updated 3/8/2005 1:47:48 PM ET 2005-03-08T18:47:48

Guest: Jim Thomas, Mickey Sherman, Charles Gasparino, William Fallon

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, the only person to say he witnessed Michael Jackson molesting a 13-year-old boy takes the stand.  The accuser‘s brother tells jurors about walking in and seeing Jackson touching the passed out boy, let‘s just say inappropriately. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  The accuser‘s brother says Jackson slept in the same bed with them, gave them wine to drink many times, and showed them porn online. 

Plus...

ABRAMS:  You are saying before any of these allegations were made that Michael Jackson was worried that there were going to be false allegations made? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think he, from what he saw of this family, I think he had come to the realization that they were probably capable of just about anything. 

ABRAMS:  My exclusive interviewer with the investigator hired to keep an eye on the accuser and his family.

And Martha Stewart makes soup for her mother, catches up with her pets, goes back to work while the world is watching—many now coming down on Martha.  Sure, I believe she was guilty but now I‘m ready to come to Martha‘s defense. 

The program about justice starts now. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, the only person who can corroborate a boy‘s allegations that Michael Jackson molested him took the witness stand today in Jackson‘s trial.  The accuser‘s younger brother telling jurors about looking at pornography and drinking with Jackson on trip to Neverland and let‘s just call them the sleeping arrangements when they would stay in Jackson‘s bedroom.  And this morning the jurors listened to an audiotape of the accuser and his family praising Jackson.  I have an exclusive interview with the man who made the tape, which we‘ll get to in a minute, but first, NBC‘s Mike Taibbi is at the courthouse where the brother just wrapped up his testimony for the day. 

Mike, apart from the boy himself, this boy is probably the most important witness in this case. 

MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  I would say so, Dan.  There is no question about that.  You know, Michael Jackson all along has characterized this entire case against him as a big lie.  Well whether it‘s a big lie or a big terrible truth, the jury now has the details of the story to chew on for the first time and from the mouth, in the words of the one person, as you put it, the one corroborating witness who claims direct knowledge from what he saw, what he heard, what he did, of what Michael Jackson allegedly did to this boy. 

You kind of put it out in there in detail in your opening, but very specifically, the case was built by today—was recited today chronologically by prosecutor Tom Sneddon.  You have the boy basically tell a story that Michael Jackson‘s alleged seduction of this boy leading to the eventual molestation was a gradual thing, starting out, as you pointed out, with showing them pornography—allegedly showing them pornography, allowing them to surf the Net for pornographic sites, adult entertainment sites, if you will.

There is even a story the boy told today, the witness, that Michael Jackson at one point went around the room with a mannequin and simulated a sex act with her and this is all before this alleged molestation.  Key about the two allegations—he says there are two times when he saw Michael Jackson molesting his brother.  The first he saw it for four seconds, the second he saw it for three seconds with a light on over his head in the stairwell and with the bedroom area dark. 

In those four and three-second intervals he claims to have seen what both the participants allegedly were wearing, socks, undershirt, underpants for Michael, very skimpy underpants, again, for the boy, and that he saw these alleged acts.  Tom Sneddon even had the accuser simulate what the acts were.  It‘s specific, it‘s powerful, and Tom Mesereau is going to have his chance and his challenge to deal with this testimony in the coming days. 

ABRAMS:  Mike, I‘m going to ask you a question in a sec, but let me just give...

TAIBBI:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  ... my viewers a warning here that what I‘m about to say to you is going to be pretty graphic because I think it‘s important to talk about what this case is about.  All right, anyone that wants to leave, et cetera, go ahead. 

All right, here‘s is what the specific allegation is, is that the boy walks in, the brother and sees his—basically passed out older brother lying in bed with Michael Jackson.  Jackson has got his hand in the boy‘s, you know, groin area, pretty clear what‘s going on, and that Jackson is touching himself at the same time.  Says he saw it two different times.  So Mike, my question to you is any testimony about whether Jackson saw the boy?  Meaning, did the boy say whether Michael Jackson saw him when he walked in the room and was witnessing this? 

TAIBBI:  No, there was no allegation from the boy that Michael Jackson was even aware that he was present.  That he had come to the top of the stairwell.  And as you probably know, all these measurements were taken by forensic specialists about whether or not the boy might have had line of sight to the bed area where he could have seen it.  No suggestion from the boy that Jackson was—in fact, the boy said that Jackson‘s eyes were closed during the episodes that he saw.

ABRAMS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) All right.  This is gross, ladies and gentlemen, I know, but this...

TAIBBI:  This is the case.  This is the case. 

ABRAMS:  Mike‘s right. 

TAIBBI:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  This is the case.  All right.  Mike stick around for a minute.

“My Take”—if the jurors...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... believe this boy on the stand today, Michael Jackson is going to prison.  If they do not or if they have series questions about his credibility, Jackson will likely walk.  That is how important this witness is to this case. 

Joining me now MSNBC analyst and former Santa Barbara County sheriff, Jim Thomas and criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman.  I‘m going read now a quote that we just got in from the boy relating to what I just talked about.  Again, it is graphic. 

The first time he says the accuser was kind of snoring—so actually this is a summary, so forget it.  OK.  Jim Thomas, you were listening to the testimony.  Powerful?

JIM THOMAS, FMR. SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF:  Very powerful, Dan, and I think if Tom Mesereau is going to have success in creating credibility issues with this boy.  He‘s going to have to have the boy recant something that was damaging.  The fact that he may have him recant on which night it was, it was before Calabasas or after Calabasas, I don‘t think is going to make any difference to this jury.  This boy is going to have to say well, it‘s not what I told you yesterday.  That was a lie. 

ABRAMS:  But see Mickey, on the other hand, what they‘re going to do is they‘re going to play these tapes again and here is an example.  And this is what—this is the sister who came in and made allegations against Jackson, and they played this tape, and this is the recorded interview with the man that I have the exclusive interview with, which we‘ll have in a moment.

But—quote—“He‘s a bigger father to all of us.  He‘s given us safety.  He‘s given us love.  He‘s given us everything we‘ve ever wanted.  He‘s been our father figure.  He‘s the only thing we know to be a father.”

I would expect that we‘re going to hear good things from this little brother as well about Michael Jackson.

MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Without a doubt, but it is powerful evidence and as Mike says, this is the case.  If they believe this, if it goes uncontroverted, then Michael Jackson has an extremely strong chance of being convicted.  And if he‘s convicted, he is certainly going to jail. 

But we haven‘t heard the cross-examination yet, Dan.  I got to believe as you suggest, Tom Mesereau is going to use prior statements that this young man has made or prior opportunities that this young man had to straighten this whole case out.  He will also go into whether or not he had a great observation—position.  Was he in the position to observe?  Did he really see it?  Did he just dream it?  Who did he tell first?  Who did he tell second?  Has he always given the same version?

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to believe, Jim that the cross-examination is going to have to prove that this boy is making it up.  I mean there‘s no misobservations.  There‘s no, oh, there was a pillow in the way and so I really couldn‘t see it and could you see around it?  This is either this boy is making it up or it‘s true. 

THOMAS:  I think that‘s where it‘s going to be, Dan, because I think the Sheriff‘s Office did the forensic photography to be able to show exactly that that boy could have seen what he says he saw.  And they are going to need—Tom Mesereau basically to have him recant entirely. 

ABRAMS:  Mike, any concern from the prosecutors about how the boy would have gotten in without Jackson noticing?  Sure he had the code apparently to get in there, but Jackson had all sorts of like alarms and other stuff that led into the bedroom there.  Is the defense going to go after him saying how could this other boy have gotten into the bedroom without Jackson having known he was coming in? 

TAIBBI:  Well, I think Tom Sneddon did a pretty good job this morning inoculating his witness in this case from those kinds of questions by saying that they did know the codes.  They did know how to get in.  They did have the run of the house.  Jackson had given him the code to the bedroom.  The other codes to get into anywhere else in Neverland, the boy said, were given to him by one of Jackson‘s security guard. 

So it‘s already been established they could get around.  The boy was careful to say that the door seemed to be closed but not locked in this instance.  I pushed it open and I was able to get in.  I don‘t know how exactly how Tom Mesereau is going to deal with that. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Jim Thomas, Mickey Sherman, stick around.  Mike Taibbi thanks a lot.  This is big stuff.  This is it, ladies and gentlemen.  This is the key to the case.  And that‘s why we want to play, coming up, my exclusive interview with the private eye who says that the brother told him a very different story.  My interview with the private investigator hired to keep an eye on the accuser and his family is coming up next. 

Plus, Jay Leno thinks he‘s found a way around the gag order that theoretically prevents him from discussing the Jackson case.  Because he is a potential witness, he writes the jokes and pay someone else to say them.

And it seems the latest fad is to beat up on Martha Stewart for moving on with her life while she begins her house arrest.  I say what‘s wrong with making the best of a bad situation for her as long as it‘s not illegal? 

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, he was hired to keep an eye on Michael Jackson‘s accuser and his family during the time they say Jackson‘s team was practically holding them hostage.  For the first time we hear from private investigation Bradley Miller, my exclusive interview, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive—my interview with a crucial figure in the Michael Jackson case, former Jackson investigator Bradley Miller.  He‘s on the defense witness list.  He‘s never spoken out, but before he was subpoenaed as a witness in the case, he gave me an exclusive interview.  Before any allegations surfaced relating to this case, Jackson hired a prominent attorney who in turn hired Miller to watch the accuser and his family. 

Prosecutors say it was part of the effort to make sure the family agreed to participate in a video to restore Jackson‘s reputation.  Miller says it was for a very different reason.  That he was told the family had threatened to make up charges against Jackson and go to the tabloids. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRADLEY MILLER, FORMER JACKSON DEFENSE INVESTIGATOR:  The family apparently was aware of prior allegations that had been made against Michael in the past and had hinted that there was really nothing keeping them from doing something similar, unless—my understanding was they were very concerned and upset that they were not compensated for the Bashir documentary, which had aired. 

ABRAMS:  So you‘re saying before any of these allegations were made that Michael Jackson was worried that there were going to be false allegations made? 

MILLER:  I think he—from what he saw of this family, I think he had come to the realization that they were probably capable of just about anything. 

ABRAMS:  What were you asked to do? 

MILLER:  I was asked to find out where they were, get in contact with them, let them know that I wanted to meet with them, talk to them, and get an idea of what was going on because my understanding was all of a sudden, they had just disappeared from Neverland in the middle of the night. 

ABRAMS:  And so are they sending the private eye out there to monitor them? 

MILLER:  It certainly wasn‘t to control them in any way.  It was to just keep a real loose watch on who they were meeting with and what they were doing.  We then decided that before this goes any further, perhaps it‘s time to get a sworn statement from them stating what the circumstances were, if anything ever did happen, if it didn‘t. 

ABRAMS:  So you wanted a sworn statement just in case. 

MILLER:  Just in case, almost like an insurance policy.  It was arraigned for a few evenings later that I went over to the apartment of the mother‘s boyfriend in Los Angeles and was welcomed, hugged by every member of the family. 

ABRAMS:  What did you say? 

MILLER:  I asked each of them if anything had ever—anything improper had ever happened.  I asked about sleeping arrangements there and was told by the two sons that neither one of them ever slept alone in Michael‘s room without the other one being present.  That nothing ever happened, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing sexual...

ABRAMS:  You asked specifically did anything sexual ever happen? 

MILLER:  I believe I asked if they were ever inappropriately touched or anything along those lines and I was told absolutely not.  That Michael was like a father.  He was the only father the children had known. 

ABRAMS:  No intimidation at all to make her make this tape. 

MILLER:  Absolutely none, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  You were there by yourself? 

MILLER:  All by myself with my tape recorder. 

ABRAMS:  Any people downstairs?  Anyone...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... other than you call them beforehand...

MILLER:  Not to my knowledge...

ABRAMS:  ... to say you‘d better do this?

MILLER:  Not to my knowledge. 

ABRAMS:  And what did the children generally have to say about Michael Jackson? 

MILLER:  Nothing but nice things.  How gracious he was to them when they were at Neverland, how much they loved being at Neverland, and how they couldn‘t wait to go back to Neverland. 

ABRAMS:  It sounds a little odd.  There is this woman who hasn‘t made any allegations, you say, against Michael Jackson at this time.  There have been no criminal charges filed, and there is this high-powered, well-paid private investigator...

MILLER:  Not in light of what happened 10 years earlier and the fiasco that that became.

ABRAMS:  Isn‘t it possible that Michael Jackson had not molested the boy before you spoke to them, but that later on, he did the things that the boy claims and that his brother claims? 

MILLER:  It makes no sense. 

ABRAMS:  Why? 

MILLER:  It makes no sense.  Why would he, especially with the focus of the world on him?  I believe this was right after the incident where the baby was dangled over the banister in Europe, and the eyes of the world were on him, and he was being investigated by this agency and that agency.  Certainly, he would do nothing like that.  There would be no reason. 

ABRAMS:  And did anyone involved in the Jackson camp give you the sense that we got to cover up for Michael; you know the way Michael is sometimes with boys. 

MILLER:  No.  No.  No. 

ABRAMS:  It was always characterized to you as the possibility of false accusations. 

MILLER:  It was always characterized as nothing more than an attempt to extort money. 

ABRAMS:  And if they were going to extort money, why make the criminal allegations as opposed to just suing him? 

MILLER:  Well, it‘s been my experience that if you can get a criminal conviction against someone, it makes the civil case a slam-dunk or much, much easier.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  When we come back, how important are Miller‘s observations? 

His tape is what the defense is relying on. 

And Martha Stewart‘s back at work with the employees she says she loves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love all of you from the bottom of my heart. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That message wasn‘t just meant for them.  In a very public employee meeting to that video of Stewart making soup shot by her own company, house arrest looks like a lot more than (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  So what, I say.  I come to Martha‘s defense, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  What did the children generally have to say about Michael Jackson? 

MILLER:  Nothing but nice things.  How gracious he was to them when they were at Neverland, how much they loved being at Neverland, and how they couldn‘t wait to go back to Neverland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  We‘ve been showing you my exclusive interview with former Jackson investigator Brad Miller.  His interview with the accuser and his family, right when this alleged conspiracy was all taking place supposedly, played in court for the jury.  Miller says the audiotape was made effectively as an insurance policy after the family threatened to fabricate allegations against Jackson and sell their made-up story to the tabloids. 

Back with me MSNBC analyst and former Santa Barbara County sheriff, Jim Thomas, and criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman.  Mickey, expected they‘d call Brad Miller as a witness? 

SHERMAN:  Yes, the issue is how are they going to get that into evidence.  Is it a collateral issue?  Does it directly contradict what these young people said...

ABRAMS:  Yes, it does.  They‘ve already being getting it in.

SHERMAN:  Yes, I—so if that gets in, which it seems to be happening, I think it‘s darn good evidence.  And I don‘t think it‘s as sketchy as you make out that they would actually do this.  I mean these are people—when I‘m talking about people—I‘m talking about Jackson and other celebrities, Jay Leno, for example, who are often the—or the source of harassment and extortion from people who are not good people.  And this is a valid insurance policy. 

ABRAMS:  Jim, we have heard about—we have heard some of this audiotape, correct, already, in court? 

THOMAS:  Right.  Yes, we have.  And you know, Dan, I think the thing that‘s interesting is number one is the allegation molestations didn‘t take place until after the interview.  So it‘s not surprising that the family had good things to say.  Now I don‘t know about Jay Leno and other people, but I don‘t know how many people are actually packed up to where they falsify passports to take people to Brazil.  And I don‘t think you‘d do that if you think you may have a threat.  I think you‘d do that only if you know you have a threat. 

ABRAMS:  Mickey, that‘s you know one of the—this is part of the conspiracy allegations; they were sort of looking to move the family et cetera.  I don‘t know.  I‘ve never found the part about the trip to Brazil all that—you know they are going to say she demanded a vacation...

SHERMAN:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... and so they served it up. 

SHERMAN:  And she was falsely imprisoned while she was getting body waxes and what not.  I think that part has always been the most, as I say, sketchy part of the case, as well as the showing the “Playboys” and the Internet pornography.  It‘s the touching that counts and that‘s why, as you point out, this young man‘s testimony this morning was probably the most damming.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me talk a little bit more about the brother‘s testimony today, Jim Thomas.  This is the brother of the boy making the allegations.  He said me and my brother were watching a movie and Michael walked up naked.  And it gets actually kind of graphic about what Michael let‘s just say looked like naked, about how he was feeling.  Me and my brother were grossed out.  He sat on the bed and said it was natural. 

Let‘s go on here if we can to number four.  This is about serving wine on the plane.  He leaned over and handed it to me.  I thought it was a Diet Coke so I didn‘t want to be rude.  It smelled like rubbing alcohol.  I asked him what it was and he said it was wine.

Mickey, they are going to have to just make this kid out to be—this kid‘s, what now, 13, 14.

SHERMAN:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  They are going to have to make him out to be...

THOMAS:  Fourteen...

SHERMAN:  No...

ABRAMS:  They‘re going to have to make him out to be an absolute liar. 

SHERMAN:  No, I think there is a middle ground...

ABRAMS:  Where? 

SHERMAN:  ... he‘s either a liar or he‘s mistaken or...

ABRAMS:  What do you mean mistaken? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  How are you mistaken about being served a Diet Coke that has

·         quote—“rubbing alcohol” in it.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  It either happened or it didn‘t happen. 

SHERMAN:  Unlike you, Dan, he is not an expert on wine and I think his capacity to appreciate what is in that bottle...

ABRAMS:  Oh...

SHERMAN:  ... that can...

ABRAMS:  ... so Diet Coke can be mixed up with wine? 

SHERMAN:  But the third possibility, Dan, is that he has been convinced that this actually happened.  So many people used to say that O.J. could pass a polygraph that this happened because he talked himself into it.  In this case, is it possible that the brother has been talked into this or has been put up to it for so long and so often and so consistently by his mother...

ABRAMS:  Right.

SHERMAN:  ... that he actually believes he is telling the truth. 

ABRAMS:  And that would mean he is lying, right, Jim?  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... that would mean he‘s making up a story. 

THOMAS:  Well, let‘s look just at the Coke cans and the wine.  I think you are going to find the prosecution bringing in a couple of stewardesses who will testify that that‘s how they gave Michael Jackson alcohol...

ABRAMS:  Right.

THOMAS:  ... at his request, is that they put wine in these cans.  It seems a little odd that the boys would make that up or you know without knowing it...

ABRAMS:  Well, they would make it up knowing it.  I mean, you know, they could have made it up knowing that Michael Jackson did this and poured wine into Coke cans and they say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he served it to us in out of Coke cans.

THOMAS:  No, I think that‘s a little far-fetched.

ABRAMS:  Why? 

THOMAS:  ... there‘s going to be some other corroboration.

ABRAMS:  I mean but how can there be other—there has to be corroboration to the point where the family couldn‘t have made up what happened to them, right?

THOMAS:  Well, I think there are so many points to be made that the family is going to have corroboration with above and beyond what we have had thus far.  I think the case so far is to tell the story and then the D.A. is going to follow it up with the corroborating evidence, as well as the expert testimony to put the puzzle together...

ABRAMS:  All right.

THOMAS:  ... and I think it is probably going to be a pretty compelling case. 

ABRAMS:  All right, we shall see.  Jim Thomas, Mickey Sherman, big, big witness and more expected to be coming up real soon.

Coming up, it‘s not called house arrest for nothing, but from what we have seen of Martha Stewart these past few days, many say it sure doesn‘t look like there‘s much punishment involved.  I say that there is just nothing wrong with what Martha has been doing since she was released.

And this boy is suspended from school because his mother would not spank him at school?  Can a school force a parent to come in and whack their kid?

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  You‘ve seen her feeding her horses, making soup, giving a speech to employees.  It‘s just a few of the things that Martha has managed to do since being released from prison.  The P.C. thing to do now is go after her for it.  I will not, but first the headlines.

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  I‘m getting tired of hearing people complain about Martha Stewart‘s action-packed days since her release from prison.  In my mind she has done nothing wrong since her release.  Today she baste (ph) an outstanding ovation from her employees visiting the headquarters of her company.  Apparently, came before a visit to her probation officer, which she must do by midnight tonight.  So there was no electronic bracelet on her ankle as Stewart talked about some of what she learned during her five months in prison for lying to federal investigators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA STEWART, RELEASED FROM PRISON:  I have had the tremendous privilege of meeting an incredible cross section of people, as you can imagine, from all walks of life.  And I‘m convinced from all of this that we and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have just begun to scratch the surface of a really great opportunity. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Stewart also took advantage of a media opportunity Saturday bringing a camera crew to the Bedford, New York estate where she will serve five months of house arrest to capture her performing some favorite domestic tasks and enjoying the affection of friends, family and pets.  All this carefully staged domestic bliss seems to drive some crazy who think Stewart hasn‘t been punished enough for her crime. 

“My Take”—let me clear.  Martha Stewart lied to federal agents.  She committed a crime.  She has been punished with exactly the same punishment anyone else would have received and that punishment continues.  But as I‘ve said before, if she hadn‘t been Martha Stewart, I don‘t think she would have been charmed at all.  Stewart is rich.  She may have been arrogant and insensitive, but she served her time in prison before she was even legally obliged to do so and she hasn‘t done anything wrong in the hours she has been out.  I say her critics should back off.

Like the title or not, Charles Gasparino is one of these critics and is senior writer for “Newsweek” magazine.  He‘s also the author of “Blood on the Street:  The Sensational Inside Story of How Wall Street Analysts Duped a Generation of Investors”.  All right, Charlie, I call you that because every time we talk about it...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... you beat up on Martha Stewart.

CHARLES GASPARINO, SENIOR WRITER, “NEWSWEEK”:  Oh I don‘t beat up on her...

ABRAMS:  What‘s wrong with Martha Stewart going out now?  She doesn‘t have to report to her probation officer until midnight tonight. 

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  So she is bringing a camera crew in, she is showing everyone that everything is OK.  She is making a speech to her company.  What‘s wrong with that? 

GASPARINO:  You know, nothing in and of itself.  I mean the problem I have with it—and by the way, I have no problem with the sentence that she was given.  I think it‘s appropriate based on the crime.  I just think that she is doing one too many victory laps. 

And you know, just as a journalist when I see these staged events, I don‘t know about you, but I get a little sick to my stomach.  I mean listen, all this stuff about—I think she made some remarks that she likes—she really does like to iron and ask my daughter how much I like to iron and you know, vacuum the rugs and everything.  I mean it‘s absurd.  And by the way, the media attention on this has been very positive.  I don‘t know what you are talking about.  It‘s almost sickingly (ph) positive. 

ABRAMS:  Oh come on...

GASPARINO:  Everybody except for maybe me...

ABRAMS:  Oh come on Charlie...

GASPARINO:  ... and maybe Chris Byron...

ABRAMS:  Charlie, come on...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... have you been listening to like talk radio and stuff...

GASPARINO:  No, I‘m sorry.  I stay away from talk radio.

ABRAMS:  All right.  The popular point of view...

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... is to beat up on Martha Stewart.  Seemed like you‘re the every guy...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  This has nothing to do with being the every guy. 

GASPARINO:  Well...

ABRAMS:  This to me has to do with serving your time...

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  She is not every guy.  She wasn‘t every guy...

GASPARINO:  Well she‘s not a guy. 

ABRAMS:  She committed...

GASPARINO:  She‘s not a guy.

ABRAMS:  All right.  She committed—but she committed a crime. 

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  She served her time...

GASPARINO:  Right...

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO:  ... now she‘s doing the victory lap, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  So what?  So what? 

GASPARINO:  Because it looks bad.  Listen, let‘s face it and what I—the biggest problem I have is that the media is enabling her.  I mean let‘s face it.  This is a CEO who lied.  I mean...

ABRAMS:  She did. 

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO:  The problem with CEOs lying is that if she is lying about this...

ABRAMS:  Yes, I know the problems with CEOs lying. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You know what?  I‘m in the saying I‘m going to invest in her company. 

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  I‘m saying that I‘m tired of the sort of I want to try and act like I‘m sort of going to beat up on the rich woman.  But the reason they are beating up on her is because she is rich.  It‘s not because...

GASPARINO:  Well...

ABRAMS:  ... of what she‘s...

GASPARINO:  ... see, I agree with some of that.  There is beating up and there is actually pointing out the problems here and I think one of the problems here is the media coverage.  It‘s way too positive.  Nobody really does talk about the fact that, let‘s face it, this is a CEO—this woman is trying to become the CEO again after...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Charlie...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Charlie, we covered her trial...

GASPARINO:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  ... every day.  We covered her—the verdict. 

GASPARINO:  Dan, she made up...

ABRAMS:  We covered her serving time. 

GASPARINO:  ... one of the dumbest...

ABRAMS:  How much more time does the media need to spend...

GASPARINO:  Dan, she made up one of the...

ABRAMS:  ... talking about her...

GASPARINO:  ... dumbest lies known to mankind in white-collar criminal history, she made up one of the dumbest lies...

ABRAMS:  Right...

GASPARINO:  ... and she actually stood there...

ABRAMS:  ... so you want...

GASPARINO:  ... she actually stood there and said—and she never once said she was sorry...

ABRAMS:  Right.

GASPARINO:  ... and she‘s right now coming back and she‘s—and it‘s a very staged...

ABRAMS:  There‘s no question...

GASPARINO:  ... that I don‘t think...

ABRAMS:  I called it that.  I called it that.

GASPARINO:  ... I don‘t think that reporters are covering it well. 

Now I agree she did her time, she should be able to do whatever she wants.  I don‘t have a problem with that.  And by the way, I admire a lot that she has done.  She‘s an entrepreneur.  How can you not admire that?  I just think...

ABRAMS:  ... you ready for a piece of sound that drives Charlie crazy? 

Let‘s listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART:  Pride in home keeping creates serenity and pleasure and warmth that nourishes and that dignifies family relationships.  I even experienced it hanging around the microwave in the place where I was staying. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So she is a politician, Charlie.

GASPARINO:  You like politicians...

ABRAMS:  I‘m not taking...

GASPARINO:  All of a sudden you like politicians. 

ABRAMS:  I‘m saying I don‘t take anything she is saying at face value. 

OK, so whether she likes the microwave...

GASPARINO:  Of course not.

ABRAMS:  ... or doesn‘t like the microwave, I don‘t care. 

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  But the bottom line...

GASPARINO:  I don‘t care either.

ABRAMS:  ... is people...

GASPARINO:  I don‘t care either.  Why are we listening to that...

ABRAMS:  I‘ll tell you why...

GASPARINO:  If you don‘t care...

ABRAMS:  ... because people...

GASPARINO:  ... Dan, if you don‘t care...

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO:  ... you shouldn‘t be playing that tape.

ABRAMS:  I‘m going to tell you right now.  Because I‘m getting tired of hearing people trying to sort of falsely identify...

GASPARINO:  Who‘s doing that? 

ABRAMS:  ... with people...

GASPARINO:  Who‘s doing that?

ABRAMS:  Charlie, again you‘re not listening—to the people beating up on Martha. 

GASPARINO:  You listen to too much talk radio.  That‘s your problem. 

ABRAMS:  And—OK, so you are only reading “The Washington Post” and “The Journal” and “The New York Times”.

GASPARINO:  Yes, yes, yes...

ABRAMS:  All right.  That‘s fine.

GASPARINO:  I‘m sorry, I don‘t tune in to talk radio...

ABRAMS:  That‘s fine.  Well I‘m trying to be a little more in touch with everyone else. 

GASPARINO:  Oh, so you‘re...

ABRAMS:  I‘m now doing exactly what I‘m accusing everyone else of doing by getting in touch—look, but this is what I‘m hearing, Charlie.

GASPARINO:  Right.

ABRAMS:  I‘m hearing there‘s a lot of anger out there.

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO:  No listen...

ABRAMS:  I‘m getting a lot of e-mails...

GASPARINO:  ... I don‘t disagree with a lot of what you are saying. 

ABRAMS:  Well then why...

GASPARINO:  ... there is a...

ABRAMS:  ... is there so—tell me, so you don‘t even think there is anger out there at her...

GASPARINO:  Well...

ABRAMS:  ... for these...

GASPARINO:  ... maybe I‘m part of the elite—the media elite and I really am not in touch with...

ABRAMS:  You are.  Charlie Gasparino, part of the media elite, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

GASPARINO:  OK.

ABRAMS:  Last 10 seconds Charlie.  Go ahead.

GASPARINO:  Well listen, Martha Stewart is a great entrepreneur.  The media is miscovering this story.  It‘s not all positive. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  I don‘t know.  She seems to be enjoying that soup. 

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Apparently she served fresh cream with her coffee...

GASPARINO:  She didn‘t serve any soup to me. 

ABRAMS:  Well no soup for you—remember that, Seinfeld? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Anyway...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... Charlie Gasparino. 

Coming up, a boy is suspended from school because his mother refused to spank him.  Really?  Can a school do that? 

Plus, Jay Leno is under the gag order in the Michael Jackson case, so it seems he‘s unsure whether he can tell Jackson jokes on his show.  Not a problem.  He‘ll write them, get someone else to tell them.  It‘s not problem, right? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now with our “Just A Minute” segment.  I lay out today‘s other legal stories.  My guest has a minute to discuss each issue with you.  Joining me again now former Massachusetts‘ prosecutor Bill Fallon.

All right, Bill, number one, an Illinois mother faced with a tough decision last week, told she either had to spank her kid or he would be suspended from school.  The 6-year-old boy who apparently talked too much in class at his private Christian school had been piling up disciplinary notes for talking, chewing gum, bringing toys to class and not finishing his work.  So when mom arrived to pick him up, she says the school administrator told her she either had to spank the boy at school or he would be suspended.  The idea that a school can basically force a mother to spank her child even at a private school, can they do that, Bill? 

WILLIAM FALLON, FORMER ESSEX COUNTY MA PROSECUTOR:   Dan, I think they can do it.  What we have—it sounds so wacky.  You either whack your kid or you get the heck out of town.  I think when you first hear about it, it sounds absolutely insane.  But I think what they are saying is and maybe this is their way.  Private schools and some public schools have a right to spank a kid, use corporal punishment.  Many states don‘t let you, some do.  But certainly in a private school, that is probably part of the contract. 

In this case, maybe this school said we believe in corporal punishment and we‘re going to let the mother do it here.  Now again, we don‘t know those facts yet.  It does seem for like lying a little, chewing a little gum, being a little funny in school, to be beaten in front of kids or in front of the school seems like a very strong punishment.  But we know that one of the reasons people send their kids to these schools that we hear, these private schools, particularly private religious schools is because they want that morality and they want punishment for bad behavior.  It still sounds wacky to me, but I think they can do it.  And remember, they can‘t force the mother to do it.  All they can say is you are not invited back tomorrow unless you do, do it. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  More details coming out in the case of a 15-year-old student from Milton Academy, a prestigious school who apparently or allegedly performed oral sex on several high school hockey players in a school locker room (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in January.  Now, apparently she had done it a couple of times before with two of the same boys.  At least that‘s what they—that‘s the allegation. 

The hockey players have all been expelled, the boys, not the girl.  Authorities are investigating.  Since then the school reports the girl did the same thing at a hotel room at a birthday party a month later and now investigators are learning more about the girl‘s family.  They found that when the girl was 12, her father was forced to resign from his teaching post after admitting to masturbating in front of female students. 

The question, is any of that, the family history relevant and there‘s also an allegation about the brother too, doing something—anyway.  Any of that relevant to the decision whether to charge the boys for what they did with the girl? 

FALLON:  Dan, I think it‘s relevant in the case that the prosecutor is going to make a decision, really, where is this girl coming from, where has she been, and where is she going...

ABRAMS:  Why should that matter if the law says if you are 15 -- and I agree with you—but why should that matter if it says the law—you are 15, you have sexual relations with an older person, that older person is going to be in some legal trouble. 

FALLON:  Oh Dan, I mean do they have probable cause to believe from what we know a crime has been committed?  Absolutely, if that‘s the only standard, go into the grand jury tomorrow and get an indictment.  What they‘re really looking at here is what is going on.  As I always say, the crime, the criminal and that includes the facts that a perpetrator, the facts that a victim have. 

Remember, Milton Academy is now a joke.  What used to be called the Lewinsky is now called the Milty (ph), but what we now know is in this case, this girl has some trouble.  She has some problems that actually are much more serious than we thought.  It seems she went to the trial where her father was charged with sexual abuse.  Her brother is a victim of rape, but I will tell you in the end, I think nobody is going to be proceeding with this case because the 15-year-olds were both treated the same, boy and girl, so you know in the school.  They were both in fact...

ABRAMS:  All right.

FALLON:  ... suspended...

ABRAMS:  Issue three:  Jay Leno waiting to hear whether he can tell Jackson jokes even though he‘s been subpoenaed as a possible witness.  In the meantime, it seems Leno may have found a way around the restrictions.  Call it comic relief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”:  You know about this gag order?  Well, this is gag order; I‘m not allowed to tell any Michael Jackson jokes.  I can still write them.  I can‘t tell them. 

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  So what we‘ve done is we‘ve brought in had a guest comedian to help tell...

(LAUGHTER)

LENO:  ... the Michael Jackson jokes...

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, so let‘s see what‘s new in the Michael Jackson trial...

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... or as we like to call it, diary of a mad white woman. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, so, you know, this is all so absurd.  I‘m glad that Jay is mocking it, but legal matter, Bill, you know, is there any difference in terms of the gag order if he is standing there and he‘s written what‘s being said versus saying it himself? 

FALLON:  Dan, you know, what‘s going to depend here is you know whether there is a legitimate gag order.  Jay Leno and the witnesses were really not parties represented in front of the judge when he had this huge gag hold on everybody in this case.  That‘s different about the parties, the defendant, the—potentially the victim, who we would say the prosecution represents in a certain case. 

I will tell you, depending what the judge wrote in this gag order, maybe he said speak, maybe he wrote down that you cannot write anything.  Quite frankly, by giving the jokes to another comedian, even though I understand it has improved his ratings, he might consider doing this with all of his jokes in the future.  It seems to me that he could be technically in violation of the letter of the law.  But quite frankly, the letter of the law better be that specific. 

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON:  You know, I think this whole thing is going to be overturned...

ABRAMS:  It‘s so stupid...

FALLON:  It‘s a moronic thing.

ABRAMS:  This is so dumb, the idea that he can‘t tell jokes, and the Jackson team in one of the most ridiculous legal arguments I have ever seen started talking about how Jay shouldn‘t be able to tell jokes.  I mean come on.  Give me a break.

FALLON:  No.  Well guess what?  Does anything surprise you about the Jackson joke? 

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know...

FALLON:  They are a joke in themselves.  No matter what happened...

(CROSSTALK)

FALLON:  No matter what happened, they are a joke Dan...

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know.  They may win this case. 

FALLON:  They may win it, but they are still jokes. 

ABRAMS:  Bill Fallon, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  I‘ve been told to shut me up. 

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Coming up—good to see you, Bill.

FALLON:  Take care Dan.

ABRAMS:  ... why it‘s absurd for this Italian hostage to even suggest the United States intentionally tried to kill her as her car was speeding towards the Baghdad airport.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, if you thought our story about the drunk woman who stole a police car to get home was bad, wait until you hear how a drunk man redefined what it means to be trashed.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—the White House was right to call it

·         quote—“absurd”.  The suggestion from an Italian journalist and former hostage that the U.S. military may have intentionally tried to kill her as her car was speeding towards the Baghdad airport.  It‘s almost unworthy of a response, except that since she was a hostage and is now using that position and platform to spout out anti-American views I think we need to respond to it. 

Giuliana Sgrena, a reporter for a communist newspaper in Italy, was taken hostage in Baghdad on February 4, released last Friday into the custody of three Italian security officers after the Italian government apparently paid a multimillion-dollar ransom, at least according to the Italian press.  All four were in a car on their way to the Baghdad airport when according to Sgrena, the car suddenly came under attack out of nowhere. 

One of the officers covered her with his body so she wouldn‘t get hurt.  That officer was killed and the other two were wounded.  The car was traveling on a road known as one of the most dangerous in Iraq.  The military says that when the car didn‘t slow down after troops made numerous attempts to alert the passengers, there was a check point ahead, the military had no choice but to open fire.  So first and foremost, what possible benefit could the United States get out of shooting at a high profile Italian hostage who has just been released and is on her way out of the country? 

Her theory is just preposterous.  Sgrena has told the press that her Iraqi captors warned her the U.S. might intervene in her release and she suggested the military may have targeted her car specifically because the U.S. opposes any negotiations with kidnappers in Iraq.  Oh, so someone ordered she would be assassinated because a ransom was paid.  The money had already been paid to the kidnappers.  The U.S. wanted to teach Italians a lesson by killing her? 

Look, she has a right to be angry.  Her car was shot at.  She was injured.  A man who was instrumental in her release killed.  She deserves some answers.  Unfortunately, she‘s probably not going to be satisfied with the most likely answer.  That there was no communication between the two countries.  Italy wanted to keep the U.S. in the dark about the ransom payment because the Italians knew we‘d disapprove, so when her car sped toward the airport, it‘s likely U.S. forces didn‘t even realize the Italians were on their way to Baghdad airport.  And if it‘s really answers she wants rather than just a soapbox, well then she‘s only hurting the effort because now her credibility is at issue.

Coming up in 60 seconds, who is bad?  I guess I am.  Your e-mails coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  On Friday, I brought up a sort of side issue with no time left in a segment and I apologized to my guests, saying my bad on that. 

Well Frank Buongervino in Valley Stream, New York didn‘t like the lingo.  He writes, “Did I hear you right the other night?  Did I hear you say and I quote my bad.  Did you get that from ‘Barbershop‘ or ‘Barbershop 2‘?  Please don‘t ever say that again.  You just don‘t look cool enough to say my bad.  Next time say it‘s my fault.  That sounds better coming out of your mouth.”

You know, Frank, I initially thought that you were saying that I should not use that term.  But no, you‘re saying that that term is fine as long as a dork like me doesn‘t use it.  Let‘s just say word, hear you on that, my bad, Frank.

And R.L. Massai in San Francisco on a previous e-mail she apparently sent to the show.  “I sent you an e-mail to register my irritation.  I made two suggestions.  One of which was that you should run for president of NOW.  The suggestion was that you might want to start wearing lace panties just to get into the role.  I‘d sincerely like to offer an apology for making that comment.  I feel that it was unnecessarily malicious, seeming and mean.”

Well goodness, R.L., thank you.  You know, I‘ve been debating all week whether to buy them at Victoria‘s Secret or just a local department store.  Your apology just removes such a burden... 

Your e-mails abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com.  We go through them at the end of the show. 

“OH PLEAs!”—yet another drunk person just looking for a way home.  This time a 42-year-old man redefines getting trashed in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Vincent Hayes realizing he was too wasted after a night of drinking on February 22 responsibly called his wife to pick him up from the bar.  When his wife arrived as his sober driver, Hayes refused—apparently refused to get in unless the wife surrendered the driver‘s seat to him.  When Hayes‘ wife refused, things allegedly turned dirty literally. 

Hayes apparently ran to an on duty garbage truck, jumped into the driver‘s seat while a city worker was loading trash into the truck, and took off heading for home.  Alas, Hayes and the stolen truck were found 20 minutes later.  Hayes was asleep by the steering wheel, parked at a convenience store.  Hayes‘ wife shamefully identified the trash as her drunk husband. 

Hayes was charged with aggravated assault for nearly running over the city worker, vehicle theft and driving under the influence.  A lesson, you shouldn‘t get wasted without first knowing about waste management. 

That does it for us tonight.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  Thanks for watching.  See you tomorrow.

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

Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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