updated 8/2/2006 10:59:56 AM ET 2006-08-02T14:59:56

Guests: Jill Dobson, Arianna Huffington, William Donohue, Shmuley Boteach, Jennifer Giroux, Tom O‘Neil, Debra Opri, John Jensenius, Steve Gibson, Jason Ward, Candice Delong

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Mel Gibson is in full damage control for that drunken rant against Jews.  But Hollywood may not be in as forgiving a mood.  Is Mad Mel‘s career finished?  And did the LA Sheriff‘s Department give preferential treatment to the booze-soaked star?  And later, nature‘s fury.  A deadly summer of lightning strikes across America, killing more Americans by the end of the year than hurricanes.

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

Hi, everybody.  It‘s great to be back.  Up first tonight, that Mel Gibson apology, take two.  Now, today, Gibson apologized yet again for that drunken anti-Semitic tirade from Friday night, saying, quote, “I‘m not an anti-Semite.  I‘m not a bigot.  I‘m not just asking for forgiveness, I would like to meet with leaders of the Jewish community with whom I can have a one-on-one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”

His atonement is, of course, for what he said Friday morning as he was being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, which, according to Tmz.com, was Gibson saying—actually attacking, “F-ing Jews.”  He went on to say that Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.  And then he asked the sheriff‘s deputy, Are you a Jew?  Deputy James Mee (ph) is a Jew, but he says, quote, “That stuff‘s just the booze talking.”

Well, even if that was just the booze talking, ABC is now talking and saying they‘re going to drop their deal with Gibson‘s production company for a mini-series on the Holocaust.  Guess they‘re not as forgiving as some, like the Anti Defamation League, who said this today.  “We welcome Gibson‘s efforts to repair the damage he‘s caused.  Once he completes his rehab for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with this second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice.”  I guess that‘s forgiveness.

Jill Dobson from “Star” magazine is here with us, along with Arianna Huffington.  She‘s the founder of the Huffingtonpost.com.  Of course, William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, telling me why I was wrong last year, host of “Shalom in the Home” on TLC.

Let‘s start with you, Jill Dobson.  Mel Gibson is reaching out to the Jewish community in Hollywood.  I guess what else do you do?

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Right.  I mean...

SCARBOROUGH:  Are they—are they going to reach out and touch Mel right back, or is this something that he‘s never going to recover from?

DOBSON:  Oh, I‘ve talked to a lot of people in the industry, and they say, No, I‘m not forgiving him.  I‘m very angry with this.  However, the people in the public eye, I think, are trying to say the right thing, and they are—some people seem to be appreciating the comments that he‘s making, at this point, and trying to help him as he gets through this.

We actually have a quote from a Rabbi Baron (ph), who said, “In our faith, we‘re commanded to forgive when the offending party takes the necessary steps and offers an apology from the heart.”  And this rabbi, David Baron, as Tmz first reported, has actually invited Mel Gibson to come speak on the Jewish day of atonement.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Now, this is—he runs the synagogue for the really chic Hollywood hip Jews, right?

DOBSON:  Right.  Right.  It‘s the coolest temple there is.  It‘s called...

SCARBOROUGH:  The coolest temple?

DOBSON:  ... the Temple of the Arts (ph).  It‘s in Hollywood...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

DOBSON:  ... and it‘s—all the industry insiders attend this temple, those that are Jewish.  And actually I spoke to a congregant this evening, and she says people are going to show up in droves.  The high holidays are always a time when everyone shows up at temple, but especially to see Mel Gibson.  She says people are going to show up just out of curiosity, to see what he has to say.

SCARBOROUGH:  Geez.  Well, I‘ll tell you what, Arianna Huffington, a lot of people think Mel Gibson may be facing a boycott in Hollywood in the coming months and possibly years.  Do you think Hollywood should blacklist him?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, it‘s not about blacklisting, Joe.  You know, when Ari Emanuel blogged on the Huffington Post—Ari Emanuel, the high-powered Hollywood agent, on Sunday sent us a blog which we published in the Huffington Post in which he basically asked Hollywood to stand up and be counted and not let Mel Gibson get away with the kind of non-apology apology that we first got.

And indeed, now his apology take two, it is a sequel which far outshines the original, and where he actually addresses the charges of anti-Semitism.  At the same time, we on the Huffington Post called on the industry to pull the plug on Mel Gibson‘s pending projects.  ABC has done that.  So a lot has happened already since Saturday.  It‘s quite amazing, the power of the Internet.  Tmz that first put up the—the actual story of what had happened between the sheriff‘s department and Mel Gibson, then Ari Emanuel going to the Huffington Post, and other Hollywood figures following...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, but Arianna, I remember one time—the first time I went out to Hollywood when I was in Congress, I was asking agents why everybody out there was Democratic, why they were—seemed to be all liberal.  And he laughed at me and he goes, You‘re so naive, Joe.  Out here, it ain‘t about politics, it‘s about money.  And if it sells, people will flock to it.  Regardless of what people are saying right now, if they think they can make money with Mel Gibson, guess what?  They‘re going to hire Mel Gibson.

HUFFINGTON:  But you know what‘s happening, Joe?  There‘s no question that Mel Gibson‘s career is not over, although Al Franken has just posted a great blog in which he says that instead of Mel Gibson being ostracized, maybe he should just start all over again, being hired in minor roles, and then gradually getting bigger roles.

But the point is that his reputation is tarnished.  This is not a minor remark, this is about something very fundamental.  As he called it himself in his apology, a world that has gone mad, with pictures coming out of the Middle East of where anti-Semitism can take us and where also Israel itself is taking steps which are making it even harder...

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in William Donohue and talk—talk about that apology.  Bill Donohue, I was somebody who—last year, when Frank Rich was saying Gibson was an anti-Semite and others were saying Gibson was an anti-Semite, you and I were attacking them, saying they didn‘t know Mel Gibson‘s heart.  But now it‘s a little bit easier to read Mel Gibson‘s heart.  I mean, the guy seems like he‘s an anti-Semite, right?

WILLIAM DONOHUE, THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE:  Oh, I don‘t know if you can say that.  I mean, clearly, what he said was bigoted and...

SCARBOROUGH:  “F-ing Jews”?  I mean, how can you not say that?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, he gets pulled over for drunk driving, and he starts ranting about Jews being responsible for starting all the wars?

DONOHUE:  Right.  Right, right, right.

SCARBOROUGH:  That sounds anti-Semitic to me.

DONOHUE:  No, no.  Well, there‘s a different between—did he make an anti-Semitic comment?  Obviously, he did.  It was irresponsible (INAUDIBLE) and he‘s apologized for it, as he should apologize for it.  There‘s a lot of people who have made comments which are bigoted who are not necessarily bigots.  I myself have said that there‘s nobody in the U.S. Senate who was a bigot against Catholics.  However, I have pointed out numerous bigoted comments made by people, like Senator Schumer, for example, and I know, for example, that I have accepted the apology of people like Opie and Anthony for their lousy little sex stunt act in St. Patrick‘s Cathedral.  I welcomed them back, was their first guest on their CBS show because...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask you this, though. Bill Donohue.

DONOHUE:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  If you had a couple of beers and were pulled over by the police, would you start ranting about F-ing Jews?

DONOHUE:  No.

SCARBOROUGH:  So again, I don‘t think this is just—it doesn‘t seem to just be a reckless mistake by a drunk, it seems to be—unfortunately, it seems to be a glimpse into this man‘s soul, does it not?

DONOHUE:  Well, you know, you want to make that determination, that‘s fine.  All I‘m saying is this...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s hard to make that determination.

DONOHUE:  No, no.  You know what?  You know what I‘m concerned about right now?  He has been—this is the most contrite statement I have ever seen in my life.  Instead of the type that we normally get at the Catholic League—If you‘re offended, that‘s too bad, you know, we regret it.  The fact of the matter is, I am concerned now about piling on.

Hollywood has a real problem of anti-Catholicism.  It‘s in the movie industry, all right? Do we need to go through this one more time?  I‘m so interested that the sensitivity mavens now are so concerned about anti-Semitism, as they should be.  And they should have hammered Mel Gibson.  But are we just going to leave this on the table, now that there‘s another problem in Hollywood?  How about if they clean up their act toward Catholics?  They...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, I—and I‘ve been saying all along, and I said last year, when we were talking about “The Passion,” that there is anti-Catholicism in movies.  You can look at movies that have been made over the past 30 years.  There is a clear pattern of that.  But also, you got to look at what Mel Gibson said and say, My God—Rabbi Shmuley, let me bring you in here.  Maybe Rabbi Shmuley was right last year, when I was saying you can‘t judge Mel Gibson, you can‘t say he‘s anti-Semitic, well, Rabbi, was I wrong?  Were you right?

RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, HOST, “SHALOM IN THE HOME”:  Well, Joe, it doesn‘t make a difference if Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite because who cares?  He‘s just an individual.  So you have a bigot living out in the Hollywood hills.  It‘s of no consequence to anyone.  The problem is when that bigot begins to lie and defame an entire community.  Hence, I don‘t care what Mel Gibson says when he‘s drunk.  He can say “F-ing Jews” as much as he wants.  When he makes a movie, however, perpetuating the greatest lie ever told, for which millions of Jews throughout history...

SCARBOROUGH:  So you think—you think that what he said when he was drunk proves your point of all last year that he made “The Passion of the Christ” because he hated Jews.

SHMULEY:  No.  “The Passion of the Christ” was made by someone who was bigoted toward Jewry, and his bigoted portrayal of Jews as decides, as perfidious Judases who love money and love killing God—that is very defamatory.

(CROSSTALK)

SHMULEY:  ... for 2,000 years over this, Joe~!

SCARBOROUGH:  So should Hollywood blacklist Gibson?  Should they do everything they can to stand united and make sure that he can‘t make another movie that you would find and others would find anti-Semitic?

SHMULEY:  Not at all.  On the contrary.  I don‘t know why ABC cancels a deal to educate people about the Holocaust.  The Jews should suffer because of Mel Gibson‘s anti-Semitic comments?  That‘s illogical.  On the contrary, we need more education about anti-Semitism, racism and the Holocaust.

What we should really do is say to Mel Gibson that repentance involves three steps.  One is to regret what you did.  The second is to articulate your regret.  He‘s done that.  But the third is action.  You need to do some tangible action to rectify your wrong.  His great wrong was “The Passion of the Christ,” where he lied about Jews killing God.  That‘s a big lie!

So he has to now re-release “The Passion of the Christ” with a great proclamation at the beginning saying that these events that he portrays are not historical, they are not accurate.  Tacitus disagrees.  All the great historians disagree.  And he has to say in the film that this lie has led...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

SHMULEY:  ... to the death of millions of Jews for the past 2,000 years.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to talk...

(CROSSTALK)

SHMULEY:  That would be real penitence!

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi, we‘re going to talk about that in the next block.  But Bill Donahue and Arianna Huffington, I want to give you all the last word,  Bill Donohue, will Hollywood forgive Mel Gibson?

DONOHUE:  There‘ll be a small circle of vindictive people who have hated him because of his movie who won‘t forgive him.  And who gives a damn about those people?  Most Americans in Hollywood and everyplace else are forgiving people.  And the onus is on those people now who say, I didn‘t get enough.  What kind of blood do they want out of this man?

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna Huffington, is Hollywood seeking blood out of this man?

HUFFINGTON:  This is not about vindictiveness.  This is not about blacklisting.  It is about accountability.  This is being held responsible for what you say when you‘re a public figure.  He‘s taken the first step with his second apology.  Let‘s see if he really means it.  Life, I‘m sure, will give him a lot of opportunities to prove if his redemption was real or a PR exercise.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Jill Dobson, if it‘s proven to be real, Hollywood will allow him back into their arms?

DOBSON:  I think he‘ll be in the doghouse for about a year, and then when Hollywood wants to start making money off him again, they‘ll pull him back into the fold.

SCARBOROUGH:  In the end, it‘s all about money.  No doubt about it.

DOBSON:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks a lot.  Thanks so much to my panel.

And still ahead: Mel‘s apology may not be enough for critics of “The Passion of the Christ” like the rabbi, but will Mel‘s rant change the minds of people who defended the movie?  Our “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Showdown” is coming up next.  Plus, Mel now joins Nick Nolte, James Brown and Hugh Grant on the Hollywood walk of shame, his arrest putting police on the defensive about how they really treat the rich and famous.

And later, nature‘s deadly season of lightning strikes, July one of the worst ever.  We‘ll meet a man who survived his terrifying encounter with lightning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In tonight‘s “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY Showdown”: Mel Gibson‘s “Passion of the Christ” raked in over $600 million worldwide, but with Gibson‘s tirade against Jews, many of the film‘s critics feel vindicated after claiming all along that the movie showed Gibson was anti-Semitic.

Well, let‘s bring in Jennifer Giroux, president of Women Influencing the Nation, which also founded the Web site Seethepassion.com, and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, host of “Shalom in the Home” on TLC.

Jennifer Giroux, I defended this guy night after night after night, over—gosh, what was it—three or four months, saying that you couldn‘t tell, Frank Rich couldn‘t tell, and all these other critics, Rabbi Shmuley couldn‘t tell whether Mel Gibson was anti-Semitic or not by looking at this movie.  But it seems like Mel Gibson proved they were right and we were wrong.  Does this guy have a problem, after all, with hating Jews?  And should you now say to the rabbi that he had it right all along?

JENNIFER GIROUX, WOMEN INFLUENCING THE NATION:  No, Joe, I don‘t think so.  And as a matter of fact, I just feel really sad that so many people are just salivating after the guy‘s scalp when he‘s actually in the middle of admitting he‘s in the disease of alcoholism, which I‘ve been a nurse for 20 years and I have seen the devastation that causes to individuals and families.

I think that the important thing to focus on is the movie stands on its own merits.  Anybody who thinks that movie is anti-Semitic has a problem with Christianity.  The most positive thing I‘ve seen today is the thought of Mel Gibson coming together with Jewish leaders because I think there needs to be a mutual healing that goes on here.  They‘ve pounced upon him mercilessly, his family, his life, his kids.  It‘s part of the papers every day, calling him a hate monger.  Nothing he said is defensible.  It is a tragedy that it happened.  But they could both come to the table, discuss.  They could look into his contrite heart, and they, too, could apologize for the wounds that they‘ve caused...

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi Shmuley, is this just a chance to bring both sides together?  Mel apologizes to Jewish leaders, Jewish leaders apologize to Mel, as Jennifer suggests.

SHMULEY:  Well, I take no joy in telling Jennifer after our many debates on your show, Joe, I told you so, but Jennifer, I told you so.  I mean, if that movie wasn‘t the most bigoted portrayal of the ancient Jewish community as money-obsessed, as vengeful, spiteful, murderous bloodthirsty -- I mean, if that‘s not anti-Semitic, then—come on, Jennifer—then the terms have no meaning.  That you can come on this show and make Mel Gibson a victim, his alcoholism leads to anti-Semitism—look, I‘ve treated people with anti-Semitism.  I do a show all about counseling and trying to heal families in crisis because...

(CROSSTALK)

SHMULEY:  Wait, wait.  Jennifer, just one moment please.  Because you drink makes you hate Jews?

GIROUX:  No.

SHMULEY:  What‘s the connection?  His only personal...

GIROUX:  I never said that.

SHMULEY:  God has blessed...

GIROUX:  I never said that.

SHMULEY:  God has blessed Mel Gibson in every possible way.  He has no reason to hate anybody.  He‘s rich.  He‘s good-looking.  He‘s famous.  If anything, he should be the most thankful and grateful man alive.  That he has chosen to hate is truly tragic.

GIROUX:  OK, Rabbi, I did not defend his comments.  Let me make that clear.  And let me just say we‘re playing way past those comments he‘s apologized for.  We‘re talking about the apology.  No apology is good enough for someone like you or those that continue to pounce on him and not realize that this is a man that is in a tragic time in his life.  He needs the prayers and he needs the forgiveness that his movie emulated, which the millions of people who were touched by that movie, I urge to pray for him.  And I know that they will forgive him.

SCARBOROUGH:  Rabbi, are you piling on?

SHMULEY:  On the contrary.  I wrote an article in today‘s “New York Sun,” Joe, where I said clearly that a man‘s apology should not even be examined as to its sincerity.  A man apologizes, you accept it, period.  I accept his apology—half of it.  It‘s not complete.  His apology...

(CROSSTALK)

SHMULEY:  Jennifer—his apology...

(CROSSTALK)

SHMULEY:  Jennifer, just—Jennifer, just one moment, please.  Joe, there have been many anti-Semites in Hollywood.  And this is a free country.  You have a right to dislike whoever you want.  Walt Disney didn‘t apparently like Jews very much.  The difference is, Walt Disney didn‘t make a movie portraying Jews as murderers.  Mel Gibson‘s anti-Semitism led to a worldwide blood libel in a film called “The Passion of the Christ,” and his repentance or apology will not be complete until such time as he takes tangible action to rectify that wrong.  He should re-release the film with a disclaimer at the beginning saying the truth, that all the Jewish leaders...

GIROUX:  Absolutely not, Rabbi!

SHMULEY:  ... he portrays in the film...

SCARBOROUGH:  Jennifer?

(CROSSTALK)

GIROUX:  Rabbi, there was no bloodletting.  There were people that on my Web site you can go read had major conversions of heart.  And the day that Mel Gibson denounces that film, which is true to the Gospels, we will know he has lost all mental capacity!  That is true to the Gospels.  He has apologized.  We all are very sorry those comments were made.  Anti-Semitism is horrible.  Anti-Catholicism is terrible.  We all should work very much towards unity.  But you are piling on, and I urge everybody to pray for Mel Gibson and his family.  And that‘s all I have to say on it.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much.  Jennifer, I appreciate it, as always.  And Rabbi, great to have you here again.

And you know, the part of the story that I just don‘t buy is the part of the story where Gibson is now saying that he was so out of control when he was busted that he doesn‘t remember what he was saying, and he had alcohol—so much alcohol in his system that it turned him into an anti-Semite.

I‘ll tell you what I‘m going to do.  I‘m going to let you be the judge tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m going to—I‘m going to try to get one of our producers to match Gibson drink—actually, there he is right now.  Actually looks like Kennedy Space Center.  I expect those guys to, like, stir up some Tang and drink it.

But I‘m going to—Mike Jarovitz (ph), the guy—wave, Mike.  Mike‘s got a white shirt on.

Now, Gibson was at, like, .12, I think, on the alcohol meter.  And he

said because he was so drunk, that that‘s why he made his anti-Semitic

remarks and lost control and blacked out and couldn‘t remember any of this

stuff.  I just don‘t buy it.  So we‘re going to see Mike Jarovitz tomorrow

night—I know his parents will be proud of him—going to see him

tomorrow night match Gibson drink for drink until he hits a blood alcohol

level of .12.  And then he‘s going to try to explain himself and see what -

you think—you think he‘s going to start ranting against—I think he‘s a Jewish guy.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know, there‘s a lot of self-hating Jews, just like there‘s self-hating Baptists.  Maybe—who knows, maybe Jarovitz‘ll attack the Baptist faith.

We‘ll see you tomorrow night, though.  It‘s going to be very interesting.  Again, that‘s why I think it‘s garbage.  I think Gibson has a real problem with anti-Semitism.  I don‘t think he had enough alcohol to use that as an excuse.  And I think Hollywood‘s going to hold him accountable because of it.  Big shock for me, very disappointed.

Still to come: The police are denying that they treated Mel Gibson like a superstar, so why didn‘t they cuff him, even after he reportedly resisted arrest?  Well, it sounds like one of those Hollywood double standards to me.  We‘ll talk about it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still to come, would you know what to do if a bolt of lightning was headed your way?  Duck?  We‘ll talk to a young man who lived through a terrifying encounter with Mother Nature.  Plus, with a friend like this, who needs enemies?  Why one actress has decided to come close to a serial killer?  What‘s her real motivation?  She‘ll tell us later. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes.  But first, to the growing questions surrounding the arrest of megastar Mel Gibson.  Specifically, did he get special treatment when he was arrested for drunk driving on Friday?  That‘s what investigators in California are trying to figure out, after learning that the original police report on Mel Gibson may have been altered. 

Now, of course, as you know, Mel Gibson has apologized for driving under the influence, but it‘s what happened after the arrest that seems to be causing such a stir a concern today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL GENNACO, LOS ANGELES OFFICE OF INDEPENDENT REVIEW:  Concerns have been raised regarding whether the disclosure and documentation of information surrounding the arrest was consistent with department policies.  As we speak, interviews are taking place that will further illuminate this process. 

The question is whether or not its department policy or in accord with department policy to modify a report in the way in which, apparently, from the information collected to date, this information was modified in this case?

And the answer to that question is:  One, reports are modified all the time.  It‘s a sergeant‘s responsibility to ensure, in reviewing a report, that all of the essential elements are included in the report. 

There is a second question to the question that I cannot answer today, which is, was the modification of this report done in a way so that the disclosure of information to the public would somehow be altered?  And I don‘t have the answer to that question today. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Modification of report, that‘s a nice way to put it.  So did Mel Gibson get preferential treatment from the L.A. sheriff‘s department after his night of heavy drinking and hanging out with hot babes?  And do other celebrities expect star treatment?  Well, of course they do. 

Here now to talk to us about it, Tom O‘Neil from “In Touch Weekly,” the magazine with the exclusive photos of Gibson photographed with women at Malibu Restaurant before he was arrested.  Also with us, celebrity attorney Debra Opri.  And still with us, Jill Dobson from “Us” magazine. 

Tom O‘Neil, did police try to cover up for Mel Gibson? 

TOM O‘NEIL, “IN TOUCH WEEKLY”:  I think it‘s fairly obvious that they did.  Remember what the initial report from the sheriff‘s office was, that this was an arrest “without incident.”  And now we find that it‘s so heinous that it‘s already spawned two apologies.  And this is only going to get worse.

Now, Joe, imagine what‘s around the bend.  This is a good-looking guy, successful, who‘s lived a very private life.  He‘s a super pious Christian.  Now he‘s got an army of tabloid reporters on his neck, going to dig into his past.  I think it‘s inevitable that they‘re going find something, if this guy‘s had a substance abuse problem. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you say it‘s fairly obvious.  How common is it out there in L.A. for these superstars to get, you know, basically treated with a pat on the back and say, “Oh, Mr. So-and-So, don‘t do it again, be careful”? 

O‘NEIL:  Well, there were just reports released tonight that there were two previous incidents on the Pacific Coast Highway with Mel Gibson in the past three years where he was stopped by police for speeding, 20 or 30 miles over the speed limit.  Both times he was just given a pat on the back and let go. 

You can go back to the 1930s, when Clark Gable—and this is just legend.  We don‘t know if it‘s true.  But it‘s believed that he was drunk and killed a pedestrian one night, and it was covered up. 

You can forward all the way to the O.J. Simpson case, where you had poor Nicole Simpson call into police asking for help while she was being beaten, and the cops show up and say, “Hey, it‘s O.J.  Can I have your autograph?”  Look what just happened in the Boy George case.  The cops walked in on Boy George with 13 bags of cocaine.  What did he end up getting stuck with?  The charge that he made a false police report.  Come on.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, unbelievable.  Debra Opri, it sounds like, if you‘re a Hollywood star, you basically have a free ticket to live by rules that other Americans don‘t get to live by.  Is that how it works out there? 

DEBRA OPRI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, greetings from Hollywood.  And it really does not.  If you look at a number of celebrities in recent years, they are so under the microscope, everything comes out in the news in minutes, not hours, not days anymore, in seconds, in minutes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, only if some disgruntled sheriff‘s deputy decides to tell his story, right?  I mean, as long as the cops all keep quiet, and they‘re impressed by the superstar they pulled over, they can let him go.  Nobody says anything.  I mean, come on.  You know that happens all the time. 

OPRI:  No, listen, it‘s one consideration.  My own client, James Brown, was dragged out of his house without the ability to make a few phone calls, or comb his hair, or get dressed.  You had Nick Nolte being arrested in Malibu. 

I think the issue here is not so much preferential treatment, but I think Mel Gibson is very well-known with the sheriff‘s department.  He‘s very well-connected.  And I think these people may or may not have been personal friends who wanted to do him a favor as a personal individual.

If you look at the other celebrities, again, Robert Downey, dragged in front of the cameras, James Brown, Phil Specter, on and on, these people are under glaring lights and there is other people who never make the news... 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I mean, Phil Specter had a dead woman is his foyer and a gun in his hand.  I don‘t know how you don‘t...

OPRI:  You don‘t make excuses, but you know, Joe, if you‘re walking out of a club, inebriated at night, and you‘re arrested, it‘s going to be in the newspapers and it‘s going to be additional explanations.  So do I make excuses for Mel Gibson in any preferential treatment?  I don‘t think this is preferential treatment to a star.  He‘s going to be charged with a DUI, and he‘s going to do the legislative conviction.  But I don‘t think...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  He will now that he‘s been busted, but I will tell you -

and not to borrow from John Edwards—but there are two Americas when it comes to being arrested or let go.  There is celebrities, who are treated one way, and there are stars...

OPRI:  Look at that young Kennedy.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... of many kinds. 

OPRI:  Look at Kennedy in Washington, D.C.  Remember, he was stopped by the police.  It‘s the same instance. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is. 

OPRI:  It‘s a personal relationship between the family or is it just because he‘s a celebrity? 

SCARBOROUGH:  In large part, it‘s because he‘s a celebrity.  These guys come up, pat him on the back, say, “Go home, and kind of laugh at it.

OPRI:  Don‘t agree.  I can‘t agree with you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you don‘t have to agree with me.  I‘ve seen it, not with me in my personal life, but I certainly know of people who are famous who...

OPRI:  I have clients who don‘t get second shakes, so it‘s not across the board. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... sort of get the nod, the wink, and, “Go a little slower.”

Tom, do you agree with me? 

(CROSSTALK)

O‘NEIL:  Of course she‘s wrong.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wronger than anybody who‘s ever been?

O‘NEIL:  She‘s paid by these stars.  She‘s going to say that stuff.  I could tell you...

SCARBOROUGH:  So you‘re saying she‘s been bribed?  So now she‘s in on it, too?

OPRI:  I‘ve heard that before.

O‘NEIL:  No, we know it just in this case alone with Mel Gibson, where standard procedure is, where he should have been handcuffed after he was pulled over, and he wasn‘t.  And what did he end up doing?  Tried to make a flight from this.  Now, what‘s going to happen next is we‘re finding out that, once he got to the police station—these reports are coming out tonight—that he was given such preferential treatment that the officers there, the deputies kept going to his jail cell fawning all over him.  And the fact that this has all been captured on videotapes, this is very embarrassing for the cops. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt, and we‘re going to see it.  Jill Dobson, so you sort of agree with Debra, though, that sometimes they‘re actually more under the microscope because of who they are and the cops don‘t want to be embarrassed like they‘re going to be in this Mel Gibson case?

DOBSON:  Right, I hate to disagree with Debra, because she‘s a very smart woman and she‘ll take me to court, but I have to say, at “Star” magazine, we make a special point to do a lot of in-depth coverage, and we‘re going to cover celebrity court cases.  We‘re going to give you the inside on what happened. 

And the officers know this.  They know that magazines like ours and the newspapers are going to cover what‘s going on.  So they realize that they‘re in the spotlight and they treat these celebrities differently because of that.  Sometimes they choose to make an example out of them.  The prosecutor certainly went after Martha Stewart in that case.  In this case, they thought, “Oh, maybe we‘ll keep this from the media.”  Either way, I think celebrities are treated differently because they‘re celebrities.

SCARBOROUGH:  They are.  And I‘ll tell you what:  There just always has to be one disgruntled young cop or somebody just in the chain that says, “You know what?  I don‘t like Mel Gibson.  I think he‘s anti-Semitic, and I‘m going to release this document to TMZ, or your magazine, you know, or Tom‘s, and all of a sudden we‘re talking about it the next night. 

Hey, thanks a lot.  I greatly appreciate it, Jill.  Thank you, Tom and Debra.  Thank you for being a good sport tonight. 

OPRI:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, special treatment or not?  It‘s apology number two for Mel Gibson, asking to meet with Jewish community leaders to find, in his words, the appropriate path for healing.  But what does his family think?  With us right now, Mel Gibson‘s cousin, Father Steve Gibson. 

Father, thank you so much for being with us. 

FATHER STEVE GIBSON, MEL GIBSON‘S COUSIN:  You‘re welcome.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about Mel‘s apology today and him really reaching out to the Jewish community.  Do you think it proves that he understands he made a terrible mistake and in his heart he wants to make things right? 

GIBSON:  It certainly did to me.  Of course, I haven‘t known Mel that well, just from the short personal conversation with him and from the facts that I‘ve heard.  I was both saddened by what happened, as I think Mel was, and I was rather impressed and encouraged by the apology that I read and heard. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you talk to him, I believe, before “Passion of the Christ” came out.  Obviously, there were a lot of attacks on that movie... 

GIBSON:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... as proof that he was anti-Semitic.  Is your cousin anti-Semitic? 

GIBSON:  No, I would say no. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what did...

GIBSON:  And the reason is, I think that the apology that you heard today was the true Mel Gibson, and I think we need to be open to that.  I would hope that people would be open to accept the forgiveness that he makes as a sincere expression of what he believes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Father Steve Gibson.

GIBSON:  You‘re welcome.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I think they will forgive Mel Gibson in the end.  I certainly think he has a lot of fans out there, regardless of what he said.  Americans love to forgive, and especially love to forgive stars like Mel Gibson. 

Coming up next, (INAUDIBLE) dozen people who have been killed in a deadly string of lightning strikes across America over the past two weeks.  We‘re going to ask one man how he managed to survive his frightening ordeal with lightning. 

And later, a serial killer becomes friends with an unlikely ally:  a British model and actress.  But what‘s she really seeking from that relationship?  We‘re going to ask her, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And nature‘s fury on full display.  Lightning is the number-two weather killer every year, killing more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.  In the month of July alone, 15 people were killed by lightning strikes across America, 14 of them in the last two weeks of the month.  That brings the total to 27 people killed by lightning so far this year.

So what‘s it feel like to survive a lightning strike?  Michael, have you ever been struck by lightning? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I haven‘t actually. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That hasn‘t happened to you, either?  I haven‘t.  We got a guy here tonight who actually has been struck by lightning.  His name is Jason Ward.  He survived a lightning strike less than two weeks ago.  We also have John Jensenius.  He‘s with the National Weather Service, and he‘s their lightning safety expert. 

Let me start with you, Jason.  What happened when you had your brush with lightning? 

JASON WARD, SURVIVED LIGHTNING STRIKE:  Basically, I was working at my job, a job that I‘ve been working for, for the past four years, at a masonry depot in Nurashell (ph), and I was working in a warehouse.  And I had my right-hand holding onto a truck, on the back of a truck, which had a metal lip.  And I was standing on the ground. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, hi, Joe.

WARD:  And the metal lip was—the truck got hit by lightning.  And the lightning went through the metal lip, and I was so happened to be holding a pole, a metal tracking pole that was for the garage, and I was actually the conductor for the lightning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So the lightning just shot right through you, right? 

WARD:  Yes.  So it just—actually, it just...

SCARBOROUGH:  Explain what that feels like.  I‘ve heard some people say that, when lightning comes close, they start to feel sort of all their hair stand on end and then...

WARD:  Actually, it looked like, when I saw my right hand, it looked like my right hand was taking a picture, because I saw my right hand just a bright, white light.  And next thing you know, I was laying on the ground.  I was thrown several feet and just felt like I was on fire.  I actually have the t-shirt from when I got hit, and my shirt was burnt.  And this is my shirt from when I was hit, and I just felt like I was on fire.  And right away...

SCARBOROUGH:  How long did it feel that way? 

WARD:  Oh, for like an hour and a half, two hours, just felt pins and needles in my heart, throughout the rest of my body.  Doctors like—six or seven doctors from the hospital, they came in, and they came up to me, and they told me they were just in amazement.  They just came up to me and they told me that I had a better chance of winning the lottery than still being alive.  They told me I was a miracle child. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what, Jason, let‘s hope lightning does not strike in the same place.  You are a miracle child.

WARD:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘d hold onto that shirt.  That seems to be a lucky shirt for you. 

WARD:  It definitely is.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, John, what‘s going on?  Why have there been so many lightning strikes in the past couple of weeks?  What‘s causing the up tick of all these people dying from lightning storms? 

JOHN JENSENIUS, NOAA LIGHTNING EXPERT:  Well, hi, Joe.  Typically across the United States, we have about 25 million lightning strokes every year, so that‘s quite a few.  I don‘t think the last couple of weeks has really too different.  You know, if we look at what happens across the United States, it‘s really the combination of lightning and people being outside that causes lightning casualties, both deaths and injuries. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Jason tried to seek shelter, but I understand that men get struck by lighting a lot more than women.  Is that because most of us are hard-headed and stay out on the golf course to long or stay out mowing our lawn too long when the clouds start rolling in? 

JENSENIUS:  Well, that certainly could be a part of it.  In terms of risk, I think behavior plays a large part in whether you‘re likely to be struck by lightning, and I do think that men tend to ignore the warning signs that lightning may be nearby.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that and they also don‘t like asking for directions. 

Jason, talk about the impact that it‘s had on you.  Is there any lasting impact from your lightning strike? 

WARD:  Definitely.  There‘s been a major impact.  I mean, these last two weeks have been really tremendous on my life.  I mean, I definitely—

I see life in another perspective.  I mean, I know my life was almost taken from me, so I definitely see life in another, you know, matter.  And I know I have different site effects that I‘m not used to.  I mean, I have trouble with my memory and, you know, I have pins and needles still in my chest, and...

SCARBOROUGH:  Did the doctors say that‘s going to be permanent, or what do they say about your recovery? 

WARD:  Doctors still don‘t know.  I‘m still seeing doctors to this point.  I‘m going to many different neurologists, so...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Jason, good luck with that, and God bless you. 

WARD:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m so glad that you survived and you‘re doing well, and we hope that your continued recovery moves forward.  Jason, thanks a lot.  John, greatly appreciate it. 

WARD:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for “Joe‘s Justice.”  Tonight, a look inside the strange world of a serial killer.  Wayne Adam Ford murdered four women in 1997 and 1998, and he turned himself in.  And this guy had one of the victim‘s breasts in a zip lock bag in his jacket pocket. 

Well, this June, he was convicted on four counts of first-degree murder.  With a rap sheet like this, most women probably wouldn‘t want to go within a mile of this guy.  But his story has a strange twist.

Victoria Redstall, a former spokes model for breast enhancement supplements and other products, has befriended Ford.  Redstall says she‘s making a documentary about Ford, but meanwhile the San Bernardino sheriff‘s office say they‘ve terminated her future visits to Wayne Adam Ford.

You know, this relationship was big news in the “L.A. Times.”  And earlier, I spoke with Victoria, and I asked her why she befriended a serial killer. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VICTORIA REDSTALL, DOCUMENTARY MAKER:  The person he is today is 100 percent opposite to the way he was eight years ago when he committed these heinous crimes.  And he trusts me to get the story out of how much remorse and compassion he feels for the families of the victims. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And a lot of people would be saying that you‘re being manipulated by this guy.  It‘s very easy for him, now that he‘s in jail, to say that he regrets it, but you say, in the “L.A. Times” article, that you would trust Wayne with your life.  Why is that? 

REDSTALL:  Well, I do trust him, because I know the man he is today and I know what led him to do the crimes.  That might have been a little fabricated, but all I‘m saying is I trust him.  I trust that I‘m the only one he would tell anything to regarding my documentary, because there were other people, like (INAUDIBLE) in this article, but there are other people that would want to slant what he says.  And I am not about to slant what he says and what he feels. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The “Times” talks about the irony of a model for breast enhancement pills seeking out a killer with a breast fetish.  What‘s that all about? 

REDSTALL:  I represent many, many companies.  One of them happens to be a natural breast enhancer, and that‘s one of the companies.  And when I meat Mr. Wayne Adam Ford, I didn‘t know that that was the extent of—that he had a breast fetish.  I knew that he dismembered some of his victims.

So what it is, is again slandering the truth and making me look like, oh, I‘ve got to go off to him because he‘s into breasts.  Absolutely not.  I dress very professionally in the jail and in the courtroom, and it‘s just a coincidence that people are going to make up a story about it. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘re going to be talking to her more tomorrow night.  But the question tonight is:  Why would anybody want to develop a relationship with a serial killer?

Let‘s bring in a former FBI profiler, Candice Delong.  Candice, what‘s going on here?  She has one story.  The “L.A. Times” tells a completely different story.  What do you know?

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI AGENT/PROFILER:  Well, it looks to me like she probably believes what she‘s saying.  I think there‘s a lot of attention-seeking here, and she‘s getting it.  Look, we‘re discussing this woman and what she‘s doing with this guy on a national TV show seen by hundreds of thousands of people. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, some women, though, in the past have been attracted to killers.  Some have been attracted to serial killers.  What can you tell us about those type of attractions?  And she claims that‘s not the case here.  There are others behind the scenes, and certainly the “L.A.  Times” suggested today, that would say that‘s actually what‘s going on. 

DELONG:  Well, it very well might be.  It‘s hard to understand why a woman who appears to be competent and have a lot going for her would be attracted to in any way these guys, but we do see it all the time.  It doesn‘t always—and sometimes these women actually go as far—I‘m sure you‘re aware—of marrying these guys.  Of course they know, on an intellectual level, the guy is never getting out. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So why do they do it?  Is it just the attention? 

DELONG:  I think sometimes—well, the only thing I can think of why a woman would want to be involved with a guy who‘s not available is the boundaries of the relationship are kind of already set.  There‘s no risk here, in terms of—you know, normal people out dating are worried, “Am I going to get hurt?  Are my feelings going to get hurt?  Is she going to dump me?  Is he going”—you know, that kind of thing. 

You marry a guy on death row that you can‘t even have conjugal visits with, it‘s all set. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That may be a good deal for my wife.  Thanks a lot, Candice Delong.  Greatly appreciate it.  We‘re going to have more of my interview with Victoria Redstall tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  But first, I want to say a special thanks to a good, good friend of ours and a guy that‘s worked for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY for two years, run it, Matt Sol (ph).  He‘s heading off right now to weekend “Nightly News.”  And that‘s a picture of his beautiful wife, Kelly, and their baby, Hattie Jane (ph).  We certainly wish them the best of luck and want to thank you him for everything he‘s done.

We love you, guys.

Stay where you are.  “MSNBC INVESTIGATES” starts right now.

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

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