updated 11/17/2005 1:34:32 PM ET 2005-11-17T18:34:32

Guest: Harvey Levin, Cindy Stauffer, Brandon Balch, Dan Sammons, Stacey Honowitz, Judy Hayles, Carl Pope, George Haddow, Barbara Boxer

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Hey, right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, big oil caught in a big lie?  Well, that‘s what some are charging after an explosive report in “The Washington Post” which says big oil chiefs who raked in millions of dollars personally and billions for their company may not have told Congress the truth last week.  Now, I know they can be tone-deaf.  The question is, can they really be this dumb?

Then, a new FEMA outrage:  More than 150,000 evacuees are told they are going to be sent packing again in just 15 days.  And wait until you hear what our government is up to in this story.  It makes you wonder, will they ever learn?

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks a lot for being with me tonight.  Really appreciate it.

We are going to have those stories in just a minute.  Plus, in Pennsylvania, of course, the 18-year-old accused of killing his girlfriend‘s parents now being held without bail.  But new information is out today.  The young people may have been e-mailing each other highly revealing photos, this as authorities continue to comb through evidence, trying to figure out whether the girl was kidnapped or whether she was an accomplice.

But, first, a potential scandal brewing in the nation‘s capital:  Did big oil executives lie to senators last week during the hearings into their massive profits?  That‘s one of the charges right now that is being leveled by some top Democrats.  They held a news conference today demanding that oil execs come back to Capitol Hill, and this time tell the truth. 

Now, this all started after a front-page story in today‘s “Washington Post” that says top oil execs held secret meetings with Vice President Cheney‘s aides in that task force.  Remember that one?  That is something they denied to senators just last week. 

Right now to break down the story for us is NBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O‘Donnell. 

Norah, I will tell you, last week, a lot of people were very upset that these oil execs didn‘t raise their right hands and give an oath that they were going to tell Congress the truth.  Now, a week later, a lot of people are thinking they lied under oath because of that.

Tell us what “The Washington Post” is reporting right now and what you have learned on the Hill. 


New documents show that, in fact, executives from big oil companies did meet with Vice President Cheney‘s energy task force in 2001.  Now, environmentalists have long suspected this, but it has always been denied by industry officials, even last week before Congress.  Well, a document obtained by “The Washington Post” shows that these executives from Exxon, Conoco, BP and Shell did in fact meet in the White House complex with Cheney aides who were developing national energy policy. 

Now, in this joint hearing before Congress just last week, some of these executives with these companies said they did not participate in the meetings.  In fact, Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg even asked them about it directly. 


SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY:  Did your company or any representatives in your companies participate in Vice President Cheney‘s energy task force in 2001 -- the meeting?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We did not, no.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I wasn‘t here then.

LAUTENBERG:  But your company was here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not to my knowledge.


O‘DONNELL:  Well, these officials were not under oath, but, today, we learned from “The Washington Post” that records kept by the Secret Service show that executives from these big oil companies did in fact visit the White House complex and met with Cheney aides. 

Now, today, Democrats on Capitol Hill were furious, claiming that big oil lied to Congress.  They are demanding that these executives return to Capitol Hill for more hearings, and, this time, swear under oath to tell the truth. 


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA:  They were trying to hide the fact that they essentially wrote this administration‘s energy policy.  Last week, I told the oil company executives that their sacrifice was nothing.  This week, I tell them, we can believe nothing they said, nothing they said. 


O‘DONNELL:  Now, Joe, as you know, the vice president‘s task force activities have long attracted attention, because environmentalists had claimed for years that they were shut out of these meetings about national energy policy and said corporate interests were only represented in these White House meetings. 

Now, the energy task force meetings were held in secret at the White House.  The White House refused to give a list of participants.  Groups like Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club have unsuccessfully sued for access.  They were denied by the courts.  Cheney‘s office was able to keep these lists of participants secret. 

But this is now going to add more fuel to the fire about who is causing pain at the pump and whether these oil executives either lied or misrepresented what exactly their involvement was in these national energy policy meetings.

SCARBOROUGH:  Norah O‘Donnell, I‘ll tell you what, an explosive report.  I know we are going to be hearing a lot more of this, not just from Democrats, but from people in Middle America outraged at what is going on right now on Capitol Hill.

Thanks for being with us, Norah.  Greatly appreciate it. 

O‘DONNELL:  My pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Right now, I want to bring in California Senator Barbara Boxer.

Well, Senator, here we are again...

BOXER:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... a week later.  We are talking about how the Republican chairman wouldn‘t allow these guys to be sworn in under oath. 

BOXER:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t want to call people a liar.  You don‘t want to say, you know what, you‘re trying to cover up.  These guys are going to lie.  But, my God, seven days later, it looks like they lied through their teeth. 

Tell us about it. 

BOXER:  Well, clearly, what happened is somebody who knew the truth, somebody either in the White House or with the GAO, the government accountability project, somebody just said they had to get the truth out and they leaked these documents to the Washington Post that shows unequivocally just the very pages from the sign-in sheets at the White House that in fact big oil met with Dick Cheney‘s task force. 

In one case, the head of BP actually met with Dick Cheney himself and they did what a lot of us suspected, which is essentially helped him write the country‘s energy policy. 

And after that energy policy was written, we have seen nothing but an increase in the price of oil. 

And it is stunning to me that every one of them would sit there and not tell us the truth, and it is shocking. 

And on behalf of the American people, we are asking Senator Stevens to please, please bring them back again before the committee.  Let‘s put them under oath. 

Now, Joe, what‘s interesting is we believe they still committed a crime, because you are not allowed to lie at a hearing like that even without taking the oath. 


So you‘re saying even if they‘re not under oath, they lie before Congress, they‘re still guilty of a crime. 

But let‘s move beyond just, again, them lying not only to you but lying to the American people by extension.  Talk about why this is so important, this energy task force. 

And for my Republican friends, take off your blinders, think about Hillary Clinton‘s health-care task force in 1993, how angry that made you because that was secretive. 

Senator, that‘s the same thing that was happening in this energy task force.  You fast forward a couple years later and we have an energy bill that passes that these guys helped write and what did it contain in it?  Tax breaks for big oil while we are paying more at the pump than ever before, right? 

BOXER:  Right.

And instead of just admitting it just straight out and say, you know, what did you expect, this president is friendly with oil and the vice president is friendly with oil, and yes, we were called and yes, we told them what we thought was best for the country. 

Joe, if they had said that, I wouldn‘t have agreed with them and maybe you wouldn‘t have either, but instead they just lied to us. 

And so you have to think when people lie to you, why?  Do they feel guilty about something?  Do they feel it was wrong? 

I surely believe it was wrong to have a task force that only heard from one side essentially, and then this big report comes out and it‘s all just whatever the oil companies wanted. 

So it‘s pretty—it‘s depressing, but I have to say to whoever the person was who was the whistle blower here, thank you on behalf of my constituents who have been paying the highest prices in the nation for so long.  We thank you for that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And thanks for a lot of people, not only in California and New York and Washington, but middle America, who have been absolutely pounded at the pumps. 

You know, let‘s expand this out a little bit.  Talk about why it‘s so important to get these people under oath. 

You and I were talking last week and we actually started talking about refineries, kind of got down in the weeds with the details.  The thing is right now what I found with oil executives when you talk to them, it‘s impossible to get a straight answer on whether it was price gouging or market forces. 

Is that another reason why it‘s so critical to get them back under oath and start asking them tough questions? 

Because it‘s going to take us—and you‘ve said it in the letter that you wrote today, I mean, it‘s going to take more than one or two or three hearings.  I mean, it‘s going to take us a long time to figure out the truth about what‘s really happening when we go to the gas pump, right? 

BOXER:  You‘re right. 

And I‘ll tell you, one of the things that they‘re very good at is making everything sound complicated.  You know, my mother once said, if somebody says it‘s too complicated, dear, you‘ll never understand it, it means they don‘t want you to know. 

And it‘s pretty simple here.  We‘re talking supply and demand.  And what we want to know is are they manipulating the supply? 

And I might just add one thing here I said at the press conference, and I hope it‘s not confusing. 

But we had a situation in California where a refinery was going to shut down and that refinery was a Shell refinery and it was producing 2 percent of our state‘s gas.  They wanted to shut it down.  You know what they said?  “Oh, there are no buyers.”  We suspected they just wanted to short the supply by 2 percent. 

So at the end of the day, we found a buyer, our state attorney general found a buyer and kept the refinery open.  When I asked Shell about it, you know what he said?  “Oh, we tried to shop around, we really did, and we couldn‘t find a buyer.” 

In papers that I have on my desk, that‘s a whole other story.  They told me at the time they were not shopping around, they didn‘t want to sell it. 

And so the Shell person did not tell the truth to me.  He lied right to my face in an issue that I have been involved in for so long. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you what, Senator, more lies. 

Again, we asked you last week to come back and talk to us, and keep us up to date with what‘s going on. 

Thank you for your hard work. 

Final question, very quickly, do you think we‘re going to be able to get oil executives back on Capitol Hill swearing under oath before their testimony? 

BOXER:  You know, I think a lot of it‘s up to the public and that means a lot of it is up to you and people like you. 

This country has to say what happened was unacceptable, it was a slap in the face of the American people.  These guys make no sacrifices and they didn‘t even tell the truth to us. 

So I think if there is public outcry, we might have another chance. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Let‘s hope so.

Senator Barbara Boxer, thanks again for being with us.  We appreciate all you‘re doing.

BOXER:  Thanks to you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, coming up next, FEMA doesn‘t seem to know how to get it right.  Wait until you see what is going on to more than 100,000 evacuees.  They are going to get kicked out of their homes, just in time for the holidays.

And new important details about the teen accused of killing his girlfriend‘s parents, what he may have told a close friend—plus, his secret online photos. 

We are just getting started in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Stay around.  We will be right back. 


SCARBOROUGH:  It looks like evacuees are going to get kicked out of their FEMA housing, just in time for Christmas.  How the Grinch at FEMA stole Christmas when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  Right now, you are looking at some of the tens of thousands of homes lost to Hurricane Katrina. 

Now, a week before Thanksgiving, with absolutely no place to call home, over 53,000 families have been told by FEMA to get out of their homes and to be out of temporary hotel rooms they have been living in, in the next couple weeks.

Now, these same hotel rooms are the ones that FEMA put them in. 

And with me now to talk about this story—and I just—I got to tell you, friends, it‘s an outrageous story—is Doug Brinkley.  He‘s a New Orleans resident and presidential historian.  And also with us is George Haddow.  He‘s a former senior FEMA official. 

I want to start with you, Doug. 

Obviously, listen, OK, I don‘t want the taxpayers to be paying for these people for the rest of their lives, but, my God, the hurricane was just a couple of months ago.  Right before the holidays, is this really a smart move, to evacuate—to force evacuees out right before the holidays? 

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, NBC ANALYST:  It‘s an awful move.  FEMA is going to get heavily criticized, just like we are doing right now.  And I think they will back off from it some. 

There are about 20,000 people in motels in Texas, about another 10,000 or more in hotel rooms in Georgia.  I think those states are going to intervene.  Already, different church groups are starting to rent apartments for people.  I think part of the problem will be solved.  But FEMA can‘t hold that kind of tough...


SCARBOROUGH:  OK, Doug, but you know what, though?  Again, you are talking—yes, tough love, yes, right before the holidays. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Again, here is the deal.  We, the taxpayers, pay FEMA, write checks to the federal government.  They give it to FEMA every year. 

My God, if keeping people in housing, because people say, well, why don‘t they just rent out an apartment?  Anybody that asks that question is ignorant to the state of affairs along the Gulf Coast.  It‘s hard to get an apartment in Pensacola, Florida, three hours away. 

There is no place for these people to go, is there? 

BRINKLEY:  No.  There‘s no place to go.  It‘s got to be extended.  I think you are going to see that December 1.

If not, if you‘re doing your show December 1 and you are seeing people being evicted from motels—all they done is have put a flier under the doors so far, nothing else.  They are not helping people move on or move—find out where they are supposed to go—they will be—you are going to have ugly scenes.  You‘re going to have people screaming at hotel managers all across these 50 states where people are.  They are in every different state.  You can‘t evict these people at that time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Again, because there‘s place to go.

George, you have dealt with this as a FEMA official.  Obviously, again, we don‘t expect the federal government to pay these people‘s bill for the foreseeable future, but isn‘t the timing a bit suspect? 


OFFICIAL:  I think the timing is very suspect, but I think the real problem here is that the focus of FEMA is not on the needs of the disaster victims or the evacuees. 

I‘m not sure where the focus is, but it‘s obviously not on taking care of these people in a time of their need.  And it‘s ridiculous that they are going to throw them out at this time of year or any time of the year.  What they have done is not put the resources, human and financial, into helping these people find a place to stay. 

And I agree with Doug.  There is no place to stay within a 300- or 400-mile radius of New Orleans. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, George, you worked at FEMA at a time when that actually was a functioning bureaucracy.  You talk about FEMA now and people think it‘s a joke. 

But, at one point, it was a functioning bureaucracy.  We have had a change of leadership, Brown out.  Why in the world do they still not seem to get it.  Why is it so tough for FEMA to shoot straight? 

HADDOW:  Well, I think you are asking the wrong question.  It‘s not FEMA.  It‘s the Department of Homeland Security, where FEMA resides, because, frankly, that is who is making the decisions now in this recovery.  And they were making those decisions in the response.

But the reason it worked in the 1990s is because President Clinton cared about what happened to Americans in a time in need.  And he cared enough to have a FEMA that could provide the resources and the support to state and local officials and to individuals to respond to and to recover from a disaster like this. 

And until the administration and the White House decides that this is a priority, these kind of actions and these kind of activities are going to continue to happen on a regular basis through this recovery. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Doug, I had a lot of problems with Bill Clinton.  I could talk for the next five hours about it. 

But he put James Lee Witt in charge of FEMA.  This guy, former judge, the guy was on top of it.  And when people were hurting, James Lee would come in.  FEMA would take care of things.  Why do they still—you have been following this from the beginning.  We have been complaining about FEMA from day one, and they still don‘t get it. 

BRINKLEY:  And I think they won‘t as long as FEMA stays in Homeland Security.  Clearly, that was a mistake. 

FEMA can‘t survive in that kind of environment, bureaucrat environment, where they are having to answer to the head of Homeland Security. 

The problem, as you know, Joe, going into Mississippi or Louisiana, was, FEMA was stopping Wal-Mart trucks and other trucks from coming in, not wanting them in, searching the trucks, as if they had bombs.  They‘re in a protection mode.

SCARBOROUGH:  They didn‘t want water, vaccines, didn‘t want all the things that those people over in New Orleans and Mississippi needed. 

BRINKLEY:  And I think the pressure—I mean, everybody in America knows FEMA in a negative light now.  The challenge for FEMA is going to be to turn that around.  The way you don‘t turn it around is by evicting people right after Thanksgiving. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, ho, ho, ho, get out.  Unbelievable.

Doug, thanks so much for being with us. 

BRINKLEY:  Hey.  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  George, thanks so much for being with us.  Thanks for your service to this country and the people in my area when we needed it the most. 

HADDOW:  Thank you, Joe. 

Now, coming up next, call it victory for taxpayers, environmentalists and Alaskans, two proposed bridges to nowhere.  Well, they‘re so symbolic of old-fashioned pork-barrel politics, look like they are going to be getting the axe.  The bridges were going to cost American taxpayers $432 million. 

But, today, a group in Congress stripped that money and the highly controversial issue from the 2006 funding bill. 

With me now to talk about it is the executive director of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope. 

Carl, thanks for being with us. 

You know what?  I don‘t consider this a big victory for environmentalists, so much as I consider it a big victory for taxpayers.  Talk about it. 

CARL POPE, PRESIDENT, SIERRA CLUB:  Well, it‘s a first step towards a big victory for all Americans, because the money is still.... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, you know what?  It‘s symbolic.  I‘m sorry.  You are exactly right.  This is more symbolic than anything.

POPE:  The money is still going—the money is still going to the state of Alaska, which is being rewarded for coming up with two bridges that were so stupid, that they finally had to agree they wouldn‘t earmark the money for those bridges.

But Congress, as kind of a reward for Alaska‘s greediness, is going to let the state keep the money.  So, this is the first step. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You are talking about Alaska‘s greediness.  Go ahead. 

Name the senator‘s name.  Who is responsible?

POPE:  I‘m talking about Senator Ted Stevens.  I‘m talking about Congressman Don Young.  I‘m talking about Senator Lisa Murkowski.  And I‘m talking about Governor Frank Murkowski. 


POPE:  These are the people behind this deal.  The Murkowskis own land on the island where one of the bridges will go.  And Stevens got up on the floor of the Senate when conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn, in an act of real courage, got up and challenged Ted Stevens and said, let‘s give this money back to rebuild I-10 over Lake Pontchartrain.

And Ted Stevens got up on the Senate floor and basically said to his fellow senators, if you vote to take this money away from me, you will never see another nickel from the Appropriations Committee. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl, people don‘t understand, that is the way, unfortunately that Washington works with a lot of these old bulls.

Talk about how many people—again, because you talk about rebuilding the bridge, I-10, over Lake Pontchartrain, where you‘re actually connecting millions of people, and, again, some of the neediest people in America back with their home communities.  Talk about these bridges in Alaska.  How many people do these bridges service that are, what, again, we are talking $432 million? 

POPE:  One of them goes to an island with 50 people. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Fifty people.

POPE:  One of them goes to -- 50 people.

One of them goes to service an airport, which is better and faster served by a ferry, which takes seven minutes.  But, in Suffolk, Virginia, there is a King William Highway Bridge which has been shut because the state doesn‘t have the money to pay it; 4,000 people a day have to drive half-an-hour out of their way because that bridge is shut.  That is one tiny example, a bridge that could and should be repaired with a fraction of the dollars that are going to these bridges to nowhere.

One in every four bridges in America, Joe, needs reconstruction or replacement, according to the American Institute of Civil Engineers.  We have a crisis in this country of facilities used by average Americans in every state.  And Congress is taking the money away from those facilities and giving them to their campaign contributors. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got—like you said, we have got a crumbling infrastructure.  It is going to cost lives.  We know it is going to cost lives, whether an evacuation or whether just regular wear and tear. 

So, what do people need to do?  Who do they need to call to get this money out of—let‘s face it—out of this pot in Alaska for these bridges to nowhere or whatever they‘re going to send it, and get it to places like New Orleans or get it to other areas that really need the money and to the people that need the help?  What do they do? 

POPE:  They tell their member of Congress and they tell their senator, they want federal highway dollars to go to fix things first. 

They ought to tell the Congress stop earmarking this money for special projects and let transportation experts make the decisions about where we put the money.  These are so-called earmarks, Joe.  You know the system.  You were there.  And in these earmarks, every time they earmark, it‘s because the professionals know the project doesn‘t warrant public money. 

Every earmark is picking the public‘s pocket.  They ought to end that system.  Members of Congress are hearing from the public. 


POPE:  They need to keep hearing from the public.

SCARBOROUGH:  You are exactly right, Carl.  Thanks for being with us again.  Really appreciate it. 

POPE:  It‘s great to be with you.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I also—I just want to send a shout-out to Tom Coburn.  Carl talked about Tom. 

Tom Coburn is actually a conservative Republican senator.  And Coburn, when you say he is conservative, he actually is.  He actually is fighting to protect tax dollars.  And, unfortunately, too many Republicans who call themselves conservative and who campaign every two years or six years to protect your money, they are not conservative.  They want these type of earmarks on these type of projects because they want to get reelected and they want to pay off, unfortunately, campaign contributors, as Carl Pope said.

Coming up next, is 13 too young to be married?  God, I hope so.  What about 15?  Well, not in one state.  And thank goodness my kids don‘t live there.  Coming up, stories you have got to hear to believe.  How are these laws still on the books?  We will tackle those next.

And are big-name celebrities getting star treatment when they behave badly?  You‘re going to see the tapes putting the police on the defensive.

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  The Los Angeles Police Department under fire for easy treatment of celebs.  We have got the tapes.  We will let you decide whether they are getting star treatment.  That‘s coming up and a lot more.

But, first, here is the latest news you and your family need to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  He is being held on charges of murder and kidnapping, but is there new evidence suggesting there is a lot more to this story?  Then, do Hollywood celebrities get easy treatment from the police?  We have got the tapes.  You make the call. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We are going to have those stories in just minutes.

But, right now, new details tonight on the story of the 15-year-old boy who married the 37-year-old Lisa Lynnette Clark in Georgia last week.  Clark is still in custody, as the district attorney says he is going to move forward on the charges of child molestation. 

Clark is pregnant.  And, according to the boy‘s grandmother, the Gainesville police knew about over a month ago what was going on and did nothing. 

With me now to talk about it is Judy Hayles.  She‘s the boy‘s grandmother and legal guardian.

Judy, thanks for being with me.

Are you telling me the police in your hometown knew that a 37-year-old was basically committing statutory rape on your grandson and did nothing about it for a month? 

JUDY HAYLES, GRANDMOTHER OF 15-YEAR-OLD BOY:  I made the report on October the 8th.  I called the police.  They came out, took a report.  They had—that was on a Saturday. 

On Friday, the following Friday, they brought Adrian (ph) into for questioning, which Adrian (ph) told me the detective told him at the time that, if he married her, it would be better.  It would be better if they married, which I was highly irritated over that. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  You are telling me that a police officer is giving your 15-year-old grandson advice on how to help a 30 -- about a 37-year-old beating the rap? 


HAYLES:  .. asked him about it, and he said:  I can‘t recall. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I can‘t recall? 

HAYLES:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Unbelievable.

HAYLES:  Lisa said that the detective didn‘t arrest her because he was giving her time to get Adrian‘s (ph) birth certificate from Florida, and then get married before he arrested her.  I asked Detective Franklin (ph) if this was true.  And he said:  I can‘t recall. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tell me, Judy, what do you think about living in a state that has a law that allows a 37-year-old to prey on 15-year-olds, 14-year-olds?  I mean, there is one case in Georgia where a 13-year-old marries a 14-year-old and nobody can do anything about it.  I mean...

HAYLES:  They come on TV last night, the state legislature.  This law is 150 years old.  That‘s how they creep around here.  I said, nobody in the Union had this law but Georgia and probably Mississippi and Alabama.  And she said, they were going to change, take it off the books.  I said, well, a lot of good that does me now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we will see if they take it off the books. 

Stacey Honowitz, let me bring you in here.

You obviously are—you have to investigate cases where children are molested all the time.  Here you have the state of Georgia and possibly other states that have laws on the books, antiquated laws on the books.  And now you have got a police officer who apparently, allegedly, is encouraging a 37-year-old to marry a 15-year-old, so the statutory rape can continue.  Talk about it. 

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY:  Well, I mean, it is the most ridiculous thing you have ever heard. 

When you hear about these laws, you‘re right, antiquated.  It‘s beyond belief.  But to have this detective come forward and say that he is not going to prosecute because there is an exception in the law if the person is pregnant, really, that is what happened in this case.  She is allegedly pregnant.  And they said, if you marry her, that‘s an exception. 

Well, I have to tell you something, Joe.  That is not going to stop the child molestation charge from going forward.  Just because she is pregnant doesn‘t excuse her from her conduct, her criminal conduct, from the past. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But what about in Georgia, though?  Don‘t they have a statute that says, again, like you said, if you are married to them, if they‘re pregnant, that‘s OK?

HONOWITZ:  It doesn‘t get you out of a criminal violation, though. 

In other words, the marriage can take place.  That‘s the exception to the marriage, but it does not take you out of being prosecuted criminally.  Now, does it make the case harder?  Absolutely.  Is it ridiculous?  Absolutely.  But, in the case, the fact that she is pregnant does not negate the fact that she raped this kid or had sex with him when he was 14 or 15 years old. 

SCARBOROUGH:  you know what?  You think that.  I think that, but I have got to tell you, there are some people obviously in Georgia that may not. 

Let‘s bring in right now Lisa Lynnette Clark‘s attorney, Dan Sammons, who joins us now on the phone.


SCARBOROUGH:  Dan, I personally think that the case is going to be harder for the state to prove because of the statutes that are on the books in Georgia.  Do they protect your client in this case? 

DAN SAMMONS, ATTORNEY FOR  LISA LYNNETTE CLARK:  Well, the statutes that are on the books, I think that the protection, that the more advantageous protection comes from a U.S. Supreme Court case, Crawford vs.  Washington, that was decided this year, that deals with the issue of spousal immunity. 

My client‘s husband, if he invokes spousal immunity, then any statements he made to Debate Franklin (ph) would not be admissible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, so, what you are saying, Dan, is, again, this Supreme Court decision says that, again, if he invokes it, then a husband can‘t—words can‘t be used against the wife and vice versa. 

So, you are saying that they will have absolutely no evidence to move on if this 15-year-old boy decides not to testify against your 37-year-old client and his wife? 

SAMMONS:  Well, I don‘t know what other evidence they may have, but they would be precluded from using his statements against him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stacey Honowitz, what do you think about that law? 


HONOWITZ:  Well, Crawford does talk about statements made to the investigators, but there are certainly other ways of proving sexual abuse, other than just with having the victim there. 

Now, if other people knew in the area or his friends knew that he was having sex with her, and once she delivers this child, certainly, they can match the DNA and realize that it‘s his child.  So, just the fact that he has married her is not going to preclude a criminal prosecution in this case. 


SCARBOROUGH:  But what about a judge that is looking at this 15-year-old kid who wants to be married to the 37-year-old?  They have a child together.  The kid refuses to testify.  Isn‘t that going to—will that persuade a judge that, instead of throwing the book at her, that you take it a little more easy on her? 

HONOWITZ:  No, I don‘t think so. 

And I think, really, it‘s going to be up to the prosecutor.  The prosecutor is going to present it to the judge, if, in fact, it even gets into court.  Now, certainly, if the woman says that she wants to plead guilty to the charges—if the state knows that this boy is not going to cooperate, they might offer a better plea. 

But, like I said before, Joe, with everything that is going on now in this country, it‘s rape.  It doesn‘t matter if he‘s pregnant.  It doesn‘t matter if they are in love.  It doesn‘t matter if he wanted to have this child with her.  It is child molestation.  It‘s rape.  And the state should proceed on this case, if there‘s other evidence other than his statement. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in a man right now.  Again, this case, it just keeps getting more bizarre because the Georgia law is so bizarre. 

But let‘s bring in a man whose 13-year-old daughter was taken to Georgia by his ex-wife in a custody battle.  And then she married a 14-year-old—and she didn‘t even know the boy—all because it‘s still legal—or she didn‘t know because it‘s still legal under Georgia law.

His name is Brandon Balch.  And his story goes to the heart of what‘s wrong in Georgia tonight. 

So, Brandon, you are telling me your 13-year-old daughter was taken to Georgia by your ex-wife and your 13-year-old daughter marries a 14-year-old boy, and you can‘t do anything about it? 

BRANDON BALCH, FATHER:  That‘s correct. 

I was never notified of the marriage, much less consenting to it.  And it was all done without my knowledge, either the pregnancy or the marriage.  And I was never informed by the Georgia court, probate court, that did the marriage. 


SCARBOROUGH:  The law down there allows 13-year-olds to marry 14-year-olds? 

BALCH:  This was in the state of Georgia, yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, in the state of Georgia.

BALCH:  In Alabama, they would not be allowed to get married.  So, she drove her to the state of Georgia to get married, because I had a long custody dispute going on in which she was found in contempt five times for violating my—our custody agreement and not providing—you know, interfering with our relationship. 

And this was done a week before calendar call of my custody trial, which—the marriage emancipates her, which means I no longer have custodial rights to my daughter and cannot pursue custody of her to come live with me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but in Georgia, though, is it not the case, in Georgia, that your 13-year-old daughter wouldn‘t even need to have the permission of her mother? 

BALCH:  No.  She could have been 10 years old, too.  She didn‘t even have to be 13.  And she—no parental consent is required. 


BALCH:  Not even consent, but notification.  Not even—I wasn‘t even notified.  And I have shared custody of my daughter.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  So, a 13-year-old can get married.  Like you said, a 10-year-old can get married and the parents don‘t have to be notified.  There doesn‘t have to be any consent. 

It‘s insane. 

Judy, what is wrong with your state of Georgia on this one? 

HAYLES:  ... out of me.

But you can tell that attorney for Lisa that my grandson does not have to open his mouth to testify against her.  The proof is in the pudding with her big cow belly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Judy, we are going to leave it there. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Judy Hayles, Brandon Balch and Dan Sammons, thanks so much. 

Stacey Honowitz, stay with us, because, coming up, new details in the case of the teenager accused of killing his girlfriend‘s parents, the online secrets raising eyebrows tonight.

And do the police look the other way when big stars do things that would have you and me handcuffed?  Well, you see the video and then you decide. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Investigators are piecing together the story of alleged teen killer David Ludwig.  He was captured yesterday in Indiana and he was returned to Pennsylvania. 

Ludwig is accused of killing his girlfriend‘s parents, but today the plot thickens, as friends tell the story of a sexual relationship between the 18-year-old and the 14-year-old that included exchanging steamy photos and text messages. 

With us now on the story is Cindy Stauffer.  She‘s a reporter for the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “New Era.”  And, also, we have Florida prosecutor Stacey Honowitz.

I want to ask you first, Cindy, to give us the very latest on this story, obviously, a lot of developments today. 


There was a search warrant affidavit that—in which police revealed that had interviewed a friend of Ludwig‘s who told them about an ongoing secret intimate relationship of a sexual nature between the two, and that they also often communicated via instant message and text messages on the Internet and cell phones, flirtatious messages and inappropriate images of one another. 

The other thing that has emerged is that friends have said that Ludwig was sneaking into Borden‘s house in the middle of the night and that the two had this very intense, kind of teenage crush relationship going on, that, apparently, her parents didn‘t know the full story behind it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Cindy, a lot of people are asking right now what kind of kid this guy was.  We are hearing that at one point he was normal. We are hearing about Christian music that was on his computer.

What can you tell us about what you have heard from the community?

STAUFFER:  Well, he did have a lot of everyday sort of interests that an 18-year-old would like, computers, video games, snowboarding.  He liked hunting, rock climbing. 

It‘s hard to say what happened in the last several weeks or months that led up to this incident.  But friends said he was outgoing and caring.  And they loved him, and they don‘t know what happened. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Stacey Honowitz, the big question tonight is whether this young girl, this 14-year-old, was also involved in the killing of her parents. 

We don‘t know that because of these allegedly inappropriate pictures they exchanged, but, certainly, I would think it would make the prosecute‘s job of nailing this kid for kidnapping much more difficult if they were involved in this very intense sexual relationship. 

HONOWITZ:  Well, like you said, Joe, we really don‘t know the facts of this case. 

We are going to hear it in drips and drabs certainly as the weeks go on.  We will find out more allegations.  But I‘m going to tell you something very interesting.  Everybody seems to be so shocked that a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old would be so involved in an intense sexual relationship. 

It goes on all of the time.  I see kids all day long in my job, 14, 13, that are having sex with 18- and 19-year-old boys.  So, in this case, it is not unusual that they would be having this relationship.  And the motive, of course, is the fact that the parents did not want her to have a relationship with him. 

Does it make the kidnapping more difficult?  It all depends.  If she wasn‘t involved and she didn‘t know that he was going to come and kill her parents, then she probably—I mean, she probably did not go with him willingly after the fact.  Certainly, if more facts come out that she conspired with him, she was upset with her parents, he said to her, I don‘t care, I‘m still going to continue to see her, well, then the kidnapping and, of course, based on what she says, might be a little bit easier. 

But, again, it‘s early in the game.  We don‘t know.  We don‘t know what her involvement is.  And they couldn‘t talk to her, because her parents weren‘t around.  And you need a legal guardian.  You need permission to talk to this kid.  So, we are going to have to wait and see.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  We certainly will.

Thanks so much for being with us. 

I want to thank Cindy Stauffer of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “New Era” newspaper.


SCARBOROUGH:  And Florida prosecutor Stacey Honowitz.

Coming up next, caught on tape, celebs behaving badly, now new accusations that police are giving them preferential treatment and looking the other way when stars break the law.  We have got the tapes.  You be the judge—coming up next. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Item one, Paris Hilton‘s new boyfriend caught on tape crashing her Bentley with a car load of people after leaving a nightclub.  He was apparently not even given a Breathalyzer test.  Special treatment? 

I don‘t know. 

But let‘s look at item two.  Steve-O, the former star of MTV‘s “Jackass,” caught on film outside an L.A. nightclub with what appears to be a large amount of marijuana.  Minutes later, he is seen joking with police officers before skipping off down the street. 

With me now to talk about whether celebrities are getting preferential treatment from authorities is Harvey Levin. 

Harvey, based on what we see in this video, should Steve-O have been arrested? 

HARVEY LEVIN, EDITOR, TMZ.COM:  Well, it certainly raises issues, Joe. 

I mean, TMZ was not there to shoot any kind of a police encounter.  We were simply at this nightclub because there were a bunch of stars there.  And there were a number of photographers there getting photographs.  And then, suddenly, he just pulls this bag out.  And he says on this tape—you hear him say that he had been smoking pot. 


STEVE-O, ACTOR:  I have been smoking pot all night. 


LEVIN:  And it certainly looks like pot.  And then he walks over to the officers.  And the officers say, we saw you.  And he says, you saw me smoking pot. 

And they are laughing.  And they do kind of a knuckle handshake.  And he‘s off.  And if there is a reasonable suspicion, one would think the police might have asked to see what he had been holding. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s ugly.  And, again, it‘s on your Web site. 

You also have this Paris Hilton story.  Talk about that. 

LEVIN:  Yes. 

This is—this one is a little bit more complicated.  I can tell you, as to the first one really quickly, the police are actually investigating, based on the tape, whether the officers acted properly. 

Paris Hilton is more complicated.  She was in a nightclub with her boyfriend and a couple of other people in this Bentley that she owns.  And her boyfriend, who is 19, put a coat over his head and then tried to drive and drove right into a parked truck. 

At that point, he fled the scene—it‘s called hit and run—and just kind of like took off.  And when my cameraman saw this, again, he was just there to shoot some of the celebrities who were there that night.  He took off and he ran, saw them at a stop sign.  They were screaming inside the car, gunned it; 90 seconds later, he sees the party outside of the car with two LAPD patrol officers.

And they didn‘t do any kind of a Breathalyzer on this guy.  Now, the cops say—and they‘re very clear about this—they say, look, when we happened on the scene, they were already out of the car, so, we didn‘t know who the driver was.  So, we couldn‘t I.D. him.

But we also didn‘t see them ask anybody, who is the driver of this car?  Because had the guy admitted it and had the cops thought he might have been under the influence, maybe they could have done something.  As it turned out, they let him go.  And that was it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you and I both know, if some 25-year-old kid in a T-shirt were driving a V.W. van, they would have taken everybody out.  There have been Breathalyzer tests for everybody.  It would have been a much different scene. 

Talk about how the LAPD is responding to TMZ.com, how they‘re responding to what you‘re getting on your Web site.  This has to be a pretty big black eye for them, right? 

LEVIN:  The police are not excited about this.  That‘s for sure.  They are getting a lot—and a lot of e-mails from all over the world actually on the Paris tape. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, you know, Harvey, regardless of what they say about your Web site, about what you guys are doing out there, you have been in L.A. long enough.  You know the Hollywood culture well enough to know that these stars get preferential treatment.  And let‘s face it.  They get a lot of free passes that you or I would not get.  Isn‘t that the case? 

LEVIN:  Stars absolutely get preferential treatment. 

On the other hand, sometimes, stars get nailed because of who they are.  I strongly believe that the Winona Ryder case was crazy.  They charged this woman with four felonies.  No one was treated as harshly as Winona Ryder for shoplifting some garments.  And, you know, on—that is the other side of fame, that, sometimes, people can make an example of you. 

So, I think that is a double-edged sword.  And I really do believe it works both ways. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That it does. 

Thanks so much to Harvey Levin for the great video.

And, coming up next, a salsa star shows an audience an unexpected move. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We will show you what happened.


SCARBOROUGH:  A new study says dancing can be good for us as we get older.  That‘s bad news for me, but not for everybody.

Latin pop star Juan Gabriel find out earlier this week it can also be dangerous, as he was performing in front of a sold-out crowd in Texas when he took a dramatic fall into the press pit, suffered broken ribs and minor scrapes.  But he will be OK.  Folks, just don‘t try this move at home. 

God.  It looks like me at senior prom. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” is coming up next.



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