updated 5/28/2004 12:16:14 PM ET 2004-05-28T16:16:14

Guests:  Gloria Allred, Jayne Weintraub, Dean Johnson, Cyril Wecht, Jeralyn Merritt, Aldrin Brown

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  Six men and six women will decide whether Peterson killed his wife, Laci, and their unborn child.  Plus the judge allows a controversial witness to testify.  We‘ll get a live report. 

And the Kobe Bryant judge rips into prosecutors for missing deadlines and decides to review text messages and voice mail from the accuser to her ex-boyfriend.  We‘ll head to Eagle, Colorado. 

And just who is the young California man on the list of seven possible terrorists wanted for immediate questioning? 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  First on the docket tonight, a jury evenly split between men and women will decide the case of Scott Peterson, accused of killing his pregnant wife, Laci, 12 jurors plus six alternates.  It‘s hard to believe this case is actually going to trial.  So, who actually made it on to this jury? 

I‘m joined now by Edie Lambert from NBC affiliate, KCRA.  Hi Edie.

EDIE LAMBERT, KCRA CORRESPONDENT:  Hello.  It‘s been a very interesting process to watch.  It was very clear that the attorneys here knew exactly who they wanted and who they didn‘t want.  The whole process took less than an hour to seat the jury.  And that included, once they had seated the jury, one man raising his hand and saying he had just figured out that he couldn‘t afford to serve on a five-month trial.  So they got him replaced. 

As you mentioned, it‘s now an even split, six men and six women.  And I can talk you through the makeup of the people who will decide Scott Peterson‘s fate.  Juror number one is a man in his 40‘s who works as a head coach in a school. 

Number two, a man in his 50‘s and 60‘s -- 50‘s or 60‘s I should say.  We don‘t have a lot of detail on some of these folks.  We only know what they said during questioning in open court.  But he works in some sort of outdoor job and wears a uniform. 

Number three is a woman in her late 30‘s to early 40‘s who works for a county social services agency. 

Number four is a man in his 40‘s.  He used to be a police officer. 

He‘s now a quality assurance manager for a manufacturing plant.

Number five is a man in his 20‘s or 30‘s who‘s an airport security screener, currently on disability. 

Number six, a 30-something firefighter; although he works with police officers, he says he doesn‘t respect all of them. 

Number seven, a woman who works for Pacific Gas & Electric. 

Number eight is a teamster in his 40‘s.  He works a graveyard shift.  So he thinks that he can still cover the trial during the night—during the day and do some of his work at night. 

Number nine is an interesting story.  She‘s a lady in her 30‘s who works for a biotech company.  She was married to a man who was convicted of murder and then he was killed in prison.  She‘s now remarried and says that she believes she can be fair in this case. 

Number 10, a woman in her 40‘s who has followed this case very closely in the media. 

Number 11, a woman in her 40‘s.  She‘s a chief accountant. 

And number 12 is a woman in her 30‘s who works at an adoption agency right now, and she used to be a child abuse investigator. 

Now, we also have a couple of interesting stories with the alternates.  There are six alternate jurors total.  One of them is a man who‘s both a doctor and a lawyer.  He oversees patents in a medical research company.  He says he‘s very familiar with DNA and a man with a direct connection to Scott and Laci Peterson. 

His daughter is engaged to the owner of a restaurant called The Shack down in San Luis Obispo.  That‘s the same restaurant once owned by Scott and Laci Peterson and in fact, the fiance used to work with them and for them.  However, this alternate juror said that he can be fair when judging this case. 

It appears that both sides are very happy with this jury.  They did not even come close to using all of their peremptory challenges.  So, the next step now will be opening statements, which are set to start first thing Tuesday morning right after the long weekend. 

I‘m Edie Lambert reporting live in Redwood City.  Dan, back to you. 

ABRAMS:  Yes you are Edie Lambert.  Once again, thank you. 

A split jury, diverse backgrounds from a police officer—former police officer to a woman whose husband was convicted of murder.  How will this all bode for Peterson?  Let‘s break it down with our legal team.

Gloria Allred is the attorney for Amber Frey—Frey was Peterson‘s girlfriend, as you all know—criminal defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub and former San Mateo County prosecutor Dean Johnson who has been following these proceedings very closely.  He‘ll be joining us in a moment. 

Gloria, I have to tell you, I don‘t understand—look it‘s hard to judge without being there and listening to all the questions, but this juror number nine whose fiance was convicted of murdering a stranger in the early 1980‘s.  The guy was later killed in prison.  She apparently married him after his trial.  Is that the sort of person that prosecutors want on the jury? 

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:  Well, it is a bit unusual, I will grant you that, Dan.  Because I would think that she would have strong feelings about the fact that both her loved one was convicted and at the same time also, a little bit later, killed while in prison.  So—well, you know, maybe she doesn‘t have faith in the criminal justice system.  But then, again, maybe she‘s angry about anybody who would take someone else‘s life.  So she is a mixed person. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And Jayne Weintraub, again, I understand that it‘s hard to do this without being there and listening to all the questions.  But on its surface, that‘s a very unusual juror to have on a case like this, right?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I‘m surprised that the state let the juror stay on.  I mean from a defense perspective that‘s a good juror...

ABRAMS:  Yes, yes...

WEINTRAUB:  ... obviously.  That‘s somebody who really understands the system, somebody who would hold someone to a reasonable doubt standard.  And remember, that‘s what Mark Geragos really needs to do here.  He needs to hit home what there is.  But more important, what there isn‘t.  And this is a perfect juror to do that with.  This juror is a juror who could help convince other jurors what‘s missing here.  Just like the former police officer.  What don‘t they have here?  Because, after all, opening statements, boy, I can‘t imagine what the prosecutor is going to get up there and say. 

ABRAMS:  Juror number two, Jayne, a white man in his 50‘s consulted his parish priest before deciding he could vote for the death penalty under some circumstances.  He said although he had previously opined Peterson looked guilty, he could put that aside.  The judge approved him over defense objections, and now the defense seems to have accepted him.  Look, this is a guy who‘s coming in saying I think Scott Peterson seems to be guilty.  I‘ll bet you the reason that they‘re taking him is because he seemed so concerned about even imposing the death penalty at all. 

WEINTRAUB:  Well, I‘m sure that is why.  And as you know, Dan, from being a lawyer and knowing about murder trials, you can‘t get on this jury, you can‘t get through the process unless you believe that in certain circumstances, even one, the death penalty would be appropriate.  So if you get on this jury panel and you say you don‘t believe in the death penalty, you‘re automatically disqualified.  You can‘t sit as a juror.  So those are the rules of the game.  So knowing that, here‘s a juror who probably said that he would see the death penalty, say, for Adolf Hitler or for some mass murderer or for some you know serial killer.  But Mark Geragos knows in his heart that when it comes down to a domestic homicide on scanty, scanty, if any, evidence, no death penalty here. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Gloria, juror number eight, a portly Teamster in his late 50‘s -- 40‘s or 50‘s, didn‘t follow the case.  He was once accused of violating a restraining order during his divorce.  He somewhat agrees that police are too quick to arrest in high-profile cases and he believes strongly in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  Another juror again, just on its face, based on these small summaries, that you‘d think prosecutors probably wouldn‘t want on the jury.

ALLRED:  I would agree with you on that.  He certainly seems someone that might be more inclined for the defense argument.  He might feel that he was wrongfully the subject of a restraining order, that somehow the system didn‘t work as far as he was concerned and that maybe he will be bonding with or sympathizing with the position of Scott Peterson. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean this jury as a whole, it just seems, Jayne, it seems like a pretty good defense jury. 

WEINTRAUB:  You know Dan, there really—there‘s no such thing and...

ABRAMS:  Sure there is.  On come on...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... don‘t tell us...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... there‘s no such thing.  Of course there‘s such a thing. 

WEINTRAUB:  Well, I think that it‘s a pro-defense jury from the profile, from the looks of not a death-qualifying jury or not a death penalty seeking jury.  But as far as death—as far as guilt or innocence, you just never know. 

ABRAMS:  Right, right. 

WEINTRAUB:  Jury selection is not a science, it is an art.  And the most important thing here, I think, is the evidence...

(CROSSTALK)

WEINTRAUB:  ... or the lack of evidence, which is what I‘m sure...

ABRAMS:  All right...

WEINTRAUB:  ... Mark will harp on. 

ABRAMS:  ... but look—but you know what?  Let‘s not pretend that jury selection doesn‘t make or break cases.  I mean...

WEINTRAUB:  ... 100 percent...

ABRAMS:  ... that‘s one of those—you know it‘s one of those cliches that I don‘t generally repeat cliches, but that one I actually believe.  I mean you get a bad jury and you‘re done with before the case even starts at all. 

WEINTRAUB:  I agree completely. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Again, you‘re going to be shocked by this one, too, Gloria.  This guy, the former police officer, yes, sounds good for the prosecution, right?  You got a former police officer on the jury.  Well, get this.  The man said he was once arrested for assault and battery of a police officer during a union demonstration.  It seems even the one juror you would think would be particularly good for the prosecutors has his own history. 

ALLRED:  Well, yes, and a history of at least being accused of a violent act...

WEINTRAUB:  Falsely accused...

ALLRED:  ... remember Scott Peterson is accused of a violent act.  Well it may be falsely accused.  I don‘t know what the facts are.  But obviously, if he were—if he was arrested, then he was, in a sense, accused by somebody.  So yes, that‘s a questionable juror.  But, again, the prosecution had their chance to decide to dump the juror and didn‘t. 

ABRAMS:  All right, let me take a break, because Dean Johnson, we‘re having some trouble getting him up and he‘s been watching all this.  I want to just get his sense of the jurors also, so I‘m going to break now and talk about this more on the other side.  But also—and you got also Gloria and Jayne, please stand by. 

Coming up, the Peterson judge says a controversial defense witness will get to testify, but only her testimony before she was hypnotized.  Yes, hypnotized. 

We‘ll go live to Eagle, Colorado also where the Kobe Bryant judge is not happy with the prosecution. 

And tracing the path of a young California man from the son of a goat farmer to a wanted, possible al Qaeda terrorist. 

Your e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the judge in the Scott Peterson rules a witness who was hypnotized can testify.  This as opening statements set for next week.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIE DELAGNES, DISMISSED JUROR:  Well the process was long and you know they sent us home, brought us back, sent us home, brought us back, but I think that that was appropriate to try to get a strong jury.  I actually was in the jury box for about five seconds and then I was dismissed by the defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  She was kicked off the case, but a lot of people were not.  And I got to tell you, from reading this jury profile, the jury has now been agreed upon.  In the Scott Peterson case, opening statements are set to begin.  Dean Johnson is an attorney.  He‘s on this program a lot.  He‘s been watching the jury selection process...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Dean, I‘m reading some of the notes that I think you helped create on who these jurors are. 

DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR:  Right.

ABRAMS:  It sounds like a lot of these jurors are very good jurors for the defense. 

JOHNSON:  Well, that‘s my initial impression.  Just reading over the jury after I assembled my notes, I noted at least two jurors who say that they have real questions about whether an affair with Amber Frey or an affair with anybody could form the motive for a murder like this.  We have one juror that I was totally surprised by.  I had actually designated her as the stealth pro-defense juror.  She had a fiance who was convicted of murder, and she actually married him after the conviction, and he died in prison.  But she said that doesn‘t make any difference to her.  She can still be fair.  She‘s still on the jury. 

ABRAMS:  Is there any explanation for how the prosecutors decided to let her stay on the case? 

JOHNSON:  Well, I personally am mystified.  As a prosecutor, I selected about 100 juries, and I would have knocked a number of these jurors off.  And the ironic thing is that Disgoso (ph) could have knocked them off.  He only exercised about 14 or 15 challenges.  He had another five or six in his pocket that he could have used to knock these people off and he didn‘t.  The only thing I can think of is that the Stanislaus D.A.‘s office has hired Boranski (ph), who was the jury consultant in the Martha Stewart case, he‘s been advising the prosecution team very closely.  Maybe he knows something that we don‘t.

ABRAMS:  And he‘s very good, I got to tell you.  He‘s...

JOHNSON:  He is.

ABRAMS:  He‘s been involved in a lot of high profile cases, picked a lot of juries.  All right...

JOHNSON:  Yes, and been very successful.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right, let‘s move on to another topic.  The judge is now going to allow a woman who claims she saw three suspicious men by a van outside the Petersons‘ home to testify the day Laci went missing.  In the original police report Diane Jackson told investigators the van was white.  However, when re-questioned she told both Modesto police and defense investigators that the van was more of a tan or brown color.  A big win for the defense.

Diane Jackson was one of at least two witnesses who underwent hypnosis at the prosecution‘s request, the judge ruling that Jackson can testify to her memory before being hypnotized.  All right, so how big a deal is this for the defense case?  You know, Dean, I don‘t understand why this was ever a question.  I mean, it seems to me if this is a good witness for the defense and the prosecutors take her and have some hypnotist come who‘s no good at it, that can‘t suddenly mean the defense can‘t call the witness because the prosecutors messed up. 

JOHNSON:  Well, you need to backtrack a little bit.  Generally under California law, it‘s Evidence Code 795, a witness who has been hypnotized and questioned under hypnosis...

ABRAMS:  Right.

JOHNSON:  ... about the events of a case is incompetent to testify...

ABRAMS:  But, wait.  The prosecutors were the ones who did it. 

(CROSSTALK)

JOHNSON:  Exactly.  That‘s the twist.  That‘s the twist in this case, is that the prosecutors are the ones who hypnotized the witness and did not follow the guidelines that would have allowed this witness‘ testimony to be admitted.  So the only reason this exclusion...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

JOHNSON:  ... of the testimony could be challenged is because, in effect, the prosecution is trying to profit from its own wrong. 

ABRAMS:  This is the right call...

JOHNSON:  They‘re trying to...

ABRAMS:  ... this is the right decision.

JOHNSON:  Yes.  Right.  It‘s the right call.  And it‘s—as Judge Delucchi said, it‘s a novel case. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

JOHNSON:  So the fact situation is unique.  There really is...

ABRAMS:  All right.

JOHNSON:  ... no precedent on it...

ABRAMS:  Gloria...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Gloria, this is the right decision, right?  I mean the bottom line is this woman comes forward and provides evidence, which is very helpful to the defense.  The prosecutors say you know what, let‘s hypnotize her.  That apparently is sort of done in a way that‘s not acceptable, then the prosecutors are saying oh, now she shouldn‘t be able to be called by the defense.

ALLRED:  Well, I mean I would reject the notion that they did anything intentionally.  I think...

ABRAMS:  Whether it‘s intentional or not...

ALLRED:  Well, but I think people need to understand that what happened was that the person who hypnotized her was a psychologist, but apparently was not licensed in the state of California, and, therefore, that—those statements that were made under hypnosis are not admissible for that reason.  I don‘t know that they knew that she—that the psychologist wasn‘t licensed when they sent her for hypnosis. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

WEINTRAUB:  You‘re missing the point.

ALLRED:  Having said that, OK, so the statements come in.  And it is going to be, though, an interesting question.  Because what if statements that she made under hypnosis would tend to rebut...

WEINTRAUB:  They‘re the same. 

ALLRED:  ... contradict what she said before hypnosis?  Now they‘re not going to be able to use that statement under hypnosis.  So you know there may be grounds for...

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know.

ALLRED:  ... appealing that decision. 

ABRAMS:  Well...

WEINTRAUB:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Jayne. 

(CROSSTALK)

WEINTRAUB:  I totally question...

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Let Jayne in...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... hang on Dean.  Hang on.  Dean, hang on a second.  Jayne.

WEINTRAUB:  I do question the motive behind the move for the prosecutors to want to hypnotize a witness who didn‘t just come out of the woodwork.  And everybody needs to understand this is a witness who was a neighbor of the Petersons, so easily recognized Laci Peterson and came forward immediately, was in the initial Modesto Police Department police report.  This is somebody who came forward right away.  No agenda, no anything, but telling the truth spontaneously. 

And the prosecutors, on the eve of trial, come in, after they‘ve already had a lot of hearings about wanting to hypnotize a witness and then get the hypnotized testimony in evidence.  But this is a different kind of case.  This is a case where, knowing all of that up front, they didn‘t like what they heard, and so they didn‘t like what they heard and they hypnotized her and then they tried to get her thrown off the witness list.  That, to me, smells of foul play... 

ABRAMS:  All right, Dean, here‘s what Diane Jackson said to the Modesto police.  She said as she drove by the residence, she saw three short stature, dark skinned, but not African American guys in the front yard of the residence.  When asked to further describe the individuals, she stated that‘s all she could remember.

Go ahead, Dean. 

JOHNSON:  Right.  Well, Judge Delucchi addressed the issue of prosecutorial misconduct.  He specifically said he wasn‘t finding misconduct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

JOHNSON:  And what he did say, which I think is correct, is that the reason this witness was hypnotized so early is that it was done by the police, who were in the process of trying to essentially solve this crime.  They weren‘t looking forward to a murder case or litigation.  They were hoping that they might even find Laci alive.  And the phrase Judge Delucchi used was a noble purpose, but it had some unfortunate consequences.  But overall, I think this is a proper decision. 

ABRAMS:  Is that pretty normal Dean...

JOHNSON:  One thing...

ABRAMS:  Dean, is that pretty normal to be—I mean even when you‘re trying to find someone...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... do they rely on hypnosis to do that in investigations pretty often?  Quickly. 

JOHNSON:  It‘s not uncommon.  It‘s not something that‘s frequently done, but it is done as an investigative technique. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Gloria, Dean, Jayne, thanks.  And Dean, I‘ll be seeing you...

WEINTRAUB:  Thank you Dan.

ABRAMS:  ... out there next week.  And Gloria, are you going to be out there, too, Gloria? 

JOHNSON:  Dan...

ALLRED:  Yes, I‘ll see you there Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right, I look forward to seeing both of you out in Redwood City. 

JOHNSON:  Looking forward to it Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Coming up, we‘ll update a story we brought you last month.  A happy ending for a woman who spent years as a sex slave then behind bars for killing her tormentor. 

And details are emerging about this young American wanted for immediate questioning for possible links to al Qaeda. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now an update on a story we brought you last month.  As you may recall, Maria Suarez, a teenage Mexican immigrant, sold to a much older man as a sex slave.  In a phone interview we did with her, Suarez described her ordeal. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA SUAREZ, FACING DEPORTATION (via phone):  I was sold to a man for $200.  I was—he told me himself that I was his maid and he had paid money for me and I was there to do whatever he tells me to do.  He raped me after three days of being there.  He abused me mentally, physically, spiritual and sexually. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So five years later, the guy‘s killed by his neighbor, unrelated.  Police arrested Suarez for helping the neighbor cover up the murder.  She was convicted of conspiracy.  Twenty-two years of prison, Suarez sent to an immigration center to be deported because the federal law requires that non-citizens convicted of violent crimes be deported after their release. 

Now Suarez came to the U.S. legally in ‘76 when she was 16.  She became a legal permanent resident.  She had supporters from around the country including 17 members of Congress who asked for an exception in this case.  This week federal officials granted her wish.  Suarez left the detention center yesterday on a U.S. visa.  As she was leaving she said I‘m feeling very blessed, very blessed.  It was a dream, but it came true.  Thank God, because I am free.  I agree.  This is one of the exceptions to the rule. 

Coming up, the Kobe Bryant judge says he‘ll review text messages and voice mails to see if accuser contacted an ex-boyfriend in the hours following her claims of rape. 

And later, “Your Rebuttal” on Michael Jackson‘s accuser and his family, whether they‘re seeking a big payoff in a claim against L.A.‘s Child Services.

Keep writing those e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the judge scolds the Kobe Bryant prosecutors.  A live update from Eagle in just a moment.  First the headlines. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We are back.  In the Kobe Bryant case the defense may have some potentially explosive evidence to use.  Again, I should warn you, some of this is graphic.  But it‘s important.  As MSNBC—as NBC‘s Michelle Hofland reported first on this program last night, sources tell her that lab results indicate fresh sperm found on the alleged victim‘s body when she was given a rape examination at the hospital, it was not Bryant‘s. 

The defense hopes to show, one, that she lied to detectives about when she last had consensual sex prior to the alleged incident.  She had said it was at least three days before.  And, two, that the—that she might have had sex with someone else after leaving Bryant‘s hotel room, but before arriving at the hospital for the rape exam. 

NBC‘s Mark Mullen is live outside the courthouse in Eagle, Colorado with the latest from today‘s hearing.  Now Mark, did any of this come up in today‘s hearing or a lot of it was behind closed doors as well, right? 

MARK MULLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  A lot of it was behind closed doors, but plenty of other stuff came up.  I guess we should update all of the basketball fans if you are a Kobe Bryant fan that court is over for the day.  The Gulf Stream jet, which Kobe Bryant rents, came in a little while ago, will leave Kobe Bryant plenty of time to get back to the Lakers playoff game back in Los Angeles tonight, a crucial game. 

There are a lot of legal fans, though, around the country who have been watching this as well and there was a lot of action in the courtroom today, including sort of a new legal twist.  Something we haven‘t seen before in the form of text messaging.  What‘s that all about?  Well, a lot of people around the world right now have these new sort of hybrid telephones, which not only make telephone calls, but also do e-mail or can do text messaging.  Where does that come into play in this case? 

Well, apparently Kobe Bryant‘s accuser had one such telephone and it is believed that she sent text messages using that telephone after the alleged incident with Kobe Bryant to various friends, including possibly an ex-boyfriend as well.  What did she say in those text messages?  We don‘t know.  And the defense attorneys representing Kobe Bryant don‘t know.  But they fought vigorously today to try and find out. 

Basically it is believed that they could think that some of those text messages, the contents of those text messages might help Kobe Bryant‘s defense and they wanted the judge to review them.  The judge heard a lot of arguments back and forth, including one about the privacy of all of the people involved, including the ex-boyfriend who may have received the message, one or two, from the accuser.  In the end the judge said he would ask for those messages to be retrieved.  However, he did say he will review them behind closed doors, determine if they have any relevance whatsoever...

ABRAMS:  Hey Mark...

MULLEN:  ... and if so, then he could consider whether or not they would be admitted Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Sorry to interrupt you.  The boyfriend was also fighting—the ex-boyfriend was also fighting not to have to take DNA tests, right? 

MULLEN:  His name came up again in various fashions, including that.  Here‘s essentially what that‘s all about and we have to tread very carefully when we say this.  The defense, Kobe Bryant‘s lawyers are seeking a DNA sample from this ex-boyfriend.  Why?  Well, one possibility might be that they might try and use DNA evidence to try and show if his DNA happened to be on the accuser as well to try and reinforce their theory that she may have had sex with someone other than Kobe Bryant around the time of the alleged incident.  Needless to say, he is fighting that. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Mark Mullen, thanks a lot.  The question, is this a blow to the prosecution‘s case?  Let‘s bring in our legal team—forensic pathologist and Allegheny County Pennsylvania coroner, Dr. Cyril Wecht, Colorado criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt, and former Denver D.A. and MSNBC analyst Norm Early. 

All right, Dr. Wecht, first let‘s talk about some of the science here and let‘s try and do it in as sort of a non-graphic a way as we can while still getting the facts out there.  If there was some sort of fresh sperm found on or in the victim‘s body, as Michelle Hofland is reporting, does that necessarily mean that she had sex with someone after the incident with Kobe Bryant? 

CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST:  Fresh sperm is not a clear, meaningful term.  We talk about motile sperm, we talked about intact sperm, the heads and the tails being present.  So I shall just assume for the purpose of the discussion anyway, that when they say fresh sperm, they were talking about, at the very least, intact sperm, possibly sperm which still showed motility.  That would not be possible if those sperms had been deposited in an act of sex some three days before, which is what I understand...

(CROSSTALK)

WECHT:  ... this woman said was the last time she had had consensual sex. 

ABRAMS:  What if she had had sex that morning, for example? 

WECHT:  If she had sex that morning, a couple of things must be thought of, in addition to the legal ramifications, vis-…-vis her credibility.  It raises questions about when any possible marks or superficial injuries of any kind might have been sustained.  And let me toss something else out.  You know I have no reason to believe that this young woman is knowledgeable about DNA.  What if she wants to make sure that there is evidence of a sex attack—a sex act, going on to an attack, but a sex act?  She does know enough that if you have had sex and you‘re talking about rape...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

WECHT:  ... then you‘d better have some evidence of spermatozoa and semen.  So what if she says well I‘m going to see...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

WECHT:  ... to it that there is semen there...

ABRAMS:  Right, but that‘s purely...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... I mean that‘s 100 percent speculation. 

(CROSSTALK)

WECHT:  Well, it‘s conjectural, but I don‘t think it is wildly preposterous...

ABRAMS:  I‘ll bet Norm Early does. 

NORM EARLY, FMR. DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Cyril, come on, man.  You know the problem here is that there is no testimony at this point that I‘m aware of that this sperm was motile or that it was fresh.  It was testimony at the preliminary hearing level that there was semen present and as my understanding is, that it was crusted semen.  It was not...

ABRAMS:  Right, but this is new tests, Norm. 

EARLY:  No, no, no...

ABRAMS:  We‘re talking about something new that‘s come up.  These are new lab results.  You can‘t just sort of say what came up in the prelim.

EARLY:  But the fact of the matter is at the preliminary hearing the testimony was that that stuff had been examined, and this was a result.  There was no fresh semen there.  I‘m telling you, it‘s just absolutely wrong.  It‘s bunk.  This is part of the defense theory and they want people to believe it so they keep on saying it...

(CROSSTALK)

EARLY:  ... and the more they say it...

ABRAMS:  Norm...

EARLY:  ... the more they think somebody is going to believe it. 

ABRAMS:  ... I‘m telling you man...

EARLY:  There‘s no lab test. 

ABRAMS:  I‘m telling you on this one, I‘m not going...

EARLY:  No lab test.

ABRAMS:  ... I‘m not going to vouch for the defense, but I am going to say that there will be some developments and I‘m sure there are different ways you can interpret those developments.  And I think there are going to be arguments on both sides.  But I am convinced that we are going to see new information that is either being discussed behind closed doors now that will come out in the trial about lab results that is...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... arguably not helpful to the prosecution. 

EARLY:  Well, that‘s not the issue here, Dan.  The issue is whether or not there‘s fresh semen.  And that point is, no, there‘s not. 

ABRAMS:  But...

EARLY:  Now there have been defense tests...

ABRAMS:  Well I don‘t know...

EARLY:  Well, I‘m...

JERALYN MERRITT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Norm, you don‘t know that. 

EARLY:  Dan, Dan...

ABRAMS:  And I‘ll tell you...

EARLY:  ... hang on, hang on just a second Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... and I‘m going to trust—I‘m sorry, Norm. 

MERRITT:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... I‘m going to trust our reporting on this.  And Michelle Hofland‘s reporting...

EARLY:  I‘m telling...

ABRAMS:  I mean Norm, are you telling me you spoke to the prosecutors...

EARLY:  I‘m telling...

ABRAMS:  ... and they said that for a fact there‘s no fresh—and let‘s—as Dr. Wecht points out, it‘s not a scientific definition.  But are they telling you that there is no fresh—and that‘s the word she used? 

EARLY:  I‘m telling you that when she spoke to me about it and read from a portion of the preliminary hearing about the semen, she was talking about...

MERRITT:  Dan...

EARLY:  ... crusted semen. 

ABRAMS:  It wasn‘t.  I‘m telling you, I know for a fact she...

MERRITT:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  All right...

EARLY:  ... well that‘s what was testified...

MERRITT:  Dan, Norm is missing an important point...

ABRAMS:  All right.

MERRITT:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead...

EARLY:  Tell me what it is.

MERRITT:  Dan, Norm...

EARLY:  Tell me what it is.

MERRITT:  ... is missing an important point, which is that the defense has retested...

EARLY:  That‘s what I was getting ready to say, yes...

MERRITT:  ... this semen, the matter that went—that was taken at the rape kit and—at the hospital.  And the defense has said that they now have, or according to your reporter, Dan, they‘re saying that their testing...

ABRAMS:  No, but actually she‘s saying...

MERRITT:  ... has shown that the semen was fresh...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... she‘s actually saying lab results from the prosecution...

MERRITT:  ... and now the prosecution is saying...

EARLY:  That‘s wrong Dan.

MERRITT:  ... they want to retest the lab results. 

(CROSSTALK)

MERRITT:  They have had hearings about...

EARLY:  You‘re right Jeralyn...

MERRITT:  ... whether the prosecution will get to retest this stuff.

EARLY:  Jeralyn, you‘re absolutely correct.  But when the defense tested it, it was way after the samples were collected.  And you know that that was not motile at that time.  What‘s being reported here is inaccurate, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  All right...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait Norm...

MERRITT:  ... reviewed the testing that had been done.

ABRAMS:  ... Norm, how do you know it‘s—honestly, how do you know it‘s inaccurate?

EARLY:  It‘s inaccurate because there were more tests done, and those tests were done after the prosecution‘s tests.  If it wasn‘t motile at the time of the prosecution‘s test, just like the doctor said, it certainly wasn‘t motile five, six, seven months later. 

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Dr. Wecht...

MERRITT:  What about the...

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait, wait...

MERRITT:  ... what about the semen...

ABRAMS:  ... let me ask Dr. Wecht...

MERRITT:  ... what about the sperm on her thigh?

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Hang on.  Hang on. 

MERRITT:  What about her thigh?

ABRAMS:  No, no, no, I don‘t want to go to that.

MERRITT:  How do you explain that? 

ABRAMS:  That‘s old—hang on.  That‘s old news.  I want to talk about the new news.  Is it possible, Dr. Wecht, that if you were to test something more than once that you can get different results later on than you got initially that would indicate more motility later than earlier tests? 

WECHT:  Oh, no.  Motility is going to cease.  You can‘t keep those sperms...

ABRAMS:  Right, but what about...

WECHT:  ... alive forever. 

ABRAMS:  ... the test results? 

WECHT:  ... you use a hanging (ph) job method...

ABRAMS:  Right.  Right.  There‘s no question it‘s still going to be.  But is there any other way that the results—I mean, what are the lab results that could have come back that would now be advantageous to the defense?  Because I‘m telling you, that even if this isn‘t sort of a bombshell for the defense, there is no question in my mind that they are going to be able to argue that some new lab results help their case...

EARLY:  That‘s true Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... that they‘re going to argue that. 

EARLY:  I agree with that.

WECHT:  Yes.  And isn‘t it correct that the DNA has shown—this comes from a Caucasian, number one.

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

WECHT:  And number two, isn‘t it correct that it came from her underwear when she...

ABRAMS:  No.

WECHT:  ... presented herself at the hospital...

ABRAMS:  No...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re talking about another test that was taken on items found on or in her body. 

WECHT:  Oh on her, yes, on parts of her body, right, that‘s correct...

(CROSSTALK)

WECHT:  Well, the answer is that, no, things are not going to become...

ABRAMS:  All right...

WECHT:  ... different in such a way as to become more advantageous...

ABRAMS:  I apologize to all of you.  We‘re getting caught up in this...

EARLY:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to get Michelle on the program to talk about this...

EARLY:  Dan, real quickly. 

ABRAMS:  ... next time.  Very quickly.

EARLY:  Dan, real quickly.  I think that the defense experts are going to testify differently from the CBI. 

ABRAMS:  I think you‘re right. 

EARLY:  And that is why the prosecution is now saying they want an independent lab to retest it to see if it confirms what the CBI said.  That‘s what this is all about. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  That makes sense.  All right, Dr. Cyril Wecht, Jeralyn Merritt...

WECHT:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  ... Norm Early, I‘m sorry we didn‘t get more into the legal issues here and I didn‘t get Jeralyn in enough, but we got caught up in this.  Michelle Hofland is going to come back on the program and talk to us about exactly what it is that her reporting indicates and I‘m going to get all of you back.

Coming up...

EARLY:  Thank you. 

WECHT:  Thank you.

EARLY:  Take care Cyril...

MERRITT:  Thanks.

EARLY:  ... good to see you again.

ABRAMS:  Just who is the young California man on the list of seven possible terrorists wanted for immediate questioning?  Stay with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We are back.  The Justice Department has put the world on notice to be on the lookout for this man, a 25-year-old American Muslim convert, Adam Gadahn.  He‘s one of seven suspects being sought suspected of links to possible terror attacks this summer.  He allegedly trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, translated English documents for the terrorists, and has ties, allegedly, to this man, former top al Qaeda operative—that wasn‘t him—Abu Zubaydah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Zubaydah who‘s now in American custody was one of the key al Qaeda operatives.  He is as serious as they come in terms of a threat. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So how big a threat is Adam Yahiye Gadahn?  Well, the Justice Department hasn‘t filed any charges and his parents haven‘t seen him for a couple of years.  The last they heard he was married to an Afghan refugee and living with their child in Pakistan. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILIP GADAHN, SUSPECT‘S FATHER:  And I thought he was settling down.  I didn‘t imagine he was—he would be involved in anything like what they were thinking. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  His family lives in Riverside County, California, where his father, a nonobservant Jew makes a good part of his living slaughtering goats in the ritual fashion approved by Islam. 

Aldrin Brown is a staff writer for the “Orange County Register” and has been covering this story.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Boy...

ALDRIN BROWN, “ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER”:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  ... what a background this guy seems to have.  I mean his family what, really has no idea what he‘s been up to for the last few years? 

BROWN:  Not unusual, when you consider he‘s been gone since 1997.  We received a report from his aunt up in Los Angeles that he had returned about five years ago after becoming ill, but has largely corresponded threw e-mails, cards and very occasional phone calls since then. 

ABRAMS:  This is—I want to read you something that apparently he wrote before becoming very involved with Islam. 

“In the last eight or so years we‘ve been involved with some home schooling support group, thus acquainting me with the fundamentalist Christianity.  It was an eye-opening experience.  I gradually realized I could not be a Christian.  In the meantime, I had become obsessed with demonic heavy metal music, sometime—something the rest of my family, as I now realize rightfully so, was not happy with.  I‘m sorry even as I write this.”

Is this just a guy who was just sort of frustrated with the world? 

BROWN:  Well, first of all, I should say that although there is a lot of buzz about becoming a Muslim, I think is—becoming a Muslim is the essay that you‘re reading from, there‘s been quite a bit of buzz about that.  We still don‘t have the kind of corroboration journalists like to have that he in fact was the author of that document.  On the other hand, the FBI—some FBI officials have pointed journalists in the direction of that essay for more information about who this guy is. 

I‘m not really sure what to make of that document.  It‘s all over the place.  It‘s very difficult to determine whether in fact he was fudging the truth.  As you‘ll note, nowhere in that document does it state that he‘s a descendant of Jewish grandparents, for example.  It‘s not clear to us whether this was some self-serving document or truly an expression of his inner turmoil and his discovery of his Islamic faith. 

ABRAMS:  But, give me a little bit about more sort of on the personal side of who this guy was and you know how he—I mean, it seems pretty clear that he did train in al Qaeda training camp, correct? 

BROWN:  I don‘t know how clear that is.  That was something that was told to the public by Director Mueller last night or yesterday morning.  So we kind of have to take that—take the word of the government for that.  What we do know about him is that he did grow up in a goat ranch in Riverside County, very rural part of Riverside County.  In fact, many of us although we‘re very close to Riverside had never heard of the town of Winchester. 

His family shunned television, radio, computers, a lot of the trappings of modern life.  It‘s not clear why.  You know, they‘re not Amish.  It‘s still not entirely clear to us what their philosophy is.  What we do know is that at about age 17 Adam moved to Santa Ana to live with his grandparents, who were a little more mainstream and that is where he discovered the Islamic Center of Orange County in Garden Grove, converted to Islam, and the rest is history. 

ABRAMS:  Aldrin Brown, thanks very much for coming on the program. 

Appreciate it. 

BROWN:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  After the break, be back...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, did you know that you may be buying used underwear?  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—did you know that people can return underwear to department stores?  That the stores can resell them and most importantly that you or I can unwittingly buy and then wear them?

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) used undies.  Well they are supposed to check to make sure they have never been worn, but that doesn‘t always happen.  Now New York City council members proposed a law to find retailers who sell used skibbies.  As “The New York Sun” reported, it‘s illegal in New York to sell hats that have been returned, but not thongs.

This comes on the heels of an WCBS expose that claimed to have found that well known department stores like Macy‘s, Victoria‘s Secret and Sachs were selling preowned panties, boxers, and briefs.  I mean it‘s not the most important bill to be considered, but I must admit I‘d feel more comfortable knowing that my underwear was well, just mine.  

I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  The family of Michael Jackson‘s accuser filing a claim this week seeking unspecified damages from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services against them for allegedly violating the family‘s privacy.  Some of you think this proves the accuser‘s family is looking for a payout.

Wanda Thompson in New York City, “The Jackson defense said in the very beginning that this case was about money.  Now that Larry Feldman has filed a claim on behalf of the accusing family, I guess the defense was right.”

Gisselle writes, “The family‘s true motives are finally showing little by little.  The leak of the L.A. DCFS unfounded memo occurred a long time ago.  Why didn‘t she sue back then when it first came out?”

But Sofia Hollum of Santa Maria, California objects.  “I object to the insinuations of ulterior motives in the alleged victim‘s claim filed against L.A. DCFS.  I can assure you that if this had been my child I would be just as outraged by the leaking of this memo and would take the same action.”

My “Closing Argument” last night, that it is unacceptable for the 9/11 commission to divide their final report into a majority and minority.  I said for the sake of this country they need to go back and reach a unanimous decision.  That I am concerned that people are just going to say it‘s politics and they are going to become irrelevant.  It requires compromise.  

From the University of Maryland, Justin Friedman.  “I wholeheartedly agreed with your “Closing Argument” tonight. By turning out anything less than a unanimous report, the 9-11 commission risks being written off as irrelevant. How are the FBI and CIA to be reformed if this panel of authorities can‘t even agree on what changes need to be made?”

Ralph Lowe from Henderson, Arkansas.  “Dan, you‘re absolutely correct sir.  Send them back into a room and don‘t let them come out until they have full agreement.  It would be an outrage to do otherwise.”

Finally, last night we reported jurors found Terry Nichols guilty on all 161 counts of murder for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.  On this program I said he‘s already serving a life sentence after a federal court conviction in connection with the deaths of eight federal officials at the Murrah Building.

Tom McCoy in Reno, Nevada heard an earlier report.  I did and he writes, “As a former anchor I know that sometimes on the fly things are said that are not quite correct.  You stated that the reason that Nichols was being tried a second time was that the first conviction was for federal employees and the 161 were not federal employees.  Not true.  The earlier convictions were for federal officers.  Some of the federal employees that died were classmates or friends.”

Fair point Tom.  While I did say it accurately on this show, I think I did misspeak in an earlier report and the distinction is important.  I appreciate you writing in.

All right, you know we‘ve been doing this Kobe Bryant segment today, where we‘re sort of debating exactly what was in the report and what do we know.  Tomorrow on this program here‘s what we‘re going to do.  We‘re going to have on Michelle Hofland, the producer reporter who broke the story last night.  We‘re going to have Norm Early back.  We‘re going to have Jeralyn Merritt back.  All of them together will be able to sort out exactly what it is that we know and I‘ve got to tell you, we know more than Norm Early I think is ready to concede.  But I will let Michelle do the talking because this is her report.  I will let Norm respond and I will let you the viewers make the ultimate determination as to how significant it is.

Your e-mails, abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com.  We go through them at the end of the show.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. 

Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  Chris talks about Iraq with former Senator Bob Dole and retired General Wesley Clark. 

Thanks for watching and I will see you tomorrow.

END   

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