Aspen Socialite's Explosive Trial: Will She Take the Stand?

Chief Legal Affairs Analyst Dan Abrams weighs in on the defense's strategy for the case.
3:00 | 02/26/14

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Transcript for Aspen Socialite's Explosive Trial: Will She Take the Stand?
socialite on trial for killing her former husband with a car bomb at his country club. Pamela Phillips was out for money, this he argue and ABC's Ryan Owens is covering the case from Tucson. Good morning, Ryan. Reporter: Good morning to you, George. It took this case almost two decades to get here to court. But for anyone who likes a sensational trial complete with sex, money and murder, this one was worth the wait. It has it all. Is she a socialite, a sociopath or both? 56-year-old Pamela Phillips on trial for the murder of her ex-husband. High-flying commercial real estate developer Gary tri Ano. Prosecutors say she wanted his insurance policy to keep up her lifestyle. She was looking to get very rich. Yes. Reporter: Hugh ban cot took the stand Tuesday. His family once owned the majority stake in "The wall Street journal." He testified about vacationing with Phillips and loaning her hundreds of thousands after the divorce. Pam will was dating some very wealthy men after she divorced Gary, isn't that true? Yes. Reporter: Prosecutors say her greed let her to pay a hit man. Her one-time boyfriend Ron young to plant a pipe bomb in her E. Hubby's car at this Arizona country club back in 1996. Gary traiano was killed in the explosion just after finishing a round of golf with friends. His head was slumped over. Right hand and arm gone. Reporter: Phillips became a mother on the run living it up in aspen until she was arrested in this luxury hotel in 2009. She pleaded not guilty and her attorney says her ex had lots of enemies. Gary Triano lived on the edge. He borrowed a lot of money from all sorts of people. Many people who maybe were connected with organized crime. Reporter: The hit man in this case is already serving life in prison. If convicted, his one-time girlfriend may just join him there. George. Ryan, thanks. Let's talk about this with ABC's chief legal affairs anchor Dan Abrams. They say she was in desire financial straits and the most importantly, the one thing she wasn't going to do was not pay the premiums on that insurance policy. On her ex-husband. That's right. They're divorced and they want to call witnesses to say she was borrowing money. She was making sure that those premiums were paid off. They say that's the motive and the other key to the case becomes linking her to young -- to her alleged byfriend. This happened 20 years ago. What is the defense strategy in this. The defense strategy is broadly to impose reasonable doubt. But what they want to do, look at other possible suspects here. This is a guy who a lot of people were after. This is a guy who was involved in a lot of lawsuits, owed a lot of people money, had a lot of enemies, the defense saying that's the place to look. So in some ways they want to figuratively put him on trial which means she doesn't take the stand. I don't think there's a chance she takes the stand. There's too much at risk for her. Too much for her to explain. They want to just say reasonable doubt and most importantly they got something specific with that reasonable doubt which is look at all of these other people who might have been possible suspects here. Look at all these other people who might have wanted him dead. Not an easy defense. Even though these are tough questions for her, all the evidence circumstantial. That's right. Circumstantial and, remember, she's not the one who actually put the bomb there. The allegation is that she hired someone to do it. But under the law, if they find her guilty she's just as guilty as the person who put the bomb

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