updated 3/24/2005 2:22:18 PM ET 2005-03-24T19:22:18

Guest: John Stemberger, Paul Rothstein, Arthur St. Andre, Bill Fallon, Jake Goldenflame, Dawn Hobbs

DAN ABRAMS, HOST, THE ABRAMS REPORT:  Coming up, we are waiting to see if Terri Schiavo‘s parents are going to the U.S. Supreme Court to try to keep their daughter alive.

With all other legal options exhausted, it seems the nation‘s highest court is the last hope for Terri Schiavo‘s parents.  But the court has already refused to hear the case twice.

And the man who reportedly confessed to killing Jessica Lunsford told police more than a decade ago he needed help, and that prison time wouldn‘t cure him.  We have the audiotape.

Can sex offenders really be rehabilitated?  We‘ll talk to one.

Plus, why would anyone need a personal magician?  Tonight you‘ll hear from the magician who‘s been keeping Michael Jackson company in court.

The program about justice starts now.

Hi, everyone.  First up on the docket, more breaking news in the Terri Schiavo case.  Her parents, it seems, have only one hope left—the U.S.  Supreme Court.

That‘s a live picture.  If Terri‘s life is going to be saved, the court would have to act fast, as in now, or certainly within the next day or two.

This after a three judge panel and then the full 12 judge 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected her parents‘ plea to have Terri‘s feeding tube reconnected.

Now, their final plea would go to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is expected to refer it to the full court for action, though the court has rejected this case before.

And it seems legislators in Florida will try just about anything at this point.  The Florida senate has just rejected another bill that would have put the feeding tube back.  Other legislation was declared unconstitutional.

And now, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, working with Florida‘s Department of Children and Families, trying again to get custody of Terri, claiming that a new doctor‘s report is found.  She may not be in a persistent vegetative state.

And even moments ago, Florida Fudge George Greer ruled against them.  The department says it doesn‘t matter.  It may take protective custody of Terri anyway.

Here is the governor only hours ago.


JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA:  Terri is now going on her sixth day without food or water.  It is imperative that she be stabilized so that the adult protective services team can fulfill their statutory duty and thoroughly review all the facts surrounding her case.

If there‘s any uncertainty, we should err on the side of protecting her.


ABRAMS:  Well, the judge didn‘t agree.  And they‘re also saying that Terri was abused.

Now suddenly, Child and Families is saying, oh, you know what else? 

We‘ve just discovered after 15 years, that she was abused.

My take.  I‘ve said it before, I‘ll say it again.  I‘m tired of the politics.  I‘m tired of hearing new arguments every time Terri‘s parents lose in court.

The Florida courts ruled, this is what Terri would have wanted.  Her parents deserve all of our sympathy.  We have to remember, this is about Terri—not her parents, not her husband.

Her parents‘ supporters had argued to have her case heard in federal court, making all sorts of what I would say are disingenuous comparisons to convicted murderers.  Now that her parents and their supporters aren‘t getting the outcome they‘d like in federal court, they‘re once again trying to change the debate.

As you wait to hear any word from Florida appeals courts, the U.S.  Supreme Court, I‘m joined once again by Paul Rothstein, the professor of Constitutional law at Georgetown University and the author of the article on the right to die in the Encyclopedia of the U.S. Supreme Court, and John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council.

Gentlemen, thanks very much.  Appreciate it.

Mr. Stemberger, let‘s start with this latest effort.

Now the governor comes out and says, you know what?  Lo and behold, our investigation, after 15 years, has turned up that Terri was actually abused.  And so now, the Department of Children and Families needs to take custody of her.

That doesn‘t seem like the ultimate and sort of disingenuous, last-minute arguments?


COUNCIL:  Governor Bush has said that he will do everything legally within his power to see that Terri gets full due process under the law.  And that‘s exactly what‘s happened here.

The adult protective team, under Florida law, is able to investigate cases of abuse, neglect, or in this case, where Dr. Cheshire, who is a Mayo Clinic, double board certified neurologist is indicating that in fact she‘s not PVS, that she is in a minimal conscious state.

And so, all these avenues have to be considered.  We‘re talking about the state terminating someone‘s life.  And so, it‘s no small matter.  And every possible thing must be investigated and looked at.

And frankly, I don‘t care if it takes 20 years.  Terri deserves full due process under the law, under federal, state and every local law.  It all needs to be exhausted before she‘s extinguished.

ABRAMS:  The problem for me, Professor Rothstein, is, look.  If they want to make legal arguments, I support it.  They—look, they got the legislation passed.  The way our system works is, they‘ve got the federal courts open to them.  Regardless of what I or anyone else thinks about it, that‘s now the law of the land.

And so, they‘re going to federal court.  They‘re making their effort. 

Fine.  Let them go.  We‘ll see what happens in the courts.

But I think it‘s an entirely different matter to come forward now and make accusations such like that Terri‘s been abused.  That to me is a very different type of maneuver here, where it‘s not just, we‘re going to try and get Terri due process, we‘re going to try and do everything we can.

Suddenly they‘re saying, Terri—that‘s a very serious accusation to make.

PAUL ROTHSTEIN, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY:  Well, you‘d think after 15 years and all of this judicial process, that these kind of things would have been turned over and determined or raised at some earlier point.

And if they weren‘t, the presumption has to be that these facts are not true.  It‘s a little late to be raising new factual allegations that are of the kind that would have come to light a lot earlier.

Legal arguments are another thing.  But again, the 15 year passage of time, to me is quite determinative.  This woman has been in this state for 15 years.  It seems to me there is very little hope of any kind of recovery.

And the courts have thoroughly plowed the field as to what her wishes would have been, and they made a factual finding as good as any factual findings we can ever get in our society.

We can‘t be 100 percent sure of anything.  We rely on the courts and witness testimony and things like that.

ABRAMS:  Mr. Stemberger, I mean, if they‘re only discovering it now, all right, let‘s even assume that they‘re right.

Somebody has been making a lot of mistakes over time, even though this case has been as scrutinized as any case I‘ve ever seen, in this type of case.

The fact that they‘re only making these discoveries now, days after Terri‘s tubes have already been removed, means that some people really have been derelict in their duties.

STEMBERGER:  Well, in the underlying medical malpractice case, which there were proceeds that were awarded by a jury, there was evidence—and there still is evidence—of bruised bones, which were never entered into court.

Now, you‘ve got to understand, only the guardian here has the ability to get her medical records.  And so ...

ABRAMS:  That was 10 years ago, though.

STEMBERGER:  I understand that.  But the point is ...

ABRAMS:  So, that was 10 years ago, and suddenly Child and Families is coming up and saying, you know what?  Our investigation, our crack investigation has turned up abuse.

STEMBERGER:  You know what?  What is the harm in allowing this investigation to go forward?

ABRAMS:  I‘ll tell you what it is.

STEMBERGER:  If it‘s bogus, then it‘ll be seen as such.  But if it‘s not, there are serious questions that need to be answered ...

ABRAMS:  I‘ll tell you what ...

STEMBERGER:  ... and people that need to be held accountable.

ABRAMS:  This should have been done before.  If you want to have these discussions, you have this discussion before the tube was removed.

The bottom line is, that‘s why I think this is politics.  If this had been—if this had happened before the tube was removed and the question was, should we retain the status quo, should we keep the tube in, that to me is a very different discussion than when you‘re having it and you‘re now saying, she‘s been off of this feeding tube for days.

And we should put it back in now, because of the things that you‘re saying.

STEMBERGER:  And this is exactly why all of the courts have been wrong, is because entering a stay would cause no prejudice to the other side.  But not entering the stay will provide irreparable harm, which is why we are praying that the United States Supreme Court will enter a stay, at least to evaluate the arguments about the right to counsel.

She never had a lawyer at trial.  Imagine Ted Bundy going to a trial and being tried without a lawyer.

ABRAMS:  These comparisons ...


ROTHSTEIN:  There were.

ABRAMS:  First of all, there was a guardian ad litem at one point. 

But furthermore ...

STEMBERGER:  She didn‘t have a lawyer, though.  That‘s the point.

ABRAMS:  But the notion that you make these comparisons—and it drives me nuts—to convicted murderers, is so ridiculous.  Because the claim here—remember, we‘re talking about what Terri would have wanted.  That‘s what the court found.

And you‘re sort of twisting the argument, suggesting she‘s not getting her day in court.  Well, actually, her parents and her husband battled it out in court.  And the finding was that this is what she would have wanted.

STEMBERGER:  Look.  Under normal circumstances, I would agree with you.  But this is a very difficult case.  You‘ve got a conflict of interest on the guardian.  You‘ve got a woman who‘s arguably—it‘s controverted, her medical state.  There‘s potential allegations of abuse.

There‘s all kinds of hidden things in this case, which make it very unique.  So it‘s not just the typical case.  And that‘s why—because it‘s an extraordinary case.

ABRAMS:  Yes, it is.  It is extraordinary, yes.

STEMBERGER:  But extraordinary means have to be used and investigated in the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

ABRAMS:  Very quickly, Professor Rothstein, prediction.  You‘re an expert on the Supreme Court.  The federal court of appeals has ruled against the parents.  The district court ruled against the parents.

What are the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court‘s going to get involved?

ROTHSTEIN:  It‘s not very clear.  I would place it at 50-50.

It seems to me that the Supreme Court ought to turn it away, because Congress didn‘t provide any new law.  All they did was open the doors of the federal court.  And so, all the same law that applied in the state proceedings is going to apply.

So, that means there‘s nothing new to be examined.  But you don‘t know what some of these justices on the Supreme Court are going to see.  Maybe they‘re going to see a congressional intent, somehow, to plug her back in.  Although Congress specifically rebuffed that position, rejected an act that actually said, plug her back in.

ABRAMS:  Yes, all right.  Well, look, I‘ve got to wrap this particular part of the conversation up.  But let me just say one thing.

We talk about this legally.  We talk about it in a vacuum.  And I know

·         and I want to remind people, even though I get very passionate about this as a legal matter, you know, I feel for her parents.

I feel for everyone involved in this.  And I see the suffering on her parents‘ faces, and I am in no way trying to denigrate that suffering by taking the position that I do.

I feel for them, and I think that they‘re doing what they believe is right.

Professor Rothstein, John Stemberger, thank you very much for coming on the program.

ROTHSTEIN:  Thank you.  And I agree with your sympathies there, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up.  If this is really the end of the line for the efforts to reinsert Terri Schiavo‘s feeding tube, just how difficult would her death really be?  Is she feeling pain as her parents claim?

And got breaking news in the Michael Jackson case.  Turns out a key prosecution witness is under arrest.

Your e-mails, abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.  I‘ll respond to you on the show.

We‘re continuing to monitor the U.S. Supreme Court to see what happens in the Terri Schiavo case.  We‘ll bring it to you as soon as it happens.


ABRAMS:  With the options running out for the parents of Terri Schiavo, the question, of course is, what will Terri‘s last days be like?  We‘re going to talk to a doctor.


MILISSA REHBERGER, HEADLINE NEWS:  MSNBC keeps you up to the minute every 15 minutes.  I‘m Milissa Rehberger.

Authorities say at least two people are dead, more than 30 injured, in an explosion at an oil refinery in Texas City, Texas.  That‘s near Houston.  Officials say the cause is unknown, but there is no evidence of terrorism.

Seeking to soothe relations with America‘s neighbors, President Bush met with the leaders of Canada and Mexico at Baylor University in Waco, Texas today.  They agreed to broaden cooperation on security and economic issues.

And trustees have released the new go-broke dates for Social Security and Medicare.  They say Social Security will go broke in 2041, a year earlier than previously estimated.  And they say Medicare faces insolvency in 2020, a year later than predicted.

You‘re up to date.  Back to the ABRAMS REPORT.

ABRAMS:  Terri Schiavo has been living and dying without food or water for more than five days.  Experts say she has less than a week or so to live.

Her family describes the situation in horrific detail, claiming she‘s starving to death, her body literally wasting away.

Many medical experts explain the process is actually quite painless, even peaceful, whether a patient is in a persistent vegetative state or not.

Florida‘s Governor Jeb Bush told a press conference today, doctors may be all wrong about Terri‘s condition.


JEB BUSH:  The neurologist‘s review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed, and is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness rather than in a state of, in a persistent vegetative state.


ABRAMS:  OK.  So the question, of course, some people asking, were they all wrong about Schiavo‘s condition?  What exactly, though, regardless, is happening to her as she continues to live without the feeding tube?

Joining me now to talk about what‘s happening physically to Terri Schiavo is Dr. Arthur Saint Andre, critical care specialist at Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C.  He‘s dealt with many patients who have had their feeding tubes removed.

Doctor, thanks for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.


You‘re quite welcome.

ABRAMS:  I want to read you something, and this is from—this is from the attorney for the parents of Terri Schiavo—it‘s number eight—talking about what is happening to her as she‘s dying.

“According to the testimony of Congressman Dr. Phil Gingrey, dehydration is a horrific process.  The patient‘s skin cracks, their nose bleeds, they vomit.  The stomach lining dries out and they have pangs of hunger and thirst.  Starvation is a very painful death to which no one should be deliberately exposed.”

Do you agree with that?

ST. ANDRE:  Actually, I don‘t.  And I think one has to put themselves in the situation of Terri Schiavo.

In this persistent vegetative state, there is no awareness, though she has these periods of wakefulness.  She doesn‘t suffer pain.  She doesn‘t notice any of her environment.  She doesn‘t have fear.  She doesn‘t have happiness.

And during this period of time when she‘s not getting fed, or hydration, any of the sensations related to that are not something that she experiences.

ABRAMS:  How do you know?

ST. ANDRE:  Well, we know quite a bit about the persistent vegetative state.  And it is a state of unconsciousness, whereby there is no cortical activity.

And that cortical activity is that which makes us human—our thinking, feeling, communicating, memory centers.  And any of those things that we consider to be higher level, those emotional feeling parts, are part of cortical activity which is not present in the persistent vegetative state.

ABRAMS:  I mean, is this in dispute in the medical community?  I mean, you‘re saying it almost as a matter of fact.

ST. ANDRE:  No.  In fact, it‘s not in dispute in the medical community.  It‘s been well known for well over 20 years that the persistent vegetative state is one in which there is no awareness, but maybe wakefulness.

And unfortunately, for the family who‘s involved, it may appear as though there‘s movement.  It may appear as though that there‘s some contact.  But really, these are simply reflexes and not part of any experience that the patient is actually having.

ABRAMS:  What about what the governor just said, though, which is that they believe she may have been misdiagnosed.

Assuming, just for the sake of argument for a moment, that he‘s right.  And, again, that would—again, considering how much we know about this case, that would be surprising.

ST. ANDRE:  It would be exceedingly surprising to have misdiagnosed the persistent vegetative state for this very, very long period of time.

ABRAMS:  But would that change her suffering, et cetera, if she was in whatever he referred to, a minimal state of consciousness?

ST. ANDRE:  If she became into a state of awareness, that‘s the period of time in which there is the possibility of sensation.  And the basic issue here is whether or not there‘s reasonable medical assuredness that she is in the persistent vegetative state.

My understanding of the information that has been released to the public is that Terri has been examined by experts many times for an innumerable number of hours.  So the likelihood that at this sudden last hour that the persistent vegetative state is not there is very unlikely.

ABRAMS:  Parts of her cerebrum have liquefied.  I mean, it‘s really—it‘s—anyway.  All right.  Dr. Saint Andre, thanks a lot.  Appreciate you coming on the program.

ST. ANDRE:  You‘re quite welcome.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, got other breaking news—Michael Jackson case.  In addition to exclusive information about a key prosecution witness, who we are told is under arrest, we also have news about one of Jackson‘s lawyers—not Jackson himself—needing medical care in the courtroom only moments ago.

And the man charged with killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford confessed to police more than a decade ago about exposing himself to another young girl.  He said he needed help.  Prison wasn‘t enough.

We‘ve got the audiotape, and we asked—we‘ll ask, actually, a sexual offender—can they, he be rehabilitated?


ABRAMS:  Another bizarro situation only moments ago at the Michael Jackson trial.  It wasn‘t Jackson or one of his fans.  This time, moments ago, Jackson attorney Brian Oxman wheeled out of the courtroom on a stretcher.

We‘ll bring you details on his condition as soon as we get them.

First, we‘ve got some exclusive, breaking news about a key witness in the Michael Jackson case, not necessarily good news for the prosecution.

Chris Carter, Jackson‘s former security guard, scheduled to come into court and tell jurors that he says he saw certain things during the time the family says it was held captive at Neverland.

Carter was expected to tell the jury about seeing the accuser drunk, and the accuser telling him that Jackson said it was OK to drink if he could handle the booze.  And about when he drove the accuser‘s mother from Neverland to her boyfriend‘s home in L.A., that she reportedly cried and prayed the whole way.

Sneddon says—the D.A. says—this was on the heels of Jackson‘s people telling her she could go wherever she wanted, but her kids couldn‘t leave the ranch.

NBC‘s Mike Taibbi standing by live with the breaking details about why we might not be hearing from this witness—Mike.


might not, Dan.  You know—as you know as well as anybody, it‘s always

dangerous when prosecutors or defense attorneys make those promises to

jurors in the beginning, you‘ll hear from this witness, this witness will

tell you—because witnesses sometimes change their mind or get cold feet

·         or end up in the slam, as happened to Chris Carter.

An incident about a month ago—February 19th, to be precise—that resulted in four charges against him of armed robbery, of burglary with a deadly weapon, of kidnap in the first degree with a deadly weapon—

$850,000 bail.  I‘m told he didn‘t make it.  He‘s still in the slam in the Clark County detention center.

So, what does it mean?

As you point out, prosecutor Sneddon in his opening statement extolled Chris Carter as a key witness, called him Michael Jackson‘s personal bodyguard.

Carter‘s testified before the grand jury that he was with Jackson 24 hours a day.  And he said he not only saw some of those drinking episodes, but was the only witness outside of the accuser and the accuser‘s family who could put, by his own testimony, Michael Jackson giving the accuser alcohol on that flight back from Miami to Santa Barbara.  So a key witness.

Now, as for that part of his role in the conspiracy—or witness to the conspiracy—to falsely imprison the family, Sneddon‘s opening statement said that Carter took her—the mother of the accuser—in one of the ranch vehicles back to L.A.  And he‘ll tell you that Janet was upset, she was crying, with her head down, praying almost all the way down.

And also about booze.  And a lot of the testimony from this witness was to have been about booze.  He talked about seeing the accuser in broad daylight—drunk—getting into a golf cart, and his testimony before the grand jury was—Carter‘s was—he was staggering around.  He was like getting in this golf cart, driving around.  And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa!

So this was an important witness.  Not the only corroborating witness for many of the things he might have talked about, given what he said to the grand jury.  But the only witness to some things.  And now the prosecution is going to have to scramble.

ABRAMS:  Mike, that‘s the question.  So, are they going to be able to still—I mean, are they going to still be able to call this guy?

TAIBBI:  Well, you know ...

ABRAMS:  Do they want to call him, too?

TAIBBI:  ... we‘ve all seen instances of—well, who knows—we‘ve all seen inmates who testified in their prison orange jumpsuits at other trials.  That does happen.

But in this instance, given the extent to which this witness might have been infected by these very serious charges against him, and the jury‘s perception that this is a bad guy, who would believe him—who knows whether they want to?

Jim Thomas says—you know, he‘s a former Santa Barbara County sheriff and an NBC analyst—he says he doesn‘t think the prosecution will touch this guy again.  But they‘ll find another way to at least repair the damage that is in place now, because they won‘t get his testimony on some of these things.  Who knows?

ABRAMS:  Any sense of how the prosecutors found out about this, Mike?

TAIBBI:  I don‘t know how the prosecutors found out about it.  We found out about it from a couple of different sources, and I was able to just confirm it with the lawyer representing this individual, Chris Carter, a while ago.

So it‘s out there.  It‘s on several Web sites.  This is the guy.  He‘s 25 years old.  Worked for Jackson for about a year.  He‘s now in jail.

ABRAMS:  Mike Taibbi with another exclusive in the Michael Jackson case.  Mike, thanks a lot.

Coming up, more on what happened to Jackson attorney Brian Oxman in the courtroom just moments ago—wheeled out.  Find out what happened.

And the man who confessed to killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, on tape telling police he has a problem 10 years ago.  We‘ve got the tape and we ask, can sex offenders really be rehabilitated?  We‘re going to ask one.

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


ABRAMS:  Coming up, the man who reportedly confessed to killing Jessica Lunsford more than a decade ago told police years back he needed help, said prison time wouldn‘t cure him.  We‘ve got the audiotape.  And we‘ll ask whether sex offenders can be rehabilitated.  We‘ll talk to one. 

First the headlines.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back. 

John Couey, convicted sex offender, hired to work for five months at the very school that little Jessica Lunsford attended.  While he did serve time for one of his earlier sexual offenses, a recently released police interview sheds some light on the result of his time behind bars. 

NBC‘s Don Teague has the story. 


DON TEAGUE, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Chilling words from the man accused of killing Jessica Lunsford. 


TEAGUE:  In just-released tapes from a 1991 police interview, John Couey admits to exposing himself to another young girl. 

COUEY:  I asked her if she wanted to play hide and go seek.  And she said yes.  So we did. 

TEAGUE:  During the interview, Couey tells investigators prison won‘t cure his desires.  He asks for professional help. 

COUEY:  I feel that I need help for myself.  And that‘s why I‘m confessing to my crime that I committed tonight, because I want help for myself.

TEAGUE:  He may have asked for help.  But, in recent years, Couey reportedly took jobs that gave him access to hundreds of children.  He worked construction at two Florida schools, most recently the elementary school where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was a third grader. 

MARK LUNSFORD, FATHER OF JESSICA:  Our kids are exposed to this, and they‘re killing our children.  I mean, isn‘t that like a terrorism against children?  And we need to stop that. 

TEAGUE:  Today, Jessica‘s community is fighting back.  Warning signs are popping up to alert neighbors of other convicted sex offenders living nearby. 

FRANK, NEIGHBOR OF JESSICA LUNSFORD:  This is all about the little girl and every other little girl, little boy from this point on that could go through the same thing this little girl went through, because these guys are being put in our communities. 

TEAGUE:  It‘s too late to help Jessica Lunsford.  But, as John Couey awaits trial for her murder, neighbors hope to save other children from predators who may live next door.

Don Teague, NBC News Atlanta. 


ABRAMS:  Question:  Can sex offenders really be rehabilitated?  Can they really change? 

Joining me now is Jake Goldenflame, convicted child molester and author of “Overcoming Sexual Terrorism: 40 Ways to Protect Your Children From Sexual Predators,” and Bill Fallon, former Essex County, Massachusetts, prosecutor. 

All right, thanks a lot.

Mr. Goldenflame, bottom line, do you think that sex offenders can be rehabilitated? 

JAKE GOLDENFLAME, REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER:  Well, we can do better than that.  We can be, with our consent, brainwashed.  And that‘s exactly the kind of therapy we voluntarily put ourselves through.  Once it‘s there...

ABRAMS:  What do you mean? 

GOLDENFLAME:  Well, it‘s called cognitive behavioral reconditioning therapy. 

Before an act occurs, there‘s not only an urge, but in between, there‘s something called the plan.  With this kind of therapy, we change the way our own brains work, so that, when an urge comes up, a fire wall shifts into position internally and we don‘t go into the plan.  We walk away from the urge.  

ABRAMS:  Do you still have the urge to molest children? 

GOLDENFLAME:  I will always have the urge to molest children.  But the urge will never become a plan and therefore won‘t become an act as long as that fire wall stays in place. 

ABRAMS:  Bill Fallon, do you buy it? 

BILL FALLON, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  No.  I buy it that maybe Jake doesn‘t do this.  But this is the exact reason.  The urge doesn‘t go away. 

And I‘m not relying on anybody‘s thought process, therapy, medicine or otherwise to put all these kids at risk.  This is what is so crazy about this.  We know—I mean, I‘m so glad that we‘re honest enough here to say that urge never goes away.  What we know is the child molester sees somebody. 

Not to trivialize it, but if you think of a diet, everybody is on a low-carb diet.  I‘m not going to go.  I‘m not going to go.  I‘m loving it.  The reason we all gain weight is because we give in to that urge.  We make a plan to eat the doughnut.  And, I mean, it‘s much more serious than that, but, quite frankly, the children are, in fact, our target that we have to protect. 

So maybe people are like Jake.  But, as a society, we cannot count on people saying, I‘m going to follow through with the plan. 

ABRAMS:  How do we—yes, Mr. Goldenflame, how do we create a system?  Because I think Bill is right, that the bottom line is people aren‘t going to trust that convicted child molesters are going to, on their own, do certain things and put up the fire wall.  Is there a way, do you think, to force it on people? 

GOLDENFLAME:  Well, constitutionally, of course, there are problems. 

You can‘t force mental conditioning on anybody. 

But what you can do is this.  After they‘ve been given the therapy I‘m talking about, which is the mainstream kind of therapy that‘s made available through our prisons and mental hospitals today that use it, what you can do, and what I want to do and what the community corrections people have asked me to do, is start a maintenance group for these guys who are registered, just like myself, who are registered, their sentences behind them, where they come once a week voluntarily and work on keeping that fire wall in place. 

Just like AA has its meetings every week, we would have the same kind of thing. 

ABRAMS:  Do you avoid children?  I mean, do you...


ABRAMS:  You do? 


ABRAMS:  You just stay away? 


FALLON:  Dan, you know, I think, Jake—I respect his honesty here, because I think one of the difficulties is, he‘s exactly said it.  We have the AA people.  We have the people who say, I can never give up this urge. 

If you are going to—AA arguably are going to go, take care of their problem.  But when they fail, there maybe isn‘t that victimization unless they‘re in the car.  The failure here is how we put our children, and if it‘s adult rape victims, those potential victims at risk.  And that‘s what I say.  That fire wall sometimes is just a paper wall that burns down.  And I don‘t think we can take the risk, on the state of the science right now, because it is only an art. 

And, quite frankly, even when we‘re hearing, we‘re trusting the pedophile, we‘re trusting the rapist, we‘re trusting the molester to say, oops, the fire wall is breaking.  I need another—kind of to put up another one.  We are not at a state where we can really protect people without locking them, putting them away or worse. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

GOLDENFLAME:  Let me reply to that, if I may. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead.  Yes.  Go ahead.

GOLDENFLAME:  There is a second part to this, too.

And with all due respect to what the prosecutor said, he‘s quite right.  I don‘t suggest that America simply trust us, trust me to do this on my own.  There is a second part that‘s vitally, vitally important.  Use Megan‘s Law.  Know who we are.  And you, the community, must monitor us.  I urge that again and again that, if the community monitors us, that‘s going to encourage us to monitor ourselves. 

I don‘t know or think we can do it all on our own.  I don‘t claim that I‘ve done on it my own.  I give a lot of credit to my community, which monitors me and encourages me. 

ABRAMS:  But you could see why people wouldn‘t want to live near you, right?  I mean...

GOLDENFLAME:  I can understand that. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

GOLDENFLAME:  And I have no quarrel with that.  I‘ve gold the guys, don‘t move into neighborhoods where you‘re not wanted.  That‘s a crazy thing to do.  It isn‘t going to help you to cause the community any concern.  Don‘t do things that cause the community concern. 

FALLON:  Jake, Jake, you know what?  You‘ve said a good thing about Megan‘s Law.  But Megan‘s Law only protects if somebody is going to abuse somebody in that neighborhood. 

As you know, many child molesters go down to, as we used to say in my community, to the railroad tracks.  And that‘s where people say, you know, you caught me for molesting one kid, but I molested 300 kids down the railroad track.  There‘s no way to protect those kids whose parents aren‘t on top of who is on the Megan‘s registration list. 

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you Jake, just to get a—Mr. Goldenflame, to get a sense of exactly sort of—you seem to have come a long way, etcetera.  What did you do?  What were you convicted of? 

GOLDENFLAME:  There are two things here. 

No. 1, I was convicted of molesting my daughter.  What I did, in addition to molesting my daughter, for a number of years, I molested teenage boys, adolescent boys.  That was my attraction.  And it was a compulsion that just kept continuing no matter how much I wanted it to stop. 

ABRAMS:  Hmm.  And you haven‘t—when was the last time you molested a boy? 

GOLDENFLAME:  Twenty years ago. 

ABRAMS:  And it‘s still there?  And you just fight, have to fight it every day? 

GOLDENFLAME:  You know, an example, very simply, I had to go file my income tax report, like everybody else at this time of the year.  I took a bus to go to the service that I use. 

And when I stepped off the bus, not more than three feet away from me was an adolescent boy of exactly the kind that I find attractive.  I almost walked into him as I got off the bus.  And, immediately, that fire wall springs up, because not only do the therapists do a good job, but I remain in an ongoing counseling program and I remain accountable to my neighbors and to my community and to police all the time.

And that encourages me to keep that urge locked up.  Either I give it life or I get life. 

FALLON:  And the thing is...


ABRAMS:  Final word, Bill.  I‘m out of time.  Yes, go ahead.

FALLON:  Dan, you know what? 

Just as Jake said, he can control that urge.  He‘s maybe stronger in knowing that we cannot rely on either therapists who don‘t know what‘s going on or potential convicts to say, I‘ll control that urge.  We must protect the children. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right. 

Jake Goldenflame, Bill Fallon, thank you very much.  Appreciate it. 

Coming up, another medical emergency in court at the Michael Jackson trial.  This just happened.  Someone who saw exactly what happened tells us what is going on in the Jackson trial.  They might as well build a tent outside there for emergency medical help. 

Plus, “American Idol” setting a new standard in the electoral process? 

My “Closing Argument.”



ABRAMS:  Want to very quickly show you a live picture of the U.S.

Supreme Court.  It‘s a little off-center there, but that is the U.S.  Supreme Court.  We‘re monitoring the court to see if there‘s any activity in connection with the Terri Schiavo case.  Their final hope to have that feeding tube reinserted is there. 

All other courts have ruled against them, the district court, the federal courts of appeal, the courts of Florida.  Terri Schiavo has only days left to live, and if anything is going to happen, it‘s going to happen there.  We‘ll bring it to you as soon as it happens.  We‘re keeping an eye out. 

All right, we told you we were going to talk to Michael Jackson‘s former personal magician, Majestic Magnificent.  Somehow, he has magically disappeared, perhaps because of what happened in court today.  That‘s more serious. 

One of Jackson‘s attorneys had to be carried out of the courtroom on a stretcher. 

Joining me now, “Santa Barbara News-Press” reporter Dawn Hobbs was in the courtroom today, watched it happen. 

Dawn, what happened? 


Actually, a prosecution witness was testifying about fingerprint processing.  And, all of a sudden, Brian Oxman slid his chair back from the counsel table, towards where the bailiff sits.  And he was holding his head, looking down.  He asked the bailiff for some water.  She brought some over.  He took a couple sips, put his head back down, and then was wiping sweat from his forehead. 

Well, Michael Jackson turns around, seeing Oxman over to the side with his head down, and is patting him on his shoulder, going, are you OK?  Oxman is going, I‘m OK, I‘m OK.  But then he‘s wiping sweat.  His head is down.  And so Michael Jackson taps Tom Mesereau on the shoulder.  And he‘s like, look, look. 

And so Tom Mesereau signals to the judge.  The judge looks at the clock.  OK, we have two minutes.  Maybe the jury can leave now.  I think we‘re done for the day.  And Michael then gets up and starts taking off Brian Oxman‘s coat, which is a turn of twist of things, with Brian usually taking care of Michael.  And so he takes off Brian Oxman‘s coat, starts undoing his tie.  The bailiffs come up and get him more relaxed in the chair.  They call for an ambulance. 

They get all of the press out of there, of course. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

HOBBS:  And clear the hallway.  The ambulance comes around the back with a fire engine.  They go in.  And what I understand, while they were in there, then they monitored his blood pressure, put him on a gurney, wheeled him out.  He was sitting up when he came out.  And he...

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you.

HOBBS:  He still was very pale.  He was taken to Marion Medical Center, where he‘s being evaluated. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  And if we get any update on his condition, we‘ll let you know. 

But very quickly, about Michael Jackson, he is literally sitting there like taking off Oxman‘s jacket and sort of almost treating him medically? 

HOBBS:  He was.  He was.  Well, not medically, but just trying to help him.  He got up, turned around, took off his coat.

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

HOBBS:  Was taking off the sleeves, pulling it down the back, trying to get him comfortable, started undoing the tie. 

ABRAMS:  I guess Michael‘s back is feeling better, so he‘s able to help out. 

All right, Dawn Hobbs, good to see you.  Thanks again.  Appreciate it. 

HOBBS:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, what America‘s electoral process can learn from “American Idol.”  It‘s my “Closing Argument” coming up. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, who would have thought “American Idol” would be a groundbreaking program, groundbreaking everything when it comes to votes and the electoral process?  All right.  I don‘t know.  It‘s good, though.  I made a good thing about this.  Come back.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument.”

There‘s a major revote scheduled for tonight, 30 million expected to recast ballots in an election that will ultimately elevate one person to a position of enormous influence, the next “American Idol.”  Now, getting a revote, effectively a do-over, no easy feat.  The 11 “American Idol” contestants are getting what many politicians, even presidential candidates, could not. 

Al Gore called for a revote in one Florida county in 2000.  The Republican Party in Washington state wanted one after the most recent governor‘s race.  South Africa asked for one after it lost the chance to host the 2006 World Cup finals. 

All right, let‘s go to the next one.  There we go. 

And actress Valerie Harper, better known as Rhoda, demanded one after she lost her bid for president of the Screen Actors Guild to Melissa Gilbert, better known as Laura Ingalls. 

In those cases, you only had disenfranchised voters, irregularities, possibly even some fraud.  But, tonight, a far more serious and insidious problem to address.  Fox posted the wrong phone numbers to vote for three contestants at the end of Tuesday night‘s program, apparently a problem with graphics.  With an error so grave, one other remedy than to allow the electorate an opportunity to be heard, another chance to vote tonight for your favorite performance?

The decision to stage a recount was swift and decisive, Fox execs announcing their plans within hours.  Could “American Idol” be setting a precedent?  Now, it has happened in other situations, seriously.  The state of North Carolina just held a revote for state agriculture commissioner after a voting machine broke down and 5,000 votes were lost.  The voters in the Ukraine had to storm the country‘s parliament last year in order to get one.  They prevailed. 

So, how was “American Idol” able to enact this Draconian measure without a public cry and hue?  Probably because viewers will actually vote again, choosing their favorite musical performance from the comfort of their own homes.  Actually getting people to the polls is a far thornier issue.  I don‘t watch “American Idol.”  It seems like everyone else does.  One has to wonder, what if, just what if this “American Idol” revote had gone off without a hitch before the 2000 election?  Who knows whether the U.S. Supreme Court might have just looked at everything a little bit differently.  In the words Ryan Seacrest, Abrams out. 

Coming up in 60 seconds, your e-mails.


ABRAMS:  All right, I‘ve had my say.  Now it is time for your rebuttal. 

The tragic story of Terri Schiavo may end at the U.S. Supreme Court now that her parents have lost at every other state and federal court.  They still hope to reinsert her feeding tube.  I have said it is a tough situation for everyone, but that all this last-ditch unconstitutional effort should cease and Terri‘s wish not to live this way should be respected. 

Kim Jennings in New Orleans: “I am appalled by your show tonight.  You usually tend to be on the conservative side.  How could you be so heartless?”

Kim, I don‘t just view this as conservative vs. liberal.  You can argue it‘s religious vs. secular.  And sometimes, conservatives tend to be more religious.  But I don‘t accept the typical political labeling here. 

For example, in Columbia, Maryland, Stephanie Seglin: “I‘m a pro-choice Democrat who believes that what is happening to Terri Schiavo is appalling.  This is a horrible tragedy.”

On the other hand, Rene Strong in Ocala, Florida: “As a Republican, Christian, registered nurse, I applaud the federal judge for his decision.  This is no case for the Congress.  I do not Congress to decide my fate.”

Moving on, in Tucson, Arizona, Sandee Brooke: “Your handling of this incredibly difficult case was excellent.  Thank you for bringing experts on who spoke with clear and honest voices for a change.”

Jack Morgan: “I‘m so sick of hearing how the husband in this case has the final say.  I thought a husband was to stick by his wife no matter what, until death do us part.”

To me, Jack, by sticking by your wife would mean executing her wishes, even if it means that she would not want to be kept alive in this type of situation. 

From White Plains, New York, Mary and Douglas Graham: “Thank you for What you are doing with this case and how you are doing it.  Shame on those using the emotion of the situation to bring mobs of uniformed strangers into their private situation.”

And Chad Parker: “I enjoy watching your show, but find it a little disheartening when you are taking sides with Terri Schiavo‘s circumstances. 

I don‘t know what is right or wrong in this case, but if I were in your

shoes, I wouldn‘t give any insinuation of my personal thoughts.‘

Thanks for the tip, Chad, but I‘m not going to insinuate.  I‘m going to simply tell my viewers exactly how I feel about it, so they can make their own decision knowing my opinion coming into it.  I think it‘s the only way to make an informed decision.

Also last night, in my “Closing Argument,” I asked if we had become desensitized to school shootings, the latest in Minnesota, Red Lake High.  A student killed at least 10 before killing himself.  I said it no only feels as terrifying these days the way it did after Columbine.  I feel like there is almost an expectation that it is going to happen again. 

Nancy in Chicago: “I believe that our human race is becoming desensitized to such horrific events.  It is no longer as shocking as it was when we heard about Columbine for the first time.”

In College Park, Maryland, Ryan Abel: “Why don‘t we care about the Minnesota shootings as much as Columbine?  Simple.  There wasn‘t enough footage of kids running out of a school.  If the same situation played itself out in suburbia in proximity to many local news stations and not an Indian reservation far away from everything, you bet we would be getting extensive coverage of the event.”

Your e-mails, ABRAMSREPORT—one word -- @MSNBC.com.  We go through them at the end of the show. 

“Oh, Pleas.”  What not to do if someone owes you money.  Three teenagers in Fort Myers, Florida, trying to get 15-year-old David Gibbs to pay them back $50 they say he owed.  Gibbs shows up at 17-year-old Joseph Garrett‘s house, can‘t show Garrett the money.  Garrett and two other teens punch Gibbs, allegedly, hold him at knifepoint, force Gibbs to call his father, ordering him to drop off $50, just $50 in ransom money in a planter at the Taco bell. 

Gibbs‘ father calls police.  Look, the arrest was made easier because the teen kidnappers didn‘t even want to go pick up the payoff themselves.  They hired a high-priced duo to pick up the loot.  Their take, $10 of the $50.  Well, as always is the case in these failed crimes, the middle man blew the teens‘ cover, led police to the kidnappers.  The three kidnappers have been arrested.  Gibbs is fine.  You can bully a kid, but trying to extort dad?  “Oh, Pleas.”

That does it for us tonight.  I‘ll be back at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time for a special live hour, as we wait for the next move in the Terri Schiavo case. 

Thanks for watching.  “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” up next.  See you in two hours.


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.


Discussion comments