TODAY

TODAY   |  April 17, 2014

Experts: Pistorius trial a battle of popular lawyers

As the trial of Oscar Pistorius continues, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, also known as “The Pitbull,” and lead defense lawyer Barry Roux, one of South Africa’s most expensive attorneys, are the focus of public attention. NBC national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reports.

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>> africa and the murder trial of oscar pistorius . this is the final day of testimony before the court takes a lengthy break. today, national correspondent jeff rossen is at the courthouse this morning. jeff, good morning to you.

>> hey, savannah. good morning to you. as you mentioned big day because. -t is that final day before the recess. and the defense is trying to go out big. their star witness on the stand again today is a forensic expert and he's giving an alternate theory about the order of the bullets. but the prosecutor -- he's not having it, trying to pull his testimony and his integrity apart.

>> reporter: inside oscar pistorius ' toilet room the entire case comes down to inches. was reeva steenkamp standing or falling when she was shot? facing the door or at an angle? the defense forensics theory, reeva wasn't standing or defensive. she collapsed quickly after the first shot.

>> thus, the impact of the bullet hit the hip and she lost voluntary control, he's unstable on one leg. she cannot use the right leg to move so she's collapsing.

>> reporter: in or the today, pistorius plugged his ears, unable to hear the details as the forensics expert held up the actual prosthetic leg he wore the night of the shooting.

>> it's damaged at the front door, am i right?

>> yes, my lady.

>> reporter: but for the second straight day, the prosecutor attacked the expert's credibility on cross-examination.

>> that's the problem. you want to give the court a version technically not an expert and you're not listening.

>> this trial was so huge here in south africa . it's not just a battle of experts on the witness. this has become a battle of superstar is lawyers the prosecutor and pistorius' defense attorney barry roux.

>> he's regarded as one country's top prosecutors. he has a reputation for being thorough. he will not take on a case until he believes he can win it and he's also ferocious.

>> reporter: nicknamed the pitbull, gerrie nel is known for his style. arrives to court by 6:00 a.m . every day. doesn't socialize with colleagues. and teaches little kids wrestling.

>> reporter: a local radio station even created this rap song about him going viral on youtube.

>> . they call me gerrie nel when i get you on the stand i will make you tell

>> reporter: and then barry roux one of australia's most expensive lawyers. people on the streets surround you now to get photos about you. somebody made a parody of roux, too. posting it online with 2,000 hits and counting.

>> he describes himself as a ted did bear.

>> a couple of interesting guys. battling it out in court just a short time ago, court adjourned. so that means this two-week recess is officially under way. just to give you an idea of how much testimony we've had, the transcript is over 2,000 pages long. the judge says she's going to read it over the break which she can make a quicker verdict when the trial is finally over which will not be mid-may at the very latest. we're back here may 5th for you.

>> thank you very much.