updated 4/21/2006 10:56:35 AM ET 2006-04-21T14:56:35

Guests: Yale Galanter, Pam Bondi, Freda Black, Kevin Miller, Edward Abbot, Chris Smith, Bobby Kennedy, Laurie David

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  And welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed. 

Tonight, rush to judgment at Duke.  Airtight alibis and new searches put an endangered DA on the defensive.  Will the students walk? 

Then, show moot the money.  Corporate America loves communist China, but Chinese citizens break up a White House event over human rights. 

And America‘s sweetheart, Julia Roberts, debuts on Broadway.  But the reviews were ugly for the “Pretty Woman.”

But, first up tonight, we start at Duke University, formerly home to the second best lacrosse team in America.  It is also home to a district attorney who may soon have the word former attached to his title. 

Tonight, it seems more likely that Durham‘s DA is going to be found guilty of rushing to judgment than any jury in North Carolina ever finding Duke player Reade Seligmann guilty of raping a stripper. 

The tarred-and-feathered lacrosse player‘s favorite Rolling Stone song should be, “Time Is On My Side.”  Talk about your airtight alibis.  Seligmann has phone records, ATM receipts, taxicab confessions, dorm logs, and every other time-stamped document, short of the Pentagon Papers, to prove there was no way he could have raped the dancer in question, because the lacrosse player left the party 15 to 45 minutes before the DA claims she was raped.  Whoops. 

Undeterred, the DA got a search warrant to tear through the Duke player‘s apartment.  And Dan Abrams, host of “THE ABRAMS REPORT,” says tonight that the results of that fishing expedition were less than compelling. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN ABRAMS, NBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, we have gotten our hands on the search warrant application for the search of Collin Finnerty‘s room at Duke.  And I think it reflects some of the difficulties that the authorities have been facing in this case, and I think some of the mistakes that the authorities have made as well. 

The items that they are looking for, clothing related to the suspect and the victim from the night of the attack, documentation identifying the suspects, property belonging to her, including a 6-inch white heel, photographs, videos, digital recordings of the party, OK, fair enough. 

The problem:  This is more than a month after the fact.  This is after he has been indicted and arrested.  I mean, what were the chances they would find anything at that time?  I think that‘s leading a lot of people to have some questions about how they are pursuing this case. 

What did they find there?  Well, what they took out of there was an article, a newspaper article, from April the 4th, as well as a letter addressed to Collin Finnerty.  Well, yes, one of the things that they were looking for, documentation showing residency at his dorm. 

All right.  So, they get a letter that documents residency at his dorm.  You know, that‘s not a whole lot of evidence in connection with this case.  And, then, they have got the problems with Reade Seligmann, the other defendant in this case, the fact that now this taxi driver, some documents from the bank, etcetera, seem to show that he may very well have an alibi, or at the very least that there was a very small window of opportunity where he even theoretically could have been involved in this crime. 

It does seem that the prosecutors, the authorities, might have wanted to take a little bit more time before they took the step that they did.  Does that mean that nothing happened?  Does that mean that these young men are innocent?  No.  But it is leading to some questions about the way that the authorities are moving and the timing—Joe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks so much, Dan. 

And Dan certainly more polite when it comes to the DA than me.  I think it‘s fairly clear the DA rushed into this prosecution.  And he has made some terrible mistakes tonight.  And I believe that he has tarred and feathered some players that may not have even been at the house at the time of the rape. 

Now, lawyers of some of the players do say the time-stamped photos establish a timeline that proves that Reade Seligmann could not have committed the crimes.  According to the defense, the photographic timeline begins at midnight, when the dancers arrive to perform. 

But, at 12:07, Reade calls his girlfriend.  And, at 12:14, he calls a cab.  And he has got receipts to prove it.  At 12:19, Seligmann is picked up by a cab.  He stops at an ATM at 12:24.  While Reade is taking money out of the ATM, photos show the accuser leaving the house with a smile on her face. 

At 12:30, a witness says the woman returns to the house.  The district attorney says the rape occurred when she returned back to the house after 12:30.  But defense sources say a card reader at the dorm of Reade‘s dorm shows his student I.D. card was swiped to get inside at 12:41 a.m.  Then, at 1:22 a.m., a Kroger security guard calls 911 to report, a woman won‘t get out of a stranger‘s car. 

And, friends, if you look at that timeline, it‘s very clear, according to records, Reade leaves that home at 12:19 a.m.  According to the DA‘s own documents, the woman is raped after she reenters the house.  And the next door neighbors testifies, when does that happen?  At 12:30.  He had left the—the home in question 11 minutes before she even reentered, according to the DA, to get raped. 

It doesn‘t add up. 

Let me bring in right now Edward Abbot.  He‘s the mayor of Essex Falls, New Jersey, the hometown of suspect Reade Seligmann.  He is also a friend of the family. 

Thank you so much, Mr. Mayor, for being with us tonight. 

It certainly sounds like some people that you represent unjustly are having their reputations tarred and feathered.  Talk about Reade and the family, and what they are going through tonight. 

EDWARD ABBOT, MAYOR OF ESSEX FALLS, NEW JERSEY:  Well, Mr.  Scarborough, it‘s my—it‘s my pleasure and privilege and honor to talk about a remarkable family of the Seligmanns, and—and particularly Reade. 

You‘re absolutely right.  We—we—our little community has been shocked by these allegations, because Reade Seligmann is a remarkable young man.  He is a man who has achieved such status in our athletic and our scholarship area in our—in our schools.  He is a—a man...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  But you know what?  That doesn‘t really matter, when the whole world thinks he raped a woman, does it? 

ABBOT:  Well, you know what?  Reade Seligmann, the Reade Seligmann I know and the Reade Seligmann our community knows is not anywhere near the characterization that is out there right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I know.  And isn‘t that the problem, though?  You

you remember Ray Donovan, the former administration official?  He—he

he got indicted when he worked for Ronald Reagan.  After they found out that he was innocent, he walked out to reporters and he said, OK, so where do I go to get my reputation back? 

Well, where does this young man go to get his reputation back?  Where does the family go to get their reputation back, if, in fact, this alibi is airtight? 

ABBOT:  This—this alibi will be airtight, and I look forward, Mr.  Scarborough, to sitting here with you and with Reade right next to me to introduce to you—and I look forward to that day, when I—when I can introduce him to you directly, and you will see the kind of character and gentleman that—that Reade Seligmann is. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Mayor, is this family angry? 

ABBOT:  Angry?  The—the family is, I would say—I wouldn‘t say angry.  The family is very concerned.  The family believes in the judicial system.  The family is going to let that system go through, and the family is absolutely committed to the fact that Reade will be exonerated of these charges. 

He is a remarkable man.  His character speaks volumes.  He is—has the quality and character of the very first order.  He is a terrific individual.  And I have known Reade since he was probably 6 years old.  I have known his father since I was 6 years old. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

ABBOT:  And I am just—I—absolutely, 100 percent, sure that Reade will be exonerated of these charges. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Unfortunately, that character doesn‘t come through in these mug shots, does it? 

Tell me, if you will, how he and the family, how are they handling this tonight? 

ABBOT:  They are—they‘re—they are a very tight-knit family.  They are like a lot of families in my little town.  We—we are from Essex Fells.  We support one another.  The Seligmanns are a very tight family.  I can‘t think of two parents more closely related to their kids than the Seligmanns.  They are...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

ABBOT:  ... a remarkable group. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mayor Abbot, thanks so much being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.  And look forward to having you back some time in the near future. 

ABBOT:  I hope so.  Thank you so much, Joe.  And I hope to have Reade with me at that time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That will be great.  We would love to meet him. 

ABBOT:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rita Cosby, let me bring you in now.

Rita, the host of “LIVE & DIRECT,” has new information tonight about alibis in this case from the other young man charged with rape, Collin Finnerty. 

Rita, you certainly have heard about Reade.  He has got all the documentation.  And—and it looks like, if you stack those times and dates up...

RITA COSBY, HOST, “RITA COSBY: LIVE & DIRECT”:  And the cab driver.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and the cab driver, of course, that you talked to, who—who really does give him an airtight alibi. 

Talk about this other young man. 

COSBY:  Yes. 

The other young man is Collin Finnerty, who you talked about, 19-year-old.  He‘s the younger one of the two.  And defense attorneys were telling me yesterday, when I was there in Durham, that they say he went to a restaurant and that they have a receipt.  Well, we made some calls today.  We think we found the Mexican—Mexican-style restaurant that he went to.  They would not give us a quote, but they did say that they had been approached by other reporters and also the defense team. 

So, it seems like we have got the restaurant.  So, it sounds like both of them may actually have an alibi.  Again, that yet—that‘s yet to be confirmed with a receipt and other information, but it does indeed sound like they got have an alibi possibly for both.  The other one sounds stronger, with Reade Seligmann. 

The one other point I do want to bring up, Joe—and I think it‘s important—on the cab driver, the cab driver seems to have some substantial information, you know, the call at 12:14, picks up Reade and, he says, another boy.  The cab driver seems very credible, very convincing.  Also, they say they have documentation to back up Reade‘s alibi. 

The other thing that was fascinating about the cab driver is what he said to me about a second call that he made, and he made a second call to the house.  The first one was near the house, about a block away.  I was physically there, where I saw the cab driver pick—pick those boys up.

But the second call was four boys that he picked up at the house at 1:01 a.m., he said, which was about 45 minutes or so after he picked up Reade.  And he says, at the house, he picked up four boys.  They were drunk.  He said he saw a yard full, Joe, of drunken boys at that point. 

He saw a woman screaming at them, he said, an African-American woman that was sort of screaming at some of the boys—and I was able to confirm that, apparently, that was the second dancer who was there—as they were departing, and that, apparently, at 1:01, these boys were in the cab and said, he overheard, saying, “It‘s just a stripper.”

And I said, “How do you read that?”

And he said that they were angry at a stripper, that maybe somebody was hurt, but they said—quote—“It is just a stripper.”  So, I think maybe they do have the wrong boy.  And I think they should actually be looking at these four boys.  Maybe there is something there to these other four.  What pissed them off, what got them so angry that they would say, “It‘s just a stripper”?  What was that sort of exchange about? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Rita, you have—you have covered these—these type of stories for quite some time.  How does a district attorney screw up so badly?  Is it because he‘s got an election a week away? 

COSBY:  Well, I don‘t know if it‘s that.

I think that, you know, in this case, from what I have heard, that this woman was given a photo lineup.  And, of course, there‘s a lot of questions now about this photo lineup.  Was she just presented lacrosse players in that lineup?  Did she have anybody else to choose from? 

And I think she was looking at these.  She definitely said:  Look, these are the two guys. 

I don‘t believe that the DA just sort of willy-nilly picked these guys.  I think he felt that there was a photo lineup.  Maybe there was some other documentation.  But, certainly, if you look at this cab driver story, it‘s very convincing.  This guy doesn‘t seem any—to have any dog in the fight at this point. 

And, if there‘s documentation, maybe they should be looking at these other boys that he picked up at 1:01 a.m., and maybe she fingered the wrong guy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, Rita.  Greatly appreciate that report.  And we are going to be hearing more about that tomorrow night, I‘m sure. 

And now let‘s go live to Durham, North Carolina, and talk to radio talk show host Kevin Miller. 

Kevin, with all these alibis coming out, what are the people in Durham saying about the case? 

KEVIN MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Well, Joe, not only the people in Durham, but the entire Triangle has really been burning up the phone lines on WPTF, whether it‘s e-mails, whether it‘s chat rooms, whether it‘s cafes.  It really comes down to racial, cultural, and class lines, what people are saying. 

Some day, somebody is actually going to have a giant sociological experiment about the impact of this case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, it‘s all about race, despite the fact that this kid has alibis? 

MILLER:  Yes, it is, Joe. 

I know that you have been covering this.  And the forum at N.C.  Central was very contentious.  Now, you have folks at Duke supporting these kids. 

And it depends on who you talk to.  People that we talk to, people on WPTF or other radio shows, they support the kids.  In fact, it surprised me.  When this case first came out, they were very skeptical of the evidence.  Then, on the other hand, you talk to black—or African-Americans, they think these kids should be charged, not only charged, but there was a crime committed, and they should be prosecuted. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Stay with us.  We are going to be right back, Kevin, with much more straight ahead. 

And, up next, more on the alleged college gang rape and the alibis that may get these students off the hook.  Did the district attorney make a rush to judgment, and is the case already shot full of so many holes that there will never be a conviction?  Our next guest says, yes, those mistakes have been made, and it may hurt the case. 

And, later, only two days until Earth Day—some experts say global warming is not as bad as it seems.  Environmental lawyer Bobby Kennedy Jr.  will be here, along with Laurie David of StopGlobalWarming.org. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time to wake up Uncle Bubba and tell him SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is coming to a new time.  It‘s 9:00 Eastern time starting Monday, 8:00 p.m. Central.

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. 

Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong has been under siege since the beginning of the Duke—Duke investigation.  A number of people say he rushed to judgment, and has made some terrible mistakes, and he has come under fire for using the investigation for political purposes.  What DA would ever do that?  Now he‘s up for reelection next month. 

And with me is Freda Black.  She is running against Mr. Nifong for district attorney.  We asked Mr. Nifong to be on the show.  He refused. 

Freda, thank you so much for being with us.

SCARBOROUGH:  Obviously, you‘re a political opponent...

FREDA BLACK, DURHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY

CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... of this gentleman.  And, so, obviously, it‘s in your best interests to say he has made some mistakes.  It seems, clearly—it seems to clear to a lot of us, though that aren‘t running in that race that he has botched this investigation. 

What he has done that you would—you would suggest has been his biggest mistake? 

BLACK:  Well, I think his biggest mistake early on in the case was to grant 70 -- it‘s my understanding that he granted 70 interviews with the media. 

I believe he did that obtain name recognition, because I already had name recognition in this—in this particular campaign.  And in—in doing that, I think he rushed to judgment.  And he started telling things about the case that should not have been told to the media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why did he do that?

BLACK:  Instead, they should have been...

SCARBOROUGH:  Why would he go in front of cameras?  Why would he arrest these gentlemen before he even searched their apartments? 

BLACK:  I think, once again, that he did it to obtain name recognition in this community, so that he could try to beat me in the district attorney‘s race.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you have said that there‘s a double standard of justice in Durham.  What do you mean by that? 

BLACK:  Well, a lot of people in the community that I have talked to have said that they feel like he treated this case differently than he would other cases, that, had the roles been reversed, that he—he would have done something differently. 

And I—I don‘t personally have an opinion about that, but that is what a lot of people in the community have said. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we pulled up a—a news article that says a teen was charged with murder.  He got a $50,000 bond.  These young men get a $400,000 bond.  There seems to be a terrible disconnect there, doesn‘t it? 

BLACK:  Well, it doesn‘t make sense. 

And—and the bond policies are questioned from time to time, based on the different types of offenses.  But this bond, of course, as you know, was preset by a superior court judge.  And I don‘t know what his rationale was in order to set that particular type of bond. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Well, I will tell you, it doesn‘t—it doesn‘t seem very rational to me. 

Freda, thank you so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.

And now let‘s bring in criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter, Florida prosecutor Pam Bondi. 

And, Yale, let me start with you.

The evidence keeps stacking up against this DA, and seems to be supporting Reade Seligmann more and more every day.       

YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Joe, in my 27 years of practice, I have never seen a bigger debacle by any district attorney‘s office anywhere in this country.  Since we started covering this case heavily...

SCARBOROUGH:  And—and let me just say, Yale, I want—I want to—

I want to second that.  I have been associated with politics, the law, been

covered quite a few of these cases. 

GALANTER:  Yes, Joe, I mean, we...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I have never seen anything like this before. 

GALANTER:  We have been covering this case intensively for the last four weeks.  And this guy hasn‘t gotten a single, solitary thing right.  And everything the defense has told us has checked out with documentation, witnesses, time stamps on the photographs. 

The only possible reason this district attorney could have indicted these two innocent young men was for political gain, because he had a grand jury that was sitting.  It was the only grand jury sitting before this May 5 primary.  And that is the only reason he could have indicted these people, because he had no corroboration at all. 

SCARBOROUGH:  None, absolutely none. 

GALANTER:  Except for—except for this complaining witness. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Absolutely none.

GALANTER:  And that is horrible in America.

SCARBOROUGH:  And the complaining witness—everybody, both sides are saying this complaining witness was intoxicated, which would have made identification, obviously, a little bit harder the next day. 

Pam Bondi, you‘re a prosecutor.  Is this any way to run an investigation? 

PAM BONDI, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR:  Joe, I—I can tell you, I have had a few issues with it from the beginning, especially when he committed to the fact that there would be DNA.  Right when I heard him say that, as a prosecutor, you say, oh, be careful what you say, until...

SCARBOROUGH:  And—and, Pam...

BONDI:  ... you know the evidence. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... just—just to remind our viewers, he said:  We have got DNA evidence here.  It‘s going to come back, and it will prove that these lacrosse players were involved in the rape. 

The DNA evidence came back, and it proved nothing of the sort, did it? 

BONDI:  Exactly. 

And I will tell you, though, Joe, I think he felt so passionately about the case.  And he believed the victim.  He believed the medical evidence to support that there was trauma to her, that a rape did occur.  And, again, we don‘t know everything he knows at this point. 

And, at this point, it is very one-sided.  Everything we‘re getting is coming from the defense attorneys.  So, we really don‘t know yet.  But it truly is going to be an uphill battle for the prosecution. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the—what about the alibis of—of Reade, this—this older player, that—that—I mean, the guy—according to testimony from a taxicab driver, ATM records, phone records, his dorm records, this guy was out of the house by the time this woman was allegedly raped, if you look at the timeline of the DA.  How do you get around that? 

BONDI:  I—I—yes, I think, certainly, the end of the timeline is pretty solid with the ATM records, the taxicab, and especially swiping his card in the dorm room. 

I think the beginning, Joe, of the timeline could still be adjusted.  We don‘t know yet.  But I will tell you, that is why, in an investigation of this magnitude, when you have the whole world pressuring you to make a decision, you have got to keep your eye on the ball.  You have got to conduct your investigation the way you know is best.  Do everything, do everything investigative that you need to do, before you make a filing decision. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Before you make the charges.

GALANTER:  Right. 

BONDI:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly, before you stick your neck out and before you ruin these guys‘ reputation, without knowing whether they did it or not. 

(CROSSTALK)

BONDI:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Yale...

BONDI:  The last thing you want to do is hear things from the defense and learn about them on TV from the media, when it‘s your investigation. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh.  And I‘m sure, Yale, that‘s exactly what‘s happening right now with this DA that‘s learning about phone records and ATM records and dorm records.  He didn‘t have that information before he charged them. 

So, Yale, the question is—it‘s the Ray Donovan question.  Donovan worked for Ronald Reagan.  If this Seligmann kid is, in fact, innocent, what recourse does he have?  Where does he go to get his reputation back? 

GALANTER:  He—he can‘t.  He‘s got no recourse.  No, prosecutors have total immunity, even when they charge somebody wrongly, like this. 

You know, we have been talking for weeks about:  Take your time.  Slow it down.  You made some mistakes in the beginning.  Gather your evidence.  You know, these boys were not a flight risk.  They come from great families.  They‘re enrolled in a very prestigious university. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  There was no reason to rush, was there, Yale?

GALANTER:  Right.  Where were they going?  There is no reason to rush.  You know, you talk about this $400,000 bond, that‘s outrageous.  And the only reason the defense lawyers didn‘t challenge it...

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Yale, why—why—why a $400,000 bond for these guys that are—are arrested on shaky evidence, when you have a—a kid in the same community that—that is charged with murdering somebody...

GALANTER:  It was...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... gets a $50,000 bond? 

GALANTER:  Joe, it was strictly punitive.  And it was strictly to satisfy a certain portion of that community, so that this prosecutor could curry votes and win this election. 

And that is the only reason that the bond happened, that—that he went—I mean, why would he go to a grand jury?  I mean, think about that.  The—the only reason a prosecutor goes to a grand jury is so a defense lawyer cannot present his own evidence, cannot cross-examine witnesses, cannot challenge anything that the prosecutor has. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let‘s—let‘s bring back Kevin Miller.

BONDI:  Yale, a defense attorney is entitled, though...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second. 

Let me—let me bring Kevin Miller back in, with WPTF Radio in Durham. 

Kevin, are you hearing a lot of the same things on your radio call-in shows that Yale is talking about, that this DA arrested these—these young men, and that the judge set the bail at $400,000, $350,000 more than they set the bail for a—a murderer, an alleged murderer?  Are you hearing that they did that for political purposes to—to try to curry favor with the African-American community in Durham? 

MILLER:  Well, we are hearing, though, that there—there does appear to be a double standard in this case, Joe, when you‘re—when you‘re talking about what folks are saying on the radio. 

Number one, you have people at N.C. Central saying that, if it were the basketball team there, and it were a white woman, these kids would already be prosecuted. 

On the other hand, we are hearing from folks that are saying, where is the evidence?  Mike Nifong told me that the DNA was bulletproof.  I asked him, “Well, what about an eyewitness testimony; what about an eyewitness identification?”

He said: “Not necessary, Kevin.  The DNA is more reliable, more credible.  There is never a false positive.”

So, he put all his eggs into the DNA basket.  And unfortunately for him, fortunately for the defense, that didn‘t pan out for him.

Now we are awaiting the second DNA test. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

Well, thanks so much, Kevin.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you, Yale.

Thank you, Pam.

GALANTER:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  Greatly appreciate it.

We are going to continue this story, obviously, in the days and weeks ahead. 

And, coming up next, the China syndrome—a disruption during a White House ceremony between President Bush and China‘s president.  A heckler interrupts the event, protesting China‘s human rights policies, even while the CEO of Boeing says, China rocks. 

Speaking of rocking, another “American Idol” contestant booted from the show—what‘s going to happen to him in the future?  We will tell you. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The back—the pickup trucks are backing up to MSNBC.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is moving to a new time, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, starting on Monday.  Make sure you‘re there. 

We have got a lot more straight ahead, but, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “Scarborough Country” is moving.   To a new time 9:00 p.m. Eastern, starting on Monday.   Make sure you‘re there.

A lot more straight ahead.  But first, the latest news you and your family need to know.  

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thirty-six years ago, the first Earth Day was celebrated by hippies, peace activists, and more hippies.   But who‘s celebrating in 2006?  A lot more people.

And Julia Roberts may be the most beautiful woman on Broadway, but reviews of her new show, not so pretty.

Welcome back to “Scarborough Country.”  We‘re going to be talking about those stories straight ahead.

But first, corporate America gives the Chinese president a hero‘s welcome during his trip to America this week.   But at the White House, it was a different story.

A heckler screamed criticism at the president of China during his meeting with George Bush on the White House lawn.   Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HU JINTAO, PRESIDENT, China (through translator):  (inaudible) in the 21st century.

(CROSSTALK)

PROTESTOR:  Stop him.  President Bush.  Stop him.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Saying stop him from killing, stop him from killing. 

Now, Chinese television cut away from the ceremony during the protest.   And President Bush actually apologized later for the human rights protestor.  It certainly put China‘s abysmal human rights record even more front and center than it‘s been, this week certainly.

With me now to talk about it, New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith.

You know, Chris, I‘m offended by the fact that President Bush apologized.   I‘m more offended by the fact that the CEO of Boeing said, quote, “China rocks.”

Talk about China‘s stellar human rights record for Americans tonight. 

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-NJ):  They have—and you used the right word, Joe—an abysmal human rights record.

The incarceration of democracy activists, labor activists, people who want to practice their faith—the woman that was arrested on the White House lawn today was a Falun Gong.   Several thousand, we believe, Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured to death in China under President Hu‘s leadership.

So there‘s blood on the hands of this dictatorship.  And they use torture—the U.N. Rapporteur for torture, recently in December—a Manfred Nowak did a scathing report on the pervasive use of torture by the Chinese secret police.

And corporate America, whether it be Google, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, the other—You remember, Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex.  Now we have a situation where that military industrial complex, the military is Chinese, the industrial and the know-how, the American technology is being conveyed to them.  Their police and their military has grown exponentially in their capabilities over the last 10 years or so. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Chris, one of the things that shocked me the most when I got into Congress—and a lot of things shocked me—was how much corporate America kowtowed to China.  They didn‘t care about their human rights record.  They didn‘t care about the fact that nuclear proliferation came from China a heck of a lot more than it came from Iraq or Iran.

And yet you‘ve got corporate America and President Bush apologizing for this activity.  I mean, where is the shame?  Is it all about money?

SMITH:  Well, I think it‘s a lot about money.  It‘s all about China being misperceived by some.   But the naivety has to end at some point.

When you strip away this very thin veneer of everything is just fine and dandy—because if you do go to China, and even when members of congress go there, you get a pretended village.  You get a show tour that just shows you how wonderful everything is, and you walk away—unless you know what to look for, and you talk to the Chinese individuals, particularly in the democracy activists, and you get a whole different picture.

Joe, the forced abortion policy in China has led to some 100 million missing girls.  Gendercide.   It‘s expected by the year 2020 some 40 million men won‘t be able to find wives because of this coercive population control program.  Just one instance of human rights abuse, one of many, practiced by this dictatorship. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Congressman, why aren‘t there more congressman and senators standing up and fighting for human rights in China? Is it because these American corporations write a lot of campaign checks to their campaigns? And these corporations want to do business with China? 

SMITH:  Well, that could be part of it.  I think there is also this mistaken notion that if you just trade, trade, trade with the PRC, that they will somehow me matriculate into a democracy.

And I would argue, and the State Department report for 2005 -- which was a very accurate portrayal of the human rights situation on the ground, it laid out some 22 major human rights abuses that are being committed—they pointed out that the trend is getting worse, more incarcerations, more torture, more harassment.  And regrettably, and I had a big hearing on this just two days ago, and had a hearing on it just about a mouth ago... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Congressman... 

SMITH:  Corporate America is helping them to do so much of this dirty work.   And that is shameful.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that is shameful, Congressman.  And keep up the great work.  

SMITH:  Thank you, Joe, with getting the word out.

SCARBOROUGH:  Really do appreciate you coming here and getting the word out.  

SMITH:  One more thing, Joe, the lady on the White House lawn, had she done that in China, she would be dead.

SCARBOROUGH:  She would be dead right now.

SMITH:  They would torture her to death.  That‘s what they would do.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, Congressman.   I really appreciate it.

SMITH:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, the first Earth Day was celebrated 36 years ago this week when college students, hippies, high school students, hippies, peace activists, politicians, and hippies jammed their dirty bodies onto the Washington mall to celebrate the dawning of a cleaner, greener age of Aquarius.

The event was a smashing success, leading that well-known fan of hippies, Richard Millhouse Nixon to support the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The event also pressured politicians of all stripes to pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Acts, and scores of bills aimed at protecting endangered animals, the wilderness where they live, and the ocean.

There have been bumps along the way.  Earth Day‘s leadership fractured.  During Earth Day 2000, it was revealed that the event spokesman, Hollywood star, Leonardo DiCaprio, drove an SUV.  Shocking.  And they‘d filmed some environmentally sensitive national parks.

But Hollywood has taken the lead on educating America when it comes to the environment.  Actors, directors, rock stars have taken center stage of late.  But music also played an important part of the movement even on the first Earth Day.    

(VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now, we‘ve got environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr.  He‘s the author of the book “Crimes Against Nature,”; and Laurie David.  She‘s the executive producer of the new HBO documentary called “Too Hot Not to Handle.”

Bobby Kennedy, let me begin with you.   Is the environment cleaner today than it was in 1970?

BOBBY KENNEDY, ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER:  Well, Earth Day was a huge success, and it wasn‘t just hippies, Joe.   It was 20 million Americans.  It was the largest public demonstration in United States history.

I remember 10 percent of our population came out on the street.  I remember what it was like before Earth Day.   The Coyote River was burning.   Lake Erie was declared dead.  We couldn‘t swim in the Hudson, the Potomac, the Charles growing up.   There were tens of thousands of Americans dying every year during bad air events, and we had really bad lead poisoning in almost all American children.

Today IQ levels are actually higher in the United States because of the abolishment of leaded gasoline and many—and Lake Erie has returned.

Earth day was a huge success story.  We passed 28 major environmental laws, republicans and democrats, as you said.  Richard Nixon led the way.

But today, we have an administration that is dismantling 30 years of environmental laws in an attack designed to eviscerate those protections that have been so successful.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Laurie David, if you look at a lot of areas in the environment, it certainly has.  I remember, I lived in upstate New York in the mid-‘70s, and Lake Erie was unswimmable.  A lot of rivers, a lot of streams, a lot of creeks, you just wouldn‘t stick your foot in, let alone let your children swim in.

A lot of things have gotten better.  Air quality has gotten better in a lot of ways.   But there are, especially if you want to talk about a subject that matters a lot to you, there are some areas where things have gotten much worse.  Talk about global warming. 

LAURIE DAVID, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, HBO:  Well, I think this is the most momentous Earth Day we‘ve had in 30 years, because we‘re finally at a point where we are putting the debate about global warming, whether the globe is warming and humans are causing it, behind us.  And I think we‘re starting to get ready to seriously talk about meaningful solutions to solving it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the HBO documentary you‘ve worked on. 

DAVID:  Well, this is going to air Saturday night on Earth Day, appropriately enough, at 7:00.  And it‘s about the effects of global warming in the United States.

And we focus on the United States because basically we‘re the biggest contributor to global warming pollution, and this country is doing the least about it.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, hold on, Laurie.   You say that we are doing the least about it.   China, the pollution in China is despicable.  Much worse than ours, right? They don‘t have the environmental protections we have.

And when you look at China and you look at India and you look how quickly those industrialized nations are going to be growing over the next 30 years, that presents a real challenge, doesn‘t it? 

DAVID:  Yes, it‘s a serious problem.   But we need some leadership from this country.  We are the biggest global warming polluters in the world right now.  And we‘re doing nothing about it.

You can‘t even sell our cars, American cars, in China because Chinas fuel economy standards are better.   They just put a tax on gas-guzzling SUVs and chopsticks.

So we have to show leadership here in the United States before we expect the rest of the world to follow suit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bobby, a professor from MIT, Richard Lineser (ph), said this to the “Wall Street Journal.”  He said, “Lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of science.”

And there‘s been a big debate as to whether there is a serious debate left on global warming.  How do you respond to an MIT professor who says global warming may be a hoax?

KENNEDY:  Well, Richard Lineser (ph) is one of many of these, what we call, biostitutes (ph).  They‘re industry-funded scientists who have denied global warming for many years.  Even Lineser (ph) now is acknowledging that it does exist, and he‘s just questions the level of human contribution and what we can do about it.  

Listen, Joe, the glaciers are melting on every single continent.  The arctic has lost 40 percent of its sea ice in the last 20 years.   It will be gone, the summer ice will be gone within 20 years.  The snows are gone from Kilimanjaro.  Glacier National Park, where we visited the other day, had 127 glaciers at the beginning of the century.  Today, it‘s down to 27.   They‘ll be gone within 10 years.  Nobody really denies—there‘s no serious scientific debate about whether global warming—here‘s what...

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s the worst case scenario for New York City, for Washington, D.C., for L.A.? 

KENNEDY:  Well, if the west Antarctic ice sheet melts, and the Greenland ice sheet, New York City will be under 12 feet of water, two-thirds of Florida will be gone.  This is serious environmental impacts.

But long before we get there, we‘re going to get storms like Katrina, which displaced 200,000 people.

The good news, Joe, is that we have the capacity to avert the most catastrophic impacts of global warming.  And everything we need to do to avert global warming are things we ought to be doing anyway to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to improve our economy, our national security.

If we raised fuel economy standards by one mile per gallon, we‘d generate more oil than is in two arctic national wildlife refugees.  If we raised fuel economy standards by 7.6 miles per gallon, we could eliminate 100 percent of Persian Gulf oil imports into this Country.

That means we wouldn‘t have to fight wars over there.  This war‘s going to cost us a trillion dollars over the next three years.

So the investment we need to make to solve this problem is very, very

small compared to the cost of continuing along this path, this very, very

destructive path that the fossil fuel industry and its indentured servants

in the Washington, D.C. and the White House are urging us to do

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, we‘re going to have to leave you there.

Robert Kennedy, Jr., thank you so much.

And Laurie David, thank you.

And make sure you‘re watching HBO Saturday night for, again, a topic that is “Too Hot Not to Handle.”

And I‘ll tell you what else.  A lot of conservatives agree with Bobby and Laurie that it is time for us to stop depending on oil.   What is it, $72 a gallon—a barrel now?  It‘s absolutely insane.   And we should have never put ourselves in this position.

It‘s time for us to get unhooked from, again, depending on these Mideast dictators for our economic future.

Now, coming up, Hollywood‘s ultimate pretty woman is Broadway‘s ugly duckling tonight.  How is that? Well, stick around for the latest bulletin on Julia Roberts when “Scarborough Country” returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  So much for an ace in the hole.   Last night, Ace Young was the latest “American Idol” to get booted from that show.   He joins a club of past “Idol” contestants, some like Clay Akin, topping the chart, and others long since forgotten.

The “Today Show‘s” Katie Couric has a look at life after “Idol.” 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATIE COURIC, HOST, “TODAY SHOW”:  Wednesday night, Ace Young joined the long list of fallen idols. 

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER:  Leaving us is Ace.  

COURIC:  Like the cast-offs before him, Young now has to make it on his own.   And without the millions of “American Idol” viewers cheering him on, he could have a tough road.  

DAVE KARGER, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:  Good things may still happen to some of the people who are booted off “American Idol” early, but not always.   There are definitely those people when they get booted off, you can think to yourself, I‘m really probably never going to see these people again. 

COURIC:  Remember Justin Guarini of season one?  After leaving the show, Guarini tried riding the wave of his fame by releasing a CD and a feature film “From Justin to Kelly.”  Both projects flopped. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Justin, whom everyone thought would be tremendously popular and do very, very well, his album only sold a little bit more than 100,000.  And he doesn‘t have a record deal anymore.  

COURIC:  Runner-up Clay Akin, on the other hand, is enjoying a successful post “Idol” career.   His CD, “Measure of a Man,” was a big hit on the pop charts. 

KARGER:  Clay Akin was beaten in season two by Ruben Stoddard, but Clay‘s record sold better than Ruben‘s. 

COURIC:  Another chart topper was Kimberly Locke of season two.   She scored three top 10 hits from her debut CD, “One Love.”

Diana DiGarmo, the runner-up to Fantasia in season three, posted poor record sales for her debut CD.  But landed a co-starring role on Broadway in “Hairspray.”

KARGER:  That‘s also one path that we have seen a lot of people take, to Myra Gray (ph), from season one, was on Broadway in “Bombay Dreams;” Frenchy Davis, from season two, was on Broadway in “Rent.”

COURIC:  Season three viewers were outraged when Jennifer Hudson was voted off, but she bounced back in a big way.  Hudson will star opposite Beyonce and Jamie Foxx in the upcoming movie “Dream Girls.”

JENNIFER HUDSON, “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  I‘m so grateful to have done “Idol.”  Because if wasn‘t for “Idol,” I would have never been singing. 

COURIC:  Hudson‘s affiliation with “American Idol” may have put her on the road to stardom, but it hasn‘t done much to kick start the career of her former rival, John Peter Lewis.  He‘s currently writing songs and performing with his band.  

JOHN PETER LEWIS, “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  People like Fantasia can walk around saying I‘m the “American Idol” of season three.  Kelly Clarkson, I‘m the “American Idol” of season one.  And me, I‘m—I can say I was on “American Idol.”  And it will get me interviews like this. 

COURIC:  It could be worse.   He could be Jasmine Trias of season three. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  When you look at someone like Jasmine Trias, who came in third, and her album only sold 1300 copies and, I think, that just shows that unless you really have the record company machine behind you, the results can be that no one really remembers your name. 

COURIC:  Then there is William Hung, who we can‘t seem to forget.  Arguably, the worst singer to come out of “American Idol,” Hung released his third album last summer, stretching his 15 minutes of fame to four years and counting.  

KARGER:  I actually think that‘s one of the detrimental effects of “American Idol,” when someone who has absolutely no musical ability is given a national platform to make a fool of himself on a regular basis.   And actually kind of gets rewarded for that. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, if we did reward people for making fools of themselves on the national stage, I‘d be out of a job.

Joined now by Tucker Carlson, host of “The Situation with Tucker Carlson.”

Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”:   Well, the very latest on the Duke lacrosse rape case.   It turns out some of these players, not even implicated in the alleged attack, have attempted to transfer to another school, Syracuse, which says it doesn‘t want them simply because they are on the lacrosse team.

I think this does cross the line into a witch-hunt.   And we‘re going to talk about it in some detail tonight.

Plus, Baylor University says it will fire any female student who poses, or rather, kick out any female student who poses naked for “Playboy.” I‘m torn on this.   But we‘re going to talk about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Torn?  Torn?  Tucker, that‘s down right un-American. 

Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Joe.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Make sure you tune into “The Situation.”  It‘s coming up straight ahead at 11:00.

And coming up here, Julia Roberts arrives on Broadway with her show “Three Days of Rain.” Reviews aren‘t pretty.  We‘ll show you why when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Comedian Chris Bliss posted a video clip on his personal website.  And now Chris has a cult following.  Twenty million people have looked at the clip over the past month.  Take a look what they saw.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to try to have Chris on soon to show you what he does.  And we‘ll be right back with more “Scarborough Country” in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  When the pretty woman debuted on Broadway last night it was ugly.  The “New York Times” said she had the stiffness of an industrial lamppost.  And the “Boston Globe” said she wandered around the stage as if she was looking for Prozac.

“The Situation with Tucker Carlson” starts right now.

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

END   

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