Guests: Carl Bernstein, DeeDee Myers, G. Gordon Liddy, Henry Lee, Sandy Daughton, Larry Kobilinsky, David Williams, Mary Fulginiti, Lisa Bloom, Sheryl Swoopes, George “Jug” Twitty, Gerold Dompig, Jamie Skeeters
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening. Thanks so much, Keith. And good evening everybody.
Breaking news right now in the murder of Pamela Vitale. We have just learned that the mother of the teenage suspect in the case was arrested just a short time ago.
NBC‘s Jennifer London joins us now live with the breaking details.
Jennifer, tell us about the mom.
JENNIFER LONDON, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well good evening, Rita. You know many people may have been surprised when police arrested 16-year-old Scott Dyleski for the murder of Pamela Vitale. Well today the investigation took another unexpected twist. This afternoon police arrested Scott Dyleski‘s mother, Esther Fielding. She was booked into the Contra Costa County Jail later this afternoon.
Her alleged role in the murder, not entirely clear, but she has been accused of aiding and abetting a person involved in the killing. This happened on the same day her son, Scott Dyleski was in a California courtroom for his arraignment. His arraignment has been continued until November 9. It is expected at that time that Scott Dyleski will enter a plea.
Now we‘re not getting a lot of information about this, the Sheriff‘s Department is citing a gag order, which was imposed today, meaning that lawyers and investigators involved in the case are not allowed to comment. Now, Rita, Scott Dyleski, excuse me, was arrested on October 19 after police received a tip from a neighbor.
Pamela Vitale was found dead in her mobile home on October 15. She, of course, is the wife of defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. The couple were living in this mobile home while they were awaiting the finishing of a custom home that they were having built in Lafayette. Now, of course, this case has received national attention in part because Daniel Horowitz is not only a high profile defense attorney, but he has also served as a TV analyst in cases like Scott Peterson‘s murder trial and of course most recently Michael Jackson‘s child molestation trial—Rita.
COSBY: And Jennifer, when you said aiding and abetting, do we believe it‘s part of the act or it‘s the cover-up with the mom?
LONDON: Rita, at this time it is not clear. And again, we‘re not getting a lot of information because the parties are now citing a gag order which was just imposed today. During the arraignment of Scott Dyleski earlier today, both sides—attorneys on both sides asked that a gag order be imposed. That was granted. We‘re not getting a lot of information and they are saying that she has been charged with aiding and abetting a person involved in the killing, but Rita, we‘re not getting a lot of details beyond that.
COSBY: All right. Jennifer, please come back to us whenever you have any more developments. We‘re going to also have a lot more on this breaking, developing story in the murder of Vitale, Pamela Vitale in just a few moments.
But first, another major developing story tonight. The CIA leak investigation tonight, the country is on pins and needles as the suspense is definitely building as we are just hours away from a critical decision in the CIA leak investigation. At any moment we could learn if the grand jury will indict some of the most powerful people in the United States.
So what is it like inside the White House tonight? We‘re going to have special insight from key players in some of the biggest political scandals in modern history, including famed Watergate reporter, Carl Bernstein. The White House is on edge, but first tomorrow is expected to be decision day for some of Washington‘s most powerful people in the role of this case.
Joining us now is MSNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, Norah O‘Donnell. Norah, first of all, give us a sense, Norah, what is the latest tonight?
NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, tonight, Rita, this case is on the verge of a climax with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald expected to wrap up his nearly two-year investigation tomorrow. Two of the president top advisors, Karl Rove and “Scooter” Libby have been informed that they are in serious legal jeopardy.
Now indicting a sitting White House official would be very rare. In fact, it would be the first time in 130 years. If you look back at Watergate or Iran-Contra, most indictments of high-level White House staffers have been done when they‘ve left their position, been fired or resigned. The only case that we found of a White House aide being indicted while working in the White House was in 1875 of a man named Orville Babcock who worked for Ulysses S. Grant.
So this is a big deal. I can tell you tonight that White House officials and Republicans close to the White House are preparing a defense in case Rove and/or Libby or other White House officials are indicted. There have been meetings. I‘m told that they are preparing for multiple scenarios, but there have been phone calls, conference calls involving Karl Rove, his attorney and others that may be brought in to try and defend this White House team even at a time that they‘re facing a lot of problems today, Rita, as you know, when Harriet Miers had to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme Court.
COSBY: Now Norah, real quick, have we been getting any indication how this is going to come down, how the American public going to hear about it. is there going to be an announcement? Are we going to see the special prosecutor walking in?
O‘DONNELL: Well Patrick Fitzgerald, who is the special prosecutor, is a bulldog, tenacious, we know that from his background. And the way he has operated in the past is that he does hold a press conference when he makes an announcement that there could be an indictment or when he wants to charge certain individuals. That‘s his M.O., so it could happen sometime tomorrow, and according to his spokesman, he will make that announcement here in Washington. If you‘ll look back over time, usually some of these things come after lunch, but that‘s just guessing. But clearly this grand jury expires tomorrow and all indications are that Fitzgerald is trying to wrap it up.
COSBY: Norah, please keep us posted if you hear anything else in the next hour or so. And everybody, we‘re going to be watching this closely.
Let‘s now get two people here in Washington who are no strangers to controversy inside the beltway, DeeDee Myers, who was press secretary for President Clinton. She was questioned by the grand jury investigating the death of former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster. And also with us is Carl Bernstein. He is one of course of two reporters who first broke news of the famous Watergate break-in.
Carl, let me start with you. First of all, what do you think is going to happen tomorrow?
CARL BERNSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I wouldn‘t presume to guess. I think we‘ll learn whether there will be indictments, whether there will be no indictments or whether a new grand jury will be impaneled to further continue hearing the case...
COSBY: What do you think, Carl, the chances that he might go to another grand jury, because (INAUDIBLE) that‘s a whole new process, right Carl?
BERNSTEIN: I think second-guessing this thing right now doesn‘t make much sense. We‘ve learned a lot about this presidency through this case. We‘ve learned a lot about the vice president. We‘ve learned a lot about how this administration operates in some regards and a little more about how we went to war. But in terms of what this prosecutor and the grand jury are going to do, let‘s sit and wait for the facts. We‘ve learned a lot of facts so far and we‘ll learn some more.
COSBY: DeeDee, what do you think? Can you sort of read any of the tealeaves, at least of where it‘s headed?
DEEDEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Well I think Carl is exactly right, that it‘s foolhardy to sit back and try to second-guess or to guess about what the prosecutor is doing. I can tell you one thing, the people are in the White House late tonight. They‘re going to be going through a number of scenarios because they don‘t know.
They‘ll be trying to figure out how to deal with what might be small news, but what might be huge news. As Norah pointed out, this has never happened. We‘ve never had a high-level sitting official inside the White House indicted. It could be one. It could be two. It could be none. But at this point, nobody knows. And the conventional wisdom has bounced all over the place this week from two indictments to one indictment to possibly no indictments. But I think we‘ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what the prosecutor does.
COSBY: Is there a way to see where it‘s headed, DeeDee, if there are to be indictments, do you think (INAUDIBLE) on the actual act of the leak or the cover-up? Is there any sense based on sort of where the questioning has gone?
MYERS: Again, I think that unlike some investigations, this one has been pretty leak-proof. We don‘t have a lot of information and we have people outside the actual process trying to read the tealeaves, trying to get little bits and pieces from the lawyers of people who‘ve testified in front of the grand jury. Some of the people who have testified are clearly targets or subjects. Others are just witnesses.
And so trying to piece all that together without knowing how the prosecutor is trying to put together the case is very difficult. It‘s actually impossible. But that doesn‘t keep people all over Washington from working very hard to try to guess at what‘s going to happen tomorrow.
COSBY: You bet. And you know and aren‘t you surprised, Carl, as DeeDee just said, on how leak-proof this has been so far in a town full of leaks?
BERNSTEIN: No, no, I‘m not. The grand jury proceeding—during Watergate, the grand jury proceedings remained secret pretty much all the way through. I think at one point we learned that President Nixon had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator, but that was actually after the grand jury had acted and had been dismissed.
What‘s really important here is that this special prosecutor‘s investigation by its very fact and by the attention focused on the calling of reporters as witnesses has shown a light on how this administration operates, has raised the question again of how we went to war, the honesty of the president, the competence of the president, the competence of the vice president, the honesty of the vice president, and also whether and how this administration goes about smearing its opponents. And it‘s had great effect regardless of whether there are indictments or not. And this is a different presidency because of this investigation.
COSBY: You know, Carl, if it turns out to be Karl Rove, should there be an indictment? It‘s pointed (INAUDIBLE) how bad is that for the president? How bad if it turns out to be Cheney‘s right-hand guy, “Scooter” Libby?
BERNSTEIN: I don‘t think we should speculate about how bad something is going to be. What we have now is a situation in which a window has finally been open on how this administration operates and how we went to war. And I think now that that window is open, it‘s not going to close. I think that there probably will be some congressional investigations as a result of the revelations in this investigation, whether or not there are indictments.
There will be enormous pressure on the president, on the vice president to tell us more about what they knew and when they knew it. So we have a different political situation, and it‘s more than a political situation because American men and women are dying in Iraq as a consequence of the decisions that we are now for the first time seeing more light shown on.
COSBY: You know, DeeDee, you‘ve answered questions before a grand jury into the death of former White House counsel Vince Foster. What is it like being inside the jury room?
MYERS: Well, the first thing you have to do is walk through a valance of reporters if it‘s a high-profile investigation and there‘s a presumption of guilt that hangs over the proceedings regardless of who is being called. There‘s a presumption that somebody did something wrong or they wouldn‘t be hauled up in front of the grand jury, so that‘s difficult to deal with.
Then you walk in for the first time (INAUDIBLE) you‘re separated from your lawyer and you go into the room by yourself and you‘re asked a lot of questions. And even I was a witness, I was never accused of doing anything, but you‘re still worried that maybe your recollection conflicts with somebody else, that maybe you‘ll disremember something or your own recollection will conflict with something that may have been in your notes, so you know it‘s an unnerving process.
I did find the grand jurors to be sort of sympathetic. They‘re ordinary citizens who are dragged into this high-profile situation. They‘re trying to get at the truth. I don‘t think they have a political ax to grind and so I thought the posture of the jurors was very much let‘s get down to business, let‘s get to the facts, let‘s not presume guilt. But the process outside the grand jury room was a little different than that.
COSBY: And DeeDee, speaking of processes, I would say a mess for Harriet Miers today, having to withdraw the nomination here. I mean this is just a mess. How much damage control is this White House under tonight?
MYERS: Well, it‘s a confluence of factors. I mean this White House hasn‘t had many weeks, if any, that are worse than this one between the culmination of the investigation, the Harriet Miers withdrawal, the fact that we reached 2,000 casualties, 2,000 deaths in Iraq, all coming to head. And not only that, but the White House is now sort of locked up in opposition to its own base.
It was the Republican base, the conservative base of the party that brought the Harriet Miers nomination down. The White House put the best spin on it today by saying it was the fact they didn‘t want to release confidential documents. They didn‘t want to infringe on privileges, but that wasn‘t what it was about. The base absolutely put its big feet down and said, no, we do not accept this nominee.
Now that it‘s back to the drawing board, the White House is going to try to nominate another person quickly to try to divert the news from what might come out tomorrow, but I don‘t think that‘s going to work. I agree with Carl that this is maybe the beginning of the middle of this process of looking into the decision of how to go to war and not the end.
BERNSTEIN: There‘s a real question about whether this presidency is on the verge of imploding. We‘re going to find that out in the next few weeks...
COSBY: Do you believe it is, Carl?
BERNSTEIN: ... next few months. I don‘t think we know yet. I think that there certainly is a good deal of disintegration going on, both in terms of the president‘s reputation for competence, for honesty, in terms of how the country feels about this war, about his leadership. Can he regain the respect that he‘s lost? I don‘t know.
You know, in previous administrations when they have had terrible shaking from the foundation, occasionally a president has brought in new people around him and gone to the American people and said, I‘m wrong, we‘ve got to do it a different way. So far that is not the way this president operates. This is about a cover-up, this investigation and this special prosecutor, like Watergate really was about a cover up, not about a break-in.
The cover-up occurred here. Whether or not the wall was broken in the cover-up is less important than the fact that clearly people close to the president of the United States tried to cover up how they dealt with opposition to this war and people who were undermining their case for this war, specifically Joe Wilson. That doesn‘t necessarily make the cover-up illegal, but again, it enables us to see how this president operates.
It raises questions about the president‘s truthfulness on related things like the torture of prisoners, which was authorized by his counsel with his knowledge. So a whole group of very serious questions about honesty and competency of the president, the vice president, and his key aides are being raised as a result of this case in a way that the press, which perhaps should have focused more diligently on these questions, was unable to until this investigation.
COSBY: And DeeDee, really quickly—good insights, Carl. DeeDee, real quickly, tomorrow, how do you think we‘re going to learn about this? Is it going to be through a leak, do you think, or do you think it‘ll be when the prosecutor says his first words?
MYERS: Well this is Washington, so I vote leak.
COSBY: I vote leak. Carl, what do you vote? Do you vote leak?
BERNSTEIN: I just wait and see what the facts are.
COSBY: All right. Both of you, thank you very much. Two of the best in the business...
MYERS: Thank you.
COSBY: ... two pros. Thank you both very much. We appreciate it.
And now to a man who is also no stranger to scandal, LIVE AND DIRECT from Washington is radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy. He organized the break-in at the Watergate back in 1972.
Mr. Liddy, what do you think, cover-up versus the break-in just as we heard from Carl Bernstein?
G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well you know, Mr. Bernstein and his partner, Mr. Woodward have never admitted what is now widely known, and that is that the break-in of the Democratic Headquarters there was really an attempt to spy on the use of a call girl ring by some members of the DNC...
COSBY: But do you believe...
LIDDY: ... resisted that.
COSBY: Do you believe—Gordon, I mean do you believe in this case
it‘s sort of similar to the Watergate in the terms of that it‘s the actual
the cover-up, it‘s not the act itself.
LIDDY: Well, here I think that based upon what I know of the statute involved about outing a CIA operative, that Ms. Plame did not fall under that statute. So the substantive offense I don‘t think really is in play here. Now, what we have is a lesson, if there are indictments, in why you do everything you can to avoid going before a grand jury, especially multiple times, especially when you‘re talking about things that happened some years ago.
COSBY: So what do you do...
COSBY: How do you avoid that, Gordon? What do you do?
LIDDY: Well you can go before the grand jury, but you don‘t have to say anything.
COSBY: Just keep your mouth shut is what you‘re saying?
LIDDY: Well that‘s what I did.
COSBY: Absolutely. But also look what happened to you.
LIDDY: Well, what happened to me was I decided that I would continue to serve my president best by keeping my mouth shut and I knew that that way if nobody above me collapsed, the president would be protected. However, Mr. Dean collapsed and committed perjury and that was the end of that.
COSBY: What do you think, Gordon, is going to happen tomorrow?
What‘s your sort of your sense reading the tealeaves now?
LIDDY: Well, the one thing I think I agree with Carl Bernstein and DeeDee Myers on is that it‘s useless to speculate. None of us know. There‘s been this extreme interest in the press and everybody is sort of ginning up expectations. There may or may not be indictments. And we‘ll have to wait and find out.
COSBY: All right. And Gordon, if you can hang tight because I understand we also—we want to have—Carl Bernstein has a quick response to one of your comments. But actually we‘re going to getting him back and I think he wants to respond to the call girl comments that you made. But Gordon, thank you very much. We do appreciate you being with us...
LIDDY: Let me respond to his response, please.
COSBY: You‘ve got 10 seconds. He hasn‘t responded yet. Actually, we‘re getting him in the chair, actually. Guys, hang on one second.
Actually, you know what we‘ll do? Why don‘t we go to a quick break. We don‘t have Carl in right now. We‘re going to go to a quick break. We will get them right after the break to talk about that. We‘re going to be staying on the story. We‘re going to get both of them to respond if we could and we‘re going to have a lot of other developments taking place, so a lot of other major updates that we‘re going to covering.
Of course, we‘re also going to be covering the Vitale case. We have some new information. The mother has now been charged. We‘re going to be covering that case closely. And that‘s just ahead tonight.
COSBY: And we‘re of course continuing with the CIA leak investigation. We are waiting for any word that a decision could come down tomorrow as many suspect. As soon as we get that, we will go to it.
In the meantime, we have two big figures from the Watergate era who want to respond and talk about the basis of what happened in Watergate. We promised them both that we would give them 30 seconds each literally.
G. Gordon Liddy was talking about the call girl as the basis for the Watergate case. Let me first go to Carl Bernstein. I‘m going to give you both 30 seconds because then we‘ve got to move on to other stuff. But Carl, go ahead.
BERNSTEIN: It‘s utter nonsense that Watergate was about a huge campaign of political espionage and sabotage, including burglaries in which Mr. Liddy participated, the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg. It was an unprecedented campaign, an unprecedented obstruction of justice by the president of the United States and his men.
There‘s no evidence that it had anything to do with a call girl raid. And it exploded way beyond the Watergate break-in into what John Mitchell, the attorney general of the United States, under whom Mr. Liddy commissioned—his acts were commissioned—called the White House horrors, nothing like it in our history. Hopefully never again, and hopefully no men like Mr. Liddy will ever again work for a president of the United States.
COSBY: All right, Gordon, I did promise you 30 seconds. You get a chance to respond.
LIDDY: The massive amount of evidence in support of the fact that it was an espionage against the call girl ring‘s use by the DNC was all laid out in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore in a trial, which I won.
COSBY: All right. That‘s going to have to be the last word, guys.
Both of you, thank for you reliving history with both of us.
BERNSTEIN: That‘s recasting history.
COSBY: Yes, definitely...
COSBY: All right guys...
BERNSTEIN: Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you both very much. We appreciate it.
And now on to another breaking story tonight. Some amazing news just coming in, in the Pamela Vitale murder case. The mother of 16-year-old Scott Dyleski is under arrest tonight and in jail. We just got word of this right before the show.
Henry Lee with “The San Francisco Chronicle” joins us now with the very latest late-breaking details. Henry, what do we know about her role what she‘s accused of?
HENRY LEE, “SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE”: We know that Esther Fielding, as alleged now, she is in jail on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder. Her son, of course, Scott Dyleski in jail. He was in court today.
The evidence is not out there because a gag order has been imposed, but we do know that the mother believed that the son was in trouble about credit cards, that she knew that he was in trouble and she directed him to go elsewhere on the night of the homicide.
COSBY: Now when you say she knew he was in trouble with this credit card scheme, do we know that she know her son allegedly committed a murder?
LEE: That‘s a good question, Rita. We don‘t know whether or not she knew about the homicide, but according to the authorities she probably tried to cover something up after the fact.
COSBY: What about also there was a bloody glove? Remember, we were looking for those gloves we were talking about on my show the other night, Henry. I understand that one of the bloody gloves was found, what, in her vehicle?
LEE: That‘s right. Just last Friday night the Contra Costa sheriff‘s deputies spent four hours searching a remote location near the suspect‘s home. They did search Esther‘s 1986 white Toyota van and inside they found a bloody glove inside a duffel bag.
COSBY: What about red-tinted water in a neighbor‘s home?
LEE: That‘s right. They found some clothes that were apparently in some water that was tinted, presumably blood, in a neighbor‘s home, all this possibly damaging, we don‘t know, against the suspect Scott Dyleski.
COSBY: Does this mean also possibly somebody else may have been involved? Are they eliminating that or keeping that as an option, real quick, Henry.
LEE: We don‘t know because a lot of things are quickly changing by the hour, by the day, Rita, I would say too because more things are coming up ahead.
COSBY: You bet. If you hear anything else in the next half hour or so, come back to us, Henry. Thank you very much.
Now let‘s bring in, if we could, forensic analyst Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, and also joining me is retired police detective Lieutenant David Williams. He‘s investigated many Goth-related crimes. Remember Scott Dyleski is a known Goth believer, wearing dark trench coats, dark clothes all the time to school, sort of fitting in with that Goth belief.
Dr. Kobilinsky, I‘ve got to talk with you about this breaking news. Now it sounds that the mother played some role in the cover-up. How does that add to the case?
LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC EXAMINER: Well, I think the question is, is what role did she play? Was she at the scene? Was she in the trailer? And as you know, there‘s a great deal of evidence involving bloodstains, blood spatter, hair, fingerprints, shoe prints, and other kinds of evidence.
This kind of evidence can reveal if there is more than one person present. So I think that in terms of the physical evidence, we will know for sure whether she played a role. The likelihood is that she was not involved directly in the murder, or we would have heard of an arrest earlier.
COSBY: That‘s a good point. You know one of the things, though, Dr. Kobilinsky, I found was stunning, red-tainted water in a neighbor—this is someone who lived on the same sort of parcel of property where Dan Horowitz, close to Scott Dyleski, what is someone doing with red-tainted water, possibly maybe somebody cleaning their clothes, their bloody clothes in someone‘s house?
KOBILINSKY: Well it‘s easy enough to test that kind of material to determine whether it‘s blood or not. On the other hand, if bleach had been used, it could pose a problem. However, concentrating the material probably would reveal clearly if it‘s blood or not.
COSBY: Let me bring in Lieutenant Williams, if I could. Lieutenant Williams, you studied these Goth characters. You know everybody said he wore dark clothes. We know that unfortunately Pamela Vitale had sort of a Goth symbol on the back of her neck. Does this fit a Goth-type crime?
LT. DAVID WILLIAMS, RETIRED POLICE DETECTIVE: Well it could. There is a lot of detailed information with the Goth subculture that can indicate that, but obviously we have to investigate more and see what‘s happened.
COSBY: Are they typically violent? Are they typically—I mean you know you see these kids who are wearing dark clothes and doing other things, you think of Columbine because the guys in Columbine also wore sort of similar clothes. But are they typically violent types or are they more loner types?
WILLIAMS: No, they‘re—typically they‘re not violent. If anything, many of the people that I‘ve met across the country in my investigations are far from violent, if anything, more self-destructive. Quite often we find that they‘re very creative, talented, intelligent people that just don‘t fit into the culture.
COSBY: What draws them to the Goth mindset...
COSBY: ... looking at these pictures I have to bring up to our viewers, Lieutenant, because this kid, you can just see him sort of you know digressing as the years are going by. I mean in 2003 he looks like a normal kid, 2005, dark hair, dark clothes. What happens to them mentally?
WILLIAMS: Well I think what happens is people that are dejected have a tendency to go to this kind of a subculture do it for a certain amount of power and then if they get involved in a cult, which is sort of an offshoot of this, that power—that appeal for power can really start to degrade into criminal acts.
COSBY: Do they typically leave their mark as it sounds like this kid did on the back of Pamela Vitale‘s neck?
WILLIAMS: There are many cult crimes that have occurred that that type of activity has occurred, and sometimes many cult crimes are never even noticed to be a cult because those signs and symbols either aren‘t left or they‘re not noticed by the investigators because they‘re not sure what to look for.
COSBY: And Larry, real quick, were you surprise that this kid, if he did it, left this symbol on the back? Because you know on one hand he goes to the extent of having gloves and then on the other hand carves a symbol.
KOBILINSKY: Well, it‘s really hard to explain. Was he leaving clues to his identity or was this rage that took place responsible? And the question is, is what was his mental state? Was he on drugs? That‘s a question that could influence the decision.
COSBY: Yes, we don‘t know that. That‘s a good point. Thank you very much both of you guys. We appreciate it.
And still ahead, everybody, more on the breaking news that the mother of the suspect in the Pamela Vitale murder is now under arrest. We just got word a few hours ago, actually about an hour ago. We‘re going to speak to a Dyleski family friend about this major development.
And the Natalee Holloway case, are the clues to the mystery right here in the United States? We‘re going to have new information in a live interview with Aruba‘s chief of police. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: And we have some breaking news, as can you see, at this hour in the Pamela Vitale murder case. Just a little bit ago, we learned of another big arrest. This time it‘s the mother of the suspect, 16-year-old Scott Dyleski.
She‘s being held on suspicion of being an accessory to the murder. And now we have a friend of Scott Dyleski‘s on the phone who also knows the mother. Joining us is Sandy Daughton.
Sandy, first of all, have you met the mom, Esther Fielding, before?
SANDY DAUGHTON, SCOTT DYLESKI‘S FRIEND: No. Well, I only went into her cafe that they owned, and I only knew her from her ringing me up at the register.
COSBY: What was your impression of her, I mean, any idea? And how stunned are you to hear this news?
DAUGHTON: I mean, she just seemed really down to earth and everything. I‘m just really shocked that even Scott is in this, because I had art with him for two years and he just never came off as a violent type at all.
COSBY: Not at all? What is your reaction now that you hear? I mean, this is a very brutal crime scene, bludgeoned 30-plus times, stabbed in the stomach.
DAUGHTON: I know.
COSBY: What is your—you just must be shocked.
DAUGHTON: I am so shocked.
COSBY: Is it possible he was on drugs or something?
DAUGHTON: I mean, I guess, because I had art with him, and he just seemed like a normal kid. And I mean, in art, I never saw him be disrespectful to anyone, including authority. And he‘s such a talented artist, in my opinion. He was just, like, well-liked by many, and he was accepted from those who are mature and not judgmental.
COSBY: Well, it‘s obviously a horrible crime. Thank you for being with us with this breaking news. We appreciate it.
So are prosecutors coming down too hard on Scott Dyleski? Joining me right now in our studio is Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom and also former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti.
Before I get to that, I obviously want to talk with both of you guys about the breaking news. Lisa, what is your reaction, now the mom charged with accessory to murder? Not sure if it‘s the act or after the fact.
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: Right. Well, it‘s another very aggressive move by these prosecutors.
BLOOM: First of all, they charged him as an adult immediately, even though at 16 they had an option to charge him as a juvenile. So that...
COSBY: They‘re throwing the hammer at him?
BLOOM: Now, charging the mother could be an attempt to try to get her to flip to give information about her own son in exchange for her own legal immunity. Now, there‘s no parent-child privilege, as there is between spouses, between attorney and clients. They can really be putting the screws to Mom to try to get information about her teenage son.
COSBY: That‘s an interesting point.
Mary, how do you read this?
MARY FULGINITI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, what‘s been reported is essentially that the mom had a conversation with the son before he went to the girlfriend‘s house. And she told him to spend the night in Walnut Creek because there was some police activity and the roads were blocked.
If, during that conversation, though, he revealed something more to her about what had occurred, you know, then this charge of accessory after the fact is completely appropriate.
But I agree with Lisa somewhat. It‘s a very quick charge, and it‘s one that‘s a little bit more difficult to discern than murder, in particular, because here there‘s a lot of evidence for them to sift through to potentially match the defendant here to the crime...
COSBY: Could it be a squeeze play, Mary? Could it be squeeze play, is what you‘re saying?
FULGINITI: You know, typically, there could be a squeeze play, but when it comes to a mother, you know, a spouse, or something of that sort, when there‘s crimes—and that‘s an unusual squeeze play, because typically those are the people that protect their children and they don‘t fink on them. So I think, if it‘s a squeeze play, it‘s probably going to fail.
COSBY: You know, Lisa, I want to show—this is a statistic. You wrote about this. I found this interesting. There are 2,000 prisoners serving life without parole in the U.S. for juvenile crimes, a little more than that, versus, what, 12...
BLOOM: In the entire rest of the world combined.
COSBY: In the entire rest of the world. But you‘re saying, essentially, what, we should give this kid a break?
BLOOM: Well, I think there‘s something in between giving him a break and putting him in prison with other juveniles, life without the possibility of parole ever.
As you point—and that statistic is from Amnesty International. It‘s on my blog this week at CourtTV.com. We are the only country in the world, essentially, that locks up kids for life without the possibility of parole ever. We become increasingly punitive to children.
We lock them up and we say, “There‘s no hope for you ever, even in 20 years, 30 years, 50 years.” Look at the family that Scott Dyleski comes from. A couple of divorces from each of his parents. This is a kid who, in 2005, with the hair in his face in his yearbook photo, the black eyeliner. That‘s not a cry for help. That‘s a scream for help.
He‘s 16 years old, Rita. I say, if he did this crime, he needs to go to prison for a long time. But I don‘t believe in life without parole for juveniles. We‘re the only country in the world that does that, and I think it‘s time for us to reconsider.
COSBY: I was stunned at the numbers. I‘ll tell you, they are pretty striking.
But, Mary, on the other hand, look how horrible this crime is. I mean, this crime is atrocious. And this is not just—you know, it doesn‘t look like it‘s accidental, now that we‘re hearing there were gloves, and now we‘re hearing this interesting note about maybe blood in somebody else‘s bathtub.
But between these things and between the brutalness, the stabbing, the bludgeoning, shouldn‘t the books be thrown at this kid?
FULGINITI: You know, Rita, I have to say—you know, I agree with the general principle that we should try to rehabilitate children that commit crimes. But like everything else, there are exceptions, and those exceptions have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
And you‘re right. You need to look at the severity of the crime. This is a particularly heinous crime that was committed by a child, who is essentially 17 years old. I mean, he just turned 17 years old. So one year away from 18 years old, the age of majority.
So I think you need to look at that, his past criminal behavior...
BLOOM: You know, the brain is not fully formed at 16 or 17. We know that now from their neuroscience. We know that people change significantly...
COSBY: But don‘t you...
COSBY: ... how ugly this crime was?
BLOOM: Of course, we weigh that. And that‘s why I wouldn‘t give him a couple of years. I‘d give him a long time, 20, 30, 40 years. But, Rita, you‘ve got to give him some hope, some chance of rehabilitation. Juveniles can be rehabilitated. It‘s what the rest of the world knows, and we stand alone in saying, no, we disagree.
COSBY: All right. That‘s got to have to be the last word. Thank you very much. Interesting conversation, both of you. Got to get both of you back on the air again. Thank you.
And now we‘re going to move on to the case in Aruba. Now to new details out of there in the search for a missing teen, Natalee Holloway. The Aruban deputy police chief has just wrapped up a closed-door meeting with the FBI.
This as divers take to the waters around the island paradise to hunt for new clues in Natalee‘s disappearance. On the phone tonight from Aruba is the island‘s deputy chief of police, Gerold Dompig.
Chief, thank you. First of all, how did the meeting go? And how long was the meeting with the FBI?
GEROLD DOMPIG, DEPUTY POLICY CHIEF OF ARUBA: Well, it was a great meeting. And basically, I can say, even though we butted heads a couple of times, but we basically renewed our vows to work together. And we sat for, I think, a little over five hours, but it was a great meeting.
COSBY: What‘s the next step, Chief, in terms of who you want to interview next and where you‘re headed?
DOMPIG: Well, we‘re still looking at the same scenarios. And we‘re pretty much, you would say, encouraged by the fact that the main scenario where we still look at these three boys is also the scenario that the FBI believes that we are on the right track.
COSBY: Is there a possibility she may have run away? Can you exclude that?
DOMPIG: No, not at all, because you have to keep an open mind, of course. But don‘t forget that, if we look at the statements from especially Joran, I have received today an overview of all the several moments where he has basically lied. And that‘s a lot.
COSBY: You also want to talk to some of the girls who were with Natalee. Where does that stand? And are you planning to maybe come to the states to do that?
DOMPIG: Well, we discussed that. We‘re looking at that right now and in what way we can process that. Don‘t forget that there‘s been about 120 teens in the Holiday hotel. So we need to make an assessment of which ones we want to talk to, which questions we haven‘t asked them yet, and try to get it done with the help of the FBI.
COSBY: Do you believe that you‘ll be coming to the states soon possibly, Chief?
DOMPIG: Well, I hope I‘m safe coming to the states, because there‘s a couple of people that are not really pleased with the work that we‘ve done. But, if the time is there, I‘ll be glad to come.
COSBY: Where does it stand with, you know, these key folks, Deepak, Satish and Joran? Do you believe you‘re going to have to be calling them in soon again for questioning?
DOMPIG: Well, I hope so, because they‘re still our main focus. And don‘t forget that we want to make sure that—because these boys have, like, eight, nine lawyers, so we want to make sure that, when we call them in, that we‘re absolutely sure that we have enough basis to call them in.
COSBY: Now, I know, Chief, a lot of the focus was obviously on that taped interview done for Dr. Phil‘s show by Jamie Skeeters‘ with Deepak. Do you believe—you have the tape now. Where do they stand, in terms of analysis? And do you believe—you were telling me that you thought there may be some discrepancies?
DOMPIG: Yes. But because we just want to make sure that these discrepancies are maybe in the transcriptions that were made, but we‘re going to get there soon and I think at a place where we feel comfortable, and maybe even with the legal assistance through the FBI try to get the original version that would be on the hard disk of Jamie Skeeters.
COSBY: And also, real quick, Chief, I know that there‘s sort of a renewed search, from what we heard, at the lighthouse, also the fisherman‘s hut, two of the sort of the key areas there in Aruba. Is there anything, any new evidence to sort of suggest that they should start those searches there again?
DOMPIG: No, no, no. I regret to say no. We‘re still looking in the ocean. And don‘t forget that, by this time, we‘re not looking for a body anymore. But basically, if a body was dropped there, you‘re talking about bones.
COSBY: And you believe there may still be some bones or something there, real quick?
DOMPIG: I hope so.
COSBY: All right, Chief. Thank you very much. We appreciate you being here, and I know on a busy day, after you met with the FBI. Thank you very, very much.
And we‘re going to have a lot more on the Holloway investigation right after the break. We‘re going to talk to one of the family members. Also, reaction to the chief of police‘s meeting from the family.
Plus, those audiotapes, where Deepak admits having sex with Natalee, we‘re going to look at whether or not they‘re real. We‘re going to talk to the guy who did that interview.
Plus, the top star of women‘s basketball is sharing her big secret with me. Sheryl Swoopes joins me for her first primetime interview. Find out what that secret is.
COSBY: Well, you just heard the Aruban police chief pledging that he will do all he can to bring the Holloway case to a conclusion. He just finished meeting with the FBI.
LIVE & DIRECT right now from California is polygraph examiner Jamie Skeeters. His interview with suspect Deepak Kalpoe is seen as really key evidence in this case. And also, here with us tonight is Natalee‘s stepfather, Jug Twitty.
Jug, let me start with you, because the chief sounded very optimistic, sounded very focused after his meeting with the FBI. That‘s got to be optimistic for you.
GEORGE “JUG” TWITTY, STEPFATHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: It is optimistic. I hope—you know, Gerold was very instrumental in the beginning of the investigation. I felt like the second day or third day down there he was on top of it. And hopefully, you know, we‘ll find something out.
COSBY: Do you get a sense, Jug, that there‘s sort of renewed energy? He also seemed, after the meeting with the FBI, that they both seem to be on the same track, seem to be working together, five-hour meeting. That‘s got to be a good sign, right?
TWITTY: I hope so. I hope that the FBI will call Beth in the morning, and tell her what the meeting was about and, hopefully, give her some hope that they are going in the right direction.
COSBY: You know, Jamie, he was talking about some of the discrepancies with the tape, saying that it was hard to hear some of the things. I know that he‘s sending the tapes to Holland, also checking with the FBI.
You did these recordings. Is that normal for them to be some discrepancies, and it just takes sort of enhancement?
JAMIE SKEETERS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes, Rita. What I heard Gerold make a statement that he didn‘t trust the tapes, there was a couple of red flags.
Gerold and I, we communicate frequently. And I‘m very pleased with the way he‘s handling this. But naturally I was concerned what his red flags were. And he indicated it wasn‘t the credibility of the tapes.
It‘s just that I downloaded from my hard drive on a disc and gave it to the Dr. Phil show. They in turn downloaded that to VCRs. Now, he received VCRs and received my disc, and the disc is much more clearer than the VCRs.
And that was only the only discrepancy, plus the transcripts—when I do homicides and other cases, I do my own transcripts, because it‘s difficult for a secretary to try to interpret what I said depending on background noise.
COSBY: Jamie, real quick, do you believe, sort of after everything gets hashed out, it sounded like you feel confident it‘s going to be authenticated tape, so much that it‘s going to bring these guys in? Don‘t you believe so?
SKEETERS: Well, I think that was the goal when I first started, is to get the FBI in there so they could bring closure to this. And now the FBI, the door‘s open. They‘re welcomed to my hard drive. As a matter of fact, I would almost insist that they please come and get it. And go for it.
COSBY: Yes, good for you. Let me bring in Jug real quick. Jug, I know Beth is planning on going back to Aruba. Are you?
TWITTY: I‘m not. She‘s going back with her brother.
COSBY: OK. So you‘re not going to go with her, unfortunately?
TWITTY: No, I‘m not going with Beth. Paul is going with her.
I hope, Rita, the one thing that really infuriates me is that I hear, you know, the rumors that Paulus Van Der Sloot is trying to get back into his job in the government.
And if the government of Aruba, the people of Aruba, let this man back into a government position, I think it‘s a terrible thing. The guy‘s—he‘s a pitiful excuse of a human being. And he does not deserve to be representing the—or being in the government in Aruba.
COSBY: Good points there, Jug. And I know that the authorities are still looking at him, too, and whether or not he may have played a role here.
Guys, both of you, thank you very much.
And next on LIVE & DIRECT, Sheryl Swoopes joins me for her first primetime interview since coming out of the closet. She‘s coming up.
COSBY: Well, she is the Michael Jordan of the WNBA. And now she‘s coming out in a big way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): I‘m coming out. I want the world to know...
COSBY (voice-over): Houston Comets all-star forward Sheryl Swoopes is a four-time WNBA champion, voted the league MVP a record three times, and the first woman to have a Nike shoe, the Air Swoopes, named after her.
She led the WNBA in scoring this year, dropping bombs from all over the court. Yesterday, Swoopes dropped another bomb.
In an interview in the new issue of “ESPN: The Magazine,” she announced she‘s coming out of the closet, saying she‘s a lesbian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now live tonight in her first primetime interview is the amazing Sheryl Swoopes.
Sheryl, thank you so much for being here. Why did you decide to come out with this announcement?
SHERYL SWOOPES, WNBA SUPERSTAR: Well, Rita, first of all, thanks for having me. This is a wonderful opportunity for me, for my family.
You know, I am very excited about what I‘ve done. And I‘, at a point in my life right now where I‘m very happy, I‘m very content. And I‘m very OK with my decision to do this. And it‘s just a chance for me to be open, to be out, and to be free.
COSBY: Were you nervous about coming out? And do you hope—I mean, I‘m sure that there are others in the WNBA, maybe some in the NBA, other great players who may also be dealing with their own homosexuality. Are you encouraging others to feel comfortable like you?
SWOOPES: You know, my main reason for doing this had absolutely nothing at all to do with possibly giving other people this idea to do this. It was all about me, what I felt like I needed, what I felt like I wanted to do, and just being able to be open.
And finally, I just feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. And the fact that, you know, I am able to do this, and I made the decision to do this, is one I‘m very happy with. And hopefully, other people, if they‘re, I guess, confused, or if they‘re trying to decide if it‘s something they can do, hopefully this will give them a little bit of an encouragement.
COSBY: And you know you‘re also doing—you even became a spokesperson for Olivia Travel, which sponsors, sort of, gay and lesbian cruises. You‘ve really gone the full extent. You don‘t do anything halfway on the court or anywhere else, do you?
SWOOPES: Well, you know, I was sitting here listening. And you said I had dropped lots of the bombs on the court. And this is another bomb that I‘ve dropped. You know, I guess, I just feel like, if I‘m going to do it, I‘m going to do it right.
COSBY: Now, you weren‘t born gay, right? You were not. This isn‘t something that you‘ve felt you‘ve had inside of you all your time?
SWOOPES: No, you know, I think a lot of people feel like you are born that way. And for other people, they feel like it‘s a choice.
And for me, I don‘t think I was born this way. I think it was a choice. And it‘s a choice that I made about six years ago, and it‘s a choice that I‘m very happy with and definitely couldn‘t be any happier.
COSBY: And we just have a few seconds left, but I want to show you—you got a spouse. You‘ve got sort of a significant woman in your life. Tell us real quickly about her. You look very happy.
SWOOPES: Thank you. Alisa Scott, we‘ve been together for about six years now. And you know, she‘s everything to me. She‘s my best friend. She‘s my rock, my number-one supporter.
You know, probably like any other couple, we do have our arguments and disagreements, but, as you said, I‘m very happy. And I couldn‘t be happier, so thank you.
COSBY: We thank you so much for being with us, Sheryl. And keep up the great work on the court and also for speaking your mind and speaking who you are.
SWOOPES: Thank you.
COSBY: Thank you so much.
And, everybody, we‘re going to be right back.
COSBY: And that does it for us. Now let‘s go to Joe in Washington—
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Hey, thanks so much, Rita. Greatly appreciate it.
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