DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Tonight we are learning more about an explosive allegation linking the parent company of FOX News to an effort to help Rudy Giuliani get elected president. New scrutiny tonight of the long relationship between Giuliani and top News Corps executives, including Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes. It comes in the wake of that federal lawsuit filed late yesterday by a top book publisher alleging that News Corps executives encouraged her to lie in a Federal investigation. A Giuliani loyalist, Bernard Kerik an investigation that might have made public serious questions about Giuliani‘s judgment. Today campaigning in Iowa, Giuliani tried to ignore the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don‘t respond to the story at all. I have—I don‘t know anything about it. And it sounds to me like a kind of a gossip column story more than a real story. Last thing in the world you want to do when you are running for president is respond to gossip style stories.
ABRAMS: Except as a lawyer, Giuliani should know this lawsuit is not a gossip column. The allegations of potentially corrupt acts by executives at News Corps is serious business. It‘s gossipy that the publisher, Judith Regan was having an affair with Kerik. But it‘s criminal, if News Corps execs told her to lie about it. Joining me now, Wayne Barrett who has written two important books about Giuliani, Air America host, Rachel Maddow, former FOX News producer, Charlie Reina, now a contributor to “Huffington Post” and Republican strategist, Jack Burkman, a one-time contributor to FOX News. Thanks to all of you. I appreciate it. All right. Rachel, we hear so much about the so-called Left-wing media. What is the story about a major media company and a leading Republican candidate tell you?
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Well, this is the Right-wing media conspiracy that people have been salivating for a long time, I think. Rudy Giuliani officiated at Roger Ailes‘ wedding. FOX News has been very favorable towards Giuliani‘s candidacy. Judith Regan as part of that company, if she had some horrific details about her relationship with Bernie Kerik, Bernie Kerik and Giuliani that would have screwed up his campaign and FOX leaned on her to cover it up, that‘s a Right-wing conspiracy that the Left has been kind of waiting for a long time.
ABRAMS: Charles, you worked at FOX News for seven years. You‘ve written about it from the inside. I mean, this is a serious allegation and the notion that there may be an almost a conspiracy out there, believable to you?
CHARLIE REINA, FORMER FOX NEWS PRODUCER: Yes, definitely believable. Six years, by the way. I was there only six. I don‘t want them to attack me, the fact that I‘m misleading you about the number of years I worked there. It was six. No, it doesn‘t shock me at all. It‘s a network run by a political operative, Roger Ailes is a Republican operative, always was. His loyalty is to the Republican Party and, for anyone to even imagine that he would not use this powerful venue, that is to say FOX News Channel to bring about a Republican victory to support the Republicans; they would have to be crazy.
ABRAMS: Wayne, again, this is so serious. And again, I say that because it is a crime if a News Corps executive told someone to lie in the context of a Federal investigation.
WAYNE BARRETT, GIULIANI BIOGRAPHER: The lawsuit actually says that two did.
ABRAMS: Yes, that‘s right. And it‘s so serious. But, yet, the relationships do go back. Let‘s put aside the criminal side of it for a minute. Bring us up to date on sort of the relationships between Giuliani and Ailes over the years.
BARRETT: I think the most important thing and it‘s a very, deep personal relationship, but the most important thing is that Rudy Giuliani delivered the New York market to FOX News Channel when Roger Ailes created back in 1996, because there was litigation. A federal judge ruled against FOX getting this additional channel and Rudy essentially forced Time Warner which had the city franchise, awarded by the city, to grant this additional channel to FOX, without which they wouldn‘t have become the top news channel.
ABRAMS: So, is it possible that he would be so indebted to him that he would want to mandate or at least encourage a Giuliani presidency?
BARRETT: Well, I don‘t think there is any question but that Roger Ailes is for Rudy Giuliani for president. I think all you have to do is look at the channel and you can figure that out. I mean, there are totally legitimate journalists who work at FOX that cover the thing fairly. But generally, I mean, Sean Hannity leers at the man when he is on the show with him. It would be sexual harassment if it was a female person appearing on the show. It‘s—to watch Sean Hannity who introduces him at fundraisers.
ABRAMS: Here‘s a piece of sound of Sean Hannity introducing Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY: Let‘s give a warm, Cincinnati welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a guy that was a hero on 9/11, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
GIULIANI: Thank you very much. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Jack Burkman, look, you can‘t deny that there are a lot of connections between Giuliani and FOX News but that, I guess, is very different from the allegations here which you‘re saying is that the connections go way beyond just friendship.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, sure, Dan. You have to remember, you‘re right, but the connections have nothing to do with the allegations. I mean, sure, Giuliani knows Roger Ailes; sure Roger Ailes is a Republican. But none of that has anything to do with the allegations at hand. I mean, look, I was at FOX in the1990s. I was there. I can tell you, yes, I don‘t particularly like News Corps but can I tell you they‘re getting a raw deal here. They‘re getting a very raw deal.
BURKMAN: Judith Regan has a long history, it goes way back beyond the O.J. Simpson book. She hates News Corps from the 90‘s when they canceled her weekend show. She never got what she wanted from them. She wanted to be one of their big primetime stars. They would never do it. She has been simmering and festering and simmering and festering. I tell you something else, I don‘t know - I‘m not familiar with the financial situation, but can I tell you after the O.J. debacle my guess is she‘s got some financial needs as well.
ABRAMS: Let me - Rachel, look, her lawyer‘s saying that they‘ve got evidence and there was a report that came out in July about her possibly having audiotapes.
RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA: Right.
ABRAMS: This may not just be her sort of throwing stuff out there and seeing what‘s going to stick.
MADDOW: Right. No matter what you have to say about Judith Regan and how much you like her and don‘t like her, if she‘s got the evidence, she‘s got the evidence. It is a criminal matter and it will be a huge deal for Giuliani. The thing that remains to be explained by people who are defending News Corps here is why Rupert Murdock was so shocked and so morally outraged all of a sudden by the O.J. Simpson book deal. I mean, that‘s the thing for Judy that he would have OKed it and then been shocked by it. It does look like they threw her under into (INAUDIBLE) on that deal to make her look bad.
BURKMAN: You have to understand, Dan, the only thing from a legal standpoint, I would encourage everyone to focus on the legal. The only thing we have right now on the table, the networks are running wild with this, all we have are the allegations of one very, very shaky and apparently very, very biased witness. She claims there‘s evidence. There‘s a prosecutor who claims there was evidence. I would say to Rachel Maddow whom although we disagree I regard as a fine journalist. Be careful to not end up being the Dan Rather of 2008 getting way, way, way out in front of a story based on only one very biased and very shaky witness.
BARRETT: Could I just say there is a legal document, other than the lawsuit?
REINA: Could I jump in here?
ABRAMS: Wait for a sec, Wayne‘s going to finish.
BARRETT: There is the Bernie Kerik indictment. The Bernie Kerik indictment you can see counts in that indictment that clearly come from Judith Regan. I mean, there is up $75,000 payment that is made to Bernie Kerik that is deposited in a corporate account that nobody knew existed.
It turns out it was a half million dollars deposited in this account on
which he paid no taxes, based on the indictment. That information is
probably the information that the executives at News Corporation -
ABRAMS: That‘s interesting point, Charlie, you wanted to begin.
REINA: Yes, you know, it‘s good advice for all of us is to
remember that a person is not guilty until proven—whatever. But, you
know, bear in mind that we‘re talking about FOX News Channel and the
history here is not at all good as far as -
ABRAMS: Well, and we got the internal memos as well, Charlie. I
mean and for example, that one of their internal memos said Bush‘s
political courage and tactical cunning are worth noting in our reporting
through the day, this coming from their news director. You know, again -
REINA: With that - John Moony (ph)?
ABRAMS: That‘s right.
REINA: Yes, John Moony - .
ABRAMS: But, I don‘t want to get too much into who does what at FOX News.
ABRAMS: I mean, let‘s keep on this -
REINA: Alright, there -
ABRAMS: Yes, go ahead.
REINA: Bear in mind that, you know, Brit Hume has referred to Roger Ailes as a person who not only wants to beat his competition he wants to crush them.
ABRAMS: But there‘s something more than—at stake here, Wayne.
And that is the notion that, OK, we know FOX News is Right wing. OK? Everyone here on this panel knows that FOX News perpetuates a Right-wing agenda. Not every reporter, not every anchor but on the whole, the network does it, period. There is no debate about that. It is something else to say that they are advocating for a particular Republican candidate and that one being Rudy Giuliani.
BARRETT: Well, see, I‘ve never believed—I actually disagree with the premise. I don‘t believe FOX is a Right-wing network. I believe it is a network that engages in business relationships with particular candidates. Now, they tend to do that more with Republicans than they do with Democrats. But look at the relationship with Blair. I mean, you know, Blair supports the war but in many ways he‘s a liberal in his own country. So, I don‘t think it‘s ideology so much. They have a business relationship with Rudy Giuliani.
ABRAMS: I don‘t buy the business relationship part. I think they are so smart about business over there but, Rachel—I think if you watch FOX News; it is inevitable that an objective observer will come to the conclusion that they are Right wing. OK?
BURKMAN: You are right, Dan, but the issue is -
ABRAMS: Let me give Rachel a final word that.
MADDOW: That may be a business decision on their part to do that.
They may have decided to promote a Right-wing agenda in order a capture a
Right audience and therefore lock up a niche. It has serious implications
for our democracy when they pick one candidate or they pick -
ABRAMS: Final 10 seconds, Charlie -
REINA: It might have been Rupert Murdock‘s goal but with Roger Ailes we‘re talking about a party loyalist and this is what he is doing.
Brit Hume -
ABRAMS: All right. I‘ve got to wrap it up. Wayne Barrett, Rachel Maddow, Charlie Reina, Jeff Burkman, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Coming up: Stacy Peterson‘s husband, now a suspect in her disappearance tries to reach out to his wife during an exclusive NBC interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON: Come home. Tell people where you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And we‘re going to play a lot of that interview and ask Stacy‘s uncle whether he buys it. Plus: Bill O‘Reilly trying to get a national protest going against a movie he admits he has not seen. That‘s up next in Beat the Press. And later Republican candidate Mike Huckabee hoping to be a hero in Iowa after his long shot campaign gets a major boost from a new poll. He‘s now second to Mitt Romney among Republican voters in the Hawkeye state. That‘s coming up in winners and losers.
ABRAMS: Did you know there are as many as 20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S? Coming up: New York‘s governor drops his controversial plan to give illegals driver‘s licenses. Now, Hillary Clinton is backing off as well. Isn‘t this the beginning of the end on this issue? The Republicans just care more about this than Democrats? Pat Buchanan joins the debate.
ABRAMS: Mark it down, today may be the day that Democrats gave up on immigration. New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer, the politically wounded governor suffering from plummeting approval ratings since his proposal to provide driver‘s licenses to illegal immigrants. Well, he folded today, backing off the issue. He is now calling toxic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER, NEW YORK: This has become so toxic that any time a practical proposal is put forward, it is shot down before it can even be weighed on its merits. The consequence of this fear mongering is paralysis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Hours later Hillary Clinton, whose wavering support for Spitzer got her in a lot of trouble during the last debate, washed her hands of the issue as well saying quote:
“I support Governor Spitzer‘s decision today to withdraw his proposal. As president, I will not support driver‘s licenses for undocumented people.”
The republicans just care more about this issue. I can‘t see how they lose it. Joining us now, MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan. Pat, the bottom line here is that the Republicans just care more than Democrats about immigration. Right?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Not exactly, Dan. Let me tell you what the situation is. Spitzer and Hillary Rodham Clinton were run over by a stampede. He‘s down to 25 percent. He is in free-fall. The Republicans, except for Tancredo, who is a leader and Duncan Hunter, who are leaders, they simply were hit by the stampede earlier, it almost killed McCain‘s candidacy. Rudy was a sanctuary city guy. Neither of them are there anymore. This is an issue, Dan that the people made up. The people created this issue and the politicians are following and the Republicans simply got out there first.
ABRAMS: But Juan Hernandez, senior fellow at the Reform Institute, there is no such thing as the people purely determining an issue. I mean, it seems to me that the Republicans have been better at framing this issue than Democrats.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, REFORM ISTITUTE: But, wait a minute, Dan. What do you mean the people? Hispanics are also people here. And I‘m sorry, Pat Buchanan, you can‘t have it both ways. I‘m glad that there are a few people out there; you‘re saying, for example, that McCain is down because of immigration, I don‘t know if you‘ve been watching the polls, but McCain is up again. The pendulum is going the other way. Pat, you can‘t have it both ways. You really would like to keep all the undocumented people here, so you can continue having your shirts pressed at a $1.50 and so you can keep selling books against the immigrants, in which you include about four pages about me. You can‘t have it both ways. We‘ve got to solve the problem. We‘ve got to do the right thing, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Look, Juan, come on now. Look, I didn‘t cause Spitzer to run and panic. I didn‘t cause Hillary Rodham Clinton to run.
HERNANDEZ: No, you didn‘t.
BUCHANAN: I didn‘t, now, look. John McCain is coming back and is gotten well. He‘s going to build defense. He‘s no longer for amnesty. He‘s gotten well on it. You know as well as I do, Juan, this is an incredible grass roots movement in America that has built up over 20 years and is now so powerful it rolled Teddy Kennedy, the president, the “Washington Post,” McCain, you know, everybody in Washington, D.C. was defeated. It‘s too strong for you.
HERNANDEZ: No, no, no. Pat, wait a minute, the governor of New York, no, no, the governor of New York, he wanted to help these undocumented people complies with the laws of New York with regard to licensing. Now, it didn‘t pass in the state, but, man, I applaud the guy for trying. The federal government—let me finish, Pat.
ABRAMS: Juan, here is the problem politically, all right? You can look at the Democratic candidates, all right, Juan? Licenses for illegal immigrants, do they want it? Clinton, no now. Obama, yes. Edwards, no, kind of. Dodd, no. Richardson, yes. Biden, no. Kucinich, no, kind of. I mean, even among Democrats you don‘t have a lot of support here and it just seems to me that Eliot Spitzer is right on when he says it‘s toxic for Democrats. And as a result, they‘re all just throwing up their arms and saying there‘s nothing we can do. It‘s not worth—let me let Juan respond to that.
HERNANDEZ: It‘s politics. It‘s politics right now and yes we‘re going to have elections next year and each individual that‘s running for the presidency wants to make sure that he or she is able to win. Nevertheless, most of the polls, if you really put out the questions in an intelligent way, up to 76 percent of U.S. citizens say if these are good people, if they ‘re not criminals, if they want to abide by our laws, and, by the way, I say the governor wanted them to comply with some laws, let‘s help them. Let‘s go ahead and legalize them.
ABRAMS: Go ahead, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Now, look. Eliot Spitzer knows a lot better than Juan Hernandez does where his interests lie. Let me tell you Obama. Obama doesn‘t get off this, if he runs on this, this will kill the Democratic Party, Dan. If we can‘t beat Obama on this issue, I don‘t know what it will take to beat him. He will be finished. If he gets the nomination, he will run on this issue. I will predict, also, that Hillary Rodham Clinton will get off of amnesty.
ABRAMS: I have got to wrap it up.
HERNANDEZ: Pat, we have had so many debates on this. I‘d love to hear you give a solution, Pat. Not just sell a bunch of books because you are against the undocumented.
BUCHANAN: Read the rest of the book besides the four pages on you, Juan.
HERNANDEZ: I only read the four pages on me.
ABRAMS: All right. Read the book. I‘ve got to wrap it. Pat Buchanan, Juan Hernandez, thanks a lot. Coming up: Drew Peterson, the man who‘s current wife is missing and ex-wife‘s body just exhumed. Finally speaks out today in an interview. You will see it only on this network. Her family is here to respond to that interview. Plus, the folks at FOX News try to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11, again. That‘s coming up in Beat the Press.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press. First up: FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly has been trying to launch a nationwide protest against Mark Cuban and his new film “Redacted.” To feel that strongly I would assumed O‘Reilly had either seen the movie or at least read the screenplay. And I would be wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLAVIA COLGAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let me be clear. I don‘t
want to say I‘m protesting the movie because I haven‘t seen it yet. I
won‘t say -
BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: All you need to do is read the summations of the movie from the Dennis Film Festival.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Right. In high school, reading clip notes may work. In adult life, when you call for protest, don‘t you think you should actually know what you are talking about?
Next up: This day, is seems the only still linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 is Vice president Cheney, even he‘s careful about it these days. Anyone who‘s been remotely following the news knows Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. But that doesn‘t stop the folks at FOX, Ronald Kessler trying to use a little visual aid to link Saddam to 9/11 or Bin Laden or the captured since 9/11. Watch the screen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD KESSLER, BEST SELLING AUTHOR: It‘s really an American success story. Since 9/11 some 5,000 terrorists have been rolled up and I guarantee you, you‘ll never see that headline in the “Washington Post” or the “New York Times” and that‘s why we have not been attacked. It essentially gives Osama bin Laden the same rights as Americans when it comes to interception of communications that they would have been warranted even if Bin Laden made a call in Pakistan to someone in Pakistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Was that Bin Laden on the screen? No. They report, you decide. Finally: Mike Brooks was filling in for Nancy Grace on HEADLINE NEWS. She‘s been in the hospital since Sunday. We wish her the very best and hope she gets well soon. While Nancy is away, the kids back at the show play her game but there are problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: I will tell you that the Sabio family was not happy that the media was out there, the news chopper were above. And they were kind of ticked off by that.
MIKE BROOKS: Yes, and I can understand why they would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You understand if you can understand, then why are you guys showing the tape of the body being exhumed. We need your help Beating the Press. If you see anything right or wrong, amusing or absurd, please go to our Web site: Abrams.msnbc.com. Leave us a tip in the box.
Up next: The husband of missing Illinois mother, Stacy Peterson is finally speaking out, now that he‘s a suspect in her disappearance. You will see it only here on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON: Stacy would ask me for a divorce after her sister died, on a regular basis. I‘m not trying to be funny and it was based on her menstrual cycle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: We‘ll show you the interview and get reaction from a close member of her family. And later: An Ohio man run as red light, ends up under a big rig. That‘s coming up in tonight‘s Winners and Losers.
MELISSA REHBERGER: I‘m Melissa Rehberger. Here‘s what ‘s happening. A judge in Las Vegas ruled O.J. Simpson and two co-dependents must stand trial. The judge issued his decision after a four-day hearing. Simpson and the others are accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealer at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room. They face a dozen charges including kidnapping and armed robbery. If convicted on all charges, all three could face life in prison. They‘re scheduled to be arraigned, November 28th. Now back to Dan Abrams.
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up later, the police sergeant who is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy is speaking out in an exclusive MSNBC interview. Third wife‘s body was just exhumed. We‘ll play the interview with Drew Peterson and get a reaction from a member of Stacy Peterson‘s family.
And Matt Damon feeling thankful after edging out tried-and-true hotties George Clooney and Brad Pitt to be crowned “People” magazine‘s sexiest man alive for 2007.
Plus, an Ohio man thankfully misses meeting his maker - look at this - after running the red light into the path of an oncoming truck. That‘s coming up in “Winners and Losers.”
But first, his third wife is dead. His fourth wife is missing. And now, Drew Peterson, the former sergeant and husband of a missing Illinois woman, is speaking out for the first time. In an exclusive interview with NBC, he insists he had nothing to do with the disappearance of his fourth wife or the mysterious death of his third wife. We‘ll get the family‘s reaction in a moment. But, first, here is Matt Lauer‘s exclusive interview.
MATT LAUER, HOST, THE “TODAY” SHOW: You have said on occasion that Stacy came to you said she was seeing someone else, that there was another man. Is it fair to say that you believe that Stacy right now is with that other man?
DREW PETERSON, HUSBAND OF STACY PETERSON: She never told me she was seeing another man. She - well, maybe she did. But I believe she is with somebody else right now.
LAUER: Let me just go back did she or did she not say to you I‘m seeing someone else, Drew?
PETERSON: It wasn‘t put like that. She found somebody else. That was her exact words.
LAUER: And you believe that she is now not dead, that she is actually run off with another man?
PETERSON: I believe that, yes.
LAUER: You described her as, although she had emotional issues, as you have said, she was a good mom.
PETERSON: Great mom. Great mom.
LAUER: All right. And so how does a good mom of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old go off with another man and never call the kids to see how they are doing or to tell the kids that she is OK?
PETERSON: I don‘t know. I can‘t answer that.
LAUER: No explanation for that?
PETERSON: I don‘t have an explanation for that.
LAUER: Are you cooperating with the police? There have been conflicting reports. The police, from what I understand, say you are not offering much assistance. And you have said that you are cooperating. What‘s the truth?
PETERSON: I sat down the first night they interviewed me, the day after she was missing. That evening, they were over at my house. I gave them a full account of the story at what took place. And thereafter, I hired some attorneys and the attorneys said don‘t talk no more.
LAUER: No more. Have you participated - we have seen images of people out in the area where you live, searching for Stacy.
LAUER: Have you ever taken part in the search for Stacy?
PETERSON: Well, there is two things. One thing it‘s like I‘m such a media sensation right now, if I go out and search I think the search would be hampered by, number one, all the media attention I would be getting. And, two, why would I look for somebody who I don‘t believe is missing? She is just gone. She‘s just where she wants to be.
LAUER: Can you look me straight in the eye and tell me you had nothing to do with the death of your third wife Kathy(ph) or the disappearance of your fourth wife, Stacy?
PETERSON: I can look right in your eye and say I had nothing to do with either of those instances.
LAUER: You seem extraordinarily calm and collected. And I guess if I were
under the pressure and the scrutiny you are under right now, possible
indictment as early as today or tomorrow -
LAUER: I think I‘d be a little more - I don‘t know, rattled.
PETERSON: Basically, I‘m not afraid of law enforcement. I‘m afraid of the media. And I have been hounded by the media and the media is what is causing my aggravation or me being upset with life and living today.
ABRAMS: It‘s always the media‘s fault. Joining me now Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, prosecutor Pam Bondi, and former FBI profiler and NBC analyst Clint Van Zandt. All right. Clint, you were watching this and you were commenting to me as a police officer to law enforcement guy - you were saying, what?
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, you know, this guy comes off so unbelievable. Look, Dan, he is saying, “I believe my wife ran off with somebody else.” Well, you are the cop, man. If you think your wife ran off with somebody else, notwithstanding - First, let me see she said she ran off. No, she didn‘t. Yes, she did. You know, why wouldn‘t you know if your wife said, “Hey, I got a new boyfriend.”
And number two, this is the cop who supposedly stalked her, followed her, monitored her cellphone calls. Why wouldn‘t he know who the new boyfriend was?
ABRAMS: And I‘m going to play a little bit more sound of that in a minute.
But Geoffrey, what do you make of it?
GEOFFREY FIEGER, ATTORNEY: Well, he is right to be afraid of the media. It‘s not his friend in this instance, Dan. And, frankly, the one thing he should not do is be doing what he is apparently doing, talking to the media. This will be used against him in any trial. And it will further convince the public that he has something to do with it. And it can be used against him. It doesn‘t serve any purpose whatsoever.
PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR: I agree with Geoffrey. If Geoffrey was his lawyer, he would be telling him, “Don‘t you dare do an interview.” When I saw this interview this morning, Dan, I thought this is so great for the prosecution. We‘re going to be seeing clips of Matt Lauer‘s interview with him in a homicide trial. This guy is cold and calculating.
ABRAMS: That‘s right. Just when you thought it was bad. Listen to a little bit more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: Just real quickly, touch on the fact that as I said it‘s reported that Stacy asked you for a divorce just two days before she disappeared. And you combine that with the fact that Kathy(ph) died while your divorce settlement was still being negotiated. Do you understand why people see a rather alarming coincidence here?
PETERSON: Sure. However, Stacy - I‘m not trying to funny here but Stacy would ask me for a divorce after her sister died, on a regular basis. I‘m not trying to be funny and that was based on her menstrual cycle.
LAUER: So when Stacy asked you for a divorce on October 26th, it didn‘t anger you? You weren‘t upset by it?
PETERSON: It was like any other moment that she had that she was unhappy with something. She would want a divorce.
LAUER: So when people look at you and they say here is a guy who‘s been a cop for 30 years. He knows police work. He knows weapons. He probably knows how other criminals have gone about covering their tracks. He is the perfect guy to commit a crime. How do you respond to that?
PETERSON: How can I? What can you say? I can‘t even respond to that.
LAUER: As someone who does know the system, and who has understood for years what it takes to piece together a case, to bring together evidence, how does it feel to have the weight of that system now turned and focused on you?
PETERSON: It‘s very frightening, very frightening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. So you are seeing there more of this interview. All right. Pam Bondi, he is talking about her hormones. He is talking about the fact that every time she gets her period, she asks for a divorce.
BONDI: That‘s so offensive, Dan. That is so incredibly offensive. And also, with his third wife, he tried to blame her and her mood swings as well. I mean, believe this guy is clearly a psychopath. He knows right from wrong, but he doesn‘t believe he did anything wrong. And he thinks he is more intelligent than everything else. Nothing is ever his fault.
It‘s really unbelievable. And, Dan, you know, if you were in this position, and whether or not you think your wife left you and you had a national forum, wouldn‘t you be begging her to come home, at least for your children? We didn‘t hear any of that. Matt had to prod that out of him.
ABRAMS: Well here‘s what he said that. Let‘s just play that piece of sound where he‘s talking about Stacy coming home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: And if Stacy is out there, as you say, where she wants to be, perhaps with another man, perhaps even watching this interview, what would you say to Stacy, your fourth wife?
PETERSON: Come home. Tell people where you are. And that‘s all I can say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Geoffrey, I guess this is why you would advise him not to do this interview, right?
FIEGER: Exactly, because god forbid that her body is found and he had something to do with it. He‘s removed all defenses, Dan. You see, there is an ability to defend him because no one knows what happens if, in fact, she is deceased.
But going on the air with Matt Lauer and making that snide statement come home - like Pam said, it will be played over and over again. He will never be able to get a jury that won‘t send him to the death chamber. He is removing all ability to defend him.
ABRAMS: Go ahead, Clint.
VAN ZANDT: Dan, he doesn‘t have to be a real touchy- feely guy. But you know, you could say, “Wife, I love you. Our two children ages 2 and 4 go to bed each night and cry about you. Please, call us. If you can‘t come home, send us an e-mail. Your family loves you.” This guy is like he‘s calling lassie, you know, come home.
ABRAMS: Scott Peterson did a better job of being emotional.
VAN ZANDT: Absolutely.
VAN ZANDT: You hear a fool has himself for an attorney. This guy has a fool for an attorney and a fool for a witness when he props himself up like that.
ABRAMS: And he is a cop.
VAN ZANDT: Well, you know, you could say cops are stoic. But wait a minute, man, that‘s your wife. That‘s fourth wife and the mother of your children.
ABRAMS: And they are exhuming your third wife right now. This is not a good time in his life.
VAN ZANDT: And the only thing he has to say about that, not like a cop, “Good, I hope it cracks the case.” But he says, “Oh, I don‘t think it‘s a good thing to really disturb her.”
ABRAMS: All right. Everyone is going to stay with us. Up next, we‘re going to play more of that interview with Drew Peterson. And later, Republican candidate Mike Huckabee flying high tonight after his long shot campaign gets a major boost from a new poll. He‘s now second to just Mitt Romney among Republican voters in Iowa. He is one of tonight‘s winners and losers.
ABRAMS: Did you know among missing adults, about a sixth have psychiatric problems? That, of course, would not cover those who have been murdered. Coming up, we‘ll hear more from the husband of Stacy Peterson in an exclusive interview. He‘s talking about his wife‘s impaired mental state. Her uncle is with us and I‘m guessing he is not exactly buying it. Coming up.
ABRAMS: We are back with more of MSNBC‘s exclusive interview with the husband 23-year-old nursing student Stacy Peterson, last seen more than two weeks ago. Sergeant Drew Peterson is now a suspect and says he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
He claims she left with another man. We will talk to Stacy Peterson‘s uncle in a moment. But first, here is more from Sergeant Peterson in the exclusive interview with NBC‘s Matt Lauer.
PETERSON: I think they‘ve always considered me a suspect. The husband always did it. And I think it‘s just a title to basically progress their case or try to progress their case.
LAUER: So you think the only reason you are considered a suspect right now is because the husband is always considered a suspect?
PETERSON: Pretty much. And I believe I was a suspect from the beginning when they first started talking to me.
LAUER: Let me go over a couple of things that have raised some eyebrows. Stacy went missing, as I said, on October 28th. According to reports, she had asked you for a divorce just two days earlier.
Stacy wrote an e-mail to a friend on October 17th, so we‘re talking about a little more than a week prior to her disappearance. And this is what it said, quote: “As I mature with age I‘m finding that the relationship I‘m in is controlling, manipulative and somewhat abusive. If you could keep me in your prayers, I could use some wisdom, protection, and strength.” What do you think she meant by that?
PETERSON: I don‘t think that‘s her words. That doesn‘t sound like a thing that she would say. And that vocabulary is certainly out of line for her. So I think this was fabricated, as a lot of things have been throughout this case. This is a made up-email.
LAUER: Stacy‘s stepsister, Carrie Simmons(ph), was on this program. And let me play a portion of what she said to Meredith earlier, OK?
CARRIE SIMMONS(PH), STACY PETERSON‘S STEPSISTER: It was the end of pretty much every conversation that we had when we were together or spoke on the phone with both of us that, you know, if one day she never answered her phone or if we couldn‘t get a hold of her that, you know, we would need to look for her, that something happened.
LAUER: “That we would need to look for her, that something happened.” Why do you think Stacy was concerned that something was going to happen to her and that they would need to look for her?
PETERSON: I don‘t know. I don‘t know.
LAUER: Well then, describe the relationship. What was your relationship like with Stacy?
PETERSON: Our entire relationship was, in the beginning, it was very romantic. And after her sister passed away with cancer, she took a serious down slide of her emotions. She lost her faith. She was very religious before this time.
Ever since her sister died, we actually had her see a psychiatrist and
she was on medication - mood medication. And every day with her
thereafter, after her sister passed away, was basically an emotional roller
coaster. Everyday -
LAUER: Emotional for Stacy or emotional between the two of you? Would you describe your relationship as volatile? Was it ever violent?
PETERSON: I don‘t believe it was ever violent.
LAUER: You would either know it was violent or not violent.
PETERSON: There was a few incidents where like Stacy and I would have
verbal confrontations. And I would be in her face and she hated being
cornered. One time she hit me in the head with a frozen steak. And OK -
LAUER: Did you ever hit her?
LAUER: Never raised a hand to her?
PETERSON: Never raised a hand to her.
ABRAMS: Joining me now is Stacy Peterson‘s uncle Kyle Toeches(ph). Kyle, thanks for coming back on the program. We appreciate it.
KYLE TOECHES(PH), STACY PETERSON‘S UNCLE: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: All right. So you have been listening to all of these statements from Drew Peterson. What do you make of it?
TOECHES(ph): It makes you sick on what this guy is saying. I mean, he is laughing about his wife coming home. I don‘t know what kind of sense of humor or jokester he thinks he is. But threatening to kill somebody or making them disappear and making it look like an accident is not real funny to any of us.
ABRAMS: See, you don‘t believe him when he says that he thinks that she ran off with somebody else and that the e-mails are fabricated, et cetera?
TOECHES(ph): Not at all. She had no time to meet anyone with him over her 24/7, every minute. She couldn‘t even go to the bathroom without him on top of her.
ABRAMS: And I would assume that the idea of her running out on her kids is something unfathomable?
TOECHES(ph): She would never - she would never leave her kids.
ABRAMS: So, as you watch this, is it getting your blood boiling a little bit?
TOECHES(ph): Yes, it does, extremely.
ABRAMS: Tell me why.
TOECHES(ph): Because I know the truth. There is something else that he is not telling us.
ABRAMS: And do you think that the rest of the family shares your opinion about this?
TOECHES(ph): Our side of the family. That‘s another thing, if he didn‘t do anything wrong, why does he want people to pick sides? Why is there sides? Why aren‘t we all trying to find Stacy?
ABRAMS: Pam Bondi, he must have known that this interview was going to lead to people like Kyle, close relatives of Stacy‘s being furious.
BONDI: Dan, that shows the type of person he is. He doesn‘t care. All he cares about is himself. He shows no remorse. He‘s disparaged his third wife and his fourth wife. Everything in that interview, if you noticed, was I, me, my - everything was about him. Not his missing wife.
And, you know, it may be very troubling to her uncle now, but I will tell you in the end, he will get the last laugh when those prosecutors get to cram those statements down his throat at trial hopefully.
ABRAMS: He mentioned - one of you mentioned the death penalty before. And he was asked specifically about the possibility of getting the death penalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: You know the law, Mr. Peterson. You know that if somehow, you are deemed to be involved in the death of Kathy(ph) Savio or of the disappearance or, perhaps even death of Stacy, you face either life in prison or the potential for the death penalty.
LAUER: Have you thought about it?
PETERSON: Yes. And it‘s a frightening thing, but my family is provided for. My kids will be OK. They‘re with my brother and sister-in-law and my son. And can I go in peace if that happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Geoffrey, he seems resigned to the fact that he is going to be not just charged but convicted.
FIEGER: I‘m not sure. Pam mentioned psychopath. He is not a psychopath if he is indeed guilty. He is a sociopath. This is a challenge for him and he believes that he can outsmart everyone.
But, you understand, we‘re all speculating that is he guilty. Why are we speculating, because I guess right now knowing the facts that we know, other than the circumstantial evidence which seems to indicate that something wrong has been done here, we have no other facts.
ABRAMS: Or he is the unluckiest guy in the world. Or he is the absolutely unluckiest guy in the world.
FIEGER: You can be cynical. But I guess you could speculate as much, Dan, about why he is not guilty. Now, it may turn out that he is guilty; I‘m not trying to defend that. All I‘m saying is I don‘t think we do the justice system any good by speculating as to his guilt without any facts.
ABRAMS: Geoffrey gets the final word on that. Kyle Toaches(ph), Geoffrey Fieger, Pam Bondi, Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
FIEGER: Thank you.
BONDI: Thank you.
ABRAMS: If you‘ve got any information about Stacy‘s whereabouts 815-740-0678.
Up next, in “Winners and Losers,” a disgraced D.C. judge out of a job after he tried to take his cleaner to the cleaners. A GOP presidential hopeful‘s long shot campaign gets a major boost today. And an Ohio man who raced to make a light and ended up under a big rig.
A judge is read the riot act after his pants didn‘t pay off. A long shot candidate suddenly red hot, his campaigning paying off. Or a man who ran a red light and then got cut off. Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 14th day of November, 2007. Our first loser, disgraced D.C. Judge Roy Pearson. The litigious law man who tried taking his cleaner to the cleaners has now been shown the bench by his brethren.
Remember he sued his dry cleaner for $54 million for losing his pants in a ludicrous lawsuit? Well, today, he was officially disrobed by a D.C. Judicial Board, a stiff sentence for the judge who tried to get a big-time payday out of a pair of pants.
Our first winner, big time actor Matt Damon, judged to have the pants most women want to get into. “People” magazine named Damon the Sexiest Man Alive for 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: Do you like apples? I got her number. How do you like them apples?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The hunky headliner toppled tried-and-true studs like George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Damon called it an ego boost of a lifetime for aging suburban dad.
Our second winner, GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee whose long shot campaign just got a major boost from a new poll. The former Arkansas governor is now second to just Mitt Romney among Republican voters in Iowa, 27 percent to 21 percent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Is this heaven?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No. It‘s Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Huckabee‘s team hopes that impressive number, 21, could mean his campaign is catching fire. Our second loser? A California boy who started a fire that destroyed 21 homes. The clumsy kid admitted to playing with matches outside his home, an accident that ignited one of dozens of wildfires. But prosecutors now say they won‘t charge the boy, saying he had no intent to spark what was later dubbed the Buck Weed Blaze.
The big loser of the day? Louisiana state representative Carla Dartez, now under fire for a buck weed phrase. Dartez was talking to the mother of a local NAACP leader and ended the conversation by saying, “Talk to you later, Buckwheat.” An expression she swears she had no idea had any racial overtones. Dartez may now resign for the flub, a valuable lesson it‘s not okay to make light of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) race.
The big winner of the day? An Ohio man who is OK after racing to make a light. Police video shows his car flying through this intersection right into the path of an oncoming truck leaving him pinned right beneath the big rig. A collision that dragged his car 170 feet down the rain soaked road. The dazed driver somehow survived the wreck and was airlifted to a local hospital.
ABRAMS: That Louisiana state representative who called the African-American supporter “buckwheat” has backed out of a scheduled debate with her opponent, and she may step down before this Saturday‘s election.
Here now is comedian and actor Jimmy “JJ” Walker who starred in the hit show “Good Times.” Thanks a lot for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
JIMMY “JJ” WALKER, COMEDIAN AND ACTOR: Thank you.
ABRAMS: All right. The representative‘s excuse for using the term “buckwheat” was that she picked up an Eddie Murphy tape a couple days ago and was just repeating what she heard. You buy that?
WALKER: Well, that‘s great news for Eddie Murphy since now he has about three kids in the last year and a half. So that means that he will probably be able to get some nice residuals off that tape, especially in Louisiana. That‘s always a fun thing when you can say when you can say OK, and everybody just buys along with it. It‘s a good thing.
So she‘s going to resign now among the many, many politicians in Louisiana that have left, from Huey Long all the way to Eddie Edwards. Louisiana is drowning in politicianal(ph) people leaving, ladies and gentlemen.
ABRAMS: In terms of the public allegedly racist or racist comments that have been made as of late, where does this one rate?
WALKER: This rates very low. Because, see, we haven‘t had Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson sighting yet. It doesn‘t get on the Richter scale until Jesse or Al show up somewhere with supporters behind them.
Because see, we are in Vegas now. Right here, you can see behind me, and with O.J., notice that Jesse and Al didn‘t show up for that anyway. As you know, O.J. was looking for his memorabilia and he got most of it back, as you know. He got back a knife, pair of gloves, ski mask, so he‘s doing OK.
ABRAMS: What if at the end of the conversation that if she said, you know, something about buckwheat, if she had said “Dinomite” at the end of the conversation?
WALKER: She could have said that. She could say, “What you talking about, Willis?” She could have said that. And she says, “I don‘t know what you‘re talking about Willis. We are going to be at the debate. It‘s going to be great.”
So all those kind of things worked out perfectly for her. And now she‘s out of the political arena altogether. And you don‘t want to be with those people because then you may be able to join maybe Larry Craig in some lavatorial(ph) situation. I don‘t know.
ABRAMS: She‘s got no chance of overcoming it, does she, JJ?
WALKER: No, she has no chance of overcoming it. She has no chance of righting the wrong. But, you know the good thing? She does have an Eddie Murphy DVD, and that can‘t be all bad.
ABRAMS: Jimmy “JJ” Walker, thanks a lot. Good to see you. See you tomorrow.
WALKER: All right.
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