updated 7/7/2005 11:04:46 AM ET 2005-07-07T15:04:46

Guest: Beth Holloway Twitty, Floyd Abrams, Andy McCarthy, Ben

Wolfinger, Bo Dietl, Jeanine Pirro, Jeralyn Merritt

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway

Twitty joins us live from Aruba. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Natalee's been missing for five weeks and now rather than support her family, protestors are complaining about them.  This as Beth Holloway Twitty is asking Aruban authorities to not let two suspects to leave the island. 

Plus this convicted sex offender under arrest for kidnapping and molesting two Idaho children, now he's a suspect in the murder of their mother as well.  Eight-year-old Shasta described her harrowing deal and many are now asking, how and why did he get released on bail in another case where he was accused of molesting children. 

And a “New York Times” reporter will spend her first night in jail tonight after refusing to reveal a confidential source.  Her lawyer, my dad, joins us live. 

The program about justice starts now.  


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket, the Aruban prosecutors fighting back, this after two of three suspects in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway were released by a judge.  They said this afternoon—quote—“the public prosecutor's office has appealed the judge of instructions decision to release the two brothers.  The public prosecutor's office has also appealed the decision of the judge, which cancels the limitations set upon Joran Van Der Sloot and the decision to admit Joran's lawyers to police interrogations.”

And it's not just the prosecuting attorney filing an appeal.  The office went on to say that—quote—“The attorney for Joran Van Der Sloot has appealed the judge of instructions decision, in which he ordered the detention of the suspect for a maximum of 60 days.”

The judge of instructions—meanwhile, it seems some Arubans are getting angry at Natalee's family.  Yesterday, about 200 people gathered outside a courthouse to protest what they feel is a misrepresentation of their island, in part, by Natalee's mother.  Now, a lawyer for one of the brothers is also going after the family. 

Joining me now is Natalee's mother.  OK, we're supposed to be joined by Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty but we have just lost her.  She's in Aruba and we've been having some trouble with our satellites there in Aruba.  This has been really—I mean I can say, up to this point, really, Natalee's family has been spearheading the search efforts.  They have been, I think, a catalyst in getting people to act and now we're seeing some people upset about some comments in particular that she had made yesterday about two of the suspects.  She's been trying to get the authorities to keep them on the island because there were no instructions.  Meaning, the judge had the option to say they must stay on this islands. 

Now, the judge did not say that.  And the judge has released—I'm sorry.  Do we have her?  Oh.  The judge has also let up on some of the restrictions on Joran Van Der Sloot.  He was the one suspect who is still in custody.  All right.  Do we not have it?  OK, let me do this.

I'm going to take a quick commercial break.  We're going to try and come back with Beth Holloway Twitty in a moment.



ABRAMS:  We're back.  We're talking about the case of Natalee Holloway and I introduced Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty a minute ago, and I apologize to her, we had some technical problems.  Thanks very much for taking the time to come on the program.  We appreciate it. 


ABRAMS:  Let me ask you about these protests that started yesterday.  I've got to assume that most of the people on that island have been supportive and that that group of people in front of the courthouse is just, you know, a few of the dissenters. 

TWITTY:  I want to make it perfectly clear that every Aruban citizen that has approached me has been, you know, has welcomed me.  They have been, you know, just nothing but respectful and courteous and supportive.  So you know I really, you know I just think that it's just a group of individuals and maybe they're just, you know, maybe they're feeling some frustrations, too. 

I mean you know Natalee's stepfather and father and stepmother and I of course, you know, we've had—you know, we've had severe frustrations for now and it's about to approach six weeks, so I really, you know, just am not paying too much attention to that.  I just, you know, I just I have not experienced that nor have I seen that. 

ABRAMS:  How much are the investigators keeping you up-to-date on the day-to-day activities of the investigation?

TWITTY:  Well, as we know, there are certain things that they can and cannot disclose so it's really hard to tell you specifically where—how I'm being updated.  I mean you know, we had meetings, but you know as I've stated before, some of them are more productive than others. 

ABRAMS:  So it sounds like there are times when you are frustrated about the fact that you're not getting more from them, understandably, I think. 

TWITTY:  Yes.  Well, absolutely. 

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you, the attorney for one of the two Kalpoe brothers, two of the three suspects who were released.  You made a statement yesterday.  You know you were upset about the fact that they were released and you made a comment that he has now issued a statement really in the last couple of hours and I want to give you an opportunity to respond to, because I know a lot of people are going to be reporting this statement and I want to make sure that you get a chance to respond. 


ABRAMS:  He says, in a public statement by Mrs. Beth Twitty on July 5, 2005, she called our client, Mr. Satish Kalpoe, a criminal involved in a violent crime against my daughter and who is allowed to walk freely among the tourists and citizens.  This statement is prejudicial, inflammatory, libelous and totally outrageous.”

Your response.

TWITTY:  My only comment to that is, on May 30 at 12:0 p.m., anyone can check 911 calls.  They can check with the state trooper in the state of Mississippi, and my initial response within two to three seconds is my daughter has been kidnapped in Aruba and to even further pursue that—

I was on this island by 11:00 p.m. and had all the information.  I had the vehicle that my daughter was seen taken away in. 

I had—not only that—I had the license plate, I had the driver, I had the—and two of the passengers and those names are Satish Kalpoe, Deepak Kalpoe and Joran Van Der Sloot.  And to my—and that is—all I know—from a mother's point of view, those three individuals, they kidnapped my daughter.  And you know I—people ask me, well you know, where's the demand for the reward and I don't know that. 

Was it a kidnapping that went bad, that something bad happened?  You know I don't know that, and I will not know those answers until I find Natalee.  And like I said, those are documented calls to 911.  A state trooper has me on camera approaching his vehicle that my daughter had been kidnapped in Aruba.

ABRAMS:  Do you know that the two of them were involved though, as opposed to the third or basically what you're saying is look, this is what I know is that these were the three of the last people to see her and that's all I know. 

TWITTY:  Exactly.  I mean exactly.  I mean I do know some other pieces of information that I—you know, that I have gathered since I've been on this island but you know as far as a mother's standpoint and my first reaction and it still stands today as it did at 12:00 p.m. on May the 30th on those 911 calls and to that state trooper in Mississippi, and I was also calling FBI in Washington D.C...


TWITTY:  ... and that' that's all documented. 

ABRAMS:  So this is basically your way of just saying look, we need to keep these people here.  They're still considered suspects.  Even your lawyer said on our show yesterday that it may have been an emotion coming out when you used the word “criminal.”

TWITTY:  Absolutely.  I mean five—five and a half weeks of sheer frustration and you know, and anybody else if they were in my shoes, you know they—I know they can sympathize with me and I know they have seen how Jug and I and her—and Natalee's father and stepmother, we have tried to be so respectful and so dignified and proceed so cautiously with every word that we chose to use, but you know there just there is a breaking point. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I'm not going to even bother reading you the second statement that they made.  You know I think we've gotten the point of what your response is here.  Are you glad the prosecutors are continuing to fight the fight to keep the Kalpoe brothers on the island?  As you know, they filed an appeal, basically saying that there should be travel restrictions on them.

TWITTY:  Well, absolutely.  I think that's—I was very pleased with that decision and you know, I think that—you know we can only...


TWITTY:  ... I think we need to keep everybody here until we find Natalee.  That was all I was asking until this is solved, until Natalee is found.

ABRAMS:  Is it frustrating for you that you haven't been able to attend these hearings, for example, these detention hearings?

TWITTY:  You know, I didn't really—I don't have anything to base it on.  I mean I've never been—had any experience in this before so I don't even know how it's done in the U.S., you know...


TWITTY:  I had no idea if I was going to be able to get in the hearings or not.  But you know, I'll make an attempt to do anything, so...

ABRAMS:  Have there been any days where you felt that there were better days?  I mean have there been any days where you really feel like or felt like there was some real progress being made?

TWITTY:  Oh, absolutely and I think everybody can go back and document each day that I did.  And you know this was to me—this was—it wasn't an unproductive day.  It's been an unproductive week to me.  I mean you know usually I've have unproductive days.  I feel like it's just been like an unproductive week from a mother's standpoint, from my standpoint, and I think everybody could sympathize with where I am. 

ABRAMS:  Let me tell you, I mean before I even talk to you about this next issue, the amount of letters we get from people supporting you, you personally.  I mean complimenting you and talking about how much they respect what you've been doing and the fact that—you know we cover a lot of these stories where people say, why didn't the mother do this, why didn't the mother do that.  And I think you're doing exactly what everyone would think and hope a mother would do and that is go there...


ABRAMS:  ... and do everything that she can. 

TWITTY:  We're trying and I want to make it perfectly clear the only way that I can do this is with their support.  I mean I'm so beaten some days.  I feel like—it's kind of like a boxing match and I'm just—

I'm out.  But when I get in bed at night and I begin to read, because I do make it a point to read each e-mail, each letter, each card because that, you know, that is a huge source of strength for me and my faith in God and that I will get through this and I know with all the support from everyone in the world, I know that we have to keep going. 

ABRAMS:  You're still holding out hope, right? 

TWITTY:  Well, I'm holding hope that we will have answers.  Yes, I am. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Beth Holloway Twitty, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the program.  We really appreciate it.  Good luck.  We're following it.  We're rooting for you and we're going to—let us know if we can do anything. 

TWITTY:  OK.  Thank you so much. 

ABRAMS:  Thanks.  Bye. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Onto another story.  “New York Times” reporter

Judith Miller is in jail or at least in custody as we speak.  Federal

Judge Thomas Hogan has ordered Miller jailed after she refused to

testify before a federal grand jury in the investigation into who leaked

the name of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA agent outed by columnist, Robert

Novak.  Now, Miller has never published the name.  Special counsel Pat

Fitzgerald, who's investigating the leak, has insisted—quote—“We

are trying to get the to the bottom of whether a crime was committed and

by whom.”

Judge agreed and so unless she talks, Miller could be behind bars until the grand jury's term ends in October.  This as “TIME” magazine's Matt Cooper who also faced a possible contempt charge, is a free man tonight.  “TIME” had already surrendered Cooper's notes and e-mails on the story.  Cooper says he was ready to go to jail, even told his 6-year-old son he didn't know when he would see him again.  And he says all that changed with a phone call. 


MATTHEW COOPER, “TIME”MAGAZINE CORRESPONDENT:  That source gave me a personal, unambiguous, uncoerced waiver to speak to the grand jury and it was only then when I was satisfied that that source was comfortable with me speaking and indeed wanted me to speak to the grand jury that I felt free after two years under threat of jail to go speak to the grand jury. 


ABRAMS:  Floyd Abrams is Judith Miller's attorney.  He's one of the country's leading constitutional lawyers and he is my dad.  Dad, good to see you.  All right...


D. ABRAMS:  All right.  So let's—let me talk about the preparations.  You went into today, I think assuming that Judith Miller was probably going to go to jail.  Was she prepared for it like literally?  Meaning, had she given you her earrings and other things and said I know I'm now going to jail today? 

F. ABRAMS:  Well, she brought medication with her that she needs to take and she was ready in every literal sense.  Now, you know emotionally, I don't think you really are ready until something like this happens.  Hope doesn't die easy and even though she had been told and she understand full well that the very likely result of today's hearing would—that she would be jailed by the end of today, as that's happened, you know that's a little different from really feeling it. 

D. ABRAMS:  And your team was asking for a specific type of incarceration.  Judge didn't give that, did he? 

F. ABRAMS:  That's right.  We asked that she be allowed to be subject to home confinement or alternately to a particular prison in Danbury, Connecticut.  The judge said that she would be in prison in the Washington area.  We did suggest that there were facilities that were better for this than the ordinary Washington jail and the judge did agree with that and is arranging for some other penal facility in the D.C. area. 

D. ABRAMS:  So you don't know which one yet? 

F. ABRAMS:  That's right.  We don't know which one yet.

D. ABRAMS:  You know the one thing—and look I've been on this program repeatedly saying—not at your prompting but based on my own concerns about the fact that Robert Novak was the one who leaked the story and that there should be some prosecutorial discretion here.  The fact is Novak is free.  Now Cooper is free and Judy Miller didn't even publish a story and she's going to jail. 


D. ABRAMS:  But with that said, it sounded today from your press conference as if Judy Miller and Matt Cooper never went back to the sources and said hey, can we reveal your names.  And Matt Cooper is saying, look, I got a call effectively from this person.  Why doesn't Judy Miller call her source and beg the person, please, I don't want to have to go to jail? 

F. ABRAMS:  Well, you know, I think that her view and Matt's, too, was that part of the deal—part of the understanding was that when things get rough, you know, you're not going to call and put pressure on the source.  You made a promise.  If the source, as in Matt's case, you know, was prepared to let things happen so that Matt could testify, he knew how to reach him and apparently he did. 

And I think Judy has a great reluctance to pick up the phone and beg a source because you know, putting pressure on a source where you've made the promise to the source is in a way, you know, if not a betrayal, a sort of coercion which itself was not part of the deal. 

D. ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, I don't know.  See I don't see any problem with going back to a source and saying, hey, please, please, I don't want to go to prison.  But real quick, this waiver issue.  Andy McCarthy is going to join us in a minute.  He and others are going to say look, everyone who could have been a source signed a waiver.  It said that we release the journalist from any deal we made with them. 

F. ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, Judy's view and Matt's both was that when the government sends a waiver around, a printer waiver, prepared by the Department of Justice to people in the executive branch and basically says in substance, sign this or you're fired, I mean you've got to sign this waiver, that's not part of the deal Judy made with her source.  Her arrangement was that she would protect the source and the fact that the source signs a piece of paper provided under coercive conditions is not enough to get out from under the...

D. ABRAMS:  Yes.

F. ABRAMS:  You know, you either do what you promise or not. 

D. ABRAMS:  Yes, she didn't make a legal promise.  She made a promise, promise.  All right...

F. ABRAMS:  Exactly.

D. ABRAMS:  We just saw Judy Miller being driven away, first pictures of her actually going to prison.  Let's bring in Andy McCarthy, former federal prosecutor, who investigated and prosecuted a lot of terrorism cases including some with Pat Fitzgerald.

My concern here is not as a strict legal, because I know what you're going to say.  You're going to say look she was asked to testify in front of a grand jury.  She didn't.  Therefore, she's not above the law. 



D. ABRAMS:  What about prosecutorial discretion?  What about the fact that there's an absurd result here and that is that Robert Novak who leaked the name, he's not going anywhere.  Matt Cooper, he repeated the name.  He's not going anywhere.  Judy Miller never published the name.  She's the one going to jail. 

MCCARTHY:  Dan, respectfully, you don't know and I don't know what Pat Fitzgerald knows.  We don't know what...

D. ABRAMS:  He doesn't know anything...


D. ABRAMS:  He doesn't know anything about who their source was, does he?

MCCARTHY:  You don't --  how do I know...

D. ABRAMS:  If he does—I can tell you, if he does then he's not supposed to be calling them in front of this grand jury.

MCCARTHY:  I just don't understand how you can conclude that you know what he knows. 

D. ABRAMS:  No, I'm saying...

MCCARTHY:  You don't know...

D. ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait...


D. ABRAMS:  ... do you not agree with me that if he knows who the sources are, then he has no right to demand that they come there and put them in jail, because then he has other ways to get this information. 

MCCARTHY:  Well every time—if a crime was committed and I think we're a long way from knowing that that happened, every time the classified information was communicated, if it was communicated with all of the attainments of the statute we're talking about, that's a crime.  I mean you keep saying...

D. ABRAMS:  Let's assume...


D. ABRAMS:  Let's assume it was a crime...

MCCARTHY:  You say Judy didn't write the story and I have great admiration for Judy Miller.  That's not the point.  When you're talking about a leak of classified information, the crime itself or the imparting of the word...

D. ABRAMS:  Right.  She didn't leak it.  Right, she—you're not suggesting she committed a crime by getting the information, right? 

MCCARTHY:  Of course I'm not...

D. ABRAMS:  Right.

MCCARTHY:  ... suggesting that.  What I'm saying though is she's not in any different position than if she happened to have the misfortune of being in a bank when it got robbed.  She's a direct witness to a crime.  She wouldn't have—nobody would I think in their right mind would say that a reporter, simply because a reporter was a reporter would have a right to withhold information if they saw a crime get committed...

D. ABRAMS:  Right.

MCCARTHY:  ... in a bank or someplace else...

D. ABRAMS:  She's...

MCCARTHY:  This is no different. 

D. ABRAMS:  She's a direct witness to a possible crime.  That's right. 


D. ABRAMS:  But what about the possibility that someone like—and look and all I've heard is good things about Fitzgerald, I have to tell you, from everyone.  With that said, it seems that there's an opportunity to use some discretion here.  He demands no home detention.  It doesn't seem to matter to him that the result seems absurd.  It seems to me he could use some discretion and say OK, she isn't the one who published the story.  That is at least relevant there. 

MCCARTHY:  Dan, this is not Pat Fitzgerald's investigation.  It's the American people's investigation.  It's the public's investigation.  They're entitled to her information.  Now, the reason that we allow this to go on, the reason that we allow people to be jailed when they're withholding information from a grand jury is in order to coerce them, in order...

D. ABRAMS:  Right.

MCCARTHY:  ... to persuade them to provide the information...


MCCARTHY:  ... giving them the comfort of being home defeats the purpose of the incarceration...

D. ABRAMS:  In this world if we keep having a lot of Fitzgeralds out here, we're going to have the press reporting on press releases from companies and the government, nothing more.


MCCARTHY:  These rules have been in place for years. 

D. ABRAMS:  That's right.  That's why it's about discretion.  It's not about the law...


D. ABRAMS:  It's about prosecutorial discretion...

MCCARTHY:  What you're suggesting to people is that the press doesn't have protection.  As in point in fact, the press has great protection.  There are internal Justice Department guidelines.  There's law in the circuits that makes getting information from a reporter a remote prospect in the first place.  They have a lot of layers that are not available to most citizens that prosecutors have to go through...


MCCARTHY:  ... before they can get the information. 

D. ABRAMS:  Right.  Well I'll give you the final word on that.  Andy McCarthy, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it for coming on the program...


D. ABRAMS:  And dad, I wanted to get you in there but we're out of time. 

Thanks a lot.

F. ABRAMS:  Thank you.

D. ABRAMS:  Coming up, authorities in Idaho say they think they have their man, revealing they believe just one man, Joseph Duncan responsible for killing three people, kidnapping and molesting Shasta and Dylan Groene, but just months ago he had been arrested for allegedly molesting two young boys.  Why wasn't he behind bars?  We'll hear from Shasta's father about how little Shasta is holding up.


ABRAMS:   Coming up, police believe the man who allegedly kidnapped two Idaho children and molested them also killed their mother.  The question is why was he released on bail?  First the headlines. 


ABRAMS:   New details about 8-year-old Shasta and 9-year-old Dylan Groene's ordeal over the last few weeks and the man suspected of kidnapping them and killing three others.  New questions about why he was free at all—we'll get to all of that. 

But first, within the hour Shasta and Dylan's father has spoken out for the first time since his daughter returned. 


STEVE GROENE, SHASTA & DYLAN'S FATHER:  I'd like to say that Shasta's doing well, which you know, that's certainly more than we could hope for.  She's very upbeat, seems to be pretty healthy and she's really glad to be home.  I know there's a lot of speculation about the remains that were found in western Montana.  Our position on that is until somebody tells us 100 percent sure that that's Dylan, we still feel then that he's out there and he's safe and is going to come home. 


ABRAMS:  I can only imagine what he's been going through.  Shasta was found alive over the weekend, but police are testing those remains in Montana to determine if they're Dylan's. 

The kids allegedly kidnapped from their Idaho home by convicted sex offender Joseph Duncan out on bail in connection with another sex offense in Minnesota.  So lots of people, including me, outraged that this guy was roaming the streets, but unlike other networks we may hear a lot of yelling and screaming, we talked to the prosecutor's office, the public defender, the court administrators to get to the bottom of it.  We'll get to all that.

First, court documents reveal exactly what happened the night Shasta and Dylan were kidnapped.  Shasta said her mother woke her up and brought her to the living room where a man tied her up, along with Dylan and their  mother and 13-year-old brother and a family friend.  Shasta says the man carried her and Dylan to a pickup truck and took them to a campsite and that he repeatedly molested both of them. 

Three others left behind were found dead in the house the next morning.  They had been bludgeoned to death.  Joining me now is Captain Ben Wolfinger with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office and former New York City detective Bo Dietl.

All right, Captain Wolfinger, let's talk straight about this guy.  Is he the only suspect in the murder?  Meaning, could he have had an accomplice?

CAPT. BEN WOLFINGER, KOOTENAI CTY., ID SHERIFF'S DEPT.:  Well, the investigators certainly are not closing that window tightly, but at this point, all the evidence they have indicates that Joseph Duncan acted alone. 

ABRAMS:   I heard a local reporter questioning a brother who had been in prison, another family member, and a lot of questions about how it was that Joseph Duncan ended at this home—up at this home.  Do you have any information about how he ended up at the Groene house? 

WOLFINGER:  Well, we really don't at this time, Dan, and that's one of the big puzzle pieces that the investigators are still trying to put together is that why the Groene home, what brought him there.  We don't know of any ties to the Groene family with Joseph Duncan. 

ABRAMS:   Because I saw on Duncan's Web site that he played this game called “Delta Force”.  It said on his Web site he played this game on the Internet, which you know people play and I assume kids play sometime.  It made me wonder, you know whether who knows if some—you know if maybe he was in contact with kids.  I would assume he used to troll the Internet. 

WOLFINGER:  Well that's certainly a possibility.  I know the investigators are working on a wide variety of theories that will Mr.  Duncan into the Groene family. 

ABRAMS:   All right.  Bo Dietl, what do you make of the case?

BO DIETL, FORMER NEW YORK CITY DETECTIVE:  You know—hi, Captain, how you doing?  You know...

WOLFINGER:  Hey Bo.  How are you? 

DIETL:  You know when we talked the last time, you know, one of the most important things I picked up on the wire, we're looking for a motive.  I think the motive is very obvious.  To wipe out the family, keep these two kids so he could have his way with them and I saw his history of sexual abuse against children, possibly 13 young boys before he was of the age of 16. 

You know this—it just—it sickens me we keep picking up the papers when these kids disappear and I think when I spoke to you the last time when this first happened, Captain, I think I said to you, we've got to look at the sexual offenders, people who have molested children before because as far as I'm concerned the motive is right there, to get these young kids, have their way—have his way with them and Idaho is not that big of a state.  I don't know how many registered sex offenders, but there's the outlying states certainly could have been considered as far as states that he could have...

ABRAMS:   Let me ask you that, Captain Wolfinger, because I talked to the prosecutor from that Minnesota case and when I asked him the question, had the authorities in Idaho ever been in contact with you as the investigation was ongoing, he sort of seemed to kind of waiver in his answer and didn't really want to answer it straight.  So let me ask you.  Were the Idaho authorities in contact with the people who were prosecuting that Minnesota case? 

WOLFINGER:  Well no, we weren't but we had no idea of Mr. Duncan at that point.  He's a registered sex offender from more than 1,000 miles away, several states away, a third of the way across the country.  We certainly looked at sex offenders here in the local area, eastern Washington, northern Idaho, western Montana, but those things didn't pan out.  We were surprised with Mr. Duncan as anybody.  That wasn't a name that we had come across yet in the investigation. 

DIETL:  You know, Captain, I think again we have to go back to that party that they had the night before to see if this person in fact, if any of those other witnesses at that party, could identify him as being at that party, because something tells me that he befriended this family, he eyeballed these two young kids.  He knew what he wanted to do.  He knew he had to wipe out that older boy, the mother, and also the boyfriend so he could kidnap these kids and have...

ABRAMS:   That's a good question.  What about the other people at the party?  Have any of them said that they recognized Duncan from having been at the house? 

WOLFINGER:  Well so far nobody has said that they recognize Duncan.  Now the investigators are certainly following up on all those people to try to find that one tie for Duncan at the house.

DIETL:  Also, Captain, the fact—remember what I told you, as far as the cell phones and the telephone records, if there was any calls, his cell phones—Duncan's cell phone because something tells me that Duncan migrated himself into your neighborhood there and was living in that area.  I don't think he just fell out of space into that house.  He had to be in that area and living around that area where he eyeballed these young kids and said to himself, that would be good victims for him, but he had to wipe out the mother, the boyfriend and the son and he went about it the way he did it so he could abuse that child, the little boy, hopefully the little boy's alive, but we don't know. 

But I think it comes down to this, Mr. Abrams.  I think it comes down to the fact that these sexual offenders come back over and over and over again.  We have to put them in jail for the rest of their lives.  The only way they come out is if they're scientifically castrated...


DIETL:  ... and that's what we have to do because I'm getting sick and tired every time one of these kids disappear, these guys pop up again...

ABRAMS:   Mr....

DIETL:  ... and we need federal laws to combat this. 

ABRAMS:   Well that's exactly, Mr. Dietl—you refer to me as Mr.  Abrams—Mr. Dietl, that's exactly what we're going to talk about in our next segment.  Captain Wolfinger and Bo Dietl, thank you both.  Appreciate it. 

DIETL:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:   Coming up, this is it.  Suspect Joseph Duncan, long history of violent sex crimes apparently admitted to raping 13 boys before he was even 16.  What was he doing out on bail? 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a convicted sex offender now under arrest for kidnapping two Idaho children and repeatedly molesting them.  The question, how did he get out of jail in the first place?  Why was he out on bail? 



ABRAMS:   All right.  Shasta and Dylan Groene, their father has called for a lot of changes in the system after Joseph Duncan was charged with kidnapping of the 8 and 9-year-old.  Here's what he said. 


GROENE:  This needs to stop here.  People like this should not be allowed out in public.  There's been so many times I've seen the local news put out the bulletins about sex offenders being released in the community and they're being described as level 3 sex offenders with a high likelihood to reoffend.  That's unacceptable, totally unacceptable.  People need to get on their congressmen, their senators and even the president.  This needs to change now. 


ABRAMS:   Duncan served more than a decade in a Washington state prison for raping a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint in 1980, violated parole in that case, sent back to prison in '97, released again in 2000.  Earlier this year, was charged again, this time in Minnesota with molesting—charged with molesting one boy, trying to molest another at a playground.  The judge set the bail at 15,000. 

Now we spoke to the prosecutor in that case, the public defender in that case.  We talked to the court.  We've gotten to the bottom of what seems to have happened there.  He wasn't arrested in that last case but came to court voluntary after he got a summons.  His lawyer had told the court, even though he's a registered sex offender, he was in college studying computer science, working two jobs, hadn't committed any violations since he'd been in North Dakota, but you know what about the violent rape that he'd served time for? 

Joining me now Westchester County New York District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt.  All right, look, it seems to me that the judge here is probably not the one to blame.  Because this guy shows up with $15,000 in cash.  Even if they had set that bail at $150,000, he still could have put up 10 percent, 15,000. 

The problem it seems to me is the law, Jeanine Pirro.  The fact that in Minnesota bail is presumed in a case like this, but it seems when you're repeating the same crimes again and again, they should be changing the rules when it comes to bail. 

JEANINE PIRRO, WESTCHESTER COUNTY NY D.A.:  Look Dan, I've been a judge and I've been a prosecutor and I have been in the trenches for 29 years handling these kinds of cases and I agree with Bo Dietl.  It is time for us to civilly commit these people.  Because whether you want to blame the judge or anyone else, here's the reality. 

Sex offenders are repeat offenders and we deliver our children on a silver platter to them by giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Every time we turn around, we say, well, you know what was their childhood like and you know they're better.  They'll be rehabilitated.  All this judge needed to hear, with all due respect to the bench, is that this defendant had been incarcerated for molesting, beating a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint, burning him with a cigarette and then is being considered as a suspect for molesting a 6-year-old and had not being registered as a sex offender. 

ABRAMS:   Yes.

PIRRO:  Enough. 

ABRAMS:   And the thing is I don't know—look, I don't know if the judge is suggesting he didn't know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) violent he'd been in the past...

PIRRO:  Well, you know what, I've been a judge, Dan.  And if he didn't know, it was his fault.  You look at every record in front of you when you're on that bench and you decide whether or not to let someone back into the community...

ABRAMS:   You know, Jeralyn, I think this is one of those cases that, you know, and I don't say this in all these cases but in this case, I think this is the kind of case that probably should lead to a change in the law. 

JERALYN MERRITT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  No, it shouldn't lead to a change in the law.  First of all, this judge said he didn't have the records in front of him, so that means it's either the law enforcement's fault or the prosecutor's fault or someone like that who didn't get the information to the judge. 

Second of all, this guy was released on bail.  He's subject to the supervision of pretrial services.  The pretrial services department said he stopped reporting, didn't register as a sex offender, stopped going to college, and wasn't locatable.  He should have been picked up.  There should have been an arrest warrant for violating his bond conditions put out. 

You know we have to respond with reason and not with emotion.  And the fact is that most sexual assaults are committed by people who know these children, not by strangers and the fact is, is that we have to differentiate between these level 3 sex offenders and other kinds of sex offenders...


MERRITT:  ... and we can't have a one-size-fits all policy.

ABRAMS:   That's right we can't and I agree with you Jeralyn because we don't want a situation where someone who's a student, let's say who's 18, who has sex with a 16-year-old, is considered a sex offender.  I don't want that person to go away for life.  What I am concerned about is the fact that this guy was a convicted, violent sex offender...


ABRAMS:   ... in a previous case, served more than a decade in prison, then violates his parole.  Then is accused again of a very similar crime, meaning not as bad, but still molesting children again.  Boy, seems to me if you're accused of that kind of crime again, when you've got that kind of history, the presumption should be no bail.  You're a threat to society. 

PIRRO:  And you're absolutely right, Dan, and the truth is that we don't have preventive bail in any state but the state of Arizona as it relates to sexual predators and what we do is we hope that those sexual predators who are out on bail are home praying for redemption.  But the reality is they're out collecting more victims, and every time we let them...

MERRITT:  That's not true.

PIRRO:  Excuse me—and every time we let them out on bail, we are putting our children...

ABRAMS:   Yes.

PIRRO:  ... in a position where they're vulnerable and that's why we need civil commitment.

ABRAMS:   All right.  Jeralyn, let me ask you to respond to and then I'm going to actually read what happened in court in Minnesota.  We've got the actual transcript... 


ABRAMS:   ... exactly what happened.  Go ahead Jeralyn.

MERRITT:  According to the Department of Justice and their 2003 report, sex offender treatment works and there is a less of a likelihood of recidivism among sex offenders who have gotten treatment in prison than there is of other kinds of criminal offenders. 

PIRRO:  Well...

MERRITT:  ... and so there isn't a greater number of sex offenders who get treatment out there...

ABRAMS:   Well this guy...


MERRITT:  Most states have laws now that don't—Jeanine I didn't interrupt you.  Most states have laws now that don't grant parole to sexual predators...


MERRITT:  ... and so these people, they have maximum life sentences. 

They're not getting out. 

ABRAMS:   Right.  Well that's good...

MERRITT:  We have to be careful not to brand the rest of them. 

PIRRO:  Dan, there was a level 3...


PIRRO:  ... sex offender in my county who murdered a woman four days ago. 

ABRAMS:   I've got to read this because I know people have been asking me this question, what happened.

The prosecutor --  this is in the Minnesota case, the one that he was released on bail.  The question everyone is asking me, why was he released on bail.  Here's why.

Prosecutor:  Your Honor, we're asking the court to set bail or bond in this matter in the amount of $25,000.

Judge:  You're asking for all that?  I'm puzzled as to why this was a summons. 

Meaning, as opposed to an arrest.  There's the judge asking the prosecutor about that. 

Prosecutor:  Your Honor, there were a number of different reasons, originally as it went out as a summons and I'm going to refrain from making those comments in open court.

Defense Attorney:  Judge, it appears to me that because of the summons, again, not arrest, summons, he did show up today.  He has not committed any kind of violations of any kind since he's been in Fargo.  This is the first violation that's come to anybody's attention.  He's a student at NDSU and he's going to finish his degree of computer science within the month.  He has some projects he needs to address to get his degree, works two jobs.  He is, of course, a registered sex offender.  He's been absolutely law abiding and been a consistent resident and a person who's taken his obligations as a citizen very seriously.  I would ask, Judge, if you're going to impose a money bond, that you make it a 10 percent bond and set it at $10,000.

Judge said well, I'm going to need more information.  You're not willing to disclose some things in open court and we're just going to have to recess the chambers.  There's quite a difference between the 25 that the prosecutor is asking for and 10 the defense is asking for.

Bottom line is 25 or 10, it would not have made a difference.  The law needs to change.  I'm out of time. 

Jeanine and Jeralyn, thanks so much.  Appreciate it. 


ABRAMS:  You can read more of Jeanine's thoughts on this topic in her book, “To Punish and Protect: One DA's Quest to Prosecute Predators and Defend Victims”. 

Coming up, Judith Miller going to jail for keeping her source confidential.  Your e-mails are next. 


ABRAMS:   Time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Last night in my “Closing Argument” I said the federal prosecutor investigating the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name should use discretion and not demand that the reporters necessarily be sent to prison. 

Meryl Vladimer from Brooklyn, New York writes, “I keep hearing other reporters claim this will end all hope of unnamed sources coming forward as whistleblowers.  But whoever handed Valerie Plame's name to the press was not a government whistleblower.  That person sought to use the press for partisan political purposes period.  Big difference between protecting the identity of a whistleblower and covering up for a partisan operative.”

Meryl, one man's whistleblower is another man's partisan operative.  We can't start trying to use those definitions.  A confidential source has been given a promise, period.  Without confidential sources, I said it before, all we'll have is press releases from the government and big corporations.  I don't want that. 

Craig Sommerer in Chicago, “I'm a staunch believer and supporter of freedom of the press.  However, this Valerie Plame incident is quite unique.  Already Lawrence O'Donnell is reporting that Matthew Cooper's source is Karl Rove.  Without pressure by Mr. Fitzgerald, Karl Rove would have committed a federal crime.”  Craig, it seems to me you're a staunch defender of the press until a guy you don't like is being investigated. 

Last night we told you about how a customer and employees at a Denny's restaurant led police to that missing girl, Shasta Groene. 

Mark Coren from Mount Holly, North Carolina, “I'm tired of hearing news conferences by federal and local authorities where they congratulate each other for their cooperation and expertise on these cases.  It seems to me that most of these actual breaks in these high profile cases such as Elizabeth Smart and Shasta Groene come from every day citizens.”  Good point. 

And deemed ASO at Yahoo writes about my concern about the fact that this guy was released on bail.  “I'm very surprised with the glare in your eyes this evening when you said this is the kind of case that changes laws.  The laws are already ineffective.  If you read Joseph Duncan's blogs, you'll see that it was the harassment due to the registry that perhaps is responsible for driving him over the edge.” 

Oh, I'm sorry.  I was not understanding to that slimy pervert about what set him over the edge.  You know I've got to wonder though, deemed ASO.  Does that stand for something that might be relevant to this case?  A and then S.O.?  I don't know.

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


ABRAMS:   That does it for us tonight.  Out of time, I didn't get to finish the “OH PLEAs!”. 

Coming up next—it was a good one, actually—“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  There's always tomorrow, as Megan points out. 

See you tomorrow.



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