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'The Abrams Report' for April 17

Guests: Steven Bernholz, Julia Renfro, Arlene Ellis Schipper, Dave Holloway, Joe Tacopina, Clint Van Zandt, Susan Filan, Yale Galanter, Steven Bernholz, John Burris

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  According to sources close to the defense, two Duke lacrosse players have been indicted in connection with an alleged rape at a team party. 

The program about justice starts now.

Hi everyone.  I am live in Durham, North Carolina on the campus of Duke University.  I have in my hand a list of all of the indictments handed up from the Durham grand jury.  Not one of these 36 names matches the name of a Duke lacrosse player.  But members of the defense team have been told that two Duke lacrosse players have been indicted in a sealed indictment.  We don‘t know exactly what they have been charged with.  We do know that it is in connection with this case. 

Steven Bernholz is with me.  He is a criminal defense attorney here in North Carolina.  Steven, what do you make of this?


Given the quality of the evidence that at least that we know about...


BERNHOLZ:  ... for the district attorney to proceed to indictment rather than to warrant for arrest and a preliminary hearing to decide whether there‘s probable cause...

ABRAMS:  Bottom line, it is easy to get an indictment in a grand jury. 

BERNHOLZ:  It‘s...

ABRAMS:  If you decide you want—if you‘re a prosecutor, you decide you want to get an indictment in a grand jury, I mean we see this 81-0 here on the ones that were made public.

BERNHOLZ:  Yes, you know the old saying about you can indict a ham sandwich if you want to. 

ABRAMS:  And I should say that I was sitting with the D.A. today and he was eating his lunch when I actually asked him what he was eating.  But again, there were 24 bills to be carried forward or returned to the prosecutor.  Eighty-one bills of indictment.  Zero to be not true.  Meaning, zero cases where the grand jury decided there was not enough evidence.  But again, we are told that two of the lacrosse players have been indicted in a sealed indictment.  It‘s possible it wouldn‘t be a rape charge though right?  It‘s possible it could be a larceny charge, a theft charge, an assault charge.  Something like that. 

BERNHOLZ:  Well it could be any charge.  And we‘re of course not even sure that it is true that the sealed indictments relate to any of the players. 

ABRAMS:  No, we do.  We know...


ABRAMS:  Yes, according to the members of the defense team, they were told that two of the players had been indicted in connection with this case. 

BERNHOLZ:  I‘m surprised additionally, because of the fact that given the amount of tension that there has been in the community surrounding this case, to treat these two defendants differently from the way a normal defendant would be treated. 

ABRAMS:  We‘re going to check back with you later in the program.

BERNHOLZ:  All right.

ABRAMS:  Thanks.

Now to a major development in Aruba, a new suspect under arrest in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, police have taken a 19-year-old into custody, only formerly releasing his initials, GVC, but Joran van der Sloot‘s attorney is identifying him as Geoffrey von Cromvoirt, a teenager who works for a surveillance company that provided security for the Holiday Inn where Natalee was staying and the suspect also reportedly works as a beach patroller to prevent crimes against tourists. 

Now we just learned that the suspect will be held for eight more days and will likely go before a judge tomorrow.  According to Joran‘s attorney, forensic evidence was found on this young man‘s t-shirt. 

All right.  So joining me now with the latest is MSNBC‘s Michelle Kosinski who is in Aruba.  We‘re joined as well by “Aruba Today” newspaper editor Julia Renfro and on the phone Aruban attorney Arlene Ellis Schipper.  Thanks a lot to all of you for coming on the program.

All right.  Let me start with you Michelle.  Do we know anything more about this arrest down in Aruba? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  We‘ve been hearing the same things.  And keep in mind, he has not officially been named a suspect at this point or that he‘s been arrested.  Now prosecutors have successfully extended the terms of his detention by eight more days and will have to appear before a judge tomorrow.  And remember that‘s all based on evidence. 

Prosecutors will hold him for three days, then will go to eight, and then they‘ll ask for eight more.  There‘s a series of benchmarks.  So obviously there‘s some reason to hold him.  But it‘s been speculated by some of the attorneys for parties to the case that he might be simply a witness who might provide some evidence or some information to prosecutors as it relates to the three suspects in Natalee‘s disappearance who have since been released. 

But when you start hearing things from Joran van der Sloot‘s attorney, who does have access to information from prosecutors, things like, he believes that this 19-year-old was arrested because police, as he says, found a t-shirt of his that may have some forensic evidence.  That leads to you believe that maybe there is something else involved, so when you have one attorney saying he believes that it‘s more than just a witness type status, but other attorneys, other parties in the case are saying they think he might just have some information about the other three.

ABRAMS:  And we should pint out that Joran van der Sloot‘s attorney, Joe Tacopina, will be on this program in a minute.  Julia Renfro, do you know anything more about why they arrested him?  When you think about the story and that is that Joran van der Sloot claims that he left Natalee on the beach.  Well, lo and behold, it sure does fit his account when you have someone who is responsible for monitoring the beaches to prevent crimes against tourists, being arrested.

JULIA RENFRO, “ARUBA TODAY” EDITOR:  Well, Joe, the situation we‘re in now is the police really haven‘t given us any details, but as you might remember early on in the case, many of the students as well as the mother of Natalee said that there had been a young man hanging out with the group, and that‘s actually who that they were looking for and who they thought Natalee was last seen with.  As it turns out, Joran van der Sloot didn‘t meet Natalee until that last evening really just about half an hour before her friends last saw her.

ABRAMS:  Arlene, before I ask you the legal questions, you‘ve also served as a spokesperson for the government.  Is there anything that you know in a formal capacity that you can tell us about this arrest? 

ARLENE ELLIS SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY (via phone):  No.  The only thing that I know about this arrest is what the prosecution office has released, that is that they have confirmed that this arrest has been made.  I have to disagree with what I heard earlier.  It will not be a capacity of a witness because witnesses are not arrested in Aruba.  And also, the decision to prolong his police detention for eight days already indicates that it is a suspect.  As Julie said, it is true that we do not know in which respect he is a suspect, so in which capacity because the police have not released yet the grounds for his arrest. 

ABRAMS:  So let‘s lay that out then in terms of the options Arlene.  When you say we don‘t know what type of suspect he is, meaning he has certainly been arrested in connection with the Natalee Holloway case, we know that, correct?

SCHIPPER:  Yes.  That is correct. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  So he could be a suspect in connection either with her disappearance or what else? 

SCHIPPER:  Well, you have a whole array of hypotheticals that you can lay out there.  You can be an accessory.  You could be the main suspect, but you can also be involved as sort of an accessory after the fact which only can be punishable if it‘s for instance hiding a body in Aruba, so there‘s a whole different kinds of counts that he could be a suspect of. 

ABRAMS:  Julia, why now?  I mean that‘s the question I think that a lot of people are going to ask is it, do you know—did they get new evidence?  Did this TV show that recreated the crime lead to more tips?  Do we know what led to the arrest at this time? 

RENFRO:  We‘re under the impression that the television show that the Dutch produced and aired in Holland as well as in Aruba two—on two separate occasions, could have very well been the trigger, the key to pointing the finger at this kid, and we at this point don‘t know why he has been detained, but it‘s very likely that he might have spent some time with Natalee. 

ABRAMS:  How does it work, Arlene, in Aruba, in terms of holding someone?  And we always talk about how the standard may be a little bit lower to make an arrest in Aruba than here.  Do you agree with that and lay out what the legal standard would be to arrest him and hold him. 

SCHIPPER:  Well basically for to account somebody—or how do you call that, credit somebody as a suspect, you have to have suspicions and strong suspicions and as we go along the way of the pretrial detention, the suspicion has to grow and you have to show more to the court.  At this point, we‘re dealing with a suspicion, there‘s apparently a lead, a link to this case, which was enough to bring him in for questioning. 

After six hours of questioning, the decision is again made whether he‘s put into police custody.  Apparently there still was that strong suspicion, and there still was enough necessity for this investigation to hold him.  So then they decided to hold him 48 hours, which police custody and now apparently they have also decided to prolong that police custody with eight more days as the investigation requires.  So this can very well be along these eight days that he can be released or not because after the eight days it becomes a decision of the court.

ABRAMS:  Julia Renfro, is it an overstatement then for me to say that this really could be a major development in the Natalee Holloway investigation?

RENFRO:  No.  I don‘t think that‘s an overstatement at all.  Although like Arlene said, at this point we really don‘t know, and he could possibly have some information that could lead to a closure in this case.

ABRAMS:  Let me bring into the conversation Dave Holloway, of course Natalee‘s father.  Dave thanks for coming back on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right...


ABRAMS:  We‘ve been talking about what this means, who this is, what he has been suspected of, et cetera.  Has the government or the investigators told you anything?

HOLLOWAY:  We don‘t know anything at this point in time.  I agree with the other people who have spoken, that if he‘s detained for more than eight days, we know there‘s something to it.

ABRAMS:  So this really could be not just someone who knows something, but it could be more. 

HOLLOWAY:  Well, all we can do is just speculate, and I would think that if he goes before a judge, within this eight-day period, and he‘s held longer then there may be more to it than what we think. 

ABRAMS:  Dave, had you ever heard of him before? 

HOLLOWAY:  Never had.  The first I heard of him was Saturday evening.  When they announced GVC is the initials and then we had some people who were able to analyze who it was.

ABRAMS:  Let me ask Michelle Kosinski a question.  Michelle, does this mean if he is being held and it‘s a big if because we don‘t know exactly what he‘s being held in connection with. 


ABRAMS:  We know he‘s being held in connection with this case but we don‘t know on suspicion of what, but could this mean that this arrest could end up clearing the other three suspects? 

KOSINSKI:  That is the big question.  In fact, all we can depend upon are our sources who are close to the investigation.  Obviously only prosecutors know those details.  They share them with the attorneys who are party to the case as they see fit and some of those details are then shared with us, so you have some attorneys saying, well, we think this is not a big deal and that they might have something to do with some of the suspects, so what does that mean?  We really don‘t know. 

But you know, the obvious I guess jump you could make is if this person, if it is a big deal and has much to do with the case, would that then you know surpass Joran van der Sloot‘s alleged involvement as—he‘s been considered the key suspect for so long.  He‘s always maintained that he just left Natalee on the beach.  It all just depends on what information is out there, what they have in connection with this 19-year-old that might change everything.  That‘s what‘s so tantalizing about this new arrest, a name that we hadn‘t heard before. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Dave, do you have any theory about that, about whether this arrest could end up clearing these other three? 

HOLLOWAY:  I‘m going to stick with the main path of what the police have been investigating all along, that these three suspects are the primary suspects, and until I see more evidence otherwise, I think they should continue down this path.  Now this boy may be part of that, we don‘t know, but it‘s all speculation at this point and you know, we‘ll just have to wait and see. 

ABRAMS:  Dave, are you encouraged by this development? 

HOLLOWAY:  You know somewhat.  You know you just don‘t know where this kid stands in the scheme of things, so I‘m just going to hold tight, I‘m not going to get my hopes up high.  I‘ve had them—you know, we‘ve been on a roller coaster ride for a long time, so—but it‘s better than nothing.  You know, it‘s—at least it appears that leads are being followed up on, and checked out and there‘s indication that if this kid stays in there a lot longer than the eight days, then we may be on the right track to resolving this case.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Dave Holloway thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

Michelle Kosinski...

HOLLOWAY:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  ... Julia Renfro and Arlene Ellis Schipper, thanks a lot to you as well.  All right.  So what happens now with the prime suspect in the case?  Joran van der Sloot‘s attorney, Joe Tacopina, joins us up next. 

And later, the grand jury done for the day and sources close to the defense are saying that they believe that two Duke lacrosse players have been indicted.   

Plus, the second dancer at the party comes forward and admits that she was the one who called 911 and suggests the accuser may have been drugged.  The exclusive interview is also coming up. 

Your e-mails  We go through them at the end of the show.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back talking about a new arrest in the Natalee Holloway case in Aruba.  Police have taken into custody a 19-year-old, only officially releasing his initials, GVC.  A local paper say the suspect is Geoffrey von Cromvoirt who worked for a security firm that provided security for the hotel where Natalee was staying last summer, but the question is, did he have any relationship with the three primary suspects in this case? 

Joining me now on the phone is Joe Tacopina, who represents and is currently representing a suspect in the case, Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch teen who we‘ve been talking about throughout this case.  Joe, all right, first question up, does this guy know your client? 

JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY FOR JORAN VAN DER SLOOT (via phone):  That was an easy one, absolutely not.  Whether he knows of my client, I mean, I‘ve heard you know reports that he knows of him, well, obviously everyone knows of him, especially in Aruba, but he does not know him in the sense that he‘s friends with him.  Let me you know reverse that. 

Joran does not know who this individual is.  He‘s never seen him before.  He doesn‘t ever recall meeting him, never certainly had a conversation with him, so let me dispel any misinformation, there‘s not an acquaintance there whatever. 

ABRAMS:  So those who have suggested that your client may have been talking to or somehow worked with or been associated with this young man who has just been arrested, you‘re saying absolutely 100 percent not true. 

TACOPINA:  A hundred percent most adamantly not true, Dan.  I mean but you know it sort of goes with the territory in this case.  You know we‘ve heard reports that Joran confessed and Joran you know did this and Joran, you know, but that‘s just part of you know what comes along with this case.  I mean, it‘s like, you know, “The DaVinci Code”.  Everyone is trying to figure it out.  They have all their own spins on it, it‘s unbelievable, but it couldn‘t be anything more further from the truth.  Joran does not know this young man. 

ABRAMS:  Now, I think the reason some people question that is because it does fit in very well, conveniently, no matter—depending on how you view it, with Joran‘s story, which is Joran says he left her on the beach and that‘s the last he saw of her and now suddenly another young man is arrested who presumably is combing the beaches in an effort to protect tourists.

TACOPINA:  Yes.  Well I mean that is—I mean, look, if that‘s—we‘re going down that road of speculation, which I am so loathe to do in this case, Dan, because that‘s what we‘ve had for 11 months, but let‘s go down it for a second based on that question, your hypothetical.  I mean if this guy is part of a beach patrol, which we know he was because his father was the security outfit that was in charge of the—what they call the high visibility team, that‘s the beach patrol—if that‘s in fact the case and he worked for them, well Joran leaving Natalee at the beach at 2:30, according to his cell phone records, the call to Deepak was around 2:40, and he‘s on his computer at home at 3:10, so we know that there‘s a very limited time window there.

And she‘s incapacitated or passed out or alone or walking back to the Holiday Inn, whatever she‘s doing on the beach, and a guy from the beach patrol happens up upon her, you know that‘s perfectly consistent, assuming there‘s any connection with this kid and her disappearance, with everything Joran has said, so the—but the bottom line is Joran doesn‘t know who he is up until today and certainly doesn‘t have any connection to him, so this is a positive development for Joran van der Sloot as far as I‘m concerned in a big way.

ABRAMS:  And Joe, you‘ve been told that one of the reasons he was arrested was based on forensic evidence found on a t-shirt? 

TACOPINA:  Well, Dan, I—you know, I‘ve been told a lot of things. 

As you know, we have investigators on the field both in Aruba and here, but

we have people that we speak to on a daily basis and my interest in trying

to help get to the bottom of this case is I have a client that his life has

been destroyed and been you know living a nightmare since day one, and

certainly I‘d like to have this resolved for him, aside from any peace this

brings to the Holloway family, but yes, I have been told in no uncertain

terms that this individual was the owner of this shirt that they recovered

back in the beginning of this, I think in June, that was a shirt that was -

has his father‘s security company on it and it also had his initials in it. 

I don‘t think they really put two and two together.  Unfortunately, a lot of things occurring late in this investigation, seems like since the new police chief, Phelty (ph), came on the scene, things have been picking up a little bit, but I will also tell you that his father was the individual who installed the security cameras at the Holiday Inn of all places, the hotel where Natalee stayed and at the Holiday Inn casino and that security camera oddly enough captured Joran on the videotape...

ABRAMS:  Right.

TACOPINA:  ... with Natalee, but coincidentally was missing a piece of video that I think could be very telling, which was this boy, Geoffrey, with Natalee after Joran was with her and that piece of videotape wasn‘t you know there when the police went to go get it.  So I think there are some dots that need to be connected here.

ABRAMS:  Wait, Joe—but Joe, you don‘t know that he‘s on the videotape with Natalee; you‘re saying it‘s possible, right? 

TACOPINA:  Well I‘m going on my—the reports I have that have witness statements putting this kid in that casino with Natalee.  Look, I can only go on what the witnesses have said, Dan, who were there and what I will tell you is that the Holloway family has put out that they believe this is the young Dutch, blonde haired, blue eyed boy who Natalee was smitten with prior to meeting Joran. 

There‘s a lot more than meets the eye here in my opinion.  Again, Dan, I am not taking the ultimate step and saying this case is solved.  I just think it‘s very interesting...

ABRAMS:  Right.

TACOPINA:  ... and I really—I am thoroughly encouraged, as are my clients, that this is starting to—this investigation at least is starting to follow some leads that seemed to be dormant up until a few weeks ago.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Joe Tacopina, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

TACOPINA:  OK, buddy.

ABRAMS:  Joining me now, former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt, former prosecutor and MSNBC analyst Susan Filan and criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter. 

All right.  Clint, look...


ABRAMS:  ... this seems to be a big development, no?

VAN ZANDT:  Well you know, number one, Joe is a great guy.  Number two, he‘s putting up a good defense for his client, so you know I take what Joe says based upon what his job is, defend his client.  All that said and done, you know it‘s an interesting development, Dan.  We‘ve had our seat belt strapped on this case so many times; we‘ve been up and down this roller coaster ramp.  You know, you got to follow the evidence; you got to follow the information. 

You can‘t let an attorney run you one way nor can you let the police or the family run you another way.  The cops have got to just keep their head down to the ground and keep sniffing this case out and so what if this guy‘s shirt was buried in the sand?  Unless it‘s got Natalee‘s DNA on it, what does that mean?

ABRAMS:  Well, I mean, Susan, this guy has been arrested, all right.  They have enough evidence to hold him beyond the initial period.  Again, we don‘t know exactly what he‘s arrested for, but we do know it‘s in connection with this case.  I‘m just—I‘m wondering whether some people just don‘t want to believe that it could have been anyone other than the three suspects who we‘ve been talking about all this time.

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Well, it would be foolish to become entrenched in a position that we want it to be one person over another person, based on you know that‘s what we‘ve been thinking for 11 months.  I mean that‘s just foolish and I don‘t frankly think that that‘s what‘s going on.  I think what‘s happening is we have just the most minimal amount of information, and it‘s like trying to read tealeaves and it‘s very frustrating.  I know that your other guest said that they don‘t hold people as suspects in Aruba and I‘ll take her at her word at that, but I still can‘t help but think that they‘re holding this person more as a witness to help crack or solve this case, and it will somehow lead them back to the three original suspects. 

What do I base that on?  I base that on the fact that that‘s what the police have been working on for the past 11 months and it would surprise me, it would actually bother me to learn that they‘ve been barking up the wrong tree for the last 11 months.  It‘s possible, but I tend to doubt it and again like Clint says, what forensic evidence did they find on this t-shirt now.  Is it Natalee‘s DNA?  I just don‘t know and I agree again with Clint...


FILAN:  I think Joe is a great guy but you really have to take what he‘s saying with a grain of salt because he‘s doing his job and well too.

ABRAMS:  Well, a man who I always take with a grain of salt is Yale Galanter.  Yale, what do you make of it?

YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well I agree with everything.  I mean you know Joe is a great guy and you do have to take what defense lawyers say with a grain of salt.  But all of that being said, I mean Joe is very honest and what he‘s saying makes sense and it does fit with his client‘s story of leaving her on the beach.  Now the real key is what were the police and law enforcement people doing with this t-shirt for so long, and why do we not have the scientific results of there being any forensic evidence found on it?  Because what Susan and Clint were saying is true, if Natalee‘s DNA is on that t-shirt, this young man is going to have to explain...


GALANTER:  ... his contact with her and...

ABRAMS:  I think that...

GALANTER:  ... we need to know...

ABRAMS:  I think they‘re saying it somewhat facetiously, that sort of you know, if and only if Natalee‘s...


ABRAMS:  ... DNA is found on the shirt. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Yes.

GALANTER:  But if the...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right...

GALANTER:  ... rumor is true that there‘s something on that t-shirt, Dan...


GALANTER:  ... we need to know the source of that...


GALANTER:  ... forensic material. 

ABRAMS:  Well let‘s be clear, the source of the rumor is coming from Joe Tacopina.  I mean just—I mean I‘m not saying that‘s not true.  I‘m just saying that remember, that‘s where we got that information and you know, I just want the viewers to understand...

GALANTER:  But somewhere there‘s got to be...

ABRAMS:  ... that that‘s where we‘re getting it from. 

GALANTER:  ... a lab report because after 11 months...

ABRAMS:  That‘s right. 

GALANTER:  ... it would have had to...

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  All right.


ABRAMS:  Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

VAN ZANDT:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Susan and Yale are going to stick around. 

Coming up, from here at Duke University a grand jury has met here in Durham and the defense team now convinced a indictment has been handed up against two of the players in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.  The very latest coming up after the break.

And the second dancer at the party that we‘ve been talking about speaking out in exclusive interviews. She now says that she was the one who made the first 911-call and suggests that the accuser may have been drugged.  We‘ve got the tape.



ABRAMS:  Welcome back to the campus of Duke University, where sources close to the defense in the Duke rape investigation are telling us that they are now entirely convinced that indictments have been returned against two members of the Duke lacrosse team.  Exactly what the charges are, we don‘t know.  Exactly who are these two lacrosse players, we don‘t know that either. 

We do know, though, that the information apparently not coming directly from the district attorney.  But again, the defense team here in Durham, North Carolina, entirely convinced that two indictments have been returned.  They are sealed, unlike 81 bills of indictment that were handed up by the Durham grand jury.  We have all of their names, all of the charges that they‘re facing but not these two. 

The question:  What are the charges?  Why is it sealed?  Our panel joins us.  Susan Filan is an MSNBC analyst and former prosecutor.  Joined as well by Yale Galanter.  He‘s a criminal defense attorney.  And here in North Carolina, Steven Bernholz, a long time criminal defense attorney here in the Durham area. 

Let me start with you, Steven.  First of all, you were saying before that you were surprised at the way that this has happened.

BERNHOLZ:  Yes, normally in a case involving an accusation of violent crime, the district attorney will proceed to get a warrant and have the suspect or defendant arrested rather than go directly to the grand jury.  So that the evidence at least can be initially tested before a judge who is mandated to find that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed it. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

BERNHOLZ:  In which case, the district attorney then takes the charge to the grand jury...

ABRAMS:  Right.

BERNHOLZ:  ... for indictment. 

ABRAMS:  Yale, you know some of the lawyers involved in this case.  Do you have any sense of how they‘re responding?  How they‘re reacting?  And how they found out? 

GALANTER:  I can tell you, Dan, that defense lawyers were notified late this afternoon that two of the lacrosse players were in fact indicted.  After the defense was notified, it was the defense team who went to a judge and asked that that indictment be sealed until those two players could make arrangements to surrender.  It is my information that that will occur sometime tomorrow.  The players are coming back.  They‘re going to surrender.  They‘re going to post bond.  And then the defense will in fact have a press conference after that occurs.  But it was the defense team...

ABRAMS:  All right.  This is an important...

GALANTER:  ... that asked that the indictment be sealed. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s an important development.  And I want to make it clear, Yale does know some of the lawyers involved in this case and Yale, just so we‘re clear as to where you‘re getting this information, you‘re getting it directly from the attorneys in the case?

GALANTER:  Dan, I can‘t name who the sources are but I can tell you that it is from members of the defense team. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  Now, Steven, this is the point you were making before, which was you were saying that you would be surprised if be it the court, be it the prosecutors, would allow this case to be treated any differently than another case.  But is it really treating it so much differently for a lawyer to say, you know what?  Give us time to turn our clients in?  That happens all the time, right?

BERNHOLZ:  Well it happens, but not in a case of this, what has become this magnitude.  Where the community‘s feelings are so intense about it and involving possible charges of violence against the complaining witness. 

ABRAMS:  Susan Filan, are you surprised by the developments? 

FILAN:   Well, I‘m not surprised if the—there‘s going to be a

procedure whereby these people can turn themselves in.  It is somehow

thought that they‘re not a flight risk and they‘re going to cooperate.  But

I am surprised by a feel (ph) indictment for the reason that these guys

don‘t want to have a perp walk and the judge going along with that.  And it

they‘re going to be able to post bond tomorrow.

It sounds like bond has already been set by the court or by the police.  So it sounds like there are some irregularities here and I can‘t imagine that it is all just to protect the two defendants.  I have to believe at some level, it is to protect the community as well.  Because there is such public interests in this case.  They don‘t want it to go out of control. 

They don‘t want there to be race riots or other kinds of riots, so maybe in the interest of justice...


FILAN:  ... for all parties concerned this is the appropriate way to proceed.  But I think there‘s got to be a press conference.  I think there‘s got to be an announcement.  I think order has to be restored so that there is public confidence in this prosecution.

ABRAMS:  And Yale, do you expect that they‘re going to announce the names of the two people who have been indicted tomorrow? 

GALANTER:  Dan, my understanding is that after the two players surrender, they post bond in the process.  That the defense team is in fact going to hold a press conference, sometime either early tomorrow morning or early tomorrow afternoon and go public with all the information that I‘ve just announced.

ABRAMS:  And again, are you surprised that they‘re going to be surrendering tomorrow in this fashion? 

BERNHOLZ:  No.  I think that‘s apparently what was contemplated.  It does surprise me, however, that the request for the indictments to be sealed came from the defense.  That‘s very unusual.  Although there‘s nothing very usual about any of this case.

GALANTER:  That came...

ABRAMS:  All right...

GALANTER:  ... prosecutor didn‘t agree to it. 

BERNHOLZ:  Well, that could be, I suppose.  But I‘m not sure every judge, I‘m not sure who the judge was...


BERNHOLZ:  ... that ordered these indictments sealed.  But I‘m a little surprised that his or her hearing this request from the defense.

ABRAMS:  Let me just...

FILAN:  Exactly.  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  ... repeat what we know for certain.  We know for certain that the defense team believes that two people have been indicted.  They are entirely convinced that two players have been indicted.  And we‘re told they‘re not necessarily getting it directly from the D.A., but there is no doubt in their minds about that.  Yale Galanter telling us that he is hearing from the defense team that the players will surrender tomorrow.  The panel is going to stick around. 

Because coming up, a key point in this case.  The second dancer at the party is speaking out in an exclusive interview.  She says she‘s the one who made that first 911-call and suggest the accuser may have been drugged.  How does she know?  We‘ll listen, coming up.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, with news of two sealed indictments from the Durham grand jury, this comes just as the accuser‘s co-dancer, the other woman who was at that party, is speaking out for the first time.  We‘ve got the tape.  It‘s coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It would be hard for me to understand why anybody would put themselves through this if she weren‘t telling the truth.


ABRAMS:  That is the woman who danced with the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation.  Finally breaking her silence.  Up to now, there is been wild speculation over what she knows about the allegations.  Well now, she‘s talking a little bit, answering some questions about the accuser‘s condition when she arrived and left the party and about why she left her at a store in the middle of the night and maybe most importantly, about that 911-call that led a lot of people to speculate that maybe the case was a set-up.


911 DISPATCHER:   Durham 911, where is your emergency?

CALLER:  I don‘t know if this is an emergency, but I‘m in Durham and I was driving down near Duke‘s campus and it‘s me and my black girlfriend, and the guy, there‘s like a white guy by the Duke wall, and he just hollered out (BLANK) to me.  And I‘m just so angry.  I saw them all come out like a big frat house and me and my black girlfriend are walking by and they called us (BLANK).  I‘m not going to press the issue, I guess, but I live in a neighborhood where they wrote KKK on the side of a white station wagon and that‘s near right where I‘m at and they didn‘t harm me in any way, but I just feel so completely offended.

(END 911 CALL)


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We were leaving the party and as we were

leaving, it was dispersing.  And as we pulled off with the other lady and

my car next to me, you know they yelled racist slurs and I was upset and

called 911.  Of course, I didn‘t want—nobody in my life knows about the

you know the—this little job that I had.  You know, so I didn‘t feel comfortable, you know, letting that out to anybody.  So when I called 911, I told them that we were just walking by.  And these guys were yelling the words but that was in an effort to conceal my identity. 

I didn‘t ever have to leave my name or anything.  I didn‘t even know that they would send a car.  I didn‘t know at that—how serious that was.  You know, I didn‘t know if it was a real charge or if it was a real crime or if the police would even come out.  I had no idea.  You know I just wanted—when something like that happens, you can‘t keep that to yourself.  You just can‘t.  You know, I would either go home and tell my friends which wouldn‘t do anything, which wouldn‘t do any good or I can call the police, which is what I did.


ABRAMS:  She called the police.  Now remember, this 911-call is something we‘ve been talking about for a while here.  And the question was, who made the call?  Well it seems that the other dancer who was with her at that party made the call but didn‘t say anything about a rape.  So the question, of course, is how significant is that?  The panel is back with me. 

Steven Bernholz, pretty significant, isn‘t it?

BERNHOLZ:  Very significant.  I think of all the events of the evening, being subject to a racial slur would fade in significance against what may,  is alleged to have happened at the party. 

ABRAMS:  John Burris, I guess the other side might say well, you know, if they hadn‘t talked about it, that the woman—the accuser was sort of incoherent at that point.

JOHN BURRIS, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Well, certainly that‘s a perspective.  As a prosecutor, though, you do want to get a handle on what the lady saw and what observations she made.  Because as a prosecutor, I would want to know why didn‘t you call the police?  And what the lady had said to you when you were leaving and where were you during the course of this? 

It seems to be the only person that‘s in a position to corroborate the circumstances under which this could have happened and lend some credibility to it.  But you know, at the end of the day, as a prosecutor, you‘re looking for corroborative facts, particularly in light of the fact if you don‘t have DNA, which has been stated, you need to have individuals who can corroborate as many independent facts as you can and don‘t have that credibility call into question.  So it is troubling if I‘m the prosecutor.


ABRAMS:  Right.  But the problem is, Susan, we don‘t have any corroborating facts yet that we know of.  I mean, again, we don‘t know exactly what the prosecutor knows.  But it seems that with each and every fact that comes out, I mean this woman is basically saying she wouldn‘t lie.  Why would she make this up in essence?  I think the police and the prosecutors are doing a good job here.  OK, fair enough. 

But it still doesn‘t lead us to the point of having any more corroboration.  In fact, it just leads to more questions about why she didn‘t say, hey, the woman next to me in the car just got raped. 

FILAN:  Well the answer to that would be that she doesn‘t know.  Now of course that raises questions how could she not know?  How could they have been there together and she didn‘t know?  But we‘ve heard the woman, the alleged victim went back into the house and they got separated.  So it is conceivable that this woman who has just been interviewed doesn‘t know.  And we have to remember, there is no formulaic way people respond when they‘ve been raped.

And very often you don‘t tell.  You keep it to yourself.  You‘re ashamed.  You feel guilty.  You‘re horrified.  Somehow you think it is your fault.  So some people say it right away and other people hold it in. 


FILAN:  It is not clear in this case exactly what happened.  But the other thing that I want to say is she is very, very key to this case and I have to believe the D.A. has already interviewed her.  I know that she‘s got an attorney.  I know that the information that we‘re getting it seems to negate the alleged victim‘s statement are all now coming from the defense which doesn‘t mean again that it didn‘t happen.  We haven‘t heard from the prosecution in a long time.  Maybe that‘s a good thing. 


FILAN:  I don‘t know.  But we don‘t know what they‘ve got.  We‘ve got to believe...

ABRAMS:  Well...

FILAN:  ... that they‘ve got more than we know. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, it certainly sounds—it sounds like this woman is saying that she believes that her fellow dancer was drugged.  Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She was definitely a totally different woman than she was when she first - when I first met her.  She definitely was, you know, under some sort of substance, some sort, something, you know, had her and overtook her by the time we left.  By the time we were leaving.  She was definitely different than she was when she came into the party.  We didn‘t know each other before and so I had no frame of reference as to how this isn‘t her personality and no frame of reference, so I didn‘t know what to think.


ABRAMS:  Yale, the problem I think for the prosecutors here is on the one hand, it sounds like the suggestion is she was so incoherent that she wouldn‘t have remembered anything.  And yet on the other hand, they‘re saying oh yes, she remembers fighting them off, sticking her nails into their arms, et cetera, fighting them, clawing them.  And on the other hand, it sounds like she is an incapacitated mess. 

GALANTER:  Dan, you hit the nail on the head.  I mean this is the one witness, the one independent non-lacrosse player, civilian witness in the house, close proximity, could see, hear everything that went on.  And this young lady cannot corroborate a single word that either the prosecutor is telling us, or that the complaining witness is telling us.  And you‘re right.  If this woman is going to come in and say she was so impaired, inebriated, drugged that she couldn‘t remember a thing, it totally shoots even a bigger hole in the prosecutor‘s case. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Susan Filan and John Burris...


ABRAMS:  ... Yale Galanter, Steve Bernholz, I‘ve got to wrap it up. 

I‘m sorry.  I‘m out of time. 

Coming up, a lot of you still writing in about this investigation.  Many of you wondering if the alleged victim may have been given a so-called rape drug.  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  No “Closing Argument” today, but always time for “Your Rebuttal”.  E-mails still keep coming in on the Duke gang rape investigation. 

Steve from California, “The description of the girl laying down on her side rambling about a lost shoe, unable and unwilling to leave a car, appearing heavily intoxicated is strongly consistent with a person under the influence of GHB.  It sounds to me that someone thought they‘d be cool and drug the girl.”

But from Louisiana, Janet Russell writes, “The complainant was passed out drunk.  Perhaps she was falling down drunk also.  Therefore, she could have gone into the bathroom, lost her balance, fell down, fingernails popped off when she tried to catch herself or when she hit the floor.  That could account for scratches and bruises on arms, legs, et cetera.”

From New Jersey, John Gibbons, “Posting every one of the Duke players on a wanted poster should be a crime.  If this was reversed and this was a posting of black players, it would be called racism.”

Finally, Dennis Howerton from Tennessee has a suggestion for me, really a question.  “Would it be possible for you to restrain yourself from interrupting guests you invite to your program when...”

(INAUDIBLE) forget it, Dennis.  Interrupt you...


ABRAMS:  E-mails abramsreport—one word --  We go through them at the end of the show. 

We‘ll be right back with more on the situation here at Duke.


ABRAMS:  Again, to bring you up-to-date from Duke University.  None of the Duke lacrosse players formerly indicted by name by a Durham grand jury, but we are told there were two sealed indictments.  We are going to continue to follow this story throughout the night.  See you tomorrow.



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