Guests: Allan Lichtman, Howie Carr, Lisa Pinto, David Feige, Steve Johnson, Betsy Gleick, Hans Nitzko, Heidi Stricklen, Kristin Campbell
RITA COSBY, MSNBC ANCHOR, LIVE & DIRECT: Thanks so much Joe. And good evening everybody. Late-breaking details tonight in a possible new Kennedy family scandal. Capitol police are accused of letting Congressman Patrick Kennedy leave the scene of a car crash. Minutes ago, we just received a brand-new statement from the congressman himself which puts a whole new twist in the case. NBC‘s Mike Viquiera joins us now live from Washington with the late breaking details. Mike, tell us about the statement from the congressman.
MIKE VIQUIERA, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well that‘s right Rita. After spending some five hours ensconced in his Capitol Hill office, he came out with a second statement just minutes ago, blaming a car crash and apparent, apparent according to some accounts on the scene, staggering behavior that warranted a field sobriety test. He blames it on a disorienting mix of an anti-nausea medication known as phenirgan and Ambien.
Now it all started this afternoon, when a letter from the Fraternal Order of Police representing the United States Capitol police here, we obtained a copy of a letter, a complaint to the chief of police here. It said that at 2:45 early this morning, the Congressman Kennedy was seen driving very erratically near the Capitol. As a matter of fact, almost hit a police cruiser. When that cruiser gave chase, he saw allegedly Congressman Kennedy hit a curb and then hit a police barrier adjacent to the Cannon Office building where Kennedy does keep his office here in Washington.
The police, this letter also adds that the running lights were not on Kennedy‘s car. Now, what happened after that is even more controversial. The police letter says that superior officers of the United States Capitol police showed up, told the initial responding officers that they could leave and then ultimately gave Congressman Kennedy a ride home without applying a field sobriety test. The officers there were apparently very angry. There‘s a long history here of animosity between some officers and what they feel is the special treatment given by members of Congress.
So the fraternal order of police, which is the union representing the officers here, wrote this letter late this afternoon to Congressman Kennedy. Initially he came out with a statement that simply said yes, I was involved in an accident last night. There was no alcohol involved and I promise to fully cooperate with any investigation that the Capitol police want to put forward. But now, as we talked about, he‘s got a new statement out that say the attending physician, the doctor that looks after all the members here in the Capitol, had prescribed phenirgan, I hope I‘m pronouncing that correctly, an anti-nausea medication for a gastroenteritis that the congressman had been experiencing.
He went home after the last votes last night, says the statement, took an Ambien, which had also been prescribed at some earlier time by the same physician and apparently this mix of -- this cocktail of these prescription medications led him to get out of bed at 2:45 in the morning, thinking that he had to go vote. The next thing he knew he‘s disoriented he says. Let me read directly from the statement. Apparently I was disoriented from the medication. At that time, I was involved in a one-car accident, incident, in which my car hit the security barrier at the corner of First and C St. SE, again, just adjacent to his office. At no time before the incident, did I consume any alcohol. So that is the late-breaking development here, the story of Representative Patrick Kennedy.
COSBY: And Mike, this is not the only car crash he‘s been involved in lately, right?
VIGUIERA: Well, the congressman, who incidentally is the son of Senator Ted Kennedy here, this congressman is from Rhode Island, of course Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts has had a series of controversial incidents. I think it was the 2000 when there was the owner of a boat that the congressman had rented for some time who complained that the boat had been trashed during the time that Kennedy was onboard. There were some tens of thousands of dollars that were alleged, of damage that was alleged to have happened. The congressman had gotten into an altercation at some point about the same time with an airport security person and that was resolved with an unpublicized settlement. The congressman has admitted that as a very young man, as a teenager in fact, he had a problem with cocaine. He‘s also talked about the fact that he has a bipolar disorder. So the congressman has a lot of things that he has to deal with, including this latest incident last night Rita.
COSBY: And in fact, we‘re looking—I just got some word too Mike, of another accident that happened in Portsmouth, it looks like in April ‘06. So there‘s a couple things. Mike, please come back to us with any more details you get. We really appreciate it...
VIGUIERA: We certainly will.
COSBY: . very much. And let‘s bring in the good Dr. Steven Garner with St. Vincent‘s Medical Center. He‘s on the phone. Dr. Garner, I got to ask you. We just heard from Mike that the congressman thing. He suddenly got out of the bed at 2:45 in the morning and thought he had to good vote. Could the mixture of these two drugs cause someone to do that?
DR. STEVEN GARNER, ST. VINCENT‘S MEDICAL CENTER: It‘s possible but unlikely. Phenigran or promethyzene (ph) is an antihistamine and it‘s not recommended to be taken with Ambien. We‘ve had several cases, notorious cases lately where people have gotten up in the middle of the night, driven downtown the wrong way, got in an accident and exactly the type of story you‘re talking about. But these are people who have taken alcohol, most likely or other types of sleeping pills or sedatives, not necessarily the antihistamines, that phenigran is a type of.
COSBY: So it begs the question, Doctor, let me just be clear, from your expertise at St. Vincent‘s, you believe it‘s highly unlikely the combination of phenigran and Ambien, the sleeping pill, that the combination alone would cause someone to be disoriented?
GARNER: Exactly and to exhibit this type of behavior. I would expect it would be more likely to be mixed with either alcohol or other type of tranquilizer to cause this.
COSBY: What could be the affects if you had these two drugs? Is there a remote chance that could happen or.
GARNER: There is a remote chance it can happen. It can make you drowsy so the two on top of one another can cause drowsiness or some dizziness and some disorientation. But the bizarre behavior that we‘re talking about has been seen in most people who have combined alcohol and the Ambien. And this includes, there was somebody on a plane that took off his clothes, thought he was the Incredible Hulk, a lawyer, who had no history, had to be held down by other people. People who have driven the wrong way in the middle of the night to go downtown. They don‘t even know why they went downtown. So people who have taken Ambien have reported this side effect. There‘s a slight increased chance if they take an antihistamine, but the biggest chance is if you take alcohol and the medication.
COSBY: What is the history of these two drugs just sort of in and of themselves? He was saying that he‘s using them for gastroenteritis? Does that sound correct?
GARNER: Not usually given. For gastroenteritis, usually from diarrhea and vomiting, usually don‘t like to prevent the patient from vomiting, which is what promethyzine does, the phenigan does. So unless somebody is becoming dehydrated, you usually like to just stop them from eating anything and that usually helps the diarrhea and the vomiting to stop.
COSBY: All right, Doctor, thank you. We appreciate you being with us.
GARNER: Rita, I‘m with New York Methodist now, I just wanted to say that.
COSBY: Oh, thank you very much, sorry, we addressed you as St. Vincent‘s again. Dr. Steven Gardner with Methodist. Thank you very much, New York Methodist, thank you very much, sir. And joining us now is political historian Allan Lichtman. He‘s also a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland. Alan, bring on the breaking news we just from the doctor, he‘s saying that these two drugs in combination, it‘s very unlikely that they would cause what the congressman is saying happened, that he was disoriented at 2:45 in the morning. The one thing the doctor just said, I‘m sure you heard it, if there‘s mixture of alcohol. There was no breathalyzer test. Do you think there‘s going to be a lot of lingering questions here Alan?
ALLAN LICHTMAN, POLITICAL HISTORIAN: I think there will be lingering questions. Look, I hope the congressman is telling the truth, because the history of scandal is such that, quite often, as we know, it‘s the cover-up that is far worse than the act. And there are really a couple of kinds of scandals historically. One is individual scandals, like this one, involving the conduct of a single individual, essentially acting alone. The other are systemic scandals like the Watergate scandal or the unfolding web of corruption surrounding Jack Abramoff. When it comes to individual scandals, there are also two kinds. One involves kind of personal frailties, personal weakness. That‘s pretty private, although it can have public ramifications. The other involves the corruption of your office, like we saw in Randy Duke Cunningham, the guy who was just convicted of essentially selling out his office because he was because he was on the take to defense contractors.
COSBY: And I want to focus on this case, because in the congressman‘s past—and his not-too-recent past—two car crashes now in three weeks. (INAUDIBLE) I was looking at just to confirm again, it was in Portsmouth, there was one in April of 2006, and now you‘ve got this one, which he admits to, as well. Also he had a scuffle with airport security, well known, remember all of us covering that in 2000. He went to rehab before college. His mother was treated for alcoholism. Mental health issues, he‘s even talked about bipolar disorder. Why so many problems? Is this it sort of the Kennedy curse and is he going to continue now after this?
LICHTMAN: I don‘t believe anyone is cursed. I think that‘s kind of a superstition.
COSBY: What is it with the family? What is it with the family? This is an awful lot.
LICHTMAN: Let‘s say their star crossed, not cursed. This is a family that has risen to great heights, made great contributions to America, but also has struggled with enormous demons. This particular individual is a guy as far as I know, a very good member of Congress, has all of these personal problems with which he is struggling. They probably wouldn‘t be all that significant if he was just a private person. There are so many Americans that deal with these kinds of struggles and these kinds of issues and deal with them quietly, behind closed doors. Here, of course, you‘re on the public stage, as a member of Congress and you‘re on a klieg lighten stage, lit stage as a Kennedy.
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) talk very quick, the fallout for Capitol Hill police. If indeed and we‘re hearing from the Fraternal Order of Police who‘s very upset about this, apparently the lower level officers were upset, because they believe they were overrode by the higher-ups, wanted to give him breathalyzer, didn‘t and then they gave them a ride home.
LICHTMAN: That‘s just wrong.
COSBY: Let‘s talk about the political fallout for those guys too (INAUDIBLE) public fallout.
LICHTMAN: It‘s bad public fallout for them and they deserve it. Look, our members of Congress shouldn‘t be treated any differently from the rest of us. In fact, they should be held to a higher level of conduct, because they‘re role models. They‘re exemplars. They‘re in the public eye. So once again, if this is the Capitol Hill police engaged in a cover-up, it may well be worse than the act itself and they deserve some scrutiny for that.
COSBY: Allen, thank you very much. We appreciate you being with us with these late breaking details. And still ahead everybody, more on this and we‘re going to delve into it again, the medication, a new statement from the congressman. We‘re going to have all that and a lot more tonight. Take a look.
Still ahead, people say she‘s sick and he‘s been brainwashed. But after seven years in prison, and one year of marriage, former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau is standing by her man who was just 13 when their torrid affair began. Tonight, find out why they‘re letting cameras into their controversial lives.
And why is the district attorney in the Duke rape investigation so confident?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE NIFONG: I wouldn‘t really want to try a case against me, either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Why prosecutor Mike Nifong tells me he‘s going full steam ahead and why defense attorneys are saying it‘s all a bluff. You‘ll see the real evidence.
Plus, call it an open house for the meanest of the mean. We‘ll take you inside the super max prison where Zacarias Moussaoui will spend the rest of his life. Is it too nice or will it be a living hell? It‘s coming up on “Live & Direct.”
COSBY: And if you‘re just tuning in, late-breaking details at this hour in a possible new Kennedy family scandal. Capitol police are accused of letting Congressman Patrick Kennedy leave the scene of a car crash and just a few minutes ago, we got a brand new statement from the congressman himself which puts a whole new twist on the case. He essentially said that he had a combination of antihistamine and a sleeping pill and that all of a sudden at 2:45 in the morning last night, of course the wee hours of the morning, woke up disoriented and then started driving towards the Capitol complex, quote, believing I needed to vote. Of course, all the voting had been completed many hours before.
And joining us now is radio talk show host, Howie Carr. He‘s also the author of the book, “Brothers Vulgar.” Howie, let me get right to it, because we just had a doctor on and the statement again from Patrick Kennedy‘s office, we just got it right before air, Howie and he says that I became disoriented from the medication and at that point I was involved in a one-car accident in which my car hit the security barrier at a corner there in Washington, not too far from Capitol Hill. You‘re looking at the corner right there, First and C Street. We just had a doctor on Howie who said it‘s unlikely that the mixture of those two drugs could have caused it, alone, suggesting maybe alcohol.
HOWIE CARR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Rita, if I were Cynthia McKinney, I would certainly be watching this case with extreme interest tonight. It certainly seems like they treated Cynthia McKinney, a black congresswoman from Georgia with a lot fewer kid gloves than they treated Patrick Kennedy with here. I think it‘s also interesting that this as you pointed out in the first segment, the second automobile accident that he‘s been involved in.
COSBY: Howie, let‘s put that up, because we want to show his past problems. I mean this is his second accident that he has had in three weeks and it also remember the scuffle which we all covered at the airport in 2000. Also went to rehab before college. What does it say about Patrick Kennedy and are these issues, particularly now it‘s going to be really looked into, don‘t you think?
CARR: I think so Rita. I mean he definitely has a substance abuse problem as you pointed out. And this more recent accident in Portsmouth, Rhode Island where he lives, is a very strange case. I don‘t know if you have the actual police report that he wrote.
COSBY: And in fact, let me put this up. I don‘t think anybody—I‘m just going to show you guys. I‘m looking at it physically right here and you can see it‘s sort of scribbled on. And Howie, up close you can even barely read the writing. I can barely even read it. There it is, folks at home. The writing looks illegible and this was three weeks ago.
CARR: The Rhode Island police insist that you fill out your own accident report so they can‘t be accused of misquoting you. He fills it out himself. It‘s on a Web site Howie (INAUDIBLE) .com if you want to take a closer look.
COSBY: What do you think of this Howie? Look at this document again.
CARR: He can‘t even remember his own home address. You see, he scratches out where it says address. He scratches out the first couple of letters he writes and then writes in another address. When he writes his first name, Patrick, I defy anybody to read that.
COSBY: And I‘ve met Patrick and he‘s a very nice man, very accessible man. But what‘s bizarre to me Howie, is you got this report, again where you can barely even read the writing and I‘m looking at it too. You‘ve seen it. You put it up (ph) on your web page. This is April 2006.
CARR: April 15th.
COSBY: That‘s right and now you‘ve got this one.
CARR: And he‘s trying - Rita, the other thing is the accident occurs when he‘s trying to get into a parking lot for a drug store. What was the rush?
COSBY: What time of day was this one a couple weeks ago?
CARR: This was at 10:00 a.m. And the Portsmouth, Rhode Island police says he appeared normal. I don‘t know if that means he appeared normal for Patrick Kennedy or appeared normal for everybody.
COSBY: Looks like he can barely write though if you look at the - you know what I mean?
CARR: No. Obviously, it‘s not the work of an individual who is in full possession of his faculties.
COSBY: Even look at the signature. The signature is the most bizarre thing. You can just make out Kennedy there on the second line down and then look at the signature. I mean it is - everything is all the place. But up higher, you see Kennedy. Howie, you can understand that maybe this is the first time he‘s gotten behind the wheel on medication, but you have to wonder if this incident was related before?
CARR: Well, again, what was he doing at the drug store? Was he filling a prescription? And there is this history in the family of this kind of problem. And there doesn‘t seem to be much has ever been done. I mean when he went into rehab for cocaine addiction when he was a teenager, soon thereafter he was out and around. He was a state rep from Rhode Island at the time of the alleged rape incident involving his nephew, his cousin William Kennedy Smith occurred.
COSBY: We just have a few seconds left, really quick, I‘m sorry to interrupt you on this one. Do you think that this is definitely going to be investigated, don‘t you think now?
CARR: I think so and I think again the subtext here is Cynthia McKinney. I would be all over this tomorrow if I were her and her lawyer. I mean there‘s an obvious double standard here.
COSBY: All right, Howie, thank you very much. And everybody at home, we will stay on it. Again, we just got the statement from Patrick Kennedy. If we get any more details in the show, we will break in. Again, Patrick Kennedy saying it was a mixture of medication, but we had a doctor on earlier saying that he believes that that is unlikely that that combination of those two drugs alone would have caused someone to crash in an accident, a single car accident with Patrick Kennedy and then driven home by the Capitol Hill police. We will definitely stay on this story everybody.
And now let‘s switch gears, because we do have some more details tonight in the Duke rape investigation, specifically, the evidence in the case. The district attorney says that he is moving this case forward with full force. Mike Nifong told me there‘s still some key evidence we haven‘t heard about yet against the lacrosse players and he told me why he thinks the defense team wants to get rid of him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIFONG: The defense attorneys would probably prefer to try the case against somebody who is less experienced than I am or against somebody who is less committed to the case than I am. And you can certainly understand that. I mean, if I were one of those attorneys, I wouldn‘t really want to try a case against me, either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Now with us now, two of our favorites, former prosecutor Lisa Pinto and also criminal defense attorney David Feige. First, both of you, here is what the DA told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIFONG: One would hope that I would not be proceeding without some evidence. And there is a lot more evidence in the hands of the defense attorneys right now than most of the public knows about. And I expect that soon there will be more such evidence.
COSBY: Is it safe to say just in general, you have a lot more than we know about?
NIFONG: I think that‘s probably pretty safe to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Lisa, it sounds like he‘s got something there that maybe we haven‘t, or maybe it‘s toxicology. Maybe there‘s a witness.
LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Watch out (INAUDIBLE) Rita, this is a guy with 27 years of trial experience. He‘s not a photo op politico. This is a man, a veteran trial lawyer.
COSBY: So what do you think he‘s got Lisa?
PINTO: He tells us not to fall for the defense‘s time line. He‘s saying fine, that‘s an alibi, if that‘s when you say the crime happened. But guys, you don‘t know our case. You don‘t know what our victim alleges, that she was raped by these three people.
COSBY: In fact, let‘s me play that, because I specifically asked him in the case and then David, I‘ll get you to respond. Specifically asked him about Reade Seligmann, because I think there‘s some pretty powerful stuff there, if you look at the ATM records. There‘s a surveillance video. And then this is what he had to say. He said that there‘s something else, as Lisa‘s suggesting, Maybe that‘s the defense time line, but not his time line (INAUDIBLE) Let‘s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIFONG: What is exculpatory or inculpatory evidence always depends on the context in which the evidence is offered. If somebody, for instance, offers an alibi with respect to one time that does not necessarily help much with respect to another time. A lot of assumptions are made any time the defense team offers what they say is exculpatory evidence with respect to what the state‘s case actually is. Right now I don‘t believe the members of the defense team really understand what the state‘s case is. Or to the extent they do, they don‘t want to talk about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Is it possible, David, we‘ve just heard sort of defense spin and maybe he‘s going to say, look, the rape happened at a different time? (INAUDIBLE) without ATM. (INAUDIBLE)
DAVIDE FEIGE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don‘t doubt for a moment that that‘s what he‘s going to say.
COSBY: Will it work David?
FEIGE: No, look, what is he doing? He is fitting his prosecution to the facts he cannot dispute. But that does not a prosecution make. This is a bluff. The reality is he doesn‘t have anything. And to the extent to which he‘s got something, it is because he is spinning her story to the facts.
PINTO: David every week you come on and you say he‘s got nothing. You know what he‘s got that none of us in this studio has. He sat down and talked face-to-face with this young woman and she has passed the credibility test with him.
PINTO: .. reputation on a floosie he doesn‘t believe.
FEIGE: Lisa, he obviously believed her a long time ago before he saw the ATM records, before the cell phone records, before the bruises came out, before the DNA came back saying nothing. He was out there calling them hooligans and saying I‘m going to prosecute this case and I‘m going to convict these boys. Shame on him.
PINTO: And their behavior (INAUDIBLE) They have been drinking. They have been partying. They have strippers over who they racially insult. Something went on and it didn‘t take 35 minutes. If you believe she was raped, you don‘t need 35 minutes to lock her in a bathroom and penetrate her David.
FEIGE: Why does that make her a rape victim? Do tell. I‘m a little confused here.
PINTO: I think it would be something to do with the bruising (INAUDIBLE).
COSBY: We have two seconds left. He also said and we don‘t have time to show it, but he said, I believe it‘s going to go to trial for sure. I believe she will testify. He‘s going full steam ahead. I‘ll hear from both of you first of all. Lisa, do you agree? Do you think it‘s going to go to trial? Do you think she‘s going to take the stand?
PINTO: Rita, he‘s talked to her. He‘s got all the medical records. He‘s got more up his sleeve. I have to believe him and trust him. He‘s just like 100 guys I work with (INAUDIBLE).
COSBY: Will it make it to trial Lisa?
PINTO: Yes. I believe it will.
FEIGE: Not a chance. I think he used us to win his election. I think 90 days from now, when this thing hopefully starts to cool down and blow over, I think he‘s going to say that she has a change of heart and the case gets dismissed and if it goes to trial, those young men will be acquitted.
COSBY: All right. That‘s going to have to be the last word. Both of you, I love you both. We‘re going to have you back on soon. And still ahead, Mary Kay Letourneau shocked the world when she announced her 13-year-old student was the father of her baby. After seven years in jail and one year of marriage, they‘re letting the press inside their lives. And from teacher-student love to a teacher accused of trying to kill a student, tonight the case talks a sick twist. The suspect returned to the scene of the crime before the police arrived. We‘ve got some new details when we come back.
COSBY: Now a bizarre twist to a report to you tonight in the case of a teacher accused of breaking the neck of a 17-year old student and leaving her to die. We now know that the teacher, Samson Shelton, you can see a picture of him there, may have returned to the possible crime scene just hours after Ashley Reeves was reported missing. Tonight we‘re also hearing from Shelton‘s newly hired attorney for the very first time. He says if Mr. Shelton is indicted, we will enter a plea of not guilty. We intend to move for a bond reduction, as well as a change of venue, again saying, he will plead not guilty.
Meanwhile, Ashley Reeves remains in serious condition after surviving 30 hours outside with a broken neck. For the very latest on this investigation, LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Lieutenant Steve Johnson with the sheriff‘s department in St. Claire County, Illinois.
Lieutenant, tell us about—there was, what, a local student who said that Mr. Shelton, in driver‘s ed, took them to this location to the park. Why is that location vital?
LIEUTENANT STEVE JOHNSON, ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS, POLICE
DEPARTMENT: Well, we were told by several parents that their children,, while he was the driver‘s ed instructor, had them drive back by the park.
We‘re investigating that at this point. We haven‘t actually confirmed it, but we‘re looking into it. I think it would be vital for the investigation, because it would show even more knowledge of what occurred.
COSBY: Is there any indication that he may have broken Ashley‘s neck at that location and then moved her to a wooded area?
JOHNSON: Well, the investigation has shown that we believe the severe injury occurred out on Radio Range Road, and then she was brought to Citizens Park in Belleville.
COSBY: We have pictures of some investigators searching at a local park. Was there any evidence collected at that park? And can you tell us if it was important to the case, as we‘re looking at some pictures here?
JOHNSON: Well, Illinois law will not allow me to specifically talk about evidence that was collected or not collected, so I can‘t specifically comment on that.
COSBY: Where do you believe the search is headed, sir? And this is such a sad case, but where do you believe it‘s going now?
JOHNSON: Well, I think this is a very tragic situation.
What our investigation is showing now is that Sam Shelton, afterwards, went to wild country, a country line-dancing bar, just a few hours after this occurred and was dancing all night. We‘re still looking into several other avenues, several other things that he did afterwards.
COSBY: Which is just incredible. And, again, now you have pulled him in for this horrible act.
We have a statement from Ashley Reeves‘ father. And I want to put it up. He says: “All we need is everyone‘s prayers. We need prayers right now. We are doing the best we can.”
You—you have talked to the family, sir. How are they doing tonight?
JOHNSON: I—I think it‘s a very tough situation. She‘s got a great family, very close-knit. She‘s in a—a very tough condition, but she‘s a tough girl, from what I understand. And after 30 hours out there, to—to still be fighting, she‘s going to do it.
COSBY: Yes. She‘s amazing, and obviously just amazing endurance and stamina, a real hero. Thank you, Lieutenant, very much.
And now to another story about a teacher and a student. She was 34, and married at the time. And he was just 13 and her student. Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau have been quite the controversial couple since their teacher-student relationship was exposed. And she even had to serve seven years—seven years in jail for the crime.
After she got out, they got married. And now they‘re celebrating their first anniversary. And you will find an exclusive interview with Mary Kay and Vili on this milestone in the latest issue of “People” magazine. You can see it there. It hits the newsstands tomorrow.
And live and direct tonight is the magazine‘s assistant managing editor, Betsy Gleick.
Betsy, you know, why did they feel it was important to talk now? And why the fascination still with them?
BETSY GLEICK, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, “PEOPLE”: Well, their
relationship is so incredibly transgressive and, you know, sort of hard to
look at and hard to look away from as well
And why they want to talk now, I‘m not sure. I think they‘re basically really trying to justify their relationship. And...
COSBY: And, you know, it‘s interesting, Betsy, because, you know, Mary Kay is very reflective in the interview. It‘s a great interview that you guys did.
And this is what she said about their life with their daughter. She said: “We do normal things. We all went out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, then over to Blockbuster to get a movie.”
You know, are they really living normal lives? It sounds like sort of everyday America.
GLEICK: I mean, in some ways, they‘re living these incredibly normal lives.
On the other hand, neither of them is working. And he‘s 22. And her oldest son from her first marriage is 21. And he describes a kind of competition for her attention. And there‘s a lot of tension between the—him and her children from the first marriage. And it‘s a really, really complicated relationship, as you might imagine.
COSBY: You know, I met Vili a while ago. And when I met him, we were talking a lot about what he wanted to do. He hadn‘t seen Mary Kay yet at that point. But he was telling me—here‘s a picture of us—he was telling us that he wanted to be an artist, that he—I remember he liked graphic arts. He liked sculpture, some different things. What is he doing, if they‘re not working? What does he want to do with his life?
GLEICK: Well, in fact, he‘s training to be a tattoo artist. So, in some small way, I guess he‘s realizing that ambition.
I mean, his—his artistic nature is what Mary Kay always said attracted her to him in the first place, when he was a sixth-grader.
COSBY: You know, what was the most surprising thing, Betsy, that—that you learned and that people, when they read the article, are going to go, oh, my gosh?
GLEICK: I think the most surprising thing is that Vili turns out to be incredibly articulate and thoughtful. And he‘s—and very, very honest in this interview.
I mean, he—he is—he thinks about what might have been with his life and with her life, if they hadn‘t gotten together.
COSBY: It‘s fascinating.
And, everybody, it hits the newsstands tomorrow, “People” magazine.
And, Betsy, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.
COSBY: And still ahead, everybody, Mary Kay and Vili have taken shots for their marriage, but you could say they really dodged a bullet compared to a bridesmaid in Texas. We have an amazing story. And she is coming up to talk about it.
ANNOUNCER: If you have a story you want Rita to investigate, call our tip line, 1-877-TIP-RITA, or log on to our Web site, Rita.MSNBC.com.
COSBY: A simply heartbreaking story to tell you about tonight. It has left three families in turmoil and a prosecutor wondering whether or not to charge a child with a serious crime.
Seventy-five-year-old Ursula Nitzko was outside her Michigan home last October, when she was hit by a golf cart and dragged to her death, all this just weeks before her 50th wedding anniversary.
Hours after the accident, a 9-year-old boy confessed to running down the woman. Now his father and the golf cart‘s owner face charges. And Ursula‘s family ha filed a civil lawsuit.
Live and direct tonight are Ursula‘s husband, Hans Nitzko, and also her daughter, Heidi Stricklen.
Hans, first of all, how is your family coping with this?
HANS NITZKO, HUSBAND OF URSULA NITZKO: It‘s hard for us. She was my wife of so many years. It‘s hard for the family, relatives and friends.
COSBY: I‘m sure. I‘m sure—and I‘m—just stunning and so surprising, what happened.
Heidi, what do you think should happen to this 9-year-old boy?
HEIDI STRICKLEN, DAUGHTER OF URSULA NITZKO: Well, from the way that I understand how the juvenile system works, in order for the boy to get any help from what happened, he would have to be in the system. And if he‘s not charged with anything, he wouldn‘t be in the system, and, therefore, wouldn‘t receive any help.
COSBY: So, are you suggesting he should be charged, so he can get help? Do you believe he just should be charged, even though he‘s 9 years old?
STRICKLEN: Yes, I do.
COSBY: You do.
And, Hans, how do you feel? This was your wife.
NITZKO: I feel the same way.
COSBY: You do, despite the fact that he‘s 9 years old?
COSBY: And why do you feel it? Because, you know, we do know, Hans, that the boy, apparently—we know he told his family, told his parents, who were visiting. He also told the authorities. Do you believe that that‘s, you know, enough, and the fact that his father and also the golf cart owners, everybody is—you know, they‘re looking at charges. Isn‘t that enough, or do you feel the boy needs to be taught a lesson?
NITZKO: I haven‘t got no answer for that one.
COSBY: And why do you feel the boy—why—why do you believe the boy needs to be receiving charges as well?
NITZKO: So, he—one way of discipline has to be done on that, so...
COSBY: You know, Heidi, what surprises me is, the boy has not been told that your mom died. Do you believe he should know, you know, about at least—at least certainly know that, the results of his actions?
STRICKLEN: Oh, absolutely.
I mean, my son is only one month younger than the boy that killed my mother. And he definitely knows. And he has to deal with it.
COSBY: And what kind of charges do you think, Heidi, he should face?
STRICKLEN: I‘m not an attorney. I—or a prosecutor—I have no idea.
COSBY: Do you think something severe, though? I mean, there‘s obviously different degradations. And the prosecutors are weighing right now whether or not to press charges. Would you say, let‘s go for the maximum? Let‘s go for, you know, some sort of, you know, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, something?
Well, it‘s my understanding negligent homicide is a misdemeanor, with only up to a two-year penalty, which, normally, it‘s my understanding that juveniles don‘t serve any time. I‘m just interested in getting the boy into the system. So, I believe he needs some psychological help.
COSBY: And, again, a civil lawsuit has been filed. Of course, the, you know, folks for the boy have said that they do not believe charges should be filed.
And, most importantly, both of you, our prayers are with you tonight.
And we will stay on this story, keep everyone posted.
Again, a 9-year-old driving the golf court, his attorneys say there shouldn‘t be charges.
And, understandably, both of you feel differently.
Thank you very much.
And stay with us, because there‘s a lot more coming up tonight here on MSNBC tonight.
And let‘s check in with Tucker Carlson with a preview.
Tuck, what do you have in store?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Rita, we have got a lot more on the Patrick Kennedy driving case. Is it a cover-up? We will tell you.
Plus, would you dress your toddle letter as a pimp? If you say yes, Pimpfants is for you. We have got exclusive pictures of a new line of children‘s clothes. You can dress your child like a pimp, velour track suits and all.
COSBY: Are you going to have pictures, too, Tucker, on that one?
CARLSON: Of course we do. Come on. It‘s TV, Rita. We have got great pictures.
COSBY: I am definitely tuning in for that.
CARLSON: Thank you.
COSBY: Oh, my gosh. Tucker, thank you very much.
CARLSON: Thanks, Rita.
COSBY: And, everybody, tune in just a few minutes for “THE
And, everybody, we will be right back.
COSBY: A Texas made of honor is recovering tonight, after taking a bullet for a bouquet, literally.
Kristin Campbell was about to catch the bouquet at her best friend‘s wedding, when the freak accident occurred. A bullet shot from more than a mile away ripped through the reception hall roof and headed straight into Campbell‘s arm. Thankfully, she was not seriously injured.
Kristin Campbell joins me now.
Kristin, first of all, how are you feeling? How are you doing?
KRISTIN CAMPBELL, HIT BY STRAY BULLET: I am totally fine. I‘m so OK that I don‘t have a Band-Aid on it anymore.
COSBY: Oh, that‘s good to hear.
COSBY: You know, tell every—you know, walk us through. As we are a looking at a—at a picture there, and you obviously are a very good sport about everything. What were you doing when the bullet hit? Walk us through exactly what was happening.
CAMPBELL: Well, I was standing on the dance floor, inside the ballroom, and I was talking to a good friend of mine. And we were about to get ready for the bouquet toss. And I was hit in the shoulder and really hurt. And I was trying to figure out for the first, you know, 10 or 15 minutes, what had happened.
At first, I thought maybe it was a ring that had slammed into any arm and taken a—a chunk of skin out. I just had no idea. I just knew that it wasn‘t bleeding terribly, and—and I had a hole in my arm.
COSBY: And when did you realize...
CAMPBELL: So, I sat down.
COSBY: When did you realize it was a bullet?
CAMPBELL: Well, the friend who I had been talking to came in to where I had been moved. And—and she had the bullet with her.
CAMPBELL: So, then, that‘s when it all kind of came together.
COSBY: What was your reaction?
CAMPBELL: ... I was—I was happy, because it actually made some sense, because I really hadn‘t—you know, I didn‘t have any clue what had just happened.
COSBY: I‘m sure.
You know, what did the guests do? How did they react when all this went down?
COSBY: And what—what did it do to the service?
CAMPBELL: The reception, you know, kind of stopped for a few minutes, but, you know, my—my main point was, I‘m totally OK. Please go back and continue the party and have a good time. This is a wonderful day. And do not let this ruin it in any way, because I‘m OK.
COSBY: Did people panic, though I mean, especially when you find out that it is a bullet, that it‘s still quite surprising?
CAMPBELL: Yes, I‘m sure that there was, you know, a little concern among all the other guests, you know, because it could have been anyone easily.
So, I don‘t know. There wasn‘t a whole lot of panic, though, because it was just this big mystery, when it first happened.
COSBY: And speaking of a mystery, this, what, shot the gun from more than a mile away? What—what‘s happening with the investigation into this guy, and what do you think should happen to him?
CAMPBELL: Well, it‘s still an ongoing investigation.
And I think the detective is waiting for the statements. And then he will go ahead and press charges. But I do think that charges should be pressed. I under—you know, I don‘t think that this was an intentional crime in any way.
But, still, you fired—you know, someone fired a gun, and the bullet traveled through the air and into a building and into someone‘s body. And it could have been much worse. I‘m very lucky, and I‘m so happy that it happened the way that it did.
CAMPBELL: But I just still think that there should be some consequences.
COSBY: Well, Kristin, we thank you very much. And I‘m glad you‘re smiling.
CAMPBELL: You look great. And thank you for being here. And I‘m glad there‘s a nice ending, at least, to this story. As you said, it could have been a lot worse.
COSBY: ... very, very much.
COSBY: And, everybody, stick with us. We are going to have some new details—again, Congressman Patrick Kennedy getting into a crash, his office releasing a statement. And we are going to have some new details when we come back, right after the break.
COSBY: And some late-breaking details, again, coming in of a possible new Kennedy family scandal.
Capitol Hill Police are accused of letting Congressman Patrick Kennedy leave the scene of a crash without taking a Breathalyzer, also giving him a ride back home.
And, also, we just received a brand-new statement from the congressman himself. He essentially says that a combination of an antihistamine and also a sleeping pill, Ambien, caused him to suddenly wake up at 2:45 in the morning.
And he says: “I drove a few blocks to the Capitol complex, believing I needed to vote.” Again, this was 2:45 in the morning. Apparently, I was disoriented from the medication”—again, the statement coming in from Patrick Kennedy.
And joining us now to talk all about this is radio talk show host Howie Carr.
Howie, we also just got some details that, apparently, his car is at an impound lot. What does that say about the condition of his car in this one-car crash?
HOWIE CARR, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Rita, it appears that his car was damaged a lot more severely than it was three weeks earlier in the crash at—in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
It—it doesn‘t seem like a very believable story. The doctor you interviewed earlier said that he didn‘t find that combination very likely to cause what—what Patrick Kennedy said it would cause.
I—I don‘t know. You know, there‘s—you know, he has obviously got a problem here. The—the—the fact is, this would have been a perfect year for him to move up to the U.S. Senate. The congress—the—the senator that‘s up for reelection, Lincoln Chafee, a very vulnerable Republican, a Republican who succeeded his father, who has also admitted to using cocaine over the years in his—in his youth.
CARR: This would have been the perfect person for Patrick Kennedy to take out. And he decided not to run. And...
COSBY: And, Howie, how do you think we are going to find out if there is more to the story? Because there was no Breathalyzer test. And you point out, the doctor I had at the top of the show said he didn‘t believe the mixture of these two drugs would have caused it.
But he suggested, maybe with alcohol thrown in—and, again, at this point, we don‘t know—you know, the congressman is saying it was strictly these two drugs. How can we find out if there is something more to the story?
CARR: Well, you know the fact is—is, Rita, you know, that we have lost the opportunity to run a Breathalyzer test, to run a blood test, a urinalysis. All those things have gone by the board now. So, he‘s...
COSBY: Unless we hear, Howie—remember, one of the—we know that the Fraternal Order of Police, some of the guys were upset, because they felt that they were sort of overridden by their bosses. What if one of them says, I smelled booze all over his breath?
CARR: Well, I—I think that‘s a possibility, that that‘s going to come out, because, obviously, there is very bad blood between the patrolmen‘s union and the—and the brass. It didn‘t take long for this story to develop, did it? Less than 12 hours.
COSBY: And, in fairness, Howie, it is possible, right, that maybe it was just—maybe he just had some wacky reaction. Is it possible? Because, you know, everyone is looking for something. And maybe it is just these two medications.
CARR: Well, I—I suppose so, Rita.
COSBY: Real quick.
CARR: But, I mean, you know, look at—look at his father‘s statement at Chappaquiddick, not—not very believable either. It seems like history is repeating itself in—in several ways here tonight.
COSBY: All right, Howie Carr, thank you for being with us again tonight on the breaking developments from Congressman Patrick Kennedy...
COSBY: ... the car crash.
CARR: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: Howie, thank you.
And now we are going to give you—wrapping up our show here with an inside look at the new home of Zacarias Moussaoui. The convicted 9/11 terrorist tried to use the sentencing as a platform to spew his rhetoric, but the judge cut him short. This all happened today.
Now MSNBC‘s Colette Cassidy takes us into the Supermax prison facility where Moussaoui will now spend the rest of his hateful days.
COLETTE CASSIDY, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is America‘s toughest prison, Supermax. And soon it will be home for convicted 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.
JOHN VANYUR, ASSOCIATE WARDEN: This is not a country-club prison. This is a very spartan and, in many ways, a severe environment. But let me point out is that what puts you in here is your behavior.
CASSIDY: Supermax, located in Florence, Colorado, is known as the Alcatraz of the Rockies. It is even listed in “The Guinness Book of World Records” as the most secure prison on Earth.
Inmates spend up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. And every time they leave, they must be shackled. They live in 7-by-12-foot soundproof cells. The only luxury item is a small black-and-white television, which just shows rehabilitation programs. The furniture is made out of concrete. The shower runs on a timer. And even the toothbrushes are secure.
VANYUR: We don‘t give them an entire toothbrush. We only give them half of a toothbrush.
CASSIDY: Moussaoui will spend the rest of his days alone, but will be surrounded by some of Supermax‘s other notorious inmates, including shoe bomber Richard Reid, the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, responsible for the first World Trade Center attack, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and Oklahoma City conspirator Terry Nichols.
Prison officials say they are ready to keep a close eye on Moussaoui.
HARLEY LAPPIN, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS: We have been managing inmates with ties to terrorism for over a decade by confining them in secure conditions and monitoring their communications closely.
CASSIDY: The facility does have its critics. Some human-rights groups say prolonged isolation can take a severe toll on the inmate‘s mental health.
EDELLE CORRINE, ROCKY MOUNTAIN PEACE CENTER: Most people say that what they focus on is revenge, their anger that occurs because of being treated as an animal in these cells.
CASSIDY: France says it may seek to put Moussaoui, a French citizen, in one of its prisons, but, for now, it looks like Supermax will be Moussaoui‘s home for the rest of his life.
Colette Cassidy, MSNBC.
COSBY: And, Colette, thanks so much.
And that does it for me. I‘m Rita Cosby. That‘s tonight‘s LIVE &
“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now—Tucker.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC. 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 NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.
Watch Rita Cosby Live & Direct each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET