Guest: Keith Greer; Beth Holloway Twitty, Jim Walker, Mary Fulginiti
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Hey, thanks, Rita, I‘ll tell you what, that‘s going to be explosive tomorrow in the courtroom. I can‘t wait to watch it to see what happens. Looking forward to that show.
But tonight‘s top headline in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘ve got another SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. You‘re not going to believe this one. Two more cruise passengers come forward, and they tell us what they heard and saw the night American groom George Smith disappeared from his Mediterranean honeymoon, and get this, they were next door, and they put two cruise line employees at his cabin around the time of his presumed death.
And, it‘s nearly three months since Natalee disappeared. Now her mom‘s in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to tell us that Aruban authorities simply refuse to share information with them, but with time running out, can she get the answers she needs?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room to the courtroom to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Good evening. Tonight, more exclusive information in the case of missing American groom, George Smith, who vanished from his honeymoon cruise ship more than a month ago, and in just minutes we are going to take you live and talk to two passengers who stayed next door to George Smith IV, and his wife, Jennifer. What they heard on that night and what they saw will have a major impact in this case. I know it‘s not going to shock you, but after they saw SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, they contacted the FBI, and once again, we are working to break this case, and you know what, if nobody else is going to do it, if the authorities aren‘t going to do it, we‘re going to do it, and we‘re getting closer every single night.
But first, in Aruba, man, I wish we could break the case there, because Natalee‘s mom, Beth Holloway Twitty, continues to fight her fight for justice. She comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY now to respond to reports that chief suspect Joran van der Sloot may be a sexual predator. We‘re going to have that in just a minute, and you‘re not going to want to miss it.
But first, let‘s go live to Aruba right now and talk to NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski.
Michelle, we‘re hearing, again, chief suspect Joran van der Sloot has not been questioned by authorities for nearly a full week. Do you know why?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well today that‘s the first we heard of it. It‘s been an entire week. No questioning by those Dutch interrogation experts. This is a big change from the two weeks where we saw him grilled every single day, from early in the morning sometimes until well into the afternoon.
His attorneys tell me the interrogators are going back to their files, possibly to come up with a new strategy, because you know, every time they try to talk to him, he shuts up, stays quiet, invokes his right to silence. We also saw him in court today along with his attorneys, fighting prosecutors, trying to get more access to their files, and they‘re also trying to stop the FBI from having access to the same files, but they think prosecutors are withholding some key information, including transcripts. They say the prosecutors tell them, yes, those files are open to the defense, but guess what, we, the prosecutors, are going to control what goes into that file. Defense attorneys don‘t like it. They want to stop that from happening and have full access to all documentation—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: It seems like the defense attorneys have not been getting a lot of positive rulings in the court the past couple of days. Do the prosecutors feel like momentum may be shifting their way?
KOSINSKI: They feel like they just need to try what they can. When a ruling comes down, even though the FBI issue, they felt like they didn‘t have a chance of winning that appeal or the original motion, but they felt like they needed to do it, they said, on principle, so it does seem like they‘re not getting the information they need. It seems like they‘re afraid that the prosecutors do have information that they don‘t have. In fact, they told us that point blank, so they are just trying right now. And it doesn‘t seem like the judge wants to rule in their favor on any of these motions or appeals.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski in Aruba. As always, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.
Now, last night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler Clint van Zandt came here, gave us some explosive information and told us that sources in Aruba have suggested, inside the investigation, that Joran van der Sloot is a sexual predator. Earlier tonight, I talked with Natalee‘s mom, Beth Twitty. And I asked her what her response was to that explosive new information.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE‘S MOM: Well, you know, how I‘ve heard Joran described is, you know, just think that I could arrive on the island and describe him to a hotel employee by just description, just his build, his height, you know, a little bit about his—you know, from his coloring to hair, and, you know, they already knew who he was. They called him—someone here on the island who tends to prey upon tourists, European and American tourists, you know, so I think he has a pretty well known reputation on the island. I don‘t think that‘s a surprise to anybody. That...
SCARBOROUGH: So you‘re telling me that when you first got on the island you went to these people who didn‘t know who you were, had no idea about Natalee, but you just offered a general description. They say, “oh, yeah, that‘s the guy that preys on American girls and European girls that visit the island.”
TWITTY: Absolutely. Now, they didn‘t have his full name. We had a piece of his name, and they had the rest of it, and we were able to put it together, and they knew exactly who—they know exactly who he is, who he was and who he is.
SCARBOROUGH: So if they know who he is, certainly it‘s a small enough island that the police and the investigators have to know who he is. Do you believe, from everything you‘ve learned about the Aruban authorities, that they are operating under the theory that this kid, this—I call him a “punk” because I think the name fits, is a sex predator, and their only goal is trying to break him down to get him to talk, to tell the truth about what really happened to your daughter?
TWITTY: You know, I think that they have known that Joran has this past. I mean, he has been entering Carlos and Charlie‘s probably since the age of 16. He‘s been gambling senselessly at all of the casinos, even had an open—has an open line of credit at one of them. And, you know, what‘s so frustrating to me is, I spoke with the detectives June 1, and I asked them, is there anything that stands out in Joran van der Sloot‘s record, is there anything in his history? Anything unusual? And I mean, I got absolutely an impeccable record as Natalee‘s, and that—you know, that just simply never true. I mean, I was blatantly lied to. I mean, I think that everyone has known that Joran has been able to, you know, have privileges and enter these establishments with no regard for law, so, you know, that just—it‘s just been devastating to us, that we‘ve had to go through this, when they knew at the beginning what type of individual he was.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s remarkable. I want to ask you about yourself, personally. I heard in an interview last night with NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski, that we played a tape on this show, you talking about how you go through phases. That this is a more difficult phase that you‘re going through, you talked about certain realization that‘s coming to you and started to tear up. Is that a phase that you‘re still going through right now, or were you just tired when you had gave that interview? What‘s your current state of mind right now?
TWITTY: Oh, Joe, every day is different. I never—I really—I never know how I‘m going to feel during the day. Sometimes I feel different from the morning than I do in the afternoon. I mean, I still wake up either mad, angry, sad, I mean, I never know. I never know, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: What makes you more angry, that Joran‘s sitting in jail, lawyered up with as many as nine lawyers and not talking, or the fact that the two Kalpoe brothers are walking the streets free on the same island where you sit tonight?
TWITTY: You know, Joe, there are probably two parts. You know, the one thing that frustrates and angers Jug and I the most is this being locked out of information, just being kept in the dark. You know, just bring us in we‘re here on the island. You know, we were so industrial in the beginning in providing them with all the information that they just let fall apart before our eyes. You know, there again, you look at Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. I think it‘s just absolutely—oh, it‘s just so disheartening to us to see them, you know, getting up and they‘re at work every day, and they‘re able to, you know, continue about their lives, and their jobs. And, you know, we‘ve absolutely no information. The only thing we know is that Deepak and Satish Kalpoe—Deepak was the driver of the vehicle that took Natalee from Carlos‘s and Charlie‘s, and, you know, it just—just saddens me and just makes me sick when I think of her climbing into the back seat of what she‘s thinking is an Aruban cab with an Aruba cab driver. It‘s just absolutely devastating.
SCARBOROUGH: And right now, of course, she would be heading off to college, heading off to the University of Alabama. Do you ever allow yourself to stop and slow down and go down that path and wrestle with that, or do you just put it behind you and say I‘ve got to charge forward, I got to keep fighting to get the Kalpoe brothers in jail and to keep Joran in jail after September 4?
TWITTY: You know, I‘ve had to—I‘ve had to face it a little bit this week of the because all the—you know, all the girls have moved into the dorms, and her roommate is in her—you know, is in her dorm, and, you know, it‘s hard, Joe. I just—I realize there‘s still a lot of work that needs to be done, and they‘ll—I just have to—I have to really try to balance it, Joe, because it‘s just not time for me to sit down and quit right now, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: What is—help—help me sort through this, and this is something I have got two teenage boys, and I‘m trying to figure out your emotions, and I know a lot of people are that have been following this case. You‘re obviously—I know it doesn‘t surprise you, there are a lot of people that believe that Natalee is no longer with us. Not too many believe that she was kidnapped or taken to Venezuela, but you get these reports of a barrel washing up or them draining a swamp or looking through trash. Is there a part of you that says “I understand if they find Natalee‘s body, that she is gone forever, but I can take her back home to Mountain Brook?” Is there a part of you that says yeah, “I hope they find her, I hope we can take her home?” Or are you still saying, “I‘ve got to stick to the belief that my daughter is alive and that‘s all I am going to focus on?”
TWITTY: Joe, we want one thing, and we want answers. That‘s all we want. You know, and we‘re—we want to take Natalee home, and we will be here, and we will keep looking for answers until we can take Natalee home, so, you know, Joe, we‘ve been through so much, besides a barrel on the beach or—Jug and I have been exposed and been through so much more that no one even knows about yet, Joe. And we just—we‘ve been through tenfold that during the month of June, that no one was even aware of, Joe, so...
SCARBOROUGH: Final question. There has been—and I know you haven‘t had time to look at this, but there has been a fierce journalistic debate about how much time news shows like this show or Rita have been following this Aruban story. Have you been surprised by the absolute remarkable reaction and the response you‘ve gotten from Americans that want to join in and help in this fight to find Natalee?
TWITTY: It‘s just been—the support that they have given Natalee, the media has been so good to Natalee, and it‘s provided, you know, a voice for her to all the citizens, and, I mean, from the United States. So, like I said, we‘ve received letters and e-mail from Mexico, to Canada. We—she and I—we‘ve just been so fortunate that people have stayed with us and carried us through this, because we would have been swept under the rug a long time ago in Aruba, Joe, a long time ago.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, there‘s no doubt. The last thing the Aruban government wants is for you to stay out there and keep fighting for justice for Natalee, and I guess they are just going to have to deal with it, until you get the answers you need. I‘m sure the fight is going to continue. Beth, thanks for being with us, as always. We really appreciate it, and like I always say, and I mean it, there‘s so many of us out there that are praying for you and your family, to carry you through during this difficult time, so you can keep up with the strength that you need to find Natalee and find the answers, so good luck and god bless you.
TWITTY: And thank you so much, Joe. OK? Everyone has just been, like you said, just absolutely incredibly supportive in carrying us through this, so thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks, Beth.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, listen, friends, I got to tell you, T.J., why don‘t you put up—go and put up the clock, here. We have got 18 days now, 18 days until Joran van der Sloot is going to either walk free or be charged and held. Just 18 days. You can make a difference by contacting your local legislators and making sure that they‘re applying pressure through the proper authorities, not only in America, but also in Holland and in Aruba. Only 18 days before Joran van der Sloot‘s judgment day.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, our exclusive investigation into what really happened to the American groom who disappeared on his bloody honeymoon cruise. The lawyer for the young man who may have been the last to see that groom is here again with more new information, and for the first time, two passengers who stayed next door to the honeymooner tell us what they heard, what they saw, and why the crew may be involved. It‘s a big night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and we are just getting started, so stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: Shocking new details coming straight ahead in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY from the next-door neighbor of the missing honeymooner and his wife. What they tell you will change the way you‘re looking at this investigation and may place blame on crew members. That and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Honeymooners George and Jennifer Smith and what may have been some of their final moments together. Now, last night, we spoke with Keith Greer. He is the lawyer for one of the FBI‘s so-called “persons of interest,” California college student, Josh Askin. Now, he provided us with his client‘s timeline of what really happened the night George disappeared, and he said that George and Jennifer were both terribly drunk, and also, Josh said that he and some Russian-American men helped carry George back to his cabin after a long night of partying, but that his wife, Jennifer, was nowhere to be found. Now, as we continue our exclusive interview, he takes us through the critical moments on that morning of July 5 when everybody woke up to find out that something was terribly wrong.
KEITH GREER, ATTORNEY FOR JOSH ASKIN: Actually, first thing when I woke up in the morning, he was getting ready, and heard the boat paging George Smith. And actually I believe a number of times, and so he went to his statesman, who‘s the attendant for his particular cabin and mentioned to him, you may have to have somebody go knock on George‘s door, because he was drinking, obviously, a lot last night, and he might not be answering that page. They then went on their business, and the family was actually on their way off the boat to do their tour for the day. Several of the family members got through, and they have to do a little—they run their sea pass through a little machine on the way out. Well, Josh‘s didn‘t pass, and there was an alert, he wasn‘t allowed off the boat, and they brought everybody then back in and set them in a room. Josh actually was seated right next to Jennifer, at the time, and they didn‘t know what was going on. There was just a lot of chaos and uncertainty.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, the great mystery from the beginning, Keith, has been Jennifer. What happened to the bride? Why wasn‘t she there when George was supposed to wake up the next morning? What has Josh told you about Jennifer? How was she dressed? Was there any evidence that she may have been involved? What was her—what was her state of mind?
GREER: You know, interesting to step forward and step backwards there, because Josh noticed right away that morning that Jennifer was still wearing the same dress that she was wearing the night before, the same black and white dress that she was wearing the night before, and during the process, Jennifer asked Josh, “Josh, what happened? I don‘t know. I blacked out. I don‘t remember anything after the—during the disco or anything after that.” It doesn‘t—she did also—Josh recalls her saying that she had gone to the room and then back to the gym that morning, although it didn‘t quite make sense, but it looks like—it looks like she may not have made it back to the room at all. We just don‘t know.
SCARBOROUGH: So let‘s talk about the investigation. Obviously, they got Josh to the side, also got Jennifer to the side. What were the Turkish investigators asking them, and how did the investigation proceed from there?
GREER: Josh was actually sitting right next to Jennifer when the boat told her, “we think your husband is dead,” very awkward, very emotional moment. There was some interrogation at that point. They were allowed to leave the boat at that point in time, and walked out into a parking lot. You know, just off the boat there, thinking they are going to head in for a tour. They are surrounded by Turkish authorities, and are shuttled off into a Turkish police station and really something that everybody has analogized to midnight express revisited.
SCARBOROUGH: What a nightmare. So they walk off the cruise again, in a foreign country, thousands and thousands of miles away from home, and they are surrounded by Turkish police officers in a foreign country, and are not allowed back on the boat?
GREER: Foreign language, no representative of the boat, no translator, no advanced warning, thrown into the circumstance, obviously, the tapes we‘ve seen.
SCARBOROUGH: If I were in Josh‘s position, and Dr. Askin‘s position and the family‘s position, I would say, you know what, it‘s been seven, eight weeks. Enough is enough. It‘s time for Jen Hagel to talk and tell everybody what really happened. It may be embarrassing, maybe she did black out, maybe she went to places that she shouldn‘t have gone on a honeymoon, but at the same time, it seems like they are leaving Josh and these Russian kids hanging in the breeze.
GREER: You know what, if she has something to offer, yeah, that would be helpful, but everybody wants to know what went on here and put it together. I think that what‘s coming out of all of this is people are understanding that this cruise was not what it was presented as being, and the things that happened on it, the too much alcohol, the not taking care of folks when they do have that much alcohol, the, you know, crew members potentially not having professional boundaries and getting involved socially with the crew. There are things that need to be solved here. We‘re glad that the media is not letting this go, they‘re holding onto it, because somebody‘s got to fix the problem. I know the Askin family intends to move forward and make changes so this doesn‘t happen to other people. And if you look at the big picture here, had this boat been responsible and done what they should have, and we had Jennifer who was not in the custody but at least in the control of a crew member, the casino manager here, you know, after the casino closed, into the elevator, to the disco, at the disco, they know what‘s going on. They could have and should have gotten her to the room.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Keith Greer, thanks so much, and please let the entire family know that all of us are thinking about them. It‘s got to be a terribly difficult time, but you and I both know the truth is going to come out soon enough.
GREER: And then, Joe, by the way, the Askin family and Dr. Askin in particular wanted to make sure they passed on thanks to you and the crew and to Rich McCue whose been on top of the story, and working with Askins very closely on your responsible and thorough journalism. We hope you continue.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, one final thing I want to add, and that‘s certainly kind, we certainly appreciate those remarks. I want to talk about Jen for a second, obviously a lot of focus on her. And you look—I am telling you, I put the blame on the cruise. I put the blame on the cruise line, on those people. You look at Jen. Here‘s a girl, obviously young woman, very inebriated, her husband very inebriated, in these people‘s care. They‘re selling them drinks; they give them drinks for free. And what do they do? Instead of these crew members taking both of them back, being professional, putting them to bed, you know, this is just my speculation. You‘ve got Jen Hagel, who, from what I hear may have possibly blacked out, may have possibly passed out. And what happens? She‘s exploited by a crew member, who it reminds me of Joran van der Sloot, possibly, down in Aruba. I mean, these are people who are preying on young American tourists, who may be drinking irresponsibly, but instead of doing the responsible thing, taking them back to their room, they try to possibly exploit them and tragedy follows.
I‘ll tell you what, now, friends, one clarification, in our interview last night, Mr. Greer speculated about Mr. Smith‘s final moments. How he may have possibly gone overboard, possibly killed himself. Tonight, he wanted me to set the record straight and sent this comment to us.
Quote, “The Askins have asked me to clarify that they are not issuing any opinion at all—no opinion at all, as to the cause of Mr. Smith‘s going overboard and they hope that this question will be answered during the course of the investigation.”
Coming up straight ahead, a major exclusive in this case. You‘re not going to believe what you‘re going to hear next. These two people were staying in the room next door to George and Jennifer. Tonight, they‘re here to tell us what they heard and what they saw and what may have been George‘s final moments alive. New details you haven‘t heard, and that you need to hear if you want to understand what really happened.
And also, did the cruise company bungle this investigation and this case from the start, and an industry insider gives SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and you the real inside scoop.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, another break in the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY investigation of the Mediterranean murder mystery. George and Jen smith‘s next-door neighbors on that cruise tell us about George‘s final chaotic members and places two crew members at the site of his disappearance. But first, the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Both families silence, since George vanished. Tonight, we hear from a reporter who talked to Jen‘s mother just hours ago, a glimpse at the ordeal, the living hell that she is going through.
And new tough questions tonight about how the cruise company handled this investigation from the very beginning. Welcome back, friends, to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We‘ll get to those parts of the story in just a minute, but first, another SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY exclusive. The passengers who stayed next door to the honeymooners have come forward with new details.
Greg and Pat join us now. Thank you so much for being with us. Greg, let‘s just jump right in it.
GREG, STAYED NEXT DOOR TO SMITH: Hi Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: What happened that night that George disappeared? What did you hear?
GREG: Hi, Joe. Thanks for having us on. That night, we were obviously in the cabin next door, and this was the early morning of July 5. We were having a wake-up call early because we were on a day trip that day. Normally that‘s what we did on the cruise. We went to bed early and got up early, probably a little different schedule than what you saw of the Smith‘s. We never saw them, we never ran into them, and we only really knew what they looked like after we got back and really saw them on the media. But about, I would say, 3:30 in the morning, that fateful morning, there was some voices outside, and it sounded like it was maybe in the hallway. I heard what I would consider to be an American accented voice of a male, and he said something to the effect of, you know, “take it easy, George,” or “take care, George.” And my wife heard more clearly some other male voices, and I‘ll let her describe a little bit about those.
SCARBOROUGH: What were they saying, Pat?
PAT, STAYED NEXT DOOR TO SMITH: Well, all of the voices were very kind. That was the first thing that I noticed. The young boy sounded like a teenager. He did sound like a young voice. And I heard two voices that were a little quieter. I perceived them to be police officers or somebody from the cruise ship because I did not see them, but I perceived them to be somebody that was helping someone to the room, and they also were speaking very kindly, there was no kind of altercation, and my perception at the time was that they were taking someone who was possibly drunk back to their room and getting them settled down. And the words we heard were, “settle down, George,” and that was that. And that was the last thing that we heard in the way of voices that entire evening.
SCARBOROUGH: So the voices—about 4:00, though, about 30 minutes later, though, everything just exploded, and you started hearing things being thrown around the room, is that right?
GREG: Exactly right. What happened, maybe 15 minutes, maybe 30 minutes later, after those voices basically stopped, it sounded like somebody in the cabin next door was trashing the room. It sounded to me like somebody was in there just throwing furniture around, and the curious thing about that during that short period of time, there were no voices during that episode. It just was a lot of thumping and throwing things around, and that period of time ended with one big thump, and it sounded to me like somebody picked up the couch and threw it against the wall, and then it went quiet. Then it went absolutely quiet.
PAT: And then we...
PAT: We—I‘m sorry.
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead, Pat. I‘m sorry. Go ahead. We have a delay here. Go.
PAT: I was going to say the thing that was unusual too, because we were looking at each other, and we were thinking, “Boy, do we have to report this,” because it was getting a little noisy, and I was saying, “What in the heck are they throwing around,” but there was not one voice. There was no—there were no grunts. There were no sounds of pain. There was no form of altercation in terms of verbalization. It was just physical. That‘s all that we heard. And when it stopped...
SCARBOROUGH: So it did—yeah, it didn‘t sound like a fight was going on? I‘m wondering though, you just said, Greg, that it sounded like around 4:15, 4:20, that somebody threw a couch up against the wall. In retrospect, it sounds an awful lot like what Clete Hyman said, around 4:15, he heard a sickening thud. In retrospect, do you think that may have been George‘s body hitting the deck?
GREG: Yeah, I think it probably could have been, because I think our stories are consistent in that area. About the same time, and about this one big thud, so I think they are consistent there.
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about—go ahead, Pat.
PAT: No, I am waiting for you, sir.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, OK. Now, this is the part of the story that is new. You all—you all, obviously you and—your timeline and Clete Hyman‘s timeline just is almost lined up right atop of each other. But then you say around 4:30 or so, you heard knocks on the door and you looked outside of your door after the thud. And what did you all see?
GREG: Well, yeah, this occurred. The thud—after the thud, it went quiet for a while, and then we heard a little tap, tap, tap at the door. My wife nudged me and said, “Greg there‘s somebody at the door,” and I said, “no, it‘s next door.” So another little tap, tap, tap, and she says, “There‘s somebody at the door.” So I get up. I open the door, and I lean out, and I see two Royal Caribbean staff members knocking at the door of the George Smith cabin, and there was two of them, and they—I could tell they were Royal Caribbean because they had the white shirts on with the black pants and the “RC” on the shoulder. And I‘ll tell you exactly what I said to those guys. I said, “Hey, you guys, you better get in there, because that room is trashed.” Now, they didn‘t say anything. They sort of gave me the hi sign like, OK, something like that. So I went back to bed, and it went quiet again, and then maybe 15 minutes later, another tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap at the door, and I ignored it that time. I stayed in bed, so my conclusion on all of that is they really didn‘t enter the room, and that‘s puzzling because something really happened in that room, and I would have expected them to, you know, use their master key or their master card slightly open the door of the room and say, this is security, is there anything wrong in here, and that never happened.
SCARBOROUGH: But you had...
PAT: And someone must have reported it.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m sorry. Go ahead?
PAT: I was going to say—I was going to say, someone must have reported to security that there was an altercation or noise or something, because I don‘t know why security would have shown up. And the only reason I wanted my husband to answer the door was I thought they were knocking on ours, and that they thought perhaps we had made the noise. But, no one went in, that we can perceive.
SCARBOROUGH: Did you see anything on them that made them look like they were security? Obviously they were wearing the Royal Caribbean shirts, and they were crew members. But did you see handcuffs, gun, anything on there, badge, that would give away the fact they were security, or could they have just been some other employees that may have known Mr. Smith?
GREG: Yeah, there wasn‘t anything on their person. They didn‘t have any flashlights or guns or handcuffs or any of that stuff that would give them away, you know, clearly as a security personnel. They looked like just one of the normal staff people on ship there.
SCARBOROUGH: Greg and Pat, can you give me a description of these two men? Obviously if, in fact, they entered that room, then they‘re going to be prime suspects regardless. The fact that they were at the door that night is very suspicious. Describe the two people that you saw, the two men you saw standing outside of George Smith‘s door at 4:30 in the morning.
GREG: Yeah, they were not big guys. You know, if there was an altercation in the room next door and they were going to send up some security people, I would have expected they would have sent up some more bulky fellows up there to take care of business, but these were small guys. One was a Filipino, maybe 5‘8”, 5‘9”, one was even shorter, maybe a Caucasian guy, with a cropped haircut, and then a beard and mustache. But they were not big guys, just looked like regular guys you meet on the street, and they didn‘t look like they were menacing in any way.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I‘ll tell you what, Greg. It‘s a...
PAT: I didn‘t see them.
SCARBOROUGH: And you didn‘t see them, Pat.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I‘ll tell you, Greg, that certainly does not sound, obviously, you basically alluded to it, certainly doesn‘t sound like security officers to me. If you‘re going to send somebody up when you have big altercation late in the night or early in the morning, you‘re going to send up big security guards to take care of it. Tell you what, this is raising a lot of questions about the Royal Caribbean crew and the timeline. I‘m going to show you all when we come back a timeline of what we are figuring out in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and I am going to ask Greg and Pat if the FBI ever contacted them, just like, well, I don‘t think they did, just like they didn‘t contact Clete Hyman either.
Coming up next, more of our exclusive story, plus our investigation into the investigation of the missing honeymoon cruise. That‘s when we come back.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Greg and Pat were in the cabin next door to the newlyweds, and missing newlywed George Smith, and they have come forward to tell us what they saw. I tell you I want to reset this, and let you all know in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, this is a new timeline that we‘ve established tonight, and let‘s walk through it.
At 3:45, they heard voices from Smith‘s cabin. At 4:00 to 4:15, they heard the room being trashed; 4:15 to 4:30, around 4:15, actually, heard a loud thud, about the same time Clete Hyman said he heard, quote, “A sickening thud.” At 4:30 a.m., they heard knocking on Smith‘s door. And at 4:30, they saw two Royal Caribbean employees at that door, again, of slight build, one Filipino and one Caucasian.
Let me go back to you. I want to ask you, Greg, I was shocked when we had Clete Hyman on here, a guy that was right next door on the other side of the smith‘s room, that the first time the FBI learned the information that Mr. Hyman brought forward, to establish the first timeline, was when they were watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Did you get a call from the FBI To figure out what was going on in this case?
GREG: Well, that‘s, I tell you, Joe, that‘s a little bit troubling because I had expected from the very beginning that the FBI would get themselves involved. I actually expected they might send somebody, maybe a team onto the ship itself to, you know; preserve the crime scene, or the scene of the accident. But they never called me, and I eventually through the media, through a television show, saw a number that I called to the FBI office there in Connecticut, and I finally hooked up with the manager that was in charge of the investigation for the FBI, so I made the call to the FBI and I had a chat with him. He indicated he had my statement that was made to the Royal Caribbean attorneys that came on board and that he was happy I called him, and he indicated that, “thanks for the information” and then an FBI representative from the field office here locally would be contacting me and coming up for an interview, and I never got a call.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s unbelievable...
GREG: That whole process...
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead.
GREG: That process is a little bit troubling. Well, it‘s troubling because the—one of the reasons I called and got a hold of you all is that I was troubled by the lack of aggressive approach by the FBI on this case.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, we are basically carrying the FBI‘s bags. I mean, when I was in Congress, I always supported the FBI I had great respect for the men and women that work in the FBI, they‘re professionals, but in this case, it sounds like they are thumbing it in, and you come on with this information that, again, helps move the case forward, and, yeah, you‘re just right next door to them, and they don‘t contact you. I can‘t believe it. Now, you know you all are not in the business of doing this, but again, you and Clete Hyman that night were closer than anybody else to this cabin. What do you think happened to George Smith, IV?
GREG: Well, I tell you, before I seen a lot of the newscasts and other things, I had thought originally that it was just some guy that got inebriated, maybe had a fight with his wife and just tore apart the room, because of the lack of voices that occurred during that period of time, but let me tell you a little bit of hearsay. After I talked to some of the other passengers, one guy was two doors down, we was a surgeon in the trauma center in Connecticut. He said two things were particularly peculiar with him. He said, No. 1, a fall of that nature does not generate that much blood on the awning above the boats downstairs of the a lot of blood does not generally occur. He says there‘s generally broken bones, internal injuries, and that sort of thing. But a lot of blood as a result of that just doesn‘t make sense. He said the other thing that puzzles him, and again, this is hearsay, but the blood was too far out from the plane of the deck, where the balcony was. He said, that body was propelled out there. It just didn‘t fall off.
So I started thinking to myself, something has gone haywire here, and this doesn‘t make sense, because there‘s too many loose ends here that don‘t make sense, and I think there‘s probably some foul play there because apparently the man, George Smith had a bunch of money from the casino, and they were bragging about how much money they had, and there‘s something that doesn‘t make sense here.
PAT: And my input is...
SCARBOROUGH: Sure, go ahead.
PAT: That I have no idea, really. I‘ve every type of scenario run through my head, but the only thing that concerns me is that never have I really given a deposition to somebody that was a legal entity. I—all along kept saying to my husband, “Isn‘t somebody other than an insurance representative going to speak with us,” and my concern was that even when they said that FBI had our deposition, I didn‘t ask for a copy of my deposition, so I really wasn‘t sure what the legal person from the Royal Caribbean had turned over to the FBI, so that was my main concern, and actually I don‘t know what happened. I could run this through my mind many, many different ways. But I do think that you should be speaking to people when the accident or whatever happened, occurs, not three and four weeks later.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. And I will tell you what, Pat, they just haven‘t done it. It‘s been a horrible investigation. Not only by the cruise line, which we are going to talk about in a second, but also, unfortunately, for the FBI. Thank you all so much for being with us. I know that the Smith‘s have to be grateful that you are coming forward, and other people like you coming forward, to break this investigation open, and when we come back, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going to be investigating the investigation itself, with an insider, a maritime attorney, who is going to tell you what is really going on here. That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Now let‘s quickly bring in maritime attorney, Jim Walker, and former federal prosecutor, Mary Fulginiti, also Lisa Salvati from NBC‘s Hartford station, WVIT, who‘s been covering the story.
Jim, let‘s go to you first. Two crew members tapping on the door in the middle of the night, they come back again, tap again. What‘s it all mean? Should we be focusing a lot more on these crew members?
JIM WALKER, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Sure, you should, Joe. You know, what did the cruise line tell us six weeks ago? They were blaming Mr. Smith. They said he was intoxicated and probably fell overboard. They wanted us to believe that there was not a crime. There needs to be a federal, congressional investigation into this type of cruise line‘s activities. We‘ve been suggesting for years that you need federal marshals, federal law enforcement officers on the ship to prevent the crimes and to have experts there to investigate them.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary Fulginiti, two crew members, obviously not security guards at the scene of the crime, alleged crime, at a critical moment. What‘s it mean?
MARY FULGINITI, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, it definitely fits into the timeframe, I have to say, that we‘ve been hearing from other sources. The fact, though, that they knocked on the door is important information, because they could have been, you know, two of the last people to see George Smith, but we don‘t have anything to really confirm that. We don‘t know if they entered the room. We don‘t know if they talked to George Smith. We don‘t know if they just walked away. We don‘t even really know why they were there. We‘re assuming they could have been there, under one theory that you know, there were complaints. So, there‘s still too many questions that are a little bit unanswered at the moment for us to draw real conclusions, but what is important is it does fit into this time frame, and it‘s clear at that moment in time, either they saw him or they didn‘t see him, and hopefully they‘ll be able to tell us a little bit more about, you know, what actually happened to him.
SCARBOROUGH: Lisa Salvati, you actually had quite an interview today.
Tell me about it.
LISA SALVATI, WVIT-TV CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, I walked into Debbie Hagel‘s, Jennifer‘s mom, her real estate business today, and I walked in, and her office was to the side, there was a glass window. She saw me walk in, and our eyes met, the look of pain on this woman‘s face. I think she had an idea of who I was, before I even introduced myself. As if she was checking out everyone that‘s walking into her business now and looking at them differently, and I walked into her office, Joe, and she got up from her desk. I introduced myself as a local reporter here in Hartford, Connecticut, and she just came over to me and said, I can‘t talk to you. I asked her how her daughter was doing. And she said again, I can‘t talk to you, looking at me, looking down, the look of pain, Joe, on this mother‘s face. I have interviewed many parents who have lost children in the most tragic of circumstances, and I have never seen such a painful, severe look of pain on a mother‘s face before.
SCARBOROUGH: I can‘t imagine the hell that she is going through, her daughter is going through, that entire family, what they are going through.
WALKER: That‘s right.
SCARBOROUGH: Jim, it seems to me that the pain can be eased if the FBI would do their investigation and figure out who was responsible for this. Why are they not doing it? Why is the cruise line not doing it?
WALKER: Well, the cruise line is doing their own investigation that they‘ll never tell us about to protect their own interests. What we see in case after case, passengers come to us, not just because they are a victim of crime, and not there seeking compensation, they‘re there out of complete frustration that no one is contacting them, no one seems to investigate it, and eventually the FBI does not recommend any charges, and they are left with no place to go other than to an attorney, to bring a lawsuit against a cruise line, to try to find the true facts.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. We‘re up on a hard break. I‘m so sorry, we have to go. I could talk to you all all night. Thanks Lisa, Mary, and Jim, greatly appreciate it. We‘ll be right back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in just a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks to the viewers of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY we together are breaking this case. If you were on the cruise ship and have information, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we can solve this case.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks to the viewers of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. In the works of Ron Burgundy, “Stay classy San Diego” because the “Situation” with Tucker Carlson stars right now with Allison Stewart.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.