updated 9/17/2004 11:09:39 AM ET 2004-09-17T15:09:39

Guests: Mickey Sherman, Geoffrey Fieger, Dr. Werner Spitz, Randy Wyrick, Norm Early, Michael Dobbs, Giovanni DiStefano

LISA DANIELS, GUEST HOST:  Coming up, jurors in the Scott Peterson trial hear gruesome details of what the bodies of Laci and her baby Conner were like when they were found. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS (voice-over):  Using pictures so disturbing they left some jurors in tears, a medical examiner testifies Laci had not given birth before she died, helping to disprove a defense theory that Conner was born alive. 

Plus, sealed transcripts from Kobe Bryant‘s dismissed criminal case leaked to the media.  We hear new details from Kobe‘s first interview with police before he was arrested for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman. 

And CBS admits documents about the president‘s National Guard service may be questionable, but is standing by its story.  So, where did those memos come from?  Reports say this former National Guardsman may have given them to CBS. 

The program about justice starts right now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

We‘ll bring the very latest developments in Scott Peterson‘s murder trial in just a minute, but first, up on the docket tonight, Hurricane Ivan, now Tropical Storm Ivan, but it‘s left its mark all over much of the Gulf Coast, and it‘s still dumping rain further north in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.  Ivan slammed into the coast early at about 3:00 this morning as a category three storm, carrying winds of up to 130 miles per hour spawning tornadoes, ripping roofs of homes, hotels, and even a hospital, knocking out power to more than one million people in four states, and forcing more than two million to evacuate their homes. 

Now so far Ivan has killed 18 in the U.S. after taking the lives of 68 people in the Caribbean.  One of the hardest hit spots is Pensacola in Florida‘s panhandle, and that‘s where NBC‘s Ron Blome is.  He joins us now on the phone. 

Ron, that area really got socked. 

RON BLOME, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (via phone):  Oh, it did and it began shortly after midnight and it didn‘t let up until almost sunrise.  It was hurricane-force winds throughout the night.  Even just before sunrise, the steady winds, not gusts, steady winds were being clocked at 98 miles an hour at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.  Well, the results were just devastating.  As you drive around Pensacola or at least attempt to drive around, you‘re negotiating wires and swinging stoplights but mostly trees down, and then there are downtown area.

There are many buildings that were knocked down, many historic old structures made of brick, brick that once came over in the holes of old sailing ships turned into structures of very historic nature, they were just demolished and blown out by the storm and there‘s quite a mess to be cleaned up.  A big transportation problem now faces the area.  The Interstate 10 bridge, a key link along the southern coast, the bridges that go out of Pensacola over towards Tallahassee, several key segments were just lifted up by the storm surge that was 15 or more feet there and washed away, and that‘s going to take quite some time to replace and the detour is just enormous, way up through Alabama.

Another bridge, the Garcon Point Bridge, linking down to the Navarre Beach area, also lost segments and the important Pensacola Bay Bridge, which leads out—approaches on the gulf breeze side, the south side leading back, were also washed away and they‘ve done some temporary work and only getting police cars over there.  That‘s keeping thousands of evaluated residents from getting over to see their homes. 

As you said, hospitals were damaged.  Four of them in all had major damage here.  No patients injured at the time.  The Naval Air Station Hospital supposedly received the most damage, but we haven‘t been able to get out there because of the debris and such.  It‘s a very devastating scene. 

You know, we had Hurricane Charley in Punta Gorda, which was just absolute destruction of all the mobile home parks.  Frances brought in a lot of floods and moderate destruction and now Ivan, its impact just incredibly devastating to the Pensacola area.  Not as many homes destroyed because they weren‘t the mobile homes, but a lot of roofs taken off.  There‘s going to be a lot of damage, and as you said, just the power out to millions here in this county area, about 330,000 without power tonight.  It‘s going to stay that way for a while. 

DANIELS:  All right.  NBC‘s Ron Blome surveying the damage in Pensacola, Florida.  Thank you very much. 

Now let‘s go to Janet Shamlian in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Janet, tell us what‘s the latest.

JANET SHAMLIAN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well Lisa, 70,000 people in this state are without power right now but really, this damage, this community, rather, did suffer some damage as did many others in Mississippi along the Gulf Coast but for the most part, this state was spared the brunt of the storm.  Most of the businesses look like the one here behind me, boarded up, prepped to go, but no actual damage. 

In terms of damage here, we do have some street flooding, billboards crashed to the ground, but the biggest problem is likely to be the economic impact.  That‘s because there‘s a very large refinery here.  The nation‘s eighth largest refinery and there‘s a large shipyard here which employs 12,000 people.  Both of them shut down, as well as the port, due to the threat of Hurricane Ivan. 

That is the latest from here in Mississippi.  Lisa, now back to you.

DANIELS:  OK, NBC‘s Janet Shamlian reporting from Pascagoula, Mississippi.  Thanks so much for that report. 

Now on to the Scott Peterson case.  Laci‘s baby was not born before her body was dumped in the San Francisco Bay.  That testimony coming from the pathologist who conducted the autopsies on both Laci and Conner.  Another graphic and extremely intense day of testimony in the trial, so graphic it actually kept Laci‘s family out of the courtroom and also bolstered the prosecution‘s theory of the murder. 

Now Brian Peterson, no relation, of course, to Scott Peterson, took the stand today for his second day of testimony.  It‘s his medical opinion that the baby was expelled from Laci‘s decomposing body in the San Francisco Bay.  Now that‘s a crucial point, because, remember, the defense has argued that Conner may have been born alive and disposed of well after Laci. 

Let‘s go straight to the courthouse and Edie Lambert from NBC affiliate KCRA.  She‘s been in court for all the testimony.  Edie, this was a crucial day for the prosecution. 

EDIE LAMBERT, KCRA CORRESPONDENT:  It really was and you know, Lisa, at the end of the day we still don‘t know how Laci or Conner Peterson was killed.  We don‘t know exactly when they were killed but you‘re exactly right.  The coroner‘s opinion that Conner remained protected in his mother‘s womb until close to the time that his body was discovered is a key point for the prosecutors. 

Let‘s run through the prosecution timeline for you so you can put all this together.  Now the prosecutors say that Laci was murdered on December 23 or 24, 2002, inside her Modesto home.  Prosecutors believe her husband then dumped her body in the San Francisco Bay.  At that point her doctor said she was about 33 weeks pregnant. 

Nearly four months later, her remains washed ashore, a day and a mile apart from Conner‘s, April 13 and 14th of 2003.  Now here‘s a comparison with what the forensic anthropologist found.  She testified that Laci‘s remains had been in the bay for three to six months and that Conner was anywhere from 33 to 38 weeks old.  The low end of those numbers matches the prosecution‘s timeline. 

However, the defense made some points as well.  Mark Geragos is trying to show that this baby was considerably older than about 33 weeks.  Scott Peterson would have been under surveillance at that point, and also that someone handled the baby before throwing Conner‘s body into the bay.  Now the twine that we can show you from a sketch of the autopsy photo is part of his theory. 

He says the bow was tied by human hands.  It‘s not just debris that the baby washed into.  Today the coroner said that the skin under that twine was intact.  The twine is not the cause of death but the coroner could not say how the twine got on the baby. 

Also, the anthropologist‘s best estimate of Conner‘s age is 35 or 36 weeks, that helps the defense, and there is no conclusive proof that Conner was not born alive.  The coroner could not say conclusively either way. 

Now, I have to tell you, Lisa, these are awful pictures to look at.  Yesterday the jury saw autopsy pictures of Laci, a lot of bones, her body was badly decomposed.  In Conner‘s case, his body was very much intact and there‘s no getting around that these are pictures of a dead baby.  Once again, some members of the jury brought to tears.  Scott Peterson wiped away tears as did his mother Jackie who was sitting right behind him. 

I can also point out that the prosecution for the first time today suggested a cause of death for Laci.  He asked the coroner about strangulation or suffocation.  The coroner said that either of those could leave no trace evidence.  This could explain why Modesto police found no blood in the home.  Prosecutors obviously, saving this evidence for the end of their case.  They‘re expected to wrap up in just over a week. 

Lisa, back to you. 

DANIELS:  OK, Edie Lambert, thanks so much for the update and I‘m going to ask you to stick around because when we come back, the fun begins.  We‘re going to bring in our all-star legal team and a medical examiner to break down what today‘s testimony means for the Peterson trial. 

Plus, new transcripts surface from Kobe Bryant‘s first interview with police the night after a woman accused him of rape. 

And later, Dan talks with one of Saddam Hussein‘s lawyers.  He says Saddam may run for office in Iraq‘s January election.  We‘re going to bring you that interview coming up. 

And, of course, your e-mails.  Make sure you send them to abramsreport

·         one word -- @msnbc.com.  Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from.  And Dan is going to respond at the end of the show.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Coming up, an emotional day in court in the Scott Peterson trial.  A forensic expert testifying that Laci Peterson was still carrying her baby when she died.  Our legal panel weighs in when we come back.      

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE) 

SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER:  Hey beautiful.  I just left you a message at home.  It‘s 2:15.  I‘m leaving Berkeley.  I won‘t be able to get to Vella Farms to get that basket for Papa.  I was hoping you would get this message and go on out there.  I‘ll see you in a bit sweetie.  Love you.  Bye.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

DANIELS:  That was the very last message that Scott Peterson left for his wife Laci as he returned from that fishing trip on Christmas Eve of 2002.  Now prosecutors believe he was coming back from dumping his pregnant wife‘s body in the San Francisco Bay. 

Today testimony centering around the condition of Laci and her baby Conner bodies when they were found on the banks of the bay nearly four months later.  Now the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsies said the baby was still in Laci‘s womb when she was discarded and now we‘re going to bring in our legal team. 

OK, we‘ll start with criminal defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger, medical examiner Dr. Werner Spitz, and in the courtroom today, criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman and also KCRA reporter Edie Lambert who is still with us.  Thank you all for being here.  We do appreciate it. 

Mickey, I‘m going to begin with you.  You were in court all day.  If I‘m Mark Geragos, at this point I‘m not very happy with how this day went for me. 

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, I disagree.  I don‘t think it was such a bad day for him.  They brought in a very good forensics expert who was a very good witness, very credible.  He didn‘t try and shade things.  He didn‘t try and exaggerate. 

He spoke in a very down-to-earth tone and language we could all understand.  He wasn‘t obnoxious or offensive by any means and he was very credible.  But at the end of the day his conclusion was is that the evidence shown does not show how the bodies were destroyed. 

DANIELS:  Yes, but I disagree...

SHERMAN:  It doesn‘t say whether or not...

DANIELS:  Mickey, what about the graphic nature...

SHERMAN:  Yes.

DANIELS:  ... of those photos?  We‘re talking about photos without a head...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  ... without a neck, without a brain, with one leg.  This is a juror...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  ... jury of regular people.  They‘re not used to seeing this. 

SHERMAN:  But Lisa, every murder case has those photos.  There is the autopsy photo or the crime scene photo, it‘s just part of the deal.  And the jurors I saw—a couple of them were teary, there‘s no question, but I thought the majority of them, they were not nonchalant but they kept taking notes and they didn‘t seem to be absolutely shocked by them and they were shocking but, you know, it‘s just part of the deal. 

I don‘t think the fact that they were so graphic means that, you know, this guy is guilty.  Certainly the moral outrage factor sometimes kicks in and they just want to punish somebody and they may pick the nearest guy, which is Scott Peterson, perhaps for some good reason...

DANIELS:  OK, I want to bring in...

SHERMAN:  ... but by the same token...

DANIELS:  ... Geoffrey Fieger...

SHERMAN:  ... the pictures don‘t do it. 

DANIELS:  Geoffrey, do you agree with Mickey? 

GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  On the photos, yes, he‘s 100 percent correct.  The photos are always brought in and they can work both ways.  If they‘re inclined to convict, then they‘re inclined to really go after Peterson and that will come cropping in the death penalty part of the case if he‘s convicted.  If they‘re not inclined to convict, then the pictures mean nothing. 

However, with regard to the evidence today, the evidence that that baby came out of the top of the womb which means it‘s virtually impossible for it to have come out in any other way other than the body deteriorating, Laci‘s body deteriorating, and the fact that that baby had what‘s called meconium, which is a baby‘s first bowel movement and it would never have had it had it lived past the first few hours. 

It could not exist.  It doesn‘t exist in babies that are alive for weeks or months like Mark Geragos is suggesting.  That makes Mark Geragos‘ theory nonsensical and the final big picture is if Mark Geragos is suggesting there‘s a vivisectionist out there that aborts children out of the wombs of mothers, kills the mother and then strangles fetuses or young babies, I want to see that case...

DANIELS:  All right, I‘m going to bring in...

FIEGER:  ... in the United States.  That‘s absurd. 

DANIELS:  Dr. Spitz, you‘ve been a medical examiner for over 50 years.  I‘ve heard a bunch of legal experts today say that they have never seen photos this gruesome.  Obviously, you‘ve dealt with this for your 50 years in your profession.  How does this measure up? 

DR. WERNER SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST:  Well, this is no different than any body, whether it died from trauma or not from trauma, somebody who died of a heart attack who is placed in the ocean for four months would look that way.

DANIELS:  So, how...

SPITZ:  And both come along the waterways and cause certain injuries, and that‘s what happened here. 

DANIELS:  So Dr. Spitz, how do you complete an autopsy that has a torso and one internal organ in it? 

SPITZ:  Well, yes, it‘s true, it‘s a lot more difficult, but it can be done, and it was done in this case, and it was done very well.  And Dr.  Peterson came to conclusions that are totally supportable, but insupportable is the contention of the defense here that some voodoo people came out of the woodwork and caused certain injuries and killed the baby and then dumped the mother.  That doesn‘t make sense. 

DANIELS:  All right, I‘m going to bring in a woman‘s perspective for a moment.  Edie Lambert, are you with us? 

LAMBERT:  Here I am.

DANIELS:  All right.  Well I know that there were jurors crying, some were shaking their heads, they were gasping.  This jury is made up of ordinary folks.  They‘re not used to seeing this.  Can you describe what their reaction was, especially the women? 

LAMBERT:  Yes, it really runs the spectrum, Lisa.  On one side, there is a woman, she‘s an alternate juror who is a mother.  She cried yesterday.  She cried again today.  A lot of the women sitting in the front row, I saw them with their hands over their mouths.  One juror just really hardly looked at the photos of baby Conner at all. 

On the other side, one of the jurors is trained as a doctor and a lawyer.  He seemed fairly dispassionate taking notes.  To him I‘m sure he‘s seen these kind of photos before, so you really see the spectrum on this jury. 

DANIELS:  All right.  Geoffrey Fieger, Mickey Sherman, Werner Spitz and Edie Lambert stick around.  Much more on the Peterson case when we come back. 

Also ahead, Kobe Bryant‘s attorneys trying to keep the recordings of his first interview with police before he was arrested for rape under wraps, but a copy is out.  We hear from the reporter who got it.

And CBS vowing to investigate whether or not the president‘s National Guard documents are real.  So why is it still standing by that report and who are their sources?  We‘ll discuss it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think the common goal that we both have is for justice.  And that‘s where the hearts of both our families are, and, you know, all the rest is—you know, what‘s important is having justice. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  Today graphic testimony so gruesome it actually kept Laci Peterson‘s family home in Modesto, far away from the courthouse.  Scott‘s family, however, was present for the testimony this week.  Let‘s bring back our legal team. 

Geoffrey, I want to go back to something that you said earlier.  I thought Mark Geragos today from what I read sounded like a broken record asking the forensic pathologist over and over again if it was possible that the baby could have been cut out of the uterus.  How could he make that when we heard Brian Peterson, no relation to Scott Peterson, the forensic pathologist, say there was no indication of a vaginal birth.  There was no indication of a c-section and there were no incisions.  Is he beating a dead horse at this point? 

FIEGER:  Yes, Geragos makes, I think, intrinsic fundamental mistakes and he does it in many trials, so I‘ve got a lot of criticisms of Geragos for that reason.  This theory that if he pursues is underscored by the fact that he‘s claiming that there‘s a vivisectionist out there that kills women, pregnant women, takes their baby out of the womb, and then keeps the babies alive and strangles them. 

Now beyond the fact that the physical evidence doesn‘t support it, to pursue that theory is ridiculous in this case. 

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  It‘s just ridiculous.  It hurts Scott Peterson.  It doesn‘t help Scott Peterson.  Geragos should go away and say somebody else killed Laci and dumped her body there, not that somebody else took the baby out of the womb.  That ain‘t flying. 

SHERMAN:  But, isn‘t that what he‘s doing, Geoffrey?  I mean, really, he‘s not going to set out to prove that Joe Blow, the vivisectionist or...

FIEGER:  Yes he is...

SHERMAN:  ... cult person did it. 

FIEGER:  Yes he is...

SHERMAN:  No...

FIEGER:  That‘s what he said in opening, Mickey...

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  That‘s what he said in opening.  The baby was kept alive. 

SHERMAN:  Yes, but he is not going to try and prove that.  All he‘s going to do is try and raise questions with the jury, which he‘s been doing fairly well and he‘s going to try and create reasonable doubt.  Granted, he was wrong to make that promise or that pledge or that forecast that he was going to show that the baby was...

FIEGER:  And if you‘ve got...

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  And Mickey, if you‘ve got somebody on that jury who is willing to go each step along the way and say if there‘s reasonable doubt at any place, I‘m not convicting, because he‘s presented no reasonable alternative. 

SHERMAN:  Yes.

DANIELS:  All right.  This is the question I have for Mickey...

SHERMAN:  He doesn‘t have to. 

DANIELS:  Mickey, let me summarize the defense‘s theory right now. 

Somebody abducted and killed Laci, I don‘t know.  Maybe it was aliens. 

He‘s not saying...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  ... the child was born alive and murdered later.  The twine was intentionally tied around the baby‘s neck.  We‘ve now heard testimony that the twine was chemically similar to what washed ashore a couple of miles away.  How does Geragos save his defense? 

SHERMAN:  His defense does not have to be an affirmative defense.  Everyone presupposes that Geragos has to prove that the baby was born, that somebody pulled the baby out of her stomach.  He doesn‘t have to prove anything.  He can just sit on his thumbs and let the state stumble as they‘ve done several times here... 

FIEGER:  Then why say ridiculous things? 

(CROSSTALK)

FIEGER:  Then why say ridiculous things? 

SHERMAN:  Well, because you never know what a jury is going to buy.  And look at juror number four who got kicked off the case.  He bought everything. 

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  Edie...

SHERMAN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

DANIELS:  Let‘s bring in Edie.  Edie, many people are saying what Mickey is saying that the prosecution really has not lived up to what they should be doing here.  Do you think that it was smart for Mark Geragos to continue to pursue his theory?  Why not just poke holes in what the prosecution is saying? 

LAMBERT:  It‘s tough for me to give an opinion in this case since I‘m covering this as a reporter, but certainly that is what legal analysts are saying outside of court and certainly if he can simply put it out there that perhaps Laci Peterson was kept alive for a longer period of time and then dumped in the bay along with the baby still inside of her, that could fit his timeline and also what the forensic pathologist is saying. 

I mean, he does not need to prove that this baby was born, it seems.  He only needs to prove that the baby was kept alive for a longer period of time, because after 33 weeks, Scott Peterson would have been under surveillance.  I think it may be that he could have left it at that. 

DANIELS:  And that‘s fair that you can‘t say an opinion because you are a reporter.  Dr. Spitz, I have a question for you.  From what you read about the autopsy, is it consistent that Laci was probably in the water from three to six months? 

SPITZ:  Yes.  It is totally consistent.  From what I‘ve read in the autopsy, from the description of the remains as they were presented, that is totally consistent.  It is also consistent that the child was protected for a lengthy period of time and expelled much closer to the time that the remains were found. 

DANIELS:  All right.  A lot of good insights from our all-star panel.  Geoffrey Fieger, Werner Spitz, Mickey Sherman and Edie Lambert, thank you so much for being with us. 

And coming up, sealed documents in the Kobe Bryant dismissed rape case are leaked to the media.  We have details from his first interview with police, where he admits to an extramarital affair.

And CBS finally admitting that their documents may not be authentic, but they‘re still standing behind the reports on President Bush‘s military record.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Coming up, Kobe Bryant‘s lawyers are fighting to keep recordings of what he told police before he was arrested for rape secret.  But guess what?  The recordings are now out.  We talk to the reporter who has them, but first, the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HURLBERT, EAGLE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  The victim has informed us, after much of her own labored deliberation, that she does not want to proceed with this trial. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DANIELS:  That was D.A. Mark Hulbert announcing that his office was indeed dropping the criminal charges against Kobe Bryant two weeks ago, but remember, the civil trial is still on.  Media outlets have been fighting without any success to have the documents from Bryant‘s case unsealed, but now some of those documents along with a CD were obtained exclusively by the “Vail Daily News”, ripping details of what Kobe tells detectives before his arrest. 

Now last night in a stroke of luck, Randy Wyrick, a reporter for the “Vail Daily News” received an anonymous package in the mail.  What was in it?  Kobe Bryant‘s statements about last summer‘s incident to sheriff investigators and also a CD recording of his chilling interview. 

Randy Wyrick joins us now to talk about the contents of those exclusively obtained items.  Randy, thanks for joining us today. 

RANDY WYRICK, “VAIL DAILY NEWS” REPORTER:  Lisa, thank you so much for having us. 

DANIELS:  All right.  I‘ve got a simple question for you.  How did you get it? 

WYRICK:  It‘s one of these classic cases where it‘s better to be lucky than good.  And so far the—God and the good people of Eagle County have been so good to us.  We knew that young Mr. Bryant was going to be questioned two hours before he did.  We knew that he was going to have surgery in Vail weeks before he showed up...

DANIELS:  OK, Randy...

WYRICK:  ... and we also knew...

DANIELS:  Randy, I‘m not buying that.  Come on.  What‘s the truth?  How did you get it?  You‘re a well-connected guy, don‘t just toss it up to luck. 

WYRICK:  Well, it also helps to burn a lot of shoe leather, make no mistake about that.  You know, there‘s no substitute for hard work and the “Vail Daily” staff has worked real hard on this story since it started last summer, last July. 

DANIELS:  I don‘t know if I‘m buying that, but what impact will Kobe‘s statement have on the pending civil trial and who will be affected more, Kobe or the accuser?  Let‘s bring in former Denver D.A. Norm Early, who is also an MSNBC legal analyst and let‘s bring back criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman.  We liked you so much before, we want you back. 

All right, so what do you think, Mickey?  Do you buy that?  A package just...

SHERMAN:  No, what a slime—what a sliming here.  I mean, you know, where did this come from?  I don‘t think it came from the victim.  I think it obviously came from law enforcement, whether it‘s the prosecutor‘s office or the police, but those are the people who had custody and control of this item and they let it out, and I blame the “Vail Daily News” for publishing it. 

Don‘t forget all the media had all the negative, all the bad stuff, the shrink stuff, the suicide attempts, the sexual escapades of the victim and everyone had the decency not to report it, which I thought was amazing, but as soon as it‘s over, they get something on Kobe Bryant, it‘s not enough that the case was dropped, we‘ve got to throw a lot of mud on his face. 

DANIELS:  OK Mickey, let me interrupt...

SHERMAN:  That‘s not right. 

DANIELS:  ... the finger pointing for just a second.  I want to read you part of the transcript from the audiotape.  Let‘s look at it.

Bryant:  Is there any way I can settle this, whatever it is I mean?Detective Winters:  Well, what do you mean by settle?

Bryant:  If my wife found out that anybody made any type of allegations against me she would be infuriated.

Detective:  Kobe...

Bryant:  That‘s all I care about.

Winters:  And I understand.

Bryant:  What she says I don‘t care about. 

I want to know, Mr. Norm Early, what impact will this have in a civil case, how much of this is going to be allowed in? 

NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Well, I think the judge in the criminal case already analyzed the method by which this was obtained.  As we all know, it was a surreptitious recording that was made over an hour, hour and 15-minute period and some of these statements that you hear now are excerpts.  But I disagree with Mickey totally.  This woman was shredded in the media.

She was villainized in the media and now that law enforcement or whomever decided to let the public know a little bit about Kobe Bryant, you know, people are yelling foul.  This woman was fouled all the way through this case, 14 months of foul balls against this woman, and now we hear the defense crying, hey, it‘s not fair, let the public know a little bit about it. 

I think the statement comes in and I think the statement is something that really can‘t tell, because we haven‘t seen it...

DANIELS:  OK, I want to interrupt you...

EARLY:  ... in its entire context. 

DANIELS:  ... because I want to bring back Randy if he‘s still talking to me.  You‘ve heard the audiotape.  On your Web site, you posted a draft of the transcript, which I looked at, but what does the tape sound like? 

WYRICK:  It was awfully difficult to listen to.  Detective Loya and Detective Winters were pretty clear.  As we established, Detective Loya had a tape-recorder in his shirt pocket.  There was a pen in his pocket, it banged up against it constantly, so it made it a little bit difficult to listen to.  But, you know, you can hear Mr. Bryant‘s tone of voice.  He sounds agitated.  He sounds a little upset, as you would be, as anyone would be if they were facing these sorts of accusations, a little bewildered, and not quite sure what to make of all this...

DANIELS:  Randy...

(CROSSTALK)

DANIELS:  Let‘s talk about the dirt, the grimy stuff.  What surprised you on the tape?  Anything shock you? 

WYRICK:  Well, not really.  The idea that he was going to say it was consensual was not a shock or surprise.  He‘s been saying that all along.  That she came up to his room.  That they had some sort of sex and that she left the room of her own free will and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) what was surprising is that he said she kissed him goodbye and in the meantime asked him for a couple of autographs. 

DANIELS:  All right...

EARLY:  Lisa...

WYRICK:  ... he didn‘t sign them. 

DANIELS:  I‘ve got to interrupt this...

EARLY:  OK.

DANIELS:  ... because I‘ve got to thank you all.  Big thanks to Randy Wyrick...

EARLY:  All right.

DANIELS:  Hopefully you‘ll get more packages and will come right back on the show—Mickey Sherman and Norm Early.

And coming up, much more. 

EARLY:  Thank you Lisa.

DANIELS:  CBS is admitting that there may be some problems after all with those documents about the president‘s National Guard service, but CBS is insisting its story still holds up, so the question is—who gave the memos to CBS in the first place? 

And he‘s defending one of the most hated men in the world.  Dan talks with Saddam Hussein‘s lawyer. 

You‘re watching MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Well, you heard it here first yesterday.  CBS and Dan Rather are on the defensive, trying to convince many doubtful Americans that memos relating to President Bush‘s military service are, in fact, real. 

NBC News correspondent Fred Francis has all the details. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRED FRANCIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  CBS News, under fire for a week for calling into question President Bush‘s service in the National Guard—Dan Rather. 

DAN RATHER, “60 MINUTES”, CBS NEWS:  We have new documents and new information on the president‘s military service. 

FRANCIS:  The charge—Bush did not follow orders to get a flight physical, that his superior was pressured to—quote—“sugarcoat Bush‘s records.”  Since then charges by detractors of CBS News that the documents are fakes. 

(on camera):  Rather fired back using a quarter of one broadcast to defend CBS News and charging that his critics had a political agenda. 

(voice-over):  Last night, another CBS News salvo defending its reporting. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the heart of it, the major thrust of our report, that George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard and once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service.

FRANCIS:  A former officer of that Texas National Guard unit, Major General Bobby Hodges said he first had the memos read to him and agreed they were correct.  But when he saw the memos, he told NBC News, he now believes they are fakes.  The secretary of Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush‘s commander who allegedly wrote the memos says while she thinks the memos are fakes, she says Killian did believe Bush was not following an order. 

Fred Francis, NBC News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS:  While the controversy over the authenticity of the documents continues, the search for the source of the memos leading several journalists to somebody who was reportedly a primary source for the CBS story.  He‘s a former National Guardsman who has made headlines in the past for his involvement with the president‘s military records. 

Joining me now to tell us what his own investigation has revealed, “Washington Post” staff writer Michael Dobbs.  Michael, thanks for coming on the show. 

MICHAEL DOBBS, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Thank you for having me. 

DANIELS:  Well your article today points the finger toward Bill Burkett as a possible source of the memos.  Who is this guy? 

DOBBS:  Well, Bill Burkett is a former Texas National Guard officer.  He served in the Guard in the late ‘80‘s at headquarters in Austin and while he was there, he had various arguments with his superiors.  He says that he overheard a conversation between several Bush aides and the commander of the Texas National Guard...

DANIELS:  All right.  Well you know what I‘m going to ask you, what‘s his motivation?  What‘s the motive? 

DOBBS:  The motivation for supplying documents to CBS? 

DANIELS:  Yes. 

DOBBS:  I can‘t speak to his motivation because it‘s not—we haven‘t demonstrated that he is the person.  We‘ve shown circumstantial evidence that the documents were faxed from a Kinko‘s copy shop 20 miles from his house, but we haven‘t yet made the final link and we‘re far from exploring his motivations. 

DANIELS:  Well, your article says that there are markings on the memos that show they were faxed to CBS News from a Kinko‘s, as you said, in Abilene, Texas.  How do you determine that?  What did you see? 

DOBBS:  I determined that by talking to another of CBS‘ sources, a man called Bob Strong (ph), a former Guard officer who served in the Guard in the late ‘70‘s who was interviewed by Dan Rather and shown documents by Dan Rather, the original CBS documents, which had this fax marking at the top saying Kinko‘s, Abilene. 

DANIELS:  Well, is there bad blood between Burkett and President Bush or maybe should I say was there bad blood between Burkett and Dan Rather?  What—I‘m still not understanding the motivations. 

DOBBS:  Well, there‘s certainly bad blood between Burkett and Bush and the Texas National Guard, that‘s true.  That‘s come out in the past and Burkett has said repeatedly that he thinks Bush aides ordered the destruction of records. 

DANIELS:  All right.  Well, either you‘re incredibly gutsy or you‘re going to regret pointing your finger to Bill Burkett.  I guess time will tell.  Thank you very much for coming on the show, though.  We do appreciate it, Michael Dobbs. 

DOBBS:  Thank you. 

DANIELS:  Gunmen take two Americans and a British man hostage in Iraq, kidnapping them from a house in Baghdad.  We‘re going to get the very latest from Iraq.

And he‘s definitely got one of the toughest jobs in the legal profession—defending Saddam Hussein.  Dan talks with Saddam‘s lawyer when we come back.  Keep it here. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DANIELS:  Back now with the latest on Iraq and late word, the U.S.  military says American war planes struck what it said was a meeting of some 90 insurgents who had gathered at a site near Fallujah to plan more terrorist attacks.  Officials said that at least 60 of the insurgents were killed in those attacks.  Part of another violent day in Iraq that began when three civilians, including two Americans, were taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents after being abducted from their house in Baghdad this morning. 

NBC‘s Mike Kirsch has the very latest. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE KIRSCH, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  At 6:00 a.m., the power went out in house number 36, 3607 of Baghdad‘s upscale Mansur district where American contractors Jack Hensley and Eugene Armstrong working for a Dubai based firm had been living for the past seven months.  According to witnesses, the insurgents planned well. 

They waited until the only unarmed guard walked out of the house to start the generator and that‘s when 10 gunmen, waiting in two vehicles moved in.  The hostage takers armed with AK-47 assault rifles walked through the front gate and without firing a shot, went up to the second floor of the building.  They quickly made off with the two Americans, both around 50 years old, and a British man. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

KIRSCH:  They kidnapped three people, taped their mouths and handcuffed them, says this neighbor.  This early morning abduction is a new terror tactic, reaching right into the heart of Baghdad.  And comes just eight days after two Italian aide workers were snatched nearby in broad daylight.  More than 100 foreigners among them, at least six American have been taken hostage since the fall of Saddam Hussein.  Twenty-six of them have been executed, including Americans Nick Berg and Keith Maupin. 

(on camera):  Abducting foreigners has become one of the main weapons of a increasingly sophisticated and daring insurgency.  Militants trying to pressure foreign companies and governments to stop supporting U.S. efforts here. 

(voice-over):  Today‘s abduction now means there are fewer places where Americans can feel safe in Iraq. 

Mike Kirsch, NBC News, Baghdad. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS:  While the first priority for Iraqi authorities and the American military may be establishing security in Iraq, the new Iraqi judiciary is planning how it will try Saddam Hussein.  The deposed Iraqi dictator was last seen at his first court appearance, a preliminary hearing he attended without a lawyer.

Up to this point, Saddam has still not met with any of the attorneys claiming to represent him.  Now Dan spoke recently with one of those attorneys.  His name Giovanni DiStefano, who expects to meet with Saddam in the coming days.  Dan began the interview by asking DiStefano when he was expecting to meet Saddam. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GIOVANNI DISTEFANO, SADDAM HUSSEIN‘S LAWYER:  Well, the answer to that question is yes, and we expect both myself and Mr. Rashdan, another lawyer from Jordan, we expect to meet him within the course of the next seven days.  And perhaps I should explain the reason why there has been a delay.  Most people will know that the previous director of the tribunal, Dr. Salem Chalabi, was of course removed from office. 

It‘s not our business as to why he was removed or if he was removed rightly or wrongly.  He was replaced by Dr. Mohammed Zubaidi, who has taken very much the reins in his hands.  And we have a situation where we have a defendant who has been in custody for over 10 months without having had access to any type of proper legal advice.  And contrary to popular belief, the United States of America do comply with international regulations, and they are the ones that have been pushing very heavily, the Iraqis, for them to get a move on. 

DAN ABRAMS, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”:  But you can understand, can you not, I mean this is a country that just completed a war.  He was initially considered a prisoner of war in which case you‘re not entitled to a lawyer.  So it actually does take time to get the wheels of justice moving in a country that‘s creating a new justice system, no? 

DISTEFANO:  Well that, of course, is correct, and there is a precedent in America, the Guantanamo Bay situation.  But, ever since the Iraqis retained sovereignty, which is now for two months, you have a situation where a person, a number of people are in custody without legal access. 

ABRAMS:  Prime Minister Allawi has said he expects Saddam Hussein to go on trial sometime this year, certainly before Iraq‘s January elections.  Do you see that happening? 

DISTEFANO:  Well, I don‘t, but I can tell you the reason why, of course.  Dr. Allawi was here in Rome and he met our prime minister here and I can tell you that the Italian position here as far as they are concerned, they simply want to know when this is all going to come to an end because of the situation that‘s been created.  And another thing that I think that people in America should be aware of, it is not excluded that President Saddam Hussein will run for office in the January elections... 

ABRAMS:  Come on, really...

DISTEFANO:  ... if there is no trial...

ABRAMS:  ... I mean Saddam Hussein is going to run for president of Iraq and wage a serious campaign?  I mean he‘s going to be—I mean the chances of him being a free man to do that are almost nil. 

DISTEFANO:  Well, of course, you have a number of precedence.  Of course, you have Bobby Sands in the United Kingdom who is a member of the IRA who starved himself to death, as many people know.  He was a member of a parliament and Slobodan Milosevic, my other client, Dr. Schessel (ph), many people.  It is not excluded.  At the moment, Saddam Hussein is an innocent man.  He hasn‘t been tried.  In fact, we don‘t even have an indictment. 

ABRAMS:  Do you enjoy representing—I mean you say that Slobodan Milosevic is one of your other clients.  You know, I‘ve got to ask you the question.  Do you enjoy representing these international outlaws? 

DISTEFANO:  Well, I don‘t know whether they‘re international outlaws.  That has to be proved yet.  But, you know, they are people that are facing fairly serious allegations.  At the moment, however, Saddam Hussein is facing nothing because there is no charge.  There is no indictment.  In fact, there is no anything.  And we don‘t know the basis, really, upon which he is being held. 

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, I‘m almost out of time, but there‘s been a lot of discussion about various people saying that they‘re representing Saddam Hussein.  And since he hasn‘t been able to speak to his lawyers, how do we know who his lawyers really are? 

DISTEFANO:  Well, there is a committee of which I am one of those that was appointed by his Excellency‘s wife and daughters.  We have in the time of Dr. Chalabi—I met with Dr. Chalabi in London.  We prepared a power of attorney for his Excellency.  And then, of course, Dr. Chalabi was strangely removed from office.  But Dr. Mohammed Zubaidi is getting a move on and there is legal representation.  There will be a trial.

There will be an outcome.  There will be an election.  And there will be an exit strategy for the United States and everybody else that‘s been involved in this. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Giovanni DiStefano, thank you very much for coming on the program.  We appreciate your time. 

DISTEFANO:  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DANIELS:  OK, that does it for us here.  Dan is back tomorrow.  Up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. 

Have a great night.

END   

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