updated 11/23/2005 11:25:33 AM ET 2005-11-23T16:25:33

Guest: Nicole Narain, Sal Abbatte, Michael Sinacore, Lauren Lake, Jayne

Weintraub, Stacey Honowitz, Daniel Butler, Terrence Shulman, William

Terrell, Jack Stephens

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, shocking courtroom testimony as a teacher accused of sex with her student cops a deal.  And surprising dashboard video as a law enforcement officer makes a difficult decision while sitting in a suspect's crosshairs.

But first, a major celebrity is about to be exposed against his will.  Actor Colin Farrell has been fighting to keep a sex tape that he made with his ex-girlfriend, a “Playboy” playmate, off the Internet.  But the case is now moving to federal courts, and it's unclear who's going to come out on top.

Joining me now is Nicole Narain.  She is the woman who is in that video with Colin Farrell.  Nicole, first of all, why do you want everyone to see this tape of you and Colin Farrell?

NICOLE NARAIN, FORMER “PLAYBOY” PLAYMATE:  Rita, it's not that I want everyone to see the tape of me and Colin.  I—if I had it my way, I would rather that the tape not come out at all.  But unfortunately, there is a tape unaccounted for, and there is someone out there who's giving detailed interviews and selling little snippets here and there of seeing the tape.

So I just want to take control of the situation because I can and team up with Internet Commerce Group and go ahead and take control of the situation and oversee the editing and the distributing of it.  And instead of just having it appear just somewhere on the Internet, it just makes sense to go ahead and take control of the situation and make sure that...

COSBY:  Nicole, what you're saying is it's sort of out there anyway. 

But you would make money on it, right?

NARAIN:  Well, eventually, in the end, yes, if I take control of the situation now.  But if I just wait around, it'll probably just show up somewhere, and I—it doesn't make sense for that to happen, either.

COSBY:  You know, without getting graphic, how racy is this tape? 

Would it make Paris Hilton blush?

NARAIN:  I mean, it's just, you know, two people just having fun.  It's not, you know, anything off the wall, you know?  It's just two people having fun together.  It's nothing crazy, you know?

COSBY:  Whose idea was it?  Was it yours or was it Colin Farrell's or both to do this tape, and why?

NARAIN:  Well, it was just brought up at the time, just being together.  You know, like, you know, Hey, we should videotape this.  So why not?  There really isn't a why to it, you know?  It's, like, why do people fall in love?  You know, you just do things when you're together.  You don't really think twice about it when you're in that moment.  You just do it.

COSBY:  And how did you end up with the tape, or do both of you have a copy?


COSBY:  You both do?

NARAIN:  Uh-huh.

COSBY:  Why do you—why do you get the sense—because, obviously, he says there was a verbal agreement that both of you said, OK, we're not ever going to release this.  Was there such an agreement?


COSBY:  There was not?  Was there anything he said—Look, please don't ever release this?  He certainly didn't expect it to become public, right?

NARAIN:  Right.  But I mean, I didn't expect it, either, so, I mean, what I want people to understand is there are two people in this tape, and it's not just Colin, you know?  I am part of the tape, as well.  So you know, I have the same feelings he does on the situation of the tape, but it's just an unfortunate situation which, you know, I need to try to take the best of and try to take control of it, which I'm trying to do now.

COSBY:  Has he talked with you, Nicole, and said—like, you know, since word sort of has gotten out, has he said, Please don't release this?  Has he said anything to you, or his attorney?

NARAIN:  I mean, we've talked briefly in the beginning, before our attorneys and everything got involved.  I'm sure we will open up lines of communication again soon, just because it's probably necessary.  But you know, we both feel the same.  You know, we're on the same page, which is we did not want it out.  But what do you to in a situation when you're like this, you know, when you know that there is—somewhere out there, there is a copy missing that one day can just show up on the Internet, you know?

So why not take control of the situation, you know?  So I just feel like it's just in my best interest to take it to—to take this route and team up with Internet Commerce Group and oversee everything and make sure that, you know, me and Colin are properly compensated for this and...

COSBY:  Now, will he get a profit of this, if it was sold?

NARAIN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

COSBY:  Oh, he would?  How much?

NARAIN:  I mean, I don't know.  I don't know—I don't have, like, numbers or figures.

COSBY:  But he's working with you on the deal, is what you're saying. 

It's not just you—you giving the tape totally against his will?

NARAIN:  I'm sorry.  Say it again?

COSBY:  Is it something that you two are working on this together, or are you doing this on your own?

NARAIN:  I—yes, no, we're not working on this together.  I'm just -

·         I'm trying to take control of the situation, and I'll just—I'm going to make sure that we are both, in the end, you know, properly compensated for the situation.  So it's not like I'm off by myself saying, Hey, you know...

COSBY:  But he's not necessarily saying, Please do this, either?  I mean, you know...

NARAIN:  Well, right.  Right.  But I just think that...

COSBY:  You know what's surprising, Nicole?  Here's a guy who's—and I want to show some of the films.  He's been in three films where he's actually appeared naked, you know, “Home at the End of the World,” “Alexander,” which a lot of us saw, “Tigerland.”  Are you surprised he's sort of getting modest now?

NARAIN:  Yes.  That's a very good question.  And it is—it's kind of like that, you know?  It's, like, if somebody offered me a million dollars to do, you know, a feature film and it involved nudity or sexual content, I more than likely would do the film.  And it's the same thing that he does, I mean, at the end of the day.  So I don't know.

COSBY:  Well, do me a favor, Nicole.  Hang tight, if you could, because the big question I'm sure everybody at home is asking—how much is a sex tape with Colin Farrell worth?  Joining me now is Sal Abbatte.  He's the CEO of the Internet Commerce Group, who is trying to purchase that racy tape.  Mr. Abbatte, let me ask you, you know, how much would a tape like this go for?

SAL ABBATTE, CEO, INTERNET COMMERCE GROUP:  Well, if you look at the previous history on the Pamela Anderson tape or the Paris Hilton tape, even after they were already out on the Internet, the Paris Hilton tape, what I've heard, has done over half a million copies, along with the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee tapes doing over a million copies.  So you can kind of do the numbers.

COSBY:  So—but again, how much would you purchase it for?  Are we talking six figures, five figures?

ABBATTE:  No, actually, we're looking to assist Nicole here.  She's in a situation where the tape is going to get out on the Internet.  And if we actually lose this case right now, once the tape gets out there, she's not going to get anything, Colin's not going to get anything, and basically, there's going to be a tape roaming the Internet.  The reason why I feel the tape hasn't gotten out just yet, because the people who have the tape, if they just release it, there's no money to be made, except initially.

COSBY:  And let me ask Nicole, too.  Nicole (INAUDIBLE) how did these other people get the tape, Nicole?  I mean, it's an interesting question because, obviously, it was a private moment and you both sort of had a copy of it.  How did other folks get a hold of this tape?

NARAIN:  I mean, and that is a good question, too, because I wasn't even aware that there was a copy was missing until I got a phone call, you know, from friends and from family, you know, Hey, you're on Page 6, or, Hey, somebody just—somebody's talking about the tape.  So it's just one of those things either you don't know how it happens, it just—me, personally, I've moved a lot in the last year.  I moved around four times.  You know, I'm not going to say I haven't had numerous functions at my house or parties.

COSBY:  But you didn't release the tape.

NARAIN:  I don't know, though.  But I can't sit here and say...

COSBY:  You didn't leak it?  You didn't—you didn't...


NARAIN:  Oh, no, no.  Absolutely not.

COSBY:  Because some people say—some people say, I want to do this to get the attention (INAUDIBLE) celebrity?

NARAIN:  No.  No.  I mean, I'm doing—I was doing just fine on my own with, you know, my life and, you know, making my own way.  So it just - - it's not necessary.  It wasn't necessary.

COSBY:  You know, Sal, it's amazing because I want to show just—you know, obviously, of course, so many of us know about all these different tapes.  I want to show, if I could, Paris Hilton, of course.  We all remember Pamela Anderson.  Also Tommy Lee, Tom Sizemore, Fred Durst.  There's just a—you know, just to name a few.

Why do celebrities continue making these tapes?  Don't they realize, at some point, somehow, it's going to get out there, whether it's someone who's in your house or one of the parties gives it out?  Don't they realize their lives are going to be so embarrassed by the time it happens?

ABBATTE:  Well, actually, if you look at lot of the celebrity tapes, the Paris Hilton tape, you know, made her famous.  She's one of the hottest stars in Hollywood.  You know, via our Web site, Hollywoodsextapes.com, we actually have her tape featured on there, Tom Sizemore, and the Pamela Anderson tape.  You know, when celebrities think—that's why I'm—you know, with Colin Farrell, right now, he's kind of stopping this thing, but the reality is, this will make his career go even further yet, just as it has everyone else.

COSBY:  Well, you know, that's the question.  Is it sort of like a rite a passage?  I mean, on the other hand, you know, Colin Farrell's a very well established guy.  He's saying this is invading his privacy.  Isn't it, to a degree?

ABBATTE:  You know, originally, it would be, in the sense that, you

know, if the tape was kept private.  The reality is, the tape is out on the

·         someone has the possession of it.  It's going to get out there, and he's trying to stop us or stop Nicole, saying, Hey—you know, he started the lawsuit.  So we're in a position right now where she's lost a lot of modeling jobs and things like that.  So we're looking to assist her, saying, Listen, if we can get it out there, we can control it, then the people who have the tape, they'll be able to make money by selling through our Web site, Hollywoodsextapes. com.  They could become an affiliate of ours and make money that way and avoid the legal hassle

COSBY:  All right, let me bring in...


COSBY:  Go ahead, Nicole.  Sorry.  Go ahead.

NARAIN:  I was just saying it's an invasion of my privacy, as well, too, though, you know?  So that's—it's, like—it's give and take on the situation.  And I think people are really just kind of—they seem to keep just concentrating—Well, what about Colin?  What about Colin?  Well, what about me?

COSBY:  Well, and you bring up a good point because you didn't release the tape, and...


NARAIN:  You know, so...

COSBY:  Yes.

ABBATTE:  Yes.  And we were actually—you know, we were approached originally, saying that there was a tape out there.  You know, we run celebrity Web sites, like Malecelebrities.com and Femalecelebrities.com.  So we are approached as a natural person to go out and get this out on the Internet.  We sat back and said the only way we would do it is if Nicole and Colin signed off on it.  Now, since it's in legal court, we found out that through copyright law, she has the right to distribute, as an individual.  Either person can distribute, and that's what they're trying to stop right now.

But by us going ahead and helping her and assisting her with this, she'll be able to control it.  And at this point, at the end of the day, she'll be able to control it, make some money with it and help out in what she's lost so far.

COSBY:  All right, both of you, hang on, because I want to bring in Lauren Lake.  She's a noted trial attorney.  You know, Lauren, when you hear this—and it's an interesting, you know, perspective because I didn't know before this that, apparently, it's getting out there already on the Internet.  But don't folks, like particularly Colin Farrell—he's blocking this, saying, Look, it's bad enough that parts are trickling.  I don't want the whole thing trickled out there.

LAUREN LAKE, TRIAL ATTORNEY:  Well, I mean, it's bad enough that it's trickling out there, but there's still something called privacy rights.  And I mean, who's Nicole to unilaterally decide that she's going to relinquish Colin Farrell's privacy rights?  Just as the gentleman just said, if both parties signed off on this, it would be one thing.  But if one party is saying, Oh, I don't need all my naked business in the street, well, then the other party to that copyright should respect that.  Hey, I got an idea.  Why don't they sell just the parts with Nicole on the tape?  Wonder how much they would sell for.

ABBATTE:  I think—I think...


ABBATTE:  I think the tape would sell just as good, personally.

LAKE:  Well, you should do that, then, and leave Colin out of it!  And therefore...

ABBATTE:  Well, actually, the problem we're going to run into is the fact that the tape is going to get out there, and once it gets out there and it's not controlled, it's going to be out there and the public's going to see it.  She's in a position right now that she knows it's inevitable.

LAKE:  Right.  But the point is, if the other person to the copyright, sir, is saying, Hey, I'm not trying to take this route—Colin's making real movies.  He's not trying to get in the distribution of pornographic movies that he really made as a personal intimate encounter between he and this young girl.  Now, if she's got some issues, it seems like both of their lawyers should be getting together and deciding how we can make the best of this situation.  But if Colin says he does not want to distribute this video, I don't understand how a court is going to decide that copyright law is going to outweigh privacy law.

COSBY:  And Sal, real quick...

ABBATTE:  Actually, that's the way copyright law works.

COSBY:  And Sal, also...


COSBY:  ... doesn't this also open the floodgates, too, I mean, for other cases in the future, because this is going to federal court, right, and when?

ABBATTE:  Exactly.  Yes.  That's what's happening right now.  The way copyright law works is one person has the right to distribute, even if the other person doesn't.  However, the other person is entitled to any money received from the distribution of that tape.  Even though Colin does not want it out there, at this point, it's going to get out there.  If Nicole can control this and we can go ahead and put it—and it's not going to be just a 14-minute tape.  There's going to be a lot of other things that talk about Nicole, her life, what she's done as an actress...

LAKE:  So Nicole's making a movie.

COSBY:  And you guys—Nicole, let me bring you in, too, because what are you doing now careerwise?  Are you capitalizing on someone who is doing mega-films?

NARAIN:  No.  Absolutely not!

COSBY:  And what was he like as a boyfriend, too?

NARAIN:  I'm sorry?

COSBY:  What was he like as a boyfriend, too?  How long did you guys date?

NARAIN:  I mean, well that's—I don't know, I just think that's just so not even the issue right now.  I mean, I want to kind of concentrate on the main topic right now, but...

COSBY:  What are you doing, though?  I think, you know, obviously, Lauren's point is are you capitalizing, you know, on a megastar?  What are you doing yourself?

NARAIN:  No.  I mean, I—I'm also in entertainment.  You know, I do my modeling and my print and—you know, and I go to school, and—you know, and that's everything I'm doing, as well, you know, is entertainment.  You know, I want to be an actress, as well.  I'm doing all of that.  So I'm not trying to capitalize whatsoever.  I have my own path that I'm trying to make for myself.

ABBATTE:  Yes, but the only unfortunate situation is that since this has happened, she's lost a lot of work.

NARAIN:  Right.

ABBATTE:  People are looking at her, you know, in a negative way.  And she's—you know, she's a very confident woman, a very beautiful woman.  And at this point, she's going to take control of the situation.

COSBY:  All right, guys.  That's going to have to be the last for all of you.  Thank you very much.  Keep us posted.

And coming up: (INAUDIBLE) four men robbed at gunpoint and offered their wallets.  But get this.  The thieves didn't want the wallets.  Instead, they had some high-tech plans.  We're going to tell you what they wanted instead.

And that's not all we have in store tonight.  Still ahead: young, hot and almost off the hook.  You'll be shocked to find out what punishment this school teacher is getting for having sex with her teenage student.


JUDGE WAYNE TIMMERMAN, HILLSBOROUGH CIRCUIT JUDGE:  You shall be deemed a sexual offender...


COSBY:  And caught on tape.  This guy is pointing his gun right at a police officer inside his cruiser.  Find out how this dramatic stand-off ended.  And 'tis the season for the five-finger discount.  Holiday bargains apparently bring out a lot more out than shoppers—pickpockets, purse snatchers and shoplifters.  Find out why their tricks could end up costing you big-time.  It's coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  One of the things that has been the most disturbing to me up to this point is—is I was amazed that she had not shown any remorse at all.  And really, I didn't feel that she had taken any responsibility for her actions.


COSBY:  It's a surprising twist in a teacher sex case that we here on the show have been following closely.  Debra Lafave, the teacher who slept with a 14-year-old student, will now not spend any time in prison for her crime.  Lafave pled guilty today in court as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.  Under that agreement, Lafave will spend the next three years under house arrest.

Joining me now LIVE AND DIRECT is NBC's Mark Potter.  Mark, bring us up to speed on what happened today.

MARK POTTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, hi, Rita.  The purpose of the no jail time plea deal was to prevent a sensationalized trial from being played out in the media.  That was the insistence of the mother who we just saw a moment ago.  She was very concerned that her son would be traumatized.  So under this deal, indeed, there is no jail time, but Debra Lafave will face three years of house arrest, seven years of probation, and must also complete a lengthy sex offender's program.  She can also have no contact at all with the victim, must give up her teaching certificate for life and follow a long list of requirements that were spelled out very clearly today by the judge, Wayne Timmerman.


JUDGE WAYNE TIMMERMAN, HILLSBOROUGH CIRCUIT JUDGE:  ... successfully complete a sex offender treatment program.  She shall have no unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 18 without another adult present who is responsible for the child's welfare, has been advised of the crime and is approved by this court.  Do you understand that?



POTTER:  Now, Lafave had faced very serious charges, committing lewd and lascivious batter upon a minor, the 14-year-old boy.  Had she gone to trial and been convicted, she could have faced up to 15 years in prison per count.

Now, the prosecutors earlier had offered a plea deal where she would serve three years in prison, but the defense rejected that, saying it would be unsafe for her to go to prison.  The defense attorneys said that they would go to trial and offer up an insanity defense.  But as next month's trial date was looming and the boy faced depositions tomorrow, the mother insisted on an agreement that would prevent the trial from playing out, allowing her son to put all this behind her.

So the deal was struck, no jail time and 10 years of supervision.  Prosecutors say that Lafave got no special treatment in this case, that they were just most concerned about the welfare of the victim—Rita.

COSBY:  All right, Mark.  Thank you very much.

Well, the big question is, should Debra Lafave gotten a harsher

punishment?  Joining us now to talk about her plea deal is Hillsborough

County prosecutor Michael Sinacore.  Michael, I want to show first—this

is a comment from the defense attorney.  Mark Potter was sort of alluding

to the comment.  This is a comment what a lot of people were very surprised

·         this is what her defense attorney said in court earlier.


JOHN FITZGIBBONS, LAFAVE'S ATTORNEY:  To place an attractive young woman in that kind of hellhole is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions.  I'm not sure that Debbie would be able to survive.


COSBY:  So because she's pretty, she shouldn't serve any jail time? 

Mr. Sinacore, did you cave to public pressure?

MICHAEL SINACORE, ASST. STATE'S ATTORNEY:  No, we didn't cave to public pressure.  I don't think the public was calling for the resolution that we ended up with in this case.

What happened is the pressure that was put on the boy, the pressure that the media covering this case and the comments that were made, how that intensified the pressure—all this led to a young boy being placed in the center of a storm, who was facing the prospect of having to testify on a world stage and talk about intimate details of his life, details that, frankly, he would rather just put behind him.  So the pressure came from the outside and definitely had an influence on the victim and the victim's family and their desires of how to handle this case.

COSBY:  No, and I'm sure it is just absolutely most so difficult for them.  You know, a lot of people look at it, though, and say, Here's Debra Lafave—I want to show—this is the plea deal, obviously, that was struck, you know, three years house arrest, seven years probation.  She's got to register as a sex offender.  She can't teach again.  She can't have contact with children.  She won't be able to profit, you know, from her story.

The big question is, you know, did you let sort of a sexual predator go free?  Last night on the show, we had Owen Lafave, of course, her ex-husband.  I want to show what he had to say.


OWEN LAFAVE, DEBRA'S EX-HUSBAND:  There was nothing wrong with our relationship, and it's one of those things that is just bizarre.  It's very Jerry Springeresque, especially as the story continues to grow.  And it's just—it's very confusing and it's something that, you know, I still continue to search for the answers.


COSBY:  You know, he still doesn't know sort of why his wife did this.  Mr. Sinacore, I mean, is this someone who you think will be a repeat offender?  Do you think she's learned her lesson?

SINACORE:  I would be shocked if she were a repeat offender.  We had six different experts that were involved in this case and evaluating her.  None of them felt that she was any risk to do this again.  She did have several psychological issues which led to these crimes occurring.  However, if she is on her medicine and if she receives the proper psychiatric treatment, there's no reason to think that anything like this will repeat itself.

And it's not like she set out down the road wanting to develop a relationship.  She wasn't targeting a young boy.  The situation presented itself, and what all the experts say is, she basically didn't know how to handle it.  It's not like she went out there just trying to violate a boy.  So it's not your typical offense, where when you talk about sex offenders and sex predators, that they're lurking on the street, posing a danger to all our children.

COSBY:  Which is good.  And really quick, you talked about the boy—because I'm sure it's just been hard for him and his family.  Are they relieved, just real fast, that it is over with and now behind them, hopefully?

SINACORE:  I can't tell you how happy they are that this is finally put behind them.  You played earlier some of the statements made by the victim's mother, who's a remarkable woman.  I had a lot of contact with her throughout this case.  We talked at length about what to do and what we were willing to do all along.  She did want prison in this case, as we always wanted prison in this case.  However, at this critical juncture on the eve of the depositions, we had a lengthy conversation, several conversations, and she had heart-to-heart talks with her son and decided that they didn't want to go through with it.  They did not want to put this boy into the center of this storm.

I cannot express to you how happy they are at this resolution, and we had to give a great deal of respect to their wishes in a case of this nature.

COSBY:  Absolutely.  Mr. Sinacore, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us.

And now, if we could, bring in prosecutor Stacey Honowitz and also defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.  Stacey, fair decision?  Was justice served?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Boy, you know, Rita, everybody wanted her to go to prison.  But I've been in that situation so many times before, and if the victim and his family doesn't want to go forward, then you are really stuck and you have to really abide by their wishes.  So in this case, after hearing what the prosecutor had to say in this case, I would agree that this is a fair disposition for not putting the victim at the center of this storm.

COSBY:  You know, Jayne, too, you got to listen, of course, to what—you know, what they're saying, and clearly, in this case, as you heard from Mr. Sinacore, they're saying, you know, It's just too much for us.  We can't proceed.  I mean, you got to listen to your client's wishes, basically.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Basically, you do.  But of course, you do that and you flush that out when you make the decision to file the case.  And there was a commitment.  I don't hear the prosecutor saying that this child's and the family's going to waive their rights to a civil lawsuit because they're going to go forward, Rita.

You know why this case settled?  This case settled for two reasons.  One, there was a bona fide, legitimate insanity defense with three very credible psychiatrists.

HONOWITZ:  Oh, my God!  You're kidding!  Oh, my God!

WEINTRAUB:  And number two, and the police in this case acted in such a disgusting and unprofessional manner when they booked Debra Lafave.  And nobody's talking about this.  They took unbelievable, inappropriate, sexually explicit pictures of Debra Lafave under the theory that it would corroborate the boy's identifying Miss Lafave.


COSBY:  Hang on one second, ladies.

HONOWITZ:  There was absolutely no insanity defense in this case!

COSBY:  Hang on.  As it turns out, those pictures were not allowed to be admitted, as it turns out.  But Stacey, you know...

WEINTRAUB:  But they were taken!

COSBY:  ... weren't there any grounds for insanity?


COSBY:  What would have happened had this gone to trial?

HONOWITZ:  First of all, to say that there was a legitimate insanity defense is insane in its own right.  She was not insane.  She knew exactly what she was doing.  We heard the recordings.  We heard the phone calls.

And I'm going to tell you another thing.  This happens in rape causes all the time, and the reason you're seeing it now is because the media is all over it because she's a female teacher.  I have rape cases where, in the 11th hour, the victim does not want to go into court, does not want to talk about intimate details, and the cameras aren't there.  So imagine how this child felt.  It has nothing to do with filing the case in the beginning.

WEINTRAUB:  This is not a small child, Stacey!  This is not a 7 or 8-year-old kid.  It's a 15-year-old young man!  Please!

HONOWITZ:  It's a 14-year-old boy.  He's not a young man.

WEINTRAUB:  This is a woman who now...


HONOWITZ:  ... child, and he had to go in court in front of the national media and discuss intimate details.  It's not so easy!  It's not easy for any rape victim...

WEINTRAUB:  Nobody said it was easy.

HONOWITZ:  ... let alone a victim who's in the media.  And this is what the prosecutors were doing, abiding by their wishes.

COSBY:  Now, Jayne, what about the issue of this statement, this outrageous statement, I think, from her defense attorney, Debra Lafave's attorney, basically, because she's pretty, she's going to get eaten alive in prison.  You know, please don't send her to that.  I mean, what do you make of that...

WEINTRAUB:  I'm not going to defend...

COSBY:  Like, in other words, you know, ugly people shouldn't—you know, that's OK to send them to prison?

WEINTRAUB:  Rita, I'm not going to defend that statement.  I think it was a slip of his tongue.  I don't think he should have made the statement.  And his reputation is as a very creditable, good lawyer.  But what I will tell you is that, you know, seven years of sexual offender probation is no walk in the park, Stacey.  I mean, it may not be prison to you.  It's probably worse to most people.  She is going to be labeled a sexual offender for the rest of her life.  There are...

HONOWITZ:  As well she should!


WEINTRAUB:  ... from living there.  This isn't living 1,000 feet from a school.  Please!  This is a very serious sentence.


COSBY:  Stacey, you get the last word.  Five seconds, Stacey.

HONOWITZ:  The sentence that she got is well deserved.  It had to happen this way because the victim did not want to go forward.  This is the way it had to resolve itself.

COSBY:  OK, and I'm going to have to resolve it and move on to a break.  Both of you, thank you very much.

WEINTRAUB:  Thank you, Rita.

COSBY:  And still ahead, everybody—shoppers beware.  You're not the only one looking for holiday bargains.  Find out why that person shopping next to you could actually be a crook.  A former shoplifter is going to tell me how it is done.  And what led this armed man to aim his gun at a police officer?  The police officer's life or death decision is coming up.


COSBY:  And buyer beware.  The holiday season is upon us, and that means thieves will soon be hitting the mall.  Could we see one of the worst years for shoplifting in recent memory?  And could you and your loved ones also be targets? 

We're joined by Daniel Butler.  He's the vice president of the world's largest trade association, merchandising and retail operations, and also former shoplifter Terrence Shulman.  He's also the author of the book, “Something for Nothing,” an appropriate title.

You know, Daniel, let me start with you.  I was surprised by this.  Shoplifting's on the rise in the last five years, 12 percent increase.  Why the increase?

DANIEL BUTLER, VP, MERCHANDISING AND DETAIL OPERATIONS:  Well, I think that there are more stores for people to go into and to steal from.  And also, there's an increase in organized retail theft activity.  We see more groups of people going from city to city and from mall to mall, trying to hit retailers and trying to steal merchandise.  So there's more opportunity, there's more people engaged in that behavior now. 

COSBY:  And how bad is going to get, with the holidays upon us? 

BUTLER:  Well, now we have extended hours.  We also have increased demand for the products that thieves like to steal in the stores.  So the thieves like to steal what people want.  So whether it's designer jeans, or fine jewelry, or fragrances, they're out there this time of year to gather product that they think they can sell on the street. 

COSBY:  You know, Daniel, I wanted to tell you, I was so surprised at some of these statistics.  I want to show them to our viewers:  $25 million worth of goods are stolen each day.  That's $10 billion a year.  Also, one in 11 people shoplift.  That means, what, about half of my staff is shoplifting, I guess, right?  And 75 percent are adults.

Other than surveillance cameras, how do you catch these people?  And is that right, one in 11? 

BUTLER:  Well, retailers do a lot to fight retail crime.  We have, in addition to camera surveillance, we have exceptional reporting techniques that show you things that are happening at the register that might be unusual and might be out of the norm for the retailers. 

But they also look at product placement.  They look at training their staffs to alert security if there's a problem. 

And the main deterrent for theft is good customer service.  So what most retailers try to do is train their staffs to alert store management or security if there's something suspicious.  Sometimes you may not see that the retailer is fighting the crime, but they do respond to those types of tips and information. 

COSBY:  You know, Terrence, let me bring you in.  You're a former shoplifter. 


COSBY:  You know, you hear these cases, of course, there's the case of Winona Ryder shoplifting and so forth.  Why did you do it?  Was it for the thrill?  Or was it a need? 

SHULMAN:  Well, I'm 40 years old.  And I began shoplifting when I was about 15.  And I did it on and off for about eight to 10 years. 

I did it largely in reaction to a lot of anger that I wasn't dealing with in my life.  I'm not making excuses.  I've been in recovery now for 15 years.  Counsel people who shoplift chronically. 

And what I did know is that I became addicted to this behavior.  And increasing, what we're finding is that people shoplift for different reasons. 

There are certainly the organized theft rings.  I have no interest in dealing with those people, and nor was I a part of any ring. 

But the great majority of people, according to statistics, who shoplift are people like you and me, otherwise good, caring, law-abiding people, who succumb to personal or social pressures at some point in their lives and get hooked on this kind of getting something for nothing, which we all like to do as human beings, but some people take it over the... 

COSBY:  So it was the rush?  It was the rush?

SHULMAN:  It was partly a rush.  It was partly a sense of satisfaction of getting something back symbolically that I felt was taken from me in life.  I work with a lot of people...

COSBY:  Didn't you feel guilty, though, I mean, at the same time?  You know, clearly, you're breaking the law. 

SHULMAN:  Absolutely. 

COSBY:  You were 15, old enough to know what you were doing. 

SHULMAN:  Sure, absolutely.

COSBY:  Did you feel bad? 

SHULMAN:  Actually, I did.  And most of the people overwhelmingly that I work with do feel bad, but they don't feel bad enough to stop or they try to stop and they can't. 

Most addicts of any form feel bad on some level, but you become numb to the consequences to what you're doing.  You're in the fog.  You're in a trance.  You're on autopilot.  And it's very powerful.

And so there are many people who are going to be out there during this holiday in that daze, in that fog, in that trance, who are going to shoplift, even for the first time, come this Friday. 

COSBY:  And real quick, both of you, real, real quick, advice to store owners and advice to shoppers.  About 10 seconds to both of you.  I'll start with Terrence? 

SHULMAN:  Well, one thing I would say, if you know you have a problem, keep out of stores and get alternative gifts if you have to get anything.  And for people who maybe don't have a problem and think they never would, don't be surprised.  It's very stressful going into the stores with the long lines.  And if you need help, look up ShopliftersAnonymous.com. 

COSBY:  Absolutely.  Good advice. 

Daniel, real quick?

BUTLER:  I think, for the retailers, the main message would be to take care of your customers and be alert to everyone that's in your store.  Pay attention to the activity that's happening with each of those customers.  If you give great service, you won't have a problem. 

COSBY:  All right, both of you, good advice.  Thank you very much.

SHULMAN:  Thank you, Rita.

COSBY:  And of course, everybody, be safe this holiday season. 

On to another interesting story, the Xbox 360.  It's, of course, one of the hottest items this holiday season.  A lot of people are talking about it.  It's so hot, though, that four men say that they were robbed at gun point for theirs. 

Reporter Ryan Cummings from NBC affiliate WRCB in Chattanooga has the incredible story. 


CHRIS CAMPBELL, ROBBERY VICTIM:  It stunned me.  And no thought process was really going through other than, “This really can't be real.” 

RYAN CUMMINGS, REPORTER, WRCB-TV CHATTANOOGA:  But it was real.  The armed men were after this, the new Xbox 360, which is now being called the hottest new thing.  But these guys won't be playing it today, because, after they waited in line for 14 hours, like these game lovers at the Hixson Wal-Mart, their systems were stolen. 

TIM HAYS, ROBBERY VICTIM:  We got home.  We took the Xboxes out of the bags and sat them on the table.  And then we went to go back to the car to get in the car.  And two guys jumped us from behind my apartment.  They come through the bushes.  I just heard the hammer cock on the gun. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They were using a lot of profanity.  And the other guy—I kind of saw a gun out of the corner of my eye.  And so I realized this was the real thing.  So I pretty much—I offered them my wallet.  And he said he didn't want it.  He said he wanted the Xbox. 

CAMPBELL:  In a very growling, distorted voice, swearing at us and asking us where the Xboxes were. 

CUMMINGS:  The Xbox officially went on sale at midnight.  And now, for all who've waited, it's finally available, well, at least it was.  And people everywhere, including here at the Best Buy, are giving it a try.  But for Chris Campbell and his buddies, well, they'll just have to start over. 

CAMPBELL:  The robbers knew exactly what they were going for.  They weren't interested in anything else but the Xboxes.  And still, I felt like it was definitely strategized and plotted. 


COSBY:  And that was reporter Ryan Cummings in Chattanooga. 

Up next, a standoff between a cop and an armed suspect, and with one of them pulling the trigger.  The details are next.

And is FEMA still planning to evict countless Hurricane Katrina victims or will they still have a home for the holidays?  Stay tuned.


COSBY:  Tonight, we have some incredible images of a dramatic standoff between a police officer and a suspect aiming a gun right at him.  Here it is.  The patrol car camera catches the final seconds of a Georgia man's life as he aims his rifle at a sheriff's deputy. 

Charles Lee Lamb, the man you see there, inches his way toward Deputy Sheriff James Coffel, before being shot in the chest three times.  On the phone tonight is Lieutenant William Terrell with the Camden County, Georgia, sheriff's department. 

Lieutenant Terrell, what sort of led up to the situation?  What was the original altercation to pull this guy over? 

LT. WILLIAM TERRELL, CAMDEN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT:  Deputy Coffel was out on another unrelated traffic stop.  He was stopped by—or a motorist approached him and told him about a red pickup truck that had been driving erratically on the interstate and asked him to go take a look at that vehicle.

He did so.  And he followed Mr. Lamb for approximately five, six miles up the interstate.  And at the end of the stop, you see on the video what happened. 

COSBY:  You know, now, how many times—I understand Mr. Lamb was shot, what, three times in the chest? 

TERRELL:  That's correct, yes. 

COSBY:  Why didn't he go for the leg?  Why did he go right for the chest? 

TERRELL:  Well, Mr. Lamb had already been pointing a rifle at him.  He had already been driving erratically.  He had failed to stop.  He had stopped once before and stuck the gun barrel out of the window.  And Deputy Coffel just fell back on his training.  And he was protecting himself and the lives of others. 

COSBY:  What do we know about this guy, as we look at the pictures that are showing him from the video?  I mean, it is incredible.  He's there pointing right at the car, right at, obviously, one of your deputies. 

What do we know about Charles Lamb, the man holding the rifle?  Why did he have a gun?  Does he have any prior records? 

TERRELL:  I believe he had a couple of violations in Florida, nothing in Georgia.  There's been a lot of speculation about why Mr. Lamb did what he did.  We had not spoken with the family because the investigation continues, but there may have been some personal issues going on with him.  We may never know exactly why he did what he did. 

COSBY:  Why did the sheriff's department feel it was important to release, you know, the tape that we were just looking at? 

TERRELL:  Here in our local community, there had been a lot of speculation, exactly the question you asked.  Why didn't he shoot him in the leg?  Why did he use a taser?  Why didn't he use pepper spray? 

And we were trying to demonstrate that Mr. Lamb put Deputy Coffel in a position where he had absolutely no other choice.  I mean, he had pointed the gun at him.  Like I said, he had been driving erratically.  And he was approaching the deputy with the gun, pointing it directly at him, trying to fire it.  And he just—we believe he had absolutely no other choice. 

COSBY:  What is the status of the deputy, too, because, obviously, it's standard procedure.  They get put on administrative leave?  Does he remain that way?  Is he going to be back on the job? 

TERRELL:  I'm sure he'll be back.  Yes, he'll probably be out for another week or so.  And that, again—yes, you're correct.  That is standard procedure.  It gives them a time to be interview and debriefed.  It gives them a time to adjust through this traumatic change that has occurred in their life. 

COSBY:  Lieutenant, thank you very much.  And I'm glad, obviously, the deputy is safe and sound, especially this guy wielding the gun like that.  Thank you very much. 

Meantime, another story.  A New York City Catholic schoolteacher gets fired for being single and getting pregnant.  And now she's fighting back. 

Twenty-six-year-old Michelle McCusker was fired from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in Queens, New York, not too far from here, last month, when school officials found out that she was pregnant and had no plans to wed. 

Here is part of the school's morality clause.  It says that a teacher cannot violate the tenets of Catholic morality.  When a situation becomes evident that a situation becomes evident that a teacher's life cannot witness what the Catholic Church teaches, then termination of contract must occur.

Here is what the woman had to say. 


MICHELLE MCCUSKER, FIRED TEACHER:  I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and of valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choose to have this baby. 

I held the Catholic religion to a higher standard, I guess.  I thought they were more forgiving than judgmental. 


COSBY:  And McCusker claims that that morality clause is biased against women and she's suing the school, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union.  We'll keep you posted on where that lawsuit goes. 

And when we come back, is New Orleans there?  There are thousands of people who will be spending the Thanksgiving holiday wondering, where are their relatives?  Wait until you hear how many thousands of people are still unaccounted for.  It is a staggering number, and it's coming up next. 



R. DAVID PAULISON, ACTING FEMA DIRECTOR:  We are not kicking people out into the streets.  We are simply moving them from hotels and motels into apartments that we will continue to pay for.  The cost of renting out an apartment by the month is much cheaper than renting a hotel by the day. 


COSBY:  Well, it turns out that evacuees that FEMA was going to evict right before Thanksgiving, well, now have a home for the holidays after all.  Acting FEMA Director David Paulison, as you just heard, says that Hurricane Katrina evacuees will have their rooms until January 7th.  FEMA has also pledged to move the evacuees into more long-term housing. 

Meanwhile, there are still unanswered questions about the future of New Orleans and whether a plan to rebuild the city will be debated any time soon.  More tonight from NBC's Martin Savidge. 


MARTIN SAVIDGE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Sixty-eight-year-old Freddie Tassin (ph) is cleaning out his New Orleans home alone, which is how a lot of residents here say they're feeling these days. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sometimes I get angry.  Then I get frustrated. 

Then I get sad. 

SAVIDGE:  Three months after the storm, there's no official plan to rebuild and no outline for what it will cost.  Instead, there's been debate over who should run the schools, who should get the loans, and lately whether a city below sea level should be rebuilt at all. 

“Times Picayune” writer, Jarvis DeBerry, opened his column this morning, “I wonder what New Orleans did to the rest of the country that makes them hate us so.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It's very insulting and condescending to suggest that New Orleans, because of our geography, is somehow not worth the effort that would be put into San Francisco, or Miami, or Chicago, or Boston, or any other great city. 

SAVIDGE:  At a pizza parlor on Magazine Street, owner Ted Nikur (ph) thinks talk of giving up is way out of line. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) I think for just give up on that fast.

SAVIDGE:  Many here still cling to the president's promise of not so long ago.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans.  And this great city will rise again. 

SAVIDGE:  But Freddie Tassin (ph) fears the talk of rebuilding was just that. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It seems like they—you know, they want to forget about us. 

SAVIDGE:  And so he keeps cleaning all by himself. 

Martin Savidge, NBC News, New Orleans. 


COSBY:  And with us now to talk about the long road back for New Orleans is St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens.  He's LIVE & DIRECT from our NBC News bureau in New Orleans tonight.

You know, Sheriff Stephens, what's your normal population of St.

Bernard Parish?

SHERIFF JACK STEPHENS, ST. BERNARD PARISH:  It's close to 70,000, Rita. 

COSBY:  And what is now?  What is it here, what, you know, several months after Hurricane Katrina?  What's the population tonight? 

STEPHENS:  Well, aside from emergency workers and essential personnel, essential governmental personnel, it's probably about 500 people. 

COSBY:  Five hundred people, compared to about 70,000? 

STEPHENS:  That's right. 

COSBY:  How many of these people of the 500 -- do they have power?  Do they have lights?  Do they have hospitals, schools? 

STEPHENS:  Nope.  Well, we have one school that's opened about—I guess 50 percent of that 500 are running their trailers or wherever they're living, off of generator power, and the rest is off of energy. 

There's one school open now.  There are portions of the parish that do have water available to them.  But there's just—it's been such a slow response to the individual assistance effort by the federal government in this aftermath of this catastrophe, with respect to locating trailers on lots and giving people an opportunity to get back into the community and start rehabilitating their lives.  It's just moving excruciating slow.  That's the bad news. 

The good news is, as opposed to the mindset about a month ago, I now think people—really, a majority of our people are determined to come back and rebuild.  The disappointment with the response of the federal and state government, this thing is very, very high. 

But people are accepting it now, and knowing that the bill of goods that we've been sold—that the federal government was like your parents, always willing to pick you up off of your backside and put you on your feet when something bad happens to you, is just a myth.  Now, we have...

COSBY:  Now, Sheriff, do you still feel deserted?  Do you still feel deserted?  I mean, do you still feel like—I mean, your area is one of the hardest hit.  I'm astounded that here we are, talking several months later, and you've only got 500 folks there and still such little federal support? 

STEPHENS:  Well, you know, honestly, I feel invigorated by the attitude of our public officials and by our local native population that I come in contact with everyday.  They're just looking for a chance to get back on their feet and move back to the community where they want to raise their kids and they grew up. 

And, you know, it's just a strange situation, when you hear members of Congress talking about not rebuilding New Orleans.  I reminded someone today that it's called the Louisiana Purchase, not the Missouri purchase.  And it increased the size of this country; it doubled the size of this country when it happened. 

And it was because of the strategic seaport that we are.  It's why the British tried to invade us in 1812 to take it back.  So if the Congress doesn't want us, give us back to France.  Maybe they'll make good use of use, and I bet you they'll help us rebuild. 

COSBY:  Well, it is appalling.  I will tell you, you know, I'm astounded that still such little progress has been made and such little has been given to you guys, especially.  How long, Sheriff, until you think New Orleans is going to come back, until your parish is going to come back? 

STEPHENS:  Rita, I don't think this is a quick process by any stretch of anyone's imagination.  And it's complicated.  It starts at the top of the food chain, with everyone talking about going to a Category 5 levee system.  Only the United States Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can undertake an ambitious problem like that. 

Monday, as a matter of fact, Senator Mary Landrieu is bringing down a PhD and government official from the Netherlands to visit me in St. Bernard Parish and talk about, really, the magic that they worked, you know, in that part of the world to make sure that they were safe from flooding. 

But, you know, the impact of this hurricane has been unbelievable.  I heard one of our local public officials say last night that four major storms hit Florida last year and the price of orange juice went up.  One major storm hit Louisiana this year and the price of gas wept up nationwide. 

So for any member of Congress or any other part of the country to think that we're not strategically important is just ignorant.

COSBY:  It is absolutely ignorant, especially after all the publicity and everything else that's been going on.  Sheriff Stephens, good to talk to you.  Hopefully, I will see you tomorrow, because, everybody, tomorrow I am going to be heading back to New Orleans to see for myself how the city is coping since Katrina.  Obviously, still a lot of heartache. 

A lot of federal help still needs to get in there.  Please be sure to watch my pre-Thanksgiving special tomorrow night, LIVE & DIRECT from New Orleans, “New Orleans:  Then and Now.”  And, boy, do we still have a lot of work ahead. 

And still ahead on our show, if you were a turkey, would you want to spend your life in a place called “Frying Pan Park”?  Details on the presidential pardon, coming up next.


COSBY:  And finally tonight, two turkeys spared a Thanksgiving fate will live out their golden years in California. 



Oh, no.  She took a look at Scottie. 



COSBY:  Two lucky turkeys named Marshmallow and Yam were chosen for the annual presidential pardon today.  Normally, the birds are retired to a place called Frying Pan Park in Virginia.  But this year, they will go to California to spend their lives at Disneyland after serving as honorary grand marshals at the park's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And that does it for me.  Joe Scarborough of “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is now.



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