Guests: Maura Davies, Sgt. Joel Tranter, Merry Miller, Jack McClellan, Bethan Tuttle, Paul Pfingst, Bob Welker, Ted Simon, Fred Goldman
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Breaking tonight: The administration finally offers up some answers about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales‘s sworn testimony. The question: Did he lie under oath? They say no.
My take. This is one of the greatest etymological stretches of all time, the administration today claiming the discrepancy between Gonzales and others is the result of name change for the surveillance program. I guess they‘re saying it was a misunderstanding, the administration explaining in a letter today that Gonzales wasn‘t lying when he denied there were disputes over the terrorist surveillance program because, they say, it was not yet called the terrorist surveillance program. Come on!
All right. Let‘s break this down. There are really two issues, and they both stem from the secret program that allows the government to conduct surveillance, however you call it, without a warrant. It‘s also known as the NSA program. The administration is now employing verbal gymnastics to try to walk a beam between a misunderstanding and a lie.
Question one: Did Attorney General Gonzales lie about the reason for an urgent visit to then Attorney General Ashcroft‘s hospital room back in 2004? Now, listen to the attorney general, Gonzales, describe the reason for the meeting, compared to FBI director Robert Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The reason for the visit to the hospital center was about other intelligence activities. It not about the terrorist surveillance program that the president announced to the American people.
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: The discussion was on a national—an NSA program that has been much discussed, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Much—it‘s the same program. Then question two: Was there a fierce debate within the administration about the program? Gonzales says no. Compare that to former deputy attorney general James Comey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GONZALES: There‘s not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed. There have been disagreements about other matters regarding operations which I cannot get into..
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: That night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life, so it‘s not something I forgot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Of course there was controversy over a controversial program. Mr. Gonzales‘s testimony at least seems misleading and unbecoming of an attorney general, not just about these issues but his effort to avoid responsibility for the politically motivated firings of eight U.S. attorneys. But now he‘s crafting a lawyerly out by saying he was talking about different programs than both, I guess, Comey and Mueller. He may avoid any possible perjury charge—I don‘t think that‘s going to be the issue—but we should expect, in fact, demand more from our nation‘s highest lawyer.
Here now, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster. OK, David, am I understanding this correctly, that they‘re saying that this was just confusion over what to call the program?
DAVID SHUSTER, HARDBALL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, essentially, that‘s right, although Attorney General Alberto Gonzales‘s supporters, including those in the White House, are suggesting that there were several pieces to the program, regardless of what umbrella term you want to use, and that while there was agreement on collecting information, the disagreement came on whether it was legal and what was the method you had as far as going the courts, getting the warrant, getting court permission.
The problem, as you just laid out, is that James Comey and Robert Mueller both didn‘t find these distinctions that Alberto Gonzales came up with. They both felt that if there was an issue with the legality and it should not be reauthorized, that that was part of the entire program.
And again, you look at James Comey and Robert Mueller, and these were two guys who were threatening to quit over this, because of this disagreement, and yet you have the attorney general, as you just played, saying there was no serious disagreement.
ABRAMS: All right, let me ask you this. Look, Arlen Specter, Republican, very well respected, from the Judiciary Committee, basically saying to the administration, We need answers. This presumably is the answer that he was demanding. We need a plausible explanation, is what Senator Specter said. Do you think this is going to satisfy Senator Specter?
SHUSTER: No, it‘s not going to satisfy him, and in fact, he‘s already said tonight, that based on this letter that came from the director of national intelligence, he‘s not going to allow Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to essentially escape responsibility for these conflicts. Specter has...
ABRAMS: What does that mean? I mean, as a practical matter, what can he do?
SHUSTER: Well, the practical matter is that he‘s already told Attorney General Gonzales, I want a letter from you. I don‘t want to hear from anybody else in the administration. I want you to explain and clarify what your testimony meant and why you think that your testimony was accurate. And at least as of this evening, the letter that the attorney general had promised would be delivered to Senator Specter has not been delivered, and instead, all you have is this letter from the director of national intelligence explaining this. And that‘s why Senator Specter is still holding out the possibility that at some point, perhaps by the end of this week, he may join Democrats in calling for a special counsel to investigate Alberto Gonzales for perjury.
ABRAMS: So wait. Why is the director of national intelligence responding, as opposed to Gonzales? I mean, could this be an effort to avoid having something else on the record from Gonzales?
SHUSTER: It could be. I mean, part of what Specter was asking is because Specter got a briefing late yesterday from the director of national intelligence about these programs—regardless of what you want to call the programs, but about the entire sort of surveillance operation, when they came into effect, what they involve—based on that, Specter was still not satisfied that Gonzales had been telling the truth. So he said to the director of national intelligence, OK, fine, you‘ve given me this briefing. Now go back and put it in writing. Tell me exactly what you‘re talking about and how that matches up with what the president has said and what Alberto Gonzales has said.
But at the same time, Specter made it clear to the Justice Department that he wanted to hear directly from Attorney General Gonzales. And again, Specter has not heard from the attorney general, and that‘s why there‘s a problem.
ABRAMS: I mean, again, just—why would he not respond? I mean, if the Judiciary Committee asks you for, you know, this kind of response—particularly someone who is presumably as bipartisan as you can be in this kind of thing, like Specter, asks for a response, why would they not respond? I mean, why wouldn‘t they offer something?
SHUSTER: Well, Dan, I think the reason has to do with the big fight that we keep hearing about from administration officials over all of this. You have a war being waged within the White House about whether or not Alberto Gonzales should stay, as the president wants, or whether he should be dumped. And along with that, you have huge disagreements over strategy, about whether Alberto Gonzales should offer yet another explanation to the Senate Judiciary Committee about all of this.
And part of what may be going on is that Alberto Gonzales has this letter ready, but either his aides at the Justice Department or officials at the White House don‘t like it, don‘t think that it‘s going to pass muster with Senator Specter. Again, when Gonzales issues this, they want to make sure that Specter will accept it and say, OK, this explains it. And while I don‘t like it, you‘re off the hook as far as perjury. And that‘s what they‘re aiming for, and they may not be there yet.
ABRAMS: All right. David Shuster, as always, thanks a lot.
SHUSTER: Thanks, Dan. Good to be with you.
ABRAMS: Also breaking tonight, a bizarre twist in a story we brought you last night. Ronald Teague—this guy led police on a high-speed chase Monday through residential areas of Dallas? He was finally stopped almost an hour later. He offered this excuse for the 95-mile-per-hour pursuit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD TEAGUE, LED POLICE ON HIGH-SPEED CAR CHASE: I was trying to get to the vet. The cat‘s in the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cat‘s in the car?
TEAGUE: The cat‘s in the car. My cat was dying. I‘m trying to get to the vet‘s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So why didn‘t you just pull over and tell the officer that?
TEAGUE: I thought about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Cat‘s in the car, cat‘s sick. Well, get this. Today, local animal welfare officials turned up at Teague‘s house. They found dead cats piled on top of each other in a fridge and the freezer. Many of the deceased pets had tags on their paws saying when they died.
Joining me now is Maura Davies, senior director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas. She was at Teague‘s house today. Thanks very much for coming on the program. Appreciate it. Based on what I read, it sounds like this guy‘s house was absolutely gruesome.
MAURA DAVIES, SPCA OF TEXAS: It was. It was horrendous. It smelled terribly—just horrible. Just the smell of urine and feces knocked us back when we walked in the door. And then when we saw what was actually on the floor, it was just really hard to describe—furniture everywhere, filth, really gross, just dirty. I don‘t know how a person and animals lived in this place.
ABRAMS: Well, and there were dead animals there, as well, right?
DAVIES: There were. There were over 40 cats and kittens, about 11 dogs and puppies in the refrigerator and freezer. And imagine those old—the older kind of refrigerator and freezer, where it‘s all in one piece. When we opened that door up, we saw stacks of little bodies that had been wrapped up in towels.
ABRAMS: Oh! Oh!
DAVIES: And as animal care officials unwrapped the bodies for removal from the property, we discovered these little tags, like you were talking about, just saying, you know, This one was found dead next to the bed, This one was found out in the yard. Just weird.
ABRAMS: Maura, let me ask you this. When he first came up with that excuse, I think there were some animal lovers out there who were thinking, Well, you know, maybe this is a guy who was trying to get help for his pet. Anyone who views this guy as some sort of pet lover should think again, right?
DAVIES: You know, this is a classic case of what looks like animal hoarding. People who hoard animals literally do not understand that what they‘re doing is wrong and it‘s extremely cruel to animals. They think that they‘re saving the animals. They think that they are better equipped to save animals than anyone else is. And that just takes them down a bad path.
DAVIES: When it comes right down to it, though, this is actually a mental illness, and this gentleman needs professional help.
ABRAMS: Well, yes, he‘s...
DAVIES: I‘m just glad that we were able to rescue the animals today.
ABRAMS: Yes. And you know, this guy‘s going need I think more than just professional help. He‘s in a lot of legal trouble, as well. Maura Davis, thanks a lot for coming on.
DAVIES: He is.
ABRAMS: Appreciate it.
DAVIES: Thank you very much.
ABRAMS: Up next: A man dies after police stop him from performing an exorcism on his granddaughter by choking her. They literally walked in. Now the girl‘s mother also could be facing charges. We‘ll have the latest on this case. We‘ll also take a deeper look into exorcisms.
And later, the growing controversy over a twisted Web site which advises pedophiles where to look for young children. The man you see there, the man behind the site, says he‘s a pedophile. I wonder whether he‘s really after the children or if it‘s some sort of sick publicity stunt. He is on the program. Tonight, I‘ll have some tough questions for him coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the father and the holy spirit. Damian!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defender of the human race...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh! Look down in pity!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That‘s what most people think of when they hear about exorcism—shrouded priests huddled around a bed, violently casting out the demons of a young child. But it‘s not something that only happens in movies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will come out of her in the name of Jesus! I command all thoughts of suicide, I command all thoughts of lust and anger and bitterness and self-pity, I command you, come out in Jesus‘ name!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: We‘ll have more of those real-life exorcisms in a minute. But first, on Saturday, Arizona police responded to the call of an exorcism in progress. There they found 49-year-old Ronald Marquez hovering over his 3-year-old granddaughter, allegedly restraining her in a chokehold, the girl‘s mother standing by naked and bloody, holding a religious picture and chanting.
Here now is Sergeant Joel Tranter with the Phoenix Police Department. Sergeant, thanks for taking the time. We appreciate it. So what happened when the officers arrived on the scene?
SGT. JOEL TRANTER, PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, like you said, Dan, it was early Saturday morning, Phoenix police received a phone call, and that phone call was from a relative who was actually at that house. That relative does not live there, but she had some knowledge of what was taking place. She stopped over early Saturday to check welfare. She heard screaming and some yelling. She believed that an exorcism was taking place because, again, she had some prior knowledge. She then called us. The information that our responding officers had from this witness was, in fact, an exorcism was taking place.
Two Phoenix police officers responded to this house, and it was a small private residence in generally a quiet neighborhood, 7:30 in the morning on Saturday. The officers spoke to this woman. She‘s an adult female. She‘s credible. She said there was an exorcism had taken place on Thursday, a couple days prior, and that she believed an exorcism was actually in progress...
ABRAMS: Oh! Wow!
TRANTER: Right. And the officers walked up to the house. They heard yelling, screaming, determined that that commotion was coming both from adults, as well as a young child. The officers initially had some difficulty getting into the house. They tried to peer in the windows to get a better indication of what was taking place. The windows were blocked and covered.
Finally, they made entry into the home. It‘s a small home. They were directed to a bedroom from where the noises and screaming were taking place. They tried to open the bedroom door. The door was blocked. It was later determined that the bed in the bedroom was pushed in front of the door, prevent it from being opened. But both officers used force on that door, were able to slide it open a couple inches.
One of the officers peered into that small gap in the door. He observed an adult female. She was about 19 years old. She was covered in blood. She was naked.
TRANTER: She had extensive facial injuries, and she was reciting some type of chant. I don‘t know what the verbiage is, but she was chanting.
ABRAMS: And the grandfather is standing over the 3-year-old?
TRANTER: Well, initially, the officer‘s view was blocked because, again, the door was only open a couple of inches. But there was a mirror either on the wall or on a dresser. The officer looked in that mirror, gave him a view behind that door, and he saw an adult male, 200-some pounds, not wearing a shirt, sitting on the bed, and he had a young child in his grasp. He had that child in what was described as a headlock, choking that child...
TRANTER: ... both around the neck, as well as squeezing her body.
And the child was screaming, crying, and at times, actually gasping. The officers—both officers issued numerous verbal commands. Nobody in that house—in that room complied. And in fact, the woman made some comments that the officers were the actual—the devils—the devils had arrived.
ABRAMS: So the grandfather gets tasered. He eventually dies. But real quick, I just want to know how the little 3-year-old‘s doing.
TRANTER: Well, she—the good news is she was transported to a children‘s hospital. She was treated. She was at the hospital for several hours. She was released. She‘s now...
ABRAMS: Oh, good.
TRANTER: ... in child protective custody. Physically, She‘ doing fine.
ABRAMS: All right.
TRANTER: So she‘s—physically, again, she‘s going to be OK.
ABRAMS: Sergeant Tranter, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
TRANTER: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: Believe it or not, these exorcisms are going on every day across the country, some place you might not expect it. “MSNBC INVESTIGATES” looked into the issue in covering ministers like Bob Larson (ph), who perform exorcisms on a daily basis.
BOB LARSON, BOB LARSON MINISTRIES: Face me. Get your eyes open and look at me! Yes. Yes. Yes! You‘re not going hide. You‘re not going get away with this. You understand me? You‘re not going to get away with it!
I‘m getting into the face of the devil. I‘m getting mad at the devil. I stand in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That‘s the authority in which I come. That‘s why stuff starts happening. That‘s why people scream. That‘s why demons manifest.
When I was 20 years of age, I became a Christian as a result of attending a gospel service. I felt a calling, but I wasn‘t sure what I was supposed to do.
I put every demon in hell in the sound of my voice in torment. And at the appointed hour, you will come to judgment.
You will let my people go!
Cheryl, look at me. Look at me. Look at me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to Larson, his company, known as Bob Larson Ministries, brings in an estimated $2 million a year, and there‘s nothing subtle about his sales pitch.
LARSON: How many of you have my 500-page book, “A Spiritual Warfare”? Can I see your hands? This book ought to been be in the hands of every single one of you here tonight. You‘ve got to get this book.
The angel of life comes to smite you, to smite you, murder (ph).
Go to torment!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We may never agree whether or not the devil is involved here, but experts say the power of suggestion might explain the behavior of the participants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re not finished with him yet.
LARSON: Yes, well, I‘m finished with you. Go to torment!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people who are most vulnerable to this kind of spirituality are probably folks that are most at risk of experiencing psychological harm.
LARSON: Some of you are in dissociative denial! Some of you have things that have happened to you in your past, deep, painful experiences!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, Bob Larson is looking for the devil in Scottsdale, Arizona, and he usually finds what he‘s looking for.
LARSON: (INAUDIBLE) healing to her in the name of Jesus. Satan, you‘re going take your hands off this woman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Christian minister and professional exorcist, Larson travels around the country giving what he calls “spiritual freedom lectures.” Larson says that with the Lord‘s help, he can free a person‘s from Satan‘s grip. Many people who have come to see him believe it, as well. Larson frequently begins his presentation by showing his audience what one of his exorcisms looks like. According to Larson, an individual‘s psychological problems are the devil‘s doorway into the soul.
LARSON: Through abuse and torment, demons gain entry, and as a result, they‘re hanging onto your life, making you miserable today, and you‘re saying, Why me, God? I‘ll tell you why. Because there‘s something that‘s unexplained you don‘t know about that‘s back there that happened. It‘s hidden!
Go to torment until the hour so that this woman can hear the word of God. Go down! Go down!
ABRAMS: Coming up: A self-proclaimed pedophile has created a Web site showing the best places to look for young girls. It‘s legal. I‘ll have some tough questions for the guy behind the blog.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRY MILLER, “ABC NEWS NOW”: Holly, thanks so much for joining us.
HOLLY HUNTER, ACTRESS: Hey, thank you.
MILLER: All right, Holly. Thanks so much for joining us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But first: You may have seen this difficult-to-watch interview with Holly Hunter making the rounds on the Internet. We even showed it on “Beat the Press.” The interviewer has been a great sport and joins us here to explain what happened. It‘s next in “Beat the Press.”
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV. Tonight a special “Beat the Press” follow-up. You may remember a clip we aired recently of Merry Miller from “ABC News Now” in the “What‘s the Buzz” segment having some problems as she interviewed Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: Welcome back to “What‘s the Buzz.” You may know her as an Academy Award-winning actress, but today she‘s here to talk about a new project on the small screen.
Holly, thanks so much for joining us.
HOLLY HUNTER, ACTRESS: Hey, thank you.
MILLER: Oh, God! All right, Holly. Thanks so much for joining us.
Oh! OK. We loved the show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That interview has been seen on YouTube and other Web sites over a million times. Merry Miller joins us now, on what we just learned is her second time ever on live television, to talk, laugh, cry about what we just saw. Merry, thanks for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
MILLER: Thank you for having me.
ABRAMS: How hard is it for you to watch that?
MILLER: It‘s painful. It‘s a disaster. But I‘m a business person, so we will all find a way to turn this into something very successful because that‘s what successful people do. I took a risk. I tried something.
ABRAMS: it sounds like you‘ve gotten some interesting responses to this, right? I mean, you‘ve become...
MILLER: It‘s been...
ABRAMS: You‘ve become an Internet celebrity from this, right?
MILLER: Well, it‘s interesting because I don‘t know many people who go to sleep and then wake up the next morning and they‘re a household name. It‘s been tragic but it‘s been humorous because the comments have been so extraordinary to me. One of my favorites was, You made my mood ring explode.
MILLER: I think that‘s a little drastic. I think we‘ve all had bad outtakes. That happened to be my first time on air.
ABRAMS: Well, tell us what happened. I mean, people look at this and they say, you know, Oh, my goodness, this is a disaster.
MILLER: Yes. Well...
ABRAMS: What happened? What happened?
MILLER: Well, what happened is that—you‘re probably very well aware of how I ended up at ABC. It was because I produced a series hosted by Joel Siegel. I have been behind the scenes all my life. Prior to that, I was at the Learning Annex. I booked all the lessons. I‘ve certainly learned a lesson here—I think many people have—about the power of marketing.
ABRAMS: And so how do you end up interviewing Holly Hunter?
MILLER: What happened is that Joel had always made a comment that I would look good on camera. But I don‘t think anybody expected some of the difficulties that happened. And I took a chance.
ABRAMS: This is your first time.
MILLER: First time ever.
ABRAMS: This is your first—your first time...
MILLER: First time live...
ABRAMS: ... on camera...
ABRAMS: ... reading teleprompter...
MILLER: Yes, reading a teleprompter in a satellite interview.
ABRAMS: And how did they give you Holly Hunter?
MILLER: Holly was fantastic...
ABRAMS: That‘s a big one, right? I mean...
MILLER: Because I had worked with many, many celebrities over the years with Joel. I certainly know how an interview should go. I don‘t always understand how satellite goes. I give kudos to anybody who can go in front of the camera and do a satellite interview. Holly was classy. She was...
ABRAMS: You going to do it again?
MILLER: ... a sport.
ABRAMS: Will you do it again...
MILLER: I have...
ABRAMS: ... if they say to you, Come on back, we got some...
MILLER: ... so many—the irony is that this resulted in so many job offers for on-camera gigs. But no, it is a business disaster, and I think that it‘s pretty clear that I do belong behind the camera and I belong in development and programming...
MILLER: ... and creating content that people watch. I think that‘s my talent at this point.
ABRAMS: Merry Miller, thanks for being such a good sport...
MILLER: Thank you.
ABRAMS: ... and coming on.
MILLER: Thank you.
ABRAMS: You got a big career, whatever you do...
MILLER: Thank you!
ABRAMS: ... on camera, off camera. And when you can have fun with these things, that‘s all (INAUDIBLE)
MILLER: Exactly. You make the best...
MILLER: ... of a bad situation.
ABRAMS: Thanks for coming on. I appreciate it.
MILLER: Thank you for having me.
ABRAMS: Coming up: On a more serious topic, I‘ll have some tough questions for a pedophile who shows perverts where they can go to stare at young girls. The worst part? Apparently, it‘s legal. We‘ll ask what can be done to shut it down and figure out if this guy‘s for real.
And later: Did these strippers break the law by publicly exposing themselves on a golf course, even giving lap dances? Coming up.
ABRAMS: Coming up, strippers caught on tape taking off their clothes, giving lap dances on a not-so-private neighborhood golf course. Did they break the law though? We‘ll talk to someone from the strip club where they work coming up.
What does a mother do when she finds a picture of a child, name, age and where to find her on the Web pages of a pedophile‘s blog? That is what many California mothers are worried about every time they take their young ones out to the park.
Jack McClellan‘s blog is apparently a manual for preying on young children in the parks and playgrounds of Southern California, often detailing how young girls are so close he can reach out and touch them. This self-proclaimed pedophile‘s L.A. Girl Love (ph) Web site littered with ratings on the best spots to troll for little girls, even directions how to get there.
For older women, he says he is disgusted by them and their expensive habits. Law enforcement can‘t arrest him because he has never been caught acting on his so-called love for children. Joining us now is self-proclaimed pedophile, Jack McClellan.
Jack, thank you for coming on the program. All right. Before we get into the legal issues here, I‘ve got to ask you straight up, why are you doing this?
JACK MCCLELLAN, PEDOPHILE BLOGGER: I see it as just more of an educational thing. I never saw it that I was encouraging sex offenders or whatever to go out and do anything crazy or illegal. I just saw it as kind of like.
ABRAMS: What does that mean, educational thing? What do you mean an educational—how is it educational—educational for the pedophiles, you mean?
MCCLELLAN: Well, no, actually, the community—the general community beyond the pedophile community. Trying to educate the general population that most of us I believe are not the monsters that the media naturally focuses on.
ABRAMS: But how does putting up pictures of little girls and identifying where they can best be found help educate the public that you guys are not monsters, instead of doing just the opposite?
MCCLELLAN: Well, I want to point out and make this clear. I have not put any pictures up in the California incarnation of the site. And I don‘t know if I am going to. So I have kind of.
ABRAMS: Are you not going to because you have learned a lesson here?
MCCLELLAN: Yes, in essence, yes. I have listened to all the criticism. The outrage about the photographs. And I am definitely—I want to make this clear, I am definitely not going go to these events and I‘m not going to be taking pictures where I‘m focusing on girls or going back to the computer at home and cropping them out to focus on girls. I am not doing that anymore at all.
ABRAMS: And why were you doing that in the first place?
MCCLELLAN: I don‘t know. I guess I just got too enthusiastic about it. I didn‘t really think things through from the other side, the parent‘s side of the equation.
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean, you can understand, can‘t you, that you are every parent‘s worst nightmare?
MCCLELLAN: Yes. And I am listening to all this criticism and anger that has especially come down in the last few months and I am taking everything into account and I hope to eventually tailor the site to where it is not generating so much hysteria and...
ABRAMS: Well, here is the problem, all right? I mean, and you know, look, it is good to hear you say that you seem to be learning a lesson. But the problem is, you read some of your blog and it is a little bit hard to take your seriously.
You say things like: “It also disgusts me to see the many guys strolling around malls with their girlfriends and wives, ogling rings and other expensive nonsense. Why would a man want to waste time and money on such post-pubescent female crap when he could hang out with more attractive, fun and cheaper to please little girls?”
MCCLELLAN: Well, that is actually a very old post and you probably pulled off of the Internet archive of a couple of years ago. I don‘t post stuff like that any more. In fact, all I‘ve done here.
ABRAMS: Do you believe that? Do you believe that?
MCCLELLAN: Just to be honest, yes, I did at the time. That was my feeling at the time. I mean, people evolve over time. And you know, I have come to be more empathetic towards all people.
ABRAMS: Let‘s be clear about one thing. And you claim you have never acted on this. I mean, because that‘s another thing, I think, that‘s hard for some people to believe. You know, you look at this latest study that says 85 percent of the guys who have been convicted of Internet crimes with regard to child porn have actually acted on it.
Are you telling us you‘re one of the 15 percent who hasn‘t acted on it?
MCCLELLAN: Yes. And I can say that with a straight—right to your face with a clear conscience. I have never done anything illegal with a child. And all I can really speak is for myself. I have a feeling that there is, kind of, what I term, the silent majority pedophiles out there who are like me, they don‘t do anything illegal but maybe they would if it was legal. You know?
ABRAMS: All right. Jack, look, you are scaring a lot of people out there. I think you know that, right? I mean, you are scaring a lot of parents to death. You‘ve got to stop. And you are committing to us that you are going to stop, right? You‘re not going to go photograph, you‘re not going to stare at kids?
I‘m not saying that people aren‘t going to still be out to get you. But I‘m just saying, for the sake of the moving forward here, you are not going do this any more, right?
MCCLELLAN: Well, I am not going do what? I‘m not going to.
ABRAMS: You‘re not going to go take pictures, you‘re not going to stalk little kids, you‘re not going to tell people where the best places to find beautiful little girls are?
MCCLELLAN: Well, I don‘t know, I mean...
ABRAMS: You can‘t. Yes, because that is a lot to ask, isn‘t it?
It‘s a lot to ask, to not to do that, right?
MCCLELLAN: Well, all I am telling you right now is that I am definitely not going put up any pictures that I believe would upset anyone. I mean, the only pictures I have taken here in California are just of real wide field shots.
And as for the rest of the site, I have been trying to get it back up in the last month on a Dutch host. But I don‘t know if they are going rip me off or what. It is—obviously still isn‘t up as we speak. I don‘t know. And I am listening to all the criticism that is.
ABRAMS: Jack, they are going to—somebody is going come and hurt you. I‘ve got to believe that people are going to be—you are going be trolling one of these playgrounds and there is going to be some dad who is going to come up and punch you.
MCCLELLAN: Well, I mean, if he could see me at these events, and I was at like the Orange County Fair recently a number of time this month, there were no problems. I don‘t think anyone would really know me unless, well, they saw that mug shot that has been floating around the last few days.
But other than that, I don‘t think I really stand out. I mean.
ABRAMS: Well, I think they are going to.
MCCLELLAN: I don‘t go to these things.
ABRAMS: Yes, they are going to be look for you, Jack. But look, I hope—hey you know, look, all I can say is that, I hope you stop. I hope for the sake of everybody you stop. And I hope for your sake, because I‘m telling you, it‘s going to lead to something very bad happening to you.
I just think that if you keep doing the sorts of thing that you were doing, at least before, that you are going to be in big trouble. But all right, we shall see. Jack, thank you for coming on the program.
All right. My take on the legal side of this, they are going get guys like this. Guys like this help change laws. If you post the pictures with the sexual subtext, legislators may be able to craft a specific law that prohibits detailing too much about the children.
You can outlaw putting restrictions online. You know, you can restrict online—putting, for example, how to create a bomb or the home address information about a police officer. The question is, can you do that here? Joining me now is Bethan Tuttle, who is with Mothers Against Sexual Predators, and helped drive Jack McClellan out of Seattle. And former prosecutor Paul (INAUDIBLE).
Thanks—all right. Thanks a lot for coming on the program. Bethan, do you believe him, that he is going take this down a notch?
BETHAN TUTTLE, MOTHERS AGAINST SEXUAL PREDATORS: No. No, I don‘t believe it at all. He actually said when he left Seattle that he was planning on toning it down, that he might not do it at all anymore. That he was going to be reformed. That he was accepting the criticism.
And he went to L.A. and he did pretty much the exact same thing without the photographs. He is still taking the photographs, we just don‘t know what he is doing with them now. And that doesn‘t give me any comfort at all.
ABRAMS: All right. Paul Pfingst, legally, do you agree with me that they can probably carve something out? It‘s not going to be foolproof, but they could carve something out?
PAUL PFINGST, FMR. PROSECUTOR: Actually, I tried to do that when I was district attorney of San Diego County and the legislature would not go for it. Part of the problem here is that there is this civil libertarian point of view, Dan, that says people have certain freedoms to associate with who they want to associate with. And if they have not committed a crime, then why should we tell them that they get punished?
ABRAMS: And look, I understand that there are First Amendment concerns, et cetera, but again, I would think that there is probably a way, if he is putting sexual innuendo next to the name and information about the children.
I mean, isn‘t there comparison, Paul, to be made to the laws I was talking about, for example, naming police officers where they live, et cetera, the bomb-making material?
I mean, it‘s different, but is there a comparison to be made?
PFINGST: Yes. There is a comparison to be made. Part of the problem is, of course, with the paparazzi industry in California, especially in Los Angeles where taking pictures of Tom Cruise‘s kids and other people‘s kids and they‘re putting them on US magazine and People magazine and so on.
So who is going to tell them they can‘t do that anymore? And then how do you distinguish that from this? Part of the problem is he may have civil liability, though. If he puts a road map to a certain place and says, pedophiles go here, he may be able to be sued.
ABRAMS: Bethan, I want you to take the final word on this, go ahead.
TUTTLE: But I think that one thing that we can do is, as you said earlier, is use this as a focus for change. And there are avenues for legal change that they are exploring here in Seattle, such as voyeurism laws, upskirting laws, an expectation of privacy and parents not having given permission for anyone to use their child‘s image to advocate for crimes against children.
So there are avenues that can be pursued, and we are trying hard.
ABRAMS: All right. Good luck. Bethan Tuttle, Paul Pfingst, thanks a lot, appreciate it.
TUTTLE: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Up next, residents are teed off after strippers are caught baring it all on a golf course. The question, did they break the law? We have someone who works at the strip club with us, and a local lawyer, coming up.
ABRAMS: There was more than just a good game going on at a golf course in Philadelphia yesterday. Topless strippers gave lap dances to men in golf carts in plain sight. Here is what one eyewitness told us about it last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANNE PINOSKI, GOLF ROMP WITNESS: There is a daycare center down the street, the children walk by there every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 11:00 and 3:00. They could be exposed to that at any time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Before we get into legal issues, joining me now is Bob Welker, the vice president of marketing for Club Risque, where the strippers work.
All right. Bob, thanks for coming on the program, appreciate it. All right. Why were strippers from your place at a public golf course?
BOB WELKER, CLUB RISQUE: First, thank you for having me, Dan. Secondly, we were not at a public golf course. The golf course is actually a private country club.
ABRAMS: And it is in a public place though where people are walking by on public roads where, as you heard from that last person we had on the show, were saying they could literally see everything from the street.
WELKER: Before we hold each golf outing, we play each course two to three times to see exactly what holes we can and cannot place girls at, what holes we can see the street, and what holes we can see houses from. And whichever holes you can see the street and houses from, we keep the girls away from that.
ABRAMS: But you would agree that apparently they didn‘t do a particularly good job on this occasion.
WELKER: Well, you can always see anything if you go—to the extent, you know, if you go to the extremes, you can see just about anything you ever want to see.
ABRAMS: Well, here is what the eyewitness—another comment from the eyewitness last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINOSKI: It was pretty repulsive and unnecessary and uncalled for to do that in broad daylight. Anybody could see it from I would say 25 feet away, even if you were 25 feet away, you could see everything from the street and the sidewalk.
What I saw was horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: How does this work? I mean, so, what, a group of guys hire Club Risque to send the girls out to the golf course and give them the lap dances?
WELKER: No, actually this is one of Club Risque‘s ways to kind of thank our clientele, thank our patrons. We hold the event two to three times every year, and we have held it for the past five years. Four of the past years have been at the same exact country club.
ABRAMS: Are you going try and scout out a new location?
WELKER: Most likely. We are definitely not going to stop. The only thing we do create fun and fantasy.
ABRAMS: All right. Bob Welker, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
All right. Fun and fantasy. All right. In the middle of the day on a golf course in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The question, is there a crime here? Joining us, our old friend, Ted Simon, Philadelphia defense attorney.
All right. Ted, let me read you a law from Pennsylvania here with regard—they call it indecent exposure. “A person commits indecent exposure if that person if that person exposes his or her genitals in any public place, in any place where there are present other persons under circumstances in which he or she knows or should know this conduct is likely to offend, affront, or alarm.”
It seems like this one kind of falls into that, huh?
TED SIMON, PHILADELPHIA DEFENSE ATTY.: I think it doesn‘t, but I have to tell you, it‘s really great to see you and I‘m glad you‘re back on the air.
ABRAMS: Why does it—what do you mean, it doesn‘t?
SIMON: Well, I‘ll tell you, the last part of the sentence, and I have it as well in front of me, as you might expect, look at the last part. “Under circumstances in which he or she knows or should know that this conduct is likely to offend, affront, or alarm.”
ABRAMS: Wait, you are not actually going suggest to me, and I want to put it back up on camera, that the lap dances, that you can see from the street, are not likely to offend, affront, or alarm?
SIMON: No, the question is whether or not the person who is performing the lap dance knows that it is likely to cause that type of affront. And it looks like they took precautions and to remain within.
ABRAMS: Well, wait, what are the precautions?
SIMON: Wait, wait, wait, and stay within the golf course and have their involvement with their patron or whoever their co-golfer was. Their object was not to affront people in the street. Rather it was to keep it in a private-public setting.
ABRAMS: But part of it is whether you should know that the conduct is likely to offend, affront, or alarm. I don‘t get offended or affronted that easily, or even alarmed. But if I am walking with my niece or a little kid past that, I am going be offended, affronted and alarmed.
SIMON: Right. But the question is their intent. And their intent apparently is they take precautions to keep them from view. So the question really is, did they know or should they have known.
ABRAMS: They did a great job.
SIMON: . and probably they didn‘t think they knew.
ABRAMS: The precautions, they did a really good job, huh?
SIMON: Well, you know, I am sure if you work the camera hard enough, you will be able to see anything.
ABRAMS: Yes. Ted Simon, good to have you back.
SIMON: It‘s good to see you.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the big “Winners and Losers” of the day. Paris and Nicole get the ax. These guys are going need a huge spatula. And is the pen mightier than the knife? A bunch of tools are coming your way in “Winners and Losers.”
ABRAMS (voice-over): Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 31st day of July, 2007.
Our first loser, Nicole Richie, no, not because she is reportedly pregnant and heading to the slammer following her second DUI. No, it is something far more dire. Her E! reality show, “The Simple Life,” has been cancelled after its fifth season, due to sinking ratings. Bummer.
Our first winner, her co-star, Paris Hilton. Sure, the little TV show was canceled, but the convict/heiress has used her notoriety to land a starring role in a new movie. She will have to dig deep for this one. She plays a privileged daughter set in the year 2056. So, Nicole, do not despair, you may be able to be able to parlay the prison time into a role the daughter of a famous singer.
The second winner, Iranian carpet weavers, who have woven what they say is the world‘s largest carpet. It took over 2 billion knots to complete the 60,000 square foot rug. Sure, they have the largest carpet. We have got the world‘s largest ball of twine.
The second loser, the cooks who had to whip up this 2,400-pound a pancake. Apparently it is an offering to the relatively new Indian monkey god. Sure, they have the largest pancake, but I‘ll bet we consume more IHOP than anyone.
But the big losers of the day, Indian snake charmers, who apparently used their reptiles to resolve a significant legal issues. Three times a year, they gathered to charm venomous cobras into a trance-like a dance, and then rule on all types of crimes.
The big winner of the day, the family of Ron Goldman, who may finally get some of the $30 million-plus owed to them by the most venomous of snakes around, O.J. Simpson. A judge has awarded the Goldman family rights to O.J.‘s trance-like book “If I Did It.” They plan on publishing it under the name “Confessions of a Double Murderer.”
ABRAMSN: Or are they? Joining us on the phone, again, the father of Ron Goldman, Fred Goldman, our friend, joins us now.
Fred, good to have you back on the program. All right. Is that really going to be the name of the book?
FRED GOLDMAN, FATHER OF RON GOLDMAN: No. How are you, Dan? No, it won‘t. It will be something else, but I‘m not sure what yet.
ABRAMS: But you‘re going to change the name, right? You‘re not going to...
ABRAMS: You‘re not going to keep it “If I Did It”?
GOLDMAN: Absolutely, we will change it.
ABRAMS: You got any names in mind, any possibilities?
GOLDMAN: No. No. You know what, we want to turn it into something as positive as we can, make certain that we honor Ron and Nicole‘s memory, and do something of a positive nature with it. Using his own words, turn it against him, so to speak.
ABRAMS: Fred, what do you say to those who say, you know, what are you doing selling—you know, why you would want out there sold his presumed confession?
GOLDMAN: Well, the bottom line is, we had to chase an asset. That was the asset. And we went after it and we won it.
ABRAMS: And how much does he still owe you?
GOLDMAN: Oh hell, in a round numbers, $40 million.
ABRAMS: And none of—you have not seen any of that yourself?
GOLDMAN: No, he is never going to do it willingly.
ABRAMS: And you are still chasing him, though, right, in other arenas?
GOLDMAN: Absolutely. And we will always do so.
ABRAMS: Yes. Fred, how are you doing?
GOLDMAN: I am doing fine.
GOLDMAN: Yes. We are doing fine.
ABRAMS: Does this whole thing—is this kind of a bad—kind of happy to put this particular episode.
GOLDMAN: You know what, Dan? It will always be there, and we will always chase him.
ABRAMS: All right. All right, Fred, well, look, we‘re glad you won this. We‘re glad you can put this behind you. Thanks a lot.
GOLDMAN: Thank you, Dan. Good to talk to you.
ABRAMS: You too.
ABRAMS: All right. O.J., you know, you know, I like the snake
reference. I think it was appropriate, you know? The snake charmers and
O.J.? He is the ultimate snake. That is all the time we have got for tonight.
We have got a big “Doc Block” up next. Tape, “Return to Valley State,” five years after our first visit, “Lockup” takes you back to the largest women‘s prison in the world.
Don‘t forget, Joe Scarborough tomorrow morning, 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. on “Morning Joe.” For all those of you who miss him here at 9:00 to 10:00, make sure you watch him in the morning. Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow.
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