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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Gloria Allred

Aired May 19, 2003 - 20:03   ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We still do not know whether the cold waters of San Francisco Bay have given up any secrets to the deaths of Laci Peterson and her unborn child. Divers have been searching the bay every day since Friday. A high-profile attorney says the one-time girlfriend of Scott Peterson has something to say important to the case. We'll get to that in a moment. First though, the latest in Richmond, California tonight. Here's rusty Dornin. Rusty, good evening.
RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, divers left the search area about two hours ago. Every afternoon here -- now this is the fourth day of searching, the winds come up, it gets pretty choppy out there and usually chases the boats out of the water by the early afternoon.

As you said, we have no idea what they pulled up out of the bay. The police are not talking. But we did see them pull something out of the water from shore that looked like some kind of black cloth. They took it aboard, paid close attention to it, took it to the back of the boat and put it in an evidence bag. But again, nobody is talking.

Meantime, in Los Angeles, high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, as expected, announced she will represent Amber Frey. Now Frey, of course, is the young woman that came forth in January and said that she'd an affair with Scott Peterson during November and December. Now Allred said she wants to make sure that Amber Frey's representation is protected and that the defense does not attack her and that her reputation is not ruined.

Amber Frey came forth in a statement and talked about her sympathy for the family and also talked about that she does not want to give any kind of interviews for money or otherwise. That she wants to testify in this case, they don't want it contaminated. And that was the point of that press conference this afternoon.

Meantime, back on the bay, it looks like they're going to continue this search at least through Friday, at least the police agencies in this area say they committed men and boats to the search until Friday -- Bill.

HEMMER: Rusty, thanks. Rusty Dornin tonight in northern California.

Modesto Police cleared Amber Frey of any involvement in the disappearance of Laci Peterson. Frey spoke publicly back in January to express her regret to Laci Peterson's family. She did that again today, along with asking the media to leave her alone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: I want to express my sympathy to Laci's family. My heart goes out to them for the loss of their daughter and their grandson.

I am grateful that Gloria Allred has agreed to represent me as my attorney. And this has been a painful and stressful time to me. And I really appreciate her support.

I expect that I will be asked to testify in this case, and I am prepared to do so. I don't think it's appropriate to talk about what might be contained in my testimony prior to me being called to the witness stand. Until that time, I just want to lead a normal life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: That was part of the statement earlier today. Tonight, her attorney, Gloria Allred is live with us in Los Angeles. Good evening to you, Gloria.

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY'S ATTORNEY: Good evening, Bill.

HEMMER: Appreciate your time here.

Listen, you say that this woman has something important to say. What is so important?

ALLRED: Well, I'm going to have to leave that to the court of law and for the district attorney...

HEMMER: You don't want to break news tonight? Are you sure about that?

ALLRED: Unfortunately, I am sure about that.

But I find her -- her information is going to be very, very interesting, I'm sure. And I can understand why the prosecution would want her as what is reportedly, to be a key prosecution witness.

I want to say, too, that I think she's very brave for having come forward, having gone to law enforcement, what has happened since a has been very disruptive to her life, both emotionally, and in many other ways. But she is sustained by her friends, by her family, by her faith. And she really appreciates the prayers and support she has been getting from so many people she knows and so many people that she doesn't know...

HEMMER: Gloria, she asked Scott Peterson whether or not he killed his pregnant wife, now did she not?

ALLRED: Well, I really am not at liberty to discuss what...

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: And what was his reaction when she asked him that question?

ALLRED: Between Scott and between herself, my best educated guess is that the district attorney will be interested in what their relationship was and what was said between the two of them. And we'll let that all emerge in a court of law, where it appears to be relevant.

And there's no way that we're going to give a preview of her testimony because we don't think that will be in the best interests of the case, and we're interested in protecting the integrity of the prosecution of the case and have a great deal of respect for the criminal justice system

HEMMER: You're a pretty high-profile attorney in California. You're on national news quite often. There has to be a reason why she has taken on your services. Are you concerned about her reputation being sullied? Is there more to it that?

ALLRED: Well I am. That is one of the reasons, Bill, that in a high-profile case with such a high-profile witness as she is reported to be, it wouldn't be a surprise to me if the defense began to try to attack the credibility and reputation of any witness in the case.

And all I can say is that this young woman has a great deal of courage. I'm going to be there to make sure the truth comes out, to defend her reputation, should there be any such challenges or attacks.

And she's going to testify truthfully, she's going to testify fully and we're going to see it to that she is protected.

HEMMER: Are you privy to anything on the investigative side and how that's going on right now?

ALLRED: No, I am not privy to anything on the investigative side, nor am I seeking to be privy to that. I am there to represent my client, to be an advocate for her and that's my main concern.

HEMMER: Thanks for your time tonight, Gloria. We'll speak again. Gloria Allred live in L.A.

Why then does Amber Frey need the high octane help of a big name like Gloria Allred? Good question. Let's put it to out own legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin who might be able to shed some light on this case for us.

Surprise there in L.A.?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, just because you hire a lawyer doesn't mean you've done something wrong. And if you're going to get a lawyer you might as well get a big fancy one like Gloria Allred

HEMMER: Or Jeff Toobin.

TOOBIN: Hey, no longer practicing. Just practicing with you here, Bill. But, you know, I think she's going to be an important witness. She's getting to be inundated with media requests. The prosecution is going to want to deal with her. A lot of people when they have to deal with law enforcement like that they hire a lawyer. And that's what...

HEMMER: How critical is her testimony right now based on what we know about this case?

TOOBIN: Well what really interesting is if you listen to what Amber Frey said when she went public in January, she said, I thought he was single, I didn't know he was married

One of the apparent theories of the prosecution was he got rid of his wife because he was having this affair. If she didn't know he was married, perhaps he didn't know -- the question of motive is not as simple. If she knew that he was married, he was trying to get rid of the wife, that's one thing. Here, maybe she didn't even know the name Laci Peterson.

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: Take us back beneath the water of San Francisco Bay right now. Day four now for the search efforts that continue. What are they hoping to find under there?

TOOBIN: You know for all that Scott Peterson has been convicted around every water cooler in America, as far as we can tell, the physical evidence against him is very thin to non-existent. What the prosecution needs to find and the police is some sort of, whether it's an anchor, concrete, a chain, something near or at the bodies, where it was discovered that could tie to Scott Peterson.

As far as we know nothing like that has been found yet. And in a case without an eyewitness that's a tough case...

HEMMER: You are still convinced this case is not going to trial for about least a year. Is that right?

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Remember, we haven't even dealt with the change of venue motion. There hasn't been a preliminary hearing or grand jury proceeding. This is going to take a long time.

We always talk about the Robert Blake case. Two years since the murder, no trial yet. Could be a similar situation here.

HEMMER: Just about 12 hours ago on this same network we were talking about a change of venue. Do you think it will be moved from Modesto?

TOOBIN: Absolutely. This is the best case for a change of venue I have ever seen. Absolutely. A medium-sized city completely inundated with publicity about this case. California, a state where people do get changes of venue. A big state where you can move to a different media market. I think this is an absolutely clear case...

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: Thank you, Jeff. See you tomorrow, huh?

TOOBIN: Bright and early.

HEMMER: Cheerio. See you then.

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