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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Details Revealed about George Anthony`s Suicide Note; Father Charged with Impregnating Own Daughter, Killing Grandchild

Aired January 26, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, shocking new details in the Caylee Anthony case.

GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY: We`re worried that something -- that he`s done something.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A frantic search for Casey Anthony`s dad ends at a seedy motel. Tonight, a long suicide letter sheds new light on why George Anthony said he wanted to end his life. We`ll analyze the letter and bring you the latest on his condition.

Meantime, another stunning twist in the case, as Casey Anthony waits behind bars, charged with killing her baby girl. Her attorney looks into the past of her ex-boyfriend, asking why he posted a photo on MySpace that made a reference to chloroform. Is the defense trying to pin something on him?

Plus, a very sick story of incest and murder in Missouri. The remains of two babies discovered in coolers in a rural home. Police suspect this man raped his teenage daughter and fathered four children with her, allegedly murdering at least one of them. We`ll have the latest, including his wife`s alleged role in this very disturbing case.

And the Travolta extortion plot, caught on tape? A shocking new report says police have recordings of the plotters trying to get $25 million from John Travolta in a sick scheme connected to his son`s tragic death. Who is on tape? And will his man who calls himself a close friend of the family be on it?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Big new developments tonight in the Caylee Anthony murder investigation, as heart-breaking revelations emerge from George`s long, rambling suicide note. Reports say George wrote that he didn`t think he was a good father or a good husband.

Why is this embarrassing information being released to the public? Who`s leaking it? Is that going to help him get better? Of course not.

George Anthony, still in a Daytona hospital tonight. He is long past the initial 72-hour involuntary hold. He was taken there for psychiatric evaluation early Friday after hunkering down in a seedy Daytona Beach motel and sending suicidal text messages.

His worried lawyer, Brad Conway, called 911.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: George Anthony has been gone since 8:30 this morning, and he has taken several bottles of medication from his house, as well as pictures. And we`re worried that something is -- he`s done something to himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You said he had a couple of bottles of medication?

CONWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what kind of medication it was?

CONWAY: Yes, ma`am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Are any weapons missing?

CONWAY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

CONWAY: But he had a weapon that was confiscated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Anthonys` attorney took time this morning to speak to "The Today Show" about George`s condition this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: He`s under close observation, under the care of doctors. And he`s being watched 24 hours a day.

I will get an update today from his doctors. I don`t think that he`s ready to be released yet. And we`ll leave that up to his doctors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Anthony family clearly making sure George gets proper care during this period of extreme crisis.

Meantime, Casey Anthony`s attorney, Jose Baez, going to court, seeking information about his client`s ex-boyfriend, Ricardo Morales. Morales now in the spotlight after allegedly posting chloroform-related comments on MySpace.

And the prosecution just released an updated witness list. You don`t believe who`s on it.

Lots of developments tonight. I want to hear from you. Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Your comments and questions, we want them on these latest developments.

But first, I want to bring in my panel. Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; Brian Russell, forensic pathologist and attorney; plus Nicole DeBorde, criminal defense attorney and former D.A.; plus, Sharon Lyko, family and criminal defense attorney; and Leslie Snadowski, top investigative reporter.

Leslie, what is the very latest? Hey, Leslie, can you hear me?

LESLIE SNADOWSKI, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What`s the very latest tonight, Leslie?

SNADOWSKI: What we found out, that George Anthony will not be leaving the hospital today. As you know, Anthony was missing for a day, and he was eventually found -- he was found on Friday in a Florida motel room with a long suicide note, several bottles of medications and alcohol and family photos after that 911 call that was placed by Anthony`s attorney.

So he was traced from the Anthonys` text messages to that hotel, picked him up and brought him to the Daytona -- Daytona Beach Hospital. Now, under Florida`s Baker Act, he was supposed to stay there for 72 hours, which means he could have walked out today. But instead, he`s staying put at the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, and he`s reportedly in stable condition, but he`s not leaving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole DeBorde, you`re a former D.A. And I want to ask you, why is this embarrassing information being released now? I mean, this is a guy who is in pain and in crisis.

And now we`re hearing more dirty laundry. We`re hearing details from the suicide note that he reportedly left there that have been leaked by somebody, presumably somebody in law enforcement, to reporters saying things like, "I don`t think I`m a good father. I don`t think I`m a good husband."

Isn`t that going to make it worse for him?

NICOLE DEBORDE, FORMER D.A.: I think it definitely is going to make it rose for him. It certainly isn`t going to make it better. Even under the best light, the circumstances that he`s enduring right now are just absolutely horrible. And it could be that the hospital thinks he`s simply not safe to be released, either because he could be a danger to himself, and that may be one reason he`s still in the hospital.

But releasing this note doesn`t make it better. That`s for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Darren Kavinoky, what is the 72-hour hold, and now we`re long past it. What is the decision-making process for whether he stays or goes? I understand at a certain point if they want to keep him and he says, "Hey, you know, I`m ready to go home. I want to leave," they`d have to go to court, right, to keep him there?

DARREN KAVINOKY: Yes, absolutely. The initial 72 hours is, of course, to protect somebody who`s potentially a danger to themselves or other people. And of course, once that 72 hours expires, generally, you`ve got to have some court intervention in order to keep somebody, unless they`re willing to stay voluntarily.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So can I conclude, then, that -- that he`s willing to stay voluntarily, probably, in this situation?

KAVINOKY: Well, that`s -- that`s the inference that I would draw, that he`s there because he wants to be there. He recognizes, I`m sure, with -- with discussions with medical staff and perhaps his family, that being in the hospital right now is the best place for him to be.

And given the idea that there`s going to be a total media circus the moment he walks out the door, being in a nice, safe place is really all the best. And candidly, when he does choose to leave, it should be in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, if he want to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That won`t help. You know the media is going to be there, even under the cover of darkness. Come on, Darren.

Now, let`s take a listen once more to Anthony attorney Brad Conway`s 911 call reporting George missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: George Anthony has been gone since 8:30 this morning, and he has taken several bottles of medication from his house, as well as pictures. And we`re worried that something is -- he`s done something to himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You said he had a couple of bottles of medication?

CONWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what kind of medication it was?

CONWAY: Yes, ma`am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Are any weapons missing?

CONWAY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

CONWAY: But he had a weapon that was confiscated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He didn`t have a weapon on Friday, but says he once had a gun which was confiscated a while back. I believe I remember him saying he had that gun for protection because of all the lunatics on his lawn.

Sharon, I mean, that is a sign of how persecuted he must be feeling.

SHARON, LYKO, FAMILY AND DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He may be feeling persecuted, but I think there`s something deeper than that. I mean, people have to deal with issues that come in their family. He`s not the first one whose kid has been accused of murdering their child.

But to be placed on a mental health hold because he was suicidal and he`s staying, there`s a lot more to it. I wonder what type of mental health history this guy has and if there`s something deep in his past which is now starting to come out or he`s complicit in this crime somehow, and he`s dealing with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Brian Russell, let me ask you this, because Cindy reportedly believes it was jewelry that triggered all this. She`d asked him on Wednesday please pick out some jewelry for Caylee for the funeral, which hasn`t been set yet, to my knowledge. But they were getting ready. She feels that triggered it.

Other people say, hey, on Wednesday, I believe, was when the world heard about these 300 pages of evidence that were released through the discovery process, with all of these details about evidence found at the crime scene, the heart tape -- the heart on the duct tape and other things like a hamper, that the body was in a hamper, that it was in a garbage bag.

Couldn`t it be that the evidence that was released had special significance to him that set off alarm bells? And I`m leading in a certain direction.

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST/ATTORNEY: It could. Who knows what was the straw that sort of broke the camel`s back. I don`t think the guy really wanted to die, or at least he wasn`t sure that he wanted to. And you know, who can`t empathize with this guy? Not only has he lost what effectively was one daughter -- because he was effectively Caylee`s father.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you`re saying you don`t think he wants -- you don`t think he wanted to die?

RUSSELL: No. No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because his attorney said if the police hadn`t acted as quickly as they did, and there were several law enforcement agencies, different jurisdictions coordinating on this, there would have been a very different outcome. The implication is that he would have done it.

RUSSELL: Yes. Yes, but here`s the thing, Jane. Military people and law enforcement people are often very reluctant to directly seek mental health help. And sometimes they`ll set up a situation in which the help will have to be offered.

Also, men who are serious about killing themselves usually pick a more lethal means or more certain means like a gun. And this guy knew his way around a gun, because he was a law enforcement officer. So I really think that at least he wasn`t sure if he really wanted to check out.

And another thing to keep in mind, I agree that he`s staying in there voluntarily because he realizes now that he needs the help. And keep in mind, he`s 60 miles away from home. And so one of the things they`re probably trying to do is coordinate some care closer to his home. And since this all just really happened on Thursday and Friday, that probably is taking a little while to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you saying -- and maybe I can bring Darren in on this -- that this was some sort of, not just a cry for help but sort of, Darren, "Hey, look how much I`m suffering. Leave me alone already." In other words, a very dramatic way of saying, "You`re killing me." The people on the lawn, the intrusive reports that are basically airing his dirty laundry, all of the horrors. It`s his way of saying, "Stop it"?

RUSSELL: Yes. Enough already. Well, he certainly had no shyness, shall we say, about directly confronting the people who were on his lawn. He never hid his feelings from those folks. In fact, he`d go out there and he`d shoot his hose at them and really let it all hang out.

But I do really agree with the idea that this was more of a cry for help than it was an actual attempt to take his own life. The only medication that he had with him there in that hotel room were his blood pressure medications and things of that nature.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I think there was -- let me bring in Leslie Snadowski, because I understood from various reports that I read, and there`s some conflicting information, that he had sleeping medication. Did he take any of those pills?

SNADOWSKI: As far as I know, Jane, I`m not sure. I`ve seen those conflicting reports, as well. And you know, I`d be surprised if that came out legitimately. I`m sure -- we did learn about that from some other source close to the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re learning about a lot that we shouldn`t be learning about. And one report that I read said that the suicide note got increasingly sloppy, which would have indicated that perhaps he was drinking and taking pills, but we don`t know that for sure. And it`s very important to emphasize that. They`d have to do tests, really, to find that out for certain.

SNADOWSKI: There`s allegations that he had like eight beers and he took two weeks` worth of sleeping pills. But you know, it doesn`t matter that he`s 60 miles from home. I mean, this is a sensational case. It`s all over the national news. He`s not going to get away from anybody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, he isn`t, sadly.

All right. Stay right there. Don`t forget, Nancy Grace will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case. She is up immediately following this program at 8 p.m.

And right here on ISSUES, we will have more analysis on the shocking twists in the Caylee Anthony case. Do you have a question or comment for my panel? I know the phone lines are lighting up, so hang in there, people: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. What do you think of the hell George and Cindy have gone through?

Here`s the intense 911 call Anthony family attorney Brad Conway placed when George went missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: George Anthony has been gone since 8:30 this morning, and he has taken several bottles of medication from his house, as well as pictures. And we`re worried that something is -- he`s done something to himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. You said he had a couple of bottles of medication?

CONWAY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what kind of medication it was?

CONWAY: Yes, ma`am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Are any weapons missing?

CONWAY: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

CONWAY: But he had a weapon that was confiscated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: I wish you`d get the hell out of here. You know what you`re trying to do? You`re trying to type me and you`re trying to get me negative. You guys aren`t even looking for my granddaughter. You guys are not. You guys are running with the protestors. You guys are paying them to be here. I know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. That was George Anthony exploding at protesters and reporters last year.

We`re back, taking your phone calls on the latest in the Caylee Anthony murder case. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Phone lines, totally chock full.

Janet in Tennessee, question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Will the suicide attempt prevent Mr. Anthony from testifying? And do you think the trial will be televised? Thank you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Two good questions, Sharon Lyko.

LYKO: Would he testify if the prosecution believes he`s got information? I would suspect yes. There`s no reason why he would be asking for immunity unless he`s got some juicy information to share.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, actually, his attorney is asking for immunity for both Cindy and George.

I think the question was more if somebody is that on the edge -- and, by the way, the prosecution just released a new witness list today. There`s 140 potential witnesses here, which is pretty astounding. And Cindy and George are on it, along with Lee.

So, Nicole DeBorde, do you think that he could say, "Hey, I`m so on the edge. I tried to take my own life. You can`t put me on the witness stand. I can`t handle it"?

DEBORDE: I think he can try. I don`t think that he`s going to get away with it. It`s possible that there could be a push to show that he`s not competent to testify in his mental state, but I seriously doubt that they`re going to be able to accomplish that. I mean, just on his stress alone, I think that he`s still going to have to testify. I don`t think that it will eliminate that from happening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gala, Texas, question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey.

CALLER: I wonder if George hasn`t been made to suppress his true feelings about Cindy with what he believes happened to Caylee and that is what led him to this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Brian Russell, you`re the psychologist. I think a lot of people, armchair psychologists, would say, "Hey." The vast majority of people who have been watching this story unfold seem to feel that, "Hey, there`s overwhelming evidence against his daughter."

Cindy was the one who said, "It smells like a dead body in the damn car." He`s a former cop. He knows what the smell of death is. Do you think that this cry for help was his denial sort of fading away, where he can`t maintain the kind of denial he could before little Caylee`s remains were identified?

RUSSELL: Yes, I think that`s possible. I also think that this guy has tried to be the rock for the family, and at some point, rocks even crack when they`re under enough pressure.

I think that it`s also -- you know, when people are married, a lot of times their spouse is their primary source of support. But we know that under intense stress like this with couples, the marriages tend to come under some strain, for whatever reason. And so I imagine that there`s a confluence of a number of factors. All of those included.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Darren Kavinoky, ironically this marriage was under strain even before all of this happened. In some of the discovery that was released, Cindy was talking to some supervisor a long time ago about her fights with George and the fact that Casey was fighting with George. Ironically, it seems that this entire trauma may have brought them together somewhat.

KAVINOKY: Well, and you see that from time to time, as well. That`s the other thing that we notice. It`s like where there`s an arch and you want to strengthen the arch, you actually increase the load that`s upon it so that the pieces all fit tightly together. And we see sometimes when families are in times of crisis.

Although I will say this. In my years of defending these cases, the most important thing for people to hold onto is hope. And in George`s case, it may simply have been the erosion of hope that has caused this breakdown.

For the longest time, he articulated a hope that his granddaughter was alive. And then, of course, that was -- that was brought down in a crushing way with the discovery of the remains.

And of course, the way that his daughter has already been tried and convicted, I would submit, in the court of public opinion, he may be losing hope about the outcome of that case, as well. And so when people get to this stage of hopelessness, and with George, it may be, you know, "What`s going to happen next? Is the meteor going to fall down and hit my house?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about the prospect of having to testify? I mean, that could scare him tremendously.

KAVINOKY: Sure. That`s got to be -- oh, the stress of going to court is -- is tremendous. I would agree with the other panelists that, even though he may be in a fragile state, the judge is going to have little sympathy over that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. Got to go. Thank you so much, all of you, for your insights. Don`t go anywhere. We will have lots more new information, lots of new information in the Caylee case just a bit later in this program.

Up next on ISSUES, an update on a horrific -- and I mean horrific -- story out of Missouri. This man allegedly impregnated his daughter and is charged with killing one of four children he fathered with his own daughter. It`s stomach-churning. We`ll have it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOLORES RINEHART, SUSPECT`S MOTHER: I was in the house. And I didn`t know it. I didn`t even know that girl was pregnant. To me, I think I`m kind of dumb. To know that these things happened, and I didn`t know about it. Nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nobody seems to have known that unspeakable -- and I mean unspeakable -- horrors were unfolding literally in their Missouri backyard.

A 47-year-old grandfather allegedly got his own young daughter pregnant four times and allegedly killed at least one of the offspring. Prosecutors charged Daniel Rinehart with second-degree murder in the death of one of two infants found in sealed coolers on a property where he once lived. He`s also been charged with rape and incest.

Prosecutors say those babies, along with two others, are the result of six long years of sexual abuse. Yes, they say he raped his own daughter repeatedly. What a nightmare.

Let`s go straight to my expert panel. And we`re going to start with the shrink. We have to, Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and attorney. This is such a sick story. I almost don`t know where to start.

I mean, how -- how can -- how can this happen in the 21st century? Isn`t this medieval barbarism part of our past? This is America in the 21st century, and this guy is accused of repeatedly raping his daughter from age 13 to 19 and producing four children, and three of the four children are dead?

RUSSELL: Unbelievable how reminiscent it is of a case we covered just last year, the Fritzl case, the dungeon guy over in Austria. This thing happened just an hour from the Kansas City studio where I sit right now.

It is a horror show, and it really helps us to see where you draw the line between wanting to do something like this and actually following through. The wanting to, Jane, is the sickness. The actual following through and doing it, though, that`s where psychology stops and we enter the realm of philosophy, where we have the contemplate the meaning of words like "evil."

And while we`re at it, we`ve got to talk about this wife, who I`m so glad is in custody, also. Because oftentimes, these things have enablers. These monsters have enablers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Guess what? She`s charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

RUSSELL: We need more charges on her, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s outrageous.

RUSSELL: That`s outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s outrageous.

RUSSELL: That`s outrageous. And her...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s especially outrageous when you hear what she did. And I want to bring in Marcus Moore. He`s a reporter at KMBC.

Tell us what authorities say this wife of the accused molester/murderer did.

MARCUS MOORE, REPORTER, KMBC: Well, Jane, what authorities are telling us right now is that basically she did nothing. That she knew that this sexual abuse and also physical abuse, according to some of the Rinehart children, was going on, and she knew this and yet she did not report it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t she help deliver the babies?

MOORE: She did, yes. All of the children who were delivered over the past -- the four children who were delivered were all delivered at the home, and she was there and allegedly helped her husband do this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What -- Brian, the -- the mother of the child who`s being raped is delivering that child`s babies with the father who allegedly raped the child.

RUSSELL: Yes. I don`t know if we have her statement on that. Somebody can tell me in my ear...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s accused. She`s accused.

RUSSELL: Yes, allegedly. She said that she did it because she didn`t feel like she could find another man if she left. Give me a break.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Give me a break is right.

The Travolta scandal, up next. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Anthony sits behind bars, charged in the murder of her little girl, Caylee. Tonight, the focus is on her dad, as he recovers from a suicide threat that left family and police scrambling to find him.

New, sad details are emerging now from a letter he intended to leave behind. We`ll continue to analyze the letter and try to shed light on what triggered him to want to end his life.

"I want to be with Caylee." That`s the text George Anthony reportedly sent to his family Thursday before disappearing and considering, apparently, suicide. Tonight he`s still under evaluation at a mental health facility.

I am back discussing this and all the other latest developments in the case with Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and Sharon Liko, family and criminal defense attorney; two feisty attorneys.

And we`ve got the phone lines lighting up. Katie in Virginia, your question for our panel.

KATIE FROM VIRGINIA: Hi, Jane. Thank you for taking your call.

I lost my fiance nine years ago much like Jett Travolta. It was a sudden epileptic death, ok? And I can remember saying -- he was six days on life support. We had it turned off. And until we buried him, I didn`t start to heal. And I can remember myself saying, I want to be with him. I want to be with him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re relating the two cases actually.

KATIE: Very related.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s fascinating.

KATIE: Very related to it because I know what George is feeling. You just want to be with that person. And I don`t think you heal until you put them in their place of rest. And I think that Caylee needs to be put to rest so George can heal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you are right. On the "Today Show" this morning, Brad Conway brought up the issue that hasn`t been resolved. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD CONWAY, ANTHONY FAMILY ATTORNEY: Of course, Caylee has not been laid to rest, and that`s one of the biggest issues that they need to bury their granddaughter. And we are going to try to set a date, try to know when we`re going to be able to do that this week.

That is one of the biggest things that they need to do right now. They`ve been criticized for delaying the burials. And they have nothing to do with that. They`ve allowed the state and the defense to do what they need to do in preparation for Casey Anthony`s trial. And that`s delayed the burials of their granddaughter. And it`s time now that we get on with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sharon Liko, do you think the fact that Caylee is just not buried yet is contributed to the stress on George?

SHARON LIKO, FAMILY AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. But the media attention is what`s probably put him over the edge. Grief like that is devastating enough, but for every fact and every micro-detail of your life to be played before a world stage? I couldn`t even imagine what that would be like.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I`ve got to ask you, Darren Kavinoky about this other huge development. The defense is seeking information on one Casey`s ex-boyfriends, Ricardo Morales. He, at the start of 2008, put something up on his MySpace that said "win her over through chloroform;" it was some kind of a joke thing that had been circulating on the Internet. There it is.

And he dated Casey until April, broke up with her. Of course, little Caylee did not disappear until mid-June. Now the defense is coming after him, wanting his computers and all sorts of information. They tried it with Zanny the nanny. Are they going to try to pin this on this guy?

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, maybe, even though it`s the prosecution that is the only party that has a burden and of course their burden is to prove the case beyond reasonable. The defense has an obligation to explore any exculpatory theory available.

And, of course, now with MySpace and Facebook and all these other especially networking sites, there is a huge body of law developing relating to a lawyer`s ability to get at information that`s posted on those sites, whether they`re public profiles or even some private ones, too. So, of course, the defense is going to look under every rock and behind every tree to find anything that might exculpate their client. That`s their job.

LIKO: Plus, the defense has to come up a theory.

(CROSS TALK)

LIKO: They`ve got to determine what theory of defense is so all this evidence is coming out and they`ve got sift through it. What I think is unusual is that the prosecution didn`t think that the information on this guy`s computer was incriminating. I mean -- hello.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, they interviewed him twice. No, come one. They interviewed him twice. He`s one of her many boyfriends that she`s had. And so, yes, there is this chloroform thing, and obviously chloroform is extremely important to the case because chloroform was found in the trunk and on Casey`s computer, somebody researched chloroform, but people do use words. I don`t necessarily think you can try pinning it on him because of the fact that he put that up on MySpace.

It`s a weird coincidence, but remember, he broke up with her long before little Caylee disappeared.

LIKO: But leafing through the Saturday evening post and seize this picture that he thought was funny? I mean, come on. How curious is it that somebody would decide that winning a woman over with chloroform is funny? I mean, I`ve never heard of such a thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, he`s a young guy and they have questionable taste.

I`m going to have to leave it right there. Darren Kavinoky and Sharon Liko, please come back. I love you guys. Love your insights.

And don`t forget, Nancy Grace will have the very latest in the Caylee Anthony murder case immediately following this program at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

You know, in the very same Orlando region as the Caylee Anthony tragedy, there has been another high-profile and heart wrenching case; the search for Jennifer Kesse. The beautiful 24-year-old financial analyst went missing three years ago from her condo.

Authorities continue to hunt for any leads. Again, this is right in the same Orlando area. Her friends and family desperate for answers. They`re keeping her name in the public consciousness praying that somebody somewhere might know something.

Two nights before Jennifer disappeared, she had just returned from a trip to the Caribbean with her then-boyfriend. He was also the last person who spoke with Jennifer the night before she disappeared that fateful January day. He joins me now.

Robert Allen, I want to thank you so much for being here. I know this has to be tough for you.

ROBERT ALLEN, JENNIFER KESSE`S BOYFRIEND: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I appreciate it. I know you`re doing it for Jennifer.

First of all, tell us about Jennifer. By all accounts, she was hard- working, industrious, never in any trouble. This horror seems to have come out of the blue.

ALLEN: No, definitely. Like all the -- what everyone has said over the last couple of years, Jennifer was hard-working, very safety conscious, and just kept her nose clean. Just did everything that, you know, a normal person would do.

She was always, like I said, safety. She was well aware of her surroundings. I mean, for this to happen, it was completely out of the blue like you said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have something here on "ISSUES" called "The War on Women." This is an example of just the horrors that women who are minding their own business and doing everything right still face.

Now, there is surveillance footage that was taken of a man who was seen exiting her car, which was found a short distance from her home after she disappeared. Here is this guy. The reason why we`re going to be staying on this story is that if somebody does something that is really awful, generally they have to tell somebody. They can`t keep it to themselves completely. So we`re hoping that somebody out there knows something, has heard something, was -- had some secret revealed to them and will call authorities. And this is the guy who authorities are looking for.

Tell us about her last hours and -- I`m trying to get a sense. Did she disappear that night or did she disappear on the way to work the next morning?

ALLEN: I would suggest and my theory is that she was abducted in the morning. I was the last person that talked to Jennifer on that Monday evening. We had a normal conversation that we had every night that we dated. We said good night to each other. It was around about 10:00 on the Monday evening. Both of us were tired from the trip that we`d spent.

And Jennifer, I know for a fact, would never leave at, you know, 10:00 at night to go anywhere without talking to someone. Every time, whenever she was out, you know, in the evening, especially, she`d always either be on the phone with myself or be on the phone with one of her friends or with one of the family members.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand that the shower indicated that she had maybe showered that morning because there was water there. And were her clothes laid out? In other words, you say in the morning. Was she on the way to work or had she sort of just woken up and wasn`t really -- were her work clothes laid out?

ALLEN: Jen always laid out her work clothes the night before. And according to the police investigation, I know that the shower had been used and there were actually clothes that she`d worn the night before on the floor as well as clothes in the bedroom. So she`d left the house and gone to work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So your theory is -- I mean, her keys and her purse were missing, I understand. The two cell phones that she had were shut off. Were they ever found, those cell phones?

ALLEN: As far as I know, no. I know there was a cell phone -- her brother and a group of friends had stayed in the apartment while we were gone and she was going to return the cell phone to one of the guys who`d left his cell phone and she was going to return it that day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying you believe she was leaving for work.

Now, I understand she felt uneasy about construction workers in the area that were working on the condo. It was sort of a condo conversion project that she was living in.

ALLEN: Yes. I know we`d had a conversation. They had to do some repairs or painting, I believe, on Jen`s condo, and she was actually present in the condo while they were doing the touch-ups. I remember having a phone conversation with her while they actually were in the apartment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank you, Robert, for coming on. We`re gong to stay on this story. We`re going to do everything we can to help find Jennifer Kesse. So sorry.

ALLEN: Thank you so much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, three people allegedly tried to profit from the death of John Travolta`s son through an extortion plot against Travolta. It`s a horrifying story. I`m going to take your calls on it: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297.

Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three arrests in an alleged plot to extort millions from John Travolta over the death of Travolta`s son. I will have the shocking details on this despicable story.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

More Wall Street outrage: Citigroup hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis is buying a $50 million corporate jet. Let`s review. Citi laid off 53,000 employees, couldn`t afford their salaries. So did they just find loose change between the cushions to buy this plane? No, the money is coming from you and me, people.

The bank was just given a $45 billion taxpayer bailout. Since Americans are paying for this jet, Americans should get to use it. Citi`s greedy executives are worse than welfare cheats stilling hunks of government cheese. I say end the corruption and end all this Wall Street welfare.

Financial outrage is also the cornerstone of this next story. This one is sick. An extortion plot against John Travolta; his son, Jett, died after a sudden seizure in the Bahamas earlier this month. Officials there now claim the Travoltas were the intended victims of a multi-million dollar shakedown.

The suspects: two politicians and the paramedic in the ambulance that raced Jett to the hospital. TMZ reports the plot involves a mystery document related to Jett Travolta`s death.

Today the paramedic pleaded not guilty to extortion charges. And an island senator resigned after being charged. She has vowed to prove her innocence, but the most bizarre character in this story, Travolta`s so- called friend, Obie Wilchcombe, the former head of tourism who even called himself the family spokesman in the days after this tragedy. He was questioned by police and released without charge.

The Travoltas, not commenting tonight.

I want to hear your thoughts on this horrible development in the midst of Travolta`s grief. Call me. 1-877-JVM-SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297 to weigh in.

Joining me now, my dear friend, TMZ TV executive producer Harvey Levin. Harvey, TMZ was the first to report on the details of this alleged extortion case. Bahamian authorities are now confirming the story you first broke. But it`s a very murky story. What exactly went on here?

HARVEY LEVIN, TV EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TMZ: Well, we know that -- at least this is the allegation -- that initially there was a demand of $25 million. And that is for a document, as you said earlier. It is not a photograph, it is a document. The document allegedly is in possession of this EMT. In fact, the authorities didn`t want this guy released because they were afraid if he got out of jail where he is now, the first thing he`d do is destroy it.

We`re told it was a $25 million initial demand. Cops believe that the EMT is involved. This lawyer you mentioned, Pleasant Bridgewater, who was a former senator who resigned but also a lawyer, she is involved. And they`ve both been charged. And Obie Wilchcombe is under investigation right now. We`re told, though, he`s not been charged.

They believe that this extortion plot started at $25 million and then they began haggling with Travolta`s reps. And while they haggled over whether to pay between $10 million and 20 million, apparently there were recordings made that were turned over to the cops.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, usually you extort somebody who is trying to hide something. So one thing I`m unclear of is what exactly is this mystery document, and why did they feel that they could use it as leverage to get money from the Travoltas?

LEVIN: I mean, Jane, it`s a great question. I don`t know the answer. We are trying to find out as well what this document is. I am told it is a document that somehow connects to Jett Travolta`s death. But I can`t get more specific because I just don`t know.

They`re being very cautious about saying anything more than that to us. But it does involve Jett Travolta`s death. I don`t know whether it involves an autopsy report or something, some kind of a report that was written. I don`t know. I just know that it is a document, and, you know, apparently they thought it was worth a whole lot of money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Harvey, I`m going to be watching TMZ TV. Great job as always breaking this and so many other stories and it`s always great to see you. Thank you so much for coming on.

With me now is my panel: Steve Clark, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; and Anita Kay, criminal defense attorney and a former district attorney.

Now, Anita, you`ve had a lot of unsavory cases over the course of your career, but if this one`s true, isn`t this just the bottle of the barrel? Trying to get millions of dollars from a star who has just lost his son.

ANITA KAY, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It`s bottom-feeder all the way. It`s despicable. I mean, these are individuals who are preying on a family who has lost a child.

There`s -- we hear about stories all the time about people losing their children. There`s nothing worse for a parent. And then to have people -- someone who is a senator, an ambulance driver, people that should be concerned about law and order, concerned about people are the ones who are potentially and allegedly continuing with this extortion plot.

Makes it even worse to me than it`s just some random individual. It`s these people who are in a position of power or position of helping people, such as the ambulance driver.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s remember this is the Bahamas. Remember when Anna Nicole Smith was down there and the immigration minister had to resign because he was caught basically going to her house and spending a lot of time there behind closed doors and there were photos. I mean, this is the Bahamas, okay?

Jan in Alabama, question or thought, ma`am?

JAN FROM ALABAMA: Hi, Jane, how are you?

VELEZX-MITCHELL: How are you doing?

JAN: I`m doing great. I`m very blessed.

Jane, I was just curious. I don`t -- I haven`t heard a lot about this, but I was curious as to maybe somebody in the Scientology community, somebody against the Scientology community, could have maybe tried to do something with or is included in this extortion plot because Scientology is such a big discussion these days and there`s a lot of nay-sayers and stuff about that.

I was just curious about that aspect of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve, want to take a crack at it?

STEVE CLARK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I really think this is profiteers from the islands of the Bahamas that are trying to shake down the Travoltas. This is private information. Clearly the Travoltas don`t want this to get out. This is a pure shakedown. That`s what`s so disgraceful about it.

Jane, even if there isn`t a document or a photograph, it doesn`t matter for purposes of extortion. You cannot even make that threat in order to get money from people. And this is just a horrible, horrible group of bottom-feeders and parasites.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, what`s very interesting is that Travolta`s people were very clever. They kind of went along with it and first and said, yes, yes, we`ll negotiate with you. And that`s how they basically got the evidence that they`re going to use to convict these people if in fact they`re guilty, Anita.

KAY: Right. Good for them. Because here`s the reality, you mentioned, Jane, this is the Bahamas. So you have this Obie Wilchcombe who is supposedly a friend of Travoltas and a foreign -- minister of tourism, the former minister of tourism. Then you have a senator who is an attorney. They were very smart to tape record these conversations because maybe if they had made the phone call, they would be worried that no one in the Bahamas would believe them because look at the people that are involved in this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s awful. It`s disgusting. And it`s the Bahamas.

Steve, Anita, hang tight. More on this bizarre Travolta extortion plot in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBIE WILCHCOMBE, TRAVOLTA FAMILY FRIEND: John Travolta knew his son was a special child. And he nurtured the relationship. He gave him love; demonstrated publicly at all times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is Obie Wilchcombe, the former head of tourism in the Bahamas and an alleged friend of John Travolta`s, talking about Jett in the days following his death. Now that man that you just heard from, has been brought in for questioning although he has not been charged with anything in connection with this alleged scheme.

We`re talking about this sick extortion plot against John Travolta. Three arrested; two charged. Today the ambulance driver, who drove Travolta and his son Jett to the hospital, charged for his part in this alleged $25 million extortion thing.

I`m back with my panel. We`ve got some phone calls.

Laura, Michigan, question or comment, ma`am?

LAURA FROM MICHIGAN: Yes, my question is, first of all, my condolences go out to the Travoltas. Also, I`d like to know friend or no friend, who thinks in their right mind that they could actually get to them at their time of sorrow? And I also want to know what is going to happen?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ll tell you one thing, if I can use the pass as any predictor of the future; it`s going to take a while for anything to happen in the Bahamas, Anita Kay. It`s slow-going there, we saw that with the Anna Nicole Smith case. Things just dragged on forever.

It is an island and there`s a different sense of time there and it`s not a place where people rush and certainly not the court system, right?

KAY: That`s true. Now, there may be more pressure because it is an American, John Travolta and his family and there is a lot of press. So maybe things will move a little bit smoother.

And the one thing too I want to say about Obie Wilchcombe is that, although he has not been indicted, he has talked to the police. I question if he`s actually trying to give them some information rather than be charged himself and was that why he was released. That`s something I question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and he says that he was doing a noble thing. He claims that he heard about this extortion scheme and he was just passing it along to the attorneys for the purpose of informing this kind of telling truth or spinning, Steve Clark, to try to get out of trouble.

CLARK: Absolutely. What it sounded like he was trying to broker a deal and say that he has access to the information. This guy wants a certain amount but he may take less. That`s what makes it so disgraceful. He wasn`t trying to suppress the information. He seems to be profiting from it.

And, Jane, one other thing that you can look at here is this may go to the United States if they use the phones and the mail to make this scheme work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Anita, Steve, thank you for joining me tonight.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you`re watching "ISSUES."

END

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