This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," January 31, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: Well, this could be it, the big development we've all been waiting for. Did someone crack the Natalee Holloway case? Dutch crime reporter Peter De Vries says yes. De Vries says he solved the mystery of Natalee's disappearance through an elaborate undercover camera operation. Is this true? What did he find? So now what? Will Aruban authorities make an arrest again? Now, 18-year-old Natalee Holloway disappeared during her spring break trip in Aruba in May of 2005.
And joining us live in New York is John Q. Kelly, Natalee's parents' lawyer. Good evening, John.
JOHN Q. KELLY, ATTORNEY FOR NATALEE'S PARENTS: Hey, Greta. How are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. So John, this is like — I mean, all of a sudden, we all started getting our Blackberrys going off and getting lots of messages from Aruba and all over. So what's the story on this undercover operation? What can you tell us tonight?
KELLY: First of all, Beth had just left me a voice-mail yesterday that she was headed over to Netherlands. She said it could be important and she'd fill me in today, when she got there. The next I heard were the press releases from the prosecutor's office. And then I actually spoke to Beth, and she indicated she had gotten over there at Peter de Vries's invitation, had viewed some videotape, listened to some audiotape, and you know, was just rather astonished at what she had seen and heard.
VAN SUSTEREN: Astonished, or like — I guess I'm not — ecstatic isn't the word to use. But I mean, does she have answers? I mean, did she convey that to you that, you know, Aha, now I know? Was it that kind of thing?
KELLY: It was a couple of things. One, she was satisfied that what she had seen and heard was authentic. And secondly, she just felt that some of her questions had been answered. and some of the information she had been looking for, she felt she had now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is this — I suppose that we don't know — I mean, we're not hearing much about it because the television show wants to save it to break it on Sunday, is that right?
KELLY: That's right. You know, just talking generally here now, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And I take it you know, but you can't tell us. Is that fair?
KELLY: I know a little more detail in terms of what I've been told is on there, but we're not talking about it right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, you can tell us anything else that you can tell us before I start trying to trick you into telling us?
KELLY: I hate when you trick me, Greta! Just that it's someone basically making admissions in terms of what happened the night Natalee disappeared, in terms of what happened to her and then why she's disappeared, how her body was disposed of and why she hasn't been found.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, obviously, that's huge, how the body was disposed of — I mean, because the — I mean, well, that's giant. Now, let me just ask you one quick question.
VAN SUSTEREN: If the information (INAUDIBLE) was the information sufficiently detailed, or is the — or was the disposal such that the body could now be recovered? Because obviously, that would be giant in making out a case.
KELLY: It's my understanding from what I've heard that it would not be possible to recover the body at this time and the manner of disposal. And you know, Greta, I think it's going to be pretty simple. Seeing is believing, and this is something that's to air Sunday night. I think everybody's going to have the opportunity to see for themselves and judge for themselves. And I hate to even talk about something that's just basically going to speak for itself when it does air.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we don't yet know — and maybe you can help us out — the circumstances surrounding it, you know, whether it's, you know, a situation where he's sort of, like, you know, cleansing his soul — you know, soul, and saying, you know, This is what happened, or whether he's sitting around, drinking beers at a party and trying to be a showoff and making stuff up. I mean (INAUDIBLE)
KELLY: I know it's not a confessional. It's admissions. It's my understanding it was a rather lengthy, for lack of a better word, sting operation that was developed over a period of months. Someone developed a certain level of trust and confidence, and ultimately, a lot of surreptitious video and audiotaping was done and a lot of alleged admissions were captured on this and are going to air Sunday night.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is this an uncut statement, or is this someone who did an undercover operation and then they sort of butted (ph) different sound bites together, cuts (INAUDIBLE) because that, of course, would be an issue, if there are any cuts in it?
KELLY: Of course. I mean, I don't know if it's going to be straight- running for, you know, 10, 15, 20 minutes period of time, or you know, if there are hours and hours and hours of audio and videotapes that were logged, and they're just going to use what they see as the most relevant, or you know, the most damning admissions or most substantive admissions. I just don't know, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you able to describe to us, you know, who is the — who was the one who gained the confidence of Joran? Was it a friend, a teacher?
KELLY: It's my understanding it was a peer, you know, someone in the same age group, someone that, you know, spent time with him and was with him over a period of time.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now our mutual favorite topic, the public prosecutor in Aruba. Have you heard anything about whether or not he has seen the tape, whether he intends to do anything with the tape?
KELLY: It's my understanding he's seen the tape and as a result of the tape, they've gone before an examining judge, an initial judge again. And you know, it's the same thing with this press release today. He sort of talks a little bit in circles, indicating that they're going to keep investigating, you know, take another look at this in light of their other, you know, evidence and make decisions down the road. So I haven't talked to him today, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I'm just going to tease the audience with one other thing, is that John Q. Kelly is now representing the Savio, Kathleen Savio family. And there is giant news, and John's going to probably join us tomorrow night with it, but we're also going to talk a little bit more about it tonight. But it is big. It is big news. So anyway, John, I'm not going to ask you about that tonight, just tease the viewers with it. So thank you, John.
KELLY: See you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: So this breaking news must be rattling one person. At least, that person rattled tonight is probably Joran Van Der Sloot, or is he rattled? Van Der Sloot has been arrested more than once in connection to Holloway's disappearance.
Joran Van Der Sloot's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, joins us live in New York. Joe, I know you're going to say that your client is not rattled, but I — you know, if someone said, I have a tape of you, even if I hadn't done anything wrong, I'd be rattled.
JOE TACOPINA, JORAN VAN DER SLOOT'S ATTORNEY: Well, you know, maybe - - I'm sure — you know, rattled — he's been arrested twice, detained without charges and subsequently released. So you know, I'm sure there is a sense of being concerned that this is going to happen again, Greta. But you know, I think the prosecutor in Aruba should concentrate more on doing an investigation instead of giving these ridiculous press releases that say much to do about nothing.
You know, they have new evidence maybe — maybe, I have it in front of me — that may impact the investigation, that may have some value, but we can't tell you what you it is.
Put this down. Stop writing press releases and do an investigation. Let's see what happens on Sunday. What I will tell you is this. There is nothing that could come out of this episode on Sunday that's going to convince me, my investigators or anyone with intimate knowledge of this case that Joran had anything to do with Natalee's disappearance.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, stop for a second. Now, you know that I've spent time with your client.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have said in the past, after spending time with him, that I am, quote, "inclined to believe him."
VAN SUSTEREN: I didn't say that I was 100 percent because I figure he could have lied to me...
TACOPINA: Like, 99, you said, I think.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes. I mean, I was inclined to believe him. However, if there is a tape in which he gives details that only the killer could know and that could be corroborated with any sort of physical evidence, that it wasn't sort of, you know, something fanciful, I'll tell you one thing, my "inclined to believe" would be quickly lifted because...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... you know, that tape is — could be huge.
TACOPINA: Oh, it could be huge. And we're talk in these hypothetical sentences. But remember this. You know, this prosecutor — and I don't know if you know this, but this prosecutor, Greta, had this tape over a week ago, OK? This didn't just happen today. The reason this prosecutor came out with a press release today is because De Vries, or whatever his name is, put this on his Web site that he was doing a show on Sunday, so...
VAN SUSTEREN: And we started calling.
TACOPINA: Right And today the prosecutors released — if you read the wording of his press release, he was very careful to say they are not sure of the value of this. Now, if they had this tape for a week and they're still today not sure of the value, let's not hold our breath. We've been there before. We've done that. And before we get too exercised here, let's let it play — you know, play the part of being investigated. Let the tape come out, and let's see what it says.
Now, again, there's context and things that are maybe out of context. And I think before — you know, and I've spoken Joran. I've spoken to his parents tonight. They've spoken to Hans Mos. And there is no concern that this is going to lead to a revelation that's going to inculpate Joran Van Der Sloot. So that's not the issue.
VAN SUSTEREN: And have you spoken to Joran?
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. And did you say, Hey, Joran, guess what? I just heard there's a tape of you?
TACOPINA: You know, we had a conversation, Greta, but I...
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And — and...
TACOPINA: ... as a former attorney, I'm sure you know that attorney- client privilege thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, come on. I mean — I mean, there is nothing — there's nothing privileged...
TACOPINA: The confidence has not been shaken.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... about what you say. There's nothing privileged, what you say to him. It's what he says. Did you tell him, Hey, Joran, guess what...
TACOPINA: Oh, really?
VAN SUSTEREN: ... there's a tape?
TACOPINA: Thanks, counselor. No, I'm not going to go into my conversation with the client. What I will tell you is this. I walk out of that conversation and tell you that I'm as determined as ever to stand here and tell you that he had nothing to do with the disappearance. There's nothing...
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, Joe? Joe, I'd — I'd say the same thing. I mean, I know the...
TACOPINA: You know, Greta...
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm asking you — I'm asking you (INAUDIBLE)
TACOPINA: I wouldn't say the same thing. I wouldn't be here tonight if I didn't believe that. I wouldn't say the same thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I — I would.
TACOPINA: I wouldn't be here if I didn't...
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you kidding?
VAN SUSTEREN: A good lawyer should be able to defend his client. What I'm asking you is, you know, what does this tape say? What are the circumstances under which the tape was made? Those are — you know, that's the important part, and whether or not it can be corroborated by any physical evidence.
TACOPINA: That's exactly the key. And the prosecutors had this tape for a week, and they are not sure that this has any value to their investigation. They have not sought permission to rearrest Joran or anything like that. So all I'd say, Greta, is I certainly haven't heard it. I don't know, and I'm not going to sit here and speculate, like — you know, about what the value of this tape is. Let's see what happens. I'll be here on Monday, if you need me, and we'll...
VAN SUSTEREN: Good (INAUDIBLE)
TACOPINA: ... chat a little bit more.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the fact that he hasn't made an arrest can cut either way. Either, one, he's learned his lesson that maybe he ought to investigate first...
TACOPINA: Oh, there's a good idea.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... not like what happened in December, or it means that there's absolutely nothing there. I mean, those are the two choices.
TACOPINA: That's it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. See you Monday, Joe.
TACOPINA: See you.
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