This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 18, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Two Duke lacrosse players have been arrested and charged with rape among other violent crimes. They are free on $400,000 bail. As you may know, the students attended a party where a stripper hired by the lacrosse team said she was raped. With us now civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton. Is this a racial issue?
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I think that there are certainly a lot of racial factors. Whether it is directly in the case, we'll see, because some reports said that there was racial language used. But I think that when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there again were the allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of people feeling that they have been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that's in the air. Having said that, I commend a lot of the blacks and whites who stood vigil and to come together in that community to stand up for this girl. So I think in the midst of this, there is some good.
O'REILLY: Why are we standing up for the girl if there is the possibility, based upon evidence, that the girl may have fabricated the story? Why don't we all pull back and let the authorities investigate and let the legal system work?
SHARPTON: Well, first of all, the authorities have charged there was a crime, so they are not saying that at all. Second of all, people on any side of an argument have the ride to advocate on behalf of who they believe. Thirdly, I think that when the prosecutors went forward, they clearly have said this girl is the victim, so why would we be trying the victim and not the...
O'REILLY: I don't want to try anybody, but there is enough evidence that has surfaced here. We have evidence that DNA doesn't match the kids. We have evidence that ABC News uncovered that there is a recording made by a security guard who looked at the victim after she said she was raped and said there was no problem and we have a police officer who found the victim drunk in a car in a 7-Eleven who phoned it in before she went to the hospital. So when you have three elements like that, I say there is reasonable doubt right now. You know what the grand jury proceeding is.
O'REILLY: It's a one-sided proceeding.
SHARPTON: But I think that all of the facts that you have laid out the DA had — and I know this DA is probably not one that is crazy. He would not have proceeded if he did not feel that he could convict. So it tells me that all of what you said is either not true or he has convincing evidence that would certainly knock that out and no one is not letting him proceed. You know, a lot of those community leaders down there, pro and con, wanted a lot of people to come in. I know for a fact asked Jesse Jackson to come, we said we don't want to be (INAUDIBLE)...
O'REILLY: So you didn't go down, Jackson did go down. I don't want what happened to Amadou Diallo, remember Amadou Diallo.
SHARPTON: Oh, absolutely.
O'REILLY: He was the African immigrant who was shot by police, shot dead here in New York and there were demonstrations. You were out there demonstrating and all that. And then when the trial came, the jury, which included African-Americans said not guilty.
SHARPTON: No, you jumped too far. They moved the trial out of town.
O'REILLY: Doesn't matter.
SHARPTON: It matters a whole lot. If that trial had happened in New York where people were very clear on that street crime unit, the results would have been different. The case this reminds me of, Bill — let's talk about the case this parallels.
O'REILLY: It does.
SHARPTON: This case parallels Abner Louima, who was raped and sodomized in a bathroom like this girl has alleged she was. That's the case and just like in the Louima case, you have people here saying she fabricated it. They said he fabricated it — two guys in jail right now for that.
O'REILLY: And that was fine. I'm all for that.
SHARPTON: And we marched there.
O'REILLY: Here's my point. The jury system worked in the Louima case, OK.
SHARPTON: The jury system worked after we were assured by our protests there would be a jury. I don't think...
O'REILLY: Would you say the jury system worked in the Louima case?
O'REILLY: And I would submit the jury system worked in the Diallo case as well.
SHARPTON: No, I wouldn't.
O'REILLY: Because you didn't get the verdict you wanted.
SHARPTON: The change of venue.
O'REILLY: So what? That's what they ruled.
SHARPTON: Even then we accepted it as something we disagreed with. Nobody is burning down New York. Nobody is burning down Durham. I think, what I don't accept is for people to act like this young lady, no matter what her profession — and I think people need to know she is a mother, a divorced mother of two and a student, that we ought to be putting her on trial rather than these two that are getting indicted.
O'REILLY: She is going to be put on trial, you know that.
SHARPTON: The one charged with the crime is the two that paid to go home. Is she charged with a crime, Bill?
O'REILLY: No. If you were the lawyer for the kids whose lives are in the balance here, you would certainly try to tell the jury that this witness had a questionable past, did some things that weren't up and up.
SHARPTON: First of all, they better be prepared to see if she is the only witness. You don't know what other people are going to testify. You don't know what other evidence they have. So let's not get ready to discredit the girl until we see the whole passage. That's what happened with Louima. We had more than Louima, so let's not assume just discrediting the girl will work this time.
O'REILLY: Let me be clear. Your stance is let the system work.
SHARPTON: My stance is that Reverend Bob of the NAACP and others down there are advising a lot of the community what happened, we're in touch with them and we're going to work and advise through them. We'll do whatever is necessary or not necessary.
O'REILLY: All right, but you don't know yet, You, Al Sharpton, don't know what happened.
SHARPTON: I don't know yet and I think that the proper thing to do is to support those that want justice.
O'REILLY: All right. I'm all for that. I support justice. Always a pleasure. Thank you.
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