TODAY

TODAY   |  April 11, 2014

Lisa Bloom: Pistorius trial ‘not tea with the queen’

TODAY’s legal analyst Lisa Bloom weighs in on Oscar Pistorius’ third day of testimony at his murder trial, and discusses the prosecution’s intense grilling of the athlete.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> so much. lisa bloom is "today's" legal analyst. in in country, we see prosecutors cross-examinatiprosecutor s cross-examing a witness all the time. it seems in south africa , prosecutors have much more leeway with what they can do and say.

>> he's allowed to out-and-out argue with oscar pistorius . your version is a lie! tell the truth! that would not be acceptable here in the u.s. you have to ask a question.

>> is it that they just want to get under the witness's skin and rile oscar pistorius up? because some of the things he's saying seem to have nothing to do with the actual death of reeva steenkamp.

>> look, this is not tea with the queen. this is a murder trial. the prosecutor is allowed to be very aggressive. he's trying to get any inconsistencies he can. and he's gotten some.

>> there's another thing that's getting some attention. while he is being cross-examined, and i mean for days, oscar pistorius is supposed to have no contact with his own defense attorneys. what's the comparison there to the u.s. system?

>> i like that rule, by the way. because he's not supposed to get coached by his attorney to come back the next day and change his testimony.

>> but at the time you need an attorney the most, you're allowed no contact with your attorney?

>> you don't need an attorney when you're testifying. by the way, he's had over a year to prepare. he had a week off before he started testifying. he got to meet with his attorney then. here in the u.s., nobody's supposed to talk to you about your testimony while you're on the stand, including in the evenings during the break, but people do talk to their lawyers and because of the attorney-client privilege, nobody can talk about it.

>> how credible do you think oscar pistorius has been on the stand so far?

>> i think the prosecutor's got him on a couple of things. one is his minimizing his irresponsible behavior with guns. his insisting that reeva wasn't really afraid of him. and they've got a text saying that she was.

>> you talk about irresponsible behavior with guns. you're referring to two previous incidents involving guns, and i'm curious, would those incidents be admissible under the u.s. system?

>> i don't think they would. but that's because there's a jury, and we try to protect jurors from prior bad acts subject to a number of exceptions. but we want juries to decide the facts of this case and not look at prior acts.

>> you say there's a jury here, there's no jury there. the judge decides. but with the assistance of two what are called assessors. what would their role be?

>> here's what a lot of people don't understand. these two assessors are professionals, an attorney and an academic. they vote on the facts alongside the judge. so there's three people --

>> so it is a jury of sorts, just not of his peers.

>> and they're professionals. if the two of them vote one way and the judge votes the other way, the 2 - 1 will prevail, majority will rule. so they have a little bit of power in that courtroom, too.

>> lisa bloom , interesting. thanks very