Transcript: Don Imus/Joe Tacopina -- April 19
I've now had a chance to view my DVR and have transcribed this morning's interview of Joe Tacopina by Don Imus. (Imus is heard by millions of radio listeners and viewed on MSNBC.) I thought this was a particularly good interview and wanted those of you who missed it to be able to read it, especially Joran. Go Joe!
Imus in the Morning program, April 19, 2006 (broadcast from NY)
Don Imus telephone interview with Joe Tacopina (8:30 am)
Not verbatim. Not complete.
Don: Please welcome now to the program, our old friend, defense attorney, Joe Tacopina. Good morning, Joe.
Joe: Good morning, guys.
Don: How are you?
Joe: Good, how are you?
Don: So, don't you represent somebody in this Natalee Holloway deal?
Joe: Yeah, I represent the kid who's been dragged through the mud for the last 11 months, Joran v/d Sloot and his family.
Don: Aren't they the people Bo Dietl got in a fist fight with or something?
Joe: I knew I was on the right side of the case when I saw a video of Bo shoving a summons of complaint down my client's shirt when he got off the plane. Yeah, that's the one.
Don: Well, what was that all about?
Joe: That was about them filing their lawsuit in NY. We have this great lawsuit that's been filed by the Holloway family in NY against Joran and his Dad, over what they call a conflict that occurred in Aruba, charging Alabama law. And, I guess they think NY taxpayers should fund this one. So they want to try it in NY. But we moved to dismiss that. Bo is the process server who served Joran when he got off a plane in NYC.
Don: Why weren't you there, defending your client? Punch Bo in the mouth, when he tries to shove this thing.
Joe: Thanks to Bo's work, I was retained a day later.
Don: Oh, you were?
Joe: Yeah, that's when they hired me.
Don: So this kid didn't kill her?
Joe: Imus, let me tell you something, they contacted me a week before I decided to sign on board. The reason I didn't agree right away because this is not just a case where you go into court and defend someone pursuant to the constitution and canons of ethics. You aren't the judge for the execution as a defense lawyer. For the most part, it's not really a relevant factor if he's guilty or not. You're supposed to defend within the confines of the constitution. But in this case, it's more than just defending Joran in court. To defend him properly, you had to go out there and sort of prove his innocence. And, make statements like I've been making. I'm certain he had nothing to do with her disappearance. But before I did that, I didn't want to look like a total idiot. You know how hard that is for me to do.
I figured I'd try and do a little investigation first and make a determination. A week later, I came back to the v/d Sloot family and I said that I had absolutely no problem in representing him. And, I am certain he's going to be cleared. And I think that within the recent days, that the evidence has unfolded, that's going to start peeling away this investigation from Joran.
Don: I haven't followed this as closely as apparently everybody else has, because, I don't know why. I don't know.
Joe: I had not either. I'll be honest with you. It's not really a local story or anything. But I'll tell you, there's a sub-culture of people out there who watch the cable news shows at night.
Don: Oh I know.
Joe: Honest to God, I get maybe 75 emails a day on this case from people who watch -- who love this kid and feel bad for his family; and those who hate this kid and despite any lack of facts to support their conclusions, they think he's a murderer. And then, I get people who have solved the case. It's unbelievable. It's like the Da Vinci code, this thing. It's almost like it's become an obsession with some people -- to try and find out what happened.
Don: Here's what little I know about it, and then you can tell me if I'm wrong. But did he have any contact with the Holloway girl at that nightclub on that night she disappeared?
Joe: Oh absolutely.
Don: Oh he did?
Joe: Oh sure, sure. He left her on the beach about 2:40 am in the morning.
Don: He left her dead on the beach?
Joe: No, she was quite alive. A little intoxicated, but quite alive. And this kid, Joran, has phone records to back up his phone call to his friend to come and pick him up at about 2:40 am.
Don: Why did he leave her on the beach?
Joe: Why? Or, when?
Don: Was he hosing her on the beach or what?
Joe: Let me do this thing in a condensed explanation. He meets her at a bar. They leave. Joran's a nice kid; an attractive kid. They leave the bar with two of their friends and they get dropped off at a beach near her hotel. Not too far from her hotel.
Don: How many of them in the party?
Joe: It wasn't a party. It was a bar they were at.
Don: No, how many people were dropped off at the beach, you moron.
Joe: Oh, no, just Joran and Natalee.
Don: Oh, okay.
Joe: Joran's two friends dropped him off at the beach. He walked with Natalee.
Don: Hang on one second. What, Charles?
Charles: [Don Imus' sidekick] Don't cross-question the lawyer in this case, for crying out loud. And there's no necessity -- you merely misunderstood what you were referring to as party. Had they been in the bar or were you referring to the party of apparently four people.
Charles: That's a very logical thing for him to have misinterpreted you, thinking you were referring to the bar they had just left. Don't call this man a moron!
Joe: Thank you Charles. Did you get the bottle of wine I sent you yesterday?
Charles: Yes, I did Joe. Thank you.
Don: So Joran and Natalee, there's just the two of them that got dropped off by somebody? What? These other two little squirrelly-looking guys? They dropped these two little rug merchants -- the two little rug merchants drop Natalee and Joran off at the beach, right?
Joe: That's right.
Don: Near the hotel.
Joe: Near the high rise hotels. They walk toward the fishermen's huts and they're on the beach for about a half hour. Joran, who's been an honor student all his life, had a final exam the next morning and about 2:45 am, told Natalee he had to go. It's time for them to take her back to the hotel. He had to go. And she didn't want to leave. She said, I'm staying here, I don't want to go. Stay with me tonight. Stay on the beach. And this is where he makes the mistake that he says he'll regret the rest of his life. He then called his friend at 2:40 am. His records back it up, Imus. And he says, this girl wants me to stay on the beach. I'm not staying. I have a test at 8:30 am. Which, he did. That's verified. He went to the test. He got 98 on this test, by the way. He took the test and passed it.
He then gets a ride home and he's on his own computer, with his own password, at about 3:10 am. So the computer and phone records back up his story. That's his story. He has an alibi that shows he didn't have enough time to kill and dispose of a body.
Don: When he calls, and made the telephone call to some friend of his, who was that friend, and what did the friend do?
Joe: That was the same kid who dropped him off; one of the Kalpoe brothers.
Don: Okay, then did they come down to stay with Natalee, or what?
Joe: No. One of the brothers came back and picked up Joran.
Don: Oh, I see.
Joe: At a spot down the beach a little bit. And Natalee? Joran left her there.
Don: On the beach?
Joe: On the beach. She was certainly drunk. She certainly looked like she was. You know, borrowing a phrase from the plaintiff's complaint, fading in and out of consciousness. And he left her there.
Don: Drunk on the beach?
Joe: Drunk on the beach.
Don: What a charming young man you're representing here.
Joe: Well, you know what? Listen. He's a 17-year-old boy at the time. And I'll tell you, he's been through hell and back. He regrets that he did that.
Don: Well what? That he's 17? He can't make a judgment? I was 17 in the Marine Corps.
Joe: Well that's a scary thought.
Don: Well, no, but I'm just saying that's a lame excuse. That he's 17 years old and can't make a judgment about someone who is in and out of consciousness, drunk on the beach.
Joe: That's not an excuse. It's a mistake. And he admits that mistake. But he has obviously no legal obligation. It doesn't make him a murderer. He hates that happened. But the long story short is that he leaves her on the beach. He goes home. He's on his computer. She says she's going to walk back. And that's the end of it. We don't hear anything else until the next day when her family arrives and approaches them in a very aggressive manner. But listen, interestingly, the people -- the guy who was just arrested, and there are two more people who are about to be arrested, are all members of this beach patrol.
Joe: The beach patrol are basically the people who are supposed to be patrolling that beach, 24/7.
Don: Oh, I see.
Joe: So you understand where this may be going?
Joe: So, his story has been corroborated. And the kid they have in custody now -- the judge just agreed that the prosecution met her heavy burden in holding him for another eight days. Because, they've obviously put forth some evidence that he has some involvement in her disappearance.
Don: I'm talking with Joe Tacopina, the defense lawyer who's representing Joran v/d Sloot, or whatever his name is. Yeah. In this Natalee Holloway mess. What do you think happened to her? What do you think?
Joe: Well, I know what I think. But, you know…
Don: What do you think?
Joe: Let me say this. Let me just preface here that I loathe… In this case, I really don’t want to speculate. Because that's all that's happened in the last 11 months; and I've seen a kid and his family be destroyed over the fact that people are speculating…
Don: Oh, okay.
Joe: That this kid is a murderer, a predator, and all the things he's not -- saying some very hurtful things. I don't know what happened to this girl. I've heard theories. But if you follow what the prosecution is doing now; you know, the fact that a member of the beach patrol, and perhaps three members of the beach patrol, are about to be brought in and charged, possibly with her murder -- I think the conclusion may be not that far off.
[Joe and Don discuss Joe's other client, Jared Paul Stern, of the NY Post's Page Six column, and the Duke rape case.]
Don: You have to take a shower after talking to you about your clients.
Joe: You know, I've heard some of the other people you've had on this week, and the presumption of guilt seems to be the way to go here. But I have a problem with that.
Don: So do I, by the way.
Joe: I represent a kid like Joran v/d Sloot -- and can actually help someone get out from under a rock that looks like it will never get off him. It makes me feel pretty good. So, I don't think I need to shower. As a matter of fact, I don't think I'll shower for two days because of that.
Don: Nancy Grace's already got these people convicted.
Joe: Nancy does what she does. She's very good at it. Nancy and a bunch of other people go on TV and presume guilt at all times. And Joran? I have a list of people. Imus. When I want to collect some money for Joran and buy him a house, I'm going to draw up some lawsuits on some people at the end of this case, for libel and slander. Because people have actually gone out and called him a murderer; and they better be ready to back up those words. And I know who they are. And we're going to make an example of a few people. I'll tell you that much.
Don: Oh you aren't going to do anything.
Joe: You watch. You call him a murderer; right now.
Don: Well I don't watch these shows. I don't know anything about the case. Why would I do that, you moron.
Joe: Well, no one else knows anything about the case, but they call him a murderer.
Don: You're a murderer! [laughter] You're a murderer, a phony, and a pretty boy. Well, thank you, Mr. Uh…
Joe: Thanks, Charles.
Don: …for agreeing to appear on our program and talk about your client. So. Interesting stuff.
Charles: It is.
Joe: It is. And I'm glad you liked my perspective on the Duke case, too.
Don: Well, I agree. We don't know what happened and to convict these people already, seems, just based on… That's why I don't watch these shows. They're tedious.
Joe: Well, a bunch of talking. Whenever I see these cases where there's a woman who's an alleged victim, you know it's almost as if you cannot challenge them because they're a woman and a woman has a right to say no.
Joe: But you have to look at the underlying facts. When I was a prosecutor and someone brought me a case that he had an eye witness identification, made a month after the event, by a witness who was intoxicated; I would be very uncomfortable.
Don: You know what would be worse than being stuck on that Roosevelt Island tram for 12 hours?
Joe: Stuck on the Roosevelt Island tram for 12 hours with me?
Bernard: [Don Imus' producer] By the way, Bo Dietl did call this Joran v/d Sloot a murderer.
Don: Exactly. You gonna sue him?
Joe: Fortunately for Bo, my friends get immunity. I'm going to give all my friends a pass.
Don: Thanks Joe. Joe Tacopina, here on the Imus in the Morning program.
Last edited by JesseLee
on Thu Apr 20, 2006 11:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.