11/08/2007 The Big Story with John Gibson
“Disappearance and Death of Police Sergeant's Wives”
Copyright 2007 Fox News Network, LLC.
Fox News Network
SHOW: THE BIG STORY WITH JOHN GIBSON 5:00 PM EST
November 8, 2007 Thursday
Illegal Immigrants Working Security at Chicago Airport; al Qaeda Planning Attacks on U.S. Shopping Malls; O.J. Simpson Trial; Illinois Investigating Disappearance and Death of Police Sergeant's Wives; Rosie O'Donnell Blows NBC Primetime Deal; Writers Strike; Congress Expects Economy to Slow
John Gibson; Heather Nauert; Geraldo Rivera; Greta Van Susteren
Victor Cerda, John Lieberman; Ed Gillespie
HEATHER NAUERT, CO-ANCHOR: We begin with breaking news, tonight. Any minute now, the O.J. Simpson preliminary hearing in Las Vegas is set to start up again. Earlier, the former NFL star went face-to-face with the men who turned against him in an alleged armed robbery.
Hi everyone, welcome to THE BIG STORY I'm Heather Nauert.
JOHN GIBSON, CO-ANCHOR: And I'm John Gibson. O.J. Simpson back in court today. Witnesses in that armed robber of two sports memorabilia dealers back in September are taking the stand and they're turning on O.J. Today, one of those dealers testified that Simpson burst into the Las Vegas hotel room with his gang of thugs and that one of the men waved a gun at him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE FROMONG, TESTIFYING AGAINST O.J.: He was a black man, suit, tie, baldhead and he stood probably 10 feet -- 10 to 12 feet, maybe, from me with a semiautomatic basically pointed at my face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIBSON: We have Team FOX coverage of this breaking story and we'll take you back to the courtroom live as soon as it resumes. With us now, FOX's Geraldo Rivera, host of AT LARGE and ON THE RECORD's Greta Van Susteren.
So, Geraldo, you see O.J. in court today, this testimony that he has told somebody be sure to bring the guns. Is he cornered now?
GERALDO RIVERA, AT LARGE: You know, it's ironic, John, that he beat this double murder rap that had all the evidence you needed to convict 100 men and he's going to be convicted on this rinky-dink charge because of the involvement of guns. I don't think there's any way he's going to squirm out of it, now. This is testimony from Fromong is consistent with Tom Riccio told me, on this program, that he also saw a gun, there was at least one gun, that O.J. was the prime mover in having the guns there. I don't think there's anyway out for him.
GIBSON: Greta, the -- these witnesses against O.J., do you see any room for denial?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, ON THE RECORD: You know what? Well, first of all, it's like, look, you have to understand what this is. This is a preliminary hearing and this is the best -- this is a great time for the defense, because what the defense is doing is asking all these open-ended questions, getting all of this information, locking all the defense witnesses in, and look, you know, it sounds terrible for O.J. If I didn't have sort of a global view of this and know how these cases go down, I'd be terrified if I were O.J. Simpson and his lawyer, but what they're doing is they are amassing ammunition.
O.J. Simpson may be guilty as can be in this case, but it's not over at the preliminary hearing and each one of the people who we put up on the witness stand has got huge problems as a witness. And I don't know what the jury's going to do at the end, but do not be fooled by the testimony of one. By fooled, I mean fooled to think that this necessarily means that this is an easy walk for the prosecution. It is not.
NAUERT: Geraldo, what did you see in there today, that you think could give O.J. a little bit of wiggle rom?
RIVERA: I think Greta is absolutely right in the sense that these are witnesses who are severely flawed in one way or another. Now, every one of them, this one that testified today is the soul exception, he's the only one, as far as I know, that doesn't have a string of criminal convictions and is otherwise sullied by his own, you know, ne'er-do-well past.
Having said that, it will come to whether or not the gun was there, and whether or not O.J. Simpson is the one who asked for the gun to be there. He's going to be overwhelmed. I agree with Greta this is the best of times for the defense, as difficult as it looks for them, but I can't see how he squirms out of it.
Was there a gun, yes or no? That will be a fact for the jury to consider. Then the real issue will be why was the gun there? Did O.J. Simpson really ask for the gun to be brought along? This is a cartoon case. This is a ridiculous burlesque case, except, if you get guns involved and Simpson was the prime mover for having those guns involved, then he's really screwed.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah, but you know what the interesting thing is, though Geraldo, is I think probably the strongest thing the prosecution has and which I don't know if they've even talked to this witness yet, but certainly someone at FOX NEWS has, our staff has spoken to is one woman who was on the phone into that hotel room at the time that the group burst into the room and she heard -- she's an ear witness -- she heard "put down the guns," which corroborates the fact of the guns, but I'll tell you, the prosecution, this group of witnesses that it has, you know, Fromong may have a criminal record but he certainly is sort among the rogue, at least that's how it appears because there's some sort of question whether it's O.J.'s things, not his things, you know, so I don't think that this is necessarily such a done deal for the prosecution, but if I were the prosecutor, I'd go out and get Christy, the woman who was the ear witness, because that's their strongest. At least she's not tainted like the rest of them.
NAUERT: Greta, remind us, what did this woman claim that she heard and who was she?
VAN SUSTEREN: She was on the phone to Fromong and she's had some sort of business agreement or deal with him in the past and partially associated on the memorabilia. She also is a good friend of Mike Gilbert who owns a lot of sports memorabilia, was a business manager of O.J. Simpson for probably 20 years. And what she heard in the room -- she's on the phone with Fromong in the rom and she hears some noise come into the room and she hears someone say "put down the gun" and she heard one other thing, I forget the phrase it's in my notes, I don't have it here, but the "put down the gun" was the important thing.
But here's the problem, who had the gun? Is the defense going to say Fromong and Beardsley had the gun? But they're the ones who had the gun.
RIVERA: I don't believe that the defense will say that at all. You already have three people who are pleading or have already pled guilty, two of them admit to carrying guns into that room. Both of them, I assure you, will testify that they brought the guns because O.J. Simpson, the prime mover and architect of the conversation, told them to bring the gun.
So, how can you get away from a guy -- I had the gun, I'm guilty, sentence me to one conspiracy to commit robbery and the another crime of that nature, so if O.J. Says bring the guns and the two of them say we brought the guns we're guilty, where is O.J. to wiggle, even if these are the biggest jerk-offs in the world?
VAN SUSTEREN: Understand, Geraldo and I are not arguing whether O.J. Simpson is guilty, now we're arguing, you know, how the prosecution goes forward, how the defense does, and what challenges they have. And the problem that you have, Geraldo, is that yes indeed, that is how they're going to testify, at least, that's how we expect. But here's the problem, they have a reason to testify to that. They have reason even to say that they had a gun because they are trying to save their own neck and that's the kind of cross examination that goes before the jury and the jury has to think, can't -- you know, yes, we've heard them testify, but do we credit them fully?
GIBSON: Take a look at that picture there live in the courtroom, O.J. Simpson once again shaking his head at the testimony against him. We've seen that a million times before. Geraldo Rivera, thank you. Greta, thank you. For more O.J. analysis, be sure to watch Greta and our all-star legal panel tonight, that's ON THE RECORD, 10:00 Eastern, right here on FOX. Don't miss a moment.
NAUERT: And we have brand new developments and that's in the case of an Illinois cop's missing wife. Police sergeant Drew Peterson's wife, Stacy, went missing 11 days ago, but tonight investigators are taking another look at the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Right now FOX NEWS is reporting that the state's attorney's office is talking to Savio's family because authorities want to exhume her body.
The coroner on the case is now saying that Savio's death, which was officially determined to be an accidental drowning back in 2004 may not have been an accident after all. The coroner said, "Certain aspects of Kathleen Savio's death raised concerns for me, as well...it was my opinion that, at the very least, her death should have been ruled 'undetermined.' The coroner's jury, unfortunately, ruled otherwise."
The autopsy's report says she had a one-inch blunt laceration to her scalp, her hair was soaked with blood and she had bruises on at least four parts of her body.
Also, Drew Peterson was called to testify before a grand jury last night, so was he there to talk about his dead ex-wife or his current missing wife? With us now is AMERICA'S MOST WANTED correspondent, John Lieberman.
John, thanks. What can you tell us about this grand jury last night? What was Drew Peterson there to talk about?
JOHN LIEBERMAN, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: Well, I'll tell you, Heather, there are so many new developments on every aspect of this story. We will start with the grand jury. We know that Drew Peterson testified for about two hours, yesterday. We're hearing it was in connection with the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. We also know behind the scenes police have seized a lot of evidence from inside of the Peterson home and they've also presented that to a grand jury. So, clearly, this investigation is very much ramping up.
Meantime, what you're seeing today on your TV today on FOX NEWS are the searchers still out there still searching, still hoping that they're going to find Stacy. Obviously every hour that goes by, the hope dwindles a bit, but the searchers are still out there by air, by ground, and horseback.
And as you mentioned, this coroner's statement that he believes that the death should not have been ruled accidental, but rather unclassified is a major, major turn in this case. As we showed you guys yesterday, we have these documents that have shown that over the past several years, before Drew Peterson's third wife was found dead in the bathtub, she had made many claims of abuse against him. Now prosecutors are looking at this case in totality, and as you said, Kathleen Savio's family has said you can exhume the body, we want justice for Kathleen. And as you mentioned, that's something they're looking at right now.
GIBSON: So, here we've got the hubby cop's dead wife No. 3, that's what we're looking at. And the question, a real accident or was this a cop cover-up, because why are they suddenly going, oh, this looks suspicious?
LIEBERMAN: Well, sure and that's a great question, John. They're finally saying OK, now we have a disappearance of Stacy. Well, let's look back into this guy's past and what they're uncovering is very unsettling for everybody involved. What else is unsettling, John, is why isn't Drew Peterson, if he has nothing to do with this disappearance, why isn't he out there beating the bushes trying to find Stacy? You've seen him with the handkerchief over his face, you've seen him coming out of the grand jury testimony, but I certainly haven't seen him searching for Stacy.
NAUERT: John, you mentioned the letter that we talked about yesterday, it was a letter in which wife No. 3 said to authorities that she was disappearance, why isn't he out there beating the bushes to find Stacy. You have seen him coming out of grand jury testimony, but I certainly haven't seen him searching for Stacy.
NAUERT: John, you mentioned the letter that we talked about yesterday, it was a letter in which wife No. 3 said to authorities that she was concerned for her life, that her husband had held a knife up to her neck at one point. It seems by everything that we can tell that the police didn't do anything about it. What is law enforcement say about the fact that nothing seemed to have been done to protect this woman?
LIEBERMAN: Well, what was done at that point, Heather, was an issue of protection was ordered. As we know, protective orders, in many cases, aren't worth the piece of paper that they're written on. There was a protective order put out there that ordered Drew to stay away from Kathleen.
Also, police say yes, we did respond to that residence 18 times for calls ranging from domestic disturbances to property crimes and things like that. And there are police reports filed on some of those, as well.
GIBSON: John Lieberman from AMERICA'S MOST WANTED. John, thanks.
LIEBERMAN: You got it.
NAUERT: Moving on to the "Big Issue" tonight, and that is the state of our economy. The Dow dipped again today on Wall Street, but rebounded after yesterday's dismal closing.
Today it fell 33 points after falling more than 300 points yesterday. In case you haven't noticed our nation is in a housing slump, a credit crunch. Oil prices are at almost $100 a barrel. The national debt has hit $9 trillion for the first time and the dollar is falling.
And on top of that today, fed chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress that he expects the economy to slow in the coming months.
GIBSON: Democrats have pledged to do a lot of things since they took control of Congress nearly a year ago, strengthening the economy was one of them, so why haven't they made good on their pledge?
Ed Gillespie is counselor to President Bush, he is with us now.
So Ed, do you lay the state of the economy on the Congress or the president?
ED GILLESPIE, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, the economy is due to the American people, John, and a good quality of the economy, we should note, the fundamentals are strong. We've had now 50 uninterrupted months of job growth. That is a record. We've had productivity gains over four percent, quarterly GDP growth that's been very good for the past two quarters.
The fact is though, people have rightful concerns, they have concerns about the housing market, they have concerns about gasoline prices, they have concerns about other aspects of the economy that warrant the attention of Congress, and unfortunately, it has not been given to the American people.
In fact, the president called for an energy bill back in his State of the Union Address back in January and asked to work with the new Congress to increase production of different types of energy.
They have yet to act. We are almost a year into this new Congress and they have yet to get an energy bill that increases production anywhere. They have yet to respond to the president's call back in August that we do something to help homeowners who may be facing foreclosures because of difficulties. The Congress has yet to do a bill on that front.
The Congress has yet to get an S-Chip bill to help fund poor children's health insurance to the president's desk that he can sign, although he was asked repeatedly that they work with his administration to find common ground on this important issue. Instead they not only sent a bill that they knew would be vetoed once, they passed a bill that they knew would be vetoed and sustained twice through the House and the Senate. So, they're just not getting the job that the American people need for them to do. We hope they'll turn their attentions to these things here shortly.
GIBSON: Hey Ed, when you kick off that list of stuff and a lot of people's attention goes to $100 barrel oil right away, mortgage crisis, falling dollar, the question is what can Congress do? What should it do? What is it that Congress could do to solve those things?
GILLESPIE: Well, the first thing you'd do would be to stop wasting time on things like they spent this past week debating whether or not to impeach Vice President Cheney the Judiciary Committee actually moved forward a contempt resolution, a criminal contempt resolution against the president's lawyer and his chief of staff. They are going to hold now, apparently, another series of anti-Iraq votes after wasting much of the Spring and Summer on votes to impose an artificial timeline on our troops and combat.
And in the, meantime, John, they haven't even sent an appropriations bill to the president's desk, the longest time in 20 years that we've gone into a fiscal year without getting a bill to the president's desk. They've yet to confirm Judge Michael Mukasey even though he's universally regarded as a strong intellect and independent leader for the Department of Justice. That's the longest in 20 years that Congress has taken to act on an A.G. nominee so they need to get moving.
NAUERT: Ed, what can the administration do, just briefly, to restore confidence in the economy?
GILLESPIE: Well Heather, I think the president and his advisors and the treasury secretary have acted. We've done things on the administrative front to help those who are facing troubles in the housing market, for example, by making some reforms to the federal housing authority. We have taken some actions on the energy front that we can do within our prerogatives as an administration. We continue to push for lower taxes and trying to hold the line on taxes, because at a time when people are concerned about the economy and job growth, raising taxes is the exact wrong policy.
So, I think the thing that we can do mostly is assure the American people that the fundamentals are sound to understand the concerns they have on energy and housing and healthcare, and to urge Congress to set aside all of the political grandstanding and to try to start working with us to meet the needs of the American people...
GIBSON: Ed Gillespie, I'm not cutting you out, Ed, but I know you've got to go. Ed Gillespie, senior advisor to the president. Ed, thank you.
GILLESPIE: Thank you, John. Thank you, Heather.
NAUERT: OK, new now, more television shows are being hit by the massive writers strike. FOX's popular show, 24, and one of our favorites here on THE BIG STORY, which stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, has been postponed because of the Hollywood writer's strike.
The show relies on a full season run of 24 episodes. And FOX says that it wanted to put the series on hold so that day seven would run uninterrupted when 24 starts up again -- 24 is just one of many primetime programs effected, because they've run out of scripts, ABC's Desperate Housewives and NBC's The Office shut down production yesterday. The networks were expected to announce plans for alternative programming in the coming days.
It is the fourth day that writers coast to coast are hitting the picket lines and no new talks have been scheduled.
GIBSON: NBC News says no to Rosie. Radical Rosie O'Donnell was in talks with MSNBC to get her very own talk show in the coveted 9:00 p.m. time slot, but she announced on her blog that the primetime show deal fell apart and that it may have been her own fault.
She writes: "MSNBC one-hour live following Keith Olbermann. We were close to a deal, almost done, I let it slip in Miami, causing panic on the studio end. Well, what can you do? Today there is no deal. Poof. My career as a pundit is over before it began."
NAUERT: Reports say that Rosie was just asking for way too much money, like wanting a private chopper to take her to and from 30 Rock every single day. Check this out, we assume that this is how she would have traveled by helicopter.
GIBSON: That's exactly how it would go. I mean, we've seen her on the air that way, flying in from Nyack up the Hudson River to get to 30 Rock everyday.
NAUERT: Yep, there she is, bring her in.
GIBSON: I actually would have loved to stand out in front of the building watch that every day.
NAUERT: I know you would. And whenever we show video on this show of Rosie O'Donnell, that's always the shot we show of her hanging upside- down like that. It's hysterical.
GIBSON: All right. Rosie, Rosie, Rosie. Illegal immigrants is one problem bad airport security is another, but combine that and you have the makings of huge outrage. Illegal immigrants working as security screeners at one of the largest and busiest airports in America. We'll have more on that coming up. It's all your news with context, right here on THE BIG STORY.
GIBSON: Coming up -- parent's listen up, it's time to stop buying products made in China, your kids lives are at stake. Another popular toy tests positive for a dangerous drug. What you need to know before holiday shopping. BIG STORY in 60.
GIBSON: The "Big Outrage," a major national security breach at one of our nation's busiest airports six years after 9/11. An eye-popping 34 illegal immigrants have been arrested for allegedly using fake I.D.'s to work in critical areas of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, including the tarmac. Some of them had free access to load whatever they wanted onto our planes.
NAUERT: The bust comes after an eight-month investigation. The 34 workers now face criminal charges and deportation. Airline passengers and our homeland security, of course, have been at risk for who knows how long. How did this many illegals slip through the cracks? With us is a former U.S. customs and immigrations enforcement chief, Victor Cerda.
So, Victor, our big question today is how did these illegal get the jobs in our airports?
VICTOR CERDA, FMR ICE CHIEF COUNCIL: Well, in this situation, I think you did have an employer who knowingly was hiring illegal workers, and then not only that, going further have to sponsor them to get the security credentials at O'Hare so that they do have access to these private areas, including the tarmac.
NAUERT: OK, now people should know that the boss, herself, was actually an illegal, so an illegal hiring illegals and from what we've read, she's saying, OK, look in this box of badges, these secure I.D. badges and pick out somebody who looks like you, oh, and then you can go down to the tarmac and load our bags onto the plane. There has to be something that can be done to prevent this from happening.
CERDA: Well, the difficulty is when you got internal corruption within the employer itself and you do have to rely on some of these companies who are doing business with the airports with the federal government, you do have a significant vulnerability when they themselves are corrupt and this is exactly what you have. And what you can do is what they're doing in Chicago. They're arresting people and you're, more importantly, indicting them, you're prosecuting them for criminal violations.
NAUERT: OK, you just said companies doing business with the government. So, that implies that the government has a role in this. There's got to be somebody -- the buck has to stop somewhere.
CERDA: And I think that would be the federal government in terms of offering tools for employers to properly vet and screen their employees. That's being done to a certain extent, but again, you have very corrupt unscrupulous employers in some instances like this, and it just makes it very challenging to connect the dots, identify the illegal workers and more importantly shut down this national security vulnerability.
GIBSON: Hey Victor, you know, with all due respect, I mean, you were a counselor to ICE, chief counsel, you're their lawyer. You're telling them what to do. As somebody out there must be saying, look, we've got the public screaming about not being able to screen cargo, we're worries about our ports. We thought we had this covered. We thought that when they were rolling our meals aboard the plane, at least that was covered. How can something so obvious be not covered?
CERDA: I think this is an ongoing battle that you're seeing over the years. It is not in conclusion. The battle with regards to illegal immigration is ongoing. We're at an impasse in this country in terms of what direction we're going to go, and while you have resources out there enforcing the laws, there's a lot of limitations on resources as well as their capabilities.
GIBSON: What do you mean, that ICE can't go busting into Chicago O'Hare Airport and see who's there and whether their I.D. matches their actual face?
CERDA: Well, I think they can and actually it's important to note -- interesting to note that this is the second time ICE has actually come into O'Hare because of an issue. So, you know, they've already done this once, and yet you still have employers out there who are willing to take the risk and bring in undocumented workers. And it's going to be a cat and mouse game with the smugglers, with the employers and quite honestly from my perspective, this will continue to go on in the future.
GIBSON: Victor, a shocking story. Victor Cerda, Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief counsel. Victor, thanks.
CERDA: Thank you.
NAUERT: OK, now from airport security to security at our malls, tonight. Law enforcement sources have confirmed today that al Qaeda is planning attacks on U.S. shopping malls during an upcoming holiday season in Los Angeles and Chicago.
And this isn't the first time that the terror network has made threats of this kind before the holidays. In fact, this happens just about every year since the 9/11 attacks, though so far, none have proven to be real.
The FBI says it's unsure about the reliability of the intelligence on these latest threats, and while they are, "not that worried," right now, they are operating under an abundance of caution. The FBI wants the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to police.
GIBSON: She stood by her man and now Hillary's husband is standing by his woman. Bill says he'll do whatever it takes for his wife to win the White House, but does he really have that much power? Can "Bubba" impact the election? That's coming up next. And remember, if it's big, you'll see it here on THE BIG STORY.
November 9, 2007