Guest: Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Dominguez, Lisa Dominguez, Scott Gold, Lt. Col. Thomas Ritz, George Parnham, Paul Pfingst, Robert Hirschhorn, Phillip Bloch, Katrina Szish
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: A soldier speaks his mind. Staff Sergeant Lorenzo Dominguez served his country as a National Guardsmen for two decades, but now he says he and his battalion are being treated like POWs by their own commanders. Tonight, exclusive, the reluctant reservists: one family‘s personal story of an Army training camp so demoralized, some troops are now deserting.
Mother versus mother. The penalty phase of Scott Peterson‘s murder trial is now under way, and it may come down to two moms, Laci Peterson‘s mom, who will address the courtroom about the daughter she lost...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON‘S MOTHER: I loved my daughter so much. I miss her every minute of every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: ... and Scott‘s mom, who will try to save her son from execution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most emotional part is going to be Scott Peterson‘s parents getting up there on the stand and saying, Don‘t kill him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Michael‘s makeover. He‘s gone from this to this. So why the change of heart?
ANNOUNCER: From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
NORVILLE: And good evening, everybody. Are U.S. Army reserves being held like virtual prisoners on a New Mexico training base? Tonight, one of those Guardsmen from the 184th Infantry regiment of Modesto, California, comes forward, risking court-martial to tell me their story exclusively. The Guardsmen say they are under strict lockdown, that they‘ve been refused visitors or travel passes, and they say the morale is terrible. The Guardsmen also say that they‘ve received inadequate training and that they suffer from a lack of equipment, all of which they fear will result in needless deaths when they‘re ultimately sent into combat in Iraq. Some of the Guardsmen reportedly have even tried to flee by vaulting over rolls of barbed wire which surrounds the camp.
Tonight, joining me exclusively from El Paso, Texas, is one of these Guardsmen, Staff Sergeant Lorenzo Dominguez. He has served in the military for 24 years, 20 of them in the National Guard. In Los Angeles is Staff Sergeant Lorenzo‘s wife, Lisa. And also joining us, from “The Los Angeles Times,” which first broke the story of the National Guardsmen from Modesto, is the telephone on—with us, I should say, is the writer of the article, Scott Gold. And Scott, we thank you for being with us, as well.
I should note that later on in the program, we will be joined by the deputy commander in charge of training these Guardsmen. He believes that these soldiers are being adequately trained for combat.
Sergeant, I want to thank you very much for coming on. I know that this was not an easy decision because there are certain military career repercussions for coming forward. Why do you think it‘s so important that your story be told?
STAFF SGT. LORENZO DOMINGUEZ, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: Well, ma‘am, first of all, thank you for allowing me the time to be here with you all. And it‘s important because it impacts everybody, particularly the soldiers, men and women, that are serving our country today.
NORVILLE: These are such alarming charges that were made in this article. And I just want to start going through them point by point. The first, that you and many of the men there on the base feel that you‘re being held virtually a prisoner. And we should note that this base was actually used as a POW camp during World War II. Why do you feel that you can‘t leave, as you would any other military training facility?
DOMINGUEZ: Well, ma‘am we actually cannot leave. We‘re basically confined to the base. We are not allowed to go into town. We‘re not allowed to go see our families. That is the current policy. As we were told, the 5th Army, which controls—as we were told, that the 5th Army controls our lesson plan, is the one that dictates whether or not we are allowed to enjoy leave privileges, and it appears as though that‘s not in the current plan.
NORVILLE: Why is—why would that be? And does that differ—with 24 years of history, you know how things work in the military. Is this different from the way it traditionally has been?
DOMINGUEZ: As far as I‘m concerned, and based on my experience, yes, it does differ. Historically, I‘ve seen many units deploying—in fact, our active-duty counterparts today are able to train and go home to their families at the end of training. Even when they go and spend 10 days or however long in the field, they‘re still able to, at the end of that training, have a few days off to enjoy with their families.
We are not. Why this is happening, I am not aware of any particular reason to be able to tell you.
NORVILLE: We hear of a certain friction between reservists and regular Army personnel. It sounds like this situation you just described is one reason there might be some friction. Do you sense a bit of animosity, even though you all wear the same uniform, between the active and the reservists who‘ve been called up?
DOMINGUEZ: You know what, ma‘am? Between the soldiers themselves, the National Guardsmen and reservists, and our active-duty counterparts, we‘re all professionals and we personally have no animosity towards them, and I have not seen any animosity directed at us from them. They, in fact, the people that I have spoken with that are on active duty stationed on this base, are—have expressed shock and concern at how we are being held behind, when it comes to leave and our ability to be with our families. They don‘t understand it. And...
NORVILLE: Do you understand it?
DOMINGUEZ: ... they‘re supportive.
NORVILLE: Do you understand it?
DOMINGUEZ: No, I don‘t. Not today, I don‘t.
NORVILLE: Yes. One of the things that you say in this article that is so shocking is that you believe that lives will be unnecessarily lost because of inadequate training and poor equipment. That‘s a really serious statement to say. How can you back it up?
DOMINGUEZ: Well, ma‘am, I‘ll give you an example. We have to date—we have yet to see what an up-armored Humvee looks like. We‘ve seen them in photos, but we‘ve never experienced one. I, for one, during the entire time that we‘ve been here, have not been able to get my hands on one. These vehicles are critical in the fulfillment of the mission, as you know...
NORVILLE: Well, maybe they‘re in Iraq, where, frankly they can do better work than being at a training base in the States.
DOMINGUEZ: Maybe they are. But there are other vehicles that have armor plating on them. They‘re not necessarily the 114 model, which is the full up-armored vehicle that could be made available to training. When you‘re training, particularly when it involves a vehicle that has a different handling characteristic just because of the sheer weight of it, as opposed to a light-skinned Humvee, I believe and most of the soldiers believe that we should be able to train with them, so that when we get there, we have the experience gained here...
DOMINGUEZ: ... and we know how they handle differently.
NORVILLE: What about weapons training? When you‘re on the training range, firing weapons, are you firing real ammunition, or are you shooting blanks?
DOMINGUEZ: We fire real ammunition at the range, ma‘am.
NORVILLE: And what about when you use night-vision goggles? Because there have been serious accusations that there just aren‘t enough to go around.
DOMINGUEZ: We actually have NVGs, or night-vision goggles. What has happened is, somewhere in the planning, there was a major malfunction—I guess I‘m going to call it that—in that the entity responsible for checking the serviceability of these items picked them up and has not returned them to us. And so therefore, we have gone, for the most part, without sufficient night-vision goggles to be proficient enough during the training of this mission.
So like the article stated, there were a certain number of soldiers that had to share the night-vision goggles during training. That is, in fact, true.
NORVILLE: Scott Gold, when you wrote this article—and you heard not only from Sergeant Dominguez, who has agreed to go public, but from a number of men who would not go public, for obvious reasons—what‘s their greatest concern, as they approach their departure date going to Iraq?
SCOTT GOLD, HOUSTON BUREAU CHIEF, “LA TIMES”: Well, part of the concern, I think, is the—is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the conditions in which they‘re living and training. They are under lockdown down at a small base camp that is quite far from anyone and anything else. It‘s not necessarily a pleasant place to be.
But this is a highly trained battalion, and these are professional soldiers, so that is not what I would call their overarching concern. Their overarching concern, as it was related to me, is the training that they are receiving, which they allege is so basic and rudimentary, that, as you say, they fear that they are at risk of suffering high numbers of casualties once they arrive in Iraq.
NORVILLE: When you say that it‘s basic and rudimentary, Sergeant, what kind of training are you talking about?
DOMINGUEZ: What‘s known largely throughout the Army as CTT, common task training. We initially—when we got here, we spent quite a large amount of time devoted to just common task training.
NORVILLE: What‘s that?
DOMINGUEZ: Basically—just the basics, basics that you would learn in boot camp—basic first aid, not that that‘s not important, because that is critical, particularly in lieu of the fact that you‘re going into combat. But most of this training was conducted by ourselves, to each other, because we just didn‘t have the ability to do anything else at the time.
And we don‘t understand it because it hasn‘t been explained to us, outside of the fact that it‘s scheduled for today, at last minute, and that which is another issue altogether, just the last-minute scheduling. You never know from minute to minute or day to day what you‘re going to do ahead of time.
NORVILLE: Lisa, I want to bring you into this conversation. I know that the decision to go public and talk on TV was one that you and your husband made together. Why are you here? Why are you all talking about this? Because it‘s potentially conceivable that your husband could be court-martialed as a result of his appearance.
LISA DOMINGUEZ, WIFE OF STAFF SGT. LORENZO DOMINGUEZ: Well, as the wife of a deploying soldier, I feel that we have the right to voice our concerns. And we made this decision because so far, nobody else has come out forward and said anything about what‘s going on. And it‘s...
NORVILLE: And what do you think the military ought to do that they‘re not doing, that they could do?
LISA DOMINGUEZ: I believe that the military should provide these soldiers with the best training and equipment because they are going to a war zone, and we have to ensure the best that we can that most of these guys come back. We understand that there are going to be casualties because it is a war zone, but we do not feel that these guys are getting the proper training with the proper equipment, so...
NORVILLE: Scott Gold, as you know, the national—the guard and reservists units have said that they‘re something like $15 billion short on what they need for funds to completely outfit everything. Is it conceivable that the military, in its current state, where the troops are being rotated in and out as quickly as they are—is it conceivable that the concerns that we‘re hearing expressed can even be met?
GOLD: That‘s a very good question, and it‘s one that I don‘t know the answer to, partly because I‘m not sure that anyone quite knows the answer to that yet. A lot of what you‘re seeing here is the reflection of a long-standing division of sorts. There‘s always been tension between active-duty Army and the National Guard. But most military analysts or military sociologists that I‘ve spoken to believe that the tension is worse today than at just about any other time they can remember, and they attribute that to the evolving role that the National Guard is playing overseas.
The National Guard is perhaps best known for providing very important support roles domestically.
GOLD: For instance, they‘re a common sight when a community is attempting to recover from a flood or a hurricane. Now the military is running short of active-duty troops, and National Guard soldiers are being sent overseas to fight, as fully engaged combat troops. About 40 percent of the troops in Iraq...
GOLD: ... I think are either National Guard soldiers or reservists. And that is a significant shift, and it‘s one that I think all sides would agree the military is scrambling, to some degree, to account for.
NORVILLE: Sergeant Dominguez, I‘m curious. If you all are under a virtual lockdown on the base where you‘re training, how did you get permission to leave and come to El Paso and do this interview with us?
DOMINGUEZ: Actually, ma‘am, after Mr. Gold‘s article came out, after it was published, I have—I have met with a lot of support from the command, and in fact, I have the deputy commander, the base commander for Fort Bliss, here. And I just finished speaking with him, and they are very supportive, and I have not been asked not to speak my mind. In fact, I have been encouraged to say whatever I feel I have to say.
NORVILLE: Well, we‘re pleased that you came on this program to do so. And who knows, things may change as a result of it. Staff Sergeant Lorenzo Dominguez, we wish you and all the men in your unit well as you go forward from here. Thank you for being with us.
DOMINGUEZ: Thank you, ma‘am.
NORVILLE: Lisa Dominguez, thank you, as well. And Scott Gold, thanks so much for being with us from Houston. We appreciate it.
NORVILLE: As we said, coming up next, we‘re going to present the other side of the story, the Army‘s version of events. You won‘t want to miss it.
And then later on: The jury has begun listening to testimony in the penalty phase of Scott Peterson‘s trial. Should Peterson live or die? And will two mothers make an impact, Laci Peterson‘s mother and Scott Peterson‘s mother, one begging for his life to be spared, the other asking for death. That‘s coming up.
NORVILLE: Back now with more on the astounding accusations that Army National Guardsmen training in New Mexico are not getting the proper training and equipment they need before being deployed to Iraq next year. And there are claims that they‘re being held almost like prisoners.
We heard just now from one side, and from the reporter who broke the story. Now joining me is Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ritz. He is the deputy commander in charge of training the Guardsmen who have made these allegations.
Colonel, I thank you so much for being with us. I know you had a chance to hear what Sergeant Dominguez says. He makes a pretty good point. If the regular Army folks are allowed to go on leave after a training session and they‘re not, that can be frustrating.
LT. COL. THOMAS RITZ, COLORADO NATIONAL GUARD: Well, first of all, let me preface this by saying I am a 23-year-long Army National Guardsman myself, deputy commander of a multi-component brigade of Army reservists, National Guardsmen and active Army soldiers. Currently, my elder sister is deployed in Iraq, and I have a very great interest in the training and making sure it‘s executed properly.
NORVILLE: I have no doubt of that, but what of these accusations that are coming out, real complaints that are of a very serious nature?
RITZ: Well, what we‘re trying to do is replicate the conditions in Iraq, to train as we fight, so to speak, as we‘ve preached in the Army for as long as I‘ve been in the Army. We‘ve got to replicate those conditions so that the soldiers are conditioned and ready to fight in those harsh conditions.
NORVILLE: Are you saying that they can‘t envision that it‘s going to be pretty tough when they get to Iraq, that you have to hold them as prisoners and not let them have contact with regular civilians, simply so that they will feel at home when they get over to the Middle East?
RITZ: Well, what I‘m saying there is we‘re replicating the conditions for training. It‘s a rather rigorous program. The point about them not being able to see their families—the training cycle is a very, very intense training cycle.
NORVILLE: Is part of the problem you don‘t have the time you need to get these guys fully trained before they are shipped out?
RITZ: No, we have adequate time to do so, but it‘s a rigorous training schedule. We‘ve had a break here over the Thanksgiving holiday, where we had basically from Wednesday afternoon approximately 1800 hours through 1200 Saturday to enjoy the hospitality and the things that El Paso, Texas, has to offer. They also had the opportunity, a lot of them, to bring their families down and enjoy time with their families.
When the active component units do the same thing to train for Iraq, they pretty well go into the same conditions to train as our National Guard brethren here. There really is no difference in the training program.
NORVILLE: I‘m sure there‘s no difference in the training program, but
I wonder about Sergeant Dominguez‘s concern that, for instance, they are
not getting the opportunity to train in the heavily armored vehicles, which
· you don‘t have to be a military person to understand a heavily armored one is going to handle differently than a more lightweight training vehicle.
RITZ: Well, you said it succinctly, Deborah, when you said that those up-armored Humvees are currently in Iraq. Right now, the percentage of fill in Iraq is 85 percent, and that number‘s growing every day. We simply...
NORVILLE: What does that mean, percentage of fill?
RITZ: Percent of fill is the number of Humvees that they have there, overall, 85 percent of them are the up-armored Humvees right now. They‘re pushing them all to theater so that they can be used best where they need to be.
NORVILLE: Because this is not a new complaint. I mean, you know as well as anybody that just in October, there were a group of reservists who refused to take a convoy unit north of Baghdad because they didn‘t have, in their opinion, the heavily armored vehicles that they felt necessary to secure them.
RITZ: Well, one thing that they will have the opportunity to do when they get to Kuwait is train up on the up-armored Humvees and be a lot more proficient in their use. So they‘re going to get that opportunity.
NORVILLE: I sort of feel for you, Colonel. You got it coming from both sides. You‘ve got the people higher up the military food chain who are, you know, cracking the whip, Get these guys trained, get them comfortable with the equipment, get them ready for what is an incredibly arduous task once they get to Iraq. And yet at the same time, you‘re not given a whole lot of time to get these people trained, and necessarily, a whole lot of equipment with which the training can be done. It‘s got to be a challenge for you.
RITZ: Well, it‘s a challenge, but I feel we do have the equipment to train up to standard. The night-vision devices, for example—right now, we‘ve put them through a validation process to make sure the night-vision devices are functional, that they‘re fully serviceable, and we‘ve got them back into the hands of the soldiers to train with them, as they‘re training right now.
NORVILLE: And when did those goggles, for instance, get given back to the troops?
RITZ: I‘m sorry? I didn‘t get the question.
NORVILLE: When were the goggles returned? After they were checked out and validated for use in the field, when were they returned to the soldiers?
RITZ: They‘ve been—it‘s been an ongoing process, where we‘ve brought the goggles in a few at a time, probably company level at a time, and had them checked out and then returned them to the soldiers. So we‘ve rotated it company to company to company, and have had a plan to validate those pieces of equipment. So they‘re training with the devices.
NORVILLE: It can‘t be a very pleasant thing to have enough unhappy soldiers on base that a reporter from “The Los Angeles Times” gets wind of it and does an article that is as damning as this one was, where your men are called virtual POWs. What kind of action do you plan to take, if any, as a result of that?
RITZ: Well, we‘re going to continue to train, and we‘re going to get down through the chain of command the information the soldiers need to know: why we‘re doing the training, what kind of steps we‘re taking in the training, where they are in the training process. The tasks that we‘ve been given to train these soldiers on were dictated from the folks in the Iraqi theater of operations right now, so this isn‘t something that we decided to go from soup to nuts to.
NORVILLE: So are you saying that maybe it wasn‘t communicated well enough, why you‘re doing it, the way you‘re doing it, with what you‘re doing it to the men on the base there?
RITZ: Well, what I can speak to is the training process itself. Sergeant Dominguez addressed the common task training. The first couple of weeks that his particular battalion got here, we did do common task—soldier tasks. It‘s the basics, we‘re finding, that are keeping people alive in theater right now. The way the training process works, we‘d go from the basic skills, the common soldier tasks, through the lower collective unit training, up to battalion and brigade operations...
RITZ: ... culminating with an event at JRTC.
NORVILLE: A couple of quick questions, because I know how limited your time is, Colonel. Will there be any repercussions against Sergeant Dominguez and the others who were named in the article for speaking publicly?
RITZ: No, there won‘t be. And as a matter of fact, the chain of command is addressing their concerns, and we‘re working to try to get the right information to the soldiers, as well as listen to their concerns and have them properly trained to deploy and be victorious.
NORVILLE: And finally, when they are deployed—and we hope each one comes home having been victorious—we most of all hope that they come home. Can you be assured that they have the equipment, the training and the back-up they need to successfully do what they have to do and get back safely?
RITZ: I have 100 percent confidence in the training program that we have laid out, the equipment—and there‘s more equipment coming to them prior to them going to theater, the updated optics, the night-vision sights, which they will get an opportunity to train on prior to even deploying here from Fort Bliss. So I‘m very confident. And like I said, I have family members in theater right now who went through this exact same training program.
NORVILLE: Well, I‘m sure there are a lot of family members, not only yours but the others who have folks in that unit, who are relieved to hear this. Lieutenant Colonel Ritz, we thank you so much for your time. Appreciate you being with us.
RITZ: Thank you, ma‘am.
NORVILLE: When we come back, we‘ll change subjects. Life or death for Scott Peterson. The penalty phase goes on.
ANNOUNCER: Still to come: courtroom showdown. Sharon Rocha prepares to address jurors about her murdered daughter and grandson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - APRIL 2003)
SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON‘S MOTHER: My heart aches for her and Conner!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: While Jackie Peterson prepares to plead for the killer‘s life. What impact will their emotional appeals have on the jury? DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON ROCHA, MOTHER OF LACI PETERSON: Laci meant the world to me. She was my only daughter. She was my best friend. We miss her beautiful smile, her laughter, her love, and her kind and loving ways. I miss seeing her, talking to her, hugging her. We have been deprived of meeting and knowing Laci‘s son, our grandson and nephew.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: That was Laci Peterson‘s mother, talking about her murdered daughter last year. Today, Sharon Rocha was speaking about her daughter again, along with her son, another daughter and her current husband, during the penalty phase of the Peterson trial, which today got under way.
Scott Peterson‘s mother will testify later this week, as both mothers face off in court trying to convince the jury whether Scott Peterson should live or die. This is, of course, the same jury that found Peterson of killing his pregnant wife and their unborn son. The jury will decide whether to recommend life in prison or death, and then the judge will pronounce sentence.
But how much of an effect will these so-called impact testimonies have on the jury?
Joining me to talk about this is attorney and jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn. He recently worked with Kobe Bryant‘s defense team. Also with me is defense attorney George Parnham. You will recall he was the lawyer for Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five young children. Her life was spared by the jury, which sentenced her to life in prison instead. And with us as well is former prosecutor Paul Pfingst. Throughout his career, he has overseen some 20 capital murder cases, 12 of which ended with the death penalty being pronounced.
Gentlemen, I thank you all for being here.
And I just want to start off by talking about the way the prosecutor opened the testimony phase. He said: “The killing of Laci Peterson was like ripples in a water. And we are going to show you how those ripples emanated out and touched so many lives.”
George Parnham, what he is going to try to do is exactly what a defense attorney doesn‘t want, and that is to wreak every ounce of emotion out of these witnesses. What is his objective?
GEORGE PARNHAM, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR ANDREA YATES: Well, there‘s no question about that.
It‘s important for that prosecutor to humanize the memory of Laci. And the way he can do it is by having the various members of Laci‘s family testify about the holes in their lives as a result of the loss of their daughter and grandchild. And on the other side of the coin, obviously, Mark Geragos has got the added responsibility of approaching it from the same perspective, but a little trickier.
NORVILLE: What kind of pressure is Jackie Peterson going to be under, Mr. Parnham? She is the one person who will sit on that stand later this week and talk about her little boy, who the jury has already pronounced a killer, and try to say something that will get them to show mercy.
And she will be under enormous pressure. And the defense role is obviously quite different, and it‘s a little more complicated. For instance, Mark Geragos cannot run the risk of having the mother of the defendant that was convicted by the jury chastise the jury for its verdict. Likewise, the mother, I think, cannot be placed in the situation of begging for her son‘s life, thereby...
NORVILLE: Why not? That‘s what she has got to do.
PARNHAM: Well, but the problem will end up being that there will be some type of capitulation on her part concerning the guilt or innocence of her son. And credibility is the key in this case.
NORVILLE: Yes. Let me just go to Paul.
Doesn‘t Mark Geragos have about as much credibility as you can fill a thimble with, with this jury?
PAUL PFINGST, FORMER PROSECUTOR: He is in a tough spot.
And everybody in the courtroom knows he is in a tough spot. And his job is harder than the prosecutor‘s job, because people understand that the prosecutor is going to bring on Laci‘s family and they are going to be devastated by her loss. That‘s predictable.
It‘s unpredictable, though, what the defense is going to be in this case, and that‘s why Mark Geragos‘s job is so much more difficult than the prosecutor‘s, because he has to make out of a killer someone who has some humanity and some goodness. And so far, he has not shown the soft touch of being able to do that. So I am waiting to see him, because the death penalty part of this case—the penalty part of a death penalty case is ultimately about the defense. It‘s not about the prosecution.
PFINGST: Everybody understands the killing and their pain of that. It becomes more visceral when the witnesses come in, but it‘s about the defense. Mark Geragos made a smart move. He didn‘t do an opening statement in the penalty phase. He waived that until after the Peterson—after the Rocha family, Laci‘s parents, were done testifying.
So he can start with a clean canvas and try and get some emotion back on his side. But it‘s an uphill fight.
NORVILLE: And, Robert, what is it that jury wants to hear? While each of them has said, yes, I am prepared to vote for the death penalty, should it come to that, how much are they looking for an opportunity to not have to send a man to the death chamber?
ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, ATTORNEY/JURY CONSULTANT: Well, we are asking the jury to do something that no human being should be asked to do, which is to sentence a man to death.
And what you have got here is a jury from the defense, where you want to be able to argue to them, despise the sinner, despise the sin, but forgive the sinner.
HIRSCHHORN: And like I say to my kids, Mickey (ph) and Troy (ph), that momentary decisions could inflict a lifetime of pain.
And so that‘s why what the defense wants to do is really get the jury focused on that pain and that suffering that everybody is going through and have the capacity for forgiveness.
NORVILLE: Well, they certainly showed it today, because, as Laci‘s family was testifying, and as Sharon Rocha was finishing there at the end, jury No. 12, a woman who works at an adoption agency, openly wept. Unlike the evidentiary part of the trial, they can show their emotions if they want, can‘t they, Robert?
HIRSCHHORN: Oh, they are absolutely going to show it.
Look, no mother deserves to have their heart broken like this. No mother deserves this pain or this suffering. The mother of the victim doesn‘t deserve it. The mother of the victimizer doesn‘t deserve this kind of hurt. But, in this phase of the trial, it‘s all about the emotion. When Sharon Rocha got off the witness stand, there shouldn‘t have been a dry eye in the house. That‘s why it was smart for Geragos to reserve his opening statement to try to build some momentum for his side of the case.
NORVILLE: And do you think, Paul, that he is still trying to figure out what his case is going to be, now that he has seen the defense witness, the prosecution witnesses come up?
PFINGST: No, I think Mark knows what he wants to do. I just think he didn‘t want to tip off the prosecutors as to where he was going, so that the prosecutors could use the Rocha family to blunt his direction.
NORVILLE: What do you think he is going to do?
PFINGST: I think what‘s he going to do is try and bring Scott Peterson‘s best moments up inside the courtroom.
And until Scott Peterson killed his wife and until he was involved with Amber Frey, you know, he has a good background. He has no prior criminal felony record, no prior criminal record. He worked his way, did a number of jobs through school. He lived—went to work every day, did a lot of good things.
NORVILLE: So, what is he going to say? He had a momentary period when he wigged out and did stupid, dumb things, like have an affair, take Viagra, and then kill his wife?
PFINGST: No, actually, what he says, what he‘s going to say, I think, is this.
He‘s going to say, listen, when someone is convicted of the crime that Scott Peterson is convicted of, you don‘t automatically get the death penalty. Some people convicted of this crime do and some people don‘t. And the ones who don‘t are the ones who don‘t have a prior criminal record, The ones who don‘t are the ones who have done good things for people in the their lives. The ones who do are the ones who have prior acts of violence and the ones who have—malicious and don‘t have a good bone in their body. Those are the ones.
NORVILLE: And the ones who don‘t, George Parnham, are also the ones who clearly had a mental state that was not normal. And that was obviously apparent to the jury that sat in judgment of Andrea Yates. Scott Peterson doesn‘t have that going for him.
PARNHAM: And your observation is true to the mark.
But the whole issue will be, in the punishment phase of the case, given the emotionalism that Robert talked about, the credibility of the defense. The lawyer has maintained throughout the course of the presentation, over the lengthy months of ardor in that courtroom, that his man was innocent.
Various theories were submitted to this jury, and obviously at some point, after a lengthy and hard deliberation, they were discounted. But he still has people on his side. And he has got to continue to maintain that impression of innocence.
NORVILLE: Because he‘s got an appeal coming.
PARNHAM: Showing respect for a jury—that‘s right.
Showing respect for the jury and the role of the jury and the role of those jurors and the justice system. He disagrees with the verdicts, but he respects what they have done.
NORVILLE: This has to be the last word. Go ahead, real quick.
PFINGST: One of the things that is going on here is, when the prosecutor used the ripple analogy, the ripples go out and harm innocent people, Mark Geragos can come in and say that the verdict, the death verdict, will have ripples, too, and that will harm innocent people, and that will harm the Peterson family, and that will harm all the people who love him. Let‘s let the killing stop.
HIRSCHHORN: His client is bad, but his client is not Charlie Manson.
And that is what he is going to get across to this jury.
NORVILLE: All right. We will wait to see what kind of witnesses he presents to do just that.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us, Robert Hirschhorn, George Parnham, Paul Pfingst, thanks so much.
HIRSCHHORN: Thank you, Deborah.
PARNHAM: Thank you, Deborah.
NORVILLE: We will take a break and be right back.
ANNOUNCER: Up next, Michael Moore‘s about-face. What prompted him to clean up his act?
DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.
NORVILLE: Time to lighten things up. Michael Moore has shed that scruffy look for a clean-shaven, dare I say conservative look? What‘s behind the makeover?
Find out in a moment.
NORVILLE: Yes, indeed, we do ask the question now, what happened to filmmaker Michael Moore? Known for his disheveled, scruffy look, he surprised everybody last night.
After months of working to defeat George Bush, Moore made his new post-election look public appearance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” looking downright dapper, or, well, close to it, or, then again, maybe not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
JAY LENO, HOST: Michael?
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: It‘s me, Jay.
LENO: I thought it was Dennis Hastert, speaker of the House. Look at
· this is a whole new look. You‘re not—are you a Republican now?
What‘s going on?
MOORE: I thought I would try to look a little sharper for my IRS audit.
LENO: Oh, really?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: He also went on to say, if you can‘t be a Republican, just look like one.
Moore is not the only celebrity who has gone from sloppy to styling. There are plenty of others who have headed in the other direction, fashion-wise.
And joining me to take a look at that is Phillip Bloch. He is the fashion stylist to the stars. His celebrity clients include John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Jada Pinkett Smith. And also here with here in New York is Katrina Szish. She is the style editor for “Us” magazine.
And I want to ask you both right off the bat.
Phillip, I‘ll start with you. What did you think when you saw Michael Moore walk out on Jay Leno‘s show?
PHILLIP BLOCH, CELEBRITY FASHION STYLIST: Wow. I wish I had gotten my hands on him before that.
NORVILLE: What would you have done differently?
BLOCH: I think he looked great. I couldn‘t have even dreamed that was underneath all that hair and scruff.
NORVILLE: Did you think he looked good?
BLOCH: I thought he looked really, really great. I think he has decided to basically infiltrate the Republicans and conquer from the inside.
NORVILLE: Katrina, do you think looking? When you saw him walk out on that set, what was your initial reaction?
KATRINA SZISH, STYLE EDITOR, “US”: Well, I have to say, he looked like he was really, really smushed into that suit. I was definitely thinking a little bit of like post-Thanksgiving food hangover, a little bit of sort of Newt Gingrich mixed with Trent Lott, all smushed with Rush Limbaugh in one suit.
NORVILLE: I was stunned by how big he appeared. He is a big man, but he looked bigger.
SZISH: He‘s a portly guy, exactly.
I think the scruff sort of camouflaged some of the rolls. I definitely think that the suit was ill-fitting. It was an interesting gesture, an interesting look for him, but he needs a stylist.
Phillip, it‘s all you.
NORVILLE: Phillip, it‘s all you.
NORVILLE: Maybe you can catch him.
But what is he trying to say, Phillip? Stars—and you know this as well as anybody—don‘t make these kinds of changes unless there‘s some kind of message they‘re trying to send. What do you think the message was for Michael Moore?
BLOCH: I think he is really trying to get respect.
I think everybody respects him in the sense that he knows what he is talking about. But, really, you want to sway people to your side of the fence. You want people to get your opinion. And if you are going around looking like a mess, who is really going to pay attention to you? You look like a radical, basically.
NORVILLE: He is also hoping, Katrina, Oscar time rolls around, that his film is going to be up there.
SZISH: Exactly. And he won‘t I guess this year be making sort of sort of spitting, blustering, sweating speech he made last time. I think this year perhaps he hopes to be a little bit more respectable, exactly as Phillip said.
NORVILLE: Talk to me a little bit about the whole notion of celebrities doing a public makeover.
Katrina, when they do, the first thing you notice is, usually, there‘s been an enormous weight change. Who has been the most dramatic celebrity changeover that you have seen lately?
SZISH: Definitely Anna Nicole Smith. And she has sort of zigzagged in terms of weight loss. She‘s one of the initial ones.
One that I think has worked, actually, has been Nicole Richie.
NORVILLE: Hold on a second. Let‘s stick with Anna Nicole Smith.
SZISH: Yes. Sure.
NORVILLE: Because here she is. She looks ginormous.
SZISH: Oh, there she is yes.
NORVILLE: And in the new post-TrimSpa or whatever, she looks amazing.
SZISH: Exactly. But it goes to show, though, that just because you lose the weight doesn‘t mean that the personality flaws go with it.
NORVILLE: Phillip, she is still a bit of a basket case. We are watching the American Music Awards.
SZISH: The AMAs, yes.
NORVILLE: And no one really knew what was going on, and I think that would probably include Anna Nicole Smith. It‘s not just the look that has got to change, right, Phillip?
BLOCH: Oh, I have worked with her before, and she is a cuckoo bird.
BLOCH: She is definitely—the lights are on, but nobody is home there. She is really traveling to the beat of her own drummer. She sort of feels she is this reincarnation of Marilyn and Marilyn speaks to her. She makes you play Marilyn Monroe music all day. It‘s quite a trip working with Anna Nicole, I have got to say.
NORVILLE: Another celebrity that struck me, Phillip, is somebody who did a major changeover, maybe because of the woman in his life at the time, was Ben Affleck. He used to be the scruffy, sort of thin version of Michael Moore, and then he cleaned up his act.
BLOCH: And Jennifer took such a hot seat for that. He really kind of dissed her when they broke up. And I thought he was looking great when he had a little bit of tan. He was wearing a suit and tie that actually matched.
And then, the minute they broke up, he went back into, oh, yes, I am just a jock. I don‘t really care. And she took a lot of the heat for that relationship. And I think it takes two there. I think he was looking better than ever. And, obviously, it wasn‘t her, because the last movie or two hasn‘t done very well either, and he can‘t blame it on her.
NORVILLE: Katrina, you say—and that really makes a big point—that, when you look the part, when you look good, people respect you.
I think it‘s one of those sort of seminal style laws, that, if you dress respectably, if you look good, then people are going to see you that way.
NORVILLE: Give me just a quick list, Katrina.
And then I‘m going to come to you, Phillip, for the same.
Stars who have made that quick change that you think are looking good, great.
SZISH: Nicole Richie I think has done an amazing job, from raunchy rich girl to cute little red-carpet, Prada-wearing girl.
I also think that Jessica Simpson has undergone a major change. She is super glamorous girl, gorgeous, fashionable. And she used to be wearing head to toe denim. She looked like kind of like a Britney clone. And she has really come into her own.
NORVILLE: Phillip, give me a couple names you like.
BLOCH: Well, you know, Courtney Love definitely had her makeover moment, but she slipped right back into her old bad habits. And it just goes to show you, like Anna Nicole, they‘re very similar. You can take the girl out of the country, but, you know...
NORVILLE: They always come back home to wherever they are from.
We are going to leave it at that.
NORVILLE: Phillip Bloch, Katrina Szish, thanks so much for being with us.
SZISH: Thank you.
NORVILLE: When we come back, the party is over for Ken Jennings‘ run on “Jeopardy.” Need we say more?
NORVILLE: Turn out the lights. The party is over.
The longest winning streak in television game show history has come to an end. Ken Jennings won more money than anyone had ever won on a game show, taking home more than $2. 5 million during his 74-game run on “Jeopardy,” that started back on June 2. But in the show that aired tonight, the 30-year-old software engineer from Salt Lake City, Utah, met his match in a California real estate agent by the name of Nancy Zerg.
Entering “Final Jeopardy,” Jennings led.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “JEOPARDY”)
ALEX TREBEK, HOST: The category is business and industry. And here is the clue, ladies and gentlemen. Most of this firm‘s 70,000 seasonal white-color employees work only four months a year. Thirty seconds. Good luck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Do you know the answer? Nancy Zerg who has a friend who is an accountant, and that person is nearly impossible to reach during tax time. Remembering that paid off big-time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “JEOPARDY”)
TREBEK; Nancy, you wrote down your response rather quickly, I thought. I hope it‘s correct. Let‘s take a look.
NANCY ZERG, CONTESTANT: I hope so, too.
TREBEK: What is H&R Block? You are right. Your wager, $4,401, taking you up to $14,401. You have a $1 lead over Ken Jennings right now.
And his final response was? FedEx. His wager was $5,601. He winds up in second place with $8,799.
TREBEK: And Nancy Zerg, congratulations. You are indeed a giant killer, our new “Jeopardy” champion, $14,401.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Yes. Well, before the show started, Ms. Zerg said that she psyched herself up by repeating to herself, someone has got to beat him some time. It may as well be me.
Oh, and, by the way, H&R Block isn‘t all that bad for Jennings. Now that he is in a new tax bracket, the company has offered him free tax preparation for life.
We‘ll be right back.
NORVILLE: Send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com. We have posted some of your e-mails on our Web page. That‘s NORVILLE.MSNBC.com, which is where you can sign up for our newsletter.
And that is our program for tonight. Thank you so much for watching.
I‘m Deborah Norville.
Do join us later this week. We have a rare interview with the husband of a teacher from Florida accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student. He will share some shocking personal stories with us when you join us on Thursday night. We will see you then.
Coming up next, Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.” That‘s it for us. Have a great evening. Thanks.
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