'OTR' Legal Panel on Copperfield Allegations
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 22, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, GUEST HOST: David Copperfield — so far, he's remaining silent about the woman accusing him of a sexual assault. But his lawyer spoke to FOX's Jonathan Hunt. He told him what Copperfield's reaction was to those allegations.
DAVID CHESNOFF, DAVID COPPERFIELD'S ATTORNEY: His reaction is outrage. His reaction is that never in his life has he ever been anything but a gentleman with anyone, and, certainly, the suggestion that he would force himself upon somebody is absurd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This allegedly happened in the Bahamas in July. Does Mr. Copperfield have any recollection of any incident that could lead anybody to lodge such a complaint?
CHESNOFF: Since I haven't been told those kinds of details from law enforcement, I wouldn't be in a position to comment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is David Copperfield a rapist?
CHESNOFF: Of course not. That is absurd. I have lived in Las Vegas 28 years. He has an impeccable reputation among the people in the community, and I'm confident at the end of the day any allegations of any such conduct will be found to be completely unfounded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen the police report?
CHESNOFF: I have not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, at the moment, you do not know how strong or otherwise the authority's case might be?
CHESNOFF: I have no idea. Well, strong case? Since I don't believe there is a case, I don't think it's very strong.
But we'll have to wait and see what they say. Like I said, it's confidential, and we were respecting that. It's the Seattle police who chose not to.
I believe the authorities conducted their search. We're hopeful that they'll digest whatever it was that they recovered. And, hopefully, they'll have the open minds that I hope they'll have so that we can sit down and talk to them at the appropriate time.
MACCALLUM: All right, let's bring in the panel. In Los Angeles, attorney Gloria Allred, in San Francisco, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Michael Cardoza, and in Las Vegas FOX News legal analyst Bob Massi. Welcome everybody.
Michael, let me start with you. Does it strike you as strange that the lawyer, David Copperfield's attorney, who I know Bob Massi knows well, hasn't seen the police report?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, that doesn't strike me as strange at all. I know David Chesnoff, and, in fact, I was talking to him this evening. He is an excellent attorney.
In criminal cases, until the complaint is filed, defense attorneys do not get the police report, so this is not unusual.
MACCALLUM: So, Bob Massi, how do you know him? How can he say nothing happened, he is absolutely positive nothing happened, if he hasn't actually looked at what the woman claimed?
BOB MASSI, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Well I think is he going on—and I spoke with David, he is in a murder trial, and I spoke with him late this afternoon, about 6:00 o'clock Pacific time—and he said that, look, there is a couple of things that bothers him.
Number one is the misstatements that have been made about the money. He says, Bob, I have a letter—obviously he can't disclose it because it's privileged—from the people over in Thailand and the other place he was to appear, that says that there was a default, and it was a contractual default, and him canceling appearances has nothing to do with it.
I think, Martha, to be honest with you, again, I have to agree with David—I have been here 34 years. David Copperfield has an amazing reputation in Las Vegas. Does that mean he can't be culpable for something? Of course not.
But does it make sense? All of the people in Vegas who are listening to this story, they are really in disbelief that these allegations have any merit whatsoever.
MACCALLUM: But, Gloria, just your average person, when you hear these accusations, and many hear that he cancelled all the appearances, it makes him look like he did something wrong.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, Martha, I don't know if he had did anything wrong, and I don't know whether his cancellations have anything to do with the fact that apparently there was a search warrant and it was executed upon, and there was a search of his warehouse.
So, obviously, there is a judge or magistrate who believes that there was sufficient evidence to authorize a search.
Now, that doesn't mean there is enough evidence to file a charge. But we'll have to wait and see. It's going to be interesting, if, in fact, they did take his computer hard drive from his warehouse and his camera to see whether or not there is anything evidence on it which would cause them to feel that there is a sufficient evidence to move forward.
MACCALLUM: And Michael, the lawyer, David Chesnoff also said that these accusations are all too often made against famous individuals. You can look at the Michael Jackson case and other cases where people say this always just happens to famous people. But then there are the times that that's not an accurate excuse.
CARDOZA: No, you're right. It may not be an accurate excuse. This is one time I do agree with Gloria, and that's we're going to have to wait to see how this plays out.
One of the things that I have a little difficulty with is what the Seattle Police Department did, and that's they officially put David Copperfield's name out there. But they won't put the accuser's name out there. How do we protect people from things like this? One of the things, I think, in a case like this, they now should put the accuser's name out there. If the police were willing to put David Copperfield's name out there, then put the accuser's name out there too.
Usually, I'm not in favor of that. But when they go to the extent of harming this man the way they have done so far, then let's put the accuser out there too, let's see who that person is, and let's maybe level the playing field, because you know there are some people—
MACCALLUM: Bob, weigh in on that. We don't know anything about this woman. She says it happens in the Bahamas, and we just heard his attorney say he has no idea if there is any reason to think that that is the case.
And then she was out of the country for a period of time, so she couldn't really file charges until she got back, which is also strange.
CARDOZA: Let me tell you, Martha, first of all, as Michael said earlier, David Chesnoff, we're talking about a top gun criminal defense lawyer. And let's assume that the allegations are something happened in July, nothing was reported in the Bahamas, time went by, didn't go do the hospital, didn't go to the emergency room, goes to Seattle, and then makes these allegations.
I will tell you that a guy like Chesnoff, assuming it ever gets to the point of a trial, will have a field day with that timeline, because it doesn't make sense.
As a matter of fact, today I interviewed some people this afternoon, just sort of in Vegas, for doing some things for FOX, and I'll tell you, just asking questions, particularly the women, who I have always found to be the best judge of things, they're outraged by it, saying this doesn't make sense.
If that timeline exists, something is wrong here. The credibility of this person is in question.
MACCALLUM: Quick thought Gloria, we have to go.
ALLRED: Bob, last time I checked I am a woman, I still am. I am not outraged. And, by the way, of course, the alleged victim is not the person who files the charge. It would be the District Attorney who files the charge.
CARDOZA: I understand that, Gloria. I understand that.
ALLRED: But let me respond to this.
MACCALLUM: Very quickly, Gloria.
CARDOZA: Please do.
ALLRED: It's natural when there is a celebrity for a lot of people to rally around the celebrity, because they know the celebrity.
But what we have here is an unnamed alleged victim. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt, and then we will see what happens.
CARDOZA: Why don't you give David Copperfield the benefit of the doubt?
MACCALLUM: Thank you, Gloria, thank you.
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