Guest: Petra Nemcova; Bradley Jacobs, Stephan Dembinsky, Stacey Honowitz, Jayne Weintraub
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, the teacher who just got sent to jail for having sex with her students is already out. Is it way too soon for someone convicted of a sex crime? And wait until you see how many people are apparently already putting up cash to hear Howard Stern on satellite radio. Repeat guest Jessica Hahn joins me live.
But first, major developments in the Natalee Holloway investigation tonight. Aruban officials leading the investigation into Natalee‘s disappearance were in Washington just a few hours ago. They spoke with the FBI and top Alabama lawmakers. The meeting also led to this unbelievable revelation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SPENCER BACHUS ®, ALABAMA: We found out that in Aruba, under Dutch law, it‘s OK for a suspect to lie in giving a statement. So it‘s OK for them to give a false statement, and that is actually not a criminal charge. I think if it were, you‘d have people under—people charged today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now to talk more about this shocking obstacle in the investigation is Steve Cohen. He‘s a special adviser to the Aruban government. You know, Steve, so it‘s OK to lie in Aruba?
STEVE COHEN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO THE ARUBAN GOVERNMENT: It‘s OK to lie
it‘s not ever OK to lie, but if you‘re in the midst of being
interrogated and you do lie and you‘re caught in that lie, unless you‘re under oath, which only happens once you‘re charged, you can‘t be charged with anything, perjury or a felonious charge, as you can in the United States.
COSBY: Why is that? Why is that on the books that way? I mean, how do you get to the case of an investigation if people can just say whatever they want before authorities and not be held accountable?
COHEN: I think it is hard for us, as Americans, to understand, but the Dutch law is a different type of system, and because it is an inquisitorial system, what happens is the information has to be built differently, and that means that you can lie at a certain stage. However, if you‘re caught in a lie and a case is brought against you, you can‘t lie any longer. So the congressman‘s right.
COSBY: Why is it on the books that way? But why is it on the books that way in Holland? They‘re saying, Go ahead and lie and do whatever you want, we‘re not going to hold you accountable.
COHEN: No, all they‘re saying is that you make your best case if you‘re interrogated, and that case then gets reckoned with against the case that might come up against you. It is odd, and it is difficult to deal with it, but it certainly isn‘t the be-all and end-all, as the congressman, I‘m sure, would tell you, to whether this case is going to be solved or not.
COSBY: No, but certainly, if you can lie to authorities, that gives you a lot more sort of liberalism in terms of what you can do. You know, do you believe Joran Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers—do you believe they lied to authorities? It seems that they absolutely did. You know, given that...
COHEN: I don‘t think the—yes, there‘s no question.
COSBY: Well, their stories were totally—right, no question they did, right? That‘s clean. Given that‘s the case, Steve, don‘t you think they would have been charged with a crime here in the U.S., right?
COHEN: I don‘t—yes, I don‘t think there‘s any question because the system is different. You can put together a body of evidence, and if you get perjury in the execution of that case, you can take that to a grand jury and usually you can come up with an indictment. As you know, in the Aruban system, you have to put your entire case together before you bring it to the judge. And then the judge of instruction then decides, This looks like a very solid case, and then, and only then, will he go forward with the case.
So the difference in the two systems create a problem for investigators, but you know, as we‘ve said before, we really do think that we can get past these issues and towards the larger issue, which is trying to really figure out the pieces of the case, the puzzle, that hasn‘t been put on the table yet.
COSBY: Well, one of the things that, of course, the congressman was saying today is that he believes that there is at least a sense that the investigation will continue vigorously, that they hope not to conclude it, not to sort of curtail it quickly, which there were some rumors saying that they may do so. How can we believe the Aruban government?
COHEN: Well, I think you have to judge this government, as you do all governments, by their actions and not by just their words. The deeds are what matter. And I think we were fairly effective in convincing the congressman and his delegation today that the Aruban government was doing everything in its power to put this investigation together.
And moreso, I would like to say that the congressman—this is the first time we‘ve had an opportunity to lay our entire case from the very beginning until today in front of anybody in a manner where we could talk things through, ask hard questions, and still be cordial about it. And we much appreciated that opportunity.
COSBY: All right, Steve. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
Well, joining us now to talk more about these critical developments in the Natalee Holloway case is her mom, Beth Holloway Twitty. You know, Beth, you know, you hear this. How outraged are you to hear, as we just heard from someone representing the Aruban government, it‘s OK to lie, that‘s the Aruban system, basically?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER: Well, Rita, there is one thing, though, they forgot to mention. It is not OK to be a lying witness, and that‘s why the father and the suspects were arrested to begin with. So it is a crime to be a lying witness. Now, it doesn‘t make any sense to me, though, Rita. You can be a lying suspect, but you know, I just can‘t even begin to get into that aspect of Dutch law.
COSBY: What does that say to you, though, about, you know, how they handled this case? They can‘t even get them on lying, which even the Aruban government official just said, We know they lied. So OK, let‘s let them walk freely until we can find them—what is it, OK to murder, is it OK to kidnap, too, maybe?
TWITTY: No. You know, that‘s why they don‘t have any crime on the island of Aruba, Rita. I mean, it‘s OK to lie all the way through it. So that‘s why they don‘t—that‘s why the crime is low.
COSBY: Yes. Absolutely. Doesn‘t sound like they can charge them with anything. Let me show a comment, Beth, from Congressman Bachus, who I know has been very helpful to you. He did meet with, of course, Aruban officials, and this is what he said after the meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHUS: We did have, I think, a frank and open discussion. They do not consider it a closed case, nor do they consider that they have a dead end. They continue to develop information and pursue leads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Beth, he sounds sort of confident that Aruban authorities are doing their job. Do you believe it?
TWITTY: Well, Rita, just as your guest said previously, I mean, we have to see action. I mean, we‘ve had a lot of talk coming from Aruba since May 30 with little or no action. So you know, we really just can‘t get our hopes up and rely on anything coming from the mouths of Aruba. They‘ve got to do it with actions and not words.
COSBY: Well, yes, how concerned are you, now that (INAUDIBLE) they can‘t even charge them for lying? How concerned are you that they‘ll ever get to the truth?
TWITTY: Oh, I think—I think it‘s a huge concern, Rita, but all that we can do, all the family can do is rely on the criminal justice system of Aruba. I mean, that‘s all we have to rely upon.
COSBY: Which doesn‘t sound like it‘s able to charge anybody at this point with anything. You know, Beth, good news today for you. Governor Perdue of Georgia says he‘s now backing the boycott. What‘s your reaction?
TWITTY: Oh, I mean, we are very pleased. I‘ve already put in a phone call to Governor Perdue and just thanking them so much for endorsing the boycott. I think that it‘s just clear now that more and more Americans are getting the message, and this message of safety concerns on the island of Aruba with their lack of law enforcement practices. And you know, we are just very pleased with this decision that they have made, Rita.
COSBY: Are you getting any sense others are around the pike? Because obviously, numbers speaks a lot of volume to those folks in Aruba.
TWITTY: Oh, well, I mean, I know that—I know that the boycott is effective. I know that it is a concern, and it is keeping the investigation moving. And also, Rita, you know, we‘ve added—You know, we have enlisted now the help of John Quinlan (ph) Kelly. He just spent a week on the island of Aruba, meeting with the officials, and you know, we are just hopeful now that we will be kept in the loop and knowing what‘s happening in the investigation.
COSBY: You know, on a personal note, Beth, you know, I can‘t help but think about you at the holidays (INAUDIBLE) everybody thinks, of course, of family and loved ones. How are you holding up as we get towards Christmas, towards the holiday season?
TWITTY: Well, I think as each day, as it gets closer, Rita, I‘m sure it will become more difficult. But you know, really, we‘re just trying to take one day at a time and get through it, and I think that‘s how we‘ll—you know, I just think that‘s how we‘ll manage, and we‘ll just rely on our faith to get through it, Rita. And of course, it won‘t be the traditional Christmas that we‘ve known, but you know, we will embrace the message of hope and get through it.
COSBY: Are there any plans for to you go back to Aruba, or any other family members or representatives soon?
TWITTY: Oh, absolutely, Rita, not only the family organizing another
search with Tim Miller and Equusearch, but John Quinlan Kelly will be going
back, also. So you know, we‘re still going to stay the course, whether
Aruba continues the investigation or not, Rita. We know that the answers
are there. We know that it all pulls back to the three suspects. Everyone
knows that they are responsible for Natalee‘s disappearance. And we will
stay our course, and just hopefully, Aruba‘s criminal justice system will -
will come out. I mean, we just have to rely on that, Rita.
COSBY: We‘ll stay on it. Beth, thank you very much. And our prayers are with you as you do head into this holiday season, Beth. Thanks so much for being with us.
TWITTY: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: Thank you.
So how are they reacting on the island of Aruba? Joining us now on the phone from there is Julia Renfro. She‘s the editor-in-chief of “Aruba Today” newspaper. Julia, did you know that it‘s legal to lie in your country?
JULIA RENFRO, “ARUBA TODAY”: No, actually, I didn‘t. I just learned that from listening to your previous conversation with your other people.
COSBY: What‘s your reaction? I was really surprised.
RENFRO: Just like you, I‘m a little bit surprised. I‘m not really sure that I absolutely understand that system.
COSBY: Yes, they were saying, basically, you know, as long as you‘re not under oath, you can say whatever you want to the cops, say whatever you can. (INAUDIBLE) these guys are liars. We know it.
RENFRO: Right. Yes. They‘ve actually admitted to lying.
COSBY: Yes, but—and then at that point, where do you get the sense of the investigation? Today we heard about these meetings on Capitol Hill, where they said they‘re still vigorously going after it. Do you get any sense that they‘re making any headway, or are things just at the sort of standstill which they seem to have been for many months?
RENFRO: Well, I know that they are actively investigating, and it‘s obvious. I frequent the police station often, and they have a whole room full of investigators going through transcripts and interviewing new people, as well as old people.
But the reaction on the island over what happened today was very good because there‘s nothing more than the Aruban people want is to get this communication flowing so that we can get a result in this case.
COSBY: You know, Julia, I don‘t know if you‘ve heard, too, but the Georgia governor now, Sonny Perdue, has said he‘s going to back the boycott. Is that a concern, that now there‘s another governor sort of jumping on board the boycott of your country?
RENFRO: Oh, absolutely. We heard that news last night, and it was quite upsetting. And that‘s why that meeting today was very important. And it‘s our understanding, after reading the Associated Press wire, that things went very well and that the line of communication is open. The investigation has been put on the table for other people to review. There‘s now the ability to question some of the other students who might possibly have information that could help the investigation come to a close.
COSBY: And are you getting any sense of that this boycott has had any impact, Julia, at all up to this point?
RENFRO: Up to this point, no. I‘ve spoken to the Aruba hotel and tourism authorities, and no. They say no, that it hasn‘t. Of course, you know, when you hear things like that, you hear about the boycott and the addition of Georgia, it‘s very upsetting, and that‘s why that line of communication has to open up.
I think we were very pleased that John Kelly was here last week. He really worked hard on opening (INAUDIBLE) and getting that information flowing. And that‘s what we need right now. We need that—you know, a little bit of grease in between to get this show on the road.
COSBY: Absolutely. Julia Renfro with “Aruba Today,” thank you so much, Julia. Always good to talk with you.
And still ahead, everybody: Just weeks ago, Beth Geisel went to jail for having sex with her students, and believe it or not, this naughty teacher is already out of jail. Should she be out so soon?
And a lot of people said it was a serious mistake for Howard Stern to leave free radio, but wait until you hear how many people have already signed up apparently to hear the morning radio shock jock. It‘s a lot of people. And that‘s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, RADIO PERSONALITY: Long live the revolution. Long live the Howard Stern show. Long live the Howard Stern show audience, the last of a dying breed!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And that was the self-proclaimed “king of all media,” the infamous Howard Stern himself, signing off this morning for his last live radio show before he makes his move to Sirius satellite radio at the start of the new year. Big news. And he ended his reign with a bang. His goodbye was topped with an outrageous public bash in Manhattan‘s Times Square today. But will he climb to the top for satellite radio?
Joining me now are two of Stern‘s regular guests throughout the years, “Steppin‘ Out” editor Chaunce Hayden, along with also Jessica Hahn, known, of course, for a lot of things, including her affair with married televangelist Jim Bakker.
Chaunce, let me start with you. Do you think Howard Stern‘s going to succeed on Sirius radio?
CHAUNCE HAYDEN, EDITOR, “STEPPIN‘ OUT”: Well, you know, nobody knows for sure. I have some reservations about it, and not the most popular to say. But here‘s my problem, Rita. What Howard did is really hurt himself. Mel Carmazin (ph) brought him in there to bring in new listeners. What Howard did, though, he also signed a deal with On Demand. Now, what that does, that gives his listeners a choice, a cheaper choice. It‘s only $10 to join On Demand. So if you can see the show uncensored and see the raunch, why would you pay for Sirius? I don‘t understand.
COSBY: So Chaunce, do you think price makes a difference, even just 10 bucks?
HAYDEN: Oh, of course. Not everybody makes the same money you make, Rita.
COSBY: Or you! Or you or Jessica!
HAYDEN: That‘s right. So it‘s a lot of money to people, and it‘s going to be a hard sell. But now people have a choice and you have a cheaper choice.
COSBY: Let me show also what Howard Stern said a little bit earlier today. Actually, this is an interview that he did on the “Today” show not too long ago. Let me show some of his comments, and I‘ll get you guys to react.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERN: Early in my career, I didn‘t have the government clamping down on me, and the fact of the matter is, that was my best radio. That‘s the radio that got me the highest ratings. That‘s the radio that put me on the map. And now, even in looking at this, I‘m shocked when people say to me, You need censorship in order to be funny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Chaunce, do you think he needs censorship to be funny? Do you think that‘s part of the allure of Howard Stern?
HAYDEN: Yes, I think that‘s a problem, Rita. I agree with—I think Howard really needs that bad boy image. He‘s going to be in a market now where the fans are going to say, Well, Howard, you don‘t have any restrictions, so we want real hard-core sex. We want you to push it all the way. All the things you said you couldn‘t do, now we want to you do. And it‘s going to be disappointing to fans when they see that he‘s still the same Howard Stern that they heard on the radio. He‘s not going to become a pornographer on Sirius.
COSBY: Jessica, what do you think‘s ahead for Howard Stern? Do you think he‘s going to be a success or not?
JESSICA HAHN, REGULAR STERN GUEST: I think the man is—everything he touches turns to gold. I can tell you right now that when he was on—was starting radio, he—and whether anybody wants to admit it or not, he brought people back to their radios from the old days, when before cable and everything, when everybody would gather around their radios.
In this day and age, if this man can have the largest audience in the United States, he is going to start a new revolution on Sirius. There is no doubt in my mind. I don‘t think Chaunce knows what he‘s saying because he wasn‘t there in the beginning. I was, when he was only in one market. And he built that up across the country, Rita. He has up to 17 to 23 million listeners, and many, many are already following him.
HAYDEN: Excuse me. Many aren‘t following him. He has 3 million...
HAHN: Oh, yes, they are, Chaunce!
HAYDEN: From 12 million listeners, he has 3 million listeners now.
That‘s not many. That‘s 3 million.
HAHN: Chaunce, actually, in New York, he started with one market, and you know what happened? He built it up in a matter of, what, five years? He has a five-year contract. He‘s going to do this in less than maybe two, I‘d say, at the most. The man is...
COSBY: Now, Jessica, let me—let me get a little sense of background, too, because you were on the show...
COSBY: ... what, 20 years? When did you start doing it, and how many times have you been on?
HAHN: Oh, I‘ve been on—I couldn‘t even—Rita, I couldn‘t—and by the way, nice to see you.
COSBY: Thank you.
HAHN: I couldn‘t even count the times. It started in 1987. He actually was—you know, he‘s such a genius interviewer, Rita. He could get somebody like me, when I had a news blackout, the man called me at my house and said, Jessica—instead of the typical questions, in the midst of when all of those vans were in front of my house, the man said, Jessica, what‘s going on? He‘s the only man I would talk to on the air live that I didn‘t even realize I was talking to him live. I mean, I knew. But he made me so comfortable. He gets the best interviews, Rita, for the last 19 years.
I‘ve been on almost, like, in ‘87, ‘88, ‘89 and through the ‘90s, even to this day—I was on his show yesterday. I‘m on his show a lot, and it never fails, the man is always right on the mark. He‘s a genius.
And this is a new beginning. You‘re going to see, just like cable is new, get ready for Sirius...
HAYDEN: Yes, but here‘s the problem...
HAHN: ... Satellite.
COSBY: Can I interrupt for a second?
COSBY: Yes, go ahead, Chaunce.
HAYDEN: With cable TV, the reception is perfect. That‘s why we pay for it.
HAHN: So is it you don‘t have a good reception, Chaunce?
HAYDEN: Excuse me. It‘s better than having rabbit ears on your TV.
With Sirius—and (INAUDIBLE) I have Sirius, and I have a problem with it
HAHN: I have it, too.
HAYDEN: I have it, too. The reception, depending on where you live, isn‘t always great. And when...
HAYDEN: ... a month to be driving down the road and have your—the radio just black out...
HAHN: This is (INAUDIBLE)
HAYDEN: ... that‘s kind of annoying.
COSBY: Now, Jessica...
HAHN: Well, Rita...
HAHN: ... go to the mall and you buy a bottle of water, it costs—it costs—you know, if you buy a bottle of water every day—you go to a movie, it‘s, like, $20. So I‘d say pretty much, you‘re getting a deal to hear no commercials, pure talent...
HAYDEN: There will be commercials!
HAHN: ... no censorship...
HAYDEN: Excuse me. There will be commercials.
HAHN: No, there‘ll be one—one or two, so he could go to the men‘s...
HAYDEN: Jessica, you don‘t know what you‘re talking about. There are going to be a lot of commercials.
HAHN: I know what I‘m saying.
COSBY: Let me interrupt real quick because we just have a few seconds left. And Jessica, I got to ask you this, just because...
COSBY: Unrelated. And of course, everybody knows you from your relationship with Jim Bakker. I know you‘ve moved on to a lot of other things since then, but you just recently talked to Tammy Faye Bakker.
HAHN: Yes, I did.
COSBY: Who I know is not doing well. I actually talked to her not too long ago. What did she say to you? How was that conversation between the two of you?
HAHN: Well, nobody knows this, Rita—Rita, you‘re the first one
that I‘m telling. I‘m sure Tammy won‘t mind if I tell you that we had a
nice conversation on the phone. She was very sick, and I was concerned,
and she—she called me up and we had a nice conversation. It was the
first time Tammy Faye and I have ever spoken, Rita. And I got to tell you,
she‘s a sweet woman. I want her to get well. I don‘t—I haven‘t heard
from her in the last month or so, but I hope she‘s doing OK. She‘s a good
woman. She has a lot of faith. But it was very touching. And we didn‘t -
we kept it secret. But the woman is—is—I mean, you know, when I was younger, growing up, this is the woman I wanted to be my mom, so you know, I idolized her, and I appreciate her faith. And she—I just hope she‘s doing OK, but we had a bittersweet conversation, very—she‘s very sweet. I was a little nervous.
COSBY: When did you talk, exactly, Jessica? When exactly was that conversation, and how long did it last and...
HAHN: Oh, it lasted...
COSBY: ... what did she say to you?
HAHN: ... about a half—I think, Rita, it was like a half hour we
spoke, and it was about six weeks or so ago. I don‘t remember exactly when
it was, but it was recent. It was—it was, you know, recent. And I was
just so grateful that I had a chance to talk to her, and today, listen, I -
you know, I‘m sorry that this happened as (INAUDIBLE) as it did. I mean, I was young. And she‘s very sweet. So you know, we had a—the woman—it‘s the first time we‘ve ever spoken, and it was amazing, you know? It was just amazing.
COSBY: Well, I‘m glad you had that opportunity to talk and I‘m sure...
HAHN: Yes, and I hope, Rita, that we get a chance on your show maybe to do an interview or something because that would be precious.
COSBY: I would love to do that, too...
HAHN: Me, too.
COSBY: ... and I think it would be good for both of you. Thank you very much, Chaunce.
HAHN: Thank you.
COSBY: And also thank you, and Jessica, thank you.
HAYDEN: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: (INAUDIBLE) thank you very much.
HAHN: Appreciate it.
COSBY: So of course, we‘re also talking about Howard Stern, in addition to Tammy Faye and also Jim Bakker. What is Howard Stern going to bring to satellite radio? Let me bring in editor and publisher for “Talkers” magazine Michael Harrison. Michael, getting back to Howard Stern, you say he is going to be basically what Milton Berle was to TV. That‘s a big statement.
MICHAEL HARRISON, EDITOR, “TALKERS”: Well, look at all the publicity he‘s already getting. And you said before that a lot of people are already subscribing. They want to hear him. I mean, I‘ve never heard this much publicity about anybody going anywhere in radio as we‘re seeing with Howard Stern and Sirius.
So sure, he is the focal point. He is the personality around which all of this excitement is swirling. And yes, that‘s what Milton Berle did back in the ‘50s. People bought televisions to see him. People are going to subscribe to Sirius and buy their receivers to hear Howard Stern, not to mention everything else.
COSBY: Did you just hear—Chaunce Hayden was just saying that, you know, people may not want to pay the money to do that, that, you know, spending the extra cash does mean a lot to a lot of people.
HARRISON: That‘s ridiculous.
COSBY: Is money going to hurt him?
HARRISON: Look, first of all, Howard Stern doesn‘t have to have the same number of listeners on to satellite to be successful. He‘s pioneering a new medium. It‘s a whole different ballgame.
COSBY: How do you think his show‘s going to be different, then? Do you think he‘s going to have to push the envelope more?
HARRISON: I don‘t think he has to push it all because I don‘t think it‘s about sex. I think all this talk about Stern being successful because people want to hear about sex or see sex is ridiculous. Our society is awash in sex. Being sexy does not get you anything. I mean, look at pornography. Howard Stern is mild compared to what even children have access to on the Internet.
Howard Stern‘s success on radio, and all other media, comes from his honesty, his ability to do interviews, his credibility, his satire, his humor and his intelligence. The sex is just sort of window dressing, and yet that‘s what the media gravitates to in talking about Howard Stern.
COSBY: Now, Michael, his persona, though...
HARRISON: Not true.
COSBY: Now, you know, he‘s not going to be regulated. Does that change some of the air of the mystery or sort of that bad boy image around him?
HARRISON: I don‘t even think there‘s a bad boy image about Stern.
COSBY: You don‘t?
HARRISON: No. I think Stern‘s real fans like him for reasons that have nothing to do with bad boy or sex or anything like that.
COSBY: Why do they like him? Why do you think they like him, Michael?
HARRISON: They like him because he‘s honest. He‘s intelligent. He creates a family. When people listen to Stern or watch him, they feel that they‘re talking to a friend or listening to a friend, the way people talk in their living rooms. And he gets away with it publicly. How he does that is part of his own chemistry and his charisma. You can‘t package it. You can‘t formulate it. It has to do with the man‘s personality. But that‘s what they like about him. The Howard Stern of 20 years ago was about sex, but this is 2005, about to be 2006. Sex doesn‘t get you anywhere. Not anymore.
COSBY: Michael Harrison, thank you very much for your insights.
Great to have you on.
And still ahead, everybody: How long should a teacher accused of having sex with her student spend behind bars? We‘ll tell you why a convicted teacher is already out. And “shock and law,” the story behind a video is electrifying. Find out why cops gave this suspect a jolt from behind. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: She‘ll be finishing out her sentence in an inpatient alcohol rehab center for three months. But what‘s next for this woman who pled guilty to one count of rape? Joining me now is sex crimes prosecutor Stacey Honowitz and defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.
Stacey, what do you think? Already out? Way too soon?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FL. SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, of course it is. I mean, unfortunately that was the plea that was originally negotiated, six months. With her good time and her gain time and everything else, the lawyers knew that she was going to be out before Christmas.
So that doesn‘t come as a surprise. I think what the big surprise in this whole case is what the judge basically said to her. I think that‘s what has everybody outraged, that he made her out to be the victim in this whole case, which is preposterous.
COSBY: Yes, didn‘t she turn around—in fact, Jane, let me show you some of the...
HONOWITZ: How‘s she a victim?
COSBY: This is Beth Geisel, six months in jail, 90 days with the substance abuse treatment, register with the state as a sex offender, probation for 10 years. But yet they said, boy, this poor girl was taken advantage of by these guys. She‘s the adult, Jayne.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, yes, she is, Rita. But the boys were also only a couple of months away from being consenting adults themselves. And the judge recognized that. She had a drinking problem. She was heavily dosed in alcohol.
HONOWITZ: So what?
WEINTRAUB: And in fact, the judge is the one who said at sentencing basically she was vulnerable and that they took advantage of her.
HONOWITZ: And that‘s a disgusting thing for a judge to say. That‘s a horrible thing for a judge to say, to have this woman go to jail for having sex with these boys and then a judge comes out and says, “I think you were a victim”? What kind of example does that set? In other words, what she did was OK?
WEINTRAUB: Maybe he‘s somebody who knows the case.
COSBY: And, in fact, both of you, let me show the quote from the judge.
COSBY: Let me show you what the judge said. The judge said, “At the next line that this occurred”—he was addressing Beth Geisel in court—
“he said you were needy, drinking heavily, and had low self-esteem. Why you looked at this as affection, you were being used, abused, and sexually abused.”
I mean, Jayne, come on.
HONOWITZ: And the next line is, “You became their playmate.” That‘s unbelievable. That‘s unbelievable that a judge would say something like that.
WEINTRAUB: And you know what, Rita?
COSBY: Go ahead, ladies. Go ahead, Stacey. Go ahead.
WEINTRAUB: The reason the plea negotiation took place is because the prosecutors knew that they had a losing case.
HONOWITZ: That is (INAUDIBLE) that is absolutely wrong. That‘s absolutely wrong. You don‘t negotiate cases because you think you have a loser case. You don‘t know what the circumstances are.
No matter what, no matter...
HONOWITZ: ... if she pled to—if she pled guilty and got three hours in jail, a judge, to make that statement, it‘s outlandish, to say and make her out to be the victim. She is the defendant in the case. She‘s not the victim, because she‘s needy and has low self-esteem doesn‘t give her a right to violate the laws. That‘s the bottom line.
COSBY: Jayne? I mean, are we being too loose? What‘s going on?
WEINTRAUB: These boys may have taken advantage of her. The sexual probation she has to first undergo is no walk in the park. Make no misunderstanding: This is very serious. She is a registered sex offender for the next 10 years. Anywhere she goes...
HONOWITZ: As she should be.
WEINTRAUB: ... is monitored. Every night she has a curfew. She‘s not going to get a decent job.
HONOWITZ: That‘s 100 percent right.
WEINTRAUB: Who‘s going to...
WEINTRAUB: ... there are communities that ban somebody from living there if they are a sexual predator, which she now is...
HONOWITZ: Because you know what, Jayne? She is a sex offender. You‘re making it seem as if probation should be very easy for her. You know what? She got off easy. She did a couple of months in jail. And now she has to go to probation.
She should register. She should be banned from certain things. She should be banned from teaching. She‘s a sexual predator, and that‘s the consequences that go along when you get prosecuted for a case like this.
COSBY: You guys, let me read a statement.
COSBY: Today, later today, when she went into the rehab place, before she checked into her mandatory rehab, she spent some time with her kids. She also stopped at a day spa to get her hair done. Does that sound a little out of sorts, Jayne?
WEINTRAUB: No, Rita. As a matter of fact, after spending 4 ½ months in jail and now being sober, I think that‘s a pretty normal thing for a 40-year-old woman to do. I have to say that, you know, spending four months in jail is no walk in the park. It is not an easy thing to do. This is a woman...
HONOWITZ: Jayne, can I ask you a question, Jayne, seriously, Jayne?
WEINTRAUB: ... an educated woman...
HONOWITZ: When a defendant goes to jail, is it supposed to be easy? I don‘t understand something. When you are punished and you‘re sent to jail, is it supposed to be so easy and a walk in the park? It‘s not supposed to be. You are being punished.
WEINTRAUB: And it wasn‘t.
HONOWITZ: So she deserves not to have a walk in the park.
COSBY: Let‘s talk about another case, you guys. Let‘s talk about the Debra LaFave case, because, in that case, a lot of people were saying that she got off easy, too. There was this plea deal that was set. One of the judges said, “OK, I‘m not going to go with that, you know, that doesn‘t fit the criteria.”
But the fact that that was even thrown out there and there were comments from her defense attorney that she‘s too pretty to go to jail, I mean, Jayne, aren‘t we just giving this double standard? Aren‘t we giving them a slap on the wrist?
WEINTRAUB: Well, let‘s be honest. There is a double standard. That‘s number one. And number two, there‘s a big difference in the Debra LaFave case and in this case. And that is that obviously the judge recognized the difference between a, quote, “victim” that‘s 16 ½ years old and a little boy who is 12 or 13 years old as a victim of a sexual act by an older woman.
HONOWITZ: He was 14.
COSBY: Stacey, I‘m going to give you the last word. You get 10 seconds.
HONOWITZ: Listen, she‘s not too pretty to go to jail. That‘s not a defense, OK? And for that lawyer to make that comment is unbelievable.
But the bottom line to that case is, a judge saw he‘s not going to accept that plea. He thinks it‘s too lenient. Society has a double standard, but prosecutors shouldn‘t have a double standard. Men and women should be treated exactly the same.
HONOWITZ: That‘s how it should be.
COSBY: That‘s going to have to be the last word, guys.
WEINTRAUB: I bet you, Stacey, a dinner of your choice for your charity that there is going to be a plea negotiation in that second case of LaFave...
HONOWITZ: You‘re on.
COSBY: We‘re going to hold you guys to it. Now it‘s on tape, guys. Thank you very much, both of you. Love having you both on. Thank you very much.
WEINTRAUB: Thank you, Rita.
HONOWITZ: Thank you, Rita.
COSBY: And another story that we‘re staying on top of tonight, we have learned that the teen accused of killing his girlfriend‘s parents could now face the death penalty. Eighteen-year-old David Ludwig is accused of the double murders after an argument over his relationship with 14-year-old Kara Borden.
Ludwig and Borden were on the run for days following the crime. They made a lot of headlines. Investigators say Borden had no role in last month‘s deadly shooting and will not, at this point, face any charges.
Now to a dramatic police chase, and it‘s “Caught by Cosby,” on this dashboard video. A suspect is seen trying to flee police near Daytona Beach, Florida. Eventually, they catch up with the suspect and taser him to the ground.
Joining me now live on the phone is Daytona Beach Shores Police Chief Stephan Dembinsky.
Chief, first of all, what happened? Why were you after this guy?
CHIEF STEPHAN DEMBINSKY, DAYTONA BEACH SHORES POLICE: Well, we got a phone call that this man had some very manic depressive state and that they wanted us to (INAUDIBLE) when my officers got over there, the man had already left. He had taken a knife and told his wife that he was in a kill mode and not to try to stop him.
Luckily for everybody, one of my officers spotted his car down the street at a convenience store and tried to pull him over, and that‘s when the chase started.
COSBY: How worried—you know, your point about that quote from the wife of, “I‘m in a kill mode and don‘t try to stop me or get in my way,” is what he reportedly told his wife. Based on that, how worried were you that the situation could turn violent?
DEMBINSKY: Well, my officers are very trained and we have a very strict chase policy. But, unfortunately, when other people‘s lives and, quite frankly, the man‘s life himself was in danger, we were forced to engage in a police pursuit.
COSBY: Is he mentally disturbed?
DEMBINSKY: We don‘t do it often. And it‘s against all our policies. But my officers engaged in a very, very well-thought-out, well-planned police pursuit at that time when the man wouldn‘t stop.
And, in fact, he tried to run over one of my officers, once while my
officer was trying to deploy stop sticks, and another time when the officer
he drove at the officer‘s car. And the officer managed to back up his vehicle to get out of his way. A very dangerous situation for my officers and...
COSBY: Absolutely. Is that suspect mentally disturbed? What‘s the history of this guy?
DEMBINSKY: Yes. Well, I‘m not really familiar with his past, other than what I‘ve been told, you know, by my officers and what they were told by his wife. But apparently he has a history—he‘s had this happen before, and he has not been taking his medication.
And it‘s very unfortunate, because I‘m sure that, if he was in a normal state, he wouldn‘t be doing these things. But, unfortunately, a person in this state that‘s not on medication can kill somebody without even realizing what they‘re doing.
And now he‘s in jail. And we‘re trying to figure out how to get him help and how to save him—how to stop him from doing this again.
COSBY: Well, I‘m glad everybody got out safely and nobody was harmed in this incident with him. Thank you very much, Chief. We appreciate it.
COSBY: And still ahead, everybody, she survived this tsunami and lost the love of her life. Now supermodel Petra Nemcova is here. She‘s going to tell her story. She‘s coming up.
And we‘ll tell you why Jessica Simpson isn‘t the only Simpson having trouble tonight. Her sister is sent to the hospital. We‘re going to give you all the details and some new details about Jessica and Nick that just came in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETRA NEMCOVA, SUPERMODEL: That‘s one of the dormitories which they are building in Koaklak (ph). The school got wiped out completely. And now they are trying to build it a bit higher up, so if there‘s anything happening, it‘s a little bit more safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, December 26th will mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating tsunami that swept across South Asia, killing around 300,000 people. In a matter of seconds, and without any warning, entire towns and villages once bustling with life were completely wiped off the map.
Joining me tonight is tsunami survivor supermodel Petra Nemcova. Her new book is called “Love Always, Petra: A Story of Courage and the Discovery of Life‘s Hidden Gifts.” It chronicles the day that changed her life forever.
Petra, you know, it‘s amazing. You look great. How are you holding up? How are you doing?
NEMCOVA: I‘m very good. Thank you very much. Good evening to everyone. Yes, I‘m recovered and, you know, back here, so...
COSBY: Well, it‘s great to see you. How has your year been? I mean, it‘s incredible, when I realize that the anniversary was coming up. It‘s amazing a year has passed. How is that process for you?
NEMCOVA: Well, I can‘t believe that it‘s almost a year. And this year has been quite an incredible year, with lots of changes and lots of learning.
And, yes, it just—there were many difficult moments, but also many beautiful moments, of having so many people sharing unconditional love with me and others. And it‘s been so wonderful to see that there is so much love in us and so much beauty that we can show to others.
And this year has been difficult, not just for people in Asia, which they went through a tsunami, but also Katrina, Rita, and Pakistan. And it just shows that, you know, people, they do care, and they help each other. I think that‘s very important to remember to help each other, because maybe today somebody in Asia needs help, but maybe tomorrow we might need help.
COSBY: No, good point. And as you mentioned, it happened here. And so we know all too well the struggle of human nature and the effects of it.
You know, you lost the love of your life. I‘ve heard so many about Simon Atlee, a wonderful photographer, but he was someone very special to you that day. Tell us about him.
NEMCOVA: Well, he was an incredible person, somebody who loved people, who made them feel special, if anybody, if it was a driver or somebody very important. And he made them laugh. His favorite saying was a day without laughter is a day wasted. And that‘s how we tried to live, his family, his friends, and me. We tried to make people laugh and enjoy every moment 100 percent.
COSBY: What happened that day with the tsunami? Walk us through it. I‘ve heard just some incredible stories that you were clinging to a palm tree. Walk us through what you remember.
NEMCOVA: Well, there was more to it than just walking—just holding onto a palm tree. That morning was a beautiful morning, the blue sky. And nobody thought that it will turn into a nightmare.
And we were about to leave with Simon in two hours time. And I was packing. And suddenly, I heard screams and people running from—then I look up. And people were running from side-to-side frantically. And I thought maybe there was an earthquake.
But then the wave came. And it was about 10 ½ meters high wave. And then it broke all the windows. It swept us out of the bungalow. And that was just the beginning.
Then I got—that was the last time I saw Simon. And I got trapped. And my pelvis was broken four times. And I got trapped under a layer of trash. And I couldn‘t breathe. And it was flowing, the black water, and I thought a couple of times that I will be gone in a couple of seconds and those will be my last moments. And then, holding onto a palm tree.
But as I say, it was so wonderful to see such unconditional love from people, which they were ready to sacrifice their lives for others, for strangers, just to save them. And that‘s why “Love Always, Petra,” that‘s why the name of the book. It‘s not because of a love between man and woman, but it is because of this unconditional love, which I have seen during the tsunami.
COSBY: Well, it really is an incredible book, and I‘ve seen some of the excerpts. And I do hope people get it. And I also want to make sure I mention the website, give2asia.com, with the number-two sign. I think it‘s terrific you‘re donating all of the proceeds to this fund to help folks. And you just keep up the wonderful work. You‘re a real inspiration for a lot of folks around the globe, Petra. Thank you so much.
NEMCOVA: Thank you so much. And thank you to all of you who‘s going to get a book maybe for Christmas, because you do—you can feel very good about yourself, giving a gift and doing something meaningful. So thank you and a merry Christmas to all of you.
COSBY: Thank you very much. And what a great gift, too, it is.
Thank you so much.
NEMCOVA: Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you very much.
And still ahead, everybody, there is shock tonight at the sudden death of a member of the “West Wing” cast. The details of the passing of John Spencer. It was a big surprise.
And we‘ll tell you why life is not easy right now for either of the Simpson sisters. Tonight, one of them is in the hospital. Stay tuned.
COSBY: And the Simpson sisters are singing the blues tonight. Younger sister Ashlee is now in the hospital after collapsing just after performing in Tokyo. She is reportedly still receiving care. And late today, her older sister, Jessica , filed for divorce from her former “Newlyweds” co-star Nick Lachey.
We‘re joined now by Bradley Jacobs, the senior editor of “US Weekly,” which first reported the Ashlee Simpson story.
Bradley, let me start with you, first of all, on this divorce filing.
What do you know? And what is the basis for it?
BRADLEY JACOBS, “US WEEKLY” SENIOR EDITOR: Well, it looks like that old Hollywood standard, irreconcilable differences.
COSBY: Which means?
JACOBS: Could mean anything. I mean, they weren‘t getting along. It really could be anything. That is just the catch-all phrase, as everyone knows.
You know, it‘s interesting. They‘ve really just been separated for a weeks now, but already she‘s filed for divorce. And you can often judge how serious the breakup was by the amount of time between, you know, the actual separation and the divorce. And just a few weeks means they were both very serious and this thing was, as we reported in “US Weekly,” been cooking for a long time before they announced that they were actually separating.
COSBY: Which is amazing, because she‘s been on a lot of shows sort of, you know, months ago, talking about how great their marriage was and everything else. You know what? The other thing, Ashlee, her younger sister, in the hospital tonight. This isn‘t the first time she‘s had problems performing, right?
JACOBS: Well, yes. “US Weekly” broke this story earlier today. She was in Tokyo yesterday performing on MTV Japan. And she just finished her song, “Boyfriend,” when she told the crowd she felt a little funny. And later, she collapsed in an elevator there at MTV Japan and was rushed to a hospital.
COSBY: What do we know is the basis? Do we have any idea what it was, because she‘s also sort of known for going out on the town, some people say?
JACOBS: Well, at this point, we don‘t know. The family is still waiting word of what the diagnosis is. A source told us today that it‘s probably going to be exhaustion, another one of those.
COSBY: Yes, very sad.
You know, I want to talk about also about—this just came out a little bit ago. Late word tonight that an integral cast member of NBC‘s hit show, “The West Wing,” has died.
John Spencer died today of a heart attack. The 58-year-old Spencer played vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry. He won an Emmy for that role, but that wasn‘t his only role. Bradley, he was known for so many things. I was just down (INAUDIBLE) Bradley, I was looking at his background, “Sea of Love,” “War Games,” I mean, this guy was just a well-accomplished actor, right?
JACOBS: Right, he was a pro and really at the height of his career. I mean, he only won that Emmy three years ago. And, you know, he‘s been—his part on the show‘s been great. You know, as you said, he was playing the running mate this year. He was the chief of staff to Martin Sheen for a few years. And that‘s why it‘s such a shocker. You know, he wasn‘t—he was just a few days away from turning 59. Very accomplished, but he...
COSBY: How is his death going to affect the show, I mean, this is such a prominent show and he was a big player in it?
JACOBS: Yes, it‘ll be interesting to see what the network has to do with this. You know, there has been some precedent in the past, when cast members die—it doesn‘t happen very often—but, you know, it will be up to the writers and the producers to figure out a way to work it in.
COSBY: Yes, Bradley Jacobs, thank you very much, with “US Weekly.”
We appreciate you being here on a variety of topics tonight.
JACOBS: Thanks for having me.
COSBY: Thank you.
And coming up, a special salute to the troops. That‘s coming up.
We‘re going to be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SPENCER, LATE ACTOR ON “WEST WING”: This isn‘t overreacting.
It‘s the appropriate, balanced...
MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR ON “WEST WING”: Tell me how this ends, Leo. You want me to start something that may have serious repercussions on American foreign policy for decades, but you don‘t know how it ends!
SPENCER: We don‘t always know how it ends!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, we went all-out showing you the members of the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, as they were entertaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But they‘re not the only people entertaining U.S. troops. Actors, singers and cheerleaders—you heard me right—cheerleaders are also going abroad to bring some holiday cheer to the U.S. men and women serving our country overseas. Coming up, on Monday night, I‘m going to be joined by some very peppy supporters of football and of our U.S. troops. These folks just came back. They are members of the New England Patriots cheerleading squad. And they‘re going to join me on Monday night.
And that does it for me, LIVE & DIRECT here from the West Coast. And I‘m going to be heading back to the East Coast soon. I‘m Rita Cosby. “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with Joe Scarborough starts right now.
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