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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Bernie Yuman; Analysis of Day 10 of Scott Peterson Preliminary Hearing
Aired November 14, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Day 10 of Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing, and the bombshells keep on coming. Could his other woman, Amber Frey, testify after all for the defense? Could Laci's baby have been born alive before he was killed? Will the judge allow DNA evidence the defense wants kept out?
We'll get first-hand accounts of all the day's key testimony from Ted Rowlands of KTVU, inside the courtroom all day; plus Court TV's Nancy Grace, the former prosecutor; renowned defense attorney Johnnie Cochran; Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, district attorney for Westchester County, New York; the high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley; the famed forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, consulting for the defense; Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and frequent Court TV commentator; and Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey.
Plus, we'll open with Siegfried and Roy's long-time manager, Bernie Yuman, on Roy Horn's continuing struggle to survive a month- and-a-half after the Vegas legend was mauled on stage by a tiger. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Before our panel later and your phone calls, we want to spend some moments with Bernie Yuman. He joins us from Las Vegas, the long- time manager and friend of Siegfried and Roy, two of Las Vegas's top entertainers. Roy was mauled six weeks ago tonight during the October 3 performance at the Mirage Hotel.
There are, Bernie, tabloid reports that Roy is getting worse, rather than improving. Can you straighten us out?
BERNIE YUMAN, SIEGFRIED & ROY MANAGER AND FRIEND FOR 28 YEARS: Roy is getting better every day, Larry. His improvement is significant.
KING: Can you explain, you know, like, where along the line are we in the stages?
YUMAN: We have -- we have a great team of doctors at UCLA Medical Center, and the doctors are very confident about the direction that we're taking. Every single day, he shows significant improvement. And as you so eloquently pointed out, we are six weeks into this thing this evening. Time is on our side. Every day that passes, the better it is for us. And every day that passes, the more he continues to improve.
KING: Why was he moved from Vegas to UCLA? YUMAN: Well, the doctors at UMC (ph) Trauma Center saved his life, and they did all they could at the trauma center. The trauma center is exactly what it is, and that's for an emergency procedure. The doctors at UCLA are some of the best doctors in the world insofar as rehabilitation for these types of injuries.
KING: So he is in what you would call a rehab state.
YUMAN: He is working diligently in rehabilitation, so that he continue to have the best opportunity for success.
KING: Does he have an ability to eat on his own?
YUMAN: Roy's doing very well, Larry, and he's continuing to progress every single day. Six weeks into this thing, that's really great news.
KING: The tabloid that said he was paralyzed and in a coma and on a ventilator -- was that wrong?
YUMAN: Respectfully, I'm not going to dignify any rumors. I'm here tonight to tell you and all of your viewers that we're really optimistic about where Roy is. Siegfried and I both are very confident that Roy will perhaps do significantly better than most people would under these circumstances because of his strong will and because of his strong beliefs.
KING: When was the last time you saw him, Bernie?
KING: You were in California and saw him yesterday?
KING: I remember that famous time that he put his thumbs up from his hospital bed. I think maybe we're going to put our thumbs up for Roy now, if he's watching, and maybe all of our viewers could put thumbs up to kind of transmit a feeling of good will to him. I don't know anyone that doesn't like Roy and wish him well.
YUMAN: We buy into that, Larry. Siegfried and I are both still overwhelmed, six weeks into this thing, of the outpouring of love globally and of prayer from all of the people around this planet. And we're really grateful for that, and we believe that it makes a big difference. We believe that it has a significant impact on Roy's recovery.
KING: Can he respond to those who see him?
YUMAN: He's giving orders as we speak right now to the nurses. He's taken charge.
YUMAN: Roy is the kind of guy that likes to be in charge. And Siegfried and Roy have always been up front and center about being in charge. You know, they ask a lot of whoever's around him. The one thing they don't do is ask any more than they ask of themselves. And Roy's pretty much asking a lot of the people that are around him at this moment.
KING: How's Siegfried doing?
YUMAN: Siegfried's great. He's got incredible strength and he's got unconditional faith, and I admire him greatly. He's a rock. And he's -- he's looking to the future, and that's where we all should be looking, is to the future.
KING: What are they going to do with that famous and beautiful room they work in at the Mirage?
YUMAN: Well, I think for the millions people all over the world that have seen the Siegfried and Roy spectacle at the Mirage, that will be the Siegfried and Roy Theater. Of course, I'm not sure what MGM Mirage has planed for that theater, but we are in dialogue about some possibilities, and we do have some opportunities, and we'll have to see how that plays its hand out.
KING: In fact, I'll be on that stage next Thursday night when we raise money for the Nevada Cancer Institute at the Mirage. We hope to see you there.
YUMAN: We'll be there. Siegfried and I will both be there. That'll be the first time since October the 3rd that anybody has been in that room or on that stage, and it's really for a great cause. Jim Murren (ph) and his wife, Heather Murren (ph), are doing great work here in the development of the Nevada Cancer Institute, and Siegfried and Roy and I are proud to be a part of that.
KING: I look forward to it. One other thing. Is he still hearing from fans? Are they writing to UCLA cards and letters and the like?
YUMAN: Yes, literally tens of thousands of letters, e-mails and whatever kind of communication that you could possibly imagine is continuing to come through daily. In fact, we thought that perhaps, at some point, it would slow down. Instead, it's picking up speed.
KING: I'll see you next week in Vegas, Bernie. Give him our luck. And remember, from all of us here, thumbs up.
YUMAN: Thumbs up. Thumbs up on behalf of Roy and Siegfried to you, Larry King.
KING: You got it. Bernie Yuman, the long-time manager and friend of Siegfried and Roy.
When we come back, our panel and more on Laci Peterson's murder. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: By the way, Jeff Bridges Sunday night, and Monday night, exclusive, Jessica Lynch with her family live for the hour with your phone calls. Jessica Lynch Monday night live.
Let's welcome the panel. In Modesto, Ted Rowlands of KTVU; in New York, Nancy Grace of Court TV; in Atlanta, defense attorney Chris Pixley; in Huntsville, the noted attorney Johnnie Cochran; and in Philadelphia tonight, Judge Jeanine Pirro, district attorney for Westchester County, New York.
All right, Ted Rowlands, the highlights of today, No. 10. What happened?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, the highlight was what happened outside of court. Of course, we're hearing word now that Amber Frey may end up taking the stand here but not as the prosecution's star witness, but rather as a witness for the defense. It was confirmed late tonight by Gloria Allred that, indeed, Mark Geragos is contemplating possibly subpoenaing Amber Frey to take the stand. Whether or not the judge will allow that remains to be seen. Allred basically said that the DA is expected to fight an attempt to bring Amber Frey to the stand.
What also is unclear is why Geragos would want to bring her to the stand. There's speculation it has to do with the possibility that she may have made phone calls and taped phone calls with Scott Peterson before the Modesto police detectives got involved in this, something we'll have to wait and see, I guess, until next week, until after the prosecution rests its case.
KING: I'll ask our panel about that. But Ted, what about Geragos charging about three witnesses, three suspicious people seen there, that the police didn't investigate, supposedly?
ROWLANDS: Yes. The bulk of today's testimony was Mark Geragos grilling a Modesto police detective, Phil Owen (ph). He established a few things during the testimony, one, that the doctor that took care of Laci Peterson had nothing bad to say about Scott Peterson. He seemed to be a good husband and someone who was looking forward to having the baby.
He spent most of the time, though, talking about witnesses that he made it sound like the Modesto Police Department did not investigate properly. One witness, in particular, he spent a lot of time with. This is a woman that said she saw, while she was on a smoke break, a pregnant woman walking a golden retriever in the Dry Creek Park area. She said that there were two men sort of disheveled -- she described one of them as dirty -- that were walking with this pregnant woman and the dog. And she said at one point, one of the men said, Shut the blanking dog up. And there was a confrontation of some sort there during that.
Now, Geragos contended that they didn't properly follow up on that. He said, Did you put out an all-points bulletin for these two men? What did you do? And the detective basically said that after he interviewed this witness, he didn't feel the need to do something like that. You could see the ground work here that Geragos is maintaining that the Modesto Police Department was one-tracked.
KING: All right, Nancy Grace, what about this defense attempt to call Amber Frey? Is the judge going to approve that?
NANCY GRACE, COURT TV: Well, of course, Gloria Allred will try to fight it. The state will try to fight it. In the end, I think it's showmanship. I do not think Geragos really wants to hear what Amber Frey has to say. And I also think, strategically speaking, that is a major, major trial error to call the other side's witness on direct. Why? Because then the state will have Amber on cross- examination. They'll preach the sermon, and she will sing the chorus. Whatever they say, she'll say yes, no, yes, no.
KING: Then why is the state fighting it?
GRACE: I think because they don't want to put Amber up for the cross-examination purposes. We already know, basically, what her testimony is going to be. The state has made out a preliminary hearing case. I will predict this is going to be bound over, so why put your star witness on the stand to be excoriated before the media?
KING: Johnnie Cochran, do you think this is a ploy or for real?
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, it's hard to say, Larry. You know, a trial very much is a battle of wits and tactics. And you know, one of the things Geragos is doing is keeping the prosecution off balance. They don't call her, he issues a subpoena. They don't know what he's going to do next. They don't know what he's trying to get at.
But you know, I don't want to pass by, Larry, the fact of these two witnesses, of the Sousas (ph) and also Diana Campos (ph), who see these strange, dirty men who are with a lady. And by the way, Miss Campos says that the lady -- she identifies Laci Peterson. So this is really important in this case because you know where Geragos is going to go. He's going to say, Wait a minute. They focused on Scott Peterson. From that point on, they look at -- didn't look at anybody else, and the real killers got away. And that's what's going to happen here.
KING: Judge Pirro, is that a good point? Why didn't they follow up?
JEANINE FERRIS PIRRO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, it seems to me that what they had was evidence from someone who knew the Petersons and who knew McKenzie (ph), the dog, who says that at 10:18, that dog was loose. I put it in the Petersons' back yard. You know, a lot of people call and say they think they saw something, but if it doesn't fit with something that is already a concrete fact, then it's not necessarily the case that the police would give it priority. But it appears that everyone ultimately spoken to, not certainly in the order that Geragos would have liked it.
But Johnnie, I'd like to talk about the idea of Amber being called by the defense. I think that if the defense calls her, it will be a tremendous mistake. It will appear as though they're victimizing Amber, doing nothing but harassing her, probably asking her questions about her background. But they also do not want to be stuck with the answers that she gives them because you know as well as I that they can't lead her. They've got to ask her a straight question, and then it's going to have to be answered. They can't lead her in any way, unless she's a hostile witness, as we both know. And I have a feeling she's not going to be a hostile witness, that her attorney, Gloria Allred, has probably talked to her about that.
KING: Johnnie, you want to comment before I ask Chris?
COCHRAN: Yes. They're going to try to have her declared a hostile witness, as they call it. It is dangerous territory, Larry, clearly. But we don't know what Geragos knows and what point he wants to get out of her. But he will ask the court, I would think, to have her declared a hostile witness so he can ask questions on cross- examination, leading questions, as opposed to leading it through direct. We'll have to see. You know, as I said, I think he's keeping the prosecution off balance, and they don't know what he's going to do next. And I think that's a tactic he's employing.
KING: Chris Pixley, you agree?
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree completely. I don't expect Mark Geragos to put Amber Frey on the stand, for all the reasons the panelists have identified. I also don't expect the judge to allow him to do it. I don't see this judge granting that subpoena request. Mark has made no indication that he's presenting a defense of his own at this preliminary hearing. We're two-and-a-half weeks into it, and Mark said before the press just yesterday, when he left the courtroom, that he expects this all to wrap up on Monday. There's no indication that he's putting forward a defense with his own witnesses and his own evidence.
And it's -- it may be one thing that Mark wants to get a crack at Amber Frey, but if he can't show the judge that this will tend -- that her testimony will tend to change the judge's decision on the probable cause determination, the judge isn't going to let him just willy-nilly put her up there. So I think this is tactical. Ultimately, I don't think he's going to be serving any subpoena requests.
KING: Ted, how about the defense raising the prospect that Conner was born alive before he was killed? How does this aid the defense?
ROWLANDS: Well, I'll tell you, Mark Geragos -- I don't know if he wittingly did this or he just got lucky. He was questioning Phil Owen, this detective, about being in an autopsy that Owen actually wasn't in. In fact, the judge said, I think you guys are on different wavelengths. Geragos was asking him about the Conner autopsy and was asking specific questions about it, things that Owen said he didn't remember happening. Well, the reason he didn't remember is because he thought Geragos was talking about the Laci Peterson autopsy.
But during that process, Geragos able to establish that there were questions, supposedly, during the autopsy process about the age of the baby and the fact that one of the doctors allegedly said that the baby may have been born alive, a precursor, most likely, to more testimony we'll hear from either the Contra Costa County coroner, who was in the room, or from Geragos later at trial.
KING: Nancy, would you agree that Geragos is doing a good job?
GRACE: Well, of course. And I wouldn't be surprised at all -- I agree with something Johnnie said, that he is keeping people off balance. That's because he's changing his defense theory so often. It started off with Donnie, the drug dealer, satanic cult, mystery woman, mystery shoe. Now we're down to these people that claim they saw Laci in the park.
But let's just cut to the chase on that, Johnnie. She wasn't in the park wearing black pants and a white shirt. Her body washed up wearing what she was wearing the day before. So all of these witnesses are wrong. And also, Scott lied to the police because that is what he told them that she was wearing. And guess what? She wasn't. And wasn't out walking her dog. He told police that day he left her at home, mopping in her eighth month, wearing her diamond bracelet, earrings, necklace and a ring.
COCHRAN: But Larry -- what they forget, Larry, is the prosecution bears the burden of proving this man guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
GRACE: I didn't forget that!
COCHRAN: You know, it turns out that Scott Peterson -- if Scott Peterson lied or made some statements that aren't correct, that doesn't necessarily help them. They still have to prove the case. And they have witnesses out there that I'm not sure they're going to be able to explain away. I mean, these people don't -- you know, Judge Pirro said that, Hey, wait a minute. We have somebody we knew who -- how do we decide who we believe? We believe the next-door neighbor puts the golden retriever in? We don't believe Diane Campos? We don't believe the Sousas? You pick and choose.
Jurors will be confused. They don't know any of these people. And you cannot prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt until you find a thread in a circumstantial evidence case that people will find believable. And I think we're overlooking that, quite frankly.
PIRRO: And there are...
KING: Let me get a break. Let me get a break, and we'll come back, talk with Gloria Allred a little, and then back to our panel. We'll be including your calls later. Don't go away.
KING: Let's spend some moments with Gloria Allred, the attorney for Amber Frey. We understand, Gloria, you were served with documents from the defense. It was not a subpoena. What were you served with?
GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY'S ATTORNEY: Actually, I wouldn't call it service at all. They handed some papers to me. And basically, it's -- they have subpoenaed the telephone company for some telephone records of Amber Frey. To the best of my knowledge, they already have them, Larry, as part of the discovery that was turned over to them. But in case they don't know what's in their own file, maybe -- maybe they do know they have them but they're just trying to harass her, or maybe there's some other reason. I don't know. I think it's much ado about nothing.
KING: Do you think the judge will allow her to testify for them?
ALLRED: Well, that's interesting. I don't know whether or not Mark Geragos actually intends to subpoena Amber Frey. I spoke to him today. He said that he would make that decision on Monday. I indicated to him that I would be very happy to accept service for my client, Amber Frey. I'm really not interested in having a process server trying to invade her life or chase her down the street or jump out of the bushes or anything else. And Mark certainly agreed that they would provide service to me in lieu of Amber. So that is fine.
Now, just because he subpoenas her, of course, doesn't mean that she's going to testify because it may very well be that the prosecution objects and makes an argument to the court, as I hope that they will. And of course, Mark is going to have to show that that's going to assist him in his affirmative defense of the case at the preliminary hearing. I think he's going to have a hard time showing that. I don't see how Amber Frey is going to help him, Larry.
KING: Would she be...
ALLRED: I think he's got to be careful what he wishes for.
KING: Would she be declared a hostile witness if she did testify?
ALLRED: You know, I don't know. I mean, she's going to testify truthfully. She's not there to help the prosecution or to help the defense or to hurt either one of them. She's just there to tell what she knows about the relationship between her and Scott Peterson and the communications that they had that might be relevant to this case.
KING: "The Modesto Bee" is reporting that the papers were noticed (ph) that the defense is subpoenaing documents from other parties relating to Amber. Do you know about that?
ALLRED: Oh, that's just the telephone company. That's all.
KING: Oh, OK. Let's get -- there's a call for you, Gloria. Syracuse, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Gloria.
CALLER: I think you're all very professional. And thank you for taking my call, Larry. Gloria, my question is, every single time they ask you a question about Amber, you say how religious and how spiritual she is. And I think the man is as guilty as can be. But why would such a serious religious person sleep around town, as they're claiming, and mess with married men? Don't you think you're hurting her worse by saying that every time? Aren't they going to just butcher her for that?
ALLRED: No because I think that you will see who Amber Frey is when she testifies. You will see that she is the person that I tell you that she is. And I am just very, very convinced of that because I've come to know her fairly well. She didn't know Scott Peterson was married. She wouldn't have begun a relationship with him had she known that he was married. And when she found out, she confronted him. And I think it's going to be clear and beyond dispute that he misled her into thinking that he was married. She does go to church on a regular basis, and she does have beliefs. And even Scott Peterson knows about that.
KING: Thank you, Gloria Allred. We'll be calling on you again.
ALLRED: Thank you.
KING: We're back with our panel. Let's take a call from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. This is for Chris Pixley and maybe Johnnie Cochran, as well.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I'm wondering, if Amber doesn't come to the preliminary hearing, what's going to happen if she has, like, a big bombshell in the trial? Can Scott Peterson change his plea for -- like, to try and get a lesser charge? Like, if he says, Oh, yes, I did it and she's got me covered, can he change his plea in the middle?
KING: Do you expect a bombshell, Chris?
PIXLEY: No. And I've said from day one I don't expect a bombshell from Amber Frey, and it's just because of the surrounding circumstances. Gloria made it clear 30 seconds ago Amber didn't know that he was married. So Amber can't tell us anything about the state of Scott and Laci's marriage prior to Laci's disappearance. All she can tell us about is what he may have said in those phone calls. If there was a confession in those phone calls, Scott would have been arrested before the bodies washed up, and he wasn't. And if there was a confession in those phone calls, that would have come out at this preliminary hearing. So I don't expect any bombshells.
KING: Judge Pirro, the truth is, Amber Frey would have no knowledge of the relationship of that marriage.
PIRRO: No. She has absolutely no knowledge of that. In fact, she didn't even know that Scott was married.
PIRRO: So I think what's significant, in terms of what she will say, is what Scott was telling her -- I'll be with you in a month. This is my first holiday when I'm going to be alone -- even before Laci is missing. She's going to provide motive. And I want to be clear on this, Larry. The prosecution has absolutely no obligation to prove motive in any criminal case. We never know why people kill other people, and that's why the law doesn't require that we prove the reason that people kill.
PIXLEY: But as a practical matter, Larry, motive is always in the front of the mind of a juror. And if you can't explain why someone committed a murder, you better be able to explain with hard physical evidence how they did it. If you can't put together the how or the why of the murder, you are going to get a jury to make a leap of faith with you and convict somebody of capital murder.
KING: Johnnie, you agree with that?
COCHRAN: I agree with that totally. I think that it's not required, but you know, doesn't make -- you have to have common sense, Larry. The jurors are going to say, Wait a minute. This was a wonderful marriage. Why would anybody kill their child just about to be born? I mean, there's some things here that fly in the face of reasonableness, you know, without more. Even the neighbor who says he put the dog in the day after, the golden retriever, says they got along real well. They had a happy marriage. So you know, you're going to have to deal with that.
KING: Nancy, don't you agree with that? You're going to have to show something.
GRACE: Well, of course. And I think that showing motive to a jury is something that I always tried to do when I could. Most of the time, you can make out a motive from the facts, and I think what Amber does have to say is very significant. If you take a look at the timing of the way this whole thing went down -- for instance, one of Amber's friends -- evidence has come forward through a detective -- he told the friend that, yes, he had been married, that he was now a widower and he wanted to break it to Amber himself. The day he told her he was going to spend time with her alone exclusively in January is the day he bought that boat! Two weeks later, she was dead! Now, you know what? You're right. Maybe a jury won't think that is significant. I do!
PIXLEY: But what also came in testimony last week on that issue, Larry, is the fact that the day before he had that conversation with Amber, the day before he was confronted by Amber, he had already made calls about the boat. So when Nancy suggests he bought the boat the same day that Amber confronted him and that it must mean premeditation, she's got to explain...
PIRRO: She had already...
PIXLEY: ... why he bought the -- why he called...
PIRRO: ... been asking him! That's not true!
PIXLEY: ... on the boat the day before.
KING: Let me get in a break. We'll take a break, and we'll come back. We'll have a few questions for Dr. Robi Ludwig. Dr. Cyril Wecht will also be joining us. More of your phone calls, as well. Don't forget, Jessica Lynch, her first live interview. Jessica Lynch on Monday night. Don't go away.
KING: Before we get back to the panel, a few moments with Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, frequent Court TV commentator.
Robi, Johnnie brought something up. Let's say the defense brings up witnesses who said, "We saw her walking. It was the next day." Prosecution introduces witnesses who said, "I saw the dog come in."
How do you know who a jury is going to believe?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It's whoever has the best story, whoever has the most persuasive story.
I think the most potentially damaging thing in this case is that the physical evidence is so thin. I think jurors are going to have a very difficult time convicting a man of murder, a double homicide, when there's not a lot of physical evidence, even if the circumstantial evidence is so convincing. And I think it is very powerful and very convincing.
KING: If Geragos provides enough evidence that the baby Connor was alive, why does that help the defense?
LUDWIG: Because a baby can't stay alive in the mother's womb if the mother is dead. So basically, that would infer that somehow the baby was somehow birthed before Laci died, because the baby lives off the mother's oxygen basically. So, that's why it would be a very important fact. If they can prove it.
KING: Why do you think Amber Frey wasn't called?
LUDWIG: You know, that's a tough question. She is very potentially damaging to Scott Peterson, even if she says nothing of contact.
She had an affair with him. He told her she was widowed like, you know, Scott couldn't be rid of the wife soon enough. She was suspicious of him. He misrepresented himself. He had a secret life.
Even if she says nothing of contact, knowing that is very damaging.
KING: In your opinion, Robi, is this going to be a very tough case?
LUDWIG: I think it is, again, because of the physical evidence. And, he has good people defending him. He's going to need good people. But it's very confusing, because here you have a guy who seems very guilty. His behavior is very suspicious. But there's no physical evidence that's really clear-cut. And that's confusing for jurors.
KING: Thank you, Robi. We'll be calling on you again. Dr. Robi Ludwig.
Let's go back to calls for our panel. Downing, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Thanks, Larry.
CALLER: This question is for Nancy Grace.
CALLER: Does the pathology of Laci's remains support the claim that the baby lived awhile after it was born? Because wouldn't that mean she may have had to live long enough to actually give birth? And can her body determine how long she was in the water?
GRACE: Yes. The problem with her body is that a lot of the flesh or soft tissue was missing.
But I can tell you what we have learned about the autopsy and that is the cervix was intact. That would suggest the baby was not birthed naturally, a normal vaginal delivery.
Also, I looked up what I could find out regarding her doctor. And Doctor James Y.K. Yip (ph) confirmed that Laci had had a sonogram back in September and at that time, the baby was going along as scheduled.
They'll be able to take that sonogram taken in September and calculate the additional months to determine if Connor's body matched up to the time that Laci went missing. I don't think it's going to be very difficult. I think the defense had hung their hat on the peg for a little while until her obstetrician spoke up.
KING: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, hello.
CALLER: Hi, panel. I've got a question for Ted Rowlands. I was just wondering why did Scott Peterson jump to conclusions so fast that Laci was missing and not just out and about on errands or something?
ROWLANDS: Well, that comes from testimony from Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha. She said she was a bit surprised that he used the word "missing," in hindsight, when he first called and informed her that Laci was not around the house.
But also, Scott did come home and eat a pizza and take a shower and do a little laundry, which seems to say that maybe he wasn't so concerned when he first got home, that he originally thought, maybe, you know, that his wife was down the street or something.
KING: Salida, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Johnnie Cochran.
CALLER: You know, everybody's saying that they had a wonderful marriage, even Scott Peterson's parents and -- but do you think that they'll bring any of his other mistresses up to court and show that he lived a different life that nobody was aware of?
KING: More than Amber, Johnnie.
COCHRAN: No, I don't think so, unless there's something relevant about this case. I don't think that would really be admissible necessarily in the case.
You know, as I said, he may be a cad. He may be a guy who's done a lot of bad things, but the question is, is there evidence to show that he murdered his wife and his little baby, Connor? That's really going to be the question. And I don't think that...
KING: So in other words...
COCHRAN: ... the other things will help him.
KING: A series of, let's say, adulterous relationships doesn't mean you can bring that in as a murder thing?
GRACE: I think it will come in.
COCHRAN: Unless it's relevant with regard to if Amber made a statement about the wife in that relationship. Short of that, no. I don't think it's...
GRACE: Johnnie, what about this? What about in opening statements where Mark Geragos tries to portray what a great, idyllic, happy marriage they had? We know that is simply not true. Johnnie, the tally is up to six.
COCHRAN: You don't know his opening statement.
GRACE: No. Larry...
COCHRAN: Not at this point.
GRACE: I'm telling you how it can come into evidence.
COCHRAN: Oh, I see.
GRACE: If he tries to argue to the jury otherwise.
KING: If he does.
GRACE: That's right. COCHRAN: Clearly, he hasn't done that for the trial aspect, and believe me, he's smart enough not to do that, to open that door.
PIRRO: But you know what, Larry? This all proves that you have a man who was able to pull the wool over so many peoples' eyes.
KING: OK. Santa Monica, California, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is for Chris Pixley.
CALLER: OK. How important do you think the credibility and the testimony of Amber Frey will play in the outcome of trial, considering her lack of credibility in her background?
PIXLEY: Well, you know, there are all of these questions about whether she'll be attacked on cross-examination and just what the prosecution and the defense are going to be asking her, respectively.
You know, the fact is the credibility of the witnesses always matters. And, as Johnnie has pointed out, the witnesses, the eyewitnesses who saw Laci, their credibility is going to be tremendously important in this case.
And Nancy will tell you that they may have things wrong about the color of the clothing that she's wearing. Maybe Scott got it wrong. I don't think that Nancy's going to suggest that everyone got together to make up a big lie. Scott doesn't anything to do with the eyewitnesses.
So the credibility of the eyewitnesses, the credibility of Amber Frey will matter. Now, how the defense will attack Amber Frey's credibility is anyone's question. We don't know enough about what she has to say right now.
But one thing we do know. Her relationship with Scott was a short-lived relationship. You can bet the defense is going to point that out. They may not have to go into her background and her other relationships. And this judge may not allow them to do that.
KING: Ted Rowlands, if this winds up Monday, when do you expect the trial to begin?
ROWLANDS: Oh, boy. It's a good question. We're hearing that the Peterson family really wants the trial to move forward as quick as possible. Basically, not waive time, which would put it at about 75 days after the preliminary hearing is over.
However, that of course, would change if anything comes into the equation. You know, most conventional wisdom would put it sometime next spring, next summer. KING: We'll be right back with questions for Dr. Cyril Wecht and then more with our panel. And that will happen right after these words.
KING: A few questions now for Dr. Cyril Wecht, old friend, famed forensic pathologist. He's consulting with the defense. He has examined the bodies of Laci and Connor Peterson. He's the author of the book "Mortal Evidence."
Geragos questioned about the criminologist, Rodney Oswald, about those two hair fragments on the pliers. Why is that important, Cyril?
CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, again I'll speak generically, Larry.
Obviously, the hair is important, because in any given case, prosecution wants to find some physical, biological evidence to place the assailant at the scene of the crime.
In this case, well, in any given case, one may know or one may assume that the scene of the crime or the scene of the disposal of the body is known or can be reasonably conjectured. Therefore, if you can find any kind of the definitive evidence that can be affixed to or traced in some biological way to that body, then you might have something that is quite significant. So a hair is of some importance.
We've talked about mitochondrial DNA, which has a very, very low exclusionary ratio, which requires significant expertise by competent, trained people in a laboratory, in which in and of itself can have some variations, even on the same hair sample.
KING: Can you look at two hair samples and tell if it's from the same person?
WECHT: No, you can't. DNA can cut it down to an exclusionary ratio of one in a couple of hundred or so. But the old idea, which sometimes is still played out, unbelievably, by prosecution witnesses that we can identify this hair as being from a particular individual, that is absolutely erroneous.
Hair is not specific. The most you can do is talk about race. You can talk about part of the body. You can talk about certain things like maybe dye or so on but you cannot say that a hair came from a particular individual by gross and microscopic examination alone.
KING: If there was rust on the pliers, does that indicate that they hadn't been used recently?
WECHT: Well, that remains for the criminologist and for maybe even metallurgical engineers to ascertain, to determine what stains are and so on.
And again, when you find something from a body that has been affixed or in some way attached to something else, then questions arise, how might there have been transference? Again, Loucard's (ph) principle, when two people are in contact, there's a transference or there may be a transference of some material, and that has to be kept in mind in any case.
KING: When, Dr. Wecht, will you know if you're going to testify?
WECHT: Well, I imagine sometime between completion of the hearing and prior to the commencement of the trial, but more closely to the completion of the hearing. Because if the trial is set for 75 days or three months or four months, there is much material to be reviewed by Dr. Lee and by me and by other defense experts and that is going to take some time.
So it's going to have to be a decision that Mr. Geragos is going to make presumably in the not too distant future.
KING: Thank you, Cyril. Dr. Cyril Wecht, the famed forensic pathologist.
Back to our panel. Back to the calls. Miles, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Yes. This question is for the panel in general.
CALLER: Don't you think it's possible that the reason Laci never discussed any of Scott's affairs is because it was just too painful a topic for her? And also, gosh, I forgot my second question.
KING: Well, that's the end of that one.
Chris, isn't that fair, that never told anyone because she was hurt?
PIXLEY: Absolutely. And, you know, one of the questions that will come up potentially is how much of her private life she revealed to others, whether she was a private person.
We haven't heard much about that in the testimony in the preliminary hearing. But if the defense wants to go down that road and make that argument, they're likely to ask those kinds of questions on cross-examination to people like Laci's family members.
KING: And Nancy, is it germane?
GRACE: I think it is germane. It's all going to come into play. As little as we think circumstantial evidence means in a courtroom, I think it means a great deal. But we commonly heard it referred to as "just a circumstantial case." Most cases are circumstantial.
Their family life, their marriage, the state of their marriage, it's all going to come in. It's all going to be relevant to a jury.
And I would like to point out that when Laci first went missing, Larry, on your show, both families stuck by Scott Peterson. KING: Right. Right.
GRACE: Both families, the Rocha and the Peterson family. And they were asked at the time, did you think there was anything wrong with the marriage? Had there been any affairs? The entire families said, no.
And it's my understanding that Laci and her mother were incredibly close. And I would suggest that she would have told her mother. And I think we will hear that on the stand when her mom takes the stand in front of a jury.
KING: Laura Sackville (ph), Nova Scotia, hi.
CALLER: Hi. My question is for Judge Pirro.
CALLER: Or actually anybody.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I'd like to know.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I'd like to know what -- does anybody know why Amber taped the calls in the first place? This seems very suspicious to me. I don't see any reason for it.
KING: Judge, why do you think she taped them?
PIRRO: Well, you know, I imagine that she was suspicious. Look, she confronted him on December 9 and asked if she was married. Whether she was hearing a rumor or seeing a pattern that suggested to her that he was married.
You know, sometimes women when they're suspicious say, "Let me write this down. Let me tape record this. Am I crazy? Does this make sense?"
I don't know that that suggests that she had any knowledge as to what happened with Scott and the wife, other than the fact that he was married. But
I think the most significant thing that happened today, Larry, that we haven't spoken about, is the fact that Scott had a fishing license for December 23 and 24. And on the 23, he told Laci and Laci's sister that he was going golfing.
And everyone said, "Well, maybe he changed his mind the next day. It's not that unusual."
But if he had a fishing license for December 23, that means that even before the 23rd, or at least on the 23rd, he thought he was going fishing. Is this an indication of intent? Is this another block or another thread in that piece of cloth?
PIXLEY: Or does it have something to do with...
KING: Johnnie, what do you think it is?
COCHRAN: No, I think it can be construed any number of ways. I mean, he has a two-day fishing license. The weather was bad. He changed his mind. It's all subject to different interpretations. I think that's really the question.
Larry, you asked the question about the marriage and about how they're getting along. It may or may not come in. You know, if you -- Judges like to limit it to the real relevant issues. And it depends on who opens the door.
There's one other point I'd like to make, Larry, also. You know those hairs, those two hairs that was originally one hair? They're different color hairs. They belong to two different people? You know, query.
These are the kind of things people are overlooking. But now today they discovered that the hairs are different color. Now, you know, sometimes people dye their hairs. I don't know. But somebody's got to explain that somewhere down the road.
PIRRO: And more explaining has to do, Johnnie, with the fact that if he were going golfing, he belonged to a country club. He would have had a tee time. He would have had a foursome. There would have been a scheduled -- something scheduled by the caddie master as to what time he was going off.
There are records on all of this stuff. And until we hear from that country club that he belonged to, that had specific rules, then I think it would be fair to assume that maybe he never did intend to play golf.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments on this extraordinary matter that gets curiouser and curiouser. Don't go away.
KING: Before another call, Chris Pixley wanted to comment on the fishing license -- Chris.
PIXLEY: Yes. I just wanted to mention that if you talk to the Department of Fish and Game in California, you will find out that as a resident, you can only purchase an annual license or a two-day license. The annual license costs a good deal more.
It may be that in the middle of the winter when he bought this boat, he decided that he wanted to take it out. But he didn't actually want to pay for an annual license that he wouldn't use until the spring.
So again, there are so many reasonable explanations for why he would have purchased, within a few days of buying the boat, a license. PIRRO: Chris, you don't get a license retroactively. You get a license prospectively.
PIXLEY: That's right.
PIRRO: So you know, it makes no sense that he would have gotten it for...
PIXLEY: It makes sense.
PIRRO: A day before he was even going to fish.
PIXLEY: It makes complete sense that on the 20th he would have said to himself, you know, "What days am I going to be available to actually pursue my hobby? I'm not available during the workweek. But during the holidays and the 23rd and 24th are days that people normally take off. I might be able to go use this boat."
It makes complete sense to me.
PIRRO: But interestingly enough, he's telling his family nothing about any of this.
PIXLEY: And as you pointed out, he may not have had a tee time. So he may have been open.
PIRRO: But even his father called him when he was on the boat, when he was admittedly on the boat, and he doesn't tell his father, "By the way, I'm on my new boat. I'm fishing. The fishing isn't good."
PIXLEY: We haven't heard from the defense about that time line. That may be...
KING: Ottawa, Ontario, hello.
PIRRO: ... cross-examined.
CALLER: Yes. My question's for the entire panel.
CALLER: Amber Frey says she didn't know Scott was married when she met him in November, but I haven't heard anything about what she knew the day Laci died.
My question is, do we know if Amber Frey ever called the Peterson home, if she called it that night, the day Laci was killed? Or if the tapes she was making of Scott were used in any way to prove to Laci they were having an affair?
KING: What do we know, Nancy? We don't know, do we?
GRACE: We know that -- We know that that phone call would have shown up from a toll to toll phone call in the records.
GRACE: We know the police have subpoenaed those records. And remember, it doesn't apply just to cell phone calls, which were very plain to read -- They're easily obtainable -- but to home calls, as well, when there's a toll to toll call.
So the viewer's idea is right on point, and it's my understanding from the releases we have seen that that's one of the first things the police looked into. So we do know she was suspicious enough to ask on December 9, "Hey, are you married?"
KING: Ted Rowlands, does the hearing end Monday?
ROWLAND: No. In fact, that was the original estimate that Mark gave yesterday. Today, he said prepare to stay probably until Thursday.
What that means in terms of his intentions remains to be seen, but it did go very slow again today. And there's another detective that is expected to take the stand. And each detective that's taken the stand has taken at least a full day of questioning and then cross and recross.
KING: Johnnie, is this the longest hearing in your memory?
COCHRAN: Oh, no. There are hearings that are longer than this. But it points out, Larry, you know, think of the guests on this show and how we go back and forth in interpreting various evidence. Imagine what a jury's going to have to do.
I think one thing we're finding out, this case will not be a slam-dunk for either side. It's a real serious case in which lives, you know, lives have been taken and lost.
The question is, who took those lives? And you know, maybe people want to jump to conclusions at the beginning, but it's a lot more difficult than what it seems at the beginning. And that's why I think this hearing is taking so long, also, Larry.
KING: Thank you all very much. Ted Rowlands, Nancy Grace, Chris Pixley, Johnnie Cochran, Judge Jeanine Pirro. We'll be calling on all of them again. We thank the other guests for appearing, as well.
And I'll come back in a couple of minutes to tell you about the weekend and Monday night. Don't go away.
KING: Tomorrow night, Trish McEvoy, the famed makeup artist, and a panel with be will us. Jeff Bridges heads a whole group of people coming on Sunday night. And Monday night we'll be in Washington for a live -- first live interview with Jessica Lynch. And we'll be taking your phone calls. Her family will be with her, as well.
Aaron Brown is at world headquarters in Atlanta tonight. It must be important if he's there. Nice to see you, Aaron.
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Peterson Preliminary Hearing>