updated 4/28/2006 12:28:26 PM ET 2006-04-28T16:28:26

Guests: Dean Calbreath, Melanie Sloan, Al Franken, Mickey Sherman, Susan Filan, Katie Caperton, Debra Opri

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL FRANKEN, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  Hello, Mass General?  Yes.  Is my liver there?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, Al Franken talks politics while searching for a new liver.  And politicians find religion, but is there political conversion a little too late to save their souls?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR:  I hope never I talk to you again!  You‘re a (DELETED) creep!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Charlie Sheen on the fine art of voice-mail etiquette.  And Wonkette walks us through the Washington sex scandal you‘ll be talking about tomorrow.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed.

And also tonight, the breaking news in investigations into the gang rape at Duke University.  Has the accuser made similar charges before?  And what would that mean for her credibility in this case?  We will have a live report from Durham.

But first: With all the changes in the rules and regulations governing conduct on Capitol Hill, you know, it‘s quite possible that congressmen who are being investigated by FBI for being supplied hookers by their lobbyist friends just didn‘t know that it was illegal to trade for votes for prostitutes.  They always do keep moving that line, don‘t they?

But if this sensational story that was flashed across “The Wall Street Journal” today is any indication, lawmakers like Duke Cunningham and fellow Republican congressmen may soon find out what the wages of committing those type of political sins are.  Award-winning journalist Scott Paltrow (ph), obviously, has a source deep inside the Justice Department that tipped him off on this votes-for-sex investigation that has FBI agents, quote, “fanning out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses, and others who may have been involved in the,” quote, “arrangement.”

Now, those with a weakness for the Washington scandals, beware.  Your knees may buckle when you hear where the FBI agents are focussing their investigation.  Ready?  The Watergate Hotel!  That‘s right, luxury suites in the Watergate Hotel, the same hotel where Monica Lewinsky was home during Washington‘s last great sex scandal and the scene of the famous break-in that ended Richard Nixon‘s presidency.  “The Wall Street Journal” is also reporting today that the scandalous landmark hotel has turned over records related to that investigation, including details about guests and rooms.

David Shuster is with me in Washington to tell me what Capitol Hill is saying about the expanding FBI investigation.  David, I would guess there‘s some gentlemen behind you, possibly a lady or two, that are very nervous right now that the FBI may be hot on their trail.  What are you learning?

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, people on Capitol Hill are calling this one of the most intriguing twists in this whole corruption scandal and perhaps the most embarrassing.  All eyes tonight—everybody who‘s following this, they‘re focused on one man by the name of Brent Wilkes.  He is a defense contractor who‘s at the heart of the Duke Cunningham.  He‘s the defense contractor who is not cooperating, and the government is putting enormous pressure on him to do so.

Another defense contractor who is cooperating says that Brent Wilkes is the guy who has the little black book and has the memory of which prostitutes were going where and what they were doing.  So if Brent Wilkes suddenly becomes a government witness, that‘s where this gets interesting, and that‘s where you have to simply watch out.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot, David Shuster.  I‘m sure we‘re going to be talking about this in the coming days and weeks, with the FBI fanning out, talking to prostitutes, escort services.  This investigation really is expanding.

Let me bring in right now Dean Calbreath.  He‘s from “The San Diego Union-Tribune.”  “The Tribune” was just awarded a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into the Cunningham scandal.  And also let me bring in Melanie Sloan from the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Dean, let me go to you first.  You‘ve obviously—and your paper‘s been all over this Cunningham scandal from the very beginning.  What are your sources telling you about this latest information that “The Wall Street Journal” reported on today about possible trading of prostitutes for votes?

DEAN CALBREATH, “SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE”:  Well, we and a number of other papers have been on this for about six months or so.  I think we‘ve all been looking for the break in this, and “The Wall Street Journal” found it, which is the confirmation that the feds were actually looking at this.  But for the past six months, we‘ve been (INAUDIBLE) out of rumors that not only Congressman Cunningham but as many as a half a dozen other congressmen may have been involved in this.  And we‘ve also been hearing about the limousine service that Brent Wilkes used to bring prostitutes to the Watergate Hotel and then the Grand Westin in Washington.

SCARBOROUGH:  Your sources are telling you that he used these limousines to bring prostitutes to the hotel.  Also, apparently, he‘s cooperating with investigators.  Is there a possibility that this black book with information may be turned over to the FBI and that other high-ranking Republican congressmen could be in big trouble?

CALBREATH:  Well, Mitchell Wade is cooperating with investigators, but the guy who supposedly has the black book, Brent Wilkes, he is hanging tough.  He is so far not cooperating, and I think that he is going to hang tough until he‘s indicted.  So I think it will be a while before other names come out.  You know, like I say, the rumor mill is alive with names.  The rumor mill is alive with at least half a dozen names.  We have—

Congressman Cunningham, in today‘s story in “The Wall Street Journal”—that is really the first solid confirmation that we‘ve got of eyewitness report—an eyewitness report from Mitchell Wade.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Melanie Sloan, you‘ve been also following this story for some time.  What can you tell us about members who may be investigated by the FBI because of their close connections with these lobbyists?

MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: 

Well, I think any members who have received a lot of money from Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade will be closely examined by the FBI now.  We already know that Katherine Harris is under increased scrutiny.  She had a $2,800 dinner with Mitchell Wade at a pricy Washington, D.C., restaurant, and I think we‘ll see prosecutors look a little more closely at John Dolittle and Jerry Lewis in the near future, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  And while you‘re—of course, you say Jerry Lewis—he‘s actually one of the most powerful members on Capitol Hill.  He‘s the chairman of the Appropriations Committee.  Why would they be investigating him regarding this “Wall Street Journal” story?

SLOAN:  Well, Mr. Lewis is also a beneficiary of Mr. Wilkes‘s largess. 

He‘s definitely been somebody who‘s gotten money from Mr. Wilkes.  And Mr.  Dolittle got money from Mitchell Wade.  So the two of them are—I think any member who‘s been tied to those two particular lobbyists, Wade and Wilkes, really have—are probably feeling pretty nervous right now.

SCARBOROUGH:  How widespread could this be?  How many members have received—and I throw this out to both of you.  How many members have received a good bit of money from these two lobbyists, who are now tied up again in this FBI investigation involving a prostitution ring?

SLOAN:  Well, Mitchell Wade didn‘t give an awful lot of members money.  He was limited with the numbers.  The other person who got a lot of money from Mitchell Wade is Virgil Goode from Virginia.  But Brent Wilkes gave a lot more money to a lot more people, so there‘s more to be—more members for the FBI to focus on there.

SCARBOROUGH:  Dean, what do we look for next?

CALBREATH:  What we look for next is probably sometime this summer, the indictment of Brent Wilkes.  I would assume that when that comes down - - assuming that it does come down—that the government will be pretty clear about the activities that Mr. Wilkes was involved which, which is why the FBI is fanning out, you know, throughout D.C. now and talking to every hooker that they can.

SCARBOROUGH:  And again, they‘re fanning out and talking to these hookers, but at the same time, both of you—just to make this clear—both of you have heard of these reports for quite some time.  You just weren‘t able to confirm that the FBI was conducting this type of investigation, right?

CALBREATH:  Right.  And that‘s really what “The Wall Street Journal” broke today, as well as the eyewitness account from a second-hand source that Mitchell Wade actually has admitted to helping Congressman Cunningham get prostitutes.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, we‘ll have to leave you there.  Thank you so much, Dean Calbreath.  Thank you, Melanie Sloan.

You know, Washington‘s long had a tortured past when it comes to politics and sex scandals, like the one involving Elizabeth Ray.  Remember?  She was a Washington secretary who was known more for her skills in bed with a powerful member of Congress than what she could do with a typewriter.  To get the lowdown on how Washington is bracing for this FBI sex investigation and D.C.‘s track record on sex matters, we bring in the expert, Ana Marie Cox.  She‘s the founder of Wonkette.com and author of “Dog Days.”

Ana, talk about Washington‘s long and tortured history involving politicians and sex.

ANA MARIE COX, FOUNDER, WONKETTE:  Tortured, Joe?  Maybe you know more about these sex scandals than I do.  Really, torture rarely figures into it.  I think that‘s now how most of them get into it.

You know, Washington does have a long history when it comes to sex scandals.  What‘s surprising to me and how I think the Congress case is different is that most of these scandals have actually just been about—more about bad judgment, let‘s say, then they have been about actual, you know, felony against the people.  Usually, when we have felonies in Washington, we have bribery issues.  It is really just the people that are getting screwed, not the congressmen themselves.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Most of these sex scandals involve sex.  You don‘t usually have—and again, these are just allegations, but the allegations that are out there right now is that Duke Cunningham and possibly other members of Congress actually called lobbyists who were trying to influence them and actually asked for prostitutes.

COX:  It‘s true!  Yes, I mean, I just find that remarkable.  I like to keep my sins, you know, sort of clean, just really commit one at a time.  But apparently, Duke Cunningham liked to mix it up again...

SCARBOROUGH:  This is fairly unprecedented, isn‘t it?

COX:  I think it is.  I mean, when you look back at the great sex scandals of Washington‘s past, you look at the Fannie Foxe (ph) -- Foxe—

Foxe—you help me out, Joe, because I hear you have a very good memory about all this.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think it‘s—I think it‘s Fannie Foxe.

CALBREATH:  Yes.  I mean, that was bad judgment and drinking and jumping in the Tidal Basin, right?  The Jenrette couple who had sex on the Capitol steps, again, not actually breaking any laws, except perhaps public nudity.  And even Barney Frank, who had his, you know, aide running a prostitution ring out of his own basement, never apparently broke the law himself, and his own, you know, voters have sent him back to Congress again and again with larger and larger margins.

This is really unusual.  I think, you know, prostitution happens in Washington all the time, of course, but it‘s usually people just selling themselves out, you know?  They‘re just putting their own morals and values up for sale.  To actually have money change hands and have lobbyists really have someone else get into bed with their congressmen is, I think, quite impressive, and is going to make this really fun to watch.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is going to be a long, hot summer for a lot of members of Congress.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Ana Marie Cox.  Really appreciate you being here.

And friends, I got to tell you, she really does—she makes a good point here.  There have certainly been sex scandals in Washington, D.C., ever since there was a Washington and ever since powerful people started coming here.  But what makes this so different is the fact that you may have a mixing—again, this is just unprecedented.  You have the FBI actually going out, investigating the possibility that votes were traded for sex with prostitutes.  And they‘re talking to escort services.  They‘re talking to hotels where these activities may have happened.  It is an extraordinary story that‘s breaking and one that I‘m afraid you‘re going to be hearing in the weeks to come.

Still ahead hear, though: The price of gas isn‘t the only thing going up.  Americans‘ tempers are reaching a boiling point, especially with this guy.  He calls himself the Brooklyn Kid, and wait until you hear about his plan for cutting prices at the pump!  At least, the parts of that plan that we can play for you without beeping out.  And then beauty versus the beast.  That‘s what Denise Richards would have us believe.  We‘re going to let you hear the message Charlie Sheen reportedly left on his soon-to-be ex-wife‘s voice-mail.  They are ugly.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a political earthquake that‘s rocking Washington, gas prices rising across the country while lawmakers are scrambling for their political lives to look like they‘re doing something, anything.  Now, the president‘s calling for an investigation into price-gouging, while Senate Republicans today proposed a $100 fuel rebate for millions of taxpayers.  You know, it sounds like these former allies of oil have found God and are undergoing a political conversion, Washington style.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  There‘s nothing quite so stirring as a religious conversion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Before I can do any healing at all, I need to know you‘re on the side of the Lord!  I need a sign of your faith!

SCARBOROUGH:  Washington politicians have been known to beg for forgiveness while on their own political roads to Damascus.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What I want the American people to know and what I want the Congress to know is that I am profoundly sorry.

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And it is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.  As president, I‘m responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY:  There‘s no doubt in my mind that people made honest mistakes.

SCARBOROUGH:  But usually, their altar call is triggered by political misfortunes.  The “New York Times” front page story today on tax breaks for oil companies suggests that some of big oil‘s strongest supporters have found religion.

If so, their conversions have been a long time coming.  When I was in Congress, California Democrat George Miller and I tried to abolish corporate welfare for the world‘s biggest oil companies.  Our efforts to kill royalty relief were crushed by Republicans and Democrats alike.  That decision may end up fattening oil companies‘ bottom lines by more than $35 billion.  That according to “The New York Times.”

And earlier this year, big oil‘s biggest allies on Capitol Hill crammed through another $2 billion in tax breaks for oil companies, all while these same oil companies were racking up with record profits during the post-Katrina energy crisis.

Now, with gas prices skyrocketing to record highs, these same lawmakers have seen the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE;  I have sinned against you, my Lord!

SCARBOROUGH:  The only question is, will the American voters be as forgiving as Tammy Faye Bakker‘s followers were of her?

TAMMY FAYE BAKKER:  We are so happy to be back!

JIM BAKKER:  We really are.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right!  Well, I‘ll tell you what, outrage is sweeping America, and many Americans are letting us know how they feel.  Now, one guy has got a lot to get off his chest, and he‘s the guy from Brooklyn.  His anger is palpable, and our staff had to work overtime to bleep out some of his more impassioned arguments.  So if you don‘t like the sound of bleeps, now would be a great time to get up and go pour yourself a cup of Sanka.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Kid from Brooklyn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, Joe, the Kid from Brooklyn here.  I went to the gasoline station to fill up my car with gas.  Cost me 62 (DELETED) dollars to fill up the (DELETED) tank!  Why don‘t you go over to (DELETED) Iraq and bring 100 (DELETED) case, will you?  Fill them up and bring the (DELETED) oil back here!  I mean, for Christ‘s sake, it‘s costing us 100 (DELETED) billion dollars to fight that (DELETED) war over there, plus all the soldiers‘ lives we‘re losing every (DELETED) day!  Go over there, take the (DELETED) oil!  I‘ll tell you (INAUDIBLE) (DELETED) (INAUDIBLE) $3.75 a (DELETED) gallon!  Stick it up your (DELETED) all you (DELETED) oil tycoons out there!  Who the (DELETED) do you think you are, charging almost $5 a (DELETED) gallon!  I hope you die with every (DELETED) (INAUDIBLE) Bring those prices down so a working man can buy his family some food, for Christ‘s sake!  (DELETED) gas prices (INAUDIBLE) Anyway, think about it!  This is the big man, www.thekidfrombrooklyn.com.  Get that (DELETED) Iraqi oil!  The big man‘s always happy to see you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Since I‘m a Southerner, I didn‘t understand all of those words.  I think he‘s saying he wants us to send our tankers over, take their oil and come back home.  And I‘m not sure.

Now, our thanks to the Kid from Brooklyn for celebrating the 1st Amendment with us that way!  But if you want your voice to be heard, send us your Webcam rant to joe@msnbc.com.  And please keep it clean, if you can, and no porn.  That goes directly to Tucker‘s staff.

Now, early tonight, I talked with comedian, author and radio host Al Franken, and I asked him what he thinks about the president‘s proposals to help Americans at the pump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL FRANKEN, AIR AMERICA RADIO:  This should have been done a long time ago.  I think after 9/11, if he had gotten the two strongest environmental senators together, Lieberman and Kerry, and said—and had them stand on the stage with him, along with two Michigan senators, along with two Texas senators, and said, We‘re going to drill in Alaska.  We‘re going to increase CAFE standards, fuel efficiency standards for cars, and we‘re going do an Apollo program for renewable energy, so the Texas—that would be to the Texas guys, the CAFE standards for the Michigan guys, the drilling in Alaska for the environmentalists—I think everyone would say, OK, let‘s just do that.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Al, I—this is—it‘s frightening, but the

three points that you just made, those are three things I‘ve been saying

over the past several years, when I woke up one morning and I said, you

know what?  It is stupid that we‘re not requiring Detroit to make our cars

have the fuel efficiency standards 30, 35, 40 miles per gallon.

FRANKEN:  Yes, and...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... because it will—it‘ll cripple our enemies.  And why don‘t we go ahead and put a NASA program together like Sputnik?  When we were challenged with Sputnik in the late 1950s, that‘s what our government did.  So how do we break that—break that dependency not only on oil but on big oil‘s political contributions?

FRANKEN:  Well, I think there should be public financing of political campaigns.  I mean, I think that‘s the ultimate answer.  Either that or limiting the amount of money.  But I think it‘s public financing, as other countries do.  And I think we can do that.  We can do it constitutionally.  There are—states have been doing it—Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, starting to do stuff like that.  I think we can do that.

SCARBOROUGH:  If you‘re advising Democratic candidates, why—why do you—how do you tell them to address this gas issue?

FRANKEN:  Well, I think it‘s all part of the same thing, which is that we have just now gotten to the point in this country where the special interests are what the Republican Party cares about.  They cared about it on energy, they‘ve cared about it on health care, and it‘s time we just get rid of these guys and start a new approach, where the public interest is what matters.

SCARBOROUGH:  What would you say the president‘s biggest mistake has been?

FRANKEN:  I‘d say the biggest mistake is not capitalizing on the unity that we had in the country after 9/11.  I have never in my life seen the country as united as it was on 9/12, 2001.  And we also had the world behind us, and he had a chance to lead the country.  He had a chance at that time to say, you know, We‘re addicted to oil.  We need to start doing renewable energy.  We need to start conserving, ask people to sacrifice.  Instead, he just said, Start shopping.

And then, immediately after, let Karl Rove tell the RNC that, Oh, we‘re going to take advantage of this.  We‘re going to take advantage of what happened on 9/11 for our political purposes.  And that, I think, is the biggest mistake he made, that instead of using 9/11 as an opportunity to take a united country with the world behind us, to lead this country and the world in a spirit of mutual purpose and mutual sacrifice, that he actually hijacked 9/11 and used it to divide people.

You know, people ask me all the time, Why is our dialogue so divisive in this country?  And I think people have to think back to 9/12, 2001, and remember how united we were and where this came from.

SCARBOROUGH:  You were talking about how the president should have used—you want to get that?

FRANKEN:  I‘m sorry about that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that your agent?

FRANKEN:  That‘s stupid.  No, I—Joe, I need a liver.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANKEN:  And I have to have the phone on all the time.  And there‘s been some really good news.  There‘s been a motorcycle accident.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, great.

FRANKEN:  And I think I may get my liver.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks so much, Al Franken.  We‘ll have to

leave it there

FRANKEN:  And now I‘m going to try to get my liver.

SCARBOROUGH:  That was—OK.  Thank you.

FRANKEN:  Wish me luck.

SCARBOROUGH:  Good luck.

Hello?  I hope that motorcycle accident turned out all right for him.  Thanks so much for Al Franken for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Don‘t always agree with him, but it‘s good to hear his voice out there.

Now, it‘s time for another “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the stories that you may not hear in mainstream media, but hear them here.

If you‘re tired of skyrocketing gas prices, well, worry no more because divine intervention may be on its way.  The evangelical group Live Pray (ph) believes high prices at the pump are the fault of Washington politicians who, quote, “have overlooked the power of prayer when it comes to resolving the energy crisis.”  This group of pastors held a meeting today, and they prayed around a Washington gas station to seek spiritual assistance to lower energy costs.

No word yet on where the Prince of Peace stands on the gas tax.

If a power player is not in your bag, then try a little moonshine, but not for the bottle, to power your car.  Some Americans have become so desperate to find cheap fuel that they‘ve started making their own moonshine ethanol at home!  A local company in the hills of Tennessee sells the equipment, and the owner says his business is booming.  The cost of the home-cooked fuel, 75 cents a gallon.

And finally, Bellingham, Washington, from corn power to solar energy, you‘ve heard of snow days, but have you heard about a school system that lets students stay home because the sun comes out?  Well, a Washington state school actually did that.  When the temperatures got up to 65 degrees.  You know what?  It‘s a good thing my high school in Florida didn‘t let me skip school every time the sun was out, or I may have ended up having to be a politicians or a  talk show host.

Coming up next, breaking news tonight in the gang rape story at Duke University.  We have it.  The accuser made similar rape allegations years go, and they were throw out.  Could those rape accusations destroy your credibility today?

And later, Snoop Dogg at it again.  We‘ll tell you what happened with his posse at a London airport.  They could send him to the dog house.  That‘s coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Charlie Sheen unleashed.  Angry messages left on his wife‘s phone.  We got our version of the Charlie Sheen tapes coming up straight ahead.  Plus, breaking news out of Duke. 

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

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A nasty divorce proceedings of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards just got nastier.  Sheen apparently had some nasty words for his former sweetheart, and he left it on her voice mail.  You‘ll hear our version of it tonight.

And then, rapper Snoop Dogg and his crew go on a wild rampage at a London airport.  Is he headed to the dog pound?  We‘re going to have those stories in just minutes.

But first, breaking news tonight in the Duke gang rape case.  The Associated Press is reporting that the accuser has made previous rape allegations, and they were not prosecuted, a revelation that, if true, may raise even more questions about her credibility. 

With me now, from Raleigh‘s NBC affiliate, we have Michelle Hofland. 

Michelle, what do you have? 

MICHELLE HOFLAND, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, what we‘re finding out is that, twice in 10 years, this woman has told police that three men have raped and beat her. 

According to the Associated Press, in 1996, 10 years ago, the same woman who said that three Duke lacrosse players raped her last month, that 10 years ago she told police in Creedmoor, North Carolina, which is about 15 miles outside of Durham, that three men raped and beat her for, quote, “a continued time,” three years earlier, when she was 14 years old. 

No charges were filed in that case, but the woman‘s mother has told “Essence” magazine that her daughter dropped the charges because she feared for her safety and that she said that her daughter said she was set up in that case. 

Not much else was on the police report from 10 years ago, Joe, other than the alleged suspect‘s names, and that she said that it happened in an unspecified place. 

The police chief in Creedmoor, North Carolina, says that he has no recollection of the report and that his officers have not been able to track down any more information on it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  NBC‘s Michelle Hofland, thank you very much. 

I appreciate it. 

Let me bring in right now criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman and former prosecutor Susan Filan. 

Mickey, this breaking news tonight, obviously, news that the defense is going to want to hear.  You‘re a defense attorney.  Tell us why this may play into the issue of her credibility that these charges were brought, but then she decided to drop them. 

And, again, the similarities.  You‘ve got her saying 10 years ago she was raped by three men, same story she had this time.  What‘s the impact of it? 

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, you never see this.  You just never see this.  You always kind of wonder whether or not this woman or the victim has ever made a complaint like this before which is not substantiated, but you never really find it.

And here they‘ve actually apparently found where she‘s made an accusation, which we have to believe is either false or unfounded.  Because if someone who‘s 14 makes the complaint that they were brutally raped and beaten, you‘ve got to believe that any seemingly responsible law enforcement authority would have prosecuted the individuals. 

And if it did not happen here, then the only logical explanation is that she withdrew the complaint because it wasn‘t true.  And that is absolutely...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Mickey, if that is—if we find the details out and find out that she came forward with these charges and, for some reason, had to withdraw those charges because she couldn‘t substantiate it, do you think that‘s the end of this case against the three Duke players that she‘s now claiming raped her this past year? 

SHERMAN:  Joe, in reality it is, and it should be, but it ain‘t going to be.  I think the district attorney has painted himself into a corner here.  He‘s got a lot of other issues to deal with, from race, to politics, to being gender-correct here. 

And I think he‘s just going to pass it along and say, “Well, we don‘t know what happened before, but we‘ll let a jury decide.”  It‘s the easy way out, but, unfortunately, it‘s not going to be the best way out. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Susan Filan, talk about the impact of these previous charges, if this case were to go to trial because the D.A. refused to drop it, because of politics or because of the racial situation that‘s been so inflamed down in North Carolina.  Would this information ever get before a jury? 

SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR:  That‘s the question, Joe.  That‘s exactly the question:  Would this ever get before a jury?  And I can tell you that the prosecution is going to fight like heck to keep it from the jury, and let me tell you why.

There is a rule called rape shield.  And what that means is you can‘t cross-examine an alleged victim or an accuser based on any prior sexual activity to show that she‘s sexually promiscuous, to show that either she wanted it, or she‘s lying, or she consented. 

Well, the same principle is going to come into play.  Just because she cried rape before and is crying rape now doesn‘t mean that she‘s faking it this time, like the boy who cried wolf. 

But I‘ve got to tell you:  If this does get before a jury, and if I were the defense lawyer it would be crucial to my case to let this jury know, because the similarities are bizarre and striking, three guys, a period of time... 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Susan, that really is—the bottom line is, if you‘re a defense attorney and you‘re, first of all, defending a guy like Reade Seligmann who appears to have an airtight alibi, and you already have that going for you...

FILAN:  I don‘t concede that.  I don‘t concede that.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, but let‘s say some jury members were swayed by this alibi that he has, and then you‘re a prosecutor—or then you‘re a defense attorney and you say, “You know, she made this same type of charge 10 years ago, where she actually went to the police and said she was gang raped by three men.” 

FILAN:  Yes, that‘s the problem.

SCARBOROUGH:  She dropped those charges.  And 10 years later, guess what?  She went to the police under suspicious circumstances and said, once again, she was gang raped by three men.  I mean, that is an argument, as a former attorney, that I would love to be able to take in front of a jury, if I had a defendant sitting behind me, wouldn‘t you?

FILAN:  Can I be the defense lawyer tonight, Joe? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  I mean, this is bad news, isn‘t it, Susan? 

SHERMAN:  But, Joe, if I can chime in, you know, it‘s not a character

issue.  This is not saying that she‘s a bad person, that‘s been, you know -

that‘s she‘s a stripper or an exotic dancer.  It bears on her credibility.  Does she have the propensity, does she have the history of telling the truth?  And that‘s the only issue that‘s involved here.

FILAN:  But that‘s the issue, Mickey, because the only way that this would get before a jury is if could be determined that it was a false complaint, because the only pattern here would be of falsely complaining.  And if there‘s no determination...

SHERMAN:  Well, it‘s going to get before a jury.

FILAN:  ... that it was a false complaint, then it may not go before a jury, because it may not be relevant to this case. 

But I‘ve got to tell you:  If I were a juror and I found out after the fact that this was part of, quote, unquote, “a pattern,” and I didn‘t hear about it, and I convicted somebody, I don‘t know that I could sleep at night.  So, but under the rules of law, it may not come in, but, under fundamental fairness, it probably should. 

SHERMAN:  Joe, if I could just add one thing:  The real tragedy of this has nothing to do with this case.  The real tragedy of this whole episode, this whole Duke situation, is the burden it‘s going to place on future rape victims, real rape victims in the future who are going to have to go forward, and go in front of a jury or the public, burdened with the fact that the public or the jurors may be skeptical, saying, “Is this one of these deals like they had down in Durham, North Carolina?”

It‘s unnecessary baggage that real rape victims are going to have to deal with for a long time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and, Susan, I feel compelled—I‘m being told we need to go, but this is important.  I think it needs to be said, Susan, that there are so many women out there that have been sexually abused...

FILAN:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that have been raped... 

FILAN:  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... not only by strangers, but especially in colleges. 

I mean, do you know how many incidences of date rape on college campuses? 

It‘s astounding, and...

FILAN:  They say 1 out of 4. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Women are afraid to come forward because they may be painted like this lady.  That could be the real tragedy, right?

FILAN:  That‘s right.  First of all, nobody‘s going to believe them.  Second of all, the stigma, the shame.  They think somehow they asked for it, it‘s their own fault, they blame themselves.  They carry that baggage for years.

And if this woman did in this case make a false complaint, she sent women back 100 years.  And she‘s going to be looked at, if it‘s true that it‘s a false complaint, to see if she should be prosecuted herself. 

And I‘m not saying she lied; I don‘t know, Joe.  But, boy, if she is, wow. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘ll tell you what:  The facts are lining up tonight.  They don‘t look very good. 

Thank you so much for being with us, Mickey and Susan. 

Again, the A.P. reporting tonight that the Duke rape accuser made the same type of charges 10 years ago and dropped those charges.  If, in fact, this is a pattern, and she made it up then, and she made it up now, she‘s done a terrible disservice to women who were abused, again, by members of their family, women who were abused by people they go on dates with. 

It could be a terrible, terrible situation.  And, of course, the young men whose reputations could be tarnished forever, where do they go to get those reputations back? 

Well, I‘m joined now by somebody who certainly is going to be talking about this, Rita Cosby.  She‘s the host of “LIVE & DIRECT.”

Rita, a big story out of Durham tonight.  Talk about it. 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Yes, and we‘re going to be talking, of course, about this big development where, again, as you said, the accuser claims that she was gang raped before 10 years ago. 

Joe, we have details as to what her claim was back then and who she said did it.  This has not been reported before.  And we‘re also going to talk about what kind of impact it will have on the case, also with our details.  How does that come into the sphere?

Plus, I have just come back from talking one-on-one with the king of all media, Howard Stern.  Find out what he has to say about Angelina, Brad, and Tom Cruise.  We‘re going to have a really action-packed show at the top of the hour—Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  Rita, once again, you get the big get.  Can‘t wait to see it. 

Make sure you tune in to Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT,” coming up next at 10:00 p.m. 

I don‘t think Howard Stern would talk to me. 

Coming up next here, pull out the boxing gloves and get ready for a down-and-dirty fight.  Charlie Sheen‘s reportedly giving soon-to-be-ex-wife Denise Richards an earful on the answering machine, and we‘ll let you hear it. 

Speaking of Hollywood actors with attitude, Broadway is apparently getting its share of it, thanks to hothead actor Alec Baldwin.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In case you‘re not up on your celebrity gossip, oh, boy, have we got something for you. 

Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen are in the middle of a brutal divorce, and today the news is out that another woman is suing Sheen, claiming that she is the inspiration for a character on the sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”  She claims that the wacky neighbor and the stalker on Sheen‘s hit show is based on her. 

And it just keeps getting worse and worse.  Here to dish with me are celebrity attorney Debra Opri and Katie Caperton from “OK” magazine. 

Ladies, I want you first to listen to our rendition of those voice mails.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN IMPERSONATOR:  You know, if you don‘t have the balls or the courage to (bleep) call me back after your sniveling (bleep) and your (bleep) sniveling (bleep) lawyer, too pregnant (bleep) plotting against the rest of us. 

I think it‘s just (bleep) low.  You can‘t even, like, return my (bleep) call.  You know, it just says so much about you.  It just says so much about who you are, and I‘m just not surprised anymore, OK?  So whatever.  I hope I never talk to you again.  You‘re a (bleep) creep.  (bleep) you. 

You continue to be deceitful, and mischievous, and sneaky, and you‘re a (bleep) liar, OK?  You‘re a (bleep) liar.  So you know what it‘s like?  (bleep) you, OK?  I hope you rot in (bleep) hell.  You‘re a piece of (bleep) and a (bleep) liar and I hope you (bleep) rot in hell.  So (bleep) you.  I hope I never (bleep) talk to you again, you (bleep) (bleep) (bleep) you.

You‘re a coward and a liar, and a (bleep) (bleep) so (bleep) you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, that‘s awful.  Debra Opri, I got to explain, that those transcripts, of course...

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I thought it was you doing that imitation.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I did not do that.  I mean, I had to pay a member of my staff extra...

OPRI:  Sounds like it.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... to read the transcripts from “The Smoking Gun,” because none of us wanted to do it. 

I mean, but, Debra, how does this play into a divorce proceeding. 

This is a mega Hollywood divorce. 

OPRI:  And, listen, to all you people out there who have been divorced, you don‘t need me to tell you it‘s ugly in the courtroom and it‘s ugly outside the courtroom, and these two people are no different.

However, once you get into a divorce court, the lawyers rule.  And the lawyer for Charlie Sheen, in my humble opinion, should have foresaw that this was coming, and a seven-page declaration coming into court with the details, it was damaging to his career, and his show may, in fact, not show up next season. 

It was damaging.  How do we stop this?  The parties go into a private mediation, the records get sealed.  But once you open the Pandora‘s box, Joe, like Denise did, it‘s open.  And the harm is done.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s gotten so ugly. 

And, Katie, why don‘t you explain just how ugly this has gotten?  It started last week.  I remember my wife coming in and telling me that actually there are all these terrible accusations from Denise Richards about Charlie Sheen being addicted to kiddie porn, and just the worst possible things. 

And now he comes back saying she had an affair with Richie Sambora, the next-door neighbor, friends of both of them.  And now you have these voicemail messages sent out. 

This is a war of—basically, a divorce war unlike we‘ve seen in Hollywood in some time, right? 

KATIE CAPERTON, “OK” MAGAZINE:  Exactly.  It keeps getting nastier and nastier.  The thing about it is that everyone just really was rooting for this couple in the beginning.  They were this Hollywood golden couple. 

He had this, you know, well-deserved notorious past, but she was this young, you know, beautiful actress, and things seemed to be going along really well.  But just now, as like the curtain is coming back a little bit, you see it‘s just so nasty. 

She was photographed on Sunday sort of cozying up with her former best friend‘s—presumably former best friend‘s ex-husband, Richie Sambora.  It‘s people are just so intrigued by it, because everything just keeps getting nastier the more you hear about it.

She is alleging that he looked at kiddie porn, at gay porn, he was addicted to all these various drugs.  On the way to go deliver their baby, their second child, he was checking his pager for his bets that he was making.  So it just keeps getting worse and worse.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, she now says that he can‘t even perform in front of live audiences without taking drugs.  I mean, the charges are flying fast and furiously.

Tell me about these messages, though, that we played, again transcripts of him screaming into the phone, saying terrible things about his wife.  Is this out of character for Charlie Sheen or has he long been known to have a terrible temper? 

CAPERTON:  Well, again, he‘s long been known to be this sort of this bad boy, this Hollywood wild child.  But people really hoped that he was done with that, that this was his new wife, this new family.  They have two beautiful daughters. 

And people were slowly beginning to forget about his past, forget about all the gambling problems, and the Heidi Flies situation. 

But, you know, his show is still in the Nielsen top 20, so it‘s going to be—I think it will actually eventually damage his career a little bit if he doesn‘t sort of, you know, sort of step up for himself.  You know, he‘s taking the high road right now.

He‘s saying, you know, I am not going to acknowledge this, and, you know, the truth will come out.  But it‘s just a real shame.  I think people really did want them to work out, and we‘ll just have to wait and see. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It certainly didn‘t happen that way, did it?

CAPERTON:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Debra Opri, Katie Caperton, thank you so much.  We appreciate it.

And coming up straight ahead on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, another celebrity who can‘t control his temper.  What Alec Baldwin is apparently doing that‘s making life miserable for his Broadway co-stars. 

And broken whiskey bottles and police officers being attacked.  It‘s apparently just another day of overseas traveling for rapper Snoop Dogg.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe.  I‘m leaving on the one after 109, and I‘ve got issues. 

First, I‘ve got issues with Ted Kennedy and his issues with a plan to build the world‘s largest wind-powered farm off the coast of Massachusetts. 

Now, the windmills could save the residents of Cape Cod millions of dollars on their energy bills.  But the reports are that Senator Kennedy doesn‘t want his million-dollar ocean views obstructed. 

You know, after years about hearing about the need of alternative fuel sources from the Massachusetts senator, I think he should get a failing grade from environmentalists for not putting his money where his mouth is. 

And I‘ve got issues with rapper Snoop Dogg.  The Dogg was arrested last night in London‘s Heathrow Airport after a mini-riot broke out.  Now, apparently his entourage was refused entry to the British Airways first-class lounge.  So Snoop and his entourage behaved like first-class jerks, and they moved to a duty-free shop and reportedly began throwing bottles of whisky to the floor instead.

Looks like Snoop‘s going to have to go back to doing work as a snitch for “Starsky and Hutch.”

And I‘ve got issues with Alec Baldwin.  Jan Maxwell, Baldwin‘s co-star in the revival of “Entertaining Mr. Sloan,” left the theater last Sunday after complaining that her physical safety, her mental health, and her artistic integrity were not being met. 

She reportedly says Baldwin put his fists through a wall and was throwing things around while everybody around him was cowering.  Baldwin‘s people simply say he did nothing wrong. 

We‘ll be right back.  And don‘t forget, “LIVE & DIRECT with Rita Cosby” just minutes away. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for the mailbag tonight.  Because of breaking news, we don‘t have a lot of time, but let‘s go to Don in Oregon.  He writes in and says, “Joe, I really enjoy your show, and the reason there are 67 percent negative poll numbers is because the ownership class in our country is benefiting while working stiffs are losing ground.”

Hey, Don, thanks so much.  I appreciate it, and you‘re exactly right. 

We want to hear from you in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Send me your e-mails.  A lot of people are doing it; we want to read as many as we can on the air.  It‘s Joe@MSNBC.com.  That‘s Joe@MSNBC.com.  And, please, include your name and your hometown, like Don did.  We‘ll get it out over the air.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stick around.  There is breaking news out of Durham, North Carolina.  Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT” starts right now with that.

Go ahead, Rita.  What you got?

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

transcript

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,