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Guests: Lisa Pinto, Kimberly Lerner, Rosemarie Arnold, Julia Renfro, Scott Palmer, Dave Johnson, Edgar Prado

LAUREN LAKE, GUEST HOST: Good evening, everybody. I’m Lauren Lake.

Rita Cosby has the night off.

Tonight, could it finally be the break Natalee’s family has been hoping for? A new suspect under arrest with links to both Natalee and Joran van der Sloot. We will head to Aruba for the latest.

Plus, an NBC News exclusive-Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry, unplugged, opening up about their lives and how the heirs to the throne keep their father hip.

But, first, a LIVE & DIRECT exclusive-a nation riveted and rooting tonight for an underdog, a fragile champion who has a 50-50 chance of survival, Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. The horse suffered a catastrophic injury at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, breaking his leg in three places. In just 12 seconds, his career was over.

Surgeons performed five hours of surgery, inserting 23 screws and a compression plate in his leg, to save his life. And although his demeanor has been described as frisky after the surgery, doctors remain cautiously optimistic.


DAVE JOHNSON, RACETRACK ANNOUNCER: Barbaro has pulled up! Barbaro is out of it. Barbaro-there’s, oh, trouble. And he has-oh, he-he-it’s his right hind leg that he is favoring. And Barbaro is out of it.




MEDICINE: The report was that the skin was not broken at the time of the injury.


LAKE: Joining me now in his first live television interview since the accident is Barbaro’s jockey, Edgar Prado.

Edgar, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Like millions of others, I’m praying for Barbaro, that he survives this.

Tell me, how is he doing tonight?

EDGAR PRADO, BARBARO’S JOCKEY: Well, thank you very much for this opportunity.

I’m very devastated about the whole situation. And all-well, we can just pray for Barbaro’s speedy recovery and hope he can make it.

LAKE: I know he’s like family to you, Edgar. I know that. When will you get a chance to see him? And how do you anticipate feeling when you see him?

PRADO: Well, I’m trying to go and see him as soon as I can. I have been flying, doing some traveling, but I will probably be there Friday or Thursday, and try to spend some time with him.

LAKE: Well, I want to run the clip of the race. It’s amazing. And, as we look at that, Edgar, if you could just explain to us, what were you thinking when this was happening?

PRADO: It is like a bad dream. Unfortunately, that’s part of racing.

And this is the bad-bad part of the racing.

But he-I was very excited to see Barbaro run Saturday. He was feeling so great in the post parade. He was ready to run his race.

And as soon as he hear a little noise before the start of the race, he broke through. But, because he was feeling so good, he was ready to do his business. And when the-when the gates opened, he-at the gates, he took a bad step or something. I hear something. And I didn’t take no chances. I just wanted to pull up and be sure that he was OK.

LAKE: Understood.

Let’s listen to a little bit of the race right now.


ANNOUNCER: Barbaro has pulled up! Barbaro is out of it. Barbaro-there’s, oh, trouble. And he has-oh, he-he-it’s his right hind leg that he is favoring. And Barbaro is out of it. Tragedy on the first turn.


LAKE: Wow.

Edgar, I can imagine, in a situation like that, you are trying to save the horse. You are trying to save yourself. What are you thinking in that moment? How are you balancing the interests? Are you trying to not get hurt yourself? Or are you only thinking about the horse?

PRADO: Definitely, I was thinking more about the horse than anything else.

He was not really at full speed or full run, yes, at the time. And I tried to pull him up pretty much pretty straight, and try to relieve the pressure on my body on top of him. I jumped-I jumped off the horse right away and tried to comfort him.

But I think the damage was already done, you know?

LAKE: What?

PRADO: Barbaro is such an athletic-athletic horse, and a very nice horse. He is-he realized that something was wrong. And he didn’t put no resistance or any fight. So, he was a very smart horse.


You said, Edgar, you tried to comfort him. What did you do to try to comfort Barbaro at that time?

PRADO: I just-I just jumping-and I pull the reins and stood up in front of him and-until somebody come and help me out, you know? That’s the best thing that we can do.

At the time, he was still in shock. And I was in very shock myself.

So, I could not believe what I was seeing at the time.

LAKE: Well, that’s perfectly understandable.

I want to go back to one thing you spoke about earlier. You said that there was a false start, that Barbaro got out before the race even started. Why do horses do that? What-what do you think happened? And do you think that contributed to his injury?

PRADO: I don’t think that contributed to-to the injury, because Barbaro was feeling so good in the post parade. He was jumping out of his skin. He was-he was ready to do his business, you know?

And I was very comfortable about it. I was just ready to (INAUDIBLE) to start the race. When the last horse get into the gate, he hear a noise, and he thought it was time to go. He kind of push the doors. And the door opened. And I thought it was nothing major. I took my time and check everything. And he seemed like he was fine.

I don’t think that was part of no-contributed-contribute to the horse’s injuries…


PRADO: … in this particular case.

LAKE: I understand.

Well, Edgar, we know that you are a very charitable man. We know that you support the Belmont Child Care Association’s Anna House at Belmont Park.

PRADO: Yes. Yes, I do.

LAKE: Tell us about that charity. And why is it important to you?

PRADO: Oh, it’s very important, and I’m very proud to be part of Belmont racing, you know, and they took this particular action.

And I hope many of the-all the race track follow this action to is

it’s very nice for the kids and the people help horse racing going day and day, year after year.

LAKE: That’s wonderful.

PRADO: And it’s some minimum-the minimum that we’re giving back to them.

LAKE: That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful.

When will you be going to see Barbaro? When will you visit him?

PRADO: I hope, if everything goes OK, Friday. I be-stop by on Friday. I will jump in the car and drive to Pennsylvania. It’s about a three-hours drive.

LAKE: Great.

PRADO: So, I want to take my time to do that.

LAKE: Edgar, please, give our love to Barbaro. His fans, all of us, are out there rooting for him. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

PRADO: Thank you.

And, everybody, just keep praying.

LAKE: Thank you so much.

Let’s play the unbelievable events of Saturday’s Preakness again.

This is what thousands witnessed.


ANNOUNCER: Barbaro has pulled up! Barbaro is out of it. Barbaro-there’s, oh, trouble. And he has-oh, he-he-it’s his right hind leg that he is favoring. And Barbaro is out of it. Tragedy on the first turn.


LAKE: That was racetrack announcer Dave Johnson. He called Saturday’s race. He joins me live and direct from New York. Also joining me here in the studio, equine veterinarian Scott Palmer. He was at the race and put a splint on Barbaro’s leg.

Thank you both for being here.

Dave, let’s start with you.

Have you ever seen anything like this in the 35 years you have been covering races?

Well, unfortunately, I have. And, immediately, my thoughts went back to July of 1975, and when Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure were in a match race. Ruffian had a broken leg on the back stretch. This happened right in front of us. I was doing the call for the radio for Westwood One. And it was a lot closer this time. But these things do happen. They just happened at a great stage and at a great race.

LAKE: Well, what everybody wants to know, I think, is what is going to happen to Barbaro if he recovers. What’s next for him?

JOHNSON: Well, his racing career is over, Lauren.

And what we’re doing is praying and hoping that he has a life. And, if he does get through this, he could have a stud career. So, just keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer.

LAKE: OK, well, Dr. Palmer, let me bring you in. Now, you were at the race. You were a guest of Michael Matz, Barbaro trainer. Am I correct?


LAKE: And you saw everything. Put us there at the scene. What happened? What did you see?

PALMER: Well, when he came out of the gate the first time, we all thought, what’s wrong? And we were startled, and upset and concerned about what significance that might have for the horse when the race finally started.

And then when he came down past the finish line for the first time, the first part of the race, you could see his leg was off at an angle, and it was pretty obvious that he had a serious injury at that point.

LAKE: And, then, at that moment, what did you do? You came down out of the stands to help?

PALMER: Well, because of the security there and the crowds at the racetrack, it was not possible to go right down the stairs from the jockeys room, where I was watching the race, to go on the track immediately.

But, as soon as the horse was vanned back to his stable area, Mike had called me and asked me to come back and help out. And I was working with a team of veterinarians back there to help splint the leg and to protect it from further injury. And I have had an opportunity to review the radiographs and look at the fracture, and then give advice to Mike and to the Jacksons about what was best to do.

LAKE: And I hear you also rode in the ambulance on the way to the hospital?

PALMER: Initially, we did, because we couldn’t get out of the racetrack because of the crowd. So, it was necessary to do that.

LAKE: What was that like? I mean, what was Barbaro acting like?

What was his demeanor like? Did you think he would even make it?

PALMER: Well, he’s a very smart horse.

I describe his personality as aggressive, a little bit playful, but a real smart horse. And he was very well behaved when we were putting the splint on his leg. And he was extremely well behaved in the ambulance. And the guys that were driving the ambulance did a wonderful job of taking care not to upset him along the way.

And he had a police escort, so there were a lot of good things that happened to help get him to the hospital.

LAKE: And, so, now, while he’s being treated, what’s the treatment program? What are they going to be taking him through to try to get him well?

PALMER: Well, Dr. Richardson really did an epic job of repairing the fracture on Sunday afternoon. And, you know, that was the first major step in repairing the horse. And, at this point, you know, he’s getting intensive care, good nursing care around the clock, and watching him for signs of infection or signs of discomfort in the leg.

And, so, the next 72 hours are important.


PALMER: And, in about a week, they will probably take another look at him, in terms of maybe changing his cast. And we have got probably a couple of months, though, before we will able to say that he’s really out of woods.

LAKE: Great. Thank you so much.

Dave, let me bring you back in here. Why is this so much more than a sports story? Why is the nation fascinated by this story about this horse?

JOHNSON: Well, Lauren, I think one of the reasons is because there’s a lot of heroes to this story.

First of all, Michael Matz was a hero before he ever trained a horse. He saved three kids in a plane crash in 1989. He won the silver medal on the Olympics. So, he was a bona fide hero before he ever threw on a saddle on Barbaro.


LAKE: That was a Sioux City, Iowa, plane crash?

JOHNSON: Exactly.


JOHNSON: In which 112 people died.

But then we have got Edgar Prado, a hero on the racetrack, because he was able, really, to save this horse. If this horse would have run away of if he wouldn’t have been on top of him and not have been able to save him, I mean, God knows. They probably would have had to put him down on the track.

The guys in the ambulance, and this wonderful team of equine surgeons that took care of him-so, you have got all those heroes. And then you have got the hero of the Kentucky Derby himself, this great horse, Barbaro.

I think all of that goes with the idea that this is a beautiful creature, maybe the greatest that God created. And we’re just hoping for his life.

LAKE: OK. Well, doctors say that Barbaro is doing well right now.

I want to play a clip of what Dr. Dean Richardson had to say.


RICHARDSON: At this very moment, is extremely comfortable on the leg.

He practically jogged back to his stall. He pulled us back to his stall.

So, right now, he’s very happy. He’s eating. Things right now are good.



Doctor, I have to know this. They are saying that he’s doing well. They are saying he’s frisky. He seems all right. Why is there only a 50-50 chance?

PALMER: This really was a catastrophic fracture, Lauren. And it’s the kind of fracture that many of us see in different components.

But he had three different types of fractures all on the same part of his body. It makes it extremely difficult to support that limb. And Dr. Richardson did a wonderful job of repairing the fracture. But the horse’s healing process is-is a challenge.

LAKE: Well, thank you so much. Thank you both for being here tonight.

We will definitely be following this story. And we’re rooting for you.

Everyone, please, stay with me.

Coming up, America’s hurricane zone-will this season be as bad as last year’s? We’re headed live to Miami to check in with MSNBC’s chief meteorologist, Sean McLaughlin.

And that’s not all we have ahead. Take a look.


LAKE (voice-over): Still ahead: a new arrest in the Natalee Holloway case, as people grill one of Joran van der Sloot’s friends. What’s the suspect’s connection to Natalee? And is it the breakthrough Natalee’s family has been waiting for?

Plus, an NBC News exclusive-Prince Charles and his sons sit down for their first interview together.

PRINCE CHARLES: Silly old father, get on with it, you know, the usual thing.

LAKE: It’s a side of the royal family you have never seen before.

And you won’t believe what they have in common with 50 million Americans.

PRINCE HARRY: He won’t admit it, but we did both watch it, especially the American pop “Idol.”

LAKE: And speaking of “Idol,” only two days and two contestants left. Will Taylor dance his way to victory, or will viewers sent Katharine over the rainbow?

“Idol” favorite Constantine joins us with his pick-that’s ahead,





GERARD SPONG, ATTORNEY FOR GUIDO WEVER: My client, Guido, is indicted of murder and manslaughter. And it’s a serious indictment, of course.


LAKE: Another dramatic development in the search for Natalee Holloway tonight; 19-year-old Guido Wever is now behind bars in the Netherlands for a possible link to the teen’s disappearance.

The friend of primary suspect Joran van der Sloot is scheduled to go before a Dutch judge tomorrow. Natalee’s mother is applauding authorities for making another arrest in the case.


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY: Activity in the case is good. And, you know, an arrest is better than none. So, you know, we just are going to be hopeful that maybe, maybe, maybe this individual could have some information.


LAKE: With us on the phone tonight from Aruba, Julia Renfro with the “Aruba Today” newspaper.

Julia, thank you so much for joining us.

What can you tell us about this Guido Wever? How is he linked to the case?

JULIA RENFRO, EDITOR IN CHIEF, “ARUBA TODAY”: Well, we are in a situation tonight where the lawyer, which I heard you had a small video clip from him earlier, had mentioned that he was indicted.

I’m afraid that that’s just a translation error from Dutch to English, because he’s not indicted. He has not been charged. He’s only been detained.


RENFRO: And it is our understanding from the lawyer himself that he will be released from detention tomorrow.

LAKE: Oh, really, released so soon?

RENFRO: Yes. And-well, he’s-he’s actually been detained for more than six days. He was arrested last-or detained last Wednesday.


LAKE: Well, I thought he was going to be in court tomorrow?


LAKE: So, he will be in…

RENFRO: And our understanding from-directly from the lawyer of the young man, that he will be released.

LAKE: So, he will be released. But he will have to go to court tomorrow, still; am I correct?

RENFRO: Yes, he will.

And, of course, this will not release him from being a suspect, suspect for the same reasons that he has been basically charged with. And that’s the assistance in basically the same thing that the other suspects have been charged with.

LAKE: Right.

OK. Julia, let’s get to the meat of the arrest here now. What can you tell me? How well does this Guido know Joran?

RENFRO: Well, we do know that they are acquaintances.

And-but it’s not necessarily the-that might not be the reason why he was detained. It very well could be the fact that he works at the casino that Natalee was, you know, last in, as well as working in the hotel, in the resort where she was staying.


RENFRO: So, we don’t know his exact relationship.

It could be a coincidence either way, whether or not it’s her-or her knowing this young man or possibly just being a relationship with Joran.

LAKE: Well, Julia, thank you so much for joining us. I know you are going to keep us posted. We really appreciate you filling us in.

Live and direct right now is Joran van der Sloot’s American co-counsel, Rosemarie Arnold.

Rosemarie, thank you so much for joining us tonight.


LAKE: OK. We have got to know. Now, tell us about Joran’s relationship with Guido. Are they a friendly pair? I mean, I’m trying to get to the bottom of this. Do they really even know each other?

ARNOLD: Joran and Guido know each other. They are casual acquaintances.

They met at tennis school. They have the same coach. They have been together in social settings in Aruba. It’s a very small place. But they’re not good friends. They are acquaintances.


Have you spoken to Joran since this arrest? What was he saying? What did he feel about Guido being arrested?

ARNOLD: Well, yes, I have spoken to Joran. Obviously, I can’t divulge to you everything he says.

But I think that since he’s the ninth person that has been arrested in this case, Joran was not convinced that he had done anything. As a matter of fact, I don’t think he thought he did. And, as I am getting word from our investigators in Aruba, Guido is going to be released tomorrow, because, after being questioned for six days, they don’t have any reason to hold him.

LAKE: He’s going to be released tomorrow, because, again, they don’t have enough info to hold him. I thought he was supposed to be in court tomorrow.

ARNOLD: He’s supposed to be in court tomorrow to-for the judge to determine whether or not they were going to hold him.

But I understand they have already determined that they are going to release him. Why they don’t release him tonight is beyond me.

LAKE: Amazing.

Well, I mean, tell us, why do you think prosecutors were even zeroing in on this guy any way? I mean, wasn’t he questioned way back in the beginning of the investigation anyway?

ARNOLD: In June, for five hours, he was questioned. I have absolutely no idea why they would reinvent this. They have done it in the past. And it’s the same reason why, a year this has happened, they are releasing composite sketches of people who we know assaulted women on the beach within days of Natalee’s disappearance.

It just goes back to the way the investigation was handled from the very beginning.

LAKE: And, Rosemarie, they are saying he was an accomplice. In other words, he was not even the principal. They are saying he helped someone.

How do you think that affects the case they are trying to build with Joran? Does that-think that it makes him look even more like a suspect, even more guilty, because they’re saying that this guy is not the primary perpetrator, but an accomplice?

ARNOLD: No, I think that it makes him look less guilty, because I think they brought this guy in with nothing more than they knew last June.

And they held him for questioning for six days. I understand he has final exams to take in the morning that this incarceration that he’s been put through has really put a damper on. And, after six days of questioning him again, they are releasing him, because they haven’t gotten any closer to-sadly, any closer to what happened, to the truth about what happened to Natalee.

LAKE: Wow. That’s amazing.

Well, Rosemarie, we thank you so much for joining us tonight. And I’m sure we will be talking to you further about this matter. Thank you so much.

ARNOLD: Thank you.

LAKE: So, just what is going on in the Holloway investigation? And what can we expect at the court hearing tomorrow?

Live and direct tonight are former prosecutor Lisa Pinto and criminal defense attorney Kimberly Lerner.

Welcome, ladies. Thank you so much for being here.

Now, Kimberly, let me just ask you something first. OK. It’s been a year. Now we have got Guido Wever. Is this the break we have been waiting for?


I think Aruban officials are grasping at straws. I think, if you think about the fact that we have had nine arrests for a murder that we don’t even know was committed-we don’t have a body.

LAKE: Right.


LERNER: We don’t have physical evidence.

LAKE: And, Kimberly, the part that is getting me is that now we have just learned he’s going to be released before he even has to go to court. What do you think is going on with that?

LERNER: I think it’s called a fishing expedition.


LERNER: I think there’s a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of media pressure. And with the year anniversary approaching, it’s called-on the heels of the last release, they were hoping, you know, throw everything against the wall and hope something sticks.

LAKE: Well, Lisa, let me bring you in right now.

I want to play something for you. This is what Guido’s attorney is saying about his client’s previous contact with investigators. Take a listen and let me know what you think.


SPONG: He was a witness in June last year, after days Natalee disappeared. And, since February of this year, he is now a suspect.


LAKE: Lisa, now, what do you think? Did they just move too slowly?

I mean, come on.

LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Lauren, Lauren, you can cut my mike. You’re sitting in the hot seat. I can’t even fight with you tonight, can I?


LAKE: Lisa, isn’t this funny?


LAKE: Try to fight with me, buddy.

PINTO: Congratulations.

Listen, my friend, these Keystone Cops have not-have done the most ridiculous job with this investigation. A year ago, June 1, the day after Natalee disappears, oh, he flies away from the island and nobody thinks to question him then. It’s a little too late now, a year later, to decide that you are going to hold him for six days and try to beat a confession out of him.

Ain’t nothing happening in this case. He doesn’t even have to go to court tomorrow, my friend, because the prosecutor has agreed to cancel the equivalent of what we would call a probable cause hearing. He doesn’t even have to show. He gets to take his exams, live his life. This is not a case going that is anywhere, Lauren.

LAKE: So, you don’t think-you-are you losing hope, Lisa? Am I hearing you correctly?

PINTO: Well…

LAKE: You are actually losing hope on-or just the Guido case or the case as a whole?


PINTO: No, wait a minute.

I would go back to Mr. Tacopina’s client, Joran van der Sloot, remember?


PINTO: The guy that was the last one seen with the young lady, the guy that admitted he had sex with her on the beach, the guy whose story changed three times in regards to his relationship with her, that’s where I would have been focusing my attention. Even if he was a judge’s son, I would have executed a search warrant. I would have questioned him right then and there, instead of arresting two poor black men who did nothing wrong.


LAKE: OK, now, yes, you know I agree with you on the black men.

But, you know, you are making my defense attorney nerve twitch a little bit.


LAKE: And, Kimberly, I need you to get her for me tonight.

Now, what do you think here? Do you think this case is going anywhere in reference to Joe Tacopina’s client, Joran, as well?

LERNER: I think everything comes back to Joran.

I think, you know, they are focusing on the fact that this kid knew Joran. I think they are looking at him as a possible accomplice. Again, I think they have a lot of information that we do not have. I think there have been nine…

PINTO: Wait a minute. If they have so much information, why is he walking the walk tomorrow morning, instead of sitting in a jail cell or appearing before a judge and hearing the evidence against him?

They have nothing, my friend. They have to let him go.


PINTO: These cops cannot interrogate a psycho killer. They don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know how to run an investigation.

LERNER: I agree with you. I think they are trying to get them to turn on each other.

The problem is, in Aruba, with that word suspect hanging over your head, until a judge formally clears you, you have to…


LAKE: Ladies, I give it for you for the girl power tonight, but I got to run-compelling arguments on both sides. We will see what happens in court tomorrow.

Well, still ahead, are we in for another record-breaking hurricane season? This year’s forecast is out, and it’s not good. We’re going live to Miami to get the latest.

Plus, when you think of the royal family, you may think pomp and

pageantry, but we’re going to show you a side of Prince Charles and his

sons that you haven’t seen before. We have got a rare interview with them

next on LIVE & DIRECT.


LAKE: The British royals admit they love reality TV. And that’s not all. In their very first television interview together, Prince Charles and his sons, William and Harry, dished about everything from their taste in music to playing polo. The three princes sat down with two popular English TV hosts to give the public a rare look into their daily royal lives. It’s NBC exclusive and TODAY’s Katie Couric has more.


KATIE COURIC, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It’s a rare look at the three men who would be king. All three princes of Wales opening up about their lives and how sons keep their father hip.

PRINCE CHARLES, PRICNE OF WALES: I enjoy the jazz (inaudible) but these two play the stuff downstairs, just like .

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houses up and down the country. Turn that racket down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, how important are William and Harry in keeping you in touch with what’s relevant today and what’s .

PRINCE CHARLES: Well, I’m sure they think they are very important. Well, they are very good at keeping me in touch with what’s going on a bit, particularly on the music front and things like that. I can’t keep up with all of the different new bands and everything else that bump up on the scene.

COURIC: In a lighthearted interview with British TV personalities known as Deck and Ant, the young royals say they are most like other 20-somethings. I think they are big fans of “American Idol”.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He won’t admit it but we did both watch it.

Especially the American pop idol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn’t so good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (inaudible) were so good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you guys got the same sense of humor? You watch the same comedy programs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, we like the same sort of things, although there’s usually an argument over the remote control, who watches what.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Friends” is always a safe bet.

COURIC: How about the cooking skills of two of the most eligible bachelors in the world?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I’ve done a bit at university. When I was at university I had to feed my flat mates which is quite a lot. But I was never very good. But it’s important, an important skill to master and I have a long way to go yet before I get (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harry you are not so good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Better than him!

COURIC: This rare glimpse of royal life is going to highlight the 30th anniversary celebration of the Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles to help the underprivileged which included a star studded benefit concert with performances by the Bee-Gees and Ozzy Osborne.

PRINCE CHARLES: I find that these programs that we started for people just helps develop abilities, you know, and suddenly, people you know, who have been offenders can be completely transformed, much to everybody’s amazement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Helps kick start their lives?

PRINCE CHARLES: Right, so, I think that it’s an investment in the future.

COURIC: But when the future of their sporting life comes up, in the royals’ case, their passion for polo, it’s Prince Charles, who, like a lot of dads, has come to admit he no longer can keep up with his boys.

PRINCE CHARLES: The last time I played with them, in a tournament, we really wanted to win. And I get this stuff, you know, shouting at me, silly old father, get on it, usual thing. And I was trying too hard. And I had to turn the pony very fast. And the next thing, the pony came down sideways and I must have landed absolutely smack on my head. Anyway, completely fooled me. And he said, papa is just snoring, he says. There I was busily swallowing my tire (ph), I thought I’d died.

You remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember that very well. Get up!

PRINCE CHARLES: And I was taken of in an ambulance. That was the last time I played with them. The pressure was to great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we won the game.


LAKE: Let me now bring in royals commentator, Richard Mineards. Richard, thank you so much for joining us tonight. What do you make of this rare interview?

RICHARD MINEARDS, ROYALS COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it just shows the new royal family. It made for this current age and for years they were mired in the Edwardian era, very stuffy, the British stiff upper lip. And now you have a casual, easy going, very informal, very tactile royal family which is what it should be for the next century. I think with William and Harry and the works very much loved by the younger constituents British subjects and the avowed monarchists, I think we have a stable monarchy for the next 50 years or so.

LAKE: Now, Richard, what do you think about that? Because Prince Charles seemed very hip and relaxes in the interview. We’re not usually used to seeing him like that. He usually seems a bit more stuffy. In the interview he was so relaxed. Is he softened over the years or has he always been this way?

MINEARDS: No, no. I think he’s mellowing with age, at the age of 57. And I think the shadow of Diana is off him now. He’s very happily married with the love of his life, Camilla and he wants to be happy and clearly is very happy.

I’m told by his friends and aides that he’s the mellowest that they have seen him in years. He doesn’t have any drawbacks or reservations. He’s very easygoing. I think the kids help him immeasurably.

And this is the new look of the royal family and think it bodes very well for their success in the future. As you well know back in 1997, with the tragic death of Diana, a ripple of republicanism nearly became a tidal wave and they were very much saved by the queen speaking to the public.

But I think with William and Harry in the works, I think the royal family’s success session for the next century is pretty much assured.

LAKE: Richard, you mentioned Diana and Camilla and they didn’t mention either of them in this interview. Any ideas as to why?

MINEARDS: I’m sure that was very much a subject that was totally out of bounds because it would have been controversial. This was really a very trite, softball interview where they talked about their likes and dislikes. Particularly with television. And I do know for a fact that Prince William is a great fact of “Desperate Housewives,” I suppose Wisteria Lane is very much like the travail of the Windsor Castle.

But woe betide you actually organize an engagement that clashes with him watching “Desperate Housewives” on a Wednesday night when it’s showing in Britain.

So, this is the new look royalty and I think it bodes very well for their futures.

LAKE: Well, speaking of housewives, I hear there are girlfriends in the picture. I hear that William is dating a young lady, Kate Middleton, and the Harry even has a girlfriend, Chelsea Davie. What’s going on with that? Are there any wedding bells maybe for William in the near future?

MINEARDS: Well, I wouldn’t say no on that one. He’s been going out with Kate Middleton for three years. They were students together at Saint Andrews University in Scotland. They both graduated earlier this year. They are pretty much living together at Clarence House. Prince Charles’ London home.

And recently they went down to Caribbean island of Mustique and took a house together, living in sin, if you will. William has said he didn’t think he would want to get married until he’s 28. But fast forward, he’s 24 next month. Clearly this relationship is very solid, very stable which is most important. They know their peculiarities, they know their foibles and think that Queen Kate has a very nice ring to it.

LAKE: Well, Richard that was great information and I enjoyed talking to you, tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. I have got to run, though.

Well, there’s a lot coming up here on MSNBC tonight. Let’s check in with Tucker Carlson now with a preview. Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON: Hey, Lauren. Thanks.

We’re live in Las Vegas tonight. Ray Nagin wins the mayorship again in New Orleans. We’ll tell you how that happened. The Dixie Chicks attack President Bush again. Is it a political statement or a means to sell an album? And a seven-year-old swims from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. He escapes. We’re bring you details on that. It’s going to be a great show.

LAKE: All right. We’re looking forward to it.

Still ahead, the royals aren’t the only ones obsessed with “American Idol.” We’re going to look at who’s going to win this week’s big finale and we’ll be joined by former “Idol” favorite Constantine Maroulis.

Plus, last year brought us Katrina and Rita so what big name hurricanes are in store for us this year? We’ll tell you coming up on LIVE & DIRECT.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor, for me, that was so far and away, your best performance so far.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done, Randy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He’s happy! He’s happy!


LAKE: Well, even Simon Cowell likes Taylor’s chances of winning “American Idol,” but can the silver-haired singer beat his competitor, Catherine McPhee (ph)? Joining us now is former “Idol” contestant Constantine Maroulis.

Constantine, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Well, come clean now.


LAKE: Now, come clean now – our pleasure-what’s your prediction?

Come clean? Who do you think is going to take it?

MAROULIS: Wow! I’m not really sure. It’s been a close competition up until now. I don’t think anybody has just stepped up to just run away with the thing. Based on the votes last week, I think it will be a very close competition tomorrow night. So, may the best man or woman win.

LAKE: Well, let me give you some online odds we’ve got. Taylor Hicks’ odds are one to two and Catherine’s are nine to five. I’m not a gambler but, what do you think about that?

MAROULIS: I think that’s pretty fair, that’s a fair assessment there. I don’t know. I don’t know. I think that Catherine actually going to be hard to beat tomorrow night, you know, she’s beautiful, she’s got a super voice and I think she’s ready to go. Think that she could sell a lot of albums right now. So I don’t know. I think it’s going to be tough. But Taylor is super, super popular. I think they are both big stars and so I think it was a great year for the show.

LAKE: Let me ask you this, Constantine, everybody was rooting, when I talk to, for Taylor Hicks. Is that sometimes a problem because people feels like they are going to vote for him and they either don’t vote or they vote for someone else? What do you think is the problem when people come out as the frontrunner? Does that end up hurting them in the end?

CONSTANTINE: Well, not to speak about myself, I think that sort of happened a bit last year. They seemed to be pushing me on the show a lot during the early stages and then boom, I was never in the bottom three or anything. I literally free fell off the show. So, I think that it’s just the sort of show that it is. It’s a gamble. It’s hit or miss. It’s what we sign up for. But you know, it’s an amazing competition. It’s a great journey. I wish them all of the best and hopefully everybody will go on to great thinks. It’s such a phenomenon and a great vehicle for undiscovered talents.

LAKE: OK. Well, last week was one of the closest votes in “Idol” history. Let’s take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We said it was close. That’s how the 50 million votes got broken down between the three of you. It doesn’t get any closer than that.


LAKE: No, it doesn’t get any closer than that. So what do you think now?

MAROULIS: No. That’s about as close as it gets.

LAKE: It can’t get any worse than that.

MAROULIS: Well, I don’t know.

LAKE: Go ahead.

MAROULIS: That was interesting. That was very interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about that. But I do think that it’s a close competition. I think that the talent field this year was amazing. I think it was pretty even all throughout it. I don’t think anyone individual was that much better or anymore prepared for the professional world than the next. So maybe I’m not that surprised, I don’t know.

LAKE: Well, let me ask you this.


LAKE: Let me ask you this, Constantine, three out of the last four “American Idol” winners have been women? So what do you think? Are we ready for a male this time? Or do you think the odds are for Catherine because of this?

MOURALIS: I do think that this was the guy’s year. I think last year started out as a guy’s year and then turned into another direction. But Catherine really stepped up in the last couple of weeks. She’s beautiful and very talented. I don’t know. I think that she’s a good shot. We’ll see. I’m a big fan. I’m a big fan of both of them, really. Taylor is a great guy. He knows how to go out there and entertain. He’s got a lot of experience on the stage. So I think that will help him a lot tomorrow night.

LAKE: Well, we’ll all be watching tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate you being here. Our countdown .

MOURALIS: My pleasure, thank you very much.

LAKE: Oh, thanks so much.

Let’s see. Our countdown finding out who is going to be the next “American Idol” heats up tomorrow. And we’ll continue to look at the odds for Taylor versus odds for Catherine and we’ll talk about why we al can’t get enough of “American Idol.”

And still ahead, hurricane season is only a week away and we now know just how bad this year is going to be. We’ll have a live update from the National Hurricane Center, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re on the Atlantic side of Key West right now as the storm surge from Hurricane Wilma is rolling in. At this point, it looks to be about four to five feet high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The backside of Wilma considerably stronger than the front side. I had clocked the winds here at somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 to 50 miles an hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our truck operator, Tom Vare (ph) said don’t you wish you had your weight back? Right about now I do-oh.





LAKE: We won’t forget the 2005 hurricane season, but should we brace ourselves for what’s to come this year? The predictions are, in and the National Hurricane Center says we could see up to six major hurricanes in the upcoming season. We have MSNBC’s chief meteorologist Sean McLaughlin with the very latest from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Sean, thank you so much for joining us tonight. So, tell us, what can we expect this season?

SEAN MCLAUGHLIN, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: Well, I think the banner headline tomorrow in all the nation’s newspapers is, “Get ready for another big year.” In fact, we’re inside the National Hurricane Center inside their operational room. In fact, they cut this room in half. This half of the room deals with the Atlantic season. The other half deals with the pacific season. In fact, the Pacific season has actually already started on May 15.

This seat may look familiar. This is where director Max Mayfield talks to millions of Americans and millions of people worldwide via satellite with the latest hurricane updates. Let’s talk about this year’s upcoming hurricane season. Here are the numbers that was released just today from the U.S. federal government.

We’re expecting 13 to 16 named tropical storms. Eight to 10 of those hurricanes and from those eight to 10 hurricanes, four to six of them could be classified as a Category 3 or higher, otherwise known as major hurricanes, winds in excess of 111 miles an hour.

So, how does that stack up to an average year compared to last year? Well, these are the numbers that really are staggering. In an average year we should only have about 11 named tropical storms. Last year we broke the bank, we had 28 named tropical storms. So many names we had to use the Greek alphabet.

We had six hurricanes. Last year we had 15 hurricanes, six is the average. Only two per year, on average, should turn into major hurricanes, last year we had seven.

So, Lauren, last year was just one for the ages. This year the numbers are obviously down from last year, but make no bones about it, it’s going to be a very, very busy year.

LAKE: Well, Sean, why was it so active last year? What caused all of this?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, actually, the same weather conditions that we had last year are already starting to set up this year. Let me take a page out of Max Mayfield’s playbook and draw on the map here for you. Down here in the Caribbean, we are already seeing the water temperatures above average for this time of year. It’s warmer than normal.

Also, we’re already starting to see the upper-level winds that tend to shear apart these hurricanes that move across this area here in the Gulf. We’re already starting to see they’re weaker than normal, meaning there’s nothing to shear apart these hurricanes and keep them or prevent them from making landfall along the Gulf Coast or up and down the eastern seaboard.

So, get ready for another one. Batten down the hatches. It is going to be another above-normal season.

LAKE: Oh, great. Well, Sean, thank you so much for all that valuable information. We really appreciate you joining us tonight. Still ahead, with just seconds to spare and water rushing in, a dramatic rescue caught on tape. The pictures when we come back.


LAKE: And finally tonight, a dramatic river rescue in California caught on tape. Firefighters risking their lives to save ma man trapped by rushing waters. The man was stranded on a small island in the middle of the Los Angeles River.

Water levels suddenly began to rise after heavy rains this morning. The Los Angeles fire department helicopters, swooped in and lowered an emergency worker to grab the man. The victim was then flown to safety.

That’s LIVE & DIRECT. I’m Lauren Lake filling in for Rita Cosby. THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON starts right now. Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON: Hey Lauren, thanks a lot.

LAKE: Thank you.