This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," March 24, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE FELOS, MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S ATTY.: This case is over. Mrs. Schiavo's legal rights have been ruled on again and again and again. The courts have consistently found that she did not want to remain alive artificially. Her wishes should be carried out. And in that spirit, I hope that the parents do not keep pursuing fruitless legal options to the end. I think their time would be better served in reflection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: That is George Felos, the lawyer for Terri Schiavo's (search) husband who wants to let her die. The parents of Terri Schiavo who want to keep her alive are about to run out of options. They've been turned down by state courts and now three federal ones, including the Supreme Court, which refused to order the feeding tube reattached.
How much more can Schiavo's parents do? For an explanation of that, we turn to Robert Destro, an attorney for Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.
Mr. Destro, thanks for joining us.
ROBERT DESTRO, SCHINDLER FAMILY ATTY.: Oh, thanks for having me.
ANGLE: This has been an agonizing and emotional week for the entire Schiavo family. Your options, clearly at this point, are dwindling.
DESTRO: Yes, they certainly are. We're in court right now in Tampa. We're trying to get the judge to actually look at what the facts are in Terri's life.
ANGLE: Now, as you say you're back in court at this hour. This is one of the judges that you've already been to, who has already ruled against you. What are you going to say to him this time that you didn't say last time that might make a difference?
DESTRO: Well, the judge the last time didn't really rule against us on the facts. What he said is I'm not convinced that you've made a substantial federal — substantial showing what you've made your case. And so what we really need to do is to get him to put his trial attorney hat on again. And to say judge, what facts do you need us to show you?
We'll bring in witnesses, we'll bring in the doctors, we have an affidavit from the doctor from the Mayo Clinic that says she's not in a persistent vegetative state. And that if she's not, then the Constitution does not allow this to happen to her.
And so this question about that Mr. Felos talked about, is this really what she wanted, that's really the centerpiece of this hearing. We figure we're entitled to a jury under the Seven-Amendment to prove the case. What is her condition, can she communicate? And if she can, she can tell — then may be with some rehab she can tell us.
ANGLE: You want a jury trial, not just stand before a judge?
DESTRO: You bet. That's — that was why we went to Congress in the first place. Is that we want a jury of her piers to determine what the facts are in this case.
ANGLE: But you have to know that opinion polls have suggested the public believes that she should be allowed to die. By fairly large margins, including people who identify themselves as evangelicals. Though everyone has a lot of sympathy for the parents, a lot of people are having a hard time with this.
DESTRO: Well, I'm sure they are. I think that that basically is because most people really think that she is in a persistent vegetative state. But Mrs. Schindler and Mr. Schindler, and her brother and sister, whom I've talked to extensively say look, we can talk to her, she responds to us.
And I don't think the public really understands that she hasn't had a brain scan since 1995. And she hasn't been — the nurses all say that she can swallow. So I mean I think if the public knew the facts, they'd think the same way we do.
ANGLE: Now, the legal principle on these cases is that the spouse is the guardian and the one who makes the final decisions. For you to win this case don't you have to undermine that principle? Don't you have to turn that around in order to succeed?
DESTRO: No. Actually, the legal principle in the case is that the guardian, whoever it is, it could be the spouse, it could be someone, that that person is supposed to be making the incapacitated person's decisions for them. In other words, they're supposed to do what Terri would want. And it's Michael's testimony about what Terri would want that we've called into question.
ANGLE: Yes. In fact, that's one of the key things. The court has found, testimony from him and a couple of others, and has determined that she did, indeed, say that she wouldn't want to go on under circumstances like these. You're obviously challenging those assertions.
DESTRO: Well, her best friend says no, that's not the case. Her parents say no, that's not the case. She was a devout Catholic. She doesn't believe that. She wouldn't have believed that personally.
But more importantly, and the thing that is make this case so acrimonious, is that the parents and the Schindlers and Mr. Schiavo have been involved in a big fight over whether or not he had a conflict of interest. There are allegations in the case that he abused her. There are allegations in the case, certainly that all the nurses said that he neglected her. And there's notes — it's just...
ANGLE: Now, are you taking those allegations to the judge? Are you highlighting those allegations for the judge?
DESTRO: What we're saying the centerpiece of the case in Florida was the testimony that he and his brother and sister-in-law brought into the case. If you undermine that testimony, the whole basis of Mr. Felos' argument collapses.
ANGLE: Now, let's be honest, you're headed back to a judge who has turned you down once. This looks like the end of this case one way or the other.
DESTRO: It does. There's no doubt. I wouldn't be standing here saying to be optimistic. And that's really why we went to Congress. I mean if you think about that, we needed to get in front of an unbiased court.
ANGLE: Just a few seconds left. Let me ask you. are her parents able to see her at this point? And at what point do they stop the legal efforts and try to say good-bye to her?
DESTRO: I think the answer is, I don't think they can see her. The brother and sister tried to see her this morning. Mr. Felos' comments were probative when he said they should spend their time in reflection. He didn't say spend time with their daughter.
ANGLE: Mr. Destro, thank you very much for joining us, sir.
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