'Scarborough Country' for July 10

Guests: Steve Emerson, David Harris, Mara Rudman, Ida Hakim, Niger Innis, Brandi Chastain, Ethan Zohn, Dawn Yanek, Jill Dobson, Erin Runnion, Catherine Crier, Mark Lunsford

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the playboy terrorist who partied all night and plotted all day.  How close did he get to blowing up New York tunnels subways and setting fires in California?  Then the great Saddam melts down in front of a billion fans.  We‘ll tell you why.  And friends, I‘ll make my full confession.  I‘m in love with French soccer.  And “Joe‘s Justice”—it‘s serious and it‘s a new segment where we demand justice for the toughest crimes.  And I‘ll be joined live by Erin Runnion to get justice for our children.

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No passport required, only common sense allowed.

We‘re going to have all that tonight.  But first, the playboy terrorist, Assem Hammoud, busted in Lebanon after spending time in Canada, living the life of a wealthy, womanizing Westerner.  Nights, Hammoud would chase women, but during the day, he would plot terror attacks on America.  The alleged plot at issue included plans to blow up tunnels leading in and out of New York, bombing subways in Manhattan, and setting wildfires across California.

But Hammoud, the jihadist, took a serious liking to sex, liquor and partying.  According to his own mother, his partying lifestyle was his best alibi since he did like to drink, he did like to surround himself with non-Muslim women and acted nothing like a radical Islamic terrorist.

But hard partying is no longer an alibi for Muslim terrorists.  Of course, you remember the sheik who preached hatred of America.  While plotting attacks, he was known to live it up in Manhattan, as was Ramzi Youself, who‘s in jail for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.  And of course, there‘s Khalid Shaykh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta, the masterminds of September 11, who were well-known hard-charging partiers.  They would hit strip clubs from Las Vegas to Florida and cheat on their wives while learning how to fly planes into buildings.

So why are jihadists leading the life of playboys when they claim to be sacrificing their all for Allah?  Here to talk about it, we have terror analyst expert Steve Emerson.  We also have David Harris.  He‘s a former chief of strategic planning for Canadian intelligence services.

Steve, let me begin with you.  This guy likes drinking,  He likes partying.  He likes chasing women.  Is he a hypocrite, or is this part of the bigger plan to throw off U.S. authorities?

STEVE EMERSON, TERRORISM ANALYST:  You know, Joe, I checked the al Qaeda manual before coming on the air, and I couldn‘t find any loophole for those who womanize and those who are drinkers.  The fact of the matter is, he was an Islamic terrorist, but he didn‘t fit our preconceptions of one.  He is a major hypocrite because, obviously, he‘s using the excuse of trying to, you know, blend in the West by adopting Western, you know, culture and by immersing himself in those terrible cultural traditions of sex and booze.

But in fact, he was an Islamic terrorist, and I think we make the mistake sometimes of trying to pigeonhole people into certain categories only on the basis of what their external looks are.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you also have, of course—again, as we said

before, Khalid Shaykh Mohammed.  You also had Mohammed Atta.  These two

guys were hanging out in strip clubs, apparently loved the good life.  So -

so again, while they‘re being hypocrites, it makes—makes it so much harder for authorities to track these guys down because they‘re not just hanging out in mosques.  So what do you do?

EMERSON:  Well, look, you‘re 100 percent right.  It makes it more difficult, and that‘s part of the concealment factor, which is the deception issue.  It‘s strategic deception.  You blend in.  There were two jihadists from the 9/11 conspiracy who were told to blend in to the United States.  The 19 guys blended in.  There are groups in the United States that pretend to be humanitarian and they support terrorism.  So this is part of the whole deception of jihadists around the world.  But this particular episode, I think, strikes me as somebody who was exploiting an opportunity to pleasure himself.

SCARBOROUGH:  So basically, he can have sex with lots of women, go to strip clubs, throw money around and then say he‘s doing it all for the greater good of Allah.

EMERSON:  That‘s what his excuse—I wonder what bin Laden would say to this.  I—you know, on this score, I predict that bin Laden wouldn‘t be that happy.  On the other hand, bin Laden wants results, and he‘ll take anybody who pays loyalty to him.  So that‘s why those Miami seven guys who look like Ninja idiots came to fruition in terms of their conspiracy, because of the fact that they paid allegiance to bin Laden.  And that‘s what bin Laden looks for, as well as other terrorist groups.

Look, it‘s—if you‘re a number of the Mafia, you make yourself a made member by carrying out some murder.  And this guy was a know-nothing who decided he was going to carry out an act of terrorism and make himself a member of al Qaeda.

SCARBOROUGH:  According to a captured al Qaeda manual, terrorists are supposed to maintain a secular Western lifestyle, including showing no interest in religion, not wearing a beard and using a false name.  But again, nothing was in there about strip clubs or booze or multiple Western girlfriends.

David Harris, how difficult does this make it, tracking down terrorists, who like this guy, may infiltrate Canada and again, live the big lifestyle up there, but plot attacks on the United States?  Is Canada up to tracking these guys down?

DAVID HARRIS, FORMER CANADIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL:  Well, Joe, you know, as you‘ve indicated, these are, of course, only allegations with this guy, but it fits a pattern that Steve has accurately nailed.  You get into issues of deception and takiya (ph), the idea of deceiving the infidel and playing the appropriate card, the smooth-shaven or bare-chested approach.  We saw the photographs, of course, blondes draped on all appendages and cans of beer, and so on.

What we‘ve all got to do is to be tuned into the fact that things are not always as they appear.  And we have seen a long history of this.  Even in Canada, there‘s been some evidence that jihadis have gone out of their way to leave empty alcohol bottles out in the garbage, so they might be observed by people who might otherwise be suspicious.  And this is all part and parcel, of course, of the deception operation that we‘re having to deal with.  So we‘ve got to be sophisticated.

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the disturbing trend of terrorists going in Canada, setting up and preparing for attacks on America?  Do you have a Canadian government that‘s finally getting tough on terrorists, finally doing what it takes to get serious about this problem?

HARRIS:  Well, the trends have not been good.  I think we have to be honest about that.  We‘ve seen the Ahmed Ressam case—the fellow, remember, who wanted to blow up the LA International Airport, the millennial bomber.  And then we just had the 17 arrested recently in the Toronto area.  We‘ve had a number of issues that are really concerning, indicate infiltration of Canada in a significant way by terrorists who seem bent on attacks on the American mainland as the main target.

We have had, though, some hope because in recent months, we‘ve seen a new government elected here in Canada, the Conservatives, and they seem to take a very different view of the terror threat and really hope to come to grips with it, unlike the previous Liberal Party government, which was, in some respects, almost playing footsie with radicals.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring right now Mara Rudman.  She‘s a former deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration.  Mara, it seems to me the problem here is that you can‘t just stake out mosques anymore if you‘re going to stake out these places, now you‘ve got to add what, strip clubs, bars, the nightlife scene?  I mean, how—how do you ever track down these terrorists?

MARA RUDMAN, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:  Well, if we were only staking out mosques anyway, or if we were staking out specifically mosques, shame on us.  We should have known and we should be knowing all along that there‘s not only one type of person who looks one particular way or acts one particular way that engages in behavior that may be threatening and that would be threatening to the United States and to the world.  This is essentially, obviously, deviant behavior.  It‘s zealots who are engaging in it, and zealots will go to all sorts of extremes and behave in all sorts of ways.  And we shouldn‘t be naive enough to believe that there is a stereotypical behavior that would be exhibited or that these particular individuals would behave in a particular way and would make our jobs easy for us.  And—and we...


RUDMAN:  ... would know that.

SCARBOROUGH:  It makes profiling next to impossible.  I mean, in fact, the more deviant they are, the more difficult it is to track them down.

RUDMAN:  Well, it makes profiling not a very successful way of tracking terrorists and terrorist activity. And so we need to be better than that and smarter than that and more effective than that in what we do and how we do it.

SCARBOROUGH:  So Steve, how do we do that?  How do we get smarter?  How do we track down these guys that may be hanging out in strip clubs instead of just hanging out in mosques?

EMERSON:  Look, look, the fact of the matter is that, in the end, mosques are where many of these Islamic terrorists emanate from.  And there‘s no doubt about the fact that if we were to exclude mosques and not survey them and not try to infiltrate them, as was shown so effectively in the New York City case a couple of months ago, we would be deluding ourselves into believing that somehow, there‘s no connection between Islamic terrorism and the place of worship.  There is.

The fact of the matter is that we ought not to believe that everything is associated with the mosque.  On the other hand, it‘s infiltration.  It‘s good intelligence.  And the only way you get that is to put people on the inside.  And the inside means inside the mosques and religious organizations.

SCARBOROUGH:  And the strip clubs.


SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks so much, Steve.  Thank you, Mara.  Thank you, David.  Greatly appreciate you being here tonight.

And still to come, “Joe‘s Justice.”  Tonight, what needs to be done to get justice for Jessica Lunsford, murdered and buried alive?  Her dad‘s with us here tonight.  Plus, Erin Runnion, the mother of another famous victim, here to tell us how we can make sure a killer doesn‘t walk free.  And one of the greatest soccer players in the world ends his career with a shocking head butt.  But wait before you start screaming.  Get the full story here on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and my shocking confession.


SCARBOROUGH:  Should the descendants of slaves be compensated?  Well, the Associated Press says the movement to pay descendants of slaves is growing across America.  We learned today that corporations with indirect ties to slavery 150 years ago have already shelled out $20 million, and pro-reparation groups are still putting out attack ads like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you know that J.P. Morgan Chase (INAUDIBLE) for slavery?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.  U.S. slavery, institutionalized terrorism, genocide, kidnapping...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Rape, torture and the robbery of a proud people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All for economic (INAUDIBLE) and profit.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, that bank has already established a $5 million scholarship fund for African-Americans in Louisiana.  But they‘re not being the only company who‘s being targeted.  Lawsuits have been filed against Aetna, Chase Manhattan Bank, New York Life, AIG, Fleet Boston and CSX Group Corp.  With me now to talk about it, Niger Innis, spokesperson for the CORE, Congress of Racial Equality, and also Ida Hakim, CEO and founder of CURE, Caucasians United for Reparations and Emancipation.  She‘s also author of the book “Reparations, the Cure for America‘s Race Problem.”

Ida, the AP is reporting today that this movement to give reparations to African-Americans grows by the day.  Of course, we‘ve just showed how banks are shelling out an awful lot of money for it.  You think that‘s a good idea.  Why?

IDA HAKIM, CAUCASIANS UNITED FOR REPARATIONS:  Well, I think that the onus of slavery is upon America still, and I think we have to confront it and have a look at the lingering effects of slavery and also look at the way that white America has benefited from slavery and the way that we benefit today from white privilege.  So yes, I do support...


SCARBOROUGH:  For those who are against reparations, such as myself, a lot of people argue that Affirmative Action, a lot of the federal programs aimed at helping African-Americans through the years have, in effect, paid reparations for those who were mistreated so badly during slavery.

HAKIM:  Well, Joe, Affirmative Action benefited a number of people, not just African-Americans or black people.  Affirmative Action—any program that benefits many different people cannot be considered reparations.  Reparations have to be directed to Afro descendants, so descendants of enslaved Africans...


SCARBOROUGH:  But its focus, though—I mean, you‘d admit that‘s focused primarily, though, on African-Americans, right?

HAKIM:  No, I wouldn‘t admit that it was focused primarily on African-Americans.  Affirmative Action benefited women a great deal and benefited white women a great deal.  And yes, African-Americans did benefit from Affirmative Action, but the small benefits that were gained have been dismantled or are in the process of being dismantled, and in no way did that affect the masses of people.  So no, I wouldn‘t...


SCARBOROUGH:  So tell me, explain to me how cash handouts for something that occurred 140 years ago is going to cure America‘s race problems.  I just don‘t buy that.

HAKIM:  Well, I think that you‘re demeaning the movement when you say “cash handouts” because reparations has much to do with many other things, other than cash handouts.  For example, I‘ve spent a great deal of time at the United Nations with Mr. Silas Muhammed (ph), the CEO of AFRI (ph), and the restoration of human rights is what we‘re doing there.  We‘re calling for restoration of human rights of Afro descendants collectively, as a people scattered across the region of the Americas.  And restoration of human rights means political empowerment for Afro descendants in all the countries in which they live.  And they certainly do deserve that.  So to demean...


SCARBOROUGH:  So your argument is that they don‘t have those rights in the United States of America?

HAKIM:  My argument is that Afro descendants do not have collective human rights, as peoples, across the region of the America.  No, they don‘t have collective human rights.  Collective human rights...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, let‘s bring in Niger Innis.  Niger, respond.  Do you think that it‘s a good idea to pay reparations out to descendants of African-Americans?


SCARBOROUGH:  Descendants of slaves.

INNIS:  Before I answer that directly, I want to say that a great injustice was definitely done to the former slaves at the end of slavery in 1865 and through the period of Reconstruction and then at the end of Reconstruction, when they were not given concrete, solid land and/or monetary reparations.  That was definitely an injustice.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, what about now, Niger?

INNIS:  And—let me continue though, Joe.  This is important.  Also, I think reparations, like issues like Affirmative Action, are sometimes so big an umbrella that a lot of things come under it.  And in the case of the riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma, against the black Wall Street, a very specific case, a case where blacks were disenfranchised, the black political structure and economic structure, in Wilmington, North Carolina, where it was disenfranchised at the end of Reconstruction, and even in Rosewood, Florida, those are specific cases where court cases or the legislative process, the direct descendants of injured parties during segregation, actually, in those three cases I just mentioned...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, Niger, we‘re running out of time.  You got to give me a big answer...


INNIS:  There are bigger fish to fry, Joe, than making race destiny.  Your other guest mentioned the issue of Affirmative Action.  Sandra Day O‘Connor, the former Supreme Court Justice of the land, said we must be careful when we use Affirmative Action to not make the black race a permanent badge of inferiority.  And what I‘m very, very afraid of in the case of the J.P. Morgan‘s Chase, in the case of these corporations and the case of these organizations and some whites that want to assuage their guilt, that they‘re saying to my generation and to the future generations of black Americans that, You have a permanent badge of inferiority.  You are forever a victim.

You want to do something about the black race?  Then do something about letting my people go from God-awful public schools that don‘t service them.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘re going to have to...

INNIS:  You want to do something about the black community, do something about the entertainment projections, some awful, stereotypical projections of young black men as gangsters and young black women as hoochy mamas that is broadcast all around the world.  That is real...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘re going to have to...


INNIS:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Niger Innis.  Thank you, Ida Hakim. 

Greatly appreciate it.

We want to know what you think.  Should the United States pay reparations to the descendants of slaves?  You can go to joe.msnbc.com to vote.  We‘re going to have the results at the end of the show.  And I‘m certainly going to go on there and vote a big no.

Still to come tonight: “Joe‘s Justice.  Jessica Lunsford murdered and buried alive.  Now the sex offender accused of killing her is on trial, but the feds are keeping out her—his infamous confession.  Tonight also, a woman who can relate to the Lunsford family is here, as we apply the pressure for justice.  And Star Jones is back.  Inside the details of her not so triumphant return to TV.


SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s time for tonight‘s must-see video you‘ve just got to see.  Up first, this slow and slightly strange chase down an Indiana highway.  Police there chased two horses that escaped from a parked trailer nearby.  Speeds topped out at 17 miles an hour.  Five police cars actually joined in the pursuit until officers were finally able to nudge the runaways to the side of the road and tie them to the guardrail.

And more from the animal kingdom tonight as we go to the streets of Antwerp, Belgium.  A French art company created this 42-ton mechanical elephant that‘s being paraded around the streets there.  The elephant is 40 feet high and complete with a water hose that sprays onlookers through the animal‘s trunk.

And finally, from the Internet—they say some dogs start to look like their owners.  Well, maybe they work out together.  Aerobics are going to the dogs.  She‘s no Jane Fonda, but this poodle wannabe is an Internet sensation.  You can see why.

And when we come back, the head butt seen by billions.  I still can‘t believe what I saw, but I‘ll tell you why I think the world should dial down its outrage.  And is Madonna cutting ties with the religion she helped make famous?  We‘ll give you the inside scoop from our celebrity insiders when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  The strange story of Star Jones continues.  She‘s busted, kicked off “The View.”  But now, today she starts a new show.  We‘ll tell you about that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

But first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight, say it isn‘t so.  Is Madonna losing her religion and is she cutting ties with Kabbalah? 

And later, a new segment, “Joe‘s Justice.”  Victims rights advocate Erin Runnion, who lost her daughter, is here to show us how to get justice in America. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re going to have those stories in just minutes.

But first, a confession, friends.  I have been smitten by a French citizen for sometime.  Now, friends in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, more shocking news:  It‘s a man.  Well, actually it‘s a soccer superstar known as the great Zidane.

Yesterday, Zizou launched the head butt heard around the world.  Sunday‘s World Cup final match between Italy and France was overshadowed today by this vicious head butt from that French superstar, Zidane.  He was thrown out of the game for the attack, his last act on the field before retiring from soccer all together. 

The head butt grabbed headlines across the world.  And tonight, French newspapers report the head butt came after Zidane was called, quote, “a dirty terrorist” by the Italian defender he knocked down.  Despite the incident, Zidane was given the Gold Ball award to the World Cup‘s best player. 

With me now to talk about it is former U.S. women‘s soccer star, Brandi Chastain.  She, of course, grabbed headlines of her own seven years ago for her great play in the U.S. women‘s World Cup victory. 

And also, Ethan Zohn.  He‘s the host of MSG‘s “Soccer Report” and played professional soccer in Zimbabwe. 

Let‘s start with you, Brandi.  And I want you to start, because I‘ve been trying to explain to my friends Zidane—I got to admit, I was smitten by Zidane from the start of this tournament, and I went around telling everybody, “You have got to watch this guy play soccer.”  And, unfortunately, now we‘re just showing the head butts. 

Let‘s show the great play this guy did.  Can you explain how monumental this incident last night was in the World Cup to Americans?  Because I always talk about, well, it‘s like Michael Jordan, if he had done this in the seventh game of NBA playoffs.  But over a billion people watch the World Cup, right?  And it‘s for the country, not just an individual sports team.  So talk about it. 

BRANDI CHASTAIN, SOCCER PLAYER:  Well, you know, I was asked earlier about, will this tarnish what he did throughout the World Cup?  And in my opinion, I say no.  Unfortunately, it will leave an impression with a lot of people.  You said over a billion people who watched that final game.

But, you know, there‘s so much more to the player than that one incident, kind of like, hopefully, what was to me seven years ago when I scored that one goal.  There was a lot more to the player than one moment in their career. 

Unfortunately for Zidane, that moment I think will stick in people‘s minds, but he is a tremendous player.  He has given so much to the game and should be remembered as Pele, Maradona, of that type of player, in my opinion. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So tell me about—I mean, answer this $64,000 question.  How in the world could this guy, who‘s considered by many the greatest soccer player in the past quarter-century, how could he, when the game was on the line, when a billion people were watching, the greatest sports event on the world stage, how could he collapse in the final minutes of overtime and do such a thing? 

CHASTAIN:  Well, it‘s a good question.  And if I had the actual answer, we‘d be fixing soccer altogether.  But I think there‘s two aspects of the game that happened simultaneously.  It‘s a physical aspect, and it‘s the psychological aspect. 

And usually when the physical part is going well, the psychological just seems to go with the flow.  But, like you said, it was the waning moments.  It was a 1-1 game.  It had been a long tournament, and he had actually come out of retirement just to help France qualify for the World Cup, let alone be the best player in the tournament. 

And so I think he had been carrying a lot of the weight.  And to be honest with you, there‘s a part of soccer that, unfortunately, I think gets on my nerves, gets on a lot of people‘s nerves, which is what we would consider gamesmanship.

You know, whether Materazzi poked him, said something to him, was taunting him throughout the game, those things tend to wear on you.  And as you get tired physically, your emotional and your psychological side seems to break down. 

And in that moment—and I have had my moments where I have looked back in shame of my actions—I‘m not throwing stones in a glass house here—that I‘ve lost control.  And I can see how someone like Zidane, as great as he is, could be pushed over the edge and do that act. 

Now, am I saying that it‘s OK?  Absolutely not.  We would expect more of him.  But I can understand how, in a moment of weakness, which we all have in a physical sport, that can happen. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Ethan, let‘s give the back story here for people that don‘t know about Zidane.  I mean, there‘s a lot of racism, first of all, in soccer on the world stage.  In fact, that‘s what some of Zidane‘s teammates have been fighting so hard—it‘s been one of their main causes all across Europe. 

But in this case, he‘s been attacked because of his background.  And if, in fact, he was called a dirty terrorist, for a kid coming out of the slums of south of France, that would obviously set him off.  Explain why. 

ETHAN ZOHN, HOST, “MSG SOCCER REPORT”:  I mean, you know, I think FIFA and Germany did a great job, you know, promoting this anti-racism, this FIFA fair play and with Thierry Henri, who was on the team, as well.

And, you know, obviously what Zidane did was horrible.  However, if what was said was said, that‘s considered—it could be just as bad as the head butt, if you think about it.  And, you know, as Brandi said, you know, at that time in the game, you know, you‘re physical, you‘re down, you‘re mental, you‘re down, and he just snapped. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And he‘s from—he‘s of Algerian descent, so...

ZOHN:  Yes.

CHASTAIN:  Correct.

SCARBOROUGH:  If he was called a dirty terrorist, they were attacking him because of his parent‘s heritage, is that right?

ZOHN:  Yes.  I guess that his mother is of Algerian descent.  And, you know, it‘s no exception.  What he did was wrong, but I can see how it could happen. 

And I think it was a selfish thing for him to do, final 10 minutes, you know, red carded.  He let his team down.  He couldn‘t take the penalty shots.  And, you know, it demoralizes your team when your captain does something like that and is sent off.  And, you know, he could be responsible for losing it.  You know, you never know. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Brandi, final...

CHASTAIN:  I will say...

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Brandi.

CHASTAIN:  I would say, Ethan, along with that, I think FIFA has to do a much better job in setting up the game so that faking, and pretending to be hurt, and to gain an advantage for your team, I think, has to be cleaned up.  Soccer has a lot of flaws to it. 

It‘s a beautiful game.  It‘s a part of me.  I mean, I‘ve grown up loving this sport and trying to be an ambassador to the sport so more people will enjoy it, but there‘s a lot of flaws to it.  And I think what happened to Zidane in that moment may have been caused because of FIFA and maybe the referees‘ lack of attention to all the other things that go on in the game that are, in my opinion, out of bounds or out of context and take the game‘s integrity in the wrong direction. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Hey, thank you, Brandi.  And thank you, Ethan.  I greatly appreciate it. 

And, Brandi, I certainly agree with what Brandi was saying.  Again, as a newcomer to being a huge fan of World Cup soccer, the thing that drove me crazy was the gamesmanship, the constant picking, the over-acting.  You just wanted them to play the damn game and be done with all of that other stuff. 

Unfortunately, also—well, I won‘t even get into the replays that they played in the sports stadiums.  But, anyway, the great Zidane.  We‘ll be following that story as it moves forward.

Now, is Madonna losing her religion?  The pop star‘s people deny it, but her friends say that she‘s fed up with Kabbalah and cutting off the red string that she made famous.  And now the material girl wants to top her famous kiss with Britney Spears at the MTV Video Music Awards.  Her plan?  Performing with teen queens Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson—oh, God help us all—at next month‘s VMAs.

With me now to talk about Madonna, we‘ve from “Star” magazine Jill Dobson, and we also have Dawn Yanek from “Life and Style.” 

Jill, let me start with you.  Why do you hear the material girl‘s thinking about losing her religion? 

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE”:  Well, she reportedly is fed up with Kabbalah in a number of ways:  the influence it‘s had on her marriage; on her children; and on her wallet, most importantly. 

But on the other hand, we also have reports that she was seen at New York City‘s Kabbalah Center just this past Friday.  So we‘re on what we like to call wrist watch at “Star” to see if she‘s going to still be wearing that red string. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And talk about how Madonna seems to bounce from one trend to another.  And now she‘s—you know, of course, she‘s bouncing into this religion.  And we understand she got upset at Britney Spears for leaving the religion.  But, again, she may be following right behind there. 

I mean, for Madonna, is it all about keeping the image new, keeping the image fresh, doing whatever it takes to sell records? 

DOBSON:  That‘s right.  I think Madonna‘s real key to success all throughout her career has been reinvention.  Whenever something seems to get old, she comes up with a new trend.  And as soon as everyone jumps on that bandwagon, she does something new. 

So she‘s been leading the way with Kabbalah.  Most of us never heard of it until she started wearing the red string.  Now that all the other celebrities are doing it, maybe she‘s thinking about moving away from it.  On the other hand, maybe it‘s just a rumor.  We‘re investigating it right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Dawn, tell us about her plans for the VMAs.  I mean, I remember when Elton John sang at the Grammies in 2001 with Eminem.  It was all about sort of that street cred.  Is that what Madonna is trying to do as she gets older, hang out with younger and younger stars? 

DAWN YANEK, “LIFE AND STYLE”:  Well, I think that‘s part of it.  And, you know, Madonna has a knack for really putting her finger on the pulse of what‘s hot, what‘s young, what‘s it.  And that, of course, right now is Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. 

And there again some reports right now out of London that she may be making an appearance at the VMAs with Lindsay and Jessica doing some sort of a bondage thing, kind of upping the ante from her appearance three years ago with Britney and Christina and maybe doing something very sexual. 

You know, we‘re talking about religion; we‘re talking about sex.  Those are two of the main ways Madonna has reinvented herself throughout the years, and she continues to do so. 

SCARBOROUGH:  She does.  I wish she‘d reinvent herself right off the stage. 

Women, I‘m sorry.  We‘ve got to go.  We‘re packed tonight, but, Jill and Dawn, thank you so much for being with us. 

YANEK:  Thank you.

DOBSON:  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘ll be right back with “Joe‘s Justice.” 


SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time for a new SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY segment, “Joe‘s Justice,” all this week at this time.  We‘re going to take a hard look at our criminal justice system and demand answers and seek justice for the toughest cases out there. 

And I‘m going to be joined all week by victims rights advocate Erin Runnion.  Now, Erin knows firsthand the tragedy of losing a child. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Her little girl, Samantha, was abducted and killed just 11 days away from her sixth birthday.  The man convicted of her murder is on death row. 

In response to her daughter‘s tragic loss, Erin established the Joyful Child Foundation.  And in tonight‘s “Joe‘s Justice,” jury selection is under way in the murder trial of John Couey, convicted sex offender, accused of killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. 

Last month, a judge ruled that Couey‘s taped confession could not be used in court against him, but you will hear it tonight in “Joe‘s Justice.”  We will also talk to Mark Lunsford in a minute, but first let‘s listen to this confession. 


DETECTIVE:  I know it‘s going to be hard, so you got to tell me from the start what happened that night.


DETECTIVE:  Come off of that party?

COUEY:  Yes, the one you all was talking about.  And we some crack, my sister—I was going high, and I was drunk.  I went over there and took her out of her house...


COUEY:  Her house, her own.

DETECTIVE:  Who?  Who we talking about?

COUEY:  Jessica‘s house.

DETECTIVE:  How did you get into her house?

COUEY:  The door was unlocked.

DETECTIVE:  OK.  So she gets up and walks out of the house with you?

COUEY:  Yes, sir.

DETECTIVE:  Where did you go?

COUEY:  I take her to my house.

DETECTIVE:  Into your bedroom?

COUEY:  Yes, sir.

DETECTIVE:  She climbs up that ladder with you?

COUEY:  Yes, sir.  Yes, she went in first.


COUEY:  And then I went in behind her.

DETECTIVE:  What happens next?

COUEY:  Then I sexually assaulted her.

DETECTIVE:  Did she know that we were out there looking for her?

COUEY:  Yes, she knew.  I told her you all were.  You know, I told her you all—I said, “They‘re out there looking for you,” and she seen it on TV, too.

DETECTIVE:  What happened next?

COUEY:  I went out there one night and dug a hole, and put her in it, buried her.  I pushed—I put her in a plastic bag, plastic baggies.

DETECTIVE:  Was she dead already?

COUEY:  No, she was still alive.  I buried her alive, like, it‘s stupid, but just she suffered.


SCARBOROUGH:  Erin, you know, as the father of a young daughter and of two older boys, it just breaks my heart listening to that.  I can‘t even imagine what you go through listening to it. 

How difficult is it for you though, knowing that a confession like that can‘t be heard by the jury, when it obviously would seal this case shut against this monster? 

ERIN RUNNION, MOTHER OF MURDERED SAMANTHA RUNNION:  You know, it‘s infuriating, but at the same time I completely understand where the judge is coming from.  I agree with Ms. Crier. 

And, you know, as a victim going through this, as Samantha‘s mother in our case, I remember ultimately recognizing that Judge Froeberg in our case was really our only resource when it came to—we were just completely dependent on him to make sure nothing in that trial could be overthrown in appeals. 

And that is ultimately what you want more than anything.  They have enough to get a conviction; they have enough to get sentence that they want.  The key is to make sure that it‘s all squeaky clean so that nothing gets overturned. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s bring in Catherine Crier.  She‘s the host of “Catherine Crier Live” on Court TV. 

Catherine, let me start with you and ask the big question that a lot of people are asking:  Should this confession have been thrown out? 

CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV:  Well, I hate to say yes, but yes.  In fact, the judge made the appropriate ruling, and the sheriff even conceded as much when he was describing the conduct of his officers. 

But I can also say that I can understand entirely their behavior in that the officers didn‘t know when they were questioning this man whether or not Jessica could have been alive at the time.  And I‘m sure that, even subconsciously, if they thought they were making mistakes, the need to press forward, afraid that this man would literally lawyer up and they not get any information, may have gotten him to do things that would result in a confession being thrown out. 

But I will also say, Joe, that the judge knew, not that this should ever play a role in his decisionmaking, but he knew that there were other statements made while in custody that were appropriate, that were admissible, that admitted guilt.  He also knew that the body was going to come in.  He ruled that the finding of the body, that other evidence that linked Couey to Jessica in his home, her blood, would come in.  And I‘m sure he knew that throwing out this confession would in no way damage the strength of the case that the prosecution‘s going to produce. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How important is a judge, a trial court judge, as you‘re going through this type of process, to make sure that justice is handed out in a fair and equitable way? 

RUNNION:  You know, I think that‘s a fabulous question.  And I think judges are incredibly important.  You know, I think about these local elections where we have all of these judge‘s names, and so few of the voters even know who these people are or, you know, what their records are as prosecutors or defense attorneys, and they don‘t know necessarily who they‘re voting for.

And yet they can find themselves in a situation where they are utterly dependent upon this person‘s sound judgment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Catherine Crier, thank you so much.  You always bring great perspective, and we really do appreciate it. 

Stay with us, if you will, Erin.  When we come back, we‘re going to have much more, including we‘re going to be talking to Mark Lunsford, obviously, Jessica‘s dad.  He‘s going to join us when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to “Joe‘s Justice.”  Jessica Lunsford‘s death gave new momentum to stopping crimes against young children.  It sparked the passage of tougher sex offender laws that were named in her memory. 

Now, in more than 15 states her laws have passed.  But why not make it a national law?  Well, we‘re trying to.  But right now it‘s tied up in Washington. 

So I asked Mark Lunsford earlier tonight what he would tell Congress. 


MARK LUNSFORD, DAUGHTER JESSICA ABDUCTED AND MURDERED:  Your system doesn‘t work.  Our children are being murdered and molested, and you continue to sit on Capitol Hill, dragging your feet over one argument or another. 

What is so hard about writing a piece of legislation that‘s so tough that it‘s right up there next to that line of your constitutional rights, and making it that tough?  What‘s the problem?

So, people, call your legislators in D.C.  I don‘t care what state you‘re from, call all of them.  Let‘s harass them.  Let‘s really let them know what we want, because we are the reason they are there.  And the children they save today may be the child that votes for them tomorrow. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Can you tell me what the status is and the legislation named in honor of your daughter, where it is right now on Capitol Hill? 

LUNSFORD:  Well, on a federal level, I mean, yes, I have been to Washington, and I have fought with them.  But I fought with people like Erin, and Mark, and John.  And, I mean, there‘s no way I could do anything without learning from them first. 

But the Senate and the House has both passed their own versions.  And now it‘s held up in committee because they don‘t like something about mandatory minimums.  They don‘t like it that states will have to pay so much if they don‘t comply by the end of the year.  And it‘s something—they don‘t like it because of what it says about juveniles. 

To me, if you‘re a young adult under 18, and you mess with a small child, I don‘t think that‘s something that should be erased from your history, because no one‘s even been rehabilitated and they always repeat. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Erin, who could be against a minimum of 15, 20, 25 years if you have physical evidence, if you have direct proof that an adult molested a young child?

RUNNION:  You know, that‘s the million-dollar question, I guess, because this bill has been stuck in pre-conference now for two months, and we want it signed by the president as soon as humanly possible.  And I cannot imagine what the hang-up is, very honestly.

The mandatory minimums are very reasonable.  You know, a lot of people fear that it‘s because of teenaged love triangle—you know, the 17-year-old teenager with his 15-year-old girlfriend, that kind of thing.

That‘s not the case.  The law is written so that the perpetrator has to be more than, I believe, seven years older than the victim, and the victim has to be under the age of 14.  So right there you‘re eliminating those kind of triangles or whatever that people are worried about. 

We‘re talking about child molestation, and these guys need to be put away.  We cannot reasonably release them into the streets when we have idea how to contain them.  It‘s ridiculous.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Erin Runnion.  I greatly appreciate it.

And, Mark, thank you so much for being with us in the fight that you continue to wage out there for your daughter. 

Tomorrow on “Joe‘s Justice,” we‘re going to take a look at the case of a 3-year-old North Dakota girl, Rachel Smith, last seen May 16th.  The body of her alleged kidnapper was found in a van where he committed suicide.  But so far, no signs of this little girl. 

That‘s tomorrow.

And coming up here in just minutes from now, an MSNBC special, “Kids in Crisis.”


SCARBOROUGH:  And our kids are in crisis, and you can make a difference to help pass a national law.  Call Congress and tell them:  Pass Jessica‘s Law.  Stop making excuses and get it out of committee, get it back on the floor, and vote it through.  202-224-3121, give them a call.  Force them to listen. 

The results are in from our live SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY poll.  Do you think the United States should pay reparations to the descendents of slaves?  Nineteen percent say yes; 81 percent say no.

And definitely count me in that no column.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, but stay where you are because MSNBC‘s special, “Kids in Crisis,” starts now.



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