updated 11/3/2005 10:31:58 AM ET 2005-11-03T15:31:58

Guests: Dave Holloway, Chris Lejuez, Clint Van Zandt, Tim Miller, Ron Kuby, Jan Ting, Deborah Norville, Steven Clark

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, breaking news out of Aruba.  Natalee Holloway‘s divorced parents have come together to demand that most of the senior officials working on the case be replaced. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  In a stinging six-page letter, they accused the Aruban authorities of asking for money, ignoring leads, and bungling the investigation.  They want a whole new team.  This a day after the deputy police chief had some tough words on this program for Natalee‘s mother.  Natalee‘s father, Dave, is with us. 

And legal analyst Daniel Horowitz fighting to remove a judge from a case he‘s working on, after the judge allegedly said Daniel was under a cloud of suspicion in connection with the murder of his wife Pamela Vitale.

Plus, an exclusive look inside the house where Laci Peterson lived and died. 

The program about justice starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, there is a war of words unraveling in Aruba.  Natalee Holloway‘s divorced parents who up to now have been proceeding separately, sign a letter.  Here it is.  You see Dave Holloway, Robin Holloway, Beth Twitty, Jug Twitty, all signing this letter in agreement with what is in this six-page document.  They are demanding that Aruba‘s attorney general pull the team investigating Natalee‘s disappearance. 

Quote—“It has become increasingly difficult to hold our tongues.  It is our contention that it is in the best interest of everyone concerned to instigate a fresh start in this case.  We respectfully request that Dennis Jacobs, Karin Janssen, and Gerold Dompig be removed from the case.”

The letter goes on to say that when Dave Holloway asked the police to begin a search for Natalee two days after she went missing, the detective in charge of the investigation answered—quote—“no, this happens all the time.  Just go on down to Carlos N‘ Charlie‘s and have a beer.  She‘ll show up sometime.  She probably got drunk or fell in love and ran off with someone for a few days.”

They also had strong words for the deputy chief of police, Gerold Dompig.  Quote—“It is apparent that Dompig wants to incite anti-Beth Twitty feelings among the Aruban populace in a situation where he should be doing the exact opposite and appealing to the Aruban people for leads to solve Natalee‘s disappearance.”

This scathing letter comes just a day after we had an exclusive interview with the deputy.  He was on the program yesterday, where he had some tough words of his own for the family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEROLD DOMPIG, ARUBAN DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF:  With all due respect to Mrs. Twitty, she doesn‘t run the investigation, we do.  And we ask the questions.  If it was the other way around, we could all back up and let the family do the investigation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) All right.  Joining me now on the phone is Dave Holloway, Natalee‘s father.  He is one of the people who signed the letter.  Dave, thanks for coming on the program. 

Look, Dave, you have generally been a sort of calmer voice in connection with this investigation, and yet you did sign this scathing letter about the investigative team.  Why?

DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S FATHER (via phone):  Yes we did.  I was one of the last holdouts.  I think Beth had been pushing for this for some time.  And I went back to the island, hoping to make one last push to get everybody together, hold some solid communications and move forward with the case.  And there at the end I thought we were coming close and starting to gel and to move this forward, and suddenly it just fell apart. 

ABRAMS:  But Dave, these are very serious accusations that you all are making in this letter.  Let me read from one of them that apparently was regard to you from a detective handling the case. 

When you went to the police department to report Natalee missing—quote—“Dennis Jacobs responded with the following inappropriate question.  How much money do you have?”

HOLLOWAY:  That‘s correct and there were two witnesses there that can confirm that. 

ABRAMS:  And your understanding was he was effectively saying in order to search for your daughter, that they would have to get paid? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well I don‘t know what his intentions were, Dan, but he made that comment.  Whether he was making it in jest, or whatever, I don‘t know, but he did make that comment. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now, another issue with regard to Detective Jacobs, and it seems to me that this I know is one of Beth‘s primary concerns, and I‘m wondering if it‘s yours, as well.

Jacobs continues to theorize that Natalee is still alive, which may explain his lack of diligence in pursuing the suspects who are responsible for Natalee‘s disappearance.

HOLLOWAY:  That‘s correct.  When I met with him last week, during our conversation, even though he is a lead investigator, he felt like Natalee was still alive. 

ABRAMS:  He made it clear to you that he thinks Natalee—the lead investigator made it clear to you that he thinks Natalee Holloway is alive and thereby, I guess, suggesting that what, she ran off? 

HOLLOWAY:  He really didn‘t comment on it, so I don‘t know.  Just—he just made that comment, that that was his theory.  There were four theories on the board.  One of them was she ran away, the other is she‘s alive, the other was that Joran left her at the beach, and the Mountain Brook kids did something with her and the other theory is the most objective and common theory was that they—the three boys had something to do with her disappearance, possibly taking her out in the ocean. 

ABRAMS:  Dave, before I play a piece of sound from the deputy police chief, Gerold Dompig, on this show last night, let me ask you.  You and your ex-wife Beth have gone about this sort of on two separate routes.  You‘ve gone there at different times.  I‘ve gotten the impression that it‘s not as if the two of you have been coordinating your efforts. 

You know what the other one is doing, but is this the most—this letter, signed by you and your wife and she and her husband, is this sort of the most unified effort that the two of you have made together on this? 

HOLLOWAY:  Yes, it would be.  I was one of the ones who held out, hoping that the police would come together and complete their investigation, and it just finally got to the point where—you know we‘ve got tunnel vision and a lot of peripheral issues started coming up, and you know why aren‘t we focusing back on the three suspects?  Why are we talking about issues that don‘t even involve the case?  And that‘s where I started getting frustrated and I felt like you know it‘s time, it‘s the fourth quarter, and time‘s almost up.  Why don‘t we just start all over and start out with a whole new fresh team? 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what Gerold Dompig said in an exclusive interview on this program last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOMPIG:  I think anybody should understand and can understand it.  We have made a lot of efforts to conduct a professional investigation.  And in any case, we have given the family every chance to sit with us and to take their statements. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Do you disagree with that, Dave? 

HOLLOWAY:  Well let‘s take a pen and pencil and draw a line through it, and you put on one side what the family and the foreigners and people from the U.S. have done, and then you put on the other side what have the police done.  You know we delivered, when we came to the island, we identified the suspects, all three of them, and handed it to them on a silver platter. 

We also identified the witness, who is the gardener.  We also had a person from the U.S. come down and literally almost got a confession out of Deepak.  We found a lot of evidence that they have not used for one reason or the other.  We‘ve done most of all the searches.  And then my question is, is what have the police done? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Dave Holloway, as always, thank you for taking the time to come on the program.

HOLLOWAY:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  And again, you know as Dave points out, this is a unique joint effort, because Dave and his ex-wife Beth have been going at this in different ways.  Beth has been out there criticizing the authorities earlier, Dave now joining in this letter, saying it is time to get rid of most of the team investigating this case. 

Joining me now is Aruban attorney, Chris Lejuez, EquuSearch director, Ted Miller, who‘s been back and forth to Aruba looking for Natalee over the past five months, and MSNBC analyst and former FBI investigator Clint Van Zandt.

All right, Chris, you‘re down there in Aruba.  How are the Aruban authorities going to react to this? 

CHRIS LEJUEZ, ARUBAN ATTORNEY (via phone):  I wonder.  I think the signal that they‘re getting is a very strong one.  I believe after I read her letter that they cannot ignore its contents.  They will—do have to look into matters. 

ABRAMS:  There is one point in this letter—and this is number three, here—where the letter says that the detective handling the case followed—neglected to ask a follow-up question, Clint, and it says—quote—Joran says—quote—“I think that Deepak killed Natalee and buried her body.”  There is no follow-up question as to why or where.  It seems that they are quoting from some sort of statement there, Clint where Joran said that. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI INVESTIGATOR:  I saw the statement Dan...

LEJUEZ:  Well as you know I am not involved...

ABRAMS:  I know.  I‘m—hang on a sec, Chris.  I‘m going to Clint Van Zandt on that. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes, Dan, I saw the statement when I was down in Aruba for MSNBC.  I saw the statement that the police allegedly took from van der Sloot, where he makes that—where van der Sloot says that.  And I read that and I kind of came up over the top of the desk and I said well, where‘s the rest of the questions?  Where‘s the follow-up questions?  Where‘s the rest of the story?

And Dan, this is what‘s frustrated me in this case.  It appears that the police simply sat there and listened to what he had to say, and said oh yes, that‘s nice, wrote it down.  No follow-ups.  They took a statement without asking any other questions. 

ABRAMS:  Clint look, you are a long-time investigator and I think many would characterize you as a—I hate to use the cliche, but an investigator‘s investigator.  A guy who the other investigators, the FBI team, they like you.  They respect you.  As someone who is on that side of law enforcement, how do you feel about this letter from Beth and Dave Holloway, basically saying we need a whole new team in there looking at this case? 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Well your staff provided me a copy of the letter obviously and I‘ve read it.  You know the letter was written by Art Wood, who‘s a former Secret Service agent, who‘s been working both for the newspaper in Aruba, as well as helping the family out.  I know Art.  I know him from down there.  He‘s a good solid guy.  But you know Art‘s fingerprints are all over this, but I think Art is just frustrated from the investigator‘s standpoint, and I think he‘s been able to pull the family together, say hey, at this point, shaking everybody‘s hand, slapping them on the back saying go get them guys, doesn‘t...

ABRAMS:  But this is well beyond that, Clint.  This is well beyond saying let‘s not slap them on the back.  This is saying get rid of them.  I mean this is—the accusations in here are very serious.  I mean talking about one detective who‘s asking about money.  Other detectives...

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... were saying oh just go have a beer? 

VAN ZANDT:  Or let‘s—shouldn‘t the FBI—you know, shouldn‘t the students who were down there with her, they now are supposed to make contact of their own volition, either by phone or e-mail, because the police now, all of a sudden, want to ask follow-up questions that they think the FBI didn‘t ask in the United States, which—you know, if the Aruba police have never asked one follow-up question yet, I don‘t know where they pulled a new follow-up question out of the air...

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what I want to do.  I want to do two things.  After this break, I want to play a piece of sound from Gerold Dompig on this show last night, when he‘s talking about exactly what he wants from the friends of Natalee Holloway.  And we still got Tim Miller with us from EquuSearch.  There‘s a lot of the criticism in this case who were saying look, the authorities they‘re not helping out with the team from EquuSearch that‘s out there every day, trying to look for Natalee.  We‘ll talk to Tim.  What he thinks about all of this.

And we‘ll get an exclusive look inside the house where Scott Peterson lived with Laci Peterson before he allegedly killed her. 

Plus, the CIA reportedly interrogating terror suspects in secret jails around the world, where they could be using some let‘s just say tough tactics to get suspects to talk.  We debate. 

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOMPIG:  Maybe some people are getting nervous because we want more detailed statements from the Alabama kids.  And no one is saying that the focus is off these three boys.  No, we just need more answers and maybe these answers can also help us to make the case stronger against these three boys. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Maybe, Clint Van Zandt, but the problem—and again, we‘re talking about this letter that has been signed by Beth Holloway and her ex-husband, the first time they‘ve come together in the Natalee Holloway case, saying they want a whole new team down there in Aruba.  You hear Gerold Dompig, the deputy police chief down there on this program last night saying look, you know some people may not like it, but we need more answers from some of the friends of Natalee Holloway and he‘s saying that doesn‘t necessarily...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... mean we‘re not still looking at the three suspects, but it sure does sound like it‘s possible that he‘s not and I think that‘s what drives the family crazy.

VAN ZANDT:  I think it does too, Dan.  Number one, just as you say, he‘s saying we need to ask more questions of these kids who have been interviewed and interviewed and interviewed time and again, and his lead detective is suggesting that Natalee is what, either a runaway or a kidnap victim.  Either way, it‘s still a case that needs to be investigated that the Arubans just have not pressed the case to find her. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Tim Miller is with EquuSearch.  He‘s been down there quite a bit.  Tim, a lot of the disputes seem to be focusing on your team‘s relationship with the authorities down there.  This letter is basically saying look, we can‘t work with them anymore, they‘re not helping us out.  How have you found the Aruban authorities to be in terms of helping you out? 

TIM MILLER, EQUUSEARCH DIRECTOR:  You know in the beginning I think it was very difficult.  We were led to believe one thing and I think that we crossed that hurdle a little bit.  And I remember when Gerold Dompig kind of took the case over, and I met with him, and I was kind of impressed with him, if you want to know the truth.

We had some new blood basically on the case.  And when we went there -

when we got there two weeks ago, we had what I thought was a wonderful meeting with Gerold, and he told us the areas he wanted us to search.  We let him know that we could do stuff up to 150 foot deep with the equipment that we had, but we was going to be in 800 to 1,000 feet of water.  And we tried to schedule some things and we lost communication. 

And you know I got a phone call this morning, while I was drinking my coffee.  I mean the Natalee case has just been eating at us, and it was Gerold Dompig.  And he really apologized to me for the lack of communication last week, while we were there, and Gerold‘s words to me was, Tim, you know what?  I really don‘t think that Natalee‘s alive. 

And we do have to find her.  He said I‘m looking forward to you coming back to the island.  I think Gerold has been overwhelmed.  He‘s been hit in every single direction, and you know what?  Right now what I would like to do is go ahead and mobilize again, go on back over there.  I think we‘re going to get 100 percent cooperation...

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know about that anymore...

MILLER:  ... from Gerold right now...

ABRAMS:  ... after this letter, Tim.  I mean you can understand why after this letter, there could be some new problems. 

MILLER:  Well you know what?  I think they can deal with those problems.  I‘d kind of like to ask Dave and Beth—you know what?  It‘s been almost five months now, let‘s step back for a couple of weeks and kind of take some deep breaths and stuff and kind of everybody hold their tongue and allow us to go back over there.  I truly, from the bottom of my heart, think that we‘re going to get the equipment over there we need.  We‘re going to be able to search the areas that they want searched.  And Gerold and I talked this morning, if she is out there, even with the sophisticated equipment...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

MILLER:  ... we‘re taking, chances are slim, but you know what?  Let‘s work together and do everything we can possibly do and I‘m looking forward to going back over there.  And the problems with Gerold and me right now, I think that they‘re repaired and I want to focus...

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER:  ... on locating Natalee.

ABRAMS:  They say in this letter that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) saying it‘s become increasingly difficult to hold our tongues.  And here‘s what Gerold Dompig said on the program last night, again talking about wanting those interviews with those other teens, talking about his relationship with the FBI and had some words for Beth Holloway Twitty as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOMPIG:  We have spoken to the FBI and the deal is that we will ask them officially to assist us with all the investigators‘ requests and questions we still have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the Alabama teens.  And that‘s going to happen and we‘re just going to have a kind of like a no-nonsense approach, not the emotional stuff.  And I regret that the family or Mrs.  Twitty tried to throw us off track, but I am steadfast. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, we shall see what happens.  I know that Dave Holloway‘s been listening in to this conversation.  And you‘ve been hearing what Tim has been saying from EquuSearch.  We‘ll let the two of you talk in private about some of this, because I think that you probably want to have an off-the-record conversation about some of that, so we‘ll let you do that.

Clint Van Zandt, thanks very much and Chris Lejuez, thank you. 

Appreciate it.

Switching topics now, news is coming out about secret CIA prisons around the world, where captured al Qaeda leaders, some of the worst of the worst are being held in various countries.  To give you some idea of what may be go on there, Vice President Cheney recently asked Senator John McCain to exempt CIA employees from a measure that would ban any cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners. 

NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA MITCHELL, CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 

While the world has focused on prison abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo, intelligence sources tell “The Washington Post” and NBC News that more than 100 terror suspects have been interrogated in a hidden prison system in Thailand and two eastern European countries, along with other secret locations.

Among the star prisoners, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bid Laden‘s former number three in command, Abu Zubaida, bin Laden‘s operation chief, and 9/11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh.  “Washington Post” reporter Dana Priest uncovered the story of the so-called black sites. 

DANA PRIEST, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  This system is completely secret.  We know nothing really about how it operates.  And in fact its existence is known only to a handful of U.S. officials. 

MITCHELL:  The CIA‘s secret prison system was set up, say officials, to avoid giving the prisoners legal rights and permit controversial interrogation techniques.  News of the prisons could create problems for their host countries, especially European allies. 

MICHAEL O‘HANLON, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT:  The rest of the world and particularly the part that counts in this context, the Muslim world, is going to see one more example of Americans not really caring about Muslims. 

MITCHELL:  Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell mentioned President Bush has actually threatened to veto the military spending bill that includes Senator McCain‘s measure, if the administration doesn‘t effectively get its way.

Ron Kuby is a criminal defense attorney and co-host of the talk show “Curtis and Kuby” on New York WABC Radio.  Jan Ting is a Temple University law professor, a former assistant commissioner Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, Ron, sure look, I think everyone would agree with the general notion people shouldn‘t be tortured.  What about the idea that when you talk about a term like not using degrading techniques, that there‘s something so vague about that, that it‘s going to tie their hands unnecessarily? 

RON KUBY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, the problem is with the past four years and the antiterrorist fight have shown is they need to have their hands tied.  We saw what happened in Guantanamo.  We saw the photographs of Abu Ghraib and the abuses there, none of which made us any safer.  All it did was to fuel the insurgency and act as a recruiting poster for al Qaeda... 

ABRAMS:  But no one is justifying—I mean Ron, no one has come out and said oh, you know what, what happened at Abu Ghraib was OK.  No, in fact, they said just the opposite. 

KUBY:  Well that‘s right.  So what we need to do is to put into place a system that is designed to prevent those kinds of abuses, not a system that is designed to permit those kinds of abuses.  Now, I recognize that any word in the English language is subject to a variety of interpretations, including degrading, humiliating, cruel—even torture.  I mean in this administration we‘re arguing about what the word torture means.

The last administration we argued what the word sex meant.  I understand that.  But you have some guidelines, you have some language that does restrict what they can do, and then we can talk about what constitutes degrading versus what constitutes a legitimate interrogation technique as opposed to what we have now, which is a system particularly with these black camps that the CIA have set up, where there‘s no monitoring, no oversight, no rules and no regulation. 

ABRAMS:  Well Jan, is that true?  I mean I thought that there still are rules that they have to abide by. 

JAN TING, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR:  Well I think so.  I mean the Senate Intelligence Committee and the committee in the House are fully informed of everything that‘s going on in the intelligence agency, so there is oversight.  Just the fact that we don‘t know about all of these camps isn‘t necessarily the worst thing.  Do we need to know?  I don‘t think we do...

ABRAMS:  Forget about knowing...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Forget about knowing about the camps. 

TING:  As your reporter says, we have political issues in our host countries and problems would be created if it became known...

ABRAMS:  I understand.  Look...

TING:  ... where these camps were. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Again, no one...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait.  Jan, Jan, Jan...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait.  Wait...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Jan, Jan, wait a second...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I don‘t want to—you can‘t do the hit and run.  I mean the bottom line is no one‘s talking about naming the countries, all right.  Even the journalist who got the names of the countries aren‘t naming them, because they are concerned and they accepted the administration‘s representation that it would put those countries in danger. 

TING:  Ron, there is congressional oversight.  Congress is satisfied with the level of oversight...

KUBY:  But I‘ve got to tell you Jan...

TING:  ... so you know I just don‘t see that there‘s a problem there. 

KUBY:  Jan, I‘ve got to tell you these camps were set up specifically to prevent the type of review that we have in the United States through the federal court system and the federal judiciary, a system that served our country well in war and in peace for over 200 years. 

ABRAMS:  Let him respond.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  OK, go ahead, Jan.

TING:  Ron, as you know—as you know, Ron, it‘s a huge leap to say that enemy combatants detained outside the United States have any rights at all before American courts in the United States.  So I just think that‘s a leap beyond where we are legally. 

ABRAMS:  But Jan, what about this...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  What about the use of the term...

TING:  On the question of McCain...

ABRAMS:  Wait—what about the use of the terms the cruel and the degrading, inhuman—the reason those terms are being used is because those are the terms from the Geneva Convention and basically what...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... what the supporters are saying is we just need to in step with the rest of the world. 

TING:  I respect Ron‘s views on this issue, and I have no doubt he speaks for a lot of people who view this as a simple question of right and wrong.  I have to say I don‘t think it‘s a simple question.  I think it‘s a very difficult question...

ABRAMS:  I think it is too.

TING:  ... of right and wrong.  When—the reality is when we have people like the al Qaeda leaders that you enumerated in the piece, who know about plans that are under way to attack civilians in the United States and in other countries, who know about plans to attack our military, we need to interrogate these individuals. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

TING:  And we have to find out what‘s going on.  And I think we have to cut our people some slack here.  I want these people interrogated. 

ABRAMS:  Let me...

TING:  Nobody wants them tortured.  The administration...

ABRAMS:  Right and that‘s what I said at the top...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s Vice President Cheney...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s Vice President Cheney talking about this issue, and I want Ron to respond to it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Do I spend times in the shadows in the intelligence world.  A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any dispassion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we‘re going to be successful.  That‘s the world these folks operate in and so it‘s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal basically to achieve our objective. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Ron, do you dispute most of that? 

KUBY:  I do, and I dispute it not on some sort of philosophical or moralistic basis.  I dispute it on a practical basis.  It‘s been four years since 9/11, and in that period of time American soldiers and CIA agents have done everything from lap dances on al Qaeda prisoners to slapping them around, to kicking them, to shoving glow whites...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

KUBY:  ... up their rectums, to tying panties on their head, to beating them to death in one place or another.  And in all of that time we never found and diffused the ticking time bomb through those techniques...

ABRAMS:  How do you know? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  How do you know?

KUBY:  Because you know what, Dan?  The Bush administration, had any of this been successful, you better believe the Bush administration would have told us gee...

(CROSSTALK)

KUBY:  ... using these torture techniques in fact paid dividends...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Again, no one is justifying the torture. 

KUBY:  But Dan...

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to go.  Ron and Jan, thanks a lot. 

TING:  All right.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, an exclusive look inside Laci and Scott Peterson‘s Modesto home, coming up after the headlines. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It is one of the most famous crime scenes in America and up to now we‘ve only seen pictures and pieces of grainy police and home videos.  But now “Inside Edition” got an exclusive look inside the house where Laci Peterson had called her dream home.  It‘s where Scott and Laci lived and where a jury believed Scott killed her.  It sold for close to $400,000 this summer.  The new owner has not changed a thing, not even painting the walls. 

Deborah Norville is the anchor of “Inside Edition” and she joins me now as we look at that tape. Deborah, good to see you again. 

DEBORAH NORVILLE, “INSIDE EDITION”:  Hey, Dan.  How are you?

ABRAMS:  Good.  All right.  So as we start to look at some of this tape, give us a sense.  Is the owner, do you know, ever planning on actually living there and moving in or is he going to effectively preserve it as some sort of museum? 

NORVILLE:  Absolutely the former, he plans to live there.  The owner‘s name is Gerry Roberts.  He‘s a real estate guy himself.  And he purchased this house, he says, with the full intention of living there with his daughter, of turning this infamous house, into an intimate home.  And as you can see from these pictures, which we‘ve never seen before, we all imagined what it was like inside the Peterson home, but it‘s actually a lot bigger I think than I thought it was.

He gave an exclusive tour to our reporter, Jim Moret, and the backyard is spacious.  That‘s the counter where we had seen Laci cooking the pasta, whatever it was in her bikini that time.  This is the family room, kind of walking down the hall.  And that of course is the room where little Conner was going to spend his first months, had he actually lived to be born. 

Interesting thing about the house, it‘s very private, very intimate, very secluded.  There‘s a stoned wall, so there‘s almost a wall courtyard before you get to the front entrance of the house, and the backyard is quite spacious, too.  Interestingly enough, when Mr. Roberts was going through the house, he made what he feared was a gruesome discovery. 

In the backyard area there was an outdoor sink, and underneath the sink he found a serrated knife.  Well you can imagine what that was like with the idea that perhaps this home was the murder scene, and while you say it was a murder scene, the fact is, as you know, the police were never able to pinpoint where in fact Scott Peterson murdered Laci.  The supposition was...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

NORVILLE:  ... it happened in the home, but they were never able to prove that and obviously...

(CROSSTALK)

NORVILLE:  ... it wasn‘t something the jury needed to see anyhow.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean but the bottom line is they still laid it out in the indictment and the charge, the location of the murder being that home.  How—can you give us a sense of how “Inside Edition” was able to get inside? 

NORVILLE:  Yes, when the house was put on the market it was as you know very kind of closed and you know the media was—obviously everybody was trying to get in there.  Once the purchase was completed, we made contact with Mr. Roberts, and he agreed to let us come in. 

He lost his job, if you can believe this, Dan, over his contact with the media.  Not specifically with “Inside Edition”, but when he purchased the home and found the knife that I mentioned a moment ago, he turned it over to police.  It was tested for blood, none was found, so they don‘t believe it had any connection to anything to do with Laci‘s death.  But it became a bit of a mini news story.

In the course of that, he did have some contact with the media, and his former employer had said we don‘t want you talking to the media if you buy the Peterson house, and apparently over that contact with the media he lost his job. 

ABRAMS:  You miss us, Deborah?

NORVILLE:  I miss you a lot.  Yes...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Really?

NORVILLE:  ... you guys do the best job.  You know it was a schedule thing.  I actually had to dump my kids at home, dash over here so I could come and talk to you.  And I remembered the juggling act was the thing that was tricky when I was doing the 9:00 show. 

ABRAMS:  I hope life is—the lifestyle is a better one now. 

NORVILLE:  The lifestyle is great, yes.  You know we‘re still doing good stories.  We‘re still covering the same stuff that you guys at MS do so well, and it‘s fun to get a chance to show some pictures that you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) “Inside” put them on MSNBC too. 

ABRAMS:  Deborah, thanks.  Good to see you again. 

NORVILLE:  Thank you, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  For more, inside the Peterson home, you got “Inside Edition”, check your local listings. 

Coming up, Daniel Horowitz back at work, fighting to remove a judge from a case, after the judge apparently said Daniel was under a cloud of suspicion in connection with his wife‘s murder. 

And later, more concerns about voter fraud in the country.  This time it is a vote many will never forget from our childhood.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, Daniel Horowitz fighting to remove a judge from a case after the judge apparently said Daniel was under a cloud of suspicion in connection with his wife‘s murder.  Details (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  New details emerging in the murder of Pamela Vitale, wife of high profile attorney Daniel Horowitz.  We have confirmed with the Antioch, California police that the suspect‘s father in that case brought police six guns to be destroyed just hours before his son was arrested. 

And in other news, Daniel Horowitz is back at work.  He wants a judge presiding over a case he‘s working on tossed, based on what the judge allegedly said about the case.  Now remember, Pamela Vitale killed October 15, five days later, the very day of Pamela‘s memorial service, Horowitz was due in court, one of three defense attorneys in an insurance fraud case.

For obvious reasons he didn‘t show up.  “The Modesto Bee” reports Judge Terrence Van Oss called the other lawyers to the bench, where apparently off the record he said Horowitz was—quote—“under a cloud of suspicion.”  This is before the sheriff announced Scott Dyleski‘s arrest.

In a motion filed earlier this week, Horowitz writes, I understand that he may have intended no harm in making any remarks.  However, regardless of any explanation or clarification, there is the appearance and/or reality of bias.

We contacted Judge Van Oss to ask if he had any comment.  His response, no, absolutely none. 

Joining me now is former prosecutor and friend of Daniel Horowitz, Steven Clark.  All right, Steve, let‘s take these issues separately. 

First, the news that the father of the suspect went in to have six guns destroyed hours before his son was arrested.  What could this mean? 

STEVEN CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Probably that the father was trying to avoid any kind of a confrontation with the police.  Perhaps he knew the arrest was imminent and he didn‘t want his son to have access with—to guns where all of a sudden there could be a shootout.  I‘m sure it was a safety precaution.  And I think it made a lot of sense under that scenario.  As soon as the police go to make an arrest and they hear guns in the house, things can get out of hand in very short order...

ABRAMS:  But it‘s also possible, right, I mean that—I mean I guess no one‘s been churched with anything.  They haven‘t charged the father with doing anything inappropriate, but it does seem kind of odd. 

CLARK:  The timing of it is odd, and I‘m sure they‘ll look into it.  But I think it was probably a public safety kind of situation.  Perhaps he also didn‘t want his son to be associated with guns.  But I mean clearly after this arrest, I mean we‘re now all talking about it, so I think it was more to avoid a confrontation when the police came to make that arrest.  I think the father knew that the arrest was coming.

ABRAMS:  All right.  So you just think it‘s something of a non-issue. 

CLARK:  I don‘t think...

ABRAMS:  All right.

CLARK:  ... you know because the nature of the homicide was such that it didn‘t involve a gun...

ABRAMS:  Right.  OK.

CLARK:  ... you know it—perhaps it also shows that the son you know had access to guns but didn‘t want to use one, and maybe that‘s a mitigating factor, as well. 

ABRAMS:  All right, now let‘s talk about this issue.  Daniel is getting back to work.  I talked to him today.  He seems to be in much better spirits than he had been last week when I spoke with him last.  And he believes that this judge could have a bias against him, based on this comment made. 

The other side would say, look, no one had been ruled out at that point.  No one had been arrested.  Actually let‘s put up number one here.  This is the Contra Costa Sheriff‘s Office, Jimmy Lee, the spokesperson, this is what he was saying on October the 17th

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY LEE, CONTRA COSTA COUNTY SHERIFF‘S OFFICE SPOKESPERSON:  We‘re not focused on anyone, nor have we ruled anyone out.  It‘s still a wide-open investigation. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And based on it, he also said they interviewed Mr. Daniel Horowitz and he‘s been very cooperative.  Is it so unfair of the judge to have said—let‘s assume for a minute that the judge said Daniel‘s under a cloud of suspicion.  Let‘s assume for a moment he wasn‘t following the case that closely, and he said you know, he‘s under a cloud of suspicion.  Does that mean he can‘t be fair in this insurance case?

CLARK:  If I was in Dan‘s shoes, I would have filed the same motion.  I think it‘s an incredibly insensitive comment, whether he made it just up at the bench or whether he made it in open court where Dan‘s clients could hear it.  It obviously creates an impression that Dan Horowitz may have killed his wife.  And if you‘re Dan Horowitz‘s client, do you really want a judge that‘s going to be hearing a major fraud case imply that to your client? 

ABRAMS:  When...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... in particular, when that cloud was all based on conjecture. 

CLARK:  Right.  And not only that, but the—what was going on is that there‘s the tip line.  There‘s a lot of other things going on.  And if you create the impression that Dan Horowitz somehow was involved, that may impede the investigation, maybe people will think this has been solved and they won‘t come forward.  I thought—I was frankly quite shocked when I heard the comment, whether it was made at the bench or not, I think it‘s something that a judge would be sensitive...

ABRAMS:  What do you make...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  One of the lawyers in that case is saying he thinks that the transcript from that date was sanitized in some way.  What do you make of that? 

CLARK:  Well, what he‘s implying is that the comment was made on the record and that the judge instructed his court reporter to excise it from the record...

ABRAMS:  That‘s a very serious allegation. 

CLARK:  It is a serious allegation and it could result in you know some kind of penalty on the judge for doing that, if that‘s in fact what happened.  I mean things are said in court all the time, and I think we have this impression that the court reporters take everything down.  When there is chitchat among the lawyers and things like that, it‘s not always taken down, so I don‘t think you can infer that just that it wasn‘t in the record, even though it may have been said.

But nevertheless, when Dan brought the motion on October 31 to have the judge removed from the case, a motion for cause, and then it‘s not in the record and then...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

CLARK:  ... then you get into an issue that are you trying to you know sanitize the record. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

CLARK:  And that then jeopardizes your client to a fair hearing. 

ABRAMS:  Well look, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... I think if it was said, you‘re probably right, just to avoid any potential perception...

CLARK:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... of conflict, the judge should probably back out.  But I think there may be a question as to whether it was said.  Well we‘ll stay on top of this.  And Steve Clark, as always, thanks.  Appreciate it. 

CLARK:  Thanks, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, THE ABRAMS REPORT on the case following allegations of potential election fraud across the country, but there is more at stake than something like an attorney general or president or a mayor.  No, no, this is a vote related to something that so many either loved or dreaded as teenagers.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”. 

And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to help find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  This week we‘re focusing on Delaware.

The authorities would like your help finding Monty Hall, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) real name, 30, 5‘9”, 120, convicted of two counts of rape with a victim under the age of 16.  He‘s wanted by the state on other charges.  If you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please call the authorities there, 302-856-5850.

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—the “Wall Street Journal” is reporting on a major issue regarding election fraud in this country that should serve as a wake-up call for every American.  An issue we can all understand and appreciate.  No, we‘re not talking about presidential election, fraud, or even statewide fraud.  We‘re not even talking about a local election for county treasurer.  We‘re talking about something much more personal. 

A battle being waged over the jealously guarded votes for homecoming queen.  “The Journal” reporting that these elections have become so contentious and competitive that it sounds more like applying for a job with the FBI.  Background checks, applications, community service hours, all at issue.  And at one Florida school, a familiarity with the state‘s touch screen voting process implemented after the Bush v. Gore voting debacle back in 2000.

That‘s right.  Wesley Chapel High School outside Tampa, Florida, borrowed Pasco County‘s touch screen voting machines to conduct this year‘s vote for the homecoming court.  The unchallenged result?  Whitney Howard (ph) and Mark (UNINTELLIGIBLE) were crowned king and queen this past weekend at the homecoming football game against Mitchell High School. 

My staff has been on top of this story.  Wesley Chapel teacher Scott Nichols told THE ABRAMS REPORT because the homecoming elections tended to be quite dramatic, he revamped the whole process this year in an effort to make it more of a civics lesson for students.  He‘s hoping students considered voting for Whitney and Mark a practice run for when they vote for president in 2008. 

Come on!  Yes, these elections can get competitive.  I went to college in the South.  I know homecoming is a big deal, but what‘s next?  Encouraging students to passing notes in class to teach students how to be journalists?  These homecoming elections are out of hand.  Claiming that these new substantive requirements make it less about popularity and more about qualifications is like saying the Miss America Pageant is substantially different because of the question and answer session. 

It‘s nice that the kids are going to know how to use the voting machines.  But I‘m concerned that when they go to vote for the real thing, they‘ll be thinking more about who would look better in a tiara than who would be the elected representative. 

Coming up, so many of you writing in about Monday‘s guest, Ann Coulter.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we‘re going to read some of the cleaner e-mail.  This is a family show after all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Monday night we debated Vice President Cheney‘s former chief of staff “Scooter” Libby in the CIA leak case.  I challenged Ann Coulter when she said it‘s clear that special prosecutor Fitzgerald found Plame was not a covert agent.  That he was only investigating another law.  I asked her how she knew and I quoted from Fitzgerald press conference. 

Karlynn Rayment in Olympia, Washington, “Bravo for challenging Ann despite the fact that she got louder and more strident when you pointed out her fallacy.”

Dave Peters in Westlake Village, California, “Ann Coulter was entirely correct in her assessment of the basis for Fitzgerald‘s investigation.  Carefully, very carefully read the indictment again and then listen to Fitzgerald‘s press conference again.  Having done so, you‘ll come to realize that Fitzgerald admits although obliquely that he had nowhere to go with the 1982 covert agent law.”

Just not so, Dave.  Read section 27 of the indictment.  Read the section I read aloud.  It‘s clear he aggressively investigated whether Libby illegally outed a covert agent.  But in the end didn‘t reach a conclusion because at least in part he says Libby obstructed the investigation. 

From Linwood, New Jersey, Jacob Reses, “Thank you so much for not just letting Ann Coulter feed her misleading comments to your viewers.  I‘m so sick of other news programs on other networks just eating up what she says like candy.”

And in my “Closing Argument” the P.C. police at it again.  An elementary school caving into pressure from a handful of parents who oppose costumes and other celebrations at school on Halloween.  They say the holiday is religious.

Laurie Schmidt, “You said what I‘ve wanted to say to people for years.  Lighten up.  I‘m 56 and I still dress up on Halloween and will do so until the day I die.”

I said if you look back far enough, sure you can trace the Halloween rituals to religion, but there are only a few who still see it that way.  Some fringe groups of so-called witches. 

From Chicago, regular viewer Sue Kennedy, “So-called witches?  Excuse me.  We are Wiccans and guess what?  The U.S. military recognizes paganism and Wicca as a legitimate religion.  The Halloween that little kids dress up for and the Samhain I celebrate have zero to do with one another.”

Well then there is no reason for anyone to worry that candy corn and costumes at schools have anything to do with your Samhain or hein.  Whatever. 

Anyway, we‘re out of time.  We had other e-mails.  All right.  We had two more. 

See you.  Chris Matthews up next.

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

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