Guests: Dave Forster, Lt. Jeff Duhamell, Homer Hickam, Le Templar
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Tonight: NFL star Michael Vick agrees to plead guilty to dog fighting charges that will almost certainly land him behind bars. His attorney said, quote, “After consulting with his family over the weekend, Michael Vick asked that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him.”
Vick will be in court next Monday to enter a plea. This means Vick will avoid additional federal charges that were being considered. So how did he go from, quote, “clearing his good name” to accepting this deal?
We are joined now by former New York Giants star and current NBC “Today” show correspondent and “Football Night in America” studio analyst Tiki Barber. And on the phone, Dave Forster, who broke the story for “The Virginian-Pilot” newspaper.
Dave, let me start with you . Let‘s start with the facts. Do you know how much time his lawyers are at least expecting as part of this deal?
DAVE FORSTER, “THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT”: They‘re going to be expecting at least a year in prison, from what we‘ve been told. If you look at the plea agreements that at least two of the other defendants in the case struck, the sentencing guidelines are going to call for at least 12 to 18 months with no criminal history. And the legal analysts that we spoke to today said Vick should expect pretty much the same guidelines in that case.
ABRAMS: Dave, do you know, did his lawyers have to convince him to take this deal?
FORSTER: I‘m not too familiar with the goings-on in his inner circle and what they were telling him to do, but we were hearing from some people that it did take a while, the negotiations. We were told that he finalized the deal, actually, on Friday, but he kept it quiet over the weekend and was deciding whether or not he wanted to go public with it. He pretty much had no choice today because a hearing was set, and that was going to go public, either way, so...
ABRAMS: All right. Tiki, you‘ve got to know what goes on in the head of someone like Michael Vick, meaning you‘re thinking your career, you‘re thinking your endorsements, you‘re thinking everything. How do you go about accepting this kind of deal?
BARBER: Well, I‘m sure it was a hard decision for him because he, like any athlete, is a fighter, and he wanted to prove his innocence or what he thought was his innocence. And this difficult situation here is that he was thrown under the bus by all of his friends, so there really was no other option other than to plead.
But for his life, this is particularly troubling because he was one of these marquee players in the NFL who made millions on endorsements, which now, all of a sudden, are all gone away. I think most of them have gone away.
And his reputation. In the NFL, you care about your reputation and how other people will think about you. Now, obviously, he‘s not going to play for this year or probably even next year. But when he comes back, I‘m sure it‘s going to be something that he‘s going to be thinking about.
ABRAMS: Well, Tiki, you think the NFL will let him play again?
BARBER: You know, that‘s still up to Roger Goodell. Roger Goodell has been phenomenal in addressing some of the off-field problems of NFL players of late. And honestly, only a couple of months on the job, that‘s going to be his legacy, in how he‘s taken the NFL and made it not a suggestion that you be an upstanding citizen but a requirement that you be an upstanding citizen. Roger‘s a lot of things to worry about. Obviously, he cares about his players, and he wants Michael Vick to get back on his feet.
You know, the interesting thing about this is we love to build up our stars and our heroes and let them be people who our kids want to emulate, but then they get broken down, and we almost kind of enjoy that. But in that very same breath, we love to forgive, and Michael Vick, I think over time, can forgive himself if he takes responsibility, as it seems to be he‘s doing now by accepting this plea deal.
ABRAMS: Well, you know, Tiki, I was surprised to see some of the
Falcons, His teammates, saying, You know what? We don‘t really want him
back right now. Do you think that if, in a couple of years from now—
let‘s say he goes, serves some time, serves a year, and let‘s say that the
NFL lets him play in two years from now. What are his teammates going to -
are they going to want him back?
BARBER: Well, I can tell you right now, Dan, that the Atlanta Falcons
will not have him back because Arthur Blank, the owner of the Falcons,
feels aggrieved. He feels like he was lied to. And Roger Goodell feels
the same way. Michael Vick sat in front of both of these two men and
apparently lied to their faces about his involvement in this. So I don‘t -
as far as his teammates who know him in Atlanta, that‘s not going to be an issue. The issue is going to be, when he goes somewhere else, how much of a distraction will this still be in two years? And that‘s—you don‘t know. It could fade away with his time away from the game, or it could still be very prevalent in people‘s minds.
ABRAMS: Well, Tiki, you made the point about lying to them. And this is—this is Billy Martin, his attorney, on August the 14th, talking about the charges and speaking for Michael Vick. This is supposed to be a quote from Michael Vick. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY MARTIN, MICHAEL VICK‘S ATTORNEY: “Today in court, I pleaded innocent to the allegations made against me. I take these charges very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name. I respectfully ask all of you to hold your judgment until all of the facts are shown. We look forward to the opportunity to being able to walk inside this courtroom saying to the world that Michael Vick is innocent.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That‘s actually from a few weeks ago. But you know, Tiki, there‘s the problem, right, is that you have Michael Vick going public via his lawyer, saying, “I‘m looking forward to clearing my good name.” And it sounds like that‘s the same sort of thing he did with the NFL commissioners, the same sort of thing he did with the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, and now he‘s coming forward and, I guess, saying, My name isn‘t that good.
BARBER: Well, you know what? Obviously, this thing snowballed on him much faster than he anticipated it would, and he assumed that he could kind of sweeping under the rug, as I‘m sure things have happened for him in the past, or anybody who does—who‘s in a state of—a position where they have some influence to get rid of some of their problems.
But obviously, with three guys taking plea deals and four other guys rolling on him, I think the other way around, he was in a position where he could not do anything but admit guilt.
ABRAMS: And I think that‘s very smart. That‘s why I want to ask—I
want to ask Dave Forster about that because—Tiki talks about these other
pleas, OK? And this is where it becomes crucial because his co-defendants
this is according to AP, say he participated—meaning Vick participated—in executing at least eight underperforming dogs by various means, including drowning and hanging, that Vick provided virtually all of the gambling and operating funds for his Bad Newz Kennels operation.
Dave, it seems to me that once that came out, once that was public, once it was clear that his co-defendants were going to say this about him, that he was in an even tougher position.
FORSTER: Yes, we didn‘t know until, you know, last week that all the defendants were going to turn on him, basically. We thought maybe one of the guys would have held out and it would have been Vick and one of his co-defendants going to trial. But once all three were taking plea deals and agreeing to testify against him, it looked like this was kind of a foregone conclusion.
ABRAMS: Yes. And Tiki, finally, if you were giving Michael Vick advice right now, what would you say?
BARBER: Well, I think he needs to do a mea culpa, you know? And I‘ll take a step back real quickly, Dan, if you‘ll allow me. This is really about friendships. Michael Vick believed that his friends would protect him when situations like this arise. Obviously, he found out that they did not.
There was a great article in “The New York Times” over the weekend about that. And Michael Vick is one of those guys who is not a bad guy, but he grew up in a culture where this was accepted, where it was something that he couldn‘t escape. He didn‘t need the money, gambling of whatever it may be. It was something—it was part of his childhood and part of his upbringing that he could not get away from. And it‘s hard for you to say, I don‘t want my friends to be my friends anymore, and in this case, it bit him in the butt.
ABRAMS: Tiki Barber, great to have you on the program. We appreciate it. Dave Forster, thank you.
Now to a new report that suggests the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on police departments back at home. Cops across the country are apparently low on ammunition because of the demands from the military. The shortage of bullets, according to the Associated Press, are, quote, “preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol, delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition and prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.”
Joining me now is Lieutenant Jeff Duhamell—how do you...
ABRAMS: All right. Thank you—with the Indianapolis Police Department. Thank you very much. We appreciate it, Lieutenant. All right. Let me ask you the question. How long a delay did you receive in trying to get ammunition?
LT. JEFF DUHAMELL, INDIANAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, our last order, I ordered ammunition in January, so we‘re about on a seven-month delay on some of the ammunition. And like you said, some of it, especially the 223 rounds and 9-millimeters, we‘re having trouble getting in.
ABRAMS: When people hear a seven-month delay for a police department, you know, I think that they think, My goodness, you know, how are you going about functioning? I assume this is primarily for training purposes, right?
DUHAMELL: Well, a lot of the ammo is utilized in training. There‘s a lot of innovative ways we can do training. We use siminition (ph), which is high-tech paintball, the FAT (ph) system, which is a scenario we put our officers through, and shoot-don‘t shoot scenarios. So there‘s different ways we can do to train, and it‘s very important that departments don‘t go backwards in training.
We have enough ammunition here in Indianapolis to get us through the year, so we‘re not pressing the panic button yet. But we do have concerns for next year. So we have a lot of officers who will be coming in, new officers, up to about 100 is projected in the next year or so, new recruits, and those individuals will shot anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 rounds, and so that‘s where (INAUDIBLE) of the problem for the future.
ABRAMS: Well, let me ask you, so you‘re training at times with paintball instead of with bullets?
DUHAMELL: Well, we do it in conjunction. The paintball, it‘s called siminition. It uses the same handgun that the officers carry on the street. It‘s a 9-millimeter projectile, and it‘s very good training. A lot of the SWAT teams throughout the United States use this type of training. So you do that in conjunction with your regular—regular ammunition. You have to have enough rounds down range in order to qualify, so that‘s part of it. And we can do it in conjunction. (INAUDIBLE) innovative ways of training is—is...
ABRAMS: Let me ask you...
ABRAMS: I want to read you these quotes from the Milwaukee police and the Phoenix police. From the Milwaukee police, from a rangemaster (ph), “You‘re not going to be as sharp or as good, especially if an emergency situation comes up.” According to the Phoenix police, “We had to cut out extra practice sessions.
You know, this sounds—it sounds like a big deal.
DUHAMELL: Well, it is a big deal if you have to go back to a point where you‘re not able to shoot like you should and train like you should. And it‘s very important liability-wise. We got to keep training as much as we can, and to go backwards is not the thing to do. These officers need to be highly trained in the use of their weapons. In Indianapolis, we use the force continuum. It‘s not all about shooting the handgun or the rifle, but it‘s a combination of, basically, the tools in your toolbox, from the taser to the Casualties to the baton.
DUHAMELL: And then their last thing, your lethal force. But these officers have to be trained with the ammunition, and we‘re going to need it. So in the future, and it could be a problem.
ABRAMS: All right. Lieutenant Jeff Duhamell, thanks a lot.
Appreciate you coming on the show.
DUHAMELL: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Up next: Relatives of those six trapped Utah miners are accusing the company that owns the mine of abandoning the men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother is trapped underground, and I‘m hearing that they‘re basically giving up, and that‘s unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But with three rescuers killed in the search, conditions in the mine remaining unstable, is it hard to imagine sending other people in now? As the mine owner puts out a statement tonight, we‘ll debate what should be done.
And later: The federal government wants to start a registry of porn stars. Officials claim it‘s time to stop child exploitation, but is it really just an effort to crack down on the adult film industry? Porn star Ron Jeremy takes on the feds, coming up.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. The underground rescue mission to find those six missing miners was canceled after three rescue workers were killed last week. Now the miners‘ families are furious and criticizing the government and mine owner for giving up on them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CODY ALLRED, SON OF TRAPPED MINER: First, we were given a promise. Dead or alive, those men will be with their families. And now it‘s, We can‘t.
CAESAR SANCHEZ, BROTHER TRAPPED IN MINE: I just want, you know, them to think positive, just like we do, think positive that them mens are still alive and that we need to get down there and rescue them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: My take. Over the past two weeks, four holes have been drilled through the mountain. So far, no sign of the miners. A fifth hole now being started won‘t even reach the collapsed area until mid-week. Since the initial collapse nearly two weeks ago, there have been at least 19 seismic spikes, including the bump that led to the deaths of the three rescue workers. And even if the audio and video equipment lowered down provides some evidence that the men are there, there is still the arduous task of getting to them. A capsule designed to rescue the men was apparently deemed unsafe. And regardless, a capsule or tunneling would likely take another two weeks to reach them. So the question—is it worth risking more lives now? Is it giving up to evaluate what the human cost could be to continue?
Joining me now, former coal miner and mine expert Homer Hickam, and Le Templar with “The East Valley Tribune” newspaper. Its editorial board wrote that it‘s time to give up on the rescue effort. All right. Gentlemen, thanks very much. Appreciate it. All right. Homer, I think a lot of laypeople are going to look at this and they‘re going to say, Three rescue workers are dead, others were injured. The chances are so remote that anyone is alive. And even if they were, it would take a long time to get down to them. And the question then has to be, is it worth the potential human risk?
HOMER HICKAM, FORMER COAL MINER: Well, look, this is my point of view. We must not abandon these miners. This is the United States of America, and we do not leave our people behind. We rescue and recover our people, whether they‘re in the rubble of the World Trade tower or are out on sinking ships, or if they‘re underneath a bridge in Minnesota. That‘s what we do. We‘re Americans.
And you can‘t tell me that we can‘t get in to them. If we have to build a stainless steel tunnel in to them, then we should do it. And by the way, here‘s another point of view that I have. As far as I‘m concerned, the federal government owns this coal mine. They approved the mining plan. MSHA has been—which is an excellent agency, by the way, the Mine Safety and Health Administration—has been in charge of the rescue since day one, and the full power and energy and knowledge of the federal government and all the best mining engineers that we have need to be brought into play. This is a matter right now of money, and that money needs to be spent to go in and get these men.
ABRAMS: But is it just—I mean, and I‘ll let Le Templar—but you know, money is one thing. And look, I understand are a lot of people who have a lot of questions about some of the mine owners, et cetera, about motives. All right. Put that aside for a minute. There are three rescue workers who have died. There were—even before that happened, there were 12 or so said, I don‘t want to be in that part of the mine anymore because it‘s too dangerous. And the question then is, put money aside, isn‘t there a human element here?
HICKAM: Well, of course, there‘s a human element. There are six trapped men, and we‘ve already lost three men going in to get them because we didn‘t use our best resources to shore up—we thought we had a good plan. MSHA thought that they had a good plan. Obviously, they didn‘t. But there—hey, the United States of America—we can mine in a volcano, if we have to. It‘s just a question of putting our best minds and energy on it. We must not abandon—the whole world is watching us. We must not abandon these men.
ABRAMS: Le Templar, what about that?
LE TEMPLAR, “EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE”: Well, keep in mind, first of all, that we don‘t know how long it will take to reach these men. And my sympathy is for the families of the victims, but we have to be realistic. We don‘t know where they are. We were approximately 40 percent of the way with the previous tunnel before it collapsed and killed those three rescue workers. If we‘re going to go any further, I think the attitude should be that this is a recovery effort, not a rescue effort. If a miracle occurs and we finally find them and they‘re still alive, great. But rescue implies speed, from the shortest point possible, and the assumption that a tunnel that‘s dug, temporarily dug, will stay stable long enough to rescue the miners and get them out, which we know won‘t be the case here. The mountain continues to collapse. The geologists at the University of Utah have told us this. And it‘s just too dangerous for future work.
You know, an analogy would be firefighters in dealing with a building that‘s on fire. Once the entire building is engulfed, despite what you see in movies or television, firefighters aren‘t allowed to go in the building, even if it‘s suspected somebody‘s inside, because it‘s likely that that person is dead and we‘re just risking the lives of the firefighters, as well.
ABRAMS: Homer, what abut that?
HICKAM: Well, I think it‘s a bad analogy. Fires are totally unpredictable. Mining engineering has been around for a very long time. We know how to mine coal and how to run tunnels into mountains in this country. But I agree—we‘re in raging (ph) agreement on one thing, is that we don‘t need to be rushing in there as fast as we can possibly go because, yes, we‘ll lose people. This needs to be a very sequential order of business right now, and we don‘t want to lose anymore of our rescuers, but we don‘t stop. That‘s my point. We must not abandon these men.
ABRAMS: Here‘s what the family members—some of the family members had to say about both the mine owner and the effort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t (INAUDIBLE) I don‘t like the man. Never liked him from day one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t dislike him, but I was rooting for him. I feel that he has done a lot. I‘m not saying he‘s tucked his tail and hid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s pretty much abandoned these families, you know, on the rescue effort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Le, have you gotten a lot of angry response to your editorial saying, you know, I think that we need to give up on this rescue effort?
TEMPLAR: I wouldn‘t say a lot, but we have gotten some along the same lines that Homer has talked about, that we don‘t give up on people in this country. And I understand that attitude. And if the mine owner and the federal government come up with a plan to re-enter the mine that provides a level of safety guarantee for the rescue workers, I think we would have endorsed that. But I think that would take months to execute. You know, as long as we‘re talking about rescuing live people, we‘re putting rescue workers at risk. And how many more people have to die before we accept that we won‘t reach them in time?
ABRAMS: I got to wrap this up, but I think I can speak on behalf of Homer and Le when I say that I think that everyone is rooting for the rescue workers. Everyone is wishing the best for the families, is hoping that somehow, somehow, that there‘s way to find those six miners safely. So thank you both very much for coming on the program.
HICKAM: Thank you.
TEMPLAR: You‘re welcome. Thank you.
ABRAMS: Still head: Michael Vick agrees to plead guilty to federal dog fighting charges. But now a state prosecutor in Virginia says, I may be charging Vick, as well. Those charges could send Vick to prison for 40 years.
But first: Karl Rove takes on Fox News? With friends like them, who needs enemies? “Beat the Press” is next.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV. First up: Fox News analyst Bernie Goldberg seems to have has gone from serious journalistic insider and critic to wacky gadfly, now making a career out of alleging liberal bias in every nook and cranny. It seems now he‘s resorted to the sort of comparisons that would get someone fired at another network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: There‘s no diversity of opinion in the newsroom. Listen, Bill, this isn‘t that much different from how the Ku Klux Klan operates. The morons in the Klan feel very comfortable with their bigotry because they know all the other morons in the Klan share the same bigotry. Journalists in American newsrooms are very comfortable with their biases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Comparing newsrooms to the KKK. They need to seriously question who they hire at that place.
On the other hand, Fox‘s Chris Wallace gets a lot of credit for asking the tough questions of presidential adviser Karl Rove, who seemed to have forgotten that pulling out the canned lines about media bias are kind of laughable when dealing with the folks at Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Why did you push to fire some U.S. attorneys in the president‘s second term?
KARL ROVE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Nice try. You‘re—you—you‘re—you—the president has prerogatives that stand up not only to Congress but also to you.
WALLACE: Executive privilege involves the separation of powers with Congress. It doesn‘t involve...
ROVE: It involves the right of a president to receive candid advice from his aides without being subjected to calls by the Congress to come up and testify. I know you‘re—you don‘t understand you‘re being an agent of Congress when you ask me that question, but you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Right! Fox News is an agent of the liberal Congress. Good for Chris Wallace.
Finally, over at CNN‘s Headline News, guest host Mike Brooks talked about how disgusted he was by certain details in the Michael Vick dog fighting case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can‘t even stomach this case much longer.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I just
don‘t—I—I can‘t—I can‘t stomach this whole thing. It‘s—to me,
it‘s unbelievable. Unbelievable!~
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: So disgusting and unbelievable and stomach-turning that Brooks wants more disgusting, unbelievable and gory details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKS: So tell me again, how many dogs do they think that Michael Vick was—you know, got his hands bloody on?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Still unbelievable and disgusting.
Still ahead: Why the government wants to keep track of each and every porn star working today. We debate the controversial plan with porn star hall of famer Ron Jeremy.
ABRAMS: Continuing with our big story tonight, NFL star Michael Vick has agreed to plead guilty to federal dogfighting charges. He‘s expected to serve at least a year in prison. But an attorney in Virginia is still planning on moving forward with the state charges that could put Vick behind bars for a lot more time.
Joining me now, former federal prosecutor DeMaurice Smith. DeMaurice, thanks for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
All right, let‘s talk practically here. So the prosecutors reached an agreement with Vick‘s attorneys, and they say, “Look, we‘re looking at maybe a year in prison, et cetera,” but how much does that mean to the judge when Vick‘s attorneys and prosecutors reach a deal about sentence?
DEMAURICE SMITH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, for the judge, he has to make a decision as to whether or not the offense that Michael Vick is going to plead guilty to is appropriate under the guidelines and is appropriate for the charges that have been leveled against him.
ABRAMS: What do you think? What do you think based on the charges?
SMITH: I think it‘s going to have to take into consideration a number of factors. One of the critical factors here is that Michael Vick, apparently, does not have any prior criminal history. For a lot of judges, that‘s a significant factor in making a determination as to whether anybody should spend time in jail and, if they are, how much.
ABRAMS: So wait, DeMaurice, you‘re saying you think it‘s possible, even though the prosecutors are expecting that he serve time, that Vick could walk out of this without serving any time behind bars?
SMITH: Well, anything‘s possible. Probable? Probably not.
ABRAMS: Because in particular, we learned just recently that his co-defendants are saying he participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs by various means, including drowning and hanging. He provided all of the gambling and operating funds for the operation. I mean, executing—that‘s when in it—before, it was just talking about funding. When you start talking about him actually executing the dogs, it gets harder to not him not serve any time, doesn‘t it?
SMITH: Absolutely. Judges want to know, what did this individual do? What is his level of culpability? And all of these factors, including criminal history, and are going to be factored into what type of sentence he gets.
ABRAMS: DeMaurice, I got one final question for you. The state charges, so he cuts a deal with the feds, and now the state prosecutors can still move forward?
SMITH: Absolutely, he could. It is not double jeopardy. The fact that there are two separate sovereigns who are involved in this prosecution means that the state prosecutor in Virginia could, indeed, bring additional charges against Michael Vick.
ABRAMS: DeMaurice Smith, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
SMITH: My pleasure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe think about your name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, my name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something with a little pizzazz.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dirk Diggler.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like your name a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And if he was real, that name might be on the list the federal government is now trying to compile. Think less Osama, more “Oh, mama!” It would be an official registry of every porn star in America, an effort, they say, to crack down on child pornography and keep minors out of the business. The new proposed rules would force porn stars to cough maiden names, their age, and my favorite part, all nicknames and aliases.
Justice Department officials would be spending their precious time compiling the lists of pornographic Web sites, magazines, film titles, photos that each porn star would be required to provide under the new proposal.
My take: Put aside the constitutional questions for a moment. The Justice Department has this much free time on their hands? Come on. Is this just an excuse for certain DOJ officials to check out their favorite nasty Web site on government time? Come on, the real problem here is perverts who make home videos of sex with children. Why don‘t they focus on that, not on the people who are actually going to submit their names for some government list?
Joining me now, the man once referred to as the Laurence Olivier of porn, Ron Jeremy. And conservative radio talk show host John DePetro.
Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
All right, John, look, this sounds fine, and if they had unlimited time and resources in the Justice Department, they could compile all sorts of lists. But you think, of all the priorities in the Justice Department, one of the top ones needs to be compiling lists of every name, alias, AKA, et cetera, of every professional porn star in America?
JOHN DEPETRO, WPRO RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Dan, this has to do with child exploitation. And you‘re also talking a billion-dollar industry. I don‘t think the forefathers, when they talked about the First Amendment, were thinking of the money shot. These are people that enjoy freedom of expression, but I think it‘s not that much to ask for someone who‘s making a lot of money—let‘s find out, who are these people? What‘s their legal name, not their barely legal name? And let‘s find out how old they are. And it‘s funny that someone like Ron Jeremy, star of “Planet of the Whores” and also “21 Hump Street” and some of these other films, says they want to protect themselves with the First Amendment.
RON JEREMY, ADULT FILM STAR: It‘s not really a First Amendment issue.
We already are collecting IDs on all of the performers. We‘ve been doing it for years. And in the entire 29 years I‘ve been in the business, one year short of 30 years, only two times did girls slip by when they had fake ID. That was Traci Lords, and I have a picture of her holding up her fake ID. And...
DEPETRO: That doesn‘t mean that there weren‘t any minors. It just proves you don‘t have a system to find out who they were.
DEPETRO: Baseball didn‘t have a steroid problem until they started to test for it.
JEREMY: Yes, but we‘ve been doing this since I‘ve been in the business. We‘ve been getting double IDs on people, access numbers, you know, picture IDs, Xeroxing and putting in our files. So we really already are doing this.
ABRAMS: But, Ron, the argument would be that they don‘t trust you effectively. They‘re saying, “We don‘t trust the Ron Jeremys of the world to supervise this.”
DEPETRO: Dan, why would you trust the sleaziest industry, people that make the “Mutiny on the Booty”? Why would we think that...
ABRAMS: I have to say, John, I‘m impressed with your vast knowledge of all the names of the movies. It seems that you‘ve got quite a collection in your home.
DEPETRO: These are all Ron Jeremy films, and that‘s not even—it‘s Ron Jeremy Hyatt, isn‘t it, Ron?
JEREMY: Yes, it is. You‘re absolutely correct.
DEPETRO: So that would be your legal name. The authorities could make sure you‘re 18?
JEREMY: Yes, I‘m a little older than 18. Just a little. Look, all I can say is, you know, we think it‘s a fishing expedition. It‘s the FBI‘s way of trying to find all this information so if they find some new law, some new type of vice law, that they can use it against us and come after us.
Look, the FBI sent an letter to one of our organizations, the ASACP, which I have an article about that right here, thanking us for helping track down a kiddie porn ring in France. So, you know, we‘re as against this children being in films as anybody else is.
DEPETRO: That‘s one in France.
JEREMY: We didn‘t fall out of the sky. This is a business of people have kids. You know, this is a normal adult industry where people pay taxes, have families. We‘re not into having children be in front of the camera.
DEPETRO: Ron, it‘s also exploitation of minors. And when you‘re making “Throbbing Hood,” how do you know that everyone that was a star actor in that movie, that they were actually of age? We‘re talking about an industry...
ABRAMS: Let him answer. Let him answer. Go ahead, Ron.
JEREMY: Because we have to have either a passport or driver‘s license. Nothing else is accepted. We‘ve turned away a lot of people. And we‘ve even checked with the principal of a school...
DEPETRO: Oh, yes, I‘m sure you‘ve turned away a lot of people.
JEREMY: We have a tremendous amount of people that are turned away. They have to have double I.D. or no two ways about it. We even check with...
DEPETRO: Maybe a lot of guys.
JEREMY: I‘ll say that we‘re a restaurant, I‘m a maitre d‘, a girl wants to get a job as a waitress, and we‘ll want to see that she went to your school, is this really the girl‘s name, blah, blah, blah? We‘re very, very careful. We don‘t want to get prosecuted. We don‘t want to face that kind of music. Plenty of pretty girls are 18 and over, why use a minor?
DEPETRO: Dan, this is not going to effect—the next time Ron wants to do a remake of “City Lickers,” I don‘t think it‘s going to affect the artistic integrity of the film of the actors.
ABRAMS: The Justice Department has time for this, John, I mean, really?
DEPETRO: It has to do with child exploitation.
ABRAMS: I know what it has to do with that. But this is the best way to go after child exploitation, is to get a list of the names of every adult porn stars and all their illnesses and all of their AKAs? I mean...
ABRAMS: You just listed all the ones Ron Jeremy have. I‘d assume that you‘d have to devote an entire Justice Department official just to Ron Jeremy‘s history.
DEPETRO: Why not put an industry on notice that caters towards exploitation, sometimes possibly of minors, that seems to be drifting towards younger, younger people...
DEPETRO: ... and why not make them enforce that?
ABRAMS: Ron Jeremy gets the final word. Ron?
DEPETRO: .. would have no problem with it, Dan.
JEREMY: Look, if we wanted to target minors, just one example. There‘s no hardcore on cell phones anywhere in America because we can‘t prove age verification, so we‘re trying to do the right thing, not have minors watch porn, nobody in porn. We‘re doing the best we can.
ABRAMS: All right. Ron Jeremy, does it make me a bad person that it gets me nervous every time you pick up a magazine or a newspaper to show us? I get nervous about one of my—no, no, no, don‘t do it. Keep it down. I don‘t want to see it. I don‘t want to see it.
ABRAMS: I know. I‘m just kidding. Ron Jeremy and John DePetro, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
DEPETRO: Good to be with you, Dan.
ABRAMS: John now gets to say he went head-to-head with Ron Jeremy.
Up next, a former sheriff confesses to ordering the murder of his political rival. Now he‘s coming clean, up next.
And later, an amazing rescue caught on tape, as an Oklahoma couple is trapped by floodwaters. We‘ll talk to the man on that helicopter who helped save them, up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNEY DORSEY, FORMER GEORGIA SHERIFF: I am not guilty of any form of corruption, and I had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Derwin Brown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well, that‘s what a Georgia sheriff had to say back in 2000 after a man who defeated him in his reelection bid was gunned down, but he‘s singing a different tune now. We found out last week that former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey has admitted in a stunning jailhouse confession that he ordered his opponent‘s murder, just days before the man who defeated him was supposed to take over as sheriff.
Dorsey was convicted of killing Derwin Brown, but he maintained his innocence. Before we talked to the D.A. about the actual confession, here‘s how “Dateline NBC” reported the story in the weeks after the murder.
REPORTER (voice-over): Derwin Brown made it his life‘s mission to bring justice and equality to his racially mixed community suburban Atlanta community. So after two decades on the DeKalb County Police Force, Brown decided to run for sheriff.
PHYLLIS BROWN, WIFE OF MURDERED SHERIFF: He felt that it was more important for people to stand up, you know, for what they believed in.
REPORTER: Phyllis Brown says that‘s why her husband wanted to become the county‘s second black sheriff, promising to overhaul the department with a history of scandals.
Derwin Brown‘s opponent, incumbent Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, got caught up in a scandal of his own. Dorsey was accused of using his deputies to staff his private security company while they were on official duty. Dorsey also allegedly used prisoners from the county jail to work on the homes of political supporters of his wife, an Atlanta city councilwoman. The Dorseys denied any wrongdoing, but Derwin Brown accused Sheriff Dorsey of managing through fear and intimidation and made it clear, if elected, he‘d clean things up.
DERWIN BROWN, MURDERED SHERIFF: There‘s some problems there, and I know that the sheriff has said there‘s been negative campaigning, but there‘s been no negative campaigning.
REPORTER: Brown won in a landslide. On December 15th, three days before Derwin Brown was to be sworn in, family and friends gathered at a local restaurant to celebrate.
PHYLLIS BROWN: Everybody is just laughing, you know, relaxing, having a good time.
REPORTER: Phyllis Brown and a few others left early and went back to the house.
Derwin Brown arrived home around 11:00 p.m. It was raining. He parked on the street outside his house. He was not carrying a gun that night, just two bags of presents he bought for Christmas. He walked down his driveway but never made it to the door.
Police say someone fired 16 shots. Brown was hit 11 times. His best friend, one of his sons, and his wife, Phyllis, where inside. His wounds were fatal. The killing touched the entire community: 4,000 people turned out for his funeral. Many more watched it live on local television, sharing the loss with his friends, his colleagues, and his family.
The court gave the D.A. permission to impanel two special grand juries, one to investigate the murder of Derwin Brown, the other, corruption allegations against the outgoing sheriff, Sidney Dorsey, who spoke with us outside his lawyer‘s office.
DORSEY: Well, I don‘t know. I can‘t speak to what‘s going on in the prosecutor‘s head, primarily what his motives are. My statement to you is that I am not guilty of any form of corruption, and I had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Derwin Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No connection at all?
DORSEY: None at all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don‘t know anybody who was involved?
REPORTER: Sheriff Dorsey says he, too, was shocked by Derwin Brown‘s murder.
DORSEY: I could not believe it, and I sympathize in saying that with his family, with the law enforcement community, which I‘m a member of. You get that same feeling when you lose a brother in blue.
ABRAMS: Well, let‘s bring in DeKalb County, Georgia, district attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming. Thanks a lot for taking the time.
All right, so now he‘s changed his story completely and he‘s confessed?
GWEN KEYES FLEMING, DEKALB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: That‘s right. Not only did he have something to do with it, but he initiated this whole process. He has finally admitted that he was responsible for writing the note that said, “Assassinate Brown.”
ABRAMS: How‘d you get him to confess?
FLEMING: He‘s the one that contacted me. I‘m not exactly sure what he wanted to. I don‘t know whether he wanted to clear his mind or kind of clear his heart, that kind of thing. I know that he and I used to work together. We were both elected officials in this county. And I think, in some respects, he may have trusted me.
ABRAMS: And he‘d been convicted already, correct?
FLEMING: That‘s right. A jury found him guilty of not only the murder charges, but also violation of oath of office, several counts of theft by taking for the corruption of using county resources for his own personal gain, and several RICO charges.
ABRAMS: Was he emotional when he confessed to you?
FLEMING: No, not really, surprisingly. I think he just said that he wanted somebody to hear his side of the story. This was the first time since this has happened in seven years that he actually broke his silence.
ABRAMS: All right. Gwen Keyes Fleming, thanks a lot for taking the time. Appreciate it.
FLEMING: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: Up next, a couple is saved from rising floodwaters. David Beckham makes a big splash in the U.S. And a Hollywood kiss that gives us a sinking feeling. Tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” is up next.
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 20th day of August 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS (voice-over): Our first winner? The 165 passengers and crew of a China Airlines flight that burst into flames today in Japan. The plane skid on the runway after landing. Passengers had just minutes to escape and, incredibly, everyone board survived. The fire believed to have been the result of leaking fuel.
Our first loser? CBS, now under fire for a new reality show that turns 8- to 15-year-old kids into survivors and is fueling a huge debate. The show “Kid Nation” left 40 kids for 40 days in the middle of nowhere to create their own society from scratch, no access to adults, no electricity, no running water. Some just calling it child abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I‘m just going to have to keep pushing.
ABRAMS: The second winner? New American soccer sensation David Beckham. He scored the winning goal in his first start of the season last week for the hometown L.A. Galaxy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goal! Goal!
ABRAMS: Just as impressive, of course, to the L.A. crowd: the fact that he scored hottie Victoria Beckham, AKA Posh Spice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goal!
ABRAMS: The second loser? Former child star Mary-Kate Olsen who scores with not-so-hottie leading man Ben Kingsley, AKA Gandhi. In the new film, “The Wackness,” 21-year-old Mary-Kate shares a big, passionate smooch with 63-year-old Kingsley. “She was quite wonderful,” says Kingsley of their quite creepy moment.
But the big loser of the day, embattled NFL quarterback Michael Vick. He accepted a plea deal today that will lead prosecutors to drop some of the charges against him. He‘s expected to serve time. Vick, already drowning in legal trouble, was fined by police on Thursday after being caught not wearing a seatbelt.
The big winners of the day? Leroy and Bernice Krittenbrink, who nearly drowned yesterday after being dropped during a dramatic rescue in Oklahoma. The couple‘s pleas for help captured on live television, as devastating flash floods left them stranded on their sinking pickup truck. The couple eventually made it out alive and well.
BERNICE KRITTENBRINK, RESCUED IN FLOODS: You just are on adrenaline, and you‘re just trying to do what he is motioning for me to do.
LEROY KRITTENBRINK, RESCUED IN FLOODS: Well, when I seen him picked her up the second time (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joining me now on the phone, another one of the big winners of the day, Kingfisher, Oklahoma, fire Chief Randy Poindexter who pulled off that daring rescue. Chief, thanks for taking the time. Appreciate it.
All right, had you done a rescue like this before?
RANDY POINDEXTER, FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEF: No, sir. I‘ve never had to attempt a rescue like that.
ABRAMS: And tell me about the moment when you dropped them. What were you thinking?
POINDEXTER: The biggest thing was we were trying to get them out of the swift water and get them into the calm water to where it wasn‘t so dangerous, to where we could actually get them onto the skids. We never initially wanted to respond like this. We were going to do a basket into the back of the pickup, and I was going to put them into a basket and haul them one at a time to a safe location.
However, when we went back to hook up our rigging for the basket with the Oklahoma highway patrol helicopter, they capsized. The airplane that was above head let us know that they capsized and we needed to do something very quickly. They were in imminent danger. So they were exhausted. They had been in the water for an hour and 40 minutes. Their truck traveled over a mile of fields through the running water before you see it right there on the TV. But, no, I‘ve never have had to do a rescue like that, and I hope that I never have to do another one like that, but if I do, I guess I will.
ABRAMS: All right, Chief Poindexter, thanks very much for taking the time, and thank you very much on behalf of everyone for those heroic efforts there out in the floods.
POINDEXTER: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it, and I‘d love to extend my thanks to the Oklahoma highway patrol helicopter pilots. I couldn‘t have done it without them.
ABRAMS: All right. Thanks a lot.
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Up next in the Doc Block, “To Catch a Predator.” Chris Hansen, the undercover team in Florida. See you tomorrow.
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