Guests: Pam Bondi, Georgia Goslee, Yale Galanter, Larry Kobilinsky, Victoria Jones, Martha Zoller, David Pettinato, Jason Wood
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: For the first time, we have an official eyewitness account of exactly what happened the night a dancer says she was raped at that Duke lacrosse party and once again it is not great news for the prosecution.
The program about justice starts now.
Hi everyone. First up on the docket, a potential bombshell in the Duke lacrosse rape investigation. It is not good news for prosecutors. The second dancer, Kim Roberts Pittman, from the March 13 party, where a woman alleges she was raped, told an investigator with the Durham Police Department—quote—“She heard the accuser was sexually assaulted, which she stated is a crock and she stated that she was with her the whole time until she left and the only time the accuser was alone was when she would not leave and that time period was less than five minutes.”
In my hands the handwritten statement of Kim Roberts Pittman. She says she arrived at the house at 610 Buchanan Street at 11:00 p.m. The accuser arrived, she said, about 11:30 a.m. The women went to the bathroom so the accuser could change into her dancing outfit, which quickly came off. It was then that they were given two drinks. She says they took a few sips, then the accuser‘s cup fell into the sink.
The women then headed into the living room and began dancing. It was at this point that Pittman says the accuser—quote—“began showing signs of intoxication.” Shortly thereafter, one of the players brought out a broomstick, talked about using it on them, Pittman says. This upset them. They stopped dancing, went into the bathroom. She described the accuser as—quote—“uncontrollable at this point” and yelling at the boys who were knocking on the door to leave us alone.
Pittman then says she left, went out to her car, as did the accuser, but according to Pittman, the accuser went back to the house because—quote—“she felt there was more money to be made.” Pittman says she was changing in her car when some of the players came to tell her that the accuser was passed out in the back. They asked Pittman to take her away.
Now presumably, she could have been raped during that time. The problem? Pittman says when the accuser returned to the car—quote—“she then told me that we should go back to the house because there was more money to be made there.” Pittman says that she then locked the accuser in the car, went looking for the accuser‘s belongings at the house, she found nothing, went back to her car and the two left together. In her statement Pittman says—quote—“at this point the accuser was basically out of it.
I mean, come on. Joining me now criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter, former federal prosecutor Georgia Goslee, Florida assistant district attorney Pam Bondi, and DNA expert and professor at John Jay College of criminal justice Larry Kobilinsky.
All right, let me start with Pam because...
ABRAMS: ... you‘ve been pretty reasonable about this case, but you‘ve been sort of a—you‘ve defended the prosecution in this case. Do you not agree that the only person who was with her, meaning not one of the lacrosse player eyewitnesses, the only other person who was at that party is providing a story that doesn‘t help at all the prosecution‘s case?
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly on that, Dan. That will be the only time you‘ll hear me say that, by the way, in this case and probably what the prosecution has been doing is going, how can I present my case without calling Kim Pittman or Kim Roberts or whatever her name is.
ABRAMS: Wait a second. Why are they pursuing this case? I mean please, if all they have is a lukewarm report, a medical report, with some ambiguity as to whether there was even a rape at all, but let‘s even assume there was, there is no evidence that there was a rape at this house apart from the accuser‘s inconsistent story and every other piece of evidence that has come out in this case, including this bombshell statement from the second dancer, now works against the accuser‘s story as well.
ABRAMS: Do you not agree that it is time to drop the charges?
BONDI: No, I don‘t. Because we still have her eyewitness identification. We have her DNA found on a fingernail—somewhere on a fingernail in the trashcan, and we have—you know I was reading the things that were released by the defense today, Dan. I mean she was crying uncontrollably. She was hysterical...
ABRAMS: Wait. But she‘s crying...
BONDI: The nurse said...
ABRAMS: Wait. But she‘s crying...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait...
BONDI: If I can finish...
ABRAMS: But hang on, no, no. You said she‘s crying uncontrollably.
ABRAMS: Kim is saying she‘s crying and being—misbehaving, sort of behaving crazy at the house before any rape could have occurred...
ABRAMS: ... and then she comes back into the car and says let‘s go back in there and make some more money.
BONDI: Yes, Kim—I‘m telling you, she‘s a horrible witness, and I
mean reading that today and you were very quick to fax that to me today too
by the way...
ABRAMS: Well I mean look...
BONDI: It‘s awful. It‘s not good for the prosecution. You‘re right.
ABRAMS: ... I just want the truth to come out.
ABRAMS: I mean, Georgia, look, I know—look, we invite you on this program and the reason we do is because (A), you‘re a great guest, but (B), you also have taken a very firm position for this woman in this case and I respect that, but as an objective person, as a former federal prosecutor, can‘t you say now, you know what, I‘ve been defending her, I‘ve been defending her, it‘s time to throw up our hands and say this case is done. It‘s time to drop it.
GEORGIA GOSLEE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I wish I could say that to please you, Dan, but you know quite frankly I can‘t do that, because you keep asking why the case should move forward. It should move forward. Nothing here has really changed. Look, the defense attorneys in this case are doing what defense attorneys do. I do it all the time...
ABRAMS: This is a statement.
GOSLEE: You‘re throwing up stuff against the wall...
ABRAMS: Wait. This is—I have it in my hand. Don‘t tell me about defense attorneys. I have her handwritten statement here.
GOSLEE: Listen, Dan, let me add one other thing that you‘re aware of, and every lawyer is aware of, when this case is presented to the jury, whether they call Kim or not, the jury has a right to believe all of what is said, some of what is said, or none of what is said...
ABRAMS: The prosecutor has no obligation to look at this statement where she initially said it was a crock and then offers up an account that does not support the accuser‘s story and say you know what, that in conjunction with every other problem in this case, the fact that the young men‘s stories have been consistent from day one, the fact that they didn‘t find any of their DNA inside her as they claim they would.
GOSLEE: But Dan, you know a problem—you know one of the problems you guys attach is consistency and inconsistency.
ABRAMS: I know. Isn‘t that horrible that I...
GOSLEE: You can be...
ABRAMS: ... talk about those terrible things...
GOSLEE: No, it‘s not horrible, but you can be completely consistent and still be wrong. And I think these guys are wrong, and the fact that she is inconsistent or has been inconsistent is not such a big deal and I...
GOSLEE: ... differ that this is a bombshell. It doesn‘t hurt the prosecution at all.
GOSLEE: I don‘t think so.
ABRAMS: I don‘t think you believe that. I really don‘t.
ABRAMS: I don‘t think you believe that.
GOSLEE: Listen, I‘m a litigator.
GOSLEE: Get me inside the courtroom and give me that damaging information.
ABRAMS: I‘m sure you can spin it.
GOSLEE: Trust me. No, it‘s not a matter of spinning. It‘s a matter of presenting what this prosecutor, a seasoned prosecutor, it‘s not like he just arbitrarily picked these facts up.
ABRAMS: I don‘t care how many years he‘s been prosecuting cases.
GOSLEE: Well you should give some consideration to it...
ABRAMS: This case has become an outrage. That‘s what this case has become. After seeing this statement...
GOSLEE: Then why have they not dropped it, Dan?
ABRAMS: ... this case is...
GOSLEE: Why have they not dropped it?
ABRAMS: Believe me, if I had the answer to that question, I would not be ranting on this program all the time...
GOSLEE: Perhaps they believe that there is substantial evidence...
GOSLEE: ... which lies in the face of your defense spin.
ABRAMS: Yes. My defense spin, I‘m sorry...
GOSLEE: Your defense spin.
ABRAMS: Is this—this is spin, right? Again, what I‘m looking at here, which is the handwritten statement of Kim Roberts, that is spin?
GOSLEE: No, one thing Kim Roberts said, Dan, she said that she went into her own car and changed her clothes. That‘s—this is when the girl could have been raped inside the bathroom.
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Yes and that‘s—it‘s true except that she comes back to the car and says hey, let‘s go back into the house and make some more money.
GOSLEE: But we don‘t know whether that‘s true or not.
GOSLEE: That‘s what Kim said.
ABRAMS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean...
GOSLEE: Do we know whether it‘s true or not?
ABRAMS: No, you‘re right. We don‘t know if anything is true...
GOSLEE: No, because listen, Dan, every time Kim says something that hurts the victim, of course you accept that to be true and we‘re supposed to accept that to be true...
ABRAMS: I mean this is unbelievable.
GOSLEE: ... right?
ABRAMS: I mean yes, I can‘t believe that I have to agree with Yale Galanter on these cases. I mean that‘s the thing that really sort of hurts me the most, is the fact that...
ABRAMS: I enjoy...
YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is like the one and only time...
ABRAMS: I enjoy Yale Galanter as my pinata, all right, and the fact that I have to keep going to him to say, hey, Yale, don‘t you agree with me? Yale, this is insanity.
GALANTER: Not only is it insanity, Dan, what Mike Nifong and the people in his office and the lead investigators have done in this case is absolutely unconscionable. Look at what we‘re talking about here. We‘re talking about police officers who have medical evidence that the complaining witness in this case had no neck tenderness, no abdominal tenderness, no tenderness in her legs, basically nothing consistent with a forcible rape.
She tells them she was consuming alcohol, she had a couple of beers. She tells the police that just prior to going to the house, earlier that afternoon she had performed another dance act using a vibrator in her vaginal area, which certainly could account for any swellingness (ph) or edema, and they never disclosed that...
ABRAMS: Well what about this Yale...
GALANTER: ... to the magistrate that signs the warrant and that‘s unconscionable...
ABRAMS: What about this? What about this? The accuser also said, she—quote—“she told the sexual assault nurse examiner in training that Kim Roberts Pittman, the second dancer, assisted the players in her alleged sexual assault...
GALANTER: Was in the bathroom...
ABRAMS: ... and that Kim Roberts Pittman...
ABRAMS: ... stole all her money and everything.
GALANTER: Right. Right. I mean this girl is whacked out of her mind, Dan. How a prosecutor in good conscience could go to a grand jury with that being the only and sole piece of evidence in this case is beyond comprehension...
ABRAMS: Pam Bondi, come on...
GALANTER: And furthermore, I can‘t understand...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You‘re missing the point...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?
ABRAMS: Is that Pam?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dan...
ABRAMS: Pam, go ahead...
BONDI: Dan, yes...
BONDI: Dan, Dan, all we‘re seeing released too are the documents that help the defense...
ABRAMS: No, no, wait...
BONDI: ... and I mean we‘ve seen them all.
ABRAMS: I promise...
BONDI: But wait...
BONDI: Hold on one second.
ABRAMS: I promise you there is nothing...
ABRAMS: ... in...
BONDI: That‘s all we‘ve seen.
BONDI: There are thousands...
ABRAMS: All right. Here...
ABRAMS: Let me ask Pam. Pam, speculate.
ABRAMS: What could be in the discovery that we don‘t know about, and don‘t tell me that it‘s one of the players testifying against the others...
ABRAMS: ... because if they‘re going to get that, it hasn‘t happened yet.
ABRAMS: Maybe they‘ll get it. I know you keep saying we hope, maybe in the future.
BONDI: Right. You‘re right. You‘re right...
ABRAMS: But that‘s not the way prosecutors talk.
BONDI: You‘re right. We don‘t have that yet nor do we have blood back yet, so you‘re right. That wouldn‘t...
ABRAMS: What do we have? Nada...
BONDI: We don‘t know...
ABRAMS: I do know.
BONDI: ... if there are other witnesses...
ABRAMS: I do know.
BONDI: ... if somebody else is corroborating. Have you read them all?
ABRAMS: Yes, I‘ve read almost all of the discovery in this case. Now you‘re right, it is possible that every person associated with this case is lying, all right, and that actually, every document that‘s being released is a fraud and every time the defense attorneys file a motion, they are engaging in frauds on the court, because there‘s a big difference between lying to the court and spinning the court. I am used to seeing Yale Galanter on this program spinning all the time. Lying about facts is a different story.
BONDI: Right. Right. Absolutely.
GOSLEE: Well, I looked...
GALANTER: And Dan, the point is everything that the defense is filing in this case is accompanied by sworn...
GALANTER: ... police affidavits and police reports.
ABRAMS: That‘s my point. Yes.
GALANTER: So we‘re not relying on what the lawyers say. Every motion, if you carefully look at the motions, every motion directs the court to a specific portion of either...
GALANTER: ... an affidavit by the witness or an affidavit by a police officer. There is no spin here.
ABRAMS: All right.
GALANTER: This case should have never been filed.
ABRAMS: We‘re going to take a break. We also have new information again about everyone talks about the physical examination of this woman, that that‘s crucial for the prosecution. Larry Kobilinsky is here to talk to us about what this all could mean and again, it doesn‘t help the prosecution. I don‘t get it. I don‘t get this case at all, but Larry, I want to check in with you in a minute.
And it was a tip from a member of al Qaeda—could it have been—that led U.S. forces to terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The U.S. was offering a $25-million reward for him, so might we have to pay it to a terrorist?
Plus, you‘ve seen “Dateline” Chris Hansen confront potential sex predators before police swoop in to arrest them. Some complaining about these segments. We let Chris respond.
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: We‘re back with more of this news in the Duke rape investigation. We‘re now learning, according to motions filed by the defense, that the medical examination of the accuser may not be consistent with her story.
Quote—“A sexual assault nurse examiner‘s physical examination of the pelvic area of the accuser noted only diffuse edema of the vaginal walls. The sexual assault nurse examiner‘s report contains no opinion or conclusion that the accuser had signs, symptoms and injuries consistent with being raped and sexually assaulted vaginally and anally.”
Larry Kobilinsky, I‘m going to read you more in a moment, but initial reaction to that part of the motion?
LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE DNA EXPERT: Well, my reaction is that finding—making this observation does not mean that the woman was raped. We know from examination of the rape kit that she had intercourse with a boyfriend, and we also know that she had prior gigs in which she apparently had used a vibrator and that might explain the edema. Hopefully, that the nurse who did this work was certified and had experience in evaluating trauma to the genitalia.
There‘s no lacerations. There are no bruises. There‘s no bleeding, no injury. Simply edema and that can be explained in a number of ways. The nurse is certainly not equipped to determine the timing of when this trauma occurred.
ABRAMS: I never heard—I never thought I‘d hear the words gig and vibrator out of Larry Kobilinsky‘s mouth, but all right—number 10 here. Let me read from this motion.
While Investigator Himan alleged that the accuser stated that she was hit, kicked and strangled, he omitted that the examining physician for the accuser at 3:14 a.m. found no neck, back, chest, or abdominal tenderness. His probable cause affidavit also omitted that the accuser told the nurse in training that she was not choked.
That no condoms, fingers or foreign objects were used during the alleged sexual assault. And that the nurse in training noted that the accuser‘s head, neck, throat, mouth, chest, breast, abdomen, upper, lower extremities all were normal, even though the accuser complained of tenderness over her body.
KOBILINSKY: Well, this is fairly common and any time a woman comes to an emergency room and claims that she was raped, they study her from head to toe, get a medical history and go over her body and certainly if there were any kind of signs of somebody trying to strangle her, bruises, abrasions, scratches, that would have been noted. As I understand it, the only thing of significance that was observed was a scratch on the knee...
KOBILINSKY: ... and a scratch on the heel...
ABRAMS: Put up number 11. Number 11, there it is right there.
Investigator Himan omitted from his affidavit that the only evidence of physical trauma the nurse in training could find on the accuser was a scratch on her knee and a small laceration to her heel, both of which were non-bleeding.
And I can also tell you that both of those scratches/cuts were evident from the photographs that I saw of her while she was dancing. So I don‘t know that those are particularly significant at all.
KOBILINSKY: Well, I agree, and her story has now changed a number of times, and I must say, I‘m not a prosecutor, I‘m not a defense attorney, I like to think of myself as being unbiased, but I must say that other than DNA on the fingernails, which can be explained in a number of ways and the edema to the vaginal walls, which can be explained in a number of ways, this has got to be one of the weakest rape cases I have ever seen.
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, I don‘t know what else to say, Georgia.
GOSLEE: Well, I‘d like to point out one observation. If you notice, I believe the complexion of the victim in this case who was raped is a dark complected African American woman and...
ABRAMS: It is.
GOSLEE: ... from my understanding, given my personal complexion, sometimes we can actually have a bruise and believe it or not, gentlemen, you can‘t really see it quite as conspicuously as if we were fair people. And so she could have sustained injuries and the lady who examined her, the nurse, could say there‘s—she appeared she said normal. The real fact that she might have appeared normal in the nurse‘s perception and she could have actually sustained bruises.
KOBILINSKY: Well, that‘s wishful thinking, Dan...
GOSLEE: It‘s not wishful thinking.
KOBILINSKY: I think that professionals use equipment like copal (ph) scopes, they document these results.
GOSLEE: Are they contained in the records?
KOBILINSKY: When they—when the record says there‘s no sign of lacerations, traumas, abrasions, I think we have to accept that and not you know think maybe there‘s a problem in terms of contrast.
GOSLEE: We really don‘t have to accept that unless you can verify to me that contained in the medical record was that particular instrument or apparatus you describe.
ABRAMS: Let me ask Pam Bondi...
GALANTER: Georgia, Mike Nifong‘s initial statements to the media was this was a forcible rape from behind and a 30-minute struggle and she‘s got nothing anywhere on her body, Georgia...
ABRAMS: Well, you know I have to tell you...
ABRAMS: Yale, I have to tell you...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on a sec.
ABRAMS: Yale, Yale...
GOSLEE: ... no credibility.
ABRAMS: ... that seems to me to be one of the—there are so many strong arguments for the defense here. The no scratches on the body one to me is one of the weaker ones, because I do—I will agree that there are cases where women can be basically you know violently assaulted and not have marks per se.
GOSLEE: And this was soon after it happened.
GALANTER: Yes, but Dan, the problem—Dan, hold on, the problem with that argument is she told her medical examiners that the boys used no condoms. Now if they inserted anally, vaginally, and orally, there would have been...
ABRAMS: I know.
GALANTER: ... some DNA...
ABRAMS: But that‘s a different issue...
GALANTER: ... and not necessarily through ejaculation.
ABRAMS: Different issue. No, no, fine. Different issue. There are so many arguments in this case, but today learning about the Kim—the second dancer‘s statement, let me read a little bit more of this. This is number three. This is her—this is really the key period here. This is the second dancer.
I went to my car wanting to leave, but not wanting to leave the girl in the house alone. I changed my clothes in the car, where some of the boys were coming to my window asking me to talk to them. I was told by one of the guys that the accuser was passed out in the back and could I please do something with her. Now presumably this is when she was raped.
By this point it seemed that the fellows may have been ready for the evening to be over. I told them if they could get her to my car, I would get her out of their hair. Within minutes, she was being helped out of the backyard and into my car. At this point, she did not have the bag that I saw her come with and I asked her if she had the most important thing, her money. She told me yes, but she didn‘t seem coherent. She then told me that we should go back to the house because there was more money to be made there.
Pam Bondi, would you agree with Larry Kobilinsky that this is—he says it‘s the weakest—one of the weakest cases that you‘ve ever seen taken to trial in a rape case.
BONDI: With what we know right now, yes, it is a weak case, Dan, and that‘s what I was going to say. None of us have said this is a good case. I don‘t think...
ABRAMS: Yes, Georgia has...
BONDI: ... anyone said that. However...
GOSLEE: I never said it was a good case...
BONDI: ... Dan, no she didn‘t...
GOSLEE: I never said it was a good case.
BONDI: You know we‘re not...
ABRAMS: All right. All right.
BONDI: ... supposed to know the whole case right now.
ABRAMS: No, no...
BONDI: We don‘t know...
ABRAMS: No, no, you‘re wrong.
BONDI: ... everything the prosecution has...
ABRAMS: We are...
BONDI: ... and all we‘re hearing...
ABRAMS: We are...
BONDI: ... are the bits and pieces...
ABRAMS: The laws in North Carolina...
BONDI: ... that the defense wants you to hear.
ABRAMS: No, the laws in North Carolina require the prosecutors to turn over all of their evidence to the defense.
BONDI: Right and what the defense is leaking...
ABRAMS: So, all right...
BONDI: ... putting in motions...
BONDI: ... is everything that helps...
ABRAMS: But I don‘t even know theoretically what could be in there that would be incriminating.
BONDI: And, Dan, we don‘t know, and we don‘t know. But we do know that there‘s a prosecutor that firmly believes in his case. A grand jury...
ABRAMS: I am not...
BONDI: ... indicted...
ABRAMS: The same way I don‘t presume...
BONDI: ... these three guys.
ABRAMS: Look, I don‘t presume people innocent, I don‘t presume people guilty on this show...
BONDI: ... nor should you.
ABRAMS: ... and people always say the presumption of innocence, blah, blah, blah. The bottom line is that‘s when you‘ve got a jury, when they have the power of someone‘s freedom...
BONDI: That‘s my point...
ABRAMS: ... in their hands designed for a courtroom...
GOSLEE: But you obviously have presumed these gentlemen innocent...
ABRAMS: But, no, that‘s fine...
GOSLEE: ... because you keep calling...
ABRAMS: Look, I‘m not talking about presumptions.
GOSLEE: ... for the case to be dropped.
ABRAMS: I‘m not talking about presumptions. I‘m saying based on the evidence it‘s time to drop this case.
GOSLEE: Well then why do I disagree, Dan?
ABRAMS: Has nothing to do with presumptions.
BONDI: We don‘t know it all.
GOSLEE: Why do I disagree and why does Nifong disagree?
GOSLEE: And why does the judge disagree?
ABRAMS: Why do you disagree? I‘ll say because I don‘t think you‘re being entirely objective in the way you‘re assessing this case.
GOSLEE: And you can‘t be completely objective, Dan...
ABRAMS: I‘m—look, I came into this case presuming that they probably did it.
GOSLEE: Oh really?
ABRAMS: The minute Mike Nifong came on this program, I believed him. I said why wouldn‘t I. I went to Duke. I saw people who could totally be capable of something horrible like this and I was thinking, you know it‘s time to bring these guys to justice, but as the evidence comes out day by day by day, I follow the evidence, not my prejudices, not my bias.
GOSLEE: So are you saying that her testimonial...
ABRAMS: Duke University...
GOSLEE: ... identification is...
ABRAMS: Duke University would like me...
GOSLEE: ... not evidence, Dan?
GOSLEE: Is that not evidence?
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Wait. Yale, wait...
ABRAMS: I‘m answering your question.
ABRAMS: Quiet. Quiet.
ABRAMS: It‘s one piece...
ABRAMS: Yale, hang on.
GALANTER: ... get the search warrant.
ABRAMS: Hang on. It‘s one piece of contradicted, inconsistent evidence, and when I follow the evidence, I say OK, is it consistent, what is the other evidence in the case, what do the other witnesses say, everything in this case, everything apart from her testimony.
GOSLEE: Well, you know what, Dan, the people who are closer to the case than we are completely disagree with you.
ABRAMS: Well, that‘s—yes, they do. They do.
GOSLEE: They disagree with you.
ABRAMS: They do. I know they do.
ABRAMS: And that‘s why I‘m calling on him to be reasonable finally and come to his senses and say, you know what, I meant it, I believed it and I blew it.
GOSLEE: It won‘t happen.
ABRAMS: I know. I know and I‘m sad to hear that. And Georgia, I‘m still hoping that one of these days you‘re going to say you know what...
ABRAMS: ... finally I‘ve got to say...
GOSLEE: Listen, Dan, as I said on the first show that I appeared in, if I was a betting woman, if I‘m wrong, I‘ll take my lumps and I will admit it to you...
GOSLEE: ... but I don‘t think so.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Well, yes.
GOSLEE: Time will tell.
ABRAMS: I don‘t think we‘re ever going to have that day no matter...
GOSLEE: Time will tell. Oh, I will concede...
ABRAMS: You‘ll never admit, Georgia.
GOSLEE: I would...
ABRAMS: You‘ll never admit.
GOSLEE: Yes I would.
ABRAMS: You‘ll never admit...
ABRAMS: Even if she comes...
ABRAMS: Georgia, even if she comes forward...
ABRAMS: ... even if she comes forward and says, you know what, I‘m not going to move forward...
ABRAMS: ... you‘re going to say she was pressured.
GOSLEE: Dan, it‘s absolutely not the truth.
ABRAMS: Yes it is.
GOSLEE: If this lady is lying, then she should be prosecuted...
ABRAMS: All right.
GOSLEE: ... to the fullest extent of the law. I‘ve always said that.
GOSLEE: I just said I don‘t believe she‘s lying.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Yale Galanter, Georgia Goslee, Pam Bondi, Larry Kobilinsky, I‘m sweating.
GALANTER: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: Every time I do this story...
BONDI: Good. Good.
ABRAMS: ... I‘m sweating. It‘s not good. I have makeup on.
Coming up, U.S. warplanes take out al-Zarqawi, the top terrorist in Iraq after reportedly getting information from a Zarqawi operative. The U.S. was offering a $25-million reward for information leading to him, but should the U.S. pay up if it‘s to a terrorist?
And Chris Hansen, he‘s getting a lot of attention lately by confronting potential sexual predators before police arrest them. Some of his critics say we don‘t like what‘s going on there. We give Chris a chance to respond.
ABRAMS: You can find it on the FBI‘s Web site, the rewards for justice program, United States Department of State is offering a reward of up to 25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But now that the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq has been killed in an air strike, the question, who‘s eligible for any reward money, if anyone?
“The Washington Post” says one of Zarqawi‘s operatives arrested last month, a Jordanian customs officer named Ziad Kalla al-Kabuli (ph), gave police the name and contact of Zarqawi‘s spiritual adviser, Sheikh Abdul Rahman. Keeping Rahman under surveillance apparently helped lead the U.S. to Zarqawi‘s hideout. So the question is, should he get the money? Major General Bill Caldwell is a U.S. military spokesman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. BILL CALDWELL, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN: The information we had was never somebody coming forth and saying at this time, at this place, you will find Zarqawi in this building. That did not occur. In fact, it was the result of some tremendous work by coalition forces, intelligence agencies, partners in our global war on terrorism, that all came together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well it sounds like there‘s going to be some sort of negotiation there about exactly what led to it, but let‘s assume for a moment that it was a former operative of his who helped to lead them there. Should the U.S. pay tax dollars to a guy like that?
Victoria Jones, a liberal radio talk show host and managing editor of Talk Radio News Service, she thinks if the person tipped them off they have every right to get the reward (UNINTELLIGIBLE) money. Martha Zoller is a conservative radio talk show host on WDUN Radio, who says there‘s no way anyone connected with al Qaeda should get a reward. Thanks to both of you for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good to see you.
ABRAMS: All right...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
ABRAMS: ... Victoria, there is something untoward, is there not, about the idea of paying $25 million to an al Qaeda supporter?
VICTORIA JONES, LIBERAL RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, there‘s something very creepy about it, but there‘s something way creepier about not keeping your word. I mean we‘re bigger and better than that. We‘re the best country in the world. We say we‘re people of our word. We put the reward up and what are we going to turn around and say, oh, well, yes, we do have a reward, but we‘re only going to pay it to nice people. You don‘t do business like that.
MARTHA ZOLLER, “THE MARTHA ZOLLER SHOW” WDUN RADIO: I don‘t know. States like New York have “Son of Sam” laws where you can‘t benefit from a crime that you commit. I think that yes, we should keep our word in most cases, but if keeping our word means money is going to go into terrorism that‘s ultimately going to come back and attack us, then I think there are times and places not to keep our word and this is one of those.
ABRAMS: You know, Victoria, it is sort of odd there are laws in this country, right, against giving money to anyone who supports al Qaeda.
ABRAMS: I assume that there might be some sort of out that way.
JONES: There might be some sort of out that way. First of all, this isn‘t this country and if that was the case then we shouldn‘t have set it up that way. We‘ve got 25 million on Osama bin Laden‘s head right now. Should we just withdraw that because we‘re concerned that one of his own people might turn him in? Because if we don‘t put the money up, we might not get him.
ABRAMS: Because Martha, the people who are most likely to turn someone in, is going to be someone who is a bad guy who decides you know what, I could live nicely off 25 million.
ZOLLER: Well and that may be true, but again, do you continue to give money to terrorist organizations, and that‘s what this ultimately would do, if what is true, that it was a terrorist that turned him over. Now it may turn out to be that that‘s not the case and then there may be some people getting very rich off of this, but I think if it turns out this is somebody who‘s directly connected with Zarqawi that turned him in, that probably having the money would not be a good idea.
ABRAMS: But not a good idea is different is different from saying we‘re not going to pay him.
ZOLLER: Well I don‘t think we should pay him if he‘s a terrorist. If he‘s a terrorist, we shouldn‘t pay him.
ABRAMS: And what‘s the definition of a terrorist?
ZOLLER: Well someone who is still working for Zarqawi, was working for Zarqawi, and has intentions to do so. Yes, it‘s a judgment call. Many things we have done in the past have been judgment calls.
JONES: You bet they have.
ZOLLER: And we need to do the best.
JONES: Like working with Saddam Hussein when it suited us to do that...
JONES: ... like making deals with the mafia...
ZOLLER: Hey, I will be...
JONES: ... when it suited us to do that.
ZOLLER: ... the first person to say...
JONES: ... like making deals with crooks when it suited us to do that.
ZOLLER: I will be the first person to say that the policy of the enemy of our enemy is our friend has not been a good one for us. But the reason why we have judgment is because the world is not black and white. You do not know...
JONES: Well sometimes you do have to use your judgment and in this case, if you don‘t use your judgment and your judgment has to be that your word is your bond. This is the Middle East. This is where your word is your bond. We already have a bad reputation over there and already the prime minister...
ZOLLER: I don‘t think this is going to hurt our reputation anymore.
JONES: ... has already said that the money will be paid.
JONES: Do we want to undermine and embarrass him too?
ABRAMS: It sounds to me like what‘s going to happen here is that like the Saddam capture, there will probably be no reward paid out here. They‘ll say that it was the result of a long intelligence operation, not from a specific tip, I think. Because to be eligible for this, you really have to have said hey, guys...
ZOLLER: At this time and this place.
ABRAMS: ... he‘s here. Yes, he‘s there and it sounds like this was really a joint intelligence operation that led to it, but we shall see. Interesting stuff.
ZOLLER: We shall see.
ABRAMS: Victoria Jones...
ABRAMS: ... and Martha Zoller, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
JONES: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up, “Dateline” goes undercover to catch potential sex predators before they strike. The show working with local law enforcement has nabbed more than 100 would-be predators. Many of you have said the series isn‘t fair to the guys who show up. Think it‘s sensational—guy in a tree. Chris Hansen is here to answer the critics.
And later, a controversial ruling by a federal judge telling two opposing lawyers to play rock-paper-scissors to settle their dispute. We talk to one of the lawyers and a champion player of the game. Who knew there was a champion.
ABRAMS: Coming up, you‘ve seen “Dateline‘s” Chris Hansen confront potential sex predators before police swoop in to arrest them. Not everyone thinks what Chris is doing is such a good idea. He joins us to respond up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HANSEN, “DATELINE NBC”: So what‘s going to be happening if I‘m not here? You‘re naked, there‘s a 14-year-old girl, you‘re chasing a cat around. You‘ve got Cool Whip and you want this girl to do some sex act with the cat and then you‘ll have sex with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: One of the more memorable moments from “Dateline NBC‘s” “To Catch A Predator” series, an investigation into potential online sexual predators. Decoys put fake profiles of underage kids online, then wait for the men to reach out to them. It doesn‘t take long. They‘re invited to come to a house that also happens to be outfitted with hidden cameras and that‘s where they meet “Dateline NBC” correspondent Chris Hansen, recently labeled by the “New York Observer” as “tease perv hunter”. Before we talk to Chris about his experiences, here‘s some highlights of the low-lifes that he encounters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANSEN: Could you explain yourself? Do you want to explain yourself?
What are you doing? So what were you so pumped for? How are you tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fine.
HANSEN: What were you doing with your pants there when you were heading towards the door? And what‘s going on here seems pretty pervy, doesn‘t it? You‘re probably not going to need that type of protection tonight.
HANSEN: So you‘re just going to kickback and chat and just in case something happened you brought condoms.
HANSEN: How were you going to use the condoms...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn‘t going to use them at all.
HANSEN: You‘ve got them in your pocket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes, I do have...
HANSEN: Do you do balloon tricks with them or...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HANSEN: What‘s messed up is this conversation. Do you see how this looks, Thomas?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it looks bad.
HANSEN: And this gets pretty freaky here. You talk about sex acts with a dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t want to be on the news dog.
HANSEN: Well it‘s a little late for that, dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing funny going on here.
HANSEN: Nothing funny going on. Hungry? How does it taste?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great. Wow. These are home baked.
HANSEN: Do you want time to finish your cookie or can I get you a glass of milk to go along with those cookies?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.
HANSEN: So, no cookies for you. She talks about bringing a pie. And here‘s a pie. What else did you bring? Are you OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes...
HANSEN: Do you want your water? So you just woke up this morning and said I‘m going to get involved in an Internet conversation with a 14-year-old boy, I‘m going to go to his house, strip naked, and walk in with a 12-pack of beer. I have been in television for 24 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just came to get something to eat.
HANSEN: And I have very seldom been at a loss for words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: During the 18-month investigation “Dateline” set up at five locations across the country, nabbing nearly 130 men, 98 of them have been prosecuted, virtually all of them deny they were there for sex, and said that they didn‘t plan to do anything. Nearly all have pled not guilty.
Joining me now, “Dateline NBC‘s” Chris Hansen. Chris, thanks for coming back. We appreciate it. Take us a little bit behind the scenes if you will. You guys have this house set up and it‘s really almost every hour that you have people coming in?
HANSEN: Yes, I mean it‘s about a five-day process. The technicians come in and they wire the house with hidden cameras. They set up a virtual control room, and when that‘s done for three days, these men come into the house, thinking they‘re going to meet a 12, 13, 14, 15-year-old teen, home alone for sex, after you know a fairly explicit conversation online and when they walk in, they have an exchange with the decoy and then I walk out and we have our discussion.
ABRAMS: Does it get tiring? I mean this isn‘t just happening, you know, one or two a day. You‘re probably dealing with sometimes 10 of these people coming into the house, if not more per day, and you‘re confronting every one of them in a very uncomfortable situation. Does it get—does it wear on you?
HANSEN: It‘s - it‘s exhausting, it really is, emotionally and physically, because before the guys come in, you know, I‘ve got to read each and every one of these chat logs of the conversation, and you can‘t just skim it, you have to read every word of it, because if you don‘t, you could miss a moment or something important and it‘s also a way to learn more about the person who is coming into the house.
We try to do a background check. We try to figure out what they do for a living. We obviously have information that they provided during the chat, so you know believe it or not, even though we sometimes work from 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 the next morning, the time really flies by because there‘s not a lot of down time usually.
ABRAMS: One the pieces—the clips we just showed, I want to just play
the sound from it. This is when a rabbi—this is one of the earlier ones
almost seemed to lunge at you. Let‘s listen, then I‘ll ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANSEN: I am Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC” and we‘re doing a story on computer predators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, guy.
HANSEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you don‘t want it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘ve got to stop this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down. Sit down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don‘t have any right.
HANSEN: You‘re free to leave any time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And I assume, Chris, that security is a concern, although I have to say, I‘ve been surprised that more of these guys haven‘t gone after you.
HANSEN: Well, you know, a couple of things, Dan. Obviously, we have the element of surprise. I think some of these guys are really sort of relieved to have been caught and I‘m genuinely curious to understand what‘s going on in their heads, so I think that‘s why they don‘t get aggressive and I think that‘s part of the reason why in some cases at least they sit and talk for, you know, for a long time.
ABRAMS: I know from our viewers and the e-mails that we get, that just about everyone who writes in is very supportive of what “Dateline” is doing and of what you are doing, but some in the media and others have been critical of it. Let me read this from “The New York Times”.
ABRAMS: It says at best it‘s a tabloid entertainment show with a muckraking streak. It is hard to tell from the program whether the suspects are active predators, intent on luring children into off-line sexual encounters or kinky fantasists tempted by “Dateline” into crossing a line. What do you make of that?
HANSEN: Well, you know, that‘s a television critic‘s opinion and she‘s entitled to it. You know, we have a lot of discussions internally, when we do these stories, as do how we balance what is obviously captivating television and good journalism. And I think in this case, we have been innovative and creative and enterprising in coming up with a way to cover you know a new sort of crime, a new epidemic, and we had to be very flexible and inventive as to how we did it and I think we‘ve done a good job with it, and I‘m proud of what we‘ve done.
ABRAMS: And to those who say Chris Hansen, the award winning journalist, who‘s won all sorts of rewards for his reporting in Cambodia and on terrorism and on other issues, I think—I would think that you‘d be very comfortable to say, look, this is another important undercover story.
HANSEN: Look, at the end of the day, what we‘ve done is taken the investigative hidden camera techniques that we used in India to uncover child slave labor in the silk business, to uncover sex tourism in Cambodia, to uncover factor conditions in Bangladesh where clothes are made for major department stores, and we turn these very same techniques using essentially the very same team of people to the problem of online potential predators. And you know, did we think that it was going to hit such a nerve? Not really.
In the beginning, but obviously it‘s resonated with people, because it affects so many folks. I mean everybody has got you know teenagers who are online or they go online, and I don‘t think a lot of people realized who was out there, and the potential danger that posed.
ABRAMS: Well Chris, I admire what you‘ve been doing, but as a fellow journalist, how you‘ve been doing it. Thanks for coming back on the program.
HANSEN: Well I appreciate it, Dan. Thank you for having me.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the game rock-paper-scissors, in the courtroom? Apparently so. A federal judge tells two opposing lawyers to play the game to settle their dispute. One of the lawyers joins us, along with a champion player.
ABRAMS: I just lost four times. You wonder why are we playing this childhood game, rock-paper-scissors, why am I losing four out of four in the middle of our program. Well because a judge has directed two lawyers to play the game to resolve their differences. The rules are simple.
Each contestant bounces a hand three times and puts down their chute. Rock smashes scissors. Paper smothers rock. Scissors cut paper. This week a federal judge ordered the players to play one game of rock-paper-scissors to settle a dispute over where a witness should make a sworn statement. Judge Gregory Presnell ordered the game to take place on June 20 at 4:20 p.m. at a neutral site. If they can‘t agree on a site, Presnell said they will have to meet on the courthouse steps in Orlando. Each attorney will have one paralegal who acts as a witness. If one lawyer disputes the outcome, he can appeal.
Joining me now, David Pettinato, one of the attorneys involved in the case who‘s been training with his 5 and 9-year-old daughters for the big shootout and two-time Sarasota, Florida rock-paper-scissors champ and title holder of the longest game in USARPS history, Jason Wood. Thanks to both of you for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
All right, Mr. Pettinato, it sounds to me like the judge is trying to mock you and the other lawyer by saying if the two of you are so silly that you can‘t even pick a place for a witness to give a sworn statement, then go play a child‘s game to resolve it.
DAVID PETTINATO, ATTORNEY PLAYING ROCK PAPER SCISSORS: Well, first, I take the judge‘s order very seriously, but...
ABRAMS: Come on. You‘re taking it seriously?
PETTINATO: I think it‘s a very innovative way for the court to get a message to the parties that we should step back, rethink the position, and try to amicably resolve our differences rather than go to the court.
ABRAMS: I have to say I‘m surprised that you‘re saying all of this with such a straight face. I mean this is—I‘m not saying it‘s a bad thing, but it‘s kind of absurd, no?
PETTINATO: Well, my firm, the Merlin Law Group, we have 800 some cases in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, involving hurricane damages and other claims against large insurance companies. This type of dispute is not unnatural or abnormal where we have hotly contested issues with insurance companies.
ABRAMS: That‘s not what I‘m saying though. I‘m saying that you have to resolve it playing rock-paper-scissors.
PETTINATO: Well, is it a way that I‘ve ever seen another court order us to resolve a discovery suit? No. I think it was very innovative, but not the norm.
ABRAMS: Right. Are you nervous you‘re going to lose?
PETTINATO: Well my daughters tell me I‘ve got a good edge up from practicing all the time, so I think I‘m going to come out ahead.
ABRAMS: All right. Jason Wood, I would have thought that rock-paper-scissors is purely a game of luck?
JASON WOOD, ROCK PAPER SCISSORS CHAMPION: I wouldn‘t say it‘s all luck at all. I think you have a lot of strategy and you really got to know your competitor.
ABRAMS: And it‘s what, psychological? I mean I just lost four times in a row, you saw that.
WOOD: I did see it.
ABRAMS: Four out of four, I lost to Joe.
ABRAMS: I mean I love Joe, but there‘s no reason he should beat me four out of four times.
WOOD: Some guys have it. Some guys don‘t. Maybe you don‘t have it.
ABRAMS: He‘s never played the game before. I had to teach him the rules.
ABRAMS: I mean it‘s kind of pathetic.
WOOD: Well, I really—I didn‘t play before I started winning either really, so you know.
ABRAMS: All right. Now do you have any advice for Mr. Pettinato on how to beat his opponent?
ABRAMS: What is it?
ABRAMS: What is it? Put him in a two box and let‘s see—go ahead. Talk to him.
WOOD: Well, what I would do, Mr. Pettinato, is I would definitely go into the competition loose, you know, stay relaxed, stay loose, watch his hands, don‘t stare at his eyes, and have a strategy ready to go when you get there. It doesn‘t matter what the strategy is, just have one ready to go.
ABRAMS: What do you mean have a strategy?
WOOD: Oh, well it‘s whatever makes him comfortable, whatever he feels is going to work for him under the circumstances.
ABRAMS: What is—I mean how do you decide what‘s—I mean you know, like, if you and I were going at it without playing the game, let‘s assume you and I were going to play, all right...
ABRAMS: You‘d have a strategy sort of, you don‘t really know me, but you have a sense, what would you think I‘d probably be going for first?
WOOD: Oh, I‘d, you know, I‘d probably think that you‘re going to throw a paper personally, but you know you have to be sharp and maybe you‘d think I would know that, so you just kind of play it backwards. You know, you just have to have a strategy on whatever—whoever you‘re facing off.
ABRAMS: All right. Mr. Pettinato, are you going to have a strategy going in?
PETTINATO: I‘ve got my strategy down already.
ABRAMS: You guys are both so serious about this.
WOOD: Very nice.
ABRAMS: But Jason Wood, you won a car out of this, so you have every reason to be serious about this.
WOOD: That‘s correct. That is correct. I did in Las Vegas.
ABRAMS: David Pettinato and Jason Wood, thanks a lot for coming on the program.
WOOD: Thank you.
PETTINATO: Thank you.
ABRAMS: That does it for us tonight. Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great weekend and see you next week.
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