Guests: Lynn Sweet, A.B. Stoddard, Jordan Fox, Michael Lewis, Mark Mero, Joel Brodsky, Monica Lindstrom, Bethany Marshall, Candice DeLong
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Breaking news tonight. Barack Obama has just announced that Oprah Winfrey will actually be hitting the campaign trail for him in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Now, we knew she had endorsed his presidential bid but this is much more than that. This means Obama now has a woman campaigning for him who can sell millions of books just by inviting an author on her program. A woman who‘s made the careers of guests like Dr. Phil and Rachel Ray just by sharing the stage with them. A woman who arguably the most influential and powerful television personality in America. This is the first presidential candidate Oprah has ever endorsed and in New Hampshire today, Obama disclosed that she would hit the trail for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oprah?
Well, first, she is coming to Iowa. But we‘ll talk about that. We may get her up here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she thinking of not coming to New Hampshire?
OBAMA: No, no. We‘re just doing a one state at a time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well, look, this could be great for Obama. No question about it especially as he battles for women‘s votes with Hillary Clinton. But I think it‘s dangerous for Oprah. Part of her appeal is that she is every woman. She appeals to Republicans, Democrats, Hillary or Kucinich supporters on the Coast or Middle America. Oprah is Oprah. But now just as the campaign is getting particularly ugly, Oprah is getting in? Joining me now is Lynn Sweet of the “Chicago Sun Times” who is covering the Obama campaign in New Hampshire tonight. She broke the story. She joins us on the phone now. All right. Lynn, it sounds like Barack Obama was not quite ready to disclose this.
LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Oh, no. Not even close. That‘s one of the perils when do real campaigning and you want to work the rope line and people toss you questions and he wanted to be responsive and he was. It just so happened I happened to be standing there as were other reporters, you know, who were mingling around. I was in the right place at the right time.
ABRAMS: Do we know how much campaigning she‘s going to do?
SWEET: I don‘t have any other details to tell you. I don‘t think the campaign was thrilled that I broke the story today on Oprah committing to stump for Obama. In some ways, Dan, the details don‘t matter. If she shows up in Iowa or New Hampshire to do any kind of a campaign event, I think it will be a very big story.
ABRAMS: I agree with you and she has already raised significant money, has she not for Barack Obama?
SWEET: Well, she opened her estate in September to a fundraiser at about $3 million was raised. But, interestingly enough, Obama‘s campaign doesn‘t consider her a major fundraiser. She‘s not listed as one of his mega bundlers on the Web site. So, it could be that she helped him a lot just by letting herself be a headliner and have that magnificent estate be open for people to come to.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me—if I can ask you to stand by for a moment. Let me bring in Steve Adubato, who‘s a media analyst here. A.B. Stoddard, political reporter for the “Hill” newspaper and political analyst, Lawrence O‘Donnell. First, let‘s talk about the politics of this. Lawrence, let me start with you, how big a deal is it for Obama?
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST: It could be huge. This is—listen, I‘m one who says endorsements don‘t matter. Endorsements from politicians don‘t matter. They very rarely matter. Celebrity endorsements have been proven to have no effect at all. You could argue that sometime celebrity endorsements Hollywood endorsements in particular have hurt some candidates by making them seem less substantial. This is a totally different thing because this is a totally different person. She has a unique relationship with her audience, I almost said a unique command of her audience. If she does have a command of her audience, for example, in the way she‘s able to sell books. She‘s able to activate consumer choice in a certain way. She endorses a book people go out and spend $25 for it the next day. If she can do that with votes, Dan, not only does she pile up votes for Barack Obama but, most importantly, Oprah‘s appeal is to the Hillary Clinton base. She would be taking one vote directly from Hillary Clinton and then adding that vote to Barack Obama. Mathematically that‘s a two-for in this kind of election.
ABRAMS: A.B, I will read you a poll that Gallup took on October 12. I‘m going to tell you I don‘t believe it OK, but I‘m going to read it. It says 81 percent said that Oprah endorsement of Obama would not affect their vote for president, eight percent said more likely to vote for Obama, 10 percent more likely to vote against him. See, I don‘t believe—I believe a lot of the people who it will make a difference for are not going to admit it in a poll.
A.B. STODDARD, HILL NEWSPAPER: Probably true. And, also, what I think is so dangerous for Hillary Clinton here is that Oprah can mobilize people who aren‘t involved in the political system who don‘t pay attention to it, who don‘t care. And she can say to those people who support her and watch her program get out of your chairs for this man. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We won‘t see someone like him again. I believe in him. And they‘re going to listen and get out of their chairs. She‘s more than a brand. She‘s a movement. And she is as influential as Bill Clinton and probably much more popular.
ABRAMS: But Lawrence, it comes at a time when the campaign is getting so ugly. I mean, you have, right now, Hillary and Barack Obama going at each other on a variety of issues, including sort of his foreign policy experience, what does it mean between six and 10 years old he lived in another country, et cetera. But they‘re really going after each other. Now, Oprah, Ms. Every woman is getting into it I‘m going to talk to Steve Adubato in a minute. But I think it‘s dangerous for Oprah as well.
O‘DONNELL: I really don‘t. I think Oprah is big enough to handle this any way she wants to and also, Dan, Obama has no real negative. He‘s not a candidate who offends people. You are either for him or not with him. But he doesn‘t really anger people. And that‘s the kind of candidate that Oprah would want to avoid just in terms of commercial appeal of her own. You don‘t want to associate with a candidate that has an extreme negative. She‘s not doing that with Obama. I don‘t see any real risk to Oprah. What you will not see her do is use her show as an Obama platform. She‘s not going to go out every day and say vote for Obama on her show. She‘s going to go into high school gymnasiums in Iowa and in different states, introduce Obama with very inspirational introduction and she‘s going to work in retail in the states that she campaigns for him. That‘s going to be very, very effective.
ABRAMS: Steve, let‘s talk to media side. She‘s not a true journalist in the sense that, you know, she can‘t take a candidate on, et cetera.
STEVE ADUBATO, MSNBC MEDIA ANALYST: As if you did that.
ABRAMS: She can do. But with that said, isn‘t there a risk? Because I do think that there‘s a risk. Not enormous risk. I don‘t think that Oprah‘s ratings are going to suddenly decline or suddenly she‘s going beyond the outs but I do think that there is a risk because part of her appeal is that she appeals to everyone. With a campaign that‘s getting as ugly as this one, does Oprah want to be on the stump?
ADUBATO: I don‘t believe that Oprah understands the difference to or
respect to the fact I was here last week saying she handled the South
Africa situation great with her school. She‘s going to be in a very tough
spot Dan, because selling a book, selling Dr. Phil is not the same as being
out there on the campaign trail. You know the vultures that we can be in
the media you know that when someone goes out there and there‘s a back and
forth between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, she‘s going to be right in
the middle of it. She is going to be asked-
ABRAMS: Why is she in the middle of it? She is a supporter. Why does that make her in the middle of a political fight?
ADUBATO: Because she‘s Oprah Winfrey and she‘s no longer just raising money in a Chicago loft somewhere for Barack Obama. She‘s saying, I‘m going to get down and dirty. She may think that she can stay above the fray, Dan. But you cannot be in a presidential campaign without being asked tough questions. Oprah‘s going to wind up saying something that she would rather not say because she wants to be this every woman. She doesn‘t want to criticize Hillary Clinton. She wants to say this is the great thing about Barack Obama. But that‘s not the nature of campaigns.
ABRAMS: Can she get away with it? Because, look - go ahead.
STODDARD: I think Oprah is going to answer the question she wants to answer. I think she knows absolutely how to get out of awkward situations where questions are asked that are hostile or she‘s going to get tripped up. She‘s given speeches. She‘s been at this. She was a journalist for years. Oprah has made the calculation that she is willing to risk Hillary Clinton becoming the next president and having, you know, stumped for Obama. This is something that she‘s thought about a long time. She‘s going to give up her show in a few years. She has a gazillion dollars and a gazillion followers and I don‘t think she cares about the potential risk that some reporter in Iowa is going to ask her a hostile question.
ADUBATO: She doesn‘t understand the risk, Dan. It‘s a totally different arena. As good as she is in the media. The game is different. The rules are different. And it‘s a lot nastier than she even begins to understand.
ABRAMS: But she doesn‘t have to answer those questions.
ADUBATO: So then she says listen, I‘m for Barack Obama but I‘m not going to say anything about Hillary Clinton.
ABRAMS: Right. She is not running. I mean, look, I do think it‘s dangerous for her because of the political affiliation. But I don‘t think she‘s somehow get on the campaign trail and suddenly lo and behold she‘s going to get asked a question where she will have to answer a policy question as opposed to Hillary Clinton what do you think about the negative attack. She‘ll say, you know what? I‘m not going there.
ADUBATO: I believe on the surface she has the skills to do that I am telling you she‘s in a arena she doesn‘t understand. She‘s going to handle a kind of pressure she doesn‘t, I‘m telling you she‘s going to wind up tripping herself up and say I can‘t believe Oprah did that.
ABRAMS: Lawrence, I give her more credit than that.
O‘DONNELL: Well, I do, too. But, Steve‘s got a point. Which is in the rough and it tumble of politics there are extemporaneous remarks that people make that get them in trouble. And so, Oprah is going to be under a microscope whenever she‘s making political remarks in favor of Obama. So, Steve is raising a very fair warning possibility. But she is very polished. I think she‘s going to handle it well.
ABRAMS: And I agree that this is dangerous territory for her. One thing is to endorse, throw parties as Steve points out. But, I think it‘s something very different to be on the campaign trail. We shall see. Lynn Sweet, Steve Adubato, A.B. Stoddard and Lawrence O‘Donnell, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Another story breaking tonight, a soldier seriously injured in Iraq after a roadside bomb ripped through his convoy. His spine and eyesight permanently damaged. But, then, to add insult to injury, he effectively gets a bill telling him to pay back his enlistment bonus because he couldn‘t complete his tour of duty based on his injuries. He‘s not alone there are thousands of other soldiers reported facing similar problems. Now, we are just being told tonight at the Pentagon is reversing course and announcing that Jordan Fox will not have to pay back that money. And he joins us now. Thanks very much for taking the time. We appreciate it. Did you know that the Pentagon had made this announcement? Because we‘re just learning about it as we speak.
JORDAN FOX, SOLDIER INJURED IN IRAQ: No, I did not, Dan. Actually, I just became aware of it myself. I‘m happy to hear that but, at the same time, it‘s still a continuing problem for other soldiers.
ABRAMS: Tell me, what was your reaction when you first find out I‘m injured. I‘ve now got eyesight problems. I‘ve now got back problems. And, because of that I can‘t continue to serve. And yet, the Pentagon is saying you know what you? You owe us some of that money back from your enlistment bonus because you can‘t serve.
FOX: I was very disappointed, Dan. It was kind of like a slap in the face to know that I had done my best and tried to serve my country with honor and to have them turn around and say well, you still owe us money.
ABRAMS: I mean, I have got to believe it goes beyond kind of a slap in the face, right? I mean, you‘re coming back a hero. I mean, you‘ve been injured in duty and rather than saying, welcome, thank you so much for your service, they‘re saying thank you for your service and here is a bill?
FOX: I can‘t be angry. It is what it is. At the time I was looking at it like I have to pay this back, Dan. And, to me, that‘s just another test, another trial to my strength.
ABRAMS: Now, your parents were particularly upset about this, right?
FOX: Absolutely. Absolutely. My mother and father started a nonprofit organization that did nothing but send care packages to us and other units while we were in Iraq. So, it was pretty tough for them to see that after everything that they had given to us.
ABRAMS: All right. We do have this long statement from the Pentagon here. But, look, in the end, it sounds like they‘re not going to be asking you for that money back. They‘ll be returning, it sounds like, any money that they took from you. Again, it seems—this message I have here from the Pentagon is a little bit obtuse. I‘m not exactly sure what they‘re saying but it says - “more specifically department policy prohibits recoupment when it would be contrary to equity and good conscience or would be contrary to the nation‘s interest, those include for example an inability to complete a service agreement because of illness, injury, disability, or other impairment that did not clearly result from misconduct.” And I know that your congressman has been fighting for you on this as well. So, look, it sounds like comparatively good news. Most importantly, we hope that your health stays good, that you continue to get your eyesight back. I know that that has been coming back to you, and that your back continues to heal. Thank you very much for coming on the program and for your service.
FOX: It‘s not a problem, Dan . But I do have to say that this isn‘t the end. This is just the beginning. Because it‘s still a continuing problem amongst other men that maybe have too afraid to speak up. But they need to speak up and we need to end this now.
ABRAMS: Well said. Jordan Fox. Appreciate it.
Coming up: Former attorney general Alberto Gonzales confronted by protesters during a speech. It landed him a spot in tonight‘s Winners and Losers. And later: Nobody takes CNN‘s Lou Dobbs more seriously than CNN‘s Lou Dobbs. He‘s actually claiming that executives at CNN are getting nervous about him running for president. No, he‘s not joking but, yes, this is a joke. That‘s in Beat the Press.
But coming up next: We are now finally learning exactly how WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit killed his wife and young son before taking his own life. It is more disturbing than anyone knew. Coming up.
ABRAMS: Did you know World Wrestling Entertainment or the WWE used to be called the World Wrestling Federation WWF that is until the World Wildlife Fund also WWF sued them in 2000 saying they had the initials first. The pandas won. Coming up: We‘re finally learning exactly how WWE wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and son before taking his own life. The details are disturbing. And it‘s coming up.
ABRAMS: New disturbing details tonight in the case of Chris Benoit, the world wrestling star strangled his wife, Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel before taking his own life. A new article in “Maxim” magazine details exactly how he killed his wife and son. The article says that the 220-pound Benoit overpowered his wife and bound her hands and feet with duct tape. Police believe he smashed her head into the floor. Pinned his knee into her back and strangled her to death with a TV cable. Benoit wrapped her in a blanket and placed a Bible next to her. Many hours later, the article says he entered his son‘s room, gently woke him and convinced him to swallow some Xanax. Police believe he performed his signature wrestling move, the Crippler cross face before strangling him. Clearly, Chris Benoit had serious problems. Problems, I now believe the WWE should have better monitored. Clearly, the drug testing policy is flawed. I find it hard to believe that Benoit passed a drug test just two months before brutally murdering his wife and son. And yet, according to the article, the toxicology report revealed Benoit had 10 times the normal level of steroids testosterone in his body at the time of his death. Here now is Michael Lewis who wrote the article for “Maxim” magazine and former WWE wrestler, Mark Mero. All right. Thanks both for coming on the program. Appreciate it. Michael, let me start you, we laid out some of the details that you talked about - about the killing itself. But, what‘s also really interesting is what you say happened right before and right after the killings.
MICHAEL LEWIS, MAXIM MAGAZINE: Right, Dan . I think the biggest thing that I have noticed in doing the research was the deliberation that Chris Benoit showed before he did these acts. For example, one thing happened on Friday evening, about 6:00 p.m., after he‘d gone to a normal day. He went to see his doctor. The pool cleaner came over to the Benoit house in Feedword (ph), Georgia and saw Chris and his son Daniel grilling, barbecuing, typical American family.
ABRAMS: Just hanging out?
LEWIS: Hanging out. Everything is great. Pool cleaner leaves and a few hours later Chris kills his wife, Nancy. So, very strange, deliberate behavior that you don‘t always see in murders.
ABRAMS: And then, right afterwards, you also have details about what happened.
LEWIS: Right. I mean, after Chris had killed Nancy and then about 12 hours later police believe he had killed Daniel, he went outside and had a conversation with his neighbor, Holly McFade (ph) and gave her a whole story about they have food poisoning and is he a little worried and basically talked and talked and talked to her for quite a while. While his wife and son—wife and son are sitting in there basically dead and acted like everything was normal. And then several hours after that, he took his own life in his gym.
ABRAMS: Do you know what happened in the 12 hours between the time he kills his wife and kills his son?
LEWIS: We don‘t really know details. We know that he and his son hung out. It‘s possible the police believe that Daniel did not know his mother had been murdered. They hung out. Eventually he let them into his bedroom. We know Daniel was found in his pajamas. Chris had given him Xanax as you mentioned possibly to ease the pain of what he was about to do. You know Daniel had posters of his dad using the crippler cross face move and at the same time Chris used that same hold to kill his seven-year-old son. Just very chilling, chilling situation.
ABRAMS: Mark, you and I talked about a lot of these issues a lot of times on this program. And what strikes me the most about the article and this new information is you also knew Chris Benoit pretty well and the fact that three hours before this happens, he‘s hanging out barbecuing with his son. It says something to me—it says something to me about what happened here. I mean, it says to me he wanted to spend time with his son. He wanted to hang out. And unless, he went through some major drug-induced stupor in the hours afterwards, this was something that he was plotting.
MARK MERO, FMR. WWE WRESTLER: Well, you know, obviously, Chris was a very sick man towards the latter part of his life. It‘s very obvious. You know, he loved his son very much. But, it‘s just unfortunate what happened and how it happened. And a lot of it is speculation. But, when you think about it, you know, it seemed like a typical day him barbecuing with his son and then a few hours later he kills his wife and the son‘s mom.
ABRAMS: Mark, real quick, because almost, I know this is a big pet issue with you, has the WWE changed anything about its drug policy since this happened?
MERO: Well, I mean, you know, the WWE has come across as very arrogant in many interviews that I have seen. You know, last time I was on your show we had a couple wrestlers that spoke out against me, Ken Kennedy and Shane Holmes (ph) and obviously just weeks later they were busted for steroids themselves. You know, my question is, how much has really changed in the WWE? You know, that‘s why I spent all my free time and energy speaking at cools schools with my program because we do more education and awareness. And that‘s what I would like to see the WWE do is go out there and spend more time with that.
ABRAMS: I‘m not going to know you agree with that, you sort of blame
them. I‘ve got to wrap it up. You -
LEWIS: WWE is taking steps. I think they need to go furnished and perhaps Congressional investigations will come soon and make them go further.
ABRAMS: Good article on this. Thank you very much for coming on the program. Appreciate it. Mark Mero, it‘s always good to see you.
MERO: Thanks you for having me.
ABRAMS: Coming up: Suspect Drew Peterson, the man who said his missing wife would ask him for a divorce on a regular basis based on her menstrual cycle is talking again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON: I could stand here and cry for you. Would that make everybody happy? I can‘t choke up a tear just to make you guys happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Of course he can‘t. Well, guess who‘s joining him in trashing his missing wife? His own mother. And what CNN‘s Lou Dobbs and porn star Mary Kerry have in common? We‘ll tell you up next in Beat the Press.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press. First up, my friend, Greta Van Susteren has said she has every angle covered of the story of Drew Peterson and his missing wife. When you listen, it seems like another network‘s interview is what‘s really driving her show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SESTEREN, HOST: Did you watch your neighbor Drew Peterson on “The Today Show” today? What did you think of his appearance this morning with his lawyer on “The Today Show.”
On “The Today Show” Drew Peterson insisted that Stacy left him.
Earlier on “The Today Show” tried to squeeze few sentences out of Drew -
The others with the sort of post-situation on “The Today Show.”
Former Sergeant Peterson sat down with Matt Lauer on “The Today Show.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Stay tuned. You can see more of Drew Peterson interview here on this network and his attorney actually joins us in a minute.
Next up: It seems nobody takes CNN‘s Lou Dobbs more seriously than CNN‘s Lou Dobbs and certainly, no one is really taking his comments about possibly running for president seriously. That is besides CNN‘s Lou Dobbs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU DOBBS, HOST: I mean, I‘m very flattered that a number of people have asked me to run for office, to run for president. But I‘ve been saying for some time that isn‘t where my interest lies.
All the executives at CNN are so concerned, scary. I‘m not running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Yes, Lou, I‘m sure the execs at CNN are about as worried about you running for president as the porn industry was about Mary Kerry running for governor of California. Finally, last night we had fun with Brian Kilmeade from FOX and Friends, talking about people outside the U.S. who don‘t know about Thanksgiving and it seems he didn‘t know much either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KILMEADE: We have people writing us from other countries saying we don‘t even know what Thanksgiving is they don‘t know about the pilgrims and they don‘t know about the Akawi Indians that we ended up setting up a peace agreement with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: We pointed out it was the Wampanoag tribe and we found nothing about an Akawi tribe that is until so many of you including my long time camera operator, Joe led us to an old 1960s TV sitcom called “A trode‘ (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White man very smart about real estate. Remember when you first come here? This once entire Akawi territory. You make treaty, we divide land.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That‘s where the Akawi Indians, that must have been what led his colleagues to be so impressed with his research.
Up next, suspect Drew Peterson continues to insult his missing wife. He just can‘t stop talking. I‘ve got his lawyer here to ask some tough questions about his latest comments. And now even his own mother is joining in the trash talking about his missing wife.
ABRAMS: Coming up for the first time we are hearing from the doctor whose whole family was allegedly murdered by two burglars who also raped his wife and youngest daughter. And former attorney general Alberto Gonzales confronted by protesters during a speech. Plus, dogfighting felon Michael Vick reports early to prison. Landed both of them in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”
But first, his third wife is dead. Fourth wife missing and now Drew Peterson‘s mother is speaking out to defend her son and trash his missing wife. She tells the “Chicago Sun Times” she believes Stacy left her family to be with another man, quote, “I‘m ashamed of her for putting the family through this.”
Here‘s the problem for Drew Peterson and his mom. Four wives, three divorces. One dead. One missing. He cheated on the first. Second says he threatened to kill her. A new autopsy shows the third was likely murdered and didn‘t commit suicide and the fourth would have had to have left her kids behind in an effort to run away with some mystery man. If this is all just a coincidence, Drew Peterson‘s is the unluckiest man in America second only to the innocent O.J. Simpson. And he just makes it worse with bizarre behavior and ridiculous comments to the media like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON: Stacy was spoiled. I pampered her. A lot of that is my fault. Stacy wanted it, she got it. I mean, she wanted a boob job. I got her a boob job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Such a good guy. Or this on the “Today” show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: 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. That was based on her menstrual cycle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: No and is he not funny at all. Yesterday, though, he was trying to laugh it up with some reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: I have lost 30 pounds. To date, so if anybody‘s to go on a weight loss program. You could probably use it. Please go home. Thanksgiving is the next couple of days. Please go home. If I went around beating the stick on the bushes, I would get this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And if that was not enough, he tried to outdo himself again last night with more antics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: I can stand here and cry for you. Would that make everybody happy? I can‘t choke up a tear just to make you guys happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. I don‘t know what to say. Joining me now is Drew Peterson‘s attorney Joel Brodsky, psychologist Dr. Bethany Marshall, former FBI profiler Candice DeLong and former prosecutor Monica Lindstrom. All right, Joel, let me start with you. Your client keeps making these comments that are so insulting and inflammatory. I mean, you have asked him to shut up?
JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON‘S ATTORNEY: Well, you know, I have counseled my client that talking in general, as I think any good attorney would counsel their client, is not a good idea when there is an investigation going on to be talking. But Drew is under such extreme, extreme pressure and stress with the media camped out in front of his house for weeks now. Lights shining on the house 24 hours a day, press seven days a week. That I think the amount of stress is overriding his ability to follow the advice from time to time.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you this, speaking of advice, all right? You decided to take this case and whether you are taking it for free or getting paid is less interesting to me than the choice you have made here. This seems to me, at the very least, like he‘s a bad guy. At the worst, he is a serial murderer.
As the evidence comes out, does it not get disturbing to you that it‘s not just this wife that‘s missing, it‘s the third wife who now seems to have been murdered? It‘s the second wife who said threatened to kill him. Is this the kind of person you want to represent?
BRODSKY: Lawyers don‘t get to choose their clients.
ABRAMS: Sure, they do. You do. Unless you are appointed.
BRODSKY: Well, no. That‘s not true. In the cannons of ethics, we
are really not supposed to turn down people as clients because they are
good, bad, or are ugly. We‘re supposed to represent people to the best of
our ability zealously. But Drew‘s case, I think is - I got involved for a
couple of reasons. One, is that people jump to the conclusion that it‘s
always the husband or the father or the family -
ABRAMS: But that‘s not fair. That‘s not why. I mean, honestly, the reason that everyone is jumping to the conclusion is because is he coming across as such a jack ass, honestly, because of all the comments he makes on television. This is not directed at, you know, - insulting to you, Mr. Brodsky. This is to say about his comments. That‘s why everybody is so angry at him.
BRODSKY: Drew is, I mean, his comments - Drew is Drew. That‘s the guy. To say I should perhaps send him out and have him take acting lessons and he will act differently, that would be dishonest. What you see is what you get.
And the fact that he doesn‘t act in a way which people would expect or
like, doesn‘t really bear upon whether or not there is actually ever been a
crime committed. You know, people are adding these things together that he
acts in an inappropriate - what they believe to be inappropriate manner,
and other things you pointed to with a wife that had - was found dead in a
bathtub ruled accidental and another wife missing, and they put the two
together. To me, that‘s trial by voodoo. It‘s trial by speculation. And
as I keep saying, it‘s never been established by anybody, any governmental
ABRAMS: No, it hasn‘t.
BRODSKY: That a crime has been committed.
ABRAMS: I have seen you quoted saying you don‘t necessarily expect that he is going to be indicted. I‘m almost certain is he going to be indicted.
BRODSKY: I really don‘t.
BRODSKY: In Will County there has been a couple of cases. And in Northern Illinois, a couple of cases where parents, father has been indicted for murder against his child and her friend, and another instance where a husband was indicted for murder of a wife. And when further investigation was done, they were both exonerated before the case even got through to the discovery stage.
I really think that the state‘s attorney here, Mr. Glasgow, is being very thorough. I don‘t think that it‘s going to serve his purpose or anybody‘s purpose for a rush to judgment in a legal field in any event. There is rush to judgment in public. But as far as where it really counts, I don‘t think there is a rush to judgment.
ABRAMS: Does he tell you that he is afraid of getting indicted?
BRODSKY: Afraid? This is part of the stress. He wonders, day to
day, if this is the day that the authorities are going to kick in the door
and drag him away from his children, who he loves dearly. And take him off
to jail and put him on trial for his life. That‘s a lot of stress -
BRODSKY: And may explain some of the behavior.
ABRAMS: Let me play a little bit more, again, of the - what I view, as bizarre and insulting comments that he has made. Here he is talking about domestic abuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Any physical altercations with any of your wives?
PETERSON: In a defensive manner, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What does that mean? You never attacked the kids?
PETERSON: I was the victim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You were the victim?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what happened? Can you tell us how you became a victim?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Mr. Brodsky, there he is laughing about the fact that he‘s supposedly claiming that - I guess his third dead wife and fourth missing wife somehow assaulted him?
BRODSKY: I believe I remember him saying something about Stacy hitting him with a frozen steak when she got - which was in one of her rages. And coming up, swinging in a pool party when they were horse-playing. But the chuckle at the end is what bothers you. And that‘s just Drew. He‘s very - he doesn‘t give the persona of being one who is overly concerned, even though I can tell you that, in fact, he is very concerned.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me bring in Monica Lindstrom here. Look, Mr. Brodsky is doing exactly what a good criminal defense attorney will do, and that is look at the bigger picture and say that it‘s not necessarily fair to look at this a vacuum. But I do think as the evidence mounts, as they investigate the third wife, that this is becoming more problematic for Drew Peterson every day.
MONICA LINDSTROM, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Absolutely it is. And you know what? I‘m thoroughly convinced that Drew Peterson had a former job of being a ditch digger. Because before he was a cop, he must have got this experience of digging deeper and deeper holes because that‘s exactly what he is doing here.
ABRAMS: Bethany Marshall, I mean, take us into the mind of someone like this. Mr. Brodsky has laid out for us sort of what he views as the position that he is in. He is under stress, et cetera. As a psychologist, I mean, I have never heard of anyone‘s reaction to stress being to mock the person who is missing.
BETHANY MARSHALL, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, stress is not a word I use. What we really know about sociopathic personality is often they are born with very low levels of anxiety which is significant because it‘s anxiety about getting into trouble as children that causes our conscience to form. It‘s this very lack of anxiety that allows him to waltz in front of the camera and do these interviews without any seeming, you know, worry or stress about getting into trouble.
Sociopaths are often very contemptuous and like they deride their victims, calling to say that she was on her period. Think O.J. Simpson who wrote “If I Did It.” He triumphs on her - dances on her grave so to speak. I was thinking about (UNINTELLIGIBLE) homicide. That‘s when a perpetrator feels belittled, humiliated and betrayed by the victim. So, after the commission of the crime, they are actually relieved after the victim‘s death so there is a flattening of affect and kind of a pleasure for months after the death.
ABRAMS: But Candice DeLong, Mr. Brodsky is having us look at it through a different prism, and that is to the possibility that he‘s innocent. And that as a result, that he is just stressed out and behaving in a manner that one might not ordinarily behave in.
BRODSKY: And how you can diagnose him as a sociopath? I mean, how do you come up with that diagnosis?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, I didn‘t.
MARSHALL: He just appears - oh, well I was the one who said it. He just appears to fit that profile. I haven‘t met him in person. But I also think about the grandiosity, talking about the boob job and tummy tuck. And he‘s also very deprecating of her in front of the camera. So I‘m just trying to put a picture together of what that might mean.
ABRAMS: Let me let Candice sit in there. Candice, as a former FBI
BRODSKY: That‘s no basis for a diagnosis but, OK, go ahead.
DELONG: Well, hold it. In regards to your question, Dan, what do I think about what Mr. Brodsky said? Mr. Brodsky is his defense attorney. I understand completely.
In regards to what do I think about him getting in front of a camera and saying all of these things and calling it a reaction to stress? Well, who knows? I mean, Mr. Brodsky doesn‘t know his client all that well. I certainly don‘t know him at all. I only know what I see. What I see is a man very irreverent about a woman that he was married to and had children with. It‘s almost like his talk is locker room talk with the guys.
ABRAMS: Hang on for one second. We‘re going to take a quick break here. And when we come back, I‘m going to play more of the interview he did last night. And his lawyer is still with us. Coming right back.
ABRAMS: Did you know the expression 15 minutes of fame was coined by the American artist Andy Warhol? Coming up, somebody whose 15 minutes of fame should be up. Drew Peterson still running his mouth to the media and making jokes, and in my view, insulting his missing wife and dead ex-wife. Now his mother is joining him. Coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETERSON: I‘ve been a jokester all my life. I want to message you guys but I‘m being really held back not to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You have been doing a lot of one-liners
and everything. And a lot of people take this as really a serious time,
not a time to be joking, especially -
PETERSON: I‘ve joked all my life. So it‘s just like - it‘s my way of
dealing with hurt and pain. I joke. I laugh. And it‘s maybe a nervous
laughter, but when I have sadness in my life I have always been comforted
by having the ability to laugh and joke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What‘s the hurt and pain?
PETERSON: The hurt and pain is all the media in front of my house.
That‘s the hurt and pain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: It‘s not that your wife is missing?
PETERSON: Yes. It is the wife that‘s missing. But right now, look at what‘s going on here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joel Brodsky, again, I‘ve got to ask you as his attorney. It seems that his greater concern is the media than his missing wife.
BRODSKY: Well, his great concern is how the fact that the media being camped out in front of his house is having on his children who are, basically, you know, trapped inside their house and can‘t get out. That has a great effect on him and causes him great distress. And I can tell you that for an absolute fact. I think if the media were not encamped out in front of his house on a daily basis, you may see a different Drew Peterson.
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean but the problem is, of course, Monica, that those kids are her kids, too. And the concern on his part seems to be more about the media, et cetera, as opposed to - “This is the mom of my kids.”
LINDSTROM: This is the Drew Peterson show. This is - he shows no concern whatsoever for her. It‘s all about him. And, let me tell you, the prosecutors there - they are loving this. They are soaking it all up because everything he says just makes him look worse.
ABRAMS: And, Candice DeLong, the investigators on this case, I assume, are also happy about the fact that he continues to talk although he doesn‘t seem to be talking a whole lot about the actual evidence.
DELONG: Oh, yes. I‘m loving this. I mean, as an investigator, every time this guy opens his mouth, it‘s more and more material, number one, to compare against everything else that he is - I don‘t know if he has given a formal statement to the police.
I understand from watching TV that he has been interviewed a couple of times. He says she ran away with a man. He said to “People” magazine she was seeing three or four guys. Where is the evidence of that?
ABRAMS: Mr. Brodsky, do you want to take that?
BRODSKY: Yes. Here we have - you guys got him on trial and he -
there hasn‘t been established that there has been a crime committed. I
LINDSTROM: You keep saying that.
BRODSKY: Well, it hasn‘t. It hasn‘t been established officially that there‘s ever been a crime committed either with Kathy or with Stacy. And everybody else is talking about the effects on jury polls and everything else.
LINDSTROM: Everybody else? He is the one talking about it. He is the one bringing it back to himself. “It‘s me. It‘s Drew. Look at me. This is what I‘m saying.” He is making the case in the media, not the media. He is causing the problem himself.
MARSHALL: He is very exhibitionistic. And he uses -
BRODSKY: But an innocent person wouldn‘t be concerned about what effects their statements would have.
LINDSTROM: No, they would be concerned about their missing wife.
They would be concerned about the mother of their children.
BRODSKY: People who are -
MARSHALL: He uses words like objects to create a reality that‘s not
true. He said he is sad and then he laughs. He said he is upset that
photographers are on his front lawn and then he mugs for the camera. We
are going to learn that this guy uses -
ABRAMS: I‘ve got to wrap it up. Mr. Brodsky, you get the final word.
BRODSKY: Yes, I‘m a firm believer. I believe in the judicial system. I believe in the jury system. I believe in the good, common sense of people in juries when they‘re not - and the public in general when they are not whipped up through a lot of speculation and what I call, you know, people doing voice stress analysis and body language analysis and other voodoo methods of trial that have no basis in reality or empirical value. I‘m just saying look at the evidence. Look at what the facts are and what you will find is that there is nothing here - there is nothing - there is no crime established.
ABRAMS: All right.
BRODSKY: You know, give the man the benefit of the doubt.
ABRAMS: Mr. Brodsky, I respect your role as a lawyer. I think you have a tough road to hoe here. But I appreciate you taking the time. And with everyone teaming up against you, you still stood your ground. So thank you very much. And thanks to Bethany Marshall, Candice DeLong, Monica Lindstrom. Good to see you in-house. Tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” is coming up.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 20th day of November, 2007. Our first winners, a pair of fortuitous turkeys, pardoned by the president today at the white house. President Bush spared the birds at an annual rose garden tradition that dates back to the days of Harry Truman. May and Flower were plucked from a farm in Indiana. The turkeys will now fly first class to Disney World after receiving the presidential pardon.
Our first loser, the former attorney general who may soon be looking for a presidential pardon. Alberto Gonzales was gobbled up by protesters during a speech at the University of Florida last night.
ABRAMS: Gonzo battered with booze during the talk and confronted by a pair (UNINTELLIGIBLE) protesters screaming, “Criminal and liar!” In his defense, Gonzales told the crowd, “No one is perfect.” He‘ll have to do better than that if he gets indicted.
Our second winner, “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson, now trying to expand reality show success from singing to dancing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY JACKSON, “AMERICAN IDOL” JUDGE: I‘m just keeping it real as the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) keeps it real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: MTV gave Jackson the green light to start production of “Randy Jackson Presents: America‘s Best Dance Crew.” The current “Idol” judge will create and produce but not judge this competition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: Me being a dog, a dog on the show. I‘m Mr. Dog.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Our second loser, dogfighting felon Michael Vick. The one-time idol not waiting for a judge to hand down his sentence. He surrendered to federal marshals almost a month early. The fallen football star pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges. His sentencing was set for three weeks from now, the now contrite criminal apparently hoping to speed up his return to the gridiron.
But the big winner of the day? A 102-year-old British granny Nora Hardwick modeling minus her modesty for a new nudie granny calendar. This funky centenarian becomes the oldest woman we know to ever pose nude baring her breasts to raise cash for a local football team.
The big losers of the day? Rowdy fans of a pro football team trying to get women to bare their breasts for free. Half-time at New York Jets game had become a sort of Mardi Gras for football fans at what is known as gate “D” with often drunk and unruly men urging, sometimes harassing female fans to take off their tops.
(on camera): Joining me now MSNBC Vice President in Prime Time Programming Bill Wolff, who has also been a former ESPN and Fox Sports Net producer. All right, Bill, security at these games saying, what, there is not a lot they can do?
BILL WOLFF, MSNBC VICE PRESIDENT IN PRIME TIME PROGRAMMING: We‘ll they‘re standing - According to the “New York Times,” Dan, they‘re standing at the bottom of this ramp, a bunch of guys in yellow jackets, smoking cigarettes, and letting it happen.
And their defense to “New York Times” today was that the taunting and chanting of the hundreds of guys saying, you know, “Show us some of your female parts,” is protected by free speech. So, who knew? Constitutional lawyers working the security at the Meadowlands.
ABRAMS: But you don‘t think the NFL is going to let this happen for long? I mean look, this has been happening. This has created a regular thing there at the game.
WOLFF: Well, that‘s what‘s amazing. What‘s amazing is that security allowed it to happen.
ABRAMS: You know to go to gate “D”.
WOLFF: Go to gate “D,” apparently. I should remind you, it‘s a couple of hundred guys out of 70,000 people.
ABRAMS: But a couple hundred is still a lot of people joining together playing, you know, girls gone wild.
WOLFF: It‘s another proud day in the history of the state of New Jersey, Dan. No, the NFL will clamp down. You will never hear about this again. The NFL is the most image-conscious business in the country. Business. Forget sports.
The NFL is hard on bad behaviors, particularly in the last three or four years. They‘ll read about this in the “New York Times.” It will never happen again.
But what‘s amazing is that security allowed it to happen at all. There are no drinking sections in the stadiums. You can‘t smoke in stadiums. If you curse, your neighbor can call security on you and haul you out of there. What‘s shocking is that the security guards at the Meadowlands allowed to it go on. Really, it‘s truly an anomaly in the NFL which is extremely strict about bad behavior.
ABRAMS: Bill, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
WOLFF: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: That‘s all the time for tonight. See you tomorrow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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