Legal Analysis of Laci Peterson Murder Case Developments
CNN Larry King Live
Aired June 18, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, GUEST HOST: Tonight: New evidence revealed in last- minute court filings. Today, 176 new phone calls added to the state's ammo against Scott Peterson. But has the state's case been torpedoed by forensics, forensics indicating no blood in the Peterson's home? That's right, not a drop. And can the state recover? And another radical move by the defense. They want a judge thrown off the case, claiming he is prejudiced against Peterson. And forget about the death penalty! The defense claims it's the prosecutors who should be punished. Plus, the date rape drug hits the headlines again. Will it play a role in the case against Peterson?
Tonight, Ted Rowlands of KTVU, on the story from the get-go, defense attorney Chris Pixley, Jim Hammer from the San Francisco's DA's office, defense attorney Jayne Weintraub and Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, now DA for Westchester County, New York. It is all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
Let's go straight out to Ted Rowlands for the latest. Ted?
TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, another busy day, a day that we didn't think that was going to be very busy. In court filings today we, learned of this new potential evidence, basically, wiretap recordings that had been trapped some way on a server. These were -- there's 176 different calls. They're not sure that all 176 of these are actual phone calls or discussions between Scott Peterson and anybody else. However, they were found by a district attorney investigator.
And to see if -- just randomly, they checked in on one of these calls, listened for it for 10 seconds, and it was Scott Peterson talking to somebody with a Southern drawl. So at that point, they stopped recording right away, and they sealed all of these calls up. They put them onto a CD. They sealed it and have handed it over now to the judge in this case, Judge Girolami. Who knows what is on the 175 other calls. But there could be a potential here for more evidence potentially against Scott Peterson.
ROWLANDS: Also today, Gloria Allred filed some papers basically refuting or asking for just cause as to why she is in contempt. Of course, Geragos says that she's in contempt of this gag order. She got involved in it. And also, as we discussed last time, Geragos and the Scott Peterson defense team wants this other judge, Judge Beauchesne, taken off of this case, and they've gone to the 5th District Court of Appeals in Fresno to ask for that. So a very busy day...
ROWLANDS: ... again, in the Peterson...
ROWLANDS: ... case.
GRACE: A flurry, a flurry of legal filings! Sit tight, Ted.
Let me go to you, Jim Hammer. Potentially, these 176 new phone calls -- and I've got the filing right here, the court documents...
JIM HAMMER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SAN FRANCISCO: I just read it.
GRACE: ... they're brand new. Yes, incredible. Could be a treasure drove for the state. We know at least in one phone call, they do have Scott Peterson on the line. But long story short. Why weren't these part of the other wiretaps we've already heard about?
HAMMER: Well, Nancy...
GRACE: Some people are claiming the state hid this.
HAMMER: Yes, if you read the declaration -- and there's a declaration filed under oath by the lead investigator in the case -- he writes that there are circumstances under this technology in which things may be recorded in the server's audio buffer but then not passed on to the monitoring workstation, when the investigators should have been listening in. It seems shocking that their technology works such that 176 calls they don't even know are happening at the time. Again, the prosecution's going to have to prove to the judge that they didn't hear this in any way, that it didn't taint their investigation. But it's really a black eye, I think, at this point, for the prosecution to have 176 phone calls they didn't even know about.
GRACE: But hold on. Jayne Weintraub, isn't it true -- you're a veteran defense attorney -- that throughout the investigation -- hey, they haven't even struck a jury. The state is still investigating. Couldn't it be that these are simply more phone calls that are the result of wiretaps authorized by a judge?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Is it possible? Sure. On the other hand, you know, they're not still investigating, Nancy. He's already been charged with first-degree murder, and the district attorney has already certified that they're going to seek the death penalty with special circumstances. So this is no time for them to be just looking for evidence to try and sustain their burden of proof, at this point. I think they have to meet their burden of proof.
But it's a matter of procedure. And you well know that we are lawyers and we are bound by the code and rules of ethics and procedure. One of the procedures here is they've got to tape record and minimize properly, or they're not going to be able to use those tapes.
HAMMER: Nancy, the most embarrassing thing, if you read the declaration, is the investigator writes in there he didn't know how the system worked. He wanted to go to a training course but didn't have money to pay for the course and only had to ask somebody else how it worked.
GRACE: But you know...
HAMMER: That's just absolutely embarrassing.
GRACE: ... guys -- guys...
HAMMER: ... in a case like this.
GRACE: You keep saying that this is embarrassing. Let me go to Jeanine Pirro. Jeanine, in this case, very simply, it seems as if, if we are to believe these last-minute filings of today, that these calls were basically trapped in cyberspace. The investigator realized it. Nobody has listened to any more of these phone calls. In fact, they sent them straight to the judge for the judge to listen to them first.
JEANINE FERRIS PIRRO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK: That's precisely the issue. And you know what's interesting, Nancy, is that the prosecution and law enforcement have not heard these calls. Technology skipped a beat here. No one has listened to the calls, and now they are burned or preserved for the judge to listen to. And you know, the prosecution may be the party that's hurt here because maybe there's a smoking gun in these calls. But it was a scenario where the monitor is listening, or was supposed to listen to the call when it comes in. For some reason, the computer didn't signal him, so he didn't listen, but the call went straight on to the computer. So this call is recorded. The DA and the police have never even heard it. So now the judge hears it at the same time the prosecution. No harm, no foul.
GRACE: But on the other hand...
HAMMER: Just a little embarrassment.
GRACE: ... Chris Pixley -- yes, a little embarrassment...
PIRRO: Yes, you know, but -- but...
GRACE: ... over cyberspace. But let me go...
GRACE: ... to Chris Pixley real quick.
PIRRO: Nancy, let me just say one thing.
PIRRO: It's very hard -- people think that law enforcement has all the money in the world to educate people, to train them, to send them to seminars. These are tight times, and it's not unusual to hear what this investigator said, that he never had the opportunity to go to the course...
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jeanine, when you're looking to execute someone...
PIRRO: ... which is a classic example.
WEINTRAUB: ... and get a death penalty...
PIRRO: No, no. They weren't looking to execute...
WEINTRAUB: ... case -- come on!
PIRRO: Come on, Jayne!
WEINTRAUB: They are now!
PIRRO: They weren't looking to execute him at the time they had the wiretap. The wiretap order was signed on January 10th. They didn't even know who was responsible or whether or not she was truly dead, at that point, Jayne...
GRACE: Just one moment. Hold on. Hold on. Let me go to Chris Pixley. Chris, you've practiced a lot of criminal defense cases where wiretaps are involved. The only problem I see -- I don't have a problem with it getting lost in cyberspace. I don't have a problem with the investigator having to pay for his own courses. I had to pay for my own Clinton administration, continuing legal education. The only problem I really with this is these are supposed to be kept up with every three days with the judge.
CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's right. That's right.
GRACE: And because these were lost in cyberspace, he could not oversee them.
PIXLEY: Yes, and remember these wiretap orders extended from a period of January 10 to April 18. Now, we're well into June right now, and they're just discovering this. So you know, it begs the question, is this how this prosecution team, is this how the state and the investigators have been conducting the rest of the investigation? And remember, they're on the receiving end right now of a motion that says that these illegal intercepts of attorney-client conversations were improperly handled. It's not very good timing for the prosecution...
PIRRO: Well, you know...
PIXLEY: ... and the state... GRACE: So Chris, are you...
PIXLEY: ... to have another one of these glitches.
GRACE: ... saying -- Chris, are you saying if the salad is no good, don't look forward to the entree? None of it's going to be any good? Because of this glitch in cyberspace, the prosecution doesn't have a case? Is that your theory, Chris?
PIXLEY: Well, it's nice to blame it on cyberspace or on computers, and I'm sure that the prosecution will make a forceful argument that, Hey, we intercepted so many calls in this case, over 3,800, that we shouldn't be held accountable for 176 that kind of slipped through the cracks. But let's remember, at the end of day, all of these wiretaps say nothing more, Nancy, than the fact that the prosecution does not have a good case here. It is highly unusual to be engaging in this kind of wiretapping...
PIRRO: I -- I...
PIXLEY: ... in a case like this.
HAMMER: I hope we record that. We can play...
PIXLEY: And the fact is this isn't...
HAMMER: ... that back after the prelim.
PIXLEY: This is not the icing on the prosecutor's cake, to be engaging in all kinds of...
GRACE: Jim Hammer...
PIXLEY: ... wiretaps. It's a last-ditch effort.
GRACE: I've got to ask you about this. You're there. You're a prosecutor in California. I don't find wiretaps that unusual. In fact, the number of additional wiretapped phone conversations to me is staggering -- 176 additional phone calls?
HAMMER: Listen, when I say it's embarrassing, it's just that. They shouldn't have a glitch like this. But I agree with the other -- I think it was the judge who said no harm, no foul. If they didn't listen to these calls, Nancy, no judge is going to throw them out. And people are going to make mistakes. In California, actually, wiretaps are relatively rare. It was only a few years ago that the wiretap statute was expanded to include other crimes. It's still pretty new in California.
GRACE: Guys, before we go to break, I've got to go to Ted Rowlands. Ted, every time I saw a shot of Scott Peterson at the beginning of the investigation, he was walking around, talking on his cell phone, cell phone constantly attached to his ear. I expected to see two cell phones one day. So all of these phone calls, I'm imagining some of them, maybe to you, are on these tapes, on this CD! You were contacted, right, about being intercepted?
ROWLANDS: Yes. I was involved in two of the wiretaps, numbers two and three. I received letters from the court that they had intercepted calls between Peterson and myself. Whether those were voice messages or actual discussions, they're part of that. And of course, that's all part of the other...
GRACE: Well, guess what, Ted?
ROWLANDS: ... legal wranglings. The media wants to get through -- yes?
GRACE: Guess what? You're right. The wiretaps number two and three are also the subject of this new evidence -- 176 additional recorded phone calls from wiretaps...
GRACE: ... two and three. So you could very well be in this.
ROWLANDS: And Chris brought out a good point -- 3,800 calls. And as you said, he always had that cell phone to his ear. Whether or not there's anything really of substance in this 176, I guess only the judge will know soon.
PIXLEY: Nancy, of course, you realize, over 3,800 phone calls over the period of this wiretap means that they were tapping into over 40 calls a day. You know, it's just really rather extraordinary, if this is the way the prosecution's going to build the case.
GRACE: So Jeanine...
HAMMER: It's good police work, is what it is.
GRACE: ... is the prosecution going to say, Jeanine, that instead of him out looking for his wife, he was talking on cell phones all day?
PIRRO: I don't know if they're going to say that, Nancy, but it's clear that wiretap is something that is requested based upon evidence. There's probable cause. A judge signs the order. There are progress reports on a regular basis. The wiretap order is signed every 30 days or reviewed every 30 days. This is something that is very carefully monitored.
GRACE: Guys, we've got to go to break.
GRACE: We've got to go to break. I want to let you finish, but we've got to go to break. We'll pick it up right there. Everybody, a flurry of legal filings today and new evidence in the Scott Peterson murder investigation. Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
Well, this could be a land mine, a bombshell for the state. We'll find out, as things are opened up for us in a court of law. Today the state has given notice in court of 176 additional phone calls that were tapped on Scott Peterson's line, we think.
Ted Rowlands has been joining us from KTVU. He's been on the case from the beginning. Ted, I see what you're talking about, that many of these phone calls could be dial tone or dead air or hang-ups. Why?
ROWLANDS: Well, you get the feeling, reading the court documents, that this investigator was getting some additional training. Somebody said, Hey, did you check the buffered calls? They didn't. They went, and they checked the buffered calls from a couple servers. And boom, 175 came up on one and one call came up on the other. And at that point, they decided to just go ahead and listen in, to make sure that all of these weren't just dial tones or hang-ups or non-calls. The one call that they chimed -- or they listened in on, sure enough, it was Peterson, and he was talking to somebody, distinctly somebody that the investigator who had listened to all the calls knew he had never heard before, somebody he describes as having a Southern drawl. So they stopped the recording there...
GRACE: A Southern drawl?
ROWLANDS: ... and I think, at that point, the red flag went up.
GRACE: Ted, it wasn't me, OK?
WEINTRAUB: Nancy, remember, it was April 16 when that phone call was overheard, and he was already in custody. You know, that's key. He might have been calling a lawyer. He might have been calling somebody on an investigative team. I mean, just because there are 176 new phone calls doesn't mean there's any evidence whatsoever. I mean, he could have been ordering a pizza when he was out on those cell phones and you saw him!
GRACE: You're very right about that. But we also know from Amber Frey's father, who was quoted as saying that he was bombarding her with calls, up to four and five phone calls a day, starting each one with, I love you.
WEINTRAUB: Nancy, Amber Frey's father?
WEINTRAUB: You mean the guy who made money already from the "National Enquirer" photos? Give me a break! You can't give him any credibility! Come on!
GRACE: No, I actually can give him credibility. But the jury's the ultimate decision maker when it comes to credibility.
But speaking of cross-examination. Jeanine Pirro, of course, Mark Geragos is going to have a field day with this cyberspace glitch. Can you see it?
PIRRO: Well, you know what? The whole issue will be determined in a hearing in front of a judge, and the judge is going to look at this and he's going to say, You know what? The prosecution didn't hear it. The police -- law enforcement didn't hear it. So if there's no harm, there's no foul. What is the prejudice to the defendant. If they didn't hear the communications, we may even be at the losing end of this.
This is all a tempest in a teapot, Nancy. It's all about making a big hoopla about the fact that the computer didn't signal these calls were coming n. I think neither side gains or loses. It's just something for the defense to claim. Throw enough out there, and maybe you'll get the public to believe something is wrong.
HAMMER: And to the police credit...
GRACE: Well, Ted Rowlands...
HAMMER: ... the police are the ones who came forward with this evidence. I think she's right.
GRACE: Yes. Yes. That's true. Ted Rowlands, back to you on this. You know, yesterday, last night, you informed us about a new CD, a surveillance CD that the state had gotten from a telecommunications company. Tonight we're hearing about another CD of these phone calls. Not the same thing, correct?
ROWLANDS: No, totally different. The first one was part of this return of evidence from an earlier search warrant from those other calls, the other telephone companies, they received documents back, plus this one with surveillance video. We're still not sure what that is. And then today is something totally different. They're just using a CD as technology to record these audio recordings. So yes, totally different.
GRACE: Jim Hammer, what do you expect to be the major attack on these nearly 200 phone calls evidence?
HAMMER: Well, it goes into the earlier attack on the three phone calls where the actual investigator did listen in to a part of a conversation with an attorney. They're going to show, or try to show, that the police didn't follow the judge's orders, didn't do the kind of monitoring they're required, actually violated the order. And if that's the case, then it falls outside. They're going to lose that fight. I absolutely predict that the DA's going to get in the calls if they're relevant to the case.
GRACE: Well, Chris Pixley, wouldn't the answer to such a taint, a legal taint, where possibly the state had overheard an attorney- client conversation that's privileged -- simply to throw out that conversation? Is there any likelihood, Chris, that the entire wiretap, much less the case, is going to be tossed out of court?
PIXLEY: Well, there's no likelihood, I don't think, Nancy, that the case is going to be tossed out of court. You know, as well as I do, that in a murder case, a capital murder case like this, you're going to get suppression of some evidence, potentially, if there is egregious conduct. But it's a no harm -- you know, not to steal too much from what Judge Pirro said, but it is a "no harm, no foul" standard here.
PIXLEY: And if this is egregious conduct, at the worst, I think the evidence will be suppressed and anything that was developed out of it will be. If it's not and, in fact, none of the investigators or the prosecutors have heard the evidence, then I think that these calls can potentially come in.
GRACE: Jim, before we switch gears and go on to the defense's effort to throw one of the judges off the case, back to these phone calls. When the attack is made in court, the judge may very well overrule it. But if one attack after the next comes on the state's evidence and the state's methods of obtaining evidence, at some point, will there be a cumulative effect?
HAMMER: No. You know, each of these will be decided independently, and because one piece of evidence might get tossed out, it won't interfere with the rest, unless, again, somehow it tainted the whole investigation. If, in fact, they heard, for instance, Scott Peterson talking about his actions on the day of the disappearance of Laci Peterson, and the police use that to follow up, that would really be deadly to the prosecution's case and might get them tossed off the case. I don't anticipate that in this case at all, Nancy.
GRACE: Go ahead.
PIRRO: Your question is a good one because it really is a question of degree. Is there a pattern of abuse here? And if we're talking about 3,800 phone calls plus 175, that's almost 4,000 phone calls. And there is -- even in terms of degree, it's de minimus. And what is the sanction? What is the remedy? The remedy is to not allow information that was tapped and recorded pursuant to a judge's order and with the permission and the monitoring of the judge. This...
GRACE: I think you're probably right.
PIRRO: Yes, and...
HAMMER: And the more...
HAMMER: The more serious ones...
GRACE: We are going to take a break. We got to take another break. But when we come back, we're switching gears. As we found out last night and has developed during the day, Mark Geragos on behalf of his client is taking on not only the wiretaps, but the judge, as well. More last-minute filings in which Mark Geragos is trying to have a judge thrown off the case. He's willing to fight, but is he cutting off his nose to spite his own face? Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV, in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
Straight out to Ted Rowlands from KTVU. Ted, another filing. Mark Geragos is prepared to take on not only the prosecution, not only the wiretaps, but the judge, as well. He wants Beauchesne off the case. Explain.
ROWLANDS: Well, you remember there are two judges hearing cases -- hearing this case in some degree. Beauchesne is just a very small portion of it. He has been hearing the argument from the media to unseal pre-arrest search warrants. And he came out and said, Listen, there's no reason to keep these sealed any longer. I'm ruling that they will become unsealed on July 9, but you have until July 9 to file an argument on this. And Geragos did just that, said, Yes, don't release these. He went to the 5th District Court of Appeals and said, These cannot be released because they are one-sided documents. They will hurt my client.
He then asked the 5th District to step in and remove Beauchesne from this portion of it and said just let Girolami handle all of the Peterson...
ROWLANDS: ... case. And the 5th District did come back three hours later and said that the two other sides, the media and the state, have seven days to file on this issue, and then they play to rule after that.
GRACE: Well, you know, Ted Rowlands, nobody ever said this was a popularity contest. Again, Mark Geragos is not in this to be voted most popular.
But Judge Pirro, when a judge who may very well be ruling on more of your motions is asked very politely by the defense to get off the bench, does that hurt his chances and beg for adverse rulings in the future?
PIRRO: If the judge were a small person, the judge would let that affect his continuing rulings, but that's not going to happen. Judges get accosted all of the time by attorneys who are very unhappy with the decision that the judge has made, but I...
HAMMER: And they react.
PIRRO: I think -- I think that the problem is -- and I've been on the bench and I've been a litigant, as well, as you know, as a DA. The problem is that you lose your credibility when you cry foul every time something doesn't go your way. And that's what seems to have happened here because Beauchesne, who had the search warrant application, who followed that application and the execution, and pursuant to the California statute, decided to release the contents and the basis of the warrant. And then Girolami decided to seal the autopsy, which is what Geragos wanted. So he's happy with one, unhappy with the other, neither having a basis in law, other than he won in one case and lost in the other. He's losing his credibility, and that's not a great thing for...
WEINTRAUB: I don't agree with you, Jeanine.
GRACE: Jayne, in this particular...
WEINTRAUB: Completely disagree.
GRACE: ... case, do you think it's possibly a case of nanny, nanny, boo, boo, I want the judge off the case?
WEINTRAUB: Absolutely not.
GRACE: Because -- hold on, Jayne. Jayne, listen to my question. Search warrants are naturally pro-prosecution. They always have been.
GRACE: That's right. The state is trying to get evidence, so it writes out what it believes, its theory of the case, and it tries to get evidence. But the law is also very clear that search warrants do not remain secret. It's no surprise that this would be prejudicial to his client.
GRACE: Why should this case be any different?
PIRRO: The judge...
WEINTRAUB: I agree, but I don't think that's the basis of the ruling. I think that the basis of his motion, rather, Nancy, is to focus on -- he needs one judge. He can't have two completely, you know, different answers being given and two different paths being taken. The judicial...
PIRRO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) not inconsistent. WEINTRAUB: Hold on! For parity and for consistency for the defense and the state, there should be one judge overlooking the entire case. Nancy, this is a death penalty case, and that's different. Death penalty cases deserve stricter scrutiny, under the United States Supreme Court.
GRACE: ... Chris Pixley on this. Hold on one moment. Chris Pixley, do you think that it's more of than a circumstantial coincidence that Beauchesne is also the judge that, after inviting Mark Geragos into his chambers to describe the other suspect, said, I don't know of any other suspects. I haven't been shown any other suspects. I don't see how this is going to hurt the defense investigation. I'm unsealing the warrant. And now Mark wants him thrown off of the case.
PIXLEY: No. You're suggesting that Mark's retaliating. I don't think he's doing that at all. Remember, there's more at issue here than what Judge Pirro is saying about Geragos simply not liking the results of one of the judge's rulings and being happy about the other judge. This judge has suggested, or in fact, has ordered that these eight pre-arrest search warrants are to be opened just eight days before the preliminary hearing is scheduled right now. Can you imagine what the media is going to do with that information? It's going to overshadow the entire prelim. So it's horrible timing. It's a regrettable decision...
GRACE: When Amber Frey takes the stand, all these search warrants will not overwhelm and overshadow her testimony.
Before we go to break, Jim Hammer, to you. What's going to happen in the attempt to throw Beauchesne, Judge Beauchesne off the case?
HAMMER: Well, in California to throw a judge off, you have to say more than nanny, nanny, boo boo. You have to prove that he's actually biased. And there's absolutely no proof of bias, except that he didn't like the judge's ruling. You're absolutely correct, Nancy, that I think the judge said to Geragos, You said you were going to come in and show me about the real killers. You said nothing. The darn documents are coming out. That's what happened.
GRACE: But Jim Hammer, don't you have to give it to Geragos, right or wrong, for having the chutzpah to take on a judge...
HAMMER: He gets an A...
GRACE: Although it may...
HAMMER: ... for chutzpah...
GRACE: ... hurt his case?
HAMMER: ... an A for effort, and a B-plus for penmanship, at this point.
GRACE: Will he cut off his nose despite his own face, though?
WEINTRAUB: Judges are above that, Nancy.
HAMMER: ... there is a danger -- in all -- in all deference to your other guests, the judge -- judges hold things personally.
GRACE: Yes, Jeanine...
HAMMER: They really do.
GRACE: ... cover your ears for just one moment while we rat on judges for a moment.
GRACE: You want to tell me...
HAMMER: Yes, let's do -- can we do that for a while?
GRACE: ... this judge -- yes, Jeanine, don't listen. Hold on. Jim, you want to tell me that a judge who makes a decent ruling, an honest ruling to the best of his ability, then an appeal to the appeals court to get him thrown off of the case, is not going to be let's just say mildly irritated?
HAMMER: Well, I've had a judge who I waved my finger at once because he threw out my murder case...
GRACE: You got one...
HAMMER: We've gotten along since then, but...
GRACE: You know, I saw...
HAMMER: ... judges take things personally.
GRACE: ... that. The dog-mauling case, right?
Everybody, we're taking a break. The judge wants in. She's going to defend the honor of judges. We'll be right back with that. And also, when we come back, sources from NBC San Diego News suggest there was no blood found in the Peterson home. Does this torpedo the state's case? Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us. More bombshells in the Scott Peterson investigation. Jeanine Ferris Pirro wanted in before we move on to recent discoveries from NBC San Diego -- Jeanine.
PIRRO: OK. Very quickly, Nancy, the California penal law makes it very clear under section 1534 that a search warrant is to be made public 10 days after the execution. I mean, that is the presumption, Judge Boshane did what he was supposed to do.
Now the only reason for the judge to keep the warrant sealed, the search warrant in the application, is if there might be evidence that would tip-off someone who is out there. So Mark Geragos has been saying all along, there's a Satanic cult, there's Donny, there's the brown van, there are drug dealers and so the judge said, "OK, you want me to keep this warrant sealed and all of the application under, tell me what evidence you have to back up this complaint that there is a killer out there?" Mark Geragos said nothing, so the judge said that's it. The rule, the statute applies. The warrant is unsealed. Mark didn't like it so he's complaining and he's wrong.
GRACE: And not only that, Jeanine, the judge brought Mark Geragos back in camera or behind closed doors so -- by explaining to him the mystery woman and the mystery man.
GRACE: No one else would hear about it and after that the judge said they would release the warrants.
PIRRO: Right, which was the right thing to do. The judge followed the law.
GRACE: Well, another issue, Chris Pixley, is that now I hear you complaining that the warrants will be released or could be released just before the prelim. The miracle to me is that they have been sealed this long, pursuant to Mark Geragos' and the D.A.'s requests.
PIXLEY: Well, it's a great point, Nancy, that you make.
You know, there's nothing normal about this case, though. You know, it's not normal for the search warrants to be sealed. By the same token, it's not normal for the press to file their own civil complaint because they can't wait until the preliminary hearing to find out what the evidence is in a particular case.
It's also not normal for the prosecution to step forward before the arrest was even made and suggest that the same judge shouldn't be handling the search warrant issues relating to the media as well as the arrest warrants in the autopsy and all of these other issues. So there's nothing normal about this case.
GRACE: With that I have to agree.
Guys, we've got to move on to this recent report from NBC San Diego. Let me go to you -- Ted Rowlands, the title says "Source: No Blood Evidence in Peterson House." What do you make of it, Ted?
ROWLANDS: Well, investigators have been saying all along that there is not a lot of blood evidence in this -- this story says there's no blood evidence. There's not a lot of physical evidence in that house, and that makes sense because this is someone who lived in this house. This is somebody who's wife -- who lived in the house. We're talking about significant blood evidence. For them to go in there -- and they did.
They searched a search warrant three days after. They used luminol. Nothing significant popped up. That's what took them so long to build this case. And keep in mind, they were building a no- body prosecution for four months here before the bodies came up in the San Francisco Bay. So the fact that there is not significant blood evidence really shouldn't be a mystery here because otherwise they would have arrested this guy a long time ago had they found that physical evidence. But it is curious given the fact that the murders took place in the house.
GRACE: Jayne Weintraub, the problem for the state there is aren't they basically married to the home as the location of the killing, 523 Covina?
WEINTRAUB: Well, they certainly were to begin with, when they drafted the complaint. As you know, they alleged in the complaint that the murder took place there. Now they kind of have egg on their face again because there is no blood evidence. It's not that there's no significant blood evidence. There's no blood eveidence.
Luminol, as you will recall, is the process where they use, like, a magnifying glass to find spattered blood, even drips of blood, even a speck of blood. There was no blood in the house.
GRACE: But on the other hand, Jim Hammer...
PIRRO: No, they're not married to the theory.
GRACE: I think they're married to the theory that it took place at 523 Covina because that is what they list as the location of the offense in court documents.
However, Jim Hammer, they are not married to a mode of death.
HAMMER: Absolutely not.
GRACE: Why should there be blood if there is a suffocation or some type of as fixation?
HAMMER: Every prosecutor and defense attorney -- in fact, anyone who watches "CSI" on television knows that there are many ways you can kill a person, and if it's a strangulation or a suffocation or something like that or even a sharp blow where she hit her head against something, you wouldn't necessarily find blood.
So it's not...
WEINTRAUB: Nancy if I might....
HAMMER: It would have been great -- it would have been evidence if they had it, and it makes the prosecution tougher, but it's not fatal at all to the case.
WEINTRAUB: That's all impossible.
HAMMER: What's impossible?
WEINTRAUB: We've all done murder cases here. We've all done murders and you know without the ocular fluid you can't determine a strangulation, which means without the head, without being so graphic and gruesome. But you know you can't determine if there were drugs and alcohol. You can't determine....
HAMMER: The prosecution in is not going to prove how he killed her I believe, if in fact this report about GHB being found on his computer is true. I suggest to you there is no...
GRACE: Let me go to Ted Rowlands on that. Everybody today, the date rape drug GHB, gammahydroxybuterate, took the headlines again. The Revlon (sic) heir, Andrew Luster, who was convicted in absentia by a jury for sedating women unconscious, actually with GHB, the date rape drug, was finally apprehended in Mexico and brought to justice. A jury, again, had convicted him. He left in the middle of the trial.
GHB. Ted Rowlands, what exactly do we know about GHB as it relates to the Scott Peterson case, if anything?
ROWLANDS: Well, just this -- that early on in the investigation, after that first search warrant was served on the Peterson home, they pulled out the family computer and something on that computer dealing with GHB alerted them and that was an early theory with investigators as to how Laci Peterson may have been killed. Because of the lack of blood evidence, they figured that it was a -- quote -- "soft kill" -- either a strangulation or something else, which would have -- the GHB may have explained why she wouldn't be able to render a fight and leave evidence.
So that was a theory. Whether or not they were able to discount that theory, it's unclear. However, it was definitely a working theory for a time, in this case because of what they found on that computer.
It could have been just research. It could have been attempted sale.
GRACE: Research on an illegal drug, GHB.
GRACE: As we go to break, Jim Hammer, does that -- can this fit in with the state's case as they planned it at the beginning, the fact that according to this their source, anyway, there is no blood in the home.
HAMMER: Absolutely, Nancy.
You know, in a circumstantial evidence case, the prosecution doesn't have to prove because it doesn't have an eyewitness exactly how it happened. But it simply has to prove that there is only one reasonable explanation, and that is the one that points to guilt. There is no innocent explanation for looking up the date rape drug before your wife is murdered.
PIXLEY: Nancy, let me say something about the soft kill theory.
GRACE: OK. Hit me quickly because we got to go to break.
PIXLEY: Very quickly, I don't call a murder where the body is found without a head or arms or legs, a soft kill by any stretch.
GRACE: Well Chris, I got to say, you've got me over the barrel on that one.
And with that, we are going to break, and we're taking your calls, so stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back to LARRY KING. I'm Nancy Grace for Court TV in for Larry King. Thank you in for being with us.
We have a call from Keswick, Ontario.
Keswick are you with us?
CALLER: Yes, I am. Hi.
CALLER: I have a question for the panel. With no blood in the house, do you think with the new phone calls if nothing comes outside of that, and the case is based on circumstantial is evidence this going to turn into an O.J. case with the blunders and mistakes possible we the blunders by the prosecution with the media attention.
GRACE: Jim Hammer.
HAMMER: For the break in California and most states, circumstantial evidence under that kind of case the prosecution has to build a case where they can say there's only one reasonable explanation. I do have some fears and we don't have the evidence at all yet, that if the defense can come up with another reasonable explanation for the evidence to put together the jury would be instructed to vote not guilty in California. There is going to be a lot of unanswered questions at the end of day. How did he die, where did she die and things like that. PIRRO: Every day, Nancy. Every day across this country jurors make decisions about case was there is completely circumstantial evidence, in other words, no eyewitness evidence. No confession from the defendant. And what you have in this case is at least a manner of death. It's been determined to be a homicide by the medical examiner, but no specific cause of death and the lack of blood really is not that significant. There is no suggestion here that she was necessarily cut up or that any blood was spilled in the house. That doesn't mean anything. Indeed, there are cases where we haven't even found the body where there's been a prosecution and a conviction for murder. So, don't...
HAMMER: You don't need a body in California to prove a murder case.
PIRRO: That's absolutely -- that is not true, Jayne. There is a court of appeals case in New York where the body was not found and no eyewitness and circumstantially the case was proven. The jury believes it and it went to the highest court.
WEINTRAUB: Here, you don't have that. You don't have that. Forensically, you don't have...
PIRRO: We don't know what we have yet. Jayne, you don't know what the evidence is.
WEINTRAUB: Well, I will tell you what we know.
PIRRO: You don't even know what the evidence is here.
WEINTRAUB: Jeannie, we do know there is no forensics, there's no bullet. There's no gun, there's no strangulation evidence, there's no forensic evidence to show premeditation.
GRACE: Hold on. We're taking another call. Guys, guys, hold on.
We are going to Belmont, California. Belmont are you there?
CALLER: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Go ahead.
CALLER: Nancy, I think you're great. I just want to say that, first.
GRACE: Thank you.
CALLER: I have a question for the panel.
CALLER: Particularly the defense.
CALLER: I heard over and over -- I watched your show all of the time and I hear the defense saying over and over that just because he has a mistress is not a good reason...
GRACE: Actually three mistresses, but go ahead.
CALLER: ...to try to convict someone or you can't convict him on that basis. But I watched Court TV and "Investigative Reports" all of the time. And they convict people all of the time on this basis and they use that as a reason for investigating them.
GRACE: I have to agree with you on that. She wanted to throw it to the defense.
So in a nutshell, Jayne, hit me, what's the answer?
WEINTRAUB: I think what they're trying to say is that yes, it will be used or the prosecution will use it as a motive for committing the murder. In this particular case, I don't think that will wash out because I don't think his relationship was going there.
PIXLEY: Exactly, exactly. Nancy, when it comes to the Amber motive. Let's be honest here, the suggestion is that Scott Peterson would actually kill his wife and his unborn child to be with Amber, the idea being that he wasn't happy about the impending fatherhood that was coming down the pipe for him or that he wanted to start a new life with Amber Frey. The fact of the matter is Amber is a single mom. It's not as though she comes with no strings attached. The idea that he would kill his wife and unborn son, so he could take up with a women who has her own child is, to put it bluntly, a really weak theory.
GRACE: OK. Ted Rowlands, let me go to you. Ted, on this case, the defense and it's a good argument, are arguing that Amber Frey alone is not enough of the motive.
Well, a lot of juries in the past have disagreed with that, but it could be not just Amber Frey, but simply motive being wanting a new, free, single life with a host, a myriad of women?
ROWLANDS: Well, that's the prosecution, or the theory that investigators used during their investigation is that he didn't necessarily kill his wife according to them, because he wanted to be with amber Frey, but he wanted to be Amber Frey like people down the road. And was explaining to me he's different than most folks and he reacted this way. And their theory is that this is a guy who has been perfect through his whole life and is distorted and it's hard to understand as it seems, divorce wasn't an option for a guy who had not made a mistake in his whole life and that was explained to me as one of the potential reasons, because this is the hardest thing. What is the motive here?
Why would a guy and you meet Scott Peterson, you don't get that feeling from him, how and why would this guy kill his wife?
GRACE: Ted, I have actually handled a murder prosecution where the motive was a $10 debt. OK. It was a murder over $10. I promise you, there's not always a reasonable motive for murder.
ROWLANDS: But I'll bet that person who killed over $10 had beaten a few people up or killed before. Scott Peterson, has no criminal history and he's never really lost his temper before. So the motive here is the real question.
GRACE: Also, Ted Rowlands, we know that it's not just Amber, according to reports there are three other girlfriends, plus a stripper allegedly that he asked to go to Mexico with him.
My question to you is what was the alleged date of that proposal that they were to go to Mexico?
ROWLANDS: Well, according to sources down in the San Diego area and this stripper, Scott Peterson came into the strip club with other people and this has been substantiated by people on the defense side and family sources as well. He apparently did go to a strip joint with some friends or family members the day before he was arrested. Now, the stripper says that they had a conversation and at one point he asked her if she wanted to go to Mexico and she has stayed silent. Investigators for Modesto Police have attempted to and they may now have contacted her. But she refuses to come out in the media. She does not want her name out there which really may bolster her credibility and the fact that she doesn't want to come out, but that's all we know.
GRACE: And this was way before the arrest, right?
GRACE: The day before the arrest.
Everybody, quick break. Stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back everybody I am Nancy Grace from Court TV in for Larry tonight. Thank you for being with us.
We are taking your calls.
Lets go to Cynthiana, Indiana. Cynthiana -- you there?
CALLER: Yes. Hi.
GRACE: Hi. CALLER: Yes. I am here.
GRACE: What's your question.
CALLER: I can't really hear you, though.
GRACE: You just tell me your question, we can hear you.
CALLER: Your voice is real low, I can't hear you.
GRACE: I'll try one more time. What is your question Cynthiana.
CALLER: I'm sorry. My question is with Scott Peterson and Amber Frey having high profile attorneys, does anyone know why the Rocha family has chosen not to have a high-profile attorney?
And I also want to say real brief I really appreciate, Nancy, you bringing about the remembrance of Laci and Conner and the compassion. Thank you.
GRACE: Thank you, Cynthiana.
I'll go to you on that, Ted Rowlands, it's my understanding that the Rocha family is not seeking any type of media exposure. In fact when I met briefly with Laci's mother, the pain is still very, very raw. The wound is still open. They've got an attorney, but not a high profile one.
Ted, what's your thinking?
ROWLANDS: Well, the state of California too, and their attorney is just looking out for their rights. And you're right, they don't want anything to do with the media. They don't want any exposure. They don't want any interviews and they just really want to get through this. And they want to let the case evolve and they don't need a high profile attorney, because a high profile attorney means just what it says. It's someone who will bring attention you and that's not what they want.
GRACE: When she was looking -- when Laci's mom was trying to buy a dress to wear to her daughter's memorial, she was trying on a dress, ladies, and someone came into the dressing room and said aren't you Laci's mother? So, the spotlight, I don't think that's what they're looking for, Jeanine.
PIRRO: You know, Nancy, you're dealing with a crime victim family. People don't expect to ever be in this position. She has suffered the greatest loss. The loss of a child and her unborn grandson. She, like many families of homicide victims, are in shock. They're trying to heal. It seems as though she's put her faith in the criminal justice system. In the district attorney's office and is hoping that this thing and we hope that it will ultimately bring closure one way or the other for them. This is a devastating time for the family. They don't want to be high profile. They want to heal. They want to find out what happened to their daughter.
HAMMER: Nancy, as prosecutor, I can just say the greatest comfort -- the greatest comfort and I deal with the murder cases and the loved once of men and women who have been killed. And the greatest comfort by far, they get is to believe the prosecution is pushing ahead to seek justice and to bring to justice whoever is responsible for killing their daughter. That's will bring them come comfort in the end.
GRACE: And, Jim, you know, another thing, we all focus the legal aspects of a case there's new filings and there's new evidence. There's evidence to us, to them, they're still wondering, how did Laci die? Where Was Conner born? Did he float at the bottom of the sea for days on end?
This is all still -- very disturbing to them.
HAMMER: And looking ahead and going back to one of the earlier callers. I suspect when this case is finally argued to the jury, there will are going to be a lot of questions the D.A. will not be able to answer. And he's going to have to say that to the jury. There are things we will never know about Laci's last moments. Exactly how she died and the jury is going to have to put faith in the prosecution's theory and evidence that's convincing that Scott Peterson killed her.
GRACE: Guys, before I sign off. I want to go to Ted Rowlands one more time.
A preliminary hearing has been chosen as opposed to a grand jury. We believe it will go down in July.
Very quickly, Ted, why a preliminary, why show your cards and do you think it will go forward in July?
ROWLANDS: I don't think it will happen on July 16. The prosecution has already asked in open court that that date be changed and this thing be delayed a bit. They have a witness conflict and the defense seems to be agreeable with that. So I don't think it will happen July 16. Why they didn't pursue the grand jury, good question. I'm sure the legal experts will have an opinion on that, but it sure seemed that would have been the right decision.
GRACE: Jim, I've only got 20 seconds so why a prelim, why show your hand?
HAMMER: In short, I think it's a big mistake. I think if they went to the grand jury the D.A. could still keep the evidence relatively secrete and try to keep the chase closed. I think the D.A. is frustrated with the leaks and say you want to hear the evidence, here it is.
PIRRO: That's exactly right.
GRACE: Ted Rowlands -- Sorry, Jeanine, I just wanted to tell all of you guys, including you, Jeanine.
Ted Rowlands, Chris Pixley, Jim Hammer, Jane Weintraub and Jeanine Ferris Pirro, big thank you.
Everybody, we are signing off, but stay with us for one moment. We'll be right back.
GRACE: A big thank you to everyone on our panel. Tomorrow night Larry is back in the chair with an exclusive interview with the niece of Katherine Hepburn.
I am Nancy Grace signing off for tonight, but before I go I want to thank you for inviting me in your home the last two nights. It's been a real honor. Good night and stay tuned for Aaron Brown.