updated 11/18/2005 11:18:14 AM ET 2005-11-18T16:18:14

Guest: Michelle Suskauer, Paul Pfingst, Pam Bondi, John Arena, Eugene Meyer, Clint Van Zandt, Diane Dimond

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, a jury reaches a verdict in the trial of a man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  Guilty, guilty, guilty.  Her abduction caught on videotape by a security camera.  Now prosecutors will try to convince the jury to sentence Joseph Smith to death.  We hear from Carlie‘s mother. 

And police track down one of two inmates who escaped from a maximum-security prison by going over a wall while a guard tower was unmanned.  But another vicious prisoner is still on the loose. 

Plus, Dr. Phil is saying he has credible evidence that Natalee Holloway is alive, possibly a sex slave.  Today he laid out some of the evidence and well there isn‘t much of it. 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, less than three hours ago, a jury reached a verdict in the case of the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of little 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.  Her abduction in February of 2004 caught on this surveillance video.  Thirty-nine-year-old Joseph Smith charged and tried.  It took jurors about five hours to reach a verdict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We the jurors find as follows as to count one of the charges the defendant is guilty of murder in the first degree as charged.  We the jury find as follows as to count two of the charges the defendant is guilty of sexual battery upon a child less than 12 years of age as charged.  We, the jury, find as follows as to count three of the charges, the defendant is guilty of kidnapping with inflictions of bodily harm and/or commission of felony on a child as charged. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  As you see on the tape, Carlie‘s mother in tears when the verdict was read and moments later outside the courthouse, she tried to hold back those tears. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN SCHORPEN, CARLIE BRUCIA‘S MOTHER:  I lost one of the most precious things to me in my life because of an animal, a disgusting, perverted animal.  You know and the fact that I can never hold her again and I can never speak to her again, I mean, I am so broken.  You know and he‘s got years where he‘s going to eat and he‘s going to sleep and you know, he‘s going to get more years on appeals than my daughter had in life and I‘ve got a problem with that. 

I lost everything.  You know, I‘m broken.  I don‘t know if I‘m ever going to fix again.  All I can do right now is take whatever opportunities come my way and try and better my life and try and become a whole person again.  Maybe I can help some other people who, you know, under tragedy get stuck with the same predicament I got stuck in. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) talk about closure, I personally don‘t think there‘s really a whole a lot of that.  I don‘t really believe in that phrase.  What about yourself? 

SCHORPEN:  I can never hold her again.  Where‘s the closure? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you could speak to Carlie again, what would you say to her today?

SCHORPEN:  I love her and I miss her.  I wish she was here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It broke my heart to hear it a few hours ago.  I feel exactly the same way hearing it again.

Joining me now is Florida criminal defense attorney, Michelle Suskauer and on the phone former prosecutor Paul Pfingst.

All right.  Michelle, now the goal of the defense team is to try and save this guy‘s life.  What can they do? 

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Right.  Well, what they really don‘t have a lot of choices here.  The phase two-penalty phase is before the jury and they have to present everything that they possibly can...

ABRAMS:  Like what? 

SUSKAUER:  To try—well they have to present mitigating factors.  If there‘s any psychological or psychiatric issues, which I don‘t know if there are, if he has, you know any—his past criminal record, if it‘s not significant, that would be a factor.  But there is really not a lot to work with here.  The aggravating factors in Florida are going to absolutely outweigh the mitigating factors here.  There‘s not going to be much of a decision for this jury.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what the defense attorney had to say outside of court after the verdict. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM TEBRUGGE, JOSEPH SMITH‘S ATTORNEY:  (INAUDIBLE) the American criminal justice system is adversarial testing of the evidence in a public forum before a jury.  The jury found that the evidence passed the test.  I respect and accept the verdict of the jury.  I will now be preparing to present further evidence on November the 28th and will be arguing that a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole is the best decision in this case. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Michelle, I don‘t know how to say this without sort of attacking him because as I said, I think he made a very good decision, I‘ve said, not presenting a closing argument is my opinion.  We‘ve talked about this before.

SUSKAUER:  Right.

ABRAMS:  You don‘t agree.  You think he should have presented a closing argument, right? 

SUSKAUER:  That‘s right.  I think he made...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

SUSKAUER:  Again...

(CROSSTALK)

SUSKAUER:  ... that is so terrible—yes...

ABRAMS:  Let‘s come back (INAUDIBLE) in a second.  But he just said—he talked about adversarial testing of the system and this and that.  You know, people listen to that and they think, what a bunch of crap.  This is a guy who clearly thinks his client did it.  I mean I can tell you that‘s what my viewers are thinking as they listen to him talking about the adversarial system and a public right to a trial and this and this and that.  I mean it sounds like he‘s saying effectively, look, I had nothing.  My client—the evidence was just too overwhelming.  I couldn‘t do anything. 

SUSKAUER:  Well we—as defense lawyers, we handle types of cases like these.  This case happened to have been a defense lawyer‘s nightmare.  I mean every possible piece of evidence that you could have was there in this case against this guy, from tapes to videotapes, as you said.  I mean it‘s right there. 

But you have to try to defend as best as you possibly can and not throw up your arms because that‘s the system that we have.  So the way that he handled it was in my opinion was not appropriate and it certainly wasn‘t the tactical way that I would have handled it in this case.  But now phase two has to go before the court and before the jury and he has to do what he can ethically and he can‘t give up his...

ABRAMS:  No...

SUSKAUER:  ... throw up his hands...

ABRAMS:  Now he doesn‘t give up. 

SUSKAUER:  ... put the needle in.

ABRAMS:  But now—Paul Pfingst, now he doesn‘t give up.  I mean the reason why I think he gave up before was so he could try and save his client‘s life, so he wouldn‘t get up there and have to make these ridiculous comments, pointing fingers at other possible suspects who it‘s clear didn‘t do it and instead, comes in with a little more credibility. 

PAUL PFINGST, FORMER PROSECUTOR (via phone):  Yes, he has the option, Dan of walking into that jury—into the courtroom and saying, listen, when we had the guilt phase of this case, I didn‘t stand up in front of you and say something I knew that was not true and couldn‘t be believed.  What I‘m going to tell you now is something that I really want you to consider.  And what—his only hope is that in a death penalty trial, there is often one or two jurors who just find they can‘t pull the trigger on death. 

ABRAMS:  Even though they...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Even though...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Even—hang on, Paul. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Even though they‘ve been questioned about that exact issue in the jury selection process. 

PFINGST:  That‘s right.  Even though they‘ve been questioned.  When it comes time to actually pull a trigger, they can‘t do it and his job—the defense attorney‘s job is to give jurors—those jurors, if they are there, to give them the intestinal fortitude to hold out against the death verdict.  I think that‘s his...

SUSKAUER:  Dan...

PFINGST:  ... big hope. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Michelle.

SUSKAUER:  Dan, it doesn‘t have to be unanimous in Florida.  It‘s an advisory opinion by the juror.  It‘s ultimately up to the judge.  It does not have to be unanimous 12 or every single one of them so I‘m sure you‘re going to have a few and it‘s not going to be 12, zip...

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait.  How do you know...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  How do you know it‘s not going to be 12-0?  I mean if I was a betting man, I would be betting that it‘s either going to be 11-1, 10-2, or 12-0.  Most likely scenario, I‘d say 11-1 or 12-0 for death. 

SUSKAUER:  I think that you‘re always going to have a few in every case that are just not, no matter how compelling the evidence is that they‘re just not going to be able to send somebody to the death...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Oh...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You mean a couple of people...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.  You mean a couple of people who lied in the jury selection process? 

SUSKAUER:  Well I don‘t know ultimately.  I don‘t know if it‘s lying, but ultimately when it comes down to actually saying death, rendering that as an advisory opinion to the court, it‘s something they just physically can‘t do.  Emotionally they can‘t do. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let‘s be clear.  Advisory opinions, when it comes to death, there are always protections in place and as a result, the judge can ultimately say I‘m not going to impose it.  But in almost all cases, the judge will impose the death penalty when a jury recommends it in every state that has the death penalty.

Here‘s the prosecutor Craig Schaeffer in his closing argument in this case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG SCHAEFFER, PROSECUTING JOSEPH SMITH:  How do we know that this man murdered Carlie Brucia?  He told us.  He did in his words.  He told his family he did.  His friends and co-workers tell us that he did based on the video.  The video tells us he did.  The scientific evidence, the DNA, the hair and fiber tell us he did, the circumstantial evidence dealing with him being in the area, the opportunity tell us that.  The car evidence tells us he did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Pam Bondi is with us as well from the neighboring county there in Florida.  Pam, look, no surprise here with the verdict.  I think it would have been the most shocking verdict since the O.J. Simpson case if this man had been found not guilty.  But with that said, do you think that the defense attorney made the right call by not presenting a closing argument?

PAM BONDI, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR (via phone):  Of course not.  Of course not.  Just like I‘ve been saying all along, Dan, one of the things that‘s considered on appeal is what the defense attorney did and that‘s going to be a huge issue now on post-conviction motions, that he didn‘t present a closing argument. 

ABRAMS:  But why is that—I mean that‘s—look, they can argue oh, it‘s in ineffective (INAUDIBLE).  Sure, they‘ll make that argument, but they will certainly lose because it‘s a strategic move on his part and I think a smart one. 

BONDI:  Oh, I agree with you he‘ll lose on it, but I don‘t think, Dan, I really don‘t believe that he did that in order to give himself more credibility.  I think he wanted to win.  I think it was strategic.  I think he wanted to keep Debra Rivas from giving a strong, closing argument and he put on a few witnesses that raised some possible doubt and I think he was just hoping to confuse at least one or two of those jurors. 

ABRAMS:  We should explain that by not—by the defense not presenting a closing argument, that meant that the prosecutors didn‘t get to come back and give a rebuttal closing, which is where they were going to present all the very emotional pictures of Carlie, et cetera, and sort bring it home to the jury.  And so because the defense attorney didn‘t present a closing argument the prosecutors didn‘t get to present the rebuttal.  But again here‘s more of some of the more—the graphic details prosecutors laying it out in the closing argument. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHAEFFER:  We have heard through some of his statements to his mom and his brother that maybe he was on drugs.  Not a defense.  Not a defense at all in Florida.  Not to be considered by you folks.  What you can consider is he knew how to follow her, cut her off at Abbey‘s Car Wash, grab her, put her into the car, bind her hands, sexually batter her, strangle her, dispose of her body, hide all the clothing that he thinks has incriminating evidence on him.  That‘s what you can consider. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, in one of the tapes that was played, Michelle, he was saying that he had confessed to a jailhouse priest.  Does he use that in the penalty phase? 

SUSKAUER:  Could who?  Could he use...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

SUSKAUER:  ... it in the penalty phase that he confessed? 

ABRAMS:  Yes—to a priest in the sense just to basically say, look, he came clean with the priest, he‘s found religion, something.  He needs something here. 

SUSKAUER:  There—you know what, there is so much leeway in the penalty phase and there‘s a lot of information—hearsay information that couldn‘t come in, in the guilt phase that can come in.  And this lawyer is really—does not have a lot to work with and certainly can come and say that he‘s found religion.  He‘s going to bring his mom in.  This is a good boy.  This is my son.  You know, I mean he‘s going to do everything that he can.  I don‘t think he‘s going to be successful here...

(CROSSTALK)

SUSKAUER:  ... but you know he‘s going to bring everything he can...

ABRAMS:  This guy is in enormous trouble and his lawyers better decide, I think, that they‘re not going to get a new trial and even if they were, that it‘s not worth it because they‘re going to lose again and that this is their only hope.  That November 28...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... when the penalty phase starts is their only chance of saving this guy‘s life and I think that they have got to go all out, even if it means you know admitting it, which is very unusual in a case like this.  With this kind of evidence against this guy, if they‘re going to save this guy‘s life, they‘re going to have to use very unusual tactics.  Paul Pfingst, final word. 

PFINGST:  Well, if they try to go that he confessed to the priest, I think what‘s going to happen is the jury is going to say, I‘m glad he made peace with God because he‘s going to need it pretty soon.  There is no good way out of this.  There is no defense.  The only thing he has that he can try to work with is that he‘s under the influence of drugs at the time, but I‘ve never known that to save someone from death. 

ABRAMS:  Justice was served here.  That‘s my opinion.  Michelle Suskauer, Pam Bondi, Paul Pfingst, thanks a lot.

Coming up, police still searching for one of two inmates who broke out of a maximum-security prison on Monday, climbing over a wall while a guard tower was unmanned.  Today they track one of them down, but the other is still on the loose. 

And the journalist police say dressed up like a firefighter and broke into a woman‘s apartment and sexually assaulted her for 12 hours is spotted in a New York coffee shop according to a man who owned the coffee shop.  We talk to the man who says he saw him next.

Plus, Dr. Phil lays out some of the so-called credible evidence he says could mean Natalee Holloway is alive, possibly working as a sex slave.  I didn‘t see any evidence of that on his show today.

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Peter Braunstein, the prime suspect in a bizarre sex assault on a 34-year-old woman in New York on Halloween, may have been spotted at a Brooklyn coffee shop early this morning.  Braunstein is believed to have dressed up as a fireman on Halloween, then lit small fires in a hallway of a former co-worker‘s apartment building as an excuse to get past her door, saying he had to investigate the fire.  He then allegedly forced himself into her apartment by knocking her out with a chloroform-soaked rag, spent over 12 hours sexually assaulting and terrorizing her.

On out program last night, the suspect‘s father pleaded for his son to turn himself in. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERTO BRAUNSTEIN, PETER BRAUNSTEIN‘S FATHER:  Peter, I beg of you, please, turn yourself in voluntarily.  Don‘t wait for the police to capture you.  Just call and walk in voluntarily and we‘ll try to cure you as soon as you surrender.  You are sick.  So please, don‘t prolong this agony.  I beg of you, put an end to it and call the police. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Joining me now on the phone is John Arena, owner of the coffee shop in Brooklyn where he says Braunstein stopped this morning.  Mr.  Arena thanks for taking the time to come on the program.

All right.  How certain are you that it was Peter Braunstein?

JOHN ARENA, SAYS HE SAW PETER BRAUNSTEIN (via phone):  I would say, sir, about 99.9 percent that it was him.  Like I stated earlier, I‘m not going to say 100 percent.  But you know I read the news.  I watch the news and I‘m pretty confident that it was him. 

ABRAMS:  Various news outlets in New York calling it the most credible sighting that they have gotten so far.  Tell me where you saw him, when you saw him, how you realized it was him. 

ARENA:  Seven thirty this morning, he came in.  There was another woman behind him and I went to go help him and as I was walking over to go help him, I you know caught a glimpse of his face and I said to myself, wow, this guy looks familiar, you know.  In other words, where do I know him from, and I realized, you know, who it was. 

And once I realized who it was, like I stated, it was like I saw a ghost and he kind of caught on to the look I gave him.  So in other words, it was like he knew that I knew you know who he was.  And I handed him his change and he ordered a large cup of coffee with milk.  I handed him his change and he took off. 

I ran in the back to get today‘s “Post”—“New York Post” and unfortunately, “The Post” had nothing about him today.  So I was trying to show the customer behind her—him what he looked like.  She said she‘d never seen him before.  There was nothing in “The Post”.

About a minute later, another customer comes in and tells me that there‘s a van full of cops right across the street as I was (INAUDIBLE) anonymous phone call that you know I suspected that I saw Peter Braunstein.

ABRAMS:  So, wait.  Let me get this clear.  So someone else saw the same person that you saw.  You didn‘t call the police?  Someone else called the police saying...

ARENA:  No, no...

ABRAMS:  ... I saw him.

ARENA:  No, sir.  There is a checkpoint on the corner of my block on Court Street and (INAUDIBLE) every day.  So the cops get there about 7:30, 8:00 in the morning and when this happened, they—I don‘t know if they were out there at 7:30 when he was in the store.  I hardly doubt it.  He would have been that crazy to walk in when there‘s cops are on the corner. 

But like I said, about a minute or two after he walked out of my store, I walked out of my store to get the cops.  They were right across the street and they took off immediately.  Fifty police officers and detectives combined in my store in a matter of five minutes and news teams and news reporters and all that stuff. 

ABRAMS:  So it was within, you say a minute or two...

ARENA:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... from the time that you gave him his change at the coffee shop that the police...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... were there. 

ARENA:  Yes.  Yes, sir. 

ABRAMS:  And they must have you know sort of searched the area and not...

ARENA:  Oh, yes.  No.  Supposedly what I‘m reading and hearing now on the news, they came up with some clues, but obviously they...

ABRAMS:  You know, there are a lot of different pictures out there of him.

ARENA:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  How does he look?  I mean give us a sense of what his appearance is now. 

ARENA:  He—his appearance now, his face (INAUDIBLE) I would say he definitely put on a little weight.  His face is a little rounded. 

(INAUDIBLE) that picture—if that picture was taken I don‘t know how long ago, but it‘s not that recent.  He grew his hair.  His hair is about shoulder length, pretty disheveled. 

What he was wearing, he had a black three-quarter trench coat on and like I said, I was more you know stunned that I was looking at him and I don‘t recall if it was a yellow shirt or a yellow scarf he had on at the moment.  And he had a 5:00 shadow.  He wasn‘t too clean cut and that‘s what kind of gave it away also in, you know, in my opinion, you know just his appearance alone, you know...

ABRAMS:  All right.  John Arena thanks a lot for taking the time. 

Appreciate it.

ARENA:  You got it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TOM VILSACK (D), IOWA:  There was no single reason why this escape was successful.  There were a multitude of reasons that need to be addressed. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s the Iowa governor talking about Monday‘s frightening escape from the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison.  Today, Martin Shane Moon was captured not far from another state prison in Illinois.  Moon is a convicted killer serving a life sentence.

His escaped partner, Robert Legendre, is still on the loose.  He was serving concurrent sentences of attempted murder and kidnapping 15 years to life.  Police say both men went over the prison‘s west wall around 6:00 p.m. Monday night.  It seems they disappeared after working with a prison industry‘s crew, then climbed on top of a building near the prison wall and using a handmade rope with a metal hook, scaled the wall. 

Somehow they passed a high-tech electronic (INAUDIBLE) wire alarm.  It didn‘t go off.  Prison officials aren‘t saying if it was operational.  And a nearby guard tower was empty.  No guards were watching there apparently because of job cuts.  After escaping the inmates may have fled in a stolen 1995 gold Pontiac Bonneville with Iowa plates 776 NOW. 

Moon, however, was sleeping in a different car, an older blue Ford when he was found and eventually apprehended this morning.  Moon is being held by the Randolph County, Illinois Sheriff‘s Department. 

We‘re joined now by Eugene Meyer, who is director of the Iowa State Division of Criminal Investigation.  Mr. Meyer thanks for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.

Have you gotten any usable tips on the man who still on the loose? 

EUGENE MEYER, DIR., IOWA ST. DIV. OF CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION (via phone):  Well you know there have been some sightings, but unfortunately, they‘ve been at different parts of the country at different times, and that‘s expected as the public is trying to help us out and doing the best they can based on photographs they see through the media. 

ABRAMS:  Have you learned anything more how this escape happened?  I mean I know this is—you know it‘s kind of an embarrassing and important situation to investigate.  Have you learned anything more about how they got out? 

MEYER:  Well actually, my focus and charge you know by the governor is to find these people and take them into custody and return them to Fort Madison.  I believe the Department of Corrections is really focused on what happened inside the walls that allowed these two people to escape. 

ABRAMS:  This is Robert Legendre, 27, convicted in 1996 of kidnapping and attempted murder of a Nevada cabdriver.  Transferred from Nevada to Iowa in regular interstate prisoner exchange, sentence of 15 years to life.  I mean it seems that both these guys, Mr. Meyer, were bad prisoners.  Not just bad guys, but bad prisoners, right? 

MEYER:  Well I don‘t have any information about it.  Certainly they‘ve escaped and considered dangerous.  Regarding their behavior and you describe them as bad prisoners, you know inside the walls, I have no information about that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Eugene Meyer, thanks a lot.  Appreciate you coming on the program.

MEYER:  You‘re welcome.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, Dr. Phil says he‘s got some credible evidence that Natalee Holloway could be alive working as a sex slave.  Today his show was devoted to the issue.  I say where is the evidence. 

And new details about the case against Michael Jackson, a new book is out with never-before heard details of exactly what happened behind the scenes.  We talk with the reporter who knows as much about Michael Jackson as just about anyone. 

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to help find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  Our search today continues in Georgia. 

Authorities are looking for Keith Morsee, 31, six feet, 159, convicted of aggravated child molestation and has not registered with the authorities.  If you‘ve got any information, there‘s the number, 1-800-597-TIPS.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, Dr. Phil continues to suggest that Natalee Holloway could be alive as a sex slave.  I still don‘t know what he‘s basing it on.  His show on sex slaves today sure didn‘t provide any evidence.  First the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Is it possible that Natalee Holloway is alive and even left her mother a voice mail message?  Well certainly that‘s what Beth Twitty is hoping.  Today on the “Dr. Phil” show, Beth talked about a voice mail on her answering machine from someone who she thinks might have been Natalee. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER:  The first thing that I hear on the voice mail is it almost sounds as if it‘s a foreigner and they say yes and then you hear it‘s almost like a clank like they‘re shifting the phone and then there‘s music playing in the background and I hear what to me is a very subdued, a vocal utterance from Natalee.  It‘s almost as if—it‘s almost—I know.  It‘s almost as if it‘s hi mom. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It seems the show was suppose to provide evidence for this comment that Dr. Phil made on “The Tonight Show” two week weeks ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, “DR. PHIL” HOST:  Without creating false hope, we have reasonable belief and some credible evidence that Natalee Holloway is alive.  We cannot prove that at this point, and we don‘t know where she is, but you know, there is a huge sex slave underground in some of those countries down there. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So you know the evidence about the sex slave stuff, well that‘s where his theory lost some steam.  He sent an investigative team down to a brothel in Mexico looking for Natalee.  The result, nada, nothing. 

Joining me now MSNBC analyst and former FBI investigator, Clint Van Zandt, who appeared on the “Dr. Phil” show today.  All right.  Look, here‘s my—first of all, Clint, let‘s get one thing clear. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Sure. 

ABRAMS:  There is no evidence, not one scintilla of evidence that Natalee Holloway is a sex slave somewhere, correct? 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely correct. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  So those who are talking about it‘s sort of a—it‘s an interesting compelling, a frightening theory, but there‘s nothing, no evidence to support that, that we know. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, first of all, you and I know anything is possible...

ABRAMS:  Right.  That‘s right. 

VAN ZANDT:  ... because...

ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying it‘s not possible. 

VAN ZANDT:  ... as Joran van der Sloot‘s father said, no body, no case. 

ABRAMS:  Right...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... it‘s not possible.  I‘m just saying...

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... that there‘s no evidence, not a scintilla of evidence to support that theory, correct?

VAN ZANDT:  And I have not heard any evidence to support that theory. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So now on this issue of the cell phone call and you know, look, Beth was on this program last night...

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  She was talking about that cell—do we have that ready, by the way?  All right.  Here‘s Dave Holloway talking about his reaction upon listening to that answering machine message. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S FATHER (via phone):  Now I listened to it a number of times and you know, I‘ve got children of my own and they like to pick up cell phones and make calls and all this kind of stuff and I just didn‘t buy it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So Clint, look, why—I thought that they were actually going to be playing that tape on the show.  Why didn‘t they play it? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, on the show, Dr. Phil says Beth asked her not to.  I don‘t know the reason why, but Beth said for whatever the reason not to.  Now, Dan, you know you‘ve got to consider this.  There is—if we look at our continuum, we‘ve got hope and false hope.  You know?  And I think Beth is clinging to almost anything that might suggest her daughter could still be alive.  Could be, yes, but you know, where‘s the beef?  We don‘t have it right now. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  And let‘s be clear.  Because we are not challenging Beth because here‘s what Beth said on our program about this last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TWITTY:   If we get one tip out of 100 that has her alive then Dan, we follow it because we have to rule it out or in.  And the more that we are systematically ruling these out that you know, it just shows that we‘re putting forth every effort we can into finding Natalee and as we rule out a tip that comes in that we think she may be alive, I mean you know Dan, it just shows more and more that these suspects could have then committed murder on the island also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s right, Clint, and so what Beth was saying on the program last night was this was just one of the many possibilities that they‘re trying to rule out.  Certainly not evidence that Natalee‘s alive. 

VAN ZANDT:  I sat there with Beth last week before we went on “Dr.  Phil”.  She‘s sitting there.  She‘s shaking.  She‘s cold.  I put my arm around her, you know, I said Beth, you‘ve lost weight since I saw you in Aruba this summer.  She said yes and I said Beth, you got to understand, I said like we talked about this summer; the statistical probability is that Natalee‘s gone. 

She‘s dead.  Do you understand that?  She says, Clint, I understand it, but I still have to cling to hope and I think that that‘s what Beth is doing.  For Dr. Phil to make that statement, well you know today they also talked about the Amy Bradley case.  There‘s been two or three alleged sightings.  You and I know that eyewitness identification is the worst possible evidence there is.

But I sat there between the Bradley‘s and between Beth, both that are desperately clinging on some type of hope that their daughter‘s alive.  And at this point, I think any of them would consider any hope...

ABRAMS:  And don‘t get me wrong...

VAN ZANDT:  ... potential evidence. 

ABRAMS:  I am not suggesting that I know—I do not know the answer...

VAN ZANDT:  No, nor do I.

ABRAMS:  I do not know what happened to Natalee Holloway.  I don‘t.  But what I find to be troubling is the notion that there‘s this whole sort of suggestion that there‘s evidence out there that Natalee Holloway is alive and part of some sort of sex slave ring. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  And...

VAN ZANDT:  You and I know that there‘s abundant evidence that there is a sex slave trade.  But to make the quantum leap to say that of that one to four million people that are sold into bondage and sex slavery every year that somehow Natalee fits into that could she?  Yes.

Could she been taken up by aliens?  Yes.  But right now, as an investigator, I still think we still have to stay with the three suspects who law enforcement has looked at who she was last with...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  ... and to put her anywhere else is a quantum leap, perhaps made by a wishful mother and Dr. Phil.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Clint van Zandt, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

VAN ZANDT:  Thanks, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, last night we talked about Michael Jackson having that little incident in the ladies room in the United Arab of Emirates.  Tonight, the archenemy of all Jackson supporters joins us.  Diane Dimond has a new book with new details about what really happened at the Michael Jackson case. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, ACCUSED OF MOLESTATION:  When you say bed, you‘re thinking sexual.  They make that sexual.  It‘s not sexual.  We‘re going to sleep.  I tuck them in.  We—I put like little music on and do a little story time.  I read a book.  They‘re very sweet.  Put the fireplace on, give them hot milk.  You know we have little cookies.  It‘s very charming, very sweet. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Very charming, very sweet.  I know you‘re thinking Michael Jackson, no, no, no.  Turn off the TV.  No, this is new.  This is good. 

(INAUDIBLE) shortly after he was acquitted back in June of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy, apart from the incident where he was seen in a ladies‘ room there in Bahrain reportedly putting on makeup, he has been keeping a pretty low profile. 

But a new book may change all of that.  The just released book is called “Be Careful Who You Love:  Inside the Michael Jackson Case” and the author Diane Dimond joins me now. 

Diane, good to see you.

DIANE DIMOND, AUTHOR, “BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LOVE”:  Good to see you.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Diane, you read through this book and every detail is seemingly more incriminating than the next about Michael Jackson.  Meaning, forget about guilt as a legal sense, but every detail just makes him seem more awful than the next one in terms of child molestation and yet, in the book, you don‘t simply just say, I think Michael Jackson is a child molester. 

DIMOND:  Oh, no...

ABRAMS:  Why?

DIMOND:  Because I‘m an investigative reporter and there‘s two things you don‘t do.  You don‘t reveal sources and you don‘t give an opinion. 

ABRAMS:  Why?  Isn‘t it dishonest though?  I mean...

DIMOND:  No.

ABRAMS:  ... the book is basically an indictment of Michael Jackson. 

DIMOND:  I don‘t think it is.  I think it‘s a statement of facts of everything I found out and not even everything.  But the basic things that I found out over 12 years of covering this man from 1993, basically, through 2005. 

ABRAMS:  But what you found...

DIMOND:  All in one place, put in perspective. 

ABRAMS:  But what you found is that Michael Jackson had a lot of problems with children over that time. 

DIMOND:  Well he would tell you it‘s not problems at all.  He‘d tell you that...

ABRAMS:  Right.

DIMOND:  ... they just playing...

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what the book suggests.

DIMOND:  ... games and reliving his childhood. 

ABRAMS:  Right?  I mean but that‘s not what the book...

DIMOND:  That‘s not where the facts...

ABRAMS:  ... a fair reading of the book. 

DIMOND:  That‘s not where the facts took me.

ABRAMS:  Right.

DIMOND:  The facts took me to a pattern of behavior, that, for example, if you read the chapter by Ken Lanning of the FBI.  He‘s retired now, but he wrote the profile of a pedophile for the FBI.  Michael Jackson‘s pattern of behavior and Ken Lanning‘s pattern of behavior are eerily similar.  Now I leave it to the reader to make the final jump if he‘s guilty...

ABRAMS:  But you have to be fair in saying that if you leave it to the reader to just read your book, there‘s no way they‘re going to come out with any other conclusion. 

DIMOND:  I don‘t think you‘re right.

ABRAMS:  Really?

DIMOND:  I think you‘re being too harsh...

ABRAMS:  Someone could read...

DIMOND:  Look...

ABRAMS:  ... your book and say, I don‘t believe Michael Jackson molested children if that‘s all they knew...

DIMOND:  A jury of his peers...

ABRAMS:  But they didn‘t read that book...

DIMOND:  ... said he wasn‘t guilty.

ABRAMS:  They didn‘t read the book. 

DIMOND:  Well you know what?  I don‘t think it‘s going to change any minds. 

ABRAMS:  Really?

DIMOND:  I think if people think that Michael Jackson...

ABRAMS:  You‘ve got some new details in there in that book and you know again...

DIMOND:  Quote it.

ABRAMS:  No, I mean but you‘ve got new details in the book and I think that—I think the only fair and honest way to read that book is to say I mean, the two producers on my team who read the book said there‘s no question.  Diane Dimond thinks Michael Jackson is guilty.  There‘s no other way to look at it. 

All right, let‘s read...

DIMOND:  I don‘t agree. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  New details from the book.  D.A. Tom Sneddon called the accuser after the verdict and he said and I—quote—“Listen son, we believed you.  I can‘t explain why the jury didn‘t, but I want you to stay on track with your life.  Keep playing football.  Stay in the Scouts.  You‘ve got a good life now that your mom has remarried.  Try to put this behind you.”

Where is the accuser and their family now? 

DIMOND:  They are living in a state witness protection program, still in the state of California. 

ABRAMS:  Witness protection program. 

DIMOND:  Yes, under an assumed name.  That‘s why I felt comfortable using his name in this book and his mother because it‘s not their name anymore.  He‘s doing well.  His mother is going to have a baby next month, a baby girl, and the stepfather that he‘s gotten so close to has just shipped out to Iraq...

ABRAMS:  And they haven‘t sued?

DIMOND:  No. 

(CROSSTALK)

DIMOND:  Tom Mesereau kept saying you watch.  They‘re going to file a civil suit like O.J. Simpson‘s family.  They haven‘t filed...

ABRAMS:  You say that there was effectively juror misconduct.  That one juror, Eleanor Cook, knew a key witness in the case, went to visit that key witness at J.C. Penney where she worked during the trial. 

DIMOND:  During the trial.

ABRAMS:  During the trial and I‘m reading again from your book.  Cook took Adrian McManus‘ aside and praised her friend for doing well when she had testified for the prosecution.  Eleanor Cook also reportedly told McManus that she could never, ever vote to let Michael Jackson go free.  She was completely convinced Jackson was a pedophile.

So what happened? 

DIMOND:  Well, this the juror who of course, went ahead with the acquittal decision on all 10 counts and then what was it, you were there with me, 36 hours, 24 hours later came out and said you know, I really think I was coerced.  I really think he is a pedophile and she‘s now going to write a book called “Free as a Bird, Guilty as Sin”.  So I mean that‘s where she stands, flip and flop.  But twice during the trial, this woman visited a key prosecution witness...

ABRAMS:  Did anyone know about this?  I‘m trying to remember...

DIMOND:  Well I knew about it and I just didn‘t feel as a reporter that it was my job to go and tell the judge.

ABRAMS:  Wasn‘t—didn‘t—wasn‘t there talk at the time about a possible juror misconduct and the notion that one of the jurors had known one of the witnesses, et cetera.  I mean we didn‘t know this kind of detail at the time, right?

DIMOND:  Well I don‘t believe that Eleanor Cook was very upfront with the judge about how well she knew Adrian McManus during the voir dire.  But the problem with her stemmed way back when she announced or it was revealed during the trial that she was writing a book.  Well that‘s against California law.  I was surprised that Judge Melville didn‘t do something, maybe remove her but now, my revelation that she‘s actually visiting with witnesses during the trial, I wonder what the judge would have done if he had known. 

ABRAMS:  Real quick, the Ruba-Ruba Club (ph)...

DIMOND:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  What is it?

DIMOND:  That was the nickname for all of the boys in Michael Jackson‘s life.  He would...

ABRAMS:  Who nicknamed them...

DIMOND:  Michael Jackson did.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

DIMOND:  He had a Ruba-Ruba Club (ph).  They had a special language.  The ‘93 boy I have transcripts in here of him talking to a psychiatrist explaining that the Ruba-Ruba Club (ph) does not include women.  They have their own language and it doesn‘t include parents or sisters. 

ABRAMS:  I‘ll say what I don‘t think you want to say.  But I‘ll say it.  I think that what this book does is it lays out, all together, much of the evidence that couldn‘t come in the trial, which is the story of Michael Jackson‘s life for the last 12 years, which isn‘t pretty, parts of it...

DIMOND:  I wanted to put it in perspective...

ABRAMS:  ... and guilt or not guilt, this is a guy with lots of problems and you know and I think it‘s very fair to be able to say that there was overwhelming evidence that Michael Jackson had serious problems with kids over the years. 

DIMOND:  And you know, the reason I named it this, “Be Careful Who You Love”, is I think we need to be careful who we love as our stars and our superstars and as fans.  I think we need to insist on better behavior. 

ABRAMS:  Diane Dimond, thanks for coming in.

DIMOND:  My pleasure.

ABRAMS:  Appreciate it.

DIMOND:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, he‘s been the gold standard in American journalism for over 30 years, but now Bob Woodward may have been kept one secret too many.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument” --  why we all should all be able to expect more from the king of print journalism Bob Woodward.  Yesterday Woodward disclosed that an administration official had told him the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame in June of 2003, nearly a month before it was printed in a Robert Novak problem, making him the first journalist we know of to have been leaked a name.

Now unlike others who are piling on the criticism, I don‘t think it‘s hypocritical or horrifying that on television he criticized the investigation into who leaked the name while secretly knowing that he had some information as well.  His position is entirely consistent.  He did not think special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald should be forcing journalists to reveal their sources and he didn‘t want to reveal his.

Fine, but for someone who‘s made his name learning the back story, uncovering what really happened behind the scenes in books and articles, it seems here Woodward was naively confident that the back story of his own conversation would never be told.  Bob Woodward didn‘t know better?

Remember, his source effectively outed him, going to Fitzgerald just two weeks ago and saying I talked to Bob Woodward about Valerie Plame and how she worked for the CIA in June of 2003.  Then and only then did Woodward finally come clean and he hadn‘t only withheld it from the prosecutor.  He withheld it from his own newspaper and editors at “The Washington Post”.

So while the paper wrangled over whether to allow two other “Post” reporters, Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler, to testify in a leak investigation, Woodward sat back and pretended that he knew nothing.  In his public apology, Woodward said I hunkered down.  I‘m in the habit of keeping secrets.  I didn‘t want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed. 

Respect for journalists is at an all time low.  We need people like Bob Woodward to make us proud.  Journalists like Woodward, Cronkite, Brokaw are to those of us in the journalistic world like certain sports heroes are to some kids.  We know they‘re regular people, but we place them on pedestals.

Look up to them.  Expect more from them.  So tonight I say, say it ain‘t so, Bob.  Say it ain‘t so.  From someone who considers you the gold standard in American journalism, I‘m still holding out for a better explanation. 

Coming up, Joseph Smith convicted today of abducting, raping, and killing 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.  A lot of you writing in about his lawyer‘s decision not to give a closing argument.  Your e-mails are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  I said Bob Woodward‘s confessions don‘t seem particularly relevant to the question of whether “Scooter” Libby lied. 

Richard F. Harris from Hornell, New York, “You‘re 100 percent correct.  These new revelations have zero impact on the Libby case.  He‘s charged with perjury and obstruction, not with leaking Plame‘s name first.”

Alice Montgomery from Boynton Beach, Florida talks about Woodward‘s source.  “This person apparently disregarded the orders of the president to cooperate and ignored the Justice Department‘s request to produce any information they may have regarding conversations they had with reporters concerning Valerie Plame.  If anything, it adds to the obstruction of justice the White House is continuing to put forth.”

And Joseph Smith found guilty today of kidnapping, raping and murdering 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.  I said there was so much evidence against him that the defense was smart to not even present a closing argument. 

Sheila Baron asks—Brion asks, “Don‘t you think it‘s possible that the defense behaved that way to provide for appeals?  Can‘t Joseph Smith appeal on the grounds that he was not vigorously defended?”

A lot of people asked that.  Sure, he might bring it up, but no lawyer wants to be accused of infective assistance of counsel.  In fact, he could be disbarred if he did it for that reason. 

Allison Turner from Ohio, “As a fellow attorney I disagree with your opinion that the defense should move on and just proceed to the penalty phase.  Mr. Smith, albeit a monster, is entitled to a trial and to have the state of Florida prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Oh, please Allison, enough with the platitudes.  No one is saying he shouldn‘t have a trial.  When there‘s this much evidence, it just may be smarter to wave the white flag in this phase and hope it helps him in the next phase.

Got to go.  Chris Matthews up next.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

The Abrams Report each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET

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