Guests: Jeff Gooddell, Jon Leiberman, Adrienne Supino, Cameron Smyth
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: At this hour, hundreds of rescuers who thought they were just feet away from six Utah miners trapped underground have endured a major setback inside a collapsed coal mine, rescue teams frantically drilling towards them in four different directions. In the past hour, authorities provided an update, saying they know exactly where the men are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They ran into impassible conditions right here. They ran into impassible conditions here and here, and actually were driven out of here. And none of them were injured. So that the condition we have and the falls that occurred while they were in there—everybody got out safely. There‘s one more thing we can do, and that‘s break this seal here, and we are examining that now to come down this entry and try to get over here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: No contact has been made with the minors since the collapse occurred at 3:00 AM today. It shook the ground so ferociously, it was first believed to have been an earthquake. Mine officials estimate that the six men should have enough water and oxygen to survive for 48 hours.
Let‘s check in with Sam Penrod from our Salt Lake City affiliate, KSL, who‘s at the mine. Sam, thanks for taking the time. All right. Sam, it sure sounds like, when you hear the authorities talking about this case, that they have immense confidence that these men are alive.
SAM PENROD, KSL-TV: They do. They are hoping that they will be able to get to them, but unfortunately, as you said, there is some disappointing news. There‘s been a setback because that attempt that they were going to do to go through the mine entrance and to tunnel through to get to the miners has apparently failed because there is too much debris.
But they have three other methods that they are using by drilling down, but that is going to take time—they‘re guessing at least another two to three days. But they do believe that if these miners were not crushed in the collapse that they do have enough air. They would have enough water to be a able to survive until the rescue teams could get to them.
They are trapped, essentially, 3.5 miles into the earth from the mine‘s entrance, and then a depth of another 1,500 feet. And so there‘s just a huge amount of excavation of the coal mine that has to take place to get to where the miners are. There are confident they know where they are, but they have no idea what their condition is. Still, though, they say they are optimistic that they will be able to rescue them alive if they haven‘t been hurt already.
ABRAMS: Sam, is there anything about the location of where this occurred? Is there anything about what other people who were in the mine have said? Is there anything that is giving them that extra hope that says, Yes, this was a major collapse, but we are still extremely confident that they survived because of—something?
PENROD: Well, they are because the mine‘s collapsed, and if they weren‘t crushed, they‘re only trapped. There‘s no fire in the mine. The gas in this mine apparently is relatively low compared to other mines, so they‘re not concerned about that as much. And so that‘s what gives them some hope. There were four other miners that were in a different part of the mine. They were able to get out. But they could only see that the pathway into the mine had collapsed and that there was no way for the other six, who were deeper into the mine, to be able to escape.
ABRAMS: All right, Sam, thanks a lot for coming on. We appreciate it.
Let‘s bring in Jeff Goodell, author of “Big Coal.” Thanks a lot for taking the time. All right. This type of mining that they were doing, Jeff, probably the most dangerous type of mining you can do, right?
JEFF GOODELL, AUTHOR, “BIG COAL”: Yes, I mean, they were doing what‘s called retreat mining, which is when you go into a coal mine and you get to the end of the coal seam or as far as you can go—you know, coal mines don‘t have timbers that hold up the mines anymore. What they use is they actually leave large pillars of coal in the mine. And then as they begin to come out, they take those pillars out, and they essentially have—undergo what‘s called a kind of controlled collapse. And it‘s a kind of—it‘s kind of cowboy mining, really, this operation, and it‘s by far the most difficult and dangerous of all the operations they do underground.
ABRAMS: What do you make of the fact that this first effort has failed to some degree, that they thought they were going to be able to come in in a particular direction, in a particular method, and it has not ended up being as successful as they‘d hoped?
GOODELL: Well, I mean, I hate to say this, but I think it‘s very significant because if they can‘t get through one of these old entries, one of the—essentially, one of the old tunnels from the—that they had—from the closed-up mining from before, to get access to where believe these guys are trapped—if they have to do the drilling, if that‘s the way they‘re going to get them out, that is really, really a tough process.
I think a lot of viewers probably remember the Quecreek mine rescue, when they had those nine guys trapped for 77 hours, and they only had to go 200 feet, a little over 200 -- I think 240 feet, and that took three days. And so when you have these kinds of distances, it‘s really tough.
ABRAMS: Wow. All right. Jeff Goodell, thanks a lot for taking the time. Appreciate it.
GOODELL: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Now to another different kind of search, this one for Madeleine McCann, the 4-year-old girl kidnapped from her parents‘ hotel room more than three months ago. Police are following some big leads tonight, the first that there may have been have an accomplice in the kidnapping, according to a London paper, and the second a possible sighting of the girl in Belgium.
NBC‘s Janet Shamlian has the details from London.
JANET SHAMLIAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Europe, she‘s a household name. Her picture is plastered everywhere, and yet the 4-year-old Madeleine McCann is still missing after disappearing from her family‘s Portugal hotel room in May. As her anguished parents mark three months since her kidnapping, a reported sighting in Belgium. A witness police consider credible says she‘s certain she saw Madeleine with a couple at this roadside cafe near the Dutch border. Investigators have released this sketch of the man. The witness asked not to be identified.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw a family, a man, and a woman, and a child who looked very much like the missing girl, Madeleine McCann. I thought they all behaved strangely. I tried to observe everything. And I asked the waitress what language they spoke. The woman spoke English, and the man spoke Dutch.
SHAMLIAN (on camera): But was it really Madeleine? The witness had the presence of mind to grab the milkshake bottle and the straw the girl left behind. Police are now testing it for DNA.
KATJA VAN DOREN, BELGIAN PROSECUTOR‘S OFFICE: The police already investigated a lot of things, and we didn‘t have any concrete results. That‘s why we think—we asked the witness to make a picture of the man she saw.
SHAMLIAN: In Portugal, investigators again searched the home of the only suspect, a man who lives close to where the family vacationed.
The case has captivated a continent. The pope offered a personal blessing. Prince Charles sent prayers. And the Findmadeleine.com Web site has topped a bill hits. Meanwhile, her parents hold onto what they can‘t afford to lose, the hope that Madeleine is coming home.
Janet Shamlian, NBC News, London.
ABRAMS: As we mentioned earlier, police had been secretly following a second possible suspect who has ties to the first one, Robert Murat. Over the weekend, authorities searched Murat‘s home again and found what they said is significant information in the garden.
Jon Leiberman of “America‘s Most Wanted” joins us to discuss this case. All right, Jon, thanks for joining us. All right. What to make of this latest information that they may or—may have found in this garden?
JON LEIBERMAN, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”: Well, the garden information is interesting, and what‘s also interesting is the fact that police have been using video surveillance on a second suspect for some time now. In the very beginning, police did tell us that they did believe that whoever kidnapped little Madeleine did not act alone, that they probably couldn‘t have gotten her out of the villa by themselves. So now the fact that it‘s come to light that they have been following a second suspect is very significant.
As you mentioned, they did find something in Robert Murat, the only suspect here—in his garden. However, we‘re being told tonight it‘s not enough to charge him with any crimes in connection with Madeleine‘s disappearance at this point.
ABRAMS: Really interesting, Jon, that they have taken, what, the milkshake that this girl who was drinking it at a restaurant—had been drinking, and now they‘re testing it for DNA?
LEIBERMAN: Here‘s why it‘s so important, Dan, and not a lot of people have talked about this. There were two other sightings of little Madeleine in Belgium, so the fact that now they have a third sighting—the other two sightings where about a month ago. The fact that they now have another sighting from somebody they call a credible witness—this woman is a child psychologist. She knows a lot about behavior. She says the little girl was acting strangely, acted like she didn‘t belong with this couple—and now the fact that they can actually get DNA off of this milkshake bottle—we may know in the next couple of days whether that little bottle belonged to Madeleine McCann or not. And if it did, it puts this investigation into high speed.
ABRAMS: Well, and one other detail that you at “America‘s Most Wanted” are very familiar with, and that is a sketch, right?
LEIBERMAN: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I mean, you know, you‘ve got to look at this and this, This is how cases get solved, by heads-up people out there who see something out of the ordinary. That‘s how we‘ve been catching fugitives for years. And if this does turn out to be the lead that breaks this case, it will be amazing.
ABRAMS: Yes. Jon Leiberman, thanks a lot, as always. Appreciate it.
LEIBERMAN: Sure, Dan.
ABRAMS: Now to a horrifying story out of Newark, New Jersey, where four young friends out listening to music this weekend were viciously and methodically executed behind an elementary school, three of them led down an alley, lined up against a wall, forced to kneel, and then one by one shot in the back of the head. Three were college students at Delaware State University, one planning to enroll this fall. All were considered some of the best and brightest in the community, one even an ordained minister. Family members beside themselves with grief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYMEE WADE, VICTIM‘S AUNT: He was going to make it. He as going to make it out of the city of Newark. This was his dream (INAUDIBLE) college. He didn‘t deserve to die like this!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Adrienne Supino is with New Jersey Network News out of Newark. Adrienne, thanks for joining us. So they really believe this was a totally random murder?
ADRIENNE SUPINO, NEW JERSEY NETWORK NEWS: Absolutely, Dan. Authorities say these were nice kids. They were hanging out. They were listening to music in a grammar school parking lot at about 12:00 o‘clock on Saturday night. And they were approached by a group of men. Authorities believe it could be as many as five. And they are scared. We know this because cell phone records show that they began, the victims, texting each other. They‘re text-messaging each other and saying, Let‘s get out of here. But before they could, the first young woman is attacked. She is shot in the head.
ABRAMS: Well, let‘s talk about that, Adrienne. So the first—the first victim, right, is shot, and then the other three are at a separate time?
SUPINO: After the first woman is shot, Dan, the other three are forced up against the wall, onto their knees, Dan, and then executed at close range in the head, shot.
ABRAMS: Now, there‘s some speculation that this could be some sort of gang initiation? Again, because as you point out, the authorities are saying again and again they do not believe that these guys knew the people who shot them, right?
SUPINO: Absolutely. Authorities were very clear today in saying that the victims did not know their attackers. But they‘re not ruling out, police, the possibility that this was gang-related, that it could be some type of gang initiation, even.
ABRAMS: And there‘s one survivor? What is she—she‘s the key witness.
SUPINO: Yes. Remarkably, Dan, the first woman who was shot, she was shot in the year, and the bullet actually exited her face and she was able to survive. She‘s in stable condition at a hospital in Newark. Her younger brother was not so fortunate. He died in the attack. And authorities are actually questioning here. They were able to talk with her today, and she was in and out of consciousness, but she is very aware of what happened and they say they were able to get some good leads from her.
ABRAMS: And real quick, Adrienne, at this time, though, no known suspects?
SUPINO: No known suspects. In fact, community groups are pouring in donations. There‘s now—the reward for any information that would lead to an arrest is—up above $50,000. And there‘s one other thing, Dan. There is a surveillance camera in play here. There could have been a surveillance camera at that elementary school, and that could certainly provide some information to authorities.
ABRAMS: Yes, that could be crucial. All right, Adrienne Supino, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
SUPINO: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: If you‘ve got any information on the case, please call Newark Crimestoppers, 877-695-8477.
Still ahead, an update on a story we brought you last week.
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.
JACK MCCLELLAN, SELF-PROCLAIMED PEDOPHILE: Well, I don‘t know.
ABRAMS: Finally, the law‘s stepping in to try to stop this self-proclaimed pedophile blogger who runs a Web site on how to troll for little kids. A judge has ordered him to stay away from all children in the state of California.
And later, more controversy surrounding the Michael Vick case, a reporter now under fire for suggesting the NFL star would be in less trouble if he were accused of rape instead of dog fighting. Sure, it‘s controversial, but he may actually have a point.
ABRAMS: A self-proclaimed pedophile‘s blogger Jack McClellan has been ordered to stay at least 30 feet away from anyone under the age of 18 in the state of California. The court order came shortly after he appeared on this show.
ABRAMS: You can understand, can‘t you, that you‘re every parent‘s worst nightmare?
JACK MCCLELLAN, SELF-PROCLAIMED PEDOPHILE: Yes, I‘ve—and I‘m listening to all this criticism and anger that‘s especially come down in the last few months, and I‘ve taken everything into account. And I hope to eventually tailor the site to where—where it isn‘t generating so much hysteria.
ABRAMS: All right, Jack, look, you‘re scaring a lot of people out there. I think you know that, right? I mean, you‘re scaring a lot of parents to death. YOU got to stop. And you‘re committing to us that you‘re going to stop, right? You‘re not going to go photograph. You‘re not going to go 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 moving forward here, you‘re not going to do this anymore, right?
MCCLELLAN: Well, I don‘t know. I mean...
ABRAMS: You can‘t—yes, because that‘s a lot to ask, isn‘t it.
It‘s a lot to ask you not to do that, right?
MCCLELLAN: Well, all I‘m telling you right now is that I‘m definitely not going to put up any pictures that I believe would upset anyone. I mean, the only pictures I‘ve taken here in California just are real wide-field shots and...
ABRAMS: Jack, they‘re going to—somebody‘s going to come and hurt you. I mean, I‘ve got to believe that people are going to—you‘re going to be trolling one of these playgrounds, and there‘s going to be some dad who‘s going to come up and punch you.
MCCLELLAN: Well, I mean, if you could see me at these events and—and I was at, like, the Orange County fair recently, a number of times this month. There were no problems. I don‘t think anyone would really know me unless, well, they saw that mug shot that‘s been floating around the last few days, but other than that, I don‘t think I really stand out.
ABRAMS: It‘s so reassuring that he made it to the Orange County fair and everything was OK. The restraining order keeps McClellan away. He can still blog, though, about young girls, including names, pictures, where to find them. But maybe not for long. California lawmakers are in the process of drafting legislation to try to stop it. Can they really, though, get it done?
Joining us now is Assemblyman Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita, California. Assemblyman, thanks a lot for coming in. Appreciate it.
CAMERON SMYTH, CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLYMAN: Thank you. Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right, let me read a portion of your proposed legislation. “Surrogate stalking will be defined as any person who publishes information, including photographs, about the physical appearance of children and locations of children with the intent that the information is used to commit a crime against the child.”
Now, the problem is that this guy would say, Hey, I‘m not trying to get people to commit a crime against a child, I‘m just trying to get them to appreciate the child.
SMYTH: Right. You know, the penal code already says, though, that if you put children or if you willingly or knowingly, you know, do an action that puts children in risk or physical or emotional distress, you‘re already committing a crime. What the law says, it restricts that now to those who are in care or custody of a child. This bill would just expand the penal code into the surrogate stalker provision that we‘re putting in because, certainly, Mr. McClellan knows that those who are reading his blog, looking at to his Web site—you know—you know, while he may claim he hasn‘t done anything, the hundreds of pedophiles that are looking at his blog are looking at kids as potential victims.
ABRAMS: But how do you distinguish between a pervert like him and someone who‘s just putting up pictures of their family on the Internet? Because he‘s saying, I‘m not putting it up so people commit a crime. And the people who are putting up pictures of kids, you know, just putting up their own family Web site or whatever, are saying, We‘re not doing it, either. How do you distinguish that?
SMYTH: Right. And that‘s where we believe our legislation‘s very surgical. We‘re not taking an overly broad approach. We‘re working with our legislative counsel, as well as attorneys on the outside, so we can draft this in such a way that...
ABRAMS: But how do you do it? I mean, how do you distinguish?
SMYTH: Well, I think by doing the surrogate stalker provision that we‘re using, that by putting pictures of these kids or descriptions of children and locations where it is designed strictly for the use of pedophiles, which is his audience, you know, that is what distinguishes it from a—a—you know, Photoshop or an AYSO (ph) league that puts pictures up of kids playing in a park. You know, the intent of his blog and his Web sites, you know, that really separates him from the others.
ABRAMS: Well, this is him. I want to play another piece of sound here. He‘s claiming he learned some lessons from this. Here‘s what he said.
MCCLELLAN: I want to point out and make this clear—I haven‘t put any pictures up in the California incarnation of the site, and I don‘t know if I‘m going to. So I kind of...
ABRAMS: Now, you‘re not going to because you‘ve learned a lesson here?
MCCLELLAN: Yes. In essence, yes. I‘ve listened to all the criticism, the outrage about the photographs, and I definitely—I want to make this clear. I‘m definitely not going to go to these event 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‘m not doing that anymore at all.
ABRAMS: Oh, so some—oh, all right, so you‘re good, right?
SMYTH: I‘d like him to try to make that justification to my wife and all the other moms out there and see if that makes everybody feel better.
ABRAMS: Yes. The legislation‘s moving (INAUDIBLE)
SMYTH: Right. Right.
ABRAMS: Assemblyman, thanks a lot for taking the time.
SMYTH: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Appreciate it. Good luck with the legislation.
Coming up: Another firestorm in the Michael Vick case. Now a sports columnist in big trouble for saying the NFL star would be in less trouble if he was accused of rape rather than dog fighting. But what is—what if it‘s true that abusing a woman may be more accepted by many in the sports world? We‘ll debate.
Plus, why a reporter was slammed, literally, while trying to get to the bottom of a big story. “Beat the Press” is 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: We beat the press on a daily basis, but not literally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh!
ABRAMS: Azteca America reporter Alicia Unger was trying to ask questions of embattled Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa when she was shoved hard by a Port of Los Angeles police officer against a steel shipping container. A spokesman for the port police said the agency will launch an internal investigation into the officer‘s—ouch! -- actions.
Next up: The Internet starlet “Obama Girl” put the spotlight on Senator Barack Obama‘s physique with the YouTube hit “I Got a Crush on Obama.” But who knew it would lead journalists and pundits around the country to use the exact same word when describing the fit Illinois senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that foreign policy, he‘s trying to be very muscular, maybe too muscular.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a muscular speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously a very muscular, aggressive...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... muscular speech on terrorism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s just time for this kind of muscular speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Come on! This guy‘s fit, he‘s no Schwarzenegger. I mean, come on.
Finally, on Friday‘s “Today” show, Meredith Vieira introduced us to a child prodigy, Jan Silva (ph), a 5-year-old tennis star. As you watch this, remember, he‘s still just 5.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH VIEIRA, “TODAY”: Jan, you may have met your match in me.
I‘m not sure. I‘ll be very gentle, OK? Oh! Sorry. Here‘s one—
(INAUDIBLE) I‘m going to call it quits, Jan. Oh! One more. Here you go.
Do you want to hit it to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Oh!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The kid was a great (INAUDIBLE) . If the kid was actually hurt, I wouldn‘t be laughing. (INAUDIBLE) Sure he‘s going to be an incredible tennis player, too.
Up next, an update on the six coal miners trapped in Utah tonight. We‘ll have the latest on the rescue operation there. Plus, a sports columnist kicked off television for saying NFL star Michael Vick would be in less trouble if he was accused of rape instead of dog fighting. Controversial? Sure. But doesn‘t he have a point? We‘ll debate, up next.
ABRAMS: Coming up, new information about the backgrounds of the thugs accused in that brutal Connecticut home invasion, and it‘s leading to new questions about how the parole board ever let them out. More on that in just a minute.
But first, controversy tonight surrounding NFL star Michael Vick and the dogfighting charges. Last week, I took on the NAACP for defending the quarterback, indicted on charges of hanging, shooting, and even electrocuting dogs to death. But now, new outrage.
Pittsburgh sports reporter Paul Zeise was banned as a regular on a TV show for saying this. “It‘s really a sad day in this country when somehow Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry of what happened. Had he done that, he probably would have been suspended for four games and he‘d be back on the field.” His newspaper, “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” issued an apology for his insensitive and offensive remarks.
My take. Is it his comments that are offensive or the reality of players who get slaps on the wrist when it comes to crimes against women? Considering the disgusting behavior that a number of NFL players have exhibited against women and the inconsistent punishments for their crimes, Zeise may not be that far off.
Convicted NFL wife beater Michael Pittman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got suspended for just three games after intentionally ramming his vehicle into a car carrying his wife and 2-year-old son. The Miami Dolphins picked up player Lamar Thomas in ‘96 after he had just served 10 days in jail for shoving his pregnant fiancee‘s head through a window. The Tennessee Titans‘ Samari Rolle left his wife needing stitches above her eye in 2005. The NFL fined him his salary for one game.
Those are just a few of the examples. So the question: Was Zeise really that far off? Does he deserve this sort of public lashing for inartfully stating what appears to be true? Here now with us is victim‘s rights attorney Gloria Allred, Mike Bianchi, sports columnist for the “Orlando Sentinel,” and psychologist Jeff Gardere.
Thanks to all of you for coming on. Appreciate it.
JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right, Mike, let me start with you. This question, instead of dogfighting, Vick‘s girlfriend had bruises on her face, and he was accused of repeatedly punching her, would we be seeing this sort of outcry that we‘ve seen in this case?
MIKE BIANCHI, “ORLANDO SENTINEL”: No, I don‘t think so at all. You know, I think the rape example is a bit overstated, but there are literally dozens of professional athletes in the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, who have been convicted of domestic abuse and spousal abuse, and they go right on playing. So I understand what the sportswriter in Pittsburgh was getting at, although it was probably a bit clumsily relayed.
ABRAMS: Gloria, look, he shouldn‘t have said it the way he said it, right, but the bottom line is, he‘s making a point that‘s saying—look, women, I mean, you are a women‘s rights advocate. You should be, I think, defending this guy and saying, “Hey, maybe he shouldn‘t have said it the way he said it, but the point he is making is right on.”
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, yes and no, Dan, because I do agree that it was inartful. I do agree that nobody should say that somebody would be better off raping a woman. Certainly a woman is not better off being raped.
ABRAMS: No, but he‘s making a point that you should be supporting. The point that he‘s trying to make is he‘d be better off, because of the way that violence against women is treated in the NFL, he‘d be better off than with these dogfighting charges. And I think as a result, women‘s groups should be behind this guy, saying, “You know what? He‘s right. Women are not being treated well by the NFL.”
ALLRED: Well, there‘s no way we‘re going to be behind someone who says that a woman is better off being raped or that a man is better off if he rapes a woman than doing something else. I do think that the point that you made, that the NFL is engaging in a double standard, is an important one.
In other words, they immediately suspend someone who is accused of terrible crimes against animals, and yet, when domestic violence is alleged, or spousal abuse, or violence against a woman, often a player is not only not suspended, he‘s allowed to continue to play with no consequence, even if convicted.
ABRAMS: Dr. Gardere, I think that part of this stems from what happens when, you know, women make accusations against men, people say, “Oh, well, we don‘t know all the facts.” Or even if they walk out with bruises on their faces, if they‘re beaten to heck, people still say, “Well, you know, I don‘t know what they did to lead to that, et cetera.” When it comes to dogs, they say—and rightly about dogs—they are pure innocents. But I am concerned about what that says about how we‘re treating violence against women.
GARDERE: Well, certainly, we know that there‘s a real prejudice when it comes to domestic violence cases. Sometimes we believe that these women are in a cycle of violence, and they go from one domestic violence-type of situation to another, or that, in some ways, they‘re responsible for what‘s happening to them.
And so now, when you compare it to what‘s going on with the allegations against Michael Vick and the dogfighting, we‘re talking about animals that are defenseless. But I think what this writer is saying—and I think he did it in the wrong way, even though the point is a good point—I think he‘s saying that the dogfighting allegations should be lessened or we shouldn‘t make such a big deal about it. I don‘t really think he‘s pushing the agenda that domestic violence really needs to be paid attention to in professional sports.
ABRAMS: Right. And, look, if that‘s the point—and, Mike, I‘ll let you weigh in on this—but if that‘s the point he‘s making—look, I was the guy that was going after the NAACP last week on the show when they were sort of defending Vick, sort of pooh-poohing the allegations against him, because this is serious stuff. I‘m just saying, I don‘t get why there is this major backlash against him when I would think that a lot of people who are probably going after him ultimately agree with what he‘s saying. Mike?
BIANCHI: Yes, what I took out of what he said is he‘s not saying that the dogfighting is OK. He‘s saying that, hey, we should be putting more attention on what‘s going on with domestic violence. Domestic violence is a huge problem in professional sports.
And if you want to take it a step further, go to the Kobe Bryant case. Kobe Bryant was accused of rape, and the NBA did not cast him aside like the NFL has sort of cast Michael Vick aside, so there is a bit of a comparison there.
ABRAMS: Well, what about that, Gloria Allred?
ALLRED: Well, you know, I think that‘s an interesting point. And therefore, the NBA and the NFL, Dan, have a lot of ‘splaining to do, as they say in certain parts of the country. Because after all, they can‘t say, “Well, everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” and then let Michael Vick be suspended and let others play who are accused of domestic violence. What is their policy? What is their practice?
ABRAMS: Isn‘t the problem that, in some cases, particularly when it comes to sexual assault cases, the evidence isn‘t as clear, it becomes, “He said, she said”? Here we have objective evidence that we know if in the context of the Vick case, which is dead dogs, dogs found at the home, equipment that was found with blood on it, et cetera. In the Kobe Bryant case, for example, the claim was, well, wait a sec, this was consensual sex. So you didn‘t know that there was necessarily a crime committed until the trial. Here you could make the—you could draw the conclusion that we know that something happen. The question is whether Michael Vick knew about it.
ALLRED: The question is whether a crime was committed, as well, and that‘s the purpose of trial. And, Dan, you‘ve covered many, many trials, and so, therefore, the NFL is going to have to decide, are we going to wait until a trial to see if someone is convicted before we suspend them? Or are we going to suspend everybody, no matter what the crime, and no matter the victim, whether it‘s a dog, a woman, a child, before the trial?
ABRAMS: And in this case, the NFL has come forward and said that they don‘t want him to come to training camp for now. But, Doctor, I‘m just going to give you the final word on this. It just seems to me that there‘s just a difference in the way, when a public hears about beating up a dog, there is no defense. I‘m afraid that what people are saying is, when it comes to beating up a woman, there may be an explanation.
GARDERE: I think you‘re right on. And this is certainly a double standard that‘s been going on for too long. Look, both of these acts are heinous, whether it‘s cruelty to animals, cruelty to people. The bottom line is, we‘re talking about violence. Someone who‘d be involved in dogfighting is certainly, perhaps, the same kind of person who would be involved as far as violence against people. That‘s the bottom line.
ABRAMS: And I don‘t want to start drawing those conclusions about Michael Vick, but, you know, I think this guy is getting too much of a public lashing. I think that was Ricky Ricardo, “‘splaining.”
ALLRED: That‘s possible.
ABRAMS: I think that was Ricky Ricardo.
ALLRED: I don‘t think it was Dan Abrams.
ABRAMS: No, no.
ABRAMS: Gloria, good to see you.
ALLRED: You, too.
ABRAMS: Mike Bianchi and Dr. Gardere, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
GARDERE: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Still ahead, new details in the case of a Connecticut family brutally killed in the home invasion. The Connecticut parole board continues to stand by its decision to release the suspects.
And later, an exotic dancer who performs an usual act: CPR. We‘ll talk to the stripper who may have saved her client‘s life, coming up.
ABRAMS: New information tonight about the suspects in that horrific home invasion case out of a small town in Connecticut where all but one member of the family was killed. The mother allegedly forced by one of the suspects to go to a bank to withdraw money and raped, along with her youngest daughter. The father badly beaten with a baseball bat, their home set on fire.
Just released parole documents suggest both the suspects were addicted to drugs, including cocaine and crystal meth. The older suspect, a career criminal, has a long history of parole failure. The last time he successfully finished a community release program, 20 years ago.
My take. It‘s obvious after reading these newly released documents that the parole board here blew it. They didn‘t get crucial documents for Joshua Komisarjevsky before approving his parole, including a transcript of his sentencing hearing where a judge called him a, quote, “cold, calculating predator,” and his own attorney said he was, quote, “bizarre and erratic.”
And even though Steven Hayes had violated the conditions of his parole by doing cocaine and was sent back to prison, he didn‘t have to wait long to get out again, just five months. Tomorrow, both suspects are scheduled to be arraigned in court, but tonight, as the parole board stands by its decision, it is fair to ask, as some in the community are, should all the members of this parole board resign as a result of these new revelations?
But first let‘s deal with the facts, so we‘re joined by Lynne Tuohy, the “Hartford Courant‘s” Supreme Court reporter, who has read all of the documents.
Lynne, thanks very much for coming on. We appreciate it.
LYNNE TUOHY, “HARTFORD COURANT”: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: All right, let me ask you, what struck you most about these latest documents that you‘ve just gotten a chance to look at with regards to these two suspects?
TUOHY: Well, Dan, the first thing that jumped out at me is that these guys were serious drug addicts. We‘re not talking recreational drugs. Joshua Komisarjevsky told corrections counselors that he would break into upscale homes to feed his addiction to crystal meth. Steve Hayes, likewise, broke into cars, homes to feed a crack addiction. You know, these are serious drugs that are adrenaline-pumping drugs, and both of them had real problems with addiction. So they were problem guys to start with.
Another thing, as you mentioned, is, you know, Steve Hayes has an abysmal record when released to the community or on parole. He has had five unsuccessful releases. His last successful release to the community, where he actually succeeded in finishing out his parole status, was back in 1987, two decades ago. And even as recently as this parole that he‘s on, when he was in a halfway house, knowing full well he was going to have his urine tested regularly, he came back from a weekend furlough in November with dirty urine. He had been out there doing crack again.
ABRAMS: Well, let me ask you this. So, you know, there have been a couple of op-ed pieces calling for the parole board to resign, the parole board members to resign. And, look, and I understand that, when you‘re on a parole board, you‘re in a tough position. You‘re always going to be the one who‘s going to get blamed ultimately when a bad decision is made.
But with that said, you know, there is going to be some sort of accountability here. There‘s no question that mistakes were made. I‘m not necessarily saying that they should be, you know, vilified and stoned in the town square for letting this happen, but the bottom line is, shouldn‘t they, just to appease the community, step down and say, “You know what? It‘s better for everyone if we just get a new parole board.”
TUOHY: Dan, these parole board members are per diems. They‘re not really full-time positions. They serve sort of as need exists. And one thing to be said in their defense is, you go through these documents—now, some documents were withheld from us. We don‘t have mental health records. We don‘t have NCIC reports on arrests that may not have led to prosecutions. But when you go through these papers, what‘s clear is that neither of these guys had a history of sexual violence, neither had a history violence at all in the commission of their crimes.
Now, one thing that was missing from Komisarjevsky‘s parole record that should have been there by law is that transcript that you mentioned of the judge calling him a calculated predator. You know, and had the board had that, they might have done a double take, because home invasion is just one of those things—you know, it hits us all viscerally. But, you know, that judge hit it on the head when he said—you know, basically he said each of these burglaries was a mini-home invasion.
ABRAMS: All right, let me do this. Lynne, thanks very much. Look, you‘ve been very thorough in this story. I appreciate you taking the time.
Let me quickly bring in former Connecticut prosecutor, MSNBC senior legal analyst Susan Filan. Susan, as you talk, I‘m going to ask our producers to put up the family, because I just don‘t want that to get lost in the context of this conversation.
SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Right, that‘s right.
ABRAMS: And I don‘t want it to just keep being these two guys. So, Susan, what‘s the bottom line here? Some people in the community are saying, “Time for a new parole board.” What‘s your take on it?
FILAN: Well, look, these two guys were obviously ticking time bombs and it was just a question of time before they went off. The thing about switching the whole parole board out now when you‘ve got this public outcry is that maybe this is the time to keep them, for the simple reason that they are going to be so careful now. Can you imagine them not doing a thorough, careful review...
ABRAMS: Is it unfair? Is it unfair, Susan? Is it unfair? Because I always hate this, when everyone sort of piles onto people. You know, as Lynne points out, these are very low-paying jobs. They‘re doing it on a daily basis.
FILAN: I don‘t care about that. Don‘t do it for the money. If it‘s too little money, don‘t do it. Do it, or do it right.
ABRAMS: All right, so are you saying that they should all be gone?
You seem to be saying that they shouldn‘t.
FILAN: No, I‘m not saying that. I‘m saying there‘s two sides to that.
ABRAMS: I understand there are two sides to it. I‘m asking you what you think should happen.
FILAN: Well, I want to read this stuff. I‘m going to get it tomorrow morning. I‘m going to read every page of it, like Lynne does. And if I can say this about Lynne, she is truly one of the great journalists. She really, really is, and it‘s a pleasure to be on this panel with her. But, look, these guys are ticking time bombs. I think the parole board blew it. I think it‘s an outrage that they were let out. I just don‘t know whether I think they should all be gone in a split-second.
ABRAMS: Fair. Fair enough, Susan, and that‘s why we like you, because you‘re always straight, and you‘re always honest, and, you know, I don‘t want to make you pick a side if you don‘t feel that you have enough information. We‘ll get those to you, make sure you can read them, and we‘ll get back to them. Susan Filan, Lynne Tuohy, thanks a lot, appreciate it.
FILAN: Night, Dan.
ABRAMS: Up next, will today‘s big winner be a race car driver who walked away from a dangerous crash, Barry Bonds who may run away with baseball‘s homerun record, or a stripper who found a way to save her client‘s life? Tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” are next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS (voice-over): Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 6th day of August, 2007.
Our first winner, race car driver Dario Franchitti who miraculously walked away unscathed from a seven-car crash in Michigan this weekend. The Indy 500 winner was leading when his wheels touched those of another driver, his car then smashed into others after going airborne.
Our first loser, Amanda Lynn Bailey, an even more reckless driver who appeared smashed when she was pulled over for a DUI wearing a shirt that read, “I‘m Not an Alcoholic, I‘m Drunk. Alcoholics Go to Meetings.” Unlike the professional driver, this 41-year-old probably won‘t walk away unscathed. That t-shirt is in her mug shot.
The second winner, a Croatian man who set the world record for the highest champagne glass pyramid, 8,500 of them. It took 18 hours of precise piling to shatter the previous record.
The second loser, Walter Dukas (ph), who may have set the record for the world‘s worse neighbor. He allegedly had kept a not-so-precise 16-foot pile of manure outside his house. He‘s now been threatened with jail time, which might lead the neighbors to toast with a couple of those Croatian champagne glasses.
But the big loser of the day, Barry Bonds, now a step closer to stripping Hank Aaron of the career homerun record. He tied it this weekend, but his triumph will only revive questions about drug use in baseball and temper his status as a true sports hero.
But the big winner of the day, Karnesha Nantz, a stripper who revisited a private customer at his home after he passed out. She performed CPR until the cops arrived. Her triumph also tempered by allegations of drug use. Apparently some were found at the scene. But if, like in baseball, it‘s all about keeping the fans happy, she‘s a winner. The customer, Daniel Karpinski, is calling her a hero.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joining us now on the phone is the heroic exotic dancer herself, Karnesha Nantz. Thanks a lot for taking the time. We appreciate it. All right, so tell me what happened. So you‘re giving him an exotic dance and then what?
KARNESHA NANTZ, EXOTIC DANCER: Well, basically, I was giving him a dance, and I was turned in the opposite direction, facing forward towards his television, and as I was dancing I was talking to him, and I didn‘t get a response right away. And I think I said something along the lines of, “Do you like that, Daddy?” And he didn‘t respond again.
So I turned around and faced him, and then I screamed his name, and he didn‘t respond, so I started smacking him up on his head, saying, “Get up, get up, get up.” And this time I assumed that he was sleeping, that he‘d fallen asleep on me. And then I started shaking him again, and shaking him, pulling on his ears, and nothing worked. And then I started shaking him a little more, and then his body just fell over limp, completely limp. It was like his body was lifeless.
ABRAMS: And then you performed CPR on him?
NANTZ: Yes. And I called 911. And I was going to start the CPR on the couch, and they said, “No, no, no, pull him to the floor.” So I couldn‘t have done it without that 9/11 operator. So I pulled him on the floor, and he was a very heavy guy. So it took a lot of strength to pull him down. I had to put him completely on his back, tilt his head, pinch his nose, and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I did about three cycle of that, along with pumping his chest, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, up to 10...
ABRAMS: And it worked. It worked. I think the lesson here is, if you don‘t get a response to, “Do you like that, Daddy?” you know there‘s trouble. Karnesha, thanks a lot.
Have a good night.
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