Guest: Norm Early, Susan Filan, Yale Galanter, David Freedman, Rosemarie
Arnold, Beth Holloway Twitty, Vinda de Sousa, Clint Van Zandt
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, we've got the exclusive pictures from inside the party where an exotic dancer said she was raped by Duke lacrosse players.
The program about justice starts now.
Hi everyone. First up on the docket, another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive. Photos from the party where an exotic dancer says she was raped by three Duke lacrosse players. Lawyers for some of the players say these photos will establish a timeline that proves that two men who were arrested yesterday did not, could not have committed the crime.
According to the defense, the photographic timeline begins in earnest at about midnight when the dancers begin to perform. The photographs' digital timestamps correspond with the time on some watches that at least one of the men is wearing in the pictures. I also spoke with an expert that they hired who says he can verify the photos have not been taken out of sequence. At about 12:04, it seems both the men and the accuser agree, words were exchanged and the women stopped dancing.
ABRAMS (voice-over): This is where the stories diverge. The accuser says she went out to her car before she was coaxed back into the house, then taken into the bathroom and brutally raped. But lawyers for the players say the pictures tell a different story. The men say the dancers locked themselves in the bathroom, then left around 10 minutes later. The accuser returned they say at around 12:30 to retrieve a shoe that had come off during her dance.
A neighbor also reported seeing a—quote—“skimpily dressed woman” around the same time talking about a missing shoe. Most important, according to the defense, this photo of the accuser 30 seconds later, she appears to be smiling, her clothes intact. They say she could not have been brutally raped before smiling at almost 12:31.
Just over seven minutes later, the accuser was seen lying on the top of the stoop, leaving only a seven-minute window, they say, for what she initially said was a 30-minute rape. The final photo from 12:41 appears to show the two women leaving and even if a rape could have occurred between 12:31 and 12:38, the defense lawyers say the two men arrested certainly could not have done it. They say Collin Finnerty was not even at the house when the women were dancing and that none of the photos of some 25 men include Finnerty.
And while Reade Seligmann is in some pictures, they say they can prove he left shortly after the women stopped dancing and well before 12:31 a.m. The defense teams says his phone records will show a call to his girlfriend at 12:07, then one to a cab company at 12:14. According to the lawyers, they can prove he was picked up around 12:19. Five minutes later, the cab stopped at a bank where he withdrew cash and this is the key.
His transaction receipt is dated 12:24 a.m., according to the defense.
They're hoping that ATM surveillance video will further bolster that claim. They say he then ordered takeout food and at 12:46, swiped his university card at his dorm when he returned home and the defense claims there's another way the party photos could help Seligmann and many of the other young men seen at the party. The district attorney has suggested the accuser struggled with the attackers, so much so that her artificial fingernails broke off, so why was none their DNA found under her fingernails?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evidence that she would present with respect to that particular situation is that she was grabbed from behind. Now, as you can see from my arm, if I were wearing a shirt, a long sleeve shirt or a jacket of some sort, even if there were enough force used to press down to break my skin through the clothing, there might not be any way that anything from my arm could get on to those fingernails.
ABRAMS: The problem. Reade Seligmann and just about every other young man at the party is seen wearing a short-sleeve shirt.
ABRAMS: How important is all this? Joining me now, North Carolina criminal defense attorney David Freedman, Yale Galanter, who is also a criminal defense attorney, Susan Filan, former prosecutor, MSNBC legal analyst, and Norm Early is the former Denver district attorney and MSNBC legal analyst.
All right. Norm, let me start with you. I'm going to lay out some hypotheticals here, because we don't know exactly what the D.A. knew about all of this when he indicted. My guess is he knew some of it but not all of it. If you're the D.A. and you have sought an indictment, and then you find out all of the information that we just laid out, and let's say you had believed that the accuser was credible, would all of this coming together make you question that account?
NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER D.A.: Well, Dan, first of all, you have to realize that as you said, this is what the defense says they say. According to the defense, none of this has been testified to in a court of law. And none of it has been cross-examined, and none of it is being said under oath.
What it does though, if the D.A. has this kind information prior to filing or prior to an indictment, certainly what the district attorney is going to do is look at it and see how that information squares with what he or she knows about the case and see if it is fatal to the case. If they don't find out about it until after filing or after indictment, I think it's still critical that the D.A. keep an open mind, that that kind of information come to them, that they sift through it, they see what makes sense or doesn't make sense and the sooner they get that kind of information...
EARLY: ... the more important it will be in terms of trial and more likely that they're able to dispel it when they get to trial.
ABRAMS: You know, Susan, the problem is that the authorities said that they believed that the DNA would be able to in essence, exonerate and exculpate and basically say who was responsible and who wasn't, and then, the D.A. said well, wait a second, you know, the D.A.—if there's no DNA found under the fingernails, that may not mean a lot because of what he just laid out there. And yet, now it seems at least I can tell you from looking at those pictures, while there were one or two people wearing long-sleeved t-shirts, all the rest of the people in that house were wearing short-sleeved shirts. Does that change anything?
SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you don't know that they didn't put jackets on at any later point, especially if they were getting ready to leave as this young man claims that he was. He might have put on a jacket and then it happened afterwards, I don't know, but to answer the question (UNINTELLIGIBLE), if I were the district attorney and I were presented with this story, I would get my investigators on this case.
I would get the police force on this case and I would say check this out. I need to know if this is true. And I would take it very seriously. I don't know at that point exactly what I would do with it, but I wouldn't just dismiss it. I would listen to it and I would look at it.
ABRAMS: Yale, do you think, and again, you know some of these defense attorneys in this case, do you think that they are hopeful that the D.A. is going to turn around and say, you know what, we blew it?
YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think they're hopeful that the D.A. will see the light and dismiss these charges before a full scale litigation takes place, but I got to tell you, Dan, I've spoken to them, they are not hopeful. They think they can go in basically with a busload full of nuns who will swear by these boys and give them alibis. They still don't think Mr. Nifong will drop these charges.
They are convinced that he believes in his complaining witness, that he's got a solid case and he wants to go forward. No matter what the bank evidence shows. No matter what the DNA shows. No matter what the photos show, this guy has been wrong all the time and he's just not backing off.
ABRAMS: David Freedman, longtime North Carolina attorney, what are some of the legal community in North Carolina saying about this investigation, about the indictment, about the arrest, et cetera?
DAVID FREEDMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that everything has been mishandled from the start. You had a district attorney coming out and making potentially unethical statements, saying he believed a crime occurred, which he should not do. He should not be commenting on the evidence. He took an adversarial position from the start.
We had a situation recently in Winston-Salem that could have been racially divisive represented, Wake Forest, black football player, white female student. If the D.A. who was actually a former Duke lacrosse player himself, Jim O'Neill (ph), had taken the position and come out strong like Mr. Nifong had that something definitely occurred and sort of played the race card, it would have been very racially divisive.
Instead, he listened to the evidence. He let everyone be interviewed. We were all able to meet in a more congenial fashion and after a careful determination they determined that there was no charges that needed to be brought. Nobody was hurt. Nobody's face was plastered all over the front of “USA Today”...
ABRAMS: But if he's gone forward with the charges anyway, you know, yes, you can make an argument that it hasn't served the public well. To me, that's a political issue. The issue strictly as a legal matter, I understand that there are ethical cannons, et cetera, OK. Let's move on from that. Strictly as a legal matter, based on the evidence that we know et cetera, are you—it sounds like you are surprised that the D.A. moved forward.
FREEDMAN: I'm real surprised. It's not the D.A.'s job to get a conviction. It's the D.A.'s job to make sure justice is done, to make the truth is found out and rather than rushing and doing indictments two weeks before the primary is held, he should carefully—and because once you charge someone with offenses like this—I do a number of sex offenses—once the charge is brought, that's something that will tar these two students the rest of their lives, whether the charges are dismissed, whether they're acquitted, there will always be questions about that and it's just a D.A. should take his time and make a careful determination and look at all of the evidence and if he hadn't taken such a strong stand, he would have been able to view this evidence and the timeline beforehand before making this—going to the grand jury.
ABRAMS: How important, Susan, do you think these time stamped photos are? I mean, again, I talked to the defense expert, who says he'd be able to tell if they were taken out of order, but of course he can't verify that they were taken at the actual time. The only thing they've got there is if you enhance the photos and you look at some of the watches, in particular, one person's watch, they say that you can really see that it's consistent with the timestamp, again if you're the prosecutor, big deal?
FILAN: Well, I'm very, very unclear about timeline in this case to begin with. I don't exactly know when this is alleged to have happened. I don't know whether her idea of 30 minutes is really only seven minutes, because sometimes when something so horrible is happening to you, it feels like it's a much longer time than it actually is.
ABRAMS: All right, let's even assume that.
ABRAMS: Let's even assume that to be the case. I mean, this guy—you know there's the watch if you're wondering why we're showing that shot, that's one of the watches that they believe that they can enhance. This—you know, the guy we're looking at right there is going to be able to present evidence that he was at a bank at 12:24.
FILAN: Yes, I mean sure. If that's true, if he's actually got a photo of himself outside a bank and that cannot be disputed, period, of course that's important, but I'm not sure that this assault didn't take place before 12:24 and he left afterwards, so that in and of itself doesn't...
FILAN: ... exonerate and doesn't exculpate him.
ABRAMS: But that picture you're seeing there, 12:30:47, you know, look, we disguised her face there, but I can tell you there is a—she is distinctly smiling. I would describe it as a demure smile...
ABRAMS: ... but distinctly smiling in that picture.
FILAN: But some people have started to speculate and this comes from the other woman that was there with her. She says that she was completely sober and fine when she went in. She saw her have something to drink and she seemed completely intoxicated when she came out, suggesting perhaps that it was a date rape drug. That would give her that silly little grin on her face. So it's not clear from that alone that something untoward didn't happen to her.
ABRAMS: But—again, but it sounds to me like what the other woman is saying is, you know I don't know what happened to her. I mean she's not being specific.
FILAN: No, I think she's saying I don't disbelieve her. I don't see why she would make this up.
ABRAMS: I don't disbelieve her is a double negative. I mean I think you'd need a little bit more than I don't disbelieve her.
FILAN: She's saying I don't think she would make this up. I don't think she would put herself—she's also said, I do think something could have happened to her. She's not an eyewitness; she's not an ear witness. She wasn't in that bathroom with her. That's a shame...
FILAN: ... but most rapes don't have eyewitnesses.
ABRAMS: Look I don't think anyone on this panel would disagree that something might have happened to her. I would think we—Yale, would you agree that something might have happened to her?
GALANTER: Oh, something absolutely happened.
ABRAMS: Yes. OK.
GALANTER: The only question is where...
GALANTER: ... did it occur and when did it occur?
FILAN: No, but she's saying something happened to her in that house with those boys, not that it happened afterwards, which is what you guys are positing based on the photographs, based on the timeline, based on this potential alibi defense. And I want to go back to something that was said earlier.
The D.A.'s job here isn't to decide whether he personally believes her or not. That's why we have juries. If he's got a complainant, he finds her credible, he thinks he can go forward...
FILAN: ... he has a duty to go forward...
ABRAMS: You just said...
FILAN: ... if it's presented to a grand jury...
ABRAMS: ... finds her credible. That's not a judgment call on the D.A.'s part.
FILAN: No, there's a distinction that I'm trying to make. It's not—he's not the sole judge and jury himself as to whether this happened. He gets a complainant; if he can be certain that it's not some off the wall false complaint. That's what he has to look out for.
ABRAMS: Let me take a quick break here. Everyone is going to stick around. When we come back, I want to talk about the searches that were executed on the homes, on the rooms of some of the Duke players yesterday.
And coming up later in the program, new details in the Natalee Holloway case. We've got a hold of a secretly recorded conversation apparently between Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, the three suspects as there's word in Aruba more arrests could come soon. We'll talk to Natalee's mother, Beth Twitty, about the most recent arrest in the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY SUTTON, ATTY FOR DUKE LACROSSE CAPTAIN: What I'd like to think is that he has stated—Mr. Nifong has stated that his investigation is going on and that as he continues to investigate, that he will uncover a lot of the things that we already know and that he's going to learn before long and decide that it is not a good idea to proceed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That was Kerry Sutton on this program yesterday. David Freedman, a lot of defense attorneys are making a lot of the fact that there were searches conducted yesterday of the rooms of the two young men who were arrested. Is that really that big a deal that they were continuing with their investigation?
FREEDMAN: Well, it's not. I mean to me the bigger deal was when they went to try to interview the people that were represented, knowing they had attorneys and didn't bother to contact their attorneys.
ABRAMS: They're allowed to do that. The authorities are allowed to do that, aren't they?
FREEDMAN: Well, I mean I believe at this point you've got a Sixth Amendment right that attaches and once they know they're represented by counsel, they need to contact their counsel. They can execute search warrants. Certainly they can always do that...
ABRAMS: They can always go up to someone and say hey I want to talk to you and if the person says I've got a lawyer, then they've got to leave them alone, but they're allowed to go up to them, right, and say hey, I want to ask you some questions.
FREEDMAN: Well, I think if they had been sent in by the prosecutor to do it, you've got some questions too about trying to interview someone, having contact through that by a represented party and again I call into question the ethics of that.
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean I don't know. I mean, Norm, I wonder whether you know if you're a defense attorney, rather than sort of excoriating the prosecutors for it, it gives you some sense of comfort to know that, you know, they have so many unanswered questions still, even questions like who was at the party.
EARLY: Dan, it is not unusual for a prosecutor to have unanswered questions, even after a case is filed and to continue an investigation right up until and through trial, but the critical thing is this. If that investigation uncovers information that makes that prosecutor believe that they can no longer prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, in spite of their well-founded belief that this occurred, ethically, the prosecutor should not proceed with that case. So the information that's coming in can either exculpate people or further inculpate them and the district attorney still has decisions to make with respect to proceeding through trial.
Either do it or not do it based upon the information that continues to come in. All of the time a district attorney should have a well-founded belief that the person committed the crime that they're accusing him of. They should never try to get in front of a jury and make a jury believe something that they don't believe themselves personally and once they no longer believe it, then the ethical responsibility attaches.
ABRAMS: Norm, I forget, were you elected as a D.A.?
EARLY: Oh, yes.
EARLY: Several times.
ABRAMS: Right. OK. No I was trying to remember if it was an elected position. Would that have made a difference, meaning you know the critics of Mike Nifong are suggesting that before the election, he kind of had to do this.
EARLY: Well you know he didn't make the timing of this case. I mean, given the perfect world, he would have asked that this case never come along and certainly not come along just before an election, but what he finds himself in is a situation where it did come along and he's got to do something with it and he's got to do the right thing with it, in spite of the fact that an election is coming. Now every district attorney who is elected is telling himself, this is the proper course.
It has nothing to do with the election, but the more statements he made about it, the more it allowed defense attorneys and the defense attorney is absolutely correct about the way this case should have been handled, that—but making the statements is what has allowed defense attorneys and others to harp on the things that he said and to question whether or not he's doing it as a result of political gain.
ABRAMS: Well he has said the following recently. It had been my hope to be able to charge all three of these assailants at the same time, but the evidence available to me at this moment does not permit that. Investigation into the identity of the third assailant will continue in the hope that he can also be identified with certainty. It is important that we not only bring the assailants to justice, but also that we lift the cloud of suspicion from those team members who were not involved in the assault.
Susan, does the timing matter? I mean, how important is it when she was able to identify—if it's true for example, that she was only able to identify these people, let's say a week and a half ago, two weeks ago, significant?
FILAN: No, not at all. Memory is a funny thing and she probably had to sift back through her mind what she remembers and what she saw and then she was presented, I hope, with a photo lineup and not sort of snap shots from the party like the photos that you're showing us, but a real genuine photo lineup and out of that lineup, she's able to cull from her memory who it was that she saw in that bathroom, and I hope she got a good look at their face before the alleged assault took place, because she does say that it did take place from behind. So hopefully she was able to really see her attackers and then the assault took place. Hopefully, she got to look at them as she's leaving that bathroom...
FILAN: ... but I don't have a problem with the time of the identification...
ABRAMS: ... the defense attorney has theories as to why she chose the two men she did, right?
GALANTER: Yes, the defense thinks that she was shown the actual team photo and that she picked Reade and Collin out of the team photo and that she had trouble picking the third person. And you know, Dan, what everybody's been saying is what was the rush to get these two kids indicted. The second set of DNA tests, the lab that this prosecutor picked because he didn't like the first lab results, he wanted to have them verified, the lab results aren't even back yet.
Why did these two boys have to be indicted yesterday? They weren't flight risks; we know there are a lot of open issues on this case. What was the rush to make these families hire lawyers, post the $400,000 bond and scar these young men for life, when in all—when all probability, neither of these men had anything to do with this crime.
ABRAMS: All right. David Freedman, Yale Galanter, Norm Early, thanks a lot.
ABRAMS: Susan Filan is going to stick around. Coming up, just days after Aruban authorities take a Dutch teen into custody word police may be making other arrests soon. We've got hold of a wire-tape recording, the transcript of it, of a conversation between Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, three people who were arrested in connection with this case early in the investigation. Plus, Natalee's mother joins us live for her reaction to the latest arrest.
Our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing offenders before they strike. Our search today is in Ohio.
Authorities are looking for Raymond Adams. He's 63, six-one, 165, was convicted of sexual battery, hasn't registered his address with the state. If you've got any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Summit County Sheriff's Office, 330-643-8635. Be right back.
ABRAMS: We're back. NBC news has obtained a transcript of what is allegedly a secretly recorded conversation between Aruban suspects Joran van der Sloot and Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. This as rumors are flying that there could be more arrests in connection with the Natalee Holloway case, a judge says prosecutors can hold a possible suspect the rest of this weekend for another week. The 19-year-old identified by his initials, GVC, identified by local papers as Geoffrey von Cromvoirt, is being held in connection with the case and on possible drug charges. But first, NBC's Michelle Kosinski is live in Aruba with the details of this transcript. Now, Michelle, I understand that you were able to get your hands on this exclusively. What's in it?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, it has a lot of things. And we should say it was obtained by a local private investigator, he's been on this island, he's actually an American, but he's been here for a long time. He's recently come back. He spent months working on the Holloway case and when we took this transcript to police, one of the top-level investigators vouched for it.
They said yes, this is a real transcript and this conversation took place. It's a secretly recorded conversation among the three suspects in Natalee Holloway's disappearance. While they were in custody, it was recorded by police, when the boys were left alone together. And basically, there's a big argument among them. They accuse each other of lying to the police, accuse each other of saying certain things they shouldn't have and you see the police strategy.
Obviously, police took statements from each of them and police went back and said he said this about you, he's saying this, why are you saying that? And they really criticize each other and then accuse each other of doing something to Natalee, and it makes you wonder, what do they know and what don't they know. For one part of the transcript, Joran says very calmly to Deepak Kalpoe, you know what happened to that girl. If you don't know, then nothing has happened to her.
Later in the same conversation he says to Deepak I will laugh if they find the girl alive. I know very well that you are afraid. That is if you did something bad with the girl and if they find the girl, then we will see. Satish responds I'm not afraid. Why must I be afraid?
Deepak: I want them to find the girl. You're going to talk (EXPLETIVE) about me that I buried the girl by fisherman's hut.
And Joran says who said about burying? I said nothing about burying. That's what you testified, according to Deepak. Stop with that (EXPLETIVE).
Joran says I said nothing about burying. The only thing that I can think of is that you know people, that is the people from automotive enterprises.
Satish gets in, responds yes, yes, yes, yes, after I got that flat tire (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Yes, yes, yes, I picked you up and after that I went to the beach again for her.
Joran says who said that?
Satish: You said that.
So Joran says I never said that friend. I never said that you've been back friend. That is your problem. If they all find that girl then they will see that (EXPLETIVE).
And they go on. They are screaming at each other at one point, asking why they lied. You know Joran is accusing the Kalpoes of doing something wrong with Natalee and the Kalpoes are saying the same thing to him. They said to each other well, if you didn't do something wrong, then you wouldn't have lied. And it goes on and it's a very heated exchange among these three.
ABRAMS: Michelle, does the person who gave this to you, the private investigator who you mentioned, does that person believe that this interchange that we see in this transcript, do they believe that helps or hurts Joran and Deepak and Satish?
KOSINSKI: They can see it both ways. There are certain areas where they talk about phone calls that were made. Joran gets angry at one of the Kalpoe brothers. He says that he called him on his home phone and he should have known that it was wiretapped and he said things like I hit the jackpot. I hit the (EXPLETIVE) jackpot.
You know, he's angry that the Kalpoe brothers would say things like that. So, there are times in this transcript, you're reading the conversation where it seems like you know you could draw the conclusion maybe they know something and then other times it seems like they're accusing each other of doing something, as if maybe they don't know what happened. So you know there might be just a point in time at which their knowledge of what happened is cut off, but you know it's just the question is still there.
It really doesn't necessarily lend anything to our knowledge of what happened to Natalee. One more frustrating thing to come up, it sheds light on their relationship and things that were said, even you know the lies that were told to police, but still, we don't know where Natalee is.
ABRAMS: All right. Michelle Kosinski, stick around. Let me bring in Rosemarie Arnold, who is one of Joran van der Sloot's attorneys and victim's rights attorney. Thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.
ROSEMARIE ARNOLD, ATTORNEY FOR JORAN VAN DER SLOOT: You're welcome, Dan Abrams.
ABRAMS: Nice to see you. So, all right, I'm assuming that based on the fact that you are Joran van der Sloot's attorney that you think that this is helpful to him?
ARNOLD: I think that the tape makes it perfectly clear what exactly happened and that is that the police separated them. They interrogated them for hours at a time without feeding them, without letting them sleep, and the police told each of them separately that the other one ratted them out and did something, so then the police put them all together and it's no wonder they're screaming at each other that you lied, because they're really under the belief that the other kid, the Kalpoe brothers versus Joran and vice versa, lied about them to the police.
Because that's what the police told them. And I think if you look at the transcript, it's perfectly clear that no one knows what happened to Natalee, at that time. And also, you have to look, you're saying this transcript is authentic. But this transcript was obtained by an investigator who works for a man named Jossy who owns a newspaper in Aruba...
ARNOLD: ... and this man has a serious political issue with the van der Sloots, because as I understand it, Paul van der Sloot...
ABRAMS: But I don't get it. On the one hand you're saying that this helps your client and then on the other hand you're bashing the guy who provided it.
ARNOLD: Oh, no, no, no, no. I think it clearly helps my client, but when he brings out this tape, he doesn't say and tell everybody nor did the police, well when we obtained this tape, it was after we told each of the kids that the other one ratted them out, that the other one said oh you did this, you did this, and you can hear them on the tape saying you lied about me.
Why did you tell the police that? That's not true. Because the cops were telling them that Deepak said this about you and Joran said this about you, and the cops are saying that you know what happened to Natalee and none of them know what happened to Natalee. That's pretty clear from reading it.
ABRAMS: All right.
ARNOLD: I don't think that was Jossy's intention when he released it though.
ABRAMS: All right. Stick around if you can, because coming up, we're going to get reaction from Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty joins us after the break.
And later I'm going to respond to your e-mails. Some of you saying that because I am a Duke alum, my coverage of the story has not been fair. If I'm not fair it's not because I'm a Duke alum. It's because I'm not fair...
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you're writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth, reacts to reports that there could be more arrests in connection with her daughter's disappearance. Stay with us.
ABRAMS: We're back. We're talking about the latest news in Aruba. A judge saying prosecutors can hold a possible suspect in the case for another week and there are rumors that more arrests could be imminent.
Joining me now once again is Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Twitty.
Beth, thanks for coming back on the program. Appreciate it.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: Beth, do you get the feeling as we do that there is suddenly 11 months after the fact this momentum?
TWITTY: Well, absolutely there is. And I mean, you know, we're real encouraged by it and you know we just need a break, Dan, and if this new suspect has some information about what happened that night to Natalee, you know, I'm just, gosh, I mean we've just all been waiting so anxiously for any type of break in the case. I mean we would welcome it. Absolutely.
ABRAMS: Have the authorities been in contact with you? I mean do they tell you what's going on?
TWITTY: Well they are keeping in touch with John, the attorney, so I mean that's the line of communication now and then he notifies me once they've updated him.
ABRAMS: Do you know anything about why this latest young man was arrested, Geoffrey von Cromvoirt? I mean, because Joe Tacopina was on this program, the attorney for Joran, saying that he believed he was arrested in connection with a t-shirt with alleged forensics on it. Do you know anything about that?
TWITTY: Well, I am aware of the shirt with the DNA on it, but what I'm hearing is that the shirt has no connection. And that, you know, this new suspect was a person that possibly they could have, you know, interviewed this summer or thought about questioning this summer for whatever reason maybe they decided not to and you know from what I'm understanding is one of the officials began reviewing some documents, thought he might have some pertinent information and then questioned him you know, this weekend and that's what led to the arrest. I think that once they were questioning him, they saw a few discrepancies in what his answers were and arrested him.
ABRAMS: Beth, any truth to this, I don't know if it's rumor or report, et cetera, that Natalee had said something to you about having a crush on a blonde haired, blue eyed boy in Aruba?
TWITTY: Dan, there's just—there's no truth to that at all. You know Natalee had not called me. She didn't have international calling on her phone and no she never—her friends said that this never happened, it was never mentioned. And just simply it's just another rumor that had started and it's just not true, Dan.
ABRAMS: I've asked you this question before in the past. But you know, with these new developments, I want to ask you again. Is it possible that with this arrest, and with other arrests, that you could become convinced that Joran van der Sloot and Deepak and Satish Kalpoe were not involved in Natalee's disappearance?
TWITTY: Well, you know, Dan, I've always stuck with something and we know for a fact, we know that Deepak and Satish and Joran took Natalee, we know the sexual assaults they committed against her by both of the suspects' admissions by Joran van der Sloot and Deepak Kalpoe, what we don't know is what they did with Natalee when they were finished with her. We don't know if they—we don't know that...
ABRAMS: But he's ambiguous. I mean at the very least, I mean you regularly sort of say that as a matter of fact, that they have admitted to it, but there is some ambiguity at the very least about whether they admitted to that.
TWITTY: Well, in Joran's statement and also now Joran van der Sloot admitted this in person to at least eight witnesses on the very night we arrived on the island. So that is a fact from Joran van der Sloot.
ABRAMS: That what?
TWITTY: That he admitted the sexual assaults that he committed against Natalee while she is coming in and out of consciousness. Now that is something that he did by his own admission to eight witnesses the night we landed on the island.
ABRAMS: Finally, do you know anything about these rumors of a possible imminent arrest?
TWITTY: Well, I've heard something just as you had. I'd heard that there may be additional arrests upcoming and you know I just can't imagine who it might be. I don't know if there will be re-arrests, possibly some other, you know, suspects that were arrested early on. Perhaps maybe Steven Croes. I don't know.
ABRAMS: All right. Beth, as always, thanks a lot for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
TWITTY: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll talk with our legal team, including the woman sitting here who represents Joran van der Sloot and my guess is she's not necessarily going to agree with some of what you just heard.
And I respond to your e-mails. Some of you suggesting my coverage of the Duke rape investigation is not straight because I am a Duke alum. I respond.
And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing offenders before they strike. This week we're in Ohio.
Police are looking for Fate Davis. He's 47, five-eight, 238. Convicted of gross sexual imposition, has not registered his address with the state. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Summit County Sheriff's Office at 330-643-8635. Be right back.
ABRAMS: We're back with more on the Natalee Holloway case out of Aruba. Michelle Kosinski, they are continuing with a new search out there?
KOSINSKI: Yes, we just heard about that late this afternoon, but it turns out it's been going on for four days now. Prosecutors put out a press release, in fact, letting us know, but before this time, we didn't even know it was going on. That's how good they are at keeping things low key when they need to.
It's a search on the water, in fact, involving the Coast Guard and the Dutch Antilles and Aruba and they say they're using sonar equipment. We don't even know what part of the island this is. We tried to find them and you know use our contacts to get in touch with them, but they have been wanting to keep this low key for four days and they plan on continuing it.
ABRAMS: Let me bring in Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler, and Aruban attorney who once represented Natalee's family in Aruba, Vinda de Sousa. Vinda, let me ask you, do you know exactly upon exactly what Beth bases her statement that Joran admitted to sexual assaulting Natalee?
VINDA DE SOUSA, ARUBAN ATTORNEY (via phone): Well, I don't think that you could say that he admitted sexually assaulting Natalee. He admitted to having—that it was consensual...
ABRAMS: She says he admitted...
DE SOUSA: ... and you know...
ABRAMS: She says he admitted repeatedly to sexually assaulting.
DE SOUSA: That's not what I understand.
ABRAMS: Yes. And Rosemarie Arnold, I mean you represent Joran van der Sloot. Is that...
ARNOLD: Dan Abrams, Joran never admitted sexually assaulting her. He said he fooled around with her. It was consensual and there was never, ever an admission. And unfortunately and I feel terrible for Ms. Twitty that she can't find her daughter, but she just can't see past the fact that Joran van der Sloot 11 months after this happened to her daughter has had no involvement, there's not a scintilla of evidence that he did. Even that tape, the police four months after that tape said they have no idea where Natalee is. There is no evidence that Joran did anything, including sexual assault her and you have to bear in mind there's a civil suit here and she has her eye on that monetary prize, and we can't lose sight of that.
ABRAMS: You think that's why she's saying...
ARNOLD: If you look at the complaint, Dan...
ABRAMS: I've read it. Yes...
ARNOLD: ... and she's asking for money...
ABRAMS: Yes, well that's what a civil suit is...
ARNOLD: ... and more money and money and more money. And at this point in time, where we have a suspect, another suspect that we expect to be arrested...
ABRAMS: Isn't it possible she just thinks that he's really responsible and this is her only way of getting any justice?
ARNOLD: I think if she thinks that...
ARNOLD: ... then she just has tunnel vision. She doesn't want to see past Joran van der Sloot. She thinks it because she won't look to the other evidence.
ABRAMS: You know Clint, when you read this secretly recorded transcript, I think it is a fair reading to say that it seems like...
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Yes.
ABRAMS: ... they're each being told, hey, you ratted on me and then the other guy is told, you ratted on me and then they get in a fight about it.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. Well I think that's exactly what happened. I mean, you know were I involved in these interviews, I'd sit each of these guys down and talk to them, and get their story, put them all together, but you know were it not for the tragedy of Natalee being missing, these three guys sound like Abbott and Costello and Costello talking about who's on first. I mean you've got this circular logic going around, but you know I have to agree with the defense attorney sitting there with you.
There is no smoking gun in this, either way. But there is no smoking gun. What everybody, especially Natalee's mom would hope—would one of these guys would say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you did it with a hatchet in the bedroom or something like that. That's not there, Dan. We just don't have it yet.
ABRAMS: Susan, is this investigation, and I've asked it before, I'm going to ask it again, is this investigation moving away from the three suspects who have been arrested more than once in the context of this case?
FILAN: Well it certainly sounds like they're taking a fresh look at it. It sounds like they've got a new police chief who has gone back from the beginning of the case, looked at everything, and found leads perhaps that hadn't been followed up. Now in following up those leads, he may be coming up with other theories, but it's still unclear whether these new arrests and these new theories are going to lead them back to Joran and the Kalpoe brothers or lead them away from Joran and the Kalpoe brothers and I think that's the cliffhanger right now.
ABRAMS: I mean Rosemarie, you and your co-counsel Joe have consistently said well Joran and this guy Geoffrey didn't know each other, et cetera, but you know it is still possible, even if they weren't buddies that he might have information that's relevant to Joran, right?
ARNOLD: That's possible, Dan Abrams, but the point is that they're holding him as somebody who they suspect is the murderer. They're holding him under an Aruban...
FILAN: How do we know that?
ARNOLD: ... statute for murder.
ABRAMS: Yes. How do we...
VAN ZANDT: No, we don't know that.
ARNOLD: Yes, we do know that. Yes, we do know that.
ABRAMS: Well, let me ask Vinda de Sousa. Vinda, you're an Aruban attorney? Do we know that?
DE SOUSA: No, I don't know that. They're not saying too much about the suspicions...
VAN ZANDT: Yes.
DE SOUSA: ... on which they're holding him, but I wouldn't be surprised if they consider all of them to be involved in some sort in what happened to Natalee.
ABRAMS: When you say all of them, you mean the guy who has been arrested and Joran and Satish and Deepak?
DE SOUSA: I wouldn't be surprised.
ABRAMS: Is that based on inside information or are you just guessing?
DE SOUSA: It's based on what I hear.
ABRAMS: All right.
ARNOLD: Our sources tell us that they are being held as suspected of murder and manslaughter.
DE SOUSA: Those the same charges that—the same accusations that Joran and Deepak and Satish were held...
ARNOLD: That's exactly right.
DE SOUSA: That's why I'm saying...
ARNOLD: That's exactly right.
DE SOUSA: That's what I just said.
ABRAMS: That's her point. She's saying that they're all, you know that they're thinking maybe they're all in cahoots.
ARNOLD: Well that's not what I'm getting and that's not what I believe.
ABRAMS: I know that...
ARNOLD: But that's why they're being held...
ARNOLD: ... not because they know something about Joran or about...
VAN ZANDT: Hey, Dan...
ABRAMS: I got to wrap...
ABRAMS: Clint, I'm sorry...
DE SOUSA: The investigation is ongoing. It's continuing. It's not going away and they're trying to find out what happened...
ABRAMS: Vinda, once again thanks for coming back on the program. Clint Van Zandt and Susan Filan, Michelle Kosinski and Rosemarie Arnold, who keeps referring to me as Dan Abrams, by my full name, thank you for coming on. Appreciate it.
Coming up, many of you saying I can't be fair covering the Duke rape case, because I went to school there. I respond to your e-mails, up next.
ABRAMS: Time now for “Your Rebuttal”. The lawyers for members of the Duke lacrosse team say time stamped digital photos taken the night of the alleged rape establish a timeline that helps prove that the players who were arrested yesterday could not have committed rape.
Aleta P. in St. Louis, Missouri asks, “Why are you relying on the timeline of a digital camera to dispute the victim's story when you can set the time in a digital camera to any date or time you want. I would as an attorney you would know that a timestamp in a digital camera can't be authenticated.”
True, but you can set the time that you can, but not true that there are not ways to authenticate. They say watches in the photos show time consistent with the timestamp and I spoke to their expert who determined they were not taken out of order.
Some of my guests have referred to the accused members of the team as
· quote—“boys”. Jerry Epps from Burlington, New Jersey, “In actuality they are thugs, hoodlums, and sexual predators. These punks allegedly attacked the mother of two children who is also a college student. You call yourself a news reporter. You need some lessons on the ethics of reporting the news in an unbiased manner.”
I don't refer to them as boys, but let's see, you call the Duke players thugs, hoodlums and sexual predators, Jerry, and I need lessons about bias?
Abramsreport@msnbc.com. Please include your name and where you're writing from.
That's it for tonight. Chris Matthews, “HARDBALL” up next.
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