Guests: Danny Bonaduce, Paul Pfingst, Tina Dirmann, Jeffrey Gardere, Lt. Jay Markella, Ron Rising
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Good evening. It is hard to believe the Lindsay story, busted again for DUI, possession of cocaine, 11 days after a 45-day stint in rehab, even wearing the ankle bracelet to insure she didn‘t consume alcohol. We‘ll talk the law on this later.
But fist, I can‘t think of anyone who could relate to this story better than a former child star himself, familiar with Hollywood, drugs and rehab. Danny Bonaduce from “The Partridge Family,” VH1‘s “Breaking Bonaduce,” the “Adam Corliss Show (ph)” on 97.1 on the West Coast, is with us.
Danny, thanks for coming on the show today. Appreciate it.
DANNY BONADUCE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you for having me.
ABRAMS: Forty-five days in rehab, an ankle bracelet to monitor her alcohol, and then this happens. Surprised?
BONADUCE: No, I‘m not surprised at all. As a matter of fact, I don‘t want to compare myself to this poor young lady at all, but I spent 30 days in the exact same rehab, and I drank on the way home. The success rate of rehab is 4 to 8 percent. I think rehab is hoping that you‘re too drunk when you check out to know that that means a possible 96 percent failure record. So I‘m not surprised even in the slightest.
ABRAMS: You know, Danny, there‘s talk now that she may have been, you know, doing some drugs or drinking while she was in rehab. Pretty easy to do?
BONADUCE: No. Easy to do, not easy to not get caught. You‘d have to
you‘d pretty much have to buy your way out. When you‘re in rehab—and this is any rehab, and I‘m, you know, unfortunately, an expert—you are UA‘d, urinalysis, all the time. So if she‘s doing drugs in rehab, which is as easy as doing drugs anywhere else—there‘s no fences, you‘re not caged in. As a matter of fact, you‘re in probably a $12 million home in Malibu with five bedrooms—getting drugs is no problem. Getting away with it is almost impossible.
ABRAMS: You know, Danny, the part of the story that almost seems the most bizarre to me is the fact that—all right, so she‘s pulled over. She refuses a breathalyzer. Eventually, she takes one. Then she‘s being booked, and that‘s when they discover that cocaine is in her pocket. She blew a .12, which means that she‘s got to still be able to stand up straight. She‘s legally drunk. But the notion that she‘s got this cocaine in her pocket while she‘s being booked and still goes forward—I don‘t know, doesn‘t try and get rid of it—something.
BONADUCE: Well, again, that‘s not that easy to do. Once the cops hit the lights—they don‘t just turn on those red lights that you see on TV, they hit two huge spotlights that light up the inside of your car like daytime. Throwing something outside the window wouldn‘t do. Eating any reasonable amount of cocaine would numb your mouth so you couldn‘t speak. And you become highly (ph) aware of those things rather quickly.
The thing that disturbs me the most about this is not that she‘s busted for drugs, not that she‘s—no one component bothers me. But when you‘re a celebrity, everybody thinks the world is your oyster, and for the most part it is. But there is an element of danger. If I‘m on the road and doing my comedy act or something like that—and I‘m just a B-lister. I‘m not Lindsay Lohan. But if a strange woman comes to my door and knocks on the door, I not only don‘t let her in, I walk her down and I make sure somebody at that hotel lets—makes—witnesses me say good night and shake hands because you—Clarence Darrow once said you can indict a ham sandwich, you just can‘t get them guilty.
BONADUCE: You can say anything you want about a celebrity. The fact that she, while on a suspended license, waiting for a pending court date, with an anklet on, drugs in her pocket, jumped in a car and gave chase—she has given up all ideas of self-preservation. So now she‘s no longer to me a drunk or a drug addict, she‘s now officially crazy. And where I used to make fun of her, I now feel awful for her.
ABRAMS: All right. Speaking of that, Danny, I‘m going to ask you to stick around for a minute. I want to play a little sound. This is from Lindsay Lohan on the “Today” show last year, talking about some of the pressures she faces and some of her problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: It‘s not that it‘s hard to be me, but it is -
I work harder than most of my friends‘s parents, I think. I‘m pretty—
I‘m the hardest-working person I know. And I can say that fully (ph). And I‘ve noticed that lately because I‘ve just been doing a lot of press. And you know, it‘s—I mean, I love to do it. I don‘t really know what to do when I‘m not working. I‘m a workaholic. I get very creatively frustrated.
MATT LAUER, “TODAY”: But it is hard (INAUDIBLE) Do you put that pressure on yourself, or do you think other people—or does Hollywood put that pressure on you?
LOHAN: I think it‘s a little bit of both, but more so me because, you know, I‘m in control of myself and my career. And ultimately, it‘s me at the end of the day that has to sit home and kind of think about all the things that I have to do the next day or going through that day.
LAUER: So let me just ask the blunt question. No problems in your life right now in terms of substance abuse or anything? You‘re fine?
LOHAN: Substance abuse? That—I don‘t believe that was ever brought up.
LAUER: Well, just talked about some experimentation with drugs and things like that.
LOHAN: No, I (INAUDIBLE)
LAUER: It‘s OK?
LOHAN: Yes. Everything‘s great.
LAUER: Yes? You‘re OK? Good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I guess not. Let‘s bring in former California district attorney—former San Diego DA Paul Pfingst, Tina Dirmann, E!online commentator and host of “Planet Gossip,” and psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, as well as Danny Bonaduce.
All right, Paul Pfingst, legal issue, legal question. She‘s facing another case. She was involved in another DUI incident, another cocaine possession only months ago. How is it that she‘s now free on bail? Is that normal? Is that the norm?
PAUL PFINGST, FORMER CALIFORNIA PROSECUTOR: It is normal. There is a pre-printed bail schedule decided by the county‘s judges that is published and available. And when someone is arrested, they can post the bail that‘s on the pre-printed form, and that‘s what happened in this case. So that bail is a normal, regular and customary bail. So that is not unusual.
But she is now facing felonies and misdemeanors in her first case, felonies and misdemeanors in her second case, and she is in a lot of trouble. Most recently, we all saw the Paris Hilton thing. Paris Hilton was in far less trouble, and she went to jail for 45 days than (ph) Lindsay Lohan, who is in much more trouble than Paris Hilton was.
ABRAMS: All right, let me—Tina, let me show the mugshot photo here. And then I want to also show the fact that—that‘s the mugshot. And here we‘ve got these photos of her from literally days ago, wearing these ankle bracelets. She‘s wearing a bikini. She had said, Oh, I‘m doing this to monitor my alcohol, et cetera. You think she was mocking people with that?
TINA DIRMANN, E! ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. I think she thought she was pulling a fast one over on everybody. But the fact of the matter is, she fully had control over that, to put it on and take it off at her leisure. So it made a good photo. She made a big splashy entrance with this big, clunky ankle bracelet on while she‘s sporting the bikini. We all saw it. Yes, yes, Lindsay, we see it. But none of us bought it. Behind closed doors, she could have easily taken that off and abused any kind of substance she wanted. And now we know that‘s probably exactly what was going on.
ABRAMS: All right, Dr. Gardere, look, you heard Danny Bonaduce basically saying it‘s to the point where he now feels sorry for Lindsay Lohan. You know, I hate to ask this question, but is this someone who is calling out for help? Is this someone who‘s incurable? What is the prognosis for Lindsay Lohan?
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, certainly, we know that alcohol—being an alcoholic is not curable, but it‘s certainly something that you can maintain and you can do better and you can be in sobriety. Right now, she is in big, big trouble. Danny Bonaduce is absolutely correct. This is someone who‘s acting out like crazy. She‘s not thinking about the consequences, and she‘s about to hit rock bottom. So maybe if she does go jail, this is what she needs in order to get the message that she really does need help.
ABRAMS: All right. Paul, is she facing real jail time here?
PFINGST: Yes, she is. It depends on how the district attorney of Los Angeles charges this case, and it depends what judge she gets. But she now has two DUIs, and the first one can serve as a prior, so this could be a second DUI, which has a mandatory minimum of four days. She‘s probably already served one, so she would have to do a day or two.
But it‘s the drug cases on top of the DUI that would create a situation for a judge, who would have to say to himself right now, If I let this woman go without punishment, will she get on the road and will she kill someone? Will she be drunk? Will she used drugs?
ABRAMS: She‘s probably cut a deal, right, Paul?
PFINGST: Almost certainly. Her first DUI, she may have a defense, the facts of that. The second one, probably harder, the drug possession charges very difficult to beat. So she‘s in serious trouble. She will probably present a very difficult problem for a judge to decide not to send her to jail.
ABRAMS: You know, Tina, let me ask you, Paris Hilton seems like a bigger star now...
ABRAMS: ... now that she‘s served time, than Lindsay Lohan. But there‘s something about this that feels different. It‘s almost as if people think that Paris Hilton was—deserved what she got, she ought to get punished, et cetera. With Lindsay Lohan, it‘s almost as if they she‘s off her rocker.
DIRMANN: Well, there‘s two different things going on here. People loved to see Paris go to jail because they thought Paris Hilton was a brat. Let‘s just be blunt about it. They thought she was a brat getting her comeuppance. Lindsay Lohan, what we‘re seeing here is a young woman in meltdown mode. To have two DUIs within the month, go to rehab, come up and get popped again and get popped with drugs—this isn‘t a starlet who‘s just being bratty, this is a girl who has a serious problem.
And I also want to throw in here, you know, I know a lot of people around her who were saying that rehab for her still was just something she did for public appearance. She doesn‘t see herself as a girl in trouble. She says, I‘m young and I want to party. What‘s the problem?
ABRAMS: Danny, did you ever do rehab to get public attention?
BONADUCE: Oh, my God, no. Although, you know, when you go rehab in Los Angeles, you meet, you know, the A list. Or I guess actually the AA list.
BONADUCE: But no, I never went there for attention. I went to rehab the last time because I felt like it. I thought it was the right thing to do. The other two times that I have been to rehab, I went basically to either not go jail or not get fired from my job. I don‘t think...
DIRMANN: Right. And that‘s exactly why Lindsay went. She went basically to sort of save face, not to—to get some good graces from whatever judge she was going to see, but not because she thought she had a problem.
ABRAMS: All right. I got to wrap it up...
BONADUCE: ... say something, though. San Diego is one of the finest cities that I‘ve never actually been arrested in.
BONADUCE: But I wonder if the DA will agree with me. Having been sentenced on very similar charges before, my guess is that the judge, especially after Paris Hilton, can‘t let her off with less than 90. She‘ll serve 45. With good time, she‘ll come down to 30. Would you say that...
ABRAMS: Quick answer, Paul. Is Danny a good lawyer, Paul?
PFINGST: He‘s a very good lawyer. He‘s obviously been in the system.
PFINGST: He speaks the lingo very well.
ABRAMS: All right...
PFINGST: The fact of the matter is, it depends how the DA handles the drug charges.
ABRAMS: Got it. All right. I got to wrap this up. Tina Dirmann, Paul Pfingst, Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, thanks a lot. Danny is going stick around. We‘ll talk to him more later on the Lindsay Lohan case.
Up next: Thugs break into a family‘s Connecticut home in the middle of the night, hold them hostage for hours, reportedly rape one of the daughters, force the mother to withdraw thousands from the bank, then set fire to the house, killing everyone but the father. Up next, we‘ll talk to a family friend and look at why police think it may not have been a completely random act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And NBA commissioner David Stern speaks out about the gambling scandal involving a former ref and the Mob. He says it‘s an isolated incident. We‘ll talk to a former Mobster about how these schemes really work.
ABRAMS: Tonight, we‘re learning new details about a horrific story out to Connecticut, a family of four held hostage in their own home. Their alleged attackers forced their way in, reportedly raped one daughter, forced the mother to a bank, eventually lit the house on fire. Tonight, the state medical examiners revealed that the mother was strangled, her daughters died of smoke inhalation. The deaths have been ruled homicides tonight. the father reportedly brutally beaten with a baseball bat and is in the hospital with head injuries.
NBC‘s Lee Cowan has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE COWAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It‘s an upscale neighborhood police rarely had to visit. And on this raining morning, the officers who did seemed stunned. They arrived to find a home on fire and two men trying to flee. Police blocked them in, but the suspects weren‘t giving up easily.
CRAIG GOLDSTEIN, NEIGHBOR: Two police cars made a V, and then the car plowed through the police cars (ph), trying to get by.
COWAN: The collision nearly ripped off the front of a cruiser and caused the suspects‘ airbags to deploy. The men were quickly arrested. But back at the house, the magnitude of their crime was just beginning to unfold.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don‘t know. It‘s very scary.
COWAN: Inside, investigators found the bodies of a woman and her two daughters, almost the entire Petit family. The husband and father, Dr. William Petit, a prominent Connecticut physician, barely managed to escape with his life. The older daughter had just been accepted to Dartmouth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great family. It‘s—I guess we‘re just waiting to see what really happened in there.
ABRAMS: But it didn‘t all take place in the home. Police now say the family had been held hostage for the better part of the night, while the suspects waited for this bank to open. When it did, one member of the family was forced to make a withdrawal. A teller thought something might be wrong and alerted police to rush to the home. Investigators say it appears the attack was not random.
CHIEF MICHAEL CRUESS, CHESHIRE POLICE: It‘s an isolated incident. And the two suspects, the people involved, were caught, caught right down the road.
COWAN: Lee Cowan, NBC News, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. The two suspects in the case were arraigned today on charges of assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery and arson. There may be murder charges, almost certainly, that will come. Bail has been set at $15 million each. Police say that those murder charges are coming. Authorities have been describing the men as career criminals. Both were out of prison on parole.
Police lieutenant Jay Markella joins us on the phone now. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. He‘s the public information officer for the Cheshire, Connecticut, Police Department, where the family lived.
All right, first let me ask you about capturing these guys. You were able to surround them, and then they went at the police cars.
LT. JAY MARKELLA, CHESHIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes. Basically, when the bank teller had called the police department, officers responded to the scene immediately. Upon arrival, they observed the two suspects exiting the house. The suspects observed that one car of the cars was obviously a police officer inside. It‘s an unmarked car, but still rammed the car as it went by. The car took off down the road, accelerated, and then crashed head on into two marked police cruisers.
ABRAMS: And how were they—and that eventually stopped the car?
MARKELLA: Yes. Once the collision occurred, the suspects weren‘t able to go anywhere. There was extensive damage to all vehicles. Officers were able to apprehend them at that time.
ABRAMS: Can you tell me tonight whether they confessed to the crime?
MARKELLA: I can‘t give information like that out. It is an ongoing investigation. I can say, based on evidence and statements from suspects, that‘s how they did come up with a lot of the charges.
ABRAMS: OK. Now, why did the authorities believe that this may not have been a random crime?
MARKELLA: Again, because it‘s an ongoing investigation, there‘s a lot of information we can‘t release. We do think it‘s an isolated incident, but that‘s as much information we can give at this time regarding it.
ABRAMS: So you can‘t say, for example, whether these guys may have known or had any sort of contact with this family beforehand.
MARKELLA: Yes, unfortunately, we can‘t. Again, you know, I live in Cheshire myself, and living here, that‘s got be the biggest question on my of the community‘s mind. Why these people? But in order to not jeopardize the investigation, we can‘t release any information regarding that.
ABRAMS: Understood. Lieutenant, thanks a lot for calling into the program. We appreciate it.
MARKELLA: No problem, Dan. Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right, now on the phone is a friend of the family, known them for over 10 years, Ron Rising. Mr. Rising, thanks a lot for coming on the program. Look, we‘re talking a lot here about the legal side of this. Tell us about this family.
RON RISING, FRIEND OF PETITS: OK. I‘m having a little trouble hearing you right now, but I believe you‘re asking me to share about the family.
RISING: Can you hear me?
ABRAMS: I can, Mr. Rising.
RISING: All right. Good. That‘s fine.
ABRAMS: Yes, please, if you would.
RISING: Well, they‘re a very special family that the whole community is feeling the loss of, I believe, especially people who knew them. They‘ve been very active in a church family here, the Cheshire United Methodist church, which is how I‘ve gotten to know them, with my wife and family. And they‘re just the nicest family you could want to meet, very concerned about other people, very involved in the community, two lovely young daughters. And it‘s just a shame to have their lives taken at this time. And it‘s just an unbelievable, incomprehensible kind of thing that we‘re still in shock about in the Cheshire community.
ABRAMS: The older daughter was planning on going to Dartmouth College?
RISING: Yes. That‘s correct. She had gone to Miss Porter‘s school in Farmington, had done very well there, got a lot of recognition. She was ready to go to Dartmouth, was going on be on the crew there. She‘s also been in involved in a variety of programs reaching out to others. She participated in a couple of church programs for two years, helping to do repairs on people‘s houses. She was recently scheduled to go Haiti to do some work. She had a medical concern of her own that kept her from doing that, and was really frustrated and disappointed that she couldn‘t go to help other people.
And that‘s the way the family was. They were really concerned about other people. Even though they may have had some of their own concerns or health issues, like we all do at different times, you never heard them complaining or being negative. They were always thinking of other people.
And I‘ve said to several people today, if this had happened to some other family in the community, they would be among the first to be there to say, What can we do to help? They have a lot of compassion for other people and go about it in just a quiet way, where they‘re not looking for recognition or credit or anything.
ABRAMS: Yes. Ron Rising, thanks so much for taking the time. I appreciate it.
RISING: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: All right. Let‘s talk to MSNBC senior legal analyst and former Connecticut prosecutor Susan Filan. All right. Susan, question one. These are guys with long criminal records. You know Connecticut. You know the way that parole works there. Why would the authorities have paroled Steven Hayes, for example, in particular, 23 disciplinary actions while in prison?
SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Once
you‘ve served a certain amount of time and you‘re eligible for parole and you meet requirements of parole, you get out. Connecticut‘s got prison overcrowding problems, like every other state. They were monitored appropriately on parole. They were not in violation of the terms of their release. But that‘s the problem with these pre-release programs. I don‘t want to get on a soapbox, Dan, but these guys should never have been out.
ABRAMS: Well, tell me, I mean—I mean, when you say never should have been out, you‘re saying that the law needs to be changed? I mean, someone...
FILAN: No, I‘m saying the technical mechanism, the way the parole program is applied in Connecticut needs to be a lot stiffer and tighter.
ABRAMS: Let‘s go through the rap sheets, all right? First Hayes. There he is. All right? Criminal record starts in ‘80, sentenced to five years in prison for burglary, 23 disciplinary actions while in prison, paroled from prison three months ago. He met the other suspect in a residential drug treatment program, apparently.
I mean, why doesn‘t 23 disciplinary actions in prison prevent you from getting out of prison?
FILAN: Because tickets are technical, Dan, and they can be something as small as not going into your cell within a second time period of when they say to go into your cell. It‘s not always, you know, that you got somebody with a knife or you made a knife out of a toothbrush.
But let me—let me tell you this, Dan.
ABRAMS: Real quick. Yes.
FILAN: What I‘ve learned from sources in this case close to law enforcement who want to remain anonymous—and I don‘t want to jeopardize the case. This is a particularly shocking, heinous, brutal case, the details of which are going to emerge that are going to stun people from here to kingdom come. The state‘s attorney has the right in this case to seek the death penalty. I‘d be very surprised if he doesn‘t. Connecticut does have the death penalty. This is probably one of—you‘ll learn, one of the worst crimes you‘ll have ever heard of when you learn the details of it.
ABRAMS: More gruesome than we already know?
FILAN: It‘s disgusting.
ABRAMS: All right. Susan Filan, thanks very much.
FILAN: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: Coming up: The head of the NBA says he feels betrayed by a betting scandal involved a former ref and the Mob. He also insists it‘s an isolated incident. We‘ll talk to a former Mobster about whether this could be more widespread.
But first: Fox News tries try to teach Senator Barack Obama a lesson about sex ed. What exactly is the lesson? Hide the kids! “Beat the Press” is 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 family values folks at Fox debating Senator Barack Obama‘s stance on teaching age-appropriate sex ed to kindergartners—you know, good touch, bad touch. But instead of just talking about that, they used this opportunity to gratuitously show this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, “HANNITY AND COLMES”: What is it that Barack Obama was thinking when he said he supported sex ed for kindergartners? We‘ll update that situation straight ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Yes. That had nothing to do with it. Nor did this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN COLMES, “HANNITY AND COLMES”: Still ahead tonight: Barack Obama‘s critics think this is what the senator has in mind when he talks about sex education...
COLMES: ... in our schools for youngsters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And just in case you didn‘t get the point, they had their model demonstrate it one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: The question being raised by many is, What exactly is age-appropriate? Should kids learn about safe sex and condoms, or is the abstinence the only lessons that should be taught?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: It has nothing to do with what they‘re talking about, about kindergartners. They couldn‘t get enough of that cucumber! Nothing to do with good touch, bad touch! They just love the cuke!
Finally: From showing condoms to someone who actually used them a lot, ‘80s teen heartthrob Scott Baio talked to my pal, Gregg Jarrett, yesterday about being 45 and single and having, quote, “commitment issues.” The discussion turned to his former co-star, Erin Moran from “Happy Days” and their relationship.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT BAIO, ACTOR: She told me I had some physical issues.
GREGG JARRETT, INTERVIEWER: Physical...
BAIO: Size issues.
JARRETT: Well, wait a minute! Did—didn‘t each of you lose your virginity?
BAIO: I lost my virginity to her. She was an old pro. Joking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the size issue?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: No. No. No. Do we really need to know the answer to that question? Apparently yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAIO: Well, you know, what—when you lose your virginity, there is one thing you use. I was 16. I was a late bloomer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I am not sure what being a late bloomer has to do with that, but too much info. We move on.
Coming up, the ex-husband of a missing Colorado mom who was also working as an escort tells us how he knew about her side business, about his last conversation with her the day she went missing.
First the NBA finally talking about a scandal that could threaten the league. The commissioner insists to his knowledge a former ref helping the mob was acting alone. Does a former mobster with the Colombo crime family believe it? We will ask him and check in with a former NBA star Len Elmore and a former ref, also coming up.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the head of the NBA is finally speaking out about that gambling scandal involving a former ref. He says this ref was acting alone as far as he knows. We‘ll talk to a former mobster about whether that adds up. But first, the latest news.
ABRAMS: Tonight the search continues for the Colorado mother of three young children who also led a double life as an escort. We will talk to the last person to see Paige Birgfeld alive, her ex-husband who says he wanted to rekindle a relationship with her even though she was still seeing quote, “clients,” including Lester Ralph Jones who police have named a person of interest in the investigation. Jones has a violent criminal history that includes kidnapping and rape.
His number showed up in Birgfeld‘s phone the night she disappeared. Tonight her ex-husband says he believed her Birgfeld‘s clients were harmless lonely men seeking companionship but the night she disappeared he knew something was up.
Howard Biegler joins us now on the phone from Denver, Colorado. Thanks a lot for joining us. We appreciate it. Tell me what it was about that last night that led you to think that something was awry.
HOWARD BIEGLER, EX-HUSBAND OF MISSING ESCORT MOM: Nothing about the last night but definitely hearing upon her not coming home I definitely knew something was wrong. Seriously wrong.
ABRAMS: What was your relationship like? What was the status of your relationship with her the last night that you saw her?
BIEGLER: It was a very special day. I cannot see it that way now, of
course. But it would have been, in our relationship, it was as if no time
had passed from the time we were married. So it was
ABRAMS: You were trying to rekindle?
BIEGLER: We were rekindled.
ABRAMS: You were rekindled.
ABRAMS: And did you know about her side business as an escort?
BIEGLER: Yes. I know she had done that the last six years. Operated that.
ABRAMS: How did you feel about it?
BIEGLER: I hated it. I always hated that she was into that. But she had a talent for making men want to spend money for her companionship, just to be around her personality. And those types of men that buy that entertainment seek that type of somebody making them feel special. So she was good at it.
ABRAMS: Did shell tell you the details of her meetings with these men?
BIEGLER: Oh yes. On a daily basis. She always talked about them in detail. All the time.
ABRAMS: Including sexual activity?
BIEGLER: There was no sexual activity. There never was. Like I‘ve told the police, they are not going to find evidence of any sexual activity that she has done. It was topless massage and guys took care of themselves and she put on a show and everything but yeah, no sexual contact or sex.
ABRAMS: And so then she would come back and say this is how my day went, etc. And did she ever say to you there was a guy who kind of scared me today?
BIEGLER: She has mentioned a couple insignificant scares over the years but nothing where she felt her life was in danger. And I know that she would not think that somebody is actually capable of doing whatever happened to her. But it happens and it did, her worst nightmare.
ABRAMS: And when you say - you said before that you did not like it.
Was she planning on giving up the business?
BIEGLER: I‘m sorry?
ABRAMS: Was she planning on giving up this side business as you guys were rekindling?
BIEGLER: Well, in addition to her numerous other businesses she did want to give it up. She had a $5,500 a month mortgage she had to pay and a couple of rental houses to maintain so she wanted to get a little ahead on those before she could retire from that.
ABRAMS: You were, as far as people know, the last person to have seen her alive, the authorities, I think out of caution named you and her other ex-husband person of interest in addition to this guy they are looking for. What were you doing the night she went missing?
BIEGLER: I just went home. I got home late and went to bed. And I did not talk to anybody. You know, like I said, I am confident the police know I had nothing to do with it. I was in Denver, she was in Grand Junction and they found her car and all those other items and other things. They know I was in Denver that whole time so I was never particularly worried about that.
ABRAMS: And I should say the police have officially cleared you as well, have they?
BIEGLER: I don‘t know. I am not worried about that aspect of it at all.
ABRAMS: Yeah. All right. Howard, thanks a lot for taking the time.
We appreciate it.
ABRAMS: And I know you are coming on so we can put out information if anyone has got anything about it. That is the tip line. If you‘ve got anything, you know anything or saw anything. 970-244-3500. Please, give them a call.
Up next the NBA chief speaks out about the betting scandal threatening to take down the league. We will talk to a former player and a ref and a former mobster.
And later in “Winners and Losers” Lindsay Lohan busted for drunk driving and cocaine possession just days after leaving rehab.
But is the day‘s big loser Lindsay or the treatment center. Coming up.
ABRAMS: New developments tonight in the gambling scandal that threatens to take the NBA down. Former referee Tim Donaghy expected to plead guilty this week to charges that he gambled on NBA games he officiated in cooperation of the mob.
Today the commissioner David Stern faced the media insisting this was just an isolated incident, a rogue ref not part of a wider problem.
That ref now facing death threats, has police protection tonight while today the NBA tried to distance themselves from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID STERN, NBA COMMISSIONER: I can tell you that this is the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced. Either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or commissioner for the NBA. We think we have here a rogue isolated criminal. And Mr. Donaghy is the only referee who is alleged to have bet on NBA games and disclosed confidential information to others with respect to NBA games that would enable them to place wagers with an advantage.
You are not permitted to bet if you are a referee. You are not permitted to bet legally and you‘re not permitted to bet illegally. The legal betting will cost you your job, the illegal betting may cost you your freedom.
I feel betrayed by what happen on behalf of the sport regardless of how protective I‘ve been. This is not something that is anything other than an act of betrayal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joining me now is former NBA referee Mike Mathis. He was the head of the refs union and worked with Tim Donaghy. Foreman NBA star Len Elmore, he is president of the National Basketball Retired Player Association.
And Michael Franzese, he is a former mobster with New York‘s Colombo crime family. He now counsels NBA and Major League Baseball rookies, warning them about the dangers of gambling. Thanks to all of your for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
All right. Mike Mathis, you knew this guy, Tim Donaghy. Any signs of it?
MIKE MATHIS, FORMER NBA REFEREE: No. None at all. When I worked with Tim it was back when he first came in the league. I have been out of the league six years so it was during the early stages of his career and during a time that I worked with him I had no idea that anything like that was going on or saw anything that even reflected it.
And if he would have asked me back at the time when I was working with him, I think in his 13 year career today bears it out that I would have said he was one of the bright young referees in the league at that time because he showed an awful lot of moxy. He showed the wherewithal to be able to make calls whether players were superstars, whoever they are. And referees are pretty good judges of other referees. Within 10 minutes you could tell.
But he did have—he was arrogant. You need a little of that but I think he had more than he needed. And also sometimes his temper got in the way. But I think those were all things that could have been worked on. But obviously, you know, with the allegations right now, wherever there is smoke, you find fire. But don‘t look too good now.
ABRAMS: Len Elmore, look, we heard there David Stern trying to say this is isolated. We listen to the cautions that she says allegedly, giving information to another - there‘s like a list of things he is saying they don‘t believe anyone else is alleged to have done. No one else is alleged yet. What did you make of his press conference?
LEN ELMORE, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I thought it was crisis management 101. David did a good job isolating the individual the individual and trying to a lot of damage control which I thought he was able to do it, protected by the shield of the privileged information that he could not divulge due to the ongoing investigation.
But in the end you wanted to hear more about how the NBA was going go forward now and regain the public trust. You know, I have spoken about things like random polygraph tests and some of the other things I think the officials group now would probably be very welcome to simply because again it raises their integrity as well.
ABRAMS: Len? Random polygraphs for referees in the NBA?
ELMORE: Well, it is analogous to random drug testing. We had a problem, they had a drug problem a while ago, this is what the agreement was with the union because the union also recognized that it is going help in the long run restore the belief in the character of the players. And I think officials probably would be in the best state right now to agree that is something we need to do to restore the belief and the integrity of all of those guys.
ABRAMS: Mike, what do you make of that?
ELMORE: I agree with Len. There is going be stopgaps put in and I think probably maybe more than probably anybody would imagine but with damage control that I see Mr. Stern talking about today, I would say it will happen and I don‘t see the union putting up any fight against it.
ABRAMS: Michael, based on your experience with the Colombo crime family and involved in illegal gambling, are you convinced that this is an isolated incident?
MICHAEL FRANZESE, FORMER MOB CAPTAIN, COLOMBO CRIME FAMILY: Well, I‘m not convinced, number one, and number two, it surprises me or I think something that you really need to think about here. I am not suggesting that he has a colleague in this, I am not suggesting other referees are involved but when you look at this guy‘s past and his character, there is no way that he could have done this without somebody else knowing what he was doing.
So whether they knew about it and ignored or didn‘t think it was that serious a problem, he does not live in a vacuum. He is around his colleagues, he is around other people. They had to notice this kind of behavior. It is classic. He is compulsive. He has all the classic symptoms, it seems, of a guy that would get into a gambling problem. So it had to display itself.
ABRAMS: Mike Mathis, how didn‘t you catch it?
MATHIS: Well, like I said before, I am more or less agreeing with the commissioner on this. With the thing and the way the atmosphere is with the plays and the way plays are called, in my opinion, that and Len, I will refer to you on this, right now, the media, when a guy goes in and drives in and there is a foul called and all of the sudden they replay and it the guy is not close and all of the sudden the announcer says he must have seen something I didn‘t see.
And it has almost come to a point where, you know, poor officiating is the accepted norm and I disagree with that, I think that is totally wrong. Because let‘s face it. If that happens there is only one of a couple circumstances. Either number one, he was guessing, number two, he is incompetent or number three, there is some funny things going on.
ELMORE: Well, Mike, you never heard me say that.
ABRAMS: Let me ask about gambling, though; $61 million bet on the NBA in May 2007, 10 billion bet per month combining legal and illegal wagering. The amount bet illegally is 170 greater than the amount bet legally.
Len, when you were playing was it going through your head that there was a lot of money riding on every shot?
ELMORE: Yeah but it was usually our money that was riding on the shot. But in the end you have to recognize this is part of the culture. And you know, it is for other agencies and for others to be able to stop this. To kind of set the dam to keep the flow from overflowing.
But in the end I believe that it comes down to, again, the integrity of this game. The NBA can do what it needs to do in order to keep the types of characters like Tim Donaghy and others from getting involved. To do the best that they can.
David Stern made a great point about other security conscious organizations like FBI and the CIA being, you know, invaded by a rogue who can ultimately breach that security. But in the end, once they hear of any type of whisper or any type of innuendo that there might be a problem, they right away isolate that individual and we have seen the FBI do it and others do it. I think the NBA made a mistake by once they heard about maybe some hint of gambling they did not isolate him Tim Donaghy.
MATTHEWS: I‘ve got wrap it up. Mike Mathis, Len Elmore and Mike Franzese. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Good conversation.
Up next a truck driver loses 50,000 pounds of green beans. Starbucks tries to raise the prices of its beans. And we spill the beans about Lindsay Lohan‘s DUI arrest.
Danny Bonaduce joins us to celebrate or excoriate the day‘s “Winners and Losers.”
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this is the 24th day of July, 2007.
Our first winner, a tractor-trailer driver walked away unharmed after his truck tipped, spilling 50,000 pounds of beans on a Wisconsin highway. Cleanup crews worked through the night to help avoid a raw produce pile-up.
Our first loser, Manuel Alex Saez (ph), who says he was harmed when a magazine produced an ad describing him as a porn star. You‘ll definitely get your sprinklers working, the ad declared, next to a picture of Saez almost in the raw. Saez says no beans were stilled and he‘s suing because he‘s just a go-go dancer, art student and model.
Our second winner, average Joes. The federal government raising the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.
Our second loser, Starbucks. Now raising its prices. Charging more than the old hourly wage for some of their morning Joe. Prices go up next week.
But the big winners of the day, drug-free Tour de France cyclists. Now that some suspect the leader of doping up and the winner of two recent legs has failed a drug test.
The big loser of the day, Tour de Rehab star Lindsay Lohan caught with drugs and racing after another car this morning. She was arrest for drunk driving and possession of cocaine just 11 days after serving a 45-day tour at Promises, the rehab hub for Hollywood hotties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: You know, I‘m going to control myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Since leaving rehab last week, Lohan has been wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet to detect alcohol in her system. It was apparently off, according to her lawyer, at the time of her arrest.
Let‘s bring back an authority on childhood stars gone bad, Danny Bonaduce from “The Partridge Family,” VH1‘s “Breaking Bonaduce,” “The Adam Carolla Show.”
Danny, thanks for coming back. We appreciate it. All right.
DANNY BONADUCE, “BREAKING BONADUCE”: It‘s a pleasure.
ABRAMS: First let me ask you this. Do you think she recognizes she‘s got a drug problem or do you think she thinks of herself as a party girl?
BONADUCE: I think when you‘re sitting in lock-up and you‘re Lindsay Lohan and I know this from personal experience and it‘s horrifying, I will tell you exactly what happened to her.
They took her in, they shackled her, either to a wall or to a bench, and then they turned up the speakers on the news reports of her arrest. And when you‘re sitting there, chained to a bench or another con, and they‘re playing the news of your career being over because you‘re a drug addict, it comes to you pretty quick you‘ve got a real problem here.
ABRAMS: Is her career over, Danny?
BONADUCE: I think the best you could hope for from Lindsay Lohan now would be a come back. And as I‘ve said about other people, you can‘t make a come back unless you go away. The girl has no choice but to vanish until she can come back kind of an ingenue, kind of a grown-up and recognize the mistakes of her youth. But if she thinks she‘s going to come back and make “Herbie the Love Bug Two” anytime soon, she‘s sadly mistaken.
ABRAMS: Do you blame her? She‘s got a couple of wacky parents here.
Do they deserve the blame here?
BONADUCE: Her parents are particularly horrifying, I will give you that. But I do think that a lot of the way anybody turns out is the way they are raised. On the other hand, at a certain age and at a certain time you have to take responsibility for your own actions. I don‘t think she was raised well. I don‘t think she had any barriers to her behavior. Her mom behaves more like her best girlfriend, wearing tighter and more revealing clothes than even Lindsay does. But at some point Lindsay has to take responsibility for her own life.
ABRAMS: Percent chance that she can continue her life drug and alcohol free?
BONADUCE: Five percent chance would be my guess. If I said to take the over under on a relapse, of not seeing Lindsay Lohan‘s name in the newspaper again splashed all over the headlines again with a drink in her hand and something splashed on her dress, I would say 95 percent sure.
ABRAMS: All right. Danny Bonaduce. You were with us at the top of the show. We appreciate you sticking around and waiting for the end of the show. Thanks a lot for coming on.
BONADUCE: It is always my pleasure to be here. Thank you.
ABRAMS: Stay tuned. Up next, “Lockup: Riverbend.” MSNBC take you behind the walls of the maximum security prison, home to some of Tennessee‘s most violent offenders. Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow.
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