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Speaking Out

Andrea P. Yates is escorted from the court after being arraigned before State District Judge Belinda Hill in an auxilliary Harris County court room in Houston, Friday, June 22, 2001. Yates, a former nurse said to be suffering from postpartum depression, allegedly told police she murdered her five children. The court appointed an attorney to represent her.
AP
For nearly 30 minutes, and with home video, Russell Yates detailed a depression free-fall that turned his wife Andrea from a loving mother of five into the woman accused of drowning her baby daughter and four young sons in the bathtub of the Yates home last June.

"The person that drowned those children is not Andrea," said Yates.

Yates Defends His Wife
In his first interview, Russell Yates tells 60 Minutes Correspondent Ed Bradley he believes a hospital and his wife's doctor failed to treat her properly.
Despite Judge Belinda Hill's June 26 gag order forbidding parties to the case from talking to the media, Russell Yates told 60 Minutes Correspondent Ed Bradley that doctors and hospitals were at fault for his wife's mental condition.

"If she received the medical treatment that she deserved then the kids would be alive and well," he said.

Perhaps also violating the gag order, Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal also appeared on the show and discussed why he thought seeking the death penalty is appropriate for Andrea Yates.

"Five dead children who were, who were, we allege killed by the person who loved them most in this world," said Rosenthal.

While Andrea Yates' attorney refuses comment on the case, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara, both Yates and Rosenthal could face up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine for contempt of court by granting the interviews.

But so far, Judge Hill has been publicly silent.

"She may decide, for example, that putting Russell Yates in jail for a couple of days to teach him a lesson or even fining him will create such a public notice that it will affect the jury pool much more than the broadcast did," offered CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen.

In part, legal analysts say Sunday night's broadcast my have been a trial preview — a jury having to decide if Andrea Yates was a victim of incompetent psychiatric care or whether she was a cold-blooded killer.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Jan. 7 and if convicted, she could be sentenced to death.

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