updated 8/10/2007 10:21:34 AM ET 2007-08-10T14:21:34

Guests: Jeff Goodell, Bruce Dial, Drew Kesse, Joyce Kesse

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  In the past few minutes, we have gotten a major development in the search for this six missing Utah miners.  You are looking at a live picture of a press conference that has just wrapped up, or is just in the process of wrapping up.

We have just been told that the massive drill working to reach those miners is still about 200 feet from their believed location.  It had been hoped it would reach them at this very hour, but now it will reportedly take at least until sometime early Friday morning.  Their mission, to bore a hole less than three inches wide into the area where the miners are believed to be so that air, a communications device and a camera can get through.  And the hope, of course, is that they are alive.

NBC‘s Jennifer London joins us live now from Huntington, Utah.  All right, Jennifer, so we now know that it‘s going to take a little more time, but they are close, right?

JENNIFER LONDON, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Dan, they are getting close, not as close as they had hoped to be when they held the press conference this morning.  in fact, as you reported, they said, Look, if the drilling continues the way it is now, we will reach these miners, as you said, right about now.  And with the news we are just getting that it will now take until tomorrow morning, it may sound like a setback, but they are saying, Look, the progress is slow but it is steady, and that is really what is important.

And what they‘re doing is they are doing two drilling operations from the ground level down.  They have one smaller drill that is 2.5 inches.  That‘s the size of the hole that they are drilling, and that is for ventilation and to, hopefully, insert some two-way communication devices so they can find out, are there are any signs of life down there?  Have the men survived the initial collapse and being trapped four days buried about 1,500 feet below the surface.

The second drilling that‘s going on is a larger hole.  It‘s about eight-and-a-half feet in size, and that is the whole where they say that they can actually get supplies to these men, if they are, in fact, still alive.  They can bring in food and they can drop in water and air.

And they say that that will be critical because if the men are alive and they get to them and they go through this larger hole and get them those supplies, they can survive for a number of weeks, which is also very important, Dan, because there‘s also the drilling that‘s going on inside the mine itself.  And they‘re using something called the continuous miner that sort of slowly moves through all the debris that has collapsed.

They‘ve got rescue crews going in behind.  Shuttle cars are taking out the coal, bringing in timber and support.  And they say that effort will take at least seven days to actually reach the cavity where the men are located.

ABRAMS:  All right.  And in a moment, I‘m going to ask our team to replay the graphic that was showing, once we can do it full—on the full screen.  But first let me do this.  Let me go through—we‘ve learned the names today of these miners.  We‘ve been showing pictures of them.  I want to go through their names, Jennifer, and I want to then ask you about the reaction, the hope in that community about—about what they‘re going to find down there.  Manuel Sanchez, Carlos Payan, Don Erickson, Luis Hernandez (ph), Kerry Allred, and the final one we don‘t have a picture of is Brandon Phillips (ph).

Jennifer, are the family members of these men gathering around where the rescue is taking place, or are they at a home somewhere together, hoping, praying, getting information?  How is that taking place?

LONDON:  Well, we know from what‘s been told to us at the press conference that they have had two family members of those men that are trapped go up with them on some of the missions.  They‘ve gone below the mine.  They‘ve gone to the aboveground drilling sites.  And they say they‘re doing this because they want those two family members to report back to the other family members, who are sort of sequestered down in the town of Huntington.  And they want those two family members to go and give them a firsthand account of what the rescue operation is like.

As for, are they holding out hope?  Absolutely, Dan.  This town is coming together.  They are very strong—fragile—fragile in the sense of emotional, but they are strong in their determination that they are not going to give up hope and they‘re going to continue to stay optimistic.  The governor was with them today at a special mass that was held, and they had a candlelight vigil last night, and Senator Orrin Hatch made an appearance here today.  So you know, everyone trying to let the family members know that the nation cares, the nation is worried about you, and everyone is pulling for you and the six trapped men.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Jennifer London, thank you very much for that report.  We appreciate it.  We are continuing with this breaking news just coming into us in the last half an hour about exactly how close the rescue efforts are to those miners, 200 feet at this point.  They had hoped to be at the very point where the miners are at this hour.  They have not gotten there yet.  They are hoping to be there by very early on Friday morning.  The rescue efforts are continuing.  They know exactly what they want to achieve in terms of what they want to put into the mine once they get there.

Jeff Goodell‘s the author of “Big Coal: The Dirty Secrets Behind America‘s Energy Future.”  And on the phone is Bruce Dial.  He is a former mine inspector and also a former miner.

Gentlemen, thanks to both of you.  Appreciate it.  All right.  Jeff, this new information that they are 200 feet away, they are not as close as they had hoped to be, is that a setback, or should we be careful in calling it a setback and simply say, Look, things didn‘t move as quickly as they had hoped, that‘s OK?

JEFF GOODELL, AUTHOR, “BIG COAL”:  Yes, I mean, I think that this is pretty much expected.  I don‘t think this is a setback.  I think if you look—if you remember back to the Quecreek mine rescue in 2002, which a lot of people probably recall, when the nine miners got out alive—as they get down to close to the void where they think the guys are, they tend to take it slow.  There‘s—it‘s very tricky.  They‘re also at the end of a long operation.  This is the time when, in the Quecreek mine, for example, there were drill bits breaking and things.  I mean, this is a very stressful time emotionally and very stressful time on the equipment and just a time when they want to be really careful and do this right.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Bruce Dial, look, we‘re just getting another piece of information in to us now, and that is that once they reach the miners—again, assuming that they are alive—that it will take then two hours to get the communication devices to them, once they find them.  Can you explain that to us?

BRUCE DIAL, CERTIFIED MINE SAFETY PROFESSIONAL:  Yes.  The drill steel and the drill bit that is in the hole, drilling the hole down there, has to be removed before they can put the cameras and the microphones and the cables in that same hole.  So it‘s going to take about two hours to get the drill and the drill steel out and insert the camera.

ABRAMS:  Bruce, when you‘re talking about this sort of depth, we‘re talking about, you know, over 1,000 feet from the ground, and you‘re talking about a two-and-a-half-inch hole, can they be that targeted?  Can they know exactly where they are with that specificity?

DIAL:  Well, there—a lot of it is just a well-educated guess, but they do have maps of what the mine has removed.  And they do have the—an area on top that they‘ve determined is right over that area where the men are supposed to be.  So it is a good, educated guess.  But that two-and-a-half-inch drill can wander as—it won‘t go just straight down.  It could wander off in a different direction.  So there—it‘s actually an educated guess that they can drill down to where they think the miners are.

ABRAMS:  Jeff, I‘d assume—again, we‘re talking now 200 feet.  What

how far do they have to be before they might have a sense that the miners were alive?  Meaning is there any way when they‘re 50 feet away that they can send out some sort of sound or something so that the miners can respond or some way to communicate with them before the point that they actually reach them?

GOODELL:  Well, unlikely because, as Bruce explained, you know, the drill bit is in there now, and they have to remove the drill bit to put the microphone down there to really hear anything.  I mean, miners, when they‘re in a situation like this, they‘re trained—one of the things they do—and they‘ll—if they‘re there and if they‘re alive, they‘ll be hearing the drill bit coming down.  They will know that it‘s coming.  And they‘re trained to take a piece of steel or anything and pound on the roof bolts of the mine, the bolts that are screwed into the roof of the mine to keep it—to keep it up—to keep the roof up.  And they pound on that when they think someone may be listening or a drill is approaching or something.

But you know, until they can get a microphone down there, you know, it‘s so deep, I don‘t think there‘s much chance of learning anything until they get through.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me do this.  The Utah mine accident comes really five years after nine miners were rescued from a Pennsylvania coal mine.  Their rescue really captivated the nation.  Many had hand-written off any chance of their survival at the time.  Jeff, how does that case compare to this one?

GOODELL:  Well, I mean, I think that we have to remember that that was

you know, that was talked about as a sort of miracle.  And that may be a bit of a stretch, but it was certainly extraordinarily lucky.  And everything went right and they were able to get those guys out.  They were only under there 77 hours.  It was a much, much simpler rescue operation.  They only had to drill about 240 feet.  Here they‘re going over 1,500 feet.  So you know, they had other problems there with water coming into the mine and things like that but...

ABRAMS:  Well, let me do this.  NBC‘s Stone Phillips had a chance to talk to those miners after their rescue, and they talked about how they managed to stay alive.


STONE PHILLIPS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  How did you guys stay warm?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... huddled tight to one another and used body heat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sitting back to back to each other, you know, backs pressed against each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It definitely did help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We never got warm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hypothermia (INAUDIBLE) there were a lot of guys that were maybe (ph) shaking just like a leaf.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We all—we all were.

PHILLIPS:  Everybody‘s shaking.  No food.



PHILLIPS:  Plenty of water.  I guess you could drink some of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We had drinking water.

PHILLIPS:  Did you have anything that was dry or was everything soaked?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We had got some curtain (INAUDIBLE).  We laid that down for people to lay on.  Yes.  And we got another piece of curtain, and everybody laid down, and then we covered it up just like a blanket.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... you know, so it wouldn‘t be blowing over the top of it and really making you really cold.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) wringing (ph) our socks out (INAUDIBLE) had that much water.  And I mean, we was just wet the whole time, wet and muddy.


ABRAMS:  Bruce Dial, how significant is it that in this case, one of these six miners is part of the rescue team?

GOODELL:  That means that he‘s had a lot more training in how to conduct mine rescues and what to do in a mine rescue situation.  So he‘s going be able to give them a lot of guidance and be able to help them to know what is being done and what they can expect to be done.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Again, we‘ve been covering this breaking news out of Utah, where we have just learned in the last half an hour that the officials there now believe it‘s going to take until early Friday morning for the massive drills that they are working with to actually reach the area where they believe that those miners are.  They had hoped to be there at this hour.  We will continue to follow this story, and of course, keep you updated on it here on MSNBC.

Coming up: Jennifer Kesse has been missing for over a year-and-a-half, but now her photo has started showing up on dating Web sites.  Tonight: Her parents, as you can understand, are furious.  We‘ll talk to them up next.

And later: The Playboy mansion known for its freewheeling parties, but now police are investigating a possible sexual assault at a big party there this weekend with guests like Paris Hilton.  We‘ll take you inside the mansion coming up.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  Orlando police say it‘s the closest to vanishing they‘ve ever seen, 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse missing for a year-and-a-half.  Authorities say this surveillance video is a crucial piece of evidence, a mysterious figure near Jennifer‘s car just days after her disappearance.  Then this past week, photos of her suddenly popped up on two Internet dating Web sites, one for lesbians and the other aimed at for single senior citizens under the profile name Lindaneedslove (ph).  These are the same photos her family posted on their Web site devoted to finding here.

Joining us now from Tampa, Drew and Joyce Kesse, Jennifer‘s parents.  Thank you both very much for coming on the program tonight.  We appreciate it.


ABRAMS:  All right, first of all, let me ask you, how did you find out that someone was posting the very pictures you had put on line on these dating Web sites.

DREW KESSE, MISSING WOMAN‘S FATHER:  A couple of different ways.  Actually, one came through a tip through our tip line, our family tip line that we have.  And another was through—I do a lot of blogging, not physical but doing a lot of reading on blogs, and had picked up on it for the senior dating site and got myself on there to take a look.

ABRAMS:  And it is clear, is it not, that these are the exact same photos, meaning there‘s no additional photos that have been added, these are just the same photos you put up on the Web site devoted to her?

JOYCE KESSE:  Correct.

DREW KESSE:  Correct.  We wish there was a different photo, to be quite honest, but it is the same.

ABRAMS:  And so there‘s nothing to suggest that there could be any clue in this.  This is probably just some prankster or someone who‘s completely insensitive just putting this up there.

JOYCE KESSE:  Well, really, probably someone just really grossly sick and twisted.  You‘re being much more kinder than we are.  But yes, what would possess somebody to do this?  We can‘t even fathom.

ABRAMS:  I mean, putting it—maybe I‘m not quite getting exactly what they‘re doing.  Are they putting it up and suggesting that the person in these pictures wants to meet people and wants to go on dates with the people on these Web sites.


DREW KESSE:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  OK.  All right.  Fair enough.  I accept your correction.  And I think your description is more—far more accurate.  Now, I assume, then, the police are not looking at this as any sort of lead, right?

DREW KESSE:  We are—they are taking a look at it, but it seems just to be someone who, you know, is sick and exploiting our daughter, who was abducted.

ABRAMS:  Are you taking any legal action here?

DREW KESSE:  The legal action—we are speaking with our lawyers. 

We‘re told that the Web world is just like the Wild West and there are different laws.  We‘re looking into possibly copyrighting her.  We have to look at what it is.  But it‘s our understanding, since we put that particular picture on Jennifer‘s Web site for all to use and see, that it is really open domain, that anyone can use it, as long as they are not making money from it.

ABRAMS:  Are there any—let‘s now talk about the investigation here.  Any tips, any leads, anything that has provided you any sense of hope in the last few weeks or months?

JOYCE KESSE:  Well, we continue to have hope because, realistically, it‘s a very active investigation, despite the fact that it is 10-and-a-half months.  And the good news/bad news is that there‘s nothing that indicates Jen‘s has been murdered and there‘s nothing that indicates she‘s alive.  So therefore, in order for us to move forward and help fight for her, we have the hope that she‘s out there and needs to be rescued.  And we will aggressively do what we need to do keep her picture and her story out in the media.

ABRAMS:  Well, I know that‘s why you‘re doing this, and I—we‘ve been—and I will continue to put up the tip line, 1-800-423-TIPS is the phone number.  We‘ve been putting her picture up throughout the segment.  If anyone has seen her, please—please call that number.

Let me just ask you one final legal question.  You say that you‘re going to try and possibly copyright the imagine, et cetera.  Have the two sites that had posted her picture now taken them down?

DREW KESSE:  It is our belief that the lesbian site has come down.  That‘s for sure.  About 3:00 o‘clock, 4:00 o‘clock this afternoon, actually, on the site that remains, the—whoever the person is was actually still conversing.  So they‘re still out there, doing what they do.

ABRAMS:  Wait.  You mean that they have not taken it down yet?


DREW KESSE:  They have not taken it down.

JOYCE KESSE:  Not taken it down.

ABRAMS:  Wow.  You know, on the one hand, I‘m tempted to call them out on this.  On the other hand, I don‘t want to give them any publicity, so I‘m not going to even say the name of the site.  I think...

JOYCE KESSE:  We appreciate that.

ABRAMS:  I think it‘s probably better that way.  But I got tell you

that this is very troubling and I would encourage—they know who they

are.  Please take it down.  It just makes absolutely no sense.  And it is -

it is—I think you used the words correctly.  It‘s an insult.  It‘s outrageous.  It‘s awful.  It‘s cruel.  All right.  Drew and Joyce Kesse, thank you very much for coming on.

DREW KESSE:  Thank you.

JOYCE KESSE:  Thank you.  Appreciate it.

DREW KESSE:  Appreciate it.

ABRAMS:  Again, you saw the number on the screen.  Please call.  All right.

Coming up, two arrests, including a 15-year-old, in connection with the execution-style killing of three New Jersey students.  One of the suspects personally turned himself in to the Newark mayor today.  We‘ll have an update.

But first: How many Fox employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  Fox‘s dark hour is next in “Beat the Press.”


ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up: As a fellow reporter, this really isn‘t funny.  I just don‘t understand how CBS put national security correspondent David Martin in this position.


KATIE COURIC, “CBS EVENING NEWS”:  The clock is ticking in terms of how the surge is working.  The president really is under the gun right now, isn‘t he.



ABRAMS:  The guy‘s got no voice!  That‘s happened to all of us, but how did he end up in the chair on camera?  Good for him for giving it his best, but how did he get there?

Next up, another segment that did not go as planned over on Fox.  During a discussion about relationships and dealing with an ex, they had a little technical problem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What about ex‘s?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Talking about your ex too much?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Having a relationship with your ex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Still dating your ex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh!  See?  Somebody‘s so upset, the lights have gone off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We can still do this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s a huge amount of...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now we can say anything we want...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re going to take a quick break.  Hold on...


ABRAMS:  Oops.  Hey, they dealt with it pretty well.

Finally, our old pal and former NYPD detective Bo Dietl offers his thoughts on who should be profiled.


BO DIETL, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE:  We have to be able to profile.  And I‘m sorry, if I see two guys that look like abba dabba do and abba dabba da, I‘m going to pull them over, and I want to find out what you‘re doing.


ABRAMS:  Abba dabba do and abba dabba da.  We believe we have found surveillance pictures of the very men Bo was talking about.  Look out, guys.  There they are.  Next time you drive to the Bedrock Quarry, you could be pulled over.  We love Bo!

And we want your help beating the press.  If you see anything amusing, absurd or just right or wrong in the press, go to our Web site, Abrams.msnbc.com, leave us a tip in the tip box.  Please include the show, the time you saw the item.

Coming up: Los Angeles police investigating a possible sexual assault inside the Playboy mansion.  It was during a big celeb-packed party this weekend.  We have got the latest.

Plus: They‘re calling it “punked at the drive-through,” fast food workers getting drinks and other things thrown in their face, then the pranksters post it on line.  We‘ll tell you about a new effort tonight to stop that, coming up.



ABRAMS:  Coming up, YouTube cracks down on online videos of fast food workers getting attacked by drive-thru customers.  We‘ll have that in a moment. 

But first, a major and bizarre break in the Newark, New Jersey, execution-style shooting, where four college-bound students were forced to kneel against a wall before being shot in the back of the head.  Today this man, Jose Carranza, turned himself in, but not to police.  He surrendered directly and personally to Newark Mayor Cory Booker. 


CORY BOOKER, MAYOR OF NEWARK:  Mr. Montalvo walked in, walked right up to me, and said he would like to turn himself into me.  I put my hand on the individual.  We turned him around.  We put him in handcuffs and, again, took him to the offices of the...


ABRAMS:  Three are dead, one survived and is in a Newark hospital, under 24-hour watch by Newark police fearing for her safety.  From her hospital bed, she explained what happened behind that school Saturday night and identified a 15-year-old as an accomplice.  He was arrested last night.

“America‘s Most Wanted‘s” Jon Leiberman joins us now.  Jon, thanks for coming on.  We appreciate it.  All right, so do we know anything more about the motive for an execution-style killing of college students? 

JON LEIBERMAN, CORRESPONDENT, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”:  Unfortunately, at this point, Dan, it looks like simple robbery was the motive.  And let me tell you about this 28-year-old suspect before people think, “Oh, what a great guy, he turned himself in.”  This guy was out on $150,000 bail.  He‘s accused of raping a 5-year-old child.  That‘s his previous charge, and he was expected to be in court next week on this charge.  So my gut feeling tells me he knew police had his fingerprints at this execution-style murder scene, and so he, looking ahead, he thought, “Let me turn myself in.  Let me do it publicly and hopefully down the road a judge will look at that and say, well, maybe we should give this guy a bit of a break.” 

ABRAMS:  And you say that there‘s no sense a motive apart from robbery.  But then why line them up against a wall, make them kneel, and shoot them in the back of the head? 

LEIBERMAN:  That‘s what makes this so disgusting, Dan, the fact that you have a 15-year-old involved in this sort of heinous crime.  And at this point, police are trying to find out, was this a gang issue?  You know, did this 15-year-old and this 28-year-old, the two who were arrested, are they part of a gang?  They just don‘t know at this point.  What we know is, it started as a robbery.  The kids knew that they were going get robbed.  They were text-messaging each other saying, “We‘ve got to get out of here.”  They probably fought back a little bit, and it escalated to this horrible execution-style murder. 

ABRAMS:  Real quick, John, so this guy turns himself in.  You‘re saying we don‘t give him any credit.  I don‘t think anyone was giving any credit.  But why did he turn himself into the mayor himself? 

LEIBERMAN:  Well, that‘s a great question.  And our best guess is, look, to do it publicly so everybody knew he was going to do it, so then he and his attorney can go to a judge down the road and say, “Judge, they didn‘t have to find me.  I turned myself in.”  He wanted to do it publicly.  Perhaps maybe this guy got a conscience.  Maybe he was doped up at the scene of the crime, woke up, realized what he did.  I don‘t buy that, but maybe he did it because he finally felt some sort of compassion for these victims, but I doubt it.

ABRAMS:  Jon Leiberman, thanks a lot.  As always, appreciate it. 

LEIBERMAN:  You‘ve got it, Dan.

ABRAMS:  The LAPD is investigating a possible sexual assault this weekend at the Playboy Mansion, home of hedonism and Hugh Hefner.  The alleged assault during a pajama party on Saturday hosted by Hef and attended by hundreds of people, including Paris Hilton.  Police aren‘t giving details.  Playboy Enterprises is downplaying it, saying that a minor incident was reported at the party involving a woman hired to work as a server and her ex-boyfriend.  They say he had an invite to the party, was escorted off the grounds by security. 

Interesting.  We‘ve talked to a number of people who were at the party.  They won‘t come on to talk about it.  After all, you cross the folks at Playboy, you can kiss your mansion invites good-bye.  But we did find someone who knows the Playboy parties well.  Before we talk to her, Rita Cosby gives us this rare inside look at the mansion. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Welcome to the Playboy Mansion.

RITA COSBY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  How wild is life at the Playboy Mansion?

HUGH HEFNER, “PLAYBOY” FOUNDER:  Well, what you see is pretty much what you get.  I mean, my life is, as I‘ve said before, an open book with illustrations.  On many levels, I know, you know, I‘m a very lucky guy.  It‘s a fantasy life.

I‘m a kid who grew up in a very typical Midwestern Methodist home without a lot of hugs and kisses.  And I think that I escaped into dreams early on that came out of the movies and the music of my childhood.  And I think my life itself is an expression of those fantasies.  And I think the fact that I share them with a lot of other people is why “Playboy” has been so successful.

COSBY:  I see upstairs there is a portrait of Hef, the man of the house? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  Big brother is watching you. 

COSBY:  What‘s upstairs? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That‘s where our bedrooms are, so it‘s not really open to the public.  Down at the other wing of the house is actually some offices where Hef works, so he just has to walk down the hall to get a good day‘s work in. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This five dollar bill here has a story with it.  Hef used to work at “Esquire” magazine, and he asked for a five-dollar raise, and they told him no, so he quit.  And he started “Playboy.”  And on the 25th anniversary of “Playboy,” his boss from “Esquire” came and he came a five-dollar bill and said he could come back to work anytime.

COSBY:  What year was that, that he asked for the five-dollar raise? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, I‘m not sure the exact year, but it was definitely pre-1953. 

COSBY:  And obviously he‘s making a lot more than five bucks an hour.


COSBY:  This is the grotto, the famous grotto. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, this is our pool.  And inside that cave right there is the grotto, with all the hot tubs and everything.

COSBY:  What‘s in there, there‘s Jacuzzis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  There‘s, like, three or four different Jacuzzi areas.  And then the pool water goes in there, and you can swim through the waterfall into it.  There‘s a little cave that goes out the back way.

COSBY:  And is it sort of whatever happens in the grotto stays in the grotto?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, we like to keep it that way.



ABRAMS:  That was from 2005.  Joining me is Jennifer Saginor.  She grew up inside the Playboy Mansion and is the author of the book, “Playground.”  And on the phone, two frequent guests at the Playboy Mansion, the Barbie twins, Shane and Sia Barbie. 

Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right, real quick, Shane or Sia, whichever one of you want to take this, I understand that you all have some new information from the Playboy side as to what happened? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, now, mind you I did not go up there that night.  It was the first Midsummer Night Party that we didn‘t attend.  I was up there a week before, but I had heard this story from everyone, how it was blown out of proportion.  And the only reason why I‘m coming forward is I wanted to say this is one of the safest places that celebrities feel to go to party and let their hair down.  So it was just a very unfortunate, isolated situation. 

ABRAMS:  What happened, though?  What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK, this is what happened, real quickly in a nutshell.  A girl was there, one of the nude models that are painted, their clothes are painted on.  I guess her ex-boyfriend was there, and she had a restraining order on him, so she asked security to have him removed. 

Now, when you go out there, you‘ve got to be someone or someone‘s guest.  It‘s difficult to get in because of security.  So they went up to him and they said, “This girl wants you to be removed.  She has a restraining order.”  Well, somehow he proved to them that the restraining order was expired, so they went back, security went back to the girl and said, “I am so sorry.  The restraining order was expired.  The only thing that you can do is just a straight-up report.”  I guess he grabbed her arm, she claims.  But no one ever saw something really huge or a sexual assault.  She just, I guess, feared this guy, and it just kind of blew out of proportion. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Jennifer, look, you grew up there.  I do picture it being a sort of to be a safe place with enormous amount of security there.  Is it?

JENNIFER SAGINOR, LIVED AT PLAYBOY MANSION:  Which era are we talking about? 

ABRAMS:  Now. 

SAGINOR:  Oh, now there is a lot of security, because there has been quite a few incidents that have happened there, and so there is a great deal of security.  And it‘s really hard to pin it on someone like Hefner, when he‘s inviting people to his house, kind of like—in my book, I refer to like this underage affair that I had with his girlfriend, but it really doesn‘t really have anything to do with him.  You know, it just—it was on his property, you know, and it just happened to be his girlfriend.  So I mean, just like this situation, it‘s just someone is serving drinks, and she‘s naked, and she has paint all over her instead of clothes, and, you know, basically it‘s not his fault that he allowed some guy to come to the party.  It has nothing really to do with him.

ABRAMS:  But you talk about security now being pretty tight.  I mean, what does that mean?  I mean, when someone goes there for an event, it‘s really hard to even get near the property. 

SAGINOR:  It‘s hard to get near the property.  It‘s hard to get—you know, sometimes—you can‘t lock certain rooms anymore.  And I mean, everyone still jumps in the pool naked and has fun, because it‘s still a hedonistic environment.

ABRAMS:  Well, thank goodness for that. 

SAGINOR:  Yes, I mean, you know, that‘s why everyone wants to go, of course.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They do background checks.  They are really—they look you up and down, and they‘ve actually turned down a ton of people. 

SAGINOR:  Right, and this girl was obviously hot or else she wouldn‘t have been there.  And, you know, the other thing is that it really has nothing to do with Hefner that this guy had a restraining order.  I mean, he can‘t find that out really.

ABRAMS:  But what do you think about the fact that all the people who were at the party won‘t come on the show now to talk about it?  I mean, is that a sort of tacit agreement, an implicit deal you make with the Playboy Mansion?  You go to the party, you don‘t talk about it? 

SAGINOR:  I don‘t know.  I grew up there, and I talk about it.  So, you know, I mean, don‘t ask me because my situation was different.  My father was his best friend and in-house doctor, and so that‘s what the book is sort of about, all this underage sex and drugs at the mansion in the ‘80s up until the present day. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right, Jennifer, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.  And the Barbie twins, thank you for giving us that update.  Thanks a lot.

Coming up, a new effort tonight to stop online videos of fast food workers attacked in malicious pranks, as teenage customers throw drinks and sometimes worse at employees. 

And later, a quick-thinking convenience store clerk turns the tables on an armed robber.  The clerk joins us to talk about the amazing incident where he takes the guy‘s gun, coming up.


ABRAMS:  In Illinois today at a monster truck show, a truck veered out of control in a crowd of spectators.  After crushing four cars at the stunt show, the truck lost its balance, plowed into the nearly 100 spectators watching the event.  At least nine were injured, including a mother with four children.  All are described to me in fair condition.  They are, of course, called monster trucks for a reason, huge, custom-built machines designed with size in mind, impressing huge crowds with just what they can drive over.  MSNBC‘s documentary unit took a look at these monster trucks. 


JOHN SEIGENTHALER, MSNBC HOST (voice-over):  The construction of the trucks is fairly simple.  Think of a normal truck on steroids. 

DENNIS ANDERSON, MONSTER TRUCK DRIVER:  This is a Linko transmission (ph).  They use these like in top fuel dragsters and stuff like that.  In any stunt vehicle, this thing would last 100 years.  In a monster truck, you‘re lucky if it will last four weeks. 

SEIGENTHALER:  The engine that generates power for these five-ton titans costs $30,000. 

ANDERSON:  This is a power plant for a monster truck.  It‘s 540 cubic inches.  A normal engine would be like say like a 5.0.  You know, you hear that in a Mustang or something like that.  Well, that‘s a 302 cubic inch. 

SEIGENTHALER:  The enormous size of the engine helps these monsters fly. 

ANDERSON:  The horsepower is anywhere from 1,400 to 1,500 horsepower.  A normal car has got anywhere from 250 horsepower to, you know, 350 horsepower. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Monster trucks run on methanol alcohol, pure explosive fuel.  Steering the oversized tires on a monster truck can be a minor calamity, but with new technology, using hydraulics... 

ANDERSON:  You can make this thing steer so fast and so quick that it‘s uncontrollable at high speeds. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Of course given the extraordinary flying feats, the shocks are gigantic. 

ANDERSON:  These are monster truck shocks.  This would be like a stock shock on a vehicle.  You can‘t get the shocks too stiff, because it will kill you in the truck.  I mean, it will actually hurt your back, and I have done that.

SEIGENTHALER:  And the most visible aspect of a monster truck, the huge tires.

ANDERSON:  The tires we use on a monster truck, they were created for fertilizer rigs and for some farm implements used in some of the lower grounds out on the East Coast and down south.  And then we cut the tire, slice the tire to get a better bite with it.  OK, we‘ll end up—the tire will start out at 880 pounds.  When we get done whittling and nibbling on the tire, we‘ll have the tires weighing anywhere from 620 to 660 pounds a piece with a light-weight rim.


ABRAMS:  Obviously none of the people involved in that tape piece were involved in the accident today. 

Now to a fast food prank that‘s becoming a lot more sinister, driver‘s pulling up to the window, take their order.  They throw their drinks back at the workers or something else, often shouting, “Fire in the hole,” a military term used just before someone launches a grenade.  The Internet is flooded with video like this. 

They‘re laughing.  It‘s not funny.  NBC‘s Pete Williams has more on it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One, two, three, fire in the hole!

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Hundreds of Internet videos show variations on the same act, buying drinks at drive-up windows, then throwing them back in the faces of restaurant employees. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fire in the hole!

WILLIAMS:  The video makers borrow a military warning shouted before explosives are set off, “Fire in the hole.”  But police say some attacks seem more serious, like this one last weekend in suburban Pittsburgh.  They believe something was added to the drink that burned the eyes of the employee who was hit. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As soon as it hit my face, my eyes were burning, so I take off my hat, and I‘m wiping off my eyes with my sleeves. 

WILLIAMS:  Jessica Ceponis, a single mother in Florida, works at Taco Bell to help support her 4-year-old son.  She was attacked just last month and says it was frightening and demeaning. 

JESSICA CEPONIS, DRIVE-THRU PRANK VICTIM:  I‘m not an object to be mistreated or anything like that.  I‘m a human being.  And I deserve the same respect that everybody else does. 

WILLIAMS:  YouTube, where many similar videos are posted, said in a statement that it bans what it calls real violence and that any video showing someone getting hurt, attacked and humiliated would be removed. 

Police say that young man in Pennsylvania whose eyes were burning is fine now, but it turns out that the driver who threw that drink is featured in another video from a security camera.  It shows his pick-up truck and even catches a glimpse of his shirt, valuable leads for investigators. 

PFC. WILLIAM SOMBO, N. HUNTINGDON POLICE:  It‘s a prank, and it‘s a prank that‘s going to get somebody hurt.  And that‘s what we don‘t want.

WILLIAMS:  At least one video shows the prank backfiring, with a drink thrown back in the lap of a driver who can‘t get away quickly enough.  As for the others, fast food restaurants say they‘re helping the police and hoping this is one video fad that won‘t last. 

Pete Williams, NBC News, Washington. 


ABRAMS:  The incident in the Subway shop was one of a string of drive-thru pranks near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  North Huntington police just got word of a fourth incident that happened on Friday.  Taco Bell has been hit twice.  Someone through a soda at a Wendy‘s employee last week.  A hot sauce-laced drink burned the eyes of a Subway employee a few days later.  Police are closing in, they say, on some of these pranksters. 

Joining me now on the phone is Patrolman First Class William Sombo from the North Huntington Police Department. 

Thanks a lot for taking the time.  You guys are taking this pretty seriously, huh?

SOMBO:  Yes, we are.

ABRAMS:  And what are you doing to try and catch these guys? 

SOMBO:  Well, we‘re relying on the media a lot right now to gain a lot of the tips that we have.  And we‘ve successfully came across a lot of good leads.  We actually have a sample t-shirt that was used.  It‘s (INAUDIBLE) basketball association.  The “N” and the “A” that was the information was given out on the “N” and the “A,” it came back that it turned out to be a New Orleans basketball association t-shirt, with a lower circle that was under the “A,” which has helped us narrow the search down. 

ABRAMS:  And you think you may—I mean, are we close here? 

SOMBO:  Oh, yes, we‘re very close. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, Patrolman, let us know when you get these guys.  I‘m sure we‘ll hear about it.  They‘re laughing.  They think it‘s hilarious.  But I think when you see some of the people involved and what they do every day trying to make a little bit of extra money or to support their families, it‘s just not very funny. 

SOMBO:  No, it isn‘t. 

ABRAMS:  Thanks a lot for taking the time.

If you‘ve got any information on the case, call the North Huntington police, 724-863-8800. 

Coming up, a look at the day‘s “Winners and Losers,” including a big lobster possibly spared from the boiling pot, a guy‘s whose catch of the day could earn him big bucks, and man making his own records tonight for being, well, really big.  But who is today‘s big winner?  Coming up.



ABRAMS (voice-over):  Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 9th day of August 2007.  Our first winner, Andre the giant lobster, who at 17 pounds is a local star at a Vermont supermarket.  Customers are hoping the 130-year-old larger-than-life crustacean will be donated to an aquarium, not boiled. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It would be like boiling my great-grandfather. 

ABRAMS:  Our first loser, Hollywood.  Classic movie fans are boiling mad after several larger-than-life old-time stars, including Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Frank Sinatra, have had their stars removed from the Walk of Fame.  Construction workers pulled the total of 61 to make room for shops, condos and hotels. 

The second loser, single men.  A noted psychiatrist says women feel safer socializing with married men. 



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You think that‘s going to stop him from hitting on her?  It‘s not at all.

ABRAMS:  The second winner, Leonid Stadnik, a bachelor who‘d make any woman feel safe.  At eight-foot-five-inches tall, the 37-year-old Ukrainian veterinarian is now the tallest living person according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 

But the big winner of the day, Matt Murphy, who became a part of history by catching Barry Bonds‘ record-breaking homerun ball on Tuesday.  The 22-year-old had to be escorted to safety by police after the sticky-fingered Mets fan snagged the $500,000 souvenir. 

MATT MURPHY, GOT BARRY BONDS‘ HOMERUN BASEBALL:  Part of me might want to sell it. 

ABRAMS:  The big loser of the day, a masked moron in New York whose slippery fingers helped get him a police escort.  The thief robbed a convenience store on Tuesday, raced out with the look, and the returned because, yes, you can see it, the clerk had taken his gun. 

HAFIZ J. ALAM, BRAVE STORE CLERK:  After he said, “Give me my gun back,” I said, “No.”  I said, “You mother(bleep) scumbag.  I‘m going to take your head off.”


ABRAMS:  Here now the big winner from that botched robbery, the brave store clerk with the bad mouth, Hafiz Alam.  Hafiz, thanks a lot for taking the time.  Appreciate it.

ALAM:  Thank you, thank you.

ABRAMS:  All right, so tell me what happens.  This guy walks in with a gun, and he says, “Give me the money,” and apparently you‘re laughing? 

ALAM:  Yes, I was laughing.  I was taking time, and I was slowly coming to the counter.  I went to the register and opened the register, and he was loading the bullets.  And he said, “Do you think it‘s funny?”  And I said, “No, I‘m not thinking it‘s funny, but I‘m giving you money.  Let‘s take it easy.  It takes time to get the money.”  So I opened the register.  I gave it him slow by slowly money, and I was looking for the chance to do something.  And he was giving me time.  He was giving time.  So I was OK.  I mean, like, he was rushing, but what I was doing slow by slowly, and I give him (INAUDIBLE) first 20, 10s, fives, singles, that way, and I get the chance.  I got the chance, and I took the guns.  And that‘s how it is, yes.

ABRAMS:  So, Hafiz, you take his gun.  And we see it on the surveillance video.  You take it off the counter, and then he runs out, but, what, then he runs back to come try and retrieve his gun from you? 

ALAM:  Yes, I never thought about it.  I never seen that kind of situation, even though what I take, that situation, I never see him.  But I never see him also that kind of situation that he—I took the gun, he robbing me, and he left.  And he came back. 

So I‘m in like—I never thought he was going to come back, because

he‘s on a camera, and I got the gun.  He don‘t have nothing.  So when like

I wasn‘t thinking he was going to come back.  So when I had the guns, I was looking for the phone to call the cops, and he was watching from me—watching me and from outside, which is outside was dark.  Inside was bright.  So I can see outside too good, but he was tricky.  He was sitting and kind of...

ABRAMS:  He messed with the wrong clerk, Hafiz.  I‘m glad to see you‘re OK.  And thanks for taking the time.  Appreciate it.

ALAM:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Got to go tonight.  See you tomorrow.



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