updated 11/10/2005 12:31:20 PM ET 2005-11-10T17:31:20

Guest: Steve Emerson, Bernie Kerik, Wayne Downie, Lawrence Eagleburger, George Parnham, Meg Spinelli, Karen Kennedy, Mary Fulginiti, Brian Wice, Bob Riley, Jug Twitty, Juan Ramos, Frank Rizzo, Robert Jordan, Michael Yon, Bruce Willis

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  There‘s breaking news at this hour out of Amman, Jordan, three deadly suicide bombings at American hotels that have killed, according to the BBC just a few moments ago—we got this word that at least 67 people are dead, and now late word that it appears that there may have been a fourth target.  Security guards working at the scene have just told an NBC News producer on the ground there in Amman that they found a car full of explosives at the Meridien Hotel, in a parking garage, a coordinated attack creating chaos in the capital of Jordan tonight.  Still no word if any Americans are among the dead.

More now from NBC‘s Keith Miller, who has the very latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH MILLER, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  There was no warning.  The near simultaneous blasts hit three hotels in the center of Amman shortly before 9:00 tonight.  The first explosion ripped through the lobby of the Grand Hyatt.  Moments later, explosions in the Days Inn hotel and the Radisson Hotel.  The bomb there was detonated during a wedding reception for some 250 people.  Police report all three bombs were set off by suicide bombers.

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC NEWS TERROR ANALYST:  Anytime you see this many attacks happen in a short period of time, it‘s either a member of the al Qaeda organization, one of their networks or a self-styled jihadist who supports the cause.

MILLER:  Senior counterterrorism and intelligence officials tell NBC News that the prime suspect in tonight‘s bombings is Jordanian militant Abu Musaab al Zarqawi.

SIMON HENDERSON, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST:  To hit targets in Jordan is a neat way for Zarqawi both to punish the Jordanian government and punish the United States.

MILLER:  Jordan has trained 40,000 Iraqi police cadets and soldiers, placing the country high on the hit list of radical Islamic groups.  Last August, Zarqawi claimed responsibility for rockets fired at two U.S.  warships in the Jordanian port of Aqaba.  And Jordanian intelligence managed to foil plans to attack tourist sites in 1999.  Code-named the Millennium Flop, the Radisson hotel was on the list of the intended targets.

As a neighbor of Iraq, Jordan has become a gateway to the Middle East.  The hotels hit tonight house Western diplomats, Iraqi politicians and businessmen traveling to Baghdad.

(on camera):  Jordan‘s King Abdullah cut short an overseas trip tonight and condemned the terrorist attacks as the work of a misled, deviant group.

(voice-over):  Tonight, the country‘s borders are sealed as the government launches a manhunt for those responsible for planning the attack.  Keith Miller, NBC News, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  Thanks, Keith.  And tonight, police in America are stepping up patrols at big city hotels.  Let me bring in our expert panel of terrorism pros, four-star retired Army general Wayne Downing, also former New York City police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who spent a lot of time in Jordan, just got back from there recently. And also terrorism analyst Steve Emerson.

General Downing, let me ask you about this new news that we‘re hearing that now we‘ve found a car full of explosives outside the Meridien hotel.  It sounds like there was a fourth, maybe other targets out there.

GEN. WAYNE DOWNING, U.S. ARMY (RET.):  Well, it‘s possible.  We don‘t know if the car was rigged or perhaps, Rita, that there were just other explosive vests in there.  Perhaps they had more suicide bombers who didn‘t get garbed up for one reason or another.

COSBY:  You know, Steve Emerson, is your sense that, what, this was so heavily coordinated, three hotels with American names, Meridien‘s also, you know, an American-based chain, as far as I know—I mean, it sounds like there was—they were planning much more, right, Steve?

STEVE EMERSON, TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, I don‘t know if they were planning more, but this took a lot of planning.  It doesn‘t just happen overnight, Rita.  This takes months.  There‘s reconnaissance.  There‘s recruitment of the actual suicide bombers, the preparation of the bombs itself.  And remember, these bombs went off in a spate of five minutes apart, so there really was a simultaneous device, you know, implanted on each person in order to detonate in such precision.

And look, in the end, the fact is that no one was prepared for a walk-in suicide bomber in Jordan.  All these hotels had great security barriers to prevent car bombs alone.

COSBY:  Well, and these guys have the best intelligence, right, Steve?

EMERSON:  Well, yes.  Jordanians have the best—the best intelligence service in the Arab world, and they work very closely with the United States.  U.S. probably has one of the largest cooperative relationships with Jordanian law enforcement.

COSBY:  You know, Bernie, you‘ve been working with the Jordanian government.  You know the Hyatt hotel that was one of the targets tonight.

BERNIE KERIK, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER:  Yes, I‘ve been there a number of times.  During Ramadan, I spent several days there, in the last few weeks.  I‘ll be back there next week, as you know.

COSBY:  How is this going to affect the Jordanian government?

KERIK:  I don‘t think it is.  The king is extremely strong.  He‘s very dedicated to fighting terrorism.  A lot of people are focused on this and saying it‘s all about America and the support for Iraq.  You know, this king, King Abdullah, is extremely aggressive in combatting global terror.  And that could be another reason that they have been a target by al Qaeda and Zarqawi and some of these others.  But they‘ll get through this.  They‘re extremely resilient.

COSBY:  Yes, and you know, General Downing, Bernie hit the head on, in terms of this government has been so strong.  I interviewed King Abdullah not too long ago, when I was working at another network.  He was telling how they thwarted a major biochem attack.  We know they thwarted the millennium attack.  But on the other hand, these guys have really, really taken a strong stance, particularly against Abu Musaab al Zarqawi, right?

DOWNING:  Well, that‘s correct.  Zarqawi, of course, is a Jordanian, Rita.  And they‘ve got a very, very effective police force and intelligence service and army and special forces.  So they are very, very good, and for them to penetrate that—“them” being the al Qaeda, who I suspect—just shows you how good these people are and how they are now starting to spread this holy war out of Iraq into other regions there in the Levant.

COSBY:  You know, General Downing, no one has claimed responsibility, sort of a marking of al Qaeda.  At this point, do you think it‘s going to be tough to track exactly who is responsible?

DOWNING:  Well, I think probably the Jordanians are getting a handle on this right now.  I mean, certainly, they have a porous border with Syria, with Iraq and with Saudi Arabia.  If they do get some of these good tips, I think they may be able to figure it out, but I think it‘s going to end up being Zarqawi and the al Qaeda network, the sympathizers, the franchise.

COSBY:  You know, and Steve, they‘ve closed the borders with Syria and other countries, too, which is normal after something like this.  How tough is it going to be to sort of ring (ph) in and determine, indeed, if it is Zarqawi behind this, Steve?

EMERSON:  Well, I understand, actually, from somebody who I just spoke to in Jordan before I went on the set here, that the Hyatt hotel actually had continuous 24-hour video surveillance.

COSBY:  Ah!  So they probably got a tape!

EMERSON:  Yes.  And it looks like they‘ve actually identified the suicide bomber who apparently appeared Iraqi.  And that actually confirms an eyewitness account in the Hyatt hotel, who said that a—the suicide bomber spoke to him seconds before he detonated himself, and he spoke in an Iraqi accent and appeared very nervous.  So this would appear now that they‘ve the first major crack in the case.

COSBY:  Oh, that‘s really interesting.  You know, the other thing, too, didn‘t he also just put out a note, Zarqawi, not too long ago, Steve, basically said, We‘re going to spread our word per bin Laden, and we‘re going to spread it, even hitting the Jordanian government, doing that directly, right?

EMERSON:  Well, he‘s been actively threatening the Jordanian government.  In fact, there have been at least half a dozen trials in the last year or so involving members of the Zarqawi network that have plotted attacks against Jordan in, you know, various—various parts of Amman, Jordan.  So there‘s no doubt that he‘s already on record as having said, I‘m going to try to destabilize you, because he‘s trying to throw the monarchy of Jordan.

COSBY:  Yes.  You bet.  I want to bring in, if I could, to the conversation with us, former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger.  Mr.  Secretary, what‘s your reaction today, and do you believe Zarqawi‘s behind it?

LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE:  Well, my reaction is pretty the same as I‘ve heard from your more expert colleagues there.  I really don‘t think this is going to shake the Jordanian government.  I think, frankly, myself—and I know the Jordanians reasonably well, but from some years ago—I think it may, in fact, be totally counterproductive in terms of their attitude towards these murderers.  But I think...

COSBY:  Do you think, Secretary, it would maybe strengthen it?  I mean, as you‘ve heard from Bernie Kerik and others, I mean, these guys have really gone on an all-out assault al Qaeda.  But do you think they might even beef it up?

EAGLEBURGER:  Beef up the attack against him?

COSBY:  No, I mean—I mean, beef up the response and really...

EAGLEBURGER:  Yes, I think...

(CROSSTALK)

EAGLEBURGER:  I think they may.  You know, I think, of all of the countries in the region, it‘s the one I think I would have the most confidence in, in terms of, one, the quality of their professionals, two, the strength of their government.  The king is, I gather, popular.  His father was certainly terribly popular.  And I think it will  probably lead to even further strengthening of their position against the terrorists.

On the other hand, I think you also need to remember that this is a fairly small country, and their ability to really pursue this on more than a regional basis is, I think, going to be impossible.

COSBY:  You know, Bernie, what do you think the response is going to be from the Jordanians?  You know them well.

KERIK:  I think it‘s going to be very aggressive.  They have phenomenal intelligence and investigative capability.  They have excellent working relationships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA.  They even have an intelligence network that reaches into Israel, with the Mossad.  They have, as the secretary indicated, and the general and Steve, probably some of the most aggressive and combative forces.

And what they do very well, that sometimes we in the United States don‘t do, is they have the communications and the coordinations, you know, between all of them, the military, the special forces, special ops, intelligence, in conjunction with all the outside regional people.  So they‘re going to be extremely aggressive.

One thing the secretary said people have to keep in mind, King Abdullah has an enormous following in that country, very, very supportive of him, like they were his father.  That‘s going to help him get through this.  That‘s also going to help the communities come out and go after—you know, collect intelligence, collect information and help the government.

COSBY:  Yes, General Downing, any symbolism at all to the fact that today is 9/11 in Jordan?  Remember, they flip the dates.  It‘s November 9.  But a lot of people are reading into it—you know, the guys pick significance on dates.

DOWNING:  It‘s possible, Rita.  I hadn‘t considered that.  But you know, certainly, the fact they went back after the Radisson after the failed attempt back in 1999 and 2000 is significant.  You know, one of the things I think we have to think about, though, while the government of Jordan has been a very, very strong supporter, you know, I think the thing that we have to all be concerned about, and that is the mood on the street...

EMERSON:  Yes.

DOWNING:  ... in Jordan.  There‘s a very, very high percentage of Palestinians in that country, you know, approaching, if not over, 50 percent.  You know, how do they feel about this thing?  And one of the things that Zarqawi might want to do is get that government to crack down and increase the dissatisfaction of some of these people.

So there is a problem.  There‘s a very, very thin balance in Jordan right now.  And you know, I think what we‘re seeing here is the Zawahiri letter back in July that told Zarqawi to knock off the attacks on the Shias and the Sunnis, and let‘s start looking at the rest of Levant—and this is Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan and perhaps Syria.  And we may be seeing that offensive start.

COSBY:  No, that‘s a great point.  You know, Secretary Eagleburger, how concerned should we be on the word on the street there in Jordan?  Because as we know, those are folks who came here on 9/11.

EAGLEBURGER:  No, this is—this is a very good point, and I was going to ask the question, and I think, again, the other people maybe know the answer better than I do, but you always have to look in that part of the world at the attitude on the street, as it has been said.  And while, you know, we all know how unpopular we are in that part of the world in a general way, and I was wondering, in fact, whether that was also a problem in Jordan—I suppose it is, but...

KERIK:  It is.

EAGLEBURGER: -- I would also suspect perhaps maybe not quite as strong as it is in some of the other countries in the region.  What do you think, gentlemen?

COSBY:  Well, Bernie—Bernie‘s nodding his head.  Real quick, Bernie.

KERIK:  You know, I‘m in different points of the region, but I almost live in Jordan.  There‘s that sentiment out there.  It‘s not as bad—definitely not as bad as the other areas in the region.  But there are people out there that have problems with Iraq, have problems with supporting Iraq, and that‘s an element.  But I don‘t think it‘s an element that the king of Jordan can‘t overcome.

COSBY:  All right, guys.  Well, that‘s good to hear.  All of you, thank you very much.

And again, the new news that a car full of explosives has been found at the Meridien hotel, in a parking garage.  Maybe a fourth bomb was in the works.  We will keep you posted if we get any other details.  We‘re going to continue to watch this breaking story and also have the very latest for you.

And of course, that‘s not all that‘s coming up tonight.  Take a look.

Still ahead: Andrea Yates killed her five children, blaming a horrible bout of post-partum depression.  But wait until you hear why a judge just overturned her conviction.  Could she ever be set free?  Her mother joins us live to give us her emotional reaction to the shocking twists.

And we first broke the news that the governor of Alabama, outraged over the Natalee Holloway investigation, was calling for a boycott of Aruba.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOB RILEY ®, ALABAMA:  We‘ve reached the point where there are no other viable options.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  Tonight, I‘ll ask him what he‘s doing to make that happen.

And “Die Hard” star Bruce Willis joins us live.  Find out why the superstar actor has taken a big interest in one blogger.  That‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSTY YATES, ANDREA YATES‘S EX-HUSBAND:  Well, I‘m very happy.  It‘s a pleasant surprise, you know?  We hadn‘t heard anything in a long time and starting to wonder what the status was, and all of a sudden, you know, here it is.  So very, very good for everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And that was Rusty Yates talking to MSNBC‘s Dan Abrams earlier today in support of his ex-wife, Andrea Yates.  She confessed to drowning her five young children in a bathtub in 2001.  The Texas court of appeals has just cleared the way for Yates to be tried once again.  She was convicted the next year, in 2002, but that conviction was overturned because of false testimony given by a key prosecution witness who mistakenly referred to a “Law & Order” TV show during the case.

Andrea Yates‘s attorney, George Parnham, joins me now.  George, first of all, quite a victory for you.  What‘s the reaction from Andrea?

GEORGE PARNHAM, ANDREA YATES‘S ATTORNEY:  Rita, good evening.  Yes, I‘m pleased with the result.  I think it was the right decision.  I‘ve not spoken with Andrea.  I can only surprise that she is filled with dread and trepidation to be placed into a situation again, to face diapers, the pajamas and autopsy photographs and crime scene videos.

COSBY:  Does that mean, George, that you‘ll try to avoid it?

PARNHAM:  I will do everything that I can to address the mental health issues, and yet to do whatever we can to avoid putting her through that horrible, horrible process.

COSBY:  Are you thinking a plea deal?

PARNHAM:  But I don‘t think that‘s going to be possible.

COSBY:  I was going to say, are you talking about a plea deal, or what are you talking about?

PARNHAM:  No, I would love to be able to create some type of an atmosphere within the adversarial system that would address mental health issues.  I don‘t think that‘s going to be possible.  We are going to go to trial in this case.

COSBY:  Is there a way to avoid her going through that process, going on the stand?

PARNHAM:  Not—not—well, I can‘t address whether or not I would end up putting her on the stand.  The only way we can avoid going through the process is for the state to understand the reality of mental health and to address the mental health issues in this case, and certainly, a plea of guilty to any of these offenses does not end up addressing what we know to be the reality of women‘s mental health and what caused the drownings of those children on June 20.

COSBY:  You know, prosecutors have come out, George, with some statements today, saying that, essentially, that the jury found her guilty before, didn‘t buy the insanity defense, saying it‘s not going to happen again.  Let me show a comment from prosecutors.  I want to get your reaction.  They‘re saying, quote, “Several witnesses, ours and theirs, testified that Andrea Yates knew precisely what she was doing.  We would anticipate that a jury would come to the same conclusion with regard to her insanity.”

Do you think that a different jury—is there new information?  Is there different information, or just a different jury, do you think, might come to a different opinion?

PARNHAM:  Rita, first of all, we had a death-qualified jury in the first case.  The state sought to put Andrea Yates on death row and execute her.  We‘re not going to have that type of jury in this second go-around.  Secondly, I think there‘s become an awareness in this community and elsewhere about the reality of a psychotic world in which Andrea Yates existed on June the 20th.  What does the word “know right from wrong” mean to a person who‘s delusional?  Different type of mental processes completely, and I hope to be able to persuade the jury that the right thing to do is to put her into a mental institution for as long as it takes and get her out of the  penitentiary system.

COSBY:  All right, George.  If you could, stick with us, because I‘m going to bring you back in a few minute.  And I want to move on just real quickly because now two people who know Andrea Yates very well, in addition to George.  Dr. Meg Spinelli, she‘s director of maternal mental health at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and also Columbia University.  And also Andrea Yates‘s mother, Karin Kennedy, joins me now on the phone.

Dr. Spinelli, do you think she should be tried again?  You know, George talked about some of the mental health issues.

DR. MEG SPINELLI, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY:  I think there is a decision to be made that she should be tried.  However, it would be wonderful if we could really get the science of psychiatry, prior to the courtroom, into this case so that it can be treated appropriately in the—in an arena where psychiatry is viewed as a science.

COSBY:  Well, you know, in fact, that‘s what it sounds like what, you know, George is trying to do.  How would you diagnose her condition from a mental health perspective?

SPINELLI:  Well, it‘s quite clear that she had a post-partum psychosis.  There‘s a lot in terms of Miss Yates‘s history of her mood cycling, the fact that she was very high functioning, the fact that she spiraled down into mental illness with every delivery.  That certainly signifies that she had a post0partum psychosis.

And the issue of post-partum psychosis that we‘re aware now that there is impaired cognition during a post-partum psychosis.  At the same time, we‘re using an insanity defense that is based on cognition.  It‘s as if we‘re not getting our 21st century neuroscience into this kind of archaic hole of the law.

COSBY:  OK.  Let me bring in, if I could—this is Andrea Yates‘s mother, Mrs. Kennedy, Karin Kennedy.  Mrs. Kennedy, are you with us?

KARIN KENNEDY, ANDREA YATES‘S MOTHER:  Yes.

COSBY:  Have you talked to your daughter?  I know that, obviously, this victory just came down, but have you talked to her even about the issue of getting a new trial?

KENNEDY:  No, because we weren‘t sure that this was would happen.  And we can‘t call her.

COSBY:  When was the last time you spoke to her?  And how is she doing?  What‘d she say to you?

KENNEDY:  Two weeks ago.  She was all right.

COSBY:  How is she holding up?  How is prison for her?  How is prison life?  Walk us through sort of what you saw and how she‘s spending her time.

KENNEDY:  Well, she‘s doing some work, I believe, and she said she‘s getting treated very well.

COSBY:  Did you know that she was having, you know, these mental problems, Mrs. Kennedy?  Did you see any history or any signs of deterioration in your daughter before she killed her children?

KENNEDY:  Yes, she had post-partum depression with Luke, with the second before last.

COSBY:  What did she say to you during that time?

KENNEDY:  Not much.  She was trying to commit suicide at my house.

COSBY:  Are you happy that she‘s getting a new trial?  Do you think this is the right move, real quick, Mrs. Kennedy?

KENNEDY:  I hope so, yes.  I pray that it is.

COSBY:  Let me go back to Dr. Spinelli.  How do you think Andrea Yates would handle a new trial?  We just heard from George Parnham.  You know, she‘s not looking forward to it, dreading it, the stress of it.

SPINELLI:  Yes, I think it would be very difficult.  On the other hand, I think that Andrea herself is also committed to women who have post-partum disorders.  And as difficult as that is for her, not only would it, hopefully, guarantee for her appropriate treatment, but also for many women who go through this exact—go through the exact illness and who have been through very similar circumstances as Andrea.

COSBY:  Dr. Spinelli, thank you very much, and also Mrs. Kennedy. 

Both of you, thank you for being with us and giving your perspective.

Well, how unusual is this new development in the Yates case?  Let‘s bring in, if we could, former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti, and also criminal defense attorney Brian Wice.  Also, we‘re going to have with us, still with us is George Parnham, of course, Andrea Yates‘s attorney.

Let me go to you, Brian, first of all.  You were surprised by this. 

Why?  By this move.

BRIAN WICE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Rita, quite frankly, any time a Texas appellate case court rules in favor of any convicted defendant, but a high-profile defendant, to boot, it‘s certainly a shock.  The three-judge panel here in Houston that reversed this conviction earlier this year really was collectively to the right of Clarence Thomas, including the former chief of the appeals bureau of the office that tried to put Andrea Yates on death row and a former chief of police here in the city of Houston.  Not only getting by that three-judge panel but convincing the incredibly conservative court of appeals, which you know has a national reputation for conservatism in criminal cases, not to step in.  And the fact that the court 9-to-nothing decided that the court of appeals had gotten it right to me speaks volumes about the fundamental unfairness of this trial.

COSBY:  Yes, it was—it was surprising, I agree.  They must have found something significant there.  Mary, what was your reaction?  Did you think it would happen?

MARY FULGINITI, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  You know, after reviewing a portion of the record in this case, I actually thought the decision was right on.  I think the standard here is whether there was a reasonable likelihood that Mr. Dietz‘s (ph) testimony about this, you know, made-up “Law & Order” episode materially—or could have materially affected the jury‘s verdict...

COSBY:  Do you think it could have?

FULGINITI:  I think the answer to that was clearly yes.  I mean, they had one witness for the state, really, who testified with regard to her mental health versus 10 for the defense.  And that one witness was Mr.  Dietz.  So I think given that and given the reliance by the prosecutor in the closing argument on that “Law & Order” episode, arguing or implying that, you know, Ms. Yates could have actually mirrored her crimes off of this, you know, made-up episode, I think their decision was absolutely correct.

COSBY:  You know, Brian, if you were defending her the second time around, how would you approach it?  Is there something different you can do this time?

WICE:  Well, again, as we recently heard, the jury that hears this case probably late spring, early summer of next year will not be death-qualified.  What does that mean?  It means that they are altogether more likely to find an insanity defense more compelling than those folks who are qualified to assess death in a proper case.

Really, to the extent the Harris County district attorney‘s office sought death in the first instance, it was a move that was toned deaf and really certainly in light of the fact that they‘re making much of the fact that they intend to retry this case, I really think that they have shown a total disregard for fundamental fairness.  And again, the fact that Park Dietz has been totally discredited means that whoever gets to cross-examine him sometime next year will basically be teeing off on him.  It‘s going to be batting practice, Rita.

COSBY:  Yes.  What do you think, Mary?  I mean, you think that she has a better chance this time around, like Brian does?

FULGINITI:  I think, to some extent.  I don‘t necessarily think that the prosecutor, though, is tone deaf.  I mean, these are heinous crimes that were committed here, and they clearly believe that she—you know, you can be mentally ill or have a mental illness, which, obviously, I don‘t think any of the parties here would disagree with, with regard to Ms.  Yates, and still understand right from wrong.  And I think that‘s the distinction here, and the prosecution clearly believed that she did have the ability or capacity to distinguish right from wrong.

The problem I think the prosecution‘s going to face here is, you know, they‘ve got one witness versus 10.  And I think whenever a case is remanded for retrial, prosecutions take a close look at their case and decide do they want to expend the time, effort and money again to retry this case, in light of the testimony that they don‘t have anymore.

COSBY:  Right.  And the fact that, you know, prosecutors—we were reading a couple different statements.  One of them (INAUDIBLE) be tinkering on maybe going for a plea bargain.  The rest are saying they‘re going full steam ahead.

Let me bring in George Parnham.  George, real quick, when could this go trial, if it does go trial?  And if she does get, say (INAUDIBLE) buy the insanity defense, are we looking at her life in a mental institution, or what kind of time?

PARNHAM:  Well, I think Brian‘s absolutely correct.  I think late spring, early summer might well be the window of opportunity to try this case.  It really depends on, quite frankly, the judge‘s determination if, in fact, the jury does, in fact, find her not guilty by reason of insanity.  We‘re not permitted in the state of Texas to inform a jury as to the consequences of such a verdict.  However, the common belief that an individual acquitted on insanity grounds gets on the elevator and goes down, walks on the same street as the jurors do after the verdict, is not true.  That individual is placed in a mental hospital.  If the offense for which she was tried is one of violence, she‘s placed in a place called Vernon‘s (ph) in Texas, and she...

COSBY:  And it‘s until she‘s well, which could be a long period of time.

PARNHAM:  It could be as long a period of time as a sentence would permit, were she to be convicted of this offense.

COSBY:  All right, guys, thank you...

PARNHAM:  And that‘s life.

COSBY:  Right.  Exactly.  Could be as long as that.  Thank you.  George, thank you, very, very much.  Brian, and also Mary, thanks so much for your thoughts, very much.

And still ahead, everybody, the governor of Alabama wants Americans to boycott Aruba because of the way they‘re handling the Natalee Holloway case.  I‘m going to ask him how far he‘s willing to go to make that happen.

Plus, we have late details about the frantic search for an American exchange student who went to church and hasn‘t been seen since.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Well, some are calling the investigation into the disappearance of Natalee Holloway a dead-end.  It looks like calls for a boycott of Aruba could be gaining some steam. 

Natalee Holloway‘s mother, Beth Twitty, joined Alabama Governor Bob Riley in announcing the boycott.  You saw it yesterday. 

Now today, calls for other states to join the boycott even made their way to the floor of the U.S. Senate via Senator Shelby of Alabama.  LIVE & DIRECT tonight from Montgomery, Alabama, is the governor, Bob Riley.  He‘s spearheading, of course, the effort behind this boycott. 

Governor, good to see you. 

GOV. BOB RILEY ®, ALABAMA:  Hi, Rita. 

COSBY:  What reaction have you gotten from, you know, from the call for the boycott? 

RILEY:  Well, I was in Washington most of the day today.  And it gave me an opportunity to visit with a lot of people that I served in Congress with.  And it was totally positive across the board. 

COSBY:  It was?  Are they planning on speaking out, or do you think we‘ll see other governors, other folks speaking out, as well? 

RILEY:  Well, we‘re going to draft a letter within the next day or two, and we‘re going to send it to all the governors in the United States. 

I hope that they‘ll participate.  You know, we‘ve got a lot at stake right here.  But, you know, I told most of my colleagues again today, you know, we‘ve got a lady down here that has fought for the last six months, her whole family, Natalee‘s whole family has fought.  She asked the state of Alabama to help and she asked the American people to help.  And I hope they will. 

COSBY:  What are you doing additionally, too, Governor?  I mean, do you expect, first of all, that you‘re going to have a petition signed by the other governors or have sort of a press conference with all of them? 

RILEY:  Well, we will have a national governor‘s conference coming up in a couple of months.  At that time, I‘ll probably get up and speak to all of the governors, ask them to participate in a resolution. 

But, Rita, I hope it doesn‘t get to that point, you know.  There is some movement in Aruba today.  We‘ve heard that their parliament came together.  They came together. 

And I wish this has happened two or three weeks ago, because so much of this could be solved if we just had a level of cooperation that I think most of the American people and, certainly, all the people in Alabama expect. 

COSBY:  Now, Governor, what kind of action did you see there on the ground today in Aruba? 

RILEY:  Well, I was on a plane most of the afternoon, but, you know, we‘ve had several different pieces of correspondence that have come in.  We‘ve talked to some of their officials there. 

I think there is at least an attempt by the Aruban government to at least express that they are concerned, they do take this seriously, and that we hope that that‘ll follow through to a different level of cooperation. 

COSBY:  Yes, what exactly do we need to see, in your opinion, for this boycott to stop?  I mean, are you asking that they actually round up the boys, that they question them again, that they arrest them?  To what level? 

RILEY:  No.  And it‘s never been to that point.  The only thing that we‘re asking is far to keep the family informed, make sure that they are aggressive in the prosecution. 

You know, I don‘t think there‘s anything in the world wrong with allowing an investigator to see all of the interrogations, see all of the evidence that‘s been collected, communicate with Natalee‘s family.  I mean, these aren‘t very dramatic requests. 

On the other hand, we want to see something begin to transpire down there.  And it hasn‘t in the last few months. 

COSBY:  All right, Governor, if you could, stick with us.  I want to bring you into the conversation with some other folks. 

Late today, LIVE & DIRECT, we got a statement from the Dutch ambassador about the Aruban boycott.  And that ambassador tells us, quote, “While I understand the ongoing anguish, a boycott of Aruba is not the answer to a legal case which is still under investigation.”

It further says, “It‘s not the appropriate signal to the citizens of Aruba who have been very supportive in the efforts to find Natalee Holloway.”

LIVE & DIRECT right now is Natalee‘s stepfather, Jug Twitty.  Jug, what‘s the reaction from this comment from the ambassador? 

GEORGE “JUG” TWITTY, STEPFATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Well, Rita, first of all, let me say that I really admire Governor Riley.  Yesterday, when I went down there, it made me so proud to be from the state of Alabama.  And I know it made Beth feel proud. 

What he‘s done and what his legislatures that helped us down there have done, we knew there were going to be repercussions from it.  But you know, Governor Riley knows—he feels our hurt.  And he stepped forward.

And Senator Shelby stepped forward today, I understand.  And, you know, no matter what happens, what the outcome is, Beth and I know in our hearts that our community, our state, and our governor, and our government is behind us and they‘ve done everything. 

COSBY:  You know, Jug, why the boycott now?  I mean, it seems that they‘ve sort of dropped the ball from the beginning.  Was there something that precipitated this moment? 

TWITTY:  No, Rita, I mean, we—I think Representative Vance talked about this a couple of months ago.  And I actually wrote a letter to Governor Riley asking him not to do this at this time, because we felt like that they were working with us, that this wasn‘t the right thing. 

We don‘t want to hurt anybody.  And we don‘t want a boycott.  We want answers as to what happened to Natalee.  That‘s all we‘re asking for. 

But I can tell you, obviously, Governor Riley‘s touched a nerve down there.

COSBY:  Yes, it certainly...

TWITTY:  Because I do think that some things are...

COSBY:  Yes, no, certainly it seems that it has.  And you heard he called the governors today, Jug.  Is there anything that you guys as a family are planning on doing?  Are you calling friends?  Are you planning on taking some other extra steps, meeting with some other officials, too? 

TWITTY:  We‘ll do whatever it takes.  I mean, we‘re asking—you know, I would have thought today, instead of the Aruban government coming out and, you know, calling the State Department with a complaint or whatever, how about Karen Janssen picking up the phone and calling Beth?  That would have been a lot better. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in the governor real quick because, you know, Governor, in this letter—we spoke with Senator Shelby yesterday, who obviously supports the boycott with you, Governor. 

But in a letter to the secretary of state, he did admit that some people viewed this boycott as excessive.  What‘s the reaction?  Are there some people who are saying—you know, we had someone on our show last night, Jeffrey Figer (ph), a defense attorney, who said, “Look, we weren‘t happy with O.J.  Are we going to boycott California?” 

RILEY:  No.  And I don‘t think that‘s—I really don‘t think anybody in the United States—no one in Alabama believes that.

The only thing we‘re asking the Aruban government to do is stay in touch with the family.  Prosecute this investigation with all the zeal that you possibly can. 

You know, if you look back over the last six months, what that family has gone through, what they have done, the amount of assets that they‘ve brought in to the investigation, all of this is because of Natalee‘s family and their dedication to reach some type of resolve. 

That‘s got to happen.  And it‘s got to happen with the same type of passion of the Aruban people that you‘re seeing from a family who‘s still trying to find their daughter. 

COSBY:  You bet.  And I hope that everybody gets some answers.  And they have worked their hearts out.  And, Governor, thank you very much.

And, Jug, thank you very much.  Both of you, please keep us posted on what you‘re doing. 

Well, the calls for a boycott has—that has Aruba—has it extended, though, beyond the state of Alabama to other states?  Well, the Philadelphia City Council has now decided to take action, as well. 

LIVE & DIRECT tonight are Philadelphia City Councilman Juan Ramos and also Frank Rizzo, Jr.  Councilman Ramos supports the boycott of Aruba while Councilman Rizzo opposes it. 

Councilman Ramos, why do you support it? 

JUAN RAMOS, PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL:  Well, I think that we want to urge the Philadelphians not to vacation in Aruba, because there‘s been an American girl missing since May.  In Philadelphia, we searched for our own missing person, Latoyia Figueroa. 

And this past weekend, we had a missing person‘s awareness conference, where Beth Holloway spoke.  And the people there, especially the people who had missing loved ones, felt a bonding with the plight of the Holloway family and are joining in, in support of Beth Holloway‘s search for her daughter. 

COSBY:  And Councilman Ramos, I understand there‘s going to be some declaration coming out tomorrow.  What do you expect it‘s going to say?  And what message do you think it‘s going to send to Aruba? 

RAMOS:  Well, basically, you know, that we will be urging Philadelphians not to vacation in Aruba anytime soon until this closure in this case of this missing American girl, Natalee Holloway. 

And that‘s what Beth Holloway thinks is important now, and governor of her state of Alabama.  These are American tourist that go there.  They need to be safe.  And we want tourists to continue to go to Aruba. 

But until they find a better way to—until they resolve this case, I think that it‘ll be very—you know, there might be some consequences when it comes to tourism to that island. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in Congressman Rizzo, because you oppose this.

FRANK RIZZO, JR., PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCIL:  Hi, Rita.

COSBY:  Why? 

RIZZO:  I oppose it, because I know firsthand that the people of Aruba, the law enforcement, the police of Aruba have worked very hard on this case. 

You‘ve seen on your show pictures of ponds being drained.  You‘ve seen where landfills have been searched by hand.  The populous of Aruba have taken time off to search the island. 

I mean, I‘ve been close to law enforcement my entire life, and I‘ve never seen a response—I‘ve talked to federal agents that told me that the people and also the elected officials and the law enforcement in Aruba have done beyond, above and beyond the call of duty to communicate. 

COSBY:  Now, Congressman Rizzo, you also—correct me if I‘m wrong here—but I understand that you actually brought up Aruban law enforcement to train, right, up in your area? 

RIZZO:  Well before the Natalee Holloway case. 

COSBY:  Are you maybe too close to the government to make an opinion here, because you‘ve got some buddies? 

RIZZO:  Absolutely.  No closer than you are or Juan Ramos is to anyone in Aruba.  I don‘t know if my colleague has even been to Aruba.  All I can tell you is...

COSBY:  No, but I guess what I‘m asking is, do you have friends in the government where maybe you‘re being influenced by that friendship? 

RIZZO:  No, not at all.  I‘m a very objective person.  I do what you do here in Philadelphia.  I‘m a talk show host.  So I know how to be objective. 

COSBY:  Councilman Ramos, do you feel he‘s too close to it? 

RAMOS:  No, I would not get into criticizing my colleague and friend, Councilman Rizzo, but I‘m concerned about an American girl, just like I was concerned about Latoyia Figueroa and other missing people in this country. 

And we had a conference in Philadelphia this past weekend.  And there‘s a very special bond between the missing people in the city of Philadelphia and Natalee.  And something needs to be done at this time.  People should just not visit Aruba.  Maybe go to Puerto Rico, instead. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in Councilman Rizzo.

RIZZO:  I‘m not just concerned about the impact that this can have on Aruba.  We have a company, U.S. Airways, in this city, that sends a lot of people from Philadelphia in this region to Aruba.  This company is, as you know, financially stressed at the moment.  And our unions, a lot of people here in this region, could be affected by a boycott of Aruba. 

COSBY:  What‘s also—Congressman, also, what‘s the reaction—real quick, Congressman Rizzo—in Aruba?  Real quick.  What‘s the reaction of folks you talk to about it.

RIZZO:  The reaction, I think Aruba is busier than ever.  They don‘t obviously like to have this negative publicity, and they would love to find Natalee Holloway.  They understand the pain of the family.  And so do I.  But I think a boycott is not a very, very smart way to go. 

COSBY:  All right.  Both of you, thank you very much.  We appreciate it, both of you. 

RAMOS:  Thank you, Rita. 

COSBY:  Thank you. 

And still ahead, everybody, another American girl vanishes overseas. 

This time, a foreign exchange student who was last seen heading to church. 

We‘ll get the latest from the FBI. 

And Bruce Willis will tell me what drove him to give big name support to a blogger covering the war in Iraq.  Bruce Willis is going to join us live.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  Now to the story of another high school student who has vanished in a foreign country.  Seventeen-year-old MyKensie Martin is an American student.  She‘s been studying in Brazil.  She was last seen Sunday night after going to church. 

Tonight, Brazilian investigators and the FBI are scouring the country for any signs of the high school senior.  With me now tonight is Oregon FBI special agent of the FBI in charge, Robert Jordan. 

Agent Jordan, I want to ask you, where does the investigation stand? 

Is it missing persons?  Is there a sign of foul play? 

ROBERT JORDAN, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE:  Well, we have no sign of foul play at this point in the case. 

COSBY:  No sign at all?  You know, there was somebody who saw her hitchhiking.  Tell us about that key witness. 

JORDAN:  Well, we have a number of leads, including a lead relative to hitchhiking.  But we‘re checking up on all of those leads, and it‘s too early to say whether that lead is particularly significant at this point. 

So we‘re following up on all of those leads.  But the hitchhiking lead is not determinative at this point.  We do...

COSBY:  You know, give us a sense of the area, Agent, because, you know, a lot of folks don‘t know this part of Brazil, don‘t know maybe even Brazil at all.  Is it dangerous?  Is it remote? 

JORDAN:  Well, it is certainly remote.  One of the locations that the bus was traveling to was some 60 miles away.  And we are—there‘s a village nearby.  It‘s hard to say exactly how dangerous it is. 

We do have FBI agents on the ground in Brazil, agents who are assigned as legal attaches.  And they are working closely with the Brazilian authorities.  And we‘ve had seamless cooperation and coordination with the Brazilian authorities up to this point. 

COSBY:  That‘s good to hear.  Real quickly, I understand she changed her bus ticket sort of last minute.  Any significance to that? 

JORDAN:  Well, although we believe she changed her bus ticket at the last moment, so far, the only sightings that we‘ve had of her, relative to the bus change, has been that she was acting under her own power, and own authority, and was by herself. 

So that‘s good news, in the sense that we don‘t have any indications of coercion at this point. 

COSBY:  Well, that‘s good to hear. 

JORDAN:  Yes, it is. 

COSBY:  Please keep us posted, Agent.  Thank you very much.  We appreciate it. 

And still ahead, everybody, Bruce Willis is going to tell me why he‘s getting involved with an Iraq battlefield blogger and what message he has for our troops.  He and the blogger are going to join me, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  A new Internet blog is cutting through the fog of war.  Captivating images tell the story of the war our men and women are fighting right now. 

Independent journalist Michael Yon brings home combat images, these intense ones, showing us the good and the bad in the perils of war in Iraq. 

He has caught the attentions of thousands of viewers, ranging from celebrities and also U.S. senators.  Joining us now is that blogger, Michael Yon.  He‘s also author of the book, “Danger Close.” 

And hopefully joining us soon on the phone is one of his greatest supporters, actor Bruce Willis, who‘s taken a big interest in Michael and his work. 

Michael, you know, some of your images ended up about Capitol Hill today.  How did that come about? 

MICHAEL YON, EMBEDDED BLOGGER:  Hi, Rita.  I‘m not exactly sure how that came about.  Thank you for having me here.

I‘ve been in the Washington for the last couple of days, as some of the senators have presented some of my photographs and dispatches that I‘ve been writing from Iraq here.  And they presented those today in Washington.

But this is actually my first return back to the United States for the entire year.  And I was invited to the Senate, came as somewhat of a surprise.  And so that‘s how I ended up in Washington, D.C. 

COSBY:  You know, you actually saw an IED detonate right in front of you.  Tell us about that.  I mean, that‘s amazing. 

YON:  Well, many of the soldiers out there—actually, I did not film that one.  I was on base nearby when that one went off, and that‘s an actually relatively small IED.

But those are pretty much a daily occurrence in different parts of Iraq.  And nobody was injured in that particular IED.  Everybody got out and was fine. 

But, you know, some of the IEDs are much larger than that.  And we‘ve seen on the news exactly what can happen.  And I‘ve seen firsthand what can happen, as some of my friends have actually been injured and killed in Iraq. 

COSBY:  What inspired you to go back there?  Because it is such a difficult time there. 

YON:  Well, I didn‘t believe that what I was seeing in the news was properly depicting what was going on.  And the reason that I became concerned was because of the messages I continued to get from people in Iraq, in particular soldiers, who were saying that they were frustrated that what they were seeing in the news did not reflect what they were seeing on the ground and the progress that they were making. 

It made it look very one-sided, that we were just basically losing people and not making progress.  And so I went over there to check it out myself. 

COSBY:  Michael, hold on, because I understand that we got one of your biggest fans right now on the phone, Bruce Willis. 

Bruce, are you with us? 

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR:  I am.  I am with you.  Is that Michael talking? 

COSBY:  It is, and his stuff is incredible. 

WILLIS:  That‘s my Michael.  It is incredible. 

COSBY:  How did you get mixed up with Michael?  How did you get involved?  And what do you make of the pictures he‘s captured, Bruce? 

WILLIS:  Well, someone sent me his Blogspot, and I couldn‘t be more pleased than to have made this, you know, friendship and this contact.  What Michael Yon is doing is something that the American media, and maybe the world media isn‘t doing, and that is telling the truth about what‘s actually happening in the war in Iraq. 

COSBY:  What do you think, Bruce, of what‘s happening there?  And you‘ve been over there.  Do you plan to return?

WILLIS:  I was over there.  Yes, I am planning on going back, either at the end of this year or, hopefully, at the beginning of the next year.  It‘s depends on what‘s happening with the USO.

What I saw over there is not reflected in the news whatsoever.  You know, the coalition forces there are getting the power turned back on.  They‘re getting the schools opened up.  They‘re getting hospitals opened back up. 

They‘re getting services, basic human services, that haven‘t, you know, existed there for over 30 years, turned back on, not to mention winning the war.  And all these people want is to have what we have, is to live without fear of being attacked or injured. 

COSBY:  Hey, Bruce. 

WILLIS:  Yes?

COSBY:  We unfortunately have to interrupt. 

WILLIS:  Go ahead. 

COSBY:  But what I‘d love to do, I‘d love to have both of you back on tomorrow night. 

WILLIS:  That would be terrific. 

COSBY:  If you can, let‘s plan to have both of you guys back on. 

We‘re short on time. 

Everybody, stick with us.  We‘re going to be right back.  We‘re going to have them on tomorrow night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And here‘s Joe in Washington.

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

END   

Watch Rita Cosby Live & Direct each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,