it sure seems to make sense to me.
KING: Jo-Ellan, what's the next move? What happens next? We wait to hear the change of venue. What's the next thing?
DIMITRIUS: Well, after the change of venue, then I suppose a trial date will be set. And motions -- pretrial motions will go on between that period of time. And ultimately that date will be selected, in which jurors will start coming into the courtroom. But I don't see that as happening for a few months down the road.
KING: Ted, what's the best guess this trial will begin?
ROWLANDS: Well, you know, I tell you, I've talked to a couple people off the record on the prosecution side and they have been told to get ready, and get ready fast. They firmly believe Scott Peterson will not waive time. Jo-Ellan who obviously has inside information and feels it will be down the road.
The pretrial motions will be handled here in Stanislaus County. On the 20, they're going to come back here and fight it out to see where this thing goes. Most likely it's going to be in the Bay Area.
I tell you, there's one county the defense wants, and that's by far, they want it to be in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. That's the county the prosecution doesn't want it to be in.
KING: Nancy, is that decision final?
GRACE: Yes, the state cannot appeal the change of venue, where the judge finally decides to send it. The defense can complain and try to appeal it. But bottom line, once they get a change of venue, it's going to be very tough for Geragos' camp to complain again. So they'll probably stick with whatever the judge comes up with.
KING: I see. And Chris, do you expect that soon?
PIXLEY: I do. I expect it to happen at the hearing on the 20. In fact, it is set up that way right now. Now, there's no statute on the books. There isn't much case law on the issue in California, but they've set the hearing for the 20. The AOC will be giving the judge its recommendations. The judge will hear arguments on that day. And then we should know where this trial ultimately is going to take place.
KING: This will be fascinating. And we will reassemble for that. And I thank you all very much as always.
Ted Rowlands of KTVU, involved in this case in more ways than two. Nancy Grace, of Court TV the anchor and former prosecutor. And famed defense attorney out of Atlanta, Chris Pixley. Jo-Ellan arguably the best known jury consultant there is. She's in Salt Lake City tonight. And psychotherapist, Dr. Robi Ludwig.
And I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Dr. Laura Schlesinger returns to LARRY KING LIVE tomorrow night. That is never dull. She has an opinion or two.
Speaking of never dull, the man who is never dull, hosts "NEWSNIGHT" every night. He's on every night. He's our own Aaron Brown.
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