Transcript for 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius May Settle With Steenkamp Family
We'll begin with the latest on the blade runner. Oscar Pistorius, due to go on trial in just a few weeks for the Valentine's shooting death of his girlfriend. He may be close to a civil settlement with her family. ABC's Amy robach, I know you've been following this, much more on this. That's right. When he goes on trial in early March he will face a minimum of 25 years in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. Ahead of the trial his attorneys are doing their best to settle any civil claims by the victim's family. This morning, former track star Oscar Pistorius charged with killing his girlfriend, reeva steenkamp, is reportedly negotiating with her parents hoping to reach a deal and avert a potential civil lawsuit before the end of his criminal trial. It's been almost a year since model steenkamp was gunned down by Pistorius at his home on Valentine's day. The paralympian claiming it was a tragic mistake. Prosecutors say it was premeditated. Barry Bateman covers it for South Africa's eyewitness news writing a book about it. They want to show he is a violent person, gun-toting hot head is the portrait they'll paint of this man. Reporter: According to reports in South Africa, if a settlement is reached Pistorius could reportedly end up paying steenkamp's parents $185,000 to $275,000. Last year the steenkamps appeared on south african channel m-net describing the moment they got the news about their daughter. He said there's been an accident and she's been shot and I said all I want to know now if she's alive or if she's dead and he said, I'm sorry to tell you but she's dead. Pistorius' spokespersoning telling ABC news the dialogue with the steenkamp family can a private matter. Now the man known as the blade runner seen here training rover the summer is gearing up for the fight of his life. The big and only focus of him still at this stage, it's the trial and the court proceedings that's lying ahead. Reporter: He argued he fired at steenkamp through a bathroom door thinking she was an intruder. Last year on "20/20" I walked defense attorney joey Jackson through a replica of the crime scene asking how his defense team could argue he grabbed his gun from the side of the bed without noticing riva was no longer there. We're talking about the dark of night. His attention is focused on what could be Ang intruder and the end of his life as well as her life. And Pistorius has a top notch defense team that has hired a team of U.S. Forensic experts to try to help clear his name. Robin. Okay, Amy, for more on this we'll bring in our chief news legal affairs anchor, Dan Abrams. And knowing that the civil suit is possibly being settled before the trial, that's unusual. It is and would be a huge win for Pistorius if he can put aside the civil case. Remember, there are two tracks here, there's criminal, that is the state going after him. Civil is a personal battle which is the family members versus Pistorius. If he could end that for something like $200,000, that's a huge win for him. The question would be, why would the family, why would her family want to cut that deal now? Why do you think? Look, it could be financial. It could simply be that they don't want to wait years. They don't want to wait a long time to resolve. They'd like to just put this behind them. And take the money and move on with their lives. Can the civil suit have any kind of impact on the other trial? Well, look, it certainly could, and if they waited, it could have a bigger one, meaning that if there was a conviction in the criminal case that would become very valuable in connection with the civil case and could mean a much bigger payout. In terms of this particular settlement, no, if they settle out of court and they say, all right, you're not going to sue us, we're going to pay you X amount of dollars for that that won't come up in connection with the criminal case. Another reason why he'd like to settle now. Not a jury, just a judge. Just a judge with two basically legal advisers but she's going to be the one to determine -- that's important in thinking about the strategy because you no longer as we would hear have the sort of emotional play that you can make to a jury because you are appealing to a jurist, a professional judge. A different system over there. Absolutely. They abolished the jury system. All right. Thanks so much, Dan.
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