updated 3/31/2006 10:56:39 AM ET 2006-03-31T15:56:39

Guests: Eddie Thompson, Michael Cardoza, Nicole Deborde, Stacey Honowitz, Melissa Caldwell, Jack Benza, Butch Williams, Kerry Sutton, Stacey Honowitz, John Patrick Dolan, Steve Sax, General Wayne Downing

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, duped at Duke.  Suggestions that that college gang rape was all a hoax.  Lawyers for two university Duke lacrosse players, at the center of horrific allegations mount a furious counterattack.  They say no rape.  They say no sex.  They say no crime.  Was it all a setup?  And Jill Carroll released in Iraq this morning.  But was she kidnapped for Allah or American dollars?  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed.

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks for being with me tonight.  I really appreciate it.  Always do.  We have those stories in just a minute.  Plus Barry Bonds busted?  It looks that way, but now his supporters say the surly superstar‘s being slimed, because he‘s black.  Baseball great Steve Sax thinks that‘s a joke and he‘s here tonight to talk about it.

And in court today, the killer wife.  She said she did it, but now there‘s a whisper campaign going on in her home town that‘s laying the blame at her dead husband‘s feet.  Is it just a sleazy legal tactic?  And tonight, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.

But first the investigation of a possible gang rape involving the Duke University lacrosse team.  It‘s split that campus and the community in two bitter camps.  Police say an exotic dancer was raped, but the players continue to deny the allegations.  Did members of the lacrosse team rape and brutalize a young, exotic dancer, or was it all, as their lawyers are suggesting tonight, an elaborate hoax?  We‘re going to hear from two of the attorneys from the players in a minute.  But first, with us live from the campus of Duke is NBC‘s Michelle Hofland.  What‘s the latest there?

MICHELLE HOFLAND, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, tonight it appears that the district attorney here is backpedaling a little bit.  When I spoke with him late today, he says that he still is confident that the woman was raped, and that she was raped at that off-campus apartment.

But now he says that he‘s not so sure that it was a lacrosse player after all, that he‘s really not sure.  He‘s waiting for the DNA results.  Now, I said how can that be, when you told me that everyone inside that party was a lacrosse player?  And this is what he said, is that all he knows about who was inside that apartment came from the lacrosse players, and maybe all of them omitted three other people who could have been at that party.  A little bit confusing and we‘re waiting now.

Interestingly this all comes the same time that the attorneys for the lacrosse players are coming out and saying, hey, these people, they did not do anything wrong.

They did not touch these women.  There was no sexual contact.  We want these DNA test results to be done.  We want them to come out, because it will prove our innocence.  That‘s what the attorneys are saying.  So it‘s a very interesting time.  Things are shifting a little bit here, and we‘re waiting for the test results, expected to be out sometime next week.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know Michelle, over the past 24 hours, the dynamics of this case seem to have changed so much.  Twenty-four hours ago anger was growing on that campus.  I know it still is in some quarters.  Then everybody in the media and in the D.A.‘s office was suggesting this was an open-and-shut case.  Now the D.A., like you said, is backing off.  Plus we hear that he‘s saying, even if these DNA tests come back, and all the lacrosse players are cleared, there‘s a possibility that maybe they didn‘t leave any evidence on them, because they were wearing condoms.  Is this a D.A., and is this a department, that‘s furiously backpedaling tonight?

HOFLAND:  You know that‘s what it appears.  I have not heard actually about the condoms.  That I have not heard in this case.  It may be that that‘s just what hasn‘t been—what we haven‘t heard here at the scene.  But, yes, it does appear that there is some backpedaling going on.

Something else also is that he is saying, oh well, you know what?  What I don‘t understand here, according to the district attorney, is that these guys just haven‘t been very cooperative.  None of these lacrosse players are being cooperative.  And their attorneys are saying, hey wait a minute, all these guys, they gave them their DNA evidence.

And the district attorney says, yes, but they‘re not being cooperative, because none of them are coming forward and saying this is what happened inside the party.  This is what these men did to this poor girl.  But the attorneys are saying, hey, these guys can‘t come forward and say that, because it didn‘t happen.  So a lot of interesting things, and shuffling, and interesting facts that are happening here in Duke right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is fascinating, and it‘s a fast-moving story.  NBC‘s Michelle Hofland, as always thanks a lot for being with us.  We really appreciate it.

Now earlier today, I spoke with attorneys for the two captains of the lacrosse team.  And what they told me may surprise anybody who‘s been following this story.  And I want to underline this.  This is so important.  And we see this time and time again, where you have a group of people or you have a person who is accused by the media, because they‘re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You know, maybe there are three people on this team that are guilty of brutalizing this young poor lady.  We don‘t know.

But at the same time maybe you have an entire team that‘s being slimed, because somebody else committed the crime.  You remember the runaway bride?  You remember how everybody, when she disappeared, everybody was looking at the husband?  We were all sure he was guilty of something.  Well, we found out later on, that wasn‘t the case at all.

So we just have to be careful, we have to slow down and just like we don‘t want to jump to the other side and say, hey this thing definitely is a hoax, you certainly have to remember in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.  We forget that sometimes in the media.  Well I started my interview when I was talking to these lacrosse players‘ attorneys by asking Butch Williams what his client is saying happened on the night in question.  Take a listen to what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUTCH WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED DUKE PLAYER:  Well he‘s categorically denied, both in writing as well as to anyone that will listen that nothing occurred of a sexual nature that night.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me read you what the police report says about the victim.  It says the victim had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally.  Can you tell us what your clients have told you, or what other people on the lacrosse team are saying, about the police suggesting that in fact she was raped that night?

WILLIAMS:  Once again, we can‘t.  I can speak for my client.  And I‘m sure Kerry feels the same way.  I can‘t speak on whatever my client has told me, because that‘s privileged information.  But, as an overview, I can speak of what some of the outside investigators are bringing up there.  I think the police report states that there may have been sex that night, but it doesn‘t necessarily mean—and that‘s where the DNA, to us, is going to prove substantial, as to who she might have had sex with that night.

SCARBOROUGH:  So your suggestion, or at least the suggestion of your client and others on the team, is if she had sex, it wasn‘t with anybody on the Duke lacrosse team.

WILLIAMS:  Correct.

KERRY SUTTON, ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED DUKE PLAYER:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Kerry Sutton, let me bring you in here.  Is your client telling you the same thing as Mr. Williams‘ client is telling him, that nobody inside that home had any sexual contact with this exotic dancer?

SUTTON:  That‘s what‘s telling me, and that‘s what he told the police when he gave them a voluntary statement in writing and orally.  And that‘s what he and teammates have said from the beginning.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Williams, I want to play you a 911 call that I suggest many Americans are going to be paying a lot closer attention to in the coming days.  Take a listen.

911 CALL AUDIO:  It‘s right in front of 610 Buchanan Street.  And I saw them all come out like a big frat house, and me and my black girlfriend are walking by, and they called us n-----s.  They didn‘t harm me in any way, but I just felt so completely offended, I can‘t even believe it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Williams, talk about some of the inconsistencies in this 911 tape and the other one that occurred about 30 minutes later.

WILLIAMS:  Well, if you listen to it in the tapes, first, they say I‘m riding by, then they say we were walking.  And then they called out the actual address, 610.  There are no numbers on that house.  You cannot see that number.  You cannot depict the address in the daytime, more less at night.  So, you know, that right there was one of the first things glaringly that stepped out to me, that it couldn‘t have been anyone just riding by and randomly getting singled out.  The other thing is, you know, for something—I mean if a person calls you a name, you dial a 911, and not being attacked or anything like that.  That all too also stuck out in my mind as, you know, being almost contrived.

SCARBOROUGH:  So are you suggesting that this may be a hoax?  That possibly this exotic dancer and her friend may have set this—may have tried to set the Duke lacrosse team up?

WILLIAMS:  I‘m not going to say it‘s a hoax, and I‘m not going to get into setups at this particular point, because we‘re still working on each and every angle of the case.  The only thing I say it‘s just mighty coincidental that these calls came in, citing the address, in close proximity in time to the allegations being made.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Kerry Sutton, apparently the second call that came reporting the rape 30 minutes later, was at a Kroger grocery store several miles away, when they had opportunities to make calls right there in that neighborhood, correct?

SUTTON:  Correct.  And the Durham Police Department headquarters is much closer than that Kroger store two and a half miles away.

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s the D.A. doing though—again, talking about getting out in front of this story.  Now he‘s even assuming that the DNA evidence may come back and may let both of your clients off the hook, but then says, hey, I still got them.

WILLIAMS:  Because quite frankly, if the DNA doesn‘t come back, it‘s definitely not in their favor when they have told everybody in the press, and now it seems like around the world, that all we want to get the DNA, and the DNA is going to show us x, y, and z.  This is all what we call premature.

SCARBOROUGH:  Butch, make a prediction for us.  Do you think your client and the rest of the team is going to be cleared?  And if so, how long is it going to take to get all the facts out on the table and get this part of their lives behind them?

WILLIAMS:  It‘s not just these young men that are on the front.  Duke University, a very fine prestigious university, is being drug through the mud across the United States, as well as these young men.  All of them have families, you know, in different parts of the country, that have had to answer questions on this.  Just think, if in fact they have been wrongly accused, as we believe that they have, how do you get your life back?  How do your family get their name back?  So that‘s what we‘re working for.  It‘s not just about this rape.  It‘s about total vindication for these young men.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Butch Williams, Kerry Sutton, thank you so much for being with us.  And this is a story obviously that‘s going to continue.  And like I said before, I think we‘re going to be—everybody‘s going to be looking a lot more closely at these 911 tapes in the coming days.  Thank you so much for being with us and good luck.

WILLIAMS:  Thank you Joe.

SUTTON:  Thanks Joe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And let‘s bring our legal expert.  Stacey Honowitz is a prosecutor, and John Patrick Dolan, a criminal defense attorney.  Stacey, of course, whenever you have a possible victim like this you have to bend over backwards.  I think we‘ve been doing that the past couple nights.  But isn‘t it time to stop and say, hey wait a second, if this DNA evidence comes back and it doesn‘t pinpoint any lacrosse player, the D.A. has got to drop the case against them, right?

STACEY HONOWITZ, PROSECUTOR:  Listen, Joe, the bottom line is, you know, you don‘t always need DNA to prove a rape case.  Everybody knows that.  Sometimes you‘re not going to have biological evidence.

SCARBOROUGH:  But the D.A. didn‘t know that Stacey.  Just a couple of days ago he was saying this DNA evidence is going to prove this case.  And now he‘s saying, well, maybe I was wrong.

HONOWITZ:  I think what the D.A. was saying was we can definitely say by the credible—we thought that this victim was credible and we saw bruising, we saw vaginal injuries, anal injuries, everything to say to lead to the fact that this was nonconsensual sex.  And I think everybody else was bringing up the D.A.  It was the defense attorneys that kept saying the D.A. is going to prove it...

SCARBOROUGH:  But the D.A. has to prove though...

HONOWITZ:  The D.A.‘s going to prove that—the DNA is going to prove that our clients aren‘t guilty, When in fact the DNA wouldn‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  Okay, Stacey, hold on a second though.  I mean, there are a lot of people there.  They‘re going to have to actually prove that a Duke lacrosse player was responsible for this.  The lady could have had sex with somebody else that night, couldn‘t she have?

HONOWITZ:  Yes, well we have to wait and see if she made an identification.  Certainly the investigation has to move forward.  Can she identify the perpetrators that were in the room with her that night?  Certainly if she can, and there‘s no DNA, it doesn‘t mean that the D.A. can‘t prove the case.  If there‘s DNA, and she picks them out of a lineup, well certainly there‘s a great case there.  So the DNA is not going to be dispositive as to whether or not she had nonconsensual sex with any of the lacrosse players in the house that night.  And that‘s what we‘re waiting to see.

SCARBOROUGH:  John, could this all have been a hoax?

JOHN PATRICK DOLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  It could have been a hoax.  It could have been an ill-conceived hoax.  And I have to say I disagree with Stacey.  If the DNA doesn‘t match one of these players, with the background of these ladies who are credible, exotic dancers, I don‘t think the D.A.‘s going to bring a prosecution.  Because there‘s no way that they would get a conviction, unless they had the slam-dunk of the DNA plus the identification.  That‘s the only way it‘s going to work for the prosecution.

HONOWITZ:  That‘ not right.  That‘s not correct.

SCARBOROUGH:  John, the D.A. screwed up.  He‘s already overpromised, hasn‘t he?

DOLAN:  Oh, yes.  They‘re way out in front of this case too soon.  This is what happens again and again in state prosecutions.  They arrest people or they accuse people first and worry about evidence later.  They don‘t do that in the federal government by the way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well John, what do you think about them leaking this document to the press a couple days ago about how this lady was sexually abused?

DOLAN:  Well, that happens all the time.  The prosecution leaks evidence all the time.  And by the way, you never hear them prosecuted for doing that.  And they get the spin out there early, and then people make all kinds of derogatory comments about the defense lawyers when they come on in...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... It‘s going to blow up in their face.

DOLAN:  It is.

SCARBOROUGH:  John, thank you for being with us.  Stacey.  Stick around.  We‘ll be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A major announcement today from major league baseball that could take down one of the game‘s biggest stars.  The league‘s launching a massive steroids investigation to shine light on the game steroid abusers, including the alleged user, Barry Bonds.  But Bonds is trying to make this all about—and I can‘t even believe it.  He‘s trying to make this a case about race.  He says, “This is something we as African-American athletes live with every day.  We all know it.  It‘s just that some people don‘t want to admit it.  They‘re going to play dumb like they don‘t know what the hell is going on.”

You know, it‘s funny, as a guy who had Hank Aaron as his first hero.  When Hank Aaron was chasing Babe Ruth‘s record in 1974, I don‘t remember people accusing Hank Aaron of using steroids.  And last time I checked, he was an African-American, too.  With me now to talk about it, former major league baseball player Steve Sax.

Steve, thanks a lot for being with us. Is poor Barry Bonds being targeted because he‘s a black superstar?

STEVE SAX, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER:  No, he‘s not.  You know, I can‘t believe it.  I just found out that was what they‘ve been espousing today.  And, you know, I can tell you that we‘ve seen all the poster children out there.  We‘ve seen Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi.  We‘ve seen Sammy Sosa and Jose Canseco.  And there‘s four examples of people that were talked about in all these circles, and they certainly aren‘t black.

SCARBOROUGH:  So what about Barry Bonds?  Is it plainly obvious, when you see somebody like Bonds, who bulked up over a two-year time period and started hitting—you know, doubling his home run output, do you and does everybody else involved with major league baseball know that this guy‘s taking steroids?

SAX:  No.  No.  Let me say that first and foremost.  And, you know, the talks I‘ve had with Barry Bonds have been very good.  We‘ve had a good relationship, in the small one that we‘ve had.  Barry Bonds has never flunked a steroid test.  We have to remember that.  I think this new policy that‘s coming out by Senator Mitchell, we‘ll maybe find out in the past, since 2002, if there has been any usage.  And if that is the fact, then my view on Barry and this whole thing is going to drastically change.  I think it‘s one strike and you‘re out.  If you use steroids you‘re out of the game.  You don‘t get a second chance.  Minor league, major league, see you later.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Bonds is chasing really the greatest record I think in baseball.  He‘s chasing Babe Ruth first and then, as I mentioned before, Hank Aaron.  Let‘s say he breaks the record.  Under this cloud of suspicion, what does major league baseball do?  Do they hide their heads in shame, or do they try to celebrate it?

SAX:  Well, that‘s a good question, Joe.  The bottom line is in this testing for steroids, maybe we‘ll find out if he has or he hasn‘t used it.  If he hasn‘t used steroids, then you have to celebrate it and say that just, you know, he broke a great record.  But if in fact he had used it, there‘s got to be a big asterisk there.  And what I think is they should have anybody that has been caught doing it, they got to be kicked out of the game.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Steve, do you think he‘s used it before?

SAX:  You know it‘s hard to say.  I played against Barry when he first came into the league, and he was about 185, 190 pounds.  He‘s a huge guy now, he really works out hard.

SCARBOROUGH:  He is a huge guy.  Steve, you know what Steve?

SAX:  He‘s a huge guy.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re a diplomat, and if I‘m ever president of the United States, I‘ll let you work in the State Department.  The guys‘ bulked up, and he‘s hitting more home runs at 40 than he did at 25.  But you‘re a good friend to Barry Bonds.  Thanks for being with us Steve, I greatly appreciate it.

SAX:  All right, man.  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now from San Francisco to Baghdad, American journalist Jill Carroll released early this morning after three months as a hostage in Iraq.  Carroll spoke today after her release.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL CARROLL, FREED AMERICAN HOSTAGE:  I was happy to be free.  I was treated very well.  It‘s important people know that I was not harmed.  They never said they would hit me, never threatened me in any way.  And I‘m just happy to be free.  I want to be with my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now the U.S. government and Carroll‘s newspaper both deny cutting deals with the kidnappers.  But the question is, did the kidnappers find Allah, or were they just kidnapping Carroll for American dollars.  The U.S. ambassador said this.  “No U.S. person entered into any arrangements with anybody.”  The “Christian Science Monitor” also said, “We‘re not hiding.  We‘re just saying what we know.  And to our knowledge no one has been paid by anybody.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Some are not so sure.  With me now to talk about the budding Baghdad business in kidnapping Americans for dollars is retired U.S. Army General Wayne Downing.  General, thanks for being with us.

GENERAL WAYNE DOWNING, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED):  Thanks Joe.  Good to be here.

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t mean to sound cynical, but in cases like this, sir, when I hear people denying that there are payoffs, well, I‘m cynical.  What do you think happened here?

DOWNING:  Well Joe, I think it‘s really good news that she‘s been released.  And I certainly worried about her safety.  I wasn‘t sure that we would see her alive.  So that‘s very, very good news.  Kidnapping is a big business in Iraq, Joe, and it has been for the last couple of years.  There are gangs, criminal gangs, kidnapping people many times ransoming them back to the families for a substantial amount of money.

But also we‘ve heard reports of them actually throwing the kidnappees into a bidding race between the Jihadist, the Al Qaeda people, some of the other dissident groups, and the people who want them back.  So is there a possibility that there was a ransom paid?  Perhaps.  The ransom, of course, may not have even been in money, Joe.  There‘s a lot of other commodities over there that people need, to include political deals.  So, you know, if one of these factions, one of these religious sects or militias happened to kidnap her, they might have traded her off for something else.  So there‘s a lot of different things that could come into play Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know General, it‘s so important that you‘re explaining what‘s happening over there.  You know, a lot of times, every time Americans see somebody kidnapped, a westerner kidnapped in Baghdad, they assume it‘s a Jihadist.  But there is a budding business and the question is, when there is a payoff—and we‘re not suggesting there‘s one here.  But if there were one, how does that operate?  Does it come from the family?  Does it come from the “Christian Science Monitor?”  Or sometimes do these people do it through third parties?

DOWNING:  Well Joe, many times they can do it through a third party.  There will be an agent or a group who will handle the negotiations.  Generally it‘s not the family or the enterprise.  And a lot of times you can give that group a lot of latitude as far as what they can do and how they can operate.  And so then people can very, very honestly say, no, we didn‘t pay a ransom.  Although they are going to pay some fee to that third party who handled this affair.

Joe, one of the things we got to remember, though, is the American forces over there, the coalition forces take every one of these kidnappings of a westerner very, very seriously.  They put a full court press on this—an intelligence press, a search press.  And then in many cases, these forces, our primarily special operations forces, actually go out, risk their lives in trying to rescue these people.  They‘ve been successful.  You know, of course, you‘re never 100% successful.  But every one of these kidnappings has a drama with it Joe, a tremendous commitment in resources by us to recover these people.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.

DOWNING:  So I am sure that they were searching for her.  In fact, I know they were.  And in fact, I think they may have been getting very, very close when she was released.

SCARBOROUGH:  Which again may have expedited—if a deal was made—may have expedited that.  You‘re exactly right, general.  Our men and women put their lives on the line every day for things like this.  Thanks so much General Wayne Downing for being with us.  It‘s greatly appreciated.

DOWNING:  Thanks Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And along with the general, we all—our thoughts and prayers are with Miss Carroll and her family.  It is great news, regardless on why she‘s coming home.  Such great news for everybody involved.

Now, coming up next, she‘s accused of murdering her husband.  But she seems to be the one getting sympathy.  Or is it just good work by the lawyers.

And later, a secret memo shows what it takes to get on extreme makeover home edition.  But some are asking whether the show is just exploiting people‘s problems.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  The housewife murderer is in court today for killing her husband.   Now, she‘s confessed, but possibly now her lawyers are setting up an insanity defense.   We‘ll tell you how, when we  return.

But first here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.  

COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC NEWS ANCHOR:  Good evening, everyone.  I‘m Colette Cassidy.   Here‘s what‘s happening.

President Bush and the leaders of Mexico and Canada began a two-day summit in the Mexican resort of Cancun.  They‘re expected to discuss trade, border security and immigration.

Israeli officials say a  suicide bomber disguised as an orthodox  Jew, and apparently being given a ride by four Israelis, blew himself up in a car.   The Israelis were killed.  It all happened near a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank.

Officials say a tour boat carrying as many as 150 people capsized in the Persian Gulf off Bahrain.   More than 40 bodies have reportedly been  recovered.   More than 60 people, though, have been  rescued.

The jury in the death penalty trial of confessed al Qaeda conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui,  resumes deliberations in the morning.   It completed its first full day of deliberations today.

And the only survivor of the Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia went home to his wife and children today, after a nearly three-month recovery.   Randal McCloy says he will not be going back underground after the explosion that left 12 fellow miners dead.

Those are your headlines.  I‘m Colette Cassidy.   Now back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you ever wonder how they pick people to be on the “Extreme Makeover Home Edition?”   Well, we‘ll stun you with some qualification revealed in a secret casting memo.   We‘ll have that.

And from catwalk to perp walk.   Naomi Campbell busted in New York.   And as you know, those New York cops make them walk out in front of the cameras.   We‘ll tell you about that  coming up.  We‘ve got the latest.

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes.

But first, murder in Tennessee.   Now, as you know Mary Winkler  was charged with killing her husband, who was a minister.   She appeared in court today.   She‘s allegedly confessed to killing her husband, but the   mystery of why she pulled the  trigger continues.

The tight-lipped police have fueled rampant speculation of spousal abuse, homosexuality, Internet pornography, even child molestation.

The big question tonight is, is that community blaming the victim?

Let me bring in the Winkler family friend,  Eddie Thompson.

Eddie, thank you so much for being with us.

EDDIE THOMPSON:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  You knew your friend.   Did Matthew get killed because  he didn‘t treat his wife or his  children well?  Tell us about this guy that you  knew? 

THOMPSON:  Well, first of all, I haven‘t  heard that.   That‘s appalling.   I just can‘t envision that at all.   Matthew was just a wonderful young man.   He was a happy person.   He was compassionate, very committed to his family, and a tremendous father.   If you could have seen his  children playing with him, you would never worry about any  type of abuse whatsoever.   That‘s just appalling.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Just a good guy.   Well, what about the wife?  I mean, obviously, the wife was dealing  with some demons, some problems  in the final weeks.   What can you tell us about her? 

THOMPSON:  Well, you know, Joe, what is fascinating about  that is that none of us—I can‘t think of a single person that saw anything.   They were very happy.   In fact, I would suggest they  were extremely happy, living in Selmer, Tennessee.  They‘d been there a little over a year, and just incredibly happy.   Very proud of what they were doing, involvement in the community, the girl‘s athletic activities, the school programs.   They were extremely happy.   It really came as a shock to us, and  it‘s bizarre.  

                SCARBOROUGH:  You look at the pictures  of these children, with their  parents.  There, with the mother and, of course, with their father, who looks like such a  loving father.  And their world is turned upside down in a   couple of hours.   Tell us how they‘re doing.  

                THOMPSON:  You know, I think they‘re struggling  on occasions.   By and large they‘re happy.   They‘re with their   grandparents.  

If I can describe them for a minute or two.  They‘re very bright, very inquisitive.  They‘re  intuitive.  They‘re happy.  They‘re active.   They are just precious children, and they have been scared.  And we are worried that they get counseling as quickly as  possible and for as long as  possible.  

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, they‘re obviously going to need  counseling, a lot of counseling coming up.  

THOMPSON:  Yes.  

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to thank you for being with us, Eddie, and giving us  some insight on what your  friend was really like and what  this family was like before this terrible tragedy hit them.

We appreciate your being here.  

THOMPSON:  I‘m really happy to do it.  And don‘t forget, if you want to help support the children, you can send a gift to the winklerfamilyfund.com.  

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Very good.  Appreciate it.

THOMPSON:  Thank you, sir.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Now, let me bring in criminal defense attorney, Michael Cardoza; and also former prosecutor,  Nicole Deborde.

You know, Michael, you hear these whispers, suggestions from the defense attorney that  something just wasn‘t right in  this family.   I‘ll tell what doesn‘t seem right to me, a housewife goes up, shoots her  husband in the back, and then  her attorney starts suggesting that  it was the dead guy‘s fault.   Is that any way to run a defense?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I really don‘t think it is a way to run the defense.   I think the first thing, as a  defense attorney, you have to do  is get a hold of the statement  she gave to the police. 

I got a hold of that arrest warrant.  And that arrest warrant worries me a little bit, from a defense attorney‘s standpoint, because it says she confessed  to planning and shooting.  And the planning part walks her right into a first-degree murder.

So what you have to do, you have to go through that.   Then you have to seek the aid  of your experts, the battered  women experts, to see if there  was some sort of battering going on—psychological, physical—then you talk to the psychiatrist.

Now I‘ve heard the insanity banged around a lot.  But I‘ve got to tell you, Joe, here in the United States insanity is not  bought by any jury anymore.   What you have to look to is diminished capacity.   And by that I mean take it out of the first-degree murder and walk it down into the manslaughter street.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Michael, the problem is, as you‘ve said, if this is planned out, if it‘s calculated...

CARDOZA:  Then she‘s in trouble.

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t have the insanity defense, do you?  You don‘t  have the postpartum depression defense, which some people are talking about.  

CARDOZA:  No.  No, but what... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course, I mean, that‘s insanity itself.

CARDOZA:  Well, in a sense it really it, because everybody that‘s spoken  from that congregation has said  this is the perfect couple.  This was the perfect mother. 

So what made this perfect woman do this?  Why did it happen?  And that‘s the defense attorney‘s  job.  Get in there.  Dig at it.  Talk to those forensic psychiatrists.   See what they say.  See if you have do have that defense.

But I‘m telling you, the defense here looks to be a diminished capacity, not insanity.   Because simply, in insanity here in the United States, a person simply has to know right from wrong.   And not to be able to know right from wrong, I‘m telling you, you have to  be just blathering on the street and not know anything.   So that defense will not work, in my opinion.  

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s just isn‘t going to apply.

CARDOZA:  No, it won‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Nicole, what if she does  prove abuse?  And of course, we hate to even talk about that, but  the attorneys brought that up.   What if they do prove that?  Does that mean anything?

NICOLE DEBORDE, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Sure.  Exactly.  You know, absolutely not.   It‘s absolutely ridiculous.   There‘s no excuse for murder.

This is obviously a  premeditated thing.   She planned this out on so many  levels.   You know, what she‘s trying to say by offering up an excuse is, you know what, I  get to be the judge.  I get to be the jury.  And I get to be the hangman.

She‘s just a justice system of   one, and that‘s not fair.   And there‘s no reasonable excuse  for killing somebody.   You don‘t walk up and shoot  someone in the back, come up with excuses later, like I‘ve got some sort of a mental problem, and expect that that‘s going to  walk you out of the courtroom  on a murder charge.   I mean, it‘s just ridiculous.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael? 

CARDOZA:  I‘ll tell you, then why do we have second degree murders, voluntary and  involuntary manslaughters?   Why don‘t we make you the jury of one and say anybody that kills anybody is a first-degree murderer?  That‘s not a logical position.   People do take other people‘s  lives.   But that‘s why our laws say, if it‘s  willful, deliberate or premeditated, it‘s the first.  If it‘s not that, it‘s a second.  That‘s why we have those laws.  

DEBORDE:  One of the things...

SCARBOROUGH:  Stacey Honowitz, let me bring you in  here.   Obviously, you‘ve been following this case.   What‘s your take on what this defense team is trying to do to  this dead husband?

STACEY HONOWITZ, PROSECUTOR:  Well, Michael Cardoza and I are usually on opposite sides, but I have to tell you, there‘s a lot of what he   says tonight that I agree with.

CARDOZA:  Wow.

HONOWITZ:   Everybody wants to know why  this woman, who looked like she was involved in the perfect marriage, who has three children, a pastor‘s wife, why did she do it?  What is the motive behind it?

The bottom line is what they‘re  trying to do is say that the victim must have done something in order for her to  do this.

But it‘s true.  There are different degrees.  There‘s premeditation.  There‘s second degree.  There‘s manslaughter.   And what happens in a case like this is they charge her with first-degree murder.   They said it‘s premeditated.  It‘s calculated.

The defense at this point is going to do that.   They are going to try and fight this on a diminished responsibility.   The insanity defense will never  fly.   She got in the car and took off  with the three kids.   Obviously, she knew she did   something wrong.  So that knocks the insanity defense right out of the ballpark.  

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re right.  Again, and it‘s calculated.  This woman  tonight is in big, big trouble.

Hey, thanks a lot, Michael.

Thank you, Nicole.

And as always, Stacey, thank you for being with us.

Now, the Washington Press Corps came together last night to have dinner and honor their  fellow journalist, including injured ABC anchor Bob Woodruff.   He‘s still recovering from injuries he suffered in Iraq, but sent a moving statement.   I was there.   I‘ll tell you, It was one of the moving moments of the night.

There was also a great emotional tribute to Peter Jennings.

                But there‘s also time for a lot of laughs.   Vice President Dick Cheney was  there and he poked fun at his   recent hunting trip, among  other things.  

                (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

                DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Scott McClellan‘s been giving me advice too.   He told me to rethink my whole approach to the news media.  And I guess he‘s on to something.  Here‘s how Scott gets himself  ready to meet the press corps.  And here‘s how I‘ve been doing  it.

                (LAUGHTER)

                (END VIDEO CLIP)  

                SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, Cheney played the straight  man very well last night.  

                You know, the vice president was followed by a comedian.   Frank, how do you say the last  name?  Caliendo, who entertained with his right on impression of John Madden.  It brought down the house.  

                (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

                FRANK CALIENDO, COMEDIAN:  I love John Madden, because  he makes me feel smart.  He tells you things you already know.  He doesn‘t give you any new information.  Just sits there with the NFL scadoodles (ph), drawing circles on guys body parts.   John Madden will say things like, if the quarterback, if he throws the ball and the receiver, if he catches it in the end zone,  that‘s going to, that‘s going  to be bowwow wow, yippee yo, yippee yea.  That‘s going to be a touchdown.

                (END VIDEO CLIP) 

                SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s so good.   He also poked fun at the president, who he said he voted  for twice.

                (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

                CALIENDO:  Our president is the only  person I‘ve ever seen do this move when he talks.

                Did anybody do that tonight?  It‘s like correspondence dinner.   Nobody does that.   Nobody walked in, like what are you doing, man?   I‘m doing whatever I want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

SCARBOROUGH:  He was great.

I‘m joined by a guy who was also there last night with me, Tucker Carlson.  He‘s the host of  “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:  Joe, did you notice—we were sitting next to him so I‘m sure you did—that Dick Cheney was howling with laughter as that guy was mocking the president?  

SCARBOROUGH:  This guy‘s mocking the president.  I was looking at two people the whole time, the vice president and Lynne Cheney and  they were laughing harder than anybody else.   That was the best George Bush  impression I‘ve since at least Will Ferrell in 2000.  

CARLSON:  It was just unbelievable.

SCARBOROUGH:  It was.

CARLSON:  Tonight, we have the Jill Carroll story.  Everyone American, of course, grateful, including everybody here, that she‘s been released.  But there‘s more to this story.   It‘s much more complicated, we believe, than it appears on the  surface.   We‘ll be getting into what exactly  happened during her time in captivity.

Plus, we‘ll play you newly released 9/11 tapes and debate their significance because we believe they are significant.

And finally, a Texas principal is punished by the school district for flying a Mexican flag over the school, but some people are saying that was within bounds.   We‘ll debate it.  

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.   Thanks a lot, Tucker.  Greatly appreciate it.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:   And make sure you tune into  “THE SITUATION” coming up next at 11:00.

And up next here, a secret memo reveals how they pick people for the show “Extreme Makeover.”  Wait until you see this stunning list.  You talk about exploitation.

And we‘ve put together stories you‘ve got to see, including a dangerous world record attempt.   Must see S.C., coming up.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  If you‘re like my family, one of the 20 million Americans who tune in to watch ABC‘s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition,” to see deserving families, like that.

Well, a new memo obtained by the smoking gun may actually take the thrill, of seeing Ty (ph) on TV, away for you.

“Extreme Makeover,” get this, has a secret wish lists of victims the show‘s trying to hunt down.   They want to find a family who has multiple children with Down Syndrome.  They want to find a child with a  rare condition that causes  rapid aging and death.  And they want to find an extraordinary mom or dad who‘s diagnosed with Lou Gehrig‘s disease.

I asked Melissa Caldwell, from the Parent‘s Television Council, and Jack Benza, author of “So You Wannabe on Reality TV?” about this wish list.  

MELISSA CALDWELL, PARENT‘S TELEVISION COUNCIL:  I think this is a real  no-win situation for “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”   If they chose well off families  or even middle-class families, that had no problems, they would be criticized because  there are so many deserving families or needy families that could  be served or could benefit from this kind of a program.

You know, so for them to criticize the show for that is, I think, a little mean spirited, especially  considering there are so many  programs out there that have no values, that operate totally outside of any kind of a moral context,  that have nothing positive to contribute.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, do you feel exploited?  I mean, I know I‘m never going to be able to look at it the same way with my family when  you have executives for  networks sending out e-mails and  memos to people saying, boy, it really would  be great if we could find children with this type of cancer or parents that are dying from this type of  disease.  

CALDWELL:  Well, you know, I have to question how aggressive the producers are in seeking out these families.   From what I‘ve seen in watching  the show, they are selecting  families that are already  contributing significantly to  their communities in some way,  that have sacrificed a great deal to help out, either their neighbors or communities --  sometimes animals, other people‘s children.   So these are self-sacrificing  families, as it is.   I don‘t think they‘re  necessarily having a mean or a negative agenda going here.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack, it‘s supposed to be reality TV, but this seems rather staged, doesn‘t it?

JACK BENZA, AUTHOR:  Reality TV is staged.   What game shows have is a  committee called Standards and Practices.  These are people that come in from the government to make sure the game shows are playing it fairly.

Reality shows don‘t have any of this.  So what the producers do, they do whatever they want.  They play God.   They cast these people.  They look for people and they do a thing called frankenbody (ph), which is they edit the show  any way they want.   And all they need is a little snippet of  this person saying I hate this person, and  they edit it the way they want and they create their own story.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Melissa, you‘ve obviously—your organization has had  problems with reality shows.   This is probably one of the few reality shows, though, that you support, isn‘t  it? 

CALDWELL:  Well, you know, when the genre first really took off, you  had a lot of really trashy reality shows out there, like “Married by America”  and “Temptation Island” and  “Chains of Love.”

But in recent years, reality programming has taken a very positive turn, with programs like this, even “Amazing Race” is a  generally clean show.   So it‘s a strange turn of events that the reality shows have  turned out to be some of the cleanest shows currently on  television.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Especially when you look at  the way they started.

All right.   Thanks so much, Melissa.  Greatly appreciate your being with us.

Jack Benza, I also appreciate your being here too.  

Speaking of exploitation.   Here‘s some of the best videos of the day.  It‘s a little jamboree around here we call Must See S.C.

From the catwalk to the perp walk, it seems supermodel Naomi Campbell has a super temper.   NYPD charged Campbell with assault today after a housekeeper said the model bashed her in the head with a phone.   What is it about the phone and these superstars of New York, Russell Crowe?

The housekeeper got four stitches at a local hospital.  And Campbell denies the charges and says she fired the housekeeper this morning, and it‘s just the housekeeper getting  back at her.  By, I guess, putting her head in the way of the phone.

And forget about taking out your anger by being a lousy tipper.  Unruly diners of this restaurant in the Philippines can actually throw their  plates against the wall.  The restaurant‘s wall of fury provides a unique form of   anger management.  The wall is decorated so that anger can be  targeted towards a particular group  of people.   And, yes, before you make a  reservation, there is a  complaining customer section.

If plates seem a little too tame for you, take a look at this great Throwdini.  He went to Moscow to break the  world record for knife throwing.  He needed to throw 76 knives in one  minute to break the old record.  But he fell a little  short.   But the crowd was treated to a show.  His assistant was unfazed.   And she says she‘s been under the knife now for two years.  It‘s never been a hit.

What a job.   But it sure beats cable news.

Coming up next, flyover  country.   These high school students in hot water tonight.   How they turned morning  announcements into MTV.

And later, see who‘s tonight‘s Joe‘s Schmoe.   Stay with us.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Call Aunt Ethel.  It‘s time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.   First stop, Ethel‘s hometown in Houston, Texas, where the school board ordered a local high school principal  to stop flying the Mexican flag.   The principal says he started  to show the flag to show support for the Hispanic students who are protesting the immigration bill.   The flag was flying next to the American flag and the state of Texas flag.  It is down now, but some local parents are still calling on the school board to fire that  principal.

Next up, New York, New York.   Will this statue of Britney Spears giving  birth to her son is set to go on display.  It‘s part of a pro-life art exhibit in Brooklyn.  The pop star didn‘t pose for the statue but it displays here naked on a bearskin rug on all fours, about to give birth.

The artist said he was inspired  by photos of Spears, when she was pregnant.   Yes, I guess so.  The statue, titled the birth of Sean Preston (ph) will go on display next month in the pro-life display.   I wonder what Gary Bower (ph) and Dr. Dobson think  of that one?

And finally, Twinsburg, Ohio, three local high school students here suspended over this video.   Aspiring filmmakers replace the schools morning  announcements a homemade music video.  It‘s a spoof of Nellie‘s song, “Grills.”  And it‘s making creators famous on the Internet.

The boys say they‘re sorry for  the joke and now even the superintendent  is giving the students credit for  being creative.

And we‘ll be right back.

And don‘t forget, friends, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” is just minutes away.   Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  Finally tonight, Joe‘s  Schmoe.   The honor tonight goes to the  mouth of the south, Ted Turner.

Now, Ted Turner was at this international conference to underscore global  understanding, to promote it.   But he used that time blasting President Bush, the war in Iraq, and even himself.  And in an interview on Tuesday, he called the president an  alcoholic.  He said he was reformed, but says he lacks understanding in the world.  He called Iraq a waste of time.  And, of course, kept insulting the president.

But how ironic that Ted Turner, who once considered running for president, made these remarks at an event where he was being honored for promoting global understanding.

Stick around, because “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.

CARLSON:  Thanks, and thanks to you at home for tuning in.  It‘s good to have you here. 

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

END   

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.

transcript

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,