updated 11/13/2007 12:56:09 PM ET 2007-11-13T17:56:09

Guests: Sascha Burns, Peter Beinart, Jennifer Brandt, Pam Bondi, Larry Kobilinsky, Nicole DeBorde, Michelle Sigona, Pam Bosco, Alison Kartevold, Mike Elliott

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Hillary Clinton‘s on the defensive tonight after her campaign admits they planted a question in a recent talk with voters in Iowa.  The college student who asked it says she was encouraged by a Clinton staffer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURIEL GALLO-CHASANOFF, GRINNELL COLLEGE STUDENT:  As a young person, I‘m worried about the long-term effects of global warming.  How do you plan to combat climate change?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, you should be

worried.  And you know, I find as I travel around Iowa, that it‘s usually -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK, now watch, the wink apparently when the voter hands the -

oh, the mike over.  There it is.  I don‘t know what that means.  But everyone is talking about that wink.  Clinton now says that she didn‘t know about it, that her campaign did not approve of this and that it won‘t happen again.  Combined with her performance at the most recent debate, many now asking what this reflects cracks in the Clinton campaign.  You got to wonder, does it really matter if someone on her staff did or didn‘t encourage someone to ask a particular question?  Sascha Burns, Democratic strategist tell me why this matters?

SASCHA BURNS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  I guess I‘m glad you didn‘t

mention me on this show before -

ABRAMS:  I kept you out of the porn discussion.

BURNS:  I appreciate that.  My grandmother‘s watching.  Is it a big

deal in reality?  No, because it happens all the time, including at White

House press conferences.  The problem now is perception because

presidential campaigns are run on perception, not reality.  And there is a

I would say, an unfounded preconceived notion among many that the Clinton team, the Clinton campaign, they are scheming, untrustworthy, manipulative.  And so I think when you have something like this, it just fits in that mold of what people already think.  It‘s a lot harder to dispel an idea that somebody‘s not trustworthy than to manage you don‘t have enough experience or age or that sort of thing.

ABRAMS:  But Pat, Pat Buchanan doesn‘t - I mean, correct me if I‘m wrong, but didn‘t this happen all the time?  I don‘t know if it still does happen all the time.  But I don‘t know, this doesn‘t come as that much of a surprise to me.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, it‘s not a surprise to me.  Dan, look, if Hillary Clinton is out there and she‘s got a strong position on global warming which is important to Democrats and the polls show people don‘t know where she stands, I can understand where she‘d say get me some questions on, this I want to get my position out on this issue.  I don‘t have a real problem with this.  But there‘s no doubt I agree with Sascha that she‘s in a slump, Dan.  And she‘s almost snakebite.  The flags fell on her today and she had the bad debate and when she speaks, as she did in that big forum, the voice goes up in that forum.  So, she‘s had a rough two weeks and Obama‘s coming on and he‘s on a roll.

ABRAMS:  All right, but Peter Beinart, before I am, from “The New Republic,” before I show what Barack Obama had to say about this, this weekend—he‘s definitely trying to capitalize on this - I mean, like - isn‘t it a political reality that this matters?

PETER BEINART, THE NEW REPUBLIC:  It‘s a political reality that it matters for the moment.  But I think one has to step back and have a little perspective.  Hillary, it was inevitable that the press was so desperate for this to be a horse race that it was virtually inevitable that the press would try to find some storyline to suggest that this race is tightening.  And you know what?  It was destined to tighten.

ABRAMS:  Are you telling Peter that if Chris Dodd was doing this, that the press wouldn‘t be reporting on him planting the question?  Of course it would.

BEINART:  Look, Pat Buchanan you could do worse than this before he had to brush his teeth in the morning when he worked for Richard Nixon.  I mean, this is really low scale stuff.  You want to talk about tough politics.  The big question is Hillary Clinton is not going to lose the election because of this kind of thing.  The key thing for her is to convince Democrats that she wants out of Iraq as much as Barack Obama does.  If she can continue to do that, she‘s fine.

ABRAMS:  Yes, but if - and let me play this Barack Obama piece of sound talking about this business, then we‘ll get back to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)(

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When I go into the

town hall meeting -

I think that what Senator Clinton has been doing is running what‘s considered a textbook Washington campaign.  And, what that says is that you don‘t answer directly tough questions, you don‘t present tough choices directly to the American people for fear that your answers might not be popular, you might make yourself a target for Republicans in the general election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  If Sascha, you know, this is what he said on Sunday, but this has nothing to do, right, with this issue about planting a question?  It‘s a great sort of subtle indirect jab in almost lawyerly in the way he crafted it, but it has nothing to do with this issue, does it?

BURNS:  Well, see, that‘s the difference between Democrats and

Republicans.  When we do a jab, it‘s much more pleasant and really to the

point as opposed to your type, Pat.  You know I love you, but maybe we

agree on the—you probably did a lot of this and so do a lot of people by

not the slump.  I just want to clarify.  But, what the - it doesn‘t matter

in the long run.  The issue is Hillary‘s the front-runner and not just with

the Democrats.  They‘re going to do that for the—you know, Obama‘s not

going to come out in a nasty way and attack her.  But she‘s the frontrunner

the race is all about Hillary because the Republicans have nothing to run

on.  Except that they are not, you know, a feminist who is practicing -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Peter made a point before, hang on.  Peter made a point before that sort of you know that this is effectively kind of a media-created issue.  And let me—this isn‘t the media.  This is John Edwards talking about this issue.  The Hillary planted question.

“What George Bush does is plant questions and exclude people from events, and I don‘t think that‘s what Democrats want to see in Iowa.”

I mean, there is no question that the other candidates—forget about

the media—are going to be and already are jumping on this.  Let me have

Peter -

BEINART:  Sure.  Yes, this is a symbiotic relationship.  It‘s the same thing you know, the press and the other candidates have the same interests here which is for the race to tighten.  You see the same thing in the last debate.  So, they‘re playing on one another in a kind of symbiotic way.  But the question is we don‘t know whether the voters have joined this dance.  So far, Hillary Clinton‘s numbers look pretty strong and what‘s important about her numbers is a lot of people who support her say they support her strongly, which means they‘re not likely to move.

BUCHANAN:  Dan, peter is exactly right on this.  Look and I think this

is much more serious than having a college student ask her about global

warming, which is that the media was fearful that she‘s going to walk away

and get a January 3rd victory and close this thing down.  They want a

contest.  They don‘t like the type of campaign she‘s running.  They want to

you can see the wild enthusiasm among the journalists -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait a minute.  Just so we‘re clear, it‘s the media‘s fault about the campaign performance as well, right?

BUCHANAN:  The media is part of the campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Hang on.

BUCHANAN:  They play ball, they block, they tackle.  These days, they‘re on the field.

BEINART:  I hate to agree with Pat Buchanan so much, but the truth is her debate performance was not as bad as the media made it sound to be.  It was bad on that illegal immigrant question.  She totally flubbed that, but for most of the night she took incoming pretty well.

ABRAMS:  But Peter, look, you know what a debate is, right?  It‘s a limited amount of time and the bottom line is either you‘re going to get to wow or just the opposite of that in a very short period of time.  That‘s what happens.  People say, you know she didn‘t have enough time to talk about the issues, this and that, that‘s a copout answer.  It‘s a debate.  There‘s a limited period of time.

BUCHANAN:  She made one mistake, Dan, and that was that illegal immigrant.  I agree with Peter.  She was taking punches, giving them back.  And she was mussed up a little bit.  If she hadn‘t have stepped on that, we would have forgotten the whole thing.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Bottom line - in conjunction - let me start with you Sascha, bottom line in conjunction with the debate performance, whether media it‘s created or not, does this become the making of an opportunity for some of these other candidates?

BURNS:  Look, when you have a race that‘s based on Hillary, focused on Hillary like it is, then, you‘re always going to get an opportunity because there‘s always going to be a crack in the front-runner.  So, you know, we will see when the Republicans finally get out of their muddle and somebody comes forward - what their cracks are going to be.  It‘s just that the attention is not focused on them enough.

ABRAMS:  Pat real quick here.

BUCHANAN:  Quickly, it is this.  Look, the only person that can beat Hillary is Obama and he‘d have to win iota and I think, New Hampshire and then they‘d run even.  If she wins Iowa, shut it down, Dan.  It‘s all over.

ABRAMS:  Peter, final?

BEINART:  That‘s exactly.  Hillary is the only one who can come back from an Iowa defeat.  Obama‘s best chance is to recapture the kind of - the passion he had at the 2004 Democratic convention and for Edwards to fall.

ABRAMS:  So, Peter, we‘re not going to be talking about this tomorrow, right?

BUCHANAN:  We might, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Pat, I‘m still waiting for you to announce your candidacy with that 12 percent support.

BEINART:  Pat and I should go together.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Sascha Burns, Pat Buchanan, I got to wrap.  Coming up: A college honors student suspected of being involved in the sexual assault and murder of her roommate allegedly because she wouldn‘t join in on an orgy is changing her story again.  We hear from the suspect‘s mother.

And a police sergeant‘s fourth wife still missing three years after his third wife was found dead in a dry bathtub.  Now, new information that wife number four‘s mom left her whole family just as the suspect‘s husband says she did here.  Is that relevant?

But up next, get this one.  A mom tells her 11 and 15-year-old boys way too much about her oral sex experiences.  She even showed them a sex toy.  The Wisconsin authorities charge her with a felony.  It‘s really disgusting but I think there would have been no charges if it was dad doing the show and tell with a “Playboy.”  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  A conversation about the birds and the bees almost cost one Wisconsin mother big time behind bars.  Her 11-year-old son complained to authorities that he didn‘t think the discussion mom had with he and his 15-year-old brother was, quote, “Appropriate.”  Amy Smalley (ph) showed her two sons ages 11 and 15, a sex toy and described what happened when she performed oral sex.  OK.  Gross.  She pled no contest to a misdemeanor of exposing a child to harmful material last week.  While the details are disgusting and someone should have spoken to her about it, maybe even a government child family services rep.  Did it really need a prosecutor?  If she‘d been a he, let‘s say the dad shows the kids a “Playboy,” hey, fellas, what do you think?  Would he have been prosecuted?  No way.  Joining us now, Prosecutor Pam Bondi and family law attorney, Jennifer Brandt, we should note that we did invite the prosecutor on the program tonight.  She declined.  Alright, Pam, if this had been papa showing the boys the “Playboy” and talking about the various body parts, et cetera, papa wouldn‘t have been charged?

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  Dan, you and that double standard you‘ve always talk about.  I think the difference there is that‘s a dad you‘re talking about showing a high school boy who‘s past puberty elicit material. 

Here -

ABRAMS:  Let‘s assume same facts, alright?  So you‘ve got mom here—and it‘s gross.  I mean, the details of what she was saying are really, eew.  I mean, I didn‘t want to hear about it.  But the bottom line is it seems to me that this is a case where they‘re prosecuting because it‘s mom talking about oral sex as opposed to if it was dad showing them a dirty mag.

BONDI:  I think that if we had dad showing an 11-year-old girl how to perform sex acts and showing her sex toys, I think it would be a similar situation, , Dan.  This wasn‘t a high school boy.  This was an 11-year-old child.

ABRAMS:  I understand.  And look, Jennifer, let me be clear.  I‘m not trying to support this.  This was a really dumb thing for her to talk about and as I‘ve said, maybe you get child services to go have a little talk with her.  But prosecuting her with a crime?

JENNIFER BRANDT, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY:  Dan, really, clearly this woman is not mother of the year.  But to prosecute her for a crime and have her face felony charges, three years in prison is totally outrageous.  And you‘re absolutely right.  If it were a dad showing a stash of “Playboys” to his son, that he wouldn‘t go in jail.  What, are we going to throw all these fathers in jail now?  I mean, should the state really take an interest in how parents teach sex to their kids?  That‘s crazy.

ABRAMS:  Why does the state want to be involved?  Do we want to start getting in the every conversation about sex that parents have?  Look, again, I‘m not supporting it.  But we‘re prosecuting her, charging her with a felony here, Pam.

BONDI:  Dan, hold on, there was a very reasonable outcome to this case.  I think it was reasonable all the way around, she was charged with a felony, she entered a plea to a misdemeanor.  All she got was probation and parenting classes.  That‘s all they wanted to force her to do.

BRANDT:  Pam -

BONDI:  Hold on.  Just let me finish my point.  And again, this was more than educating.  She was giving graphic details of her personal experiences.

ABRAMS:  No one is defending it as education.  Go ahead, Jennifer.

BRANDT:  Dan, the only reason she pleaded to a misdemeanor is to protect her children from having to stand trial.  She didn‘t want her children to have to testify at the trial.  So, she did the right thing, she went and she pled for a misdemeanor so they wouldn‘t have to be put through the trial process, which was the correct thing to do.  I mean, I think this woman, in her own misguided way did have her children‘s best interests at heart.  Let me finish my point, Pam.  She‘s tried to teach them about sex.  I mean, she didn‘t know the right way to do it and that‘s correct.  But she was trying to do the right thing by doing that.

ABRAMS:  But the same people - but here‘s my concern, Pam, is the same people who probably wanted to prosecute her are probably the same people who are fighting against sex education in schools, right?

BONDI:  I don‘t think so.

ABRAMS:  I bet they are.

BONDI:  Sex education is great in schools.  You have to have it

nowadays.  With all -

ABRAMS:  What about the abstinence only programs that are being -

BRANDT:  That‘s right.

BONDI:  I agree with Jennifer, I commend her if she was looking out for her kids now.  The problem I had with her all along was she never thought what she did was wrong, Dan.  She never thought.  So all I wanted her to do were take parenting classes.

ABRAMS:  Well, I understand.  But this is about a crime.  OK, let‘s be quite clear.  This is not about parenting.  This isn‘t about teaching. 

This isn‘t about line drawing.  This is about being charged with a crime

for something you told your kids.  Something gross, something she shouldn‘t

have said.  But when we start getting into the business of charging parents

with crimes for things that are inappropriate, they say, things that are

gross, things that are sexual in nature, that‘s a crime in Wisconsin.  I

think we are going -

BONDI:  You have to look out for the kids.

ABRAMS:  I know, we got to look out for the—so you‘re willing to start going in and second guessing every parent as to how they talk to their kids about sex, right, Pam?

BONDI:  No.  It‘s more than that.  This little boy went to a counselor and typically that would be confidential.  He felt it was so bad he told a counselor, and the counselor felt it was a crime, reported it to law enforcement.

ABRAMS:  He didn‘t feel it was a crime.  He‘s an 11-year-old.

BRANDT:  Dan, any time a parent talks to their child about sex, the child is upset about that.  No child likes to hear about their parents having sex.  Let‘s face it.  Even when a parent sits down and tries to have a normal conversation about the birds and the bees, children have problems with it.

ABRAMS:  Look, I got to go.  Look, this is both a gross case and a bad case.  All right.  Jennifer Brandt, thanks a lot.  Pam Bondi is going to stay with us.

BRANDT:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up: A student suspected of sexual assault and throat slashing of a roommate allegedly because the victim wouldn‘t join in an orgy is allegedly changing her story again.  We hear from her mother tonight.

And in that time of year again.  FOX news brings in the yuletide cheer with its paranoia about a supposed war on Christmas.  This year it comes early.  That‘s coming up in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  Our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up is that time of year again.  Almost.  No Christmas sales and decorations out there yet.  But that does not mean it‘s too early for our friends over at FOX to welcome the yuletide season with its first declaration that the war on Christmas has begun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST:  Many secular progressives despise Christmas - they just want to wipe it out in America.  They deny that, of course, but actions speak louder than words.  Here‘s the latest—in Ft. Collins, Colorado—blah, blah, blah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It‘s the same thing every year.  We can‘t just have a happy holiday season, no, that harmony would be bad business for Bill O‘Reilly.

Next up, when you have a good story like Americans changing their daily routines because of gas prices, you go with it, even if there might be another explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  I want you to take a look at this practically empty gas station behind me.  Shocking because it‘s usually packed with cars this time of morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Shocking?  It‘s a holiday.  People are observing Veterans Day.  Maybe that‘s why it‘s not packed with cars.  You‘re doing a great job, but I just couldn‘t let this one pass.

Finally, many sports reporters like to show no fear such is the case in our next clip. ESPN‘s Rob Stone was at New Mexico State University, was introduced to what the Guinness book of world records called the hottest chili pepper in the world.  Yes, you can guess what happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is the world‘s hottest chili pepper.

ROB STONE, ESPN SPORTS REPORTER:  Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  One million skoeval (ph) heat units.

STONE:  What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, that‘s the world‘s hottest chili right there and so I‘ll give you some milk to cut that heat.

STONE:  It is starting to kick in a little bit.  So—um, that was a dumb move, wasn‘t it?  How long is this going to last?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For some people, five, six hours.

STONE:  Seriously?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It all depends on you.

STONE:  Ah—information I could have used a little while ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Why milk?  But still not as good as my pal Rick Sanchez getting tasered but amusing, nonetheless.  We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything amusing, right, or wrong or absurd or whatever in the press, go to our Web site Abrams.msnbc.com.  Leave us a tip in the box.

Up next: A college student on the dean‘s list now behind bars suspected in the sexual assault and throat slashing of her roommate, the alleged motive?  The victim may not have wanted to join in on an orgy.  Tonight, for the first time, we hear from the victim‘s mother.

And a police sergeant‘s fourth wife still missing three years after his third wife was found dead in a dry bathtub.  But now, a new twist—we learn the fourth wife‘s mom ran out on her whole family when she was 15.  That is exactly what the now suspect‘s husband claiming she did here.  Did her family history really matter?  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, a police sergeant‘s wife still missing three years after his third wife was found dead in a dry bathtub.  But now new information that wife number four‘s mom left her whole family, just as the suspect husband says she did here.  Is that relevant? 

And a kangaroo jumping all over the boy, plus bulls and cows running all over religious revelers coming up in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers”.

But first a 20-year-old University of Washington honor student remains in an Italian jail suspected tonight suspected of being involved in the murder of her roommate.  Tonight, she is changing her story again.  The roommate, Meredith Kercher, was fatally stabbed in the neck after allegedly being sexually assaulted in some sort of forced sex orgy. 

Seattle native, Amanda Marie Knox, initially told authorities she was with her Italian boyfriend the night of the murder.  Then, days later, Knox changed her story telling the police she was in another room in the house, quote, “I can only say that at a certain point I heard Meredith screaming and I was so frightened I put my fingers in my ears.” 

Now, Knox has allegedly reverted back to her first story that she was out with her boyfriend the night of the murder.  Knox, her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and another man all remain behind bars.  Under Italian law, they can be detained without formal charges for up to a year.  Knox‘s mother visited her daughter for the first time yesterday.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA MARIE KNOX‘S MOTHER:  I was able to see Amanda. 

Amanda is doing as well as can be expected for the situation she‘s in.  She‘s devastated by the death of her friend.  She‘s sure that as the investigation continues, the truth will come out and she‘ll be proven innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

ABRAMS:  Joining me now, prosecutor Pam Bondi, forensics expert Dr.  Lawrence Kobilinsky, defense attorney Nicole DeBorde, and “America‘s Most Wanted” correspondent Michelle Sigona.  All right, Michelle, let me start with you as to the new details that we‘re learning.  So she tells this one story first, that she wasn‘t in the house.  Then she said, actually, I was there, and I was covering my ears.  What is her explanation for why she‘s changing her story again now and saying, actually, I wasn‘t in the house? 

MICHELLE SIGONA, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED” CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I think, Dan, at this point and I‘m only assuming that she‘s had a lot of time to think behind bars about what has happened.  I mean this alleged crime happened on November 1st.  We‘re now almost halfway into the month.  So she‘s had time to kind of reflect, to be able to go back and to change her story once again. 

Now that she does have a lawyer, she‘s able to filter some of her information through that person.  And also, you know, just as you showed, her mom was able to go visit her.  Again, relatives and family member are only able to visit her once a week.  

ABRAMS:  Here is more of what her mother said about her visit. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELLAS:  It‘s gone from one tragedy with the death of Meredith to now the tragedy that my daughter is living in.  And it‘s a terrible situation.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Larry, they‘re now beginning the process of going through and trying to gather as much physical evidence as possible.  She lived in that house, right?  And her boyfriend had been in that house.  What are we going to be able to find? 

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSICS EXPERT:  Well, they‘re obviously going to find the DNA from both of these people.  The question is can they link these people directly to the victim? 

ABRAMS:  Footprints, bloody footprints, for example? 

KOBILINSKY:  Footprints.  Transfer of DNA in the form of blood from one to the other. 

ABRAMS:  How do you think that they know that this was some sort of forced orgy?  I mean, that‘s the allegation here is that they wanted some sort of orgy and that Meredith Kercher didn‘t want it, and they say that may have been the motive.  How do you think they know that?

KOBILINSKY:  I think that this definitely involved some sexual assault because the victim was found half naked.  And there appears to be good evidence that she was assaulted. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So Nicole DeBorde, let‘s say you‘re her attorney.  She‘s being held in an Italian jail right now.  Under Italian law, they can continue to hold her there for up to a year.  They say she‘s likely a flight risk.  What can you do? 

NICOLE DEBORDE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I think that you have to bring the focus into what the truth here is and what they really know versus what sheer speculation is in this case.  And I think a lot of this information is sheer speculation and completely based on hearsay.  I mean, even if you have this girl being present in the home at the time that the murder took place, it does not mean that she‘s a party to the murder.  

ABRAMS:  What about this changing of the story?  Assuming she has changed her story, first saying she wasn‘t in the house, then saying she was - and when she said she was, it wasn‘t just general.  It was very, very specific.  Let me read from this. 

This is number five.  “Patrick and Meredith went off together into Meredith‘s room while I think I stayed in the kitchen.  I can‘t remember how long they were in the bedroom together.  I can only say that at certain point I heard Meredith screaming and I was so frightened I put my fingers in my ears.  I‘m not sure whether Raffaele was there too that evening, but I do remember waking up at his house in his bed.  And then in the morning, I went back to where I lived where I found the door open.”  I mean, she‘s giving a lot of specifics and now supposedly changing the story.  

DEBORDE:  Well, obviously, this is about as stressful a situation as you can have.  She‘s got a roommate who‘s been killed in a very, very violent way.  And she‘s 20 years old.  She may be an honor student, but the fact is that she‘s not a mature adult.  She‘s an adult, legally speaking.  But there are studies out there that show even in cases where people give a strict, direct confession, “I did it,” that those are actually false confessions. 

Now, let‘s move into a situation where you have a 20-year-old giving inconsistent stories.  And quite frankly, that doesn‘t mean much to me.  It means that her alibi may need to be examined a little more closely, but this does not make her a murder.  

ABRAMS:  I agree, it doesn‘t make her a murder, but it seems she‘s already examined her alibi.  Here is the problem, Pam Bondi, and that is that everyone who was allegedly there is talking about being in different places at different times. 

All right.  So you got Amanda who‘s saying she spent the night now at her Italian boyfriend‘s home.  He‘s saying that he went home, smoked a joint, spoke to his father on the phone, and that she came over at something like 1:00 in the morning.  And you got this other guy, this Patrick Lumumba, who‘s saying that he‘s working at his bar the whole time.  And he says he‘s got receipts to prove it, et cetera. 

The authorities now it seems, Pam, looking for a couple of other people, possibly another woman, possibly another man.  You think that maybe they‘ll say time to release some of these people? 

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  Dan, it doesn‘t appear that way, because the judge‘s order said she‘s found serious indications of guilt.  Of course we know in our great country, when you want to arrest someone, you have to have probable cause and they have to be charged with a crime.  Whereas in Italy, they can hold them uncharged for a year.  So Dan, I think there‘s a lot more there that we don‘t know.  And a lot of those serious allegations are contained in the judge‘s order in that the judge does believe it was a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), et cetera.

SIGONA:  Dan, I also think a lot of things are going to come out between MySpace and Facebook.  I mean there‘s been allegedly a ton of pictures from the party that they all attended the night of Halloween.  So you will be able to find other people who were there who could maybe help shed more light, possible suspects, possible witnesses, other people who could possibly shed more light not just on Amanda but on the other two suspects.

ARBAMS:  Before I go through the timeline here - you mentioned what she‘s written before.  Here is an excerpt from Amanda Marie Knox‘s MySpace page, where she said on December 11, 2006, “Where the hell are you -“ she put this on her page - “‘Where the hell are you getting the crazy idea that I‘d rape some chick,‘ Kyle ventured.  ‘A girl named Victoria found me today.  She went out asking especially for me.‘ His voice grew quiet.  ‘She said you drugged and raped her.‘”  Nicole, any chance that this could ever come into evidence? 

DEBORDE:  I don‘t really see how it‘s relevant at all in this case. 

If she‘s accusing someone else of committing the rape -

ABRAMS:  It‘s a short story.  This is just a short story.

DEBORDE:  Or she‘s writing about it.  If it‘s a short story, I mean - I still don‘t see that it‘s necessarily relevant.  If they find out that particular bits of evidence match very, very congruently with this story, perhaps, but doubtful as it is.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Larry Kobilinsky, let‘s do the timeline here because this is significant.  All right.  They believe the murder occurred some time between 8:30 and 11:00 p.m.  Here is an interesting detail, that Knox is seen on a surveillance tape around 8:43 p.m. going into the house. 

The cell phone of one of the other guys places him in the area of the house - again, we don‘t know at the house - at around 8:38 p.m.  He prints out - this is again from the bar that this guy is working at - he prints out a receipt at the bar 10:29. 

The boyfriend claims he called his father at 11:30 p.m. but no phone record.  The key, though, to me, is they believe it happened between 8:30 and 11:00.  And Miss Knox is seen on the surveillance tape at 8:43 going to the house when she says she was spending the night at her Italian boyfriend‘s.  

KOBILINSKY:  It certainly is very suspicious.  It puts them in that location or near that location, certainly.  So they can‘t use this alibi that, you know, “I was at the bar or I was not there at all during that time.  I think the other thing to remember, not to give off the track, but the weapon used in the assault, in the murder plays a very critical role because it could link Raffaele to the victim.  

ABRAMS:  And if it does? 

KOBILINSKY:  Well, if it does, Dan, and don‘t forget that Amanda Knox says she was with Raffaelle.  It puts them both at the scene.  

ABRAMS:  I think, Pam Bondi, those two are going to end up going at each other, pretty soon.  It seems to me they were only going out for two weeks and we describe them as boyfriend and girlfriend.  They were going out for two weeks.

SIGONA:  They met at a concert.  

BONDI:  Right.  And Dan, you‘re right.  The timeline is just critical in this case.  Because also Lumumba who is the third suspect, the friend claimed he was working at the bar he owned, La Chic, all night long.  The earliest bar receipt he has is at 10:30.  His cellphone records, however, place him, like you said, at the time of the murder, around Meredith‘s apartment. 

So timeline is going to be critical.  I think Knox, the young woman, is clearly the weak link in the case with all her different versions.  They‘re definitely going to hurt her.  

ABRAMS:  I‘m going to predict this now.  I think you‘re going to see a lot of people turning on a lot of people very quickly in this case.  It hasn‘t happened yet, at least, that we know of.  I expect in the next week, I‘m even betting, you‘re going to start seeing this going on.  Dr.  Kobilinsky, and Nicole DeBorde, and Michelle Sigona, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it. 

DEBORDE:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Pam is still going to join us.  Up next, the fourth wife of a police sergeant still missing.  Now a new twist.  Her mom ran out on her whole family when she was 15.  That is exactly what her husband, now a suspect, has been claiming that his wife did.  But is that really relevant here?  New details, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know the 12th president of the United States, Zachary Taylor, was exhumed in 1991 to determine whether he had been poisoned?  Coming up, authorities are exhuming the body of a police sergeant‘s third wife after his fourth wife went missing.  The coroner now saying the ex-wife‘s death may not have been an accident.  We‘ve got new details coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Stacy Peterson, the young mom and fourth wife of a veteran police sergeant, still missing tonight, and now, her husband has officially been named a suspect.  Illinois State Police announcing that her disappearance is likely a homicide. 

Her husband continues to suggest she left home and maybe is with another guy.  Now, we learned in the last week that Stacy‘s own mother disappeared when she was 15, leaving the whole family behind.  We‘ll talk to the family spokesperson about whether that is relevant at all. 

But tomorrow, authorities will likely exhume the body of wife number three who died in what had been believed to be a suicide in her bathtub.  But now that is looking a lot more suspicious as well.  The coroner announcing that he never believed it was suicide.  The tent was put up today where Kathleen Savio(ph) was buried to prepare for her body to be exhumed. 

We‘ve got a lot of developments here.  On the phone, Pam Bosco, Stacy Peterson‘s family friend and spokesperson.  Let me just go to you first, Pam, before we introduce everybody else. 

I want to ask you about this business about Stacy‘s own mom leaving their family when she was 15 years old.  You know that‘s what Sergeant Peterson is basically claiming that Stacy may have run away on the whole family.  Is it fair to look back and make any sort of comparison? 

PAM BOSCO, STACY PETERSON‘S FAMILY SPOKESPERSON (on the phone):  No.  I never knew disappearing as a genetic, hereditary disorder.  So no, I would say it has nothing to do with this case.  It has nothing to do with that.

ABRAMS:  It is very important to explain, don‘t you think, that the circumstances of her mom‘s leaving were very, very different, right?  I mean, she was going through really tough times.  

BOSCO:  Completely different situation.  We cannot claim we knew what was going through her mom‘s mind.  We do know Stacy.  We do know what was going through her mind at that time, and she would never have left under those circumstances.  She loved her children.  She would never have left.  

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Her mom had had children die and was - had some mental problems, et cetera, so a very different situation.  All right.  NBC‘s Alison Kartevold is in Chicago with us.  And we‘re still joined by Larry Kobilinsky here.  In-house prosecutor Pam Bondi is with us. 

All right.  Alison, let‘s talk about this exhuming of the third body.  Is he now - we know that Sergeant Peterson has been declared a suspect in connection with Stacy‘s disappearance.  Is he now considered a suspect in his third wife‘s death as well? 

ALLISON KARTEVOLD, NBC REPORTER:  Not officially at this point.  But when they did petition the court, Dan, asking for the body to be exhumed, they said that new evidence had come up during the Stacy Peterson investigation.  And that is one of the reasons that they cited that they would like to go back and look at her body again.  

ABRAMS:  Larry, I don‘t get it.  I mean this petition to exhume the third body said, among other things, patterns of blood found in the tub are consistent with the staging of an accident to conceal a homicide.  How did they not know this before? 

KOBILINSKY:  Quite frankly, I think the medical examiner was pretty clear that the cause of death was drowning.  The question really was did she drown because she fell down, smacked her head, became unconscious and became submerged?  Or was she held down and that is why she drowned?  So the issue has a lot to do, not with the cause of death, but with the manner of death.  And the medical examiner did not establish the manner of death.  That was done at an inquest by a coroner‘s jury.  

ABRAMS:  Do you want to explain to us what that means? 

KOBILINSKY:  Well, that means that there are jurors, lay people, that listen to the evidence and make a determination as to whether the death was due to an accident or a suicide or a homicide.  And they reached the conclusion that was accidental.  But there are a lot of reasons why this doesn‘t make sense. 

If you read the autopsy, you see many different abrasions and contusions on the body - all over the body and many of which could not possibly have occurred in the bathtub.  Abrasions occur when the skin moves over a rough surface.  There could have been a violent attack or this could have been staged in the bathtub. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Pam Bondi, I don‘t believe that anyone is ever named as a suspect without great premeditation these days.  It says a lot, does it not, that the authorities are officially naming him as a suspect. 

BONDI:  Dan, it does because they waited so long to do that.  They were very cautious.  They didn‘t do that off the bat.  And this guy has to be the prime suspect, the only suspect at this point.  I totally agree with you for them to do that, now that we know about his third wife as well.  

ABRAMS:  Alison, are they expected to exhume the body tomorrow?  And do we know sort of how long the whole process is supposed to take? 

KARTEVOLD:  They are at this point.  We expect that to happen

tomorrow.  They are not telling this officially because they don‘t want us

to be present.  Today, in fact they did erect a tent next to the grave site

in the cemetery in which -   

ABRAMS:  That‘s what we‘re looking at right now, just so people know what‘s on the screen.  This is an aerial shot of that tent and of that grave site.  I‘m sorry, Alison.  

KARTEVOLD:  That‘s quite all right.  The funeral director at the cemetery told our cruise today that it wasn‘t going to happen today.  But we were told on Friday, that they were going to do this as soon as possible.  Today was a holiday and that‘s one of the reasons that they think it is taking today to get ready.  And tomorrow is when this is actually expected that they‘re going to exhume her body.  

ABRAMS:  And how long does this process take, Larry? 

KOBILINSKY:  It could take four to six hours.  But I‘m not sure at all that this exhumation is going to result in any new information.  The body could be so decomposed that it becomes almost impossible to generate the cause of death, manner of death.  

ABRAMS:  But it does seem - and again, they have all this information.  Again, this is from the court petition to exhume the third wife.  The one inch gash on the back of the Kathleen Savio‘s head did not render her unconscious, which would have been necessary for her to accidentally drown in the bathtub.  Again, you know, this falls into the category, Alison, of information they probably would have liked to have known earlier. 

KARTEVOLD:  Yes, and one of the things they said, Dan, is that when they exhume the body, they‘re going to take x-rays.  And they‘re also going to look for subcutaneous bruising that they think might not have been seen at the time the original autopsy was done. 

And another thing that they cited in that petition that you referred to is the fact that the gash on the back of her head was not only large enough, they believe, to have caused her to become unconscious.  They believe that it would have bled profusely.  And if the water had been in the tub in order for her to drown, they say the patterns of the blood in the tub are not consistent with what you would normally see draining down the sides of the tub.  And they, of course, have photographs to look at.  We have not seen those.  

ABRAMS:  Let‘s remember, you don‘t necessarily need a body to make a case.  Pam Bondi knows that as well as anyone.  If they decide they have enough evidence, they can move forward.  All right.  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  Pam Bosco, Alison Kartevold, Dr. Larry Kobilinsky and Pam Bondi, thanks a lot. 

BONDI:  Thank you.

ABRAMS: Up next, in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers,” a kangaroo dodges a net, and then tramples a boy.  Indians run over by divine bovines in a religious ritual.  And a former president goes sky diving. 

A runaway roo jumps away from police and all over a boy; religious revelers jumped on by bulls and cows; or a former U.S. president donning a jumpsuit, taking the plunge from a plane.  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?    

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 12th day of November, 2007.  Our first loser, a runaway kangaroo captured after a high speed chase.  The roo went on a rampage in Australia today, scratching and clawing a cop while dodging a pair of nets aimed at pulling him in. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Rescuers finally managed to rein in the run-in roo, but not before he trampled this stunned boy.  But, thankfully, he‘s OK. 

Our first winner, stunningly strong Indians who chose to be trampled.  The religious revelers taking part in a ritual, laying down on the road and letting a parade of bulls and cows run over them.  The sacred stampede, their way of giving thanks to the gods and atoning for their sins.  

Our second winner.  A loving bitch, a female dog, who has added an unusual baby to her brood.  The mother of pups has taken in a stray, monkey that is.  The abandoned baby spider monkey now even feeds off the mother dog.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN STILLER:  I wanted to help her and I just went in there and I

just, you know -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARBAMS:  The stranded chimmy and the breast-feeding Fido are now said to be effectively attached at the hip. 

Our second loser, runners up in a hip swiveling beauty pageant amongst all non-breast feeders.  Two thousand transgender and transvestites battle it out for the crown in Thailand of Miss Queen International 2007. 

The exotic event featured bikini clad contestants and of course, the crowning in the end of a 21-year-old Thai(UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

But the big loser of the day?  An unlucky crook taken out by a hook.  The pistol-packing punk charged into an Indiana auto parts store Sunday, demanding cash.  The employee decided to fight back.  The courageous clerk happens to be missing an arm, but he still helped tackle the intruder and subdue him with the hook on his arm.  The one-armed wonder now being hailed as a hero for his daring dive.

The big winner of the day?  A daring diver who jumps out of the plane at the age of 83.  Did I mention he was also the 41st president of the United States?  George W.‘s pop hurled himself in heavens Saturday, a dramatic drop to mark the grand reopening of his presidential library. 

George Bush, the senior barreled out of that plane with an army parachute expert strapped to his back who joins us tonight.  Here is Sergeant First Class Mike Elliott.  Thanks very much for taking the time.  Appreciate it.  All right.  So was the former president good about taking your direction? 

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS MIKE ELLIOTT, PARACHUTE EXPERT:  Oh, absolutely. 

He followed directions just perfectly.  

ABRAMS:  Let me play a piece of sound from him.  Here he is talking about what it was like with you on his back. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE H. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  It all worked out.  I was in his lap in the plane and then he strapped me all in.  These guys were right at the side.  And it was very reassuring and just wonderful.  Even my doctor thought it would be work because I had my new hip in there.  I wanted to make sure I‘ve got my legs up high enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to ask you, when you‘ve got a former president there with you, do you add like an extra parachute or something? 

ELLIOTT:  Well, of course we had two parachutes as opposed to one.  So there‘s always two parachutes while we‘re jumping.

ABRAMS:  But how do you do things differently?  I mean, let‘s just say it was me, for example, who was with you.  You know, using a sort of a minimal necessary as opposed to a former president.  How would you do?

ELLIOTT:  We treat everyone the same way.  It is inherently dangerous, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we make sure we do everything correct.  

ABRAMS:  All right, now I understand that the Golden Knights were also able to parachute with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as well.  

ELLIOTT:  Absolutely.  

ABRAMS:  How does this one compare to that? 

ELLIOTT:  It‘s the same thing.  We are out there.  We‘re representing

the military -

ABRAMS:  Come on, not the same thing.  In one case, you‘ve got George Bush in your lap and in the other case, you got the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.  

ELLIOTT:  We treat all our cargo with specialty.  

ABRAMS:  Sergeant First Class Mike Elliott, thanks very much for coming on the program.  And thank you for bringing back the former president safely.  

ELLIOTT:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned for “CATCH A PREDATOR” up next.  I‘ll 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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