Guests: Robert Dunn, Mercedes Colwin, Lisa Bloom, Diane Dimond, Norm Early
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, Michael Jackson‘s attorney admits Jackson paid big bucks to settle lawsuits, but says Jackson is sorry he did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Jackson now regrets making these payments.
Nevertheless, these efforts to settle are now being used against him.
ABRAMS (voice-over): And inside the courtroom, Jackson comes face-to-face with the mother of the boy accusing him of molestation.
Plus, another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive, the audiotape of Kobe Bryant‘s first interview with police.
DET. WINTERS: OK, I‘ll be blunt and ask you, did you have sexual intercourse with her?
KOBE BRYANT, FIRST INTERVIEW WITH POLICE: No.
ABRAMS: But Bryant later changed his story, admitting he had sex with the woman who accused him of rape, while insisting it was consensual.
And teary-eyed jurors in the Scott Peterson case hear gruesome details about the autopsy of Laci and her son. We have a look back at the week that was.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First, up on the docket tonight, showdown in a California courtroom. Michael Jackson and his accuser‘s mother come face-to-face today for the first time since child molestation charges were filed against Jackson. Before we get to what happened inside the courtroom, also big news from outside the courtroom.
Jackson and his family stood by as Jackson‘s attorneys made a statement for the first time in months. Not about the current court case, but in response to a recent “Dateline NBC” report that Jackson paid $2 million to a young boy who accused him of molestation back in the early ‘90‘s. That would be the second payoff for Jackson. He paid close to 25 million to another boy. Jackson attorney Tom Mesereau claims that well over 1,000 lawsuits have been filed or threatened against Jackson by essentially money-grubbing liars making false accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON‘S ATTORNEY: None of these claims involved allegations that he ever harmed a child. However, they involved for the most part creative and outrageous attempts to take money from Mr. Jackson. Throughout his career, Mr. Jackson‘s desire to create and help our world has been subjected to efforts to exploit, undermine, and take advantage of this wonderful human being.
Mr. Jackson has been repeatedly advised by those who stood to make fortunes in his business affairs to pay money rather than face certain false allegations. As a result, many years ago he did pay money, rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.
These two false allegations must be placed in a proper perspective. Mr. Jackson has interacted with millions of children. Many millions of children around the world love Michael Jackson and never alleged that he harmed them in any way. Those who wanted to profit from his good deeds and vulnerabilities were also threatening to destroy his ability to raise his own children and to champion the welfare, integrity, humanity and interest of children around the world.
Michael Jackson occupies a world where his privacy is continually violated. Michael Jackson now regrets making these payments. Nevertheless, these efforts to settle are now being used against him regardless of the merits or the truth behind them. These settlements were entered into with one primary condition. That condition was that Mr. Jackson never admitted any wrongdoing.
Mr. Jackson always denied doing anything wrong. Mr. Jackson had hoped to buy peace in the process. He was advised that while these sums of money appeared large, they were actually very small compared to money he could make in music. Mr. Jackson has earned well over $1 billion in his career. Placed in this perspective they were very small sums indeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Come on. “My Take”—what a cop-out. Yes, I settled these cases for millions and millions, but I didn‘t really mean it and I shouldn‘t have done it. He claims Jackson did it because he was advised to settle the cases. I‘m sorry, no one in their right mind advises to someone to settle for $25 million, if there‘s no evidence, and if he says there have been so many people falsely accusing Jackson, how did they decide to just give this one kid 25 million? He was just more resolute?
I say at least concede there was a misunderstanding or something. But entirely false allegations and yet still paying 25 mill. Remember, that says nothing about his guilt or innocence in this case, but I don‘t buy the woe is me.
Joining me now, criminal defense attorneys Mercedes Colwin and Robert Dunn and Court TV anchor and civil rights attorney Lisa bloom. All right. Robert, you know, am I missing this one?
ROBERT DUNN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.
ABRAMS: Tell me why.
DUNN: You‘re missing it because as you well know as a very experienced attorney, settlement discussions and settlement negotiations are ordinarily barred as a matter of evidence, as far as being introduced into a proceeding.
ABRAMS: But that‘s a lawyer‘s answer, Robert...
DUNN: Yes, for the reason...
ABRAMS: That‘s a lawyer‘s answer.
DUNN: ... for the reason that people should be permitted to settle cases in their own best interest without it necessarily meaning or being used to suggest that they‘re guilty of whatever it is...
ABRAMS: I agree. I‘m not saying that it shows that he‘s guilty in this case. I entirely agree with you on that, but I think to suggest that the previous cases were all false, that every allegation—look, I‘m sure that there are a lot of false accusations made against Michael Jackson.
DUNN: Well, I don‘t...
MERCEDES COLWIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Dan, Dan...
ABRAMS: Let me let Robert finish his thought.
DUNN: I would hope...
DUNN: I would hope—if I may...
DUNN: I would hope that what was meant by that is that the major thrust of the allegations that he sexually abused the child was false. Whether or not he may have slept in the same bed, bedroom, or other...
ABRAMS: But you don‘t pay $25 million for a...
DUNN: Well, you do...
COLWIN: Dan, I think this...
DUNN: ... you do pay 25 million when that—when compared to what you would lose in terms of popularity and your ability to sell records...
COLWIN: Oh come on.
ABRAMS: Let me let...
ABRAMS: Let me let Mercedes...
ABRAMS: ... Mercedes, my problem with that reasoning is they claim that they‘ve had over 1,000 cases where he‘s been falsely accused and yet what, this one kid was just more resolute than the rest?
COLWIN: No. I think this is a simple mathematical calculation. They probably sat down with him and said listen, Michael, this is what you‘re facing. Let‘s say we go through court and you‘re going to—at the time he—there was a record album that was going to go out. You‘re going to lose $50 million plus...
ABRAMS: As a lawyer you say that if there‘s no evidence, Mercedes...
COLWIN: There is...
ABRAMS: ... if there‘s no evidence...
COLWIN: Well, you know, as a lawyer, I do a cost benefit analysis and I‘m very clinical...
ABRAMS: But you base it on the evidence...
DUNN: No, you base it on what you‘ve got to lose...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well let‘s talk about—Dan...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait.
ABRAMS: Are you saying, Mercedes, you don‘t base it on the evidence, you base it...
ABRAMS: ... strictly on numbers, no evidence?
COLWIN: Well you know what I would do. I‘d sit down and say, Michael, if I‘m—if you‘re on the stand, I‘m going to ask you this question, how are you going to respond and that‘s how I start to evaluate the case. I evaluate in terms of the cost of the litigation, I evaluate how my client is going to do upon testimony and I go through a grueling cross-examination...
ABRAMS: Lisa Bloom...
ABRAMS: Let me let Lisa Bloom in here...
ABRAMS: Lisa Bloom, go ahead.
ABRAMS: Hang on...
COLWIN: ... you determine it.
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Dan, first of all, Mesereau says Michael Jackson just wanted to raise his children, he didn‘t even have any children 11 years ago when these charges were built. Secondly, numbers talk. Yes, people settle cases for nuisance value. Those cases settle for 10 or $20,000, not 25 million.
Let‘s remember in 1993, the kid could give an accurate description of the markings on Michael Jackson‘s genitals, there were pending criminal proceedings, that‘s the context in which he settled for 25 million, and Dan, what about the confidentiality agreement Michael Jackson signed which we have on our Court TV Web site that bars Michael Jackson or his attorneys from commenting on that settlement...
ABRAMS: But see, that to me...
BLOOM: What is Mesereau thinking...
ABRAMS: Lisa, I‘m going to say the same thing to you I said to Robert before. That‘s a lawyer‘s argument, to say—to start citing confidentiality agreements at this point. I mean look, I don‘t blame Mesereau for going public. I don‘t blame him for trying to defend his client but the notion that he‘s coming out and focusing on these two old cases...
BLOOM: Multimillion-dollar cases I might add.
COLWIN: But it‘s multimillion-dollar cases compared to someone who is worth a billion plus. I mean we have to put it into context.
COLWIN: I am not...
DUNN: ... Mercedes is right...
COLWIN: I‘m not arguing that somehow Michael Jackson is innocent of any of these charges. I‘m not saying that at all...
ABRAMS: But that‘s what Mesereau said, though.
COLWIN: ... but we have to put it within the context.
ABRAMS: Mercedes, that‘s what Mesereau said.
COLWIN: We have to put—understandably, he‘s representing a client.
I‘m here to advocate as a defense attorney...
BLOOM: But Dan...
COLWIN: ... but looking at it...
ABRAMS: ... let Mercedes finish...
ABRAMS: ... let Mercedes...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on...
ABRAMS: ... let Mercedes finish...
ABRAMS: Go ahead Mercedes.
COLWIN: But looking at this, Dan, you look at it as an outsider and you say to yourself, we‘re not going to evaluate whether he did it or not, we don‘t know if it did it or not but the bottom line is this, you have to put it into context. This is not a man whose worth is 50 million or 75 million, he‘s worth $1 billion...
ABRAMS: Wait a sec...
ABRAMS: ... that‘s a cop-out.
COLWIN: ... 25 million...
ABRAMS: That to me is such a...
ABRAMS: I‘m going to let Robert Dunn respond.
ABRAMS: Robert, I view that as such a copout.
DUNN: I just want to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hands on what Mercedes is saying. It‘s not only a matter of it‘s not that much money given the amount of money that Michael Jackson had. It‘s also a cost benefit analysis of what are we going to lose should these allegations go forward...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That‘s right.
DUNN: ... and 25 million compared to what you would lose in terms of commercial endorsements—you‘ve already seen what‘s going down...
DUNN: ... with regard to this case...
DUNN: ... going forward so on a cost benefit analysis, it‘s a simple...
ABRAMS: Do you or don‘t you...
ABRAMS: Hang on a sec. Robert, I‘m going to ask you the same question I asked Mercedes. Do you take the evidence into—I just can‘t believe you as an attorney would recommend to anyone to pay $25 million...
ABRAMS: ... when there was no evidence...
ABRAMS: ... against a person.
DUNN: Under ordinary...
ABRAMS: Under not ordinary circumstances...
ABRAMS: ... Michael Jackson.
DUNN: OK. No, well see—well, Michael Jackson is different because...
ABRAMS: If there‘s no evidence.
DUNN: ... his name—the damage to his name, whether there‘s evidence or there‘s not evidence, the mere allegation...
ABRAMS: If you invite it to happen...
ABRAMS: ... and I only compare it to that in the sense...
ABRAMS: ... when it happens...
DUNN: I would say this, Dan...
DUNN: ... OK, Dan...
ABRAMS: ... it‘s going to keep happening...
DUNN: No, Dan, you‘re right...
ABRAMS: ... and people are going to keep suing you...
DUNN: You‘re right to this extent...
ABRAMS: ... they‘re going to keep asking you for money.
DUNN: Dan, you‘re right to this extent. There has to at least be a plausible circumstance that—not saying that there‘s necessarily evidence that would lead to a conclusion of guilt, but there must be at least a plausible case that would at least have a person‘s...
DUNN: ... attention to look at...
DUNN: ... it can‘t be somebody that there‘s no contact between that there‘s no circumstance that makes...
ABRAMS: All right...
DUNN: ... the case viable, yes, the case would have to have that degree of viability in order for you to...
ABRAMS: My guests are staying with us...
ABRAMS: When we come back, Michael Jackson was not required to be in court today. He showed up anyway with his entire family to face the mother of the boy who accused him and it was confrontational.
Plus, Scott Peterson in tears in the courtroom as he hears the gruesome details from the autopsy of his wife Laci and unborn son Conner.
And another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive—the audiotape of Kobe Bryant‘s first interview with police the day after the incident with that woman in that hotel room. Hear Kobe in his own words.
Your e-mails email@example.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, Michael Jackson and almost his entire family show up in court to face the mother of the boy accusing him of molestation and it got heated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MESEREAU: Mr. Jackson has donated large sums of money around the world to foster the interests and welfare of our world‘s children. Early in his life, he learned and believed that while others sought to exploit and take advantage of his vulnerabilities and idealism, children did not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: The Michael Jackson biography courtesy of Thomas Mesereau, the attorney for Jackson. He says that Jackson paid millions to people falsely accusing him but said those millions were just a drop in the bucket of the 45-year-old‘s billion-dollar empire.
Inside the courtroom today, defendant Jackson reportedly stared down his accuser‘s mother while she testified in a legal battle over evidence. Jackson‘s attorneys trying to get much of the evidence thrown out which, of course, would be a big blow to the prosecution‘s case.
Two big issues. Number one, when the police executed a search warrant at Jackson‘s Neverland Ranch back in 2003, did they take evidence from areas that compound not covered by the warrant? Meaning, did they essentially cheat? Again, if they did, evidence could be excluded from the trial.
Issue two, did prosecutors know that an investigator named Bradley Miller was working for Jackson‘s attorney when Miller‘s office was searched and evidence confiscated by the authorities? If they did, prosecutors never should have searched the office.
Today the defense tried to show that the boy‘s mother knew that Miller was working for the defense team and must have talked to prosecutors about it. So, how did it go inside the courtroom?
Joining the panel is Court TV‘s chief investigative editor Diane Dimond, who was there today. Diane, give us a sense of what happened inside.
DIANE DIMOND, COURT TV CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE EDITOR: Hi Dan. Well, Tom Mesereau tried to shake this mother of this young accuser, I felt. I got the impression that she wasn‘t easily shakable. She was an interesting woman to watch. She was very animated with her hand gestures and she often squinted her eyes and looked up at the ceiling to get the right memory back in her head.
She is about 5‘5”. She has dark hair, pulled back, very thick hair. She smiled readily at the judge. When she first came in, she sat down in the witness chair, she blessed herself, and then she stared right at Michael Jackson and he, as you said, stared right back at her. Of course, we couldn‘t see his face, but it sure looked like he was doing that.
He tried to make this mother admit that she knew Bradley Miller worked for Mark Geragos. After all there is this video—I‘m sorry—audiotape of them doing a little interview and at the top of it he introduces himself as Bradley Miller who works for Geragos and Geragos, specifically for Mr. Geragos who works for Michael Jackson. So she said that all got like jumbled in her head, I‘m paraphrasing her now. She said, of course, now I know who Mark Geragos is and I know who Bradley Miller is...
DIMOND: ... but back then I just really—it didn‘t click in her head to put it all together.
ABRAMS: Diane, what is the betting at the courthouse as to the likely outcomes? Let‘s talk specifically about the issue of Miller, what they confiscated from his office. We know they confiscated some significant tapes, at least it seems that they‘re significant. What is the betting as to whether the judge is going to throw out all the evidence from that search?
DIMOND: Well, that is the one I think if the defense has a chance to win any of the three issues on the table, throwing out the indictment, getting rid of some of the Neverland evidence or this. I think the Bradley Miller one is the one that they have a chance to win.
The judge has said here over the days and weeks that we‘ve been hearing this issue, this really concerns him. This attorney-client privilege is sacrosanct, you know? And I kind of thought the judge would make a ruling on it today but just a short while ago, he heard all the final arguments and he said thank you very much, I‘ll take it under advisement, look for my written decision. So again, I think that is the one where the district attorney is the most vulnerable.
ABRAMS: You know, there were a lot of questions that Mesereau asked that the judge said that she didn‘t have to answer. Did you consult with lawyers about Michael Jackson‘s behavior with your children before you even met him? Did you accuse your ex-husband of child molestation and false imprisonment? Have you had trouble paying your rent? Did you feel that—so that you were leaving it up to your children to sue Michael Jackson when they turned 18? You know...
ABRAMS: Mercedes Colwin, I mean...
DIMOND: All outfield the scope.
ABRAMS: Yes. I mean is this just...
ABRAMS: ... I mean is this just pure sort of slander on the part of the defense team, or are these legitimate efforts?
COLWIN: I think this is a warning...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well...
COLWIN: ... shot, Dan. This is a warning shot to her, so go ahead and go—continue cooperating with these prosecutors. This is what your cross-examination is going to feel like. How are you feeling now? Were you squirming a little bit in that seat? That‘s how I‘m going to go after you. That‘s what he‘s giving her, is really a taste of what she‘s going to feel at the time of the trial.
ABRAMS: And Diane, other people in the courtroom said that, you know, there was something about her which seemed—and this is not my words, but the words of some people we spoke with, odd, is the way it was characterized—that something about her seemed kind of odd.
DIMOND: Right, she is—she‘s a melodramatic woman, I think. That didn‘t mean she‘s not telling the truth. But it doesn‘t say she‘s not a liar either. She gestures a lot and she pokes the desk in front of her to make her points, and as Mesereau starts to ask her a question, she waves him off, and it was an awful lot of animation for somebody sitting in a witness chair.
Maybe she was just nervous, maybe this is the way she is. You know and I know, Dan, from covering a lot of child molestation cases that a pedophile and I‘m not saying Michael Jackson is one, it‘s up to the jury here to decide that, pedophiles don‘t go after intact families. They go after families where there‘s a problem with the mommy or the daddy, and so if this woman is a little odd, it doesn‘t mean her child wasn‘t abused.
ABRAMS: But that also, very quickly, Robert Dunn, could mean a problem for the case.
DUNN: I agree. I mean I think that she sounds a little quirky to the extent that she‘s overly animated. And I also think that not only as a warning to her, I think these questions were posed to get the issue out before the public jury, meaning the public who is hearing this so that they can...
ABRAMS: Yes, all right...
DUNN: ... already begin to question...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh Dan, come on.
DUNN: ... her credibility.
ABRAMS: Very—Lisa, 10 seconds, final word.
BLOOM: Dan, you know, what‘s wrong with being animated and showing a little energy? She‘s up against the phalanx of Jackson who‘s all dressed in matching costumes like it‘s back in the day of “Jackson Five”. Why shouldn‘t she stand up to...
BLOOM: ... them?
DUNN: ... that‘s going to go against him also.
BLOOM: If she‘s got energy and she‘s animated...
BLOOM: ... I say good for her. That‘s the kind of person who can stand up to the Jackson family.
ABRAMS: Lisa Bloom and Diane Dimond, I‘ve got to wrap it up. Thanks a lot for being with us. Appreciate it. Mercedes and Robert are coming back.
DIMOND: You bet.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a look back at week 16 in the Scott Peterson case, including a medical examiner‘s testimony about Laci and her son Conner‘s body. Gruesome autopsy photos—I‘ve seen these photos. Oh, they will—they just literally every time I think about them I cringe.
Plus, you‘ll hear the police audiotapes of Kobe Bryant. He admits to having sex with his accuser but denies it was rape.
BRYANT: I did have sexual intercourse with her.
DET. LOYA: OK, was it consensual?
BRYANT: It was totally consensual.
ABRAMS: The tape you won‘t hear anywhere else.
SCOTT PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: I had nothing to do—my God Amber, I had nothing to do with her disappearance.
AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: Then who did?
PETERSON: We don‘t have any ideas.
PETERSON: There was a robbery here and you know, there‘s—they have...
FREY: You think a robber had something to do with her disappearance?
PETERSON: Across from the house where she disappeared there was a robbery that morning.
FREY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and...
PETERSON: Well obviously...
FREY: Robbers don‘t steal people, pregnant people for that.
PETERSON: I‘m telling you the police, those are the leads they‘ve indicated.
ABRAMS: And the defense sort of sticking to that theory that Laci Peterson was abducted while walking her dog on Christmas Eve 2002. The defense also arguing that baby Conner was born alive in the days or weeks after Laci was reported missing, that he was full term and found with tape wrapped around his neck, suggesting that he was born alive. The defense says that proves Peterson couldn‘t have killed him because he was under heavy police surveillance after December 24 when Laci was only seven and a half months pregnant. Not so, say prosecutors. Week 16 in Scott Peterson‘s murder trial wrapped up with testimony so graphic Laci‘s family stayed out of the courtroom.
MSNBC‘s Jennifer London has the story.
JENNIFER LONDON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The courtroom was completely silent when graphic autopsy photos of Laci and baby Conner were shown on a big white screen. The accused killer bowed his head and closed his eyes. Peterson‘s parents refused to look and at least two members of the jury wiped away tears.
DEAN JOHNSON, FMR. SAN MATEO COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It was very shocking to them.
LONDON: Pathologist Brian Peterson, no relation to the defendant, examined Laci and Conner‘s remains that washed ashore separately. He told the jury that Laci‘s headless body was so badly decomposed, her only remaining organ was her uterus, which was torn open at the top. Dr. Peterson said he believes that is how the baby was expelled from her body, with no evidence of a routine birth or a C-section.
JOHNSON: The prosecution, through Dr. Peterson, who was a very credible witness, I think has established quite clearly that Laci and Conner were put into the water together. Conner still protected by Laci‘s body.
LONDON: Dr. Peterson also testified that although he couldn‘t establish a cause of death for either Laci or her baby, he doesn‘t believe the plastic tied around the baby‘s neck contributed to Conner‘s death. The defense claims Conner was born alive and then killed before being dumped in the bay with his mother. A forensic anthropologist told the jury she believes Conner was between 33 to 38 weeks old.
BETH KARAS, COURT TV CORRESPONDENT: If Geragos can prove or at least raise the possibility that this baby is larger than 33 weeks, then that goes a long way to proving his theory that she was abducted.
LONDON (on camera): The last thing Judge Delucchi told the jury before sending them home for the weekend, the prosecution‘s case is winding down. With regard to speculation earlier in the week that the defense might not present a case at all, we‘re now hearing they may call their own set of experts.
In Redwood City, California, Jennifer London, MSNBC.
ABRAMS: As I predicted. When we come back, exclusive audiotape that Kobe Bryant‘s attorneys don‘t want you to hear. His first interview with police after he was accused of rape. You‘ll hear them, too.
And the caped crusader‘s visit to the royal balcony was just one of a series of security snafus for our allies across the pond. It‘s my “Closing Argument”. Stay with us.
ABRAMS: Coming up, another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive, the audiotape of Kobe Bryant‘s first interview with police the night after the encounter with that woman who accused him of rape. You‘ll only hear it here, but first, the headlines.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. It was considered the most damaging piece of evidence against Kobe Bryant, his own words. A secretly recorded interview with the police, one of the few pieces of evidence truly kept under seal, until now. Another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive.
DET. WINTERS: Well, I don‘t really want to talk about it here. Can we go back to your room and can we go talk about it there?
BRYANT: Yes, come on.
DET. WINTERS: OK. All right.
ABRAMS (voice-over): It‘s the tape Kobe Bryant‘s defense team fought long and hard to keep anyone from hearing. An interview two police detectives conducted with Bryant the night after the encounter with a 19-year-old woman who said Bryant raped her.
DET. WINTERS: Were you with a female party last night?
BRYANT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I was with a lady who showed me around, yes.
ABRAMS: On the tape Bryant said it started innocently.
DET. WINTERS: Did you guys go back to your room?
BRYANT: Yes, that‘s—she showed me around and we went back to the room.
ABRAMS: And at first Bryant denied they had sex at all.
DET. WINTERS: Did anything happen in the room?
BRYANT: Like what?
DET. WINTERS: Did you guys hug or kiss?
DET. WINTERS: OK. I‘ll be blunt and ask you, did you have sexual intercourse with her?
DET. WINTERS: OK.
ABRAMS: But after the detectives told Bryant they had physical evidence, he changed his story.
BRYANT: I did have sexual intercourse with her.
DET. LOYA: OK, was it consensual?
BRYANT: It was totally consensual.
ABRAMS: He even claimed that she initiated it.
DET. LOYA: What makes you believe it was consensual?
BRYANT: Because she started kissing me. It was, you know, just doing regular things. All of a sudden man she lifted up her skirt.
DET. WINTERS: I mean is it possible that at some point she could have told you no and you didn‘t quite hear her?
DET. WINTERS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BRYANT: Absolutely not.
ABRAMS: According to Bryant, he stopped when she objected to something he wanted to do sexually.
DET. LOYA: And what happened from there? Where did she go?
BRYANT: Nothing. She was like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) can I have a couple of autographs?
ABRAMS: Again and again Bryant talked about the impact this sort of allegation could have on his career and his marriage.
BRYANT: Whatever I need to do without making this thing public I will do, man. I don‘t care what it is I will do it. She has to want, she has to want something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you willing to pay that if she is?
BRYANT: I got to. I got to.
ABRAMS: While the criminal case is over, this tape is almost certain to resurface if the civil case ever goes to trial.
ABRAMS: And so, before we play more of that tape, we ask, how will this statement impact a jury if it ever gets played in a civil proceeding?
“My Take”—I was expecting it would be worse for Bryant than it actually was. But the fact that he said she initiated it and changed his story, I think could be problematic for team Kobe. Let‘s bring back our legal team, criminal defense attorneys Mercedes Colwin and Robert Dunn. And let‘s bring in former Denver D.A. and MSNBC legal analyst Norm Early.
All right, Norm, you know, you‘ve heard the tape. I‘m going to play more of the tape. What do you make of it?
NORM EARLY, FORMER DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: A couple of things. One, the tape is liberally spiced with derogatory terms and profanity, which is very, very different from Kobe‘s public image, the image that people would take into a jury room with them. The other thing is that you mentioned already, is that he minimized everything.
She kissed him. She bent over the chair. She said I want you to do it, but she kissed him, she did all the stuff to him as if, though, he was an unwilling participant almost in this, and I think that‘s very, very surprising. I understand the fact that he denied initially that he had any sex with her whatsoever.
He had not talked to his wife about it. He had not told anybody. He didn‘t want it to get out, but this minimalization that he engages in is something that a jury might find very hard to buy.
ABRAMS: And he suggests that his extramarital affair with another woman...
ABRAMS: ... might actually help his defense. Let‘s listen.
DET. LOYA: I don‘t mean to offend you in any way, but is this a habit of yours, that you cheat on your wife?
DET. WINTERS: Has this ever happened before?
BRYANT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) yes, with one other person. And she could actually testify I do that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I do the same thing. I hold her from the back. I put my hands (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
ABRAMS: Robert Dunn, it sounds like, you know, Kobe is saying, look, talk to the other woman I had an affair with and she‘ll tell you that basically we had sex in the same sort of way.
DUNN: Yes, I think that the point he was making is that if you were to ask any woman that he had prior contact with, like the girlfriend that he was close to before he actually married his wife, that probably expected that he might marry her and he said ask her, ask anybody. Anybody that has come forward that has had any contact with Kobe in a relationship have all indicated he was a perfect gentleman...
ABRAMS: ... sugarcoat it...
DUNN: ... and he treated her with the utmost respect.
ABRAMS: Listen to Robert, what a sugarcoat. He‘s talking about this woman he had an extramarital affair with and you‘re talking about some woman he was in love with.
DUNN: Well, I‘m saying—no, I‘m saying that he was saying that as an example of look, talk to—yes, I did—I had an extramarital affair and if you talk to that woman, she will tell you it was absolutely consensual and even though I may have done—I had sex with her in a similar manner to the manner in which I had sex with this woman, that is just my custom, in the manner in which I enjoy sex and you might see it as something out of the ordinary...
ABRAMS: Mercedes, go ahead...
DUNN: ... but it‘s ordinary for me.
COLWIN: I think what he was trying to do, Dan, is simply say to the
investigators, listen, detectives, I‘ve had this type of sex, this is what
· this is how this other woman, this accuser—that the accuser, rather, got bruised because I do this and obviously, I have very strong hands, so he was just trying to explain the bruising and what not. But I think more importantly is this, I don‘t think the jury is going to be that swayed by the videotapes and the reason why...
COLWIN: ... is because, listen, our former president denied he had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, so it‘s not something that we don‘t expect from someone who‘s married. If they‘re married and having an extramarital affair, their first instinct is deny, deny, deny, deny, deny. So setting that aside, I think when you focus in on the actual acts, I think the fact that this accuser has been so vilified by the public and you know that she has been—I mean, there‘s been scores of media reports and all of that and TV appearances where everyone came forward and said she‘s after his money, obviously, she‘s after his money, I think that‘s what the public would feel.
I think that there‘s some—they would look at this woman and say, look, we expected someone, a groupie that wants to have a relationship with Kobe Bryant ultimately...
COLWIN: ... for financial gain...
ABRAMS: Speaking of groupies...
COLWIN: ... so I don‘t think it‘s going to be quite as problematic...
ABRAMS: Speaking of groupies, here‘s what Kobe Bryant said. He‘s saying that they have this sexual encounter and then she‘s asking him for autographs afterwards. Let‘s listen.
DET. LOYA: And you‘re saying she gave you this marker Kobe?
DET. LOYA: With these cards?
BRYANT: That was after. After we had sex is when she gave it to me.
DET. WINTERS: Where did she give it to you from?
BRYANT: Standing after the kissing we started walking around and she said how about that autograph because I joked with her upstairs.
DUNN: Dan, if I can...
ABRAMS: Who was that, Robert...
ABRAMS: ... go ahead.
DUNN: I just want to follow on the heels of that. That statement is absolutely consistent with statements that were made by other witnesses who say that she was at a party after having allegedly been raped and was bragging about the size of Kobe Bryant and so this would be consistent with her getting proof of the fact that she had had sexual contact...
ABRAMS: Norm, go ahead.
EARLY: Dan that particular party and the incidents surrounding it is subject to a lot of debate of what actually happened there. I think you were getting ready to ask me a question about the autographs.
EARLY: I thought it awfully funny that he said no. After the sex, he said, no, I‘m not going to give you an autograph. I‘ll see you tomorrow down at the front desk and I‘ll give you an autograph down there. So this woman wants all these things from him and she eventually wants him to have sex with her and then she asks for an autograph and that‘s the one thing he refuses to do is give an autograph. Wait until tomorrow.
I think that it really borders on the incredulous, a lot of things here, but a good prosecutor will take the things, there‘s no knockout punch here and I agree that it‘s not a killer tape, but you will take a lot of the things that are in this tape and weave them in with the rest of your evidence and point to the inconsistencies and the lack of credibility of what he‘s saying.
ABRAMS: We are going to take a break. Mercedes, Robert, Norm, we‘re all sticking around because we‘ve got more of the audiotape of what Kobe Bryant had to say to police.
And coming up, it‘s hard to believe that this was not even the worst of the security breaches this week for our closest ally in the war on terror. It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
DET. WINTERS: Why do you think she would make an allegation like that?
BRYANT: I‘m telling you man, I swear on my life I did not, not sexually assault her in no kind of way whatsoever man.
ABRAMS: We are talking about the audiotape, that audiotape of Kobe Bryant with the police the day after the encounter with that woman. It has been the subject of discussion and debate for months and months now and we‘ve obtained it exclusively. Remember now, Kobe Bryant says, and I think she sort of agrees, that he said he wanted to do something to her sexually and then he stopped. It seems both of them agree to that. Here is Kobe Bryant on the audiotape talking about what happened.
DET. WINTERS: I understand that you claim that this was consensual, OK, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), do you think there‘s any possibility that at some point during this entire incident that she said no and it just happened to go on a little bit further and it just and then you quit...
DET. WINTERS: So than after that you immediately kissed and she left?
BRYANT: No, she didn‘t leave. We kissed good-bye. We kissed good-bye.
DET. WINTERS: Well, how long was it after it stopped before she left?
BRYANT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I don‘t know. I can‘t I don‘t know the time, but like three minutes, and I don‘t know, we kissed right here, like good-bye. Then I walked her to the door and she left. No crying, nothing.
ABRAMS: Norm Early, she has a pretty different account of what happened afterwards, doesn‘t she?
EARLY: Yes, she indicates that he made her go to the washroom and wash up and she also indicates that at some point he was having intercourse with her and he whispered something in her ear and she said no way, no, and that‘s when she really started fighting back, so Kobe has a more benign account of what he whispered and that still hasn‘t been revealed yet, what he did whisper in her ear and a more benign account of how it stopped. But we do know that she did eventually get out of that room and she went down and saw Bobby Pietrack and he said that she was disheveled. He said she seemed to be upset, of course, Kobe said she left the room. She did not appear to be disheveled or upset.
ABRAMS: But didn‘t Kobe—didn‘t she claim that he also asked her to like, you know, kiss him, kiss his genitals before she left the room?
EARLY: Well, actually when I saw the transcript it said that she just started kissing his genitals before they even had the sexual—I mean it‘s like totally on this woman according to his account...
ABRAMS: But I mean what her account was. I meant...
ABRAMS: ... in the preliminary hearing, her account.
EARLY: I think her account was that there was some petting, that there was some kissing, that there was some consensual...
EARLY: ... foreplay and then things got ugly and I think you might recall her talking about how he walked her around the room and kept his hands around her neck and said she wasn‘t going anywhere and then took her back over to the chair. None of that, of course, is in Kobe Bryant‘s account...
DUNN: Does that make any sense, though? I mean according to Norm‘s analysis, she‘s OK with being raped, but it‘s only at a point that the sex is going to go into something else that she decides, oh, no, you know, that...
DUNN: ... now I‘m getting out of here?
EARLY: No, that‘s not what I said. I said that‘s what Kobe says happen. She said from the very beginning after the hugging and kissing that she tried to get out of the room, that he controlled her by having his hands around her neck. Now, a lot of people say well she didn‘t have any bruises around her neck, but this man has got pretty large hands and they‘re pretty strong. They probably could get around this woman‘s neck without even touching her neck.
ABRAMS: All right, let me play one more piece of sound. This is Kobe Bryant, again, talking about the issue of trying to make this go away when the police tell him what‘s going on.
BRYANT: Is there any way I can settle this whatever it is, I mean...
DET. WINTERS: Well, what do you mean by settle?
BRYANT: If my wife, if my wife found out that anybody made any type of allegation against me she would be infuriated.
DET. LOYA: Kobe...
BRYANT: That‘s all I care about.
DET. WINTERS: And I understand...
BRYANT: What she says I don‘t care about.
ABRAMS: Well that was initially, Mercedes, he becomes a little more accommodating with the police later on in the tape.
COLWIN: I‘m so infuriated that this even took place. You know that this—it was 75 minutes that they spent with him and they shouldn‘t have been there to begin with, but nonetheless he‘s cooperating with the police and he‘s making these statements. He hit the panic button.
He‘s saying to himself, my god, it looks like I‘m going down a path. She‘s going to charge that this was not consensual. This is going to ruin my career. Vanessa is going to leave me. I‘m going to lose my daughter.
He‘s going through the host of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that are going to happen. I‘ll pay anything. Look, she‘s obviously, looking for money. These are situations that athletes face all the time with these types of allegations. I‘ll do it. I‘ll save myself, save my family.
ABRAMS: Norm, what do you make of that?
COLWIN: It‘s not something that‘s out of the realm of reality, Dan.
EARLY: I agree with Mercedes that he hit the panic button and he tried...
EARLY: ... to be cooperative and he just—you know, I think the one thing about not...
EARLY: ... being totally truthful is that you can‘t remember it consistent with all the evidence, and that might have been the problem that he was facing here...
ABRAMS: All right...
EARLY: ... but I think they should have recorded the statement because if they hadn‘t have recorded it, they would have been criticized for not recording it, and I‘m surprised the quality is as good as it is because Judge Ruckriegel seemed to believe that it wasn‘t a very good quality.
ABRAMS: All right. I‘ve got to wrap it up. Mercedes Colwin, Norm Early, Robert Dunn, it‘s been a long time. Good to have you back.
DUNN: Good to see you Dan.
COLWIN: Thank you so much Dan.
EARLY: Thanks Dan. Thanks Mercedes, Robert.
ABRAMS: Coming up...
COLWIN: Take care.
ABRAMS: ... why is it in this post 9/11 world that protesters still manage to get really close to really important people? It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
ABRAMS: Coming up and I quote “Could voodoo people have killed Laci Peterson?” One of you thinks that may not be so farfetched. And you have another case to cite, to back it up. Your e-mails when we come back.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—even in this post 9/11 world, security can‘t be perfect. It is not unusual to see protestors getting a little too close. First lady Laura Bush confronted by a mother whose son died in Iraq. A heckler at a GOP event in Oregon today yelling at Vice President Cheney. But no matter how embarrassed Secret Service or others may have been from incidents like those, it‘s nothing compared to the red faces at the House of Commons in Buckingham Palace—quote—“across the pond” in London.
The bad week for British security started Tuesday when “Batman” used an extension ladder to climb the palace fence and make an unscheduled five-hour appearance on the royal balcony. Fortunately, the caped crusader was a protestor for a fathers‘ rights groups, not a real threat. And the queen security could herald a minor success. They did manage to arrest the other man in tights, “Robin”, before he could join his crime-committing partner.
But the biggest security breaches this week came at the House of Commons. On Wednesday, thousands of protestors outside rallied against a planned ban on fox hunting but it‘s the five protesters who charged into the Commons with security in hot pursuit. The problem, no men with guns drawn but in tradition dating back to 1415, a sergeant at arms in knee breaches, silver buckled shoes and tails, armed with a ceremonial sword and his doorman. And then today, a scarier lapse reported by the British tabloid “The Sun”. The paper succeeded in smuggling a reporter into Parliament equipped with a fake bomb making kit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM DUDMAN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, “THE SUN”: He wasn‘t searched. He wasn‘t frisked. No one looked in his bags. No one asked him any questions. It was an absolute scandal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And as bad as it sounds, you know, it could get worse because this stuff has happened before. In May, fathers‘ rights protestors entered the House, threw the condoms filled with purple dyed flour at Prime Minister Tony Blair. And in March, Greenpeace protestors climbed Parliament‘s historic clock tower and posed near “Big Ben”. So, as imperfect as security may be here at home, it looks like our leading partner in the war on terror has even more work to do.
I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. Dan Rather and CBS News still under fire for the report, which used—quote—“ newly discovered memo to show that President Bush had political help in the National Guard.” Memos, which according to many experts are fake. Dan Rather has said that his journalistic competitors have been focusing on the wrong part of his story and some of you agree.
From Olympia, Washington, Tom DeHaas. “Where was the outrage when President Bush used forged documents and most likely knowingly told lies about the Iraqi WMDs that ultimately sent 1,000 troops to their death.”
Chris Kovach in Baltimore. “The GOP has consistently attacked the authenticity of the memo, but not the facts. Does anyone in their right mind knowing the facts of the president‘s life think that the president didn‘t use his connections to get into the National Guard? I think people are focusing too much on the authenticity of the memo, as opposed to the authenticity of the facts.”
Richard Seaberg from Wallingford, Connecticut with a theory. “I‘m convinced that the Bush operatives are tricky enough to have been the source of forged documents so as to be able to stick it to both CBS and Dan Rather.”
Come on, Richard, that would have been tough. And I know some of you believe that. You‘re not the only one who is saying that.
The Scott Peterson case. Last night one of the guests stated that the defense‘s theory that—quote—“voodoo people caused certain injuries, killed baby Conner and then dumped the mother didn‘t make sense.”
Charles Townsend in Houston disagrees. “I‘m in no way defending Scott Peterson because I think he did it, but for your panel to say there are not voodoo people out there who would cut a baby out of the womb, well I have two words for you, Charles Manson.”
Well, Charles Townsend, because it‘s theoretically possible doesn‘t mean it‘s realistic or likely.
Finally, Bruce Scroggins is just plain angry at our Peterson coverage. “I‘m very tired of your show and you as a host trying to state what the defense‘s case is when the defense hasn‘t presented its case. Please shut your mouth. You‘re all clueless, totally clueless.”
Hey Bruce, have you ever heard of cross-examination? That in many if not most murder cases, the defense makes its case and floats its theories by cross-examining prosecution witnesses, which is exactly what Mark Geragos has done here. Remember, there‘s also the opening statement. Someone is clueless here. I‘m just not sure that it‘s me.
Your e-mails abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. We go through them at the end of the show. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.
Coming up next, a special edition of “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. “HARDBALL”, “The Horserace”. Everything you need to know to follow the race to the White House.
I‘ll see you back here on Monday when we take an in-depth look at the legal side of the controversy over those CBS documents.
Have a good weekend.
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