updated 6/9/2005 2:26:25 PM ET 2005-06-09T18:26:25

Guest:  Susan Filan, Michael Cardoza, Jim Thomas, Stacy Brown, Giovanni Lane, Chris Lejuez, Steve Emerson

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up live from the Michael Jackson trial, we are waiting for a statement from the court at any moment. 

And in Aruba, a judge rules there‘s enough evidence to keep two suspects behind bars in connection with the disappearance of an 18-year-old high school senior. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Last night the suspects‘ lawyer told us only one of his clients had a confirmed alibi.  We‘ll ask him again.  This as there is still no sign of the 18-year-old from Alabama.

And day four of deliberations here at the Michael Jackson case—still no verdict.  What does that mean for Michael Jackson?  And this program is causing some controversy here at the courthouse. 

And an American father and son arrested here in California possibly part of an al Qaeda terror cell?  Could they have been planning attacks on hospitals and supermarkets? 

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket, we are waiting for a statement from the court at any moment here at the Michael Jackson case.  We are going to bring that to you as soon as we get it and we are monitoring the area where they will be making that statement at any moment. 

But here‘s what we do know about today.  No verdict.  More than 20 hours of deliberation now.  They deliberated on Friday two hours, Monday, six hours, Tuesday, six hours, Wednesday, six hours, and now they have gone home. 

Jackson‘s spokesperson claims the mood at Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch is upbeat. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He‘s in good spirits but as you all can imagine, he‘s very nervous.  But as I‘ve said, you know, he has confidence in his innocence. 


ABRAMS:  We‘ll bring you more details on the Jackson case, the deliberations and the controversy swirling around the courthouse over our exclusive look at the Santa Barbara County jail.  That causing some stir there as well, where Jackson would likely be taken if convicted.  Jesse Jackson says that piece was part of psychological warfare being waged by prosecutors.

All right, so the question 20 hours‘ deliberation, still no verdict.  What does it mean?  Other high-profile juries have deliberated for longer and shorter.  O.J., nine months of testimony, jury found him not guilty in less than four hours.  Scott Peterson, five months of testimony, deliberations over about seven and a half days, but there were a lot of jurors being dismissed and brought in, guilty verdict. 

Charles Manson convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, nine months of testimony, nine days of deliberation.  The Menendez brothers, tried twice, the first time two separate juries deadlocked, four and a half months of testimony, Erik‘s after 19 days, Lyle‘s after 25 days.  The brothers were finally convicted in a second trial, ended in conviction after 20 days of deliberations.

And so the question is, how is each side feeling now that there was no verdict again today.  Joining me now MSNBC legal analyst and former Connecticut state prosecutor Susan Filan.  Criminal defense attorney Michael Cardoza joins us as well. 

All right, so Susan, what do you make of it?  Which side is sighing a sigh of relief?  Either side?  Which way does it cut?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well they‘re both still on tenterhooks, Dan, but I‘ve got to say this favors the prosecution.  Because as I‘ve said before, they have declined Mesereau‘s invitation to toss this case out of court if you find one lie, if you find five lies, if you find 10 lies.  In the closing argument he said we‘ve got about 40, how many is it going to take?  Toss the case, and they‘ve haven‘t.  So I think that this favors the prosecution. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  You know, Michael, yesterday I disagreed with Susan when she said that.  But I do think as time passes at the least it says that these jurors are not just saying forget about it.  This was a nothing case.  It should have been thrown out of court.  They had nothing on Michael Jackson.  At the very least, these jurors are not saying that. 

MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  That‘s true.  I mean they clearly are not saying that.  And a quick verdict is usually one for the defendant, the not guilty.  But you know in this case, I‘m telling you this type of case is the most emotional case and I mean even compared to murder cases because we‘re talking about pedophiles.  We‘re talking about child molestation.  The jurors are going to go over this evidence very, very carefully. 


CARDOZA:  They‘re not only going to look at this victim.  They‘re going to say in their own minds, am I going to set him free?  Maybe he does it again.  No, let‘s be careful about whatever verdict we come to and this may well mean they can‘t come to a verdict.  That they‘re deadlocked in this case.

FILAN:  It‘s way too soon to say that...

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Let me just...


ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to interrupt you.  I‘ve got to interrupt you.  Susan, hang on.  We got the statement.  Can you repeat it to me, Cory, please?  I‘m going to repeat it to the viewers word for word.

I have not authorized anyone, this is from Tom Mesereau, the defense attorney for Michael Jackson—I have not authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family.  A gag order is in effect which the defense team will continue to honor.  Thomas Mesereau. 

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) that sounds like a slap at Michael Jackson‘s spokesperson Raymone Bain.  We‘re going to try and get Raymone on the horn here to talk to her, get her live to respond to this.  But this could mean some dissension within the defense team.

Let me play you a piece of sound here.  This is number one from Raymone Bain—we‘re going to get this ready.  This is what Raymone Bain said in a press conference earlier today because someone said in the press conference, we hear Tom Mesereau, Michael Jackson‘s attorney, is furious that you‘re out here and that Jesse Jackson is out here making all these statements. 

Raymone Bain responded and here‘s what she said.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... doesn‘t want you out here...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... didn‘t want me here I wouldn‘t be here, so don‘t listen to so many rumors. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, he is.  I never speak to the media without talking to Tom Mesereau because I understand, quite unlike many of you, that this is a serious situation.  And so therefore, if I had not spoken to our team I would not be here. 


ABRAMS:  Yikes, Michael Cardoza, if you‘re the attorney...


ABRAMS:  ... in this case you‘re putting out a statement that says I haven‘t authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family.  This shows a level of dissension going on in Michael Jackson‘s camp, doesn‘t it? 


CARDOZA:  Man I‘m on your side on this one.  This is amazing.  I mean to put out a statement like that means that you know quit talking out there, people, you‘re not authorized to do it.  And Raymone is on the other side saying something different, makes me question what Raymone is saying.

What do you mean you‘re talking to Tom?  Apparently, you‘re not talking to Tom.  You guys better get it together, I mean the defense team, and find out what you want out there or maybe everybody should just plain and simply be quiet, let the jury do their job, because all this talking by them is not going to do a darn bit of good.

ABRAMS:  Now I know Raymone Bain watches this show regularly, so Raymone I invite you to call into the program to respond to this.  She‘s apparently on a conference call right now, but we‘re going to try and get her in here...

CARDOZA:  She‘s probably talking to Tom.

ABRAMS:  Yes...

CARDOZA:  ... probably talking to Tom.

ABRAMS:  Susan Filan, what do you make of this? 

FILAN:  Not good.  I mean, obviously Tom Mesereau is saying to the court, we have not violated this order Your Honor, and these people are out here speaking, saying that they‘re speaking on our behalf but they‘re not, and he‘s trying to send a very clear message to the court that he‘s respecting the rules.  I think perhaps...

ABRAMS:  Yes, but that‘s not...


ABRAMS:  ... I don‘t think...


ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to tell you, Susan, I don‘t think that‘s the point. 

That‘s not the point here.


ABRAMS:  The point is not that Raymone Bain is violating the gag order.  The point is he‘s saying she doesn‘t speak for me.

CARDOZA:  Yes, I think you‘re right Dan...

FILAN:  No, obviously...

CARDOZA:  ... because...

FILAN:  No, Dan...


FILAN:  ... obviously that‘s the point.  But I think Mesereau is taking it a step further.  I mean for him to have had to have a chamber‘s conference with the judge and the other side and then have to release this written statement he could have just...

ABRAMS:  But the reason...

FILAN:  ... called her and told her to shut up...

ABRAMS:  No, no...

FILAN:  ... but he‘s taking it a step further. 

ABRAMS:  No, no, no.  No...


ABRAMS:  ... he has to meet with them in order to release a public statement.  He‘s not allowed to say anything publicly...

CARDOZA:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... without the judge‘s permission.  Jim Thomas joins us now...


ABRAMS:  ... the former Santa Barbara sheriff joins us right now.  Jim, what a mess (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?  I mean, you know, Raymone Bain speaking, Tom Mesereau saying she‘s not authorized essentially to speak for me. 

JIM THOMAS, FORMER SANTA BARBARA COUNTY SHERIFF:  Well Dan, you know, we had nothing to report on earlier.  At least it gave us something to talk about I suppose.  But it does show some dysfunction inside the defense camp at this point.  I would be very surprised that Raymone Bain would make that kind of definitive statement without first talking to Tom Mesereau.  She‘s just laying herself open for that type...


THOMAS:  ... of criticism, which right now I don‘t believe is good for the defense.

ABRAMS:  I‘m going to repeat what Raymone Bain said in that piece of sound and this is from—only from minutes ago.  This was like an hour ago she held a press conference.  If Mr. Mesereau didn‘t want me here, I wouldn‘t be here. 

And then he says I haven‘t authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family.  Boy, oh, boy, you have got to wonder what is going on over there in the Michael Jackson camp.  Anyone—Susan, you got any ideas? 

CARDOZA:  Yes, Tom—I‘ve got an idea, Dan. 


CARDOZA:  A lot of tension going on over there. 


CARDOZA:  I mean there‘s a lot of tension.  I‘m telling you.  I‘ve tried an awful lot of cases, well over 200 jury trials, and I‘m telling you this is the worst part of a trial for an attorney because you lose control of it.  And now you sit back, you can‘t talk, and you watch other people like Jesse Jackson get out there and Raymone Bain get out there and say certain things and if you as the attorney (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this isn‘t helping.  Be quiet.

The only way you can stop it is go to the judge and put it out there, because apparently they‘re not listening to each other.  I mean this certainly...


CARDOZA:  ... may border, divide and conquer, but it‘s not going to do them any good.


CARDOZA:  Hopefully, the jury won‘t see any or hear any of this stuff.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  This is not good.  I mean look it‘s likely not to have any impact on the case, on the jury, but what a mess.  What a mess for the Michael Jackson defense team.  Spokesperson speaking out, the lawyer saying she doesn‘t represent us.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

We‘re still trying—we‘re still hoping Raymone Bain will call into the program or come on and we can talk to her about what she makes of this, what seems like a snub by Tom Mesereau. 

But coming up for certain, Reverend Jesse Jackson takes on the sheriffs based on an exclusive from our show.  He‘s upset with the visit I took with Jim Thomas to the jail where Jackson will go first if he‘s convicted.  Jim is going to defend himself, coming up.

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



ABRAMS:  Well we are continuing to cover a couple of messes here at the Michael Jackson case.  The attorney for Michael Jackson just releasing a statement only moments ago saying he hasn‘t authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family and clearly a specific reference to the spokesperson for Michael Jackson, who had just said earlier today that she would not be holding—if Mr.  Mesereau didn‘t want me here, I wouldn‘t be here. 

And of course Jesse Jackson, the reverend has been making—has been

holding press conferences defending Michael Jackson.  Not specifically

speaking on behalf of Michael Jackson, but you know that could be a

reference to him as well.  We‘re hoping that maybe we‘ll get a chance to

speak to Raymone Bain about what she makes of this. 

Let‘s move on to another controversy brewing outside the courthouse, a result of my exclusive look at the jail where Michael Jackson would likely be brought if he‘s convicted.  Apparently some in the Jackson camp believe it was part of an orchestrated effort.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON‘S SPIRITUAL ADVISOR:  In some sense, advertising the jail cell, which the sheriff promised back in November of 2003, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kind of psychological warfare.  Michael has not reacted to that.  It has not taken him off of his focus.  His focus on his self-confidence, his hands in life in the fate of the jury, in his faith in God, and belief in this jury and his lawyer, he remains steadfastly focused on that. 


ABRAMS:  So, there he‘s saying psychological warfare, that the—sounds like he‘s saying the prosecution D.A. is using.  Joining me now is MSNBC analyst and the former Santa Barbara County sheriff Jim Thomas, who took me on the tour of the grounds.  Jim, sounds like Jesse Jackson is going after you there. 

THOMAS:  Well I think he‘s going after both of us, Dan, but you‘ve got to remember we‘re in the news business.  And the issue is that Michael Jackson has two ways to go after the verdict is read.  He either walks out the front door and goes home or he goes out the back door and to a sheriff‘s van and goes to jail. 

They have talked extensively about what would happen after he left, if he went home and the celebration that would take place.  I think it‘s fair for the public to know that if he went out the other door what would happen and what the sheriff would do to ensure that he remains safe and well treated.  That was the intention of that report and I think it was well received. 

ABRAMS:  Look, I agree.  Look, I responded to a viewer last night who wrote in saying you‘re presuming Michael Jackson guilty by showing where he might have to go if he‘s convicted.  My response was so what, we can‘t talk about the possible sentence he might receive?  We can‘t discuss it?  We can‘t show the possible places as to where he may have to go.

That‘s absurd, so anyway—all right.  I want to give you a chance to respond to something else that Jesse Jackson said but first, I want to read this.  This is coming from Michael Jackson‘s official Web site.  A note from Michael Jackson and the Jackson family regarding those unauthorized statements.

Quote—“The efforts of Michael Jackson‘s friends and supporters are noticed and very much appreciated at this time.  However, only Michael Jackson‘s attorneys of record have been authorized to speak on his behalf.” 

I don‘t get it.   Michael Jackson has a spokesperson.  How can that spokesperson not be authorized to speak on his behalf?  Only Michael Jackson‘s attorneys of record have been authorized to speak on his behalf.  Let‘s get Stacy Brown ready as well if we can.  Is he—he‘s ready to go. 

Stacy Brown, look, you know you‘re sort of on the outs with the Jackson family these days because of the book that you‘ve been involved in, et cetera.  We know that.  But you have known the way this team works.  You were very much in with the Jackson family for a long time.  What do you make of this?  I mean does this mean that Raymone Bain, the longtime spokesperson, isn‘t even supposed to be speaking for Michael Jackson at all?

STACY BROWN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well based on that statement, Dan, yes.  It means that too.  I think that—once again, and they‘ve complained about this since this trial actually started.  Even way back during the preliminary hearings, they‘ve complained that there were too many people speaking, as you pointed out, but she‘s the spokesperson.  But this is not...


BROWN:  ... necessarily unusual...

ABRAMS:  Too many people speaking...

BROWN:  ... for this...

ABRAMS:  ... too many—wait, wait—too many people speaking is one thing. 

BROWN:  But Dan, it‘s not unusual...

ABRAMS:  All right, I can see saying you know what—but the spokesperson can‘t speak for him?  What does that tell us about what‘s going on...


ABRAMS:  ... with his defense team? 

BROWN:  Since he‘s been arrested in November of ‘03, he‘s had what, one, two, three, four different spokespersons.  Raymone Bain happened to have been the one who has stayed around the longest of late. 

ABRAMS:  Well I don‘t know what this means.  This just says to me that this is a, you know, a camp with a lot of problems in it.  Again, this is coming from the Michael Jackson Web site, a note from Michael Jackson that only Michael Jackson‘s attorneys of record have been authorized to speak on his behalf. 

Apparently they‘re just simply not happy with some of the statements being made.  And you know one of the statements that they may not be thrilled with is this one from Jesse Jackson when he talked—spoke on this program about the raid on the Neverland Ranch. 


J. JACKSON:  He feels I think even a greater sense of injustice toward the role of the sheriff and then the D.A. in such extraordinary efforts to destroy him.  After all, when the sheriff went into Neverland in the Waco style, 75 deputies, as if they were expecting armed resistance—went in and destroyed furniture and art and property and took away personal items, came out of the place (UNINTELLIGIBLE) occupation, then had this international press conference, declaring Michael to be guilty, looking for more witnesses. 


ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to tell you Jim Thomas, the former Santa Barbara sheriff was—his blood was boiling like—you know Jim‘s a pretty low-key guy.  He sort of hangs around, we talk to him a lot, and he‘s very relaxed.  He heard this statement and you could see Jim like shaking as he heard this as he was talking about this.  Jim, why did it upset you so much? 

THOMAS:  Well, this resemblance to Waco style is disingenuous at best.  As I recall, Dan, in Waco they had a tank that ran into the building, using incendiary.  Shots were fired.  They was a large fire and children died. 

To make that comparison to the raid that was done on November the 18th, 2003 is a slap in the face of the men and women of a very proud and professional law enforcement organization and it‘s absolutely inexcusable.  From the standpoint of the broken furniture and the art, the deputies filmed this whole thing.  It wasn‘t done.  And in the 18 months since that search warrant was served, not one person from the Jackson camp has ever filed a complaint or done anything to say that they felt that that was done by the Sheriff‘s Department except the Reverend Jesse Jackson. 

ABRAMS:  Well I wonder, Michael Cardoza, whether this means that Tom Mesereau and Michael Jackson are now saying to themselves, you know what, these people whose motives are good, I mean the efforts are noticed and very much appreciated, but the bottom line is they‘re just thinking that in the end all of these somewhat incendiary statements are not helping Michael Jackson‘s cause. 

CARDOZA:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the other thing that I think they have to worry about, are they inciting the people that are behind you right now?  I mean you and I have seen what‘s in Santa Maria there.  You have people that‘s—what are you guys doing here?  Why are you so involved with this?  Why have you come from other countries to watch this?  And you know they‘re very volatile. 

You‘ve got people with rocks out there.  It‘s pretty scary.  People like Reverend Jackson keep saying things like that they could incite a riot down there.  But Dan, let me get back to the one thing that I thought was really ironic about the jail.  You know you guys toured the jail.

Remember, in trial, the defense is not supposed to mention jail or imprisonment.  So during the trial, Mesereau on two occasions talked about the freedom of Michael Jackson.  On rebuttal the district attorney, Ron Zonen, clearly told...

ABRAMS:  Yes, so what...

CARDOZA:  ... the jury you can‘t consider that.  And now you guys go out and talk about it, you know something they did...


CARDOZA:  ... the defense did during closing argument so now they‘re complaining about it.

ABRAMS:  So we shouldn‘t...

CARDOZA:  I don‘t get it.  I don‘t get it.


ABRAMS:  OK, I thought you were saying that we shouldn‘t be talking about it.  OK...

CARDOZA:  No, no, I‘m saying—no, I‘m not saying that at all.  I‘m saying where does the...

ABRAMS:  Right.  Right.  Right.  I got it...

CARDOZA:  ... the defense Jackson get off saying that?  It doesn‘t make any sense.

ABRAMS:  I got it.


CARDOZA:  ... think about it.  It could help them...

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got...

CARDOZA:  ... what you did...

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to move on. 

CARDOZA:  I‘ll be quiet.

ABRAMS:  Jim Thomas, Susan Filan, Michael Cardoza, Stacy Brown what a mess.  Thanks a lot.  Appreciate it, you guys and ladies...

CARDOZA:  Take care.

THOMAS:  Thanks Dan.

FILAN:  Bye.

ABRAMS:  And coming up, a father and son arrested possible ties to al Qaeda.  They may have been plotting attacks on supermarkets or hospitals?


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a judge in Aruba rules there is enough suspicion to keep two suspects behind bars in connection with the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee—you remember her, Natalee Holloway.  We talk to the suspects‘ lawyer coming up.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  There may not be enough evidence, but there‘s plenty of suspicion, so says the judge presiding over the case of two men detained in connection with Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance, the 18-year-old high school senior missing in Aruba.  The judge ruled there is sufficient cause to hold them while the investigation continues.  The two were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of first and second-degree murder and kidnapping. 

Both were once security guards at a hotel very close to where Natalee was staying on that island.  At the police station for this morning‘s hearing, Jones‘ mother and girlfriend were there.  His girlfriend said that she‘s the alibi.  They were together at the time of Holloway‘s disappearance.



Abraham and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my friends. 


DEGRAF:  We finished; we went to get my daughter at my mom‘s.  We went at the gasoline station, got some bread...


DEGRAF:  ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) went home.


ABRAMS:  Joining me now is Giovanni Lane, news editor of Aruba‘s “Diario” newspaper.  Thanks very much for coming on the program.  All right, explain this to us.  They have suspicion but no evidence.  I mean are they literally just suspicious of these guys? 

GIOVANNI LANE, NEWS EDITOR, “DIARIO”:  Good night, Dan.  Yes, they‘re suspicious.  In Aruba the laws are so that you don‘t have to really have conclusive evidence to keep people detained for a few more days.  So they want to be sure to keep these guys, to ask them more, to find out, to investigate more, if they can find more clues to what happened.

ABRAMS:  But Giovanni is the reason that they‘re suspicious because these guys were known for sort of walking up to tourists and trying to hit on women and acting inappropriately, et cetera?  I mean is that all they have? 

LANE:  Well that‘s what‘s been said before, but some people say—that someone said they saw a guy who looked like one of the suspects dressed in like the uniform at the Holiday Inn a few hours before the girl would have disappeared.  So that‘s one of the things that we heard because the police is not revealing much of the evidence they have, if they have any evidence. 

ABRAMS:  But they are still searching, right, in the hope that maybe somehow they would find her alive, correct?

LANE:  Yes, they are still searching because there are thousands of tips coming in, people calling saying that they‘ve seen Natalee here or they seen her there.  The big question is, why do those people who say they seen her don‘t—why don‘t they approach her or call the police or follow her? 

I mean there is also a reward, so you know that can be an indication.  If you have actually seen Natalee, why—the question is why haven‘t they contacted the police?  People think in Aruba that—a lot of people are saying that they think she‘s alive and that she may be hiding.  Maybe there‘s more to it.  Maybe her family‘s not revealing whatever problems they have.  It‘s all speculation, but that‘s...


LANE:  ... what a lot of people are thinking right now in Aruba.

ABRAMS:  Yes, that sounds to me like people in Aruba are trying to protect their own, no?

LANE:  Well Aruba‘s been known to be very safe and until now there‘s no evidence that it‘s not safe in Aruba.  And the media, the press—the international press can portray it as if we are—this is not a safe island, but everything indicates that Aruba is a safe island, always has been.  And that‘s why the people are very—the people here are very helpful.  They‘re trying to help find Natalee to prove that it‘s that way. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Giovanni Lane, thanks very much for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it.  If you have any information on the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, please call 877-628-2533. 

You know, I don‘t know.  There‘s just something about that sort of—

I get it.  The people in Aruba say it‘s a safe island and as a result they‘re saying oh the family is not telling us everything.  I mean look I don‘t think there‘s anything to indicate that the family is not telling them everything.

Bottom line is that her suitcase was found in her room packed, her passport was there.  She just left everything there.  I mean the idea that she‘s going to somehow you know leave all of her personal belongings and her passport and everything in this room to sort of just go and—anyway the hope is I think that maybe someone took her and that she‘s alive and that they may be able to find her. 

Joining me now is once again Chris Lejuez, the attorney for Abraham Jones, one of the men being held in connection with Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance.  Sir, thank you very much for coming back on the program. 

So—all right, so there‘s now been a court hearing.  Explain to us as a legal matter at this point do the prosecutors have to tell you anything about what evidence or suspicions they have? 

CHRIS LEJUEZ, ABRAHAM JONES‘ ATTORNEY:  Yes, they do, and they did.  I have documentation regarding the statements of several witnesses that say that they have seen my client with another security guard on the beach on that day, but not at the night and not on the hour that Natalee Holloway disappeared. 

ABRAMS:  Did they—did any of the witnesses say anything about having seen Natalee with your client and this other man? 

LEJUEZ:  No, sir.  Nobody has seen my client in the proximity of Natalee.  There is no proof whatsoever in the file that Natalee was would not be alive.  So it‘s very difficult for the defense to accept what the judge says that hey, he finds there is a legal detention—if there is—if the person is alive, how could you be a suspect detained for things like homicide and murder? 

ABRAMS:  So I understand legally, in Aruba, if I‘m correct, the fact that this judge has said at least there‘s enough suspicion—and again, he doesn‘t have to say there‘s any evidence.  He just has to say that there‘s enough suspicion—these men can now...


ABRAMS:  ... be held for something like 116 days or so before they‘re entitled to some other hearing? 

LEJUEZ:  My question is suspicion of what, suspicion of a crime?  What crime?  The crime would have to be murder or homicide.  For murder—for you to have a murder or homicide, you have to at least some evidence or some indication that somebody‘s dead.  We don‘t have that here in this case, not at all. 

ABRAMS:  So you say that a number of witnesses saw your client and this other man on the beach near the area apparently where Natalee went missing.  You say the timing doesn‘t match.  Explain that to us. 

LEJUEZ:  No, I didn‘t say several men.  I said one witness said that he saw them there on the beach some time or the other.  We don‘t even know what time that was.  It was—possible that it was even a whole different day.  We don‘t know that, but one thing is for sure. 

He did not say that he saw my client there with any other man at the hour that Natalee disappeared.  And furthermore, nobody ever has seen my client in the vicinity of Natalee Holloway. 

ABRAMS:  All right, I thought you said—I‘ll go back and listen to the tape—I thought you had said witnesses—that you had received statements...


ABRAMS:  ... from witnesses who had seen your client on the beach.

LEJUEZ:  No, sir.  There is one witness that had said that.  Other witnesses have said they have seen two security guards walking but they have not identified the security guards. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, got it, OK.  All right, Chris Lejuez, thank you very much for coming back on the program.  Again, we‘d like to have you back on as we continue to follow this story and this case.  Thank you, sir. 

LEJUEZ:  You‘re welcome.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, as the jury deliberates, more people are gathering here in Santa Maria.  I‘ve got to tell you it‘s getting a little bit tense here.  I took a look at some of the security precautions. 

Plus, authorities bust a possible al Qaeda cell in California, possible targets that included supermarkets and hospitals.

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


ABRAMS:  Coming up, authorities bust a possible al Qaeda sleeper cell here in California, coming up.



ABRAMS:  Authorities near Sacramento, California may have cracked a terror ring, a possible sleeper cell with ties to al Qaeda, suspected of operating right here in the United States.  Two men arrested this weekend on charges they lied to FBI officials are now believed to have been linked to al Qaeda in Pakistan. 

One of the men is an American named Hamid Hayat, who works in a fruit plant in northern California.  Now he first denied having any connection to terror groups, but U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott says that after Hayat willingly took a lie detector test and faced more questions...


MCGREGOR SCOTT, U.S. ATTORNEY:  Hamid admitted that he had in fact attended a Jihadist training camp in Pakistan for approximately six months in 2003 and 2004.  He also confirmed that the camp was run by al Qaeda operatives. 


ABRAMS:  And that‘s not all.  Hamid Hayat also told the FBI—quote -

·         “that during his weapons training photos of various high ranking U.S.  political figures including President Bush would be pasted onto targets and that he and others at the camp were being trained on how to kill Americans.”

He went on to explain he came to the U.S. to complete his jihadi mission and his potential targets included hospitals and supermarkets.  His father was also arrested.  Two other men, Muslim leaders who live in the same area have been charged with immigration violations and are also the subjects of the investigation.

Joining me now is our favorite terrorism expert Steve Emerson.  All right, so Steve, look let‘s make one thing quite clear.  If you‘re going to an al Qaeda training camp in 2003 or 2004, and you‘re an American—you know we can talk about pre 9/11 all we want—but any American who‘s going to a jihadi training camp in Pakistan between 2003 and 2004 and then coming back to the United States is a serious threat to this country. 

STEVE EMERSON, TERRORISM EXPERT:  Without doubt, Dan.  The fact, as you pointed out, he volunteered to come back to the United States to carry out jihadi missions according to the complaint that was filed, and in fact he had been trained, as you noted, in various aspects of al Qaeda warfare or just militant Islamic terrorist warfare.  Not necessarily can we even say that this is an al Qaeda cell.  That makes it even more insidious and more dangerous because it shows that he‘s not part of this orchestrated organized hierarchy.  That in fact here‘s a guy who is living in the United States...


EMERSON:  ... he goes to Pakistan to train for two years, voluntarily comes back to carry out a jihadi mission here or terrorist attacks.

ABRAMS:  You know, Steve, a lot of the people who have been arrested -

·         quote—“in connection with terror” to me have been small fry.  People are doing—getting busted, making stupid comments, et cetera.  I‘m not saying they shouldn‘t be charged, but the bottom line is this seems to me more serious than many of the other cases that we‘ve heard about. 

Let me read you from the criminal complaint, because if this is true, this is scary stuff.  Hamid admitted that he attended a jihadist training camp in Pakistan for approximately six months in 2003, 2004.  Hamid stated that al Qaeda supports the camp and provides instructors.  Hamid described the camp as providing structured paramilitary training including weapons training, explosives training, interior room tactics, hand-to-hand combat and strenuous exercise.

I mean look this guy‘s defense is going to have to be that he lied, right?  I mean if he‘s going to admit that then he was clearly not telling the truth to the authorities at the very least. 

EMERSON:  Well yes obviously it would seem to me he‘s going to claim that his confession was coerced or it was involuntary or whatever...

ABRAMS:  Right.

EMERSON:  ... but in fact I believe that the government has other evidence showing that he was connected to the Islamic terrorist training camp because why other—why else would they have picked his name up and actually cited it on the no-fly list when he was first intercepted going from the far East to the United States about a week ago?

Clearly, U.S. government had an operation going on for a while, perhaps as long a year and a half, maybe even two years, showing that this individual and perhaps others—and I think there are others who are going to be arrested, Dan, in the next few weeks or perhaps months.  I don‘t know for sure—connected to this larger training of jihadists in the United States...


EMERSON:  ... who went to Pakistan and who were going to carry out attacks.  We don‘t know at what time or what point they would do it, but they were prepared to carry out attacks. 

ABRAMS:  Hamid advised—this is from the affidavit—that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission.  Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores.

Steve, I‘m going to ask you a tough question.  Is this the most important arrest in this country in the war on terror since September 11, 2001? 

EMERSON:  You know I don‘t know because frankly I think the other ones have been pretty important also.  They‘ve all be interdicted at a different point prior to the execution of their actual—before they could carry out those attacks, but clearly the arrest in Lackawanna, the—Portland, in Seattle, in Florida, in Chicago, these are other cases that are I think equally important, Dan, except they don‘t resonate...

ABRAMS:  Really?

EMERSON:  ... because we don‘t really have the—quote—“smoking gun” of someone planting a bomb.  The fact of the matter is the FBI...

ABRAMS:  We also—Steve, we also don‘t have any of them going to training camps, do we, after 2001, after September 11, leaving this country to go to training camps and coming back to the United States? 

EMERSON:  We don‘t have—you‘re right—we don‘t have them going—leaving after—well we do actually, on the “Portland Seven” I believe they left after the war in Afghanistan and also in the Brinkema case in the eastern district of Virginia, the painful jihad case, they were volunteering to carry out jihad after the 9/11 attacks.  So I think that when you add up all of these other cases, you have here this mix and this brew of jihadists that are wannabes, aren‘t formally connected to al Qaeda, Dan, but are in-viewed (ph) with the hatred of the United States to the point that they actually elected to carry out jihad after the 9/11, knowing the full consequences of their actions.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well it sounds like this operation worked and that‘s good news.  Steve Emerson thanks very much, appreciate it. 

EMERSON:  You‘re welcome.  Sure.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Coming up, court officials here in Santa Maria try to avoid another scene like this one.  And we‘ve got a statement from Michael Jackson‘s spokesperson Raymone Bain, responding to what seems like dissension in the defense camp, coming up.


ABRAMS:  Remember the Scott Peterson verdict, hundreds of spectators showing up just to be there when the verdict was read?  Well here at the court where jurors continue to deliberate Michael Jackson‘s fate, the authorities are preparing for a lot worse.  They‘re getting ready for thousands.  I took a walk around the courthouse today with Sergeant Eric Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff‘s Department to talk about the preparations. 


SGT. ERIC RANEY, SANTA BARBARA SHERIFF‘S DEPT.:  It‘s definitely taxed us.  It‘s definitely something that‘s out of the ordinary for us but it‘s something that we‘ve been able to handle. 

ABRAMS:  You look at what‘s going on here now and it‘s pretty calm and there‘s not that many fans.  People are sort of milling about, et cetera, but when there‘s a verdict, you know, it‘s going to explode, as it‘s happened in other high profile cases.  Are you guys ready? 

RANEY:  We‘re ready for it.  We‘ve got a lot of different plans in place to handle any number of different contingencies. 

ABRAMS:  Even if hundreds more people show up, you guys are ready? 

RANEY:  We‘ve anticipated that we‘ll have the same volume of people as we had at the arraignment and there were upwards of 1,000... 

ABRAMS:  That‘s when Michael was dancing...


ABRAMS:  That‘s when he was dancing on the...

RANEY:  Correct. 

ABRAMS:  ... the SUV. 

RANEY:  Correct.  So we‘re confident that we have the staffing to handle that type of crowd level.  And even more in the city of Santa Maria has also increased their staffing to be able to accommodate that.  And we know that we‘re having an increase in media and what is different now than back then is that we‘ve got this media pool and all of the plans in place and everybody has been working together so well for the last five months that we anticipate that it should go rather smoothly. 

ABRAMS:  So this is where Michael Jackson and his team come in every day, sort of open like the Red Sea and then you close it up again. 

RANEY:  Exactly. 

ABRAMS:  Is everyone allowed to come in this way?  I mean is Michael Jackson getting different treatment than an ordinary defendant? 

RANEY:  Well an ordinary defendant, somebody who didn‘t have the public popularity as Michael Jackson, wouldn‘t have any issues in coming into the courthouse. 

ABRAMS:  Are you going to get a warning from the judge when there‘s a verdict? 

RANEY:  We‘ve been told that we‘ll have an hour notice from when the jury brings in a verdict to when it is read. 

ABRAMS:  So Sergeant, this is the other side of the courthouse where the jurors come in and out right here.  Have you guys ever had to make these kinds of preparations for taking jurors in and out of the courthouse? 

RANEY:  I don‘t recall ever having to do this in terms of maintaining the security and integrity of a jury pool. 

ABRAMS:  No jury problems so far, right? 

RANEY:  So far not that I‘m aware of. 


ABRAMS:  We‘re coming back with more from the heavily fortified courthouse in Santa Maria in a moment.


ABRAMS:  We told you earlier in the program about what seemed like dissension in the Michael Jackson defense camp after a statement came out from Michael Jackson and his family saying that only Michael Jackson‘s attorneys of record have been authorized to speak on his behalf.  His lawyer issued a statement saying I haven‘t authorized anyone to speak or hold any press conferences on behalf of Michael Jackson or his family. 

We assume that that was specifically referring to his spokesperson, who has been speaking out for Michael Jackson, as has Jesse Jackson, the Reverend.  Raymone Bain, the spokesperson, has issued a statement that says that it doesn‘t apply to her.  She says that Mr. Mesereau is concerned about people who have been going to court, using the court as a forum. 

And he‘s concerned about people who do not have the authority to speak on Mr. Jackson‘s behalf.  I am Mr. Jackson‘s personal publicist and spokesman so that memo does not apply to me, she says.  So more intrigue here at the Michael Jackson case.  It has to make you wonder what exactly is going on.  But that‘s what we‘re here for, try and help you figure that out if we can. 

Thanks for watching.  See you tomorrow.  We‘re here until the verdict.



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