updated 5/3/2006 3:51:21 PM ET 2006-05-03T19:51:21

Guests: Kevin Miller, Tom Loflin, Yale Gilanter, Norm Early, Brad Schrade, David Schwartz

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up today, an election for D.A. in North Carolina could determine the future of the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.  If the D.A. loses, could the case get dropped?

The program about justice starts now. 

First up on the docket, a different sort of judgment day in Durham, North Carolina with voters, not jurors, deciding the fate of D.A. Mike Nifong, the driving force behind the Duke rape investigation.  Nifong‘s chief opponent in the election for D.A., Freda Black, a former assistant district attorney who said Nifong, quote, “doesn‘t have the experience running a high profile case for the last five years.  I worked there and he was actually negotiating parking tickets.” 

And a pre-election poll show them neck and neck, with Nifong at 38 percent, Black at 39 percent.  Practicing attorney Keith Bishop at 11 percent, and 12 percent undecided. 

Kevin Miller is the morning new reporter for radio station WPTF.  Tom Loflin is a criminal defense attorney there.  Susan Filan, MSNBC legal analyst, former Connecticut prosecutor.  Yale Gilanter, former criminal defense attorney.  Norm Early, a spokesperson for the National D.A.‘s Association and a former Denver district attorney.  Thanks to all of you.  Appreciate it.

All right.  Kevin Miller, what‘s the bottom line?  Is Nifong going to win?

KEVIN MILLER, WPTF REPORTER:  Dan, he may not win.  It may be a run off.  Keith Bishop actually may be the spoiler, which would set off a run off, which would be May 30.  So we could all be back here at the same time, discussing the case, trying to figure out the future of where this investigation will be going. 

ABRAMS:  What does he need to avoid a run off?

MILLER:  Dan, he needs over 40 percent of the vote, he or Freda Black.  The smart money seems to be on her, but you look around Durham, the city and the county, and there are a lot of Mike Nifong signs. 

In fact, Carrie Sutton, one of the defense attorneys, actually at a polling place with a Mike Nifong T-shirt on.  I talked to her and said, “Hey, are you going on the record with that?” 

She said yes and proudly.  She‘s told us that she supports Mike Nifong, even though she doesn‘t agree with him in this case. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, although she does agree with him on certain aspects of this case, I think.  Particularly, she‘s been very critical of some of the other defense attorneys in this case.

All right.  So if Freda Black were to win, let‘s say, Kevin, do you think that she would change the path that this case has been on?

MILLER:  She said that, Dan, and, you know, Freda Black has talked about, look, when this goes away, I‘ll run this case like I did the Michael Peterson novelist, convicted murderer trial, where she had more of a clamp on the press. 

I don‘t think that she can.  Of course, she‘s held press conferences to pretty much denounce the press.  So again, whether or not she can do that is up to her to decide.  I don‘t think so.  Keith Bishop has also said that he would do it differently.  I don‘t think they can. 

They can‘t go back and let the genie back out of the bottle.  The 70 interviews pretty much set the tone for the case that Mr. Nifong granted. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  They love talking about the media aspect, as if that‘s the most important thing.  And the most important thing in this case is did these guys do it and are they being properly prosecuted?  This notion that somehow the media aspect of this case is the most important is to me just absurd. 

The final question, Kevin, has this been the issue in this campaign?

MILLER:  It has been the issue.  Mike Nifong, Freda Black can say what she wants about him, but he was appointed by the governor, a former attorney general, to replace Jim Harden.  So obviously, people thought very highly of him.  Twenty-seven years as a prosecutor here in Durham.  He‘s done an outstanding job. 

Never mind that he was recovered from cancer when he was dealing with traffic tickets, as the deputy to Jim Harden.  It has been the issue.  Otherwise, you‘re looking at 10-12 percent turnout for this primary. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, all right.  So Tom Loflin, based on what you know, you‘re there.  Would you expect that another candidate, let‘s say Nifong loses.  Fred Black or this other guy, Keith Bishop, win, whatever.  Do you expect that they would then take a new look at this case and possibly say, “You know what?  Boy, now that I look at the evidence that Nifong hadn‘t looked at before he indicted, maybe we should revisit.” 

TOM LOFLIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Yes, I think without question they will take a look at the—all of the evidence that exonerates the accused, but my prediction is that whoever wins as D.A., this case will never go do trial.  The prosecuting witness has so much baggage that she cannot afford to get within 1,000 feet of a witness stand. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean, that may or may not be the case. 

Norm Early, look, you‘ve dealt with this issue of dealing with campaigns, et cetera, for D.A.  If Nifong loses, do you think that a new D.A. will come in and truly look at it with a fresh set of eyes and maybe say, “You know what?  We just don‘t have it here”?


Unquestionably.  They have to.  If the new D.A. believes Nifong is right, they have to relook at the case.  If they believe that Nifong is wrong, they have to relook at the case.

You know, a lot of cases in this country on the investigative level have sort of stalled.  And you now have new case squads where fresh eyes look at the same evidence and see different things. 

And that‘s what will happen as a result of some investigations when district attorney take them over from old—old district attorneys.  It doesn‘t mean that they will necessarily do something different.  But they have the opportunity to do something different, and they should avail themselves of that opportunity, whether what Nifong is doing is right or whether what Nifong is doing is wrong. 

ABRAMS:  Kevin Miller, this is the primary.  So this is all Democrats and everyone says whoever win this wins the election.  But let me ask you this.  If Nifong wins or loses, is it possible, because this case has become so important, that a Republican could enter the election after this primary?  Is that legally possible without just being a write-in candidate?

MILLER:  Not that I‘m aware of, Dan.  Again, the primary is today, so unless they were a write-in, that wouldn‘t happen. 

And you know, people are talking about this case going away.  If that does happen, then you have other political ramifications, as we saw yesterday with the New Black Panthers coming to town.  There‘s a segment in the community that wants this case prosecuted along racial and class lines.  I don‘t see this case going away. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Another development in this story.  The Duke lacrosse team apparently will play again next season.  The seven-member faculty committee has recommended that the highly ranked team be allowed to resume play, despite the full team‘s suspension following the rape allegations that ended its season. 

Duke law professor James Coleman, who led the committee, says, quote, “We looked closely but found no compelling evidence to support claims that these players are racist or have a record of sexual violence.”  The committee did note a, quote, pattern of misconduct over the past five years and recommended that it be closely monitored, adding a large number of the members of the team have been socially irresponsible when under the influence of alcohol.

Susan Filan, is this just a feel good measure?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes, I‘m afraid it is.  I mean, look, this team has come under such scrutiny, and so many of these players have already been cited for misdemeanors.  And the press has reported, and I think accurately so, that their behavior has been reprehensible.  So why the university is now putting—trotting out this to sort of a rubber stamp them to get them back in play. 

ABRAMS:  I was thinking just the opposite.  You‘re saying, what, that they should just get rid of the team?  Any time there‘s an athletic team out there where some allegation is made against members of the team.  And let‘s say—remember, a lot of the allegations are noise ordinances, underage drinking.  I mean, these are things—I‘m not justifying them, but the bottom line if you start canceling sports teams from playing because of these kind of violations, you‘re going have most of the NCAA teams off campus. 

FILAN:  Yes, and?

ABRAMS:  And therefore, you should say that‘s the way we should do it,

right?   Good idea.  Good idea.

                FILAN:  No, no, no.  But what are we going to do?  Just rubber stamp

it?  OK, you guys can behave poorly.  You can get arrested?

ABRAMS:  Yes or no, does the team play next year.  You‘re saying no, the team doesn‘t play next year?

FILAN:  This team play next year?  I say no.


FILAN:  Because of their behavior, their track record.  What‘s the repercussion?  What‘s the consequence?  What are we going to do to make it different?  How is next year going to be different from this year?

ABRAMS:  They have new players.  I mean, there are people who aren‘t even on the team yet who are coming to the school.  There are seniors who are going to graduate.  This is a college.  This isn‘t a pro team. 

FILAN:  Yes. 

EARLY:  In addition to that, Dan, you have a situation at Duke where the fraternity houses have caused a lot more difficulties than the college team. 

FILAN:  Every school, starting with this Duke business again.  I mean, look, the bottom line is, Norm, every school has problems with some students.  And a lot of the time it‘s problems with athletes.  And if we want to have some broad discussion about NCAA teams in Division One, fine.  Let‘s have it.

But this notion that somehow this lacrosse team was so much worse than any other team out there, I mean, it‘s not like there‘s this pattern of allegations of sexual assault or violent assault against this team.  We‘re talking about one play who had been charged with a misdemeanor assault. 

I guarantee you if we start looking at Division One teams, we‘re going to find a lot of teams that are a lot worse than the Duke lacrosse team. 

EARLY:  I agree with that, Dan, and also the Duke lacrosse team is not the worst group of men on that campus.  Fraternities are far worse in terms of number of citations, in terms of numbers of offenses than the lacrosse team and other athletic teams at Duke.  And I would venture to say it is probably the same way at other campuses. 

So what do you do?  Do you get rid of the fraternity houses as a result of their conduct?  To some degree, they are institutionalized in that system.  It has brought a lot of fame and a lot of acclaim.  And people gravitate toward it for that reason.  But also remember, it‘s not the worst grouping of men on the campus. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  It‘s also—it‘s also not—again, for people who are suggesting they can‘t give up the lacrosse team at Duke, because it‘s too valuable to them. 

Lacrosse doesn‘t make a ton of money for a university.  It‘s not like basketball or football.  Let‘s be clear.  You may say that it adds some prestige or whatever, but the notion that somehow the Duke lacrosse team is creating all this enormous amounts of money for Duke and therefore there‘s a cover up at Duke to protect them is just nonsense. 

EARLY:  Well, I think that a lot of people in the country didn‘t even know they were No. 2 until this issue arose. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, a lot of people don‘t follow it.  Most people don‘t follow lacrosse. 

EARLY:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, real quick, Yale, and then I‘ve got to move on. 

YALE GILANTER, FORMER CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, the administration was a rush to judgment.  They jumped the gun.  They suspended the team the rest of the season. 

ABRAMS:  Well, that was, at the time...

GILANTER:  The coach...

ABRAMS:  Considering everything swirling around, look, I think they had to do something. 

GILANTER:  If you look at this case—when you look at this case with 20-20 hindsight...

ABRAMS:  But you can‘t.  You can‘t.  No, you can‘t.

GILANTER:  Based on what they knew. 

ABRAMS:  You can‘t, based on what they knew at the time. 

GILANTER:  That‘s why it was a rush to judgment.  Why would they cancel the season so soon?  Why did this coach have to resign?

FILAN:  Yes, why did he resign if everything‘s hunky-dory? 

ABRAMS:  He was forced to resign.

GILANTER:  What these college—Susan, Susan, you don‘t sound like that voice of reason we were talking about yesterday.  These boys were charged with public urination, abuse of the meal card, noise violations.  In every college campus across the country, you have those types of minor, minor crimes. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  Let me do this.  Kevin Miller, thanks a lot for your report.  Appreciate it.  The rest of the panel is going to stick around. 

Coming up, these pictures of one of the Duke lacrosse players at an ATM at the time of the alleged rape, intended to bolster the defense timeline, but we will show you something else very significant from the photos that you will only see here.  It could further hurt the prosecution case. 

And it couldn‘t get much worse for a Tennessee teacher convicted of having sex with one of her students.  She‘s back in jail after violating the terms of her probation, including this tape she sent to the 14-year-old boy she‘s accused of having sex with. 

And later, psychics who see dollar signs.  Our buddy, Bill Stanton, goes undercover to see just how real some psychic predictions can‘t be. 

Your e-mails, AbramsReport@MSNBC.com.  Please send your name or where you are writing from.  Response at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.

The timeline of the Duke rape case has become a crucial issue, and with new information coming in every day, it is the timeline, Reade Seligmann says, that proves he could not have committed the crime. 

His defense team says the time stamped photos are consistent with watches seen in the photos and the account of the next-door neighbor.

So again, here it is.  Approximately 11:50, neighbor Jason Bissey watched as, quote, “Two young women he believed to be African-American walked into the backyard of 610 North Buchanan Drive.”  He saw a brief conversation between the two, and at about midnight.  This he watched as they went into the house. 

The first picture of the women dancing inside the house is time stamped a few seconds after midnight.  Six more pictures were taken until a few seconds before 12:04 a.m.

Defendant Reade Seligmann is seen in some of those photos.  In that last photo the accuser is standing.  Apparently, that‘s when they stopped dancing, following a crude comment from one of the young men.  The alleged victim‘s shoe left behind on the floor. 

Now, phone records show Reade Seligmann made eight calls from his cell phone between 12:05 and 12:13, before calling a taxi at 12:14, making another call at 12:16.  At about 12:19, Seligmann and his friend and team mate Robert Wellington picked up by a taxi at this street corner. 

There were another five phone calls from Seligmann‘s phone between 12:20 and 12:25, presumably made on his way to this ATM, where Seligmann‘s image was captured on video surveillance cameras posted outside.  The time, from 12:24 to 12:25. 

Back at the house, neighbor Jason Bissey says, quote, “Anywhere from 12:20 to 12:30, I observed 20 to 30 young men outside.  I heard these men yelling amongst themselves about money.”  He says after the situation seemed to resolve itself, he watched as one of the women he‘d seen earlier got out of a car, quote, “saying something to the effect that she would go back to retrieve her shoe.” 

He said, quote, “She seemed agitated, but not hysterical.” 

And this is where the pictures pick up again.  A few seconds after 12:30, the alleged victim is seen standing on the back steps, wearing only shoe.  Seconds later, another photo where she appears to be smiling.  About seven minutes later, there are photos of her laying on that back porch as if she had fallen.  And four minutes later, the final picture.  The defense says it shows one of the players helping the alleged victim into the car. 

At the same time Reade Seligmann had left the ATM and gone to the Cook-Out restaurant, where he and Wellington ordered food at the drive through.  Both the taxi driver and Wellington say they were there for more than five minutes, waiting for, quote, “a lot of food.” 

In an affidavit, Wellington said about the night, “Reade had just called a cab and asked if I wanted to leave with him.  I was with Reade the entire time from when we left the house until we exited the taxi van a few minutes before 12:46 a.m. to enter our dorms.” 

The taxi driver dropped both Wellington and Seligmann off near their dorms.  They both used their cards to swipe in at 12:46 a.m.  Then at 12:53, this call to 911.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Durham 911.  Where is your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t know if this is an emergency, but I‘m in Durham and I was driving down near Duke‘s campus and it‘s me and my black girlfriend and the guy, there‘s like a white guy by the Duke wall, and he just hollered out, “(expletive deleted) to me, and I‘m just so angry.  I saw them all come out like a big frat house.  And me and my black girlfriend are walking by, and they called us (expletive deleted).  I‘m not going to press the issue, I guess, but I live in a neighborhood where they wrote KKK on the side of a white station wagon and that‘s right near where I‘m at.  They didn‘t harm me in any way, but I just feel so completely offended.


ABRAMS:  The other dancer now admits she made that call and that she was with the alleged victim at the time, making clear they had both left the house, presumably for good, before that call. 

But there was also something else from the recently released photos at the ATM.  Take a look at what Reade Seligmann is wearing.  He‘s wearing a short sleeve shirt.  If you can see the wider version, he‘s wearing shorts. 

Remember this explanation from D.A. Mike Nifong as to why there might be no DNA under the accuser‘s fingernails?


MIKE NIFONG, DURHAM DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  She was grabbed from behind so that, in essence, somebody had an arm around her like this, which she then had to struggle with in order to be able to breathe.  And it was in the course of that struggle that the fingernails, the artificial fingernails broke off. 

Now, as you can see from my arm, if I were wearing a shirt, a long sleeve shirt or a jacket of some sort, even if there were enough force used to press down to break my skin through the clothing, there might not be any way that anything from my arm could get onto those fingernails. 


ABRAMS:  Or not. 

Back with me is a legal team.  All right, Norm Early, look, you‘ve heard me just lay out the timeline and these new pictures.  It just does seem to me that the case against Seligmann is getting bleaker and bleaker, if possible. 

EARLY:  It does look a little bleak, but Dan, a couple of things that Nifong might have.  You‘ll recall that when Michelle Hoffman was reporting on the I.D. she said that the other guy, not Seligmann, had grabbed her from behind.  That‘s what the victim said.

ABRAMS:  No.  No.  She said—right, right. 

EARLY:  The other guy. 


EARLY:  And I haven‘t seen his shirts or whether he was wearing a jacket or anything.  It might be helpful if we had that kind of information in one of the photos. 

The other thing that I would look at is a series of phone calls that were made between 12:04 and 12:13 from Seligmann‘s phone, to see if, in fact, the phone calls were completed and to see if, in fact, it was Seligmann who made them.  If he did make those calls and those—and the call, the time is accurate on them, which they probably are, I think he‘s almost iron clad in terms of an alibi from midnight all the way through to about 12:45. 

ABRAMS:  Wait a second, Norm.  You‘re saying that if they can demonstrate by talking to the people who I guess who would have received those phone calls...

EARLY:  Absolutely.  That‘s where you go.

ABRAMS:  ... or through the phone company...

EARLY:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  ... that those calls were completed, you are saying—you‘ve been pro-prosecution, effectively...

EARLY:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  ... as this investigation has gone on.  You‘re saying that you think the charge against Reade Seligmann should be dropped?

EARLY:  Well, if they can prove that it was Seligmann who made the calls.

ABRAMS:  Right.

EARLY:  Remember, there were three people allegedly involved in what happened in that bathroom.  One of them was the one who held them and the other one was the one that performed the act.  And I don‘t know if the third one could have been making phone calls during that 12:04 to 12:13 period. 

But if, in fact, people verify that they got phone calls from Reade Seligmann during that period of time, I think the case against him is extremely weak.  And you really need to look at it to see if, in fact, you have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Because remember, the prosecutor who doesn‘t have proof beyond a reasonable doubt is under an obligation not to go forward with that case. 

ABRAMS:  But remember, they also have the problem that the neighbor at 12:30, and again we‘ve got those pictures of her on the back porch, wearing one shoe, here‘s her saying, “You know what?  I‘ve got to go back in to get my shoe.”  And there‘s the shot of her what appears to be smiling.  That would also, again, seem to work against them, simply to say that the rape happened at all at that time.  Right?

EARLY:  Well, what we don‘t know is what else is in Nifong‘s file.  But if we were to try this case based on the information that has been revealed to the media and us as a result of defense investigations, it‘s clear this case should not go further. 

We don‘t know what Mike Nifong had in his file and if he has things that deal with the issues that have been raised by the defense in the media, fine. 


EARLY:  If he doesn‘t, then the obligation to not push your case where you don‘t believe you can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt is incumbent upon the prosecutor to do something. 

ABRAMS:  I can tell you this, Susan.  Of the calls in that relevant period we‘re talking about, 12:05 to 12:13, there was no call that was longer than 36 seconds. 


ABRAMS:  You know, was he leaving messages?  Was his this?  We don‘t know.

FILAN:  We don‘t even know that he was the one using that phone.  And the problem with the defense is that it isn‘t that it couldn‘t have possibly happened because he was in San Francisco, it‘s that it would be difficult to do it from 12:04 to 12:13.  That‘s not a game over defense.  That‘s something that the jury would have to wrestle with.  But that would actually get to a jury...

ABRAMS:  Really as a prosecutor, considering everything Norm just said, you disagree with Norm.  If they can show that he made—let‘s say he left a message on someone‘s machine.  “Hey, we‘re getting ready to leave this party.  I‘ll talk to you in a bit.”  Even if they can prove that he made some of those calls, would you, like Norm, say, “You know what?  It‘s time to drop this case”?

FILAN:  Not just on that alone.  I‘d say—I‘d say if that‘s their defense, that it couldn‘t have happened between 12:04 and 12:14... 

ABRAMS:  If the time-stamped photos...

FILAN:  Right.

ABRAMS:  With the watches, with the neighbor. 

FILAN:  Right.  Right.

ABRAMS:  It‘s not just the time stamp. 

FILAN:  I get that.  But the issue is could it or did it happen between 12:04 and 12:13?  It could have.  And so that‘s something that would get to a jury. 

ABRAMS:  But is that—yes.

FILAN:  There‘s a totality of circumstances that has to be looked at in this case, and her credibility is one of the most serious issues.  So what I‘m saying is the defense isn‘t airtight.  It isn‘t “I was in San Francisco.”  It‘s “How do you think I could have done it from 12:04 to 12:13?” 

The answer to that if, “Well, you could have, and you could have been on the phone.” 

That‘s not—I‘m not necessarily saying don‘t drop it, but I‘m saying with the totality of the circumstances, her credibility.  And the thing that bothers me is this allegation from 10 years ago where three men gang raped her?  I mean, I know that victims who have been raped become sexually promiscuous, lose their boundaries and sometimes are assaulted again.  But gang raped twice by three men?  And then to complain against her ex-husband?  This is what gives me pause. 

ABRAMS:  Tom Lofin, you want to weigh in on this?

LOFLIN:  Yes.  One of the things I think that probably hasn‘t been brought out that at the time this prosecuting witness looked at the pictures and picked out the two indicted people she claimed to the police that the third assailant had a mustache. 

Now it was against lacrosse team rules for any player to have a mustache.  I don‘t know if George Steinbrenner contributed to Duke lacrosse and had had that rule or not tied to his contribution, but the fact is no lacrosse player had a mustache. 

ABRAMS:  Yale, was that what they said, or were they talking about someone and saying that the person appeared in the photo to have a mustache?

GILANTER:  Right.  You know, in this photo lineup, she actually says, “This looks like the guy that assaulted me, but in this photo he doesn‘t have a mustache.”  And the police said, “Are you sure?”  And she said she‘s not sure. 

And then they go to image No. 7, which is Reade.  By the way, I just want to point out, that image is the image that she says orally assaulted her.  So Reade would have been from the front. 

The comment I want to make on what Susan is bringing out is that we have really narrowed the time for him to have committed this criminal act to two or three minutes.  And we‘ve confirmed that some of the phone calls were, in fact, to his girlfriend. 

The complaining witness does not say anywhere in the police reports or in the photo I.D., “This is the gentlemen that was assaulting me while he was on the phone.”

ABRAMS:  Right.

GILANTER:  So there‘s no mention that while the assault was taking place he was on the phone.

ABRAMS:  Good point.

GILANTER:  Which really does make it nearly impossible.  Susan is right.  There is a small, little window, but it‘s certainly nothing like proof beyond a reasonable doubt and clearly shows that Mr. Nifong should have taken Susan‘s advice three weeks ago and taken a couple of steps back. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, the election is today.  We shall see what happens tomorrow, whether Mike Nifong will still be able to pursue this case as the D.A. 

Susan is going to stick around.  Tom Loflin, Yale Gilanter, Norm Early, thanks a lot.

EARLY:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, this teacher‘s apparently a slow learner.  After she was busted for having sex with a 13-year-old student, she was told not to contact the boy, she sent him this video.  We‘ve got the details next.

And you‘re looking at a not so psyched psychic.  If she was any good she probably would have known private investigator Bill Stanton was paying her a visit for a segment on psychic scams.  He joins me, coming up.



ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  Just when you thought it couldn‘t get any worse for former teacher Pamela Rogers, remember, she is the 28 year-old former Tennessee gym teacher sent to jail last year for having sex with a then 13-year-old student.  She made a deal to spend six months behind bars and serve probation.  She got out early in February for good behavior.  Turns up she was up to no good.  Rogers was arrested last month for violating her probation by trying to get in touch with the victim.  She set up a profile on myspace.com and a blog and posted messages to him.  It didn‘t stop there.

Police records show Rogers contacted the boy just 12 hours after a court appearance on the probation violation.  She sent him text messages and contacted him on the phone and went through his sister to get in touch with him.

And then there is this.  Rogers made this video of herself and sent it along with nude pictures and other videos to the victims‘ cell phone and head him to send similar photos to her.  She was arrested again for the second time in two weeks.  The lead prosecutor in the case says he now wants to revoke her probation and send to prison for seven years.

Joining me now is reporter Brad Schrade with the “Tennessean” newspaper, former prosecutor.  MSNBC analyst Susan Filan and criminal defense attorney David Schwartz.

Brad, let me start with you.  You have spoken with the victim‘s family here.  How did they feel about all this?

BRAD SCHRADE, “THE TENNESSEEAN”:  They spoke last week after the latest arrest by Miss Rogers and some of the videos and news of the text messages that had come out.  They told me they would just like Miss Rogers to leave their family and their son alone.  She 14 years old, trying to get on with his life and go back to school.  And they just want this all to go away.  But it doesn‘t seem to happen.

ABRAMS:  Does he still have feelings for her?

SCHRADE:  I did not get into that with the family.  The mother told me he would like her to leave him alone.  I did not speak directly to the boy, however.

ABRAMS:  All right, Susan.  Legally what happens now?

FILAN:  She goes to jail, Dan?  I always say there is two sides to every story.  Not this one.  Sorry.

ABRAMS:  You don‘t think there two sides to that video.  Looked like there was a front and a back.  Sorry.

FILAN:  I don‘t get what you mean, Dan.  You go to jail for doing it. 

You come out for good behavior and you violate probation and you continue?  What person doesn‘t get the message after six months in prison?  Obviously she doesn‘t and if she can‘t control herself, she can‘t get the message, she has got to be incarcerated.

ABRAMS:  David Schwartz, what do you make of it?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  This is the crime of the century.  Susan will have you believe she should go to jail for eight years on this case.  Give me a break.  We have heroin dealers dealing drugs to our children who are only doing a couple of years in jail.

FILAN:  It‘s OK to have sex with our kids, just don‘t give them drugs?

SCHWARTZ:  She needs psychiatric counseling.  Yes, she should be sent a message, but she should only go to jail for maybe six months or so.

FILAN:  She went to jail for six months.  Got out and did it straight again.

SCHWARTZ:  Give her a break, Susan, come on.

FILAN:  So she should be given (inaudible) and then it‘s OK to incarcerate her?

ABRAMS:  There is also this, Susan.  She was text messaging him.  Again, this is after she is released.  “Good morning,” she said, “and I love you always.  Thank you for making me the happiest person in the world.  I will have this phone tonight and tomorrow.  I have to go see a counselor. 

A sex one.”

It seems that is she realizes that what she is doing is wrong.  I mean, I have often said in some of these cases that I think we get too obsessed with these female teachers and we all say let‘s throw away the key.  But on this one, she had her chance and she served time and she is not just violating again, she is sort of spiting in the face of probation.  David?

SCHWARTZ:  Well, but she is not out committing armed robbery.  She has a chance.  She hasn‘t hurt anyone physically.

FILAN:  Where do you come up with hierarchies of crime.  Some are OK and some are not?  Why don‘t you contact your legislator and rewrite the laws.

SCHWARTZ:  Yeah, there is.  There is proportion, Susan.  OK.  Murder is not treated as the same as having sex with a 14-year-old student.  I‘m sorry.  Not everybody needs to be incarcerated for long periods of time to get the message.  There other ways to get the message across.

FILAN:  Short period of time didn‘t get her the message.

SCHWARTZ:  And in this case she needs some psychiatric counseling and a short jail period because she did violate her probation.

FILAN:  They had counseling in prison.

SCHWARTZ:  Let me ask you, Brad Schrade, how did the police find out about this contact?  Was it the mother, did the young man or the sister?  How did they find out about this?

SCHRADE:  Well, they haven‘t really given a lot of details on this.  They got some tips and the prosecutor told me he got some tips from people in the community.  This video had apparently gotten around quite a bit and has gotten out and high school students and they are taking about it and looking on their cell phones.  So it has created quite a - This was not a secret in Warren County.

ABRAMS:  We have this new show on MSNBC called THE MOST.  I was convinced this was the most downloaded video today.  Apparently it had been like going around the Internet like wildfire not surprisingly.  Brad what is the sense as to what is going to happen to her now?

SCHRADE:  At this point she has a court appearance coming up July 12.  Right now she is in jail in the county jail in Warren County.  I spoke to her attorney last week.  He is trying to figure out what strategy he is going to take.  He at least tipped his hand that his client‘s mental competency is going to be something they possibly look at.  And now with the surfacing of this video that is very public, that appears to be something that‘s very possible.

ABRAMS:  She wrote in another text message to him, “Do you still love me?  Always still?  Are you still waiting or do you want me to try to move on with my life?  I miss you so much.  I wish I could talk to you.”  She is in a lot of trouble regardless.  All right.  I have to take a shower after this segment.  All right.  Brad Schrade, Susan Filan, David Schwartz.  Thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

SCHRADE:  Thank you.

SCHWARTZ:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, is that psychic really contacting the other side or telling you what you want to hear, as you keep giving the money.  P.I.  Bill Stanton goes into the underworld of the other world.

And later, a lot of women out there inspired by former “Playboy” playmate Anna Nicole Smith.  Many writing in saying after the Supreme Court ruling, they want to leave their husbands for much, much older men.

Your emails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from, (inaudible).


ABRAMS:  They claim they can contact loved ones from beyond the grave, chase away evil spirits, predict the future and help clients live longer, healthier lives.  They are psychics and their services are legal in most of the country unless the price tags is even wilder than their claims.

THE TODAY SHOW‘s Katie Couric has the story.


KATIE COURIC, NBC NEWS HOST (voice-over):  It may sound ridiculous, but psychics are cashing in.  Some do tarot card readings for $10 while others make house calls, charging huge fees.  For Julia Marcelino (ph), trusting a psychic cost her thousands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She read my cards and gave me such intimate details about my family‘s history that I was freaked out.  She told me that something happened in the past in my family that had caused this bad omen and that if I didn‘t do something about it soon with her, all of us would be dead.  She asked me for $18,000 to get rid of the curse and I wrote her a check for $18,000.

COURIC:  Undercover security specialist Bill Stanton invited a psychic who called herself Miss Sarah to a home in Washington, DC.


COURIC:  She stepped into a house filled with cameras hidden in cabinets, a desk, even an ice bucket.  Bill told her his wife died and he couldn‘t recover.

STANTON:  I miss her.  This is a picture and this was always her favorite memento.  I just wanted to reach out.

COURIC:  Our psychic explained how she could do just that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I feel a presence from her that is very, very warm.  The problem is she didn‘t want to die.  Her soul is not peaceful.  She is very angry and very upset with you because she wanted a life with you.

STANTON:  What do I need to do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘ll look at the tarot cards and find out what‘s going on from the cards.

COURIC:  Her reading preyed on Bill‘s loss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m going to tell you what God is telling me to do for you because if you don‘t get any type of help, do know what‘s going to happen to you?  There‘s going to be a tragic death.  You‘re going to lose all of your money, all of the things that you work with all of your life.  You‘re going to lose everything.  You need to cleanse your spirit.  Remove the evil sprit that is around you.

STANTON:  How do I do that?

COURIC:  She was happy to help—for a price.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s going to be a lot of money.  It‘s going to be about $34,000.

STANTON:  I‘d be an idiot not to ask what the money gets me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Protection.  Get that spirit out of here.  I don‘t want you to talk to me about money, I want you to talk to me about love.  Because your whole life is going to turn around.

STANTON:  You sure you feel her?


STANTON:  Can I ask her anything?


STANTON:  Lynn, I hope you can hear me.

COURIC:  Lynn could hear him from the surveillance room upstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I feel the presence from her that is very, very warm.

STANTON:  I miss her.  This is her picture.  I know I will see you soon.  In spirit and body.  I will see her son.

STANTON:  This is not my wife.  This is my producer from THE TODAY SHOW.  Why would you prey upon my weakness?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m one of the poorest psychics and I‘ve been through a lot.  Right now, I have my family at home and let me tell you one thing.  Right now I am going through poverty and I said that price to you for a reason, because I knew people were playing with my mind.

STANTON:  So you weren‘t going to take that money.  Sarah, don‘t go that way.  Sometimes you‘ve just got to know when to raise the right flag and say I‘m sorry.  That‘s the right thing to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m sorry and I do apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If you have problems or you are vulnerable, go to your priest, go to your shrink.  Do not give anybody any money.


ABRAMS:  And the award for the best actor category in a psychic scam goes to Bill Stanton, private investigator and TODAY SHOW contributor.  Bill, this is a serious topic and we‘ll get to that.  Did you have to—did you know you were going to have to cry?


ABRAMS:  That was just—you did that on the fly?

STANTON:  I was thinking of any date that ever turned me down and the tears just came out.

ABRAMS:  The tears just came out?


ABRAMS:  Was she the only who you invited to the house?  Were there a number came and the others seemed more legitimate or this was the only one?

STANTON:  Fortunately none of them were legitimate.  They were all scamming me at one point or another.  Just different value denominations of money.  Some wanted to stretch it out over a long period of time and one lady actually wanted $100,000.

ABRAMS:  A hundred thousands.  And again you asked the same questions.  What does it get me?  What else did they say it got you apart from protection?

STANTON:  You ask them where the money is going to.  Beeswax to fight off the spirits.  And they all pretty much are reading from the same script.  It‘s amazing.  They say this money isn‘t for me, this goes to pay for very expensive bees wax.  I would like to know where they buy this bees wax, I‘ll sell it.  And they want to pay to have other people pray and ward off the spirits.  They claim they collect none of this money.

ABRAMS:  How many people came to the house?

STANTON:  We saw three and we actually went out into the field to some of these tarot card readers at their place.  And one lady pretty much caught on.  She said I feel that you are in law enforcement.  So I went with it, I said yes, I am a retired cop.  And what I did is what they do to me.  They were coming after my pain and I was going after their greed.  And each and every one of them went after the bait every time.

ABRAMS:  This is in Washington, DC.  In New York, for example, for a fortune reading to be legal, it has to be done to entertain.  These are primarily legal because they are viewed as entertainment.

STANTON:  That‘s right.

ABRAMS:  Does that change anything, you think?

STANTON:  No, it doesn‘t change anything because they are just finding a loophole in the law.  These people and I discussed it earlier, it‘s not about finding ignorant people.  They are finding people in pain looking for closure in their lives.  And when they see the hook, they latch on and a milk the person for everything they are worth.  And this goes across-the-board.  Every socioeconomic type of person gets hit at time or time or another.

ABRAMS:  And every time you showed the same picture of the producer who then came out and you showed them actually she is not dead.  Did any of them claim the reason I could channel her was she was actually really close.

STANTON:  She said I am taking your money to show you I can take your money.  And you heard her say I have problems at home and I have no money.  She was literally hanging herself with her own tongue.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Oscar winner Bill Stanton, thank you for joining us.  Appreciate it.

STANTON:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, your emails on the Duke photo lineup and why many of you women out there are saying you are going to leave your husbands after hearing about Anna Nicole‘s big victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, coming up.


ABRAMS:  Now it‘s time for your “Rebuttal.”  Yesterday we talked about the photo lineup in the Duke rape investigation and the fact that only Duke lacrosse players were shown to the accuser.  Rebecca in Ithaca, New York writes, “I am not an attorney but I do not think the picture line up in the Duke case was suggestive in any way.  She said her rapists were Duke lacrosse players.  All she had to do was pick which ones.  Why show pictures of the football team or anyone else when she knew who they were?”

To make sure she really was identifying the right people.

Revel Bracy.  “I thought that they said that not all Duke lacrosse players attended the party.  The accuser could have identified a Duke lacrosse player that was not at the party.  Give the D.A. a little credit.

Nathan in Grosse Point, Michigan, “You‘re an alumni of Duke?  It‘s almost like you never mention that on your show every day.  I think it‘s kind of funny that you do that.”

Nathan was being sarcastic.  I don‘t want anyone suggesting that somehow I didn‘t reveal that information not that I think it‘s relevant to the question whether a rape occurred but maybe I say it too much.  I want people to know.

Also yesterday former playmate Anna Nicole Smith got a win at the U.S.  Supreme Court.  She gets one more shot at her late husband‘s multi-million-dollar estate from her late husband‘s son E. Pierce Marshall.

Jenn Nettell of Iron Mountain, Michigan.  “A marriage is a marriage.  It was legal and binding.  If they didn‘t allow it, that means every snot-nosed child who stands to inherit money could argue that they didn‘t like the new wife enough to give her a chunk of the fortune.  Face it, the dad liked her and married her, she gets some, like it or not.”

From Yukon, Oklahoma, Ann Lacefield.  “My husband and I are celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary.  After hearing the story, I told him I want him a divorce and I‘m off to meet some old man with one foot in the grave.”

Finally Michelle Topol in Staten Island, New York.  “Have you looked at this guy?  Not only does she deserve part of his estate, she deserves a bonus.”

Your e-mails abramsreport, one word, at msnbc.com.  We go through them at the end of the show.  We‘ll be right back.


COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC ANCHOR:  I‘m Colette Cassidy at MSNBC headquarters where we are at this continuing to follow developments and breaking news out of Houston, Texas tonight.  You are looking of tape that we got in a few minutes ago Continental Flight 3161.  It was leaving Houston about 4:00 Houston time to head to Minneapolis when it blew at least one, maybe two tires as you can see from this video here shortly after takeoff.  What is happening right now, there you see a close-up of the tires.  The plane, a regional jet, a twin jet carrying 45 passengers and three crew members is circling the Houston area trying to make an emergency landing at Bush Intercontinental in Houston.

If we can take live pictures of the airport right now they are in full standby mode waiting for this plane to land.  It appears there are two options to try to land on disabled landing gear.  You can see from that video the landing gear has not been retracted yet.  Or try to make a belly landing.  They are foaming the runway.  They have a triage center ready if necessary.  They have 70 to 75 firefighters and paramedics on standby.  Bush Intercontinental in Houston.  Again, Continental Flight 3161 is going to have to make an emergency landing.  They are burning fuel right now.  This is expected in about 30 minutes.  We will keep you updated with new developments.  Right now we are going to go to HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.



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.


The Abrams Report each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET


Discussion comments