Guest: Edward Nixon, Candice DeLong, Mark Yoder, Frances Ellen Byrd, Steve Clark, Lindsey Martin, Jonna Spilbor, Anne Bremner, Mary Fulginiti
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, lost in paradise, as a desperate search for an American high school senior named Natalee Holloway ramps up. The 18-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama, vanished on her high school trip in the Caribbean island of Aruba.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
It should have been a dream vacation, celebrating her graduation from high school, but Natalee Holloway is missing, and now her parents and the FBI are desperately searching for the young girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to find her. We are going to find her. We just haven‘t found her yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The latest from her family, as they search for a beautiful teen lost in paradise.
Final words at the Jackson trial, as both sides deliver their closing arguments. The prosecution paints the portrait of a monster, while the defense says Michael Jackson is just a man who loves children. We will have all the details on what the jury heard and see who is ahead, as the jury prepares to decide the fate of Michael Jackson.
Then, he is Richard Nixon‘s only living brother. Ed Nixon is in
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about the big news that Deep Throat was a high official in the FBI. That‘s our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive tonight.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Good evening.
Now, in a few minutes, I am going to be talking about the search for Natalee Holloway. She‘s, of course, a high school student who has been missing since the early hours of Monday morning on the island of Aruba.
But, first, a dramatic day in the Michael Jackson trial, as both sides delivered stinging closing arguments.
With us now live from Santa Maria, California, is MSNBC‘s Lisa Daniels, who was in the courtroom.
Lisa, I‘ll tell you what, a lot of fireworks erupting inside there.
Tell us what it was like.
LISA DANIELS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: That‘s exactly right, Joe. Good evening to you.
It was very intense inside the courtroom. I would say that everyone was very intense, except perhaps for Michael Jackson. I got to tell you, Joe, he just seemed out of it. He seemed very, very weak, very shaky, very frail. I think the gravity of what he is facing really hit home today. Usually, he talks to his defense attorney, Tom Mesereau, asks him some questions, leans over. Today, nothing. He just looked straight ahead.
As for the jurors, very hard, Joe, to read their faces. You just couldn‘t tell. Normally, as an attorney, you look at them. Usually, they give a nod, maybe a wink. Maybe they are—they are shaking their heads. I read nothing. They had on their poker faces. Very hard to tell. Let‘s run through both sides, tell you what happened today.
As for the prosecution, Ron Zonen, stepping in for Tom Sneddon. He really went after two targets, of course, Michael Jackson. That wasn‘t a surprise, but he also went after Jackson‘s defense attorney, Tom Mesereau. He said Mesereau didn‘t deliver what he promised. He broke his contract with the jurors. And he portrayed Michael Jackson as a sleazy guy, a guy that likes alcohol and likes young boys, likes grooming them.
And I think Ron Zonen did a great job of really reiterating the pattern, showing that, over and over, Michael Jackson lured these boys in and then really molested them. As for the defense, Tom Mesereau, he got off to a shaky start, couldn‘t get his computer to work, but then he really honed in on his case, slamming the accuser‘s family, calling them a bunch of liars. So, it really was an intense day, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: What was your—what was your take on the two sides? Anybody—I can—because, you know what? I actually was going to ask you, because anybody that‘s ever been in the court, obviously, you‘re always sort of peering over to the jury, trying to gain any insight you can gain from them.
It‘s remarkable, though, that you are saying they are all sitting there stone-faced. Did you come away with any conclusions? Did other people that you were in the courtroom with come away with any conclusions on whether the defense or the prosecution got the better of the day?
DANIELS: Well, it‘s just really hard to tell. When you listen to all the legal analysts, nothing against them, but after the prosecution finishes, they are saying, oh, that was a great performance. After Tom Mesereau gets up there, oh, that was equally great performance. And I think they are both right.
I think there were solid jobs from both. I think they had very different styles. I think Zonen is very precise, very thorough. He is holding his glasses, Joe, in one hand. He looked more like a college professor with a very tight case. Mesereau, on the other hand, is a 6‘5“ big guy. He‘s more emotional, perhaps a little bit more charismatic. It‘s too hard to tell. The jurors‘ faces told us nothing.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Lisa Daniels, thanks so much.
SCARBOROUGH: And, as you say, looks like the gravity of the situation is really bearing down on Michael Jackson. It‘s going to be a very interesting next few days.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks for being with us, Lisa. Great work.
DANIELS: No problem, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let‘s—all right. Now, let‘s bring in our legal panel.
We have defense attorney Anne Bremner. She also in the Jackson courthouse today. Also, former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti, and also defense attorney Jonna Spilbor.
Thank you all so much for being with us.
Let‘s start with you, Anne. You were inside the courtroom. What did you see in there? Which side got the better of it?
ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Zonen, the prosecutor, was like an Atticus Finch or like a Jimmy Stewart, and he was brilliant, like a rhapsody of words, very visual.
He had collages of Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson in the middle with all of his victims, who all looked the same. And then he had a collage of Michael Jackson with him dangling a baby over the side, remember, of the balcony, and with this accuser with his—you know, his head on Michael Jackson‘s shoulder in this documentary, and then a picture of him with his children with veils on at a zoo, very visual; 46-year-old men don‘t have sleepovers.
Neverland is a pedophile‘s paradise and 365 nights sleeping just with one young man. Very compelling. I think he definitely had the upper hand. I am a legal analyst. I don‘t have anything against them, anyway, including myself, but I think he took the day.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Jackson going to jail?
BREMNER: I think he is. And it‘s a sad thing, but I think he is.
SCARBOROUGH: I have heard a lot of people say that today.
BREMNER: It‘s the right—it‘s the right thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Sort of the chattering classes, the legal chattering classes that I have been talking through throughout the day came up with the same conclusion that you did.
SCARBOROUGH: Somebody called this afternoon and said to him—I said, how is it going out there? They said, Jackson is going to jail.
Mary, let me ask you, do you think the prosecution has proven its case? Is Michael Jackson headed for jail?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, I think the prosecution has done a phenomenal job here. And they did just what they needed to do with their closing argument.
They brought this case back to what it‘s about, the exploitation and abuse of a 13-year-old cancer-stricken little boy. And they hammered home the fact that Michael Jackson is a pedophile and that his actions are not only perverted, inappropriate, but illegal. And that‘s exactly what they needed to do, bring this case back to Michael Jackson and get it off the mother, because it isn‘t about the mother. It is about Michael Jackson and this 13-year-old boy, who is now 15.
So, I think they did phenomenon job. And he focused on the evidence and the pieces of evidence that all point in one direction, and that is to Michael Jackson abusing and molesting this young boy.
SCARBOROUGH: Jonna, you are the defense attorney. It looks like Michael Jackson needs a defense attorney tonight. Tell me, why didn‘t Mesereau do his job?
JONNA SPILBOR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mesereau did his job a long time before today‘s closing arguments, Joe.
I think literally perhaps the reason why the jurors were stone-faced is because the case was decided, in my opinion, when the accuser‘s mother left the stand and her credibility was completely shot. I think the jurors made up their mind then and there. And that‘s probably why they have no reaction. He is doing a great job. And I am in the minority. I disagree. I think Michael Jackson is going to be acquitted across the board.
SCARBOROUGH: Anne, let me ask you that. Let me follow up on that question. Obviously, we have all seen cases before where a jury makes up their mind very early.
SCARBOROUGH: Sometimes even in opening arguments. Could that be the
case? Could you be looking, could other people looking at this wonderful
Atticus Finch-type character and what he is doing in the final quarter of the game, but this thing was decided in the first half?
BREMNER: I am never wrong, Joe, but...
BREMNER: There‘s a study that says that most jurors do make their up
· minds up in opening statement. It‘s an unsubstantiated study, but there is one out there.
The jury has been stone-faced throughout because they know it‘s a high-profile case. They don‘t ever betray their emotions. This is the way they‘ve been from the beginning. It‘s the way they are at the end. I think closings are very important. This has been a cliffhanger case in a lot of ways, you know, misfires in the twilight zone of this case with witnesses for both sides.
But they are listening to this closing argument. And it is very, very important in the Michael Jackson case because of the way that it‘s basically played out through the evidence.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Mary, so now the jury gets the case tomorrow.
They start deliberating. What do we look for?
FULGINITI: Well, you know, notes, right?
FULGINITI: I think this jury is going to be very methodical. They are going to go through the evidence. I mean, they know the stakes and what they are here.
And juries are usually very responsible. And they will look through the evidence and examine it and evaluate it. Right off the bat, they will probably pick a foreperson who will help guide them. And that‘s usually very telling. You know, whoever the foreperson is can really guide the jury one way or the other.
So, I think they are just going to start with the process, and then we
will see if they have any notes, because the notes are sometimes telling
about, you know, additional testimony that they might want read and
repeated to them on—you know, what they are focusing on and what their -
· you know, what the problem areas may or may not be.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Jonna, if the jury comes back quickly, what does that mean?
SPILBOR: Sometimes, you always predict, if a jury comes back quickly, you think it‘s a defense verdict, but you really can‘t tell, although I do think this jury will come back quickly.
And here‘s—the one thing I can‘t emphasize enough about this prosecution, I mean, we know Michael Jackson is kind of an unusual character, but this prosecution was unusual, too, because, instead of the prosecution starting with a set of facts and, from there, cropping out theories, they started with the theory. And that is, Michael Jackson is a child molester.
Then they tried to concoct facts, find facts to prove their theory, and it just didn‘t work. That‘s not justice. It‘s backwards. And they did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. We will see if you are right.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much for being with us.
Anne Bremner, greatly appreciate it.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary Fulginiti and Jonna, greatly appreciate you being here also.
SPILBOR: Thanks for having me.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, we are going to be talking about the girl who has vanished in Aruba. We first brought the story to you last night. She vanished. Now there‘s a frantic search on. The FBI is down there. Her entire family is down there. The question is, will they find this girl in time? We‘ll give you this remarkable story about a girl being lost in paradise when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
And also a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. For the first time since the Deep Throat story went public, President Richard Nixon‘s only surviving brother responds. He is here tonight with a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive.
SCARBOROUGH: The runaway bride faces the judge. And the judge‘s name
· I‘m not making this up—Batchelor. Well, did she get off too easy?
We‘ll be telling you that. Plus, hear the amazing phone call that got her in trouble.
That‘s coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back.
Today, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks pleaded no contest to felony charges stemming from her staged April 26 disappearing act. Now, she did appear today in court in running shoes. Wilbanks, with—jilted fiancee John Mason, was there by her side, and she apologized to the people of her home community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER WILBANKS, DEFENDANT: I‘m truly sorry for my actions. And I just want to thank the Gwinnett County and the city of Duluth for all of their efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The judge gave Wilbanks a two-year probation, 120 hours of community service, and a 200 -- actually, $2,500 fine. And she is still continuing to receive much-needed mental health treatment. And, of course, we will follow that.
Not long after the court appearance, we got a chance to speak with Wilbanks‘ attorney, Lydia Sartain, and ask her if Jennifer felt good or bad about today‘s outcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYDIA SARTAIN, ATTORNEY FOR WILBANKS: She was very relieved, as you might imagine. She was glad that it was over. She had been fearful, as anyone would be who is charged with a felony offense, that she might face jail time.
So, she was very pleased with the result and also very humbled and understood that she had responsibilities and was in trouble and was sentenced by the court and now will serve her time, do what she is supposed to do, that is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer‘s lawyer also talked about her relationship with jilted fiancee John Mason.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARTAIN: I appreciate and admire John‘s support of Jennifer in a very difficult time. He has been a comfort to her, has been supportive. And whatever the future holds for the two of them, I think they are the ones to address that and speak to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, which, get your decoder out. You can read all about it in “People” magazine or “The National Enquirer” sometime in the future. They ain‘t talking.
We also spoke with the mayor of Duluth, Shirley Lasseter. Now, she cut a deal, remember, where Wilbanks only had to pay $13,000 out of the $40,000 in costs for the search. This is what she had to say about reaction to the city settling with Wilbanks for just a fraction of those search costs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY LASSETER, MAYOR OF DULUTH, GEORGIA: I have gotten e-mails from some people who think that that‘s terrible that we accepted $13,000, rather than going to court and suing for the $43,000.
But the fact is, on Tuesday, we got this behind us when we accepted the check. Jennifer Wilbanks got it behind her. Neither one of us are going to court and wasting taxpayers‘ money any further. And it‘s over. And I think that getting some finality to this was very important for everybody in the city and for the Wilbanks and her family.
I truly hope and pray that the punishment that she received today and the deal that was made through the DA‘s attorney with her attorney, I hope and pray that Jennifer has learned something from this experience, because it‘s hurt a lot of people. And I hope that she can find some healing within this, with some of her—her community service and probation, so that she knows that she was accountable for this and that a situation like this will never, ever happen again.
There are just too many people out there who are really missing, children and adults, and you don‘t want any other police department to not jump out and hunt for them immediately. So, I just hope she has learned from this experience.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Unfortunately, I don‘t know how she could learn, because she is not having to pay the full costs, the $40,000 which she should be paying. And, also, of course, she is not going to have to spend a day in jail.
Now, authorities released a dramatic telephone call that Jennifer Wilbanks made to her home after more than three days of frantic search efforts by her family and her friends. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RANDY BELCHER, DULUTH POLICE CHIEF: Can you tell me now how you got where you‘re at?
JENNIFER WILBANKS, DEFENDANT: When I went running. I think it was Tuesday night. I ran. And I was running up on the road where Jon lives, right there by the post office going towards the library. And they approached me there. And that‘s when they got me.
BELCHER: OK. How did they get you?
WILBANKS: They—this guy just grabbed me from behind, and I had on my headphones, so I didn‘t even hear anything until they grabbed me.
BELCHER: OK. What—are you on a pay phone somewhere?
WILBANKS: OK.BELCHER: OK. What do you see around you?
WILBANKS: Another 7/11 and there‘s a—there‘s a—I can‘t see probably because I don‘t have my contacts in.
BELCHER: How did you get away?
WILBANKS: They just let me go. They would say in the hotel that they wanted money. And I said that we didn‘t have any. And they...
BELCHER: What do these individuals look like?
WILBANKS: The guy is a Hispanic guy and the there‘s a Caucasian female.
BELCHER: OK. About how old were they?
WILBANKS: Probably in their 40s, I guess. I don‘t—I mean, I guess. I don‘t know for sure.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The old Hispanic guy got me and made me go to Vegas and gamble on the floor of a casino.
With me now to talk about whether the punishment fit the crime are Lindsey Martin from Liberty Council and also former prosecutor Steve Clark.
Lindsey, I got to tell you, I was actually sympathetic of Ms. Wilbanks in the very beginning. But the more of these tapes you hear, the more it makes you think that maybe she should have been sent to jail for five years. What do you think? Did she get off too easy today?
LINDSEY MARTIN, LIBERTY COUNCIL: Oh, she definitely got—got off too easy, Joe. me after listening to those tapes, cry me a river, Jennifer, because here‘s the thing.
I feel sorry for her. I think she has a lot of mental health issues to work through. At the same time, there‘s a lot of people with mental health issues who aren‘t crying wolf and abusing law enforcement resources of coming to a total of about $47,000. So, she got off with a slap on a wrist here, Joe, and I think it really sends a message to the public that, go ahead, falsely report a crime. You are going to get off with fines, a slaps on the wrist, few community service hours and some probation. It sends entirely the wrong message to the public.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve Clark, it‘s not like this woman is 17. She is, what, 32? I mean, there‘s absolutely no excuse for a grown lady running away from her wedding, going across the country, having the police in her home county and all over America looking for her, having the family look at her.
I mean, don‘t you think this woman got off with a free pass today? This Judge Batchelor gave her probation and a little fine? I mean, come on. She should have been sent to jail for at least a year or two, right?
STEVE CLARK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. I don‘t agree with that at all. I mean, you are overlooking one thing, I think. And that is this woman has some significant mental health problems. After this incident, she checked herself into a mental health facility. The purpose...
SCARBOROUGH: But, come on. Isn‘t that like the last refuge...
MARTIN: She was the most hated woman in America. How else was she going to gain sympathy?
CLARK: No, no, no, no.
SCARBOROUGH: Isn‘t that like really the last refuge of the truly desperate here?
CLARK: ... putting this lady in jail.
You are not going to deter another mental health patient by putting Jennifer Wilbanks in jail.
SCARBOROUGH: How do you know her mental state?
CLARK: Frankly, I think a felony was overkill in this situation. It had become so political that the—that the DA had to go with a felony, when, really, this is misdemeanor conduct. And if the mayor wanted to receive only $13,000, then perhaps the judge, as part of the community service, should make her work of the remaining $27,000 and do some community service. But, really, the focus should be mental health counseling and restitution.
MARTIN: Steve, when she had the other community service hours for her other felony charges, did that deter her conduct? No. No.
CLARK: What are you going to do by giving her a felony? She is never going to get a job.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. One at a time. One at a time.
Lindsey, go first. Go.
MARTIN: First of all, she had a criminal record here. And, obviously, the community service hours and the probation didn‘t do the trick.
The criminal justice system obviously needs an overhaul. Felony—felony—people who are committing felonies are getting away with these crimes. We have got problems in Florida. People who have been convicted of child molestation are back on the street in three years. This is just another symptom of a needed criminal justice system overhaul.
CLARK: Yes, but she wasn‘t convicted of child molestation. Tell me how she is dangerous to society. I just don‘t see it. You put child molesters, you put rapists, you put murderers in jail.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Let me give you a crack here, Steve.
CLARK: You don‘t put mental health people who have a panic attack in jail.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve—hold on a second, Steve. Now, first of all, you are assuming that she has got some mental issues that you or I really don‘t know about it, but I will take a crack at it.
MARTIN: Cold feet.
SCARBOROUGH: Right now tonight, we are about to give—to tell a story about a young girl from Alabama who we believe is missing in Aruba. Her parents can‘t find her. We don‘t know if she has been kidnapped. We don‘t know if she has killed. It seems, every night, there‘s a new story of somebody who is missing out there.
Because of what this woman, Wilbanks, has done, and because of the fact Judge Batchelor has let her off the hook, it sends a message out to people who may want to fake it. Maybe you can get away with it. Maybe you can have the law enforcement officers in your home community chasing after you while there are some other missing people out there who aren‘t going to get the attention that they need. I mean, I think it just sends a bad message, Steve.
CLARK: I would agree if this was a rational decision.
SCARBOROUGH: Lindsey, that was to Steve. Lindsey, that was to Steve.
Go ahead, Steve.
This is not a—Joe, this is not a rational decision that this woman made. I agree that, if someone premeditates a theft or a fraud that causes $40,000, that is the kind of person that maybe should get some jail time. Maybe they shouldn‘t go to prison, like a child molester or a rapist, but, yes, they could get some jail time. But what did she premeditate? This woman is just obviously off her rocker. And by putting her in jail, you accomplish nothing.
By giving her a felony, you basically preclude her from any kind of employment, where she could pay the restitution back. So, I think she is the Typhoid Mary of Georgia. She is suffering that consequence as well. People every day lie to police officers and they don‘t get charged with felonies. They get charged with misdemeanors and they do community service.
And because it‘s become so political, she got a felony and she will have that branded with her the rest of her life. And that‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: Lindsey, she has apologized to the—Lindsey, she has apologized to the people in her home county. She said, I am truly sorry for my actions and I just want to thank Gwinnett County.
Isn‘t that enough? She said she is sorry.
MARTIN: She has not paid her debt to society here. And here‘s the thing.
She did premeditate this. She bought her ticket on about April 19, and she ran away April 26. So, here‘s the thing. This was a premeditated, deliberate, conscious decision to lie to the law enforcement officers, who spent numerous hours and taxpayer dollars to find her.
And, like you said, Joe I think this sends the message to the public that, if you want 15 minutes of fame, you can get it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, well, and...
CLARK: This sends the entirely wrong message to the public with a slap on the wrist.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Lindsey, you know what the worst part of this is?
She is going to sell her story. She is going to make a lot of money.
MARTIN: And make a lot of money.
SCARBOROUGH: Make a lot of money.
CLARK: And she ought to pay whatever she makes...
SCARBOROUGH: Lindsey Martin and Steve Clark, when she does make that money, we will invite both of you back and talk about it some more. Thanks for being with us tonight. We really appreciate it.
CLARK: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, when we come back, we are going to go live to Birmingham, Alabama, of course, a remarkable story that we are going to get the very latest on. We‘re going to get the situation regarding missing teenager, Natalee Holloway. And we‘re going to be talking to one girl who was with Natalee on that trip and also to people in her community who know her best and who are praying for her safe return tonight.
And, later, one of the men who knew Richard Nixon the best, his brother Ed, he is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight to talk exclusively about his brother and the truth about Deep Throat. That‘s coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: A beautiful young girl vanishes in paradise on her senior high school trip. What happened to Natalee? We are going to be talking live to someone who was on that trip with her and knows her well. That‘s next.
But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE: One thing I would like to comment on, Natalee‘s hair is blonde and straight, but here it might be curly. It could be curly. It could be straight. She is approximately 5‘5“. She weighs about 110 pounds. She has blue eyes. And she is very petite, very petite, maybe a size two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: A heartbroken mother searches for her daughter, Natalee Holloway, 18 years old, just graduated from high school and getting ready to head to the University of Alabama on a scholarship.
Natalee was last seen Sunday night in Aruba leaving a nightclub. And we first told you about Natalee last night. And she just had graduated from a high school in Birmingham and went on a trip with 125 of her friends. She never showed up for her return flight on Monday, which, of course, started the search.
With me now to talk about Natalee and the search are Natalee‘s good friend, Frances Ellen Byrd, and also Pastor Mark Yoder, who is the youth minister at Natalee‘s church.
Let‘s start with you, Frances.
Tell us about your friend. Tell us about—about what we can do to help out.
FRANCES ELLEN BYRD, FRIEND OF NATALEE: Well, I first met Natalee in eighth grade when we had a welcoming party for her. She moved here from Mississippi.
And, ever since then, I have just been closest friends with her, as well as a few other of all of our good friends. Everybody in the school loves Natalee. Nobody can say anything bad about her. She is a straight-A student, 25 in a class out of 300 students in a very—school where we studied very hard. She is very—has very many honors. She is in dance team, Bible study.
Basically, she is a very responsible, well-loved child to everyone here.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Frances—you were actually with her, Frances, that night. Tell me when you and the rest of your friends first figured out that something was just not right.
BYRD: I figured out something was wrong when my friends came to knock on my door in the morning asking where she was, because Natalee was the first one up. She is the most responsible out of all of my friends. And we all—Natalee is the leader of our friends.
And when she wasn‘t there, we went straight—straight to the chaperons because something—we knew something was wrong.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Frances Ellen, you all are from Mountain Brook.
That‘s a part of Birmingham, correct?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. That‘s an area that I know well, because I went to the University of Alabama and have a lot of friends there.
Pastor, let me bring you in. I want to ask you about the prayer vigils that you are holding for this young lady. Obviously, a lot of people in your community have been touched by her. Tell us about it.
MARK YODER, YOUTH PASTOR: Absolutely.
We—the interesting thing, Natalee and her family really don‘t go even to our church. We were asked by some parents of students that went on the trip as well when they got back, hey, can we just have a spot where students and parents and anybody interested can gather and pray? And, you know, that‘s a no-brainer, so, absolutely.
So, every day for the last three days, that‘s exactly what we have done. And it has been a—it‘s not at all surprising because of the community that we are in, but it has been an outpouring of support and love and...
SCARBOROUGH: What are you hearing about this—what are you hearing about this young girl that is missing tonight?
YODER: Absolutely everything positive. You know, as everyone is talking about her and friendships and relationships and her future and what lies ahead, nothing but good things.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you, Frances Ellen, when is the last time you saw her?
BYRD: That night.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, you saw her the night...
BYRD: I was with her that night.
SCARBOROUGH: You were with her that night.
BYRD: Yes. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: All the friends went back to the hotel. And did you all see her go back to the hotel or not?
BYRD: I am just leaving it that we saw her there.
SCARBOROUGH: Saw her that night.
YODER: Yes. Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Well, Frances Ellen, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
Mark, thank you. And, of course, our prayers are going to be with you, with Natalee and with Natalee‘s family on this very important search.
BYRD: Thank you. Thank you so much.
YODER: We really encourage everyone to pray. Thank you.
BYRD: Pray for Natalee. She is coming home.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much.
Now let‘s turn to the investigation.
With me now is Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler.
Candice, we have got a special situation here. You got—I guess the good news is, it‘s a search in a contained area on an island.
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: The bad news is that it‘s outside the United States. What does that mean for the FBI and authorities trying to find this young girl tonight?
DELONG: Well, the FBI has an office in the Virgin Islands. They probably have sent that—that covers Aruba. They have probably sent agents there. It‘s my understanding that they have. The FBI is involved, and they are used to working with local authorities on things like that.
SCARBOROUGH: So what do you do in a case like this? The last time they saw her, she was in a nightclub. Apparently, she left with three men.
SCARBOROUGH: Three men on the island, and yet...
SCARBOROUGH: They have questioned those men, but they released them today. What do you make of it?
DELONG: Well, questioning and releasing them may simply mean they are not necessarily off the hook, but they don‘t have any reason to hold them. As you know, that happens in our system of justice also.
It very, very much worries me that she got—she went away with these men. Apparently, 10 witnesses, friends of hers, whatever, said that they saw her get in the vehicle or she was with these local men. They know the island. That very much worries me. And, apparently, those men said, yes, we were with her and we brought her back here. We dropped her off.
So, they have admitted that she was with them. And yet, there‘s no—apparently, no evidence that she was up in her room. I haven‘t heard whether or not her bed was slept in, but you just interviewed her best friend that said, she was always the one that was up first. And she knew something was wrong when Leslie (ph) wasn‘t knocking on the doors early in the morning getting people up. So, it‘s possible she never made it to her room at the hotel that night.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Candice DeLong, thank you so much.
And, of course, friends, we have heard that the security cameras did not—in the hotel did not show Natalee coming back in the hotel as the three men who lived in Aruba claimed; they dropped her off and she went back inside the hotel.
Certainly very, very difficult case, but our thoughts and prayers, again, remain with her and her family and the FBI agents that are searching desperately for her tonight. We will stay on the story and keep you updated.
Now, coming up, you thought everybody had weighed in on the Deep Throat revelation. But now hear from a member of Richard Nixon‘s family. Exclusive, President Nixon‘s brother is going to be here, Ed.
And, later, we are going to give you the new Spelling Bee champion.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, as the news has been breaking about Deep Throat this week, we have heard from Mark Felt, Deep Throat himself. We have heard from Woodward and Bernstein.
Well, tonight, for the first time, we hear from Richard Nixon‘s only surviving sibling. That is Ed Nixon. And I spoke with him earlier and asked him what he thought of Deep Throat‘s identity.
EDWARD NIXON, BROTHER OF PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: I have reflected on it occasionally from time to time. But Watergate has faded into the past, to a point for my own family that we say, oh, here it is. When are they going to find all the details and let the public know what was going on?
I think that, as far as Mr. Felt being number two and being passed over, so to speak, for the top job at FBI when Pat Gray took the job, that leaves a lot of questions to be answered, also, some questions as to just who all was involved in this thing, including John Dean and some others who were very much in question.
But I have reserved my own decisions. I don‘t have a decision to make on this thing. It‘s just a matter of impressions and how I react to them. I do feel that it was a tragic entertainment that was engaged in this thing. And it‘s—I hope it doesn‘t devolve into something that is suitable only for “The National Enquirer” or another checkout stand entertainment, because I feel that there‘s a great deal of scholarly work to be done to really get to the bottom of it.
And it‘s nowhere near finished now. It deserves a complete story. And the story is so far incomplete, although we have an interesting note to place on the calendar.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, obviously, the first draft of history, the first story was written by Woodward and Bernstein. Do you think they were fair to your brother?
NIXON: Oh, I think they were led into a line of conspiracy that had no—it had no place. It was not—it didn‘t exist when they started this thing.
There was no cover-up. There was nothing to cover up. But as it went on, I think the leakage and the intent of some in the administration was out of sight of my brother. And, as a result, it really got out of hand. His reaction to people who proved to be untrue or disloyal, even under oath, sworn to office, really is disturbing. I think that‘s the main concern.
On the other side of it, I look at Mr. Felt‘s family, his extended family. And they look at family as something that is not to be totally destroyed. If they want to view him as an honorable person, that remains to be seen as well. But let them hold what they need for their own dignity. It goes for any family. And that‘s what is important in this country.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let‘s talk about honor.
There‘s a debate right now whether Mr. Felt is an honorable man for being an FBI agent, one of the top FBI agents in America, leaking to Woodward and Bernstein. What about your brother 30 years later, as the debate goes back to Watergate? Was your brother an honorable man?
NIXON: Oh, for sure.
He honored the office. And, if he didn‘t, he would have tried to stay in and run through the Senate trial as it all developed. But he wanted to preserve the validity and the very great character of the office of the presidency. And that‘s the reason he left office, as far as I‘m concerned.
His own regrets were that his—his ideas and his objectives were cut short. Passing it on to Jerry Ford was a valiant effort, but there were a lot of things left undone that he wanted to accomplish. And that‘s the tragedy, in my mind.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, you stopped by the White House near the end of your brother‘s presidency, went by there in July of 1974. Talk about that meeting you had with your brother. And was he determined to fight it out at that time?
My brother Don and I were there. And Dick was obviously very clearly distressed and disturbed by all this and, really, the disintegration of loyalty in the staff that was unknown to him. He didn‘t really understand where it was coming from. I think he may have suspected Mark Felt. But he may have had questions about a lot of others that were coming through and not really clearly solved.
He never did really know. And I think that‘s up to us now, not me. But scholars interested in that kind of history do need to really search this thing out and find out who knew what and when, because I am sure, in his sense of honor, he did not know the full extent of what these people were getting involved in.
SCARBOROUGH: Final question.
This week, what are your thoughts? What are your reflections on your brother? And how would you like Americans to remember Richard Milhous Nixon?
NIXON: Well, I think we have to look at the man‘s whole life, as President Clinton said at his eulogy, and then consider what Bob Dole declared in how American he was.
He was a man who loved his country. He did not want to harm it in any way. And this really nearly destroyed him after the resignation. He was in silence for a long time. But I think remembering him now, I would like to think that many millions of people around the world—I already know they do—look at him as a great president in his time, who solved many problems and pointed the way to solutions of many more.
So, give it what you will. He did not resign in disgrace. In my mind, he resigned in honor of the office. And he honored it to the best of his ability. There I stand.
SCARBOROUGH: And he still is my father‘s favorite president.
Hey, we want to thank Ed Nixon for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
We‘ll be right back in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Grueling months of training all boiling down to one shining moment. Of course, we are talking about the big spelling bee. Coming up next, see if this year‘s winner can spell a tough name like Scarborough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANURAG KASHYAP, NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CHAMPION: Appoggiatura. A-P-P-
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s 13-year-old Anurag Kashyap, the new spelling bee champion. He beat 272 competitors. I am not going to even try to pronounce the word that this young man could spell.
Hey, thanks for a lot for being with us tonight in SCARBOROUGH
Hey, drop me a line. You can do it by e-mailing me at Joe@MSNBC.com.
We‘ll see you tomorrow night.
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