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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Latest Developments in High Profile Bryant, Peterson Cases

Aired August 13, 2003 - 20:38   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's turn to another issue now.
A California judge is about to decide how much of the Scott Peterson murder trial, you, indeed all of us ware going to be able to see on TV, while another high profile case, Kobe Bryant's in Colorado, has drawn some unwanted attention from a white supremacist group.

CNN's legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is joining us now with a perspective on both of these cases.

What do you think the judge is going to decide though -- whether or not we're going to see Scott Peterson's case that's coming up -- what? -- in a month.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he's got two issues to decide. Scott Peterson's lawyer, Mark Geragos, has asked for two things.

The first thing he wants is no cameras in the courtroom. That's pretty straightforward. But he has also said he wants no public in the courtroom. He wants a closed hearing, like a grand jury proceeding. That, as far as I can determine, has never been done, at least in the last 20 years. 1986, the supreme court said you can't do that except in the most extraordinary circumstances. So he's asking for a virtually sealed proceeding.

BLITZER: Is that because of an open bargaining position -- that's what he's asking for, knowing he's not going to get this.

TOOBIN: I think that' s basically it. He's asking for the full loaf, which is no public at all, hoping that he'll get half a loaf, which is no cameras in the courtroom. It's very hard to know how the judge will react here.

You'll recall the judge has done something is very peculiar in the Laci Peterson case so far. He has allowed cameras in the courtroom, but he hasn't allowed live coverage. He hasn't released the tape until the proceeding is over. It' the kind of weird exercise of discretion that judges are allowed to do. That seems to me probably it's worked so far, he'll probably keep that up.

BLITZER: And that, I still don't understand unless that there was some incident that they wanted to censor before they would allow it to be released. TOOBIN: That, I guess, is the reasoning behind it although he has not censored anything so far. And when you're going to have witnesses, as you would in a preliminary hearing, it would be even more awkward. But I'm sure, speaking of half a loaf, the media would take the half a loaf of a delayed broadcast as opposed to no cameras in the courtroom at all.

BLITZER: Scott Peterson is going to be at the hearing tomorrow, we're told. What do we anticipate? How will this unfold in advance of the real preliminary hearing where they actually have to show some evidence. What? That's September...

TOOBIN: September 9.

BLITZER: Yes.

TOOBIN: In Modesto.

There'll be three parties in the hearing tomorrow. You'll have the defense, which wants no public or no cameras in the courtroom. You have the prosecution, which wants no cameras in the courtroom. And then you'll have a media representative. Connoisseurs of the O.J. Simpson case will rep Kelly Sager. She represented the media in that case. She will also represent the media in Modesto. So those three parties will argue. There will be no witnesses. Just legal arguing.

Very briefly, there was some white supremacist, racist flyers out in Eagle County, Colorado, involving Kobe Bryant that were released. What legal impact, if any, is that going to have?

TOOBIN: I think probably very little. The only possible impact would be the defense could say because of these hearings, we need a change of venue -- because of these leaflets we need a change of venue. But these were so awful and so outside the mainstream, I don't think the people of Eagle, Colorado, -- I think we need to give them credit. They're not be influenced by them. I think they'll be no influence at all.

BLITZER: We'll be watching both of these high profile cases but no one will be watching as closely as you.

TOOBIN: You bet.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.

TOOBIN: Good to see you.

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