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Defense Files "Contempt" Motion Against Prosecutor

Aired June 20, 2003 - 20:27   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Attorneys for Scott Peterson filed a new contempt of court motion against District Attorney James Brazelton.
Rusty Dornin joins us from Modesto with the details -- Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Mark Geragos uses words like "brazen," "outrageous" and "wanton" to describe the comments made by Jim Brazelton in today's "Modesto Bee." He claims they -- it constitutes a violation of the judge's gag order that he ordered last week and that he should be cited for contempt of court.

Now what he's angry about are a couple of comments that Brazelton made, one of which talked about the stories that are being bandied about that 95 percent of them are purification and fabrication and another comment he said that the D.A.'s office spends all of its time running down the phony baloney stuff that they -- it's not clear who they are -- throw up. Geragos says that is a clear contempt of court in terms of this gag order because he is -- no one -- none of the attorneys are supposed to be giving their opinion outside of court when talking about the weight of evidence. So it's just another issue that Judge Al Girolami is going to be taking up on June 26. It's already going to very crowded court calendar next week.

Meantime, Modesto's mayor, Carmen Sabatino, is talking about a memo for the first time that he sent to the police chief here after a meeting that he had with Scott Peterson, that Scott Peterson himself requested. Scott had told the mayor that he wanted to thank the community, he wanted a personal meeting with the mayor. They -- he -- apparently the mayor called the police chief. The police chief said, Look, he warned the mayor said, you shouldn't get involved in this.

So the mayor decided to meet Peterson at Starbucks instead of his own office. He told the police chief that Peterson took a few calls and never told him what he did on December 24, of course, the night that Laci Peterson disappeared. But he did say Scott Peterson did show behavior that he didn't expect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR CARMEN SABATINO, MODESTO, CALIFORNIA: I guess a little grief here and anxiety and he relayed how the worst times for him were at night and in the morning, that he kept busy during the day, working at the volunteer center.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DORNIN: Now Sabatino does say he doesn't think that Peterson wouldn't get a fair trial here just because of the thousands of people that volunteered. Bear in mind, however, that the mayor here is facing possible corruption from the district attorney. But he said that does not spark his opinion. He just doesn't believe Peterson can get a fair trial here -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Interesting new development. Rusty Dornin, thanks.

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