Joran van der Sloot's Attorney Speaks Out

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," March 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Joran van der Sloot was never charged in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, but he is facing a civil lawsuit in the United States.

Natalee's parents filed the suit for unspecified damages against Joran and his father, Paul. His lawyers moved to dismiss the suit and a judge agreed to hear the arguments on the motion exactly two months from Friday.

Joran van der Sloot's attorney Joe Tacopina joins us now.

So why should this suit be dismissed, Joe?

JOE TACOPINA, JORAN'S ATTORNEY: Well, it should be dismissed on both legal grounds and merits of the allegations. Clearly, the facts put in the complaints are imaginary and hypothetical.

GIBSON: What is in the complaint?

TACOPINA: For instance, a claim of kidnapping, that she was abducted against her will, which is defied by all the evidence, including the girls from Alabama who were in Carlos 'n Charlie's saying Natalee don't go, don't go. You know, they were dissuading her to leave, but she went on her own will.

And all these other claims regarding sexual abuse of Natalee, there's no evidence.

GIBSON: What happened about on the beach?

TACOPINA: There's no evidence... What happened on the beach?


TACOPINA: My client was on your network for about four hours speaking to Greta Van Susteren, who seems to know more about this case than anyone, has been down there a bunch of times, is aligned with the Holloways.

Answered every question she had convincingly and to the point at the end of the three episodes Greta got on the air and said she was inclined to believe him.

He left her on the beach, a mistake. He didn't say that right away, another mistake. And he was 17 years old. And when he was first questioned by law enforcement and members of the Holloway family it was done, understandably, in an aggressive manner, and he just didn't want to say he made a mistake.

GIBSON: A lot of us got the impression that he was able to dodge charges in Aruba because his father is a member of the court system and that he was coached by his father at various points in the investigation, which tended to defeat the investigation.

TACOPINA: First of all, that couldn't be further from the truth. Paulus van der Sloot, I mean, literally asked his son in front of these other people what happened for the first time.

So he didn't coach him on anything. I mean, these people went to his house, called him on his phone. There was no time to couch him. And as far as him being an influential member, he was a judge in training and they've got no bricks.

Joran van der Sloot got no — I mean, imagine an America where there's no evidence against you, no charges brought but you can be detained for three months in a jail. That doesn't happen. You don't have to make statements as he was in Aruba.

GIBSON: He was the last guy to see her alive.

TACOPINA: No. He was the last guy known to be with her.

GIBSON: Well, all right.


GIBSON: Has he got an explanation of who might have been the next person who saw her alive?

TACOPINA: The more I get into this case, John, our investigators are out there looking — they're out there looking. And we've spoken to dozens and dozens of witnesses. I've read dozens of police reports, both countries, Arubans and from Holland, as well.

And I've got to tell you, there are a lot of leads that hopefully they're pursuing. Aruban law enforcement is not giving us sort of a handle on where they're going, but I think they should be pursuing a lot of things.

Take their focus off this kid after 10 months and no evidence. Hopefully for the good of the Holloway family and for Joran and his family. I mean, I have speculative theories but I don't think it's proper to share them, just like I don't think it's fair to speculate that this kid had something to do with her disappearance.

GIBSON: Joe Tacopina, who is representing Joran van der Sloot and his father, thanks very much.

TACOPINA: All right, John.

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