This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," June 19, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, a bombshell e-mail in the Duke lacrosse rape case, and it's not from the players, it's from the prosecutor. He sounds mad. DA Mike Nifong is finally talking. He says, to set the record straight, but the tone seems hostile. Nifong's e-mail answers an e-mail from our next guest, Susannah Meadows, a senior writer at Newsweek. She joins us now with more details.
Susannah, the first e-mail that started this sort of exchange was from you to Nifong. When was it?
SUSANNAH MEADOWS, NEWSWEEK: It was last Monday, Greta, possibly Tuesday morning. And I was requesting an interview with him. I told him that I was looking over some of these court documents, that they appeared to show that some statements that he was making were apparently at odds with some of the evidence in his files. And I wanted to talk to him about that. He declined my request, but then, as you say, he unleashed some frustration with me and with my colleagues in the media.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Before we get to the e-mail, I take it — let me ask you this. You're an aggressive journalist. Did you try to pick up the phone and call him? Was this sort of just — I mean, was this the method you usually try to seek an interview, or is it — was this sort of an attempt to get one?
MEADOWS: I've stopped by his office personally countless times. I've tried calling, but that didn't seem to be working. He had given me his e-mail, actually. When I first interviewed him, I had asked him for his e-mail. And weekly, as we're doing these stories, I have always sent him in an e-mail because he did tell me that he checked his e-mail. And so I figured if I needed a comment from him, I could always e-mail him, and that's what I've been doing. But he's never responded, so I was certainly surprised when that e-mail came up in my inbox.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And we should tell the viewers that this exchange of e-mails — you've written about it in Newsweek, the issue that hit the stands this morning, is that right?
MEADOWS: That's correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Good. All right. So 2:46 is the time on your e- mail, 2:46 on Tuesday, June 13. In less than two hours, at 4:25, is the time the e-mail comes back to you, a rather lengthy one, I might add, about three pages.
VAN SUSTEREN: I characterized it as indicating that he seems mad.
MEADOWS: That was my impression. And that's why I think this whole thing is so interesting, because he — what he has reacted to now today, with issuing this press releases, is saying that — - that — by calling it angry, we are mischaracterizing it. But it's so interesting that he is looking at the exact same thing that we are and has a completely different impression.
And this is what I've heard from defense attorneys who have tried cases against him, where they have said, We'll be looking at the exact same evidence, we'll be trying to work out a deal, and he just simply does not see something — he just has one view of something, and he won't budge.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In terms of this lengthy e-mail response to you on Tuesday the 13th, what are the bullet points? I mean, what struck you?
MEADOWS: Well, the big thing for me was to hear him say, My opinion has not been changed since the beginning. My opinion about this case is no different. That was, I guess — that struck me as quite surprising because so much has come out. And I think a lot of us wondered, Well, maybe he didn't know all of this at the beginning, and how could he — frankly, how could he not be swayed by the evidence that's come out since? I mean, a lot of it is very convincing and raises a lot of doubts about the guilt of these lacrosse players.
VAN SUSTEREN: How doe she — what does he say about the defense lawyers and what they've done so far?
MEADOWS: Well, he says that they are doing their thing of spinning the media and talking about the evidence. And he says that's — that's — I have to expect that, I can live with that. And then he went on to say what has floored him, or what has surprised him, is that he says that the media has not been skeptical and is just sort of buying their spin.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any sort of sense — I mean, do you get from his e-mail what his case is? Because he has turned over in discovery 1,300 pages to the defense. Now, he may turn over some more this coming Thursday in court. I don't know if there's more to turn over. But do you have any sense of what his case is, at this point?
MEADOWS: The answer is no. I mean, I'm quite baffled. He is planning on turning over another pile. His secretary characterized it as about a foot high. But in that first discovery batch, there was a lot of filler, a lot of multiple copies, so it's hard to say what really of value there is in that. So no. And in the e-mail, he said he was bound by ethical rules not to comment further on the case or the evidence.
VAN SUSTEREN: Does he have any sort of explanation for, early on, his interviews with the public, before he sort of went dark? I mean, is it that he wasn't talking about the evidence then? Is that what he says?
MEADOWS: Yes. And he says that he quit speaking as soon as the three players were indicted. He said that that was when there were three actual suspects, that he was then bound by ethical rules to be quiet. But I guess I'm — that struck me as a little strange, since he had called the entire team into question, and they were all suspects for a while.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, one of the criticisms, apparently, coming out of the defense team, or at least, as much as I can piece together, is that he said early on that he had read the medical report.
VAN SUSTEREN: And then, apparently — and this was well before April 5. And then on April 5 is when the medical report is formally delivered to him. I suppose he could have gone over to the hospital and looked at the rough notes and then been totally candid. Do you have any information, with your investigation, that he saw a report, or even had a verbal report from the nurse as to what that report of the accuser was?
MEADOWS: No, I don't. And frankly, if he didn't look at it, that would kind of help explain why he was so confident early on, because if you actually looked at the medical report — and I've only seen how it's been characterized in court documents. I haven't looked at the actual report. That's under seal. But if you read that information, it's hard to be that confident and to have no doubt that a rape occurred.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Susannah Meadows. And you can read all about this in Newsweek this week. She's got the big scoop on this one. Thank you, Susannah.
MEADOWS: Thanks, Greta.
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