tv Dateline NBC NBC August 5, 2013 2:00am-3:01am PDT
they were so hungry for fame, they stole it, walking right into celebrity's homes. then waltzing right out with the ultimate goody bag. >> clothing, jewelry, cash, drugs if there were drugs. >> she became the face of it all. >> i'm going to say no. >> but she's never told her full story until now. >> my life was spiraling out of control. it really was. >> tonight, you'll hear some dramatic secret. >> essentially, she was kidnapped. >> and a surprise ending that's way different from hollywood movie "the bling ring." >> i have a different life now. i firmly believe it was the best
thing that ever happened to me. >> i'm lester holt, and this is "dateline." josh mankiewicz with the totally true secrets of the bling ring. welcome to hollywood. the land of the "it" girls and boys, the kingdom that's home to our special breed of american royalty, celebrities. we can't get enough of how they look, who they date, what they wear. for most of us, the fascination ends with reading about them in the tabloids. but one group took all of that to a new level, a criminal level. maybe you've heard of them, the bling ring. at its core, teenagers who apparently cultivated two life skills, breaking and entering. these were kids so obsessed with celebrities, they literally wanted a piece of them, boldly
going into the homes of hollywood's bold faced names. now art is imitating life. >> let's go shopping. >> this all-american tale of envy, greed and the ability to tell gucci from chanel, but not right from wrong is the inspiration for a movie from director sofia copola, with emma thompson as one of the stars. it's even wilder than the movie version. and the real-life story is still going through rewrites. tonight you'll hear it from a young woman who is every bit as glamorous as the star who played her. >> the heartbreaking story of a bunch of young people who were really broken and in a lot of pain. >> and this young man, who was at the center of it all.
>> when you're a teenager, especially today, there's so much pressure. especially in los angeles, i think. >> pressure to, what, look good? have the cool things? >> we like celebrities on tv. >> list of celebrities targeted in a massive burglary ring is growing this morning. >> it all began in october 2008 with a string of burglaries targeting the homes of hollywood stars. >> very violating. it's not about the material things and the things that they took, because that comes and goes. >> lindsay lohan was just one victim on a list that looked like the red carpet at an awards show. paris hilton, orlando bloom, rachel wilson, megan fox and her then boyfriend, now husband, brian austin green. a package mtv's made the list. security camera captured images of the burglars. officer brett goodkin worked hollywood station for the lapd.
>> any time you get real clear surveillance images of suspects committing crime, it always piques your interest. you're going to look closely at these images. do i know these people? >> they were clear. a guy with a ball cap and a girl in a white t-shirt. >> in this case, they both seem like young offenders. >> months later, after other celebrities had been hit, the burglars showed up on a second tape. this time, at lindsay lohan's house. >> we were certain among ourselves anyway that the male white offender in both videos, it was the same guy. but we still doesn't know who he was. >> but now we do know. the burglar in the ball cap was this guy, nick prugo. >> what's it like inside a celebrity's house? >> like you would expect. sterile, beautiful, lot of shiny things. >> he probably doesn't match your mental picture of a serial offender. hugo is from the up dscale subu.
when he started high school, he was lonely, not fitting in, until he made a new friend, rachel li. she was cool. she had nice clothe. >> rachel was one of the first people to be kind of drawn to me and i was drawn to her. she was nice to me. and that was nice, because i didn't really have a lot of friends at the time. >> and it wasn't long, says nick, before his new friend introduced him to a brand new hobby. stealing. it started small, breaking into cars, looking for money and valuables. but it quickly escalated. >> and then it went to a couple regular homes and then celebrity homes. it was kind of like a natural progression, if you call that natural. >> and they walked away with their arms full of celebrity swag. >> clothing, jewelry, cash. drugs if there were drugs. >> was there a perception that celebrities have a lot, are worth a lot, have a lot of
money, get a lot of free things, just kind of doesn't count? >> it's not so much that it didn't count t just seemed that they had so much, they might not care as much or might not notice. >> nick says he friends saw the loot they were hauling home and begged to be part of the action. >> a lot of these people who wanted to be so involved in what rachel and i were doing, pressuring rachel and i to come along on these burglaries and be involved. >> you went from this guy who was kind of like insecure and lonely and didn't have a lot of friends to being sort of -- i don't know, big man on campus? >> yeah, i did. >> just by committing some crimes? >> right. >> then audrina posted that security cam video on the web. nick saw not just himself, but his best friend, rachel. >> i was horrified. i stopped immediately from what we were doing and we waited about a month and a half before we started anything again, after it died down. >> you didn't think maybe i should just stop completely and
not do this anymore? >> of course, we did. and i more so did really want to stop but i had this reassurance from rachel that it's okay, it will blow over. it's fine as long as we're low key. >> it was kind of an adrenaline rush? >> it was an addiction. it really was. >> they hit home after home, some multiple times, lifting clothes, jewelry, expensive makeup. all of it worth an estimated $3 million. but, like most of what hollywood turns out, it didn't last. >> the real break came when stills from those two videos were posted on the internet. people called and said hey, i know who that is. that's nick prugo. >> police arrested prugo. at first he refused to talk but then -- >> my attorney arranged a meeting and he advised me to let the police know everything i knew and that i would have, you
know, some sort of immunity to the whole thing. >> nick told officer goodkin all about rachel li, and he went on to finger more accomplices. one stood out, an 18-year-old beauty named alexis nyers. if the others committed burglary because they wanted to feel like stars, alexis was actually on her way to becoming one. she was already shooting her own reality show on the e! network called "pretty wild." >> lapd. >> what? >> we have a warrant to search your house. >> huh? >> can you shut off the cameras? >> fame and infamy. reality and the real world suddenly collided. >> what alexis nyers says is the truth about the bling ring and what was really going on behind the scenes of that reality show. >> my life was spiraling out of
part caper, part quick stop shopping. they began each heist by choosing the celebrity targets. >> we would pick out the style of celebrity we liked and more or less, we like how they dress, so we're going to go to their house and just, you know, see what we can come up with. >> next, the burglars had to learn when the targeted star's home would be empty. according to nick, that wasn't so hard to figure out. >> we had a lot of access to their schedules because their lives are so public that it was easy to tell when they would be home or they wouldn't be home. >> but how to find the home itself. nick told police that information was just a few clicks away. several websites offered detailed high resolution images that anyone can access. kind of like those star maps that tourists buy on sunset boulevard, only much more accurate and much more useful.
so you can see if there's a pathway up the side of the house or from the next lot or from the next road? >> right. >> so with a target in mind, detailed maps of the home and the knowledge that the owner was away, they had only to make their way inside. surprisingly, that wasn't so hard either. >> a lot of these homes were probably easier to get into than, you know, a regular home down the street from where you and i live. all their alarms were off. they all did have them, but they were all off. >> their first celebrity victim, paris hilton, made things even easier than that. the bling ring burglarized her home multiple times. >> she had a key under her mat. the alarm wasn't set and the door was actually unlocked on several occasions. >> how did you feel when you were inside these homes? >> horrified. completely sweating, scared. you know, i guess the rush came when we had left and we had the stuff and everything was okay. but, you know, when i was in the middle of it, i was just
terrified. >> i look at those tapes. it doesn't look like you're worried about getting caught. >> yeah. you know, i think we just really didn't understand how serious it was. >> exhibit a, his own mug shot. that shirt prugo is wearing rightfully belonged to orlando bloom. >> my whole entire clothing wardrobe was, you know, essentially stolen. >> and then there was the defendant who came to court along with her own makeup artist so she could have a little touch-up before and then after her arraignment. that was alexis neiers, who had been arrested on set of her own reality show "pretty wild" on e! and who, at times, thought her legal troubles was just another subplot. >> hopeful that's not something you'll be wearing any time soon. >> that's not something i will ever be wearing. orange is not my color.
>> she was charged with burglarizing orlando bloom's home n that case there was also security video. officer goodkin took the stand in her preliminary hearing. >> who identified her in the video? >> nick prugo said this was alexis, along with the other burglars at orlando bloom's home, all of them walking backwards to avoid the security cameras. >> seen on the video leaving mr. bloom's property three times, two of which he is visibly holding a large amount of property. >> according to goodkin, police found, in alexis' home, a marc jacobs purse, and a chanel necklace, belonging to lindsay lohan and she gave police a statement admitting to being at bloom's house during a burglary. >> looking at time? >> i highly doubt it. i'm going to say no. >> you're going to say no?
>> i'm going to say no. i'm doing great. thank you for asking. >> all right. >> but when the time came for trial, alexis suddenly decided to make a deal, pleading no contest to first-degree residential burglary. and, once again, it was all captured by the "pretty wild" cameras. >> i realize that i have made some bad choices and, for that, i suffered the consequence. but if buddha could sit under a tree for 40 days, then i can do this. i can do this. >> she was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation. she ended up serving one month. perhaps even worse, her show was canceled after only nine episodes. now she's ready to tell the full story of her involvement with the bling ring. and, as you'll he, she says nothing about that or about her is quite as it seemed. >> my life was spiraling out of control. it really was. it was really bad.
reality starlet alexis neiers had become, in many ways, the symbol of the bling ring, or at least the one with the most face time. >> did you guys see it? >> the only defendant in the case whose arrest was dramatized on her own reality show. >> at first, i was like, is this -- is this the producers playing a trick on us? are they trying to get some extra drama going here? what did we do last night that could have been bad? >> you might think getting arrested was the low point of alexis' life.
but she says she's actually already hit bottom. >> i wasn't living at home with my family. i was living at a best western on franklin and vine, doing drugs every day, all day long. i was panhandling on the streets for drug money. >> it wasn't the life anyone had envisioned for the pretty brunette growing up in the affluent l.a. suburb of oak park. both parents worked in the entertainment industry. mom was a former lingerie model. >> i was definitely not a conventional mother. >> andrea is alexis' mom. >> my daughter grew up with incense burning in the house and buddhas. we practiced yoga together. >> and andrea taught them to follow the law of attraction. you may have heard of it by its more commercial name "the secret," the belief that focusing on positive or negative thoughts brings about a like
result. >> you can help heal your body. you can help create more prosperity in your life or you can bring josh of "dateline" to interview you to get your daughter's truth told. >> alexis' parents divorced when she was 5. she says another relative abused her sexually. >> it made me shut down is what it did. i was smoking cigarettes already by sixth grade, started drinking and it progressed from there. by the time i was in ninth grade, i was doing acid all the time, cocaine, smoking weed. by the time i was 19, i was a full-blown heroin addict. it all happened really fast for me. >> your mom was where during all of this? didn't know what was going on? >> not really. not really. i really manipulated to her and lied to her about a lot of my drinking, using growing up. >> alexis says what drew her to hollywood was not an obsession
with fame and celebrity, but something much more practical. >> i got into the industry doing like odd jobs, modeling, music videos, things like that because it sustained my drug habit. >> and while shooting a low-budget film called "frat party" a producer discovered alexis and her friend, tess, whom alexis thinks of as a sister. >> we started thinking about our crazy, weird life and our mom who was, you know, a fanatic about holistic health care and the secret and all these things. it eventually took off into this reality show. >> "pretty wild" seemed to have all the elements of reality rating gold. two gorgeous and carefree young women party their way through hollywood as eccentric mother, andrea, tries to keep control of it all. >> where are you guys? >> it seemed like life was easy and breezy. >> and the whole sort of darker
side of your life, all the drugs, all the alcohol, all the prescription medications, you sort of squeeze that into the closet? >> yeah, yeah. meanwhile, all of my friends were like, you know, drinking a couple of drinks at the table. i was like downing shots and taking oxy in the bathroom. i took it to another extreme. >> in april 2009, she says, she met nick prugo. what was nick like? >> he was just young and fun. >> fascinated with celebrities? >> i didn't see that, no. >> she says on that fateful night, she and prugo were drinking at the restaurant beso in hollywood when nick got a phone call. >> he said i've got to stop by a girl's house to pick up clothes real quick and we'll head home. i just assumed, okay, no problem. >> alexis said she had no idea the house was actually orlando bloom's. >> he drove up to the house and said i'll be right back.
stay in the car. i'll be back shortly. i didn't even think twice. i said okay. and then after a while, i had to go to the restroom. and so i head up the back trail, which had steps and entered through. and that's when i started to see what was going on and they seemed to be ransacking this house. >> did you take anything from the house? >> no. no. >> did you actually enter orlando bloom's residence? >> uh-uh. >> you were on his property? >> yes. >> but not inside the house? >> no. >> she says she was so drunk, she threw up and urinated on bloom's lawn. >> you did help him carry something off the property? a duffel bag. >> yes. he tossed me the duffel bag. i caught the duffel bag, handed it back to him, ran down the hill and followed him down. you're in a state of shock at that moment. it really felt like it went by so fast. >> you understand that under the
law that is participating in a burglary? >> i would say it's more of like receiving of stolen property. i had no intent to go to that house. you know? i had zero intent to enter that house, knowing that they were committing a burglary. i had no idea. >> but what about those stolen item that is police said were found in her house? like a marc jacobs bag that belonged to rachel bilson? >> i don't know how somebody can say that's my bag. i know that's my bag. there's no serial number that says that's her bag. >> you're maintaining that wasn't stolen material? >> no. >> alexis says she called police a couple of days after the burglary at orlando bloom's house and again when she saw that security video online. >> did you call because you wanted to make sure these burglaries stopped and these people got caught or because you thought you might be on those tapes? >> i called because it was wrong. >> however, alexis admits she never identified herself to
police and apparently hung up before giving much information. and although she says she didn't have intent, she did plead no contest to first-degree residential burglary. and she did serve time. so, case closed. right? maybe not. coming up, turns out the bling wasn't the only thing. new questions about the cop on the case. >> he was perhaps just as hungry for his own 15 minutes of fame as the people he was helping to bring down. [ male announcer ] pearls. hairbands. and now hot pink toes. seems tough for a tough dog like duke. but when it has to do with gwen, he's putty in her hands. for a love this strong, duke's family only feeds him iams. compared to other leading brands, it has 50% more animal protein... ...to help keep his body as strong as a love that can endure any fashion trend. iams. keep love strong.
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let's go shopping. >> the real-life story of the bling ring has inspired a film directed by sofia coppola. the big star in the film is emma thompson, nikki, who plays alexis neiers. there's another actor, making his screen debut who is not exactly a household name. blink and you'll miss him, lapd's brett goodkin, lead investigator on the bling ring case. his tiny role in the movie suddenly became a big deal in the real world. >> he was on set one day, according to sofia, telling her about how this arrest went down at alexis neiers house. >> amy kaufman broke the story. >> she said you would be so great to play the arresting
officer. you know so much about it already. he said why not? maybe flattered by it and threw the cuffs on emma thompson. >> he was paid for his work on the film. >> and he didn't tell the prosecutor's office about his work on the film since three of the bling ring accomplices were still awaiting trial. >> by that time, alexis neiers was already out of jail. rachel lee would serve what would be a little more than a year-long stretch and nick prugo was locked up, awaiting sentencing. three other people were still planning to go to trial and suddenly the arresting officer's involvement in the movie gave prosecutors the same kind of heartburn publicists get when they read tmz. the presiding judge told those defendants, defense counsel should write a thank you letter to officer goodkin for giving you issues you never had before
concerning his credibility. his judgment is as poor as it gets. it's a shame he did what he did. it's harmful to the people's case. the three defendants ended up with plea deals and no additional jail time. much lighter sentences than prosecutors had originally hoped for. the lapd launched an internal investigation into goodkin's involvement with the film. how do you explain officer goodkin's involvement in all of this? he had a reputation as a very solid, thorough, by-the-book guy. >> what's interesting about brett in my perspective is that he was the one who so understood the country's fascination with the bling ring case when it happened that he sort of got the crux of if it, that these kids were so fascinated with paris hilton and kim kardashian and perhaps he was just as hungry for his own 15 minutes of fame as the people he was helping to bring down.
>> when alexis neiers' mother, andrea, got wind of the investigation into goodkin, she saw it as not just a way to open alexis' case, but how to rewrite the process. her mother had developed her own, quite different theory of the crime and who the victim was. >> she was kidnapped, basically, and brought to a location where she observed a burglary taking place. >> andrea believes her daughter was not only a victim of circumstance, but of a corrupt investigation by officer goodkin. for example, she points to this phone log where alexis' name is linked to a cell number that may have pinged off a tower near orlando bloom's home. andrea says that's not alexis' number, never was. why would any police officer risk falsifying evidence and going to jail to get -- >> because he didn't think he was going to get caught.
>> to get a burglary conviction? >> it wasn't just any burglary conviction. it was a burglar conviction that he sat on "dateline" and blew his mouth off about and told the chief of police and his superior officers that he had this thing wrapped up and he didn't think it was ever going to be discovered because who was looking over his shoulder? >> the lapd declined to comment on a pending investigation, but a source close to the prosecution told me ver investigators first thought it did belong to alexis, only to later find out it didn't and it wasn't used against her. they told "date lline" it has n evidence that officer goodkin falsified evidence against alexis neiers or any of the bling ring participants. alexis once worked for isa as a
model. while investigating the bling ring case, she says he sent her inappropriate texts and facebook messages and he says she made a bet with her that alexis was going to jail. >> and if you lost your bet, what happened? >> then he would get to have sex with me, i guess. >> you ever reciprocate any of that flirtation? >> no. >> when "dateline" covered the bling ring case three years ago. >> translated them into becoming very good burglars. >> but he declined to speak on camera for this story, about any of the allegations against him. he did talk to the los angeles times about his involvement with the movie. i wanted to see what sofia was going to do with the story. it's interesting to see how things work in a factory town. and i'm certain i'll never work on a movie again, he said.
and alexis and her mom make one more claim. remember the incriminating videotape from orlando bloom's house? alexis says that can't be her, because she was with jennifer issa that night. although -- and this might seem confusing -- alexis does admit she was at bloom's house the following night, just not on tape. what difference does it make whether that's you in the video since you acknowledge being at the scene of the house when a burglary was being committed? >> that person has intent. they're walking backwards with a hooded sweatshirt over their face. that person has intent to go and burglarize a house. >> that isn't you? >> no. >> remember, police said it was nick who identified alexis on the tape. why would nick prugo lie about that? >> i don't know. i don't know why he has made several of the lies that he has. >> so who is lying? and who is telling the truth? nick's story of that night is coming up.
>> i mean, you're in the home, picking out what you want. >> she did that? she was in there, picking out what she wanted? >> of course. she was there. she was aware. when "dateline" continues. [ female announcer ] introducing new olay fresh effects cleansers. part of a lineup of unstoppable skincare!
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when all was said and done, all of the players in the bling ring pleaded no contest to various charges. nick prugo, the young man at the center of the ring who confessed, hoping to get a plea deal, never got one. he spent a year in jail, quite different from the luxe hollywood homes he once robbed. >> it's a whole other world. i mean, people you meet in there, and the food. and, you know, there's no privacy. and, i mean, you're living with 140 other inmates in a dorm setting. you're sleeping on a steel could the. it's intense. >> and while nick was doing his time, the lapd began its investigation into the lead officer on the bling ring case. which spurred alexis' mom to try to get her daughter's conviction
expunged. >> she is not a felon. she did not intentionally ever burglarize anybody. >> so i sat down with nick prugo to get his version of what happened that night at orlando bloom's house. remember, alexis says they began their night drinking at the upscale restaurant, beso, and that nick later brought her unknowingly and unwillingly to the skocene of a burglary. nick says almost none of that story is true. >> we were never at beso. we were never out really drinking. she was at my house. and then we met up at orlando bloom's and we were just, you know, in our casual sweats and clothes and hats. >> so what she's wearing is not club wear? >> right. >> it's burglar wear? >> if you want to coin that phrase, yeah. burglar wear. >> and wearing her burglar best, nick says alexis was clearly and intentionally there to steal. >> i mean, we made several different trips in and out of that place. and to get to where we were
going, we had to cut through a chain link fence, in which we had to crawl through, in and out several times. that's the thing where i don't understand how she could possibly say she had no idea. if you see somebody cutting through a chain link fence and then you're going to crawl through it and assist with several bags, and you're in the home picking out what you want and -- i mean, i don't understand. >> she did that? she was in there, picking out what she wanted? zblsk. she was there. she was aware. i just don't understand this charade that she keeps trying to prevent as fact. >> furthermore, nick says, alexis' desire to be part of the bling ring started well before that night. remember how he told us that many of his friends begged for a piece of the action? nick says alexis was one of them. >> she saw the fruits of our labor and she wanted those fruits. >> nick says there is no doubt that is alexis on the security camera outside bloom's home. >> alexis says that's not
alexis. >> i was there. i think i would know. >> at the time, nick had his own problem with his drugs and alcohol. but says his memory is sharp and he's telling the truth. >> i mean, i'm not, you know, lying about nichlth especially my involvement. i don't see why i would make that up to throw her under the bus. do you know what i mean? >> alexis and her mother say that's exactly what you're doing, that you kind of have it in for her? >> at the end of the day, these people, they were my friends. i still feel guilty for kind of having throw them under the bus. i did feel a sense of loyalty to these people. and we did have good times together. i still had a lot of great memories with them. so i wouldn't go out to of my way to hurt her or her family. it's just that's what happened. >> she was there? >> right. and that's the truth. people can take that at face value or whatever. >> alexis' mom, andrea, says there's proof of nick's grudge against alexis and that he's playing up her role now. she points to this police report
from 2009 where he seemed to tell a different story. regarding neiers, prugo stated he didn't know if she took any property during the burglary of bloom's residence, reiterating that she only accompanied the crew on a single burglary. >> i don't think she wanted to be in trouble or do anything wrong. >> one of alexis' defense attorneys at the time she was charged. >> i believe if the prosecutor did not have that tape of them walking backwards, they still would have prosecuted alexis and still would have had enough to convict her based on the crime and her statements. >> he says that what got alexis in trouble were her own statements to police, admitting to being at orlando bloom's home, knowing it was during a burglary and helping to carry property off the premises. >> i don't think she understands the type of case that the prosecution was going to put on, confession, crime. that's all they needed. she is focusing on things like
this phone log that she thinks is the linchpin to the case, proving her innocence if that's not her number. it just ain't so. >> the linchpin is the statement in which she essentially admitted to a crime? >> the linchpin is that. >> andrea says rubenstein dropped the ball on this case. he says he worked hard and ultimately recommend aid plea deal that may have saved alexis from doing years in prison. and so maybe the question is not what did alexis neiers do, but who is to blame for it? you have set this up so that this is everybody else's fault. where is your responsibility in this? coming up, one more big surprise from alexis about that bling ring thing. >> i firmly believe that it was the best thing tha
alexis neiers was just 18, star of her own reality show when she suddenly found herself starring in a different show, one that ended its run with her behind bars. >> because of my show, i was made the face of this thing. >> but here is the irony. >> today i firmly believe that it was the best thing that ever happened to me. >> alexis says that behind that sassy facade, she was spiraling down. just months after she left jail, she was arrested again. this time, for violating her probation. police found black tar heroin in her home. >> i really do believe if i didn't have my initial arrest, i wouldn't have had my second arrest. i wouldn't have had the cops raid my house and find the drugs on me. and i wouldn't have had the
opportunity to get sober that i did. >> a judge sentenced her to a year in rehab. >> i remember when i first entered rehab, people literally were like, this girl is never going to make it. she's too far gone. >> but alexis beat the odds and turned her life around. >> i have over 2 1/2 years sober today. i have not had a drink, a drug or a prescription medication in over 2 1/2 years. >> in 2012, she married evan haines, a recovering addict himself. and together, they run two sober living facilities in malibu. in april, alexis gave birth to a daughter, harper elizabeth. >> i love being a mom. she's the light of my life. she really is. >> and while, despite all evidence to the contrary, alexis still insists she was not a part of the bling ring, did not intentionally burglarize orlando bloom's house. she credits everything that happened with saving her life.
>> if these series of events didn't happen, i wouldn't be where i am today. >> alexis says she wants her record expunged so that she can become a licensed substance abuse counselor. but for her mom, the quest seems much more personal. she would be okay if all of this just came to an end and she was able to live her life now as a wife and a mom and somebody who is sober. i mean, i kind of get the feeling that you're more into changing history than she is. >> i absolutely agree with that. >> why? because you feel bad about the way things turned out? because you wish you had been more involved as a parent earlier? >> i feel very bad about the way things turned out. not just for alexis, but for a lot of people. and i feel a sense of guilt and responsibility for the impact that it had on their lives, and i would really like for her name to be cleared. >> you know, you have set this
up so that this is everybody else's fault. detective goodkin is out to get you and falsifies evidence. nick prugo is angry at your daughter. your attorney screwed it up. where is your responsibility in this? your daughter ended up drunk and on drugs at the scene of a burglary. where were you when this was playing out? >> i was doing the best that i coulds a woman who had been a single mom, who was trying to continue to raise her daughter to the best of her ability. >> do you feel any responsibility for how this all happened? >> i definitely feel like i should have been much more involved in her defense. >> how about being more involved in her life before it ever got into a courtroom? >> i think that i was really a great mom. >> regardless of what she says her role was or wasn't when it came to the bling ring, alexis has a newfound perspective on
what drove these kids to steal. >> these kids were young, young. with very little direction in their life. a lot of them had substance abuse issues. a lot of them have had traumatic childhoods. i have a lot of sympathy for the victims. i have a lot of sympathy for the bling ring crew. you know, and i do for myself today, too. >> oh, my gosh. kirsten dunst. >> it put alexis neiers' name back in the news. she and her mom were paid by the movie company for the rights of their story, but alexis says she hopes people will focus on her new story, one of a young woman with a second chance. >> i want the story of alexis neiers, a young girl who had all this trauma growing up and at the end walked out like victorious, strong, empowered, helping other people. you know, for people to have maybe a smidgen of hope, that if
this girl, who was so broken and in so much pain can get better, so can i. >> and perhaps the most delicious part of this story of a snake swallowing its own tail is this. fresh out of jail, nick prugo is taking meetings in hollywood to shop around a possible reality show, starring him. >> i guess i should be congratulating you. a lot of guys come out of jail and they don't really have a plan for how they're going to re-enter society. >> why not use this to, you know, maybe point myself in the right direction? and i think the show will help people. so why not use what i have right now and take advantage of the opportunities? >> taking advantage. it's really kind of how all this began. if the door's open, why not walk through it? go after what you want. make your own rules. that's the kind of initiative they like here in hollywood. that's all for now.
i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. . our key issues and people this sunday -- high alert, an al qaeda terror threat. who is behind the administration's high anxiety? we'll hear from two leading u.s. senators including the top republican on the senate intelligence committee. the snowden affair. russia gives him temporary asylum. how the obama administration is trying to win the debate over privacy versus security. craving the spot light. politicians and personal scandals. what makes them think they should stay in public life? inside on the pursuit of redemmings from our political roundtable including the host of msnbc's "morning joe," joe scarborough. and judgment day. the fate of some of baseball's biggest stars hangs in the balance as they face the prospect of severe penalties over steroid use.
is it enough to restore trust in america's favorite pastime? perspective this morning as i talk with bob costas of nbc sportses. i'm david gregory. all that ahead on "meet the press" this sunday morning, august 4th. >> and good sunday morning. the u.s. is on high alert at this hour. 22 u.s. embassies from north africa to bangladesh are closed now, and a worldwide travel alert is in effect for americans. andrea mitchell is nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent. andrea, good to have you here. what is it about where this is coming from and the significance of it that has engendered such a big reaction? >> well, they have intercepted chatter and it's coming from and targeting yemen. they believe it's either emanating from yemen where al qaeda and the arabian peninsula is the strongest unit or fractional unit of al qaeda that still remains. it's also the most operational
unit. they're concerned about this area, but now they're looking at other areas as well. if there is no attack today, because this is the holiest day of the month of ramadan, the holy period in the muslim calendar, if there's no attack today, they have to decide today whether to expand this to some places in europe i'm told. they're looking at all of the most vulnerable posts. and they have to decide whether or not this is so actionable that they have to keep these embassies closed. >> you've also gotten news on the obama administration and russia, the snowden affair, which we'll be talking about throughout the hour. there's a big trip planned for the president. >> a big trip. he will go to st. petersburg for the g-20, but i'm told they will announce this week if there's no change in edward snowden's asyl asylum, they will announce the president is not going to have that meeting with vladimir putin in moscow. they see no reason to have him invest himself in a presidential-level trip with vladimir putin right now despite all the other interests they have with russia. they can handle that at