Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Dr. Henry Lee Investigates George Smith's Royal Caribbean Disappearance

Aired January 24, 2006 - 21:00   ET

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


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, are there new clues to heat up the case of the groom who vanished from his honeymoon cruise last July? What did renowned forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee find yesterday onboard that cruise ship? He's been hired by the groom's wife and he's here to tell us more.
We'll also hear from Maureen Smith, the mother of the missing groom and Gregg McCrary, one of the world's most experienced profilers. He was onboard yesterday too working for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Also with us, high profile defense attorney Mark Geragos and the former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

This strange case, he went missing in July, still of course no further reports but we're going to get up to date on what's the latest. We'll begin in Orlando, Florida with Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's most foremost forensic scientists. He's been retained by Jennifer Hagel Smith to investigate the disappearance of her husband George.

Gregg McCrary is a 25-year veteran of the FBI, one of the world's most experienced profilers, who recently was retained by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in connection with the case.

And, on the phone is Maureen Smith, the very outspoken mother of the missing bridegroom George Smith.

Dr. Lee, what did you find? Dr. Lee, do you hear me?

DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: I can't hear.

KING: All right, Dr. Lee doesn't hear me.

Gregg McCrary you've been on that ship.

GREGG MCCRARY, VETERAN FBI PROFILER RETAINED BY ROYAL CARIBBEAN: Yes.

KING: You've been retained by the cruise line.

MCCRARY: Yes.

KING: What's your overview? MCCRARY: Well, I was brought on to help the cruise line understand how this whole investigation takes place, understand the policies and procedures of law enforcement and they're interested in finding out the truth. They're interested in finding out exactly what happened as well.

So, I was with Henry yesterday on the ship. We spent the day together on the ship. He and his crew processed the ship in a number of different ways. They went through the cabin. They were out on the balcony. They did a lot of tests with chemical reagents looking for the presumptive presence of blood.

They did some alternate light source work inside the cabin looking for hairs and fibers and they were out on the -- out on the top of the lifeboat taking a look at that as well and doing some exams.

KING: Gregg, are you at cross purposes since Henry Lee is retained by the widow or supposed widow of the missing person and you're retained by the cruise line?

MCCRARY: No, I don't believe that we are, Larry. I think we're both here to find the truth as to what happened and as investigators our job as I always say as an investigator, is neither to believer nor disbelieve anyone. It's to find facts.

So, where you might find attorneys maybe in an adversarial position on this, I think Henry and I are really not at cross purposes. We're here to find out exactly what happened and the chips simply will fall where they will.

KING: Dr. Lee, isn't it a bit late to be looking at a ship six and a half months later?

LEE: Yes, Larry, you're absolutely right six and a half months later it's kind of late but then we're never too late. We've been working on cases 35 years old, 60 years old, so six and a half months goes by pretty quick.

Unfortunately, of course, a lot of evidence maybe disappear weathering, washing but this case, you know, just like Gregg says we basically are the fact finding. Yesterday I was on the cruise ship. I want to take this opportunity again to thank the cruise ship and they really extended a lot of courtesy with my team, yes.

KING: What did you find? What did you find?

LEE: That's a good question. What did I find? We did find quite a bit of information. However, when I talked to attorney Jim Weiker (ph) and basically right at this moment we -- I don't think in a position should release because the FBI is conducting an active investigation. I don't want to jeopardize their investigation. Once probably whether or not they want our data we're more than happy to provide it.

KING: All right. LEE: We just found one piece of the puzzle so far.

KING: Would you say based on this one piece of the puzzle is it your thought that you will uncover this story?

LEE: If I can get Turkey police, their report and the evidence they collected, what's the laboratory result of the FBI testing result what evidence they collected, especially the carpet and padding that's probably holding the key, some answer of this case.

In addition, of course, if the cruise line can provide us a copy of the videotape or the timeline and the inventory of the key use between four o'clock and let's say five o'clock that period of time that can give us some additional clue and information. Then we can piece everything together and make finally a whole picture.

KING: Maureen Smith on the phone, the mother of the missing groom, what are you satisfied, unsatisfied with? What are you looking for now? There's very little hope that your son is alive. What do you want?

MAUREEN SMITH, MOTHER OF GEORGE SMITH IV (by telephone): Well, Larry, had everything been done right in the beginning of this investigation you realize we wouldn't be talking here tonight. I mean two hours in Turkey was just not long enough for an investigation and for the ship to take off.

But we're very, very grateful to Dr. Lee for coming and doing this for us now on the ship. We're grateful for any information that can bring us information to what happened to our son.

We want answers and we're going to keep going until we get them and I do believe that we will get them eventually. It's just that as the investigation, as I say, wasn't done correctly in the beginning this is where we're at the situation we're at today.

KING: Do you believe your son was murdered?

SMITH: I definitely believe my son was murdered, yes.

KING: Do you have any other theories beyond that he was murdered like who might have done it or...

SMITH: No, I do not have any more theories. We have the crime scene of the cabin and we have the reports of the loud fighting. Everything points to murder here and there's a lot of people keeping very quiet.

KING: Gregg McCrary, formerly of the FBI, would you agree this was a murder?

MCCRARY: No, not at all, Larry. Keep in mind, and I have a lot of empathy and sympathy for the family and I understand it, I've dealt with a lot of families over the years and it's very, very stressful and my sincere condolences to the family. But, as investigators the very first phase of an investigation is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed. We can't rule out the possibility that he may have fallen over the railing nor can we eliminate the possibility that there may have been some criminal act involved.

I'd also like to address this issue of the Turkish investigation. I've had the opportunity of reading the report written by the Turkish authorities. It's an overview, sort of I'd call it an executive summary of the crime scene processing of the list of items seized and just an overview of what they did.

Two hours or not it looked like a very responsible and thorough job in recognizing the evidence, collecting it and preserving the evidence. I understand they went in with these hazmat-type suits so as not to contaminate the scene and processed it and then turned that information and turned that potential evidence, and again we don't even know what is and what isn't evidence, but turned over to the FBI those items that they had collected.

So, I'm confident based on my experience that the investigation was not flawed at the beginning that it got off to as good a start as you might hope. I also would say that there's no such thing as a perfect criminal investigation or a perfect processing of crime scene but it seemed adequate. It seemed reasonable and responsible.

KING: We'll take a break and we'll add the attorney for the family of George Smith and Captain Bill Wright, the Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations to the panel already with us.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in Vancouver, Canada is Brett Rivkind. He is the attorney for the family of the missing George Smith.

And, in Miami is Captain Bill Wright, Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Fleet Operations.

I did not ask Dr. Lee, Dr. Lee do you think this was a murder?

LEE: Well, as a scientist we approach the case with an open mind. For six and a half months now George Smith's disappeared. So, we have to find the answer. There are two possibilities, one could be accident, second could be foul play.

So, that's our responsibility to find all the facts instead of coming to the case with a predetermined notion say this is possible, that's not possible. We have to look at all evidence and carefully examine everything, try to piece this together.

KING: Brett, let's take a case. Supposing, just supposing he got into a fight with a bunch of guys and there was beatings and guys hitting each other and he fell or was thrown overboard how is this the shipping line's responsibility?

BRETT RIVKIND, SMITH FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, you know the cruise line has a duty to protect its passengers and I think you got to look at the history of this whole cruise.

You know this particular cruise has an alleged murder on it and an alleged sexual assault. There was various complaints about certain passengers prior to George Smith going missing and the same passengers were involved in an alleged sexual assault.

Now, we're not making any specific allegations as to who may have been responsible for the murder of George Smith but, Larry, when you operate a cruise ship and you have three and a half million passengers a year and you make millions of dollars serving these passengers alcohol and encouraging them to party into the wee hours, you've got a duty as a cruise line to protect those passengers.

You're going to make all that money serving all that alcohol. You're going to encourage them to get drunk. There's nothing wrong with a passenger drinking a lot on a cruise ship. They're not getting behind the wheel of a car. In this particular case, Larry, I think the evidence is going to show that this cruise was not managed properly by the cruise line including...

KING: All right, let...

RIVKIND: OK.

KING: Captain Wright, how would you respond to that?

CAPT. BILL WRIGHT, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, FLEET OPERATIONS, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES: Well, Larry, first of all I very much on a personal note would like to speak directly to the Smith family and Mrs. Smith in particular.

It's the first opportunity I've had to do so and to express my deepest heartfelt sympathies for their loss, for the pain and suffering that they have gone through and continue to go through. I just can't imagine what it must be like. I have two daughters of my own approximately the same age as George and I just really feel for them and it's important for me to be able to express that.

As far as Mr. Rivkind's comments, the cruises, the cruise lines and cruises in general are extremely safe. These accusations that these are -- these are -- these are unsafe places to be is just again not correct.

FBI's own statistics state that in the United States in 2004 there were 465.5 cases of violent crime per 100,000 persons. Our community for our cruise line alone, for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, is a little over 92, about 92,000 guests at any given day, so that's our little community that's floating around the world.

And our statistic for 2005 was 15 allegations or cases of what could be categorized as violent crime. That means it's 30 times, approximately 30 times safer to be on a cruise ship than it is in the United States in general and these are the FBI's own statistics.

KING: So, Gregg McCrary, based on -- backing up those statistics would you say that this is a rarity?

MCCRARY: Yes, it is. Yes. It's one of these situations that is a low probability, high consequence. It doesn't happen very often. When it does, it's very tragic and it has the sort of repercussions that we're seeing here.

KING: But that doesn't soothe you does it Maureen?

SMITH: I have a very interesting e-mail that I would really, really like to read to you. It's from a New York City firefighter with over 20 years of service to the New York City and, if I may, I would really like to read this out.

It said, "My wife and I cruise a lot and would like to tell you about our cruise this past October. It was on the Celebrity Line, which I understand is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, the Millennium.

We were taken to the bridge and, as in the past, were able to ask questions of the ship's officers on the bridge on any subject. So, one of the people in the party asked the officer giving the tour what if somebody fell overboard.

The first thing the officer said was, well if somebody drinks too much and jumps overboard if we know what side the person jumped from we turn the ship so the person does not get pulled into the prop and we do not stop the ship. We put a boat over the side and look for the person. And, he said that if one person out of 2,000 is missing, we fell we're doing a good job.

Now, Royal Caribbean claims safety is their number one priority. That's my little piece I just said there. I think this is absolutely disgraceful. They blame the drink, always, always the drinks that things happen on cruise ships. Now one passenger in 2,000 and this is an officer on Royal Caribbean stating this, I know the person who was on this cruise. I have all his details, so we can back it up.

KING: How would you respond Captain Wright?

WRIGHT: Well, Larry, we have very clear procedures. I almost want to say ancient procedures in terms of a person overboard or man overboard. The first thing that would happen would be that we would trigger our GPS. There's a man overboard button actually on it that immediately locks that position, which would be the closest position in to us being made aware that there possibly might be somebody overboard.

We would immediately turn the ship. We are able to do that very, very quickly today and we would put our rescue boats, which are high speed rigid inflatables in the water and start commencing the search.

KING: So, what the man said to that person who sent the e-mail that was wrong? WRIGHT: Well, I didn't actually understand his characterization that we would, as far as someone drinking, I mean that officer made a statement. I'm not discounting that but the facts remain for our company, for all cruise lines, for all ships for that matter that a man overboard situation is extremely urgent. We respond immediately. We have very fixed procedures that we -- that we drill on at regular intervals.

KING: In a moment we'll ask about the other people that may have been in and around this scene, maybe other people involved in the fighting. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BREE SMITH, SISTER OF GEORGE SMITH: We have no closure about my brothers death because we have no answers. George hasn't surfaced so we have no body to bury and we have no grave to pray at. Compounding the tragedy is how callously Royal Caribbean has treated my family and attempted to cover up the crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Dr. Lee, we understand you did a bunch of tests on the ship when you were there on Monday.

LEE: Yes.

KING: And you wanted to throw a weighted mannequin overboard and they wouldn't let you. What did you hope to accomplish and why wouldn't they let you?

LEE: Well, of course, the mannequin test is one of the tests where commonly we use. We planned to do what we tried to do with a mannequin with George's size and same body weight and so we can put the mannequin on the railing, let it fall by itself, so try to see where most likely it landed.

Then we push gently or push harder to see where the mannequin landed and finally we can throw the mannequin off the railing, see what the mannequin landed, so by statistical analysis see how many times we did and what's the location try to get some idea.

KING: Why wouldn't they let you do it?

LEE: I have no idea. I did not directly negotiate with the cruise ship and some of them think it's too dramatic. Others think that's not real and others say that's a mannequin. It's not a real person. Of course, with this kind of a forensic analysis we can not throw a real person off the railing.

KING: No kidding.

LEE: So we have to do that.

KING: Gregg McCrary, why didn't they let him do it?

MCCRARY: I think for a couple of reasons and, by the way, they've offered and Henry knows this, we had this discussion today, they've offered to let Henry take his mannequin to an identical ship that's going to be in dry dock down in Freeport in the Bahamas and do this test, throw that dummy over the side, over that railing as many times as he would care to do so.

I think that particular day they had like 5,000 passengers coming and going and the idea of launching a dummy repeatedly over the side just created I think some logistical problems as well, so they preferred that it not be done.

The other thing that I would add with all due respect to my good friend Henry is that we have to be concerned about some of the other, the forensic or scientific issues. It's one thing to throw the dummy over the side when the boat is dead still, dead in the water and tethered to a dock.

It's another thing where in the case we have here the ship was in the high seas going 15 or 20 knots, maybe pitching, maybe rolling in the open waters which could certainly change the trajectory and the situations we have, so those are some other considerations but he certainly is free to do this.

LEE: Gregg, it is impossible to duplicate every situation.

MCCRARY: I understand.

LEE: If we want to duplicate let's say even that traffic accident, we want to duplicate a traffic accident, it's almost impossible. That's the beauty of forensic investigation. We only can do the best controlled experiment whatever the data we got. Then we try to use the data to analysis and try to get some answers.

MCCRARY: Yes ...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Brett, do you think you're ever going to -- Brett Rivkind, do you think you're ever going to get the answer?

RIVKIND: Well, we're going to keep going, Larry. We got Dr. Lee working with us. We're trying to get some information from the FBI. We're asking the cruise line to cooperate and give us the names of passengers they've taken statements from.

So, you know what's happening here, Larry, is, you know, passengers are ending up on TV shows because they're watching this case and they're coming forward. We've asked the cruise line from the beginning to please let us know all these statements you took, which by the way they were doing before the FBI was even taking statements. They were doing it as part of their litigation defense team.

And we're saying, listen, help the Smith family. You've written letters saying you want to help them. You're getting on TV saying you feel bad for them and you want to help them. Let us know all these passengers.

KING: All right, Captain Wright, it's reported there was fights on the ship. Why can't they talk to the people?

WRIGHT: Well, Larry, let me first respond to Mr. Rivkind regarding the passenger manifest. The FBI has that manifest. They had asked us and they've asked the Smiths and their attorneys to not comment on it.

It's obviously an important part of the ongoing investigation and it's just not appropriate for us to share that with the Smiths. The FBI has it and the FBI, if they wish, could certainly give it to them.

RIVKIND: That's incorrect.

WRIGHT: We've been asked simply not to share that and your other question Larry?

KING: You're saying that's not right, Brett?

RIVKIND: That's not right, Larry. The FBI has certain information and in a civil proceeding we're entitled to that information. There's no privacy rights. We can't get it. We need to get it from the cruise line. The FBI doesn't want to get involved in the Smiths' civil investigation. They have their own investigation.

But the cruise line and their lawyers have this list. They had the right to go onboard the ship, the cruise line, before the FBI and take statements of all these passengers. The Smith family has that right and we -- there is no legal basis not to let us know who these witnesses are or the crew members.

KING: Maureen, do we know the people who were supposedly in the fist fight?

SMITH: Yes we do, Larry.

KING: We do. Have you talked to any of them?

SMITH: No.

KING: Why not?

SMITH: I'll pass that over to Brett.

KING: Brett, why not?

RIVKIND: Larry, the names we've recently received or have gotten through other means other than the cruise line is that most of these other passengers have attorneys now, Larry, and we're not looking just to talk to people who may be the focus of an FBI investigation.

But there are a lot of witnesses, Larry that you don't see coming on the TV on behalf of the cruise line, the actual security officers who were there who heard complaints, who got reported from passengers complaints what they did, what they found at four o'clock in the morning.

They have these people called guest vacation enforcers who walk around the cruise ship to make sure that conduct is supposedly maintained in an orderly fashion, crew members, like cabin stewards, who would have been privy to evidence.

There are so many potential witnesses here, Larry that were never interviewed and that's the problem in litigating or being involved in an accident or a serious matter with a cruise line. They control all the information. You can't get onboard their ship without their permission. You can't do experiments without their permission or their conditions and I can't even get their crew list or passenger list.

KING: All right. He says the FBI won't let them. All right, we're going to hold Dr. Lee and Gregg McCrary over. We're going to be joined by Dr. Richard Levak (ph), Mark Geragos and Mary Fulginiti. We thank our other guests. We'll continue discussing this incredible matter with apparently no solution. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG PURDY, DIRECTOR OF SAFETY, SECURITY AND ENVIRONMENT, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES: We responded to the sole complaint made by a guest. We promptly called in the FBI and local authorities to conduct an investigation We secured the Smiths' cabin and the metal overhang and we conducted a thorough search of the ship.

We subsequently interviewed guests and crew who had any knowledge of the Smiths' whereabouts that night and we collected all possible evidence from security camera tapes to charge card receipts and provided it to the FBI.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The mystery of George Smith, missing at sea. Remaining with us in Orlando, Florida, is Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientists. He is founder and professor of the forensic science program at the University of New Haven and chief emeritus of the Connecticut State Police. He was aboard the ship on Monday.

So, too, was Gregg McCrary, the 25-year veteran of the FBI, one of the world's most experienced profilers. And he's been retained by the cruise line.

Joining us now in Los Angeles, Richard Levak, the clinical psychologist who specializes in personality assessment and marital counseling. He's been involved in the screening of competitors for reality shows like "Survivor," "Apprentice" and "The Amazing Race."

Mark Geragos is the high-profile defense attorney. Clients have included Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Susan McDougal, Roger Clinton. And Mary Fulginiti, the former federal prosecutor. She was an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, has conducted investigations with FBI, DEA, IRS, and has prosecuted international drug lords and money launderers.

Dr. Levak, from a psychological viewpoint, what's your overview of this?

RICHARD LEVAK, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, if I were -- I don't -- I haven't actually talked to anyone. But looking at the players, I would think, who are they -- what are their personalities like? And then, how does the story mesh with their personalities? And what was the trigger point? What I would be looking at with Jennifer is, did she have a history of being a somewhat charismatic but rebellious young woman with a temper?

KING: The wife.

LEVAK: The wife. And then would her husband be a somewhat charismatic but kind of insecure young man with a tendency towards jealousy? And then once they got on this cruise ship and realized that they weren't meshing, they weren't getting along, that maybe she was feeling trapped and started to engage other young men in between their relationships -- in between their relationship.

And then these young men may have been voyeurs. Clearly later, they were involved in some kind of incident with video camera. And then did, after a night of drinking, they come over to his room and suggest some kind of sexual event with his wife? And he went berserk, got pushed, there was a fight, he hit something, and then they realized they've made a mess and threw him overboard.

KING: So somebody knows something?

LEVAK: I think somebody knows something. And there is passion involved, clearly.

KING: What's your read, Mary, on Dr. Levak's thesis?

MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, somebody does know something and I'm pretty certain it's probably...

KING: Interesting thesis.

FULGINITI: No, it is an interesting thesis. I think that there's a lot of different theories and speculations out there with regard to what could have happened that night. And I think the only people that probably have a more definitive understanding of the prosecutors and investigators that are handling the case right now.

KING: How about the wife?

FULGINITI: She definitely -- you know, unfortunately -- you know, I've seen her on a few different shows recently, in particular on Oprah. She has very little recollection, unfortunately, of what occurred during the critical time period, which is when -- you know, between about 3:45, say, and 4:30 in the morning. So when it comes to that, you know, they did have a heavy night of fun and some alcohol and whether or not she blacked out, whether or not she passed out, we don't know. But her recollection of that critical time period is really unfortunately not going to help the prosecutors.

KING: Mark, is the cruise line at fault?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't know what the cruise line did. I mean, it's a cruise line. It's not somebody who's CSI. It's not somebody who's supposed to do anything other than provide a safe environment. By all accounts, the cruise line locked up this scene and called the authorities and the authorities got in there. I don't know what the Turks actually did. I mean, they...

KING: Two hours.

GERAGOS: Well, yes, but the thing is, this is a cruise line. It is a carrier and the carrier did, by all accounts, everything they were supposed to do. They've been, by all accounts also, fairly open in terms of -- and transparent in terms of listing that. They've got a Web site out that I looked at today that lists the chronology. So I don't know why people keep taking fault with the cruise line.

I mean, after all, Mary says that this was a group that was out there having fun. They sure were. They were drinking something alcohol. But Mary and I were trying to get a hold of some of that in the green room, but apparently this has 180 proof or something.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: By the way, there is an e-mail site for more information. It's info@internationalcruisevictims. Info@internationalcruisevictims.org. All right, Gregg McCrary, what do you make of our thesis by Dr. Levak and the statements by Mark and Mary?

MCCRARY: It's very entertaining. It's wild fun to speculate about these things. But we can't do that. Investigators really can't speculate about this. And I think Henry would agree, we're here, as I said, not to believe or disbelieve anybody. We're here to find facts. And we have to deal with the facts.

And we're back to the basics of trying to determine, was this an accident? Was it a homicide? Was there foul play involved or not? That's the ultimate responsibility of the FBI and I agree with Mr. Geragos here that -- you know, I was in a pizza shop not long ago and they had a sign in there that said, we got to deal with the bank. We don't cash checks and they don't make pizza.

And that's the idea here. In other words, the cruise line is not CSI. They called in the authorities. They went by the book. The authorities released it, released the scene and so forth. So I think the cruise line has been doing everything they could. But they're not really responsible for the investigation. And if Henry Lee finds things that the Turks or the FBI has missed, God bless him. I hope we can move this thing forward and get an answer. KING: Dr. Lee, do you absolve the cruise line or is it too early?

LEE: Well, it's still too early. And Turkey police, of course, in two hours -- five of us -- seven of us, we spent five and a half hours. We were not even able to finish what we want to plan to do.

So if the initial crime scene, they only took two hours, apparently they say, observed some blood stains on the carpet. That's a crucial piece of information. Should measure the size of the blood stain, how much blood stain there, any tissue -- hair or broken teeth. That's the key of the whole case, is the initial crime scene. So if the initial crime scene did not preserve well, then of course, have some problems.

As far as Jennifer Smith, I did have a chance to talk to her. She say she completely blacked out. She was found asleep next to a garbage pail. And subsequently, the cruise ship put her on the wheelchair, send her back to the room. But a police chief or somebody heard a noise, called the cruise ship security. And security people -- I don't know exactly how long it take them to respond. That's kind of also crucial information.

Mark, with due respect, I don't think, you know, really say cruise line has no responsibility at all. But I'm not representing the family. I'm not representing anybody. I just look at the scientific fact.

GERAGOS: The thing is about the cruise line, Henry, you certainly -- if you're going to have somebody process a crime scene, you're going to send for somebody like Dr. Lee. I don't think in a million years you're going to send for the purser on the love boat to process your crime scene. So they did what they were supposed to do. They preserved it.

If the Turks came in there and only spent two hours, I mean, it wouldn't surprise me. I mean, this is a government that -- let's go the -- let's let the pope's assassin go out of jail and denies the Armenian genocide.

KING: Let me a get a break and we'll ask Dr. Levak if maybe a psychologist should be called in, and Mary Fulginiti who she'd like to prosecute here.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Dr. Levak, we have a profiler on, Gregg McCrary, he's with us. Should a psychologist get involved here? y

LEVAK: I think profilers and psychologists do the same thing. We look at personality. What is the personality of the players? What is the story? Part of what's fascinating about this is there seems to be a story. Here's a honeymoon couple, upper middle class, they arrive on a boat and they start fighting. He spends the night without her. They get involved with men who have some kind of sexual charge with her. There is a story here. And putting together their personalities and what happened is part of the forensic piece. And in every crime that isn't just an accident, there's almost always passion, a story, and convoluted emotions.

KING: Mary, is anyone, do you think, ever going to be charged with something here?

FULGINITI: I think if there was wrongdoing in this case and they can --

KING: Say there was.

FULGINITI: If there was wrongdoing and they can gather sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed or --

KING: Wouldn't you say it's going to be tough, are you going to have witnesses --

FULGINITI: Is it going to be tough? Yes. I think a lot of the witnesses here unfortunately have been tainted. They've been on a variety of news shows. They've told their story a number of different times. What happens is each time somebody tells a story there might be an inconsistency which people like him would like to exploit if it ever gets to trial.

GERAGOS: I'm still waiting for somebody to say that there's actually a crime here. I mean, Henry, if you notice what Henry said, they're still trying to determine when it's an accident or a crime. People have already speculated a scenario. We don't even know if there was even a crime committed.

FULGINITI: He's absolutely right. What we know is that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut took jurisdiction over this investigation. I think that's highly unlikely they did that if they thought it was a complete accident. If they didn't think there was any wrongdoing --

GERAGOS: That's more a product of the press coverage than anything else.

FULGINITI: Not necessarily.

GERAGOS: I don't think -- there is obviously -- the Turks were in there. They have developed some kind of forensic evidence. That forensic evidence and blood evidence and DNA evidence has been available to the FBI for a prolonged period of time.

So if they thought there was something going on, I think you should just wait, wait and see what happens before you start speculating. LEVAK: Right. But before you start speculating you know from all the prosecutions you've done and the defenses that you've done, there's usually a story. If the story doesn't make sense, something is wrong. That's what you go on often.

GERAGOS: But I think you wait -- part of the problem you find with wrongful convictions is when somebody has a story or a theory and they don't let the facts drive it. Check the facts. Let the facts drive this. As of right now, we don't know. We don't know whose blood was under the sheet.

FULGINITI: That's part of the frustration.

GERAGOS: We don't know any of this.

FULGINITI: That is part of the frustration in this case. This is a case, you have to understand, it's very important that the prosecution and the FBI keep -- they do have evidence in this case. They are analyzing it. They're putting it together. It's very important that they keep it close to the vest and not divulge it. They want to maintain the credibility and integrity of the investigation.

KING: Gregg McCrary, what absolutely do we know?

MCCRARY, VETERAN FBI PROFILER: Well, what we know, again, there's been some test -- not really testimony but apparently investigation has shown there has been some involvement, some noise in the cabin. I think it's fair to say that Mr. Smith went over.

There's blood on the canopy below where he probably impacted and slid over. But beyond that, we don't really know a lot. And I'd go back, for sure, and that's what we're trying to determine. As far as the FBI's involvement or the U.S. attorney's involvement, I go back to the thing I said early on.

The responsibility is -- first responsibility is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed. You think of the TWA flight 800, you remember, took off from Kennedy not long after 9/11, it blew up. It took a year of investigation by the FBI and the NTSB to determine that, in fact, it was an accident. That it had blown up. So we're really at that phase right now.

KING: Dr. Lee, just on what you know limited, do you think this was a crime?

LEE: I don't think. I only look at the physical evidence. Let the physical evidence tell me.

KING: So far, what does it tell you?

LEE: Seven and a half months now, the family really deserve to have an answer. This is not a national security issue, nor an international terrorist investigation. Just one person missing. Seven and a half months. We should provide the family some kind of answer.

KING: Let me get a break and come back. That e-mail site we gave you, info@internationalcruisevictims.org is supported by the families. They want information you may have about incidents that you may know of in your own family or friends and the like regarding cruise ships.

We'll be right back with more. Include some of your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE SMITH, SR.: When that ship came to Turkey that ship should have been locked down. That was a crime scene. And they pulled -- Royal Caribbean pulled out of there with my son and his wife off the ship and the murderers left on.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Alissa (ph), Viejo, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I'd like to know when the FBI will release the forensic evidence they received from the Turkish authorities to third party investigators such as Henry Lee, since after seven months they failed to solve the case. When are they going to ...

KING: Dr. Lee, do you know when they're going to release it?

LEE: No, I don't. I hope ...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Why never?

FULGINITI: Because, you know, if the FBI is conducting this investigation and Dr. Lee is an independent investigator, and they're going to keep the evidence and they're going to hold it and use it if they can, if they find a crime for potential prosecution in the case.

GERAGOS: And if they don't find a crime, they're still not going to release it.

FULGINITI: That's absolutely.

KING: Gregg, is that right?

MCCRARY: That's correct. The FBI is the lead agency, they are the government agency in charge of this. And that's why we have government agencies and police agencies to run these investigations and -- rather than turning over evidence to any particular private citizen that wants to take a look at it.

So the bureau will maintain this. And it's their responsibility, not the responsibility of the family or the cruise ship, to make a determination or solve this.

KING: Port Richey, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry. My question is to Dr. Lee. In his investigation of the cabin, was he permitted to take any sampling of the carpeting or of the padding?

LEE: Yes. By the time we get there, the carpet has to be already removed. And we also learned subsequently the padding also removed. They put in new carpet, new padding. There's no sense to taking a sample to do any tests on new carpet.

KING: Where's the old carpeting?

LEE: The old carpeting apparently went to FBI. But I don't know when it was submitted to FBI. Turkish police did observe some blood stain on the carpet. And when that carpet was removed, we don't know whether or not in between the carpet had been shampooed or washed. We don't know either.

KING: Does your gut tell you, Mark, someone's going to be charged in this?

GERAGOS: My gut says I'm not even sure that there's been a crime committed. So that's -- I guess the answer to your question is no, I'm not so sure somebody's going to be charged in this.

KING: Mary?

FULGINITI: You know, I'm not so sure someone will be charged, but not necessarily because a crime hasn't been committed. I'm just not sure they'll be able to gather enough proof.

LEVAK: From a psychologist's perspective, the story reeks of a lot of different meanders of passion and anger and something went badly wrong.

KING: Houston, hello.

CALLER: Hello, I would like to know whether or not the wife has volunteered to take a blood test to see if quite possibly she was drugged, like given a date rape drug or something like that. I mean, they could even do it now with the hair follicle, could they not?

KING: Did they, Mary?

FULGINITI: Well, it's been seven months. So whether or not that's still in her bloodstream or not, you know, I wouldn't know. But I would say that's highly unlikely.

GERAGOS: Well, except they do if they have -- if one of the blood stains that was found on the sheet or on the carpet and they DNA type it and it turns out that its hers, if there's a sufficient sample, they may be able to test that.

KING: Would you agree, Gregg?

MCCRARY: Yes, it would be hard to do a toxicology exam on that at this point in time. It would be difficult.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more moments and more phone calls too, don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PURDY: The Smith family has suffered a tragic loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to them. We don't know what happened to George Smith, only that he tragically disappeared from a cruise.

But we continue to cooperate fully with the FBI in the hope that the agency will be able to provide solid answers and some measure of closure for the Smith family. As to Royal Caribbean's efforts, we believe that despite this terrible tragedy, the cruise line handled George Smith's disappearance correctly and responsibly.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back, and Royal Caribbean also has a Web site with their chronology of events. And you go to that at royalcaribbean.com. That's royalcaribbean.com.

Salem, Illinois, hello.

CALLER: Yes, Larry. I was wondering, it was earlier reported that maybe that they'd won a lot of money in the casino. And I was wondering maybe this was a robbery/murder that went bad.

KING: Gregg, you got any evidence of that?

MCCRARY: Again, that would be in the interviews and investigation. Again, I'm sure it's one possible scenario that's being investigated. And I agree with both Mark and Henry about not getting tunnel vision about what this may or may not be. So I think that's something that certainly would be investigated.

KING: That would be pretty well known, how much money he won. The casinos know what they do, right?

LEVAK: Right, right.

KING: So that's a possibility.

LEVAK: That's a possibility. Although -- that's a possibility, the whole story reeks of other things also. But that's a possibility, absolutely.

KING: To Fort Mill, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Dr. Lee, does anyone know the truth regarding what actually happened to the bride, Mrs. Smith, that night? Was she found in the hallway? Did she get up in the morning and go to the spa? Was she passed out? Is there any way to determine the truth there?

LEE: Yes. In fact, she did pass out. In fact, the cruise security people put her on a wheelchair, wheeled her to the room. And they did send help her, you know, later.

As a matter of fact, I do know FBI collect some hair sample from her. I just want to defend the FBI. Many times, you know, we do receive reports from FBI. Not always saying no report from FBI. Maybe times they do share samples with us, let us examine.

KING: You prosecuted cases where the FBI has done the evidence, right?

FULGINITI: Oh, definitely.

KING: OK, now that agency has come under a lot of criticism of late. It doesn't have the image it once had. What were they like when they brought the information to investigate?

FULGINITI: I have to say, I have had a phenomenal experience with the FBI, and I've probably investigated -- you have to hear me out -- dozens and dozens of cases with them. Not only has it always been top notch, it's been thorough. And if I felt it was insufficient, they went out and they got me everything else I needed to get to prosecute that case and get the conviction. So I've had a phenomenal experience.

KING: Equal time for Mr. Geragos.

GERAGOS: They've had nothing but scandals for the last five years. From their laboratories to the -- internally what's going on when there's whistle blowers to ignoring evidence and everything else. I mean, it certainly has not been the most shining of times in the last seven or eight years.

KING: Gregg, are you proud of your service?

MCCRARY: I'm very proud of my service. I say really jokingly, everything was fine when I left. but ...

GERAGOS: Which was how long ago?

MCCRARY: Ten years ago.

GERAGOS: See, there you go.

FULGINITI: Yes, but in every organization you're going to have some good and bad at times. So it's no different. If you're going to ...

(CROSSTALK)

FULGINITI: ... isolate a few cases and expose them and blow them up and then contaminate the whole organization.

GERAGOS: I will concede the fact that they have a tremendous resource problem. They are pulled in a bunch of different directions, and at any one time they're shifted from terrorism is their focus to white collar is their focus to anything else. So ...

KING: We're out of time. Thank you all very much. Dr. Lee, Gregg McCrary, Dr. Levak, thank you so much. Mark Geragos and Mary Fulginiti -- all of whom provided us with a stimulating hour and a tough topic.

Tomorrow night, Dominick Dunne, the writer extraordinaire of crimes and expert at Court TV and writer for "Vanity Fair." Dominick Dunne is our special guest. Anderson Cooper has the night off. He's traveling somewhere to do something, and sitting in is my namesake. Is it now J.K. 360, John King?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Just for a night, Larry.

KING: All right. J.K. 360 time. Here's John King.

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

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines