updated 2/24/2010 2:51:22 PM ET 2010-02-24T19:51:22

Guests: Robi Ludwig, Aria Miran, Bob Reno, Javier Castellano, Catt Sadler, Kimberly Caldwell, Vito Colucci, Dave Holloway, Paul Gordon Fatta, Mike DeGeurin

LAUREN LAKE, HOST:  Rita is off tonight.  I‘m Lauren Lake. 

We begin tonight with a LIVE & DIRECT exclusive.  It‘s been more than 13 years since the Waco standoff ended in tragedy.  And now one of the Branch Davidians convicted for his role in the siege is being released from prison.  Paul Fatta says he‘s still angry at how the government handled the standoff.  In just a moment, he is going to join us for his first live interview since his release. 

But, first, a look back at how the Waco standoff all went down. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAKE (voice-over):  The dramatic images are hard to forget, the federal siege at Waco, Texas, which ended in a fiery inferno.  Nearly 80 people were killed, including dozens of children.  But what really happened inside the Mount Carmel compound 13 years ago? 

In February 1993, ATF agents tried to raid the compound of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, looking for illegal weapons.  But the raid erupted into a shoot-out between federal agents and Koresh‘s followers. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did ATF fire first, gentlemen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, they did.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, they did.

LAKE:  Four agents and six Branch Davidians were killed.  Soon, the government was involved in a very long and very public standoff. 

DAVID TROY, ATF AGENT:  He controls everybody in there totally.  I don‘t think there is anyone in there capable of much independent action.

LAKE:  For several weeks, the FBI tried to negotiate a peaceful surrender, spending 215 hours on the phone with David Koresh. 

RICK ROSS, CULT EXPERT:  Let‘s face it.  If God talked to him, he would say, shut up and get out. 

LAKE:  Then, on April 19, the government decided to use tear gas to force the Davidians from their compound.  But it seemed to have little effect.  Then, six hours later, the building burst into flames.  The government insists it was at Davidians who started the fire, though some survivors claim they did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is going on inside the compound?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You all should have found that out a long time ago.

LAKE:  Nine Branch Davidian members were convicted for their role in the siege.

Now, 13 years later, six of the sect members are being released from pin.  And they say they are ready to tell their side of the story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAKE:  Joining me now for his first television interview since being released, after serving almost 13 years is Branch Davidian member Paul Gordon Fatta and his lawyer, Mike DeGeurin.

Thank you so much, gentlemen, for being here. 

Now, Paul, you‘re still very angry about what happened at Waco.  Tell us why.

PAUL GORDON FATTA, BRANCH DAVIDIAN MEMBER:  Well, I wouldn‘t say the word is anger.  I think it‘s more disappointment at this point. 

You try to put your faith in the justice system and federal agents, that they‘re going to act responsibly and abide by the law and have some compassion on women and children.  And the way they acted was totally out of line. 

LAKE:  Well, Paul, why do you think the ATF raided the compound in the first place?  Why do you think it even happened? 

FATTA:  Well, there was an appropriations meeting they were having before Congress.  It was about money.  They called their raid showtime.  They wanted to put on a show.  But, again...

LAKE:  So, you‘re saying this was for publicity? 

FATTA:  Yes.  Yes.  And it got out of hand.  And it got out of hand. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  Well, you weren‘t even actually at the compound when the siege happened; am I correct? 

FATTA:  That‘s correct. 

LAKE:  OK.  But you were convicted of what? 

FATTA:  Firearms violations.

LAKE:  OK.  Now, how many guns did you guys have? 

FATTA:  I don‘t know the exact number.  Maybe 200.

LAKE:  Wow.  Why did you need all those guns, Paul? 

FATTA:  Well, first of all, have you ever been to the state of Texas before? 

LAKE:  I can say that I have.   

FATTA:  OK.

Well, people have collections.  It‘s a big gun state.  Lots of people own a lot of guns.  It‘s not unusual for one person to own 50 or 100 firearms.  So, just to say the amount of guns still does not justify the manner in which the ATF handled the situation.  That‘s not the point. 

(CROSSTALK)

FATTA:  OK.  Now, you know they spent days trying to negotiate some type of peaceful settlement.  Why do you think the talks failed? 

FATTA:  Well, first of all, four points. 

David was trying to avoid a confrontation from the beginning.  He invited the ATF to come over several weeks before the raid to inspect the firearms.  They didn‘t want to do that.  Then, the day of the raid...

LAKE:  Now, did they know that you had that many guns? 

FATTA:  Sure, they did.  Sure, they did.  They were all bought legally.  They were all...

LAKE:  All registered, all bought legally? 

FATTA:  All registered, yes. 

LAKE:  OK, proceed.  I‘m sorry. 

FATTA:  Well, I was saying that David tried to avoid a confrontation.  It‘s the ATF that wanted to do it that way, a dynamic entry raid.  They wanted to come in that fashion of violence and intimidation, and that was their plan. 

LAKE:  Well, when you look at the pictures, Paul, of the compound burning, do you think that David really wanted this to end in this violent way? 

FATTA:  Absolutely not. 

That building—first of all, there were tons of in evidence the building that supported our argument.  By that building burning down, it basically just took away all the evidence.  The only ones that stood to gain by the building burning down was the ATF and the FBI agents, because there was incriminating evidence against them in that building. 

LAKE:  OK.  Well, we‘re going to talk to the FBI in a minute. 

FATTA:  Sure. 

LAKE:  Now, I want to know, what do you think caused the fire? 

FATTA:  Well, I wasn‘t there, as you know, but I only know what was told to me by my friends...

LAKE:  Sure. 

FATTA:  ... the ones that survived, and the testimony that I heard in the trial.  And none of those fire experts convinced me with their testimony that we started the fire. 

In fact, they didn‘t agree amongst each other on how the fire really started.  You may want to look at the facts in that. 

LAKE:  Sure. 

FATTA:  Let me ask your lawyer about something.

Mike, Now, you filed a civil lawsuit.  Tell us about that.

MIKE DEGEURIN, ATTORNEY FOR PAUL GORDON FATTA:  No.  I defended Paul in the criminal case.  I did not file...

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  OK.  So, you filed no civil lawsuit? 

DEGEURIN:  No, I did not. 

LAKE:  OK.  I apologize.

So, do you have any new legal moves that you‘re about to entertain, or are you just merely his defense counsel in the criminal case? 

DEGEURIN:  I wanted to say something about what Paul had said earlier about the burn—about the fire. 

LAKE:  Most certainly

DEGEURIN:  You know, my brother had gone inside the church before it burned down. 

And he had seen the bullet holes coming from the ceiling in from helicopters.  He had also saw the bullet holes going through the front door that were shot by the ATF as they were coming up to serve their warrant. 

That was all destroyed in the fire.  And that is what Paul was talking about.  Who—who benefited by the fire? 

I watched the entire trial.  I watched the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on who started the fire.  And I was not convinced by the evidence, nor was the jury, that anybody started the fire, other than the incendiary devices that were shot inside the church while they were making their last attack on the church. 

LAKE:  OK, well, guys, there‘s also been this discrepancy, I will say, as to who fired the first shot.  What do you guys say to that? 

FATTA:  Well...

LAKE:  Either one of you. 

(CROSSTALK)

DEGEURIN:  First of all, the evidence—the testimony was quite clear.  As the ATF approached the front door, they shot the Davidians‘ dogs.  They shot what they call flash-bang grenades into the windows as David Koresh had the door open, asking, “What are your intentions?” as they approached. 

As he closed the door, the bullets fired and went through the door and hit David Koresh in the stomach.  Those were the first bullets fired. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  What were you saying, Paul?

FATTA:  Also, Mike forgot to tell you that they had sent helicopters in for diversionary purposes.  At first, they denied having guns on the helicopters, because the testimony from my friends was that they were being fired on from these helicopters.  They denied that they had any guns. 

Later on, in our trial, we produced evidence showing them boarding—boarding the helicopter with guns. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  Paul...

FATTA:  So, then, when we asked them, well, you said you didn‘t have guns, then, they said, well, what we meant was, we didn‘t have a .50-caliber mounted on the side. 

So, they did have guns in the helicopters, and they did fire from the helicopter.  OK? 

LAKE:  OK.  I do understand. 

Paul, hold on one second. 

FATTA:  Sure.

LAKE:  Let‘s bring in someone right now who was actually at the Branch Davidian compound the day everything when down. 

FATTA:  OK.

LAKE:  Live and direct tonight is former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt. 

Clint, thanks so much for being here. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  You‘re welcome. 

LAKE:  OK.  Now, what do you make of what Paul is saying? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, you know, first of all, I‘m not a spokesman for ATF.

And, just like Paul, I wasn‘t there when the shooting started.  I know, the position that I have heard from ATF was that bullets were coming at them through the door.  They returned fire.  I agree that this whole thing is a tragedy. 

I mean, this—I have lived this for the past 13 years.  I was there when all of those children died.  I think that‘s a terrible thing to have happened.  I think it‘s a terrible abdication of responsibility of the adults in there to let that happen, to start that fire, to set it. 

But I think the government was there, the FBI, ATF.  I think they somehow poured the psychological fuel that allowed ATF to strike the match.  So, I think there was a balance there of responsibility. 

But the greatest responsibility is, this whole case—and—and I know Dick DeGeurin—and I respect Dick.  My—I don‘t know Mike.  I know his brother Dick. 

And I think this whole thing could have been resolved in the courts.  When ATF showed up with a warrant, that‘s the time the Branch Davidians, instead of going to guns, they should have got Dick; they should have got Mike; they should have went to court.  And if ATF was wrong, they should have sued their pants off, but not get guns and start firing and kill four ATF agents who were there to serve a warrant.  That‘s where this thing went bad.  And it just went worse as time went on. 

LAKE:  Well, Clint, let me ask you this.  Do you think there was anything different the government could have done that maybe could have changed the result of this tragedy? 

VAN ZANDT:  Sure.  Sure. 

I mean, if I would have been involved in this from square one, I would have called Koresh.  I would have got the local sheriff, who was a saint, as far as I was concerned.  I would have gotten the sheriff and myself.  I would have asked David, can we come visit?  I would have sat on the front porch and drank iced tea out of a mason jar, and said, David, we have got some issues and problems, and we need your help to resolve this. 

If David Koresh had told me to go to hell, at least I could have reported to the American public that we tried.  But that didn‘t take place.  And shame on the government for not doing that. 

LAKE:  Mmm-hmm. 

Well, Paul, let me go back to you quickly, before I have to go. 

Just, what‘s next for you, Paul?  What are you going to do after your release? 

FATTA:  Well, pretty much what you‘re doing.  I got to make a living. 

I got to pay the bills. 

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE:  Understood.

FATTA:  I mean, it‘s—got to meet my responsibilities. 

But just one thing I wanted to say in the end.  Before I came on this show, my family was against me doing this, because they fear retaliation from, you know, FBI, ATF, whatever.  There‘s a lot of strong feelings.  But the reason why I did this is because I called some of the surviving children.  And I asked them, you know, do you want to do this?  And what the children told me was...

LAKE:  Now, Paul...

FATTA:  ... you know, they can forgive and forget, but all they wanted from the FBI and the ATF was an apology. 

LAKE:  Paul, let me just ask you quickly...

FATTA:  Excuse me.  Let me finish.

LAKE:  Sure.

FATTA:  All the children want is an apology.  They‘re willing to forgive and forget, OK?  Thank you. 

LAKE:  I understand, but Paul, were—thank you so much. 

But were you not supposed to have contact with anyone?

FATTA:  What, the children? 

LAKE:  Yes.  Was that part of the deal? 

FATTA:  These are children—these are children that their parents die in the fire, OK?  They died at Mount Carmel.  That‘s who I‘m talking... 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  So, they‘re not children of the other sect members?  They are?

FATTA:  Yes.  They‘re the children of my friends.  They‘re children.

LAKE:  So...

FATTA:  Twenty-five children came out on the first day after the raid, 25 children. 

LAKE:  So, I thought that there was an agreement that you were not supposed to be talking or in contact with...

FATTA:  Oh, yes. 

LAKE:  ... of any of the other convicted members and their families. 

Is that correct?

(CROSSTALK)

FATTA:  I can‘t talk to my co-defendants, and I can‘t speak with some of the former members.  That‘s true. 

LAKE:  OK.  OK.

Well, Paul, we do appreciate you so much being here tonight. 

Thank you to all of you gentlemen.  We really appreciate it. 

FATTA:  Thank you. 

LAKE:  Thank you. 

Now, coming up, if you thought boys were bad when it comes to hazing, wait until you hear a new story behind a group of girls behaving badly.  It‘s coming up.  And that‘s not all.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAKE (voice-over):  Still ahead, a brand-new suspect in the Natalee Holloway investigation is in the clear after coming out.  So, does being gay mean he can‘t be a suspect? 

And imagine winning the Preakness and then finding out that all eyes are on a horse with a broken leg.  The jockey who won the race and lost the spotlight joins me for a LIVE & DIRECT exclusive. 

Plus, the latest on Barbaro‘s road to recovery. 

And speaking of stealing thunder, the final two “American Idol” contestants gave it their all.  But why out former contestant Clay Aiken may steal the spotlight.  “Idol” mania coming up. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERARD SPONG, ATTORNEY FOR GUIDO WEVER:  Five witnesses made testimony, testified that he has very long scratches on his face immediately the day after Natalee disappeared. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAKE:  Just days after the arrest of the newest suspect in the Natalee Holloway case, that very same person has been let go; 19-year-old Guido Wever was released today, after spending almost a week behind bars in the Netherlands. 

Natalee‘s father, Dave Holloway, and author of the new book “Aruba:

The Tragic Untold Story on Natalee Holloway and Corruption in Paradise” joins us live now. 

Dave, thank you so much for joining us.

DAVE HOLLOWAY, FATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

LAKE:  What do you think of the release of Guido Wever?  Do you think he held the key to your—your daughter‘s disappearance? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know, I don‘t think they would have arrested him for—for whatever reason.  You know, that—we are just not clear about that.

The police and the prosecutor have not given us any indication of what his involvement is, if any. 

LAKE:  OK.  So, you have no clue as to why he was even released?

HOLLOWAY:  Well, I heard that he was released.  The press had indicated he was released due to his personality, or personal preferences. 

LAKE:  Oh, now bringing that up, now, are you speaking of the issue of him being gay? 

HOLLOWAY:  Yes.  The press brought that up today.  And I just couldn‘t believe it. 

LAKE:  Now, Dave, you know, I‘m a defense attorney.  Now, even I would say that‘s a little bit reaching by saying, my client could have no involvement in a crime because he‘s gay. 

How did you feel when you heard that? 

HOLLOWAY:  I had to—I had to ask them to repeat that one more time. 

And—and they did.  And I just couldn‘t believe it. 

But a lot of the stuff that‘s happened in Aruba and/or Holland, I shake my head.  And it‘s just one of those frustrating things, that you can‘t imagine it‘s happening. 

LAKE:  OK. 

Now, did you remember hearing Guido‘s name early in the investigation, months and months ago in the early investigation?  They say they questioned him? 

HOLLOWAY:  Lauren, what we heard was that he was an employee of the hotel at the Holiday Inn.  What capacity?  I think he was a dealer or something like that. 

He was interviewed one or two times early on.  And then, suddenly, he left to Holland.  And now they‘re indicating that that trip was already planned and all of these excuses.  So, you know, who knows?  I‘m at the point of almost frustration, just listening to what—what is going on. 

LAKE:  Dave, I can imagine. 

You know, do you talk to the Aruban officials?  Have you talked to them lately?  Are they telling you anything about the new direction they‘re going in the case?  What—what do you know? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know, early on, we were getting a lot of information.  And, as the case progressed along, you know, some of the arrests, we were given a lot more information.  But the last several, it‘s kind of been quiet. 

LAKE:  I mean, how can you keep your faith with all of this?  I mean, the merry-go-round just seems to go round and round, eight suspects arrested and released.  How do you keep your faith through all of this? 

HOLLOWAY:  Oh, Lauren, it‘s very difficult. 

But one of the arrests will get your hopes up high again.  And then you just hang on and just hope that, you know, maybe this is it.  Maybe this will be the leg of the table that will cause everything to fall into place. 

There is a—a witness out there that—that had contacted us that indicated that he saw something, and had some forensic evidence.  And I don‘t know whether they‘re working on that or—or what the deal is.  Someone said that he was arrested and is currently being detained. 

LAKE:  Is that witness‘ name Carlos (ph)?

HOLLOWAY:  The individual that we were aware of, yes, was named Carlos (ph).

LAKE:  OK. 

And have you heard anything further on that?  Are they digging into that? 

HOLLOWAY:  Last week, this individual came forward and indicated he had this—he witnessed something and he had some forensic evidence.  And we asked him to go directly to the prosecutor and provide that information. 

Now, if this is the same person, I‘m not real sure, because that has not been told to us. 

LAKE:  OK. 

So, Dave, are you feeling optimistic that there will be more arrests, arrests that can stick, that can turn into a case?  How are you feeling now? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know, I don‘t know, Lauren.  It‘s—you hear about

this arrest.  You get your hopes up high.  And then all of a sudden, you

hear that he‘s being released

And you just hope and pray in the back of your mind that maybe this guy gave them enough information that more arrests are imminent.  You know, you just don‘t know.  And you just get your hopes up high, and then they‘re just dashed again.

LAKE:  Well, Dave, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, always.  We will continue to follow this story. And we hope that Natalee is found and this case is resolved very soon. 

HOLLOWAY:  I hope so, too.  Thank you. 

LAKE:  Thank you so much for joining us tonight. 

With this latest release, you have to wonder just what is going on in the Natalee Holloway investigation. 

LIVE & DIRECT tonight is private investigator Vito Colucci.

Vito, thanks much for being here tonight. 

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  Thank you, Lauren. 

LAKE:  OK, Vito.

You heard the disgust, the frustration from Dave, Natalee‘s father.  What do you think is going on in this case?  What do you make of this whole thing with arresting Guido, then letting him go?

COLUCCI:  Well, what I would like to know, Lauren, is, since this man‘s name has been out there in the Aruba police since the beginning, why wasn‘t he arrested, like they do with everybody else, at the beginning? 

I mean, there‘s reports I‘m reading about, he left early from the island with cuts and bruises.  It‘s noted that, the next day after Natalee disappeared, he met with van der Sloot.  What happened all back then?  Where was the police on that?  Did they come—you know, right from the beginning, unfortunately, Lauren, they came out like Barbaro out of the gate.  They stumbled and fell, and they have never caught up since then. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  OK. 

COLUCCI:  Go ahead.

LAKE:  No.

Vito, I just wanted to ask you, too, now, with—with all of this going on, what do you make of this little deal here with the prosecutor that Guido doesn‘t have to return to Aruba, and he‘s released?  I mean, wasn‘t that the whole point, for him to go back to Aruba, ask questions, and possibly face charges?  What do you think? 

COLUCCI:  Well, Lauren, you know from your background, and I know from my 30 years of police and private detective work, when you‘re innocent, want you to come forward, put a polygraph on me, do a DNA, whatever you have to do. 

So, I mean, you know, that does say something.  Why doesn‘t he voluntarily come back, get this over with, you know, volunteer on his part to get his name out of the mix here, you know?  So, I mean, there‘s a lot of things going on. 

But like you said before, you know:  He—my client couldn‘t have done it because he‘s gay. 

I have got to admit, I have never heard that one before, Lauren. 

LAKE:  Look, Vito, like I said, I‘m a defense attorney, and I haven‘t heard that one either.  I can‘t tell you what‘s going on. 

But I can tell you this.  I‘m thankful that you came to talk to us tonight.  I really appreciate it.  Thank you for being here.

COLUCCI:  Thank you. 

LAKE:  And still ahead, after being demeaned and degraded on campus, all over the Internet, find out what big step some college girls accused of some pretty bad hazing are taking now. 

And the last two “Idol” contestants had their final chance to convince the world they‘re worthy.  Uh-oh, spoiler alert.  We are breaking down the final showdown on “American Idol” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “AMERICAN IDOL”)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAKE:  Well, did Taylor Hicks dance his way to victory tonight on “American Idol”?  The gray-haired entertainer sang his heart out at tonight‘s final showdown.  But was it enough to beat out the other finalist, Katharine McPhee? 

We‘re joined by former “Idol” contestant Kimberly Caldwell, who now co-hosts “Idol Tonight” on the TV Guide Channel, and Catt Sadler, host of “The Daily 10” on E! Entertainment TV. 

Thank you, ladies, so much for joining me tonight.

OK, Kimberly, now, based on tonight‘s...

KIMBERLY CALDWELL, FORMER “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  Hi.

LAKE:  Hey.

LAKE:  Based on tonight‘s performances, who do you think is in the lead now?  Simon says he thinks it‘s Taylor. 

CALDWELL:  Well, I mean, listen, Taylor has been the only one who has not been in the bottom two or bottom three so far.  And his fans, I met, I met the entire Soul Patrol.  I‘m telling you.  They were there today for our show, “Idol Tonight.”  We were right outside of the Kodak Theatre. 

And that‘s where we met up with Debra Byrd, Taylor and Kat‘s vocal coach.  And she said that they were on top of their game tonight and that they were really going for it.  He‘s been the only one that has not been in the bottom two or three.  His fans are very dedicated and very loyal.

But, of course, Katharine is very technically talented and, of course, has amazing stage presence. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  Well, let me get Catt in here.

Catt, now, you know, Kimberly just talked about Katharine being very technically oriented here and very—and good at that.  But what do you think about the fact that Taylor is so organic?  Do you think that Katharine kind of performing her greatest hits maybe hurt her, because the judges didn‘t even like one of her songs?

(CROSSTALK)

CATT SADLER, HOST, “THE DAILY 10”:  Well, the first question about... 

(CROSSTALK)

CALDWELL:  You have to—oh, I‘m sorry.  You were talking to her.

(CROSSTALK)

SADLER:  Did you say Catt or Kimberly? 

LAKE:  I said Catt.

(CROSSTALK)

SADLER:  OK.

Well, just to answer your question about Taylor, you‘re so right.  He‘s so organic.  I remember a friend, way back in like January, he said to me, I love that Taylor guy, that gray-haired guy, that—he has got to be older than 29, right?  No.

But he will never get that far.  He will never win it.  And here he is today, the final two.  They both, I believe, have every reason in the world to be so proud of their performances.  They‘re both remarkable.  Like you just mentioned, they‘re two very different performers.  She‘s so classic and polished. 

But do I think, somewhere over the rainbow, got to say, Katharine McPhee‘s dad, not the only person with tears running down his face, because I, too—it‘s a very emotional—this whole thing is emotional at this point.

CALDWELL:  Yes, Catt.  I was tearing up.  It‘s—they‘re both—they both have a reason to be proud. 

Now, as we know, seeing Chris Daughtry get kicked out, it can go any way.  You just never know. 

LAKE:  Yes, you don‘t ever know.  But what gets me is that when you think about Katharine, I love the way she sings.  I think it‘s beautiful.  But when I think of her, I think of her like on Broadway, not as like the American pop idol.

I see that more in Taylor.  Sometimes, that whole rehearsed factor tends to get a little boring in the end.  You know, Taylor came out tonight with his purple velvet jacket on, on May 23, honey.  He didn‘t care it was almost summer.  He wore his purple velvet and he let them have it.  Don‘t you guys think?

SADLER:  That‘s what got them this far, without a doubt. 

(CROSSTALK)

CALDWELL:  Of course I think that people are wanting something new.

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  I‘m sorry, Catt.  What did you say? 

SADLER:  I just agree with you.  I think, absolutely, that‘s what got him this far. 

People connect with him.  When you watch Taylor Hicks sing, he moves you.  You feel his heart.  You feel his soul.  You connect with this guy.  And that‘s absolutely why he‘s standing there on the stage tonight.  He brought that house to their feet, without a doubt.  If you listened to Simon Cowell, he said, at the end, after their third song, that, in his words, Taylor Hicks deserves that title of “American Idol.” 

LAKE:  So, Kimberly, now, you heard Catt just say, Simon says he deserves it.  Do you think—how much do you think of a role do the judges‘ opinions play at this point? 

CALDWELL:  Well, I think that the judges, you know, their opinion really does fluctuate the votes.  And people believe in Simon.  And he is credible.  All three of the judges are credible. 

Paula has been a pop star herself.  Simon works with the biggest names.  Randy has worked with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston.  They know what‘s right.  And, so, the audience believes them, because most of the audience just watches and doesn‘t know all the technical things and doesn‘t know about the song choices, and if—if they really went pitchy. 

They just know what they like and vote for what they like.  But you do have to listen to the judges, because they do know what they‘re talking about, for sure.

LAKE:  Well, Catt, let me ask you something.  Catt, so, we heard that Clay may be coming tomorrow?  Do you think that his appearance on the show may overshadow the contestants singing, though there‘s been so much media attention surrounding Clay and his personal lifestyle? 

SADLER:  Do I think that his appearance will overshadow the big finale?  Absolutely not. 

I think people invest in these—in the—all of the contestants.  But, at this point, we have been watching the show, us diehards, like myself, week after week.  And we see them tirelessly rehearsing and singing night after night.  Honestly, we love Clay.  And all due respect to him for what he‘s done, but this night is about McFever.  It‘s about Soul Patrol.

It‘s about celebrating what this show is all about.  It‘s about America investing in these people, picking up their phones, and voting week after week.  It‘s easy to see why 30, some 40 million people tune in week after week.  And that‘s why I don‘t know what I am going to do next Tuesday and Wednesday night, because I won‘t have “American Idol” to watch. 

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE:  I totally understand. 

OK, ladies, real quick.

Kimberly, five-second prediction.  Who do you think will win? 

CALDWELL:  I‘m guessing that it‘s actually going to be Taylor.  You know, people do listen to the judges, as I was saying.  And he‘s the only one who has not been in the bottom two or three this year. 

Carrie Underwood last year was the only one who was not in the bottom two. 

LAKE:  OK.  Now...

CALDWELL:  So, if you look at the stats, there it is. 

LAKE:  Catt?

So sorry, Catt.  Didn‘t get your prediction in.  I got to run.  But thank you ladies so—Catt, are you there?  Do you have your prediction real quick, before I run?

(CROSSTALK)

SADLER:  Oh, I‘m not a vocal expert.  I‘m just a fan.  I wish them both best, all the best. 

LAKE:  Aww, that‘s sweet. 

All right, thanks, ladies, for joining us.  We will all be watching tomorrow.  And we will see how it ends up.  You know we will talking about it tomorrow.

OK.  And coming up tomorrow, “Idol” fever at an all-time high.  The big night America has been waiting for is finally here.  We will have all the post-show reaction and talk about the winner and the runner-up and why second place often brings the most success.  That‘s all tomorrow night, right here on LIVE & DIRECT. 

There‘s a lot coming up here on MSNBC tonight.  Let‘s check in with Tucker Carlson now with a preview. 

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”:  Well, thanks.

Arizona may have figured out a way to get people to vote in elections, turn the elections themselves into lotteries, where the winner gets a million bucks.  Can you imagine? 

Then, “Idol” predictions—we have possibly—not even possibly—we have definitively the greatest “American Idol” contestant ever on tonight with his predictions on what is going to happen tomorrow.  Don‘t miss it.

LAKE:  Sounds great.  We will be watching, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Thanks.

LAKE:  Well, still ahead, we have got the latest on the recovery of Barbaro, the racehorse.

Plus, the winning jockey of the Preakness Stakes joins me live for an exclusive interview. 

And we will tell you why some girls caught behaving badly in a shocking case of hazing are coming clean. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL MATZ, BARBARO‘S TRAINER:  First, it was disbelief that this could happen to him.  He was a dream horse to train.  He just did everything well.  We just have to pray that he‘s as good a patient as he was a racehorse.  You know, he will pull through this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAKE:  Thousands across the country continue to root for injured racehorse Barbaro.  Doctors say the thoroughbred is doing exceptionally well, only two days after painstaking surgery to repair his injured leg. 

Barbaro broke his hind leg only seconds into the Preakness Stakes race on Saturday.  The catastrophic event ended Barbaro‘s racing career. 

But caught up in all this is the jockey who actually won the race.             

Javier Castellano joins me now live and direct. 

Now, how did it feel to actually win the race, Javier?

JAVIER CASTELLANO, WINNING JOCKEY OF THE PREAKNESS:  Well, it feels so great.  You know, it‘s a great emotion, when you win that kind of race like that, the Triple Crown.  It‘s great emotion.  The first time I ride the horse, the first time I ride in the Triple Crown, he wins the race.  It‘s very successful.

LAKE:  Did it feel almost bittersweet in a way?  Did it feel a little bit sad, because you knew Edgar and you know Barbaro so well? 

CASTELLANO:  Yes.

Personally, Edgar Prado is a very good friend of mine.  And I really feel bad for him and for all the team, the owners, and see the horse like that.  You know, he got hurt in the first turn in the race.  And it‘s pretty sad. 

LAKE:  How did you find out, Javier, that Barbaro injured himself? 

How did you find out the injury happen? 

CASTELLANO:  Well, as soon as past the wire, when the second time past the wire, past by the finish line, and a celebration myself, I thought about what it was behind me.  I thought I beat it. 

I surprised myself when I see the horse right in the middle of the racetrack and all of the vets, everybody helping the horse.  It‘s very, very sad.  And it‘s something, you can‘t describe it, and very, very sad for all the team, all the families, and all the people, all the fans, and including myself. 

LAKE:  Were you also shocked?  I mean, could you believe that something so tragic had happened to Barbaro? 

CASTELLANO:  Yes, Lauren, it really is—you know, like I say in the beginning, really sad for the horse and for Edgar Prado, for the owner, when you see the horse, he got hurt like that. 

And everybody, we want to help in the best we can.  It‘s—very shocked, because the horse, he got hurt.  In that moment everybody want to help the best they can. 

LAKE:  Well, Javier, do you know how Barbaro is doing right now? 

CASTELLANO:  He‘s doing very well right now, and after the surgery, you know?  And we got to see how the recovery. 

And I know he‘s in good hands right now.  And I hope, you know, everybody will pray.  Everybody, we can—he continue.  We pray.  We give all support for the horse.  He‘s a super horse, as everybody, we—we root for him. 

LAKE:  Well, Javier, we thank you so much for being here with us tonight.  We wish you luck on all of your upcoming races.  And we know that your thoughts and prayers are with Barbaro, as well as ours.  Thank you so much for coming tonight. 

CASTELLANO:  Thank you for the opportunity. 

LAKE:  Still ahead, it turns out that boys don‘t hold a monopoly when it comes to hazing.  But are girls better at being mean?  A new twist in this surprising hazing scandal—next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

LAKE:  Tonight, we have new details about a rash of women collegiate athletes caught up in some serious hazing scandals.  If you thought college men were mean, take a look at this. 

These members of the women‘s soccer team at Northwestern University are now saying they‘re sorry for what most people agree is a horrible hazing case.  And they‘re not the only women accused of behaving badly.  BadJocks.com first published these pictures. 

The site‘s creator, Bob Reno, is on the phone. 

There‘s also a case being investigated right now at the University of California at Santa Barbara. 

And Aria Miran with the school‘s newspaper also joins me. 

Thanks so much for joining me, both of you. 

OK, Bob, let me ask you, first, what has been the fallout after all of these pictures have been—you posted on your Web site?  What is the reaction to all of this? 

BOB RENO, BADJOCKS.COM:  Well, certainly, there‘s been a lot of interest in the pictures.  But I think, in general, people are talking more about initiations and hazings and what‘s going on here, the amount of pictures that are being posted online about these incidents.

And, in fact, somebody has already sent a set to the University of Iowa, I believe one of our readers, which they think the pictures are of the men‘s baseball team.  And that‘s caused quite an uproar there.  So, there‘s been certainly a lot of activity in the last week. 

LAKE:  So, Bob, even more schools are being investigated after this? 

RENO:  Well, I think, first of all, the schools that were on our list are taking a look at their activities. 

And I think other schools are also discussing it.  And people are certainly sending me more pictures that they‘re finding.  And they‘re just out there.  And, so, I think it‘s—it‘s a situation where it‘s become more prevalent, and people are paying more attention to it. 

LAKE:  Are you getting a lot more hits on your Web site, now that these pictures are up?

RENO:  Well, certainly, Lauren, there‘s been an increased interest.  And I think, as long as we‘re raising the awareness on this issue, I‘m very pleased with the attention the site is getting. 

LAKE:  Well, me bring in Aria for a second.

Aria, you are on the newspaper, where your lacrosse...

ARIA MIRAN, “DAILY NEXUS”:  Yes. 

LAKE:  ... team was suspended because of their activities over at the University of California at Santa Barbara. 

What can you tell us about this incident? 

MIRAN:  Exactly. 

Well, the team was suspended.  And there‘s still an investigation pending into the incident.  It‘s being investigated by our dean of students, Ms. Yonie Harris.  And it‘s not—it‘s actually—it‘s not been confirmed yet, as to whether or not this is defined as hazing by university policy. 

So, the incident is definitely still being investigated.  And the pictures are relatively mild, if you have had a chance to look at them.  They‘re not immediately identifiable as activities that would be considered hazing.  So, that‘s the lowdown on the U.C. Santa Barbara pictures. 

I saw some of the pictures from the other schools, and they seem comparatively more—they‘re more serious, I think.  So...

LAKE:  So, Aria, how is the team reacting to being exposed to the Web like this? 

MIRAN:  Well, the team is actually not giving comment right now, pending the investigation. 

Their captain mentioned to me that she would like to wait until the investigation is over before she says anything about it.  So, they‘re not mentioning anything about it as of now, actually.  So...

LAKE:  Well, Bob, let me bring you back in here. 

I hear you have been getting some hate mail because of all of this, death threats, even?

RENO:  No.  I—no, no death threats.  I don‘t want to go—I want -

don‘t want to go that far. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  OK.  So, it has not gotten that bad? 

RENO:  No, no.  I have very excitable, very interested readers. 

And I posted a lot of the messages that they have sent.  Certainly, there are people that think that these pictures don‘t represent hazing or that they are not that serious.  And they are certainly welcome to those opinions.

And what the experts that I have talked to would like to do is have the schools look more closely at these issues, just as they are at U.C.  Santa Barbara, and decide for themselves if they measure up to the school‘s standards of hazing.  And, if you‘re going have a policy, let‘s enforce it. 

LAKE:  So, do you think posting these pictures on your Web site has been good or bad overall? 

RENO:  Well, I think, with our goal of trying to raise awareness of this issue, I think it is succeeding, because you‘re talking to me tonight about it, aren‘t you? 

LAKE:  I‘m sorry.  I didn‘t hear the last thing you said. 

RENO:  I said, I believe it‘s raised the awareness, because you‘re talking to me this evening, aren‘t you? 

LAKE:  Well, yes, exactly.  So, you feel like just the dialogue is positive enough? 

RENO:  Definitely. 

And I think the experts in this area will—will say that that‘s—yes, the pictures are interesting.  But the dialogue that‘s going on—certainly, there‘s a lot of discussions on college campuses anymore about these activities and the posting of pictures related to them.

LAKE:  Oh, well, goodness, this is such an interesting topic.  I‘m sure the dialogue will continue on and on.  We thank both of you gentlemen for being here with us tonight.  And I know we will be talking about this some more, OK?

Thanks so much. 

Well, we will be right back with more on this hazing scandal and why some kids refuse to say no. 

And it turns out “Die Hard” action superstar Bruce Willis is all wet. 

It‘s caught on tape—next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LAKE:  More now on women athletes at prestigious universities exposed on the Web in graphic hazing cases. 

With me now is psychotherapist Robi Ludwig. 

Robi, thank you so much for joining me.  How are you? 

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST:  I‘m doing great.  Thanks. 

LAKE:  All right. 

Robi, what‘s going on with these girls?  I mean, do you think they‘re going to stop this now that they‘re all over the Internet? 

LUDWIG:  Oh, it might encourage some.  You know how those college students are. 

You know, you have to remember, when you are a young college student, it‘s normal to push yourself to the edge and do what‘s wild.  That‘s what considered normal and fun.  And, to some extent, it‘s normal for these children, or kids, adolescents, to rebel. 

And, especially in the athletic community, this is part of their socialization.  And it‘s very important to be, you know, an athlete.  It‘s part of their identity.  And they might rather go along with hazing than being ostracized from the group. 

LAKE:  Well, the women on the Northwestern University soccer team claim they‘re sorry, and they issued this apology. 

Let me read you a little bit.  And I want to hear what you think. 

LUDWIG:  All right. 

LAKE: “We, the Northwestern women‘s soccer team, apologize for the negative attention, press, and controversy our alleged hazing incident has caused the university.  We never foresaw that what began as a well-intentioned night of team unity and celebration would have such severe consequences.”

Robi, team unity and celebration?  Some of these pictures are kind of wild and off the chain. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAKE:  It didn‘t look like team unity to me. 

LUDWIG:  Well, you know what?

You have to remember, as a college student—and I‘m not supporting what they did, by any means, but it‘s almost like a rite of passage.  And, so, when hazing goes on—and, of course, it‘s not right, and we don‘t know if this is hazing or not—there‘s almost this attitude of, the hazer is:  I‘m better than you.  And, if I haze you, I‘m initiating you into my club, so that you also can be as good as me. 

It‘s very possible that these kids really don‘t think past the moment in time.  That is—that is what being adolescent is about.  They don‘t think about the consequences of their action. 

So, to know that they‘re sorry in retrospect is a really good place to start. 

LAKE:  And isn‘t it like we‘re promoting this kind of theory that one person‘s fun is another person‘s humiliation?  I mean, that just doesn‘t seem right.  It seems to me that there should be better ways to bond.  I mean, can we read a book together? 

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

LAKE:  Can we sit down and have a conversation?

LUDWIG:  Oh, come on, Lauren.  Did you go to college and just read books? 

LAKE:  Look...

LUDWIG:  I mean, I will admit it.  I did not. 

LAKE:  But I sat around and talked with my girlfriends and laughed and shared stories. 

LUDWIG:  Yes. 

LAKE:  I didn‘t have them running around and—and writing terribly graphic, sexual things on their bodies, and tying them up, and then making them do lap dances on boys.  We didn‘t do that. 

LUDWIG:  No.  I didn‘t do that either.  I thought shopping for bonding was good enough. 

(LAUGHTER)

LUDWIG:  But it‘s true.  In terms of preventing hazing, there needs to be an alternative way to find a rite of passage or socialization.  So, maybe it happens through dances or parties or something connected to food or just some other healthy way of promoting that type of connection. 

LAKE:  Well, Robi, I really appreciate your insights on this.  And thank you so much for coming on. 

I got to run tonight.  But we will talk to you soon. 

LUDWIG:  Excellent. 

LAKE:  Now to a story caught on tape. 

Bruce Willis is known for diving into big action roles, but he got caught in more than what he was expecting and bargaining for during an interview in France. 

Take a look.  Actor Bruce Willis is all wet after a giant wave comes out of nowhere and hits from behind.  The best part is what Willis is saying when the wave hits.               

Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR:  And that, my friends, is the end of the interview. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAKE:  Oh, my—that‘s LIVE & DIRECT.  I‘m Lauren Lake, filling in for Rita Cosby. 

“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now. 

Hey, Tucker. 

CARLSON:  Hey, Lauren.  Thank you.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 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.

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