Guests: Jayne Weintraub, Vito Colucci, John Q. Kelly, Joe Tacopina, Lee Paige, Ward Meythaler, Justin Quinn, David Higgins
RITA COSBY, HOST, “LIVE & DIRECT: ”Good evening, everybody. Tonight, we have just obtained a shocking new police recording in the Duke gang rape investigation. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She‘s just passed out drunk.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSBY: And that cop was one of the first officers to see the accuser shortly after the alleged rape. Plus, an e-mail that make its sound like one of the lacrosse players will be cooperating with the police tomorrow. But is it a hoax? And the big question now for defense attorneys, will the DA file charges as early as Monday?
Joining me now with the latest developments is NBC‘s Ron Mott. Ron, what can you tell us about the police recording that was released just a short bit ago?
RON MOTT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Right, Rita. Well, good evening to you. This release of this tape earlier this evening really sent a lot of shockwaves throughout this community because, for the first time, we are hearing from members of law enforcement about what they encountered when they first saw this alleged rape victim back on March 14, the early hours of March 14.
I want to play more of that exchange, and this points to this officer‘s description of this woman‘s condition at the time. Let‘s take a listen to this piece of tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She‘s breathing and appears to be fine. She‘s not in distress. She‘s just passed out drunk.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MOTT: All right, now, he says that she is not in distress, she‘s just passed out drunk. This could loom very large in this ongoing investigation. Now, this police officer was responding to a 911 call that was placed by a security officer at a local grocery store. This grocery store was the scene where this officer responded to and saw this car that contained two individuals. Let‘s take a listen now to portions of the 911 call that was placed by a security guard.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: What‘s the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is, it‘s a lady in somebody else‘s car, and she will not get out of the car. She‘s, like—she‘s, like, intoxicated, drunk or something. She‘s—I mean, she won‘t get out of the car, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOTT: All right, now, so it appears that the officer‘s description of the woman he found there in that parking lot mirrors that of that security guard at that grocery store. And so this could, again, Rita, be an interesting development as this case goes forward. Let‘s send it back up to you.
COSBY: And Ron, speaking of interesting developments, our own Dan Abrams obtained an e-mail. And I want to put this up because it allegedly was from one of the players. And here‘s a quote from it. It says, “I am going to go to the police tomorrow to tell them everything that I know.” The subject on the e-mail is, “Sorry guys.”
Do we know if the player actually wrote that e-mail? What do we know about the basis for this?
MOTT: Well, based on what Dan Abrams was able to report today, he says that the player in question here, through this player‘s attorney, denied making—or sending, I should say, that e-mail. Now, according to the time stamp on that e-mail, the player was in class today on this campus. We should also point out that there are some e-mail programs that will allow you to delay-send an e-mail message. But then, if that‘s the case, you have to ask what would be the motive and the reason that this player might have done that.
So I think if you took a poll on campus, a lot of people would probably say that this isn‘t a real e-mail sent from this young man, but perhaps it‘s something that police are using to try to get some of these players to start talking, Rita.
COSBY: And Ron, what are you hearing now on the ground? There‘s a lot of sense that this DA could present this case to a grand jury as early as Monday. What are you hearing?
MOTT: Well, a lot of folks here believe that this DA has sort of backed himself into a corner. At least, that‘s the contention from two people who would like to take his job here on May 2.
Now, the DA says he is going to proceed without the influence of public pressure, if you will. He says he will weigh the facts in this case. There are still DNA tests that are being analyzed at this time. The district attorney may or may not meet with this grand jury on Monday. The grand jury is not scheduled to assemble again for another two weeks, which is very close to this election. And a lot of folks say that this district attorney may not win this election without those indictments. So we‘ll have to see Monday what happens, Rita.
COSBY: All right, Ron. Thank you very much. Please keep us posted.
And to analyze all these new developments today, including that police recording, let‘s now bring in our legal experts, former prosecutor and MSNBC analyst Susan Filan, also criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub, and also private investigator Vito Colucci.
Let me start. Let me play again—this is the police recording.
This is the cop calling in from the scene. Let‘s play it again.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She‘s breathing, appears to be fine. She‘s not in distress. She‘s just passed out drunk.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Jayne, what do you make of that call?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I make that she‘s got big credibility issues, Rita, and the defense is going to jump all over it. And I can only hope that the DA is going to focus on the evidence and the lack of evidence, like the victim in this case, the alleged accuser‘s, credibility or lack of credibility. If she‘s passed out drunk before she even goes to that house or even right after, there‘s not a legal identification anyway, anyhow, that‘s going to withstand scrutiny.
COSBY: And let‘s see—if we could just put the words up—we‘re don‘t even necessarily have to play it again, but Vito, I want to get you to respond. Again, this is what the cop is actually saying. He‘s actually saying, in a sense, that she looks drunk. He‘s saying that they don‘t need to call for medical help. And he‘s saying that based on sort of his just overall glance.
You were a cop for years, Vito. Can we buy his description? Is he qualified, or is it just sort of one of those quick decisions that you make?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: No, I think he‘s qualified in this, Rita. Don‘t forget, he uses the terminology “passed out drunk,” OK? So she‘s beyond the drunk. We heard the tape of the security guard, the lady in the store, “intoxicated.”
So if I‘m the lead investigator, I need to talk to those police officers, the security guard. And supposedly, she wouldn‘t get out of somebody‘s car. I need to talk to that person.
What did this lady say to all of these above people? And this is an hour-and-a-half after she claimed this rape. Like Jayne said, you got some bad credibility. This is some horse race going on here.
COSBY: Vito, is there any other reason why, you know, she could be just, you know, just had a lot to drink but still maybe was raped?
COLUCCI: Oh, of course. Of course, Rita. That could very well happen. But again, what did she talk about at this time, you know? This is only an hour-and-a-half. Where did she get drunk? Did she get drunk at the house where she was stripping at? I mean, it‘s—you know, when did this all happen? So you need—you need some good tips on either one, to help her credibility or take away her credibility, but also on the Duke ballplayers, Rita. Both sides on that, too.
COSBY: And Vito, you talked about that 911 call. This is the original call. It‘s from the Kroeger grocery store. I went to that grocery store just to give everybody perspective. It‘s not too far from the house, which you‘re looking at here.
And let‘s play the 911 call that took place from this grocery store, and I believe it was sometime between 1:00 and 1:30, I think 1:22 in the morning. Here it is. This is the security guard at the grocery store.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: What‘s the problem?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is there‘s a lady in somebody else‘s car and she would not get out of their car. She‘s, like—she‘s, like, intoxicated, drunk or something. She—I mean, she won‘t get out of the car, period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Susan, is it possible state of shock or something else?
SUSAN FILAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Rita. I mean, if you believe this victim and if you believe the medical examining nurse, who says that she has corroborated injuries consistent with a forcible sexual assault, she could be in shock. This could be her own hysterical reaction.
When the police officer says, She‘s not distressed, he doesn‘t mean she‘s not upset, he means it‘s not a situation of medical distress. And there is no classic way that somebody who‘s forcibly gang raped, if that‘s what happened here, is supposed to react. Maybe she‘s passed out from being freaked out. You know, a lot of rape victims don‘t immediately talk about what just happened to them.
COSBY: You know, Susan, what about the question I just asked Vito. Is it possible that, you know, she had, you know, a lot to drink or something else, but still was raped?
FILAN: Of course it is! I mean, look, she could have—if it‘s true she was drunk, she could have had a couple of shots after it to try to calm her nerves. If she was drunk at the party and there was sex...
WEINTRAUB: But Susan, that‘s not on the...
FILAN: ... didn‘t have the capacity to consent, so that‘s a form of rape. It‘s just not clear. And I‘m not sure that this police officer and this woman inside the store are qualified to say she‘s intoxicated. And I also think there are going to be...
WEINTRAUB: Come on, Susan!
FILAN: ... we‘re going to need to see it. I‘m sure that they took some kind of blood from her, or they could have taken her hair. So I don‘t think it‘s over as to what her actually blood alcohol was.
COSBY: And Jayne...
COSBY: Jayne, let me play the e-mail. Let me show the e-mail again. This is what Dan got, the e-mail that was leaked to him. And this is essentially—again, you know, the header is—you know,”Sorry guys” is the subject line. But it says, “I‘m going to go to the police tomorrow to tell them everything I know.” This ball—this player says that he was in class at the time, that he didn‘t write this. Do you give any validity to this, Jayne?
WEINTRAUB: Oh, 50-50. It could be the police trickery to try...
COSBY: That‘s a great point!
WEINTRAUB: ... to go forward first.
COSBY: Do you believe that, Jayne?
COSBY: That‘s an interesting point.
WEINTRAUB: No, I don‘t believe it, but I don‘t believe that somebody who‘s gone to the police, Rita, would tell the people, the players on the team, and give them forewarning. No, I don‘t.
COSBY: Hey, Vito, what about Jayne‘s point? What about the cops maybe throwing something out there to see if somebody will crack, Vito?
COLUCCI: Yes, they could have done that. You know, we have to wait and see now. This is supposed to happen in the next day or so. You know, if you‘re an investigator, you‘re going to try any of these things.
But my friend, Susan, made the comment about the police not being qualified. If you‘re raped, maybe you‘re not going to tell the security guard or the other person in the thing, but you‘re going to tell the cop, Look, I‘ve been raped, you know ?
FILAN: Not necessarily, Vito.
FILAN: You might wait for that female nurse. You might wait for that female cop...
FILAN: ... wait for a couple of hours to go by. And there are rape victims that don‘t tell for days, and sometimes they don‘t tell for weeks.
COLUCCI: Especially—especially when you‘re...
FILAN: There‘s no classic way that they react.
COLUCCI: ... when you‘re drunk, Susan. That‘s especially more you would have that boldness to say, I was just raped.
COSBY: Now, Susan, remember also that, according to the ESPN, apparently, she didn‘t say Duke, didn‘t say the players at first, too.
COSBY: Could that just be state of shock or she was so out of it?
FILAN: Look, there‘s also...
WEINTRAUB: She couldn‘t identify them!
FILAN: There‘s also some language in the application for the search warrant, in the affidavit, that says that these guys were trying to confuse her also their identity. They were saying they were from baseball, they were saying from other sports...
WEINTRAUB: Susan, call in a line-up!
FILAN: They‘re calling each other by their numbers. They weren‘t calling each other by their right name.
COSBY: Let me put up an e-mail, you guys. We‘ve got so...
COSBY: Just as passionate you guys are, our viewers are, all of you at home. You have been flooding us with e-mails. And I want to put up one e-mail. This is from a student at Duke University. We‘re not going to put up his name, but I want to show what he said. And this could be interesting. He says, “From what I understand, there was a racially motivated altercation between the accuser”—the woman—“and the lacrosse team due to their displeasure of receiving an African-American dancer, rather than a white one.”
And from what I understand, both of the women were African-American.
Could there be something to this, Vito?
COLUCCI: Oh, definitely, Rita. Definitely. They may have made racial comments to her when she came in. They could have used the “N” word, OK, and that could have made her, maybe, if she‘s now telling the truth, do what she did on her part.
COSBY: Could that also have provoked it on the other side, Vito? I mean, could they have said, you know, Look, you guys came. There‘s some issue here. But again, the family hasn‘t alleged that. The father said that he doesn‘t believe race played a role. But we do know that there were some racial slurs, according to the girl, if you believe her story.
COLUCCI: Yes, definitely, Rita. You have to do that. You have to check on both sides. You got—if you‘re the officer, the investigative officer, you still got dozens and dozens of interviews. You got to keep—there‘s a lot of tips coming in on this, Rita. You got to follow up each one, about the Duke players and as well as her. You got a lot of work to do on this.
COSBY: Go ahead, Jayne, real quick. Go ahead.
WEINTRAUB: To follow Vito, if there are racial tensions, really, that are prevalent in that community, I hope that they don‘t influence the DA into going for an indictment that otherwise he shouldn‘t go for. Unless he can prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt, he shouldn‘t even be going to the grand jury.
COSBY: And Jayne, you talk about the DNA. Let me put up another viewer e-mail because, again, I think we get a lot of interesting questions from all of you at home, and we appreciate them. Here it is. “Since no DNA was found so far, at least based on the first round of tests, they should test some of the things in the home, like that broom handle or any type of equipment, ie sports sticks.”
This is a tough thing to get into. But Susan, we know because the father told us—remember, we did that interview, the exclusive interview with the father of this girl, and he said that they were waving a broom at her and threatening some things. And we were hearing, unfortunately, that something may have happened to her, you know, front and also back side. Is it possible there‘s something else here, Susan, that we just don‘t know about yet?
FILAN: Well, I think what you‘re asking me, Rita, is, could there be an alternative explanation for to why there was no DNA found? And the answer to that is, if a condom was used or if a foreign object was used to sodomize and to rape her.
But my problem, Rita—and now I‘m going to sound a little bit like a defense lawyer—is that I think that people need to understand that DNA doesn‘t just come from semen alone. It comes from sweat. It comes from tears. It comes from skin cells. It comes from saliva.
COSBY: I need to interrupt all of you. Real quick, go around—go around the clock. Susan, I‘ll start with you. Do you think that charges will be filed in this case next week, yes or no, Susan?
FILAN: I don‘t know if the DA‘s going to go forward on Monday. I think he‘s going to sound like he is, but I think he‘s actually going to wait until the May 1 because his election is May 2.
COSBY: Vito, go ahead. You respond.
COLUCCI: I think if he was smart, he‘d wait until after that election comes.
COSBY: And Jayne?
WEINTRAUB: I think it‘s going to cost him the election. I think he‘ll go for the indictment, and I think he‘s going to lose. I don‘t think there‘s a case beyond a reasonable doubt.
COSBY: And I‘m going to have all of you back on. Thank you, all of you.
And of course, everybody, we‘re going to continue to follow all the developments in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation as we wait to see what the district attorney‘s next move will be. Is Jayne right, Vito or Susan? If you saw anything that night or if you have any new, untold information that hasn‘t come out so far, please be sure to e-mail us so we can get to the bottom of this case. Of course, the e-mail, you see it up there on the screen, it is Rita@msnbc.com. We will keep all of your information anonymous. Or if you prefer to call us, here‘s our tip line, 1-877-TIP-RITA. Leave us your name and number. We will contact you again. And again, your information will remain private.
And still ahead tonight, the new leads in the Natalee Holloway case. Is there a sex stalker on the beaches of Aruba? That‘s coming up, and that‘s not all.
Still ahead: a federal agent, a gun and a classroom full of kids. These students get a dangerous lesson when the gun actually goes off. The agent joins me live to explain why he had live ammo around kids and why he‘s now suing the U.S. government.
And mass murder in a small town—grandmothers, aunts, cousins all bludgeoned in their home. Cops say they know who did it. But why?
And child porn and pedophilia on film. This movie is called “Hard Candy,” but there‘s nothing sweet about it. Believe it or not, this twisted tale is based on real events. We‘ll have that and a whole lot more on LIVE AND DIRECT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeff, playtime is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And now to the Natalee Holloway case and new details that we have been following here all week. Aruban police now want to talk to the man in this sketch. Police say he attacked a tourist at the same beach where Natalee may have vanished just one week later. This is how—this is the alleged victim, how she described the incident to us on our show last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was beckoning me toward his car. He grabbed my arms several times. And I just held my ground and would not move toward his car, and—which agitated him, and then he fled. He threatened me first and then he fled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And meanwhile, attorneys for Natalee‘s family fire their latest shot in a civil lawsuit against prime suspect Joran Van Der Sloot. They‘re going public with what they say are powerful allegations of intimidation and even death threats against members of Natalee‘s family and also her friends.
LIVE AND DIRECT tonight is the Holloway family attorney, John Q. Kelly. John, let me first ask you about that sketch. Do you think there‘s anything to it? And separately, why did it take authorities so long to put this information public public, when this woman reported this alleged attack right when it happened, almost—you know, many months ago?
JOHN Q. KELLY, HOLLOWAY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, this is old news, in terms of the alleged attack a week before Natalee disappeared. I had heard of this a long time ago. I know the police were privy to the information, and would assume they followed up on it with their investigation. I think now was the opportune time to release the sketch, when they did the reenactment, and that‘s why it‘s out there now.
COSBY: Why not put it out a little earlier, John, just in case there was something to it. Isn‘t it strange that it sort of—you know, another example of, you know, why now?
KELLY: Well, yes, I think they‘ve really been a step behind in the whole investigation. And you know, better late than never, but yes, it‘s definitely way late in the ballgame to be following up on it now, but at least they‘re following up.
COSBY: You know, following up, speaking of which, we know that they did recent searches, John, at the sand dunes. They‘ve finished that. You have some new information on where they‘re checking now.
KELLY: Well, first of all, they‘ve finished all the land searches, whether it was the sand dunes—they went back to the pond, the pond across from the racquet club. I know they searched with sonar equipment around the fishermen‘s huts again, too. But now they‘re—the Aruban coast guard sonar equipment is being used to check in specified areas in shallow water off-shore with Aruban divers. I talked to Karin Janssen yesterday a couple of times, and she said, based on, she termed it plausible information, that they‘ve received, they‘re checking several shallow areas around the island, at this point.
COSBY: You know, when you say plausible, John, do you think it‘s something substantive, or what‘s your read?
KELLY: Well, I don‘t think it‘s highly credible information. I think it‘s a little bit stale. I think they feel that they‘ve just got to eliminate possibilities right now. They‘ve finally eliminated the sand dunes as a potential burial spot, which they should have done a long time ago. But at least they‘ve searched and now eliminated it. And at least the more areas they eliminate, you know, we‘re moving in on something. So they‘re working still, and I laud those efforts, at least.
COSBY: You know, and John, this week, you have filed a response to Joran Van Der Sloot‘s motion to dismiss—this is the civil suit. And I want to put up a quote because you focus on sort of the concerns of sort of the Aruban environment and the hostilities. And I want to put put—it says—the paperwork says, “For the plaintiffs, who have been subjected to intimidation, hostility and death threats, Aruba represents a corrosive and poisonous environment.”
What type of intimidation are we talking about that the family and others have experienced?
KELLY: Well, it‘s just—you know, Beth, in particular, has received death threats and very specific threats through e-mail and in person when she is down there. She‘s threatened with bodily harm. And you know, this isn‘t sort of a maker-upper for purposes of the lawsuit. The last time Beth was down in Aruba, and Dave, was in October, and the reason they wouldn‘t go back after that was because of these threats and the atmosphere down there.
COSBY: You know, the prosecutor also—Karin Janssen also suggests it should be in New York, that the case—why New York? Why does she feel that Aruba isn‘t the place?
KELLY: Well, you know, she wants to see parallel investigations right now, and to put it in layman‘s terms, she just doesn‘t want us down there tripping over her investigation. You know, she wants to be able to bring it to fruition. She wants to be able to investigate further. She wants to be able to talk to witnesses, and she doesn‘t want us, at the same time, you know, subpoenaing witnesses and trying to depose them down there. So she feels she‘s better apt to conduct her criminal investigation on her own turf, and she feels we‘d have just as good an opportunity to do the work we have to do up here in New York.
COSBY: And the other thing, too, John, it sounds like friends do not want to even go back there, also, friends of Natalee‘s, as well. They‘re scared, too, right?
KELLY: Well, why not? You‘ve got a bunch of 18-year-olds who were down there with, you know, One of their dear friends who just disappeared off the face of the earth, and presumably under, you know, very criminal, violent circumstances. And certainly, they don‘t want to be back there. It holds nothing but bad memories for them now.
COSBY: All right, John. Thank you very much.
KELLY: Sure, Rita.
COSBY: And to get reaction on this latest filing that John was just talking about, Let‘s bring in Joran Van Der Sloot‘s American defense attorney. LIVE AND DIRECT right now is Joe Tacopina. Jo, I want to bring up sort of a separate issue that was also in the filing. An attorney down there, an Aruban attorney, says that she spoke to a woman who claims that she was raped by Joran Van Der Sloot, that she was sexually assaulted. And this is a quote in the filing by John and others. This says, “She has been terrified to come forward and tell her story in Aruba for fear of her safety. Ms. Doe”—the generic name—“is not willing to give testimony in connection with a civil lawsuit in Aruba.”
What do you make of this claim?
JOE TACOPINA, JORAN VAN DER SLOOT‘S ATTORNEY: Well, I—not much.
And Rita, we will be responding on April 25. We will submit our reply.
COSBY: And what are you going to say in the reply, Joe?
TACOPINA: Well, let me give you a little sneak preview. As it relates to what you just asked me about, perhaps the most outrageous allegation in that entire complaint, what you have there, Rita—and give me a second to explain this. You have an affidavit from an attorney, not from the woman who‘s claiming, this Jane Doe, who—and this woman—and what she‘s saying is that Jane Doe might not want to testify if the case is in Aruba and might come to New York to testify. That doesn‘t quite meet that burden.
But what I ask is, where is that affidavit? Where‘s the affidavit from Jane Doe? And you know why there‘s no affidavit from Jane Doe, and instead, there‘s in its place an affidavit from the Holloway family attorney in Aruba? There‘s no affidavit, Rita, from Jane Dow because I spoke to Jane Doe. We spoke to Jane Doe. Jane Doe said none of this ever happened. What‘s put forth in that attorney‘s affidavit that it‘s fictitious. It‘s not true.
And this, by the way, from an attorney who, as I said, represents the Holloway family‘s interest in Aruba, who, as luck would have it, Rita, thought enough of Joran Van Der Sloot to let her daughter date him in Aruba.
COSBY: And when did they date, Joe? That‘s an interesting—when did they date?
TACOPINA: Isn‘t that interesting? Just within the last year-and-a-half. So this attorney, who submitted that affidavit from this Jane Doe, whose affidavit we don‘t even have, is saying that this is what was told to her. But let me just tell you this. This Jane Doe, who, as I tell you, we‘ve spoken to, has said enormous pressure was put on her. Things of interest and of value were offered to her to get her to say things.
COSBY: By whom? Joe, by whom? Who was...
TACOPINA: You‘re going to hear—you‘re going to see our reply on April 25. But that—that particular allegation infuriates me.
COSBY: And Joe, let me just ask you, just so I‘m clear what you just said, are you saying that she, and are you suggesting other witnesses, too, were, what, pressured or offered things to spin something?
TACOPINA: Affidavits will accompany everything I‘m saying, and that‘s exactly what I‘m saying, Rita. Moreover, this witness has recanted any claims of anything she said about Joran. This witness, in particular, has never said Joran has laid an aggressive hand on her. And this Jane Doe, who, by the way, doesn‘t want to testify in Aruba, happens to live in Aruba.
So you know, it‘ll be interesting to see how this plays out. But you‘ll see our answer on April 25.
COSBY: Let me put up—this is a quote from Karin Janssen. She‘s, of course, the chief prosecutor. And she‘s supporting, of course, you know, John Q. Kelly and also the Holloway family. Let me put up what she says. She says, “Possible witnesses will be discouraged to come forward to share important information. It would be better to settle the pending civil proceedings in New York courts.”
Don‘t you think—you know, it‘s coming from the chief prosecutor—that that could have some influence on the judge? Are you worried about that?
TACOPINA: Absolutely not! That is one of the most ridiculous comments I‘ve ever seen. First of all, the claim in the reply—in the opposition papers of the plaintiff is that Aruban authorities don‘t want the case in Aruba. Karin Janssen is the only person whose affidavit—and she‘s hardly the Aruban authorities. She‘s a prosecutor who clearly has not been able to piece together the case.
And what she‘s saying is—here‘s what she‘s saying. She‘s saying, I don‘t want the case tried in Aruba—no kidding—because it might create additional press, and the pressure of the press might chill witnesses. Excuse me. Does Ms. Janssen truly believe that if this case is tried in New York, in North Dakota or on Mars, Rita, that the press in Aruba will not cover it? We have affidavits from the press in Aruba who will say that they plan on covering this case if it‘s tried, you know, in the North Pole. They will cover it every day, as if it was being tried in Aruba. So that‘s a silly argument.
And to say that witnesses may not come forward in the criminal case if they‘re subpoenaed—well, they have to be subpoenaed in New York, as well. It‘s an argument that fails.
COSBY: And Joe, we‘re going to be watching. You said your response on that April 25, right?
TACOPINA: You got it.
COSBY: OK, we‘ll be watching. Joe, thank you very much.
And still ahead, everybody, an unbelievable crime in the middle of Amish country, an entire family massacred in their own home. Wait until you hear who police say did it. And next, a nightmare scenario caught on tape, a federal agent fires his weapon in a classroom full of kids. Now find out why he‘s suing and how white supremacists are using this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE PAIGE, DEA AGENT: ... 50 Cent, Too Short, all of them talk about Glock. 40. OK, I‘m the only one in this room professional enough that I know of who carries a Glock .40.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: “Caught by Cosby,” this dramatic video of a DEA agent shooting himself in a classroom demonstration is one of the most popular videos on the Internet. It has become fodder for late-night comedy shows, but it is certainly no laughing matter. The agent in that tape is now suing the U.S. government for leaking it to the public, and he says it‘s putting his career and his life in jeopardy.
We‘re now joined by DEA agent Lee Paige and also his attorney, Ward Meythaler.
Agent Paige, you know, it‘s a little awkward when you see what happened there, but you came close to dying. What happened?
LEE PAIGE, DEA AGENT: (INAUDIBLE) Actually, I was in the process of demonstrating how to take the weapon apart. And in doing so, in order to take it apart, you have to pull the trigger because of the model of weapon it is. I, in fact, cleared the weapon, and then I went and came back in front of the class. And at that point, I was about to demonstrate how to disassemble it. And in order to do so, you have to pull the trigger.
And I, in fact, cleared the weapon, but prior to letting it slight forward, I did not drop the magazine, and therefore it seated around in a magazine, and I, in fact, accidentally shot myself.
COSBY: Let me play it again, just so we can hear it, too, because, I mean, you actually hear the shot go off. Here it is again, what actually happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAIGE: ... 50 Cent, Too Short, all of them talk about Glock. 40. OK, I‘m the only one in this room professional enough that I know of who carries a Glock .40.
Hold on. Is everybody all right? You all right? Listen. Listen up, guys. Listen up. I made a mistake. So listen to me, guys. Listen to me. Listen to me. See that, how an accident happened? It can happen to you, and you can be blown away, OK? So, guys, never play with guns. See how accidents happen. They happen, OK? (INAUDIBLE)
Bring that other gun out... (INAUDIBLE) Bring that other gun out. See this gun right here, guys. Listen. See this gun. Hold on. Hold on. It‘s empty. It‘s an empty weapon, guys, listen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Agent Paige, it‘s incredible. You continued the demonstration. How seriously injured were you? And what were you doing with a loaded gun around kids?
PAIGE: I was seriously injured, as a matter of fact. The attending physician indicated that I, in the emergency room, came very close to within a half inch of damaging my femoral artery and...
COSBY: What were you doing with a gun around kids? That could have happened to one of the kids in the classroom.
PAIGE: Well, I‘m certified to carry a gun, and I carry a gun all day and every day. And I have done this demonstration many times, I would say 100 times. And it was an accident. And accidental discharges happen every day. And I carry a gun in classrooms, churches, whenever agents of the government are requested to be armed all the time.
COSBY: And, Ward, let me get your attorney in, because, Ward, how did the DEA get this tape and why did they leak it? How did they leak it?
WARD MEYTHALER, ATTORNEY FOR LEE PAIGE: We don‘t know yet. We just know that the DEA had exclusive control of the tape. They had confiscated it after the incident so it would not be in the public‘s hand.
COSBY: And how do you think this has hurt your client, getting out?
How do you think it‘s hurt him?
MEYTHALER: Well, he‘s an outstanding DEA agent, and he‘s been in many dangerous situations. And now the defining moment of his career is reduced to this accident when, in fact, he served 16 years, put his life in danger many, many times. He‘s been a great speaker for the DEA, and now he can‘t do that any longer.
Rita, I need to point out something here that the DEA has requested us to point out that Mr. Paige here is not acting as a spokesperson for the DEA tonight and that his recollections and opinion are those of his and not the DEA.
COSBY: And, in fact, you‘re also filing a lawsuit. You know, Agent, you know, in your lawsuit, this is incredible. You say that you‘re getting some threats and also white supremacists are using this tape? How so?
PAIGE: Well, initially when the tape hit the Internet, I had friends and colleagues inform me. I never actually looked on the Internet at the actual tape, but friends and colleagues indicated that it was on all types of Web sites.
And they, in fact, did research it and found it to be true that there were Aryan nation groups, not to say anything in that regard, but there were all types of groups that, in fact, used it to further their cause and to poke fun at me regarding the accident that I had.
You know, accidental discharges happen all of the time. And I‘ve been a special agent for 16 years. I‘ve been in law enforcement for 21 years. And out of all those years, this is the first accident or incident of this nature that I had. It was a mistake.
And now, instead of supporting me, I haven‘t been supported by the public or the agency, basically. There was no damage control. Nobody tried to remedy the situation. It‘s just been the (INAUDIBLE) of theater. And at this point, they made indications that I was a cowboy and a buffoon that shot himself in the foot, when I actually came close to having a fatal incident take place.
And the individuals that basically are using this tape to jeer and make fun of law enforcement should know that, if their relatives or friends or what have you get in trouble, they call law enforcement to help them. And I was swore in 1991 -- I‘m sorry, in 1990 I took the oath to be a special agent to enforce Title 21.
And now myself, as a citizen, and the taxpayers of the United States have paid for my career for 16 years, and now I‘m no longer able to perform my duties of which a large part of my duties were undercover.
COSBY: All right.
PAIGE: And I traveled throughout this country and abroad.
COSBY: Agent, we‘ve got to cut you off, unfortunately, because we‘ve got to go to a break, but I want to just thank both of you back on here. And, of course, the DEA is disputing this, the government saying that when you were speaking in classes you already sort of came out public.
But we wish you a lot of luck with your lawsuit, and most importantly I‘m also glad that you‘re safe and sound after that. And thanks for your work for our country. Thank you very much, both of you.
And still ahead, everybody, with an innocent name like “Hard Candy,” you may think this film is for kids, but it‘s really a dark and twisted story about a pedophile and his prey. But now kids are turning the tables and preying upon the pedophiles, and you have to find out what happens next. It‘s pretty incredible and on tape.
But first, the developing story out of Amish Country. An entire family murdered, women in their 60s, children as young as 5 years old. The disturbing details, coming up, next on LIVE & DIRECT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JOHN BOWMAN, EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, PA POLICE DEPARTMENT: ...
in police custody at this time and charged with six counts of criminal homicide is Jesse D. Wise, age 21.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And tonight, there is a developing story in the middle of Pennsylvania Amish Country. As you are looking at a live picture outside the home, candles are lit, people are praying. This is a home where six members of one family were found murdered.
Tonight, one of their young relatives is behind bars. Twenty-one-year-old Jesse Wise is being held without bail at this hour for killing six relatives, ranging in age from 5 years old to 64. Authorities still haven‘t said why he may have committed this heinous crime.
And joining us live with the very latest on this story is Justin Quinn. He‘s a reporter for the “Intelligencer Journal” newspaper.
Justin, you know, do we have a sense of—you know, first of all, give us a little bit about—this crime was so brutal. Describe sort of when we think it happened and how it occurred.
JUSTIN QUINN, REPORTER, “INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL”: Well, they believe that it happened over the weekend. And what we‘re finding out is that he strangled some of the victims, and he beat some of the victims to death with—it was a piece of metal that he had wrapped in cloth and with a string in one end sort of making a handle. And it kind of looked like a homemade weapon or a club is what they describe in the court documents.
He strangled Jesse James Wise, the 17-year-old, and he beat Skyler Wise, who was the 19-year-old. He beat his aunt, allegedly—beat his aunt, Wanda. And he beat—allegedly beat Arlene, his other aunt. He allegedly strangled his grandmother, Emily Wise, and allegedly strangled Chance Wise, which is kind of disturbing when you consider how long it takes to strangle somebody to death.
COSBY: Absolutely. And we‘re looking at it right now, the sort age and range of his victims. One of the only surviving family members spoke to the press today. Let me play that, if I could, real quick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELVIN WISE< UNCLE OF ACCUSED KILLER: (INAUDIBLE) Never in his life disrespected me or nobody. I‘m here to tell you the truth. Never having problems. That‘s why my mother was just adorable. He still had that mannerism. I do not—I still can‘t believe it right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And, again, that‘s the uncle in sort of a state of shock. Do we have any idea, Justin, what the motive would have been? And as you were just describing, this is such a vicious, brutal crime.
QUINN: We don‘t really have any idea at this point.
COSBY: What do we know about the kid, as we‘re looking at pictures right now, 21-year-old Jesse Wise?
QUINN: Well, at this point, details about the victims are very sketchy. We know that they were really loved and adored by the community here in Lancaster. We had a—there was a vigil this evening at the crime scene, and it turned out that there were lots of people at that vigil. And so it really shows these people were loved.
As far as a motive, we really don‘t have one. What we‘re told at this point is that all we know is that, on April 25th, he was scheduled to go to Lancaster County court and plead guilty to 21 criminal charges ranging from reckless driving, you know, all the way to simple assault, but these were relatively minor crimes. It did show that he sort of was escalating in his pattern of violence, but there‘s no indication based on these charges what was to come.
COSBY: And, Justin, thank you very much, Justin Quinn with the late-breaking report for us from the “Intelligencer Journal.” Again, if we can put up that prayer service that‘s going on right now outside the home where all those family members were brutally killed. And, again, the grandson, 21-year-old Jesse Wise right now accused of this horrible crime, and the community, obviously, needless to say, praying for family members and for everybody else in this case.
And there‘s a lot more coming up right here on MSNBC tonight. Let‘s check in if we could with Michael Smerconish who is filling in for Joe Scarborough.
Michael, what do you have on tap tonight, my friend?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, GUEST MSNBC HOST: What a sad story that is, Rita, from my home state. Holy smokes.
COSBY: So tragic. And now and they‘re trying to figure out why this boy would have had this.
SMERCONISH: So sad.
Hey, those knuckleheads at “South Park,” they‘re up to it again and, at all times, during Holy Week for Christians. I‘m uncomfortable even describing for you that which they did on “South Park” last night, but we‘re going to lay the whole thing out on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” have a smackdown on that subject.
COSBY: And if anybody can do it, you can do it, Michael. We‘ll be tuning in, in just a few minutes, looking for it.
SMERCONISH: Thank you.
COSBY: Thanks so much.
And still ahead, everybody, it‘s a new movie called “Hard Candy,” but it will leave a very bad taste in your mouth. It is based on kids seeking out pedophiles for real-life meetings and a list of trysts, sometimes with some frightening and shocking consequences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were coming onto me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, come on, that‘s what they always say, Jeff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who? The pedophiles. “She was so sexy. She was asking for it. Oh, she was only technically a girl. She acted like a woman.” It‘s just so easy to blame a kid, isn‘t it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Very powerful. And that was a clip from the new psychological thriller called “Hard Candy.” Pedophiles who prowl the Internet are hunting for young kids, but when if their intended prey turn the tables and hunted them?
Using some real-life stories and adding some dramatic twists, the tables are about to be turned on these bad guys. And joining me now is the producer of this very powerful film, “Hard Candy,” David Higgins.
David, how did you come up with this idea?
DAVID HIGGINS, “HARD CANDY” PRODUCER: This was something I saw an article about that actually happened in Japan. There was young girls finding older men on the Internet, luring them in with the promise of a relationship. And when the man got there, there would be five or six girls, and they would, you know, beat him up, and probably take his money, and exact revenge.
COSBY: And what do you think the message is from this film?
HIGGINS: I think the film—you know, it‘s a bit of a Rorschach test. Different people get different things out of it. Certainly there‘s a message of, you know, always be careful, you know, who you‘re talking to and what you‘re doing on the Internet. But the second question, it raises questions of you have vigilantism, the cost of violence, the cost of justice, et cetera.
COSBY: You bring up a good point. In fact, I want to show a clip. This is Hayley, who‘s the teenager in the film. And I want to play a clip where she takes matters into her own hands and goes after the guy. Let‘s show that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You‘re the grown-up here. If a kid is experimenting and says something flirtatious, you ignore it; you don‘t encourage it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I‘ve been lonely, OK? And that makes me stupid, but I‘m not a pedophile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: It‘s amazing. Because when you see this, do you believe that this is pretty much based on some real conversations that do take place?
HIGGINS: I certainly think we take a lot of dramatic license. I mean, the movie is fictional. It is a bit of fantasy, but it is, you know, one of those kind of great situations of you have this expected situation with the older man as the predator, and then we turn the tables a little bit on you and see what happens next.
COSBY: And, obviously, not a great situation for anybody where this happens in real life. You know, one of the things—you brought this up before, David. Is it encouraging, also, vigilantism? Is it promoting, you know, that these kids go after, you know, these pedophiles? That could be very risky.
HIGGINS: Certainly that‘s not the point of the movie. We‘re not encouraging vigilantism at all.
COSBY: But could it encourage it? Could it encourage it, David?
HIGGINS: I don‘t think so. I think the movie—when you see the movie, the movie clearly kind of exists outside of reality, to some extent. So I don‘t think it presents this as a real-life situation.
The movie does things that are almost—you know, very difficult for a teenager to really do, and that‘s where the movie kind of, you know, has its strengths, is that it‘s a fantasy, and we‘re having fun with that idea of: What if this could happen?
COSBY: Well, let me play another part. This is what if could happen. This is when Hayley the teenager meets Jeff the man, and this is when they confront each other for the first time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just don‘t really look like the kind of guy who has to meet girls over the Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it‘s better to meet people online first sometimes, to get to know what they‘re like inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, how did you figure out what actors and settings for this?
HIGGINS: We knew we wanted to keep it very contained. The idea was always, “Let‘s put two people in a house, and see if we can keep that interesting, and keep changing the stakes for 90 minutes.” Finding actors was difficult. We saw, I think, over 300 actresses before we saw found Ellen Page, who‘s this fantastic young actress out of Canada, reminds us a lot of, like, a young Jodie Foster. And she just had that perfect combination.
COSBY: Yes, and the performance is powerful.
Let me put up some powerful statistics, because this is incredible, David. In real life, as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given moment; 30 percent of them in America have talked to strangers online about meeting in person.
One in five kids—we‘ve said this before, and this number is staggering to me—who use chat rooms has been approached over the Internet by pedophiles. Eighty-nine percent of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or instant messages.
Real quick, you know, doing the research, how stunned are you, you know, when you hear this, and how vulnerable are kids? Really fast.
HIGGINS: I mean, I certainly think, you know, we didn‘t set out to make a movie that was a warning lesson. But given, you know, three years ago where we started to where we are now, it‘s scary how much bad stuff is out there. So I think, if people can take something out of our movie, to, you know, be safe on the Web, to pay attention to what they‘re doing, that‘s a great lesson out of that.
COSBY: You bet. David Higgins, thank you very much. Unfortunately, we got to go, but we very much appreciate it. Fascinating and provocative film. “Hard Candy,” everybody.
HIGGINS: Thank you very much.
COSBY: And still ahead, a fiery scene inside a convenience store. The suspects in this are on the run, but the video is “Caught by Cosby” and it is coming up.
COSBY: And authorities are on the hunt for the person who firebombed a store in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The suspects are on the run, but the pictures, as you can see, are “Caught by Cosby.” Security cameras caught three young people walking into a 7-Eleven early this morning. And a few minutes later, there was an explosion.
Police can‘t tell from the tape who threw the Molotov cocktail, which you can see just erupted there. Two employees were inside at the time. Luckily, they were not injured.
And also “Caught by Cosby” tonight, caught on the ice. Ice surfing is a hot, extreme sport in Alaska, where surfers jump from ice floe to ice floe. But one surfer, near Alaska in an area there called Girdwood, got stranded and attempted use his coat as a wind sail. Emergency crews arrived, but the guy got off just fine, hopped off and swam to shore. Emergency crews were ready to help, but apparently, luckily, that guy was OK.
Incredible video tonight. And that does it for me here on LIVE & DIRECT. I‘m Rita Cosby. “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with Michael Smerconish filling in for Joe again starts right now—Michael?
Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.
Watch Rita Cosby Live & Direct each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET