Guest: Stephen Baldwin, Luis Palau, Larry Pozner, Lisa Bloom, Libby Gray, Rebecca St. James, Ruth Westheimer, David Pollack, Stephen Hayes, John Ensign
MONICA CROWLEY, GUEST HOST: Will the biggest swindle in the history of the world topple the United Nations? One senator is calling for a shakeup.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. NORM COLEMAN ®, MINNESOTA: If the U.N. is to have any credibility, Kofi Annan has to step down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: And does this $21 billion oil-for-food scandal have a Clinton connection? Pardoned fugitive Marc Rich is suspected of being Saddam‘s middle man, and he apparently did the deed just one month after President Clinton gave him his get-out-of-jail-free card.
And then a congressman says your tax dollars are being used to mislead your kids about sex. The controversial material in a new report about government funded abstinence programs coming up.
Plus, Reverend Al Sharpton considers himself to be a religious leader, but a “New York Times” columnist says that‘s like calling Larry Flynt a literary critic. So who are the real evangelicals in red state America?
You will find out right here, right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Monica Crowley, in for Joe.
The top stories tonight, scandal over at the U.N. When will Kofi Annan finally step aside? And does the biggest scam on the planet have a Clinton connection?
On Monday, we told you about Kojo Annan, the son of Kofi Annan, and payments he received from a Swiss company at the heart of the oil-for-food scandal. Kofi Annan initially denied the relationship. Then he later changed his story, saying he was disappointed in his son and surprised, but that he has no knowledge of his business. Right.
Then yesterday, Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican who chairs a committee investigating mismanagement in the U.N. oil-for-food program, called on Kofi Annan to resign. But today, President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany called Kofi Annan and voiced their strong support for him.
President Bush, on the other hand, did not call the U.N. secretary-general. He did have this to say, though.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It‘s very important for the United Nations to understand that there ought to be a full and fair and open accounting of the oil-for-food program. In order for the taxpayers of the United States to feel comfortable about supporting the United Nations, there has to be an open accounting. And I look forward to that process going forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: And remember Marc Rich, the fugitive financier that fled to Switzerland in 1983 after he was indicted on 65 counts of tax fraud, tax evasion, and racketeering? He is the guy Bill Clinton pardoned hours before he left office. He is now suspected of having become one of Saddam Hussein‘s middle men in Iraq‘s illegal oil trade back in February of 2001. That‘s right. That‘s just one month after his Clinton pardon.
So, will we see the resignation of Kofi Annan, and what to make of Marc Rich, caught with his hands in the oil-for-food cookie jar?
Joining me tonight, Republican Senator John Ensign from Nevada, Stephen Hayes, the author of “The Connection” and a writer for “The Weekly Standard,” and David Pollack from Democratic Leadership For the 21st Century.
Gentlemen, welcome. Nice to have you with me tonight.
Senator Ensign, let me begin with you. And I want to play a clip from your Senate colleague, Norm Coleman, who is the head of the committee investigating the mismanagement in the U.N. oil-for-food program. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLEMAN: We need to get to the bottom of who is responsible. We haven‘t done that yet, but we clearly know that the abuse took place under his watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: So, Senator Ensign, we have got $21 billion stolen from this oil-for-food program, $21 billion, much of which was used to enrich Saddam Hussein, members of his regime, apparently France and Russia, possibly now top members of the United Nations, maybe all the way to the top, right to Kofi Annan.
You were on this investigative panel in the Senate. What is your sense of this investigation? Have we just seen the tip of the iceberg here?
SEN. JOHN ENSIGN ®, NEVADA: Well, unfortunately, the United Nations is this huge organization that is accountable to no one. And any time that you have all these billions of dollars going into an organization where no one can shine a light in there and see what is going on, I think that there‘s no question there‘s going to be a problem at some time, and now we have the biggest financial scandal in the history of the world.
This oil-for-food program, it doesn‘t surprise me that Jacques Chirac is there defending Kofi Annan today. There are certainly some strong implications that at least friends of Jacques Chirac were implicated in this oil-for-food program, and certainly France‘s hands are all over this scandal.
So we need to get to the bottom of this. That‘s why we cannot allow just Paul Volcker‘s investigation—that‘s the U.N.‘s own investigation—we can‘t allow that to be the only investigation. We must do—in the United States Senate and the House, we must do our own thorough investigations to make sure that, whatever we find, that people are comfortable, that we, indeed, get to the truth.
But when we get to the truth, we need to bring people to justice and we need to hold them accountable, including all the way up to Kofi Annan.
CROWLEY: Senator, we do have a number of investigations under way here in the U.S. We have got five congressional investigations ongoing. We also have three U.S. federal investigations, including one out of the Department of the Treasury.
One of the people all of you are looking at is Marc Rich, who is this American fugitive holed up in Switzerland. He did get a pardon from President Clinton shortly before Clinton left office. You are doing the investigating. You are doing the digging here. What can you tell us about the role of Marc Rich?
ENSIGN: First of all, look at Marc Rich‘s history. During South Africa, with apartheid and the sanctions there, he was one of the leaders in trying to get people around the sanctions in South Africa.
And then with the sanctions with Iran, he was one of the leaders in trying to get around the Iranian sanctions, and obviously with this oil-for-food scandal. Any time he is associated with something, people‘s alarm bells should go off, and they did for some of the people at the United Nations. As a matter of fact, some of those people were fired.
But we have to get to the bottom of this, because any time—it‘s not just the Marc Riches of the world, but we are talking about highly placed elected officials and people and highly placed officials at the United Nations that may have had their hand in the cookie jar here and enriched their own pockets while the people of Iraq were starving to death, literally starving to death.
CROWLEY: It is a huge scandal. It‘s an outrage. And I am so glad the U.S. government and folks like you, Senator, are on top of it.
David Pollack, let me go to you, because you have defended President Clinton over the years, sometimes when it was very difficult to do that. Marc Rich now, the charge against him is that he made illegal payments to Iraq to try to get lucrative oil contracts. That‘s what Senator Ensign and his colleagues are investigating.
What do you say to that? Your guy, President Clinton, pardoned him.
DAVID POLLACK, PRESIDENT, DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP FOR THE 21ST CENTURY:
Well, first of all, let me say, the senator is absolutely right.
The United Nations needs to be held to the highest standards of accountability, and I am glad the United States government is doing that. Second, let me say that if Marc Rich is a sleazy oil trader, he should be held accountable for that, too. But to hold Bill Clinton in any way responsible for this would be the same as trying to hold the first George Bush accountable for terrorism or heroin smuggling because he pardoned a Pakistani heroin trafficker and he pardoned a Cuban terrorist who was associated with the airliner. So bringing Bill Clinton in it is really pretty outrageous.
CROWLEY: Well, let‘s take a look at what Bill Clinton had to say, because he pardoned this guy, and then, within a month, Marc Rich obviously was doing some or allegedly doing some work with Saddam Hussein here.
Here‘s Bill Clinton in a piece in “The New York Times.” He had this to say about Marc Rich. He said: “The suggestion that I granted the pardons because Mr. Rich‘s former wife, Denise, made political contributions and contributed to the Clinton Library Foundation is utterly false. There was absolutely no quid pro quo.”
That was in February, David, February of 2001. Later, he changed his story and he told this to “Newsweek.” He said: “It was terrible politics,” the Rich pardon. “It wasn‘t worth the damage to my reputation, but that doesn‘t mean the attacks were true.”
Are you still going to defend Clinton pardoning Marc Rich here when now within a month after getting that pardon, he allegedly was working all kinds of oil deals to benefit Saddam Hussein?
POLLACK: Sure. If you want to shine a spotlight on the presidential pardon system, I am all for it. You want to talk about using influence, how about Armand Hammer, a crook that George Bush pardoned after he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party. And the guy who lobbied for his pardon was who? Ted Olson, who is the current solicitor general.
CROWLEY: But, David, we are talking about terrorists here. We‘re talking about Saddam Hussein, who is clearly a terrorist.
POLLACK: Well, then let‘s talk about Orlando Bosch, who is a terrorist who was pardoned by George Bush.
Marc Rich isn‘t a terrorist. Orlando Bosch was. Are we going to criticize George Bush for that pardon? Maybe we should.
CROWLEY: Marc Rich clearly a bad guy, and so the Clinton legacy continues.
Let me go to Stephen Hayes here, because you have done so much important work, Stephen, in writing about the connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. One of the most interesting pieces of evidence I am seeing coming out of this U.N. oil-for-food investigation is that Saddam Hussein may, in fact, have taken millions of that scammed money and funneled it to terrorists and terrorist organizations.
What can you tell us about that?
STEPHEN HAYES, “THE WEEKLY STANDARD”: Well, you know, Claudia Rosett, who is a freelance journalist and works for the Foundation For the Defense of Democracies, has really done the groundbreaking work on this. And she actually wrote a piece for “The Weekly Standard” in which she made the case that it was possible, if not likely, that Saddam was distributing this money, which we are finding is very, very hard to trace, to a wide variety of terrorist groups that he is known to have had associations with.
I think we know about Saddam‘s proclivities in terms of bribing journalists, bribing public officials throughout the region. We know of his payments to leaders of Hamas terrorist groups, which he boasted about. I think it‘s entirely reasonable to explore at the very least the possibility that he was passing money to a variety of terrorist groups, money that came from oil-for-food, to a variety of terrorist groups.
HAYES: I‘m sorry?
CROWLEY: Could some of that money have gone to al Qaeda?
HAYES: Well, I think it‘s entirely possible that some of that money could have gone to al Qaeda.
There were reports. I think “U.S. News & World Report” first reported that Saddam Hussein had made a $300,000 payment in 1998 to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who‘s Osama bin Laden‘s No. 2. We have a wide variety of reporting. I interviewed top CIA counterterrorism officials who talked about Saddam spreading money to jihadist groups in Africa and throughout the region as early as the early 1990s.
So I think it‘s entirely possible that some of this money went to al Qaeda.
CROWLEY: Stephen, do you think that Kofi Annan should resign? He has presided over so many security and humanitarian failures, from the Rwanda genocide, through oil-for-food, WMD proliferation in Iran and North Korea, failed to do anything about any of those issues, just looks so weak and so clueless. How can he possibly, without any kind of moral authority, preside over the U.N.?
HAYES: I can‘t believe that there are people who think that Kofi Annan should not resign at this point.
We know that Kofi Annan in February of 1998, after he gave Saddam Hussein yet another last chance—quote, unquote—came back and said—and this is not a made-up quote. This is a serious quote. Came back and said, “Saddam Hussein is a man I can do business with.” Now, that seems to have taken vastly different meanings.
At the very least, Kojo Annan, Kofi Annan‘s son, knew months ago that when his father told the world that his payments from Cotecna, this group that monitored oil-for-food payment, had stopped years ago, that that was flat wrong. And Kofi Annan, I‘m sorry, has to pay the price of having his son either lie to him or being totally clueless about the movement of money within this organization that he runs.
CROWLEY: Senator Ensign, do you join your colleague, Senator Norm Coleman, in calling for Kofi Annan‘s resignation?
ENSIGN: Well, I actually put out a statement to that effect today.
But I want to raise, Monica, a bigger issue here, that I think is actually more important than just Kofi Annan. It goes to the very heart of foreign policies for some of these countries. That money from the oil-for-food scandal was going back, being pumped into some of these other countries. And did that money, in effect, affect their support or lack of support for the war in Iraq? And I mention especially Russia and France, literally billions of dollars going back and forth between Saddam Hussein and those countries.
And how much, in effect, did that affect their foreign policy is a big part of this investigation.
CROWLEY: Senator, are you and the Senate and do you feel that the Bush administration is prepared to deal with France and Russia and Germany and some of these other countries that dealt with Saddam Hussein, possibly illegally? Are we ready to change our policy with regard to those countries?
ENSIGN: Well, as you know, any time you are dealing in international relations, it gets very dicey and very delicate. But there are certain rights and wrongs.
And when people were starving, the people of Iraq, to death, literally to death—many people were starving to death in Iraq when these countries were profiting, when Saddam Hussein was profiting. I think, personally think, that people need to be held accountable, as well as countries need to be held accountable for that.
CROWLEY: Gentlemen, we have to leave it there.
Senator John Ensign, Stephen Hayes, and David Pollack, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
And coming up, the debate over sex education for your teens. Are your tax dollars being used to fund abstinence programs that give misleading information about sex? A new study says yes.
And later in the show, you will hear the secretly recorded telephone conversations between a schoolteacher and a 14-year-old student she was having sex with.
Don‘t go anywhere.
CROWLEY: It‘s supposed to teach your kids to say no to sex, but are abstinence-only programs giving teens false information? The debate over sex miseducation coming up.
CROWLEY: Welcome back. I‘m Monica Crowley, in tonight for Joe.
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, 61 percent of graduating high school seniors have had sex. Now, that‘s a lot of sex when you consider that the federal government has spent close to $900 million of your tax dollars over the last five years on abstinence programs.
Joining me now to discuss the issue of sex education are Rebecca St. James, author of “SHE,” Libby Gray from Project Reality, and the best-selling author, the very famous Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
Ladies, welcome. Nice to have you with me today.
CROWLEY: All right, I want to put up on the screen something very interesting that came out of this congressional staff report that was released earlier this week. And it talks about some of the misconceptions being taught by 69 abstinence-only organizations in 25 different states in this country.
And it includes such claims as this. A 43-year-old-day fetus is a—quote—“thinking person.” HIV can be spread through sweat and tears. Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission 31 percent of the time in heterosexual sex. And abortion can lead to sterility and suicide. And also they are talking about a number of different things here. One half of gay teenage boys in the U.S. have tested positive for AIDS. And touching a person can result in pregnancy. These are among the misconceptions taught being out there.
Rebecca, let me go to you, because abstinence-only is a very noble thing teach our kids, so why all of this misleading and inaccurate information?
REBECCA ST. JAMES, CHRISTIAN RECORDING ARTIST: Well, I am very, very passionate about this particular issue and have spoken about it for many years now.
I sing to young people, and I am a virgin, and I am waiting. “The Washington Post” did a story on this, and they said that some abstinence education is misleading. Now, I would say that parts of those facts are being taken from small sectors of America that are talking about things that might be slightly false.
I would say the majority of it is on target. And to me, if abstinence is being preached, I am all for it. I am so excited about that, because it‘s promoting life to me.
CROWLEY: Dr. Ruth, let me go to you, because it seems outrageous to me that people in this day and age who are charged with teaching our children about sex, that they would impart this kind of inaccurate and flat-out wrong information to our kids.
Don‘t they know that touching cannot lead to pregnancy? Don‘t they know about the birds and the bees?
DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, SEX THERAPIST: Not only that. It makes me very, very sad.
I am not saying that we shouldn‘t, say, be careful, make that decision when it‘s right for you, depending on your values, on your morals, on your religion. But to tell stories like this is going to tell our children, don‘t trust us, because scare techniques will never work. And any youngster who is going to hear you, Monica, and us discussing it and knowing that these issues are ridiculous, that you are giving false information, you are lying, is going to be very sad.
CROWLEY: My question is, in this day and age, if you are teaching sex education, you should know better than some of the facts we just put on the screen. So what‘s wrong with the people teaching sex education, that they wouldn‘t know any better than to correct themselves?
WESTHEIMER: I think a little bit, it‘s desperation. I think that people like myself—and I am not the only one—who give good information still say, watch out. Make sure you are protected when you make that decision.
I think that it shows some hysteria, some kind of—that they see that they are losing that way of thinking. And I think it‘s very sad. I also think it‘s sad that we don‘t say, let‘s all pull together, give good information. That is how young people will decide when it‘s right.
CROWLEY: Libby Gray, let me go to you, because, I think, if you are going to teach abstinence, then do that, but nobody should be imparting flat-out incorrect information that in some cases could lead to dangerous behavior.
LIBBY GRAY, PROJECT REALITY: Monica, let me clarify who put out this report and what the groups that are supporting this Waxman report are actually about, because, if you want to talk about misinformation, what we need to look at are the comprehensive or so-called comprehensive sex education programs that are the groups that are behind this attack attacking abstinence education programs.
Those groups have gotten the monopoly of federal money the past 20 years, and it‘s just now that abstinence education programs have been able to get some, not even equal funding, but just a pittance of the money that the comprehensive sex ed programs have given. They have never been put under the scrutiny that abstinence education programs have been put under.
This report, absolutely, they look at our programs, Project Reality‘s programs, and it‘s very biased. They are very misleading in the way that they portray the information that we give to kids. All of the information...
CROWLEY: Libby, is there anything wrong with talking to kids about abstinence?
GRAY: Absolutely not. Kids need to know that abstinence is the 100 percent most effective, safest, healthiest lifestyle for them. And, overwhelmingly, parents support this program and parents support these efforts to teach kids about abstinence. And we need more programs like this.
WESTHEIMER: That‘s not so.
CROWLEY: OK, Dr. Ruth, go ahead. Respond, Dr. Ruth.
WESTHEIMER: Monica, not only in parts of the country, but across the country, I do lecture at many universities. I have never heard parents say, we have to say to our young people, college age, that, don‘t touch, don‘t kiss. Don‘t continue those myths.
GRAY: But I don‘t think they are saying that.
WESTHEIMER: Yes, very important to say that, yes, there is a segment of society, Orthodox Jews, believing Catholics, who say wait until you get married. I have no quarrel with them.
I am very sad about the misinformation and about somebody saying, most parents agree. That‘s not true.
CROWLEY: Let me give Rebecca a chance to respond.
Go ahead, Rebecca.
ST. JAMES: Well, you know, I am out traveling the country and traveling the world all the time. And I am having parents come up literally with tears in their eyes, Dr. Ruth, saying thank you for talking about this issue with my young people.
And they are not saying, you shouldn‘t touch. You shouldn‘t kiss. They are not promoting people to be frigid. They are saying, let‘s save sex for marriage. Let‘s protect the family unit. Let‘s encourage healthy marriages. Let‘s not encourage promiscuity outside of marriage, so that it will come into marriage as well. Let‘s keep people from having sex, so that they don‘t have to worry about STDs, AIDS, pregnancy outside of marriage, emotional baggage.
This is what we are being protected from. I don‘t want to go into my marriage thinking about some other guy that I have had sex with. I don‘t want to be thinking about anybody else except for my husband.
CROWLEY: Dr. Ruth, shouldn‘t kids be told that it‘s OK not to have sex, and that, if they do, there will be consequences and they will be serious?
WESTHEIMER: There is no question that we have to say—when you say, kids—I have to be very careful, because when we have to say kids, we don‘t mean 14-year-olds right now. I am old-fashioned. I am a square. I say make that decision when it‘s right for you.
So let‘s take an 18-year-old who goes to college. Yes, we have to say, of course you have a choice. But we cannot make that decision when to be sexually active. What we can say is, if you are sexually active, make sure you are protected, because the scare techniques will never work. See what happens? More myth and more misinformation is going to be transmitted.
CROWLEY: Libby, let me ask you, do you think that this kind of information should be only coming from parents? Do you think that the states and schools should not be involved in sex education at all?
GRAY: I think absolutely schools need to be involved. Schools need to support what parents are doing at home and offer more information for kids, so that they feel empowered from all different areas of society.
Our programs are used all over the state of Illinois and all over the country. And we think that every school should be promoting abstinence. We are actually seeing the teen birth rates decline since our programs have been going across the country. We are hoping to start seeing the sexually transmitted disease rates decline, too.
But one thing I really want to make sure is clear is that comprehensive sex education programs do a lot of misleading of kids. They are actually ignoring the fact that condoms do not provide protection against the most commonly sexually transmitted disease, which is HPV, or human papilloma virus, which is the cause of all or nearly all of cervical cancer.
CROWLEY: All right, Dr. Ruth, final thoughts.
WESTHEIMER: What we have to do is to work together with people like you in the media, Monica, and with people who talk about wait until you get married. I can work with everybody. But I will not be able to work with people if they tell lies, if they tell myths, because children, our children, especially these days, are very sophisticated. They will know that, if something is said just in order to scare them, this will not work.
CROWLEY: Well, I think if we are going to engage in sex education, we have to make sure that the information we are imparting to those kids is accurate.
Ladies, that‘s all the time we have. Thank you very much. Rebecca St. James, Libby Gray, and Dr. Ruth, thank you for being with us tonight.
Up next, a schoolteacher is caught on tape arranging a romantic rendezvous with a 14-year-old student. You will hear their very personal conversations up next.
Plus, where are the true evangelicals? We will tell you the difference between the made-for-TV characters we see every day and the real-life people of all faiths all across America.
CROWLEY: A Florida teacher on trial for having sex with a 14-year-old student. We have the secretly recorded tapes of their phone conversations coming up next.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: And on the docket tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the case of Debra Lafave.
Tapes of conversations between the Florida schoolteacher and her 14-year-old student and lover have now come to light. Lafave, only 24 years old herself, is now planning to plead insanity to charges of lewd and lascivious behavior.
Here to analyze the case are two legal experts and two of our favorites, Larry Pozner, a defense attorney, and Lisa Bloom, an anchor on Court TV.
OK, you know what? Before we start this conversation, I just want to remind everybody of what exactly we are talking about in this case, because we now have some tapes that were released today by the police department.
So let‘s listen to some excerpts from several phone calls between the 14-year-old boy and his teacher.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DEBRA LAFAVE, DEFENDANT: I called her when I got home last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did that go?
LAFAVE: It was—I mean—I just told her I was like you know, I‘m sorry. Bad judgment and I should have double-checked with you, blah, blah, blah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh. Well, I guess I don‘t think we should be going to Ocala anymore.
LAFAVE: No. No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But everything went smoothly in the portable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, whatever, if we decide to do anything again then that should be our place for now.
LAFAVE: That‘s true. Are you OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m a little worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t want you to, like, get pregnant or anything. I was just thinking about it and I was just thinking if next time now that we‘ve had sex about three times, if I should use a condom or something.
LAFAVE: Oh, you‘re being weird.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what time are you planning on heading over?
LAFAVE: Are you sure? Like I just feel—I mean I don‘t want you lying to your mom. I mean it‘s like...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it‘s all right. She‘s gone in a sales meeting like all day.
LAFAVE: You‘re sure?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAFAVE: Pinky promise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAFAVE: Say pinky promise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pinky promise.
LAFAVE: All right, well, tell me a time.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
All right, well, the police released about three hours of audiotapes of these kinds of conversations today.
And, Lisa, I want to go to you first.
What strikes you when you hear these kinds of exchanges between this grown woman and this 14-year-old child?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, you know, Monica, you just did a piece on inaccurate sex education in schools, and here the teacher is telling the 14-year-old boy that it‘s weird to want to use a condom. And that‘s the whole problem with this kind of relationship, the power imbalance, the sick messages that she is transmitting to him.
And she is obviously so childlike and immature, even though she is in a adult position, asking him to pinky promise, talking about telling his mother, telling somebody, presumably her mother. It just highlights all the problems with the relationship.
Having said all that, Monica, we don‘t really have an admission on these tapes by her to having sex with him, so I don‘t see this as a slam dunk for the prosecution.
CROWLEY: Larry, what about the level of maturity, or possibly even psychosis? And I want to get into the insanity defense in just a second. But she sounds pretty immature. In fact, this 14-year-old boy sounds more mature than she does.
LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes.
If we just heard the voices and didn‘t have the pictures, we would think we were listening to two adolescents. That‘s the level of the talk. And then, when we look at this, she is clearly a beautiful woman. She has been a model. She is college educated. She is bright. When you see that, having a relationship with a 14-year-old boy, insanity is a good starting place for this.
BLOOM: This is not an insanity case, Mike.
Insanity is, she‘s has a mental disease or defect that prevents her from distinguishing between right and wrong. Here she is on the tapes telling him, I don‘t want you to lie to your own mother. Now, that shows some decency on her part. And it also shows that she understands the difference between right and wrong. I mean, insanity defense, I don‘t think it‘s going to fly in this case.
CROWLEY: Yes, Larry, what about that? She is claiming insanity, but we have her voice on tape here. As Lisa says, she seems pretty reasonable. She doesn‘t want the child to lie to her mother. Do these tapes—obviously, I think that they hurt an insanity plea.
POZNER: There‘s no question the tapes hurt the defense in a variety of ways.
But there‘s something desperately wrong in the mind of this person, and we cannot fall prey to this simplistic thinking that, if you are cuckoo, if you‘re insane, that you walk around thinking you are Napoleon. The craziest of people are sane most of the time. So the fact that she can walk, talk and teach does not mean she does not have a deep mental disturbance.
BLOOM: Yes, but turn that around, Larry.
Many people who do have a mental disease or defect, like depression, which affects millions of Americans, aren‘t legally insane, because even people who have bipolar disorder, people who are depressed, people who have anxiety disorders, any of a host of disorders, still know the difference between right and still conform their conduct to the law.
Now, I know that she had a sister who died in a drunk driving a couple years ago. We showed that case, in fact, on Court TV, a tragic accident. But how do you make the leap from that to, I was so upset that I had to have sex with a child? It just doesn‘t make any sense.
CROWLEY: In fact, let‘s hear from her attorney, because this does seem like a case where the insanity plea is not particularly appropriate.
But, according to her attorney, this is what he is saying. He‘s saying that there‘s more to Debra Lafave than meets the eye. He says:
“Debbie has some profound emotional issues that are not her fault. I think once anyone reads what the doctors have to say, they will understand a lot more about what happened here.”
And, as Lisa mentioned, she did have a sister to whom she was very close, killed by a drunk driver about three years ago.
But, then again, Larry, when you hear these tapes, she is not crazy.
She clearly knows what she is doing.
POZNER: There‘s a difference.
Insanity is a much different line than not knowing what you are doing. Let‘s put aside the insanity label and let‘s look at it as a society. This woman is clearly ill. There‘s something wrong. She does not strike me as a person who has been seeking out 14-year-olds. There‘s something in this particular relationship and it suggests to me that she is deeply disturbed. We shouldn‘t be in a courtroom with this case.
This case should be handled with some sense of dignity and privacy.
And we should find the treatment she needs.
BLOOM: Larry, if everybody who has sex with a child is mentally ill because they have sex with a child, then we might as well release all the pedophiles from prison.
The fact is, she is not legally insane unless she rises to a very high level that‘s going to be established by doctors, that she couldn‘t conform her conduct to right and wrong. The fact is that she hid this behavior secretly in classroom and in a car. She snuck around because she knew it was wrong. She knew she didn‘t want to get caught. That shows she is not legally insane.
POZNER: But if we take out the label, what do we do with this kind of person?
CROWLEY: Larry, I am intrigued by the use of these tapes and how the prosecutors might introduce them.
I think back to the Scott Peterson-Amber Frey tapes. Those tapes were introduced to show that Scott Peterson had a motive to murder his wife, Laci. In this case, won‘t the prosecutors introduce the tapes to say, look, this woman did, in fact, have a sexual relationship with this kid and she was of sound mind when she did it?
POZNER: Right. Absolutely.
The prosecutors play this tape in the first minute they are allowed to play these tapes. I am interested in where the tapes came from, whether the police were involved in getting the boy to surreptitiously tape her, why he would be taping her. I would like to know the story of where they came from, but there‘s no doubt, the prosecutors get the tapes into evidence and they play them for the jury as often as they can, as quickly as they can.
BLOOM: And, you know, Monica, it‘s a great analogy to the Amber Frey tapes.
I was thinking that myself, because, in both cases, the 14-year-old boy and Amber Frey, are not particularly good at getting admissions out of their subject. Neither of them really gets what the police would have been able to get, because they are trained interrogators. This boy just kind of rambles on and talks about incidents that they had been involved in. And she says, uh-huh, yes, and talks about pinky promises.
CROWLEY: Right. Right.
BLOOM: And he never really hones in and gets an admission. That‘s the problem with using civilians with a wiretap. It often doesn‘t yield very good results.
CROWLEY: Quickly, Lisa, does she get remanded now for psychiatric evaluation?
BLOOM: Oh, I am sure that she will be, and she will probably be examined by both sides, by the prosecution and the defense.
The defense says they have already had her examined. It will be a battle of experts at trial.
CROWLEY: And everybody will have their own experts, for sure.
CROWLEY: Larry Pozner and Lisa Bloom, thank you so much.
BLOOM: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Coming up, self-proclaimed religious leaders grab headlines, adopt causes, and mug for the cameras, but what does it take to be a real evangelical? If you think it takes more than a flashy tie, then you belong in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
CROWLEY: What does it take to be an evangelical leader these days? Strong faith? A devoted congregation? How about just a new suit and a television camera?
With me to discuss the difference between self-proclaimed evangelicals and genuine men of God are radio host Luis Palau, whose organization, The Next Generation Alliance, supports evangelists around the world, and the actor Stephen Baldwin. He‘s also with us. And he‘s got Several Sources Foundation, I guess is his group.
Is that right, Stephen? That‘s your group?
STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR: Actually, yes, I work with the Several Sources Foundation on a program about abstinence called the Choice Game. It‘s TheChoiceGame.com. And I also, coincidentally, am very pleased to be on television at the same time as Luis Palau, because we work together as well.
CROWLEY: Well, Luis, let me begin with you, because, after this presidential election, there was a lot of discussion among political operatives trying to answer the question, who are the Christian evangelicals? So tell us, who are they and what do they believe?
LUIS PALAU, NEXT GENERATION ALLIANCE: Well, I will tell you this, Monica.
First of all, there are about 45 million adults who claim to be evangelical Christians in the USA. And basically, in essence, Monica, an evangelical Christian says, I believe that the Bible is the word of God, that it‘s inspired, that Jesus Christ is the son of God, born of the virgin Mary, that he died on the cross for the sins of the world. It‘s basic biblical Christianity. He rose from the dead. He must be proclaimed to the nations. He will forgive anyone who repents and believes in him, and we live a biblical lifestyle.
In essence, that‘s it. It‘s old fashioned, St. Paul, St. Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. That‘s what evangelical Christianity could be said in a few words. And the key Bible verse would be like John 3:16, you know, God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes should not perish, but have everlasting life. Receive him in your heart. You‘ll have eternal life. You live a godly lifestyle and in the end, you‘ll get to heaven.
Basically, very quickly, that‘s it, Monica.
CROWLEY: Now, Stephen, you are an outspoken Christian. Do you consider yourself an evangelical?
BALDWIN: Absolutely, Monica.
The thing for me that‘s so interesting is, I am excited to be working with Luis. His ministry and his evangelistic team is innovative and cutting edge. They are all about bringing the Gospel to people in a genuine way in new, culturally relevant forms and delivery systems, like skate boarding and big festivals and things like that.
But, for sure, yes, I would even throw the word charismatic in there in describing myself as well.
CROWLEY: You know, David Brooks, writing this week in “The New York Times,” had a very fascinating piece about who is really an evangelical in this country.
“And politicians, especially Democrats”—this is what he‘s writing -
· “are now trying harder to appeal to people of faith. But people of faith are not just another interest group, like gun owners. You have to begin by understanding the faith. And you can‘t understand this rising global movement if you don‘t meet its authentic representatives.”
Now, Stephen, on the left, we have got Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton. On the right, we‘ve got Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Are these folks sort of representative of the Christian movement in your mind?
BALDWIN: Well, in their own way, sure.
I think what is interesting for people to consider is, the fastest like growing form of Christianity, so to speak, is evangelical Christianity. It really doesn‘t deal with a lot of tradition and a lot of religiosity type thinking. It‘s pure. It‘s just the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the word of God, found in the Bible. And, unfortunately, what has really been a big problem in the history of Christianity in this country has been what a lot of man has done to water it down and change it and use it to make profit and do all kinds of other things.
CROWLEY: Luis, you know, Christian conservatives now have a political charge to them, because they are considered a political force in this country. And some on the left have painted Christian conservatives as ultraconservative, even reactionary, radical, religious zealots. Why is that characterization false?
PALAU: Well, I think it‘s false because they haven‘t looked at us properly.
All across America, there are intellectuals of the highest order
teaching at Harvard University, at Yale, at University of Southern
California, at Berkeley, who have written books on science, on biology, on
· historians of first rate teaching Notre Dame, at Wheaton College in Illinois, all over the country.
Evangelical Christians are not dictated by any central control that tells us how to think. You would be amazed, Monica, at the variety of thoughts and voting patterns that evangelicals have. Now, we are biblical. And, therefore, we stay with the basic revelation of the word of God, but when it comes to practical issues, there‘s tremendous freedom. One of the great teachings that has brought democracy to the West and to the rest of the world is that you have freedom of conscience, after reading the Bible for yourself, to make choices.
And you have people are Democratic who love Jesus Christ and very distinguished Americans. And you have Republicans who love Jesus Christ, and very distinguished. And people may cross their voting. They may vote for a Republican on this issue, but they vote Democratic on other things.
CROWLEY: OK, gentlemen, please stand by, because we do need to take a quick break.
But we will be back with some final thoughts from our guests. Stick around.
CROWLEY: Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, why is Target banning the Salvation Army from its storefronts during the holidays? We‘ll bring you that story.
More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
CROWLEY: And we are back with some final thoughts.
Stephen, you come from a very famous Democratic family. And I just heard James Carville over the last couple of weeks say that the Democratic Party needs to be born again, meaning that the Democrats need to have a better understanding and respect for people of faith.
Can the Democrats do it? Do they have the will to do that?
BALDWIN: Well, as it says in scripture, anything is possible in Christ Jesus. I am just hoping that James Carville becomes born again. Wouldn‘t that be great?
But I also want to just mention, it‘s such a blessing for me to be working with Luis Palau. I am not just being nice. I‘m not just saying that because we are on the show. He is so wise and experienced. And it‘s such a gift for me to work with him.
Thank you, Luis.
Yes, I think, for sure, that the Democratic Party could absolutely become born again. I just know this, too, that God knows the truth in a man‘s heart. And those Democrats better be truthful, boy, I tell you.
CROWLEY: Very quickly, Luis, this is not just a red state phenomenon, is it?
PALAU: No, absolutely not.
You know, Monica, America is in the early stages of the fourth national evangelical awakening. And Stephen Baldwin is part of it. With all the young people, we have these big festivals. There‘s a great hunger in America. And I will tell you, we are going to see it with our own eyes, Monica, and you are all going to be part of it, because there‘s a great deal of God in the country.
CROWLEY: All right, gentlemen, we are out of time. We are out of time for tonight.
Luis Palau, Stephen Baldwin, thank you so much for being with us in
That‘s all the time we have. See you tomorrow.
“HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” up next.
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