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New Developments in Caylee Anthony Murder Case

Aired December 30, 2008 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, stunning twists and turns in the Caylee Anthony murder case. A shocking new claim: that the very location where little Caylee`s remains were recently found was videotaped a month before. And nothing was there. That bombshell reportedly from a private eye who`d apparently been working with the Anthony family.

So many questions. Why was he filming there? The shocking news has authorities scrambling to grill that P.I. and another gumshoe. But Casey Anthony`s lawyers say, hold on, some of it`s privileged.

And disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich names a replacement for Barack Obama`s Senate seat, even though Blagojevich was arrested for allegedly trying to sell that very same seat. I`ll tell you if this alleged slime ball is colossally cocky or just plain stupid.

Those issues, and more, tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stunning new developments in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation. Jim Hoover, a private investigator working with the Anthony family, reportedly says that back in November, he filmed the very wooded area where little Caylee`s remains were eventually found in December, and nothing was there, apparently meaning no body.

Authorities now want to know why that private investigator was in that particular area with a video camera one full month before her remains were discovered. What did he know? When did he know it? How did he know it?

Also, tonight, another private investigator that Florida authorities want to talk to is Dominic Casey. Mr. Casey once worked for Casey Anthony`s defense. Are you keeping up here? But he left the team and was then hired by the Anthony family.

Casey Anthony`s lead attorney, Jose Baez, now reportedly worried his former investigator may reveal privileged information. Baez has filed a motion, asking that all questioning of that private investigator by authorities be overseen by an independent observer called a special master to protect defense secrets.

Two private investigators, two really bizarre new stories adding to the constantly evolving Caylee Anthony murder investigation.

So much to cover tonight, and we want to hear from you. Call 1-877- JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Let us know what you think about the latest twist in the Caylee murder investigation.

But first, let`s turn to our fantastic panel: Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and attorney; Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some"; and Vinnie Parco, a private investigator himself; along with Kathi Belich, a reporter from Orlando affiliate WFTV, who has been covering this case since the very beginning.

Wendy Murphy, got to start with you, former prosecutor. What do you make of this private eye videotaping the crime scene before the body was found there? And then finding no body?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, it`s obviously very interesting. And it`s exactly why law enforcement wants to speak with him, to ask exactly those questions.

On the other hand, Jane, you know, come on, he filmed exactly the same spot? And he can prove when he took the film and what was there or what wasn`t there? You know, I think there`s so many questions about his motive, why he happened to have the...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, thought, considering that he was working for the Anthony family, or with the Anthony family, according to published reports, isn`t the obvious implication, at least the question we have to ask, did they direct him there? Did they know more about that spot a month before the body was found?

MURPHY: Well, that`s one question you would want to ask. But isn`t it a little odd, both for the reason you suggest, and a million others, that he happens to claim to have videotape of only that spot? Does he have videotape of every other spot in the area? I`m very suspicious. I`m very suspicious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If she ever gets her day in court and they stop investigating and they start putting their, quote, "evidence" forward, then we`ll know what it`s about, Wendy.

This is not a time for the investigators to be asking questions. This is a time where they`ve already investigated, indicted her for murder, and she`s sitting in a jail cell waiting for her day in court.

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: How does he know the exact spot? How does he know the exact spot where the bag was found? I thought the defense said they don`t want to go out to the site and look at anything because it`s already been messed up by the prosecution.

WEINTRAUB: No, no, no, they wanted to be there to monitor the prosecution and the experts that were there so they didn`t have to take their word for it. Keep your eye on the ball. The question isn`t what were they doing there, the question is, remember, people, it corroborates EquuSearch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no. There are many questions. And I want to bring in Kathi Belich, who has been covering this from the very beginning.

Kathi, OK, this private investigator says he videotaped that area in November. Now, was that area underwater? Because if the area was underwater and he videotaped that area, perhaps the body was submerged. There were storms in that area, and the area was reportedly underwater at one point.

KATHI BELICH, WFTV CORRESPONDENT: Reportedly, it was at one point when EquuSearch was in that area. It was thickly wooded. I don`t believe there was water in that area in November. But it was very thickly wooded.

And remember that before the storm came through in August, the investigators -- not the investigators, but the deputies had been in that area, looked in that area, and did not find what the meter reader was talking about. So it could be just a function of how thickly wooded that area was at the time. It`s been cleared since when the investigators were working in there. They cleared away a lot of brush. But it was very thickly wooded.

MURPHY: The point is this -- the point is this guy, Hoover, has a lot of chutzpa to suggest that he shouldn`t submit himself to questions by law enforcement. He`s basically made himself a witness. And Jayne thinks that`s OK to keep that stuff privileged and private? Are you kidding me?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s more complicated than that, ladies. There are two private eyes. And the one that Jose Baez, the attorney for Casey Anthony, wants to keep from reviewing privileged information, is another private eye named Dominic Casey. And that`s the guy who worked for the defense team at one point and then switched over to working for the Anthony family.

And to make it even crazier, these two private investigators actually have some sort of dealings with each other. And by the way, when I went on Dominic Casey`s Web site, it says he specializes in creative solutions.

WEINTRAUB: Solutions for what?

This is work product. It is privileged information. Lawyers need investigators like prosecutors need their police to do their detective work.

MURPHY: Baloney. Stop.

RUSSELL: Yes. There is a distinction between work product and evidence.

WEINTRAUB: I beg your pardon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Explain the distinction, Brian Russell. Explain the distinction.

RUSSELL: Well, the defense is entitled to have their investigators go out and try to gather additional information that the prosecution maybe hasn`t gathered or overlooked. And that`s work product, which is a separate thing from somebody like the meter reader who`s a witness to evidence that is legitimately collected by the prosecution. So what Jose Baez is trying to do here is to keep the work product separate from the fact witness evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Vinnie Parco for a second. He`s a private investigator.

So maybe you can give us some insight into what this guy was doing with a video camera at the location where the body is later found.

And keep in mind, Vinnie, that this body was completely skeletonized and was scattered over an entire acre. So it`s not like you can move a body like this from one location to another. It`s not like in the movies, where you pick up a person who`s lying there. This is, tragically, a body that was completely skeletonized. The head was in a garbage bag, and there were bones found all over the place.

VINNIE PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I can only think that the investigator had some previous knowledge of the crime scene. Why would he be in that particular area? Why would he be videotaping only that area? If he was videotaping the entire area for whatever -- for other reasons, I could understand that. But to -- just to videotape that particular area, is sort of a preemptive strike before the case gets to court.

WEINTRAUB: But he said that that`s the only place that he videotaped. Everybody`s just focusing in on that particular video.

MURPHY: But that`s the point. The point is, he needs to answer those questions, among so many others. This guy, Hoover, although apparently he`s not going to say that`s privileged because he knows better.

And good P.I.`s know, whether you work for the defense or not, you know that if you inject yourself as a fact witness into a case, the privilege goes poof. So why would this guy, Hoover, have any objection to talking to police and why would anybody want to supervise...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask...

WEINTRAUB: Maybe he wants to preserve the sanctity and integrity of the system.

MURPHY: Oh, Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: This is about our constitutional right. Even yours. Equal rights.

MURPHY: Stop waving the flag for a minute and use a moment of common sense. These investigators made themselves part of the investigation. The privilege goes away and you know it. You can`t have it both ways, Jayne. You can`t go into the crime scene and then wave the flag of privilege.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you realize how bizarre this whole story is? This is not just one man, OK? Going up in November and videotaping. We have to add the fact that the meter reader in August called three times, Kathi Belich, and urged authorities to go to this specific spot.

And on top of that, additionally, Kathi, and I want to get your insight into this, it seems like everybody and his uncle in that town was telling cops to go to that site. A friend of Casey`s told them, "You`ve got to go to that site, because that`s where we used to hang out all the time when we were back in school."

BELICH: Well, you know, the site that the friend was referring to was actually very close to that area. There`s sort of a -- you know, you haven`t been to that area, but there`s a street. It dead ends. And to the right of the dead end is the area where the remains were found.

All the way at the end of the street, there`s a fence, and there`s a gate. And if you go through that gate, there`s a dirt road that leads down into the woods. That was the area, actually, that I believe the childhood friend was talking about. And I had actually been there bag in August on that dirt road looking. But it turns out that it was right off the side of the road very close there. And because it was close to there...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you make of that? I mean, you know, it`s all too weird. I mean, honestly, this is a tragic story, but it`s starting to sound like that old TV show "Twin Peaks," you know, where it`s just -- everything is just bizarre and strange and doesn`t add up.

RUSSELL: I`ll tell you what is...

BELICH: The area where the Anthonys live, you have to remember, in August there was a $250,000 reward being offered if someone...

MURPHY: Bingo!

BELICH: ... had found Caylee.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who said "Bingo?"

WEINTRAUB: I did. And Jane, Kathi`s exactly right. And it`s like what we were talking about last night. You know, we can`t commercialize the system. People can`t be able to profit from their testimony for potential evidence. You know, Amber Frey in the Scott Peterson case went through the whole trial saying no book, no book. And then the jurors never knew she had a book deal and a movie...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hold on.

MURPHY: ... and the reward money to solve murders. Good one, Jayne.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on. Stop.

Got a question or comment on the Caylee Anthony case? Call 1-877-JVM- SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. And talk to our expert panel. They are obviously fired up tonight.

But first, listen to Casey Anthony talking to her father from jail back in July.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s something that, with you, it`s not going to be easy to get through. At least we`ll have you out also.




ROY KRONK, METER READER: You know, I went down, and it was behind one of the trees, and it looked suspicious. I didn`t touch anything. And then a little bit further up, you can tell (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but the weeds were still behind that area.

There`s a fallen tree that looks like somebody tried to cut on it at some point. There was a white board hanging across the tree. And there was something round and white underneath of it. And I don`t know what it is. But it just didn`t look like something that should be there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back discussing all the latest developments in the Caylee Anthony case and taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1- 877-586-7297.

Let`s go right to the phones. Collette in Mississippi, your question or comment, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes, I was just wondering if Lee can be charged with aiding and abetting or obstructing justice. What about, I hate to say this, what about the grandparents?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Your question, and I think it`s an excellent question, is if Lee, through his attorney, is afraid of being charged with obstruction, could his parents, Cindy and George, also face obstruction?

Now, I actually spoke to the attorney for Lee Anthony last night on this broadcast. Take a listen to what the lawyer of Caylee`s uncle had to say about all of this.


THOMAS LUKA, LEE ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: What we are concerned with, however, is that here in Florida, the laws regarding tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice are extraordinarily broad, as opposed to other states. And because of that, there is some concern that some activities that -- that Lee might have been involved with during the investigation, might have -- be seen by law enforcement to be misleading, or to be in some way hindering the investigation.

And that`s what we`re trying to make clear, that throughout this investigation, he has been cooperating fully.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Vinnie Parco, you`re a private eye. We`re trying to figure this out. And got to say up front, this is speculation. But since the P.I. who shot that videotape was working with the Anthony family, at least part of the Anthony family, could this fear expressed by Lee`s lawyer, that he could be facing obstruction or tampering, be connected to this videotaping incident? I mean, could it be, you know, that -- that he pointed the way there?

PARCO: Well, let me tell you one thing. Everybody`s missing this one particular point. The man is a private investigator. An investigator uses informants. They use snitches. Everybody in the neighborhood knew about this case. Everybody -- it`s a very well-publicized case. This guy, Kronk, three times, called 911 and told them about this body here.

Don`t you think this private investigator has his own sources, has his own snitches, knows people in the neighborhood. And maybe he told the family, "Listen, there`s a possibility that the body is in this area. Let`s videotape it as a preemptive strike in the defense of the mother."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Vinnie, why didn`t they find the body, since that`s exactly the location where that meter reader found the body on December 11?

PARCO: Because, my gut feeling is, that possibly the mother committed the crime, and they don`t want her to go to jail. So they left the body the way it was, left it there, and let it be found by authorities. Now, I don`t understand how they couldn`t find this body if...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently, it wasn`t on the videotape, Kathi Belich.

RUSSELL: Jane, you just nailed it. Just because it`s not on that videotape, just because it`s not in the videotape, doesn`t mean it wasn`t there. We`ve all been on vacation and taken video out in the forest or on the beach or wherever, and just because something wasn`t in our video, doesn`t mean it was there at the time we were there. We all know that.

MURPHY: And I`ll go a step further. I`ll go a step further and say, they did it as a ruse, to distract: "Oh, look, let us show you what we have, a video of a location that you no longer have to look at."

PARCO: That`s called reasonable doubt.


PARCO: They`re establishing...

MURPHY: It`s like looking like this. Right?

PARCO: They`re establishing -- they`re establishing reasonable doubt.

RUSSELL: But it doesn`t establish that.

MURPHY: It`s just a big part of smoke and mirrors.

PARCO: A lot of smoke and mirrors. But what they should -- what -- if I would have done -- if I was doing this investigation, and I was going to videotape, I would have an assistant picking up the branches, looking all over the place to really do a good job. They did a superficial video of the area.

WEINTRAUB: Did you see it, Vinnie? How do you know it`s superficial? You know, everybody just uses words. You didn`t see it.

PARCO: Well, did you see it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say one thing.

WEINTRAUB: No. That`s why I`m saying; I have no idea. We have to wait and see.

PARCO: We go by what we have.

MURPHY: That`s why the cops want to talk to the guy. Jayne says don`t make him speak. That wouldn`t be fair to the Constitution. The law...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But we`re making a big leap here, people. We cannot assume that the Anthony family did this. I said specifically, it`s speculation because the attorney for Lee Anthony is saying, "I think my client could be charged with obstruction or tampering or aiding and abetting."

So we can`t just make the leap that, oh, just because this private investigator was working for the Anthony family and he videotaped this area, that they sent him there. Although, how did he know? How did -- how did the meter reader know?

None of this makes sense. It`s a very bizarre case. I mean, you know...

WEINTRAUB: Jane, isn`t it possible the body wasn`t there? The cadaver dogs didn`t hit. The police didn`t find it in November as Kathi told you. There was no storm. Isn`t it possible...

MURPHY: The bones were spread out over an acre, Jane. The bones were spread over an acre. That`s quite a conspiracy of ghosts you`ve got going back after the fact.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the conspiracy first. Tell us the conspiracy.

WEINTRAUB: No. What I`m saying, there`s no time of death. There is no manner of death. Everybody is speculating. This girl is already indicted. Let`s not forget: this is not the investigative stage.


MURPHY: Oh, yes, it is. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, this is going to be reasonable doubt. At least that`s what the defense is going to do. They`re going to take this ball. They have a dream team. We all saw the O.J. Simpson trial. We all saw other famous trials like the Robert Blake trial, the Phil Specter trial. We know what high-powered defense teams can do with confusion. There is often reasonable doubt.

MURPHY: Only if the jury has a bunch of dopes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold that thought.

PARCO: Hold your thought.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. I want to know what you think about these super-strange twists in this case.

Now, here`s Casey Anthony in jail talking to her brother, Lee, in July.


LEE ANTHONY, BROTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: I cannot speak to anybody else`s motive other than what they`ve told me. What I can do is seek to my own focus. What I can tell you is that my No. 1 focus is on Caylee.


L. ANTHONY: My second focus is you.


L. ANTHONY: My third is Mom.

C. ANTHONY: Mm-hmm.

L. ANTHONY: Then Dad. Then me.


L. ANTHONY: OK. So I want to -- and I don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about Baez. I don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about anything else. That is my -- those are my priorities.

C. ANTHONY: Perfect. Thank you. Yes.




CAYLEE ANTHONY, MURDERED GIRL (singing): ... know, dear, how much I love you. Please don`t take my sunshine away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a heart-breaking end to such a beautiful young life. We`re back discussing the very strange twists that have just come in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation.

Want to go out to Kathi Belich of our CNN affiliate, WFTG, in Orlando.

You`ve been covering this case from the start. What about the time of death? Is there any new information on that?

BELICH: Well, what I understand is the medical examiner in Orange County has determined the time of death. Also has determined how long the body was in those woods. But that information is not yet being released.

I would imagine it`s going to be released to the defense at some point, and then it becomes discovery information and will become public. But at this point, it has not been made public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, how is it possible with a skeletonized remains that the time of death was determined? It doesn`t add up to me.

MURPHY: You know, there have got to be other clues besides just the bones.

I used to be counsel to the chief medical examiner in Massachusetts. It is amazing, especially these days with DNA and other really sophisticated forensic technology, what they can do to date the time of death. I`d bet it`s not precise, but I bet it`s a good window.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to Jackie in Colorado. She`s been waiting patiently. Your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. I`m a teacher, an elementary schoolteacher. And I think it`s very, very suspicious that that meter reader was -- called four times...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three, but yes, ultimately --

CALLER: Ultimately four.


CALLER: And I call in all the time about things that are suspicious to the police, but I call once, maybe twice, and then I go on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what, Vinnie Parco? You`re a private eye. What do you make of it? Because even though the authorities have said he is not a suspect and that he was a good Samaritan with a good instinct who deserves the amateur sleuth of the year award. It`s very strange that he would -- he would spot this odd bag back in August, call three times, and then not even look inside it and then come back in December and find a skull in there.

PARCO: Well, I looked -- I listened to the 911 tape. And what I determined was that he had -- that was his area of meter reading. That was his area. So he was supposed to be in that area. It`s not like he just popped up there. So I understand that he did observe something. But I can`t understand why the sheriff`s deputies could not pick up on his clues.

WEINTRAUB: Maybe it wasn`t there. Isn`t that even possible?

PARCO: It`s possible. But I`d have to look at -- I`d have to look at the autopsy report -- by the way, I`m also a certified forensic examiner. I worked for the state board of medicine before I was a private investigator.


PARCO: I`d have to look at the autopsy report. I`d have to look at the condition of the bones.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You guys have got to hear this for one second. I didn`t mean to cut you off, Vinnie, because you`ve given us some really good insights. But you`ve got to hear what the bounty hunter, Leonard Padilla, said on Nancy Grace last night. Because this is a wild theory, and I want you to weigh in on it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee giving up his fingerprints voluntarily is a red herring. His situation is there`s a daisy chain that extends from Casey all the way to the meter reader, Kronk.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Vinnie, police have said Kronk is not a suspect. What do you make of this daisy chain theory?

PARCO: Well, first of all, I don`t know this man, but he`s a bounty hunter. He`s not a detective. So I don`t know where he`s making this daisy chain connection here.

I don`t think Kronk has anything to do with it. I think he`s just -- I think he`s a guy that just stumbled across it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you, Vinnie. Thanks so much. Stay right there. I`m going to be taking more calls in just a second. What do you think of these crazy developments? Right there, give me a call.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: New developments in the Caylee Anthony murder. A private eye reportedly says back in November he videotaped the same area, where little Caylee`s remains were recently found, and nothing was there. The news has cops scrambling to talk to him and another PI, as the defense throws up road blocks. So many questions tonight.

What do you think about all of this? What are your theories? Call 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.

Phone calls pouring in right now. We want to hear what you think. Give us a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS; 1-877-586-7297.

Our fantastic panel standing by to answer all your questions: Brian Russell, a forensic psychologist and attorney; and Jayne Weintraub, a criminal defense attorney; Wendy Murphy, a former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some; Vinnie Parco private eye; and Kathi Belich, a reporter from WFTV who has been covering this case from the beginning.

Kathi, I know that they have not announced plans for a memorial. But I understand there are some new developments in terms of the family, the Anthony family saying they do want to have Casey at the private memorial. What`s the latest on that?

KATHI BELICH, WFTV REPORTER: You know, I`m sorry to say, I don`t know about that. I know that the jail has said that she cannot go. She is in a certain level of custody where that would not be possible. They say that that`s the rule, and it`s a rule in all circumstances, and they would not make an exception.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and essentially what I heard, Kathi, is simply that the family would like her to go. And there had been reports that oh, maybe the Anthony family didn`t want Casey Anthony, the mom who is accused of murdering the toddler, to be there at the private memorial.

And through their attorney, they`re simply saying, no, they would like their daughter -- they would like the family to be together.

Now, meter reader, Roy Kronk, called authorities three times in August; we`ve been talking about this. That is four months before he found the remains of little Caylee Anthony.

Listen to one of these calls.


911 DISPATCHER: I`m going to send this call so they can take a look for the bag. I also have another phone number that I need you to dial. It`s a phone number setup for anything doing with the Caylee investigation.


911 DISPATCHER: Yes sir.

KRONK: I really rather would not, being a county employee and all that; that`s why I`m talking to you all.

911 DISPATCHER: You can still do it and regardless if you`re county employee; you can remain anonymous.

KRONK: Not if they find a freaking body.

911 DISPATCHER: Yes sir, you can still remain anonymous if they do find a corpse.

KRONK: Ok --

911 DISPATCHER: Because we definitely need you to contact that number because all information is compiled there and if anything does comes up out of it, we`ll see who else has also called about it and put it all together.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, what`s so strange about this, that`s call number two. Call number one, he says, I`m not saying it`s Caylee. Then, you heard number two, "Not if they find a freaking body." I mean, this is very odd.

I know authorities have said that he`s not a suspect. We want to reiterate that. But I`m just curious, do you think they`ve gone through his telephone records, his cell phone things, his computer, Google searches to see if there`s any way, shape or form some kind of bizarre connection to the Anthony`s, or this case in one shape or anything?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. And I think that`s what they did after they said they would re-interview him once the body was found. They`ve got to ask all those tough questions. It`s important. I mean, if there is something to -- who he knew and how he got that special information or focused on that area, it`s essential.

But you know what`s weird, so Kronk has focused on this area almost obsessively. The defense sends a videographer a month before the body is found to this exact location. It almost makes me think Vinnie might be onto something.

He said earlier in the show that there are snitches out there. Casey Anthony, the one charged with this crime, who presumably would know where the body is, is no genius. She`s a whole lot of things but she`s not that smart. Maybe she got drunk. Maybe she yakked up a storm to somebody.

The point is snitches and rumors sometimes have truth to them. And maybe they all were hearing the same rumblings and that`s why so many people on both sides were at that location.

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST AND ATTORNY: What if Casey`s own friends reportedly said that the cops should look in that area back in the summer?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And they did, Brian. And Wendy, don`t forget the searches by Equisearch, the cadaver dogs, the detectives. Do you just want to ignore the fact that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne though how -- how do you move a body --

VINNIE PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Someone must have moved the body and put the bones. But you notice that the bones are spread out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what I`m saying.


PARCO: You find that everything is in one particular -- a shallow grave or deep grave, everything is located in the same area. Not scattered. To me, that shows that someone is trying to --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Vinnie finish his theory.

PARCO: This is definitely -- I`m not accusing anybody, but this definitely will establish a reasonable doubt that the bones were spread out. People were looking for her they couldn`t find her -- all of a sudden months later they find it? And this videographer, the private eye, is taking video.

This is highly unusual. As a private investigator I would have a reason for taking a video, not just coming in there out of a whim.

RUSSELL: But look --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Brian speak.

RUSSELL: Jayne Weintraub is one of my favorite people to be on with, but every night she says I need to keep my eyes on the ball. And we all need to keep our eyes on the ball and the ball is that the deceased child`s body was in Casey Anthony`s car, by all evidence that we have. That`s the ball. That`s the ball.

WEINTRAUB: Keep your eye on the ball with this private investigator, Brian. And the private investigator issue is, under Florida law, there`s a work product protection.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a totally different issue.

RUSSELL: Yes, right. But the same person doing the work product can also be a witness, the fact witness Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: That`s true, Brian.

RUSSELL: But he could also be obstructing justice. If he found the body, he`s supposed to tell the police.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. And it`s a big assumption -- you`re making a big assumption, though, Vinnie, that he found the body when he was videotaping in November and then videotaped around it and didn`t tell authorities. That`s a pretty severe accusation. And we have to say right now, in his defense, that there is absolutely no indication by anybody that that happened.

PARCO: My assumption that the mother told -- in private, in confidential, the mother is questioned by her defense attorney. My gut feeling is that she`s told the defense attorney what she had to tell him.

Possibly the defense attorney told the investigator, I want you to videotape. This is all speculation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is all speculation and we have to say, seriously, for legal reasons, for many other reasons, that there is absolutely nobody, certainly not the authorities, who are saying that the Anthony family did anything untoward.

And let`s remember, they`ve lost a grandchild. Let`s remember that their daughter is in jail. Let`s remember that their whole family has been devastated.

MURPHY: But Jane, can I just say something?


MURPHY: The point Vinnie`s making that`s so important is, that also justifies police interrogating this guy.

PARCO: You`re right.

WEINTRAUB: What about the attorney/client privilege?

MURPHY: There is no such thing as a privilege to obstruct justice. And you know it. And I don`t care if you put your attorney/client hat on or not. There`s no such thing and you know it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But remember guys, there`s two different private investigators. There`s the private investigator who did the videotaping. He was never on the defense team. Then there`s the other private investigator who used to be on the defense team who is now working for the Anthony family. And these two guys apparently have some connections but they are not the some person.

The one that Jose Baez wants to make sure has a special master listening to him is the other one, not the videotaped one, but the other one who has privileged information.

MURPHY: But not everything he knows and not everything he did is protected. Let`s be clear.

RUSSELL: Right. That`s correct.

MURPHY: Just because you`re working for the defense, doesn`t mean you can do whatever you want and call it privilege. That`s just wrong.

PARCO: Right, but I think the attorney is doing a smart thing, getting a special master to evaluate what this investigator has to offer. Because there might be some areas that are privileged and there might be some that aren`t. The ones that aren`t privileged are the ones that he should tell the cops.

MURPHY: And I can press the government and you know what, that`s a motion that is going to be denied, there will be no special master. That`s a bunch of nonsense.

WEINTRAUB: What is the harm in having a special master to make sure that the level the playing field -- make sure that the state and defense are on the same level?

MURPHY: Let me ask you something? Jayne, how about you accept a special master every time you engage in shenanigans to protect your guilty client? I`ll give master to you --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to tell you something, I want to predict that this is going to be the next trial of the century because when you consider the level of debate that we`ve had tonight over these issues, and you know in the courtroom it`s going to be dragged out even more, this is -- all of these issues, you can be so creative with it as a brilliant defense team has been assembled for Casey Anthony. It`s going to be fascinating to watch.

Jayne, Brian, and Kathi, Vinnie, Wendy, you are fantastic. Thank you for engaging in this debate with me.

Despite the leaders of this party begging him not to do it, embattled Illinois Governor Blagojevich actually picked a replacement for the very same senate seat he was arrested for allegedly trying to sell. It all happened during a very weird news conference. You have got to see this.



GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH, (D) ILLINOIS: I am here to announce my intention to appoint an individual who has unquestioned integrity, extensive experience, and is a wise and distinguished senior statesman of Illinois.

This man actually once was an opponent of mine for Governor. So I`m here today to announce that I am appointing Roland Burris as the next United States Senator from Illinois.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he did it with a big grin. That was disgraced Illinois governor Blagojevich announcing his opponent for Barack Obama`s senate seat earlier today. I`ll have the full story on what went down during that bizarre news conference and the wild political battle it`s sparking.

But first, top of the block tonight.

I have been telling you for weeks about 25-year-old Laura Garza. She was last seen December 3rd leaving a Manhattan nightclub with registered sex offender Michael Mele. Mele is being held in jail for violating of parole. He is considered a person of interest but has not been charged in Garza`s disappearance.

Cops have searched Mele`s home at least twice and found matching carpet pieces on a nearby road and divers are searching a lake a few miles away. Meantime, the Garza family continues to help authorities search for clues. They hold out hope Laura is still alive although police don`t think so.

I will not let this young woman`s story fall by the wayside. We will update you with any new developments. And that`s a promise.

Now, I want to turn to one of today`s most stunning headlines, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced his pick for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. This of course, the very seat he was accused of trying to sell; the governor who is facing federal corruption charges surely is not going quietly.

He named former attorney general Roland Burris to the open U.S. senate seat in defiance of Democratic Party leaders. Blagojevich says the law required him to make the pick during a news conference that was truly bizarre.


BLAGOJEVICH: Let me say a couple things here. I`ve enjoyed the limelight I`ve had over the last couple of weeks. I think it`s been -- I don`t want to hog the limelight. This is Roland Burris` day. So I don`t think it`s appropriate for me to really getting involved in answering any questions.

Let me say again that the law requires that the governor make an appointment of the United States senator, in the absence of any other law that would have given the people of Illinois a chance to be able to elect the successor to the United States senate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Democratic senate leaders have expressed in a statement made by Majority Leader Harry Reid today, they are going to block the governor`s appointment. So are we witnessing some weird kind of political war?

Joining me to discuss today`s shocking events -- they really are shocking -- Brian Russell, attorney and forensic psychologist. He is back with us. You met him a little bit earlier. Joining the panel as well -- Joe Pagliarulo, talk show host for WOAI and KPRC, and John Avalon, a former Giuliani adviser and author of "Independent Nation."

Joe Pags, let me start with you. This news conference was so totally bizarre and strange. The governor was so defiant, cocky. He`s like throwing a hand grenade into the political scandal and he doesn`t mind if it does severe damage to his own party in the process apparently.

JOE PAGLIARULO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Jane, I could be wrong but I think he said he`s been enjoying the limelight. I don`t want to say the guy`s nuts, I guess, the psychologists can say that. Bryan will jump in on that one.

I will say this thought. This was a very, very shrewd move. I`m not a supporter of Blagojevich. It`s kind of fun to say Blagojevich and I love his hair, it looks like Howdy Doody or William Kennedy Smith.

Bottom line though is, this guy did the right thing. He`s the governor. If he stops acting like the governor and starts cowering in the corner and letting this depression take him over, he`s going to be kicked out for not doing his job. He did what he is charged with doing. He`s got to appoint somebody. This was an incredibly smart move.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It might have been a smart move, but it`s a very cynical move, I think, John Avalon. There`s a lot of people who think he`s just setting up his own defense. He`s accused of selling a seat, well, let me give it away and then they can`t accuse me of that anymore. And also trying to win points with African-Americans on the jury.

JOHN AVALON, FORMER GIULIANI ADVISER: Sure, no, this guy would make Nixon blush. This guy is so shameless, that we should get a new term in politics called pulling a Blagojevich, whenever there`s slick self-interest masked by mock sincerity, we`ll say they`re pulling a Blagojevich. This is unbelievable.

He`s trying to send up the Andy Griffith of Illinois politics to the senate and have him cast as a victim when Harry Reid denies him to the body and play the race card simultaneously. This is shameless and it`s just the latest incidence of this guy. Not only hogging the limelight and enjoying it, but disgracing the state and turning this president-elect senate seat into a goat rodeo.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you want to hear this. This just came in that Burris, the guy who was there smiling beside the governor today at the news conference, accepting this appointment, which obviously may not go through -- and we`ll get to that in a second. Two weeks ago said he was appalled by the accusations against Blagojevich and said that he supported the calls for removing him from office.

So you want to talk about somebody with a big smile on his face, who did an about-face today, because he`s is going to get, he thinks, this big payoff, Joe Pags.

PAGLIARULO: It`s all politics, isn`t it, Jane. I`m not surprised by it. But I think the base question we have to ask here, and we`re avoiding it, because it`s fun to say the name Blagojevich --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t find it that much fun.

PAGLIARULO: It`s kind of fund. It`s better than Pagliarulo, some would say. But the bottom line is this Burris, is he somebody who is qualified for this job? If the answer is yes, how does Harry Reid, how does anybody say no to him. Who cares who appointed him?

The Illinois state bodies both just said a couple of weeks ago that Blagojevich does have the right to make this appointment. I don`t really see -- there are two separate issues here. Blagojevich, is he dirty? I don`t know. Probably. Is Burris dirty? Maybe not. And if he`s not, how do you say no to him and then get somebody else in there?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re right. There`s a couple of things. There`s also now a racial component to the scandal. You have to listen to what Congressman Bobby Rush had to say at the news conference today. Listen to this.


REP. BOBBY RUSH, ILLINOIS: There presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate. Let me remind you that the State of Illinois, and the people in their state of Illinois in their collective wisdom, have sent two African-Americans to the U.S. Senate. We need to have not just one African-American in the U.S. Senate; we need to have many African-Americans in the U.S. Senate. So I applaud the governor for his decision.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, John Avalon, the congressman appeared at the news conference and seemed to spontaneously waltz up to the podium and delivered this impromptu speech. Personally, I suspect, all of that was totally scripted -- just my suspicion.

But he does have a good point. It is absurd in the 21st century that there will be no African-Americans in the U.S. Senate unless one is appointed in this situation.

AVALON: Sure and it`s shameful we`ve only had three African-American senators since reconstruction: Ed Brooke, Carol Moseley Braun and Barack Obama. But that`s precisely what Rod Blagojevich is hoping he can drive a wedge in this process. He is playing the race card. And that is shameful.

This gentleman is a former attorney general, ran for governor of Illinois three times. He clearly is a man of decency and integrity but he is being used as dupe by a disgraced and corrupt governor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think the fact that he is a senior citizen is also sort of an aspect of him being used.

Brian Russell, forensic psychologist, you`ve got to analyze this governor. He was positively thrilled today to be up there saying he enjoys the limelight instead feeling shamed. What is going on psychologically with this guy?

RUSSELL: Whether its Spitzer or John Edwards or this guy, people always ask me, how can these guys be smart enough to get where they are and yet stupid enough to do the things they do when they get there. It`s no it`s not stupidity, it`s narcissism. And narcissism can become malignant.

You have to have a little bit narcissism in you to run for these offices to believe that of all of the people in the jurisdiction, you are the one who should be making the rules. But once these people get there, they get lots of adulation, lots of deference, lots of yes people around them, and they start to believe their own press clippings, they actually get to a point where they can rationalize and justify just about anything they want to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this guy thinks he is a movie star. He is in love with himself, you could tell just by looking at him. Hang tight, much more on this scandal in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Pags, this is a political nightmare, I think, for the Democrats. They didn`t get around in Illinois to figuring out a special election. The impeachment process is going to drag on and on. They want to hear all months` worth of tapes, which is going to take probably a month. So the U.S. Senate is going to have to get together and vote to block this guy who would become the only African-American in the U.S. Senate, which is going to be politically dicey.

PAGLIARULO: And they`re going to try to do that and you know what, Jane, I don`t think they`re going to succeed. I think that if this is taken to the Supreme Court, the constitution will support that you`re not judging the appointer, you`re judging the appointee. And again if this guy is above reproach, they`re not going to be able to block him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So John Avalon, how damaging is this to the Democrats with president-elect Obama coming in and this is supposed to be his moment and look at this terrible distraction.

AVALON: I think this is a side ring circus, it`s unfortunate, it`s a terrible distraction, but it does not impugn the transition of President- elect Obama. But it does raise larger questions that you can expect Republicans to exploit in the future about the general swamp of Chicago politics, the Chicago way.

Rod Blagojevich knows exactly what he is doing, he`s trying to drive a wedge in the heart of the Democratic Party. He is cynical, he is slick, and there is no question about this guy`s guilt, he is as crooked as they come. And he should step down if he had any decency, but clearly that is not in his moral makeup.

PAGLIARULO: He`s not going anywhere.

AVALON: He`s playing offense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I know. It`s going to take a long time to impeach him, if they`re going to listen to all the tapes, which were literally a month`s worth of tapes.

PAGLIARULO: They`re going to have to drag him out of there, trust me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s going to be like Waco.

Brian Russell, why did this elderly statesman who has accomplished so much, former Illinois attorney general, and many time candidate for governor accept this? Does he not realize this is tainted? It`s rancid?

RUSSELL: Yes. I wish that I could talk with him about that, Jane. Maybe, you know, the appeal of being the only African-American to be serving right now kind of counter balances the pall this may cast on his career.

I feel sorry for him because it sounds like he is above reproach in his entire career up to now. And yet here he is accepting an appointment that everybody knows people were expected to pony up for, I feel a little bit bad for him in that regard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, Joe, I just want to get your final thoughts on politics in Illinois. I mean, it just seems like it`s -- it`s a vortex of bad behavior.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, and this has put it all right on the surface. You know what? I think the last thing the Democrats want is an election and a special election here to fill this U.S. Senate seat. Because a Republican probably would win, because I think the people of Illinois are sick and tired of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it right there.

Thank you fantastic panel. I hope you all come back soon and give us more of your fabulous insight.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, and you`re watching "ISSUES" on HLN. Please join me again tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, because we`ll always have "ISSUES."