updated 6/1/2004 10:50:54 AM ET 2004-06-01T14:50:54

Guests: Robert Shapiro, Gerry Spence, Jeanine Pirro, Gloria Allred

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  It‘s been a year and a half since a pregnant Laci Peterson went missing.  Now opening statements finally set to begin in the case. 



ABRAMS (voice-over):  The People v. Scott Peterson.  In the next hour, the prosecution case, the defense case.  What evidence will both sides present?  And will it hold up? 

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  Welcome to the program.  On the docket tonight

·         the Scott Peterson trial.  Believe it or not opening statements are finally set to begin in the case.  For the hour we are going to look at the evidence, the theories of both sides‘ cases. 

For the prosecution the most important evidence may be what Scott Peterson did after Laci went missing.  Remember Christmas Eve, 2002?  Peterson reports that Laci‘s missing, saying he last saw his wife around 9:30 in the morning, when he left their home for a fishing trip at the Berkeley marina.  About an hour and a half, maybe a little bit more, drive away.  Two days later, December 26, 2002, Peterson launches a volunteer center; the Modesto community rallies around him.  But authorities were already suspecting foul play.  In January he spoke with NBC station KNTV.


SCOTT PETERSON, LACI PETERSON‘S HUSBAND:  At this point, unfortunately, it has reached a point where suspicion of me is keeping people from searching for Laci.  They‘ve lost—they‘re focusing on me.  We need to ask people when was the last time they really thought about Laci missing, as opposed to when they thought about the suspicions that swirl around me currently.  It‘s important that we get people out there looking for Laci again.  There‘s some very simple things. 

Obviously, yes, I had a romantic relationship that was inappropriate and unfair to a lot of people, and I apologize to everyone involved in that, to all of the families.  It had nothing to do with Laci‘s disappearance; I had nothing to do with Laci‘s disappearance.  We need to talk about the facts.  And what we know is that I left here at right around 9:30 that morning.  Laci was still in the home.  The dog was returned to the yard by a neighbor with its leash on at 10:30.  Those are the only things we really know. 


ABRAMS:  Well, we know a few other things.  Let‘s start with maybe the most basic issue.  Laci‘s body was found on the banks of the San Francisco Bay 90-plus miles from the Modesto home right near where Scott Peterson had said he was fishing that day.  The first and most basic question I want to go to is how is the defense going to deal with that fact? 

We have an all-star legal team for the hour, famed criminal defense attorneys Gerry Spence and Robert Shapiro, who of course was part of the O.J. Simpson dream team, and God bless Chester County, New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro.  Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it. 

All right, Bob Shapiro, let me start with you.  That fact, in and of itself, the fact that Scott Peterson says I went fishing 90-plus miles away from my home, and his wife‘s body ends up washing up on shore right near there seems to me to be the most difficult issue for the defense to deal with. 

ROBERT SHAPIRO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  It clearly is.  Even though it‘s circumstantial evidence, it is very difficult to ascribe something to that that does not point towards negative activity on the part of Peterson.  I think the way it‘s going to be confronted is the fact that the circumstantial evidence will be put in juxtaposition with the scientific evidence.  And the defense is going to claim that the body and the fetus or baby was a full-term child, which, according to the timeline, was due a month after the disappearance, and since Scott had been under surveillance all that time, if those facts are true, Scott cannot be the killer. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So I think what they‘re going to do, though, Gerry Spence, I think they‘re going to have to argue that in essence—and this doesn‘t contradict what Bob Shapiro is saying, I think in essence they‘re going to have to say Scott Peterson was framed.  That someone out there who really did this sees that Scott Peterson says he went fishing at the marina and decides to dump the body there to make it look like Scott Peterson did it.  I think they have to say that. 

GERRY SPENCE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, you know, we don‘t put people in the death house and we don‘t put people in the penitentiary based on a coincidence.  I mean it‘s perfectly coincidental that somebody goes fishing and that the body is found there.  It‘s a far stretch, I realize, but then, it‘s only a circumstance.  And there has to be a good deal more than that to put him—than to put him away.  Now, you know, what we have here, Dan, is a situation where we‘ve got other people who have seen her abducted, taken away.  And you start to put those facts together.  You can‘t look at this case as a single fact or look at it and say this proves he‘s guilty based upon a single fact.  You have to put the entire case together.  And when you put the entire case together, what you have is a circumstantial case that doesn‘t provide a single, not a single fact that can connect Scott Peterson directly to the murder of his wife. 

ABRAMS:  Really?  Jeanine Pirro, do you agree with that? 

JEANINE PIRRO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY D.A.:  You know, Gerry and Bob and I have all tried murder cases that involve circumstantial evidence and make no mistake.  Circumstantial evidence can many times be stronger than eyewitness testimony.  What you have with circumstantial evidence is piece upon piece upon piece—each piece can be separately broken.  But when you wove it into a cloth, you can‘t tear that cloth. 

ABRAMS:  But Jeanine...

PIRRO:  And what we have here...

ABRAMS:  ... let‘s talk specifically about this issue of where the body was found.  Do you agree with me that the defense is essentially going to have to say that he was framed, or they‘re going to have to offer something?  I mean yes it‘s true, he‘s not going to get convicted just on that fact alone.  But remember, we‘re talking about a woman who‘s almost eight months pregnant, who is literally 90-something miles away from her home. 

PIRRO:  Well, what you have here is an argument about location, location.  Scott says he‘s going to play golf and then at the last minute he decides to go fishing.  And ironically or coincidentally, as Gerry says, her body shows up.  It‘s more than coincidence that her body floats up in the same location and that he visits that location many times between the time of her going missing and the time of her body being found, and he visits that location in a rented car. 

ABRAMS:  Let‘s talk about that.  Let‘s talk about the visits to the Berkeley marina.  Remember, we‘re talking about disappearance around the 24th.  January 5, January 6, January 9, January 26, January 27, according to a GPS tracking device, he used a rented car...

PIRRO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... for two of the trips.  Now, Bob Shapiro, what the defense has said with regard to some of these is look, he reads in the newspaper that they‘re searching at the Berkeley marina, and as a result he wants to be there.  The problem is that the last two of these visits there weren‘t articles immediately preceding them and there is that issue of the rental cars as well. 

SHAPIRO:  Dan, I think Gerry has really hit the case right on target.  And that is this case, from a defense point of view, will not be tried on an incident by incident by incident by incident.  There may be some incidents that cannot be explained.  There may be some incidents that are coincidental.  But at the end of the day it is my view that all of these pieces of circumstantial evidence will put the prosecution in a position where they will argue there‘s only one conclusion. 

The defense, however, is also going to have its day in court.  And they‘re going to talk about the police procedure, evidence that might have been available, witnesses who were hypnotized and, therefore, disqualified, who had exculpatory evidence, and they‘re going to talk about the manner and time of death.  The end of the day, in order to convict Peterson, they are going to have to be able to prove to this jury how and when this...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

SHAPIRO:  ... death took place. 

ABRAMS:  And we will get to some of the defense theories later.  But Janine, prosecutors like to call some of that smoke and mirrors, right? 

PIRRO:  Well, yes, it is.  And you know like the O.J. case, you know what you have are a lot of theories here, from Donny and the brown van to the satanic cult to the Neo-Nazi group.  I mean it‘s like you just float anything you want.  Our job as prosecutors, though, is to talk about the evidence.  And what is very telling here is how you opened the show, Dan, and that is the fact that you‘ve got Scott Peterson who looks totally you know sincere saying you know he never—telling the police that he never had an affair, and then saying—or admitting that he did have one, only after it came out publicly. 

I mean you have a guy who is very comfortable with lying, whose statements about his own actions and even not his statements, his actions, period, are inconsistent with that of a man who is grieving for his wife.  He‘s having an affair, telling his girlfriend that his wife is dead weeks before she‘s even missing. 

ABRAMS:  We will get to that in a moment.  Everyone stick around. 

Coming up next, the physical evidence, for example, that found on Scott Peterson‘s boat and the paramour, Amber Frey.  We‘re going to ask is she really that important to the case.  And the defense theories, a mysterious robbery, Laci sightings, satanic cuts.  Which will play prominently in the trial? 

Your e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  We respond at the end of every program. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, how important will Amber Frey really be to the Scott Peterson case?  It‘s coming up.



PETERSON:  And they‘re you know, following me, and that seems to be the story.  But it‘s not the story.  That‘s what this is not about.  This is about a missing sister, daughter, wife and child. 


ABRAMS:  Scott Peterson from back in January.  We‘re talking about the fact that the opening statements are set to begin in this case, and you know there‘s really no one smoking gun, as we‘ve been discussing.  Prosecutors are going to have to rely on circumstantial evidence, some of which we just talked about.  But there‘s some physical evidence, prosecutors say, helps to prove that Peterson killed his wife and unborn son. 

We‘re back with our legal team, Gerry Spence, Robert Shapiro and Gloria Allred.  All right, let‘s go over some of this physical evidence.  All right, they say that they found hair on pliers found on Peterson‘s boat, which is consistent with Laci‘s, and they say that they‘ve done DNA testing, which also confirms that result.  There are homemade anchors.  They say that police recovered a homemade one-gallon concrete anchor from Scott‘s boat that may have been made in the warehouse.  That they found concrete residue in his boat, and they say that there may be evidence in the warehouse that indicates that other cement blocks were built as well.  The prosecution speculates that it‘s possible that her body was weighed down with those other concrete anchors. 

Gerry Spence, again, you know we were talking about the physical evidence.  They say we‘ve got some physical evidence. 

SPENCE:  No, they haven‘t got any evidence.  You know, I‘m thinking about my darling Imogene (ph).  I bet I got—if you would check anything that I do or go or wherever I‘ve been, you‘ll find probably evidence of Imogene (ph) in my car, my boat, whatever I have, because she‘s part of me.  And...

ABRAMS:  Your wife, Imogene, your wife. 

SPENCE:  ... a hair, and a hair—Imogene is my wife, of course...

ABRAMS:  Right.

SPENCE:  ... and she‘s also my lover. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  All right, you know...

PIRRO:  But you know what Gerry...

ABRAMS:  ... as much as you love her, I had to clarify to the viewers, yes...

PIRRO:  Yes, but I‘ll bet Gerry...

SPENCE:  Thank you.

PIRRO:  ... Imogene‘s hair is not...

SPENCE:  No, wait...

PIRRO:  ... in a plier.

SPENCE:  ... wait a minute.  Oh well...

PIRRO:  She may be...

SPENCE:  ... you know her hair may be everywhere and I don‘t know.  If that hair turned out to be instead of one hair, it turned out to be multiple hairs...

PIRRO:  No, it‘s one hair...

SPENCE:  I mean...

PIRRO:  ... that broke Gerry.  You know that...

SPENCE:  ... and the cement—listen to this.  The cement—you know, we found cement in the garage.  Well, ask any fisherman.  You have—you do have an anchor, and you make anchors out of cement.  Now, these people—you know these people are taking this case clear back to the witch trials in Salem.  And it isn‘t our job as a defense attorney to somehow get this man off on some kind of a loophole.  But I‘ll tell you what it is, our job.  It‘s our job to see that the evidence is fair, that it isn‘t just a series of innocent facts that are all glommed together so that you, as you say, make the mattress or the weaving.  It‘s our job to see that he gets a fair trial.  This guy can‘t get a fair trial if everything he does, everything he says, everywhere he looked was tried on television, has been tried everywhere in the newspapers and somehow people come to the conclusion, as have you, Gloria, that this man is guilty of a crime. 

ABRAMS:  That was Jeanine, I‘m sorry.  It was my fault for introducing her as Gloria at the top of the segment.  But Gloria would certainly be saying...


ABRAMS:  ... the same thing, except even more strongly. 

SHAPIRO:   The other thing that‘s going to come up...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

SHAPIRO:   ... Dan when you deal with hard evidence is the collection, the preservation, and the analysis.  The mere fact that on paper somebody says I found a hair in a plier, well, that‘s going to be looked at very critically.  We just too recently saw a government agent indicted for lying about scientific evidence.  The FBI has been under scrutiny for years for evidence that has been manipulated.  So the police conduct, especially in the laboratory, is going to be critical to this case. 

Certainly when they say they found one hair and the evidence now presents itself as more than one hair is something that has to be looked at.  The fact that DNA shows up, the DNA that was used is a very unusual type of DNA it‘s called mtDNA.  It is not accepted in criminal cases.  So cases on paper and cases in the courtroom are two entirely different things. 

ABRAMS:  Jeanine, would you consider this a strong case on the whole?  I mean I‘m not asking you whether you know you think he‘s going to get convicted.  But compared to other murder cases that you know of, is the evidence here comparatively strong against Scott Peterson? 

PIRRO:  Well, you know, it is—it‘s hard to say, because we haven‘t heard the evidence in the context of the whole prosecution‘s case.  But there is a great deal from which—of evidence that will be extremely relevant to a jury‘s determination of guilt here.  And I believe that in this case there‘s not just one piece of evidence, but many pieces of evidence.  And, you know, we can say—Gerry has said that not everything he does should be scrutinized and analyzed.  Well I beg to differ with you, Gerry, and with all due respect because everything he has said, every action he has taken, everything that he has done is relevant to this case, because in terms of putting a case together, where there are no eyewitnesses, his actions are extremely relevant. 

And we can talk about, Bob, the FBI labs and people being indicted.  Let‘s talk about this case.  A judge has ruled that the mitochondria evidence that is accepted in California courts under people against Torres (ph) is admissible and will be admissible, and the jury will decide what weight to give to it.  But there is a lot of evidence here and there was talk about, you know we don‘t really know the specific cause of death, well we‘ve tried cases in New York state where there hasn‘t even been a body found.  You know all of these little nitpicking issues are issues that one on one we can argue about...


PIRRO:  ... but the whole case is—do you think she committed suicide, Gerry?  Do you think she went on that boat...

SPENCE:  Oh...

PIRRO:  ... and jumped off the boat? 

SPENCE:  ... oh, oh, oh, oh...

PIRRO:  Is she...

SPENCE:  ... you know...

PIRRO:  Go ahead, Gerry. 

SPENCE:  I‘ll tell you this.  I‘ll tell you this, Jeanine.

PIRRO:  Yes. 

SPENCE:  If you are—you or Mother Teresa either one of you, are charged with a murder, you‘re put on television, everything that you do and everything that you say is recorded or somehow construed.  If you mop the floor you‘re guilty.  If you wash your clothes, you‘re guilty.  If you own a boat, you‘re guilty.  If you have—if you make an anchor, you‘re guilty.  If you forget where you‘re going and you‘re going to play golf or go to fish, you‘re guilty.  No matter what you do, it‘s somehow somebody is there to make a judgment on every single act that you do.  And I will tell you this—give me the chance, give me all of the opportunities, and I can convict you and Mother Teresa with that kind of evidence. 

PIRRO:  But it‘s about a jury that is selected by the prosecution and the defense who will hear evidence that will assist in the proving of how she died. 

ABRAMS:  And putting it all together Gerry.  I mean you keep saying individually.  You‘re right.  None of those individually are going to make or break the case.  The question is whether when you take it all together that it says to you...

SPENCE:  Well, that‘s what‘s most insidious about it. 

PIRRO:  Well but...

SPENCE:  You take two-dozen innocent facts and put them all together, and they are still innocent facts that have been put together. 

PIRRO:  But when there is a pattern...

SPENCE:  And somehow when you get all of the innocent facts put together, you have a man convicted of a murder that he may not have committed. 

PIRRO:  We don‘t know whether he did or didn‘t, because we haven‘t heard the evidence, Gerry.  But what we do know is that there are so many inconsistencies here.  Why do you take a life insurance policy out on your wife?

ABRAMS:  Well that‘s...

PIRRO:  Why...


PIRRO:  Wait.  Wait...


PIRRO:  Why do you sell...


PIRRO:  ... why do you turn—why do you trade her truck in before it‘s even determined that she is dead?  Why is it that you...

SPENCE:  May I answer that...

PIRRO:  ... end up telling your girlfriend that you‘ll be able...

ABRAMS:  No...

PIRRO:  ... to be with her, and this is the first Christmas...

ABRAMS:  ... because it‘s a rhetorical question Gerry.  And I‘m going to take a break.  Jeanine, I apologize because in a moment—you know we know the answers to those questions, according to Gerry.

Stick around.  Because coming up, the big issue, Amber Frey.  Her attorney is going to be joining us as well.  We‘re going to talk about how important she is going to be to the case.  Is she really all that important?


ABRAMS:  Coming up, her testimony could be crucial to the prosecution‘s case—Scott Peterson‘s former girlfriend, Amber Frey, expected to testify. 


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND:  I met Scott Peterson November 20, 2002.  I was introduced to him.  I was told he was unmarried.  Scott told me he was not married.  We did have a romantic relationship.  When I discovered he was involved in the Laci Peterson disappearance case, I immediately contacted the Modesto Police Department. 


ABRAMS:  And she allowed police to tape hours of conversations between her and Peterson, and those conversations he admits having said that his wife was already dead.  The lawyer for Amber Frey is here.  There she is. 

Your e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  I will be out in Redwood City for the opening statements and we‘ll answer them coming up.


ABRAMS:  Continuing now with our hour-long look at the Scott Peterson case.  Up next, the other woman, Amber Frey.  How important will her testimony really be?  Her lawyer joins us.  But first, the headlines.


ABRAMS:  We are back.  Question—was Scott Peterson‘s former girlfriend, Amber Frey, actually the motive for the murder?  Well, the prosecution seems to think it‘s at least part of the story. 

In a motion filed earlier this year, Deputy District Attorney Rick Distaso wrote—quote—“The defendant‘s statements concerning Amber Frey support motive for the murder.”

Let me—before I go back to the guests, let me just read to you some of the conversations—remember, they tape-recorded conversations between Amber Frey and Scott Peterson.  Let me read you some of the conversations that they tape-recorded.

Scott:  I have not been traveling during the last couple of weeks.  I have lied to you that I‘ve been traveling.

Amber says OK.  The girl I‘m married to, her name is Laci.  Amber says (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  She disappeared just before Christmas.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) For the past two weeks I‘ve been in Modesto with her family and mind searching for her.

Scott goes on later in the conversation, you deserve so much better. 

There‘s no question you deserve so much better. 

Amber:  Yes and I deserve to understand an explanation of why you told me you lost your wife and this was the first holiday you spent without her.  That was December 9.  You told me this and how all of a sudden your wife‘s missing.  Are you kidding me? 

Let‘s go back to the legal panel.  Let‘s start with Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey.  Gloria, so look, you know, it seems that Scott Peterson said a lot of things to Amber Frey.  Is she looking forward to testifying in this case? 

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:  Well, hi, Dan.  And Amber just had a baby, a little boy, and her focus right now is on her family and her little girl.  And the father of the child, they‘re together.  And that is her focus as a new mother.  When the trial actually begins and it‘s time for her to testify, then she‘ll do her duty, if as and when she‘s called as a witness, which I expect that she will be. 

ABRAMS:  How important is she? 

ALLRED:  But right now she‘s not looking forward to it, nor is she dreading it. 

ABRAMS:  How important is she as a witness, do you think? 

ALLRED:  I think that‘s going to be for the jury to decide what weight to give her testimony and what importance to place upon it.  Obviously, if in fact the prosecution proves that she is even in part a motive that will be a concern for the defense.  And while, of course, the prosecution does not have to prove a motive...


ALLRED:  ... it is always helpful to a jury to understand why the defendant who‘s on trial might have done the act for which he‘s charged. 

ABRAMS:  Robert Shapiro, we‘ve been talking about various pieces of evidence here and this is probably the one that jurors are going to sort of understand most easily, and that is these tape-recorded conversations where Peterson is admitting that he lied to Amber Frey and even told her that his wife had died so they‘d be able to spend a lot of time together.  I mean this seems like a pretty big piece, no? 

SHAPIRO:  Dan, I couldn‘t agree with you more.  In my view trials are much more than just putting forth facts and circumstances.  Trials are filled with emotion.  And nothing creates greater emotion than a woman coming forward and saying that she was having an affair with a man whose pregnant wife was unable to take a dog walking, was virtually left to the house, that he tells his friends he‘s looking for a serious relationship, that he makes statements that his wife is at peace with this relationship during the last month of her pregnancy.  This, more than anything, is going to go right to the heart of those jurors and turn them against Scott Peterson. 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what Scott Peterson said about his relationship. 


PETERSON:  I did inform Laci about it.  I informed Amber about it after Laci‘s disappearance, because she did not know that I was married. 


ABRAMS:  Gerry Spence, the other witnesses, the family members of Laci say that she didn‘t know about it.  How important? 

SPENCE:  Well, I don‘t know whether they told—she told them or not.  I don‘t know whether she would tell her mother or her father or brothers whether—that her husband has admitted to a relationship with another woman, pretty frightening stuff.  However, I think you have to remember this—that about—by the actual statistics, 50 percent of all of the males in this country have committed adultery.  Now, that‘s a pretty sad statement and if you‘re going to somehow come up with the fact that that is evidence of murder or a motive to murder, then you know the whole world is suspect.  Now, she didn‘t—he didn‘t tell her that his wife had died.  He said his wife—he had lost his wife.  That‘s...

ABRAMS:  Oh...

SPENCE:  ... the language that he used. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, come on, Gerry. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And that would be...

ABRAMS:  Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... his first Christmas without her. 

SPENCE:  And you have to—well wait a minute.  You have to be careful on how you come to the conclusions, you know as an impartial arbiter of the facts.  So what we‘ve got here is a man who has—wants an affair with a pretty young woman.  We don‘t like that.  I don‘t like that.  I wish he hadn‘t done that, and I best he wishes he hadn‘t done it.  But it surely isn‘t the basis for coming up with some idea that because he had this affair and said he had lied to this woman about his wife, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that doesn‘t mean that he killed her.

ABRAMS:  All right, Jeanine, go ahead.

SPENCE:  It doesn‘t mean that at all. 

PIRRO:  OK.  You can say that 50 percent of the men in this country have had affairs, but 50 percent of the men in this country don‘t have their wife end up being murdered, their pregnant wife.  But most important, Gerry, when you put the pieces together, and you know this as well as the rest of us, is that he said to his girlfriend, he said, look, I lost my wife.  This will be my first Christmas without her.  And after January 25, I‘ll be able to spend more time with you.  It‘s not just saying I lost my wife.  That‘s not the crucial issue. 

The issue is the—what he draws from that and what he suggests from it.  But even more important than that is we‘ve got Amber Frey.  Amber Frey has said certain things, and we all know that had that information not been recorded of what Scott Peterson actually said and had not been a matter of record at this point, we‘d all be saying that she was making it up.  He has said some very damming things about his actions and what he‘s done.  So although motive is not necessary to be proven by the prosecution, this witness will be an enormously important witness, not just because of the emotional impact, because of what he told her and what has been...

ABRAMS:  Gloria, are you expecting the cross-examination of Amber Frey to get personal, to get really aggressive and personal against her? 

ALLRED:  Well, I expect Mark Geragos to be Mark Geragos, and that means that it is likely that we should anticipate a very vigorous cross-examination.  But Mark Geragos has a significant problem on his hands, Dan, and that is that much of what Amber Frey will testify to is corroborated and will be corroborated.  And so he‘s going to have a difficult time challenging her. 

                He may try, but it‘s unlikely he‘s going to be successful.  Also, I

think you know the jurors are going to apply their common sense.  Is it the

common sense of most people to believe that an eight and a half month

pregnant woman would be at peace with her husband having an affair?  An

eight and a half month pregnant woman who spoke to her mother almost every

day would not tell her mother something so shocking as the fact that her

husband was having an affair.


ALLRED:  I think most people applying the common sense test would say it doesn‘t pass that test.  That‘s not believable. 

ABRAMS:  Stick around.  We‘re going to talk more in a moment about the defense theories.  Will the defense even mention satanic cults at the trial?  Stay with us.



PETERSON:  The other very difficult part is that people are looking for a body.  That‘s not an acceptable resolution to our families.  We need people to be out there looking for her. 


ABRAMS:  Well, they did find the body.  And, you know, now it‘s going to be up to the prosecutors to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Peterson murdered his wife and unborn son.  And the defense is going to try and cast a doubt, and they‘re going to try and pose various theories and ask certain questions.  Let me lay out some of the issues we‘ve heard. 

First of all they said that there have been sightings of Laci Peterson well after the time when Scott Peterson says that he left the home.  That there was odd activity going on in the neighborhood, that there was a burglary, robbery, in the neighborhood within two days.  There‘s a debate about when exactly it happened. 

A number of people reported seeing a brown van in the neighborhood, a mysterious van.  They identified certain people around it.  They‘re going to say that the police mishandled evidence, that they never considered anyone outside of Scott Peterson.  They may even say that the police planted evidence.  And I think maybe most importantly, there‘s that coroner‘s report, and again, this gets a little bit graphic, so let me warn you, but this is about the baby that was found.  There was that one and a half loops of plastic tape around the neck of the fetus.  Let me read the quote from the coroner‘s report.

“One and a half loops of plastic tape around the neck of the fetus with extension to a knot near the left shoulder.  The skin is uninjured beneath this loop.  There is no external head injury.”

Jeanine Pirro, I have to tell you I think that this is the most valuable and important point for the defense in this entire case, because I‘ve seen these autopsy photos.  They are gruesome.  They and hard to look at.  But when you look at that tape wrapped around that baby‘s neck, it is very—knotted around—it is very hard to believe that that got there accidentally. 

PIRRO:  Well, what the prosecution, I believe, will show is that the baby—and, of course, we have coffin birth here, where the gases forced the body of Conner outside of Laci.  But there was a bag.  And if the baby‘s—and I‘m sorry to be graphic also.  If the brain decomposed and caved in, then the body would work its way out of the bag.  And what‘s significant about that is that where that loop is, Dan, there is no concomitant injury underneath. 

So no one can suggest that that loop was part of the strangulation of the baby.  This is just another example of a body that is at the bottom of the ocean, that because of the gases is coming up and moving upward, and so that plastic loop is around.  If there were injury underneath, it would be damming for the prosecution.  But there is no injury underneath. 

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know.  I‘ve got to tell you, Bob Shapiro, a part—even though there is no injury underneath, it is still wrapped, it seems, pretty tightly.  It‘s under the arm.  There‘s a knot on it.  Again, you all haven‘t seen it.  I have.  I can just tell you, these jurors are going to look at it and they‘re going to have questions. 

SHAPIRO:  Dan, as I said at the beginning of this program, this case is going to boil down to the scientific evidence, to the expert opinions on two issues.  First, the time of death.  If this baby was full term at the time the fetus was found, that Scott Peterson cannot be the killer.  It just—he was followed from December 25 on, so if this baby was an eight-month term fetus or unborn child, how did it become full term...


SHAPIRO:  ... during that period of time?  That, to me, is the essence of this case. 

ABRAMS:  Gloria Allred, do you agree? 

ALLRED:  No, I don‘t agree.  I think there‘s a lot more.  And of course we know that the job of a defense attorney is to plant doubt, as much doubt as possible, so that the prosecution can‘t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  But I think that Jeanine makes an excellent point.  Why is there no evidence of injury there if there is a knot.  So I think that, you know, they‘re going to look at this case in the totality, the jury.  They‘re not going to just focus on that.  They‘re going to focus on all of the evidence and they‘re going to have questions, but the question is are they going to resolve those doubts in favor of the defendant or in favor of the... 

ABRAMS:  But do you agree with Bob Shapiro‘s last point that if somehow the defense can convince these jurors that this baby was full term, that no way Scott Peterson is going to get convicted? 

ALLRED:  No, I don‘t think that‘s the case.  Because for one thing, we know that the tests that are done on pregnant mothers are notoriously unreliable in terms of exactly the stage that they‘re in, whether she was eight and a half months pregnant or maybe just a little bit more or a little bit less.  It‘s really hard to say with any specificity, with total accuracy.  And secondly, I think there may very well be expert evidence that the baby was still developing inside of her.  So—and that could occur even after she became deceased, or, you know, was disposed of.  So, again, I think expert evidence is going to be important on this point. 

ABRAMS:  And you know Gerry, I would think as a defense attorney one of the things you want to do is—you know and you‘ve talked about this before—but is to use evidence like this and then say that some of the prosecution‘s theory doesn‘t make sense.  I mean—and as a result, say the entire case must fall. 

SPENCE:  Well, you know, as I‘ve suggested, it isn‘t the defense attorney‘s job to get this man off if he‘s guilty.  It‘s his job to simply make sure that the evidence is fair.  And as I listen to my colleagues talk about the baby and whether she was born or before or after, if she was eight months or nine months or how far she was and whether there was injury under the throat and the neck and all the rest, it raises reasonable doubt just listening to the prosecution trying to explain it all. 

But, you know, I wonder if we‘re focusing on the right thing.  I don‘t mean to say that all of that isn‘t important for the defense.  But here I understand was a man who was a prior police officer, who just recently was discovered as having told the prosecution clear back in December that he saw three people, at least three people, take her and put her in a van, and that that evidence has been held and this man was never interviewed...


SPENCE:  ... until just a week ago.  Now, we‘ve got something there that‘s...

ABRAMS:  Yes, but I‘ve got to tell you, my understanding is that the defense has long known about this guy and they just didn‘t put any particular value...

SPENCE:  Why hasn‘t the prosecution interviewed this person? 

ABRAMS:  Maybe...

SPENCE:  You know what we‘ve finally come down to that is that the one person that ought to be cross-examined in this case, who can‘t be cross-examined, is the prosecutor himself.  I mean here is a man who has a personal interest in this case.  This person is—you know, this is a make or break it case for this man. 

PIRRO:  Oh, come on, Gerry. 

SPENCE:  He‘s been on national television.  The—wait a minute.  The prosecution has said—listen to what they‘ve said.  This is a—quote—

“slam-dunk case.”  Well just a bunch of kids like us talking about this thing on this program have shown that this is not a slam-dunk case.  So what‘s going on here?  Why are prosecutors...


SPENCE:  ... saying that...

PIRRO:  It‘s the attorney general who said it about the identification of Laci. 

SPENCE:  ... is slam-dunk.

ABRAMS:  All right, very—yes, that‘s true. 

PIRRO:  It‘s the attorney general...


PIRRO:  ... and not the prosecutor...

ABRAMS:  All right...

PIRRO:  ... who said that. 

ABRAMS:  Gloria...

PIRRO:  And it was about identification. 

ABRAMS:  Gloria, final word... 

ALLRED:  And the person who should be cross-examined in this case, I think is Scott Peterson.  But I would doubt that he‘ll ever take...

ABRAMS:  He...

ALLRED:  ... the stand because he‘s told so many lies. 

ABRAMS:  ... that‘s the last question I‘m going to ask, I need a yes or no because I‘m out of time.  Will Scott Peterson take the stand?  Gerry Spence, yes or no? 

SPENCE:  He wouldn‘t if he was my client. 

ABRAMS:  Robert Shapiro? 

SHAPIRO:  I agree with Gerry.  My client, he would not testify. 

ABRAMS:  Jeanine Pirro ? 

PIRRO:  He wouldn‘t dare based upon all the lies. 

ABRAMS:  Gloria Allred. 

ALLRED:  No way, Jose. 

ABRAMS:  He will not testify, I say, and let me also say thank you very much.  What a great panel today...


ABRAMS:  ... if I can have a panel like this every day, I‘ve got a great TV show. 


ABRAMS:  Bob Shapiro, Gerry Spence, Jeanine Pirro, Gloria Allred, thanks a lot. 

SHAPIRO:  You‘re welcome.


ABRAMS:  It‘s Memorial Day and it should be more than just a day off for all of us.  That‘s my “Closing Argument” coming up.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, why we need to make sure Memorial Day is more than just a day off.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”...


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—why Memorial Day should be more than just a day off particularly at this time in our nation‘s history.  I‘ll be honest.  When it comes to Columbus Day or even Presidents Day, for me it‘s just a day off or at least a day I was supposed to be off, even though I‘m still working.  I‘m a big history buff and I don‘t spend a whole lot of time thinking about Christopher Columbus on that day.  But Memorial Day is different and it should be. 

With hundred of thousands of Americans overseas fighting for this country and hundreds dead in just the past year, we owe them at least our time and our thoughts.  Some will visit cemeteries or memorials or fly the flag at half-staff.  We can also make a commitment to help widows or widowers or disabled veterans or even just pause to think about the sacrifice others have made for us.  But we should do something to distinguish this day so it doesn‘t just feel like a day off. 

I‘ve had my say.  Now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Last week a viewer disagreed with terrorism expert Rachel Ehrenfeld who said that all major drug sales have some ties to terrorism and the viewer suggested that Ehrenfeld debate a pot dealer.  I should have guessed it.  Some self-proclaimed real pot dealers have volunteered. 

Craig Salvesen, “I am a 48-year-old white male who spent 30 years selling pot and would love to take part in a debate.”

From the Midwest Mary Sanders.  “I‘d be happy to debate this on your show.  I‘d consider myself an expert on this matter and so would the FBI.  My husband and I were deemed the most prolific marijuana importers in the Midwest from 1988 until 2000.”

Thank you Mary and Craig.  We‘re not actually going to have the debate. 

Every day we receive e-mails.  This is unbelievable, but a seemingly growing problem in Africa.  Many suddenly wealthy individuals, often with ties to royalty, who have inherited money, seem to need my help to retrieve it.  And they‘ve been sending great offers to the show, which sound like they‘ll make me an instant millionaire.  Just one day, example, I‘m going to give you literally from just one day of the stuff we get to our e-mail set. 

From Zimbabwe, “Preston Enagua, “My name is Preston Enagua, the eldest son of Dr. Meaizena Enagua from Zimbabwe.  My father was one of the biggest farmers in our country before his death.  My father had deposited with one security company in South Africa the sum of $15.5 million.  I decided to contact you to assist me since I was able to move this money out of South Africa to Holland for safekeeping.  For your role in this transaction, me and my family have agreed to offer you 25 percent of the total sum—wow.  Note that this transaction is 100 percent risk free.”  Gosh, I‘m going to make millions. 

And Steve Nwa from Nigeria.  “My name is Mr. Steve Nwa.  I‘m the bank manager of the Safe Trust Bank of Nigeria.  December 8, 1999 an American oil consultant contractor with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation made a numbered time (fixed) deposit for 12 months valued at 14.6 million at his branch.  I found out that she died without making a will.  All attempts to trace her next of kin fruitless.  According to Nigerian law, at the expiration of five years the money reverts to the ownership of the Nigerian government if nobody applies to claim the fund.  Consequently, my proposal is that I would like you as a foreigner to stand in as the next of kin.  Rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us.” 

Another case of—and get this from the Republic of Congo, Kodila Basungama Julien.  “I am Kodila Basungama Julien from the Republic of Congo.  Kinshasa, my boss, became very sick and was diagnosed with the cancer of the lungs.  To my greatest surprise, half of his will was allocated to me.  He gave me all his money that amounted to millions of dollars and some wonderful properties in Africa.  I need someone to help keep these funds for a while.”

Hey.  Stop sending me these scam letters.  And if you get one of these Dear sir or madam letters from some various person in some foreign land who‘s got a lot of money, don‘t buy it.  I‘m betting it‘s a scam. 

Thanks for watching this special edition of the program.  That‘s the address if you‘ve got any thoughts.

We will see you back here tomorrow. 


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