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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Harvey Levin

Aired June 26, 2003 - 19:07   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We've got our eye on the criminal courts, as well, today and we want to tell you about developments in two big cases in a minute. The verdict for the woman accused of leaving a man to die in the car windshield. We'll have that.
But first, it'll be at least September before Scott Peterson finds out whether he will stand trial on charges that he killed his wife and unborn son.

Today, a judge postponed his preliminary hearing. When it does take place, we may not be able to see it and that's because Laci Peterson's family says they want cameras banned from the courtroom.

Meantime, some bad news for Mark Geragos. The judge refused to lift his gag order and ruled it does not apply to the attorney for Scott Peterson's ex-mistress. Peterson's lawyer had wanted that lawyer, Gloria Allred, found in contempt, accusing her, well, playing games.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR AMBER FREY: I think Mr. Geragos knows that if he wants war with me, he gets it. I'm not the shy type. I don't run from battle. I'm fully prepared for battle. I will continue to be fully prepared for Mr. Geragos and his entourage, emissaries, agents, groupies, whomever he sends. Bring them on. Let the games begin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: This case just gets strangers. Let's talk more about this, what it all means with Harvey Levin, executive producer of "Celebrity Justice," joining me now from L.A.

Harvey, strange day. You obviously saw Gloria Allred's press conference.

HARVEY LEVIN, EXEC. PRODUCER, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": That was hilarious. That was just hilarious. I mean, that is so her.

This is a huge defeat, Anderson, for Mark Geragos. I mean, he totally outclassed the prosecution when it came to spin control and basically, the judge said nobody can talk anymore. It kind of leveled the playing field, and then suddenly out of left field Gloria Allred comes in and now she has carte blanche. She can say anything she wants, unrebutted by Mark Geragos. They can no longer spin it; she can.

COOPER: This is really -- I mean, does this really impact the case, Harvey? I mean, yes, this certainly, you know, impacts cable television because she's now free to speak as much as she wants on TV.

But in terms of what happens in the courtroom in this case, does it matter?

LEVIN: You know, I think it does. I think it does because I think good lawyers know that a jury has to feel good about decisions that they make. And this is all about preconditioning jurors, making them feel like either there's kind of enough doubt to say "not guilty" or that this is a slam dunk case and he should be found guilty.

It's preconditioning. She gets to do it. He doesn't. And I think it matters. I really do.

COOPER: All right. Let's talk about these wiretaps a little bit. We haven't talked about it much: 176 wiretaps discovered. What do you make of all of this? Now they have to be turned over to the defense. Does this surprise you; does this sound fishy to you?

LEVIN: It stuns me. It's interesting you put it that way, because that's just the way I was thinking of it today.

How do they somehow discover, in mid-June, that there were some wiretaps with Scott Peterson? How many cases in Modesto are this big?

COOPER: And these wiretaps were not originally part of the discovery process?

LEVIN: They weren't part of the process. The way I understand it, the prosecution just realized, or the police realized, that it was on a hard drive.

Well, how does something like that get lost? I mean, you have to look at the backdrop here. Remember, outstanding right now is a motion involving some, what I believe were illegal wiretaps in this case where the police should have turned off the tape recorder when they realized that Scott Peterson was talking to his first lawyer. So, there's all of this stuff going on involving wiretaps, and yes, the word fishy is exactly what comes to mind.

COOPER: Very briefly, the Peterson family says they don't want cameras in the courtroom. Do you think it's going to happen? Think there will be cameras?

LEVIN: I think probably there won't be cameras. And I think their problem is that you don't cameras trained on you when they're talking about the murder of your daughter.

On the other hand, you've got to realize that reporters aren't going to have a lot of fodder here. They're not going to have a lot of video if they're not inside the courtroom. And I think what it means is when they get outside the courtroom, they're going to be bombarded by reporters who need video to cover their stories. It's kind of a sophisticated journalistic thing that they don't get. But I think this could actually work against them in terms of their comfort level in the trial.

COOPER: All right, Harvey Levin, good to talk to you. Thanks very much.

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