updated 11/14/2005 9:27:47 AM ET 2005-11-14T14:27:47

Guests: John Lee, Steve Simpson, Arvin Clar, David Cornwall, Pat Lalama, Phil McConkey, Vernell Crittendon, Amber Frey, Gloria Allred, John McDuffy, Christopher Slater, Mike Delikat

LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST: Coming up, he spent years in prison for a rape he didn‘t commit.  Now he‘s going to be charged with murder. 


DANIELS (voice-over):  DNA cleared Steven Avery of rape after 18 years behind bars, now prosecutors say DNA proves he killed a Wisconsin woman missing since Halloween.

A cell phone bandit caught on camera.  She robs banks while talking on the phone.  We‘ll talk to police who are trying to track her down. 

A guilty verdict one year ago sent Scott Peterson to death row for killing his wife Laci and unborn son.  The woman who helped prosecutors put him behind bars, Amber Frey, joins us live. 

The program about justice starts right now.  


DANIELS:  Hi everyone.  I‘m Lisa Daniels.  Dan is off tonight. 

A man who spent almost two decades in prison for a crime he didn‘t commit will now be charged with murdering a freelance photographer missing since Halloween.  DNA freed Steven Avery after 18 years in prison for a rape he maintains he didn‘t commit.  But now authorities in Wisconsin say his DNA proves Avery killed 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. 


JERRY PAGEL, CALUMET COUNTY, WI SHERIFF:  Steven Avery told investigators during a taped interview that he had never been in Teresa Halbach‘s vehicle.  We now know that is a lie. 

KEN KRATZ, CALUMET COUNTY, WI DISTRICT ATTY.:  Significant DNA evidence including blood of the suspect in this case, Steven Avery, was found in the interior portion of Ms. Halbach‘s vehicle.  Also DNA evidence from the suspect, Steven Avery, was found upon the key, the ignition key that started Ms. Halbach‘s vehicle.  It is no longer a question, at least in my mind as a special prosecutor in this case, who is responsible for in this case the death of Teresa Halbach.


DANIELS:  Steven Avery was arrested earlier this week on unrelated charges.  While he was sitting in jail police executed more than 20 search warrants.  Those searches of Avery‘s property turned up Teresa‘s car and pieces of human teeth and bone that police believe are part of Teresa Halbach‘s body. 

Joining me now on the phone “Appleton Post-Crescent” reporter John Lee, who has been following this story very closely.  John, there was DNA on the car keys.  There was blood, Avery‘s blood inside the car.  What other DNA evidence links Avery to this crime? 

JOHN LEE, “APPLETON POST-CRESCENT” (via phone):  They have got DNA evidence, Lisa, on the key that starts Teresa Halbach‘s car.  They have got DNA evidence in the cargo area of her sport utility vehicle and from at least four locations inside her vehicle after Avery had earlier denied he had ever been in the vehicle with her. 

DANIELS:  So he lied.  That‘s what police are saying.  But aside from that DNA evidence, is there anything else, any other connection there? 

LEE:  They say they have witnesses that know that he was the last person seen with her before she died.  She was at his salvage yard that afternoon to photograph a car he had for sale.  She was a freelance photographer.  They said there‘s no doubt that he was the last person to see her alive.  They have also found fragments of bones, teeth and charred remains of an adult female they expect will be confirmed through DNA that it‘s Teresa Halbach.

DANIELS:  So we know they knew each other.  What exactly was the relationship between the two? 

LEE:  Basically strictly professional.  She had been there from what they know at least a half dozen times in the last year or more, strictly to photograph cars he had for sale for a magazine she freelanced for.  The special prosecutor said today that he does not have to prove motive to get a conviction of attempted first-degree homicide, although they‘re looking for it. 

DANIELS:  But you know as well as I do that you need a motive to sell this to a jury.  It just doesn‘t make sense without a motive.  What are the leads pointing to in terms of a possible motive?  Obviously it‘s still very early. 

LEE:  The leads are pointing to an abduction and a sexual assault and a false imprisonment.  The search warrant return show that among the items taken in the search warrants were handcuffs and leg irons, also various other locations of blood around the property and in his home. 

DANIELS:  It‘s just so bizarre.  You couldn‘t script this that he was exonerated 18 years ago and here he‘s facing charges of a sexual assault crime.  John Lee with the “Appleton Post-Crescent”, thanks so much, John, for filling us in. 

LEE:  Thank you.  Thank you.   

DANIELS:  Now we‘re going to go to another bizarre story, this one out of Virginia and pay very close attention to the video that you‘re about to see because police really do need your help on this one.  This woman has robbed four Wachovia banks in the past three weeks, every time walking in appearing to be immersed in a conversation on her cell phone. 

She carries with her a box with a note attached to it, presumably that note is demanding some cash.  She puts the box on the counter, the teller hands over the money and the woman leaves.  The first robbery was on October 12 in Vienna, Virginia.  The second October 21 in Manassas.  The third, the very next day in Springfield, most recently November 4 in Ashburn.

Joining me now Sheriff Steve Simpson with the Loudoun County, Virginia Sheriff‘s Office.  And Sheriff, let‘s talk about the phone.  It‘s just bizarre that she‘s talking on the phone so calmly.  What are your theories in terms of why she‘s doing that? 

SHERIFF STEVE SIMPSON, LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA:  Well it could be any number of reasons I guess, either someone maybe giving her some tips on what to do or what not to do.  Maybe someone is threatening her and wants her to not to say the wrong things.  That‘s a possibility or it could very well be she‘s using it to kind of blend in and make herself appear nonchalant and very at ease with this whole thing and that seems to be working so far. 

DANIELS:  Do you think she‘s actually talking to somebody on the other end? 

SIMPSON:  It‘s hard to say.  Nobody has really heard any conversation from the other side.  Some of the witnesses in the case have said that they heard her saying OK, OK, as though she‘s agreeing with someone or acknowledging someone on the other end of the line.  No one has heard anyone else, so to say 100 percent, we don‘t know for sure whether there is someone there or not. 

DANIELS:  I will say this.  Looking at this video, she‘s looking behind her a couple of times but other than that she seems pretty calm and collected.  Do you think she might be a pro? 

SIMPSON:  It‘s kind of hard to say.  She‘s certainly acting like that.  To not be disguised at all, to be very nonchalant and very at ease with the whole thing, that works well for not attracting attention to yourself and not attracting other witnesses that will get a good look at you.  But as far as—if there is a video handy, which there was in this case, that‘s going to prove to be very detrimental to her later on. 

DANIELS:  I want to keep up the video because I want our viewers to look at her face.  You can really make it out very clearly.  As we are talking, though, she seems to be escalating her threats.  She now has a gun that she‘s using.  What does this say about her next move, Sheriff?

SIMPSON:  Right.  That‘s a very big concern of ours.  The (INAUDIBLE) she did not do that.  The fourth one here in Ashburn, she did display a handgun, didn‘t take it out of her purse, but displayed it to the teller, which is a great deal of concern to us.  She‘s escalating her threat.  She‘s escalating her boldness.  Is she going to use the weapon? 

We don‘t really know.  I guess my concern would be if she were to be confronted by a security guard, by a police officer, even by a citizen for that matter, who she take that gun out and use it?  That‘s a very big concern of ours.  That‘s why we‘re hoping someone will recognize her and call us with the information.  We need to get her off the street before that opportunity arises.

DANIELS:  Absolutely.  There‘s the tip line for people who may recognize her.  How much money is she getting? 

SIMPSON:  Not large amounts of money.  You don‘t usually get large amounts of money in bank robberies such as this.  I don‘t have the numbers from the other jurisdictions, but it‘s not huge amounts of money, but we normally don‘t usually talk about the amounts of money.  Those of things you use as the investigation goes on if you come up with a suspect, but certainly not something to go these lengths, but we see it a lot. 

DANIELS:  And just very quickly, the same note that she keeps on using?  Same note she‘s flashing? 

SIMPSON:  Yes.  The first three it was taped to the top of a box similar to a shoebox, which basically has her demands on it.  She really never says anything to the tellers.  I think one teller she said a couple of words to, but that‘s about it.  And usually she lets the note do the talking.  This time in the fourth one she handed the note and showed it to the teller from inside the purse where the handgun was. 


SIMPSON:  She did not have the box with her.  The money went in there and out she went.

DANIELS:  All right.  I hope you get a lot of leads on this one. 

Sheriff Simpson, thanks so much for filling us in, all the best of luck. 

SIMPSON:  Thank you.

DANIELS:  Now we‘re going to turn to Arvin Clar of the Cleveland Police Department‘s Financial Crimes Unit.  He‘s also with the company Profit Protection and he spent the last 20 years advising the banking industry on security.  Arvin, what‘s your take on this? 

ARVIN CLAR, CLEVELAND POLICE DEPT.:  I believe that this is a person that‘s desperate.  Bank robbers by and large, we define them as desperate people who do desperate things.  A high percentage of bank robbers are—have a dependency on drugs or alcohol.  And just as you have cited and the sheriff cited, it‘s escalating.  The anger, it could be from the drug usage or from problems within her, but she‘s escalating.  The paranoia seems to be setting in.  That‘s why she‘s brandishing a weapon.  The most important thing in the banking world is safety and training is the essence, training the front line, those frontline warriors or tellers or CSRs.

Training will get everybody home at the end of the day.  Training will keep customers and visitors from getting hurt and training also helps identify the perpetrator.

DANIELS:  Let‘s talk about the training because I‘m curious how you advise tellers to deal with a situation like this.  I think the average person would think hey, this woman business 5 ‘2”.  She couldn‘t weigh more than 140 pounds.  Shouldn‘t the teller be doing something to stop her?  It‘s not like she‘s a huge guy.  What‘s the advice you give them?

CLAR:  The advice that we give everybody in the world in safety is conform to the demand.  Resistance many, many times, can cause a hazardous position, can cause danger, can cause injury.  Conform to the demand.  It‘s not a lot of money.  It‘s getting everybody‘s safety. It‘s getting people through the critical incident. 

When we train people, we train them also in a proactive approach.  We tell employees how to deter bank robberies.  There‘s a lot of things that go into the safety of banking, dye packs, the trackers, cameras, a lot of things.  So it isn‘t a 10-minute training.  It‘s a continuous thing that the employees go through over the years, over as they‘re employed with the banking world.

DANIELS:  When you look at this robbery though, are you thinking she‘s clever because she‘s so calm or is she foolish?  Because obviously, we are getting very accurate pictures of what her face looks like. 

CLAR:  Most of the people that rob banks work or think for the minute.  Again, it‘s desperate people do desperate things.  It‘s just getting them through that day.  What is a large amount of money to you and I may be a huge amount of money to someone else.  I think that bank robbers by and large just, they just need to get through.  That‘s why they are the low level of the criminal world...


CLAR:  It‘s a path of least resistance for them. 

DANIELS:  Well we hope our viewers take note of her face and that number and hopefully it‘ll lead to something.  Arvin Clar, thanks so much.  We really appreciate all your expertise. 

CLAR:  Thank you.

DANIELS:  And coming up, you‘ve heard about the two NFL cheerleaders arrested for a fight in a bar bathroom.  Well now their team has fired them, so why did the same team fire football players who got in trouble with the law? 

And a year ago tomorrow a jury convicted Scott Peterson of killing his wife and unborn child.  We talk with the woman whose testimony who helped put him behind bars, Amber Frey.

Plus, he may be big, but this guy says he can drive a truck as well as anybody can.  It turns out a jury agrees after he sued his boss for firing him because he was too fat.

Your e-mails, of course send them abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from and I‘ll respond at the end of the show.



MELISSA HOLDEN, ALLEGEDLY PUNCHED BY CHEERLEADER:  I didn‘t have time to look.  I just stood there confronted her and said what the heck took you guys so long, not in those exact words obviously, and she reared back and hit me. 


DANIELS:  Oh God, look at that eye.  It was not a bar fight, but a fight in the bathroom of a bar that got two Carolina Panthers‘ cheerleaders, Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas, fired from the team.  Panthers‘ officials say they violated a signed code of conduct that bans any employee who embarrasses the team or the organization.

And while Thomas has denied charges the two were having sex with each other in a bathroom before that confrontation, both cheerleaders are in trouble with the law.  Thomas has been charged with batter for allegedly throwing that punch, with giving a false name.  She‘s only 20 and used another cheerleader‘s I.D. and causing harm to another.

Posing as someone else when are you arrested is a felony.  As for Keathley, she‘s been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.  The question I want to ask is was it fair for the team to fire the cheerleaders before the courts had their say?  After all, you know NFL football players who get in trouble often just play right through it. 

John Romero with Charlotte affiliate WCNC has more. 



JOHN ROMERO, WCNC REPORTER (voice-over):  Don‘t ask. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t know much about that. 

ROMERO:  Seriously, don‘t ask. 


ROMERO:  Panthers really don‘t want to talk about what happened at this Tampa nightclub.  Two cheerleaders, Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas, arrested for fighting, accused of other less savory acts.  Both kicked off the team for violating their code of conduct before they were ever found guilty in court. 

But it‘s different for the players.  Todd Sauerbrun pled guilty for DUI.  Chris Terry charged with domestic violence and police said they found a bag of marijuana and a gun in Muhsin Mohammed‘s (ph) car.  They all stayed on the team—at least for a little while.  A Panthers‘ spokesman wouldn‘t explain the difference.

PAUL WHITFIELD, ATTORNEY:  With the average Joe on the street and the average top cat probably doesn‘t have any protection at all. 

ROMERO:  So we asked lawyer Paul Whitfield, he says North Carolina is a right to work state, which really means teams have the right to fire regular workers, but football players belong to a union, which guarantees them protections. 

WHITFIELD:  A hearing and (INAUDIBLE) appeal. 


ROMERO:  Sometimes it helps to be one of the bad boys instead of allegedly the girls gone wild. 


DANIELS:  All right.  That was reporter John Romero and so what about the question—what about that double standard?  Phil McConkey was a wide receiver and punt returner with four NFL teams.  He was captain of the Naval Academy‘s football team.  He now works as a financial trader in San Diego. 

Pat Lalama is a journalist, former correspondent with “Celebrity Justice” and Los Angeles news anchor, and David Cornwall, a sports attorney whose clients included NFL players Randy Moss and Ricky Williams, who have both openly discussed using marijuana. 

David, let‘s start with you.  In terms of the law, why is it that a football player and a cheerleader charged with feasibly the same crime, why are they treated so differently? 

DAVID CORNWALL, SPORTS ATTORNEY:  Because different rules apply.  The cheerleaders entered into a code of conduct that provided if they did anything that cast the team in a negative light that they could be terminated.  Players on the other hand have contracts that adopt a collective bargaining agreement as well as other policies regulating their conduct.  And under those policies in most instances, the discipline that can be imposed on them is specifically provided in the policy. 

DANIELS:  All right, so let‘s get to the main question.  Pat, what do you think?  Is it fair?

PAT LALAMA, JOURNALIST:  What a load of baloney.  I‘m sorry.  I—you know—let me just start by saying I am not a fan of cheerleading at all.  I have nothing personal against cheerleaders.  Not a fan of cheerleading, wish it would all go away and I‘m not an apologist for bad behavior. 

But if there was ever a case of a double standard screaming and yelling at you they did—these are human beings.  They have moral issues in their contracts and so do players.  Embarrassing the team.  Are you telling me that we don‘t even get to really hear the two sides or the sides of these women‘s stories, that they‘re willy-nilly out the door, that their, you know, that their names are defamed, run all over the place, but oh the poor little boys. 

Somebody said to me yesterday well you know the cheerleaders make 50 bucks you know a week and the guys make so much more money, so it‘s an investment.  Are you telling me that these women are less human?  That their ability to have a right to justice and a right to the court of public opinion being fairly judged that they‘re lesser than that...

DANIELS:  Honestly Pat, don‘t hold back. 


DANIELS:  Tell us what you really think. 

LALAMA:  Oh, it makes me crazy...


DANIELS:  Phil—let me ask Phil, is there anything special and be honest, about a football player as opposed to a cheerleader that would justify the difference in what happens to them if they get in trouble? 

PHIL MCCONKEY, FORMER NFL PLAYER:  I don‘t think there‘s anything that makes a player, NFL players more special than any other human being or cheerleader for all that matters.  I agree there is a double standard.  However, the difference is you can go out and get 100 young ladies and put them on the sidelines and I‘m sure they‘ll do extremely well. 

DANIELS:  Honestly, with those bodies...


DANIELS:  ... with those bodies, I think that‘s a little bit rare. 

MCCONKEY:  Hey Pat.  Hang on one second.

DANIELS:  That‘s Lisa.

MCCONKEY:  That‘s Lisa.  I‘m sorry.


MCCONKEY:  But you can go out and pick out 100 guys off the street, put them in a hurricane condition and throw a punt up in the air with 11 maniacs streaking downfield foaming at the mouth, trying to take their heads off, very few can do that.  So the difference is...


MCCONKEY:  ... the ability to perform under pressure.  And Pat, listen, if you got a big problem with this, why don‘t you go out and unionize these women and they would have the same rights as the players do?


MCCONKEY:  I‘m not saying this is fair...


LALAMA:  Because you know what I would do?  I would spend my time teaching young women not to look at this as a career and to do something a little more...

MCCONKEY:  How do you know that this is not their career?

LALAMA:  ... I think substantive.

MCCONKEY:  How do you know that these young ladies...


MCCONKEY:  ... don‘t have careers and are students and being very productive...


MCCONKEY:  ... members of society...


CORNWALL:  In most instances they do have careers. 


DANIELS:  David, go ahead. 


DANIELS:  Go ahead for a sec.  Go ahead.

CORNWALL:  I said in most instances they to have careers.  They‘re in fact part-time employees of the team.  And one of the reasons for the distinction is that a cheerleader, as unfair as this may seem, nonetheless is hired to create a good face for the team.  And that‘s why when they do something that creates a—puts the team in a negative light, they may confront discipline that seems to be more harsh than a player. 

DANIELS:  Hey Phil, I have a question for you...


CORNWALL:  But players are in fact disciplined for being...


CORNWALL:  ... accused of criminal activity and they are also disciplined for being convicted of criminal activity. 

DANIELS:  OK, hold on a second...

CORNWALL:  It‘s just that the level of discipline has been negotiated by their union and the cheerleaders are not unionized.

LALAMA:  No, you know what this is—this is a way to keep women in their place.  I am telling you long ago I was talking to a stripper with two of my bosses.  I won‘t say what network, where or what year.  I won‘t be that stupid.

But you know that the stripper looked at me and she said you know what, I‘m really trying to work my way through college.  The two men laughed at her, laughed at her.  Now why did they laugh?  Because they don‘t even want to  -- even imagine that she could ever be in a place that they are.  Because they want to keep her lesser than them and that‘s what this is all about.  Who...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t think that‘s fair...

DANIELS:  Wait.  Let me interrupt all of you for a second.  I want to ask Phil a question.  If one of these cheerleaders was a star, would you feel differently about it?

MCCONKEY:  If they were a star cheerleader? 

DANIELS:  Yes...


DANIELS:  ... because that‘s sort of the analogy you‘re giving that these people...

MCCONKEY:  No, I think the same thing would happen that they‘d be disciplined.  The big difference in the beginning of this segment, David said that the players are protected by the collective bargaining agreement.  They‘re union members.  The cheerleaders are not.  There‘s a huge difference here...

LALAMA:  What about basic morality? 

MCCONKEY:  If the cheerleaders...

LALAMA:  What about character?  What about character, sir... 

MCCONKEY:  Hey Pat...

LALAMA:  What about character?


LALAMA:  Doesn‘t that matter?

MCCONKEY:  ... if you followed earlier this week...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Those are all interesting points...

MCCONKEY:  ... there was one of the...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... but they happen not to be applicable.

MCCONKEY:  One of the best players...


DANIELS:  OK, I can‘t hear any of you right now. 


DANIELS:  Let me just cut you off...


DANIELS:  Let‘s organize this for a second.  Pat, make your point.  Then let‘s quickly respond, go.

LALAMA:  OK, very quickly.  Character is an issue when it applies to the women, isn‘t it?  But suddenly it isn‘t.  You‘re saying those matters—we‘re not talking about morals.  We‘re not talking about character.  Oh well we are when we‘re judging these women immediately, but certainly not with the men because they have a union.

DANIELS:  OK, Phil, one sentence.  Go ahead.

MCCONKEY:  Listen, the NFL fires guys each and every day for much less than what goes on here.  In fact, one of the greatest players in the league today, Terrell Owens, was fired by his team this week just for being a bad teammate. 

DANIELS:  All right, I‘ve got to leave it there.

LALAMA: Well it‘s about time.

DANIELS:  We could go on for this and I‘d love to, but we‘re out of time. 

But I thank you.  I think you had some good points when I heard you again. 

Phil McConkey, Pat Lalama, and David Cornwall, thank you, all of you. 

Appreciate it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you very much.

DANIELS:  Coming up, a year ago tomorrow 12 jurors found Scott Peterson guilty of killing his wife Laci and unborn child.  Now he‘s on death row and up next we talk with one of the top officials at San Quentin.  Is there any truth to the report that Peterson is getting married? 

Plus, we‘re joined by the woman who secretly recorded phone calls, helped put Peterson behind bars, Amber Frey live on our show.

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  Today we end our search in Florida. 

Please help authorities find Michael Dennis.  He‘s 48, 5‘6”, weighs 180 pounds.  Dennis was convicted of lewd acts on a child under 16 and of sexual battery of a child under 12.  Dennis has absconded from probation; so if you have any info on his whereabouts, please contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sexual Offender, Predator Unit.

Please take down that number.  We‘ll be right back. 


DANIELS:  Coming up, a year ago tomorrow Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son, Conner.  Is it true, is Scott planning to remarry? 

Plus, Amber Frey joins us live, but first the headlines.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  State of California v. Scott Peterson, we the jury in the above entitled cause, find the defendant, Scott Lee Peterson guilty of the crime of murder of Laci Denise Peterson. 


DANIELS:  It‘s hard to believe it‘s been one year since a California jury convicted Scott Peterson of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son Conner.  Since then, Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death row and now spends his days in a small cell at San Quentin Prison in northern California.  In the last year we‘ve heard a lot about what Scott is up to from working on his appeal to reading the countless love letters apparently he receives in prison, even rumors that he‘s planning to get remarried. 

Here to give us the latest on how Scott is doing on death row is somebody who knows Peterson or Scotty, as he‘s called in prison, very well, San Quentin Prison spokesperson Vernell Crittendon. 

Thanks for joining us, Vernell.  Always good to see you. 


DANIELS:  Is Scott going to get remarried?  Let‘s answer that one first. 

CRITTENDON:  Well, we have heard the rumors that were presented in the media.  But at this point at San Quentin, we have had no contacts from Scott or any person that was expressing an interest to actually marry him through the process that we have for death row inmates to marry. 

DANIELS:  Do you know if he is still corresponding with these women who sent him love notes?

CRITTENDON:  He still does correspond with many citizens that write to him.  But as the months have went on since he‘s arrived, he initially started to, but I found that he is now slowing down his responses as I guess people are now taking his letters and using them, selling them.  So he‘s been not really responding as often to citizens that‘s writing to him. 

DANIELS:  So how is he getting along with the other prisoners there? 

CRITTENDON:  Well when Scott first started, he was in the adjustment center when he arrived on St. Patty‘s Day March 17.  He was a little overwhelmed by this whole experience of being on death row.  After that initial approximately 20 weeks, sometime in August, we moved him over to the main housing unit where we have the line share of the death row inmates.

And since he‘s made that transition, everything appears that he is assimilating very well.  He‘s able to begin starting to have a number of ongoing positive contacts with other death row inmates that are housed in the tier area and that are out on the exercise area where he is located. 

DANIELS:  Do you feel like some of these prisoners treat him differently because of the publicity surrounding his trial? 

CRITTENDON:  Oh I most certainly would think that the publicity has had a lot to do, not only the way that they treat him, but the way that he walks around the prison, as I think it‘s affected him in a way that he‘s somewhat proud of the—this notoriety that he‘s received. 

DANIELS:  Are pictures of Laci still in his cell?

CRITTENDON:  You now I haven‘t actually walked up to the front of his cell.  We‘ve moved him up onto what we call the fifth tier over in our death row housing unit, east block and I just haven‘t walked up to the cell to actually see what he has on the walls and it‘s been about six months.  Last time I was up there, yes, he did have photos of he and Laci on his wall. 

DANIELS:  I‘m curious.  Who visits him there? 

CRITTENDON:  You know actually, he still does get a great deal of support from many of those citizens that supported him during the trial still today support him.  Much of his family will all be there to support him and come and visit him on a regular basis.  I think right now, he‘s just in that waiting mode as we have here in the state of California.

We don‘t take any action against a death row inmate until that inmate‘s been assigned a appeals attorney and that sometimes will take four, five years before that attorney is assigned.  So he‘s now sitting in that mode, waiting for his attorney to be assigned. 

DANIELS:  Vernell, thanks so much for coming on the show.  I can‘t believe it‘s been a year.  It‘s just amazing how time flies. 

Coming up, her secretly phone conversations with Scott Peterson were considered a turning point in his trial.  Up next, Scott Peterson‘s former girlfriend, Amber Frey, joins us live. 

And a little bit later, the trucking company said he was too fat to drive one of their trucks.  He sued and won.  He‘s going to join us. 

And your e-mails, send them to abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from.

We‘ll be right back. 



AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND:  So why is it that you have such a hard time with the truth?


don‘t think I do.  But I lied to you and I hate myself for that.

FREY:  You didn‘t think you really lied to me? 

PETERSON:  No, no, no.  I have always told you the truth...

FREY:  Oh really...

PETERSON:  ... well no, with exceptions obviously.

FREY:  Oh, truth with exceptions, (INAUDIBLE).  That‘s a new one for my book.


LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST:  Well it‘s hard to imagine what the Scott Peterson trial and verdict would be without one crucial witness, Amber Frey, the woman who dated Scott Peterson not knowing he was married and was under suspicion for killing his wife.  Prosecutors played hours upon hours of tape-recorded conversations between Scott and Amber during the trial. 

In those conversations, it was revealed he lied about pretty much everything from being married to traveling around the world while he was really just home in Modesto.  Here‘s a clip of that now infamous phone conversation from New Year‘s Eve of 2002. 


FREY:  How as your New Year‘s?

PETERSON:  It‘s good.  I‘m just (INAUDIBLE) everyone‘s in the bar, now so I came out in an alley, a quiet alley.  Isn‘t that nice?

FREY:  Yes, it is.  I can hear you.


FREY:  Very good.

PETERSON:  It‘s pretty awesome, fireworks there at the Eiffel Tower, a mass of people playing American pop songs.


DANIELS:  Now of course we now know Scott Peterson was not in Paris that New Year‘s Eve.  His wife had gone missing only a week before and while he was helping her family search for Laci, he was continuing his relationship with Amber Frey.

Joining me now is Scott Peterson‘s former girlfriend and a crucial witness at his trial, Amber Frey.  She wrote a book about her experience, called “Witness For The Prosecution of Scott Peterson” and of course Amber‘s attorney and ABRAMS REPORT regular Gloria Allred joins us as well.

Thank you to both of you for joining us, but a special thanks to you, Amber.  You look great.  Do you remember where you were a year ago, what you were thinking, what you were feeling? 

AMBER FREY, KEY WITNESS IN SCOTT PETERSON CASE:  You know, a year ago, you know, verdict day, I‘m assuming that‘s what you‘re asking.


FREY:  Got the news around noon.  Kind of—I had—a friend opened her home to me so that I could kind of be away and you know not have to deal with people—other people are wanting to know my response, so I kind of had a little safe haven and you know watched the verdict and it was a very emotional day for me.  You know a lot of emotions were involved.  You know I guess somewhat relieved that there was justice and everything that I had gone through with the tape recordings and assisting with law enforcement just kind of all came together you know when the verdict came. 

DANIELS:  So it‘s a year from the conviction now.  How has your life changed? 

FREY:  Well, you know, when I first met Scott Peterson and learned who he was, you know, a month or so later, everything had changed in my life, you know and so, it‘s just moving forward and continuing with my dreams and my goals and my life and you know my children certainly keep me grounded. 

DANIELS:  Would you say the last year was good for you? 

FREY:  The last year has been good.  You know it‘s been just kind of piecing everything back together and moving forward, really.  So it‘s been busy. 

DANIELS:  Do your children ask about what happened during the trial? 

FREY:  You know my children are very young still.  No, they don‘t. 

DANIELS:  Do you think about how one day you‘ll explain your role in Scott‘s conviction, what you would say to them? 

FREY:  Well, fortunately I do have my book that—it has a lot of—a lot in it that you know, they can read and I mean aside from that, definitely when that time comes then you know I have the truth by my side and any question they have, then I will, you know, fill that in for them. 

DANIELS:  Do you still think about Scott Peterson, Amber?

FREY:  That‘s a vague question, in what sense? 

DANIELS:  Just in general.  Answer it any way you want.  What do you—do you think about him?  And if you do, what are you thinking? 

FREY:  You know, from time to time certainly, you know Scott Peterson crosses my mind and you know, such as this time, you know it‘s a year later and Scott Peterson is where he is by his own choices and his own actions and it‘s, you know it is sad that he so greatly negatively affected so many people‘s lives. 

DANIELS:  Do you think that the public has an accurate perception of who Scott Peterson really is? 

FREY:  I—you know, I don‘t know how to answer that.  Honestly, I don‘t know.

DANIELS:  Have you ever thought about visiting Scott, Amber? 

FREY:  It‘s not a current mindset I have, so not at this time, no. 

DANIELS:  Gloria, without Amber‘s testimony, do you think the verdict would be the same? 

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:  Well, I think it probably would not have been the same, Lisa and I think as some of the jurors indicated in prior interviews that they felt her testimony was very important and of course because Scott Peterson was on those tapes that Amber made and she was so brave to make them because if he had found out that she was making them, we don‘t know what might have happened to her.  But because they heard Scott Peterson lie and lie and lie on those tapes that Amber made, he was never able to take the witness stand because he was shown to be a complete liar, so I think those tapes and Amber played an extremely important role in the trial. 

DANIELS:  Well I think a lot of people do think that Amber is a hero.  Amber, I don‘t know if you want to answer you think you‘re a hero, but do you think you are? 

FREY:  You know I feel like I went forward with the truth and you know, did whatever I could for you know Laci, someone I didn‘t know.  I guess hero—you know to be a hero, it‘s someone that puts somebody else first, you know it‘s an unselfish act, so...

DANIELS:  Just a quick question.  Have you spoken to Laci‘s parents at all? 

FREY:  I haven‘t spoken with them since the trial.  Although I have from time to time I‘ve been in contact with Anne Bird, and you know that‘s been—I think that‘s been good for both of us and just the fact that we‘ve gone through so much in similar reactions through family and experiences that it‘s been a good friendship that we‘ve had. 

DANIELS:  Well it‘s been...

ALLRED:  Lisa, I think what she said was so important because what she did, what Amber did, making up the tapes, keeping contact with Scott at the request of the police, she did to find a missing pregnant woman, Laci...


ALLRED:  That‘s why she did what she did and I‘m so proud of her for that.

DANIELS:  Well you can tell a year from the conviction it‘s still very hard for you to speak, Amber, about what happened and all the emotions with that incident.  But Amber Frey, a big thank you to you for coming on this show.  We appreciate it.

FREY:  Thank you.

DANIELS:  And Gloria Allred, thanks as always.

ALLRED:  Thank you, Lisa.

DANIELS:  And coming up, another story, his employer said he‘s too fat to drive a truck, but this trucker fought back.  He sued saying he was discriminated against because he‘s obese and guess what?  He won.


DANIELS:  A surprising legal victory in Oregon last week.  Thirty-nine-year-old trucker John McDuffy won a lawsuit against his employer for suspending him because he was overweight.  McDuffy is six feet tall.  He weighs 550 pounds and he‘s been a trucker for 14 years. 

Back in 2003, he moved his family to Oregon and was hired by Interstate Distributors.  That was a local trucking company.  After only a year at the company, McDuffy claimed he was suddenly suspended for being too fat.  The company said it was worried about his health and his safety, but during the trial, McDuffy argued that the company was suspending him for being too fat.

He claimed that despite being morbidly obese, he didn‘t have any health problems and could do his job.  He made this video that you‘re looking at it to prove it showing he could safely get into his truck and operate the steering wheel.  Now, during the trial, jurors saw the video and ultimately awarded him over $100,000 in back pay.  Also for the emotional distress he suffered after being suspended. 

Joining us now John McDuffy and the attorney who argued his case and won, Christopher Slater and employment law attorney Mike Delikat.  Thanks so much for joining us today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you, Lisa.

DANIELS:  So John, let‘s start with you.  Before you were fired, were there any indications that the company was giving you a hard time for being overweight? 

JOHN MCDUFFY, WON OBESITY DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT:  No.  Everything was fine up to that point. 

DANIELS:  So it sort of—it happened suddenly that all of a sudden, you were suspended? 

MCDUFFY:  (INAUDIBLE) yes.  It was this—they moved me into a smaller truck that had a broken steering wheel and I complained about that and the next thing I knew, I was suspended. 

DANIELS:  So now, looking back on the incident, do you think they put you in a small truck with a broken steering wheel on purpose? 

MCDUFFY:  I wouldn‘t say I don‘t know if they did it on purpose, but that‘s when it all started. 

DANIELS:  I guess what I‘m getting at is do you feel like they were purposely trying to set you up to fail because they wanted to get rid of you because you‘re obese?

MCDUFFY:  I think everything they did after they suspended me was they were trying to push me out and try to make me quit and go somewhere else. 

DANIELS:  Now, I was reading that a doctor evaluated you and he said that yes, you can drive a truck, but you can‘t operate a forklift.  You can‘t climb up or down from a trailer.  If that‘s true, couldn‘t you argue that that does impact your job, John? 

MCDUFFY:  Well that was the doctor‘s opinion that you know of him just looking at me.  He didn‘t actually test me to see if I could do those things and actually, I was doing those things for the 14 months prior to being suspended. 

DANIELS:  I mean I will say I‘m looking at the video.  You seem fine doing all this stuff.  Christopher, I‘m curious.  When John called you, what was your reaction to taking the case?

CHRISTOPHER SLATER, MCDUFFY‘S ATTORNEY:  Well, actually, just to be accurate, my—he called my partner, Michael Ross (ph).  But well, the—you have to take the context of this, Lisa, that Mr. McDuffy has been a truck driver for 18 years and a truck driver with Interstate for 14 months, prior to being suspended.  He never had any performance problems with his job at Interstate, so the suddenly suspension, based upon the decision by the employer that he was too obese to safely do his job caused us to intervene in the case and because of the work that we did, we were able to get that exam that you saw on the videotape, which got him reinstated to his job.

DANIELS:  But Mike, you know that obesity is not a protected class.  It‘s not like race.  It‘s not like sexual discrimination.  Do you think this really was a win because it was in front of a jury and not a judge? 

MIKE DELIKAT, EMPLOYMENT LAW ATTORNEY:  I think that‘s a significant factor.  In a situation like this, there‘s a tremendous amount of sympathy for someone like the plaintiff in this case.  And even though obesity is not a disability, morbid obesity, which is two times the normal body weight, is a disability.  Also, if a company regards someone as being disabled, even if they are not disabled and takes an adverse action against them or refuses to accommodate them, that also can result in a verdict for the plaintiff. 

DANIELS:  John, you‘re back at the job.  How are they treating you? 

MCDUFFY:  Well I‘m really not back to work yet, so...

DANIELS:  Oh, you haven‘t gone—but are you planning to go back? 

MCDUFFY:  If they offer me a position, yes. 

DANIELS:  Do you think they will? 

MCDUFFY:  They haven‘t yet. 

DANIELS:  Well they should be calling.  Do you feel like this helped a lot of other people who are obese who are discriminated against in their life? 

MCDUFFY:  I‘m hoping it will.  That‘s why I‘m doing these interviews where people you know will see it and if something like this happens to them, they will do something too.

DANIELS:  Well I‘m sure a lot of people are watching appreciate that.  John McDuffy, Christopher Slater and Mike Delikat, thanks so much.  Really your coming on the show.  I know it‘s not easy to look at the video and go through it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you for having us, Lisa.

MCDUFFY:  Thank you.


DANIELS:  Coming up, a woman who nearly starved her four adopted sons to death will go to jail for barely two years.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.


DANIELS:  My “Closing Argument” is about a two-year-old case that you may remember.  Back in 2003, 50-year-old Vanessa Jackson was arrested for child endangerment after neighbors discovered one of her adopted sons, Bruce, searching the garbage for scraps of food.  Police thought the boy was about 7 years old because he was only four feet tall and weighed 45 pounds, but it turned out he was 19 and was being starved for years by his adoptive parents, Vanessa and her husband Raymond Jackson. 

Now, police later learned Bruce wasn‘t the only one being starved.  He had three younger brothers.  When police found them, they were full of lice, bones showing through their flesh, they had rotting teeth, and the four boys had been surviving by eating pancake batter, oatmeal.  They were so hungry that investigators say they had been eating the insulation of the house. 

Now, ultimately Vanessa and Raymond Jackson were indicted on 28 counts of aggravated assault and child endangerment.  But yesterday Vanessa Jackson was in court pleading guilty to one count of child endangerment, just one count.  That means she‘ll likely be out of jail and on probation in less than two years.  And it‘s actually worse than that. 

According to the deal, the judge could put Jackson in a special program that would cut down her jail time even more.  Now, the local prosecutor said it would have been too tough, too hard to prove the aggravated assault charges.  He also said that now the four boys would not have to face their tormentor from the stand during a trial, which I know could be hard.  Now, I understand why the boys might not want to testify, but I‘m simply outraged that a prosecutor would not try this case. 

Too difficult?  As a lawyer, I find that very hard to believe, given the facts of this case.  What jury would not convict this woman of multiple charges?  The reality of a plea deal is this woman will barely serve two years in prison.  Why not file a fraud charge?  The Jacksons received what, 30,000 bucks every year to care for the four boys. 

Clearly the money wasn‘t being used to feed the kids and take care of them.  This is a woman who padlocked the refrigerator in the house so that the adoptive kids wouldn‘t eat the food the rest of her family was eating.  I think she deserves a much harsher penalty than the one she got.  I think the prosecutor is being lazy and should have fought for justice a little bit more.  That‘s what I think.

Well, thanks so much for joining us again.  Dan is back Monday. 


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