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Analyzing the honeymooner disappearance

In an NBC News exclusive video, one of  the key witnesses in the missing honeymooner case explains his rendition of the night he disappeared.  MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan analyzed the interview with MSNBC-TV's Donna Gregory on Tuesday.
/ Source: msnbc.com

In an NBC News exclusive video, one of the last people to see the missing honeymooner has come foreword to explain his rendition of the July 5 night in question.

Josh Askin, a California man and key witness in the case, describes a drunken evening in which he assisted Smith to his room and left him there alone.

His statements during the video both contradict and shed new light on how investigators had previously interpreted the night's events.

MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan joins MSNBC-TV's Donna Gregory to analyze the tape and the witness' statements.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button above and to the right.

DONNA GREGORY, MSNBC-TV ANCHOR: When you and I talked a couple of weeks ago, we talked about potential suspects, two Russian brothers and a California teen. (Askin) is the California teen.

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: This is the California teen, his dad is a doctor, he was reportedly in the room with George Smith before he disappeared and he is a key piece in the puzzle for this investigation.

GREGORY: Because he was one of the last, allegedly, to see him alive?

FILAN: That’s exactly right, and if you recall, the next door passenger who heard the altercation and the thud, opened his door, and saw, after the altercation and the thud, the two Russians and the California teen walking down the hallway.

GREGORY: And that next door passenger has a lot of credibility, he’s former law enforcement, correct?

FILAN: That is absolutely right.

GREGORY: How about the credibility of the guy we see on the tape, Josh?

FILAN: Well there are some inconsistencies in what he is saying, versus what the passenger is saying, versus what the investigation has yielded, nonetheless, law enforcement is certainly focusing in on him as somebody with a the key piece to this puzzle.  

GREGORY: Can you give us an idea about the inconsistencies? How does it match up in your book?

FILAN: Well in my book, to say essentially that we left him alive and well is inconsistent with the thud, the altercation and of course that bloody print that we’ve all seen on the awning, that’s certainly inconsistent.

GREGORY: And he said that he left George alone in the room, that his wife was not there. Is that inconsistent as well?

FILAN: No that’s not inconsistent. Reports say that she was so inebriated that she left the place where they were all partying and went up to some lounge area and passed out on her own. So it isn’t inconsistent that she wasn’t in the room.

Another inconsistency is that he says that George was quite happy, and yet to try to explain the drops of blood in the room was some kind of cut. They’re saying that maybe he was so angry that he was banging furniture around, that doesn’t make sense either.

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