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‘Buchanan and Press’ for Oct. 20

Read the complete transcript to Monday’s show
/ Source:

Guests: Gary Casimir, Larry Pozner, Wendy Murphy, Tara Knight, Jonathan

Chait, Bob Zelnick, Casey Sherman, Ericka Dunlap

LESTER HOLT, MSNBC ANCHOR: That was July 18. That was three months ago and in a few moments Kobe Bryant will find out if his legal ordeal will come to an abrupt end or if it’s only just begun.

Good evening. Once again, for those of you joining us at the top of the hour, it’s now 6:00 Eastern, it’s 4:00 Mountain time in Eagle, Colorado. On the Web site you’re looking at now, a judge is expected to issue his ruling as to whether there was enough evidence presented in the preliminary hearing to send Kobe Bryant to trial before a jury to face charges of raping a 19-year-old hotel worker.

Joining us now for our coverage is Jennifer London at Eagle, Colorado, outside the courthouse, where the word came down a bit over an hour ago that this ruling was expected. Jennifer, what’s the latest?

JENNIFER LONDON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Lester, we do understand that the judge has completed writing the ruling. The delay in receiving it is he passed it on to someone to proof read it. There were some changes that needed to be made. They retyped it. We’re being told by someone inside the courthouse that we will get that ruling today. It will be posted first on the Web site, the Web site I know you’ve been monitoring. We are watching it very closely here in Eagle.

After it is posted on the Web site, we will be given hard copies. So, we’re sort of in a holding pattern as you said before as we wait to find out if in fact Kobe Bryant will stand trial for rape. And Lester, we will bring you the very latest once we find it. And I guess it shouldn’t really be surprising, if you look at what’s led up to this point, because originally they were thinking we might not have the preliminary hearing at all. We did have the hearing. Then we were told it may last only six hours. It lasted nearly two days after it wrapped last Wednesday. That’s when the judge set this sort of self-imposed deadline on himself to have the ruling today. And we have been waiting all day and we’re told he has made his decision and we are just waiting for it to be posted on the Web site-Lester.

HOLT: And as we noted, Jennifer, we’re all crowded around computers waiting for this decision. Has there been any increased activity outside the courthouse? Will they, for example, be issuing paper rulings at some point?

LONDON: What we’re being told from folks inside the courthouse, Lester, is that first it will be posted on the Web site. We’re also told they have the written ruling printed out in hard copy ready to go, but because they said they would put it on the Web site first, they are sticking to that and so we are simply waiting. We are refreshing that Web site every few seconds here as I’m sure you’re doing in New Jersey as well and once they put it on the Web site, then we will be handed the written document.

HOLT: All right, Jennifer thanks. We’ll continue to wait for word from you, as well as monitoring our computers.

Larry Pozner is a criminal defense attorney. He’s joining us from Denver and we’re also joined by Gary Casimir in New York, he’s a former prosecutor, and gentlemen, thanks for your patience in sticking with us while we wait for this ruling to come down. Gary, let me ask you, if the judge comes down and says this goes to trial, does that speak to anything about the weight of the evidence, the weight of the prosecution’s case?

GARY CASIMIR, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, it does speak to the weight of public opinion, not necessarily that the evidence is incredibly strong. As a lot of people have been saying over and over again, probable cause standard does not require a strong amount of evidence. It’s not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. My-the big thing I think is going on here is that he’s got a written opinion where he may make findings of facts or he may light issues of concern with regard to his probable cause finding.

He may point out that some of the points the defense made in rebutting that and saying something to the effect that the standard here does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore there’s enough for it to go forward. What I think will happen, though, in the trial, in the arena of public opinion, what will go on after the ruling comes down is that every major news program in this country or probably in the world is going to say Kobe has been found held over for trial and that in and of itself may have an impact on the public’s mind as to whether or not he’s guilty.

HOLT: And Larry Pozner, does that speak back to the way, the kind of questioning that the defense did in cross-examination, knowing-wanting the impact if in fact it goes to trial to be one favorable to the defense? Were they successful in that?

LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think undoubtedly the defense was successful because the amount of evidence they produced in even two hours and the amount that came from the complaining witness that helped the defense was staggering. So I think the defense has been preparing us for what I-the ruling ought to be, which is probable cause is a very low standard. I’m not here to say that it’s a great case, but I’m not here to judge whether it’s a great case or not, so that America should not misunderstand the probable cause. The defense said there’s a whole lot more here that we’ll bring you at trial.

HOLT: How much did Pamela Mackey tip her hand, telegraph what kind of defense she would put on in a trial?

POZNER: Pamela Mackey gave up very little that we could see because her questioning was all built around detective, the following admissions were already made to you. If she had been allowed to go forward in calling witnesses, then she would have been telling the prosecution a great deal more, but I think the judge limited her and said, the scope of preliminary hearing is very narrow. It is not about the complete credibility of the complaining witness, and therefore I’m going to ask you to hold your witnesses for another day and another courtroom.

HOLT: Gary, did you want to weigh in? I’m sorry.

CASIMIR: Yes, you know, I also think that she did do a very good job

in narrowing her defense and using only what the government was presenting,

which is what the law requires. But I also think that she did a very good

” a lot of people complained. They did not expect her to go forward.

Nobody expected the preliminary hearing to go forward and I think Mackey’s decision to make this go forward was based in fact that maybe she wanted to blunt the graphic testimony coming out of the witness’s mouth, maybe she wanted to take away that opportunity for such graphic testimony to be heard for the first time before a jury. Let six months go by and the nature of that graphic testimony is diminished-the bluntness of it. I think she scored points in that area and at the same time I think, unfortunately I think the prosecution allowed her to bring up evidence about past sexual history, which they could have avoided.

HOLT: Gary, this woman, the accuser certainly has paid attention to this preliminary hearing. She knows there’s a question about when and if she said no. She knows there’s question about what was in her panties. She knows there’s questions of whether there were other partners. It’s got to rattle any one no matter what happened or didn’t happen. How does the prosecution begin to prepare someone who may have in fact been through a traumatic-violated traumatically?

CASIMIR: Yes, this is one of the hardest parts of this case. These cases are very, very hard to win and you know because you have victims who have been harmed, who don’t want to go forward. It’s just too humiliating. Too much of their private lives are being divulged, their family members, their parents are hearing of it and it could be incredibly traumatic. A lot of prosecutors now have counselors on site to deal with these witnesses on a daily basis post care, but you know the prosecution’s job here is to get the case in front of a jury and to try the case. And you have had incidents where victims have been forced to testify under the threat of prison, under the threat of you know being held in contempt of court. It is incredibly-they have to balance the need for justice to be brought and the need to counsel this victim.

HOLT: And Larry, is this the kind of case, and I’m sure it’s way too early to talk about it, that a deal would be offered at some point?

POZNER: You know, I’m not going to call her a victim. She’s a complaining witness right now, and we don’t know whether her story is going to hold up. That’s why we have trials and don’t prejudge it. There’s an enormous amount of pressure on her, but that pressure is an examination of her statements, of her allegations and that’s what the constitution calls for. If she’s feeling ill at ease, she has an excellent lawyer in...

HOLT: Larry, let me cut you off because apparently we’ve got the ruling. Jennifer London, what do we hear?

LONDON: Lester, we are just finding out from the posting on the Web site that Kobe Bryant will, in fact, go to trial for rape. As I said, the posting came down just seconds ago. I have not had a chance to read it, but I am being told that this case is being bound over for trial and Kobe Bryant will go to trial for rape.

HOLT: All right. Jennifer, thank you. And I don’t think either of my guests will be surprised by that. Larry Pozner, take me inside a defense now. What do you do? Did you expect it and what do you do from here?

POZNER: This ruling is not a bombshell. The standard for probable cause is incredibly low. Once a woman says I have been assaulted and I can identify the man that did it, that is probable cause. So, there’s nothing new here. I think the defense will continue with its own internal investigation and be doing charts and graphs of the change of story and it’s the motions hearing that will be pivotal in the case. In answer to your question, can this case be resolved without a trial? Indeed it can. It is always possible that the prosecution will look over its case and try to find a way to do justice to both parties in a case that is deeply full of conflicts already.

HOLT: Gary Casimir, your reaction? Again, we just reported that Kobe Bryant will stand trial. What happens now?

CASIMIR: Well, first of all, I don’t believe this case is going to you know go to a plea negotiation situation unless Kobe gets very afraid. I don’t believe it because both sides are taking a very strong position. I do believe the result of this case being bound over, the prosecution what they should do or would do is come out, make a clear statement that we believe our evidence was strong to begin with. You know, the worst is yet to come in the graphic details of this incident and at the bail hearing emphasize the fact that he has been bound over for trial.

HOLT: What about the-it’s a battle of resources. We talked about this a bit earlier. Kobe Bryant, fair to say, has got a lot of legal power at his disposal, there’s going to be a lot of expert witnesses. Does a prosecutor’s office, especially in a small community like this, is it at risk of simply being overwhelmed?

CASIMIR: I don’t think so. I don’t think necessarily they’re at risk

” you know, it’s true that Kobe has a lot more money at his disposal initially, but this is a state case. This is the state of Colorado putting Kobe on trial. The state, if need be, has to spend the resources to try the case, to bring this man to justice, you know, to bring this victim’s chance to be heard in the court. I know you don’t want to call her a victim yet, but you know in this system, she’s considered a victim and the government has analyzed her case to a certain degree and when she gets on the stand one way or the other, she’ll be, you know, her testimony will be analyzed, her credibility will be judged. But the state of Colorado is who’s trying the case. It’s not just Eagle County and they will have to find the resources...

HOLT: If you’re just tuning in, the headline is we learned moments ago that Kobe Bryant will stand trial for the rape of a 19-year-old hotel worker in Eagle, Colorado. The judge made that ruling just a moment ago. It appears on the Web site now of the court.

Dan Abrams is NBC’s chief legal correspondent and joins us again with some reaction. Have you been reading over this?

DAN ABRAMS, NBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I’m trying to finish reading it, Lester. Yes, if you could just give me another minute, I’m going to come back to you...

HOLT: I’ll give you a moment...

ABRAMS: Yes, yes...

HOLT: ... let me go down-go up to Boston. I believe we’ve got Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. And Wendy, I know this is no surprise to you. You said it was a slam-dunk at least in terms of the preliminary hearing, is that correct?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Absolutely, Lester. And you know it is a relatively low standard, but let’s focus for a minute on why the judge probably did this. No matter what we think about the victim’s underwear, which we spent a ridiculous amount of time analyzing on show after show, the fact remains her statement as it came in through the detective was the description of a very brutal act of violence, not a close case, not a he said-she said, but a very ugly story of a man who grabbed a woman by the neck, held her over a chair, caused bruising to her neck, raped her from behind, caused vaginal tearing. She’s crying, she’s saying no, and he literally dismisses her like trash after a five-minute episode warning her that she better not tell anyone because no one would believe her over him.

HOLT: And Wendy, it’s a very graphic, it’s a very compelling story, but when it’s told on the stand by the alleged victim, by the accuser, may it be less graphic and chilling, depending on how the defense plays her?

MURPHY: Well it’s an interesting question, Lester, and certainly from the prosecutorial perspective, what you want do is let the victim just get up there and tell a narrative because that’s how you humanize the story. That’s how you humanize her experience. Let her just describe it from start to finish. Defense attorneys hate that. There’s nothing worse.

They want to chop it up, micro analyze everything, blow minute inconsistencies out of proportion because that’s how they make points and that’s their job, but I think once she takes the stand and the jury can look in her eyes and see her demeanor and see how she appears to them as a human being, I think they’re going to find her credibility a lot more compelling than how we’ve heard the case thus far through the detective.

HOLT: All right, Wendy. I’m sitting here with a printout of the ruling. I’ve got-it’s eight pages long. I can’t make heads or tails of it. Dan Abrams, you’ve made heads or tails of the 2000 election...

ABRAMS: Yes...

HOLT: ... so this will be a piece of cake for you...

ABRAMS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Let’s start-basically what it does it lays out the legal standard to start and then the judge goes through all of the evidence that was presented in this case, each and every one of the comments made by Detective Winters about what the alleged victim said, about the physical evidence. He goes through the cross-examination and explains the holes that were poked into some of that testimony. But then, he concludes by saying-quote-”the totality of the evidence, whether that presented in closed proceedings, open proceedings, or under seal, leaves no doubt that there are a considerable number of issues to be determined by the trier of fact.

The people presented despite the court’s consistent comments and

admonitions, concerning the amount and the nature of the evidence to be

presented at the preliminary hearing, what can only be described as a

minimal amount of evidence relying substantially on hearsay. Simply put,

this court could not make a finding of probable cause in the instant matter

” let me just skip that-although the defendant presented evidence attacking the credibility of the alleged victim, the court cannot conclude that the hearsay statements of the alleged victim should be disregarded as either implausible and/or incredible as a matter of law, not withstanding inconsistencies in her statements and the other evidence.

Accordingly, the judge finds-the court finds that the evidence taken in a light most favorable to the prosecution is sufficient to induce a reasonable belief that defendant committed sexual assault as charged. The people have therefore established sufficient probable cause to bind this matter over to the district court for trial.”

Basically what this judge is saying is exactly what we expected, which is there was a case presented, it was minimal, the prosecution knows that they don’t have to present an overwhelming case at the preliminary hearing stage. The defense poked holes in it, but that’s not enough not to send this case to trial.

HOLT: Dan, I want to go back to Jennifer London outside the courthouse in Eagle, Colorado, who has a bit more information-Jennifer.

LONDON: Lester, we are learning from reading this ruling that was just handed down that Kobe Bryant is ordered to make his first appearance in district court on November 10, 2003, at 9:00 a.m. Now that we know this has been bound over for trial, it goes to district court and as we mentioned before, Kobe makes a first court appearance, he will have an arraignment and a plea. And again we are learning that he has been ordered to stand trial and he is being asked to appear in district court here in Eagle County on November 10 at 9 a.m. for his first district court appearance-Lester.

HOLT: All right, Jennifer, thank you for the information from Eagle, Colorado. We’ll be going to BUCHANAN & PRESS momentarily, but before we wrap up, let me go back to my guests, Gary Casimir and Larry Pozner for some final thoughts. Gary, first to you. In general, the strength of the case in your view?

CASIMIR: You know, the strength of the case, you know, as Wendy has

pointed out several times, lies in the victim’s testimony about what

happened that day. It’s very graphic, it’s detailed. I think so far she’s

” you know, there’s been a lot of details put forth and it’s going to be about how she performs-how she does on the stand. And Wendy is right about narratives, but it’s also about credibility on cross-examination and the thing is she has to stand up to cross-examination-all the ugliness. And you know, and in the end, I believe that if she can be credible on the stand, Kobe will be facing jail.

HOLT: And Larry Pozner, your final thoughts?

POZNER: From what Dan read to us, which was only a smidgen, it sounds like the court damned the case with feint praise. The worst nightmare for the prosecution at this preliminary hearing was the words of their own complaining witness coming back to haunt them. I don’t think it’s strictly a matter of credibility. What the defense was able to do was show that the witness described a series of events that made it look as if she was seeking the companionship of Kobe Bryant. That will be a major issue at trial.

HOLT: All right. We will end there. Gary Casimir, Larry Pozner, my thanks to both of you for sticking with us while we were waiting for that ruling and Dan Abrams thanks to you as well. Dan will be back with a full wrap up-full coverage of this development, Kobe Bryant held over for trial tonight on “THE ABRAMS REPORT” at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific here on MSNBC.

I’m Lester Holt. Thanks for being with us this afternoon. We leave you now and send you to Washington for BUCHANAN & PRESS.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Lester, thank you very much. We’ll continue our coverage of that breaking news we just heard here on MSNBC. A judge out in Eagle, Colorado, has ruled that Kobe Bryant will stand trial for rape charges and he’s ordered to report to court on November 10, 2003.

Good evening. I’m Bill Press.


PRESS: And we begin of course with Wendy Murphy, who still joins us. She was there briefly with Lester, former prosecutor. Wendy, we all knew that this is what the judge was going to do. None of us were surprised by that ruling. Now that he-that Kobe has to go to trial, how strong a case do you believe the prosecution has?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, it really does remain to be seen how this victim holds up under cross-examination. Because even if she has the most compelling story and she comes across as credible, cross-examination is the key, and if the defense can poke holes in her story and show that she’s inconsistent or come up with an explanation for her injuries that makes sense and I use that as an emphasis to distract us from the nonsense from the past week or so that hasn’t made any sense, then you know, who knows, he might be acquitted. If the defense can demonstrate that she lacks credibility so much so that the jury can’t find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then he might be acquitted. But you know, we don’t know this victim yet.

We haven’t seen her. When you look at human beings, citizens with no reason to lie who report crime, who do everything we ask of them, who go to the hospital, who call the police, who provide the forensic evidence and they literally sit in a courtroom and tell a story about something gruesome that happens, jurors generally speaking find that difficult to dismiss out of hand. So I think this suggests that Kobe is in a heap of trouble because there’s a really good chance the jury will find a live human being credible who reports...


MURPHY: ... such a horrific incident.

BUCHANAN: All right. Tara Knight, defense attorney, thanks for joining us. We’ve just got word that as everybody expected Kobe is being bound over for trial. Now, according to the narrative of this 19-year-old woman, she was in the room, she did go up to the room and there might have been flirtation and there may have been kissing, but at some point she resisted and tried to get out of the room and she says he threw her over this chair and he assaulted her and she has bruises and there’s tearing and there’s blood on his shirt and on her underclothing. Let me ask, if that stands up, does it make any difference that she was flirting up there or kissing, if at some point she resisted, and how does he get out of that?

TARA KNIGHT, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, it does make a difference in some respects because jurors use their common sense. I mean people come out and say no means no. You know, no doesn’t always mean no when you look at it in the reality of practicality in the world. You know, men and women, their relationships are such that no doesn’t always mean no. Women can say no and mean yes. It could mean, you know, convince me more. It could mean...

BUCHANAN: All right, Tara...

KNIGHT: ... mean a lot of things.

BUCHANAN: ... all right, but then you follow up what she did afterwards.


BUCHANAN: She came out, she goes right down stairs, she goes to the hospital, and she makes this complaint to a variety of people. I mean-unless you believe that she went up there to entrap this guy and charge him with assault...

KNIGHT: But the problem is, Pat, we don’t know this woman and we weren’t in that room. We don’t know what’s going on. And it galls me to say that-when people say he’s guilty or she’s credible. We don’t know her background. We haven’t seen where she comes from. We don’t know what her history is and when I say her history, I’m not talking about her sexual history. I’m talking about what is her mental health history. Does she a motive? Has she done this before? Does she have a financial incentive? We know nothing about this woman. She’s made an allegation and the last time I checked in the United States, an allegation doesn’t mean that we convict a person just out of hand.

MURPHY: But Pat, you know, it’s so interesting...


MURPHY: Well, look, Tara is right that of course he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence in a court of law...

KNIGHT: You say that so flippantly...


MURPHY: ... happy that I acknowledge this...


KNIGHT: Yes, I mean...


KNIGHT: ... it was a shock, actually...


MURPHY: Listen...


PRESS: Hey, guys, one at a time, please. One at a time.


PRESS: Wendy, finish your point.

MURPHY: Sure. He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence in a courtroom, but I’m stunned and embarrassed that Tara would suggest that somehow the fact that a jury might judge her harshly because she went up there and was excited or might have kissed him...


MURPHY: ... Tara, excuse me...


MURPHY: Look, any juror...


MURPHY: Excuse me...


MURPHY: Any jury who would take that into...


MURPHY: I didn’t interrupt you. Try to be polite. I can’t imagine that the prosecutor would let any juror sit in judgment on this case...

PRESS: All right...

MURPHY: ... if they go in there with the attitude that she deserves what she got.

PRESS: All right...

MURPHY: You know, if I invite you over for a snack, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to stay for dinner.

PRESS: All right, Tara...


PRESS: ... I know you want to jump in. Hold that thought.

KNIGHT: Thank you.

PRESS: We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, Tara Knight, defense attorney, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. More on the Kobe Bryant case, BUCHANAN & PRESS. Stay with us.


BUCHANAN: This week on BUCHANAN & PRESS, Sam Donaldson. From White House correspondent to TV host, Sam is known for his fearless style of questioning. We’ll talk to Sam Wednesday right here on MSNBC.


PRESS: Welcome back to BUCHANAN & PRESS. Kobe Bryant is on his way to trial per a ruling by the judge out in Eagle, Colorado, just a few moments ago. We’re back with former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, defense attorney Tara Knight. So Tara, I want to come back to you. I cannot believe I heard your say that no doesn’t always mean no.

KNIGHT: It doesn’t...

PRESS: When the hell does no mean yes?

KNIGHT: We don’t live in a vacuum. In the real world-I mean, on paper, in a computer, no can mean no, but relationships between men and women are complex. No can sometimes mean you need to convince me. It could mean I’m not sure. It could mean I don’t want to look like a floozy. It could mean a lot of things. Everyone knows that no doesn’t always mean no in practical, everyday living. And that’s what I’m saying, especially in the arena of human relationships.


KNIGHT: Don’t forget, her conduct is important because it bears on what’s going through Kobe’s mind. What did Kobe think, that this young woman (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was flirting with him...


KNIGHT: ... came up to his room...

BUCHANAN: Let me...

KNIGHT: ... was fooling around...

MURPHY: This is craziness. This is such craziness.

BUCHANAN: All right.

MURPHY: Look, no-first of all, no certainly does mean no and if you’re not sure whether it means no, you better make damn sure that no means yes before you push a woman’s head over a chair, bruise her neck and cause her to bleed. They didn’t know each other. This wasn’t a complex relationship where they might have had head games going on. He didn’t know her from Adam. And the way the law works, Tara, as you know, is before you impose your body into the private space of another person, you make damn sure you have permission to be there because you run the risk you might be committing a felony...


MURPHY: And by the way, she said no twice...


MURPHY: ... and she was crying and she was bleeding...

KNIGHT: It’s stunning that you think...

MURPHY: How much did this woman have to do to express her lack of consent? What do you need? If this isn’t a clear case of the absence of consent, I don’t know what is.


KNIGHT: It is absolutely stunning that Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor who is supposed to uphold the constitution and the laws has this man convicted and there hasn’t even been a trial. I am speaking with from a position of the defense in that Kobe Bryant is cloaked with the presumption of innocence. She has got him tried and convicted. Why are we even going through a trial. Wendy...

BUCHANAN: All right, Tara, let me...

KNIGHT: ... why is there a trial?

BUCHANAN: ... go to Wendy on this thing. Wendy, let me take up Tara’s point. And you got a jury there, all right, and these are conservatives folks and the defense obviously has got to say go after her character and integrity and truthfulness and if they lay out in front of these jurors, here’s a gal that’s flirting with Kobe and Kobe says hey, you know how about coming up to my room and he’s familiar with all these groupies hanging around at basketball games and she comes up to the room and they’re kissing and playing around, will a jury-I mean, some members of a jury could very well say look, this gal was up there and interested in sex, and whatever happened, he’s not a rapist, and exonerate him with a hung jury. Is that possible?

MURPHY: You know Pat, it’s certainly possible. Jurors are known to be dumb. We do know what happened in the O.J. case. You can pack that jury full of people who are so chocked full of gender bias, they don’t care and they will say she deserved what she got because she went up there. Those are the jurors that are going to be excluded from sitting in judgment on this case because you’re not allowed to judge women that way. No one deserves to be raped. I don’t care if she’s a prostitute, I don’t care if she went up there buck naked doing cartwheels.


MURPHY: No one deserves to be raped.


KNIGHT: ... of a crime when it’s not proven in a court...

PRESS: All right, Tara, you got the last word...

MURPHY: It will be proven...

KNIGHT: And how do you know that Wendy?

MURPHY: ... without gender prejudice.

KNIGHT: How do you know that?

MURPHY: Because this is the strongest...


MURPHY: ... non-stranger rape case...

PRESS: Hey Tara...

MURPHY: ... I’ve ever...


PRESS: Tara...

MURPHY: ... seen in 15 years.

PRESS: Tara...


PRESS: Tara, very quickly...


PRESS: ... Tara, very quickly...


PRESS: ... if he’s so innocent, how did her blood get all over his T-shirt?

KNIGHT: Again, in the real world these things happen, Bill.

MURPHY: And you know what...

KNIGHT: ... we don’t live in a vacuum.

MURPHY: If he’s so innocent...


MURPHY: ... he should have testified...


MURPHY: ... at the preliminary hearing and told us his story. He didn’t because he’s hiding something, Tara.


BUCHANAN: OK. OK. Wendy and Tara, both of you...

PRESS: Thank you both.

BUCHANAN: ... thank you very much.

MURPHY: Thank you.

KNIGHT: Thank you.

BUCHANAN: OK. When we return, why do some journalists hate George Bush? Next on BUCHANAN & PRESS.




BUCHANAN: Are there real live Bush haters hiding out in the national press corps? Joining us to discuss this is Jonathan Chait, a senior editor of “New Republic” and a confessed Bush hater and Bob Zelnick, a former political reporter and author of “Gore: A Political Life”. Jonathan Chait, hatred is a pretty ugly sentiment, I have to say and-but...

JONATHAN CHAIT, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”, SENIOR EDITOR: You’ve never hated anyone, I take it?

BUCHANAN: No, I mean hatred is in our religion is a mortal sin. To really hate someone is to wish evil upon him. Why do you hate...


BUCHANAN: ... the president of the United States? And what has he done that is verifiable-I mean you can disagree with him, oppose him, dislike him...


BUCHANAN: Why do you hate him?

CHAIT: Sure. So, you’ve never hated anyone in your life?

BUCHANAN: Well I may have. If so, it’s a subject for confession quite frankly...


BUCHANAN: That means to wish they were dead or wish they’d go to hell.

CHAIT: Well, I don’t wish that George Bush was dead or would go to hell. I sure wish he isn’t reelected, though, in 2004. I don’t admire him personally and I certainly don’t like his polices. And the point in my article...

BUCHANAN: Why do you hate him?

CHAIT: Why do I hate him? I think he’s just a detestable person.

Everything I know about him both personally and in his public life...


CHAIT: No, he’s not evil. People like Saddam Hussein are evil...

BUCHANAN: Why detestable?

CHAIT: Detestable is because first of all, he lacks morality in his public actions.

BUCHANAN: He’s immoral?

CHAIT: In his public life, yes, he is. He is...


CHAIT: He cares only for the comfort of the very rich. He really has no way of looking out for the benefit of the nation as whole. That’s fairly immoral in a politician.


PRESS: Let me get Bob Zelnick in here if I can. Bob, good to have you back here on BUCHANAN & PRESS...


PRESS: ... and I have to confess right up front, I’m a weenie. I do not hate George W. Bush. I do disagree very strongly with his policies. But Bob, after the hatred that we saw directed personally towards Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, I mean, I haven’t heard anybody call George W. Bush a scum bag yet, aren’t the Bushes kind of a little out of line to complain about being hated after all the hate toward the Clintons?

BOB ZELNICK, AUTHOR, “GORE: A POLITICAL LIFE”: Well I’m not here to defend the Bushes or anything of the sort or to defend those who expressed hatred for Bill or Hillary Clinton. What I am here to say is that I think it’s rather juvenile and unprofessional for a working journalist to write that he hates a public official, particularly the president of the United States, and I think there are reasons why some liberals have crossed that line and hate the president. I think it’s partly due to pent-up frustration and some political pain. I think it’s partly due to a sense of illegitimacy. I think it’s partly due to the fact that there was a period when they had to hold their political sentiments in abeyance after 9-11 when the presidency embodied the national spirit and will. So, there are a number of reasons, but I just wish my fellow journalists would refrain from being as crass as that.

PRESS: Jonathan, you’ve been called juvenile and unprofessional.

Your chance to respond.

CHAIT: Thank you. Look, I’m an opinion journalist. I’m paid to say my feelings. I’m not writing front-page stories for “The New York Times”. I’m not out there on ABC News trying to play a straight reporter. I write for an opinion magazine, “The New Republic”, and that’s exactly what we say we are. When we report a fact it’s true, but when we say an opinion, it’s true. I don’t have to keep my opinions out of it. So, that’s a completely asinine objection.



ZELNICK: I have no compunction with a journalist in that particular position expressing some opinions. I think there are opinion journals, “The New Republic” is one of them. But I think if you don’t recognize the difference between an opinion that contradicts the president’s or says that he’s not being totally forthcoming on an issue and one that gets right out there and says I hate George Bush and talks about the way he gesticulate and moves his hands and walks and uses the language, I think that just crosses the line...


ZELNICK: ... and is totally unprofessional.


BUCHANAN: Jonathan Chait, you said you didn’t like the way the fellow walks and talks...

CHAIT: Right.

BUCHANAN: ... and that’s one of the reasons why you hate him. Isn’t that just-I mean, isn’t that real bigotry? You don’t like the way the fellow handles himself...

CHAIT: Bigotry.


CHAIT: To dislike an individual person is bigotry?

BUCHANAN: To hate him. You said I hate him. I hate the way he walks and talks.

CHAIT: Look...

BUCHANAN: This is the problem, Mr. Chait, is you use the word hate.


BUCHANAN: Now, did you do that to get on television? Have we been sucked in?

CHAIT: You were sucked in. Look, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to invite me on television...

BUCHANAN: No, we want you here...


BUCHANAN: ... to explain it, but was that the purpose?

CHAIT: No, of course it wasn’t the purpose. Look, I somewhat regret saying that because it’s a term that...

BUCHANAN: You regret saying that.

CHAIT: ... has loaded religious significance to some people...

BUCHANAN: Sure, it does...

CHAIT: ... that I didn’t realize. To me, there are lots of people I hate. I hate all kinds of people. I hate entire sports teams. I hate entire states.

BUCHANAN: What does that mean?

CHAIT: What does it mean? I strongly dislike them.


CHAIT: I object to them personally.


PRESS: Bob Zelnick...


PRESS: Bob, almost out time. But when you look at all the great success in the last few weeks of Al Franken’s book, Molly Ivins (ph), (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right down the list, David Corn, Joe Conason, Michael Moore, I mean Jonathan’s striking a chord out there with a lot of Americans, isn’t he?

ZELNICK: Well, he may very well be. I’m not-I think that more than half the voters voted against George W. Bush in 2000. I think that Florida was regarded as an illegitimate outcome by many, not by me personally, but by...


ZELNICK: ... many people. I think that there are Democrats who are frustrated by the way this country was led to war. I think there are Democrats who are frustrated by the need to support the presidency after 9-11.


ZELNICK: There are all kinds of reasons, including the fact that they haven’t retaken the Congress and haven’t retaken the Senate...


ZELNICK: ... and show no immediate prospects...

PRESS: That’s...

ZELNICK: ... of doing so.

PRESS: That’s got to be the last word. Bob Zelnick, Jonathan Chait, we want you to know we love you both...

BUCHANAN: We love George Bush.

PRESS: And we thank-and we-I didn’t say that. And we thank you for coming in.

Next up folks, there’s new heat in a-what we thought was a cold case. Forty years later, the nephew of one of the “Boston Strangler’s” victims says the police got the wrong guy. That’s next, BUCHANAN & PRESS.


PRESS: Later this week on BUCHANAN & PRESS, one of the most powerful journalists in the world, Gail Collins, editorial page editor of “The New York Times”, only on MSNBC.


PRESS: Welcome back to BUCHANAN & PRESS. Did police get the wrong guy in one of the most famous murder cases of the 20th century? Nearly 40 years after the notorious “Boston Strangler” murders, a nephew of one of the victims now says yes, the police did get the wrong guy and here’s the man who makes that claim. Casey Sherman is author of a new book, “A Rose for Mary”. He’s also nephew of the last victim of the “Strangler”, Mary Sullivan, and a TV producer up at WBZ in Boston.

Casey, thanks so much for joining us. I haven’t had a chance to read all of your book yet. I want to ask you and you can tell our viewers if Albert DeSalvo, the confessed “Boston Strangler” didn’t do it, who did?

CASEY SHERMAN, AUTHOR, “A ROSE FOR MARY”: Well it’s interested to note that through the course of my reinvestigation into this notorious crime spree, I found out, me and many others, that there wasn’t just one “Boston Strangler”. In fact, there were several men committing murders of women under the guise of this notorious phantom stalking the streets of Boston, but that just wasn’t true. In fact, I found the man who killed my aunt and he is alive and well and living in New Hampshire right now.

BUCHANAN: What’s his name?

SHERMAN: I can’t...

BUCHANAN: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You better not...


BUCHANAN: ... say that over the air. I don’t want to go to libel court. But you found the individual. Can you tell us what hard evidence you have to connect this individual with the murder of your aunt, who I guess was a 19-year-old girl at the time.

SHERMAN: That’s right. She was a 19-year-old girl. She had just moved up into Boston, and the information we have against the suspect, he was the prime suspect in her murder in 1964. He failed two lie detector tests. He had been put at the scene of the crime by the only witness to the murder and we do have a partial DNA match from this man’s DNA to the DNA that we found on my aunt’s remains when we had to exhume her body two years ago.

BUCHANAN: This looks like the Skakel case where it was reopened after about 25 years.

SHERMAN: That’s right.

BUCHANAN: Now let me ask you, was-when DeSalvo admitted doing the 13 killings, was there physical evidence, “A”, to link him to the murder of your aunt, and “B”, was there hard physical evidence to link him to any of the 13 murders?

SHERMAN: There was no physical evidence to link him to any of the “Boston Strangler” murders. In fact, it’s interesting to note that Albert DeSalvo was never charged with the “Boston Strangler” case. He was charged with some unrelated rapes. As I said, the only thing that connected DeSalvo to the murders was his so-called confession. He confessed to the crimes.

PRESS: Well, why did he confess to the crimes and why would police accept his confession with no physical evidence? Are you saying the police basically just bungled this entire case?

SHERMAN: I say that the police at the time knew DeSalvo wasn’t the killer and they were looking for a scapegoat. Here they had 11 to 13 unsolved homicides. Here was a guy in prison on unrelated rapes and he was looking to confess to the crimes as a way to make money for his family.

PRESS: Don’t you also claim that his attorney, F. Lee Bailey kind of manipulated him into confessing?

SHERMAN: Well that’s right. F. Lee Bailey, it’s good to note, that he was brought into the “Strangler” case to broker a book deal for Albert DeSalvo, never to defend him on any crimes. So he was-went in to the situation thinking about money and that’s exactly what he got.

BUCHANAN: Wait a minute. Cops-for this to be true...


BUCHANAN: ... cops have to have in goodly number, lied and cheated and misrepresented and done what was really an evil act, which was...


BUCHANAN: ... basically lay the blame on this guy that’s in the slammer while the “Stranglers” are wandering around Boston. Do you really believe a number of police officers would conspire and do that?

SHERMAN: Well, I think that Albert DeSalvo is the golden goose to a lot of these guys who were frustrated. They had six strong suspects in six of the homicides. For whatever reason, they couldn’t get arrest warrants. When people ask me is this book-do you bash law enforcement in this book and my answer is no. What I do is I expose the politics of law enforcement and many times that politics is corrupt.


SHERMAN: There is an investigator in the book. He was one of the lead investigators in the “Strangler” case and he didn’t buy the DeSalvo story.

BUCHANAN: OK. Casey Sherman, thanks very much for joining us.

PRESS: Thanks Casey.

SHERMAN: Thank, guys.

BUCHANAN: OK. Coming up, Ericka Dunlap, Miss America declares her platform. We’ll meet the beauty queen who says diversity is the answer to America’s problems.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first runner-up, winner of a $40,000 scholarship is Miss Hawaii...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss America, 2004 is Miss Florida, Ericka Dunlap!



BUCHANAN: Here she is, Miss America, representing the state of Florida. Ericka Dunlap was crowned last month. Ericka is considering law school and plans to promote cultural diversity during her one-year reign. Welcome Ericka.

ERICKA DUNLAP, MISS AMERICA: Thank you very much for having me...

BUCHANAN: Delighted to have you, Ericka, and congratulations. And you’re in favor of cultural diversity and you’re from Central Florida, right?

DUNLAP: Yes, I am.

BUCHANAN: OK. So you’ve seen a lot of those confederate battle flags down there...


BUCHANAN: ... that are part of America’s cultural heritage. Will you stand up for the right of those southern folks who want to memorialize their ancestors who died at Gettysburg and places like that by flying the confederate flag? Will you approve of that?

DUNLAP: You know, I do believe that anyone who has the opportunity to use the confederate flag as a part of their heritage, I don’t see a problem with it. However, when it is a point of their prosecution or persecution towards other people, that’s when I see a problem with it.

BUCHANAN: So, if they use it as a thing of heritage, that’s fine with Ericka. You win. You got the first one right, Ericka. Here’s the second one. When you go up and talk to my friend Charlie Rangel of the Black Caucus, the senior member, will you ask him if he will let some white folks into the Black Caucus? You know, they won’t let them in because they’re white.

DUNLAP: Well, it is a Black Caucus, so that would be a little bit difficult for them to be members. However, I don’t see why they possibly couldn’t sit in on a meeting and experience what the meeting is about.

BUCHANAN: All right.


BUCHANAN: Are you against these black fraternities and sororities and separate graduations?

DUNLAP: I’m a member of a black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and I think that it’s a matter of heritage and it’s a matter of seeing where our founders came from and what they established for themselves. It’s not necessarily a member. It’s a matter of separation.

PRESS: Ericka, Bill Press here. Congratulations from me as well.

DUNLAP: Thank you.

PRESS: I was delighted to see that you’ve accepted diversity as your challenge for this year.

DUNLAP: Thank you.

PRESS: But I find something a little confusing here that I’ve read, at least, that you are for diversity, but you’re against affirmative action. I mean isn’t that a contradiction?

DUNLAP: You know there’s a lot of people who continue to press that issue on me, and it’s not so much that I’m against affirmative action. As a matter of fact, I’m actually for affirmative opportunities. So, you can take that anyway you’d like to. I actually believe that people should get a job or get into a school, be admitted into a particular position based on their merits. And I think that that is something that America should stand up for. And I think that that is actually a matter of diversity.

PRESS: Well, it’s a matter-I agree with what you said, but it doesn’t just like happen. You know, Colin Powell, another very prominent African American, has said-admitted he wouldn’t be where he is today without affirmative action, meaning that some people said our workplace ought to look like America and not just be all white men. Right? Our television networks, our military, our universities ought to look like America. That’s affirmative action.


PRESS: What’s wrong with that?

DUNLAP: Well I agree with that. I believe that we should have very diverse work places and diverse universities. However, the important thing is that affirmative action I think worked in Colin Powell’s era for many different reasons. However, it’s very important that we remain focused on what the goal of my platform is and that’s increasing diversity. And I think that we can do that by looking at various areas of a student’s application or by an employee’s application as opposed...


DUNLAP: ... to just the racial factor.

PRESS: Well...


PRESS: ... sorry we don’t have more time. We really thank you for joining us...

DUNLAP: Thank you very much.

PRESS: ... and have a great...


PRESS: ... one-year reign and good luck promoting diversity.

DUNLAP: Thank you.

PRESS: Ericka Dunlap, Miss America, thank you.

And coming up tomorrow, folks, the big political best sellers of the year from the left and the right, including Rich Lowry and Laura Ingraham. It’s going to be hot.

BUCHANAN: But up next, it’s “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Tonight, live from Harvard, presidential hopeful John Kerry takes the hot seat. And he says what he thinks the president’s-why he thinks the president’s post-war Iraq plan is all wrong.

Good night.


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