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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
The Women of Court TV
Aired September 8, 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, the women of Court TV. Their passionate, outspoken, opinionated, though on crime and you don't want to cross them.
Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor, no stranger to this program.
Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, another former prosecutor you've seen many times here.
Catherine Crier, the Emmy Award winning journalist, was the youngest state judge ever elected in Texas.
Lisa Bloom, the high profile civil rights attorney.
Beth Karas, the correspondent and court report, also a former assistant D.A. in New York.
And Jean Casarez, correspondent and lawyer.
The women of Court TV, speaking out on Kobe Bryant, the Scott Peterson trail, Michael Jackson, you name it. Here for the hour. Your call too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: They're all assembled at our studios in New York, save for Beth Karas on duty, of course, in Redwood City.
Let's go around and get some off the top thoughts.
Nancy Grace, why has Court TV become so special?
NANCY GRACE, "CLOSING ARGUMENTS": Well, you know, Larry, I think it's because the same drama plays out on Court TV as plays out in courtrooms all across the country everyday. I saw it as a prosecutor. It's the mystery of what lurks behind the human face. Because these jurors hear such horrific tales of evil doing and not to put it dramatically. And then you look over at the defendant, Larry, he looks like a perfectly sane guy, a guy that may live next door, a guy that may be your insurance salesman and you find out he's charged with killing his wife. It is a mystery. And juries and viewers want to solve it, and so do we.
KING: The important word, Kimberly, is "charged."
Is that made clear with a lot of these things?
Can we get overly involved to convict or not convict before a jury has a say?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, "BOTH SIDES": Well, definitely a problem with that, Larry, because the media coverage is so intense. And with 24-hour cable news networks like CNN there is so much coverage. A lot people prejudge cases, it's difficult to get juries. People form opinions and we're seeing that now in the jury selection process in so many of these cases. And I think Court TV provides such a valuable resource for people who want to be in the courtroom, who want to know how the justice system works. Court TV opens those doors.
But Catherine, has Court TV, at the same time, you know, airlines provided us with a lot of comfort, they also had accidents. More people died since the airplane -- has Court TV contributed to some of this "he's guilty, and "he's in know innocent" before they had an arraignment?
CATHERINE CRIER, "CATHERINE CRIER LIVE": I went back and did a piece not to long ago for "Los Angeles Times," an editorial. And I went back as far as 1910, were looking at case that got intense radio, cases newspaper publishing then we finally moved forward into the television arena. McMartin is a great case. Because in the McMartin trial, the country in the late '80s was in this furor about daycare centers and abuse of children. There were people marching in the streets with signs "we believe the children." The jury acquitted in that case. And you can go back and realize through history, even with the media influence that sort of puts us in our place, the jurors are trying to do the right thing in the cases they hear.
KING: Lisa Bloom, are you concerned that in so many cases, we're going to do a show on it tomorrow night -- innocent people are going to jail?
LISA BLOOM, "TRIAL HEAT": I'm really not concerned about that, Larry. I think what media coverage does is gives a window into the courtroom and really educates people about the legal process. I think without cameras in the courtroom, a lot of people may prejudge some one as guilty. But after looking at a trial, looking at it closely, like on Court TV we provide coverage. People on both sides of every case arguing about the issues. People are much more educated and enlightened about what's going on much less likely I think to prejudge a case on its merits.
KING: Beth, why are most of the stars of Court TV women?
BETH KARAS, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: You know, I get that question -- I don't know. I don't have a good answer for that. But I think we're intelligent and outspoken and well experienced. But I have to put in my two cents for needing a camera, the case I have been spending the 3 and half months at, needs a camera if ever there's been a case that needed one.
KING: Why? KARAS: There is so much talk about what the evidence is in this case. People need to judge the lawyers and their performance and the evidence themselves. This judge really did a disservice to the public, because there's a lot of interest in the Scott Peterson case. And it's a darn shame that people can't see it.
KING: Let's get to the topic.
Jean, should all trials be telecast. Should the Supreme Court be telecast?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: That's an issue that is appearing before the media a lot. But I think the question is, should there be so much secrecy. You know, take the Kobe Bryant trial that ended last week. There was so much secrecy. What came from all that? There was a gag order? What came from the gag order? I don't think a lot of us believe that a lot of good things came from all that secrecy.
KING: Nancy, should all trials be telecast?
What is the argument against telecasting any trial?
GRACE: Larry, I feel strongly about it. I have been on both ends. I have tried cases including murder cases and rape cases in front of a camera. And frankly I was so concerned about putting my evidence in, keeping one eye on the judge, one eye on the defendant and third eye on the jury. I didn't notice the fourth eye in the back of the courtroom, that being the camera.
Now that I am on the other side of the camera. I feel just as strong. You know, Larry 200 years ago, our founding fathers said, there will be no secret proceedings. And now the community is a global community, a community countrywide. There should be access for all of us to see what's happening in our courts.
P.S. we are paying the bill. I want to see what Terry Ruckriegle is doing in the Kobe Bryant case. I want to find out why that victim was so upset she dropped the charges. But you know what, I can't, because we couldn't see in the courtroom.
KING: Kimberly, what about the supreme court? The law of the land.
Why don't we see their arguments?
NEWSOM: I think it is an interesting question, Larry. I for one agree with Nancy, want to say cameras in the courtroom there should be full access, access in the Supreme Court as well. People should see how the American justice system works. It is a disservice to have closed proceedings to not allow the public in. I think people would be more inclined to serve as jurors if they understood the process. And that's what Court TV does every day. We try to bring through our enlightened and very talented anchors, that have so much years of experience, what it is look to be in the courtroom. What it is look to run a case. What goes on behind-the-scenes look, because people simply don't know.
And we've seen these high-profile cases, people moving away from it, judges scared. They don't want to be the next Judge Ito, like what happened in O.J. Simpson. And there is no evidence to support that is the case. Cameras in the courtroom is full of education, information, people, knowledge is power. And that's what we need more of.
KING: Catherine Crier, when you were a judge did you like the idea?
CRIER: Well, at that point in time Texas wasn't concerned terribly about this. But I remember a couple news reports that were actually taped in the course of a trial that I was conducting. Didn't bother me at the time. And as to Supreme Court, you remember during the Bush V. Gore, we had a chance to hear the audio tapes, and the country was mesmerized.
I thought that was a critical time. There is no reason -- but I remember and I do believe, Justice Breyer, apologize if it wasn't you, that one of the justices, I think it was Breyer, said, "I don't want people to recognize me." That's not a reason for not having our courts open to the public.
KING: Lisa, is there a good argument against the camera in the court?
BLOOM: Well I think there are some arguments for limits, and Court TV is always sensitive, for example, if there's a child witness, if there's a sexual assault victim who is a witness, who requests to have their face covered and just the audio transmitted. Court TV will honor that. So, you know, there are some sensitive issues and we are aware of that. But are cameras in the courtroom are generally unobtrusive. You know, people are naturally a little bit nervous about having their testimony broadcast. But once they get going they forget all about it, and afterwards people generally say it was a very positive experience for them.
KING: We'll come back. We'll get into the Kobe Bryant matter and other matters and we'll include your phone calls.
By the way, the women of Court TV were recently featured in the August edition, if you have it, of "Elle" magazine. There they are, the women of Court TV. The men of Court TV are not to be found. A little joke.
We'll be back with more of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: I want to tell you, I can't even count how many rape prosecutions I have handled and I am stunned. Win or lose, you take your rape case to trial. Stunning. I can't tell you outside the legal arena how stunning this decision is.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: Good evening, I'm Catherine Crier. You've got the first and best place for tonight's hot legal stories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The women of Court TV discussing lots of areas. Go to your calls at the bottom of the hour. Beth Karas, before we move on to Kobe and the thoughts of the panel, you're covering the Scott Peterson case. Many men have been charged in the United States with murdering their wives. It happens every day, charged, some are convicted, some are not. Why is this the big story?
BETH KARAS, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is a question that many of us out here do keep asking ourselves. Was it slow news at that time? It's Christmas, you're talking about a pregnant woman, somebody who wasn't famous, but yes, middle-class, the girl next door, beautiful smile, good-looking couple. A lot of factors just kind of came together in this case. And it grabbed people's attention.
I don't really understand the human psyche enough to know why it is this case that became famous after the death of Laci Peterson. I guess it's just all the variables together. I'm told that many women go to bed at night now wondering whether or not their husband whom they had no clue was capable of violence is going to do something like that to them.
KING: Honestly speaking, Beth, if Laci Peterson were black would this be a story?
KARAS: You know what, I'm embarrassed to admit it. But I don't think so.
KING: OK. Let's move to Kobe. We'll get back to that in a while. Jean, why -- what's happening? Is there going to be a civil suit? Where are we?
CASAREZ: Well, where we are right now is that, yes, the civil suit is proceeding. If there is a deal nobody is talking about it. But it was just about a week ago that we were in the middle of jury selection in Eagle, Colorado. All of a sudden at the end of the day, we were all in shock and disbelief because we found out that the prosecution was dropping the charges. It was out of thin air. And especially the time. It was right in the middle of jury selection.
KING: So what was the buzz?
CASAREZ: Well, the buzz was that the alleged victim wouldn't go forward with the trial, wouldn't testify. Now it's come out today -- a lot is coming out because, you see, now you don't have the gag order anymore. So Dana Easter, one of the prosecutors in the case today came out saying that the alleged victim was physically ill in the days of jury selection and that was one of the reasons why she couldn't proceed. We find out now she was hospitalized during the preliminary hearing because of the emotional trauma. We also find out she was at a rehabilitation center for five weeks. One of the reasons according to Dana Easter was because of emotional trauma of all of this. Because she has gone through a lot.
KING: Nancy, are we correct saying you can't make a civil deal to avoid a criminal trial, is that right? You can't -- it's not quid pro quo, is it?
GRACE: Well, in theory, no. But this is what concerns me about the case being dropped against Kobe Bryant. Whether he is guilty, whether he is innocent, not my point. My point is this, after fighting for rape victims since about 1980 and being in the trenches arguing for them helping to get the rape shield law passed down in Georgia, when I see this case dropped it's not just about her. If she is sick, fine. Get a continuance. Take the case to trial next month. Get her some counseling. Let her get well.
But what disturbs me is in this country, Larry, every six minutes, six minutes, Larry, a lady is raped. And when people watch TV, when they watch your show, when they watch cable outlets and they see the news all the time and they say, hey, with the whole D.A.'s office working on her case and it still got dropped, it gives the appearance of rich man's justice and that's not right.
KING: Kimberly, is it possible they just had a weak witness?
NEWSOM: You know, Larry, I sat through the entire preliminary hearing in Eagle, Colorado when this case first broke. And I was horrified by what I saw. I don't want to say anything bad about fellow prosecutors. But unfortunately in this case it was mishandled from the beginning.
If that was my child, if that was my daughter who suffered these indignities one after the next -- I saw this defense attorney use her name six times after being reprimanded by the judge to not do so, the rape shield law virtually just taken apart in this case. I understand the 72-hour time frame but still so many things -- her medical records released, her sexual history. It's just awful the things that happened in this case. I don't know how she endured it this long.
I don't think she was a weak witness. She is still proceeding forward. Guess what? With a team of her choice in a civil court where the playing field is level because it's not just about her now, Kobe Bryant is going to have to do some talking, too. And he can't hide behind the Fifth Amendment. I don't want to incriminate myself because the criminal charges are dismissed for good for always. This case can never be resurrected so he has got to answer the questions.
BLOOM: Larry, let me just say this in a second. I represented a lot of rape and sexual assault victims as well on the civil side. And I can tell you every rape accuser is a weak witness in that is very, very difficult to go to trial in a rape case. You need support from your family, you need support from the D.A.'s office, you need support from your private attorneys if you have that. Now as a former civil attorney, I have a lot of problems with the way her civil attorneys handled this case. Going public in the media and announcing to all of the world that she was having second thoughts about the case while the case was still pending. I saw no reason why they should do that and frankly, encouraging her to drop the criminal case and go forward with the civil case. I find that outrageous. If this man is a rapist, he belongs in prison. If he is not a rapist he should never have been charged and he shouldn't be charged civilly either. And to encourage her to do that, I think, did a great disservice not only to her but to all American women.
KING: Catherine, the big word there is "if." So if I may speak for men, what do you do if you are Kobe Bryant and you didn't do this?
CRIER: Well, let's see. Was it Ray Donovan that said, "where do I go to get my reputation back?"
KING: Correct. Where do you go?
CRIER: That is a problem. And where he goes now is debatable. If I was Kobe Bryant and somebody came to me and said I can make this go away for a couple of million dollars, and I'm being pragmatic and candid, if I was representing him, I'd say, "write the check, get on with your life, leave it behind." But when you talk about that, quote, "reputation" it's taking the chance in a civil court where he can be subpoenaed, has to take that stand and testify in this matter.
KING: Beth Karas, where do you think it's going to go?
KARAS: You know, I sat through the preliminary hearing also. I was sharing the case with Jean Casarez in our coverage. I too was shocked at what I heard. I have a different view from some of my colleagues because I don't think this was a provable case especially in light of the evidence that came out later. Perhaps it should have been evaluated a little more slowly before Kobe Bryant was arrested.
I wasn't in the sex crimes unit but I prosecuted rape cases and I remember saying earlier on in this case I'm not sure if the Manhattan D.A.'s office would have gone ahead with the case. Not that a rape didn't occur but you have to evaluate your evidence also. And I was vindicated when my former colleague Linda Fierstein (ph) did say she was troubled by the prosecution going forward. I'm not sure this case should have ever gone forward.
CRIER: I want to agree with Beth because we have certainly talked about this. And it is not at all that we are making a judgment as to whether or not the rape occurred. But you are bringing another person into court. You are charging them with a crime. And you are basically saying if you go forward that you believe not only that they are guilty but you have sufficient evidence to prove this to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. And I -- this, I agree with Beth. This one I would have to take a hard look at.
KING: Jean, was this a little bit like "Keystone Kops?"
CASAREZ: I know exactly what they're saying because they filed charges solely on her story and her story did not include anything about a Mister X or samples that were taken from her body later by the defense that showed allegedly a Mister X's DNA on her thighs, on her vaginal area, inside of her. And so just filing charges on that initial story, I think, that's part of the mishap right there not doing any forensic testing.
GRACE: Larry, Larry. Why don't we all just go back to 1950 when a woman had to be brutally beaten and left out in a field half dressed before you could prove a rape case. No! No! This was a legitimate case to go forward with. I don't agree with her attorney dropping the charges. He should have subpoenaed this witness and go forward. The implications of dropping this case are far and wide and will last a long time. Her vaginal blood -- I would like to finish -- her vaginal blood on his shirt, her immediate outcry and a bruise to the face. Agree with me or disagree with me that is a case that should go to a jury.
CRIER: I won't argue that point with you, Nancy but you made an example. 1950, woman out in the field, brutally beaten.
There are different kinds of rape cases the prosecutor has to deal with, one is stranger on stranger. One acquaintance rape that happens quite often, the date rape situation. This is a young woman who was seen smiling, flirting, and again I am not talking about whether or not a rape occurred. This is the evidence that you are going to present in court. They're going to demonstrate she went up willingly to his room. She even said that she showed him the tattoo on her back, that she was, there was a consensual hugging. At what...
GRACE: They could bring that up on cross-examination. That's not a reason to drop the case for Pete's sake. Even hookers can be raped.
BLOOM: Hasn't this all been resolved. If Kobe Bryant wants his reputation back, then why did he apologize for his behavior that night? Why did he acknowledge her sincere belief it was not consensual. I mean, either an apology means something or doesn't mean something. I think when Kobe Bryant apologizes "for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year." He is apologizing for wrongdoing on his part.
NEWSOM: Yes, Larry there's plenty of evidence that...
KING: I've got to get a break, and I'll come back. I've got to get a break. I'll come back. We're going to touch some other bases. We're going to go to your phone calls at the bottom of the hour. Getting revved up here, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOOM: Well, if you have just tuned in we want to let you know the charges, criminal charges against Kobe Bryant have been dropped in their entirety. A deal was struck behind closed doors. We here at Court TV are attempting to get to the bottom of it and to analyze and explain to you exactly what went on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWSOM: I've had to have some really unpleasant conversations with young women, little girls even, 9, 10-years-old that used to wear little Laker's jerseys with Kobe's name, they want to talk and ask me, they watch me on TV, they said did Kobe rape some body? Is Kobe a bad person? Why did he -- they feel like uncertain and confused, because somebody like Kobe Bryant is a role model, he's a superstar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Kimberly is there another side to celebrity?
Does celebrity have a strike against him?
Is there a tendency that you charged Michael Jackson, he must have done it?
NEWSOM: You know what, I think it's the exact opposite. I think if you are a celebrity you have got money, then unfortunately in this country you can have better justice than the average person. You get special dream teams. And we've seen this even with the Kobe Bryant case. I mean, this woman's reputation was so ruined and trashed through the press and with statements through their attorneys, et cetera, it was awful.
And I think you see that happen, look at the O.J. Simpson case. Look at the Jayson Williams case. Now look at the Kobe Bryant case. Look at the Michael Jackson case in 1993, again avoided criminal charges and was able to do a cash settlement. People that can buy their way out of trouble.
And that -- I just want to say about this case. I think there was sufficient evidence to go to a jury on criminal charges for this woman. I gladly would have taken it. Like Nancy I've handled many sexual assault cases, and rape cases in L.A. and in San Francisco. I would have been proud to be in there and stand up for her and bring the case to the jury. Let them decide. What is Kobe afraid of if he didn't do it. And if she is telling the truth go forward with the case.
KING: Jean, if you're charged once, is that, like William Kennedy Smith, is he up against it just because he was previously charged with the same thing?
CASAREZ: Sure, you are asking me?
CASAREZ: Sure. I think celebrities can be targets. I do, I think they have money. And I think many people can target them for just what they are and who they are.
William Kennedy Smith, what is the situation? Well we don't know. Nothing has happened, as far as, in a court recently. But I do think they can be targets, definitely.
KING: Do you, Beth?
Don't you think that some times being a celebrity is not a plus?
KARAS: Well, you know, it definitely hurts the prosecution, because I think the burden on the prosecution is not just beyond a reasonable doubt, when you are a defendant as a celebrity, but it is beyond all doubt. It seems like the prosecutors are held to a higher standard. It is true celebrities can buy a better defense arguably and often do. But some times it can hurt. And if you are charged again or allegations come out again like they are with Michael Jackson, it may hurt you to be a celebrity.
KING: Lisa Bloom, is William Kennedy Smith up against it just because he once had the same charge against him?
Is there a tendency to preconvict?
BLOOM: No, I really don't think there is, Larry. We live in such a celebrity worship culture. You know, people will sleep on the streets all night just to watch Michael Jackson for example walk by. I think there is a tremendous advantage to being a celebrity. Juries, I think, are very reluctant to convict a celebrity, even somebody like Jayson Williams, who shoots and kills a man in the presence of a number of witnesses in his own bedroom, gets acquitted of top charges.
You know, I think being celebrity is an enormous advantage in American courtrooms. And very, very difficult for the powerless, people who are just a celebrity fan, a driver, a child in the Michael Jackson case, another fan in the Kobe Bryant case, I think it's tremendously difficult for people like that to go up against a tremendous resources and star power of American celebrities.
We're going to take a break. When we come back we're going to go to your phone calls. I'll reintroduce the entire panel, because they all have credits you ought to hear about. We're Talking To the women of Court TV. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This is Frey and Peterson, January 1, 2003, around midnight. Listen, nothing good happens after midnight. That's what I always argue in opening statements. And this is no -- this is no -- no different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's meet our terrific panel. In New York, Nancy Grace, the Court TV anchor of "Closing Arguments," host of "Nancy Grace Live Specials," the former prosecutor and author of a forthcoming book, "Objection."
Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, the co-host of Court TV's "Both Sides," former assistant D.A. in San Francisco, she and her husband, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are profiled in September's "Harper's Bazaar." She's the first lady of San Francisco.
Catherine Crier, former CNNer, host of Court TV's "Catherine Crier Live," executive editor for "Legal News Specials," former Texas state district judge, and the "New York Times" bestselling author.
Lisa Bloom, the co-anchor of Court TV's "Trial Heat," civil rights attorney, you may see the resemblance, she's the daughter of attorney Gloria Allred.
In Redwood City is Beth Karas, Court TV field correspondent, also does anchoring duties and a former assistant D.A. in New York City.
And in New York, Jean Casarez. She's a Court TV correspondent for live daytime trial coverage and anchor for "Newsbreak." She is also an attorney.
Let's go to your calls. Phoenix, Arizona. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. The only two channels I watch are CNN and Court TV.
GRACE: Bless you!
CALLER: I love Court TV. I love you guys. You know what, all of you women do a great job. And this is my question. How -- who and how decides what cases are shown?
KING: Nancy, want to take that?
GRACE: You know, that's a free-for-all, Larry. We call it trial tracking. Basically they put us all in a big room and we fight it out until our case wins. The reality is that we have trial trackers who look at courtrooms all across the country. Our only limitation, Larry, is that there are certain jurisdictions that do not allow cameras in the courtroom. Very few. And we take a long hard look at cases where it is a sex assault case or a child is involved because I have a very hard time -- when I think back on child molestation cases I tried -- it's hard to bring a camera in the courtroom because the child would have an even more difficult time. Cases like that we don't usually even try for.
KING: Kimberly, must there be bodily harm in the case or will you do divorce trial?
NEWSOM: No, we don't do divorce trials on Court TV. I imagine there would be probably be some interest in those. But what we do is criminal cases. We usually do mostly homicide cases of course. We have had some interesting cases, "Candid Camera" case comes to mind. But basically look for cases that have public interest, cases that have had some interest in the media where the public concern is great and people really have something they want to find out.
KING: Catherine, didn't though Court TV once do Joan Collins' suit against her publisher?
CRIER: Absolutely. We also did the case, the sports betting case with the college athletes in Florida. So we do, again, look at those issues as Kimberly said that may have a public interest or that we need to illuminate a particular problem in society.
KING: Lisa, who is the final decision maker then? Who says we'll cover this not that?
BLOOM: Well, unfortunately it's not me, Larry. It's Court TV management. And whatever they say, I just absolutely go along with. We do in all seriousness, we anchors do have some input and we push for the cases that we would really like to talk about.
KING: Springfield, Missouri. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I am very interested in the case in Salt Lake City where the young woman was supposedly killed by her husband and put in a dumpster. We have not heard anything for a long, long time. Can someone tell us what's going on? Thank you.
KING: Beth, do you know? Are you aware, Beth, of what's happening?
KARAS: You know, a lot of people who were out here in Redwood City did go to Utah for a couple of weeks, producers. Now I know Mark Hacking has apparently admitted to the crime. He has been arrested. My understanding is he is incarcerated. This is not going to be a "who done it" type case like Scott Peterson but it's probably going to be a psychiatric defense.
KING: Jean, what do you hear?
CASAREZ: Well, the one thing that I know -- everything Beth is saying is what I have heard. In Utah, Utah is one of the states that does not allow cameras in the courtroom. So, although this trial will be, I'm sure of great interest to Court TV, we will not be having a camera in that courtroom because the state doesn't allow it.
KING: Nancy, if he hadn't confessed and they never found the body, could they still try him?
GRACE: Yes. Based on what we know right now, Larry, and you and I remember the night that we got to speak to Lori's parents and family that night. What the evidence is suggesting is that her blood is found in very suspicious locations within the apartment, on the bedding. He apparently told one of his family members that he in fact had killed her. It is going to be a mental defense. I predict he will plead insanity. My only question is, look, Larry, apparently he tried to kill himself by taking an O.D. of Benadryl. If his mental defect defense goes anything like that I predict he will be convicted. KING: But here's one of the complaints, Nancy. You have no idea of his mental condition. You have not seen his psychiatric examination, you have never examined him nor are you a professional physician.
GRACE: That's true.
KING: Why are you jumping to this conclusion with so little knowledge?
GRACE: Because he checked himself into a mental institution while his wife was missing.
KING: So that means he is not crazy. I don't follow that. In other words, how do you know he is not crazy?
GRACE: Larry, I don't know if he is crazy or not. But I know this much. Based on trying many, many cases similar to this, what I have just said was I think that he'll have a mental defect defense. It's up to a jury whether he is crazy or not.
KING: But you implied it was a phony defense? You didn't mean that?
GRACE: Larry, no, I don't believe his mental defect defense. I don't believe it. Because when he spoke to his family he was totally coherent and he managed during a bout of insanity to hide the body where cops could never find it.
KING: So in other words, you're not rushing to judgment here?
GRACE: I'm analyzing the facts that we know now. Maybe I will be surprised at trial. I hope I am.
KING: Ellijay, Georgia. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Larry. Outstanding show. I would like to ask your outstanding panel, what -- are most judges and prosecutors in America competent? Are they competent? Should we feel good?
KING: Let's have Ms. Newsom try that one.
NEWSOM: I love this question. Yes, believe me, have faith in the justice system. It's frustrating when you see a couple high- profile cases that get this attention and people think, what's going on in Eagle, Colorado? What's going on in Modesto with these prosecutors?
Yes, the majority of district attorneys, prosecutors, judges I've had the pleasure to appear in front of in two counties are fantastic, committed, talented people. And it's unfortunate when people get the wrong idea because we don't have cameras in the courtroom to show you all the cases where they are very talented.
KING: Let's see if the rest of the panel agrees. Nancy, do you agree that most judges and prosecutors are competent? GRACE: Well, prosecutors, yes. No offense, Catherine. But I think a lot of judges, don't get mad, Judge Delucchi on the Peterson case, but I think a lot of judges are political appointees. I would guess that many of them have never even tried a case. And when I hear the word "politics" I get a queasy feeling. I don't want a has-been politician up there making decisions in my trial. That concerns me. But as to prosecutors, you are darn right they have got a huge case load, they're trying cases every day just like public defenders. I think prosecutors and public defenders, the best trial lawyers in the country.
KING: Judge Crier?
CRIER: Well, obviously I think -- no, I think there are problems on the bench. And I have made it a point of doing a lot of research on this. I am actually committed and do outside work trying to better the judiciary in this country. I work with the Judges College and other places. They are on the whole very good. And you think about the thousands of cases, civil and criminal that go on every day, day in and day out and justice is done in this country. But there are problems. We need to work on things like judicial education and like Nancy said I want trial lawyers, defense and prosecution, on the bench to be reviewing trial practices.
BLOOM: Well, let me talk about attorneys. I think that money talks in the justice system to a shameful degree. I think the Kobe Bryants of the world who have $12 million to spend on their defense get a far different level of justice than the average Joe who doesn't have that kind of money. I think for a lot of criminal justice attorneys' motto should be "reasonable doubt for a reasonable fee." And for the rest of us, it just doesn't work the same way as it does for the wealthy unfortunately.
KARAS: You know, let me talk about judges. Steve Brill who started Court TV was a friend of mine and we were having lunch once, a year before Court TV was established and he asked my opinion on cameras in the courtroom. I was an assistant D.A. at the time and my immediate reaction was, I am in favor of it, it will keep lawless judges in line, it's just another check on the system. Now I just think that there were problems. There are problems. There are good lawyers, there are bad lawyers. There are good judges, there are bad judges and I was all in favor of cameras because I thought it will make them lawful in every decision they make.
CASAREZ: I think that is right. And I think one of the value of having cameras in the courtroom, gavel-to-gavel coverage. There are unethical attorneys. And when there are, and we've got the camera in the courtroom you see it and it's exposed. Also what Lisa Bloom was saying, I think money comes into play. Yes, we have competent prosecutors and defense attorneys but when you have a defense team that has millions of dollars to work with they can't compete many times with a small prosecutorial office.
KING: Chillicothe, Missouri, hello?
CALLER: I am going to talk about the O.J. Simpson case. The knife was never found. And I have wondered for years whether the gas tank in the Bentley was checked? In the Bentley that was parked outside?
KING: Nancy, do you know? Do you remember that case?
GRACE: I do, remember it very, very well. I don't know that the gas tank was checked. But I'm also not convinced that the knife that would have been used to murder Nicole and Ron would have fit down through that opening. I know what she is talking about. I never heard one shred of evidence suggesting that the gas tank had been checked.
KING: We will take a break and be back with more Nancy Grace, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, Catherine Crier, Lisa Bloom, Beth Karas and Jean Casarez, the women of Court TV. More of your phone calls.
By the way, Saturday night we have a special live show in memorium for the third anniversary of 9/11, our special guest is the former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. That is Saturday night, a live edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Tim McGraw on Friday. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: Sitting in court today, what were the best tidbits for the prosecution?
KARAS: Well, you know the jury finished hearing a January 7 conversation and then January 12 conversation. They are about to hear another January 12 conversation. They're about to hear another January 12 conversation. And in it, Amber, very honestly it seems, is telling him that she didn't -- she needed this like a hole in the head. She said it a little more articulately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: If there were people out on the water that day, it's Christmas Eve of course, and we've been told it was fairly desolate that day. If people were out, however, could they have seen what Peterson was doing? And let me remind you, 20/20 and 20/18, OK. If it is happening, I am going to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Rossford, Ohio, hello?
CALLER: Larry, love your show.
KING: Thank you.
CALLER: Nancy, highest regard and utmost respect to you and the panel. Question, I understand a defendant's right to a fair trial by excluding prejudicial evidence, however it seems that victims' rights are not held to the same rights and standards as the defendant when their past is brought into question. Why can't the system be fair to both the state and the defendant, and present only the facts and evident presented in the case being heard? If a victim has falsely accused a defendant, prosecute them. If a defendant has a history, with or without past convictions, then shame on the judge regarding the sentencing and/or the prosecution for losing the case.
KING: You can't know if a defendant had a past record, because that's prejudicial isn't it? That would be wrong?
GRACE: Actually it depends. Generally, you are correct. The jury never finds out about the defendant's track record. It could be as long as I-75, the jury would never know it unless, unless it is a similar transaction. In other words, Larry, if the defendant has didn't same act in the past, and it bears on for instance the M.O., or the identity of the perpetrator in the current crime.
KING: I see.
GRACE: That's when that can come in.
But I don't think the lady caller is going to like my answer. Because I don't even like my answer. The victim will never have the same rights in a court of law for one reason: the Constitution. It guarantees those right to the defendant, not the victim. A victim's bill of rights is before Congress. Will it get passed? Probably not. Too many of them are defense lawyers.
KING: Saucier, Mississippi, hello?
CALLER: Hello. I just wanted to tell you, I think you are all great. And I just watch you all the time. I just want to know, how much longer are they going to end up having this trial go on? I mean it is already 15 weeks?
KING: That's for Beth. Beth?
KARAS: The Peterson case? Well the prosecution is supposed to wrap up end of this month. The defense has two or three weeks. Put it this way, I'm voting absentee. I don't think I'll be back in New York in November 2.
KING: Lake Charles, Louisiana. Hello?
CALLER: Yes, thank you for taking my call. KING: Sure.
CALLER: My question is to the panel. In a situation where a defendant is -- is found to have a mistrial the state gets to decide whether to retry that defendant or not. But what about a case where it is proven that the state prosecutors are inept in trying a defendant, can they bring back the case and get another shot at it? Even if...
CRIER: With Scott Peterson.
CALLER: Where the defendant is found not guilty.
CRIER: No. Obviously in this country, not guilty, double jeopardy, you are never going to be tried again. And many times you watch -- what concerns you about a prosecution when we were talking about a small community having a bit harder time they better hope for a mistrial in some of the cases so they could bring it back and try it again. But once there is an acquittal, or as we saw in the Kobe Bryant case, dismissal with prejudice, the case is over.
KING: Gadsden, Alabama. Hello.
CALLER: Yes. Thank you for take my call, Larry.
CALLER: My question is for Nancy Grace.
CALLER: I have been keeping up with the Laci Peterson trial. And I really believe that Scott is guilty. But I get so discouraged when I watch the prosecution so many times foul up this case. And can the family of Laci Peterson request different lawyers? Or could any of you ladies, especially, you help them out?
GRACE: Bless you.
KING: Nancy, the only way the caller could know if the prosecution fouled up if she had seen them and she hasn't seen them. How would she know they fouled up?
GRACE: Larry, she has probably been listening to the commentary of trial lawyers, listening to the defense bar on air, screaming about the prosecution doing a bad job. I have got to tell the lady caller I was in the courtroom for weeks on end. And I thought the prosecution was doing a pretty good job as was Garagos.
In answer to her question, there is a statute in most jurisdictions called pro hac vici where the D.A.'s office can bring in a special prosecutor. But right now, please don't switch your horse midstream. No way at this juncture can another prosecutor be brought in.
KING: Kimberly, how well is the prosecution doing in the Peterson case?
NEWSOM: Well, you know, I was there for the preliminary hearing for Peterson. And it was a little bit disjointed. I saw where they were going. But that's because I have been a prosecutor, an attorney for ten years. But I think it is difficult. Circumstantial evidence case, you really have to tell a story to the jury, connect the dots. And we have seen a little struggle with that.
But it's not over yet. Don't count them out. We've got closing argument. There's more things to come in this case. I think they have taken a lot of abuse. But I'm sure some of it unfairly.
But that's why we need the cameras in the courtroom so people can see what's going on, judge the evidence for themselves. Because usually prosecutors, when they are practicing, cannot go on air to talk about cases. So you do have a disproportionate number of defense attorneys out there saying, hey this case is going nowhere.
But I have got faith in juries and the justice system. And when they think some one is guilty, they are going to look for the evidence, they're not going to give them a free pass.
CRIER: Pick on the judge just a little bit, Larry, because the Judge Delucchi has let this go in a disorganized fashion where all of a sudden a witness is interrupted and they have to call them back several days later. I have heard some conversation, and Beth would know better than I, about Garagos requesting time and delays.
It's time to let the D.A. put on his or her case. You don't allow all this disjointed presentation, particularly if it's the other side trying to trip up your presentation. And I haven't been real happy with the way that's going.
KING: Got to get a break. And we'll be back with our remaining moments. Get a few more calls in as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Fred, I have got to show you the newspapers today, because this is amazing. Every newspaper, "Denver Post: Dismissed." "Vail Daily: It's Over" and "The Rocky Mountain News: Case Closed." This is big news around here, Fred as it is around the whole nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, you see a picture of our guest Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom and her husband, Mayor Gaven Newsom in the -- it's the "Harper's Bazaar" where they're called the new Kennedys. Do you feel like a Kennedy, Kimberly?
NEWSOM: Oh, my goodness. Let me tell you something, if we had any control over the title of that, that wouldn't have been the title. I am sitting here, I'm going to crawl under the table here. But my colleagues at Court TV are supporting me on this. But no, it's interesting. It's just editorial they try and sell -- I have a lot of respect, obviously, for the Kennedy family. They have served a tremendous amount of their lives devoted to public service. But no, we make no comparison.
KING: But could mean that you are secretly in love with a Greek shipping tycoon. But, never mind.
NEWSOM: Do you know any?
KING: Los Angeles. Hello?
CALLER: My question is for the panel. I am just curious, was there ever a psychological evaluation of Scott Peterson? I mean, he is such a pathologic liar. The same thing in the Hacking, I mean, he's a pathologic liar. Isn't that an indication of some sort of mental disorder?
KARAS: Defense never gave notice of any sort of psychiatric defense. So, I was not aware of any evaluation that was going to play a role in this criminal case. Whether he did one on his own, is another story, but not as part of this criminal case that I am aware of.
CRIER: Sociopathy is not a mental disease or defect. So, you can be a sociopath and that's not a mental defense.
BLOOM: Yes. And other than all of the armchair psychologists like all of us watching and following the trial. You mean to tell me a guy who says, oh I'm in Paris watching an American pop show while the rest of the community is out looking for his missing wife. You mean, there is something wrong with a guy like that? Somebody who lies to his own mother about his whereabouts in the weeks after his wife -- his pregnant wife goes missing.
I mean, there is clearly something wrong with Scott Peterson. and Larry, I have got to tell you, I think the reason why many of us at Court TV have such strong feelings about the Scott Peterson case is because we are in it day after day, reading the details of the testimony, following it closely. And this guy, I have got to tell you, Larry, he is a sick puppy.
KING: It don't mean he is a murderer. Let's make that clear to our audience. You can be sick, and not be a killer.
BLOOM: It doesn't mean he is innocent either. And somebody who is despicable, they might be a little bit closer to being a felon than the rest of us.
KING: Lisa, as of this second he is not guilty.
BLOOM: That is true. KING: Thank you. Let's make that clear to our audience, lest they go running off and assassinate him in the courtroom.
BLOOM: Well, nobody's calling him that, Larry, but we are evaluating the evidence. That's what we are paid to do.
KING: You are inciting to anger.
BLOOM: Well, then the prosecution is as well. And all the against Scott Peterson, most of which comes out of his own mouth, is inciting to anger. We're just telling you what the facts.
KING: Has he confessed to murder?
BLOOM: Well, I would argue that he has in fact on the tapes with Amber Frey, when he says to her from the pay phone, Larry, you have guessed at the answers to all of your questions Amber. What did she guess, she guessed that he was responsible for his wife's disappearance.
KING: That excludes you from being the alternate juror.
KING: Toronto, hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is for the panel.
CALLER: It seems that watching a lot of these cases that are coming up, that there is a cash surrender value on justice. And as a citizen that expects the system to protect us, if I am, you know a high-priced sports figure, I can do anything. As long as I can afford a Mark Garagos. What do you think it is going to change the system?
KING: We have a problem. I'm running out of time. Nancy, can you answer that quickly. And we're going to do another show with all of you.
GRACE: Yes. I can answer that quickly. It will take a prosecutor whose back won't break when money signs are thrown at a victim and are willing to go forward with the case and put the victim on the stand and fight for what they believe is the truth.
KING: Thanks, Nancy Grace, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, Catherine Crier, Lisa Bloom, Beth Karas and Jean Casarez for being with us. And I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you more about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, a man goes to prison for killing a 2-year- old child. They find out 20-years later, he didn't do. It was an accident. We'll have him on, a lot of other people as well.
Friday night, Tug McGraw.
Speaking of Tug. When you think of Tug, you think Tim McGraw. Tug was his late father. But I was thinking of Tug, because to tug at your heart strings, it's one of the great things that we in the business try to do. And no one tugs at our heart strings better than Aaron Brown who brings a personal touch to everything he does.
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