This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 8, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The top story tonight: Joining us from Green Bay, Wisconsin, [to talk about letting an accused child molester go in northern Wisconsin] district attorney of Brown County, John Zakowski.
First of all, did you know Landero was an illegal alien?
JOHN ZAKOWSKI:, BROWN CTY., WISC. DISTRICT ATTY.: At the time that Mr. Landero was in court, my assistant who is an experienced prosecutor, could not confirm whether or not he was in fact illegal.
So the bail recommendation was based on the normal factors: his ties to the community, his past record, and also the seriousness of the offense.
O'REILLY: OK, now I don't understand this.
ZAKOWSKI: Because there was a concern...
O'REILLY: I don't -- all right, I don't understand this, because both the Green Bay newspaper and “The Factor" were able to confirm the man was illegally in the country in less than a day. In fact, it took us hours. It took us maybe three hours to find out that Landero had a rap sheet, that he went to a neighboring county of yours, that he was prosecuted there, taken to Minnesota, and voluntarily deported, which means that ICE didn't have to go through all the paperwork.
The guy said, I'll go back. They escorted him back. And a week later, he came back to the USA.
We know that because the complaining witness, the woman's mother, told your people, authorities in Brown County, exactly the story I just laid out. So how could you not know he was illegal?
ZAKOWSKI: Bill, it couldn't be confirmed at that time. And just so there's a complete picture, when our office got this referral, it is serious, within a matter of hours, first degree sexual assault charges were filed. Based upon what we could confirm, we asked for a bond that's commensurate with other cases under similar situations. The fact is...
O'REILLY: But it doesn't make sense, Mr. District Attorney.
ZAKOWSKI: There are very few cases...
O'REILLY: It doesn't make sense.
ZAKOWSKI: Bill, there.
O'REILLY: ...if you're facing 40 years. You just heard Mr. Bucher, who you know and I'm sure respect down in Waukesha. -- Everybody knows...
O'REILLY: ...everybody knows if you're an illegal alien facing a 40 year rap, and you get $5,000, you're going to skip. You knew it. He knew it. I knew it. And the guy skipped.
Look, here's my second question.
ZAKOWSKI: All right, Bill, I didn't know...
O'REILLY: Did you call ICE?
ZAKOWSKI: We just had -- Bill, we had a case where somebody who was illegal went through a number of court hearings with a commensurate cash bond and went to trial. He never skipped.
Most illegal aliens, and there are illegal aliens in Brown County, who are -- who commit crimes who we charge and are given bonds -- but the vast majority, and over 95 percent of them, make their court appearances, even on signature bonds.
O'REILLY: All right. I find that hard to believe, but you're the guy in charge.
O'REILLY: Hold it, hold it. Look, did you call ICE? Did you ask for Homeland Security to give you what they knew about Landero? Did you make the call?
ZAKOWSKI: The call was made after the initial appearance.
O'REILLY: All right, after he skipped, OK.
ZAKOWSKI: We could not confirm...
O'REILLY: Shouldn't it have been made before he got the $5,000 bond? Shouldn't you have made that call?
ZAKOWSKI: It could -- it probably should have been made...
ZAKOWSKI: ...but Bill, our experience has been we can't get the information.
O'REILLY: But you've got to try! If we can get it, in the Green Bay, paper can get it, you can get it. Now if it's your...
ZAKOWSKI: But we did get it. We got it after that initial appearance.
O'REILLY: Yes, but it's too late.
ZAKOWSKI: And Bill.
O'REILLY: He's out on $5,000 bond. It's too late. He's gone.
Now I think you're decent man. You're a stand-up guy for coming in. Most D.A.s in your position wouldn't. All right, I just want everybody to know that.
ZAKOWSKI: Thank you.
If it's your daughter, if it's your 12-year-old daughter, Mr. Zakowski, who is allegedly molested, do you sit there and say $5,000 bond is appropriate, sir?
ZAKOWSKI: If it was my daughter, I would be climbing the walls. There's no question about it.
But I can tell you, Bill, that our experience is that a $5,000 cash bond in similar cases, given what we knew of this person, his ties to the community, the fact that they had a one-year-old child in this community. He had worked a number of jobs. He had been a victim of a crime and had always complied and communicated with our office. The fact that when he was charged in that neighboring county he was given a $500 cash bond and made every court appearance. We asked for a bond 10 times as great for more serious crimes.
O'REILLY: But it's not enough for a child molester facing 40 years. Five thousand dollars is what you give pot smokers. It's what you give DUIs.
It's not what you give somebody facing felonious sexual assault on a minor. Who gives $5,000 bond for that? It's a $50,000 beef. You know that, Mr. District Attorney.
I don't understand this. Maybe you do have compliance up in northern Wisconsin. But even if you do, this is wrong. It's dumb. And now the guy's back in Monterey, Mexico. And you ain't going to get him. And that 12-year-old girl is not going to get justice. And I'm going to give you the last word on this.
ZAKOWSKI: Bill, if this was a 10 percent state, this would be the equivalent of a $50,000 cash bond.
O'REILLY: No, $500 is what he should have gotten. Fifty to put up.
ZAKOWSKI: We've had less cash bonds on more serious charges. And that amount of money has always been able to hold that person. Or if someone's posted that money, they've made their court appearances.
Five thousand dollars in a blue collar community such as Green Bay has proven to be appropriate bond. We feel bad that he skipped. We're doing everything we can now to find him. But I think under the circumstances, we did what we've done in the past with success.
O'REILLY: It's wrong, Mr. Zakowski. You need to think it -- you need to rethink this. This is bad. Everybody knew he was going to bolt and he bolted.
We appreciate you coming on. Thanks very much. And we'll continue to stay on the case.
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