by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 25, 2004
Redwood City, CA (LifeNews.com) — The cross-examination of Scott Peterson’s mistress and the prosecution’s star witness took less than two days — opening with a joke on Monday and closing quietly before noon on Tuesday.
Prosecutors are hoping that Amber Frey’s testimony will help establish that his affair with her was his motive for killing his pregnant wife, Laci, in December of 2002.
On Monday, after Frey spent five days on the witness stand testifying for the prosecution — much of which consisted of the replaying of recorded phone conversations between Frey and Peterson — Mark Geragos, Peterson’s defense attorney, initially told Judge Alfred Delucchi that he had no questions for her. He quickly smiled and added, "Just kidding."
By noon Tuesday, Gergagos had dismissed Frey. Over the course of the two-day cross-examination, he attempted to paint the picture of Frey as the pursuer in the relationship with Peterson, and a willing informant to Modesto police.
Pointing out how quickly the relationship turned to sex, as the couple spent the night at a Radisson hotel after the first blind date. Geragos also never pointed out that Peterson never told Frey he loved her, even replaying segments of the tapes jurors heard previously to make his point.
"I assume … possibly that she’s missing because you love me, right?" Frey said on the taped call.
"Amber, she’s missing because someone abducted her," Peterson replied.
Frey, who went to the Modesto police after realizing that her lover was the husband of the missing Laci Peterson, recorded some 300 telephone conversations with Peterson for police. She recorded every call, she testified, and turned over every tape. She even went above and beyond investigator’s requests, having offered to pretend to be pregnant in order to trick Peterson, and continuing to tape the conversations even when the police told her she could stop.
The defense also hinted that Frey may have known Peterson was married before she was told on December 29, five days after Laci disappeared.
Still, Geragos’ cordial manner and short period of questioning led some observers to believe his cross-examination was ineffective.
Frey’s attorney, Gloria Allred, held a garbage bag as she addressed reporters outside the courtroom, calling Geragos’ arguments "garbage."
Before Frey’s cross-examination on Monday, Daniel White of AT&T Wireless testified, telling the court that pinpointing the location of a cell phone user is near impossible, as calls can only be traced as far as the nearest cellular tower. Even when the caller is standing still, according to White, the tower used by the phone can change.
Prosecutors had hoped to use a cellular phone system to determine whether Peterson was lying about his whereabouts on December 24, 2002, when he called his wife at home from his cell phone.
The prosecution has been putting forth a case based on Scott Peterson’s erratic behavior, affair, and alleged secret purchase of a fishing boat that could have been used to dump Laci’s body into the San Francisco Bay.
Peterson’s defense attorney, Mark Geragos, claims that the prosecution has no murder weapon, no eyewitnesses, and a case built entirely on circumstantial evidence. He has put forth explanations for Peterson’s strange behavior as well as theories that a satanic cult or men with a tan van abducted Laci on the morning of December 24, and attacked investigators for doing sloppy work and focusing on Peterson exclusively.
Scott Peterson has pleaded innocent to the double murder charges. The case has received national attention and spurred the passage of numerous unborn victims laws.
The laws allow prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they kill or injure an unborn child as a result of attacking a pregnant woman.
Laci’s mother, Sharon Rocha, has become and outspoken advocate of Unborn Victims Laws, both for individual states and the entire nation.
President Bush signed a federal Unborn Victims of Violence Law in March. Rocha had voiced her support of the bill, and had criticized members of the Senate, including presidential hopeful John Kerry, who returned to Washington from the campaign trial to vote against the bill.
According to the National Right to Life Committee, 30 states have unborn victims laws, most recently Kentucky and Virginia, and 18 cover mothers and their unborn children throughout pregnancy.