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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Christopher Reeve; Interview With Steve, Marlene Aisenberg

Aired July 30, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive. Christopher Reeve, living a medical miracle is not enough. Now he's made a difficult journey to the other side of the world for a cause at the center of his life. He will tell us why.
And then, the disappearance of their baby girl wasn't bad enough; they became the suspects, accused of lying to investigators. Four years later, they're cleared. But Sabrina Aisenberg is still missing, six years after she vanished from her crib. And tonight, her parents, Marlene and Steve Aisenberg, speak out. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin tonight from Tel Aviv in Israel where our special guest is Christopher Reeve, actor, director, author, activist, chairman of the Christopher Reeve's Paralysis Foundation. Always good to have him with us.

What -- what's with the hair, Chris? What's with the no hair?

CHRISTOPHER REEVE, CHRISTOPHER REEVE'S PARALYSIS FOUNDATION: Yes, what happened to it? I -- I backed into a lawn mower. I took it off about three months ago. It was just too much trouble. So now I'm -- I've got my Lex Luthor look.

KING: And it looks great, by the way. I like the look.

REEVE: Thank you.

KING: How about a quick update on how you're doing?

REEVE: I'm doing very well, and it's a real pleasure to be here in Israel. I'm in the middle of a four-and-a-half-day trip to find out about the science that's going on over here and the rehabilitation, and it's been truly amazing.

KING: All right. Before we talk about that and what they do there, what was the trip over like?

REEVE: The trip over was very nice. I -- this is the second time I've made a long trip. The first was earlier in the year. I went to Australia, which is even further. And it's really been a wonderful experience. The Israeli people have just gone all out to make everything comfortable and to make a trip possible.

KING: Now you flew commercially. Is that difficult for you? How do they handle the chair? How does the plane deal with it?

REEVE: Well, actually, I sit in a regular seat like everybody else, and, fortunately, I'm in good health now and have been for some time so that my skin is strong enough, and I can stay in a seat for 10 hours and recline and enjoy the regular food and be pretty much a regular passenger. It's really quite something.

KING: Is there any effect if there's turbulence on the plane?

REEVE: No, not at all. I can take turbulence just like anybody else. I've always loved flying. I was a pilot for 20 years.

KING: That's right. I forgot.

How about security arrangements? Do they have special things, or do they sort of let you through with all your equipment and stuff?

REEVE: Well, everything was very carefully checked to make sure that it was compatible with the airplane systems -- the ventilator, for example, very important to make sure that it didn't interfere with the navigational equipment -- and they ran extensive tests to make sure everything was working.

And it's all been going just fine.

KING: OK. What are they doing in Israel that's exceptional?

REEVE: Well, the whole attitude towards medical research is exceptional. I think it's the characteristic of the Israeli people that they are curious, and they are people who desire knowledge. And the scientists here are revered. They are not famous, but they are honored, because they are curious and courageous. They don't take the conventional path. They learn and do whatever they can to relieve human suffering, and as you know, in this country, they live every day with urgency. Every day, you never know what can happen here, and so there have been so many people who have been injured and suffered spinal cord injuries and other kinds of injury because of the terrorism, and I found that both in the medical research and the rehabilitation of people who have been injured, they are really trying their hardest to go as quickly as possible, and I think we lack a little bit that sense of urgency in the United States. It's not present all the time.

But I saw something very, very extraordinary I'd like to describe to you. I met a young man who was an Arab Israeli, and he had been injured for two years, but he underwent surgery within two weeks of his injury, and his injury was just a little worse than mine. He was injured from high up in his chest, then paralyzed all the way down. And two years later -- I met him today -- he is able to walk with the use of parallel bars, and this is because of the surgery that has been done here in Israel. And it's the most remarkable case of a human recovery that I've ever seen. It moved me tremendously.

KING: What, Chris, are they doing that doctors elsewhere are not doing? REEVE: Well, they have a very progressive atmosphere here. They have socialized medicine, so that doctors and patients do not have the problem of profit or of, you know, trying to make money or trying to get insurance companies to pay for treatments. That is one big advantage. And they also work very well together. They share their knowledge. This is a country of six million people, about the size of Long Island, and everyone works together, and doing it tremendously. There is very -- no ego here. There is great sharing, and the people of the country benefit from that.

KING: We'll take a break and come right back with more of Christopher Reeve on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Christopher Reeve. He's in Tel Aviv, Israel. you say they exchange information very well with other physicians, other countries. Does that mean the United States will then pick things up?

REEVE: Yes. In fact, there are some collaborations that are now being planned between research institutes here, like the Weizman Institute, for example, and rehabilitation facilities. We have one in Colorado, one in New Jersey, one in Atlanta, and that is a very progressive step forward to bringing these theories of cures to patients. That is -- that is the big thing now of how to take what has been done in animals and bring them into human trials.

And Israel, along with other countries like Sweden, England, Finland, Singapore, China -- they're leading in the skill and the knowledge to move into human beings. We have -- a lot of that knowledge is -- it's coming in the United States, but the atmosphere in the States politically is more restrictive.

And I hope that now I'm that sure there will be success with the collaboration between, say, the Israelis or the English or the Swedish with American facilities that, once we see success, then the political climate will change very rapidly.

KING: Isn't it strange that in the medical area the United States would trail?

REEVE: Yes. We've, unfortunately, done it a number of times before. If you go back to the first heart transplant, research was being done in the United States, and yet it was very, very difficult to get it approved. Then Dr. Christian Barnard was the first one to do it in South Africa.

And, more recently, in the case of in vitro fertilization, we were working on it with government funding in the mid-1970s, until suddenly people were afraid of that word "test-tube babies."

And so there was a protest, government funding was stopped, and the English were the first with government funding, full support of the government, and Baby Louise was born in 1978. And still, to this day, the whole area of in vitro fertilization is privately run. It's private industry. It was not done by our government, and it should have been.

KING: Last time you were with us, it was amazing. You had some movement. How are you doing in that area?

REEVE: I'm doing well. I've maintained the movements that I had, I think, since last time we talked but increased them. Everything is getting stronger, and that's what tends to happen. When you open a pathway and you then -- you keep working it, it's just like someone fully able bodied, that the pathway and the muscle, the nerve gets stronger and stronger with repetition.

So, actually, my strongest movements now are in my legs, which I can't demonstrate for you, obviously, sitting in a wheelchair, but I could in a swimming pool or lying in a bed, and my arms as well. So I am very grateful that the progress that started five years after the injury is continuing.

KING: Well, what is Israel doing in the area of stem cells?

REEVE: Israel has a policy in which researchers are allowed to conduct research on stem cells derived from any source. That means adult stem cells. That means embryonic stem cells.

And it also means what's called therapeutic cloning, but is more accurately, more properly known as nuclear transfer in which an unfertilized egg is injected with a patient's DNA to get a match so that you can create new tissue, for example, for a damaged heart.

They're allowed to do all of that here and are progressing very well with it.

KING: Are you confident the United States will follow suit, or do you think those restrictions about embryonic stem cells will continue?

REEVE: Well, unfortunately, we have no federal public policy now, and that -- that is something that's very disappointing to all of us who -- certainly many of us in the category of people living with disease and disability.

The House of Representatives has twice banned everything except adult stem-cell research, and the Senate is in absolute gridlock. There's a bill that would allow it, and there's a bill that would not only ban it but criminalize it, and I think that neither bill is going to make it to the Senate floor this year or even next year.

So we have no public policy and that has a very -- a very bad effect on our scientists because they don't know what to do because the door might be slammed in their face. So that's why research is proceeding certainly in the stem-cell area much more quickly abroad.

KING: You have accused this -- you have said they're caving in to the religious right. REEVE: I have. Unfortunately, religion influences politics in the United States. It's a fact. There are lots of influences on politics in the United States, and that is difficult.

KING: We'll have more with Christopher Reeve about influences and other things on his historic trip to Tel Aviv on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why me? There must be a reason why I was sent to this planet.

REEVE: You won't find the answers by looking to the stars. It's a journey you'll have to take by looking at yourself. You must write your own destiny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The blood on your shoe, and the fact that you were seen coming and going, not to mention the threat.

REEVE: With insanity, even in victory, she's going to be locked up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, she only goes away until she gets better, which from what doctors are telling us, could be soon.

REEVE: This is a circumstantial case. What she did and what they can prove are two very different things. You said so yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Christopher Reeve in Tel Aviv, Israel.

By the way, this trip was facilitated by Israel's Consul General Yuval Rotem, and Rotem said, quote, "Israel's very excited to welcome Christopher Reeve, a true superhero who inspires us all in his fight and struggle to achieve his motto Nothing Is Impossible."

Do you still have that motto? Do you still think you will walk again?

REEVE: I certainly have the motto that nothing is impossible. I think the question of whether I will walk is going to depend on politics. It's going to depend on collaborations between scientists around the world. It will depend on economics, a lot of factors that I knew very little about when I was injured eight years ago.

And I think my purpose when I was 42 in saying that I would walk by the time I was 50 was to be provocative, to be a voice saying why can't we do this, don't tell me the reasons why not. Well, now I understand some of the difficulties not only in terms of the science but the other forces I was just mentioning. But I do think that these can be overcome. I just can't put a specific date on it.

KING: Do you plan to continue to work? I saw you last Sunday on "The Practice." You were terrific in a script that you had written with a nice twist at the end. Do you plan to continue to both act and direct?

REEVE: Yes, absolutely. I've been an actor for a very long time, and, also, I've loved directing now that I've started doing that in "The Gloaming" for HBO back in '96.

Right now, I'm very involved in the world of politics. In fact, you know, I don't want to feel guilty for turning away and saying, OK, I'm going to go off and direct something now for seven months.

For example, right now, I'm shepherding a piece of legislation. It's the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act that was introduced in both the Senate and the House in May. And we now have about 45 co-sponsors in the House. We've got 15 co-sponsors in the Senate.

And it's a bill that would create centers of research and centers of rehabilitation research and also centers that would improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, accessibility, transportation, all of that. So I'm working -- working to help to get that bill passed, hopefully, this year.

KING: Do you think 9/11 curtailed advances in your area?

REEVE: No, I don't think 9/11 is responsible for the political climate about medical research today. I don't think those two things go together.

I think that politics in the United States is very difficult, and I've talked to many representatives, you know, who feel one way and yet know that it would be politically difficult for them to vote that way, and as long as that's a fact, in my opinion, until we have real campaign-finance reform, there's always going to be compromises that will be disappointing.

And I think that the more -- the more that we can keep special interests out of the picture and let politicians who do the greatest good for their constituents and for not only the local people they serve but for the country as a whole, then we're going to regain the preeminence that we deserve.

KING: What keeps you going?

REEVE: Sorry. Didn't -- didn't mean to sound like a sermon there.

KING: Oh, that's all right. It's right on the mark.

What keeps you going?

REEVE: What keeps me going is -- well, the possibilities of the future, change, the fact that I'm getting better, that technology is improving, that we do have the really brilliant, dedicated people who want to help, and that, also, I have the opportunity to learn so much.

I mean take a trip like this. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to come here, and just today I, as I said before, saw a young man who was cured of his spinal cord injury with a surgical procedure, something that would have been impossible when I was injured in 1995, and here it was, he was operated on in 2001, and he's walking, and...

I mean I've seen it. I've seen it, and there's more to come. It's going to be difficult, but that's what keeps me going, is knowing that it can be done.

KING: How do you afford all of this?

REEVE: Well, fortunately, the trip to Tel Aviv was underwritten by private sponsorship, and I'm very grateful for the Jewish Federation of L.A. and to the consul general in Los Angeles. They were primarily behind it. And, also, about three Israeli film producers have been very, very generous in their -- in arranging the trip. So that was a gift that was given to me.

But, fortunately, I am still able to work, and to support my family. I'm glad that my oldest has graduated from college, so I'm not paying that tuition anymore. But I do have a daughter in college and a son in school, and those tuition bills and taxes are, you know, something that are an issue for me like everybody else.

KING: Your general health, though, paralysis aside, is good?

REEVE: Yes. I would say better than good. I would say it's, you know, good plus. I wouldn't say excellent because there are limitations, but, fortunately, because of all the physical therapy I've done over the years, I've been able to beat the problems that would otherwise keep me from doing what I'm doing.

For example, skin breakdowns from sitting still for so long, the problems of lack of good circulation because of paralysis, osteoporosis where you lose bone density, blood clots. All these things plague people who live with paralysis.

But, with exercise, with repeated exercise and physical therapy, which should be affordable and made available to everybody -- with that kind of therapy, I've been able to manage, and I can come and go and do all kinds of things that I never thought would be possible when I was first injured.

KING: How about the breathing progress? You have less need of a ventilator, right?

REEVE: Yes. Actually, I had a special procedure done. I'm only the second patient -- actually, there's three now -- but this is done out in Cleveland at Case Western University and Metro Hospital of Cleveland, and electrodes were planted on my diaphragm that are activated very much like the cardiac pacemaker, and they stimulate the diaphragm, and then I can take the hose off and breathe normally.

And I'm able to do it for increasing periods of time, although, because it's an FDA experimental procedure, investigational procedure, it's not yet authorized for the general public. I still have to have nursing care 24 hours a day, and I still have to have the ventilator as a backup at all times.

But I have to tell you to be able to breathe without this necktie attached to my throat is really, really a very liberating experience.

KING: When are you coming home?

REEVE: I'll be home on Saturday.

KING: Thanks, Chris. Always good seeing you, and the best of luck.

REEVE: Larry, thank you so much.

KING: Christopher Reeves, our guest for the first half of the program, in Tel Aviv.

In the second half, we'll meet Marlene and Steve Aisenberg. Their 5-month-old daughter Sabrina went missing from their home back in 1997. They were originally indicted for conspiracy. Those charges have been dropped. An incredible story. They're next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We thank Christopher Reeve.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Now, the incredible story of Marlene and Steven Aisenberg, the parent of Sabrina Aisenberg, the 5-month-old who disappeared from the family home in November 1997. There she -- The last picture of her. Sabrina was six years old on June 27. Their attorney, Barry Cohen is with them as well.

The early morning hours November 24, 1997. Marlene and Steve find their daughter's crib empty in Hillsborough County, Florida home. They have an older son and daughter who were safe in their beds.

Here is the 911 call Marlene Aisenberg made to the Hillsborough County, Florida dispatcher.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP))

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911.

MARLENE AISENBERG, DAUGHTER KIDNAPPED: I need the police. My baby's been kidnapped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Ma'am, you need calm down.

M. AISENBERG: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a deep breath. What do you mean your baby has been kidnapped?

M. AISENBERG: I just got up to wake my son up. My garage door was wide open. My house and my door was wide open and my baby's gone out of her crib.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your baby?

M. AISENBERG: My baby is 5-months-old. God help me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am, ma'am.

M. AISENBERG: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your last name?

M. AISENBERG: My name is Aisenberg.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KING: We understand that is very difficult for you, Marlene. We appreciate this is very hard.

Steven, what -- has there been any leads over these past years?

STEVEN AISENBERG, DAUGHTER WAS KIDNAPPED: There have been a lot of leads that have come in. The most recent one was a few months ago we got a lead from a woman in Michigan that thought a child looked a lot like Sabrina's age progression from her 2-year-old.

KING: It turned out not to be?

S. AISENBERG: Unfortunately it turned out not to be.

KING: I believe we have a picture of her age progression. That's the general perception of how she would look right now?

S. AISENBERG: Hopefully. We gave the Center For Missing and Exploited Children pictures of our older children, William (ph) and Monica (ph) and they sort of did an age progression off what Sabrina's baby picture was and William and Monica at 5-years-old. That was a 5- year-old image.

KING: Two days after the kidnapping, Barry, you're hired, why?

BARRY COHEN, AISENBERG'S ATTORNEY: Because the police, sheriff's office investigating the case came down on Marlene and Steve very hard. They were convinced even at that time these people were responsible for the disappearance of their baby?

KING: Meaning they killed their child?

COHEN: They killed their child. And they made it quite clear that's the only lead they were pursuing. And they scared the hell out of Steven and Marlene, to be honest with you, telling them they knew that they did it?

KING: Do you know what led them to say that, Marlene?

M. AISENBERG: Absolutely not.

KING: What did they say to you?

M. AISENBERG: Simply, that we believe you had something to do with it.

KING: They said it to you directly.

M. AISENBERG: Directly to me. Directly.

KING: They said the same to you?

S. AISENBERG: They said to me statistics bare that it's usually a family member.

KING: That's usually the case. I think in 80 percent of child disappearances the parents are involved.

COHEN: There is a large percentage. Still, the prudent thing to do is to exclude that, but not to come down on the parents the way they did in this case.

KING: Were you harmed by the fact there was a video showing you smiling two days later. I got a note here -- I remember you were on our show shortly after this. But there was video of you smiling and laughing after you walked with the investigators and got a new car shortly after the kidnapping.

How did you respond to all that?

S. AISENBERG: Simple things that were manipulated later by the police that came to bare. The smiling, the detectives we were with were telling jokes about these reporters that were standing out front in front of our house, so we laughed.

M. AISENBERG: And they tell you not to be so serious because something the public will think something is you know, that you've done something.

KING: You're between a rock and hard place?

S. AISENBERG: Exactly.

M. AISENBERG: Definitely.

KING: What do you make of it? No ransom note ever sent, right?

S. AISENBERG: The only thing we can believe is somebody took our daughter to have as their own and to love.

KING: To raise a daughter.

S. AISENBERG: To raise a daughter.

KING: People who knew you had a little baby at home. They didn't bother your other children.

This was done in the middle of the night, right?

S. AISENBERG: Correct.

KING: Now, we have a tape that was provided to us by the Aisenberg's attorney, Mr. Cohen, and the assistant U.S. Attorney Rachelle Bedke addressing a federal judge. What is this about, before we hear it?

COHEN: This is a bail hearing. When they were arrested.

KING: Charged with what?

COHEN: Charged with conspiracy to lie to the authorities.

KING: They weren't charged with harming a child?

COHEN: They weren't charged with murder. They weren't charge with anything. This was a federal -- the state authorities examined the evidence and refused to indict them. They said there was no evidence to support the charge.

KING: Let's hear the tape of the assistant U.S. attorney addressing the federal judge. This September two years later.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RACHELLE DESVAUX BEDKE, ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: The government has in it's possession a taped statement in which Steven Aisenberg states, among other things, "I wish I hadn't harmed her. It was the cocaine."

The government also has your honor, other taped statements of both Steven Aisenberg and Marlene Aisenberge that indicate based on the quality of their statements and their behavior that you can hear that they are drugged.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KING: What do you make of that, Steven?

S. AISENBERG: I was in shock and bewilderment. As a matter of fact, I leaned over to the attorney at the time at the bail hearing and said, I'll take any drug test you want to give me. I've never taken any drugs in my life. You can ask anybody that knows me about that. I'll take drug tests from today to infinity and it won't come up with anything.

M. AISENBERG: Neither one of us have ever done drugs. So, when we heard that, we were like my goodness, what lengths will they go to do what they're doing.

KING: Why you, why after you? S. AISENBERG: Exactly.

KING: Why do you think?

M. AISENBERG: We have no idea. They were too far into looking for a body and not looking for our daughter.

S. AISENBERG: The path of least resistance.

COHEN: I'd like to tell you why it happened. This is another example of a prosecutor trying to rise to eminence. A faceless civil servant wanting to become a celebrity flat out lied on Marlene and Steve Aisenberg. Every judge who listened to that tape said it was a not on there, and it was not on there. It was a flat out lie. And the Judge Merriday (ph) and Judge Pizo (ph) both heard it. Wasn't there. Threw it out.

KING: It wasn't there?

COHEN: I wanted to put that tape in the public arena. Mrs. Bedki called it frivolous. She called it outrageous that I would even suggest that. Finally, the truth came out. And it was another step in the chain to frame and manufacture a case.

KING: Now there is one other audiotape I want to listen to now. This is an audio provided by you. This is a first generation recording of an oral intercept, known as a wiretap conducted by Hillsborough County sheriffs investigators at the Aisenberg home is that right?

COHEN: Yes.

KING: Let's listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COHEN: The indictment that said they heard all this on the tape, there's nothing to hear.

S. AISENBERG: That was the tape supposedly where I made those statements.

KING: Unbelievable. OK. You could have fooled me. We'll be right back with more.

COHEN: Like they fooled the grand jury.

KING: We'll be back with more of this incredible story. We'll take some phone calls too, for Marlene and Steven Aisenberg, and their attorney Barry Cohen.

Sabrina still missing. She was 6-years-old on June 27. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

M. AISENBERG: We need Sabrina home. She needs to be with me and her father, her sister, Monica, her brother, William. We love her very much and need her to come home. We don't care who you are, we just want you to do the right thing. Look inside yourself, please. Drop her some place safe and call someone and tell them to come and get her so that she can come home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was a few days after the event. Now prosecutors based that demeanor to question you? What did they see in that demeanor that was cause to question you?

M. AISENBERG: I have no idea.

KING: The judge said when he dismissed all this, he said, "the prosecutor's interpretation of all this is recklessly misleading. The detective's report conversation no prudent listener can hear. Quiet conversations that do not appear in the transcript at all in the manner, deliberately or with reckless disregard summarized conversations out of context." What do you make of this, Barry? Why would law enforcement do this to this couple?

COHEN: Well it's another example of a problem in the federal system of criminal justice today and somewhat in the state system. It's arrogance. They get away with doing what they want to do because there's no civil or criminal accountability.

KING: You can't hold them for anything?

COHEN: You can't hold them for anything. And the justice department do not police this the way they should. They protect their own. Consequently, these people engage in this sort of conduct. This is not appreciated by the American public.

KING: They can civilly sue them, can't they?

COHEN: You can't sue prosecutors unless you can show this happened during the investigative stage. They have a protection of immunity. We are in the process of preparing a civil rights suit, and what we call a bevit (ph) suit, against the law enforcement.

KING: Do you think the Susan Smith case had a lot to do with this? Killing her own children?

COHEN: I think the Susan Smith case had a lot to do with public perception of Marlene and Steve. The Susan Smith basically seduced the American public. They were emotionally connected to Susan Smith. Then they felt betrayed. When Marlene went on television, they were guarded. They weren't going to be fooled again. KING: Tough way to live, huh Steven?

S. AISENBERG: It's been a rough few years, but we try and concentrate on our other two children and we try and get Sabrina's picture out every opportunity we can.

KING: You moved away from Florida, though, right?

S. AISENBERG: We moved back to Maryland.

KING: Any particular reason?

S. AISENBERG: To live in the house I grew up in. My dad is allowing us to live there.

KING: Is the best bet rather than being harmed, she was taken to be raised?

M. AISENBERG: Definitely. I can't believe anything else. She still needs to be. She still needs to come home to us.

KING: Let's take a call for the Aisenberg's and their attorney, Barry Cohen. New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, thanks for taking my call. I have two questions. The first is, I'd like to know whether or not the Aisenberg's other children ever reported that they felt that they were being watched strangely or followed by any strangers? Any strange activity that perhaps were targeting them?

My other question is whether or not Mr. Aisenberg was ever exonerated from those drug allegations through drug testing or some other form? Thank you.

KING: The other kids? Did they ever report anything suspicious?

M. AISENBERG: They never reported anybody watching them. I ran a children's play program and I went everywhere with all three. I just did a million different things all day, and my kids were with me everywhere I went.

KING: Drug charges?

S. AISENBERG: I don't know if they ever exonerated me. I did do testing immediately after that bond hearing. Which proved that I had not taking anything, but I offered to take drug testing at any time. I have for several companies that I worked with since then also done drug testing. There's nothing been found.

KING: Did they tell you what the motive would have been for you to harm your child? Did anyone ever say to you, you harmed her because?

S. AISENBERG: No.

M. AISENBERG: No. S. AISENBERG: I don't think the government really ever had a firm grasp of what they thought happened.

KING: Was the door open to the house? How did they get in?

M. AISENBERG: The garage door was opened.

KING: Someone had to know this layout, right?

M. AISENBERG: You know, it was a model home in the neighborhood. It was popular model, so...

KING: It couldn't have been the guy walking down the street, I'm going to go in this house and take something? They had to know there was a baby there, right?

M. AISENBERG: I would think so.

KING: Mantica (ph), California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. My name is Laci. And first of all, I would like to say how much I enjoy your show. I watch you every night. My question would be directed for their attorney. What was the final key piece of evidence that actually freed them from the charges?

COHEN: Well, the final evidence was that we had a hearing, and during that hearing, it became evidence that the law enforcement authorities had fabricated this entire matter. They lied to the state judge to get the wiretap about a bruise on the baby's face. They didn't interview certain people that they know would have testified favorably.

And once it came out that none of this, these allegations that were in the indictment, that they harmed the baby, all of these ridiculous statements, that if true, would have been very incriminating. None of that could be heard.

We hired the foremost expert in the country, a man named Konig, Bruce Konig, the chief of the FBI lab in Washington for many, many years, and he didn't know any of us from Adam. He filed affidavits and said none of this was on the tape at all.

KING: So the judge had no course but to...

COHEN: So actually, the government, on their own, admitted that they had filed this case in bad faith, frivolously and they were forced to admit this. They filed it and the judge entered the dismissal.

KING: A tough thing to go through, not only the torment of losing a baby girl but then to be in the face of the accusation. I guess you feel some empathy for the Ramseys?

S. AISENBERG: We feel empathy for anybody that loses a child. We became members of a club that no one wants to be members of.

KING: You're not kidding.

S. AISENBERG: We never thought we would be members of it. Now that we are, we hope we become members of the other club of having a child coming back home.

KING: In that the Indiana case, we have a case of looks like someone found or maybe found, right?

S. AISENBERG: Yes.

KING: The hope is she's out there?

S. AISENBERG: The hope. We know she's out there. It's where and who knows something that can get the information to the authorities.

KING: We're going to show the picture again. This is how -- this is again a computer conceived picture of how Sabrina Aisenberg would look today. She was six years old on June 27. Back with more moments and phone calls for the Aisenbergs and their attorney, Barry Cohen, right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pains taking search in this last of the 15 ponds and lakes could take til Friday to complete. Only then could the searchers say with certainty they couldn't find any trace of Sabrina under water or on the ground for five square miles of her home. That's unless new tips come in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES WILSON, U.S. ATTORNEY: The indictment also alleges that the Aisenbergs provided false leads and false information to the law enforcement agents who were participating in the investigation of this case, that they made false statements to agents concerning the injuries that occurred to the baby prior to her reported kidnapping, that the Aisenbergs provided photographs of another child and falsely represented the photographs to be that of baby Sabrina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All that was wrong?

COHEN: All that was false. I must tell you that Chuck Wilson, who is now a federal judge, was duped himself With (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Bedke And Stephen Koontz. The two prosecutors did not disclose the truth to him. He's a man of impeccable integrity.

KING: And that Indiana recent case. That turned out to be a fraud. Have you had other leads that turned out to be wrong and... S. AISENBERG: Yes, there was another one in, I think, Idaho that a woman thought the young girl looked like Sabrina and that -- we just found out about two weeks ago that it was not.

KING: While you're waiting for the DNA, though, what was that like?

S. AISENBERG: Very agonizing. Our hopes and prayers were that it was her. The two-year-old picture of the little girl looked very much like Sabrina. And so we were very hopeful. And the suspicious background of how she got to be where she was. We were very hope hopeful and unfortunately it didn't work out. But hopefully this will help somebody else to come forward.

KING: You've had -- do the police keep look -- I mean, is anything being done done?

M. AISENBERG: Well, we pray that they're following up.

COHEN: They're really not. They give some perfunctory response to do it. But if they get a lead, they'll follow through with it, but there's no real...

KING: If someone sees that picture, the computer enhancement, and thinks they see her, who do they contact?

M. AISENBERG: The National Center for Missing Children.

Also, it's important if somebody sees a child that looks like Sabrina, they need to take note of who she's with. They need to take not of what that person looks like, if they're driving in a car, the license number, if they can follow her to a home or get an address. Because it's the public who brings home our children.

KING: I mean, you can call your local police, too, right?

Lakeland, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: This is Martha. And I would like to ask the Aisenbergs, even -- she just made the statement that they lived in a neighborhood where their home was a model home and they left the garage door open. They're model homes everywhere. I don't know if anybody who leaves a garage door open. I would like to ask them why on that particular night did they leave that garage door open and the back door unlocked with three children in the house? A lot of...

KING: OK. Fair question.

M. AISENBERG: Unfortunately, we were not conscious of that. We were -- we came and went. And it wasn't the first time our garage door was left open. I would say it happened on an a -- every few months. Our neighbor used to call us. It was almost a standing joke. She would take the trash out and she would call us and say your garage is open. And we'd say thank you so much and we shut it.

KING: It doesn't happen anymore, though.

M. AISENBERG: Doesn't happen anymore.

KING: Chanute, Kansas, hello. Hello? Chanute, Kansas are you there?

CALLER: Hello?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: I would like to know how old their other children are now and how they have coped with this.

KING: OK. How old are they now?

S. AISENBERG: William is going to be 14 in September and Monica 13.

M. AISENBERG: 9.

S. AISENBERG: I'm sorry, 9 this month.

KING: How are they doing?

S. AISENBERG: They're doing all right. They've had some rough spots, and we've had some counseling with them, to make sure that everything is OK. They've -- are adjusting fairly well. We still keep Sabrina in our day-to-day life so, you know, they know they have a sister, and that...

KING: Keep her in their life because they would forget, wouldn't they? A six-month-old, you would forget.

M. AISENEBERG: They're not. There's pictures all over our home and we still buy Beenie Babies and we have a room for her in our home and when she comes, that's -- that will be her place.

But my son handles it very well by saying basically she's not in our everyday life right now but she's in my heart everyday. And we stay strong and we believe she's going to come home and we just...

KING: And what do you deal with everyday?

M. AISENBERG: Exactly what we do. We just -- we just pray that one -- one of these calls is going to be it. It only takes one. And it will happen. And we are there for each other, and William and Monica.

S. AISENBERG: We take every day one day at a time and we concentrate on William and Monica and doing and making their life the best it can be.

KING: It's shocking to know that law enforcement could have participated in something like this. COHEN: Well, it's going to take the public demanding that the Congress take a look at this, because there's more of this that goes on than people think.

KING: I thank you all very much.

And again, if you think you see -- let's show it one more time. If you think you see this young lady, she's six years old, you contact your local police or what -- or who?

M. AISENBERG: The National Center for Missing Children.

KING: That's an -- that's an 800 number, right?

S. AISENBERG: Yes. Correct.

KING: The National Center for Missing Children and get a license plate number if you think you see her in a car and the like and call your local police or the National Center for...

S. AISENBERG: That number, I think, is 1-800-THE-LOST.

KING: 1-800-THE-LOST. 1800-THE-LOST.

I'll be back in a minute to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I want to thank the famed Hotel Dan in Tel Aviv. That's where Christopher Reeve was saying and they -- staying, rather, and they gave us so much cooperation. It's a great hotel, the Hotel Dan. We thank them very much.

Sports fans, it's Wednesday. Don't forget to read my column, "Sports A La King," posted every week on CNN/"Sports Illustrated" on the Web. The address to get right to it is www.si.com/larryking. And "Sports A La King" is interactive. Give it a read, send your e-mails and we'll write you back in the weekly mailbag. Once again the address is www.si.com/larryking. Log on tonight and we'll talk sports.

Tomorrow night, we will talk with a very interesting fellow. He is never dull. He always creates a stir. Bill Maher is with us tomorrow night for the hour with your phone calls.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



Marlene Aisenberg>


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