Guest: Jay Fahy, Dean Johnson, Geoffrey Fieger, Mickey
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, live from Redwood City, California, an angry Amber Frey confronts a lying Scott Peterson on tape.
ABRAMS (voice-over): The jury hears the moment when Scott is forced to tell Amber the truth that he‘s married. His wife is mace missing. He never went to Paris, and that he‘s been lying to her from the beginning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to tell you how wonderful you are (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
ABRAMS: We have the tapes of Scott and Amber, and throughout the hour, we‘ll play them.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone and welcome to Redwood City where the Scott Peterson case will not be first up on the docket tonight, because we have some extraordinary breaking news to report to you from New Jersey. Just over an hour ago twice-married Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey held a news conference to announce that he was gay and resigning his office because of the—quote—“circumstances surrounding an extramarital affair he had with a man.” Here‘s some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: My truth is that I am a gay American. And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation with a tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, and a country, which provides so much to its people. Yet, because of the pain and suffering and anguish that I have caused to my beloved family, my parents, my wife, my friends, I would almost rather have this moment pass.
For this is an intensely personal decision, and not one typically for the public domain. Yet, it cannot and should not pass. I am also here today because shamefully I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony. It was wrong. It was foolish. It was inexcusable. And for this I ask the forgiveness and the grace of my wife.
I realize the fact of this affair and my own sexuality, if kept secret, leaves me, and most importantly the governor‘s office, vulnerable to rumors, false allegations, and threats of disclosure. So I am removing these threats by telling you directly about my sexuality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Wow. Now, Governor McGreevey has had some problems in the past, scandals, for example, involving some of his fundraisers, but this, what a blockbuster. The question, though, is that really the reason that he resigned? Is it just the circumstances surrounding his extramarital affair, as he put it?
Brian Thompson is the New Jersey reporter for WNBC and he broke this story this afternoon. Brian joins us on the telephone. Thanks a lot for joining us. We appreciate it.
All right, so you‘ve heard now the press conference that you had said was going to happen. Now that you‘ve heard it, are those the reasons that you had learned behind why he is stepping down?
BRIAN THOMPSON, WNBC NEW JERSEY REPORTER (via phone): The belief, Dan, is that it goes a little bit lofty from that, actually. The belief is that the person that he had that extramarital relationship with is about to sue him possibly for sexual harassment. And who wants to be the governor of any state when some other person of the same sex comes out and says you harassed me sexually while we were working together in the governor‘s office. And that appears to be the real root of Governor McGreevey‘s problems that came to a head today.
ABRAMS: Is it a sense—look, your beat is New Jersey. This is the governor you cover all the time. Is your sense it‘s a confluence of events, meaning OK, you‘ve got the fact that this lawsuit, as you say, was about to be filed, you‘ve got the fact that this is going to be disclosed to the public, but you‘ve also got the fact that he‘s been in the news a lot lately with scandals, his poll numbers way down. Do you think it‘s all of those together or is it really focused on this single issue of the disclosure of his sexuality and his extramarital affair?
THOMPSON: Dan, I think anybody would have to wonder if you go through all of the accusations against some of the people who have surrounded him over the years and wonder how on earth he could survive it, if that isn‘t a contributing factor. I think most people would have to say it had to be a contributing factor to this, that this was the final straw that broke the camel‘s back, to use a well-used proverb. But the problem for Jim McGreevey was that this was absolutely stunning.
This is an historic moment in national politics, not just New Jersey politics or northeastern politics. This just doesn‘t happen. I think we‘ve had a congressman from Arizona who came out, Barney Frank, of course in Massachusetts has come out. But that‘s about it, maybe one or two others. How many times can you point and say, yes, that governor said he came out and oh, by the way, he‘s facing the possibility of a sexual harassment lawsuit from his lover at the same time.
ABRAMS: Yes. It just can‘t just be extramarital because you know look, we‘ve seen you know an enormous number of extramarital affairs when it comes to politicians. And as you point out, it can‘t just be the sexuality factor. It just sounds like it‘s a number of all of these factors coming together at one time.
Brian Thompson, again, who broke this story, thank you very much for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
THOMPSON: You‘re welcome Dan. Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right, now joining us from the MSNBC headquarters is Jay Fahy, a former assistant U.S attorney, also someone who worked for the McGreevey campaign. Jay, thanks a lot for coming on the program. All right, your sense—you‘ve heard what the governor said, your sense of the reasons as to why he‘s stepping down now.
JAY FAHY, FORMER BERGEN CTY NJ DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think that this was the final straw. He has been under a lot of pressure after people came back from the convention up in Boston. I mean the buzz in Boston by the Jersey delegation is do we want McGreevey to be on the ticket next November? Can he win? And there was an awful lot of discussion about doing a draft Jon Corzine movement.
Corzine had two different press conferences where he said he‘s not going to challenge the sitting governor, but the fact that Corzine was forced to come out with these press conference indicate how much under fire McGreevey has been. Again, I think this was just the final straw and I think most Democrats in New Jersey, unfortunately, are happy that he‘s not going to be running because they think they‘ll have a winner that they can back next November.
ABRAMS: But running is one thing, Jay, and having low poll numbers is one thing, but the idea that you have to step down in the middle—I mean, is this damage control do you think or is this just creating more damage because of this startling press conference?
FAHY: I think—what I really think was the—ultimately the pressure that was on McGreevey. In the past month he‘s had three scandals break, one about a fellow named Kushner, who was his major fundraiser who hired a prostitute to videotape his brother-in-law and then sent a copy of that videotape to his brother-in-law and to his sister. Another one involving a fundraiser named D‘Amiano, who is charged with extorting money from a farmer in order to have the farmer‘s land valued higher so that he could get more money from the state.
And in that case, in the D‘Amiano, case, Governor McGreevey was an un-indicted co-conspirator. And then thirdly, in the past month the commissioner of commerce, Commissioner Watley stepped down because of a scandal in the Commission of Commerce office.
FAHY: Add to that his chief of staff was charged with the SEC about a month and a half ago with insider trading. He was not charged criminally, but he was charged civilly. And his—that same chief of staff and his first counsel, Paul Levinsohn and Gary Taffet are under federal investigation for billboard gate as they call it in New Jersey for...
ABRAMS: So, but let me ask you this Jay. If this hadn‘t happened, with all of those scandals pending, this wouldn‘t have happened, right?
FAHY: No, it would not have happened.
ABRAMS: I mean if we were just talking—right...
ABRAMS: So, it was not just the fact that he had these scandals, but you think that they contributed to the decision to step down. FAHY: I—yes. I think ultimately...
ABRAMS: All right.
FAHY: ... what a lot of Democrats felt that some time next year pressure might have been put on McGreevey not to run again. But it was not going to happen this year. It would have happened much, much later.
ABRAMS: All right.
FAHY: I think this was kind of the last...
FAHY: ... straw.
ABRAMS: Let‘s play, again, a piece of sound from that really
startling press conference that just happened a couple of hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCGREEVEY: Given the circumstances surrounding the affair, and its likely impact upon my family and my ability to govern, I have decided the right course of action is to resign. To facilitate a responsible transition, my resignation will be effective on November 15 of this year. I am very proud of the things we have accomplished during my administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Jay, you‘ve worked as a prosecutor in a number of New Jersey offices. What do you make of the point that Brian Thompson was making about a pending lawsuit might—that might have had an impact on the decision?
FAHY: I think that that—from what I‘m hearing out of my friends in the governor‘s office and people in Trenton, there is a lawsuit that‘s expected to be filed any day now from someone that worked in the McGreevey administration, charging that in exchange for sexual favors, that this person was given various jobs. And that‘s what the swirl is out of Trenton and I think that—they anticipated that coming. If that came it would have, you know, been on the news, and it would have really hurt the governor. I think he did—he resigned today I think as a preemptive strike, knowing that this was coming.
ABRAMS: All right. Jay Fahy, thanks a lot. We appreciate it.
Let‘s now go to Tim Minton, who is at the New Jersey State House from WNBC as well. Tim, what‘s going on over there? Tim Minton, do you hear me? It‘s Dan Abrams. Ok, Tim Minton does not hear me.
We are continuing with our—you know—we‘re not going to continue.
We‘re going to take a quick break here.
When we come back, we‘ve certainly got a lot to tell about in the Scott Peterson case. I‘m in Redwood City, California. All the audiotapes of Amber Frey and Scott Peterson—you can hear them for yourself. We are going to play them. At one point Amber Frey confronting Scott Peterson about his lies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do you believe in love at first sight?
SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) yes I do. But you know what (UNINTELLIGIBLE) another thing you‘d have to say is that love doesn‘t mean that people can be together forever. Does that make sense?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Coming up, we‘ve got more on New Jersey Governor McGreevey‘s stunning decision to resign based on having a sexual affair with a man. And we‘ve got the audiotapes of Scott and Amber. It‘s all coming up in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCGREEVEY: I am a gay American. And I am blessed to live in the greatest nation, with a tradition of civil liberties, the greatest tradition of civil liberties in the world, in a country, which provides so much to its people. Yet, because of the pain and suffering and anguish that I have caused to my beloved family, my parents, my wife, my friends, I would almost rather have this moment pass. For this is an intensely personal decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The governor of New Jersey announcing he will resign after admitting that he had an extramarital affair with a man. WNBC‘s Tim Minton is in front of the New Jersey State House where all of this just transpired.
TIM MINTON, WNBC CORRESPONDENT: Hi Dan. How are you?
ABRAMS: Good. So, what‘s been going on out there? We had the announcement. I assume that this was somewhat stunning to the community there.
MINTON: Well, clearly a good assumption. WNBC broke the story of the resignation, my colleague Brian Thompson, who you‘ve heard from, I believe, about 3:00 or so this afternoon. The governor had a scheduled 4:00 announcement, which was supposed to concern a personnel matter, and his press office was putting out the story that it was a routine announcement until just minutes before the governor walked into the room.
But because WNBC broke the story, there was media mayhem here that began within minutes and continued right up until the room was so crowded that state troopers had to literally bar the door. Sources are telling us that this is something the governor has, in fact, been working on for about four days, that he got some indications last weekend that a man named Golan Cipel, who had served him in various capacities, including at one point being named the homeland security adviser for the state of New Jersey, intended to file a civil lawsuit that would essentially expose an at least alleged relationship—now it‘s not alleged—relationship between these two men or still alleged as to this particular person.
But in any event, would expose the fact that the governor had some homosexual inclinations, that he had in fact allowed that, allegedly, to interfere with work, that one of the reasons this particular man was given one job and then when that didn‘t work out given another, and then when that didn‘t work out, he was forwarded to somebody who had assisted the governor to do some lobbying, that when all of that was said and done that the reason behind it was...
ABRAMS: All right.
MINTON: ... this relationship. So that‘s why the governor...
MINTON: ... then was preparing the announcement Dan.
ABRAMS: All right, Tim Minton, WNBC broke this story. Thanks a lot for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
Now to the Scott Peterson case. That‘s why I‘m here in Redwood City -
· day three of Amber Frey‘s testimony, quite possibly the most explosive testimony yet. Not from Amber on the stand but again from Amber on tape. Conversations with Scott Peterson that Amber Frey secretly recorded, and in these tapes no more twittering over Scott‘s phony Paris trip or mewling that absence made the heart grow fonder for him. Instead, a few days later an angry confrontational Amber Frey emerges, especially in calls recorded on January 6 2003, nearly two weeks after Laci was reported missing.
Let‘s start with Scott breaking the news about Laci to Amber after Amber says one of her friends called her frantically needing to speaking to her immediately up—now remember, up to this point he‘s been pretending - - she‘s been pretending that she didn‘t even know about Laci.
Peterson says (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you haven‘t been watching the news obviously.
Peterson: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I have not been traveling during the last couple of weeks. I have lied to her that I have been traveling.
Peterson: The girl I‘m married to her, her name is Laci.
Peterson: She disappeared just before Christmas.
For the past two weeks I have been in Modesto with her family and mine, searching for her.
Searching for Laci. Before she disappeared, Scott told Amber he had lost his wife. He tries to defend himself.
Peterson: I said that I lost my wife.
Frey: Yes you did.
Peterson: I did and yes...
And Frey: And how did you lose her then before she was—how did you lose her then before she was lost? Explain that.
Peterson: There‘s lots of loss.
Amber says then explain your loss.
Peterson: I can‘t to you now.
And Amber can‘t hold back the sarcasm when Scott tried this one on her.
Peterson: I never cheated on you.
Peterson: I never did.
Frey: You‘re married. How do you figure you never cheated on me?
Explain that one to me.
Now, compare Scott Peterson and Amber Frey in an exchange from a conversation on New Year‘s. This is just a few days earlier talking about a future together. We have the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: I‘ve never gone to church.
FREY: What was that?
PETERSON: And like I‘ve never gone to church much.
PETERSON: And would that be (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you know a contentious point for you. And would we see eye to eye on a lot of raising Ayanna and how, you know, would you accept our role of growing together and doing that. You know, those and I can‘t think of other, but those are major, you know, thoughts...
FREY: Well we haven‘t...
PETERSON: And the fact that you want another child.
PETERSON: And the small things that we have to discuss.
FREY: Which you don‘t. Do you still feel that you‘re very adamant about not having another child?
PETERSON: Oh, I wouldn‘t say adamant, but it‘s not in my thoughts currently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Not in my thoughts currently as his pregnant wife is missing.
Want to very quickly go to Dean Johnson, who was in the courtroom with me.
Dean, today we heard the confrontation where Amber takes on Scott Peterson, but Peterson denies it again and again.
DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Oh yes, Peterson‘s amazing. My favorite line out of this whole set of transcripts, after talking to Amber and telling her I‘ve lied about everything in our relationship, I‘ve lied about being married, he then says, but you know what, I‘ve always told you the truth...
JOHNSON: ... with some exceptions.
ABRAMS: ... this—but bottom line, I mean helpful to the prosecution?
JOHNSON: This is very helpful to the prosecution. And let‘s settle the question that always comes up, is this single piece of evidence incriminating? Is this going to turn the tide? Is this going to convict Scott Peterson? No, but it changes the tone of this trial.
And the reason why, Amber Frey does a very good job of cross-examining on three particular questions. Did you have anything to do with it? How do you explain the coincidence between telling me...
JOHNSON: ... you lost your wife and she disappears? Were you happy with Laci, and is Conner your child? And he never answers those questions.
JOHNSON: He‘s asked time after time after time.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Going to take a quick break. We‘ve got Geoffrey Fieger and Mickey Sherman coming up on the other side of that. We‘ve also got a lot more of the audiotapes of all the lovey-dovey business between Amber and Scott. That is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: How far we have come today. Two days later, Amber Frey confronts Scott Peterson. Geoffrey Fieger, give me your just take generally on the tapes that we‘ve been hearing.
GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well I have to disagree with the statement that was made earlier that this isn‘t the type of evidence, Dan, that would convict Scott Peterson. It is. Not because specifically it incriminates him and proves the murder, but it‘s the backdrop against which this guy is going to be judged. For instance, nothing he ever says, no explanation for why he was out in that boat, why he was down south four hours away with a disguise and $10,000 and everything else he‘s ever said to diffuse the situation will ever be believed nor will Geragos be believed.
It‘s against that backdrop, and the jury‘s simply going to hate him. This is the end for Scott Peterson. A thinking person could not accept a person, a human being acting like this while his wife and unborn child are missing. In the days immediately afterwards you‘d have to be a monster in order to do this, a monster, a killer.
ABRAMS: Let me read some more of what happened today. Again, this is after the confrontation. This is reading from the transcript here.
Frey: Didn‘t you say Amber I‘ll do anything for you to trust me. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) baby we have, I feel we have a future together. What was that about?
Peterson: I never said anything to you I didn‘t mean.
Frey: You never told me anything you didn‘t mean?
Peterson: I lied to you about things I did.
Later on Amber Frey confronts him directly about his missing wife.
Frey: Of course, you couldn‘t tell me the story about your wife because it hadn‘t happened yet.
FIEGER: You know he...
FIEGER: ... Dan either.
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on. Hang on.
And you were hoping to resolve in January that it would be resolved, suggesting that he killed her, and you‘d have a story to tell me.
Peterson: Sweetie, you think I had something to do with her disappearance? Amber, do you believe that?
Frey: Well let‘s see. How can I believe that? How can I believe that? How could I believe anything for...
Peterson: I‘m not evil like that.
Frey: I would hope not.
Peterson: It hurts me to believe that I could—it hurts me to believe that you think I could have something to do with her disappearance.
Mickey Sherman, you know, this is Scott Peterson making all these denials...
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes...
ABRAMS: ... but boy, he sure is busted in a whole lot of lies.
SHERMAN: My earpiece must have gone out because I missed the confession there. I mean I agree with Geoffrey. We are going—and everybody hates this guy. He is the sultan of sleaze. But there is still no confession. There is no, as we say, a mea culpa, and good as Detective Amber Frey is, you know, Starsky and Frey, she still has not pulled a confession out of him. And why are we so concerned that he‘s lying to her? That‘s what cheating guys do, so I‘ve been told. You know we take each line...
ABRAMS: But cheating guys...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Cheating guys whose missing, pregnant wives are being desperately searched for?
SHERMAN: Who knows? All we know is this guy had one objective here, and that is to get her into bed repeatedly and he was obviously very successful from moment one. And everything he says is meant and designed towards that end. That‘s what it‘s all about. He‘s not there you know to give the Sermon on the Mount. I don‘t know why we‘re shocked...
FIEGER: If this conversation...
ABRAMS: ... 30 seconds Geoffrey.
FIEGER: Mickey, if this conversation had taken place a year before Laci disappeared you‘d be absolutely right. But in the context of Laci and Conner being gone within days saying this and conceiving the type of lies that he did...
FIEGER: ... no jury is going to accept that. I mean...
FIEGER: ... it‘s beyond belief.
SHERMAN: But don‘t you agree, Geoffrey, it really adds to his despicability and not necessarily to his culpability.
FIEGER: Jurors don‘t acquit people who they despise.
SHERMAN: Well I say...
SHERMAN: ... they convict people whom they hate.
ABRAMS: Let‘s—we shall see. All right, we‘ve got more. We‘re playing more of the tape. We‘ve got more of what happened today. Got Dean Johnson, he was inside the court as well. It‘s all coming up. Stay with us.
ABRAMS: Coming up, got more of those tapes of Scott and Amber Frey, first the headlines.
ABRAMS: Scott Peterson has been continuing the charade, telling Amber Frey that he was still in Europe, this was previously. You know what? Let‘s play a piece of sound here, Scott Peterson and Amber Frey. This is number two. This is Scott Peterson talking about how much time he wants to spend with her daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: I have to tell you exactly the way I feel, you know, how much my thoughts of how I wish I was with her, you know, and I want to spend time with Amber and Ayanna or, you know, everything from just because of your soft words to laugh with the two of you, to see Ayanna string her words together...
PETERSON: ... you know, spending—what‘s that?
FREY: I didn‘t hear the last thing you said.
PETERSON: To hear Ayanna put her words together in a sentence, you know, small wonderful things to and see you do your hair or try to wash your hair in the shower or you know, just, you know, taking you girls out somewhere, you know, or picking Ayanna up and, you know, bringing a glass of orange juice or the paper to bed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the morning. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all those things are so much in my thoughts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Mickey Sherman, that‘s the voice of the guy who‘s just trying to get in bed with her?
SHERMAN: That‘s a great wrap. I‘ve got to tell you, love means never having to say I‘m lying. You know it‘s despicable, I agree with all of you, but it‘s still not a confession to murder. And you know it‘s like everybody who smokes marijuana doesn‘t become a heroin addict. Well everybody who lies and cheats on their wife doesn‘t become a murderer. I mean it‘s just not there.
FIEGER: That isn‘t the way it works. The courthouses...
FIEGER: ... the courthouses are filled with people who deny they did what they‘re accused of and what they get convicted of.
ABRAMS: And that was before Amber Frey confronted—remember, the only reason Scott Peterson comes clean, let‘s be clear, is because she fools him into believing that she had some friend who suddenly called her and had something very important to tell her and said I hope you‘re OK. A few hours later Peterson calls her up to say, well I think I know what your friend might have wanted to tell you, I‘ve been lying to you about everything.
And here‘s one point where, again, she confronts him about having something to do with Laci‘s murder. She says I‘m sure it has something to do with her disappearance.
Peterson: No, my God, no. Please don‘t cry.
You asking me please don‘t.
Peterson: Please don‘t say that.
Then tell me different because at that point I have...
It is -- I had nothing to do with her disappearance. Then he actually starts to cry here.
Frey says why can‘t you answer a question about you and I?
I can take that from anyone else but you.
You know I‘ve already asked you this. Save your tears. You can‘t answer my questions and I—it has nothing to do with Laci.
ABRAMS: Dean Johnson, you know this is what we heard again and again in court today, and yet Scott Peterson consistently denying on the tape that he had anything to do with Laci‘s disappearance. Could that actually help the defense?
JOHNSON: Well, of course the defense is going to say, look, this was a pretext phone call, he doesn‘t know the police are listening. The reason they have these phone calls is presumably the suspect will tell the truth. And hey, he never admitted to anything, but you‘ve...
ABRAMS: He actually denies it.
JOHNSON: Exactly. He denies it and of course he‘s going to deny it. You look at the very first phone call. It‘s not Amber calling Scott, it‘s Scott calling Amber and saying, look, I want to protect you from the media. I think you should not—he doesn‘t say you shouldn‘t go to the media, but he‘s suggesting to her stay out of the media. He knows eventually she‘s going to become a police witness or somebody interviewed by the media...
JOHNSON: ... of course he‘s not going to directly admit anything. He‘s going to deny things. He‘s going to give her his version of the story.
ABRAMS: Geoffrey, but presumably, if he doesn‘t know he‘s being taped and he‘s denying again and again and again that he had anything to do with it, despite prosecutor Frey throwing down the questions, can that help the defense?
FIEGER: No, he‘s a sociopath. And we‘re missing another thing, too. It definitely doesn‘t help the defense simply because he denies it because he‘s an inveterate liar. He‘s lying about everything, so that means nothing. But one thing you better not forget about is that Geragos—and he couldn‘t stop himself, Geragos always makes huge tactical errors—he went in front of the jury in opening statement and tried to say to them and convince them that this was really a meaningless encounter...
FIEGER: ... a meaningless relationship between...
ABRAMS: I agree...
FIEGER: ... Amber Frey and Peterson. After hearing this, the jury will not believe anything Geragos says. Why he thought he could get away with it, knowing that these tapes say what they say, and also knowing, and let‘s remember, there‘s hundreds more after this, after he knew that she was on to him, after she knew they were with the prosecutor, he kept calling her. No, it‘s—what Geragos did is crazy in terms of strategy.
ABRAMS: All right...
ABRAMS: ... well let me play another piece of sound. This is again with the tape of Peterson and Frey, which I think supports the point that Geoffrey Fieger is making. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: You know, in my mind we could be wonderful together and I could—I could care for you in any and every way. For the rest of our lives I think we care for each other and Ayanna and, you know, we could fulfill each other.
FREY: What—and Ayanna what?
PETERSON: We—we together could care for her and you know raise Ayanna.
PETERSON: And we could fulfill each other, you know, forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Mickey Sherman, look, I did not think of this motive of Amber Frey was a particularly strong argument. I‘d read the transcripts of the tapes. I hadn‘t heard them. After I hear them, I start to think, you know what, maybe they do have a point.
SHERMAN: You know, but you know motive doesn‘t even have to be proven. Of course we need to prove it because that‘s what people see in the movies and on television, but I think it‘s still going to be a reach to say that because of his infatuation, affection, chasing, womanizing whatever, that‘s why he killed two people. I think one thing that we may be in danger of and that‘s saying this, kind of getting a Rodney King kick out of this. In other words, you know, we‘ve got what, two days of tapes. By the time this is over we‘re going to have 90 some odd hours of tapes of God knows what. The jury I think is going to wind up desensitized to some extent. The shock value of Scott‘s despicability I think is going to wear off.
ABRAMS: Well look, that‘s a tactical thing that I happen to agree with you on...
FIEGER: Only if you‘re predisposed to like him. If you‘re not predisposed to like him...
FIEGER: ... like in Rodney King where they weren‘t predisposed to like Rodney King, so they disbelieved even what they were looking at in the tape.
FIEGER: Here they‘re not inclined to like him.
ABRAMS: Who would have thought that the Rodney King case would be the precedent to discuss in the context of this.
All right, take a quick break. More of the tapes coming up.
Also, later in the program, my “Closing Argument”—why I might take Amber Frey to cross-examine Scott Peterson over the prosecutors in this case. It‘s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: Just remember how very special you are.
FREY: I get reminded every so often.
PETERSON: I bet.
FREY: It‘s, you know, it doesn‘t mean it‘s any easier though, but I get reminded every so often.
PETERSON: You deserve it.
FREY: I deserve a lot of things.
FREY: But, you know, everything in its time...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Oh my. All right, so Dean Johnson, there‘s Amber Frey crying on the tape, and yet she knows at this point Scott‘s up to no good. Is her acting going to come back to haunt her on cross-examination?
JOHNSON: Oh I don‘t think this is acting. I think there are two things going on here, yes, she‘s working as an agent for the police, but she‘s also genuinely heartbroken. I mean remember, this guy wormed his way into her heart, wined her and dined her, pretended like he was the love of her life, wormed his way into her little daughter‘s heart. And she knows now that was all based on lies. I don‘t think there‘s a lot of acting going on.
ABRAMS: Let me play—if we can get number four ready, I‘m going to go to that in a minute. But what about that, Mickey? Do you think that—if you‘re the defense attorney do you go after her for crying on the tape or do you accept the fact that as Dean points out she‘s legitimately emotional...
ABRAMS: ... just probably not about exactly what Scott Peterson‘s saying.
SHERMAN: Yes and as he points out, the point about the daughter is so well taken. It‘s one thing to, you know, to give her a rough time, but to victimize the daughter with affection is despicable even more so. But I‘ve got to tell you, I think Mark Geragos, if he‘s smart, and I don‘t know that he‘ll go this way, I don‘t think he should go for her jugular. I think he‘s not going to start mocking her...
SHERMAN: I think he‘s just going to pick apart where she lied as well.
ABRAMS: All right and let me let you listen to this Geoffrey. This is talking about a dog. And the only reason it‘s relevant is how he ends this talking about...
ABRAMS: ... wanting to kill the dog.
ABRAMS: Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: ... all this wine. And last night, well this morning too, there is this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dog next to this hotel.
FREY: This what?
PETERSON: This dog...
PETERSON: ... that just keeps barking.
PETERSON: Oh, I want to kill it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Geoffrey, does that have any significance, just because he‘s sort of saying it like that, or is that just nothing?
FIEGER: Well it‘s pretty ominous. You know I don‘t know I‘ve heard, you know, about the dog and about “The Shining”. But the thing that I find ominous is that with all these 241 phone calls that stretched from before Laci disappeared until months afterwards, there were no phone calls on the day that he went fishing. And no jury, after hearing this, is ever going to believe that this guy was out fishing in that boat. Nobody is going to believe anything he ever told the police, or anything he‘s ever said. And that‘s what‘s going to get him sent to prison for the rest of his life.
SHERMAN: Dean, I‘ll tell you what‘s going to get him sent to prison is the dog. I think—you have no idea how bad that is. I mean you can say anything you want, you can kill people, maim them, but you touch an animal, forget it. The juries, the world, the PETA people, they will be all over him.
FIEGER: Remember, that‘s...
FIEGER: Remember, that‘s his dog. He‘s laying in Modesto. His dog is barking. This is the dog that was out lost with Laci, and he‘s talking about killing it.
SHERMAN: Yes but remember Jayson Williams, that was one of his Achilles‘ heels as well because he shot his dog. If that had ever gotten into evidence he would have been fried. People do not like...
ABRAMS: All right...
SHERMAN: ... cruelty to animals. It‘s not a joke.
ABRAMS: Well, speaking of which, what about what movies they like? Remember this, Geoffrey Fieger just made a reference to it. This is Scott Peterson talking about his—hang on, we don‘t have it. We‘re about to get it. All right, let‘s play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the best movie ever made is “The Shining”.
FREY: That‘s a scary movie.
PETERSON: But it is the best movie ever made.
FREY: I think you had mentioned that once before.
PETERSON: Did I? It scares the hell out of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And of course, Dean Johnson, in that movie a husband kills his wife.
JOHNSON: Yes. Yes and you can go too far with this. There‘s—one of my favorite lines is when he‘s interpreting a Pasternak poem and he says well, you know, my hands around your waist are like anchors for people. That‘s one of my favorites. But you take those out of context, they have ominous meanings. But in the bigger picture, not so much relevant. But this has changed the tone of this trial.
ABRAMS: All right, Dean Johnson, Geoffrey Fieger and Mickey Sherman, thanks a lot. And we will be continuing to play these tapes. I‘ll be back here next week as they continue the testimony.
But stick around, because I‘ve got some observations about Amber Frey as a prosecutor, the way she goes after Scott Peterson on this tape. It‘s coming up.
We‘ll also get a live report on what has just happened in the courtroom behind me. Just out of the courtroom is our own Jennifer London.
ABRAMS: Coming up, after listening to Amber Frey go after Scott Peterson on tape, would I rather have her cross-examine Peterson or the actual prosecutors in this case? I‘ll tell you. It‘s my “Closing Argument”, coming up.
ABRAMS: Inside the courtroom at the Scott Peterson case they‘ve been playing more audiotapes of Amber Frey going after Scott Peterson after she finds out or at least he tells her that he‘s been lying to her all this time.
Jennifer London has just come out of the courtroom. Jennifer, what have they been talking about?
JENNIFER LONDON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well Dan they‘re playing a tape from January 7. Amber Frey calls Scott and she again is trying to get him to say something. Scott has said, I want to have a relationship with you and she says well...
LONDON: Still. And she says well I‘m worried. What if we went out to dinner and you‘re suddenly arrested for Laci‘s murder? And he says well that won‘t happen. And she says why? And he says because I‘m innocent. And it struck me as she‘s only been missing for two weeks. No one is saying she‘s murdered. They‘re not looking for a body at this point. They‘re looking for a missing person. And he never talks about Laci in the sense that he misses her. And there‘s another point in the conversation earlier where Laci or where Amber Frey is saying it sounds to me in your choice of words that you don‘t even think that this is your baby, meaning Laci‘s baby.
LONDON: And what does Scott say?
ABRAMS: I can‘t talk to you about it right now.
LONDON: He says nothing.
ABRAMS: Yes, all right...
LONDON: And she says well, you know, action speak louder than words, Scott, and he says nothing.
ABRAMS: Jennifer London, thanks for all your help. Appreciate it.
LONDON: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—Amber on the offensive. On the tapes played today, a calm but furious Amber Frey confronts Scott Peterson about his lies to her. Lies that range from his marital status a European business trip he had been pretending to be on while the search for his wife was on. Whether she is being coached or she just has a knack for it, Frey was as good as some prosecutors I‘ve seen.
First trying to get him to talk about his lies and then when did he little more than confirm he lied, she‘d follow up using his own words. At one point even saying you‘re lying to me about lying. And you don‘t think you knew you lied to me? Peterson repeatedly saying, he could not answer her questions to protect—quote—“everyone involved.” Again and again she asked, who is everyone? She gets into him to admit he told her in early December, he had—quote—“lost his wife” weeks before his wife was reported missing.
She followed up saying, how do you lose her and then—how do you lose her then before she was lost? Explain that. There are very different kinds of loss, he responds and then explain your loss she barked back. Once again he said he could not tell her now. And when he suggested that maybe a robber had taken Laci, Amber said robbers don‘t steal people—pregnant people. She asked him straight out if Laci‘s baby was his, as Jennifer points out.
He says I can‘t tell you everything. Her response: You can‘t tell me everything? This is a yes or no question. You have to give Peterson credit. He did as much as he could to apologize by telling her almost nothing except to deny he was involved in Laci‘s disappearance. But she was relentless. Never letting him off the hook, always using his own words to incriminate him just like a good lawyer to incriminate him.
I‘ve got to tell you, based on what I‘ve seen of Amber versus the prosecutors trying this case, if Peterson ever did take the stand, which he won‘t, but if he did, I think the people of the state of California might be better served having Amber Frey do the cross-examination.
I‘ve had my say. Now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. Your response to day two of Amber Frey‘s testimony yesterday. An audiotape of the secretly reported phone calls with Peterson when he is still professing his love for her.
Shani S. in New York City, “What else do the audiotapes of Scott and Amber prove? That Amber is a pretty good liar herself? She sure doesn‘t seem like a damsel in distress.”
Shani, she‘s not on trial. He is. He‘s accused of murdering his wife. She‘s not.
Susan Rosser writes, “Although Peterson was lying, so was Amber. But she was asked to participate in a sting operation for the police department. If lying to him was part of it, then she should not be criticized for it.” Agreed.
Debbie Watts from Florida writes, “My greatest concern is not for Amber or Scott because they are both adults. My concern is for Amber‘s daughter. Why would any mother trust her daughter with a man that she has just met? What was Amber thinking?”
You know, Debbie, I know a lot of people are playing surrogate parent out there for Amber‘s child. She met Peterson through a friend. They had spent a long night together and talked on the phone at length many times. Was it a mistake? Yes. Should every single mother who makes a mistakes about the guys she dates be branded a bad mother? Come on.
From Tennessee, Frank Lassiter suggests that I may have a motive for defending Amber. “Maybe it‘s just me, but you sound absolutely infatuated with Amber Frey. Don‘t get me wrong. She‘s not a bad looking lady. But Dan, you sound like a giggling school girl every time you mention her name.” Come on, Frank.
Your e-mails abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. I go through them at the end of the show.
Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. He‘s got that big story about Governor McGreevey stepping down in that press conference, admitting that he had an extra-marital affair with a man. Coming up on “HARDBALL”.
Thanks for watching. I will be back here when the testimony resumes next week.
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