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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Carlton Dotson's Attorney Nixes Police Interview

Aired July 10, 2003 - 19:11   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to tell you about a stalemate between Texas authorities and the roommate of missing Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy.
Now Dennehy hasn't been seen since June 12.

A police affidavit quotes an unidentified informant as saying he had been told Dennehy's roommate, Carlton Dotson, had confessed to shooting Dennehy. Well, Dotson was questioned once by a Waco detective but has not been named as a suspect.

But after police told the media they wanted to question him again, Dotson's attorney essentially said "not until you get a subpoena."

For some insight on these latest developments and where the investigation stands now, Court TV's Lisa Bloom joins us from New York.

Lisa, good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Good to see you. You should be here in New York with me, Anderson. What are you doing out there?

COOPER: It's beautiful out here. Are you kidding? I'm no dummy.

Let me ask you about this. I mean, as you look at this investigation, do the police know what they're doing? I mean, they seem to have been making a lot of mistakes. They admitted they, you know, called some of the other teammates on the Baylor basketball team suspects and a couple of days later said, "You know what? We shouldn't have used the word suspects."

Do these guys know what they're doing?

BLOOM: Well, now they're using the vague term "persons of interest," a new favorite euphemism for law enforcement. You're not quite a defendant, you're not quite a suspect, you're not quite a witness, you're a person of interest. I suppose everyone is a person of interest.

But who clearly does know what he's doing is Dotson's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., who says, "Look, my client is a suspect whether they're going to call him one or not, I'm going do defense attorney 101, tell him to clam up." And that's what he's doing. COOPER: Does it reflect badly, though, on him? He's already talked to investigators once. It's not really clear what he said to them. But in -- there's so much media attention on this thing. Do you have to think about that at this point, as his attorney?

BLOOM: I think his defense attorney thinks about trial and only about trial. Sure it looks bad for him now. His close friend is missing, he's not willing to talk to the police. That's got to look bad for.

But his attorney is thinking forward to trial. And remember a trial, when someone has exercised their Fifth Amendment rights at any time, including now, pretrial, that's not going to be commented upon by any attorney in front of that jury. That's surely what his defense attorney is thinking about now.

COOPER: Well, you know, his attorney came forward, basically, and said that the police -- I want to get the wording right -- have intentionally misconstrued information.

Basically that he had sent them a letter saying, you know, you -- "if you want to talk to my client you have to go through me." They apparently sent out some e-mail to the media and others saying, "We're going to be talking to Dotson," and that apparently was not the case.

BLOOM: Well, the police that were going to be talking to Dotson through his attorney. That could just be an innocent misunderstanding. It could be an attorney parsing words, finding something to argue about.

Look, the police want to talk to this guy, the attorney is saying no and there's not a lot the police can do about that.

COOPER: It certainly seems that is the case. Lisa Bloom, always good to talk to you. Thanks for the update.

BLOOM: Anderson, thanks.

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