This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, April 18, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.
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SEAN HANNITY, FOX CO-HOST: America's debate starts here. We begin tonight with some breaking news from Hidden Hills, California.
As you can see, attorney for Robert Blake said he's being arrested in his wife's home for a killing that took place back in May of last year, and there's the scene as it is unfolding right before your eyes.
And we're now joined also by our very own Greta Van Susteren. Her great show, of course, "ON THE RECORD."
You've been following this case. You spoke to his attorney about an hour ago.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX, "ON THE RECORD": It's interesting. I spoke to him about an hour ago, and I said, "Harland, rumors are — is that your client's going to get arrested," and he said, "Yes, I know. There are helicopters all over his house," he said, "but -- all over the area," but he said he thought it was a rumor.
And I said, "Well, why" — you know, why don't you know that? Usually, they let you surrender your client." He said, "Look, in the State of California, after what happened with O.J. Simpson, the cops don't tip off the lawyer and say, 'Do you want to surrender your client?' What they do is they just go pick up your client."
So, apparently, things have changed dramatically for him.
HANNITY: Let's talk about — you and I had a discussion just earlier tonight about this case because there was some information this might be happening and the news media was hovering over this — the Blake house for hours today in anticipation of this, so somebody leaked it somewhere here.
But you thought there were certain things that stood out in your mind that made him a suspect.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, look, of course, he has a presumption of innocence, and this is...he's, you know, he's being charged. He hasn't even again been to court and been formally charged.
But I've actually seen the murder scene and what struck me and what I always thought would make the police very curious about his activity is that he didn't park his car — when he went to the restaurant that night with his wife, he didn't park in the parking lot. Now I haven't heard that the parking lot was full or not. But, instead, he parked it about a block or block and a half away.
Then you've got the peculiar situation that he said that he walked out to the car with his wife, and then he said that he remembered...
HANNITY: Went back for his gun.
VAN SUSTEREN: He said he forgot his gun, which was — struck me as odd, and he went back in to get his gun. Now that doesn't mean that he went out and — that he shot and killed her, but there was certainly red flags that would make someone suspicious of him.
HANNITY: Well, this is the type of thing, it's almost a year now. Why would it take so long in a case like this to build enough evidence to get obviously an indictment in this case?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good reason. Because on June 12th, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson was found dead, and Gil Garcetti, the then DA wanted to make the big arrest very early. He made the arrest that following Friday, six days later.
And what happened was he started the speedy trial clock, and you've got to get a case to trial, and, as a result, they never got to fully investigate the case. They were under a lot of pressure.
Now they've had a year to investigate the case. Now the speedy trial clock will begin to run.
ALAN COLMES, FOX CO-HOST: All right. Greta, we — we're going to, in addition to you, bring in Geraldo Rivera who's in the Mideast. He's in Beirut.
But, Geraldo, we are actually going to talk to you about what you see on our screen right now. Attorney for Robert Blake is telling us that he has been arrested in — to do with his wife's killing. You covered this case. What's your perspective?
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alan, I — on the one hand, I'm surprised it has taken this long. Blake's alibi, you know, losing his gun in the restaurant and parking his car so far away from the restaurant, especially in Los Angeles where people try to park as close to those kinds of places as they possibly can, the fact that he and the wife had been battling, had been virtually estranged, the fact that they had the issue of him being entrapped by her pregnancy — it seemed that the — it was a pretty good case. I guess the forensics were weak initially, but, mostly, I'm surprised that it's taken this long.
All I can say to add to what Greta, you know, a wonderful attorney, has already told you, Alan and Sean, the fact that the O.J. Simpson case went so very badly for the Los Angeles district attorney's office, the fact that they overplayed their hand — in this case, it seems an excess of caution, but better caution, better not running afoul of the so-called speedy trial laws than losing another big one.
But I think, you know, most observers are not surprised by the arrest at all, just by the duration of time between the commission of the offense, the murder of his wife, and tonight.
COLMES: As Sean pointed out, it was last May that this happened. What's likely to have happened recently to enable this arrest to take place today, almost a year later?
RIVERA: Well, you know, the science is so very good now, Alan. These forensic laboratories, DNA testing, et cetera — they might have found a very little clue, a hair, some kind of fiber evidence. Perhaps, as often happens, finally a snitch came forward and reported something that Blake allegedly told him or her in confidence. You know, there's any number of — you know, a myriad of possibilities.
But, clearly, there has been a break in the case. I can't imagine that they have as much or less now than they had in May when the homicide was committed. I can only assume that they finally got that one piece of hard evidence that links him to pulling the trigger and killing his wife.
COLMES: You know, as mentioned earlier, we mentioned the O.J. case. the LAPD has been under the microscope internationally for years because of high-profile cases. You wonder how fast they would move forward unless they really knew something because they know this will again bring scrutiny
RIVERA: Oh, you know, especially with, you know, Chief Parks losing the job. They have over a thousand vacancies, as I understand it, on the LAPD, once the proudest force in all the land, now humbled.
Community relations have never been worse, although they are trying very hard to rebuild. You had that whole scandal involving their elite gang units who allegedly became nothing more than gangs in uniforms themselves.
You can understand caution. This is pretty extraordinary in terms of the time that went by, but justice delayed is better than no justice at all, Alan. No doubt about that.
HANNITY: Greta, I want to go back to you, if I can. Bonny Bakley's sister — was it Margerry? — had made the point — made a quote one time, "Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to check the news to see if there's been an arrest." There had been the suspicion within the family or a long period of time.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh — I mean, look, you always look at a spouse. Any time you find one dead wife or husband, you suspect the spouse. So that's not unusual.
But, you know, one of the problems that police confront in this case is that the woman who was killed, the wife, had a very checkered history. I mean, this is going to be a bizarre case when the facts unfold, and the police needed to investigate thoroughly whether someone else had a motive to kill her or not.
But there's a lot of bad blood in this family, so I'm not surprised by the sister's comment.
HANNITY: One thing we talk about — it's almost been a year here. The cops did not release the results of the forensic testing of the crime scene or of the handgun that was reportedly found near — in a nearby dumpster soon after the killing.
VAN SUSTEREN: But they didn't have to.
HANNITY: Well, they didn't have to, but I think — I would have thought if they'd found something on the weapon, it would have resulted in an arrest in a quicker period of time, correct?
VAN SUSTEREN: But they still have to link the gun either to him or to someone he may have hired, if, indeed, that's the case. We don't even know what the theory is. We don't know what the theory of the prosecution is. Did they — that he — is the theory he did it or he hired someone else to do it?
HANNITY: Now Blake -- also, this relationship with his wife had been quite acrimonious. As I understand it, too, he demanded a DNA test before he accepted that this young girl was, in fact, his daughter.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, yeah. But, I mean, that feeds into, you know, the prosecution theory, you know, that he had motive. There was very bad blood between the two of them, but the problem the prosecution will face in this....And one thing is — it's always when someone gets arrested, you know, we — and when it's a husband arrested for allegedly killing a wife, it's very easy to sort of convict him. But this is — this case is not over.
Harland Braun is a very aggressive defense attorney, and this woman had a very shady background, lots of reasons that someone else might have wanted to kill her. I don't know if -- I don't know if he killed her or not -- the husband killed her or not, but don't be surprised if there was more intrigue to this story.
HANNITY: You said you spoke earlier to Blake's attorney. He had at one point in a previous article been quoted as saying, "Be logical. If Robert Blake hired someone to kill his wife, would his alibi be, 'I went back to the restaurant because I forgot my gun.'
VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah. I mean, I — Sean, I'll tell you I've represented...
HANNITY: You've heard it all.
VAN SUSTEREN: No. I've represented defendants for years, and, you know, even the richest among them aren't always the smartest.
HANNITY: Yeah. Now let's compare this if we can, Greta, a little bit to the O.J. Simpson case in as much as we have a high-profile personality here.
In this case, are you seeing obvious lessons learned from that one, not an immediate arrest, they waited a long period of time? I would assume that they tried to build a stronger case prior to the arrest that took place nearly a year later.
VAN SUSTEREN: But, you know, and it was always interesting that the prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson case — and Gil Garcetti, I always thought, deserved most of the blame for this, is that it was — it was so sloppy the way they wanted to go in and make the big kill, make the big arrest right away before they investigated the case.
As a result, they had problem after problem after problem. Even during the course of the trial, they were still doing tests on fibers, and what Gil Garcetti did is he handicapped his trial prosecutors by forcing
that early arrest on Friday after June 12th.
In this particular case, we don't know what the prosecution's evidence is, we don't know if it's proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but what we do know is that they had a year do it.
Plus, there's another thing. One thing defendants do -- and it's the most dangerous thing for defense attorneys -- is when they're out on the street, they talk, and we don't know if he said something to someone. He may have said something in confidence. You know, they might not have had forensic evidence to make an arrest sufficient, but he might have made a statement.
There's a lot that can happen in a year.
HANNITY: In a case like this, does sloppy work in the O.J. Simpson case come into play? In other words, is there a pattern or history of sloppy evidence handling?
VAN SUSTEREN: That was the key reason the prosecution lost that case. Not only was it sloppy handling, but the LAPD had built such a poor reputation in terms of credibility. Scandalous.
HANNITY: They brought up the way labs handled DNA in that particular trial.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not only that, but you had Mark Fuhrman lying on the witness stand in March of '95 as to whether or not he used that racial slur, and everybody knew as early as July in '94 from an article in the "New Yorker" by Jeffrey Toobin -- he had said he had made racial remarks. He was a big fat liar on that witness stand, and the jury knew it, and the prosecutor sat there and let him lie.
HANNITY: Well, Mark -- now did they know that, or was this a case you're saying that the -- that Marcia Clark and Chris Darden knew?
VAN SUSTEREN: I -- look, I knew. Jeffrey Toobin knew. Everyone in the media knew. There was also, in September of that year, an in camera proceeding, a proceeding inside the judge's chambers, to look at Fuhrman's personnel file. It was leaked.
HANNITY: In the context that he was putting together a tape that was not supposed to be -- it wasn't the real Mark Fuhrman. Well, I don't want to get -- I don't want to retry the case here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, anyway, you know, the point is -- the point is that...
COLMES: Geraldo -- let me bring Geraldo back in here. You know, it's almost eerie some of the parallels here. I know the O.J. comes to mind. It's Hollywood, it's a celebrity, and you have the sister of Bakley also believing that the spouse is the guilty party. I mean, if you think about the parallels here, it's really eerie, isn't it, Geraldo?
RIVERA: Three quick things. Number one, this is one of those issues that I totally disagree with Greta. Maybe the only one, the guilt of O.J. Simpson. I think it was clearly established, and had he been tried in a more neutral environment, I think he would have been convicted. He is the most guilty acquitted person probably walking the...
HANNITY: Geraldo, welcome to the vast right-wing conspiracy. You agree with Sean Hannity here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Geraldo, I didn't say that...
RIVERA: Well, I think it was...
VAN SUSTEREN: Geraldo, I didn't say he wasn't guilty.
RIVERA: I think it was a lot worse than that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Geraldo, I didn't say he wasn't guilty. What I said is that the prosecution was -- I mean, look at the fact of the O.J. Simpson case. When he was brought down, they took the blood, and they didn't book it. They brought it back to the scene.
COLMES: Let's talk about...
VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible mishandling.
COLMES: ... what's going on right now. Let's talk about the Robert Blake case, and the -- and there are some eerie comparisons, Geraldo.
RIVERA: Well, you know, I think that one point I want to make -- and Harland Braun is a very tough guy attorney. Greta is absolutely right. He's sharp. He's rugged. He's just what you want, I guess, in your corner, except he also went above and beyond the call of duty, in my view, and I think Greta would agree with me, in trashing the victim.
He dug up all of that obscene stuff about her personal ads and some of the other, you know, sordid aspects of her past. He sullied her reputation in such a way that he made her out to be, you know, the next best thing to a prostitute. He complained bitterly about being entrapped. He really, though, in a way that was extremely painful to her family, went all out to make it seem that she was some kind of, you know, very marginal character, the kind of person who would have so many people angry enough to kill her.
I think, in my view, in my -- whatever it's worth, he went across the line. I think that he bent legal ethics a bit in terms of trashing this poor woman.
COLMES: Isn't that...
RIVERA: In terms of the parallels...
COLMES: Isn't that what always happens in these cases?
RIVERA: ... you're absolutely right. The celebrity, the -- I'm sorry, Alan. Go ahead.
COLMES: I was going to say, in these cases, often the defense attorney -- isn't that often what happens? You basically trash the victim. It certainly happened in the O.J. case. Another parallel. I mean, that's the tactic that's often used here. We're not going to be surprised if we see more of this, will we?
RIVERA: I think it's two things at work here. Number one is trashing the victim, and that happens in cases where defendants are everything from kings to paupers.
But you also have a celebrity defendant, a very high-profile person, a person that certainly many of your older viewers remembers from "In Cold Blood" where he played a pathological killer, many of his other tough guy roles, as Simpson played his own, you know, lame parts in various movies, and people definitely had a distinct impression of him as well.
I think that that will be a stereotype in Blake's case that will be damaging to him in the same way that Simpson's more cheery image was helpful to him. It will be argued on a public stage --
Listen, I'm in Beirut tonight, half a world away, and I'm talking about it, so I believe that, you know, that's another indicator of just the public interest. Blake, of course, not quite the level of celebrity --
notoriety that Simpson had, but it's going to be a big deal in Hollywood. No doubt about it.
HANNITY: Thanks, Geraldo.
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