Guests: Pat Campbell, Vito Colucci, Lanny Davis, Brie Smith, George Smith, Douglas Edwards
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, we have an exclusive look inside George Smith‘s cruise ship suite. These never-before-seen pictures, which have been obtained by LIVE AND DIRECT, were taken just after he vanished from his honeymoon. Does the pictures—do all of them hold the clues to crack the case?
And was the woman being attacked in this shocking videotape saved by a phone call? She is going to join me live.
But first, we begin tonight with a deadly stand-off, a hostage stand-off in Florida. Two suspects took four people hostage at a bank in central Florida. The stand-off has been going on all day and wrapped up in just the last few minutes. Investigators surrounded the getaway car. One suspect is now dead and the other is in custody.
Bob Kealing with NBC affiliate WESH joins me live in Kissimmee with the very latest. Bob, bring us up to speed on what just happened.
BOB KEALING, WESH-TV KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA: Well, Rita, within the hour
basically, what happened was there was two hostage takers, a man and a woman. Originally, they had taken four hostages inside the Mercantile Bank here, just about a mile south of Disney‘s Animal Kingdom. There had been hours of negotiation going on all through the day, at one point, the man—the male hostage taker asking for cigarettes and a lighter, then a little bit later, asking for the police to move off. And every time they did that, he would give up another hostage.
So finally, in the last few hours, there was just one woman inside, along with these two hostage takers. But then, according to the sheriff here, the male hostage taker surprised everybody and came out, using that lone hostage as a shield, got in a Lexus, went on a short drive, ran over stop sticks, had the tires punctured, then stopped for a short time, negotiated with the authorities, then got back in a different vehicle, an SUV.
And as this played out—the man in the front seat, the woman and her hostage in the back—a shot was fired by a sniper, according to the sheriff, killing this male hostage taker. They then moved in and rescued the other hostage, the one who was remaining, along with the female hostage taker.
They feel this was a successful resolution. They said they wouldn‘t have liked to have seen shots taken, but they said that this man, the hostage taker, dictated the situation. They felt it was deteriorating to the point where, in their words, they had to take him out—Rita.
COSBY: Bob Kealing, thanks so much. Please get back to us if there‘s any more developments. We appreciate it.
And now, everybody, to my exclusive interview with Farris Hassan, the 16-year-old Florida student who risked his life to go to a secret trip to the war zone in Iraq without even telling his own mother. He shared the incredible experience with me in an exclusive interview. And now for the first time, he is breaking his silence about what happened to him since he came back to the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: What was your parents‘ reaction to the whole ordeal?
HASSAN FARRIS, 16-YEAR-OLD WHO TRAVELED TO IRAQ: Well, they gave me a hug. And my brother, 23-year-old brother, cried. And they all embraced me.
COSBY: Did they say, Don‘t you dare do this again?
HASSAN: I told them I never plan on doing this again.
COSBY: It‘s been reported that your mother said, I‘m going to ground you, I‘m going to pull your credit cards. Did she do that?
HASSAN: Well, no. She hasn‘t.
COSBY: Do you think she will?
HASSAN: I think she realizes that I understand what did I was wrong and I regret it a lot. I don‘t expect her to do that, no.
COSBY: You come to Miami airport. There is a throng of press. What was your reaction? Did you know this story had become that big?
HASSAN: No, I did not. And my reaction was, Boy, this is ridiculous.
There‘s so many more important things going on in the world than my story. There‘s people dying all over Iraq. Yes, there‘s so many more important things going on in the world than my story, and I thought it all just sensationalist news.
COSBY: Why do you think people became so interested in you?
HASSAN: Well, I was very—I really tried to understand that. And after speaking to a lot of journalists, they told me that, you know, there‘s not too many great—there‘s not to many good stories coming out of Iraq, and you‘re a kid who went over there for good reasons and made it out alive. People are interested in that. They—you know, it‘s a great human interest story, they told me.
COSBY: Were you surprised at all the attention you were getting?
HASSAN: I was surprised and, I must say, almost disgusted.
COSBY: Why did you think it was important to break your silence and to speak now?
HASSAN: Well, many inaccuracies were put out and adopted by the media, and I felt as if I have—I‘m obligated to come out on the record to clear my name, to clear the story.
COSBY: Were you embarrassed that the military had to help, as you say, a crazy kid?
HASSAN: Yes, I was. Well, I don‘t know about embarrassed, but just very—I felt very sheepish. I do not recommend any kids my age going to Iraq surreptitiously. It made me feel so guilty when four American soldiers had to leave the Green Zone on a Thursday when I was in Baghdad to risk their lives in dangerous Baghdad to pick me up from the Palestine Hotel and take me to the American embassy. I was—it just made me feel so guilty because I thought, you know, these guys have a war to run. They shouldn‘t be risking their lives trying to help out some crazy teenager. So I caused the military so much trouble, and that made me feel guilty.
COSBY: We‘re hearing that you took a class that had some aspects of immersion journalism, that to be a good journalist, you sort of have to go to the story. Was that something that you learned in class that inspired you?
HASSAN: In a way. There is no journalism class at Pine Crest School. I‘m taking English 3 AP, so—my teacher never expected me to do anything like this.
COSBY: Didn‘t you take this idea of immersion journalism to an extreme?
HASSAN: Oh, most certainly. Most certainly. In fact, I think I did a pretty poor job as an immersion journalist. In immersion journalism, the journalist does not become the story. The story is not me, the story are the soldiers over there fighting for freedom and democracy. The story is Iraq. The story are the innocent people blown up every day. I wanted the media to focus on that, not on me.
I was just moved by the courage of the Iraqi people over there in the Middle East. It‘s a struggle between those striving for freedom and democracy and those striving for death and destruction.
COSBY: We found out that you had been disciplined by the school just recently. And what the punishment is, essentially, reducing your grades 5 percent. You‘re going to have to go to detention study hall for one-and-a-half to two hours, what, every day? And also, you can‘t hold any offices in the school. How do you feel about that?
HASSAN: Well, with respect—in consideration to my school, I think that‘s—we‘ll keep that just between me and the school. I don‘t want to upset them at all. I‘ve caused them a lot of trouble. And Pine Crest means more to me than anything.
COSBY: Do you feel that this is pretty harsh punishment?
HASSAN: I do feel it is very harsh.
COSBY: Do you think you should be punished in some fashion? You did skip school.
HASSAN: Definitely. I made a lot of bad decisions and I made mistakes, and I deserve punishment.
COSBY: What kind of punishment do you think is appropriate?
HASSAN: My idea that I gave the school was that I would perform maybe 60 hours of community service on school grounds and pretty much do the job of the maintenance, help out the maintenance in sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms and emptying the garbage cans.
COSBY: Have you apologized to the school?
HASSAN: I formally apologized to the school, and I‘ve apologized to my family, to my friends for all the grief I‘ve caused them. And I‘d like to apologize to the military for all the trouble that I caused them. No one bears any responsibility for my actions except for me. My school did not endorse my research. In fact, they told me—they told my parents that they will not be accepting my research. They do not endorse it in any way.
COSBY: Was this the craziest thing you‘ve ever done and ever will do?
HASSAN: Well, I can‘t imagine anything more crazy than what I did, so yes.
COSBY: How do you like being compared to Ferris Buelller in the film “Ferris Buelller‘s Day Off,” where a kid runs amok for a day?
HASSAN: Yes. I‘ve seen many a headline saying Farris Hassan‘s week off and—well, I‘m worried that it may glorify—I‘m worried that, with the media coverage, they may have glorified what I did. And I will feel so guilty if some copycats go Iraq and cause the military all kinds of trouble, and God forbid one of them gets their heads cut off.
COSBY: What would you say to another kid who says, Look, Farris went there. He got all of this press attention. Why shouldn‘t I go?
HASSAN: I want to tell them that I came this close on several occasions to being kidnapped and dying. I—God must have been with me the entire way. If I had gone into Kuwait, I‘m sure I would have died. If I had stayed at that restaurant in Baghdad, when I left the hotel, any longer, I would have died. I would have been kidnapped. So I‘d like to they will them that if you go to Iraq, there‘s a great chance you will get kidnapped and you will be killed.
COSBY: What did you learn from all your experiences in the Middle East?
HASSAN: It‘s definitely broadened my mind in so many ways. I realize that many different points of view on the same exact topic could be—could all be right and valid in different ways, and that often, there isn‘t one absolute truth and one way to approach a problem or one solution.
COSBY: I understand your family got a call from Governor Jeb Bush.
What did he say? And did he talk directly to you?
HASSAN: No he spoke to my mother. I wasn‘t there. And he told them that he—he had told them that he thought I was a great kid, had great intentions. And I‘d like to thank Governor Jeb Bush for his very kind comments.
COSBY: Do you hope to meet with Governor Bush?
HASSAN: Perhaps in the future.
COSBY: What would you say to him?
HASSAN: I‘d tell him, Well, I look forward to helping you in your campaigns in the future.
COSBY: What‘s ahead for your future? Where do you see yourself?
HASSAN: Wherever the opportunity to make a difference in the world takes me.
HASSAN: Whether that‘s in politics or journalism, wherever—wherever I can make a difference in the world and right the injustices that exist in our society, you know, I‘ll pursue that.
COSBY: Have you gotten any job offers since all of this happened?
HASSAN: Yes, I have. I‘ve gotten job offers from some news organizations, media organizations, offering me a job as a journalist. And I‘ve been offered money for the jobs, as well. But I‘ve turned all of them down. I am first and foremost a student at Pine Crest. And I‘m still 16 years old. I have a lot ahead of me before I can do something like that.
COSBY: Do you hope to go back at some point?
HASSAN: Some point in the future. If it was OK with my school and if it was OK with my parents, not in the way I did it this time, but, yes, I do. It‘s a very dynamic and rich region.
COSBY: How do you describe yourself? Who is Farris?
HASSAN: Well, I‘ve always been too old and too young. I‘ve always wanted to do things that are far beyond my age. I think I‘ll be asking—people will be asking me that question, Who is Farris, for many years to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And I think they will.
And when we come back, new details about how the U.S. military rescued Farris Hassan. And that‘s not all we have on tap tonight. Take a look.
Coming up, a big exclusive in the cruise ship mystery. We‘ve obtained pictures from inside the cabin where George Smith apparently spent the last night before vanishing from his honeymoon cruise. Do they hold clues to this case?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the truth has to come out eventually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: George Smith‘s father joins me live.
And take a look at this. A burglar goes to violent extremes, attacking this woman, and the whole horrible event is caught on tape. Wait until you hear how a phone call may have saved her life.
Plus, the latest from the Sago mine, some new developments on the sole survivor. That‘s coming up LIVE AND DIRECT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN: I‘ve formally apologized to the school, and I‘ve apologized to my family, to my friends for all the grief I‘ve caused them. And I‘d like to apologize to the military for all the trouble I caused them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, in an exclusive interview, 16-year-old Farris Hassan told me that he‘s sorry for any problems that he caused during his dangerous and secret trip to Iraq. Just how complicated was it for the military to extract Farris Hassan from dangerous Baghdad?
Joining us now is MSNBC military analyst retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs. Colonel, you know, how intricate is it to rescue a civilian like this from the war zone?
COL. JACK JACOBS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, it depends where he‘s found. If he‘s in a difficult position in Baghdad—and there are parts of Baghdad that are very, very difficult indeed—it becomes a time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly process.
Something like this happens all the time. There are constantly tourists in various countries who wind up on the steps of embassies all over the world with no money, lost, and so on, have no way of getting home. And the embassies‘ principal job in these circumstances is to get them home.
This is a little bit different circumstance because it‘s a war zone and the place is crawling with bad guys, and here‘s a kid who has really no idea how to take care of himself, who shows up there and now is at the mercy of the—A, the local population, and B, has to be taken care of by the military. And like I said, it becomes a time-consuming, complex and costly process.
COSBY: Colonel Jacobs, I want to show the price tag, too. It was interesting. You got some (INAUDIBLE) first time I‘ve sort of seen what it costs to do something like this. I know some of the flights were pretty routine flights. These are military legs that they normally do, and he sort of jumped on them. But you figured out the price tag was about 7,000 bucks. Is there a sense that maybe somebody‘s going to have to shoulder that, his family or somebody? We don‘t know if they‘ve even already paid that.
JACOBS: Yes, they may have already—for the leg that went—the commercial flight that went from Kuwait back to Miami, one of two things happened. Either the parents, who are fairly well-off, already paid for the ticket, or the State Department funded it. And I‘ll be astounded if they don‘t send the bill to the family for at least that.
The trip from Baghdad by military aircraft, probably a C-17 from Baghdad to Kuwait, probably a routine flight, but at the end of the day that‘s not free, either. But then there‘s all the administrative costs of organizing the whole thing and phone calls back and forth, processing the thing, making sure that he gets to the other side, to say nothing of the time, cost and difficulty of employing large numbers of troops to make sure that he‘s safe.
COSBY: And Colonel, real quick, how lucky is he that he got out alive? I mean, this is a dangerous time, particularly as we just heard American journalist Jill Carroll, “Christian Science Monitor,” just taken into custody.
JACOBS: Oh, I think he recognizes that he‘s a very lucky kid indeed.
Incredibly great initiative, terrible, terrible judgment.
COSBY: All right, Colonel Jacobs, thank you very much.
But of course, what‘s the reaction from the trip by Farris Hassan? Joining us now is Pat Campbell. He‘s a radio talk show host from WFLA in Florida. And also with me here in studio, the charming, effervescent MSNBC‘s Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION.”
Tucker, before I get you to respond, I want to show—this a comment. This kid very much aware of what he did and also saying, Other kids, don‘t do what I did. Take a look at what Farris Hassan told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: ... I‘m going to ground you, I‘m going to pull your credit cards. Did she do that?
HASSAN: Well, no. She hasn‘t.
COSBY: Do you think she will?
HASSAN: I think she realizes that I understand what did I was wrong and I regret it a lot. I don‘t expect her to do that, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And if we have the other one—actually, I want to show—he also said he doesn‘t want copycats. We‘re trying to get that cued up. But Tucker, I mean, this is a kid—first of all, his parents, obviously, I‘m sure they gave him a harsh talking-to, very much aware and very much apologetic about what he did. What do you think of Farris Hassan?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”: Well, I totally admire the kid. I mean, of course, he used bad judgment. He‘s a kid! You know, kids all have bad judgment. That‘s why we don‘t let them drink. But that‘s not the point. The point is that he is brave, he showed initiative...
COSBY: That he wanted to go there for humanitarian reasons...
CARLSON: Well, leaving that. I mean, that sounds like a phony...
COSBY: But I—I think—having met him, I will tell you, I don‘t think it is phony. I think he really does want bigger and better things for this world.
CARLSON: I‘m sure. But I mean, you know, who doesn‘t? It almost doesn‘t matter. I mean, the point is, this guy took a trip that is genuinely dangerous, the overland trip from Kuwait to Baghdad. I‘ve done it. I can tell you what you already know. It is really, really perilous, for real. Most people don‘t do it for that exact reason.
COSBY: Why do you commend him? Why do you—why do you...
CARLSON: Because I think—I think there‘s something admirable about people showing courage and doing things for their own sake, doing things because they‘re interesting. This is what kids ought to be doing, as far as I‘m concerned. And the idea that it cost 7,000 grand—I mean, first of all, you know, the U.S. military does a lot of unpleasant things. Rescuing an American citizen is a good and admirable thing, so I applaud that. Second, 7,000 grand, the hand soap in the congressional bathrooms costs more than that, probably, a month. I mean, it‘s nothing in the scope of the federal budget. It‘s worth it. I‘m sure you can take up a collection from people who admire him, like me, to pay for it. That‘s totally immaterial. The fact is...
COSBY: And that he‘s also going to talk to other kids. In fact, we do have that bite cued up. Let me play that, actually. This is him saying, basically, Other kids, don‘t do what I did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN: I came this close on several occasions to being kidnapped and dying. I—God must have been with me the entire way. If I had gone into Kuwait, I‘m sure I would have died. If I had stayed at that restaurant in Baghdad, when I left the hotel, any longer, I would have died. I would have been kidnapped. So I‘d like to they will them that if you go to Iraq, there‘s a great chance you will get kidnapped and you will be killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Pat Campbell, I‘m going to get to you respond.
PAT CAMPBELL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Rita, I got to disagree with Tucker. I don‘t think that Farris was brave at all. He took some totally unnecessary, foolish risks. And an apology‘s not going to good enough.
I‘m reminded of the case of the runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks. And when she was finally brought about and—she was actually held financially accountable for the cost of the manhunt. Apologies don‘t cut it with a story like this. There have to be real consequences. He took unnecessary risks. You know, U.S. military soldiers had to put their lives in harm‘s way to rescue this kid, to get his butt out of Baghdad. He had no business...
COSBY: But Pat, what do you feel...
CARLSON: Oh, come on!
COSBY: ... is the appropriate punishment? And separately, Pat, you know, his school has punished him pretty severely. He got his grades docked, has to do detention hall, I think it‘s an hour-and-a-half, two hours a day. This is a brilliant kid. Is that enough? Do you think the parents should reimburse for the flights and those things?
CAMPBELL: No, because they‘re well healed. Even 7,000 bucks isn‘t going to mean anything to them. There have to be consequences so that other copycats don‘t try this kind of stuff.
COSBY: So what are you suggesting, Pat? What are you suggesting, Pat, real quick?
CAMPBELL: Well, no, there has to—there has to be some type of legal consequence for his behavior, just like there was with Jennifer Wilbanks. One thing I want to...
CARLSON: You know, look, I understand the envy a lot of people who spent high school, you know, in tuba practice must feel when they see a man like this, a boy like this taking chances and actually doing something, you know, courageous that takes gumption and energy...
CAMPBELL: How can you applaud a foolish risk like that?
CARLSON: But nobody is hurt or even potentially hurt, except for the boy himself.
CAMPBELL: How can you applaud a foolish risk like that?
CARLSON: Because that‘s what bravery is. It is sometimes taking risks.
CAMPBELL: That‘s foolishness. He put himself in harm‘s way...
CARLSON: Of course it‘s foolish! But that doesn‘t make...
CAMPBELL: He could have walked away...
CARLSON: ... it less admirable.
CAMPBELL: He could have walked away with his life lost. The most disturbing thing...
CAMPBELL: Hold on. The most disturbing thing during Rita‘s...
CARLSON: Well, you could say the same...
COSBY: ... interview last night...
CARLSON: ... of firemen and soldiers!
CAMPBELL: Tucker, hold on. The most disturbing thing last night, during Rita‘s interview, we found out that when he couldn‘t get into Kuwait two times by cab, goes over to Lebanon and meets with relatives, who decided—adults, apparently, who thought it would be a good idea for him to meet with members of a known terrorist organization, Hezbollah. I find that profoundly disturbing!
COSBY: Let me give Tucker the last word. Tucker, you got 30 seconds.
CARLSON: Right. As a journalist, I‘ve met with a lot of creepy people. It doesn‘t mean I endorse their positions. The point is, you don‘t want, you know, a lot copycats going to Iraq. They‘re not going to go to Iraq, though, in large numbers. The fact is, we want American kids to show some initiative and not just sit around playing X-box all day...
CAMPBELL: Tucker, you‘re wrong on this one. He was foolish. He took unnecessary risks and put U.S. military lives at risk. He was wrong.
CARLSON: They‘re in Iraq already. Their lives are already at risk, I‘m afraid.
COSBY: All right, guys, thank you very much. Spirited conversation.
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
COSBY: And as Tucker and also Pat, and even Farris Hassan said, this is not probably going to be the last of the discussion about Farris Hassan. Thanks so much, everybody. And thanks to Farris Hassan for giving us that interview. And Tucker, we‘re going to see you at 11:00 o‘clock. Talking more about this, too, as well?
CARLSON: Oh, yes.
COSBY: OK, good.
CARLSON: Thanks, Rita.
COSBY: We‘ll tune in.
And still ahead, everybody, tense moments for a woman attacked by an armed robber. Find out how her husband may have saved her life with a phone call.
And we‘ve obtained exclusive pictures of the crime scene in the case of a honeymooner who vanished from his cruise. These are actual photos of George Smith‘s suite never seen before. We just obtained them. Find out if the pictures match the story that we‘ve been told by the cruise line. That‘s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG PURDY, ROYAL CARIBBEAN SECURITY DIRECTOR: We kept the stateroom sealed for the following six days, while we were in communication with the FBI. So we really felt that we followed this by the book, correctly and responsibly throughout.
COSBY: So you kept the stateroom blocked off, you said, for six days?
Is that what you just said?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, we‘re now learning that that cabin may not have been entirely secure in the case of missing honeymooner George Smith. We have obtained exclusive photos of George and Jennifer Smith‘s cabin taken between the days that George Smith went missing and some time before the conclusion of the cruise, during those six days which you were just hearing about.
Joining me now is private investigator Vito Colucci with the very latest. Vito, I think these pictures are pretty stunning. I want to have you walk me through the photos. Let‘s start with the very, very first picture. This is a picture from an interesting angle. You can actually see a jacket. And I believe—let‘s go to the first picture, if we could. This is George Smith‘s jacket hung over the chair.
Walk us through—this is one of the early ones, and from what I understand, the family was told these were taken in the morning, right, of July 5, some time in the morning of July 5.
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Right, Rita. I‘m assisting the family for the last several days on this. And they had gotten a letter from Royal Caribbean—OK? -- saying that four individuals, the chief officer, the safety officer, the staff captain, and the captain, went into the room that morning.
And right in their own letter to the Smiths, they said that the safety officer, a security guard, took 13 original photos of the crime scene. So this is the first photos taken, by who? A security officer who walked, with the other three people, all over this cabin and contaminated the crime scene, OK? These are 13 photos taken by an inexperienced, untrained security guard with three other people in the room.
COSBY: And, Vito, I want to reference just a couple of items for viewers as we stay on this picture here. We see—this appears to be a jacket. I surmise it‘s George Smith‘s jacket, the beige one there that you can see in the center of the room. There‘s no papers on the floor. And this one—it looks, you know, lived-in, but not super messy.
You also see on the screen, on the side there, you see a cowboy hat over—it looks like some bottles of booze. You‘ve been able to look at these pictures closer than we have. Do you see any visible signs of blood or anything unusual indicating a crime scene in this picture?
COLUCCI: It‘s hard to tell from these pictures, Rita. I do have somebody that I turned over to the Smiths that is doing that investigation on it. But also, you‘ll notice Mr. Smith‘s electronics on the bottom right there.
COSBY: The safe is also closed, too?
COLUCCI: Right, the safe is closed, which is above the television set there. That is Mr. Smith‘s jacket. We have that documented by the Smith family. So this is the original pictures, taken by who? A safety officer, not the FBI, not even a Turkish authorities. These are 13 pictures taken, Rita.
COSBY: OK. Let me move onto the next one, because this is from the second batch. This is the same area. And, again, during this time, we were—and when were these pictures taken and by whom, real quick, Vito?
COLUCCI: We don‘t know that yet, Rita. All we know from the letter, again from Royal Caribbean, these are 73 photographs taken at some time after the first batch were taken. But look at the room. It‘s almost the same shot. If you put these pictures side-by-side...
COSBY: In fact, let‘s do that, if we could. Let‘s put the pictures side-by-side.
COLUCCI: ... it looks like a ransacked room. Where‘s Mr. Smith‘s coat? This is—in other words, what I‘m saying, this is not a picture of the original crime scene, OK? The 73 pictures taken after the original 13, you might as well throw them away. The first batch is the original crime scene, and it‘s contaminated.
COSBY: Yes, and, in fact, we can see, in the after picture, all the papers on the floor...
COSBY: Let‘s go back to that original picture, if we could, right before the second picture, because we can see that the hat has been removed. Obviously, it‘s highlighted there, also.
Let‘s go to the next picture, if we could. You can see that the coat has also been removed. And you can also see that the safe has been opened. There it is. There‘s the picture, Vito.
And, again, just for clarification, the family‘s been told by Royal Caribbean, these pictures were taken while they said that the room was secured. This is before the cruise was over. It was during that six-day period, because the cruise ended July 11th.
And, again, here‘s another picture that was afterwards, while they claim the room was secure, the safe open.
The one thing in this picture, Vito. We know that apparently, Marie, the woman who was escorting, that she was given the safe code, told to go in, get items in the safe. What surprises me is you see papers sort of all over the place. It looks like trash sort of everywhere.
COLUCCI: Not only that, Rita, you have a total of seven people, the guest relations manager and her assistant, and a representative from the American consulate. That‘s seven people before the FBI. You see ripped-up papers. Who‘s going to throw ripped-up papers like that into an open safe?
COSBY: Let‘s go to the next one, if we could. This is the next picture, too, that we‘ve also obtained. And it‘s interesting. Again, this shows the pictures—this is the first time we‘ve actually seen George Smith‘s bed. This is the bed that and he Jennifer Hagel stayed in. This is the actual suite again.
And again, these pictures were taken after they said the room was secure. Papers all over the place. It looks very different from the original ones. We‘re also seeing the balcony, too, Vito, right?
COLUCCI: Right. This is looking in, as soon as you open the cabin door to look in. But this is in the second batch of 73, Rita. Look at the room. It looks like it‘s been totally torn apart.
Now, it‘ll be interesting to see what Royal Caribbean will say about this. But the bottom line, what the document I‘m the holding from the Smith family says, that the 13 original pictures, which is the crime scene, Rita, is taken by a—what did I call there? -- a safety officer, a safety officer who walked around that cabin with three other individuals.
COSBY: Now, Vito...
COLUCCI: That‘s not good police work, Rita.
COSBY: That‘s what I wanted to ask you. You know, obviously, if they‘re—you know the standard procedures to secure a room. What are we looking at here, Vito, too?
COLUCCI: You‘re looking at a picture that a security officer now took of outside. And on the bottom right-hand side, it‘ll have a time on it, which shows that this is the first picture that that security officer took, OK? He should have grabbed everybody, when he saw this and realized this is a crime scene, got out of the room, secured it, not to proceed for the next 13 pictures, to take pictures and walking all around that room, Rita. They cannot stand and say this is good police work. It is absolutely horrible.
COSBY: Vito Colucci, thank you very much for walking us through these pictures. And let me now bring in, in fairness, obviously, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line attorney Lanny Davis. We also want our viewers to know that we also invited the FBI tonight to comment about these photos and also the case itself. At this point, they have declined.
Lanny, what do you make of these photos as we put them up on the screen? We were told, in fact, by the cruise line, as you know, that the room was secured for those six days. And yet we see papers all over the place. Here‘s the before picture. Let‘s show again the after picture, if we could, where we know that some of the items were removed at the request, I think, of even Jennifer Hagel. But I don‘t understand why the papers were on the floor. It doesn‘t look like a really secure crime scene, Lanny.
LANNY DAVIS, ATTORNEY FOR ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES: Well, I don‘t know what you‘re referring to about a secure crime scene. We have photographs taken by ship personnel before the Turkish authorities arrived, after Jennifer left the room. And what you see, as disarray in the room was reported, I think, on your program, you may forget, by Marie, who went into the room to pack up. And she reported that the room was in disarray after Jennifer left.
Obviously, between the time that we brought her to her room, and she was asleep by wheelchair, from the other side of the ship at about 5:00 in the room, when the room appeared to be in order and not in disarray, to the time that she left to run to the spa for her appointment, not knowing where her husband was, being what you see is the difference in disarray versus what we found at 5:00 in the morning.
COSBY: Can I ask you a quick question, Lanny?
COSBY: Wait, wait. Let me get it clear, before you go further, Lanny. This is important. Are you saying that Jennifer Hagel trashed the room or are you saying Turkish authorities trashed the room in their search?
DAVIS: The difference between me and a hired detective who does not know any facts other than speculating about a photograph and goes on national television, is I‘m not going to speculate.
I know facts. And the FBI is investigating. These photographs were sent to Mr. Walker, the attorney for the Smith family. The FBI asked the Walker family not to disclose evidence.
COSBY: But, Lanny—but wait...
DAVIS: Let me finish, Rita.
COSBY: But, Lanny, you‘ve got to answer my question, Lanny.
DAVIS: And the FBI is not very happy about Mr. Walker giving these photographs to a hired hand to go on national television. And I‘m sure the FBI will have something to say about the decision of Mr. Walker to do this on television rather than let the FBI complete its investigation.
COSBY: First of all, Mr. Walker did not give us these photos. And let me tell you, the FBI could not give us a specific reason not to release...
DAVIS: We gave the photos to Mr. Walker.
COSBY: I think you‘re misspeaking, Lanny.
DAVIS: I don‘t know how this gentleman got the photos.
COSBY: Lanny, I think you‘re misspeaking. It‘s not Mr. Walker. I think you‘re referring to somebody else.
DAVIS: We gave these photos in the letter—we wrote a letter to the attorneys for the Smith family, Mr. Walker, and we sent the photographs at his request.
COSBY: The attorneys for the Smith family (INAUDIBLE) Brett Rivkind.
DAVIS: Excuse me. Mr. Walker is the attorney for Jennifer.
COSBY: Yes, I wanted—exactly, I wanted to correct you.
DAVIS: And we sent those photographs to him. Why he turned them over to this hired hand to go on national television is up to him to explain to the FBI. I believe they‘re interested in getting an answer to that question.
COSBY: Lanny, I‘ve got to interrupt you, because you‘re not answering my question, in fairness to the viewers. Who are you saying they had trashed the room?
DAVIS: I don‘t...
COSBY: Who are you suggesting? Because, wait, let me just stop, because what we are told, and the impression that the family has been told, is these pictures were taken after he was missing, so they were sent as crime scene pictures. Then the room, as we were told, was sealed off. And you can see papers all over the place. So are you saying that Jennifer Hagel went in and trashed the room when she was told not to, that they didn‘t...
DAVIS: Rita, I—Rita, I...
COSBY: ... or are you saying the Turkish authorities do it?
DAVIS: Are you ready for me to answer?
COSBY: Yes, please do.
DAVIS: I did answer your question. You suggest and do innuendo. I do facts.
All we know is the room was not in disarray at 5:00 in the morning. At 8:00 in the morning, after Jennifer left, when we finally found the blood on the canopy at 8:30 -- that‘s a fact—and then, when we went to Jennifer at 10:00 and she told us she didn‘t know where her husband was. Before the Turkish authorities arrived, we took those early photographs, where the room was in disarray.
You can guess that it was Jennifer that put it in disarray. We‘re not guessing. We‘re letting the FBI do the investigation.
Now, subsequently, we had one of our attorneys take photographs after the room was sealed. Didn‘t touch anything, but took additional photographs, which reflect what Marie told you, which is she went in the room, unpacked the safe, and put clothes into the suitcases.
Besides those facts, Rita, we‘re not speculating. We‘re cooperating with the FBI. Unlike the attorney for Jennifer, we‘re not turning over evidence to you to put on national television. We‘re cooperating with the FBI.
COSBY: All right, Lanny. Thank you very much. We appreciate you coming on.
DAVIS: You‘re welcome.
COSBY: And now let me bring in someone very close to this case, George Smith‘s father, George Smith III, and also George‘s sister, Brie.
Both of you, let me start with you, Brie. What do you think of the reaction from the cruise line, essentially that Jennifer may have trashed the room? What do you think?
BRIE SMITH, GEORGE SMITH‘S SISTER: Well, I think this is very typical of their recent approach, Rita. In order to divert attention from their wrongdoing, they‘re trying to victimize my brother and also his wife. And I think it‘s reprehensible. And I think that the public can see right through their strategy.
COSBY: What do you think, Mr. Smith? Have you gotten any word that she may have come back and trashed the room?
GEORGE SMITH, GEORGE SMITH‘S FATHER: That‘s ridiculous. You know, that‘s just Royal Caribbean‘s cover-up of their actions. You know, they do it all the time. That‘s how they get away with what they do. They make up lies, and they go back and they play it back again to you. You‘d never believe half of what they tell you any way.
COSBY: Brie, is it possible that maybe she did go back, maybe she was looking for items, or maybe Turkish authorities did it, you know, being sloppy? Is it possible, in fairness to the cruise line, that maybe someone did do that?
B. SMITH: No, that‘s not possible. And I would actually like to comment on the hiring by Royal Caribbean of Mr. Davis. As you might know, Rita, he is a scandal-management specialist. And all I have to say is Royal Caribbean must be very concerned that they need to hire this very high-powered attorney out of Washington.
Today at a press conference, he threatens our lawyers, as well as my family and the media, from their coverage. And I just want Royal Caribbean to know that we are not intimidated by Mr. Davis or by their press conference, because we have the truth on our side.
COSBY: Let me go back, if we can show the photos again. And I want to get you, both of you, to respond. When you look at these pictures, as I know I‘m sure both of you have seen these photos—this is a picture, again, afterwards.
Let‘s go to the one before that, if we could, to show again—and again—again, Royal Caribbean saying that maybe Jennifer trashed the room. Again, we don‘t know if Turkish authorities did this. But certainly, it looks very different.
What are you—what is your feeling when you see these two different pictures before and after, Mr. Smith?
G. SMITH: Well, Rita, I know that Jennifer always told me that George went back to the room at around 11:00 and put his coat on the chair and then they went out gambling and had a good time. I would assume that is the first photo.
But looking at the second one, it‘s obviously that somebody‘s gone into that room and basically searched the whole room through. I‘m not going to accuse anyone of it, but that‘s obviously not the same as the photo before. So it obviously looks like—I don‘t want to call it trashed, but it looks like somebody‘s done a good number on that room.
B. SMITH: I think that Royal Caribbean staff did that, because they did not believe that the Turkish authorities would get on the boat. And, Rita, as you know, the blood was seen at 8:30. The Turkish police did not get on the boat until 12:30. There are four hours where Royal Caribbean had free reign in that room.
COSBY: Mr. Smith, what‘s been the toughest thing for you, with all of this? I mean, do you think—do you still believe, in your heart of hearts, that this was foul play?
G. SMITH: Oh, it‘s definitely foul play. There‘s no doubt about it. You know, Royal Caribbean can try to cover up as much as they‘d like. You know, they do this all the time. They‘re professionals at this.
And, you know, with rapes and everything else, they try to cover them up. And then, if they can‘t, they just pay them off.
But we know that Royal Caribbean has been doing this for 30 years. And they just got caught this time, Rita. You know, sorry, but you‘ve got caught, Royal Caribbean.
COSBY: Brie, I‘m going to—real quick, I‘m going to put on Lanny Davis, because he is still listening. But, Brie, I want you to—if there‘s something you want to say to Lanny Davis. And then, Lanny, I‘ll get you to you respond. Both of you have about just 30 seconds. I don‘t want to put you up against each other.
But Brie, if you want to say something to Royal Caribbean right now, after seeing these pictures?
B. SMITH: Yes, I would like to say something. My brother was victim on your cruise ship on the evening of July 5th, on—I‘m sorry, the overnight period—resulting in the morning of July 5th. He was a victim then. And your latest approach at attacking my family is victimizing him again. And I don‘t know how any of you sleep at night!
COSBY: Lanny Davis, I am going to give you just 15 seconds, Lanny.
DAVIS: Well, in 15 seconds, that was a false statement. We did not attack the family. We talked about truth and facts and cooperating with the FBI. We did not speculate on who trashed the room. You misquoted me, Rita.
We‘re only sticking to the facts. Our hearts go out to this family, but we ought to be working together to get to the bottom of this, rather than attacking and rather than speculating on things that we don‘t know about, and cooperate with the FBI, rather than releasing photographs on national television that the FBI does not approve of. But our hearts go out to this family, Rita.
COSBY: All right. In fairness, I do want to give Mr. Smith the last word. Mr. Smith, 15 seconds?
G. SMITH: You know, Lanny, we‘re wondering who gave out the information about that so-called attack that Jennifer did. We know that Royal Caribbean gave out the name and the e-mails of all of those people that were on that ship. So don‘t tell me about...
G. SMITH: Excuse me—don‘t tell me about...
B. SMITH: We have it from a media source, Lanny.
G. SMITH: We have it from a media source. Don‘t tell us that you‘re an honest person.
DAVIS: If you‘re blaming what passengers report rather than your talking to Jennifer, then it‘s up to you talk to Jennifer. These were passengers reporting on what they saw.
COSBY: Lanny, please, please, let me Mr. Smith. Five seconds, Mr.
G. SMITH: Lanny, I talked to those passengers. And they told me you gave out their information. Don‘t tell me anything else.
DAVIS: Absolutely the report of those passengers...
COSBY: Both of you, that is going to have to be the last word.
DAVIS: The report of those passengers...
COSBY: I did give everybody a lot of time. And, of course, everybody, our hearts and prayers go out to the Smith family. They, of course, do deserve some answers. And we do want to be fair to both sides. Thank you both very much.
And still ahead, everybody, we‘re going to have some shocking pictures of a woman fighting off an armed attacker. Find out why a telephone was her saving grace. And it was all caught on tape.
COSBY: And now to the mining tragedy in West Virginia, where the two final victims were laid to rest today. All this as investigators wait to head inside the mine to see exactly what went wrong. NBC‘s Lisa Daniels is LIVE & DIRECT with us for more tonight right in front of the Sago Mine—
LISA DANIELS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Rita.
There were two funerals today. One was for Terry Helms, who was the fire boss of the group. And his fiancee had told me that, if he were to emerge from the mine, if he had been alive, the first thing she was going to do was to set the date for the wedding. But, sadly, it didn‘t come to be.
In fact, ironically, the other person who was buried today, Fred Ware, he was also engaged. He and his fiancee had planned a Valentine‘s Day wedding. Here they were about to celebrate this joyous occasion in just over a month. And today, they were burying him.
The service was held at the Sago Baptist Church. And, Rita, I‘m sure you and your viewers remember it well. That was where the families gathered for about two days as they waited for word as to whether the coal miners were alive or dead.
Well, apparently, Fred Ware lived right behind the church. And even though he wasn‘t a member of the Sago Baptist Church, his family thought it was very appropriate to have the funeral there.
As for the sole survivor of the mine explosion, Randal McCloy, he remains in critical condition, but he is stable. He is at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. That‘s just about an hour and a half from where we‘re standing.
He does have a fever, but doctors say that is completely normal, given the circumstances. And at this hour, he‘s not fully out of the medically-induced coma, but the good news is, initial tests showed that the brainstem is not damaged and that the tests also show that there is a lot of activity on both sides of the brain.
Again, doctors say they are cautiously optimistic. That is very good news. But until he wakes up from that medically-induced coma, they will not know the full extent of the damage.
As for the investigation itself, Rita, officials continue to purge the mine of poisonous gases. They have drilled three ventilation holes into the mine shaft. Two are complete. One is still under way. That last one is a 24-inch borehole. And once it‘s complete, investigators hope that the toxic gases will move out quickly. And that‘s when they can move in.
But again, right now, this investigation is on hold, Rita, because they have to wait until the toxic gases are released for them to safely move in and figure out what happened here—Rita?
COSBY: Lisa, thank you very much. We appreciate you bringing us up to speed. A story that means a lot to us. Thank you very much.
And still ahead, shocking pictures of a woman defending herself from a brutal attack from an armed robber. We‘ll tell you how she survived, all caught on tape, coming up next.
COSBY: Well, a shocking crime, all caught on tape. A woman fends off an armed attacker and—get this—a lucky phone call may have saved her life. In surveillance video, you can see a man who jumped over a counter at this business and then attacked the worker. She struggled with the robber until her husband called her, then he called 911.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: 911 emergency.
HIRSCHE: I need to report a robbery at 590 North Street.
DISPATCHER: OK, are you calling from the business?
HIRSCHE: No, I‘m not. I just called my wife there, and (INAUDIBLE) a couple of guys were robbing her.
DISPATCHER: OK. What‘s the name of the business?
HIRSCHE: It‘s Cash Valley. She probably rang the emergency button already.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining his now on the phone is Lieutenant Douglas Edwards from the Department of Public Safety in Orem, Utah.
Lieutenant, how did you catch this guy?
LT. DOUGLAS EDWARDS, OREM, UTAH, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: Well, he really helped us. He happened to do this robbery at the same business that he had been earlier in the week. And our victim in this case recognized him as she was attacked.
COSBY: Now, he looks like he‘s holding up something. Was he armed?
Or what was it?
EDWARDS: He had purchased a toy gun at a local K-mart, along with the clothing that he was wearing, and used that to facilitate the robbery.
COSBY: And did she realize it was a toy gun or was she fighting off, thinking it may have been a real weapon?
EDWARDS: At a certain point she did. She indicated that—she told us that she had seen the orange tip of the gun and realized it was a toy, but certainly his attack on her was no laughing matter, nor was it a game.
COSBY: And what was—was the whole motive robbery and then she just happened to be there at the wrong place, the wrong time?
EDWARDS: Yes, it was. He needed money. That‘s what he told us.
COSBY: And eventually, you tracked him down. Tell us about the suspect. Does he have any prior records?
EDWARDS: Very little, nothing of consequence. So this was a big first-time mistake for him.
COSBY: The other thing, too, if we can show it on the surveillance tape, it‘s pretty incredible. She‘s fight him off. Then her husband calls, right? Walk us through what happens when the phone call actually comes in after their wrestling. At some point, there‘s a phone call. What happens at that point?
EDWARDS: Well, things had not been going as this bad guy had anticipated. And certainly, the phone call from the husband was another fly in the ointment. And at that point, he figured that “I just need to get out of here.” And so she could—she was telling him to please take the money, take the car, whatever you need, just get out. And he could hear that and call the police.
COSBY: Well, the good news is she‘s safe and sound. And thank you very much, Lieutenant, for bringing us up to speed. Incredible video.
And, everybody, we‘re going to be right back.
COSBY: That does it for me. Now to Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Hey, thanks so much, Rita.
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