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NBC Booker Bought Pants for Victim

August 6, 2002

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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A booker for NBC’s ``Today″ show violated the network’s news standards and bought an $80 pair of pants for a kidnapping victim before she gave the show an interview about her ordeal.

Jacqueline Marries, 17, wore the pants during the interview, which aired Monday with her and 16-year-old Tamara Brooks recounting their ordeal.

All three network morning shows had competed to obtain an interview with the girls. But the pants, bought by the booker during a shopping trip with Marris, was an act of sympathy, not a bribe, ``Today″ show spokeswoman Allison Gollust said Tuesday.

``NBC had already secured (permission for) the interview before the taping. Our booker felt bad for someone going through such an emotional time,″ Gollust said.

``It’s still no excuse for violating NBC policy,″ Gollust added. ``Appropriate action will be taken.″

She said she did not know what that might entail.

The two girls were kidnapped from a teen hangout in Antelope Valley last week and were missing for 12 hours. Authorities said they were raped by a man who was later shot to death by deputies.

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