Guests: Haider Sediqi, Katrina Szish, Joe Cardinale, Deborah Pierce, Curtis Sliwa, Drew Findling, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Mike Farrell, Beth Holloway Twitty
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: tampered tapes? Well, that‘s the explosive charge from Dutch authorities, that the “Dr. Phil” show may have altered tapes of one of the key suspects in Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance. Today, Dr. Phil‘s show responds. We are going to talk about it all with Beth Holloway Twitty and our expert panel.
And time is running out for death row gang founder Tookie Williams. And there‘s a hot debate in California and America over rehabilitation vs. retribution. TV legend Mike Farrell is here to explain.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks so much for being with me tonight. I greatly appreciate it.
Now, we are going to have those stories in just a minute. So, stick around for that. Plus, a brazen gang of robbers on a rampage, now, they are going from city to city, mall from mall, stealing watches, rings, chains. And now, friends, with the holidays and the malls full of shoppers, many are questioning whether brazen bandits could be dangerous to you and your family. Going to be talking about that in a little bit.
But, first, the fight over what just may be the most intriguing piece of evidence in the Natalee Holloway case. Did the “Dr. Phil” show edit the Deepak Kalpoe tapes to make them more incriminating? That‘s what some Dutch officials seem to be suggesting. And how could this entire fiasco affect the search for truth about what really happened to Natalee Holloway that night six months ago?
Joining us now from Birmingham, Alabama, is Natalee‘s mom, Beth Holloway Twitty.
Thanks so much for being with us, Beth.
And I know you have got to consider this entire tape episode a great distraction in your search for truth. But give us your take on the suggestions that the “Dr. Phil” show may have doctored these tapes to make Deepak look more guilty.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Well, Joe, from—from what I can see, it just seems as if—that they were edited, that the tape was edited for television.
I know you can‘t put a two-and-a-half-hour tape on an hour show. So, they were just pulling out a six- or 20-second sound bite. When I listen to the tape, where Deepak is speaking with Jamie Skeeters, it is as if he says, no, she—it‘s almost as if he gives the affirmative of, no, she did; you would be surprised how simple it was that night.
But I‘m just going to have to go and stand by Jamie Skeeters on the validity of those tapes at this point, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, at this point, obviously, you have dealt with them, so you would do that.
Obviously, though, this tape caused new momentum in this case, also caused—I think it was one of the triggering events, wasn‘t it, to the Alabama governor deciding that, since they weren‘t acting on the tape, that they needed to move forward with a boycott.
What changes if it ends up—and it is a big if, but if it turns out that the “Dr. Phil” show may have doctored these tapes?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, Joe, first, I would like to say that the family speaks all of this—it‘s a united front. The tape has nothing to do with us coming forward now endorsing the boycott.
The tape comes—the—endorsing a boycott comes from mishandling of Natalee‘s case from the beginning. And also in July the governors were stepping forward at that time and senators and were suggesting or possibly passing a resolution for the boycott.
I will tell you, though, the turning point from us, though, Joe, was November the 4th. And that was when Augustine Verolick (ph) submitted the letter to Governor Riley that Aruba has no authority to intervene in the investigation. That was the last straw for us, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: So, even if this tape is doctored, it doesn‘t change anything that‘s gone before as far as you are concerned. You are still going to pursue the boycott. You are still going to keep fighting. Are you going to still go down to Aruba?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Absolutely.
And Tim Miller is gearing up to go again for another search. Of course, the last one had to be discontinued very quickly, as there just was no cooperation from the prosecuting attorney, nor the chief of police, Chief Commissioner Dompig. So, we are hoping, though, that we can regroup and attempt that search once again.
SCARBOROUGH: So, there‘s been no improvement since I spoke with you last with Dompig or the rest of the Aruban authorities?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Oh, no, Joe, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I have not received an update from Caren Janssen or Deputy Dompig since August the 28th. That was the day that Caren Janssen terminated the line of communication for the family.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to go back to Dr. Phil for just a second.
I haven‘t asked you about this, but I remember when he went on the Jay Leno show and he suggested that Natalee may still be alive and may be a slave in South America. I remember when he went on—Central or South America -- when he went on the Leno show and said that. You could hear an audible groan from the audience.
Do you know where he got that information? And are you concerned that Dr. Phil and his people may being played—may—and, again, a big may—but may be sort of fast and loose with the truth in this case?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Absolutely not, Joe.
And what the family remained confidential with was all the searches that were going on in the first few weeks on the island of Aruba for Natalee alive. There were numerous crack houses that we were running through, looking for her, Joe. There were sightings of her being held at lots of different locations around the island. And these were of live sightings of Natalee.
So, we just—we just didn‘t disclose all that was happening early on. And we have had—we have had to weigh our options here. I mean, Joe, we are—it is 80 percent chance or—that she‘s not alive or a 20 percent chance that she‘s not alive. So, it‘s just been very difficult for us to decide how to search for Natalee. We have had to go both ways, Joe.
Well, what—have you talked to Dr. Phil or any of his people about these tapes or about any new developments in the case?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, I speak with his producers just about on a daily basis.
And, Joe, until we can have any further information of analyzation of this tape, Jamie Skeeters, I‘m standing by him. He stands by the validity, 1000 percent, of the information obtained on this tape. And that‘s the stand I will take at this point.
SCARBOROUGH: So, what‘s next for you? When do you go back down to Aruba? And what‘s your next step as far as expanding the boycott beyond Alabama and Arkansas?
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, hopefully, we will go back to Aruba before the Christmas holidays begin.
And as far as the boycott, Joe, I think that‘s already been set into motion. Two governors now have come forward and are endorsing it, of course, from Arkansas and Alabama.
And, Joe, I was thinking that if the other 48 states were polled, I think the same support would be there. And I think it just shows that America is taking a stand. And I think the stand is for safety. And all the family is asking is that the lack of law enforcement practices in Aruba be looked evaluated and a resolution in Natalee‘s case.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks so much, Beth Holloway Twitty. As always, we greatly appreciate you being with us. And keep us up to date with what‘s going on and when you are heading back down to Aruba.
HOLLOWAY TWITTY: OK. Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Talk to you soon.
Now, if the Deepak tape was in fact changed, it could turn into a major headache for the “Dr. Phil” show.
Let‘s bring in our experts right now. With us tonight, investigative reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell and criminal defense attorney Drew Findling.
Jane, let me start with you.
You know, obviously, you have dealt with these syndicated shows before. Do you think there‘s a possibility that somebody on that staff may have doctored these tapes?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”: I really don‘t think so.
I know a lot of people from the “Dr. Phil” show. And they are all people of tremendous journalistic integrity. And it would be absolutely shocking for me to learn that. I just don‘t see them doing that. These are—many people have worked at networks. They are trained journalists.
That being said, I do have a problem with how this interview was conducted. It wasn‘t conducted by a producer from “Dr. Phil.” It was conducted by this Jamie Skeeters, who is called a private investigator or a polygraph expert.
And he doesn‘t do a straight-on on-camera interview where you see this young man‘s face and you see his lips moving and you see his expression. It is some sort of a computer camera that is in the back of the room. You‘re seeing a fan, the back of this guy‘s head or a blob that is supposedly his head. And a lot of it is inaudible.
Also, he‘s not asking straight questions. He‘s saying things like, I‘m sure she had sex with all of you.
Well, what kind of a statement is that to make. And that is the statement that Skeeters makes right before this controversial comment, now hotly disputed comment that Deepak Kalpoe made. So, the question I have is, why not have a producer or a journalist do that interview?
And the answer is, because Deepak Kalpoe wouldn‘t have talked to a producer or a journalist. So, I think the big issue here is that there‘s no information in this case. It‘s a vortex, and everybody is grasping at straws and going that extra mile, and that can be risky.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me read you what the “Dr. Phil” show had to say today.
They released a statement. And it reads in part—quote—“Mr. Skeeters confirms that Mr. Kalpoe did, in fact, say what was broadcast on the ‘Dr. Phil‘ show. Subsequently, the ‘Dr. Phil‘ show submitted Mr. Skeeters‘ tape to an independent forensic audio specialist, who confirms that the substance on the raw tape is consistent with what was played on the ‘Dr. Phil‘ show and that no change of the content in question took place.”
Well, Jane, when we come back, I‘m going to let you decide and let Drew decide also and let our viewers decide. We are going to play both versions of the tape.
So, stay with us. There‘s a lot more to come in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Also coming up, Hollywood stars are trying to save the life of Tookie Williams. Who is Tookie Williams? He‘s a convicted murderer, but there are some things in this case that a lot of Americans think make it different. And I will tell you about that when we return.
And, also, a brazen band of mall bandits hitting dozens of stores in a dozen states. Why can‘t investigators stop these guys?
Well, it‘s a big Friday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And we will try to give you the answers when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Is Dr. Phil on the hot seat? Did he doctor the tapes in the Aruba case? We will show you the tapes and let you decide when we come back. Plus, the saga of Tookie Williams—that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”)
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST: We have reasonable belief and some credible evidence that Natalee Holloway is alive.
JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”: Is alive?
MCGRAW: Is alive. We can‘t—we cannot prove that at this point, and we don‘t know where she is. But, you know, there is a huge sex slave underground in some of those countries down there. Young women have disappeared from that part of the world before. And we have reasonable cause to believe that she may well be alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s “Dr. Phil” inserting himself into this case, telling “The Tonight Show” host, Jay Leno, he believes that Natalee may still be alive.
Let‘s bring our panel back in, investigative reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell and criminal defense attorney Drew Findling.
Jane, one more quick question about Dr. Phil. I will be honest with you. Lawyers called and said, we better be care about what we say about Dr. Phil. We better not accuse him of doing anything wrong. They are ready to pounce. They are ready to pounce sue us.
I got to tell you, if Dr. Phil were putting Dr. Phil on the couch, he would say, what‘s wrong with this guy? He‘s acting goofy. Why is he out there telling Jay Leno that he‘s got reason to believe that Natalee may be alive? Is this just a stunt to get more viewers?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think this is a case that has obviously fascinated the nation.
Actually, we all know the ratings go up when we discuss Natalee Holloway. And there‘s a reason. It is a classic mystery. Nobody knows what happened to this young girl, a beautiful young girl. And she‘s got a mother determined to find out. So, the world wants answers.
And, of course, major media organizations are trying to provide answers. The problem is that, for the first 10 days of the investigation, basically, it was botched. And the government, according to a lot of critics, didn‘t do their job and didn‘t collect evidence. So, much of the crucial evidence was wiped out. So, what‘s left in its place? Conjecture and theories and speculation and rumor and innuendo.
It‘s only natural. It‘s only human nature. I place a lot of the blame for this on the Aruban government. If they had done the work initially and not let these young men, who were the last people seen alive with Natalee Holloway...
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... hang out for 10 days and get their stories coordinated, we might have a lot more real information to go on.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it.
Drew, I want you to listen to the versions of the Deepak tapes. And I want you to listen them obviously as a criminal defense attorney and tell me what you would do if your client was Deepak.
Here‘s the first tape that was aired by “Dr. Phil.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “DR. PHIL”)
JAMIE SKEETERS, POLYGRAPHER: And the question I will ask you is if you intentionally killed her.
DEEPAK KALPOE, SUSPECT: rMDNM_No.
SKEETERS: If it was an accident, I can help all of you. And if you guys were partying, even if somebody had given her a date drug. I‘m sure she had sex with all of you.
KALPOE: She did. You‘d be surprised how simple it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now listen to the original tape that was recorded by polygraph expert Jamie Skeeters and provided to MSNBC.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SKEETERS: Nobody told her that you can‘t (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You know? I mean and I‘m sure she had sex with all of you and (INAUDIBLE).
KALPOE: She did.
SKEETERS: OK. Well, I mean good. If she did, fine.
KALPOE: You‘d be surprised how simple it was that night.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, there obviously—in these tapes, there are variances. A lot of people concerned that the tapes may have been doctored.
Tell me, what would you do, as a criminal defense attorney, with the inconsistencies in the tape? Would it be enough to drive a judge to not bring any charges in the foreseeable future in the case?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there will be no charges in the foreseeable in this case, because, when all is said and done, there is no forensic evidence; there is no eyewitness testimony; there is no inculpatory statements.
What you have is, you have private enterprise. And that is the “Dr. Phil” show by and through this polygraph examiner, who calls himself now a private investigator, who has financial benefit at stake in trying to conjure up something using investigative techniques that are dubious at best, if not immoral and corrupt, to try to get this guy to say something that could only benefit one person. And that‘s the person asking the question, this Mr. Skeeters.
FINDLING: I mean, because we live in a society here—and this is what I would be using. We live in a society here where everybody makes money, whether you‘re Amber Frey, you‘re Ashley Smith in the courthouse killings. Everybody writes books and makes money.
And this Skeeters fellow has all the reason in the world to try to
manipulate to make a few dollars. That‘s just the way things are in this
country. And this guy sees the opportunity because Dr. Phil—and this we
he talks about, we have reason.
What is this we? You are pop psychologist. You‘re not a forensic guy. You‘re not a law enforcement guy. You are a dude that started talking to people on a couch and now has the benefit of a TV show. You have no business with the we. That‘s where I would be going. And every judge in the world would throw it out.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, the fact, Drew, that there‘s now these inconsistencies coming out after so many people were shocked by the original tape, again, that only helps Deepak, if he is your client, right?
This has done more to clear these gentlemen than anything to date.
SCARBOROUGH: I agree with you.
FINDLING: If anybody thinks that these people did it, they got big problems now.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I agree with you. I think that this finishes the case off.
Drew, thanks so much.
Jane, greatly appreciate you being here.
And, again, I think, friends, if you have been following this case for some time, I think, again, this pretty much finishes it all off.
Now, listen, big-time Hollywood stars right now are doing all they can to stop California convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams—he is sitting on death row tonight. But a lot of people are asking whether it is going to be enough to sway Arnold Schwarzenegger in signing a clemency appeal and getting him off the case.
A lot of people, though, have been paying attention to this case not because Tookie—what Tookie Williams did in his distance past, but what he‘s been doing recently, going out and actually telling others not to follow his lead and turn their lives around.
We are joined right now by one of Stanley Williams‘ supporters. He is actor Mike Farrell, best known, obviously, for playing B.J. Hunnicut on the TV series “MASH.” And we also have with us Curtis Sliwa. He‘s the president and founder of the Guardian Angels and radio talk show host.
Mike, if people have not been following this case closely, can you give them background not on what Tookie Williams did that got him on death row, but what he‘s been doing over the past 10, 15 years, as far as talking to young people, telling them don‘t do what I did; take a different path?
MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR: Sure.
Stanley Williams was—he grew up in South Central Los Angeles. He was at the—at the effect of circumstances in life there. He formed a gang that is now known widely as the Crips. He behaved very badly. He was a criminal, as he now admits. He behaved extraordinarily badly, brutally, violently.
The Crips grew. Stanley was considered a threat, I think, by police, who wanted him off the streets. He was arrested, tried and convicted of four murders, four brutal murders for which he‘s always claimed his innocence. And he was convicted, as said, sentenced to death.
He was quite an extraordinarily uncooperative prisoner for the first few years he was in prison. He was put in the hole, in solitary confinement and spent a number of years there. And all he had—or all he was given initially was a Bible.
And during the process of these years, he went through a period of introspection, asked for, in addition to the Bible, a dictionary. He taught himself to read. He found a deep faith and determined to make up for the things he had done—to the degree, best degree he could, make up for the things he had done in his life that were so inappropriate and antisocial.
And, since that time, for the last 13 years, I believe, he has been a very articulately outspoken opponent of gangs, the gang life. He has written a series of books for grade school children, telling them just what you said, Joe, to stay away from drugs, stay away from gangs, stay in school, learn about caring about themselves, becoming productive citizens.
He wrote a book for junior high school and high school kids about destroying the myth, dispelling the myth that going to prison is a good thing that earns you your manhood or your womanhood. He wrote a very powerful and empowering, I think, autobiography on which the movie “Redemption” was based.
SCARBOROUGH: And, again, the focus—I was going to say, the focus of this is, again, telling others, Curtis, not to follow in his path. Obviously, there are a lot of people who support the death penalty. And they support the death penalty, Curtis, as you know, because they believe it will save lives.
But what if you have got a guy on death row that changed 12, 13 years ago, and is actually doing things to stop others from getting into gangs and killing more people? Do we go ahead and put him to death anyway? Or do we believe that there is such thing as redemption and let him keep preaching his message of peace?
CURTIS SLIWA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Sure, there is redemption, but what about the remorse? Four people were executed. Do you know their names? Do you know their families?
No, of course we don‘t, because we are spending all this time focused on the killer Tookie. And if he had that Bible in his hands, the New Testament says, remorse. Beg for forgiveness. This man has claimed he never killed those four. He‘s has heard Johnnie Cochran-style defense lawyers, dream teams, come together, try to collect evidence, go back into court.
And he‘s been rejected. Now, if he were to show to remorse, if he were to apologize for these executions, coldblooded, that he committed years ago, I might give it a second thought. But because he‘s written children‘s books? Because he has said creating the Crips was a bad thing?
Hey, I‘m from the inner city. I do my work in the inner city. I knew the Crips were bad. I didn‘t have to, understandably, read that in a book. I could see them as uzi-toting, dope-sucking, psychopathic killing machines. So, it is nice that he renounces that. But he‘s like Dr. Frankenstein. He created this monster. And look at all these monster youth who are around the nation now literally launching siege attacks on inner city neighborhoods and causing mayhem and destruction.
And he wouldn‘t even apologize for the four executions that he‘s responsible for.
FARRELL: Well, yes. There‘s a significant question as to whether or not he‘s responsible for those killings, first of all.
The trial was extraordinarily faulty. And the—Stanley has always maintained he did not do them. He maintained so before, during and after the trial and consistently for all these years, before and during and after his extraordinary transformation.
So, he has apologized, and he has shown remorse, and he has reached out for the behavior that he acknowledges. As to the question of the murder of those people, he has consistently claimed he didn‘t do it and cannot, therefore, apologize or ask for clemency on the basis of a crime that he says he didn‘t commit.
Now, neither you nor I were there, Curtis, so I don‘t suppose you know any better than I do about whether he committed these crimes. But the point is, he has made an extraordinary change in his life. And the work he has done in the dozen years plus has had a serious impact on the lives of young people, who have been steered away from the very kind of life that you‘re condemning.
SLIWA: Well, wait a minute.
FARRELL: It seems to me that what—well, wait just a minute yourself.
SLIWA: Hold on. I see Snoop Doggy Dogg.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what, gentlemen. Hold on for one second.
We are going to break.
And, when we come back, Curtis, I will have you respond and, Mike, obviously let you back in, too.
Stay with us. We will be right back.
Also, we are going to be talking about a ring of bandits who are terrorizing malls all over America. Coming up next, where will they strike next and can they be stopped? The latest on these brazen thugs coming up.
And, also, Tom Cruise, he has gone from superstar to being the butt of jokes this year—many questioning whether his reign of power in Hollywood is over. Wait until you see what one organization is saying.
That‘s coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Will it be redemption or revenge? That is the question that is facing Governor Schwarzenegger when it comes to the case of Tookie Williams. We will continue talking about that when we return.
But, first, here is the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to the show.
With us, we have Mike Farrell and also Curtis Sliwa.
Curtis, I cut you off before we went to break. Go ahead and respond to Mike‘s suggestion, again, that Tookie Williams should be granted clemency by Arnold Schwarzenegger because of what he‘s done over the past 13 years.
SLIWA: Well, you know, celebrity like Mike Farrell, Jamie Foxx, they are well intentioned, I think hopelessly naive, about this.
But then Snoop Doggy Dogg, he‘s a Long Beach Crip. He throws gang signs on his MTV-BET videos. He himself beat a 20-year-to-life rap on a drive-by shooting that he was accused of committing. And he has been one of the prime-time supporters of giving clemency to Tookie.
Well, now, wouldn‘t Tookie be denouncing Snoop Doggy Dogg, who basically promotes the Crip lifestyle and gangsterism and gang-banging across the nation? So, there seems to be a bit of a disingenuousness here.
No. I think, if Tookie were to actually apologize and remorsefully say, I did the wrong thing in executing these four innocent people, it‘s the worst possible thing you can do, I might consider that. But I would suggest, between now and December 13, when he is sent to the gas chamber in San Quentin, he make a lot of videos. And maybe we can distribute them around the country. And maybe it can do something to suppress the outrage he created initially called the Crip gang, which has spread malaise and destruction across this nation.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike, you know a lot of Americans, even though America has grown increasingly conservative over the past 10, 15 years, on the issue of the death penalty, you even have evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson and other conservatives starting to voice concerns about the death penalty.
And you‘re starting to see a movement back of people saying, hey, you know what? Maybe we are putting people to death that aren‘t guilty after all. Now, all that being said, there are still people who look at a Hollywood star like you or Jamie Foxx and say, oh, gee, they are hopeless elites. They don‘t understand how dangerous it is in our cities or in Middle America.
What would you say to those people tonight who say, hey, you know what, this case is different; this really is a man who has turned over a new leaf; he deserves to live?
FARRELL: The people who have expressed their support for clemency for Stanley Williams are Nobel laureates, legislators, religious leaders, people from all over the world and all over the country.
And, mostly, the most important ones, as far as I‘m concerned, are the children who have been impacted, children in the disadvantaged areas who has been impacted positively by Stanley‘s work and by his writings and by his outreach and by the extraordinary degree of the impact of his Peace Project.
So, in spite of what Mr. Sliwa says, the fact is that Mr. Williams‘ transformation has very clearly been demonstrated, consistently and beautifully, I think. And the fact is, if he is going to be committed to life in prison for the rest of his life, he‘s not—without possibility of parole—there‘s no damage that he can do to anybody.
And what he can do is continue to do the good work that he has been doing for the last dozen-plus years and provide the example for the young people today, who very much need it, of somebody who can show them—somebody with street credibility, if you will, who can show them the right way.
FARRELL: Somebody who is not slobbering for blood.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike, let me ask you another question to follow up, again, because I can hear people, again—and I say in Middle America. That‘s where I grew up.
And I know what my dad, sitting in his chair watching the show tonight, is saying. He‘s like, yes, well, maybe he‘s influenced people over the first 12 or 13 years, but I think that Sliwa guy has got it right in saying, look at all the death and destruction he‘s caused by starting the Crips.
I mean, if there‘s a balance sheet out there, a lot of people would say, well, he‘s probably ended up causing the deaths of a lot more people than saving the lives of these people over the past 12 or 13 years. What do you say to critics on that score?
FARRELL: I guess, Joe, if you believe in redeposition, if you have faiths, if you believe in the possibility of human transformation, then you have to ask yourself whether or not that means anything.
And it seems to me it does. It means a great deal to people of religious. It means a great deal to people of faith. When somebody makes a visible, obvious positive change, that is something that I think we ought to treasure. And we in this country, in my view, we should not have a death system at all. We should have life in prison without the possibility of parole.
But, in this particular situation, what we can do is demonstrate that change, transformation, doing good, making something out of your life really has a positive impact, and it is valued by society. And if the governor grants clemency in this case, what he will be doing is giving those kids that message. And I hope he does it.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Curtis, I do support the death penalty, but I believe in redemption. Tell me, if I support Tookie, again, having a stay of execution, how do I have it wrong?
SLIWA: You have it wrong.
Look how many minutes we have spent talking about Tookie. We don‘t even know the names of the four victims that he executed. I searched the “L.A. Times” story. They love this guy. They worship him. They put him on a pedestal. They might as well as deified him. And I said, gee, but who did he kill? What are the names? Have we even mentioned it? There were three Asian-Americans and one Caucasian. And, to this moment, we do not even know their names, because they‘re out of sight, out of mind.
Do you know they nominated this guy for a Nobel Peace Prize? But, then again, Yasser Arafat, the baby killer, actually got one. So, I guess this is a good qualification. You kill people, you eventually can win a Nobel Peace Prize.
FARRELL: Your cynicism makes...
SCARBOROUGH: We are going to have to leave it there.
Curtis, thank you so much.
Mike, we appreciate you being with us.
And, obviously, we are going to be following this story in the coming weeks. And we would love to have both of you back to talk about it again.
SLIWA: Thank you.
FARRELL: Your cynicism makes...
SCARBOROUGH: Now, coming to mall near you, the FBI is on the hunt for a crew of bandits hitting malls up and down the East Coast, their target of choice, jewelry stories. And this team of thieves have made off with more than $5 million worth of jewelry.
NBC‘s Pete Williams has more—Pete.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Joe, good evening.
The FBI says they have struck from New Hampshire to Florida and in all kinds of shopping mall jewelry stores, from the very fancy, like Tiffany‘s, to the very popular, like Zales. And the FBI also says, they‘re very good at it.
(voice-over): In less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee, this gang of jewelry store thieves can cut through the security gate, fills their bags with high-priced loot, even while people in the mall walk buy, and make their getaway. This surveillance video shows them hitting a Pennsylvania jewelry story just last month, a store security officer John Siegfried (ph) says they acted with precision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just went right across, boom, boom, boom, boom.
WILLIAMS: That could also describe how they have worked their way up and down the East Coast since mid-2003, striking 56 times in 12 states, total haul, more than $5 million. They mostly go for men‘s gold jewelry, passing up the pricier women‘s diamond rings, for reasons investigators don‘t understand.
One potential clue, they also help themselves to men‘s Movado brand wristwatches. The FBI says the thieves wear hooded sweatshirts and appear to be Hispanic or African-American, half-a-dozen in all.
Their method is nearly always the same, rapidly cut through the store‘s security gate to get in, leave the mall through a fire exit. And they are so thorough, they sometimes disable mall security cars by putting glue in the locks or slashing the tires.
DETECTIVE PHILLIP GELIEBTER, ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA: They are very deliberate in their motions. They go in. They know exactly what they want. They take those items. And they are out of the mall very, very quickly.
WILLIAMS (on camera): The FBI is calling them the gate cutters jewelry crew because of the way they get into the stores. And between what the FBI is offering and what the industry is offering, there‘s a $50,000 reward for information that can take them off the streets—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much, Pete. Greatly appreciate it
Now, when we come back, we are going to asking experts what can be done about this.
Plus, Tom Cruise back in the news. From his controversial new purchase for Katie, to his proclamation to Barbara Walters, is Tom Cruise‘s career headed for the B-list?
SCARBOROUGH: We have been talking about these brazen thieves that are attacking malls across America.
I want to bring in an expert right now to talk about what can be done to stop it. Her name is Deborah Pierce. She‘s a deputy assistant director at the FBI. And, also, former NYPD squad commander Joe Cardinale is here.
Let—let me start.
Tell me, what can we done to stop these thieves? You look at Pete Williams‘ package, and, my gosh, they have caused a lot of damage over the past three, four years. So, what do we did to stop it?
DEBORAH PIERCE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: We have formed a task force. We are sharing information with all of the police departments up and down the coast.
We are now asking for the public‘s assistance. We have got pretty much an idea of what they do and how they do it. And we want the public to know and we want the public be aware of the suspicious activity that might be taking place in the malls during mall walking hours, before hours, when the mall is open, or before the jewelry stores open, in the malls after the stores close and the theater-goers might be around, so, just to report suspicious activity.
We have got a reward out there. We have got a hot line. And we also have the Web site.
SCARBOROUGH: Bill, let me ask you, what do you do as an investigator to try to tighten the circle around these people? Again, they have moved all up and down the East Coast. It seems like it‘s a pretty easy, lucrative living for these guys.
JOE CARDINALE, FORMER NYPD SQUAD COMMANDER: Oh, most definitely.
You want to identify the nucleus of this ring. And you really want to get proactive with this right now, not reactive. You don‘t want to react to what has happened already. You already have that in the bag. You want to get proactive now. And these malls have to step up the security, possibly move the cameras around and go back to some of the surveillance tapes that were available prior to the robberies, maybe 10 days, two weeks before that.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you, Joe. Are malls easy targets?
CARDINALE: You know what it is? It‘s a wide-open space. And they are walking around and they‘re identifying the one store.
As far as the jewelry stores, they should be focusing on that. The jewelry stores themselves should set up some kind of a surveillance system that maybe the average person is not familiar with, because these guys are doing their homework. I mean, they have been out there for a while. They‘re not randomly picking them. They‘re actually doing their homework on them. They‘re sitting back, watching everything that is going on, going back, having meetings about it, sitting down, saying how they‘re going to attack in.
And they go in, and they are out. They are fast. Then they are out of there.
SCARBOROUGH: You think it is organized crime or do you think these guys are doing it on their own?
CARDINALE: No, this is definitely mostly organized.
They are very organized. But they are also picking up and using different members for each of the hits. So, it‘s not necessarily the same crew. And I think we need the public to be aware. And we need the crew members to be aware that we have got almost a $50,000 reward out there. And we need information. We have the 1-800-CALL-FBI hot line. We have received over 110 tips in the last 24 hours. So, we will catch them.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, Deborah Pierce. Good luck with that.
And, Joe, greatly appreciate you being with us also.
And, coming up next, a lot of people talking still about Tom Cruise and whether his bizarre behavior over the past year will spell the end to one of Hollywood‘s hottest careers. You will see why some are saying his reign of power may soon be over.
That‘s coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, you don‘t even—you‘re glib. You don‘t even know what Ritalin is.
If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt, OK? That‘s what I‘ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That was Tom Cruise, lecturing “The Today Show”‘s Matt Lauer over the summer.
And, afterwards, the American Psychiatric Association called Cruise‘s attacks irresponsible.
And, this week, Cruise revealed that bought a home sonogram machine to see his unborn child with fiancee Katie Holmes. That‘s not sitting well with the American College of Radiology. Doctors say unnecessary ultrasounds could harm the fetus.
And, recently, the Comedy Central show “South Park” aired an episode spoofing Scientology and its most famous practitioner.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SOUTH PARK”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Dad, Tom Cruise won‘t come out of the closet.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Tom Cruise locked himself in my closet, and he won‘t come out.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Mr. Cruise, Mr. Cruise, come out of the closet.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Come on, Mr. Cruise. This is ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I‘m never coming out.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What did you say to him?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I just told him I thought the “Napoleon Dynamite” guy is a better actors than he is.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: With me now is Katrina Szish. She‘s from “Us Weekly.”
You know, Katrina, this guy has gone from being a Hollywood untouchable to being the butt of all jokes. What happened to Tom Cruise over the past year?
KATRINA SZISH, STYLE EDITOR, “US WEEKLY”: Well, I think the one thing that we notice is, Tom Cruise is still the person he has been, except he did have a little change in publicists over the summer, when all of this really happened.
And his sister, Lee Anne DeVette, was his publicist for a few months in there. He has since realized, not a good idea. So, he‘s back with a professional publicist.
SCARBOROUGH: So, he‘s understood the importance of showing America a little less Tom Cruise and being a bit more controlled?
SZISH: Yes. Exactly right.
I think the fact that we saw Tom and the couch-jumping incident, the Matt Lauer “Today Show” incident makes it very hard to suspend disbelief when you‘re watching a film with Tom Cruise.
SCARBOROUGH: And I guess, Katrina, the question that really I haven‘t heard answered yet is, do people believe what happened this summer in the end hurt “War of the Worlds” and really, more importantly for Hollywood now, will it impact “Mission: Impossible 3,” which he is filming right now?
SZISH: A lot of people thought during the opening days, the earlier days, and the promotional days of “War of the World,” that Tom‘s actions were having an impact.
However, the box office sales, even internationally at this point, show that, even if Tom Cruise is a little wacky, he‘s still going to bring people to the movies. And I also think the same will be visible with “Mission: Impossible 3,” which is such a huge blockbuster. People are going to see it whether or not they like Tom Cruise. And I don‘t think he‘s going to hurt the box office yet.
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, help us out here.
Americans seem to have a lot of patience with their Hollywood stars. They are able to suspend belief for the most part when—and separate the private life from the public life. But what does a Hollywood star have to do? When do they cross that line where they are—well, like the Dixie Chicks, and say something that really effectively puts an end to their career? What is the triggering event? What would it be in the Tom Cruise case?
SZISH: I think the triggering event generally is when you do something that offends other people‘s beliefs or sensibilities.
I think of Sinead O‘Connor ripping the picture of the pope on “Saturday Night Live.” That‘s a problem. When you start diving into things that really affect the hearts and minds of your fans out there, that is when it is difficult.
And I do think the—Tom Cruise‘s attacks on Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer, specifically on psychiatric medicine for children, I think that could really be the breaking point for him.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, that really—I know that angered a lot of women that I know that had always been big Tom Cruise fans.
SCARBOROUGH: What about—if you talk about Scientology and Tom Cruise‘s private life...
SCARBOROUGH: ... in those cases, aren‘t Americans sort of more hands-off, saying, you know what, what the guy does in his own life is his business; we don‘t care; we just want to see him up on the screen?
SZISH: I think you‘re right.
I think we certainly enjoy some of the wacky stories we hear. It‘s kind of fun to say, oh, my gosh, I can‘t believe he did that. That‘s why we are here. But I do think that Americans and people in general really think, you know what, that‘s his deal. What he does behind closed doors or in “South Park” closets, it‘s really his deal.
SZISH: But once he starts preaching, then I think it gets problematic.
SCARBOROUGH: Then that‘s a problem.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much. Greatly appreciate you being with us, Katrina Szish.
SZISH: Thanks, Joe. Sure.
SCARBOROUGH: And we will be right back with this week‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
Plus, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” is just minutes away. Stick around, friends. You‘re not going to want to miss it.
SCARBOROUGH: Now it is time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY champion.
And, this week, it is L.A. cab driver Haider Sediqi. Now, he found a real stash in his cab. And I talked to him last night about what he found.
Take a listen.
HAIDER SEDIQI, CAB DRIVER: It was a lot of diamonds, which is—the gentleman, he—approximately $350,000.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you found $350,000 in the back of your cab, and you decided to do what with those diamonds?
SEDIQI: I decided to give back to the person it was belong to.
SCARBOROUGH: When you get in touch with him, what was his response?
SEDIQI: It was really great. And he really hugged—gave me a big hug and thanked me.
SCARBOROUGH: I bet.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. I bet he did. And then he actually sent you something, didn‘t he?
SEDIQI: Yes, he did.
It was Friday after Christmas—I mean Thanksgiving Day. I was working. And my wife called me, called me and said, I have a surprise for you. And I was a little bit—I say, well, what is it? And I—she told me, you have a $10,000 check and a letter. I said, oh, great.
SCARBOROUGH: And he says he‘s putting the money in a college fund for his kids.
Well, thanks for being with us. That‘s all the time we have for tonight.
“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Thank you Joe.
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