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'The Abrams Report' for May 11

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guest:  Susan Filan, Raymone Bain, Daniel Horowitz, Michael Waller, Dan Simon

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, red alert—the White House and the Capitol evacuated, as a plane flies into restricted airspace. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Black Hawks and fighter jets scramble as thousands run from the Capitol and White House.  The Cessna forced to land, the two men inside taken into custody.  We talk with two people who were there. 

And child star Macaulay Culkin takes the stand in the Michael Jackson case, telling jurors he slept in Jackson‘s bed many times.  Jackson never touched him inappropriately. 

Plus, the father charged with killing his 8-year-old daughter and her best friend tells authorities he stabbed them both after the young friend came to his daughter‘s defense.  We talk with the prosecutor in the case. 

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi, everyone.  First up on the docket, red alert.  For the first time since the color-coded terror threat system was put in place, a red alert at the White House as it and the Capitol were evacuated. 

Here‘s the timeline:

11:28 a.m.:  Federal aviation radar detect a small two-seater single engine Cessna plane in the no-fly zone, 21 miles or 17 minutes from the White House. 

11:59 a.m.:  The plane is 15 miles north of the White House; the threat level is at yellow or elevated. 

12:00 p.m.:  Two F-16 fighter jets sent out after the plane to accompany the two Black Hawk helicopters already dispatched. 

12:01:  The White House and U.S. Capitol buildings evacuated.  The threat level raised to orange or high.  The plane is within 10 miles of the White House.  The pilot not responding to radio calls. 

12:03:  The threat level raised to red, reserved for the gravest of threats.  The plane is within three miles of the White House. 

12:11:  The plane turns west and flies away from the White House and the threat level drops back down to yellow. 

12:14:  The all-clear goes out.  The Cessna is escorted by fighter jets and Black Hawk helicopters, ordered to land in Frederick, Maryland.  The two people aboard the plane—a student pilot and a member of a flying club that owns the plane are arrested and detained for questioning. 

Secret Service has now released the two, labeling the situation an accident.  The men apparently will not be charged.  Joining me now, two of MSNBC‘s finest who were part of this afternoon‘s evacuation, NBC News congressional correspondent Chip Reid and MSNBC‘s newly anointed chief Washington correspondent, Norah O‘Donnell.  Norah, congratulations on your new title. 


ABRAMS:  All right, let me start with you Norah.  So what happens? 

You‘re at the White House and what‘s the first you hear about this? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, there is another reporter who shouts out in the briefing room, there is something going on, there is something going on.  They are running around with guns outside, to which everyone quickly went outside.  This happened two weeks ago when another plane violated airspace.  This time everyone ran outside and quickly the White House Secret Service guys and those who guard the grounds here said, “go, go, go”, and we immediately began running out of the White House. 

At that point, I saw a motorcade of six vehicles quickly scream out of West Executive Avenue.  We later learned that was Vice President Cheney who was immediately evacuated from the White House.  We were brought several blocks away from the White House and we could see the F-16s clearly from the White House.  They were just three miles away.  You could hear the roar of the F-16s as they were flying parallel to the Cessna and trying to escort it out of the restricted airspace. 

You know it took only another 10 or 15 minutes later before they allowed—they got the all-clear and allowed everyone to come back in.  It‘s also worth noting, too, Dan, the first lady was here, as well as Nancy Reagan who happens to be in town for an event tonight.  Both of them were brought into the bunker as a security measure, but Vice President Cheney was evacuated. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, what‘s up with that?  They send them down to the bunker and they kick Cheney out?  I mean who‘s getting the better deal...

O‘DONNELL:  Well the bunker is apparently pretty safe.  That‘s where

you know the vice president and other top officials gathered on September

11 in order to continue directing different parts of the government to

continue, so it is safe down there.  But not everybody was evacuated.  Not

all the press were told to leave.  Some press were left in the bottom area

·         basement area of the press area.  But Vice President Cheney, and we‘ve not received a full explanation for why, but he was quickly—very, very quickly, within the first couple of minutes evacuated. 

ABRAMS:  Wow.  So the press they don‘t really like stay down in the bottom part...

O‘DONNELL:  Well I don‘t think that‘s...

ABRAMS:  I know.  I know.  All right, Chip Reid, so what—give us a sense at the Capitol, how you found out what happened. 

CHIP REID, NBC NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well we also found out kind of informally like Norah did.  I was sitting in my office, a little cubicle up on the fourth floor, really, of the Capitol building, not far from the Senate floor, at least not far from the gallery that overlooks the Senate floor.  And I heard somebody out in the hallway saying, hey, I just heard people are running out of the Capitol.  Maybe we should get out of here. 

And I stood up and went out in the hallway to see what was going on.  And somebody else came by and said we‘ve got to get out, they‘re evacuating the building.  And I thought it was odd...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Chair will recess...

REID:  ... everybody kind of froze, because there was no official announcement.  They have an intercom system all through the Capitol building that allows people to hear when these emergency announcements come on.  Then the announcement came on, and the sirens started buzzing and so I ran back in my office and grabbed the old cell phone and ran out of the building.  When I got out of the building, I speed dialed MSNBC, so I could tell the world what was going on here.  And as I was going down the steps, one police officer looked right at me and said this is—no he screamed really—he said this is no time to walk.  Run.  You have less than a minute to evacuate the area.

And what they do is they calculate the amount of time that it would take a plane to reach the Capitol, if somebody actually was intending to do that and they were estimating it was less than a minute before the plane would get there.  By the time everybody got across the street and into a park, I think people settled down a bit.  There had been some running, some panic in the Capitol building itself.  There was some panic but I think that‘s because there were a lot of tourists in there. 

When I first came out of the press area and into a big, broad hallway, where the tourists usually gather to go into the gallery over the Senate floor, there was a real feeling of panic.  Some people running, there was some shouting, and that‘s because tourists were worried about getting separated from their families.  They didn‘t know where they were going.  They obviously are not privy to any evacuation plan like the rest of us are. 

We know how to get out of there quickly, the people who work there every day, so there was a feeling of panic because of the tourists, but once we got outside it went pretty smoothly.  And the Capitol police obviously have a better handle on things now than they did the last time the Capitol was evacuated.  I wasn‘t here at that time.  I was reporting...


REID:  That was the day Ronald Reagan‘s body arrived and was being delivered by Kasan (ph) to the Capitol.  I was down covering that, but it was utter chaos here, I was told then, but they really have improved the procedures...

ABRAMS:  It all ended well and that allows us to—we tried—Norah we tried to find that tape of you running out with your bag and everything.  We, you know, we can laugh about it now, it all turned out to be nothing. 

We couldn‘t get it, so anyway...


ABRAMS:  ... Chip Reid and Norah O‘Donnell, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Moving on to Michael Jackson—both Jackson and his mother break down in the courtroom today.  We‘ll get to the details on that, but first, former child star Macaulay Culkin took center stage at the trial.  The 24-year-old “Home Alone” star did as promised, defended Jackson.  He said, yes, I slept in Jackson‘s bed on numerous occasions, but no, nothing inappropriate ever happened. 

Question:  Did Mr. Jackson ever molest you? 

Answer:  Never.

Did he improperly touch you? 

Absolutely not. 

Did he ever touch you in a sexual way? 


Culkin went as far as to call the charges against Jackson quote—

“absolutely ridiculous.”

NBC‘s Mike Taibbi and MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan are standing by in Santa Maria.  Both were in court.  Mike, so finally, Macaulay takes the stand.  Sounds like this is the first witness for the defense where we can just say, he was purely helpful to the defense.  There was no other side to it. 

MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  I‘m not sure that‘s completely true.  I mean Ron Zonen, the deputy prosecutor, was able to repeat through Culkin‘s testimony on cross-examination some of the stories that are now part of the fabric of what the prosecution says is this grooming activity, buying him and his family expensive gifts, the fact that very quickly Culkin was sharing his bed, albeit only alone with Jackson on what Culkin said were five or six nights in the time that he spent with Jackson in hotels and at Neverland, et cetera.

But you‘re right, Culkin basically helped the defense and Zonen was I think reduced to the point of trying to repeat again, that he tried it with Wade Robson last week, another alleged victim who denied he was ever victimized by saying—and this is a quote from it, “your more accurate statement would be that he never molested you while you were asleep. 


TAIBBI:  While you were asleep, you wouldn‘t know whether he molested you...

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Let me read that...


ABRAMS:  Question:  Your answer more accurately is he never molested you to your knowledge while you were awake, is that true?  This is the cross-examination...


ABRAMS:  As far as I know, he‘s never molested me. 

While you were asleep as a 9-year-old kid who had run himself ragged, you wouldn‘t know what happened while you were asleep, right?

I find that unlikely.  I think I‘d realize if something like that was happening to me.  That was the exact quote.

Mike, Michael Jackson also broke down in the courtroom?  What happened?

TAIBBI:  I‘m not sure he broke down.  I mean he was listening very intently.  And then later on when they played almost all of the two-hour video shot by Jackson videographer, Hamid Moslehi, Jackson listened to himself intently as the jurors listened to himself, basically tell his story.  A very important day—maybe more important in some ways than Macaulay Culkin‘s testimony, because this is what Jackson‘s side wants to do to get the entire Jackson story out there. 

Last week, it was OK, he sleeps in bed with individual boys night after night, hundreds of nights if not more, shock wave still running through the courtroom about that, presumably through the jurors‘ minds.  Now that ship has sailed.  The jurors know that.  They‘re reminded of that and they got to hear Michael Jackson without the intrusion of cross-examination, or limits on his testimony, speak for almost two hours to the jury about what he thinks about children, about adults who betrayed him, about why he feels safe at Neverland, why he feels safer with children, about his loneliness and his pain. 

He was humanized in that today, and the prosecution couldn‘t do a thing about it, at least not today.  As I say, an important day.  I don‘t know at the end of the day whether it was a good one.  The jury will have to decide that, whether they believe what Michael Jackson said.

ABRAMS:  Yes, he said, among the things, if it weren‘t for children I‘d throw in the towel, I would feel I wouldn‘t have any reason to live.  He said...


ABRAMS:  ... on being lonely, I would close myself in my room and be there with my animals and mannequins.  That‘s how I dealt with it.  My father never played a game with me, not a game.  If he had, my feelings for him would be totally different.  Talks about kids with cancer, with just a little love and a little care, I‘ve seen children totally turn around where you can‘t find any cancer. 

And actually there was one that could be helpful to the prosecution.  You don‘t like a little Jesus juice, a little bit of wine before you fly, prosecutors say that‘s the term he used to describe the wine he would put in the Coke can. 

Susan, you were sitting nearby.  You say you did see some tears from Michael Jackson and his family members. 

SUSAN FILAN, FORMER CONNECTICUT STATE PROSECUTOR:  I did.  I absolutely did.  Mrs. Jackson was weeping during the documentary, that was played where Michael talked about his pain, and how he‘s misunderstood and how he‘s really just a pure-hearted creature of love who the world has taken such shots at, that they have reduced him to a recluse and she was dabbing her eyes.  And interestingly, it was her attorney who was putting her arm around her, comforting her, make sure she had plenty of Kleenex and her husband who sat on the other side of her was ramrod stiff and stoic. 

Also, Michael Jackson was going for the Kleenex after Kleenex after Kleenex at counsel table dabbing his eyes.  His shoulders weren‘t shaking.  You couldn‘t hear sobs or heaving, but those Kleenex were getting a workout. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  I‘m going to ask Mike and Susan to stick around.  We‘ve got more on the Macaulay Culkin testimony today.  And coming up, Michael Jackson‘s official spokesperson joins us.  We‘ll ask her about whether Jackson‘s ready to testify. 

And new details about why and how prosecutors say Jerry Hobbs killed his 8-year-old daughter and her best friend.  The answers are just downright disgusting.  The lead prosecutor is here.

Plus you know Robert Blake wanted fellow celebrities to help him out when he was on trial for murder.  Now we‘ve got the jailhouse tapes of Blake talking about how some big names might be able to help him.  These tapes are pretty funny, actually. 

Your e-mails  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.



ABRAMS:  We are back.  Macaulay Culkin took the witness stand today in the Michael Jackson case.  Joining me now is Michael Jackson spokesperson Raymone Bain.  Raymone, thanks for coming on the program.  We appreciate it.


ABRAMS:  I‘m doing well.  Let me --  before I ask you about any specifics, let me just ask you a general question.  What‘s the sense amongst Michael Jackson and his closest friends and relatives about how the trial is going so far.

BAIN:  Well you know Dan, Michael feels that his defense team is doing a very good job.  They‘ve only been, what, arguing their case since last Thursday, but Michael has felt very comfortable with Tom Mesereau and he feels that he has done an exceptional job even in cross-examining the prosecution witnesses. 


BAIN:  And I think that he feels comfortable with where they are now.  And he‘s just looking forward to this continuing every day and hoping that the information that is coming out will prove him innocent because he‘s maintained his innocence.

ABRAMS:  Is he preparing a worth case scenario, meaning if he is convicted how he‘ll deal with going to prison? 

BAIN:  I don‘t have those conversations with him, Dan, and I wouldn‘t feel comfortable in having that conversation with any client.  Maybe he has had those kinds of discussions with Tom Mesereau, but we are not looking at the downside.  I mean we prefer looking at the cup half full rather than half empty.  He has maintained his innocence.  We believe he is innocent. 

He is not a child molester.  I think his defense team, and so does he, has done an excellent job thus far.  And we believe that he is going to be vindicated of these charges.  There‘s one thing I want to clear up, though.  Michael Jackson and Katherine Jackson did not break down in court today.  Michael had a little sniffle and he blew his nose and Katherine was sitting right behind me and she would whisper a little bit during court of which we both were admonished for, but she did not break down. 

She was furious with having seen the documentary again, yet again.  But I don‘t know where Susan was.  I mean I was absolutely shocked when I heard that, because I wondered if I was sitting in the same court.  But believe me, Michael Jackson was not crying...

ABRAMS:  All right.

BAIN:  ... and neither was Mrs. Jackson. 

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.  Look, these interpretations are always somewhat subjective and fair enough for you to clear it up from your perspective.  Let me ask you specifically about Macaulay Culkin.  Did Michael...


ABRAMS:  Did Michael Jackson call him and say, hey, listen I need you to come in and testify, because there was some discussion that he might have been reluctant.  He even said he didn‘t want to testify in the case.  Did Michael Jackson have to call him and say hey, I need you.  Come on and testify.  Tell the truth.

BAIN:  I understand from Tom Mesereau he did not.  You know Dan, and you‘ve talked about this on your show.  We watch you every day, by the way. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s good.

BAIN:  There are always rumors and one day he was testifying, the next day he wasn‘t, and Tom Mesereau said you know, Raymone, what we‘re going to have to do is just not try to argue this case or give our strategy out every single day.  The bottom line is, is that that‘s what the media and many of the pundits are saying.  But Tom Mesereau never said he was having any problems with bringing Macaulay Culkin in.


BAIN:  Now Macaulay indicated on the stand that he had spoken to Michael a couple of days ago, but no Michael did not have to plead with Macaulay to come in.  Tom Mesereau assures me that...

ABRAMS:  All right.

BAIN:  ... that was already arranged.

ABRAMS:  Is—now you heard.  You knew what everyone was saying after the opening statement that Tom Mesereau was saying Michael Jackson will tell you X.  Michael Jackson will tell you Y.  Sure sounded like he was saying Michael Jackson is going to testify.  You getting the sense that he is going to testify, he wants to testify?

BAIN:  Well, I know that he wants to clear his name.  So if it is decided by his team of attorneys, that he should, he will.  If they decide that it‘s not a need for him to testify, then he won‘t.  He is going to follow their instructions.  They are going to discuss it.  Dan, they talk every day. 

Once they leave court, Michael goes home, he plays with his kids, he talks to them.  They are really animated.  They are in school during the day and when he comes in, they are really happy to see him.  He spends time with them.  He has his dinner, and then he is back on the phone or he‘s having meetings with his attorney. 


BAIN:  So let me tell you.  If this is a decision, it‘s going to be a well thought out one.  And I also assure you that Michael Jackson will be very articulate and he will be able to plead his case should they decide that he take the stand. 

ABRAMS:  Final question for you.  “The Enquirer” is reporting he sold Neverland because he‘s in such financial trouble, sold it for $35 million, true? 

BAIN:  Not true. 

ABRAMS:  Definitely not true...


ABRAMS:  ... absolutely untrue? 

BAIN:  Absolutely.  I mean, it came as a surprise, and of course last night at about maybe 7:00, I began getting call after call, in about five minutes I had 10 calls and I‘m like a secret sale?  I mean well if it‘s secret how does “The Enquirer” know about it?  But I have spoken to all of the people that would be involved in making that decision, and let me assure you, that is not the case.  It has not been secretly sold.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Raymone, if you could just stick around for a minute, let me just bring Susan Filan back into the conversation and criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz is with us, as well. 

Let‘s get back to the Macaulay Culkin testimony.  Susan, you were there.  You watched it.  You know we keep talking about sort of the pluses and minuses of each witness.  You know Mike says well, you know, there is this sort of grooming testimony that came up that was helpful to the prosecution.  But even as the former prosecutor that you are, you‘d concede that Macaulay Culkin‘s testimony was generally pretty helpful to the defense.  Because in particular, he‘s able to articulate what it‘s like to be a child star, to talk about sort of why Michael Jackson may be a little wacky. 

FILAN:  I thought he was a good witness and I thought he did a good job.  My question is did he do too good a job.  Because on cross exam, some of the things that they tried to ask him about, if he were being completely honest, he would have had to concede certain things that really weren‘t that big a deal.  But did he a big dance around them, saying I don‘t remember, I didn‘t know I was going to be asked this, I really can‘t recall and it started to beg the question, at least for me, is this rehearsed? 

Is he the perfect entertainer giving the perfect performance of his life?  He was very charming, very sweet, easy to listen to.  He really sort of brought you in, and you did get a real insight into what their relationship was like.  But you still have to scratch your head and say, wait a minute.  You slept in bed with him...

ABRAMS:  Right.

FILAN:  ... all those times...

ABRAMS:  But see...

FILAN:  ... and nothing happened? 

ABRAMS:  But Daniel Horowitz...

FILAN:  ... and if the jury believes that...

ABRAMS:  Daniel, the defense...

FILAN:  ... if the jury believes that...

ABRAMS:  Hang on.

FILAN:  ... it‘s a good day for the defense. 

ABRAMS:  But Daniel, the defense is going to concede that Michael Jackson slept in bed with children.  I mean they are not going to dispute it.  We‘ve even heard defense witnesses talk about that, right?  So if they concede that, I think the advantage of having Macaulay Culkin testify for the defense is in a way he kind of puts it in this kind of perspective, if there is a perspective to put it in.

DANIEL HOROWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  I think so Dan.  I agree with you.  It was a devastating set of witnesses, really, young men who theoretically, according to adults, all of whom had an axe to grind and were prosecution witnesses, these young men, these supposed victims, one by one, said it didn‘t happen.  Now, Macaulay Culkin said it didn‘t happen, and Ron Zonen broke down essentially and said, well, you know maybe while you slept it happened.  But that‘s not the accusation. 

The accusation was when the French fries were being delivered, Macaulay, who was wide awake, was being molested.  The prosecution has essentially conceded that their own witnesses were not telling the truth.  And I think it could be a fatal blow.

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know if they are saying not telling the truth, but anyway Mike Taibbi, go ahead.  You wanted to get in.

TAIBBI:  Yes.  No, I think that‘s a good point because the jury is not going to forget or if they do forget, Tom Mesereau is certainly going to remind them at some point down the line that the only testimony that had Michael Jackson allegedly groping, fondling Macaulay Culkin was by this former self described major domo (ph), this cook, Phillip LeMarque, who also the jury will be reminded talked about selling that story for $500,000 to one of the tabloids. 

So, you have that testimony from that prosecution witness, alleging that this young man was molested by Michael Jackson, and the young man himself coming in saying, I think quite believably, I don‘t know which courtroom Susan Filan was in, but I think quite believably, no, it didn‘t happen.  It didn‘t happen.  I was asleep.  It didn‘t happen.  So I think that it was a significant last of the triumbered (ph) of witnesses of alleged victims to say I know what people said about us, I can‘t believe they did because it didn‘t happen. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Daniel Horowitz, Susan Filan, Mike Taibbi—hey Raymone, you‘ve got to come back on the program, all right?  It‘s nice to have you here.

BAIN:  I will definitely.  And thanks for having me. 

ABRAMS:  Absolutely. 

Coming up—gruesome details about why the father charged with killing his daughter and her friend says he did it.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) The prosecutor in the case is with us.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a father‘s alleged confession, gruesome details about why an Illinois father allegedly killed his own daughter and best friend.  After our exclusive last night with the D.A., he‘s back with more details, first the headlines.


ABRAMS:  It wasn‘t just murder.  It was slaughter, butchery performed on 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias, allegedly by Laura‘s father, Jerry Hobbs, a man with a history of criminal violence.  Prosecutors say when Hobbs confronted the girls Sunday, he was swollen with rage over Laura‘s supposed theft of $40 from her mom and her mother‘s decision to end her punishment a day early. 

Last night there were tears and candles for Laura and Krystal in Zion, Illinois, town 45 miles north of Chicago where the killings took place.  Today, prosecutors provided a gruesome account of the crime, one they say came from Hobbs‘ oral, written and videotaped confessions.  What you are about to hear is graphic.  It is chilling and it‘s disturbing. 


JEFFREY PAVLETIC, LAKE COUNTY, IL DEPUTY STATE‘S ATTORNEY:  It was in a wooded area that‘s north of Beulah Park, said that he saw her with Krystal, said that he then confronted Laura and said, come home.  You‘re coming home with me.  She said she didn‘t want to.  An argument developed.  He then said in his own words that he had punched her twice, at least twice in the face. 

She went down to the ground.  Krystal then came to Laura‘s rescue.  The defendant then stated that he punched her to the ground, as well.  He then stated that during this period of time, Krystal, who was coming to the aid of Laura, had pulled out what he described as a potato knife.  He said that once that potato knife was pulled out, he said that is when he then struck Krystal.  He then took the knife from her and then repeatedly began to stab both girls in the bodies. 

Laura had 20 stab wounds to her.  She was stabbed in the neck.  She was stabbed in the abdomen.  She was stabbed once in each eye.  Krystal had also been stabbed 11 times.  She had been stabbed in the neck and she had been stabbed in the abdomen, as well.


ABRAMS:  Doesn‘t get any worse than that.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Michael Waller is the Lake County, Illinois state‘s attorney.  He was at the news conference with his deputy today and he was in court this morning with Jerry Hobbs.  Thank you, sir, for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it. 


ABRAMS:  All right.  So do you believe all of his confession?

WALLER:  I‘m sorry, Dan.  What did you say? 

ABRAMS:  I said do believe all of his confession?  I mean for example, do you believe that this little girl pulls a knife out? 

WALLER:  No.  No.  As I said today, there is always parts of a defendant‘s statement that you don‘t believe.  I certainly don‘t believe that a little girl had a knife and pulled it out.  I don‘t believe the little girl confronted him, you know.  As far as what I do believe, I believe what he said, as far as his repeatedly punching these little girls and stabbing them.  Because that is verified by the forensic pathologist report. 

But no, these little girls you know are 8, 9 years old.  This guy is 6‘1”, he confronted them.  They didn‘t have a chance.  It‘s typical for defendants in their statements to minimize their involvement in things.  You know, the way the system works, as you know, we have to introduce his statement and we regretted that to a great extent with the part that he attributed blame to Krystal.  But I—after the press conference, we said we didn‘t believe that.

ABRAMS:  Did it sound like he was claiming it was some sort of self-defense that this...


ABRAMS:  ... 9-year-old pulls out a knife and he‘s defending himself? 

WALLER:  No, not really in his statement.  But you know, it was a way to minimize it.  It was you know well how would you do something like this?  Well, you know maybe they started it.  But it really never was a self-defense claim. 

ABRAMS:  Are you convinced that he didn‘t go there with the intent of killing her but really just things happened and this is a guy who obviously can‘t control himself for one reason or another? 

WALLER:  I‘m not sure.  It‘s a possibility.  That would be you know speculation.  Clearly from what we know about him now and with his background, he clearly is a violent person, who cannot control himself at all.  He‘s often in a rage.  And you know in the past, we‘ve now learned of several other incidents in Texas, where you know he was extremely violent. 

So you know—but then again, we don‘t have evidence of that.  And you know what typically happens with somebody like him is that a minor thing would set him off.  So whether or not he was going there with the intent to kill, I guess we‘d just be speculating. 

ABRAMS:  And let‘s be clear.  He didn‘t come in and say, hey, I got to turn myself in, I got to come clean.  He went on a search, I guess if he did it...

WALLER:  Right.

ABRAMS:  ... then a fake search, for the bodies and then is initially lying to the authorities, right, about his involvement?

WALLER:  Right.  One of the elements in this case that led the investigators to suspect him was the manner in which he found the bodies.  It was in an obscure place and it was all of a sudden he veered left and went into a isolated area.  If you were doing a comprehensive search, you wouldn‘t have taken the path that he did and then you know he found the bodies.  And that—and then he, in his initial statement, reported to the police the injuries in detail and he hadn‘t also got within 20 feet of the bodies.  So there was no way that he could have viewed what he viewed at the time he discovered—allegedly discovered the bodies.  Obviously he knew where the bodies were because they were there as a result of his actions. 

ABRAMS:  How long until he cracked from the time he was giving that original story?

WALLER:  Well it was several hours.  You know, the way this—the questioning goes - and he was actually free to go for most of the time.  But he would—as in the case of many shall we say guilty people, he would sleep.  You know, if you were a father who was being questioned by the police after your daughter was viciously murdered and you were in a police station, I doubt the average normal person would take repeated naps. 

ABRAMS:  Are you going to seek the death penalty? 

WALLER:  Well, Dan, as I‘ve said several times, I have a protocol that I follow and I‘ve done that for 15 years I‘ve been state‘s attorney.  When we—this investigation is completed, we‘ll—at the same time we‘ll do as complete of a background investigation into this guy and everything that he‘s been involved in, and then I‘ll allow the defense to give me whatever information they might have that they think would bear on that decision, then I‘ll decide then. 

You know right now, it‘s not a good idea to make a decision like that in the heat of the moment.  Emotions are high around here, and you know, the nature of this crime is horrific, as I said yesterday, and I think after the further information today, people can realize what I was talking about.  But I‘ll make that decision in due course.  We have 60 days under Illinois law, minimum, to do that.  I don‘t—I think I‘ll be able to make that decision within that timeframe, but that‘s the procedure that I‘m going to follow. 

ABRAMS:  Mr. Waller, thanks for coming back on the program.  I appreciate it. 

WALLER:  OK.  You‘re welcome, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, jailhouse recordings of Robert Blake.  You‘re not going to believe some of this.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, jailhouse recordings of Robert Blake, talking about the celebrities he wanted to testify at his trial.  It‘s hard to believe what he was saying, but it‘s on tape.  We‘ll play them.



ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument” Monday I told you about actor Robert Blake‘s plan hatched behind bars to rally as many celebrities as he could to support him when he stood trial for his wife‘s murder.  He hoped to stage something of a celebrity parade, bringing one actor after another to court and basically asked them to speak to the media on his behalf.  Well today we‘ve got the tapes via “Celebrity Justice” Robert Blake talking to his publicist from the Los Angeles jail. 


ROBERT BLAKE, JAILHOUSE CONVERSATION:  Did you ever find the Baldwin brothers or any of those people? 

OLSON:  Yes, Billy Baldwin.  Are they all friends of yours?

BLAKE:  I know them.

OLSON:  You know them, OK.

BLAKE:  They‘re all fans of mine...


BLAKE:  ... big time fans.

OLSON:  Yes, OK.

BLAKE:  Alec Baldwin is a big fan, he actually sent me fan letters.


ABRAMS:  Who is not?  Joining me now with more on those conversations, “Celebrity Justice” correspondent Dan Simon.  All right, Dan, before we play more of the tapes, give us—set this up for us.  How were these taped, why are they taped?  When were they made?

DAN SIMON, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE” CORRESPONDENT:  Well, a lot of people forget that Robert Blake spent 11 months in jail.  And when you‘re in jail, what you say is basically an open book.  The jail can monitor your conversations.  They can monitor your telephone conversations and the conversations you have with visitors when they come to the jail. 

And this is what happened.  And the civil attorney has gotten a hold of these tapes and apparently he has released some of them.  And it‘s just hilarious.  I mean you can‘t help but kind of snicker when you hear these tapes.  I am sure Blake isn‘t smiling, but it‘s a little humorous.  It kind of shows that he‘s got a little bit of an ego, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Here‘s a clue to my next piece of sound, all right. 

SIMON:  All right.

ABRAMS:  All right, let‘s play it.


BLAKE:  Yes and “Saturday Night Fever”.  “Saturday Night Fever”.

OLSON:  John Travolta.

BLAKE:  John Travolta, big, big fan.

OLSON:  Really?

BLAKE:  Important fan.  World-class fan. 


ABRAMS:  At that point ask did he not remember John Travolta‘s name? 

Was that...

SIMON:  I guess not.  You know when he recovered to Kevin Costner he said you know that guy who made that film called “Waterworld” and he couldn‘t remember Kevin Costner‘s name...


SIMON:  ... and Dale Olson said...


SIMON:  ... you mean Kevin Costner? 


SIMON:  He‘s like yes that one. 

ABRAMS:  He can‘t remember these A-list actors‘ names but they‘re all huge fans of Robert Blake‘s. 

SIMON:  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  All right, here‘s another one.  This time he‘s talking about Sean Penn.


OLSON:  Good news.

BLAKE:  Good news?

OLSON:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I think it‘s good news.  I heard from Sean Penn‘s people he‘s out of the country, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) got the message, will call me some time within a week or 10 days.  So you know, whatever.

BLAKE:  That‘s good.

OLSON:  He‘s shooting apparently and - but they gave him the message, and he said yes, tell Dale I‘ll call him in a week to 10 days when I get back.  It‘s just too hectic here.  Well, you know that...


OLSON:  But anyway, he‘s not ignoring you.


ABRAMS:  When the good news is that he heard back from Sean Penn‘s people, it sort of says to me that there wasn‘t a lot of good news to have when it came to Blake‘s idea for a celebrity parade. 

SIMON:  Well he was in jail.  He was clinging to some hope that somebody would come and back him.  And the idea was to get at least one of these A-celebrities to come onboard and rally for Robert Blake and then it would all snowball from there.  Well of course it never panned out.  Dan, I don‘t know about you, but I don‘t recall Sean Penn or John Travolta coming...

ABRAMS:  No...

SIMON:  ... to support Robert Blake.

ABRAMS:  Did they scrap this plan, by the way, or he just couldn‘t get enough celebrities to show up? 

SIMON:  From what I understand, they couldn‘t get any celebrities to really sign up.  We actually called the publicist for all these celebrities. 


SIMON:  We didn‘t really hear back and of course I don‘t think it ever happened. 

ABRAMS:  I can‘t see being a publicist for one of these celebrities and saying hey, you know, here‘s a good idea for some publicity.  Why don‘t we go to the Robert Blake trial and you‘ll go out and publicly support him.  You know, anyway, all right. 

SIMON:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  Dan Simon, they‘re the ones who got the tapes “Celebrity Justice”.  Thanks for coming on the program. 

SIMON:  Thank you Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the mug shots taken of runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks after her shoplifting excursions back in the ‘90‘s.  You know what?  They‘re actually not that bad when you compare them to some other notorious mug shots.  It‘s my “Closing Argument”.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—just what is it about mug shots that make people look so—well, I don‘t know deviant?  I understand police department lighting might not be the best, government cameras not the top of the line.  Local sheriff‘s deputy might not have the skills of photographer Andy Leawood (ph) and of course when a mug shot is taken, the subject is rarely in an especially photogenic mood.  But still it hit me as I was looking at these or runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks taken after various shoplifting arrests in the 1990‘s, the photos, just another installment in a series of especially bad mug shots taken of notorious people and in comparison hers really aren‘t even that bad. 

It seems the worst mug shots occur after being busted for some form of alcohol or drug abuse.  People often tell me I look something like this man, actor Aidan Quinn, not in this pic, after he‘s pulled over for drunk driving in Maine, check out the eyes.  And country crooner Wynonna Judd, she blew twice the legal limit on a Breathalyzer test and then posed for this lovely photo at the Nashville Sheriff‘s Department.  George Clinton, this is especially—this is actually one of the better photos.  Lots of color in this one.  George was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in Tennessee.  Even lady killer Matthew McConaughey can‘t seem to take a good mug shot. 

Police found him at home, they say naked playing his bongo drums allegedly while in possession of marijuana back in ‘99.  And you saw this man smiling and carefree earlier on the show at the Jackson trial today, but here is Macaulay Culkin after being arrested for drug possession in Oklahoma.  And former “American Idol” finalist Corey Clark posed for this mug shot in October 2002, only a few months before being booted off “American Idol” for lying about his arrest record.

Now he‘s, of course, saying he slept with Paula Abdul, wrote a book, starred in his own primetime special about the alleged affair.  How far he has come.  So Jennifer Wilbanks, take comfort in the fact that it really could have been worse.  Just ask Nick Nolte. 

Coming up, you might not think there‘s much of a difference in being married five times or six times.  Apparently someone does and he‘s suing over it.  Our “OH PLEAs!” is coming up.


ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Last night in my “Closing Argument” I said I‘m sick and tired of hearing crime suspects and people embroiled in scandal, always blame the media for their woes, changing the subject from what they‘re accused of to the media coverage. 

Jim Morris, “I believe the media in particular the FOX station should butt out of the whole media frenzy generated by themselves.  You do a disservice to the legal system and justice.  You often come to conclusions based on your own opinions.”

Annette in Florida, “If it makes your conscience feel better to say that TV shows like yours don‘t have any effect on public opinion, then make yourself happy.”

All right, look Annette and Jim, like those I mentioned in the my “Closing Argument”, you‘re changing the subject.  The issue is are these people using the media as scapegoats rather than addressing the accusations?  Of course.  Now on the separate topic of media coverage, sure, the media makes mistakes.  It—we deserve to take heat when that happens. 

Richard Jewell, for example, repeating of comments certain officials made that he was a suspect in the Olympic Park bombing, his reputation unfairly harmed, he sued, he won.  And sure, we can impact public opinion, but show me a single case in this new day and age of cable news where the coverage of the case led an innocent person to be convicted of a crime.  I‘ll bet you won‘t find it, where the coverage led to the conviction. 

From Jefferson City, Missouri, Phyllis Wright, “I believe the media does a great and good service.  There is only a certain amount one can do with facts.  Keep up the good work.”

Mary Miller in New Mexico, “Dan, it should not surprise you.  Nowadays no one seems to want to take responsibility for his or her actions.”

Also last night, an arrest made in the murders of 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and 9-year-old Krystal Tobias, the suspect, Laura Hobbs‘ father, Jerry Hobbs.  One of my guests, a private investigator, Paul Ciolino, wasn‘t so convinced, suggesting immediately after the announcement that he expected the authorities would likely be proved wrong.  I went after him because I thought he had nothing to base it on. 

Attorney Donald Magee in Holiday, Florida, “He implied the police and prosecution may not have done a thorough job in the investigation and arrest of Hobbs.  This is remarkable as he appeared on another show the previous day professing that there would be a quick arrest in this case.  The problem is that he suspected someone other than the father.  As a former prosecutor in Mike Waller‘s office, I can assure you that he and his team never rush to judgment.”

Michael Marshall in La Crescenta, California writes, “Paul Ciolino offered a perspective on the case based on the information available.  Ciolino cautioned more information is needed prior to validating the arrest.  You immediately attacked Paul‘s perspective with a willingness to erect a gallow outside the Lake County Courthouse.” 

No Michael, I just said what I‘ve said in other cases.  I‘m not willing to presume the authorities screwed up without any evidence to back it up.  Jurors in a courtroom must presume someone innocent.  But the rest of us don‘t always have to presume the authorities are always getting the wrong guy. 

Finally yesterday, some viewers e-mailed about one of the books Scott Peterson has requested for his prison cell in San Quentin.  The book is “My Uncle Oswald” by Roald Dahl and many of you corrected me.

From McKinney, Texas, Carol Winters.  “Would you please get the author‘s name right.  It‘s Roald, not Ronald Dahl.  My middle school students love his dark wit and would be quick to correct you.”  Well tell them I appreciate the correction. 

Your e-mails abramsreport—one word --  We go through them at the end of the show. 

“OH PLEAs!”—is it really so horrible to say someone who has been hitched five times has had a sixth wedding to that impressive record?  Well apparently to one state party campaigner in Florida, yes.  Heated campaign to elect the leader of the Florida State Republican Party.  Contender Jim Stelling, the Seminole County Republican chairman, narrowly lost perhaps for being a serial groom? 

Nancy Goettman, a former county GOP Exec Committee member, wrote a letter just before the election to party executives, claiming the six-times married Stelling didn‘t have high morals.  Stelling responded I do, defending his family values by correcting Goettman.  He‘s actually been married only five times.  Stelling believes that Goettman‘s misreporting his trips down the aisle cost him the election.  It seems Goettman will now be walking down the aisle side by side with Stelling.  There‘s a lawsuit going on now about it.

We‘re out of time.  Thanks for watching.  See you tomorrow.



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