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'Scarborough Country' for June 7

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Geoffrey Fieger, Chuck Nice, Vernell Crittendon

DAN ABRAMS, GUEST HOST:  It‘s time for a little more Ivy League discussion of the Paris case.  Breaking news in this absurd Paris saga, which leads us into the big winner and loser of the day.  Winner, Paris Hilton, who was released from jail today after serving just over three days of what had been a 45-day, already reduced to 23-day sentence.  She‘ll now be able to party tonight at her palatial home, monitored only by an electronic bracelet.  The big loser, the LA County sheriff, Lee Baca.  Who snookered him into releasing her this early?  They call it a reassignment, which just adds to their PR, and tonight, legal nightmare.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I need to clarify something.  It is not an early release.  It is a reassignment.  She is still in custody.  She has a an ankle bracelet, electronic monitoring, and she‘s confined to her home.


ABRAMS:  A reassignment.  It is such a debacle that the court where she was sentenced held a press conference tonight to say, Don‘t blame us, we told them not to do it.


ALLAN PARACHINI, LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT PIO:  In this matter, an unequivocal order that was issued Judge Michael T. Sauer provided for the incarceration of Ms. Hilton for 45 days and specifically precluded her release to electronic monitoring or house arrest.


ABRAMS:  About then, about an hour ago, the late-breaking news that Paris could be headed back to jail.  Tomorrow morning, 9:00 AM Pacific time, Paris back in court.  The question: Should she be returned to jail?  The city attorney apparently so outraged that he asked the court to consider holding the sheriff in contempt for releasing Paris.  Does it get any better than this?

Joining me now, famed attorney Geoffrey Fieger, former prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan and—you got to have a comedian when you‘re talking about this—Chuck Nice from VH-1‘s “Best Week Ever.”

All right.  First on the legal issues, Geoffrey, this is a debacle.  You‘ve now got the court coming out and saying, essentially, to the sheriff, What are you guys doing releasing Paris Hilton?

GEOFFREY FIEGER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Yes, you got the court doing that, you‘ve got everything going on in this case because she‘s, I guess, a pseudo-celebrity and not a regular person because if her name was Smith instead of Hilton, she would have been released quietly.  She wouldn‘t have been sentenced to 45 days, and you wouldn‘t have heard about this.

The taxpayers of LA County should be very concerned because why should they subsidize her?  If she‘s going to be imprisoned in her house, fine.  Who wants a pound of flesh for a non-violent traffic offense and pay for 45 days in prison?  What kind of nonsense is that?  And everybody says, Well, yes, we should treat her like everybody else.  Everybody else would be treated far less harshly.  And let me tell you, if that cell is given up to Paris Hilton and kept from a violent offender who was released and committed a crime, people would raise hell about that, Dan.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  But Susan, I assume, you don‘t agree with Geoffrey on that.  And also, give me the—give the city attorney‘s perspective tonight.  You‘ve got a city attorney who is going back to court and saying the sheriff had no right to release Paris Hilton.

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes.  I mean, I don‘t agree with Geoffrey at all.  First of all, she broke the law by drunk driving and she got put on probation.  That was her “get out of jail free” card.  She was put on probation so she could show everybody she can follow the law and obey the rules.  Well, she couldn‘t.  She kept driving with her suspended license.  She was blowing through stop signs.  She was driving with her lights off.  The judge had no choice but to basically throw the book at her and say, You‘re going to prison.

The city attorney asked for 60 days, the court give her 45.  Corrections reduced it to 23.  I mean, the obvious reason that she went to prison is because of her own misconduct.  She didn‘t get made an example of.  Now that she‘s getting this super-duper special celebrity treatment and making a mockery of the criminal justice system, I can understand why the city attorney said, Hey, Judge, you got to do something here.

ABRAMS:  Wait!  But Susan, explain to me—all right, so what essentially happens, right, is you‘ve got this release from the sheriff.  Then the court comes out and says, Hey, we said to him no electronic monitoring at all, and yet they still decided to go forward.  Let me—let me read this.  This is A16 (ph).  In the Los Angeles city attorney‘s motion, they said that the specific sentence said no work furlough, no work release, no electronic monitoring, no weekends, no city jail.  What is it about “no electronic monitoring” that the sheriff didn‘t understand?

FILAN:  Well, when you say “no” and “Paris Hilton” in the same sentence, everybody gets a little bit cockeyed.  Really, what happened is this sheriff took it upon himself to just spring her.  And they came up with this trumped-up phony-baloney, you know, pile of steaming baloney, saying that she‘s got a medical problem, that she‘s facing a nervous breakdown.  Well, if that‘s true, then she should get psych treatment in the prison.

And secondly, everybody in there is having a nervous breakdown. 

Tomorrow, is everybody going to say, Hey, I‘ve got what Paris Hilton has. 

Ii have—I don‘t like it in here.  I just—I want to go home.  I just -

I miss my mommy and daddy and my mansion and my Rolls-Royce?

ABRAMS:  Well, let me assure you that later on in this program, we‘re going to show you what happens to real prisoners in real jails when they talk about rashes or nervous breakdowns.

FILAN:  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  We were going to our “LOCKUP” series, which we‘ll show you in a minute.  But today—during today‘s press conference, the sheriff‘s department tried to answer the question, Why?


QUESTION:  If she‘s a little bent out of shape psychologically, who cares?  She‘s like 25,000 others in the county of Los Angeles.  What that taken into account?

STEVE WHITMORE, LA SHERIFF‘S SPOKESMAN:  I‘m sorry, the question is?

QUESTION:  The question literally is, Why not just leave her in here?

WHITMORE:  That‘s a very good question which I can‘t answer because this was done after extensive consultations...

QUESTION:  Was the sheriff involved (INAUDIBLE)

WHITMORE:  Absolutely.


ABRAMS:  Wait.  That‘s the sheriff‘s spokesperson, who‘s saying he can‘t answer that question because it was after extensive consultation.  Geoffrey, it sounds to me like what happened here—it‘s hard to believe it happened in Los Angeles because you‘ve got a lot of high-profile cases and you know the way that some of these—sometimes the court, sometimes the sheriff, sometimes the defense attorneys, whoever it is, get caught up when they‘ve never been involved in high-profile cases before.  But this is LA!

FIEGER:  Listen, no one would be saying a word about it if her name was smith.  The sheriff obviously has jurisdiction and the authority to decide how to run his own jail.  It‘s his jail.  And if he decides to put her in jail in her own house and confine her there for 40 days, he apparently has the authority to do it.

ABRAMS:  Even if the court specifically said...


FIEGER:  No, no, no, no.  You just read it.  The court didn‘t say that the sheriff can‘t reassign her to her own home.  The court said she couldn‘t be released on tethered.  She‘s not released on tether, she‘s in her own home, and she happens to be wearing a tether.

ABRAMS:  No electronic monitoring, Geoffrey.  What‘s ambiguous about that?

FIEGER:  Yes, I understand, but that was—the assumption on that is that she‘s walking around the streets and has an electronic monitor...

ABRAMS:  Oh, come on!


FILAN:  ... plain language of the order.

ABRAMS:  Come on!

FILAN:  Now, I‘m surprised at you because your own client...

FIEGER:  Well, I guarantee you that the sheriff‘s attitude on this is, It‘s my jail.  I do what I want.

ABRAMS:  I know that.

FIEGER:  And I don‘t want her—I don‘t want her here for 45 days.

FILAN:  But Geoff...

FIEGER:  ... and I can make that decision.

FILAN:  ... I‘m so surprised at you because your own client, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who really was sick—I remember the ailments listed, and his age and his infirmity—couldn‘t even get out of prison.  I mean...


ABRAMS:  Let‘s not talk about Kevorkian.

FIEGER:  This is jail.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s not talk about that.

FIEGER:  This is jail.  We‘re not—you keep talking about prison. 

This is a city jail.  This is non-violent, a traffic offense...

ABRAMS:  All right...

FIEGER:  ... and you‘re talking about this as if they released a murderer!

ABRAMS:  I got to bring Chuck...


ABRAMS:  Hang on, Chuck.  Let me just read Paris Hilton‘s...


ABRAMS:  ... statement today.  Her attorney released a statement on her behalf, saying, quote, “I want to thank the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department and staff of the Century Regional Detention Center for treating me fairly and professionally.  I‘m going to serve the remaining 40 days of my sentence.  I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes.”

Now, Chuck, she may be able to have a party at her house tonight, right?

NICE:  Yes, well, quite frankly, that‘s what her job is, so at least, you know, she won‘t have to leave home to go to work, and that‘s a good thing.


NICE:  And quite frankly, I have learned from her mistakes.  My mistake was not being born to parents who were loaded.  And I think that‘s the real lesson here.  I think what we‘re missing the big picture.  You know, the LA sheriff‘s department probably saw Sarah Silverman‘s monologue on her and felt sorry for her, at that point.  And quite frankly, when it comes to the panic attacks and the nervous breakdown, it makes sense to me.  If I had to spend 23 days in a 4-by-8 room with Paris Hilton, I‘d have a nervous breakdown, too.

ABRAMS:  Little comparison.  You mentioned the LA County prison cell, about 8 by 12...

NICE:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... contains the bare essentials, a sink and a toilet.  By comparison, her new place of confinement, about a 2,700-square-foot Hollywood Hills villa, $3 million.  Apparently has a walk-in closet, if you look very carefully at those diagrams, bigger than the jail cell.

But you know, look, it seems to me, Susan, that the sheriff‘s department has brought this upon themselves.  They didn‘t need to create this PR and legal nightmare for themselves by releasing her.  I mean, if you want to release her a little bit early, that‘s one thing.  But after—

I don‘t know—they call it five days because that‘s officially what it is, based on the way the system works, but as a practical matter, it was just over three days.

FILAN:  Right.  And you know, if they were going to do it, they should have been a little bit smarter about it and dressed it up a little bit better and said, It‘s legitimate, overcrowding.  The prison simply cannot house her, you know, something better than this stupid medical condition, which was a nervous breakdown.  They have made a mockery of the criminal justice system.  They should be ashamed of themselves.  It‘s embarrassing.  And they deserve everything they get tomorrow morning in court.  I wish I could be there, Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right, let me—Geoffrey, now let me ask you a serious question, and that is about what you think legally will happen tomorrow, OK?  So you‘re going to have the LA city attorney go into court and saying, Hold—or at least, Consider holding the sheriff in contempt of court for releasing Paris Hilton.  As a practical matter, what do you think‘s going to happen?

FIEGER:  There‘s going to be—well, there‘s going to be two issues.  One, whether the sheriff has authority over his jail regardless of what the sentence is, in terms of controlling or housing the population and moving prisoners around.  If the sheriff can legitimately say, I can take her out of a cell, Your Honor, and I can put her in a house and call that a jail, as far as I‘m concerned, I‘ve complied with your order—but secondly, and there‘s going to be the question about the wording, as you read it, in the order to determine whether putting her on an electronic tether means that you can‘t confine her to a house in another location.  And finally, the issue is whether the judge has the authority to tell an independent official such as the sheriff how to run his jail...

ABRAMS:  All right...

FIEGER:  And whether the sheriff has that discretion.

ABRAMS:  We‘re going to take a break in a second, but let me—the LA city attorney—this is what they said after Paris was released.  Quote, “This explanation is puzzling.  Los Angeles County jail medical facilities are well equipped to deal with medical situations involving inmates.  We cannot tolerate a two-tiered jail system, where the rich and powerful receive special treatment.”

Chuck, let me ask you this.  Do you think that Paris Hilton might have been better off in the long term simply serving the time and not creating this sort of awful PR for herself?

NICE:  Well, we know that there is a right way to go to jail when you‘re a celebrity, and we learned that from Martha Stewart.  I mean, Martha Stewart came out more popular than ever.  I mean, she actually came out with street cred.  I was actually waiting for her to drop a rap album or something, you know, people loved her so much.  So there is a right and wrong way to do this.  Paris now has simply made it so that we have to rethink all of the justice cliches.  Justice is blind, but even the blind can tell the difference between a penny and a dollar.

FILAN:  Dan, you know, the interesting thing, I think, is that the judge might have to get into the merits of this psychological condition.

ABRAMS:  I know.

FILAN:  And we may really get to find out what‘s in those medical records, Paris unzipped even more.

ABRAMS:  Was it a rash?  Was it a nervous breakdown?  Those are the two big reports.  All right.  All right, Chuck Nice, we‘re going to see you later in the show.  Geoffrey Fieger and Susan Filan, stay with us because still ahead—so Paris is free based on some medical condition.  One report says it was a breakdown, another it was a rash.  We‘ll show you what happens to real prisoners who make similar complaints.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I first came here, I was free from blemish. 

Now look at my arms.  You see all these spots?  I look like a leopard now.


ABRAMS:  And two missing girl stories, to very different endings, a suspect captured last night and in court today in connection with the murder of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, and the bizarre case of a 15-year old girl missing for a year, then found locked in a tiny room.

And later, “Beat the Press.”  Fox News enlightens us about Priapus, a God blessed or cursed, depending on how you view it.  And let‘s just say the whole segment relates to a lawsuit and genitalia.


ABRAMS:  Continuing with our coverage of the breaking news in the Paris Hilton case, out of jail at least for now, possibly now going back.  She was sent to her sprawling mansion to finish up the rest of her sentence after coming down with some unspecified medical condition.  Now, the problem now is that she‘s going to have to go back to court in the morning after the city attorney has come forward and said, This is ridiculous.  A court specifically said no electronic monitoring, so Paris could be back in jail tomorrow.

Many are now asking, though, why couldn‘t she have gotten any medical help there?  Would other inmates have been given the same treatment?  We took a look at some of our own “LOCKUP” series here on MSNBC and found many instances where prisoners had developed medical conditions while serving time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s dirty.  It is dirty, point-blank dirty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I first came here, I was free from blemish. 

Now look at my arms.  You see all these spots?  I look like a leopard now. 

And guess what?  They can‘t even tell me what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This place is unsanitary.  This place is filthy.


ABRAMS:  All right, let‘s be clear that Paris was not serving time in that particular prison.  We‘ll play more tape in a minute, particularly with regard to the issue of psychological—because Paris, apparently, according to one report, had some sort of breakdown.

First here now is our old friend, Vernell Crittendon, former spokesperson for San Quentin prison.  We still got our legal team with us, as well.  All right, Vernell, let me start with you, all right?  So you‘ve heard about everything that‘s happened here with Paris Hilton.  She‘s been released from jail early because of some unspecified medical condition.  Look, you‘re used to the super-high-profile prison, but you know how the jail system works.  What do you make of this?

VERNELL CRITTENDON, FORMER SAN QUENTIN SPOKESMAN:  Hey.  Well, first of all, it‘s good to talk with you, Dan, you and your viewers.  And you know, this was a very disturbing incident for me.  As I saw that this particular incident—this leaves Americans feeling that there is some injustice in our justice system.  And it really was a real blight on—on...

ABRAMS:  Well, let me ask you this, Vernell.  As someone who worked in the prison system—you know, you worked in the California prison system.  How did it work with regard to a court order, versus the people responsible for the prison, in determining exactly where they went, the conditions, et cetera?

CRITTENDON:  Well, the court order would actually identify the conditions of confinement.  But more importantly, if we had a person‘s physician, private physician, come forward and express serious concerns about an individual‘s health, we would then access our health care system or our psychiatric team to provide the mental health support for that individual.  But I do not believe an option would have been allowing them to serve time at their residence.

ABRAMS:  We know Paris got a visit from a psychiatrist while she was in jail.  And again, we just went back to our “LOCKUP” series to just take a look at what sorts of examples we had.  Again, Paris not serving time in anything like the sort of prisons that we‘ve been looking at.  But here‘s what happened to one North Carolina female inmate who requested some mental help.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This particular inmate, she won‘t go to mental health.  She does this every weekend.  Just wanting attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When an inmate here acts out, the officers follow a strict protocol and take no chances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We basically take their things because a lot of times, they‘ll take some of their personal items or some of the state-issue items and try to tie them around their neck to give the illusion that they might be trying to hang themselves.  And some people even—some of the inmates even try.


ABRAMS:  Hey, Vernell, a little difference between that prison and the one Paris was in, huh?

CRITTENDON:  Yes.  You know, but Dan, there is something that‘s very common there, and that is in my 30-year experience, often a person‘s first two to four days of incarceration, without any alcohol and—I‘m not saying I saw it, but people that have drug habits, as well—they begin to decompensate and become very irritable and feel very, very paranoid during that initial period of time.  So I could understand where she may have had some anxiety attacks coming on that third day without having alcohol, also the change in the diet that she was used to.

But those are things that I think that the professionals would have looked at and could have just put her into their health care system, their mental health system, and would have been able to evaluate her to see if she decompensated over the next two or four days.

ABRAMS:  All right, Vernell Crittendon, thanks a lot for coming on. 

Good to see you again.  We appreciate it.

When we come back—Vernell made an interesting point about the perception of the system, you know, public confidence.  We‘re going to—that‘s one of the main arguments the LA city attorney is making.  We‘re going to talk about it in a minute.

Be sure to catch our two-hour special “LOCKUP: LA COUNTY” tomorrow night.  It‘s the same system where Paris briefly visited, but we take you in the super-max side of it, the one that houses the most violent of inmates.

And still ahead, we‘ll have more—a lot more of that breaking news about Paris Hilton headed back to court tomorrow.  And two missing girl cases.  One ended in heartbreak, the other tears of joy.  What police are saying tonight about the suspects in both cases, coming up.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back with more on the breaking news out of the Paris Hilton story.  It is a little bit hard to believe that today Paris Hilton was released from jail, in theory to serve the rest of her time with an electronic bracelet on her ankle, and yet now we have an LA city attorney stepping forward tonight and saying, No way, the court specifically said no to electronic monitoring.

And here‘s what the LA attorney said in a motion filed tonight.  Quote, “Additionally, such a relief rightfully will restore any loss of public confidence and respect for the integrity of the government of the city, county and state.”

Geoffrey Fieger, it is a fair point, right?  I mean, regardless of what they should or shouldn‘t have done, they shouldn‘t have done it this way.

FIEGER:  If this in some way depreciates the public confidence in the criminal justice system, Dan, then I‘ve lost sight of what really matters because in terms of the injustices that I‘m aware of and that you‘re aware of, in terms of innocent people being convicted, innocent people being executed, people being killed in prisons—if people really believe that confidence in our system depends upon whether Paris Hilton spends 3 days in a jail cell, or 20 or 40 days at home, then people‘s systems of values are so askew in this country that we‘re lost.

ABRAMS:  Susan, this is the—I‘ve got in my hand an example—this is actually a bracelet that is used—again, it‘s—ankle bracelet—this is used to monitor someone like Paris Hilton.  So right now, over a stiletto heel, she is probably wearing one of these.  So the question, Susan, is...

FIEGER:  You could only fantasize about that, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Oh, Geoffrey, please.  All right.  So Susan, exactly how does it work?

FILAN:  Well, it‘s got a range of motion.  It‘s about 3 000 to 4,000 feet.  If you step outside of that, you‘ve got about 30 minutes to get yourself back in before some kind of alarm triggers somebody who‘s monitoring you in probation.  Now, I think that Paris‘s home and yard are about 3,000 to 4,000 feet.  So she can go from her bedroom to her pool and probably violate the monitoring system, electronic bracelet.  So they may have to make the range a little bit bigger for mansion Hilton.  But basically, you know, she can‘t do anything other than—typically, the three exceptions are see your lawyer, see your doctor and go to your house of worship.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I‘m looking at—this unit that I have right here next to the ankle bracelet is there.  This is the thing that I guess the police or some authority has that can go off if she goes too far beyond the area she‘s allowed to go...

FIEGER:  I guarantee you the sheriff tomorrow is going to say the issue isn‘t the monitoring, the issue is I‘ve changed the location of her imprisonment from the jail to her home.


FIEGER:  I guarantee you that‘s...

ABRAMS:  Of course he‘s going to say that.

FIEGER:  ... what he‘s going to say.

ABRAMS:  What kind of—I mean, that‘s a nice argument.  He‘s calling it reassignment...

FIEGER:  That‘s right.

ABRAMS:  ... but it‘s nonsense.

FIEGER:  It may be nonsense, but I—who—by the way, if people are worried by the—if she needs medical care, should the taxpayers subsidize that, too?  Do the taxpayers of LA County...

FILAN:  This is not about money!


FIEGER:  Oh, yes, it is!

FILAN:  This is not about money!

FIEGER:  Oh, yes, it‘s always...

ABRAMS:  Geoffrey Fieger, Susan Filan...

FIEGER:  ... about money when you ask them to raise taxes.

ABRAMS:  ... got to go.  Good to see you both.

FILAN:  Bye, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Good to see you.

Still ahead: Lost and found, two missing girl cases with very different endings, what police are saying about the suspect accused of hiding a teenage girl who was just found after over a year.

And later, in “Beat the Press,” CNN gets schooled by a kid.  Don‘t question a spelling bee champ or he‘ll make you feel like a chump.



ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  Two stories of abduction thrown into the national spotlight, two very different endings.  First, a 26-year-old man in a Kansas City courtroom today charged with the murder and kidnapping of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith.  Police say Edwin Hall is the same man seen on store security video moments before Kelsey Smith‘s abduction.  Kelsey‘s body was found yesterday near a shallow creek across state lines in Missouri. 

Let‘s bring the former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt and MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan. 

All right, Clint, so it seems that they found this guy based on some good police work and those—it seems that that video really helped out.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well, if it wasn‘t for that video, Dan, we‘d still be sitting here talking about a missing young woman that no one had any idea where she went to.  The video of her in and out of the store and the video of this guy in and out at the same time puts the parking lot videos of her car and his truck, all of this together.  It does not make this guy a murderer, but it sure makes him a strong suspect.  And, of course, law enforcement then followed the cell phone beeps that actually took us to her body. 

ABRAMS:  And it seems he changed a little bit his appearance, Susan, right, from the video? 

SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR:  Yes, it looks like he‘s got a little bit of extra facial hair in this booking.  It‘s not clear in the video whether it‘s an exact match, but I don‘t think that‘s going to hang the jury up very much at all.  I think what‘s going to have to be looked at now is not the little discrepancies between the video and how he appears now, but what‘s in his truck?  What forensic evidence is left on the multiple crime scenes where her body is found, where the abduction took place?  How strong is the evidence linking him to this crime? 

ABRAMS:  And, Susan, do we know anything about whether he‘s believed to have stalked her, whether he knew her, anything like that? 

FILAN:  You know, Clint and I actually talked about this today, the difference between stalking and following.  Stalking seeming to imply that maybe he had his eye on her for weeks following.  Maybe he spotted her within a minute and followed her and made her his victim, his target.  I don‘t think that he had to have stalked her for weeks to have to seized upon her maybe a minute before deciding she was his victim, but I would say that he went there loaded for bear, trying to do something to somebody, and she was the one he chose. 

ABRAMS:  All right, the next door neighbor of Edwin Hall, the man you‘re seeing there, described him as an average guy with a wife and child. 


CAMERON MIGUES, SUSPECT‘S NEIGHBOR:  We never left him alone.  It was usually his son was over at my house in my backyard playing with my kids, but it was never left alone, but it was never any reason to doubt that—or expect him to do anything. 


ABRAMS:  Clint, unusual in this kind of case to find a guy, young guy with a wife and child? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, let me give you a different analogy.  When I was an FBI agent, Dan, we arrested a married OBGYN with children who was a serial rapist.  So, you know, you‘d think, of all the people, that that wouldn‘t be.  And, of course, in our case, it was.

So unusual?  No, not at all.  I mean, we don‘t know, Dan, is the face behind the mask.  We don‘t know what fantasy might have existed there, either fed by the Internet, pornography, or his own mind, should he, in fact, be guilty of what he‘s suspected of.

ABRAMS:  All right, so we‘re looking there at Kelsey again and video from her high school graduation.  Her boyfriend talked about Kelsey earlier today on MSNBC.


JOHN BIERSMITH, BOYFRIEND OF KELSEY SMITH:  She was bright.  She was quick-witted.  You knew where you stood with her all the time.  She‘s cute.  I mean, she was everything I ever wanted.  I was lucky.  I hung out with her at least 12 hours at least every day.  I‘ve never seen that man before.  She never mentioned the guy that was stalking her. 


ABRAMS:  You know, Susan, the police said he‘s represented by counsel, and, “We will continue to investigate the case and all other leads to vet out any other possibilities.”  I mean, once you charge someone with a crime, I would assume that that means that they believe that he did it. 

FILAN:  Oh, sure, they believe that he did it.  They wouldn‘t have charged him otherwise, but that doesn‘t mean that the investigation is closed in any way.  They still now have to build this case.  Remember, there‘s got to be an autopsy.  We‘ve got to get the forensic evidence from her body.

ABRAMS:  It looks like they‘ve got a pretty—I mean, it looks like already, with the video, and more than one video here, and it seems like they‘ve got forensic evidence, this could be a pretty strong case. 

FILAN:  Yes, you‘d think.  And, you know, the other questions are, are other jurisdictions going to get involved, because her body was transported against state lines?  Is the other state, the receiving state of the body, going to also bring charges?  Are the feds going to get involved?  Is this going to become an interstate kidnapping?  And then will where she died actually come into play?  That all remains to be seen. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  There‘s another case, very different ending, teenager missing for nearly a year, found alive locked up in a small, hidden closet at the home of a family acquaintance.  Police are now investigating the relationship between the teenage girl and one of the suspects, 41-year-old Adam Gault.  That‘s the family of the girl.

According to the Associated Press, Gault filed a sexual abuse complaint on the girl‘s behalf before she vanished in 2006.  The girl‘s mother spoke at a press conference today. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love her so much, and I am very happy that she is home, and not every parent gets this opportunity to have a happy ending. 


ABRAMS:  Clint, what do you make of the fact that the guy who‘s been arrested filed a sexual abuse claim on behalf of the girl who was found in his house last year? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, we don‘t know how he was trying to ingratiate himself, perhaps, to her, Dan.  You know, listen, the bottom line is, I had it happen to me one time.  I had a child come up to my door and said, “Hey, you know, my father has been beating on me.”  The kid was crying.  I took him in the house.  I called the parents.  I said, “Your son is here, but he‘s not ready to come home,” and then I called the authorities. 

I mean, that‘s what I think, as parents, as adults, we‘re supposed to do.  We don‘t take a child in and say, “OK, things are tough at your house.  I‘m going to embrace you, bring you into my house, and lock you in a secret room, and keep you there for over a year.”  You know, whether they committed a crime or not, they committed an act of mass stupidity. 

ABRAMS:  And there‘s a lot of questions now about what she was doing there.  She‘s 15. 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  And the question is, you know, could she have left, et cetera?  An attorney for the girl‘s parents spoke today about why she didn‘t leave. 


MARK NEEDLEMAN, FAMILY‘S ATTORNEY: I might remind you, and there may be a couple who are old enough to remember Patty Hearst, and there may be parallels to this situation here.  That‘s being reviewed and looked into at this point. 


ABRAMS:  You know, Susan, I‘m not sure that that‘s the right thing to say at a press conference like this, the notion that she was brainwashed.  I believe that, but this is a girl.  I mean, this is a young girl.  I don‘t think you need to start talking about Stockholm Syndrome and these other sort of broad issues.  Sure, that‘s possible as to why she didn‘t leave, but isn‘t the more fundamental issue that you‘re dealing with a girl? 

FILAN:  Yes, and I think that everybody recognizes that this girl has to be interviewed very carefully, very delicately.  The interview that‘s going to take place with her isn‘t just going to affect this case and the prosecutor.  It‘s going to affect her for the rest of her life.  And everybody has got to deal with her in a way that it doesn‘t endanger or jeopardize hurt ability to reintegrate with her family and have a successful life hereafter. 

Dan, I did speak to an official very, very close to the prosecutor, and I can tell you that this is going to be looked at extremely carefully, very seriously.  More charges are likely to be filed.  And a lot of a lot of investigation is going to have to take place; a lot more work is going to have to go into this case.

ABRAMS:  Susan, you say more charges are going to be filed, you mean, against the same people who‘ve been arrested? 

FILAN:  Yes.  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Earlier today, police disputed the claim that the teen was somehow seeking a safe haven in that home.


CAPTAIN JEFFREY BLATTER, BLOOMFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT:  Although it seem odd to us—why wouldn‘t they take off? -- reality speaks volumes different.  People have control over others.  We don‘t like that.  It doesn‘t seem realistic to us, but it‘s true, and we‘ve seen it before, and apparently it‘s happening again. 


ABRAMS:  Clint, it always bothers me, when we‘re talking about children, and people start asking, “Well, why didn‘t they leave?”  Remember Elizabeth Smart?  I mean, you know...

VAN ZANDT:  Shawn Hornbeck, Dan, the kid who was held four years.

ABRAMS:  I mean, these are kids, OK?  So they‘ve been brainwashed or whatever it is, the case, and then people say, “Oh, you know, they could have left.”  Yes, they‘re kids. 

VAN ZANDT:  A child doesn‘t have that choice.  When you have an adult that takes emotional and physical control, responsibility of a child, and that child thereby surrenders that to the adult, that‘s an imbalanced relationship, Dan, that right away is inappropriate.  Our question shouldn‘t be, why didn‘t she run?  Our question should be, what criminal act may have been committed against her? 

ABRAMS:  Yes, and, you know, there was a lot of talk about, you know, again, because this guy, Gault, had filed some sort of sexual abuse claim.  One of the first things the police dealt with is the allegation or the suggestion that maybe her parents had been involved in some sort of abuse.  The police knocked that out right away. 


BLATTER:  The parents are not suspects in this disappearance.  The parents—there has been no allegations that the parents have sexually abused their children.  And anyone who said otherwise is not being truthful.  There was an allegation that a family member may have threatened the victim.  This occurred over a year ago.  It was investigated by the Bloomfield Police Department, and there was insufficient evidence to support it as accurate.


ABRAMS:  Susan, still relevant to discuss this? 

FILAN:  Not really.  I don‘t think it—I mean, I think it‘s going to play to the defense‘s game here, which is to say that she was seeking safe haven and they did a good Samaritan act by taking her in.  But Clint‘s absolutely right.  I mean, if a child comes to you and says, “I‘m not happy at home,” you don‘t put them in your house, keep them out of school for a year, and hide them away from their family, and the authorities knowing darn well everybody in the state of Connecticut was looking for her. 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Clint Van Zandt and Susan Filan, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

FILAN:  You bet.

VAN ZANDT:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead, “Beat the Press” is back.  Who would have thought Pat Buchanan would be asked about Paris Hilton?  That‘s coming up. 

And later, more on that breaking news in the Paris Hilton case.  She has been freed today, but tonight ordered to be back in court tomorrow morning for a hearing to determine whether she‘s going to be back behind bars.  That‘s coming up.


ABRAMS:  It‘s back, time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press.” 

First up, our friends over at FOX News tackled a hard subject today.  Yikes.  Now, to be fair, a guy has filed a lawsuit against the makers of a health drink saying that the drink has a lasting and a more immediate impact than he could have imagined.  But can you see the term there, severe priapism?  Who knew there was such a term?  For all of us simpletons, FOX also provided a more pedestrian explanation.  My goodness.  So it‘s with great trepidation that I wondered, could this happen to me?  Horrors!  Where could such a term come from?  Ah, this is what news is all about, encouraging all of us to dig a little deeper about the true meaning of a story. 

Next up, CNN tries to convince Americans they have the best political team on TV.  So, of course, they cover all of the most important issues that define the candidates, the war in Iraq, immigration, religion, Social Security, and—that‘s a “Beat the Press” for somebody else to do.  Do we have the tape? 


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR:   Mitt Romney‘s dog, Marley, recently passed on.  Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Tancredo and Chris Dodd currently are petless.  In our next hour, cat lovers, they‘ll get equal time. 


ABRAMS:  Totally ruined the joke.  Totally, totally, but he was serious.  Anyway, he did talk about cats an hour later.

But here at MSNBC, we‘re the place for politics.  We have only the smartest commentators talking about the crucial issues of the day.  That‘s why former Republican presidential candidate and White House communications director Pat Buchanan often joins us to discuss the ‘08 elections, immigration reform, or this.


CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Pat, because you‘re such a smart man, I‘ve got to ask you, is it fair that Paris Hilton is under house arrest? 

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Contessa, I think we should rejoice with our sister, Paris, who has been released from prison, and we should not be catty but should rejoice with her. 


ABRAMS:  Pat and Paris apparently partying tonight at Chez Hilton. 

And, finally, it can always be tricky to interview a 13-year-old spelling champ, as our friend Kiran Chetry at CNN learned the hard way.


KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR:  Evan Dorney, Evan, thanks for being with us. 

EVAN ODORNEY, WINNER, SPELLING BEE:  Did you say my name wrong?  My name is Evan Odorney.

CHETRY:  Evan Odorney, I am sorry if I said it wrong.  Unless I‘m saying it wrong, like your last name, I hope not.  Scombridae, do you want to just give it a try? 

ODORNEY:  Yes, if you‘re not saying it right, I‘ll probably not spell it right.  S-c-o-m-b-e-r-d-a-e?

CHETRY:  You got it right.  There it is.  Yes or no?  Oh, you added an extra e.  I‘m sorry.

ODORNEY:  It‘s because I couldn‘t hear you.  I thought you were saying “scomberdae.”  That‘s why I put the e.

CHETRY:  I needed to pronounce it better. 


ABRAMS:  OK, all right, well, we deserve I guess our own “Beat the Press” moment here.  We love Kiran. 

Up next, late-breaking news out of “Hollyweird.”  Paris Hilton could be back behind bars again, just a day after being freed from jail.  She‘s now going to be back in court tomorrow morning.  We got the full scoop, up next.


ABRAMS:  It‘s not often that, in the “Hollyweird” segment, there is breaking news.  But there is breaking news in the “Hollyweird” segment.  Paris Hilton‘s attorneys have been told to appear in court tomorrow morning for a hearing that could send her back to jail after she was released early this morning. 

Here now, the host of “Live from Hollywood Radio,” Cecily Knobler, comedian Chuck Nice from VH1‘s “Best Week Ever,” and editor-at-large for “Life and Style” magazine, Ashlan Gorse. 

All right, so, Ashlan, look, what do you know about the home that she‘s gone back to now?  It‘s not a lot like the prison cell that she might have to return to. 

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”:  Oh, no.  Paris‘s house is off Shwitzer (ph), just above Sunset Boulevard.  It‘s a four-bedroom, three-bath home.  It‘s huge.  It has a pool.  And pretty much she can roam around it any way she wants.  So it‘s really not that bad to be holed up in a house like that for 40 days. 

ABRAMS:  You know, Cecily, we‘ve put up the comparison between the size of her jail cell and—or at least, you know, a sort of map-out, and apparently one of the walk-in closets at her home is larger that her jail cell? 

CECILY KNOBLER, VH-1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Yes, that‘s really kind of not surprising, but we are forgetting something important.  She may have a big pool at home, but with her tracking device, she really shouldn‘t swim.

ABRAMS:  Oh, that‘s true.  She can‘t swim.

KNOBLER:  You know what I‘m saying?  Or maybe she should. 

ABRAMS:  I guess the only restriction, then—because apparently—you know, I was amazed by this, that they don‘t have—at least as far as we know, a no alcohol restriction.  She could literally, Cecily, have a party tonight at her house. 

KNOBLER:  Yes.  And I really was hoping that she would have a big party, still be drunk on her way to court tomorrow, and then it would just start all over again. 

ABRAMS:  And she‘s not going to...

KNOBLER:  She‘s not going.

ABRAMS:  She doesn‘t have to go to court.  As it turns out, it‘s just her lawyers. 

But, Chuck, so she gets to have a party tonight, if she wants to.  We don‘t know that she‘s going to, at her house.  Look, some of the judgment that she‘s had hasn‘t been so great up to now.  Do you think that someone is going to literally say to her, “You‘ve got a hearing tomorrow, OK?  You may have to go back to jail.  Don‘t have a party at the house tonight.”

CHUCK NICE, “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Well, honestly, if she did, she‘d finally be doing what would have kept her out of this mess in the first place, would be getting drunk at home.  So, you know, if she had done that in the first place, she wouldn‘t be in this little sticky situation to begin with.

ABRAMS:  Ashlan, why does it seem like—and I know you got a chance to talk to Paris about a day before she had to head into jail—but why are so many people rooting against her?  I mean, she‘s been released from jail, and then there‘s this enormous outrage today, with everyone saying—you know, look, I mean, I understand it.  She only served a little portion of it, this and  that.  But it seems like the majority of Americans are rooting for Paris not just to go away, but to serve time. 

GORSE:  Well, people love to hate Paris.  You know, she is beautiful.  She comes from a wealthy family, but she really doesn‘t do much.  She just kind of stands around and looks cute.  She doesn‘t really make a living off of anything.  She‘s not really good at anything, besides making home videos.  But so people want to see her punished.  They want to see her behind bars, and they want to see her get some dirt under her fingernails. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, well, anymore news, Cecily, on the—they call it five days, but it was just really over three days that she served. 

KNOBLER:  Well, supposedly she got along with everyone, they said, while she was in there.  So apparently everyone was very sweet to Paris.  But I think a lot of people are supporting the idea of her going back to prison, because they want her to finish her book.  I mean, she‘s supposed to write this prison diary.  You can‘t write a three-day—it‘d be like a pamphlet.

ABRAMS:  Yes, again, and we are showing the breaking news, because it really is breaking news.  The idea that the city attorney in Los Angeles has filed a motion tonight saying Paris ought to be back in jail, because there was a specific instruction in the judge‘s order which said no electronic monitoring bracelets like this one, that this should not be an option for Paris Hilton.  And so there‘s a lot of anger on the part of the L.A. attorney.  And, Chuck—let me ask Ashlan this, actually.  Can you wear one of these with a stiletto? 

GORSE:  Of course you can, just as long as it‘s tight. 

NICE:  You know, you could have asked me that, too.

ABRAMS:  I‘m sorry. 

NICE:  I often wear my monitoring device with my stilettos. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And, actually, I guess...

KNOBLER:  That‘s hot. 

ABRAMS:  I guess when it‘s Paris, she could probably wear this as a belt, maybe, rather than a bracelet.  All right.  That was Keith Green (ph), the producer‘s, joke. 

Anyway, all right, Ashlan Gorse, Chuck Nice, Cecily Knobler, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

NICE:  Thank you. 

KNOBLER:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  That does it for us tonight.  If you missed your fill of Mr.  Scarborough, be sure to tune into “Morning Joe,” doing a great job there, tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m.  Joe will be joined by John Ridley, Mika Brzezinski.  Their guests include presidential historian Robert Dallek, actor Steve Schirripa from “The Sopranos,” tomorrow morning on “Morning Joe.”  And if you missed any part of our show, log on to 

Up next, the premiere of “Vegas Homicide: Father of the Year.”  Be sure to stick around.



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