updated 8/24/2004 10:03:59 AM ET 2004-08-24T14:03:59

Guests: Dean Johnson, Lisa Bloom, William Portanova, Ron Frey, Norm Early

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up live from Redwood City, California, Scott Peterson‘s lawyer gets tough cross-examining Amber Frey.


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Portraying Scott and Amber‘s dates and phone calls as few and far between, and their relationship as little more than a series of drunken sexual encounters.  Peterson‘s attorney tries to undermine the testimony of the prosecution‘s star witness.

Plus, Amber Frey‘s father joins us to talk about how his daughter is holding up.

And sources say the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant case is ready to testify.  The trial is on.  Jury selection begins this week.

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  I have just come out of the courthouse, at the Scott Peterson case, and first on the docket—the much-anticipated cross-examination of Scott Peterson‘s girlfriend, Amber Frey.  It started, Amber Frey on the witness stand, Peterson‘s attorney, Mark Geragos remaining in his seat, and saying, no questions.  Geragos paused for five seconds as whispers enveloped the courtroom at which point he said, just kidding.

What followed is Mark Geragos trying to trade the after glow of the dreamy romantic conversations we heard on tapes of Scott and Amber for a seedier picture of a few alcohol fueled sexual romps.

Geragos said—quote—“is it not true that virtually every time you went out with Scott Peterson you had something to drink?

Frey:  No.

And Geragos suggested that from the beginning it should have been clear that this was about sex, that even the woman who set them up had a nickname for Scott that should have told it all.

Geragos:  Did she tell you what his nickname was?  Did you ever hear the initials H.B.?  Did he tell you it stood for horny bastard?

Frey: Yes.

Geragos: Did she tell you that he asked her what he should write on his name tag in order to attract women and she suggested, I‘m rich.

Frey:  I vaguely recall her talking about it.

Geragos:  He said he was looking for a soul mate.  That didn‘t cause you any pause when here is a guy looking for a soul mate that goes by the handle H.B.?

Frey:  No.

“My Take”—I don‘t buy the it was just sex and alcohol defense. 

Let‘s not forget, Scott, on this tape.


SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER:  You know, in my mind we could be wonderful together and I could care for you in any and every way.  For the rest of our lives I think we‘d care for each other and Ayianna and you know we could fulfill each other.


PETERSON:  We together could care for her and you know raise Ayianna...


PETERSON:  ... and could fulfill each other, you know, forever.


ABRAMS:  Let‘s go to our legal team—Court TV anchor and civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, California criminal defense attorney, William Portanova and in the courtroom with me today, former San Mateo County prosecutor, Dean Johnson.

All right, Dean, you were the one who said, Mark Geragos should get up there and say no questions.  He made a joke about it at first.  Then he goes into this line of questioning, suggesting that this wasn‘t love.  This wasn‘t romance.  This was just some alcohol-driven sex romps.  What do you make of it?

DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR:  Well first of all, I think the cross-examination and its tone is correct.  He‘s handling Amber with kid gloves, no loud voice, no attacks.  But I don‘t think this line of questioning is going to work.  This jury knows that by the second date Scott Peterson is making seafood lasagna.  Later he‘s talking about a vasectomy.  They discuss even marriage at some point.  They know that this was much more than just four quick romps in the hay.

ABRAMS:  But Lisa Bloom that‘s what he‘s doing.  He‘s saying, look effectively this is four dates.  He‘s isolating each time that they saw each other, even if it included the night before—every time, he‘s asking, did you have sex with him that night.


ABRAMS:  Did you drink that night?  You know, it may not go to the point of what Scott Peterson says on those tapes, but effective cross-examination?

BLOOM:  Well, Dan, no one who has heard these tapes in their entirety as these jurors have is going to believe that this was four dates.  This was just a couple of drunken sexual encounters.  It may have started out that way.  But by the time in January that Amber announces publicly to the world, including Scott that she‘d gone to the police.  Scott is still calling her.

In February he‘s begging her to see him one last time.  He‘ll even drive five hours down to Lake Arrowhead for one last look in her eyes.  He says to her over and over again that he wants to be with her.  So by late December, by January, and by February, however this relationship started, Dan it has clearly grown into something much more than that, an obsession on Scott Peterson‘s part.

ABRAMS:  But you know, Bill, the one thing Mark Geragos pointed out, was he talked about he didn‘t just say phone calls between them.  He isolated which phone calls Scott Peterson actually initiated.  And he made the point that Scott Peterson didn‘t call Amber on the 20th of December, the 21st of December, the 22nd of December, the 23rd of December, the 24th of December.  Amber claims that there was one call that she received from a public phone, but Geragos making the point that there are no phone records of Scott Peterson having called Amber, at all, in that period.

WILLIAM PORTANOVA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, that‘s exactly right.  Who is obsessed with who?  Here‘s a guy—yes, he did have four dates with her, yes, they drank and yes, they had sex, and maybe three months later, when she‘s calling him and calling him and calling him, yes, maybe he does want to meet up with her again one more time.  But I don‘t think it was just to look one more time into her eyes.

I think she offered one thing to this guy.  He took it.  He lied to get it, and that‘s the relationship.  All of these other phone calls...

ABRAMS:  But what about...

PORTANOVA:  ... are from her to him.


ABRAMS:  What about this, Bill?  Hang on.  Let‘s listen once again in his own words.


FREY:  So then why don‘t you tell me something good?

PETERSON:  Can I tell you how wonderful you are?  That‘s pretty easy to do.  How thoughtful you are and amazing and I always call you and I tell you you‘re special and it‘s just not big enough room for it all.


ABRAMS:  Bill, if all he needs to do to get her into bed is just have a few drinks with her, then why does he need to go on with all these times about how great she is, amazing, their future together, all of that?

PORTANOVA:  Well, to tell you the truth, I think this guy has a line like that for every woman that he socializes with this way.  I just heard him tell her she was special.  OK, she‘s special.  At least she thinks he thinks she‘s special and apparently with her that‘s all it‘s going to take.

So to say that there is a love affair from that, I really think the government has made a big mistake, trying to make this the reason for the murder.  If there is a reason to kill somebody, it‘s a large insurance policy, and that‘s actually a much more compelling reason than some—than to go out with somebody again that you dated three or four times.

BLOOM:  Yes, but Bill the facts are...

ABRAMS:  Lisa...

BLOOM:  ... yes, the facts are that she did have sex with him a couple of times in early December and then for the rest of their relationship, all they did was talk on the phone.  So, look, she‘s willing to be sexual with him and that‘s her right.  It‘s her body.  It‘s her choice.  But Scott Peterson is not getting together with her, not trying to have sex with her.

And Bill, I hate to break it to you, but some guys like to have conversations.  Some guys like to have a personal relationship.  Even Scott Peterson was clearly lonely, a little bit desperate, and enjoyed talking to her for hours and hours.  And by the way, one thing you never hear on those tapes, you never hear any sex talk.  He never tried to bring up the subject with her.  He never makes any suggestion, even flirtatiously.  It‘s really talk—it‘s much more about a relationship than it is about sex...


PORTANOVA:  She‘s calling...

ABRAMS:  Let me read another line of the cross-examination.  This just gives you a feel of what it was like question after question.

Amber Frey was talking about one of their visits.  He visited for a while.  He asked me where the little one was.

Geragos:  Not interested in the little one.  Geragos says, did he spend the night?

Frey:  Yes.

Did you have sex that night?


And Frey, you know, again, and asked—Dean Johnson, there were more questions about the issue of alcohol.  Let‘s see if we can get number six up.

Mark Geragos asked, was Scott feeling the effects of the alcohol? 

Frey says at one point I don‘t know.  I would say yes.  I know I was.

What does this do?  I mean what does this do in terms of Amber Frey‘s credit?  I mean you know it is kind of effective that they‘re saying that Scott Peterson isn‘t calling her.  You did have the impression, going into it, that they were having these constant conversations on the phone.  And Geragos highlighting the fact that well you know what?  A lot of the times, Scott Peterson wasn‘t calling her.  This is in the pre-Laci going missing era.

JOHNSON:  You know at times this almost sounds like a cross-examination in a DUI case.  I mean so she had a good deal of alcohol when she was with Scott.  There are other things like, weren‘t you suspicious, earlier than you admitted?  Sure, these can be small chinks in Amber‘s armor, but her credibility is really not the key to this.  If he can make small attacks on her credibility, so what?  Even if she‘s 100-percent liar and he can successfully paint her that way, we still have all of those tapes of Scott.


ABRAMS:  You can see my hand there waving in the—you could see my pen waving to Dean Johnson.  All right, so here is what we‘ve got coming up.

There is a point that Mark Geragos is making on cross-examination, which is very important in this case.  To say—remember we kept talking about how—he‘s talking about spending January, he‘ll be able to spend more time with Amber?  Well the defense has an explanation for it, saying Scott was basically telling the same lie from the moment he met Amber.  This wasn‘t some love affair where he wanted to see her again in January.

We‘ve also got Amber‘s father.  Ron Frey is on the program to talk about what he has heard about the cross-examination so far.

And the Kobe Bryant case we are told is on.  It will begin this week. 

What happened?

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  I respond at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, more of the cross-examination of Amber Frey.  I have just left the courtroom.  I‘ve got a lot more to tell you about it, about what Mark Geragos has been up to.  Stay with us.



PETERSON:  That I would still hold in my heart that there could be some future relationship with us.

FREY:  How is a relationship supposed to be built on deception and lies though?

PETERSON:  Exactly, it can‘t be.

FREY:  It can‘t be, but you still have those hopes?



PETERSON:  ... hope there‘s some kind of starting over ability.


ABRAMS:  Peterson‘s attorney Mark Geragos trying to deflate the significance of those tapes in courts, cross-examining Amber Frey as we speak.  And I should point out—we‘re going to have a live report on what‘s happened since this show started in a few minutes, so don‘t go anywhere.

But what happened in the moments before the show started, one of the issues that the defense is trying to go at is this notion that Scott Peterson had said to Amber, we‘ll be able to spend more time together in January, suggesting that the prosecutors are saying that this is premeditation.  That he knew he was going to kill his wife and that he‘s pretending he‘s on some European trip just so he can have a little time to let this all pass over, and then he can be with Amber at the end of January.

Mark Geragos pointing out that he talked about his schedule the moment he met Amber, meaning within hours of meeting her on their very first date.  Geragos trying to say, what are you talking about this was something for Amber so they could be together?  He‘s saying he was lying about his schedule from day one.

Mark Geragos:  Within hours of meeting you, didn‘t he tell you he‘d be in Alaska for Thanksgiving, Maine for Christmas, and Europe in January?

Amber:  Yes.

Not something he told you later on—after your first date or second date.  You‘re absolutely sure the first time he told you was on the 20th of November, their first date?

Amber:  Yes.

Dean, significant?

JOHNSON:  Well you know people try to pore over these transcripts line by line and find in every line some sort of plot to commit murder.  You just can‘t really do that.  Remember, one thing that Scott Peterson has on his mind with Amber Frey is Amber Frey.  And a lot of these lies are the full-court press that he‘s putting on her to seduce her.  Of course now, given all of those lies is a foundation of the relationship.  It was going to come crashing down sooner or later whether Laci went missing or not.  It‘s happened that Laci was the catalyst for Amber Frey‘s...

ABRAMS:  Bill Portanova, one of the things the defense teams seems to be doing, as you pointed out earlier, is suggesting that Amber is somehow obsessed with Scott Peterson.  And Mark Geragos points out that, on the 26th, I guess it was, of December, that she made 14 phone calls to him.

You called Scott Peterson on 12/26 14 times—attempts or actual conversations?

No answer.

You dialed the number 14 times?


When asked why you were calling him, I said, you think you got him a present.


So what.  Let‘s assume Amber Frey really was into him.  Let‘s assume for a moment she was obsessed with him.  Doesn‘t change what he said on the tapes.

PORTANOVA:  What happened on the tapes is evidence of a man who dated a girl a few times.  She gave herself willingly to this guy based on his lies, lies as you say—pointed out, he started from the very beginning and then you‘ve got a guy basically under house arrest for two months and this beautiful young woman is calling and calling and calling, and all she wants to do is talk to him.

All she wants to do is hear about Scott, and Scott loves talking about Scott.  So she‘s cultivating him.  She‘s trying to get him to talk.  He‘s responding to this young girl, when he‘s alone in his house day after day.

BLOOM:  I don‘t think...

PORTANOVA:  This isn‘t...

BLOOM:  ... we‘ve been listening to the same tapes Bill.

PORTANOVA:  ... this is not evidence.  This isn‘t evidence...

ABRAMS:  Lisa Bloom.

PORTANOVA:  ... of Scott Peterson‘s obsessive relationship with her...


PORTANOVA:  She loves him and she‘s after him...

ABRAMS:  Lisa Bloom.  Hang on.  Let Lisa talk...

BLOOM:  Yes.  Listen Bill, after January 7, there‘s a different set of tapes entirely.  Amber Frey is blasting him for his deception, for his lies.  This isn‘t a pleasant little girl having a friendly conversation with her lover.  This is a woman who has been wronged and who lays into him, and nevertheless, Scott Peterson stays on those calls, listens to all of her anger, like a man who wants to hold onto her.

And Bill, the most important admission on those tapes, Mark Geragos cannot touch on cross-examination.  That‘s Scott Peterson admitting that on December 9, two weeks before Laci went missing, he fantasized that he was a widower and this was his first holidays without Laci.  Now put aside everything else about who was drunk and who had sex and who called who.  That‘s something that he just cannot touch on cross-examination.

PORTANOVA:  Well Lisa...

ABRAMS:  Let me take...

PORTANOVA:  ... what about her former lover who said that he lost his wife?  How many times does this happen?

BLOOM:  This is not about a man lying about being married.  This is about a man who allegedly plotted his wife‘s murder, two weeks before it happened.  Either he‘s clairvoyant...

ABRAMS:  Let me take a quick break here.

BLOOM:  ... or he‘s responsible for her disappearance.


ABRAMS:  Take a quick break...

PORTANOVA:  ... that‘s one way of looking at it.

ABRAMS:  Lisa Bloom gets some of her abilities from mom.  Gloria Allred represents Amber Frey in this case.

Going to take a quick break here.  When we come back, the defense asking a lot about a relationship that Amber Frey had with a detective in Fresno, California.  What did Amber know, and when did she know it?

We‘ve also got Ron Frey, Amber‘s father, on the program.  He can‘t be too happy about what he‘s hearing in this cross-examination.  Ron‘s going to join us, coming up.



PETERSON:  Amber, are you asking if I had something to do with this?

FREY:  You never told me you haven‘t.

PETERSON:  Yes, I have.  I had nothing to do with this.  You know that.


ABRAMS:  Scott Peterson telling Amber Frey again and again he had nothing to do with Laci‘s disappearance.  But now on cross-examination the defense has been trying to suggest that Amber may have been suspicious of Scott Peterson before Laci was reported missing.  She has a friend named Richard Byrd who works as a police officer, now a detective in Fresno.  Mark Geragos said did at any point after the 8th meeting of December did you Richard Byrd you had suspicions about Scott Peterson?

Frey says yes.

Goes on, when did he first tell you he was suspicious, referring—now she says he was the one who was suspicious.

Frey:  Could have been the 21st.

What did he tell you he was going to do?

Frey:  He asked so when do you want me to check this guy out for you?

Dean, I never really understood why this matters.  I mean let‘s assume for a minute that Amber Frey suspected that Scott Peterson was lying to her before Laci went missing, but didn‘t know...

JOHNSON:  Take Byrd out of the picture, there is a lot of evidence that she could have been suspicious on, but so what?

ABRAMS:  Right.

JOHNSON:  Does it make any difference when she became suspicious?  She claims that she became suspicious when she saw him on TV at the candlelight vigil, but maybe she started to suspect...

ABRAMS:  All right.

JOHNSON:  ... a few days earlier.  So what?

ABRAMS:  Bill Portanova, so what?

PORTANOVA:  I agree.  I think it‘s a so what.  In order to convince one juror on that panel that this means something, you‘d have to find a juror that believed that the spaceships were coming.  This really adds up to nothing.  It‘s the central valley.  These towns are pretty close together.  People know each other and frankly a lot of people in law enforcement do keep an eye out for their friends, checking out boyfriends and so forth...

BLOOM:  But Dan...

PORTANOVA:  ... completely innocent and I don‘t think anybody should make an issue out of it.

BLOOM:  Here‘s I think the point the defense is trying to make.  That even before Laci went missing on the 21st, the police are starting to circle the wagons after them or at least one police officer, this Fresno detective who is very close with Amber Frey.  We‘re not clear on what that relationship was exactly.

But he‘s trying to protect little, wronged Amber.  And that perhaps there was—I‘m sorry to use these words—but perhaps there was a rush to judgment after the 24th that all of the cops essentially got together and wanted to protect little Amber from big, bad Scott and they decided to zero in perhaps prematurely on Scott Peterson.  I think that‘s where Geragos is going with this.

PORTANOVA:  Well, at the same time...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

PORTANOVA:  ... it really adds up to nothing...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead Bill.

PORTANOVA:  ... because—well I think Geragos today is simply trying to gently peel away some of the layers of sheen that the prosecution has tried to put on her.  Yes, she‘s an innocent girl.  Yes, she was taken advantage of.  And the evidence that they‘re using is an attempt to make Peterson look terrible because he would take advantage of such a sweet, young thing.

She comes to court.  She‘s conservatively dressed.  She‘s wearing a cross.  Geragos has to kind of reduce some of that shininess and take her down a little bit so that it doesn‘t...


PORTANOVA:  ... look so much like the big, bad wolf.  And I think he‘s going to get it done.  I think there‘s plenty there...


PORTANOVA:  ... for him to do it with.

ABRAMS:  I think that‘s well said.  Lisa, Bill and Dean are going to stick around, because coming up, Amber‘s father, Ron Frey is with us.  He‘s standing by to talk about what he thinks that the fact the defense is saying this wasn‘t a romance.  This was just a few drunken dates.  What does papa Ron think about it?  He‘ll join us in a minute and tell us.

And in the Kobe Bryant case it sure looks like the case is on, it‘s a go.  Sources telling us that the alleged victim is ready to testify.  The case starts this week.

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  I get to them at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, as the cross-examination of Amber Frey continues in the courtroom behind me, just moments ago, defense attorney Mark Geragos suggesting that Amber Frey offered up to the police to fake that she was pregnant to get Scott Peterson to talk.  We‘ll have all the details, but first, the headlines.



FREY:  But didn‘t you say Amber, I will do anything for you to trust me.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) baby, we have—I feel we have a future together.  What was that about?

PETERSON:  I‘ve never said anything to you that I didn‘t mean.

FREY:  You never told me anything you didn‘t mean.

PETERSON:  I lied to you about things I did.


ABRAMS:  The cross-examination of Amber Frey is now moving to the issue of those tapes.  How were they made?  What was said in that context?

NBC‘s Jennifer London was just inside the courtroom.  She just ran out to do a quick report for us.  So Jennifer, what are they talking about?  They‘re talking about how they set all this up?

JENNIFER LONDON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Right, Dan.  They‘re talking specifically about the first meeting that she had with the detectives on December 30 when they came over to her house.  They said are you willing to record the conversations.  She said yes.

And one interesting point is that Amber Frey admitted that one of the detectives said to her, well, Scott Peterson is—quote—“a big suspect”.  And then they mention that well, we haven‘t told anyone else that, but between you and me, he‘s a big suspect.  Now this would go to the defense‘s theory that the Modesto Police Department had this tunnel vision, rush to judgment.  I mean remember, Laci has only been missing for what...

ABRAMS:  Right.

LONDON:  ... six days at this point.  One of the other interesting points that came up is Geragos bringing up that her and Peterson had sex three times.  One time they had unprotected sex and Geragos getting Amber to admit that it was her idea to say, well, what if I told Scott that I was pregnant, and maybe that would get him to open up and confide in me.  And again, Mark Geragos saying, now this was your idea and she said, yes.

And when he pushed her a little bit more, she said well look I was willing.  I was open to do whatever to assist police.  And the last point coming up is that there was one conversation on January 6, where the Modesto Police Department wanted her to come to headquarters, record the conversation there, get into a confrontation with Peterson, they could closely monitor it while at the same time offering her suggestions on what to say and how to maybe get him to, you know, to confide in her.

ABRAMS:  All right.  So let‘s go through these three issues.  The issue of rush to judgment that Amber‘s offering up the possibility that she‘ll say she‘s pregnant and the fact that maybe they‘re feeding her questions.

Issue one, rush to judgment.  Lisa Bloom, I‘ve always felt this was sort of a nonsensical argument.  So six days afterwards, the guy‘s wife is missing.  They start to get suspicious of his story, and they say that he is a suspect.  Who cares?

BLOOM:  Well right.  And in fact, the police should always look at the husband or the boyfriend as a first suspect when a woman goes missing because that‘s usually who did it.  And keep in mind, Scott Peterson dug his own grave in that regard, because he gave three different stories, as to what he was doing on December 24 -- duck hunting to Amber Frey, golfing to some people and fishing to some other people.  So that‘s all very fishy.


BLOOM:  Nobody saw him on the 24th.  He had a receipt for fishing. 

That‘s ultimately where the bodies washed up.  Of course...


BLOOM:  ... they‘re going to look at him.

ABRAMS:  Bill, what do you think?  I mean this rush to judgment, the defense going to get anything out of this?

PORTANOVA:  No, I think rush to judgment a losing argument.  It might work in some of the worst jury panels.  But the truth is there is one suspect when the wife disappears until proven otherwise.  That‘s always true and it‘s frankly good police work.  So, that‘s a dead end.

ABRAMS:  All right...

PORTANOVA:  I wouldn‘t waste time on it.

ABRAMS:  Issue two, the fact that Amber is saying to the police, you know, I could tell him that I‘m pregnant because we did have unprotected sex that time.  I don‘t know.  Again, so she‘s helping the police, Lisa?

BLOOM:  Yes.  I think you have to keep in mind the context.  This was a very serious time.  Laci had been missing about six days.  Many people believed she might still be alive somewhere, or at the very worst her body had to be found to give her parents some sense of closure and relief from this torment that they were going through.  Anything within the bounds of the law would have been acceptable for the police to do.  To get Amber to lie about being pregnant, if that would resolve this crime, what‘s wrong with that?

ABRAMS:  Bill Portanova.

PORTANOVA:  I agree completely.  That‘s entirely normal.  I‘ve worked with a lot of cooperating defendants when I was a prosecutor, too.  And they—as soon as they get a taste of police work, they become immediately enamored of it and they are full of ideas.

ABRAMS:  All right...

PORTANOVA:  All of it is good...

ABRAMS:  All right...


ABRAMS:  Number three maybe seems to be the one that may hold some weight here, and that is the idea that the police are feeding Amber questions.  Bill, I mean what do you think?  I mean that seems to me—if the police are literally sort of speaking through the voice of Amber Frey, it does sort of make the tapes feel fake.

PORTANOVA:  You could actually kind of hear it, when he says something, and then there‘s sort of an unnatural delay, maybe two or three seconds sometimes before she asks the next question.  And I kind of got the impression listening to it that she was reading off a note that a detective had scribbled and passed over to her.  Again, that makes it look like she‘s using somebody else‘s words.  But frankly...

ABRAMS:  Well...

PORTANOVA:  ... the entire experience is somebody else‘s words.  She‘s interrogating him.

ABRAMS:  Well let me ask you...


ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Lisa, hang on one sec.  Did they talk about that—about whether there were actual notes passed or et cetera?

LONDON:  When I jumped out of the courtroom, Dan, no.  What they have said was the reason that they wanted Amber Frey—because you know she was recording these conversations from her house, when she was on her cell phone.  But they specifically wanted her at the Modesto Police Department for what Geragos said was constant supervision, and suggestions, as to what Amber Frey should ask Scott Peterson.

ABRAMS:  Go ahead Lisa.  I‘m sorry.

BLOOM:  Well I‘m going to be interested as to what extent the police did help her.  Because I remember at the end of her direct testimony she said that they give her some instruction as to subject matters, but basically she was on her own.  And I think that really came across when you listen to the tapes.  She goes on and on about problems with her sister and what her daughter‘s hairstyle is that day and things they‘re obviously completely irrelevant.

I frankly think the police could have given her some more guidance, suggested her to be softer toward the end.  That you know no guy is going to confess to his girlfriend when she‘s just blasting him over and over again.  I think they could have advised her as to some better interrogation techniques.  So I‘m very curious to hear how this progressiveness to what exactly they did tell her.


ABRAMS:  Jennifer, it seems to me they‘re moving through pretty quickly.  I mean they‘ve gone from the first date.  They‘re now at the point already in January, where the tapes are being recorded.  You know Mark Geragos could easily be done by tomorrow.

LONDON:  Well Dan, you do get the sense they‘re moving quickly.  And remember, earlier this morning, Judge Delucchi indicated that he was hoping Amber Frey would be done today.  Now when I jumped out of the courtroom I certainly didn‘t get that indication.  But you do get the sense that he‘s moving pretty quickly and he‘s taking the jury very rapidly through the timeline that the prosecution has already laid out.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Thank you, Jennifer.  Appreciate it.

LONDON:  You‘re welcome.

ABRAMS:  Bill and Lisa and Dean—Dean was standing over here.  I had to kick him out of the chair to put Jennifer in.  Dean, I‘m sorry.  I‘m sorry.

All right.  Take a quick break.  When we come back, Ron Frey, the father of Amber Frey, joins us to talk about his reaction to the cross-examination of his daughter.  How does he feel about fact that Mark Geragos is suggesting this was not a romance at all, but just a few sort of nights of sex?  Ron Frey always outspoken.  He joins us in a moment...

And Kobe Bryant, coming up, it‘s on.  The case is starting Friday.  I was wrong.  I said the case wouldn‘t happen.  Looks like it‘s happening.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know what happened.


ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  I‘ve been inside the courtroom listening to the cross-examination of Amber Frey by Scott Peterson‘s attorney Mark Geragos.  And so far, Mark Geragos has been trying to have jurors forget about those audiotapes of Scott Peterson, where he is trying to woo Amber, talk about their future together, how wonderful she is, how amazing she is and instead trying to characterize their relationship as a few—a handful of dates that were simply alcohol-fueled sex romps and no romance at all.

What does the father of Amber Frey think about that?  Ron Frey joins us now from Fresno, California.  Ron, thanks very much for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.

RON FREY, AMBER FREY‘S FATHER:  Hi Dan Abrams.  Your question is, what

do I think about—was it romance, sex, the real thing?  Amber was in love

with Scott Peterson and there‘s a lot more than the alcohol and sex.  The

tapes prove it day in, day out.  Of course, Gloria Allred said that Geragos

·         Mr. Geragos would try to slime her up and this is the way he‘s trying to do it.

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you, as a father does it anger you?  I mean does it get your blood boiling when you hear this kind of cross-examination of your daughter?

R. FREY:  Oh, I‘ve been bracing for this for some days.  Today has been a tougher day than usual.  But no one wants to hear people talk poorly of your child.  But Amber come forward, has done the right thing and is continuing to do the right thing.  But to answer your question, yes, it bothers me.

ABRAMS:  And it was clear to you, was it not, that—you know at the

·         do you remember at the time hearing about Scott Peterson and hearing about their relationship and what she would say about it back then?

R. FREY:  Well, we sat and talked three times about the relationship, a hiking trip they took together with my granddaughter.  We talked about other experiences they had.  She was just totally in love with him.  And from the sounds of it he was in love with her.  This come to her as the biggest shock in her life, when she found out he wasn‘t really qualified to be in this relationship.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Look, I‘ve said this before and I said it at the beginning of the show, I‘ll say it again.  You know I don‘t buy this notion that somehow this was just, you know, some cad trying to have sex with somebody.  This is a guy who was pulling out all the stops, making the phone calls, and sure, there were times when he wasn‘t calling her as much as she was calling him.

I say, so what?  You know, they were still calling each other on the telephone.  And I don‘t know that it‘s particularly significant.  Let me ask about this issue that he‘s bringing up that Amber was ready to tell Scott, to lie to Scott and say that she was pregnant, when in fact she wasn‘t.  What do you think of Mark Geragos trying to make some hay out of that?

R. FREY:  Well, at the time, Amber and the police, what they did was between them.  The family wasn‘t aware of the ongoing police investigation at the time, so us family members are hearing it today for the first time just the way you are, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Do you—now, when you hear sort of the way that the defense has characterized this relationship—I think Amber would even look back on this obviously and say, look I should have taken more time to get to know this guy, right?  I mean she‘s not going to challenge the idea that you know, she probably should have gotten to know him a little bit better before trusting him this much, right?

R. FREY:  Well, it‘s always easier to look back and say what we should have done.  The man was attractive, educated, dressed well, took her to fun places, had the right conversation, do the right things to tell her.  The man was smooth.  He‘s brilliant in the world of seduction.  I think he might even have got caught up in his own game.  You know, what everybody is missing, Laci‘s dead and somebody killed her, and it wasn‘t Amber.

ABRAMS:  How is Amber holding up?  You had a chance to talk to her since the direct examination began?

R. FREY:  I saw Amber and her children this weekend.  She looked almost relieved.  Her and Dr. Markovich looked more rested than I‘ve seen them in months.

ABRAMS:  Ron Frey, he‘s a good man.  Thanks very much for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.  Good seeing you again, Ron.

R. FREY:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the Kobe Bryant case, it is apparently on.  The alleged victim apparently had a deadline of Friday.  She‘s moving forward.  She‘s ready to testify.  That means the case starts this Friday.  Really? 

We‘ll talk about it coming up.


ABRAMS:  Well I had predicted that the Kobe Bryant case would not go to trial.  The alleged victim would pull out.  Remember when Fonzie could never say I was wrong.  I was—coming up.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  It now appears the Kobe Bryant case is heading to trial just four days away.  From the start of jury selection, scheduled to begin on Friday.  Now I‘ve said that this is going to be a tough case to prosecute.  I even predicted on this show that the alleged victim would back out and as her attorney said on this program, pursue justice in a civil trial.  But sources now telling NBC News that the young woman has decided to move forward and prosecutors are planning to go ahead with the case later this week.  We‘ve also learned that the D.A. had set a deadline of last Friday for the alleged victim to decide if she didn‘t want to testify.

According to our sources, she chose not to back out.  Now I thought the prosecution would realize that they have little chance of winning the criminal trial and a far better shot in a civil arena.  The detective who first interviewed the alleged victim left questions as to when and whether the woman said no.  And the defense will be able to ask about the woman‘s sexual activity in the 72 hours before her rape exam.

The defense will argue she had sex after Bryant, a claim she denies.  So maybe I gave the prosecutors too much credit to assume that they would say it may not be in her best interests to force her to testify in a criminal trial that they will likely lose.  Now I had bet former Denver D.A. and MSNBC legal analyst Norm Early a dinner that this case would not move forward.

Now Norm, I‘m not paying up until the trial actually starts, but I ask you again, don‘t these prosecutors know that they will likely lose this case?

NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Dan, I don‘t know the state of the evidence and neither do you or members of the public.  We know a lot of what the defense has been saying about the evidence and we know some conjecture, but we really don‘t know how good a case the prosecution has.  We know much more about the defense case than the prosecution‘s case.  And I think that...

ABRAMS:  How do you figure that?

EARLY:  Well because...

ABRAMS:  How do you figure that?  In the preliminary hearing, the lead detective who interviewed the alleged victim talked about the evidence that they had, talked about who she spoke to, et cetera.  I mean I think we have a very good sense.  We don‘t know exactly...

EARLY:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... what Kobe Bryant said on secretly recorded audiotapes.  He apparently made some inconsistent statements.  I think that‘s a strong piece of evidence.  But apart from that, I think we have a real good sense of what the prosecution‘s case is.

EARLY:  Well I think that they put on a bare bones case at the preliminary hearing, which is what most prosecutors do.  As I indicated, we didn‘t know anything about this woman from Florida who is a similar offense until very recently and there are probably some other aspects of this case that we don‘t—that we didn‘t know.  And I think when her lawyers said that she was likely to seek justice in a civil court, you know, that was a great hook so they could talk as much as they wanted to about the unfairness about what she‘s gone through and without the tease that she may not go forward in criminal court, I don‘t think it would have been as big a media frenzy as it was.  And I think that they got...


EARLY:  ... her story out as a result of it.  And that‘s what made me bet you the steak dinner Dan.  And in preparation for that...

ABRAMS:  All right, before we get to that...


ABRAMS:  ... before we get to that, let me ask you about why then file the civil case before the criminal case starts?  I mean you are offering up some fodder...

EARLY:  Absolutely.


EARLY:  No question Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... to say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she‘s out—in this for the money.

EARLY:  They‘re going to do that anyway.  They‘re going to do that.  They‘re going to say she‘s in it for the civil case.  She‘s in it because she wants a book deal.  She‘s in it because she wants a movie deal.  They‘re going to try to raise the spectra of all that no matter what she does.

Now it‘s clean.  Yes, I have filed a case.  I want him to be held accountable in a criminal court as well as in a civil court.  They also get to cross-examine Kobe Bryant in the criminal case and have him on record with the version of what happened before they even get to the civil case and that‘s extremely helpful to lawyers.

ABRAMS:  Yes...


ABRAMS:  ... he‘s going to have to testify, right?

EARLY:  He‘s got to testify.  There‘s no way he can have a consent defense without testifying, Dan.  No way.  So...

ABRAMS:  All right.  Go ahead Norm...


ABRAMS:  Yes, go ahead.

EARLY:  In preparation for our little bet, I did some research on some restaurants in Denver that serve good steaks, you know...


EARLY:  ... my favorite being Del Frisco‘s where I‘ve gone a few times and there‘s great people there, a wonderful cigar bar.  Also, The Palm...


EARLY:  ... is excellent as well as Morton‘s of Chicago.  And they have vegetarian meals, Dan, because I understand you‘re a vegetarian.


EARLY:  So we‘ll find some place appropriate where both of us can be happy because I love my meat and I love it medium...



EARLY:  ... not until Friday...

ABRAMS:  Exactly.  I will wait until the jury selection begins on Friday.  But I have to tell you, I think this is a mistake on their part.  But Norm Early will be getting a dinner of his choice on me if it happens. 

Norm Early...

EARLY:  You got it buddy...

ABRAMS:  ... thanks a lot.

EARLY:  Take care.

ABRAMS:  All right, I‘ve had my say.  Now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  On Friday in my “Closing Argument” I said I was struck by the fact that according to a new poll, 35 percent of the people polled say they still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction just before the war, even though there‘s no evidence of it.  And 50 percent believe Iraq was either directly involved in carrying out the September 11 attacks or that they gave substantial support to al Qaeda even though the 9/11 Commission found neither to be true.

Dan Meehan from Maryland.  “You can‘t simply conclude that there were not substantial ties between Iraq and al Qaeda just because they were not found to be true by the 9/11 Commission.  In this case many Americans are using supporting and circumstantial evidence to form their opinion about Iraq.”

I can say that people are basing that on nothing but speculation, no facts and the fact that almost everyone in the intelligence community doesn‘t buy it should mean something.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion but opinion not based on facts are kind of scary.  Again, maybe it‘s the lawyer in me.

Steve Foster from Reno, Nevada.  “Absence of proof is not proof of absence.  If Saddam could hide for nine months in a hole needing food and water, why can‘t WMDs evade detection in some desert hole in the middle of nowhere?”

Well, you know I think you also referred to the idea that there were sort of some bottles of anthrax.  First, I don‘t think we went to war over like bottles of anthrax, little amounts of WMDs.  I also thought that there was evidence.  I believe there was before the war.  So why is it so hard for some to say, I was wrong because I was.

Long Beach, California, J.J. Volpe.  “We had inspectors in and out of Iraq for many years.  Then our government foolishly gave Hussein more than two years warning that we were coming, plenty of time to hide WMDs in Syria, Egypt or even Iran, their former enemy.  I‘m surprised that only 35 percent of the people think they had WMDs.”

Finally K. Gregory from Vista, California writes, “Let me be blunt.  You directly as a media personality and the media in its entirety on all platforms share the blame with any and all public officials who either directly stated such lies about Iraq or inferred such lies.  Because the media and the government did not correct such lies, the inevitable group think has entrenched the lies of WMD, 9/11 involvement and al Qaeda.”

You obviously don‘t watch the show regularly Mr. Gregory because if you did, you would know that I have long been correcting the factual errors from both sides about this war.  And as a lawyer, I‘ll continue to focus on the evidence, not speculation, not politics.

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com, one word.  We go through them at the end of the show.

All right, we have an update now on our interactive vote from last night‘s ABRAMS REPORT special on the Peterson case.  We asked to you vote on the question, do you think that the Amber tapes incriminate Scott Peterson?  After we went off the air, many, many, many more of you voted, but the results didn‘t change a bit.

Pretty amazing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- 65 percent of those who voted believe the tapes do incriminate Peterson.  Just 35 percent think they do not.  And remember, I am still here for the rest of the cross-examination of Amber Frey.  Mark Geragos will be continuing his cross-examination tomorrow.  Amber Frey returns to the stand.

You know what else I‘ve got to do?  Before I say coming up, it‘s my producer, Megan Schaefer‘s (ph) birthday.  Megan (ph), happy birthday.  Sorry I can‘t be there for you.  No cake, no, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

All right.  All right.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  Chris‘ guests tonight, Dick Cavett.  He interviewed John Kerry back in 1971 where he‘s protesting the war in Vietnam and former presidential candidate and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan.

Thanks for watching.  Be sure to come back tomorrow—more of Amber Frey‘s cross-examination on the program about justice.

See you then.


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