Guest: Vinnie Politan, Jeff Lichtman, Brenda Joy Bernstein, Gloria Allred, Robert Hirschhorn, Richard Mineards
ANNOUNCER: DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.
DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST: Defending a killer: more pleas for mercy, as Scott Peterson‘s friends and family try to reconcile the man they knew with the man convicted of murder. And Peterson‘s own mother awaits her chance to try to save her son‘s life. And is Amber Frey finally ready to tell her side of the story in public?
Diana‘s crush. She was infatuated with a married man 14 years her senior.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I was only happy when he was around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Could Princess Diana‘s secret fixation have led to foul play?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I think he was bumped off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Tonight, Diana as you‘ve never heard her before, the tapes that have British investigators taking another look at the death of a royal bodyguard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I should have never played with fire, and I did, and I got very burned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.
NORVILLE: And good evening. Scott Peterson has been convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and unborn son, but today, during the fifth day of the penalty phase, defense witnesses described him as punctual young man who did charity work and sang to seniors. Fourteen more people testified on Peterson‘s behalf today, which brings the total so far to twenty-eight the number of people who have tried to convince the jury to spare his life.
Today, some of them openly questioned the jury‘s decision to convict him. A former dean of students at Peterson‘s high school said that Scott never caused any problems and that he volunteered for charities. There will be two more days expected of testimony on Peterson‘s behalf before the jury begins its deliberations as to the sentence. At least 10 witnesses, including his mother, are scheduled. But is there a risk in having too many people come to talk about what a good person Scott Peterson was, especially when so many of them are talking about a Scott Peterson they knew many years ago?
Joining me tonight are attorney and jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn. He recently worked with Kobe Bryant‘s legal team. Also with me tonight, Gloria Allred. She is the attorney for Amber Frey, Peterson‘s former mistress, who was a key witness in the trial. The host of “Both Sides” on Court TV, Vinnie Politan, joins us. He‘s been covering the Peterson case. In California, defense attorney and former prosecutor Brenda Joy Bernstein, and with me in the studio, defense attorney Jeff Lichtman, who has worked on a number of death penalty cases.
We‘ll get into the specifics of the penalty witnesses in just a moment, but Gloria, I want to start with you first. You‘ve seen the reports that Amber Frey has signed a deal for a very lucrative book contract to be published next February. Can you comment?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY: Well, hi, Deborah. I see those reports. I see there is no one named as the source in those reports. All I can say is we have no comment. I do hope that at an appropriate point, Amber will be able to tell her story in her own words. But I have no comment on the published reports, at this point.
NORVILLE: Would it be inappropriate for Amber Frey, or anybody who had been a critical witness in a criminal case, to sign any kind of deal before that case had reached its final completion with a sentence?
ALLRED: I wouldn‘t want to comment on that. But all I can say is that at an appropriate time, I hope that Amber will tell her story because so many people have commented on it, and I would like her to be able to say it in her own voice at the appropriate time.
NORVILLE: OK. Well, we‘ll wait until that appropriate time, which I guess is going to come after the trial is over.
Now I want to talk about the witnesses that were paraded out yet again. Today there were 14, 28 in total. As I was reading the transcripts, word by word, the question kept coming in my mind, Are they trying to send this man to the death chamber? Let‘s just go around the horn. B.J., let me start with you first. What is going on with these witnesses?
BRENDA JOY BERNSTEIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, Deborah, the other day, when I was with you, I was trying to give the defense the benefit of the doubt. And now, by today, I, too, am wondering, What are they doing, going on and on? One of the only things that I can think about is that, you know, as the attorney, you are directed by your client—your client, your client‘s family, and what they want you to present. You are doing what they want you to do. And I‘m at this point wondering if there‘s just not pressure on the attorneys from the family to say, Listen, my son‘s life is at stake, and I want you to do everything and put up everyone possible, so that later, someone‘s not second guessing.
NORVILLE: You think Scott Peterson‘s calling the shots on this?
BERNSTEIN: He could be. He and his family could be talking to his lawyer about it because, you know, part of me says, as a lawyer, when you hear the reports—and I think Vinnie‘s in the courtroom and probably can tell you a little bit more. But the reports coming out are that some of the jurors have their arms crossed. I mean, the body language—you know, normally, as a lawyer, you‘re going to respond to the body language of the jury and have a sense of how they‘re reacting and not go with a script.
NORVILLE: Well, Vinnie...
BERNSTEIN: But it sounds like here...
NORVILLE: Vinnie, let me ask you about that. You‘ve been watching these faces of these folks as No. 13, No. 14, come through and say, basically, the guy was a choirboy, for crying out loud. What are the jurors doing?
VINNIE POLITAN, HOST, “BOTH SIDES,” COURT TV: Well, they‘re not really making that connection. And an interesting moment in the courtroom was when this jury found out there was going to be 10 more witnesses tomorrow. And there were some smiles from the jury, kind of, I think, sarcastic smiles. So they know what‘s coming up. They hear it, and there‘s a lot of cumulative evidence in there, not a lot of new stuff, a lot of stuff about the old Scott Peterson from high school, from junior high school, growing up with his cousins, going to school.
There were a couple of witnesses, though, that kind of stuck out as more important, and these were the adult witnesses, people that had relationships with Scott Peterson after he was away from home, moved out of home and was in college and kind of working and going to school at the same time. So they were probably more important.
But we‘re not seeing any of those witnesses who were in Scott Peterson‘s life the last few years, when he was in Modesto with Laci Peterson, and I think that‘s the big problem.
NORVILLE: Which, Jeff Lichtman, brings me back to my question. Are they trying to get this guy so sent to the death chamber that they‘ve got umpteen grounds for appeal?
JEFF LICHTMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I don‘t think that‘s the case. I mean, at least, I would hope not. I think that this is like a double-barreled problem. First of all, this parade of insignificant witnesses is certain to anger a jury that‘s been sitting there for five months and is now listening to nothing more than drivel. In addition, now you‘ve got a different change of events today, in which the witnesses are coming out and basically scolding the jury and telling them they made a mistake. So now they‘re being bored to death and abused. So at some point, it‘s got to end, and hopefully, it will happen soon.
NORVILLE: Gloria, you‘ve sat in that courtroom. You‘ve seen these jurors when Amber Frey was testifying. What do you imagine their reaction is to what‘s more or less an echo of the same story from a lot of these witnesses?
ALLRED: Well, my guess is that very soon, they‘re going to be ready to deliberate. And hopefully, that day is Thursday of this week, when they‘re ready to do so.
But I think what the defense is trying to do is perhaps plant lingering doubt in the minds of the jurors. Lingering doubt would be a mitigating factor to be weighed against the aggravating factors that were presented by the prosecution. So as the witnesses say they don‘t think that Scott Peterson could have done it, it‘s not the Scott Peterson they know, he‘s a role model, their children look up to him, and so forth, maybe they‘re trying to say, Look, everybody in his family, his co-workers, his friends, his school principal, others who knew him, they may have lingering doubt. The jury should have doubt.
Problem is, as has been pointed out, those relatives have not been sitting in the courtroom for five months, as the jury has. And you know, the jury may have some doubt. They don‘t have to have the prosecution‘s case proven beyond any doubt, only beyond a reasonable doubt. But I don‘t know how much this is really going to help. And at this point, the jurors may be, in fact, just getting angry, hearing it over and over again, hearing their verdict being questioned.
NORVILLE: And they may be getting angry hearing their judgment being questioned. One of Scott Peterson‘s uncles, John Latham, took the stand today and said, quote, “I don‘t believe he‘s guilty. I know he‘s been found guilty, but in my heart, I don‘t feel he‘s guilty. I just can‘t believe that. I would not like to see him die. It would tear the family apart.”
His other uncle took the stand, Robert Latham, said the same thing.
Quote, “I think the verdict is a mistake, and in time, things will change.”
Robert Hirschhorn, that‘s a pretty inflammatory remark to make in front of the 12 people who are going to decide if your nephew lives or dies.
ROBERT HIRSCHHORN, ATTORNEY AND JURY CONSULTANT: But not if there‘s the potential for lingering doubt. And part of what‘s going on here—we‘ve all got to remember that the decision is whether or not we‘re going to march this man to the gallows, or in this case, strap him down to gurney and put a needle in his arm and kill him, intentionally kill him.
And when you‘re going to make that kind of decision, when you‘re going to extract that kind of punishment, I think what you, as a lawyer, owe to your client is to turn over every stone, to dot every “i” and cross every “t,” so that jury knows everything there is to know about the human being they are about to sentence.
NORVILLE: Yes, but how far back do you go in time to turn over the stones? I want to throw up what Marvin Threatt said. He was the dean of students when Scott Peterson was in high school. Now, the man is 32 years old. You do the math. We‘re going back in time. He said, quote, “I remember him in passing. My job was to stand in the middle of the school and let everybody know I was there.” Mr. Geragos, “If he‘d been a troublemaker, would he have encountered you?” His response, “In his senior year, I remember him quite well. The whole time he was there, there was never—he was never in my office for any disciplinary purposes.”
Jeff, I cannot believe that they would have someone on the stand saying, “I remember him in passing.” You want better than that, don‘t you?
LICHTMAN: Of course you do. And again, it shows how shallow this man‘s relationships are. And you know, what Robert mentioned before, that you have to listen to what your client says and you have to do what he says if you‘re the defense lawyer, well, I am a defense lawyer and I have been in this situation. I‘m in it every day. And can tell you right now I‘m not worth my salt as defense lawyer if I‘m going to get pushed around by a client. Because you know what? There‘s a reason why I‘m getting hired to do this. I‘m a professional. And I‘ve got to convince the client that this is the right way and this is the way we‘re going to do it, and you‘re going to have to trust me. Otherwise, what am I doing here?
NORVILLE: On the other hand...
HIRSCHHORN: But Jeff, he‘s the one that suffers the consequence, Jeff, not you. You get to go home. We all know that. We‘re talking about life or death here. If we‘re talking about a sentence for a long-time in prison, you‘re right, Jeff. The client‘s got to listen to you because you know better. But you know, he‘s the one that‘s going to be living with this decision, and if he gets strapped to gurney, it‘s going to be his call. That‘s why I think he wants to have some control over his destiny.
LICHTMAN: Well, you know, look, he‘s had plenty of control over five months. This now the penalty phase. Whatever suggestions Scott has made at this point in the case obviously haven‘t worked out so well. So you know what? Maybe it‘s time to listen to an expert. These witnesses are so preposterous that it‘s hard to imagine that anybody could have suggested this, other than Scott.
HIRSCHHORN: I don‘t think they‘re preposterous.
NORVILLE: Vinnie, let me—let me bring you into this, Vinnie. What about the idea that here we are, we‘re now up to 28 witnesses, which is double the number of people who testified during the evidentiary part of the trial? Where were these folks earlier on?
POLITAN: Well, they really had nothing to add. What they‘re doing is painting a complete picture of Scott Peterson. The problem is, it‘s not people directly related to his life. You‘re talking about, you know, his parents‘ friends. You‘re talking about his parents‘ brothers and sisters...
POLITAN: ... people that weren‘t seeing him day to day, people that weren‘t interacting with him, people who never visited him in Modesto.
NORVILLE: People who lived in Alaska!
POLITAN: It almost like—you know what it‘s almost like? It‘s almost like his parents have written out a guest list for a wedding. And you know, at a wedding, you know, you invite all your parents‘ friends to the wedding? That‘s what‘s happening in there, and it‘s just not effective.
POLITAN: And you talk about questioning the jury‘s verdict here—when that happened a couple times, I saw a couple of those jurors looking at the witness. They questioned their verdict. They‘re looking away from that witness. So I don‘t think it‘s working.
NORVILLE: So it‘s not working. And also, the question is, Does it diminish what may be the most important testimony on Scott Peterson‘s behalf, that of his mother? More with my guests in just a moment. We‘ll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: Still to come: the death of a royal bodyguard. Was it an accident or foul play?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I should have never played with fire, and I did, and I got very burned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Princess Diana‘s secret conspiracy theory revealed when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - APRIL 21, 2003)
SHARON ROCHA, LACI PETERSON‘S MOTHER: Soon after Laci went missing, I made a promise to her that if she has been harmed, we will seek justice for her and Conner and make sure that that person responsible for their deaths will be punished!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Laci Peterson‘s mother, Sharon Rocha, speaking in April of 2003.
Will Scott Peterson, her son-in-law, the man convicted of murdering her pregnant daughter, now get the death penalty? Back with attorney and jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn. Also, attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Amber Frey during the trial, Vinnie Politan from Court TV‘s been covering it. Defense attorney and former prosecutor Brenda Joy Bernstein and defense attorney Jeff Lichtman.
Gloria, I want to go back to you first. There‘s—obviously, the star witness for Scott Peterson is going to be his mom, Jackie Peterson. We understand the emotion that the jurors felt when Sharon Rocha was on the stand. Will the jurors feel that same emotion for Jackie Peterson?
ALLRED: I do think that they will feel a certain sadness for Jackie Peterson. There has been testimony that Jackie Peterson, the mother of Scott, is, in fact, herself the child of a murder victim. Her father was murdered in a robbery when she was little. Her mother at the time was an invalid, or became an invalid as a result, and Jackie and her brothers were then placed in an orphanage. That‘s very sad.
On the other hand, now it is her son who is—has been convicted of a double murder. It‘s clear that Jackie doesn‘t believe that Scott did it. And it‘s clear, too, that she‘ll be very upset if he gets the death penalty. But if he does get the death penalty, it‘s because of his conscious acts, his premeditated double murder that he‘s been convicted of. And that‘s a very different situation for a mother to be in than Sharon Rocha‘s in, the mother of Laci. Laci and Conner, of course, were totally innocent victims.
NORVILLE: And it‘s a difficult dance, isn‘t it, B.J., for a mother to do? She doesn‘t believe her son is guilty of this crime. She doesn‘t want to insult the jury, as some other witnesses might have done. And yet she wants to somehow appeal to that sense of mercy that is within everyone to spare her son‘s life. What has she got to say to convince them to go for life, rather than the death penalty?
BERNSTEIN: She really has to convey to that jury that his life needs to be spared, and in a very emotional—she has got to capture their heartstrings. You have to remember that this jury—you know, when you think about it in your life, some of the most—for most of us, the most important decisions and the most serious decisions that we ever make who we‘re going to marry...
BERNSTEIN: ... where we‘re going to work, where we‘re going to live. Only those people who‘ve had the type of jobs where life or death is involved or they, God forbid, have to decide, you know, about life support or some sort of catastrophic injury, then—you know, that‘s—we‘re not used to making those decisions. And with her emotion, if it comes across the right way, it may really strike those jurors to pause and hesitate for a decision that there is no way any person, even though they‘ve been prequalified by the judge and asked whether they could consider the death penalty—when it gets down to it, it is extremely difficult to sit there and say, I want my government to execute someone. And so that‘s why her emotion‘s going to matter.
NORVILLE: Given that that‘s the case, why, then, are they talking about golf? And I want to share excerpts from two of the witnesses today. First was David Thoennes. He was Scott Peterson‘s golf coach in high school. He said, quote, “I never saw Scott lose his temper. Golfers have a bad shot, that‘s where their personalities came out. If Scott had a bad shot, he went on.”
And then his employer at the golf course where he worked later, he said, “As a younger golfer, he had a tendency, because of the way he had his golf swing, the ball would go off to the right. We tried to make him adjust his grip so that it would—so that if he didn‘t get it”—it‘s just unbelievable! Just unbelievable. “We finally got him to do it, change his grip, but it took a little ribbing. You could be tough on him, but he didn‘t mind. He turned into a pretty darned good golf player.”
I‘m just—I‘m just...
BERNSTEIN: That makes you wonder what kind of preparation that was done. I mean, it seems like there was a lot of focus on the guilt/innocence phase of this part of the trial, and you‘re wondering, How much did they prepare for this part? I mean, you do need to work with witnesses...
NORVILLE: And Robert, how...
BERNSTEIN: ... no matter who they are.
NORVILLE: How is this going to go over in the mind of a juror?
HIRSCHHORN: I think there‘s a cumulative effect. Look, what we‘re all forgetting is this is a guy that‘s been found guilty by a jury. He‘s been vilified in the press. It‘s not like a wedding, where people are happy. This is not an invitation you want in the mail. As Jeff knows, it takes a lot of work to get witnesses to come...
HIRSCHHORN: ... to stand up and say something nice for you. But what we‘ve got to know—over my shoulder is Lady Justice, and the whole idea is, under our justice system...
NORVILLE: But what does golf...
HIRSCHHORN: ... is there the capacity...
NORVILLE: ... have to do with justice!
HIRSCHHORN: Is there the capacity to find...
NORVILLE: What does the golf...
HIRSCHHORN: ... some sense of...
NORVILLE: ... have to do with it!
HIRSCHHORN: ... of help, some sense—is this a soul worth saving? And that‘s what they‘re doing. That‘s the cumulative effect of all of these witnesses.
NORVILLE: OK, Jeff, you get these guys to sit on these cases. Tell me what adjusting the grip so you don‘t slice the ball has to do with anything?
LICHTMAN: You know, it‘s almost like a bad “Saturday Night Live” skit, that if only he hadn‘t sliced the ball, he may not be a double killer today.
HIRSCHHORN: He has no history of temper!
NORVILLE: I mean, if this was the Skakel case, where there was the allegation that the woman—you know, she was killed with a golf club, I would get it. This makes no sense to me.
LICHTMAN: Obviously, what they‘re doing is they‘re just putting on anything and everything, I believe, just to throw some distance in between Laci‘s mother and the ultimate deliberation in the case. And we talked about this off camera...
NORVILLE: But why isn‘t the prosecutor saying...
LICHTMAN: Well, this is the problem. If I‘m the prosecutor in this case and I see that there is one dopey witness after another that really knows nothing about Scott Peterson, other than the fact that he was charming when he was 7 years old, and you can see that the jury is folding their arms and pursing their lips and shaking their heads, you stand up, and when the cousin says, Well, Scott is the kind of man that I hope my son grows up to be, at that point, the prosecutor should simply stand up and say, Wait a second. Assuming that he‘s not guilty of the murder today, what about the fact that he was cheating on his eight-month-pregnant wife? Is that what you want your son to be? That is the end of these silly witnesses? What is the going to witness say? It‘s going to be an embarrassing, horrible moment, and Geragos‘ll end it.
NORVILLE: So Vinnie, why...
BERNSTEIN: And what‘s even...
NORVILLE: Go ahead. Yes, B.J.?
BERNSTEIN: And what‘s even—think about the fact that this jury has heard not in person Scott Peterson, but they saw him on national TV. They have seen that tape. They have seen what he said then. And that, reconciling with, as you say, the golf swing, is totally opposite and a problem.
NORVILLE: Vinnie, where is the prosecution? As these questions go on and these jurors go on, what is the reaction on their face, as you sit in the courtroom?
POLITAN: Well, they‘re not asking any questions. And it‘s like a routine. You know, No questions. There‘s no cross-examination. But I think what the prosecution is thinking is they are looking at that jury. They‘re in the room. They see the reaction of this jury. They know what they can say during their closing argument. And there are certain things that are so obvious—like that statement that, I want my son to grow up like Scott Peterson—it‘s so obvious. It‘s such a softball that the prosecution may be thinking, I don‘t even have to say anything now. I can say something in my closing argument, if I want. It‘s just so obvious to everyone in that room that these people are talking about this Scott Peterson, but for five month, this jury heard about this Scott Peterson, and this is the one that may go to death row.
NORVILLE: And also, why...
NORVILLE: ... ever hear about the other Scott Peterson while the evidentiary part was going on? I mean, to me, it just seems like this is the 11th inning of a 9-inning game, and they‘re too late to be doing this.
We got to take a quick break and we‘ll come back. All my guests are going to stick around. We‘ll have a lot more on the Scott Peterson case. And also, what‘s left for the jury to hear as they decide their fate? At least 10 more witnesses still to come.
Then later on, Princess Diana revealed, a look at videotapes of a rare interview with the late princess, including her belief that a former bodyguard of hers was murdered. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP - APRIL 21, 2003)
JACKIE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON‘S MOTHER: No one can (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
And no one can judge our son by his behavior (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
LEE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FATHER: If you knew my son, if you knew his background and what a wonderful boy he is and has been all through his life, he‘s never had—you know, I mean, the kid is—he‘s a perfect kid all the way through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: We‘ve been hearing about Scott Peterson‘s background. Those were his parents in April of 2003. His father, Lee Peterson, has already testified in the penalty phase. His mom, Jackie, is scheduled to be the last witness to plead for her son‘s life. That‘ll probably happen on Wednesday.
Back to our discussion now. Jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn, attorney Gloria Allred, braving the elements out there in California—you‘re a god sport, Gloria, thank you...
ALLRED: Thank you.
NORVILLE: ... Court TV‘s Vinnie Politan is with us, as is defense attorney and former prosecutor Brenda Joy Bernstein and defense attorney Jeff Lichtman.
Vinnie, I know you were in the courtroom today, and you were there when the one person who evoked a little emotion took the stand. It was an old roommate of Scott‘s, a guy by the name of William Archer, who talked about their lives together. And this is what he said. He said, “Over the past couple of years, you do a lot of thinking about your friend and some of the things you did with him. It‘s just little things that you can describe. Some people that you know as a friend do big grandiose things. Some people are just there every day. And I always thought Scott was that way.”
I‘m guessing he‘s the closest to a real friend we‘ve seen step up for Scott Peterson. Why haven‘t there been more?
POLITAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. This is the type of witness that you want up there. This guy got emotional. You could see that this was a grown-up, you know, someone who knew Scott Peterson as an adult, who made a connection with Scott Peterson, someone who had received help from Scott Peterson, you know?
And one of the things he said that struck me was that, you know, I wish I had done more things for Scott and returned the favor because he always did so many things for me. I think that was good for the defense. And it is witnesses like that that you need. But what happens is, when you have one of those surrounded by eight irrelevant people talking about junior high school and trips to Alaska back in grammar school, it kind of gets lost.
NORVILLE: Isn‘t the jury going to sit there and go, where are the other William Archers? Why aren‘t there more friends like this up here for Scott?
POLITAN: Yes. I think that‘s what they want.
HIRSCHHORN: Listen, any of us, when you have got this kind of accusation on you, everybody watching the show, say to yourself, how many true, good friends do I have that would step up to the plate?
NORVILLE: I would like to think I have got more than one.
HIRSCHHORN: Hey, at least he got one.
HIRSCHHORN: But what we are trying to do is show that there‘s a pattern, that he doesn‘t have a history of violence. That is why he is a soul worth saving.
NORVILLE: And Gloria.
A mitigating factor is no prior criminal record, no history of violence. So that‘s what they are trying to show. I think they are doing that in combination with a theme that is, if you give Scott Peterson the death penalty, it will kill his parents. It will destroy this family. And there was some testimony to that effect today.
And a third theme is, if you give him life in prison without the possibility of parole, he‘s the kind of person who can be a positive influence on others. He can be a role model. Now, whether the jury is going to buy that is an open question. But I think those are the themes the defense is trying to strike. And I think the reason the prosecution is also not engaging in any cross-examination of any of these witnesses is, one, they don‘t think the witnesses hurt them.
And, two. if he does get the death penalty, then the defense can‘t argue on appeal that they objected and weren‘t able to get into some evidence that might have helped spare Scott from the death penalty.
NORVILLE: On the other hand Jeff, as I listen to the testimony of these witnesses, the juror in me wonders, why hasn‘t Scott Peterson shown emotion? His wife was brutally murdered. His son was killed before he was born. This is an awful thing to experience. If he has been wrongly convicted, as all of his supporters contend, where is the anguish?
LICHTMAN: You know, it is easy for us to say that sitting on the outside.
The last death penalty I had, the defendant was in the jail and was being woken up at 4:00 in the morning and being brought over. By the time he got into court that started at 9:30, he was bleary-eyed. He was out of it. He was almost comatose.
And what happens is, it is very possible. Scott has cried at certain parts of this case. He is numb. This is five months for the trial. He has been in jail for longer than that. And I think it is something that has to be explained during the summation, that he is just so emotionally spent that you could drop an anvil on his head and there won‘t be any emotion.
NORVILLE: B.J., there was one witness who testified, a cousin of Scott‘s, who said she didn‘t know him really well growing up because they lived great distances from one another, but what she said really struck me when it came to her first impression of Laci. And this was Scott‘s cousin, Lyta Anne (ph) Latham.
She said: “My first impression I had of her was that she was the perfect match for Scott. It took somebody like Laci to bring him out, kind of crack that shell on him.”
He had been earlier described as sort of quiet and very respectful.
Does that strike you in any particular way?
BERNSTEIN: Again, I think it is a little odd. It goes back to what I was saying about sometimes you wonder how much they talk to these folks before they put them up, because, again, you are reassessing or you are renewing the connection to Laci and Laci‘s and Scott‘s relationship. So, again, you scratch your head.
HIRSCHHORN: The other part of that message is, it shows why the guy doesn‘t show much emotion. He is inward. He has a shell. He is shy. It explains why he is not reacting the way all of us would think we would react if, God forbid, we ever found ourselves in that position.
ALLRED: Well, the trouble is, his reactions are so inappropriate when he has them.
We have seen him cry, you know, about Laci being missing on videotape in television interviews prior to his ever being prosecuted and convicted. And so we know that he can kind of turn on the tears and turn off the tears, a kind of manipulative device that he uses. So, even if he does cry, I think the jury could ask themselves, are these real tears or is he trying to manipulate us, the way he was trying to manipulate the media?
HIRSCHHORN: Your point is well taken, Gloria. No matter what the guy does, he is going to get criticized. If he shows emotion, it is crocodile tears. If he doesn‘t show emotion, he doesn‘t have a heart. You see, he doesn‘t win either way.
ALLRED: Because he‘s a phony. That‘s why.
LICHTMAN: But you know what? When you get past all of this stuff, though, the one, the only—I believe the only important fact here that should be brought out and the reason why Scott Peterson will not get death here is because there‘s no confession. There is no eyewitness. There‘s no murder weapon.
This is a largely circumstantial case. And there‘s a great reason why, even though there are a lot of death penalty convictions, there are very few death penalty sentences given. And it is not going to happen here because there is lingering doubt. There are going to be some religious convictions that are going to be hanged over some of the jurors‘ heads. And they will not give him the death penalty.
NORVILLE: And I‘m going to go around with everybody and get this, but let me get the follow-up to you, Jeff, because I‘m going to come to each of you with the same question. Do you believe there are any issues that are appealable?
LICHTMAN: It has got to be something with the way the jury, the two jurors were thrown off. There‘s nothing else that really stuck out in my mind.
LICHTMAN: We don‘t know what that answer is going to be, however, until we see the transcript of what happened in camera with the judge and the jurors.
NORVILLE: Vinnie Politan, what is your best guess on which way the jury is going to go when they do get the opportunity to make its decision about a sentence?
POLITAN: Well, just from reading some of these jurors today, they were not buying the lingering-doubt arguments that were being put forth there. I think it is all up to Jackie Peterson. Can she make that connection? Can she create the sympathy for Laci and Conner, make a connection with the Rocha family and tell this jury that the Petersons are human beings?
NORVILLE: And if she can, he gets life. If she can‘t, you think he gets the death penalty?
POLITAN: He could have some problems in there, absolutely, from the way I‘m reading the juror.
NORVILLE: Gloria, what is your verdict?
I think a lot is riding on Jackie Peterson. But there‘s a problem with Jackie Peterson. And that is, she testified in the earlier part of the trial and it may than that some of her testimony in reference to how it is that Scott had cash on him at the time of his arrest may not have been believed by some members of the jury, and that might affect her credibility when she testifies.
But, of course, she is going to be hooked up to oxygen, which she has every day. She has a respiratory condition. She may be sympathetic. She could do it. But that‘s an open question.
NORVILLE: Robert Hirschhorn, you think the jury has got enough doubt to give him life?
HIRSCHHORN: I think if, God forbid, my kids, Troy (ph) or Mickey (ph), ever found themselves in something like that, that I would have the courage to stand up to the plate and beg for their life.
I think Jackie and the rest of the family are going to do it. I believe there is going to be at least one juror that is going to say, spare him the gallows.
NORVILLE: You have managed to say your kids‘ name on every time you‘ve been on.
HIRSCHHORN: I never get to see them.
NORVILLE: B.J., last word to you. What do you think?
BERNSTEIN: Deborah, I would say possibly not to the death penalty, adding on to what Jeff said.
Remember, this jury found him guilty of murder, but no one really knows the context of how that murder occurred. Normally, in a death penalty case, you know the facts that led up to it. We don‘t know if there was an argument, whether it was the heat of passion. We don‘t know whether it was premeditated for days and months in advance.
BERNSTEIN: And that is going to be a big factor for that jury. So I would say that that is going to be doubt.
NORVILLE: Those are things no one will ever know.
Robert Hirschhorn, Gloria Allred, Vinnie Politan, B.J. Bernstein, and Jeff Lichtman, thanks so much.
We‘ll be back.
ANNOUNCER: Up next, the princess and the bodyguard. Could Diana‘s fixation on a married man have led to his death?
PRINCESS DIANA: I think he was bumped off.
ANNOUNCER: Diana from behind palace walls—when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.
NORVILLE: A never-before-seen videotaped interview with Princess Diana reveals her relationship with a former bodyguard and now has police opening an investigation.
NORVILLE: Now a look at more of those revealing tapes that NBC has obtained of Princess Diana talking to her voice coach back in 1992 and 1993. We played some of them for your last week.
And, tonight, we have got some more excerpts, including Diana talking about her relationship with a former bodyguard, Barry Mannakee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I tell you, one of the biggest crutches of my life, which I don‘t find easy to discuss, was, when I was 24, 25, I fell deeply in love with somebody who worked in this environment. And he was the greatest fellow I‘ve ever had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Rumors of a romance spread. And Mannakee was eventually transferred to other duties. He later died in a motorcycle accident in 1987.
In the tapes, Princess Diana says that she thinks he was murdered. We will listen to that just in a moment. And as a result of what she said on the tapes about Mannakee‘s death, British police are now reinvestigating.
Joining me now is a man who has covered the royal family for more than 30 years, “London Daily Express” correspondent Richard Mineards.
Mr. Mineards, thank you so much for being with us. It‘s good to see you.
RICHARD MINEARDS, “LONDON DAILY EXPRESS”: Good evening, Deborah.
NORVILLE: This excerpt from the interview, which I want to play right off the bat, has gotten a lot of people talking, most importantly British investigators. This is what Princess Diana said about her lingering doubts about the death of her friend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I think he was bumped off. But there we are. I don‘t—we‘ll never know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: “I think he was bumped off.”
Now, this was a man who had been Princess Diana‘s bodyguard earlier on in her marriage. At what point did he become more than a bodyguard, as has been rumored?
MINEARDS: Well, I think it was certainly within the first year of him coming on board with Diana in 1985.
As we now know, her marriage with Charles were unraveling. By her own admission, her life and love life was almost sexless. And I think she needed a man in her life, not only to have sex with, but for support. And there was this very handsome detective, Barry Mannakee, who was a married man with two children who was with her literally 24 hours a day. And obviously their relationship became more than employee and employer.
And by Diana‘s own admission, it evolved into a romance, a sexual romance. And she was the man in his life—her life, the great support for her, when—as she was under this enormous amount of stress, the marriage was unraveling, and she needed somebody, a shoulder to cry on or a man to be with.
NORVILLE: You know what is incredible to me is that she started speaking about this intimacy that she had with Barry Mannakee within just a couple of minutes of her voice coach, Peter Settelen, turning on the video camera, which was ostensibly just there so that she could be comfortable talking and get sort of an ease about being in public, which was something that she didn‘t have.
MINEARDS: Well, it is pretty extraordinary.
It is like Diana had a visual psychiatrist, that the camera replaced the professional and that she could just pour her heart out, because she had no one else to talk to, really, and talk about the stresses and the problems she had in her marriage. And there was this chance back in ‘92 and ‘93, when this man was brought in to teach her how to speak in public with confidence.
And, as part of this, she was able to speak to a camera. And she just poured out her thoughts quite candidly, without any thought of it ever coming out in public later on.
NORVILLE: And you can understand why she never thought this would come in public when you see what it is that she had to say. Here is Princess Diana talking about her affection for Barry Mannakee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I was always wandering around trying to see him. I just, you know, wore my heart on my sleeve. I was only happy when he was around.
PETER SETTELEN, VOICE COACH: So you had an intimacy.
PRINCESS DIANA: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: And she went on to confide to Settelen that she actually entertained the notion of running away from the palace and carrying on with him. And this is what she had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I was quite happy to give all this up. Well, not all this, at this moment. At the time, it was quite something to have all this. Just to go off and live with him. Can you believe it?
SETTELEN: Well, one can. It‘s not...
PRINCESS DIANA: And he kept saying he thought it was a good idea, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Do you think she seriously entertained the notion of that, or was it just sort of a intoxicating thing to have someone pay attention to you, which obviously her husband at that point was not?
MINEARDS: Well, it certainly was intoxicating, but obviously it was practically out of the question.
She could never really leave royal life and certainly she would never have left William and Harry, which of course would have affected her enormously. But she did have these ideas, these fairy tales in her own mind, but she was actually mired in a royal nightmare. And, as I say, the relationship with Charles was gone, basically. She produced the heir and the spare. He wanted a girl. She had not produced that. And then it just went downhill from there very, very fast.
NORVILLE: And, indeed, the tongues in the palace and elsewhere started to wag.
We‘ll take a short break. More with Richard Mineards on this incredible event in a moment.
NORVILLE: British authorities are reexamining the motorcycle death of a former bodyguard to Princess Diana based on video comments she made with a voice coach in 1992 and ‘93.
Back with royal watcher and “London Daily Express” correspondent Richard Mineards.
Richard, I want to play the excerpt from the interview in which she talks specifically about how she found out that Mr. Mannakee had died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: And Charles said to me that he was killed in a motorbike accident. And that was the biggest blow of my life, I must say. And that was a real killer. And Charles thought he knew, but he—he never, never had any proof. And he just jumped in on me like that and I wasn‘t able to do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Wasn‘t able to do anything.
And then she said that she had to go on to an event at the Cannes Film Festival. Was the prince of Wales suspicious that there was a real relationship there or was he just playing with her?
MINEARDS: Well, no, I think he probably was suspicious, because I think all the eyes are on Diana. And if there is anything going on that is out of the ordinary, I‘m sure all that was relayed to Charles.
But the periphery way he let Diana know that Mannakee had died in this motorcycle accident must have been deeply shocking to her, because there she is about to go out and go on public display and world display in Diana‘s case and having to put on an extremely brave face now that we know the man who was killed was her lover, as she claims in these videotapes.
NORVILLE: As, indeed, she said that she was so haunted by the fact that he had died and her suspicions that it may have been planned that she actually went to a clairvoyant and tried to contact him. And she talked about some of the dreams that she had. Here is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCESS DIANA: I used to have some really disturbing dreams about it. And he was very unhappy, wherever he‘s gone to. And so I went and laid some—I went to find out where he was buried. I went to put some flowers on his grave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NORVILLE: Said she thought he was bumped off. British authorities are now taking this, it seems, somewhat seriously. Can you tell us what is going on with the investigation?
MINEARDS: Well, it is all part of the investigation into Diana‘s death by the British authorities, which opened in January and probably won‘t be known with results until probably mid-next year.
But Sir John Stevens, who is head of the Metropolitan Police in London, who is charge of this investigation, wants to cover every point, so there‘s not a question mark remaining over Diana‘s death. So he is investigating every single angle, whether it is believed to be serious or not, so that, when the investigation report is finalized next year, that can then say with a clear conscience, no that Mannakee was not bumped off by the British secret services, MI-5, MI-6, as Diana believed, and that she did die in a tragic road accident, as the French authorities have already said after their extremely thorough and two-year-long investigation.
NORVILLE: Another bombshell in this whole was there a conspiracy against Diana saga that has gone on for the seven years since her death were letters that her former butler, Paul Burrell, made public in which it appears in the princess‘ hand a note that she has written that says she suspects that her husband was planning to have someone tamper with the brakes on a car and cause a terrible automobile accident.
MINEARDS: Well, I would put that down to unfortunate coincidence.
Diana was very paranoid, as he ex-staffers, ex-secretary, ex-security guards have said. She even believed at one time that there were marksmen aiming their guns at her in Kensington Palace gardens outside Kensington Palace and that they were always going to bump her off. And I think this letter, unfortunately, was another example of her paranoia.
But given the amazing coincidence that she did die in a road accident and thought she was going to die in that, of course, people have taken it as gospel.
NORVILLE: You know, it‘s incredible. She‘s been dead seven years and she continues in this country to fascinate and I know, to a lesser extent, probably, in England. Is there more to the Princess Diana story than has yet been told, even this yet many years later?
MINEARDS: Well, I think there probably is. I don‘t think Diana will ever rest in peace. There will always be a question mark of how she died and how her marriage unraveled and who knows? We might have more tapes coming out, be they video or audio, to shock us for the future.
NORVILLE: Yes. I mean, who thought there would be tapes this many years later?
Richard Mineards, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.
MINEARDS: My pleasure.
NORVILLE: And anybody who wants to see more of these tapes can do so. Coming up, part two of the NBC News special “Diana Revealed.” It is at 10:00 Eastern time on your local NBC station.
We will be right back with some of your thoughts on Scott Peterson.
NORVILLE: A lot of you have been watching the Scott Peterson case closely. And many of you have written in with your take on the penalty phase, which continues.
Veronica from Michigan wrote to tell us: “Justice hopefully will prevail. Scott‘s problem is, he doesn‘t want to grow up and be a responsible person. He was nothing more than a spoiled brat, the baby of the family, and doesn‘t want to be anything but that. How could he possibly deal with the responsibility of fatherhood?”
M.W. writes in and says: “I don‘t know if he did it. I know that the jury decided he was guilty, but that doesn‘t mean he killed them. Just as O.J. was found not guilty, does that mean he did not kill them? Do you know that Scott Peterson did it? I wonder.”
And then Judy Rosener has a comment about something I said earlier on the program. She writes and says: “Thanks for speaking up about the importance about being able to speak out against things our country is doing without being labeled in a negative manner. Too many reporters and anchors,” she says, “seem to be no more than mouthpieces for this administration. Where is the questioning? I thought this was a democracy.”
We love to hear from you. Send us your ideas and comments to us at NORVILLE@MSNBC.com. We have posted some of your e-mails on our Web page at NORVILLE.MSNBC.com, which is also the place where you can sign up for our newsletter.
And that is our program for tonight. Thanks so much for watching.
Coming up tomorrow night, more on the Scott Peterson case as the jury hears more testimony from Scott Peterson‘s friends and more family members, as they try to decide whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty for the convicted killer.
Coming up next, it‘s time for “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.” We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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