Gabe Watson's lawyers talk about his return

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Gabe Watson is back in Birmingham and his attorneys say they hope to have him out of jail in a matter of days. The man accused of killing his wife on their Australian honeymoon back in 2003 is spending his 2nd night in the Jefferson County Jail.

Watson touched down in Birmingham overnight and was booked. Just a few hours later, he was speaking to his attorneys in person for the first time in months.

"I was very pleased that Gabe was upbeat. He was positive and optimistic. And I think that was because he was touching ground at home," said Brett Bloomton, one of Watson's attorneys. "He is in Birmingham, his treatment at the Jefferson County Jail I could commend."

"Understand that Gabe's been away from home for a year and a half now," said Joe Basgier, another of Watson's lawyers. "He's really excited to be back with his family and friends. This is not a place he wanted to run away from, he desperately wanted to come back."

Watson's attorneys say they will ask for a bond hearing within days, as soon as the case is assigned to a judge. In the meantime, they're taking shots at Attorney General Troy King's case, calling the charge that Watson plotted his wife Tina's Australian honeymoon drowning while he was still in Jefferson County, "ludicrous."

Prosecutors claim Watson thought he would benefit financially from Tina's death even though he was not named as the beneficiary of her insurance policy. "It truly is a ludicrous theory," Bloomton said. "We believe there are pursuing this because they have been put under such tremendous pressure by Gabe's former in-laws, they've succumbed to that pressure."

Assistant Alabama Attorney General Don Valeska says this was a grand jury decision. "They're not pressured by Tina's family, Troy King, or Don Valeska," Valeska said. "They made their decision, and we'll be presenting our case."

Watson's team says it's turning the tables on the outgoing attorney general and ready to go after King for his public comments about the case.

"The AG's office and the prosecution team has been poisoning the airwaves with their lies and their theories of this case for years, really," Basgier said. "It is a concern. We think that by doing that they may have violated some of Gabe's constitutional rights and we're going to attack that in court."

"We have evidence that we're going to offer to show that, and that's how you prove a case, with evidence," Velaska said. "Not with some criminal defense lawyer yapping in the breeze, but we'll present our evidence in court."

It could be days or even a week or more before Watson makes his first appearance in court because this case hasn't been assigned to a judge.

Under Alabama code, Watson could get a bond as low as $50,000 or could remain without a bond until the trial.

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