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Handling Campus Rape; Falsely Accused of Rape; Senate Report: Enhanced Interrogations Brutal and Ineffective; Mounting Allegations Against Cosby
Aired December 13, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish. Thanks for tuning into what should be an informative program on the most provocative stories of the week.
You know without question rape is a horrific violation of women. But what about men who might be falsely accused? I'll talk to a young man who says he was in that category, and his life will never be the same.
And who is telling the truth about Jackie's story at the University of Virginia? We have new details.
Plus, call it an L.A. story. Might the LAPD investigate Bill Cosby, even where statutes of limitations have run out? That is a brand-new accuser and top model, says America's favorite dad attacked her too. Will Bill Cosby finally come forward?
I'll also speak to the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit who says the harsh interrogation program did not involve torture. That and much more. So stick around.
So what really happened to a woman named Jackie at the University of Virginia two years ago. Was she gang raped by seven men at a frat party? The fact is we simply don't know don't know. "Rolling Stone" magazine apologized for its bombshell article citing what it calls discrepancies in Jackie's account and it regrets following Jackie's wishes not to contact the alleged assaulters.
On Thursday, the "Washington Post" reported new discrepancies, three of Jackie's friends who were part of the "Rolling Stone" version of the story say they never spoke to the magazine. And they take issue with the way their response to Jackie's first indication of trouble was reported upon by the magazine.
One friend has flat out told the "Washington Post," "it didn't happen that way at all." Instead of telling Jackie not to report the alleged incident, the friends say they told her to call police. They say she declined. The name of the man that she claimed was her date that night does not match any student registered at UVA, and photos of that man are actually pictures of a high school classmate who told the "Post" he barely knows Jackie.
As I have been saying on radio, largely due to the dogged work of the "Washington Post" this story's unravelling and reinforces my belief from day one that the news media, not just "Rolling Stone," rush to embrace this story, because it fit a narrative that the media wished to pursue about sexual assault on college campuses, and in that process, by accepting a story that never sounded right from the get- go, harm might be done to real victims.
Joining me now is Robby Scave, a staff editor at reason.com, who is one of the first journalists to consider that the story might be a hoax. Robby, what was it about this that from the get-go caused you to have doubt?
ROBBY SCAVE, STAFF EDITOR, REASON.COM: Thanks for having me. There's several details in the account that are very, very incredible. Namely that she wasn't drugged or incapacitated through alcohol. Alcohol is a common feature in most sexual assaults on campus. And also that it would have had to be elaborately premeditated. They would have had to plan it out involving so many people to such a degree that it just kind of strained - it would have been unique, unlike any other kind of assault that's happened on campus.
So - which is not to say it couldn't happen. But all those things made me say, is this - is this absolutely true? Is it perhaps embellished? And particularly that she seemed so grievously injured from glass shards and from being punched in the face and raped, a terrible, terrible experience that unfortunately didn't seem completely like it plausibly happened.
SMERCONISH: Robby, I want to show you a paragraph from the "Washington Post" at the end of the week. This is T. Reese Shapiro who is doing this reporting. And here's the one paragraph. It said this, "Randall provided the "Post" with pictures that Jackie's purported date had sent of himself by text message in 2012. The "Post" identified the person in the pictures and learned that his name does not match the one that Jackie gave friends in 2012.
In an interview, the man said he was Jackie's high school classmate, but he never really spoke to her." When I read that paragraph, and, again, underscoring we don't know what went on, I thought man tie te'o. I thought catfishing. I wondered if someone was invented as a purported boyfriend for whatever motivation, maybe to drive jealously from an individual with whom, in whom she had a love interest.
SCAVE: I thought the same. Until that story came out, my thinking was still that she may have suffered some trauma and was either embellishing or having difficulty remembering because of the trauma. But this was the first time I said to myself, it now seems more likely - there's this compelling other narrative where she was, you know, telling kind of elaborate lies before any incident would have happened. That she was making up - taking the steps of making up a person, giving a false name, and making available false pictures of a person to her friends. Far before anything bad would have allegedly happened to her suggests a capacity for elaborate deception, which is how "Slate" magazine put it. That I think starts to shift the narrative a little bit to be like, well, maybe the most likely thing is that nothing happened, that she might have - there might be psychological factors at play, just like you said, like a manti te'o situation to do that. That kind of suggests to me something else going on and at this point the better explanation.
SMERCONISH: Something that troubles me with regard to the journalism in this case. I had the opportunity to interview Sabrina Reuben Erdly who wrote the "Rolling Stone" piece before frankly all the controversy had arose. And there is something that she said to me that I want you to hear and then we'll revisit. Roll that tape, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SABRINA REUBEN ERDLY, JOURNALIST: I wasn't in that room, so I can't really know what happened. But everything about Jackie is entirely credible. I put her story through the ringer. I talked to all of her friends, all of the people that she confided in along the way. Her story is very consistent. She has clearly been through a tremendous trauma. And I don't doubt that something happened to her that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: all the people she confided in along the way. Well, by implication, that would include the three friends to whom she made the initial report. But as you and I now know, they told the "Washington Post" and media outlets, they were never contacted by "Rolling Stone." So now it seems we know that the alleged perpetrators were never contacted, and the friends were never contacted. It suggests the whole story was published resting only on the version that Jackie offered.
SCAVE: It's a utter travesty of journalism. And we know at this point for certain that what is printed in "Rolling Stone" was false. That it didn't happen the way it was - the way it was written. The question is whether, you know, something sort of resembling it might have happened at some other time, and even that's a little doubtful now. But she did - you know, either she's misstating the work she did, or she was deceived very, very badly by the people she talked to.
But we know she didn't talk to these friends who are the most important friends that now say they weren't actually asked for comment, which means either Sabrina is not telling the truth or maybe Jackie put her in touch with the wrong people or it's another kind of that catfishing scenario. But we know she didn't get interviews from the people with the best information that are now saying that Jackie is not credible.
So it seems to me a complete lapse of professionalism on the part of what she did and what her editors did in vetting her story. I mean they failed spectacularly. They clearly didn't do even, you know, one of the dozens of things.
SMERCONISH: Robby Suave. Thank you. I appreciate your perspective.
SCAVE: Thank you. SMERCONISH: When we come back, I'll talk to a young man who is accused of rape and expelled from his college, even though a grand jury refused to indict him.
And the most well-known woman yet accuses Bill Cosby of sexual assault, all as an elite LAPD unit says it's turning its attention to America's favorite dad.
SMERCONISH: We just talked about the alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia. Regardless of whether it's true, the issue of sexual assault on college campuses is getting lots of national attention. But there's another side to a story like this. What happens when a college student is accused of sexual assault, and it's not true?
The consequences can be significant. My next guest says it happened to him. Joshua Strange says he was falsely accused of assault and was expelled from Auburn University. What does it feel like, Josh, to be on the receiving end of a charge that you've raped a woman?
JOSH STRANGE, FMR. AUBURN UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Well, to tell you the truth, it's one of the most disheartening things in the world. I mean, it - it crushes your spirit. It crushes everything about you. You really - I know in terms of myself, I was lost for a very long time. And I am still trying to recover, still trying to come out of it. And I'm working pretty much every day trying to just get on the other side.
SMERCONISH: Let me quickly run through a recap of what you say occurred in this case. June 29 of 2011, you're living with a coed at Auburn in Alabama. She says she awakened to find you forcing yourself on her. The police were called. And then the two of you reconciled, right? That sounds a little strange to me. But explain that.
STRANGE: Well, to tell you the truth, I really cared about this girl. My mother likes to put it, I was smitten with her. And I absolutely was. And she told me that it was not a big deal and everything was over and it was done with, and there was nothing ever going to come of it and it was a misunderstanding is how she put it. I didn't really understand it at the time. And I still really don't. But we reconciled, and we continued to date after the incident.
SMERCONISH: So there was then another incident, an alleged violent confrontation. You say, hey, I was 15 miles away at the time of that. A grand jury issued a no bill. They refused to indict you with regard to the sodomy charge with regard to the simple assault case, the alleged victim never showed up for her day in court. So from a prosecution standpoint, outside of Auburn, you weren't charged with anything. But yet you were still expelled. How?
STRANGE: That's a great question. Really. I don't understand the full thought process by the Auburn University officials. But they - I guess saw something that the grand jury didn't. I really don't know. But, you know, it's a grand jury system, and if something had actually occurred, they're the ones that are going to catch it.
SMERCONISH: But at Auburn, am I right in saying there was a hearing. In other words, there was a campus process. And this is important, because I think it's indicative of what goes on across the country. There was no judge presiding. Is it true that the campus librarian was presiding?
STRANGE: Yes, he was. It was one of the librarians from the library, yes, sir.
SMERCONISH: Well, how typical do you think your case is of what goes on across the country, or is this an aberration?
STRANGE: It's - from the gentleman that I've spoken with who have been in this similar situation, it seems to be a running theme. There seems to be - you know, the nitty-gritty details of everything are always going to be different. But the overarching theme is that it's an unfair, unbalanced process, where basically it's turned into a system where you're guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
SMERCONISH: Auburn, I should point out, released this statement to CNN. "Auburn University cannot comment on the specifics of any disciplinary action for any student, federal requirements mandate that all public universities follow a process that differs from the judicial and law enforcement systems. Those requirements are very clear and come with severe penalties for noncompliance."
CNN also reached out to the accuser's attorney who issued the following statement. "We feel the university took the right action. She's the victim here." Joshua, advise the media. When a case like this comes up and they come up with some regularity, how should they be approached so that we're fair to both sides?
STRANGE: Well, to be honest with you, in my personal opinion, I believe that the university shouldn't really be handling these cases at all. I mean this is a felony charge. This is a very, very serious charge, and in the eyes of the law. And when a charge like this comes across to a university, I absolutely believe that it should be immediately handed over to the proper authorities. The police. The investigative teams that do this for a living, who understand what exactly it is they're looking for. And know how to handle these kind of cases.
I think it's absolutely ridiculous that university officials and administrators who have no legal background and no legal training are now in a sense deciding the fate of another human being. It's an absolutely ridiculous system. But if it has to stay in universities, at least have some way, just make it more fair with an investigative process, and just give basic due process rights that are guaranteed in the constitution to the accused student.
I remember in my case, I really didn't have any. And like I said, it was basically - I was guilty until I approved myself innocent.
SMERCONISH: Joshua Strange, thank you for joining me. Appreciate your time. Up next, the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques in the aftermath of September 11th. Did they help the agency gain valuable information? I'll ask the man whose job it was to find Osama Bin Laden.
SMERCONISH: This week's Senate intelligence committee report described mock executions, sleep deprivation, beatings and waterboarding, all part of a desperate scramble to bring to justice those behind the horrific attacks of 9/11. EITs, Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, now a part of the American lexicon. The Senate report says those EITs tarnished America's image without gathering any useful intelligence. The head of the CIA disagreed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against Bin Laden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: So here's what I'm thinking. That the CIA was put in an untenable position with no desire other than to protect the nation. It wasn't pretty, mistakes were made. But they did their best. And I refuse to believe that there's some cabal of masochists who used 9/11 as a means of redirecting the agency. They had to have been thinking that these procedures worked while they were carrying them out.
On Thursday, CIA director John Brennan said it's unknowable whether they worked. Michael Scheuer once led the CIA's Bin Laden unit. Michael, you wrote the book "Imperial Hubris," thanks so much for being here. You refuse to call this torture. In other words, you don't think this was necessarily torture.
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FMR HEAD OF CIA BIN LADEN UNIT: No, I don't think. I think it was not, sir. These people knew we were Americans, ultimately torture to be effective has to have a certain amount of - the torturer or the torturee, rather, has to be confident he's going to be killed. He knew he wasn't going to be killed. He was just going to be uncomfortable.
More than that, though, all of these operations, Michael, were proved by multiple layers of attorneys. Department of Justice, National Security Council, CIA. Everywhere. You know, if there's a problem with these procedures, it's with the lawyers that authorize them, not with the people who use them.
SMERCONISH: But, you know, the criticism is that they were able to get out of the lawyers whatever they were looking for. That those lawyers were able to write or willing to write any legal conclusion that suited the objectives of the agency.
SCHEUER: Well, you know, that's another peculiarity, Mike, is that the agency is peculiarly, the organization of the president. We do what the president wants. Whether it's droning under Obama or doing enhanced interrogations under Bush. If lawyers are going to write what somebody wants them to write, then even more they need to go back to school and learn a little bit of integrity.
But the question is really, was it - was it essential, a., and was it useful? When we were attacked in 9/11, the military had absolutely no plan to do anything in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda. Everything was ad lib. The agency was the only game in town. The president authorized us and ordered us to do what was done in terms of enhanced interrogation.
The materials gathered by that interrogation consistently provided information that was useful to the operators in the field. Not only against Bin Laden personally, but against Al Qaeda's organization from Thailand to Europe to Britain to the United States. Ms. Feinstein is just - an inextricably odd woman in the fact she knew every step of the way what was going on, what was being succeeded in. And yet she came up with the report that is a dastardly effort to do something, wreck the agency, take your pick.
SMERCONISH: Michael, here's what troubles me about all of this, and I did my best to wade through the 500 pages of the report. To read the minority report, as well and to read the agency response. Because I really want to be informed on this subject. I'm troubled by the fact that it doesn't seem as if the agency ever did any research, looked at the science, looked at the data, to convince itself they would glean results if they took it up a couple notches.
In other words, they just leapt to that judgment, that, well, if we turn up the heat, literally, on these detainee, surely we'll get information. And it doesn't seem like there is a body of research out there that says that's true.
SCHEUER: Well, we had never done it before, Michael. One thing. Second thing, we are at war, and third, we were directed to do it. Do you want to say to the president, well, Mr. President, you want this done, but let us research it for a year-and-a-half or six months or however long. This is not the way the world works, Michael. And I have to say that the reason these enhanced interrogation techniques that the drones came about is because President Bush, the first president - or the second President Bush, President Clinton and President Obama are either ashamed, embarrassed or cowardly in the use of military force.
The agency is doing things that it was never designed to do. But if our presidents are going to continue to pull punches and not allow our military to destroy the enemy where he's found and with whoever he is found with, then the agency is going to have to it continue to do these things.
SMERCONISH: You lay this off on the president. Actually, on a couple of presidents. Do you think the American people has the - have the will to do what you've just described? I think that the drone campaign is utilized, because America has lost her stomach to send men and women overseas to war with the Islamic state.
SCHEUER: I think that's - entirely right, Michael. It's going to take a calamity to turn things around. You know, Shakespeare said first kill all the lawyers. Well, I think it's first kill all the teachers. We've taught several generations of American students that war never solves anything. We have idiots in the military now who tell us that you can't defeat an ideology with military force and I suggest they should go to the books and look at what happened to national socialism in Germany. It is a - we are a feckless country, Michael. We're a wreck. And we're the only ones playing with the rules at the moment. Our enemies have no rules. And that's why they're winning. That's why we're defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan.
SMERCONISH: You've referenced the drone campaign on a couple occasions in our conversation. Is it now in jeopardy? It seems to me that much of the criticism that's been levelled against the enhanced interrogation techniques could be made exponentially about some of the casualties that result from use of the drone campaign. Where do you think this debate is going next?
SCHEUER: Oh, I think the drone will stop also. And that's kind of the last step, you know. Right now we're defending ourselves with peripheral things, Michael. The rendition in interrogation program is over. The drone strikes will be over and special forces raids are great, they're beautifully done, but they're ineffective in the sense of winning. We're losing this war, Michael, because we will not lose our military and because we will not respect the enemy in the sense of knowing him well enough to kill him in massive numbers.
SMERCONISH: Michael, quick final question. It seems Congress was out of the loop with regard to the EITs. Is that by design? From experience, is Congress choose to be out of the loop or is that because the agency doesn't provide a level of information it should?
SCHEUER: The Congress does - a couple of things, Michael. I think on this program, the EITs, they could have had whatever information they want on it, and they were given indeed detailed briefings. Often, congressmen and senators don't come to meetings, because they don't want to know. And in their place, they send staff members to be briefed on this, on a particular program. And then they can say they never attended or that they didn't know.
SMERCONISH: Well, I'm going to stick with this theme. Michael Scheuer, thank you for being here. I appreciate your time.
SCHEUER: Pleasure, sir.
SMERCONISH: Just ahead, what did Congress know about the CIA's aggressive interrogation, a key senator who should have known that says "Hey, I was never told" is going to join us next.
And more trouble for Bill Cosby, another accusation, maybe the most damaging yet.
SMERCONISH: So, where was the congressional oversight of the CIA?
The Senate report regarding detention and enhanced interrogation technique says the CIA, quote, "actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight."
One person who says he didn't know was the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the aftermath of 9/11, Bob Graham, former governor and U.S. senator from the great state of Florida -- and he joins us now from Naples.
Senator, what were you told about the EIT program, while you were the chair of the Senate intelligence committee?
BOB GRAHAM (D), FORMER FLORIDA SENATOR: Nothing, Mike. It -- after this program started, there was an attempt made to get as many people in the loop as possible. And my name was mentioned several times as having been briefed about the enhanced interrogation. I asked the CIA and the FBI what were the dates upon which these briefings took place, and they gave me four dates.
I've had a practice now for almost 40 years of carrying a spiral notebook, and I write, among other things, a list of all the things I do throughout the day. And so, I went to my notebooks for the four days and on three of the four days, there was no briefing held. On the one day where there was a briefing, I saw in my notes that there were people at the briefing who were not cleared to a security level that they would have been briefed on a topic as sensitive as enhanced interrogation.
So, I think that confirmed in my mind that I was never briefed on the use of this new technique by the CIA.
SMERCONISH: Given what you've learned this week, Senator -- about what went on in the aftermath of 9/11, had you received a briefing, and had the briefing included all of the details that have now been in the news and in the report -- what would Bob Graham have done about it?
GRAHAM: Well, I hope what I would have done would have been to strongly object to this. It's against the history and culture of the United States. Our Founding Fathers felt so strongly about torture that they put it into the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution, a prohibition on torture.
Also, throughout the history of mankind, torture has been thought of as a very unreliable means of getting information, because people will say almost anything in order to stop the suffering that's being inflicted upon them.
SMERCONISH: You know, and I've heard that this week and the report states that. I keep saying to myself, I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the CIA employees who were involved in these activities. Surely, they must have believed that these techniques were working, because I can't believe that they would have otherwise conducted themselves in this fashion.
GRAHAM: Well, they may have, you know, been the good soldier who does what they are directed to do. I don't -- I don't think the directive for this activity came from the CIA or any other part of the American intelligence community. I believe that it, like a number of other things involving 9/11, came directly from the White House.
SMERCONISH: Director Brennan on Thursday said that these individuals are patriots. Does Senator Bob Graham agree with that characterization?
GRAHAM: I -- I think they are loyal people who have served the country. They have done what they were told to do.
I hope, Michael, that this is just the beginning of an opening of many other pieces of information that the American people have a right to know about. There's a major issue now about the release of a long censured chapter in the 9/11 report which dealt with who financed 9/11. I think the American people have the right to know who our friends and who our enemies are.
SMERCONISH: Are you referring to the 28 pages pertaining to the Saudis that despite the president's pledge to some 9/11 victim family members, the public has still never seen?
GRAHAM: That's a major part, but not all of the information which -- of which I am aware that relates to the role of foreign governments in supporting the hijackers, which have been systematically withheld from the American people.
SMERCONISH: You're uniquely qualified to answer this question, having been the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Where information isn't shared between the CIA and the Congress, who is at fault? Is it because colleagues of yours -- former colleagues of yours, they frankly didn't want to be in the loop? Or is it that the agency doesn't tell you what they should be telling you?
GRAHAM: I think this -- the answer to your question depends upon the specific situation. I think in the issues involving 9/11, including the withholding of information about who supported the hijackers while they were in the United States, and this information relative to interrogation techniques, that it was largely the administration withholding the information that the Congress would have needed to have done an effective job of oversight. You can't oversee what you don't know.
SMERCONISH: Senator Bob Graham, nice to see you again. Thanks for being back in the program.
GRAHAM: Good. Thanks, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Up next, more trouble for Bill Cosby?
The LAPD says it's willing to investigate and the elite law students who say they're so traumatized by the Ferguson and New York grand jury decisions, they can't take their final exams. I'll give you my legal view.
SMERCONISH: The army of women making accusations against Bill Cosby is still growing. In an essay published on Thursday by "Vanity Fair", model and actress
Beverly Johnson alleges she was in Cosby's New York home in the '80s when he drugged a cappuccino that he made for her. Johnson writes that she knew something was wrong right away and here's what she told CNN's "NEW DAY."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEVERLY JOHNSON, ALLEGES BILL COSBY DRUGGED HER: The room started to spin. My speech was slurred. I remember him calling me over towards him, as if we were going to begin the scene then. And he placed his hands on my waist.
I remember steadying myself with my hand on his shoulders. And I just kind of cocked my head, because at that point, I knew he had drugged me. And I was just looking at him, and I just asked him the question, that you are an MF, aren't you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Johnson says that she shouted obscenities at him and an angry Cosby threw her out. This accuser steps forward as the LAPD says it will investigate reports of sex abuse by Cosby even where the statute of limitations has run. I've never heard of such a thing and I wonder if they would be doing that but for him being a celebrity.
And it might hurt victims who want him to talk. I've got a hunch it is that Cosby will get his comeuppance in a civil suit where he's forced to give a deposition where he can't assert a Fifth Amendment right.
I want to run it by Mark Geragos, the famed criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst.
In other words, here's what I'm thinking. If the statute of limitations has run in a criminal context, but if someone has an opportunity to sue him civilly, it could remove the opportunity from him to plead a Fifth Amendment. I can't answer your question, because the LAPD is out there investigating me.
Does that make sense to you?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It does make sense in a sense, because, look, I don't know, the LAPD has got enough to do. I don't know why they'd be out there investigating.
SMERCONISH: Have you ever heard of such a thing?
GERAGOS: No, frankly, I haven't. I mean, they've got the right in cases where there is no statute of limitations, you know, if it's a murder case, theft of public moneys, things like that. There's no statute of limitations. If it was a life top case, no statute.
But in this case, there is clearly -- a clearly-defined 10-year statute in California. Number one, they know it. And if it's older than 10 years, and the case itself would have already expired, they can't revive it with a new statute of limitations.
So, what LAPD would be investigating, I don't know. Having said that, he does have, as you have indicated, he's got some real problems in the civil arena. And, you know, with now 22 women coming out there, if he hurls any kind of denials at them, you see what happened in Massachusetts, where somebody files a defamation, which is really kind of an end run-around the statute in a lot of ways. So, this could be very interesting.
SMERCONISH: You've represented any number of celebrities. In other words, in this case, there are some special considerations because of his celebrity status. He has a variety of platforms available to him.
But if you were Mark Geragos advising him, you would be saying be careful of what you say, because you may open yourself up to a defamation action. And then somebody is getting you under oath.
GERAGOS: And that's exactly the problem. And that's, you know -- he's got a very fine lawyer representing him. I'm sure he said we're not going to talk about it, we're not going to let somebody come after you. The problem he has is, that now they're attacking his representatives, and they're trying to in any way possible, fashion some kind of a cause of action that will allow him to be placed under oath. And if he does assert the Fifth, which he may do, that is devastating for his legacy, which is apparently what he is worried about, not criminal ramifications.
SMERCONISH: The allegations all fit a pattern, one of having been drugged. If true, is there a health care provider out there who is shaking in the knees? Because somewhere, he must have been getting whatever he was putting in the cappuccino or whatever the concoction may have been at the time.
GERAGOS: Well, I'm -- this is not an uncommon situation. I represent Kesha, who is alleging that Dr. Luke did the almost identical thing to her. I think that there is generally a underground for this kind of the date rape drug is what it's called or the GHB. That's generally not going to be dispensed by a pharmacist.
So, if you're dealing in that kind of activity, you're probably not getting it --
SMERCONISH: Twenty years ago, 30 years ago, the availability was still there?
GERAGOS: Absolutely. The availability was still there.
It started to make a -- its presence known about the time that Quaaludes were popular. And one of the people who have come out and made the accusation, in fact, has said that one of the things he gave was a Quaalude, which was popular 20, 30 years ago.
SMERCONISH: Something else surprises me about the way this case is developing. I would have thought that by now, someone would have come out to glom on to this, who really had no basis making charges against -- you know that multiple people said I'm the one who stole the Lindberg baby.
There hasn't been that kind of a nut factor. If there were, I assume his defense lawyer would be saying, well, listen to her, see, they're all like this.
That hasn't happened. Maybe it won't happen.
GERAGOS: And I think that that's why they have stopped. I mean, I think there has been a -- basically a brick wall, so to speak, erected around his people to just say halt. We're not talking anymore.
And, you know, the sheer numbers -- I said early on, that the sheer numbers of this are what's so troubling. I mean, you can always make it into a he said/she said. But when you start getting the same story repeated from different spots where people are not -- there doesn't appear to be any coordination, that makes it entirely too troubling.
And this is a problem in Hollywood. You know, I indicated, in the music business, TV business, movie business, casting couch, that term.
GERAGOS: This is one of the great problems that is endemic to Hollywood with young, aspiring generally women who want to break into whatever business, and the powerful either actor, producer, whoever takes advantage of that. And they are then afraid to make some kind of a claim, because they don't want to torch their career.
SMERCONISH: Final question for Mark Geragos, not a legal question. Professionally speaking, is he done?
GERAGOS: He would have to -- I can see various exit strategies for him. But from a legacy standpoint, stick a fork in him.
SMERCONISH: Mark Geragos, thank you for your analysis, as always.
Up next, some law school students say that recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers are so traumatizing that they can't take their final exams. I'm an attorney. I've got an objection to that one.
SMERCONISH: Some students at elite law schools are demanding that final exams be put off. They say they are still in shock because of the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York that didn't indict white police officers in the deaths of black men.
I don't get it. I've practiced law for years. Even when I've lost cases, you just don't get to sit out your next one. And it seems to send the wrong message.
Elie Mystal is a Harvard Law School graduate and managing editor of "Above the Law: Redline".
How do you see it? ELIE MYSTAL, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL GRADUATE: Yes, I think it is a bad
look by the students to ask for this extension. I sympathize with them. I understand the trauma. It's been a tough month to be African-American in this country.
MYSTAL: I certainly don't think I've done necessarily my best work coming into the work this month but you still come in to work. You still -- you got to get off the mat and you're going to try your best.
SMERCONISH: If one goes through a traumatic event, we do give you some slack. Regardless what the law school might be. I'm trying to be a critic of both of our positions, and some of these students are particularly impacted by it, we'd make an exception.
Is that what we're seeing?
MYSTAL: And I think that's actually what affected schools are doing. The affected schools right now, I think the movement is happening at Columbia, Harvard, Georgetown. These schools have said we're going to do it on a case by case business.
If you come in and really have trauma and feeling depressed, they are going to think about working with you and giving you an exception. This is the same thing that a school would do if your mother died during final exams, this is the same thing a school would do or if your dog died during final exams.
And I don't think there is anything wrong with the school extending themselves to that level for truly affected students.
What's not happening and I don't think would be good is some -- and again, a minority of the minority students, right, a very small percentage of them have asked for more of a blanket -- call it a black extension that would push the exams off through after the holidays.
And I think -- you know, that's just -- that's just too long. Two weeks? You got -- you can't have two weeks. You got to get up off the mat. You've got to try your best.
SMERCONISH: In the context of this debate, I looked at interesting data. Data I knew but it was interesting to see it represented in graph form. It talked about the elite law schools in the country and how few students come out of those law schools and pursue a public interest career.
As a public defender, as a prosecutor even, might the better message be to the students who are so affected by this, pursue a career. Don't go to Wall Street. Don't go to a white shoed firm. Instead, go in this direction.
MYSTAL: You hope so. Although I would wonder what their loan officers would say to that, right? I mean, the reason you have this huge favoritism for large law firms that pay a lot of money is because the schools themselves are so expensive. I think -- you know, you can talk a lot about what we need to do to
encourage people to go into public interest. I think a lot of these students probably came in interested in social justice. Perhaps this will spur them to keep following that path. But at some point, at the schools that we're talking about, a large Manhattan law firm is going throwing money at them like they haven't seen before, and it's a tough thing the turn it down. I wasn't able to turn it down.
SMERCONISH: Is it a credit to the profession that we're talking about this among young lawyers as opposed to MBA students, as opposed to -- I mean, why is it the lawyers? Is it because they're focused on civil justice? We would like to think so. We're both lawyers.
MYSTAL: Look, one of the things that the students who have been advocating for this have said is that instead of studying for finals, they were out on the streets, they were protesting, they were doing their thing. I think another criticism has been, you know, there's a lot of white students out there doing the same thing as the minority students, right? So maybe they should get an extension. So, it becomes a bit --
SMERCONISH: You couldn't limit to it African American students.
MYSTAL: Exactly. It becomes unworkable if you're going to try to say that only by designation of your race to you get this blank except -- it becomes an unworkable situation.
But to answer your question I think one of the reasons we're talking about it with lawyers is because I do think a lot of them were outside protesting and being a part of this movement. And let's remember the kind of crazy thing that's happened if you are an African American law student this month is that the legal system has absolutely let you down. And it's absolutely said that, you know, this was not -- we didn't not know who the victims or the alleged, you know, killers were. We knew exactly what they were. We have one of them on videotape, and still, the system itself failed us.
So, I think that that's one of the reasons why the events of this month have hit I think legitimately so hard on the African-American community.
SMERCONISH: Civic engagement is good. On that, we'll close out and agree.
Elie Mystal, thank you for being here. I appreciate your time.
MYSTAL: Thanks for having me.
SMERCONISH: I'll be right back with the final t thought.
SMERCONISH: Hey, thank you for joining me. I only wish we had more time to talk about the best news of the week. Pope Francis has opened the pearly gates to our pets. You are looking at my favorite dog, Mr. Lucy (ph). He's still with us. And for the record, he stands a better chance of getting into heaven than I do.
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