This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Is It Legal?" segment tonight: The family of John Ritter is suing his doctors, even though they've already received more than $14 million from the hospital where Mr. Ritter died. Also, Wesley Snipes believes he doesn't have to pay taxes. He's in court right now.
Here now, Lis Wiehl, attorney and FOX News legal analyst, and Megyn Kelly, attorney and FOX News anchor.
All right. The Ritter situation. Fourteen million the family's already got from the hospital. He died young, at 54. Take it from there.
MEGYN KELLY, "AMERICA'S NEWSROOM" CO-HOST: And they want an additional $67 million minimum from two doctors, one who actually took care of John Ritter when he was in the hospital and one who examined John Ritter years before and, according to the family, failed to detect a tear in his aorta, or at least an enlarged heart when they say he should have. He said there was nothing there to detect.
So basically they say these two doctors were negligent, that it amounted to malpractice, and they calculated out what John Ritter would have earned over the course of his lifetime had he lived. And they want these two doctors to pay. They say it's not about money. They say it's about punishing them.
I don't know who's got the better legal argument. This is something for the doctors to testify to. But this damages claim is outrageous.
O'REILLY: Why is it outrageous?
KELLY: Because it's totally inflated. First of all, I don't — the $67 million is very speculative. They say if he got this contract and he got another contract on top of it...
O'REILLY: So it's about how much the man would have earned had he not died?
KELLY: Exactly. But the second thing I want to say is, as far as I know there is no allegation that these two are habitual malpracticers, that these two doctors have a long history of negligence with patients.
O'REILLY: These are top guys.
KELLY: Particularly cardiologists work very hard for very little money. You'd be surprised. Your dermatologist makes more...
O'REILLY: So you feel sorry for the doctors?
KELLY: I do.
O'REILLY: All right.
KELLY: Because they try to save lives. And they tried to save a life...
O'REILLY: Where are you?
LIS WIEHL, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I'm with Megyn on this one, because the doctor at the emergency room said, look, these symptoms that Ritter came in with, 100 more times likely that it's a heart attack, which is what he diagnosed and tried to cure, not an aortic tear, which is what this actually turned out to be.
He was operating, literally, under an extremely stressful situation where he had to look at everything very quickly, make a judgment. We're not infallible. Doctors aren't infallible. And when anybody says...
O'REILLY: So you don't think it was malpractice?
WIEHL: He made the best call at the time.
O'REILLY: It was circumstantial and...
KELLY: The problem for him was that he — they needed an X-ray to see this tear. He never had the x-ray. He did this risky procedure without seeing it. Someone had ordered it; it didn't come back in time. He had to make the judgment call, "Do I go in and do this procedure without the X-ray?"
O'REILLY: Sounds like it's going to be a pretty intense trial.
WIEHL: Yes, it's going to be.
O'REILLY: OK. Now talking about trials, Wesley Snipes, I guess is going to, what, wind up tomorrow in what's he doing?
KELLY: Yes, it should go to closing.
O'REILLY: And what's Wesley doing?
KELLY: I don't know. I think he should have actually — he should have pleaded insanity.
WIEHL: Right, right.
WIEHL: After his indictment he sent a letter to the IRS, you know, not saying, "Oh, gee, I'm sorry" or "Let's work this out" or "Let's come up with a payment plan," instead threatening the IRS agent, saying, "If you don't knock off this, it's not going to be good for you, IRS."
O'REILLY: What, he's going to turn into a vampire and get them?
WIEHL: He said, "I'm a resident alien, and I..."
KELLY: Non-resident alien.
WIEHL: Non-resident alien. "And I refuse my..."
O'REILLY: He says he's not an American citizen?
KELLY: He was born in Florida.
WIEHL: After he's made all the money.
KELLY: Here, take my Social Security card back.
O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it. So he's saying he doesn't want to be an American citizen or he isn't an American citizen?
KELLY: Right. That he isn't. He claims, "I'm no longer an American citizen," although there's no proof of that. He was born in Florida. "And therefore I don't need to pay taxes."
KELLY: And then when they didn't buy that, he found some wacky accountants who would back him up and say, "You know what? You're right. You don't have to pay taxes."
O'REILLY: So it looks to me — we're yucking it up here — that Wesley might be on the way to the hoosegow here.
KELLY: The only question that remains is how long he's going to be in for.
WIEHL: These lawyers that are...
O'REILLY: Maybe they'll deport him to Vampireville or Transylvania someplace.
WIEHL: There you go. Good luck in prison.
O'REILLY: Sorry, Wesley, we're making light of your circumstance, but you deserve it, man. You got to pay your taxes. You earn 20 million bucks. Come on.
KELLY: This is what happens when you join an anti-government cult that tells you you don't have to pay taxes.
O'REILLY: Here's another outrageous thing. This woman — where was this now, Kelly? Where this woman...
KELLY: What are you talking about?
WIEHL: In Tucson, Arizona.
O'REILLY: OK, thank you, Wiehl. Wiehl has done her homework. You're staring at me like...
KELLY: We have, like, 10 cases on today's docket. Can you be more specific?
O'REILLY: Kelly, are you not prepared?
WIEHL: Be nice to her.
O'REILLY: No, you did your homework. She's standing there going, "I don't know where she's from."
All right. Tucson, Arizona, woman gets involved in a vehicular homicide, right? She's drunk.
O'REILLY: And then she gets sentenced to what?
KELLY: Ten-and-a-half years.
O'REILLY: Ten-and-a-half years. Then she takes a phone call in jail, right?
KELLY: Well, no. You got the order wrong. She took the phone call in jail and then she got sentenced.
O'REILLY: All right. So she was about to be sentenced...
KELLY: Mr. O'Reilly, who doesn't prepare for this segment.
WIEHL: All right. Let's back up.
O'REILLY: It's your bailiwick here, OK? I'm not lost.
KELLY: Then you take it back. I'll give you the final word.
O'REILLY: OK. She gets — she hit somebody; she's drunk.
O'REILLY: Kills somebody in Arizona, OK?
O'REILLY: She gets convicted, right?
O'REILLY: But she's not sentenced yet.
O'REILLY: OK. Then she takes a phone call in jail.
WIEHL: From a buddy. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John says as far as he's concerned, you did the world a favor. Because you took out a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) tree hugger, a bicyclist, a Frenchman and a gay guy all in one shot. He's proud of you.
MELISSA ARRINGTON, CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER: (LAUGHING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says as far as he's concerned, they should give you a medal and a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) parade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that's terrible, but he's just trying to...
ARRINGTON: No, it's not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: All right. So they tape-record the call. All the calls are tape-recorded.
WIEHL: You're in jail, right.
O'REILLY: They play it for the judge, and the judge gives it the max, right?
KELLY: Yes. The judge says, "It was unspeakable inhumanity on your part. How could you have such little respect for human life? You, who'd already had two DUI convictions, you who was driving on a suspended license when you killed this man, who was only 45 years old..."
O'REILLY: And you're laughing about it.
KELLY: "... on a bike ride, minding his own business. Hit him, dragged him 800 yards. And now you think it's all funny?"
O'REILLY: OK. So the minimum, Wiehl, would have been what?
WIEHL: It could have been at least — it could have been as little as one to four years.
O'REILLY: One to four.
O'REILLY: And she got?
WIEHL: She got 10-and-a-half. But now let me back up for another second, which shows this judge being really righteous in what he did. Because he did not let the jury hear that phone conversation prior to sentencing. So I believe that if the jury had heard that phone conversation they would have convicted her of manslaughter. She was only convicted of negligent homicide, which is lower down.
O'REILLY: All right. But she could have gotten one to four.
O'REILLY: And because of the call, she gets 10-and-a-half.
WIEHL: Well, no, no, the maximum was close to 10-and-a-half.
KELLY: Right, right. She got 10-and-a-half.
O'REILLY: You were doing so well, and now you're back to the back row. All right. Stop, stop talking. OK. Now you have one more: Brattleboro, Vermont.
O'REILLY: Nutsville. I mean, Kook City. And there are good people who live in that area, but they're just insane.
O'REILLY: Now they're having a vote this week on whether to indict President Bush and Vice President Cheney.
KELLY: Correct. Not only are the people behind this rabid, but they are stupid when it comes to the law. I'm sorry, but you can't indict a president for perjury for statements he didn't make under oath. You can't indict somebody for obstructing justice for firing U.S. attorneys who are employees.
O'REILLY: All they want is attention, right?
KELLY: Yes. And you can't indict somebody for any of the other charges that they've listed. They have no legal grounds. All they're doing is wasting taxpayer time and money.
O'REILLY: What should we do to Brattleboro, Vermont? What should we do?
WIEHL: First, we should tell President Bush and Vice President Cheney not to go to Vermont.
O'REILLY: I know. I have to tell you...
O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it, hold it. Hold it. I told Cheney to go there hunting.
O'REILLY: So he can...
WIEHL: Knock off a few people.
O'REILLY: She didn't get it. You and I got it. She didn't get it. Did you see her face?
WIEHL: I got it.
O'REILLY: You don't know what I'm talking about.
All right, ladies. Always good to see you. Kelly and Wiehl, everybody.
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