Guest: Nicole Weisensee Egan, Michael Kane, Karen Russell, Scott Purches, William Fallon, Allison DuBois, Michael Shermer, Carol Pate
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, are prosecutors slowly building a sexual abuse case against Bill Cosby?
ABRAMS (voice-over): A second woman claims Cosby drugged her and tried to force himself on her. It was 30 years ago, but it sounds a lot like what a Canadian woman says Cosby did to her last year.
And police turn to the public releasing these photos in a desperate search to find a little girl, a victim of child pornography who they believe has been abused for years.
Plus we talk to the real life psychic who inspired the hit show “Medium”, but do so-called psychic detectives really help solve crimes?
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. Fist on the docket tonight, a second woman comes forward claiming Bill Cosby sexual assaulted her, but she says it happened 30 years ago and she never reported it to authorities. Tamara Green told her story to the “Philadelphia Daily News”. She says she wants to bolster the credibility of the woman who went to police last month to report Cosby abused her a year ago at his Philadelphia home.
Like the current accuser, she says she felt sick, that Cosby gave her a drug that made her woozy and that he tried to molest her. Cosby‘s attorneys adamantly denied the latest accusation.
They told us—quote—“As we informed the ‘Daily News‘ before they printed today‘s story, Ms. Green‘s allegations are absolutely false. Mr. Cosby does not know the name Tamara Green or Tamara Green or Tamara Lucier and the incident she describes did not happen. Not a single detail in the article has been corroborated by anyone. The fact that she may have repeated the story to others is not corroboration. It is irresponsible of the ‘Daily News‘ to publish an uncorroborated story of an incident that is alleged to have happened 30 years ago.”
Also, as we told you last week, it‘s been reported that the current accuser may have taped phone conversations she had with Cosby after going to the police and today “Celebrity Justice” has a story claiming that the accuser‘s mother may have tried to extort money from Cosby in exchange for keeping the alleged incident a secret. They say at least one of those conversations also may have been taped.
“My Take”—this new allegation, even if credible is not going to make or break the decision as to whether Cosby is charged. I believe there was no way these prosecutors were going to charge Cosby before this week, but this new allegation, coupled with the possible existence of audiotapes could make prosecutors think twice.
Joining me now is “Philadelphia Daily News” reporter Nicole Weisensee Egan and who interviewed the second woman to come forward and accuse Bill Cosby. Thanks very much for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
NICOLE WEISENSEE EGAN, “PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS”: Thanks for having me on.
ABRAMS: So give me—how did you -- how did this woman—this woman just called you out of the blue?
WEISENSEE EGAN: Well I‘m not going to get into how like she came to me or I came to her, but suffice it to say that I did an extensive interview with her about her allegations.
ABRAMS: And why are you so—I mean the article basically seems to be vouching for her in a way, saying that you know, your investigation determined that it was at least credible, why?
WEISENSEE EGAN: No, what my article said is I reported that she reported this to law enforcement and to the attorneys hired by the Canadian woman and I was giving her an avenue to tell her story. She wanted to tell it publicly and that‘s all it said.
ABRAMS: The—as you heard, the Cosby team is basically—you know they seem to be chastising the paper for going forward with this story even after they denied it. What do you make of that?
WEISENSEE EGAN: Typical strong-handed tactics by them. They want to try to clamp down on anything that might possibly put the people that—the person that they work for in a bad light. I mean there was a lot of intimidation going on frankly.
ABRAMS: Do you believe her?
WEISENSEE EGAN: I believe her. I wouldn‘t have reported her story if I didn‘t believe her.
ABRAMS: So it is fair to say then that you know maybe vouching is the wrong word, but that you believe this story credible enough to go forward with it?
WEISENSEE EGAN: Right, I don‘t think—I think you can draw that conclusion I would not have reported this story if I didn‘t find her credible.
ABRAMS: Let me a quote from the article. “I realize—this is the woman—that him doing it to me 30 years ago doesn‘t prove he did it to this girl today, but when I heard the circumstances I felt compelled to call up and say he did the exact same thing to me.”
When we say exact same thing, we‘re talking about alleged the same sort of circumstances, right? Someone saying they‘re sick and then it going from there?
WEISENSEE EGAN: Exactly.
ABRAMS: Explain that to us. What is the allegation?
WEISENSEE EGAN: What she said happened is she was working for Cosby. He told her he was trying to start up a club. This was back in the early ‘70‘s and she called him up one day and she said I feel sick and he said, well I‘m going home. And he said why don‘t you come over to Figueroa (ph), it was a restaurant in Los Angeles that he owned and which by the way, that Cosby who did confirm that he had ownership in this restaurant long ago.
And she went over there and she—he said would you like some Contac and he came—and she said yes. And then he came back from the back of the restaurant, an office back there and gave her two red and gray capsules. And what she said happened is within 20 minutes she‘s feeling really giddy and high and 10 minutes later she‘s practically face down in her salad.
And she said that he said to her would you like me to take you home? And she said yes because she couldn‘t drive. So he drove her home in his car, followed her into her apartment, and she said that he started kissing her, pulling her clothes off and everything and she was trying to fight him off and she was yelling and screaming and that he persisted and that she finally picked up a lamp and was going to throw it through a window and at that point is when he backed off. Because she just wanted to draw attention somehow to what was going on and before he left her apartment, though, she said he put two $100 bills on her end table and she said that infuriated her, so she got dressed and ran out of her apartment and because she‘s still woozy from the drug, she fell off her own porch and got pretty cut up and banged up.
ABRAMS: And she says the reason that she didn‘t ultimately report it is because Bill Cosby, you say, went to visit her brother, who was ill at the time. All right...
WEISENSEE EGAN: He was dying at the time in a local hospital.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right, let me bring in—joining me now former Pennsylvania prosecutor Michael Kane and defense attorney Karen Russell who also considers herself a friend of Bill Cosby‘s. Mike Kane, let me play this sound of the D.A. This is from January the 26th and I have to tell you, this is a district attorney who sure does not sound like he‘s going to file any charges against Bill Cosby. Let‘s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE CASTOR, MONTGOMERY CTY, PA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think that the factors such as failing to disclose in a timely manner and contacts with the alleged perpetrator after the event are factors that weigh in favor of Mr. Cosby in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Mike Kane, that doesn‘t sound like a prosecutor who is going to file charges. Anything you‘ve heard sound like might change his mind?
MICHAEL KANE, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA PROSECUTOR: No, it sounds like he was pretty clear in his mind he wasn‘t going to file charges. I mean the standard comment is no comment and just by going on and making any kind of statements like that it was pretty clear to me when I heard that he was disinclined to do it. Of course, this puts him under tremendous pressure now.
There‘s legal pressure, as well as public pressure I‘m sure to rethink that. But you know to tell you the truth, one of the things he‘s going to have to consider is, is that is this ever going to see a courtroom, this other allegation, and Pennsylvania law is pretty clear that something that happened 30 years ago, even if it‘s a very similar type of behavior, is too remote. I would be really, really surprised to see a Pennsylvania court allow that into evidence.
ABRAMS: How much does that weigh into your thinking? If you‘re the prosecutor and deciding whether to file charges and you hear about this other case and the woman‘s a lawyer, let‘s say you think she seems credible, but as you point out, 30 years ago, how much does that weigh on your decision?
KANE: Well, you know, the first question every prosecutor asks themselves is do I believe the alleged victim. And if he has any kind of question about that, this could sway that aspect of it. But then the second question is, is that what‘s going to happen in court. Is this something that‘s going to be carried the day with the jury? And you know, I just don‘t see that this is going to really, in the end, make much difference in his decision whether to bring charges or not.
ABRAMS: So you still expect that he will not.
KANE: I expect he will not. You know, when you‘re dealing with any kind of a case like this where there‘s no corroboration, it‘s a pure he said/she said, it‘s a toughest choice a prosecutor ever has to make and when it‘s somebody who is a celebrity, I think it even weighs heavier on their mind, because you turn celebrity into infamy just by signing that indictment. And that‘s not something that any prosecutor takes lightly.
ABRAMS: Karen, what do you make of the new allegation?
KAREN RUSSELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well I agree with the prosecutor. I think, you know, it‘s remote in time. I don‘t think it‘s admissible. I don‘t think it would ever get in front of a jury. It‘s prejudicial. And it‘s not like it was a crime. It‘s just an allegation.
ABRAMS: Let me play another piece of sound. This is again from the D.A. January the 26th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASTOR: The failure of a complainant to bring allegations of criminality to the attention of law enforcement in a timely fashion does tend to make—to suggest that the complainant did not think the conduct was as offensive as a person who immediately reports it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Again, Karen, do you think that this new allegation as reported by the “Philadelphia Daily News” might change the prosecutor‘s mind?
RUSSELL: I would hope not. I mean he may feel some public pressure because of this story, but I think that he clearly articulated this lady didn‘t come forward in a timely manner. Plus the accuser‘s mother had a conversation with him and that sort of smells like a shakedown. So I think the combination of those two elements would deter him from bringing charges.
ABRAMS: This is another quote from Nicole‘s article that we‘re just talking about in the “Philadelphia Daily News”.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) let me respond to this.
ABRAMS: “I heard his lawyer said her claims were preposterous and basically I thought my eye—this is the woman—he did exactly the same thing to me. It set my teeth on edge and made my hair stand up. Then I heard a press release from the district attorney saying he thought the case was weak and why did she wait so long to come forward. I worked in a D.A.‘s office and that‘s D.A.-speak for we‘re not filing charges. I felt compelled to come forward after I heard that.
Nicole, did you want back in?
WEISENSEE EGAN: Yes I did. I mean I think that these experts you‘re quoting are taking the “Celebrity Justice” report as being true and it‘s unsubstantiated. And let me also point out that don‘t you also think that if this woman was trying to extort Bill Cosby, that Bill Cosby would have gone to authorities and have her arrested for extortion? He had that done for Autumn Jackson.
ABRAMS: What to make of that Karen?
RUSSELL: Well we don‘t know where he is in the process. I mean I—frankly, I was surprised that there wasn‘t sort of the O‘Reilly response with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sort of the counter suit with extortion. So you know what? I haven‘t talked to Bill Cosby‘s legal team, so I don‘t know what the process is and maybe he was just hoping this would go away, the way it should.
WEISENSEE EGAN: And let me also point out that that‘s Cosby‘s people leaking that to “Celebrity Justice”, so you have no confirmation on that.
ABRAMS: Yes, but people would say—might say the same thing about your story.
WEISENSEE EGAN: No, I have a woman on the record who used her name, who...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... agreed to come forward publicly and say this happened to her...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... and I checked her out...
RUSSELL: ... corroborating the story...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... as thoroughly as you can check someone out. And you guys are talking like I‘ve talked to other prosecutors and let me tell you that prior bad acts, even ones 30 years ago, can be admissible in a Pennsylvania court.
WEISENSEE EGAN: It‘s up to the judge...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... but it is possible.
ABRAMS: It is possible, but I assure you...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s possible...
ABRAMS: ... I assure you Mike Kane has argued a lot of cases in the state of Pennsylvania and this man with no ax to grind and he‘s just saying it‘s going to be real tough.
WEISENSEE EGAN: I‘m telling you that I talked to prosecutors who said...
ABRAMS: All right...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... they have succeeded in allowing testimony that old...
ABRAMS: I‘m glad that you‘re now a legal expert...
WEISENSEE EGAN: I‘m not a legal expert...
ABRAMS: I mean you know, but...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... I‘m just saying...
ABRAMS: Yes, OK...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... that you talk to people who just have no knowledge...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Wait...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait...
RUSSELL: A one time incident 30 years ago does not...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Michael...
ABRAMS: Wait. Wait. Michael Kane has a lot of knowledge about Pennsylvania law. All right. I mean I‘m totally—look, you deserve a lost credit for this article. We‘ll see if it‘s credible. But you‘re not going to get away with saying Michael Kane doesn‘t know what he‘s talking about, all right, not on this program...
WEISENSEE EGAN: I‘m not saying that. I‘m saying that interviewed in the story were experts who have recently tried cases in Pennsylvania, sex crime cases and...
WEISENSEE EGAN: ... have gotten...
ABRAMS: Mike, go ahead. Final word on this. I got to wrap it up.
KANE: The only case—I found one case where there was a 17-year difference between the date of the alleged occurrence and a prior occurrence, but it involved a guy who was charged with killing his wife, and they showed a whole pattern that lasted those 17 years of continual abuse. That‘s a whole different story.
First of all, there‘s nothing to even suggest that this woman who was interviewed claims that she was given what he purported to be Contac. There‘s nothing even to suggest it wasn‘t Contac. You‘re trying to make something into that he slipped her a Mickey and there was no evidence of that to begin with. So, to go back 17 years or something that is not as similar as it sounds, I just—there‘s no way a Pennsylvania court—it is in the discretion of the judge, but there‘s no way I se any judge...
ABRAMS: All right...
KANE: ... doing that.
ABRAMS: ... we shall see. Michael Kane and Karen Russell, they‘re regulars. They know how this goes. Nicole thanks a lot for playing with us. I know we get a little tough sometimes on this show, but it seems like you‘re one of these people who can certainly take it.
WEISENSEE EGAN: Yes, I can handle it.
ABRAMS: Thanks a lot.
WEISENSEE EGAN: Thanks.
ABRAMS: Coming up, police ask for the public‘s help releasing these digitally altered photos in a desperate search for a little girl who they say has been a victim of child pornography and abuse for years.
And a New York cop is suing Mickey D‘s and one of its employees after he found glass in his Big Mac. The employee admits he put it there. Will he really get any cash?
Plus she helped police solve crimes she says using supernatural powers. Now she‘s the inspiration for the hit show “Medium” coming up...
ABRAMS: Coming up, pornographic pictures of a little girl that have been on the Web for years. Now police are asking the public for help and the person to help find her and the person abusing her.
ABRAMS: She‘s been all over the Internet, victimized by her abusers in hundreds of horrific, sickening sexual images. Only the abuser and those posting the pictures of her being molested know exactly who she is. Well the Toronto Police Department is now working to turn that around and they‘re using a novel approach. Investigators there have taken six of the 100 photos—hundreds of photos and digitally removed the little girl from them.
The photos were released last week with the hope that people would recognize the locations of the photos. Apparently it worked. Authorities believe it‘s a hotel at Disney World, a Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. Now the police have an alleged crime scene, the next step is finding the abuser and getting the victim to safety.
Joining me now is Detective Constable Scott Purches with the Toronto Police Department Sex Crimes Unit, child exploitation section. Detective, thanks very much for joining us. All right, so how did you decide to use this—I don‘t know that I‘ve ever heard of something quite like this ever being done before.
DET. CONSTABLE SCOTT PURCHES, TORONTO POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is the first time that we know of in North America that this approach has been taken and just to give you some background, this investigation has been going on for about 18 months in our department. We came across these photos a good number of months ago, and we‘ve been following up leads and tips within the police department and contacts we have.
But we were just finding these leads were being exhausting or exhaustive, and we just weren‘t getting anywhere. So we had a case conference just recently and we decided—we were a challenged to think outside the box. And one of the officers in the unit, he says why don‘t we try and remove her from the images and post the background and see if anybody recognizes the area in which these crimes were committed. The officers—some of the officers in the unit are very, very good at digital technology and manipulating digital images, and that‘s what we did.
ABRAMS: There is no picture, is there, of the abuser, meaning you believe it‘s a close relative, but there‘s no picture of his face, correct?
PURCHES: That is correct. We are working with a theory amongst many theories that it‘s possibly someone who‘s related to her. We‘re not discounting anything else at this point. We‘re keeping an open mind. However, that is a possibility.
ABRAMS: Detective, if you can—and I ask you this only because I want people to care and I want people to do something, and I want people to look at these pictures. I‘m going to put them up again. Describe to us if you can, without getting, you know, too disgustingly graphic, what we‘re talking about here.
PURCHES: The pictures that were released to the media are what we call sanitized images. We have—those are images, which we‘ve come across in either search warrants or we‘ve been advised by other police departments that are child pornography images. We sanitized them to gather further information from the public. We were...
ABRAMS: And this is a 9-year-old girl. I guess I want a little outrage on the part of the public. This is a 9-year-old girl in some of those photos, correct, and you now believe that she‘s 12 and she is being, you know, abused physically by a man.
PURCHES: That is correct. We have the belief that she‘s approximately 9 years of age and we have pictures over a period of time. We have—as you said, we have a couple of hundred photographs or child pornography images and it‘s—we believe are taken over a period of time of approximately two years and we estimate her age to be now about 12 years of age.
ABRAMS: And how did you first come across this, the pictures?
PURCHES: We—it was—we heard from two sources almost simultaneous about 18 months ago. Our supervisor, Detective Sergeant Paul Gillespie, he went to a conference in which these photos were the topic of a discussion. And there‘s information sharing at these conferences for investigators in areas like we‘re a part of, as well as at the same time, we were finding these images in search—or in the material that we were coming across during investigations.
ABRAMS: This is—I mean look, I obviously haven‘t seen the disgusting pictures, but just the idea of a 9-year-old girl who‘s being repeatedly abused and showing that on the Internet—I‘m going to give the number again, 416-808-7361 or 416-808-8502. You see the e-mail address there. If you‘ve got any information, please give them a call. All right. Detective thanks a lot for taking the time.
PURCHES: Thank you, sir. Have a good evening.
ABRAMS: You too.
Coming up, the I‘ve got “Just One Question”. A New York cop bites back into a Big Mac from this McDonald‘s and finds the secret in the special sauce with shards of glass. Now he‘s suing the restaurant and the employee who admitted putting it there. Eleven parents also in Detroit are under arrest because their kids miss school too much. Should they be charged with a crime? “Just One Question” segment is coming up.
ABRAMS: Back now with our “Just One Question” where we lay out today‘s legal stories, ask our guest just one question about each case. Joining me now, former Massachusetts‘ prosecutor Bill Fallon.
All right, question one, the government‘s star witness of the fraud trial of former WorldCom head Bernie Ebbers on the stand today. Scott Sullivan had cut a deal last year, pled guilty in exchange for agreeing to testify against Ebbers. But Sullivan has admitted to using marijuana and cocaine repeatedly, was cited for drunk driving in ‘84, didn‘t disclose any of that when he went through a security clearing process a few years ago, and defense attorneys will be able to ask Sullivan about extramarital affairs, which the judge has said is relevant to his credibility as a witness. So just one question—how much is that going to taint the prosecution‘s case?
WILLIAM FALLON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I think the drugs taint it a little more. But the question is, is the jury going to say the fish rots from the head down and this guy is just part of the stinking mess there. But I‘ll tell you, it‘s something to play with, and I think that this guy fills tap water out when he pretends it‘s the good sparkly stuff. He‘s cheap and who knows what they‘ll think, but I think they‘ve got a pretty good case, but they‘re going to need more than this guy to convict.
ABRAMS: Topic two: A New York police officer is suing McDonald‘s and one of its employees for $6 million after he stopped in for a little meal last week and was served a Big Mac filled with tiny pieces of glass. The guy who made the burger admits he puts glass in the special sauce. He even told police where he got it, from a broken picture frame at home. So one question—if he brought the glass from home, how would McDonald‘s be responsible?
FALLON: Dan, unless they put up the booby trap burger at McDonald‘s, I don‘t think they would in fact be responsible. Who just puts the booby burger up there? They could put the booby trap burger. Unless they knew what was exactly happening or had reason to know he was a cannon, a loose cannon who put shards of glass everywhere, they‘re not going to be responsible. But that will be the fight.
ABRAMS: Yes. Topic three: Eleven parents in Detroit arrested Monday. Warrants out for the arrest of 19 more because their kids have missed too much school. It‘s a policy put together by the prosecutor‘s office in Detroit public schools to try and hold parents accountable for their children. One parent was arrested after their child was out for 111 days. Parents charged with educational neglect, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days. Michigan state law says parents have to ensure that kids attend school regularly. Some said they were tired from working numerous jobs, couldn‘t make sure their kids went to school. So one question—should they be charged?
FALLON: Billy, the prosecutor‘s back here, you know they should be charged. I think the issue is what‘s the sentence here? Do they do home (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do their homework or do they have to actually sit in the classes? Education fraud, if you will, a lack of education, is a huge problem, and the parents have to be a little more committed to their kids. It makes President Bush‘s better nation.
ABRAMS: Well, I don‘t know. That‘s a tough one. Bill Fallon...
FALLON: It‘s a tough one.
ABRAMS: Bill Fallon, good to see you. Thanks. Appreciate it.
ABRAMS: Coming up, we talk to the real-life psychic who inspired the hit show “Medium”, but do so-called psychic detectives really help solve crimes?
ABRAMS: Coming up, it‘s the basis of NBC‘s new hit show “Medium”, but do psychics really help police solve crimes? First the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Takes their bodies, puts them in their car, drives them to the desert and dumps them there for the animals to feast on. There have been lots of them. Maybe six. But there‘s this one woman in particular I keep seeing. She has red hair, blue eyes, a beautiful girl. She told them that her name was Sharona. She was his first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Chilling scene from last night‘s episode of NBC‘s hit show “Medium”, inspired by the real life of Allison DuBois who says she‘s seen and talked to dead people since she was just 6 years old. On the road to becoming a lawyer, she said she was sidetracked when she found that her gift could help police. Now she works with, among others, law enforcement to shut the door on unsolved crimes. When I talked to Allison last week she explained how it works.
ALLISON DUBOIS, MEDIUM AND CRIMINAL PROFILER: I‘m not quite sure exactly why I can do it or how it‘s even possible. But the way I do it is I just see them and talk to them, all right, just hear them and respond to them. It‘s just something that people who are mediums can do, just like you opening your eyes and being able to see things or hear something. We have this other sense that allows us to see this other place that other people don‘t seem to be able to see.
ABRAMS: So you‘re actually having conversations? I mean, if you don‘t talk back, for example, do they say, you know, why are you not speaking back to me? Does it have to be an interchange?
DUBOIS: No, you can think it in your head and they‘ll hear you. It doesn‘t have to be, you know, out of your mouth, vocal.
ABRAMS: Do you have to be looking for a particular person, or do certain people just pop up?
DUBOIS: You know I‘m not an ambulance chaser with what I do. So the people come to me or law enforcement comes to me. They give me a first name of a victim and I sit down and I write a profile on the person that committed the crime against the victim, so that they can, you know, find the person who actually perpetrated the crime. And I just tap into the head of the person that‘s the murderer, and that‘s how it works. And I don‘t know how I‘m doing it. I just know that I can do it.
ABRAMS: So let‘s be clear. It‘s not that people are just sort of showing up. The bottom line is you have to focus on the person, you have to know about the case, you have to know about the individual, and then, as a result of that, you‘re able to—I don‘t know what the word is, channel information or get information.
DUBOIS: Yes, either of those are fine. Yes, that‘s pretty much how it works. When I do individual readings like bringing people through who had died, you know, where it‘s not necessarily traumatic or not necessarily a homicide, those people I‘ll see walking around my house or in my yard before I start the reading or—that‘s different. But with law enforcement, I take it on a case-by-case basis and I focus on that one person.
ABRAMS: Are there any deceased people who you can‘t channel? Any times when you say you know what? I‘ve got nothing. I‘ve got no reading. I‘m sorry. I can‘t be of any help.
DUBOIS: You know, I‘ve read over 1,200 people, and there have been eight people that I‘ve sent home and just—it wasn‘t that I couldn‘t get the person that died, I just didn‘t feel like the living person that was there was listening. And on one of those people, to give you an example of how difficult it can be for mediums sometimes—because you can imagine, you know, there‘s personality clashes with everybody.
It happens for us, too, with clients from time to time. But I had a woman and I said your son‘s passed, and she said yes. And I said he wants you to know that he‘s beautiful now. And she says, well, you know, he‘s retarded. He wasn‘t beautiful, and I said you‘re not hearing me. I said your son wants you to know he‘s beautiful now. He wanted her to be proud of him.
And she looked at me and she said, you know, I‘m here for financial reasons. Can we talk about that? So that‘s kind of the—we get people like that, and those are the people that I tend to not want to read.
ABRAMS: Let‘s talk about law enforcement, then. If you‘re able to get anyone, as you say, why aren‘t you able to help law enforcement solve every crime that you‘re involved in?
DUBOIS: Well, first of all, that wasn‘t what I wanted to do with my life. I don‘t know about you, but you know, that—it‘s tedious. I have 150 cases right now that are ongoing just for me to work on. That‘s a lot. I‘m one person. I really like the medium-ship aspect of what I do. And another point I‘d like to make is often, I‘ll give the information. I‘ll give them the first name of the perpetrator, what the connection was to the person who died, which you would think would simplify things. But unless they have the evidence to back it up or unless they actually apply the information, that‘s not my job. My job is to give the information. What they do with it is up to them.
ABRAMS: Right. But...
ABRAMS: ... all these case, right, I mean if law enforcement comes to you and they‘re using you in these various cases, you should be able to, if you‘re able to channel them in every case, you should be able to provide them with information that‘s going to, at the very least, help them solve the crime in each and every case where they ask you to be involved.
DUBOIS: I do, so does that answer your question?
ABRAMS: Yes, it does. No, if that‘s the answer.
ABRAMS: In every case you provide them information, and it‘s always right?
DUBOIS: I‘ve never worked a case and not provided them with specific information. What would be the point of working cases?
ABRAMS: And it‘s always accurate (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
DUBOIS: Yes, I‘m accurate. I mean I‘m a human being. I mean you know reporters don‘t always give—it‘s not always the best story of your life or you know some stories you‘re more proud of than others. We have our moments of being a human being like everybody else. But I‘m pretty accurate or I wouldn‘t do this because what would be the point? I would—
I‘d be a lawyer right now. That was the plan...
DUBOIS: ... so this was a harder path to walk for me.
ABRAMS: What do you say to those who just don‘t buy it? Who simply just don‘t believe—they believe that you‘re well intentioned and that maybe you even feel it, but the bottom line is that it‘s a bunch of hooey?
DUBOIS: Well and you know to each their own. That‘s how I look at it. Not everybody believes in God. Not everybody is going to believe in me. You know, people don‘t agree on a lot of things, so I don‘t take that personally. And I guess the underlying truth to that is that when we die everybody finds out. So I‘m not going to spend my life trying to convince everybody. And I don‘t even feel like I need to. I‘m just doing what I can for those who I can help, and that‘s all I can do.
ABRAMS: Thanks Allison DuBois. There are a lot of skeptics out there who say there‘s nothing psychic about detective work. When we come back, a skeptic takes on a psychic.
And later, if you wear those low-cut jeans, you may want to soon avoid the state of Virginia or you may be fined. I‘m serious. It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
Your e-mails about these pictures of female soldiers mud wrestling at a detention center in Iraq set up quite a firestorm. I said I didn‘t think it was that big a deal. Many of you are appalled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see people that have passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dead people. What, they just come over to your house without being invited?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They‘re never invited.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: A clip from the new NBC show “Medium”. We just heard from Allison DuBois, the real-life psychic who is—works with police to—at times to help solve crimes. She‘s the inspiration for the show. But a lot of people think so-called psychic detectives have about as much to offer police as reading tealeaves.
“My Take”—hey I‘m dubious, but who am I to say? If these people can actually help police in some way, more power to them. Joining me now psychologist and director of the Skeptics Society, Michael Shermer and a well-known psychic who consults with police, Carol Pate.
All right, Mr. Shermer, we have heard from Allison DuBois, the inspiration for the show “Medium”. You just don‘t buy it, do you?
MICHAEL SHERMER, SKEPTICS SOCIETY DIRECTOR: Well I‘m skeptical in the sense that when you say it works, what do you mean it works?
ABRAMS: She says she sees...
SHERMER: The anecdote...
ABRAMS: She says she sees dead people.
SHERMER: Yes, I understand. I know—I understand what she says. But is it just anecdotes and whose word are we taking that it worked? Just hers or one police officer? For science to tell us whether it works or not, we need to know all of the comments she made to the police about each case and then count the number of hits and the number of misses, and then do a test to see if that‘s greater than random.
The number—is the number of hits greater than you‘d expect by chance? That‘s the only way to know. Typically what you have in cases like this is the psychic detectives go to the police, not vice versa, and then they offer general clues and specific clues. General clues like I see a body of water or I‘m getting the woods. The body is in some woods or trees, something like that, pretty much what you‘d expect.
And then lots and lots of specifics. You know, something about a white car, you know, something about a red dress. And if you throw out enough things, you‘re bound to get some hits by chance. And this is even assuming that no information was released by the police on that particular case that the psychic detective could have picked up on. Even with that, you still have to know, well, OK, so she got two hits or three hits, once the case was solved. But how many comments were made? Fifty, 60 comments, and that‘s typically what you see when you read about these cases...
ABRAMS: All right.
SHERMER: ... that they make lots and lots of statements...
ABRAMS: Carol Pate...
SHERMER: ... but very few hits.
ABRAMS: Carol Pate, what do you make of that?
CAROL PATE, PSYCHIC WHO CONSULTS WITH POLICE: I agree with him. I think he‘s right. I think that there are a lot of would-be psychics out there. There are a lot of psychics that call up the police claiming that they‘re psychic. I think you have to go by the track record of the psychic.
ABRAMS: My guess is that Mr. Shermer would question you as much as he‘d question any other psychic, is that fair to say?
SHERMER: Well, the—I appreciate the psychic being skeptic, that‘s really terrific. Takes a lot of intellectual honesty to say that. Yes, we have to count all of the hits and misses for all the psychics in order to test it. It‘s the only way to know for sure...
ABRAMS: Are there any you have faith in?
SHERMER: I‘ve never seen any that have passed any kind of control tests, psychics, mediums, Tarot card readers, palm readers, astrologers, none of them when you put them to the test do better than random chance.
SHERMER: They do a type of cold reading technique.
ABRAMS: All right, Ms. Pate, I mean do you agree...
PATE: Well I totally disagree with that.
ABRAMS: Yes, go ahead.
PATE: In my cases I have not gone to the police. They have come to me, or the families come to me. I give very detailed information always, usually a little too detailed. I try to be very analytical with it. I try not to go into emotionalism. I try to stick to the facts of the case and to what I‘m getting. I want to be very cautious, because I never want to lead the police the wrong way. I don‘t want someone to be convicted over information that I‘ve given that was wrong. I do it very responsibly.
ABRAMS: What do...
SHERMER: I‘d be curious...
ABRAMS: What do you make of Allison...
SHERMER: I‘d be curious...
ABRAMS: Well go ahead, Mr. Shermer. Go ahead.
SHERMER: Well I‘d just be curious to know something like Robert Blake‘s wife. Why don‘t one of these psychic detectives contact her and ask her what happened? Or Lee Harvey Oswald, ask him. Did he have collaborators in shooting Kennedy or do did he do it alone?
SHERMER: How come we don‘t hear about those kinds of cases?
PATE: You‘re mixing mediums and psychics. Not all psychics are mediums, and not all mediums are psychics.
ABRAMS: What‘s the difference?
PATE: A medium is a person who can contact people who have passed over. A psychic is an individual that can read energy.
ABRAMS: And Allison DuBois, I think, is suggesting that she‘s certainly be able—she was talking about seeing dead people in her home. Do you have the same experiences, Ms. Pate?
PATE: I have. I have had those type of experiences, yes.
ABRAMS: And she was saying that in every case that she puts her mind to, she can channel information. Same for you?
PATE: Yes. But, there are some cases that are not supposed to close.
There are some cases that time has to elapse. And there are some cases...
SHERMER: See, the...
PATE: ... that are not mine...
SHERMER: See, the problem with that answer is that it gives an explanation for all hits and misses. So if you get the hit, then you get the credit as being a psychic, and if you miss, then the answer is well then it wasn‘t meant to be or there needed to be more time. So with that we can‘t actually find out if there‘s anything real going on or not. The only way to find out is to actually put it under control...
ABRAMS: And Ms. Pate, final word.
PATE: I totally disagree with that, in that I had a case, a murder case, and it took three years for that murder case to resolve. And the person that I said did it confessed.
PATE: That‘s what I meant by that.
ABRAMS: All right, Carol Pate and Michael Shermer, thanks a lot.
PATE: Thank you.
SHERMER: You‘re welcome.
ABRAMS: A reminder, you can see the show “Medium” Monday on NBC at 10:00 Eastern, 9:00 Central.
Coming up, the Virginia state legislature with way too much time on their hands looking to pass a law to ban low-rise pants. Yes, this is real. It‘s my “Closing Argument”...
ABRAMS: Coming up, seems the Virginia legislature has a little bit too much time on their hands. It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—how low can you go? In Virginia, not so low at all if the Virginia House of Delegates gets its way. The House has spent some of its precious time passing a law making it illegal to wear low riding pants that expose your underwear. Police who find anyone intentionally exposing their underwear in a lewd or indecent manner can collect a $50 fine.
Now let me be clear. This is an effort to make this a statewide law. So how are the police supposed to decide who is purposely showing their underwear to make a fashion statement and who might just be suffering from a temporary case of plumber‘s rear? That a state‘s elected representatives are spending time even debating this law is ridiculous. That it passed overwhelmingly 60-34, even more alarming. This from the members of the same body that once debated the ratification of the Bill of Rights and pondered whether to secede from the United States before the Civil War.
That same legislative body is now providing all inspiring quotes like underwear is called underwear for a reason. Freshman Delegate Algie Howell who sponsored the bill says he has received lots of positive feedback from constituents who are tired of seeing young people‘s thongs and boxer shorts. He says that he‘s not violating anyone‘s constitutional rights. He is just asking for common courtesy.
A promise if the Virginia style police allow this to become law, it will be declared unconstitutional faster than an old-fashioned wedgie will rip your underwear. The state can‘t regulate how people dress unless it can show a compelling reason to do so, as it has in public schools and in prisons, but more importantly, aren‘t there other more pressing issues to address in the state of Virginia? Supreme Court Justice Douglas once famously wrote that the government doesn‘t belong in people‘s bedrooms. Algie Howell and his fellow Virginia reps should stay out of people‘s drawers.
Up next, a driver learns the hard way the one place you most definitely should not go if you‘re going to do something that might be illegal. Guess where he went? Our “OH PLEAs!” is coming up in 60 seconds.
ABRAMS: I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. Last night on the program caught on camera, female soldiers mud wrestling at a detention center in Iraq. One female soldier demoted for indecent exposure after flashing her breasts. The Army says other service men and women are being investigated. I said that as long as there was no direct violation of orders, no forced sex, soldiers in combat should be given a break, allowed to blow off a little steam. One of my guests stated this is the equivalent of a college prank.
From Lancaster, Pennsylvania Lisa Wood, wife of a National Guard officer writes, “What you describe as college pranks can devastate military families that are already paying a big price for this war. You consider this harmless because you do not understand all of the ramifications that transpire from seemingly meaningless acts.”
From Indianapolis, Indiana Eli Sotos asks, “Would women‘s mud wrestling be tolerated in a corporate environment? Would it be tolerated in any professional environment?”
No. Except remember they don‘t get to go home after work. Their entire lives are in Iraq, morning, noon and night, so the comparison does not work.
Retired Navy veteran Peggy Perez in Jacksonville, Florida. “Any person who is even remotely conscious today knows that exposing the body, especially a woman‘s body, is abhorrent to the Muslim culture. This incident can only offend them.”
Well, Peggy, since there‘s no suggestion that any of the prisoners could even see this happening, I must say I‘m not particularly concerned about this.
On the other side, 20-year retired Air Force veteran William Lackey. “Mud wrestling is tame, no one was hurt, and no one died. In that part of the world, that‘s a very good night. To be able to throw a party before rotation back to the U.S. is a right of passage. It shows that you have survived, you have made it.”
From Bedford, New Hampshire, Rob Kroeger. “Those men and women put their lives on the line for you and me, and people are giving them a hard time for having fun.”
“OH PLEAs!”—an example of the blinding effect road rage can really have. Forty-year-old casino employee Walter Snell became so angered at a fellow motorist he decided to follow him for two miles. Snell with his 12 and 13-year-old daughters strapped inside the car chased the motorist. The reckless chase ended when the victimized driver pulled into a driveway and ran into a building. Snell, hot on the motorist‘s track, followed him inside, awaiting in the front lobby were two police officers. Snell had followed the driver to a Reno police station.
Snell was allegedly buzzing from road rage as well as, according to the authorities, too many drinks and didn‘t realize he personally delivered himself to the police. One of the arresting officers noted that Snell was so unaware of his whereabouts that he was—quote—“surprised to see two uniformed officers standing by.” Snell was arrested for reckless driving, two counts of child endangerment, suspicion of drunk driving after he failed field sobriety tests.
That does it for us tonight. Coming up next, “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 2005 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, 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 Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.