updated 4/22/2005 2:42:23 PM ET 2005-04-22T18:42:23

Guest:  Susan Filan, Michael Bachner, Jake Goldenflame, N.G. Berrill, Lisa Pinto, Michael O‘Keefe, Andre Lebier, Lenny DePaul

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, sparks flying in the Michael Jackson courtroom. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Jackson lawyer, Tom Mesereau and the accuser‘s mother go head-to-head with the mother hurling accusations at Mesereau as he tries to deliver a verbal knockout, challenging her on everything from lawsuits to leg waxes.  It was ugly. 

And police continue the search for 13-year-old Sarah Lunde.  A big question a convicted sex offender who once dated her mother, we ask, can sex offenders ever really be rehabilitated?  We will ask one. 

Plus, more than three years after fashion writer Christa Worthington was raped and stabbed to death on Cape Cod, police finally make an arrest. 

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, even by Michael Jackson case standards, today was a wild day, as the somewhat bizarre mother of Jackson‘s accuser faced off with Jackson‘s somewhat belligerent attorney, Tom Mesereau.  Jaws dropped when the mother said now I know Neverland is all about booze, pornography and little—and sex with little boys, a statement that Mesereau quickly had stricken from the record, but the jurors heard it and they also heard the mother‘s sassy remark when Mesereau continually asked her if she was telling the truth in a video where she praises Michael Jackson over and over.  She kept telling Mesereau I‘m acting.  Obviously frustrated, she said—and this has to be the quote of the day—“would you call Halle Berry and ask her if she‘s ‘Catwoman‘?  No, because she‘s acting.”

The exchanges between Mesereau and the witness can only be described as heated, one of them prompting the judge to get involved.  Mother says I‘m not a good actress.

Mesereau:  I think you‘re a great actress.

Judge then says to Mesereau, you need to act more professionally.  The judge says to the mother, you‘re partly at fault here too.  You need to just answer the question, you understand?

Mother:  Yes, sir. 

Mesereau and the witness continued sparring.  When asked if she intended to file a lawsuit against Jackson, the mother replied, no, it is not in my nature. 

Mesereau:  Oh, I know.  We‘ll get to the JC Penney case later.  Some of them called her a runaway witness while others said she held her own. 

NBC‘s Mike Taibbi was in court as the drama unfolded.  Mike, I‘m not sure if I can do this justice.  She is talking to the jurors at times; the judge is scolding both of them.  Yikes. 

MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Yes.  You know, this has been a pretty tightly wrapped trial to this point, Dan, with everybody—the judge, the prosecutors, and the defense attorney Tom Mesereau all playing their roles very carefully, and by the book.  This is not a by-the-book witness as you have certainly pointed out. 

There was a second instance, by the way, when the judge admonished several people in the courtroom starting with Mesereau, and there was another one of those interminable exchanges, now talking about the J.C.  Penney‘s legislation, about which we, NBC, reported extensively in the past, where Mesereau got this woman, the accuser‘s mother, to admit that yes, she had in fact lied in sworn depositions in that case in the past.  In other words, perjure herself.  She said she lied...

ABRAMS:  Let‘s be clear Mike, she is admitting to perjury. 

TAIBBI:  Yes.  She admitted that she lied under oath in that deposition when she said that her husband had not beaten her and that they had a good marriage.  Now Mesereau says it‘s because you are willing to lie in order to get money out of J.C. Penney.  And she said no because I was afraid of David.  She has an answer for everything. 

ABRAMS:  All right.

TAIBBI:  And at that point she said, but before I even got a settlement I went to my civil attorney and had them try and cure the perjury by changing my testimony in that case, my deposition testimony.  But they didn‘t do it.  They lied. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

TAIBBI:  They are liars.  Meaning the law firm, and Mesereau says and you‘re not?  And at that point Melville said listen, you want me to shut down this trial for the afternoon?  Let‘s starts taking this seriously....  Act correctly. 

ABRAMS:  She is not admitting that she lied about the allegation she made against a security guard at J.C. Penney, is she? 

TAIBBI:  No, she is not.  But you know Mesereau is going to bring on Mary Holser (ph), who‘s a paralegal in the firm that represented her, who‘s going to say in his case, in his defense case that yes, she, the accuser‘s mother, said to she, Mary Holser (ph)...


TAIBBI:  ... that it was all a lie.  I made it up.  So that‘s going to come later on, but this is what‘s happening now.

ABRAMS:  What are the jurors doing as—I am being—I‘ve been hearing descriptions that literally the mother is turning to the jurors, when being questioned saying oh no, that‘s not true...

TAIBBI:  Yes, you know...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead.  Tell us. 

TAIBBI:  ... body language is everything.  As you know in a courtroom, Dan, the interesting thing, almost phenomenal to me is that, yes, she very clearly turned to the jurors to give her answer every time.  The jurors for the most part weren‘t looking at her.  They would distinctly look away as she looked toward them. 

But when they played that rebuttal video, every eye was glued to the screen.  They were willing to look at her on tape for the fourth time and yet wouldn‘t look her in the eye as she was addressing them directly.  So, which led a lot of legal analysts to assess that she‘s lost this jury completely, they just don‘t believe her.

ABRAMS:  All right, Mike, if you can stick around for a minute.  “My Take”—those who...

TAIBBI:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  ... don‘t admit that this mother is detrimental to the prosecution‘s case are living in, well, Neverland.  I say the only question is how much of a problem will she be. 

Joining me now Connecticut State Prosecutor Susan Filan and criminal defense attorney Michael Bachner, who represents Vinnie Amen, an unindicted co-conspirator who has been talked about repeatedly in court. 

Susan, disaster or not? 

SUSAN FILAN, CONNECTICUT STATE PROSECUTOR:  Not disaster, Dan, but not great.  Unfortunately...

ABRAMS:  When Susan Filan says not great, translation, ladies and gentlemen, disaster.

FILAN:  It‘s not great, Dan.  I mean the part that got me most about Mike‘s report was the body language of the jury.  That‘s what has me most concerned.  I don‘t care so much about their sparring, that‘s what cross-exam is.  They get to test her credibility and they get to tease out certain things.  But the fact that it sounds like she may have indeed lost this jury entirely is what gives me the greatest concern. 

The part about committing perjury, that is not great either.  But you very, very insightfully pointed out that she doesn‘t perjure herself supposedly about the allegations in the lawsuit.  It‘s just about the beating.  And that could play into her whole psychology of this sort of battered woman, her husband beat her, that‘s why she got to be Michael Jackson‘s victim. 

She‘s kind of mixed up, but it doesn‘t mean that what Michael Jackson is accused of doing didn‘t actually happen.  And that‘s how the prosecution is going to have to play her.

ABRAMS:  Michael, but the bottom line is, this still doesn‘t address the molestation.  I mean look, I think that this is going to decimate the conspiracy charge here, which is the most serious charge against Michael Jackson.  But it doesn‘t really address—because they haven‘t provided a link yet to how kooky mom is convincing the rest of the kids to tell these very consistent lies about Michael Jackson. 

MICHAEL BACHNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I agree.  The conspiracy charge is the most important charge and the most significant charge as far as potential punishment for Jackson.  The prosecution is focusing on it.  I query whether they should have ever brought a kidnapping charge at all.  But look, her credibility is seriously at issue here and that sways over to the molestation charges, as well.

And I can tell you that to the extent that the jury is not looking at her when she is looking at them, that‘s a very bad sign for the prosecution.  And what Tom Mesereau has to be careful to do is not to get in the gutter with her.

ABRAMS:  You know, Michael, they‘ve been talking a lot about your client, a lot of things being said about your boy, not so good.  She doesn‘t have a lot of nice things to say about your client.  Let me read some of what we heard today.  This is at one point when she‘s claiming that they‘re effectively being held at this hotel.

Did they tell you why you were there as opposed to going back to Neverland?

Yes, Vinnie had said that the killers had arrived at Neverland, so we weren‘t going to be able to go back.

She goes on to talk about on the way to a doctor‘s appointment there was a urine sample she‘s supposed to be bringing to the doctor of her son that just disappeared and presumably so that they wouldn‘t see he was drinking.

Did you ask Vinnie to explain how it happened?

I asked him what happened.  He didn‘t answer, but afterwards he had commented.

What did he comment to you?

He commented that it must have fallen. 

I mean it goes on and on and all these allegations about Vinnie Amen, your client, effectively telling the mom, you‘re in big trouble.  There are  killers are after you.  You better be careful.  What do you say about all of that? 

BACHNER:  Well regarding the first statement, that‘s just an absolute lie.  Vinnie Amen never made such a statement to the mother.  And frankly speaking, I think her credibility is so seriously—so serious in dispute that I just think that that‘s clear.  Regarding the urine sample, that‘s just blatantly ridiculous.  They‘re on their way to a doctor‘s office, if the urine sample spills, well he‘ll take another urine sample at the doctor‘s office.  This is not something that Vinnie Amen had anything to do with.  The mom apparently must have spilled it herself, it fell out, it was in the backseat with her. 

ABRAMS:  Did he ever use the word “killers”...


ABRAMS:  ... to describe people who were supposedly after the family? 

BACHNER:  Absolutely not. 

ABRAMS:  Never. 

BACHNER:  Never. 

ABRAMS:  Never happened.  All right.  Here is - Susan Filan, this is one of my favorite interchanges between Tom Mesereau, and the woman, all right.

Chris took you for a body wax, correct? 


Who took you for a body wax? 

No one ever. 

Well, you went for a body wax when you were at Neverland, did you not? 


Never did it? 

Never did it. 

His statement is inaccurate.  He keeps continuously saying body wax. 

There‘s no body wax. 

What did you have at the salon in Los Olivos on the day you claim you escaped from Neverland?

A leg wax. 

What is going on here, Susan? 

FILAN:  What is going on is that Mesereau didn‘t consult with his co-counsel because she would have told them, women don‘t get body waxes.  And that‘s something that I think Mesereau was unprepared on, as far as the witness drawing that distinction good for her.  She is not going to let him put words in her mouth, but does that discredit her entirely? 

ABRAMS:  No, not this one.  This one was just more like I can‘t believe what‘s going on. 

FILAN:  It‘s silly and it‘s funny, but maybe this is why the jury is getting lost. 


FILAN:  Maybe it‘s partly Mesereau.

ABRAMS:  Mike, what are the jurors doing—I mean you know they are sitting there debating about a body wax versus a leg wax.  Are the jurors laughing? 

TAIBBI:  Well I think a couple of them were, I think because I only looked very quickly.  There were two female colleagues Dawn Hobbs and Michelle Caruso of the “Daily News” were next to me saying that if you get your brows, your lips, your bikini and your legs done, that is a body wax.  I now know what a body wax is...


TAIBBI:  ... and so does the jury in the Michael Jackson trial. 


TAIBBI:  It was an interesting exchange I must say. 

ABRAMS:  But are the jurors laughing? 

TAIBBI:  Well, there is not a lot of raucous laughter and today was tense for another reason.  you know how some athletes, it‘s said of them, that an opponent is getting in their head like the Red Sox, where Mariana Reveres (ph) head right now.  I think this witness as weird as she‘s been, has gotten into Tom Mesereau‘s head a little bit.  He has not been able to shake her off her primary storyline.  And if there is any chance of rehabilitating her, it is because that‘s now the case.  He‘s got another day at least to go with her...

ABRAMS:  And...

TAIBBI:  ... we‘ll see what happens.

ABRAMS:  And Michael, there is an argument, is there not, that she so sort of twisted herself into this knot, that you really didn‘t need to do a lot of cross-examination, Michael Bachner.

BACHNER:  Well, that is correct.  Her whole demeanor is a woman who I think in a lot of ways comes across as a very assertive and strong woman.  And Tom Mesereau has to be careful not to get into the gutter with her like I had said.  But the question becomes, is this the kind of woman who looks at a jury, yells at a—at Tom Mesereau, stands up on her own, is she is a woman who really would be afraid to tell the police that she‘s kidnapped? 

Is she a woman who would be afraid to act affirmatively?  She is coming across as a fairly strong woman and I think that her credibility is just—I‘m so shocked.  The story is so ridiculous.  There was no kidnapping.  It never should have been brought.  And Sneddon made a very—a tactical error in even bringing that charge. 

FILAN:  But Dan, the other question then is if she is such a kooky nut, is she really the kind of person that could have masterminded this whole story?  Is she somebody that really could have pulled it off? 

ABRAMS:  Right.  Right.

FILAN:  Is she sophisticated enough?

ABRAMS:  That is my concern, as well.  I think that‘s a very—I think that‘s a good point.  Mike Taibbi, you wanted in? 

TAIBBI:  Yes, I think that that‘s one of the parts of the defense is going to be put on is that in the past, both in the J.C. Penney‘s litigation and in the divorce litigation with her ex-husband, the children essentially mirrored stories that she told almost word for word, phrase for phrase, and in the estimation of the psychiatrist in the Penney‘s case...

ABRAMS:  But...


ABRAMS:  ... Mike in this case she‘s not—but Mike in this case she is not saying that she knows anything about sexual abuse. 

TAIBBI:  Correct.  Well she‘s now saying she knows what happened.  Don‘t forget that it‘s booze and pornography and little boys.  She‘s saying she knows that because she believes it.  The kids have told their story.  The question is, could have she have coached them to say these things and could they be saying them believably?  I think we are a long way from finding out how that‘s going to turn out...

ABRAMS:  All right, they also played...


ABRAMS:  ... they played a tape today in court of the woman talking to one...


ABRAMS:  ... of the alleged co-conspirators Frank Tyson and here‘s what the interchange went like. 

Question:  You say to Frank it‘s like we‘re family, you know Frank?  And he says I know.  And you say you know and people don‘t understand that, correct?


And when you said people don‘t understand that, what did you mean?

Well I thought they were honest people and for example, people 50 and over have a tender spot in my heart and so it‘s loving someone without knowing them.  That‘s what I mean.

What is this about, Mike?

TAIBBI:  I think that I have a tender spot in her heart now being over 50 myself, I think.  I don‘t know.  That was one of those things that didn‘t really make any sense to me. 


TAIBBI:  But the point of this is that she is going to stick to her story.  She just is.  And so if you‘re a proponent of the prosecution‘s case and believe the molestation occurred—which by the way I think is the most important part of this case...

ABRAMS:  Right.

TAIBBI:  ... is Michael Jackson a child molester or not?  The conspiracy may or may not fall apart.  Then I think that she‘ll end up being a wash for the prosecution at best...

ABRAMS:  All right.  I got to...


ABRAMS:  ... I got to cut it off.  I got to leave a little extra time at the end of the show for me to go get a body wax. 

TAIBBI:  All right.

ABRAMS:  So Mike Taibbi, Susan Filan, Michael Bachner, thank you very much.  Appreciate it. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, police in Florida are searching for beer cans in the Sarah Lunde case, the 13-year-old Florida girl who disappeared over the weekend. 

Plus, a three-year-old murder mystery in Cape Cod apparently solved.  An arrest has been made for the murder of a fashion writer and single mom Christa Worthington found stabbed to death in her home.  Her young daughter unharmed sitting next to her in a pool of blood. 

And it looks like a scene from the TV show “Cops”, it‘s actually “Operation FALCON”, an enormous bust of 10,000 wanted fugitives, 10,000 Nationwide under arrest.  We‘ll take you on the frontlines and talk to the marshals who busted some of these criminals. 



ABRAMS:  The search continues, 13-year-old Sarah Lunde missing from her Florida since early Sunday morning.  Police are telling searchers to look for beer bottles, specifically Budweiser or Bud Light.  Why?  Because convicted sex offender David Onstott, a former boyfriend of Sarah‘s mother, was at the Lunde home early Sunday morning and apparently left with a Budweiser or Bud Light beer bottle. 

Police haven‘t named any suspects yet.  They are questioning Onstott. 

He was wanted on a Michigan arrest warrant for driving under the influence.  He was arrested in Florida on Tuesday, charged with aggravated assault after threatening someone with a screwdriver.  And just last month, remember John Couey, convicted sex offender, admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting, killing Jessica Lunsford?  During a 1991 police interview, he even asked for help saying prison wouldn‘t help stop him from reoffending. 

He said he needed therapy.  The question—can sex offenders ever really be rehabilitated?  “My Take”—the laws are increasingly recognizing that sex offenders more than other criminals are repeat offenders.  And that tells me it‘s not something you can just change easily.  I believe most sex offenders, particularly child sex offenders, are at grave risk of repeating it, and I‘m not so sure that there is a whole lot that can be done about that in many cases. 

Joining me now is Jake Goldenflame, a convicted sex offender, and author of “Overcoming Sexual Terrorism: How to Protect Your Children From Sexual Predators”, psychologist N.G. Berrill, and former prosecutor, Lisa Pinto. 

All right, Jake, let me start with you.  Let‘s be clear.  I mean you are someone who has written a book all about how kids—how parents can keep their kids away from people like you, as you refer to it.  But let‘s be clear.  You are still attracted to children, right? 

JAKE GOLDENFLAME, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER:  The urge will come up the rest of my life.  That can‘t be cured.  What can be done is it can be managed and controlled.  That is what the therapy does.  It allows us to put a firewall in place so the urge doesn‘t become a plan that leads to a crime. 



ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Let me just ask N.G.  N.G., do you agree with that?  I mean that they—he is basically saying that he can‘t be cured, but it can be managed. 

N.G. BERRILL, PSYCHOLOGIST:  Right.  I mean from a clinical point of view, I guess I would agree.  I think that if certain mechanisms are put into place, you have the right therapies going on, perhaps medicines...

ABRAMS:  But no cure. 

BERRILL:  No cure. 

ABRAMS:  They‘re always—so it‘s once a sex offender, you‘re always

·         particularly a child sex offender, but I would think maybe sex offenders in general, once you do it, you‘re probably going to have that urge for life? 

BERRILL:  Not once you do it.  It‘s a little bit more complex than that.  There are people who might perform a pedophilic act one time and perhaps aren‘t even pedophiles.  But let‘s say, for example, someone is diagnosed as indeed a pedophile and for the remainder of their adult life they have got to be managed and they have to be involved in treatment and perhaps even be monitored very closely by probation, as well. 

ABRAMS:  Boy, Lisa Pinto, this is not a very encouraging analysis that I‘m hearing. 

LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  No, this is why Megan‘s Law needs more teeth, Dan.  Mr. Goldenflame is a shining example of someone who has responded well to treatment, who is apparently sorbet, together, managing his life.  That‘s not the majority of cases.  For example, the Department of Justice study recently, 2003, showed that out of a population of 9,600 sex offenders, 339 were not just rearrested but reconvicted for sex crimes.  That‘s 350 unnecessary victims of these crimes.  We need to register these people. 


PINTO:  We need to put their...

ABRAMS:  Jake, go ahead. 

GOLDENFLAME:  I just wanted to point out that I saw a statistic just this morning from the U.S. Department of Justice tracking 1994 releases from prisons and they showed 3.3 percent of child molesters...

ABRAMS:  All right...

GOLDENFLAME:  ... were rearrested in three years...

ABRAMS:  All right, look...


ABRAMS:  Look, I‘ve got another statistic here...


ABRAMS:  ... number four, I mean 5.3 percent of the people who are rearrested in three years are sex offenders as it compared to 1.3 of the regular. 

PINTO:  That‘s still a lot of kids, Dan...

ABRAMS:  No, no, look...

PINTO:  That‘s a lot of kids getting hurt. 

ABRAMS:  No, no, but more importantly it means sex offenders are far more likely to be recidivist criminals...


ABRAMS:  So Jake, let me ask—you are brethren out there, right...


ABRAMS:  ... the other sex offenders out there...


ABRAMS:  ... I mean what Lisa is saying is basically, you know, we need to be doing a lot more to keep our eye on people like you. 

GOLDENFLAME:  I agree.  And I agree also that Megan‘s Law has to have additional teeth put into it.  There are several things that every state Web site should have that it still doesn‘t have to make it user friendly to people who want to use it. 

PINTO:  But...

ABRAMS:  Go ahead.

PINTO:  ... Mr. Goldenflame, the Internet is not enough.  If you take an indigent community, for example, where people don‘t have access to computers, maybe some of them are illegal aliens; they‘re not going to go to their local precinct and look at the photos.  Their kids are at risk.  That‘s why sex offenders in those communities should have signs on their doors...

ABRAMS:  All right, but Jake, I don‘t want to get into policy as much. 

I want to...


ABRAMS:  ... stick more to the sort of the clinical aspect of this...

PINTO:  Right.


ABRAMS:  ... of whether it can be cured.  And Jake, look, even a guy like you, right...


ABRAMS:  You‘re on TV, you wrote a book...


ABRAMS:  ... you talk about it all the time.  You talk about yourself...


ABRAMS:  ... and what you do, et cetera...


ABRAMS:  ... but you know and I know you have been asked this question before, but shouldn‘t we all still be concerned?  I don‘t mean just about you.  But I mean you and others...


ABRAMS:  ... even those...


ABRAMS:  ... who are managing it. 


ABRAMS:  Even those who are...


ABRAMS:  ... taking care that we have to look at that and say, gosh, he‘s still talking about being attracted to little boys on a bus. 

GOLDENFLAME:  I think that‘s important.  I think that people need to understand that the best they can do is keep their eyes on us because it‘s their willingness to monitor us that encourages us to monitor ourselves. 


ABRAMS:  N.G., go ahead...

BERRILL:  Yes I want—well you know, in our practice we have a forensic practice with a large sex offender program.  We work with the Justice Department and have just hundreds of guys in the practice.  We work collaboratively with law enforcement.  People are afraid of sex offenders.  People bemoan the fact that kids are victimized repeatedly...


BERRILL:  ... by the same guys. 


BERRILL:  ... but we don‘t devote the funds or the resources...


BERRILL:  ... to making these programs possible around the country. 


ABRAMS:  Well I think the answer to that is that most people just think they‘d rather just have them serve longer prison terms and spend the money...


BERRILL:  Well you know...

ABRAMS:  ... to rehabilitate. 


ABRAMS:  I mean you know that is the answer...


BERRILL:  I know that‘s what people would say, but...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Yes.

PINTO:  But to me, that‘s not a problem, Dan, if that protects innocent children. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

PINTO:  I mean in the Jessica Lunsford case the guy was living across the street. 

ABRAMS:  What about castration, Jake?  What do you think of that?

GOLDENFLAME:  That‘s been tried.  It was tried in Europe in the 1960‘s, and they found that while it does indeed reduce the ability for a person to go out and commit sex crimes, the anger is still in them that drove them to that and they commit other kinds of crimes.  It didn‘t work successfully there and they scrapped it for that reason. 

ABRAMS:  But that still seems to me to be at least something, I mean to say that they won‘t have the urge to commit sex offenses...

GOLDENFLAME:  Well so they—no they don‘t rape a woman but they beat her up.  I don‘t know that we have gone very far.  It‘s a far better thing I think to go ahead and see, can we go ahead and place that urge under control.  Can we teach the guy aversive reconditioning so that every time he gets the urge he is stopped by something negative that comes up in him, that holds him back from letting that urge become a plan, before it becomes an act. 

It can be done.  The figures are more promising that I‘m getting.  I‘m getting them out of Canada from the Solicitor General‘s Office.  Those figures show that nine out of 10 of us who complete treatment do not reoffend for at least the first five years, but later on 10 or 15 years down the line that curve starts going up again, unless we stay in maintenance and so I‘m beginning to advocate...


GOLDENFLAME:  ... lifetime parole for all of us. 

PINTO:  Right...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

PINTO:  ... and electronic bracelets...


PINTO:  ... and supervision by parole. 

ABRAMS:  Are you worried—Jake, are you worried that—I mean you know you talk about it as a fight every day.  You know are you worried?  I mean you molested your daughter.  You molested young boys. 

GOLDENFLAME:  No.  No, I would not call it worry.  I would say I‘m feeling more responsible than I‘ve ever felt before, not just to myself...


GOLDENFLAME:  ... but to the people who have trusted me and are with me, to be loyal for their sake, too.  I have got a lot of former victims who are my advisors.  I go to them on a lot of issues.  They encourage my recovery.  I owe them. 


GOLDENFLAME:  The last thing I‘d ever want to do is hurt them by failing again, so it‘s become an emotional commitment...

ABRAMS:  You have any other...

GOLDENFLAME:  ... more than a worry. 

ABRAMS:  Are there other offenders that you go to and you say hey, you know Joe, I saw Johnny on the bus today and you know it kind of made me feel weird? 

GOLDENFLAME:  Well I‘m working right now with one young man who contacted me by e-mail.  He is a so-called level one sex offender in another state, which normally they are calling that as someone not as likely to reoffend.  And he‘s e-mailing me and saying that he thinks that because of that lower status it would be appropriate for him to get involved talking to young boys, 11-17 to warn them about the dangers of pornography.  And I said no, it‘s not appropriate. 


GOLDENFLAME:  Forget that business about thinking you‘re a lesser offender. 

ABRAMS:  All right.

GOLDENFLAME:  You don‘t get near children.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I got to take --  all right, Jake Goldenflame, N.G.

Berrill, Lisa Pinto, thanks a lot. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, the murder was inspiration for a best-selling book, but after three years now, police in the seaside resort of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, finally make an arrest in the rape and murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington.  We‘ll talk with the D.A. 

And the government captures over 10,000 wanted fugitives, in what is called the largest bust in history.  What was it like to be on the frontline busting down the doors?  We will ask two of the U.S. marshals involved in just that.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a murder mystery on Cape Cod that inspired a best-selling book, apparently solved after more than three years.  What took so long?  We will talk to the D.A. in the case.  First the headlines. 


ABRAMS:  It was a brutal murder in a small Cape Cod town.  Police now say they have got it solved with DNA evidence that took a year to analyze.  Apparently thanks to a backlog at the Massachusetts police lab.  The crime made headlines.  Freelance fashion writer Christa Worthington raped and murdered in January 2002.  Her 2-year-old daughter, Ava, found days later lying next to her streaked with her mother‘s blood.  Investigators said the killer took nothing from the house, and they had trouble establishing a motive. 

Ex-boyfriends were questioned  several times over the years.  They asked men from the area to voluntarily supply DNA samples.  And hard as it is to believe, they say the killer did just that.  Christopher McCowen was a garbage collector who regularly came by Worthington‘s home to collect her trash.  He is now facing charges including first-degree murder, aggravate rape and armed assault. 

Michael O‘Keefe is the D.A. from Massachusetts Cape Cod and Islands and he announced the arrest today.  He joins us now by phone.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  We appreciate it. 

MICHAEL O‘KEEFE, CAPE AND ISLANDS MA D.A. (via phone):  My pleasure Dan.

ABRAMS:  So how confident are you that he is the one? 

O‘KEEFE:  Well, Dan, we‘re convinced based on the entirety of the evidence that he‘s the perpetrator of this particular crime. 

ABRAMS:  And there is no indication that he had any relationship with her that could have made his DNA found at the scene there have gotten there in some sort of consensual sex. 

O‘KEEFE:  None whatsoever. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  All right.  Now, the big question, you know that everyone is asking, you‘ve been asked all day, is about what took so long.  Let me lay out the timeline just so my viewers understand this. 

January 2002, she is found murdered in her home.  April 2002, police ask possible suspects, including McCowen to voluntarily contribute DNA samples.  March 2004, investigators collected a DNA sample from him.  January 2005, police asked local men to donate more DNA samples in an effort to find the killer.  And then just now April 2005, his DNA matched to semen recovered from Worthington.  Why a year later? 

O‘KEEFE:  Well, the protocol that we had worked out with our under resourced laboratory here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I hasten to add, Dan, that it‘s a lab that produces excellent work for the district attorneys and police throughout the state.  However, it lacks capacity sufficient to, you know, do the kind of work in as timely a fashion as we would like and we are working on that problem. 

But to get back to this particular case, we had worked out a protocol with the lab to submit bundles of either five or 10 different samples at a time, and that they would try and work those into their trying to handle the normal flow of cases that come in every week and every month to the crime lab. 

ABRAMS:  But I would think that they would focus first on the possible suspects before that sort of dragnet of people went out.  They would have said, all right, these are the people that we thought, oh, you know, this person had access.  The mail carrier, this person, I would think that those would have been pretty easy to sort of put to the front, no? 

O‘KEEFE:  Well, they—it‘s not that they weren‘t put to the front.  They were at the front.  They were in a set of submissions that went in, in July of ‘04, and then were—because of the backlog in the lab, begun to be worked on in January of ‘05, and they made the hit just a week ago yesterday.  And that is illustrative, Dan, of the nature of the backlog there.  So these people were very much in the forefront. 

ABRAMS:  Did you know how bad the backlog was?  I mean because that‘s stunning to me when you talk about that kind of backlog.  Did you have any idea that it was this kind of backlog...

O‘KEEFE:  We have been working—Dan I‘ve been a prosecutor in this state for 20-odd years and we‘ve been working with this issue for quite a while.  And it‘s a difficult issue to have to deal with.  But the district attorneys around the state are working very closely and have been for several years, with the Executive Office of Public Safety is—which has jurisdiction over the crime lab, as well as the governor and the Senate president and the legislative leadership and...


O‘KEEFE:  ... steps have been taken of some significance over the last several years to beef up the laboratory and we are continuing to do that.  But this case and it‘s often the case...


O‘KEEFE:  ... that it takes a tragedy like this to really focus attention...


O‘KEEFE:  ... and that‘s what has happened in this state.  And...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.

O‘KEEFE:  ... I just—you know, hope that this case serves as a kind of final wakeup...


O‘KEEFE:  ... call that we really pay attention. 

ABRAMS:  Well I‘ll tell you, anyone who doesn‘t view this as a wakeup call when you‘re talking about one year later, whoever is to blame for that I think, be it funding or whatever, I think they have got to deal with it and I, you know, we‘ll see.  Michael O‘Keefe, thank you very much for coming on the program.

O‘KEEFE:  You‘re very welcome Dan.

ABRAMS:  Appreciate it.

Coming up, it looks like a scene out of the show “Cops”.  It‘s real, it‘s real big.  It‘s “Operation FALCON”, 10,000 wanted fugitives now under arrest.  We‘ll talk to U.S. marshals who were part of it. 

Plus, a judge in the Terri Schiavo case rules that records of alleged abuse should be released, so why aren‘t supporters of Terri‘s parents pleased?  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, law enforcement authorities across the nation track down and arrest 10,00 fugitives in a week.  Two of the marshals making the arrest are here.



ABRAMS:  It‘s the largest coordinated crackdown by federal, state and local law enforcement in history.  Just one week, more than 10,000 fugitives arrested for murder, rape, child abuse, other crimes, result of a massive push by the U.S. Marshals Service.  We‘re going to talk to two marshals who were involved in Operation FALCON in a moment, but first NBC‘s Pete Williams with more on why this dragnet happened.



PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  From California...



WILLIAMS:  ... to New Jersey...


WILLIAMS:  ... nearly 10,500 local, state and federal fugitives all arrested in just one week.  That‘s eight times the usual weekly number. 

ALBERTO GONZALES, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  We found that most of these fugitives were not first-time offenders.  More than 70 percent had prior arrest records for crimes of violence. 

WILLIAMS:  By far the largest number arrested were wanted for drug crimes, but “Operation FALCON” picked up 162 wanted for murder, 553 for rape and sexual assault, and 68 for kidnapping.  But why now?  While federal marshals arrest hundreds of fugitives every week, they wanted to see how much further they could go. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  These individuals have been hijacking a bunch of taxis around here. 

WILLIAMS:  By joining with police in all 50 states they multiplied the number of badges on the street and pushed officers to make arrests around the clock.  Joint raids have been conducted before regionally, but not nationwide.  The marshals wanted to prove to Congress that they could do it if given more money. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don‘t lie to me.


WILLIAMS:  “Operation FALCON” cost over $900,000, one reason officials say it cannot happen every day and they say it takes thorough planning because the people they hunt down can be dangerous. 

WAYNE WARREN, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL:  When that fear sets in and they know that they are about to go away, a lot of them panic, they don‘t think, so they‘re going to do everything and anything they can to get away. 

WILLIAMS:  Even so, Ben Reyna, director of the Marshals Service, says he‘d like to push for more of these all-out roundups. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We know we can do it now.  And we hope that you know, we can do it as often as possible. 

WILLIAMS:  That‘s assuming Congress also finds it successful and keeps the money coming. 

Pete Williams, NBC News, Washington. 


ABRAMS:  Joining me now two marshals who were involved in the week-long dragnet, Andre Lebier, chief inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service and Lenny DePaul, supervisor inspector with the U.S. Marshals Task Force.  Gentlemen, thanks a lot for coming in. 


ABRAMS:  Are you surprised by how incredibly successful -- 10,00 fugitives in a week? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We are surprised, yes. 

ABRAMS:  Even you were surprised?

ANDRE LEBIER, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE:  Yes, on the numbers, but we certainly had faith in that they—we would be very productive. 

ABRAMS:  Because it was the Marshals Service that was pushing for this, right?  They were saying look, let‘s get this done.  Let‘s get everyone together and make this happen and even you were saying, I can‘t believe how well it worked. 

LEBIER:  Yes.  I agree with that, yes.  It‘s an intense operation.  It‘s a monster operation, actually going after a lot of monsters.  And we were very surprised by the numbers. 

ABRAMS:  You were on the frontlines there.  What—you‘re knocking down doors.  What was happening? 

LENNY DEPAUL, U.S. MARSHALS TASK FORCE:  Knocking down doors every morning pretty much.  We were starting very early, putting in 20-hour days, worked through the weekend, and it was, as Andre said, a very intense week for us. 

ABRAMS:  Any tip-offs?  Was there any concern that people were going to start calling their buddies and saying, hey, there is something going down here?  Suddenly, you know, Joe up the street and Bill down the block are getting arrested.

DEPAUL:  There is always a concern of that, but we just hope that the word does not get out and it did not, as far as I‘m aware of, in this operation.  We did, you know, again we worked plenty of hours, and it was a joint effort, federally, you know with our federal, state and local partners. 

ABRAMS:  How do you decide who goes after who?  I mean you know, the worst of the worst gets somebody or it‘s just jurisdiction questions? 

LEBIER:  No.  Our motto is we have the best of the best that go after the worst of the worst.  And you know, obviously you start with the most violent people—the murders, the rapists, people who shoot people, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) go to the top of the list. 

ABRAMS:  Why does it take—I mean why does it take an effort like this to go after those people? 

LEBIER:  It doesn‘t.  This was a special effort.  As far as we are concerned, status quo is not acceptable.  And we are constantly coming up with innovative ways, techniques, to go after the bad guys.  The Marshals Service does this day in and day out. 

ABRAMS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and Lenny, so this is sort of for you, I mean you‘re looking at—we‘re all looking at the macro picture.  For you it‘s business as usual. 

DEPAUL:  Basically it is.  Yes, I‘m assigned currently to a—to the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force in New York, so it‘s an everyday thing for myself. 

ABRAMS:  Is there a lot of—as someone who chases fugitives, is there a lot of like literally running after them or is it more strategy and sort of tips and—I mean I would assume they are not that many cases where you‘re literally sort of right on someone‘s tail.  It involves a lot of strategic. 

DEPAUL:  It does.  I mean as man hunters, if you will, it is a fugitive investigation that—putting everything together, and this concept of the federal, state and local investigators all working together, made life a little easier for us in tracking down these guys and girls. 

LEBIER:  It‘s a specialty.  It‘s no different than the specialists, as a homicide detective...


LEBIER:  ... and narcotic officer, a vice officer.  It‘s a specialty and there are certain techniques that you do (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ABRAMS:  You ever bump into Duane “The Dog” bounty hunter?

DEPAUL:  I saw him once on television. 


ABRAMS:  Gentlemen, congratulations on a job well done... 

DEPAUL:  Thank you.

LEBIER:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  ... incredible success, thank you very much for taking the time to come on the program. 

Coming up, controversial ruling in the Terri Schiavo case, what you would think should be a legal win for those supporting Terri‘s parents, but I‘m not so sure they‘re going to be pleased.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—yesterday‘s ruling in connection with the Terri Schiavo case.  Judge George Greer ordered the documents about alleged abuse of Terri should be made public.  So now nine confidential reports summarizing 89 complaints between 2001 and 2004 will be released by the Department of Children and Family or DCF.  You‘d think that those who were attacking her husband throughout the case accusing him of abusing Terri would be chomping at the bit. 

That the governor tried everything to thwart her husband, and the DCF that appeared eager to do the governor‘s dirty work by trying to intervene near the end of the case would eagerly await the day the world could learn about all the horrible things her husband did.  Of course that‘s not what‘s happening.  DCF opposed the release of the documents and the hard-core critics of her husband weren‘t calling for the release.  Why?  Because DCF found the allegations to be unfounded and Judge Greer, who has seen the documents, ruled that—quote—“public access to the abuse reports will shed light on the investigation.”

Illumination those who mercilessly attacked her husband probably don‘t want to see because it won‘t support their case.  Those opposing her husband used her medical diagnosis and medical records to try to prove the doctors were wrong.  They can‘t now suddenly claim that all these records of complaints must be kept private because it might reveal information about her medical condition.  Any claim of that sort was waived long ago.

In essence, there‘s nothing in those documents that will have any impact on Terri‘s privacy rights.  Now the order doesn‘t cover 30-plus allegations that were called in just this past February as the case heated up.  Those range from not providing her with a lawyer to failing to provide proper guardianship, mostly issues that were resolved and are at this point moved.

The only remaining relevant questions are was Terri abused and what was her brain function at the time of her death.  I‘m afraid that those who fought her husband‘s right to carry out Terri‘s wish are not going to be happy with the answers to those questions.

Coming up, your e-mails on my interview with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark who is now representing Saddam Hussein. 


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Lots of you writing in about my exclusive interview with Ramsey Clark, the former attorney general under Lyndon Johnson who is now one of Saddam Hussein‘s lawyers. 

Frank Gravante from California writes, “What a great interview with Ramsey Clark.  You just set the standard for interviews that calmly and deftly reveal hidden agendas.  At one point, the look on Mr. Clark‘s face was like someone who had been gut punched with his own hypocrisy.”

From Louisiana, Brian Stoltz, “Thanks for the interview with Ramsey Clark.  Mr. Clark is a true patriotic American.  I listened to his comments with a sigh of relief that there may be hope for a fair and just America yet.”

In Virginia, Gayle Sanders, “It‘s important that someone of skill and integrity take on this unpopular job.  Ramsey Clark has my very deepest respect.  You were uncharacteristically subjective.”

Steve Hughes, “I would have expected Gloria Allred to have stuck her nose in or perhaps Jesse Jackson or a couple of Gloria‘s clones, but not Mr. Clark.”

From Jeannine Yeamans in Virginia, “I initially thought you were playing devil‘s advocate.  As the conversation progressed, so did my shock when I realized that you in fact appeared to be in abundant need of the very basic law lesson provided to you by Mr. Clark regarding entitlement to equal representation.”

Jess Woodward from North Carolina, “Kudos on a great interview with Ramsey Clark.  You really put the screws to him asking the tough questions I wanted to hear the answers to, and you did it so gracefully.  He‘s representing Saddam to be sure he gets a fair trial and his civil rights are protected.  Give me a break.”

From New York, Michael Turback, “Thanks for a great interview with Ramsey Clark.  While many are disgusted by the idea of a former attorney general defending Saddam Hussein, your exchange made it clear that Clark is motivated by a deep sense of social justice.”

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

“OH PLEAs!”—a robbery is not exactly the sort of thing you joke about, right?  Twenty-two-year-old Chad Karen (ph) allegedly entered a 24-hour diner through the rear door wearing a hooded sweatshirt, a handkerchief over his face, and carrying what appeared to be a gun.  He announced, it‘s a robbery.  But a female employee recognized Karen (ph) and called him by his first name—hey Chad (ph).  He told the woman to relax as he removed his handkerchief and hood declaring hey, I‘m only kidding.  It‘s a toy gun.  He sat down and chatted up the employee. 

After the nervous laughter subsided, none of the employees decided to call the police until the restaurant operators found it wasn‘t just their chain that had had been yanked, but the diner‘s phone lines as well.  The police arrested him and charged him with attempted robbery.  A far more serious Karen (ph) told authorities it was just a joke.  But reportedly, he couldn‘t produce the toy gun to back up his story.  I guess he hadn‘t heard that silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.

That does it for us tonight.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  Have a great weekend.  I will see you on Monday.


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