LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interviews With Roger Diamond, Jane Velez-Mitchell
Aired June 18, 2003 - 20:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Our top story this hour, the apparent end of an international manhunt. Tonight, convicted rapist and heir to the Max Factor fortune, Andrew Luster, now sits in a jail cell in Mexico. Luster has been on the run for more than five months. CNN's Dan Lothian brings us up to date.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After five months on the lamb, Andrew Luster was busted in Mexico by The Dog, a tough- talking, self-assured bounty hunter from Hawaii.
DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: I think that I'm probably the last true bounty hunter in the country today.
LOTHIAN: The great grandson and heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune, Luster jumped bail during a break in his rape trial. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison. One of three women Luster drugged then raped in his home through her attorney expressed relief at the fugitive's capture.
WILLIAM DANIELS, ATTORNEY FOR "TANYA DOE": She can now begin the long and painful process of putting this nightmare behind her.
LOTHIAN: A nightmare detailed in court, women given the date rape drug, GHB. Some of them appearing unconscious or asleep on videotaped being raped by Luster.
The fugitive may now be in custody, but his attorney says this case is far from settled.
ROGER DIAMOND, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW LUSTER: I've prepared for this eventuality by filing a notice of appeal within 60 days of the conviction. And so because I did that, the appeal technically is still alive.
LOTHIAN: Meanwhile, authorities in Ventura County, California, where this case was tried, outlined their next move.
SHERIFF BOB BROOKS, VENTURA COUNTY: We will be taking custody of Mr. Luster when he's returned to the United States by federal authorities. I'm just grateful that justice is being served.
LOTHIAN: And the final twist in this unusual case. The bounty hunter himself is now in trouble. He has been detained by Mexican authorities. (END VIDEOTAPE)
LOTHIAN: And that's because the Mexican council Martha Laura (ph) tells CNN is what the bounty hunter did is absolutely prohibited. She says we have been against this for many years. We will not permit bounty hunters to come into this country to do this type of work. She went on to say that the bounty hunter would indeed be charged but it would be up to a Mexican judge within the next 72 hours to determine his legal status -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Dan Lothian, thanks very much for that report.
For more on this story, we're joined by Andrew Luster's attorney, Roger Diamond. He joins us live from Los Angeles. Roger, thanks for being with us. Have you had a chance to talk to your client yet?
DIAMOND: No, not Andrew directly. I've spoken to his mother a number of times today.
COOPER: How is she doing? How is she responding to all of this?
DIAMOND: She's fine. She's OK. She wasn't sure whether it was her son when we first heard of the news this morning. But now she realizes that is the case.
COOPER: There is a report that he was using a false name, David Carrera, at the time of his arrest. You obviously heard that. Do you know anything about it?
DIAMOND: I know nothing about it. After Andrew left, I saw nothing of him, nor did his mother see him. We had no contact with him at all. This is the first I've heard about him today. And I'm taking steps to make sure that his appellate rights are fully protected so he can go ahead and pursue his appeal, which fortunate for him I did file within the 60 days allotted to me. And we are going, as a matter of fact, to the state supreme court this Friday to make sure that his appeal is reinstated.
COOPER: On what grounds do you hope to get an appeal?
DIAMOND: Well, we have at least 22 errors that we think were committed by the trial court that should result in the reversal of his conviction and a new trial. By way of example, not only we think the search of his home was illegal, we think that the judge's refusal to allow me to cross-examine one of the complaining parties on December 20, the last day we were in session before the recess, the last court day for Andrew, I was not allowed to confront and cross-examine the witness with respect to a statement that she said on the witness stand that was an absolute lie. I wanted to confront her with that, but the judge said no, do it in two weeks. Andrew was very ...
COOPER: What is the defense for -- I mean, there are all these reports came out in the trial of using GHB, women who were drugged, videotaped women who appeared to be unconscious while they were having sex. DIAMOND: Well, there were only tapes of two of the three women. And with respect to those two women, we believe there are a number of defenses to the charges. One, that they consented to this because they knew Andrew. This was not a case that they were strangers. These were all friends of Andrew. They all took drugs together. This was a mutually enjoyable experience for them. This was what they did. This was part of their lifestyle. So that one of the defenses we had.
We had a number of other theories that we were going on. Unfortunately, by Andrew leaving the trial midstream, I wasn't able to fully develop the defenses. But there were a number of legal errors we think were committed by the trial judge.
For example, as I said, we believe the search was illegal, the tape should never have been shown to the jury. We're challenging the chain of custody. We had a number of points that we were making. We were not, as I said, able to fully cross-examine the witness. So we have a lot of issues to present to the court of appeals.
Now, on June 10, they dismissed the appeal, but the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction over the appeal if we file by Friday, June 20, which I intend to do.
COOPER: All right. And we will be flowing this closely. Roger Diamond, appreciate you talking to us. Thanks very much.
Want to talk a little bit more about the Luster case now. I am joined live from Los Angeles by Jane Velez-Mitchell. She is a correspondent for the syndicated show "Celebrity Justice." Jane, thanks for being with us.
You've obviously been following this case for a while. Talk about some of the details of what he's charged with and convicted of.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": Well, essentially this is a man who prosecutors say was very suave, handsome, charming, met women at Santa Barbara bars, gained their trust, acted like a gentleman, got them home, gave them what he said was an herbal supplement, waited until they were unconscious, then raped them, raped them on videotape, in numerous sexual positions, and then, when finally confronted by authorities, said, oh, it was all consensual, it was all a game, they knew it was going on. "They dug it," quote/unquote. So this is a man who has, according to prosecutors, committed the ultimate act of betrayal.
COOPER: Well, Roger Diamond, the attorney, says that this was part of his lifestyle, that it was consensual. There are plenty of people -- GHB, though it's often described as a date rape drug -- there are plenty of people who take GHB recreationally and take it for this kind of sex.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to tell you the story of one of the women who testified. She said that she met him at a bar, thought he was charming, went to his home, took the herbal supplement and became confused, passed out, woke up feeling confused, and then, still thinking he was a great guy, a nice guy, went on to date him for approximately five months. Then broke up with him and had no idea of what happened until police came knocking at her door saying, hey, we have some videotapes that we want to show you.
And imagine her shock, imagine her horror at having to view those videotapes of herself in various sexual positions, and then the added ordeal of having to go to trial against this man and sit there and watch those videotapes being played in court. This is a woman who wept on the stand.
COOPER: Was there any evidence at this point that this man got any help from his family while he was on the lamb?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there is evidence that he carefully plotted how he was going to flee, and what he was going to do. His dog turned up. Then his SUV turned up in Santa Monica. So there is evidence that he carefully plotted it and he had money.
I talked to one FBI agent who said at the time when he originally broke free and left that he would stay on the lamb as long as he had the cash that was given to him or that he had collected in his initial plot, and that once he ran out of that -- and he said it would take about six months -- that they would catch up with him. And he was pretty much on the money with that.
COOPER: All right, Jane Velez-Mitchell, fascinating story, thanks for being with us.
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