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'The Abrams Report' for Sept. 14

Read the complete transcript to Tuesday's show

Guests: Gerry Richards, Gerry Kaplan, Bo Dietl, Dean Johnson, Jayne Weintraub, Lisa Bloom, Matt Cronin, Paolo Andino, Rob Siever

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, is it possible that Mark Geragos is so confident that the prosecution has screwed up the Scott Peterson case that he won‘t present a defense?


ABRAMS (voice-over):  And gruesome testimony in court today as the jury hears about the condition of Laci Peterson‘s clothing when her body washed up in the San Francisco Bay.

The “60 Minutes” expose on the president‘s service in the National Guard and the charges that CBS may have used forged documents to make its case that the president didn‘t play by the rules.  We‘ll examine the evidence and discuss the case for and against the CBS report.

And amateur detectives find a video camera in a taxi, track down the tourist donors and drop it off at their cruise ship with a little video of their own chronicling their adventure trying to return it.  Now, they have been found and they join us.

The program about justice starts now.


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  Tonight I‘m in Bethpage, New York at a fundraiser for the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation; more on that later in the program.

But first up on the docket tonight, CBS News made headlines with what were described as newly discovered memos showing how political pull they said helped President Bush dodge some commitments when he served in the Texas Air National Guard.  But instead of praise for CBS, most headlines are about the questionable nature of the memos themselves.  And since you have been hearing a lot of speculation about the authenticity of those memos, tonight we‘re going to investigate them as evidence to help you decide whether they are authentic or in fact forgeries.

CBS says the memos came from the files of the president‘s National Guard commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian who died in 1984.  And if you can believe them they show Lieutenant Bush didn‘t perform up to par, that he disobeyed a direct order to get a physical and that he used family connections to try to prevent any investigation into his misdeeds.

Now CBS News is not backing down.  Here is what Dan Rather had to say just last night on the “CBS Evening News”.


DAN RATHER, “CBS EVENING NEWS”:  What is in the “60 Minutes” report CBS News believes to be true and believes the documents are authentic.


ABRAMS:  But not everyone is buying the CBS story.  Here is the first lady‘s take on the issue.


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY:  You know they probably are altered and they probably are forgeries and I think that‘s terrible really.  I think it‘s a terrible—I mean that‘s actually one of the risks you take when you run for public office.


ABRAMS:  So, the big question, were the memos typed on an IBM typewriter back in the 1970‘s or were they fabricated more recently using Microsoft Word or some other kind of computer software?  CBS says it had document experts analyze the memo and compare Killian‘s signature to other authenticated documents, while other analysts confirmed its content was consistent with the president‘s service.

While CBS is refusing to reveal its source for the memos experts in a news report seem to be tearing them apart.  Document experts on the other side say there‘s no way these memos could have been created by a typewriter.  Handwriting experts question the signatures and some of Killian‘s family and former colleagues say they doubt that he wrote them.

And there is more.  “The Dallas Morning News” reports that a colonel, William Stout (ph), mentioned as pressuring Killian on Bush‘s behalf retired from the Guard a year and a half about before that memo was written.  The “L.A.  Times” reports the handwriting analyst who CBS says verified the authenticity of the four memos actually only vouched for one of the signatures.

And “The Washington Post” reports that one of the memos contains an outdated address for Bush.  That the typeset of the new documents doesn‘t match others previously released and that military language in the memos is simply incorrect.

Joining me now is forensic document examiner and former chief of the Document Operations and Research Unit at the FBI, Gerry Richards, and Gerry Kaplan, an historian who specializes in IBM Composer typewriters.  Gentlemen, thank you for very much coming on the program.  Let‘s try and get to the bottom of this by looking at the evidence.

All right, Mr. Richards, let me start with you and let me put up on our screen one of the issues about some of the writing on this memo.  But actually first let me do this.  Let me just get your overall sense, Mr.  Richards, of what you make of the documents.

GERRY RICHARDS, FORMER FBI AGENT:  Well generally, the documents themselves are photocopies, which is problematic.  You don‘t get as much detail or information from photocopies.  But, that being said, the information that is there, the typing and the signature, in both cases the typing is, or I should say the printing on there is a style and design and formatting which is quite common in word processors today but was not really available altogether back in 1972.  The signature...

ABRAMS:  What does...

RICHARDS:  The signatures are very different.

ABRAMS:  I apologize for interrupting you.  What does it mean not

really available?  Because that‘s really I think what is at the heart of

the matter here is I think, you know, that CBS with concede no they weren‘t

·         it is not as if everyone was using them at the time but they certainly were available and they would say that certainly doesn‘t prove that the documents are forgeries.

RICHARDS:  No, as a matter of fact they weren‘t available.  Portions of it, proportional type was available on some typewriters, superscript might be available on other typewriters.  The centering and ability to center headings, et cetera, may have been available, but very, very difficult to use on more expensive typewriters, some of the IBMs, but they weren‘t all together in a machine that would print one document at a time readily.

ABRAMS:  All right, Mr. Kaplan, do you agree with that?

GERRY KAPLAN, IBM TYPEWRITER HISTORIAN:  I do agree with that for the most part.  You know, I have been asked to look into whether or not the IBM Selectric Composer machines were able to produce the documents and although the fonts that were used in the documents, which as everybody knows by now, were Times New Roman.  There was a similar font available at the time which was Press Roman and that was available for the IBM Composer and the Composer did have the ability to produce documents that were, you know, in proportional space fonts.

But one of the things that you know you have to keep in consideration when thinking about whether or not the IBM Composer was used was what was the feasibility of using an IBM Composer.  The IBM Composer was specifically a machine that IBM produced for typesetting documents, in other words, creating columns of text and—or magazine publications.  So, using an IBM Composer to produce memos is highly unlikely.

In addition to doing things like maybe producing a superscripted “T”, “H”, that would—that‘s just a relatively laborious process.  There are also some other things that kind of push it away from being done on a machine as sophisticated as the IBM Composer and that is in the address line, one of the address lines it actually shows...

ABRAMS:  Well, you know what, hang on a sec Mr. Kaplan...

KAPLAN:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  Let me just have you wait—let me just go through some of the evidence here and then we‘ll talk about it sort of point by point.  Let‘s go through some of what‘s on that document.  There is, you know you‘re talking about the superscript in the memo—could we show that—and talking about how it‘s difficult to use that type of type on the computer, also in particular the “L” there to some seem suspicious.

Let‘s go to number four now—shows more of the superscript on the memo, the superscript typing.  Let‘s go to five—shows the spacing between the number and “T”, “H”, indicating that maybe someone was trying to prevent a computer from automatically superscripting.

Mr. Kaplan, all right, now we‘ve looked at a little bit of the scripting there.  Why don‘t you just continue now talking about what are some of the issues that we‘re seeing here?  We just looked at a number of the spacing, at the numbers, at the letters.  I mean is the bottom line what you are telling us is that the IBM that was available in the 1970‘s would have had a very hard—someone would have had a hard time producing one document with all of that type on an IBM typewriter available at the time?

KAPLAN:  Well, at that time, you know, speaking in terms of just the IBM line of machines because I don‘t know of every single machine that was out there.  I specifically focus on the IBM Composer line of machines.  But there was also another machine called the IBM executive typewriter and the IBM executive typewriter was around the same time as the IBM Composer was and the IBM executive typewriter was more of a generally used typewriter.  So that machine could have possibly done this.  But it would have had to have been a customized one, one that would have a superscripted “T”, “H”.

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right, Mr. Richards, there‘s also the issue of the signature.  Comparing the signature on the original—let‘s look at the full screen—comparing the signature on the original document on the left to the signature on the CBS memo.  Any thoughts on these—comparisons of the signatures?

RICHARDS:  Well, again, the signatures as I have seen on the Web and that I‘ve seen published to date are grossly different.  And here we can only see—when we are identifying or eliminating people based on their signature we usually look at the fine detail.  We don‘t have that here.  So, all we have is the gross elements of the signature.

And when we look at those gross elements here, they are significantly different between the four signatures on the memo and the other signatures, the known signatures that we have.  And the thing is they are consistent.  The ones on the memos are consistent and the known ones are consistent but grossly different.

ABRAMS:  So, Mr. Richards, again I‘m assuming based on your former role in the FBI you have to testify in court quite a bit.  Is that fair to say?

RICHARDS:  That‘s fair to say, yes.

ABRAMS:  All right.  So if you were called to testify in court based on the evidence that you have seen, how would you characterize your conclusion?

RICHARDS:  Well, I characterize my conclusion is I agree with Mr.  Kaplan.  I cannot find any machine that was capable of producing the typing on there in and about 1970.  That was a transition period from typewriters to word processors.  However, when we take the current word processors we can do all of the superscripting, the non-superscripting, quite simply all of the centering, quite simply have proportional type and the Times New Roman font matches that as close as we can see.  And basically...


ABRAMS:  Mr. Kaplan, very quickly then, you would say—you would agree then theoretically possible but unlikely?

KAPLAN:  Yes, that would be my conclusion as well—theoretically possible, but unlikely.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Thank you both very much for joining us.  We appreciate it.

Coming up, for seven weeks Salt Lake City police have been using search dogs at this landfill trying to find the remains of Lori Hacking, the pregnant woman whose husband allegedly admitted to killing her.  Now investigators are searching debris by hand.

Plus, prosecutors in the Scott Peterson case trying to prove that Laci Peterson‘s body was dumped in the San Francisco Bay just after she went missing and proved she did not deliver her baby alive.

And two amateur sleuths search for the owners of a lost camcorder in New York City.  They documented their journey on tape.  They found the owners, now we found them.  We will talk to them.

Your e-mails  I respond at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, nearly two months after Lori Hacking went missing new details in the search for her body.  Police searching through a Salt Lake City landfill, but they are searching by hand.  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  The gruesome details in this story seem to just keep getting more gruesome.  It has been nearly two months now since pregnant Lori Hacking disappeared from her Salt Lake City home.  Her husband, Mark, allegedly told his brothers he shot Lori in the head after she found out he‘d lied about plans to become a doctor.

Mark Hacking has been charged with killing Lori, but after weeks of searching police still don‘t have a key piece of evidence, Lori‘s body or the murder weapon.  So today the search began again with police working through a landfill a piece at a time.

KSL-TV‘s Debbie Dujanovic has more.


DEBBIE DUJANOVIC, KSL-TV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  This is the part of the county landfill where police believe Lori Hacking is, spreading out the garbage is the first step.  New officers and more of them will start handpicking through each piece of trash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This time the officers will go be actually going through it by hand and looking at each piece of material and sifting it out if will you and then loading it to be removed from that area to another location.

DUJANOVIC:  For nearly two months they have searched the landfill for Lori‘s body—so far nothing.  They use cadaver dogs to sniff through the pile for human remains but never got through the whole area they had set out to search.  Instead of staying the course they have decided to change tactics.  The dogs won‘t search any more and instead more people will be brought in.  Other officers, firefighters, medics all offering to join the search.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think it has everything to do with the fact that it is Lori Hacking and they want to find her and they want to put this case to rest and they want to help the family to make sure that we do everything that we can to bring her home to her family.

DUJANOVIC:  The search for Lori began in July.  Her husband arrested in connection with her murder accused of putting her body in a dumpster near his workplace.  Reality is police say they don‘t know for sure if Lori Hacking‘s body is at the landfill, but they are not ready to walk away from their only good lead.


ABRAMS:  That was KSL-TV‘s Debbie Dujanovic reporting.  Searching a desert landfill a piece at a time for a body allegedly dumped nearly eight weeks ago in the middle of summer.

Private investigator and former NYPD detective Bo Dietl is with me. 

Bo, good to see you.  So...


ABRAMS:  ... what do you make of this method of searching?  I mean they have already had cadaver dogs go through this.  Have you ever heard of something like this?

BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE:  You know a lot of people don‘t realize these dogs are good for a certain amount of hours.  After that they get tired like anybody else and you are researching all this rubbish there.  You‘re going to have dead rats in there.  You‘re going to have other cadavers in there of dead animals and you also have the decomposing of the body.

It‘s been out there so long in the heat.  So this is becoming very, very difficult when you have tractors in there when they run stuff out and they‘re running dirt on top of it.  I mean this is becoming very complex.  Again, Dan, we don‘t need the body to convict this guy.  You like...


DIETL:  ... you always like the body but as far as the case they have together now I think they have a pretty solid case.

ABRAMS:  And I think that‘s one of the key issues.  I think people often say oh you know, how are you going to move forward in this case without a body but you know I‘ve seen cases like this, I‘m sure you‘ve seen cases like this where they prosecute even though they never find a body.

DIETL:  I think you have a complete case here with the statements to his brothers and I think he even—I think if you even look into the case further, that the police must have some incriminating statements also from him, you know statements are not consistent with what he was saying, once and then he changes it around.  A jury could sort that out very easily.

And they always want to find the body.  They want to find the gun.  If the corpse is still wearing around—they call it wearing around—if they are still around in the wife they want to find out to match the ballistics up.  It‘s important but it is not the total case.  You‘d sure love to find the body.  You‘d like to put that body to rest and to get a proper burial also for the family to put that closure to bed as far as I‘m concerned...

ABRAMS:  Bo, if you were in charge of this investigation would you call off the search at this point or would you tell them to go forward?

DIETL:  No.  You know what?  It depends on who you have searching here.  You‘ve got to have these people really doing it very intricately looking in all of the different things.  There is so much area.  You‘re talking about 4,000 tons that have been tracted (ph) over, move it around, it‘s very difficult, but I would try.

I would try more—I mean it‘s very important that you have a rifle there, a physical rifle that supposedly shows up also.  So there‘s a lot of avenues of evidence.  What she was wearing, last known what she was wearing anyway.  You have to look at clothes.  You have to look at a lot of things.  This is...


DIETL:  ... a very tedious thing, Dan, and I really feel sorry for the family.  You don‘t want to know...

ABRAMS:  So do I.

DIETL:  ... about your little girl in a garbage dump.  You want to be able to bury her properly and give her the proper burial that she should get.

ABRAMS:  This is just awful.  I mean that‘s one of the reasons I guess I was asking that question, is because just thinking about it from the family‘s perspective...


ABRAMS:  ... in a way...

DIETL:  The police...

ABRAMS:  ... in a case that seems strong, I might—yes...

DIETL:  You know Dan, the police actually feel the same way you do and I do, also.

ABRAMS:  I know.

DIETL:  They want to put closure to this case, too.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Bo Dietl, it‘s always great to have you on. 

Thanks again.

DIETL:  Thank you Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, prosecutors try to make up ground in the Scott Peterson case trying to prove that Laci Peterson‘s body was dumped in the San Francisco Bay right after she went missing.  But there are reports Peterson‘s lawyer thinks the prosecution‘s case is so bad that he may not even present a defense.  We will have the latest from the courthouse coming up.


ABRAMS:  Question:  Is Scott Peterson so confident the jury is going to find him not guilty that he‘s considering not having his attorneys present a case in his defense or his attorneys so confident?  A report today coming from a local Redwood City newspaper says it‘s a possibility, a good possibility.  The Redwood City “Daily News” citing sources close to the case saying Peterson‘s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, could rest his case on his cross examination of the prosecution witnesses alone.

The article goes on to say the decision may depend on whether Geragos can—quote—“significantly undercut testimony from an upcoming prosecution expert,” expected to testify on the tidal currents of the San Francisco Bay to show that maybe the currents explain why Scott Peterson may have dumped the body exactly where Laci, if you look at the currents, where Laci‘s body was ultimately found.

Edie Lambert from NBC affiliate KCRA joins us now from outside the courthouse.  So Edie, “A”, do you know anything about this and “B”, what has been going on in court today?

EDIE LAMBERT, KCRA CORRESPONDENT:  Well first of all, I can confirm from a source close to the defense this is a strategy that they are considering.  They have not made a decision at this point and I‘m told that they will not make a decision until the prosecution rests their case.

Now Dan, as you know, Mark Geragos has been widely viewed by legal analysts out here as doing a great job of turning the prosecution‘s own witnesses against them.  Many analysts believe it might simply a good idea for the defense to leave it at that.  But as you know, Geragos made some promises to the jury during opening statements.  I can run through a couple of them with you.

First of all, that baby Conner‘s age was close enough to full term that Scott could not possibly be the killer because by that time he was under surveillance.  Also that eyewitnesses saw Laci Peterson alive after the time the police believe that she had been killed.

Now, perhaps Geragos can make the first point on cross-examination of the coroner, but certainly if he does not present a case, he will have to walk away from that second point.  Again, I just keep coming back to the fact that this is a death penalty case.  The stakes could not be higher and Scott Peterson is the one who will have the ultimate say as to what his defense team does.

Now to bring you up to date on what happened today inside the courtroom we heard from a scientist who tested a lot of the evidence in this case including some of the evidence found on the remains of Laci and Conner Peterson.  The first big point made by the prosecutors, barnacles were discovered on Laci‘s clothing and also on duct tape attached to her maternity pants.  That indicates that she was in the bay for a fairly long time.

It may also indicate that her body was weighed down and held in one place.  Also the duct tape found on Laci‘s body did not match the duct tape found on plastic sheeting.  Dan, as you know, there‘s been some attempt to connect those two pieces of evidence.  This may mean that they can‘t do that.  Right now a fingerprint expert is on the stand and we expect to hear more from him in the next hour.

Back to you.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Edie Lambert, if you could stick around because we‘re going to be talking a lot more about this and I‘m going to weigh in on what I think about if Geragos is really going to do this.  Our legal panel will be here.  We‘re going to ask them if Geragos really not present a defense after the prosecution wraps up its case.  I‘ll weigh in.  They‘ll weigh in.  Edie will weigh in.

And two New Yorkers chronicle their efforts as amateur detectives after they found a lost video camera; they tried to return it to its owners.  Well, they found the owners and we found them.  They chronicled—a lot of it‘s on videotape.  It‘s coming up.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, it‘s sure clear that prosecutors in the Scott Peterson case haven‘t done a great job of making their case, but did they actually help the defense enough so the defense attorney Mark Geragos doesn‘t need to call any witnesses of his own?  First, the headlines?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think the fact that people are even discussing that indicates how poor the prosecution‘s case is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The fact that that‘s even discussed, you know, just points out that there is no evidence.


ABRAMS:  Scott Peterson‘s sister-in-law basically saying there‘s no evidence after a published report out today that the defense will rest its case without presenting any rebuttal witnesses.

“My Take”—Mark Geragos has floated a lot of theories out there about this case so it doesn‘t tell me a whole lot that the defense is considering not presenting a defense.  Remember, some were speculating that he wouldn‘t cross-examine Amber Frey at all.  I predict he will present a case with at least some medical experts.

I don‘t know that he‘s going to need much of a case though.  He has done a pretty good job so far.  Let‘s bring in our legal team—Court TV anchor, civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub and in the courtroom for us today was former San Mateo County prosecutor Dean Johnson.

All right, Dean, let me start with you—Edie Lambert is there as well.  Dean, do you buy this?  Do you think that it‘s possible they actually won‘t present a defense at all?

DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR:  Oh it‘s possible, but I don‘t think it‘s going to happen.  I think it‘s going to be a very short defense case limited to experts that are going to answer the prosecution.  The reason for that, Mark Geragos has done a great job of raising doubt as to every one of the 12 or 15 or so points that the prosecution has raised.

This is a classic reasonable doubt case and reason number two is that as you point out, Mark Geragos has floated so many theories and so many of them have been shown ridiculous by the prosecution that if he tries to float any more or further any of those theories, he‘s going to lose credibility and that‘s the one thing he doesn‘t...


JOHNSON:  ... want to do right now.  I expect a very short defense...

ABRAMS:  Jayne Weintraub, are we going to see a defense here?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I think you will see a defense.  Remember, Dan, also this a capital case.  This is not a time or place to play strategy games.  If there is a defense to put on that Mark thinks is necessary to prove his theory he will.  And I agree with Dean, it will be a medical defense particularly with regard to the age of Conner, the baby.

ABRAMS:  Lisa Bloom, are we going to see a defense?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR:  You know, remember the beginning of Amber Frey‘s cross-examination where Mark Geragos stood up in court and said no questions and everyone was shocked, and then he laughed and said just kidding.  You know we may see a replay of that joke.

No defense witnesses, just kidding.  This not a joke.  This is not a game as Jayne says and I completely agree with that.  It‘s not even a reality show.  There are two people dead and one more could be dead by the end, Scott Peterson if he is convicted and sentenced to death like the state of California wants.  Mark Geragos better put on a defense.  This is serious business.

ABRAMS:  All right, let may go through some of points that Mark Geragos has been able to make on cross-examination in this case.

For example, Laci‘s sister testified and she said that Scott invited her over for pizza on the 23rd, that‘s the night that prosecutors believe that Laci may have been killed.  Of course, you know, the point here that Scott didn‘t premeditate anything if he was inviting Laci‘s sister over.

That Ron Grantski, stepfather, also went fishing on the same morning, Christmas Eve 2002.  Made an impromptu decision that it‘s not uncommon apparently in this family to go fishing on Christmas Eve.

And there are all those problems with Detective Brocchini, one of the lead detectives, that he deleted information from some reports including a woman who said she saw Laci at the warehouse, at Scott Peterson‘s warehouse the day before she went missing.  That‘s important, of course, to demonstrate why her hair might have been in Scott Peterson‘s boat.

That he may have embellished testimony about getting a tip on duct tape and of course, there was the famous meringue reference.  Remember, opening statements, prosecutors said that they could demonstrate that Scott Peterson was lying about having seen Laci watching Martha Stewart when he left because they made reference to meringue.

Anyway, bottom line is that the prosecutors were wrong on that.  You can make arguments about timing, et cetera, but bottom line is that they, you know, this all cast doubt on police credibility.

Then there is the issue of Lee Peterson, the father of Scott Peterson.  You know, that he—they brought him on to say that he didn‘t know that Scott Peterson owned a boat.  For example, well, he says that Scott bought other big-ticket items and never told him.

And also the fact that the detectives searched the home, found no blood or sort of overwhelming physical evidence in this case.

All right, so Dean, you know sometimes you are a prosecutor, sometimes you are a defense in this case.  That‘s a lot of points that they made on cross-examination and that‘s not even all of them.

JOHNSON:  Yes, that‘s not even all.  I did my own little chart and I put prosecution and defense answer on two columns and for every one of the 15 or so prosecution points I came up with, there‘s a pretty good defense answer.  I expect to hear Mark Geragos get up, maybe put on a couple of expert witnesses which is all he needs, and then argue that if you look at the prosecution‘s case, yes, they have got 15 different pieces of evidence, but 15 times nothing is still nothing.

ABRAMS:  And then Lisa Bloom there‘s always this stuff.


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND:  So why is it that you have such a hard time with the truth?

SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER:  I don‘t think I do.  But I lied to you and I hate myself for that.

FREY:  You didn‘t think you knew you lied to me?

PETERSON:  No, no, no.  I have always told you the truth...

FREY:  Oh really...

PETERSON:  ... no, with exceptions obviously.

FREY:  Oh, truth with exceptions (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  That‘s a new one for my book.


ABRAMS:  Lisa, we don‘t expect to see any witnesses from the defense with regard to Amber, do we?

BLOOM:  No, I wouldn‘t expect so.  But Dan, you know, again it is not a game.  It doesn‘t matter how many points were scored on cross-examination because the worst evidence against Scott Peterson comes from his own mouth.  His admission that he was at the crime scene where the bodies washed up four months later.

There is no defense response to that except the argument that Scott Peterson was framed.  But now we have dog that sniffed Laci Peterson four days after she went missing in late December.  You mean to tell me this dog is out to frame Scott Peterson?  That‘s the best evidence against him.  That is what Mark Geragos admitted over a year ago was good evidence against Scott Peterson...

ABRAMS:  Jayne Weintraub...


BLOOM:  There‘s no way around that evidence...

ABRAMS:  ... the final word on this.

WEINTRAUB:  I‘d like to cross-examine the dog...

ABRAMS:  Final word.

WEINTRAUB:  Scott doesn‘t need to testify and won‘t testify and just because he was at the shore and the marina doesn‘t mean he murdered her.  As a matter of fact there‘s been no evidence whatsoever of any murder.

BLOOM:  The dog tracked Laci at the marina...


WEINTRAUB:  No physical evidence...


WEINTRAUB:  ... no forensic evidence...

BLOOM:  ... not Scott, Laci...

WEINTRAUB:  ... no eyewitness testimony.

ABRAMS:  All right...

WEINTRAUB:  There is no evidence in this case.  Not guilty.

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know.  Well, I don‘t know.  I think that is a very, very big piece of evidence.  The question is whether it‘s going to be enough evidence, but we shall see.

Lisa Bloom, Jayne Weintraub, Dean Johnson, Edie Lambert, thanks.

Coming up, a real life who done it kind of.  A British couple lose their video camera while visiting New York.  Some good Samaritans turn in to detectives to track down the owners and return it to them with a little video message of their own.  Now the amateur sleuths have been tracked down after an article in a local paper asked for people to help.  They join us next.

Your e-mails


ABRAMS:  That‘s video of golfers.  If you wonder why we‘re showing you a videotape of golfers and wonder why I‘m on a golf course because I‘m at an event for the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation and you can get information as we keep bumping on the commercial breaks at  And we‘re going to interview someone about the foundation later in the program.

First, here is a good story from New York.  British couple, tourists leave their video camera in a cab in New York City early this month.  They assumed it was gone.  The next day when they arrived at the cruise ship where they would be shipping out there was the camera with a sort of cryptic note.  Somehow two good Samaritans found it and then found the couple and that‘s not all.  The Samaritans chronicled some of their journey for the couple on videotape.

NBC‘s Dawna Friesen has the story.



DAWNA FRIESEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  In the chaos of New York City cabs, kindness can get lost.  So when British tourists Len and Jill Nobbs forgot their video camera in the back of a Manhattan cab they thought it was gone for good.  They were wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hello Mr. and Mrs. Nobbs.  My name is Matt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We found your cab in the back of a cab this morning.  We looked at just a little bit of your footage and overheard that you were staying at the Hilton.

FRIESEN:  So began a dash around town.  First the hotel, then to cruise ships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We think you are on the Zenith at 4:30, which is where we are going right now to give you back your camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s the ship.  You are in there somewhere (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  You can see it (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And we‘ve got your name.  Annette (ph) found it on the passenger...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... your room number...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... your room number...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... and that‘s where we‘re sending it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So, have a great time on your trip to Bermuda.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And now you‘ll be able to document everything.

FRIESEN:  It wasn‘t long before British TV picked up the story.

LEN NOBBS, LOST CAMCORDER, RETURNED IN NEW YORK:  When we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from the ship we were just grateful to get it and we carried on recording.  And it‘s a week later when we got home and I sat in the room playing the tape back to see what we had actually recorded and I see these two strangers on the tape and I couldn‘t believe it.  I actually let out a scream.

FRIESEN:  But who were they?  With the help of a New York newspaper this morning Matt Cronin and Paolo Andino emerged from anonymity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We spent I think about two or three hours trying to figure out—sort of one thing led to another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When you found that camera in the back of the cab...

FRIESEN:  Why didn‘t they just keep the camera or turn it in to lost and found?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It was really just looking at the footage.  It was Len and Jill.  They did it.


FRIESEN:  Len and Jill say it‘s restored their faith in human nature.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘d like to thank them very, very much indeed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, thank you so much guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Great guys, great guys.

FRIESEN:  Dawna Friesen, NBC News, London.


ABRAMS:  I talked to those two amateur detectives this afternoon and asked them about how they found the camera and what they decided to do with it.


MATT CRONIN, AMATEUR DETECTIVE:  Well, we got into the back of the cab and found that there was a video camera in the back and we just assumed that it belonged to tourists.  And thought that we could look at the footage and try to figure out where they were staying and have it be as simple as dropping it off there, at the hotel.

ABRAMS:  But it wasn‘t that easy?

CRONIN:  No it wasn‘t.  We thought it was going to be easy because there was a work order with the camera with the last name of Barton and we watched the tape and learned that they were staying at the Hilton.  They in fact had videotaped the, you know, moniker of the hotel.  And so we started calling around the Hiltons and actually figured out which one it was in New York because its proximity to a certain bank and the footage.  So we had called that hotel and unfortunately they didn‘t have any Bartons checked in.  And that‘s when it started to get a little more complicated.

ABRAMS:  Paolo, at what point did you decide to start videotaping yourselves in this effort to find them?

PAOLO ANDINO, AMATEUR DETECTIVE:  It was actually pretty late into the whole routine, after we had already tried to call the hotels and found out that they were on a ship to Bermuda that was leaving in a few hours.  And then we sort of looked at each other and decided what are we going to do and we said let‘s go to the dock and then on our way to the dock, to the Zenith, I said let‘s...

CRONIN:  ... we actually started trying to write a thank you...

ANDINO:  ... going to write a note and the cab was really bumpy, so...

CRONIN:  It looked like...

ANDINO:  It looked like chicken scratch.


ANDINO:  ... so I said well let‘s just—let‘s do it on their camera and then and that‘s how we decided to do that.  And then we sort of just explained everything that we had done up until that point and then after that we were sort of, you know, on location, on the field the whole...


CRONIN:  After doing all of this work for them I didn‘t want it to come down to, you know, the writing of a stranger looking like...

ANDINO:  Yes...

CRONIN:  ... a fanatic person so we thought that better way just would be to videotape it.

ANDINO:  Yes...

ABRAMS:  So you return the video camera and you leave it at the dock there essentially...

ANDINO:  We actually made a decision not to leave our name because—and the crewmember there asked us and we thought, no, let‘s just leave it at that.  They‘ll have a fun story to tell.  We‘ll have a fun story to tell and we sort of just forgot about it.

CRONIN:  Just chalked it up to karma and said you know what...


CRONIN:  ... that‘s sort of...


ABRAMS:  So, at what point do you find out that one of the local newspapers has your picture in there and says that this couple wants to find you?

CRONIN:  Well, the funny thing is, is that I woke up on yesterday morning and saw my mobile phone had a number of messages on them...

ANDINO:  Right.

CRONIN:  ... some of which I couldn‘t make out and the other ones were mentioning “The Post” and something that I—they weren‘t mentioning specifically what it was so of course I ran and got the paper and I saw my picture there lifted from this videotape which just absolutely floored me that, you know, it had turned into this international manhunt.  And the funny thing is, is that when we delivered them—the camera to them we were joking that they would have to be very good detectives in order to find us because we didn‘t really leave any clues as to who we were other than our names and that tape.  And then for them to be using the media was just so—was very ironic in...

ABRAMS:  Sounds like they might have actually been even better detectives than you guys.

CRONIN:  Exactly.

ANDINO:  The definitely outdid us...

CRONIN:  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Matt and Paolo, thanks a lot for taking the time. 

Appreciate it.

CRONIN:  You‘re welcome.

ANDINO:  You‘re welcome.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, last week I told you about a New York sportscaster who died of testicular cancer.  A story that touched me personally since I too was diagnosed with the disease.  When we come back my “Closing Argument”—why I‘m here at a golf course in New York.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, your e-mails on my “Closing Argument” last night about whether James Carville and Paul Begala at CNN should have to step down because they‘re advising the Kerry campaign.  It‘s coming up.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—why I am here at a golf course in Long Island, New York.  It‘s the site of a celebrity golf tournament for the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation.  As many of you know, last week I talked about the fact that just over a year ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  I had actually only disclosed that to help spread the word about another 37-year-old newscaster who was in the same hospital at the same time as me, Sean Kimerling.

He died from the disease on September 9, 2003.  Now his family and friends have created the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation.  They‘re having a benefit here.  Rob Siever was one of Sean‘s best friends and he‘s on the board of the foundation as well.

So, how‘s the event going and what‘s the purpose here?

ROB SIEVER, SEAN KIMERLING‘S FRIEND:  It was a great day of golf, Dan. 

I think a lot of people came out, had a fantastic time.  Sean was an avid golfer and he would have loved to have been here.  I think it‘s, you know, it‘s great that so many people could come.

The purpose of the day is to get the word out about testicular cancer.  The mission of the foundation is to get more people aware of the disease, to make sure young men are aware of the symptoms, know the importance of regular self-examination and are able, if they are worried about anything, find anything wrong, to seek medical help without fear of embarrassment.

I think, you know, so many men, it‘s the most common form of cancer in young men.  Most people aren‘t aware of it and if they do find something wrong, a lot of people wait to seek medical help and that‘s a terrible thing because the disease is highly curable.  Over 95 percent survival rate, but it‘s much easier to cure it if it is caught early.  And if young men know that every month, they have to self-examine, and then see their doctor if they find something wrong we‘ll save lives.

ABRAMS:  Rob Siever thanks very much.  That‘s exactly what I did and that‘s—I got lucky.  Pure luck and what Rob and the foundation is trying to do is make it so it‘s not just luck.  If you want to help the Sean Kimerling Foundation or to donate money, you can log on to Web site at  That‘s one “M” in Kimerling.

You can also e-mail them at or call 212-986-0892, Extension 5.  You know all the info is on our Web site. 

All right, I‘ve had my say.  Now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Last night my “Closing Argument” the controversy over CNN‘s James Carville and Paul Begala serving as unpaid advisors to the Kerry campaign, some media critics suggesting that the two should leave CNN until after the election.  I said if they were supposed to be objective, they should resign.

But they admit they‘re partisans, taking the liberal position.  That journalistic ethics are designed to keep your trust.  As long as those commentators are honest and up front about their views, I said bias is just an opinion.  Many opinions on this issue.

Mason Laderer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  “I couldn‘t agree more with your assertion that bias is in the media are OK if the reporter is open about them.  I think the real danger lies in the media representatives that claim to be impartial.”

From Harrisburg, Illinois, Jennifer McSparin.  “I am a Republican and I don‘t see a conflict of interest considering those two are open about which side they represent.  If newspapers can endorse candidates, why can‘t those two give free advice to Kerry?”

But Vick Melancon in Folsom, California.  “Chances are the folks from CNN will become involved in strategy meetings with the campaign.  Marching orders are given and this to me becomes a conflict.”

Vick, I assure you that the Democrats and Republicans who are serving as TV commentators are getting the marching orders either directly or indirectly anyway.

From Phoenix, Arizona, T. Ingram.  “It‘s one thing to comment on a campaign from a viewpoint.  It‘s another to be making the actual policy you may be asked to comment on rather than defend it.  Journalists are supposed to report and comment on the news, not make it.”

Well first of all, T., they‘re not journalists.  They don‘t claim to be and that‘s why it‘s OK.  They‘re commentators.  Furthermore, I think it‘s hard to differentiate between those who take their party line and those who tow it.

Also last night Kitty Kelley‘s new book, “The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty”, serious allegations about President George W. Bush and members of the Bush family including that the first President Bush had affairs with several women and current President Bush snorting cocaine at Camp David when his father was president.  Since one of the sources, former sister-in-law Sharon Bush says she never said it, we asked will she or even should she sue and will President Bush as a legal matter.  I said don‘t count on it.

Josh Bornstein with a prediction.  “There‘s no way President Bush will every file suit.  He‘d be forced to give testimony under oath at a deposition and at trial.  Do you really think he wants to be forced to answer these difficult questions under oath?  I am so sure of this, if he does file this suit, I‘ll gladly donate $10,000 to the cancer related charity of your choice.

Just in case Josh, we accept your offer and will keep your address on file for the people here at the Kimerling Foundation.

Got to wrap it up.  I‘m out of time.  “HARDBALL” is up next.  See you tomorrow.


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