updated 4/25/2006 1:33:07 PM ET 2006-04-25T17:33:07

Guests: Vito Colucci, Gloria Allred, Moez Mustafa, John Bourlan, Edward Abbot, Dave Holloway, Arlene Ellis-Schipper, David Yonke

RITA COSBY, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Welcome to our show at its brand new time.  Tonight, major developments in the Natalee Holloway case.  Suspect Geoffrey van Cromvoirt now out of after only a week.  But two other people also questioned, including Chief Dompig‘s own son.  What‘s going on in Aruba and  does it mean that the police are closer to finding Natalee? 

Murder in the chapel.  A nun strangled and stabbed 31 times and a cross carved into her body,  now, over 25 years later, this cold case is taking even more bizarre twists. 

First tonight, the defense goes on the attack in the Duke lacrosse rape scandal, they are going after the accuser‘s credibility, demanding the prosecutor hand over medical, legal and education records.  And it doesn‘t stop there.  NBC‘s Michelle Hofland joins us live from Durham. 

MICHELLE HOFLAND, NBC CORRESPONDENT:   Good evening.  There‘s nothing new unusual about pretrial motions but what‘s inside these motions is very revealing.  The defense attorney for one of the two men indicted, Reade Seligmann is asking the judge for pretrial hearing to, quote, determine if the complaining witness is even credible enough to provide reliable testimony. 

Why is saying that?  Well, this is what the motion says.  Let‘s take a look at it. It says, “The request is based on the fact that the complaining witness has a history of criminal activity and behavior which includes alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and dishonesty, all conduct which indicate mental, emotional and/or physical problems which affect her credibility as a witness.  Since these problems do not occur overnight, the probably began in her teenage years and continue to exist.”

We‘re expecting many more filings over the coming weeks.  The one that we‘re watching for, to come down this week, the big one could be the possibility of a motion to suppress the photo identification of the two men indicted.  Defense attorneys say that the photo identification process that the Durham police took, they  only included photographs of the lacrosse players.  And they say that‘s not standard procedure.  Normally, Rita, they would use photos of other people thrown in there, in the mix. 

COSBY:  What about the DNA?  We‘re all waiting for the second round of

DNA. 

HOFLAND:  Well, we were expecting it last week.  But now we‘re not expecting it to until May 15th.  Initially, the problems with that were red tape and paper work issues.  Now, this is what the district attorney has to say about it now. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE NIFONG, DURHAM COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Well, I don‘t do the testing.  I don‘t have any idea.  They just told me May 15th would be the earliest they would could guarantee it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOFLAND:  I‘m told that‘s not unusual for DNA testing to take this long.  Only the first run of DNA came back so quickly was that the district attorney put a rush on it.  So, the question is, now, how is this going to impact the district attorney‘s decision if he‘s going to indict a third player in the case? 

You recall, that the woman says, she says three men raped her.  While he says that there‘s no tie between the DNA evidence and whether or not he‘s going to indict the third person.  But he does say that will not happen at the next grand hearing, which is on Monday.  That could be postponed until the next time, May 15th, the same day that the DNA could be in and the same day that the other two men are expected to be here at the courthouse for their first setting. 

COSBY:  All right.  Michelle, keep us posted.  Thanks.  Joining us now, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred and private investigator Vito Colucci.  Gloria, first of all, attacking the accuser, going back to the teenage years, what do you read into that and how do you feel about that? 

GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  Rita, obviously, the defense attorneys have declared full scale war, and they are coming on strong.  What they are doing, they are suggesting that they want to know everything and anything about this particular alleged victim. 

Now, the question is, is the district attorney going to go in for a protective order.  Is he going to oppose any of this and say. 

COSBY:  What do you think he‘s going to do, Gloria? 

ALLRED:  I don‘t know what he‘s going to do.  I don‘t know.  I hope that he‘s going to seek to protect her from information that‘s not just relevant.  They can‘t just go on a fishing expedition into her entire life.  It‘s not relevant. 

COSBY:  Vito, is it a fishing expedition or is fair game? 

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  No, not at all.  I think using the term fishing expedition and even your term, Rita, as far as attacking, basically what I am doing, you know the high-profile cases that I worked on, I want to find out a background on this individual.  It‘s not fishing or attacking.  Whatever is there, is there.  I take all my evidence and I drop it on the attorney‘s desk who hired me and it‘s up to him what I do. 

COSBY:  Vito, is it fair to go back to the teenage years to something that‘s not relevant to this case? 

COLUCCI:  How about if she pointed the finger at somebody in the teenage years and it was found to be not true.  That‘s going to add to the credibility.  I‘m going to do whatever I can, legally, to find out whatever background on the individual and let the chips fall where they may. 

COSBY:  Gloria, you have a response to that. 

ALLRED:  There are limits in a court of law as to what a person can find out and use against an alleged victim.  I hope the court sets limits that are reasonable to protect the rights of the defense but also to protect the rights of the alleged victim. 

COSBY:  Stick with us.  Remember the alibi for Reade Seligmann, is that he was picked up by a cab driver at 12:19 a.m. near the house where the alleged rape took place.  Then took him to the ATM and to a nearby cook out restaurant and then dropping him off at his dorm at 12:46. 

Now that same cab driver who vouched for Seligmann with such precision is being called into question about his second pick up at the house that same night.  Was his error an honest mistake or something else. 

Joining me now is Mustafa who goes by the name Mustafa, he‘s the driver for On Time Transportation in Durham, North Carolina.  He joins me now live in his first live television interview.  

Now, I have to play for you, this is what you said to me when I interviewed you last week, not Reade Seligmann but the second pickup.  You said it was at MUSTAFA:01 a.m.  And I‘ll get to you respond. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

You got a second call that night to 610 North Buchanan House.  What time was that? 

MOEZ MUSTAFA, CAB DRIVER:  I got the second call, according to my records, MUSTAFA:01 a.m. 

COSBY:  And where was that? 

MUSTAFA:  610 North Buchanan. 

COSBY:  What did you see when you arrived? 

MUSTAFA:  A bunch of kids outside of the house. 

COSBY:  How many? 

MUSTAFA:  Around 20. 

COSBY:  Around 20? 

MUSTAFA:  Some of them on the left side of the road.  And some of them on the right side of the road.  I mean, all of them, like, outside of the house. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Now, when we look at that, that could not have happened.  That‘s why I thought it was important to get you back on my show.  At 12:53, the second dancer, Kim Roberts calls 911 at the time she left the house or was in the process of leaving.  At 12:55, according to the police logs, they responded to a call and find the house is quiet, lots are off.  And they said nobody answers the door and nobody is in the yard.  Again, you said that you arrived there, got the call at MUSTAFA:01 and arrived after that.  Mustafa, what do you say tonight? 

MUSTAFA:  Yes, thank you, Rita, for having me here.  My pleasure.  As I said before, I am working on this and distracting at the same time.  So, maybe why there‘s some confusion.  I remember for sure, I have a call at 12:39 while I was at the Cookout Restaurant.  And I tried to drop Reade and his friend outside of the house.  So I jump on the highway, and I remember Reade‘s friend and he asked me, why did you take this highway.  And I said, I‘m in a rush and I want to get to the other call. 

COSBY:  So, now, let me repeat this.  You are saying that the call actually came while you were still with Reade Seligmann, came a half hour earlier.  You seemed like you remembered a lot things with precision.  That‘s a big difference.  You are sure it happened when you came back, when talked to me before. 

MUSTAFA:  Well, my many calls, when I work at night, many calls come through the phones.  I remember the call at MUSTAFA:01 is an unknown number.  Maybe I got two calls or three calls that night before I went to sleep.  But I‘m sure that there‘s a call, to make that confusion, while I was at the Cookout restaurant at 12:29.  And the reason I jumped on the highway running south, so I can get to the other call. 

COSBY:  So, you are saying the call came a half hour earlier, when you were still with Reade and you were mistaken when you spoke the first time. 

MUSTAFA:  What I am sure about, when I got to the house at 610 North Buchanan, there was no police.  No lights at all.  I see just a bunch of students from college on the right side of the road and on the left side of the road.  And there‘s no police at all.  Another thing I‘m very sure. 

COSBY:  Tell us about the woman, too, Mustafa that you saw. 

MUSTAFA:  I saw a woman coming in on my right side, my view on my right side, I saw a woman going toward her going toward her car, going to the driver door. 

COSBY:  Why do you think you confused it before?  A lot of people are saying, well, can we trust what else he said.

MUSTAFA:  Rita, I‘m a dispatcher, I‘m a cab driver, it is the end of my day.  If I know I‘m going to be questioning this, I‘m going to write it down, everything in minutes, even every fraction of a minute.

COSBY:  But you show showed me the log and you were sure that it was 1:01.  I have to ask you, Mostafa, were you offered any money from the defense team or also from Reade Seligmann‘s father, who you told me, those are the two people who approached you first.

MOSTAFA:  Nobody offered me any money, I‘m not going to take it.  I‘m just asking, why‘d they offer me money?  I‘m not going to hide anything, either with them or against them.

COSBY:  And why didn‘t you call the authorities, Mostafa, quickly? 

Why didn‘t you—apparently the defense came to you first, as you told me. 

Why didn‘t you call authorities, this was all in the news?

MOSTAFA:  I can‘t hear you, Rita.

COSBY:  This was all in the news, this story was very much in the news.  You know you made two pickups, one at the house and one exactly at that house.  You also told us that that second call, they said, “It‘s just a stripper.”  Why didn‘t you call the police or call the district attorney when you heard that there were—that was the house that you actually picked up that night?  Why did you wait for the defense team to contact you?

MOSTAFA:  I mean, Rita, I‘m just—I don‘t want to get involved in the story, imagine a big story like this.  But I think when this father came and told me how serious to find who the cab driver was for Mr. Reade that night, you know, I showed myself.  And everything just in the records.  I‘m very honest about it and I can show it to everybody.

COSBY:  All right, Moez Mostafa, thank you so much for being with us and clearing it up.  We appreciate it and we‘re going to have a lot more on the Duke rape scandal.

When we come back, we‘ll ask our experts if they think a date rape drug was used on the accuser and what they think of the cabbie changing his story.  That‘s not all, take a look.

Still ahead, another suspect in the Natalee Holloway case released from jail.  But he‘s not in the clear just yet.  Is this young man really involved in Natalee‘s disappearance?  And why are two others being questioned, including the police chief‘s son?  We‘ll take you to Aruba for the answers.

Plus, a cold case heats up.  A nun found brutally murdered, strangled and stabbed to death.  And a twist, police now think the killer is a man of the cloth.

Plus, it may have been a silent birth, but that‘s not keeping Tom Cruise from being quiet about his new baby.  Now the proud papa is making another big scene.  That‘s ahead, LIVE & DIRECT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM ROBERTS, EXOTIC DANCER:  If they‘re innocent, they should have nothing to worry about.  They should sit back, relax, brush their shoulders off and feel good.  They shouldn‘t have anything to worry about.  If the truth was on their side, why are they supporting it with lies?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And that was Kim Roberts, the second dancer at the Duke lacrosse party, speaking out on her co-worker‘s rape allegations and the young men arrested for the crime.

Prosecutors are still waiting on the second round of DNA results to see whether they could show any link between the accuser and the allegations.  Those results are expected now not to come back until May 15th.

And earlier today, the defense striking back, filing motions that attack the accuser‘s credibility and calls for the state to hand over background records from the woman.

Also the questions now about the cabbie, with the interview that we just did.  And joining us now is civil rights attorney Gloria Allred.  also North Carolina defense attorney John Bourlan and private investigator Vito Colucci.

John, what do you make of the cab driver now saying he‘s certain about this time, when he said he was certain before?

JOHN BOURLAN, NORTH CAROLINA DEFENSE STORY:  Rita, I find it incredible.  It seems to me that his story is just too convenient, too appropriate, five, six weeks after the event. 

I think that the most incredible statement is his suggestion to those of us in the community that he didn‘t realize that it was such a big case, he didn‘t realize the importance of the issue. 

Let‘s be honest.  In this county, this has been the No. 1 story in Durham, North Carolina, since the event first came to light.  I think it‘s incredible that he didn‘t speak to the district attorney and I think it‘s even more incredible that he didn‘t speak to the district attorney after he spoke with one of these young boy‘s attorneys.

COSBY:  Let me bring in Gloria, because Gloria what do you make of that, the fact that he didn‘t do anything until the defense approached him and the fact that he said he didn‘t want to get involved?

ALLRED:  Well, look, I mean this is not a person who is a lawyer.  He‘s doing I think essentially what he was asked of him to do or you know, it was suggested somehow, maybe indirectly, that he do.

But what I have to say to potential witnesses is this, and I haven‘t heard it said before.  Stop, do not be talking to the press.  This is a criminal case.  Tell your story to the authorities and then speak in a court of law.  Because every time you do this, it‘s going to be used against you, if you are a witness.

And then you‘re going to have a lot of different versions of what you said to the press presented to you.  It‘s going to affect your credibility.  Same thing with the other dancer that you showed, Rita, at the beginning of the segment. 

She‘s out there being an advocate.  She shouldn‘t be doing it.  She shouldn‘t be talking to the press.  She‘s hurting the case and she‘s hurting her own credibility as well.  She should get a lawyer and only talk to the lawyer.

COSBY:  And Vito in her case, she‘s saying she‘s doing it because she feels the defense is spinning things, she wants to clear the record.  You know, Vito, let me get focused on this cab driver.  Let me play again what he said.  He said it was sure he was 1:01 a.m.  Let me play—this is what he said to me originally last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You got a second call that night to 610 North Buchanan, the house, what time?

MOSTAFA:  I got the second call according to my records here, I showed up like 1:01 a.m. on March 14th.

COSBY:  And that was to the house.

MOSTAFA:  Yes, 610 North Buchanan.

COSBY:  And what did you see when you arrived?

MOSTAFA:  When I arrive, I see a bunch of kids outside the house.

COSBY:  How many?

MOSTAFA:  I can say around 20.

COSBY:  Around 20?

MOSTAFA:  Twenty.  Some of them on the left side of the road, some of them on the right side of the road.  And I mean, all of them outside of the house. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, Vito, now that you hear his story, now he says he‘s sure it was a half an hour earlier, he remembers waiting in line.  Interesting he didn‘t remember that before?

COLUCCI:  Rita, it definitely hurts the credibility, obviously.  It breaks up the whole defense timeline that we talked about last week on your show. 

And like Gloria said, the proper thing for that second stripper and even this guy, just keep quiet.  Talk to whoever you‘re supposed to talk to.  Now he goes on, he has a certain timeline last week, now it‘s proven by your great work that it‘s not true. 

And so now we have problems here, it affects the whole credibility.

COSBY:  Vito, would you give him a polygraph if you were going to put this guy on the stand?  Now he‘s sure again.  I hate when I hear someone say, “I‘m sure.”  And I asked him about that 1:01 three times.  Again, that doesn‘t affect Reade Seligmann, that just goes to his credibility.

COLUCCI:  Any good defense attorney I work for would have this guy under a polygraph, that‘s for sure.

COSBY:  You know...

ALLRED:  And Rita...

(CROSSTALK)

ALLRED:  I can see the tape of your interview, Rita Cosby, on MSNBC possibly being played in a court of law, like the Diane Sawyer interview with Scott Peterson was played at that trial.  It‘s a possibility.

COSBY:  Over and over again.  You know, it is one thing though in Reade Seligmann‘s defense—and “Newsweek” is reporting this—between 12:05 and 12:24, which is sort of that time, remember, he hits to the ATM at 12:24, Seligmann dialed at least eight separate calls on his cell phone leaving a very small window.  John, doesn‘t that—whether you believe the cabbie or not, doesn‘t that open some—you know, at least close the door for Reade? 

BOURLAN:  Absolutely.  Rita, this is just unbelievable.  I disagree, with all due respect to Gloria, about this gentlemen.  He still, from what I understand, is not going to see the detectives.  He has ignored the fact that our local newspaper apparently contacted every one of the estimated 12 cab companies to inquire about the timeline. 

Everyone said they had no such pickups.  The story gets better and better.  We have a cab driver that can remember, six, seven weeks ago that the food that these two men got at a drive-in restaurant was $17.  He can remember with detail everything that happened until you asked him, at the initial interview, what time did you drop the boys off at the dorm? 

And his story is, oh, 12:45 to 1:00.  And this is substantial.  I do believe that the evidence showing that the young man went to the ATM machine is legit.  But then that raises questions that I hear all over Durham, did he go to get money to pay these young women?  Why did he not immediately have his lawyer either directly or anonymously speak to the detectives, speak to the D.A. and say, I have a client, we have an alibi, let me show you what we have. 

And obviously, has not been done.  And I think the media has made a big deal about the fact that they are referring to this phenomena, as the blue wall of silence. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in Vito, John.  Because Vito, the other thing today is going after the accuser.  The defense is doing is.  They are striking back hard.  We talked about that a little earlier.  I want to show one of the motions because I think it‘s pretty powerful, the language. 

They are saying that “the complaining witness has a history of criminal activity and behavior which includes alcohol abuse, drug abuse and dishonest, all conduct which indicate mental, emotional and/or physical problems, which affect her credibility as a witness.”

How do you sift through this and where do you draw the line, Vito? 

COLUCCI:  Well, you know, basically what happened here, the attorney hired his own private detectives probably several weeks ago. 

COSBY:  Do you think they know there is something there, Vito? 

COLUCCI:  Oh, definitely.  I‘m sure for him to make a statement like this, they have found something.  Now, drawing the line, again, like I said before, it depends what you are doing legally or not legally.  OK?  But I‘m sure these private detectives, whoever he hired, have already placed this information on the desk, and he‘s going with it.  But so many spins on both sides here, Rita, the prosecution and defense, this is absolutely crazy. 

COSBY:  And, Gloria, is this kind of nuts, how quick and how many comments? 

ALLRED:  Yes, of course, and I don‘t hear anybody mentioning that one of the persons who has been indicted has also been arrested for a simple assault, too. 

COSBY:  And in fact let‘s put that up.  Records show that the victim told them to stop calling him gay and other derogatory names.  When the victim tried to walk away, the three men, including Collin Finnerty, is accused of attacking him, busting his lip and bruising his chin.  Is it fair game on both sides, Gloria? 

ALLRED:  Well, I mean, all of it is out there.  Her particular history, her particular criminal history is out there is, but in addition, his is out there as well.  And so, you know, people can wait.  It‘s a war of words, Rita.  And there hasn‘t even been a trial yet.  But, you know, we‘re calling the alleged victim, the accuser. 

But the real accuser is the district attorney.  He‘s the one who is bringing the charge.  And of course, there has been an indictment by the grand jury.  So, they also feel there‘s at least probable cause to believe that something happened here, that a crime was committed. 

COSBY:  All right guys.  This is going to have to be the last word. 

Now, let me bring in a very close friend of Duke suspect Reade Seligmann. 

Joining us now is the mayor of Essex Falls, New Jersey, Edward Abbot.  Mayor Abbot has known the suspect and his family for years and is also the mayor of his hometown. 

How long have you known Reade Seligmann and his family? 

EDWARD ABBOT, MAYOR OF ESSEX FALLS, NEW JERSEY:  I have known Reade probably since Reade was in the first grade, and I have known his dad, Phillip, since also the first grade. 

COSBY:  Tell us about his dad.  I understand they are a very wealthy family, well to do? 

ABBOT:  More importantly than that they are, both Phil and Mrs.  Seligmann, are very much hands-on parents.  They are very much involved with their kids have been raised.  To know the Seligmann‘s is to know that they really do raise gentlemen.  They have four boys.  Each one of them is a remarkable gentleman.  I‘ve known them to be that way since they were born. 

COSBY:  Have you talked to them since the charges came down?

ABBOT:  Yes, I have.

COSBY:  And what have they said? 

ABBOT:  They are concerned, but they are very confident.  They draw a lot of strength from Reade.  Reade is very confident in the way thins are developing.  He is a very strong, upright man.  He‘s very mature and, again, like I say, he‘s very much a gentleman. 

COSBY:  And what did he say to you about the cabbie too?  From my understanding, the cab driver said that the defense team called him and they looked at Reade‘s record.  Reade told them I called a cab company, wasn‘t sure which one.  They saw the record.  That is how they tracked the cabbie.  Do they believe this is an air-tight alibi?

ABBOT:  It‘s funny.  The word alibi always makes me a little concerned.  I don‘t like the word alibi.  The facts are the facts.  And what the facts show is a very, in my opinion, a very straight timeline.  The facts warrant that this case be dismissed against Reade.  Justice demands this case be dismissed against Reade.  Reade is not the person that the district attorney should be looking at. 

COSBY:  Is he worried that his reputation is scarred?  Because a lot of people are saying, maybe, look,  maybe they got the wrong guy.  Even if this did occur, it looks like if you look at the ATM receipts, the fact that he went to the restaurant, is he worried the long-term effects on his reputation?  Should he even be cleared in this case?

ABBOT:  Rita you are absolutely right.  Reade will be cleared of this case, and we‘ll then proceed going forward and trying to clear his reputation.  Reade is an outstanding young man.  He deserves better than what he‘s received, and when all the facts come out and the prosecution and the case goes forward, I‘m quite convinced that Reade will be exonerated, as we all know.  And we will then go forward and clear his name.

COSBY:  Does he think it‘s going to trial?  Does he think it is going to go that far? 

ABBOT:  That I don‘t know.  I really can‘t comment the underlying aspects of the case. 

COSBY:  Are they optimistic? 

ABBOT:  They are very optimistic.  They are very optimistic.  It is a tight knit family.  It is a supportive family, and the entire town, I can tell you, supports them in every way. 

COSBY:  And what is he doing now?  I understand he went back to Essex Falls. 

ABBOT:  Yes, I don‘t even know.  I have to tell you, I‘ve been busy with my law practice.  I don‘t know.  But I know that he has been—there again, I spoke with his father repeatedly, and they are, again, very optimistic about the way things are developing. 

COSBY:  Mayor, thank you very much.  We appreciate it. 

ABBOT:  Thank you, Rita, I appreciate it. 

COSBY:  Thank you.

And we‘re going to keep following the Duke investigation.  Everybody, if you have any tips or information about this case, please email us through our web side rita.MSNBC.com.  Again, rita.msnbc.com.  Your information can remain anonymous, if you wish.

Plus, after the break, one suspect out of jail and two more people brought in for questioning.  Are Aruban police any closer to finding Natalee Holloway.  Some new details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From MSNBC World Headquarters, here is Rita Cosby.

COSBY:  And big developments out of Aruba tonight, as the newest suspect in the Natalee Holloway case is set free by police.  Geoffrey van Cromvoirt headed home earlier today, after a little more than a week in police custody. 

Live and direct tonight from Aruba is Michelle Kosinski. 

Michelle, why the decision to let him go? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hi there, Rita.

Well, basically, plain and simply, a lack of evidence.  That‘s how prosecutors spelled it out for us today.  Originally, they had enough evidence to arrest him last Saturday, remember.  And then they presented more evidence before a judge to keep that stay extended eight more days.  So, he was set to be released tomorrow. 

But after investigators spent some time with him both days this weekend, prosecutors decided not to go before a judge again.  They might have presented more evidence to try to get that stay extended more.  But they spelled it out today.  They didn‘t have the evidence to do so.  They say that that no longer existed. 

So, they released him a day early.  This morning, he left the jail into the custody of his parents.  He‘s now at home with them.  The prosecutors also made it clear to us today that they do still consider him to be a suspect. 

Now, van Cromvoirt‘s attorney put out her own statement tonight.  And she denied some of the speculations and even statements that some other attorneys may have made in this case.  For instance, she says that her client does not know any of the three suspects in the case.  She says that his friends and family vouch for him, that he was home that Friday night, the night before Natalee Holloway disappeared.  And, furthermore, she says, her client did not know Natalee. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION:  Did your client know Natalee Holloway?  Did they ever meet, do you know? 

ELINE LOTTER HOMAN, ATTORNEY FOR GEOFFREY VAN CROMVOIRT:  No.  They never met. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI:  Also, she says that her client was not involved in dealing illegal drugs on the island. 

Remember, the original suspicions were that he committed some criminal offenses that may relate to Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance, as well as, they said, criminal offenses related to dealing illegal drugs.  So, we know that‘s why they held him. 

As for his release, they simply said, not enough evidence at this moment.  But, remember, they still do consider him to be a suspect.  What role exactly they believe he may have played in her disappearance, that‘s what they did not spell out—Rita.

COSBY:  All right, Michelle, thank you very much. 

Well, the release of Geoffrey van Cromvoirt has left a lot of people questioning, many people scratching their heads, wondering what‘s going on with the Holloway investigation.  Why would police arrest this man, only to release him little more than a week later?

Van Cromvoirt‘s attorney says the police have finally realized there have been—there is very little evidence against him. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOTTER HOMAN:  They realized that there‘s not enough reasons to hold him and that there‘s no need for further investigation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And live and direct tonight from Aruba is Arlene Ellis-Schipper with the Aruban Strategic Communications Task Force.  Also joining us tonight by phone is Natalee‘s—Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway. 

Dave, what do you think of the fact they released this guy? 

DAVE HOLLOWAY, FATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Well, you know, last week, someone had asked me if I was getting my hopes up high when they made this first arrest. 

And I said, well, no, I‘m not, because I have seen this happen before.  If he stayed more than eight days and—and was detained more than eight days, I might have had some—something to look forward to.  But I never did have my hopes up high.  I understand it may be a stepping stone, or they may glean a little bit of information from him.  So, I was not surprised with what happened today. 

COSBY:  Arlene, did they get any information from him? 

ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  Well, that‘s unclear yet, Rita. 

We don‘t know that.  The police are very-tight lipped on whether they got information.  Basically, what has happened here is, he was held under suspicion.  The police detention is merely for investigational purposes.  And the prosecutor decided to release him. 

COSBY:  Well, you know what‘s interesting, Arlen?  The—the verbiage that we just heard from Michelle, that they released him, but they‘re still saying he‘s a suspect, how do you interpret that? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, basically, officially, in Aruba, once you get arrested, you remain a suspect, until the case is closed. 

It could also mean that, at the moment, they do not have enough serious objections against his release.  That‘s why they decided not to go for pretrial detention.  However, it can also mean that he has not been cleared completely.  But, basically, from what I understand from the prosecution is that they stick to the formal rule, that, until the end of the case, you remain a suspect. 

COSBY:  You know, Dave, let me play—this is what van Cromvoirt‘s attorney told one of our NBC producers on the ground. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION:  Did your client know Natalee Holloway?  Did they ever meet, do you know? 

LOTTER HOMAN:  No.  They never met. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, Dave, as you hear that, have you heard any connections to Natalee and this guy?  There was some word that he might have been at Carlos ‘n Charlie‘s that night.  What have you heard? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well, it was rumored that they had bumped into each other at Carlos ‘n Charlie‘s.  You know, whether it was him or someone else, you can‘t be—I can‘t be certain, because I was not there.  So—but it was rumored that they had bumped into each other out at the—Carlos ‘n Charlie‘s, not the Sunday night, but maybe a night or two before then. 

COSBY:  You know, Dave, have you heard any more to substantiate that they met, through any of her friends or anything at this point? 

HOLLOWAY:  Excuse me? 

COSBY:  Have you heard anything?  They always talked about sort of this blue-eyed blond guy.  There was sort of these—this word early on that there might have been somebody that she was telling friends about there on the island.

HOLLOWAY:  No.

I mean, there has been all—all kinds of rumors surfacing all—all throughout this case, but nothing definite. 

COSBY:  Arlene, let me also play—this is a little more from van Cromvoirt‘s attorney here. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOTTER HOMAN:  The family went through a very difficult time, and that they need their privacy right now.  And they have to spend some time together. 

QUESTION:  Will you be meeting with...

LOTTER HOMAN:  And, after this, then, we will see what sort of actions will be taken. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, Arlen, it sounds like she‘s even alluding to maybe them suing.  Was there any—what was the tip?  We were hearing a cab driver might have been the tip to lead to van Cromvoirt? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, it could quite possibly—possibly be. 

But, as you recall, there was also a program, “Information Wanted,” the Dutch version of “America‘s Most Wanted,” that led to a lot of tips.  We don‘t know for sure which tip or which lead led to this arrest.  However, it doesn‘t matter.  Apparently, there was enough that—for him to be qualified as a suspect, what we call reasonable suspicion. 

COSBY:  All right. 

Both of you, stick with us, please, because, still ahead, new details from Aruba.  Chief Dompig tells us why he really left the Holloway investigation. 

Plus, it‘s a chapter out of “The Da Vinci Code”—a nun found murdered in a church, a cross carved into her body, and left in a ritualistic pose.  Twenty-five years later, police may have finally cracked this bizarre mystery.  You will be surprised to hear who is on trial.

And a lot more from Aruba—stick with us. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And just ahead on LIVE & DIRECT, the police chief leading the Natalee Holloway investigation tells us why he left the case—the exclusive details coming up.           

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

COSBY:  Back now to the Natalee Holloway case and new revelations from the former lead prosecutor and—lead investigator rather.

Tonight, Deputy Chief Gerald Dompig tells us he quit the investigation after getting no support from Aruban officials, including prosecutor Caren Janssen. 

Dompig tells LIVE & DIRECT—quote—“Caren Janssen, the prosecutor, and the authorities have made me the fall guy and scapegoat for any problems that have existed, and were never there to defend me when I needed defending.”

Dompig, the chief of police, claims that he took the blame for things that were not in his responsibility in the 11 months since Natalee Holloway vanished. 

With us again now is Arlene Ellis-Schipper and, also, Dave Holloway, Natalee Holloway‘s dad. 

Dave, what do you buy about Dompig‘s allegations?  What do you think?

HOLLOWAY:  Well, you know, I commend him.

If—if he feels like that he has been slandered or taking the fall, he needs to speak up and—and—and let everybody know.  I—you know, I—there‘s a lot going on in the island.  And—and I felt like that, all along, he was trying to tell me something, back when—when I was on the island in September, October.  And I encourage him to speak out. 

And if that‘s what he needs or feels to do, I encourage him wholeheartedly to let it all out.  And let‘s—let‘s get to the bottom of all this, if there is something wrong. 

COSBY:  Arlene, was he a scapegoat?  Is there something more to the story? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, I doubt it, actually. 

I—I know that he feels that way.  I know that he has been scrutinized and criticized a lot.  And I personally feel that he did a great job.  But to say that he was a scapegoat, I don‘t think so. 

COSBY:  So, why did he leave, Arlene?

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  What he was criticized about...

COSBY:  What was the reason that he left? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  No.  Well, no, I—I—I believe that it was his personal decision.  That was also stated by the police chief, that it was his personal decision. 

But what he was criticized about was the mere fact that he was discussing theories in the media, instead of the efforts of the police.  That was the only criticism that I have learned on the island.  And theories, as you well know, in the media, lead their own life.  And the disclaimer somehow gets lost that it‘s a theory, and it becomes a fact.  And that has been hurt—hurting us so much in this case. 

COOPER:  And he also told us that his association with Booty (ph) -- this is his brother-in-law—hurt him, because, remember, we exposed that the brother-in-law was a drug dealer, which, indeed, Dompig confirmed to us.  And he said that that didn‘t help either. 

I want to ask you, Dave, about this other guy, because, over the weekend, a big surprise arrest.  They bring in a 20-year-old guy with initials A.B. 

What have you heard about this guy and any possible links to this case? 

HOLLOWAY:  Yes, he‘s another one that I have never heard of.  Apparently, his name may have surfaced through some other interviews that they had.  So, I—I have no idea. 

COSBY:  Have you gotten any sense, Dave, if they have anything concrete, or are they just grasping for straws? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know, I‘m not real sure.

I—I hope that they are continuing to build a case.  You know, there are some good police officers in Aruba.  You know, there are.  But it only takes one or two to derail an investigation.  And, you know, I—I think that, if the right people can do the right things, we can solve this case. 

COSBY:  Dave, what do you make...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... of the fact Dompig‘s son also was called in for questioning? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, you know, stop and think about it a little bit.  You know, you—they get into a situation of—of, you know, slanderous remarks against Natalee.  And, then—and, then, all of a sudden, you know, it involves your own son, and—and you see the reaction. 

So, that‘s natural.  That‘s a natural parental reaction, is to defend your—your own son or daughter. 

COSBY:  And, Arlene, where is this case headed?  Tell us what you know about this A.B., initials A.B., and also Dompig‘s own son being questioned.

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, from what I know, this A.B., it just has been confirmed by the prosecution‘s office that he was arrested. 

But it has also been confirmed that, after the six hours of interrogation, he has been released.  So, there‘s simply not enough to put him in police detention.  So, basically, what you can conclude of that is, for now, he has been cleared.  For—what it regards Dompig‘s son, he was just interviewed as a witness, as many, many, many witnesses. 

I believe they have over 200-something witness statements.  Everybody who went—who set a toe on the sand on the beach that night or before was interviewed.  So, it really doesn‘t say much. 

COSBY:  Although not everybody is the police chief‘s son, guys. 

Thank you both very much. 

And there‘s a lot more coming up here on MSNBC tonight, everybody.

Let‘s check in, if we could, with my pal Tucker Carlson, to see a little preview. 

I understand you have got something on the Duke case.  What do you have? 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  We do.

We have some what we believe is exclusive information that I think raises profound questions about the prosecution of this case.  I have—I have covered crime in a previous life.  I have interviewed a lot of people accused of crimes.  I don‘t think I have ever seen a crime where it was so clear that the people accused might not actually have done it or anything resembling it. 

We don‘t know that yet.  But we have some more information tonight, some more evidence, I believe, that suggests it.  And we will—we will get into it in just a minute.

COSBY:  And we will definitely be looking at that, Tucker.  Thank you very much.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Rita.

COSBY:  In just a few minutes from now.

And still ahead, everybody, a big break in a shocking cold case—a man of the cloth accused of strangling and stabbing a nun 31 times?  But what‘s his motive? 

And TomKat on the prowl?  Why is Tom Cruise leaving his newborn baby and his fiancee alone just days after the birth? 

That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What was your impression when you first saw Sister Margaret Ann Pahl on the floor? 

SISTER PHYLLIS ANN GEROLD, FORMER PRESIDENT, MERCY HOSPITAL:  The horror, the horror of it.  I think it was the weirdness of it, the ritualistic kind of a layout of a dead body. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  A nun found dead in a hospital chapel, her body displaying in a similarly ritualistic fashion. 

It is a crime which went unsolved for nearly a quarter-of-a-century.  But now a priest stands accused of this gruesome murder.  Prosecutors say this man, Reverend Gerald Robinson, strangled and stabbed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, leaving behind no traces of blood. 

Testimony began today, after jurors got a tour of this Toledo, Ohio, chapel, where Sister Margaret was stabbed 31 times, including nine cuts in the shape of an upside-down cross. 

We get the very latest from the first day of testimony from Jim Blue with NBC affiliate WNWO. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM BLUE, WNWO REPORTER:  Rita, the first day of testimony in Father Robinson‘s murder trial recalls some painful memories of the day before Easter 1980, Holy Saturday, a somber day in the Catholic calendar, and a day these witnesses cannot forget. 

(voice-over):  There was no morning service scheduled at Toledo‘s Mercy Hospital on Holy Saturday, April 5, 1980.  Shortly after 6:00 a.m., Sister Madelyn Marie Gordon made a gruesome discovery in the sacristy of the hospital chapel. 

SISTER MADELYN MARIE GORDON, WITNESS:  I ran out of the chapel—I mean, out of the sacristy—and screamed. 

BLUE:  The scream brought staffers racing to the sacristy, among them, the hospital‘s president, Sister Phyllis Ann Gerold, who testified that the body of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was arranged in a strange fashion. 

Sister Gerold testified that Sister Pahl‘s undergarments were pulled down around her ankles. 

Using a mannequin, prosecuting attorney Dean Mandros asked the nun to describe what she saw. 

DEAN MANDROS, LUCAS COUNTY ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR:  Fair enough or not? 

GEROLD:  I believe that‘s fair enough. 

MANDROS:  All right. 

GEROLD:  And the hands were closer to the sides. 

BLUE:  But there was no sign of sexual abuse.  Investigators did find signs of ritual-like behavior on Sister Pahl‘s body, stab wounds in the pattern of an inverted cross. 

Even though Father Robinson was a suspect in 1980, the case languished for almost a quarter-century, until cold-case investigators reexamined the evidence.  Modern analysis of blood patterns on an altar cloth pointed to a letter opener owned by Father Robinson as the murder weapon. 

(on camera):  Robinson was arrested in 2004.  And, now, finally, his trial is under way. 

In Toledo, I‘m Jim Blue—Rita, back to you. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  Jim, thanks so much.

And joining me now is David Yonke.  He‘s editor of Toledo‘s “Blade Religion” newspaper.  David was in the courtroom today. 

David, how did this case reopen, after 20 years? 

DAVID YONKE, RELIGION EDITOR, “THE TOLEDO BLADE”:  Well, Rita, it was a strange set of circumstances. 

But, basically, a woman in Toledo alleged that she had been abused by Father Robinson in satanic rituals when she was a child.  She had the Toledo Diocese to pay for her therapy bills.  And in that—while she was testifying before the review board, one of the members decided to report the case to authorities. 

COSBY:  You know, as we‘re looking at the mannequins here, describe for us what they were hoping to do, and, also, the ritualistic manner in the case you were talking about before and now the commonality with this one, David. 

YONKE:  Well, the allegations that led to the reopening of the case were very bizarre, saying that there was a group of men in Toledo that routinely abused young girls in all kinds of satanic rituals.

The one in—that reopened the case just happened to mention that Father Robinson was one of these men.  Today, in court, they just mentioned the fact that the stab wounds in the nun‘s body were in the shape of an upside-down cross.  But there was not a whole lot of mention of rituals. 

In fact, the nun who mentioned that it was a ritualistic killing later backed down, said she is not an expert on ritual killings, but it was just very strange, and she had seen many deaths in her career as a nurse and as a nun, and she never saw anything like this. 

COSBY:  David, we are looking at mannequins.  Tell us the significance of why they were showing the mannequins in court.

YONKE:  Well, they were trying to describe how the body was when it was found, because it was so unusual.  And they were trying to give the jury a clearer picture of what the nun looked like when her body was found in the sacristy that Holy Saturday morning, 26 years ago. 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  One of the things we were hearing, authorities are talking about a sword-shaped letter opener that was found in Father Robinson‘s room.  Could that have matched the wounds on the sister? 

YONKE:  Yes. 

The—the prosecutor said in his opening statements that—that they had exhumed the body shortly after Father Robinson‘s arrest, and that the blade of this letter opener had a unique shape, and that he said he will prove that the shape of this letter opener fit the wound in Sister Margaret Ann‘s body like a key fits into a lock. 

COSBY:  You know, you talk about the father and the sister, Sister Ann Margaret, and that they worked together.  What would be his motive to kill her? 

YONKE:  Well, the prosecution is saying they are not going to try to prove a motive.  They‘re just going to—going to try and prove that they have enough circumstantial evidence to prove that the priest committed the murder. 

Of course, there has been a lot of speculation.  There has been—there was testimony today by one of the original investigating police officers that the nun was very upset that Father Robinson had cut short the Good Friday service. 

COSBY:  And that was a reason to kill her?  My gosh. 

All right.  Thank you very much, David. 

And, everybody, we are going to be following this case a lot.  In fact, we have Doctor Henry Lee on later on in the week.  He‘s, of course, of O.J. fame, the forensic expert.  He‘s going to be here, talking about the significance in this case, reopened, as you just heard from David, after more than 20 years. 

And, still ahead, everybody, right here on LIVE & DIRECT, Tom Cruise is globe-trotting just days after the birth of his new baby.  Is he trying to get out of diaper duty? 

That‘s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And leave it up to actor Tom Cruise to make an impossible mission actually possible.  Cruise surprised the press, as well as his co-star today in Rome at a news conference promoting the premiere of his upcoming flick “Mission: Impossible III.”  This marks the first public appearance of the proud papa since the birth of his daughter. 

But mom, Katie Holmes, remains stateside, urging her fiance to hit the red carpet without her or their newborn baby girl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR:  You know, I have my daughter, newborn, and, you know, I—I don‘t want to leave her, you know, and Kate.  And I wasn‘t going to come. 

And then Kate said, you know, please, you know, go, go.  You have got all my—you know, the whole cast and the world premiere here.  And—and, so—so, I‘m here. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And Cruise only stayed in Rome for a total of eight hours, because he said he wanted to rush back to be with Katie Holmes and the baby. 

Cruise gushed that he was the first one to change his daughter‘s diapers after she was born.  I would have loved to see a picture of that. 

(LAUGHTER)

COSBY:  And, coming up tomorrow night, one of the players charged in the Duke lacrosse scandal will take center stage in a D.C. courtroom.  Sophomore Collin Finnerty is expected to appear in an unrelated assault case involving an alleged assault outside a bar in Washington, D.C.

We‘re going to bring you complete coverage of that hearing and all the very latest from Durham, as well as the Duke investigation moving forward.  That‘s tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time. 

And that does it for me on LIVE & DIRECT.  I‘m Rita Cosby.

“THE SITUATION” with Tucker starts right now. 

Tucker, I understand you have got some stuff on the Duke case. 

CARLSON:  We sure do, Rita.  Thanks a lot.

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

END   

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