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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
A look at the Men of Court TV
Aired October 14, 2004 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: Tonight, you've seen the women of Court TV and now the men get a turn. There are legal legals who know their way around a courtroom, experienced, authority and believe me, opinion.
Dominick Dunne, journalist, best selling author and host of Court TV's, "Power, Privilege and Justice."
Dr. Henry Lee, the world renowned forensic scientists, the host of Court TV's "Trace Evidence."
Vinnie Politan, journalist, attorney and co-anchor of "Both Size."
Fred Graham, journalist, lawyer, and Court TV's chief anchor and managing editor.
And James Curtis, last but not least, former prosecutor and anchor of "Trial Heat."
The men of Court TV here for the hour and they are taking your calls. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
GRACE: Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight.
Thank you so much for being with us. From Scott Peterson to Martha Stewart to Robert Blake to Phil Spector to Michael Jackson, it's all going down in courtrooms all across this country. And tonight, the men of Court TV are taking your questions and your calls here on LARRY KING LIVE. Again thank you for being with us.
Let's kick it off with Dominick Dunne. Now, Dominick Dunne is a journalist, a special correspondent for "Vanity Fair," but is also an outspoken victims rights advocate. Like me, he's a crime victim himself. Dominic, you are friends with Martha Stewart, who we all know is serving her first week behind bars. Camp cupcake, as they're calling it.
What's the news on Martha Stewart?
DOMINICK DUNNE, JOURNALIST, AUTHOR: First place I didn't get a chance to say good-bye to her before she went. I was supposed to go down to the Bahamas to that wedding she went to, but I had to back out at the last minute.
GRACE: Dominick Dunne backed out of a party?
DUNNE: How about that?
GRACE: OK, something's wrong.
DUNNE: Something's wrong. And so I didn't see her before she went. But you know, she's making news even behind bars.
GRACE: As a matter of fact, this week, it hasn't even hit the newsstands yet, photos in "People" magazine of Martha Stewart. The woman can't catch a break. They've even got photos of her behind bars. How they did it, don't know. What can you tell us of Martha Stewart?
DUNNE: Apparently, there is a book deal that has been made, and I hear for 5 million bucks. And, you know, she's a very bright lady, and I'm sure that she'll keep copious notes while she's there. She's also a good writer. The publisher who has made the offer is Crown, which happens to be my publisher and happens to be Martha's. That's how Martha and I got to know each other years ago, through our mutual publisher.
GRACE: So she's got a book deal, five million bucks. That ain't shabby. That ain't shabby, Dominic.
DUNNE: That ain't shabby.
GRACE: Five months, five million bucks. Then, of course, she's going to do the rest of her hard time at one of her mansion.
DUNNE: At their house in Bedford, a beautiful house.
GRACE: You know, Fred Graham, I think I want be held behind bars at Martha's mansion.
DUNNE: Well, maybe we can arrange that.
GRACE: What you don't know about Fred Graham, is that Fred Graham really kicked off the whole genre of legal reporting, all the way back to Watergate. Nothing has happened in the world of the law, be it the Supreme Court to the Scott Peterson case that Fred Graham hasn't been on top of.
Fred, right now a reporter for "The New York Times," Judith Miller, is facing hard jail time for refusing to give up a source as to who leaked the name of a CIA agent. What's going on?
FRED GRAHAM, COURT TV: Well, and she's not the only one. This is -- this special prosecutor, who is sprinkling subpoenas around like snow among journalists, there's been a lot of concern that this is a serious threat to the first amendment and to the ability of journalists to do their jobs. It's not quite as ominous as a lot of journalists think, for this reason. The problem here is the Supreme Court decided, 25-years-ago, in a case called Branzburg vs. Hayes, that there is no privilege, no constitutional privilege to refuse to tell who your sources are.
Journalist argued people won't tell us anything if we've got to say who they were. These cases that have to do with the CIA leaking the CIA agents' identity, here's the situation where there's not a whistle blower who's coming to a reporter to tell this reporter about wrongdoing in the government or city hall, that should be privileged. This is someone allegedly within the government who put the finger on this CIA agent to make hay, to cut up a political opponent to make political points. That's the difference. The reporters probably going to lose these cases, because the court's going to say, if someone uses you, a reporter, to cut up someone else politically...
GRACE: Political purposes.
GRAHAM: ...then you don't have a privilege.
GRACE: So Fred do you think she's going to jail if she holds out?
GRAHAM: It's so hard to know, because this is such an unusual case.
GRACE: No Fred you've got to call it. Will she go to jail or will she not go to jail?
GRAHAM: If she goes to jail, it will be for a short period of time, because she didn't write a story. And they didn't publish a story by her. She just talked to some sources inside the government.
GRACE: I think what Fred Graham is saying in the true form of a defense lawyer, I think he's saying that yes, she is going to jail but for a short, short period. It won't hurt a bit. It won't hurt a bit.
JAMES CURTIS, COURT TV: Five million dollars, what's it a million dollars a day Martha got, maybe she can work a similar deal.
GRACE: Lets -- to Dr. Henry Lee. Dr. Henry Lee is the host of "Trace Evidence" on Court TV. But as you recall, in the O.J. Simpson case, he took forensic science out of the laboratory and brought it into our homes.
Dr. Henry Lee, welcome. My question to you is we all know about finger prints, know we know about DNA, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), nucleic Acid. We know about mitochondrial DNA. We know about fiber analysis. What's the next big deal in forensic science, doctor?
DR. HENRY LEE, COURT TV: Well, Nancy, that's an excellent question. The next thing, as a matter of fact, yesterday I was an advisor committee meeting for new technology. Basically, we're looking at data mining, artificial intelligence. That's probably the next generation. We're going to have massive data base, DNA data bank. We're going to firearm, fingerprint, entire fabric, paint, every single bit of data based all over the place, how we can link (UNINTELLIGIBLE). For example a cigarette on a crime scene, we can find out who smoked it. Maybe we can even do a genetic profile, to determine the possible geographic region the individual come from. GRACE: You know, Dr. Henry Lee, that is amazing to me. It's very similar to the AFIS Computer System, where you get a fingerprint and you can plug it into a computer system all over the entire country and see if it gets a match. So you're saying data mining is the next big deal in forensic science?
LEE: Yes. Data, for example, fingerprint, only criminal commit a crime will have their fingerprint or people in the military services or such as in the government service. Not everybody have fingerprint. Now a partial print, we can now search the AFIS. However, a partial print, future we can do trace DNA analysis, and search DNA data bank.
GRACE: Well, of course, there's going to be a fleet of defense attorneys that will complain on constitutional grounds, regarding data mining, as you are referring to it. But speaking of defense attorneys, like Johnnie Cochran, like Mark Geragos, are we still expecting you as defense witness in the Scott Peterson defense?
LEE: Good question. Yes, more likely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he needs counsel.
LEE: But I cannot tell what I'm going to testify, because a gag order now. Yes, more likely, I'm going to be a defense expert in the case.
GRACE: Well, Dr. Henry Lee, I will see you in the courtroom.
To James Curtis now. James Curtis, yes, is the host of "Trial Heat" on Court TV. But you may think of him as a judge. No, he's not a judge, he was a prosecutor, but he played one on TV as Judge Curtis. Question to you, James Curtis. These judge shows, you've got the "People's Court," you've got "Judge Judy," you've got Wapner. There are many of them. Are they accurate or do they give the wrong impression, turning the courtroom into a legal game show of some sort?
CURTIS: Well, I think that you have mixed bag of opinions on the personality of the judge who your dealing with. Just today on our program, Lisa Bloom was my co-anchor on "Trial Heat," we had Judge Hatchet, Glenda Hatchet, who's an outstanding jurist, she was actually a judge, doesn't just play one on TV. The things that she does in her courtroom are really part of the new wave in restorative justice, having victims confront their assailants, assailants apologize.
Two people that they have wronged doing a lot of progressive work with juveniles. That stuff is real. Some folks, and I will not name names, like Judge Judy, who might want to grandstand and make it look like something that it's really not. But even on that show and others like it, whether it be "Divorce Court" or others, the seminal issue, the things they deal with at their base, you will find in a small claims court, you will find in a divorce court. The same types of issues.
GRACE: So it's similar. True to life. We'll get straight to Vinnie Politan and we're taking your calls here on LARRY KING LIVE, and the men of Court TV. Call us we're talking about Scott Peterson, Martha Stewart, Robert Blake, Michael Jackson, Phil Spector. You name it, and believe me, they're ready. Stay with us.
VINNIE POLITAN, COURT TV: We know there were so many alleged sightings in that neighborhood and people who had come forward saying, yes, I saw her. And when you think about it a pregnant woman with a dog, how many pregnant women with dogs could there possibly be in that neighborhood?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I sentenced once again, in case you may have missed it, ten months in prison, five months to be served actually inside a penitentiary.
DUNNE: The sheriff's office went over the head, or went around the office of the district attorney, didn't even consult or get the cooperation of the district attorney in getting a search warrant to really kind of initiate the whole investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNNE: Even in a state for big money and big egos, Colin Davis stood out. Whatever he did, he did it big. In the late 60's, he paid what was then an astounding $6 million to build his dream house. He threw some of the most lavish parties Fort Worth had ever seen. And when Colin got in trouble, he did that big too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Dominick Dunne from Court TV has the rich and famous on the run. That's a clip from "Power, Privilege and Justice." Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. We are taking calls on all things legal, including Scott Peterson. Straight to you, Vinny Politan. The state has rested after a delay, many people claim was orchestrated...
POLITAN: Another delay.
GRACE: Another delay many people claim was orchestrated by the defense. Don't know if that's true or not. The defense is set to kick off its case next week. What will Geragos put on?
POLITAN: I think we're talking about experts. We're talking about the age of that baby Conner, is the key issue for Mark Geragos. If he can prove, or demonstrate reasonably to this jury that that baby was older than -- was born after the 23 or the 24 of December with some certainty, then he's got a great case and a great chance here. But that's a big hurdle. That's a big hurdle, because there's a lot of gray area in that area of expertise.
GRACE: Isn't it very difficult to weigh -- to determine the age of a fetus?
GRACE: I mean, growth spurts, the conditions of the fetus in the water. So, OK, you've given me one witness. Is that it?
POLITAN: Well, I think have that witness. Maybe they put on one witness that spotted Laci. But think about all the damage that he was able to do by cross-examining these people.
Because look at the case, you've got to prove who did it. That's what the case is all about. But -- and the jury may want to know what happened, when it happened, where it happened, how it happened, and why it happened. And I don't know if the prosecution can answer all of those questions to a reasonable degree of certainty.
GRACE: So, you're telling me some experts will be forensic pathologists. But Fred Graham, we have heard sources report that six to seven of Geragos' defense witnesses on the Scott Peterson case will basically be recycled cops. He's going to call them on and put them on the stand and start cross-examining them. Why?
GRAHAM: He's attempting to show, first of all, that there was a focus on Scott Peterson, to the neglect of other people. And then he's going to just going to try and hope that there can be some evidence that maybe someone else could have done this.
You know, it seems to me, Nancy, that the big burden that the defense has here is that the prosecution has no real direct evidence other than this famous pliers with the hair on it. But there's this vast amount of evidence, circumstantial evidence that shows that this man was conscious of guilt and he seemed to know that she was never going to show up right away.
And it just seems to me that the logic to the jury, the logic that he had to have been the person who did it, will make up for the lack of direct evidence or any other sand that Geragos may try to throw in their face.
GRACE: Dr. Henry Lee I know you are under a gag order in the Peterson case. But when you analyze other cases, does the forensic expert, such as yourself, take into account the other circumstantial evidence? Do you even look at the facts surrounding the case?
LEE: No. Usually we totally objective. We don't want to even look at the witnesses' statements, or police hypothesis or whatever theory they call. We just look at our pure physical evidence objectively. Let the evidence fall where it be. Supposed to be. Then later, can work with district attorney or defense attorney, utilize the physical evidence to reconstruct.
If we have a scene in the reconstructing of the crime scene, we can tell just now mention -- what did it happen, why did it happen, where did it happen and who responsible for it. That's very important.
GRACE: So, you don't take into consideration what the other circumstances are OK. There's no gag order on the O.J. Simpson case. All right? So you get a free pass on Peterson. But in Simpson, when you look back at it, you testified for the defense. And you made a very powerful impact as I recall from watching your testimony every day. Dr. Henry Lee, do you ever, are you ever concerned that a jury reaches the wrong verdict based on your testimony?
LEE: Well, I leave the verdict to the jury and the court. If scientists are worried about verdict, then he no longer a scientist anymore. I teach my students, the first thing you have to forget yourself and in our laboratory, you have the crime happening a city, let's say New Haven, we intentionally don't assign the case to the scientists living in New Haven, try to avoid the human bias.
For example, O.J. Simpson case, you find EDTA in the blood tubes, blood drops. EDTA is a preservative. Not supposed to find in human circulation.
GRACE: Are you back on O.J. and EDTA? That's the first time I ever heard of EDTA was when you said it on the stand. Now I know more bit than I ever wanted to.
Speaking of Peterson to Dominick Dunne. Dominick, you were there throughout the O.J. Simpson case, you were there when the verdict came down. You lived through a similar ordeal in your own life when your daughter was a crime victim. What effect will a not guilty have on Laci's family or even a mistrial, for that matter?
DUNNE: Well in the first place, I don't think he's going to be acquitted. And Geragos has done a brilliant job and so forth, and everyone has criticized the prosecution. But I agree with Fred here that there is somebody on that jury -- I mean, if I were on that jury, I'd hang it. And I think that it probably will be a hung jury.
GRACE: Why would you hang it?
DUNNE: Because I would vote -- I mean, I think he is guilty. And...
GRAHAM: And you're saying that there won't be a unanimous jury? There can't be a unanimous jury?
DUNNE: There can be, but everyone is saying he's going to be acquitted. I mean if you just listen, which I just don't happen to...
GRAHAM: Don't listen to those people on TV. They don't know what they're talking about, Dominick. But Nancy, other than the impact on the family, and that's important, it seems to me that an echo of the O.J. Simpson case here is unlikely. I think the public is going to feel that it would be such an affront to our system for a person who everyone believes has been proved to have done this is acquitted. I think that's unlikely. Seems to me that the logic of the situation, and the psychology is going to be for conviction.
CURTIS: But the public is only marginally of consideration. We're talking about 12 jurors sitting in this courtroom, as we saw in the O.J. Simpson case. What those folks sitting in the jury box hear and what they interpret and analyze as to be the truth. First of all, they're the only ones that get to decide that.
GRAHAM: They're the conscience of the community. That's what the jury is.
GRACE: Guys, we're so off field. I'm trying to get back to the victim reaction. We've got to go to break. I'll pick it up right when we get back.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. And tonight, the men of Court TV take their swing at the ball, after the women of Court TV were on discussing high profile cases. In our next block, we're taking your calls. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURTIS: Probably more appropriate to say how unbelievable Scott Peterson is after all. He's really the catalyst and the impetus for Amber Frey being in this position in the first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. The men of Court TV are here and they are taking your calls on all things legal. We were right in the middle of talking to Dominick Dunne. He was there when the O.J. Simpson not guilty came down. We're talking about the impact of a not guilty or a mistrial on a victim's family.
DUNNE: It's simply horrible. That's all. And you know, I'll never forget that moment in the courtroom at the O.J. Simpson case with the Goldman family. I was sitting right next to them. And at the time, and the Brown family too. And it was -- they were absolutely devastated. And they were also enraged, and it's -- if that happens to Laci's parents, I mean this is going to be a terrible thing for them. To a lesser degree -- I mean, the man who murdered my daughter so terribly got you know, two and a half years. And which was better than being acquitted. But it was still -- we felt gypped, cheated, enraged. When he got out I was so crazy that I hired a private detective to follow him. And, you know, it's just a frustrating, infuriating feeling.
GRACE: Well, Dominick, I've been there. I know how you feel. And, of course, everyone standing by, I wonder how awful in this trial it is, when the victim's family and the defendant's family has to live through the whole thing again. Let's go to the lines. Minneapolis, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Hi Nancy, you are the best. I'm one of your biggest fans. I want to let the Court TV men know that they're awesome as well. My question is...
POLITAN: Somebody loves us.
CURTIS: Not you. CALLER: I know you have to work with them, Nancy.
GRACE: I do, I do. What's your question, dear?
CALLER: My question is, in the Peterson trial, the removed juror No. 5, Justin Falconer, often said we during his interviews after being dismissed from the jury, leaving the impression to all of us that he'd discussed the case with other jurors. My question is, did the prosecutor ever ask the judge to investigate this and to talk to the remaining jurors?
GRACE: Vinnie Politan, she's got a good point. I noticed that too. I questioned him about that. Not only on Court TV but on my radio show. And he swore up and down they did not discuss it. But when you look back at the clips he did say we, we, we, over and over again. I can't help but think that the prosecutor questioned the judge about it.
POLITAN: Had to have, but a lot of this stuff is taking place behind closed doors. All those Falconer discussions were taking place behind closed doors. We don't know what was discussed. I'm sure the judge covered it. The one thing we do know about this jury from people observing what's going on in the courtroom is that when he was a juror, Justin Falconer was chummy with juror number six, who was sitting next to him, the fireman who was sitting next to him. A lot of people are thinking they're cut from the same mold, which would be good for the defense, not the prosecution because remember what Justin Falconer said. No one will forget. This guy clearly was on board with Scott Peterson and Mark Geragos.
GRACE: And also when Tuesday morning came around this past Tuesday morning 0900 and the judge announced there would be yet another delay juror 11, the lady on the front row, turned around and looked at 6. And they exchanged. It made me wonder if they had some type of an alliance which does happen.
POLITAN: Absolutely happens all the time. But the true test -- and James, you know this too and we talk about it all the time. The true test is when they get there and start deliberating, because they're not necessarily talking about the case every day. They might casually mention something, but when they start finding out what each other's opinions are, that's when some of those alliances don't become alliances.
GRACE: You'll be happy to know, when I was out in Redwood City, I watched the jury come out of the courthouse.
POLITAN: See who was getting together.
GRACE: They were definitely in clumps chatting. They could have been chatting about what's on sale at Bed, Bath & Beyond for all I know, but they do have alliances that have lasted throughout the trial.
POLITAN: I remember covering a trial in Las Vegas, and I saw one juror when they were in the gallery watching a demonstration, one juror kind of had his arm around the other juror, and we thought these two were together. Turns out this juror was the lone holdout and this was the foreman. And they went at it when they're inside. So you never know.
GRACE: We're taking a quick break. Panama City is calling in. We'll go straight to you when we get back. This is LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace along with the men of Court TV and they're taking your calls on all things legal. And believe me, they are ready, locked and loaded. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: Good morning and welcome to Court TV's open court. I'm Fred Graham. Thank you for joining us this morning as we open the courtroom and we examine the very fascinating issues to be presented this day in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
I'm here along with the men from Court TV, and they are taking your calls on all things legal. Let's go to Panama City. Panama, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy, love you. Watch you every day. I have a question that I can't get over. How can the defense get past what Laci was wearing when they found her? Scott Peterson said she was in black pants and a white shirt. Now, surely, Laci was not going to walk the dog with no shoes, with just pants on, and a bra. I don't understand it. It doesn't fly.
GRACE: Panama City they may call you in to give the closing argument that's pretty darn good. What about it, Vin?
POLITAN: That's a big point, because Scott Peterson -- remember, we have got that window of time so short in the morning. He says he leaves and sometime around 9:30, quarter to 10:00 and she's wearing white with black. And we find out that the bottoms are actually like tan, similar to what she was wearing the day before at the salon with her sister. So she would have had to have, you know, changed her clothes, gotten the dog, put some shoes on...
GRACE: At eight months, can you see her trying to wrestle in and out of pants and top and all that?
POLITAN: It doesn't make sense. And that, again, is part of this circumstantial case. But it's proof of something, but it's not, you know it's not a home run. I still don't think it's a home run, because there could be an explanation.
CURTIS: The very nature of the circumstantial case, you layer upon that the other information that we know about. And that is, one, none of her coats were apparently missing. It gets cold in Modesto in that part of California.
POLITAN: That's big.
CURTIS: In addition, he says, and how he would possibly know this, Vinny, you're married. Anybody who is married to a woman with more than one pair of shoes knows that they have no idea whether or not a pair of their shoes are missing. He says, oh, none of her shoes are missing. What did she do, leave bear foot?
And you layer that upon the idea that McKenzie, the dog, is running around, and is apparently, quite an aggressive dog, because we know from some of the subsequent tapes. You layer all that one upon another, then, I think you do have something significant.
GRACE: And Fred, when it comes to a circumstantial case, Vinny said, the blouse, that Panama City brought up is not a home run. He's right. But in a circumstantial case, isn't it true that not one single piece of evidence proves the case? It's everything taken together.
GRAHAM: Yes. And that's why it's taking them so long to put on the prosecution's case. Because they have -- it's a mosaic, composed of small pieces. And they've been putting together the small pieces. The outcome is a powerful statement, I think.
And to me, the problem here is that the prosecution has a theory that he killed her, that he took her out and put her in the boat and took her down to the marina, the place they launched it. And you have to ask yourself, why wasn't there blood somewhere, where the murder scene was? Why -- surely, someone in that neighborhood -- I want to hear from Henry.
GRACE: I heard that Dr. Lee, you're getting very close to violating the gag order. And I don't want any part of that. I don't want to be in front of Judge Delucchi. I heard you chiming in.
Let's go to Golden, Colorado. Golden, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I'd like to ask the guests if there's been a decision about whether the Blake or Specter trials are going to be televised on Court TV? Thank you.
GRACE: What about it, Fred?
GRAHAM: Well, the Blake case is not. The judge there decided that it would be a violation, perhaps, it might be a violation of his rights. He wanted it to be televised.
GRACE: Oh, you have something about Blake.
CURTIS: And that's despite Fred Graham's ever-persuasive voice in that courtroom. You went out on that case, didn't you, Fred?
GRAHAM: Yes. GRACE: What about Specter? She wanted to know about Specter?
GRAHAM: The rumor is that the judge may let us televise Specter.
GRACE: Dominick Dunne...
CURTIS: That would be a great case, the Specter case. I'm going to cover that.
GRACE: You have information regarding Robert Blake's getting ready for trial, his trial preparation.
DUNNE: Well, yes. Through a strange way. You mean about...
GRACE: I'm not going to ask where you got it, OK?
DUNNE: You mean about his wardrobe?
DUNNE: You know, Robert Blake is the kind of guy that wears black T-shirts and black jeans, and he has been suited up for this trial in custom-made pinstripe suits. All very ivy league looking.
GRACE: You've got to look good.
CURTIS: Kind of like Dominick Dunne. Notice the pinstripe here?
GRACE: Forget about the murder 1 charge. You gotta look good.
OK, presentation is all, Dominick.
We're taking a quick break. This is LARRY KING LIVE. And here on the set, the men of Court TV, taking your calls. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUNNE (voice-over): The jury, two and a half days to decide Cullen Davis' fate. On November 9, 1979, they were ready with the verdict.
(on camera): One of the richest men in Texas, sneaking around his own house with a gun, shooting his own stepdaughter. But 3 eyewitnesses had said he'd done it.
(voice-over): The courtroom was completely silent as the foreman stood up and announced the verdict.
Cullen Davis, the richest man ever tried for murder, was found not guilty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Colono died, didn't he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You put him in his place, didn't you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Harvard grad student Alexander Pring-Wilson found guilty by a Massachusetts jury today. He was charged with murder one. He got convicted of voluntary manslaughter. In a surprise and lenient sentence he was sentenced to six to eight years behind bars. The battle rages as to whether that was a fair sentence. Let's go to the lines, guys. Brownstown, Michigan, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Nancy, hi, this is for James Curtis. James, I absolutely love you. You're my favorite anchor.
CURTIS: Thank you, darling.
CALLER: What I'm calling about is I watch a lot of cases on Court TV and I do agree with the first degree charges. However , in the Alexander Pring-Wilson case, James, why do you believe a first degree murder charge was warranted in this case? Because I certainly didn't.
CURTIS: I think what you have to look at is as Ms. Coakley (ph), the elected D.A. in that county, in Middlesex County in Massachusetts said in her press conference, and that is what a prosecutor's role is is to charge, based on the evidence they have before them, not on unknown information that the defense might bring out during the trial. What they have before them was the version of the facts as given to them by the victim -- excuse me, by the cousin of the victim who survived. He says it was a one-on-one fight. The stabbing happens one on one and he comes over later. Under that scenario, that force is extremely excessive and seems to be premeditated.
If you look at it from the standpoint of when Pring-Wilson comes back to the car, according to the prosecution case, he has to have had that knife at the ready in order to inflict those types of wounds. If you think about what a fight is and logistics and the turns and twists, how do you reach in your pocket when you're embroiled in a battle? I think that's what they were thinking about.
GRACE: OK. You're saying in a nutshell why murder one charges?
CURTIS: Well, because I think that the prosecution believed and I think it was borne out by the evidence that Alexander Pring-Wilson when he walked over to that car, had either the knife in hand, removed from his pocket, or his hand in the pocket on the knife.
GRACE: Got you.
CURTIS: It would have been physically impossible for him to pull it out in the middle of the fight. GRACE: Fred Graham, don't you think the prosecution must charge whatever is reasonable under the facts and then give the jury the alternatives?
GRAHAM: I think they should. This was vastly overcharged. I don't agree with James at all.
GRACE: Five stab wounds, one to the heart and you don't think that should be a murder one charge?
GRAHAM: No, because there was no premeditation. It was a barroom fight.
GRACE: Premeditation can be formed like that.
GRAHAM: In this case the idea, that's not their theory. Their theory was he came up to commit murder, came up to the car. I don't think there's any evidence, credible evidence, to support that.
GRACE: Now you see why the jury took so long to reach a verdict. We can't even agree here about the indictment. Much less the verdict.
GRAHAM: Today, something surfaced in the statement of the family of the young man who was killed. They are Hispanics and they played the race card. They played the ethnic card. They said that there would be favoritism in the sentencing. He'd get an easy sentence because he was a rich kid who went to Harvard. It may have had something to do with the heavy hand of the prosecutor in this case.
CURTIS: I take big issue with that. I think that clearly, race and class was throughout this case. It was an intractable part of this case, in the subtext, in the background. They were right to call it as they saw it. That is supported by the fact that with a first degree murder charge, this kid is out on bail with an ankle bracelet. Had the tables been turned and the young Puerto Rican kid been the one on trial for murder, the family according to them, says he'd have never gotten bail. I think that's legitimate.
GRACE: Guys, let's go to the lines. Winnipeg, Manitoba, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: In such a circumstantial kind of trial like the Scott Peterson case, would they not have had a better chance for conviction if they'd not asked for the death penalty?
GRACE: That's an interesting, interesting question. Of course, the jury must come up with a guilty verdict, in the guilt/innocence phase, before they even consider sentencing. But what about that? Dominic Dunne, you've covered so many murder trials. The jury knows this is a death penalty case. Do you think they understand that they can find Peterson guilty, if warranted, and not give him the death penalty?
DUNNE: Absolutely. I'm sure they understand that.
GRACE: Because there's a guy on there, juror number 5, that is a doctor and a lawyer. He certainly knows that.
POLITAN: I think most people know that.
DUNNE: Most people know that.
POLITAN: People know that you get to decide both phases of the trial. But I think it's an interesting point because I thought about it, too. Because when you don't have answers to questions like when, where, how and why and you're asking this jury, these 12 people to put this man to death, these jurors may want those answers. But on the other hand when you have a death qualified jury, you've got a jury that is generally more likely to be conservative.
GRACE: I'm going ask Dr. Henry Lee about that. Dr. Henry Lee, you said that as a scientist and this is not necessarily about the Peterson case. As a scientist, you divorce yourself from the surrounding circumstances of the case. But does it ever play on your mind that you are working on a death penalty case?
LEE: Yes. Many time, we work on death penalty case but we treat all the cases equal. As you know, the innocent project, 140 people initially was convicted, later found nothing to do with the case. Many of those are on death penalty. Recently, I served on -- Massachusetts governor asked me to serve as one of the adviser in a death penalty review panel. It's an interesting question about we should have two separate paneled jury. One decide whether or not guilty or not. A second panel decide what kind of a sentence should give or use the same panel, the jury. It's kind of pro and con. It's an interesting question.
GRACE: Dr. Lee, defense attorneys have been arguing for two juries guilt/innocence jury and then sentencing jury as long as there's been a death penalty. Let me know what this panel comes up with.
Let's go back to the lines. La Grange, Georgia, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy I love your show. At the first of the Peterson evidence, they were talking about GHB on the computer that he looked up. But they never went forward with anything about that. Why couldn't he have killed her during the night, took her body out and dumped it and went back the next day to see if anything surfaced?
GRACE: Interesting question, La Grange. You're talking about gamma hydroxy buterate (ph), also known as the date rape drug. Research on that had been on the computer. But her body was in such a condition that even if that had been used, they wouldn't have known.
POLITAN: There's no evidence. The point here is now we're getting to the when. When was she killed? Was she killed on the 23rd, was she killed on the 24th or sometime after, like the defense would want you to believe. That's another question we have here. We don't have that evidence that can tell us that. We have theories, but we don't have the beyond a reasonable doubt evidence about when this all happened.
GRACE: Not on any one piece of evidence.
POLITAN: There's no when here.
GRACE: Her mother talked to her at 8:30 p.m. on December 23.
GRACE: As of December 24, 10:18 a.m. It's over. So we know a general area of time. And what about the theory of two trips to the bay that La Grange just brought up that she could have been killed in the night, and then disposed of the next day.
GRAHAM: It's what I was alluding to before. If the prosecution's theory gets so convoluted that it would be very unlikely you could pull off something like that and not be seen, then I think...
GRACE: It would be unreasonable?
GRAHAM: Yes. It really helps the defense.
CURTIS: A pitfall for this case, as was in the O.J. Simpson case, is prosecutors tying themselves to things that one, they can't prove and two, they don't have to prove. That's the issue.
GRACE: Guys, we're going to break. As we go to break, take a look at Dr. Henry Lee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It took the jury less than three hours to convict Ken Mathison (ph) of murder and kidnapping. He was sentenced to life in prison.
LEE: When somebody commit a murder we will find the silent clue, the trace evidence. With those trace evidence, the prosecutor can prove or disprove a case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. I want to thank you for being with us.
It's not that the men with Court TV are obsessed with murder, don't get me wrong, but Dominick Dunne's next story is about a Long Island murder involving Ann Woodward. What's it about?
DUNNE: Well, this took place in 1955. This is going to be on my series "Power, Privilege & Justice." It was one of the most famous society murders ever in this country. He was the heir to a great, great banking fortune. It was an old family. He married a showgirl. And they had a volatile marriage. And she shot and killed him one night when he was coming out of the shower and claimed that it was a prowler. There was...
GRACE: A prowler the shower? Did I just hear that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shower prowler.
DUNNE: That she thought it was a prowler. It was her naked husband. And there was never a trial. It was a case of real privilege where she went before the grand jury and her husband's family mother and sisters, who hated her, stood behind her so the family dirty linen wouldn't get...
GRACE: Wow, now that was tough for them.
GRACE: SO, that's your next upcoming Ann Woodward, a Long Island murder.
Lets go back to the phone guys.
Clearwater, Florida, you're on LARRY KING LIVE.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I just wanted to call. I've been trying to follow the Scott Peterson case. At anytime, has anyone mentioned that when Scott was caught going to Mexico, or they thought he was with $15,000 in the car, could he have been going to Mexico to pay the person who had actually committed the crime?
GRACE: Well, I'm going to throw that one to you, Fred. Anything is possible. Anything's possible.
GRAHAM: I think maybe this is a situation when you might use American Express -- Federal Express.
GRACE: Or the wire service. He had 15,000 bucks, Mexican currency.
GRAHAM: I don't think you have to bleach your hair and grow a beard to deliver that.
GRACE: But the reality is we saw the same type of chase if you want to call it that, in the O.J. Simpson case.
LEE: Well Nancy, your probably...
GRACE: Go ahead, doctor.
LEE: Nancy, you probably hear, you know, they say that $15,000, the father give it to him for buying a car. GRACE: Yes, and you know what, Dr. Henry Lee, I think that Mark Geragos, who is an excellent defense attorney, is going to try to chip away at the state's circumstantial evidence by explaining some of these circumstances.
GRACE: But there's so much, Dominick. Back to the chase. Remember, that was never even brought into evidence with O.J. Simpson.
DUNNE: Never brought up. I never understood that.
GRACE: And Peterson, I guess they learned their lesson.
DUNNE: And 90 million people saw that chase and it was never mentioned in the whole trial.
CURTIS: They were waiting on to him take the stand. It was a gamble, they lost.
GRACE: There are similarities. In Simpson, I think, he had 10,000 bucks with him, and this one 15,000. Simpson had a fake mustache and beard as I recall. In this one, Peterson had dyed his fake mustache. Simpson had a passport. Peterson had other identification, credit card and four cell phones. So there are...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And pesos.
GRACE: Yes, and pesos. So, there are similarities. Do you think there's any way this jury has in their minds the Simpson case hanging in the courtroom?
DUNNE: Well, I think the Simpson case hangs over a lot of courtrooms. Don't you? I mean, that was the most famous case of it's -- you know. Yes, I'm sure they think of that.
GRAHAM: But I think, there's going to be a kind of instinct in the population which will be reflected in this jury, not to have something like that happen again in this case.
CURTIS: Well, they're going to try to be fair. But when you have the celebrity issue, which is huge, which is why Scott Peterson is probably go down on this now. And there's no...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a celebrity now.
CURTIS: There's no (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
GRACE: Guys, another big development today in the Michael Jackson case.
Anybody want to take that one, Vin? About the search warrant regarding... CURTIS: Most of that upheld. Most of it upheld by the state, even though Michael Jackson's attorney's got to be one of the best. I think, if Michael Jackson has a snowball's chance.
GRACE: His attorney for the day. He's already gone through the best attorneys in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a good one now.
GRACE: He does.
CURTIS: He's got a great one now. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Mesereau is phenomenal. If there is any way that he can get out from under these charges. But Mesereau suffered a setback, especially given his track record. He got Robert Blake out on bail, who would have thought?
GRAHAM: But judges hate to overturn search warrants and throw out evidence before the jury can take a shot at it.
CURTIS: The issue will be whether or not he's going to bring that back in the trial about the police tactics, which we can surmise there will be an attack on how the police conducted their investigation.
GRACE: Very, quickly, we've got one minute left.
Dominick Dunne, will the Michael Jackson case ever go to trial?
DUNNE: Well, I sure hope so. And...
GRACE: Will it though? Will it?
DUNNE: Yes, I think it will. I mean, I truly think that it will.
GRACE: And what about Robert Blake? Go to trial?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it will go to trial.
DUNNE: Oh, yes. Yes.
CURTIS: I don't think it's going trial.
GRACE: It's going to trial.
CURTIS: Robert Blake's out of custody, he's never going inside the courtroom.
GRACE: Going to trial.
I want to thank all of the men of Court TV for being here on Larry's set tonight. Dominick Dunne, Dr. Henry Lee, Vinnie Politan, Fred Graham, James Curtis. They're all stars at Court TV. But most of all, I want too thank you for being with us tonight. Larry will be back tomorrow night. I'm Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. So for now good night, friend.
Stay tuned for Aaron Brown on "NEWSNIGHT."
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