Guest: Lisa Halushka, Richard Lustig, Shawn P. Smith, Fred Goldman, Yale Galanter, George Parnham, William Fallon
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up—an NBC exclusive. NBA star Ron Artest breaks his silence about the brawl that got him suspended for the season.
ABRAMS (voice-over): Artest never apologized for his role in the now-infamous melee and said his suspension from the NBA is too harsh. But that could be nothing compared to possible criminal charges. We assess how his new statements might affect the prosecutor‘s decision and take a frame-by-frame look at the evidence.
O.J. SIMPSON: Fred Goldman said it wasn‘t about money. Fred, it‘s all about money. See you later. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Take care.
ABRAMS: O.J. Simpson lashes out as Fred Goldman attempts to collect the $33.5 million Simpson owes for his son Ron‘s death. Simpson says he‘ll never pay. The case is back in court today. Fred Goldman joins us to respond.
Plus, a Texas woman under arrest for killing her 11-month-old baby.
She told police about mutilating her child in a calm 911 call.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First up on the docket tonight, possible criminal charges in connection with the brawl between the Pistons and the Pacers Friday night. We‘ve heard a lot about what the players think, what the fans think, what little kids might think, what your grandmother thinks, what people on talk radio think, but not much from David Gorcyca, the prosecutor in Oakland County, Michigan where the brawl took place.
While Gorcyca says charges will not be filed this week, he says they are likely coming. Tonight we take a frame-by-frame look at all this footage in depth to figure out which players, fans might be charged.
But first, Ron Artest this morning. I was literally bumped out of my chair on the “Today” show set to give more time to the player at the center of the controversy a chance to speak. Here‘s some of what he had to say in this “Today” show exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON ARTEST, SUSPENDED FOR ENTIRE NBA SEASON: Obviously everybody knows I was frustrated. The tape speaks for itself. You know, the tape speaks for itself. I was frustrated. And I hope that, you know if that were to happen to any other player in the NBA that they won‘t react how I reacted. Like the fans when they‘re getting on your back and I—they can say anything, but it got to be you know, a point where they say, OK, you know, they should hold off.
Like I should have not went into the stands. I‘ve been trying to make a big effort you know, in changing the image of the league because that‘s not the image that David Stern wants to put forth. He don‘t want to put forth a negative image and I‘ve been working real hard on doing a lot of positive things and, you know, got this album coming out.
All these suspensions, I‘m glad that nobody was hurt, you know, and I never—I always took it out on something. You know, maybe a technical foul or a camera. They seen disrespect, you know, from the crowd and then they seen a frustrated reaction from a player and they got to understand that, you know, sometimes things happen. People go to war, but we don‘t want to go to war. You know, nobody wants to die, you know, but things happen and you move on. You try to move on and you try to make everything positive. I think everybody—nobody benefited from this situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. So how are Artest‘s words going to help or hurt him? “My Take”—the prosecutors will say Artest‘s actions, not his statements, will determine any possible charges and to a large degree, I‘m sure that‘s true. But prosecutors are still human and Artest blew a big opportunity to rally support for himself here. Instead of saying how sorry he is about the whole incident and how he never should have gone into the stands, how awful it was, he repeatedly smiled as he promoted his rap album, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he could soon be facing the possibility of time behind bars.
Joining me now to discuss, Lisa Halushka, former Oakland County Michigan prosecutor who worked with the very D.A. that will be making the decision here and Oakland County criminal defense attorney Richard Lustig. Thank you both very much for coming to the program.
Let me first get a response from you, Lisa. Bottom line, you know, look I know they are going to say, oh, what he says doesn‘t matter. But he didn‘t help himself here, did he?
LISA HALUSHKA, FORMER OAKLAND COUNTY MICHIGAN PROSECUTOR: I don‘t think he helped himself. You know, if you notice, he didn‘t comment directly on what he did, except to say that he was frustrated. And beyond that, he tried to minimize his behavior. And so there are two things going on here. First of all, the prosecutors have got to look at all of the evidence and make a decision on which criminal charges to issue. One of things they‘re going to consider is whether or not there‘s any mitigating circumstances when they decide what criminal charges to issue.
HALUSHKA: And if he doesn‘t mitigate his responsibility in his own statement and continues to deny his culpability, I don‘t think that‘s going to bode well for him.
ABRAMS: Richard, I think he blew a big opportunity here.
RICHARD LUSTIG, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with you. I think he should have been a little more humble and perhaps—he should have articulated the provocation that caused it, I think, for purposes of a criminal case.
ABRAMS: Well let‘s talk about the criminal—let me talk about the law here for a moment before I go a little bit frame by frame here. Let‘s get number 10 up first—Assault and battery, one of the possible charges that a number of the players could face. We‘ll talk about the fans in the next block.
A person who assaults or assaults and batters an individual, if no other punishment is prescribed by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.
Aggravated assault is a person who assaults an individual without a weapon and inflicts serious or aggravated injury upon that individual without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm, less than murder is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than a year or a fine of not more than $1,000.
It seems to me, Lisa Halushka, that—and I haven‘t seen the injuries here of all the people involved, but it‘s going to be a tough cases to make that he is guilty of aggravated assault in any of these cases.
HALUSHKA: Well, my understanding, and, you know, I‘m only seeing what you‘re seeing, what‘s being played through the media, I haven‘t reviewed any of the evidence directly. But I have heard reports that at least one of the individuals who was in the stands, one of the fans, suffered a concussion. Now if that is true...
ABRAMS: All right.
HALUSHKA: ... and that could be medically proven, possibly we have an aggravated assault.
ABRAMS: And as a practical matter, Richard, how long could someone serve in a case like this? It says up to a year. It‘s a misdemeanor. Are we talking about any real time behind bars?
LUSTIG: No. It‘s county jail time. There‘s no guidelines for a misdemeanor. But it would be county jail time...
ABRAMS: But it would be some time...
ABRAMS: ... 30 days, 60 days, something like that.
LUSTIG: It would be minimal. It could be probation, depending on his past history.
ABRAMS: Well, let‘s talk about his past history. I mean does it matter that—and let‘s go through number 20 -- does it matter that he had all these problems in the past, Lisa? And they weren‘t necessarily problems with the law, problems with the league. You know, the flipping off of the Miami crowds, suspended for games, too many flagrant fouls, flipping off other fans—this is number 22 -- that he was involved in a shoving match with a Pacers‘ player personnel director, et cetera. Does any of that come into play in evaluating possible criminal charges?
HALUSHKA: Well, people who are making the recommendation to the court ultimately through pretrial services may consider that as part of his make-up and the likelihood that he would be, you know—quote-unquote—rehabilitated or best served by doing some jail time or if probation would be sufficient. Certainly I would anticipate the prosecutor to make some of those arguments and the defense is going to respond that it‘s not relevant because it is not criminal offenses.
ABRAMS: Let me go through some of these frame by frame. Let‘s first look at number four here, which is Artest battling it out with Mr. Green, whose lawyer is going to be on the show in a moment. Here he is—Green sort of restraining him it seems and then you see Artest turn around in a moment and start hitting Green. Now—after Green hits him. I think that with regard to Green—and that particular clip we saw there, Lisa, I think he is going to have a very good defense of self-defense and as you‘re talking about it, if we can put up number 13, which is the law of self-defense.
HALUSHKA: Right. You know, self-defense in Michigan, you can use physical forces to defend yourself, as long as it‘s reasonably necessary for you to do so and it‘s a degree of force appropriate to the circumstances. When you‘re face to face with someone and there are people restraining you and pulling on you and someone is throwing a punch directly in your face, I think that the defense may have an argument that in that situation for that punch he may have been acting in reasonable self-defense.
HALUSHKA: He‘s got other problems, though.
ABRAMS: Yes. Well that‘s right. Because, for example, this one, this is number six, this is when he first goes into the stands. He apparently goes at the wrong guy first—this kid with the glasses. I mean that‘s clearly, Richard, he could be really in legal trouble for that, right?
LUSTIG: Well, you know, the officers who hit Rodney King, the whole tape wasn‘t shown. When they showed the provocation, the officers were subsequently acquitted and I think provocation here is a true defense...
ABRAMS: Really? So, you don‘t think it has to be self-defense. You think you can just say if—even though it wasn‘t this kid, that he thought that it was, that that‘s a defense?
LUSTIG: I‘m not sure self-defense is applicable here because he is the aggressor. It appears in the video he is the aggressor.
ABRAMS: Except in that one we just showed before...
ABRAMS: ... with Mr. Green. And finally, number five here, this is the floor fight. I think this is the one he‘s going to have the biggest trouble with. This is this one here. The guy says something to him and boom. I mean that is the one that could really Lisa get him. Do you want to talk about—again, I don‘t know what the ultimate damage was, but there you could be talking about aggravated assault.
HALUSHKA: If he is sufficiently injured, certainly you could. And you know, to respond to what Richard has to say about provocation, it‘s still bound by the requirement of reasonableness and certainly the law is clear that words are never sufficient provocation to result in the use of physical force and I‘m not quite sure that Michigan law is going to allow throwing a cup of ice or whatever it was on him is going to result in sufficient provocation either.
ABRAMS: The legal team is going to stick around. When we come back -
· we talked about the players. Fans could face some criminal charges as well. We talk to the attorney for the man who allegedly threw the first cup, so to speak. And what about the rest of the cup throwers? Remember when they‘re walking out, leaving the stadium and everyone is throwing stuff on them, could they all be charged?
And the Goldman family yet to see a dime from O.J. Simpson from that $33.5 million awarded to them after a jury found Simpson liable for the death of their son, Ron. Simpson taunted them some more today as the family‘s lawyers went back to court to try to collect. We talk to Fred Goldman and to Simpson‘s attorney.
Plus, a Texas woman with a history of postpartum depression, facing capital murder charges after she tells a 911 operator she cut the arms off her 11-month-old. I‘ll tell you why that defense won‘t work.
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I‘ll respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the attorney for the man some say started the NBA brawl. Could his client face charges? We‘ll ask him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GREEN, FAN ACCUSED OF THROWING CUP: I just wish the whole thing didn‘t happen. You know? I‘m sure the NBA players that got involved in it wish it never happened. The fans never, you know, had wished that it had happened. I know I don‘t. It was awful. It was ugly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That‘s John Green, the fan who some say started the whole incident by throwing a cup at Ron Artest. There he is in the blue shirt there with the white hat. It turns out he has several prior criminal convictions, including felony assault, three drunken driving convictions, not supposed to be drinking alcohol as part of his probation.
We don‘t know whether he was, but he hasn‘t been charged with anything. But he is certainly one of the people being investigated. His lawyer, Shawn Patrick Smith, has had a very busy day, but he joins us now. Thanks a lot for taking the time to come on the program.
SHAWN P. SMITH, LAWYER FOR CUP THROWER: It‘s good to be with you.
ABRAMS: All right. Let‘s take a look first at the tape where it sure looks to me like he‘s throwing the cup and then I want to see if at least your position is going to be that, yes, he did throw the cup. We see there in the audience what looks like, you know, someone in the same colored shirt with the same color hat and the same place as he was sitting stand up and toss a projectile that appears to hit Artest. Is your position that he didn‘t throw that?
SMITH: You know, I looked at that video a number of times and it‘s kind of still a question mark in my mind. But honestly, as—not as a lawyer, but a regular citizen, it kind of looks like it is coming from his direction. It is vague to me. It is similar to the chair incident.
You can‘t really tell who the guy is in the chair and I don‘t think you can actually really tell if the guy behind him is throwing it around his side or if he‘s actually under handing and lobbying in that direction. It—they slowed it down last night on ESPN and it looked a little clearer, but—that‘s what my cousin told me in Chicago—but I still can‘t get a good vibe on it. That looks like his arm.
SMITH: I need to see it really slowed down.
ABRAMS: Yes, it sure does. Let‘s assume for a moment that it was and then also, you see after Artest goes after the wrong guy in the stands.
ABRAMS: Mr. Green then starts to—let‘s go to number four here—when—what appears initially to be restraining Artest, then starts to just start punching him from behind. I mean I said before that I think Artest is in some legal problem—trouble here, but not for this incident because it seemed like your client, in a moment here, begins to assault Artest—there it is—punches him in the face a couple of times. Artest turns around and starts punching him.
SMITH: Well what you—yes I see that. What you don‘t see is Artest is taking his—one of his feet and kicking backwards, severely striking the lower leg of John Green. There‘s bruising, there‘s cuts all over his leg. He‘s not responding to the five people that are trying to hold him back and John told me he didn‘t know what to do anymore.
He said the guy was hurting him. He was trying to take out this other younger smaller guy and, you know, John panicked and did what he had to do. But he was in defense of others, at least, if not in defense of himself throughout the entire process once Artest was up in the stands. There‘s no doubt about that.
ABRAMS: Has he said that he didn‘t throw the cup?
SMITH: He‘s told me that he didn‘t throw the cup. He wasn‘t sure. He‘s told me that at times it happened so fast. But, you know, I think the tape is going to speak for itself. As you know—you‘re a lawyer—a lot of times the initial client doesn‘t want to look at things in the light that‘s not favorable to him. And I think once we sit down and we look at the video clearly there might be something that has to be changed in the way he is looking at it.
ABRAMS: And I think that is a very honest assessment. Do you expect criminal charges against your client?
SMITH: You know what? Based partly, in fact, on the fact that there‘s so much media attention, I don‘t see how—you know the guy with the white cap is from here to New York and back to California. He‘s being talked about on every channel from here and there and everywhere and I don‘t see how they‘re going to let him off without getting him into court at some point.
ABRAMS: Lisa Halushka, you‘ve worked for the man who‘s going to be making that decision. Do you think it‘s pretty safe to say he‘s going to face some charges here?
HALUSHKA: I think he‘s certainly going to be looked at to face some charges. You know, I have worked with Dave for a number of years. I‘m not at all surprised that he‘s come out through his deputy prosecutors and himself and said that he is not going to be issuing charges this week because there‘s more than just the videotape that he‘s got to look at and I know that Mr. Green‘s attorney needs to keep in mind that whether or not he remembers if he threw the cup, certainly there were several eyewitnesses immediately surrounding him who outside of what we see on the tape will be able to testify whether or not he initiated everything by throwing the cup. And if so, then we might have a case.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me take a quick break here. One of the interesting questions I think is—all right the cup—one question, what about everyone else who threw cups? You know, when everyone is walking out, when they‘re leaving, when everyone‘s sort of streaming out of there, after this incident, they all start throwing down, all these items at the players as they‘re walking out of court.
Yes these people might get banned from basketball games, but could they actually be charged for throwing items at the players?
And O.J. Simpson is still fighting to avoid paying the family of Ron Goldman a dime of the millions he owes them. Ron‘s father, Fred Goldman, joins us to explain why they called Simpson‘s lawyers back to court today.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Exactly what happened?
SCHLOSSER: I cut her arms off.
911 OPERATOR: You cut her arms off?
ABRAMS: Authorities make a gruesome discovery. This is so heart breaking. A mother tells a 911 operator she mutilated her 11-month-old baby. The baby dies at a local hospital. The woman has a history of postpartum depression. But I will tell you why I don‘t think that‘s going to save her from a prison sentence if not worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY HUNTER, EXEC. DIR., NBA PLAYERS UNION: He is reviewing the matter and that there may be—quote—“some misdemeanor charges filed.” I would assume that it would be somewhat disingenuous and unjust to only charge NBA players and not be as aggressive against the fans as they are with the player.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That is Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA
Players Union, talking about who he thinks the Oakland County, Michigan
D.A. will charge in connection with Friday‘s brawl. One of the things that
I think is interesting is let‘s show number eight here, and this is the
fans. When everyone is walking out, after the fight is over, a couple of -
· a bunch of fans figure well I‘ll get into the fray here by throwing various items at the players as they walk out.
I mean some of those look like they‘re hard items. This is not just popcorn and drinks. So, Lisa Halushka, I mean a lot of people, yes, are calling for accountability from these players. But what about the fans who ordinarily would be able to do something like that without facing criminal charges in this context, criminal charges possible?
HALUSHKA: I think it is possible. You‘ve got to think about everything that the prosecutor has got to sift through here. First of all, he‘s got to get identity on people and see who was engaged in throwing fists or throwing items out there.
ABRAMS: But assume they get that. Assume they get the identity...
HALUSHKA: OK. Right. If you‘re throwing something at someone intending to hit them with it, you‘re committing a battery against them and if you have got other facts that support that charge, I‘m certainly convinced that Mr. Gorcyca is not going to be reserved about charging whoever he believes is responsible on both sides, both the players...
HALUSHKA: ... as well as the fans.
ABRAMS: But Richard Lustig, these are people not necessarily involved in the fight, but engaged in what we often see at arenas around the country and that is, you know, people acting inappropriately, people throwing things as players are walking into the locker room. I think in this context, it may be different, that you might see someone who threw a relatively hard item, be it I don‘t know what items—you know cups filled with fluid or whatever, at players. They might face some charges as well.
LUSTIG: Before I answer that question, I‘d like to answer the question you asked Lisa before the break concerning where Artest is in the overall circumstances. I think the nature of what Mr. Artest went through that particular evening should be looked at and the totality of the circumstances. Everybody—if you start the films where Wallace throws him on the ground and then he is laying down and then the people—the other players are antagonizing him, everybody‘s standing up, somebody hits him on the head with a bottle, he goes up there, and then he‘s jumped not by one, but by several and then he goes to the floor, there are three possible assaults I think...
ABRAMS: He wasn‘t jumped. I mean you know...
ABRAMS: ... let‘s put up number six again...
LUSTIG: ... but if you look at five...
ABRAMS: Go ahead.
LUSTIG: If you look at five, you see that the gentleman with the Pistons uniform on the floor is the one who—now you watch this...
ABRAMS: Yes. Let‘s now go to five because on this one, he‘s got no excuse. He‘s got no excuse.
LUSTIG: This one absolutely—there is a problem, unless the provocation of the overall scene and the sense of what was going on. But when you get to the floor where he strikes an individual in a Pistons uniform, I think that one he is absolutely reasonable in doing that. First of all, there is no license to be on the floor. The ticket holder only has a license to be...
ABRAMS: But whether they have a license or not has nothing to do with the law of criminal assault...
LUSTIG: No, but the person—if you show the—if you show five, you show the guy...
LUSTIG: ... the guy is right there in the front of the player‘s bench on the floor. He is just—Artest has just been fighting with a bunch of fans and this guy raises his hands at or about the time that Artest hits him. Now Lisa said, as a good prosecutor, the question is whether it was reasonable. I think it was. And when you get to this particular situation, the fans are out of control. I don‘t think they‘re assaults. I think there is a lot of disorderly people there and there is a 93-day misdemeanor for disorderly persons.
ABRAMS: Mr. Smith, what do you make of the types of charges beyond your client—for a minute asking you to sort of put on a commentator‘s hat for a moment in terms of generally what kind of charges we could see here for fans not involved in fights, but literally just throwing items at the players as they left?
SMITH: Look, I think charging fans in this situation is ridiculous. I have a great respect for Mr. Lustig, but I disagree. The fact of the matter is these athletes are trained professionals. They‘re trained to expect this type of things happening on the court. They‘re trained—they see it every day.
They should be able to react appropriately and have self-control. And you didn‘t see any of the Pistons losing control. You haven‘t seen Pistons going into the stands in the past when things have happened to them. And you haven‘t seen a lot of NBA players—never have you seen NBA players go into the stands before. You have one particular person, who has got a history of problems, who overdoes it and goes up and starts punching people and he picks the smallest guy to attack in the stands and that‘s not appropriate behavior.
ABRAMS: All right. Lisa Halushka, Richard Lustig, and Shawn Patrick Smith, thanks a lot for coming on the program.
LUSTIG: Thank you Dan.
ABRAMS: Appreciate it.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a judge today orders a friend of O.J. Simpson‘s to turn over two press passes and O.J. is taunting Fred Goldman again saying he won‘t pay a dime.
ABRAMS: Coming up—O.J. Simpson continues his battle to avoid paying the family of Ron Goldman a dime of the millions a jury ruled he owes for killing Ron Goldman. Simpson‘s lawyers were back in court today and, as always, Simpson mouthing off about how he‘s not going to pay Fred Goldman—first the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I‘ve said this so many times, I‘ve said it to Fred‘s faces in debtor hearings. If I have to work to pay them, I won‘t work. It‘s that simple. So, I‘ll just play golf every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: O.J. Simpson repeating his deadbeat mantra that he will not pay the Goldman family a dime, even though a civil jury awarded $33.5 million to Goldman and his ex-wife along with O.J. and Nicole Simpson‘s children. Goldman has not seen a cent from Simpson, but he hasn‘t given up.
Today, a man named Alfred Beardsley was subpoenaed to appear in court to see if he was helping O.J. squirrel away cash. Beardsley is an O.J. Simpson fan and memorabilia collector. The Goldman family suspected Beardsley might be up to no good after hearing he‘d done some business with Simpson in the past. Here‘s what O.J. had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: For them to tell the courts that this guy is a friend of mine, other than the guy who‘s an autograph collector, who I may have seen twice in my life, twice in my entire life. Certainly I‘ve never done any business with him, other than autographs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: We will talk to the man at the—we talked to the man at the center of that court hearing, Alfred Beardsley earlier today. He said when he reported to the courthouse, there was a closed door hearing and he was forced to give over two press passes that would be considered O.J. Simpson memorabilia.
“My Take”—I can‘t even imagine how frustrating this must be for the Goldman family. First Simpson is acquitted, despite more evidence against him than I‘ve ever seen in a criminal case that‘s gone to trial. Then they get their vindication in a civil court and Simpson effectively spits in their face.
So, a jury believes he killed their son and brother and now he adds insults to the fatal injury. Joining me now first by phone is Ron Goldman‘s father, Fred.
Fred, good to hear from you again, I‘m sorry, again, under these kinds of circumstances. All right. O.J. Simpson taunting you again in various comments that he‘s making, your response?
FRED GOLDMAN, RON GOLDMAN‘S FATHER (via phone): First of all, how are you, Dan?
ABRAMS: I‘m good, thank you.
GOLDMAN: Well, you know what? I don‘t expect anything else from him. You know what? He‘s a low-life lying murderer and why would we expect decent behavior from him? He‘s never been doing anything different. He‘s been doing the same thing year after year after year and I don‘t expect anything different from someone like him.
ABRAMS: Fred, it seems he‘s getting—he gets more personal, it seems, against you personally each time he speaks. Let me play another piece of sound from what Simpson said today to the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I feel bad for Ron Goldman. For Fred Goldman to slap me in the face, they can say what they want to say about me. I think he is a money-hungry guy who didn‘t care about his son when he was alive, didn‘t help his son. Let his son go to jail twice without even trying to help the boy, and once the kid was murdered, he‘s trying to make money off his death. I think that‘s sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: What the heck is he talking about?
GOLDMAN: Who knows? He‘s, you know, he‘s a liar. Every word that comes out of his mouth is garbage. It‘s—you know, it‘s beyond even reason to even try to comment on anything he says. There‘s not a word of truth that ever has come out of his mouth.
ABRAMS: So, what was it about this guy Beardsley that led your lawyers to say this guy might have some information on where O.J. might be squirreling away money?
GOLDMAN: Well I think at this point the best thing I can say is that we believed he had some information and it was worth deposing him to find out. And, you know, it was interesting listening to some of what the killer had to say. He doesn‘t know him. The—he never did any business with him? Well, except memorabilia.
So, you know, he‘s obviously done business with him, just like he has done business with Gilbert and a multitude of other people over the years. He‘s earned money. He‘s fraudulently conveyed it to others to avoid the judgment. You know, he‘s a no good lying scum of a guy who murdered two people.
ABRAMS: Let me bring in to the conversation Yale Galanter, O.J. Simpson‘s attorney, who joins us now. Yale, good to see you. Does O.J. deny that he is making any other income or is he—would he at least concede that he is trying to hide all of his assets from the Goldmans? I mean seems like he‘s being pretty honest there about—his feelings about the Goldmans.
YALE GALANTER, O.J. SIMPSON‘S ATTORNEY: Well Dan, how are you? You‘re really asking me two questions. One is he earning outside outcome other than the federally protected pensions that he has, and the answer to that question is yes. The second question is, is he doing anything to intentionally hide the money, and the answer to that is no.
Now with all due respect to Fred Goldman, what his lawyers did was they filled out an affidavit that contained five or six allegations that were all false. They were based on a hope that there was some kind of relationship between this memorabilia collector and Simpson. And when Beardsley went in, he gave his statement under oath today. He stated categorically, one, there had never been any money that exchanged hands.
He hardly knew O.J. Simpson. He had seen him at a couple of card signing shows and just like everybody else who stands in line, went up to Simpson, had him sign some things. There have never been any contractual relationships or anything else. He is not a friend of Simpson‘s. He is a collector and a fan and he‘s absolutely, positively nothing more...
ABRAMS: But Yale, you say...
GALANTER: ... than that...
ABRAMS: ... that he is making some outside money, so why aren‘t the Goldmans getting it?
GALANTER: Well there are two reasons. One is in the state of Florida, as the head of a household, O.J. is allowed to earn enough money to pay his mortgage, put shelter over, you know, his head and the kids‘ head, put food on the table...
GOLDMAN: ... clearly can‘t do that with $4 million in the bank, can he?
GALANTER: Yes, but the $4 million, Mr. Goldman, that‘s in the bank...
GOLDMAN: Is protected. We know it‘s protected.
GALANTER: ... is federally protected. You‘ve litigated those issues.
GOLDMAN: We know that.
GALANTER: I have a lot of respect for you, Mr. Goldman. The courts have already ruled. O.J. Simpson is doing absolutely nothing wrong. There are a lot of entertainers...
GOLDMAN: Other than the fact that he...
GOLDMAN: ... other than that the fact that he conveniently moved to Florida, purposefully, to avoid the possibility of judgments against him in California where it‘s a little more liberal.
GALANTER: But Mr. Goldman, the law allows him to do that. That is not...
GOLDMAN: Of course we know that. But that‘s why he‘s doing it.
GALANTER: And I‘m not debating that. The laws in Florida for debtors and people who have judgments are very liberal. I‘ve discussed that on Dan‘s show numerous times. Everything he‘s doing is above board. He is not doing anything illegal...
GOLDMAN: It‘s so convenient...
GALANTER: Everything that he‘s doing...
GOLDMAN: ... that he‘s taking advantage of the kind of laws...
GALANTER: ... is entirely protected.
GOLDMAN: It‘s so convenient that he‘s taking advantage of the same laws that found him responsible of Ron and Nicole‘s death.
GALANTER: Mr. Goldman, your argument is not with O.J. Simpson or myself...
GOLDMAN: Oh, really? Who‘s it with?
GALANTER: Your argument is with the Florida legislature.
GOLDMAN: Oh, OK, OK...
GALANTER: They‘re the ones who established the laws...
GOLDMAN: Right. I shouldn‘t...
GALANTER: They‘re the ones who established the Homestead Act...
GALANTER: They‘re the ones who established the head of household provisions.
ABRAMS: You know, Yale, let me ask you about this...
ABRAMS: Don‘t you as an attorney—I‘m going to let you listen to another piece of sound from O.J. today—want to just tell him to shut up. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: Fred Goldman said it wasn‘t about money. Fred, it‘s all about money. See you later. I‘ve got a golf game to play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I mean aren‘t you kind of embarrassed to represent a guy who does that?
GALANTER: Well, Dan, as you know, I‘m his spokesperson and it‘s my job to go in and defend him. There are times when people stick cameras in his face and he says things out of emotion that are off the cuff and probably aren‘t very well thought through. This morning, when the Channel 7 news reporter stuck the camera in his car, he probably said some inappropriate stuff...
ABRAMS: It‘s all the media‘s fault, right? It‘s not O.J.‘s fault...
GALANTER: I‘m not—listen, you know my feelings on these incidents.
I mean I don‘t think it should be said.
GALANTER: I don‘t think there should be any personal attacks against Fred Goldman or his family or the Browns for that matter. You know, I‘ve always taken the high road on your shows and other shows...
ABRAMS: No, you have...
GALANTER: ... and I will continue to do that.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me give Fred Goldman the final word because we‘ve got to wrap it up. Fred, what—just final word on this whole incident.
GOLDMAN: You know what? It‘s the same thing that‘s been going on for years. The killer thumbing his nose at the Browns and ourselves. He‘s never shown one single iota of—never shown any sympathy, has done nothing to indicate to anyone with any common sense that he‘s anything but a murderer and a low-life scum and he continues to do that.
And we will continue to be after him to make his life as miserable as we can and I feel terribly sorry for him with $4 million in the bank and the money that he fraudulently—that he earns and fraudulently conveys it to others to avoid the judgment. My heart bleeds for him.
ABRAMS: Fred Goldman thanks for coming back on the program. I‘m sure this gets your blood boiling every time you talk about it. As a result, we apologize for the next 20 minutes—we have to—you have to—look, it gets me going—not just for you.
All right. And Yale, good to see you again. Thanks for coming back on the program. Appreciate it.
Coming up—she admitted to police she committed one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. That she cut off her baby daughter‘s arms. Authorities say she had suffered from postpartum depression—the same defense Andrea Yates used when she killed her five children. I don‘t know if this is—this defense is going to work this time either, but we‘ll talk with Andrea Yates‘ attorney.
ABRAMS: We are back. Before I tell you about this story, I should warn you this is pretty grotesque. You know, if you have children who are with you, you don‘t want them to hear and see all of this. You might want to leave the room before we talk about this story. OK.
This is a story about a woman, calls 911, we‘re going to play the tape in a moment, calmly tells them how she cut her daughter‘s arms off. The daughter eventually died. We‘ll hear that in a moment. But first, KXAS reporter Randy McIlwain has more on the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, my sympathies go out not only to the family, but to all the first responders that went out because obviously going to something like this can be very, very difficult.
RANDY MCILWAIN, KXAS REPORTER (voice-over): Plano police will likely never forget the image of the baby girl from the back bedroom of this apartment.
CARL DUKE, PLANO, TX POLICE DEPT.: Eleven-month-old baby in a back bedroom, both arms were severed.
MCILWAIN: Police say the child‘s mother, Dena Schlosser, was covered with blood. She‘s charged with capital murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Having one of my own, I wouldn‘t think of doing anything like that to a child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can happen anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There had never been any concerns about violence in the family.
MCILWAIN: But this is not the first time police have come to the home out of concern for the baby. Back in January, Schlosser left her newborn and two other daughters unattended.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apparently the mother was suffering from some sort of postpartum depression.
MCILWAIN: Gonzalez (ph) says the family cooperated with Child Protective Services. Investigators made regular visits and Schlosser was receiving counseling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the summertime, we saw the lady, you know, right behind, underneath the trees, you know, taking care of the baby. She was a caring mother as far as I‘m concerned...
MCILWAIN: A perception now in conflict with reality, as the evidence is gathered and a child is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never had to face anything like this before and frankly I wouldn‘t want to.
ABRAMS: Dena Schlosser calmly told a 911 operator about what she had done to her baby.
911 OPERATOR: I already have the paramedics on their way. I need to get some information from you while they‘re on their way, OK?
911 OPERATOR: OK, exactly what happened?
SCHLOSSER: I cut her arms off.
911 OPERATOR: You cut her arms off?
911 OPERATOR: OK and how—is this your baby?
911 OPERATOR: And it‘s a girl?
911 OPERATOR: Is she conscious?
911 OPERATOR: Is she breathing?
ABRAMS: Certainly not the first time we‘ve heard of a mother in Texas killing her child or children. We all remember the tragic story of Andrea Yates, drowned her five children in a bathtub while it appears suffering from severe postpartum depression. A jury rejected her insanity plea, convicted her of murder, but spared her the death penalty.
Joining me now is George Parnham who represented Andrea Yates at her trial, is now handling her appeal, and former prosecutor Bill Fallon. George, good to see you again. All right, so it seems to me that in this case, a little bit different from Andrea‘s case because apparently some of the reports were wrong. The police actually called her, rather than her calling the police. And I think that‘s what doomed Andrea in her trial was the sense that she understood right from wrong because she called police.
Here the husband said I think there‘s something‘s wrong and so the police called the home. Big difference legally, right?
GEORGE PARNHAM, REPRESENTED ANDREA YATES: Well I‘m not sure if the difference is so significant. Obviously from the eyes of some of our forensic experts, the fact that Andrea did, in fact, place a 911 call suggested to—through their testimony to the jury, that she knew what she was doing was legally wrong.
What needs to be understood is that Andrea perceived that society would judge her actions to be incorrect and she wanted to be executed for the sole purpose of killing Satan within her. The mind of a psychotic individual acts in different ways at different times.
ABRAMS: Yes. And there‘s no question—I mean there wasn‘t even a dispute at that trial that she did suffer from the disease. The question was just whether she understood right from wrong, correct?
PARNHAM: Correct, Dan.
ABRAMS: Yes, yes. OK. Bill Fallon, look, I think we‘re going to hear that kind of defense again here. And I have to tell you, initially before I heard the 911 tape, I was ready to say you know what? It‘s another one of these cases where someone does something horrible and they‘re going to try and you know, sort of use an excuse. But, you know, it does make you wonder. You listen to the tape and this sounds like a woman - -- quote—“possessed.”
WILLIAM FALLON, FORMER ESSEX COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Dan, I‘m not sure I would say possessed, but there is that dead calmness about it that, in fact, is going to be interesting. The prosecution has to argue that you know what? She very voluntarily and easily just admitted she did it. She doesn‘t have the Andrea Yates calling up saying I did something terrible.
I think the tragedy of these cases is quite frankly these people might in fact have an illness and whether it really rises to some type of insanity, I think this screams for, which I‘ve said before on the show, guilty but insane. I‘m not saying she was, by the way. I‘m just suggesting the difficulty is on these cases is when a mother does something to her children and this is as horrific as it gets.
Just even the thought of de-arming some child in a sense, but we don‘t have that same kind of concern when it‘s the father. And, again, I know that‘s not necessarily postpartum depression, but I do think that that is an issue. It will be very interesting—the father called. What were his concerns?
FALLON: Because that seems to me to be the issue here that...
ABRAMS: George, might you end up representing Dena Schlosser?
PARNHAM: Oh I don‘t know. I will say this. That obviously any expertise that my office has generated as a result of representing Andrea is available to any attorney that would be hired on or appointed to represent this woman. I do want to pick up on one issue that Bill talked about.
PARNHAM: And that is that we don‘t have a provision in our penal code or in our law that provides for a gender-based psychiatric problem.
PARNHAM: And obviously a person suffering from postpartum psychosis that is...
ABRAMS: Only a woman.
PARNHAM: ... only to women.
ABRAMS: Yes, yes.
PARNHAM: That‘s correct. And men don‘t understand it and it‘s a shame that—but it‘s the reality of our system.
ABRAMS: I wanted to spend more time on this. I apologize to both of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s all right.
ABRAMS: The O.J. Simpson segment went too long and anyway I apologize. But George Parnham and Bill Fallon are two great guests. I really appreciate you both taking the time.
PARNHAM: Thanks Dan.
FALLON: Thanks Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, your e-mails, many of you taking me to task over the way I referred to the waitresses at Hooters.
ABRAMS: Coming up, I say Hooters will have a tough time proving a competitor stole its formula of selling wings and beer with a little bit of sex thrown out—thrown in. Turns out I‘m not alone. Your e-mails are coming up.
ABRAMS: I had to cut out my “Closing Argument” today because we went over. “Your Rebuttal”—on Friday, we had a lawyer from Hooters involved in the so-called breastaurant battle. They‘re suing a rival, Ker‘s WingHouse, claiming they stole Hooters‘ concept for a bar and restaurant with women dressed scantily. Apparently I was not the only one who thought the lawsuit would be tough to win.
From Texas, Kimberly Williams. “Since when does Hooters have a patent on tank tops, hoochie shorts and chicken wings? Hooters finally has a viable competitor and now they must work harder and be more creative to retain or attract customers.” So serious.
And Lori Horne writes, “I did not like your snooty attitude towards the girls who work at Hooters. Twelve years ago I worked there to help me pay for grad school.”
Lori, I did not mean to be snooty, but please do stay tuned because we‘ll keep you abreast of all the details in the case.
Last night on the program we told you about a 7-year-old girl who injured her elbow after she fell playing dodge ball in gym class, resulting in surgery. Her parents sued the school, arguing in part that children her age shouldn‘t play dodge ball.
I said it should be school boards and parents making these decisions, not lawsuits. I compared it to injuries playing football.
Kim Seals (ph) in Kuwait doesn‘t like the comparison. “Those who go out for football do so voluntarily with knowledge of the risks involved. A child has no option but to participate in gym class.”
But Kim that doesn‘t tell me why the courts rather than school boards have to have make these decisions.
Bruce Davey, “Dodge ball doesn‘t emphasize skills and in physical education teachers need to be teaching children skills that leads towards developing the skills.”
Again Bruce, nice argument to make to the school board.
From Las Vegas, Joann Fischella, “You seem to miss the issue. The object of dodge ball is to hit someone. What does this teach our children? Certainly educators can come up with a physical activity that doesn‘t involve children being used as targets.”
No Joann, I would say it‘s you who misses the issue. Let educators come up with different alternatives, but keep it out of court.
Pam Repp in Nashville, Tennessee. “What happened to the good old days where kids could be kids? Scrapes and broken bones were an accepted hazard for fun and exercise. Oh, wait a minute. I think I know the answer. Parents would rather send their kids in to watch DVD movies, play video games or surf the Web, making for soft bodies and weak bones, then they can sue the schools and playground supervisors.”
Finally Robyn in Cincinnati. “I am a teacher and today I saw a kid fall while walking up the stairs. Perhaps we should outlaw stairs in school. I pity the young girl for suffering, not from an injured elbow, but from the stupidity of her parents.” Ouch.
Your e-mails abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. We go through them at the end of the show.
Up next, you know, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation