updated 7/6/2005 10:51:32 AM ET 2005-07-06T14:51:32

Guest: Lansing Haynes, Ben Wolfinger, Brandy Hoagland, Misty Cooper, Joseph Evans, Arlene Ellis-Schipper, Jossy Mansur, Benvinda De Sousa

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, at any moment police will provide information on human remains that could be those of 9-year-old Dylan Groene. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Dylan's sister Shasta found alive this weekend with a dangerous child molester six weeks after her mother and brother were murdered in their home.  (INAUDIBLE) released (INAUDIBLE) store surveillance tape shows Shasta with her alleged abductor hours before he was arrested.  We talk with the sheriff, the prosecutor and Shasta's aunt and cousin who just visited her in the hospital for the first time. 

And an Aruban judge releases two of the three suspects in the Natalee Holloway case, but not before the police took all of them to the beach where they say they last saw Natalee.  We talk to someone who was there and hear from Natalee's mother. 

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket, after seven weeks, 8-year-old Shasta Groene reunited with her father.  A sex offender is under arrest.  That is her dad there.  We are expecting a press conference at any moment possibly related to her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, who is still missing and feared dead.  We are told that they're walking up to the microphones.  We'll be bringing that to you as soon as it happens. 

Just a short time ago, convicted sex offender Joseph Duncan in court, arraigned on two counts of first-degree kidnapping, could be other charges coming.  Authorities have been searching for the kids since May the 16th when the bodies of their mother, brother and a family friend were found in the family's Idaho home. 

They'd been bound and bludgeoned to death.  They seem to have no motives, suspect or clues.  Old-fashioned police work wasn't getting them too far, but the vigilance of a customer and employees at a Denny's restaurant in the very town where Shasta and Dylan were last seen led police to her. 


DENNY'S MANAGER:  I've got a little girl here with a tall gentlemen and she looks so much like that Shasta.

911 OPERATOR:  OK, are they still in the building?  

DENNY'S MANAGER:  Yes, they're at table 20.

DENNY'S CUSTOMER:  I'm sitting down here at Denny's and there is a little girl that just walked in that looks exactly like that Shasta girl.


ABRAMS:  Unbelievable.  The man she was with convicted sex offender, Joseph Duncan seen here on this video with Shasta in a gas station convenience store just hours before she was picked up by police.  Yesterday, remains were found in the Montana woods.  They are being tested to determine if they are those of 9-year-old Dylan. 

We are waiting for a press conference to begin at any moment from the police out there.  You see that—that is the scene.  We will bring that to you as soon as it begins and we get the audio from there.

But in the meantime, joining me now is Lansing Haynes.  He's the Kootenai County chief deputy prosecutor, the office handling the case.  Thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.

So two counts of kidnapping.  Is that in connection with both Dylan and Shasta?  And I would assume that means that you believe you have enough evidence to demonstrate that he kidnapped both? 

LANSING HAYNES, CHIEF DEPUTY PROSECUTOR, KOOTENAI COUNTY:  Yes, those counts both relate—count one relates to the abduction of Shasta Groene and count two relates to the abduction of Dylan Groene. 

ABRAMS:  Has he confessed? 

HAYNES:  Oh I couldn't comment on that, whether he has or hasn't, I couldn't say one way or the other.

ABRAMS:  But he has a lawyer, right? 

HAYNES:  He has been appointed a lawyer, yes. 

ABRAMS:  And I assume that an investigation is still ongoing as to whether he is connected with the murders as well of the people in that home? 

HAYNES:  That is right.  This is an ongoing investigation and as new facts are revealed we'll stay in close communication with the law enforcement people and make decisions once new facts are revealed to us.

ABRAMS:  Speaking of the law enforcement folks, let me just do this—pop into this live press conference.  We'll come right back to you. 

TIM FUHRMAN, SALT LAKE CITY FBI FIELD OFFICE:  ... the FBI.  I am joined today by Sheriff Hugh Hopwood of the Mineral County's Sheriff's Office and District Ranger Rob Harper of the U.S. Forest Service.  From the outset of the investigation we have repeatedly stated that the investigative agencies that have been conducting this investigation, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, the Idaho state police and the FBI have been met with overwhelming support from other law enforcement agencies and throughout the federal, state and local law enforcement community. 

We are joined today by two representatives of agencies who have recently given us exceptional assistance in this case.  As you are aware, evidence and information we have developed in this case has led us to this area of western Montana and we know that Shasta and Dylan Groene and Joseph Duncan spent some time in the Lolo National Forest over the last seven weeks.  We are asking members of this community and St. Regis and any one who may have traveled to the Lolo National Forest during that time period to provide us with any information they may have.  We'd ask that they search their memories to determine if they may have seen Dylan and Shasta and Mr. Duncan in and around the forest or in and around the St. Regis area. 

If you have any information, any of the members of the community about that, if you could please call the tip line at the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, 208-446-2292 or 2293.  For those of you in western Montana who may not have pictures of Shasta and Dylan and Mr. Duncan, Sharon Sweeney of the U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs Office will provide those to you afterwards.  We continue to process several areas, which we believe are crime scenes, which are located in an extremely remote part of the forest. 

I cannot give you the exact sites of the scenes and the possible scenes at this time because they are still being processed and we do not want to affect the integrity of the efforts of the FBI's evidence response team.  Additionally, there are significant safety concerns associated with travel and access to those scenes.  We will discus this afterwards with you with respect to access to those scenes.  A word about the information that led us to this area.  From the outset, and more particularly since Saturday, the investigation has utilized a variety of sources, interviews, evidence collection and processing and old-fashioned police work to lead to us this point. 

We have been extremely busy and we will continue our diligent efforts.  Though I know you are anxious to hear specifics about this information and for me to characterize the information and the sources of information, I cannot comment on it or characterize it in any way so as to not compromise the ongoing investigation and potential prosecution.  This is the only press briefing we will have here at the Lolo National Forest, St. Regis area. 

And we will have given—we will be getting some statements from District Ranger Harper and from Sheriff Hopwood.  I would like to thank all of you in the media, particularly those of you who have joined us from western Montana in attempting to put out this information.  We are quite confident that information we have put out in the media in the past has led to significant progress that we are making now and that we have made throughout this investigation.  Now we'll have a brief statement from Sheriff Hopwood. 

SHERIFF HUGH HOPWOOD, MINERAL COUNTY:  First of all, I'd like to—excuse me—thank you for your patience and for coming out here today.  I'd like to state that this has been from the very start a team effort between Idaho state police, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, Forest Service and my office.  And it's my belief that that's why we are able to have this successful resolution that we do today, is because of the good flow of information and because this was a team effort. 

My sheriff's office assisted the FBI agents in speaking with potential witnesses, locating scenes, and interfacing with other agencies, and at this time I would just like to say that the thoughts and prayers of everyone in Mineral County goes out to the victim's families and we hope that we're able to give them some kind of resolution.  Thank you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good afternoon.  My name is Rob Harper with the U.S. Forest Service.  And it's not common for us to be involved in incidents like this.  However, we are grateful...

ABRAMS:  There you hear it, press conference from the Sheriff's Department and the FBI talking about Dylan and Shasta Groene and saying that the two of them spent time in that park.  That was really the news that came out of it, saying that both of them spent time there and asking for anyone who had seen them, may have seen them with Duncan, to call the authorities.  We will keep putting up that tip line.  You see it there at the bottom of the screen.  If you have information, please do call them. 

Joined again by Lansing Haynes, he's the chief deputy prosecutor out there.  So you've been listening to the press conference and I know you can't talk about anything sort of beyond what's being stated publicly.  But it does sound like there is evidence to believe that Dylan and Shasta were there alive together. 

HAYNES:  Well, you're right.  I can't comment on that.  And we will just continue to hear the results of the investigation that is ongoing and see where that leads us. 

ABRAMS:  Is it tough for you—is it—I should say is it easier for you to prosecute a case like this where it is so heinous and so horrible and the guy is effectively caught red handed? 

HAYNES:  Well any crime against a child is heinous and so this is—this has some particularly disturbing aspects to it, so I wouldn't say it is more difficult to prosecute it because of that.  We prosecute with the evidence and not really with the emotional factor. 

ABRAMS:  And again, let's be clear, you are still investigating the possibility that he could be charged with murder, again, possibility, for the deaths of those three people, including Dylan and Shasta's mother? 

HAYNES:  Further charges are possible based on the outcome of the ongoing investigation. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well don't let up on this guy.  Lansing Haynes, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it. 

Coming up, we'll talk to a captain in the Sheriff's Department.  And you know, we will talk about the length of time it took to find her.  She was found right there in the town. 

And Shasta's aunt has just returned from visiting with her in the hospital.  That is her dad.  We talk to her about how she is holding up when we come back. 

Plus, two of three suspects were released in Aruba in the Natalee Holloway case.  Natalee's mother is furious.  We're going to hear from her and talk to her lawyer. 

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:  This is the tail end of a live news conference that was just held by the FBI and the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office talking about their ongoing investigation into the Dylan and Shasta Groene case.  Little Shasta found alive with a convicted sex offender.  He's been charged with two counts of kidnapping and they are fearing that 9-year-old Dylan has died. 

All right, joining me now once again, Captain Ben Wolfinger with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.  Captain, thanks for coming back on the program.  Appreciate it.  Were you surprised that little Shasta was found right in the town where she went missing? 


I think we are all amazed that she was found here in Coeur d'Alene. 

Happily so, but certainly surprised. 

ABRAMS:  Some people have been asking then why did it take so long?  I mean if she was there in the town with this guy, who was a known convicted sex offender, some have been writing in, e-mailing, et cetera, saying what took them so long?  And I want to give you the opportunity to respond to that.

WOLFINGER:  Well thank you.  You know we don't know exactly where they had been over those seven weeks and that's what we are putting together now.  We know they spent some time in Montana.  We have evidence that points out that they may have been staying in a number of different sites in western Montana and northern Idaho.  The sex offender wasn't known to us here in northern Idaho.  He is registered sex offender out of—supposedly living in North Dakota in Fargo, and wasn't known to us here in north Idaho. 

ABRAMS:  Do you know why he came back? 

WOLFINGER:  No, that's certainly one of the great mysteries we have.  And because he invoked his rights against self-incrimination investigators haven't had the opportunity to actually interview him at this time. 

ABRAMS:  And yet, from the press conference it's clear that you all are convinced that Dylan and Shasta together spent time with him in that remote area? 

WOLFINGER:  Well I don't know.  I wasn't privy to the press conference in St. Regis today in Mineral County, so I don't know what was said at that conference.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Well that is what they said, but you'll want to hear it for yourself I understand before you want to talk about it on TV.  But yes, they did talk about that.  Have you had a chance—I'm going to get a chance to talk to Shasta's aunt who just met with her, just got to see little Shasta.  Have you had a chance to see her, talk to her? 

WOLFINGER:  To Shasta?  No I haven't.  I haven't had a chance to meet with Shasta at all.  Our investigators have though.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Captain Wolfinger, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

WOLFINGER:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  For months Dylan and Shasta's family were grieving the loss of their loved ones murdered in their own home.  Remember it's the mother and the brother of Shasta and Dylan and a neighbor, all killed in the house.  And they have been worried sick about Shasta and Dylan, 8 and 9 years old.  After she was found, Shasta was taken to a local hospital where she was reunited with her dad. 

Just moments ago, her aunt got to visit Shasta for the first time.  Brandy Hoagland joins us, as well as Misty Cooper.  They are Shasta Groene's aunts and the sister of Shasta's murdered mother.  Thank you both for coming on the program.  I know this has got to be a tough time for you.  Brandy, how is little Shasta doing?

BRANDY HOAGLAND, SHASTA AND DYLAN GROENE'S AUNT:  Little Shasta, believe it or not, she is doing great.  She looks absolutely wonderful.  She looks like she is in good physical condition.  She—we just went and visited her again today.  We have been there every day, every opportunity we can get to see her.  It is the most amazing feeling after going through what we have been the last seven weeks, so worried.  It is an amazing feeling to be able to hold her in your arms and actually see a smile on her face right now.

ABRAMS:  Just seeing her smile gives me chills and I don't even know her.  But just seeing the fact that she can muster up a smile after everything she has been through.  That has got to be one strong little girl. 

HOAGLAND:  Yes, she is a very strong little girl just like her mother.  Her mother was very strong.  I honestly cannot even imagine what this little girl has gone through in the last seven weeks.  I mean she does look like she is doing very good right now, but you have to believe at some point a lot of things are going to start hitting her, probably very slowly as she goes through a process.  And she's going to need a lot of help and a lot of counseling probably and a lot of love from the family. 

ABRAMS:  I am sure.  Did she say anything to you about that surveillance tape?  And it does seem at times like she is almost trying to be seen at times on some of these tapes.  Did she say anything to you about that? 

HOAGLAND:  You know, out of respect for the investigation, we have given our word to the FBI to the detectives, all of the authorities...

ABRAMS:  Oh, fine, fine.  No problem...

HOAGLAND:  ... that we will not bring up any of those details with Shasta...

ABRAMS:  That's fine.  That's fine.  No problem.  Misty, how is the family doing?  I mean you know, yes, this is a great relief to the family, but this is also a family that I know you all are suffering from major tragedy of your sister, and the other brother and maybe Dylan, et cetera.  How is the family doing? 

MISTY COOPER, SHASTA AND DYLAN GROENE'S AUNT:  They are doing as well as what can be expected right now from everything that we have been with and been through...

ABRAMS:  How is papa doing?  It's a nice picture of him hugging her there when they were reunited for the first time. 

COOPER:  Pardon me?  I didn't hear you...

ABRAMS:  I said how is her dad doing?  How's he holding up?  I mean we see that picture of him smiling when he was first reunited with her. 

COOPER:  He's been doing good.  He's been doing really good.  I have not seen much of him right now because he's spending a lot of time with her, but you know as well as could be expected for the situation. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right. Well look, send our best.  And when I say our, I can tell you that we get e-mails all the time, even when we weren't covering this, people were saying you know why aren't you following up on little Shasta and Dylan, please keep covering that story.  And so a lot of my viewers have been very invested with your family and so for them, I say to you, that we all wish you the best and of course, wish Shasta the best of luck. 

HOAGLAND:  Absolutely, thank you very much.  And everybody has been absolutely wonderful to the family.  We have a lot of thanks to give to the media and to the authorities.  It has just been a real blessing to have Shasta back.

ABRAMS:  All right.  OK.  Joseph Duncan, this is the guy who was with her.  He was arrested in Minnesota last year on charges that he had molested two young boys.  That wasn't the first time he had been arrested.  He had spent most of his life in prison.  The judge in that case set bail at just 15,000.  He jumped bail, wasn't heard from again. 

Joseph Evans, Becker County attorney there in Minnesota, I talked to him a couple of hours ago and asked him about the allegations against Duncan in that state and about the status of that case. 

JOSEPH EVANS, BECKER COUNTY MN ATTORNEY (via phone):  Two boys were together, and one boy was allegedly fondled and the other boy allegedly he had his pants or shorts pulled down.  And in connection with that boy, he was charged with attempted criminal sexual conduct. 

ABRAMS:  Considering what he had been convicted of before, that he'd raped a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint, burned the victim with a cigarette, made the victim believe he was going to be killed by firing a gun twice on empty chambers, et cetera.  How is it that a guy like that even gets out on bail? 

EVANS:  Minnesota, unlike every state, has a mandatory bail provisions under its Constitution.  Meaning that the court must set bail and does not have the authority to hold an individual without bail, even if it wanted to. 

ABRAMS:  In any case? 

EVANS:  In any case.

ABRAMS:  No matter what the crime?

EVANS:  No matter what the crime.  The most serious crime that you can imagine a defendant is still entitled to what is termed reasonable bail, and that again is regardless of the nature of the crime.  And so the court must set bail.  The court must set it at what is termed a reasonable level and ultimately that is a decision the court needs to make. 

ABRAMS:  You had asked for $25,000, the judge set it at 15,000 is that correct? 

EVANS:  That is correct. 

ABRAMS:  And then he jumped bail? 

EVANS:  That is also correct. 

ABRAMS:  Do you know who posted the bail for him? 

EVANS:  I do not.  I know that you know bail was set at 15,000.  I know that he was able to put together 15,000 in cash.  He did not buy a bail bond and so he was able to post 15 in cash.  I know that a check was written on his account.  Now whether it came from his own funds or from funds that somebody else supplied to him, I do not know. 

But you know what that tells me is, is if the guy had—if the court had set bail at 150,000 he may very well have been able to buy a bail bond at 10 percent of that 150 with his 15,000 and still make bail. 

ABRAMS:  Boy, this is the sort of case that can really change laws (INAUDIBLE)?

EVANS:  Well it is the kind of case that certainly will get a lot of attention and not undeservedly so.  And is—this type of case—this is the type of case that does change laws. 

ABRAMS:  Did they contact you when they were searching for Dylan and Shasta? 

EVANS:  All I can tell you is that our local law enforcement here was working closely together with...


EVANS:  ... with law enforcement across the country and it was making a diligent effort to track this guy down...

ABRAMS:  So they had their eye on this guy? 

EVANS:  When you say they had their eye on this guy, who do you mean

by they? 

ABRAMS:  The authorities. 

EVANS:  Well, the authorities here, after he skipped bail there was a very active effort being made by our people here to attempt to locate and apprehend him. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  But the authorities in Idaho it sounds like also were inquiring about him as well. 

EVANS:  I'm not privy to that.  I don't...

ABRAMS:  OK.  Fair enough.  Thanks very much for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.

EVANS:  You're welcome. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the number of suspects held in the death of Natalee Holloway is down to only one.  After authorities released these brothers over the weekend, but not before they took them to the beach where they say they last saw her.  We've got photographs of those boys and Joran Van Der Sloot being brought to the beach taken by someone who was there.  And Natalee's mom speaks out, pleading to the U.S. to make sure the brothers can't leave the island of Aruba.  She is furious—coming up. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, Natalee Holloway's mother is furious after Aruban authorities release two suspects in search for her daughter.  First the headlines. 


ABRAMS:  Two more suspects in the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway are released.  A judge sent brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe home yesterday after three and a half weeks in custody.  They were arrested on June 9 along with Dutch teen, Joran Van Der Sloot and held on suspicion of the murder and kidnapping of Natalee last seen on May 30. 

Now Joran is now the only suspect in custody.  On Sunday, though, all three were brought to a beach near the island's Marriott hotel where Natalee was reportedly last seen.  And today two Dutch F-16 jets equipped with high-resolution cameras flew over Aruba hoping to uncover evidence in connection with Natalee's disappearance.  Now this morning Natalee's mother was very angry.  She pleaded with the authorities to keep the Kalpoe brothers in Aruba. 


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER:  It is now that I ask the world to help me.  Two suspects were released yesterday who were involved in a violent crime against my daughter.  These criminals are not only allowed to walk freely among the tourists and citizens of Aruba, but there are no limits where they may choose to travel.  I am asking all mothers and fathers in all nations to hear my plea. 

I implore you, do not allow these two suspects, the Kalpoe brothers, to enter your country until this case is solved.  Do not allow these criminals to walk among your citizens.  Help me by not allowing these two to get away with this crime.  It is my greatest fear today that the Kalpoe brothers will leave Aruba. 

I am asking the Aruban officials to notify the United States State Department in the event these suspects try to leave this island.  I am asking all nations not to offer them a safe haven.  I am asking this in the name of my beautiful, intelligent and outstanding daughter who I haven't seen for 36 days and for whom I will continue to search until I find her.  Thank you all so much. 


ABRAMS:  This has got to be so hard for her.  All right, let's check in Arlene Ellis Schipper again, an attorney there on Aruba.  Thanks for coming back on the program.  Bottom line—what is the rule about them leaving Aruba?  They can leave, right, if they want to? 

ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  They can.  You have to understand that they are still a suspect.  They have not been ruled out as a suspect.  But there is nothing, no grounds to—for them to be held in pretrial detention anymore.  A judge has ruled that.  So as the judge has not suspended them and conditions their—the suspension, they are free to go wherever they want to. 

ABRAMS:  What is going on here?  I mean the standard is still pretty low to hold someone.  I mean you have to have some evidence as you do here in the United States if you're going to hold someone.  And so far, it seems that the prosecutors wanted to hold Van Der Sloot's father and the judge said no, there is not enough evidence. 

The prosecutors wanted to hold those two security guards initially, a judge said no, there is not enough evidence.  The prosecutors wanted to hold these two brothers, the judge says no, there is not enough evidence.  Is this the regular course of business that the prosecutors always want to hold someone and the judges are always letting them go? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well regular business, of course, nothing is regular in this case.  What is—this is how the system works.  A prosecutor is convinced of something, he suspects that a certain somebody has something to do with a case and that—he finds then reasonable suspicion or serious suspicion and he brings that in front of judge of instruction and they assess on objective—make an objective assessment and they see whether there are enough grounds, enough probable cause and enough serious objections for the release of someone.  And in this case apparently there were not enough serious objections and there was not enough probable cause. 

ABRAMS:  Natalee's mom is calling them criminals, saying that we can't let them get away with this crime.  Do you think she is in contact with the prosecutors?  Are they letting her know something that we may not know? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  I think that's an emotional statement frankly.  Criminals, you cannot call them yet.  They are just suspects.  You are a criminal only after convictions and they are still presumed innocent.  So I think that's just a mother talking out of her emotions. 

ABRAMS:  And very quickly, Joran Van Der Sloot, he can appeal the decision to keep him behind bars.  Would you expect that's going to happen? 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Well, that really depends on what the defense attorney has in filed.  If it is still just the inconsistencies of stories that the prosecution office bases their suspicions on, I would lean towards an appeal, yes.  But if it's more, if there is a little bit more than might probably wait until there is a complete standstill or there is diminishing of evidence. 

ABRAMS:  Arlene Ellis-Schipper, you are a great guest.  Thank you very much for coming on the program. 

ELLIS-SCHIPPER:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Appreciate it.  On Sunday, we've been talking about this, the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot, all three of them were brought to the beach by the Marriott hotel, the last place Natalee was reportedly seen.

Now joining me now from Aruba, Jossy Mansur, managing editor for Aruba's “Diario”.  He was there.  He got to take some photographs of the scene there.  Thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it. 

All right.  So what was going on?  We're going to put up some of the pictures.  Tell me, what was going on?  What was the purpose of bringing them back to the scene? 

JOSSY MANSUR, “DIARIO” MANAGING EDITOR:  Well to begin it, I did not take the pictures, one of my photographers did.  But the point was to identify the exact steps Joran took when he was supposed to be with Natalee that night.  Because they declared that they dropped Joran and Natalee over at that spot and then the police wanted them to go over every single step that he took, every single move that he made so that it could compare what (INAUDIBLE) with the actual spot where it's supposed to have happened. 

ABRAMS:  They kept them cuffed the whole time? 

MANSUR:  They was cuffed all the time. 

ABRAMS:  Is it unusual in Aruba to take some—a suspect out of jail to the scene of the crime—alleged scene of the crime? 

MANSUR:  It is not unusual in other cases where, for example, a crime has been committed and they take the (INAUDIBLE) with them and they reconstruct every single move and stuff that took place in a crime.  In this case, it is not that usual, no. 

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you—the beaches weren't closed to the public

when you were there and everyone in Aruba, everyone—you've told me this

·         everyone in Aruba is following this case.  What was it like as Joran Van Der Sloot and the—and these Kalpoe brothers were brought to the beach, an open beach at the Marriott hotel as this case is the talk of the town? 

MANSUR:  Well they were not brought together to the beach.  The only one they brought to this stretch of beach was Joran.  The other two, the Kalpoe brothers were taken to other sites like, for example, behind the lighthouse and some other spots way to the west—way to the northwest—east west.  And Joran was there.  He seemed to be taking a stroll on the beach.  He seemed very relaxed.  I mean I couldn't give you any opinion even as to what he was thinking.

ABRAMS:  What do you make of the Kalpoe brothers being released? 

MANSUR:  You know, it was surprising to me.  I thought they would hold them longer because the same judge that looked at the evidence eight days ago looked at it again and this time he did not find anything that he found last time to extend (INAUDIBLE) so I was a little surprised with that. 

ABRAMS:  But isn't it each time they have to—the standard increases each time they ask for them to be held again? 

MANSUR:  Not necessarily.  They just have to have the evidence in place.  They have to be very convincing with the evidence that they present.  It could be the same evidence, with one or two additions to it.  But it doesn't have to have a lot more than they have the first time. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Yes, some of the lawyers there have suggested that with each hearing that comes that they want to hold them another eight days and another 60 days, et cetera.  That the judges tend to increase the amount of evidence that is required to hold them, but I guess that becomes sort of a question of technicalities and how you define a little bit and et cetera.

All right.  Jossy Mansur, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, Natalee's mother is extremely upset that the two brothers were released.  We're going to talk to her attorney in Aruba next.

And “TIME” magazine turned over reporter Matthew Cooper's notes about who leaked the name of a CIA agent, but apparently not good enough for the prosecutor.  He still says Cooper should go to jail if he doesn't talk.  I say come on, enough is enough.  It's my “Closing Argument”.

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


ABRAMS:  Coming up, two suspects in the search for Natalee Holloway are freed.  Natalee's mother is furious, worried they're going to leave the island.  We're going to talk to her lawyer up next.


ABRAMS:  We continue now with our coverage of the Natalee Holloway case, with the latest out of Aruba.  Two of the three suspects are now free.  Yesterday a judge released brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, held since June 9.  Dutch teen Joran Van Der Sloot remains in custody. 

This was relief for the Kalpoes, led Natalee's mother to just become furious about it.  Joining me now once again is Benvinda De Sousa, the Aruban attorney hired by Natalee's family.  Thank you so much for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it.

So what do you make...


ABRAMS:  ... what do you make either as a legal or practical matter of the fact that the Kalpoes have been released?

DE SOUSA:  Well first of all, I must say that it was a total surprise to the family.  Natalee's mom, Beth, was indeed very much in shock, but again, as my colleague explained before me, it is a system and it is how the system works.  These two brothers remain suspects to the authorities and they will be continue --  they will continue to be investigated. 

ABRAMS:  Let me play this sound from your client this morning talking about the Kalpoes.


TWITTY:  I am asking all mothers and fathers in all nations to hear my plea.  I implore you do not allow these two suspects, the Kalpoe brothers, to enter your country until this case is solved.  Do not allow these criminals to walk among your citizens.  Help me by not allowing these two to get away with this crime.


ABRAMS:  I asked Arlene before about she's using the word criminals, let them get away with this crime.  Was Arlene right that that was really just an emotional response or do you or maybe does Beth know something more about the evidence that maybe some of us don't know?

DE SOUSA:  Well it is an emotional outburst.  You must understand that Natalee's mom is desperate.  She hasn't seen her daughter in over 36 days.  She is looking for her daughter, as is the rest of the family, and everybody involved in this matter.  What she fears is that by these two suspects being released that maybe, maybe the answers that she's looking for will not be found and understandable so.  She's expressing her frustration and she just wants her girl back.

ABRAMS:  Must be tough for you to be in the position of sort of explaining it from a purely legal perspective.

DE SOUSA:  It is.  It is quite difficult, but that's what I was hired for among other things.  That's what I was retained for to explain the system and to keep an open line of communication with the prosecutor and the investigation authorities and that's exactly what we're doing.

ABRAMS:  Is there any way that the authorities or anyone that maybe can be working with the family can monitor the Kalpoes in some way or another?  I mean as Arlene was pointing out, they are allowed to leave the country if they wanted to right now.

DE SOUSA:  Yes, they are because they were released without any restrictions although they continue to be suspects, but as Arlene already explained, there are no restrictions to their setting in liberty...


DE SOUSA:  ... at this point in time.

ABRAMS:  Why no restrictions?  I mean if they are still suspects, the judge could have imposed certain restrictions.  Why not do you think?

DE SOUSA:  Well the judge could have, but he didn't.  Why he didn't I have not seen the verdict yet, so I cannot go into any details of the verdict and his considerations to do so.

ABRAMS:  Will that be made public, the judge's ruling?

DE SOUSA:  No, not at this point, no and not ever actually.  Only the defense attorneys will get that ruling, as does the prosecutor, and in due time when this case is tried, the family will as well have access to that information.

ABRAMS:  Are the defense attorneys not allowed to discuss it publicly? 

I mean is that part of the agreement when they get that ruling?

DE SOUSA:  That is correct.

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right.  Benvinda De Sousa, once again, thanks for making the time to come back on the program.  We appreciate it.

DE SOUSA:  Thank you very much for having me.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, a special prosecutor still going after Matt Cooper.  I thought he was safe and Judith Miller from “The New York Times”.  The prosecutor just not giving up.  “TIME” magazine handed over Cooper's notes about the leak of a covert CIA agent's name, not enough says the prosecutor.  I say it should be.  It's my “Closing Argument”.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument” - it seems special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald really wants to put someone away in connection with the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's name.  But it seems Fitzgerald may realize it's unlikely the leaker will ever be prosecuted so the reporters who were provided with the information are the next best thing even though there was no allegation that they broke any laws in connection with the release of her name. 

Again, conservative journalist Robert Novak releases her name.  Novak seems to be in the clear.  Yet even after “TIME” magazine turns over all of reporter Matt Cooper's notes, Fitzgerald is still asking that Cooper be jailed for refusing to disclose the source for his article, which simply parodied Novak's report.  No home confinement.  Fitzgerald wants him to serve time.  And of course, he also wants to jail Judy Miller of “The New York Times” even though she never published Wilson's name in any article. 

Now full disclosure again, my dad representing Miller, but he's focused on the law.  I'm interested in the fruitless strong-arm tactics by the prosecutors.  I've said it before and I'll say it again mark my words.  The reporters are the only ones who will serve time in this case.  Not the leaker who may have committed a federal crime.  Some now suspect that it was White House strategist Karl Rove even though he is denying it through his lawyers and not Novak, the reporter who outed Wilson in the first place, but two others caught in the crosshairs.  It is called prosecutorial discretion and this prosecutor who's got a very good reputation just doesn't seem to be using it. 

Coming up, the Grinch comes early to ice cream lovers who rely on ice cream truck jingles to let them know that the ice cream man is around.  Our “OH PLEAs!”...


ABRAMS:  I've had my say, now it's time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retiring from the bench last Friday leaving many to speculate who President Bush will choose as his first Supreme Court nominee. 

John Livingston from Tulsa, Oklahoma, “The arguments have not changed.  Teddy Kennedy is condemning President Bush's nomination even though none has been made.  President Bush asserts that anyone who opposes his appointment for any reason is just playing politics.  Let's call it what it is, a case of Bork peril politics.”  Get it?  Robert Bork? 

Mary Post writes, “You asked a former Supreme Court clerk whether it would be someone conservative, she replied with a bunch of malarkey about it's not political, et cetera and you called her on it.  You go boy.  I'm so sick of TV journalists sitting there like Howdy Doody when a guest is trying to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to the viewers.”  You'll always get that here Mary.

“OH PLEAs!”—the sound of an ice cream truck on a hot, sunny day.  Kids screaming as they line up for ice cream.  To some, it's Americana.  To others it's just annoying.  The infamous ice cream truck jingle is in jeopardy for Mr. Ding-a-Ling vendors in Utica, New York.  The catchy songs like “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “The Entertainer” could put the cream sickle salesman on thin ice. 

Some of the ice cream truck vendors have been ticketed for noise violations.  The trucks have been banned from two towns where some summer scrooges complained of the loud music.  Company officials hope a compromise can be reached, the ice cream trucks will be back in the two communities.  In the meantime, it's probably not a great idea if you scream for ice cream.  Ha!

That does it for us tonight.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews up next. 

I'll see you tomorrow.



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