updated 1/20/2006 1:58:38 PM ET 2006-01-20T18:58:38

Guests: Roy Hallums, Robert Abrams, Bill Brennan, Jonna Spilbor, Robert Jubinville, William Fallon, Cassell Bryan-Low, Diana McShan-Clayborn, Berta McShan

LESLIE CROCKER SNYDER, GUEST HOST:  Coming up, Osama bin Laden resurfaces in a new audiotape warning al Qaeda is planning to attack the United States again. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNYDER (voice-over):  It‘s the first time we have heard from the al Qaeda leader in more than one year.  Bin Laden, offering the United States of America a truce. 

And time running out for the American journalist held in Iraq, her captors threatening to kill her in less than 24 hours.  We talk with a man held as a hostage in Iraq for nearly one year. 

Plus, a high-speed chase ends with a head-on collision.  But the victim fights back.  Her baby is in the back seat. 

The program about justice starts right now.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNYDER:  Hi, everyone.  I‘m Leslie Crocker Snyder.  Dan is off today. 

First up on the docket, a message from Osama bin Laden, and the CIA has confirmed to NBC News that it is bin Laden‘s voice on an audiotape that may have been recorded in December and was first played today on the Al-Jazeera network.  The terror leader offers a conditional long-term truce to the United States, while threatening more attacks inside this country. 

(BEGIN AUDIOTAPE) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

The Mujahedeen with the help of God has been able to penetrate the security measures taken by the aggressive forces of the coalition.  And the evidence is the blasts that you have seen in the capitols in the most important countries in this coalition.  The delay in the occurrence of similar operations in America is not because of the inability to penetrate your security measures because the operations are already being planned and you will see it in the heart of your land when the planning is finished.

(END AUDIOTAPE)

SNYDER:  The White House says the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.  It puts them out of business.  Evan Kohlmann is an MSNBC terrorism analyst.  Evan, how do U.S. experts know that that was really bin Laden‘s voice we just heard? 

EVAN KOHLMANN, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well it didn‘t take the CIA to authenticate it.  That‘s for sure.  His voice is actually very noticeable.  It was very clear to me upon the first hearing this audio recording that this was almost certainly bin Laden‘s voice.  The real question was, when was it recorded, because it‘s very easy to recycle an older recording and put it out as new, but there are indications based on the content of what bin Laden said that this recording was made sometime between November and early December of last year... 

SNYDER:  How can you tell that? 

KOHLMANN:  Well there‘s actually specific references to newspaper articles and other stuff that came up in the media, in the British media, actually, in early November, so we know that the earliest it possibly could have been recorded was early November.  Given what we know about the distribution networks for these videos and these audios, one would think that that period really runs up until some point in December. 

The idea this audio recording was recorded and released specifically in response to a recent raid in Pakistan where a number of senior al Qaeda leaders were killed is fanciful.  I don‘t think that that really accurately reflects the amount of time it takes for one of these messages to be recorded, distributed, and eventually released to the news media. 

SNYDER:  So you think it‘s pretty much coincidental, the timing, that it isn‘t related to the bombing last week? 

KOHLMANN:  Yes, no, there‘s been a lot of issues that bin Laden has needed to respond to.  In the last few weeks and months there‘s been a number of claims about his supposed death, a number of claims from various different individuals, analysts, governments, and I think bin Laden really needed to put those rumors to rest.  He also needed to reassert himself as not only the leader of al Qaeda proper, but more importantly, the leader of al Qaeda‘s international terrorist operations, suggesting that he personally knows about the planning of operations inside the United States, and that he personally is encouraging and overseeing that.  And that is another matter that‘s been up for debate recently, and I think bin Laden wanted to put that to rest. 

SNYDER:  Well there‘s something very chilling about his assurance to us that he will be attacking us sometime soon, and that he hasn‘t attacked not because of our strength.  Did you find it to be like that too? 

KOHLMANN:  Yes, you know, I think that definitely sends chills up many people‘s spines.  I am sure that there are plenty of folks right now down in D.C. who are concerned that perhaps they have missed something, or that bin Laden really does know something that we don‘t.  And, you know, certainly it stands to reason, if you look at the timing of the 7/7 bombings in London, only a year before the 7/7 bombings in London, bin Laden offered a supposed truce to Europe, and sure enough at the same time he was offering this truce, he was planning subsequent terrorist operations, and that‘s exactly what he is claiming here, so I think it‘s worth it to take him at his word and assume that, yes, indeed, al Qaeda is planning operations. 

Whether they have those resources yet or not, it‘s not really clear.  Bin Laden really was somewhat saying that we need to be patient because they can‘t operate on the same time schedule that we expect them to. 

SNYDER:  Well, now, what about this alleged truce?  This is probably just—this is something the United States is never going to agree to.  We don‘t negotiate with terrorists, we don‘t enter into quote-unquote “truces” with them but tell us a little bit more about this truce. 

KOHLMANN:  Well I think what you said is exactly it, is that not only do we not negotiate with terrorists and not only do we not discuss with them their demands, but bin Laden and al Qaeda know this, and they know that we are not going to negotiate.  This message, this supposed truce, was really directed towards a specific audience in the West, people that are fatigued with the war on terrorism, people that are opposed to the U.S.  presence in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in an attempt to reach out to them, because up until now, and I think this is probably the correct assumption, but most people assume that terrorists can‘t be negotiated with, and that there is no negotiating with al Qaeda, its very goals are absolutely against what America is all about. 

And I think that‘s probably true.  And I think that being the case, this truce is really just a public relations stunt.  It‘s a means to try to create division in America, try to create people who are going to criticize the U.S. war on terrorism, from within the United States itself.  And it‘s a very easy tactic, it‘s a simple tactic, and it works to some success. 

SNYDER:  And because he senses that, the American people are in dissension about Iraq right now, is that right? 

KOHLMANN:  That‘s—and it‘s not just Iraq either.  I mean he is really trying to draw attention to both...

SNYDER:  OK.

KOHLMANN:  ... Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting that the U.S.  campaigns in both those countries are faltering and we are creating the conditions for our own demise. 

SNYDER:  OK.  Evan, stay with me, while we switch topics from the bin Laden tape to Jill Carroll, the American journalist kidnapped in Iraq.  Carroll‘s kidnappers have threatened to kill her tomorrow if United States officials refuse to release Iraqi women they say are being held prisoner.  Earlier today, Carroll‘s mother issued this plea to her daughter‘s captors. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY BETH CARROLL, KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST‘S MOTHER:  To her captors, I say that Jill‘s welfare depends upon you.  And so we call upon you to ensure that Jill is returned safely home to her family, who needs her and loves her.  Jill‘s father, sister, and I ask and encourage the persons holding our daughter to work with Jill, to find a way to contact us with the honorable intent of discussing her release. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNYDER:  Evan Coleman, is it possible that these kidnapers might release Jill Carroll for ransom? 

KOHLMANN:  Yes, it is a possibility.  First of all, we have to be careful with this deadline.  I think we shouldn‘t put too much importance on it because sometimes these deadlines expire, and hostages are not killed.  What Ms. Carroll has in her benefit right now is that a group by the same name of the group that supposedly kidnapped her, The Alfre Brigade (ph), The Revenge Brigade, yesterday released a woman who was the sister of Iraq‘s interior minister.  Now, this sister of Iraq‘s interior minister was kidnapped for the exact same reasons that supposedly Jill Carroll was, in order to get all female prisoners released in Iraq. 

Now we‘ve seen six of eight of the women currently being held in Iraq‘s prisons, currently being held under coalition authority, now being guaranteed their release shortly.  We are seeing the fact that this group has released the sister of Iraq‘s interior minister.  If, indeed, it is the same group, and we don‘t know that for certain, then perhaps this is a group that is looking for money or it can be negotiated with or it can be dealt with. 

It is not Zarqawi.  This is not the Islamic army in Iraq.  This is not the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) army.  These people are probably not going to execute someone for the thrill of it.  They are only going to execute them if she is no longer worthwhile to their cause. 

SNYDER:  So we don‘t know if it is a purely political kidnapping or a kidnapping, a business for ransom. 

KOHLMANN:  Well I mean either way, even if you are doing this as a business, in order to get money, you have to espouse some kind of political motive or nobody is going to take you seriously.  Obviously if they don‘t think you are going to kill the hostage, they are not going to give you money, so I think whether or not this is really a political motive or not, you know they are going to say there is one. 

Certainly it‘s a bit ridiculous.  Again, you have only eight women being held in the entire country of Iraq, six of whom are apparently about to be released.  That only leaves two.  It seems a bit ridiculous to kill a Western hostage over two women who are being held in Iraq, but you never know. 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Rationality is not the name of the game over there, is it?

KOHLMANN:  Yes.

SNYDER:  Evan Kohlmann, thanks for joining me. 

KOHLMANN:  Thank you. 

SNYDER:  Now, Roy Hallums.  Roy was a contractor working for a Saudi Arabia company in Baghdad when he was kidnapped in November 2004.  He was forced to make this video and held until he was rescued from a cell beneath a farmhouse floor in September 2005.  Roy Hallums‘ family tried to ransom him.  His captors demanded $12 million for his release. 

Roy Hallums thanks for coming on the program.  What were your thoughts when you first saw that terrible tape of Jill Carroll held hostage as you were? 

ROY HALLUMS, FORMER HOSTAGE IN IRAQ:  Well, it reminded me of my situation, and being held, and I am sure she is thinking, as I did, not knowing what was going to happen in the next five minutes or what‘s going to happen tomorrow and hoping some way can be found to get you released. 

SNYDER:  Well you were held for almost a year, weren‘t you, Roy? 

HALLUMS: Yes, I was 311 days, so... 

SNYDER:  And tell us a little bit about the conditions of your captivity. 

HALLUMS: Well, I was held in an underground space, under a farmhouse.  I mean we were fed each day, and I assume she is being fed each day.  Over there, the people normally eat a lot of rice and... 

SNYDER:  You weren‘t fed very well. 

HALLUMS: No, no... 

SNYDER:  And weren‘t you in kind of a hole in the ground that was sealed over with cement? 

HALLUMS:  Yes.  It was under a storage building and—on a farm, and when they would close the door, they would seal over it with concrete to hide the entrance. 

SNYDER:  So it was really inhuman, you couldn‘t move, you couldn‘t see, you were blindfolded, and this lasted almost a year? 

HALLUMS: That‘s right. 

SNYDER:  And how are you feeling today? 

HALLUMS:  Getting better.  I mean I have only been back about a little less than four months now.  My condition is getting better and better. 

SNYDER:  Well we‘re glad to hear that.  Now do you have any thoughts about whether this poor young woman has a chance of being released safely? 

HALLUMS:  Well, I certainly hope so.  I mean all I can say is that a miracle happened in my case, and I certainly hope one happens in her case, and that her and her family should never give up hope for it. 

SNYDER:  Do you think that being a woman helps her or hurts her in some way? 

HALLUMS:  I think it helps her.  Being a woman and being a newsperson, they are treated differently than male hostages are. 

SNYDER:  Were you in captivity with any women? 

HALLUMS:  At times, yes... 

SNYDER:  And did you denote anything different about their treatment? 

HALLUMS:  Yes.  I mean, they were given better food and more water to drink and given a cigarette once in a while if they smoked. 

SNYDER:  They weren‘t brutalized in any way for being women, sexually or otherwise? 

HALLUMS:  Not that I am aware of, no. 

SNYDER:  OK.  And you were forced to make a video, were you not, or several videos? 

HALLUMS:  Made the one video, it was made and it was released in January of 2005. 

SNYDER:  And didn‘t they resort to some slightly dramatic and horrible moves before they made you make those videos? 

HALLUMS:  Oh, well, I mean they were always making threats, and they said I should be emotional in the video, and they messed up my hair so I would look more disheveled, because they wanted the videos to be more dramatic, I guess. 

SNYDER:  Well, Roy Hallums, thank you for joining us.  Coming up... 

HALLUMS:  Thank you. 

SNYDER:  ... a New York City girl laid to rest.  Her stepfather charged with her murder, allegedly beating and torturing her to death.  Her mother also charged with murder for not stopping it.  What is her defense?  We talk with her attorney next. 

And first, it was a Vermont judge and now a Massachusetts judge hands down a light sentence to a child rapist, sentencing him to no time behind bars.  Was she out of line?  I say absolutely. 

Your e-mails send them to abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Remember to include your name and where you are writing from.  We respond at the end of the show. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SNYDER:  A major shake-up in New York‘s Administration for Child Services, ACS, the same day little Nixzmary Brown alleged beaten, tortured, starved, sexually abused, and murdered by her stepfather was laid to rest.  The agency came under fire after failing to properly follow through the numerous reports that Nixzmary was being abused.  Three caseworkers were suspended without pay, and three others are facing punishments ranging from reprimands to firing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MATTINGLY, CHILDREN‘S SERVICES COMMISSIONER:  The staff made poor investigative decisions and gave inadequate attention to what were clear warning signs of the danger that Terri (ph) Brown was facing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNYDER:  This is after the president of the administration‘s union came out defending three of those caseworkers saying—quote—“I would be stunned if the city blind sighted us and announced tomorrow any disciplinary action or suspension of these workers.  I talked to all three workers today and they are comfortable with their performance in this case.”

Nixzmary‘s stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, and mother Nixzaliz Santiago are charged with her murder.  Joining me now Robert Abrams, attorney for Nixzaliz Santiago. 

Mr. Abrams. 

ROBERT ABRAMS, CLIENT CHARGED WITH MURDERING DAUGHTER:  Good afternoon Your Honor. 

SNYDER:  We have met before, in my courtroom, many number of times. 

How are you? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Good.  How are you, Your Honor? 

SNYDER:  Now let‘s talk about this very difficult defense that you have.  Are you planning to use, if I may ask, if you‘ve decided the battered spouse defense? 

ABRAMS:  That‘s a possibility, but I haven‘t really honestly decided on what kind of defense to use yet.  Most of my friends who are lawyers who know about this case have been telling me that there is such a good—there is a good defense on that basis, but there are other defenses also.  But the fact is...

SNYDER:  Well let‘s talk about those, Bob, if I may interrupt you.  I mean the only other defense that occur—it seems to me might be an insanity defense.  I want to come back to the battered spouse defense in a minute because it strikes me as awfully weak in this case unless you are talking about psychological abuse, because it‘s certainly not like Hedda Nussbaum. 

ABRAMS:  No, she certainly doesn‘t look like Hedda Nussbaum. 

SNYDER:  That was a—and just for our viewers—that was a shocking and horrible case.  I don‘t know how many remember, Joel Steinberg was the lead defendant, Hedda Nussbaum.  They had two adoptive kids, they abused them.  One died, it was a horrible story, and Hedda Nussbaum herself was covered with bruises.  She was permanently injured.  She had to have a lot of surgery. 

And in fact, you can see the difference between the appearance of these two.  The present defendant, the stepmother, looks absolutely fine physically.  Hedda Nussbaum was physically and psychologically badly injured and a total mess.  So how is battered spouse possibly going to fly in this case? 

ABRAMS:  Well, of course, there is psychological battering, but there‘s also physical battering that isn‘t about the face and neck.  But that‘s not the only defense.  There are other defenses, as I said.  There‘s a factual defense, where maybe she—remember, I am only representing Nixzaliz...

SNYDER:  Of course.

ABRAMS:  ... and where she really didn‘t have anything to do with this or know about it, and these months, so-called months or years of abuse may not have been known to her or may not be true. 

SNYDER:  Well that sounds a little hard to believe in view of all the media accounts, which we know are not always accurate, of course, Bob, but the one thing is, you have an incredibly difficult job.  There is no sympathy, I think, out there for your client.  This is not a very controversial kind of charge, if I may suggest that.  So how do you overcome that?  Are you going to move for a change of venue or...

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

SNYDER:  Do you have any thoughts about that? 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I am going to ask the venue be changed to Suffolk County.  No, of course not.  I was joking. 

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  You know my sister is a feminist and a civil libertarian, and she is against me too.  She‘s—everybody I meet is against... 

SNYDER:  Look, you‘re not on trial.  You have to do a very important job in our criminal justice system, but what about the insanity defense, is that a possibility? 

ABRAMS:  I...

SNYDER:  Wait; let me interrupt myself to ask you this.

ABRAMS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 

SNYDER:  Why don‘t you have your client cooperate against her codefendant? 

Isn‘t that the best thing that could happen here for your client? 

ABRAMS:  It may be the best thing after all the facts are in, but nobody has asked—nobody has contacted me to do that. 

SNYDER:  Well, they very well may never do it because I don‘t know of a prosecutor who would want to do it.  And I am going to be bringing in our prosecutor in just a moment.  But it would seem to me, and you and I have been in the courtroom for many, many years, that the one way out for her, and she is still going to get a substantial sentence from any prosecutor, would be to flip on her codefendant. 

Is she willing, or I don‘t expect you to really answer this, or able to do that psychologically.  Robert Abrams, thank you. 

And now joining me, criminal defense attorney Jonna Spilbor.  We‘re going to bring in our panel—and former Brooklyn prosecutor Bill Brennan.  Now, what do you think about what Mr. Abrams said?  Let me start with you. 

BILL BRENNAN, FORMER BROOKLYN PROSECUTOR:  Well, Judge, I think you hit the nail on the head.  There‘s no doubt that Mr. Abrams‘ main goal is to try to work out a deal for his client.  Keep in mind the prosecutor I think will also be looking for that.  You never want to cut a deal, but there really are no witnesses, it seems, other than the mother and the other children and a prosecutor would have a much stronger case, having her testify against him. 

Don‘t forget, he also has to keep in mind that he may want to turn on her.  Now we‘re all assuming that he did it.  I am sure he may come in and say look, I never hit her.  The mother hit her.  So Mr. Abrams has to be concerned about that also. 

SNYDER:  Well before I get to Jonna, isn‘t there something incredibly distasteful in this case about offering either of these defendants a deal, a plea deal unless it‘s absolutely necessary to prove the prosecution case? 

BRENNAN:  It is, and it—but it may be absolutely necessary to prove the prosecution‘s case, otherwise, it will be a circumstantial case with no direct evidence, so although it‘s distasteful, unfortunately it‘s the nature of the beast. 

SNYDER:  Jonna, this is a really tough case from the defense point of view, isn‘t it? 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  I mean I really wouldn‘t want to defend either of these people, although of course it‘s essential in our system of justice.  What would you do? 

JONNA SPILBOR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  It‘s tough, but you know I think Mr. Abrams has a defense to murder, especially for the mom, and the reason for that is, this is not an act of commission.  As far as we know, the mother was not in there beating the child to death.  The mother was standing back and doing essentially nothing, so it‘s hard to pin a murder charge on a woman for doing nothing. 

He could have a defense say of manslaughter, perhaps voluntary manslaughter, because maybe the father, and we will give him the total benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he did not intend to kill the child.  Maybe he intended to beat her to a pulp but did not intend death.  If that‘s the case, we could get this reduced from murder to manslaughter. 

SNYDER:  It seems highly unlikely to me.  I don‘t want to be skeptical...

SPILBOR:   It‘s awful, I know...

SNYDER:  When you slam a child‘s head, in addition to everything else, the whole pattern of abuse, against a steel tub, or whatever it was, or against the wall, and you throw her down naked, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  ... you intend the consequences of your acts, don‘t you Jonna? 

That‘s what the law says. 

SPILBOR:   You know there is—in my book, there is no worse crime than harming a single hair on the head of a child.  A child is completely innocent and especially when you are a parent and entrusted with the duty to take care of that child, and you do something this horrific, I think you should be burned at the stake, but as a defense attorney, that‘s not what we do. 

SNYDER:  Of course.  Of course, and we understand that.  But let me bring our prosecutor back in here.  I mean this—I think the charges could still be strong against the mother.  There‘s now some factual dispute as to whether she actually participated factually in some of the acts.  We don‘t know the answer to that but depraved indifference murder, which our highest court in this state has made clear, we can only charge one of those theories, intent or depraved, doesn‘t that apply to her, or is that a really tough charge? 

BRENNAN:  No, it‘s not a tough charge, Judge, and there‘s a difference between the law and the facts.  I don‘t care where you move this case to, but if the evidence comes out and it‘s only an allegation at this point that this little girl is crying mommy, mommy, and the mother is doing nothing in the next room, she is going to have a real hard time moving away from either a murder or a manslaughter charge in this case. 

SNYDER:  Well you know, Jonna, I think the first thing I‘d want as a defense attorney in this case would be a change of venue, only it would have to be to someplace like Idaho or Nebraska.  I mean what do you think? 

SPILBOR:   Yes.

SNYDER:  It‘s so hard to get a change of venue, which would mean the trial would be moved completely from New York.  What do you think the odds are?  And would that be something you would want to request right away? 

SPILBOR:   The odds are so slim, Judge, that I probably wouldn‘t bother requesting it, really.  And in this day and age, the whole country now knows about this sweet, innocent little girl and I don‘t think a change of venue is going to matter.  Mr. Abrams is going to have to really hit the facts of this case hard and hopefully there are some favorable facts for his client. 

SNYDER:  Well do you think the battered spouse defense offers much credibility from what we know so far? 

SPILBOR:   No, like you pointed out, you see a woman who is unscathed.  She has no bruises on her body.  It could be a psychological defense, but it often comes into play more often when if she had, say, killed her husband in a fit of rage because she suffered years and years of abuse.  Here again, she did nothing to save her child.  I don‘t think battered woman syndrome is going to fly, but we‘ll see. 

SNYDER:  Well I have to say I agree with you, but it‘s certainly only the beginning. 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Jonna Spilbor and Bill Brennan, thanks. 

SPILBOR:   Thank you. 

SNYDER:  Coming up, first there was the Vermont judge, who sentenced a child molester to just 60 days behind bars.  Now another judge has sentenced a former teacher to no jail time, for raping one of his former students. 

And, a high-speed chase on Houston‘s freeways ends with a head-on collision.  A baby girl in the back seat and a furious mother who fights back.  We talk to her. 

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

Authorities are looking for Anthony Williams.  He‘s 44 years old, six feet tall, weighs 305 pounds.  Williams was convicted of unnatural and lascivious acts with a child and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. 

He is in violation for not registering his address with the state.  If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Massachusetts‘ Sex Offender Registry Board at 978-740-6400.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

(NEWS BREAK)

SNYDER:  Welcome back.  I‘m Leslie Crocker Snyder.  Dan is off today. 

Another sex offender pled guilty to child rape and managed to avoid doing any jail time.  This time the case is in Massachusetts, where a state judge accepted the guilty plea of 25-year-old former high school teacher Gregory Pathiakis.  He pled guilty to raping a 15-year-old boy who attended Middleboro High School where he worked as a math teacher and assistant hockey coach, but despite prosecutors recommending a four to eight-year prison sentence, Massachusetts Judge Suzanne DelVecchio only sentenced him to a two and a half year suspended sentence, meaning he won‘t spend any time in prison for his crimes. 

This only two weeks after Vermont State Judge Edward Cashman came under fire for sentencing another sex offender who pled guilty to abusing a young girl to only 60 days in prison.  Judge Edward Cashman‘s decision to impose the short sentence on admitted sex offender Mark Hulett has resulted in calls from the state governor for the judge to step down, as well as proposed legislation calling for his impeachment. 

Joining us now Robert Jubinville, defense attorney for Greg Pathiakis, and Bill Fallon, former Massachusetts‘ prosecutor.  Before we start, to be fair, I should note that I was the first sex crimes prosecutor in the nation, so you know I may have a bias going into this. 

Robert, this is a child rape that the defendant pled guilty to.  How can you justify no prison sentence? 

ROBERT JUBINVILLE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I think you have to understand, Judge, in this case, it was a one-time consensual sexual act, involving oral sex by two consenting people, one who was 23 years old, the other who was six weeks shy of 16 years old.  Mr. Pathiakis had no criminal record, had been on probation for two years before the plea the other day, with stringent conditions that he met continuously, never violated them.  On the flip side of that is the other individual had initiated the sexual act, told Mr. Pathiakis that he was 18 in e-mails, and asked him if they could get together for the sexual act.  In addition to that...

SNYDER:  OK, now...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Sure, this is a little better than the other case we were talking about in Vermont, but let me bring in our former prosecutor to say shouldn‘t it be a little more severe when the person was a teacher? 

WILLIAM FALLON, FORMER ESSEX COUNTY MA PROSECUTOR:   Leslie, what we have in common is I was the first person in Massachusetts to head up a sexual assault and child abuse unit.  And I will tell you, this is an outrage.  Now the 23 plus versus the 15-year-old, you might look at that and say should someone do time?  I am going to tell you right now the criminal element here is this teacher knew, from what I understand, that this was a 15-year-old when he was having sexual relations, but he also knew he was a student in that school. 

Quite frankly, the teacher-student relationship demands, I would suggest, prison.  Unlike the New—unlike the Vermont judge, who said, I don‘t believe that we have sentencing and we kind of have retribution in that, this is a judge who obviously can‘t be impeached, it is within her discretion.  And what bothers me about this, this sends the message why we need mandatory sentences, and I don‘t really believe in mandatory sentences, but somebody looks at this and says somebody who is a predator, which is eight years difference in their age, a teacher-student by nature is predator, and I object to somebody saying it was consensual.  In—you might say it was without force or violence, Robert, but you know in Massachusetts you cannot say it was consensual, even though the judge did...

SNYDER:  OK.  Well we don‘t want to get off...

FALLON:  ... because there can‘t be no consent for a 15-year-old...

SNYDER:  We don‘t want to get off on mandatory sentencing and things like that, because that‘s such a long and involved topic, but Robert...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  ... Robert, I mean your client, you put him in the best light, and there are some mitigating factors, but what about the fact that he never disclosed his prior history of being fired from another school.  He was a teacher and a hockey coach.  These are people who the students look up to, who they are supposed to respect, and he is engaging in whether you call it without force or consensual statutory criminal acts of a sexual nature with a young boy.  Now, what do you say to that? 

JUBINVILLE:  Well I can say it‘s consensual because it was consensual.  And it‘s legally a person can‘t consent if they are under the age of 16. 

SNYDER:  Right. 

JUBINVILLE:  Although we all know that people 16 and under consent to sex every day. 

SNYDER:  Well...

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON:  ... eight years older, Robert. 

SNYDER:  First of all, the law has put prohibitions on that, but I want to focus...

JUBINVILLE:  They have. 

SNYDER:  I want to focus on the nature of sex offenders that keep coming up in these cases, teacher, priest, Boy Scout leader.  I mean doesn‘t this call for something more than a slap of words?  Doesn‘t it call for at least a short jail sentence? 

(CROSSTALK)

JUBINVILLE:  Understand something here, that the prosecutor that made that recommendation got his marching orders from his superiors, who did not handle that case. 

SNYDER:  Well let‘s forget about four to eight years.  Let‘s talk about six months.  Let‘s talk about 60 days. 

JUBINVILLE:  Well let‘s talk about six months.  This person, Mr.  Pathiakis had been on probation for two years, stringent conditions, never violated it once.  So to say we are going to put him in jail for six months, what is society getting out of that? 

SNYDER:  OK, well that‘s...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  ... let‘s not go down that path...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Bill, Bill...

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  ... what would have been a good sentence here given...

FALLON:  First of all, I would have given him a state prison sentence.  He got a house of corrections sentence that was suspended.  I certainly would have thought a three to five year (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sentence, I have no objection to the four to eight because quite frankly, the one-time deal, maybe brings it to me to a three to five, a four to six.  I think teachers who engage in any sexual conduct deserve to go to jail...

JUBINVILLE:  Well...

FALLON:  ... oral sex with someone eight years younger, maybe not the 10 years younger, what we are saying is and it‘s the teacher and coach situation.  People put themselves in these positions.  I would feel very differently, by the way, if they were at a bar and somebody thought it was an 18-year-old.  This isn‘t that.  This is someone who has used his position...

SNYDER:  Well the circumstances...

FALLON:  ... and abused the child. 

SNYDER:  The circumstances are shocking.  Some jail, I agree.  Robert Jubinville and Bill Fallon, thanks. 

Coming up, the Internet has completely transformed the sleazy underworld of child pornography, making it much more accessible and anonymous.  So what are the authorities around the globe doing to stop it? 

And some mothers will go as far as they can to protect their children.  What until you see what one mother did when a runaway driver slammed into the car carrying her baby.  We‘ve got the tape.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SNYDER:  Coming up, the Internet has helped child pornography go from a cottage industry to a high-profit business.  Now investigators are finding that a lot of the money being made is coming from the United States. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SNYDER:  Recent arrests in Spain highlight a massive international effort to stop the sale of child pornography around the world.  Once an obscure industry, the trafficking of child porn has apparently become a sophisticated business attracting criminals involved in money laundering and organized crime.  In the latest roundup, 33 people including bankers, teachers, a doctor, and even a priest, were detained suspected of buying sexual images of children over the Internet.  And more than a thousand people have been arrested since investigators began to track porn customers through payments to Web sites.  Some even owned by companies in the United States. 

Joining me now is “Wall Street Journal” reporter Cassell Bryan-Low, who has been following this investigation. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi. 

SNYDER:  Hi Cassell. 

CASSELL BRYAN-LOW, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  Hi.

SNYDER:  How has the business of child pornography changed in the last 10 or 15 years? 

BRYAN-LOW:  Well it‘s interesting to take a look back in the 1980‘s.  There was a broad police crackdown on distribution of child pornography, and that forced it out of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sex shops and into sort of more informal networks of collectors.  Then in the 1990‘s, as the Internet became more widespread, pedophiles quickly migrated to it. 

They realized they could exchange material with very low risk of prosecution.  It just wasn‘t an area law enforcement was watching, and as other advances in technology came along, including high-speed Internet access, cheap digital cameras, and cheaper storage, it was much easier for people to both make their own content and upload that to the Internet as well as download it.  You now see people with collections of thousands of images and even videos stored at home. 

SNYDER:  Well how many countries are involved in this, and what is the United States involvement? 

BRYAN-LOW:  Well, the scope is pretty huge.  The investigation you are referring to, there were many countries around the world, as you say, over 1,400 people have been arrested.  They found a customer list of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 90,000 people around the world.  In terms of the numbers of sites that exist generally out there, people estimate there‘s tens of thousands of pay-per-view sites that‘s growing each month.  And it‘s you know an industry that people estimate is billions, worth billions of dollars. 

SNYDER:  What about organized crime and money laundering?  How has that infiltrated this industry? 

BRYAN-LOW:  Well, with such big bucks to be made, it‘s obviously attracted the interest of organized criminals, and while it was originally the domain of pedophiles, organized crime has increasingly been attractive, and as they enter into it, they bring with them business and money laundering skills... 

SNYDER:  And there are companies—go ahead. 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Go ahead.

BRYAN-LOW:  It‘s just part of a broader trend we see with organized criminals being attracted to the Internet, you know whether that‘s distribution of child pornography or identity fraud or even blackmail.

SNYDER:  In your investigation, or you‘re writing about it in this case, this fraud investigation, how involved were companies in our country, the United States? 

BRYAN-LOW:  Well, for the organized criminals, the key for them, and in this case is a company based out of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Belarus, they needed someone in the U.S. to collect the money, someone who had you know merchant relationship with credit card companies, and so they ended up teaming up with a small Florida company that had legitimate business, but they ended up laundering the money on behalf of the Belarus company.  So that was the key for a way for them to be able to collect the money of the subscribers who paid for this online. 

SNYDER:  Cassell Bryan-Low, thank you. 

Coming up, a high-speed chase ends with a head-on collision, but the victim fights back.  Her baby was in the back seat.  Both join us next. 

And later, is Dan getting married?  He‘s sure getting a lot of proposals. 

That‘s our man, Dan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SNYDER:  A high-speed chase in Texas that lasted almost two hours came to a screeching halt, when the suspect‘s car slammed head on into another car carrying a nine-month-old baby, her mother and her grandmother.  The mother immediately jumped out of the car, over the hood, and started screaming at the driver.  He was arrested at the scene, and appeared in court today, where he was charged with aggravated assault and evading arrest. 

Joining me now, the passengers of the car that was hit, Diana McShan-Clayborn with her adorable daughter Paige, along with Diana‘s mother Berta (ph) McShan.  Thank you for joining us. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hello, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi. 

SNYDER:  How are you?  Paige, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... I‘m doing fine. 

SNYDER:  Well now, Diana, tell us when did you first hear about this chase, and how did you know that you were going to be involved, or did you?

DIANA MCSHAN-CLAYBORN, HIT BY SUSPECT IN HIGH SPEED CHASE:  Well, I didn‘t know that we were going to be involved.  We initially heard about the chase after we had taken Paige from the hospital...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  ... I mean from the doctor.  She had went for her immunizations for her nine months because she just turned nine months, and you know, we saw a lot of cop cars you know speeding by and so we wanted to know what was going on.  So we turned on the radio, and that‘s when they reported that you know there was a guy you know running from the cops. 

They never said why.  They just said he was going 100 miles per hour, smoking cigarettes.  And so you know at that point, we proceeded to go over (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and take care of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) things my mother needed to take care of.  And we got ready to enter the freeway, the onramp at 59, and I happened to look out the window, and I told my mom, I said wow, you know we really need to listen to the radio because this guy has got to be close, because there‘s like four or five helicopters outside. 

SNYDER:  But you didn‘t know how close, did you?

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Oh I did not even know.  And then as soon as I told her that, she goes girl there‘s no way he could be all the way over here.  He was just on Highway Six.  And as soon as she said six, the SUV in front of us swerved out of the way and he came plowing towards us...

SNYDER:  And what did you do then?

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  I screamed out, and I said there he is.  And you know, he ran into us and immediately once he hit us, I screamed you know oh, my God, my baby, and my baby just started screaming this pitch that was just unbelievable.  It was like a cry I had never heard before...

SNYDER:  Well you were very brave. 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  You didn‘t just get out and start screaming, you jumped over the car. 

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Oh no, oh no...

SNYDER:  And you were right in his face. 

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  You know I got out to get her.  That was my initial reasoning for getting out of the car.  You know I wanted to get to her to see if she was safe.  But you know as I was crossing over the car he‘s sitting in the car, so you know I hit the window and I told him you know fool, you almost killed my baby, you know and...

SNYDER:  Yes, well it‘s good to see a victim strike back. 

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

SNYDER:  Did he say anything to you?

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  No, he never said anything.  He looked at me one time when he was getting out of the car.  And that was when I had went back to the car after I couldn‘t get either of their doors opened and he just looked at me, you know, he had this nonchalant look on his face and just unconcerned. 

(CROSSTALK)

SNYDER:  Well you got a bunch of cops with guns, and they are trying to get him, and then you, a young woman with a baby, you are the one who gets in his face...

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Oh, yes. 

SNYDER:  Now what did you think of all of that, Berta (ph)?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was just glad that everybody was OK, and when I saw Diana, she moved so fast, I really didn‘t have too much time to think. 

SNYDER:  Well it doesn‘t appear that Paige was adversely affected by this whole thing.  She seems pretty lively.  She didn‘t get hurt hopefully, did she?

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  No. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, she is not hurt at all. 

SNYDER:  And did you think the police moved in pretty quickly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They moved in pretty quickly, but I just think the chase should have stopped a lot sooner. 

SNYDER:  When you jumped out, did you know that that was the man being pursued by the police, Diana?

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Yes, I did. 

(CROSSTALK)

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Yes, I did.  You know, that‘s why when he, you know when I saw him coming toward us, I did scream out and I said, oh, my God, there he is.  And you know, but the one thing that never crossed my mind, because even the cops addressed this issue when I was at his car that he could have had a weapon.  You know it never dawned on me.  I don‘t think at that point I cared.  You know that was the least of my concerns.  You know at that point, I was very upset with him because you know he could have killed us easily. 

SNYDER:  Right, and hurt your baby...

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Right.

SNYDER:  ... and that‘s certainly a natural instinct.  And I got to say, thank goodness he didn‘t have a weapon and...

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Right. 

SNYDER:  ... everybody is very proud of you.  Good work.

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Thank you. 

SNYDER:  Diana, Berta (ph) and little Paige...

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Right.

SNYDER:  ... we are glad you are doing OK. 

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Well thank you. 

SNYDER:  Thank you for joining us. 

MCSHAN-CLAYBORN:  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you.

SNYDER:  Coming up, I am getting to the bottom of this.  Why is Dan getting all these marriage proposals?  I mean we all know he is gorgeous and sexy and all that, but still, who would want to marry him?  No, I‘m just kidding, Dan. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SNYDER:  Welcome back.  Time now for “Your Rebuttal”.  In Dan‘s “Closing Argument” Tuesday he asked if single guys should trade in their pinstripes for prison stripes so he can follow in the footsteps of high profile prisoners who met their wives from prison.  Many of you writing in with offers of your own for Dan.

From New York, Donna Ponnwitz—quote—“Just wanted to let you know I‘ll take your pinstripes over prison stripes any day.  Don‘t know what these women, I use this term loosely, see in these men, also a term meant loosely.  But you are the man.”  Right on, Dan.

Tara in Muncie, Indiana—quote—“Dan, I‘ll say I do if the pinstripes are on you.”  Oh my goodness.  You don‘t mind if I gag on, sorry Dan.

From Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Karen Roy—quote—“My ex-fiance cheated on me, married men hit on me, and it‘s such a jungle out there, yet I have no interest in communicating with or marrying a jailbird.  However, if it should save you from a life of crime, Dan, I will marry you.”  Oh my God, what a proposal.

Finally, Gemini from Belle Mead, New Jersey, “I, like you, am gorgeous, intelligent, personable, healthy and wear fine threads.  Yet, here I am without a good man.  I blame the stars, karma and the weather.  I wish I could be Demi to your Ashton, but alas, I‘m old enough to be your grandmother.”  Well why should that stop her, Dan, or you?

Send your e-mails to abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com.  We‘ll go through them and read them at the end of the show.

That does it for us.  I‘m Leslie Crocker Snyder in for Dan Abrams.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.

Good-bye.

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

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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