Virginia AG weighs in on Norfolk case

State AG Ken Cuccinelli on the ongoing investigation into a vicious race crime


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Continuing now with our lead story, still unresolved mob violence crime in Norfolk, Virginia.

Joining us now from Richmond, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli. Florida appointed a special investigator in the Trayvon Martin case because there were a lot of questions and a lot of things that weren't moving along very quickly. Could the Commonwealth do the same thing in this situation in Norfolk?

KEN CUCCINELLI (R), VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The law in Virginia leaves the responsibility for the investigation and the prosecution of this case with the local police and the local commonwealth attorney. We call the commonwealth attorney in Virginia. And most people call it district attorney. But that's a locally elected official.

I do not have, contrary to what you reported Monday, I do not have, as Attorney General of Virginia, any legal authority to step in and intervene in this case.


O'REILLY: Can you --

CUCCINELLI: That is my role -- my role is after a conviction is achieved I handle all of the appeals and try to hold on to that conviction.


O'REILLY: Ok I got that but you know it's disturbing if there is a police department in any state, not just Virginia, that's simply not investigating. Just simply doesn't want to investigate.

CUCCINELLI: And in fact Bill, Bill, there are two investigations going on right now.


O'REILLY: Ok, but according to the victims -- according to the victims themselves who filed a formal complaint against the Norfolk Police Department, they say, in the complaint, they didn't want to solve the crime. They weren't interested in finding who beat them up.

So to me -- and but let me get very, very precise here.


O'REILLY: So you're saying that you don't have the power to appoint a special state prosecutor or a state investigator go in and oversee this.

CUCCINELLI: That's right.

O'REILLY: Does the Governor have the power to do that?



O'REILLY: He doesn't?

CUCCINELLI: Not unless there is a -- not unless there's a conflict of interest for the prosecutor locally and there is no indication of any conflict of interest for that prosecutor.


O'REILLY: All right, so in theory -- wait, wait, wait. I got it?

CUCCINELLI: And only -- and even -- and even at that point, normally it would be a point that would appoint that special prosecutor.

O'REILLY: So in theory, in Roanoke or in Lynchburg, or Arlington, Virginia, or any of those counties, if a police department were corrupt and we're not alleging that --



O'REILLY: -- but if one were corrupt and they basically said you know what? I'm not going to enforce the law. You can't do anything about it.

CUCCINELLI: If -- if had you a police department in that circumstance, the state police have jurisdiction across the commonwealth, they don't work for the attorney general. They don't work for me.

O'REILLY: Well, who could mobilize the state police to go in and investigate this mob violence who could do that?

CUCCINELLI: If there was -- if an -- if the process was completed and note, there are two investigations going on right now. There are two of them, not just one, going on right now. If there was an indication that it was a cover up instead of an investigation, then the state police could conduct their own investigation. And they are providing some oversight right now.


O'REILLY: But isn't the indication already there? Isn't the indication already there?

CUCCINELLI: Not of a cover up, no, not of a cover up.

O'REILLY: Well, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me challenge you on that Mr. Attorney General. You have the two victims who say --


CUCCINELLI: Right, because -- because you have all the facts, Bill just like Monday when you got it wrong on Monday.

O'REILLY: All right, I got it wrong on Monday, ok. The two victims say, listen and they put it in writing. This the -- police department is not interested in the way they conducted themselves on the scene with us. They don't want to solve it. Now, that's their allegation.

CUCCINELLI: And -- and like every -- and like -- and like every other police department they have an internal affairs division that's investigating that complaint.


O'REILLY: So you are going to let the Norfolk Police Department investigate this? Not an outside agency?



O'REILLY: They're going to investigate themselves?

CUCCINELLI: Every -- every single -- every single law enforcement department in Virginia, I don't know how other states operate, has their own internal affairs division that is walled off from other folks and they investigate exactly complaints like that.

O'REILLY: All right. You can see why people might feel that they need another agency in there. If this were a bias crime the feds would go in.

CUCCINELLI: Yes. I get -- I get that perspective. I get that perspective.

O'REILLY: All right.

CUCCINELLI: Well, the feds pick and choose. But -- but -- let's -- let's be clear about that and especially with this administration. But we got to let this play out. You are on a news cycle. We're on the cycle of trying to build a good case against more than one person. There were a lot of people --


O'REILLY: Absolutely.

CUCCINELLI: Close to this or engaged. And so we want to -- we don't give hints, we don't share investigative materials. We here is just the law enforcement community don't share investigative materials while investigations are ongoing. We don't want to do ready fire, aim. This is ready aim, fire. We want to get this right. No one at this moment is in immediate danger as they were on April 14th when this happened.


O'REILLY: Well, the two people's lives have been threatened. The two people's live -- they had to leave the area.

CUCCINELLI: They were scared -- they were scared. Bill, they were scared after the event but they have not had any separate threats to them. They had --


O'REILLY: They had to leave the area, Mr. Attorney General.

CUCCINELLI: -- everybody that suffers -- that suffers from an assault like this and let's -- let's be clear, there is a terrible underlying crime here that we want to make sure gets solved correctly.

O'REILLY: All right, I got it and I hope that happens. But even if you wanted to you couldn't force the Norfolk police to release the 911 tape, for example? You couldn't force that.

CUCCINELLI: No, I cannot while there is an ongoing investigation. FOIA, Freedom of Information Act doesn't allow or provides for the blocking of the release of a 911 tape. There are good reasons for that but when the investigation is over then it's subject to -- to FOIA release.

O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Attorney General, we appreciate you being a stand up guy and coming on.

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