Guest: Courtney Anderson, Lisa Bloom, Charles Johnson, Jim Vicevich, Mark McDonald, Mark Levin, Shmuley Boteach, D. James Kennedy
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: He was an accused rapist and triple murderer, so how could one book about finding faith change this Atlanta monster?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
It’s called “The Purpose Driven Life.” And, you know, it’s sold more than 20 million copies. It’s a book that Ashley Smith read to her captor during her seven-hour hostage ordeal. What is the power of that book that so captivated so many and also freed Ashley Smith and ended the Atlanta standoff?
And does a stunning cross-examination of Michael Jackson’s boy accuser signal an end to the case against the former king of pop? We’re going to get the inside scoop on the case that is starting to look like a moonwalk for Jacko and ask the question, why did the DA even bring the case?
Plus, “TIME” magazine’s disturbing reports about terrorists coming after our malls, targeting our schools, attacking our restaurants in America, and how they are using the open borders with Mexico against us. The big question tonight is, and “TIME” magazine is asking it, is there anything we can do now to stop these attacks from terrorists against middle America?
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, last night, we were in Atlanta. I got to tell you, that story of what happened on Friday and through the weekend is a story that America is still talking about, and they are talking about the courage and the faith of Ashley Smith. That, of course, is the woman hostage who read to her captor from the spiritual best-seller, “A Purpose Driven Life.” And when she did that, she began to gain his trust.
Now, a few hours later, he let her go. So, what is so special about this book? Coming up in just a minute, we are going to ask that question to the most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world, Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridges Ministries. We’re also going to be talking to our all-star panel about the book, including Mark McDonald. He’s the president of the nonprofit group The Purpose Driven Life. Also going to be talking to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. He’s the author of “Face Your Fears.” And we have several other people on our panel.
But, first, a lot still happening in this ongoing case against Brian Nichols.
And for the very latest on what is going on, let’s go to Milissa Rehberger at MSNBC World Headquarters.
Milissa, a lot happened today. Get us up to date with the very latest.
MILISSA REHBERGER, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, that is absolutely true.
Four days almost to the hour after he literally took Atlanta hostage, accused murderer Brian Nichols appeared this morning at a hearing room in the Atlanta jail where he is being held. Tightly shackled and surrounded by heavily armed guards, the accused killer spoke for the first time since this ordeal started.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything else you wish to say or need to ask the court, Mr. Nichols?
BRIAN NICHOLS, DEFENDANT: Not at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REHBERGER: Today’s hearing was about the original rape charged that he faced before his alleged killing spree. The district attorney plans to file more charges, including for murder, very soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE MCCUTCHEON, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The state does intend to proceed and formally charge the defendant at a later date with the charges of murder for the Honorable Rowland Barnes, murder for court reporter Julie Brandau, much for Fulton County Deputy Sergeant Hoyt Teasley and murder for the U.S. Immigration and Customs agent David Wilhelm, as well as escape and other associated felony offenses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REHBERGER: Meanwhile, the woman who brought down this alleged killer last night told everyone she does not consider herself to be a hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY SMITH, FORMER HOSTAGE: The real heroes are the judicial and law enforcement officials who gave their lives and those who risked their lives to bring this to an end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REHBERGER: But Ashley Smith will receive $10,000 of the $60,000 reward. The rest will probably come along later. And Ashley’s sister said today that, so far, she has received four different book offers and a movie offer as well. She also got a call from a company that teaches people how to stay alive if they are taken hostage, something that the whole country knows that she is pretty much an expert, and modest as well, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, only in America, Milissa.
Let me ask you, a lot of people right now are wondering if there are going to be there are going to be death penalty charges brought against Nichols. What have you heard on that score?
REHBERGER: Well, Joe, that’s the question. Everybody is wondering about that. The state has not decided yet, but we will let you know.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much.
Now, there are a lot of people out there that don’t know a lot about the book “The Purpose Driven Life.” It’s a book that was written by Rick Warren. He, of course, is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. This book is a spiritual guidebook. It’s sold over 20 million copies. And even though it was published way back in 2002, it took almost a year for the book to be reviewed by the mainstream media. I know “The L.A. Times” took at least a year, “The New York Times,” at least that long.
So what is the book all about? And is there a message out there for everybody, whether you are a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, an atheist?
Well, to answer some of these questions, we have got the president of the nonprofit group The Purpose Driven Life.
Tell me, if you will, Mark, what is the secret of this book’s success? Over 20 million, the biggest book of the past few years, easily, and in fact, it basically made HarperCollins’ year last year. Why is this book so successful?
MARK MCDONALD, PRESIDENT, THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE: Well, Joe, occasionally, we shake our heads and scratch our heads trying to understand exactly what makes it so special.
But I think that the first thing we need to say is that God has his hand on it and has had a significant role in allowing this message to fill a spiritual void, as well as a cultural void that’s been going on in our country for some-odd years, especially just through the 9/11 experiences. And, as we hear the e-mails and the various voices that speak back into us, after 20, 21 million books, we are hearing stories from them about how it’s been able to increase their faith, clarify their faith, and starting to look at ways that it does start to fill that void that culture has been looking for.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Mark, though, the thing I don’t understand, though, Mark, is there are books about Jesus out there. There are devotionals. You go into any Christian bookstore, you into Barnes and Noble, you can see hundreds and hundreds of books about walking closer with God.
Why this book? Why now? Why—it’s sold 20 million copies, but, as you know, churches all across America do devotionals on this. It’s probably reached over 100 million people in America and across the globe. Why this book? Why now?
MCDONALD: A couple of reasons, Joe.
I think we have been able to take this book and not only be able to implant it within churches, which has obviously been a mainstream distribution channel for us, and letting them create a dialogue around what the core messages are within the book. What it’s also allowed to do is, it’s allowed people to ask three significant questions in their life that we believe that culture is trying to understand.
For instance, you know, why am I alive? And we believe that’s the question of existence. What in the world does my life mean? And we believe that’s an issue around significance. And then, lastly, what is my purpose? And we believe that’s the question of intention. And Rick is very clear in the book that the distinctive between a lot of books—and I am not saying a lot of Christian books don’t say this, but a lot of us believe that God—that we were made for God, or made by God, but we were made for God, to fulfill the purposes that he has outlined within his scriptures.
And Rick has done a dynamite job to simplify that message. People have grabbed ahold of it and are making it a part of their life, not only in terms of attitude, but also in terms of behavior.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, I want to play you a clip of what Ashley said about this book. Take a listen to it, and then respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: I got my Bible. And I got a book called, “The Purpose Driven Life.”
I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it. After I read it, he said stop, will you read it again.
I said, yeah. I’ll read it again.
So I read it again to him.
It mentioned something about what you thought you’re purpose in life was. What were you—what talents were you give? What gifts were you given to use?
And I asked him what he thought. And he said, I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Rabbi, everybody is celebrating this book tonight because it helped end a hostage crisis. Do you think it’s positive?
RABBI SHMULEY BOTEACH, AUTHOR, “FACE YOUR FEAR”: You know something, Joe, when I wrote “Face Your Fear”—and I wish I had written a book like Rick Warren’s, and I really extend my profound gratitude to him—but I dealt with the simple question. What are people most afraid of in life?
And what people are most afraid of in life is the fear that they don’t matter, the fear that they are not significant. Everything in our culture tells us that money and celebrity are what make you matter. And since most people haven’t achieved all of their professional dreams, they look at themselves and they feel insignificant. And they live in permanent fear.
And they are manipulated into buying things that will make them feel that they matter. That’s why this book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” really touched a chord. Here, you had a criminal, and he’s filled with rage, and he thinks that his life certainly doesn’t matter. He’s on the run. He’s just committed the ultimate sin. He has taken not just one life, but, arguably, allegedly, four lives.
And then a woman is sitting there, and she is not afraid of him. And let’s—of course, the book had an impact on him, but let’s not underestimate the power of the messenger, that this woman is sitting there and saying to him, look, I am not going to be afraid of you. In fact, I believe that there can still be redemption in your life. Just imagine the power that that’s going to make on a criminal who was on the run for his life, and she was saying to him, you could still do something. There is some gift that you might be able to contribute.
You are going to be punished for what you have done, and you can’t escape it, but that doesn’t mean that there is not some redemption. And people search for redemption. I have never heard of a story like this. Hollywood couldn’t have invented a story like this. It’s a story that shows, quintessentially, that the solution to so many of America’s cultural ills, from a lack of meaningfulness, a lack of purposefulness and the deep fear, the fear of terror, the fear of bankruptcy, the fear of loneliness that grips our nation, that, really, the solution is in religion and faith.
And this woman Ashley is just a—she is a saintly woman. Where did she come from?
SCARBOROUGH: You know, it’s amazing. And, you know, the great thing about this, Rabbi, is that fact that you look at the first line of this book. And the first line of the book says—I love it—I opened it up when I first read the book, and it just kicks you in the face, because it goes against the grain of American culture so much.
First line, “It’s not about you,” which circles back to everything you have been talking about, our culture, about the Michael Jacksons out there, about the cheaters, about the Paris Hiltons, that somehow become celebrities by making it all about them. This book strips that all away and says, it’s not about you. It’s about you serving others.
BOTEACH: You know, Joe, I wish, I wish that Michael Jackson had read a book like “The Purpose Driven Life,” because everybody has an innate desire to be a hero. Heroism is the great story of human history. Going all the way back to a blind cleric named Homer in Ionia and Asia Minor when he wrote of Achilles, when he wrote of Agamemnon and Odysseus. He invented the cult of the hero.
And we all think that heroic action is in conquest, conquering the world, when, really, the book like “The Purpose Driven Life” is trying to say that heroic action is conquest of self. Conquer your ego, for God’s sake. It isn’t about you. And the problem with the culture of celebrity is that it really transgresses the ultimate biblical sin. It’s about idolatry.
I used to say Michael Jackson all the time, Michael, if you elevate yourself to be a god, God will humble you. In life, you have only one of two choices. You will either be humble or you will be humbled. Look where he is today, for God’s sake. King of pop? He is the king of trash. It’s an epic tragedy.
And, by the way, before we harp only on Michael Jackson and we identify him as the most decrepit of all celebrities, let’s also remember that he is just one of so many. The people who our children look up to are not people like Ashley Smith. Had we never heard this story, we never would have considered that she, as a single mother raising her child after her husband died, that that constitutes any form of heroism.
We would continue to have read about broken lives like Paris Hilton, as if she deserves even an iota of our intention. “The Purpose Driven Life” is exactly the message for our time.
SCARBOROUGH: You are exactly right, Rabbi.
And we are going to have a lot more on this special book when we come back. And, later on, we are also going to be talking about more shocking testimony, what the Rabbi was just discussing, the Jackson trial. Has the accuser deep-sixed his own case? I think so.
And, later, we are hearing that terrorists are targeting restaurants and schools and malls across middle America. They are going to be the next terror targets, and the terrorists are saying they are going to stream over the Mexican border. A shocking new “TIME” magazine report says that’s coming your way in the near future. We are going to talk about it with experts when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: A simple book saved Ashley Smith’s life. Could it save yours? We are going to be talking about that and a lot more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to the show. Glad to have you here.
And we are talking about Rick Warren’s book, a “Purpose Driven Life.” And I will tell you what. It’s a book that America is talking about tonight because how it ended a hostage crisis.
I’m pleased to welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY D. James Kennedy.
He’s the president of Coral Ridge Ministries.
James, tell me, Dr. Kennedy, tell me, how long have you been in the ministry now?
DR. D. JAMES KENNEDY, CORAL RIDGE MINISTRIES: A long time, 45 years.
SCARBOROUGH: It’s a loaded question. I ask the question, though, because I want you to tell us, in your 45 years in the ministry, have you ever heard any story like the story we heard about Ashley Smith this past weekend?
SCARBOROUGH: Have you heard...
KENNEDY: Thousands and thousands and literally millions of such.
Keep in mind that Christianity began with 300 years of Roman persecution. At least three million Christians were persecuted. They were killed in the arena. They were set afire. They were fed to the lions. They were crucified, and all of these things. But these people all had something in common with Ashley. They had discovered Christ, and, in him, the secret of eternal life.
Christ said, he that believes in me shall never die and have everlasting life. So, one thing that Christ does is takes away the fear of death. And, when that happens, you are an entirely different person and you are able to do the kind of thing that Ashley did, to confront this man and not be terrified and be able to speak to him, even—I am sure that she wanted to share her faith in Christ, and she used that book, and, as she said also, her Bible to share with him something of the Gospel, which touched his heart.
And the Gospel has changed so many millions of people. Look at Paul.
He was a murderer and a persecutor of Christians. He heard the Gospel. And he was changed into the greatest missionary in the history of the church. And that happened just like that.
Now, I don’t know if this man has truly been converted. I hope that he has. Maybe not. But, if he has, then he will be able to do what he said he felt his purpose was to do, and that is to talk about God to other people. Well, he may have an opportunity to do that for a long time in some prison.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, let’s talk about the book “The Purpose Driven Life,” 20 million copies—yes, over 20 million copies sold. As you know, churches across America have taken this book. They have taught it in Sunday schools. They have taught it from the pulpit. I would guess well over one 100 million people have been exposed to the teaching of this book.
What is the secret of this book’s success? Why has it struck such a chord in a post-9/11 world?
KENNEDY: Well, I think that, in the world we live in, in the West, one of the most penetrating questions that people constantly ask themselves is, why am I here? What am I supposed to do? What is my purpose in life?
There have been thousands of book—as Rick Warren says, thousands of books that are self-help books, that says, to find your purpose, you must ask, you know, what do I like to do, and what are my dreams or what are my goals? And he says, they have got it all backward. We need to start with God. God created us, and he created us for a purpose, and he has given us his purpose for our lives, and we need to find out what that is.
And we find that out from revelation, the revelation of his word. And the whole book, which I have right here, is showing practical ways in which we can discover God’s purpose for our lives and not simply one that we might like to choose. And that really strikes a note that is very important in the lives of millions of people. They want to know, what is their purpose in life? They don’t want to be like so many people who don’t seem to have any purpose for their life.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Dr. D. James Kennedy. As always, we greatly appreciate you being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Now let’s bring back our panel. We want to bring back in Mark McDonald. He’s the president of the nonprofit group The Purpose Driven Life.” We’ve got the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Charles Johnson, back with us. We also have radio talk show hosts Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Jim Vicevich.
I want to go to you, Rabbi, very quickly and ask you, does this book have a message for Jews, for atheists? Because, I mean, after all, this is not a universalist book. It’s all about believing in Jesus Christ and accepting him as your personal savior. How does that speak to Jews?
BOTEACH: Well, I am so glad you ask that, because I think that unnecessarily parochializes the message.
Let’s just remember why we’re talking about this. A woman is taken hostage and she shows no fear. And, of course, what she read to this killer impacted upon him. But it was the medium. It was the woman. It was the fact that she was unafraid. He knows that he is able to cast fear into people. The message here, Joe, is that, when you find purposefulness in life, when you find righteousness, when you devote yourself to a higher cause, when you abrogate the ego, you are now courageous, because no one can harm you.
And to say it’s only about Jesus I think really unnecessarily marginalizes this message. The fact is that Martin Luther King...
SCARBOROUGH: But, Charles—let me bring in Charles Johnson here.
Charlie, doesn’t the fact that this book doesn’t water it down, that this book comes straight out and says, you know what, it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus, isn’t that the reason why this book has sold 20 million, because it’s uncompromising?
CHARLES JOHNSON, PASTOR, TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH: Joe, I am enjoying listening to the Rabbi.
Rabbi, you sound like a Baptist preacher. I would love to get you to come and address my congregation.
BOTEACH: Any time.
JOHNSON: No, I think this—I think this book touches the human heart.
A working pastor, a very caring, sensitive pastor wrote a message very simply, very profoundly. He wrote about the original purpose-driven book, the Bible. And the American people are reading this book because it touches a deep core within them. We want to know why we have been placed on the planet, Joe. We have an inner intuition, a hunch.
SCARBOROUGH: Is that purpose Jesus? Let’s not be universalist tonight. Let’s draw lines in the sand. This book is about Jesus. Is that why it’s a success?
JOHNSON: The book is about Jesus Christ being the fullest revelation of God. The book is very clearly celebration of the primacy of Christ. It outlines five purposes, worship, fellowship, ministry, mission, and evangelism. And Augustine said, our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God.
BOTEACH: But, Pastor, why make the message only about Jesus? It’s about God. And Christians call Jesus God, but Jews call Jesus by a different name. And Muslims call him by a different name.
Our enemy is not other religions. Our enemy is secularists, who have made life about money and about fame and nothing else.
BOTEACH: Why should there be unnecessary divisions? It’s not about Jesus, Joe. It’s about God. Jews...
BOTEACH: ... God differently.
SCARBOROUGH: Charlie, respond.
JOHNSON: Let me respond to that. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God.
And we humbly, joyously, place our faith and our trust in Jesus as the face of God. It’s—I think of the story of the mother that went into the frightened little child in the middle of a storm and said—and the mother said, honey, God is right here with you. The little child said, mom, I need you to stay here. I need a skin face as well. And Christians believe that Jesus was the skin face of God.
Christians have great respect for our Jewish friends.
BOTEACH: You are calling
JOHNSON: Let me finish, Rabbi.
Great respect for our Muslim friends and our Jewish friends and for anyone who hungers after God, but Jesus is our leader. And we are following our leader.
BOTEACH: Fair enough. Fair enough.
JOHNSON: And what this pastor—what this pastor—what this pastor has done is outlined a way that we can act our way into Christ’s likeness, not think our way. It’s not some kind of New Age abstraction. It’s a very clear plan.
If we want to do God’s will, we have got to go behave in certain ways. Ashley Smith is the hero of the day, Joe. This young woman knows her purpose. It’s to be a mother and it’s to be a decent human being. It’s to do the will of God in her life. And...
SCARBOROUGH: Jim Vicevich—let me bring in Jim Vicevich, because, Jim, you call yourself a regular guy. You say this book changed your life. How did it do it?
JIM VICEVICH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it changed my—well, I was in television for more than 20 years. Now I am a radio talk show host.
I think it’s pretty easy to become self-centered and egotistical. I think anybody in the business will tell you that,. They turn you into a celebrity pretty much overnight. And I think what the book taught me was that it is really not about me, that it is about God, and that my purpose comes from God, not from me.
You often hear the term, someone found God or someone found Jesus. The last time I checked, God or Jesus wasn’t lost, so I don’t think you find him. I think he finds you, and you just have to be open to what it is that he wants you to do.
And if I could, Joe, just for a second, she talked that she had read from a particular chapter. If you just go a few more paragraphs into it, and this might explain why Ashley Smith did what she did, it’s one paragraph. It’s called real servants pay attention to needs. Servants are always on the lookout for ways to help others. When they see a need, they seize the moment to meet it, just as the Bible commands us.
And while we debate whether or not it means God or whether it means Jesus or whatever it means, I think what we are talking about here really is much the way people once thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. What we find out from this book is that the son is really the center of the universe, and we revolve around that. That’s how this book has changed my life.
SCARBOROUGH: Mark McDonald, final thoughts.
MCDONALD: Well, I think, you know, everyone that believes or touches this book has been changed by it.
But I think there’s an important point here that we have brought together, is that there are some points where people just need that connection or that beginning with God. To Pastor Johnson and then Rabbi’s point, some people just need to be able to get that connection once again. And what Rick has done very wisely is that he said, it starts with God. And, as the book progresses, it leads to really what the ultimate answer is, that relationship and that confrontation with who Jesus is and what kind of special gift he has for us in our life.
MCDONALD: That is—that progression allows us to be able to see that through in the long term, as well as in the short term.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Thank you so much, Mark.
Thank you, Charlie Johnson.
Again, thank you Rabbi Shmuley. Stay with us, Rabbi.
And, also, Jim Vicevich.
Greatly appreciate all of you being here tonight.
Coming up next, is the case against Michael Jackson unraveling? Yes, it is. Today, the accuser continued to show signs of cracking on the stand. We will give you the very—the latest on why I think this case should have never been brought when we come back.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, terrorists are ticked off that we are winning in Iraq, so they say they are going to come to the United States and target our schools, target our malls, and target restaurants.
And, also, the Michael Jackson case takes another strange turn. We are going to tell you why Jackson’s accuser may be offering the pop star his best defense coming up.
Right now, here’s the latest news your family needs to know.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: After a withering cross-examination of Michael Jackson’s accuser, the case against the onetime king of pop may be in shambles.
Here to talk about the bombshell turn of events in this sensational case are Courtney Anderson. She’s a criminal defense attorney. We have also have Lisa Bloom of Court TV. And back with us again, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Now, he’s a longtime confidante of Michael Jackson and at one time was Michael Jackson’s spiritual adviser.
Let’s start with you, Lisa Bloom.
I have got some conflicting emotions here. First of all, I think Michael Jackson did it. I think the guy is guilty. That is just—that’s a gut. We all have our gut, whether Scott Peterson was or Michael Jackson was guilty, Bernie Ebbers. I think he is guilty. But you know what? At the same time, I think he is going to get off, and I think the DA is doing a lousy job. This kid was ripped apart on cross-examination. How do they save the case?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Well, Joe, I strongly disagree with you.
I have read all of the transcripts. I don’t think he was ripped apart.
Joe, you mean to tell me that you are surprised that a 55-year-old, highly skilled defense attorney, one of the best in the country, tripped the boy up a little bit on cross-examination? The kid is 15 years old, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Tripped the boy up?
BLOOM: What is it that disturbs you the most?
SCARBOROUGH: The kid tripped himself—the kid tripped himself up.
They can’t tell a consistent story here.
BLOOM: Well, Joe, let me tell you, I have done a lot of child sexual abuses cases and I have never had one where it was straight-line reporting, like it would be for a carjacking or a burglary.
This is the reality of child molestation cases. Children, No. 1, often love, admire and respect their abuser. That is clearly the case here. No. 2, they will never, I repeat never, report it forthrightly, immediately and to all of the appropriate people. Children will deny to protect their abuser. Then they will say it happened. Then they will retract. Then they will say it happen. Then they will retract.
It’s actually a psychological syndrome called child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. That’s well-known and there’s going to be testimony about that, Joe. You can’t expect a 15-year-old boy with no legal experience to match wits with a defense attorney for five hours and come out unscathed. It’s simply impossible.
I think the kid overall did a decent job. And how can you possibly say that the DA shouldn’t have brought the case? The case is not over yet. Give this kid a chance. He doesn’t have Michael Jackson’s money, but he says he has got truth on his side, and I think we should hear it out.
SCARBOROUGH: I think he has got a family with serious problems on their side.
SCARBOROUGH: I think his mother is crazy. I think his mother is crazy.
BLOOM: If they wanted money, why didn’t...
SCARBOROUGH: I think they wanted the money. I think they wanted the publicity.
BLOOM: You’re buying into the defense spin, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? Listen, though, but I also think Michael Jackson is guilty. But what I think, what you think is a lot different from what the prosecution can prove.
Let me bring in Courtney Anderson.
Courtney, what about the turn of events in the case? Do I just have it—I mean, I have it all wrong?
COURTNEY ANDERSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, certainly, you are entitled to your opinion, and a very passionate one that you have.
I also do not believe this case is over, and I am not going to agree that the prosecution has completely dropped the ball in this case. It’s a credibility case. And, in a credibility case, many of us on the outside are at disadvantage. We can read the transcripts, but we don’t know what the body language is. We don’t know all those other nonverbal communication cues that the jury is picking up on to convince them one way or the other whether the accuser is telling the truth and his witnesses are.
So, there’s a lot to the story. It’s the difference between reading a script for a movie and seeing the movie on the screen.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you, Rabbi Shmuley, I look at Michael Jackson. I liked the guy back in the 1980s. I can’t stand to look at him on TV. He’s a gross caricature of himself.
I just—every day, I wonder, can people look at this guy and be fair? I mean, you know Michael Jackson. Does he get even creepier the closer you get to him?
BOTEACH: No, not at all. On the contrary. When I knew Michael, I liked him.
What turned me off—and here’s the great secret of this trial, Joe, that nobody wants to focus on and everybody is overlooking. This boy got up on the stand and he said, I tried to call Michael. He wouldn’t take my calls. He changed his phone numbers. But, suddenly, when he needed me to -- as a P.R. prop for Martin Bashir’s documentary that Michael loves children with cancer, he suddenly called me. That unfortunately is the truth.
Michael Jackson, I don’t believe, is a molester. I have said that all the time. Michael, rather, sadly, tragically, is a fraud. He has said throughout his life, I love kids. I care about them. I pay for this.
He doesn’t care for them. That’s what I discovered. On his 42nd birthday, Michael said to me—I remember I was sitting in his office at Neverland and this family had just come. And I said, what do I give as a birthday present to you, Michael, my friend, the man who has everything?
He said, Shmuley, I am in so much pain that I can’t do more for the world’s children. I said, Michael, well, let’s—then get parents to spend more time with their kids, which is what they really need. He said, I’ll do anything for it.
Joe, I use to try to take him—we went to Newark to give out books to poor children. Michael barely wanted to go. I had to twist his arm. That was the last time I saw him. That was April 2001. And when I heard that this boy was the accuser, what was so shocking to me was that, at Neverland, Michael ignored him, ignored the family. I even thought to myself, what did you bring this family for and tell me how much you care about children with cancer, when you are coming out of your room every day at 2:00 in the afternoon and you’re...
BOTEACH: Let me tell you something, Joe. The truth about Michael is that all—and here’s the catch-22 in his defense. Michael can get off if he tells the jury the truth. All the thing that the world believes, that Michael is obsessed with children, that he’s always around kids.
BLOOM: Well, but he’s not going to take a stance, Joe. And that is part of the problem.
BOTEACH: It’s simply not true.
BLOOM: Joe, you know that Michael Jackson is not going to take the stand. And look how imbalanced our system is. This kid has to give multiple statements over and over again. And he did that. He did everything he was supposed to do.
And now, a couple years later, when he’s asked the same questions, of course there are some inconsistencies. And, of course, the defense is going to capitalize on that. The prosecution doesn’t have that advantage, because Michael Jackson has never had to make a statement to law enforcement. He has his Fifth Amendment right, as we all do. And you can bet dollars to doughnuts he is not going to take the stand, because he knows he will be tripped up in the same way by the prosecution.
That’s the way our system works.
BOTEACH: Lisa, Lisa...
BLOOM: But don’t judge it all one-sided, Joe, just because the accuser had some inconsistencies in his testimony.
BLOOM: I can tell you, as a trial lawyer, it happens in every case, especially with molested children, and often there are still convictions.
BOTEACH: Lisa, did you ask ever yourself...
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BOTEACH: Did you ask ever yourself, Michael knew the kid in August 2000? He doesn’t stay in touch with him. The boy says on the stand, he changed his numbers, didn’t let me even speak to him. Suddenly, Michael calls him back for a documentary.
BLOOM: And it’s very sad.
BOTEACH: Wait one second. They give this lie that Michael is really interested in him.
BOTEACH: Clearly, Michael hadn’t seen him in more than a year. He waits three years to molest him, until after the Martin Bashir documentary?
BLOOM: You know, molestation is not a rational act.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BLOOM: Priests molest kids in the church rectory, in the pews. Paul Shanley was just convicted of that. I had a kid who was molested on Christmas Day at a big family party. It’s inherently an irrational act. So you can’t apply a logical...
SCARBOROUGH: All right, let’s get predictions from all of you, quick prediction.
SCARBOROUGH: I want a yes or no, yes or no.
Courtney Anderson, does Michael Jackson walk?
SCARBOROUGH: So, you say he is going to be guilty.
Lisa Bloom, prediction.
BLOOM: I am not going to predict anything, especially about the future, as Yogi Berra would say.
Rabbi Shmuley, give us a prediction.
BOTEACH: Yes. Yes, he will walk, Joe. And it will be an even greater tragedy for him, because he will see it as a victory and he will go back to the desiccated, immoral life that he has led. And who knows if he will live to see his 50th birthday, which will be the real tragedy.
SCARBOROUGH: I will take that as a yes.
I think Michael Jackson walks. And I think it’s a disgrace. He’s guilty.
Anyway, thanks a lot, Courtney Anderson, Lisa Bloom and Rabbi Shmuley.
Greatly appreciate it.
Now, coming up next, are terrorists eying malls and restaurants and your children’s schools in your hometown as their next targets? Yes, they are. That’s what “TIME” magazine says. We will talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Is the Supreme Court trying to push a liberal agenda on America?
You have Justice Scalia claiming and slamming that the Supreme Court was dead wrong in the recent decision to strike down the juvenile death penalty and the idea that the Constitution is—quote—“a living document.”
With me now is Mark Levin. He, of course, is a conservative talk radio host. He’s a lawyer. He’s also the author of the best-selling book “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.”
I will tell you, Mark, Teddy Kennedy would flinch if you told him that this Supreme Court was liberal. How do you come to that conclusion?
MARK LEVIN, PRESIDENT, LANDMARK LEGAL: Well, they confer rights, Joe, on the enemy. They confer benefits on illegal immigrants. They trample all over our political free speech. They promote affirmative action. They call it diversity now. They have seized power from the states in terms of the death penalty.
Teddy Kennedy says a lot of things before and after happy hour that I don’t really much care about. He is not the guy that I use. But let me tell you this. This court is out of control. It’s been out of control for a long time. We know it because of what the justices themselves write. Anthony Kennedy made it more than clear a week or so ago that he is degrading the electoral process in this country. He doesn’t much care about the public will in this country. He is now going overseas for his...
SCARBOROUGH: Wait a second. Wait a second. This is a Republican appointee, Mark.
LEVIN: So what. So what.
LEVIN: Seven out of nine of them are Republican appointees, and some of them are disgraceful in what they are doing. They are undermining the legitimacy of the court. They don’t act like judges and justices. You were a lawyer. You know what judges are supposed to do. They are supposed to be fair to the parties in front of them. They are supposed to look at the law, read the briefs, and take the ministerial tasks of interpreting the law.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Mark, the thing is, you know, Mark, the thing is, a lot of people would say that your viewpoint is a radical viewpoint, and yet you are at the top of the best-seller list. Your book has struck a chord with middle America. Why?
LEVIN: Well, the people who say it’s a radical viewpoint are the very leftists and elitists who believe that this country should be represented by the judiciary and not by people like you used to be, members of Congress.
People are disgusted with these decisions that are coming down that they know have nothing to do with the Constitution. We went through a Christmastime period where the ACLU and these other radical left-wing groups went into court, attacked these religious symbols, attacked the Ten Commandments, attacked nativity scenes and the Menorah. And people know that’s not in the Constitution. And they are getting mighty sick and tired of it. So, I have a message for those elites out there.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much.
SCARBOROUGH: Greatly appreciate you being with us.
LEVIN: All right. Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to walk on you there. I had somebody talking in my ear.
But let me tell you, Mark. This book, again, it’s called “Men in Black.” You need to go out and read it. It’s an extraordinarily important book. And if you don’t think so now, you will think so when the Supreme Court wars come this summer or this fall. It’s going to be ugly. It’s all Washington is going to be talking about, and it’s going to be World War III. Read this book. It’s important.
Now, when we come back, a shocking new report in “TIME” magazine, terror in the malls of middle America. We are going to have the full story on how terrorists are going to attack our schools. We’ll tell you about it when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Is al Qaeda looking to strike America in the heartland? Well, we know that bin Laden has sent a message to terrorist Zarqawi and urged him to do so. And now “TIME” magazine is saying it’s in Zarqawi’s plans to attack our restaurants, to attack our schools, to attack our malls.
Is America at risk, and to what extent?
With me now is NBC terror analyst Evan Kohlmann. He’s the author of “Al Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe.”
And, Evan, I got to tell you something, man. It’s scary. You read this “TIME” magazine article, read your book, and it looks like they are coming. It looks like we are going to have an attack in middle America sometime soon.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Look, I mean, unfortunately, Iraq has become a primary training ground for international terrorists.
And the same kind of attacks that these folks are now planning against our own troops, against Shiite politicians, against anyone who represents democracy in Iraq, unfortunately, these are the exact same kind of attacks that these folks are looking to perpetrate against America. And even if you look to Europe, because I think, really, the great precedent for what happens here is what happens in Europe.
And the terrorist networks right now in Europe are talking about Madrid 3/11-style attacks, attacks on trains, shopping malls, theaters. And this is exactly what European law enforcement and intelligence agencies are discovering. They have some folks who are going to fight us in Iraq, and they have others that are plotting these kind of attacks. Now, it seems strange, but I think really the attacks recently in Iraq have shown that even soft-target attacks can be devastating, and especially if they are prerecorded on video. Really, the effect is tremendous.
SCARBOROUGH: And then they put it up on their Web sites, exactly.
Now, Evan, most disturbing about this “TIME” magazine piece is that terrorists are coming into South America and going to be coming up through our Mexican border. Is it too late? Are they already here? Are they already planning their attacks?
KOHLMANN: Well, you know, there’s something to be said for the fact that, obviously, there are probably terrorist operatives that would still like to enter the United States.
But, that being said, as of April 2004, U.S. authorities finally arrested an individual, an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, right here inside the United States, who had been on terrorist watch lists as early as 9/11, yet was still able to not only be at large inside of the United States, but repeatedly had his federal Department of Transportation license to transport hazardous materials renewed up until 2003.
So, unfortunately, while the hope is that we could stop these people from entering the United States, the reality is, there likely are already a handful of these individuals here. Identifying them now becomes a maximum priority for law enforcement.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Evan, thank you so much. We greatly appreciate it, Evan Kohlmann. We appreciate you being here. It’s very frightening.
I will tell you what. It’s frightening. The book is “Al Qaeda’s Jihad in Europe.” It’s coming to the United States and it’s coming because we have an open border in the South.
We’ll see you tomorrow night.
KOHLMANN: Thank you.
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