VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Erin Coleman: We continue to follow breaking news. The judge – throughout the criminal charges against the Amtrak engineer involved in a deadly train crash, the judge said it was an accident and not a criminal act. We’re joined now live by defense attorney Laura Laszewski to talk about the ruling and what this means going forward. Laura, thanks for being with us. All right. So what should we make of all this? The case didn’t even make it out of a preliminary hearing. Laura Laszewski: Well, it’s pretty uncommon of a case of severity. All that has to be shown is if there’s some evidence, if it’s more likely than not that this person committed this crime. So it’s rare that it’s thrown out. But I think this goes to back up the district attorney’s original decision not to file charges in the first place because they didn’t believe there was enough evidence and I think the judge kind of backed them up here. Erin Coleman: Well, the attorney general’s office says it will review this case. So this might not be the last that we’ve heard about it, right? Laura Laszewski: Correct. If a case is tossed at a preliminary hearing, the charges can be re-filed. Double jeopardy does not attach until you get to the trial level, until you pick a jury. So if they review the case, believe they have more evidence, then they might be able to re-file and try again. Erin Coleman: So does this have any impact on the civil side of this case? Laura Laszewski: It does not. There was some sort of a settlement already. So if they’re not covered, any victims aren’t covered by that settlement, they would still have the right to sue in civil [0:01:14] [Phonetic] court. It’s a different burden, a different standard of proof. So they would absolutely still have all of their civil rights intact no matter what happens with a criminal case. Erin Coleman: Right. Laura Laszewski, thanks for being here. We appreciate your insight. Laura Laszewski: Thanks so much. Male Anchor: Let’s get a bit of a right hand turn now.
Category Archives: Legal Commentary Videos
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT; Male Anchor: The Bill Cosby criminal trial begins tomorrow after prosecutors rested their case on Friday. As the defense prepares to make its case, many are wondering if the comedian will take the stand. Just last month, the 79-year-old said he would not testify. But a week into the trial, Cosby’s publicist is signaling that may now be a possibility. Andrea Constand accused Cosby of drugging and assaulting her in his home back in 2004. Cosby and his team have repeatedly denied these allegations of sexual misconduct. The comedian is charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. Joining me now is criminal justice attorney Enrique Latoison. He’s in Philadelphia, closely monitoring the case. Sir, great to have you with us. So let’s talk a little bit about what’s at stake if in fact Bill Cosby takes the stand. Enrique Latoison: Well, you have to play this out. So far, the defense has stayed with a very consistent approach here which has been attack the prosecution, show the biases, show any inconsistencies. Now, if you put the defense on, if you put Bill Cosby on, you have some things that could work in his favor. The jury will be able to see. This is a man. He’s in failing health. He’s 79 years old. He’s legally blind. He will be able to talk about what it’s like back in 2005 when he was still at the height of his career to possibly be targets of people trying to extort him for money or things of that nature. He will be able to look the jury in the eye. He will be able to tell them, “I did nothing illegal here. This was consensual.” However, right when you do that, now you open the door for the prosecution to bring in 50 to 60 prior accusers, to be able to come in as rebuttal witnesses to say everything he just testified is not true and we’re now going to get on the stand and we’re going to tell you our stories. Male Anchor: So that begs the question then, are jurors more sympathetic or less sympathetic when a defendant doesn’t testify on this behalf? Enrique Latoison: Well, the jury will be given an instruction that says he has the right to remain silent. You cannot use that against him. Every American citizen has a right not to testify in any particular case. Now some jurors may want to hear from him. They may want to hear him look at them in the eye and say, “I didn’t do this.” That it was consensual but you have to look at the defense here. They were lucky enough to only have one prior accuser be able to testify so far in this trial. This could open the door. It can be very damaging. Possibly you can have 50 to 60 people coming on the stand, parading in and out of court as rebuttal witnesses, testifying and each one of these people are going to want to tell their story. So as a defense, you have to be able to weigh these things out. They’ve had a year to prepare for this case. I believe that they’ve already pretty much thought out what they plan on doing. Male Anchor: Yeah, talk about that for a little bit. You alluded to it earlier on in terms of what a defense strategy would look like in terms of attacking the prosecution. But what type of defense will Cosby’s attorney need to make this week? Enrique Latoison: Well, he’s allowed to show character witnesses, witnesses that could testify to his law abidingness. So he could parade as many people as he want, famous people, family, support, be able to come in and testify that he has a reputation for law abidingness in the community. He’s allowed to have those people testify. They possibly also can put on some witnesses that can testify about the effects of quaaludes or Benadryl and things of that nature. Also another witness to testify – they had an expert testify by the prosecution late in the week about how victims of sexual crimes – how they react. They could bring on their own expert witness to testify about things, about how these victims should act and things of that nature. Male Anchor: So very quickly though, we’ve got a few seconds left. You were talking about the optics of those that can come in as character defense witnesses. What’s the significance of these people that are coming in, some celebrities that have been walking in with him to his trial every morning and what message that sends to the jury. Enrique Latoison: Well, I mean juries are people to. They see these famous people. They know who they are and for these people to be able to actually get on the stand, swear under oath and say he has a great reputation for law abidingness, great reputation in the community. The Bill Cosby that we know and love will never do something like this. Male Anchor: All right. Criminal defense attorney Enrique Latoison. Sorry, we ran a little bit out of time there. But I appreciate your insights. We will be watching this all week long as well. All right. We’re going to be right back after the commercial break.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Erin Coleman: A French judicial source says the suspect left a video in his apartment, pledging allegiance to ISIS. Keith Jones: Our in-depth coverage continues in the Billy Cosby sex assault trial. Today the defense resumed cross-examination of his accuser. They challenged the testimony Andrea Constand previously gave to police. NBC 10’s Enrique Latoison joins us live outside the courthouse in Norristown. Enrique, thanks for your time. Now we have seen the defense chip away at her story. Do you think Cosby’s team was successful in attacking her credibility? Keith Jones: Well, this is a strategy that we knew that was going to be used from the beginning. Anytime that she said anything, she said anything slightly different, she said blue the first time and she said yellow today, they were going to attack her on it. She said blue the first time and she said sky blue today, they were going to attack her on it. The whole strategy was to make a record on the record of everything that she said that’s different and then cross-examine her on it. Make sure you point it out. Make sure the jury hears that and then what you do is you argue that in closing and it will be up to the jury after hearing so many different inconsistencies, some of them being little, some of them being mistaken in the middle and some of them being big inconsistencies. Defense is trying to show a pattern here by showing that she is not telling the truth or that she is not being credible. Keith Jones: Enrique, Andrea Constand’s mother was the next witness scheduled to testify. What does this say about the prosecution strategy? Enrique Latoison: Well, the prosecution has a very consistent strategy here. You heard they had the first witness that testified two days ago, Ms. Johnson. She was the first accuser. After that, they bolstered her testimony by bringing on two additional witnesses. Then what they did is they put on Ms. Constand. Now they’re bringing on her mom to back her up and use that to bolster her testimony. Of course the defense is going to say, “It’s her mom. What do you expect her mom to do? Her mom of course is going to back up her daughter.” But her mom did have some recordings that they’re also using. So this is a very consistent strategy about the prosecution to put on a witness and then to put someone on afterwards to bolster that testimony. Keith Jones: Let’s talk about court etiquette here or decorum as it’s formally known. Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred who was booted from the courtroom because of something to do with a cell phone. What have you learned about that Enrique? Enrique Latoison: Oh, well, we’ve all learned that horrible lesson at some point. This is a phone. You know not to have it on you and if you do have it on you, you better make sure it’s on silent. There are judges that will get very upset if you interrupt their courtroom with a ringing cell phone. That is well-known. So you’re supposed to check your cell phone before you go in. If you don’t, you’re going to deal with the consequences and in her case the consequence was being embarrassed in front of a courtroom full of people and being escorted out. Keith Jones: And Judge O’Neill dealt with that swiftly. Enrique Latoison, thank you so much for your insight. Enrique Latoison: You’re welcome.