Guests: Josh Gerstein, Tim Susanin, Elizabeth Holtzman, Jackie Alvarez, Alana Dill, Bethany Marshall, Joe Vollen, Lisa Bloom, Joe Tacopina, Andrew Jacobs, Dina Sansing, Carmen Rasmusen
CATHERINE CRIER, GUEST HOST: Welcome, everybody. We have got a packed show tonight, including an emotional battle over the new 9/11 movie. Is it too soon? Plus paying for rent with sex instead of money. And “American Idol” outrage—Why so many are angry about last night‘s show.
But first, a bombshell in the C.I.A. leak investigation. New documents uncovered today show that Lewis “Scooter” Libby told a grand jury it was the White House that allowed him to leak information to a “New York Times” reporter. The New York Sun was the first to break the story. And today we‘ll talk to that reporter. But, if the claims are true, the President may have some explaining to do in this messy two-and-a-half-year leak saga.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Justice Department calls for an investigation into who leaked the name of a C.I.A. officer, and the President tells his White House staff to completely cooperate.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don‘t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I‘d like to know it. And we‘ll take the appropriate action.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States.
BUSH: If there‘s a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.
MCCLELLAN: I think the way to be most helpful is to not give any comment on it while it is an ongoing investigation.
BUSH: If the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big story of the day, of course. The indictment of Scooter Libby, the Vice President‘s chief aide and also his resignation.
BUSH: Today I accepted the resignation of Scooter Libby.
PATRICK FITZGERALD, C.I.A. LEAK SPECIAL COUNSEL: A few hours ago, a federal grand jury, sitting in the District of Columbia, returned a five-count indictment against I. Lewis Libby, also known as Scooter Libby, the vice president‘s chief of staff.
BUSH: Special counsel Fitzgerald‘s investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious. And now the proceedings—the process moves into a new phase.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we are just getting word apparently of a development today in the C.I.A. leak probe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here‘s the blockbuster. According to the prosecution document, Scooter Libby testified that he was authorized to disclose classified information, because he had been authorized by Vice President Cheney and President Bush.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you condemned leaking throughout your administration. Do you have any comments about the new Scooter Libby report?
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: The president has said that he‘d fire anyone who leaked this kind of information. But it now seems that he authorized leaks just like this in the first place. The American people deserve the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: Well, Scooter Libby‘s testimony was first revealed by the “New York Sun” early this morning. And joining me now is “New York Sun” national reporter, Josh Gerstein, who worked into the wee hours of the morning cracking this story. Josh, we keep hearing leaking certain information but we keep focusing on Valerie Plame. Do we know yet what Scooter Libby told the Grand Jury he was authorized to leak?
JOSH GERSTEIN, NATIONAL REPORTER, NEW YORK SUN: Well, we don‘t know
exactly. We don‘t have transcripts of what he said to the Grand Jury. But
it appears that what he says he was authorized to leak was nothing that had
to do directly with Valerie Plame or her husband, Joe Wilson. But instead
it was information about an intelligence assessment that was done a couple
a year or so earlier about Iraq‘s weapons of mass destruction. And the White House felt that releasing that information would undercut some of the things that Ambassador Wilson was saying.
So the President isn‘t accused of releasing the most sensitive information here, which arguably is Ms. Plame‘s identity. But he does apparently—or did apparently authorize the release of some classified information.
CRIER: And what was the conduit? Did Libby say that he got this permission from Cheney, who said that President Bush said to leak it? Do we know what that chain was?
GERSTEIN: Right, it‘s basically double hearsay at this point. We have Mr. Libby saying that Vice President Cheney said that he went to President Bush, and President Bush authorized the release of this information. Mr. Libby says that the vice president did this after Mr. Libby expressed some concern that it might not be legal to just go ahead and do it on the vice president‘s say-so. So he got the President‘s say-so, as well.
CRIER: All right. What do you think about the reaction today? Certainly, the President wasn‘t wanting to talk about this. What other reaction on the Hill, and your thoughts about it?
GERSTEIN: Well, the democrats have very naturally jumped all over this. I mean, there‘s obviously a point of political vulnerability here for the President, because he and his administration have been so much out there arguing that the release of classified information is a very, very serious matter; that it should never happen; that people who do it should go to jail; that the nation‘s secrets have to be treated very, very, carefully.
And then to have this situation where it appears that this information was released in a rather haphazard fashion, it was only two days after Ambassador Wilson wrote his op-ed piece. It seems that Vice President Cheney went to the President and immediately got permission to release this very sensitive information about intelligence on Iraq. It doesn‘t seem like it went through the full vetting process. And so there are a lot of questions about whether the proper safeguards for what was at least sensitive information were followed. It took about another 10 days before this information was actually declassified in a more formal way to the public generally.
CRIER: All right. We‘ve got to look at the legalities of all of this. Josh, thank you very much for your work, for the report. I want to bring in, Tim Susanin. He‘s a former federal prosecutor under Ken Starr, former congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. She sat on the House Judiciary Committee that held impeachment hearings of President Nixon.
All right. Let‘s talk, Tim, a little bit about the legalities here. It seems to be a consensus that there appears to be nothing legally amiss for the President.
TIM SUSANIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think that‘s right, Catherine. And I think Josh hit the nail on the head when he used the phrase political vulnerability. This is one of those things that just doesn‘t look good or sound good, when you hear that information ultimately came from the President.
But I think what‘s being lost in the reporting here is the President, under an executive order, does have the authority to declassify information. And of course the minute he does that, it‘s no longer classified, it‘s not leaking, it‘s not a crime. I think we saw, a month or two ago, him do the same thing with regard to an attack on a building in Los Angeles that had been planned by Al-Qaeda. He‘s the commander in chief. His job is to marshal support for the war on terror, and he decides when it will help that support to let pieces of information like this intelligence report get out there.
CRIER: Are there any fine points there that we probably wouldn‘t find out about anyway in terms of—you talk about executive order, he can do certain things. Can he simply say what he wishes or dispense this information and come back later and say, well, at some point I may have declassified this?
SUSANIN: Well, I think there probably is a safeguard process that Josh alluded to. But the way the court filings read today was that that issue was flagged by Scooter Libby, and the vice president appeared to anyway have gone back and looked into it. And his now chief of staff, Libby‘s successor and at that time Cheney‘s counsel, David Addington also weighed in on the legality of this. So, you know, I guess we‘ll have to see.
I think what‘s interesting, though, is if there had been a violation, technical or otherwise, let‘s remember Catherine that the grand jurors, the prosecutor, had this information since 2004. I think we certainly would have seen some action if there was really anything to this on the legal front.
CRIER: All right. And more specifically about Valerie Plame. And obviously we have no information as to whether she was part of the permissible leak. If she wasn‘t, if it was simply about W.M.D. and she got caught up in the mix, in the translation through Vice President Cheney, any potential liability there?
SUSANIN: Well, again, I think we‘re limited to what we know. And when you look back at what was released from the court today, these really are two very separate things. You have an investigation into who really unmasked her, and then the resulting alleged perjury and false statements made by Scooter Libby on one hand. That‘s very different from the administration responding to Joseph Wilson‘s op-ed piece.
As you know, the administration and its press office responds all the time to incidents, to articles, to interviews. Joseph Wilson had really been working the hustings in the beltway for a couple of months by the time the op-ed piece came out. And it‘s a very different thing to come out and try to respond, get information out there that would knock down his claim that there was nothing to this uranium issue.
CRIER: All right. Liz, do you agree that basically there‘s not any legal liability? A situation that you confronted when we were looking at Richard Nixon—he was an unindicted co-conspirator, he was part and parcel, but they were not pursuing him with an indictment. Is there any jeopardy here for either the President or Vice President?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBER: Well, I think that‘s a very important question. And I think you can‘t infer from the fact that there‘s been no indictment by the grand jury of anybody else, particularly the President or the vice president in connection with this, about anything.
Because if you remember, going back to Watergate, the grand jury wanted to indict Richard Nixon in connection with the cover-up. There was obstruction of justice, suborning perjury and on and on and on. And the special prosecutor at that time said that you could not indict a sitting president. And I don‘t know whether Patrick Fitzgerald is operating under that theory, or whether in fact there is no basis for an indictment. But I don‘t think we can, for sure, sitting here now, say that.
I think we don‘t know. And I think the other thing that‘s also important to point out—I mean, aside from the fact that we don‘t know—it is hearsay. We don‘t know yet from the President, that he did authorize this information to be leaked.
But let‘s just step back for a second. You can‘t separate so easily the outing of Valerie Plame, which was a violation of federal statute, and the release of information about the uranium. They were tied together by Lewis Libby in several conversations with the press. So they were seen together. And what you‘d have to assume here is the President said, ok, these things are together, but I‘m only authorizing you to leak about a, but I‘m not authorizing you to leak about b. That‘s a big leap that we have to make in our minds.
That‘s why I think the most crucial thing now is that the President, as Senator Schumer said, to come clean with the American people and say what he did authorize and why he authorized it. And I think there‘s also a very serious question about the process that was used for declassification here, if it was used.
CRIER: And Liz, in the process of all of this, he may or may not choose to come clean with the American people. But what about in a court of law? Scooter Libby is going to be on trial. Could he call him as a witness?
HOLTZMAN: I guess he could. I don‘t know. That might be up to the judge as to whether or not he‘ll let him come. But the Supreme Court seems to say that—have said that presidents have to show up and testify. So who knows?
CRIER: All right. Well, we will obviously continue to follow this developing story. Thank you, Tim Susanin and Elizabeth Holtzman.
SUSANIN: Thanks Catherine.
HOLTZMAN: Thank you.
CRIER: And coming up, the Duke gang rape investigation. New allegations of an entire team out of control long before the alleged attack. We‘ll talk live to a former big-time college lacrosse player for an inside look at the star athlete culture on college campuses.
But first, is it too early to relive the horror of 9/11? A new movie trailer had to be yanked from one theater. Does watching this hurt or heal America? Stay with us.
CRIER: The new film “United 93” isn‘t even out in theaters yet. And at least one Manhattan movie theater has pulled the trailer after audience complaints. The producers of the film defend it as an honest account of that doomed flight that crashed into Pennsylvania field on 9/11. But some critics say it‘s just too soon. We‘ll let you decide for yourself, with a look at the trailer. But full disclosure, “United 93” is distributed by Universal Pictures, which is a part of MSNBC‘s parent company, NBC Universal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to go over to Chris and talk about the forecast, which is a very good one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, actually, conducive to just heading out and enjoying the day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey this is Sandy in the back. Can you call ground and see if we can get some more pillows and blankets?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The meeting last night was great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m certain he‘s thrilled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin boarding. Will all of our first class passengers please make their way over to Gate 7B.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, sir. You just made it. 4G?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we‘ve run into a little bit of rush hour traffic this morning. Unfortunately, it‘s going to be about a 30-minute delay. I appreciate your patience, we‘re currently number one for departure. Flight attendants prepare for takeoff, please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to be home with my babies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sky to 93, Runway 411 clear for takeoff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, CNN‘s reporting a light civil aircraft has just hit the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, that‘s a lot of smoke.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got another one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got another hijacking?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: United 175 dropped his transponder off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a possible hijack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weapons. Scramble those fighters in over Manhattan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Copy that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘ve reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, and I‘m going to turn the fasten seat belt sign off. Now you are safe to move about the cabin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Descending rapidly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This aircraft is going down. I‘m telling you right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here‘s one with juice for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he is. There he is, right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy, look at that!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two aircraft hit the World Trade Center? Just left north, the weather was beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a plane headed toward the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell is wrong out there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we engage, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am on a plane that has been hijacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes sir, I‘ve got F-16s turning and burning toward Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two planes just hit the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wonder who‘s going to help us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to do something right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need rules of engagement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we shoot this flight down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to do it now, because we know what happens if we do nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: So what do you think? Well, we wanted to ask two American citizens who have seen the trailer in the theaters. Jackie Alvarez and Alana Dill join us from Oakland, California. I should say that neither of you know each other. Jackie, let me begin—just your reaction.
JACKIE ALVAREZ, OFFENDED BY UNITED 93 CLIP: It was stunned. I don‘t approve of it. I wouldn‘t want to see it. And I just don‘t see how the families would have ok‘d it. Having been sort of a veteran of World War II, when Pearl Harbor and my father being in the war the whole time, I just can‘t imagine wanting to see something like that. It‘s just too...
CRIER: All right. Well watching the trailer, sitting through that, you know, we could talk about it very antiseptically. But what sort of feelings do you have?
ALVAREZ: Well, you know, I wasn‘t paying a great deal—I mean, that wasn‘t what we came to see, so I just kind of was barely watching it, and I just saw a plane. And then all of a sudden it just turned rather ominous, and even thinking about it, it gives me goose pimples. I don‘t like it. It‘s just way too soon.
CRIER: All right. Alana, what are your thoughts?
ALANA DILL, LIKES UNITED 93 CLIP: Well first of all, I think that it‘s important to make a memorial of the people who went through their experience with 93. And from what I‘ve read, their families all approve of the film. And I don‘t think it‘s appropriate to censor filmmaking or anyone‘s eulogy of the people who lost their lives that day.
My problem was with the trailer itself. I felt that, you know, you‘re sitting there watching this thing and kind of expecting Harrison Ford or Jodie Foster to walk in with their luggage. And it‘s kind of put forth as a thriller. And then you only realize a little of the way into it, that you‘re being roped into a rather cynical marketing ploy. And I found that pretty offensive.
CRIER: Well, and true. Alana, it is—you walk into a movie to watch a particular movie and you don‘t necessarily know what trailers you‘re going to be exposed to. So it‘s one thing to choose to buy a ticket to go see the movie and people may feel very differently if they‘re exposed to the trailer unawares.
DILL: Yes. I do plan to see the movie, but I‘m not going to see it in the theater, because I‘m going to just sit there and bawl my eyes out anyway. If I were sitting there in a theater with a bunch of people, you know, watching them eat their popcorn and go, “oh my God, don‘t open the door.” And, you know, the kind of things that people do in movie theaters. That‘s not appropriate for this. It really ought to be treated as a documentary, and I feel like it‘s being marketed like a thriller. And I feel that‘s really inappropriate.
CRIER: Jackie, you talked about World War II. And of course there has been a tremendous industry of making films about World War II...
ALVAREZ: But didn‘t do it...
CRIER: Is it just a question of distance of time?
ALVAREZ: Yes. During World War II, you know, they showed a lot of gung ho type things that cheered you up, if you had somebody in the war. But it took quite a while before they showed anything real. And by that time you had gotten used to it, you‘ve heard about it. But this is just—
I agree with everything Alana said, though. I agree about the preview and the marketing, but I just think it‘s just way too soon.
CRIER: What sort of reaction, along with your own, Jackie, did you sense in the theater?
ALVAREZ: Well, you know the theater wasn‘t very crowded, so I didn‘t hear any shrikes or—you know, I didn‘t hear a reaction at all. Although I talked with a young lady from “Newsweek,” and she said that she had been told that in one of the theaters, they had all shrieked and made noises and had been very upset. So, that‘s...
CRIER: Yes. All right. Alana Dill and Jackie Alvarez, thank you very, very much.
ALVAREZ: You‘re welcome.
CRIER: It‘s a wonder. Will the movie help the nation heal? Is it too soon? I‘m joined now by Dr. Bethany Marshall, a psychoanalyst. Doctor, I was sitting on the runway at Newark, and I was waiting to take off for the West Coast. This plane took off shortly before we were supposed to. I watched the towers hit out the window of an airplane. I don‘t think I‘m prepared to go see the film. I...
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: No.
CRIER: ...feel uncomfortable watching the trailer.
CRIER: But that‘s me.
MARSHALL: That‘s you. Well, what‘s interesting is that no two people have the same type of trauma response. Some person might go see the trailer or the film, walk out, get on their cell phone, start cracking jokes. Another person might break into tears, ask for the trailer to be pulled, and go home that night and have dreams of, you know, planes falling out of the sky.
And the way to really think about why one person would be traumatized and another wouldn‘t is to think about something called cumulative trauma. When a person has been subjected to a series of traumas, they‘re more likely to be traumatized by an intrusive painful event. For instance, you saw a painful event. Jackie, she was in Pearl Harbor, World War II, and so she‘s seen a lot. So she goes to the movie, and she experiences it as frightening or scary. It‘s going to be yet one more trauma that will have a cumulative effect, and it will impact her negatively.
CRIER: And there really is a difference—and I am so free speech in this country and free expression—all that business. But I think it‘s a legitimate question to say, should there be any sort of a warning? By the way you‘re coming to see a movie. We‘re going to show you a trailer. You may not want to come in until the trailers have run.
MARSHALL: Well, Alana made an interesting point, because the nature of a trauma is that it intrudes from without, without your prior knowledge and you‘re simply too overwhelmed to be able to handle it or cope with it. So let‘s think about going to the experience—the experience of going to the movie theater. All of a sudden this clip starts playing. It‘s very frightening to you. You feel intruded upon. It might be worse than if there were a pamphlet that were handed out or someone had warned you about the content of the movie.
CRIER: What‘s interesting, because we had Rudy Giuliani testifying today in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial. They listened to him go back through all of this, the prosecutors played tapes of people falling from buildings, the 9/11 calls, the debate over playing the 9/11 calls. Already people across the country are having great difficulty with just those momentary visuals.
CRIER: Is it time—in general, is it time, to have a film already on the big screen about this?
MARSHALL: Well, here‘s what I think about that. What happened with 9/11 is that it ruptured our illusion of safety. And I say illusion, because none of us are truly 100 percent safe in the world. But like, I live here in California. I have to believe that there won‘t be an earthquake that will swallow me up. So I feel ok about living here, right?
When an event like that happens, it disrupts all of our illusion, and then we start to think about what could happen to us. So I think with a film like this or with the clips that are shown in court, it has to be done in such a way that people can reassure themselves that they are indeed safe enough. For instance, is there coherence and meaning in the film? Does it provide hope? Does it make people think well, you know, that won‘t be me because I live in a different era or planes are safer at this time? So hopefully the film provides a good message of safety, rather than re-traumatizing people and saying the world is a scary place.
CRIER: Well certainly, the passengers aboard Flight 93 were tremendous heroes, and we want to acknowledge all of that.
CRIER: Dr. Marshall, thank you very much. Thanks to my earlier guests.
Now, coming up, even before the stunning rape allegations, was the Duke lacrosse team out of control? Or is this business as usual for America‘s top college athletes. We‘ll find out first hand what it‘s like to live the life of a star college player.
And was the wrong woman booted off “American Idol”? The outrage over last night‘s shocker.
CRIER: The Duke gang rape case—new allegations of an entire team out of control long before the alleged attack. We‘ll talk live to a former big-time college lacrosse player for an inside look at the star athlete culture on college campuses. But first, here‘s the latest news from MSNBC world headquarters.
CRIER: The cruelest cut was Mandisa, robbed of her chance at the “American Idol” title? Is the show biased?
And free rents, too good to be true? Of course, there‘s got to be some kind of catch and it‘s a doosie.
Welcome back to “Scarborough Country.” I‘m Catherine Crier, in for Joe tonight. Those stories in just minutes.
But first, the Duke lacrosse team under fire amid allegations three of its members raped an exotic dancer they hired to perform at an off-campus party.
And tonight, new allegations that long before this case the Duke lacrosse team had a reputation for being out of control.
Nearly one-third of the 47 players on the team have been charged with disorderly conduct. Professors complain that practices are scheduled during class time. Plus, neighbors say the house where the party took place is known as an animal house.
Well, take a look at part of the open letter from Duke University‘s president. This is what he had to say about the lacrosse team. “There have been reports of persistent problems involving the men‘s lacrosse team, including racist language and a pattern of alcohol abuse and disorderly behavior. They are quite separate from the criminal allegations, and these will address at one.”
My next guest says he‘s not surprised by allegations of out of control behavior.
Joining me now, former Johns Hopkins College lacrosse player, Joe Vollen.
OK, Joe, this is your stuff. Tell us about these teams, tend to be white, pretty well to do. This kind of behavior commonplace?
JOE VOLLEN, FORMER JOHNS HOPKINS LACROSSE PLAYER: I think at any level of collegiate sports and any team, if you‘re an athlete and high profile, people will seek you out. They like to party. They like to have a good time. I don‘t think it‘s any different, you know, at Duke men‘s lacrosse team necessarily.
You need to be able to handle success. And that‘s one thing that coaches kind of tell you from the beginning, when you get to your school. At least at Hopkins, they told you that you‘re going to win, and you know how to act when you were going to win. You weren‘t going to get crazy, you have parties. It happens a lot, but not to that level.
CRIER: OK. When you do get crazy and you do have parties, because it does happen, it‘s necessary that there be some authority, whether it‘s inside the group or outside, that says ok, you guys have crossed a line. Tone it down. These guys kept getting into trouble, getting into trouble. Do we look up the chain of command to say somebody was messing up?
VOLLEN: Absolutely. We‘re in college. We‘re kids. We‘re not—you know, people like to say college players are grown men and this. We‘re learning. We‘re still away from home from the first time. You need to be able to—from the top down, these values need to be instilled in the players.
Like I said, the first day we got to Johns Hopkins, our coaches told us from day one, this is what‘s going to happen. People are going to want to hang out with you. There will be no trouble, no nothing. So we had a good time, but we didn‘t want to put ourselves in positions where, right off the bat, we would be reprimanded by our coaches, let alone police and, in turn the whole country.
CRIER: OK. Well, I apologize if I say that‘s very noble, but I went to college, too. I saw a lot of the jocks around. There was a lot of craziness. I assume the wild parties, the drinking, the carousing and things getting out of hand, you‘ve probably seen a bit of that yourself.
VOLLEN: Absolutely. It happens. But we, the captains, the leaders of the team, the people on the team need to step up in situations like that and say you‘re going a little too far. Have a good time and enjoy yourselves, but when you‘re belittling other people or you‘re hurting somebody or you‘re going over the line, that‘s going a little too far. And kids need to be able to step up in that position and say, hey bud, you‘re going too far. Tone it down.
CRIER: OK. Do you know these guys over at Duke?
VOLLEN: I know a few players there, yes.
CRIER: What was the word on this group?
VOLLEN: I think they‘re a group like any other college team, except I guess they couldn‘t handle success.
Last year, they had a good year. They went to the national championship. This year, they‘re pre-seasoned ranked number two. And they‘ve had successes in the past few years, but apparently they didn‘t really know how to handle it.
I think they need to be kind of scrutinized from their coaches and from people higher up in the university to make sure that they don‘t mess up right now.
A lot of teams that are not as high profile might have a little way leeway. But if you‘re at the top level of any sport, you really need to handle yourself in that fashion.
CRIER: What about particularly the sports of lacrosse and, I guess, hockey is the other one that I think of, that are more white males, I think, others sports, white males are not necessarily the stars on a regular basis. Does that lend credence to the racist allegations we‘re hearing?
VOLLEN: Yes. It doesn‘t totally surprise me because a lot of lacrosse players are brought up in all-white communities or go to prep schools and are never really faced with culture and diversity. Where I went to high school, it was predominantly black, and these things, if they were said, you‘d get beat up or you‘d be handled so.
A lot of these kids don‘t ever deal with that. And it starts with the parents. They should instill certain values in their kids, let them know about culture, diversity. And I think this sport needs to kind of maybe make a move and kind of recruit more of these athletes and black players and diverse the sport, because then the sport could take off.
CRIER: As much as you want members of the team to help monitor one another. You want coaches and others keeping control. But how does campus react? I‘ve read the phrase; we were gods on campus. Other kids dealt with us that way. We could basically walk out of the professors‘ classes and nobody was getting down on us. Is that really the atmosphere that these kids are living in?
VOLLEN: I‘m sure it is. I can only speak from my personal experience at Johns Hopkins, and I knew that at Hopkins our coaches would check our classes, they‘d make us fill out progress reports, how we‘re doing, any tests we got, any papers we had to do. We had to write down all that stuff, so we were closely monitored.
Maybe other schools don‘t do that as much. Maybe they should. I kind of personally like a little bit of freedom, but if your kids are going to get out of hand, you need to make sure they stay on the straight and narrow.
I know a lot of other sports have probably had to deal with it in the past without going to class. And just because it‘s lacrosse and a bunch of white guys, them not going to class—a lot of sports people don‘t go to class. That‘s just how it is. But it‘s up to the coaches to make sure they go. And it‘s up to the students to want to learn.
CRIER: OK. Well, Joe, hang on. I want to bring in couple of other individuals now.
Our sports psychologist, Dr. Andrew Jacobs, host of the “Sports Psychology Hour.” And Court TV‘s Lisa Bloom. I know this woman. And a criminal defense attorney, Joe Tacopina. I better not admit to knowing this one.
OK, Let me ask you guys—Lisa, I actually want to start with you because one of the members of the team came out with an amazing, horrific email. And I want to put this up on the screen. It‘s pretty disgusting.
It says, “Tomorrow night, after tonight‘s show, I‘ve decided to have some strippers over to Eden‘s to see. All are welcome, however, there will be no nudity. I plan on killing the bitches as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off.”
OK. Now, this may be outrageous. We may be all up in arms. This was an honor student on the team saying this. But on the other hand, this was written after the crime? Does this have anything to do with the case other than showing extremely disgusting behavior?
LISA BLOOM, “COURT TV”: I think it absolutely has something to do with it. It shows you the kind of hostile predatory mentality that that at least this young man and probably many others had, as well.
I can‘t believe what I‘m hearing from your last guest, Catherine. With all due respect, Joe, these are not children. These are legal adults over the age of 18. It‘s not up to their parent to rein them in. It‘s up to them to control their behavior.
And we‘re not talking about a little bit out of control, like, they forgot to hold the door open for somebody. We‘re talking about allegations of gang rape, of anal rape, of extremely brutal behavior.
And how dare a college like Duke University create a culture where athletes are treated differently, where there are two levels for the students that go there.
I have a daughter who‘s about to go to college. God forbid that she goes to a college with that kind of culture. I think it‘s way out of control at that school and a lot of schools, where athletes are above the law. The school creates that culture. And I think it‘s appalling.
CRIER: All right. Well, Joe Tacopina, your response here.
You‘re working on the Van der Sloot matter right now. You‘ve got all sorts of civil liability, that we might be able to inquire into in addition to the criminal allegations. Is there anything that the president, the coach, anybody else ought to be worried about, in addition to the criminal charges that may be filed against some of these students?
JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: As you you‘ve just seen in the Van der Sloot case, Catherine, anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone, for anything, even without legitimate allegations.
That being said, you know, there would be a high standard here. Certainly, if this woman is a victim, she can‘t file a lawsuit against the school, because under some theory of a conscience avoidance. In other words, they would have to know that this was going on, and turned a blind eye to it. Or just created this atmosphere, like Lisa said, that condones this sort of cultural behavior that‘s not tolerated in any other part of civilized society.
That being said, I also heard what Lisa said. I don‘t know what college she‘s going to let her daughter go though. Every college, even the Ivy League schools, like at Duke—although technically it‘s not an Ivy League school. It‘s on par.
I went to a liberal arts school, Skidmore College. I was the captain of the hockey team. We had these sorts of things. I mean, nothing, God forbid, thank God, anything like this. But the parties were wild. You have to, as an individual, make your own choices. You are an adult. You are an adult. Of course there is.
BLOOM: There‘s a different between having a party and creating a culture of a class of students who are above the law, who are above the rules, who have a separate gym, who are given cars, who are given hookers by the coaches. That‘s what I‘m talking about.
TACOPINA: Lisa—Given hookers? Wait. Wait. Wait. Given hookers by the coaches is a different thing. I haven‘t even heard that one here. I mean, that‘s a different story.
BLOOM: You haven‘t heard of that culture? (ph)
TACOPINA: No, no, no. In the Duke University.
CRIER: That‘s not in relation to this case, yes.
TACOPINA: In the Duke University no one‘s giving—no coach is giving anyone hookers.
I mean, look, just stay with the facts of this case. Let me say this, as horrible as this all sounds, and no matter what this is a big black eye for Duke. And that was the appropriate action taken by the president. It certainly was because they don‘t have to have a proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And they didn‘t.
But there are three things about, before we go to the sentencing phase with these athletes, you know, this case is not completely firm. You know, Catherine, you have a situation where there‘s, yet, no DNA results back.
CRIER: I‘ll tell you what, I‘ve got to jump in and bring the doctor in.
But real quick, Joe, the DA says?
TACOPINA: No, there‘s ID issues. I‘ve got to tell you, this e-mail, as vile as it is, is actually good for the defense as far as the allegations of rape.
CRIER: Well, we‘ve got to wait on that, because the DA says he‘s pretty comfortable that rape did occur. But we‘ll go to issues and charges next week.
Doctor, we keep talking about culture, culture. That is that is your bailiwick.
ANDREW JACOBS, SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think we‘ve got a problem here, Catherine. And the problem is not with Duke University. It‘s a problem with our country.
I think if you look at any of the situations that have existed in collegiate sports in the past several years, where there have been problems, where there have been legal issues involved, alcohol and substance abuse have almost always been involved.
We‘ve got a problem in our country, in my opinion, that starts much lower, at a younger age than at the collegiate level, but at the high school level, even the middle school, with alcohol and substance abuse.
You know, if you watch television and you see the beer commercials, they‘re the best commercials on TV. They have attractive young people. They promote excitement. They promote sex. It promotes having a good time.
CRIER: But I think, even more...
BLOOM: But what about the responsibility of these adults. (ph)
CRIER: Yes, yes, exactly.
Doctor, more than the alcohol—and I buy all of this sort of stuff -
but we‘ve got this culture where these kids can do no wrong. They are gods on campus. Even the administration bows down to sports figures on the campus.
JACOBS: Well, and that‘s the direction I‘m going with this because a lot of these kids...
CRIERS: You add the alcohol and you add the drugs. And then you‘re in big trouble.
JACOBS: Well, when you get to the collegiate level, you know, these are the cream of the crop of the athletes who make it to college. And in a sport like lacrosse, you don‘t go much higher. I know there‘s been a...
CRIER: OK. I‘ll tell you what.
BLOOM: Well, you know, some people would say that the young women at the state schools are the cream of the crop, too.
CRIER: OK, we‘ve got to save that conversation. That‘s all we‘ve got time for tonight.
Thank you very much, Joe Vollen and Dr. Andrew Jacobs, of course, Lisa Bloom, Joe Tacopina.
All right. Joined by Tucker Carlson now, host of the “ Situation with Tucker Carlson.”
Tucker, what is the situation tonight?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”: The situation, Catherine, is that email is not good for the defense in the Duke case. If I can just say obviously.
We have an immigration bill. Or we‘re going to have one soon. The senate has reached a compromise. We‘re going to have J.D. Hayworth on. A Republican congressman from Arizona, who says, “This is complicated, so convoluted it will never work, and it‘s immoral.”
Plus, the University of Colorado golf team suspended for going to a strip bar. Overreach? Fair penalty? We‘ll tell you.
All right. Thanks, Tucker.
And everybody be sure to tune into “The Situation” next at 11:00.
And up next, what‘s more important on “American Idol,” looks or talent? The uproar after last night‘s shocking show.
CRIER: Disturbing news out of “American Idol” tonight. Paula Abdul says she was assaulted at a private party over the weekend. Police are investigating. But the “Idol” judge was well enough to be there last night, where “Idol” fans were in for a shock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMERICAN IDOL ANNOUNCER: The person with the lowest number of votes, leaving us on “American Idol” and going home tonight is Mandisa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: That‘s right, Mandisa, a favorite of the judges and critics was sent home. Mandisa took quite a bit of criticism from Simon about her weight. Let‘s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, “AMERICAN IDOL”: Do we have a bigger stage this year?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: He later apologized, but the fact that one of the show‘s better talents got booted off again, has some people asking, “Is the show really about talent or are looks more important?”
Joining me now to talk about that, former “American Idol” contestant, Carmen Rasmusen. And from “US Magazine” we‘ve got Dina Sansing.
Alright, Dina, what do you think? We‘d like to all believe that it‘s going to be the best voice, but maybe that‘s not the best pop star. What is it the show looking for?
DINA SANSING, DEPUTY EDITOR, “US” MAGAZINE: I think they‘re looking for the total package. It‘s not just about being a great singer. It‘s about having stage presence. We really want to see this person succeed and, as we all know, talent doesn‘t always make the star. They really want to find a big star.
CRIER: Carmen, your experience?
CARMEN RASMUSEN, FORMER “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT: I agree. I think that “American Idol” is a TV show that‘s hooked to a record label. And the success of the show depends on the success of the winner. And they‘re looking for someone that have the complete package.
If this was a radio show and it based on vocal abilities alone, Mandisa should have made it to the top two or three. But unfortunately we live in a society where people look for different things in star. And someone that has performing ability and someone that looks a certain way and maybe that‘s why they didn‘t vote for Mandisa, and that‘s why she got voted off.
Plus, her Tuesday performance really wasn‘t one of the best. It was one of the weaker performances. And that‘s why she got voted off.
CRIER: Gospel her thing, not necessarily country, but you‘ve got a lot of upset fans, Dina. Does that just make the show more popular, more controversial?
SANSING: Of course. Controversy is what “Idol‘s” all about. You know, if everyone was singing their favorite tunes, this wouldn‘t be a fun show. We watch this because they like to throw everything out there and see what sticks. Having someone who specializes in gospel doing a country tune, well, that‘s fun. That‘s why we‘re tuning in every week.
CRIER: But Dina, what about the notion—and Carmen mentioned it a little bit—that there is an interest here in getting that best pop star. They‘ve got the record company involved. Are we worried that financially you may see the show itself manipulating the most lucrative performer to come out of this?
SANSING: I don‘t know. I think there‘s always going to be conspiracy theories because producer‘s are rigging it. But ultimately that‘s not really what it‘s about. It‘s about the performances. It‘s about America deciding. They‘re the ones calling up every week.
So matter what‘s going on behind the scenes, these are the people who are voting and that‘s what‘s really making these winners.
CRIER: Well, Carmen, what about your own experience behind the scene? Did you ever get the feeling that one person or another was being pushed to the front?
RASMUSEN: Most definitely. Most definitely. “American Idol” is a
show that wants the best people to win, people that have the complete
package. It‘s not necessarily the best singer who always makes it to the
top two or three. It isn‘t.
The judges have a way of sort of persuading the audience to vote for
certain people who they think will be the most marketable. And sometimes
those people don‘t have the best voices.
CRIER: All right. Well, I want to listen to what Mandisa had to say about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COWELL: Mandisa, every one of these girls are going to hate your guts tonight, because you made everyone who appeared before you appear ordinary. This is the only one I would rewind on my Tivo and watch again. It was a completely and utterly different league.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CRIER: OK. Well, what I was looking for is she basically acknowledged that it was more about singing, but it was the whole package.
With that, Carmen, is this an experience that you would repeat?
RASMUSEN: “American Idol? It was a great experience. I‘m glad I did that. And I‘m sure that Mandisa would agree. But, having to move on, it‘s a good stepping stone. But it‘s a good way to break into the music industry. You‘ve got to have certain elements. You‘ve got to have performing abilities. You‘ve got to have entertainment qualities. It isn‘t just about the voice. If it was, there‘d be a lot of other people making it in music business right now.
CRIER: All right. Carmen Rasmusen and Dina Sansing. Thank you both very much.
SANSING: Thank you.
CRIER: Coming up next, free rent, but with strings attached, big strings. The troubling new trend.
CRIER: Finding a good roommate who can split the rent always has been a challenge. But now some online ads are asking for more than rent. They‘re asking for sex in return for free room and board.
George Kiriyama, from KNTV, our NBC station in San Francisco has the bizarre details.
GEORGE KIRIYAMA, KNTV CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On craigslist.org you can find free classifieds for apartments and used cars. But that‘s not all. Go to the casual encounters section, type in the word rent, and you‘ll find ads looking for roommates. And instead of splitting the cost of rent, they want sex. And that‘s illegal.
SERG PALANOW, DEPUTY, SANTA CLARA COUNTRY SHERIFF‘S DEPT.: Any bartering of any goods or services for sexual services is considered prostitution, and is absolutely illegal.
KIRIYAMA: Criagslist founder, Craig Newmark says his company forbids ads that break the law. And if there are ads that are inappropriate, Criagslist relies on its users to flag ads they find offensive.
CRAIG NEWMARK, FOUNDER, CRAIGSLIST.ORG: People in the community find things like this they flag the ads and they‘re automatically removed. Bad things happen, but the specific kind of thing happens rarely and people get rid of it pretty fast.
KIRIYAMA: But we found close to 50 ads of people wanting to exchange sex for rent. Ads that have language that many would find offensive. But these postings may not be illegal.
JOHN HINKLE, ATTORNEY: It would be a tender First Amendment issue and most lawyers would probably agree that that‘s probably legal. However, our local district attorney‘s office could interpret it as a solicitation for sex, which is illegal.
KIRIYAMA: If someone responds to the posting and an agreement is made. It‘s prostitution. But those in law enforcement say it would be hard to enforce.
(on camera): We responded to 10 of those ads, looking for comment, and we got one response back and it said “thanks, but no thanks.”
George Kiriyama for “Scarborough Country.”
CRIER: We‘ll be right back. And don‘t forget, “The Situation with Tucker Carlson” is just minutes away. Stick around.
CRIER: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. I‘m Catherine Crier, in for Joe. “The Situation with Tucker Carlson” starts right now.
And thanks to you at home for tuning in. “The Situation” is on the road tonight in charlotte, North Carolina, where President Bush spoke earlier today.
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