Guest: Lisa Bloom, Gary Casimir, Dean Johnson, John Q. Kelly, Norm Early, Allen Lowy, Robert Hirschhorn, Gloria Allred
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, live from Redwood City, California, new tapes of Scott Peterson pleading with Amber Frey, even after she goes public with their affair, begging her to meet him so he can just tell her one special thing. Plus...
AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Was it written all over me, you know, sucker so—oh here‘s a person I can easily take advantage of—she‘s just so na‹ve.
SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: No (UNINTELLIGIBLE). No.
ABRAMS (voice-over): And the jury hears Amber challenge Peterson about the way he treated her.
And the man who allegedly brought down the New Jersey governor is back home in Israel after the governor announced they had an extramarital affair. But now, his attorney‘s saying it was not consensual. We‘ll talk to him.
And Oprah Winfrey, the juror—the queen of daytime talk gets picked for a murder trial. What were the lawyers thinking?
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First on the docket tonight, new audiotapes depict an almost schizophrenic Scott Peterson. First, trying to woo Amber Frey, then suggesting that the two never really necessarily had a future. To frantic phone calls weeks later, this one from February 7, 2003, Peterson says—quote—“I thought I could come to wherever you are, like tonight, just for—or something to see you or talk to you.
Frey: I can‘t have you come to my house.
I know—Peterson starts crying. I can‘t say I understand, but OK.
Peterson: You know I‘m not a monster.
Amber eventually tells him to stop calling her. They also play a tape of Peterson calling Amber immediately following this press conference on January 24, 2003, when Frey told the world she was the other woman in Peterson‘s life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREY: I met Scott Peterson November 20, 2002. I was introduced to him. I was told he was unmarried. Scott told me he was not married. We did have a romantic relationship. When I discovered he was involved in the disappearance—or the Laci Peterson disappearance case, I immediately contacted the Modesto Police Department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: ... it also made me—well, I pulled over and threw up when you cried. I was listening to the radio...
FREY: Threw up?
ABRAMS: “My Take”—I‘m tell you one thing, Mark Geragos would be crazy to try and portray this relationship as just a casual fling as we heard about. At this point, I don‘t even expect him to do that. Also, I can tell you that I remember Amber Frey‘s father, Ron, telling me a while back that they were afraid that Scott might kill Amber if he came to see her or she went away with him when he‘s talking about it in February. Is it possible jurors will think he actually might have been thinking about killing Amber?
Let‘s check in with our team—Gary Casimir, criminal defense attorney, civil rights attorney and Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom. We‘ll be joined by Dean Johnson in just a moment.
Lisa, what do you think? I mean is it possible that these jurors are going to walk away and think maybe he had some plan to kill Amber?
LISA BLOOM, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I think her fear is certainly legitimate. And throughout the tapes and the transcript, she talks about that fear. Look, here she is caught with a guy who is a pathological liar, who the police are telling her is a double murderer. She‘s cooperating with the police to nail the guy.
She says in that clip at the press conference that you just showed, Dan, that she‘s been cooperating with the Modesto police from the very beginning. Now Scott Peterson‘s got to clue in at this point that she‘s been taping the calls. Nevertheless, he calls her again. They continue these calls for another couple of weeks. You know what Dan? If I were her, I‘d be afraid and I think most women would be.
ABRAMS: Gary Casimir, I‘ll tell you what makes me nervous about all this, is that he‘s just going from one extreme to the other. I mean one minute he is saying he loves her and he wants to be with her and then there is this from January 28 -- this is our number 12 here. This is Scott Peterson calling her after the press conference and basically seems to be kind of, sort of backing out of their relationship. Let‘s listen.
FREY: So are you telling me none of this was going to ever happen...
FREY: ... with you and I?
PETERSON: No, I don‘t know. You know I don‘t know. I mean that‘s why they‘re possibilities. You know that‘s what we talked about was you know if and things like that. And you thought of them as definitely going to happen then (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
ABRAMS: I mean, come on Gary. This guy is now pretending as if he wasn‘t just—I mean, we‘ve heard it all.
GARY CASIMIR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, we‘ve heard all these tapes...
ABRAMS: I‘m sure if it wasn‘t on the tape, he‘d be denying that he ever said in the first place that he wanted to be with her. But does this make you think that there‘s something psychologically wrong with this guy? I mean at one time, he is saying is I want to be with you and then he‘s saying, oh, you were the one who perceived it that way and then two weeks later he‘s calling her up frantically saying I need to be with you.
CASIMIR: There‘s no doubt—if you listen to all these tapes, and we‘ve gone through them, there is no doubt that he told her he wanted to be with her. He‘s still trying, lack of a better word, stay with her and get back together with her. That being said and Amber Frey, for him to turn around and then say that this doesn‘t exist definitely shows the extremes.
But he is a pathological liar. I mean this guy is a womanizer. He‘s a married man. He‘s out there pretending he‘s not married. I mean he‘s taking it to all extremes. That in and of itself, I don‘t know if, in fact, you can go to say that he planned to kill Amber as a result of the pre January 28 conference...
CASIMIR: That I think s a little bit extreme. I don‘t think that‘s there.
CASIMIR: I don‘t think he‘s ever...
ABRAMS: I agree with you.
CASIMIR: ... and if Amber—I don‘t think Amber ever came off afraid. I‘m sorry, Lisa. I disagree. Amber got very strong...
BLOOM: Well that‘s what she says on the tape. Gary, let me ask you a question. If you...
CASIMIR: I‘m just saying...
BLOOM: ... had an adult daughter, would you advise her to meet privately with Scott Peterson?
CASIMIR: Of course not. I would—of course I...
BLOOM: I rest my case, Gary.
CASIMIR: But that‘s not the point. The point is I don‘t think Amber was scared of Scott. If you listen to these tapes...
ABRAMS: All right.
CASIMIR: ... and you‘ve been going over them this whole week...
CASIMIR: ... you will see that she aggressively went out to get him to admit what he might have done and he never admitted it.
ABRAMS: All right. Hang on a second. Let me play it—before I go to Dean Johnson—this is number 13. Again, this is from that same conversation. Again, it‘s now sounding like Scott Peterson seemingly trying to sort of suggest that it was Amber Frey‘s imagination. Let‘s listen.
FREY: I guess—I guess one that bothered me the most was when they asked if you are in love with me and you said no. Right?
PETERSON: Yes, I thought that might bother you.
FREY: You know, you never said that, but your intentions as far as...
FREY: ... you and I talking about future plans and everything and as well as Ayanna (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
PETERSON: Yes, we talked about possibilities with you definitely. And that‘s one of the things that they cut down really bad on what I had continued to say.
ABRAMS: So Dean Johnson, he does this interview with “Good Morning America” and then he comes back and he sort of somewhat apologizing to Amber Frey for sort of dismissing her in the interview. And then a couple of weeks later, he is calling her frantically.
DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Oh, right. Remember what he said a few days before, he said, you know, this is the first day of truth in our relationship and he promises truth. And then he comes on with all of these loving conversations again and then he goes on TV and says he never loved her. I mean this is one of the most bizarre conversations you are ever going to hear.
ABRAMS: Let me play number 17 here and this is Janey Peterson, a relative of Scott Peterson‘s, just today, outside of court. And I want to tell you why I want to talk about this. Let‘s play it. I think it mirrors the way Scott Peterson was talking on the tapes. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANEY PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON‘S SISTER-IN-LAW: We don‘t condone his actions. It‘s nothing we make any excuses for. You know, but he got caught in the middle of an adulteress affair and his wife went missing and, you know, it‘s—you can second-guess him, you know, all day long. But it was a difficult situation he was in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You know, and look, Lisa Bloom, I understand Janey defending Scott. OK, that‘s fine. But you know, she is talking in the same way he is, which is as if he is a victim of this, he‘s caught in an adulteress affair. It was a difficult situation he was in. And throughout the tapes, he seems to be speaking that way as well, talking as if this is all beyond his control and that all of the answers will come later and that he can‘t talk about any of this right now with Amber.
BLOOM: Yes, poor Scott Peterson. It‘s really hard for him.
BLOOM: You know, the guy cries on command. At one point—one of my favorite points is when Amber says save your tears. You know she‘s just pretty much had it with this guy. And Dan, look at what he never says in the transcripts. We‘re almost done with all of these tapes and I‘ve read all of these transcripts all week at Court TV. He never says I‘m so upset that my wife Laci is missing.
My son is due to be born any day. We have to find him on “Good Morning America” or any of the TV interviews. He never says Laci I know you‘re out there. We‘re going to find you honey. We love you. You know keep the faith. He never says anything like that because he knows she‘s dead and she is never going to be found.
ABRAMS: All right. We‘re going to take a quick break. Dean, Gary and Lisa—Dean just popped out of the courtroom. He‘ll tell us what was happening only moments ago.
Coming up, more—we‘re going to play more of the blockbuster tapes.
They‘re still rolling in. They came out in court.
And the alleged victim‘s identity in the Kobe Bryant case is being kept out of the criminal trial. OK. But now she‘s suing him in a civil court. So, should she be allowed to remain anonymous, even when she is now, not the state, is suing him for damages?
We talk with a lawyer for the man whose affair with New Jersey‘s governor led him to resign. The other man says it was no consensual affair.
Your e-mails email@example.com. I‘ll respond at the end of the show. Stay with us.
ABRAMS: Coming up—more of Scott Peterson‘s phone calls to Amber Frey. She grills him about what he and Laci did on their last night together. It‘s all coming up.
PETERSON: I just need to tell you how much I care about you. And I desire so much to be, you know, for the rest of our lives, your best friend, your biggest comfort and the second most joy in your life. I want to be those things so bad for you.
ABRAMS: That‘s—you know, that‘s two weeks after he‘s claiming that he wasn‘t sure what—why she though they were going to be having a long-term relationship. I don‘t know. This just came out in court really only moments ago. Yesterday‘s tapes that had Frey trying to get a confession out of Peterson, acting as the interrogator, trying to elicit information from him about the night prosecutors believe Laci was killed and the morning after.
FREY: So you guys then went to bed together, woke up in the morning together.
FREY: OK, then you explain then what it was you did.
PETERSON: You don‘t know all the facts of what you asked so we went to sleep. We woke up and...
PETERSON: Please don‘t ask. I can‘t...
PETERSON: I can‘t tell you these things.
ABRAMS (voice-over): Peterson refused to answer many of Amber‘s questions, including why he told her he—quote—“lost his wife two weeks before Laci was reported missing.
FREY: You told me again on December 9 you have lost your wife and this will be the first holidays without her.
PETERSON: And I lied to you about that.
FREY: But isn‘t it so ironic that she showed up missing before the first holidays? Are you following me Scott?
PETERSON: That‘s sounds pretty sinister. You‘re right.
FREY: Pretty sinister?
PETERSON: But it is not the case.
ABRAMS: Again and again, Peterson denied any involvement in Laci‘s disappearance. He even claimed he had told Laci about Amber after their first date.
FREY: You‘re telling me Laci was OK with me.
FREY: And you‘re married and you live together and all this. But that‘s really hard for me to believe.
ABRAMS: Yes, and he claims that he told her after the first date. All right. Dean Johnson, we‘re talking a moment ago about the most recent tapes and you were saying to me that you think it‘s clear, not from those, but from the ones just played in court, that Scott Peterson knew he was being taped.
JOHNSON: Right. It‘s real clear toward the end in these February tapes that he knows he is being taped. At one point, Amber Frey says, Scott, are you still comfortable talking to me on this telephone? And he says, well, about some things. So, he knows he is being taped, but Amber is still playing him like a violin. He is still bringing her birthday presents and putting them in little secret places for her to find.
ABRAMS: Unbelievable. All right. This I‘ve got to tell you I think is the most important point. And we can talk about the relationship and the lovey-dovey stuff and the not lovey-dovey stuff. But this question about the lost your wife business, the fact that on December 9 he‘s telling her two weeks before Laci disappears that he had—quote—“lost his wife”, well, Amber confronted him at one point about what exactly he meant by it because he seemed to be suggesting that he didn‘t really mean lose his wife. Let‘s listen.
FREY: And you said you lost your wife. I mean what sense do you think people think when you say that in lost? I mean I took it and she took as she had passed away...
PETERSON: Recently dead, yes I know you did.
FREY: How else is one to think any different than that Scott? And you didn‘t indicate...
FREY: ... you‘re currently married and living with her.
ABRAMS: Gary Casimir, the defense is not actually going to argue that when he said he lost his wife he meant like in a shopping mall or that he lost her emotionally or something, are they?
CASIMIR: I don‘t think so. I think what the defense would most likely do—I think they would not touch that. They‘re not going to touch the stuff that‘s harmful and they‘re going to admit Scott is a womanizer. He is out there trying to get, for lack of a better word, in these women‘s pants and he lies about every aspect of his life to do it.
From taking trips to Europe and Brussels, he‘s a fertilizer salesman, to you know not having any family or thinking he‘d get sympathy from the idea that his wife has passed. The defense is not going to touch that either. What the defense is going to do, I suspect—and the cross-examination starts tomorrow—is they‘re going to take it really slow and go into the fact that she got involved in this investigation or her detective work right after she learned about Scott being involved, that she participated, that she may have a book deal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she might have a lifetime movie coming up. I think they‘re going to...
ABRAMS: How does that change what Scott Peterson said on tape?
CASIMIR: It doesn‘t change anything.
ABRAMS: How does that change one bit?
CASIMIR: It doesn‘t change anything that he said.
ABRAMS: But what is the point?
CASIMIR: But nothing he has said has incriminated him to murder. What it‘s incriminated him for is that he‘s an adulterer. He‘s already admitted...
BLOOM: How about predicting his wife‘s demise two weeks before it happened?
CASIMIR: Well I‘m sure they‘re going to have a nice argument for that and say...
BLOOM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when are we going to hear that? You know...
BLOOM: ... Scott Peterson says on the tapes...
CASIMIR: Well summation the same time you‘ll hear...
BLOOM: ... dozens of times, oh I‘ll explain, Amber.
ABRAMS: Hang on. One at a time.
BLOOM: I just can‘t explain now. I mean come on, Gary.
ABRAMS: Go ahead Gary...
BLOOM: ... let me tell you something else...
ABRAMS: ... Gary. Hang on. Let me let Gary respond and then Dean.
CASIMIR: OK. What I suspect they‘re—what they‘re going to do is at summation they‘ll explain away that event. They will try to tell the defense or the jury, rather, that he did not know his wife was going to go missing. This was just a coincident and that he‘s in a very bad position and that he intended to tell her that to gather sympathy so he could get closer to this girl. He would never have told her. The reason why he didn‘t tell her he was married is because if he told her that, she wouldn‘t go out with him...
BLOOM: The reason why he said it...
CASIMIR: ... that‘s why.
BLOOM: ... it was a fantasy. It was a fantasy on December 9. It was a fantasy he made come true on December 24. That‘ll be the prosecution‘s argument...
CASIMIR: I don‘t think—well the problem is the prosecution hasn‘t proved that. Adultery does not make him a murderer. They‘ve proven adultery...
CASIMIR: ... beyond a reasonable doubt.
CASIMIR: But they haven‘t proven murder beyond a reasonable doubt...
BLOOM: ... two weeks before it happened is not just a coincident.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me take a break. We‘ve got still have more on the Amber Frey tapes. I know Dean sort of frustrated wanted to jump in there. I promise he‘s going to get a chance.
Coming up also, we‘re going to talk with a lawyer for the man whose—quote—“affair with New Jersey‘s governor” led to the governor resigning. The governor says it was as consensual affair. That is not what the man‘s lawyer says.
And she‘s been on trial herself. Now Oprah Winfrey is going to be a juror in a murder case. How did the lawyers in this case possibly agree on having Oprah as a juror?
FREY: Yes, but Scott, when I listen to your family and her family talk about you and your marriage...
PETERSON: Yes. Yes, it‘s portrayed very well.
FREY: What do you mean portrayed?
FREY: They‘re all lying? Is that what you‘re saying, they‘re all lying?
PETERSON: No. All I‘m saying...
FREY: What do you mean that it‘s—what is that supposed to mean?
PETERSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) well, it‘s just, as I say, it‘s the same thing.
ABRAMS: This guy could have been a politician, I‘ll tell you, choosing his words so carefully on the phone with Amber Frey.
All right. Dean Johnson has been in court all day. Dean, there‘s just been a ruling with regard to the Amber Frey cross-examination. The judge is basically saying you‘re not going to be able to ask her about every single person she went out with throughout her whole life, right?
JOHNSON: Right. Right. Apparently the judge is saying the cross-examination cannot go into relationships before or after Scott. We have to read between the lines a little bit in this. It indicates that Geragos has an intention to broadly cross-examine, probably to attack Amber Frey‘s character, go into previous relationships. The judge has to limit that under evidence code 402-B. That suggests that Geragos is going to make a big mistake, attacking Amber Frey‘s character. I think it could be...
JOHNSON: ... the biggest mistake the defense could make.
ABRAMS: Gary, could it just be, though, that what he‘s trying to do is make a statement to the public, even though there‘s an in camera hearing behind closed doors, that he‘s saying you know what, I‘d like to—knowing that he is not going to be able to ask all this stuff—and he‘s going to say well now that I can‘t ask all this stuff, you know, I‘m going to limit my cross-examination.
CASIMIR: Absolutely. I think—you know, there are two parts to the game here. One is to get the evidence. And if you can‘t, send out a message to the media and to the audience and hopefully to the jury that there is something to hide about Amber Frey. Whether or not she‘s had an affair with a married man before, whether or not there are issues, you know, of the relationships in the past that he can use against her. I don‘t know. I have no idea how this could be relevant except to the idea...
CASIMIR: ... the sympathy that she‘s been, you know, to a certain extent, the idea that she‘s gathered a lot of sympathy and he wants to diminish that sympathy that she‘s received.
ABRAMS: Very quickly...
BLOOM: You know what kind of tactic is that, Dan? His client, Scott Peterson, is known to be an adulterer. I mean Amber was a consenting adult. Her past relationships are completely irrelevant.
BLOOM: I think Geragos does not have it in him to do the right kind of cross-examination of her, a gentle, smart, kind of cross-examination...
BLOOM: ... where he might get some good answers. He‘s just going to blast her.
ABRAMS: I‘ve got to...
CASIMIR: I disagree Lisa. I disagree...
ABRAMS: ... got to—all right, I‘ve got to wrap it—we should point out that Lisa, of course, is the daughter of Gloria Allred. She‘s got her own thoughts and everything. But you know we‘ve got to point it out Gloria is the attorney for Amber Frey...
BLOOM: And I‘m completely brainwashed.
ABRAMS: I know. All right. All right. All right. Anyway, all right. Gary Casimir, Lisa Bloom and Dean Johnson thanks very much.
CASIMIR: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up—her name is a secret, at least theoretically in the Kobe Bryant criminal case. But should it be made public now in the civil case? I mean the civil case is for money damages.
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. We go through them at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. Only eight days to go until the Kobe Bryant criminal case is set to begin, if it begins at all. But now a new battle brewing over the civil suit filed by the allege victim. The question—whether the alleged victim‘s identity should be made public in the civil case.
Now remember, despite mistakes that led to her name being released on a court Web site, the judge in the criminal case did rule that her identity had to be protected. The woman filed her civil suit anonymously, but several news organizations have asked the judge in the case to question that decision. And he gave the alleged victim‘s attorneys until the end of the month to explain why they should be allowed to continue their case without revealing her name publicly.
Now remember, when someone is charged criminally, like the case against Bryant, it‘s the people of the state of Colorado, the government, prosecuting Bryant. In a civil case, it‘s just this woman bringing the case. Many of the protections for victims and defendants in criminal cases just don‘t exist in civil cases. There‘s no presumption of innocence, for example.
Defendants in a civil case, juries don‘t need to reach unanimous decisions. The burden of proof at trial is lower. Now as I‘ve said before, I think the civil trial will be the only trial in this case. I believe the prosecutors will dismiss the charges before it is supposed to begin next Friday. And if that happens, I think they will do it with what‘s called without prejudice, meaning prosecutors would leave open the possibility of resurrecting it later.
“My Take” on this issue—in a criminal case, the court should go to great lengths to protect the anonymity of a woman accusing someone of rape. But a civil case is different. It means she‘s chosen to sue for money damages and in that case, it is her against him. And I don‘t think that there‘s any explanation for how she can justify allowing herself to remain protected in that sort of cocoon.
Joining me now to debate, plaintiff attorney John Q. Kelly who represented the family of Nicole Brown Simpson and former Denver district attorney and MSNBC analyst Norm Early.
All right, John, do you agree with me?
JOHN Q. KELLY, CIVIL LITIGATOR: I do. You stole all my thunder, though, Dan. You know she is availing herself to a civil forum. She is after money only. She is going to get the benefit of a lower burden of proof, less than unanimous jury. Kobe is going to be compelled to testify in that case and her name should be made public.
We have got to remember often times when people bring civil suits for a number of reasons, they don‘t want it to be disclosed, their name, because of embarrassing situations, whether it‘s sexual harassment, whether they‘ve been defrauded, whether they‘ve been badly injured in a way they don‘t want the public or other people to know about. I mean there are just all kinds of embarrassing situations...
KELLY: ... but that‘s not a reason to keep a name from being made public.
ABRAMS: Norm, a civil case is not different from a criminal case?
NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Dan, they‘re certainly embarrassing situations. But when it comes to rape in this country, we‘re talking about a stigma, a stigma which attaches to rape victims like in no other case. A woman receives this stigma because some man attempts to impose his will upon her and society looks at her differently, not because of what she‘s done, but because of what the man has done. She is looked at as a leper and it doesn‘t make any difference whether it‘s in civil court or whether it‘s in criminal court, the stigma is still there and people will still look at her differently because she is a rape victim.
ABRAMS: John, I mean...
KELLY: Yes and I‘ll tell you, there‘s nothing—I think it‘s horrible if someone‘s the victim of a rape. But I think the only thing comparable to that is being accused of a rape you didn‘t commit and it‘s usually a he said-she said situation like this.
ABRAMS: But we keep talking about this as rape. I mean the bottom line is rape is a criminal term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
ABRAMS: We‘re not talking about a crime of rape. We‘re talking about civil damages. We‘re talking about a case of not the people of the state of Colorado, we‘re talking about this woman saying Kobe Bryant owes me money...
ABRAMS: ... and yet—and I‘m not saying there is anything wrong with filing that time of lawsuit, Norm.
EARLY: But Dan...
ABRAMS: I‘m just saying that to say that she doesn‘t have...
ABRAMS: ... to give her name, seems to me, to be a little bit...
EARLY: In the O.J. Simpson case, they weren‘t talking about the crime of murder. They were talking about the fact that O.J. Simpson allegedly took the life of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson and they were talking about it in a civil context. But we‘re talking about the same thing, the same kind of activity that leads two people being gone. In this situation, you‘re talking about a kind of activity that causes a woman to consent against her will. And there is a stigma there, whether we want to admit it or not and it is a big stigma.
ABRAMS: Yes, but stigma...
KELLY: ... the stakes are entirely different. She is the only person that has something at stake and she‘s choosing voluntarily to enter this forum, make these allegations, and assert her rights and she‘s got to take the good with the bad in this particular instance.
EARLY: You know she should not have her forums limited because she is a sexual assault victim. She should be...
ABRAMS: No one is talk about limiting her forums Norm...
EARLY: She should be able to...
KELLY: What‘s her name. That‘s all.
EARLY: She should be able to pursue her rights in a civil court and a criminal court and she should still be free of the stigma attached to being a sexual assault victim regardless of what forum she goes to.
KELLY: Why should...
ABRAMS: Very quickly John...
KELLY: Why should Kobe have the stigma attached as being a rapist, whether it‘s a civil or criminal case and her being afforded complete privacy, whether it‘s a state prosecuting him or she‘s seeking money from him? Give up your name in the civil case.
EARLY: Well, you know, that‘s...
ABRAMS: All right...
EARLY: That‘s OK.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me just switch gears for one second. John, I know what Norm thinks about this and Norm is going to owe me dinner after this happens.
ABRAMS: But I am predicting, and Norm let me be very clear about what I‘m predicting, all right?
ABRAMS: I am predicting that before jury selection begins a week from Friday, the prosecutors will announce that these charges are being dismissed without prejudice, so that they can file them again at a later time. John, do you agree with me?
KELLY: I think they‘ll dismiss them without prejudice, you‘re right, and they will never file them again. Under any scenario, they will not bring the case. The civil case will either be settled and it all goes away. There will be a finding after trial in the civil case, which kills their criminal case, too, or if you know Kobe prevails in the civil case, then there‘s certainly no criminal case.
EARLY: Dan, you have to...
ABRAMS: Norm, very quickly, have you changed your mind?
EARLY: No, I haven‘t changed my mind. But you can‘t dismiss without prejudice because his speedy trial right has begun to run since the day he pled not guilty. The prosecution must try him within six months of that date. If the case is dismissed, they‘ll never be able to try him within six months of that day...
EARLY: ... so without presence doesn‘t mean anything.
ABRAMS: I‘ve got to wrap it up. I‘ve got to tell you I think that they are going to have an argument to make that the jeopardy may not have attached, but I‘m not saying if they‘re going to win it. But nevertheless, I predict—I continue to predict that the Kobe Bryant criminal case will not go to trial and that the charges will be dismissed before August 27...
EARLY: And you‘ll owe me a steak dinner, Dan...
ABRAMS: John Q. Kelly...
EARLY: ... steak dinner coming up...
ABRAMS: I don‘t eat steak, Norm. But nevertheless...
EARLY: All right. Whatever.
ABRAMS: ... the dinner, I‘ll owe you a steak if I lose, which I won‘t. All right, Norm and John Kelly, thanks a lot.
ABRAMS: Coming up...
ABRAMS: ... for the first time, we are hearing the other man‘s side of the story that led New Jersey governor—the New Jersey governor to resign. His lawyer joins us next.
And celebrity talk show host Oprah Winfrey a juror? That‘s right. Starting today, the queen of daytime talk will serve on a Chicago murder trial. How the heck did the lawyers agree on Oprah Winfrey as a juror?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JIM MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, remember that stunning press conference last week, with his confession that he‘d had a secret gay affair, extramarital affair, and his plans to resign in November. As for the threats of disclosure he hinted at, there have been some on both sides of the alleged affair. Sources close to the governor‘s office say the other man was his former homeland security aide and Israeli citizen named Golan Cipel.
New Jersey papers are reporting McGreevey turned down an offer from former FBI head Louis Freeh to take the job without pay so Cipel could have it instead. Cipel‘s lawyer, Allen Lowy, insists the governor actually harassed and sexually assaulted his client. And Cipel, who says he‘s not gay, had this to say to an Israeli tabloid about his life with the governor.
Quote—“He hit on me over and over. I got to a point where I was afraid to stay with him alone.” On the other side, sources close to the Jersey state house say Cipel wanted first 50 and later $5 million to drop a possible sexual harassment lawsuit against McGreevey. The FBI is said to be investigating the relationship any alleged threats of blackmail as well.
Joining me now is Cipel‘s lawyer, Allen Lowy. Mr. Lowy, thanks very much for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
ALLEN LOWY, CIPEL ATTORNEY: You‘re welcome Dan. Thanks.
ABRAMS: So first let‘s talk about these issues of blackmail negotiations, the suggestion that he was, you know, you or he was somehow demanding millions of dollars in exchange for keeping quiet. Any of that true?
LOWY: No, none of that is true...
ABRAMS: Were there any...
LOWY: I‘m sorry?
ABRAMS: Sorry. I apologize.
LOWY: There were negotiations. But you know as lawyers do, we notify another party that, you know, we‘re intending to bring an action. Usually lawyers do that by sending a demand letter. In this case, it was just a telephone call to advise the governor‘s office that we were planning to file an action. It was the governor‘s aides that initiated discussions with us. And you know because we were in a 10-day period prior to the plan date, the original plan date to file the action, you know, we were willing to talk to them.
ABRAMS: So, are you still planning on filing that action that you were talking about?
LOWY: Well, you know, Dan, a lot has changed since Thursday, since the resignation because, you know, the governor in his resignation speech, of course, he didn‘t mention Golan Cipel you know by name. It was his aides who mentioned him later. But one doesn‘t resign for being gay. And one doesn‘t resign for having a consensual affair. There was no affair with Golan.
And, you know, Golan is heterosexual and that‘s been made very, very clear. And, you know, since then, I think Golan has felt somewhat vindicated and somewhat relieved and that there was some sense of justice served on that day because you know it doesn‘t make any sense for the governor to resign for the reasons that he claimed he resigned for. As far as filing an action...
ABRAMS: So he‘s claiming that he was—I‘m sorry—he‘s claiming that he was sexually assaulted, not just harassed, but literally assaulted by the governor and yet, as you know, he was still—remained in contact with the governor even after some of the time period that we‘re talking about here.
LOWY: You know, well I really can‘t go into the time period or, you know, what the nature of any, you know, communications was between the governor and Golan since he left the governor‘s office. But, you know, when you have a very, very powerful man on one side, a governor who says he is the most powerful governor in the country, who says he can do anything, and who told Golan that his future is with him. You know, on the other side you have a professional communications specialist, one person who has a lot of experience in diplomatic affairs and in government, which is the reason that the, you know, the governor hired him.
In defense of Governor McGreevey, he had legitimate reasons for hiring him. You know, but still, you know the balance is, you know, very much in favor of this powerful man. And, of course, you know, the assaults did not take place every single day. You know, they were numerous ones, but they did not happen every day and you know each time there was an assault or an act of harassment, Golan tried to reject the governor‘s advances. But after a while, you know, he couldn‘t stand up to it anymore and not say anything and he confronted the governor in the summer of 2002...
LOWY: ... and let him know that he wasn‘t going to take it anymore.
ABRAMS: Yes. Well, as—you know, you say that—you‘re right, you can‘t comment at this point on why the contacts continued after that point. I guess that will all come out in litigation, if there is any, in court...
ABRAMS: Allen Lowy, thanks very much for coming on the program. I appreciate it.
LOWY: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: And coming into the halls of justice in Chicago, possibly for this week only, the queen of daytime talk, Oprah Winfrey. That‘s right. She didn‘t just show up for jury duty. Oprah will now be a juror—she is a juror on a murder case. The accused charged of shooting an acquaintance over a counterfeit $50 bill.
Oprah‘s take on her jury service—quote—“I would not have me on a jury. I‘m too opinionated. Now I can have an open mind, but I‘m really too opinionated.
“My Take” on Oprah in the jury box, dangerous. Can‘t see why the prosecutors would want to take the chance, if they have a strong case, of an Oprah-dominated jury. Again, I don‘t know the facts of this case, but I‘m joined by jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn.
You know Robert, how does Oprah Winfrey make it on to a jury? First of all, if you are the prosecutor‘s jury consultant, is think any scenario under which you would say Oprah Winfrey could be a good juror for us?
ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, JURY CONSULTANT: Only if I wanted to get on the front page of the Chicago papers with a verdict that says “not guilty”, but short of that, no. I mean, look, the fact that Oprah is serving on a jury is a credit to her. We‘ve got to remember she, herself, went on trial in Texas in the beef case and was acquitted. So, she knows what it‘s like to be falsely accused. So I‘m really proud of Oprah for, rather than shirking or shifting her responsibility, stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing.
ABRAMS: Right. OK. All right. All right...
HIRSCHHORN: But in terms of being a juror, Dan...
HIRSCHHORN: ... in terms of being a juror, I‘ve got to believe that she‘s going to really give this defendant the presumption of innocence. And while Oprah is opinionated, I think she is going to let the other jurors decide this case as well. Look, everybody got star struck. That‘s why Oprah‘s on that jury.
ABRAMS: And that is the danger, is it not, that jurors will defer to Oprah in the jury room or, I guess, intentionally—I mean you know, I‘ve seen sometimes, you know, when people are around famous people, in particular, some people either want to be with them. Other people want to pretend like they don‘t care about them.
HIRSCHHORN: Right. Exactly. And you know, the jurors are going to be torn between wanting her autograph or wanting to get their picture taken with her, but they‘re certainly not going to want to be disagreeing. That‘s why, I think, Oprah is classy enough that she is going to sit back and let the jurors have the deliberations. I really don‘t think that while she may have opinions, if she seriously disagrees with the group, I think she‘ll then voice them up. But I don‘t think she is going to run the show. I think she‘s got too much class, too much heart and too much good to do that.
ABRAMS: Yes. She‘ll probably do it like a talk show. Let them talk and she‘ll listen. Robert Hirschhorn, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
HIRSCHHORN: Thanks. And there is my summons for jury duty as well, Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, why I am tired of hearing people justify Scott Peterson‘s lies as some sort of normal boys will be boys behavior. It‘s my “Closing Argument” and the attorney for Amber Frey joining us in a moment to talk about those tapes we‘ve been hearing in court, coming up.
ABRAMS: Amber Frey‘s attorney joins us in a moment to talk about those audiotapes of Scott and Amber. We just heard Amber say to Scott, don‘t call me anymore.
FREY: Is it written all over me, you know, sucker (UNINTELLIGIBLE) oh here‘s a person I can easily take advantage of. She‘s just so na‹ve...
PETERSON: No, God no. Amber, no.
FREY: ... and so trusting of people.
PETERSON: Yes, you‘re wonderful.
ABRAMS: Part of the Amber Frey-Scott Peterson tapes that have been—being played in court. They have now finished the direct examination. The cross-examination expected to start tomorrow. Gloria Allred is the attorney for Amber Frey.
All right. Let‘s take a look back now at where we are. First of all, let me just ask you, in terms of emotionally, was it hard for Amber Frey to sit in the courtroom through all that?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY: It is.
ALLRED: It‘s a challenge every day. Because she‘s remembering painful memories, and, you know, sometimes she‘s crying on the tape, and the reason she‘s crying on the tape...
ABRAMS: Real tears? I mean...
ALLRED: Absolute tears...
ABRAMS: ... she knows the police are taping her.
ALLRED: You know it‘s bringing back some very hurtful moments because Scott Peterson knew that she trusted him. He encouraged her to trust him. He knew how much trust meant to her and how much the truth meant to her, and despite all that, of course, he betrayed her trust.
ABRAMS: Cross-examination scheduled to begin tomorrow. Mark Geragos...
ABRAMS: ... talking about PowerPoint presentations and other elements. He‘s—there‘s a hearing just now to determine exactly what‘s going to be admissible, what‘s not. How do you prepare your client for what could be a very tough and possibly embarrassing cross-examination?
ALLRED: Of course, it‘s far easier for Amber Frey to take the witness stand than it would be for Scott Peterson because Scott Peterson would have to try to explain away all his lies, which I think would be an impossible task, so I don‘t expect he will take the witness stand. As for Amber, she will simply get up there. She will tell the truth, Dan, no matter whom it helps or hurts. She is going to tell the truth.
ABRAMS: Is she nervous about tomorrow? I mean this has been the easy part, right? I mean easy part comparatively in terms of friendly questioning, tapes she knows what was going to be on them. Now she‘s going to have someone going after her. Is she going to sleep tonight?
ALLRED: I think yes, anyone would be nervous under these circumstances. I don‘t think she ever gets a full night‘s sleep, by the way, because she‘s still nursing her baby and she‘s even doing that during the break and she does that, you know, at night as well. But she‘s going to do just fine because he is not going to be able to shake the fact of what she said on the tapes and what Scott Peterson said on the tapes and what Scott Peterson said on the tape was very, very damaging.
ABRAMS: Difficult for her to sit in the same room with Scott Peterson day after day? I mean sometimes having to basically be a couple yards away from him.
ALLRED: I imagine she‘s having very complicated emotions, but she‘s focusing on her testimony, and that‘s what‘s important. The only time that she‘s had to look at Scott directly, Dan, was the first day when the prosecutor asked her to identify him.
ABRAMS: You know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) very personal, emotional tapes being played, and there he is sitting there with her.
ALLRED: Yes, but, I mean, this is about a double murder, and she‘s more than up to the task. She‘s a very courageous young woman. She‘s one of the most courageous people I‘ve ever met, and the sacrifices that she has made to assist in the investigation of this case are just amazing, and I just think she deserves every superlative that anyone can give.
ABRAMS: I‘ve said it before. I‘ll say it again. If Amber Frey is telling the truth and nothing but the truth and the cross-examination doesn‘t belie that, she should walk out of this courtroom a proud woman. Gloria Allred, thanks very much...
ALLRED: Thank you.
ABRAMS: ... for coming on the program.
All right. Time for “Your Rebuttal”. Last night in my “Closing Argument” I said I only want to hear cross-examination of Amber Frey that is relevant to the case, not just a smear job similar to what defense attorneys have done to witnesses in other high-profile trials.
Pam Marshall in New Mexico. “Amber Frey is testifying against a man in a capital murder case. His life is at stake and we don‘t want to embarrass her or make her uncomfortable? We need to know if anything would cast doubt on her testimony or if there‘s anything in her past that would cast some doubt on Scott‘s guilt. Her past is the consequence of her own decisions.”
Pam, tell me how—quote—“casting doubt on her credibility” affects anything Scott Peterson said on those tapes. Unless they can show she was somehow involved in Laci‘s murder or knew all along that he was married, then I don‘t think I‘m going to care.
Also last night after listening to more of the audiotaped conversations secretly recorded by Amber, some of my guests and I found it hard to believe that Scott actually told Laci about his affair with Amber, as he claims.
Dan Wallis, “For the people who think it‘s unbelievable that Scott told Laci about having a lover, have they seen the news lately? A governor has a news conference with his wife by his side talking about having an affair with another guy. If I hadn‘t seen it, I would think that was unbelievable too.” Fair point.
From Farmingville, New York, Morgan writes in response to something else, comments made yesterday. Quote—“Your guests are naive. Speaking from my experience as a psychotherapist it is sad to report that my wife died is a line that is used more often than you would think when a sexual predator sets his sights on his prey.” Fine. It may be normal for sexual predators, but it‘s not normal.
Finally, Teresa Skaryd in Michigan thinks Amber had no right to ask Scott about where he and Laci slept the night before she was reported missing. “Amber is furious on those tapes plain and simple. Whether Scott slept with Laci is none of her business. Scott is married to Laci. That is his wife.”
Oh, I see, Teresa, so she can have sex with a married man as he lies
about his wife, but then she has no right to question him about it because
· quote—“that‘s his wife.” In the words of Amber Frey, are you kidding me?
Your e-mails email@example.com. We go through them at the end of the show.
Thanks for watching. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews up next. I‘ll see you back here. Cross-examination tomorrow.
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