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But the highlight of the long trial came on May 22, when Roberts cross-examined Krueger for four hours on the stand. The defendant repeatedly established that Krueger had gotten details of her story wrong. Most important, James Maisel, the school counselor who witnessed the alleged wrist-grabbing that prompted the battery charge, told the jury that Roberts had never touched Krueger.
While Krueger testified, the two mothers also had a few personal asides:
Roberts: Are you testifying that I'm delusional?
Krueger: I don't think I'm qualified to say if you are delusional. I think you are a liar... I think you have a fantasy that I was your friend, that we did a lot of things together we never did...
Roberts: So I'm not a very credible person?
Krueger: Well, I don't know what you are, but when a mother is talking about Columbine and Texas cheerleader murders and I've got a 5-year-old little child I love very much, I was not about to take any chances with her life or mine.
Roberts: You know that I love those twins more than my own life, don't you?
They argued about their relationship:
Roberts: We did not see each other on my birthday at Walgreens?
Krueger: It is another fantasy.
Roberts: It is a fantasy? You don't want to be at Walgreens with me because we engaged in conversation and you gave me a little gesture hug?
Krueger: Oh, I never gesture-hugged you. Trust me.
And at the end, Roberts laid down the guts of her defense:
Roberts: I have never threatened you, your life, your sweet little girl, have I?
Krueger: Yes, I think you have. You said, "You will get yours" and you talked about violent things, and I have no idea what you meant by any of those things... There are too many awful stories of people who just snapped, and you seemed to be very close to that. I wasn't going to take any chances.
Roberts: But I didn't snap, did I?
No, she didn't, and that last point was the clincher for juror Neil Riddles. The aggravated stalking charge didn't stand up because there was simply no credible threat, he says. For Roberts to tell Krueger "You will get yours" wasn't enough to send a woman to prison for up to five years. "If you can't show that when she was talking about Columbine, Roberts was threatening Krueger's family -- then the prosecution really has a big problem," explains Riddles, who is a CEO for a financial services firm. "The rest of the case falls apart."
The battery case, Riddles says, was "a real easy one," because Maisel said it never happened. Krueger insists the school counselor simply must have missed it: "She grabbed my arm -- she touched me."
Riddles was sympathetic to the anchorwoman. In fact, he was one of only two jurors who felt that Roberts was guilty of the lesser-included misdemeanor stalking charge, which doesn't require a threat of violence. Other jurors dismissed the case out of hand and criticized Krueger for using her influence to bring the charges.
When the not-guilty verdict came down on July 2, Krueger's husband called her with the news. She was in a store buying educational supplies for Kelsie. "My knees buckled; my heart stopped," she recalls. "I fell to the ground, and I was trembling all over. I got so weak, I couldn't stand up."
Though Roberts still faces the stalking charge, it is Krueger who dreads the next trial. She's willing to drop the case if Roberts agrees to a year of counseling. "I wish someone would convince her to accept that plea," she says. "I don't want to hurt her. I don't want to take her children away from her. All I want is for her to get help. I want to be her last victim."
During a September 8 hearing, prosecutor Avrunin offered Roberts the plea bargain in open court. "My answer is no," Roberts told the judge. "I will have a jury that will acquit me immediately."
"My nightmare continues," Krueger says.
One reason Roberts wouldn't take the plea bargain is that she intends to sue Krueger for malicious prosecution. And, though it's a dubious case, she's already counting the money. "All I want is for that bitch to replace my car," Roberts said outside the hearing. "I'm going to have all the rest of the money go to Project Innocence."
While her calendar book is again filled with her children's special events and birthday parties -- the twins had 32 kids at their last one, she claims -- Roberts isn't as active at their Orlando-area school because she is afraid a background check will show her felony arrest. She hates rejection. "I'm low-key now," she says. "Boy, have I changed my tune. I'm working at a very, very discreet level with the PTA moms now."
Still, she shows up in the cafeteria to have lunch with her kids and occasionally visits their classrooms. "My kids are so wonderful -- they get along with everybody," she says. "My daughter scored 138 for IQ. She has a photographic memory like mine. My kid is smart like I am. I'm just screwed up."