updated 10/7/2004 10:32:22 AM ET 2004-10-07T14:32:22

Guest: Ken Padowitz, Michelle Suskauer, Gloria Allred, Mickey Sherman, Jeralyn Merritt, Dr. Mahdi Obeidi

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, prosecutors could be one step closer to filing charges against conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  A Florida appeals court rules authorities had the right to seize Limbaugh‘s medical records as part of an investigation into whether he was illegally obtaining painkillers.  Rush says the fight isn‘t over. 

And after four months and 174 witnesses, the prosecution rests in the Scott Peterson trial.  They have shown he was a liar, a cheater and acted as almost no other heartbroken husband would.  They presented physical evidence including the body that washed up right where Scott Peterson says he was fishing.  So why are so many still so convinced he won‘t get convicted? 

Plus, America‘s chief weapons‘ inspector in Iraq tells senators Saddam had no stockpiles of WMDs but that he would have if he could have.  We talk to the man who was in charge of one of Saddam‘s key nuclear programs. 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi everybody.  First on the docket tonight, a big legal setback for Rush Limbaugh that could mean prosecutors are one step closer to charging him criminally.  Last year after an investigation was launched, Limbaugh publicly admitted he was addicted to prescription drugs and checked himself into rehab.  Now he has not been charged with anything, but Limbaugh is being investigated for doctor shopping, essentially going from doctor to doctor getting prescriptions for painkillers from each one without telling the doctors that others had already given him prescriptions for the drugs.  He denies it. 

At issue now, Limbaugh‘s medical records.  Authorities got a search warrant to seize Limbaugh‘s records.  A judge signed off on the warrant and the records were taken.  Limbaugh protested saying it violated his privacy.  The records were put under seal preventing even prosecutors from seeing them.  Now the defense said the records never should have been seized without a hearing first to determine whether they were really needed in the investigation. 

Today a unanimous three-judge panel of the appeals court in Florida rejected that saying Limbaugh was not entitled to a hearing. 

Quote—“Search warrants have generally not required prior notice because of the understandably fear that the property‘s custodian might cause the evidence to disappear if he knew the state was seeking to seize it in a criminal investigation.”

But one of the three judges believed that even though the search was probably valid, prosecutors shouldn‘t be able to get at the records without a judge looking at them first to determine whether they‘re relevant in this investigation.  Still, the majority ruled prosecutors had the right to seize them, now have a right to see them.  Limbaugh reacted to the ruling on his radio show today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  We lost this decision today.  We‘re going to appeal it further.  We are deciding now exactly where but we will appeal it.  I have no expectations about this, so there is no, you know, disappointment or glee or exhilaration.  It‘s just the next phase of this whole process. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

“My Take”—the court is right that when it comes to the seizure of the records it‘s pretty clear to me that under Florida law they had the right to go in there after a judge had signed off on the search warrant for the records.  You can‘t say we‘re going to have a hearing every time private records are going to be seized because people in general, not Rush in particular, will end up destroying evidence in the meantime. 

But it‘s a separate question whether prosecutors should be able to look at the records without first having another hearing.  I think the descending judge had a pretty persuasive argument, that after the records were seized, but before anyone gets to look at them, maybe there should be another round to make sure that they‘re relevant and that Florida should be more protective of privacy when it comes to medical records. 

Let‘s see what my guests think about the law and maybe the motivation behind this investigation.  I‘m joined by the Florida criminal defense attorney Michelle Suskauer and former Florida State prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Ken Padowitz.

All right, Ken, you know, the court laid out pretty specific ruling here.  They went through all of the legalities and all of the statutes et cetera.  I don‘t want to get too bogged down in statute numbers, et cetera, but what do you think was wrong with the court‘s ruling? 

KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Well basically Rush Limbaugh got a raw deal here.  I mean there‘s no question that the defense attorney, Mr.  Roy Black, who is handling this case for Rush Limbaugh, argued that the state of Florida, the prosecutors shouldn‘t have been able to even get a search warrant and seize the records and I really think that‘s missing the boat.  I think that we can all agree that the state—the prosecutors have an interest in prosecuting crime...

ABRAMS:  Right.

PADOWITZ:  ... in investigating crime and they should have been able to seize Rush Limbaugh‘s medical records. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

PADOWITZ:  The problem here and the reason that this ruling is very upsetting is that we have a constitutional right to privacy in the state of Florida.  And we have always held the doctor/patient relationship in very, very high regard.  We have actually given special protection if records are subpoenaed as opposed to search warrants being affected for medical records. 

ABRAMS:  But see that‘s different. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  The court specifically distinguished that because when you‘re talking about subpoenas, any lawyer can subpoena records.  And the whole point is you know what, we don‘t want to just give any defense attorney or civil attorney the power to go get someone‘s medical records.  Then you‘ve got to have a hearing.  Here the court is saying you had a judge sign off on it, on the search warrant. 

PADOWITZ:  You are right, absolutely.  But the problem here is that once these records are received, they‘re records all the way from, you know, when he had his tonsils taken out at 12 all the way to any area that is not relevant to a criminal investigation...

(CROSSTALK)

PADOWITZ:  ... and that‘s the problem. 

ABRAMS:  Well that‘s true Michelle and it seems that the court is saying look, we‘re expecting that his entire medical history has not been handed over here.  We‘re expecting that it is just related to prescription drugs, right? 

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Right and I don‘t think that these records are going to be including his, you know, his pediatrician, OK, for when he had his tonsils out.  Again, you know, search warrants are different than subpoenas.  And just like you said, Dan, anybody can get a subpoena and all you have to do is show relevance. 

ABRAMS:  Yes...

SUSKAUER:  But a search warrant is different and you‘re not going to use a search warrant, you are not going to get a search warrant unless a judge signs off on it that there is probable cause that‘s within these records that connect you to criminal activity. 

ABRAMS:  All right...

PADOWITZ:  Dan, but that‘s not the issue...

SUSKAUER:  So that‘s very different. 

PADOWITZ:  It‘s not the issue Dan...

ABRAMS:  Very quickly Ken.  Yes.

PADOWITZ:  The issue is not the seizure of the records.  I agree that they were properly seized.  The problem is disclosure of the records and the appellate judge—one of the judges...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

PADOWITZ:  ... Judge Melanie May who wrote a brilliant descent basically said this is about disclosure. 

ABRAMS:  All right...

PADOWITZ:  I mean God forbid...

(CROSSTALK)

PADOWITZ:  ... there‘s a person who has their...

SUSKAUER:  But you know what...

PADOWITZ:  ... medical records seized...

(CROSSTALK)

PADOWITZ:  ... who had a, let‘s say a venereal disease.  Now that comes out as a public record...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead Michelle.

PADOWITZ:  ... and that‘s unfair. 

SUSKAUER:  But you know what?  You look—but you know what, it is different here.  Because we‘re not talking about somebody—we‘re talking about there‘s allegations of criminal activity that are within the records.  If you look at what Judge Farmer said and it‘s really clear—he said not only did the state follow the rules here, not only did the state do everything right, they went above and beyond.  They sealed these records.  They didn‘t touch these records...

ABRAMS:  Well, a court sealed the records.  I mean you know...

SUSKAUER:  But - well—but what they—well, no, the State Attorney‘s Office sealed the records...

ABRAMS:  After Roy Black filed a motion. 

SUSKAUER:  No.  They kept them under seal before Roy Black filed his motion.  They were under seal.  They didn‘t seize them and open them up like a Christmas present.  They sealed them first.  Then after the hearing...

ABRAMS:  All right...

SUSKAUER:  ... the court took them into its own...

ABRAMS:  Let me ask—let me switch topics Ken.  Let‘s talk about the prosecution now.  Does this mean that Rush Limbaugh is likely to get—that charges are likely to be filed? 

PADOWITZ:  Well we can‘t make that conclusion yet because we don‘t know exactly what are in those records.  If there is evidence that he went shopping amongst doctors to get various prescriptions and to get more of the drug from different doctors, then that may in fact...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

PADOWITZ:  ... violate a Florida statute and he may be prosecuted.  But since we don‘t know what‘s in those records, we don‘t know whether or not he‘s going to be prosecuted...

ABRAMS:  But we do know, Michelle, that they had reason to believe, did they not, that there was doctor shopping? 

SUSKAUER:  Oh, they certainly did have reason to believe and what they

can do now is they really can jumpstart their investigation because now

they can go to the people who prepared the records, the people who looked -

·         who took the history, who interviewed him and then they can really start piecing together this investigation.  Because again it‘s only in its investigative state.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Ken, final question.  Do you believe that this is politically motivated or do you think that this is simply an investigation of a Florida citizen? 

PADOWITZ:  No, I have to say that this is not politically motivated.  You know whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you‘re a talk show host and you have right-wing views, you know the bottom line is if you violate Florida law, it should be applied evenhandedly no matter what party affiliation you have...

ABRAMS:  But he‘s getting special treatment because he‘s famous.  I mean I don‘t think there‘s any chance that they‘d be investigating this if he weren‘t the famous Rush Limbaugh.  I mean you agree with that, right? 

SUSKAUER:  Well you know he shouldn‘t get a pass because he‘s Rush Limbaugh...

ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying he gets a pass.  But I‘m saying that—the same way—I said the same thing about Martha Stewart in the sense that you know I don‘t think she would have gotten prosecuted if she hadn‘t been Martha Stewart.  I don‘t think this case would have been investigated if had he not been Rush Limbaugh, but—all right...

SUSKAUER:  I don‘t know. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Michelle Suskauer and Ken Padowitz, great to have you on...

SUSKAUER:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Thanks a lot.

PADOWITZ:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up...

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)

SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER:  I said that I had lost my wife. 

AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND:  Yes, you did. 

PETERSON:  I did.  And yes...

FREY:  How did you lose her then before she was lost?  Explain that. 

(END AUDIOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Prosecutors counting on Scott Peterson‘s own words in an elaborate web of lies as they rest their case this week.  We take an in-depth look at what they presented and why so many are still saying he is not going to be convicted. 

And he called himself Iraq‘s nuclear mastermind, one of Saddam Hussein‘s top nuclear scientist tell me how he tried to turn Iraq‘s small stockpile of enriched uranium into a crude atomic bomb and why he then hid parts of it in his backyard. 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the evidence is in, in the State of California v.  Scott Lee Peterson.  Now it‘s the defense‘s turn.  Did it really go that badly for prosecutors?  It‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is that correct Mr. Peterson, you‘re pleading not guilty of the two charges of murder plus the special—denying these special allegations? 

PETERSON:  That‘s correct Your Honor.  I‘m innocent. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Scott Peterson at his arraignment.  And now after four months, 174 witnesses the prosecution rested its case. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  In somewhat chronological order, prosecutors took jurors from the days and months before Laci disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002 to mid April 2003 when her body and that of their unborn son washed up on the shore of the San Francisco Bay almost 90 miles from their home but in the same area where Scott Peterson said he went fishing that day.  Much of the most powerful evidence?  Peterson‘s own words in the weeks after Laci disappeared. 

PETERSON:  She‘s out there and someone is holding her.  And these are critical days that we have left. 

ABRAMS:  Prosecutors tried to show he hardly behaved like a heartbroken husband.  His girlfriend Amber Frey testified about their affair, about roses and champagne while Laci was home seven and a half months pregnant.  After Laci disappeared, Frey even recorded their conversations as Peterson continued to try to woo her. 

PETERSON:  You know in my mind we could be wonderful together and I could care for you in any and every way.

ABRAMS:  And he didn‘t just lie to Amber Frey.  Witnesses testified Peterson told them he was golfing, not fishing the day Laci disappeared.  And jurors heard him on tape seemingly lying to family members and reporters like about his baby‘s nursery. 

PETERSON:  Can‘t go in there.  The door is closed until there‘s someone to put in there.

ABRAMS:  But investigators later found it was being used for storage.  As for physical evidence, prosecutors introduced a hair consistent with Laci‘s found wrapped around pliers in Peterson‘s new boat.  And detectives testified about cement that could have been used to weigh Laci‘s body down in the water. 

And finally this week, police witnesses told jurors about arresting Peterson 30 miles north of Mexico.  He had changed his appearance, had $15,000 in cash, some Mexican currency and survival gear. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  All right.  “My Take”—there‘s a lot of evidence against Scott Peterson, but most importantly I have always said that the location of the bodies, where they were found effectively shifts the burden to the defense not legally but practically.  It means if he didn‘t do it, someone had to have framed him so who did it and how and when? 

The defense has posed some questions throwing out long-shot theories.  I don‘t expect they‘ll offer the answers that Mark Geragos once promised to provide about who done it.  The other items of evidence are essentially the gravy, not the turkey itself.  But if the defense presents a theory as to who might have framed Scott Peterson during its case, I am all ears. 

Joining me now criminal defense attorneys Jeralyn Merritt and Mickey Sherman who has been in the courtroom all week, and Amber Frey‘s attorney Gloria Allred, who has been in court for much of the trial as well.  All right.  We‘re going to deal with five of the issues that came up in the case. 

Scott Peterson‘s arrest, the timeline, physical evidence, the Amber affair and lies and guilty behavior.  For some reason, though, it seems the defense has been able to turn most of these prosecution witnesses to their advantage.  Gloria Allred, let‘s start with the arrest.  How significant do you think this ended up to be in the context of the whole case, of what was found on Scott Peterson at that time? 

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:  Well Dan, I think very significant because I think that the prosecution is going to be able to argue that he had a consciousness of guilt and perhaps an intention to flee because of that consciousness of guilt.  And they can base it on the fact that when he was arrested, his hair color was different, he had a goatee, which was a different color.  In fact, he hadn‘t had a goatee before. 

He had $15,000 cash as you say.  He had two licenses including his brother‘s license.  Was he going to have a fake identity?  He was not that far from the border in Mexico, so perhaps that‘s the reason that he had the Mexican currency.  He also had a lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of survival gear, a water purifier kit.  Basically he could have gone down there and lived just from what he had in his car and so maybe that‘s why he was headed south... 

ABRAMS:  Well Mickey, was he leaving because he was being framed? 

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  No, I don‘t think so.  I think he was trying to evade the media according to, you know, what his people are saying...

ABRAMS:  Do you buy that? 

SHERMAN:  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know that I throw it out altogether. 

I‘ll tell you the problem, Dan, and Gloria was there yesterday as was I.  The matter in which they put all those items, which are really good stuff for the prosecution.  I mean that list—I mean there‘s even more stuff than that...

ABRAMS:  We put it up on the screen...

SHERMAN:  Yes...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

SHERMAN:  There‘s knives.  There‘s saws.  There‘s phony I.D.s and all this stuff.  He has explanations for that, but the problem is they didn‘t put any of that physically into evidence.  Instead they took pictures of it and showed it on a screen like they were showing—and narrated it like there—like it was pictures from my nephew Sheldon‘s (ph) Bar Mitzvah.  And it was barely as interesting as Sheldon (ph) -- Rabbi Sheldon (ph), by the way. 

But it was that bad a presentation and I‘ve got to tell you their art form was really lacking.  And you know, they finally had something that the jury could pass around and say wow, look at this, a license in Jacqueline Peterson‘s name.  Look there‘s a knife here.  I don‘t know if it was all that relevant, but if there was anything there, as Gloria points out, to prove consciousness of guilt, they blew it. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  I‘m going—Jeralyn, I‘m going to come to you on the next issue because you know it seems to me—you want to get in badly on this one...

JERALYN MERRITT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I do.  I do...

ABRAMS:  Quickly, go ahead.

MERRITT:  Because I just want to say Mark Geragos is going to be able to counter every single one of those pieces of evidence.  He has before.  First of all, he was, as Mickey said, evading the media.  That‘s why he disguised his appearance.  He had his brother‘s driver‘s license so he could play golf at the public course down where his parents lived and he wasn‘t yet a resident of that county.

He had moved from Modesto, that‘s why he had the money.  He was—he wasn‘t going to Mexico.  He was near his parents.  The week before he had gone to Mexico for work and driven back...

ABRAMS:  But...

MERRITT:  ... everybody knew where he was. 

ABRAMS:  Do you hear yourself Jeralyn?  I mean you‘re sitting there and there‘s all of this stuff—this is not just on the arrest—on everything in this case that just sounds so bad and yet...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... yes sure you can offer a possible less plausible but possible legal explanation...

MERRITT:  But isn‘t that reasonable doubt? 

ABRAMS:  ... it‘s a question of reasonable.  That‘s the question.  All right.  You know what?  Let‘s take a quick break here.  When we come back, we‘re going to deal with the timeline, which I think is one of the most important issues.  We‘ll also get to the physical evidence.  We‘ll talk about what Mark Geragos said on “Larry King” a long time ago about where the bodies were located.  Guess what?  His comments almost echo mine exactly. 

And a report out today says Saddam Hussein stopped pursuing a program to develop weapons of mass destruction after international inspectors left Baghdad.  But just how close were they and who did he use them against?  I‘ll talk one on one with one of Saddam‘s chief scientists who used to be on the U.S. “Most Wanted” list. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE SAWYER, CO-ANCHOR, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”:  And the last time you saw her was? 

PETERSON:  I believe it was about 9:30 that morning.  The reason being we started to watch “Martha Stewart Living” while Laci was working in the kitchen and I left sometime during that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And he said that they had watched a segment where meringue was mentioned.  That segment happened to be at 9:48 a.m.  So the timeline here according to prosecutors—this is one of the most important issues that people don‘t seem to be discussing -- 9:48 a.m., Peterson at home, according to him, watching “Martha Stewart Living”, 10:08, according to cell phone records, he‘s still in the Modesto neighborhood.  And 10:18, 10 minutes later, Peterson‘s dog is found wandering around with the leash on, presumably after Laci has been abducted. 

You know, Mickey Sherman, that doesn‘t leave a whole lot of time for someone else to have abducted Laci, right? 

SHERMAN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I‘ve got to tell you jurors latch onto things like that.  Even though, as you said Dan, we don‘t seem to be paying that much attention to it nor do the attorneys on both sides, jurors love to solve the puzzle themselves and they love timeframes.  Everyone watches “CSI” and they like to time things out, so this could be a lot more important than people are giving it credit...

ABRAMS:  And Jeralyn, I expect the defense to actually call a witness to possibly challenge some of the timeline issues because I think it‘s that important. 

MERRITT:  I think the defense probably will.  You heard Mark Geragos on cross-examination start questioning whether or not the receipt that the woman who had the 10:18 sighting.  She apparently bases that on the fact that she had been at a store and bought something and Geragos is already saying there was something wrong with the timestamp.  So—and he‘s got evidence in there about how cell phone records aren‘t perfect as to where a person is because the waves bounce off a tower. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

MERRITT:  So you‘ll have to see. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let‘s move on.  Issue three:  The physical evidence.  Hair in the pliers, concrete in the warehouse and the location of the bodies.  Location of the bodies Issue A and let me read—you know people are saying to me, you know Dan, you are making these comments about where the bodies were found.  And I will quote now Mark Geragos himself on “Larry King” April 18 2003. 

Quote—“The fact that the bodies and the remains are found within one mile or two miles of the very location that he provided to the police as his alibi, that is devastating in terms of why they have arrested him so quickly.  In fact, I—you know, my feeling was as soon as these bodies washed ashore, the fact that he—that it was a mile or two away meant to me that he would be arrested at any moment.”

You know, Gloria Allred, I‘m not saying that Mark Geragos has to take the same position.  His position can be look I‘ve looked at the evidence now.  I‘ve changed, you know, my tune, et cetera, but you know I think that that is the way that most people view this, the way Geragos viewed it back then. 

ALLRED:  Well absolutely, Dan.  And remember the prosecutors in their opening statement have asked the jury to use their common sense.  And I think ultimately that is generally what juries do.  So what Mark Geragos is going to have to try to do is, you know, to go with his poor Scott was framed concept and suggest that even though the bodies did wash up approximately a mile or so from where Scott admits to having been on Christmas Eve, he is going to have to try to show that someone else framed Scott. 

I don‘t know how he‘s going to be able to do that.  He‘s going to try to show that the gestational age of the fetus is older than the prosecution alleges...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

ALLRED:  ... that, in fact, Laci was abducted.  But then you go back to the timeframe that you pointed out and that‘s going to be really hard for him because it does tie back into the timeframe...

(CROSSTALK)

ALLRED:  ... who else could have done it. 

ABRAMS:  Well he‘s clearly going to try and demonstrate that it couldn‘t have happened, that Peterson couldn‘t have done it and therefore you can ignore the rest of the evidence.  Let me just quickly—number 13 here.  This is on the cement issue.  Scott admitted to purchasing something like 60 to 90 pounds of cement according to Detective Grogan.  Police can only account for eight pounds.  He told police he used cement to make an anchor for his boat.  But just one week later he told his brother-in-law he used the cement to patch his driveway.  Jeralyn, how big a deal? 

MERRITT:  I don‘t think it‘s that big a deal because they never found the other anchors.  And Mark Geragos is going to say that‘s a figment of the police‘s imagination, just speculation. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Everyone is going to stick around.

Coming up, we‘ve got more.  We‘ve still got the Amber issues and the lies and what seemed like guilty behavior.  Those are the two other issues. 

And later in the program, Saddam‘s self-proclaimed nuclear mastermind tells me the dictator was—quote—“losing it”, more interested in creating a novel than a weapons program.  It‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the prosecution‘s wrapped in the Scott Peterson case.  We continue going over the evidence and asking the question why are so many saying that the prosecution is going to have a tough time getting a conviction here, but first the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE)

FREY:  You said you lost your wife and what - I mean what sense do you think people think when you say that, in lost?  I mean I took it and she took it as she had passes away.

PETERSON:  Recently dead.  Yes, I know you did.

FREY:  How else is one to think any different than that Scott?

PETERSON:  Well, I mean...

FREY:  And you didn‘t indicate you were currently married and living with her. 

(END AUDIOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Oh boy.  All right.  You know one of the most important

issues in this is not just the timeline we talked about before but it‘s the

Amber timeline.  Prosecutors tried to demonstrate there was pre-meditation

here and that Scott Peterson may have finally decided it‘s time to—quote

·         “end my relationship” after he began his relationship with Amber Frey. 

Here‘s the timeline—number 15.  He meets Amber Frey on November 20.  December 2, he has a date, second date with Amber Frey.  December 6, Shawn Sibley, Amber‘s friend who set them up, confronts Scott because she hears that he‘s married.  The next day he calls this guy Bruce Peterson, no relation, about a boat that‘s for sale.  The next day, December 8, he goes and looks at the boat. 

December 9, he buys the boat for $1,400 cash.  Same day he prints fishing information and tells Amber he was married, but—quote—“lost his wife”.   You know, again, Mickey, I think this is one of the points that the defense really has a tough time with, no?  Then December 11, he goes to a party at Shawn Sibley‘s and it goes on from there.

You know, again, Mickey, I think this is one of the points that the defense really has a tough time, no?

SHERMAN:  I disagree.  I‘ve got to tell you when this is over and all of the jurors start making their rounds on the morning shows, I bet you, Dan, that you‘re going to hear them all say you know something, Amber Frey meant nothing.  She was not a motive to murder your wife and unborn child...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

SHERMAN:  ... and the fact that he lied to her, well that‘s what guys who cheat on their wives do.  They lie to their mistresses.

ABRAMS:  You know, and Gloria, I know you are Amber‘s attorney, but I

wouldn‘t be surprised if Mickey is right, that in the aftermath that people

·         that jurors don‘t want to admit or didn‘t really say that Amber Frey meant that much because that way they‘re able to say, regardless of conviction or not, you know what, that was an affair, yes, but affair doesn‘t mean murder. 

    

ALLRED:  Well, Dan, first of all, three things quickly.  One, she was not his mistress because she didn‘t know he was married when she was having a relationship with him...

SHERMAN:  Wait.  Somebody get the dictionary. 

ALLRED:  No, no, believe me...

ABRAMS:  All right.  We‘re not...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... all right, we‘re not going to debate over...

ALLRED:  ... she doesn‘t fit into it.  But let me just say, her importance is the following.  First, she does establish a motive to murder, at least the prosecution can argue that. 

ABRAMS:  But you don‘t think they should Gloria...

ALLRED:  Secondly, it shows...

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait, Gloria, let me just ask you.  You don‘t think they should argue that Amber was the motive in and of itself, do you?  Because that‘s not a smart way to go...

ALLRED:  I think that there‘s a big picture here for motive.  And that is—and she‘s part of it that he...

ABRAMS:  Part of it, right, part of it...

ALLRED:  ... did not want to be with Laci anymore. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  That‘s right.

ALLRED:  He wanted to be a single guy.  He didn‘t perhaps want to have to pay child support...

(CROSSTALK)

ALLRED:  ... and have parental responsibilities. 

ABRAMS:  All right.

ALLRED:  But secondly, it shows a cold heart towards Laci, that he was still involved with Amber even after Laci disappeared.  And thirdly, it shows that he is a complete and utter liar...

ABRAMS:  Right.

ALLRED:  ... a person who cannot be believed about anything.  One question arises, why should we believe him when he said he didn‘t do it when we probably don‘t believe him about almost anything else?

ABRAMS:  And that‘s what I want to move to.  I want to move to the lies and his behavior.  Here is just a little set of clips of Scott Peterson talking about an issue that I don‘t think it‘s going to become that important of an issue.  But it gives you a little sense of how he‘s answering questions about blood that was found in his truck. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The blood in the car was mentioned today as well and that was something that‘s been mentioned around...

PETERSON:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I‘m sure there‘s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my blood everywhere in that truck.  I work on a farm with machineries and you know everyone that said (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the scars and cuts on my hand and I‘m afraid, you know, men, we cut each other and we bleed. 

I know for a fact there will be plenty of blood in there from me.  You know, I work on farms and you can take a look at my hands now and they have cuts all over them. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They do? 

PETERSON:  Certainly.  You can take a look.  My knuckles are always cut on me.  I cut my knuckle that day. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On what day? 

PETERSON:  On Christmas Eve. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Doing what? 

PETERSON:  Reaching in the toolbox of my truck and then into the pocket on the door.  I cut open my knuckle and there was a bloodstain on the door. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So Jeralyn, here‘s some of the problem with Scott Peterson‘s story and forget about the blood for a moment.  It‘s number 18.  December 23, Scott Peterson tells Amy Rocha, Laci‘s stepsister, he had been -- he was going to go golfing the next day, not fishing. 

December 24, he tells two people, Amie Krigbaum and Tera Venable he was golfing—was.  Meaning when he comes back, he says I was golfing.  The same day Peterson tells Sharon Rocha, Laci‘s mom, and Ron Grantski that he was fishing in Berkeley. 

He then tells Harvey Kemple he was golfing.  Later in the day he says

·         he doesn‘t know what he was fishing for according to Officer Derrick Letsinger.  And fisherman Angelo Cuanang—I forget how you pronounce his name—says Peterson‘s equipment not suitable for wintertime sturgeon fishing as Peterson claimed.  All irrelevant Jeralyn?

MERRITT:  I wouldn‘t say it‘s irrelevant.  My problem with it is that OK, let‘s even say he has moved from being a cad to being a pathological liar.  You could even say that, but it doesn‘t connect him to the murder.  It shows him to be a liar.  And my biggest problem is they haven‘t shown that he would kill the nine-month or eight-month-old baby or fetus that‘s living inside his wife. 

And if you have known any married couples that are having children, you know that when the baby gets to be eight months, it‘s a baby to them.  And there‘s nothing in this guy‘s background and there‘s nothing the prosecution has brought forth to suggest that even if he wanted to leave Laci, even if he was in love with Amber, which he never said he was...

ABRAMS:  All right.

MERRITT:  ... that he would hurt this baby...

ABRAMS:  All right.

MERRITT:  ... and that‘s a huge part of the case. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  I‘ve got to finally wrap this up, Gloria, but do you agree with me that at this point—I think you‘ll probably disagree with me about this—but do you agree with me that at this point I think that a hung jury would be a victory for the prosecutors because they‘d get to start this all over again.  Mark Geragos wouldn‘t be there.  They‘d streamline the case in two months or so and it would be a very different game or do you think that I‘m underestimating the prosecution? 

ALLRED:  Well, no, I think a victory would be a conviction and perhaps then a death penalty in the death penalty phase. 

ABRAMS:  There‘s no chance...

ALLRED:  But again—the second best, of course, would be a mistrial so as you say, they could start over again.  But I think there‘s plenty of evidence.  The jury could convict if they...

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, Mickey, I think victory for prosecutors...

SHERMAN:  I think you may be right Dan, and I‘ve got to tell you, you know, a not guilty may put these prosecutors out of their misery.  I don‘t like to criticize prosecutors that much...

ABRAMS:  Sure you do. 

SHERMAN:  Well that‘s true, especially you know, it‘s a long way away.  But I‘ve got to tell you, if these—if your children were kidnapped and these prosecutors came to your home to read the ransom note, you‘d fall asleep during the reading. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Jeralyn Merritt, Mickey Sherman, Gloria Allred, we will continue our coverage.  The defense begins next week.  We‘re going to preview the defense‘s case later in the week. 

And your e-mails on the Peterson case.  Coming up later, many of you upset with one of my guests and her comment of the $15,000 cash Peterson had with him not enough to start a new life with. 

Send your e-mails to abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you are writing from.  I respond at end of the show. 

Still ahead, the lead weapons‘ inspector in Iraq tells senators Saddam Hussein would have built nuclear weapons if he could have but he couldn‘t.  Up next, I‘ll talk with one of the key men who helped Saddam try to do just that.  He‘d been on the U.S. “Most Wanted” list as well, so what is he doing here in the U.S. doing TV interviews?  We‘ll talk with him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Question:  How close was Saddam Hussein to having nuclear weapons to use against enemies like Israel, America, Iran?  The threat of a nuclear armed Saddam helped convince many Americans that war with Iraq was essential for our safety.  But today Charles Duelfer, the chief U.S.  weapons‘ inspector in Iraq, told the Senate that while Saddam wanted nuclear weapons, he didn‘t have a program that could make them. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES DUELFER, U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR:  Despite Saddam‘s express desire to retain knowledge of his nuclear team and his attempts to retain some key parts of the program, Iraq‘s ability to produce a weapon decayed steadily. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Saddam‘s drive for nukes had been close to success before the ‘91 Gulf War, but U.N. inspectors put a stop to it in the ‘90‘s, exposing the program, destroying materials that scientists had.  The inspectors so successful the program was never even revived.  But right up to the day when the Saddam statue fell in Baghdad, apparently key components and plans for high tech centrifuges to enrich uranium for bombs were still in Iraqi hands.

Specifically, according to my next guest, they were buried in the Baghdad garden of Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, one of Saddam‘s chief nuclear scientists and the author of “The Bomb In My Garden”.

Dr. Obeidi, thank you very much for joining us.  We appreciate it.  It is pretty startling to read and hear about what you have said in your book.  What would it have taken, do you think, to have gotten a bomb program going again based on what you had in your garden? 

DR. MAHDI OBEIDI, IRAQI NUCLEAR SCIENTIST:  What I had in the garden were the blueprints and the designs and some of the political components.  What would have been needed would be the machines and materials needed to start the centrifuge program. 

ABRAMS:  So is the reason none of that was happening because the sanctions were working? 

OBEIDI:  The sanctions were working.  They had dismantled some of the

·         I mean the bulk of the facilities that the program depended on and of course, I mean there was not the capability to restart a program that way. 

    

ABRAMS:  Give us a sense of where Saddam‘s weapons‘ programs were right before the war.  I mean nuclear and others. 

OBEIDI:  I think Saddam was losing sense of reality.  I consider him -

·         I mean he was delusional because of—many of—you could see in many of the aspects of his behavior.  He was receiving reports about the progress of work and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and instead of having the reports, he was instead having a forum about his grandeur.  And in fact, he did not land these people in prison as he usually would.  He was happy with this, you know, to have something to tickle him and instead of giving him the progress report about the missiles.

ABRAMS:  So you say that he didn‘t even know.  You are not even certain that he knew what the status was of the weapons‘ programs. 

OBEIDI:  Well I had a feeling that Saddam was somehow losing reality.  He was writing one of his trashy novels at the time.  Even prior to war he was giving order that they should be burning oil around Baghdad to stop the airplanes from seeing their targets.  So all in all, Saddam did not really have a sense of reality to appreciate the imminent danger, which was really facing him and the country. 

ABRAMS:  You talk about how easy it would have been for him and you say—quote—“Our nuclear program could have been reconstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein‘s fingers and there‘s no question we could have done so very quickly.”  Who do you think he would have used those weapons against? 

OBEIDI:  Of course, no one would really know the mind of Saddam Hussein and how he would—and what would have happened.  But had he dropped it in any of the countries, you could imagine what sort of repercussions...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

OBEIDI:  ... the Iraqis would have had and it would have been horrendous. 

ABRAMS:  Finally, you yourself were on the U.S. list of most wanted people in Iraq.  You were something like number 66.  How is it that you have gone from most wanted to someone that the U.S. has brought to the United States with your whole family and welcomed here? 

OBEIDI:  The best way is to cooperate with the Americans.  That way I was hoping that this would be the passage toward stopping the proliferation.  Because I think really this is a danger, which if it had happened within three years in Iraq, it would have happened even less in any other country and, therefore, I think the outcome would be bad for humanity. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well it sure sounds like it‘s a good thing that we ended up getting you to come over to the other side. 

OBEIDI:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Dr. Obeidi, thank you very much for taking the time to come on the program.  We appreciate it. 

OBEIDI:  You‘re welcome. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the ambulance chasers are back and they have got a new target in their sights, one-time users of the drug Vioxx who now want to sue, and the lawyers have all their Web sites up and everything.  And lawyers wonder why they get a bad wrap.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, one of you takes me to task for “My Take” on a mistake by one of my fair and balanced colleagues.  Your e-mails up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—modern day ambulance chasers, you know the term.  Referring to lawyers who literally chase the ambulances in the hope of getting the injured to sign on as clients.  These days that term seems a little outdated.  Primarily a catch phrase to describe sleazy lawyers or so I though.

Then within hours of the release of that government study linking the arthritis drug Vioxx to heart attacks and strokes, I heard the ads all over the radio.  Have you or a loved one been taking Vioxx?  Then call (UNINTELLIGIBLE) lawyer or whatever.  And then on the Internet, you type in Vioxx and lawyer, and already thousands of names of lawyers and law firms pop up with their material about the danger of Vioxx printed and ready to go.  They‘re ready to fight for you.

And lawyers wonder why they get a bad wrap.  Now there may be legitimate lawsuits that come as a result of Vioxx.  No question.  It‘s just the legal bids often feel so sleazy.  Like many lawyers are creating lawsuits rather than just filing them.  That selling lawyers is just another late night infomercial.  It is a necessary service, but it‘s really the reverse for me of that old Groucho Marx cliche, which said I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member.  I wish I wanted to be associated with the group in which I‘m already a member—lawyers. 

I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  In my “Closing

Argument” Monday, I said Fox News and political reporter Carl Cameron

deserve a break after they mistakenly posted an article on their Web site

with made up quotes from Senator Kerry after last week‘s presidential

debate.  Jokingly, Cameron claimed Kerry said among other things—quote -

·         “I‘m metro sexual.  He‘s a cowboy.”

But I also wondered whether Fox would give me the same benefit of the doubt or anyone else.  Many of you not ready to let Cameron off the hook including Valerie Thompson.

“Calling Kerry metro sexual was so beyond wrong, I‘ll be surprised if Cameron has a career anymore.  Carl Cameron would not do the same for you if you made a joke on air about the president‘s sexuality.”

Well Valerie, you could argue that metro sexual is not really a comment about his sexuality.  According to Salon.com, a metro sexual is a man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis, because that‘s where all the best hairdressers, shops, clubs, and gyms are. 

From Cedar Creek, Texas, Harvey Segall.  “If you really believe that the remarks were just a joke, I‘ve got a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy cheap.”

And Michael Reinholz in Seattle, Washington.  “Carl Cameron should be fired from Fox News.  Cameron was trying to undermine our election.  He calls it a joke gone bad.  I call it a gross abuse of his position on national news.”

Come on.  You both think he put this out on purpose, that he was willing to risk his career in the hope that maybe, just maybe his pithy comments would impact the election?  Come on.

Also on Monday we previewed the upcoming cases in the Supreme Court‘s docket with two of the nation‘s great legal minds, Kenneth Starr and Professor Arthur Miller from Harvard.

From North Carolina, Jess Woodward.  “They are both truly sophisticated, fascinating and reasonable legal minds.  I wish that you would have more segments like the one with Ken Starr and Arthur Miller that were worth rebroadcasting.”

Many of you furious that Ken Starr was on the program at all.  Remember, he‘s the dean of Pepperdine University Law School, former Solicitor General, meaning the person who argues cases in front of the Supreme Court for the government, federal appeals court judge.  He‘s argued 25 cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Oh and yes, he was the independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation.  Many of you still furious about that investigation that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. 

From Northville, Michigan, Patricia LaFramboise.  “As—LaFramboise -

·         as a faithful fan of you and your show I have often disagreed with a guest on your show, but I‘m very unhappy with your choice to put Ken Starr on the air.”

And Lisa Malkiewicz in Los Angeles, California.  “I‘m usually a big fan of your show and how could you put that horrible Ken Starr on your show as a respectable commentator?”  Just look at his resume.  Come on.  Give me a break...

Finally, when discussing some of the evidence Scott Peterson was caught with when he allegedly tried to flee, at least prosecutors say, including 15,000 in cash, one of my guests said that wasn‘t enough to start a new life.  I chastised her for that comment and said that many people could start a new life.  That‘s a lot of money to most people. 

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, Wendy Ampolsk.  “I could easily start a new life with that amount of money.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)”

And Winslow, Arizona, Lynn Huddleston.  “I know there are a lot of single mothers out there like myself who started new lives on a lot less.”

Jil D. from Long Island.  “I would like to commend you for standing up for people like me who would be able to start anew with $15,000.  As a single mother I‘d be able to provide my son with the things he would need without any worries.”

Your e-mails, abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I go through them at the end of every show.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. 

Thanks for watching.  I‘ll see you tomorrow. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc.  (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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