updated 7/26/2005 10:44:37 AM ET 2005-07-26T14:44:37

Guest: Melissa Caldwell, Alex Mar, Stephen Pearcy, Virginia Pearcy Dave

Holloway, Robin Holloway, Clete Hyman, Harris Faulkner

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Now, we've got a big night straight ahead for you, breaking news out of Aruba to a possible murder mystery in the Mediterranean.  Plus, we're going to get you up to date on all the latest across SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport's required and only common sense is allowed. 

First, an exclusive:  Was he witness to a murder?  His cabin was next door to the missing newlyweds, partying and arguing, followed by a loud thud that night that George Smith disappeared.  His story only in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  You're going to get the latest shocking details on this Mediterranean mystery. 

And then, three new witnesses come forward saying they have information about the night Natalee Holloway disappeared.  Some are asking what took them so long.  Was it the reward money that may have got them out of the weeds?  And can they help solve the case?  We're live in Aruba with all the latest details.  Plus, reaction from Natalee's family. 

And a concert to save Africa damages American children, that according to a parents group who wants to now have massive fines levied against ABC for not hitting the censor button when Roger Daltrey said that ugly, ugly F-word—that and much more in the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown straight ahead. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Major news coming out of Aruba tonight.  Three new witnesses have come forward.  And they say they have new information that could finally break the Natalee Holloway case wide open.  Plus, a new million-dollar reward and rumors of Natalee sightings in Venezuela.  We're going the go live to Aruba for the latest details and get reaction from Natalee's father and stepmother, complete Aruba coverage in just a few minutes. 

But, first, a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive, new developments in a story that we've been following closely for weeks now, the search for newlywed George Smith IV.  Now, as we reported, the groom vanished from a Mediterranean cruise sometime during the night of July 5.  Turkish investigators and the FBI say they have no more leads—the family in seclusion. 

But with me now tonight with the latest, Harris Faulkner, a correspondent for “A Current Affair,” and, speaking to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusively, a man who was not only on the same cruise, but he says he had a room next to George Smith and his new wife.  He's going to be coming forward and telling us some details of what he heard the night Smith disappeared. 

First, Harris, let's go to you.  Get us up to date with what's going on right now in the investigation, but start—there are a lot of people out there who don't know all the details.  Let's start by talk about this young American couple.  Who were they?  Where were they?  What do we know? 

HARRIS FAULKNER, “A CURRENT AFFAIR”:  Well, hey, Joe. 

We can start with George Allen Smith and his new bride, Jennifer Hagel Smith, meeting in Connecticut, falling in love, getting married a few weeks ago, 26-year-old George, 25-year-old Jennifer leaving for their honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean, going to some beautiful ports, including Italy and many other places, ending up at some point between Turkey and Greece.

And that's when the trouble began.  George at a bar with between three and five guys, seen drinking very heavily, Jennifer, at that same bar on the cruise ship, the nightclub on the cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas, which is a Royal Caribbean ship, the two of them partying, but kind of separately that night, according to witnesses who we talked to. 

George comes over to the bar, where Jennifer is standing with several other guys, one of the witnesses we've talked with, complaining about the fact that she is separate from him, refusing to join him and his friends at the table.  The two had a little bit of a spat.  Witnesses say she kicked him in the private parts, and they finished having words together, split up. 

She then left the bar and was so visibly intoxicated, according to witnesses, that she was kind of ping-ponging off the walls of the bar leaving.  George left after that with at least a couple of these two other guys who were seen at the table with him.  What we do know the next day is that authorities began looking for George Allen Smith after reports passengers had seen what looked like blood on an overhang, which would have been below the couple's cabin, and facing some lifeboats. 

Officials on the ship went to go see what that stain was, figured it was blood, started searching every single one of those cabins above that overhang.  George Allen Smith was the only one who was missing and could not be accounted for on the ship.  They tracked down Jennifer.  She said she didn't even realize when she woke up that morning that her brand-new husband, newlywed groom, was not in the room with her.  And that's where we are.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Harris, that's the part of it is that so many people don't understand.  How do you go on a honeymoon cruise?  How do you wake up in a small cabin?  You wake up the next morning, you leave to work out and you don't even know that your new husband is not there? 

FAULKNER:  Well, there was...

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, are—are authorities buying that? 

FAULKNER:  Well, you know, I don't know whether they're buying it or not.  I can tell you that we haven't been able to get any comment from Jennifer Hagel or her family.  She's said to be in seclusion, very devastated, as you might imagine, by the loss of her new groom. 

We do know that they had been drinking heavily, according to witnesses, far past the lights coming on, 3:00 a.m. on the morning of July 5.  So, waking up the next morning, not finding her groom there, there were reports that she said she had gone to a gym.  I did talk with a witness who saw her in the elevator looking for the solarium, which reportedly is located the near gym area.  So, that could very well be true. 

She told authorities, so we're told, that she was simply thinking that George was with some other friends on the ship that night and possibly the following morning, and had just not really pictured him missing.  Now, authorities...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You were also, Harris, talking about—you have talked to other witnesses that say they actually, when they went into port, they would be traveling around, that, actually, both of these young newlyweds were drinking very heavily.  What can you tell us about that, again, not just that night, but throughout the entire cruise, that they were living on the edge?

FAULKNER:  It was throughout the entire cruise. 

And, Joe, just to give you an idea, we talked with a young man who is believed to be one of the last to see George Allen Smith alive.  He lives in Southern California.  He was on the cruise with his family members, namely, parents.  And his parents had shared a cab with George Allen Smith and his new bride.  And they describe the couple as being very intoxicated, having to pull off the road at one point to let George get out and get sick. 

It was also described that he was dropping a lot of money in the casino and buying strangers, complete strangers, rounds of drinks at the bar.  So, this was a couple having a good time and also described as very lovely on the ship, very friendly, but definitely out to have a good time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But you also said, though, that they appeared to have, according to witnesses, that night especially...

FAULKNER:  A spat. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... a volatile relationship. 

FAULKNER:  Well, a spat on that night anyway.  And one of the witnesses that I talked with said that Jennifer was physically leaning on him at the bar because he thought she was so drunk.  It might have looked like she was flirting.  But he said, absolutely, she was leaning out of the necessity to keep from falling down, in his opinion. 

Now, I should say that I talked to that witness again today.  He was in our offices because we were able to get an exclusive photograph of the two of them kissing, Jennifer and her husband.  And it's on our Web site, acurrentaffair.com.  You can go and see it.  Those two embraced in a kiss on the ship during that cruise.  We had a picture of that. 

The video is on our Web site, that witness saying that, you know what?  They looked like they were very much in love.  But he had to come in and identify them in the video for us today, and he said, Joe, he knows a lot that happened that night.  The FBI has not recalled him to find out what he knows.  He says his friends saw a lot that night.  They're concerned that the FBI hasn't talked to them.  They're ready to say what they know. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you, it's fascinating.  It sounds like a possible—yet another possible botched investigation. 

Thanks so much for being with us, Harris Faulkner.  Greatly appreciate it. 

FAULKNER:  You're welcome. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lets bring in Clete Hyman.  He was on the cruise that night and was actually next door to George and Jennifer's room. 

Thank you so much for being with us, Clete.

Can you tell us what happened that night?  Take us—again, take us through hour by hour.  As you were next door, you heard quite a few things.  Tell us about it. 

CLETE HYMAN, PASSENGER ON CRUISE:  Well, our first contact with the couple next door was the second night of the cruise. 

They appeared to be having quite a party in their room.  It lasted from about 11:00 at night until well past 3:00 in the morning.  Our next time—we would only pass them in the hallways.  We really had no contact with them.  However, early on the morning of the 5th, at about 4:00 in the morning, we were awoken by loud yelling coming...

SCARBOROUGH:  Excuse me, Clete.  And that was the night.  The 5th was the night he disappeared, correct? 

HYMAN:  The morning of the 5th.

SCARBOROUGH:  Morning of the 5th.

HYMAN:  Night of the 4th, morning of the 5th, yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  And so that's the night you're taking us through.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Go ahead.  I'm sorry. 

HYMAN:  Yes. 

We were awakened about 4:00 in the morning by loud yelling coming from the cabin.  It sounded like people cheering, like a drinking-contest-type thing.  There appeared to be numerous people in the room.  This went on two separate times that we know of, the one that woke us up and then one about a minute later. 

Then, all we could hear was loud talking in the room for, oh, probably three minutes.  At that point, we heard people just outside of the door of the cabin.  It sounded like people maybe saying good night.  And it sounded like maybe three or four people.  At that point, we heard talking in the room off and on for the next about five minutes.  But then, all of a sudden, there became some very loud arguing out on the balcony.  This went on for a couple of minutes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Was it between a man and a woman, two male voices?  Who was fighting? 

HYMAN:  No.  It was several male voices, I would say three or four voices.  I wouldn't say they were fighting, but they were obviously very loud and in an arguing manner. 

This went on for a couple of minutes.  And then we heard someone saying good night, good night, just repeatedly, like they were trying to usher people out of the room.  After about, oh, 30 seconds of that, we did hear the cabin door open and some male voices outside.  And then the males went down the hallway. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Clete, stay with us. 

HYMAN:  After this point...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Wait.  Wait.  Clete, stay with us. 

HYMAN:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because we want to hear more of your story, especially you saying that you heard something sound like possibly a couch thrown overboard, a thud.  We're going to be talking to you about that and what you heard later on that evening. 

Also, a little later, Natalee Holloway's dad and stepmom are going to be here to talk about today's latest developments in Aruba.  Three new witnesses have come forward to talk about the night Natalee disappeared. 

And later, long live rock, as long as they clean it up on network TV.  A parents group is complaining about the charity Live 8 concert.  Did a TV network go over the line, or are they just too sensitive? 

We're just getting started at SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You're looking at images out of Aruba, the FBI reenacting what happened the night that Natalee Holloway disappeared.  The witness tip that brought them here, we'll you that, plus more complete coverage coming from Aruba, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let's now continue with our exclusive interview with a man who stayed in the cabin next to missing newlywed George Smith.  And he's back to tell us more about what he heard from George Smith's cabin the night he vanished—vanished. 

Clete, thanks for staying with us. 

Now, to reset, you're in there.  You're awakened in the middle of the night.  You hear voices, a party going on.  They took it outside.  Soon, you said an argument began.  I also understand that you heard something that you said sounded like furniture being moving—moved around out there.  And these—you said, I understand, that you heard a thud.  Talk about that. 

HYMAN:  Yes. 

Well, after the young men left the room, for the next about five minutes, you could hear someone going about the cabin and opening and closing cabinet doors.  And it also sounded like they were actually moving furniture around.  That went on for, like I say, five to seven minutes.  And then it went out into the balcony.

SCARBOROUGH:  What—what time was that, Clete?  Clete, what time was that, about? 

HYMAN:  A little after approximately 4:20 in the morning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, they were cleaning up the place.  Somebody was cleaning up the place at 4:20 in the morning. 

HYMAN:  Well, that was the assumption I made, that maybe that they were straightening up a little bit.  However, the noise went out onto the balcony, and you could hear furniture being moved.

And then, at times, it sounded like furniture was being actually picked up and dropped, that they weren't too careful about the way they were moving the furniture.  I only heard one voice in the cabin at that point.  This—outside, the movement went—was sporadic.  Stuff would be moved.  Then there'd be some silence.  Then furniture would be moved again.  Then there was just total silence.  This was probably maybe two minutes or so of total silence, and then that horrific thud. 

Talk about that horrific thud. 

HYMAN:  Well, the thud, originally, my first thought was someone had fallen on the balcony, but it was way too loud for that.  So, my next...

SCARBOROUGH:  So, that night, you thought somebody may have been—either fallen overboard or been thrown overboard and hit the balcony? 

HYMAN:  No. 

At no point did I really—that didn't go into my mind, because the -

·         it actually reverberate in the room and on our balcony.  So, I thought maybe someone had literally fallen on their balcony or that they had thrown furniture overboard.  Because of the impact, it sounded like something very heavy.  And my first thought was maybe throwing furniture overboard. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what happened the next morning when you woke up?  Obviously, you heard the loud thud, went to sleep, woke up the next morning.  What did you do then? 

HYMAN:  Well, a little after 7:00 in the morning, I had gone out to look at the scenery on our balcony as we were pulling into port, and I did look around the partition between our balcony and the balcony of the Smiths. 

And I was curious whether, in fact, the furniture had been thrown overboard.  However, everything was still on the balcony.  I noted that the door going into the room was open, but there didn't seem to be anything of any importance. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, so, the furniture—all the furniture was still up there, accounted for.  So, obviously, the thud you heard was not a piece of furniture from the balcony.  Did you talk to investigators that morning? 

HYMAN:  No, I did not.  We went ahead and went into Kusadasi, Turkey. 

We had a tour.  And I did not speak to anyone until we returned. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And then you told them—then you spoke to investigators, told them what you're telling us here tonight. 

Clete Hyman, thanks so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate you coming on and...

HYMAN:  You're welcome. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and taking us inside the incredible events of that night.  We greatly appreciate it. 

HYMAN:  You're welcome.  Good night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now you're looking at exclusive video of an FBI reenactment that took place today after three new witnesses came forward with information that could possibly unlock the mystery of what happened to Natalee Holloway. 

In a minute, we're going to be hearing from Natalee's dad, Dave, and also stepmom, Robin. 

But, first, let's go to NBC Michelle Kosinski.  She's, of course, in Aruba with the very latest. 

Michelle, tell us about this new information, especially the one witness that stepped forward with possibly very helpful information in this investigation. 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  All right. 

We see the extraordinary reenactment happen this afternoon.  FBI and local police have a chopper in the sky.  They have the Kalpoe brothers' car parked in an area and this witness' car.  This first witness who we're told came forward on Friday says that he was driving around the area near the Marriott Hotel and he spots the Kalpoe brothers, he says, with Joran Van Der Sloot in a car.  He says this was about 3:00 a.m. the day Natalee Holloway vanished.

And this would be after the time the Kalpoe brothers said that they were already at home—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Michelle, this isn't just one witness that's come forward.  I understand two others have come forward.  What can you tell us about them and their stories? 

KOSINSKI:  Well, we have one who we're told has already talked to police who says he knows where on this island Natalee Holloway's body was placed.  And then another witness, a woman, was identified today by the private investigator working for Natalee's family.  She lives in the area right near where this reenactment happened, in fact.

And she says, maybe a couple days after Natalee disappeared, she sees a car fitting the description of the Kalpoes' car driving around repeatedly in that area, for whatever that is worth.  But because of these witnesses, now we're going to see the volunteer searchers come back to this island as soon as possible with ground-penetrating radar.  And they're going to search these two areas based on witnesses' statements. 

Now, while this is going on, we see Natalee's mother today raise the reward for her safe return to a stunning level. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  We're going to be able to now raise the reward for the safe return of Natalee from $200,000 to $1 million.  And we're just so hoping that, you know, any information that someone has or people just feel comfortable to please come forward.  Still, the same applies as far as remaining anonymous. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI:  She says that million dollars comes from donations from a group of friends in the United States—Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Michelle, I understand that the reward money for Natalee's safe return may have come about because of a possible sighting or at least rumors of sightings.  What did you hear from that press conference about that? 

KOSINSKI:  Well, we know right now there's no hard evidence of anything like that. 

But there are rumors all over this island.  Of course, there has been no sign of Natalee here.  So, of course, people speculate maybe she was kidnapped.  We know the family's private eye has also had investigators working for him down in Venezuela to that effect.  And, keep in mind, right now, the family just wants to draw out any information it can. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, didn't—did—we're looking at a map right now to show where Aruba is in relation to Venezuela. 

But Jug—Jug Twitty actually came out and talked about that possibility today, didn't he? 

KOSINSKI:  Yes, he did.  He said that that's just another possibility that he wants to explore. 

And the point of grief that the family is right now, they want to take any bit of information, any lead, any possibility they can, and use everything they can to fully explore it.  We also got news today that four new investigators are on this case. 

And here's what Jug told us today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUG TWITTY, STEPFATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  There's been rumors out there for, you know, many weeks, that we can't find her on the island here, that she's possibly in Venezuela, Curacao, all these places.  And, hopefully, this will help.  You know, if she's out there, if people have information, that they can help us, you know, find her, that they will come forward.  And, as Beth says, it's all anonymous. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSINSKI:  And four more investigators from Holland got on this case today.  One of them is a behavioral analyst.  And two others are interrogation specialists—Joe, back to you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Michelle, thanks so much for that report. 

I tell you what.  So long after Natalee has disappeared, so much starting to finally happen in this case. 

Let's bring in Natalee's dad, Dave Holloway, and her stepmom, Robin. 

Dave, remarkable,  For as long as Natalee has been missing, for all of this activity to start happening, it sounds like things may be possibly moving in a direction where we can get some resolution in the case.  What can you tell us about your reaction and the family's reaction to today's developments? 

DAVE HOLLOWAY, FATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Well, the gardener, his statement puts them back near the north of the Marriott. 

In fact, the racquet club is located less—well, probably a quarter-of-a-mile to a half-a-mile across the field from the Marriott.  So, it's a short distance away.  So, that kind of gives us an idea that whatever happened occurred near that area.  So, it's like, where's the haystack?  We can find—find the needle. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know...

D. HOLLOWAY:  The island is just too large to look everywhere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and, Dave, also, remarkable—again, these timelines.  When you go through these investigations, you know, when you talk to prosecutors, they're always trying to do a timeline to figure out what happened that night.  Apparently, this one witness coming forward with possibly hard information that says the Kalpoe brothers and Joran Van Der Sloot weren't being truthful, that they were out as late as 3:00 a.m.  That would change the investigation, wouldn't it? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  That's correct.  We know that they left approximately 1:00 to 1:30.  And then, when they left Carlos 'n Charlie's, you know, you didn't really have any idea, based on the number of statements that he made, you know, where they ended up.  And this puts us back up near that area. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Remarkable. 

Hey, stay with us, Dave.

And, Robin, also get back with you. 

We've got a lot more to come, a lot ahead in the Natalee investigation. 

Also, get the aspirin out, because this is going to give you a heck of a headache.  She wanted to execute the perfect dive, but the board got in the way.  We'll show you what happened coming up next. 

And a little later, Jessica Simpson didn't even know it was happening.  We'll tell you about the woman who posed as the new Daisy Duke assistant and got a lot of free booty. 

Who wrote that in the script?  Who wrote—Rich, was that you?  Matt? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  This 17-year-old diver uses her noggin to get ahead. 

We'll tell you her story coming up.

But, first, here's the latest news that you and your family need to know. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(MUSIC)

SCARBOROUGH:  The concert is to raise awareness about African death, but now rising anger over what your kids may have seen and heard. 

And, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, wait until you see this video, the face-first mistake that will take your breath away. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories coming up in minutes. 

But, first, let's bring back Dave and Robin Holloway, a lot of developments in Aruba today. 

Dave, let me ask you, is the FBI—we understand the FBI's getting more involved now.  Are they keeping you and your family informed in what's going on in this investigation? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  They are.  We have usually daily contact with the FBI if something develops.  In fact, I spoke with them today.  And they indicated that they're looking into the evidence.  And it's not that they're going to do any investigative work.  It's going to be simply a fact that they're going to look into it and put another set of eyes on it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you pleased that they're allowed to get more engaged in this process? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  Absolutely.  The more eyes you have on looking at something, maybe they'll uncover something that was missed early on.  And, hopefully, that—that will be the case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Robin, talk about the strain that this investigation has had.  It continues on and on.  Obviously, a lot of people believe the Aruban government's not doing enough—now the Aruban prime minister coming out.  And it looks—again, it looks like there's starting to be outside pressure from Alabama officials and others.  Do you think finally they're getting the message that we Americans aren't going to just sit back and let them cover up this case and this possible crime? 

ROBIN HOLLOWAY, STEPMOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  As far as boycotting Aruba, we don't think that's the answer.  Just—I mean, Aruba, the people are just so sweet and good-hearted.  And I don't think the answer is to boycott Aruba. 

And we're just so grateful they're allowing the FBI be involved now.  I mean, the evidence, for what we understand, is in Washington—not Washington, Virginia.  And, just, you know, they have got access to that now.  But it's stressful.  It's a strain.  It's—you know, it's -- 57 days is a long time.  And, you know, we never dreamed it would go on this long.  But we just—we just—we need answers soon. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It just—yes.  It just—it does seem to continue on and on. 

Dave, though, it looks like, again, the pace of this investigation finally starting to pick up. 

I want to take you back, though, to what happened last week.  We saw incredible footage of you talking to Paulus Van Der Sloot and actually giving him some items.  Talk about that remarkable meeting. 

D. HOLLOWAY:  Well, we had a meeting prior to him going into the jail

to speak with his son.  In fact, I went to the jail to approach Joran about

·         he professes his innocence.  I want him to talk to me and profess that innocence. 

Afterwards, I spoke with the father and asked him if he had talked to Joran.  And he indicated that, in fact, he did talk.  But his father had indicated that too much time had passed and that it wouldn't be permissible for me to speak with his son.  But I did question him on a number of things that had gone on, some of the things I saw on TV.  And all of his responses were a negative, that he was not involved, the Kalpoe brothers were not involved, Joran was not involved, and on and on. 

And, you know, we ended it with the fact that he understood my situation and that, as a father of Joran, he'd do anything to protect his son.  And we...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And we understood that you gave him—gave him something.  What did you give him? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  I gave him a Bible and one of the books that the other person had that was with me, a spiritual book, and then “The Purpose Driven Life.”  It's a 40-day book that—you know, it's all about God and it's not about you and everything revolves around God. 

And, hopefully, they'll read it and understand that it is all about God and not themselves.  And maybe they'll get something out of it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How are you and the family holding up tonight? 

D. HOLLOWAY:  You know, you take every day as a new day and hopefully that it will come to an end. 

And, you know, you just—as I said it earlier, you know, I left Meridian with a prayer that God will give us strength to get through this.  And I continue to hold on to that prayer.  In fact, my pastor came over today, and we had another prayer just to reinforce it.  So, we're making it.  It's tough.  But we'll prevail in the end. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Well, Dave and Robin, know that our prayers and our thoughts are with you and the entire family.  Thanks a lot for being with us tonight...

R. HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

D. HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... to get us up to date with the very latest. 

Now, coming up next, I'll tell you what, a lot of parents across America concerned about a concert that was supposed to raise awareness about African poverty, how that concert ended up harming American kids.  We're going to take a look at Live 8 and the parents group who says they want ABC to be fined because of what they showed that day. 

And, also, she posed as Jessica Simpson's assistant to get a lot of free stuff.  We'll tell you what happened when her booty was delivered.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now to a story that's stirring emotions out in California and across America, a piece of art that, among other things, shows the flag in the shape of the country being flushed down a toilet.  But it's not hanging in a museum or a gallery.  It's at the California Department of Justice Building in Sacramento. 

Now, last week, we spoke with Karen Hanretty of the California Republican Party about it.  Let's take a look and she what she said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HANRETTY, CALIFORNIA REPUBLICAN PARTY:  The attorney general is arguing, well, if we take down this painting, that is somehow censorship.  But I can guarantee you that the Democratic attorney general would never allow a painting of a gay pride flag to be floating in a toilet bowl and hung in his building.  That would never happen. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Now, that was Thursday night. 

Now let's get the other side of the story.  We're joined by the artists, Stephen Pearcy, and his wife, Virginia Pearcy. 

Steve, you just heard Ms. Hanretty talking about the art being displayed in the Justice Department.  What's your response to her? 

STEPHEN PEARCY, ARTIST:  Well, I think she's purely speculating as to whether that kind of display would be shown. 

In fact, the—there's a good chance that there will be such a display for conservative artists who show whatever types of images they want.  I think that what the test will be would be whether an image would be—would rise to the level of a hate crime, not whether it's just merely objectionable or offensive to a particular group. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you know, Stephen, obviously, when you put something that looks like the American flag in a toilet, you knew that was going to be offensive to, you know, the overwhelming majority of Americans.  Sometimes, art is to provoke. 

My question for you, though, is, that is certainly you're right, obviously.  We have got a powerful First Amendment.

S. PEARCY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  My question is,                how in the world did it end up in a government building?  That's what's so shocking to so many Americans. 

S. PEARCY:  Well, that's the ideal place for such a painting.  It's—it evokes discussion.  And what's wrong with evoking discussion in a public building?  That's—that's what the public forums are all about. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Kind of like the Ten Commandments, right? 

S. PEARCY:  Right. 

And it's basically—you know, again, this is not a religious depiction, so it's not quite like the Ten Commandments.  But in terms of evoking discussion, political discussion, a public building is an ideal place.  And these kinds of things will continue.  The painting...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let me ask—let me ask you this, though, because, I mean, that really does cut against all the arguments we've ever heard when you talk about the First Amendment, the Ten Commandments, or any religious display.  People say, you have a right to do that out on the street corner.  You have a right to talk about that in church.

S. PEARCY:  Well, basically—right.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you take it inside of a federal building or a state building, all of a sudden, you're impinging on my rights.  You're offending me. 

Obviously, you know, a picture of the flag doing down the toilet is going to be offensive to probably 80 percent, 90 percent of Americans.  Why put that in a building that taxpayers paid for?

S. PEARCY:  Actually, what I have found is that the majority of Americans have agreed with that depiction.  The majority of the people that I have spoken with and I think the majority of Americans...

SCARBOROUGH:  What, the American flag down the toilet? 

S. PEARCY:  They agree that the country is going down the toilet, thanks to President Bush.  And that image depicts exactly that idea. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You say the majority of people you talk to.  Where do you live? 

S. PEARCY:  The majority of—I live in Sacramento and I live in Berkeley.  But I'm talking about the polls across the country.  They show now that the majority of Americans feel that the country has been taken down the toilet by the president.  And...

VIRGINIA PEARCY, ARTIST:  Yes.  We're not advocating that people flush their flags down the toilet.  What we're saying is that Bush is leading this country down the toilet because of his policies. 

The Downing Street memos that have recently come out indicate that Bush intentionally misled this country into war. 

S. PEARCY:  And over 1,700 soldiers have died because of his lies. 

And that's why his approval ratings are in the tank. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, really, do you really think, though, that the proper place for this to be, again, is to be in a government building paid for by American tax dollars, that, again, obviously the majority of Americans—you can say that the majority of Americans are opposed to this war or opposed to Mr. Bush's foreign policy.

But, certainly, I'll guarantee you the majority of Americans don't like depictions of the American flag of their country being flushed down the toilet. 

(CROSSTALK)

S. PEARCY:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You're not that separated from middle America, are you? 

S. PEARCY:  Any piece of artwork that would be displayed in a public building, someone can find political content. 

And, for example, the artist might have been—an artist in a case

might have been somebody who hated the draft or something.  They say, well,

that's a political—that's a statement.  If you post any art that's been

created by that artist, you're saying it's OK to evade the draft and you're

endorsing that.  Any kind of an argument could be made as to any particular

piece of art.  So, it certainly belongs in a public building, more so than

·         your airwaves, for example, are owned by the public. 

You're licensing the airwaves to use...

SCARBOROUGH:  Right. 

S. PEARCY:  ... for your private purposes, but they're owned by the public.  And this particular space in the building was temporarily attributed for private use.  It's no different, really. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  All right. 

Thanks a lot, Stephen.  And, of course, you have brought up before, as has Virginia, that no tax dollars have been actually spent on this display.  We appreciate you all being with us tonight.

S. PEARCY:  And I think it's important—I think it's important to point out that we are trying to express a sign of patriotism through dissent.  And I think that dissent is the highest form of patriotism.  And...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you'll get—you'll get no argument from me.  But, again, an image of a flag in a toilet, I think there may be less offensive ways to dissent. 

But thanks, again, for being with us tonight. 

S. PEARCY:  OK.  Thank you for having us. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We greatly appreciate it. 

S. PEARCY:  All right.  OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing):  Oh, who (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  That's The Who performing during a Live 8 performance a few weeks ago.  Now, the bleep was over a certain four-letter word that most parents don't want their kids hearing. 

But ABC, who aired the concert on tape delay, didn't bleep the F-word out.  Now the Parents Television Council has filed a complaint. 

With me now are Melissa Caldwell.  She is a research director for the Parents Television Council.  And also Alex Mar, she is the online news editor for “Rolling Stone” magazine. 

Let's start with you, Melissa.

You think ABC should have massive fines levied against them.  Tell us why. 

MELISSA CALDWELL, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL:  Well, this is a question of commonsense decency.  But, more importantly, it's also a question of law.  You may recall that, a few years ago, a couple years ago, Bono, U2, used that same expletive during a broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards.

And the FCC came out and said, well, it can't be considered indecent because he's using it in the sense as an adjective.  And after outrage from Congress and parents across the country, the FCC reversed itself.  And it said, well, we're not going to issue fines in this instance, but henceforth, broadcasters are on notice that further utterances of this word on the broadcast airwaves will be considered indecent, and will lead to fines and forfeitures. 

So, we're just asking for the FCC to be consistent in the application of the law. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And this is what ABC said in a statement:

“Unfortunately, one inappropriate phrase sung by one performer was initially missed and made it into the East Coast network feed.  It was subsequently edited out of the West Coast feed.”

You know, Alex, with a Bono situation, that was live.  They didn't know what Bono was going to be saying at the Golden Globes Awards.  But, in this case, “Who Are You?”, what, I think that came out in 1978.  It's a song most people know that were born, you know, before—or after 1960, at least.  This was tape-delayed.  ABC still failed to cut it out of the East Coast feeds.  It seems like somebody dropped the ball there.  Do you think they should be fined? 

ALEX MAR, ONLINE NEWS EDITOR, “ROLLING STONE”:  Well, look, I think, I think, Joe, that, really, it's a matter of picking your battles. 

And, in this case, you have one fleeting instance of the use of a four-letter word vs. an international initiative to eradicate extreme poverty and famine on an entire continent.  So, I think it's a little bit unfortunate that the PTC is choosing to use Live 8 as an example. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Melissa, what about that?  I mean, you look at this concert, have all these artists that came together obviously to help try, whether you think they can do it or not, try to alleviate suffering in Africa, whether it's AIDS or whether it's through poverty. 

I mean, do you really think this is the proper forum for your organization to be attacking? 

CALDWELL:  Well, I don't want to undermine the worthiness of the cause, but consistency is very important. 

If the networks are led to believe that the FCC is going to excuse it in this instance because it was—well, it was a worthwhile cause, then why wouldn't broadcasters believe that the FCC would excuse it in future instances?  If you're not consistent, broadcasters are not going to take the decency laws seriously and they're not going to take the appropriate steps to edit out this kind of language, when it's so easy to do, especially when there are children in the viewing audience. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Melissa, what do you want ABC to do?  If they step forward and say, you know what, we made a terrible mistake, we're very sorry, is that good enough for you?  Or do you think they—do you want them to be fined and do you want all of their affiliates that ran this program to be fined also? 

CALDWELL:  It seems sort of a shame to make a test case out of ABC, because I do believe they were trying to make an effort to edit out most of the offensive language.  This is one that slipped past them. 

You know, if they make a good-faith effort in the future to edit out obscene language from broadcast, whether live or on tape delay, I think that would be a great step.  But I think it's important for the FCC to be consistent in the application of the law. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Alex, what do you think about all of this?  I'll give you the final thoughts. 

MAR:  Well, I think one thing that's important to keep in mind is that the PTC is advocating a significant increase in the maximum penalty for incidence of indecency on air. 

Congress has proposed as high as half-a-million dollars for a single incident of indecency.  And, you know, let's keep in mind that indecency is defined as possibly something as basic as a cuss word.  And what you have is a situation where the artists are ultimately going to suffer, because the networks, rather than take a risk at scheduling an edgier artist, you know, in the chance that that person may slip up on live TV, they may institute a ban against that artist, as we saw with NBC a few months ago and the band Motley Crue.

When they were in the middle of promoting their new C.D., they were effectively banned from the network for using a curse word on live TV. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Well, coming up next here on “Saturday Night Live,” Barry Manilow and Perry Como. 

Melissa Caldwell and Alex Mar, thanks a lot for being with us tonight. 

We greatly appreciate it. 

Coming up next, a woman who allegedly went on a shopping spree courtesy of Jessica Simpson.  It's a simple scam.  We'll tell you about it and how you can get involved in a similar one when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A young diver uses her head and lives to tell about it. 

We'll tell you all about that. 

Plus, use your head by going to my morning read.  Click on Joe.MSNBC.com.  It doesn't hurt, I promise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pubescent males everywhere, rejoice, Jessica Simpson back in the news again, but, this time, as an identity theft victim. 

It seems a woman posing as the famous newlywed's best friend, Cacee Cobb, contacted several companies, who sent samples of their wares, more than $12,000 worth, to a Courtney Handel, who was arrested on Friday and charged with theft by deception, among her swag, well, seven pairs of Frye boots that Ms. Simpson could surely use in her next video. 

And, sometimes, an image can bring on a Excedrin-sized headache.  This one is one of those images.  You're looking at 17-year-old—ow -- 17-year-old diver Chelsea Davis.  She was at the World Aquatic Championship over the weekend.  Chelsea was attempting a difficult two-and-a-half somersault when she hit the diving board hard.  Chelsea was bleeding when she hit the water, but never lost consciousness, and she's doing fine tonight and determined to climb back up on the diving board. 

That's exactly what we are going to do.  That's how she looked this morning, but says she is doing better and is going to dive once again.

We're going to dive once again into hard news tomorrow night in

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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