Guest: Shemane Nugent, Maureen Smith, Vito Colucci, Catherine Crier, Ted
Nugent, Jennifer Hagel Smith
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, was the cruise ship widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, drugged on her honeymoon cruise? An explosive suggestion from her lawyer that on the night her husband vanished from the cruise ship, that night that she was found passed out in the corridor, the young bride may have been drugged. But who would have done it and why? We will get to the bottom of it.
Then the mother of the missing groom comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Tonight, she has the family's response to the cruise line's latest statement.
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 a lot for being with us tonight.
Now, there are new developments in the cruise ship mystery to tell you about. Of course, as you remember, it was supposed to be the happiest time of her life, but Jennifer Hagel Smith's honeymoon cruise turned into a nightmare when her husband, George, disappeared from the ship.
Now the cruise line is saying it wants to set the record straight, and that record includes telling the world that she was passed out in a corridor when her husband, George, vanished. It also includes Royal Caribbean's CEO, Richard Fain, coming out, criticizing Jennifer, and telling “The Miami Herald” that when he saw her on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, he felt like she had just stabbed him in the back.
Now, we have been in touch obviously with Royal Caribbean, as we have been telling you, asked them to come on the show. They have refused to this far, but we have talked to them today. And we're certainly hopeful they will come on and tell their side of the story.
As I have been saying from the very beginning, friends, I'm going to be fair to them. I'm fair to everybody that comes on this program, and I want to hear their side of the story. There are contradictions obviously between what the cruise line is saying and what Jennifer Hagel Smith is saying and what the Smith family's saying. We need to get all parties out here to figure out what really went on, so you will know when you and your family go on a cruise line trip, that you will be safe.
Well, as you know, we are the only cable news show that's had Jennifer Hagel Smith on. And she came on our show and told me what happened that night.
Take a listen to what she said.
SCARBOROUGH: So, let's talk about that night. What can you tell us about that night?
JENNIFER HAGEL SMITH, WIFE OF GEORGE SMITH IV: I know you are doing your job and you have to ask.
But, again, my number-one priority—and I am going to say this again and again—is just, you know, doing what the FBI has told me. And, basically, you know, there's nothing that I am going to sort of release that—that happened to me that night. I am excited in the future to be able to talk freely and openly, because that will mean that the FBI has solved their case.
HAGEL SMITH: And that will mean, you know, that I have freedom to speak and say, you know, whatever.
SCARBOROUGH: How about leading up to that night, the afternoon, the early evening?
HAGEL SMITH: George and I probably got back to the ship, I want to say, around 6: 00 p.m., or so.
Times are a little difficult to remember now. But we—you know, we were planning on meeting a friend of ours—or a couple. It was another honeymoon couple that we had became fast friends with, and we were spending probably most of our evenings with them. They had already eaten, so they said, you two go on, and, you know, we will catch up with you later. We will meet you at 11: 00.
So, we had this just great dinner, a very romantic dinner. And we were just, you know, toasting to the future, toasting to life, and just saying, God, we are the two luckiest kids in the world. And we kept saying that. And it's ironic now.
HAGEL SMITH: We just kept saying, you know, knock on wood. This is -
· life is so good to us. We are so lucky. You know, we have had so many opportunities in life. And here we are in the Mediterranean, toasting to our future.
And it was, you know, a moment that I will—that I won't forget. And, of course, you know, we met our friends. And the evening goes on, of course, and, obviously...
SCARBOROUGH: At 11:00, did you meet in the restaurant or...
HAGEL SMITH: We all meet together. George and I go back to the room to—quickly.
And then we—on our way up, he wanted to just drop off his sport
coat, because, the other night, when we were—we would usually meet our -
· this other couple. You know, we would go to the casino, meet them, just play at the craps table or play blackjack for a little while, and call it a night.
This particular night, we did our same routine.
HAGEL SMITH: We dropped off George's jacket and came back down, and...
SCARBOROUGH: What time was that, that you dropped off the jacket?
And, again, I know, it's hard to remember exact times.
HAGEL SMITH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: It was, like, around midnight?
HAGEL SMITH: Around 11:00. Around 11:00.
SCARBOROUGH: Eleven? Eleven?
HAGEL SMITH: So—and that's the point where, you know, I—and I can't speak of. And I wish I could.
I know that there's a lot of questions that a lot of people have. And that's where sort of the FBI picks up the story.
SCARBOROUGH: So, you can't say what happened in the casino that night, from that point on?
HAGEL SMITH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: Is that where the FBI tells you not to talk?
HAGEL SMITH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell you about—what about who you saw and...
HAGEL SMITH: Yes, that's all under that same FBI category.
SCARBOROUGH: Can you talk about the Russian guys? Because, at the beginning, everybody was looking at you, because—and, again, it wasn't just about you. It's...
HAGEL SMITH: Which I didn't even realize, yes. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, but, in any investigation—I think we talked about this.
HAGEL SMITH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: If the spouse dies, the first thing they do, they just play the numbers. It sounds cold and callous.
HAGEL SMITH: Which they never tell you before you get married.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. Yes.
HAGEL SMITH: That if something was to—is going to happen to your spouse...
SCARBOROUGH: If something happens.
HAGEL SMITH: ... that—that you will be looked at.
SCARBOROUGH: That they look at you with suspicion.
But—and then we started hearing about these Russian guys and some teenager from California.
HAGEL SMITH: Yes.
And I will just say that for—I don't know when people learned of certain details surrounding the case. But I will say that I literally didn't watch any news coverage for the first two months. So, a lot of this information, I found out in only the past few months.
HAGEL SMITH: And, as George and Maureen have told you, they would take notes.
George's parents would literally take notes, watching your show and watching other shows. And that's—some of the information that we have come to know since what happened has come from that.
SCARBOROUGH: Can you talk about anything about these Russian guys?
Was that the first night you saw them?
HAGEL SMITH: I can't really—I wouldn't speak of those things, because I think that it's not appropriate. I think...
SCARBOROUGH: You say it's not appropriate because the FBI told you not to talk about them?
HAGEL SMITH: And they have families, too. And I am very sensitive to that. So, I think that I am very careful and guarded in anything I would say, just for—I am sure this is a tough experience for anyone who is involved in it.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think the FBI is going to solve this case?
HAGEL SMITH: I hope so.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you, do you think that—do you think George was murdered?
HAGEL SMITH: It's a good question.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you think?
HAGEL SMITH: I guess we will see.
I am looking forward to ending this investigation. I am hoping—the FBI said, initially, it will be months, not years. And I am going to remind them, they have six more months, because I am hoping that they will come up with something.
This is—I have been told that, you know, our case has more evidence, whether it be, you know, blood stains on the awning or things of that nature, that has more than any cases in the past. So, I think that this is—this is—this could be the one, you know? This could be the one for the FBI. I know that there haven't been many successful convictions in the past, but I am praying this is the one.
SCARBOROUGH: So, we get through the night. You wake up in the morning. And there are two different stories about where you woke up. And, again, one said you woke up in the room. The other said you woke up three flights up. Can you tell us where you woke up?
HAGEL SMITH: It's nothing scandalous. I can say that, if that's what people are wondering. It's not scandalous.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, but you can understand why they would...
HAGEL SMITH: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: ... why they would ask the question.
HAGEL SMITH: Right. Of course.
SCARBOROUGH: You're on your honeymoon.
HAGEL SMITH: Of course.
HAGEL SMITH: Sometimes—sometimes, you know, the answer, the truth is—is more basic or more simple than people like to think it is. So, people can, you know, read into that as they will.
SCARBOROUGH: But you have been told by the FBI not to talk about that?
HAGEL SMITH: Right. Right.
SCARBOROUGH: We're going to have more of that, obviously, that interview.
I have going to say that one again. I want to underline the most important point here. A lot of attention's been focused, not only from Royal Caribbean, but from other newscasts, on Jen Hagel Smith's behavior that night. Now, I'm not here being an apologist for her. I don't know exactly what she did that night, but I know it doesn't matter where she woke up.
The issue is, was George Smith killed? If George Smith was killed, the second question is, who did it? And the third question is, do we not have the answer to the first two questions because of a shoddy investigation in the hours after his death?
Friends, listen, again, I'm making no apologies for anybody. I'm just sitting here telling you, as a guy that's been in politics and been in TV and knows a lot about public relations, the number-one rule is, if people are focusing on you, you try to point the finger at somebody else. I think that's what a lot of newspeople are doing. And I think that's what the cruise industry is doing, by trying to focus attention on Jen Hagel Smith.
Again, wherever she slept that night, whether it was in her room or on a floor three stories up, doesn't answer the question of who killed George Smith IV, unless these people on TV are suggesting it was Jen Hagel Smith. And, if so, step forward and say that. If not, stop trying to change the subject.
Now, when we come back, we're going to hear more from Jennifer Hagel Smith—her lawyer now saying that she may have been drugged that night—that from an Associated Press report and SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
We will talk about that. Was she drugged? And George Smith's mother's going to be here to tell us what she thinks and what the family thinks about the new statements from the cruise line.
It's a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Stay with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Was she drugged the night her husband was pushed overboard? A lot of questions about that, as her attorney says that Jen Hagel Smith may have been drugged the night George died. We will have the answers to those questions and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back.
Royal Caribbean has been putting out statements regarding what they believed happened that night. The family has been saying they have been working hard to deflect criticism of how they handled George Smith's disappearance. Are they blaming the victim or are doing what they say they're doing, and that is just trying to set the record straight?
Well, the company sent out an eight-page press release with its version of events, very interesting. It says, in part, that, “Contrary to certain reports, the ship allowed Ms. Hagel Smith any calls she wished whenever she wanted to. Claims that she was abandoned, that she was asked to leave the ship or left alone in Turkey are utterly false.”
Now, those—I will tell you, those are important differences from what Jen told us.
Also, “Reports that she was forced to wear clothing with the company' logo also false”—not as important as the first two, but still significant.
And the only place, of course, you can hear Jennifer and judge for yourself is right here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And I want to play you a little bit more of what Jennifer told me happened after—and this is important, because this is the part—if the cruise industry's right here, then Jen Hagel Smith is lying.
This next segment, she's going to be talking about what happened after her new husband went missing.
Take a listen.
HAGEL SMITH: It was three men dressed in white uniform from Royal Caribbean.
They basically approached me and said, you know, your husband has gone overboard. And, you know, that—they told me about the blood on the awning. And, at that moment, I just—it's hard to remember, you know, my reaction to it at the time. But I just literally remember grabbing both of my arms and just squeezing so tight, thinking, I have got to still be dreaming. This has got to be a nightmare, because it's—it was too much.
Like, physically, emotionally, you're—you're—I couldn't quite comprehend what they were saying. It was just...
SCARBOROUGH: Did they tell you he was dead, he had gone overboard and died?
HAGEL SMITH: They said he had gone overboard, and they found blood, and over—actually, I had found out from them that they believed he went over in Greek waters. And here we are in Turkey.
So, as you can imagine, you just—you—you play back in your mind at that time just the wedding. And just—everything just flashes. And you think, like, this is a sick joke, right, because we just got married, right? You're kidding me.
You just can't—you can't fathom, like, the reaction. I think—I think I just felt so numb, and I just was so shocked. And I really thought I was going to have a heart attack. Like, my heart just—it just was—like, my chest just got so tight. And I just thought—I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to do.
Everything just—everything I knew in that moment was just gone.
SCARBOROUGH: The world you knew ended.
HAGEL SMITH: Everything was gone.
If George is—we joked with each other, you are the center of my universe. And we would tell each other that all the time. And he really was. And when that is gone, what do I do? You know, what does my world revolve around now? It's everything we had planned together, our life, our future. I think I—like, my—literally, everything was just flashing, flashing, my parents, his parents. It was just, this can't be happening.
SCARBOROUGH: This was the beginning of, from what I have read, just an unimaginable, hellacious day.
HAGEL SMITH: I was taken to a cabin somewhere in one of the lower decks.
And I was told to take a shower. And I was then given Royal Caribbean T-shirt, Royal Caribbean gym shorts, and Royal Caribbean tank top, because they said, we cannot, you know, obviously give you any of your own clothing, which was all in our room.
I was eventually brought to a different meeting area, again, from Royal Caribbean. At this point now, there comes back the ship's officers, their—the security officers and the ship's captain now. And I have now the honeymoon couple that George and I used to, you know, hang around with. They were also, you know, around or at my side.
And they just basically said, you know, they want you to get off the ship in Turkey. They want you, you know, to come for some questions. I didn't realize at that time that I was a part of or even a focal point of an investigation or an interrogation.
I was taken, you know, away from the ship. So, now I am in town. I am the only one there of all the other passengers. I am the only one who is in Turkey, in a Turkish police station. And there I am with all of my, you know, Royal Caribbean logo attire, and just feeling—just falling deeper into just this feeling of shock.
SCARBOROUGH: Then they interrogate you. And then I understand they actually—and, at this point, when you were in shock, you—the next part is, they actually make you take your clothes off, or lift your shirt up and take your pants down?
HAGEL SMITH: Well, which, I wasn't told to get off the ship. They had then—the Turkish police officers had said, you need to now go. We are taking you to a hospital.
They had told, you know, somebody, not my father, not me—or maybe they had figured that out later. But they took me, drove me further into town to a hospital. And it was a really, for lack of a better word, seedy sort of area and place. And a man just very—you know, just lifted up my shirt and just looked down my pants.
And I, at this point, felt, you know, what does it matter? You know, at this point, it's—modesty is out the window. At this point, you don't you don't care about anything.
SCARBOROUGH: And you're in Turkey. Obviously, you don't speak the language. Did they give you money?
HAGEL SMITH: No.
SCARBOROUGH: Did they give you transportation?
HAGEL SMITH: No.
SCARBOROUGH: Did they gave you any guidance at all?
HAGEL SMITH: No. And...
SCARBOROUGH: They just threw you in the middle—a young woman, in the middle of Turkey?
HAGEL SMITH: It was getting later in the evening.
I was aware that the ship was going to sail around 7:00, give or take. As I kept watching the clock in the Turkish police station, there came a point when, you know, I said, hey, I don't think they are really going to be holding this ship for me. So, I just—this day just kept going on and on. And then, finally, when I was taken back to the dock, where the cruise ship was, I had—it was getting time for the ship to sail.
One minute, I am sitting there, thinking, what now? No one is making any airport plans for me, that—the Royal Caribbean cruise line certainly wasn't. Then I see my bags. I see George's suitcases. I see my suitcases. And I see 10 Royal Caribbean logoed plastic souvenir bags on the dock, and I just froze.
As I am looking at all of our suitcases and gifts that were thrown into bags, and—just one thing stuck out. It was George's sneakers. George's sneakers were, you know, appearing out of one of the bags that were—that was just haphazardly thrown together, in an attempt to, I am sure, get me and anything having to do with George and I just off the ship.
And that moment, when I just, you know—just looking at somebody's sneakers, but looking at George's sneakers. And, you know, he was—he ran every day. And just the thought of him—it just kind of hit me at that moment, that that's it. He will never wear those sneakers again. He will never...
SCARBOROUGH: Is that the first time that you had time to just sit back and realize that he wasn't coming back?
HAGEL SMITH: Yes.
I think that, you know, there are certain things that remind you of
somebody or—that are personal. And I think, you know, it's a person's
clothes. It's a person's—we have so many memories in your own—every
· I remember when he wore that shirt. I remember when he did this.
And there I am, with all of his clothes, and without George.
SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you what.
It's very moving. Now, again, we want both sides of the story. We have asked Royal Caribbean's CEO, Richard Fain, to come on the program. There are a lot of tough questions that need to be asked, and not only of Royal Caribbean, but, also, we want to ask questions about Jen Hagel Smith.
If they have got information to prove that what she's said to me is not true, Americans need to know that. Let's get the truth out and let Royal Caribbean defend themselves.
But, again, up until now, Royal Caribbean has not been willing to come on. We're talking to them right now and hope we can get past these—these statements that they have been sending out.
So, anyway, we're going to be, again, talking more about this story coming up. Want to talk to Royal Caribbean. And I'm inviting them on again tonight. And I will be fair. I'm telling all of you, you're watching me. You know I'm always fair when people come on the show. I will certainly be fair to Royal Caribbean, too, but not if all they want to do is talk about what Jen Hagel Smith drank that night and where she woke up in the morning.
Now, when we come back, could somebody have drugged Jennifer Hagel Smith the night her husband disappeared? That's a new theory that was floated by her lawyer to the Associated Press and SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And George's family is fighting back. We are going to be talking to George Smith's mother and get her reaction to Royal Caribbean's latest statements about her deceased son.
Stay with us. We will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: The Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about his rocking new reality show, “Wanted: Ted or Alive.” We will be talking to Ted and doing a lot more when we return.
But, first, here's the latest news you and your family need to know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: I'm Ted Nugent, rock star, all-American political activist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: From rock star to reality star, the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, with us here tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about his show. And make sure you tune in to this reality show, because it's going to turn the reality world on its head.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. That's going to be coming up in just minutes.
But, first, the new theory into what happened on board that ship that night. The Associated Press reports that Jennifer may have been drugged, according to the Smith family attorney.
Here to talk about that angle and the latest is our panel, Court TV's Catherine Crier, former Connecticut prosecutor Susan Filan, and private investigator Vito Colucci.
Catherine, what do you make of the AP report?
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV: Oh, I think basically it's a result of Jennifer saying, I don't remember much. Gee, at first, she thought she woke up in her bed. And now she's sort of putting it back together with what the cruise line is telling her, that she was actually found on the floor somewhere.
She may have had basically an overindulgence, resulting in a bit of a blackout. And it may be, well, gee, one of the reasons could have been drugs. But, in fact, I tried to find out whether the two young Russian men that were accused of rape, whether that victim had said anything about date rape drugs, anything else around this cruise, other activities that mentioned drugs of any sort like that. Nothing's come up. So, I think it's just—let's reach out for another theory right now.
SCARBOROUGH: Susan Filan, you're close to the investigation. What do you think, drugs?
SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think that—no, I don't think so.
I think that what the lawyer is trying to do is put some more heat on Royal Caribbean to prove their negligence in the way they have handled George's disappearance and the investigation. And what he's basically saying is, you find a woman passed out, and you just put her back in bed and don't offer her any medical assistance? What if she had been drugged? What if she had been given some—one of these date rape drugs?
But I don't really think that if it's just coming to light now, through her attorney, it could have escaped law enforcement all that while. And, again, they have ruled her out as a suspect. So, they have had to do an assessment of her credibility. And I have to believe, Joe, that this would have come up in some way before now.
SCARBOROUGH: Vito, but here's the deal. Are we to believe that it's just a coincidence that this young woman wakes up sprawled out on the floor, in the middle of a long cruise, the same night that her husband is killed?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: You know, I'm going to differ with Susan, Joe.
If you want to knock Jennifer out of commission, if you want a chance to get at George, OK, whether to rob him, to hurt him in any kind of way, you have got to knock Jennifer out of commission. You already see them drinking, OK?
A lot of these drugs out there the most popular one right now is something called roofies. It's tasteless, odorless, colorless. You can mix it with water. No one knows. And guess what one the biggest side effects is? Semi-consciousness.
So, it's also a possibility here, Joe. But if you have got trained investigators that jump in on this right away, they would know; 24 hours, it's in the bloodstream; 48 hours, you can take urine samples. So, we can't eliminate that. If you want to move her out of commission—everybody is thinking more the sexual part. Forget the sexual part. You eliminate her, you're able to concentrate on George.
SCARBOROUGH: Catherine, you're shaking your head. Why?
CRIER: Well, it's—because you just listen to the facts of this case, we know there's an awful lot of drinking going on, on cruise lines. In fact, a lot of people have gone overboard because of this kind of thing.
The reports were, the activities there in the casino area, heavy, heavy drinking on her part. Remember, the altercation with the husband, in fact, at one point, someone sort of groping her, and she doesn't realize it's not George.
And she wandered off by herself. It's not that I know what happened. It's just that it is a relatively reasonable explanation that she may have wandered off and passed out, which doesn't mean that all the activity in his cabin didn't take place, but I have not heard anything that would substantiate slipping her a mickey.
SCARBOROUGH: Susan Filan, let's move on to the Russians.
I spoke earlier today to somebody that's very close to these Russians, very close to the people that were with George and Jennifer that night. They say that we are completely off base talking about the rape charges and sexual assault charges the next night, because, after all, the Italian authorities didn't press charges after investigating that possibility.
Can you tell me—I guess Royal Caribbean's also said the FBI's investigating that sexual assault. Can you tell me if that's the case?
FILAN: Well, I can tell you that law enforcement has known about that complaint since day one, and that this victim is somebody who recanted her statement. It happens a lot in rape cases.
And, again, the allegations here are of a very violent, graphic, sexual nature, involving gang rape. And it was allegedly videotaped. So, maybe this is why she didn't want to press forward with the charges.
Women have a very, very difficult time, still, in 2006, making these kinds of complaints. And it's quite possible that the Italian authorities don't have the same point of view on assessing a victim that the United States authorities have.
Maybe she got the bum's rush, didn't like the way she was being treated, and said forget it. It's just easier to go on with the cruise and get myself home, and I will deal with it myself with my psychiatrist.
But I certainly think that it was known to law enforcement from day one, and that's what helped them focus in on these Russians. I mean, talk about two bad apples. You have got George's disappearance; 24 hours later, you have got this horrific allegation of sexual assault. And what does Royal Caribbean do? They get them off the ship right away.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, they get them off, though—they get them off the
ship 24 hours after—I guess 48 hours—Catherine, 48 hours after these
· these—they have reason to believe that these guys were the last ones seen with George.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you fault the cruise line for not getting them off immediately?
CRIER: Well, no. I fault the cruise line for not hanging on to them in one capacity or another.
Where my complaints with the cruise line come is after they discovered that George was missing from the room. A lot of what they did that night, the wee hours, I don't see much problem with yet, based upon the information we have.
But I think that their examination of this case and their knowing these guys had been causing trouble before George Smith disappeared, knowing that they were somehow involved, knowing about the rape allegations, to simply put them off and let them wander away, I have some problems with that.
SCARBOROUGH: Catherine, what's your theory on this case? What happened?
CRIER: Well, I'm not sure I know.
Based upon the information, I'm troubled by the fact that they—these guys say they took him back to the room at 3:30. We know he was quite intoxicated. We know that there was some sort of thump noise. Security guards went to the room at 4:30, didn't hear any more noise, therefore, didn't investigate.
While they did take Jennifer back to the room and saw nothing, she saw nothing when she got up, put on her flip-flops, and went to the massage at 8:30 the next morning.
So, they can't necessarily be criticized. But there's that 3:30 to 4:30 a.m. period that something could have gone wrong of a felonious nature. So, I'm not satisfied that this was, gee, he got up on a chair, sat on the railing and just fell over by himself.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, that's the one thing. I just—I don't buy that theory.
SCARBOROUGH: Something happened. We just don't know what it was.
Vito, we got to go, but I got to ask you, do you think we're going to solve this case?
COLUCCI: Well, Susan's from Connecticut, like I am. And she knows the FBI is Connecticut is a very, very good branch.
I still feel they're going to solve this. They got in at a real late time here, Joe, and they're doing the best. They got their best people working on it. I know that for a fact.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
COLUCCI: And Susan can tell you that, too.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks so much. Appreciate you all being with us.
Catherine Crier, Susan Filan, and Vito Colucci, appreciate it.
Now, coming up, what does George's family have to say about all of this? We are going to find out next when we talk to George Smith's mother.
And, later, rocker and now reality TV show—Ted Nugent's here to tell us about his new snow. And wait until you see how it tests the nature skills of city slickers like me.
We will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Last month, we were the first to interview the Smith family. Now they're speaking out again.
And with us on the phone is George's mother, Maureen Smith.
Maureen, thank you so much for being with us.
MAUREEN SMITH, MOTHER OF GEORGE SMITH IV: Oh, you're welcome, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me start by asking, how are you and the family doing?
SMITH: Well, we are through the holidays, Joe. It was very, very hard this year, first year ever without our son, and Bree without her brother. Very, very sad. Hopefully, next year might be better, but, you know, we just have to go on day by day and hope that we get justice for our son.
SCARBOROUGH: How difficult is it for you to see these statements coming from Royal Caribbean?
SMITH: I just—well, people had told us, be prepared. Be prepared for them to start slamming us. That's how they operate.
And I think it was absolutely disgraceful when this Larry Kaye started attacking my son's marriage and his character. And, you know, he's the same lawyer that defended Royal Caribbean, who are corporate felons.
So, they're used to lying. So, well, what more—I wouldn't expect any more from him. But he's not going to do that to my son again.
SCARBOROUGH: What charge...
SMITH: I'm sorry?
SCARBOROUGH: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt. I thought you had stopped.
What charge against your son has hurt you and your husband and your daughter the most?
SMITH: They're just saying how he just parties with all these young people, and why was two 30-year-old-plus people partying with all these young kids. My son was 26, and his wife is 25.
And those—some of those boys they were partying with were in there 20s. And, you know, when you go on cruise ships, Joe, sometimes, it's not many young people. There's all different age groups. And I know we have been on cruises and we have mixed with younger people, sometimes half our age. There's nothing wrong with that.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you think about Royal Caribbean saying—and I'm quoting Royal Caribbean's statement—quote—“We acted immediately upon learning Mr. Smith might have gone overboard. We searched for him and we performed a thorough investigation to find out what happened.”
SMITH: I just think that they—my thing with Royal Caribbean is, we would not be in this position today, Joe, had Royal Caribbean stopped the ship in Turkey and gone on, had the real authorities go on. We would have found out what happened to my son.
The perpetrators would be brought to justice. We would have had a memorial service for my son. And our life would have been put in some kind of order. But here we are, six months later, and, because of their actions, this is the outcome of it. That was a crime scene, Joe. It should have been taped up. I have said it time and time again.
And they just washed away that blood. We have witnesses. You know that as well as us, Joe. We have witnesses who have seen them wash away that blood early in the morning. And we have witnesses who have said they have seen the painting done.
Now, Mr. Purdy has looked into the camera, lied through his teeth, as has Lynn Martenstein, and they have said they did not paint over that overhang. They did. They did paint it over. And they lied.
And you know what? They're reliving history, how they're lying. And all we want to know is, we want Royal Caribbean to work for us. We want them to find out what happened to my son. We don't want to attack—them to attack us. We want them to work with us.
We want to find out what happened that night. We want no cover-up, because their cruise line is going to be damaged if it keeps on—if they keep on the way they are, they're going to get a very, very bad reputation, because we're not stopping, Joe. We're not stopping.
SCARBOROUGH: What about the captain? I was a bit surprised when Dan Abrams asked the captain why he didn't stop and turn around, and the captain didn't seem to think there was any reason to stay there.
SMITH: No, there was no reason. There was only a murder on board.
And he tried to paint it over as an accident in the very beginning, the captain did. And Dan Abrams, you know, he just went along with the captain. But he said very nonchalantly, and like he couldn't give a damn, he said, why would we turn the ship around? There's these people. They need to go on with their cruise.
Well, if the world has come to where you have to go on and enjoy yourself because you have paid a few bucks, but somebody's murdered, then we're in really bad—we are in bad shape, because they needed to stop that ship and maybe refund the people their money, and send them home, and get it sorted out.
And this is why we're fighting, Joe, in Congress. And we now have another hearing set up with Christopher Shays. And it's the first week in March. And we are going ahead. We have formed an organization. Christopher Shays, Congressman Christopher Shays, had asked us to put 10 families together, if we could find them. We found them in 10 days.
And we have an organization. And they're—we're getting e-mails like you wouldn't believe about what goes on, on the cruise ships. And we're going to Congress again, and we're going to have another hearing. So, it—it's got to stop somewhere, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: It certainly does.
And I will tell you what. By you coming out and aggressively searching for justice for George, you know, I think it's going to happen. I think—I think we're going to find out what really happened that night, and I think changes are going to be made in Congress.
Maureen, thank you so much for...
SMITH: Sorry, Joe, because my phone keeps cutting in and out.
SMITH: But we're the little people. And we are fighting these big, big guys.
But you know what? If all us little guys get together and fight these big guys, we can become them, too. And we will. And we will keep fighting. And we're getting more support every single day.
We just heard today where a young girl, 15, went off a Costa cruise ship, an Irish girl—Was it today or yesterday? -- out in the Caribbean. She just has disappeared. And we don't know the circumstances of that yet. But we don't know the answers yet, but we have found out so much by forming this organization and people sending us e-mails and ex-Royal Caribbean employees coming forward and telling us things.
So, we know. We know what's going on out there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Maureen, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it. And we're going to keep fighting, along with you, to get the truth out.
And I hope Royal Caribbean will join us in fighting to get the truth to not only the Smith family, but to the American people.
We will be right back in a second.
SCARBOROUGH: Best known for screaming guitar licks and the smash hit “Cat Scratch Fever” back in the '70s, rocker Ted Nugent is now hosting his own reality show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
T. NUGENT: It's about the sweet American practice of capitalism. We got the doe and dough. We love the bucks and bucks. Five people are about to become “Wanted: Ted or Alive.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You have got to love that. “Wanted: Ted or Alive” challenges city slickers to survive in the wild and live off the land, with the winner taking home $25,000. The Motor City Madman and his wife are with us now.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
T. NUGENT: Am I having fun or what, Joe? You know what I mean?
SCARBOROUGH: You know what, baby? You're living the American dream there.
T. NUGENT: What a ride, a perfect American dream.
T. NUGENT: We get to rock our brains out six months a year, and then we live this aboriginal, perfect-harmony life with the good mother Earth, hunting, fishing, trapping, and teaching people how to be good stewards of these precious resources. In a world of politically incorrect goofballs, I'm—I'm alive. I'm on fire. I'm having the time of my life.
SHEMANE NUGENT, WIFE OF TED NUGENT: You know what? The best part is that we get to come all around the United States and meet great people like you.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go.
T. NUGENT: Yes, indeed, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: There you go.
T. NUGENT: Hey, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I know you live in Crawford by the president.
T. NUGENT: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: It sounds like you all are getting ready to run for political office or something here. What a schmoozer.
S. NUGENT: Well...
T. NUGENT: Well, we are very powerful “We the people” advocates.
T. NUGENT: We are very active. Every politician that works for us knows what we want. We communicate with them and we inspire other people to become more active, yes.
S. NUGENT: And Ted's really taught me that if you don't agree with what you see or hear, you can't just be quiet.
T. NUGENT: Fix it.
S. NUGENT: Yes.
S. NUGENT: Yes. Just, you have to talk about it and really bring issues to light. And I think that's what his celebrity does, is—and that's really what the show is about, is we're bringing hunting to the limelight.
SCARBOROUGH: And you are so politically incorrect.
SCARBOROUGH: You look at all the rock stars. I remember, one time, the first time I heard “Sweet Home Alabama,” I think it was '74. I'm driving in the car. And I hear the line: “Watergate does not bother me. Does your conscience bother you?”
And I jumped up. I said, wait. Wait a second. Rock stars are all supposed to be liberal.
T. NUGENT: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: They're supposed to hate guns. They're supposed to hate hunting. Why didn't you read the memo?
T. NUGENT: Well, I love defiance. You know, we just...
S. NUGENT: He didn't get that one.
SCARBOROUGH: He didn't get that one, did he?
S. NUGENT: ... didn't get the memo.
T. NUGENT: Believe me, we just buried Rosa Parks. She has been an inspiration to me forever.
You should see stupidity and defy it. I saw the punks puking and dying and the drugs and the alcohol and the trends and the so-called peer pressure. Joe, with all due respect, I haven't found my peer yet. I think I'm very special. I want to be the best that I can be.
SCARBOROUGH: You are very special.
T. NUGENT: I don't want to be average. I don't want to be equal. I want to be the best that I can be.
And in so—in doing so, my dad disciplined me as a hunter, as a marksman, as a safe gun handler, as a respecter of these precious venison resources, to aspire to a higher level of awareness, to hunt with a bow and arrow. And that's why my music is so brutal and ferocious, is because I can communicate with my musicians without drugs and alcohol and...
T. NUGENT: ... and just mind-numbing stupidity.
T. NUGENT: And I would watch these people just drop like ignorant flies all my life.
T. NUGENT: And it breaks my heart.
I told Jimi Hendrix, you're going to die. He died. I told Bon Scott, you're going to drink yourself to death. He drank himself to death. I could go on and on for 100 days telling you about instances.
And they laughed at me, because I wouldn't take their drugs, because I carried a gun, because I hunted my own food? They were out of their minds. I was right. I'm alive and well, and they're all dead.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm not going to ask you how old you are. It's not polite. But I will tell you what. You look...
T. NUGENT: I'm 57. And I celebrate that.
SCARBOROUGH: Fifty-seven years old. This guy looks as good as he did in 1975.
T. NUGENT: Venison.
SCARBOROUGH: And you all have been married 17 years.
S. NUGENT: Seventeen years.
SCARBOROUGH: That does not happen. Give her a kiss right there.
T. NUGENT: I love her, man. She owns me.
S. NUGENT: You know, it really...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, it's easy to see why. Yes.
S. NUGENT: I think that it—because he looks as good as he does is really because of the hunting lifestyle.
And I have seen some things and met some people over the years, before I was married to Ted. And it seems to me that either guys drank or smoked. And what attracted me to Ted initially was that he did neither, and he had so much fun.
And then the venison and the outdoor lifestyle all came into picture, and it really meshed with my wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. And I think more and more Americans these days are really concerned about that. And venison is pure and lean, not fed up with chemicals and steroids.
T. NUGENT: It's perfect. And that is what “Wanted: Ted or Alive” promotes.
S. NUGENT: This is the result. This is the result.
Yes, I will tell you what, baby. You're a model for clean living.
SCARBOROUGH: No fun at all.
S. NUGENT: And you know what? People really want to be—to live healthy and, you know, want to lose weight. I'm 107 pounds. And...
SCARBOROUGH: No complaints.
S. NUGENT: All I do...
T. NUGENT: And she kills her own dinner. She shot three perfect arrows and got three beautiful eight-point bucks this year. Anybody can do it. And “Wanted: Ted or Alive” doesn't just acknowledge it. We celebrate that the best thing you can do for the good mother Earth, for the environment, is to hunt, fish and trap and bring balance and biodiversity. Duh.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Let me ask you this. We have got to go now. But I want to ask you on camera, can we come down with cameras and follow you all around for 24 hours?
S. NUGENT: Please.
T. NUGENT: You would have a riot. You would have a riot.
SCARBOROUGH: Have a riot. And, in fact, you keep guns out of my hands. It can be very—but I want people to see the secret of your life. It's a great life. And it looks like it's...
T. NUGENT: The healing powers of nature.
S. NUGENT: Only if you promise to come hunting with us.
SCARBOROUGH: I will come hunting.
S. NUGENT: OK.
T. NUGENT: Come on, baby.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. All right.
Well, thanks for being with us.
T. NUGENT: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: “Wanted Ted or Alive.”
We will be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, help our troops stay in touch with their loved ones at home. It's Operation Phone home. You get the information at Joe.MSNBC.com. You have already given us $200,000 to help the troops. Keep it up. It means a lot to them. I talk to them all the time.
That's all the time we have for tonight.
“THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts now.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Thanks, Joe.
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