Guests: Gerald Dompig, Dave Holloway, Gerald Curry, Jonna Spilbor, Tim Susanin, Bill Stanton
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, breaking news in the Natalee Holloway investigation. It‘s another ABRAMS REPORT exclusive.
ABRAMS (voice-over): The deputy police chief in Aruba tells us new evidence—quote—“opens the door in the investigation into Natalee‘s disappearance and that one of the suspects may soon get hauled back to the police station. The deputy chief joins us live along with Natalee‘s father who‘s in Aruba now.
Plus, from this to this—the 16-year-old accused of murder in the brutal killing of high profile attorney Daniel Horowitz‘s wife. Will Daniel—can he ever defend accused criminals again?
And sure, it‘s expensive to go to one of New York‘s most exclusive strip clubs, but a $241,000 night. It‘s being litigated in the courts. We talk to a regular about whether the bill could really be that high?
The program about justice starts now.
ABRAMS: Hi everyone. We could have a significant break in the investigation into Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance in Aruba. Authorities there have just finished reviewing what could be critical new evidence. One of the suspects, Deepak Kalpoe‘s revealing interview with a polygraph expert.
J. SKEETERS: And the question I‘ll ask you is if you intentionally killed her?
SKEETERS: If it was an accident I can help all of you. And if you guys were partying, even if somebody had given her a date drug, I‘m sure she had sex with all of you.
DEEPAK: She did. You‘d be surprised how simple it was. To tell you quite frankly, dressed like a slut, talked like one, would go in a car with three strange guys, and her mother claiming her to be to the goody two shoes, enough of the B.S. already. If I knew where the body is I would tell them a long time ago. Let them start the trial and get this over with. I don‘t care.
ABRAMS: Now, that tape has been out, but the authorities have just reviewed it for the first time. That account about sex with all of them is a very different story than what the police say he, Deepak Kalpoe, one of the suspects has told them all summer.
Joining me right now on the phone Aruba‘s deputy police chief, Gerald Dompig. Deputy Chief, thanks very much for coming back on the program. All right, so you‘ve had a chance to review this tape. Could be significant?
GERALD DOMPIG, ARUBAN DEPUTY POLICE CHIEF: Well, yes. We have received the tapes and we also received from Mr. Jamie Skeeters on CD-ROM the tape. But we still have a problem with the transcriptions because the transcriptions we received don‘t match 100 percent the—just what it said on the tapes. So in any case, we feel that the tapes are very interesting and we are sending as we speak the tapes to Holland to have them reviewed for authenticity.
ABRAMS: Let‘s assume for a moment that they are authenticated. You had described to our producer, this is kind of opening a door into the investigation. Could this mean that Deepak Kalpoe is hauled back to the police station?
DOMPIG: Well this could mean anything. Factors that if we can establish that this is new information which not—does not match earlier statements, we can once more or once again prove that these guys are basically lying and we need to keep on focusing on them.
ABRAMS: But again, let‘s be clear. Assuming that this is authenticated and that‘s what you‘re doing now, you‘re sending it to Holland to get authenticated. But assuming it‘s authenticated...
ABRAMS: ... it is different from what he‘s been telling you all summer, correct?
DOMPIG: Yes, to a certain extent, yes because they have always said that there was no sex and these tapes at the least, suggest something else. So I feel that we might have a break there.
ABRAMS: And could this mean other types of charges? Possibly not murder, but possibly other charges in connection with Natalee?
DOMPIG: Well, I don‘t know yet. You have to just keep in mind that even if the sex part is said on the tapes, we don‘t know if it‘s consensual. So that‘s—I‘m not sure if we could draw or jump to conclusions about rape or anything like that. But basically, my information now is that we—it might lead us to other stuff.
ABRAMS: Other stuff meaning other charges?
ABRAMS: That‘s pretty significant, isn‘t it Chief?
DOMPIG: Of course because we want to have more answers. We want to find more answers and don‘t forget that we have things—a variety of possibilities from rape, murder. We also have some kind of accident that happened and people might feel that they are responsible for it. They don‘t want to come forward and whatever happens, I told a couple of people today that we are not looking primarily for the perpetrators only. We are looking to find the truth. We want to know what really happened.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you. Is there a crime in Aruba—and I think I know the answer to this—but is there a crime in Aruba for lying to the authorities. Meaning, if you‘re able to authenticate this tape, you‘re able to show that Deepak Kalpoe, one of the suspects in this case, is telling you a different story, is telling on tape a different story than he told you all summer, is that a crime in and of itself?
DOMPIG: No, not in itself. But it can give us you could say something about the personality of the person we are talking to, so it always works against that person in front of a judge.
ABRAMS: This is what Joran van der Sloot, one of the other suspects in this case, said about this issue of any sexual contact between him and Natalee Holloway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT, RELEASED SUSPECT: It was Natalee who asked me to go out with her. It was her that asked me to come to the club and it was her that was yelling at me to go dance with her and I kissed with her, but neither me, Deepak or Satish ever had sex with her and no know ever said otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That was from “A Current Affair”. And Chief, that‘s the problem, right? I mean he‘s saying no one said other wise and it seems now on this tape that someone said otherwise assuming it‘s authenticated.
DOMPIG: Exactly. You‘re absolutely correct.
ABRAMS: And I haven‘t heard his lawyer dispute that that‘s him on the tape, have you?
DOMPIG: Well, his lawyer, we are going to contact the lawyer because we first wanted to process the tapes and I feel that the point—the moment we have authenticated the tapes, the lawyer will have to (INAUDIBLE) at the police station along with his client.
ABRAMS: So, let‘s make that clear. As soon as those tapes are authenticated, you want him back at the police station?
DOMPIG: Of course.
ABRAMS: All right. Chief Dompig, we are going to stay on top of this. We should point out we called the attorney for Satish Kalpoe—for Deepak Kalpoe and didn‘t get a return phone call.
Joining me now on the phone from Aruba is Dave Holloway, Natalee‘s father. Dave, thanks for coming back on the program. First of all, what do you make of this development?
DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S FATHER (via phone): Well I‘m hopeful that they‘ll make something out of it. You know I think America knows and everyone else knows really what happened. It‘s a matter of just proving it and that‘s the problem we‘re arising with the judge and the—or the judge of instruction.
ABRAMS: Dave, you are in Aruba searching for Natalee, but you‘re not just searching in random areas, right? You‘re getting guidance as to where you should look?
D. HOLLOWAY: Yes, for the first time we have gotten some guidance on what areas to focus our search efforts on.
ABRAMS: And where is that coming from?
D. HOLLOWAY: That‘s coming from Chief Dompig himself.
ABRAMS: So the chief is telling you, you know, look in a particular area. Do you want to tell us where generally or how he‘s coming up with these areas?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, I know it‘s—of course, it‘s no secret now, he had indicated that we needed to center our efforts out in the ocean and that‘s what we‘re doing.
ABRAMS: And why haven‘t the Aruban authorities looked in these areas?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well, I don‘t think they have the capabilities of doing what we‘re trying to do. We‘ve got some people from United States in that has sonar search capabilities and the Aruban authorities do not. So that‘s what we‘re doing.
ABRAMS: And how long are you going to stay there, Dave?
D. HOLLOWAY: Well I‘m scheduled to go back Thursday. In fact, we—
Tim Miller and I came over here to plan a search for the dump area and then after we met with the police authorities, we were redirected to search out in the ocean and I‘ve extended my trip now by seven more days, so I intend to come back possibly by Thursday. Who knows? So I think EquuSearch is going to stay to the end, so...
ABRAMS: Dave, good luck. It sounds like Chief Dompig has certainly not given up on this and he sounds like he‘s ready to haul Deepak right back in there.
D. HOLLOWAY: Yes, I don‘t believe any of us are going to give up, so it‘s a matter of we‘re going to see it to the end.
ABRAMS: Good luck Dave. Thanks for taking the time.
D. HOLLOWAY: Thank you. Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a 16-year-old facing murder charges for the brutal killing of high profile attorney Daniel Horowitz‘s wife, Pamela Vitale. Will Daniel—can he ever defend accused criminals again? We‘ll ask the man seen here on this tape. He came under fire from a defendant outside a court. Can he go back to doing his regular job?
And later, Washington in waiting, will any of President Bush‘s top advisors be indicted? Word could come this week.
Finally, exactly how does one rack up a $241,000 bill at a strip club? It‘s being determined in a New York City courtroom. We‘re going to talk to a regular. Coming up.
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD JEWETT, PROSECUTING SCOTT DYLESKI: It is obvious independent of the attention that this case has brought that this is a brutal homicide and because he‘s very close to his 17th birthday, we believe that it‘s a situation where he is not entitled to protections afforded him under the juvenile law and it‘s appropriate to prosecute him as an adult and that‘s what we‘ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: It‘s official. Sixteen-year-old Scott Dyleski will be tried as an adult for the brutal murder of 15-year-old Pamela Vitale inside the home she shared with her husband, high profile defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. What people are asking now is how does a Boy Scout become a murderer.
NBC‘s James Hattori has some answers.
JAMES HATTORI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The changing faces of Scott Dyleski, how did a clean-cut teenager become an accused brazen killer? In court Friday the 16-year-old was charged as an adult and if convicted, could face up to a life sentence for killing Pamela Vitale, wife of prominent attorney, Daniel Horowitz. She was found in the entry of her suburban San Francisco home, reportedly beaten with a piece of wooden molding, a gothic marking carved on her back.
Friends say Dyleski used to be a typical suburban kid. He played baseball and was a Boy Scout, but by the time he entered high school, he changed the way he looked and dressed to a dark Goth appearance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like, he had a really white face and stuff like that and I think he wore black lipstick and he just walked around and everybody was like, oh, my god, who‘s that kid.
HATTORI: Friends said Dyleski changed after his sister died in an auto accident two years ago.
ANTHONY CATANESI, FORMER CLASSMATE OF DYLESKI: He had a loss in the family a couple of years ago and that may have helped him in his turn towards the, you know, the Goth side.
HATTORI: Others can‘t believe Dyleski is a killer.
BOB BROWN, DYLESKI FAMILY FRIEND: Didn‘t seem to be aggressive. He didn‘t seem to be overly angry.
HATTORI: Investigators reportedly say Dyleski killed Vitale because she got in the way of a marijuana-growing scheme raising more uncertainty about the real Scott Dyleski.
James Hattori, NBC News, Los Angeles.
ABRAMS: As more details emerge about Dyleski, Pamela Vitale‘s husband, Daniel Horowitz, is undoubtedly wondering what course his life is going to take now. He was a defense attorney to the core. It was always apparent in his appearances on this show and others. Here‘s just an example. The runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, indicted for faking her own kidnapping, I asked him back then if he‘d go to the prosecutor and try to make a deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HOROWITZ, FOUND WIFE MURDERED: I‘d say if you don‘t drop these charges and let her go into treatment as the only deal I‘ll make, then I will get you a trial. I will put up the fact that she is ill physically, that effects her mental state and that nobody was harmed by this; it‘s a purely political decision. I will basically threaten to kick his rear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But last week just days after he found his wife‘s body in their home, I asked him if he‘d be able to continue defending accused criminals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: Can I be a defense attorney again? Well I think I said some things that are fair towards people accused of a crime. But could I stand next to somebody who I knew committed a murder like this? I don‘t know. It‘s, you know, it‘s pretty—right now, it would—I guess I‘d have to say it would be a pretty hard thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joining me now by phone is the man seen here on this tape, an attorney who was shot and injured outside a California courthouse by an allegedly disgruntled client. The attorney‘s name is Gerald Curry—he joins us—and attorney Jonna Spilbor who decided to defend accused criminals after she was a victim herself.
Thanks to both of you for coming on the program. Appreciate it.
All right, Mr. Curry, first let me just ask you how are you doing? I mean you were significantly injured in that shooting. How are you doing?
GERALD CURRY, ATTORNEY: I‘m doing great. It‘s going to be two years since the shooting on Halloween, October 31 and I was struck five times by various bullets and I was actually released from the hospital two days after I was shot. It of course took a while for the wounds to heal up, but I‘m doing fine today, thank you.
ABRAMS: Tell me did it change your view on being a lawyer? Did it—
I mean I don‘t think—you were not a criminal defense lawyer, right?
CURRY: No, my area of expertise is in estate planning probate and elder law. And the area that I practice in it‘s very unusual to have this kind of incident. You know the kinds of situations where attorneys get shot are usually, you know the attorney represents the wife in a family law matter. You know maybe an attorney in a criminal law matter.
It‘s very unusual for an attorney like me in my area of practice to get shot. So I think it was just kind of a fluke, a once in a million you know kind of situation and it really hasn‘t affected me in the sense that I don‘t think it‘ll ever happen again. I think it was kind of a just like a fluke situation. I just go on with my life.
ABRAMS: And just remind us, what was he supposedly disgruntled about?
CURRY: I had never met him. My client actually was a professional trustee who administered his trust and we were just going to court to have his sister (INAUDIBLE) have my client discharged and also to have her actions approved and also to have fees approved for my client and for myself.
So he never showed up in court. His sister showed up in court, but I assume he was upset because of the fact that my client was going to be—her acts were going to be approved by the court and he didn‘t want any fees to be approved for either my client or for myself, so I assume that‘s why he was upset.
ABRAMS: All right, Jonna, you‘ve got a different situation. And that is that you were a victim of crime before you became a lawyer?
JONNA SPILBOR, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Six months before I became a lawyer, I had very briefly, I‘m in a parking a lot, I‘m coming home from work, I‘m getting into my car and from nowhere, I have a gun in my face with a guy attached to it and another guy on my back and I quickly determined they didn‘t want to dance. So we had a struggle. They divested me of all my worldly possessions in that parking lot.
I went one way. They went another. But here‘s what changed my mind about crime and crime victims. When I went to the police department after this happened and here I am—I‘m 22. It‘s a cold wintry night. I‘m scared. I‘m angry and I sit down in front of thousands, thousands of mug shots of young, black men because the perpetrators were black and I‘m there for hours and finally, one of the police officers said, I need you to pick two, as if any two will do little lady.
And that did not sit well with me and I couldn‘t identify them. And I realized that if I did, two people were going to get knocks on the door and they might not have been the perpetrators, so I never identified them. They never caught the guys...
ABRAMS: So Jonna, if a loved one, a husband, a parent, a child of yours was killed, brutally, the way Daniel‘s wife was...
ABRAMS: ... you don‘t think you‘d have a problem going back and representing accused murderers in court?
SPILBOR: Well, I certainly wouldn‘t be able to represent that one, but here‘s the thing. I don‘t look at my job as getting guilty people off. I don‘t wake up in the morning and go how many guiltily dirt bags can I set loose to rape and pillage innocent people. What I make sure is that the prosecutors aren‘t wiping their feet on the Constitution when they walk...
SPILBOR: ... through the door. So yes, I could still defend people who are accused of committing...
ABRAMS: But as a practical matter, as you well know, most people who are arrested are guilty. I mean most people...
ABRAMS: Yes and as a result, the vast majority of the people you are representing are guilty?
SPILBOR: And the vast majority go to jail, Dan. That vast majority of the people...
ABRAMS: Right. But I‘m asking—but it‘s a choice one makes about deciding to stand next to that person in a courtroom and say I speak for slime bag A or slime bag B and I‘m just asking whether, you know, I was so surprised how honest Daniel was about that because and I guess I shouldn‘t have been surprised because of the sort of truly human response. But Daniel has always been such a defender of the accused and always talked the way you‘re talking now, which is about the system and I want to test the system.
And we got to make sure that the system is working. And then hearing him say on the program last week, you know what, Dan, I don‘t know that I‘ll be able to be a criminal defense attorney anymore. It sort of—it struck me in terms of, you know, a guy who has always defended the accused now becomes a victim himself and he‘s saying, you know what, I don‘t know that I can do it.
SPILBOR: I do think it‘s honest. And you know what? And he might go back to it and I wish nothing would change for him professionally. He doesn‘t have to take brutal murders. I know plenty of colleagues who won‘t take, for example, a child molestation case even if they think the client is innocent because they don‘t like the type of case and it would be a disservice to the entire defense bar if Daniel Horowitz decides to hang up his practice. I hope he doesn‘t, but my god, Dan, I mean I can‘t believe he‘s even walking and talking this soon after such a brutal crime.
ABRAMS: Yes, I mean look, I—to be honest, I couldn‘t be a criminal defense attorney. I respect...
SPILBOR: It‘s hard.
ABRAMS: I respect what you do and I—it‘s an essential part of the system and I think a lot of people don‘t appreciate that, about how important it is to have people who test the system, but I couldn‘t do it and I can understand why Daniel might not be able to do it now.
All right, Gerald Curry, I‘m glad to hear you‘re doing so much better.
Thank you so much for taking the time...
SPILBOR: Thank you.
ABRAMS: ... the time to come on the program.
CURRY: You‘re welcome. Thank you.
ABRAMS: Jonna Spilbor, you‘re going to stick around.
ABRAMS: Special prosecutor investigating the leak of a CIA operative‘s name expected to wrap it all up this week. We‘re going to talk to someone who may have some insights on whether there will be indictments.
And a $241,000-bill at a strip club for one night—that is now being disputed in a New York court. We‘re going to talk to a regular, a regular about the billing practices. You‘re a regular, aren‘t you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again. Today we start our weeklong search in Connecticut.
Department of Public Safety is looking for Ralph Ceritto, 44, 5‘11”, weighs 185, convicted of sexual assault, has not registered with the state of Connecticut. IF you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please call the Connecticut Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry, 860-685-8060.
Joe knew I was going to do that. Be right back.
ABRAMS: Coming up, Washington anxiously waiting to find out if any White House top advisors will be indicted for leaking a CIA operative‘s name to the press, first the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a very serious investigation and I haven‘t changed my mind about whether or not I‘m going to comment on it publicly. Fine looking shades you got there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: President Bush keeping a sense of humor as he‘s asked about special prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald‘s investigation into possible White House leaks that may have outed undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Fitzgerald‘s grand jury term expires this Friday. He‘s saying he‘s not going to write a report on his nearly two-year-old investigation, which may suggest that he‘s preparing to file charges. That‘s what everyone‘s saying.
And for weeks, we‘re hearing his targets include Karl Rove, the president‘s indispensable strategist, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney‘s chief of staff and another key White House insider. What kind of charges are really possible in this case?
Well there‘s a law in the books against leaking an undercover agent‘s name, but that‘s a tough one to prove and it doesn‘t seem that‘s going to be the issue, so some top Republicans are already sharpening their knives, preparing to go after Fitzgerald if lesser charges are filed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON ®, TEXAS: I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn‘t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Tim Susanin, former federal prosecutor, also served as an associated independent counsel during the Clinton Whitewater investigation. Tim, good to see you. All right...
TIM SUSANIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Thanks Dan.
ABRAMS: First of all, we got to talk about that. I mean here some—
Kay Bailey Hutchison, for example, made very different comments about the impeachment trial of President Clinton when she talked about perjury and obstruction of justice. I mean do you think it‘s fair criticism for some people to already be saying well you know this is sort of ala Martha Stewart?
SUSANIN: Well I really don‘t, Dan. I mean the citizens of this country, through the Congress have decided that perjury and false statements and other obstructionist crimes are worth keeping on the books and worth enforcing and I think until Congress changes its mind and changes those laws, we really undermine the law enforcement community by saying well, gee, those are just whistle and bells charges and we should not prosecute them. I think...
SUSANIN: ... you know Martha Stewart and the rapper, “Lil‘ Kim” you know are proof that these are things that are serious and prosecuted on their own.
ABRAMS: Here‘s the letter from acting A.G. James Comey authorizing Fitzgerald to investigate and prosecute the crimes. And he said any federal crimes committed in the course of and with the intent to interfere with your investigation such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses.
I mean it‘s new that Fitzgerald is investigating. And I have to tell
you Tim, I would rather in a way from a sort of media perspective them go -
if he‘s going to go after people, if, if he he‘s going to go after someone, go after him I would rather for perjury, obstruction of justice because I think then you‘re not basically saying any time someone provides any information to somebody else, it‘s a crime.
SUSANIN: Right. Well, you know, I think he‘s going to have problems making the case just by providing information it‘s a crime. You alluded to the difficulty with the agent‘s identities protection act. But you know I think the real question here, Dan, is with regard even to these so called whistles and bells charges, the perjury, false statements, what kind of evidence does the special counsel have?
We really don‘t know that, but what we do know, if we believe the reports and of course Judy Miller, Matt Cooper have talked about their time in the grand jury is that Karl Rove might have forgotten or claims to have forgotten his initial contacts with these reporters. He evidently did not bring them up when he was in the grand jury originally...
ABRAMS: And forgetting isn‘t a crime.
SUSANIN: That‘s right.
ABRAMS: I mean let‘s be clear, right?
SUSANIN: That‘s exactly right. And when you put together Matt Cooper‘s testimony about Karl Rove and Judy Miller‘s, you really have situations here where these two, Libby and Rove, say and are corroborated by the reporters. They never mention Valerie Plame‘s name. They didn‘t say that she was a covert agent. All they basically did was address the issue and I would argue in a responsive way to claims that it was the vice president‘s office that scheduled this trip.
SUSANIN: ... no, it was his wife and she works there.
ABRAMS: Judy Miller made in her notes there was a reference to Valerie Flame, as it was described, and another reference I think was to Valerie Wilson...
SUSANIN: Right. And she says that she can‘t say that that name...
SUSANIN: ... came to her...
ABRAMS: She can‘t say for certain, right.
SUSANIN: That‘s right.
ABRAMS: So there would have to be something else, another witness who can somehow link it up because just based on what we know—and look, we know a skeleton of the information that he has, right. I mean I‘ve often said, people are saying, oh, once Fitzgerald comes back with his report or once he indicts, if he indicts, we‘re going to hear things that we would never have known. We never would have guessed. I don‘t think there are going to be that many surprises. I think there‘s going to be meat to the bones.
SUSANIN: Well my experience, Dan, in one of these special counsel investigations is we don‘t know everything that the grand jury knows. I take your point, there might not be a bombshell in there that we don‘t have some idea. But from what I‘ve read, it‘s tough to make the case on the merits, on the unauthorized disclosure.
SUSANIN: I don‘t see anything that rises to perjury or obstruction. It might be there are some nuanced fact that really leads the prosecutor to believe that he‘s got an obstruction charge...
ABRAMS: Or a conspiracy charge. Here—let me play one more piece of sound from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHISON: Look at Martha Stewart, for instance, where they couldn‘t find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn‘t a crime. I think that it is important of course that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Tim, my position on the Martha Stewart case was that they wouldn‘t have charged her had she not been Martha Stewart, but that she was guilty of the crime she was charged of. I don‘t think we‘re going to see a Martha Stewart situation here, do you?
SUSANIN: Well you know I really don‘t know. I—like I said, I think it‘s tough to make a claim for perjury or a case on the merits, but I do take issue with the fact—maybe I‘m a little defensive here—the grand juries and prosecutors are out to play gotcha in effect, I think is what the senator is saying.
We do have somewhat of a different situation here where we have a special counsel who is really tasked with not prosecuting all cases in his jurisdiction or her jurisdiction and therefore having some kind of discretion, but really investigating a specific group of targets and coming up with, gee, was the unauthorized disclosure done or any crimes along the way in terms of obstructing the investigation. It‘s his duty to pursue charges that fall in either category.
ABRAMS: Tim, good to see you.
SUSANIN: Thanks, Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up, who‘s going to pay for a $241,000-bill at a strip club? It‘s being decided now in a New York courtroom. One of the club‘s regulars and turns out he‘s also a friend of this show, joins us. Details are next.
And later, I called for an apology from those who accused Daniel Horowitz of being involved in his wife‘s murder after an arrest. Now some apologizing, others lashing out at me even more. “Your Rebuttal” coming up.
Your e-mails email@example.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. I respond at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Two hundred and forty-one thousand dollars for one night at a strip club. Shocker, the guy is suing, fighting over. Why? Because it puts it on his corporate card. We‘re going to talk to a Scores regular who also happens to be a regular on this program. Coming up.
ABRAMS: If it‘s true, does it qualify as one heck of a night of Dionysian debauchery. St. Louis Internet mogul Robert McCormick, a married father of three girls, allegedly charged $241,000 at Scores, New York City‘s famed palace of pleasure on—in one night and oh, it was on his corporate card by the way.
What could $241,000 have gotten you at the mammary mecca? How about five lap dances at $20 apiece for each of your 2,000 closest friends with enough money left over to get each of them a $22-Scores martini. Now I heard this place can be expensive, but McCormick says he was effectively booby-trapped and is disputing all but $20,000 in charges. Before we talk to a Scores regular, it turns out these business casual meetings are not all that uncommon.
MSNBC‘s Alison Stewart has the story.
ALISON STEWART, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-two years ago, Rob McCormick was a St. Louis senior headed to college. Today, he is the latest poster boy for CEOs gone wild. New York tabloids report the SAVVIS Communications chairman was charged $241,000 by the Manhattan strip club, Scores, and the tab went on the company credit card.
JIM WILSON, CITY SCAPE NEW YORK OWNER: I do have a VIP champagne room, which goes for $1,000 an hour just for the club.
STEWART: Jim Wilson, owner of gentleman‘s club City Scape New York says many white-collar types have traded golf clubs for strip clubs when it comes time to do business.
WILSON: I do know of people that I know personally have spent 20, $30,000 in one night in the clubs of Manhattan.
STEWART (on camera): Twenty grand is what Robert McCormick admits to dropping at this club, not $241,000. Now the court will settle that dispute, but a group of executives at a high-end club raking up a six-figure bill is quite possible according to one former dancer.
LILY BURANA, “STRIP CITY” AUTHOR: It really is an environment created to cater to this sense of white-collar entitlement and they deliver in...
STEWART (voice-over): Lily Burana is a stripper turned journalist.
(on camera): What was the biggest tip that you ever got in a night?
BURANA: For me the biggest tip I ever got in a night from a single customer was $2,500, but I do have peers in the strip club industry for whom that would make them laugh.
STEWART (voice-over): Robert McCormick was not available for comment but his company stands behind him and is contesting the charge, telling NBC News SAVVIS is working with legal counsel to resolve the claim and protect the interest of SAVVIS, its shareholders, customers and partners. The case does not impact our ability to deliver superior products and services.
Business deals and high heels, an open secret.
(on camera): Is corporate networking in the environment of an upscale strip club good business?
BURANA: Absolutely. Is it good taste? That‘s debatable.
STEWART (voice-over): Alison Stewart, NBC News, New York.
ABRAMS: Lily may look familiar to my next guest, Scores patron and private investigator Bill Stanton. Bill, good to see you. Who would have thought this would be your reason for the appearance on the show today?
BILL STANTON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Dan, I‘m waiting for you to say Scores regular one more time. Thank you.
ABRAMS: And back with me is criminal defense attorney Jonna Spilbor. It‘s nice to be able to have a little bit of fun with this story. All right, Bill, $241,000. Can you really spend $241,000 at Scores in a night?
STANTON: Well, I can‘t, but apparently, this boob could, pun intended. You could spend as much or as little as you want. I mean this guy, obviously, just went crazy with the money.
ABRAMS: What‘s with this—they‘re claiming that they had him sign this waiver, effectively. It says -- it‘s number one here -- which effectively says I‘m at Scores on my own free will at the time of this transaction. I‘m not drunk nor in any way impaired. I have not been coerced nor am I currently under any duress. I agree to pay any and all charges I have incurred as a result of my purchase of diamond dollars and/or food or beverages.
They make people sign this, Bill?
STANTON: Yes, well I‘ve never gone that high. I‘ve never had to sign that. You know there‘s a max on my credit card. But what happens is these guys go out and they lose their minds. I mean I‘ve seen it. I‘ve been there when these guys just start handing out money as if it‘s monopoly money.
And essentially, they feel they‘re king for a day and the next day when they wake up and they see that receipt, then they say it never happened. You know on this one, on many issues, I‘ll have to side with the establishment on this one.
ABRAMS: You mean just so can you get in next time you‘re there, right?
ABRAMS: Yes. Bill, how much money have you seen thrown around I mean at one time? What‘s the most you‘ve seen someone throw around sort of casually?
STANTON: Oh thousands. I‘ve been in the company where someone spent $25,000?
STANTON: Yes. Yes, it was a CEO and it was big and he was throwing it around. He said—one guy actually years back, it was his bachelor party and this guy was from the Middle East, oil money and he came in and he handed me, my friend, and a bunch of other guys, $5,000 each. And...
ABRAMS: Why didn‘t you just walk out?
STANTON: Why didn‘t I walk out...
ABRAMS: ... with the 5,000?
STANTON: Because it was 5,000 in golden dollars.
STANTON: You know that couldn‘t buy you much in the street.
STANTON: Yes, except in the club, so we were literally forced to spend 5,000. It was really hard, Dan...
ABRAMS: Yes, you figured out a way, though, didn‘t you?
STANTON: Yes. Exactly.
ABRAMS: Yes. Jonna Spilbor, the legal issues here, all right.
SPILBOR: Oh, are there any? OK. Yes.
ABRAMS: What is—I mean the bottom line is it seems that you know they charged him $241,000. He‘s saying look, I never ran up that kind of bill. How do you resolve this kind of case?
SPILBOR: You know what? This case is all about fraud and I‘ll tell you why. Because you could not—you and Billy combined on your best night could not spend a quarter of a million dollars on pole dances. They don‘t cost that much. But what I would tell this jury is that you can spend that on sex and payment for sex is an illegal contract. Ergo, Scores gets squat. That would be my argument.
STANTON: Dan, can I jump in a minute?
STANTON: Dan, I mean I‘ll tell you I‘ve seen people hand out—the average dance is $20. I‘ve seen guys who want to be big shots who maybe weren‘t that popular in high school or college, give a girl $500 for one dance.
SPILBOR: That‘s not a quarter of a million. Come on, Billy. I mean you know...
STANTON: I mean I‘ve seen people throw money like there was no tomorrow.
SPILBOR: That‘s why—when I asked you for your business card in the green room, is that why you gave me your American Express?
ABRAMS: Hey Bill, do people really—I mean is it really happening that a lot of people are going to Scores on business—and do you bring clients there?
ABRAMS: You do?
STANTON: I mean you‘ve added me, Dan. I‘ll come all the way out of the Scores closet. I mean I‘ll start off dinner at Elaine‘s and depending upon where—what we‘re looking to do, what type of business, and if we‘re having a fun evening, inevitably someone at the table will say Scores. And I got to tell you women and men I‘ve gone there with and we‘ve all seem to have a good time. I mean it‘s not against the law. It‘s actually fun.
ABRAMS: Yes and you know, you get to the door and you‘re like hey, Tony, what‘s up...
ABRAMS: You got my table?
STANTON: No. No. I mean I go once in a blue moon and...
ABRAMS: Oh, yes.
STANTON: ... I‘ll tell you I‘ve gone with the head of a network at one time and we finished a deal on a handshake at Scores, so I can‘t complain...
STANTON: ... about the place.
ABRAMS: I‘m getting the feeling that there may be more blue moons out there than Bill is letting on. All right. Bill Stanton, thanks for being a good sport and coming on the show about this.
STANTON: For you Dan, anything.
ABRAMS: Jonna Spilbor, good to see you.
SPILBOR: Same here.
ABRAMS: Coming up, I said many owed Daniel Horowitz an apology for saying he was involved in his wife‘s murder. Now, some are still lashing out at me. I‘ll respond.
And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again. This week we‘re focusing on Connecticut.
Authorities are searching for Glen Jarrett. He‘s 40, 5‘8”, 160, convicted of sexual assault in ‘97, hasn‘t registered with the state of Connecticut. If you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Connecticut Department of Public Safety. The offender registry is 860-685-8060.
Back in a moment.
ABRAMS: We‘re back. Time for “Your Rebuttal”. On Thursday, police arrested a neighbor in the murder of Pamela Vitale, the wife of high profile attorney Daniel Horowitz. I said after reading some of the e-mails from the week and after watching other networks‘ coverage, that some owe Daniel Horowitz a huge apology for being convinced that he was the murderer.
Plenty of e-mails in response. Michelle Swain in Detroit, “I‘m guilty. I was sure Horowitz did or had something to do with it. I feel so bad that I just knew he did it. I thought you did great. You were neutral.” Thanks.
And Nina in Pennsylvania, “I want to applaud your sense of indignation on the way certain viewers were in such a hurry to judge Mr. Horowitz. He was right to go on as many news shows as possible to get coverage to find the monster that killed his wife.”
But Rubi in San Francisco, “I believe you hit the height of hypocrisy when you went off on people who might have thought that Mr. Horowitz committed this crime. I don‘t know how many times I‘ve heard you and other TV lawyers espouse on the husband being the most obvious suspect.”
Rubi, I didn‘t go off on people who thought he might have done it. I went off on people who were convinced he did it or those who went on TV and strongly suggested that he was the killer even though there was no evidence to suggest it was him.
In Pompano Beach, Florida, Penny Kalikow, “I have seen high profile people under suspicion for murder prejudged by yourself and the rest of the legal community.”
Katherine Field in Springfield, Massachusetts, “The reason a lot of people suspected Daniel Horowitz of involvement in his wife‘s murder is simply due to a quick look back at the murders of Nicole Simpson at the hands of her renowned clean-cut football star actor husband, as well as the murder of Laci Peterson at the hands of her clean-cut handsome husband. No one would have thought these two men would commit such crimes. So cut the doubters some slack.”
Look Penny and Katherine, the difference between many of those other cases and this one is that in those cases there was an arrest and/or evidence we knew of that implicated the person. It is not about prejudging. It is about evaluating evidence whether it‘s before trial or after a trial. There was nothing. No evidence that pointed to Daniel.
Fair enough. The husband must be looked at. I never complained that they investigated Daniel as a possible suspect. They did the right thing. It is true. In just over 30 percent of the cases where a woman is killed, it‘s the spouse or ex-spouse. But that also means that in almost 70 percent it‘s not.
Many of you writing in about someone questioned early in the investigation, a neighbor Horowitz once tried to get a restraining order against, Joe Lynch.
Lori Campbell in Middletown, New Jersey writes, “How about his friends, the lawyers, and talking heads who went on national TV and publicly accused Mr. Lynch of committing this despicable crime? Don‘t they and others owe Mr. Lynch an apology?”
Yes, anyone who accused Lynch of committing the crime owes him an apology, absolutely. I‘m glad we highlighted Lynch voluntarily providing DNA, blood, hair et cetera.
Finally, Barbara Chevalier in Columbus, Ohio, “I want to be quick to apologize. I have been badly treated by men in the past and I admit I am a bitter woman. I apologize to Mr. Horowitz.”
I‘ve said this before, I‘ll say it again. My guess is knowing Daniel that he will accept all apologies.
Your e-mails abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com. We go through them at the end of the show.
We‘ll be right back. We may talk a little bit more about that strip club case.
ABRAMS: We were talking about the $241,000 that got spent in a Scores strip club. My stage manager Joe was mentioning a story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there‘s a guy I know who—well, I knew the girl who, this guy was sleeping. He fell asleep during a lap dance. And as he was passed out, girls were going over and giving more and more dances. And when he woke up, they were like, you owe me all this money. And he‘s like OK and he paid them all.
ABRAMS: He paid them even though he was passed out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He paid for them.
ABRAMS: It‘s good stuff. This is the program about justice.
ABRAMS: Got to go. Joe, thanks. “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews up next. See you tomorrow.
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