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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Do Big Three Automakers Really Need Help?; Spitzer`s Call Girl on PR Blitz
Aired November 19, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight`s issues: first, elitism is alive tonight and well, from the big three CEOs flying their private jets to Capitol Hill to beg for taxpayer money, to Eliot Spitzer walking away from prostitution charges. How come the elite don`t have to pay by the rules, while the rest of us pay for their mistakes?
Plus, the former prostitute at the center of the Spitzer scandal gets ready for her close-up. Ashley Dupre tells her side of the story to the media, including, the oh, so anguishing guilt she felt for Spitzer`s wife. We`ll have the details.
What do you have to say about this? Give us a call.
Plus, Mike Huckabee tells "The View" his shocking view on gay rights.
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ALABAMA GOVERNOR: It`s a different set of rights.
VELEZ MITCHELL: His outrageous claim that gay rights is different from civil rights, because not much violence has been inflicted on gays. Well, we`d like to refresh his memory.
And the 8-year-old Arizona boy charged with the murder of his father and another man. I`ll have the shocking videotape of the boy`s alleged confession. No parents, no lawyers. Was it improperly coerced by the police?
Those issues and lots more, tonight.
VELEZ MITCHELL: An 8-year-old Arizona boy is interrogated by police about the murder of his father. But nobody read him his rights. And there was no lawyer or relative present. I will tell you what the boy said and why some are outraged at police.
Hookergate is back! Eliot Spitzer`s call girl, Ashley Dupre, making the media rounds this week, saying she feels sad and bad for Eliot`s wife, Silda. I`m not buying it. Maybe you are. Give me a call: 1-877-586-7297. That`s 1-877-JVM-SAYS. And tell me what you think of Dupre`s comments and the whole Spitzer scandal in just a bit.
But first, the nerve of the big three CEOs. They show up in Washington, begging, begging Congress for $25 billion of taxpayer money. They warn us that millions of automotive jobs are at stake, but then we find out they still don`t get it. The begging bosses are still enjoying their shockingly extravagant corporate life-styles.
One congressman publicly embarrassed these clueless CEOs today at the bailout hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m going to ask the three executives here to raise their hand if they flew here commercial. Let the record show no hands went up.
Second, going to ask you to raise your hand if you`re planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show no hands went up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, you heard it right. All three auto industry CEOs, who are whining for $25 billion of our money, flew to D.C. in separate, private jets. GM`s top banana arrived in the company`s $36 million luxury aircraft. The total cost of his trip? An estimated $20,000.
Here`s a suggestion, Mr. Man. If you want to save money, fly commercial. Tickets on a commercial airline would have cost you less than 300 buckaroos. Do you even know what it`s like to be trapped in a middle seat in coach?
Here`s my issue tonight. We live in a world where the elite feel they are special and above the rules. From wasteful spending to obscene bonuses and even to Eliot Spitzer`s free pass on his prostitution scandal, elites get away with murder while the little people always get burnt.
By the way, we`re going to be taking your calls on the Spitzer case this hour, so call 1-877-586-7297 with your questions and opinions. But before we get to the former Governor`s elitist peccadilloes, let`s bring in my fabulous panel. We are discussing the audacity of the big three flying chieftains flying to D.C. on three separate private jets. At least they could have jet pooled.
Joining me now, Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent, and David Williams, vice president of policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. Ali, will this corporate jet scandal affect their chances of getting this auto industry bailout? Or does this just totally poison the environment?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don`t think they were getting anywhere anyway. They`ve been testifying for two days on Capitol Hill. And what they`ve done is painted this very dire picture of what will happen if this bailout doesn`t go through.
Doesn`t look like the bailout`s going to happen for them, at least under this Congress anyway, but they painted a picture where at least one of the automakers could go bankrupt. GM is in the most precarious position. And what that will do is it will end up with costing a lot of people jobs. It may take down some suppliers. Those supplies always supply Ford and Chrysler. So if those suppliers can`t get parts to the other automakers, they could crumble, as well. And what we might see is more than a million people out of work. That`s the problem, Jane. That`s -- as you said, the little person always gets it in the neck, and that`s what`s happening here.
We may need to look ahead of this and say what happens then? What do we do for a country that is increasingly seeing more unemployment and to the Midwest that could really be devastated by this? But nobody made the argument that, if we get this $25 billion, somehow the auto industry is going to improve dramatically. All they were saying is that Armageddon won`t come if we get $25 billion.
VELEZ MITCHELL: And all this happening on a day where the stock market is going down again.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Below 8,000 for the first time in several years.
VELSHI: Yes, 5 1/2 years.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, and it`s just super, super bad timing, this colossal misjudgment of flying in three separate corporate jets to plead for handouts. It was very much on the minds of the members of Congress, who were considering this whole bailout. And they actually gave these CEOs a verbal spanking. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: There`s a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying in to Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they`re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses. It`s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, David Williams, isn`t this actually an example of really a pervasive mentality that is totally ingrained? I mean, these executives, I don`t think they even recognize their behavior for what it was. You`d think one of them would have said, wait a section, maybe this is a bad PR move. But it doesn`t even cross their minds.
DAVID WILLIAMS, CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE: That`s what we`re seeing, is we`re seeing this growing disconnect between people and corporate America. And all corporate America isn`t bad.
Taxpayers are frustrated. They see bridges to nowhere. They see rainforests in Iowa, and they`re getting really frustrated that this is what, you know, Congress is considering.
And I think Congress has this bailout fatigue now. We hear all these horror stories coming out of the bailout in September. And this is just another one of those. And there are people in this country that say what about fiscal Darwinism?
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes.
WILLIAMS: You know, if you make some good choices, good decisions, you should survive as a company. If you make bad choices, maybe you should fail. Maybe you need to rejigger what you`re doing as a company, and Chrysler and the big three have not done that. They have not looked deep inside their souls and said to themselves, "How are we going to be different? How are we going to make a profit?"
VELSHI: You know, let me tell you, Chrysler is the worst example, because this is a company went that private, because she said they don`t want shareholders looking over their shoulders. They don`t want to have to explain everything to everybody. It`s a distraction.
Then they got Bob Nardelli, who tried to drive Home Depot into the ground, and that is the most grossly overpaid CEOs in America, who wouldn`t even take questions from shareholders at an annual meeting to run the place. And now, after calling us all a distraction, they want public money.
But you know what the problem is? The problem is, in punishing the CEOs and in punishing the executives, it`s the auto worker, and it`s those little towns across Ohio and Michigan which are going to go belly up. And I`ve seen them when those layouts have been -- their entire towns shut down.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Maybe we should make a condition of any bailout that these guys get fired! I mean, I want to talk a little bit about their pay packages. If it weren`t so tragic, it would be hilarious. One representative asked what sacrifices these CEOs were ready to make on their salaries. You won`t believe the response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER ROSKAM (R), ILLINOIS: Are you willing to go the other 50, down to a dollar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t have a position on that today.
ROSKAM: Are you willing to go down to the dollar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I`m OK where I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: He`s OK where he is. He`s being asked to take a dollar for a year. These people are fabulously wealthy already, David Williams. We have average Americans who are making those kinds of sacrifices to help the economy. And these guys won`t even consider forsaking one year`s salary to save their company that would save millions of jobs.
WILLIAMS: Not only that, but I don`t have a position on the issue. Either you do or you don`t want to take that dollar in salary. And they`re getting millions of dollars in retention bonuses. Why are they being retained for millions of dollars if they`re not good businessmen, if they`re not helping the company make a profit? So what is with the retention bonuses? If someone asked me whether I want to make a dollar, I have a position on the issue.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Ali Velshi...
VELSHI: If you ask me, Jane, I don`t want to go down to a dollar.
VELEZ MITCHELL: No. None of us does, but you know, we`re not running these companies.
VELEZ MITCHELL: And if I were running the company, I would say let`s do hybrids and electric vehicles years ago.
VELEZ MITCHELL: So let me ask about these salaries. What -- could they still be getting monumental salaries? I think one of them got $28 million last year. What`s going to happen this year?
VELSHI: Well, the one difference might be Alan Mullaly from Ford, because he`s new enough not to be part of the entire problem. He came in to change it because they`re in such dire straits. And today Ford is in better shape than Chrysler and GM as a result.
But generally speaking, they`ve taken too long to change. And what happened is this crisis of gas prices and credit has hit them doubly hard this year. So there was an aim that at least Ford would have been profitable by 2010, and this may have set them back. So they`ve got to take some long, hard looks.
And the issue here, Jane, is are we bailing out an industry that we think is actually going to get better, or are we just bailing out an industry? That`s the problem.
VELEZ MITCHELL: I honestly thank you, Ali and David, for your insight. You`re both fabulous.
I don`t know how they`re ever going to catch up, since they dropped the ball on hybrids and electrics. And driving a Prius myself. I can tell you that that`s decades of technology that led to that car today. I don`t know how they`re going to catch up with it.
Speaking of elitists who don`t play by the rules, tomorrow I`m going to have the latest on a wild story: Dick Cheney`s legal troubles. Yes, you heard me. Vice President Cheney and his crony Alberto Gonzales have been indicted by a grand jury in Texas. A judge there even set an arraignment date.
Cheney is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and assault against detainees because of his investment in a private prison company. Gonzales accused of blocking an abuse investigation into one of the prisons while he was attorney general.
Tune in tomorrow night, 7 p.m. Eastern for all the shocking details on that one.
Coming up next, Eliot Spitzer`s hooker, Ashley Dupre, breaks her silence this week, saying she felt bad for Spitzer`s wife. Hmm. Maybe she should have thought of that before she had sex with a married man. Is this just a publicity stunt, or does Ms. Dupre really feel bad for Silda Spitzer? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. And let me know what you think about Eliot Spitzer, Ashley Dupre and Hookergate, in just a bit.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Chuck Norris says Prop 8 protests are about anarchy, not democracy. Maybe Chuck should stick to karate. More on the Prop 8 fallout in just a bit.
But first, she`s the call girl who took down New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. And Ashley`s speaking out, Ashley Dupre. The 23-year-old former high-paid call girl says she had no idea who Governor Spitzer was. He was simply known as client number nine. It wasn`t until she saw him apologizing on television that she made the connection.
She probably said, "Hmm, I know him from somewhere, but I -- I can`t place him. Oh, wait. I remember him now."
One person Dupre feels sorry for is Spitzer`s wife, Silda, who has stood by her hubby, Eliot, through the entire ordeal.
When all is said and done, it seems both Ashley and former Governor Spitzer are making out just fine, thank you. Once again, the rich and the beautiful don`t seem to have to play by the rules. Everybody else does. What do you think? Give me a call now, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297.
With me now, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some" and Drew Findling, a criminal defense attorney.
Drew, Ashley Dupre says she feels sorry for putting Silda Spitzer through hell. Do you buy it?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that`s just an absolute joke. You know, she also said that she`s just looking to move ahead in life and wants people to know that she wants to write music and sing music and design clothes and write a book. Look, when all`s said and done, this woman is nothing but a low-life hooker and she`s all about money.
And it`s going from prostitution to now she`s selling her services to the general public. No one`s going to buy her music. No one is going to buy her clothes that she designs. But she`s going to try to sell a book, and she`s positioning herself to do that. And it`s not going to be much of a stocking stuffer. And as far as I`m concerned, anybody that buys that book is supporting her habits, which were illegal.
VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, before we go to you, Wendy Murphy, we have to take a second to listen to her music, which has been up on YouTube. You`ve just got to hear this, for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Ouch! Ouch! Stop it, please. Wendy Murphy, why does this girl get involved in all of this? She comes from an upper middle class household. Her step father is an oral surgeon. She did not need to do this for the money. What do you think Drew her into this life of being a high-class hooker?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, look, a couple of things, Jane. One, we know she`s not that bright. Perhaps she didn`t have any other job prospects. Not knowing who Governor Spitzer is, hmm. Perhaps she would have gotten a better job, had she -- oh, I don`t know -- studied a little bit more.
But also, we know from this interview she was a rape victim. No surprise there. Something like 90-plus percent of prostituted women were, in fact, sexual abuse victims.
And I wouldn`t describe her parents as all that good in their test, either. I think both parents, when they found out what their little darling was doing, said something like, "Oh, good for you, dear."
You know, come on, my mother and father would have whacked me from one side of the state to the other. They said lovely things. "Oh, we`re so proud."
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes.
MURPHY: I would describe those as some important factors to explain why she got in the biz.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, and you know, Eliot Spitzer, I think, is the ultimate hypocrite, because you just mentioned that a goodly percentage of women who have gone into prostitution have had sexual abuse. He knows that. He prosecuted prosecution rings. He threw people in jail for doing prostitution-related activity.
And yet he`s getting a free pass. I think a lot of people are very angry about it. And the phone lines are lit up.
Yoshida from New York, what is your question?
CALLER: OK. This girl knows wrong from right. She`s a hooker. She does not carry if this man was married or not, even if she knew. You know, because I used to be in the sex industry, and I didn`t care if a guy was married or not. I just wanted money, and that`s what she wants. She`s a publicity hound and that`s it. She wants money.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely. Drew Findling, you mentioned that, and now that she`s going to appear on "20/20," she`s in "People" magazine. What is it going to be: a book deal, a movie deal, a TV show, a record deal?
FINDLING: Well, I changed my mind. I think that song was actually awesome. So it`s going to be -- no, I mean...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Really.
FINDLING: I have to tell you something. And I have to mark the date that Wendy and I are going to agree on something. I`ve been in shock all day over this.
But I have to tell you what -- what a hypocrite this man is. He knows more than anybody, as a former state assistant district attorney and an attorney general, that by becoming part of the prostitution trade, he is supporting runaways. He is supporting drug addiction. He is supporting the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy. Every time somebody -- a john picks up a phone, they`re part of that.
Now, what he also knows and, as Wendy knows in these federal cases, they just don`t indict johns. It`s the way it is in every district of the country. Whether or not he had that in the back of his mind the whole time we`ll never know. I`m sure Wendy probably thinks it was a strategy on his part the whole time. Who knows? But he did know that he was part of an industry, and that industry destroys children and destroys families, and that`s shameful.
MURPHY: You are absolutely right on the money. And you know, what`s interesting is that the Spitzers are seen all the time walking through central park hand in hand, seemingly very happy. It`s an odd situation.
Tracy from Michigan, what are your thoughts?
CALLER: I -- yes, I think she`s just using this to try to further her careers. She doesn`t feel bad for his wife. She has no shame. You can see that.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, you know, you`re absolutely right on the money. In fact, Wendy Murphy, she said the thing that all prostitutes seem to say. It`s sort of like their philosophy, and they all read the same little fortune cookie that gives them this philosophy. But it`s like, "I really didn`t see the difference" -- this is a quote from her -- "being going on a date with somebody in New York, taking you to dinner and expecting something in return. I really thought it was more of a tradeoff. He`s expecting something in return, where you date -- when you date, whereas, you know, being an escort, it`s a more formal transaction." They all say the same thing.
MURPHY: You can talk yourself into whatever makes you get the money at the end of the deal. And, you know, look, people will justify to make themselves feel better, getting involved in a terrible business.
But let`s also remember, she wants out, right? So as happy and blissful as it might have been for her, she also made the declaration that it was a crummy business, and she wants out. So was she really having a good time? I don`t think so.
VELEZ MITCHELL: OK. Well, Wendy, Drew, stay right there.
Back with more of your thoughts on the Spitzer scandal in just a moment. Give me a call!
VELEZ MITCHELL: Back now with my fantastic guests, Wendy Murphy and Drew Findling. And we`re taking your calls on Ashley Dupre, Eliot Spitzer`s call girl/singer. And we`ve got Jennifer from West Virginia.
What do you got to say, Jennifer?
CALLER: I think it`s shameful the way these men do this to their wives and drag their families and their kids through the mud? That`s absolutely shameful. How can they do that to the families and still stand up in the public eye?
VELEZ MITCHELL: You know, I agree with you and, Drew, we have been doing something on this show called the war on women on this show. And we`ve been talking about the rampant sexual attacks, murder on women. Intimate partner violence. But isn`t this part and parcel of it? And using women as commodities, it`s a misogynistic attitude. Isn`t they also perpetrating the war on women?
FINDLING: I believe that they absolutely are. But I guess I`m just going to stay on the subject. They are. But the fact that you have somebody that controls an office that went after pimps and those that ran the prostitution trade and yet gets out of office, becomes the leader of a state and then supports that trade, is absolutely out of control.
And I think the best thing that people can do to send a message is to not buy books, and to not buy the clothes that she`s designing, which is kind of ridiculous, right? She makes her business not wearing clothes, and now she`s going to design clothes.
VELEZ MITCHELL: They`re probably skimpy. Let`s put it that way.
FINDLING: It`s probably going to be flesh colored. I don`t know. But you know -- but it gets ridiculous.
MURPHY: Come on, Drew. Wouldn`t you agree that, if the guy you`re talking about is the type of guy who would use a prostitute while purporting to be the law and order guy, is it really all that surprising that he would then exploit his own wife for political benefits?
FINDLING: Well, listen -- hey, listen. I always say and my mother always taught me, that when it`s the ones that are on top of their soapbox preaching morality...
MURPHY: You are so right.
FINDLING: ... it takes the longest fall. So once again it doesn`t make a different what the political affiliation.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes.
FINDLING: You tell me about morality and you`re the one that sinks first.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Exactly. It`s usually the very thing that they are doing that they`re trying to stop, or thinking about doing that they`re trying to stop somebody else from doing. Psychiatrists have a lot of terms for it: reaction formation, projecting.
Maria from Pennsylvania, what`s your thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. You know, I`m really upset with Wendy and Drew. I mean, here`s Drew saying that nobody should buy her book or her clothes or anything else.
Meanwhile, didn`t everybody go out and buy Paris Hilton`s sex tapes? Didn`t everybody go out and buy Monica Lewinsky`s pocketbooks? And Wendy, you`re saying that this girl is a 23-year-old not-too-bright individual? Let me tell you something. She`s very bright. Because didn`t...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Are you her mother?
CALLER: No, I am not her mother. But didn`t the highest office, President Clinton, get caught cheating on his poor wife? And let me tell you something, you slandered this man`s name, whether he did it or not. Nobody has the right to look in that man`s underwear, whether he holds a public office or not. And you guys are laughing, but it`s really not funny.
VELEZ MITCHELL: I think you`re very articulate. You`re very articulate in your point. Let`s give Wendy a chance to respond.
MURPHY: I don`t know how we slandered him. He did what he did. And it was shameful, and I`m not even sure what the caller`s point is, because...
VELEZ MITCHELL: I think her point is that it`s kind of like selective indignation, that this is a massive problem and we`re attacking this one...
MURPHY: No. It`s because this is a high-profile example of a huge problem, and it`s really important to talk about it, whenever you can. But when it`s a celebrity who`s doing it, it`s a nice opportunity.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We have to go. Wendy and Drew, thanks so much. Great insights. Hope to have you back.
Breaking news. The California Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments against Prop 8. That`s the gay marriage ban. Huge protests. A lot more controversy in just a moment. Don`t go away. We`ll bring it to you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An eight-year-old boy interrogated by police about the murder of his father. But nobody read him his rights and there was no lawyer present. I`ll find out if the boy`s answers will hold up at trial.
But first, breaking news in California`s Prop 8 battle the gay marriage ban as protests over the ban go global, California`s highest court says it will not stop Prop 8`s implementation. So as of now, the gay marriage ban is in effect.
But the state Supreme Court will -- I say will hear challenges to that ban that many are calling a civil rights violation.
On the other side, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who believes gay rights are not civil rights.
Here is what he to say on "The View."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER Republican PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s a different set of rights. I think -- people who are homosexual should have every right --
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Yes.
HUCKABEE: In terms of their civil rights to be employed, to do anything they want.
But that`s not really the issue but when we`re talking about a redefinition of an institution, that`s different than individual civil rights. And, you know, we`re never going to convince each other.
BEHAR: Well, segregation was an institution too in a way. It was right there on the books.
HUCKABEE: But there`s a difference. Bo Conner was hosing people down in the streets of Alabama and you had John Lewis getting his skull cracked on the bridges of Selma. Look, that`s wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hello. Is Mike suggesting gay rights aren`t civil rights because gays haven`t had violence inflicted on them? I have two names for you Mike, Matthew Sheppard and Hardy Melk, both murdered because they were gay. Just two of the thousands of victims of anti-gay hate crimes in our history. Now, those two would beg to differ with you but they can`t Mike, they`ve been murdered.
Meantime, the rhetoric from the right heats up. One time Huckabee supporter and martial artist, Chuck Norris wrote an Op-Ed in townhall.com calling the anti-Prop 8 demonstrations nothing more than anarchy. Guess what?
Demonstrations are a proud part of American democracy. They are not anarchy. What makes America great is that we are allowed to demonstrate, unlike, for example, the Chinese. Maybe you should go practice your moves in China for a while and get back to us Chuck.
With me now, Thomas V. Howard Jr., Program Director at the Matthew Sheppard Foundation, and Sepi Ghafouri, the co-President of Lesbian and Gay Lawyers of Los Angeles.
Sepi, let me start with you, first of all, I`d love to get your reaction to the California Supreme Court`s decision today just a little awhile ago to implement Prop 8 and also hear oral arguments challenging it as early as March?
SEPI GHAFOURI, LESBIAN & GAY LAWYERS OF LOS ANGELES: The reaction is that that was the right decision, Jane. Absolutely the right way to go, and I have no doubt that the court is going to have this same courage it had when it ruled that gays and lesbians have constitutional rights and are a suspect class and deserve the right to be married. And we are hoping that they will have the courage to stand by their original rulings.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And one aspect of this is that they are going to look at the marriages that have already occurred. Approximately 18,000 including famous people like Ellen and find out whether those marriages that occurred between when the Supreme Court allowed gay marriage and when Prop 8 was passed can remain in effect.
Thomas Howard, what do you think? Do you think that we are going to see those 18,000 wiped off the books?
THOMAS HOWARD JR., PROGRAM DIRECTOR, MATTHEW SHEPPARD FOUNDATION: You know, I honestly don`t know. I would trust that the court`s going to have the courage to make the right decision. I think something very positive is happening right now and people are talking about this issue.
You know, the protests and the dialogue you`re hearing is not something that we`ve heard in a long time. Yes, after Matt was murdered ten years ago, people were talking, and the great thing is allies of the LBBG community our straight allies are standing up and also saying that it`s not ok to marginalize anyone for what makes them different. We live in a country where we all deserve the exact same rights.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and those people who are saying that well, gee - - like Mike Huckabee -- gay rights aren`t civil rights because gays haven`t been assaulted the way African-Americans haven`t been assaulted in history.
Just look at this. Last week we saw an anti-gay crime in Ontario, Canada. We`re talking last week, a gay couple picking their kids up from school, attacked in what they call the hate crime. They were beaten in the face, spat at. You`re looking at a picture, blood on this woman`s face. Now, this is something that just happened last week.
And I direct that to Sepi Ghafouri.
GHAFOURI: That is absolutely -- Huckabee`s statement is absolutely a mistake and it`s statements like those, then in fact, perpetuate hate crimes and the fact that we have hate crime legislation in California which includes sexual orientation, we have employment discrimination rights, which include sexual orientation.
These rights were instituted because of the fact that discrimination and violence was against the gay community, gays and lesbians. And in fact the FBI in 2007 gave a report about hate crimes and the third highest group -- a minority group that was afflicted by hate crimes was the gay and lesbian community.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Thomas, briefly tell us the story that is the basis of your foundation. What happened to Matthew Sheppard?
HOWARD: On October 6th of 1998, Matt was convinced to get in a car with two young men. The young men proceeded to drive him out to a very rural location, tie him to the bottom of a buck fence and beat him a number of times with the butt of a gun and left him naked and begging for his life. Matt died on October 12th, 1998, in the hospital.
And, you know, the assertion that these crimes are not happening is just absurd. Last week, a transgender woman in Tennessee was shot to death. I travel to high schools and kids that tell me that they are called pejoratives and names and picked on because of their sexual orientation, that`s violence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course it is. And I`m sure that Huckabee who reads the papers knows about this. So I don`t know where he`s coming from. Now, those calling the anti Prop-8 rallies dangerous and anarchy have sighted this video we`re about to show you.
The case of an elderly lady, we see her in a second in the middle in yellow, she`s got a cross, and it`s knocked to the ground. Later, she`s swarmed by protesters. I am not excusing what happened.
But this is one incident in dozens of peaceful protests all across the country. There have not been massive arrests or vandalism as a result of Prop 8 protest.
And, Thomas, you know, how do we take this one incident and have those on the right conclude that this is anarchy?
HOWARD: I think that that`s what those on the right do. They take that one incident and they blow it out of proportion and they change words and they change incidents to sort of direct people off of the main issue. And that is the fact that we have citizens in our country that pay taxes that do not have the same rights as everyone else.
So in order to deflect off the issue, the issue that people are rising up and saying this is not ok with us, I think that that`s a tactic that they`re using to divert people.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thomas, Sepi, thank you so much.
Joining me on the phone now is UBER celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. I love you Perez. He`s taking the Prop 8 protest to the Web. Thank you so much for joining us.
When it comes to the Sundance Film Festival, which happens to be in Utah, what exactly are you calling for and why?
PEREZ HILTON, FOUNDER OF PEREZHILTON.COM: Well, I am personally opting not to go to Sundance this year. I`ve gone the past three years in a row and I`m doing that to make a statement.
The main screening venue for the films there is owned by CINEMARK, and the CEO of CINEMARK just donated $9,900 to the "Yes on 8 Campaign." Many people in Park City, in Salt Lake, also donated to the campaign. Mormons were the primary fund-raisers for the "Yes on 8 Campaign."
So I just don`t want to give them any of my money in any way. Or even just have them have my presence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right and are you calling for others to follow suit? In other words, are you calling for a boycott?
HILTON: Ideally that would be great, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, let me tell you what Sundance is saying as a result of this, they are saying quote, "As a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting artists, we very much appreciate and are sensitive to the larger issue at hand and respect the rights of individuals to express themselves. It`s our hope that people will embrace the festival for its commitment to diversity, not avoid it."
And of course, you know Perez that Sundance is a huge supporter of gay and lesbian films. So are we sort of cutting off our nose to spite our face in that sense?
HILTON: They can have an auxiliary Sundance simultaneously here in Los Angeles for the all the gay films that would screen in Park City. They don`t have to be there in Mormon land, the same people that stripped me of my rights. I just don`t think its right for me and a lot of people agree with me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, and I`ve got to read this statement from CINEMARK. Allan Stock, contributed $9, 999 to "Yes on Prop 8". He said quote, "Any individual act or contribution is just that, individual acts of personal expression and do not reflect company policy or positions." So he says basically he`s an American and he can do what he wants. Your response?
Listen, I am all for people believing that marriage is between a man and woman, that`s obviously deep rooted in that person`s religion, and that should stay with them and in their church. When their religious beliefs affect my rights as a citizen, then I`m going to speak up loudly and do whatever I can unapologetically.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen Perez, I`m so glad that you have a chance to join us here. And I hope you come back. You`re obviously, you have you your finger on the pulse of popular culture and we`d like you to be a regular here and weigh in often. Thanks.
HILTON: Well, I hope to as well. Thanks for the invite.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, talk to you soon.
Ok a very sad story here, an eight-year-old boy interrogated about the murder of his Dad but there was no lawyer present. I`m going to tell you what the boy said, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: What happened with your dad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Come on tell us the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not, I`m not lying.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: How about we have someone who told us you might have shot him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the soft voice of the eight-year-old Arizona boy suspected of shooting and killing his father and his dad`s friend two weeks ago. He was in a St. Johns Arizona court room today; legal teams wrestled over a number of issues, one of them the shocking tape of his police interview. Some are calling it completely inappropriate because there was no lawyer present and there was no family member present.
Tonight, some are accusing the police of pressuring the boy by saying they knew he did it.
With me now to try and make sense of the stunning and tragic case, Nicole Deborde, criminal defense attorney and former district attorney and Ashleigh Banfield anchor of "In Session." Great to see you both.
Ashleigh, did police violate policy and/or the law by interrogating this eight-year-old child without a lawyer, without a relative, without a child psychologist present?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": I`ll now go on further. Without even mentioning Miranda, yes, there were a lot of infractions here, Jane. And let me go out way on a limb. They did a very dumb thing because now it`s going to be real, real hard to ever use any of that tape in court.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes, I agree with you there.
Nicole Deborde, there was in fact a court hearing today, and two issues that -- and this hearing was just ending as we go to air -- but two issues we believed came up with, one, should the child remain in detention at the juvenile detention facility, and, two, should this tape get tossed out so they can`t use this alleged confession? What do you think?
NICOLE DEBORDE, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think it`s outrageous and I think ultimately probably what will happen is if not all of the tape, at least significant portions of the tape will be eliminated and they will not useful as evidence.
That`s what happens when you don`t follow the rules. That`s what happens when you don`t use good common sense when you are investigating a case. And unfortunately, that`s what`s going to happen in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ashleigh, why does this always happen? You and I have covered so many cases. Look at the John Couey case where they didn`t give him a lawyer, we asked repeatedly and they have to throw out the confession. He was ultimately convicted but I mean it seems like cops make this mistake over and over again?
BANFIELD: And sometimes they are knowingly making the mistake because there`s a child`s life at risk. In the John Couey case they thought they would actually find the girl before she died, so they didn`t care about Miranda by that point.
In this particular case, I don`t think anybody was of any risk of getting hurt any further other than this child alone. So I really can`t see anything that could benefit from this kind of interrogation. This might be inexperienced officers or this might be somebody who thinks they know better than the law. But what they really did Jane, was mess up this case for anyone down the line who wants to prosecute or at least get this child off the streets and into some special care.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The story kept changing with this young child as children often do. They change their stories at the beginning of this police interview the boy told this story which later changed. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: It`s real important that you tell us what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know if the gun went off by accident.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: You walked around and then what did you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then I started walking down the street towards my house. Then I saw the door open and I saw -- right there. And I ran and I said dad, dad and then I ran upstairs and then I saw him.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: And then you saw him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was blood all over his face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole Deborde, my heart breaks when I hear this little boy`s voice. He`s a child. I don`t -- I don`t understand exactly what`s going on, because the story changes so many times. I don`t think anybody could really understand a coherent narrative.
He seems to say initially that he had nothing to do with it, then at one point he says that, you know, he came in and saw his dad hurt and so he -- he put him out of his suffering. Is there any way that any of this can be used, given that children are so suggestible?
DEBORDE: Well, and that`s exactly the point. I mean, people who interview even child witnesses in cases, not to mention a suspect in a particular case, have to be specially trained, not to give the child suggestive information, because adults are even guilty of this. They want to please the person asking the question.
As much as an adult is susceptible to that kind of interrogation technique, a child is very susceptible to that. So any time you even hint at a suggestion of what the child is supposed to be saying, there`s a real risk that they`re going to make up a story completely to satisfy the interviewer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. I remember in history there were molestation cases that became very controversial because of an overzealous prosecutor and it turned out a lot of the thoughts were planted in the children`s mind allegedly.
So this is -- kids don`t really know where imagination ends and reality begins.
But I have to ask you, Ashleigh, I don`t understand why there is a case. This is an eight-year-old child. I don`t think he should be in a juvenile facility, he should be with relatives. He`s as much a victim.
His father taught him to hunt, taught him to shoot prairie dogs, and trained him to kill. I think that he`s as much of a victim as the two men who died.
BANFIELD: But he could be a dangerous little boy and society may need to be protected from him.
But here is what I think is maybe even more intriguing about this case. Why are we looking at this tape? This is evidence. Prosecutors released this to the public. And my thought Jane here, is that they may have released this because they know darn well it`s never going to make it into a courtroom. So now at least it`s out there and at least everybody in St. John`s, Arizona has already seen it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`ve got another shocking piece of tape. Let`s take a listen to this young child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER: How many times do you think you fired the gun?
CHILD: I think twice.
OFFICER: You think twice? Do you think it could have been more than twice?
CHILD: No, I thought it was twice.
OFFICER: Ok, you shot your dad twice?
OFFICER: Ok. How many times did that gun shoot?
CHILD: I think twice like my dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of all the troubling things that were said and it wasn`t said at that moment in time but when the officer says, quote, "how about if we told you we had someone who told us you might have shot him." I mean, isn`t that, Nicole, suggesting to a child?
NICOLE DEBORDE, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It`s beyond suggesting, it is telling the little boy what to say to get out of that room.
I mean, these nice ladies that are questioning him happen to be dressed in uniform and carrying a gun. That`s intimidating enough if you`re not eight. But if you`re eight -- and is eight -- this is an incredibly intimidating circumstance.
He is there to please these adults. There is absolutely no way to know whether anything he said to those women has any truth to it whatsoever.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh, and this was so traumatizing to this child. At the end of the interview, he puts his head inside his jacket, and he just sits there like this, and one of the officers said, are you okay, sweetie? No, he`s not okay.
Stay right there. We`re going to continue this analysis of the shocking interrogation right after a very quick break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I shot my dad because he was suffering, I think. He was suffering, I might have I shot him. I didn`t want him to suffer.
And then I went outside, and I saw -- at first and I saw [bleep] and because he was just shaking. And I think that time it went off. And I went upstairs, and I called my dad. And I think that I shot him, because he was suffering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Talking about the interrogation of that eight-year- old Arizona boy. My guests, Nicole Deborde, criminal defense attorney, and Ashleigh Banfield, anchor of "In Session." Ashleigh, what is your analysis when this child says, I shot my dad because he was suffering.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": There are so many things you can say about what this child is saying. If this is truly a victim, a kid who came home to find two dead bodies in his house, he could be one of the most traumatized cases we have ever come across. And he might not even know what he`s saying.
And Nicole`s also right. Children will say anything you want them to say. My friend at work says her son has a magic taxi that took her to Alaska last week. They`ll say anything. So this is why this is so inherently wrong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole, is there a lawsuit potential against the police department by the boy`s family?
DEBORDE: It`s possible that there is. I mean, the problem here, too, beyond any potential lawsuit is that now you have this case where the investigation is basically open and shut. They feel like, oh, we`ve solved it, time to go on home. And the problem is, they have absolutely destroyed a key piece of evidence in this case.
Now if they do develop an additional suspect, or even if they possibly find out the child is responsible in some way, they`re really never going to get to the bottom of it, because of the way they conducted themselves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what should they have done, Ashleigh Banfield? This child comes in. What would have been the proper procedure?
BANFIELD: The proper protocol, right from the get-go, especially with someone this young, is to get an adult, get somebody who can serve as a caregiver for him. Clearly, his father is not available. But there was another parent, apparently, who was called to the scene. So that other parent was available. That`s number one.
It`s not worth reading him his Miranda rights, he`s eight. He has no clue what they mean but you have to get an adult there. Otherwise, there is no point in having this tape. You can`t use this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re absolutely right. And the whole moral story here is don`t give an eight-year-old child a gun for any reason whatsoever. Nicole, Ashleigh, thank you so much. Please come back and join us. A lot of people talking on TV; too few of them saying anything that helps you make sense of the world. I`m trying to change it by keeping it real.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. I`ll see you tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern with more real "ISSUES."