Guest: Paul Reynolds; Joe Tacopino; Mary Fulginiti
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight’s top headline, Joran in jail: now calls for an independent investigation. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, and only common sense allowed.
A mysterious barrel found in the waters off Aruba. Is it another false hope in the case of Natalee Holloway?
Plus, the case against Joran: If they can’t find Natalee, can there ever be justice?
Hulk Hogan’s daughter, Brooke, comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and she’s talking about her new reality show, and about life with the Hulkster. And yes, she brought dad along, too.
Is sexy Jessica Simpson making the dukes hazardous for kids? This former congressman and star of the original “Dukes of Hazard” says yes, and he should know, he was “Cooter” on the original TV show. And tonight he’s in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to tell us why he wants fans to boycott the movie “Dukes of Hazard.”
ANNOUNCER: From the pressroom to the courtroom to the hauls of congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Good evening. Now 46 days and counting since Natalee Holloway disappeared. Today, volunteer searchers from EquuSearch got a new tip. They rushed to the beach to investigate. They found a barrel just of the shore not far from where Natalee was last seen alive. Let’s go live to NBC’s Michelle Kosinski who’s in Aruba.
Michelle, set the scene for us today. Tell us what they found and talk about other parts of the investigation.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS: It really was chilling this afternoon. I mean, this happened right out here, practically behind us. This is the swimming area of the Marriott resort, a very popular hotel. Again, only about a quarter of a mile from where the Kalpoe brothers say they dropped off Natalee and Joran van der Sloot the morning she disappeared.
Well, tourists are packing the beaches; it’s a hot day out here, everybody’s out there swimming and having a good time on vacation. All of a sudden the crowds of people see a crew of men and women show up carrying boxes, tools, scuba gear and shovels. They head out into the water, only about 30 yards off the beach and they start digging around this barrel, a big, metal about 55 gallon drum. Searchers had gotten a tip from a tourist that this thing had washed up about two weeks ago. And you know, Dave Holloway, Natalee’s father, was out there too, he said this is the kind of thing that really tightens your gut. It seems so suspicious, and these searchers, with other volunteers out here, there were tourists—drag this thing out of the water. It takes hours, and it turns out that this was a weight to a buoy that the police chief said could have been out there for years. It’s another one of those things that looks like it could be something, and then again it ends in frustration, and disappointment, but no clues are found in Natalee’s disappearance. In fact, Wednesday we saw something similar. The searchers get a tip that something might be buried in a remote area of a national park. So searchers go out there, and they tell us that they were just dumfounded. They stop in their tracks, they can’t speak for a few minutes, they think this could be something, it was a mound, they say, about the size and shape of a human being. They dig through it, and they find nothing. They do say that it seemed obvious that something had been buried there recently and then dug up again. Roots of a tree nearby had been cut as if with a shovel. But again they find absolutely no sign of Natalee Holloway. So, it’s one more of those clues that looks to be different than the others, a big deal, and then it turns out to be nothing. This has been going on now for more than six weeks.
SCARBOROUGH: Michelle, it’s obviously got to be very heartbreaking for the family, especially heartbreaking for Natalee’s mom who continues this lonely vigil, fighting for justice for her daughter. I understand that she talked to the “Today” show this morning. What did she have to say?
KOSINSKI: She did. Well, these searches, they do wear the family down, because they hear something, they’re excited that there could be some resolution to the case, but then again, when you have evidence of a barrel that is found, or what looks to be a shallow grave, that’s not the kind of evidence that a family wants to hear about because, of course, that would be evidence possibly of a terrible crime. Now, as for the court’s ruling yesterday to keep Joran van der Sloot in jail, but not let the Kalpoe brothers go back into jail, she was relieved that Joran is still behind bars, but she says, you know, she would really like to see all three of these suspects there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE’S MOTHER: I’m very pleased at the judge’s decision on the ruling regarding Joran. Very, very pleased, and I think that was the right decision. You know, as far as the Kalpoe brothers, I certainly would have liked to have seen, you know, at least one of them re-arrested. I certainly do feel they have some information and—you know, I—but one thing I keep reminding myself of is they are suspects, so they can be re-arrested at any time and—you know, in regards to this investigation. Basically we still have three individuals we need to keep in mind that have been constantly changing stories.
We not only have Joran, but we also head back to the early morning hours of May 31, we not only had him, but we had also one of the Kalpoe brothers, who was giving incorrect information, you know, stating that he had dropped my daughter off at the Holiday Inn, and that simply did not happen. So, we have to take it back to the beginning. You know, they can’t disclose to me all of the information that they have, or the evidence that they are accumulating against Joran, but you know, that does give me the assurance that they do have some definitive information. And that’s huge. This was a huge movement for us, for Natalee’s family, and for everyone that’s been involved in watching, so I think that now that we will just have to hope that the investigation will only to involve, and with new information and if there are new persons of interest involved, that they be pursued aggressively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: The frustration and exhaustion that this causes the family really is evident when you talk to them. We mentioned Dave Holloway, Natalee’s father, was out here when they were bringing in the barrel and he said, you know, this really creates this knot in your stomach. The other day, Wednesday, when they were digging around the national park he said he couldn’t eat all day, he was so worried. And it really becomes a point where you don’t know what’s worse, finding something that would indicate that Natalee is no longer alive, or frustratingly just not finding anything over and over again.
SCARBOROUGH: I know and it really is, it’s a catch-22. Obviously, this family desperately wants closure, but at the same time nobody wants to see a barrel opened up and find their daughter in there or find her buried beneath a mound. I want to ask you about all of these false alarms, though. Obviously exhausting the family, it’s got to be exhausting to the searchers, too. Do you get a feeling that EquuSearch and some of these people that are searching may give up the search at some point soon?
KOSINSKI: They really don’t want to give up and it’s gotten to the point that every tip they get, they go after very aggressively because they know their time on the island is drawing short. They are leaving the island, in fact they told us today, on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean the search is ended. They put it this way, that they want to go home, regroup, kind of freshen everything out, talk over what they’ve looked at, what they haven’t looked at, what they might want to look at some more. And then some of them are coming back out here on Thursday because they’re getting some new equipment, some ground penetrating equipment where they can look at the ground and maybe find some spots where something may have been buried, or where there might be something below the surface. So, they’re not done yet.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, quite a scene today, Michelle. Thank you so much. We greatly appreciate the update. And a very eventful day right behind on the beach where you are tonight.
Now let’s go to Natalee’s uncle, Paul Reynolds.
Paul, thanks so much for being with us again. I got to ask you, it is—it really is a catch-22. I know you want answers, certainly Beth wants answers, the family wants answers, wants closure, but at the same time, you know, when you hear that they’re searching barrels, when you hear that they’re searching for a possible burial ground, what are your emotions? What are Beth’s emotions? Are you disappointed when you find out that Natalee has not been found?
PAUL REYNOLDS, NATALEE’S UNCLE: Well, we’re disappointed every day that she’s not found. But first I would like to express my appreciation to Texas EquuSearch, a great group of people. You know, we’re so happy to have them involved in this in helping us out.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, they’re fighting for you—I mean, they’re fighting for you aren’t they, Paul? I mean, here we are in a case where it’s so hard to get the police in Aruba to do their job, and you’ve got these guys from Texas going down volunteering. I mean, it’s—that certainly has to be very helpful and positive for the family.
REYNOLDS: It’s incredible and we just can’t express our appreciation enough. But…
SCARBOROUGH: Paul, I understand, though, Paul—I’m sorry to interrupt, I understand, though, that police will not let actually let EquuSearch go on to the Van der Sloot’s property and actually search a well and other areas there. Is that correct?
REYNOLDS: That’s right. And we’ve been talking about that for a couple of weeks. Tim has expressed his frustration and particularly the well is something he would like to take a look at. It’s just—it’s amazing to me that they refuse that. And you know, again, this week we had this incident with these bones that were found by the tourists that were snorkeling. You know, that was handed over to the police over a week ago. This was at a time when Texas EquuSearch had their forensic diving team on the island. What a perfect opportunity for them to dive that site and explore it.
SCARBOROUGH: But the police are shutting them out of that. You have people, as you say, finding bones, and again, not allowed to follow up on that. Joran van der Sloot, if something did happen to Natalee, and did he try to get rid of the body, how remarkable that he could have just thrown her down a well in his family’s backyard, and the police chief wouldn’t let anybody go on to investigate. I mean, it sounds like more cover-up. I mean, more examples of this very close relationship, allegedly, between the police chief and the Van der Sloot family. How do you combat that every day?
REYNOLDS: We’re trying to bring it to people’s attention. You know, I’ve written letters to the editor of the Aruba newspapers, I’ve gone on Arabian talk radio. We believe that we need to bring in—we’re asking the Dutch governor to call for an independent investigation to bring credibility to this—to this case.
SCARBOROUGH: Paul, there is one more issue I want to ask you about, and I’ll do it after the break. There is a story that’s circulating, not only in Aruba, but America. Actually one tabloid printed it, suggesting that they had information that suggested that Joran did not kill Natalee, but that she died accidentally. He got rid of the body. And, I’ll tell you what, let me just go ahead and ask you that. Obviously there are reports out there that suggest that Natalee died accidentally, Joran panicked, got rid of the body, and—is that something that the family—is that a theory that the family’s been operating under for some time?
REYNOLDS: I read that article. We don’t know if it’s true. Certainly there are things in it that are consistent with what we do believe. We believe that Joran knows something. We believe his father knows something. You know, we don’t know all of the particulars, but, you know, if it was an accident, if something did accidentally happen, we are pleading with Joran and his father to come forward and you know, I think that would be best for his life, and everyone involved.
SCARBOROUGH: Does the family believe that’s what happened? Do they believe that tragically Natalee has passed away?
REYNOLDS: You know, we’re not ready to say that. We have to have hope, until we have evidence to the contrary. But, we want to examine every possibility. You know, we have to be realistic and, you know, we’re just—we just want the truth.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Paul Reynolds, thanks so much for coming on and continuing to fight for the truth. I want to continue this with you next week. We’re going to also have a focus on the father, on the police chief, and that angle next week also. But coming up next, tough questions about whether prosecutors can ever make a case against Joran van der Sloot, especially with all the connections down there. We’re going to ask two of the best legal eagles around to examine what the evidence shows and whether they’re ever going to be able to make their case.
And then an icon of professional wrestling, now a giant of reality TV. Hulk Hogan takes America inside his home, and we’re bringing him to you here tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Plus this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This film is in your face hoochy-coochy show, sex, profanity, and our show wasn’t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Hoochy-coochy, he is a duke of Hazard. Why the man who made “Cooter” famous on the “Dukes of Hazard” is now telling fans to stay away. He’s going to be here live to tell us. A big Friday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, stick around because we’re just getting started.
COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: MSNBC keeps you up to the minute every 15 minutes. Good evening everyone, I’m Colette Cassidy.
There have been new arrests in the London bombings. Police in Cairo detrained an Egyptian biochemist who studied in the United States and taught at a university in Leeds, where at least three of the four suicide bombers lived. Police reportedly found evidence of an explosive at the home biochemist’s in Leeds. It’s the same explosive found on shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Meantime, four other suspects were detained in Pakistan where authorities are helping investigate possible links between the bombers and al-Qaeda.
And NASA says it won’t launch the space shuttle Discovery until late next week at the very earliest. Engineers are still trying to figure out why a fuel sensor malfunctioned, forcing cancellation of Wednesday’s launch.
That is your headlines, now back to “Scarborough Country.”
SCARBOROUGH: That’s Joran van der Sloot, of course early in the investigation, the main suspect in the mystery disappearance of Natalee Holloway. But knowing what we know now, could there be enough evidence to put this guy away for life? With me now to analyze it, we got criminal defense attorney, Joe Tacopino and also we have former prosecutor, Mary Fulginiti.
Let me start with you, Joe. Defend this guy. I mean, let’s lay it out there. You know, of course you’ve the no body, no case, that his father told them when they were in jail. He’s lied to the police, he’s changed his story three times. Circumstantial evidence certainly seems to be mounting, and he, of course, he was the last guy seen with her. How can you defend this guy for being held in jail?
JOE TACOPINO, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well sure. I mean, look, here’s a case, Joe, where, you know, this investigation, as vigorous as it is and as vigorous as it should be, has put four people in jail and later to have them released because there was no evidence to hold them. I mean, they are arresting people—the police have a theory of who did this, and based on good reason, I mean, these children—these kids, I should say, changed their story as to what happened that night or where exactly they were at a certain time. But there is—first of all there’s no evidence that she’s even dead except for the fact that for 46 days no one has heard from her. I agree that it’s most likely, unfortunately, she is, but before we go trying someone for murder, why don’t we make sure she’s dead, one, and two, why don’t we make sure we have a case.
SCARBOROUGH: Whoa! Why would the father—why would the father say that this kid and his two friends, hey guys, “there’s no body, no case.” I mean, obviously it’s very, very suspicious activity. And you talk about this aggressive investigation; they let these guys wander around the island cleaning up their DNA evidence and their mess for 10 days.
TACOPINO: Joe, we don’t have a monopoly on the judge, I mean, people have criticized the Aruba justice system, I mean, I don’t think we don’t have a monopoly on the correct justice system. These people have…
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think letting them roam around for 10 days is the correct thing to do, Joe?
TACOPINO: I don’t know, but I know in America, no one could spend three months in jail before they’ve been charged with anything unless they were—were sort of violating some court order…
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Oh, that’s absolutely not true.
TACOPINO: Unless they were violating some sort of court order. You can’t hold someone without charging them for three months.
FULGINITI: You know what?
TACOPINO: Give me one scenario.
FULGINITI: But, you know, you absolutely can, because I had it happen in a case. There’s a thing in the federal system called the “material witness warrant.” And in our country…
TACOPINO: I said that’s…
FULGINITI: If someone is held…
TACOPINO: That is a violation of a court order.
FULGINITI: No, but that isn’t a violation. No, what that is, is—no, it’s a warrant that’s—I’ve issued these, so please let me just finish.
TACOPINO: A material witness order is something that’s ordered by a court.
FULGINITI: No, it isn’t. It’s a warrant.
SCARBOROUGH: Let her finish, Joe.
FULGINITI: You got to—yeah let—it is a warrant that’s issued in the federal court system by prosecutors that they feel that a person has material information that a crime has been committed. Yes, it has to be approved by a judge in a court, and if that person is a risk of flight, in many cases they are, they can be detained for than indefinite period of time.
SCARBOROUGH: So Mary, you’re saying if this guy were in America that Joran van der Sloot, in America, could be held in prison right now?
FULGINITI: If the court determined he was a flight risk, absolutely.
TACOPINO: Of course not. He’s not a material witness…
FULGINITI: Based on the fact that he’s go material—oh, how can you say he doesn’t have material information? This is an individual who…
TACOPINO: Because he’s a suspect. A material witness—Joe, I’m a former prosecutor and I’m telling you, a material witness order is when you believe you have enough evidence that someone has a material evidence to a particular proceedings, they are a witness.
FULGINITI: To a crime.
TACOPINO: These are the suspects. You don’t hold suspects for 90 days before you charge them.
FULGINITI: Well you know, I Joe, I disrespectfully disagree with you.
TACOPINO: Joe look, the bottom line, there’s no DNA.
FULGINITI: I’ve had people been held and then later have been charged. So, you can say that isn’t it, but I’ve had it happen.
TACOPINO: Joe, let’s look at…
FULGINITI: And in this case, I have to tell you, he’s just being held under suspicion that he has committed a crime. That’s the system in Aruba here, and I think the evidence is overwhelming that there is suspicious evidence that he has committed or in involved in some criminal activity.
SCARBOROUGH: What evidence? Lay it out, Prosecutor.
FULGINITI: I’ve got to tell you, first and foremost, the judge deciding to detain this guy after releasing everybody else, that in and of itself is a big step in the right direction.
TACOPINO: That’s the evidence?
FULGINITI: No. No, that isn’t, but we don’t know all the facts. So let me—let me go on.
TACOPINO: Well go on, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
FULGINITI: No. 1, the minute, OK, he’s—first of all, he’s changed his story right off the bat. He said, you know, he was with the other guys and that they dropped her off at the Holiday Inn and then all of a sudden his story changes. Innocent people don’t typically lie.
TACOPINO: That’s not true.
FULGINITI: Secondly, he was the last person to see her. Well, they don’t usually. Usually that’s a consciousness of guilt. Come on Joe, you have to admit that. And he was the last person to be seen with her in that evening. Now, that’s been corroborated by not one but two other witnesses. And by Van der Sloot’s own mother, who’s come out and now said, “OK yes, my son actually, you know, you know, was the last one to see her, but he didn’t do anything to hurt her.” So, I think that and…
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, go ahead.
TACOPINO: Joe, let me just respond to that. If that’s the prosecution’s case, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, one, these kids have lied and changed their stories, and two, they were the last person to be seen with her, therefore I ask you to convict him of murder…
FULGINITI: No, no, no, of course…
TACOPINO: I guarantee that you a law student—a law student could get an acquittal in that case.
FULGINITI: No, I agree with you on that, I’m not saying that’s their case to convict, I’m just saying that’s sufficient cause to hold him under their system.
TACOPINO: What’s the overwhelming evidence you described?
FULGINITI: It’s a totally different standard. We’re not talking about beyond a reasonable doubt, we’re talking about sufficient cause, and it’s a much lower standard, and you know that.
TACOPINO: OK, but…
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, I want to ask you this question. Joe, let’s move on here. I—what—this is what I think a lot of people that have been following this case closely are curious about. They don’t think they’re going to find a body. If she died accidentally or if she was killed, if she’s dead and they’ve gotten rid of the body, haven’t found it yet, is there any way you convict this kid without breaking him, without it looking like a final scene in Perry Mason…
SCARBOROUGH: Where he throws up his hands and says, “I did it, I did it, she accidentally died, I panicked and buried her body just hoping that nobody would throw me in jail.”
SCARBOROUGH: That the only way to get him?
TACOPINO: No Joe, there is one other way to get him if he doesn’t crack, so to speak, that’s assuming he did this, and you can’t get a confession out of him, and you don’t find a body, there is one other way to do it: An independent witness or a cooperating witness, someone who was complicit in the crime, someone who took part in the crime or knows about it, or helped dispose of the body. That happens all the time where people, you know, come forward and sort of make a deal with the prosecution and testify. And that could happen here.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, I will ask you the same thing, you know, you think that—you think there’s any way to break this guy, and if you don’t break him, is there any way to convict him?
FULGINITI: You know, I agree with Joe on this one. I think, you know, I think yeah, if there’s independent evidence, you know, witness that’s come forward, many times cooperating witnesses, you know, are the basis for bringing cases, so—but if he doesn’t break and confess to the crime, they’re going to need something else, clearly. And we clearly don’t know al the facts. We just know a sin tilla at what the—scintilla, I think, of what the prosecution has at their disposal in this case. So, there maybe additional chatter we’ve heard about odd emails, some different things that will help them build their case against him for whatever charge they feel is appropriate.
Well, we’ll have to wait and see. Joe Tacopino, Mary Fulginiti, thank you so much for being with us tonight. We really appreciate it. Have a great weekend.
Coming up, he ruled the ring, and now he’s body slamming reality TV. Next, Hulk Hogan and his daughter are in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and they’re here to talk about their smash hit new show, and what it’s like to grow up in the Hogan household.
Plus, the “Cooter” controversy: He start starred in the original “Dukes of Hazard,” he went on to Congress, and now he says the hot new movie may be hazardous to your kids’ health. Stick around, we’re coming back with much more.
SCARBOROUGH: He’s a legendary tough guy in the ring, but what kind of dad is Hulk Hogan? Well, you can watch his reality show, or you can stick around and watch SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY because I’m going to ask him and his daughter, next. But first, here’s the latest news that you and your family need to know.
CASSIDY: MSNBC keeps you up to the minute every 15 minutes. Good evening everyone, I’m Colette Cassidy. Here’s the latest. Arnold Schwarzenegger won’t be flexing quite as much muscle in the body building world. Today, the California governor ended a much criticized fitness deal, his position as executive editor of “Muscle and Fitness” and “Flex.” The magazines were paying him more than a million dollars a year.
A day after being released from the hospital, Chief Justice William Rehnquist was back at work. The 80-year-old has vowed to keep working while battling thyroid cancer. He says he intends to preside over the high court as long as his health allows.
And as the new Harry Potter book went on sale at midnight in England, millions more lining up in America eager to buy a copy at midnight here. Already, Harry is working his magic: 10 million copies are expected to be sold in the first 24 hours of its release. Big excitement.
Those are your headlines right now. Now back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Move over Osbournes, there’s a new reality family in the house, the Hogans, as in Hulk Hogan—one of the forefathers of professional wrestling—and his family have a new show. It debuted last Sunday on VH1.
Take a look at a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HULK HOGAN, PERFORMER: Brook’s not sexually active.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 19 years old.
HOGAN: So, basically, you are sexually active?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I don’t see how any of this pertains to Brooke either.
HOGAN: I didn’t say it pertained to Brooke; I was just talking to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: My God, that is tough. Hulk Hogan interrogating his daughter’s date—yikes. I spoke to Hogan and his daughter, Brooke, and I asked them what sets them apart from other reality show families.
H. HOGAN: Well, we’re kind of like the anti-Osbournes, even though we do have the love and support like the Osbournes do, we don’t have the rehab and the drugs, but my family’s crazier than the Osbournes.
My son’s 14. He’s an actor; he has a second little movie going. Plus, he wrenches on these import cars and builds motors, and he plays drums. He serfs and does wakeboarding.
Brooke has a music career going. She’s been beating the music business up for four-and-a-half years. We’re still trying to find the bridge. My wife is kind of like the head boss of the house. I think, I’m the laborer of the house. I’m still wrestling, messing around, doing a lot of other things like that with TV.
We just have an all-American family with the same problems that everybody else has—with the neighbors, with the city, with the schoolwork, and just the normal everyday things that happen to us. You know, it’s not Hulk Hogan and the great superstar of wrestling. When I come home, that red and yellow crap stays outside. And I’m dad.
BROOKE HOGAN, PERFORMER: But our family life is still turned up a notch or two.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I was going to ask you, how tough is it being raised—I’ll ask you, Brooke, first, how tough is it being raised in the glare of celebrity? You look at most kids that are going through middle school, the beginning of high school, and things are tough enough for them as it is, but you add celebrity, you add the glare of the spotlight, and it’s got to be a lot tougher. How did your father operate and get you through those tough times?
B. HOGAN: Oh my goodness. In school, I never really had any friends because I was always taller and blonder, and I was Hulk Hogan’s daughter. So there were a lot of kids that, you know...
SCARBOROUGH: I tell you, I lived in Florida, too; people just hate tall blondes in high school.
B. HOGAN: You know, I don’t know, I wasn’t the social butterfly. And my dad would always just re-encourage me—he would just encourage me and say, “You know what, Brooke, it’s going to be OK; they’re just jealous. You’ll grow into your own skin, in time.”
He’s like my best friend. He’s a good, little support.
SCARBOROUGH: He’s a good little support. But he’s also, I understand, though, that he wasn’t growing up interested in being a great friend as much as being a tough disciplinarian.
B. HOGAN: That’s true, my parents, both my mom and dad know that parenting comes first. A lot of parents are very, very scared that their kids won’t want to be their friend. And that’s really not the point of being a parent. You have to be a parent and rear your children. I’m coming to that age now where I kind of understand why they reprimand me and why they are so overprotective.
H. HOGAN: You guys are putting all this on me. The truth is, I’m easy. My wife, Linda, if you get out of line with her, bam, you’ll get it. Her dad was an LAPD officer for 30 years. Everybody in their family were police officers. My wife made sure these kids grew up nice and tall. They didn’t grow up crooked. She’s the tough one out of the family. And I’m kind of like, when they get in trouble they’ll come to me, you know.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, how tough - and I know we’re going to see this in your show—but how difficult is it to be a celebrity? You’ve got your thing going on, your daughter, of course, again, running around with a music career. Your son also starting as a 14-year-old starting his own career. But unlike the Osbournes, you don’t have drugs, sex, rock and roll. You don’t have all of this chaos going on. How difficult is it to remain sane in a fairly insane environment?
H. HOGAN: You know, I don’t mean to say we thrive on stress, but we all like to work. Our family has just a work ethic. We’re relentless, all of us. I don’t know where that came from, but it must be in the water or something.
I mean, you know, the celebrity thing, it wasn’t weird having Hulk Hogan as a father because when Brooke or Nick came home from school, the Macho Man was there, Andre the Giant, Vince McMahon was running around the house, working out with me. So it was kind of normal to have a wrestler as a father around my house, and in my neighborhood where we live, I’ve lived there my whole life, so people know me as Terry, not so much Hulk Hogan. So it is kind of normal.
The one thing that kind of worried me was when I became a famous wrestler and I was doing a lot of TV, and kids movies and stuff, I was worried about my kids. Sometimes, the world is different than when I grew up. There are people that are on the edge and a little off their rocker, and I didn’t want anything weird happening with my kids. But it’s a tradeoff.
There’s the upside and the downside of being in the spotlight and the public eye. It’s something that’s in my kids’ spirit. Like this music isn’t just a phase, like ice skating or soccer was. My son’s acting, this is something he’s been driving me crazy to do for years. We didn’t push the kids in these directions. So when it came to Hogan knows best, to put my daughter on an even playing field with Hillary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, the Simpson sisters—in a way, TV is kind of like the new radio, because you need that platform, you need that launching pad to at least have an even start with all these other kids, so it comes with the territory.
But the thing is, you have to be smart about it. And most people, the truth is, most people nowadays are—even if they’re really aggressive they’re just excited—but most people are really nice.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, let me ask you this question: You were asked to do this a few years back after the Osbournes came out and exploded. You decided not to do it. Are you doing it now in part - I mean, you obviously don’t need it. You have all the fame; you have all the notoriety that you’ll ever need. Are you doing it, in part, to help your children’s career?
H. HOGAN: Yes. Yes, I am. The honest truth is, yes, I am. Three or four years ago, when the Osbournes were red hot, I had all the networks approach me to do a reality show about Hulk Hogan, the wrestler and the dad. And, you know, when they lay the whole premise on me of having craft services and al the cables running through my house, and 40 and 50 people with grips, and everybody in and out of the house, 12, 14-hour days, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I didn’t want to trade the privacy that I had for the extra notoriety that may come like an overloaded burden on me.
But then the kids wanted to do this. You know, when I suggested it after we did a one-hour special called “Inside Out Hulk Hogan Stage Dad,”—it got great ratings on VH1. Then they approached us about a little series—I ran it by the family; the family wanted to do it. It’s great having all of us together. Usually, I’m sitting here by myself. But it’s great having my family with me. It’s really cool, because it’s something that they wanted to do it.
We loved doing it, and we miss our friends, the crew. We made friends with the cameramen and everybody. I called Scott up today, my camera-guy; she talks to Elizabeth.
B. HOGAN: I know, I still talk to Liz. Hi, Liz!
H. HOGAN: I mean, it’s crazy. It’s like, they’re up there too, so it worked out great for us.
SCARBOROUGH: But how crazy was it, Brooke? How disrupting was it to your family life—you wake up in the morning, you walk downstairs, there’s a camera there. You come home from school, there’s a camera...
B. HOGAN: Actually, it really was not bad at all. It was actually a great experience. I’m not just saying that. It really was fun. I had something to look forward to, because at the time I was home schooling. I’ve graduated now. But at the time, I was home schooling, and it was kind of just—for the series you had to stay home. You couldn’t like travel or do anything. So I was just home every day. It was like really nice to - my room is like right downstairs from the driveway, and I could hear all the camera people coming in the morning. It was kind of like something to look forward to.
Liz would be up in my bedroom in 10 minutes. “Put on your little outfit that you’re going to wear for the day, and get ready for your interviews.”
It’s kind of nice to look forward to something, and it’s like having your friends there every day.
H. HOGAN: You know, they do catch you off guard, though. Several mornings, I would wake up and they’d already be in the room. And I’d wake up - you know I put the Bozo ring from being bald headed, and then my hair would sticking straight up like Bozo, and I would walk around the house for like a half-hour drinking my coffee before I looked in the mirror, and be like, Yikes. They were filming me, you know.
And a couple of times I went down to my gym, and I’m half asleep. The first thing I do is train in the morning. I’ve got my own washing machines down there where I was my gym clothes. I went down there and accidentally pulled my pants down one time and went, “Oh my God.” I didn’t even realize the cameras were there because I forgot about it. They were there every day, so it does have its downside.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you have next as far as your music career goes? Obviously, you’ve got a budding music career. It’s going very well for you. What are your plans now?
B. HOGAN: Well, actually, we just started working with Larry Rudolph, that was working with Brittany (ph) for about 10 years. We have great producers. He’s hooked me up with great writers like Max Martin, Shelly Piken (ph), Kathy Dennis (ph) - right—really great writers, really great people. We’re just having a lot of fun. I’m getting to write, and it’s great.
H. HOGAN: We’re still trying to break through. I mean, I thought the wrestling business was tough, but this music business is a tough one. We still aren’t over the hump yet. We’re still fighting hard, and things don’t come easy.
B. HOGAN: We’re paying dues.
H. HOGAN: You got to be relentless so—it’s her time.
SCARBOROUGH: Hulk Hogan and Brooke—thank you so much for being with us.
B. HOGAN: Bye. Thank you so much for having us.
H. HOGAN: You’d better watch us Sunday night at 10:00, or I’ll come get you.
SCARBOROUGH: I’ll be watching every Sunday night, baby.
B. HOGAN: And then after that, it’s 9:30.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, thanks.
B. HOGAN: One time 10:00.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, appreciate it - thank you.
Now, it promises to be one of the biggest movies of the summer. But this man, Ben “Cooter” Jones - call him Congressmen “Cooter” Jones—doesn’t want you to see it. He’s going to be here to tell us why, coming up next. Also the video that everybody’s talking about, a huge marlin does battling with a teen trying to reel him in. The latest details behind this amazing video, coming up next.
COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: MSNBC keeps you up to the minute every 15 minutes. Good evening everyone, I’m Colette Cassidy.
At least 30 people were killed in a series of suicide car bombings and other attacks in Baghdad today. Officials say, there were at least seven suicide attacks.
Jamaica is bracing for Hurricane Emily, which is expected to hit tomorrow. Emily is now a Category 3 hurricane, again, with 115-mile-an-hour winds. It is expected to hit either southern Texas or northern Mexico coast, sometime next week.
And Jack Nicklaus went out in style. Even though he failed to make the cut for the final round of the British Open, he birdied the 18th hole in today’s second round, and waved to the crowd in an emotional farewell as he ended his illustrious career.
Those are your headlines. Now back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... double-D?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about something special, sir?
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JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Three weeks to the big screen version of the “Dukes of Hazzard” opens in theaters near you. But one member of the original television series isn’t happy with what he calls a - quote - “ sleazy insult to the original show.”
Ben Jones, who played “Cooter,” wrote an open letter to fans, saying in part - quote—“Unless they clean it up before the August 5 release date, I would strongly recommend that true blue Duke fans hold their noses and pass this one up. This kind of toilet humor has no place in Hazzard County. Rather than honoring our legendary show, they have chosen to degrade it.”
With me now to talk about it, to talk about his call for boycott is Cooter himself, former Georgia Congressman Ben Jones.
Congressman, thanks a lot for being with us, and tough words for the “Dukes of Hazzard” movie. Tell me why you wrote that letter?
BEN “COOTER” JONES, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, (D-GA): Hey Joe, what are you down in the Riviera, down there?
SCARBOROUGH: Redneck Riviera, Ben, where we got lots of cars...
JONES: ... and you got me in New York City. There are people up here who are trying to convince me that wrestling is fake. What kind of...
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I can’t believe that. It’s time for you to come back home to Hazzard County.
JONES: The next thing you know, they’ll make a raunchy movie out of the best family show ever on television.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, why don’t you tell me about that? Why are you so offended with what you read in the script and what you’ve seen?
JONES: Joe, our show is a hit right now, and the reason it’s been a hit for 25 years—it’s getting the best ratings Country Music Television ever had; 23 million people watched the “Dukes of Hazzard” the weekend they brought it back on. The kids think it’s a new show. Families come to us every day and say, Thank you for putting on a clean family show. And this movie is anything but that. It’s filled with profanity, sexual hanky panky, innuendo, and it’s not a reflection of the family values of our show. But they’re marketing this thing to kids.
SCARBOROUGH: Matt Lauer suggested this morning on the “Today Show” that it could be sour grapes. You’re just bringing all this up because you wanted to be a part of the movie. What do you say to that?
JONES: What I said to that was I would have liked to have been part of a good “Dukes of Hazzard” movie, but now having read the script, I certainly don’t want to be a part of this movie. That’s beside the point...
SCARBOROUGH: Would you have been embarrassed, Ben, to be in this movie?
JONES: Pardon me, Joe?
CARBOROUGH: I said, would you have been embarrassed, Congressman, to be in this movie?
JONES: Yes. As I say, it’s an insult to the original show. It’s like if they did “I Love Lucy” and Lucy was a crack-head, or they did Andy of Mayberry and he was on drugs. It’s marketed to a very different—they’re trying to get kids in there. Once those kids are in there, they’re going to see stuff that they shouldn’t see. It’s like Jessica Simpson just doing this hoochy coochy show, man.
Go to see it, but don’t take any kids, OK. I know you, Joe, you’re going to go down there to see the hoochy coochy (ph) show—but don’t take the kids.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, I’m going to take my kids - my 17-year-old and 14-year-old -am going to teach them by taking them to Hazzard County, absolutely not. I would get in trouble if I took my kids to this show.
I want to ask you this, though, what do you say to people out there that are watching this tonight saying, You know what, Cooter, you and Scarborough, you’ve just gotten old, you’re outdated, you’re behind the times. Come on, wake up—sex sells.
JONES: Sure it sells. But they shouldn’t try to sell it to our kids. My favorite show is the “Sopranos.” It’s on late at night on a cable network, and it is well made. I’m not coming to this as a prude, Joe, as anybody that knows me knows, right. What I’m saying is that we have got a responsibility, and Hollywood has a responsibility to the families of America and to the young people not to do a bait and switch, where they take the greatest family show ever on television, and raunch it up like this. It’s wrong, and that’s what I’m telling them. Clean it up, and we’ll go to see it.
SCARBOROUGH: What would you say to those who would say “Dukes of Hazzard” wasn’t exactly a Puritan passion play. You’ve got the term “Daisy Dukes,” and that don’t mean, you know, going to Bible study—very provocative, sexy shorts. And again, you got showed a little bit of a...
JONES: They were short, short shorts. The rest of it was in your mind. Joe, any healthy red- blooded guy is going to look at Daisy Duke and go, Wow. That’s just a fact. But less is more. She wasn’t—we weren’t flaunting that in anybody’s face. In fact, we made a very—when we found out how many kids were watching our show, we cleaned it up; no more profanity, no more over the top sexual stuff. We made it a family show, and we’re proud of that. And that’s why it’s still a hit show and a family show.
Personally, I kind of like looking at Daisy Duke in those shorts.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, I really better not go there. I have to go home to my wife tonight.
JONES: Uncle Jesse was the last guy on television that prayed before supper. That was our kind of show. And the good guys—nobody ever got hurt; the good guys always won. Just like the westerns I watched when I was a kid. You know, they were heroes because they always made the right moral choice.
SCARBOROUGH: Have you gotten any response from the movie executives or anybody involved in “Dukes of Hazzard” since you wrote your open letter to Dukes fans?
JONES: Of course, none of us are involved in it—none of the original cast, none of the original crew, none of the original writers or producers are involved in this project. Basically, everybody I’ve talked to is as appalled as I am and very outspoken about it. What our real concern is that the kids are going to go in there, parents are going to take their kids, thinking it’s the “Dukes of Hazzard,” and it’s not.
When the unacceptable keeps becoming acceptable, finally there’s nothing left that’s unacceptable. I find this unacceptable.
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, thanks for being with us, and I’ll tell you what: Because you’ve had the courage to come out and talk about this, and let’s face it, you set yourself up for ridicule—some people probably say, Hey, this guy’s a prude—but because of that, parents are being alerted about what this movie is really about, and I think you’re providing a good service.
JONES: Joe, I’m like you. I’m like you, I’m a country boy, I’m a redneck, and I don’t care what those people think. I think it’s important that we protect our kids from this kind of thing.
SCARBOROUGH: God bless you. Be careful in New York City.
JONES: I love it.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, talk to you soon.
We’ll be right back in a second.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Harry Potter fans everywhere are dressing up and celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited sixth book in the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.” Lucky fans in England lined up for their copies way in advance when author J.K. Rowling unveiled the book at midnight at Edinburgh Castle. The book has been kept under high security, and its plot firmly under wrap. 10.8 million copies already have been printed in the United States in advance of the blockbuster release. All I can say is, happy reading, little kids and big, alike.
And now it’s time for an update on a story we first brought to you on a Wednesday night, the story of amazing pictures of the marlin that flew through the water and hit this family’s fishing boat. Actually, the marlin hit the boy on top of the head with its bill. Tonight, we have some new information. We spoke with Richard Schultz, the father who was on the program a few nights ago, and he reports that it’s too early to know just how injured his son Steven is. He has four fractures in his sinus wall bones in the cheek. But the good news is, doctors don’t think there will be any permanent damage. Our thanks to the Schultz family, and we pray that Steven continues to make a strong recovery.
That’s all the time we have for tonight. Have a great week, and we will see you Monday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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