Guests: Tanika Ray, Beth Karas, Brad Schrade, Greg Fulton, Lisa Pinto, Denise Brown, Dave Johnson, Tom Ridge, David Beamer, Tanika Ray, Dean Mandros
RITA COSBY, HOST: Thank you, Joe, so much. And tell Barbie to stay tuned for this, because good evening, everybody.
Tonight, the murder in Chapel Hill. A stunning moment of courtroom drama. The prosecution unveils the weapon they say a priest used in a savage murder of a nun.
But first, some breaking news in the Duke rape case which could dramatically turn this story around. Could a photo and the cabbie‘s dramatic story be in big contrast? And could the cabbie be lying or just mistaken again?
This is the photo we‘re talking about. Could Reade Seligmann‘s alibi be falling apart? Let‘s go to “Time” magazine reporter Greg Fulton for what could be a major revelation in this case.
Greg, what is the big discrepancy here?
GREG FULTON, REPORTER, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Well, the discrepancy isn‘t so much about Mr. Seligmann‘s alibi as to his movements after leaving the party. The discrepancy is more toward some of the photos that have been released, as the defense says, showing photos and a timeline with those that say a rape could not have occurred. There is some doubt being cast upon those photos themselves.
COSBY: And then separately, separately from the photos, also, I think it‘s important to talk about, because the cab driver, Moez Mustafa, who we‘ve had on our show, told us—I spoke with him right before the show—and he said that, at approximately 12:50 a.m. he said or so after he dropped off Reade Seligmann, Kim Roberts, who is the second dancer, got into a white car on the driver‘s side and then left the scene.
What exactly did he tell you?
FULTON: Pretty much the same thing, well, exactly that. And this occurred after he had dropped off Reade who he says was Reade and another player, was called back to the house, picked up four more people upon coming back. And he sees people milling about.
He sees what he says is Kim Roberts walking toward the car. An angry exchange between her and some of the players. She gets in the car, speeds off, quote, from the cab driver, Mr. Mustafa, an old, white car.
COSBY: And what‘s important about that, Greg, because sources close to the second dancer, Kim Roberts, told me, right before the show, quote, “She was never in a white car that night,” you know, not sitting in a car. That was not her car. It wasn‘t white.
COSBY: And, in fact, I‘m told that her car looks awfully like the one in the pictures that the defense has. We‘ll get to the time line on them in a moment.
But if this is the case, Greg, and you guys know this story pretty well, what does that say about the cabbie‘s story, if she was never in a white car?
FULTON: It says that his story is similar to a lot of stories that have been floating around, or spoken to, and/or getting into the media in this case.
I will tell you that, myself, I would never even have suggested that this story go into our Web site or suggest it to my editors had Mr. Mustafa not said this in his statement to police investigators. It‘s a little different, as you know, than him saying it to me or to you.
It has been talked about. It has been reported, your show, as well, the white car. Now that he has made that official and said it to police investigators, that gave us enough to put some other pieces together to come out with a story speaking to it.
The broader story there being that prosecutors may well, as we expect them to, try to chip away at the credibility of the time-stamped photos, using Mr. Mustafa‘s testimony, now on the record with police investigators, as part of that rationale.
It‘s almost like this case has been turned around, where usually you‘ll see defense attorneys poking away at a prosecutor‘s case. It‘s almost the opposite now, because so much evidence has been put out by defense attorneys, what they deem hard evidence...
COSBY: And, Greg, we‘re looking at pictures here.
FULTON: ... and now you‘re seeing prosecutor picking...
COSBY: You‘re looking at pictures here. And what you‘re saying—and I‘ll get to the cabbie in a second, because clearly there‘s an inconsistency with the cabbie versus what we‘re told from sources close to the second dancer—but as we‘re looking at these pictures, what is the question with the time stamp that you understand? And what‘s the dissension?
FULTON: If, indeed, you‘re talking about the pictures showing the player‘s arm reaching in, and there‘s the accuser with a leg out the door...
COSBY: Yes, let‘s go back to that picture.
FULTON: I can see it right here where I am.
COSBY: We‘ll go back to that picture. Go ahead, Greg.
FULTON: Yes, if that‘s the picture we‘re speaking of, it‘s more of a broad brush. I don‘t think that the discrepancy centers around the events of a picture or a picture. The discrepancy centers around: Should we believe the time stamps on these pictures that construct the defense time frame or the defense‘s time line? Should we believe them or should we not believe them?
Why not? Well, time stamps on prints from digital cameras can be altered in photo shop. I‘m a little embarrassed to find out that everybody under 30 seems to know that, and I‘ve learned it through sourcing and talking to photo experts, our own photo people, that, in fact, you can alter those. Is that enough to poke away at the time-stamped photos?
COSBY: And let‘s poke away at the cabbie‘s story, too, Greg.
FULTON: Could this be...
COSBY: Greg, I‘ve got to interrupt you, because the cabbie‘s story is also interesting, because I want to go back again. He said that he saw her getting into a white car on the driver‘s side and speed away in that car. That‘s exactly what he said to me. You‘re telling me that‘s what he said to investigators.
I am now told from a source close to the second dancer she was never in a white car. So what I‘m saying is: We‘re hearing two different stories. Is there now maybe a big question with the cabbie‘s story, Greg?
FULTON: I think there‘s questions with his story; there‘s questions with many stories that have gone around. And, again, I think the fact that he went to the point where he said it to investigators, put it on the official record there adds, arguably, some credibility to it.
How that will shake out, I‘m not surprised. And certainly, when we were looking at this story and working on it, we were hearing that, also.
Wait a minute. You know, it‘s the dark black/Navy blue car. It‘s going to be that. You know, listen to some of the transcripts, things like that. You‘ll hear that.
The other side of the argument is, if indeed he‘s right, they ended up together. We know that they were together in a vehicle, based on 911 calls transcripts, things like that.
But to answer your question, it‘s not surprising to me at all that there are two schools of thought about these so-called old, white car, as he put it on the record to investigators.
COSBY: And, Greg, keep us posted, too, whatever you delve. And, again, everybody at home, there may be two different stories. This is the second time we have caught a cabbie in an inconsistency.
And, again, he told myself and also Greg with “Time” magazine that they were in a white car, that he saw her speed off in a white car, and we have been told from sources that she was not in a white car close to he dancer.
Now, let‘s bring in, if we could, former prosecutor Lisa Pinto and also criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman.
Lisa, I think the bigger issue goes to this cabbie‘s question, because this is the second time that we have caught him in an inconsistency. And, again, we‘re told from sources close to the dancer she was not in a white car. If you look at that picture again, she‘s getting into what looks like a Navy or close to black car. And I‘m told that this was the car she was in.
So he‘s mistaken again, Lisa. What does this go to this guy‘s credibility?
LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you know this is significant for the prosecution, Rita, because defense lawyers for these lacrosse players are already up in arms that these photos were released too early, and tried to distance themselves from the photos, and saying, “Well, we didn‘t want one of the attorneys to do that. We weren‘t going to do that.”
So they‘re seeing the credibility of their photos going out the window. They‘re seeing the credibility of their witness going out the window, their supposed alibi witness. This is all a big problem, when the defense theoretically doesn‘t even have a burden to put on a case.
So not only are they trying to try their case before the trial, but it‘s falling apart. Not a good day for the defense, Rita.
COSBY: Let me play—this is again, because this is the second time that the cabbie has made a misstatement with us. This is again—and, again, he‘s say that they got into a white car. Someone close to the second dancer is telling us she was not in a white car, but, again, this is the second sort of inconsistency we‘ve heard from the cabbie.
Let‘s play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You got a second call that night to 610 North Buchanan house.
MOEZ MOSTAFA, CAB DRIVER: I got the second call, according to my record here, I show up like 1:01 a.m., March 14th.
COSBY: And that was to the house.
MOSTAFA: Yes, 610 North Buchanan.
COSBY: And, again, you say that you arrived there, that you got the call at 1:01, and you arrived there afterwards.
Mustafa, what do you say tonight?
MOSTAFA: I‘m working on (INAUDIBLE) the same time, maybe that is why it comes some confusion, but I remember for sure—I have a call at 12:39 while I was at the Cook Out restaurant on (INAUDIBLE) and I tried to drop Reade and his friend (INAUDIBLE) so I jump on the highway (INAUDIBLE) and I remember even Reade‘s friend, he asked me a question, “Why did you take this highway?” I told him (INAUDIBLE) I am a rush, and I want to get the other call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Mr. Mustafa, though, isn‘t it a fact that your memory suddenly got better after Reade Seligmann‘s father came to visit you and remind you about what happened that night? That‘s what I find so confusing here, Mr. Mustafa.
COSBY: Mickey, let me get you to respond, because now this is the second time we‘re hearing something different from him than, apparently, what the facts are.
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Mr. Mustafa seems like a very nice man, and he‘s very sure that this happened.
COSBY: Yes, and he was very sure of the 1:01 call, too, and so what does this say about his credibility?
SHERMAN: Well, what it says—do you know how many people Barry Scheck has gotten off of death row because witnesses were very sure that x, y and z happened? That is the problem, that‘s the fallibility of eyewitness testimony and people‘s recollections.
And I‘ve got to tell you, Rita, all this does is adds up more questions. It doesn‘t give us any answers; it just gives us more questions. And questions are what amount to reasonable doubt.
PINTO: Oh, Mickey...
SHERMAN: This is not—these are not bad days for the defense.
There is no...
COSBY: But, Lisa, what does this do to the alibi? Because this was Reade Seligmann‘s alibi. Granted, look, he may have these ATM receipts, may have the receipts from the restaurant, but this guy sort of put it all together and was the eyewitness to it. What does this do—this guy was a central figure?
COSBY: Lisa, go ahead. Lisa, I‘ll get you to respond, Mickey.
PINTO: ... impeach him on one thing, why should you believe him on the rest? Mr. Mustafa, I‘m sure he‘s very nice, but his story has changed several times, and it‘s a certainty that one of the accused‘s fathers came to visit him and had a heart-to-heart conversation with him. And we‘ve heard before the trial two or three different accounts from Mr. Mustafa. So, Mickey, as a witness, he‘s a problem, as are the photos at this point, because they are...
PINTO: ... they have been used to assert things that they can‘t prove.
SHERMAN: It‘s not the defendant‘s burden to put on witnesses. These are all witnesses that the state is going to wind up putting on, and they‘re not going to add up. They‘re going to add to reasonable doubt.
PINTO: But you‘re too smart to have done that, Mickey, but these lawyers aren‘t.
COSBY: Mickey, let me get Mickey—Mickey, could they put this guy on the stand now, the cabbie? Do you just have to look at if there is a receipt now?
SHERMAN: I think they have to put him on the stand. You know, I‘ve got to believe that the state will put him on the stand to try and diffuse any discrepancies.
COSBY: You bet.
SHERMAN: But he‘s going to be a problem. He‘s absolutely going to be a problem. It‘s not going to be necessarily a slam dunk for the defense, but by the same token, this many questions just adds up to reasonable doubt. And that‘s the way the jury‘s going to read it.
PINTO: Or if you believe that she left in a white car, Rita, then you‘ve got a great story. You‘re discrediting the 12:41 photo. You‘re saying that‘s the car she arrived in, and she left in the white car.
COSBY: Exactly. And, Mickey, Lisa brings up a good point. Either the photo—you know, either if you listen to Mustafa that it was a white car, and this is clearly her leaving in a 12:41 time-stamped photo by the defense, or Mustafa is wrong. What do you make of it, Mickey?
SHERMAN: I‘m sure he may very well be wrong, but that doesn‘t mean he‘s making it up or that he‘s been bribed by Mr. Seligmann‘s father or by anybody else.
PINTO: I‘m not saying that. I‘m not saying that. But his memory could have been—he could have had things suggested to him. I don‘t know that Mr. Seligmann did. But when witnesses are gotten to by people other than the police, they can be confused. And that‘s why it should have been for the district attorney and the police to investigate this case.
COSBY: Mickey, let me get Mickey the last word. Mickey, real quick.
SHERMAN: Yes, the police have their own ability to confuse people, as well. And I‘m not trying to say they‘re (INAUDIBLE) perjury, but sometimes witnesses just get all beat to crap, and by the end of the day they don‘t know what they‘re going to say.
COSBY: And, Mickey, separately, they just interviewed the guy yesterday. We did the interview with the guy last week.
Two problems I‘ve got here. First of all, he didn‘t go to, you know, the D.A. He didn‘t go to police and say, “By the way, I heard this conversation about it‘s just a stripper.”
And second of all, you guys, the investigators just talked to his guy yesterday. Either way, there are some big questions here.
Both of you, thank you very much.
PINTO: Thank you.
COSBY: The big question is: Does this hurt his credibility? You heard some other things, too.
Still ahead, everybody, if you think parts of the Duke University investigation have created a lot of outrage, get ready for this. People are actually betting on the outcome. You heard that right. You‘ll meet the bookie coming up, and that is not all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY (voice-over): Still ahead, it‘s the movie some people are afraid to see, “United 93.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m on a plane that has been hijacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, I‘ve got F-17s turning and burning toward Washington.
COSBY: The recreation of the doomed 9/11 flight and the heroes who prevented the plane from crashing in the middle of the nation‘s capital. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge speaks candidly to me about the heartbreaking and heroic film. It‘s a LIVE & DIRECT exclusive.
And we‘re following a cold case that has just gotten red hot, a priest accused of killing a nun. Today, the murder weapon is unveiled in court. Will it turn this case? We‘re taking you inside the courtroom. That‘s coming up on LIVE & DIRECT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And tonight, the father of the woman accusing Duke University lacrosse players of rape is saying he hopes she does not drop out of the case, despite being under tough pressure and scrutiny from the defense team. Is it too much for the alleged victim?
And joining me now is Denise Brown. Denise created the Nicole Brown Charitable Foundation in memory of her late sister, the wife of pro football player O.J. Simpson. She‘s been speaking out against domestic violence ever since she took the stand at the infamous O.J. murder trial.
And also with us is MSNBC‘s Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION” with Tucker Carlson.
Denise, is it fair to go into the background of this woman to see if she had any drinking problems, any mental problems?
DENISE BROWN, SISTER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON: I don‘t think it has anything to do with anything. I know that, you know, the defense is going to do a hatchet job on her, and I don‘t believe that any of her background, what she does now—I mean, she‘s an exotic dancer now because she is feeding her two children. She‘s putting a roof over her children‘s head. What does that have to do with an alleged rape? I mean, absolutely nothing.
COSBY: Tucker, what do you say? Is it fair game or not?
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Well, we don‘t know why she‘s an—we don‘t know why she‘s, as Denise said, an exotic dancer. We don‘t know why she chose to become a stripper. I don‘t think we have any clue at all.
COSBY: ... in fairness, in fairness, guys, we don‘t know this firsthand, but her father did say to us that it was because she needed the money, but who knows?
CARLSON: OK, and that may or may not be true. None of this means she was raped or she wasn‘t raped, and maybe nothing in her background is germane to this case. But the fact is people‘s backgrounds can be significant. If she‘s delusional, for instance, yes, that matters. I was accused of rape by someone who was delusional...
BROWN: What does her being an exotic dancer have to do with anything that has to do with this case?
CARLSON: I‘m merely saying it is within the scope of possibility that her background is relevant. As I was saying, I was accused of rape by someone who was delusional...
BROWN: OK, now let me ask you a question then, Tucker.
CARLSON: ... hold on, slow down. And that was the key fact to know. If someone is imagining things in his or her mind—and I‘m not saying this woman is—but that is not only significant; that‘s central. So, yes, it can be significant, her background.
COSBY: Denise, what about if she made up an accusation like this before? Wouldn‘t that be relevant then?
BROWN: Well, something like that would be relevant, but what she does for a living to feed her children and to put a roof over her kids‘ head has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Now, I know that they went into my background and they said, “Oh, well, she got a DUI.” Well, what does me having a DUI have to do with my sister‘s murder? Absolutely nothing.
So if the defense wants to go into her background that has absolutely no relevance to this case at all and do a hatchet job on her, I think that is extremely unfair.
COSBY: And, you know, Denise, real quick, how ugly can it get? You experienced it. How ugly?
BROWN: Oh, it can get extremely ugly, and that‘s the problem. And that‘s why people need to stand up for this woman.
If she picked out two of the people that actually did this, supposedly did this to her, now, is she making this up? Hopefully not, no, because it would set this back 100 years, you know, sexual assaults. And, yes, people do it.
But you know what? I don‘t believe that somebody, out of—I don‘t know how many pictures that she was looking at—would pick out two people that were at that event, were in the bathroom with her, out of three, I don‘t think she would be making something like that up.
And they even said that she had some tearing in her vaginal area. So, I mean, would she go home and actually hurt herself? I don‘t believe a woman would ever do something like that, so...
COSBY: And let me bring in Tucker, because, Tucker, that‘s—you know, we don‘t know, again, in this case but in your case, you experienced a false accusation, right?
CARLSON: Well, yes, I mean, let me just say, I mean, I‘m sorry you got a rough time from the sleaze balls who were defending O.J. Simpson, but that doesn‘t mean...
BROWN: Yes, but the sleaze balls are doing this to her, as well, which is unfair.
CARLSON: Hold on, but that doesn‘t—let me finish. If I may, if I could just finish my sentence, that doesn‘t mean this woman is telling the truth; it doesn‘t mean she‘s lying. It‘s actually irrelevant to the point.
There are a whole host of possibilities here, but I think we need to look at this a little more objectively. Is the information we have suggestive that this crime took place and that these guys are guilty of it?
I think we bring maybe a little too much to this and say, “Well, you know, when I was doing this, when I was doing that.” I don‘t know. We should keep our eyes open and try to make smart determinations about what happened as observers, it seems to me.
COSBY: And, Tucker, what about also...
COSBY: What about on the flip side? Collin Finnerty, you know, one of the suspects, he has an assault in his background. Of course, he had to appear in court earlier this week. Is it fair game, Tucker, then, “Look, we got to go into their backgrounds, too,” right?
CARLSON: Well, I mean, that‘s certainly happening. And the fact that they‘re affluent, and white, and all of that seems to be a big part of this.
But, look, I don‘t think that this woman is a stand-in for all women, right? So if she‘s lying, I don‘t think it sets anybody back 100 years; it just means she‘s lying. And if these men did it, it doesn‘t set men back 100 years; it means that they‘re criminals. I mean, you have to evaluate this case on its own terms at a certain point.
CARLSON: And if there is evidence this woman has lied in the past, I think that‘s germane to this case. I mean, let‘s calm down and look at this rationally.
COSBY: Now, I got to ask you, though, in this particular case, though, has it hurt, the fact that she was an exotic dancer? Some people have just typecast her by making it sound like an exotic dancer can‘t be raped.
BROWN: Well, but, see, the thing—what they also do with sexual assault victims is, if her skirt is too short, she‘s already being pointed at. Now, you know, for this woman to stay behind closed doors, and away from cameras, and away from everybody, I think, is very smart, because you don‘t want to be—first of all, she‘s going to be—her character is being attacked by the defense team.
Do you actually want to be scrutinized and attacked by the public?
No, you don‘t want to. You need to stay in hiding for something like this. You don‘t need to come out and say, “Hey, it‘s me,” because it‘s embarrassing.
The situation—sexual assault is a very embarrassing thing. And a lot of people believe that the clothes you wear, your attitude, the way you walk, you know, is relevant to the fact...
CARLSON: Oh, give me a break. I mean, I‘m sorry.
BROWN: ... that, yes, it‘s OK to get raped.
CARLSON: I mean, I‘m sorry. Nobody is suggesting it‘s OK for anyone to be raped. But if she‘s working for an...
CARLSON: I‘m not suggesting that in any case.
BROWN: It is very behind the times, Tucker, and you should know that.
CARLSON: I don‘t know what America you‘re living in. I haven‘t heard
anybody say that it‘s OK for anyone to be raped. People are merely saying
I‘m saying now that, if she...
BROWN: Well, but the clothes that she wears...
CARLSON: Slow down, Denise.
COSBY: You guys, I‘m going to give you both 15 seconds.
Tucker, go ahead.
CARLSON: ... if she worked for an escort service and was selling sex for a living, it doesn‘t mean she can‘t be raped. It does mean the circumstances are apt to be a little bit more complicated than if a person is pulled off the street and raped by a stranger. That‘s an obvious point that I think all rationale people can accept as true.
COSBY: Denise, go ahead. You get the last word
BROWN: I just think it‘s sad that we even have to get to this point and that we have to even—you know, people—that a horrible situations happen to that we even have to exploit bad situations. I think it‘s bad.
COSBY: All right, both of you, thank you very much. And, Tucker, I know you‘re going to have much more of this on 11:00. Thank you for being with us.
CARLSON: Oh, yes.
COSBY: And if this case wasn‘t already controversial enough, believe it or not, people are betting on the outcome. One of the largest sports betting sites is offering yet another opportunity to put down some big money on the case.
Joining me now on the phone is the CEO of WagerWeb.com, Dave Johnson.
You know, Dave, you‘re basically betting on whether someone was raped or not. Is there something kind of questionable or distasteful about it?
DAVE JOHNSON, CEO, WAGERWEB.COM: It does push the edge a little bit, Rita. When we offer these type of wagers, they‘re called proposition wagers, we always sit down first and discuss whether or not we‘re pushing it a little bit too far.
In this case, because of some of the things that are surrounding the past of the stripper, the DNA results coming back, you know, zero matches on the DNA results, we decided to go ahead and put odds up on these two suspects right now. And we‘ll have odds up on the third suspect, as well, if they name the eventual third suspect.
COSBY: You know, but isn‘t this controversial? You said—is this pushing it too far? You can understand in other bets or other cases, but, you know, the allegation is so ugly and distasteful.
JOHNSON: It is ugly and distasteful, but at the same time the media coverage surrounding this has really, you know, put this right in front of the public, and the American public—you know, the American public are gamblers. They want to bet on things. They want to bet on things that they see on TV.
And we actually—you know, when we came up with this, we had requests from current customers who wanted to bet on this type of thing. They specifically called us. They said, you know, this is something that‘s in the news, it‘s in front of them everyday. And they said, you know, WagerWeb.com, can you put up odds...
COSBY: But, Dave, where do you draw the line? But where do you draw the line and say, “Look, you know, this isn‘t important. This is terrible”? And if these guys are falsely accused, this is terrible. And if this poor girl was raped, this is terrible. There‘s no winners. Why would you want to take part in that?
JOHNSON: The key to that is: if she was raped. And right now, we don‘t know. I mean, these lacrosse players are still innocent until proven guilty.
COSBY: But, Dave, is that for you decide or wager? Isn‘t that a court to decide? Come on.
JOHNSON: Well, it‘s not—it is for a court to decide. But at the same time, I‘m providing a service. The media actually indirectly fuels these type of bets. You know, the media coverage surrounding this, putting it in front of the TV, you know, getting the past, you know, interviewing the cab driver, and the strippers, and all the history behind it, this creates the markets for this type of wager.
COSBY: But isn‘t it a sick market? I mean, what kind of people are betting on this, Dave? I mean, what kind of people are nuts...
JOHNSON: Some people are welcome to their opinion. You know, some people may think it‘s a sick market. But at the same time, we feel there are certain things where it does cross the line. And we feel this is borderline; we don‘t think it‘s distasteful in the sense that it‘s going to tarnish our image, so we went ahead with this one.
There are certain things that we stay away from. You know, there are sports betting sites that, you know, offer odds on Natalee Holloway, and whether or not Al Qaeda is going to be caught, and things like that. We do stay away from certain things. But this is one of the things that we decided to go forward with.
COSBY: All right, Dave, I got to cut you off, because, of course, a lot of people are going to take issue with this and say, you know, why would you be betting on whether a woman would be raped or not? A lot of people are going to be disgusted with this, whether you think it‘s for marketing or whatever reason. But thank you.
And still ahead, everybody, caught on tape, a gang of teenagers beating and kicking another kid while they were supposed to be in school. Find out what happened to the people responsible.
And “United 93,” our exclusive interview with the former homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge. Does he think this is the right time to premiere a film about 9/11? You don‘t want to miss this.
COSBY: 9/11 is hard for many people to think about, sometimes even harder to talk about. So, are people ready for a big-budget movie about that terrible day? “United 93” is the first major film about the terror attacks. It profiles a hijacked plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In a exclusive and candid interview, the former governor of that state and former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is telling me why he supports this film.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I am on a plane that has been hijacked.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, sir. I got F-16s turning and burning towards Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY (voice-over): “United 93,” it‘s the first Hollywood film to confront the terrible events of September 11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Two planes hit the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Two planes hit the World Trade Center? Tell the stewardesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: The controversial movie takes us inside the fourth plane hijacked on 9/11, showing us the harrowing ordeal the heroic passengers went through, as these brave men and women fought back against al Qaeda terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We have to do something. They are not going to land this plane. They‘re not going to take us back to the airport.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is there any other option we have?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: In an exclusive interview about the film, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge tells LIVE & DIRECT he thinks this movie is an important and moving tribute to the victims.
TOM RIDGE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: This isn‘t fiction. This is not a Hollywood reality show. This happened, real people on their way to work, real people on their way to vacations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Two planes, two planes hit the World Trade Center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDGE: Real people had to encounter this environment. Unlike the other passengers and crew in the other three air—airplanes, these people knew what their fate was going to be. They had information that the other passengers and crew didn‘t have. And, instead of sitting there, they decided to act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Get every weapon you can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDGE: I mean, what a—a powerful, powerful image, or images, this must project across the screen. I think the film is a reminder that the enemy is ruthless, that there‘s a—there‘s a—there‘s a hatred. There‘s an evil. There‘s a—certainly, for the contemporary world, a reminder of the nature of the enemy that not only this country faces, but the world faces in the face of Islamic fundamentalism.
COSBY: The big question many are now asking, is it too soon for Hollywood to take on September 11? Victims‘ families say, even though the film can be hard to watch, they support it 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s a fair and honorable tribute to our loved ones.
JANICE SNYDER, MOTHER OF FLIGHT 93 VICTIM: The public needs to know. They need to remember. They need to exactly know what families have gone through.
COSBY: The public has yet to see the film, but, already, some moviegoers say even the trailer is too much for them to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “UNITED 93”)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We have a plane headed toward the Capitol.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What the hell is wrong out there?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: May we engage, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: At least one popular New York City theater pulled it after complaints. But Ridge tell us, it‘s ultimately up to each viewer to decide for themselves if they are ready for the film.
RIDGE: It‘s not too early to remind us, and it‘s never too late to remind us, of the particular heroism and sacrifice of this unique group of Americans.
Now, you think of “Saving Private Ryan,” and the first 15 or 20 minutes....
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SAVING PRIVATE RYAN”)
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Move your men off the beach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDGE: ... in the Tom Hanks. That is a gut-wrenching, powerful 15 or 20 minutes. This is going to be comparable to that. And you know what the fate is of all these wonderful people. I don‘t think that will make it any easier to watch the film. So, it will be a matter of choice.
COSBY: Ridge has his own personal attachment to United 93. On September 11, 2001, he was governor of Pennsylvania. He visited the Shanksville crash site just hours after the plane went down. He shares with us his memories of that tragic day.
RIDGE: I expected debris. And there wasn‘t much debris. There was a large, smoldering hole with very little debris around it, which perhaps goes to demonstrate the kind of impact and the harrowing and horrible final minute or so that all those brave, brave men and women and children experienced at the time.
COSBY: Ridge is now the co-chair of the Flight 93 Memorial Committee. And, just today, the families were on Capitol Hill, urging Congress to move forward with the project.
DAVID BEAMER, FATHER OF FLIGHT 93 VICTIM: We‘re just here today thanking those for ongoing support and an appropriation for a part of that very, very special memorial.
COSBY: But they have met resistance from one lone member of Congress, Charles Taylor of North Carolina. He‘s against buying the necessary land for a permanent memorial.
Ridge tells us he is shocked anyone would oppose honoring these American heroes.
RIDGE: I‘m kind of amazed at the congressman‘s reaction to all this. He‘s probably the only individual on the Hill, in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, that doesn‘t believe that Flight 93 was headed toward Congress and perhaps even to his personal—his personal death and destruction.
The sights and sounds of 9/11 are embedded into our national being. And even for those who were infants or even unborn at the time, years ahead, as we, very appropriately, from time to time, remind ourselves of that particular day, we will never forget it.
COSBY: And our thanks to Tom Ridge for that interview.
Well, from all accounts, “United 93” is a powerful and challenging film to watch, especially for those affected by 9/11. This incredible photo shows the large amount of families of those who died on United 93 attending last night‘s film premiere.
And they were visibly emotional when the film was over.
Tanika Ray, a correspondent for “Extra,” was at last night‘s premiere.
And she joins us now with more.
Tanika, tell us what it was like for the family members, experiencing that again.
TANIKA RAY, NEW YORK CITY CORRESPONDENT, “EXTRA”: You know, what is so amazing about them is that they are so OK with this topic.
They have been dealing with it for five years, directly dealing with it for five years. We forget that we were wounded during 9/11. We remembered it for a year, and then we put it behind us, and we dealt with our lives. They have been dealing with it. So, for them, its—this wound is old. It‘s healed. So, they are ready to put that message out there to people, to let them know that we can‘t forget 9/11.
They were inspiring to me, actually. They were really positive.
COSBY: You know, Tanika, this is the first glimpse that I have had of the film. You know, how difficult and how dramatic was it to watch it?
RAY: Oh, Rita, I—I was petrified to see this movie, just because I remember 9/11, and it still hurts my soul to think about it.
So, I went into it like a good reporter should, and I sat there with a lot of press people, a lot of reporters, and we knew what was going to happen, but we were still on the edge of our sheets. It‘s incredibly emotional, but it is such an amazing film. I hope that people do go out and see it. It‘s absolutely the best action/suspense/thriller movie. The only catch is, it really happened. And that‘s really hard for people to swallow.
COSBY: You know, when you talk about it really happened and suspense/thriller, is it true to life? Is there any liberties at all with this, or is this more of, this is what happened, a factual documentary?
RAY: How will we ever know what really happened? This is what, throughout a lot of research—the director, Paul Greengrass, was amazing, because he spent his life over the last couple of years researching this topic extensively, talking to the families. And he was really dedicated to the story.
So, as far as we know, it‘s as close to the truth as possible. Unfortunately, the only people that know what really, really happened are the people who perished on that flight.
COSBY: You know, I‘m sure there were some tough parts. What—what seemed particularly tough for—for you and particularly the family members?
RAY: Well, you do see the planes going in to the World Trade Center. And that‘s—it just brings everything back. You think, oh, it‘s five years ago.
But every time—both planes go into the World Trade Center, the audience, you hear them gasp. It‘s like, they‘re seeing it for the first time. And it‘s really hard to swallow. Other than that, you know what‘s going to happen at the end of this movie, but you are still waiting to see, and you are still sort of caught—you have—you are choking in your throat.
And the press themselves, who are incredibly jaded, we were all crying at the end. There was press people walking out in tears. So, absolutely emotional. I think people who make that decision, it‘s a personal decision to go see this movie. And it‘s a fantastic movie. And I hope people do, because it supports the cause.
And the first three days of the proceeds go to pay for the memorial in Pennsylvania. So, I hope people really that that is really important.
COSBY: You know, Tanika, too, is there a moment, too, where you say, boy, you know, these guys are real heroes?
I think Tom Ridge really hit it on the head. You know, what we all think about as United 93, the guts of these people...
COSBY: ... to really take on the front lines of terrorism. And these are true heroes.
RAY: You know, they are true heroes.
And it makes you question yourself. What would you do if you were on that flight? And everyone was talking about that after the—after they saw the film. I would say, well, of course, I would storm the front gates, but you never know. And it—it makes you think about what your own strength is.
I do think they are heroes, because they stopped a catastrophe. Who knows where that plane was going? You can only imagine the worst.
COSBY: You bet.
And, Tanika, we want to tell everybody, because there is a browser available. Anybody, if you want more information, of course, you can go to HonorFlight93.org—again, HonorFlight93.org—to get more information. And, again, some of the proceeds are going to a monument to memorialize, of course, some of these tremendous heroes who were on this plane.
And still ahead, everybody, a teacher who was already in trouble for having sex with her student tonight is in more trouble. Wait until you hear what she is accused of now. It involves MySpace.com.
And, next, a dramatic moment in the courtroom in the murder in the chapel trial—did prosecutors unveil a piece of evidence that could put a priest away for killing a nun? We have got the details next.
COSBY: And how is MySpace.com connected to a teacher-student sex scandal? Up next, find out why it has gotten the teacher in hot water again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone took her by the neck and choked her, choked her so hard that two bones in the side of her neck broke, choked her so hard that the blood vessels in her eyes burst.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And it‘s an incredibly emotional story out of Toledo, Ohio, a Catholic priest on trial for allegedly killing a nun the day before Easter 26 years ago.
Some details of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl‘s murder are just too gruesome. She was found stabbed to death in a hospital chapel. Some of the stab wounds were even in the shape of an upside-down cross. Today, prosecutors claimed they have the murder weapon in hand, a letter opener which could have been used to stab the nun a total of 31 times.
Court TV reporter Beth Karas told me about the weapon.
COSBY: Prosecutors were talking about what they believed is the murder weapon. Let me play a little clip where they talk about the letter opener.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN MANDROS, LUCAS COUNTY ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR: They exhume the body of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, and they study some depressions found in her skeletal remains, particularly one in her mandible, her jaw. The tip of that letter opener fits exactly in that depression, fits like a key in a lock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: So, Beth, does it look like a perfect fit?
BETH KARAS, COURT TV: Well, there were two experts yesterday and today who talked about that. And they don‘t say a perfect fit, because they‘re not supposed to. They have to say it‘s consistent with; I can‘t rule out this instrument causing it, because that‘s what scientists do.
However, in the prosecutor‘s words, it is a perfect fit. It‘s fairly distinctive, the tip of this letter opener is.
COSBY: You know, they also talked about the altar cloth. Let me play a little clip from the prosecutors about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANDROS: The blade of this letter opener was—was four-sided, more like a—a diamond shape. And you will be seeing it. And they studied the puncture holes to the altar cloth and noticed that they weren‘t just a clean slit, like you might expect a knife to make, but irregular-shaped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Beth, you have covered a lot of cases. How strong does this evidence seem, and what was the reaction from the jury?
KARAS: Well, you know, the jurors are paying a lot of attention. There is a lot going on in the well of the courtroom, the mannequin and the altar cloth and the instruments. They even had part of that lower-left jaw, the actual jaw, the bone, for the jurors to look at.
So, they‘re looking at a lot of items. Now, they‘re paying close attention. And there—there seems to be pretty compelling evidence that, if it wasn‘t this distinctive sword shape, with a diamond-shaped blade, four-sided blade, if it wasn‘t that letter opener, it was something like it that caused these injuries.
The question is, was it wielded by Father Robinson? The prosecution, of course, says, yes, it was in his control. It was found in his living quarters within the hospital. And they say they haven‘t been able to find another one like it. It comes from the wax museum in Washington, D.C., that is not in business anymore.
COSBY: Very unusual. You know, why would a father kill Sister Margaret? What—what is sort of the motive that the prosecutors are contending?
KARAS: You know, it‘s a good question.
And I‘m sure it‘s one the jurors are going to ask. And that‘s why the prosecutor, Dean Mandros, when he questioned the jurors when they were being selected, kept saying: You‘re not going to hold me to that. I don‘t have to prove motive.
Now, so far, we have learned, though that Sister Margaret Ann was upset with Father Robinson for the way he conducted the previous day‘s services. It was Good Friday, the previous day. This was Easter weekend. It was Holy Saturday when she was killed.
But that wouldn‘t be motive for murder. There may be more. Others at the—who worked at the hospital may say that the two had an acrimonious relationship. She was 71, a real go-getter of a woman, strong woman. He was 42. Maybe she was a little bossy with him. Who knows. But I think we will hear a little more about it. It doesn‘t have to be proven by the prosecution. It helps if they can show it, though.
COSBY: You know, Beth, I bet this case is just so emotional, opening up after 26 years. Here, you have a priest on trial. How is the community handling that?
KARAS: You know, the community is kind of divided.
Father Robinson has his supporters, for sure, and some of them coming to court. But, also, Sister Margaret Ann has her supporters. There are people who believe it is not beyond a priest to commit a brutal murder like this.
It is very eerie, though. The first two witnesses were two nuns, the first to see the body. And one of them said, I mean, she thought it was a mannequin at first. There wasn‘t that much blood, but that—that it was very eerie, the way how she was stabbed and left naked, basically.
COSBY: Beth Karas, thanks so much. Keep us posted on the trial.
COSBY: And we are going to be following this case closely.
And, still ahead, a teacher who apparently didn‘t learn her lesson—find out why police say a teacher who had sex with her student is in hot water again.
And, next, a brutal beating caught on tape—did these vicious teens seen beating another student get what they deserved? That‘s next.
COSBY: And, tonight, a shocking piece of video that is going to make you mad, this home video of a gang of teens in South Carolina punching and kicking one kid over and over again, all this while they were supposed to be in school.
Tonight, 27 teenagers are under arrest for this vicious crime. All the suspects face charges of aggravated assault. The victim, believe it or not, is said to be doing OK.
Now on to another outrageous story. It seems some people just don‘t seem to learn their lesson. And that includes a former teacher who had sex with her student. After being released from jail just two months ago, Pamela Rogers was back in court today. It seems she‘s having some trouble staying away from her former student.
Live and direct tonight is reporter Brad Schrade with “The Tennessean” newspaper.
Brad, what did she do this time?
BRAD SCHRADE, “THE TENNESSEAN”: Well, she—she‘s back in jail tonight, Rita, where she is going to be spending the next couple months, until a July 12 hearing, a probation violation hearing, that she‘s accused this time of sending sex videos over a cell phone to the young man, as well as nude photos of herself.
And she‘s facing some more jail time, prison time, perhaps, if—if those charges are true.
COSBY: You know, I want to put up—because we have some of the text messages that she was sending to the student.
One of them says—and this is sort of her own little cutesy talk—
“Good morning, and I love u always. Thank u 4 makin me the happiest person in the world. I have this fone 2nite n 2moro. I have 2 go 2 c a counselor, a sex one.”
How long have these messages been going on, and how many did she send, Brad?
SCHRADE: Well, it‘s—she sent quite a few of the messages. She got out of jail, after serving six months, in late February. And she immediately started contacting the young man‘s 17-year-old sister, and used her to try to get inroads with the—with the young boy.
And she has been sending quite a few of these messages and video messages to the—to the young man. That‘s according to, of course, the warrant that was filed on Monday.
COSBY: Let me show a little bit more from the paperwork, too. This is another one of her messages that she was sending, according to the warrant: “Always still? R u waitn? Or do u want me 2 try to move on wit my life? I miss u so much. I wish I could tlk 2 u.”
You know, Brad, you have covered this case. When you see this, does she get what she did? She was told to stay away.
SCHRADE: Well, I think that‘s what‘s sort of mystifying to a lot of people in this—in Warren County, which is a—a small county south of Nashville.
I think they‘re sort of trying to figure out if she‘s got, you know, problems or—or what, because she spent six months in jail, pled no contest last year to four counts of sexual battery. And everybody in the county is trying to figure out why—why she‘s in trouble again.
COSBY: Yes. It is, you know, incredible, after especially all the attention on this case, Brad.
You know, you spoke to the student‘s mother and grandmother about these latest...
COSBY: ... allegations. What did they tell you, Brad?
SCHRADE: Well, they—I spoke to them today at the—at their house.
And they‘re—they just want this all to end. They want to get on with their lives. The mother told me that she just wants this woman to leave her son alone. And it, according—again, according to prosecutors, it just doesn‘t seem like she is.
COSBY: You know, real quick, you know, as we are looking at some pictures of her here, if she‘s found guilty of these charges now, violating her parole, what type of punishment could she face in this case, Brad?
SCHRADE: Well, her sentence was an eight-year sentence, with most of that being served on probation.
The prosecutor in the case says he‘s going to seek to have her serve
the rest of her sentence in the state prison system. So, she‘s looking at
if—if found guilty of these—these violations...
SCHRADE: ... she‘s looking at some pretty serious prison time...
COSBY: You bet.
SCHRADE: ... possibly years. I talked to her attorney today.
COSBY: Yes, real quick. Real quick, Brad.
SCHRADE: I talked to her attorney today. And he‘s—he‘s, at this point, trying to strategize and figure out where—where they go from here.
COSBY: Yes, you bet. He‘s probably strategizing big time. What do you do with this one?
Brad, please keep us posted.
And, everybody, we will be right back.
ANNOUNCER: If you have a story you want Rita to investigate, call our tip line, 1-877-TIP-RITA, or log on to our Web site, Rita.MSNBC.com.
COSBY: And we are investigating a lot of them.
In 2001, the story of missing Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy captivated the nation‘s headline for months. Now, almost five years later, the mystery surrounding Chandra‘s murder remains unsolved. Join me tomorrow night, when Chandra‘s parents tell me what life has been like since losing their daughter to a cold-blooded killer who has yet to be caught. Again, that‘s tomorrow night.
And that does it for me right here on LIVE & DIRECT, everybody. I‘m Rita Cosby.
“THE SITUATION” with Tucker starts right now—Tucker.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: Thank you, Rita.
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