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Video: TODAY speaks to Joran van der Sloot’s attorney

By
TODAY contributor
updated 11/23/2007 9:39:54 AM ET 2007-11-23T14:39:54

Joran van der Sloot, the last person known to have been with Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway before her disappearance in Aruba in 2005, expects to be in court to answer more questions next week, his lawyer told TODAY on Friday.

“They are in the mood of, ‘Here we go again,’ ” the attorney, Rosemarie Arnold, told TODAY’s Natalie Morales in describing how the Dutch student and his family are dealing with being arrested again in connection with Holloway’s disappearance while on a trip with her high school graduating class.

“This has happened several times already in this case,” Arnold said. “They have arrested 13 people in connection with the disappearance of Natalee. We have not yet had any evidence of an actual crime being committed.”

Surinamese brothers, Satish and Deepak Kalpoe, who are 21 and 24 respectively, were also arrested again on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in involuntary manslaughter and causing serious bodily harm — although Holloway’s body has never been found. The Kalpoe brothers, who live on Aruba, were to be questioned there on Friday.

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Asked what new evidence investigators may have, Arnold speculated that it may be circumstanital at best.

“We believe that the evidence that they have is not forensic. We don’t believe it’s a body. We don’t believe it’s a bloody axe. It’s probably something in the lines of testimony, re-testimony from somebody new,” she said.

On the night before she was to return with her class to the States, Holloway went to a bar, where she met the suspects. Van der Sloot admits going to a secluded beach with her and the Kapoes. He initially said he walked her back to her hotel, then changed his story to say he left her on the beach alive and well and went home.

“He was a young boy and he did have a romantic involvement with Natalee,” Arnold told Morales. “He was the last known person, and that’s the key word in that sentence – ‘known to be with her.’ ”

She also said that her client is not charged with murder. Instead, she said, the charge is “involuntary manslaughter” — a charge typically associated with a death arising from an accident.

"That’s akin here to if you’re driving too fast in a car and unfortunately your passenger is killed. It’s not an intent crime, it’s not a malice crime, it’s an accident,” Arnold siad.

Under Dutch law, a person may be named a suspect and arrested in order to be brought in for questioning. Arnold said that she expects van der Sloot to be questioned and released to return to the Netherlands, where he is a university student.

“It is a serious thing and everybody feels terrible for the Holloway family [and] would love to see them have closure,” Arnold said. “But Joran doesn’t have any involvement in this case.  There is no evidence; has never been evidence. He has always been open to investigation.”

Holloway’s parents, Dave Holloway and Beth Twitty, are both returning to Aruba following the arrests. Texas EquuSearch, a volunteer organization that helps search for missing persons, is also going to the island with a 125-foot research vessel packed with equipment that can search the waters offshore for Natalee’s body. The searchers, NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reported, will focus on trying to find a large lobster trap that went missing the night of Natalee’s disappearance in the belief that her body may have been placed in the trap and sunk in deep waters offshore.

Kosinski also said that reports that prosecutors are trying to close the case before the Dutch statute of limitations expires are not true. But, she added, it is believed that prosecutors want to either go to trial or call off the investigation by the end of the year.

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