‘Rita Cosby Live & Direct’ for December 13, 2005
Steve Cohen discusses the upcoming Aruban delegation’s trip to Washington, DC and the status of Gerold Dompig and Karen Janssen.
COSBY: Well, there is news tonight of a shake-up in the investigation of missing Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway. Two key figures in the case could soon be shown the door, while local police refuse to continue their hunt for clues. Meanwhile, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus will host an Aruban delegation in Washington, D.C., this Friday.
Joining me now to talk about all this latest chaos in the case is Steve Cohen. He’s a special adviser to the Aruban government. Steve, I want to ask you, first of all, why is this delegation coming to the U.S.? What does it hope to achieve?
STEVE COHEN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO ARUBAN GOVERNMENT: Well, the delegation that’s going, it’s basically a courtesy call. When the governor, Governor Riley, imposed this boycott on Aruba, Congressman Bachus said to us, Why don’t you come and visit with me and tell me everything you know about the investigation? So we said, Look, give us a few weeks and we’ll come by and we’ll talk to you about it, and that’s what we’ve done.
COSBY: You know, when you say it’s a courtesy call, is this just sort of a PR game or PR show versus anything of substance?
COHEN: No. No, we’re way past public relations here in the Natalee Holloway case. Everything has to be substantive. We’re going to be giving him everything that we’ve done since the release of the Kalpoes and Joran from the Kia (ph) institution on Labor Day, everything subsequent to that, as well as the first 10 days of the case. So then he can ask us any question he wants. And this is a deep background session, and that’s its purpose.
COSBY: You know, there’ve been some rumors, and a lot of people saying that it looks like the lead prosecutor may be removed in this case. What are you hearing?
COHEN: Well, I’ll tell you exactly what’s happening. The attorney general, Steve Croes, has had conversations with Karin Janssen for the last four to six weeks. They’ve been very serious conversations that go along these lines. What do you have? How quickly are you going to get to the end of this case? And if you’re not going to get there quickly, do I need to remove you? The result of those conversations has been, Give me some more time. We’re going to try to accelerate this as fast as we can.
Now, the AG said to Karin, Look, I believe you, but I’m going to bring in another prosecutor from Curacao to check all of the work that’s been done on the case. And that’s where it is right now.
COSBY: What can this prosecutor do that Karin Janssen hasn’t done after all this time?
COHEN: Well, that’s a good question. I think what this prosecutor does is bring a new set of eyes. This individual can look at everything and say, That was a good pleading. You’ve missed this piece of evidence. You could have been stronger here in front of the judge.
Remember that Janssen went to the judges four to five separate times, held Joran incarcerated and under interrogation for over 85 days. So she did a lot of good work, it’s just that she could never get a judge to give her the OK on the case that she brought forward.
COSBY: Was because of the system of Aruba, or was it the evidence?
What do you think sort of has been her shortcoming?
COHEN: I don’t think there’s much question that the bulk of evidence is not weighty enough or has not been weighty enough, up to the release on Labor Day, to bring a case in terms of the way the Dutch judge is going to look at a case. In the Dutch system, you have to have a preponderance of evidence before it’s present to the judge, versus our system, where the evidence is revealed through the court process.
COSBY: What about the deputy police chief, Gerold Dompig? There’s some word that maybe he might be removed from the case. And he came on my showÃ¢â‚¬”I’m sure you probably heard this, SteveÃ¢â‚¬”came on my show and said, quote, “The Three boys are guilty as hell. I just have to prove it.”
COHEN: I think there’s no question that Gerold is loquacious. He says what’s on his mind.
COSBY: Yes, he certainly does!
COHEN: And he’s a very tough guy. You couldn’t find a more honest
cop anywhere on the planet. But at the same time, he’s been very
frustrated. You know, you spend six months on an investigation, do
everything you can, and then a new prosecutor is brought in. Now, he was -
he took aÃ¢â‚¬”you know, an affront to that. He thought it was a slap in the face. He took a few days off with the cops on his team. I’m happy to say, as of tonight, that he’s back on the case, as is his team. Karin Janssen is instructing them. And my expectation is that there’s going to be an acceleration of efforts, not a deceleration, and we’re going to try to move as quickly as we can towards whatever we can finally come up with that’s either going to bring a case or not.
COSBY: And Steve, you say that Gerold Dompig is an honest guy. He’s come on our show and said that these boys are guilty as hell. Is that the assessment of the Aruban government, as well?
COHEN: No. I think the assessment of the government is that that’s the most likely scenario, but we’ve looked at four or five other scenarios, and every single scenario is being tracked so that we can figure out which one is going to lead us to a case.
COSBY: All right, Steve, thank you very much. We appreciate it.