Guests: Jim Nolan, Corrine Ferrell, Rod Wheeler, Walter Zalisko, Wendy
Murphy, Kato Kaelin, Wesley Cordova, Henry Rossbacher, Brian Hart, Frank
Souse, John Katsilometes
RITA COSBY, HOST: And tonight, a dramatic turn in the mystery of a groom who vanished on his honeymoon cruise. For the first time, you‘ll hear what his parents‘ say. And why are they taking action right now.
And late tonight, some unhappy customers are going after TV guru Dr. Phil. They say his diet plan was a bunch of baloney. And they want him to pay.
Plus, why was O.J. Simpson at a horror film convention on the 10 year anniversary of his bombshell not guilty verdict? America‘s favorite house guest Kato Kaelin joins me LIVE & DIRECT.
But first, we begin with missing university student Taylor Behl. Tonight, we hear from her for the very first time, through her own words online. Several of her blogs and online chats have now been uncovered. And they may provide investigators with some new leads and insight into what she was thinking at the time of her disappearance.
Joining us now live on the phone is reporter Jim Nolan from the “Richmond Times-Dispatch” newspaper. Jim, what do you know?
JIM NOLAN, RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH (via telephone): Well Rita, Taylor Behl has been writing and corresponding on Internet for actually several years now. And that activity picked up a little bit as she was preparing to leave from Vienna, Virginia which is where she grew up and coming to V.C.U., Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
She on her Web site, under the user name Bitter announced the fact that she was coming to college. She said she was looking forward to meeting friends. She said she was interesting in dating, and making new friends and meeting people. And as we know already, she did have a few contacts there, namely Ben Fawley, one of the people who has been described as a person of interest in the investigation as well as a couple of friends with whom she corresponded on the Internet.
COSBY: And Jim, hang on if you could, because I want to bring in right now former homicide detective Rod Wheeler and also one of Taylor Behl‘s closest friends, Corrine Ferrell.
Corrine, I want to show you one of Taylor‘s Online writings. Very interesting. She saying, I‘m so blank tired of everyone making decisions in my best interest. Don‘t I get a blank, blank say? No, sorry, not until you‘re 18.” Some of these writings, of course, have been over the years as Jim as saying. Some of them have been very recent, soon before her departure. Was she upset? Was she angry?
CORRINE FERRELL, TAYLOR BEHL‘S FRIEND: No, I mean, I guess, every 17-year-old feels that way. It‘s sort of a rite of passage to turn 18. I guess she was sort of feeling dramatic.
COSBY: Yeah, although, you know, one of the things she seems very dramatic. She says in one blog, “I know now that everyone is useless and really doesn‘t care.” Let me read that again. “I know now that everyone is useless and really doesn‘t care.” It sounds like she was depressed.
FERRELL: You know, when I was around her, she always seemed really happy, and fun and like loving. She would always just do the best things. Anytime you needed something, she would do it. So, I mean, I guess for the people she really cared about she made a difference in their lives, you know? Like, she rules.
COSBY: Was she upset about anything? I mean, was it to the point that maybe she would have run away?
FERRELL: I don‘t think, you know, I‘m not even sure. I just think teenagers get upset about boys and stuff and their jobs and their mom and their dad. She was going away to school. She was really excited.
COSBY: That‘s good to hear.
Let me bring in Rod Wheeler. Stay with us Corrine, I definitely want to bring in Rod. Rod, what are your impressions when you hear this into her mind (ph). Is it a typical teenager, or is it someone who seems disturbed.
ROD WHEELER, FORMER HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: That‘s right. Well, you know, unfortunately, nowadays Rita, if you can hear me OK. Nowadays what happens with these Internet chat rooms and blog sites, there‘s actually sexual predators that actually scour these sites looking for individuals, so it‘s really a good idea not to put your whereabouts or where you‘re going to be located at all on those sites.
Now, that obviously could have happened here with Taylor. But at the same time, I think there‘s a lot of hidden messages behind some of the writings that Taylor actually put on her blog site. And I can tell you that the police are utilizing that information as I speak to try to gain a profile as to exactly what was on Taylor‘s mind at or around the time she disappeared.
COSBY: And what do you read into it, Rod?
WHEELER: Well, what I find so far, Rita from reading published reports and actually having some actual sources on the police department down there, they‘re actually beginning to wonder whether or not someone was really trying to find out exactly her location and where she was located, because she was on the Internet pretty regularly rather frequently. And I can tell you that the focus of the police investigation right now is exactly that, the Internet chat site.
COSBY: And she put out a—let me show you another e-mail. This was a response actually. She said, everybody sort tell me about your memories of me. Good and bad. And this who is Skulz67 -- we now know that Skulz67 was one of the names of Ben Fawley, this photographer with whom she had a relationship. And Ben Fawley responded to her e-mail request, and he says, quote, this very Skulz67, Ben Fawley, “this very attractive girl climbed up into my bunk at 407,” putting his address, “the last girl to do so before the move.”
Taylor Behl responds, well, I was curious. Skulz says, “so was I. In fact, I still am.” Corrine, how do you read that?
FERRELL: Never saw that on her journal. I looked at it every so often. She would send me messages or she would write me something funny about me. And people would tell me something funny about me, and I‘d check it. But, you know, I really don‘t know about that. I just think that he may have let out a little bit of their private life. That may have been, maybe something she didn‘t want to see, maybe something she didn‘t want other people to know about. I guess that‘s probably what happened.
COSBY: Corrine, did she ever tell you about her relationship with Ben Fawley?
FERRELL: I mean, I knew about her relationship with him. But I did not know him. I had assumed that it just ended after they had met a few times. But as far as I know, it was over when she left Richmond the third time.
COSBY: And Corrine, she has got a lot of friends. In fact, she had 92 friends, quote, online. Was there anyone who was angry at her?
FERRELL: I don‘t—nobody but me for driving my car away or something. No. I don‘t think anyone would be angry at her. She‘s so sweet and so caring. She just loved everybody.
COSBY: What do you make, Rod, of Ben Fawley?
WHEELER: Well, I can tell you right now that Ben Fawley is exactly the type of person I was talking about earlier, Rita, an individual that actually scours the site, meets females—actually, you know what they do? They lure these females to their apartments, or to their residences and they typically hang around college campuses. Now right now, Ben Fawley is still a person of interest, but I can also tell you that the Richmond Police Department are looking at other individuals in that area as well.
COSBY: And Jim Nolan, let me go back to you, because I hear that this investigation is hot, that there may be some progress. Are you getting any sense that they may be closing in on someone?
NOLAN: Well, certainly, Rita, they are making progress. And they do have people of interest. And Mr. Fawley is one of them.
It‘s interesting that we‘re talking about the Internet. I think now -
these days it‘s very easy for people to read a lot into what they see on the Internet. We all know a lot of it‘s not true. We all know some of the things we write in the heat of the moment always things that we mean the next day.
For me, the most compelling part about the Internet interaction between Taylor Behl and Benjamin Fawley is really revolving around Fawley himself and the report that made to police of allegedly being abducted the night after Taylor Behl was last seen. Now in that report, he says a number of things about his abduction, doesn‘t get specific. He talks a lot about unknown factors. In his on-line posting, however, he gets much more specific. And he says some things.
And when we talk about investigators and what they‘re looking at when they look at that Internet, they‘re looking for contradictions. They have already spoken to a number of people with whom Taylor corresponded on the Internet. One of them being Ben Fawley. They now have two versions of a story that he‘s told. And you can bet that they‘re comparing those two versions, his Internet version and the version he filed to them and looking for inconsistencies, the same type of process is what they‘re going through with another people with whom Taylor has corresponded on the Internet.
COSBY: Great points. And of course, the big question is why is he lying? Why does one story not match up with the other? All of you, thank you very much.
Now, let‘s move on to another big story, it‘s been three months since honeymooner George Smith went missing from a cruise ship. Now, on what would have been his 27th birthday, his family is finally speaking out.
In a written statement, they say, quote, “We miss George so much. He was so loved by us all. And we feel thankful to have had him in our lives however long. George was a gift to us all.”
And now Connecticut Congressman Chris Shea says he wants to hold congressional hearings into the cruise industry. Joining us now is Florida police chief Walter Zalisko who was also a passenger on that same cruise. And former prosecutor Wendy Murphy.
Chief, let me start with you. What do you think of these idea of congressional hearings, the idea of hearings? Is it finally about time? And why did it take three months?
CHIEF WALTER ZALISKO, PASSENGER ON SMITH‘S CRUISE: Hi. Good evening, Rita. Yeah. I think it‘s a great opportunity for our Congress to look into this issue because the cruise line industry is really not regulated as far as the international cruising that‘s involved with—although we may implement some regulations here in the United States on cruise lines and how they hire personnel and how they set standards for these individuals. It‘ll become a little more difficult to enforce those regulations internationally. So I think they need to look at that in general as a whole on how the entire international scene could help regulate the international cruise lines.
COSBY: And Wendy, aren‘t you stunned? Three months, finally someone‘s coming up with the idea that now we need to look into this?
WENDY MURPHY, PROSECUTOR: I‘m sorry...
COSBY: Wendy, go ahead.
MURPHY: That to me, Rita?
MURPHY: Look, there‘s no question that it‘s important the family speak out. And it‘s unfortunately, frankly, that they took this long. I don‘t know what they‘re going through. I‘m sure they‘re terribly sad. But it‘s hard at this point to whip the public into a frenzy and to be angry and to want something to happen, because there hasn‘t been a face, a live, sobbing face attached to this case since it happened. And the sad thing is, this case was going on right when Natalee Holloway‘s case was very much in the news, and we all felt something for Natalee‘s mother, because she was on every program all the time, as she should have been, because that‘s what you have to do when somebody is murdered on foreign soil. In particular, you have to pound the pavement, you have to be out there on the airwaves.
COSBY: What about the industry? Are you surprised it has taken three months for someone to call for hearings to look into the industry?
MURPHY: Well, but I think that‘s partly the problem that I‘m trying to address, Rita, is that why would they have done it sooner? There was nobody screaming and yelling about it. I mean, Congress doesn‘t act unless somebody is pounding their doors too, and that just hasn‘t happened in this case. It is about time, and sadly, Congress sometimes doesn‘t act until there‘s a terrible disaster. But you know, the family, I think in particular, could have had a hand in making Congress move more quickly.
COSBY: Now, a great point. Let me show a quote, in fact. This is from the family‘s statement, if I could. “We believe our silence has been our strength, for it allows the investigation to move more swiftly forward without any unnecessary interference.”
You know, Chief, I have to agree with Wendy. Why did they remain silent? They could have taken advantage of the press and said, please, everybody with leads, please come forward. You never know what could have popped up.
ZALISKO: Most certainly, if they came forward into the press, that would have generated a lot of interest in this. But I think they were kind of cooperating with the wishes of the FBI, who were conducting this investigation, and they‘ve asked them to remain silent until this point. But you‘re right, they should have come forward much earlier.
COSBY: And Chief, is that fishy, isn‘t it, kind of interesting? I kept saying, where is the family?
ZALISKO: Exactly, where is the family of both, you know, the bride and the groom. They should have been out there right away, the first day. I understand that they did fly over to Greece and they conducted searches in Grecian waters, but they should have been here and should have had our congresspeople looking into this immediately.
COSBY: And speaking—we‘re looking at the picture. This is the sort of the blood stain that was on the ledge. And I want to ask you then a question real quick, but first, the FBI also sent some letters to passengers and crewmembers—this was back in July—asking for information. I want to show a quote from the letter, we‘ve obtained it. It says: “Numerous individuals have been interviewed, some of whom have come forward with relevant, useful and detailed information.”
Walter, you were on that cruise. Did the FBI contact you? Did they say that they gave you—that you got any helpful information to pass on?
ZALISKO: Rita, I did receive a letter. The letter was postmarked August 20th. However, the letter actually was dated July 27th. So it took them a month to mail that letter to me. I did receive that letter, and really, we couldn‘t offer any relevant information as to the actual crime itself.
COSBY: And, Wendy, I want to go back to that picture of the blood stain that was shown on the boat. This is from a passenger. Does anything look fishy to you here, Wendy? Just a simple accident, that it has taken so long, so little clues?
MURPHY: You know, I don‘t think anybody with a brain believes that this was some kind of accident. I think there‘s no question that the folks involved believe this was a homicide. And the sad part is, this happened on foreign soil, where people don‘t care as much about an American citizen‘s life as they should. And it happened on a cruise ship, where there‘s a tremendous incentive for them to sweep this under the rug because of how much money it costs when the public starts to think they might be killed.
So the important point here is that this case could have and should have been solved immediately, but with this passage of time, we may well see this as a case that is going to end just like the Natalee Holloway case, I fear.
COSBY: Well, let‘s hope with the congressional hearings starting and let‘s hope that that does have and puts some more attention on it. Both of you, thank you very much.
ZALISKO: Thank you.
COSBY: And coming up, there‘s a lot more tonight. A shocking turn of events in another boat mystery. Did negligence cause a deadly accident?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY (voice-over): Still ahead, nightmare on the lake. More than 20 people thrown to their deaths as their tour boat turns upside-down. Is another boat captain to blame?
And “Extreme Makeover” turns to extreme tragedy. They said they would make a woman pretty, but they backed out. Now, the producers are blamed for a horrible suicide.
And what was O.J. Simpson doing this weekend at a horror film convention? Now, a decade after the bombshell not guilty verdict, is anyone closer to finding the real killer?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above-entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.
COSBY: Kato Kaelin joins me LIVE & DIRECT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above-entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: We all remember where we were when we heard that stunning verdict 10 years ago today. Former football star O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. Plenty of characters came to the forefront of that trial, including America‘s favorite house guest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And where did that noise seem to be coming from?
KATO KAELIN, WITNESS, O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL: From the back of the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From behind you, from where you were sitting?
KAELIN: Right, from behind the wall, from where I was sitting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: LIVE & DIRECT tonight, from Los Angeles, my pal, Kato Kaelin. He was, of course, O.J. Simpson‘s house guest. He‘s now the host of a new TV show called “Eye for an Eye.”
Kato, can you believe it‘s been 10 years?
KAELIN: I cannot believe it‘s been 10 years. I‘ve been your friend now for 10 years, Rita. That‘s the exciting part.
COSBY: And you‘ve known O.J. how much longer?
KAELIN: Um, well, gosh, not much longer, 1993.
COSBY: Now, what did you make of the fact this weekend he was at this horror convention, signing autographs? What did you make of that?
KAELIN: Well, you know what, I saw it actually on the news today. I didn‘t know that—he said he didn‘t know he was at a horror convention signing autographs. I mean, I don‘t know how many people don‘t know where they‘re going to be signing autographs. So I thought—I was sort of—you know, that‘s a tough one, to be signing autographs at a horror convention. I don‘t know if I‘d have my agent after that. It‘s kind of a weird situation. You‘re signing I guess Halloween masks and hockey masks, so.
COSBY: Yeah, it was very strange. When was the last time you‘ve talked to him, Kato? Have you had any contact?
KAELIN: No, actually no contact at all. Last time was actually during the civil trial, the deposition. And it was sitting at a table, answering questions. And that wasn‘t really in the conversation.
COSBY: Now, as you look back, how would your life have been different, you know, if the case had not happened?
KAELIN: You know, it‘s, Rita, a double-edged sword. I really don‘t know. I know the week before everything happened, I read a part for a movie called “Dumb & Dumber.” Things were kind of happening, and everything stopped in my life. So, who is to say?
I tell you what, though, my goals haven‘t changed. I am still pursuing the acting field. I‘m blessed right now. I have got three different shows going on. And I‘m blessed. And things are going so well. Really happy about that.
COSBY: Now, you have this show, this reality show, “Eye For An Eye.” It‘s sort of like a courtroom drama/reality show, tell us about it. It‘s interesting.
KAELIN: It‘s more court dramady, I think. It‘s—you know, licensed by National Lampoon, so right there tells you it‘s going to be wacky. And I host the show. Think “Judge Judy” meets “Jerry Springer” meets “Jackass.”
So, you have the judge by the name of Extreme Akim. And he hands down sentences with his gavel, which is not a gavel, it‘s a baseball bat of justice. The litigants to so much get money, they get revenge. It‘s an eye for an eye.
I mean, Rita, we‘ve done things like shave people‘s heads. We have this one where they were fighting over a ring. We hide it in tapioca, we slide people on hockey rinks dressed in diapers. Oh, I could go on. I‘ll tell you more.
We had a mother who was—never hung around with her daughter when she was growing up. So, we had the mother go back to the daughter and take her out to the birthday party that she missed when she was 12. She‘s 30 now. So, they did trick-or-treating. The judge does the revenge that fits the crime.
COSBY: Now, why did you want to get involved in this? What intrigued this project for you?
KAELIN: Paycheck. No.
COSBY: Was it a good paycheck, I hope?
KAELIN: It‘s going well. I did 120 episodes. 120 episodes. It‘s all over the nation. You can actually go on to this eyeforeyeeyetv.com and see where it plays in your city. And like i said, it‘s going really, really well. We‘re number one in Jacksonville, number one in Indianapolis and in Las Vegas. And it keeps growing and growing.
And I think it‘s—hopefully it‘s because all the other judge shows are the same, there‘s a verdict, and that‘s the end of the show. Our is a verdict that is revenge. And the crowd loves it. It‘s going really well. So, we‘ll see.
COSBY: It looks really fun. I mean, we‘re looking at some excerpts here. Can you walk anywhere down the street? I mean, does everybody still recognize you, Kato? What‘s your life like, just, in general?
KAELIN: You know what, it‘s getting so much better as far as people recognizing me from the show. I did a lot of shows on VH1 also, so I like it when it‘s related to those sort of things not—where‘s O.J.? Or something. And it‘s much better for me.
So, I think the more and more the show is seen, it gets better and better.
You know, how many times you can you go on an airplane and yourself Rita, when the pilot goes, hey, Kato, good to see you again. So, I think it‘s always a good sign. And it‘s an extra bag of peanuts for me.
COSBY: That‘s been happening to me a lot lately. Kato, thank you very much. And I‘m proud of you that you‘re doing great.
KAELIN: Ah Rita, you‘re the best. Also the face of Schick razors now, too. The power of four.
COSBY: Thanks. Thanks very much, Kato. Good to have you on, my friend.
And another reality show on a different network is in hot water tonight after failing to deliver on an extreme makeover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For one of you, that dream is about to come true. Now this person has no idea what‘s about to happen. Delise Williams, stand up. You‘re getting an extreme makeover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Contestant Delise Williams says ABC told her the night before her surgery, that she would no longer be on the show. And she says she was humilitated to go home empty handed. Worse than that, she claimed her relationship with her sister Kelly was so damaged by the whole experience that her sister committed suicide.
And joining us now is Delise Williams‘s attorney, Wesley Cordova.
Wesley, do you really think that the reality show is to blame? And why?
WESLEY CORDOVA, DELISE WILLIAMS‘S ATTORNEY: I absolutely do. I mean, we have a time frame we can look at. Pre-Delise‘s interaction with the show, before it happened and after it happened. And we can see the results of her interaction with the show.
COSBY: Well, let me show a little clip, if I could. This is where Delise sort of talks about her appearance, her emotions. Let‘s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you really excited for your extreme makeover?
DELISE WILLIAMS: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been waiting to do this?
WILLIAMS: Since I was a kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? What‘s the first thing you want to work on with your extreme makeover, Delise?
WILLIAMS: My teeth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your teeth. Well, I‘m sure Doctor Dorphine (ph) will be able to help you out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, you know, Delise talks about this—she had these problems since she was a kid. Can she really blame it on the show?
CORDOVA: Absolutely. She never had the opportunity to have a makeover. And it wasn‘t until the show offered her that opportunity and she took the opportunity that was offered to her that her life deteriorated thereafter.
COSBY: But it sounds like she had these issues well before. Isn‘t it just sort of an escape goat for someone who obviously hasn‘t felt well about herself for a long time?
CORDOVA: Absolutely not. ABC offered the makeover. She applied to the show. She went through an arduous process to get promised the makeover. She went on to the show. You saw. And she was promised a makeover. And then it didn‘t materialize.
And the people that apply to these shows, people like Delise Williams are not models of self-esteem. And to be promised that and to have it yanked away, well it could be devastating, I think.
COSBY: Oh, I‘m sure it can. But don‘t they know that going in? In fact, I want to show a statement from ABC. I mean, ABC made it pretty clear. In fact, they asked her to sign a contract, which she did.
Of course, not everybody reads the fine print. But ABC did released this statement.
Let me show what it says. “In regards to Extreme Makeover, all participants are made aware that if doctors or producers have any concerns about the procedure, the makeover will not go forward.” And what happened in this case was one of the dentists—the doctor basically said we can‘t do it in time. The recovery is not going to fit the time schedule. It had nothing to do with Delise. But this is sort of one of the things you know going in.
CORDOVA: That contract was a 19-page contract that smarter lawyers than me have written. It took a lot of lawyers a long time to create it. She was given no opportunity to negotiate any of the terms of that contract. She was basically handed a book and said sign this or you‘re not getting a makeover knowing full well.
COSBY: Yeah, but that‘s when you get a good attorney who reads through the documents before you sign something.
CORDOVA: You‘d think that, but she was handed the document before she got onto a plane from Los Angeles back to Houston. She lives in Conroe (ph), which is an hour drive. She had to have it FedExed back to them the next day. She had no meaningful opportunity. And in fact was told by the producers not to have a lawyer look at, because he would tell her not to sign it.
COSBY: Let me talk about her sister, because this is really tragic.
Her sister taking her life, what, four months after the fact.
What was the history of her sister? Because she O.D‘ed, what was it, cocaine and drugs. Did she have this problem beforehand? What happened again with their relationship. What does the sister claim she was sort of forced to say about Delise on the show that caused all of this tension?
CORDOVA: Well, her sister suffered from some emotional problems. When she was forced to cooperate with the show because if she didn‘t, Delise wasn‘t going to get the makeover. And the family wanted to see Delise get what she always wanted.
COSBY: And what did she have to say on the show?
CORDOVA: Well, the specifics of it weren‘t clear at this point. But what happened was, she was trying to focus, when asked questions about her sister, she was trying to focus on the positive, trying to bring light to the positive attributes of Delise. And instead, they turned the cameras off when she wasn‘t saying things that were dramatic enough for them. They turned the cameras off. And began berated her. When they got the tears they were looking for, they turned the cameras back on and continued.
In the meantime, a lot of things were coming out about Delise that Delise had never before believed were true about how her family thought about her. And when she came back unimproved, Kelly moved out of the house. Until then, they‘d lived together. And until then, they‘d shared a business together. And Kelly distanced herself and moved away and fell to pieces and eventually died of the overdose. Which we attribute to suicide.
COSBY: Well very, very tragic story. And of course, sad ending. I‘m not sure if the show is to blame, but we do appreciate you being here. And very sad situation with that family.
And still ahead, everybody, late breaking details about that horrible tour boat catastrophe. Investigators make a shocking allegation about who wasn‘t on the boat when it flipped.
And Dr. Phil said his diet plan would help you lose weight. But a new lawsuit says fat chance. That‘s ahead on LIVE & DIRECT.
COSBY: And we have new developments tonight in a tragic boating accident that killed at least 20 people over the weekend. Officials now say the boat didn‘t have the required number of crewmembers. The required number is two, and the Ethan Allen only had one on board at the time.
The accident happened in Lake George, New York in the Adirondack mountains, about 50 miles north of Albany. Many questions remain about why the boat overturned, but investigators may be getting close to some answers.
NBC‘s Ron Allen has the very latest tonight—Ron.
RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Rita, investigators have heard from the captain of the ship. They‘ve interviewed numerous survivors. And now that they‘ve lifted the Ethan Allen off the bottom of Lake George, they‘ll begin examining it from bow to stern, searching for clues.
ALLEN (voice-over): Late today, investigators worked to lift the tour boat up from 70 feet below Lake George. And survivors like 76-year-old Jeanne Syler (ph) felt lucky to be alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wasn‘t prepared for this at all. I was never thought I was going to lose friends and never have a chance to say good-bye to them.
ALLEN: Twenty people died. Their bodies were laid on shore, as residents jumped in boats and made frantic rescues. Forty-seven seniors from Michigan were on a weeklong vacation seeing fall foliage.
Annie Pearson (ph) feared for her parents, Mack and Anne McGonnackal (ph), until she reached them by phone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said that she said good-bye to all her children and her grandchildren, told them that she loved them, and she thought that was it.
ALLEN: But they were safe.
Like today, conditions were perfect for boating—sunny skies, smooth water. Survivors say a wave suddenly hit the boat, throwing everyone to one side, as water poured onto the deck. It capsized so quickly, no one had time to put on a life preserver.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I treaded water, came to the surface, took a big breath, and swam away from the boat.
ALLEN: The National Transportation Safety Board has sent seven investigators to determine what happened.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI ®, NEW YORK: We have an obligation to make sure every stone is turned over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I got on the boat, I thanked God.
ALLEN: Someone had thrown her a rope. And unlike so many others, she was able to hang on.
ALLEN: We understand most of the survivors have already returned home to Michigan. While this community tries to figure out and wonders how something so tragic could happen here. Rita, back to you.
COSBY: Ron, thank you very much.
And joining me now are Brian Hart and Frank Souse, who helped in—who pitched in to help some of the more than 20 people on board the Ethan Allen who survived that tragedy.
Brian, let me start with you. When did you first know that the Ethan Allen was in trouble? What did you see?
BRIAN HART, RESCUER: I was in a canoe with my daughter Briana (ph) and two of my nieces. And we were canoeing out. We were about within 100 feet of the Ethan Allen, and it was starting to take a right hand, a right-hand turn headed west, and we noticed the bottom of the boat just kept coming up and up, and I realized—I could see the majority of the bottom, that it wasn‘t—not going to come back.
And at that time, everybody was screaming frantically. And I realized then I needed to get the kids to the nearest boat dock and called 911, and then called my brother who was up the shoreline to come out with a boat as quick as he could with life jackets.
COSBY: Good for you. And you know, Frank, when did you realize the Ethan Allen was in big trouble?
FRANK SOUSE, RESCUER: Oh, I had just gotten back to the motel that I own, and what I was doing was I went down—my daughter was coming up from -- with a go kart. She had just went down to the beach to see what all the excitement was. She told me that a boat overturned. So we both went down together, and we were watching all the activity of the police boats coming back-and-forth, talking—bringing the bodies of many of the victims to the shore.
Then we looked over to the right, and we saw a boat coming in and asking for help to dock the boat, so that we can get the seniors out of boat that were more agile than the other ones that they were taking off with the police boats.
COSBY: And Frank, I know you got a chance to talk to a lot of the passengers. What did they tell you? I know there‘s one man who spoke with you, and just was crying.
SOUSE: Well, they were all pretty upset. They were all pretty shaken. They were cold and very despondent, I would say. The one lady was complaining of chest pains. Another one looked over his shoulder and saw that they were carrying his wife and he said, “that‘s my wife. She‘s dead.” And I told him not to jump to any conclusions. She might be just fine. They were doing CPR on a number of people. The community really jumped in, and the rescue crews, they were amazing. The amount of people that they had there and the work that they were doing.
COSBY: It truly is. Were you just so stunned to see this, though, Frank? Right before your eyes?
SOUSE: Well, actually, yes, when I first got down there, I just thought it was an overturned boat. I didn‘t know it was a tour boat. The people on the boat didn‘t even realize that the name of the boat that they were on, so after I mentioned the shoreline, they said, yes, that‘s the one, and then they were getting out. They didn‘t know the name of the boat they were on, the specific name of the boat.
So they were despondent. One lady was concerned. I left my purse out there. And it was a sad situation. They were all freezing. And they were just so glad to be getting back on shore.
COSBY: It‘s so heartbreaking to hear.
You know, Brian, do you have any clues as to how the boat may have sunk? Did you see another boat, you know, at the time that may have created this wake?
HART: I didn‘t see any boats. And when I was in the canoe, there really wasn‘t a too big a wake that was nearby. And I just really can‘t explain it. I‘ve seen the boat on the lake several times, and to see a boat like that go over like that is very unusual.
COSBY: How stunned were you when you saw it? We‘re showing a little diagram of maybe how it all went down. How stunned were you to see this before your eyes?
HART: Oh, it was pretty stunning. It was very scary at first. And then we just realized that we needed—that there were several people on the boat, and we needed to get out there.
COSBY: Well, good for you, both Brian and also Frank, of course, both of you, so much for helping and obviously doing the absolutely right thing for these poor folks who were on the boat. Thank you very much.
And up next, a new lawsuit says Dr. Phil‘s diet system was a lot more than a big fat business failure. Angry customers say it was full of bull.
And attacked by a tiger and alive to tell the tale. Some said entertainer Roy Horn would never be the same. Wait until you hear what he‘s up to now. Stay tuned.
COSBY: Dr. Phil has found himself in a diet dispute complete with a potential class action lawsuit. Three plaintiffs are suing the TV psychologist, and now, they want a judge to open their case to thousands of others.
Joining me now is Henry Rossbacher. He‘s the attorney for the three original plaintiffs in the case. So, what happened to these three original plaintiffs? Did they gain weight? What happened?
HENRY ROSSBACHER, CLIENTS SUING DR. PHIL: Well, they bought the product, and as we unfortunately found, nothing worked. We took it to our experts who looked at it. You know, there‘s some supplements in there. There are vitamins. But there‘s nothing in there that will change your behavior and there‘s nothing in there that will cause you to lose weight.
COSBY: But has that been consistent? Because there probably were some success stories. Are you saying that everybody who took this product was a flop?
ROSSBACHER: Well, if they lost weight, they lost weight for some reason other than taking the product. The products were just a bunch of vitamin supplements and some minerals. They were never tested by Dr. Phil or his people to see if they had any effect on weight. No clinical trials were run. And at the same time, it was represented, in essence, these were drugs. On the package, it said that this would change your behavior. These pills weren‘t going to change your behavior.
COSBY: But isn‘t that the case with most diet products? But isn‘t it the case—I mean, don‘t you sort of go in and see, OK, does this work, does this not work? There‘s probably some success stories here. And if that‘s the case, we‘d be suing every single diet manufacturer.
ROSSBACHER: No, it‘s very clear that if you‘re going to make representations about the effects that substances will have on you, on your mind, on your body, and you don‘t tell the truth, you‘ve committed a violation of law. And what really happened here is these people sold these things, that we believe they took in tens of millions of dollars, and then they took it off the market, a fact they haven‘t explained. But they certainly haven‘t given their money back.
COSBY: Now, let me show a statement—this is from Dr. Phil—we did try to reach him and see if there was some reaction from him. It‘s an interesting statement, if you read it. I sort of expected something a little different, but his reaction is quote: “Dr. Phil did not receive any profit from ‘Shape Up!‘”—that‘s his company—or this particular product. “His limited endorsement fee was donated entirely to the Dr. Phil Foundation, of which the primary goal is to help silent epidemics among children, primarily obesity.”
If Dr. Phil didn‘t, you know, profit, donated the money, is it fair to go after him?
ROSSBACHER: It‘s absolutely fair to go after him. The documents that have been produced in the case show that there was a massive promotion campaign tied into his book, tied into his TV show, that he had made a deal with Amway to make these products and was in business with Amway. And it‘s far from clear as to exactly what the financial relationships were.
The companies set up to sell this were set up with his partners in his consulting firm. The consulting—same consulting firm that advises people on jury trials. So the whole idea that this was just some sort of charitable venture by Dr. Phil we think is nonsense.
COSBY: Well, keep us posted, sir. Thank you very much.
And tonight, there‘s some new troubling information regarding the Hurricane Katrina recovery. My colleague Joe Scarborough joins us with a story that he‘s working on tonight in that avenue—Joe.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”: Hey, Rita. Word out of New Orleans and also across Louisiana, the attorney general for the state of Louisiana now considering strongly stepping forward with 100 charges of negligent homicide for hospitals and also nursing home owners who left their patients behind to die. Of course, there‘s some talk that some of these patients may have been put to death to avoid suffering. A lot of rumors swirling around the state, but the attorney general expected to step up sometime tomorrow and come forward with those charges. When that happens, obviously it‘ll be unprecedented, and we‘ll be there reporting on it.
COSBY: And, Joe, anything on St. Rita‘s? Have you heard any more on that? That just horrible case, that was the first nursing home where the two owners just left. We in fact even had somebody else said that the owner just said, oh, too bad, I‘m basically leaving. That seems to be the worst of it, right?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, certainly St. Rita‘s what caught the most attention. Of course we saw on “Meet the Press” the one local official that went on the air trying to blame George Bush for the people that died in St. Rita‘s. Obviously, they passed away Monday morning. If George Bush were culpable for anything, it would have been deaths that occurred four or five days later. That was on “Meet the Press.”
But that‘s really the last we‘ve heard of St. Rita‘s. But expect St.
Rita‘s to be the focal point in this AG investigation as they move forward. Certainly, though, what is going to be more surprising is when it‘s expanded out to several local hospitals where people were left behind—the elderly, the weak, and also, Rita, surprisingly stories coming out of some younger people that were in there text-messaging out to other states, begging for help that unfortunately did not come soon enough.
COSBY: So sad. I know we had a lot of them, both you and I on our shows, with folks saying, please come get us. Joe, thank you. And everybody, stay tuned, because Joe is going to be all over the story tonight. Make sure that you watch his show. It‘s going to be coming up in just a few minutes at the top of the hour, “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” right here on MSNBC.
And up next, Pamela Anderson takes on her stalker, and she comes out the winner.
And tiger tamer Roy Horn comes out on top too, two years after his near death attack. We have some new details on his amazing recovery.
And speaking of recovery, we‘re going to go back to the storm-ravaged Louisiana. There‘s actually some very good news to talk to you about. Some great progress. Stay with us.
COSBY: Pamela Anderson has a lot of fans, but one in particular has now been told to stay away. Late today, a judge placed a restraining order against a 29-year-old man accused of stalking the “Baywatch” icon. Anderson says the visited her Malibu home several times and even talked to her son while he was at school. The judge agreed and ordered the man to stay away for three years.
Now to another celebrity coming out on top. Two years ago today magician Ray Horn was dragged from the mouth of a white tiger that attacked him on a Las Vegas stage. Now we are hearing the details of his painful but amazing recovery.
He suffered injuries to his head and his neck and was not even expected to live, but he did. Now, two years later on today, which is Roy‘s 61st birthday, we know he refuses to give up hope.
LIVE & DIRECT tonight from Las Vegas is John—I hope I pronounced your name right—Kastilamepes, with the “Las Vegas Sun” newspaper. He sat down with Roy for an interview. Forgive me, I‘m not Greek there. Forgive me, John. Even though I feel like I am sometimes.
JOHN KATSILOMETES, LAS VEGAS SUN: Katsilometes.
COSBY: Katsilamepes. OK, good. Thank you.
KATSILOMETES: You‘ll get it.
COSBY: How is Roy doing?
KATSILOMETES: He‘s doing a lot better than he was close to two years ago, for sure.
COSBY: Amazing some of the things he talked about. I want to show a quote. This is from the interview that you did with him. It says, “I meditate a lot, but I am constantly in pain. I‘m trying to live with this. You just have to accept it.” Do you get a sense that maybe now he‘s at peace, resolving, unfortunately, what‘s happened, but able to accept what‘s happened?
KATSILOMETES: I believe so. Yes. I think exactly what he said there, you know, pain is part of his life now and it‘s something he has to cope with. And he went on to say as he was speaking about that that he goes to his animals. That‘s, you know, that‘s where he goes to—his comfort zone is how he pronounced it, how he described it, and he goes to the Secret Garden at the Mirage weekly to do just that. So, that‘s part of his rehabilitation are the animals.
COSBY: And even that specific tiger, Manticore, you know, we all heard so much about. He still spends time with him. I heard he did a photo shoot with him recently.
KATSILOMETES: Right. That‘s true. Manticore, with as you mention is the lion (sic) involved in the incident, is one of the animals—he treats them all the same. There‘s no reason, as his camp is quick to point out, to handle Manticore any differently than any other animal at the Secret Garden.
COSBY: You know, what‘s amazing, Roy still has his great sense of humor. And I‘m sure you saw that you captured it very beautifully in your interview. One of the other quotes he says, “in all reality I died two times, but I came back. I am too strong like a good cat, but I only have seven lives left.” How were his spirits when you saw him firsthand?
KATSILOMETES: They were good. He was a lot stronger than I probably
really expected them to be, to be honest. Right away, it was obvious, the first, the way he spoke at first and when he shook my hand were what I noticed right away was he was definitely trying to portray, and accurately, that he was not an enfeebled individual.
His voice was strong. He was—his right side, which is the side that isn‘t compromised, is very strong. And as the interview unfolded he became more and more warmed up to talking about this. He was right on top, quick to respond, you know, quick to gesture to me and had no problem carrying on a conversation.
COSBY; That‘s great. John Katsilometes, I was determined to say that. Thank you very much. Good to have you on. And a great interview.
And up next, an amazing show of support for hurricane victims in Mississippi. And at least one good piece of good news for the students stuck in the middle of this disaster zone. We have got some new updates and also about a fundraising concert that I participated in. It‘s all with us when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDA MCVILLE, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We‘re all on different emotional levels. And we‘re going to get through it. We‘re going to get back into our routine as much as possible, as quickly as possible and go forward, you know. And with children, the sooner you get them into a routine, the better it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I leave. But I forgot where I went.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a lot of damage. And the ceiling fell down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And there‘s some good news to report tonight from a Airline Elementary School in Metairie, Louisiana, it is one of 77 schools in Jefferson Parish outside of New Orleans that opened its doors to students today for the very first time since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Teachers are making every effort to make sure these kids get acclimated to everyday life, since many of them lived through a horrific disaster.
And finally, thanks to everybody who donated money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina during our three-hour benefit called Mississippi Rising. You may have tuned in on Saturday night to catch me and some much bigger stars from TV and also the big screen as we took to the phones and also the stage, all in an effort to help those who lost everything during the devastating storm.
I joined host and actor Morgan Freeman as well as other stars like country singing star Faith Hill, there she is, and also comedian Ray Romano in this very, very special event.
Thanks for the huge response that we got, we raised $15 million and that number is still rising. I hear a lot of donations are still coming in.
And I‘d also like to thank the event organizers, Sam Haskel and also Andy Griffith, who are extremely proud of the outcome of this fundraiser. And they‘re encouraging all of you to keep giving to help those in need. Please feel free to donate money to the Mississippi recovery effort at MississippiRecovery.com, or you can call the number that you see here on your screen, it is 1-866-230-8903, that‘s 1-966-230-8903.
And thanks a lot, everyone, for helping out.
That does it for me. Let‘s go to Joe Scarborough.
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