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'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' for March 28

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Gilbert Cedillo, Dan Stein, Rhonda Iwanski, Brian Skipper, Shellie White, Mike Nifong, Manju Rajendran, Larry Kobilinsky, Michael Heldman, Leo Terrell, Ric Robertson

RITA COSBY, HOST:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, shock and outrage after police unleash a hail of gunfire into a suspect.  The suspect shoots at them, and they shoot back.  More than 50 shots are fired.  Was it justified?  The entire thing, as you can see, is caught on cruiser cam.

And immigration indignation.  Protesters young and old take to the streets over what to do with illegal immigrants.  In an exclusive interview, the president of Mexico makes news, telling me what he thinks would solve this border crisis.

But first, word coming in just a few minutes ago that amid allegations of gang rape, the lacrosse team at Duke University in North Carolina is now suspended.  The stunning allegations affect some of the country‘s top athletes at Duke, who are vying for the national title.  An exotic dancer claims she was held down, beaten, strangled, raped and then sodomized at an off-campus lacrosse team party, all during spring break.

For the late-breaking developments, let‘s go live to NBC‘s Donna Gregory, who‘s on the campus tonight.  Donna, first of all, what‘s the reaction to the suspension there?

DONNA GREGORY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I have to tell you, Rita, reaction has been strong for the last several weeks, ever since allegations surfaced that that woman may have been gang raped at the lacrosse party.  And just a few moments ago, the president of Duke University and the athletic director got together in the building you see behind me to say that the entire season will be suspended until those allegations are cleared up.  Now, keep in mind, these are allegations.  And the president stressed that this is America, they do not have a right to force anyone to say anything on the Duke campus, and police always tell people when they are arrested that they have the right to remain silent, and that has been the case for all of the Duke players.

Now, this woman has alleged that she was gang raped at this party.  The team members categorically deny that a rape occurred, but they do admit that there was underage drinking at the party on March 13.  They also admit that they did hire these two women, who were from an escort service.  Both are these are team and school infractions.

So the president of Duke University, Richard Brodhead, said he made the decision to suspend the current season after talking with three team captains this morning.


RICHARD BRODHEAD, DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT:  We believe that the suspension of play is the right course of action, and we also see the importance of their taking responsibility for their conduct.  In a slight modification, I have decided that future games should be suspended until there is clear resolution of the legal situation.


GREGORY:  And Rita, again, just to give you a little background on this story, it happened March 13.  There was a party.  These women were hired—two women were hired from an escort service to perform at what they were told would be a bachelor party for five young men.  When they got to the party, they say there were many more men than that.  They say at least 40 were at this party.  They say they started to perform but were taunted with racial epithets, and they said they were also threatened to be sexually assaulted with a broomstick.

They say they tried to leave the party but were talked back into coming back into the party by a couple of the partygoers, who came outside to plead with them to come back.

One woman did go inside.  She said she thought her friend was with her.  The friend eventually left, she said, after looking for the woman who was inside.  Now, the woman inside claims that she was taken into a bathroom and sexually assaulted by three men.  She said the incident lasted 30 minutes.

And Rita, I should tell you, the local DA said after interviewing the woman and seeing her demeanor, he does believe that a rape took place that night—Rita.

COSBY:  Donna, thank you very much.  Please get back to us if there‘s any more developments.

And joining me now live is Durham County district attorney Mike Nifong, who is personally taking on the case.  Mr. District Attorney, what about this case made you decide that you wanted to get involved personally?  And how disgusted are you about the allegations?

MIKE NIFONG, DURHAM COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Well, this is the type of case that because of the—on top of the rape, which is already an abhorrent crime enough, you have the additional racial animus and hostility that just seems totally out of place for this community in this day and age.  And I felt that this was a case that we needed to make a statement, as a community, that we would not tolerate this kind of behavior here in Durham.  And I felt that the best way to make that statement was to take this case myself.

COSBY:  Where exactly is she saying that this rape took place?  What part of the home?

NIFONG:  The rape and the other sexual assaults took place in the bathroom.

COSBY:  And how long did she say it took place?  We‘re hearing reports of 30 minutes.  And how many guys does she believe were present?

NIFONG:  My understanding is that the estimates of time range from about 15 minutes to about 30 minutes.  A lot of times, when things like that are going on, they seem to last longer than they actually do.  And there were three men involved in the direct assault on her.

COSBY:  You know, you say three men.  I know that you‘ve gotten DNA for what, more than 40 members of the lacrosse team.  Why is that critical?  What are you trying to hone in on?

NIFONG:  Well, if there is DNA evidence within the victim, then this will enable us to definitely establish who the perpetrators of the offense were.  At this point, of course, we don‘t know whether or not there is DNA available to test, but if that is found, then we have—by taking samples from all the members of the lacrosse team who fit profile, we will be able to determine which of those players was the person or which ones of those players were the people who committed the assault.

COSBY:  You know, I want to show some details of the assault that have gotten out, and they are quite graphic.  It says one of the men watching held up a broomstick and threatened to sexually assault the women.  After the broomstick threat, the women left, but were followed out by a man, who persuaded them to return.  That‘s when three men pushed her into a bathroom and began the assault, which in this report says she said lasted 30 minutes.

Why do you definitely believe there was a rape here, sir?  What evidence is giving you that indication?

NIFONG:  That a rape actually did occur?  The victim‘s demeanor, the fact that when she was examined by a nurse who was trained in sexual assault, there was swelling and pain in the areas that would have been affected by the rape.  The victim gave signs of having been through a traumatic situation.  She seemed to be absolutely honest about what had occurred to her.

COSBY:  Mr. District Attorney, good luck in tracking down these guys who obviously may have done this horrible thing.  Thank you so much, sir.

So is DNA the key to finding out if a rape was committed?  Joining me now is forensic expert Dr. Larry Kobilinsky.  Doctor, you just heard the district attorney.  He says he believes a rape occurred.  Do you believe DNA is going to solve this?

LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST:  Well, clearly, DNA is going to be the most important evidence.  But you know, I hope the DA is right in saying that DNA will resolve the issue because this is far more complicated than you might think.  When we have three assailants and the DNA of the victim, all of the DNA combined into that evidence, it becomes very difficult to sort things out.  In fact, at each site, at each genetic site that we analyze, we may be looking at at least eight different genes.  And what that simply means is that it‘s a complicated picture when you have multiple assailants.

COSBY:  And how excessive (ph) is it also to take the DNA of more than 40 guys, Doctor?

KOBILINSKY:  Well, that is not that unusual.  There have been these kind of dragnet—DNA dragnets before.  And I think they may be able to say that a particular individual cannot be excluded as a donor of the DNA evidence, but on the other hand, the inclusion, the statistics of inclusion are going to be very, very complex.

COSBY:  Let me also show, Doctor, a couple of things were also found at this home, and there‘s some key items.  She also lost four fingernails.  It sounds like it was a pretty vicious fight she was trying to hold off.  Sure enough, they found four red-polished fingernails there, her cell phone, make-up bag and also ID at the house.  What can authorities, real quick, get from these pieces of evidence?

KOBILINSKY:  Well, I think of those items, the fingernails are probably the most important because it appears she probably scratched her assailant to try to get this person off of her, and there may be DNA under the fingernails.

COSBY:  All right, Doctor.  Thank you very much.

Well, hundreds of outraged protesters continue to rally near the college campus over the alleged gang rape incident.  Joining me now is the woman who‘s been organizing them, Manju Rajendran, who‘s been coming back from the protest.  Why are the protests—why are they so critical?  And what‘s getting everybody also riled up about this particular case?

MANJU RAJENDRAN, PROTEST ORGANIZER:  I‘m sorry to have to correct you, but I‘m actually just one of many people who are organizing around what‘s happened, around the sexual violence, around the racism.  I‘m actually just one more community member in a whole sea of Durham community members who are outraged about what‘s happened.

COSBY:  Well, good for you for getting involved.  And I think it‘s important for the community to respond, especially, if, indeed, this rape occurred.  What‘s bothering you, Manju, particularly about this case?  I mean, we‘re hearing from the DA there were some racial slurs, according to the victim.  Obviously, the rape is atrocious enough.  What is it that‘s hit a nerve so much?

RAJENDRAN:  Well, I feel like this rape is an outrage, the racist attack is an outrage.  But I feel like this is much bigger than Duke and Durham.  I feel like we, as a nation, are wrestling with a long legacy of institutionalized racism and a whole culture of sexual violence.  We‘re trying to undo a long legacy here, with centuries of oppression.

COSBY:  Well, we‘ve got—and in fact, a comment—this is—as you know, there was just a press conference just a little bit ago from the president of the university, and I want to play a little bit of what he had to say.  I‘ll get you to respond.


BRODHEAD:  Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and will not be tolerated at Duke.  The claims against our players, if verified, would warrant very severe penalties both from the university and in the courts.


COSBY:  Manju, do you feel that the university has done enough?  They just suspended the team, as you may have just heard.

RAJENDRAN:  I‘m glad that Duke finally stepped forward and said something, but I feel like Richard Brodhead made really weak statement this evening, essentially excusing the behavior of the athletes as the understandable behavior or forgivable behavior of 18 to 22-year-olds.  I‘m personally outraged, and I feel like Duke‘s meager response at the press conference tonight was really a direct reaction to the uproar of the community.  And I consider this the beginning of a long series of victories of the people.

COSBY:  What would you like to see happen?  What do you think they could do?  I mean, right now, they suspended the guys.  They did take the DNA of all the guys.  Until they know, you know, who are the three or more responsible, or less, what can they do?

RAJENDRAN:  Well, I hope that we see this as a moment to galvanize as a community.  I hope that we see this as a moment to—for Duke and Durham to really analyze our relationship and for us, as a community, to really wrestle with issues of racism, classism and sexism.  I hope that this begins a real challenge to sexual assault.  And the banging of pots and pans is going to be facing the Duke lacrosse team at every turn that they make until justice is served.

COSBY:  And real quick, the banging of pots and pans is symbolic, real quick, why?

RAJENDRAN:  Yes, it‘s absolutely—it‘s a symbol, it‘s a challenge, it‘s a confrontation.  We‘re borrowing the tradition of the (INAUDIBLE) from Latin American protesters.  Women in Lima, Peru, initiated this as a way of surrounding the houses of women who were being assaulted by their husbands or by their partners.  And it was a very confrontational way of saying, We demonstrate solidarity with the women who are being attacked in this way or by anyone who‘s being persecuted in this fashion.  We challenge the racism and the sexism and the classism implicit in these actions.  We want to shame the attackers, and we want to invite the witnesses to step forward and come clean.  We really...

COSBY:  And Manju, those are all...

RAJENDRAN:  We‘re coming to this...

COSBY:  Those are all great points.  We‘ve unfortunately got to wrap up, but those are all great points.  And (INAUDIBLE) with those pots and pans are definitely being heard loud and clear, and we‘re glad to have you on tonight.  And we will continue to follow this story and keep the pressure on.  You bet.  Thank you very much.

And coming up, everybody, an all-points-bulletin for a suspect after a high-speed chase with an explosive ending.  It‘s coming up.  And that is not all that‘s coming up tonight.

Still ahead: Is this justifiable force?  A hail of gunfire after a high-speed chase, the suspect shot first.  The cops fire back 50 times.  And wait until you hear what happened to the woman sitting in the suspect‘s car.

And an unbelievable story of kidnapping, a mother accused of stealing her children by pretending to be their father.  Tonight, she‘s telling me her story from behind bars.  How did she pull it off?

And angry protesters fill the streets, outraged over threats to send illegal immigrants packing.  In an exclusive interview, the president of Mexico tells me what he thinks should happen now.


VICENTE FOX, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO:  How can you call (ph) somebody that is looking for a better life?


COSBY:  All that‘s coming up.


COSBY:  And that was a dramatic ending of a high-speed car chase, the whole thing caught on tape, as you just saw, on a cruiser cam.  Police chased 29-year-old Donti Henry for more than 40 miles along Interstate 75 in Ohio.  Henry initially drew the attention of the cops when he used forged documents to get an Ohio driver‘s license.  And at some points, he was going more than 100 miles per hour before pulling over into a gas station.

There he jumped out of the car and he fired two shots, wounding two police officers.  That‘s when cops shot back, exchanging at least 50 rounds with the suspect, killing him.  Here‘s another look at what happened.

And we‘re going to show that to you in just a second.

But joining us now with more is Sheriff Michael Heldman from Hancock County, Ohio.  His department helped bring down the assailant.  Sheriff, first of all, how are the officers doing who were involved?  I understand they were injured.

SHERIFF MICHAEL HELDMAN, HANCOCK COUNTY, OHIO:  That‘s correct.  One of them, Trooper Grizzard (ph), is mending at home.  He is in good shape.  The other officer, Al Whitenberger (ph), he is currently hospitalized in Lima, having some surgery.  He should be recovering and out of the hospital shortly.

COSBY:  And Sheriff, let me put up the audio we hear, just so we can hear the—what was going on, real quick.  You know, Sheriff, it‘s incredible.  How many officers did it take to contain this guy?

HELDMAN:  Well, approximately at the time when the actual incident was taking place, I believe there was three troopers from the Ohio state highway patrol, the Hancock County sheriff‘s office, we had three officers responding, as well as the Bluffton Police Department.  They had one.  Wood (ph) County sheriff‘s office, who had initially been in the pursuit—they had backed off, but then also responded to the scene, as well.


COSBY:  ... gas station.  Were there any bystanders around?  You know, you just worry about somebody else being in the middle of all this.

HELDMAN:  Unfortunately, there was.  There was a—people to the north of the gas pump where they were filling, there was a grandmother and her 4-year-old grandson in the vehicle, plus the people that was in the vehicle he was trying to hijack.

COSBY:  And what happened to those people?

HELDMAN:  The—Mrs. Heber (ph) was in the vehicle.  She had her seatbelt on.  Once he got into the vehicle, she bent over and basically put her head between her knees.  And when the gunfire started, she was still in the vehicle, remained there until after it was over with.

COSBY:  You know what is stunning to me, Sheriff?  I heard that this guy was wearing, what, a bulletproof vest?  Obviously, clearly heavily armed.  Do you think he was on some sort of plan to go on a crime spree?

HELDMAN:  You know, there is a lot of speculation as to what he was doing.  We did recently find out that he was involved in a drug case in the Detroit area, and he was to be sentenced here in the next few weeks or next week for that crime, up to 20 years in prison.  So we speculate he possibly was trying to obtain new identification, maybe try to start a new life.  But why he was armed and so heavily protected, I don‘t know.

COSBY:  That‘s amazing.  And thank goodness that the officers weren‘t more hurt.  I mean, it is incredible.  Sheriff, thank you.

And let‘s now bring in former West Virginia state trooper Ric Robinson, and also civil rights attorney Leo Terrell.  You know, when you see this, Ric, it is amazing.  You know, the officers were injured, but the only person who was killed was the suspect.  Did cops act appropriately?

RIC ROBINSON, FORMER WV STATE TROOPER:  This was a guy that was desperate.  He had every intention, I‘m sure, of hurting or killing anybody that got in his path.  And I think, unfortunate though it may be that it came down the way that it did, these officers did what they needed to do under the circumstances.  They took out a desperate individual who would have killed anybody who got in his way.

COSBY:  Leo, what‘s your reaction when you see the video?

LEO TERRELL, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  First of all, I don‘t know what this gentleman just said, Ric Robinson just said.  He said this man is desperate to kill anybody?  There was a woman inside the car.  Did he kill her?  And the sheriff never explained the type of gunshot wounds, if there was gunshot wounds to those two officers, Rita.  So this—for Ric Robinson to say this man would kill everybody is outrageous!  Fifty shots, Rita!  Fifty shots...

ROBINSON:  This guy was wearing...


ROBINSON:  Leo, he was wearing a bulletproof vest!

TERRELL:  Fifty shots!  He didn‘t kill that woman...


ROBINSON:  He had a vest on!  He would have killed anybody!  It‘s obvious that he had every intention of harming anyone that got in his way.  The man was wearing a bulletproof vest!


TERRELL:  Rita, there was a...

ROBINSON:  Leo, do you have a vest on?


ROBINSON:  Are you armed and ready right now?

COSBY:  Let me get Leo to respond because, Leo...

TERRELL:  Thank you!

COSBY:  ... why would he have been wearing the bulletproof vest?  And also, on that woman, it turns out that now they may be charging her actually, that she may actually be some of accomplice who was with him, not an innocent victim.

ROBINSON:  No, no, no.  No.  Not...


TERRELL:  Let me answer the question, Rita.


TERRELL:  Let me answer...


TERRELL:  Sir, it‘s my turn!

ROBINSON:  There were two different women involved.

TERRELL:  I want to answer...

ROBINSON:  The woman that we‘re talking about...

TERRELL:  There was a woman in the car...

ROBINSON:  ... in this vehicle was...

COSBY:  Yes, there‘s a woman in the vehicle...


COSBY:  Wait a minute, you guys.  Let me give you the latest.  There was a woman in the vehicle who they are looking at as maybe having some tie.  As you heard from the sheriff, there‘s also totally separate some people who were sort of caught in the crossfire.


ROBINSON:  That‘s not the vehicle!  If I may...

TERRELL:  Rita—sir, let me have a chance in this because...

COSBY:  Go ahead, Leo.

TERRELL:  ... the point here is this, Rita.  There was a—if he was going to kill everybody, Rita—after he left his car, he went to another car, where there was a woman in the second car.  He didn‘t kill her~!  He didn‘t shoot at her!  And this woman—this guy was shot...

ROBINSON:  He came out shooting!

TERRELL:  He did not shoot her!

ROBINSON:  He came out with two guns...

TERRELL:  He did not shoot her!

ROBINSON:  ... and started shooting.

COSBY:  Yes, Ric...

ROBINSON:  He shot...

TERRELL:  Rita...


COSBY:  What do you do—I mean, you‘re authorities, and this guy is clearly—he provoked them.  Look, I mean, he was firing first, Ric.

ROBINSON:  Let me—let me clear something...

TERRELL:  Fifty shots, Rita!

ROBINSON:  ... up.  There were actually two women...

TERRELL:  Fifty shots!

ROBINSON:  ... that we‘re talking about.  One of them earlier, she got out of the vehicle.  She was with Henry.  But the woman in the vehicle, she was an innocent person.  She was from Canada.  Her husband was...

TERRELL:  And he did not kill her!


COSBY:  There‘s a whole separate group.

ROBINSON:  But they didn‘t realize she was in the vehicle...

COSBY:  But I‘m talking about that he also had an accomplice with him, Ric.  That‘s what I‘m referring to.  So what do you do, Ric?

ROBINSON:  She was—she was let out of the vehicle...

COSBY:  What do you do...

ROBINSON:  ... earlier.

COSBY:  What should cops do when somebody opens fire like that?  What can they do, Ric?

ROBINSON:  Well, that‘s the sad reality here.  This guy had already opened fire on them.  He shot two of the troopers.  They didn‘t realize that woman was inside the vehicle.  And they took the appropriate action...

TERRELL:  Rita, it was...

ROBINSON:  ... under the circumstances.  But...

TERRELL:  Rita, it was target practice~!

ROBINSON:  ... as soon as the trooper said, Hey, there‘s a lady...

TERRELL:  It was target practice!

ROBINSON:  ... in there, they stopped shooting, and he ended up shooting another trooper.

TERRELL:  They did not stop shooting!  They—Rita, let me just (INAUDIBLE) say this.  They did not stop shooting!  Fifty shots!  And those shots were not justified.  If you look right there, if you look there, there‘s constant shooting, and these officers are shooting—they don‘t—they‘re not even in sequence!

ROBINSON:  You know, Leo...

TERRELL:  Fifty shots!

ROBINSON:  ... you‘re giving us this...


ROBINSON:  ... mentality.  The truth of the matter...

COSBY:  Now, Ric—but Ric, let‘s...

ROBINSON:  ... is they did stop shooting!

COSBY:  Stop one second, Ric.  I got to get you to respond to what Leo said...


COSBY:  ... because Leo does bring up a point.  Fifty shots exchanged, a lot of them by the officers.  Doesn‘t that seem like a lot, Ric?

TERRELL:  Yes, Ric...

ROBINSON:  You know something...


COSBY:  Ric—go ahead, Ric.

ROBINSON:  ... the important point to remember here—Leo—is to remember that all of those shots...

TERRELL:  It‘s skin color!

ROBINSON:  ... were concentrated in that area...

TERRELL:  It‘s because of skin color!

ROBINSON:  ... and were hitting this guy on his bullet-resistant...

TERRELL:  It‘s because—no!

ROBINSON:  ... vest!

TERRELL:  IT‘s because of his color!


ROBINSON:  He knew he was going back to prison!

TERRELL:  You want to know why 50 shots?

ROBINSON:  And so he...

TERRELL:  Because of this!

ROBINSON:  ... took those guns...

TERRELL:  Because of his color.

ROBINSON:  ... and planned to kill anybody that got in his way, anybody that stopped what he intended to do!

TERRELL:  Rita...

ROBINSON:  Those officers...

TERRELL:  Fifty shots...

ROBINSON:  ... did not fire until...

TERRELL:  ... because of his skin color!

ROBINSON:  ... they were fired upon!

COSBY:  Let‘s let Leo—Leo, go ahead and respond.

ROBINSON:  Skin color?  Rita...


COSBY:  Just Leo!  Just Leo!


TERRELL:  Every time I come on...

ROBINSON:  You‘re going to turn this into some...

TERRELL:  Let me finish!

ROBINSON:  ... race-baiting issue?

TERRELL:  Yes!  It is a race issue!  It‘s always a race issue!

ROBINSON:  It is not!


ROBINSON:  The truth of the matter is, Leo, you hate cops!

TERRELL:  Rita, I have never seen...

ROBINSON:  That‘s the problem!

TERRELL:  I have never seen...

ROBINSON:  Leo, you hate cops!

TERRELL:  ... a program—I‘ve never seen a program...

ROBINSON:  You hate law enforcement officers!

TERRELL:  Hey...

ROBINSON:  That‘s what the real issue is!


ROBINSON:  Admit it, Leo!  You hate law enforcement officers!

TERRELL:  I have never seen a white person...

ROBINSON:  You don‘t like police...

TERRELL:  ... shot 50 times, Rita!

ROBINSON:  ... and you‘ll do whatever you have to do...

TERRELL:  Yes, yes.  Sure, sure.


COSBY:  I‘m going to give you both 10 seconds.  And Ric, I‘ll give you 10 seconds first, and then Leo, you respond.  Don‘t interrupt, you guys.  Go ahead.

TERRELL:  Thank you.  Thank you.

COSBY:  Ric?

ROBINSON:  I think that this was—this was very unfortunate that these officers were put in these circumstances, but law enforcement officers are given the absolute duty, the sworn duty to uphold the law and keep the public as safe as they can.  This guy had to be stopped, and the only way they could stop a man with a bullet-resistant vest on was to shoot him and kill him.

COSBY:  All right, Leo, you get the last word.


ROBINSON:  Thank God he‘s the one that‘s dead!

TERRELL:  Thank you.  Thank you.

COSBY:  Let me give Leo the last word.  Leo, go ahead.  You got it.

TERRELL:  Thank you.  I beg you to bring me back on the program when a white male is shot at 50 times.  Only black people are shot at 50 times.  Please, I beg you...

ROBINSON:  Mother of God!

TERRELL:  ... to bring me on whenever a white person...

ROBINSON:  This is insane!

TERRELL:  ... is shot 50 times.

ROBINSON:  To turn this into a race issue...

TERRELL:  That‘s my point.  It‘s always race!

ROBINSON:  One of the troopers...

TERRELL:  It‘s always race!

ROBINSON:  ... who was on the scene—one of the troopers that was on the scene was a Latino!  So you‘re turning...


COSBY:  Hey, guys, that‘s going to have to be the last word...


ROBINSON:  It‘s unfortunate that you would do this.

COSBY:  Guys, it‘s going to have to be the last word.

ROBINSON:  And absolutely wrong!

COSBY:  And again, remember, this guy in this case—forget skin color, you guys.  He obviously was wanted for a lot of different things.  Thank you both very much.

And there was also another dramatic chase today, also in the state of Ohio.  This one ends with a massive explosion and two of the three suspects still on the run tonight.  Take a look.  Police near Columbus were in hot pursuit of three armed men Thursday when the suspects crashed into a utility pole.  The impact knocked out a transformer and sparked the explosion.  The men were wanted for stealing a man‘s wallet at gunpoint.

And still ahead tonight: Mother or father?  Police arrest a woman for kidnapping her own children, but wait until you hear what crafty twist she used to throw off authorities.

And what to do with illegal immigrants, as protesters flood the streets in their support.  The president of Mexico is making news in my exclusive interview.  That is coming up.


COSBY:  And tonight, we begin a special series of reports on the contentious battle over America‘s borders.  Today, for the fifth straight day, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in various cities, rallying for immigration reform. 

I recently sat down with the man in the middle of this firestorm, Mexican President Vicente Fox, for an exclusive interview.  We‘re going to you that in just a moment. 

But first, let‘s bring in Dan Stein.  He‘s the president of Federation for American Immigration Reform.  And also on the phone with us is California State Senator Gilbert Cedillo. 

Dan, let me start with you.  Why are you opposed to what some of these folks are marching for? 

DAN STEIN, FED. FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM:  Well, come on, Rita!  Since when are we going to let people just force their way into the country by the millions and basically steal residence, our jobs, our benefit programs, crash our schools, and say, “Look, I got a right to be here, basically, because I don‘t care what your law says.” 

I mean, why do I pay taxes, why do I respect U.S. law, when we have a whole segment of people, millions of people from another country, and now we‘ve got a foreign government in Mexico basically trying to tell us what we ought to do with our immigration policy, orchestrating these phony bologna demonstrations that say, “Hey, we don‘t have the right to control our own borders.” 

COSBY:  Let me bring in Senator Cedillo, because I‘m sure he feels differently.  Is that all phony bologna, Senator? 

STATE SEN. GILBERT CEDILLO (D), CALIFORNIA:  No, it‘s not phony bologna.  There‘s obviously an effort and a discussion and a serious debate which wants to address our concerns for immigration and for national security.  We need to have a balanced approach, one that recognizes the needs of our economy. 

COSBY:  Senator, why has it reached a boiling point?  It seems like it‘s really hit.  I mean, these pictures are stunning.  I mean, in California, you know, hundreds of thousands of people.  Why has it hit that point? 

CEDILLO:  Well, immigrants are an integral part of our economic life.  They want to participate and be more involved in our civic, social and political life. 

And so the proposals that were part of the House proposals were extremely draconian.  You‘re talking about people who are brought here—people who come here to work, and then people who are brought here by their parents—no choice of their own—told that they‘re going to be felons, that they‘re going to be criminals, and without due process.  And so that‘s a very extreme, draconian proposal, and so their response is, you know, somewhat appropriate. 

COSBY:  You can tell it‘s—Senator, and both of you, hold on, if you could, because I also asked the president of Mexico specifically about his efforts to reach an immigration agreement with the U.S.  This is something he wants desperately, and here‘s what he has said. 


VICENTE FOX, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO:  I‘m sure that, maybe this year, we are at the end of the problem, of a problem, an issue that is a shared responsibility. 

I understand very well that, at this point in time, it‘s the U.S.

Congress which will have the lead on the issue and will take the position.  I don‘t think building a wall or trying to take that kind of measures will help the issue. 

I think we both have the capacity to make sure that, in an intelligent way, we can pay full respect to those who are working and contributing to U.S. economy right now. 

COSBY:  Mr. President, what do you think of what Senator Arlen Specter is proposing, this virtual wall, where there would be surveillance on much of the border? 

FOX:  Well, I think it‘s good to us in Mexico, but once we‘ll reach an agreement on migration, of course—at that very same moment, we must accept that we need intense security throughout the border, but security doesn‘t mean walls. 

It‘s clear to us that we need modern technological mechanisms to control drug smuggling, to control people transiting illegally to control federalism and else.  And we think that, by reaching an agreement, it‘s the best and most important step for security in the United States. 


COSBY:  You know, Dan, I want to show you.  This is pretty interesting.  We heard from him about a million cross a day, but he says there‘s 11 million illegal immigrants right now and about 56 percent of them, if you look at the chart, are from Mexico. 

Is this something that we can solve through issues that maybe Bush will address this week?  I know the president is going to be meeting with him in this sort of trilateral meeting with the Canada prime minister.

STEIN:  Well, Bush and Fox seem to have one view, which is that we‘re supposed to take everybody Mexico wants to send here, because they‘re a failed regime that hasn‘t reformed their own economy.  And they didn‘t take advantage of NAFTA.  They haven‘t had balanced infrastructure.

And the real issue here is:  Are we ever going to enforce immigration laws in the interior?  We‘ve got employers who just basically reap the benefit of low-cost labor at the expense of American citizens, hardworking American families.  And there‘s absolutely no commitment by the Senate Judiciary Committee to crack down on and make real the enforcement priorities that are needed to stop this hemorrhage of the borders. 

COSBY:  But, Dan, are you saying kick everybody out? 

STEIN:  We have to do a slow, orderly repatriation of people who have come illegally so that—look, we have a responsibility to do jobs in our own country; Mexico has the responsibility to do jobs in its country, and this business has simply got to stop. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in the senator.  Senator, I mean, come on, there‘s a lot of very productive people, though, in our society that are trying to be good citizens.  What do you say to them? 

CEDILLO:  Well, I mean there‘s nothing to say to them.  We have low unemployment, and people are given jobs by employers.  They‘re doing jobs that other people can‘t do or won‘t do.  I mean, that‘s nothing to say that other people are hardworking.  People who are hardworking need to be treated fairly, and justly, and be paid a fair wage. 

They are not threatened, or impacted, or damaged by an immigrant workforce.  In fact, they benefit from an immigrant workforce.  It‘s permitted and allows, in many instances, women to enter the workforce.  They‘re very productive.  Here in California, they‘re a major factor in our global competitiveness and our global advantage. 

So there‘s nothing these workers—workers aren‘t against workers here.  It‘s not workers against workers.  These are workers who are doing jobs that other Americans don‘t do or won‘t do. 

COSBY:  Well, both of you, hang on, both of you, because I want to play a little bit more.  This is more of my exclusive interview—because I specifically asked the president of Mexico about the idea of sort of creating a border wall.  Would that have any impact or not?  This is what he had to say. 


FOX:  Fences don‘t solve the problem.  It only means offensive to many people.  We need to build consortively a future.  There is this book or this film, what would California do without Mexicans right there?  I mean, I think that we can find very intelligent solutions, very constructive to really have a win-win station. 

COSBY:  Do you believe the U.S. will be begging for Mexican workers, though? 

FOX:  Let‘s put it this way:  U.S. economy will need additional labor than what they have, because population growth in the United States is not growing. 

COSBY:  What do you say to U.S. lawmakers who say the way to protect our border with Mexico is by increasing the U.S. military presence there? 

FOX:  No, it‘s not the way to solve it.  Right there on the border, there is one million persons, people crossing every day.  They work on an everyday basis.  They‘re a (INAUDIBLE)


COSBY:  You know, Dan, I want to show you.  This was interesting.  The four states that are affected most by illegal immigrants, and it‘s surprising.  Obviously, California, Texas, Florida, and New York is another one.  I mean, if you‘re talking about this—does a fence do anything.  I mean, is that even an issue? 

STEIN:  Well, look, you need strategic fencing.  It‘s already been proven effective in some areas.  You need to use it everywhere where it matters. 

But, Rita, millions of Americans couldn‘t go down and crash Mexico‘s borders and then demand citizenship and benefits down there.  There is no reciprocity in this relationship. 

And that‘s—we‘ve got to start getting—you know, there‘s a crisis of legitimacy in the immigration system and, frankly, in the U.S. rule of law.  And that‘s what Congress ought to be focusing on, not amnesty programs that reward lawbreakers and encourage more job-taking by people who have no right to these jobs. 

COSBY:  Let me bring in the senator.  Senator, you‘ve got just a few seconds, real quick.  Is it just a one-way street?  Are we just like a floodgate for illegal immigrants? 

CEDILLO:  No, we‘re not.  Actually, we should thank immigrants for the contribution they make to our great country.  We are a country with a unique immigrant history.  This is another chapter in the great history of the American experience.  It‘s nothing new. 

Our economy depends on this immigrant workforce.  People do not steal jobs.  No one steals a job.  You‘re offered a job, and you accept it.  Employers give jobs to people who are willing to work, and those jobs are done today by immigrants, and we all benefit from that. 

COSBY:  All right, both of you...

CEDILLO:  They subsidize our standard of living, and we need to, as the president says, conform our laws to meet our current realities. 

COSBY:  All right, both of you, thank you very much.  We appreciate both of you being here.

And our special series on America‘s border battle is going to continue tomorrow with more of my exclusive interview with Mexico‘s president. 

Plus, LIVE & DIRECT goes to one of the most dangerous spots on the Mexico-Arizona border to see what agents there are doing to stop potentially deadly criminals, including terrorists, from sneaking into our country. 

We‘re going to show you all of that.  You do not want it miss it, tomorrow night. 

And still ahead this hour, new details in the hunt for a serial killer.  Are police any closer to finding the person stalking women at a popular Florida vacation spot?  The sister of one of those victims is going to join me, live.

And a case of gender confusion at the center of a bizarre kidnapping.  Tonight, a woman accused of stealing her own kids and having them call her Daddy speaks to me from behind bars.


COSBY:  And, tonight, a serial killer is on the loose in the popular resort town of Daytona Beach, Florida.  And now police think he may strike again. 

The killer has killed three women in three months by luring them into his car, then shooting them.  His last victim was killed in February, and authorities describe all his female victims as leading high-risk lifestyles. 

Joining me now is Rhonda Iwanski.  Her sister, Julie Green, was murdered in January.  And also joining us is Captain Brian Skipper of the Daytona Police Department. 

Captain, I‘m going to start with you real quick.  You know, he struck every month, what, since December.  How concerned are you that he‘s going to hit again? 

CAPTAIN BRIAN SKIPPER, DAYTONA POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Well, we‘re concerned.  I can tell you that we‘re prepared.  Of course, there‘s only one person who knows what kind of timeline is going to be established, and that‘s the perpetrator himself. 

COSBY:  You know, what clues—what are the biggest sort of threads that you‘re seeing between all of them, Captain? 

SKIPPER:  Well, I can‘t get into the specifics of the evidence that we‘ve collected that has connected all of these homicides together, but I can tell you that, early on, we saw striking similarities between each homicide, so much so that we felt the need to call in experts in criminal profiling to take a look at our cases.  And after they reviewed those cases, visited the crime scenes, looked at our evidence, it was clear that this appeared to be the work of one person. 

COSBY:  You know, Rhonda, tell us about your sister, if you could. 

RHONDA IWANSKI, SISTER MURDERED:  My best memories are when she was younger.  And I have very fond memories.  We had a lot of fun together.  I used to take my sisters horseback riding, you know, gator farm, Marine Land, Disneyworld.  She was always the center of attention everywhere we went. 

COSBY:  And this was your little sister, right...


IWANSKI:  Yes, she was my youngest sister.

COSBY:  How did you find out that she was killed, unfortunately? 

IWANSKI:  Sunday morning, the day after she was killed, my stepfather had given me a call.  He e-mailed me, actually.  He e-mailed me about 8:30 that morning, and I called him at 10.  And he told me that she had been murdered. 

COSBY:  Do you have, or your family, or even her friends, or anyone who knows her have any clue who might have done this or who maybe she was with that night? 

IWANSKI:  Absolutely no idea. 

COSBY:  Did you have any idea what kind of profession or lifestyle she was leading? 

IWANSKI:  We, you know, kind of had suspicions, but, you know, it wasn‘t discussed. 

COSBY:  Was she someone who would be careful, I guess, you know, even given the situation that she was placed in?  And I think maybe she might have been involved in prostitution in some form.  But is she still the type of person who would be careful, looking over her shoulder, somebody acting unusual? 

IWANSKI:  To be honest, as far as that goes, all I know is what I‘ve read in the papers, you know?  I don‘t know that much about that side of—

I don‘t know that much about her lifestyle.  You know, I mean, I know she had a high-risk lifestyle.  But as far as how she conducted that lifestyle, I don‘t know. 

COSBY:  Would you like to say—because, of course, as you just heard from the captain, they believe there‘s a spread between these three killings, including your sister‘s.  What would you like to say to anybody out there who has any information about this case and maybe saw something or something unusual? 

IWANSKI:  Rita, I would just ask that anybody, anybody that has any information—I don‘t care how insignificant they think it is—to please contact the Daytona Beach Police Department, Crime Stoppers, let them make the determination. 

COSBY:  You know, and, in fact, we have the number.  In fact, everybody, you‘re seeing the number there, it‘s 386-671-8477. 

You know, Captain, any theories that it might be someone posing as an officer?  We‘ve seen some reports of that.

SKIPPER:  Yes, we‘ve heard the same reports; we‘ve heard the same rumors.  And at this point, all theories are wide-open.  We haven‘t focused on any particular person or occupation.  So I guess, in short, the answer to your question is, yes, it could be.  But, again, that‘s not the focus of our investigation. 

COSBY:  You know, Rhonda, how is your family doing?  And what do you want to see happen if this person is caught? 

IWANSKI:  If this person is caught and convicted of the crime, I want to see the death penalty.  I want to be on the front row. 

COSBY:  Rhonda, thank you very much.  And I hope you get justice for your sister. 

IWANSKI:  Thank you.  Thank you for having me on. 

COSBY:  Thank you very much.

And, of course, again, everybody, if we can put up that number again, if you have any information, please call the Daytona Police Department.  Please call immediately if you have anything that could be connected to this case. 

And coming up, lost and found, and now wanted, the latest twist in the case of a couple rescued in a snowbound trailer.  Plus, when cops arrested Shellie White, the children asks cops a very bizarre question:  Why are you arresting our daddy?  This woman gives me a jailhouse interview to explain her cross-dressing kidnapping charges.  It is a bizarre tale. 


COSBY:  And now to a bizarre story of a mom who is accused of abducting her own kids and posing as their father to hide from authorities, even going so far as to grow a mustache and a goatee.  Shellie White was arrested just this past Friday after disappearing more than two years ago. 

But in one of her first interviews from behind bars, Shellie claimed she was not trying to disguise herself from the police. 


SHELLIE WHITE, ACCUSED OF ABDUCTING HER KIDS:  Since I was very young, I‘ve always looked very masculine.  Even as a child, I was a little tomboy. 

While I was married to Ernie, I kept my hair long because it kept a more normal—because we were married.  But Ernie did know that, before I was married to him, before we were together, that my lifestyle was alternative. 

COSBY:  Were you trying to evade authorities with the new look?  I mean, they were saying that this was sort of all a disguise, that you were changing yourself from a woman to a man?

WHITE:  No, ma‘am.  I mean, it‘s not something—I took the kids and then went and chopped my hair off. 

COSBY:  Are you saying that this was, like, a hormonal and natural change, nothing that you induced?

WHITE:  Besides just cutting my hair, that‘s all.  Everything else, the facial hair and what have you that I get, is caused from a condition called PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. 

COSBY:  They say that you were using your husband‘s name, you were using other men‘s names, sounding like you were hiding?

WHITE:  OK, what the deal with that is, I never used Ernie‘s name for anything except for when I would register the kids for school, because you have to list mother and father on there.  I had to list his name.

While I was gone, I was employed under my name, my Social Security number.  My kids went to school under their names, their Social Security numbers.  And everything was legal.

I didn‘t even know I was on the run until Friday night when they busted in my house. 

COSBY:  Now, U.S. marshals say that, when you were arrested, your children, who are six and eight now, said, “Why are they arresting daddy?”  Why would they say that?  Why did your kids think you were daddy? 

WHITE:  My son, whenever he went into school, the kids kind of teased him when I would go pick him up from school, because they would tell him, “Your mommy looks like a daddy.”  So, in front of his little friends, he would call me daddy.  At home and in private, he would call me mommy, and it wasn‘t a problem. 

COSBY:  Now, your daughter said this about you.  She said, “After a while, he started asking us to call him daddy.  We got real confused.”

WHITE:  I think she said that, but I remember having a very lengthy conversation with her, and she started telling me—she said, well, daddies are mostly he‘s, boys, not girls.  I said, “You‘re right.  Daddies are boys, and I‘m not a boy.” 

COSBY:  Why did you suddenly take off with your kids?  And do you think you‘re going to see them again?

WHITE:  I will—I‘m hoping I‘ll see them again.  And I didn‘t suddenly take off with them.  I let Ernie know what I was doing, and there wasn‘t a problem with it.  I went to Virginia, picked up a friend, and we went and lived in Connecticut.  And he knew where I was.  He had my address.  He had the telephone number.  He could have contacted me at any time.

COSBY:  What charges are you facing now, Shellie, and what are you worried about?

WHITE:  They have told me that my—I have two counts of custodial interference, is what they told me, which I‘m told is defined by taking your children and withholding them from, I guess, the other parent or guardian. 

To my knowledge, because I never actually withheld them from anybody, he could have at any time either came and got them or said, “Hey, bring them home.”  I haven‘t really broken a law. 


COSBY:  And that was our interview with Shellie White, who is still behind bars tonight.

And still ahead, find out why a couple rescued on national television from a snow bank has now vanished again.  That‘s coming up.


COSBY:  And tonight, there‘s an all-points bulletin out for a family that was lost then found, and now lost again.

You may have seen this family after they were rescued when their RV got stuck in a snow bank in the mountains of Oregon.  But it turns out that two of the family members, Albert and Becky Higgenbothem, were wanted in Arizona for drug and gun charges. 

An Arizona investigator recognized them when he saw them on TV, but after being lost then found, they are now lost again and being considered fugitives by authorities.  Relatives say they last saw the couple heading back to Arizona in the same RV that they got stuck in. 

And coming up tomorrow night right here on LIVE & DIRECT, a rare interview with Mohammed Al Fayed.  He speaks emotionally about his late son‘s death, along with Princess Diana.  That is all tomorrow night, right here.  Find out what he thinks happened to Princess Diana.

And that does it for me.  Thanks for joining us, everybody.  I‘m Rita Cosby.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with my pal, Joe, who‘s sitting a few feet away from me, starts right now—Joe?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST:  Hey, thanks a lot, Rita.



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