updated 3/16/2004 1:20:49 PM ET 2004-03-16T18:20:49

Guests: Jenny Craig, Mary Schiavo, Gail Dunham, Anna Marxson, Brian Farley, Marc Malkin



Resignation: the other shoe has dropped from Martha Stewart.  Martha steps down from the company that bears her name, the company she started. 

Can the billion-dollar corporation that made Martha Stewart a household name now survive?  We‘ll find out from someone who knows a thing or two about branding: Jenny Craig. 

Nine-eleven outrage.  A piece of the wreckage from 9/11 ends up on the defense secretary‘s desk.  A grim reminder or a bad taste souvenir? 

Act of desperation.  Police say this woman was so desperate to get out of jail, she offered to exchange her unborn baby for bail money, a baby she‘s now accused of killing. 

Tonight, we‘ll meet a couple who almost accepted her offer. 

Married to Michael. 

MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER:  Nobody thought this could last. 

ANNOUNCER:  The ex finally speaks. 

LISA MARIE PRESLEY, SINGER:  Seeing things going on that I couldn‘t do anything about. 

ANNOUNCER:  In a rare interview, Lisa Marie Presley talks about wedlock and life with the King of Pop. 

DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT.  Substituting for Deborah Norville from Studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Dan Abrams.


ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone. 

Today Martha Stewart resigned from the company she created, from the board and as the chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. 

This comes a little more than a week after she was convicted of lying to federal investigators about the sale of that ImClone stock back in 2001. 

Stewart will remain affiliated with the company in a new role, called founding editorial director.  She‘s going to provide input on the company‘s brand and strategic issues, but she will report to a new chief executive officer. 

In a statement, Stewart said, “I am taking this action today because it is I the best interests of MSO and because I think it‘s the right thing to do.  I am heartsick about my personal legal situation and deeply sorry for the pain and difficulties it has caused our employees.”

Shares of Martha Stewart Living fell again after the announcement was made.  The company has seen its stock plummet 40 percent since her name was tied to the ImClone scandal almost two years ago. 

So what happens now?  They change the name?  Can the company survive?  Joining me now to try to answer this and other questions, Ron Insana, host of “STREET SIGNS” on CNBC.

Ron, good to see you. 

RON INSANA, “STREET SIGNS” HOST:  You, too, Dan.  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  So as a practical matter, what does this mean?

INSANA:  Well, the company goes forward.  Now, Ms. Stewart may still have some involvement with maybe the creative direction in which the company is taking, maybe some of the product development, that has actually been the stronger part of this media and product operation. 

But for all intents and purposes the company will probably run as it has been run for a number of months now, by company CEO Sharon Patrick. 

Product sales, according to the company, are strong, and she got something of a sympathy spike after the conviction.  It‘s the media side of the business that‘s really hurting terribly now. 

ABRAMS:  Some people are going to say, knowing Martha Stewart, she‘s going to be back there behind the scenes, making all the calls with someone else‘s name on the letterhead. 

INSANA:  Well, that may be the case.  I mean, we don‘t know for sure and only time will tell.  She‘s a 60 percent owner of the company, so as the largest shareholder in the firm that she founded, she may well continue to have a very strong role there. 

It‘s interesting that the enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Steven Cutler, was on CNBC earlier this evening. 

And he said, despite the fact the SEC, despite the fact that it does not want her as an officer or a director not only her own company but any publicly traded company, doesn‘t want her necessarily to go away from her company entirely.  That‘s not what they intended, and clearly that‘s not what‘s happening. 

ABRAMS:  Was she forced out?  I mean, we‘re calling this a resignation, but did the board basically say, “Look, we just can‘t function right now having you as the director?”

INSANA:  Well, clearly, this is—you know, the board is between a rock and a hard place.  I mean, it is unusual for a firm to have anyone, if not almost impossible, who is a convicted felon serve as an officer or a director of any firm. 

So I mean, it really doesn‘t matter whether she resigned or was forced out.  Net-net, given her conviction, she wasn‘t likely to stay, no matter how it came down. 

So now the question is whether she has a role in where the company goes from here.  They have to find a successor for her on the board.  Sharon Patrick will continue to run the company as CEO.

ABRAMS:  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia released a statement today, saying this, “In accepting her resignation, we have decided to create a new, continuing role as founding editorial director, a role that reflects our desire for Martha to continue to make an important contribution to our business. The board determined that not withstanding the significance of the recent verdict, continuing to have the benefit of Martha‘s unique creative talents and contributions is in the very best interests of MSO and its shareholders.” 

Now, I asked you the reverse question a minute ago, which is, is it possible she‘s going to be behind the scenes sort of moving all the pieces? 

Is it also possible that founding editorial director is sort of the equivalent of professor emeritus, where they never really—they write a few articles.  They stop by once in awhile.  They go to the school cafeteria, but that‘s about it?

INSANA:  She is the controlling shareholder.  It is unusual for controlling shareholder not to have a say in how the company is run.  Remember, she owns 30 million shares of the company stock.  That‘s 60 percent, so it may be wise to listen to her.  I mean, she is still a presence there. 

Now, obviously it gets increasingly difficult for her to be involved in day to day operations if she ends up in jail, but then again, Steve Madden is running his shoe company from prison and has been now for, I believe it is, two years. 

So it‘s not impossible for someone incarcerated or who has been a convicted felon to remain actively involved in a firm, particularly when it‘s so closely related to her name and her face. 

ABRAMS:  Finally, Ron, very quickly.  But it does seem different...

INSANA:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  ... for this company to be running it from prison, the idea that you‘re going to be talking about, you know, what kind of curtains would be appropriate and, you know, what‘s a good holiday mix, et cetera, to be doing that from prison.  I just got to believe that people... 

INSANA:  Not entirely what I‘m suggesting, Dan.  I don‘t think we‘re going to be doing, you know, live from inside the cell.  But by the same token, I mean, from a strategic perspective, she can still have input. 

Listen, the media side of this company is very troubled.  The TV show is gone.  It looks like the company has already moved to drop Martha‘s name from the magazine, and call it “Everyday Living.”  They filed for that patent, as Mike Huckman reported on CNBC earlier today, right during the end of the trial.

So her image may disappear.  Her influence may not. 

ABRAMS:  Ron Insana.  Good to see you, Ron. 

INSANA:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Thank you for coming on. 

Martha Stewart Omnimedia begun distancing itself from its founder‘s name about a year ago, with the launch of a magazine called “Everyday Food,” and it‘s now testing another publication, called “Organizing Good Things.”

But it‘s still heavily tied to her and her image, the Martha brand. 

Our next guest knows just a little about branding: Jenny Craig.  She founded a weight management empire in 1993 that now has over 652 centers worldwide, revenues exceeding $350 million. 

She sold her company to a private investor group in 2002, but it still runs to this day, bearing her name.  And just finished writing a book about her life, called “The Jenny Craig Story.” 

Jenny Craig, good to see you. 


ABRAMS:  Thanks for coming here. 

CRAIG:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Before we talk about sort of your incredible story, a couple of questions about Martha Stewart, and the issue of branding.  You run a company called—ran a company called Jenny Craig. 

CRAIG:  Exactly. 

ABRAMS:  Is it possible for Martha Stewart‘s company to succeed, to continue by either taking her name off.  Is it possible that it‘s going to succeed while she remains in prison no matter what they do?

CRAIG:  You know, Dan, I wish I knew the answer to that, but truly, it would only be speculation, because no one knows.  I don‘t think this has ever happened before, that I know of in a corporation that was so tied to the person, you know, whose name it was. 

ABRAMS:  Well, if you had gotten into some sort of trouble when you were running Jenny Craig and, you know, it doesn‘t have to be criminal trouble, whatever, for whatever reason, suddenly the name Jenny Craig didn‘t have the wonderful lure that it has today, and it took on a mark.  What would you have done as the head of Jenny Craig?

CRAIG:  Again, I can‘t answer that because that is beyond my imagination.  I mean, I, first of all, I can‘t imagine that I would ever do anything that would warrant that. 

ABRAMS:  I can‘t either.  But that‘s why I am saying it‘s purely a hypothetical question.  No one is saying that you‘d do anything like that. 

CRAIG:  No.  I feel sorry.  It‘s a tragic story, and really, I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.  Certainly, she did something wrong, but now she‘s suffering the consequences. 

ABRAMS:  If you were advising her company now, what would you say to them?  If they said, “Look, what do we do from here?  What‘s the most important thing to do strategically from here?”  What would you say?

CRAIG:  I think business as usual.  I think stick to the basics.  That‘s what we do at Jenny Craig.  I mean, even though I do not go into the office every day, and I‘m not really involved on a day-to-day basis, you know, they continue to operate the company exactly the way we originally designed it.  And I think that‘s important. 

Stick to the basics.  Stick to what you know.  And work at doing it better.  And that‘s what we continue to do. 

I mean, our vision for Jenny Craig is to offer the Jenny Craig experience to more and more people, and to make that experience more enjoyable, quicker, easier, anything we can to make the clients feel better about the experience. 

ABRAMS:  One more Martha question.  I know you want to move away from the Martha stuff, and I promise, we‘re going to talk about the book.  Very quickly, do they have to lose her name, do you think?  Do you think they have to take off the Martha Stewart name?

CRAIG:  Probably.  At least now, temporarily.  I think it‘s just bringing something negative to the company that they don‘t need. 

ABRAMS:  All right, I promise that‘s the last question. 

CRAIG:  OK.  Good. 

ABRAMS:  “The Jenny Craig Story.”  You know, I think most people might not know—I didn‘t know before reviewing some of the book and studying for this interview, that you had a big weight problem yourself. 

CRAIG:  Yes, I did. 

ABRAMS:  Awhile back.  Tell us about it. 

CRAIG:  A long time ago.  When my second daughter was—I was pregnant for her, I gained 50 pounds.  And after she was born, I had you know, at least 30 some odd pounds to lose, and I went to the only thing that was available, which was a gym. 

And that‘s what introduced me to the industry, and because I was fascinated with the way people equate their—the way they look with their self-image and self-concept, I decided to do more and more research.  And the more I did, the more hooked I was. 

ABRAMS:  Did you say to yourself back then, “I can‘t believe that there aren‘t more people making a business out of this, because weight and weight loss is so important to so many people?”  Did you say to yourself, God, what a gold mine this could be?

CRAIG:  No, because I was one of the pioneers.  This was 1959, and gyms were the only thing available back then.  So, no, I didn‘t. 

And Jenny Craig didn‘t come along.  I mean, it‘s been an evolutionary process.  I started in the gym business.  And then it has evolved into the company we know today, because we learned over the years what works. 

We know that you have to address food, body, and mind.  It‘s really like a total solution.  And that‘s what we do at Jenny Craig.  It really isn‘t just a philosophy.  It‘s a total program. 

ABRAMS:  How did you come up with the name?


Monica Lewinsky, she became the spokesperson for Jenny Craig a few years back, a lot of publicity surrounding this.  You were going to be changing Monica Lewinsky‘s life, and her body was going to change, et cetera.  I am not saying you made these promises, but this was the image, the impression.  Mistake?

CRAIG:  Probably. 


CRAIG:  And the reason is because people focused on who she was, rather than the results she achieved. 

You know, we‘ve always used testimonials in our advertising.  I mean, because it tells people, “Look, if I can do it, you can do it.” 

ABRAMS:  Let me play a quick speaking testimony. 

CRAIG: Sure.

ABRAMS:  Let me play the Monica Lewinsky clip. 


MONICA LEWINSKY, JENNY CRAIG SPOKESPERSON:  I tried every diet in the world.  I mean, if it was stand on your head, I tried it.  If it was eat only grapefruits, I tried it.  Magic diet pills, I tried it.  I have lost 31 pounds on Jenny Craig. 


ABRAMS:  When you see that ad, what do you think?

CRAIG:  She did very well.  And you know, it‘s a shame, because I mean, we‘re not there to make moral judgments.  We‘re there to help people lose weight, and she lost weight on the program.

And it‘s just a shame that people viewed it, as I‘ve said before, as who she was rather than what she achieved. 

ABRAMS:  I have to say, I like Monica Lewinsky.  She‘s actually a very nice person. 

CRAIG:  I‘ll tell her. 

ABRAMS:  No, I do. 

CRAIG:  Good. 

ABRAMS:  The book. 

CRAIG:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  How did you decide to write it?

CRAIG:  Well, it started as a journal.  My grandchildren were always asking me, you know, “Nana, tell me about when you were young.  Did you have this?  Did you have a computer?  Did you have that?”

And you know, there was a lot to talk about, because I grew up right after the Great Depression.  Entertainment for us was the radio and the movies.  That‘s it.  I mean...

ABRAMS:  But your life, and it‘s called how one woman changes millions of lives, your business, and as you said, you were a pioneer in this business.  This business has changed society in many ways. 

CRAIG:  Yes, I agree, it has.  And that is the most rewarding thing for me.  It‘s the most gratifying thing.  It‘s knowing the lives that we‘ve changed, not just with weight loss, but how it‘s changed their whole life.  I mean, everything about it, their relationships with people, family.  It‘s really been very gratifying. 

ABRAMS:  The book is called “The Jenny Craig Story: How One Woman Changes Millions of Lives.” 

Jenny Craig, nice meeting you.  Thank you so much for coming here. 

CRAIG:  Nice meeting you.

ABRAMS:  Appreciate it. 


ANNOUNCER:  Coming up, what‘s it like being married to Michael Jackson?  The daughter of the king of rock ‘n‘ roll knows all too well. 

PRESLEY:  I mean, I wasn‘t in it for any other reason than I had fallen in love with someone.

ANNOUNCER:  But next, a piece of wreckage from this deadly terrorist attack ends up in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld‘s office.  A thoughtful reminder or a thoughtless insult?

DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back.


ABRAMS:  Remember the Justice Department investigation that led to some hot water for FBI agents who took debris and other items from the crime scene at the World Trade Center?

Well, now we learn the report that revealed that 13 FBI agents took rubble, debris, also found that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is keeping a piece of the plane that hit the Pentagon inside his office. 

The still unreleased report makes clear, federal agents have routinely taken mementos from other disaster scenes, including the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the East African embassy bombings in 1998. 

The latest disclosure has left some surviving family members from 9/11 angry. 

Mary Schiavo is a former federal prosecutor and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation.  She‘s also an attorney for several 9/11 victims‘ families.

And Gail Dunham is president of the National Aviation Disaster Alliance, which represents families from over 100 aviation disasters, including 9/11. 

Thank you both very much for coming on.  We appreciate it. 

Ms. Dunham, let me start with you.  When you heard about Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld having this item in his office, what were your thoughts?

GAIL DUNHAM, NATIONAL AVIATION DISASTER ALLIANCE:  That it was terribly wrong.  We would like the federal government to comply with federal laws. 

The—Anything to do with the airplane should still be part of a federal investigation, and the attorneys should have access to it.  My concern, representing family members, is that the personal effects should never have been taken. 

We passed the family—The aviation does—family members passed the Family Assistance Act in 1996, and that guarantees that family members must be consulted about the disposition of remains and personal effects. 

They‘re personal effects; they‘re personal possessions.  They‘re not mementos.  They‘re not artifacts.  It‘s not debris.  They‘re personal effects, and they should be returned to the family members that own them. 

ABRAMS:  And does that include the pieces of the plane?  I mean, for example, we heard about that Tiffany globe, et cetera.  I get that.  I mean, that‘s an item that I don‘t think anyone should have on their desk.  It doesn‘t belong...

DUNHAM:  Exactly. 

ABRAMS:  ... to that—I think that one‘s kind of a no-brainer. 

But what about is there a difference for you with a piece of the plane, for the secretary of defense wanting to have it on his desk, as a reminder.  The Pentagon says it reminds foreign dignitaries and others, and he Pentagon serves as kind of a museum?

DUNHAM:  No.  No, Rumsfeld should not be having parts of the airplane. 

First of all, I think it‘s rather ghoulish to want pieces of the actual aircraft‘s debris.  The wreckage for the airplane technically would belong to the airline or their insurance companies, but it‘s still part of a criminal investigation.  And those parts should be kept intact, pending the criminal investigation. 

There‘s ongoing litigation.  We have attorneys like Mary Schiavo prosecuting these cases right now, and that‘s what should be done in the court of law. 

ABRAMS:  Mary Schiavo, the secretary of defense‘s office says if it‘s needed in terms of any investigation, they, of course, would return it.  Is this really being blown out of proportion?

MARY SCHIAVO, ATTORNEY FOR 9/11 FAMILIES:  No, unfortunately for the secretary of defense, and also for the FBI agents, there are federal statutes that cover this.  And others have actually been prosecuted for this kind of behavior as a crime. 

For example, 49 United States code, and 18 United States code forbid this.  And both pertain to the wreckage of aircraft or the evidence in a case. 

It‘s also very serious, because there are federal court orders now concerning the display of records or the disposition of airplane wreckage, because it is evidence not only in an ongoing civil case but in an ongoing criminal case. 

And everybody remembers the case a while back on the TWA 800, where a journalist was prosecuted for receiving a piece of evidence to do further testing and to write on it.  So a very serious offense. 

ABRAMS:  But isn‘t that different?  I mean, talking about giving something to a journalist to do testing on it that could potentially be a piece of evidence, versus a piece of the plane that no one seems to need right now, in the secretary of defense‘s office?

SCHIAVO:  Well, actually, the pieces of the plane are needed.  There‘s a current order.  An order was just issued out of the court in New York pertaining to the wreckage, and it has been requested, and it‘s very important in the cases. 

And the other important thing to remember is that, because it is ongoing, there are current uses of the wreckage.  And in many ways, the government has brought this problem on themselves. 

There is—there are federal regulations that say in the aftermath of aviation tragedy, the National Transportation Safety Board is supposed to take control.  And indeed, they control it very closely.  Here the NTSB did not get a chance to do that. 

So because they have not applied the rules and they apparently have overlooked the United States code, they‘re getting themselves in trouble by literally picking up souvenirs of a crime scene. 

MATTHEWS:  Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst, joins us.  Pat, what do you make of this?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think it‘s a lot of carping and whining. 

Look, Donald Rumsfeld is the secretary of defense.  He was there when that plane went into that building killing scores of his comrades, people who worked for him.  He rushed to the scene of that to help out. 

He went back, took command of America‘s armed forces.  We had been attacked. 

And now he has taken a shard of metal from that plane and put it on his desk as a reminder to him what happened to this country and as a reminder to all of his visitors of exactly what took place on September 11. 

That piece of plane is available to anybody that wants it.  It belongs to the Pentagon.  They‘ve got every right to have that at the Pentagon. 

SCHIAVO:  It does not. 

BUCHANAN:  They are the guys that suffered. 

ABRAMS:  Pat, is there any difference?


ABRAMS:  Go ahead.  Who wants to get in?  Mary?

SCHIAVO:  I do. 

ABRAMS:  Or Gail? 

DUNHAM:  Dan, we‘re not talking about only a Tiffany globe or only a shard. 

BUCHANAN:  I‘m not talking about a globe. 

DUNHAM:  We don‘t know how much was taken.  These are personal effects that by federal law should be returned to the family members. 


DUNHAM:  We‘re talking about...

BUCHANAN:  Dan, I‘m going to take...

ABRAMS:  Hang on. 

BUCHANAN:  I‘m going to take the floor back, Dan. 

DUNHAM:  The least we can do. 

ABRAMS:  Gail, hold on a second.

BUCHANAN:  Hold on, lady. 

ABRAMS:  Gail, hang on a second. 

BUCHANAN:  Hang on, Gail.  If you‘re talking about a man or a woman who died in that tragedy, their personal effects, you‘re exactly right.  If you‘re talking about things that belong to a business, you‘re exactly right. 

This is part of an aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon that killed the people who were working under Donald Rumsfeld for this country.  So he puts a memento up as a reminder to all of them there, in the Pentagon, what happened to them.  A reminder to him. 

ABRAMS:  But Pat, how do you set a standard?  Pat, how do you set a standard, though?  I mean, and why can‘t, for example, any FBI agent who works, any rescue worker who worked at the site, can those people...

BUCHANAN:  Dan, let me give you an example. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead. 

BUCHANAN:  Let‘s suppose they found a helmet with the name of one of the fellows from one of those firehouses, and those fellows in the firehouse either offered it to the family or took it back to the firehouse and put it in a glass case as to what happened that day when they were heroes.  I have no problem with that at all. 

What is the matter with these folks they can‘t understand something about a scavenger hunt for something that belongs to someone else, and someone who is paying homage and honor to the people who died here?

ABRAMS:  Based on your...

DUNHAM:  There was never a scavenger hunt...

ABRAMS:  Hang on a second.  Hang on a second. 

BUCHANAN:  I am not saying everybody should take something. 

DUNHAM:  That‘s outrageous. 

BUCHANAN:  FBI agents—FBI agents when they take this stuff, all this evidence in there, they should check it in.  But if the evidence has been used, and someone in the case says, “Joe, it‘s not needed anymore.  It‘s gone.”

And an FBI man says, “Well, I want this as a memento of the work I did that day, to keep it in mind.”  If they were given that and allowed to do that, I would say fine.  They shouldn‘t take it without permission. 

DUNHAM:  Wait a minute.  There‘s a federal law. 

SCHIAVO:  There‘s a law. 

DUNHAM:  To return personal effects. 

BUCHANAN:  Go take them to court, for heaven‘s sakes. 

DUNHAM:  Not a scavenger hunt. 

ABRAMS:  Let me just say.  The Defense Department spokesman, Eric Rolf (ph) has said it‘s not a souvenir, it is a memento on display in Secretary Rumsfeld‘s office.  It‘s hard to imagine there‘s something wrong in trying to remind people of what happened on 9/11. 

Mary Schiavo, go ahead. 

SCHIAVO:  Well, actually there are laws that cover this, and there is a difference, I‘m afraid.  Pat is just a little bit wrong, because there are laws that cover the airplane wreckage.  And airplane wreckage is very special, because we are still doing a lot of investigative discovery and work. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me...

ABRAMS:  Pat, let her finish. 

SCHIAVO:  I am speaking, Mr. Buchanan.  I did not interrupt you. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Mary.  Mary, go ahead. 

SCHIAVO:  Yes, and there are—right now the court in New York, if you want to have a piece, Pat, you may say, that‘s OK, he can have a piece of the wreckage.  The law doesn‘t allow you to do that, just as you cannot dip in the evidence vault if you‘re a prosecutor.  As a former federal prosecutor... 

BUCHANAN:  I know. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Pat, go ahead.

BUCHANAN:  That piece of metal, Donald Rumsfeld will send it up there in a Pentagon plane.  They have not asked for it.  They know it‘s there.  Rumsfeld has showed it to people. 

They can have it if they want it.  They obviously don‘t want it, Mary. 

If they wanted it as part of the case, I‘d agree with you 100 percent.

Give it a rest. 

DUNHAM:  Wait a minute, Pat. 

SCHIAVO:  Actually, we have asked for it, and we want more.

DUNHAM:  Personal effects. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Mary.  Go ahead.  You want to respond to Pat. 

SCHIAVO:  Well, actually, we do want that, and I will appreciate Mr.  Rumsfeld‘s offer, because we do need it in the case.  And thank you very much, we‘ll be taking it.  Thanks.  We need it for evidence. 

BUCHANAN:  Good luck. 

DUNHAM:  And we‘ve had two and a half years to return personal effects to family members.  It hasn‘t been done. 

BUCHANAN:  Nobody is arguing about personal effects.  Nobody is arguing about that.

DUNHAM:  It was up to the FBI to secure the scene, not to take things. 

Nothing is a souvenir. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, there‘s not...

SCHIAVO:  The court has ruled. 

BUCHANAN:  We are not talking about personal effects.  We‘re talking about a part of the plane.  If a prosecutor wants it, investigator wants it, they should have it.  He will send it to them.  Right now, it is sitting secure in his office, where it belongs. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Mary, Gail, Pat, thanks very much. 

SCHIAVO:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  I appreciate you coming on. 

Coming up, the story goes from disturbing to just plain bizarre.  Remember Melissa Rowland, the woman charged with murder for ignoring doctor‘s orders to have a C-section?  She had a stillborn twin. 

Now we learned she tried to make bail by giving up the dead baby? 

We‘ll talk to the couple she contacted.  Stay with us.


ABRAMS:  A twist tonight in that disturbing story out of Utah.

A mother charged with criminal homicide for the murder of her stillborn child has pleaded not guilty; 28-year-old Melissa Rowland appeared in Salt Lake City courtroom today via video teleconference from jail.  Prosecutors say Rowland refused to have a C-section, which doctors had said would save her twin babies.  Rowland says allegations are untrue, that she didn‘t refuse a C-section.  She spoke to a local radio station from jail. 


MELISSA ANN ROWLAND, CHARGED WITH MURDER:  I didn‘t refuse the C-section.  They were born by C-section. 

QUESTION:  OK, you didn‘t refuse one a month earlier or anyone like that?

ROWLAND:  No, I never refused the C-section. 

QUESTION:  OK.  Because they say that you—this is what they are saying, that you said you didn‘t want one because it would leave you with a scar. 

ROWLAND:  I‘ve already had two prior C-sections.  Why would I say something like that?


ROWLAND:  I already have a pretty nasty scar.  It doesn‘t matter at all now. 


ABRAMS:  Now, the latest twist, a California couple says, Rowland called them February 26 and offered to sell them a baby boy in return for $5,000 bail.  What She didn‘t tell them was that the boy was already dead. 


ROWLAND:  I really don‘t know what I could have done to help save him. 

I wish I knew now.  I wish I knew. 


ABRAMS:  With us tonight are Brian Farley and Anna Marxson, the couple who wanted to adopt Melissa Rowland‘s baby before they learned exactly what was happening. 

Thank you both very much for taking the time to come on the program. 

You‘re welcome. 


ABRAMS:  All right, Anna, let me start with you. 

How did this all happen?  How did you get in touch with her and what did she tell you? 

MARXSON:  We have an agency, an adoption agency, that is helping us adopt a child.  And the lawyer that is in charge of that agency called us up and told us that he had a woman in prison who was giving birth any day and would we be interested in this baby?  And of course, letting our emotions run, we said, certainly.  We will talk to her. 

And he told us that she was anxious to give us a call that evening at 5:00, and would we accept her call.  And we said yes.  And that‘s when we got her first call, phone call, that evening.

ABRAMS:  And, Brian, when you heard from her, you say that there was something fishy about the story she was telling you, right? 


Basically, just some things didn‘t add up as far as what the bail was.  And it just seemed kind of—it was kind of tugging at me that maybe this is not on the up-and-up, maybe illegal, that type of thing.  A lot of things just didn‘t make accepts. 

ABRAMS:  And so what did she say to you?  What did you say to her?

FARLEY:  Basically, she started out crying that she was two days past due.  She knew the birth was going to be a baby boy.  And she was going to have a C-section, but she didn‘t want to have the C-section while she was under custody.  She wanted to be out of jail, and we could adopt her child if we felt we were comfortable and she was comfortable with us. 

ABRAMS:  And did she say, look, I need the money up front; I need the money immediately? 

FARLEY:  Yes, that is what she said.  She wanted to be bailed out of jail immediately.  She was not going to have birth in the jail.  And that was the stipulation.  You get me out of jail by posting $5,000 bond and I will get on a bus, come to California.  We will meet.  Take me to the hospital.  And when the baby comes, it‘s yours. 

ABRAMS:  And that was the last you heard from her, right? 


FARLEY:  We heard from her a couple more days.  On Monday the 2nd was the last day I heard.  And that conversation was, are you guys going to bail me out of jail?  And I told her, there‘s no way I am putting my house up for collateral, bailing you out of jail, keeping an eye on you while you are running around in Salt Lake.  You are a flight risk, everything else. 

I found out all this information on my own without the help from my attorney, so we told her no.  We would be happy to come to Salt Lake and hold your hand in the hospital and adopt your child.  And down the road, when you are free and all that, maybe we can help you get back on your feet, but that was the extent of our offer. 

ABRAMS:  Anna, had you ever met her?  You had never met her face to face, right? 

MARXSON:  No.  I just talked to her on the phone. 

ABRAMS:  When did you find out about all of what‘s happened, her being charged with murder for refusing the C-section, allegedly? 

MARXSON:  That was last Friday.  Brian called me at work and said that he had heard something on our local news station about a woman in Utah and the murder charges.  And we just kind of put two and two together.  A colleague and I started looking on the Internet and found the article where her name was.

And once I saw her name, I knew it was the same woman.  And then once we heard the sound bites of her interviews, oh, the voice was—it was her.  There was no doubt.  And we were flabbergasted to find out that she had already given birth. 

FARLEY:  Yes.  

ABRAMS:  She kept mentioning she had been in jail 58 days.  And it kind of added up, then, that she was actually put in jail because of the incident with giving birth, not for what she had told us, which was child endangerment.  It was a different story that she gave us, why she was in jail.  So, basically, that‘s how I found out. 

ABRAMS:  How was she going to make this happen?  Let‘s say you had said yes, Brian.  How do you think theoretically she would have tried to make this happen? 

FARLEY:  Well, like I said—oh, I don‘t know, because I asked her a bunch of personal questions, I guess.  I said, you know, what is your drug history, why are you in jail, blah, blah, blah.  And she was giving me all the answers that maybe I wanted. 

She said that she hadn‘t had any drugs in her system since she was 17 years old.  There‘s no reason to lie, because when this baby is born, you will know the truth.  So, basically, she was telling me everything I wanted to hear.  But, after some research on my part, I figured out this gal is a flight risk, and I will never see her, her baby, or money again. 

MARXSON:  We offered to pick her up and bring her to California. 

ABRAMS:  And this must have been so hard for the two of you, knowing that there‘s someone out there offering the one thing that you want so badly, and yet it seems that your instincts kicked in and you did the right thing. 

FARLEY:  Yes, that‘s pretty much what happened.  Our instincts kicked in, but, emotionally, we were caught up in this.  And we kind of had our fingers crossed for the last week or so that maybe she would do the right thing, call us, telling us that she is going into labor, and please come to Salt Lake and take this child.  And then, all of a sudden, we hear this report on the radio station.  And it was just devastating. 

ABRAMS:  Quickly, any luck in adopting a child since then? 

FARLEY:  At this point, no, because our attorney is not working with us at all.  I kind of confronted him and said, hey, we should have never had this phone call.  You should do the investigating.  You should help us, and basically he has kind of blown me off. 

MARXSON:  He‘s cut us off. 

FARLEY:  So we are out money.  We are out children.  We are in a no-win situation right now. 

ABRAMS:  Well, I will tell you, I will be very interested to hear why your attorney set you up with this woman.  I am actually going to look into that. 

And I just want to say, the best of luck to both of you. 

MARXSON:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  I know how emotional and heartfelt this all must be.  And I appreciate you taking the time to come on and talk about it. 

FARLEY:  Thank you. 

MARXSON:  Thank you very much. 

FARLEY:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, it was the marriage that always made you go, huh?  Now, Lisa Marie Presley has finally broken her silence about her brief marriage to Michael Jackson—coming up.


ABRAMS:  Up next, how do you know when you‘ve really made it in this world?  You get your own music parody.  The Donald unplugged—coming up.


ABRAMS:  We just had to ask tonight, when you are one of America‘s richest men, worth almost $2 billion, you have a real estate empire with your name on some of the country‘s most exclusive addresses hotels, casinos, golf courses, apartment and condominium complexes, and you‘re an author and host of a hit reality TV show, it seems like you have done and had everything. 

So what is left?  A music video, of course.  This has been making the rounds at the office here.  And it speaks for itself. 


DONALD TRUMP, DEVELOPER/BUSINESSMAN:  My name is Donald Trump.  My name is Donald Trump.  Work hard.  Work hard.  Be paranoid.  Stay focused.  Don‘t blow it. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Put your money where your mouth is, because there ain‘t no time for funny biz. 

TRUMP:  This isn‘t a game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Show me the money, don‘t care how. 

TRUMP:  It‘s not personal. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Put your money where your mouth is, because there ain‘t no time for funny biz.  You think it‘s funny. 

TRUMP:  Donald Trump. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Shut your mouth.  If it don‘t pay money, then he will kick you out. 

TRUMP:  You‘re fired, fired, fired, fired, fired, fired. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Money.

TRUMP:  Donald Trump. 

TRUMP:  Fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Oh, money.


ANNOUNCER:  Up next, her marriage to Michael Jackson lasted only two years.  But during that time, she says she was powerless. 


LISA MARIE PRESLEY, FORMER WIFE OF MICHAEL JACKSON:  That‘s why I left.  I mean, only—powerless in a lot of ways. 


ANNOUNCER:  Lisa Marie Presley on life with the king of pop—when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.



MICHAEL JACKSON, MUSICIAN:  Nobody thought this would last. 



ABRAMS:  One of television‘s most memorable and seemingly oddest kisses.  Lisa Marie Presley was married to Michael Jackson for almost 20 months.  They divorced in 1996.  She is touring Australia this month to support her latest album.

But in a rare interview on Australia Broadcasting‘s talk “Enough Rope With Andrew Denton,” she spoke about her marriage to Michael Jackson.  It was her first public comment since Jackson‘s child sex abuse scandal.  She raised a lot of eyebrows and stirred some suspicious minds. 


ANDREW DENTON, HOST:  Why did you fall in love with Michael Jackson? 

PRESLEY:  I have no idea.  Why does anyone fall in love with anyone? 

It was nine years ago.  Can‘t really remember, you know?

DENTON:  Really? 

PRESLEY:  Just hung out.  We were friends. 

DENTON:  But you said, he is the opposite of how he appears.  The Michael Jackson saw last year dangling the baby off the balcony, putting veils over the kids‘ faces, is that him? 

PRESLEY:  OK.  No.  I don‘t know.  I don‘t know anymore. 

DENTON:  Was it difficult to be in a relationship where, to some extent, you felt powerless? 

PRESLEY:  It was.  That‘s why I left.  I mean, powerless in a lot of ways, in terms of realizing I was part of a machine and seeing things going on that I couldn‘t do anything about.  And don‘t ask me what sort of things, because I am not going to answer, just stuff. 

DENTON:  Do you feel sorry for him.  Do you feel for him, still? 

PRESLEY:  You know, I‘ll tell you—I can‘t—it‘s really bizarre. 

I feel nothing.  It‘s just—I watch just like anyone else when anything is going on, and I have the same reaction, and wow or holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED) or whatever. 


ABRAMS:  Is the daughter of the king of rock ‘n‘ roll trying to tell us something incriminating about the king of pop, and why of all times now? 

Marc Malkin is news director for “Us Weekly” magazine.  And he joins me now.

Marc, good to see you.


ABRAMS:  So is Lisa Marie screaming out to tell us trying to tell us something? 

MALKIN:  I don‘t think that interview said screaming out.  I think it said more about squirming. 

She was definitely not comfortable with it.  Her eyes were going all over the place.  She didn‘t want to talk about it.  This guy was really good.  He kept pushing her.  That said, she gave some hints that something was going on when she was married to him.  She said she saw things that she had no control over.  And, of course, what are we thinking?  We are thinking the worst things. 

ABRAMS:  Based on your knowledge of the people who know them, etcetera, first off, let‘s start with, why did they get married in the first place?  Was it love?  She is talking, she can‘t remember why she fell in love with him nine years ago?  I hate when that happens. 


MALKIN:  She wants it both ways.  She is saying she can‘t remember why she fell in love with him or why she married him.  But then she says, he is not the same man I married. 

Well, is he?  Do you remember him or not?  There are different theories of why she married him.  One was, she was just acting out.  She was a kid.  She was being rebellious.  I am Lisa Marie Presley.  I will do what I want. 

There are theories that Michael really got her to marry him because he had something to prove to the world. 

ABRAMS:  And their marriage itself, 20 months.  Do we know anything about that 20-month period? 

MALKIN:  Well, she told Diane Sawyer, that, yes, yes, yes, they had sex.  Do we believe that?  I don‘t know.  From that kiss we just saw, Madonna and Britney‘s kiss was more convincing than that. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

And the divorce.  Michael said in that clip there that, no one thought it would last. 

MALKIN:  Well, guess what, Michael.  It didn‘t last. 

This was a couple that went—they snuck to the Dominican Republic and got married.  Even the guy who married them in the Dominican Republic came out right away and said, there was no way this was going to last. 

ABRAMS:  What were the people who were covering this at the time thinking?  Were they thinking, this is nuts; there‘s got to be something else going on? 

MALKIN:  This was sort of the start of that sort of that nutsy thing, so, like, now when you see a Britney Spears get married, you‘re like, oh, yes, big whoop. 

This was like, I remember when it happened.  OK, I wasn‘t that old when it happened, but I do remember, going, what?  It‘s just totally bizarre.  But then this is the same woman who went on to marry Nic Cage, who has an obvious obsession with her dead father.  So...

ABRAMS:  And that was a brief marriage as well, right?

MALKIN:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  How long did that one last? 

MALKIN:  Nine months or something like that. 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s another piece of sound from the interview on Australian television. 


DENTON:  But I got the sense that you had become a part of Michael Jackson Inc., that you had an access-most-areas ticket, but that you didn‘t have access to the boardroom, necessarily.  Would that be a fair way to describe the relationship? 

PRESLEY:  I didn‘t want access.  I wasn‘t in it for any other reason than I had fallen in love with someone.  So it wasn‘t like I was trying to find access to something. 


ABRAMS:  Do any people believe that she married Michael Jackson for publicity? 

MALKIN:  No.  I don‘t think people thought she married him for publicity.  I think people he married her for publicity.  I don‘t think anybody really believes that she was in love with him.  Maybe she thought she was in love with him.

But this is—they met like when they were—it‘s just so bizarre that we are even trying to think about this in a logical way, because these people are not logical.

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, weirder marriage than Liza and David? 

MALKIN:  Totally weirder.  I believe Liza and David got along and sang show tunes together. 


MALKIN:  Michael and Lisa Marie did not. 

ABRAMS:  Marc Malkin, thanks a lot. 

MALKIN:  Thanks a lot.

By the way, tomorrow night, we‘ll be joined by Australian talk show host Andrew Denton, who conducted the interview. 

Up next, they don‘t call it March madness for nothing, but you may be surprised by how much time is spent on those workplace pools. 

Back after the break.


ABRAMS:  For those wondering what your colleagues were doing spending hours at the copying machine today, I think I can tell you. 

Were they using terms like Cinderella, seeds, or bracket busters?  March madness is back, the NCAA basketball tournament and the annual phenomenon of the office pool, 64 college teams.  Pick the winners and win some cash.  It sounds like a lot of fun, right?  A workplace bonding experience. 

Well, apparently, it‘s also an enormous time and money waster.  New study shows that U.S. businesses stand to lose between $400 million to $1.5 billion in lost worker productivity during the 15-day tournament, and not only from all the time people spend making their picks, the games themselves on the air during the day and the time spent watching them.  The true die-hards apparently even call in sick.  Come on, that‘s really a statistically significant sample?  I don‘t know.

So there you have it.  But what I really like is that groups of people spent their time at work doing a study of what others do at work, determining that the group they studied cost their company time and money at work.  I just say leave the office pools alone, and, go, Duke. 

You can send your e-mails and ideas and comments, NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.

Thanks for watching.  I‘m Dan Abrams, in for Deborah Norville.  And I will be back tomorrow.

Coming up next, Joe Scarborough asks, is al Qaeda winning the war on terror?  That‘s on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—coming up next. 


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