This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," March 8, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Deal or no deal? Debra Lafave , the Florida teacher who admits to having sex with a 14-year-old student was back in court Wednesday, why?
Joining us live from Tampa is Debra Lafave’s attorney John Fitzgibbons. John, you had such a great package worked out in the beginning in Hillsborough County and it was supposed to be completed in Marion but you were back in court in Marion today, why?
JOHN FITZGIBBONS, DEBRA LAFAVE’S ATTORNEY: Well, as you know, there were two circuits or two jurisdictions where the alleged crimes took place, so we’ve resolved the Hillsborough case. Now we have to resolve the Marion County case.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why is it — but there was a plea that was put on the table that your client wanted to accept, so everyone seemed in agreement, but apparently the judge didn’t like it.
FITZGIBBONS: Well, the first time we were up there the judge indicated he wanted to hear some more testimony as to why the plea agreement ought to be accepted.
Today, there was very compelling testimony presented by an expert psychiatrist and also by the assistant state attorney here in Hillsborough County and I felt it was just a very, very strong case. The judge has indicated he wants to think about it and he’ll probably announce his decision in the next week or so.
VAN SUSTEREN: John, most judges are ecstatic to have deals worked out so they don’t have long dragged out trials that are expensive to the taxpayers. When you’ve got the prosecutor and the defense attorney and the defendant all saying, look this is what we think is best, we could save a lot of money for the taxpayers, prosecutors are not soft on crime, why is this — why has this not gone forward that way?
FITZGIBBONS: Well, it’s hard to say. I think the judge has his views of things and I certainly respect that. It is unusual in that all of the parties here, both the defense and the prosecution are on the same page, so we’re just hopeful that we’ll wrap up this last bit of the case and be done.
VAN SUSTEREN: How’s your client doing?
FITZGIBBONS: She’s doing real well. She is — she’s under the care of an excellent psychiatrist. She’s working now. She is doing the best I have seen her since the time she first walked in my office, but she would like to get this done. It’s a lot of pressure on her.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what is her problem? I mean, you know, it’s like you say she’s seeing a psychiatrist for what? I mean, you know, most people would say it’s a crime.
FITZGIBBONS: Well, as you recall we provided an insanity defense notice and had we gotten to trial there would have been six psychiatrists who would have testified. All six would have found her mentally ill with bipolar illness.
Three felt that she was legally sane. Three felt that she was legally insane. So, it would have been a battle of the psychiatrists. But she’s been seeing doctors for some ten years now and has some pretty profound issues, but is getting treated well now and is going well.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it that the prosecution might have had a little trouble getting their witness, their 14-year-old, now I imagine 15-year-old to come to court. I mean that is sort of a hard sell is it not for the prosecution?
And, for a young man to have to testify at trial, it would be an incredibly difficult ordeal. There’s just no way to protect his identity or his privacy and for anybody but particularly a young man this would be tough.
VAN SUSTEREN: And, of course, trials are open for good constitutional reasons. John, thanks. We’ll wait to see what the judge does in about seven days, whether she goes to trial or whether the plea deal gets accepted. Thank you, John.
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