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I had hoped to post some pictures today from the trip to Florida to cover the Sarah Lunde (search) trial. The point of the pictures is to give you a behind the scenes covering the tragedy. For "technical reasons" (i.e. I can't find the cord to connect to my camera), the pictures will not be posted today. Perhaps tomorrow....

Monday night's show almost went off without a hitch, but things never seem to be flawless. As we were starting the first segment I was told that I did not "have" one of our first segment guests. Because of the time, I could not find out why and only hoped the guest would show up on my radar screen sometime during the first segment as planned. This did not happen. The guest is a friend of the missing Pennsylvania D.A. and my producer ended up putting him on the phone in Segment B. I don't know what happened in the first segment, but we had Jim Hammer and Jeanne Pirro to stand by and help us out (along with the planned reporter guest.)

This is/was not a huge problem, but timing is always the issue. I don't get much notice that there is a problem with a guest — usually zero notice. Instead, I get a somewhat frantic message in my earpiece, "Don't go to ___" as the segment is already underway. Of course I oblige and hope that I soon get the message, "OK, we got ___." Last night I was hoping during then entire first segment I would get that message, but alas I did not.

You should know that these technical issues are not unusual in this business and usually quickly remedied. In cable news we have lots and lots of guests during an hour and it is rare that there is not a glitch. The trick is for the anchor not to look "lost" or "confused" — but rather to "roll with the punches."

Here are your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1 — This e-mail relates to the missing prosecutor in Pennsylvania:

Of all the places that I have traveled/worked in the U.S., Lewisburg is probably one that I always felt super safe. Given that, along with the past suicide of the brother, I am afraid he has made a decision on his own.
Keep up the good work.
Richard Hoyt
Charleston, SC

E-mail No. 2 — this email is also about the missing D.A.:

In reference to the pleas from Ray's daughter and girlfriend ... Bellefonte is a very small town and the folks in the State College and Bellefonte area are very trusting. I don't find it unusual for them to plea directly for Ray to call them and come back. What has happened is very unusual for this area. Bad things like this don't usually happen, so it doesn't surprise me that they aren't pleading for someone to return him to their family.
I hope that he returns safe and my prayers go out to his family.
Debbie Salada
(Former resident of Centre County)

E-mail No. 3 — this next e-mailer is from Ohio. Note: others have complained about other states doing the same:

Hi Greta:
I just went on the computer to get the Sex Offenders in my city and state and guess what? They are charging a $10.00 fee for the information! Now doesn’t that frost you? Maybe there are very few people who have $10.00 to spare. Imagine how shocked I am that they would charge! Report that on your show!

E-mail No. 4

Dear Greta,
I am a mother of 2 small children. I have been watching your show for two years now and it's scary! All of these little girls being abducted and murdered by these monsters is truly disgusting. I am outraged about all of the recent news but have been enlightened in a sense. Solely because I was unaware of how many rights the sex offenders have. It's truly a shame that they are free to roam the streets and live to prey again and again on our helpless little ones.
I live in Pennsylvania and have looked up the Sex Offender Listings for my area. I was so infuriated to learn that this listing does not show the sex offenders' addresses! There could be one living right next door, but how would I know?! I am seriously worried about my children's safety. I think everyone has the right to know the addresses of these disgusting criminals! Can you please tell me, if it is even possible, how I can find out where these monsters are living? The site I looked at only shows zip codes. Isn't it my right to know where they live? I am so upset about this. They can rape, and brutalize and murder our children, yet they are allowed to "hide"?
Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,

E-mail No. 5 — this e-mail relates to the seven-story wave that clobbered the cruise ship over the weekend:

Concerning the interview with the couple on your show tonight. They didn't make a lot of sense.
What did they expect the captain to do in this situation? He couldn't just cut his engines and wallow in the water.
He couldn't have the passengers abandon ship as long as the ship was still sea worthy. The captain did the right thing by grinding thru the waves and hoping to get to calmer water.
When I was in the U.S. Marines my detachment was heading overseas to the Far East. The first night out our ship got in a massive storm. We were told by the sailors onboard that the waves were 100 feet high. All I know is that we kept on going into the waves and after so many hours we reached a calmer sea.
Thanks for having the best show on any of the news channels.
Grady Kimball

E-mail No. 6

I've been in the Navy for over 20 years and seen a lot of bad weather out in the Atlantic. I'm sure that your guess were concerned about the safety of the vessel in the storm, but I doubt if it was really anything worse than I've seen or been in. Cruise ships are sturdy and have a bunch of safe sailing time under their belt. And, as we sailors know, you can never control the weather and it can get bad out there in a instant. I love the ocean and always look forward to going to sea. Don't make the cruise liners the enemy. Do the stats and look at the safe sailing time vice the incidents that happen.
Chief Stephens

E-mail No. 7

Dear Greta,
As a Navy veteran I can attest to some of the waves and storms off of the Bahamas. In 1965 we encountered waves of the size and force as passengers are describing. We sustained a lot of damage in a similar storm and had to go into dry-dock in Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The area north of Puerto Rico is called Brown's Deep and this trench is the deepest part of the entire Atlantic Ocean with depths around 29,000 feet deep. It can create very forceful waves that can cause a lot of damage. In folklore this area is also known as the Bermuda Triangle.
Duane Tron
St. Paris, OH

E-mail No. 8

I was in Atlantic City, NJ on Saturday 4/16/2005, at Trump Marina Casino and I am almost positive that I was playing craps with the D.A. from PA (Ray), that is missing. He said to me that he could not have a drink because he had at least two hours to drive home. I noticed this gentleman had a significant amount of money in front of him. The pit bosses were kidding with him about being a prosecutor. Then he turned to me and said, "I'm a prosecutor from Las Vegas." I don't know if this helps, but you can contact me at this e-mail if you would like.

E-mail No. 9 — this next e-mail relates to the testimony of the accuser's mother in the Jackson case:

Dear Greta,
I dated a model/dancer back in 1991. I was in love. She dated Jermaine Jackson 1 1/2 years prior to me. When times were "rough" between her and Jermaine Jackson, she told me that her phones were tapped. Surveillance was always conducted on her, etc... the same things that this accuser's mother is claiming happened to her and her family with Michael Jackson. My ex-girlfriend was honest and had no reason to lie to me, so when I heard about these people being held against their will, that's why I tended to believe it. Just so that you know someone out there that can say that this indeed has happened. Love your show.
Greg Lazaroff
North Las Vegas, NV

E-mail No. 10 — e-mail from Laura Ingle from inside the Michael Jackson (search) trial:

The mother of the boy accusing Michael Jackson has told jurors she is a “nobody.”

The self-deprecating witness for the prosecution, kept saying that as she was asked under cross exam about the reasons why she had filed a state disability claim. Tom Mesereau looked at the reason why she needed disability on the application, it read: depression, and that she was a “nobody.” She turned to jurors 3 times within this questioning and said in a sad tone of voice “I'm still a nobody."

She has denied ever knowing that celebrities like Chris Tucker, George Lopez and local weatherman Fritz Coleman ever worked on raising funds for her son who had been battling cancer. She also has been grilled about why she never picked up the phone once during the time she says she was held against her will to call 911. She said, I am now....

The mother is once again combative with Jackson's lead defense attorney who has binders and binders of her statements to police on the lectern as he questions her. He asked her how many times she let her children go back to Neverland Ranch after she saw Jackson lick her son's head on an airplane. She said, "Many." She said after she got them out of there, she had to spend some time “de-brainwashing them."

And, an unexpected bathroom break has revealed some insight into the friendships forming in the jury box. In the middle of the woman's cross exam, she turned to the judge and said, “Excuse me, your honor. I need to go to the bathroom, I've been holding it." The judge says, OK. Mesereau looks at Jackson who also needs to go, asks permission for his client to use restroom, judge says no.

While mom is in the can, jurors start to talk and laugh. Juror No. 11 who sits on the end of the bottom row in a wheelchair turns around to talk to Juror No. 1, a retired civil engineer (I call him Capt. Kangaroo, because that's who he reminds me of). Juror No. 7 (who I call Shirley Temple because of her tight curly hair) is motioning to her shoulder and looks like she talking about it hurting. She leans around the juror to her right to talk to another woman. Looks like they are friendly. Other jurors in the back row are leaning forward to talk to those in the front row. They are all chat and laugh a lot. Looks like they are becoming friends. During the Peterson trial, it was easy to see who was becoming friends with whom, because we would see them go to lunch and coffee breaks. There is no lunch break here and the coffee breaks are lighting fast and kept under wraps in a back room.

More to come. Looks like the mom will be on the stand for a while.

E-mail No. 11 — e-mail from Jim Hammer inside the Jackson trial:


Trial Notes: April 18, 2005

The defense finally finished its cross examination of the accuser’s mother and the picture that emerges is a confusing one.

Having sat through four days of her testimony she comes across as paranoid, combative, sometimes exaggerating, maybe even lying. In spite of this, what is perhaps most surprising is that there is a vein of truth that runs through her testimony. Just when you think she might be imagining that “people are following” her, the D.A. produces videotapes seized from a defense investigator’s office showing her being followed and worse, her daughter being followed walking home alone from school. Creepy stuff.

As I watched the jury during these past few days, I saw them laugh at times, seem to scoff at times, grow bored at other times. If they reject her story, if they find she is lying or delusional or just plain crazy, how much will that spill over onto her son’s credibility and heart of this case, the child molestation counts?

The D.A. is not done with its conspiracy case yet. Word has it they will present 20 more witnesses trying to support that charge. The questions on my mind are did the heavy handed tactics used by Jackson’s associates rise to the level of false imprisonment and can the D.A. tie Jackson himself to such a conspiracy? Stay tuned…
Jim Hammer
Santa Maria Courthouse

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