Guests: Savannah Guthrie, Michelle Suskauer, Susan Filan, Mark Leimbach
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: We‘ve got breaking news tonight. At this moment, the U.S. Senate in a special late night session is in a final debate over whether to confirm Michael Mukasey to be the attorney general. The vote will occur tonight possibly within the next few minutes. Mukasey has been expected to be a shoe-in. His nomination was thrown into serious jeopardy by his refusal to say that, yes, waterboarding—simulated drowning of detainees is indeed torture. We‘re waiting for the vote to come at any moment. As we wait, I‘m joined now by Arianna Huffington, founder of the “Huffington Post” and two-time presidential candidate and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan. All right. Arianna, it looks like Mukasey will likely pass the Senate. We‘re now—Arlen Specter is now speaking who is one of the—known as one of the swing votes on the Senate although Specter has announced that he is expected to vote for Mukasey. Why don‘t we dip in real quick and listen to this live, at Senator Specter, a crucial vote. He was the minority leader on the Judiciary Committee.
Arianna Huffington, Arlen Specter was one of the people I think who the Democrats had hoped to sway. He was one of the people who they had hoped would say, if Mukasey doesn‘t say waterboarding is torture I don‘t want him. If you were up on the floor and you were speaking to someone like Specter what would you be saying?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HOFFINGTON POST: Well, you know Dan, even before Democrats had to sway Specter they had to sway Schumer and Feinstein. The problem started when Schumer and Feinstein at the committee level voted to let the Mukasey confirmation go forward. And that was really the problem that they couldn‘t even hold on to their senators. And as you‘ve said at the beginning, it seemed like if there is going to be a shoe-in, then because of the leadership of Chris Dodd, because he stood up and made a big deal of what Mukasey had said about waterboarding it looked like it was going to be in jeopardy.
ABRAMS: Barbara Boxer is now speaking. We believe that she will be one of the senators to vote against Mukasey. Let‘s listen to that for a second.
(BEGIN LIVE FEED)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER, (D) CALIFORNIA: We must weigh far more than background and likeability. Particularly now.
(END LIVE FEED)
ABRAMS: All right. Pat Buchanan, we‘re listening to Barbara Boxer, we‘re expecting this vote within half an hour or so. Is there anything that any Democrats can say that could change the vote here against Mukasey?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. This I think is all pro forma and I think what this demonstrates with regard to the Democratic Party in the Senate and in the Congress is that, A - it is divided. B - it is ineffectual and, C, as a party, it lacks the courage of its convictions. If they believe this deeply enough what we‘ve been arguing about, you and I, Dan, then they should have rejected and they‘ve got the votes to do it and they didn‘t do it and the president wins.
ABRAMS: And that‘s the question - Arianna, look, she just said, Barbara Boxer just said I rise in opposition that‘s to Mukasey again as expected, but does this demonstrate the failure of the Democratic Party? I mean, you have just a few Democrats here. Ben Nelson, you have Schumer. You‘ve got just a few of them coming out and saying, I - Feinstein saying, I am not going to vote against Mukasey.
ABRAMS: And as a result he passes. Does that demonstrate failure on the Democratic Party?
HUFFINGTON: Absolutely. Because as Feinstein said I‘m not going to oppose him because he‘s not as bad as Alberto Gonzalez which is now a standard for attorney general. And this is on a huge moral issue that is actually affecting the reputation of America abroad. This is on torture. Waterboarding is torture. We‘ve heard testimony after testimony that it is and yet we are now going to have as attorney general somebody who is agnostic on waterboarding and torture.
ABRAMS: You mentioned Dianne Feinstein. She spoke literally about ten minutes ago. And again, we‘re expecting this vote to occur within moments, this final vote on whether Judge Mukasey will be confirmed as the next attorney general of the United States but Dianne Feinstein as you say became this crucial vote. Here‘s what she said only minutes ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: The president has said publicly he will not send another nominee to the Senate. So what does that mean? It means if we don‘t confirm this nominee, we will effectively have an acting attorney general for the remaining 14 months this of president‘s tenure. And what does that mean? It could likely mean that Peter Keisler who has been an architect of Bush administration policies at D.O.J. for more than five years, will remain as acting attorney general for the rest of this administration. Is that what we want?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Pat Buchanan, look. She‘s right as a practical matter but as a political matter and you‘re always very good about this, the politics of this, as a political matter what it means is that a lame duck president‘s threat has basically made the Democratic Party case.
BUCHANAN: Exactly. Look, what the president said is confirm Mukasey or I‘m not sending you anybody else and they said, oh, my goodness. If we don‘t confirm him they won‘t send us anybody else. So let‘s confirm him. Look, it‘s a complete back down and quitting by the Democratic Party. They lack the courage of their convictions as they do on Iraq and that‘s why Congress‘s approval rating is in the teens (ph), it‘s about half of what George Bush‘s is.
HUFFINGTON: Well, exactly, you could just play and replay what Dianne Feinstein said and this would be the explanation as to why the approval rating of Congress is at the level it is, below the president‘s in many polls. And the truth is—that how would things have been different if the Democrats were in the minority. That‘s what the public is asking themselves.
ABRAMS: Real quick, any procedural chance Arianna, that the Democrats could try to block the vote?
HUFFINGTON: No. You see the only chance was when Chris Dodd exerted real leadership and there was momentum against Mukasey. If Dianne Feinstein and Schumer had actually stood firm, there would have been a real chance. The chance is gone.
ABRAMS: It‘s a done deal.
HUFFINGTON: A done deal. I said it here, first.
ABRAMS: Well, you know,Pat, we haven‘t gotten the vote yet but it‘s a done deal, right?
BUCHANAN: It‘s a done deal. Bush‘s victory.
ABRAMS: All right. We‘re going to keep an eye on this final debate. Again, we‘re expecting that vote to come really at any moment. I want to turn now to a question no one thought that we‘d be asking. Is it possible that Bill Clinton is now hurting his wife‘s campaign? The former president now, distancing himself from his own controversial comments where he compared attacks on his wife with Republicans, quote, “Swift Boating” of John Kerry. And tonight he‘s even taking the blame for Hillary Clinton‘s failed 1993 health care plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR U.S. PRESIDENT: She has taken the rap for some of the problems we had with health care last time that were far more my fault than hers. I mean, let‘s just face it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Arianna, is this a smart strategy? I mean, first of all he‘s putting his foot in his mouth a little bit and now it almost seems like he‘s coming out and saying you know, not only do I not want to hurt the campaign. I want to make sure that Hillary is immunized from any attacks that she might receive for anything that occurred during my administration.
HUFFINGTON: You know what that sounds like? It sounds like saying, don‘t blame the little woman. It‘s my fault. You know, that may work if you are late for dinner because your wife was taking too much time getting dressed and you say it was my fault you know at the office but she‘s running for president. This is so disempowering. You know, as a woman I find that really appalling, the idea that somehow she can‘t stand on her own.
ABRAMS: Pat, as one of the nation‘s great feminists what do you make of that?
BUCHANAN: I think Arianna has finally nailed it. Look. Here‘s
what happened. I mean, the president came out and said they piled on her
the other night and I was responsible for that. He seems to be putting a
protective arm around, you know, the little girl that came home from school
crying and is saying it‘s not her fault. I‘ll take responsibility. But
she‘s running to be commander in chief of the armed forces and leader of
the Western World. I mean -
ABRAMS: He‘ll still be there.
HUFFINGTON: That is the other thing. Since the recent campaign doesn‘t do anything that is not based real polling data, they must actually get polling data from what we hear that shows that he‘s a huge advantage, a huge asset. They don‘t really trust her on her own.
ABRAMS: But there is no question they were sorry.
HUFFINGTON: They overstepped the bounds.
ABRAMS: Yes, they didn‘t map it out enough.
HUFFINGTON: Exactly. But the original idea that he would be there by her side, you know, giving her advice kind of he knew what it was like.
ABRAMS: But it‘s interesting you see him speaking separately from
here most of the time. I mean, that‘s the key, right? As if they‘re not
standing right next to -
BUCHANAN: (INAUDIBLE) an adviser but now he‘s being the protector.
You know, he‘s the hunter gatherer.
ABRAMS: All right. Bottom line. Bottom line, Arianna, he is—is he going to be a problem in this campaign?
HUFFINGTON: I think he may be a bigger problem than we may even know about.
ABRAMS: Pat, you agree? Bill Clinton a problem?
BUCHANAN: He‘s a great asset in the primaries. From this he could be a real, real problem in the general.
BUCHANAN: Yes, sir.
ABRAMS: All right. Remember, Pat Buchanan still getting 12 percent of the vote on the latest poll.
BUCHANAN: And holding.
ABRAMS: And holding. Just waiting for Dan Abrams‘ support, before he announces. Arianna and Pat Buchanan, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Coming up: For the first time, O.J. Simpson face to face in court with the men who say O.J. and the team of armed thugs robbed them. The victims testified today. It‘s all on tape.
And later, a troubled young man stills an M60 tank. That‘s right.
A tank. And goes on a rampage through the streets of San Diego.
Plus: A police sergeant fourth wife still missing three years after his third wife was found in the dry bath tub. Now, love and behold, the coroner says, that‘s woman death you know, it should have been ruled an accident. Why only now? We‘ll hear from the husband. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Now it‘s 12 days since Stacy Peterson, a 23-year-old nursing student and mother of two was last seen. Tonight there are new questions about her husband, police sergeant Drew Peterson in particular, what caused the death of his third wife? Kathleen Sabio? In 2004, her death in a bath tub was declared an accidental drowning but now the local coroner says it may not have been an accident, quote, “It was my opinion that at the very least her death should have been ruled undetermined. The coroner‘s jury unfortunately ruled otherwise.” Huh? He suddenly offering this up, now? We‘ll talk about that in a minute. First, Sergeant Peterson has made a few public comments since his wife went missing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. DREW PETERSON: Anytime someone searches your house it‘s like a major violation of your rights. So it‘s like, OK, but I got nothing to hide, so it‘s like, come in and look. So—but they did so on a court order and I didn‘t have a choice. They‘re going to take guns—they‘re going to take computers to try to find out if anything was said on the computers about anything—her whereabouts. It‘s all part of the natural progression of things. I have to suffer the aftermath of the media hype here and this is receiving national coverage and I won‘t be able to go anywhere and show my face anywhere without people pointing or coming up to me or getting some sort of abuse over this.
INTERVIEWER: What would you like to say about Stacy right now?
PETERSON: I miss her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well, he probably misses his third wife too. Here now, former FBI profiler, MSNBC analyst, Clint Vand Zandt. Joining us on the phone is MSNBC‘s Alison Kartevold in Chicago, and Pam Busco, the spokesperson for Stacy Peterson‘s family. All right. Thanks to all of you. This new information about this third wife, I think, is really, really important here. Alison, start with you. You just received a coroner‘s information about what led them to determine that his third wife‘s death was an accident. What do we know?
ALISON KARTEVOLD, NBC NEWS - CHICAGO: I have in my hands the coroner‘s inquest the transcript from that back in 2004. And a couple things that jumped out at us when we read this, were, first, there was testimony from her sister Susan Sabio, and she talked about how when she was first notified that her sister had been killed, they asked her—what were you told? And she said, I was told my sister was dead. I asked her if her ex-husband had killed her. And so, immediately you can see a mindset there that at 1:00 in the morning when she gets this phone call notifying her of her sister‘s death that‘s the first thing that comes into her mind. And then it goes on and it asked about other mindsets here. And I just want to read you another thing Dan, it says it was very difficult for my family because my sister was telling us all the time that if she would die, it may look like an accident but it wasn‘t. She just told me last week that she was terrified of him and he always threatened her. So, this is during the inquest.
ABRAMS: Alright. That‘s un - I mean Clint Van Zandt, this is amazing. OK? You have this information where the third wife‘s family was saying—she told her family if I ever die it may look like an accident. Now you‘ve got the coroner coming out and saying I never wanted it to be an accident. What a mess?
CLINT VAND ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: I don‘t know who I‘m more angry with, Dan. The coroner, the coroner‘s jury, or the police department to entertain 18 known complaints and God knows how many complaints never were documented. Plus a letter that she had written to the local prosecutor saying what a threat this guy posed to her. And then she dies and nobody says, gee, maybe we ought to look at the husband for example. She‘s got a gash in her head, she‘s got eight or ten bruises on her body and when we say she sank like the “Titanic” in a tub full of water and everybody gave each other a high five and moved on.
KARTEVOLD: There was one other thing Dan, if I could add as far as that would go to motive. They asked about any insurance policies and a member of her family said that, yes, there was actually a very large—it was a hundred thousand dollars that Drew took out on her plus she had a million dollar policy that at one point was in his name.
KARTEVOLD: She had it changed over to her boys.
ABRAMS: Alright. Pam, I want to ask Pam Busco, whether you know if anyone in Stacy‘s family or Stacy herself had any questions about why Peterson‘s third wife had died?
PAM BUSCO, STACY PETERSON‘S FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: I could say we
always had suspicion from the start. When we first heard of the news I
remember turning to Cassandra and saying, he did it. I don‘t know why it
occurred to us at that point but that was our first suspicion. It was a
gut feeling. I don‘t know. Maybe, because he was a police officer at the
time. We really hadn‘t heard a lot of the relationship problems that the -
Kathleen was having with him at the time for some reason, we automatically turned to him. I can‘t tell you why.
ABRAMS: But Pam, let me ask you this about the third wife, all right. I know a lot of the family has been very suspicious of Sergeant Peterson since Stacy went missing. But, did she know, did you know, did the family know about these mysterious circumstances surrounding the third wife‘s death?
BUSCO: None. We had heard that she had slipped in the tub and hit her head and drowned. Which I think that was probably why we had suspicion from the start. It was such an unusual story about how someone could die that we just didn‘t believe it from the start.
ABRAMS: But hearing these new details that have just come out really must be particularly disturbing to you because this is all information I‘m sure that you and the family would have liked to have known a long time ago.
BUSCO: Of course. We‘d have taken different action in our advice to Stacy when she became involved with this man. (INAUDIBLE). We probably should have advised her differently at the time, yes, but I feel guilty to some degree and responsible for the situation that after reading this maybe we should have looked into that situation a little bit more.
ABRAMS: I don‘t think that‘s fair to blame yourself. I don‘t think it‘s not fair to blame any family members for not looking further into this guy‘s past but I do wonder why it‘s taken the authorities this long to get access to this information. Blaming isn‘t the point now. We just have to see if they can find Stacy and they can figure out what‘s going on. Clint Van Zandt, Alison Kartevold, and Pam Busco, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
VAN ZANDT: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: If you‘ve got any information about Stacy Peterson please call 815-726-6377. Coming up: O.J. Simpson in court for the first time in connection with that Las Vegas armed robbery case. We finally hear what they say O.J. was actually doing and saying and, yes, they say there were guns. And there is a ground swell of support out there for CNN‘s Lou Dobbs to run for president. No. Of course not. That‘s a joke. But apparently not to Dobbs himself. That‘s next in Beat the Press. And live as we speak, Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the final senators to speak out in the confirmation proceedings over the attorney general nominee, Michael Mukasey. The question - will the Senate confirm him? He‘s expected to get confirmed and that vote will occur within the hour we expect. We bring it to you soon as it happens. Coming up.
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: All week, NBC universal has devoted significant time and resources to “Green Week” but in the paranoid far right wing world of Glenn Beck somehow devoting time to saving the planet is just too sensible or moderate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, TV HOST: If I look a little brightly lit today I apologize. Don‘t adjust your set. It‘s part of coal week here on the Glenn Beck program. So, the little banner you see there on your TV screen? Along with the extra completely unnecessary lights that we have on the set today are our way of reminding you that CO2 omissions and household wealth go hand in hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP0
ABRAMS: Good one. Don‘t you love the losers who do nothing and sit on the sidelines and shoot spit balls? Next up: We‘ve long known that CNN‘s Lou Dobbs takes himself more seriously than anyone else does but now he‘s close to becoming fearlessly (ph) close to becoming a parody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, TV HOST: Coming up next, would you believe there‘s been a lot of talk about me, an independent populist running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: No, I don‘t believe it at all. I think it‘s funny. But you don‘t seem to be kidding.
Finally: A Kansas City star report on Kansas City Chief running back, Larry Johnson didn‘t come out as planned in the article. The reporter, Adam Tesler (ph) write about Johnson‘s recent injury but he weren‘t disclosing the status of Johnson other than to say he has a sprain of his middle right foot. Huh? How many feet does he have? I think we have found a picture of this running back to have a middle right foot. Mr. Johnson would have to have six legs.
We need your help Beating the Press. If you see anything right, wrong, amusing or absurd in the press, please go to our Web site at Abrams.msnbc.com, leave us a tip in the box, please include the show and the time you saw the item.
Up next: O.J. is in court for the first time as the victims of the alleged armed robbery come face to face with him and describe what they say he did in that hotel room.
And you are looking live at the Senate floor, senators staying up late to vote whether to confirm the president‘s pick for attorney general, Michael Mukasey after a bruising confirmation process, there‘s Chuck Schumer on the floor. The vote is expected at any moment. We‘ll bring it to you.
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Up next, O.J. Simpson in court today for the beginning of the kidnapping and assault case against him. We‘re finally hearing from the victims saying what happened in that hotel room as they come face to face with O.J. But first, the latest news.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a man steals a tank. That‘s right. A tank. And goes on a rampage through the streets of San Diego. Plus, maybe it‘s dolphins, not dogs who are man‘s best friends. One surfer may say so after being saved from a great white shark by friends of Flipper. That‘s coming up in “Winners and Losers.”
But tonight, the evidence against O.J. finally laid out in a Las Vegas courtroom. Simpson facing multiple charges including conspiracy, kidnapping, robbery, but this time around no bloody knives, no blood spatter, no DNA experts. This time it‘s seemingly shady sports memorabilia dealers describing a manic and furious Simpson bursting into a Vegas hotel room with a team of armed men before making off with hundreds of sports collectibles.
Outside the courthouse the c-rate freak show felt like a small town production of the O.J. criminal show. But inside the courtroom, with the cameras rolling, we heard the first testimony about semiautomatic guns wielded by semi-autonomous thugs led by a disgraced semi-celebrity named O.J.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE FROMONG, WITNESS: The door burst open, and in came people. The second man came in with a drawn, semi-automatic, which was pointed at me. Two other gentlemen that I saw for sure came in, flanked him on the right-hand side. And there was a scream, “Put your phone down. Put your phone down.” He made the statement - I believe it was I‘ll shoot your ass. And he made the statement, “If we were in L.A., we‘d do things a lot differently.
There was a lot of yelling and screaming going on. And the first thing that I really remember from that was a statement made by Mr. Simpson saying, “Don‘t let anybody out of this room. Nobody leaves.” O.J. was yelling particularly at Al Beardsley saying, “You know, I thought you were a good guy. I thought you were my friend. You know, you stole from me.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I love the faces. I remember these faces from the criminal trial and the civil case, O.J. with the, you know, this and that and - NBC‘s Savannah Guthrie has just left the courtroom in Las Vegas; she joins us. Defense attorney Michelle Suskauer is with us and Susan Filan, MSNBC‘s senior legal analyst who covered the story all day. All right, first, Savannah, what is the latest? What has just happened? Where do we stand? Did the case seem strong against O.J.?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CORRESPONDENT, MSNBC: Well, these witnesses are definitely colorful and were really at the very beginning of a preliminary hearing that shaping up to be really long. We‘re just through about one and a half witnesses. There are going to be eight witnesses that the prosecution intends to call. They were hoping to do this in two days. Not going to happen. I mean, we have six and a half more witnesses to go.
The last witness to take the stand this afternoon was a very colorful character. His name is Tom Riccio, and he was the middle man in all of this. I mean he cut a deal with prosecutors. He has an immunity deal for his testimony. He really described the situation in which O.J. Simpson was kind of the ring leader, that O.J. Simpson really wanted to get his stuff back from these sports memorabilia dealers.
But the one thing he was clear about was that O.J. Simpson never carried a gun, never showed a gun, and Riccio himself said he didn‘t expect there to be any guns when they went in and stormed this hotel room. He said he was asked, “Did you expect guns?” And he said, “Heck no.”
ABRAMS: Of course not. Of course, he didn‘t expect guns. Here is some of Thomas Riccio‘s testimony from today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS RICCIO, WITNESS: I said, “Look, maybe we ought to have a security guard in case something goes wrong.” He didn‘t say yes. He didn‘t say no. He made it sound like he had it covered. “Don‘t worry about it.” In fact he made it clear. “I have my boys here. We‘re going to take care of it.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I mean, Susan, isn‘t the fundamental problem with this case that you got a bunch of these guys who - some of them have criminal records. Some of them are just kind of shady and they‘re all - there was an audiotape made of the actual incident. I mean, isn‘t there real problems with this case?
SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC‘S SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: There are tons of problems with this case, but you don‘t get to pick your victims as a prosecutor. You don‘t get to pick your witnesses as a prosecutor. You get your case as you get it.
And I sat through this whole thing today. And the case got really good once that audiotape became admissible which I didn‘t think it would be. But once you heard what actually went on in that room, how do you get around it?
ABRAMS: Let‘s play it. Here is the audiotape from TMZ of what happened in that room.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SIMPSON: Don‘t let nobody out this room. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and sell it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
SIMPSON: Don‘t let nobody out of here. (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. Mind your own business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get over there.
SIMPSON: You think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Backs to the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to get past you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walk your ass over there.
SIMPSON: Think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike took it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, against the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) wall.
SIMPSON: I know (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Mike took it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Search him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know what Brian is trying to prove.
SIMPSON: I always thought you were a straight shooter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m cool. I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, so ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.
SIMPSON: Don‘t let nobody out of here, man. And you - I trusted you, man!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bag this (EXPLETIVE DELETED)up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bag this (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
SIMPSON: Where did you get all my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) personal (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. So Michelle Suskauer, no matter how sleazy these guys may or may not be, as Susan points out, that audiotape is a big problem for O.J. Simpson in connection with the fact that you‘ve got this guy, Fromong, and these other guys saying it was a gun.
MICHELLE SUSKAUER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And nobody is going to say that O.J. was the one who was carrying a gun. And you‘re going to have to prove either by direct or circumstantial evidence that O.J. knew that there was a gun or that guns were going to be drawn.
So there are going to be inferences that are going to be made about that. But you cannot get away from the fact that there are major credibility issues. Major credibility issues.
Plus the fact that this guy, Bruce Fromong, was on medication. He has major issues. He‘s looking for the book or movie deal. He wants Jack Nicholson to play him. Everybody, you know, “Inside Edition” gets called because they‘re so frightened by all of this.
ABRAMS: All right. You mentioned “Inside Edition.” Here with Bruce Fromong being cross examined about why one of the phone calls that he made that day was to “Inside Edition”.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before 911 was called, there was a conversation about calling “Inside Edition” for a producer somewhere in the media about what had just happened.
FROMONG: That is incorrect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So that never happened?
FROMONG: It did happen, but not when you‘re stating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. It happened after the 911 call?
FROMONG: Yes. I came back into the room and I believe if you check I said I have called “Inside Edition.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Savannah Guthrie, am I accurate in saying that that guy who called “Inside Edition” the day this happened, is the cleanest of the prosecution witnesses who are going to be testifying against O.J.?
GUTHRIE: Well, perhaps. We haven‘t seen them all yet. But remember, the prosecutors like to put their strongest witness first and this was the first witness. And, look, you look into this case and you see that everyone here has problems, has a past, and that is going to a problem for the prosecution.
The other thing is you‘ve got three defendants now. You‘ve got O.J. and then the two other co-defendants. These witnesses come on. They have their direct testimony. And then each defense lawyer gets to spend as long as he wants taking a crack at these people and undermining their credibility. So it‘s some tough going in there for these witnesses.
ABRAMS: Susan, stronger case than you expected or weaker, now that you‘ve seen the beginning of it?
FILAN: Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. And don‘t forget the name of the game today is just probable cause. Will he be bound over for trial?
SUSKAUER: Yes, he will be. The defense doesn‘t expect to win that.
ABRAMS: He‘s going to go to trial. We know that. But the question everyone wants to know is he going to go to jail, right?
FILAN: Here is the problem with that. There‘s 50 percent of the people that still love the juice. They hug him. They want his autographs.
ABRAMS: Fifty percent do not. I promise you it‘s not 50.
FILAN: I know you lived it, Dan.
ABRAMS: There‘s no way. The percentage of people who love him is probably - and this is not scientific.
ABRAMS: This is my guess - I‘m guessing it‘s something like 15, OK? They all come up to him.
ABRAMS: You know? I mean they all walk up to him and say, “Hello. Oh, my
gosh. I love you, O.J.” So he‘s in this, like, bubble -
ABRAMS: Where he thinks, “Everyone loves me. This is great.”
FILAN: And we need one bubble headed juror who is going to go not guilty
no matter what and he may not go to prison on this. He may not be
convicted not just because the case has problems -
ABRAMS: It‘s a tough case, yes.
FILAN: No. No, not just because of the difficulties of a normal case
where you have real problems -
ABRAMS: Because someone loves him?
FILAN: But because he‘s O.J. Simpson. And he believes he‘s being persecuted.
ABRAMS: Of course he does. He always believes he is persecuted.
FILAN: He believes he‘s the victim in this.
ABRAMS: No. Of course, it‘s a civil trial. He used to walk around in the
hallways complaining about how everyone is so unfair. And focus on this -
FILAN: Wait a second.
ABRAMS: This minutia about how they got one thing wrong about what time someone was playing golf, and he would go crazy. All right, go ahead, Michelle.
SUSKAUER: I was just going to say, you know, if this was just somebody who had their personal items stolen, you‘re not going to have guys with this amount of credibility issues. You‘re just not going to see a case like this being prosecuted. But they‘re going to throw as much money as they possibly can to prosecute O.J. because he got away with it the first time. And you‘re right, Dan, 15 percent of the population loves O.J. Maybe 5 percent.
ABRAMS: Let me just actually reduce that number. I don‘t even think 15 love O.J. I think 15 percent would walk up to O.J. and tell him that they love him. All right.
ABRAMS: Savannah Guthrie, one word. When do we expect this to be over, two days, three days?
GUTHRIE: Two, three, four, five? I mean, it‘s going really slowly. He‘s going to be in court on Saturday.
ABRAMS: Enjoy yourself, Savannah. Enjoy it. Have fun. Savannah Guthrie, Michelle Suskauer and Susan Filan. Thanks a lot.
GUTHRIE: Thanks, Dan.
SUSKAUER: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: Up next, a man steals an M60 tank. That‘s right, a tank. And goes on a rampage through the streets of San Diego. And later, beautiful, busty baristas brewing up beans in a new Las Vegas coffee house appropriately named Sexxpresso. That‘s coming up in “Winners and Losers.”
And in a more serious note, we‘ve been reporting the senate holding its final debate in President Bush‘s attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey. The contentious nomination will be voted on tonight. We‘ll bring it to you if it happens within this hour.
ABRAMS: It couldn‘t get more terrifying than this. A troubled young man stole an M60 tank. That‘s right, a tank. And went on a terrifying rampage through the streets of San Diego, plowing through cars, telephone poles, fire hydrants. He even tried to take out a highway overpass. As the new MSNBC program “WHY THEY RUN” shows in just 30 minutes, a quiet California neighborhood transformed into a chaotic scene of destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was about a hundred miles north of San Diego and Los Angeles when I heard about a tank pursuit. And I didn‘t believe it at first, but sure enough, there was a tank being pursued by the San Diego Police Department. And I knew there would be no way that the police department could stop a tank.
From above, you can see what‘s in harm‘s way. People on the sidewalk, people in the street. At one point you could see a guy driving his car backing up to get out of harm‘s way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: While a police helicopter shoots this video of the tank, KNSD TV cameraman Mark Leimbach(ph) covers the pursuit from inside a news van.
MARK LEIMBACH(ph), KNSD TV PHOTOJOURNALIST: My instincts started clicking in. Look at the gun turret. Is it locked down? Is the gun plugged? Is there a machine gun? Which could have put me in jeopardy of course. And I probably would have taken a step back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There‘s a camper. He slices through the camper like a knife through butter. He just chops it in half. It‘s unrecognizable. What had taken months to build was destroyed in mere seconds.
LEIMBACH: He opened it up like a tin can. So I continued through the intersection, told my assistants to get out, grab the camera, and I‘m blowing right through the intersection, up onto a lawn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like he‘s about to take out that house. Nope.
He stops. He backs up. And instead, he‘s taking out the fire hydrant.
LEIMBACH: I‘ve never been in the military, but when you see and hear the sound of a tank, you‘re taken aback.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police were nothing more than observers. There was nothing they could do. Moreover, they were targets. They were literally targeted by the driver of this tank.
LEIMBACH: He took out a lamp post and it got hung up on the turret. And when he made a left, going west bound, it got hung up between two other light posts, so the cops couldn‘t get behind him. They had to go drive through the Jack in the Box parking lot to get back behind him in the chase. So, you know, it didn‘t look - it didn‘t appear that it was a crazy man. But he did leave a path of destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Later, the tank leaves surface streets and heads south on the 805 freeway for downtown San Diego. When the driver spots this pedestrian overpass, he tries using the 57-ton tank to bring it down.
LEIMBACH: All during this time I‘m rolling with my camera and driving at the same time. I looked over and I saw a police officer just shaking his head. What‘s going on here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: With dozens of patrol cars trailing the tank, the driver suddenly cuts across all four lanes of the freeway. But just as he is about to plow into oncoming traffic, the center concrete barrier or K-rail does what officers can‘t. It stops him dead in his tracks. One of the officers at the scene, detective Paul Paxton, is currently under cover and requested that his face not be revealed.
DETECTIVE PAUL PAXTON, POLICE OFFICER: I was looking for some strategies, a game plan so to speak, on how we can stop this tank. This entire time the tank was still trying to cross the center divider.
LEIMBACH: And he was trying to jockey the tank off that K-rail. And in doing so, the tracks on the left side flew off. He couldn‘t maneuver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Using bolt cutters, Paxton pops open the hatch and gets his first look at the man driving the tank.
PAXTON: I‘m yelling at him, stop the tank. Let me see your hands. And at one point, you could hear the accelerator going.
LEIMBACH: They told him, you know, “Shut it down.” And you can see, with the guns drawn, that he was still trying to maneuver that tank off that K-rail. And single shot. Everything stopped. Got quiet.
ABRAMS: Joining us now one of the voices you heard there, Mark Leimbach, a photo journalist with KNSD TV, one of the only television photographers following much of the scene. Thanks for taking the time. One question I think everyone is going to have which is how does he actually get into a tank? How did he find the tank? How was he able to steal the tank?
LEIMBACH: Well, he lived in the neighborhood of where the armory was, and walked right on through. He was also a part of the army, I believe, and stepped right in the tank, started it up, and took it right out the gate.
ABRAMS: Now is it true that the officer who actually ended up shooting him after this drew some criticism?
LEIMBACH: There was criticism, but from what we saw, this was an M60 tank on the freeway, 6:30 traffic. It had to be stopped. And that was the only opportunity right there to do so - to stop it.
ABRAMS: I was stunned to hear that actually there was criticism. I assumed that this was a once in a lifetime event in all of your career.
LEIMBACH: It is. It is the one-time event in my career. You know, as a photo journalist in news, you think you‘ve seen it all. There‘s always something that pops up and comes along. And as you know, we‘ve been working these fires down here for the past week so, you know. We work our tails off.
ABRAMS: Mark, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
LEIMBACH: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Why they run airs tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern here on MSNBC.
Up next in “Winners and Losers,” lingeried ladies serve up Sexxpresso, the new Las Vegas coffeehouse. A New York City restaurant unveils a $25,000 dessert. And a California surfer saved from a great white shark by some bottle-nosed dolphins. Beautiful baristas who grin and bare it all; a treat of sin for those who don‘t care at all; or dolphins who flap some fin to scare a shark and prevent them all. Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 8th day of November, 2007. Our first loser, a Boston priest locked up after late night prowling. David Ajemian(ph) was arrested for allegedly stalking late night comedian Conan O‘Brien.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O‘BRIEN: Jesus christ!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The creepy clergyman was collared by the cops after sending a series of strange notes to the star calling himself your priest stalker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘BRIEN: What do you want from me?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Your loyalty to mother church, Conan.
ABRAMS: Threatening e-mails? Grounds for busting even a man of the cloth.
Our first winners? Busty women serving grounds without much cloth. The bare and beautiful baristas brewing up beans at a new Las Vegas coffeehouse appropriately named, Sexxpresso.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM CAREY, ACTOR: Smokin‘!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The hot, ah, coffee, served up in sizes A, B, and of course Double D hand delivered by the lingeried ladies.
Our second loser, New York City restaurant Serendipity III, which unveiled this new golden, gluttonous, far too expensive sundae. The over-the-top treasure ringing at a cost of a mere $25,000, making it the most expensive dessert ever. The costly cup includes 23 carat edible gold, a one carat diamond bracelet and 18 carat gold spoon, making the frozen sweet a record breaking treat.
Our second winners, 200,000 pairs of record breaking feet competing in crazy categories across the globe on the Annual Guinness World Record Day. The freaks, misfits and merry men giving it their best shot on the land and in the air. Even the day itself will set a record for the day with the most records set.
But the big loser of the day? Magician David Copperfield Already wading in troubled waters after rape allegations against him, the illusionist now being sued by promoters who say he did a disappearing act on almost 50 overseas shows. The magician now trying to keep his head above water as overseas sharks go for the jugular. The big winner of the day? A California surfer saved from sharks on the open sea.
TODD ANDERS(ph), SHARK ATTACK SURVIVOR: it happened right out there.
ABRAMS (voice over): Todd Anders(ph) was actually attacked by a great white shark when suddenly a group of bottle-nosed dolphins came to his rescue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV HOST: Suddenly there is a pod or group of dolphins around you? Is that what happened?
ANDERS(ph): Absolutely. Actually, the dolphins had been there the whole time but they sprung to action after I got attacked and formed some sort of barrier between me and the shark. I was able to swim away. And then my friend, Judge Anson(ph) actually told me to grab my surf board while I was swimming towards the beach and put it underneath me. And at that time same time, a wind came and just - We both caught it. It was a godsend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard someone screaming and I looked over and I just saw a bunch of thrashing going on, and a bunch of blood.
ANDERS(ph): I was sitting on my board and he couldn‘t fit me in his mouth. And so, I got hit probably 10 or 15 feet. And then the second time he came down and clamped on my torso and my board, and sandwich my board and my torso in its mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV HOST: Which probably saved you in a way, that
board, right, from -
ANDERS: Kept him from getting to my intestines, essentially. And then the second time he bit me, he swallowed my right leg which kind of gave me a leverage to kick him with my left leg which might have helped me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV HOST: So you were fighting back as best as you could.
ANDERS: Absolutely. It‘s the fight or flight response. You don‘t really have an option. It‘s not really a thinking type of thing. Everything is happening so fast that you just have to fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV HOST: Did you ever lose consciousness? Is it going through your mind at that point, “I‘m not going to make it”?
ANDERS: Well, you know what? That really actually never crossed my mind. It was, you know, thanks to this guy, once I got to the beach, he was calming me down and keeping me from losing more blood by telling me to slow my breathing and really just be calm. They didn‘t let me look at my wounds at all, which really helped. I never went into shock.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV HOST: Six weeks later. Explain this to me, because to me this sounds crazy. You went back to the location and you went surfing again.
ANDERS: Yes. You really have to face your fears. You know, I‘m a surfer at heart. And that‘s not something really that you can give up very easily, you know. It‘s my passion. So it was, you know, my only choice. I had to face my fear and paddle out to the same spot. It was hard, don‘t get me wrong, but it‘s just something you have to do.
ABRAMS: One of these to the dolphins. Have a good night.
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