updated 8/29/2007 1:04:58 PM ET 2007-08-29T17:04:58

Guests: A.B. Stoddard, Jay Fisher, Robert Weiss, Marti Mackenzie, Yale Galanter, Michelle Sigona

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  “I am not gay.”  Those were the words from “family values” senator Larry Craig in his first public statement about that men‘s room arrest.  The Republican senator, with his wife by his side, said he did nothing wrong in the Minnesota airport bathroom, despite the fact that he pled guilty three weeks ago to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.  Today, “The Idaho Statesman” newspaper cites claims from a man who said he had sex with the senator in a bathroom at Washington‘s Union Station and quotes other men who say they were propositioned by the senator.

These sorts of allegations are nothing new for Craig.  In 1992, he denied rumors of possible misconduct with congressional pages.  Here‘s what he said today in an effort to save his career.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LARRY CRAIG ®, IDAHO:  First, please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho.  I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport.  I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans.  And for that, I apologize.

In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision.  While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.  I did not seek any counsel either from an attorney, staff, friends or family.  That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it.

Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.

Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and I should have told my family and my friends about it.  I wasn‘t eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway because I am not gay.

For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11.  For eight months leading up to June 11, my family and I have been relentlessly and viciously harassed by “The Idaho Statesman.”  If you saw the article today, you know why.

Let me be clear.  I am not gay.  I never have been gay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That, apparently, is context for him deciding to plead guilty.  Now, remember, Craig has pledged his opposition to gay marriage, civil unions.  He voted against allowing gays and lesbians in the military.

Joining me now is A.B. Stoddard from “the Hill.”  A.B., thanks for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

A.B. STODDARD, “THE HILL”:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right, this press conference I don‘t think helped him.

STODDARD:  No.  I think it‘s the opposite.  I wonder who he consulted before this press conference because...

ABRAMS:  Why?  What did you think was particularly problematic about it?

STODDARD:  Well, he came out and made a statement about making a snap judgment and overreacting on June 11.  That‘s actually not when he overacted because he had a long time to think this through, all summer, and he copped a guilty plea on August 1.

And he also said, This failure is something I didn‘t want to talk to about with my friends and my family.  He is admitting that he kept it a secret.  If he was innocent of this, it‘s really hard to believe that Larry Craig wouldn‘t have shared this with his friends and his family, if he was innocent of all of the charges that “The Idaho Statesman” has been investigating all these months.  And they actually didn‘t come up with enough evidence to run a story until another story was published about him being guilty of—pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

STODDARD:  Then he wouldn‘t have pled guilty then.  And so I think that what you‘re seeing is his colleagues are now in a position where they‘re unable to defend him.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what he said—this is the audio that “The Statesman” was able to receive.  This is a tape of a man who says he is certain that it was Senator Larry Craig.  Here‘s what he said.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I—upon walking into Union Station one day, I made eye contact with a well-dressed older gentleman whom I recognized as Senator Craig.  We—after having made eye contact for 30 seconds or so, we began walking towards one of the restrooms in Union Station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How—when you say you recognized him, how are you—how can you be sure that it was him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I have a—I‘ve always been interested in politics, and probably if you—if you showed me pictures of the 100 senators, I could probably name, you know, 75 or 80 of them.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Got to stay away from those political junkies when you‘re hooking up with someone in Union Station, apparently.

(LAUGHTER)

Let me read you this.  And this is his response to “The Idaho Statesman” in May 14 of 2007.  “The gay movement—we know it for what it is—is now aggressive and it‘s liberal and it‘s naming people to try to put them in compromising, difficult situations.”

You know, it seems that he‘s constantly making himself out to be the victim here.

STODDARD:  It‘s true.  And you know, actually, until the incident on June 11, you know, there‘s probably not grounds to go after someone who‘s a closet homosexual who has a private life and might be living a very painful secret.  What happened in that airport changed everything for Larry Craig.  He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, and now he‘s trying to come up with a new strategy, which is to blame the media.

ABRAMS:  And this is nothing new.  I mean, look, this is Larry Craig back in 1982, responding to allegations about misconduct with some of the pages.

STODDARD:  Right.  He...

ABRAMS:  Hang on one second.  Let‘s listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG:  I have always been aggressive and up front with what I believe in.  And when I have people telling me that a whole series of false accusations are made against my character, frankly, it makes me mad as hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I mean, you know, after you‘ve been the subject of all of these inquiries, after you know there‘s a newspaper after you, supposedly, the way you go about putting it behind you is to plead guilty to misconduct in a public bathroom?

STODDARD:  Well, it‘s very bizarre, obviously.  He‘s trying to hide something.  And he said in his statement today that he thought it would kind of make it go away.  I think that‘s—obviously, we all think that‘s naive, and now it‘s out and he‘s done for.  But he was—look, I covered the Senate for many years.  If you‘ve watched Larry Craig, you know he‘s no wilting violet.  This is not a man who, if he used a men‘s room for innocent reasons, like we all do, would ever have let this happen to him.

ABRAMS:  Well, apparently, he‘s got a “wide stance,” is what he says, when he uses the bathroom, and as a result, that‘s why his foot touched the guy in the next—all right.  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  A.B., thanks a lot for coming on.  Appreciate it.

STODDARD:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  I‘m joined now by two of my very favorite people in the business, Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson.  Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming on.  Appreciate it.

Before we talk about what we‘ve just heard, I want to play this piece of sound from Larry Craig on “Meet the Press” back in 1999, talking about Bill Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG:  I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure resolution, and it‘s a slap on the wrist.  It‘s a, Bad boy, Bill Clinton, you‘re a naughty boy.  The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy.  I‘m going to speak out for the citizens in my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  I can‘t listen to that enough!  I can listen to that again and again and again and again!

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Joe Scarborough, I guess the question, though, is—on a somewhat serious note—is you have—you know, you have him out there in 1999, preaching about Bill Clinton being a naughty boy, and you‘ve got these other scandals, it seems, as of late.  You got Vitter.  You got Foley.  And there‘s a lot of talk about hypocrisy, about the fact that you‘ve got these pro-“family values” Republicans being accused or pleading guilty or whatever to things that pro-family people might not do.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “MORNING JOE”:  Yes, but you know, the thing is, looking at that “Meet the Press” clip—I mean, when I first saw it, I looked at it one way.  But you look at it today, and it seems that he may have actually been stimulated by the fact that Bill Clinton was a dirty...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... dirty—I think he said, nasty, naughty boy.  It really is just such a joke.  Here you‘ve got Larry Craig who‘s going out and possibly soliciting gay sex in the Minneapolis airport, and then you have David Vitter, who‘s admitted going after prostitute in Washington D.C.  Before that, of course, Mark Foley going after male House pages.

ABRAMS:  These are your peeps, Joe!

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And also Duke Cunningham, another peep of mine, who actually would go to poker matches and apparently take part in this trading of sex for votes.

And Tucker and I both want to know what kind of job you have to have in Washington, D.C., to have that type of power to be able to trade a vote for sex.

And you know what?  It is—of course, the media is going to be critical and the Democrats are going to be critical.  The biggest problem here is that you‘re going to depress turnout among your conservatives, members of the evangelical base, who feel like saying, You know what?  Enough already.  I don‘t believe you guys anymore.  I have no reason to stand in line and vote for you.

ABRAMS:  But Tucker, your position has long been on these kinds of stories that their personal lives are not our business.  Does this case qualify for that, in your mind, as well?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “TUCKER”:  Let me be clear, Dan.  I am not gay. 

I have never been gay, overreacted and...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You love your wife~~!

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me just say for the record, I am not gay, either.

TUCKER:  Let me—let me put it this way.  Whether he‘s gay or not actually is not our business, and I do think it‘s indefensible that the newspaper in Idaho spent a year interviewing 300 people to answer the question, Is he gay?  That‘s none of your business.  Having sex in a public men‘s room is outrageous.  It‘s also really common.  I‘ve been bothered in men‘s rooms.  I think...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... but have you been bothered in public restrooms, Dan? 

Because I know I haven‘t.

TUCKER:  I have.  I got bothered in Georgetown (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Really?

TUCKER:  ... when I was in high school.  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.

TUCKER:  And let me just say—I think...

TUCKER:  ... people should knock that off.  I‘m not anti-gay in the slightest, but that‘s really common, and the gay rights groups ought to disavow that kind of crap because, you know, that actually does bother people who didn‘t ask for being bothered.  So yes, I think it‘s outrageous that he did that.  And also, this specter of him getting up there and blaming other people is so Clintonian.  You know, if he ju8st said, I‘m not going to talk about it...

ABRAMS:  And—and this notion...

(CROSSTALK)

TUCKER:  ... really crazy.

ABRAMS:  Well, and this notion that he pled guilty, and yet he‘s saying, Oh, you know what?  I never should have done that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it‘s the newspaper‘s fault.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s everyone‘s fault, except his own.  I mean, I‘ve never heard of—I mean, you‘re a U.S. senator, and you‘re thinking you‘re going to make it go away...

SCARBOROUGH:  But hold on a second, though, Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... by pleading guilty after you‘re busted in a public bathroom?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  You have Bill Clinton, who actually went out and did the same exact thing.  He showed defiance.  He said, I did not have sex without woman, Ms. Lewinsky.  And he continued that line not only for months in the press, but then he went before a grand jury and said the same thing.  And it—you know what?  Here‘s the thing.  It worked for Bill Clinton.  His wife went on TV and she blamed, remember, the vast right-wing conspiracy that‘s been trying to take down her husband.

I don‘t dredge this up to knock the Clintons.  That is history, and it‘s a—oh!  It is a nasty part of our history, and I‘m glad it‘s behind us.  I just bring it up to say, you know what?  Deny, deny, deny seems to work.

(CROSSTALK)

TUCKER:  ... in Larry Craig‘s case—I mean, you know, you just watch the press conference, and you see a man who‘s not in possession of himself.  I mean, there‘s something—you know, I‘m not a shrink, but there‘s clearly something wrong with Larry Craig.  He appeared to believe it.  This is a guy who‘s been accused repeatedly over the years of soliciting sex from men in bathrooms.

(LAUGHTER)

TUCKER:  So the chances that he‘s arrested for the same thing accidentally...

(CROSSTALK)

TUCKER:  ... he‘s the unluckiest man and he‘s Job?

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Tucker?

TUCKER:  You know what I mean?  It‘s insane!

SCARBOROUGH:  Was he the guy in Georgetown, Tucker?

(LAUGHTER)

TUCKER:  No, actually.  I got that—my point is—let me just say...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  What did you do, by the way?  What did you do when he did that?  We got to know.

TUCKER:  I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the—you know, and grabbed him, and—and...

ABRAMS:  And did what?

TUCKER:  Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

(LAUGHTER)

TUCKER:  And then the cops came and arrested him.  But let me say, I‘m the least anti-gay right-winger you‘ll ever meet...

(LAUGHTER)

TUCKER:  ... but I do think doing this in men‘s rooms appears to be common.  It‘s totally wrong, and they should knock it off.  I mean that.  I think it‘s—I can‘t bring my son to the men‘s room at the park where he plays soccer because of all these creepy guys hanging around in there.  I actually think it‘s a problem.  I‘m sorry.

ABRAMS:  All right...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no.  That‘s fine.  George Michael didn‘t think it was a problem, though, did he.

TUCKER:  I think it‘s nasty.

ABRAMS:  Gentlemen, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

TUCKER:  I appreciate it.  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, an inside look at men who cruise for men in public bathrooms.  We‘ll talk to a former vice cop about how these undercover busts really work.

And later: Former astronaut Lisa Nowak now preparing an insanity defense in her alleged attack on a romantic rival.  So why are her attorneys denying she was wearing adult diapers?  Wouldn‘t that help her insanity claim?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG:  While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.  I should not have kept this arrest to myself, and I should have told my family and my friends about it.  I wasn‘t eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway because I am not gay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Whether he‘s gay or he‘s not gay, the bottom line is the police report certainly indicate that, according to them, he was cruising—that‘s his mug shot—for me.  And the question is, does this really happen a lot?  Are people—guys cruising for guys in airport bathrooms?

Joined now by Baltimore County sheriff Jay Fisher, former vice squad unit detective, and Robert Weiss, founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute, author of “Cruise Control.”  Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right.  Jay Fisher, let me ask you.  When you were—when, you know, you were doing this stuff, when you were on the vice squad, were you finding that there were a lot of men cruising for men in, like, an airport bathroom?

JAY FISHER, BALTIMORE COUNTY SHERIFF:  Well, I was originally from Baltimore city‘s vice squad, and we worked the various hotels.  We worked the train stations and your Trailways bus stations.  And yes, there were various men that were looking for other men for illicit sexual encounters.

ABRAMS:  Let me read you—let me read you this police report, all right?  “I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position.  Craig would look down at his hands, fidget with his fingers and then look through the crack into my stall again.  Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes.  I was able to see Craig‘s blue eyes as he looked into my stall.  Craig tapped his right foot.  I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.  Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot.  I moved my foot up and down slowly.”

I mean, is there this unspoken code out there?

FISHER:  Absolutely.  There are different unspoken words that these individuals use.  They also, you know, verbalize this, not only unspoken.  So it kind of goes both ways.

ABRAMS:  So there‘s no mistaking.  Let me go to Robert Weiss on this.  Is there any possibilities of misunderstandings when it comes to bathroom trysts?

ROBERT WEISS, SEXUAL RECOVERY INSTITUTE:  You know, Dan, how many folks do you know who‘ve been arrested in restrooms?  I just think it‘s really unusual for somebody to be in a situation like this unless something really happened.  There‘s no question about that.  What‘s sad to me about it is that, you know, this guy hasn‘t—whether he‘s gay or not, he has a problem.  He‘s engaging in illegal behavior in a public place.  That‘s a problem.

ABRAMS:  And the notion, again, that he‘s suggesting, Oh, I just wanted to put this behind me, I may have overreacted, et cetera, by pleading guilty—I mean, you heard Tucker Carlson there saying he thinks that there‘s, quote, “something wrong” with him.  Do you agree with that, that there‘s really a psychological issue here?

WEISS:  Well, you know, you talk about Clinton or George Michael or Foley or other people—men in positions of power who act sexually, and you got to say to yourself, Why would a guy like this do something like this?

ABRAMS:  Why?  Why would he?

WEISS:  So clearly—because he‘s got a compulsive problem, an addictive problem.  He‘s got a history of sexual acting out that‘s documented.  You know, you‘d think that if he—if there was a problem in the ‘80s, he would look back and say, I‘m never going to do that again, and then here he is now.  So this is a problem of addiction, compulsion in the area of sexuality.

ABRAMS:  All right.  So when you‘re doing these stings, Jay, what do you do?  Do you send a cop literally into a bathroom to got sit in a stall and wait for someone to sort of make some motions or some other signals?

FISHER:  Unfortunately, that‘s just about the course of events that do occur.  Actually, we go in there, you know, we‘re versed on the different terminology, different language that these people use, and we just sit and we wait.  It‘s a waiting game.  And normally, what we do is—we‘re not—we just don‘t go from establishment to establishment.  These are from complaints from patrons.  Patrons actually complained about this illicit behavior, and that‘s why we‘re sent into these locations.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Here‘s—this is another piece of sound from an accuser, a man who says that he had sex with Senator Craig in Union Square station, this coming to “The Idaho Statesman.”

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I—upon walking into Union Station one day, I made eye contact with a well-dressed older gentleman whom I recognized as Senator Craig.  We—after having made eye contact for 30 seconds or so, we began walking towards one of the restrooms in Union Station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How—when you say you recognized him, how are you—how can you be sure that it was him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I have a—I‘ve always been interested in politics, and probably if you—if you showed me pictures of the 100 senators, I could probably name, you know, 75 or 80 of them.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s the piece of sound we heard from before.  Robert Weiss, you heard earlier in the press conference the senator say, I‘m not gay, I never have been.  Do you think it‘s possible that he‘s distinguishing between being not gay and a distinction between having engaged in a gay sexual act?

WEISS:  Yes.  I don‘t know what the reason was to come out with that so loudly and strongly.  I mean, sure, you can engage in a sexual act with various people and not necessarily be gay.  Clearly, he has some interest in sexual interactions with men or intense interactions in restrooms.  I mean, that‘s what we know.

But I want to point out, you know, it‘s not a gay issue.  I mean, heterosexual men go to strip clubs and act out sexually in arrestable ways, or they pick up street prostitutes...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... we talked about Senator Vitter before.  I mean, you know, we‘re talking about—but you know, look, the bottom line is this was a criminal case and it was because of conduct in a men‘s bathroom, so that‘s where we are.

All right.  Jay Fisher and Robert Weiss, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

FISHER:  Thank you.

WEISS:  A pleasure.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead: Former astronaut Lisa Nowak is preparing an insanity defense to explain her alleged attack on a romantic rival.  So why is her legal team denying the craziest claim of all, that she was wearing an adult diaper?  We‘ll ask that one to her spokesperson.

But first, a news report that gives a whole new meaning to “the daily grind” up next in “Beat the Press.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up: Over at Fox News, when it‘s controversial, it must be “The New York Times,” even when it‘s not “The New York Times.”  Take a look at the picture over Sean Hannity‘s shoulder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, “HANNITY AND COLMES”:  Christian televangelist Bill Keller has been pulled off the air...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Correct.  But the picture Hannity used was of “The New York Times” executive editor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY:  Christian televangelist Bill Keller has been pulled off...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Bill Keller.  I‘m guessing neither Bill Keller would want to be confused for the other.

Next up: This is what happens when even someone as famous as Matt Lauer gets a chance to meet his idol.  The “Today” show host and golf enthusiast was clearly impressed with Tiger Woods this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, “TODAY” SHOW:  Are you working out that much harder now than you did a few years ago?

TIGER WOODS, CHAMPION GOLFER:  No, I‘m just getting fat.

(LAUGHTER)

LAUER:  No, but (INAUDIBLE) I‘m talking about muscle.

Are you wearing tighter shirts on tour, too?

(CROSSTALK)

LAUER:  See, that‘s the tight shirt I‘m talking about.  Look at this!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Finally, a Sky News reporter covering a Carnival parade in England got a real feel for the atmosphere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You don‘t have to talk about it seriously.  You‘re at Carnival.  Come on, big boy, suck it up.

We want to help—your help in beating the press.  If you see anything amusing, absurd or just right or wrong in the press, please go our Web site, Abramsreport.msnbc.com—not Abramsreport, that‘s the old show, Abrams.msnbc.com.  Please leave us a tip in the box, include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next:  The story of a former astronaut driving cross-country to confront a romantic rival may sound a little crazy, but was Lisa Nowak actually suffering from temporary insanity?  That appears to be her new defense strategy.  Up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MILISSA REHBERGER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m Milissa Rehberger. 

Here is what is happening.  New wild fires broke out in southern Greece where dozens of fires have been raging for days.  It has raised scores of villages.  The death toll climbed today to 64.  And officials say a robotic camera got stuck 10 from the bottom of a whole drilled into the Utah mine where six miners have been trapped by a cave in.  The camera was pulled out.  Officials now hope to lower it through a new hole being drilled into that mine.

Now back to Dan Abrams. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the search for a New Jersey mom who has been missing for more than a week now.  Her husband is in the hospital after allegedly trying to commit suicide.  That‘s coming up.

But first, it sure sounded crazy, and according to court papers, former astronaut Lisa Nowak is preparing an insanity defense.  In February, Nowak confronted a romantic rival at the Orlando airport after driving allegedly hundreds of miles from Houston, wearing diapers to avoid making bathroom stops.  Once she arrived, she stalked and pepper spray Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of a former space shuttle pilot Nowak had been dating.  Police say Nowak had a steel mallet, a knife and a b.b. gun and was wearing a wig, glasses, hat and raincoat.  On Friday after a court hearing, she said this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA NOWAK, FORMER ASTRONAUT ACCUSED OF ASSAULT:  I would like her to know how very sorry I am about having frightened her in any way and about this subsequent public harassment that has beseeched all of us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  In court papers released today, Nowak‘s lawyers say she is preparing an insanity defense, that she suffered from major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, insomnia, and a brief psychotic disorder at the time of the accident. 

My take, the best thing going for her to prove that she was insane is the diapers she reportedly told the officers that she was wearing.  Why would her lawyers be so determined to show that it is not true, calling the allegations the biggest lie in this preposterous tail? 

Joining me now is Marti Mackenzie, a spokesperson for Lisa Nowak‘s defense team and author of the book, “Courting the Media.”  Marti, it seems like the diapers are kind of a good play in proving that she was insane. 

MARTI MACKENZIE:  There are three things that I have to say about that, there is no truth, no motive, and no logic.  It did not happen.  They belonged to her children.  They were toddler size three pull ups and were not used.  She stayed at a motel and stopped for gas.  What happened today Dan was not preparing an insanity defense.  What was filed today was a notice of a right to preserve the option to pursue that defense. 

ABRAMS:  That is such a legal distinction.  That means she is not necessarily going to use an insanity defense, but when you say, we want to keep open the option of using an insanity defense, it is entirely fair to ask, OK, if she is going to use an insanity defense, then what about the diapers?  It sounds like you‘re saying the position remains that the diapers, it wasn‘t true about the diapers in the cross country?

MACKENZIE:  It is a non-issue. 

ABRAMS:  It is a huge issue and love me tell you why.  Because the officer said was, in the back seat of the driver‘s side on the floor board I located there was sitting on the floor board a dark colored garbage back.  Inside the garbage bag, there were three diapers that were rolled up. 

Having changed diapers before, I asked her if they were used in diapers.  She indicated they were.  I asked her where the used diapers came from and she said, she used the diapers in order to pee so she would not have to make as many stops.  I didn‘t make that up.  That‘s just me reading from the police report. 

MACKENZIE:  Well, it‘s an embarrassment that they like to pursue but in fact the defense has a very fine psychologist on board, as an expert, Dr. Pesicoff (ph), who was an expert in the second Andrea Yates trial and it is his examination that would become part of any insanity, temporary insanity defense but as I say, today the statutes in Florida require that her lawyer preserve this option for her by filing this document.  It was actually filed last Wednesday and it was sealed and it was released today, just the notice, not any of the medical documentation.  So it‘s important to clear that up that it was really just a notice to preserve that option. 

YALE GALANTER, FLORIDA DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  What do you make of it?

I agree with you, Dan, I think she ought to admit to diapers and say that was part of the whole insanity deal.  I mean you know under Florida though I‘ve got to say it‘s very difficult to prove an insanity defense.  First of all, the defendant has the burden by clearing convincing evidence to prove that the person who is pursuing the insanity defense did not know right from wrong, she did not know the consequences of her actions.  They would have to prove that when she went up to the victim in this case and sprayed the pepper spray, that she didn‘t know that was against societal standards and against the law.  That is a real uphill burden for the defense.  And that‘s why it‘s not used a whole lot.

ABRAMS:  Susan, I can‘t imagine they‘re actually going to use it, can you?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST:  No, I think it‘s a loser of a defense just because of what Yale is saying.  There‘s a two pronged analysis here.  Either you did not know where you were doing, or you knew what you were doing and did not know it was wrong.  I think the diapers actually count against her because she would be crazier if she did not use diapers and went across country and just urinated on the seat.  To me, it shows a rational mind of someone who did know what they were doing to take the precaution to insulate the seat with the diaper. 

MACKENZIE:  News flash, she was not pulled from an aircraft flying above the car.  She stopped for gas and there‘s a receipt for a motel where she stopped.  Right now, there are two motions to suppress, to suppress the police officers interrogation and all the evidence gathered, which did not include any diapers.  They are not in evidence. 

GALANTER:  Dan, the real problem she has got with the insanity is she had a wig. 

ABRAMS:  Let me be clear, she keeps used in diapers, no matter whose they are—no matter who‘s they are, in her car, right?

MACKENZIE:  Where are they?

ABRAMS:  Are you denying that there were any?

MACKENZIE:  Absolutely.  They were clean pampers them belong to her children in the back.  We need to talk about the two motions to suppress. 

ABRAMS:  I understand that‘s what you want to talk about, but I am now trying to focus on making sure we get the facts straight.  You are saying that the police officer should be brought up on perjury charges for claiming that there were used in diapers in the car. 

MACKENZIE:  They are not in evidence.  We call it a lie.  It is not

true.  The Pampers in the back were Dora the Explorer pull up Pampers used

by her toddler children. 

FILAN:  But if they don‘t exist and you don‘t know anything about them, how do you know they‘re Dora Pampers? 

ABRAMS:  She is saying they were unused is what she‘s saying.

FILAN:  She is saying they do not exist at all. 

ABRAMS:  She is saying they exist, but belong to her children. 

I am going to ask Marti about the media strategy here.  This is Lisa Nowak attacking the media. 

NOWAK:  I have been shocked and overwhelmed at the media coverage.  The invasion of my street with a solid mass of vehicles and reporters for nearly a week while insulting my neighbors with a group interview attends and trashing their lawns, knocking on doors at 4:00 a.m., following my friends and co-workers to their houses, and in general, practicing a tabloid approach to this coverage. 

ABRAMS:  You know Marti she may be right in everything she is saying there, but the point is, should she be saying that?

MACKENZIE:  You know Dan, your producer was very kind to point out to me that you had a satellite outage and a very, very key phrase that she said at the beginning was that the very first beginning of this discussion about the media cover was that the very first thing that happened is that trucks pulled up and put cameras on long arms through her windows to photograph the inside of her house and post it on the web.  That did not make it in the statement because of a satellite outage.  I encouraged Lisa to express this after what she really came to do, which was to apologize for frightening Colleen Shipman.     

ABRAMS:  That should have been you saying that.  Big mistake, Marti. 

MACKENZIE:  I disagree.  It brought tears to my eyes. 

ABRAMS:  I‘m sure it did considering you‘re the one who told her to say it.         

MACKENZIE:  No, I told her to say it to the media.  Because we get so many requests for interviews and we need to put it to rest because she is simply not going to sit down and do interviews.               

ABRAMS:  That‘s fine.  We get it.  Susan Filan, let‘s talk about this effort to exclude the evidence that Marti was mentioning before.  First of ally, the ankle bracelet, they will probably be able to get that off pretty soon, don‘t you think?         

FILAN:  Well here‘s the double edged sword with the ankle bracelet argument.  She wants to say that she was insane then so she doesn‘t get in trouble or go to jail or even have a felony conviction but she‘s well enough now not to have be monitored.  I think a better, wiser course is to say you know I‘ve got some serious mental health issues which will be reflected in my defense so I don‘t mine you monitoring me.

ABRAMS:  What about them?  They do list all of these—it is not just a notice of the possibility that I have got mental issues.  They list all of the mental problems. 

GALANTER:  She has got depression, she lost a lot of weight, obsessive compulsive—none of that has to do with her ability to distinguish right from wrong.  I happen to agree with you, though, she should be off the ankle bracelet.  She is clearly being monitored.  She has a full team of lawyers and her risk of flight and danger to the community is minimal.  You know insanity defenses are always decided by experts.  The defense is going to hire their guns and the prosecution will bring some people in and they will have her examined.  The chance of that actually happening in Orlando is somewhere between slim and none.      

ABRAMS:  I think the exclusion of the evidence unlikely.  I think the ankle bracelet will probably be coming off. 

FILAN:  It‘s an awful quick cure Dan.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right, Yale and Susan, thanks very much and Marti, you are very good at what you do, and thank you for taking the beating on at the show.  We can see why she hired you.  That‘s very much for coming on.  I appreciate it.

Up next, a New Jersey woman is missing after getting in a fight with her husband.  Now he is in hospital after allegedly trying to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a car.  We‘ll have the latest in the case next.

Later, a beauty pageant contestant tries to redeem herself after an embarrassing answer makes her an internet sensation.  But will this second chance, make her tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight new details in the case of a missing New Jersey mother of three.  Liza Murphy was last seen August 19th following an argument with her husband, Joseph, storming out of their house with the clothes on her back, no wallet, no money, no cell phone as far as we know.  Massive searches inside the wooded area around her house have turned up nothing.  Less than a week later, Liza‘s husband and jumped into oncoming traffic, allegedly an effort to kill himself.  Now recovering from a broken pelvis, he is refusing to speak to investigators.  Neighbors describe Joseph Murphy as a nice guy, great dad, great husband.  Liza‘s parents say something else.              

Michelle Sigona of America‘s Most Wanted spoke with Liza‘s parents this morning.

Michelle thanks for coming on the program.  What‘d they have to say?

MICHELLE SIGONA, AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED:  I had a pretty extensive conversation with Liza‘s dad and what he says is that the relationship was strained.  He said behind closed doors, a lot of mental abuse was taking place, not physical abuse, but that he was verbally and mentally abusing Liza.  They had just as in Liza and her three kids had just went down to visit her parents last week for about five days and had to cut the vacation short because the husband, Joseph Murphy, was constantly calling Liza 4, 5, 6 times a day questioning her whereabouts, trying to figure out where she was and creating more stress in an already stressful situation. 

ABRAMS:  Where are three kids right now?

SIGONA:  Right now Dan the three children are with Joseph‘s sister. 

They are with her right now.  They are very closely monitoring the children, making sure they do not watch television, very limited conversations with folks, just really trying to protect them. 

ABRAMS:  Is it clear that he tried to commit suicide? That he ran into oncoming traffic?

SIGONA:  It is very clear.  This man actually ran in front of a bus first.  The bus, thankfully, swerved to miss him.  Then he runs in front of a Lexus and it swerved to miss him.  But then a fire department official vehicle struck him and that is what gave him these critical injuries and that‘s why he‘s in the hospital now. 

ABRAMS:  And real quick, we‘re going to put up our time line here.  Starting on August 19th but let me ask you, on August 20, the police get an anonymous call reporting that she was missing.  Now do they have any sense of where that came from?

SIGONA:  They do believe it came from a friend.  As you know, the husband was the last person to see her around. 

ABRAMS:  Michelle Sigona as always, thanks a lot. 

Up next, will today‘s big loser be a bummed out sumo wrestler in Japan who‘s being slammed in Japan?  Star wars geeks who are feeling blue over a green light saber? Or the miss teen contest and who had a bad day, but is now trying to turn it around?  We will show you her second chance next in winners and losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s winners and losers for this 20th day of august, 2007.  Our first winner, Luke Skywalker, whose original light saber will be on board the space shuttle discovery in October.  Who knew they had room for memorabilia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To Chewbacca will show its.  Luke, it is your destiny. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am not afraid. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You will be. 

ABRAMS:  Our first loser, a Destiny Lewis, whose mug shot may qualify as memorabilia.  Police were on the hunt for her when they realized she was a he, sort of.  Destiny was actually Jimmy, a gender-busting bank robber in the middle of a sex change.  Jimmy was discovered snoozing behind the wheel of his/her Lincoln Navigator.

The second loser, the 26-year- old sumo wrestler.  The grand champion is returning home to his native Mongolia after being diagnosed with depression.  The inactive sumo star causing a major stir in Japan after being spotted playing soccer, but refusing to wrestle.  The 330-pound man is not happy about the controversy.  He is presumably just not happy in general. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I am unhappy.  I am unhappy because I eat. 

ABRAMS:  The second winner, happy and not that residents of Colorado.  The rocky mountain state was just named the fittest in the land.  The always-active residents ranked last in obesity.  On the other end of the spectrum, as close to the U.S. has as to a sumo state, Mississippi where over 30 percent of the population is overweight. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:   am going to eat you.  Get in my belly. 

ABRAMS:  The big loser of the day, the dune buggy driver, who lost control of his vehicle at a Tennessee parade earlier this month, sending frightened people ducking for cover as his buggy crashed and burned into the crowd of spectators.  Incredibly, no major injuries, just cuts and bruises. 

The big winner of the day, Miss Teen South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, who did not let her bruised ego stop her from recovering from an embarrassing live crash and burn after being paraded all over national TV for her beauty pageant stumble.    

LAUREN CAITLIN UPTON:  I believe that our education, such as South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere such as .

ABRAMS:  The 18-year-old turned up on the “Today” show this morning to give it a second shot. 

UPTON:  I believe there should be more emphasis on geography, and our education, so people learn how to read maps better. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yay.  A perfect answer. 

ABRAMS:  The original question posed to Miss Teen South Carolina was, why can‘t 1/5 Americans locate the U.S. on the map?  She explained what was going through her head. 

UPTON:  Right when that question was asked to me, I was in complete shock.  And I was just overwhelmed.  I seriously think I only heard about one or two words of the actual question itself. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You just drew a blank?

UPTON:  Yes.  I misunderstood.  I made a mistake. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We do a live television.  I cannot even count the number of times I have said things, and we have gone to a commercial break, and looked at each other like, what did you just said?  Please do not let it get you down.  Another fact is on You Tube as to be a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it is kind of funny, but it is not all that funny to you. 

UPTON:  No, but looking back on it, I am sitting here laughing at myself.  I am asking myself if that is really me answering that question.  I am not in my actual body. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I give you credit for being here.  You could just go under the covers, but here you are, laughing at yourself.  Good girl, you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, definitely.  But what are your plans? What do you want to do after that pageant?

UPTON:  My goal is to go to a university, major in graphic design, go to L.A., and go into the International Academy of Design Technology and major in special effects.  I will learn to design special effects for movies and television. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have a lot of grit.  Good luck to you.  Thank you for being big enough to laugh at yourself this morning prefer it is hard. 

UPTON:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Lauren, we give you credit for going on the show.  We still prefer our translation, done by our translator. 

UPTON:  I personally believe—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is my message to the American people, specifically those that who live in the United States, maps are important.  You must have a map before you can read one.  In South Africa and Iraq, people use maps to locate where things are.  We must indicate to people where to find things like South Africa, of Iraq, at age on the map, because it is very confusing.  If people in the United States in America, if the education system does not improve, you could end up like me. 

ABRAMS:  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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