This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, January 9, 2004.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, a Florida judge may be closer to ruling on the constitutionally of a state law that's keeping severely brain-damaged Terri Schiavo (search) alive. Will the law be thrown out and Terri Schiavo disconnected from the feeding tube?
Joining us in Tampa is George Felos, the lawyer for Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, who wants the feeding tube removed, and here in Washington is Florida Governor Jeb Bush's lawyer, Ken Connor.
Ken, the judge is yet to rule. But what's your prediction? Is the judge going to rule that the law is unconstitutional, giving Governor Bush the authority to order that feeding tube placed in Terri Schiavo?
KEN CONNOR, ATTORNEY FOR JEB BUSH: I think the judge is likely to rule that way, Greta.
He has denied the governor any opportunity to conduct any discovery or conduct any examination witnesses. He said he has all the information he needs to make his ruling.
That doesn't auger well for the constitutionality of the statute in the trial court. I think it will ultimately be decided in Florida Supreme Court.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, George. Any idea, any hint of when the judge is likely to rule, number one? And number two, in the event that he does rule in your client's favor and the feeding tube is removed, any idea how long it's anticipated that Terri can live?
GEORGE FELOS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL SCHIAVO: Well, the judge is poised to rule. He's just waiting for the appellate court to issue a couple of rulings on procedural appeals that the governor has taken.
The briefing's done in the appellate court, and we hope the appellate court rules quickly. As soon as they do -- they do rule in Terri Schiavo's favor, then the trial judge will rule, and, ultimately, that ruling will be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.
If the feeding tube is removed, again, Terri would die between seven and 14 days in a painless manner, as the doctors have testified, and as the court has found.
VAN SUSTEREN: George...
CONNOR: Well, that's disputed in our case as to whether or not that's a painless death, and there's evidence...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that one of the issues?
CONNOR: ... very much to the contrary.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that one of the issues?
CONNOR: Well, that's one of the issues the governor would like to raise. There are a lot of issues the governor would like to raise that he's been foreclosed from raising in the trial court.
For instance, why didn't Mr. Schiavo tell the civil jury when he was seeking millions of dollars for Terri's injuries about Terri's desire to die under these circumstances?
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, let me ask George that.
George, there's the question posed to you.
FELOS: You know, Greta, I think you asked us that question on your CNN show about four or five years ago. All of these issues have been reviewed again and again.
The fact is Terri's rights were adjudicated. The court found by clear and convincing evidence she didn't want to be kept alive artificially, and her rights were overturned by the governor and legislature.
This is the worst civil-rights violation we've seen in Florida by the government probably in the last 30 years.
CONNOR: In point of fact, Greta, this is an attempt by the governor and by the legislature to ensure that a disabled person's health-care choices are respected and protected.
Remember that Terri Schiavo had no prior written advance directive. She's not able to speak for herself. The testimony that's been offered by the husband, who has a stake in her death and who stands to gain financially and otherwise by her death, is uncorroborated.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there money in this, George, for your client? I mean -- I mean, once Terri dies, is there any more money left? I mean this has been dragging on for so long. Is there...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there money out there for anybody -- I mean it sounds like such a cold, Terrible thing, but, you know, Ken raised it, so I'm asking -- money for your client?
FELOS: No, Mr. Schiavo will not inherit a penny upon his wife's death. There is some money left in the guardianship, but her debts so far exceed that, he won't receive anything...
CONNOR: But in point of...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right.
FELOS: ... and...
CONNOR: ... fact, when he began this effort, he stood to gain hundreds of thousands of dollars.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, has any...
VAN SUSTEREN: Has any member of -- I mean other than the -- George's client, any member of the family seen Terri in the last three months, and what is -- what is the description of her condition?
CONNOR: Well, the parents have seen her. They have been encouraged by what they've seen. They have registered concerns about whether or not she's being drugged in some way or her responses are somehow being suppressed by her medication. They'd like to know more about her condition, and they'd like to have a bigger stake in it.
VAN SUSTEREN: George, can you give me an update on the last couple of months, I mean, in terms of, you know, what -- you know, it-- you know, what her condition is, whether she's being medicated, as Ken as questioned.
FELOS: Terri's condition is essentially the same as it has been the past 13 years. Terri's cerebral cortex has atrophied. It's gone. She has no consciousness.
She's not being medicated. Her reactions or involuntary reflexes are not lessened by medication. The fact is that nothing anyone can do can help this poor girl.
What we can do for her now is effectuate her wishes and enforce her privacy rights.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Twenty seconds left, Ken. In the last 20 seconds, I'll give you the last word. If you lose and the law is declared unconstitutional, you'll go immediately to the high court, right?
CONNOR: We will, we'll go to the Florida Supreme Court, and if the governor isn't afforded an opportunity to try this case before a jury, we'll try to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Gentlemen, thank you both very much. Obviously, a very tough issue.
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