updated 2/17/2006 4:14:20 PM ET 2006-02-17T21:14:20

Guests: Dareh Gregorian, Jossy Mansur, Paul Reynolds, Steve Cohen, Vito Colucci, Gloria Allred, Anne Bremner, Mickey Sherman, Dorothy Bourdet, Andrew Jarvis, Lisa Fickel

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Some breaking news tonight, a bombshell in the Natalee Holloway case, Natalee‘s family and their attorneys using what can only be called stealth tactics to nail the prime suspect in the disappearance of their daughter, suspect Joran Van Der Sloot and his father both slapped with a stunning civil lawsuit right here in New York City just a few hours ago.

Details on the lawsuit in just a minute, but first we have exclusive information on how it all went down.  Natalee‘s parents found out that Joran and his family were coming to the U.S. for a TV interview with ABC.  Joran was actually served with the papers before he ever got off the plane at JFK airport from Holland.  We‘re told a foreman (ph) Scotland Yard investigator sat covertly a few rows behind him, keeping tabs on him the whole flight from Holland.

And here‘s how they got his father.  You are looking now live at pictures tonight of the Lucerne Hotel in New York City.  That‘s where Joran‘s father, Paulus, was served with the civil lawsuit right as he was leaving the hotel this afternoon.

And with me live right now on the phone tonight from the courthouse where the lawsuit was actually filed is “New York Post” reporter Dareh Gregorian.  He was one of the first journalists to see the court documents after they were filed.  Dareh, what did you see, what did you learn?

DAREH GREGORIAN, “NEW YORK POST”:  Well, the suit was filed here this afternoon, and it was not anything we expected.  This was not a case we though had anything to do with New York.  But the Van Der Sloots being here enabled the family to go ahead with this action.

COSBY:  And what was sort of the commotion around the courthouse? 

Because it is sort of a surprising thing to come in.

GREGORIAN:  That was it.  It was mainly a surprise.  This was going through various New York characters, and then all of a sudden, there‘s a case involving a—you know, a parent from Mississippi and Alabama, involving a missing girl from Aruba and residents of Aruba and the Netherlands being filed in New York.

COSBY:  Give us the essence, real quickly.  It‘s a civil suit.  Give us the basis of it a little bit.

GREGORIAN:  The civil suit essentially charges Joran with sexually assaulting  and imprisoning Natalee.  It doesn‘t say anything about what finally happened to Natalee.  It‘s not a wrongful death suit or anything like that.  And it also seeks to hold Joran‘s father, Paulus, responsible, saying he knew what his son was a bad seed and did nothing to stop him.

COSBY:  You know, Dareh, I‘m actually holding a copy of the suit because we got it faxed to us late today exclusively.  You know, as we‘re looking at it, does it list any monetary damages?  Does it list an amount?

GREGORIAN:  No, there‘s no amount listed.  They‘re seeking unspecified money damages, but they‘re also seeking punitive damages, which could be a whole a lot of money in a case like this.

COSBY:  Dareh, thank you very much.  Please keep us posted.

And again, from the first reaction of the family of Natalee Holloway tonight, with me now live on the phone is Natalee‘s uncle, Paul Reynolds.  Paul, first of all, what‘s your reaction to the news of the suit?

And I think we just lost Paul Reynolds on the phone.  We‘re going to try to get him back on with us, if we could.  But let‘s, if we could—let‘s go to the sort of the stunning developments  and talk about this lawsuit.  What does it mean now for the investigation, for the island Aruba?  That as we try to get Paul back on the phone with us.  Joining me now is Steve Cohen.  He‘s a special adviser to the Aruban government.  Also with me tonight is Jossy Mansur with Aruba‘s “Diario” newspaper.

Jossy, first of all, your reaction?

JOSSY MANSUR, MANAGING EDITOR, “DIARIO”:  My reaction is that it shocked the people in Aruba.  I was in contact with our newspaper, and people couldn‘t the believe it.  It was very surprising that Joran flew to New York, that Paul Van Der Sloot flew to New York to do some interviews and that they were served with subpoenas, Joran with three, on three counts, and Paul Van Der Sloot with one count.

COSBY:  It is quite surprising.  In fact, I understand we got Paul Reynolds with us.  Paul, it‘s pretty tough language.  And let me show a little quote in the filing that we obtained.  “Joran Van Der Sloot, it says, “is no stranger to sexual assault on young women.  Using ecstasy as his date rape drug of choice, Joran prowled the island, seeking to prey upon young female tourists, especially blondes.”

Pretty tough language.  What‘s your reaction, Paul, to the suit?  Are you happy that now some action is being taken?

PAUL REYNOLDS, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S UNCLE:  We‘re very happy about the developments.  It was surprising that Joran and the father would come to the States, but we‘re very glad that they did and it gave us this opportunity.

COSBY:  Did you know this was going to happen, Paul, or was this a big secret even in the family?

REYNOLDS:  No, I was not aware of it.  This was—I‘m assuming this is something that Beth has orchestrated.  I know she‘s been working very hard on it.  I knew she was working on a project, but I was not aware of what it was.  But I‘m very happy about this effort.

COSBY:  You know, I talked to some other people close to the family, and they were saying to me, Paul, that they were hoping this could be the big break in the case.  They were putting a lot of weight on this.  How do you feel?  Do you feel that this could really move things forward?

REYNOLDS:  Well, I think it‘s very important.  I think it‘s, you know, a chance that we‘ve been waiting for, an opportunity to bring them to the judicial system in the U.S.  And it‘s amazing that they felt comfortable enough to come here.  You know, there were so many lies that were told earlier, and we‘ve always thought that Joran was one of the primary suspects, but apparently, they were feeling comfortable with the way they were being treated in the system, and this is the result.

COSBY:  You know, Steve Cohen, it is pretty incredible—in fact, Larry Garrison (ph) with Silver Creek Entertainment actually was the one who was helping arrange the interview for ABC‘s “Primetime Live”—for them to feel that they were comfortable enough to come to the States and think nothing was going to happen.  A surprise, huh, Steve?

STEVE COHEN, ADVISER TO ARUBAN GOVERNMENT:  Well, I think it‘s surprising that they were caught, in a sense, by surprise, but I don‘t think it‘s surprising that the Holloway-Twitty family wanted to have, in a sense, their day in court with the information that they feel they‘ve gathered in this suit.

However, I want to make very clear that in terms of Aruba, there‘s a criminal investigation going on, that neither Joran Van Der Sloot, his father nor the Kalpoes are guilty of anything, at this point, as far as Aruba is concerned.  There is an ongoing investigation, but they haven‘t been charged with anything.  And until any of that happens, they‘re free to travel, as you know, and to go about their lives as normally as they can.

It does not surprise me that they wanted to go on “20/20” because they have been involved, in a sense, telling their story, which began some weeks ago on another television program in New York.

COSBY:  Yes, in fact, “Primetime Live” is what I was hearing.  But you know—you know, Steve, it‘s still, like, why come to the States.  Aren‘t they sort of sticking it and saying, you know, Who cares?  I‘m coming here.

COHEN:  No.  I don‘t think so.  I think that—for whatever we all think of Joran and the family, as I say, they‘re not guilty of anything right now.  They feel that they have a story to tell.  They feel that the Holloway-Twitty story is the only one that Americans have seen, and they‘re trying in the only way they can, to go on television in America.  So that doesn‘t surprise me.  However, I do think that—we all have to understand, all your viewers, that Aruba is doing everything it can to continue the investigation in this final phase.  And all...

COSBY:  But Steve, clearly, the family doesn‘t feel that way.  That‘s why they took the action here.  And in fact, I‘m told that on Monday, there‘s a hearing in Aruba, and in fact, that Paulus tried to file some papers to basically exonerate his son, and the decision may come up as early as Monday.  So things may be clear in Aruba.  Did they have a choice?

COHEN:  I think they have many choices, but I think that it‘s a matter of opportunity, and that‘s why this happened.  I‘m sure just Mr. John Kelly will tell you that tomorrow.  It happened because they had an opportunity where they both were in a jurisdiction where they could bring a civil case, which is in the United States, in New York.  It‘s not unusual that that would happen.  He had to establish jurisdiction.

However, in terms of Aruba, again, I don‘t see any change here.  We think we have a good investigation going.  We‘re coming into the final phase, and our expectations are that we‘ll conclude our case.  But until then, everyone is not guilty of anything, and everyone is free to travel and to move.

COSBY:  Well, and free to also get served with papers, too.  Let me—

Jossy, let me show also—this was interesting.  In the civil suit, it provided some nuggets of some of the information, and some of this hadn‘t really been highlighted before, Jossy.  It said, “In the early hours of Monday morning”—this was when Natalee went missing—“Deepak methodically and uncharacteristically cleaned his silver Nissan car, claiming after the fact that it had bad ants in it.”

Had you heard that before, Jossy?  And that, I think, is an interesting nugget.

MANSUR:  Yes, ma‘am, we have heard it.  We know that that early morning, they went into a total clean-up of the car.  Witnesses, neighbors that live close to them testified to that.  So the clean-up did take place.

COSBY:  You know, Paulus—I mean, Paul Reynolds, the suit now against Paulus Van Der Sloot and Joran—what‘s the message you want say to the Van Der Sloots tonight?  Paul Reynolds, if you‘re there, what‘s the message?  Maybe they‘re watching.

REYNOLDS:  You know, we‘re very happy they came to the States.  We want the truth to come out, and I think this is a great opportunity not only for our family to get more information and to develop what actually happened that night, but it‘s also a chance for the people of Aruba to confirm credibility as far as the—how the investigation is going and the thoroughness of the investigation.  So I think it‘s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

COSBY:  Well, we certainly hope it moves this case forward one way or the other.  Paul Reynolds, thank you.  Jossy and also Steve Cohen, thank you, all of you.

And coming up, everyone, we‘re monitoring a New York City hotel, where only a few hours ago, Joran‘s parents were seen, along with his younger brother.  They may be returning shortly to this location.  As soon as we see them, we‘re going to bring you those pictures live, since we have all angles covered on this late—breaking story.  And the lawsuit against the Van Der Sloots served in New York, as you heard, two Aruban residents under Alabama law.  What are the chances that a case like this will stick?  I‘ll ask a LIVE AND DIRECT team of attorneys who have handled some of the biggest cases.

And later, a woman goes to extreme measures  to solve a case of who killed her husband.  She saw the murder with her own eyes and will join us LIVE AND DIRECT.


COSBY:  And LIVE AND DIRECT right now, you‘re looking at live pictures outside the Lucerne Hotel in New York City.  That‘s where we‘re told that the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway case and his parents are staying.  They were trying to quietly come into this country for a TV with ABC news.  But wait until you hear the fascinating behind-the-scenes tactics that the Holloway family used to not only serve the Van Der Sloots with a bombshell civil lawsuit, which we have a copy of right here, which we obtained, but also to track them down on U.S. soil.

Private investigator Vito Colucci joins me now live.  You know, Vito, it is really incredible.  We got this fax just late today, first off, exclusively, and a brilliant move when you think about three continents, to first figure out when the parents were coming up from Aruba to New York, and then he was coming from Holland to New York.  It‘s pretty heavy orchestration.

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  Oh, you got to give kudos to Beth Holloway for orchestrating this whole thing.  And the information that I‘m hearing, it was a retired Scotland Yard detective, who‘s probably a PI now, that maybe sat a couple rows behind Joran.

But you know, it‘s interesting how they put this all together from Aruba to New York.  My impression—at least what I would do, depending on jurisdiction problems or whatever, is I would serve Joran as he‘s exiting the plane.  I don‘t think it‘s a wise move where you serve somebody on the plane.  You may get altercations.  Something big may happen that way.

COSBY:  Yes, how do you serve someone on the plane?  Because I‘m told that they did it before he got off the plane because they were worried that maybe he‘d get the tip-off that his parents were being served almost simultaneously in New York.

COLUCCI:  OK.  Well, you do it then maybe when you‘re getting ready to exit the plane.  I would be doubtful that they served him in mid-flight or something like that because, again, have you a problem of a possible altercation.  What I may also do is if you have cooperation with private detectives that are—where the people are exiting the planes, I would take pictures of Joran coming off the plane, being served, OK, just to cover yourself.  But they did a remarkable job on this, and I‘m so happy for the Holloway family.  The biggest mistake, these people, coming over to our home turf now, you know?

COSBY:  You know, it sounds like somebody got, like, a little bit of an inside tip to know which exact flights for the guy from Scotland Yard, the former Scotland Yard guy to be sitting a few seats back, eying him.  I‘m told he even got the e-mail, the actual filing in mid-flight, like, OK, here‘s the filing, now we‘re ready to go.

COLUCCI:  Yes.  You know, Beth Holloway has always surrounded herself with the best people on this case.  Even though the Aruba government—

I‘ve always said I‘ve been their harshest critic from day one, and I still am.  But Beth Holloway has good people.  They‘ve been monitoring the family.  They knew what was going on.  And bingo, they did it this time, and they did it big-time.

COSBY:  You know, what about ABC, too, because this was a big interview.  Are I surprised?  And maybe there were some bodyguards around because, you know, how did folks know that they were at that hotel, also on that flight?  Wouldn‘t you think someone would be accompanying at least him?

COLUCCI:  Very good point, Rita.  I‘ve served people coming off planes, I‘ve served high-level people.  A lot of times, they‘re surrounded with bodyguards.  You can‘t get to them.  We have to touch them to serve them the subpoenas.  I‘m very surprised that they didn‘t have more of a team of bodyguards.  Everyone knows these people, what they look like, OK?  They bring them into this country.  There should have been a team of bodyguards around them, Rita.

COSBY:  And I heard that the family was quite surprised.  What‘s the typical reaction?  You‘ve been involved when people have been served.

COLUCCI:  Oh, yes, they‘re very surprised.  I can imagine they never would have thought in their wildest imagination that they‘re going to get hit with this coming off a plane or at their hotel lobby or coming out the door or whatever happened with the father there.

But I am just so happy.  I only heard about this about an hour-and-a-half ago, and it‘s great news for the family.  Maybe some progress will finally be made, Rita.

COSBY:  Vito, thank you very much.

COLUCCI:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And now let‘s get into the details about the lawsuit.  It was served in New York by Americans to foreigners, but in accordance with Alabama law.  So can this be done?  Joining me now is victims‘ rights attorney Gloria Allred.  Also, defense attorney Anne Bremner and defense attorney Mickey Sherman.

Gloria, do they have jurisdiction here?

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS‘ RIGHTS ATTORNEY:   Very doubtful.  I hate to be the one to throw cold water on this because I really feel for Natalee Holloway‘s parents and—but one of her parents is a resident of Alabama, the other one a resident of Mississippi.  Natalee apparent parentally was a resident of Alabama.  The defendants are from Aruba, or the Netherlands.  I don‘t see any jurisdiction in New York.

The fact that they served them, Rita, in New York doesn‘t, in my opinion, give them jurisdiction.  And I think the first thing the defendants will do, once they hire their attorneys, is make a motion to dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction.  And they filed this in state court.  I don‘t get it.  This could be a fatally flawed lawsuit in the way that it‘s filed.

COSBY (on-camera):  And in fact, let me show some of the allegations real quick.  Allegation number one.  This is against Joran.  It‘s, “Defendant Joran Van Der Sloot willfully caused personal injury to Natalee as a result of his sexual assault upon her.”  Allegation 2, “Joran Van Der Sloot willfully, unlawfully and intentionally detained and directly restrained Natalee Holloway, depriving her of her personal liberty through force (INAUDIBLE) the threat of force.”  Number three, “Joran Van Der Sloot, with knowledge and with reason to believe that her parents would not consent, abducted Natalee and prevented her from returning to custody.”  And four, “On that date, Paulus”—the father—“knowingly facilitated his own son‘s predatory and torturous behavior toward Natalee Holloway.”

Mickey, what do you make of all these allegations?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  First of all, the world‘s coming to an end, Rita.  I‘m agreeing with everything Gloria Allred says.

COSBY:  It is coming to an end if you two are agreeing!

SHERMAN:  But I got to tell you...


SHERMAN:  Let me tell you something.  I‘ve read this thing, and this is a terrific treatment for a Lifetime movie, and I think it‘s going to cast itself, but it bears though relationship to any lawsuit that I‘ve ever heard of.


SHERMAN:  And I‘m a John Q. Kelly fan.  I love John.  I play golf with John.  But there‘s no beef here.  There‘s nothing which connects the killing or the raping or whatever to any facts that they‘ve proven, other than (INAUDIBLE) a lo of mud at the Van Der Sloot family and a lot of—and say what scumbags they are and how out of control he was...

COSBY:  So Mickey, is it all about money?  What is it about?

SHERMAN:  It‘s about keeping this media thing alive, which makes some sense because as long as we‘re talking about it, the harder they‘re going to look for the killers.  So I understand that concept.  But as far as being a real cohesive lawsuit, I‘m on the same page with Gloria.  It ain‘t going nowhere.

COSBY:  Anne, what do you think?  Are you going to play devil‘s advocate here?  Is there anything in here?

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY:  Well, I will.  And I love Gloria and I love Mickey, but I think under the statute they‘ve cited in New York, where no party resides in New York, there‘s an argument for jurisdiction.  This is in the Supreme Court of New York, which is not, of course—not their highest court.  And they have Chadburn Park (ph) and John Q. Kelly, powerhouse law firm, powerhouse lawyer.  And I think, at this point, jurisdiction can be raised at any time in a civil case.  So you have a change of jurisdiction, change of venue.

The bottom line is they got them served in the United States, and they have a chance to turn this entire case around right now, take a deposition, lower burden of proof than a criminal case.  They can force Joran Van Der Sloot to testify.  They‘ve got the ball in their court now.  And as far as I‘m concerned, the jurisdiction and venue, those are things that‘ll be worked out in the long run.  They got him served.  Welcome to the United States.  You‘re served.

COSBY:  You know, Mickey...

SHERMAN:  But it‘s a civil suit...

COSBY:  Mickey, she hit the point.  There is a lower standard here.

SHERMAN:  Yes, but...

COSBY:  And let me show the O.J. Case.  John Kelly, of course, made a lot of headlines.  O.J. Simpson, you know, wins, of course, in the criminal case.  Nothing there.  Goes to the civil case, John Q. Kelly wins.  There is a lower burden, right, Mickey?

SHERMAN:  Yes, but let‘s remember what the stakes are.  In O.J., if he lost the criminal case, he‘d be in jail for the rest of his life.  Same with Robert Blake.  Here, the only thing that could happen is maybe he‘s going to owe some money, which is going to be pretty darn hard to collect with all the lawyers sharing it after a long period of litigation.  So granted, the standards are lower, but the stakes are so much, much lower.

COSBY:  Gloria...

ALLRED:  Rita, you don‘t...


COSBY:  Can we get him on the record and catch him in something there?

ALLRED:  Yes.  Rita, you don‘t get to the burden of proof, you don‘t get to a trial if there is no jurisdiction.  You have to show minimum contacts with the state of New York.  There is no connection (INAUDIBLE) alleged in this lawsuit, with the state of New York, other than that they were served there.  Venue is not the same as jurisdiction.

Putting it in plain English, if this case gets dismissed at the get-go, they‘re not going to be able to take any anybody‘s depositions.  Nobody is going to be testifying.  The case would have to be refiled elsewhere.  So this is a big problem for this particular lawsuit as it‘s filed.  I wish them luck.  I‘d like to be wrong.  We‘ll have to see where it goes.

COSBY:  Anne, is there a chance that Gloria could be wrong for once in a change, you know?

ALLRED:  Never.


BREMNER:  No.  I think that they have an argument, and they cited a statute that says when no party‘s there, they can find (INAUDIBLE) minimal contacts.  They had to wait for these people to come to New York, and they got them.

SHERMAN:  I think the...

BREMNER:  And they had this one chance, and they‘re going to try and everywhere they can to keep this jurisdiction alive (INAUDIBLE)

SHERMAN:  I think the funny part is that it was they came here because of the media to be on television shows.


SHERMAN:  I mean, there‘s something incredibly ironic about that.

BREMNER:  Isn‘t it?  Yes.

SHERMAN:  But by the same token, they can get on a plane tomorrow. 

There‘s nothing holding them here.  So they get defaulted.  Not a big deal.

COSBY:  Gloria, what do you make of—what do you make of the fact

that—sort of the way it all went down?  It is pretty brilliant, when you

think about it.  I just said it to Vito Colucci.  I mean, to orchestrate,

to know the times they were coming in.  They served, I understand, Paulus

the minute he stepped out of that hotel.  I mean, we can show a live shot

of the Lucerne Hotel.  Literally, I‘m told, as soon as he walked out, they

served him.  And then, literally, as Joran was coming in, the—you know,

the detective sitting behind him the whole flight, knowing the exact flight

pretty brilliant to sort of orchestrate it all.

ALLRED:  Well, it‘s only brilliant if they have a live lawsuit that they can proceed with...

COSBY:  No, fair point.

ALLRED:  ... in New York.  And by the way, Anne, venue is not the same as jurisdiction, but I won‘t go any further with that.  The point is that it is brilliant if they can proceed.  But if not, this is attracting a lot of attention, and there are going to be a lot of embarrassed people if this case gets thrown out at an early point.

COSBY:  Anne, could it backfire?

BREMNER:  Well, you know, it could backfire, but frankly, I think the sentiments are here with this family, with everything they‘ve gone through day after day after day and night after night.  Rita, you‘ve talked about this case with no breaks.  There‘s never breaks.  Nothing ever happens for this family.  And if there‘s a chance for this case to survive with jurisdiction and a case on the merits, then of course, I think they‘ll be given the benefit of the doubt.  And you know what?  I‘ll make a bet right now.  It does go and they do have a case.

ALLRED:  Sympathy doesn‘t establish jurisdiction...

BREMNER:  No, it doesn‘t.

ALLRED:  ... for a civil lawsuit t.

BREMNER:  Of course, it doesn‘t.  Of course, it doesn‘t.  But the fact is that they cited a statute whereby they‘re saying that they in good faith, as officers of the court, that they have jurisdiction.  And it‘s a very low threshold in civil cases.  And venue is, of course, different, but...

SHERMAN:  But Rita, let me...


SHERMAN:  Let me answer your question of how this does backfire.  If, in fact, the country of Aruba decides to prosecute Van Der Sloot, when he‘s cross-examined by—when the people are on the stand, they can—and the victims are on the stand, telling about their loss, they can be cross-examined that they‘re in this for money.  That‘s not a good thing.

BREMNER:  Yes, because there is no money...

COSBY:  You guys, all of you, hold that thought because we‘re going to talk more after the break.  Stick ahead, everybody, because what‘s next in this case?  Could it go to court?  If it does, let‘s talk about the timeline a little bit.

Plus, new details in a mystery that we‘re following here on LIVE AND DIRECT.  A couple vanishes on Great Lakes joyrides.  Only one of their bodies was ever found.  Will a new witness turn this case around and solve it?

And after the vice president accidentally shot his friend, an exclusive demonstration of how this sport can go horribly wrong in a split second.  It‘s all coming up on LIVE AND DIRECT.


COSBY:  And tonight, we‘re following some big breaking developments in the Natalee Holloway case, as a major civil lawsuit is filed against suspect Joran Van Der Sloot and his father.  Will this blockbuster legal action impact the investigation into what happened to Natalee on the island of Aruba?  As we‘re looking at the Lucerne Hotel, where the family is staying, we‘ll see if they return shortly, and if we do, we will bring that picture to you live.

Let me bring back in, if I could, my legal panel, our top-notch panel.  Mickey, let‘s walk through—we know now the father‘s been served, Joran‘s been served.  What‘s the next step?  What‘s the timeframe?

SHERMAN:  Well, I assume that they‘re going to lawyer up, and then their lawyers, as Gloria suggests, will move to dismiss the case that‘s being brought on the basis of jurisdiction or probably many, many other legal grounds which I‘m probably not familiar with, and that‘ll take time.  A trial like this, if it ever goes to trial, and that‘s not for a couple years, and that‘s—I mean, that‘s not exactly going to move the ball closer to finding out who killed this young lady.

COSBY:  You know, Gloria, that‘s what I was going to ask.  How long could this whole process take, even if it‘s disputed every step of the way?

ALLRED:  Well, the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because there are no real minimum contacts with the state of New York—that would come up pretty early on.  That should be the first motion that the defendants would file.  After that, if they are unsuccessful with that, they might, in fact, appeal, if they‘re unsuccessful with it.

But a civil case can take a long time.  You‘re right, Rita, when you mentioned earlier there‘s a different burden of proof in a civil case.  Less proof is required to prove it.  But they may have some obstacles along the way.  For example, in getting depositions, in getting defendants to testify.  Maybe somebody‘s going to assert a 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination because it might—what they say might tend to incriminate them.  There are a lot of problems here in this lawsuit, but I‘m sure that Natalee‘s mother and father are anxious to get the facts.  I can understand why they‘d want to file one, but it‘s got to be filed in the proper place at the proper time.

COSBY:  And if it‘s determined that it is a proper filing, Anne, they‘re still going to fight this tooth and nail, as Gloria was just pointing out. 

BREMNER:  Well, sure.  You know, there‘s personal jurisdiction.  There‘s subject matter jurisdiction.  There‘s venue.  There‘s all kinds of things.

But you get passed that.  In a civil case, you‘ve got written discovery.  And they have to answer written questions.  They have to come in—he has to testify in a deposition. 

He hasn‘t asserted the Fifth Amendment.  He‘s given how many stories now?  He‘s talked freely.  Let‘s hear it under oath.  It‘s the same kind of thing you would see in the O.J. Simpson civil case, which of course John Q.  Kelly was involved in for the Brown family...

SHERMAN:  But you still need proof.  You still need competent, credible, reliable evidence...

BREMNER:  Sure, you do.

SHERMAN:  ... as opposed to character assassination.

BREMNER:  Now, but wait a minute.  Here‘s what I‘m saying.  This is not a wrongful death case.  This is a false imprisonment case, assault case, and loss of consortium case. 

They were brilliant, in terms of filing something where they don‘t have to prove wrongful death.  They can prove by a lot of his statements already a lot what they‘ve asserted in their complaint. 

So is the proof there?  It comes from his own mouth.  Can they bring in more?  You bet they can.  And they have written questions.  They are exactly where they need to be, which is in a court of law.

SHERMAN:  Anne, if he‘s already confessed to these crimes... 

COSBY:  Mickey, go ahead.  You‘ve got 15 seconds.  Real quick.

SHERMAN:  If he‘s already confessed to these crimes, why hasn‘t the country of Aruba arrested him? 


BREMNER:  That‘s a great question. 

COSBY:  And, you guys, we‘ll be following it.  We‘ll try to get you an answer.  Everybody, we‘re going to stay on this.  And of course, any developments tonight, we will bring them to you. 

Again, that filing taking place just a few hours ago.  Some of the best in the business.  Thank you, all of you, very much.

We‘re going to move on to another case.  For the first time since the cold-blooded crime, the man accused of brutally murdering his own wife and 9-month-old baby daughter came face-to-face with his dead wife‘s family in a Massachusetts court where he was arraigned on murder charges. 

MSNBC‘s Lisa Daniels, who was in the courtroom today, has all the details for us live.

Lisa, tell us what happened.

LISA DANIELS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Sure, Rita.  Well, the actual arraignment was very, very quick.  It was less than five minutes.  They were in and out, really no surprises whatsoever. 

But it was very interesting to see Neil Entwistle‘s face throughout the whole thing.  We‘ve got the video to show you.  Let‘s show you what that reaction was.

He really didn‘t say a word.  He did not show much emotion.  He mostly stared in that expression, right straight head.  His attorney, Elliot Weinstein, did all of the talking, entering a plea of not guilty, reserving the right to ask for bail at a later date.

And from the vantage point I had in the courtroom, Rita, I did not see Entwistle look at his wife‘s family at all.  Someone said they did; I did not see it.

And in real life, if I just could add a little bit of color here, he appears much larger than he does on TV.  He‘s very tall.  He‘s broad-shouldered.  He holds his head very high.  He does have a presence.

As for Rachel Entwistle‘s family, it is very hard, Rita, to describe their faces.  They were grief-stricken.  They were shocked.  They were extremely upset. 

There were no tears, but obviously they lost their daughter, they lost their granddaughter, they were very, very sad.  Their entrance in the courtroom was also very dramatic.  The flowers that you see there, each one of them had identical flowers.  They brought them to the courtroom steps, and they had a family spokesperson speak for them. 


JOE FLAHERTY, SPOKESMAN FOR NEIL ENTWISTLE‘S FAMILY:  To think that someone we loved, trusted, opened our home to, could do this to our daughter and granddaughter is beyond belief.  The betrayal to this family, to Neil‘s family, to our family, to our friends here and in the U.K., is unbearable. 


DANIELS:  In the background there, you might have heard that helicopter.  You should have seen the scene here, Rita, outside the courthouse.  News crews from around the world, from both sides of the Atlantic, capturing Entwistle‘s every move.

And his attorney, Elliot Weinstein, questioned today whether all of that publicity will prevent his client from getting a fair trial. 


ELLIOT WEINSTEIN, ATTORNEY FOR NEIL ENTWISTLE:  I don‘t know that Mr.  Entwistle will ever be able to get a fair trial on these charges.  And my concern that he can‘t get a fair trial is because of what has occurred in the publicity surrounding this event. 


DANIELS:  And tonight, Entwistle is at a county jail up in Cambridge about 40 minutes from where we are now.  And as soon as we‘re done here, Rita, we‘re headed up there. 

Back to you.

COSBY:  All right, Lisa.  Please keep us posted.  Thank you.

Meantime, new clues tonight in a cold case about a couple that went missing over six months ago.  Chuck Rutherford and Lana Stempien mysteriously disappeared during a boating trip on Lake Huron last August.  Lana was found dead weeks later, but her boyfriend, Chuck, has not been seen or heard from since. 

Joining us now with new information is Dorothy Bourdet.  She‘s a reporter with the “Detroit News.” 

Dorothy, first of all, there‘s some new witnesses that came forward, one about the boat.  Tell us about that. 

DOROTHY BOURDET, “THE DETROIT NEWS”:  Yes, Rita.  There were two women who said they saw the boat the day before Lana and Chuck were reported missing.  And the interesting thing about this is it gives us two clues, really.  One, it tells us the approximate time things could have gone wrong in the boat, if this is indeed Lana‘s boat.  It also tells us the approximate place that things could have gone wrong. 

So they basically saw the boat drifting actually about a mile north of where her body was found.  It was drifting near some rocks, not a place that, you know, boats would normally go.

COSBY:  What is that saying to individuals?  Is there still a question of possibly foul play, something happening on the boat itself? 

BOURDET:  Yes, I think that‘s always been a question.  And I don‘t think that that‘s been ruled out completely.

I mean, police technically are classifying this as a missing person‘s case.  But there still are so many puzzling clues and unanswered questions in this.  So, yes, I mean, I think that there are still so many things that people just don‘t know that foul play can‘t be ruled out at this point, I don‘t think. 

COSBY:  You know, and Dorothy, another key witness apparently has come forward, too, talking about something that happened outside a casino.  Tell us about that. 

BOURDET:  Right.  A Detroit man came forward and has been interviewed by police.  And also in a sworn affidavit to Lana‘s family‘s attorney he said that he saw Chuck hitting Lana on a street in Detroit and stopped to intervene. 

Now, he said in the affidavit that Lana identified herself and said she worked for the city of Detroit as an attorney, and he picked Chuck out from a photo.  And this is all from a sworn affidavit that he gave to the family. 

Now, police are saying they‘re not really sure.  They don‘t think that this would have influenced how they investigated the case since it happened about a month and a half before the disappearance. 

However, I think, you know, to the family it‘s significant, and there have been other things that really have—other affidavits, other people who have come forward saying, you know, their relationship wasn‘t all rosy and great.  There were a lot of problems there. 

COSBY:  Dorothy, please keep us posted.  Some interesting developments.

And now let‘s bring in, if we could, Andrew Jarvis.  He‘s the attorney and spokesman for Lana Stempien‘s family. 

Andrew, these two new key witnesses, pretty interesting, especially the one of what‘s happened outside the casino.  Do you believe foul play, that maybe something happened, Chuck maybe did something to Lana? 

ANDREW JARVIS, STEMPIEN FAMILY ATTORNEY:  Well, Rita, let me tell you this.  I interviewed Mr. Grimmett.  And I believe that he did see Lana and Chuck that day. 


COSBY:  This is the man outside the casino you were talking about, right? 

JARVIS:  Yes, ma‘am.  That‘s right.  I asked him a number of questions that he would only know the answers to had he witnessed Lana and Chuck that day. 

COSBY:  And, again, how do you think that affects—because it could be—you know, maybe they were having a spat totally unrelated to what would have happened a month and a half later. 

JARVIS:  Well, some background on that, Rita is that, prior to this witness coming forward, several of Lana‘s friends indicated to me and also to the police that, if anything suspicious should happen to Lana, that Chuck would be a person of interest for the police. 

So that indicates to me that those were not idle statements by Lana or just made for no reason.  There was some substance behind them. 

COSBY:  What do you think about the witness, too, who now pinpoints a little bit where the boat was?  Does that give us a better sense of the time line? 

JARVIS:  It absolutely does.  That witness indicated to me that she saw the boat drifting in the shallows and the rocks near Grace Harbor Road on US-23, between 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, August the 11th

That‘s significant, because I know Lana, from interviewing her aunt, was on the phone between 1:44 p.m. and 1:59 p.m.  We know she was on the move at that time. 

So if you put the time line together, that boat could not be at that point where the witness saw it before 2:00 p.m....

COSBY:  You know...

JARVIS:  ... so surmising—go ahead.  I‘m sorry.

COSBY:  No, you go ahead, please.

JARVIS:  So surmising that the earliest it could be there would be, say, 2:10 or 2:15, that is directly after the phone call. 

COSBY:  You know, and you speak of the phone call, too.  This is the call that she made to her father, probably the last person to speak with her.  Was there any anything unusual in that call, anything triggering anything, Andrew? 

JARVIS:  Well, let me just say this.  She had two phone calls, one from 1:44 p.m. to 1:59 p.m.  That was to her aunt.  Then she made a phone call immediately after that at 1:59 p.m. for 41 seconds to a friend in Boston. 

After that, her phone records, there‘s nothing more. 

COSBY:  Anything unusual in any of those calls?  Is there anything to trigger anything unusual with her mood at the last moments? 

JARVIS:  Well, I‘ve interviewed her aunt and also the individual she spoke to in Boston.  This person she spoke to in Boston she was making plans with to meet up with this individual on the East Coast at a family wedding.

COSBY:  Andrew, what‘s your gut telling you?  Is there something fishy here? 

JARVIS:  I believe that that phone call could be the catalyst to what happened on that boat. 

COSBY:  Was it a male friend? 

JARVIS:  That‘s my opinion.

COSBY:  Was it a male friend?

JARVIS:  Yes, it was.  It was a friend of Lana‘s, a friend that she was planning to visit.  That‘s my opinion.  I don‘t have another witness to corroborate that, but I know that she did make that phone call. 

COSBY:  And again, Chuck Rutherford and people that we‘ve had on this show have said that they maintain there was nothing suspicious on there.  And thank you very much.  We appreciate it.  We‘ll stay on this case. 

And still ahead, everybody, a woman who witnessed her own husband‘s murder is now taking some dramatic steps to find his killer.  We‘ll tell you what she‘s doing.  You‘re looking at it there. 

Plus, an exclusive demonstration.  We‘ll show you what it‘s like hunting in the field, like Vice President Dick Cheney did when he shot his own friend.  How safe is it?  That‘s coming up next.


COSBY:  Tonight, a woman who saw her husband murdered is now taking some bold steps to find his killer.  Lisa Fickel put up a billboard on a major highway in upstate New York hoping it helps catch the people who shot and killed her husband in cold blood, right in front of her eyes.

Joining me now LIVE & DIRECT is Lisa Fickel.  Lisa, just real briefly, tell us what happened to your husband.  I mean, you pretty much saw it happen. 

LISA FICKEL, HUSBAND MURDERED:  Actually, I didn‘t see him shot, but I heard the shots being fired. 

COSBY:  And you thought it was a backfiring of a car, right, at the time?  Because they were, what, looking—you were selling, what, a vehicle at the time? 

FICKEL:  Yes, exactly.  We were selling a vehicle at the time, and a truck stopped in front of the vehicle.  Our assumption was that they were interested in the vehicle. 

My husband went out to see if they were interested.  I heard what two what sounded like backfires, waited a few seconds.  My husband didn‘t come back into the house, went outside to realize that, in fact, I had heard gunshots.  And my husband was laying on the side of the road. 

COSBY:  You know, do you have any idea who may have done it at all? 

There was a light van seen, what, driving away, right? 

FICKEL:  There was a light-colored, flatbed truck seen driving away. 

COSBY:  And you haven‘t gotten a lot of leads.  I know you went to the extent of putting up a billboard.  Why do you come up with that idea?  Why did you think that would be a good way to maybe get this solved once and for all? 

FICKEL:  Actually, today I had the second billboard put up, again on another major highway.  And I was just really looking for something that would reach a lot of people and really appeal to their emotions. 

I wanted people to realize that there‘s still a killer that could possibly be living in our community, and I just wanted community involvement.  I didn‘t want my husband to be forgotten. 

COSBY:  Good for you.  You know, what kind of reaction have you gotten?  And have you gotten any tips coming in?  Because that is a pretty bold statement.  You can‘t miss it when you go down the highway. 

FICKEL:  Yes, you‘re right.  It is very personal.  And it‘s one of my favorite pictures of him. 

I‘ve gotten a lot of emotional calls and cards.  As far as tips go, we may be averaging one or two a day.  But I‘m just hoping that the right people see this billboard and they have the reaction to do the right thing and really call in and give us some leads that are going to help us solve this puzzle. 

COSBY:  You bet.  Well, I hope we can help in some way.  Lisa Fickel, thank you so much.

And I want to make sure, everybody, if you have any information on the murder of Bill Fickel, please be sure to call the New York sheriff‘s department.  The number is 585-345-5000.  Again, 585-345-5000.

And there‘s a lot of more coming up tonight right here on MSNBC.  Let‘s check in with Joe Scarborough now with a preview of what you‘ve got in store in a few minutes—Joe?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Hey, thanks so much, Rita. 

We‘re going to be talking about a couple of stories.  Obviously, Dick Cheney cleared by the law authorities in Texas.  But things may be getting a little murkier in Washington, D.C., where a former Reagan aide wrote in the “Wall Street Journal” today that Republicans may be thinking about dumping Dick Cheney, that he‘s gotten too hot to handle politically. 

Also, of course there‘s a story out where the United Nations is lecturing us on Gitmo, saying we need to shut it down.  This of course comes from the same United Nations that has Sudan on its human rights council.  We‘re going to be talking about that and much more straight ahead in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY,” Rita. 

COSBY:  Thanks so much, Joe.  We‘ll be watching.

And still ahead, everybody, the vice president‘s accidental shooting.  We‘re going to be taking you along for a hunting trip.  Just how tricky is it out in the field when you‘re the one with the finger on the trigger?  That is coming up next.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I thought his explanation yesterday was a very strong and powerful explanation.  And I‘m satisfied with the explanation he gave.


COSBY:  President Bush coming out in defense of Dick Cheney tonight after the vice president is cleared for accidentally shooting his friend.

Late tonight, the Kenedy County, Texas, sheriff‘s department says Cheney won‘t be charged for shooting his friend, Harry Whittington, over the weekend. 

The department has maintained the shooting was an accident.  Cheney explained that he did not see his friend, Whittington, creep up behind and accidentally sprayed him with birdshot while aiming at a quail.

After this highly publicized accident, many are wondering, what is the proper protocol for the sport?

NBC‘s Charles Hadlock joins us now live from a gun club in Texas with an inside look—Charles?


We‘re at one of the largest hunting ranches in Texas where quail hunting is an everyday event this time of year.  In this part of the world, hunting is a social event, like going to a country club.  Business deals are struck at places like this. There is socializing, friendship, and, above all, safety.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.  Work it.  Work it.

HADLOCK (voice-over):  Hunting in Texas is not just a pastime; for some, it‘s a way of life.  Doug Cannon runs the Greystone Castle Sporting Club located on this sprawling 4,000-acre ranch west of Ft. Worth.

The place is teeming with wildlife, an abundance of deer and quail, birds hidden in the tall, dry grass.  It‘s quail season in Texas, and Cannon is leading a small group of fellow hunters in search of the wild birds, but not before a safety reminded.

DOUG CANNON, RUNS GREYSTONE CASTLE SPORTING CLUB:  One thing to remember, as far as safety goes, we want to try to keep a straight line when we‘re in the field.  I don‘t want to see somebody 30 yards back or 30 yards up.  I want to have a hunter on the right side, a hunter on the left side.

HADLOCK:  The Greystone Castle Ranch is hundreds of miles from where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting partner and friend, Harry Whittington.

CANNON:  Watch for low birds.  Eye-level shots are all right, guys, if you‘re shooting eye level.  Don‘t dip the muzzle down towards the ground. 

HADLOCK:  But the accident is clearly on the minds of these hunters. 

George Privett is one of the ranch owners. 

GEORGE PRIVETT, RANCH OWNER:  Every occasion, I don‘t care how experienced they are, I don‘t care how many times they come here a year, whatever, you still have the safety talk. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Watch it now.  Work it.  Easy.  Easy.

HADLOCK:  One thing that is constant as the west Texas wind is the communication between these hunters.  They always have each other in sight.  And when they don‘t, they don‘t shoot. 

(on-screen):  When they pull out behind you, you had a clear shot. 

CANNON:  Right.

HADLOCK:  Why didn‘t you take it? 

CANNON:  Well, because I was just—you know, in that situation, I was a little unsure where everybody was and it just wasn‘t a safe shot at the time. 

HADLOCK:  When the hunters are in a line, it‘s easy to keep track of each other.  But when one hunter falls behind, as Harry Whittington apparently did, he falls out of sight of the other hunters and puts himself in the danger zone. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There it goes.  Bird up.  Shoot. 

HADLOCK:  Good shootin‘.

(voice-over):  And a bird is down, all the hunters stop until the dead bird is retrieved. 

CANNON:  But it‘s very important that they don‘t proceed on hunting.  They need to just wait, because that‘s—you can get into a situation, if they‘re still hunting, while you‘re looking for the dead bird, another bird pops up, they turn and shoot while somebody‘s, you know, not looking. 

HADLOCK:  And that‘s apparently what happened to Vice President Cheney and Harry Whittington. 

PRIVETT:  You had a hunter that was still hunting, which in this case happened to be our vice president, Cheney, and we had a good friend of his that was looking for a bird.  And they just lost sight of where each other were at.  And, you know, that‘s something that I don‘t think they should have been doing. 

HADLOCK:  That‘s why staying in a straight line is so important and breaking it can be so tragic when shots are fired. 

PRIVETT:  It‘s terrible.  I mean, it must be—well, he said it.  I mean, it‘s going to be something that will stay with him for the rest of his life.  And, I mean, you don‘t want to shoot anybody. 

HADLOCK:  Hunting in Texas is a way of life; avid sportsmen talk about the thrill of the hunt.  But if they lose sight of common safety measures, it can mean the end of a life. 

PRIVETT:  He pulled the trigger, and he‘s the guy that, you know, wasn‘t thinking. 


HADLOCK:  And hunters here know how easily accidents can happen, and they strive every day to make sure their sport remains safe—Rita?

COSBY:  You know, Charles, how frequent or infrequent are these types of shooting accidents?  How rare do they happen? 

HADLOCK:  Well, they‘re fairly common across the nation, but they are

on the decline.  Roughly one hundred people a year die in hunting accidents

in this country, but that‘s down 30 percent from what it was a decade ago -


COSBY:  Charles, thank you very much.  Really interesting insight for taking us out there today.  Thank you.

HADLOCK:  You bet.

COSBY:  And still ahead, everybody, we‘re going to bring you up to speed on the breaking news in the Natalee Holloway case.  That‘s coming up. 


COSBY:  And tonight, a smooth move by a police officer, and it is caught on tape.  Check this out, dashboard video from a Georgia police cruiser, chasing a suspect who thought it was a good idea to run from the cops in a stolen car. 

Well, bad move.  The officer did what‘s called a pit maneuver, nudging the suspect‘s car and causing him to go out of control. 

Listen to this:  At one point, the suspect was going against traffic and more than 100 miles an hour.  No one, including the bad guy, was hurt. 

And we‘re going to continue following also the big development in the case of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway.  Just a few hours ago, using some very clever tactics, attorneys for Natalee‘s family served the prime suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot, and his father, Paulus, with a civil lawsuit when they arrived in New York City. 

They were there in the U.S. for a TV interview.  The suit seeks unspecified damages against the two. 

LIVE & DIRECT has obtained exclusive details, and we will continue digging on this story.  Again, a civil suit has been filed just a few hours ago.  They‘ve been served with it. 

And, of course, if you have any information on this case, have any questions, make sure you e-mail us at rita.msnbc.com.  Again, that is rita.msnbc.com.  We would love to hear from you and hear any of your—send any of your comments to, as well.

And that does it for me on LIVE & DIRECT tonight.  I‘m Rita Cosby.  An interesting night.  Now let‘s go to Joe Scarborough with “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe?



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  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 NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Watch Rita Cosby Live & Direct each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET


Discussion comments