Guest: Howard Varinsky, Geoffrey Fieger, Dean Johnson, Mercedes Colwin, Daniel Horowitz, Dr. Gail Gross
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, I‘m in front of the courthouse in Redwood City, California at the Scott Peterson case where we continue to wait for the jury‘s verdict.
ABRAMS (voice-over): Day three in the jury room and jurors want to know more about key pieces of evidence. We have the photos they‘re looking at. And what about the details of the case the jury didn‘t hear, conversations Scott had with her parents and the results of Amber Frey‘s lie detector test? Did she think Scott killed his wife?
Plus, even though he stands accused of murdering his wife and unborn son (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was a philandering liar, Scott Peterson still has a cult like following of women ready to take over where Laci left off. How could he have a bevy of women to choose from when all they know about him is how horrible he was to his wife?
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First up on the docket, we‘re live again outside the Redwood City, California courthouse where inside six men and women are deliberating the fate of Scott Peterson charged with the murder of his wife Laci and their unborn child. The jury got the case on Wednesday; they have been deliberating now for other than 18 hours. We‘re going to be here until they come back with a verdict or until they come back and say we‘re not going to have a verdict.
Now an hour or so ago, attorneys for both sides were called into Judge Alfred Delucchi‘s chambers. No word yet on what went on in there. The prosecution walked out smiling. If there is no verdict today, the jury won‘t be going home. They‘re going to be going to some lovely hotel for the weekend, barred from talking about the case and watching anything on TV except for select movies and sports, can‘t have visits from family members.
As for the deliberations, so far we know that they started about a half an hour early this morning. And on Thursday, Court TV reports they asked to see pictures of the inside of Peterson‘s home, his boat, the warehouse, concrete debris that was found in the warehouse as well. That‘s where prosecutors claim he made concrete anchors to weigh Laci‘s body down. They say he then dumped her body and that of Conner into the San Francisco Bay.
So what to make of what we know about the deliberation so far, about what they asked for, what it all means. The jury consultant who consulted with the prosecution in this case joins us, Howard Varinsky, good to see you—former San Mateo County prosecutor Dean Johnson, criminal defense attorneys Daniel Horowitz and Geoffrey Fieger and Mercedes Colwin joins us as well.
All right, Howard, let me start with you. You‘re involved in this case. You know who these jurors are. What do you make of what they have been asking for thus far? What do you make about the fact that here we are Friday afternoon with the prospect of them going to a hotel for the weekend with no verdict?
HOWARD VARINSKY, PETERSON PROSECUTION JURY CONSULTANT: You know, I‘m not as up to speed on what they have been asking for so far. If they‘re wanting to see photos of the inside of the house and the inside of his working area, they‘re being very thorough. I don‘t think one could, you know, could estimate anything from that—could guess anything from that. I think that as for Friday afternoon, there‘s a chance they could come in with a verdict by 4:00, 4:30. I don‘t think any of them want to face the prospect of being a prisoner in a hotel all weekend.
ABRAMS: You know, Geoffrey, that‘s always something that people I think find surprising is that there is a reality when it comes to Fridays that jurors recognize what it means if they don‘t come up with a verdict.
GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Friday is the best verdict day, all attorneys know that, and if not this Friday, maybe next Friday. But I would also suggest to you that having been there three days and knowing at least a little bit about what evidence they‘re requesting, one side or the other is trying to convince someone of guilt or innocence based on this evidence. Jurors tend to pick one, two or three pieces of evidence that they think are dispositive or that will convince others and that‘s what‘s going on.
ABRAMS: Dean Johnson, do you agree that there is likely a battle going on in that jury room based on the amount of time that they have been deliberating and based on the photographs and the video that they have asked for thus far?
DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Oh I think there might be, but my take on it is that this jury was really given a shock at the end of the closing arguments. The prosecution suggested to them that there were things that had been things right in front of them all along that they had not noticed. I think they‘re going back and they‘re looking to see if there‘s anything else, there are any clues that are going to help them solve this mystery. You know the foreperson, at least we‘re told juror number five is the foreperson, very meticulous. I think they‘re doing a meticulous review of some of this evidence to see if there‘s any little clues that maybe they‘ve missed.
MERCEDES COLWIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey, Dan, by the way, if I could just add two cents to that. Juror number five is the foreperson, the M.D./J.D. He had 12 notebooks of notes. He‘s the only juror that pretty much didn‘t stop taking notes throughout the trial, so he‘s probably going through and I agree with Dean, he‘s probably going through every piece of evidence that he thinks that‘s critical. And looking at those pictures of the interior of the house, there are probably jurors that are wondering how could he have killed her in the house? Where would she have been standing? How did it position—because I noticed that they started to show pictures of the kitchen, too, which is—has been suggested the place where he may have killed her.
FIEGER: That juror is a horror show for both the prosecutor and the defense.
COLWIN: I like that juror Geoffrey...
ABRAMS: Why is that Geoffrey...
FIEGER: A lawyer...
FIEGER: A lawyer who doesn‘t practice law sitting on a jury. Are you kidding me...
COLWIN: I love that juror.
FIEGER: He‘s practicing law. Well believe me, anybody who says that doesn‘t understand jurors because that juror will take over the jury and if he‘s not on your side, you‘re dead.
FIEGER: And if he is on your side, you‘re right, he‘s a great juror.
However, he‘s practicing law. He doesn‘t care what Geragos or Distaso did.
He‘s trying his own case in there. That‘s a nightmare.
COLWIN: I had three jurors...
JOHNSON: You know Geoffrey...
COLWIN: I had three jurors my last jury and it was successful. This is—three -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) successful. Here‘s my thought on it. You need someone who‘s unemotional. You do not want somebody who‘s going to have a visceral reaction and that‘s what...
ABRAMS: All right.
COLWIN: ... Geragos has been concerned about this entire trial. They‘re going to convict this man because they hate Scott Peterson and even on his closing, look you might dislike him, you may hate him, he‘s a cad. He‘s a liar. He‘s a jerk, but he‘s not a killer...
JOHNSON: Geoffrey, Mercedes...
ABRAMS: All right. Hang on. Let me let Daniel Horowitz in here. Daniel, what do you make of the fact of what the jurors have been asking for and the length of the deliberations so far? What does it tell you?
DANIEL HOROWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Dan, the bedroom is the battleground in this case. Mark Geragos put together a theory that has Laci Peterson going to bed, getting dressed in the morning, using her curling iron. On the other hand, the prosecution has her getting undressed the night before, taking her blouse off and being strangled. They‘ve got that blood evidence, Dan, where Scott Peterson admitted to Gloria Gomez that he cut his hand that day.
There‘s blood in the truck. There‘s blood on the sheets in the bed and that blouse is in the hamper and that‘s one of the photographs that they‘re looking at. That‘s the key to this case. Dan, if they‘re going piece by piece through the evidence, they‘re going to be in this court—in this deliberation room for the next two years. So they have to be fighting...
HOROWITZ: ... over this one aspect of the case.
ABRAMS: All right. Howard, you know these jurors. Are you happy as someone who advised the prosecution on the way this jury looks right now? Is there anyone in there that you‘re worried about? I mean you know you have to ask the question, there was that juror number fiver, Justin Falconer, who made it on to the jury, you know, I understand that sometimes jury consultants give advice and the lawyers don‘t listen. But somehow that guy made it on to the jury. Should the prosecutors be worried, do you think, about any other jurors who may simply be holdouts no matter what the evidence is?
VARINSKY: I don‘t—well you‘re talking about two different things here Dan. There‘s two things (UNINTELLIGIBLE). One, I think juror number five aside from anything else he may have said is a real good example of the fact that when somebody wants to really get on a high profile trial they can lie their way on. You know you can get 80 to 90 percent of people who are not telling the truth and you can guess something‘s not right somewhere. But there‘s going to be a small percentage of people who can stay clean all the way through even though they‘re not. And I think that he‘s a real good example of that.
ABRAMS: And what about the jury as it now stands, Howard? Do you think that the prosecutor...
ABRAMS: ... should feel comfortable with this jury?
VARINSKY: I‘m sorry. I don‘t think there‘s a lawyer or a jury consultant alive who would be telling the truth if they said I‘m just absolutely happy with this jury. There‘s always a juror or two that stays in your mind. You‘re always going back over it. You always walk on. In the best of both words if I could have, you know, take that back. There‘s always a person or two that worries you in any trial no matter what.
COLWIN: I think the one juror...
ABRAMS: Hang on one sec.
ABRAMS: Let me just ask Howard one more question. Howard, are there any specific jurors on the case that you could tell us that the prosecutors you think should be concerned about?
VARINSKY: No. It could be anybody and it could be nobody. I don‘t think—and I don‘t think you can say that. You don‘t know what anybody is really thinking...
FIEGER: Sure you do.
VARINSKY: ... case...
FIEGER: Sure you do.
COLWIN: There‘s one, Dan...
FIEGER: They‘ve been there five and a half months, if you can‘t read them...
VARINSKY: Yes and I haven‘t...
FIEGER: You could tell.
VARINSKY: I haven‘t been sitting in the courtroom for five and a half months.
FIEGER: But you can tell after five and a half months...
VARINSKY: I understand...
FIEGER: ... who‘s for you and who‘s against you.
VARINSKY: Geoffrey, I haven‘t sat in the courtroom for five and a half months...
FIEGER: No, I‘m not saying you.
VARINSKY: ... but I will tell you one thing it sounds like the press is very concerned about juror number five. I don‘t know if the prosecutors or anybody else is. It just sounds like the pundits—it‘s a pundit issue at the moment.
COLWIN: I think there‘s one...
ABRAMS: Wait. Hang on. He is the jury foreperson. He is the jury foreperson.
VARINSKY: The jury foreperson is going to be any of the influential jurors; any of the persuader types can be jury foreperson. In 25 years of research we have never seen one case where the fact that somebody who was the jury foreperson changed the results of the case.
FIEGER: That‘s right.
VARINSKY: It‘s the persuader types that take a jury...
ABRAMS: Fair point...
VARINSKY: ... not who the foreperson is.
ABRAMS: Fair point.
FIEGER: That‘s right. And he...
ABRAMS: All right.
FIEGER: The reason he‘s a nightmare is because you don‘t know which way he‘s going to go. If he goes for you, though, he‘s going to be a strong presence.
ABRAMS: All right...
ABRAMS: Let me take a quick break here. When we—excuse me -- when we come back, we‘re going to talk about the evidence the jury didn‘t see. Heard a lot about what they did see, but what those jurors didn‘t see is pretty interesting. And we‘re sitting outside the courthouse and if that verdict comes down at any moment, we will bring it to you live. Stick around.
ABRAMS: Coming up live from Redwood City, California, as we wait for a possible verdict in the Scott Peterson case, want to talk about the evidence the jurors didn‘t see. Some of it is pretty interesting...
ABRAMS: The Peterson trial jury is in the courthouse behind me. That is one of the defense attorneys; Pat Harris just leaving the courthouse only moments ago. Presumably, they continue to go over the evidence in this case, but there‘s some evidence they can‘t go over because the prosecutors weren‘t allowed to present it. And what I want to do is before I go to my guests, I want to go over some of that evidence and find out how significant it might have been in the context of this case and why it didn‘t come in.
All right, first let‘s go to number three here. This is January 16, 2003, wiretapped phone call. This is according to a report from Detective Steven Jacobson. Sharon Rocha, Laci‘s mother, tells Scott she‘s been seeing some photographs of him and another girl. Sharon asks is it somebody you‘ve been seeing. Scott says no. The police have a theory. Sharon asked if he was seeing somebody else and if that was the reason he was not coming forward. Scott once again told her he wasn‘t.
The next day, here‘s a tape-recorded conversation between Scott and Amber Frey.
SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: What was—did they have on the news?
AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Yes, they have your phone conversation actually about you saying your wife and kid (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that kind of threw me a little bit.
FREY: And that—it said that the family saw photos of girlfriend and Scott and...
FREY: So, hitting home.
ABRAMS: All right. So Geoffrey Fieger, how significant would this have been if they had introduced the fact that Scott Peterson was lying to his mother-in-law about Amber Frey, not that significant, right?
FIEGER: I don‘t think so, because, Dan, as you know, they introduced a plethora of evidence on his lying to his mother, to his mother, let alone his mother-in-law and the other conversations with Amber. See, the conversation with Amber doesn‘t prove that he lied to his mother-in-law. That is trying to use hearsay for proof of the matter contained therein and that probably is inadmissible. But with all the other tapes and the proof that he lied to his own parents, this is relatively minor, don‘t you think?
ABRAMS: All right, number five...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on. Let me go—I want to go through these. Scott—this is a report of Steven Jacobson. This is from January 24, a wiretapped phone call between Scott and his father. Again, this did not come into evidence, but you‘re going to hear it here. Scott‘s dad told him to not to worry. That two-thirds of the people in this country have affairs. Scott said he felt so dirty for doing this. Scott said he was so wrong. Scott‘s dad told him not to worry. A lot of people have them. Scott said he did such a bad thing cheating on Laci. The next day here is Scott Peterson talking to Amber Frey.
PETERSON: Yes, it sounds weird, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was so in awe, yet so proud of you, if you will, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when you did that. It was amazing. You have an amazing. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it also made me—well I pulled over and threw up when you cried. I was listening to the radio because it‘s so hard to hear.
FREY: Threw up?
PETERSON: But it was so amazing, your strength.
ABRAMS: I guess he doesn‘t feel so dirty about it the next day.
COLWIN: He needed some Tums, Dan.
ABRAMS: Yes, the jury heard the Amber-Scott conversation...
FIEGER: And laughed...
ABRAMS: They didn‘t hear—but they didn‘t hear about the conversation with his dad from just before that where he‘s saying how dirty he feels about having the affair.
ABRAMS: And that, Dean Johnson—Dean, I wonder how significant would that have been if the jurors were able to hear the contrast between the conversations he‘s having with his dad and the Amber Frey conversation and also Dean, why didn‘t that come into evidence?
JOHNSON: Well I think this jury was just wiretapped out. I don‘t think any of this would have any marginal significance in this case. This jury is real clear that Scott lied to his mother. He lied to the police. He lied to the media. He lied about lying. You know they get it. They get that the guy was basically living a double life both before and after the murder. I think anything more than what they have already heard would have been overkill.
ABRAMS: Well, what about this...
ABRAMS: What about this when it goes to credibility? Remember, Scott Peterson‘s mother became an important witness for the defense. This from the report of Steven Jacobson January 17, 2003. Scott receives a voicemail message from his mother. She tells him that he should deny, deny, deny and that she was told that years ago by her attorney she—it goes on to say his mother says he must deny anything. That same day Scott Peterson speaks with Amber Frey on the phone and here‘s what he said.
ABRAMS: We don‘t have it. OK. So anyway he says basically...
FIEGER: Now you know how sociopaths are created. Now you know...
ABRAMS: All right. You know what...
FIEGER: ... how sociopaths are created...
COLWIN: No, she probably...
ABRAMS: Let me take...
COLWIN: ... she probably was concerned.
ABRAMS: Hang on. Let me take a quick break here. Quick break. Quick break. When we come back, we‘ll play the Amber Frey response. We have got more, what the jury didn‘t hear coming up after this break.
PETERSON: Amber, are you asking if I had something to do with this?
FREY: You never told me you haven‘t.
PETERSON: Yes I have. I had nothing to do with this. You know that.
ABRAMS: That was the tape of Scott Peterson on January 17 denying to Amber Frey that he had anything to do with Laci‘s disappearance. We‘re continuing to go over the evidence that the jury did not hear as we wait for any possible verdict in this case. I‘m sitting right in front of the courthouse here waiting for any news.
All right. Mercedes, we just played a comparison between what he tells Amber the same day his mother tells him deny, deny, deny. Is that relevant to go to Jackie Peterson‘s credibility, for example, because she became a key witness for the defense?
COLWIN: I think that they probably just thought it was just not probative enough for her, but I think you raise a good point. I mean if a juror were to hear that, they would probably say to themselves she probably had a concern about any cooperation that he would lead—lend itself to cooperate with these law enforcement officials. He probably—she was probably concerned about that and that‘s why she kept saying deny, deny, deny.
COLWIN: ... they could probably decipher some plausible explanation for those comments but when the judge weighed it between whether it‘s prejudicial probative and it‘s hearsay and started compounding it over and over the judge said it‘s just not relevant.
ABRAMS: All right...
ABRAMS: ... January 26, wiretap—go ahead, Dean. Go ahead. You want to get it on that. Go ahead.
JOHNSON: Yes, you know I mean yes, it‘s potentially relevant to go to her credibility, but remember, we‘re talking about the defendant‘s mother. I mean once you get past that question, madam, you‘re the defendant‘s mother, aren‘t you? How much more bias do you need to prove? How much more do you need to impeach her credibility...
HOROWITZ: I‘ll tell you where it comes in Dan. In a penalty phase that comes in because Geragos to save his client‘s life is going to do two things put on the parents to beg and tell the jury there‘s still a lingering doubt. And that deny, deny...
HOROWITZ: ... deny cuts both ways. It can hurt them big time...
ABRAMS: I predict though...
COLWIN: There‘s not going to be...
COLWIN: ... a death penalty...
ABRAMS: I‘ve got to say...
ABRAMS: I‘ve got to say—hang on a sec—I predict that there will not be a penalty phase in this case. If Scott Peterson is convicted, which at this point I think many of us feel is likely or a hung jury, it will be second-degree murder not first-degree murder. But let‘s move on.
January 26, 2003, this is again from the report of Detective Steven Jacobson. Scott told his mother that Detective Grogan told him police were back searching the bay again. This is where the body was ultimately found almost three months later. Jackie asked if Grogan was crazy and asked why he called him. Scott replied that he thought Detective Grogan was just trying to get a reaction from him. Jackie said I can‘t imagine anyone being stupid enough to say they went fishing in the Berkeley Bay after having committing a crime. I mean not even you Scott.
ABRAMS: And Daniel Horowitz, that became part of the defense, didn‘t it? Part of the defense here became, would Scott Peterson be so stupid as to admit that he‘d been in the very place where the bodies were found. Of course prosecutors would say he knew people had seen him there.
HOROWITZ: Right. You know Dan, that‘s the lynchpin of the defense case. The idea that if he wanted Laci to disappear dump her nearby in a lake where there‘s 300 feet of water. Then Geragos goes to the next two key points. There were never any anchors found in the bay so don‘t tell me, Geragos said, that Scott weighed her down with cement anchors. And in fact, if there were no anchors, the bodies could not have been dumped when Scott went fishing. They had to have been dumped more recently.
FIEGER: Hey Dan...
HOROWITZ: So it ties right in.
ABRAMS: Geoffrey, go ahead.
FIEGER: If your defense is that my client wouldn‘t be stupid enough to do...
ABRAMS: Yes I know...
FIEGER: ... the murder and to say things...
ABRAMS: I know...
FIEGER: ... that incriminate him and expect a jury to believe that, you don‘t deserve to be trying cases, and that‘s what Geragos did.
HOROWITZ: Let me tell you about your criticism of Geragos. You‘re right a lot of the time. He‘s a very good cross-examiner, though, Geoff...
FIEGER: Yes he is...
HOROWITZ: ... that you have to give him.
FIEGER: I do.
HOROWITZ: The overall context of this case was not consistent...
FIEGER: That‘s right...
HOROWITZ: ... and that is a problem.
FIEGER: I agree with you.
ABRAMS: Let me get...
FIEGER: He is a good cross-examiner.
ABRAMS: Let me get one more item in here that the jury did not hear and this is from January 14, 2003, wiretapped phone call, and again report of Detective Steven Jacobson.
His dad talks about sending him $5,000 to help him out financially. Then his dad asks him where he is. Scott Peterson says I‘m going to work out for a few minutes here at the club, relax a bit. I don‘t know if I‘m pulling a O.J. by being at the club or not.
Again, Dean Johnson, you know, that sounds bad. It wouldn‘t have helped his case, but you can understand why the judge kept that out, right?
JOHNSON: Oh it sounds horrible, but what you look at it in the context of what the judge left in, I think one of the worst things that happened to Scott Peterson was that telephone conversation between him and his brother after a woman and a male fetus wash up on San Francisco shore and rather than trying to find out if that‘s his wife and baby, Scott Peterson‘s bigger concern is getting a tee time for golf. I mean if you‘re going to let that in, you might as well let all of the rest of it in.
COLWIN: No I think the O.J. comment...
ABRAMS: All right.
COLWIN: ... though, is pretty inflammatory Dan. That‘s probably why the judge just said...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
COLWIN: ... it wasn‘t worth it to put it in...
ABRAMS: All right. Let me take a quick break here. My legal team is going to stay with us.
When we come back, two big issues that did not come in—polygraphs and pornography, big points. And we could get a verdict at any time. The jury continues to deliberate. We continue to sit in front of the courthouse and we‘ll bring it to you if and when it happens.
Your e-mails email@example.com. Remember to include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show. Stick around. It‘s Friday. You never know what may happen.
ABRAMS: Coming up, live from Redwood City, California. We continue to wait to see if there is a verdict in the Scott Peterson case. In the meantime, we‘re going to talk about some of the evidence that did not come in including about polygraphs and pornography, but first the headlines.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. We are continuing to wait for any news from the courthouse behind me. If and when there‘s a verdict in the Scott Peterson case, we are going to bring it to you immediately. In the meantime, we‘re talking about the evidence that wasn‘t. The evidence that the jury did not hear and one relates to a polygraph test. This is from a January 12, 2003 report of Detective Steven Jacobson.
And he says—quote—“On 12/25, 2002, that‘s the day after Laci goes missing—I scheduled a polygraph. Scott agreed to participate. About 30 minutes before the polygraph Scott advised me on the advice of his father he was going to decline to take the polygraph.”
Now Daniel Horowitz, I know that this stuff is not allowed into evidence. But, can you ever let in, not the results of a polygraph, but the willingness or lack of willingness of a defendant to take a lie detector test?
HOROWITZ: Dan, I think you can. Now Judge Delucchi never would...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No...
HOROWITZ: ... because he‘s a very careful judge and he‘s only been reversed once his entire career. The way to get that in is to show that his refusal was not because polygraphs are inadmissible or not accurate but because he was afraid to take it. But it would take a little bit of a foundation. Maybe questioning his dad—what did you tell Scott about that test? And then it could come in because it does go to his consciousness of guilt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HOROWITZ: But Dan even though I say that, no judge I know would let it in.
ABRAMS: All right. And Howard Varinsky, what kind of impact would something like that have on a jury? I mean I think the judges make these rulings because jurors have a tendency sometimes to put unfair weight on certain things that the court feels aren‘t that significant.
VARINSKY: I think it would have a tremendous impact. I thought that Jackie Peterson, you know deny everything would have a tremendous persuasive impact. I think the fact that he didn‘t want to take a lie detector test is very persuasive to a jury. I think that stuff is powerful.
FIEGER: You let that in...
FIEGER: ... he gets a new trial.
ABRAMS: All right, we all agree on...
COLWIN: He may get a new trial anyway Geoffrey if it‘s hung...
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. But how about this? Let‘s move on to Amber Frey‘s polygraph test, all right, she was—let‘s—number 14 here. This is according to a report from Janine Overall (ph), a polygraph examiner, in documents obtained by us.
I asked the subject if she would suspect anyone of causing Laci‘s disappearance and she stated she would suspect Laci‘s husband Scott Peterson because of the things he had told her during their relationship about being married.
Now Dean Johnson, was there any chance that that would get in to show a possible bias on the part of Amber Frey?
JOHNSON: Oh, not a chance in the world. I mean that contains so many problems, speculations, lay opinions, conclusions. It‘s overly inflammatory. I mean there just wasn‘t a chance that remark was going to get in. I‘m sure Geoffrey and everybody else can weigh in with three or four other reasons why that shouldn‘t have been...
HOROWITZ: Actually I disagree Dean. I would let it in to go to bias. Just like Dan said, anything that would show bias on Amber Frey‘s part I think is admissible in this case and I think Geragos needed actually to show more bias by Amber to show she was manipulated by Brocchini because in a way the entire set of tapes was Amber Frey saying Scott, you‘re guilty, give it up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well...
HOROWITZ: Scott you‘re guilty. I know you‘re guilty, give it up.
FIEGER: New trial...
JOHNSON: ... I think the only question there is what caliber bullet are you using to shoot yourself in the foot...
FIEGER: That‘s right...
JOHNSON: That would be a totally self-defeating purpose...
HOROWITZ: For a limited purpose...
JOHNSON: ... for a limited purpose like the jury‘s going to pay attention to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... wants it in, it‘s in.
FIEGER: Why would he be able...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would the defense want it in?
FIEGER: ... ask every witness who came up...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on...
FIEGER: ... thought he was guilty.
FIEGER: You‘re never allowed to do that.
ABRAMS: All right. Look, we all I think—look and it wasn‘t allowed in. It would have been too risky. But what about this? All right, this is number 16 and this is I think really interesting. This is from a Modesto Police Department report.
Investigator Curt Stockholm (ph) said that three of the four computers were used exclusively by Scott Peterson and had been used to obtain information regarding Viagra, to obtain information regarding the Berkeley Marina, and water currents and contained extensive pornographic images and sexually explicit writings. Some of the primary themes depicted in the pornographic images were bestiality and bondage. The writings included essays entitled “The Wife Confesses” and “Raping The Teacher”. Investigators noted the Dell laptop computer that showed access by both Laci and Scott had no inquiries of—regarding pornography or Viagra.
And then you have Scott Peterson having—you know assuming that came, you know, came from him, then he said this on “Good Morning America”.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, CO-ANCHOR, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”: Did you ever hit her? Did you ever injure her?
PETERSON: No, no. Oh, my God, no. Violence towards women is unapproachable. It is the most disgusting act to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: What about that Mercedes? How about putting in the conflict between him saying that violence towards women is unapproachable. It‘s the most disgusting act and yet then they find allegedly on his computer “The Wife Confesses” and “Raping The Teacher”.
COLWIN: We have to presume he is the only one that has access to those computers, too, because two of those were in his office or down at the marina. So let‘s presume that there are other individuals that had—that have access, but if he had taken the stand, so much of this would have started to come in...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
COLWIN: ... which is why he never took the stand because he knew he would have imploded with some of these contradictions.
FIEGER: That would have...
COLWIN: And it would have...
ABRAMS: Dean Johnson...
COLWIN: ... it would have come in fast and furious...
ABRAMS: Dean, did it come in about him ordering...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Dean—let me ask Dean Johnson a question. Dean, did it come in about him ordering the porno channels in the weeks after Laci went missing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JOHNSON: Yes, that did come in and that makes sense because that‘s a part of this whole to-do list that Scott Peterson‘s got basically getting Laci out of his life and acting as if Laci‘s never coming back. But the stuff about bestiality and bondage, that‘s got a reversal on appeal, an unduly inflammatory written all over it. That would be the absolute poster child for an overly inflammatory piece of evidence. Shouldn‘t have been admitted. Wasn‘t admitted.
ABRAMS: All right...
FIEGER: ... if he took the stand, it would have been admitted.
ABRAMS: That‘s right. If he had taken the stand, he did not take the stand...
JOHNSON: Impeachment is a whole different ballgame...
ABRAMS: And I have got to wrap up this conversation. But I‘m not moving. staying right here and if anything is happening I‘m bringing it to you. Dean Johnson, Daniel Horowitz, Geoffrey Fieger, Mercedes Colwin, Howard Varinsky, thank you all so much, great panel.
He‘s a liar and a cheat and possibly a murder according to prosecutors. But that hasn‘t stopped many women from professing their love for Scott Peterson from the courtroom gallery to letters they send him in jail. What‘s going on? Why are women hot for Scott?
And my bias in the case. I lay out for you why I have a stake in the outcome. It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
ABRAMS: We‘re back and we‘re waiting for a possible verdict in the
Scott Peterson case. The jury continues to deliberate. We continue to sit
in front of the courthouse. All right, even Scott Peterson‘s attorneys
agree he‘s not the most likable guy. In the words of Mark Geragos, he is -
· quote—“a liar, a cheater and a jerk, but not a murderer.”
He has a history of extramarital affairs, lying to his family and it‘s hard to look beyond the fact that he‘s on trial for the murder of his wife. Still, there are many women out there who want to meet him, want to know him, want to love him. The Redwood City jail says letters to Scott are streaming in. Several women proposing marriage.
We did a Google search with the words “Scott Peterson is hot” and came up with the following post from a woman‘s personal blog. She writes—quote—“Am I a bad person for thinking that Scott Peterson is hot? I realize he probably killed his wife and unborn child and all that, but when I see pictures of him with his lawyers, I just want to do things to him that the judge would not allow me to do in open court.”
It‘s understandable that many people want to believe that Scott is innocent, but how is it that so many women can fall in love with him? “My Take”—do I really need to do a take on this?
Joining me to talk about why women might be attracted to Scott Peterson, psychologist and host of PBS‘s “Let‘s Talk”, Dr. Gail Gross. Dr. Gross, let‘s talk. How can women be attracted to Scott Peterson when all they know about him is that he‘s on trial for killing his wife and that he was horrible to her at the very least?
DR. GAIL GROSS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well you know—thank you for having me, by the way—and really it is what you say that Scott is hot. There‘s celebrity there. There‘s a sense of attention. A lot of these women have what we call a Bonnie and Clyde syndrome, where they get aroused sexually by the idea of a bad boy being healed and a bad boy in an unobtainable place like jail and that goes back to the beginning. In the beginning, there‘s only mother and father in all of our lives and our relationships with them, our patterns of behavior...
ABRAMS: Oh come on. Wait a sec. Wait a sec. You seem to be suggesting that it‘s normal. Oh you know what? It goes back to the history of men and women and that‘s just the way men and women are. I mean these are women who need serious help, no?
GROSS: Well it‘s absolutely not normal. But the point is that it does happen and it happens because of childhood behavior and the way people grow up and they look and draw into their lives relationships that help them do what they know how do, what‘s familiar. So if a woman felt out of control like a—as a child, she may draw into her life someone who allows her to be in control because she has trouble with intimacy. She needs space and distance. What better space, what better distance, what better control than having him in jail?
ABRAMS: So Dr. Gross, someone comes into you and let‘s—you know, you‘re in private practice. They come in and they say look I‘m not sure if I have a problem or not, but I am weirdly attracted to Scott Peterson. And she says, you know the guy who‘s on TV who‘s on trial for his wife—for killing his wife. Do you then say well—and the person says to you, I‘m not sure if I need psychological counseling. Do you say I need to know anything more or do you right away say OK, this is someone who needs months and months if not years of intensive therapy?
GROSS: Well I‘m really a family and child development specialist and when I look at these kinds of problems, the things that I say to people are you have to really deal with the problems of childhood that you have that are bringing you to wanting that kind of control, this degree of too much need for control. When a person is in jail and a person is seduced by that or interested in that, it‘s often because they have problems with intimacy.
And if this person is in jail, he has a lot of time. He‘s not that picky and he‘s seductive. A lot of pathological people...
GROSS: ... are very seductive. So there‘s that fantasy that they‘re going to fix him. That tells me that...
GROSS: ... these children that are like that that grow up as adults with a bad sense of boundaries, a bad sense of their capacity, in fact...
GROSS: ... an over exaggerated, unrealistic idea of capacity think they can heal them.
GROSS: If they think they can heal...
GROSS: ... this fellow, they don‘t have to look in the mirror and heal themselves.
ABRAMS: And a lot of women, as you know, O.J. Simpson is apparently still getting a lot of dates. So you know, who knows? Dr. Gail Gross, thank you so much for taking the time.
GROSS: Thank you.
ABRAMS: We appreciate it.
When we come back, we‘re going to get a late update on what is going on with the jury deliberations in the Peterson case in the building behind me. And you get a look at what my days are like here in Redwood City. The sequestered jurors are not the only ones who are effectively sequestered.
ABRAMS: We‘ve got some news to report to you in the deliberations with these jurors in the Scott Peterson trial—quick, quick break. We‘re coming back with the news in a moment.
ABRAMS: We have got an update on the jury deliberations in the Scott Peterson case. KCRA‘s Edie Lambert joins us now with the latest—Edie.
EDIE LAMBERT, KCRA REPORTER: Well Dan, verdict Friday, so-called verdict Friday came and went with no verdict. The jury is now done for the day. To this point, they have spent about 20 hours this week deliberating the case, but it looks like they‘ll be spending a long weekend in a hotel being sequestered where they can‘t talk about the case at all. As you know, that is not necessarily true for reporters. Just a few minutes ago, the judge poked his head into the courtroom, announced all the reporters waiting for some kind of news of anything, what are you going to do to occupy yourselves over the weekend?
Now, to bring you up on some of the details of this case, this afternoon, all of the attorneys were paged into court. They met in closed chambers for about an hour. Mark Geragos is actually handling a preliminary hearing down in Los Angeles, but his co-counsel, Pat Harris, handled the meeting today. In spite our best efforts, we were not able to get any information about what that closed meeting was about this afternoon.
Also, I can tell you, we do know that the jury asked to see at least one exhibit that included a number of photos. And one ardent court watcher appears to be in some trouble now. She took—or at least we‘re told that she took photos of the jurors as they got off of the shuttle this morning. A bailiff saw her doing it, confiscated the memory chip. And interestingly, she was actually on the list as a rebuttal witness for the prosecution. They ended up not having a rebuttal case so she didn‘t actually testify, but she took a photo of the Peterson‘s house. So, at this point, the jury is facing a long weekend without a lot of entertainment. They‘ll be back here Monday morning—back to you Dan.
ABRAMS: Even witnesses trying to get a little piece of this case, a little memory to take home. Unbelievable. All right, Edie Lambert thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
LAMBERT: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—why I want this verdict soon. Like the jurors, I too, am effectively sequestered in a way. I have to stay here until the verdict is reached at a hotel away from my regular life. The jurors even have an edge on me; they have all those court officers catering to their every need while here at the courthouse. Now all day, I sit in a tiny satellite truck trying to work on the show. To even use a bathroom, unless I want to walk down to the courthouse and then go through all the metal detectors there, I have to plead to let some building or restaurant let me in. It‘s a little humiliating being told this bathroom is for customers only.
Our computers crash. Our printers don‘t work, and while I kind of like the Safeway sandwiches we get for lunch, they‘re kind of messy and so I often end up spilling on my suit or tie. Now, I‘m not asking for sympathy. I love being here at the heart of the story, but I am biased towards a quick verdict. I don‘t want to be here for weeks. Then instead of being at the heart of the story, we‘re just waiting for the story. I‘m reassured by the fact that these jurors have a lot worse—have it a lot worse.
They‘re staying at some dumpola hotel, unable to see anyone except each other. They must want out and they are probably trying to con some hold-out who saw “12 Angry Men” one too many times or who thinks “CSI” is real. But we all have it easy compared to the families, the Rochas and the Petersons who probably can‘t even sleep at night. For me this is a story. For them, it is life, but I want a verdict and I want one soon.
So whenever you hear me talking about the timing of the verdict, keep in mind I have a stake in the outcome. I want it now and I certainly don‘t want to have to change my residence to Redwood City.
I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. From—there—all right, let me go on to the letters. Do we have the first letter here? Can we put it up?
Gil Merritt from Pennsylvania writes, here he is. “Since no one knows how Laci died, how can the jury find an intentional killing? Is it not just as likely that she was killed or died by accident and Peterson panicked and dumped the body?”
Well Gil, if the jurors believe that they have not proved premeditation, then they could find him guilty of second-degree murder and not first. But the notion that maybe Laci died by accident and then Scott panicked and dumped her body in the bay is ludicrous. That, Gil, is what I would call unreasonable doubt.
Paul Danckwerth writes, “What‘s wrong with this? The reason Laci‘s body was found in the bay is as follows. Laci suspected Scott was having an affair with or without Amber. When he went fishing on Christmas Eve, she was suspicious. She figured he was meeting his lover and followed him to the bay. Her stalker followed her and realized his perfect alibi. The deed was done. Why does these lawyers make so much money and fail so miserably?”
Yes, good call, Paul. Scott would have done much better off if he had pursued that hair-brained theory. So she traveled there in what car? Who drove it back? When did she get a stalker?
From New York G. Andriani writes about the woman who said she spotted her rapist on a reality TV dating show. “Shouldn‘t we ask the producers of that TV show what their criteria, if any, is for the participants? As a contestant in a dating situation, shouldn‘t there be a minimal background check?”
There should be and he had been trouble with the law before.
We‘re out of time. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is up next. See you.
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