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More With Defense Attorney Bob Grimes

Aired August 21, 2002 - 14:03   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: James Hattori, outside the courthouse there, but watching the action, as we all are, as we look right now live at defendant there, David Westerfield.
James, you didn't see people come into the courthouse. Did they take extra precautions to shield the family is the were entering?

JAMES HATTORI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I'm sure they took standard precautions to make sure that they are not bothered. There are other entrances where they can avoid the crowds and the cameras, and obviously, the cameras and the reporters are gathering en masse both outside and inside.

Bob Grimes is here.

You know we were talking about -- and you have tried cases before Judge Mudd.

BOB GRIMES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.

HATTORI: And you are very acquainted with Steven Feldman, the defense attorney. We were talking earlier about how personally Steven Feldman took this. You consider him a good attorney? You think he did a good job?

GRIMES: Steve Feldman is just an excellent attorney. He is one of these people who is -- he is against the death penalty. He would fight to his last breath to try to save somebody from a death penalty charge.

HATTORI: And how about the judge? Has the way this trial played out consistent with the William Mudd that you know? Is he a pretty no nonsense guy?

GRIMES: He is. Judge Mudd, he lets you know right where you stand. He will tell you -- if you do something he doesn't like, he will tell you. He has actually been in some battles with the media and lawyers for the media in this case, but he is a strong judge, he's an independent judge, and he is a real good choice for a case like because he knows what he is doing.

HATTORI: Has this trial gone along at a pretty good clip, by your estimation?

GRIMES: I think it's gone as quickly as it possibly could, given the complexity of the case and the seriousness of the case. He has had a lot of tough judicial decisions to make regarding some of the evidence: the lifestyle evidence of the van Dams, the pornography evidence against the defendant. And I think he has done it just with grace and with a good judicial attitude.

HATTORI: Do you think he has tried to err on the side of precaution in terms of limiting the amount of material that was released to the public to the media.

GRIMES: Judge Mudd's attitude has been that unless the jury gets to see any particular piece of evidence, the media is not going to get it, because he is afraid they would get exposed to it through the media, and it's inadmissible -- it might not be correct; it's not subject to cross-examination. So in this case, that has been his policy.

HATTORI: And of course, that might be something for an appeal down the line: if there were some mistake or misstep.

GRIMES: Well, I think if the jury does convict Mr. Westerfield and later if the defense finds out that there was something that influenced them -- the way they would find out is talking to the jurors -- if they found out that there was some evidence that was released through the media and not through court, then the defense could go back in front of the appellate court and say, Look, we told Judge Mudd to sequester the jury and he didn't do it; this is what happened. And so that would the possible grounds for appeal.

HATTORI: So what's going on in court right now? It looks like they have completed their discussion, or maybe they're doing a sidebar on what do about the penalty stage, in terms of the timing of it. Is this the normal kind of a delay that could occur when a verdict of this magnitude is being read or about to be read?

GRIMES: It is, James. What they are trying to do now is prepare both sides for if there is a verdict -- if this verdict is not guilty, then everybody goes home, including Mr. Westerfield. But if verdict is guilty, then they've got a schedule the penalty phase; there is a lot of scheduling, there are out-of-state witnesses that have to be brought. So they want to talk about it now. They might as talk do it now while they are waiting and before everybody gets so emotional about the verdict when it comes in. So now is a good time to talk about scheduling.

HATTORI: In fact, they are not waiting for anything, because the verdicts is ready to be read, isn't it?

GRIMES: The verdict is there. I don't know if all the parties are assembled yet. Because what happens when you're waiting for a verdict, usually the judge will give the lawyers on both sides and interested parties, including the victim's family and the defendant's family, they want them to have the opportunity to be there.

HATTORI: OK, Bob Grimes, local defense attorney here in San Diego,

Carol, we are all still waiting.

LIN: Yes, we certainly are.

James Hattori, outside the courthouse, Bob Grimes, defense attorney, helping us out with some analysis.

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