Guest: O.J. Simpson, Jossy Mansur, Gary Casimir, Joe Episcopo, Graham Bensinger, Dominick Dunne, Raoul Felder
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, an Aruban newspaper says it‘s got a police report detailing the words of chief suspect Joran Van Der Sloot in Aruba. He reportedly said Natalee Holloway was murdered, but he didn‘t do it.
ABRAMS (voice-over): According to “Diario” newspaper, Joran says he thinks another suspect, Deepak Kalpoe, was responsible, the boy Natalee‘s mother confronted earlier this week. Joran reportedly says Kalpoe raped, killed and buried Natalee Holloway on the night she went missing.
O.J. SIMPSON, ACQUITTED OF MURDER: To me the only way you can get a fair trial in this country, you have to do what my jury did.
ABRAMS: Yes, right. O.J. Simpson in a rare interview tries to explain why he won‘t pay the civil award he owes to the family of Ron Goldman and he‘s offering up commentary on everything from the Natalee Holloway investigation to the Scott Peterson case. We talk to the 18-year-old talk show host who asked O.J. about the difficulties people have separating O.J. the athlete from O.J. the murderer. Let‘s just say O.J. didn‘t appreciate that characterization.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First up on the docket, Joran Van Der Sloot, he may not be talking to a team of elite behavioral specialists who today took a day off from interrogating him in Aruba, but he did talk to police soon after he was arrested. And now, a local paper in Aruba, “Diario”, has obtained what it says is a copy of a police document dated June the 13th.
It is supposedly a police officer‘s statement, and I quote—“to our question to Joran Van Der Sloot, what he thought had happened between Natalee Holloway and Deepak Kalpoe, another suspect, he declared he thought that Deepak raped and killed the girl.”
Joining me now is managing editor of “Diario”, Jossy Mansur. Jossy, thanks for coming back on the program. We appreciate it.
All right, first thing I‘ve got to ask you is how authentic is this? Are you convinced that this is a document written by a police officer after speaking to Joran Van Der Sloot?
JOSSY MANSUR, “DIARIO” MANAGING EDITOR: It was taken by a police officer. It‘s a deposition, what we call a (INAUDIBLE). It is signed by four police officers, two (INAUDIBLE) that are the higher level and two detectives. It is completely authentic. We have the full document. Of course we cannot publish the names of the officers involved, but we did publish exactly what appears in the police report, a legitimate legal, police report.
ABRAMS: But it seems the police are not buying that, to put it mildly. I mean it does not seem like the police are moving forward, accepting that characterization, correct?
MANSUR: If they‘re not moving forward, we don‘t know. What we do know is that the lawyer for Deepak wants to just brush it aside by saying that Joran made another statement on the 4th of July that canceled this one because he signed the one on the 4th of July and did not sign this one. But we don‘t care about that because this is signed by four police officers, as witnesses to what he said on the beach here.
ABRAMS: So—but we do know, even from public statements from the authorities in Aruba that Joran has made a number of different statements, correct?
MANSUR: That is correct. He‘s changing—he‘s changed his stories on many occasions.
ABRAMS: Now, you say you had this document for a long period of time, correct, and others on the island, some of your competitors have attacked your newspaper saying they just don‘t buy it. Is that what led you to print the entirety of the statement?
MANSUR: I printed the entirety of the statement because the lawyer for Deepak questioned it. He called it ridiculous, so we had to tell him that he is the ridiculous one by making that kind of a statement. Because all he has to do to prove that this document is not real, if it‘s not legitimate, is take us to court, try to force us with the judge to make a retraction. But he won‘t do that. He knows the document is correct. He knows the document is legal. He won‘t burn his fingers with that.
ABRAMS: Now, have you—are there other police documents that you‘ve seen which are consistent or inconsistent with this one?
MANSUR: We haven‘t seen them, but we know of one other one made on the 10th of June, in which this same Joran again said we buried her.
ABRAMS: All right, Jossy, if you can stick around for a minute. I want to just bring in my legal panel. What to make—this is an explosive statement.
Joining me now is defense attorney Joe Episcopo and former prosecutor and defense attorney Gary Casimir. Gentleman, good to see you.
All right, Gary, let me start with you. I mean look a statement—a police statement. Let‘s assume that everything Jossy is saying is true. That this is a police statement where Joran Van Der Sloot said that he thought that Deepak, another one of the suspects, raped and killed Natalee Holloway. How does that factor into the investigation?
GARY CASIMIR, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well I think it factors incredibly. I think it‘s an explosive piece of evidence that would cause the detectives to seriously look at both of the brothers to see how they were involved in this. For example, we know they were released recently. The question is were they properly released? Was this investigated thoroughly?
I mean the only witnesses that were there were these three individuals, were the two brothers and Van Der Sloot here, so you have to wonder whether or not they need to go into this again to see if there‘s any more truth to this. Does this go anywhere? The question is, were these guys released too early if these statements are true. If Van Der Sloot made these statements, they‘re true, and he‘s the only other witness besides the two brothers to Holloway‘s whereabouts. I mean you have to wonder whether or not his release was...
ABRAMS: But Joe, this would be an easy case. If they had Joran Van Der Sloot ready to go to court and say, look, I was with him and this is the time we left and we all got in the car and then Deepak did X, Y, and Z. They would just be using him as the chief witness against Deepak.
Apparently, they don‘t buy that.
JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, it‘s not a corroborated statement. It‘s really kind of meaningless. It‘s been around for two months. No one is paying any attention to it that‘s investigating this. No one‘s bringing it up. No one‘s saying anything about it, other than the newspaper article so I think it‘s worthless.
ABRAMS: Let me read you more of the statement from “Diario”.
The suspect, Joran Van Der Sloot, walked with the police a little bit further—this is near the crime scene—and he declared to have suspicions that Deepak Kalpoe did bury the girl.
Let‘s be clear here, Jossy. The statement—the police statement isn‘t saying that Joran knows Deepak killed Natalee. It‘s saying that Joran suspects, correct?
MANSUR: (INAUDIBLE) has been around for a couple of months now. It was made on the 13th of June.
MANSUR: That is correct. He only says...
ABRAMS: Yes, go ahead.
MANSUR: ... he suspects and then he says I think.
ABRAMS: Right. I—he suspects and then he thinks. Boy, you know, that sure sounds to me, Gary, again assuming that this is true, like someone who is simply offering up some theories.
CASIMIR: Absolutely. I mean the question is, this is how in New York City, for example, if you have two—you separate your suspects and you try to get them talking, get—try—they always make statements...
ABRAMS: Right. That‘s how they always break these cases, right?
They get one person to...
ABRAMS: ... testify against someone else and yet they can‘t seem to do that here.
CASIMIR: Absolutely not and I don‘t know how do you disprove the theory. The question is how do you completely dismiss Van Der Sloot. That‘s what I would like to know. If he‘s the only witness there, it‘s your word against his, how is it dismissed.
ABRAMS: Yes. But again, I don‘t know that it‘s being dismissed, Joe.
I think—I know you say that it‘s irrelevant but you know I think...
ABRAMS: ... go ahead, Joe. (INAUDIBLE)
EPISCOPO: Well I‘m just saying there‘s—if he‘s got five or six subsequent statements that contradict this, how is this worth anything?
CASIMIR: Well the contradictions are absolutely—they have to investigate the contradictory statements as well, but the only way you put pressure on witnesses is the idea that listen, we have an eyewitness...
ABRAMS: Well, but why wouldn‘t...
CASIMIR: We have.
ABRAMS: ... this serve as fodder to get Deepak to talk. I mean let‘s assume that they still view Joran Van Der Sloot as the chief suspect, you think that they could go to Deepak and say, hey buddy, guess what, you know your pal Joran, well take a look at this. He‘s saying that he thinks you did it.
CASIMIR: I don‘t see how that could be avoided. I don‘t see how they could not have done that between the time of the statement—when the statement was made and their release sometime after July 4. We have to ask was that a statement that was investigated and used to try to get some information from Deepak and his other brother.
I mean these were the only guys that were there. It may not be all true, but you have to wonder if some of it is true. Did he help bury? Was he involved in any way? So the question is how do you eliminate the statement?
CASIMIR: I don‘t know Dan. How do they get rid...
EPISCOPO: Well he pointed out in the statement that she was buried in an area and I guess they checked that out with the dogs and all these other search agencies...
EPISCOPO: ... and they didn‘t find anything.
ABRAMS: All right, Jossy, isn‘t that true?
MANSUR: That is quite true. They did search that place not once but a few times and they haven‘t found anything there.
ABRAMS: See that‘s my problem, Jossy, is that we keep hearing all these people say oh, you know I saw them dump a body here. I saw the boys around this area and every place that we‘ve heard about, they have gone and they‘ve found absolutely nothing.
MANSUR: Yes, but the main question here for me is, why should Joran make or offer voluntarily this kind of information? Why?
ABRAMS: I don‘t know.
CASIMIR: To try to get...
CASIMIR: ... attention off himself. Yes, absolutely, which means—the question is he expressing a guilty mind by trying to get heat off of himself. I mean there...
EPISCOPO: And get out of jail...
CASIMIR: Yes, try to get a get out of jail card. You have to ask yourself if that‘s what he was doing here, trying to absolve himself of what might have happened here and get out of jail card, offer somebody up, but it also may show that‘s one of the reasons why they‘re holding him longer...
ABRAMS: Bottom line, Jossy, I‘ve asked you this question before. You do not think that Joran is going to be released. When he‘s got a hearing, they‘re going to have to produce evidence in front of a judge on September the 4th. You do not think he‘s going to be released do you Jossy?
MANSUR: No, I don‘t think he‘s going to be released. I think he‘s going to get 30 more days and then after that, either they present charges against him and the other two or they will have to let him go.
ABRAMS: Do you think that the Kalpoe brothers will be back behind bars, Jossy?
MANSUR: I don‘t know that. I mean I‘m not a fortuneteller. I can‘t see into the future. But chances are they might be involved again, they might be questioned again.
CASIMIR: I don‘t think they can avoid it.
ABRAMS: But Gary‘s a fortuneteller. Gary, what do you make of this?
CASIMIR: I‘m a fortuneteller. I agree with Jossy. He‘s on the island. I suspect they‘re going to hold him for 30 days, but I also think they‘re going to be looking at these brothers again.
ABRAMS: Joe Episcopo, you‘ve got a theory. Real quick, go ahead.
EPISCOPO: This is what I think they should do. They need to release Joran Van Der Sloot because he‘s in a controlled environment seeing lawyers. Once he‘s out, drinking, getting high, he‘s going to say something. That‘s the best thing that can happen. Because my understanding is come May, 2007, the statute of limitations runs and everyone‘s free.
ABRAMS: Well, yes you mean if no one‘s charged by then.
EPISCOPO: Yes, so they‘ve got to get him out and get him out in society again...
ABRAMS: Yes, well...
EPISCOPO: ... and actually that‘s where those detectives could be put to work by tailing him.
ABRAMS: All right. Well, you know Jossy will pass along the tip. I‘m not sure they‘re going to do that one. But, Jossy Mansur, Joe Episcopo, Gary Casimir, thanks a lot.
CASIMIR: Thanks Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have complete faith in the U.S. justice system?
SIMPSON: (INAUDIBLE) you know, right now I would say no. Obviously I felt that I got kind of screwed over more recently (INAUDIBLE) my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Yes, I think many people would agree that they don‘t have faith in the system because O.J. was found not guilty. We talk to the 18-year-old talk show host who scored the exclusive interview and asked O.J. about being a murderer. Coming up next.
Plus a man files for divorce, claiming his wife was having an affair with her boss who just happens to be a leader at one of the nation‘s most prestigious Catholic churches.
And another cable news anchor takes aim at me and other hosts for our coverage of the Natalee Holloway case. Can you say hypocrisy? I‘ll tell you why he should start with an interoffice memo.
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: O.J. Simpson doesn‘t agree to do many interviews. After all he were to come on this show, I‘d ask him a lot about the civil case, why he won‘t pay the judgment, and about the shoes he was seen wearing in a newsletter from before the murders, looked a whole lot like the ones worn by the killer.
But he did agree to talk to an 18-year-old talk show host named Graham Bensinger. Now he spends a lot of time, O.J. does, bashing the media, defending the verdict in his case, but it also seems O.J. sees himself as the legal commentator. Talking about convicted murderer Scott Peterson, his friend Michael Jackson, even compares himself to well, who else, his favorite communist leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I don‘t think there‘s a general legacy of anyone. You know I could be a fan of Mao Tse-Tung, which I am. You know (INAUDIBLE) politics, just what he did for his people and how he took this country, plus there‘s people that—they see him as anti-Christ, communist anti-Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: O.J. had been asked whether his legacy concerns him and that‘s who he ended up talking about.
Joining me now 18-year-old Graham Bensinger, who got the exclusive interview with O.J. Simpson. He hosts a weekly show on ESPN radio and the great Dominick Dunne, who among his many accomplishments, was inside the Simpson courtroom every day as a trial reporter for “Vanity Fair” magazine. I get the feeling Dominick is going to have a lot of fun with this one.
But first let me ask Graham, before we get to some of this sound, how did you get the interview?
GRAHAM BENSINGER, INTERVIEWED O.J. SIMPSON: Well I initially, as you know, Dan, interviewed O.J. in February of ‘04 and I think he first agreed to do it because he appreciated my ambition and the show I developed on ESPN Radio in St. Louis. I was also contacting his representatives twice a week for over 18 months trying to set it up and thinking, just absolutely annoyed the heck out of them to the point of then just saying, look enough already. Give him the interview. So—but look, it‘s easy to criticize O.J. and make him look bad.
BENSINGER: ... but he‘s always treated me with respect...
ABRAMS: All right.
BENSINGER: He‘s always been courteous to me. And when you know I was on these various programs following my first interview...
ABRAMS: I‘ll let you defend O.J. as we go through this, but...
BENSINGER: Hey I‘m not trying to defend him...
ABRAMS: If you want to. If you don‘t want to, you don‘t have to. All right, let‘s get into some of the tape here of your interview, starting with my favorite bit of the interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENSINGER: Regardless how accomplished O.J. The football player was, IT‘S not plausible for many people in their mind to separate that from O.J. Simpson the murderer. Does...
SIMPSON: There‘s no O.J. Simpson the murderer...
BENSINGER: Right. No I‘m saying in their mind...
SIMPSON: That person doesn‘t exist.
BENSINGER: Right. No I‘m saying...
SIMPSON: ... in their minds they‘re misguided. And what do you do when you see a crazy person on the street? You just walk right by him and you ignore him, so that‘s how I treat people who feel that way. I just walk right on by, have a good day, and I ignore them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You know, Dominick, I really believe that is what O.J. Simpson does. I believe that in his mind he‘s walking by people thinking they‘re crazy if they think he‘s guilty.
DOMINICK DUNNE, “VANITY FAIR” TRIAL REPORTER: Well, I don‘t think I‘m crazy and I believe he‘s guilty. I believe he‘s guilty today the way I believed he was guilty on the day of the verdict in that courtroom.
ABRAMS: But do you think—do you agree with me? I really believe listening to Simpson here and listening to him in his other interviews that he does walk down the street thinking, you know, these people are nuts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BENSINGER: Hey, Dan.
ABRAMS: Go ahead, Graham.
BENSINGER: Well I think what should be pointed out and again, I‘m not defending O.J. I‘m just being an objective observer...
ABRAMS: Yes, yes, yes...
BENSINGER: ... as you so often like to say, but what surprised me and you know initially you always hear O.J. say when you know people always come up to him and show their support and ask how his kids are and this and that. To my surprise it‘s true. It‘s unequivocally true.
I mean I spent time with him before the interview, after the interview...
BENSINGER: ... just walking around the hotel room with him and people come up and they extend a hand, ask how he‘s doing, ask how the kids are, and I talked to a couple of his friends and they‘re like maybe one out of every 200 times, someone will come up...
ABRAMS: Oh come on.
BENSINGER: ... make a negative remark.
ABRAMS: That is absolute malarkey. There is no way that that is true. I believe—I will believe that some people come up to him, but if anyone knows what fame or fortunate means, it‘s Dominick and Dominick, I‘ve got to believe that if people are doing that, in the vast majority of cases they‘re doing it just because he‘s famous.
DUNNE: They‘re doing it because he‘s famous and because they can go out to dinner that night and say, guess who I shook hands with today? It doesn‘t mean that they support him. It doesn‘t mean that they think he didn‘t do it. I think it makes a better handshake if they—if he did do it.
ABRAMS: O.J. Simpson here talking to Graham about why he won‘t pay the civil damage suit that he owes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENSINGER: Do you think there will ever come a point in time where you have to pay more of the money that was awarded?
SIMPSON: Well I think maybe, but obviously it won‘t be by any effort of mine. You know I follow the law and if that means avoiding doing certain things in my life, I will avoid doing it. Because as I said, I didn‘t do the crime, I‘m not going to pay them a dime and that‘s how I feel about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: And Dominick, that‘s always been the part that‘s bothered me most about this case. You know that the O.J. supporters they say, oh accept the verdict, accept the verdict and yet, they want everyone to reject the civil verdict.
DUNNE: Yes, that‘s true. That‘s absolutely right. And of course, he never had any intention of repaying that money and that‘s why he doesn‘t work. So he can‘t get any income that he‘d have to turn over.
BENSINGER: And Dan, could I add something?
BENSINGER: You know I think that literally, you would have to hold O.J. down and pin him before he‘s going to turn over a cent to either of the two families and he‘ll even, as he told me, even though he wants to maybe get involved more, do a little more work, he‘ll limit what he does just so he doesn‘t have to pay either of the two families.
ABRAMS: Yes, that sure is impressive...
BENSINGER: And I think the DirecTV deal, you know obviously he was reported in the news...
BENSINGER: ... for being ordered to pay 25,000 to DirecTV ties in directly against that.
ABRAMS: Here‘s Scott—here‘s O.J. talking to you about Scott Peterson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I thought if Scott Peterson, you know what I thought if he did it or not is immaterial. I didn‘t think they had the facts (INAUDIBLE) testimony. I thought he was such a disagreeable person and talked so much that—I felt that the death penalty came more out of his personality than the actual facts that they had. Do I think he was guilty? Probably. Yes. But I didn‘t think the evidence indicates warrant him getting the death penalty...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You know I love it, Graham. O.J is always criticizing the coverage and people making judgments about the verdicts in his case and this and that and yet there he is, sitting on the sideline making judgments about Scott Peterson.
BENSINGER: In terms of the death penalty, actually that‘s something he—except in child molestation cases, is you know vehemently opposed to. But he obviously said that about Scott Peterson. You talk about the media. He thinks that you know news organizations have changed dramatically since the days of Walter Cronkite...
ABRAMS: Yes. Well that‘s good—I love to get lectures from people like O.J. Simpson on the history of the media and how we should all change, you know Dominick, it‘s always driven me nuts—and I intentionally left out all his rantings about the media—it‘s always driven me nuts that what O.J. hated more than anything else during the coverage of the case was the fact that we reported on what they were saying inside the courtroom and that was the most incriminating part of that entire process.
DUNNE: Yes. And you know he—and the way he talks about the media now, I mean, it‘s as if he were convicted rather than acquitted.
ABRAMS: It‘s true.
BENSINGER: You know, Dan...
ABRAMS: Hang on. Hang on. Hang on a sec. Let‘s play one more piece of sound here. This is Graham. You challenged him a little bit. This is him talking about Johnnie Cochran‘s funeral where the Reverend Al Sharpton seemed to be making fun of O.J. at the funeral. Here‘s the (INAUDIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENSINGER: You were at Cochran‘s funeral. Reverend—when Reverend Al Sharpton said...
BENSINGER: ... he said and I quote him “with all due respect to you, Brother Simpson. We didn‘t clap when the acquittal of Simpson came for O.J., we were clapping for Johnny.” And he was serious when he said that. And from the firsthand accounts I‘ve received, the other guests, generally African American, were in agreement. How did that make you feel?
SIMPSON: Well no, first of all, it was Johnnie‘s funeral and you know, if that‘s how he saw it, that‘s how he saw it. You know my whether (INAUDIBLE) good (INAUDIBLE) Al Sharpton. It was Johnnie‘s memorial service.
BENSINGER: (INAUDIBLE) I mean does that irritate you...
BENSINGER: ... when he uses the memorial service to make a statement like that?
SIMPSON: No. That—a memorial was for Johnnie, so anything that was reflected on Johnnie positively, I was all for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Graham, he‘s not really addressing him what you were asking him, which is basically that he was getting made fun of by Al Sharpton and how does he feel about it.
BENSINGER: Well I think the one thing O.J. has learned how to take is dealing with jokes made about him. I mean he‘s been the butt of all jokes for nearly the past decade, but I think what you get to is you know, in terms of the comments made by Sharpton at Johnnie Cochran‘s funeral. When you have 5,000 people, you know disregarding Reverend Sharpton, you know but when you have 5,000 people then clapping, basically showing their agreement, I was—I find it at least increasingly difficult to believe he wasn‘t at least moderately irritated by a statement like that and I told O.J. that.
ABRAMS: Yes, I‘m sure he was. All right, Graham Bensinger, Dominick Dunne, stick around because we‘ve got more from that interview with O.J. Simpson. He‘s talking about his future. He‘s talking about seeing him pop up on TV or the Internet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: For me, it would probably be better if I do it through the Internet with the Internet. I‘m actually talking to some people about that because then I don‘t have to worry about so many people‘s opinions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: He got that one right.
And a 79-year-old Catholic monsignor alleged to have broken his vows of celibacy with a married woman.
Your e-mails email@example.com. Why do I get the feeling a lot of people are going to have a lot of feelings about O.J.
ABRAMS: More of that exclusive interview with O.J. Simpson. This time he‘s weighing in on the Natalee Holloway case, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: It‘s like who‘s going to get the latest and moves out first and unfortunately we see from everywhere—back to my case to the Holloway situation down in Aruba, most of the time, the facts aren‘t right.
SIMPSON: I love the way they do it down there. And that‘s driving our media crazy because they won‘t talk about the facts that they have to our media. To me, the only way you can assure that everybody‘s going to have a fair trial and that the true facts are going to come out, and if there‘s a juror down there, it‘s based on judges, it‘s going to come out the with facts is—you got to have all those facts come out in court and not in the newspaper.
To me the only way you can get a fair trial in this country, you have to do what my jury did. They have to sequester the whole jury, otherwise they‘re going to fall victim of the media and if they fall victim of the media, we don‘t know what is going to be the true, you know, genesis to their decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I‘m back with Graham Bensinger, the 18-year-old talk show host who got the exclusive interview, and Dominick Dunne. Dominick, so O.J. is saying what you‘ve got to do is you‘ve got to sequester the jury because that‘s going to solve all the problems. Bottom line is the jury sequestration you can argue it didn‘t really work all that well in the Simpson case, did it?
DUNNE: Well I‘ll tell you why it didn‘t work in the Simpson case. It would have worked if they were just sequestered during the deliberation. But they were sequestered for almost a year and believe me, I believe that through their visitation rights and everything, that they knew every single thing because when their families came to visit them, they had to stay for four hours and you know, you have 20 minutes for the coupling of the husbands and wives and then you‘ve got three hours to talk and all they have to talk about is, I believe they knew everything that was going on.
BENSINGER: Hey Dan. What‘s the point though, I mean in you know rehashing what took place then...
ABRAMS: Because he‘s doing it. Because he‘s saying that the only way that they‘re going to get a fair trial in Aruba is if they do what he did - they did in his case and I‘m saying that that‘s just you know more malarkey coming from O.J.
BENSINGER: I do find it amazing, though, that we‘re now approaching 10 years since the verdict and the general interest with O.J. still remains this high. I mean let‘s face it. He made national headlines for being ordered to pay DirecTV, national headlines...
BENSINGER: ... and it just seemed as though whether it be a day, a year, 10 years, 30 years following the verdict, this general infatuation the media and public has with him just is never going to extinguish.
ABRAMS: Because I think people are furious. I think the bottom line is people view it as the—it was—I think the public says it was a guilty man who went free, and I think when you look at it from the legal system, I think it changed many things in the legal system. They‘ve all said we don‘t want another O.J. and as a result, it‘s a big deal. Let me go to number...
BENSINGER: Well that‘s your opinion, Dan.
ABRAMS: Yes, well, that‘s, you know, that‘s what I do on this show. All right. So—I love Graham. All right.
ABRAMS: Here‘s number—let me go to number seven here. This is talking about—O.J. talking about what is next, what is in his future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENSINGER: You mentioned this Internet venture. Would this be a reality show?
SIMPSON: We‘ll see. We‘ll see. Can you pan the camera over there? Ask this person right here. She‘s the host.
BENSINGER: How about ever working on trial coverage?
SIMPSON: I would love to do that. Now that‘s something I really would (INAUDIBLE) I—from Robert Blake to Peterson to Michael, I felt that I could give an insight that—I used to hear some of the experts saying well, he‘s thinking this and this. They don‘t have a clue what‘s (INAUDIBLE) what‘s going on in these guys‘ minds, you know, during—in the middle of a trial and stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Hey Graham, was that O.J.‘s girlfriend? Who was that?
BENSINGER: That was not his girlfriend. That‘s the apparent host of what will be a reality show and as, you know, we previously...
ABRAMS: She travels around with him?
BENSINGER: Yes, apparently they‘ve been traveling with him for now—he‘s had two separate entities traveling with him for three years and I think basically there will be an O.J. Simpson reality show. I can...
ABRAMS: But she travels with him—her—this supposed host of his Internet show travels with him to interviews?
BENSINGER: To the—not to interviews. This was taking place in Chicago prior to him doing a signing out there. But they were shooting him with a camera crew. It‘s going to premier apparently on the Internet. And I think part of it is to show you know these cameras that followed them to restaurants, airports, everywhere for the past three years. I think in part it‘s him kind of to show the talk show host and the people...
BENSINGER: ... who have said there‘s not that public support, what people do. I mean that was my initial interpretation of it.
ABRAMS: Yes. Dominick, look, even if it‘s not his girlfriend, the bottom line is you know she kind of looks like Nicole and it seems that many of the women that O.J. has dated, even if she‘s not one...
DUNNE: They‘re replicas.
ABRAMS: Yes. Right?
DUNNE: Yes, they are replicas.
ABRAMS: Let me let Dominick—Dominick go ahead.
DUNNE: Well I mean, you know, that has been the pattern of his life for—you know blond, white girls and that lady looked—she fit in that category.
ABRAMS: Even if he picked her to just be the host of the show. Graham, final word...
BENSINGER: Well I just—I mean you can‘t fault the man for having a particular...
BENSINGER: ... taste in women...
ABRAMS: But you don‘t want to defend him...
ABRAMS: I know. I know. I know. You don‘t want to defend him. Yes. Graham trying—he‘s already angling to get his next interview with O.J.
Graham Bensinger, you can see more of Graham Bensinger‘s interview with O.J. Simpson and read Graham‘s article. You can log on to ESPN.com.
Graham Bensinger and my old friend, Dominick Dunne, good to see you.
BENSINGER: Thank you very much.
DUNNE: Good to see you Dan.
BENSINGER: And you didn‘t commend me on having lighting this time.
ABRAMS: You did. His first interview, the lighting, he had no lights. He had like a little single, like a miner‘s light on the—any way, coming up, a Catholic monsignor at one of the most prestigious churches in the country accused of breaking his vow of celibacy with a married woman.
Plus, we haven‘t showed you everything O.J. Simpson had to say in that interview. We give O.J. the chance to have his rebuttal coming up.
And your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a man files for divorce, alleging his wife is cheating on him with a 79-year-old Catholic monsignor. That story coming up.
ABRAMS: One of the Catholic churches‘ leading administrators resigned yesterday amidst allegations he was having a sexual relationship with his married secretary, a woman 33 years his junior. Seventy-nine-year-old Monsignor Eugene Clark served as director of New York‘s prestigious St. Patrick‘s Cathedral for four years. He was known within the church as a traditionalist and once blamed the priest sex abuse scandal on—quote—
“a campaign of liberal America against celibacy.”
NBC‘s Dawn Fratangelo reports.
DAWN FRATANGELO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The headlines were blaring and not going away. And so the number two man at New York St. Patrick‘s Cathedral resigned amid allegations he had an affair with his long-time secretary. In a statement, the New York archdioceses said although Monsignor Eugene Clark continues to deny the allegations against him, he offered his resignation for the good of Saint Patrick‘s and the archdiocese.
The bombshell resignation comes after the secretary‘s husband provided New York newspapers with videotape that shows the monsignor checking into a Hampton‘s motel for five hours with Laura DeFilippo last month. In his statement, Monsignor Clark said the events and circumstances have been portrayed in a false and sensational manner. Even so, he may have felt he had no choice, says Professor Christopher Kaczor.
CHRISTOPHER KACZOR, ASST. PROFESSOR, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: I imagine that he felt a great deal of pressure and I think he came to a judgment that in these circumstances in light of the attention the media is giving this, I can‘t fulfill my duties at this time.
FRATANGELO (on camera): With the monsignor stepping down, even though he denies anything improper happened and even though no crime has been committed is an indication to some that in light of the churches sexual abuse scandal, public image now comes first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point, we have a videotape that shows nothing in itself incriminating but perhaps indicative of a compromising situation. We just don‘t know at this point.
FRATANGELO (voice-over): Just as important, how all this is resonating with parishioners.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, I‘m open-minded. I mean I—it‘s up to him and up to God, not up to us to judge them.
FRATANGELO: Monsignor Clark has been a high-ranking church official for decades, the right-hand man of New York‘s cardinal, Edward Egan. Now Clark steps aside, accused of being the other man.
Dawn Fratangelo, NBC News, New York.
ABRAMS: That videotape was released by Laura DeFilippo‘s husband, Philip who‘s suing for divorce, and suggested that his wife and Monsignor Clark had been involved for some time. Raoul Felder, one of the nation‘s leading divorce attorneys joins us now.
All right, Raoul, bottom line, you know videotape, not that unusual in a divorce, right?
RAOUL FELDER, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: Yes. Well, you know in a divorce case you only have to show opportunity and inclination to show adultery and on the face of it, it looks like that‘s there. As you also know, Dan, there‘s a different standard of proof for adultery. It‘s more to the criminal stand. You have to show clear and convincing. You need corroboration. These aren‘t easy cases and hey, who knows what really happened here. Human beings have very, very strange relationships and there may have been nothing going on there.
ABRAMS: Yes and according to the “New York Post”, the—Philip‘s 14-year-old daughter gave police a sworn statement that she saw her mother kissing and sitting in Clark‘s lap in his hot tub.
FELDER: Well you know that would disturb me. It would disturb me because what is a 14-year-old daughter of a mother, giving a statement, and I think if I were a judge, I would look very closely at that. Fourteen-year-olds are very easy to be coached and this—it‘s disturbing. It‘s disturbing that the husband is using this as I guess a coercive tactic in a divorce case.
ABRAMS: What‘s the significance of the fact that she walks in wearing one outfit, six hours later walks out wearing another. In a court of law how much...
FELDER: I mean it‘s all incriminating, but on the other hand, you have a 79-year-old man who may have a truthful story that it was 90 degrees out and they‘re doing work and who knows. I don‘t know. But certainly on the face of it, it‘s a difficult situation.
ABRAMS: You haven‘t been asked to represent anyone in this yet, have you?
FELDER: No, but I‘ve represented priests, rabbis, Greek Orthodox (INAUDIBLE), a Presbyterian bishop, you know, they‘re human beings and it doesn‘t reflect any religion particularly. It doesn‘t reflect their abilities as a priest even...
ABRAMS: Yes, I know, but look, if he was doing this and he‘s making public statements saying that you know—I mean at one point you know he talks about the importance of celibacy and he‘s known as a conservative. He once referred to the U.S. as probably the most immoral country in the western hemisphere. I mean if it‘s true, there‘s serious hypocrisy...
FELDER: Well he‘s a hypocrite, but you know...
FELDER: ... there‘s hypocrites in my profession, in your profession...
FELDER: ... it‘s a human condition.
ABRAMS: Yes. All right. Raoul, good to see you. Thanks a lot.
FELDER: Thank you Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, imagine this. A cable news anchor takes issue with those of us who cover the Natalee Holloway case. We‘d hope that network and even his show would only be covering important issues like healthcare, right? Think again. My “Closing Argument” is next.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—I love it when media folks try to
jump on the journalistic high horse, critiquing others for doing something
they do at their own network. You see last night my friend Anderson Cooper
over at CNN criticized his—quote—“cable competitors” for the—quote
· “downright ridiculous coverage of the Natalee Holloway case.” He played a clip from this show, among others, and said he will leave it to—quote
· “the other guys” to follow the case. Hey, sounds like a legitimate gripe. I‘m still surprised by how much interest there is in this story.
The problem? The horse that he‘s riding, well, it‘s not exactly a thoroughbred. You see, before he starts attacking the other guys, he might want to consider an interoffice memo. Doesn‘t Larry King work for CNN? I thought he did. And what about Nancy Grace? I guess not. Because if they did, I‘m certain he would have started his crusade by convincing CNN brass to stop them from regularly covering the story and would fight to keep it off the CNN morning show as well.
But at least Anderson‘s show is only covering the most important of stories. Right, I mean that sort of holier than thou attitude must come from a host devoting his precious hour exclusively to domestic policy initiatives and the threat of nuclear proliferation. Well I guess he is, if you consider the disappearance of the newlywed on a cruise ship in Turkey, women who love killers and the Jackson jurors, the most important stories of the day. Those are just a few of the stories he covered this week.
Look, in terms of its impact on everyday American lives, there‘s no way to justify the amount of coverage the Holloway case has received. I‘ve heard others try by saying it‘s an important lesson in evidence gathering. Nonsense. It‘s just a fascinating criminal investigation and many have come to feel for the Holloway family. But if you‘re going to start throwing stones at those of us who do cover it, you better make sure your own house is at least made of Plexiglas.
If Jim Lair, journalism professors, or anyone else who doesn‘t regularly cover crime stories criticized the amount of coverage, I‘ll listen. But Anderson, you might want to take a 360-degree look around your own house and clean it up before telling us which disinfectant we should use in our kitchen.
Coming up, what would O.J. say about our segment today about his recent interview? My guess, he wouldn‘t be happy. But we‘ve got some tape that I think might reflect his sentiments. Be right back.
ABRAMS: I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. The former college homecoming queen and gym teacher who cut a deal in court yesterday receiving nine months in jail for having sex with a 13-year-old student at a Tennessee elementary school where she taught. She was facing up to 100 years. Last night we debated, is there a double standard? I said yes, there probably is but that I‘m OK with that because male sexual predators are a far greater problem than females and in terms of sending a message, it‘s not as important to send away these kinds of women for long prison terms.
(INAUDIBLE) did we get a lot of e-mails on this. From Monument Beach, Massachusetts, Don writes, “I had my first sexual partner when I was 13 in 1952. The absurdity of those women raping a male of that age is beyond words. Of course, there is a double standard and there should be more of one.”
Kaitlyn Houston in Destin, Florida, “The question should not be about the child. It‘s about the 28-year-old woman that‘s obviously a sexual predator. The feelings that this boy may or may not have are irrelevant.”
From Jeff in Washington, “I‘m a 42-year-old male who was molested by an older lady in my teens. While at the time it was a dream come true, it created mental problems I had to deal with when it came to relationships for 20 years-plus.”
P. Moore in Asheville, North Carolina, “That gym teacher is every adolescent boy‘s dream. Mine came true too and am I glad I did it. It‘s my best memory.”
Pat in Seaside, New Jersey breaks down. He writes, “Dan, it‘s all about who‘s doing who. With an adult male and a younger girl he‘s the one who‘s doing, therefore the aggressor, the one who‘s taking advantage. With an adult woman and a young boy she‘s enticing, making herself available.”
Glenn Baikow tries to compare this to my anger that Roman Polanski remains a fugitive from justice in the U.S after he pled guilty to having sex with a minor and then fleeing. “You‘re demonstrating a complete lack of consistency on the issue of statutory rape. If you condemn Roman Polanski for his consensual relations with a minor, the same standards should apply to the gym teacher from Tennessee. Gender should not skew the severity of the issue.”
Sorry Glenn, entirely consistent. Is she a fugitive? And a lot of e-mails about my guest, Geoffrey Fieger and Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Fieger repeatedly pointed out he was a 13-year-old boy at one time and can relate.
Liz in San Diego, “Geoffrey says he was a 13-year-old boy. What? I‘ve listened to Geoffrey argue many times on programs and he loses his temper so much, he‘s still a little boy in my opinion.”
From Maryland, Lori Finkelstein wants more Fieger. “I have to say I found it amazing how many times you felt the need to show this stunningly beautiful woman walking down the steps and getting into a car. Geoffrey Fieger is way more enjoyable to see on the screen.”
And 14-year-old Kevin in San Diego, California wants more of Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. “I was wondering if you could tell the younger female guest you had on your show that even though I‘m only 14, I would kill or be killed to get a shot at her.” Nice Kevin, so she can get put in prison as well. Nice.
I‘ve had my say and you‘ve had yours, now O.J. gets his. Instead of our “OH PLEAs!” tonight, I‘m giving O.J. the chance to say what I think he would say in response to tonight‘s segment on his interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: It amazes me. You know it is—it does amaze me. The non-incidents in my life become major incidents. You know it used to be who, what, where, why and when? Then you get who and what. Then you get opinions. You know you don‘t get all the facts anymore. It‘s just all glitz and glamour and loud and music.
SIMPSON: ... all of this is hairspray and make-up. That‘s what news is now. It‘s sound bites. It‘s sound bites.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I know you guys have a lot of thoughts about O.J. Either you‘re going to be mad at me about the things I said about him or you‘re going to be mad at me for even giving him time depending on which side of the debate you‘re on. I know.
Your e-mails—but I‘m going to read them all and we‘ll put them on the show Monday—abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. We go through them at the end of the show.
So that does it for us tonight. I‘ve got a little extra time. I was told to read really quickly. I mean we had—I was ready to go. We were taking my time with the e-mails.
All right, let me say goodbye to Abby, our lovely intern, whose final day is today, who doesn‘t get paid and as a result, she at least deserves an on air thank you. And with this extra time, I will say Abby, you have done a lovely, lovely job as our intern. We all appreciate the work you‘ve done. You‘ve been absolutely fantastic. We don‘t know what we‘re going to do without you. And Farah, thanks to you. She left last week.
All right, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews is up next. Have a great weekend.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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