Guests: Kendall Coffey, Andrew McCarthy, Frank DeSalvo, Joseph Bruno, John Barnett, Joyce Barber, Jeffrey Pocaro, Joseph D‘Onofrio, Jr., Emerson Newton-John
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, Karl Rove testifies for four hours before the grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA‘s officer‘s name.
ABRAMS (voice-over): The president‘s top advisor makes his fourth appearance, likely his last. Might he really be indicted?
And you‘ve seen just portions, now the entire tape released of New Orleans cops hitting a man they say resisted arrest. Will the new tape change any minds about what really happened?
And she thought she married the man of her dreams only to find out he was not just married to other women, he is stealing all of their money as well. He was in court and sentenced, but his ex-wives not happy with the result.
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. First up on the docket tonight, President Bush‘s top advisor, Karl Rove, spent four and a half hours today testifying before a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer‘s identity to the press. The question, could he really, really get indicted? This is Rove‘s fourth appearance and likely his last before the jury decides whether to indict him.
They‘ve gotten until October the 28th. His lawyer released this statement.
Quote—“The Special Counsel has not advised Mr. Rove that he‘s a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges. The Special Counsel has indicated that he does not anticipate the need for Mr. Rove‘s further cooperation.”
Rove was expected to answer questions specifically about a July 11, 2003 conversation that he had with “TIME” magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Cooper claims it was Rove who told him during that conversation that the wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson was a CIA agent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the record, the first time you learned that Joe Wilson‘s wife worked for the CIA was from Karl Rove?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Cooper acknowledges that Rove didn‘t use the woman‘s name. But Rove‘s problem is once the leak investigation started, he didn‘t tell investigators about that conversation and he apparently didn‘t tell the grand jury during his first appearance either. According to this week‘s “Newsweek”, Rove only acknowledged he‘d spoken to Cooper after his lawyer says they located an e-mail Rove had written just after the phone conversation confirming that he just talked to Cooper.
So let‘s talk turkey here and figure out whether he really will be charged and if so with what. Former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey joins us now, and former assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy as well.
All right, before we get into the sort of the nitty gritty of this, let me ask each of you, bottom line, Kendall Coffey, do you think he‘s going to get indicted on something?
KENDALL COFFEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I think he‘s—it‘s still probably too close to call. If you pin me to wall, I‘d say probably indicted on something.
ABRAMS: Andrew McCarthy.
ANDREW MCCARTHY, FORMER ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: I think we are missing a big aspect of this, which is that unlike a normal prosecutor, a special prosecutor really has a special obligation to figure out what happened here and a lot of what might be going on here may be just that...
MCCARTHY: ... bottom of a complicated set of facts.
ABRAMS: So you think he probably won‘t be indicted?
MCCARTHY: I think my good friend Pat Fitzgerald has done this about as appropriately as you can, which is to say we don‘t know because we don‘t have most of the information in this investigation.
ABRAMS: So you are not going to guess?
ABRAMS: OK. All right, look, I—the truth is, I think we have most of what he has in the investigation. I‘m sure there are some elements that we don‘t have, but the bottom line...
MCCARTHY: You think he spent four hours today talking about one conversation?
ABRAMS: I think—I‘m sure that conversation took a long time to discuss.
MCCARTHY: Four hours?
ABRAMS: Maybe not four hours, but...
MCCARTHY: Three hours?
ABRAMS: ... I‘ll bet that we could sit here and guess what the other topics were. As you know...
MCCARTHY: That‘s what we have been doing...
MCCARTHY: We‘re guessing.
ABRAMS: What—I mean is this some effort to like say whatever Fitzgerald does it‘s absolutely right. I mean look, the bottom line is he‘s going to indict or he‘s not going to indict. No one is saying that he is not doing a thorough investigation here...
MCCARTHY: It‘s not—Dan, it‘s not an effort to say that whatever Fitzgerald...
ABRAMS: Sure it is...
ABRAMS: By you saying I‘m not going to answer...
ABRAMS: ... one way or the other because Pat Fitzgerald is just doing such a great job and he‘s a great guy and he‘s a great prosecutor...
MCCARTHY: That‘s not what I‘m saying at all...
ABRAMS: You are...
MCCARTHY: What I‘m saying is that what you guys are doing is taking this much information in a news cycle where you have to fill 24 hours and churning it around and around...
MCCARTHY: ... like you know what‘s going on...
ABRAMS: ... and so we are...
MCCARTHY: ... you don‘t.
ABRAMS: So right—so we are going to be stunned—when this comes to an end we‘re going to be stunned at what Pat Fitzgerald uncovered, right?
MCCARTHY: You may be stunned because you‘ll have to either backtrack or...
ABRAMS: All right, I‘m going to make...
MCCARTHY: ... a lot of speculation you‘ve done...
ABRAMS: Right. I‘m going to make...
ABRAMS: Let me make some more speculation. I‘m going to make a prediction. I‘m going to predict whether he indicts or not, and I think that‘s a fair debate as to whether he‘s going to, whether he should, and there is going to be some information that we didn‘t know about. I think that‘s fair to say.
I think it‘s also fair to say that we will have known the majority of the information that Fitzgerald knew about and was investigating in the grand jury. So, we will see.
ABRAMS: Look I‘ll play it again when I‘m wrong. I‘m wrong—I mean look, I‘d say more times than not when I make these predictions I‘m wrong.
All right, let‘s talk about the actual charges that he could face here. Let‘s start with—at the beginning of this, we were always talking about the actual charge here of releasing the name and this crime that may have been committed. And now it seems that other possible charges could be the issue, perjury, obstruction of justice, false statements, conspiracy.
Let‘s start with the issue of perjury. Kendall Coffey, to be convicted of perjury, someone has to have been under oath before a grand jury—we‘re talking about grand jury perjury here—and knowingly make a false declaration and the knowingly is what gets tricky.
COFFEY: Sure, it‘s always a tough part and Karl Rove‘s position would be look, I‘m Karl Rove. I‘m not going to remember every conversation I had with a reporter even if reporters tend to remember in great detail the conversations they had with me. What‘s the problem? This was such a sensitive, high profile, hot button matter.
He goes before FBI investigators, doesn‘t recall this critical discussion. Then he gets in front of the grand jury, you‘ve got to figure he very well prepared by a lawyer, has certainly searched his memory exhaustibly, still doesn‘t seem to, by the way, remember this critical discussion with Matt Cooper. It‘s only after, bam, there is a document that‘s going to confirm that he spoke to Matt Cooper on that date that all of a sudden his memory gets a whole lot better and he goes back before the grand jury...
COFFEY: So I think there is a lot there that a grand jury and a prosecutor could get mighty, mighty skeptical about.
ABRAMS: Kendall, before I go back to Andrew on the issue of obstruction of justice. Do you disagree with me that we probably know the majority of the issues, the vast majority of the issues that Fitzgerald is evaluating?
COFFEY: Well I disagree with you somewhat in the sense that we are just looking at leaks to try to figure out what‘s going on in the leak investigation, but I agree with you in terms of the core of this thing. I think we‘ve got a very good idea as to what the single biggest discrepancies are. I think...
ABRAMS: But it‘s leaks from reporters. I mean it‘s not—it‘s leaks from reporters. It‘s not like we‘re talking about you know issues here where we are getting leaks of exactly what happened at the highest level of conversations in government. We are talking about what did people say to reporters.
COFFEY: What we don‘t know is what Karl Rove really said in his...
COFFEY: ... earlier grand jury testimony and that‘s critical.
COFFEY: He said no how, no way I didn‘t speak to anybody, didn‘t say anything about Wilson‘s wife. He is going to get indicted. If it was much more couched and careful than that, he may just dodge the bullet.
ABRAMS: All right...
ABRAMS: Yes, go ahead.
MCCARTHY: I think you‘re right in terms of when you say that we know the core of what the case is about in the sense of what they are curious about. But all these concepts that you started to talk about and I think you‘re going to continue to talk about like knowing and willfulness all go to things that may have happened outside the presence of the reporters, namely who talked to whom, was there a scheme, wasn‘t there a scheme.
ABRAMS: Right. But...
MCCARTHY: And I think that‘s—when I say that there‘s a lot here that we don‘t know, that‘s really what I‘m talking about.
ABRAMS: Well let‘s talk about one of those issues, obstruction of justice. A witness must—quote—“obstruct, delay or prevent communication of information to a criminal investigator.”
Theoretically, Andrew, how could that apply here?
MCCARTHY: Well you know it can apply like it applies in any investigation. If anybody did something in a way corruptly to try to influence the testimony of someone who is a relevant witness that‘s obstruction. I would be surprised if that...
ABRAMS: I would too.
MCCARTHY: ... was the focus.
ABRAMS: I would too.
MCCARTHY: I think that we‘re really—what we‘re really focusing in on here is the crime, if there was one, not the cover-up.
ABRAMS: What about false statement? Witness must knowingly and willfully falsify, conceal or cover up a material fact or make a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement in any manner within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative or judicial branch. That‘s one that could come up, right, Andrew?
MCCARTHY: Yes, that—I‘m sorry.
ABRAMS: Yes, go ahead.
MCCARTHY: That‘s—I think Kendall will agree with me on this. That‘s a somewhat easier proof for the government than perjury. Perjury tends to be something that the courts look at very literally, whereas false statements to an investigator or the government generally has a little bit more leeway if people give misleading testimony...
MCCARTHY: ... that‘s not necessarily literally false.
ABRAMS: That‘s what they got Martha on, right?
MCCARTHY: I believe that...
COFFEY: ... Martha. I agree, Dan, with Andy saying that‘s the biggest single exposure here...
COFFEY: ... and that‘s why Karl Rove went back. He didn‘t have to go back. He went back because he and his attorney thought things are serious and scary enough around here that we better take our shot. It‘s mighty risky walking into a grand jury for a fourth time, but we‘ve got to take our shot at trying to come up with the explanations, come up with explaining the discrepancies, because if not, some mighty serious things could happen here in a hurry.
ABRAMS: The last one, conspiracy—we‘re out of time. I‘ll just read it.
Witness must conspire either to commit an offense against the U.S., defraud. One member of the conspiracy has to perform an act to further the conspiracy.
You know look, that would just be a sort of a back doorway to get him on the underlying charge. All right, you know Andrew McCarthy I wish that I had heard so many bad things about Fitzgerald where I could go after him. The problem is I just keep hearing good things. It‘s driving me crazy—he‘s such a good guy...
ABRAMS: Such an honest prosecutor, all I hear about him is good stuff. All right...
MCCARTHY: How would you like to have sat next to him...
ABRAMS: Kendall Coffey and Andrew McCarthy, thanks a lot.
COFFEY: Hey, thanks Dan.
MCCARTHY: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up, you have seen the tape but not the whole tape. New Orleans cops hitting a man who they say is resisting arrest. Will it change your mind once you see everything that happened?
And he married, it seems, at least four women. It also seems that he lied to them. It also seems that he stole their money. This week he was sentenced. The wives are none too happy. One of them is here.
And later, Olivia Newton-John‘s nephew joins us to talk about the latest in the mysterious disappearance of her boyfriend.
Your e-mails, send them to email@example.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BRUNO, ATTORNEY FOR ROBERT DAVIS: The videotape is extraordinary evidence, because, you know, guys, let‘s be realistic. Without the videotape, he‘d be just another drunk. The videotape proves that this man did nothing wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right, but that‘s the question. Does it? Earlier this week we showed you an edited version of a videotaped incident, a 64-year-old man being subdued and I don‘t think there‘s any other way to describe it, beaten. We kept hearing about what you did not see. There‘s more to it, et cetera.
OK, tonight, much more of the incident as it shot by The Associated Press on Saturday. We are going to talk to the lawyers representing Robert Davis and the police officers in a minute, but first, here it is in its entirety, no edits. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘ll turn over if you allow me to. If you‘ll allow me to turn over, I will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I‘ve been here for six weeks...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right, well there it is, the unedited version of what AP shot there.
Joining me now once again Joseph Bruno, Robert Davis‘ attorney and Frank DeSalvo, who represents the police officers in that video. Gentlemen, thanks for coming back on the program. Appreciate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for having us.
ABRAMS: Let me ask each of you a new question, based on what we have just seen here. Mr. DeSalvo, we hear Robert Davis saying I‘ll turn over if you allow me to. And he says it again. I say if you allow me to turn over, I will. This is after he has already been hit a few times. You still looking at this tape saying to yourself, officers did nothing wrong?
FRANK DESALVO, REPRESENTS NEW ORLEANS‘ OFFICERS: Was he cuffed at that point that you‘re seeing that? I don‘t have that video in front of me. You do. Had he been cuffed yet?
ABRAMS: They were trying to cuff him at that point.
DESALVO: Then he can‘t turn over until he has been cuffed. I mean that‘s just the way it is.
ABRAMS: You mean he can‘t say...
DESALVO: ... he has...
ABRAMS: ... he has to be forced as opposed to doing it voluntarily.
DESALVO: No, he doesn‘t turn over to be cuffed. He puts his arm behind his back. That‘s all he had to do. That‘s all he ever had to do. If you look earlier in that tape, he was holding onto the grate of that window with his right hand rather than let it go back and be cuffed. And at the point he‘s down, he says, I will turn over. I will turn over. What is that? I need to give him an arm and be cuffed. That‘s what he needed to do and say...
ABRAMS: Yes, but you would agree, right, that even when someone doesn‘t do exactly what they should do, that doesn‘t necessarily, even as a legal matter, allow the authorities to do whatever they decide to do as a result.
DESALVO: How do the police officers know what he was going to do with that hand, what he was going to do when he turned around if they didn‘t have him in compliance and cuffs.
DESALVO: You know one of the things that has come to mind with me is in these situations, many a police officer has been killed. When that officer gets killed, we mourn his loss. In a situation like this, when he doesn‘t get killed, when he secures the person, then we want to scorn him for doing the things that a police officer is supposed to do to stay alive and...
ABRAMS: We have gotten a lot of e-mails from a lot of police officers and almost all of them are saying just the opposite. They are not saying oh I‘ve been in a situation like that and I could have gotten killed. They‘re saying I‘ve been in situations like that and I‘ve never seen anyone use the kind of force that they‘re using, but look, that‘s a subject for debate...
DESALVO: I didn‘t get that e-mail, so I can‘t deal with that.
ABRAMS: Yes and I understand. All right. Joseph Bruno, look, on the other side of this, there does seem to be a level of resistance and look, that doesn‘t justify beating the guy in the back of the head. That‘s not what I‘m saying.
What I‘m saying is that you‘ve talked to us before. Your client has talked to us and basically said I didn‘t do anything. I just walked in there. The next thing I know, I‘m being thrown on a wall. I don‘t even know—I told them I was going to do whatever. I didn‘t resist in any way. There was a level of resistance, fair?
BRUNO: Well, it‘s hard for me to agree with you, because what are you resisting against? As I indicated and the last time we talked, you can‘t resist an arrest until you have been placed under arrest. Contrary to what Frank says, the first thing that has to happen is the police officer has to tell the suspect to stop. That‘s the first thing that has to happen.
Second thing that has to happen is he‘s got to tell the person, you are under arrest. Then he directs the person to turn around, put your hands behind your back. I mean we‘ve all—we all know that this is the way it‘s done. You can‘t—what‘s baffling me is I‘m not quite sure because you see them scuffling that you could reach the conclusion that the man has been put under arrest.
The man‘s story, if you believe him, is that the first thing that occurred is he got wrapped in the back of the head. And interestingly enough, if you listen to that audio, which is—by the way, I didn‘t hear the audio until last night for the first time—you hear someone in the crowd say he did not fight back until he got hit. That‘s the whole problem here.
ABRAMS: Let me play that piece of sound. This is a conversation between witnesses off camera—we don‘t know who these witnesses are.
ABRAMS: But let me play that...
ABRAMS: Let me play that for my viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got that on film, right? He surrendered to them, then they hit him in the back of the head and that‘s when he turned around and started fighting...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he started fighting first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he really?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he did. I‘m a cop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh you are? All I saw was...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m a good cop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There‘s not a lot of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You got—you know look you have a dispute there. I mean you have one person saying you got on that film, he surrendered, they hit him in the back of the head. Then the woman says no, he started fighting first. She says I‘m a cop. I saw it. So there does seem to be some dispute there in terms of the witnesses, right?
BRUNO: Yes, well, I have to confess to you that what we just heard was—you know we are hearing it on the mike. I didn‘t hear anything other than what I heard last night. I haven‘t had a chance...
ABRAMS: oh, OK...
BRUNO: I didn‘t...
ABRAMS: Fair enough.
BRUNO: What I heard was he didn‘t, but you know...
ABRAMS: We transcribed it...
ABRAMS: I don‘t want to put you in an uncomfortable position. We transcribed it...
BRUNO: No, that‘s fine...
ABRAMS: ... and what it said—the woman said no, he started fighting first. The man says did he really? The woman says, yes, he did. I‘m a cop. The man says oh you are? All I saw was—I‘m a good cop. OK. There is not a lot of us and that‘s what—the part that you—that we transcribed. But look, these are just two people having a discussion after the fact.
Bottom line is...
ABRAMS: ... Mr. Bruno, do you think that the release of this unedited tape or looking at the unedited tape helps or hurts your case?
BRUNO: I think it helps the case. I think that what I saw last night that I hadn‘t seen before, is I saw the two of them together. Because what you had seen in the past is everybody pounding on Mr. Davis. But what I saw was chilling, throwing my client against the wall, which is very consistent with my client‘s testimony...
ABRAMS: Let me give...
ABRAMS: Mr. DeSalvo, I want to give you a quick chance to say what you think based on the whole tape.
DESALVO: Well what Mr. Davis and perhaps Mr. Bruno was relying on was that tape that originally came out. And that‘s what allowed Mr. Bruno to just run roughshod over the truth for the last few days. We always knew that there was earlier tape and we always knew what that earlier tape would depict. The sad part about it is that earlier tape was not depicted in the beginning. However, perhaps Mr. Davis wouldn‘t have told the lie he told to the world and ruin his own case by telling it. So we‘re kind of happy about the whole thing...
DESALVO: Now Mr. Davis has proven himself to be a liar...
ABRAMS: I‘m unclear. What is he being proving to be a liar about?
DESALVO: Well we know he lied about not drinking...
ABRAMS: How do we know that?
DESALVO: ... tell you how we prove that. Well I know that and I can prove it. That‘s for the courtroom. And we know about him being a liar in addition because he said he didn‘t resist and it‘s all over that tape, he‘s resisting.
ABRAMS: All right.
DESALVO: So, I mean he wasn‘t going up to ask what time was the curfew obviously...
ABRAMS: All right. Look...
DESALVO: ... and two policemen just beat him up...
BRUNO: I‘m not going to debate that...
ABRAMS: Yes, I still think he‘d got a very tough case here and that‘s why we‘re going to continue talking about this. Joseph Bruno and Frank DeSalvo, thanks a lot for coming back. Appreciate it.
BRUNO: Thank you.
DESALVO: You got it.
ABRAMS: Joining us now is a man familiar with defending cops in these kinds of cases. He defended police officers in one of the most infamous captured on video police incidents, the beating of Rodney King by three L.A police officers in ‘91. All but one later acquitted.
He also defended Jeremy Morse, one of the Inglewood, California police officers seen here slamming 16-year-old Donovan Jackson against a car, then punching him in the face. After two trials, two hung juries, the charges dropped in that case.
John Barnett, thanks for coming on the program. We appreciate it.
All right, so John, we look at this tape as we have many other tapes in the past and you say to yourself, how are they possibly going to justify punching him in the back of the head?
JOHN BARNETT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well I think that I‘d need a lot more information before I would have brought an indictment or sought an indictment because as we have learned from the past cases, this rush to judgment often turns out to be wrong. And I think that it would be advisable for the authorities to take a little more time and examine the evidence a little more carefully before they come to the conclusion that these officers committed any crimes at all.
ABRAMS: Is it really a rush to judgment when you look at a videotape? I mean I can see if there‘s a videotape that‘s grainy or if it‘s really distant and you can‘t really see what‘s going on and—but it does seem that certain aspects of it—I mean how do you even theoretically justify punching someone in the back of the head numerous times?
BARNETT: Well you need to know what the officers‘ frame of reference was. We don‘t know what they were briefed on that evening. We don‘t know what occurred prior to the tape going on and so...
ABRAMS: How could it make a difference?
BARNETT: Well it could make a difference. For instance, in the Morse case, there was a contract out—let by a black street gang to kill white police officers on the date of this event. That gave the officers not only the right, but the duty to exercise force more quickly and a greater use of force. And so the officers in that circumstance had information that caused them to be concerned.
In the King case, two officers had been shot and one killed after a high-speed chase just a few blocks from where the King beating took place. And so those officers, as well, were more concerned than they would have been if it was a normal traffic stop. Those two events were not normal traffic stops, although they were portrayed that way in the press. And I don‘t know whether or not this detention and arrest was simply a normal contact or whether there is some other background, which the officers have that we don‘t.
ABRAMS: John Barnett, thanks for taking the time. Appreciate it.
BARNETT: You bet.
ABRAMS: Coming up, she married for love, he married for money, but he did it again and again marrying a lot of other women for money. This week he had his day in court and his numerous wives not happy with the sentence. One of them joins us.
Our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again. Today we wrap up our search in California.
Authorities looking for Aguilar Rosado, 47, 5‘6”, 200 pounds, convicted of sodomy, two charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, hasn‘t registered with the authorities in California.
If you‘ve got any information about where he is, please contact the California Department of Justice, 916-227-4974.
Be right back.
ABRAMS: Coming up, she thought she was married to the man of her dreams; so she thought. Turned out he was a con artist, stealing money it seems not just from her, but from other wives as well. She joins us after the headlines.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. Imagine this. You think you‘re married to a great guy, Prince Charming, right? Only to find out, not only are you not only his only wife, he might have four or maybe even five others. And that he is stealing some of their money, too. Maybe 19 aliases, wooing women by telling them he‘s a war hero, a former NFL player, a surgeon.
This isn‘t the plot of a daytime soap opera. It‘s the reality of Joyce Barber‘s life and that Prince Charming was her husband, William Barber. Barber was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tampering with public records. He admitted to the judge that when he applied for a marriage license to marry Joyce Barber, he gave a false name and added six years to his age.
Joining me now is Morris County, New Jersey assistant prosecutor Joseph D‘Onofrio, Jr., William Barber‘s wife, Joyce and her attorney, Jeffrey Pocaro. Thank you all for joining us. We appreciate it.
Joyce, let me start with you. Tell us the story. I mean how did you meet him? What did he tell you? And when did you learn that he wasn‘t what he seemed to be?
JOYCE BARBER, WILLIAM BARBER‘S WIFE: I met him in 2000 on the computer online and he told me that he was a doctor, divorced 10 years and we just—we talked, hit it off. In November of 2000, he came to see me in New Jersey and asked me to marry him and we got married in January.
ABRAMS: When did you start getting suspicious?
BARBER: Not until everything happened.
ABRAMS: So up until the time that he was charged, you thought everything was...
BARBER: I thought everything was fine. Other people didn‘t, but I thought everything was fine. I got a phone call from his sister.
ABRAMS: His sister?
BARBER: His sister.
ABRAMS: Saying what?
BARBER: And she was the one who told me who he really was.
ABRAMS: And what did she say?
BARBER: That his name wasn‘t James Michael, it was William Michael.
That he was not a twin, because he always said that he had a twin brother. He did not have five boys. He had three. And that he had many wives. And she wasn‘t sure if they were divorced or not.
ABRAMS: Suddenly, you are thinking what? Did you believe her?
BARBER: I believed her, because she tried so hard—she kept calling and Michael kept hanging up on her. Michael and I had a fight and I called her back. And when she told me the story, I believed her.
ABRAMS: And Jeffrey Pocaro, you have been able to uncover or it‘s been learned that there were a lot of other women involved as well, right?
JEFFREY POCARO, JOYCE BARBER‘S ATTORNEY: He may have had as many as six wives.
ABRAMS: Same time?
POCARO: No, at least two. On his application to marry Joyce Barber, he spelled his name A-E-L - E-A-L. Michael with E-A-L. He put a false birth date. He didn‘t put his proper name. But most telling was he put down that he was divorced from Donna Layne Roberts and then presented to the clerk a divorce decree listing the husband as Christopher Barber, one of his...
ABRAMS: A different name, right.
POCARO: The clerk, for some unfathomable reason, never compared the application to the divorce, gave him the license. They got married.
ABRAMS: Joseph D‘Onofrio, look, I‘m going to read to you what Donna Foster, his first wife had to say and I quote.
“He told everyone he was a prisoner of war. Well they should put him in a cage and let all the ex-wives poke him with nice sharp sticks. I think he is scum and a snake too. Ten to 20 years in jail is what I‘d give him.”
A lot of angry woman here. I can go on. I mean I‘ll give you one more, Joyce Schultz.
Three years, that‘s all? He‘s a repeat offender. He shouldn‘t be allowed back out of jail to prey on people.
Why did he only get three years?
JOSEPH D‘ONOFRIO, JR., MORRIS COUNTY, NJ ASST. PROSECUTOR: Well, Dan, the charge in New Jersey of tampering with public records is a third degree offense and carries with it between a range of three to five years. What he pled to was the three years state prison term. The women who he wronged in the past, I understand that they have a lot of very understandable anger towards him.
However, the case that we have here in Morris County for the Morris County prosecutor‘s office was a matter where he tampered with public records and filing for the marriage license to Joyce Barber. In New Jersey, you don‘t get poked with sharp sticks for lying about who you are...
ABRAMS: And the truth is, am I right, that if there hadn‘t been other incidents, he actually could have gotten away with no jail time?
D‘ONOFRIO: Absolutely right.
D‘ONOFRIO: You‘re absolutely right. And really what got him his prison sentence was his past, which I alluded to in court, prior felony convictions and prior convictions all throughout, probably about six or seven states, I think it was, for fraud and passing bad checks, things along those lines. But this was a situation where, you know, the Morris County prosecutor‘s office, through the prosecutor Michael Rubbinaccio, we reviewed it, we reviewed it carefully with the auspices of the general investigations unit and came to a resolution, a plea that was accepted by him and by the court.
ABRAMS: Well, Joyce, what do you think of the plea, of the time he is serving?
BARBER: I knew he would plea, right. If it went to a grand jury, he wouldn‘t—he didn‘t have a shot if he went to trial. So he couldn‘t win. He had to plea.
ABRAMS: How do you feel about the fact that in three years he‘s going to be out?
BARBER: I‘m not happy. It‘s going to take me longer than three years to get my life back together and he is going to be out and starting all over, conning somebody else.
ABRAMS: Because it wasn‘t just love loss, it was also money as well, right?
ABRAMS: I mean what happened? Explain that.
BARBER: Well he—actually what he did was he started a business and he went and put it in my name. And he used me, my name to establish all kinds of credit, get money and now I‘m stuck with all of the expense.
ABRAMS: Joyce Barber, good luck.
BARBER: Thank you.
ABRAMS: And Jeffrey Pocaro, thank you for coming as well.
POCARO: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: Joseph D‘Onofrio, thanks.
D‘ONOFRIO: Hey, no problem. Thanks a lot Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, Olivia Newton-John breaks her silence—well you know what, let‘s—before we go to that, let‘s just remind people about “Dateline”, all right. “Dateline” Sunday night, 7:00 NBC, you will hear from three more of William Barber‘s ex-wives in connection with this story, so make sure you watch “Dateline” on Sunday.
All right. Now Olivia Newton-John breaking her silence first time, speaking about her former lover‘s mysterious disappearance. Up next her nephew joins us.
Your e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the latest on the disappearance of Olivia Newton-John‘s boyfriend. Her nephew joins us.
ABRAMS: We‘re back with news in the disappearance of Olivia Newton-John‘s former boyfriend. First off, Newton-John broken her silence while out promoting her new album. She answered questions about Patrick McDermott, who disappeared from an overnight fishing trip more than three months ago.
Quote—“It‘s very much a mystery and speculation has been rife and I have chosen not to buy into the speculation. This is such a personal thing for me and for his family that we have chosen not to talk about it because the investigation is not finalized yet and I just respect that we don‘t go any further because I‘m—it‘s very hard for me to talk about it as you can imagine.”
McDermott‘s disappearance set off rumors and speculation about whether he met with foul play or possibly staged his own disappearance because of recent financial troubles in a bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife. What we didn‘t know at the time is that Newton-John and McDermott had broken up just weeks before he disappeared.
Joining me now is Olivia Newton-John‘s nephew, Emerson Newton-John.
Thanks very much for taking the time. We appreciate it. So...
EMERSON NEWTON-JOHN, OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN‘S NEPHEW: Thank you Dan.
ABRAMS: ... what do you make of this? I mean what do you think happened to Patrick McDermott?
NEWTON-JOHN: I think it‘s a pretty simple thing, I don‘t think it‘s anything to do with him, you know, taking off to get out of any issues he had. I think it was simple as a tragic accident that anyone could have. And I—my personal opinion is that there is really nothing more to it than that.
I think he might have gone up on top of the boat after everyone had gone to bed and maybe just got some fresh air and fallen off the boat. I don‘t know what the weather conditions were, whether it was rocky on board or what it might have been. But you know if you fall off a boat and it‘s in the middle of the night and everyone is sleeping, you know your cries can very easily not be heard.
ABRAMS: They were not dating at this time, correct?
ABRAMS: When had they ended their relationship?
NEWTON-JOHN: From what I was told by my mom, I think it had been five to six weeks before.
ABRAMS: So is it possible there was heartbreak on his part?
NEWTON-JOHN: Oh yes. I mean they had a fabulous relationship. I mean he was wonderful to her, she was wonderful to him. You know on paper, they had a wonderful time together. I think that he very much would have been heartbroken by not being with her anymore, yes.
ABRAMS: What do you know about Patrick‘s relationship with his ex-wife?
NEWTON-JOHN: Rocky to say the very least. I think that was definitely the vein of his existence. That was a thorn in his side. You know he has a wonderful son that he had a fabulous relationship with. And I think that you know over the years, from you know the day that I had met him, he had been battling with issues to do with child support and custody and everything related to that.
ABRAMS: How is Olivia doing?
NEWTON-JOHN: She‘s not doing well, but at the same time, she is holding together. I mean you know she was very much in love with him. He had been around in the family for a lot of years now. He was kind of a staple of the family. So the fact that it‘s not, you know it‘s worked out and it‘s still an open-ended case, I think that‘s probably a lot more difficult for her to handle than you know if he had been found, whether it be just in making up a disappearance or if his body had washed up on shore. As awful as it sounds, I think she probably would be doing better in that circumstance than what‘s going on right now.
ABRAMS: Seeing a lot of pictures of her either in race cars or with you in race—you‘re a racecar driver. Just for people who are wondering why...
ABRAMS: ... there were so many pictures there. Emerson Newton-John, thanks a lot for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
NEWTON-JOHN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
ABRAMS: Coming up, the Department of Homeland Security investigating whether some connected New Yorkers were tipped off about last week‘s threat to the New York City‘s subway. Could be a big deal, but I say not quite as big as some in the press are suggesting. It‘s my “Closing Argument”.
And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again.
This week, we are focused on California, wrapping up the search there by looking for Joel Lepez Suarez, 34, 5‘5”, 150. Suarez convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child younger than 14, has not registered with the state of California.
If you‘ve got any information, California Department of Justice, 916-227-4974.
Back in a minute.
ABRAMS: My “Closing Argument”—separating out the real issues from the media hype surrounding the possible leak from the Department of Homeland Security days before the latest terror threat to New York was made public. The “New York Daily News” headline yesterday, “Rich Got Terror Tip”. Why did city‘s elite get advance info on bomb threat to subway?
Today, “Feds Hunt Terror Tipster”. Outrage over early warning for elite. Others have followed up on the “Daily News” scoop that at least two e-mails were circulating three days before October 6, the day the threats to the city‘s subway system was announced by city officials. Apparently e-mails were circulating amongst some business and art executives in New York.
One of the e-mails claimed to be from the son of a high-ranking homeland security official. Quote—“The only information I can pass on to you is that everyone should at all cost not ride the subway for the next two weeks in major areas of New York City.” The other purportedly from a close friend of a Coast Guard official warning not to use the subways from October 7-10. The Department of Homeland Security has launched an investigation.
Now let me say, I certainly was not on the elite e-mail list and I live in New York and take the subway. So it‘s something I sure would have liked to have known. With that said, this was not about the rich getting a terror tip. Let‘s not stir the pot by creating some class warfare here. The relevant issue is that someone at Homeland Security may be shooting off his or her mouth. A WNBC reporter was asked not to report the story for national security reasons, so certainly the same should apply to Homeland Security officials.
Also, an issue, the fact that one of the e-mails may have been written an hour and a half before New York City Mayor Bloomberg was fully briefed on the threat. That needs to be investigated. But this was likely just some well-meaning official trying to warn his family. That does not, does not make it OK. But it also does not support an elite conspiracy to warn the rich and to send the rest of us into underground tombs.
(INAUDIBLE) but why, some have asked, with a conspiratorial gleam in their eyes, why did these e-mails warn of dire threats while the department pooh-poohed it as soon as the mayor announced it? Come on. By the time the threat was announced three days later, Homeland Security may have been able to determine it was not of great concern. And in retrospect, they were right. The threat wasn‘t credible.
So who cares what some gossipmongers were saying? Are we to believe that Homeland Security officials actually believed the threat was real but said it wasn‘t, what, so if when—if and when something happened, they would get blamed and then fired? I want to know who was talking, but not because I was left out in the cold, but because I think those e-mails could have threatened national security. And Mayor Bloomberg should have known about this well before some guy on Wall Street did.
Coming up, a lot of you writing in about my exclusive interview with the deputy police chief in Aruba, coming up.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. I‘ve had my say, now it is time for “Your Rebuttal”. My exclusive interview Wednesday with the deputy police chief in Aruba who said the Natalee Holloway case could turn around very soon. And he believes the suspects might be rearrested.
Robin Duffey in Alaska, “What a fantastic interview. It makes me feel as though there may be some justice for Natalee and her family after all. Don‘t know how you and your team were able to get this interview, but it seems all the time the press has been giving to this case might be paying off.”
Bryan Cone (ph) got that one.
From Windsor, California, Sue Geary. “Congratulations, Dan! You got more out of the authorities in Aruba than anyone else has so far.” Thanks Sue.
Jan Maane in Maryland, “I was shocked when he said he would need two days to cover all the different stories that Joran had told them. I think justice in this case is just around the corner.”
And two party boats with at least 17 Minnesota Viking football players aboard allegedly turned into a floating sex party. The crew became concerned over what they were seeing. They returned the boat to shore early. Now police are investigating. A lot of people defending the Vikings.
Cheryl Van Der Meer, Denver, “There are swinger parties going on all over the country every single day of the week. The only difference here is that the people that rented the boat were not honest with the boat owners and it freaked out the crew.”
John DiMeo in San Francisco, “The crew should consider themselves very lucky to be on a boat with the Vikings and scantily clad entertainers as passengers.”
Suzi in Ohio, “I‘m not surprised that the Vikings party. Many years ago I used to arrange parties for a professional team whenever they were in town. This is not new, just that someone reported on it.”
Oh, my, a lot of acceptance. Your e-mails abramsreport—one word—
@msnbc.com. We go through them at the end of the show.
All right, we promised we‘d introduce you to the winner of my press passes to the Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson trials. It was a charity auction. Here she is, Claire Weed (ph) of Flowood, Mississippi, did more than $4,000 on eBay. She has got both of the passes.
Claire is a registered nurse, mother of three, has a brand new grandchild, and she is a huge Mississippi State Bulldog fan. An extremely generous donation will benefit both Habitat for Humanity‘s efforts to rebuild homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the National CASA Association, which stands for court appointed special advocate. CASA provides neglected and abused kids with representation in court. My personal thanks to Claire and to everybody who bid on the passes. I‘m going to throw in an additional donation to each of them as well.
That does it for tonight. Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.
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