N.Y. Attorney General Candidate Jeanine Pirro on Her Marital Controversy

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 28, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, in six weeks, New Yorkers will vote for a new Attorney General. Republican Jeanine Pirro is running against Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

But Ms. Pirro has run into more marital difficulties. A new report says she suspected her husband of infidelities and discussed the matter with her friend, Bernard Kerik.

Unbeknownst to Ms. Pirro, Kerik was being wiretapped by federal agents. He was subsequently convicted of corruption misdemeanor charges.

Ms. Pirro faced the press yesterday.


JEANINE PIRRO, REPUBLICAN N.Y. ATTY GENERAL CANDIDATE: Many of you have asked why I stay in my marriage. My husband is a great father. I have two beautiful children in school, a teenage son who needs his father with him. These are personal choices that I have made. And I shouldn't have to keep explaining them.


O'REILLY: Jeanine Pirro joins us now from New York. I'm sorry that you have to go through this, Jeanine.

PIRRO: Thank you, Bill.

O'REILLY: It must be enormously painful. You've been a very effective district attorney in Westchester, New York.

But from 1995 to 2006, your husband has caused you an enormous amount of pain. And you had to know that running against a powerful guy like Andrew Cuomo and a Democratic machine in New York, which obviously wants the attorney general's job, that you know, you were going to be and your husband was going to be in the spotlight.

PIRRO: Well, you know, Bill, I certainly understood that. But you know, I've been a prosecutor, a judge, and a D.A. for 30 years. I've run for office four times and won every time. Voters are smart. They vote for the person based on the job that you do.

And I run a large legal office in a nonpartisan way with excellent results for New Yorkers. I have fought for them. I have protected them. And that's why this race for Attorney General, you know, is so important. I have the experience and the qualifications. My opponent doesn't.

So I'm not surprised that issues — anything other than the importance of what an Attorney General does is fodder in this race.

O'REILLY: Well, but also, you know, you were caught on a federal wiretap basically saying — I didn't hear the tap but this is the news report, that you wanted to find out if your husband was committing infidelities. And in order to do that, you were kicking around with Bernard Kerik, who was being tapped because the feds were looking at his associations with organized crime.

And now it, you know, it comes out that this private conversation you have with Kerik is public. That Garcia, the investigating federal guy in charge, may be looking at you for conspiracy to wiretap. So it's a mess.

PIRRO: Yes, it really is. But here's the bottom line. I was — I suspected that my husband was having an affair with another woman. I called Bernie Kerik, who at the time was a private investigator and someone that I knew when I was the D.A. in Westchester when he was the police commissioner in New York City. And to so many New Yorkers was a hero for what he did during 9/11.

I talked to him about certain things. I was angry. I was frustrated. But Bill, here's the bottom line. This is a personal marital situation that has no business in the United States Attorneys office. This is a scenario where I said that I wanted to do certain things that I never did. And even if I did do them, they weren't improper in any event. And the truth is that the only crime that was committed here is the release of sealed federal wiretaps. That is a felony.

And so, you know, as we go forward, I'm ready at this point to be looked at, but looked at by a prosecutor who is objective and fair. The prosecutor on this case, Bill, is someone who prosecuted my husband years ago. And in that case as well, there were leaks of information.

O'REILLY: Garcia you're talking about?

PIRRO: No, I'm talked about Elliot Jacobson.

O'REILLY: Oh, I'm sorry.

PIRRO: Who was the prosecutor, the assistant U.S. Attorney.

O'REILLY: All right, all right. Let — I don't want — let me get the personal stuff out of way.


O'REILLY: And then we will take a break and get back. Because you have gone to Attorney General Gonzales. And you want your own investigation into why these wiretaps, as you said, were sealed, were leaked to the press?

I mean, obviously dirty tricks. There's no question, Jeanine. There's no question about it.

But look, isn't it a legitimate question for a voter, and this is the Hillary Clinton question, to say look, Jeanine Pirro, good public servant, done well for New York. Nobody's going to argue with that. Nobody can argue. You know, advocate for the children.

PIRRO: Thank you.

O'REILLY: But married to a guy who fathered a child while he was married to you with another woman. Convicted of tax evasion, all kinds of things all the way down the line.

So the voter is going to say, with all due respect, Jeanine, if Jeanine's judgment is so flawed she still continue to be involved with this man, why should we vote for her?

PIRRO: You know what, Bill? I have fought very hard to keep my marriage together under some very difficult circumstances. And my husband is a great father.

I have two children. And those children love their father very much. And as I go forward, I am looking to continue to do the job as you just said, which is a great job as D.A. for the people of the state of New York.

All of us have marital discord. All of us have problems in our marriage, but I believe in family. And I have fought for New York families my whole career, whether it was battered women, abused children, neglected seniors. I'm not going to turn my back on my family.


PIRRO: …because someone thinks it's politically appropriate.

O'REILLY: How are your kids handling this latest thing?

PIRRO: This is tough, Bill. This is tough stuff.

O'REILLY: All right. We'll take a break. We'll bring back Jeanine Pirro. We'll see if the Attorney General of the United States is going to get involved in this.


O'REILLY: Continuing now with Jeanine Pirro, who's running against Andrew Cuomo for Attorney General in New York. And all hell has broken loose.

All right, now, you went to Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General of the United States. And you're asking Mr. Gonzales to do what?

PIRRO: I've asked Alberto Gonzales to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate me, to investigate the allegations. And I'm not afraid of them. And I've asked that they be fast tracked, that this investigation be fast tracked because we are 40 days before an election, Bill. And the leaking of sealed wiretaps 40 days before an election is an affront to democracy. It is trying to affect the outcome of an election. And I think the people of this state are entitled to know who I am and what I've done. And the truth is, I'm not afraid of what their findings will be. That's first.

And second, the only crime that's been committed here is the leaking of sealed wiretaps. That's a felony. And I'm asking him to look at that as well.

But first and foremost, look at me. Do a review, but with someone who is objective, not someone who has an agenda. Not an office where there has been leaking of sealed wiretaps.

O'REILLY: OK. Now the office is headed by U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia. He's a Bush appointee, a Republican. But the guy that you believe is after you, trying to hurt you is Elliot Jacobson. He works under Garcia as assistant U.S. Attorney.

Do you believe that Jacobson got this material and leaked it to smear you so you would lose the election? And if you do believe that, why?

PIRRO: Well, first of all, Bill, you know, I'm a prosecutor. I put my evidence where my allegations are. And I am not in a position to say that.

But what I can tell you is this, that when my husband was prosecuted by this individual, there were leaks all the time, very similar to the kind of leaks we're seeing now.

But in addition to the damage that it's doing, it is affecting an election. We've seen it before, Bill.

O'REILLY: Oh, it's absolutely.

PIRRO: There are all kinds of allegations. And then right before the election, then the election happens and they disappear.


PIRRO: I'm not going to take this.

O'REILLY: ...yes. One of two things are going to happen. Either the voters are going to feel sorry for you and think you got hosed, or they're going to say I'm not going to vote for her, just too much chaos.

Now I don't know what that's going to be. But this call that you made to Bernard Kerik was from Westchester County, is that correct, where you live, your residence?

PIRRO: Yes, it's from Westchester County.

O'REILLY: Then you can investigate it, your office can investigate it.

PIRRO: Bill — no, because what — right now, Bill, I left the D.A.'s office as of January 1.

O'REILLY: Don't you have any friends there?

PIRRO: Do I have friends there?

O'REILLY: I mean, because…

PIRRO: If I did, I wouldn't call them anyway.

O'REILLY: …if there was a crime committed in Westchester County, the Westchester County authorities have jurisdiction.

PIRRO: But the truth is Bill, that I wouldn't call on anybody. I want the attorney general to look at this, to appoint someone who is objective. Let the chips fall where they may.

O'REILLY: All right.

PIRRO: I am very willing to let that happen. New Yorkers are entitled to have that happen.

O'REILLY: Well, I mean, look, this is so dirty. It's not about New York. It's about the United States of America. This is dirt.

If — a private conversation you had with a private investigator, was overheard by the Feds. And it was a legitimate wiretap. Kerik was doing bad things. He was convicted.

But your association with that phone call leak obviously is leaked to destroy your career. Now last question. Has the press treated you fairly, Jeanine?

PIRRO: You know what, Bill, I think the press is going to do whatever they think they need to do to get a story. But you know what? I understand what it's like in politics. This is a rough and tumble world. It's a blood sport.

But I expect at the end of day, that people be fair and that I be given the opportunity to present myself as I am, a record that is unparalleled in this race.

My opponent bills himself as a non-practicing lawyer, who if he had to do it over again…

O'REILLY: All right.

PIRRO: …wouldn't practice law. And he wants to be the Attorney General.

O'REILLY: Jeanine, good luck. Thank you for coming on. WE appreciate it very much.

PIRRO: Thanks, Bill.

O'REILLY: And I hope your kids are OK.

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