Guests: Jake Peart, Gina Jones, Benjamin Crump, Mark Kaplan, Andy Kahan, Wendy Murphy, Stewart Ledbetter, Jerome Corsi, James Westhead, Karen Holt, Michael Smerconish, Andrew Goldberg
PAT BUCHANAN, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, folks, Oprah Winfrey stands by her man. The daytime diva comes to the defense of James Frey. That‘s the author who‘s fighting for his reputation, amid allegations he made up crucial parts of his memoir, a memoir that became a national best-seller after he went on Oprah‘s show.
Then new developments today in the case of that Vermont judge who sentenced a convicted rapist of a child to 60 days in jail. Calls for the judge‘s resignation are growing, but he‘s still standing.
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.
BUCHANAN: Thanks for being here. I‘m Pat Buchanan. I‘m in tonight for Joe. And we will have those stories in a minute.
Plus, could the United States go to war with Iran over that nation‘s nuclear program? That‘s a deadly serious question tonight in Washington, as the White House is shelling out some very tough talk. And we will talk about that.
But, first, millions of people bought this book because Oprah Winfrey said, run out and buy it. And now there‘s mounting evidence that the memoir was, well, just too bad to be true.
Last night, Oprah defended James Frey and said she will continue to recommend the book.
NBC‘s Lester Holt has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES : This is my recollection of my life. You know, a lot of the events I was writing about took place between 15 and 25 years ago. A lot of the events took place while I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. You know, I still stand by my book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Embattled author James Frey didn‘t exactly come out swinging in his first public defense of A Million Little Pieces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
FREY: I don‘t think it‘s necessarily appropriate to say I‘ve conned anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. HOLT: Speaking to Larry King, Frey went out of his way to call his gritty best-seller a memoir, neither fact nor fiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
FREY: It‘s a memoir, and it‘s an imperfect animal. A memoir, the word literally means my story. A memoir is a subjective retelling of events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. HOLT: Frey now claims he‘s always admitted that he embellished some things in his book.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
FREY: I‘ve acknowledged that there were embellishments in the book, you know, that I‘ve changed things, that in certain cases things were toned up, in certain cases thing were toned down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. HOLT: But back in 2003, speaking with Matt here on “Today,” Frey insisted everything in the book was accurate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW HOST: But did you take any poetic license with some of the stories of what happened to you in that clinic?
FREY: No. I cut out all the boring stuff, but I didn‘t invent anything. Everything I wrote about happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. HOLT: Frey‘s book made Oprah Winfrey‘s Book Club last year, leading to a 15-week run atop the New York Times best-seller list, outselling every other book in 2005 except Harry Potter. Frey‘s publisher, Random House, is standing behind its author, releasing a statement that reads, in part, Recent accusations against him not withstanding, the power of the overall reading experience is such that the book remains a deeply inspiring and redemptive story for millions of readers, a point Winfrey echoed when she called in Wednesday night for her first comments on the controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: ... that although some of the facts have been questioned, the underlying message of redemption in James Frey‘s memoir still resonates with me. And I know that it resonates with millions of other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. HOLT: As for Frey, he says the latest experience has changed his writing forever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “LARRY KING LIVE”)
FREY: No, I‘ll absolutely never write about myself again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: But was James Frey‘s best-seller a pack of lies?
Joining me now, one of the men who broke that story, Andrew Goldberg from TheSmokingGun.com.
Andrew, thanks for on.
You heard—I guess you heard James Frey and you heard Oprah last night on “Larry King.” What‘s your take?
ANDREW GOLDBERG, THESMOKINGGUN.COM: Well, I‘m not willing to accept the fact that he made a goodwill effort to tell his story the best he could.
There‘s important things that need to be kept in mind that didn‘t come up on “Larry King” when he was sitting there, which is that he has told numerous people, including Oprah and us, that he wrote this with 400 pages of documents in hands, including legal documents. We asked him to produce it. “The New York Times” asked him to produce it. And he said, no, I‘m not going to do that.
He sought before the publication of the book to have his court records expunged. And some of them were expunged, which means that...
KING: You were the guy that investigated this. And you were one of the guys that broke this.
Is this story a pack of lies, a fraud, and a fabrication, from beginning to end? Or is it just an embellishment of stories of his life?
GOLDBERG: I think everything we looked in to—and we only looked at things that we could find documents and independent proof of—turned out to be a fabrication or a fraud, which raises questions about everything that we couldn‘t find documents on, that we have to depend on the word of James Frey to tell us it‘s true.
BUCHANAN: OK. Hold it a second.
Joining me now, radio talk show host Michael Smerconish and Karen Holt from “Publishers Weekly.”
Karen Holt, let me start with you. I just heard in that report from our man at NBC, Lester Holt, that Random House is standing behind this work, even though it‘s been exposed as fabrication and fraud. Now, look, a lot of publishers have been taken to the cleaners, but why are they standing behind the guy?
KAREN HOLT, “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”: Well, I think this speaks to the nature of memoir. I think that almost any memoir is going to have some embellishments, and I think most people in the publishing industry and I think even hopefully the public understand that when they pick up a memoir, it‘s not a work of journalism.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me just mention last night, Karen, I saw our colleague, Tucker Carlson. He had the cop on who was supposed to have stopped him, been cursed out, clubbed him around and all this, and the cop stopped the guy for a traffic offense. It was all a phony.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: An Oprah, Pat, says that that‘s an irrelevancy to the story.
This thing was appalling last night. James Frey admitted last evening that he initially shopped this book as fiction. And he couldn‘t get a deal, so he repackaged it as nonfiction. And what‘s all this memoir mumbo jumbo?
Hey, Pat, your old boss wrote his memoirs. You think he just invented facts as he was writing it? And what a disgrace that then Oprah went down for the count, instead of laying this guy out? The horrible thing that is going on now is that book sales have escalated in the last 24 hours.
BUCHANAN: Sure. It‘s number one on Amazon.com.
SMERCONISH: Pat, you have got drug addicts and you have got alcoholics who rely on this guy as a role model. But what was revealed in the book is that he abandoned his 12-step program.
So they‘re looking at James Frey as a guy who could say the hell with the medical practitioners. I can do it my way. Now he turns out to be a fraud. He‘s going to do real harm to these people.
BUCHANAN: Let me go back to Karen Holt.
Look, I mean, again, I am astonished at Random House. You remember “Newsweek,” our—which works with MSNBC, got taken to the cleaners on the Hitler diaries, made a fool out of. The Nobel Prize for Literature went to “I, Rigoberta,” that Rigoberta Menchu, who made up her whole story about the horrible life in Guatemala.
And these were major disgraces for these firms and companies, apologies coming forth. What is Random House doing?
K. HOLT: Well, again, I think this shows sort of a part of the publishing industry. Publishers do not, as a rule, fact-check their books. They have them check for libel, because they don‘t want to end up in court.
But as a general rule, they do not fact-check their books.
BUCHANAN: I know that. I have written a number of books. They trust their authors.
K. HOLT: Exactly.
BUCHANAN: But when their authors are exposed as frauds, Andrew Goldberg, what do you do?
GOLDBERG: Well, we‘re making an assumption that there was a good-faith effort on his part to actually stick to the facts here.
And when we decided to publish the facts, we were sent a letter from his lawyers saying they were going to sue us for millions of dollars for doing it, with lies in the letter that didn‘t even correspond to the documents we had. That‘s the kind of person we‘re talking about here.
BUCHANAN: All right. To what extent, though—I mean, look, the story about the cop is a phony, apparently about the girlfriend‘s death is a phony. How far have you gone in exposing each of these incidents, episodes, anecdotes that Frey puts in his book?
GOLDBERG: When you take out the C—criminal with a capital C, I think a lot of the other stories fall apart as well.
But he‘s written a story where there‘s not going to be independent documents. He‘s always willing to offer up somebody to come and vouch for this story or that story, but he killed off a lot of characters in this book, memoir, whatever you want to call it. So, there‘s no independent proof. Everything that we could prove independently of James Frey, we proved to be true.
BUCHANAN: Michael Smerconish...
SMERCONISH: Hey, Pat, can I get in on this?
BUCHANAN: Yes. Michael—let me ask you a question, Michael. I want you to get in here.
But exactly what do we do now? This guy got away with a fraud. He sold four million books.
BUCHANAN: Oprah is backing him up. Larry King loves it.
SMERCONISH: Here it is. Here it is.
SMERCONISH: Andrew Goldberg laid the guy out.
The 5 percent of the book that can be explored is what The Smoking Gun has totally imploded. James Frey is wrapping himself in the fact that the other 95 percent is protected by doctor-patient confidentiality from his six-week inpatient treatment.
SMERCONISH: Wait a minute, Pat.
So, make him release the chart. That‘s the way to get to the bottom of it. Let him give the authorization to Mr. Goldberg and for all of us to now see his chart, because I predict the whole thing will be fraudulent if that occurs.
BUCHANAN: All right. All right. OK. Fine.
Let‘s say it‘s all fraudulent. Michael, what do you do?
SMERCONISH: You have got to expose this guy, so that the druggies who are out there...
BUCHANAN: He‘s already exposed.
SMERCONISH: But you got Oprah standing by him.
BUCHANAN: He‘s exposed all the way to the bank. He‘s got four million copies of the book he‘s sold. He‘s laughing. Oprah‘s got him back up number one.
GOLDBERG: Pat, you know, one of the things is, people have fallen back right now on the defense—and it‘s a very smart one for him and his people—that people have been helped by the book.
But we have also heard from people who have said this has done a lot of damage to treatment.
GOLDBERG: This has done a lot of damage to people who believe in AA, who believe in a lot of these programs. And he‘s basically selling a phony cure.
BUCHANAN: I agree with you both you fellows.
I think it looks to me, if the core of it is a fraud and a fabrication, he tried to sell the thing as fiction. He sold it as a memoir. He‘s now describing memoirs as things that sort of like would have been nice to have happened. It‘s a fraud, but—and every—Oprah‘s still pushing it. He got through Larry King‘s show. And he‘s making all this money.
BUCHANAN: Is he going to wind up a winner?
GOLDBERG: Anyone can get through Larry King‘s show.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Pat, Larry didn‘t read the book. It was embarrassing last night.
BUCHANAN: Larry never reads books.
SMERCONISH: He didn‘t even read the summary.
GOLDBERG: He didn‘t read our story either.
BUCHANAN: He never reads book. Here‘s why he doesn‘t read books. He told me he wants to be there. He wants to be on the same level as the reader, not having read it, when he comes to the Q&A. And it has worked very well.
GOLDBERG: But that doesn‘t help you when you‘re dealing with a fraud. That doesn‘t help you, not to be informed, when you‘re dealing with a fraud.
BUCHANAN: Well, no, it doesn‘t. But it looks to me like the guy‘s getting away with it.
SMERCONISH: The millions of us who read the book had 20 questions we wanted asked.
Pat, one last detail.
SMERCONISH: James Frey, in the book, says that he underwent multiple root canal without any anesthesia or pain medicine, but only with the benefit of tennis balls in his hands.
And I‘m telling you, in the heartland last night, all anybody wanted Larry to ask is, hey, is the root canal bogus, too? I predict that it is.
GOLDBERG: He says he‘s got documents on it.
SMERCONISH: King doesn‘t know what to ask.
BUCHANAN: I see Karen smiling.
But, listen, I want to thank all of you folks very much. I appreciate it. There‘s going to be a lot more on this thing. This is quite a story.
BUCHANAN: But, coming up, new developments in the case of that Vermont judge who sentenced a child rapist to 60 days in jail. Why is this man still on the bench? We are going to try to figure that out.
And Iran defies the world. Now the United States is demanding action. Are we headed for a nuclear crisis and a possible ‘nother war in the Near East?
We will have the latest. Stay with us.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back. I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe tonight.
Iran has drawn a line in the sand with the rest of the world with the announcement that it has restarted its nuclear program. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came out today to condemn Iran‘s action and call for the world‘s support in bringing the issue to the U.N. Security Council.
NBC‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrew Mitchell, correspondent has the story.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Iranian exile groups in Berlin today protesting at Tehran‘s decision to defy the U.N. and resume nuclear research, as diplomats from Europe and the U.S. called for the U.N. to punish Iran.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would hope that, now seeing the very powerful reaction of the international community, that Iran would take a step back and look at the isolation that it is about to experience.
MITCHELL: Unless stopped, Iran is now on a path that U.S. intelligence experts say could yield a bomb in five years. The U.S. could push for U.N. sanctions on Iran‘s biggest export, oil, but American consumers would pay a heavy price.
Iran produces 5 percent of the world‘s oil, and even the talk of sanctions today pushed prices up to $65 a barrel, up 11 cents.
JAMAL QURESHI, OIL MARKET ANALYST: Realistically, Iran is in a very powerful position to dictate how it wants things to go.
MITCHELL: But China depends on Iranian oil and might try to block sanctions. And even though Iran is the second member of the George Bush‘s famed axis of evil, with the U.S. tied down in Iraq, officials say there is no military option, forcing the U.S. to rely on the U.N., a big change for the president.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No one can imagine that a president would trump this up as an artificial crisis, but it does give him an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the world.
MITCHELL (on camera): Tonight, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan talked to Iran‘s nuclear negotiator and is searching for a way to avoid a confrontation.
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, at the State Department.
BUCHANAN: After two years of failed negotiations and deals, Europe now says it has reached a dead end with Iran.
Joining me now with a European perspective in the BBC‘s James Westhead.
James, thanks very much for joining us.
Let me ask you this. The E.U.-3 has apparently given up on Iran already. What sort of sentiment is there in Europe first for sending this to the Security Council, second, for sanctions, third, for military action?
JAMES WESTHEAD, BBC REPORTER: I think we have reached a very significant point here.
For the first time, the European powers really do feel that Iran has crossed what everybody seems to be calling a red line by breaking those seals on its nuclear facilities. And what‘s significant is that Iran, for ages, has been managing to play Europe off against America by having these talks, for instance. But now Europe and America are united on this Iran issue.
And it seems to me pretty clear that unless Iran steps back from the brink and blinks first, then they are on a pretty inevitable path towards the Security Council.
BUCHANAN: What will happen? What is the feeling about—in as to about what should be done in the Security Council? And if Iran is recalcitrant, economic sanctions, or would they support American military action?
WESTHEAD: I think there will be little support for American military action. And it was interesting that America today indicated, Condoleezza Rice said military action not on the cards for the time being. And I think there would, post-Iraq, be little support for that. But there is strong support for some kind of economic sanctions, but exactly what that is, is -what sanctions could there be?
As your report indicated, blocking oil could cost the West more than it costs Iran. So, Europe, like America, I think unsure exactly what kind of sanctions could follow. But certainly it will be a gradual process. And it might start off with things like blocking Iranian politicians from leaving the country, for instance.
BUCHANAN: Well, that seems to be a pretty slight sanction. But let me move now and bring into this Jerome Corsi, the author of the book “Atomic Iran.” Jerome, good to talk to you again.
JEROME CORSI, AUTHOR, “ATOMIC IRAN”: Pat, good to see you. Thank you very much.
Let me ask you, there does not seem to be any disposition in the—there‘s going to be resistance if it goes to the Security Council from the Chinese for sanctions, and we just heard a sanction of maybe not letting their leaders travel or something to the West. That sounds pretty tame. What do you think—how serious is the crisis? What should the United States do?
CORSI: Well, Pat, it‘s a serious crisis, when Iran defied the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, by going ahead and starting again Natanz, where they do uranium enrichment. They say they‘re going to do research and development at Natanz, but it‘s in direct contradiction to what the IAEA wants done.
That‘s a serious step of defiance. And the United has said they will follow the lead of the E.U.-3 and the IAEA. The next step is come to the Security Council. When the issue gets to the Security Council, it is going to be a major crisis, both for the—Iran and for the world.
BUCHANAN: But, look, let me—look, I have studied this a little bit, Jerome. And the truth is the Iranians don‘t have the cascade of centrifuges to make enriched uranium, let alone highly enriched uranium for a bomb. They have never tested a device. They don‘t have a bomb. They haven‘t weaponized this.
We are years and years away, are we not, from Iran having a bomb. Therefore, how urgent is the crisis and how wise would military action be, when that would dynamite the entire Near East when we‘re at war in Afghanistan and Iraq?
CORSI: Well, Pat, look at what they did at Isfahan. Isfahan is where they do uranium processing. They opened it in August.
BUCHANAN: But, look, Jerome, let me get into that. I know what they do at Isfahan. They turn uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride.
BUCHANAN: Which is a gas. Then you got to run it through a cascade of several thousand centrifuges, which they don‘t have.
CORSI: But, from August to today, they mastered taking a yellow cake out of uranium ore and getting it into uranium hexafluoride gas.
Now they‘re going to open Natanz. And, at Natanz, they‘re going to go through the same research and development process. So, in a few months, they should be able to be producing uranium that is enriched and possibly even to weapons grade.
BUCHANAN: Well, look, all right, what do you...
BUCHANAN: Go ahead. Go ahead, Mr. Westhead.
WESTHEAD: I was going to say, the other point to bear in mind is the domestic situation in Iran.
You get the impression sometimes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has widespread support in the country, but that‘s not necessarily the case. He came to power by a very slim majority. People want economic reform. A lot of people I have spoken to from Iran say they don‘t necessarily—they definitely don‘t want a conflict with the West.
WESTHEAD: And they‘re in an economic disaster situation.
BUCHANAN: Right. Let me just interrupt you, James Westhead, that Ahmadinejadand is the new Iranian president of Iran, extreme hard-liner, says the Holocaust never happened, says, we are going to wipe Israel off the map. He has excited the Iranian street and probably the Arab street and everything. But there is opposition to him in Iran. But how serious is it?
CORSI: Well, Pat, the problem is that there‘s always been opposition to this regime, since it came into power in 1979, but the regime controls all the forces of repression. In Iran, you risk your life in order to go out in the streets and protest.
BUCHANAN: All right, but, Jerome, let me—I know this. But, look, and he‘s a bad guy, and he‘s saying a lot of terrible things and he‘s a hothead, it looks like.
But Iran has not perpetrated any single act that could invite an American military strike. Do you really think they want a war or a confrontation with the United States?
CORSI: Pat, Ahmadinejad, if you listen to him, is a complete zealot. He is on the theme, extreme theme of Shiite Islam, that there‘s going to a second coming of one of their holy figures, the 12th imam, who disappeared in 946. And he thinks it will take an apocalypse to bring back the second coming of this imam.
BUCHANAN: But, Jerome, Jerome, we have got our own Armageddonites here in this country.
CORSI: No question about it, Pat.
And the thing is, Iran could very simply solve this crisis. What the IAEA has asked for is transparent inspection.
CORSI: And, instead of that, Iran defies the IAEA, takes steps against the E.U.-3 to the point where the negotiations have completely broken down.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Let me ask both of you just a single-word answer question. Should the United States talk directly to Iran before we go to any kind of confrontation.
Let me go with you first, James. Yes or no?
WESTHEAD: I don‘t think it‘s going—it wouldn‘t do any good at all.
BUCHANAN: All right.
WESTHEAD: I don‘t think there‘s any point in it. I think what—it‘s going to be international measures.
CORSI: I agree with James. I think it‘s international and it‘s time for the Security Council to get involved, for the IAEA and the E.U.-3 to lead the argument at the Security Council. The United States has followed the lead of the IAEA. We should continue doing that and applying strong pressure.
BUCHANAN: OK. Thank you both, gentlemen. And I‘m sure this is going to be another issue that we are going to hear a lot about in coming days.
Still to come, new developments in the case of that Vermont judge who handed down a 60-day sentence for a child rapist. Will the judge be removed from the bench?
And military style boot camps, they help out-of-control teens, but do they go too far? One teen is dead tonight, and his family is demanding answers.
Stay with us.
BUCHANAN: The Vermont judge who is standing firm, refusing to change his slap on the wrist for a child rapist. Will new developments change anything? We have got the latest.
But, first, the latest from MSNBC World Headquarters.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back. I‘m Pat Buchanan, sitting in for Joe.
New developments tonight in the case of that Vermont judge who sentenced a confessed pedophile who had molested a little girl for four years to 60 days behind bars. Vermont‘s governor is calling on Judge Edward Cashman to consider resigning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JIM DOUGLAS ®, VERMONT: Well, I‘m deeply troubled that someone who‘s responsible for residing over a criminal court makes a statement that he doesn‘t believe in punishment. And if that‘s true, then I really think that person really ought not to be on the bench.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Joining me now by phone is NBC affiliate WPTZ‘s Stewart Ledbetter.
Stewart, what‘s the latest in Vermont tonight? Is the pressure building on the judge? And has the governor‘s statement had any impact?
STEWART LEDBETTER, WPTZ REPORTER: The judge has not said anything publicly today about the governor‘s call, but it‘s a small state, and as you can imagine, the power of the governor‘s statement is pretty strong.
The outcry has been immense. Almost everyone here, the governor, Democrats and Republicans in the legislature, all call the 60-day prison term appalling. We have had—the governor‘s office said today it has received 10,000 pieces of mail, e-mail, phone messages and so forth, some from inside the state, a lot of it from outside the state.
That would make it the greatest volume since the civil union debate first erupted here six years ago. So, yes, it‘s a lot of pressure.
BUCHANAN: Here‘s a guy that is involved in basically child rape for four years. Where is he at now, and how has the judge responded at all?
LEDBETTER: The judge, on Tuesday, issued a 15-page written explanation of his original ruling last week, which, to be fair to the judge, does not lend itself easily to a quick sound bite.
He talks about the dilemma that he faced, given the limited options for treatment for this fellow. One fact that‘s not well understood is that both the defendant, who‘s developmentally disabled, and the family of the victim, always developmentally disabled, makes this a complex case.
The prison—the Corrections Department here does not offer sex offender treatment until the end of one‘s prison term, until you reach the end of your term.
BUCHANAN: OK. I think we got that. Thank you very much, Stewart Ledbetter.
Joining me now to discuss this case, Mark Hulett‘s attorney, Mark Kaplan, and former sex crimes prosecutor Wendy Murphy, and victims rights advocate Andy Kahan.
Let me start with you, Mark Kaplan.
You are Mark Hulett‘s attorney. Where is he right now?
MARK KAPLAN, ATTORNEY FOR MARK HULETT: At the present time, he‘s been sentenced and he‘s serving a 60-day-to-10-year sentence.
BUCHANAN: How much days has he served?
KAPLAN: He‘s been in a little over seven or eight days.
BUCHANAN: And he‘s going to serve I guess about 50 more days, seven more weeks, and then he‘s out, right?
KAPLAN: Well, technically, under the sentence, he would be out.
I think the judge‘s thinking was that, the Department of Corrections didn‘t give me any options here. I want this individual—according to the judge, he wanted him to be treated as quickly as possible. So, I think he gave him a sentence that would give the department some discretion to reassess their initial decision to see whether or not he could be treated on the inside.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Let me—Wendy, what‘s your take on that, that the judge felt that he couldn‘t get the treatment on the inside, so, 60 days, then he can be treated on the outside?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Look, it is preposterous on so many levels.
But let‘s remember that he said that after he made this ridiculous, completely impeachable statement, that punishment is not appropriate, in his philosophy. This is like King Cashman, not Judge Cashman, pronouncing from on high that he no longer respects the system he is sworn to uphold.
And instead of thinking about punishment for predatory sex offenders, this guy is into singing kumbaya and holding hands and hugging the pedophiles. That‘s his business. If he wants to be like that, take off the robe, step down, get a job in a flower shop. I could care less.
But he cannot be a judge. I just want to make one thing clear, by the way. We haven‘t talked about the extent of the rapes against this child, because the perpetrator, when he was first talking about it, said, I don‘t know how many times I raped her. It was so frequent, I don‘t know.
Between ages 6 and 10, he said maybe 20 times. That‘s an average of three days per rape from this judge.
BUCHANAN: Let me ask you this, Mark Kaplan.
KAPLAN: Yes. Sure.
BUCHANAN: You got—I mean, look, this is just a disgusting tale of a dangerous man. You defended him quite—everybody needs a defense, but, look, the idea that this guy is getting out in 60 days and may be on the street, does that not, A, outrage you and concern you, that something like this will happen again, and the man that you got a 60-day sentence for basically is out maybe doing this again to other people‘s kids?
KAPLAN: You know, I think a couple of comments are in order.
First, it‘s interesting to me to hear someone attack Judge Cashman who really hasn‘t met him and hasn‘t practiced before him. I have been in his court for over 20 years.
BUCHANAN: The governor attacked him. The governor said it was outrageous.
KAPLAN: And I think that‘s inappropriate. Judge Cashman does believe...
BUCHANAN: Well, why would you think it‘s inappropriate, when the governor says 60 days in jail and then let a guy go who has raped a little girl for four years is not justice? Why would you think it‘s inappropriate for the governor, after the sentence has been passed, to comment upon it?
KAPLAN: Well, both the Department of Corrections and the defense expert took the position that it‘s important to treat this individual as soon as possible, that he was considered a low-risk offender. Under the department‘s guidelines, low-risk offenders are treated on the outside.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me bring in someone who knows about low-risk and high-risk offenders. And that‘s Andy Kahan.
Andy, what is your take on this fact that they said, well, the guy couldn‘t get the treatment in jail, and he went—or in the prison, penitentiary, where he‘s serving his 10 years to life, and they have got to let him go after 60 days?
ANDY KAHAN, HOUSTON CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: You know, Pat, first of all, this sentence was an abomination.
He got what equivalent basically to what someone gets when they steal a candy bar. And for this judge to publicly state that he doesn‘t believe in punishment, that falls way, way, way short of the judicial canon of ethics, and that is to merit out punishment, particularly to violent offenders and sex offenders.
But, you know, as much as you want to blame Hulett—and he deserves his fair share of the blame—the criminal justice system continues to spit guys out like him to do what he does best, and that is molest young children. So, as much as he deserves his fair share of the blame, the next time he re-offends, which he will re-offend, Cashman should be an accomplice to that.
MURPHY: And, Pat, can I just jump in here?
BUCHANAN: Sure, Wendy, go ahead.
MURPHY: One of the things that we need to talk about is why the system continues to do this.
And I really want to urge parents in particular in Vermont—I‘m a mother of five kids. If I lived there, I would do this myself. Get out of your houses, make some signs, get your protest organized and get over to that courthouse and make your voices heard, because that‘s the only way he‘s going to step down, if the people rise up. Otherwise, if he stays, the people in Vermont deserve what they get.
BUCHANAN: Andy, you are a victims rights advocate.
KAHAN: You bet.
BUCHANAN: And this is an appalling story of a little girl, 6 to 10 years old, this animal...
KAHAN: Yes. She‘s scarred.
BUCHANAN: And you have seen a lot of these cases. And I imagine you have seen a lot of judges who have been lenient. Some have been good judges.
What do you do in a case like this? Is public pressure enough to get this judge out? What do you do?
KAHAN: We have had situations like this in Houston, Texas, many moons ago.
And the judges, basically, when they do this type of sentencing, it‘s career death for them. They‘re gone. I mean, we would get out there and protest, and the next time he came up for reelection, we would make sure that the public was made aware that this guy considers treatment for habitual child rapists more important than public safety.
I guarantee you, if this guy was sentenced to what he should have been, which was 25 years to life, treatment‘s a moot point, because he is not going to re-offend again and molest young children. When our country continues to spit out people like this—and that‘s why you have got 500,000-some-odd sex offenders roaming the streets in this country.
BUCHANAN: Wendy, let me ask you a question. Do you think the judge might have not sentenced this guy to longer in prison because of what happened up there, that priest that molested all those children? They put him in a maximum security facility. A couple of weeks, they come into his cell and killed him. I mean, they go after these guys who molest little kids in prisons. Do you think that‘s this guy‘s thinking? Or do you think he‘s...
BUCHANAN: Go ahead.
MURPHY: Let me just say, that was in Massachusetts, which is close to Vermont. I understand.
MURPHY: But, no.
Look, it‘s largely a myth that people attack these kinds of offenders. And when they are at risk, they are put in special placement. They‘re provided with special security, so that they tend not to get murdered.
That was a highly unusual case. I think the public needs to understand something. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average molester has 117 victims under his belt over the course of his lifetime. If he‘s a predatory offender, as this guy appears to be, they have that many offenses under their—offend—victims under their belt before they get caught the first time.
BUCHANAN: All right. Let me...
MURPHY: We‘re talking about serious, very, very profoundly harmful behavior that destroys people‘s lives forever, forever. It‘s the most serious crime, short of murder. You can‘t give that crime 60 days, period.
Thank you very much, Wendy Murphy, Andy Kahan, and Mark Kaplan.
We want to apologize. And Mark Kaplan, we lost his satellite. That was the reason why we were unable to bring him back in into this debate and argument.
And we are going to put pressure on this judge again and again and again.
Next, a 14-year-old dies within hours of running—entering a state-run boot camp. Was this kind of discipline taken too far? The family is here and they‘re looking for answers.
And your phone calls aren‘t as private as you think they are. Still to come, a warning for cell phone users you have got to hear.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back. I‘m Pat Buchanan, in tonight for Joe.
How private are your personal cell phone records? Not very. Almost anyone can find out about any call you make, and there‘s nothing you can do about it.
Here‘s NBC‘s Kevin Tibbles.
KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): rMD+IT_rMD-IT_No matter how much you whisper, when it comes to phone calls, nothing is private, because, for a fee, anyone can find out who you called and when.
BOB SULLIVAN, MSNBC.COM TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Almost everything that we do is found and entered in some database somewhere. And somebody with enough money can get their hands on it.
TIBBLES: One blogger claims today he purchased the cell phone records of calls former presidential candidate General Wesley Clark made in November of 2005.
How easy is it to find out who‘s been calling walling whom? One company, Locatecell, will trace cell phone calls for $110, regular phone, or landline, calls for $125. And don‘t have the number? They will find that, too, for $95.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s scary. It‘s just like identity theft.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just have fears that it takes away some of the rights that we have had that I would like to continue having.
TIBBLES: New York Senator Charles Schumer says it‘s also a matter of security.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Somebody could buy the records of very well-known people. They could constantly be called. It could be given to people who want to do some bad things to them.
TIBBLES (on camera): There are some 202 million cell phone subscribers in America. About 40 cell phone companies offer the phone tracing service. How do they do it?
(voice-over): Wireless phone companies insist they don‘t divulge numbers, but some worry about pretexting, where someone pretending to be your asks for a copy of your statement.
LISA MADIGAN, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: There‘s no legitimate way that we know of that they could be accessing this information.
TIBBLES: The lobby group that represents the cell phone industry today released a statement calling on governments to “severely punish those illegally obtaining and marketing these records.”
Locatecell did not respond to phone calls or e-mails today. Tonight, privacy advocates are urging cell phone users to protect their accounts with passwords to prevent their call lists from falling into the wrong hands.
Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.
BUCHANAN: When we come back, a 14-year-old dies in Florida just hours after entering a state-run boot camp for teens.rMD-BO_ Is it a case of discipline gone too far? His mother is going to be here with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. She‘s looking for answers. We will talk to her next.
BUCHANAN: Military-style boot camps have become a popular option for many parents who feel their teenagers are difficult to control. But do these boot camps take discipline too far?
Last week in Florida, 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson stopped breathing three hours after entering a state-run boot camp. The next day, he was dead.
Joining me are Martin‘s mother, Gina Jones, and the family‘s attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Mr. Crump, let me start with you.
And this is certainly a tragedy and maybe something a lot more serious. Do you know what happened to Martin Lee Anderson at that camp?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR ANDERSON FAMILY: Pat, we know that he was a vibrant, young, healthy teenage boy, who went into the camp, and within three hours of being admitted, he was harmed and abused in such a way that he stopped breathing and died as a result.
And there are a lot of things that don‘t add up here. The medical examiner of Bay County said that the trauma was not a cause of death. However, his mother and father saw him at the hospital Thursday night and confirmed that his nose was bleeding, his lip was busted, and there were scratches and abrasions on the left side of his face.
BUCHANAN: Mr. Crump, we just talked about a rapist in Vermont of a little girl for four years who got 60 days, and he‘s coming out.
And here we got a 14-year-old boy who apparently was joyriding his grandmother‘s car, and he gets six months. Why did he get a sentence like that, when he‘s 14 years old, for joyriding, which usually gets a slap on the wrist?
CRUMP: It certainly doesn‘t make sense.
Right now, there‘s a trend in our state to haze young people as a way to make them act better. If this was a college fraternity or sorority, it would be illegal, against the law, and they will be charged criminally.
But our government officials are allowed to haze and abuse young people as a way to say, this is how we‘re going to give you an alternative.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Ms. Jones, why did—why was your son sentenced there, and do you know—do you have some idea of what happened to him?
GINA JONES, SON DIED AT BOOT CAMP: My son, he was sentenced for grand auto theft. It wasn‘t only him. It was him, my daughter and a couple of his friends.
But when they did, they took the truck from the church. So, it‘s not like they went, got up, and say, OK, we‘re going to get this car right here out the parking lot.
My son was sentenced to the boot camp for six months. I dropped my son off. And the next day, he came out on a stretcher in a bag. Why did they kill my son? I don‘t know. This is my baby right here, Martin Lee Anderson. He will buried January the 14th. And the day after, it‘s his birthday, January the 15th.
I will be burying my son two days from today. His birthday is the day after.
BUCHANAN: Ms. Jones, let me ask...
CRUMP: And it‘s not right...
JONES: And it‘s not right for the way he went in, and the way he come out. This needs to stop.
BUCHANAN: It is not right. There‘s no doubt about it.
But let me ask you this. Do you know what happened? It looks as though he was beaten up a bit about the face.
JONES: Yes. Yes, he was.
BUCHANAN: But what else? That would not—that would not cause the death of a healthy, 140-pound, 6-foot boy.
CRUMP: If I could...
BUCHANAN: Go ahead, Mr. Crump. Go ahead.
CRUMP: If I could, Pat, you know, when she went to the hospital on Thursday night, she was told by the deputy sheriff that he became uncooperative, and they had to counsel him.
Well, Ms. Jones later come to find out that uncooperative was when they were putting him through the physical, strenuous activity, when you enter the boot camp, running a mile-and-a-half, doing numerous push-ups and sit-ups. He said he couldn‘t breathe and that he couldn‘t do it anymore.
And that was his uncooperation. And, so, they felt they were going to make him, as Ms. Jones understands, obey them. And that is when they had to restrain him. And that was the counseling, to restrain him against the wall.
BUCHANAN: Let‘s bring in another guest.
Are these boot camps a safe answer for disciplining teenagers?
Let‘s bring in Jake Peart, owner of Teens in Crisis, an organization that helps parents find juvenile boot camps for their troubled teenagers.
Jake Peart, let me ask you, is this not uncommon, that kids die in these camps?
JAKE PEART, TEENS IN CRISIS: You know, I actually don‘t work a great deal with boot camps myself personally. And certainly the programs I work with are private vs. state-ran, so I really can‘t give you the best answer on that.
But, in my experience, it‘s very seldom that anything tragic happens, let alone someone dying. We are well known for doing great work with students and helping them to turn their lives around and making a great difference in the lives of the students and the families.
BUCHANAN: You think they‘re much preferable to putting these kids in the juvenile—basically, the boys‘ prisons and juvenile prisons like that? These camps are a lot better, is that right?
PEART: No, I actually would recommend a private, long-term residential program that‘s geared more towards getting to the root of the problems and working with the student from the inside out, vs. a boot camp that more focuses on a wakeup call and taking things from the outside and kind of beating it into the kid, more or less.
PEART: And, so, I wouldn‘t say this is better than a—I think the programs that we represent, which are much different than boot camp, are definitely a greater option.
BUCHANAN: Mr. Crump, you want to comment on that?
CRUMP: Yes, Pat.
When you look at the recidivism rate, 60 to 70 percent all over America, but yet we continue to build these boot camps, vs. putting the money into educational programs, programs that reinforce positive matriculation through life.
And we continue to say we want to be hard on these young people, as teaching them how—a way to cope in society. It‘s just not working. The statistics clearly show it. And, in Florida and other states that I have researched, there are far more instances of physical abuse and death and instances like the one we have here that just don‘t add up. No child deserves a death sentence.
BUCHANAN: Well, Ms. Gina Jones, our hearts go out to you on what happened. It‘s horrible. It‘s a tragedy, and it‘s wrong. And we are going to stay right on top of this story and keep following it up, because there‘s more to learn here.
Gina Jones, Benjamin Crump and Jake Peart, thanks very much.
We will be right back.
BUCHANAN: That‘s all the time we have tonight.
I‘m Pat Buchanan. I have been sitting in for Joe.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be back again Monday night. “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” will also return on Monday.
But stay tuned for “HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS.”
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.