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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Meter Reader Reported Location Weeks Before Body Found
Aired December 18, 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): Breaking news tonight in the Caylee Anthony case, a stunning bombshell development, the utility worker who found the remains of a small child, exactly a week ago today, also called authorities repeatedly with tips in August about this very location. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN ANGELO NIEVES, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: The tip that we received on August 13 was the same individual that reported the findings on December 11. It was the same individual that called in to the communication center and called dispatch Thursday that made the discovery.
We have three tips from that individual. We are trying to determine the circumstances and the thoroughness of the deputy that responded that day and will continue to do so in the coming days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This jaw-dropping development raises a lot of questions. Who exactly is this utility worker? Reporters at the press are immediately wanting to know, is this guy a suspect?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIEVES: At this point, we don`t have a suspect at this point. He has provided information. He is very cooperative. There`s no indication at this point that he would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you heard it right there. Authorities say the meter reader not a suspect. Still reporters listening were stunned at this news. They had a flurry of questions about the deputy who responded to the August 13 tip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This happened by the same utility worker coming out once again. Is there concern, obviously, that someone is going to be responsible here as it relates to the person taking the call? The authority, the deputy who came out to respond?
NIEVES: That`s why we are looking into it. And I have stated emphatically here this afternoon that we are looking into that. One of the things that we`ll do is conduct an administrative follow-up, try to determine what occurred with the deputy, when he responded out to the scene, why he handled himself how he did. And we`ll go ahead and handle that situation based on the circumstances, based on the information we received.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Captain Nieves said on at least one of the calls in August, this meter reader reported a gray bag by the side of the road.
We have an expert panel here to hash out these stunning developments tonight. First, let`s check in with CNN reporter John Cowles, who is joined tonight by Captain Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff`s Department.
John, what do you got for us?
JOHN COWLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Captain Nieves came out earlier this afternoon and surprised everybody with the, as you just played, the different elements from this -- his press conference this afternoon about the meter reader who was out here last week on Thursday.
And it`s been a week since they`ve been particularly going through with investigators searching the area. Captain Nieves joins us now.
Captain Nieves, when -- this afternoon when you were talking about how the three times that the meter reader called back in August, on the three different occasions, what was it that he had called about specifically?
NIEVES: We had what we discovered -- we had three previous calls from this here, from the same individual, the meter reader, again, a concerned citizen, trying to do follow-ups.
Based on the amount of activity that had been seen on the media, as well and the missing child, had called a bag that was -- a gray bag on the side of the road next to the fence, a swampy area on the 11th. That was responded. But no one was here to meet the deputy when they responded. That call was cleared with nothing located.
On the 12th, we had a second call that was called in to Crime Line by the same individual. He called in the tip there, spoke to Crime Line. That information was then, in turn, provided to our criminal investigations division for follow-up.
At that time, the information that we had based on the area, general description of the tip, it wasn`t specific. So -- but the information that was provided, we surmised that Suburban Drive, we had had cadaver dogs. We had search teams out in this area, and that call was -- that tip was also cleared.
On August 13, though, we did have a situation which we had a call that came in from the county worker who provided a description, information...
NIEVES: And actually met a deputy out here at the scene...
NIEVES: ... and we are continuing to follow up and determine the thoroughness of the deputy when he responded to the call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: John, I have a question.
NIEVES: Trying to determine what was his search criteria, what occurred in the area and how much of the area...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We get the point, that`s fascinating. John, I have a question to ask Captain Nieves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you could ask him if this individual is going to be investigated, this meter reader, his computer records, his cell phone calls to determine if he had any contact whatsoever with the toddler`s mother, Casey Anthony or the Anthony family?
COWLES: We`re asking specifically on the meter reader and have they gone back and searched his records and who he is, and his calls in the area and what his relation is to the entire...
NIEVES: There is no relation to the -- the investigation itself. The meter reader employee is a credible employee, someone who is credible to the investigation. There is no suspicion whatsoever. It`s someone who was concerned.
We have people that have traveled from all over the country just to come to this area and provide their condolences or their well wishes to the -- to Caylee Marie Anthony.
We have an individual who was a worker, who was persistent and wanted to follow up with his calls to us regarding what he had seen or his continuing observations as he drove through this area...
NIEVES: ... if there was anything that piqued his interest or something that was suspicious to him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I ask one more question? Here`s -- there`s something I don`t understand, John, and you can help me out here. First of all, excellent work in interviewing Captain Nieves.
But if you could ask the captain, what I don`t understand is, obviously this meter reader is not psychic. So if he had evidence that there was something there, what led him to that scene? What is it that -- that drew him to that particular location? And did he find something back in August, you know, a bag by the side of the road? There`s a million bags out there.
COWLES: We`re asking, specifically, when he was here back in August, what prompted him to go in the woods, I mean, to see this bag? Or did he see something then? I mean, why did he continually on three different occasions -- you know, on three different occasions why did he continually call and check? And then again in August, into December, then to go back out again and to check? I mean, what prompted him on all these different occasions?
NIEVES: Well, again, we have an individual who has -- someone who was interested, someone who was concerned about the activity regarding a missing child. And what we`re trying to make a determination also is to piece together the information to try and determine the bags that were called in, the gray bag on the side of the road next to the swamp area. So those are all different instances of calls that were called in.
He did not meet with the deputy on the first two instances. On the 13th, he did. That`s where we`re trying to make a determination as to the thoroughness of our investigation. What occurred when the deputy responded to the scene? What did he look for? What areas did he search in or peruse in order to try and make a determination that everything was OK and left the area? We`re trying to make that determination.
NIEVES: But obviously, he returned here, worked this area on -- in December, on December 11.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it right there, John.
NIEVES: ... wooded area...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, obviously John Cowles is doing an excellent job interviewing Captain Nieves there. We want to thank him and bring in our panel now. Jayne Weintraub, defense attorney; Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney; criminal profiler Pat Brown.
Jayne, let me start with you. This is just blowing my mind, because unless he had a crystal ball, OK, or unless he knew something, had some inside information, how could this guy find this bag, make a connection to the Anthony case, call three times and then double back months later and find a bag with a skull inside it? Something doesn`t add up here.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you said -- you said it, Jane. First of all, it`s just too much of a coincidence. You know, it doesn`t pass the smell test, No. 1.
No. 2, how many times does Captain Nieves have to tell us how credible this guy is? Why does he say that? Can you run his fingerprints? Do we have elimination prints? Who is this guy?
And most of all, what are the odds of this guy, almost a consciousness of guilt, calling three times in a row: "Did you go there, did you go there?" Because he knew something was there, and it hadn`t been taken.
And you said it at the beginning: gray bag on the side of the road. Now in the search warrant affidavit, and what they`ve been talking about, black garbage bags. Was it moved? Did they change the location? Did they change the remains? What`s going on here? Talk about contaminating the scene. This guy just went -- kept going right back. What`s going on?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Findling, what is the defense going to do with this information?
FINDLING: They are going to vet this meter reader more than the John McCain campaign ever vetted Sarah Palin.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s not very much, let`s face it.
FINDLING: That`s what they`re going to do. And let me tell you something: the fact that this captain with complete single-minded tunnel vision said what a great guy this was and a concerned citizen. That`s going to get a tape -- they`re going to take that tape, the defense, and they`re going to be right back in court saying, "This is why we need access to the evidence. This single-mindedness is why we need access to the crime scene."
That was a great interview, but the most ridiculous answer I`ve heard in a long time, and he`s going to pay the price for that answer, Pat.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Criminal profiler Pat Brown, it appears there are conflicting stories as well. Initially, we heard the meter reader went into the words to relieve himself. Now they`re saying it was curiosity. So what`s the story? Curiosity or you`ve got to go to the bathroom?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Jane, first of all, I think I would have to actually hear the 911 calls -- see what was written down by the police. Because let me, in defense of the meter reader, because I don`t know anything about this guy yet or the real circumstances, I will say this.
As a citizen, many times when you call the police, especially when there`s a big case like this and lots of people are calling, you make your phone call, you get this dull response on the other end: "What information do you have?"
And you`re like, "I saw this bag, and I`m concerned because it`s near the Anthony house, and I`m just wondering because -- you know, I didn`t want to get near it."
"Well, where is that located? Thank you very much." And they hang up, and you feel like an idiot, first of all. Because you made your statement...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But don`t you go to the bag and you look in the bag and see what`s in the bag? And if he saw nothing in the bag, then wouldn`t that say, maybe I was wrong?
BROWN: Well, like I say, I don`t know all the circumstances.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This isn`t "Murder, She Wrote." This is a real-life case here.
BROWN: It`s possible -- it`s possible he didn`t want to get near the bag. He possibly did look and he saw something and he freaked out and ran away and made his phone call. I`m just saying I don`t know yet, because I don`t know what was said.
But what happens with citizens, I want to make this point, what happens with citizens, they make that phone call and then, of course, the police are not required to call the citizen back and tell them if they took action. So what happens, as time goes on...
WEINTRAUB: The deputy came out there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne, go ahead.
WEINTRAUB: The deputy came out there and saw him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne, go ahead.
WEINTRAUB: On August 13, the deputy went out and spoke with Joe Wonderful Citizen who we don`t even have his prior record and we don`t have elimination fingerprints for the purposes of comparing them with anything else that they`re looking at.
FINDLING: You know, let me say this. If anybody else involved in this case from, say, the Anthony family, OK, whether it be -- whether it be Casey, her mother, father, had somehow done something so coincidental, OK, everybody would be jumping up and down about how inculpatory it is.
This is really incredible. This is, as you said, incredible breaking news. You can`t discount it at all. It is incredible breaking news.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is and we`re going to analyze it more. Give us a second, because we`ve got so much more to analyze on this. I have so many questions. Stay right there.
Just a reminder: Nancy Grace will have the latest on this real bombshell in the Caylee Anthony case immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Eastern. Now, listen to Captain Angelo Nieves of the Orange County Sheriff`s Department once again deliver today`s shocking news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIEVES: The tip that we received on August 13 was the same individual that reported the findings on December 11. It was the same individual that called in to the communication center and called us this past Thursday that made the discovery.
We had three tips from that individual. We are trying to determine the circumstances and the thoroughness of the -- the deputy that responded that day and will continue to do so in the coming days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stunning developments in the Caylee Anthony investigation. The very utility worker who found the skull near the Anthony home a week ago today also, we are now being told, called authorities three times in August to report suspicions about that very area, vis-a-vis, this case, apparently.
Let me read this just coming in. On August 11, the meter reader called the Orange County sheriff`s office communication center to report a gray bag was on the right side of the road near Hopespring and Suburban Drive. That`s right in that area. And a deputy responded and cleared the site. The meter reader did not meet with the deputy. Interesting there.
August 12, the worker called the Crime Line tip line. August 13. After the worker called again, two -- two -- deputies responded at two different times. At least one deputy met with the meter reader, and the site was cleared.
So Drew Findling, if the site was cleared, does that mean there`s a possibility the body wasn`t there at that time?
FINDLING: Well, clearly, whatever he saw was not there. But it`s more than coincidental that he described a bag which, four months later he found a bag that has, of course, a head in it that could be, you know, what determines the fate and the outcome of this case. It`s just too coincidental.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s absolutely fascinating. And there`s one theory I have, Pat Brown, and that is that five months ago, a very good female friend of Casey Anthony`s told authorities to look in this area saying, "Hey, this is where we used to hang out all the time." This is right near the school that Casey Anthony and her brother, Lee, went to. "This was our hangout, this area of the woods. Check that area."
Authorities said when they checked that area, the area was underwater. Is it possible that this sort of got around town? I mean, Orlando isn`t the biggest place in the world.
BROWN: Or it got around to Zenaida`s boyfriend? I mean, this is -- this is a theory.
WEINTRAUB: Maybe it was Zenaida`s boyfriend.
BROWN: Yes, this is ridiculous. First of all, what we know is that Casey misplaced her child on purpose and didn`t do anything about it. We know she`s out partying and not caring. We know she`s had all suspicious activities relating to looking up things on the Internet about killing her child. We know that there was evidence in the trunk of her car.
So now we`re going to say we`re going to ignore every shred of that evidence and say Zenaida`s boyfriend did it. Now, the only way I can think there`s any relationship between this man and the crime, would be that, if he did know Caylee -- Casey and helped her dispose of the body and then later on called in to just try to get the body found.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne, do you think that they`ve already totally vetted this guy, that they`ve gone in there and listened to his computer records and gone through...
WEINTRAUB: No, of course not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... his Google and gone through his cell phone pings and made sure 100 percent that he has no connection to Casey Anthony? Because remember, a deputy at the sheriff`s department had to resign because he, it turned out, had a sexual relationship with Casey Anthony. This was months ago. So Casey Anthony got around, if you know what I mean. And so how do they know for sure that there`s no connection here?
WEINTRAUB: That`s exactly -- exactly the problem right now. They don`t know, and they haven`t had time to investigate it properly. And you know that they were ignoring it. Because if it doesn`t fit their puzzle and their theory of it being Casey Anthony and Casey Anthony alone, they don`t want to know from it. But they couldn`t ignore this any more.
I want to know why this meter reader went back again to the scene of the crime. What, is he becoming an investigator now? What happened? What drew him back last week? It`s bizarre.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In defense of the authorities, first of all, they may have made this connection right away, last Thursday when he called in, and began investigating and saying, "Remember, this is the guy from August. Oh, boy, we`ve got a problem. Let`s check him out. Let`s make sure she`s not a cuckoo." And determine, maybe, that he -- he has, actually, nothing to do with this.
FINDLING: But Jane -- Jane...
FINDLING: This is not -- again, this is not a murder investigation. This is a criminal prosecution. This case is indicted. If they had this information, it would have been turned over as exculpatory evidence. That is, evidence that helps the accused. They didn`t.
And then to hear the captain respond to your question -- which by the way, you`re going to hear the attorneys echo your question -- and that is, have you checked his call records? Have you checked any tie-in with our client? And for him to tell you in front of the entire country that, "No, we`re not going to do that" -- and he sounded like he had no intention to do that -- that is speaking to every potential juror in the case. And that baby is going to be driven home by this defense team.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is...
WEINTRAUB: And it should be.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Jane?
WEINTRAUB: It should be. Because you know, we had a search warrant affidavit looking for black garbage bags. We all talked about it. Remember, the black garbage bags, maybe it`s a certain lot and a sequential number. Maybe it`s still at the house. You know, things have to be particular based on the information...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this -- is this -- how big is this in terms of throwing a wrinkle or...
WEINTRAUB: This is more than a wrinkle. This is not a facelift situation here. This is big.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it is big, Drew.
WEINTRAUB: This is a plethora of questions for the defense. And they`re correct to try and confront what happened and then we`ll have to go and investigate it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to give you the last word, Pat. We`ve only got a couple of seconds. What`s the profile of somebody who`s like this? Amateur sleuth?
BROWN: There`s two possibilities. One, Jane, is that he was connected to Casey and helped get rid of the body. That should be an advantage for the prosecution, because there will be evidence that she killed that child.
Secondly, yes, there`s a lot of sleuths like that. They get into it and they keep going...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to go. This guy is not a suspect, not a suspect, not a suspect. When we come back, we`re going to be joined by two forensic experts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAYLEE ANTHONY, MISSING AND PRESUMED DEAD (singing): ... how much I love you. Please don`t take my sunshine away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back discussing the very latest developments in the Caylee Anthony case. Can`t get over that video of little Caylee there. What an angel. This is such a sad case. And there is so much pressure on everybody to do the right thing.
So Dr. Kent Harshbarger, as a forensic pathologist, how do you explain that originally we got word that they found the skull a week ago that there were no -- there was no clothing. And now we are learning that, yes, there was clothing found in the plastic bag along with some of the remains. How does something like that happen?
DR. KENT HARSHBARGER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Two reasons that come to mind. First of all, the right hand doesn`t know what the left hand is doing in some of these high-profile cases where information is released by people that aren`t really in the know with what`s going on currently.
The other reason is once decomposition has taken place, that bag could have contained a lot of debris that had to be sorted. And the clothing doesn`t mean a whole shirt or pair of pants was found. Could be fabric, little strands, pieces of clothing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or they made a mistake. Well, yes, but let me ask you this, Jayne Weintraub. Why don`t they just say, when they see the bag, hey, here`s what we found. Here are the basic things we found. Because they did say that they found a skull. That came out very quickly. Why can`t they just sort of put all of our questions to rest by saying, "We found a skull. We found a garbage bag. We found duct tape. We found..."
WEINTRAUB: The honest answer? Because at this point they have an indictment. And at this point, now they have all this physical evidence that might not corroborate their theory of the case, and they`re scared.
I mean, the honest answer is, Dr. Perper, a nationally-known Broward County right now medical examiner, he`s a human being. But he`s supposed to be a scientist. And under the statute, neutral.
And you know what he said? He said when asked about will they be able to determining the time of death, he said on television, answer, well, I would imagine they would because -- and after two seconds he says, "They know when the child disappeared. So we know it`s within that time." Huh? He`s not supposed to be talking about anything but scientific answers.
Then he talked about, well, the mother was lying. He`s not there to judge his opinion on something like that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the medical examiner who was involved in the Anna Nicole Smith case, which also happened down in Florida. And I think he`s very good. So I don`t want to knock him.
But Brian Russell, as a -- as a psychologist, is there sort of a vortex that these cases reach when they get this big, where it`s basically all the old rules don`t apply. And things are so crazy that there`s really no way to control it? It`s like a runaway freight train.
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, as we talked about earlier in the show, I think that the stress on everybody involved is very high. But I think the reason why you wouldn`t come out and announce right away, for example, that you found clothes or that you found a sheet, would be because you wouldn`t want anybody else to go out and destroy any corroborating evidence that might be somewhere like the Anthonys` home, for example, before you had a chance to go back and do another search and maybe see if you can find a matching shirt to the shorts or the matching, you know, bed sheet to the top sheet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But why lie? They either give us enough that we don`t have to contradict ourselves all the time or say nothing.
OK. Stay right there. Lots more to cover on the Caylee Anthony mystery as cops prepare to enter week two.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Anthony sits behind bars charged in the murder of her little daughter, Caylee. Outside the cell, legal battles swirl and the identity of a small child`s remains are yet to be officially identified. It`s a treasure trove of evidence and we`re analyzing it.
One week since the remains of a small child were found in Florida, authorities say they`re finding new evidence almost every day. Reports that clothing has been found on the scene in addition to the bones and a skull already recovered. Another strong sign that the remains may indeed belong to Caylee Anthony.
I`m back with my fantastic panel: Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney; Brian Russell, forensic psychologist; Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney and Dr. Kent Harshbarger, a forensic pathologist and attorney.
Jayne Weintraub, when do you think this is going to go to trial? It was originally supposed to start in January; that`s before all of this happened. At the very moment they were finding the skull, they were having a hearing in which they pushed it back to the spring. They`re going to meet again January 15th to get a more definitive time line on when this trial will start.
But as all of us who have covered these big cases know, they have a tendency to get pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. What`s your best guess?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Six to nine months.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, why?
WEINTRAUB: There`s a lot -- first of all, now there are a lot of lawyers and scheduling have to be considered; that`s just a realistic approach. And number two is you have a lot of evidence that is going to have to be reviewed and compared.
But remember, in Florida we have a very unique criminal justice system in that we have the right to take depositions on each and every witness listed by the state. Every deposition of every forensic expert could take a day or two.
So it all revolves around scheduling experts and the time of the court as well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Drew Findling, when you have this dream team in place -- and again, they`ve done many high-profile trials -- Linda Kenny Baden was involved in the Phil Specter case, he was accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.
We are now entering 2009 and that case is still continuing. There was a lot -- there are a lot of delays. There was a mistrial -- there`s a retrial. I mean they know how to push this back and the longer you push it back, the worse it is for the prosecution.
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, let`s say this -- right now, with all this new evidence being found, this case is really going to hit a slow track. But remember, we talk about this dream team and I have to tell you I really think that`s ridiculous. And the reason is Florida can hire as many experts as it wants.
FINDLING: It can hire three experts for every volunteer expert for the defense. And don`t think that Florida, the state, is going to be satisfied with just one expert on these issues.
Don`t be shocked if they get two, three more per subject matter. And as Jayne said, every one of them, the defense is going to be entitled and should be deposing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well listen, I mentioned dream team because that`s the phrase that came out of the O.J. Simpson trial. Dr. Henry Lee was involved in the O.J. Simpson trial and we saw what went on there. And there was a lot of -- I would say creative defense that actually really set a precedent for the high-profile trials that have happened since then. And it was really -- it changed everything as far as how the law is practiced.
I remember the famous garbage in, garbage out defense, Brian Russell, where they basically said that, oh, the crime scene was tampered with, it was messed up, the criminal list walked on things --
WEINTRAUB: Jane, look at what you`re looking at right now on the screen. You`ve got 40 people at that crime scene. And you`re worried about Dr. Henry Lee, a world renowned forensic medical examiner --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re proving my point. You`re proving my point, 40 people, --
WEINTRAUB: Look at what`s going on there. It`s a zoo.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that`s what I`m saying. You`re proving my point, it`s a zoo.
WEINTRAUB: They`re walking over themselves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re walking all over -- they can take that and take that and turn it around on the prosecution and say, look how they`re walking all over the evidence. Look at all these people, was that one wearing a glove? Was that one wearing a mask? Was this -- we all saw it happen many years ago. And it did change how criminal justice or injustice is practiced.
WEINTRAUB: We want to level the playing field here, Jane, that`s all they want to do. They want to observe and have the opportunity to compare, just like the state has the right to do it, so does the defense.
FINDLING: Jane even the --
WEINTRAUB: And don`t forget -- don`t forget that this particular area, they searched twice. And this flood business is ridiculous. Number one, the cadaver dogs didn`t hit and they could have hit.
And number two, in Natalee Holloway they drained part of an ocean and they`ve dredged that and the cadaver dogs hit. So you know what I don`t buy into it. Maybe that body wasn`t there. Isn`t that possible?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re proving my point with your creative fantasies. We`re going to hear more of that during the trial.
FINDLING: Well Jane, even -- even the Department of Justice acknowledged that what happened in O.J. Simpson was a turning point. They acknowledged that there were mistakes made. They acknowledged that what happened in the Ramsey investigation in Colorado were mistakes. They acknowledged in their books, convicted by juries, exonerated by science. In all these cases, there were major mistakes by law enforcement.
So the fact that as Jayne says, the playing field has been leveled, we should invite the fact that people are volunteering. Set a standard for the poor people of this country they`ve accused of crimes. I hope more scientists step up and volunteer for those cases.
But don`t condemn these people. Let`s applaud their efforts. No matter what they take up from the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I`m applauding their efforts. Those people that we`re looking at on camera are working really hard.
Dr. Kent Harshbarger, what I`m saying is there`s no way for 40 people working for five days or seven days in mud and dirt are going to do everything perfectly.
What is perfectly in that context? I mean, we`ve created this ridiculously high standard where literally you think you`d have to fly over the crime scene without touching it wearing little packs that allow you to be above ground without touching the ground and not even touch the evidence because as soon as you touch it, somehow you`ve tampered with it.
DR. KENT HARSHBARGER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, it is a ridiculous standard but it`s also a necessary standard. I`d say that because -- I actually agree that the defense observing their actions that is not going to be a problem.
And as you said there`s 40 people standing there, the difference is, a crime scene has one entry point and one exit point. You are now talking about -- you`re an acre to search, you`ve got to have 40 people to do a proper grid on that kind of a scene.
That being said, the innermost portion is probably sanctioned off and we don`t have people going in and out transferring evidence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Doctor, if they don`t know where all the bones are found, couldn`t anybody argue, well, hypothetically they could be walking over important evidence and destroying it since we don`t know where those things are on the ground?
WEINTRAUB: That`s not going to apply to a jury anymore.
WEINTRAUB: Jane, that wouldn`t apply to a jury. What`s going to fly to a jury is that they can prove -- for example, she`s already charged in the indictment, she is charged with aggravated child abuse. They have to prove.
Now they have the skull, is there a crushed skull, is there a tool mark? What if there isn`t any damage or injury to the skeletal remains?
That`s what we`re talking about at the crime scene. We`re not talking about stepping on something that`s there. We`re talking about we want the ability to test what they have. They`re going to destroy three inches of bone that they have with toxicology testing.
Why can`t a defense expert watch that procedure? Not participate, but watch, to ensure the integrity of the system before we convict someone of first-degree murder for life in prison or perhaps the death penalty.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Harshbarger, why do you think the prosecution has been so intent on keeping the defense out of this process?
HARSHBARGER: I think one reason, is we don`t know it`s Caylee yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please.
HARSHBARGER: We don`t know it`s her. It hasn`t been proven. So I think that`s an issue. I don`t mind the defense experts being in my cases. I would like them there; I would let them do the case. And then they can`t come back on me when I`m testifying and say I didn`t do something.
FINDLING: I think the bottom line is they pulled the trigger too early with the indictment.
FINDLING: They indicted without the body. They didn`t have to do this. In important cases all over the country, prosecutors sit on the case and wait idly. And they just let the defendant -- the accused suffocate knowing they`re being looked at.
They didn`t do it in this case and they`re paying the price right now. And I think its semi-panic. Because again, I don`t think anybody doubt the identity but it`s the method and manner of death. I mean, if they decide to go for the death penalty, they will eat the fact that they didn`t let the defense participate at this early stage because it will become an issue that will take six months to litigate and be appealed for 20 years.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s what I`m saying. When you have a team like this, so many high-profile people, everything becomes an issue. And they make issues out of whole cloth.
And I`m not attacking any individuals. I`m saying that`s their job. That`s what they`re paid to do. That`s why rich people sometimes get away with murder. And I`m not saying Casey`s rich, she`s not. But she`s got a dream team that only a multimillionaire could afford. And who knows who this people are who are paying for them.
WEINTRAUB: It`s the state`s burden of proof to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. That is our constitutional right for each and every person alike. Casey or anybody else in this country, rich or poor, black or white, every single human being is entitled to the same due process and constitutional right to confront evidence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen.
WEINTRAUB: And in this case, she`s being denied it. And absolutely right or rushed the judgment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. If you think the crime scene is a circus, just wait until the trial.
That`s my final word on that one. But Jayne, Drew, Brian and Kent thank you.
We`re going to stay on top of this story.
And just a reminder tune in to "Nancy Grace" immediately following this program at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for all the latest twists in the Caylee Anthony investigation.
Now, Wall Street con-artist Bernard Madoff scammed companies allegedly to the tune of $50 billion. Instead of rotting in prison, he`s in a posh Manhattan penthouse. I will tell you about this ridiculous double standard, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA THOMSEN, DIRECTOR FOR ENFORCEMENT, SEC: We are acutely focused with our colleagues of the southern district of New York and the FBI to figure out exactly what`s going on, to pursue the case that we`ve got, to preserve assets to the extent we`re able and to bring everyone who was responsible for the conduct at the Madoff firm to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A $7 million Manhattan apartment; that`s where Bernard Madoff will spend the holidays, instead of jail. Why the heck isn`t this dirt bag in the slammer? New Yorkers are enraged. Everybody`s enraged.
The suspected Ponzi schemer who is allegedly responsible for about $50 billion worth of investment fraud will be home for the holidays. Madoff couldn`t find four people to back his $10 million bond, so get this -- the judge and prosecutors eased the stipulation and let him go after just his wife and brother co-signed.
So he`s wearing an electronic ankle bracelet, some new jewelry, some new bling, and has a curfew of 7 p.m. to 9 a.m.
My question is, is he a flight risk? Can you say, Mark Rich? Meanwhile the SEC missed opportunities to uncover the scam as far back as 2006. Where is the accountability?
Lisa Bloom, the anchor of "In Session" joins me, along with the fabulous Greg Palace (ph), reporter for the "Rolling Stone" magazine and Peter Fenn, a former Gore advisor and a Democratic strategist.
Greg, why is this guy still living in the lap of luxury after admitting to what could be the largest fraud scheme in Wall Street history?
GREG PALACE, "ROLLING STONE" MAGAZINE REPORTER: Well, let`s face it, if he had boosted a PS2 from a best buy in Brooklyn, he`d be in Reichers (ph). So instead -- what I`d like to know is, how can I get sentence a Park Avenue apartment? What do I have to do? Please, I`ll plead right now, cuff me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, the judge and the prosecution initially said they needed four co-signers. The two sons of this guy refused to co- sign.
So what does the prosecution and the judge do? Let`s just change the rules and let him have two co-signers so he could go home.
LISA BLOOM, "IN SESSION" ANCHOR: Well, I take issue with that, Jane it may surprise you. I think that nonviolent criminals should be under house arrest instead of taxpayers having to pay for them. Look it cost over $50 grand a year just to keep somebody in jail, more expensive in prison.
The guy is not yet convicted. He`s only accused -- once he`s convicted, it`s a different story. But let him pay his own way. I don`t want to pay for his jail, I don`t want to pay for his food, I don`t want to pay for his security. And by the way, those electronic monitors they are pretty good.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something, they better have security watching this guy. Somebody, the NYPD, the FBI, the SEC -- any one of those initials or other initials better be watching this guy.
I`m wondering, Greg, if you think he could pull a Mark Rich and take off? What has he got to lose?
PALACE: Well, I mean, he could. What I`m concerned about, is that it`s really unequal treatment. I agree, yes, we don`t need a bunch of nonviolent criminals in jail on basically the government payroll.
But he`s a special exception, why is this guy an exception? That`s what I want to know, why did they cut him extra slack from stealing, allegedly $50 billions? Does he have a risk of taking off, you don`t know where that money is, he might want to go rejoin his money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.
Peter Fenn, put this in perspective for us. Because the SEC has been warned -- there was this guy who launched a ten-year campaign to try to convince the SEC that something was fishy in Denmark with this Madoff guy and he was unsuccessful until just recently.
PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Jane, this is outrageous. I mean, you had eight years ago people blowing the whistle on him. You had reporters seven years ago writing articles about him. You had people around him who where questioning where this money was going, how it was being made.
The SEC was asleep at the switch and a lot of people were asleep at the switch. And look, this guy has helped bring down our financial structure along with a lot of Wall Street mavens. And I tell you, I think this guy should be in the slammer right now and maybe he could have Rod Blagojevich as a cell mate there pretty soon.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean, I usually agree 100 percent with Lisa Bloom. But on this one, I`ve got to say listen, there`s an attorney, Brad Friedman, he represents 100 people who lost their shirts. These people are distraught. They are emotional. Well, they`ve lost the money. That`s for sure.
BLOOM: Well, a lot of people have lost money on Wall Street though Jane, and the man has not yet been convicted of anything, and he`s only been accused and the same for Blagojevich by the way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wow.
BLOOM: So I`m going to be one to first to say, look, look, guess what, our system, innocent until proven guilty. Once the guy`s convicted, we can throw the book at him but not before.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the thing, I think its elitist and it`s frankly racist.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s racist --
FENN: Oh, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- to let this guy scoot off, he`s a man about town, he has his electronic ankle bracelet. When shoplifters and pick-pockets and prostitutes and everybody else who is on the lower end of the spectrum who generally have a tendency to be a minority --
BLOOM: Yes, but here`s the problem Jane, I mean, if we start incarcerating nonviolent criminals --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We do all the time.
BLOOM: Let me talk for a minute. We are already releasing violent criminals early, why, because we don`t have unlimited resources in this country. We specially don`t have that in the time of recession. We have to make tough choices and one choice is to say that nonviolent criminals to a not yet convicted of a crime only accused, let them pay their own way on house arrest. I think that`s a wise decision.
FENN: I think this is violent, Jane, I think this is so violent that he took $50 billion and squandered it for his own purposes. This is more violent than Jean Valjean stealing some bread in "Les Miserables".
BLOOM: You`re talking about rapists and murderers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It has been described as financial murder in fact. People are absolutely devastated; charities that could have saved lives have been wiped out so people could literally die because of the behavior of this man.
BLOOM: Well, look. You can make use all the rhetorical language you want. What he`s accused of is terrible, but if you talk to the family of a rape victim or a murder victim I think they`re going to differ that this is a violent crime. And that this other guy should go free so that this guy gets a place in jail. I just don`t think it`s compromising jail is a place for violent criminals. We have to keep our eye on the ball.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say I agree with you. But I think the first thing we need to do is to get all the drug offenders out because a lot of them are non-violent.
BLOOM: Fine, we agree on that one, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s legalize drugs so we can arrest real criminals and stay right there.
More fallout from the Madoff Ponzi scheme, it`s unbelievable.
When we come right back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this dramatic confrontation as Bernie Madoff returned back to his fancy Manhattan penthouse and a photographer gets into a confrontation with him. This is an example of the rage that is being felt on the streets of New York over this absolutely unprecedented alleged Ponzi scheme that is said to have wiped out billions and billions and billions of dollars.
Back with Lisa Bloom, Greg Palace and Peter Fenn. Peter why haven`t his assets been seized? He`s got that fancy apartment and he`s got a house in Montauk, he`s got a house in Palm Beach.
FENN: This house shouldn`t own a thing, Jane. Everything should be taken from him. He`s been ripping these people off now for nearly a decade. He`s really caused a destruction in confidence in the markets in New York.
This is another -- the American people right now are sure that there are more of these, hopefully there won`t be, but this guy should be held an example. People should be held accountable for stuff like this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Greg Palace, the SEC and this family had a connection. His niece was married to somebody who had been an SEC official.
PALACE: This is a snoozy scene. It`s not just Madoff, my God, we go all the way from Ken Lay (ph) and since then. Let`s not forget that hedge funds for only one year were required to report their assets and none of them matched up.
I mean, Madoff isn`t alone. Madoff is not alone. We need to put the pressure on him to say who else is in on his game, knew what he was doing and is copying his game. He wasn`t alone in this, believe me. And the other thing is how come they`re not going to his apartment being looking for the evidence? If he`s in that apartment he`s working on destroying the records, believe me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I agree, that this is -- he`s being treated with kid gloves, Lisa.
BLOOM: I don`t know what they seized, I don`t know what evidence they`ve gone through. You`re absolutely right, Jane, they should be seizing his assets. They should be freezing everything that he has. I`d be very surprised if they haven`t already done that, if they don`t do that soon because every nickel that he owns is going to be gone very, very quickly. That`s what he`s a master of, allegedly. He`s a master of this getting rid of money, poof, making it go away; making it go God knows where.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know it doesn`t disappear. Usually when people steal things, it`s to make money not just to lose it.
BLOOM: How do you spend billions and billions?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to unfortunately, leave it right there, but I`d like to have you back to discuss it more. You know this story is not going away.
BLOOM: Thanks, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Lisa, Greg, Peter and thank you at home for joining me tonight.
Tomorrow I`ll bring you the very latest bombshell developments in the Caylee Anthony case. See you back here at 7 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night.
Until then, have a wonderful and a very safe evening.