Guests: Joan Walsh, Capt. Jeff Schulz
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Only hours ago, Republican senator David Vitter made his first public appearance since the abstinence-promoting lawmaker admitted his phone number was on the logs of the so-called “D.C. madam.” At a news conference tonight, with his wife by his side, he apologized. But it sure sounded to me that both he and his wife were trying to portray themselves as victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DAVID VITTER ®, LOUISIANA: I want to, again, offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with these actions from my past. I am completely responsible, and I‘m so very, very sorry.
Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago. I confronted it in confession and marriage counseling. I believe I received forgiveness from God. I know I did from Wendy. So I‘m not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again. It might sell newspapers, but it wouldn‘t serve my family or my constituents well at all because we all have a lot of important work to do for Louisiana.
WENDY VITTER, SENATOR‘S WIFE: In most any other marriage, this would have been a private issue between a husband and wife, very private. Obviously, it is not here. Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. None of us are. But we choose to work together as a family. When David and I dealt with this privately years ago, I forgave David. I made the decision to love him and to recommit to our marriage. To forgive is not always the easy choice, but it was and is the right choice for me.
Now I‘m going to speak to you as a mother, and I hope you will understand. It‘s been terribly hard to have the media parked on our front lawn and following us every day. And yesterday, the media was camped at our church, at our home and at our church every day. As David returns to work in Washington, we‘re going to return to our life here. I would just ask you very respectfully to let us continue our summer and our lives as we had planned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: My take. They‘re tearing a page out of Scandal 101, a strategy utilized by high-profile wrongdoers everywhere: blame the media. He talks of selling newspapers, she of being followed everywhere they go. Look, if members of the media are stalking them in private places, they ought to stop. But please, you can‘t choose to be a U.S. senator, a high-profile and powerful representative of the people, and then demand your privacy when you get in trouble for the very sort of indiscretion you‘ve long advocated against as a politician.
He‘d been a vociferous proponent of, quote, “traditional marriage” and abstinence and now may have broken the law pursuing the antithesis of those virtues. And remember, in 2000, Wendy Vitter chose to publicly weigh in on Hillary Clinton‘s predicament with her husband, saying she, Wendy, would be, quote, “more like Lorena Bobbitt,” the woman who cut off her husband‘s penis, than Hillary. “If he does something like that, I‘m walking away with one thing, and it‘s not alimony. Trust me.”
She injected herself into the public debate over infidelity. Now she wants it to be a private matter. I get it, but the hypocrisy here is astounding.
Joining me once again, Tucker Carlson, host of “TUCKER,” which is now on live at 6:00 PM here on MSNBC, and Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief for Salon.com.
Tucker, Scandal 101. Isn‘t it just tear the page out, and it‘s the same script?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “TUCKER”: Oh! I don‘t understand—well, let‘s back up. I don‘t understand who he‘s apologizing to. Did he hurt your feelings by cheating on his wife?
ABRAMS: I assume he‘s apologizing...
ABRAMS: Well, I‘ll tell you. I assume he‘s apologizing, A, to his constituents, B, to the U.S. Senate in general, and C, to the American people...
CARLSON: I‘m sorry...
ABRAMS: ... for being totally hypocritical.
CARLSON: ... that‘s ludicrous. That‘s ludicrous.
CARLSON: Because he owes no apology to anyone but his wife and family. He didn‘t betray the U.S. Senate by cheating on his wife. Give me a break.
ABRAMS: Let‘s be clear. let‘s be clear! We‘re not...
CARLSON: ... betray the American people.
ABRAMS: Tucker, we‘re not talking about cheating on his wife. We‘re talking about going to a prostitute, right?
CARLSON: Oh, committing a misdemeanor. OK. OK. A crime so minor that it‘s not even—I mean, you have to remind yourself that it is a crime. So if he double-parked or went into a handicapped zone, would he be apologizing to the American people?
ABRAMS: Look—but again, this...
CARLSON: Are we really offended by this? Give me a break!
ABRAMS: This goes back to—no, this goes back to...
CARLSON: Let‘s get real!
ABRAMS: ... something you and I talked about before. If he‘d been a spokesperson about one of the issues you just mentioned—the handicapped or jaywalking, if he‘d said, Jaywalking is awful, we need to crack down on jaywalkers, and then he got busted for jaywalking, it matters.
CARLSON: Find word one where he went after people who frequent prostitutes. You keep saying that he espoused abstinence. No, he didn‘t. For children, not for adults. He never said...
ABRAMS: He talked about the fact that abstinence prevents sexually transmitted diseases.
ABRAMS: How can he, as a politician, claim that and then go out to a prostitute?
CARLSON: The guy‘s got four children! He‘s obviously not for abstinence. He never said adults ought to be abstinent. He said kids ought to be taught abstinence. Children! There‘s a difference! We have different standards for kids! I‘m not even taking a stand on that debate, I‘m just saying it‘s not germane to this point. The fact is, the guy cheated on his wife, and it‘s nobody‘s business. We make money from covering it, but we ought to draw the line at camping out on his lawn or following his kids to church.
ABRAMS: If people are following his kids to church, as I said before, it‘s to stop. I mean, I don‘t think any...
CARLSON: But why go to his house? Just because he‘s a U.S. senator doesn‘t mean—if someone came to my house if I‘d done something wrong, or even if I hadn‘t, for any reason, and tried to—and I‘m on television every day. I‘m to some extent a public figure. If they came to my house, I would flip out, and so would you! And he should be mad about it.
ABRAMS: Look, it‘s a different standard when you are a politician who is advocating certain positions in your role as a politician...
ABRAMS: ... and then to say, I want privacy now...
CARLSON: He‘s never—look, hold on. I‘m not defending David Vitter, I‘m defending a principle. And the principle is this. If you disagree with his positions on public policy matters, argue against them. Don‘t trash the man for something that is none of your business. And this is exhibit A in “none of your business.”
ABRAMS: This is the price people pay. Everything is people‘s business.
CARLSON: Do you agree with that?
ABRAMS: When they become...
ABRAMS: ... when they become U.S. senators, and I think...
CARLSON: Think about what you‘re saying! If you‘re a U.S. senator, all of a sudden, your private sexual indiscretions are everybody‘s business? I don‘t think...
ABRAMS: When you make...
ABRAMS: Yes, when you make sex part of your platform, absolutely. No question about it.
CARLSON: I don‘t think you can find an instance where David Vitter has said men who go to prostitutes should be punished more harshly than (INAUDIBLE)
ABRAMS: Yes. That‘s—that‘s—the standard is, it has to have been exactly...
ABRAMS: ... it has to be prostitutes...
CARLSON: Look, even if—if he got up and was an anti-prostitution crusader, we still ought to be above attacking the guy on his private sexual behavior. That ought to be our standard.
ABRAMS: Let me play another sound bite from Vitter, and then I want to go to Joan on this. Here‘s what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITTER: Since then, I‘ve gotten up every morning committed to trying to live up to the important values we believe in. If continuing to believe in and acknowledge those values causes some to attack me because of my past failings, well, so be it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joan, when Tucker and I have talked about this, he‘s made the point that he stands by the values that he advocated before. He recognizes that what he did is wrong. You know, look, I don‘t buy it, but that‘s the position.
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: I don‘t think you can have it both ways, Dan. Look, I am a San Francisco liberal. I am a “live and let live” person. I don‘t like the idea of following people or following their children to church. But when you‘ve got a party that‘s become the party of the bedroom police and you‘ve got a man who‘s campaigned on the sanctity of marriage and who‘s said that same-sex marriage is the number one issue in this country and he wants to ban it and he‘s for teaching abstinence and he‘s against the choice—he‘s part of this bedroom police group, and he‘s gotten caught.
So of course, at minimum, he owes his constituents an apology because he‘s completely broken his vows to them to represent these family values, sanctity of marriage type approach.
And then on top of it, it‘s just—it‘s just—the hypocrisy is astounding. And I‘m really glad to hear that Tucker is now all about a zone of privacy for politicians...
WALSH: ... because Tucker, you were a talking head all during impeachment.
CARLSON: Yes. That‘s right.
WALSH: You had a lot of fun...
WALSH: ... during it.
WALSH: You called Monica Lewinsky “Bill Clinton‘s legacy.” And suddenly...
CARLSON: Hold on, Joan!
WALSH: ... when it‘s a Republican...
CARLSON: Joan, Joan—and let me...
WALSH: ... he should have a zone of privacy.
CARLSON: Actually, I think that‘s an unfair thing to say...
CARLSON: ... but we can talk about it off-camera. Because it‘s not a partisan matter for me, and you know that perfectly well. If this had been any liberal, Russ Feingold, I would be adamant in my defense of him.
WALSH: Well, I can‘t wait to see that.
CARLSON: This has nothing to do with the fact...
ABRAMS: I believe that. Look...
CARLSON: ... that this man is a Republican.
ABRAMS: I believe—look, Tucker...
CARLSON: Let me just say—let me just say this. You say you‘re a “live and let live” person. No, you‘re not.
WALSH: I am.
CARLSON: No, you‘re not! You may say that, but you are here defending the attacks on this guy based on something that is purely personal. You‘re taking an authoritarian, incredibly judgmental, fundamentalist line on this guy.
WALSH: No, it‘s not fundamentalist.
CARLSON: If you really believe what you‘re saying, then stay true to your own stated beliefs and defend him against attacks from a holier-than-thou press corps, but you‘re not because you don‘t agree with his politics.
WALSH: No, I‘m not because...
CARLSON: You ought to be embarrassed.
WALSH: ... he‘s the person who‘s out to ban other people‘s private behavior, Tucker. And he got caught—you know, he got caught...
ABRAMS: All right, let‘s take—let‘s take it to the next level of sensitivity here. Let‘s talk about his wife, OK? This is someone who in 2000 came out...
WALSH: She made fun of Hillary Clinton. You...
ABRAMS: ... and made fun of Hillary Clinton...
WALSH: You made the point, Dan, and it‘s an excellent point.
ABRAMS: ... and talked about it. Here‘s what she—here‘s another piece of sound from her from tonight‘s press conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY VITTER: David is my best friend. Last week, some people very sympathetically said to me, I wouldn‘t want to be in your shoes right now. I stand before you to tell you very proudly I am proud to be Wendy Vitter. Now, that‘s not to say that last week wasn‘t incredibly trying and very sad, not for our marriage, our marriage is stronger every day, but for our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right, Tucker, I believe all that, but again, this is a woman who injected herself into the debate back in 2000, started with that whole sort of, like, You know, if that were my man, I would do this and this and that, and then sort of—you know?
CARLSON: There are two point, and the first and most obvious is he shouldn‘t have had his wife come out today.
CARLSON: That is too intimate. It was done for political reasons. It may all be true, but there was calculation involved, and he shouldn‘t have done that. I think it was vulgar and demeaning, frankly, to her and to the institution of marriage, now that we‘re on that topic.
But let me just say this. I don‘t care what she said about Hillary Clinton. It‘s immaterial. If you believe that private acts ought to be private and ought not to be ridiculed and judged by the rest of us would-be fundamentalist preachers, then you ought to—you ought to protect her by the same standard. In other words, it doesn‘t matter. If you believe it, then you should defend that principle, Joan...
WALSH: No, Tucker...
CARLSON: ... no matter who it‘s being applied to.
WALSH: No, I just don‘t—I don‘t agree with you...
CARLSON: Then don‘t believe it.
WALSH: ... because—I believe in that principle...
WALSH: ... but I‘m not going to extend it to people who wouldn‘t extend to me, who...
CARLSON: So it‘s not a principle, then.
WALSH: ... wouldn‘t extend it to gay people.
CARLSON: It‘s not...
WALSH: It is...
CARLSON: Then it‘s not a principle, unless it applies to people you don‘t like.
WALSH: It‘s not about liking them, it‘s about what they stand for. It‘s about the kind of world they‘re trying to create. It‘s about the kind of world they have created politically, where they‘ve demonized gay people, they‘ve denied gay people their rights. They‘ve made it seem like gay people are the major threat to heterosexual marriage, which is ridiculous. The major threat...
CARLSON: So you disagree with him politically...
WALSH: ... to heterosexual marriage is somebody like David Vitter, who patronizes prostitutes...
CARLSON: So you‘re justifying...
WALSH: ... not gay men or women marrying.
CARLSON: You‘re justifying getting into this guy‘s bedroom,
commenting upon it-
WALSH: I‘m not! I‘m not...
CARLSON: ... choice. So if you‘re pro-life, you‘re not extended the normal protections...
ABRAMS: The bottom line—look, the fundamental issue here is that this is a guy...
WALSH: It‘s hypocrisy.
ABRAMS: ... whose political policies have been extremely judgmental, and now he‘s asking the public...
WALSH: ... not extend to other people.
CARLSON: ... judgmental behavior, why are you judging him?
WALSH: Every once in a while...
ABRAMS: I‘ll judge anyone who takes a public position that says—
who judges—who wants other people‘s sexual behavior judged, I will then
if that person is a public politician who‘s done that as part of their platform, I will then judge that person, no matter what party they are.
CARLSON: You‘re doing exactly what you‘re decrying!
WALSH: No, we‘re not!
ABRAMS: I‘m not decrying anything. I‘m not decrying it!
CARLSON: ... to the level you say is wrong!
ABRAMS: I‘m not decrying it. I‘m saying there‘s a difference between when you are a politician with that sort of power and you take those positions, you better live and die by them, period.
CARLSON: I don‘t see the difference between him and you. I honestly don‘t.
ABRAMS: All right.
CARLSON: You‘re getting up there and saying what he did was wrong, and he owes—I mean, let‘s just say it‘s all off-limits.
ABRAMS: Tucker gets the final world. Tucker gets the final word.
WALSH: Tucker always gets the final word.
ABRAMS: Tucker, Joan Walsh, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
ABRAMS: Coming up: Tonight, Wyoming police are searching for National Guardsman suspected of shooting his wife in the head while she was singing with her band on stage. We‘ll get a live update from the police next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can‘t imagine her just disappearing on her kids like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Craig Stebic‘s every word may soon be used against him now that he‘s a person of interest in his wife‘s disappearance. We‘ll show you what he said and what it could reveal.
Plus: CNN shows us live pictures of UFOs. Is it a war of the worlds? We‘ll search for signs of intelligent life in the cable news universe, ahead in “Beat the Press.”
ABRAMS: We‘ve got breaking news tonight. Wyoming police are leading a manhunt for a National Guard sniper they believe killed his wife while she was singing with her band at a restaurant just after midnight Saturday morning. Police say David Munis is potentially very dangerous. He‘d been harassing his recently separated wife, they say, and was seen outside the restaurant shortly before she was killed with a single shot to the head.
Joining me now on the phone is Captain Jeff Schulz from the Cheyenne Police Department. Captain, thank you so much for coming on the program. We appreciate it. Before we discuss the manhunt, can you tell me whatever it is that you can tell me about exactly what happened here and why there‘s such a massive manhunt out there for the husband?
CAPT. JEFF SCHULZ, CHEYENNE, WY, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, obviously, we arrived to the report of the gunshot, found Ms. Munis there. She was dead at the scene. We have witness accounts that heard a gunshot and saw a vehicle that matching the description of Mr. Munis‘s leaving the parking lot right after the shooting.
ABRAMS: And I assume she was literally performing on stage when this happened?
SCHULZ: That‘s correct. She was performing on stage. The shot came from outside of the building. It passed through a glass door and struck Ms. Munis.
ABRAMS: So there must be a good number of witnesses there who saw something.
SCHULZ: Well, we have a good enough number of witnesses that saw the actual event take place. We don‘t have eyewitnesses to the shooting itself.
ABRAMS: Now, let‘s go through the facts as you‘ve stated them. He was seen outside the restaurant before the shooting.
SCHULZ: He was seen out hours prior to the shooting by someone who recognized him by sight...
SCHULZ: ... but he was not seen firing a weapon.
ABRAMS: OK. Black Dodge Ram spotted pulling out of the parking lot after the shooting?
ABRAMS: He harassed his wife on the phone hours before the shooting?
SCHULZ: About six hours before, we received a call at the police department. She was reporting that he was harassing her on the phone. It was not a threatening type of phone call, it was more a number of calls. And they decided to work it out through a third party contact.
ABRAMS: And you have searched his house, and all you‘re saying is that there is a link. Can you tell us anything about that?
SCHULZ: We executed a warrant on Saturday. We found some evidence that very strongly links him to the act. I can‘t give you the specifics, unfortunately.
ABRAMS: How is the manhunt going? Have you gotten a lot of tips?
SCHULZ: We‘ve only received one tip, having actually someone reporting seeing the vehicle. That was yesterday. We followed that lead. We continue to follow that lead. But that‘s the only tip we‘ve had come in.
ABRAMS: And we‘re putting up the tip line with his picture, et cetera. Now, do you think he may be hiding in some sort of forest area?
SCHULZ: That‘s one of the assumptions we‘re making. That‘s one of the areas we‘re looking at. We had officers and a National Guard helicopter searching areas where he was known to hunt, camp, fish, that type of activity. So we‘re checking with friends, with relatives, places he may go, hold up or just to be-...
ABRAMS: I think we may have lost Captain Schulz there.
ABRAMS: OK. Bottom line, do you know anything about whether he‘s got the ability, the knowledge, the know-how to be sort of a survivalist, to spend days and days out there?
SCHULZ: We understand he‘s a very avid outdoorsman, camper, hunter, so he could have very well have the skills to spend a lot of time out in the wilderness.
ABRAMS: Captain, Schulz, thank you very much for taking the time. We do appreciate it.
SCHULZ: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Real quick, let‘s bring in MSNBC analyst former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. Clint, the captain said they found something in the home, but they can‘t say exactly what it is. But it sounds like it‘s got to be a pretty strong piece of evidence.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST: Yes. Well, for example, Dan, we know this bullet that passed through the victim‘s head was recovered, the fragments of the bullet. Let‘s say they found—it‘s a .3006 or a 308, and they found ammunition that matches that in his house, but the weapon‘s missing. All of that together—and of course, there is the most logical fact, is where is the guy, if he‘s not involved? Why is he not there?
ABRAMS: So brazen, right, Clint? I mean, he‘s literally going to where she‘s performing on stage?
VAN ZANDT: Yes. But you know, Dan, here—here—this gets to an area—if he wants to hurt her, if he really wants to strike out against her psychologically, you do it where she‘s the happiest. Where she feels the best about herself, that‘s where you take her out.
ABRAMS: All right. Clint Van Zandt, we‘ll check in with you in a little bit on another story.
If you‘ve got any information on David Munis‘s whereabouts, please call the Cheyenne Police Department. As you heard, they‘re actively looking for this guy -- 307-637-6510.
Still ahead: Craig Stebic still saying no to police seeking to interview his children about their mother‘s disappearance. Now the kids could be called before a grand jury without his permission. We‘ve got new developments in that case. And we‘ll show you what Craig said just after his wife went missing.
But first: You may have been stunned at the airline that kicked the disruptive toddler off a plane. Wait until you see the kid during an interview. It may explain some of it. That‘s in “Beat the Press” up next.
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press,” our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.
First up: The gang at “Fox and Friends” were discussing the pardon of a 14-year-old potential suicide bomber, caught on a motorbike wearing a vest full of explosives, on his way to assassinate a governor in Afghanistan. But Brian Kilmeade seemed oddly concerned with the potential bomber‘s safety gear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE, “FOX AND FRIENDS”: He was the target of the 14-year-old motorcyclist, who, by the way—no helmet on, and a suicide vest. It‘s a big risk riding in that tumultuous area, because the roads aren‘t very paved (ph), without a helmet on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The 14-year-old is going to kill himself. Who cares if he‘s wearing a helmet? I like Brian. I hope he was kidding. I think he might (INAUDIBLE)
Next up: The idea of UFOs coming to our planet is spooky enough, but on Friday the 13th, the same night CNN examined the all-important question whether UFOs are out there, Larry King, lo and behold, was fortunate enough to have a panel of experts right there as they watched live—that‘s right, live—pictures of UFOs, live scary stuff. Then these other live pictures CNN was able to provide of astronauts deploying to save us. All live! (INAUDIBLE)
Finally: “Good Morning America” spoke to the mother who was kicked off a plane after her toddler refused to be quiet. During the interview, the child seemed determined to at least make it seem like a close call as to whether they should have done it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police officer is actually taking us to the hotel. We waited...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m sorry (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was saying, Bye-bye airplane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: They then found the only solution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”: I‘ll take him. Come on (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Go get Daddy.
CUOMO: Come on. I‘ll take you where the food is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Chris Cuomo to the rescue.
Up next: Craig Stebic‘s every word now being even more closely scrutinized, now they he‘s been named a person of interest in his wife‘s disappearance. We‘ll show you a rare interview with him from just days after Lisa Stebic went missing.
And later: The world‘s biggest soccer player comes to America. A couple gets busted for ignoring their kids as they play video games. And two American brothers learn the value of spectator sports. But which will win the title of today‘s “Big Loser”? Coming up.
ABRAMS: Coming up, we‘ve got breaking developments in the case of wrestler Chris Benoit. The toxicology tests are in and are about to be made public. The latest in a minute.
But first, police are still trying to talk to the children of missing Illinois mother Lisa Stebic. So far, her husband, Craig, who has now been deemed a person of interest in the case, won‘t allow it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD BENNETT, PLAINFIELD POLICE CHIEF: The children have viable information that will assist investigation. Mr. Stebic‘s refusal to allow access to his children has clearly hampered our investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Officials now say the children could be subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury if their father and his attorney continue to deny police access. Now, Lisa hasn‘t been seen for over two months. She and her husband were reportedly going through a nasty divorce and custody battle, and Lisa was trying to evict him from the house they were still sharing.
“My Take.” I understand why the police are fed up with this guy. He says he had nothing to do with his wife‘s disappearance, and yet the police say he hasn‘t participated in organized searches, won‘t take a polygraph, and won‘t let them, most importantly, question his kids any more, even though they saw Lisa shortly before she disappeared. Why would he possibly refuse to let his 10- and 12-year-old children be interviewed by professional psychologists in a safe environment, in case they have any information that could help police find their mother?
Joining me now, Clint Van Zandt, MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler; Susan Filan, MSNBC senior legal analyst and former prosecutor; and Mickey Sherman, the famous criminal defense attorney.
So, Mickey, bottom line, why would you, as his attorney, advise him to not let the authorities talk to the kids?
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if he‘s guilty, you don‘t want to give the kids up, because the kids are going to turn him in. That‘s easy. But if he‘s not guilty or maybe if he‘s not guilty, you know, why would you subject the kids to that? Because as you just said, Dan, it‘s a team of, what, psychologists. Well, there ain‘t nobody on that team that‘s working for the defense. These are all people, social agencies, social workers, investigators, psychologists, child psychologists, and they‘re all working for the district attorney and the prosecutor. And they‘re all there for one reason: to get the kids to nail the father. I don‘t blame them, because even if the kids have no information, the authorities have ways of making them say things that they don‘t want to say.
ABRAMS: I guess the question that you have to ask is, are you trying to protect your butt or are you trying to find your wife, right?
SHERMAN: No, clearly he‘s trying to protect his butt. I mean, let‘s make no mistake about that. Clearly, he‘s trying to save himself. But don‘t forget, the Ramseys, they lawyered up early, and they didn‘t cooperate for a certain period of time, and we all vilified them. You know, just because...
ABRAMS: This is not about cooperating. Look, without getting into too much into the Ramsey case, because some people would say, oh, you know, they did cooperate and they stopped because the police focused on them, et cetera, that‘s fine, but this is talking about the kids. This is Craig Stebic talking about his kids in this interview done shortly after she went missing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG STEBIC, HUSBAND OF MISSING WIFE: The kids say she goes—during the week, she goes and works out, but, you know, she leaves at 6:00, some nights she comes home 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, weekends not until sun up, 3:00, 4:00 in the morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Susan, what do you make of that?
SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR: Mickey‘s good. That‘s the perfect defense spin, but it‘s absolute poppycock. There‘s no way these trained forensic child psychologists have a dog in this fight. If they did, if they were feeding these kids the answers, if they were steering the outcome to implicate their father, the whole thing would never be admissible in a court of law. What this is, is this is a safe environment to get the truth from these children, what they know and what they saw. They may know and have seen nothing, but...
ABRAMS: Susan, let me ask you this. What can they do now with regard to this grand jury? Meaning he‘s saying, “I‘m not going to cooperate, I‘m going to let them be questioned anymore,” but they can actually go directly to the grand jury, right?
FILAN: Ding, ding, ding, right again, Dan. They can convene a grand jury, subpoena these children, has nothing to do with the father. The father can file a motion to quash the subpoena, asking the judge to say, no, kids don‘t have to testify. But the only basis for quashing it would be either that the children are incompetent, in that they don‘t understand the difference between the truth and a lie, they‘re too young to know the meaning of an oath, or it would irreparably psychologically damage them in some way. None of those are going hold up. There‘s going to be a grand jury. These kids are going testify one way or the other. The dad, if he has the best interests of his children, would let them go through the psychologists rather than in a room that‘s sealed and he can‘t be present, and they‘re going to grill these kids on the stand.
ABRAMS: Before I get to Clint about that, Mickey, if that‘s the case, then why not just let them question the kids?
SHERMAN: I think he‘s trying to let them blink. I sadly agree with Susan. I think they‘ll probably appoint some type of guardian or conservator or something like that for the kids in one or two independent lawyers who will (INAUDIBLE) those questions that Susan—questions whether or not it‘s a bad thing for the kids and their psyches. But eventually I think a grand jury will hear their statements.
ABRAMS: Here‘s another piece of sound from Craig Stebic, again, shortly after his wife went missing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEBIC: My divorce attorney is handling everything. I mean, we still
I‘m still cooperating with the Plainfield police and everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Makes it clear, Clint, doesn‘t it, that he knows it‘s relevant whether he‘s cooperating or not.
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, of course it is, Dan. As Susan was suggesting and Mickey agrees, you know, in that local area, they have psychologists who have interviewed over 4,000 children in the last ten years. They‘re not trying to nail anybody to the cross. They‘re trying to get to the truth.
And, again, when they do these interviews, what you‘re trying to do is let your children get relaxed, be comfortable, you know, let them read a comic book or something, and ask them questions and let them respond. And his attorney, who is a divorce attorney, not even a criminal attorney, could stand there, look through the one-way glass, and take his own notes and make his own decision. Of course, this is the same guy who offered to do the interview himself, as if he has the same level of experience.
ABRAMS: Well, let me tell you something. This has always bothered me, because this sort of reminds me of O.J., all right? This friend of Lisa Stebic‘s, Ruby Seger (ph), said, “She always said if anything ever happens to me, look at Craig. He told her over and over he would get rid of her and she would never be fun.” Susan, admissible?
FILAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, she also further said that she would disappear without a trace. And we know there is a trace of her. It‘s blood on a tarp of the truck of the husband, who has said basically he went hunting and—you know, it‘s not deer season. He said, OK, then it was rabbit. And he keeps changing...
SHERMAN: How is that going to be admissible, Susan? On what exceptions of the hearsay rule? There‘s no way that‘s coming in.
FILAN: Declare it unavailable. Declare it unavailable, and it could be a spontaneous utterance. Oh, sure, and it could be prior bad acts, I mean, if there‘s other allegations of abuse. There‘s going be a pattern here that‘s going to emerge, and you‘re going to find that eventually the children are going to talk about that.
SHERMAN: It is a common factor...
FILAN: No, no, no. This isn‘t the divorce strategy. Oh, he hit me, I get all the money. This is far different than that, and I think you‘ll find that the facts are going to fit that.
ABRAMS: Here‘s Stebic. I mean, look, we know that they were having a bad—we know they had a bad marriage. They were involved in a very, very ugly custody battle. And here‘s Stebic—and I want Clint to listen to this carefully—here‘s Stebic talking about her as a mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEBIC: I don‘t know. I don‘t know what to say. She‘s a good mom. She‘s always there for her kids. She‘d do anything for them. I can‘t imagine her just disappearing on her kids like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Clint, when you‘re evaluating the guy, does that come into play, the fact that they were having a really ugly custody battle and then he‘s saying that, or is that to be expected no matter whether he‘s person of interest, not person of interest, et cetera?
VAN ZANDT: I think there‘s a lot of things we ought to look at. This is the same guy who let his attorney go forward and say she was a bad mom, to suggest maybe she had run away. Dan, this is a woman who had tattooed the name of her children on her body. And then I‘ll say she ran away?
And, remember, this is a guy who didn‘t participate in the searches. This
is a guy who refused to take a polygraph to clear himself. My challenge is
whether he did or didn‘t do it, he keeps painting himself on the bull‘s eye, and he doesn‘t get off that bull‘s eye by his actions.
ABRAMS: Here‘s what Craig Stebic said. He said, “They‘re inviting the public to come to a conclusion they can‘t come to, maybe the investigation has come full circle. Craig is the guy in your own backyard. He‘s the easy target. Let‘s focus on him because the investigation hasn‘t turned up anything else.” I mean, this, unfortunately, is the sort of defense, Susan, that we hear in just about every case before the person‘s arrested.
FILAN: Except for the police told us that they had a fourfold strategy an investigating it. Maybe she was abducted. Maybe she ran away. Maybe she was a victim of foul play, and maybe it was a stranger that killed her. They have now since ruled out that she ran away, ruled out stranger abduction, have included foul play, and are focusing on Craig. It‘s been two and a half months. April 30th was the last time she was seen. So this isn‘t a rush to judgment.
The other thing that I think is hugely significant is Monday at 6:30 on April 30th, he sends his kids to the candy store? Here, kids, go get some candy. What‘s a surefire way to make sure your kids are going to go and not come back too soon? You don‘t send them out to rake leaves. Send them to the candy store.
SHERMAN: Well, then they obviously have nothing to say to the investigations. They were at the candy story. So why even interview them?
FILAN: So then if they don‘t know anything, let them be interviewed.
ABRAMS: Susan Filan, Mickey Sherman, Clint Van Zandt, got to wrap it up. Thanks.
If you have any information about Lisa Stebic, please call the Plainfield Police Department, 815-267-7217.
Still ahead, breaking news tonight in the murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit. The toxicology reports are in. They‘re about to made public. They could finally explain what exactly he had in his blood at the time that he killed his wife and son. We‘ll get the latest, up next.
And later, two American brothers gored during this running of the bulls speak out from their hotel room. They were gored at the same time. What were they doing there? We‘ll cut through the bull, as we look at the day‘s “Winners and Losers,” coming up.
ABRAMS: There is breaking news tonight in the murder-suicide involving former star wrestler Chris Benoit. We have learned from the Georgia authorities that the toxicology report for the WWE wrestler will be released tomorrow. What was in his blood could explain a whole lot in this case.
In a moment, we‘ll get to former pro wrestler Marc Mero, but, first, let‘s bring back former FBI profiler MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.
All right, Clint, what are we going learn exactly from these toxicology reports?
VAN ZANDT: Well, we‘re going have the tox reports, and we‘re also going to have blood-alcohol. We‘re going to find out what was in his system short term and long term, whatever they‘re able to measure. And they‘re going to be screening for a lot of different things. But we all know the main thing they‘re screening for is steroids. Were they in his system? How long? And can they show how long he had been receiving these, knowing that he had got a prescription that very day from Dr. Astin?
ABRAMS: But the bottom line is, Clint, this is probably going to be some sort of mix, right? I mean, it‘s not going to just be, in all likelihood, just steroids or just alcohol. There will probably be something that says “a little bit of this, a little bit of that.”
VAN ZANDT: There is probably going to be a medical medicine cocktail in him that they‘re going to find. But, remember, Dan, the standard is going be, you know, was he taking drugs that he needed or that he didn‘t need? That‘s what law enforcement will consider.
I mean, Chris is dead. He‘s killed his wife and child. You know, that‘s a terrible loss, but now we have to think about the doctor who prescribed these drugs, realize that a doctor in California just got 70 months—that‘s almost six years—for prescribing drugs that were not needed by the patient.
ABRAMS: Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot. The funeral for Chris Benoit, his wife and son was held this weekend. Nancy and Daniel Benoit laid to rest Saturday, three weeks after being brutally murdered in their Atlanta-area home, allegedly at the hands of Benoit, who later took his own life.
Now, Chris Benoit‘s name was never mentioned during the funeral service, which was closed to the media, but here now is someone who was there, former professional wrestler, Marc Mero, also known as Johnny B. Badd. He was a friend of Chris Benoit. He was at the funeral on Saturday.
Thanks a lot for coming back on the program. We appreciate it.
MARC MERO, FORMER PRO WRESTLER: Hi, Dan. Thanks for having me.
ABRAMS: Tell us about it.
MERO: Well, the funeral was beautiful. It was surreal. And, personally, it brought back a lot of memories for me, because I unfortunately lost my sister to Hodgkin‘s disease at 20. My brother had a falling accident at 21. Two weeks later, my mom died at 58, and I found my dad passed on, also. So I have had a lot of tragedies in my family, but it really made me realize how important life is. Although, I mean, this is something that I am just so determined to follow through with me...
ABRAMS: Marc, let me ask you a question about the—they didn‘t mention Chris Benoit‘s name at all?
MERO: No, like I said, it was very surreal, and there was no pointing fingers or anything like that. It was about celebration of their life for Nancy and Daniel. And it was beautiful.
ABRAMS: Now, remember, that her obituary has said that the Nancy and Daniel Benoit Foundation for Battered Women and Abused Children is where people should donate money. Was there any sense at the funeral that that‘s what they believe here, that, you know, put aside steroids, who knows about that, but that the real heart of this issue is about a battered woman and abused child?
MERO: You know, Dan, no one alluded to anything at the funeral. I‘m sure we‘re going to see more things coming out later on.
ABRAMS: Hey, Marc, who was there and who wasn‘t there?
MERO: Well, I mean, I‘ve seen a lot of wrestlers there. I saw a lot of the old-timers there and some of the wrestlers from WWE were there, Jim Ross, who‘s director of operations, their president or vice president or something like that with WWE. But like I said, it was just a beautiful ceremony, and I‘m really glad I went.
ABRAMS: Vince McMahon was not there?
MERO: No, Vince wasn‘t there. You know, I wish he would have attended, but, you know, you never know what goes through somebody‘s mind. Deciding to go to a funeral is a very personal decision. And there‘s many funerals I haven‘t gone to, so I‘m not going to fault him for that. And like I said, I‘m just glad I went.
ABRAMS: Marc, do you know how they choose who they wanted to be there and who they didn‘t?
MERO: You know, I really don‘t know. I mean, there was a lot of media outside going into the funeral and coming out after the funeral. But I don‘t think there was media allowed inside. But like I said, it was a beautiful sendoff to Heaven for Nancy and Daniel.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you this, Marc. You know, you knew Chris Benoit and you‘ve said, you know, again and again that is uncharacteristic of him. Would you go to his memorial or his funeral?
MERO: Unfortunately, I would not.
ABRAMS: All right. Marc Mero, as always,, thanks a lot for coming back on the program. We appreciate it.
We‘re going to have full coverage here tomorrow night of exactly what is in that toxicology report. I can‘t stress how important that is. That could really tell us so much about what was going on, in terms of what was in his blood, were their steroids, were there drugs, was there alcohol. But as I said before, I expect to see a big cocktail when that comes out.
We shall see.
Up next, we hear from two brothers gored in the running of the bulls, at the same time, by the same bull. Plus, supermodel Gisele and super athlete David Beckham know how to use their sex appeal to make big bucks, but sometimes being too sexy can make you a big loser. One woman found out the hard way. The day‘s big winners and big losers, up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS (voice-over): It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 16th day of July 2007.
Our first winner, Gisele Bundchen. According to “Forbes” magazine, the sexy Brazilian beauty, whose cleavage-baring billboards are plastered on buses everywhere, is the top-earning model in the world, more than $33 million this past year.
Our first loser? A German woman who apparently dressed too sexy for a ride on the bus. The driver told her that her cleavage-bearing shirt distracted him and asked her to move to another seat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘ll turn this damn bus around.
ABRAMS: Our second winner? L.A.‘s newest couple sensation, Posh Spice and David Beckham. His record-breaking soccer contract, her one-hour TV special, a $22 million pad for the family to share. They could forever change the way the game of soccer is viewed in this country.
Our second loser, Nevada‘s newest criminal sensation, Michael and Iana Straw, who may forever change the way the game “Dungeons & Dragons” is viewed in this country. The couple were allegedly so addicted to the game, they neglected to feed or care for their two small children, who were treated for starvation and infections.
But our big winner of the day, Lewis Gordon Pugh, who became the first person to swim the icy North Pole waters. He dove in and then swam almost 19 minutes in the record-setting 29-degree Arctic Sea to make a point, that arctic ice is melting as a result of global warming.
And our big loser of the day, Michael and Sean Lenahan, a pair of American blockhead brothers who became the first fraternal team to get simultaneously gored by the same ball at Pamplona, or probably anywhere, for that matter. They apparently wanted to risk their lives to celebrate Michael overcoming cancer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The tag team were taken to a Spanish hospital, where the Lenahan brothers spent the morning explaining what happened and trying to justify why the heck they went there to do this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN LENAHAN, GORED BY BULL: One bull unexpectedly broke from the pack as we were running behind the pulls. They had already passed us. And the next thing we knew, there was a bull charging us from behind, about 10 feet, and they‘re so fast that they closed in on us. And one of them took me with one horn and took my brother with the other horn. And at that point, we definitely knew we were in Pamplona.
And it was total chaos for about a minute or two at that point. And my brother came yelling at me, and I was hollering at him. And I saw that his leg was completely open. It was ripped open. You could see everything inside. And so we knew he had a problem. We hit the cobblestones eventually, and I was taking off my shirt to wrap his leg when I was eventually tackled and thrown into an ambulance.
MEREDITH VIEIRA, HOST, “THE TODAY SHOW”: Yes, but your injuries were extremely serious.
MICHAEL LENAHAN, GORED BY BULL: At first, we thought they were very serious. Since then, we‘re not really sure how it‘s going to pan out yet, because the doctors aren‘t sure what‘s going on. But at first, when I first saw my leg, I knew it was serious. And I went straight to him for help, so we went and found doctors as fast as we could.
VIEIRA: You know, Michael, I know that you were diagnosed with testicular cancer in April and you finished your chemo in June, and you thought this would be a great adventure, a way to celebrate life. Do you have any second thoughts about it now?
MICHAEL LENAHAN: No, no, not now. I got done with cancer in June of last year. So June of this year was the one-year of being done with cancer. And the way I‘ve seen things, since I‘ve had cancer, is, you know, you can either sit on the couch and watch life go by, or you can go out and try and do these things around the world. And if that means getting a horn in the leg, I mean, I guess that‘s the chance that I took.
But I can‘t look back now and say I regret doing it, because it‘s been an amazing experience. Although not a great experience, it‘s been an amazing experience. We met great people, and you just have to learn from it.
SEAN LENAHAN: On top of that, I feel like we really sort of learned something from this. It sounds a little bit odd to talk about, but whether it‘s by Michael‘s bedside during chemotherapy or in the mayhem on the cobblestones of Pamplona streets, we were there for each other, and we always know we‘re going to be there for each other. So it‘s kind of—in a way, it was a bonding experience. And that sounds odd, but it was. And that‘s what we take from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Look, I am thrilled to see that these guys are both healthy and well, et cetera, but the comparison, the choices are either you sit on the couch or you go get gored in Pamplona? I‘m not really sure those are the only two options. But, anyway, it‘s good to see that they‘re doing all right.
Taking a look at someone who knows better than to get chased by bulls, Joe Scarborough, host of “Morning Joe,” at 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. right here on MSNBC, Joe‘s guests tomorrow, Tina Brown, author of “The Diana Chronicles,” Arianna Huffington of Huff Post, and CNBC‘s Erin Burnett.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Coming up next, “Predator Raw,” the unseen tapes. Just when you thought you‘d seen it all, more of the inside stories from Chris Hansen and “Dateline‘s” “To Catch a Predator” series.
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