updated 8/17/2004 9:18:38 AM ET 2004-08-17T13:18:38

Guest: Jayne Weintraub, Bill Fallon, Catherine Crier, Bubba Clem, Travis Tritt


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  More revealing tapes.


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER LOVER:  You‘ve been dishonest with me, Scott.



NORVILLE:  Amber Frey‘s latest testimony and phone tapes, more lies, more deceit and more of Scott Peterson‘s secret life.  Wait until you hear what the jury heard in court.

Plus: Michael Jackson turns the tables.  The accused child molester‘s back in court.  Why, then, is the Santa Barbara DA now on the hot seat?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All of the evidence, almost, in this case will be ruled upon this week.


NORVILLE:  Howard Stern says he‘s fed up.  Why would he want to quit his job?


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST:  ... that it‘s become unbearable, the amount of censorship that goes on.


NORVILLE:  Tonight, the exclusive story of another shock jock who was booted off the air.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don‘t think it‘s funny.


NORVILLE:  Bubba the Love Sponge speaks his mind and talks about why he‘s now running for public office.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Grab your briefcase.  I hope there‘s no guns in it because I got a lot of firepower, you (DELETED)!


ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  And good evening, everybody.  We begin tonight with more of those revealing taped telephone conversations between accused murderer Scott Peterson and his former mistress, Amber Frey.  The headline: tapes that revealed yet more lies and deceit.  Amber Frey back on the witness stand today, and the tapes that were played for the jury showed that Peterson continued to pursue her even as the search for his missing wife continued, one week after she disappeared.  And Frey was angry with Peterson when the topic of his marriage came up.


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER LOVER:  How was that OK with you that you had a girlfriend and married?  I mean, how is that—I just—that just is beside me.  I don‘t understand.

SCOTT PETERSON, CHARGED WITH DOUBLE MURDER:  Amber, I know you can‘t understand.

FREY:  And...

PETERSON:  You can‘t understand, at this point. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

FREY:  Scott?


FREY:  Knowing—knowing me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that you do and knowing what I‘ve went through in my life...


FREY:  ... and my -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean, it‘s so strange.  Our conversations we had gave you an open door many times to be honest with me, and yet you still persisted on lying.


NORVILLE:  And joining me now from Redwood City, California, where he‘s been covering the trial, NBC News chief legal correspondent, the anchor of MSNBC‘s “THE ABRAMS REPORT,” Dan Abrams.  Dan, when you hear that tape played in court, you just think that there is a hole being dug and Scott Peterson‘s the one digging it deeper and deeper and deeper every time you hear these kinds of comments.  How did the jury react?

DAN ABRAMS, HOST, “THE ABRAMS REPORT”:  Well, the jurors at times were amused.  I mean, there was Amber Frey making a number of kind of amusing comments to Scott Peterson about him supposedly being faithful to her.  You saw them laughing at times.  When there were references to the family of Laci Peterson, you saw the jurors looking over at Laci Peterson‘s family, a lot of looking over at Scott Peterson, and a lot of following along with the transcripts.  It got emotional in there at times, as well.  When Amber Frey was talking about how hard her life had been, and why did Scott Peterson have to make her life so much harder, she at one point was in tears inside the courtroom.  At another point, the family of Laci Peterson left the courtroom.

But the primary focus today was on the grilling that Amber Frey did of Scott Peterson, asking about all of the details of what happened on the night before Laci was reported missing, and that morning.  What did Laci eat?  Did you sleep in the same bed?  What time did you go to bed?  What were you doing before?  What was the movie you were watching?

NORVILLE:  Well, hold on a second...

ABRAMS:  ... as if she were the...

NORVILLE:  ... Dan.  These conversations were taking place after New Year‘s, right?  Is this around January 6, January 7, when these taped conversations were recorded?

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  Today‘s are January 7 and January 8.

NORVILLE:  So was he suspicious, do you believe, at that point in time, that she‘s being so persistent in questioning him about all these very specific details about Amber—about Laci and Scott?

ABRAMS:  See, I think that Scott Peterson may have suspected that the authorities were listening in.  I mean, there seems very little reason that he wouldn‘t answer many of the questions that Amber was asking him.  He refused to answer a lot of questions about why.  Why did you cheat on me?  Even questions about, Did you and Laci sleep in the same bed?  But he would answer other questions.  It was almost as if whatever was known, he would answer, but wouldn‘t answer anything that might get him into trouble.  And that was very interesting.

I got to tell you, though, Deborah, one of the key questions—and I‘m going to read from a description here of what he said.


ABRAMS:  The question—remember, he said that he had lost his wife...


ABRAMS:  ... on December the 9th, two weeks before Laci goes missing. 

And now he starts to be suggesting that, Well, lost my wife—I didn‘t

really mean dead.  And Amber starts questioning him about it.  Here‘s what

she said.  “And you said you lost your wife.  And what—I mean, what

sense do you think people think when you say that ‘I lost‘?  I mean, I took

it, and she”—referring to her friend—“took it as she had passed

away.”  Peterson says, “Recently dead.  Yes, I know you did.”  “How else—

how else is one to think any different than that, Scott?”  “Well, I mean” -

·         “And you didn‘t indicate you‘re currently married and living with her.” 

Peterson, “True.”

And that‘s sort of where it ends.  But again, that gives you a sort of sense of the way that Amber was grilling Peterson.

NORVILLE:  And she was also, as you said, sort of turning in the other direction, too, being prosecutor when it comes to details about Laci, but also the, Woe is me, what about my life?  And listen to this exchange that was heard in court today.


FREY:  You have to be in my shoes again and look through my eyes and...


FREY:  You‘ve lied to me since day one.  You lied...

PETERSON:  I know it.

FREY:  ... to Ayianna since day one.  Doesn‘t look favorable for you.

PETERSON:  It‘s a horrible thing I did.  There‘s no question.


NORVILLE:  “It‘s a horrible thing I did.  There‘s no question.”  Lying to Amber Frey or something else?

ABRAMS:  No, no, no.  He would only concede that he felt awful about lying to Amber Frey.  That‘s all he‘d tell her, again and again, I‘m so sorry I lied to you.  You didn‘t deserve to have this happen to you.  I never should have done this to you.  But then when she would ask him, Why would you have done this to me, why?  He‘d say, Well, there‘s things I can‘t talk to you about right now.  But one thing in Scott Peterson‘s favor is that every time she asked him about whether he killed Laci or suggested it or implied it, he would sort of take offense to it and say, Amber, how could you think that I would do that?  I had nothing to do with this.  I know it sounds bad, but I‘m absolutely innocent.

NORVILLE:  And more than once, he said, I had nothing to do with my wife‘s disappearance.  And so since he‘s probably not going to be on the stand, that‘s the testimony, isn‘t it, Dan, of Scott Peterson?

ABRAMS:  Well, and that‘s a very interesting point, is that now Mark Geragos, the defense attorney, has these jurors, having heard Scott Peterson say, I didn‘t do it, again and again, I didn‘t do it, I wasn‘t responsible, and he doesn‘t have to call him to the witness stand.


ABRAMS:  And no one expects that he‘s going to call him.  But this way, it helps the defense in the sense that these jurors have now heard from Scott Peterson‘s own mouth the words, I wasn‘t responsible, I didn‘t do it, I had nothing to do with Laci‘s disappearance.

NORVILLE:  All right.  Dan Abrams, thanks so much for your continued insights on the case.  We appreciate you being with us tonight.  We‘ll look for you later on on MSNBC.

And now for more on the Scott Peterson murder trial, I‘m joined by Catherine Crier.  She‘s the host of Court TV‘s “Catherine Crier Live.”  Also with me tonight, criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub...


NORVILLE:  ... and former federal prosecutor—former prosecutor Bill Fallon.

I thank all of you for being here.  I‘m going to let each of you wear different hats.  Catherine, you‘re going to be the judge because you used to be one down in Texas.


NORVILLE:  Bill, you‘re a prosecutor again.  And Jayne, you‘re the defense attorney.  And I want to play some tape that was played today in court and get you reaction to more of the testimony, if you will, that we heard of Scott Peterson with Amber Frey‘s prompting by questions.


FREY:  You‘ve been dishonest with me, Scott.

PETERSON:  I know it.



FREY:  ... Thanksgiving.  You went through your—said who you were with in Christmas.  And I was hurting already about that, Scott.  How‘s that fair to me?

PETERSON:  It‘s not fair to you at all, Amber.  It‘s not fair to you at all.


NORVILLE:  That was tricky to hear, but what—what she was calling him on was the fact that he lied about where she was—where—Scott had lied to Amber about where he was.

Jayne, you are the defense attorney.  You‘ve got to make this not look as bad as it has looked at times, at least, to the members of the jury.  What do you do?

WEINTRAUB:  Well, the first thing I would do is point out that you should wake me up when they get to the part about the murder case.  I mean, this is about adultery, adultery, adultery.  He conceded that he had an affair with Amber.  And she and he both sound like the drama king and queen that they are, playing out this adulterous affair, period.  That has nothing to do with the fact the man is on trial, it‘s a death penalty case, for first degree murder.

You know, Deborah, they‘re not—the jurors aren‘t going to be instructed on, You must find, ladies and gentlemen, find him guilty that, A, he had an affair with Amber Frey, B, he had an affair and he lied to Amber Frey, and 3, he‘s a disgusting human being.  No.  They‘re going to be instructed, No. 1, you have to find premeditation.  So far, we‘re in week 11 of this trial, we‘ve heard nothing about premeditation.

NORVILLE:  But hold on a second...

BILL FALLON, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Oh, Jayne—Jayne, Jayne, Jayne, Jayne...

NORVILLE:  Go ahead, Bill.

FALLON:  Jayne, how can you possibly say that?  First we hear him saying, I‘ve lost—I‘m not married.  Then, I‘ve lost my wife.  This is going to be...


FALLON:  ... my first Christmas without her.  If I‘m the jury, I say -

·         if I‘m giving my closing argument, I said, This comes down to this is the first Christmas he was going to be without here.  And guess what?  He slipped when he said that because only he knew it was the first Christmas.



NORVILLE:  We don‘t shout on this show, Jayne.  Hold on just one second.  Let me bring Judge Crier in...


CRIER:  ... doing a very good job right now.

NORVILLE:  What we‘re doing here is we‘re laying groundwork.  Yes, Jayne‘s absolutely right.  We haven‘t heard anything about him killing anybody, except maybe this woman‘s hopes for a future with him.  Is this appropriate?  Are we setting the stage for something really juicy to come?

CRIER:  Well, I think you are getting the meat, and I think the argument you‘re going to hear from the prosecution is not just, Well, gee, he had an affair.  We know he‘s a liar.  But when he says, I‘m innocent, well, we‘ve heard nothing but lies to all of these people up to now.  Over and over again, he repeats to Amber, I can‘t explain right now.  I know you deserve an explanation.  It would hurt people.  This guy is coming across as knowing a lot more about the case than he is willing to let on at that point in time.  And I think the jurors can reasonably infer this guy knows more than he‘s telling.

NORVILLE:  We‘re going to...


NORVILLE:  ... over 300 conversations.  Got to take a quick break.  I want to ask you all about what we haven‘t heard in court because we certainly haven‘t heard a lot of the conversations.  More on the Peterson murder trial with my panel in just a moment.

And later on: Michael Jackson.  He was also back in court today, joined by his parents, his sisters, Janet and La Toya, his brother, Jermaine.  And this time, Jackson gets to watch the man who‘s prosecuting him be grilled on the witness stand.  Stay tuned.



PETERSON:  I should have told you everything (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

FREY:  So now you can‘t?

PETERSON:  I can‘t right now, no.


NORVILLE:  That‘s more of the taped phone conversation between Amber Frey and Scott Peterson, in which he says he should have been more forthright but now he couldn‘t.

Back with me, Catherine Crier from Court TV, criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub and former prosecutor Bill Fallon.

Folks, we‘re hearing that when Mark Geragos has a chance to cross-examine Amber Frey that there‘s two ways he could go, and the jury‘s out on which way he‘ll go, if he‘s really going to come at her like a ton of bricks and if he‘s just going to back off and say, Thank you very much, and let this show speak for itself.

Jayne, what do you think?

WEINTRAUB:  He‘s not going to do the latter.  He will go after her, and he will show and demonstrate to the jury that she is a liar, that she is looking for the brass ring at the end of this case.  She‘s looking for the movie deal or whatever she‘s looking for that Gloria has her press conferences for to explain her testimony every day.  But Mark Geragos will not just sit back and let this be.  Mark Geragos...

NORVILLE:  But what‘s the brass ring...

FALLON:  And he should.

NORVILLE:  ... she‘d be going after?  I mean, she didn‘t know this guy was going to be accused of murder when she met up with him in November.  I don‘t understand how that could be.

WEINTRAUB:  Well, you know, Deborah, from a defense point of view, remember, she has dated him four times.


WEINTRAUB:  And now she‘s—and just as readily as she goes to bed with him on the first date, she turns on him as a scorned women, knowing that he‘s married, right away, and she becomes Detective Frey and injects herself to make herself the drama queen here.

NORVILLE:  You think she...

FALLON:  Jayne, don‘t you think—don‘t you think that‘s what the jury is going to like?  Whether they slept together the first night, he, of course, is going to sit there, and he slept with her.  If anybody‘s a slut, it‘s him, and he‘s certainly a lying slut.  And I think what you...

WEINTRAUB:  Bill, women are tougher on women than anyone else...


FALLON:  Yes, I agree with that, as you‘re being tougher on her.  But I think that what you have to look at here is, this scorned woman—I think it‘s the biggest bunch of malarkey I ever heard.  Here‘s a woman who finds out this guy, who‘s been having this romance with her, has lost his wife, has lost his child, and seems to be not the least bit concerned.  Guess what?  I think she thinks she‘s going to jump—she‘s going to be in the river next if he knew he was even going to be...


FALLON:  I think the most damning thing...

NORVILLE:  ... how do you think he‘s going to come at her?

CRIER:  Well, I think it‘s probably a mistake for him to go after her big time because it‘s Scott‘s words that‘s he‘s trying to get the jury...

FALLON:  Right.

CRIER:  ... away from.  I think he‘ll get in and, Did he confess to you?  Did he tell you he murdered his—you know, No, no, no, no, and get out of there without too much because so—brass ring—say she gets a movie deal.  Doesn‘t matter!  The words that he speaks are the words the prosecutor wants in there, so why try and cut her...


FALLON:  And Deborah, I think...

NORVILLE:  ... guys are the lawyers here...

WEINTRAUB:  Deborah...

FALLON:  Could I just throw in for a minute, Deborah?


FALLON:  I think the important thing is we talk about Amber Frey, the witness.  I think I said this to you the other night.  Amber Frey isn‘t the witness here.  Scott is the witness.  And the thing is, where Scott‘s the witness, why would you be going after Amber Frey?  In fact, the tape you just played I think is one of the most compelling parts of guilt here, if there is no smoking gun.  But when he says—and if I‘m saying to the jury, He says to her, I should have been more truthful, but I can‘t be right now, what does that tell you about a man whose wife...

WEINTRAUB:  Bill!  Bill!

FALLON:  ... and baby...

WEINTRAUB:  The transcript...

FALLON:  ... have been missing and they‘ve been murdered?


WEINTRAUB:  ... how are you going to plead innocent?  And he says, Amber, I don‘t have to.  I know I‘m innocent.  Convincingly.  That‘s what the jury‘s going to hear.  Let‘s go back to the murder!


FALLON:  Jayne, he just said he couldn‘t explain these things!

NORVILLE:  Hold on.  Let me...


NORVILLE:  Let me ask a question here.  Let me ask a question.  The question is this.  If Mark Geragos walks up to the witness stand on cross and says to Amber Frey, Did Scott ever ask you to lie about your relationship?  Did Scott ever—that‘s...

WEINTRAUB:  Try to keep you from going to the cops.

NORVILLE:  Try to keep you from going to the police...


NORVILLE:  ... ever tell you not to cooperate with the police?  I mean, she‘s going to have to say, presumably, no.

CRIER:  No.  No.  He said, Do what you need to do, do what you think is right.  And that‘s on the tape, and that‘s why I think this guy knew, if she wasn‘t taping him, that the police, by then, were taping him because he set himself up very nicely on this tape.


WEINTRAUB:  ... matter what he says, he‘s dead in the water for you guys!

NORVILLE:  Well, no, Jayne...


FALLON:  No, Jayne!

NORVILLE:  What haven‘t we heard on the tapes that you think might be helpful...

FALLON:  The only people dead in the water are the people he murdered! 

But I think the thing is here...


FALLON:  ... when they‘re piecing this...

WEINTRAUB:  There‘s no—can we get to the evidence about it?

FALLON:  When you‘re piecing this together—when you‘re piecing this

together, I think the important thing—you say no premeditation.  One

thing I‘m convinced of and the jury is they‘ll have no trouble with

premeditation.  That doesn‘t mean they‘re going to come back guilty.  The

prosecution hasn‘t been so great.  But these tapes of him I think are the

first solid piece of evidence because if ever they had to show a cold heart

·         I‘ve said this before.  If it was just about—Catherine hates when I say this.  If it was just about murdering a spouse, maybe they wouldn‘t be convinced.  But that you could be so cool, calm, collected, worried about your little girlfriend, when your child of—you know, your almost child is missing...

WEINTRAUB:  So that shows he‘s a despicable guy!

FALLON:  It‘s that cold heart that‘s going to...

NORVILLE:  There‘s also more evidence here, and there‘s one part of testimony that we heard today where Amber was reading back over a phone the letter that she had asked Scott write her over the holidays.  And he finally got around to doing it, and she was sort of calling him back on it.  And let‘s listen to that and get some react.


FREY:  It‘s hard for me to believe I‘m not going to be seeing you for another five weeks.  That‘s roughly 35 days or so.  I know it‘s not that long, but that‘s already longer than I‘ve known you already, or now.  Do you think—do you think you‘ll meet someone while you‘re gone and be tempted?


NORVILLE:  Anybody want to react to that?

WEINTRAUB:  It‘s just more of her luring him and trying to get a confession, which, by the way, she never, every gets, to the contrary.


FALLON:  Jayne, it is to the contrary.  She doesn‘t get a confession, I agree, but I think that these tapes are so much better.  I almost think they force him to go on the stand.  I‘m not saying he‘s going to go on the stand...


FALLON:  ... but this jury gets a view of him right now that they would never have gotten if it was just Amber saying, And then my boyfriend, Scott, said this...

CRIER:  Yes, I‘m going to—I‘m going to jump in now and...

NORVILLE:  Yes.  Go ahead.

CRIER:  ... just throw out the gavel.  The jury is getting an inkling of a guy who would be capable of murder.  I know Jayne‘s no going to like this.  But in fact, you take someone who can tell these enormous lies, who can mislead across the board, who can seem so cold and callous about Laci and his son, who can make the kind of comments—like, Amber says, How do I know the cops aren‘t going to arrest you for murder later on?  And he said not, Gee, she‘s only missing, he said, Because I didn‘t do it.  There are all kinds of little bits and slips that, put together, portray a guy who is capable of doing this.

NORVILLE:  On that note, I‘m going to close this part of the conversation.  We‘re going to come back and talk more, but the topic this time is going to be Michael Jackson.  He was back in court today, the family a vision in white as they arrived as the Santa Barbara district attorney was asked to take the stand.  And then a little later on in the program, the FCC hit shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge with a huge fine for being obscene.  He was taken off the air.  Now he tells me why he wants to be sheriff.

Stay tuned.


NORVILLE:  Moving on now to Michael Jackson.  He was back in court in California today, dressed entirely in white.  He was joined by his parents and his sisters, Janet and La Toya Jackson, and brother, Jermaine, all of them also dressed in white.

Now, Jackson did not have to be at the court session today, but evidently, he can‘t pass up the opportunity to watch the man who‘s prosecuting him, Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon, be himself grilled on the witness stand in a pretrial hearing.  Jackson‘s attorney is trying to prove that Sneddon invaded Jackson‘s attorney-client privilege when he seized some evidence from an investigator who was working for the Jackson legal team.  They‘re trying to get that evidence suppressed, evidence that apparently includes a videotape of Jackson‘s accuser and his family praising Michael Jackson‘s character.

I‘m joined again by my panel, which includes Catherine Crier, criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub and former prosecutor Bill Fallon.

First off, Bill, what‘s with the outfits?  When everybody comes walking in in white, you got to stop and take notice.  What‘s that all about?

FALLON:  They‘re a family of mental cases.  And I think there‘s absolutely—I don‘t really understand this.  And I think that this is part of the thing.  He thinks everything is a movie and a video.  I understand that in Kabalah, white is purity and all that.  But you know what?  Any time you dress like Michael and La Toya dress alike, there‘s something wrong with this picture.  Why can‘t they just go be normal people?  This adds to the freakiness.  Quite frankly, there‘s a pretty good motion here.  It‘s an interesting motion.  Why they all had to get together and say, Let‘s—maybe they‘re going to wear pink tomorrow.  I just think that this goes to the craziness or the seemingly craziness, and I think the attorney should be saying, Could you come in like normal people here?   Because guess what?  If you‘re trying to present yourself as possibly a normal person who‘s being framed by this mad dog prosecutor, that you come in like this—I mean, I would tell victims, Please don‘t dress like a mental case.


FALLON:  Defense attorneys I would know would say—they‘d be ripping clothes off, you know, other associates to make people look normal.

NORVILLE:  To make them look normal.

Jayne, let‘s talk about the motion that‘s up there.  Does the attorney-client privilege extend all the way to an investigator that‘s working with the lawyer?

WEINTRAUB:  Oh, of course.


WEINTRAUB:  An investigator, yes, is an agent of the attorney, and therefore, the privilege extends.  But it‘s more than that.  I mean, you know, you have to look at the big picture.  Sneddon—I mean, it‘s extraordinary.  Let‘s start out with i‘s extraordinary that this man, Sneddon, had to be placed under oath in an evidentiary hearing, extraordinary that the judge granted an evidentiary hearing to put him under oath and didn‘t just accept a motion in response to the defense lawyer‘s pleading.  That‘s No. 1.

No. 2, let‘s not forget that Sneddon—it‘s just—it‘s the appearance of the impropriety.  It‘s not just the impropriety itself.  Sneddon created this problem.  He placed himself in a position without any reason to do so, other than his vengeance to get to Michael Jackson.  He had no business being involved in this surveillance by himself on it...

FALLON:  Jayne, Jayne...

NORVILLE:  OK, Catherine?

FALLON:  I‘m not even going to...


CRIER:  Bill, I‘m going to jump in here.

FALLON:  OK.  Go on, Catherine.

CRIER:  Real quick.  But it is very interesting that, in fact, he came out with a pretty good defense.  He said, Look, this guy was involved in some shady stuff.  He was hiding the furniture and belongings of these people.  I kept writing Geragos.  If Geragos was involved in that, I would be very surprised, and that‘s one of the reasons I didn‘t think the investigator was working with Geragos because he shouldn‘t be condoning the kind of behavior that Brad was engaged in.  So it was a good argument.

NORVILLE:  Let‘s—let‘s move on to behavior because we got a little bit of time and a lot of stuff to carry.  Forget the white outfits.  Yesterday, Michael Jackson attended a church service at an AME church in Los Angeles.  It was a church service that had been apparently called out to the press because the press corps was there in attendance.  And he said the reason he was there was not only to worship, but also he was there for the children.

CRIER:  Oh!NORVILLE:  Catherine?

CRIER:  Oh, I‘m very uncomfortable with this, and I‘m surprised that Tom Mesereau would do this because, as many people as already his fans and will say this is great because, of course, he loves—in the right way—little kids, they are all of those people saying, How dare you sort of throw this in our face and put yourself in that circumstance.  I would be surprised if Mesereau had said, Gee, that‘s a good move.

FALLON:  Catherine, don‘t you hear that this is a client out of control?  We‘ve heard that before.

CRIER:  Yes.

FALLON:  He—I mean, that he still gives the press conferences, says, I can sleep with my little children.  I love them.  We‘re all God‘s children.  I really don‘t understand this.  And that‘s probably going to be the death of him because if he would leave it to the attorneys, they might be able to prove something.  And for me to agree with Jayne is shocking here, but Tom Sneddon is a fool.  He might not be the mean, mean man that Michael Jackson sings about, but I will tell you, from that first press conference, if I were Tom Sneddon, even if he said nothing wrong, I would get off the case...

NORVILLE:  All right...

FALLON:  ... have one of my assistants do it.  Because guess what?  If they put Sneddon on the stand, Sneddon would say, yes, I‘m biased because guess what?  He‘s a child molester.  He‘s done it before.  Be very, very fascinating...

NORVILLE:  OK, we‘re going to let that be the last word.  But as we go to the break—and I say thank you to Catherine Crier, Jayne Weintraub and Bill Fallon—I should note that that manhandling accusation that Michael Jackson made—unfounded by the Los Angeles—by the California district attorney.

FALLON:  As we predicted.

WEINTRAUB:  No, the attorney general...


WEINTRAUB:  ... Scott Peterson was a slam dunk.

NORVILLE:  We‘re out of here.  ‘Bye.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next:


BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE CLEM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Are you trying to be mean?  Be nice.


ANNOUNCER:  They pulled the plug on his AM radio show, but Bubba the Love Sponge is still speaking his mind and talking about taking the law into his own hands . The ex-shock jock on his quest to be sheriff when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.


NORVILLE:  Howard Stern is fuming mad.  No surprise.  And it‘s also no surprise that he‘s making his case on the air.  The Bush administration has been cracking down, leveling record fines against radio shock jokes like Stern and the broadcasting companies who run their radio programs.  And on the air this morning, once again, Howard Stern complained about what is being censored from his show. 


HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Things have gotten increasingly worse around here.  I am honoring my contract; I am going to stay on with this radio company for the next 16 months, which is how much time I have left on my contract, then I‘m going to reevaluate everything.  I have to tell you that it has become unbearable, the amount of censorship that goes on.


NORVILLE:  My next guest was one of those radio shock jocks who has battled the FCC.  Bubba the Love Sponge had a popular radio program in Tampa, Florida until he was kicked off the air by Clear Channel Communications in February over some raunchy radio sketches.  The FCC fined Clear Channel $755,000.  And Bubba has not been on the air since then.

Now, he wants to take the law into his own hands.  He‘s running for sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida, and he wants to shake things up.  Joining me now, for this exclusive interview, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. 

And that is your legal name, Bubba Clem?

CLEM:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.

NORVILLE:  When you hear Howard Stern saying these things, do you feel sorry for him?  Because I don‘t think most people do? 

CLEM:  No, I don‘t feel sorry for him.  It‘s just the environment that we live in now with the Republican FCC and Bush‘s right-wing religious agenda that he‘s forced down these companies‘ throats.  And I don‘t feel sorry for him.  I don‘t feel sorry for anybody.  That is the environment that it is.  And either you choose to be on it, or you get forced out like I did. 

NORVILLE:  But it‘s not just the Republican FCC.  When your fines were levied, it was across the board, that they levied $25,000, $27,000 for each of the offenses that you were found to have committed. 

CLEM:  Well, at the end of the day, the FCC is an executive extension branch of the president of the United States.  And...

NORVILLE:  There are members of both parties on there, that‘s my point. 

CLEM:  Yes, I mean, they go—Michael Powell, obviously, is in charge, and he‘s a Republican, and I think that this—this MO, what Bush does, is not being able to separate between church and state, and you can look at any other president, from Democrat to Republican, and he is the most aggressive and...

NORVILLE:  But this didn‘t start with President Bush.  Your situation started with a man in north Florida who got into his car one day, the radio had been left on your station from his son who had been driving it the night before, and his jaw dropped when he heard your program. 

CLEM:  Right. 

NORVILLE:  That‘s not President Bush, that‘s an outraged listener who says, this dreck should not be on the air. 

CLEM:  Well, yes and no.  I mean, we‘re talking about one listener out of a few million that was able to get me off the radio, and you know, God bless him, and how the system works, and he was represented pro bono by a Washington, D.C. attorney and really knew how to manipulate the system.

NORVILLE:  No, that‘s not manipulating the system.  If you make a complaint and your complaint gets heard by the people who are in power to listen to that complaint and make judgment on that complaint, that‘s democracy. 

CLEM:  All encompassed by a vague set of guidelines that the FCC has established by community standards... 

NORVILLE:  Well, let‘s get into the guidelines.  Here is what the FCC says, because you were fined for indecent programming, that‘s the word.

CLEM:  Right, exactly.

NORVILLE:  And the FCC says quote: “Language or material”—you can probably memorize it by now—“in context depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive, as measured by contemporary community broadcast standards.  Sexual or excretory organs or activities.  Indecent programming may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.”  And what they have said is you can do this stuff between 10:00 at night and 6:00 in the morning, but after 6:00 a.m. you‘ve got to stop it.

CLEM:  Right, and I...

NORVILLE:  What‘s wrong with that? 

CLEM:  Well, obviously there are a lot of things wrong with that, and the first thing is that, you know, where children may be listening—I had less than 1 percent children—my show was for adults.  We had...

NORVILLE:  But your show goes over the public airwaves, and kids and old people and everybody have access to that.  It‘s the access.  It‘s not whether they‘re actually listening or not.

CLEM:  And I‘ve done this show—I‘ve been on the radio for 18 years, had been—and by community standards, I‘m gauged by the Arbitron rating system, and I was number one.  For however many years I was doing this.  And by community standards, you know, they had—the public, when they had their chance to speak, i.e. our ratings, I was number one by a landslide.

So I have one guy who organizes, you know, with a pro bono attorney from Washington, D.C. against me, and now I‘m where I‘m at today.

NORVILLE:  Well, let‘s listen to what it was that got you where you‘re at today.  Here is a snippet of one of the offensive radio broadcasts with Bubba the Love Sponge.


SHAGGY:  Hey, Scooby.  Where are you?

Hey, Scoob, I don‘t know about you, but I‘m jonzing for something real bad.

SCOOBY:  A Scooby snack?

SHAGGY:  No, Scoob.  I was thinking something a little better than a Scooby snack.

SCOOBY:  A crack rock?

SHAGGY:  Oh, yeah, Scoob!  A crack rock sounds like totally awesome right now, but like, I don‘t have any dough for the dope.

SCOOBY:  Ruff-ruff.

SHAGGY:  What are you saying, Scoob?

SCOOBY:  Ruff-ruff.

SHAGGY:  We could suck (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for crack rock?  Scooby! 

You‘re a genius!


NORVILLE:  Right there, you have done exactly what the FCC says you can‘t do.  You‘re talking about sexual activity.

CLEM:  You know, Deborah, again, I‘ve been doing this for 18 years.  In a political environment, in the political year 2004, this was three years old.  This stuff was three years old.  And in 2004, seven months prior to the big “let‘s bang our chest and be holier than thou” elections, and now it‘s deemed offensive, and it‘s not.  It‘s...

NORVILLE:  Do you think that‘s OK to put on the radio?  I mean, forget what year it is, forget politics, forget—it‘s 1894.  Do you think that stuff is OK?

CLEM:  In my show, being the show that who I targeted, absolutely.  If not—that‘s not OK, then we have a whole big problem with censorship.  That‘s where we‘re headed right now.

NORVILLE:  We‘re going to take a short break.  When we come back, we want to talk more about what you think you‘re going to be able to do about it, your political career and more on the offenses that got Bubba into big trouble in the first place.


NORVILLE:  Back now with former radio personality, now candidate for Pinellas County, Florida sheriff, Bubba the Love Spam—I‘ll never get this right—Bubba Clem, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

CLEM:  That‘s almost indecent right there.


NORVILLE:  Well, it almost is.  You know, I went through the FCC thing, Bubba, and it‘s—most of this, we can‘t even tell on television, and we‘re cable, so we don‘t have to worry about the FCC coming down on us...

CLEM:  For now.  For now.

NORVILLE:  For now, and that may change, but that‘s fine, because you would never hear this program saying this stuff.  But this is one caller talking about her exploits with another man, and you all go into great detail about size and measurement and timeframes.  And this other one, there appear to be a couple of people getting it on all together.  And this all happened in the morning.

You were never uncomfortable doing this?  You never felt like, ooh, this is crossing the line, that I legally am not supposed to do?

CLEM:  Well, Deborah, being a radio personality for 18 years, none of us are ever told what you‘re legally supposed to do.  We‘re supposed to drive ratings, we‘re supposed to get ratings, and we‘re supposed to get listeners, and I did that for a long, long time for this particular company.  And up until this year, this has not been a big deal.  You got a notice of liability, or you know, you take or subtract a little bit from their (ph) program records, but I was never told—I am not trying to be innocent, you know, trying to be an innocent person here, like I didn‘t know.  I knew my stuff was questionable, but I also knew that it worked, and I was always number one, and I always did really well with listeners.  When they had a chance to vote, you know, I did well.

And this kind of stuff here—I‘ve been singled out, I‘ve lost my job, I‘m the only casualty from all of this.  But you can hear this prior to all this big, sweeping indecency, big non-being able to separate between church and state, you know, the religious witch hunt that the Republicans are on.

This was on every market, in every major city in America.  And this—what I did is what Mankel (ph) does, is what the Regular Guys did, what Howard has done for 20 some years...  

NORVILLE:  And they have all had huge fines come down, too.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) had 300,000 come their way this past weekend, because of the program that their host has done.

CLEM:  Exactly.  And this is what—and if it didn‘t work for Howard, and it didn‘t work for Mankel (ph), and it didn‘t work for others, we wouldn‘t—it wouldn‘t take the government to have us taken off the radio. 

NORVILLE:  Well, here is one little snipper that I think we can share.  And I think part of the problem was not only what you did, but it aired around some seemingly Cartoon Network commercials so kids might have thought that this was the real deal. 

CLEM:  Come on. 


GEORGE:  Great news, Jane.  I don‘t need Viagra anymore.  I got a Spacely-Sprocket (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ring.

Just one flip of the switch.  Boing.  Help, Jane!  Stop this crazy thing!


NORVILLE:  Do you wish you hadn‘t done this program? 

CLEM:  Absolutely not.  It‘s OK—it‘s not OK by what you are saying, or other people are saying is, if I beep out a word, you know, but it‘s OK for MTV and it‘s OK for all these other networks and these reality-based shows, and Ozzy, who has children and cusses in front of him.  It‘s OK for them to beep and creatively edit, but when I do it, then it is obviously a problem. 

I didn‘t have any teen listeners.  I can prove that I didn‘t.  It‘s not—the dirtiness of the bit...

NORVILLE:  Why don‘t you just do your show somewhere else and leave this stuff out? 

CLEM:  Well, I could, but I‘m public enemy number one in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) radio.  The government has made an example out of me.  Again, you can find this stuff—used to be able to find this place, stuff in every part of everywhere in America.  And you know, I don‘t know—I‘m not going to drop a dime on other D.J.‘s or anything like that, because they are my brethren and they ought to be allowed to do what they do, but I‘m just saying, I was made an example of. 

NORVILLE:  But the stuff you are talking about was on cable.  “The Osbournes” air on cable.  Those MTV shows, that‘s cable.  It‘s a different standard.  If you want to do that stuff, you go do what Howard does and put it on the cable. 

CLEM:  There is still stuff on regular broadcast television that is creatively beeped, there are creative sexual innuendoes, and that‘s what we did.  I have just been made an example.  I don‘t want to sit here and be a martyr.  At the end of day, I‘m a politician now.  So I got to start lying and being as shady as these guys.

NORVILLE:  Now, are you a politician because you can‘t get a job in radio, because you‘ve declared your candidacy for Pinellas County sheriff?  Turned into a Democrat, you weren‘t one two months ago?  Is that because you can‘t get back on the air? 

CLEM:  No, I have actually—I could get back on the air, Deborah, but I‘m not really—that‘s not my No. 1 priority.  I have always been—

I have always been aggressively critic of the system and politicians, so I want to try to make a difference now.  And so I want to be that anti-politician politician. 

NORVILLE:  So what is your qualifications to be sheriff of Pinellas County? 

CLEM:  I think—first of all, I‘m a politician, so what qualifications do you need?

NORVILLE:  But that‘s not fair to the people who—they need—they need a sheriff‘s department that functions.  They need someone who knows how to administer however many hundreds of employees and millions of dollars... 

CLEM:  Twenty-nine hundred, $225,000 budget, and 2,900 disgruntled men and women that have been part of the good old boys system.... 

NORVILLE:  You don‘t know...


CLEM:  I‘ve talked to hundreds of them, Deborah.  I wouldn‘t have filed if I hadn‘t done my research.  This isn‘t a popularity contest.  This isn‘t I need a job or I need money right now.  I mean, this is I want to make a difference.  I have always criticized the system; so now I‘m going to try to make a difference to this system and give the agency back to the men and women who are not part of the good old boy network.  So they have a chance to be promoted from within, and stop the cronyism and the nepotism in this agency.

And I‘ve done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people before I made this decision.  I didn‘t make this decision so I could do the TV junket and be on your show.  I made this decision because I have lived in Pinellas County for 12 years, and I don‘t like the way the system is ran. 

NORVILLE:  Do you think you have a serious chance?  There‘s not much of a Democratic Party in Pinellas County.

CLEM:  Well, you didn‘t do your research, because Democrats...

NORVILLE:  You don‘t even have a county chairman right now. 

CLEM:  Let me tell you something, Al Gore and Lieberman won the county last time.  It will go Democratic, and John Kerry will be the president of the United States. 

NORVILLE:  And you think he can sweep you into the sheriff‘s office? 

CLEM:  And I will be the sheriff of Pinellas County.

NORVILLE:  You heard it here.

CLEM:  Absolutely.  I will give you my first interview with my sheriff stuff on. 

NORVILLE:  All right.  We‘ll look forward to it.   

CLEM:  Thank you very much.

NORVILLE:  Thank you, it‘s good to see you again.

CLEM:  Thank you.

NORVILLE:  We‘ll be back in a moment.


NORVILLE:  My next guest is one of country music‘s best known outlaws, a hard-living rebel with a bad boy image.  Now, 15 years after dishing up his very own blend of country spice with southern rock ‘n‘ roll, Travis Tritt is back with his ninth studio album.  It is called “My Honky Tonk History,” and it features the single called “The Girl‘s Gone Wild.”


NORVILLE:  The album hits store shelves tomorrow, and joining me now is a rocking rebel Travis Tritt.  I have to tell you, this is like a homeboy coming here.  I hear all the old music that I grew up in Georgia listening to, because that‘s a lot of your influence. 

TRAVIS TRITT, MUSICIAN:  Well, thank you very much.  That‘s exactly what I grew up listening to.  I feel very privileged to be from Georgia.  I had an opportunity to be this—a part of the G-8 summit this year. 

NORVILLE:  Right, right down in Sea Island. 

TRITT:  And get to be a part of a panel that included people like Dallas Austin (ph) and Joe Katz (ph) to talk about Georgia‘s influence on the music industry.  And, you know, being a guy that still lives in Georgia and being from Georgia, I know you‘re from Georgia as well, you know, it‘s just such a great place to live, because I had so many great influences growing up. 

NORVILLE:  Well, Ray Charles was from Georgia.  Otis Redding was from Georgia.  The Allman Brothers (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

TRITT:  Jerry Reid (ph), Chet Atkins, just a lot of great influences.  I tell people, I say, you know, growing up in Georgia was like being in the center of the musical universe, because just to our north we had Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, and we had—just to the south, we had Lynyrd Skynyrd and Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers.  And just to our west, we had Delta blues, and sprinkled a little bit southern gospel over the top of that, and that‘s kind of where I come from.  

NORVILLE:  And you put it all together and you have got the Travis Tritt sound, which a lot of people are hearing probably in audience that typically wouldn‘t be reaching out to a country sound through “Simple Life.”  How did the song come to be a part of the Fox reality show? 

TRITT:  Somebody from Fox television found out that we had done this song for the new album, and they contacted us and said, this song would be perfect for the Paris and Nicole show, “The Simple Life.”  And my wife and I love that show anyway, because we just get a big kick out of watching those girls and all the things that they get by with.  And so...

NORVILLE:  Is it about them, though?  I mean, you wrote it before the series, right? 

TRITT:  Oh, no, I wrote this—well, actually, I didn‘t even write this song.  I found this from a couple of writers outside of myself, but we brought it in and started using the song on our album, and they found it, fell in love with it, said we want to use it for one episode.  And then after that, they had such a great response, they decided to use it for all the bumpers for the rest of the year.  So it‘s kind of a...

NORVILLE:  Ca-ching.  Ca-ching.  I like that.

TRITT:  Yeah, well, it‘s a free promo for the album for the rest of the year. 

NORVILLE:  Now, the album has also got a duet that you do with John Mellencamp.

TRITT:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  And I know you‘re a big Republican, you‘re going to be playing here in Georgia just before the RNC. 

TRITT:  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  And he, of course, has been out there with the Kerry-Edwards camp.  But the two of you have come together.  Politics doesn‘t matter.  What‘s the song all about?  

TRITT:  Well, you know, the song is called “What Say You,” and it basically says I‘m not afraid to have my own opinions, and I‘ll tell you what they are, but at the same time I‘m not afraid to listen to what your opinions are, even though they might be opposite of what I think. 

And I think in an election year, when obviously there‘s so much of that going on, and obviously partisan politics has become a big issue in just the last few years, especially this year, with campaigns getting more ugly, and, oh, it‘s a nasty business.  So I was really pretty excited to find out that there was a song out there that spoke to both audiences.  And basically, it says, look, why can‘t we just put all of this partisan stuff aside, and listen to what each other have to say and do something positive for our country and for ourselves. 

NORVILLE:  And the message is get out there and vote...

TRITT:  Exactly.

NORVILLE:  Whoever you vote for, just get out and vote. 

TRITT:  And that‘s the message that we‘ve been trying to push, I‘ve been trying to push for years, is that, look, I don‘t really care.  If you ask me what my political views are, I‘ll be more than happy to tell you, but the fact of the matter is, I want people to go out and educate themselves on what the issues are, and then sit down and figure out where you fall, which side of the fence you fall on on those issues, and then go out and vote your conscience.  But more than anything, vote. 

NORVILLE:  Let me bring you back to music now, because that song does that in a musical way.  When you look at where country music is today, I mean, just in your own career, it‘s changed a lot.  Do you think it‘s come back to its roots?  Because it got kind of poppy crossovery there for a while. 

TRITT:  Well, you know, the thing that I think that country music has always held true to and still does is that more than any other format, and the reason that I think that it‘s probably still the No. 1 format as far as radio is concerned is because more than any other genre of music, this is a music format that talks about what everybody goes through on a day in, day out basis, regardless of your race, your religion, your sex, your background.  It‘s all about your life.  Exactly.

NORVILLE:  And the latest from Travis Tritt, number nine, is “Honky Tonk History.”  It hits the stores tomorrow.  We wish you well with it.  Come back again, will you?

TRITT:  Thank you.  I sure will.

NORVILLE:  Nice to see you. 

TRITT:  Nice to see you. 

NORVILLE:  As always, we love to hear from you too.  Send us your comments to us at

And that is our program for tonight.  Thanks for watching.  Coming up tomorrow, “The National Enquirer,” the staple that you get in a long line at the grocery store to make sure you get to checkout.  Well, plastered on the front, those splashy headlines, all about celebrities and their escapades.  How true is it?  How sensational?  Tomorrow night, we‘ll go inside. 

That‘s it for tonight.  See you then.


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