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Caylee Doll Attracts Controversy; Attorney Requests Private Funeral Service for Caylee

Aired January 27, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, outrage forces the cancellation of what they`re calling the inspirational Caylee Sunshine doll, inspired by -- that`s right -- murdered toddler Caylee Anthony. The doll even mimics the slain child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): You`ll never know, dear, how much I love you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now the makers of this grotesque product are suspending sales in the wake of a furious chorus of criticism. Should there be a law against this? What do you think about the doll? We`ll take your calls and tell you about another outrageous doll, this one inspired by accused killer Casey Anthony. It`s a voodoo doll.

Plus investigators now reportedly want to meet with Casey Anthony`s brother Lee. Why?

And more horrific details surface about a man being called the Monster of Missouri, the man charged with raping his teenage daughter and killing at least one of four babies he fathered with her, leaving two dead in coolers. Tonight, the terrified family speaks out.

HALEY RINEHART, SUSPECT`S DAUGHTER: I want my dad to go to prison for the rest of his life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll have the very latest, including what this man`s brother is saying about him.

And is this too sexy for the Super Bowl? NBC thinks so. The Super Bowl host pulled this pro-vegetarian PETA ad from its Super Bowl lineup, saying it`s just too hot.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, outrage in the Caylee Anthony case. A Florida company has now suspended the launch of its Caylee Sunshine doll. The doll is said to be inspired by murdered toddler Caylee Anthony, but it sure looks like an attempt to capitalize on the child`s murder.

The dolls were set to go on sale yesterday for $29.99, but public backlash put a stop to this ghoulish plan. This is what put many over the edge.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Never know, dear, how much I love you. Never know, dear, how much I love you. Never know, dear, how much I love you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This, no doubt, is where the doll`s creator got his very disturbing idea.


CAYLEE ANTHONY, MURDERED GIRL (singing): You`ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don`t take my sunshine away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This goes so way beyond that tape, and it only gets worse. The toymaker actually defended his actions.


JAIME SALCEDO, CREATOR OF CAYLEE SUNSHINE DOLL: The way that they look at it is morbid. It`s all negative. "She got killed. There`s a mother going to prison."

They don`t look at the thing that Caylee is in heaven right now. And I believe in heaven, and most people do, that she`s dancing and singing and she`s joyous and she`s in a better place than any of us here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He first claimed some of the profits would go to charity. Then he claimed all the money would go to charity. Which charity? No answer.

Meantime, Anthony family attorney, Brad Conway, revealed today that little Caylee`s granddad, George Anthony, will remain hospitalized for at least another week. Anthony is undergoing treatment after he vanished and expressed a desire to take his own life last week.

Also, Lee Anthony`s own lawyer is now saying he fears Lee will eventually be charged with something. He is here tonight to explain.

So much to talk about, and I want to hear from you. Call me: 1-877- JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297 to weigh in.

Joining me now for some expert analysis, my fantastic panel: Thomas Luka, the attorney for Casey Anthony`s brother, Lee Anthony; John Patrick Dolan, noted criminal defense attorney; Dr. Judy Kuriansky, noted clinical psychologist; and Rozzie Franco, a reporter with WFLA-540 AM in Orlando.

Rozzie, I want to start with you. You have breaking news that Casey will be back in court this Friday. What can you tell us about that?

ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER, WFLA-540 AM: Well, we do know that Baez filed a motion for sanction yesterday. He wants to find out why he learned in the 300 pages that the state released just two weeks ago, that information surfaced that he had requested months ago.

So he`s going to be asking the state why that happened. He`s going to be going before a judge. And we do know that the judge has also required Casey to be present at that hearing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. She wanted to get out of it, and the judge said, "No way, because I don`t want you using that as the basis for an appeal down the road, saying, `Oh, if I were there, it would have been a different outcome`."

Now, we`ve got some breaking news additionally just coming in as we speak. According to WESH, the Anthony family`s attorney, Brad Conway, is saying he`s trying to negotiate -- get this, because this is absolutely fascinating, panel -- a private service for Caylee Anthony, a funeral service that includes a jailhouse family reunion so the entire family -- George, Cindy, Lee and Casey -- can grieve together in some kind of a funeral behind bars.

Thomas Luka, you`re the attorney for Lee Anthony. What do you know about this?

THOMAS LUKA, ATTORNEY FOR LEE ANTHONY: Well, here`s what I know, Jane. I know that the Anthony family, including Lee, my client, has not had contact with Casey since before December 11 of this -- of this past year. They don`t know how she`s taking the death of -- the discovery of her daughter. They don`t know anything. They`ve had no contact with her.

One of the important things that all of the family members are -- want in this case is closure. And the first step in -- to that closure would be some sort of memorial service that, where the family could all grieve together, and that includes Casey, because she is the mother of little Caylee.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, Casey is not allowed to leave jail to attend a funeral outside, because the court said and the jail said, "No. It`s not happening."

LUKA: That is correct. And so because the jail has said that she is not allowed to get a furlough or be released from jail for any reason, the only other alternative is to have some sort of service or some sort of meeting inside the jail among the family members.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Patrick Dolan, have you ever heard of something like that?

JOHN PATRICK DOLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`ve not heard of having a service inside the jail. I`ve heard on many occasions of a compassionate leave where a person is allowed to go out of jail. Normally, the family has to pay for the marshals that accompany them while they go to the funeral, but it`s quite common.

Normally, however, that requires a court order. I don`t know if anyone`s asked the court. If you just ask the people in the jail, they`re going to say absolutely not. You have to get a judge to order that the sheriffs or the marshals in this case would take Casey out to the service. And you have to pay for that. So that`s very common.

The idea of having an experience in the jail or a service in the jail, that`s one I haven`t heard of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy Kuriansky, everything about this case is unique. Now we`re hearing this breaking news that is really quite extraordinary that the Anthony family is going to try to hold the funeral service for little Caylee behind bars so that Casey, the mom accused of killing that child, can participate and this family can be together.

What are your thoughts, from a psychological perspective, about this?

JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, from a psychological perspective, this is extremely healthy for every single member of that family, because you`ve got family members who have been accused, those who have been under suspicion. And you have a grandfather of a dead little girl, the father of an accused killer, murderess, and he has been psychologically traumatized so that he wants to take his life.

So having all these people mourn together and come together, I think, is extremely helpful for them and healthy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, Thomas Luka, you represent Lee Anthony, and you keep saying you think he also is going to be charged. In fact you said, quote, "There were instances where he was acting on behalf of his sister or law enforcement that could now be seen as something less than benign or hindering the investigation." So you`re expecting Lee, Casey`s brother, to be charged.

LUKA: Well, I`m not actually expecting it, but I`m anticipating it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the difference?

LUKA: Well, the difference is this. That it`s possible that, when I made that previous quote, what I -- what I was saying was that something in looking back, in hindsight, some benign act might now, now that the case is a murder case, might in fact, lock like it would be tampering with evidence or obstruction of justice. And the police may want to question Mr. Anthony further about that or may want to even charge him for a crime because of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you a question. He`s talked twice to the authorities, once for a short period of time, about an hour, once lengthy, something like a four-hour interview. Why didn`t he just go back and explain if he has nothing to hide, say you know, "This is what I did and here`s why I did it. And at the time it was very innocent. I didn`t know the significance," yada, yada.

LUKA: Well, the problem is, Jane, we don`t know exactly what the police want to talk to him about. They have not come forward and asked me or contacted my client to ask him when they, in fact, want to talk about or if they even want to talk to him at all.

We are all basing this, basically, on this unnamed source within the investigation who is claiming that they do want to speak with him. What they want to speak to him about can only be speculation. As his attorney, what I have to do is anticipate any and all problems or any and all roadblocks that may come up down, you know, on this journey.

Dr. Judy, as George Anthony recuperates in a hospital from what everybody now concludes was thoughts of taking his own life and actually actions toward that end. Imagine if his son is now charged along with his daughter after losing his granddaughter to murder.

KURIANSKY: Absolutely. This man is really just over the edge already. He was -- he had told the FBI, "I would give my life for little Caylee." And so in a certain way he`s living that out.

And the idea that his entire family is falling apart is extremely traumatic for everybody. So it`s a good thing that he is in the hospital. A five-page suicide note, Jane, really indicates that there`s a lot in his mind, in his heart and on his shoulders, and that he needs to get out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know what? To add insult to injury this doll which we`re going to discuss in a moment. Stay right there, everyone.

Quick remind are. "NANCY GRACE" is up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. She will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case. Don`t miss it.

And here on ISSUES, we have much more ground to cover on the Caylee Anthony case. Got a question or comment for my expert panel, call 1-877- JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

But first, here is the very tasteless singing Caylee Sunshine doll and the Caylee home video that it ghoulishly mimics.


CAYLEE ANTHONY (singing): You`ll never know, dear, how much I love you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): You`ll never know, dear, how much I love you. You`ll never know, dear, how much I love you.



SALCEDO: The way that they look at it is morbid. It`s all negative. "She got killed. There`s a mother going to prison."

They don`t look at the thing that Caylee is in heaven right now. And I believe in heaven, and most people do, that she`s dancing and singing and she`s joyous and she`s in a better place than any of us here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the creator of the Caylee Sunshine doll -- excuse me, makes me choke -- trying to convince us that we are wrong, that we`re dwelling on the morbid and not looking at his creation the right way.

Well, all I see is a very sick, twisted bottom feeder attempting to profit off a dead kid. It is too grotesque for words.

Back with my panel and the phone lines lighting up.

Debbie, Florida, question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes, I was wondering, with George in the hospital under psychiatric care, if he would have the same kind of privilege with confidentiality as, say, an attorney-client privilege so he could unburden himself with fears that he`s probably having about his daughter.

And also to Rozzie, I was wondering, with your interview with Cindy in July she stated that nobody could ever really know the true father of Caylee. What was meant by that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rozzie, you want to try that first one?

FRANCO: Sure. As far as I know, hospital officials say they`re not giving him any extra treatment that they wouldn`t give anybody else under psychiatric evaluation.

However, we do know that there has been security tightened around his area. And we do know this he did -- he could have opt to leave within 72 hours, and he`s still there. As far as the other question with Cindy Anthony...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in and ask John Patrick Dolan about that, because here`s what I found really disturbing, is that the details of George`s suicide note, the reported details, have been released, leaked to the public. He`s saying, "I`m a bad dad and I`m a terrible husband." That`s got to make it worse for him. Why is that stuff being leaked at this point?

DOLAN: Well, that`s a good question, and the answer is because somebody who has access to it has leaked it. Maybe law enforcement involved, probably the people at the hospital.

And by the way, the answer to your caller`s question is there is no attorney/client privilege for what he says in psychiatric interviews. So if he says something that suggests Casey made an incriminating statement to him, it`s not going to be protected.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now I`ve got to tell you that the doll`s creator said that this money would go to charity. First it was like some and then it was 100 percent.

Nancy Grace put him on the hot seat last night. Take a listen.


NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Caylee was murdered. Her body was disposed of like trash, and you are making $29.99 off every doll.

SALCEDO: All right. First of all, because you did mention the $29.99. A portion of the sales are going to charity.

GRACE: How much?


SALCEDO: And now...

GRACE: How much?

SALCEDO: We -- now at this point, a big portion of it is going.

GRACE: How much?

SALCEDO: We don`t know because we haven`t sold any at this point.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t get an answer there, and that was her entire point. Dr. Judy, what is the mentality of somebody who markets a doll like this?

KURIANSKY: Well, you said it in terms of being ghoulish. That was a good word to use. It`s profiteering.

And he`s got a good rationalization in terms of looking at God and heaven. But I have to say, Jane, this is very detrimental to children to play with a doll like this.

A lot of young kids worry, totally irrationally, "Does mommy really love me, does daddy really love me? Am I really loved? Could something bad happen to me?" They were all thinking about -- if they`re hearing about this case and talking about it in school, that a child was murdered by, potentially, the mother. This is not healthy at all for children to be involved with this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I -- I agree, and I think that bringing the child angle is brilliant, Dr. Judy.

John, Judy, Thomas, Rozzie, thank you.

More now on the Caylee Anthony case. I want to turn to somebody who knows a lot about how a high-profile case can turn into a media circus. I am delighted to have famous criminal defense attorney Tom Mesereau with me tonight.

Tom, it`s great to see you.

TOM MESEREAU, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great to see you, Jane. Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re, of course, very famous for your work on the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, where Jackson was found not guilty on all counts.

Tom, I see there are parallels between the Caylee Anthony case and the Jackson case, both unfolding in the middle of these media storms. How does that intense global scrutiny affect how a lawyer defends his client?

MESEREAU: You know, it really complicates your efforts. You have to pay attention to the other side. You have to pay attention to your own side. Lawyers are clamoring to get to the case. They`re climbing on your back, trying to get to the client. You`ve got family members telling you to run to this show and that show. It really does complicate defense efforts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I remember your witness list. Everybody is shocked that in the Caylee Anthony case, the prosecution has come up with a potential list of 140 names. That seems like a lot. But I remember during your case, during the Michael Jackson molestation trial, you had a much bigger original potential witness list, filled with a lot of stars. Bring us back to that moment.

MESEREAU: Well, first of all, defense lawyers are often required by law to provide a witness list. And trials have unexpected developments. You want to reserve the right to call people that have come to your attention. And if you don`t include someone in the list, the prosecuting is going to probably make a motion to preclude you from calling that person. So you want to play it safe.

I`m certainly, to be honest, have to admit that driving them nuts is sometimes a consideration, too. In the Robert Blake case, I submitted a list of 800 people, most of them from their own discovery.

Prosecutors love to bombard the defense with numerous pages of discovery that, when they throw it back to them they tend to scream like stuck pigs. And the defense is probably giving them what they asked for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, when would you predict the Caylee Anthony case will actually go to trial? When will this mother accused of murdering her child actually face justice and jurors, because a lot of people are saying this is such a complex case, it could be 2010 before it happens.

MESEREAU: Well, my understanding, Jane, is that they first charged her with some crimes short of murder. Then they added homicide to the list. I don`t know if they`re seeking the death penalty or not, but all of these things will complicate the case, give the defense a good opportunity to stretch out the investigation and the time. And they must do their job, and they must do it well. A life is on the line. And everybody deserves their fair day in court, and they all deserve competent representation.

So my sense is, with all the forensic experts involved, it will be quite a while before you see this tried.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Tom, Jose Baez, the attorney for Casey Anthony, lashed out last, week saying he was being attacked. Rumors and a lot of nasty things have been said about him. What advice would you give him for handling a high-profile case like this, because he seems really on the defensive right now.

MESEREAU: Well, I don`t know him. And we`ve never met. My impression is he`s doing a very, very diligent job. If I were him, I would pay less attention to the media and more attention to the case.

It`s easy to get -- easy to get distracted by the media and run around and do a million shows and think you`re helping your client, but at some point I think these media appearances can detract from your ability to defend.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Tom, I just want to say I am so thrilled that you came on our show. And your insights are fabulous. And I hope you come back real soon, because we`ve got a lot more information to get from you. Thank you so much, sir.

Coming up, an update on the Monster of Missouri. This one is unbelievable.


RINEHART: One thing is I want my dad to go to prison for the rest of his life for him beating us and raping my sister. The next thing is I hope my mom rots in prison, too.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the courageous daughter who tipped off cops, saying her dad was raping another one of his daughters. This is a stomach- churning horror story.

Daniel Rinehart, now nicknamed the Monster of Missouri, is charged with raping his own teenage daughter over a period of six years and then murdering one of the four babies he fathered with her. He was arraigned last week, and now his own relatives are speaking out, as you just heard.

I am joined again by well-known clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Judy Kuriansky. We need a sex therapist for this. We need a therapist, we need a shrink to try to understand the incomprehensible, that this man allegedly began raping his daughter at 13.

She had four children by him, and he is charged now of killing one. One died in childbirth, and there`s an investigation into what happened to another dead child. And there`s a 3-year-old that is the result of this sick union that is now, thank God, in protective custody.

Your thoughts?

KURIANSKY: Well, there`s a lot of victims here, Jane. There`s the daughters, all four of those daughters. The one was incested by her father and fathered those children, who lost, by the way, some of her children. How traumatic is that, that they died in childbirth.

The daughters who are speaking out now, who were terrified to do so before and all those years kept quiet.

And the worst of all the victims is the 3-year-old little boy in protective custody, as you said, who one day is going to know the truth about his parents and the fact that he was, in fact, fathered by this horrendous monster, who incested his mother, who was the daughter.

So that is the tragedy of all of this. And I must say also that, while we think of this man as living in a trailer park, I have to say that incest perpetrators come from all levels of society.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. It`s -- it`s just incomprehensible. And the mother`s alleged role is also...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... just mind blowing in its creepiness. According to authorities, she`s charged with one count of child endangerment. That`s it. But according to reports, she assisted in the delivery and instructed the father how to deliver the children that were born to this child, her own daughter.

KURIANSKY: Yes. It sounds -- I have to say that there are three different types of mothers in the father/daughter incest like this.

Some mothers are clueless. They have no idea what`s going on, like -- by the way, like the grandmother, who said she had no idea that this was going on and that her granddaughter was pregnant.

Then there are those mothers who deny, who have suspicions of what`s going on but pretend it`s not.

And then there are the group of mothers who collude, like this woman does. I know it`s very hard for viewers to realize that this goes on, but it does. Some of these women have very distorted childhoods themselves who have been abused, which is no excuse, but it`s the truth.

Others of them are so turned off by sex, by the way, with the man that they`re happy, in a sense, in this very distorted way, dysfunctionally, for the daughter to be taking on this role.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We could talk about this all night. We`ve got to go, Dr. Judy, but we`re going to stay on top of this.

We`re going to be back with more on the Travolta scandal in just a moment. This is another shocker.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Never know, dear, how much I love you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a storm of outrage over this creepy doll inspired by murdered toddler Caylee Anthony. The criticism so fierce, sales have now been suspended, but you won`t believe what`s popping up in this doll`s place -- a Casey Anthony voodoo doll.

You can`t make this stuff up.

No, you can`t. We`re back talking about the latest twists and turns in the Caylee Anthony murder case and lots to cover. Back with me: Rozzie Franco from WFLA 540 AM and Ashleigh Banfield, anchor of "In Session."

And ladies, the phone lines are lighting up. So let`s give it a go. Linda, Canada, question or thought, ma`am?

LINDA FROM CANADA: Hi I really love you Jane and your show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much.

LINDA: And I`d just like to ask if the boyfriends places were searched, like the grandmothers, the places where Casey went after her daughter went missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Rozzie, I believe that investigators certainly interviewed some of the ex-boyfriends. What do you know?

ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA 540 AM: That`s correct. Their places weren`t actually searched. Ricardo Morales, Anthony Lazaro, Jesse Grund, all of those are usual suspects that we`ve heard thus far have been interviewed.

As far as their places I know that there was a visit to Lazaro`s place looking for some type of trash bag, but other than that Jesse Grund or Ricardo Morales, their places weren`t searched.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Jenny of Florida, question or thought, ma`am.

JENNY FROM FLORIDA: Hi, Jane. I love your show.


JENNY: I have two questions: one to the psychologist and one to the attorney, if I may. Has anybody ever questioned that baby`s name, Caylee? The brother`s name is Lee, has he ever been asked to take a paternity test?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well I`m going to toss that hot potato over to somebody who can handle it. Ashleigh Banfield.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR OF "IN SESSION": Next question. No, listen. I don`t know that you can really read anything into nomenclature. I mean, people name their children after themselves, quite frankly. I don`t think there`s much to be thought of there and regardless of paternity I don`t think that that is something that leads a murder investigation, one way or another.

That could be something entirely different and it could be criminal, but I don`t know that that`s really an avenue they need to go down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I want to talk a little bit about this ghoulish doll. It`s truly beyond comprehension that somebody would create a doll like this based on a murdered child and the doll`s creator has said a portion of the doll`s sales would go to charity and now saying 100 percent would go to charity.

And again, Nancy Grace last night put this guy on the hot seat and said, hey, where is this money going to go? Take a listen to this.


NANCY GRACE, "NANCY GRACE SHOW" HOST: Caylee was murdered. Her body was disposed of like trash and you are making their $29.99 off every doll.

JAIME SALCEDO, CREATOR OF CAYLEE SUNSHINE DOLL: All right, first of all, because you did mention the $29.99. A portion of the sales are going to charity.

GRACE: How much?


GRACE: -- Whoa, how much?

SALCEDO: Now, at this point a big portion of it is going.

GRACE: How much?

SALCEDO: We don`t know because we haven`t sold any at this point.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Ashleigh, at the end of it they`re pulling the doll, but get this, Caylee Sunshine t-shirts are still on the website selling for $12.99, bracelets $3, stickers $3, what do you make of this madness?

BANFIELD: Well, far be it from me to pass judgment on someone else, but I can say this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, pass judgment.

BANFIELD: But it was postponed; sales have not been pulled. Apparently this company president plans to sell at a different date because he says he`s had so much positive feedback from listeners and viewers and readers of his website as well.

But we should also note that he also sold artifacts regarding Michael Vick, I think they were Michael Vick chew toys and I think Sarah Palin dolls as well, it`s not the first time that he`s capitalized off of news events.

I don`t know what his modus operandi or if he`s altruistic terrific or not but he did say 100 percent -- on his website right now he says 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But it`s even a more ghoulish if that`s possible or as ghoulish.

And let`s take a look at this before we go and we`re talking about the Casey Anthony voodoo doll. There is a voodoo doll. You`ve got to see it. There it is.

I`m going to give you the last word Rozzie; you have a couple of seconds. This one selling on EBay and there`s various gradations and the highest one which comes with a little miniature Bible, sunglasses and handcuff goes for $29.99.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re speechless obviously, Rozzie, right?

FRANCO: You know what honestly Jane, no it just makes me cringe to know that this is actually happening. You know, and I researched this guy, and I found that he did the bubble head with Sarah Palin and he did the chew toy with Michael Vick.

This guy is a comedian.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I just want to say -- just to distinguish that guy with the Casey voodoo doll is not the same one as the Caylee sunshine doll and with that, we`re going have to leave it.

I thank you both. Please come back and give us more insights soon. This case, obviously not going anywhere.

And just a reminder, Nancy Grace has been following the Caylee Anthony case since day one and she will have the latest details at 8 p.m.

Now to a story that will outrage some of you and others maybe not so much. NBC Universal was definitely in the outrage category, we think, we don`t know. A Super Bowl ad from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of the Animals, has been rejected by the network for being just too sexy.

A quick note, before we show you this ad we aired on the side of caution and blurred some of the images and now let`s take a look at the source of this big controversy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. The ad kind of racy, isn`t it? But is it really too hot to handle? PETA doesn`t think so. They say there`s a big double standard when it comes to meat-friendly ads.

Here with me now for a fiery debate, Jim Beck, National Field Director of the Christian Coalition of America and Lisa Lange from PETA.

Come on why, Jim is there anything wrong with this? We know that sex sells and we know that all these other companies and PETA isn`t a company. It`s a non-profit, but companies are always using sex to sell fast food. Why shouldn`t PETA use sex to sell health especially when the surgeon general is saying we`ve got to eat our fruits and veggies?

JIM BECK, CHRISTIAN COALITION OF AMERICA: Well, first of all, shame on PETA, shame on PETA because at the end of day, Michael Vick would be very proud of this stunt. Michael Vick would probably like this ad. I mean, how do you encourage respect for one living thing by disrespecting another living thing?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait, wait a second I mean why are we disrespecting women by showing that they`re beautiful. Do you buy that, Lisa?

BECK: We`re showing a woman fornicating a broccoli. That`s what they`re doing.


LISA LANGE, PETA: If I want to use my body to make a strong statement that delivers a very -- you know what, sir?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second let Lisa say her part. Lisa.

LANGE: Yes, I`m a woman, and if I want to use my body to make a statement that`s good for people, that`s good for the environment and saves millions of animal lives I`m going to do. And you don`t get to stop me and you don`t get to stop PETA and what`s more, if you don`t like the ad, don`t watch it.

Most people and in the last hour before coming on this show we had 30,000 people who came to the website to see the ad in one hour and when they`re on our website they`re not only watching the ad at but they`re watching the undercover investigations that we`ve done on factory farms and slaughterhouses.

They`re downloading free vegetarian recipes in our vegetarian starter kit. This works. We love it. We`re sorry that NBC rejected it, but a lot of people are coming to the website to see it.

BECK: Listen, listen, porn sells. There`s no doubt about it. Pornography sells. I mean, congratulations you`ve just put yourself in the same category with vivid video and all of the other pornographers congratulations --

LANGE: Listen up a little bit, Jim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let me jump in here because fast food, Carl`s Junior released a racy ad starring Paris Hilton.

BECK: It didn`t show --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this.

Now this ad was bad for TV and it is certainly racy. Isn`t there a double standard here, Jim Beck? I mean, PETA is doing exactly what the food industry does. Sex sells except PETA`s message happens to be in sync with the U.S. government`s message which is Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables because we have an obesity crisis in this country.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. It`s surpassing smoking as the leading cause of death in America. It`s a crisis, it`s causing all of our health care to go up and so we need to eat fruits and vegetables.

You`ve got to get the message across.

BECK: So is objectifying women, there is a crisis in our country of objectifying women. We had a woman $3.8 million auctioning off her virginity --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why are not women not so concerned as you?

BECK: I think they are concerned. I think you`re hearing from mothers. I think NBC probably knew what the kind of firestorm they would evoke if they ran this ad. Congratulations NBC.

LANGE: I promise you, if you watch the Super Bowl this Sunday you will see suggestive ads and you`ll see suggestive ads probably more suggestive than ours.

BECK: Then shame on NBC.

LANGE: There`s nothing wrong with sex. There`s nothing wrong with being sexy. And if you take a commercial like this, a sexy spot like this and you help people find healthier ways to live. You save animals at the same time. Every animal who is killed go through a very violent death. And if this ad, this upbeat, really fun, hot, sexy ad gets people to pay attention to their diets in a way that helps animals and helps themselves, then we`ve achieved something.

BECK: You never help encourage respect in one living thing by disrespecting another. It just doesn`t work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well let me ask you a question Jim, where is your outrage over all the violence against women.

BECK: I agree, I agree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, if I click on the television and all I see is violence. Every five seconds, a woman being abducted, raped, murdered, in movies, there are slasher movies, --

BECK: It`s horrible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s saw movies. Well, nobody objects to that, that`s fine, but PETA tries to have a woman holding a piece of broccoli and suddenly that`s porn.

BECK: Fornicating the broccoli, and let`s face it. I mean, you blurred the best part. Fornicating with the broccoli.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what, do you eat a lot of vegetables, Jim?

BECK: Well, I`m not after this. I mean, it`s very discouraging -- who knows where the vegetables have been.


LANGE: Response to this, most people are actually much more interested in vegetables after seeing this ad so that`s a rather odd response. Bottom line is there`s nothing wrong with sex and there`s nothing wrong with being sexy.

BECK: Porn sells everything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to leave it there. There`s nothing wrong with being sexy, but we`ll agree to disagree. Jim, Lisa, thank you so much.

If the death of his son weren`t hard enough, John Travolta now battling at least two men who try to scam millions from him after the death. I`m going to be taking your call on this heartless case. Call 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297 next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: At least two men allegedly tried to extort millions from John Travolta after his son, Jett, died. In just moments I`ll have an update.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

I told you Citigroup planned to buy a $50 million private jet, this after getting $45 billion taxpayers` bailout. That was yesterday. Today it seems President Obama did something the previous administration never had the guts to do. He stood up to corporate execs, White House officials pressured Citi into canceling the plane purchase.

The problem I have is that all these bailed out executives are pushing the envelope as far as they can. They only pull back a little bit when the public notices when they get in trouble. It`s not remorse. It`s not contrition and it`s all about public image. When corporate America cuts excesses before any prodding from politicians and taxpayers, then I`ll believe they finally get it.

Stunning new developments tonight. John Travolta has been named the star witness in the ghoulish extortion case that centers around his son`s shocking death in the Bahamas. John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston say they found themselves the victims of a multi-million dollar extortion plot over secret details of their son`s death.

This is just sick.

One new report that the FBI has now stepped in although this is still in dispute; conflicting reports there. Reports are the feds will employ special voice analysis experts to investigate "sensitive" phone conversations. These alleged extortionists reportedly threatened to embarrass the Travoltas with a secret document unless they got $25 million from them.

So will the alleged scammers be the ones to pay in the end? I want to know what you think. Give me a call 1-877-JVM SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297.

Let`s go right out to my fabulous expert panel: Stacy Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Ashleigh Banfield, anchor of "In Session;" and Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, TMZ has been on top of this story from the start. I understand, you`ve got some breaking news. What is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Yes, we`ll go right into it Jane. We have just confirmed exactly what this mystery document is and what`s behind exactly how this all went down. Let me tell you, basically the document was a refusal to transport, but what -- the misleading part is not a refusal for emergency services. What had happened was initially when the EMT worker showed up to work on Jett and they were going to transport to Rand Memorial Hospital John felt, John and Kelly both felt at that point that they wanted to transport their child by plane to Florida which is about the same amount of time, about 45 minutes to an hour which is the same drive from where they were to Rand Memorial Hospital.

Obviously they realized that it was a much more grave situation so they decided to drive to the hospital, but this document was basically them going back and forth about whether or not to transport to Florida or to transport directly to Rand Memorial in the Bahamas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacy Honowitz, why would these alleged extorters think that that would be something that the Travoltas would be willing to pay $25 million to keep a secret?

STACY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, you have to realize what you`re dealing with. Just the fact that they thought that maybe that that information was going to embarrass the Travoltas and the fact that we`re speaking about such a private matter to the public, they obviously thought that these were details, and these were confidential details that the trois volt as would want to keep a secret and it was going to be important enough for them to pay for it.

Unfortunately, because now this whole extortion matter has come into the media, into the forefront we find ourselves sitting here now discussing this very private issue that was between John Travolta and his wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ashleigh Banfield, the extortion or that alleged extortion plot did not work. So what`s in it for the Travoltas to pursue this? He is now a star witness in the criminal case and since they wanted more than anything else, privacy. Is it a smart move to proceed?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": You know, when you`re a victim of crime often times the smartest move is to go to the police, period. I suppose they could have paid 20 million or some odd dollars to put this all under the map, but I think might be a way to keep it under the mat anyway.

There`s a plea deal that goes down in this. None of these will be made public other than what`s been leaked to the press.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have got phone lights lighting up. Phyllis in California, your question or thought ma`am.

PHYLLIS, CALIFORNIA: I just have a quick question and a comment, if that`s okay.


PHYLLIS: I know the laws are different in the Bahamas than they are here in the states, but because the Travoltas are residents here and it happened there, where would it be tried and how does the law vary?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fascinating question.

Stacy, as I throw this to you I just want to say I love the Bahamas. We were talking about this last night. I said something like, "Well, it`s the Bahamas." I was talking about a couple of alleged bad apples and of course the scandal factor in the Anna Nicole Smith case involving the immigration minister, the former immigration minister who had to resign, but I love the Bahamas.

Bahamas are great. I`ve gone there many, many times. Beautiful people, beautiful beaches and it`s a place that`s just gorgeous and spectacular. That being said, Stacy, what about the question that this caller had?

HONOWITZ: Well, it`s a very interesting question. You have to really know how the extortion went down, in other words, the feds could get involved. The jurisdiction could be federal jurisdiction and it could be tried either in the Bahamas or here.

The fact of the matter is the private document, the conversations, the alleged conspiracy amongst these three people took place in the Bahamas. Yet the Travoltas, like the caller said, are here. So most likely the jurisdiction would be in the Bahamas because that`s where the extortion plot was unleashed and that`s where it really was hatched.

BANFIELD: Jane, I want to add also that I spoke to my sources at the FBI in Florida and at least the Tampa division of FBI has not heard of any of their officers involvement in this but that jurisdiction would fall under the Jacksonville, FBI and that because he`s a U.S. citizen, because John Travolta`s a U.S. citizen, they do have jurisdiction over a crime that could be committed against him.

And as Stacy mentioned if there is -- sort of interstate international commerce being conducted that becomes a crime that enters on to our shores and certainly there could be jurisdiction here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and what`s fascinating about all this, we`re going to talk more about this in a moment is that it was all allegedly caught on tape and so the tape, just like the Blagojevich scandal, could tell the story.

More calls on the John Travolta extortion plot when we come right back in just a moment.



OBIE WILCHCOMBE, FORMER TOURISM MINISTER, BAHAMAS: What we want to do is just show our appreciation and the fact that many at that hotel certainly remember him and knows that Jett loved so much the waters, loved the Bahamas.



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


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Obie Wilchcombe making a round of TV appearances in the days after the Jett Travolta death, saying he`d been with the Travoltas in the hours after his son`s death.

And, Mike Walters, this man has not been charged; two others have but apparently there`s a lot of finger-pointing going on right now between the three people who were originally taken into questioning. Two of them have been charged.

WALTERS: Right. I think one thing we have to point out here real quick that hasn`t been said yet is that, these are two people that are very important in the Bahamas. Obie Wilchcombe, being a parliament member and Pleasant Bridgewater being a senator. Now these two people Obie has not been charged, like you said. Pleasant has been charged and is out on bail. But what we`ve found out is there is audiotape of the negotiations between Pleasant Bridgewater and between John Travolta`s lawyers. The problem here being the reason that Obie Wilchcombe was detained is because Pleasant Bridgewater on these tapes says well Obie`s going to receive a third or a fourth once, if, or we get it.

So the problem here is that Obie was obtained because he was implicated by another ranking member of the Bahamas government.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And she`s since resigned. She`s since resigned.

Stacey Honowitz. Now if somebody`s caught on tape that seems like game, set, match for the prosecution but if she`s just saying this one will get a cut, I can`t imagine prosecuting on that basis unless there is other evidence.

HONOWITZ: Well, that`s exactly right, Jane. All we`re hearing right now is that she implicated him on tape and she said she was brought into the mix. There is going to have to be other evidence and that`s why the investigation is still ongoing. They`re going to have to see if at any time he was part of this conspiracy to try to extort this money from John Travolta but you`re going to see that there is going to have to be more than just her word. There has to be some proof.

Ashleigh, ten seconds. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, it always shocks me.

BANFIELD: Well, I think at this point, if they thought Obie was associated with this after he was retained for questioning he would have been charged. He`s not been and at this point one woman`s word and apparently not that highly regarded woman at this point is not going to be enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She did have to resign.

BANFIELD: But I`ll be fascinated to see what the FBI gets if they get involved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, okay. We`re going to keep on top of it.

Stacey, Ashleigh, thanks for joining me.

You`re watching "ISSUES."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The shocking story of the Missouri man accused of raping his daughter and murdering one of four children he fathered with her. His family now exposing the sick nightmare they all suffered at his hands.

We will have more details on this truly disturbing case. That`s tomorrow on "ISSUES."

Right now it`s time to check in with Nancy Grace. Hi, Nancy. What do you have for us tonight?

NANCY GRACE, ANCHOR, "NANCY GRACE": Jane, as we go to air, we`re learning just the last few moments tot mom Casey Anthony is actually trying to orchestrate an unprecedented secret jailhouse funeral for little Caylee behind bars. And the attorney for tot mom brother Lee Anthony announces today he`s gotten signals brother will be criminally charged.

Jane, Hollywood superstar john Travolta`s still reeling over the death of his boy when that $25 million blackmail plot surfaces; tonight, details.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a shocker. Thank you, Nancy. "Nancy Grace" starts right now.