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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Public Memorial Planned for Caylee Anthony; Attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez Demands Answers from Anthony Family; Mother Charged for Leaving Three Young Children Alone
Aired February 5, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, more controversy, confusion, and confrontation in the Caylee Anthony murder case. First, this woman has one simple question for accused murderer Casey Anthony. Am I the woman you call Zanny the nanny? The woman you say babysat and abducted your daughter? Answering that one question would end a civil suit against Casey in one second flat, but could that hurt Casey in her criminal case?
Then, are there finally plans for a Caylee Anthony memorial service? What are your thoughts on all of this? Give us a call.
Plus, a whistle-blower blows his top in a fiery congressional hearing, angrily complaining his repeated pleas to the SEC to investigate Bernie Madoff were ignored.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you flew the entire SEC staff to Boston, sat them in Fenway Park for an afternoon, that they would not be able to find first base.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ouch. The former SEC executive says it took him only five minutes to suspect Madoff was a fraud. So how come investigators never had a clue? We`ll tell you why this tipster feared Russia mobsters and drug cartels and show you the slew of celebrities listed among the 13,000 alleged victims.
Plus, he disappeared off the face of the planet and from Olivia Newton-John`s side. Now a team of investigators believe they know where Olivia`s ex-boyfriend is. We`ll have all the shocking details.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight. Is the family of Caylee Anthony finally putting the murdered toddler to rest? Just a short time ago, they announced the time, date, and location of a public memorial service. It will be held at 10 a.m. Eastern this coming Tuesday at the First Baptist Church in Orlando. The church can hold more than 5,000 people. But what about a private funeral and burial? Has that also been scheduled?
Plus, in just a moment, we will hear firsthand from the mother of another murdered child who says a large public memorial for her little girl gave her solace.
Also, Casey Anthony is fighting back from behind bars. Her civil lawyer says he has something up his sleeve, a surprise motion that might be filed this week in the Zenaida Gonzalez defamation suit. Zenaida`s attorney joins me in just a bit with his reaction to this really stunning news.
As always, lots to discuss. And of course, I want to hear from you. Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
First, my expert panel. Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney; Wendy Murphy, law professor, former prosecutor, and author of "And Justice for Some"; Debbie Maggitz, psychologist; and reporter Leslie Snadowsky.
Leslie, what is the very latest on the public memorial service?
LESLIE SNADOWSKY, REPORTER: Well, Jane, very exciting news from the Anthony camp today. George and Cindy Anthony`s attorney, Brad Conway, did announce there will be a public memorial this coming Tuesday. It`s going to start at 10, and doors open at 9 at First Baptist Orlando.
About 5,000 people will be able to be seated in the worship center, and it looks like it may be standing room only, because I think they anticipate a whole lot of people. In case there is going to be a -- an overspill, spill-over of people, they are going to have a live feed. So I`m sure everyone in their homes will be able to watch that day. It will start at 10. Doors open at 9.
And listen to this. It`s almost -- I mean this respectfully. It`s going to be like a football game. When you go in, you have to go through, like, a metal detector.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, wait a minute. I understand your analogy, but really, it`s not because this involves the -- the horrible, terrible murder of a little child who didn`t deserve to die. But I do understand your point about security, Leslie.
And let me go to Wendy Murphy for that. My understanding is, as Leslie just mentioned, security is going to be extraordinarily tight. No cell phones, no still cameras, no video cameras, no bags, no backpacks, no purses will be allowed inside the building. And there is a metal detector at the door.
Obviously, this security is necessary, first of all, for the safety of the Anthony family and, secondly, to prevent anybody like a paparazzi from trying to make a buck off of this tragedy.
WENDY MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR: Yes. You just said everything I would have said, Jane.
Look, I hate the fact that this is such a spectacle because this child`s life was taken in such a disturbing manner. It is not to be entertainment. We are all riveted because we want justice for this little girl. If I could be there, I would. And it wouldn`t be to take pictures. It would be to try and help solve this case.
But you know what? There`s no question. The ghouls will be there. People trying to take pictures and sell them will be there. And the strangest thing I saw on the press statement about this memorial service from the church was the notation that, if you want an interview with the Anthony family, go directly to them or through their own counsel.
I mean, this almost seems like -- I don`t know, the fostering of some kind of defense tactic. I hate to say that because it is...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean? I don`t get you. I don`t get you. This is a public memorial service for a little child.
MURPHY: No, but it`s got a press release attached to it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They have to. They have to because...
MURPHY: I understand.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... we called the church to find out what`s happening, where is the video feed. Hundreds of other reporters are doing the exact same thing.
MURPHY: But they have to give advice about how to get an interview with the Anthony family?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think they`re trying to cut them off at the pass and say, you know, "Hey, don`t bug us about that. I mean..."
MURPHY: That`s a little weird. I`m sorry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you, Jeff Brown, about this. We did reach out to Brad Conway and asked him a question that immediately came to my mind. Well, here`s the public memorial. What about the private funeral service? What about a burial?
And this is what Brad Conway said. For security reasons, there will be no casket, and Caylee`s remains will not be at the church at any time. He did not answer the question about whether or not a private funeral would occur after this public memorial service or whether a burial would occur immediately after this memorial service.
Your thoughts on that?
JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, good for him. It should be a private matter. I think we should respect what the family wants to do privately. And it`s really none of our business. To go back to what Wendy says, to say that this is some sort of -- something orchestrated by the defense, come on.
MURPHY: I didn`t say that, Jeff. Take the potatoes out of your ears.
BROWN: Yes, OK. I just don`t know where that`s coming from, or even to suggest that it is anything like that. This is just a service. There`s a lot of people that care about this family and this child. And they want to come and pay their respects.
MURPHY: And there`s no defense spin going on at all, is there?
BROWN: It`s not a defense spin. This is ...
BROWN: Is the church a part of this now, part of the defense?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a memorial service. People, the public, the community, everybody has been traumatized by this case. I mean, my mother watches this, and she cries practically every night. People want closure. They want to pay their final respects.
MURPHY: That doesn`t mean the defense isn`t taking advantage.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you know what? We`ll just -- we`ll table that discussion for the next block. But -- but right now, I would like to bring in Erin Runnion. She is a woman who has devoted herself to saving children`s lives, that ever since her own beautiful little daughter, Samantha, was abducted and tragically, horrifically murdered in the summer of 2002.
Less than two weeks after this very personal tragedy, a very public funeral was held for little Samantha. More than 5,000 people attended an extraordinary service at the famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California.
Erin is the founding director of the Joyful Child Foundation. And I am so grateful she is joining us tonight.
Erin, thank you for being here.
ERIC RUNNION, DIRECTOR, JOYFUL CHILD FOUNDATION: Thank you so much for having me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I was a reporter who covered that public memorial service for your daughter back in 2002, and it was enormous. I was really moved by the sheer number of people that turned out to say good- bye to your beautiful child. How did that extraordinary outpouring affect you emotionally?
RUNNION: Honestly, I think that the -- I believe in the power of compassionate prayer. And for me to have so many people take the time to mourn Samantha, to say good-bye to her with me, reminded me at a time, when I had every right to lose all faith in humanity, that most people really are decent, good people.
And that, I think, ultimately gave me the strength to go back and start the Joyful Child Foundation and work on stopping these crimes from ever happening again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you show amazing courage and resilience. I don`t know if very many people could do what you did and have done.
You also, during that memorial service, spoke very eloquently. And I`ll quote you here: "Nothing can bring our baby back, but knowing that her death was handled with the utmost integrity and her life cherished by so many does bring some solace."
Tell me about the service itself. And did it help the healing process? Did it help give you any closure or is that just a word? A lot of people who have gone through these kind of experiences, they don`t ever use the word "closure" with me, because there is no closure.
RUNNION: That`s definitely true. There isn`t closure.
But for me, the public memorial, we did have a private family memorial. The public memorial really was for the public. We had received so many thousands of letters that I really felt that all of these people deserved a chance to -- to grieve together and to -- as a community say good-bye to Samantha. Because I feel the same is true for Caylee.
I mean, when a child is taken so brutally, it is a crime against humanity itself. This is not just a personal matter. And you know, I think it is everybody`s business. I think when we have nearly a million cases of substantiated child abuse every year, and one in five girls and on in 10 boys are sexually assaulted before their 14th birthday. It`s time we stop acting like this is somebody else`s problem to solve.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you there 100 percent. It is all of our problem. And we have to stop accepting this kind of hideous violence as business as usual. We have to say in our society, "Enough. This is not going to be tolerated. It`s not just another news story."
I applaud what you have to say completely.
Let me ask you this question. Obviously, the Anthony family has been through hell. It`s a very different situation than your personal hell, but they`re both a hellish experience. What advice would you give to the Anthony family at this juncture?
RUNNION: Oh, just to stick together. To be patient with one another and with themselves. They have so many things that they are working through personally as well as a family that -- a lot of patience and gentleness toward each other and themselves as they work through it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: As we wrap up, I know you`re doing great work. If somebody wants to visit and learn more about your work, where should they go?
RUNNION: TheJoyfulChild.org. And they -- we also have a parent`s guide to prevention on there that they can download for free.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erin, I want to thank you so much. Really, you are one of my heroes for the work that you do.
RUNNION: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Keep it up. Come back soon.
We will have a lot more to cover. Don`t forget: Nancy Grace is up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case.
And right here on ISSUES, we are just getting started. The public memorial for little Caylee now set for next Tuesday. We want to hear what you have to say about this so-tragic story. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. And let me know.
But first, here is then Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary from December 19, when Caylee`s remains were identified.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN BEARY, FORMER ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF: I think there`s been an open wound in the community. And I believe we can start putting some closure to those open wounds. Having -- having a kid -- you know, I`ve raised two girls. Devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has your life been like?
ZENAIDA FERNANDEZ-GONZALEZ, SUING CASEY FOR DEFAMATION: Horrible. Horrible. And my name is just -- it`s not so much because they know my face. It`s because they know my name. Since they know my name, everywhere I go, they`re obviously insinuating that I did something wrong because my name is so much in the news. So I haven`t been able to get a job. I haven`t been able to do much of nothing. Everybody is just judging me by my name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the Zenaida Gonzalez before she revealed her face to the public. She claims Casey Anthony ruined her life. Tonight, a new twist in the defamation lawsuit against the mother accused of murdering her little girl.
Casey`s civil lawyer says he is working on a mystery motion that he might file by the end of the week.
Meantime, it looks like double trouble for any addition to my panel tonight, John Morgan, who is representing Zenaida. Casey`s family, Cindy, George, and Lee, have said they`re going to oppose any plans to televise their depositions.
John Morgan, I want to thank you for being here. I want you to clarify all that in just a moment, but we do have some breaking news to bring you first. I guess Brad Conway, the attorney for the Anthony family, is watching this broadcast. Because considering our debate in the first block, he called -- or contacted us via e-mail, most probably, and said there will be no interviews with the family. First Baptist did their own press release. This is not a defense tactic. It`s a memorial service for a precious child.
And I couldn`t agree more. I just think we have to leave this memorial service alone in terms of making it a focus of controversy. It is a memorial for a precious child. It needs to be respected as such. And I think that we need to just deeply respect the fact that everybody wants to come together at this moment and say their good-byes. The nation, the community, the Anthony family, all joined in their common grief. And I just really think that that pretty much says it.
And let`s get back now. We`re going to go to the phones in a second. But let`s get back to John Morgan and this entire issue of the civil suit.
OK. Here`s a question I have for you. How do you plan to conduct the depositions of Cindy, George, and Lee, because they have apparently said through their attorney that, if you want to bring the media into the deposition for them and allow the media to watch them being deposed, they`re not going to be there.
JOHN MORGAN, ATTORNEY FOR ZENAIDA GONZALEZ: Well, what I would tell them to do then is -- I don`t know that I can block the media from coming. It`s a public forum. Last year we represented a very prominent judge in Orange County who was up on charges, and the media was allowed in. I don`t care if the media comes or not.
What I would recommend the Anthony lawyers to do is to go try to get a protective order from the court barring that. The media can raise their objections. I could care less if the media is there or not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you have said that -- and you said this on Nancy Grace yesterday, and it made a lot of news, that they could basically solve this entire case by answering one question, by Casey Anthony answering one question.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Which question, and why is it so significant?
MORGAN: The question is -- remember Casey Anthony has never said there`s not a Zenaida Gonzalez. One time at our -- in the answer to our lawsuit, she said Zenaida Gonzalez had two children. Then she filed a protective motion and said Zenaida Gonzalez had no children.
We believe very firmly that we`re going to be able to prove the Zenaida Gonzalez she`s talking about is our client. But one question she can answer is...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is -- is -- wait, say that again. You`re saying -- you`re saying you were going to be able to prove what?
MORGAN: We`re going to be able to prove through discovery and through testimony that the Zenaida Gonzalez that she referred to was our client, Zenaida Gonzalez. She`s now saying, "Oh, it was another Zenaida Gonzalez."
But in our interrogatories to her, she can look at this picture, and she can simply say yes or no, is this the Zenaida Gonzalez that was your baby sitter, yes or no? And that would go a long way for us and for Ms. Gonzalez to put closure and perhaps put this whole thing behind her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, here`s what`s interesting. In the counter-claim that Casey has filed against your client, she says, quote, "The Zenaida Gonzalez that Miss Anthony is referring to drove a different car. She had a different name, and she had less children than the plaintiff has."
MORGAN: And -- and she said later -- two months later in her motion for -- not to have her deposition taken that the Zenaida Gonzalez she was talking about was 23 years old and had no children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Wendy Murphy, she`s -- she`s been pretty well-established as a pathological liar. Police say, authorities say there is no Zenaida Gonzalez at all. That is, a nanny who abducted the child. That is a fiction, according to the prosecutors.
MURPHY: But that doesn`t mean she didn`t implicate this woman and knew, perhaps, who she was and falsely pointed the finger at her. I understand why she`s trying to back out and not answer the question to put this whole thing to rest. She needs a "Plan B" suspect in her criminal trial. And if she admits it was all a big, fat lie, who is she going to blame? She blamed Zenaida Gonzalez. She wants to be able to say it was the baby sitter when she is facing her criminal charges. If she admits she made a lie, who`s she going to blame? Who`s her new Plan B suspect? She doesn`t have one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, if let`s say, they show up at this video deposition and the media is kept out, won`t it end up eventually, in discovery, being released? The tapes, won`t they be released through discovery to the public?
BROWN: Oh, yes. Like John said, John is right on the ball on this one. This is -- this is for the public. The public can go there. They can have the right to tape this.
And the only recourse is to file a protective order where the judge says they can`t be there. But if they show up there and there`s cameras there and they`re videotaping this or taping this whole deposition, it`s going to be out there for the public. Absolutely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Listen, we`re going to have to leave it there. John, Jeff, Wendy, Debbie, Leslie, the whole gang, thank you so much. We will have more on the Caylee Anthony case later in this program.
First, here`s a look at how important it is for this family and this community to finally get some closure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you doing that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In Louisville, Kentucky, a heart-wrenching 911 call from a terrified 5-year-old, allegedly left alone with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old siblings for 12 hours. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is 911. Do you have an emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I need my mama back. She`s not here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What address are you at?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you see a purple bike, when you see a purple bike, a purple bike in the yard, that`s my house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re home alone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re home alone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am with my sister and brother. We need our -- we need our mama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is that amazing? When officers arrived, they found the 1-year-old with a soiled diaper. Tonight, their 23-year-old mother faces three counts of wanton endangerment and three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.
Joining me again is victims` rights advocate and law professor Wendy Murphy. Wendy, the mom`s explanation, as reported in the media, is that she only left about a half an hour before and that she had a 14-year-old babysitter there who mysteriously walked out. Police are reportedly saying they can`t find that babysitter. Do you buy it?
MURPHY: It`s like she took a page from the playbook of Casey Anthony. Blame the non-existent babysitter/nanny. No, I don`t buy it. And, you know, she should be ashamed of herself. God bless that little girl. How sweet and smart is she. But thank God she was that smart.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what`s interesting, though, and what`s kind of heart-breaking, is that she is a hero. That little girl is so smart to do all of that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: To have the wherewithal to call 911 and then describe where she lived and the whole situation. And yet, she`s probably going to feel some irrational guilt, because as a result, she and her two siblings have been taken from the home and put into protective custody.
MURPHY: And you know, hopefully, her mother has enough of a conscience that she will make it clear to that child she did nothing wrong. Indeed, she should be proud of herself.
That mother, shame on her. You give birth to three kids. You take them with you if you need to go to the store. That`s the whole point of having little kids and being the parent. You bring them with you, even if it`s a pain in the butt.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, take a listen to what the mom had to say for herself when asked by reporters about her home-alone children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I left them. I ran right up to that building to get some Pampers and some butter to cook my kids something to eat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, as a prosecutor, how do you deal with that kind of explanation? Do you actually track down to see what she bought when, try to get surveillance video from the store?
MURPHY: You know what I`d do with that, Jane? I`d play that tape for the jury and say, "I rest my case." Because nobody cares whether she had to go and buy Tylenol or Pampers or anything else. Take the kids with you.
You leave a 5-year-old in charge of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old infant, that`s like leaving a dog in charge. She`s going to be guilty the minute she sits down in that chair and they hear that tape. I wouldn`t bother investigating this case any further.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, even if she had left her with a 14-year-old, I can`t imagine leaving a 14-year-old in charge of three young children.
MURPHY: Well, that`s a different question. Some 14-year-olds are probably capable. Some, not all. And it`s a judgment call. I can`t blame her if there was a 14-year-old, and I`d blame the 14-year-old if she really did leave them alone.
But for now, there doesn`t appear to be such a sinner. It`s the mother`s fault. Shame on her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, what`s interesting is the protective services agency where the child went says this is being seen more and more, and it seems to be increasing during our tough economic times, where parents are just -- they can`t afford to have a babysitter. I`m not saying that`s this case.
Thank you so much, Wendy.
And this is being called Swindler`s List now, according to "The New York Post." You won`t believe the big names on the list of Bernie Madoff`s victims. Don`t go anywhere.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s just one simple question, but it could change everything. All Casey Anthony has to say is whether or not she`s seen this woman before. Zenaida Gonzales is the name Casey gave police of the last person she left Caylee with, but does the name match this face? A simple question with major repercussions. I`ll explain.
And honing in on Olivia Newton-John`s ex-boyfriend who`s has been missing for four years. That`s what investigators say they`re doing, but why did he go AWOL in the first place?
"ISSUES" continues now.
We`ll have the latest shocking developments on the search for Olivia Newton-John`s ex in just a bit but first, we are back talking about all the latest developments in the Caylee Anthony murder case. Still with me: Debbie Magids, a psychologist and very patient psychologist at that and Wendy Murphy, a law professor and former prosecutor.
The phone lines lighting up. Beverly in Massachusetts, also very patient what is your question or thought, ma`am?
BEVERLY OF MASSACHUSETTS: Hi, Jane?
BEVERLY: Yes. Am I on?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you are.
BEVERLY: Hi Jane, I`m calling with a comment and a question.
BEVERLY: I`m a mother. And I know that if I sit any one of my children down and look in their eyes, I know my children better than I know myself. I`m going to get an insight. And if I don`t see my grandchild for one month, I want Zanny the nanny`s picture, I want her address, and I`m going to camp out at her house with the police until I see my granddaughter.
I hate to say it, I think the mother knew she did it, she panicked, and when she panicked she went and called all these people for help. The mother knows more than what`s going on -- Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you say? I`m going to throw that one out to the psychologist.
DEBBIE MAGIDS, PSHCHOLOGIST: Yes, and I don`t disagree that maybe the mother knows and the father knows, but being a parent as you are, you`re well aware that when it`s your child, it`s really, really hard to want to see anything happen to them.
And the instinct comes in to protect your child. And I think that`s what happened to this mother you know. She knows that something went wrong with the granddaughter and she`s pretty sure Casey did it, but Casey is her daughter. So the protective mechanism jumps right it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say that Cindy Anthony has said very clearly and for the record that she thinks her daughter is innocent. So I just want to set that record straight. Because we may insinuate a lot of thoughts into her head, but she`s speaking for herself, and that`s what she`s saying.
So we`ll just leave it at that in that sense.
Rose from Pennsylvania, your question or thought, ma`am.
ROSE FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hi. I just want to say that I believe that the reason George Anthony attempted suicide is because deep in his heart of hearts, he not only believes that his daughter is capable of but did, in fact, kill his granddaughter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go back to our psychologist, Debbie.
I understand what you`re saying. I mean, everybody -- a lot of people have said that this family is in denial, but isn`t that totally to be expected? Every single defendant, their parents are always there at their side saying that they`re innocent.
Why is everybody making such a case that these particular parents are standing by their daughter, who is also a defendant?
MAGIDS: Well, because I think this case has entered all of our hearts, and a two-year-old child was killed, and everyone is up in arms about that. And when it comes to something like this, I understand it, but you do have to understand the flip side that a parent will protect a child no matter what.
And so it could be very strong denial; that happens. And people don`t believe it, but they could be in very strong denial and really not believe it. But more likely than not, they know it and they`re going to protect their daughter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to go to Wendy Murphy for a tough question. This one might stump you, I don`t know.
There is a mystery motion that Casey Anthony`s civil attorney says he is going to spring on us sometime this week or perhaps -- yes, by the end of this week. Obviously it has to probably concern the Zenaida Gonzales case because that`s why she has a civil attorney, I believe. Any guesses as to what this mystery motion is?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know I`ve been racking my brain Jane, I don`t know. I know that when there`s a criminal case going -- because I`ve been a prosecutor in a criminal case -- When somebody has also filed a civil lawsuit, there`s usually some strategic reason behind it.
And they can often interfere with each other in ways that both sides don`t like. The criminal case wants the civil case to go away. The civil people want the criminal case to leave them alone. But sometimes they actually work in concert.
What I`m thinking is that if he`s going to file something, it`s going to be a motion to have some affect on or is related in some way to the criminal case.
So I`m looking forward to this because it`s going to give us some insight about what`s really going on in this civil case. Is it as simple as a defamation lawsuit or is there some pressure going on through the Zenaida Gonzales lawsuit to try to squeeze Casey to give more evidence.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we only have about 20 seconds. But how is it that Casey`s side could essentially say you can`t do this civil suit? Zenaida, you can`t sue me before my criminal case, but yet Casey has filed a counter suit against Zenaida.
MURPHY: Well, she has to do both things. But you know what, Jane, it`s not unusual that the criminal case takes precedence. It`s a more important case to some extent. So sometimes they -- the criminal judge will say to the civil judge, put that on hold until we`re done. We`ll see whether that happens.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Wendy and Debbie, thank you so much for your excellent insights. And come back soon.
Don`t forget, Nancy Grace is up at 8:00 p.m. eastern. She will have the latest shockers in the Caylee Anthony case. Do not miss it.
Now, I want to turn to another story. Just as high-profile, but one that could have a very different ending. Patrick McDermott, the former boyfriend of Australian singer-actress star Olivia Newton-John mysteriously went missing four years ago after a fishing trip off the California coast.
His actress-girlfriend was devastated, presuming him dead, but suspicions surrounding his disappearance has cropped up. In fact, it cropped up immediately. Some suspected he faked his own death to avoid his mounting financial problems and to cash in on a $100,000 life insurance policy.
Investigators had not let up on this case, and now they believe they may be very close, closer than ever, to finding him.
With me now is a top investigator on this case, Philip Klein, private eye and CEO of Klein Investigations.
Philip thank you for joining me.
PHILIP KLEIN, KLEIN INVESTIGATIONS CEO: Hi great to be here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand you`ve gotten this cluster of possible sightings in Mexico. What are you doing to determine if it really is Patrick McDermott and if so, how do you plan to catch him?
KLEIN: Well, taking a step back, when we first got involved in this case, Dateline NBC hired us to go down and review the case out of San Pedro, California. We did such. We went through about 560 hours of investigation time, reviewing and counter-reviewing and doing psychological and personal backgrounds on Patrick McDermott. And we came to the determination after we had gone through all the evidence that, in fact, he did walk off the boat.
After that, we set up what we call a spider site, a website, and leaked it to certain persons that were close to Patrick to see if we could get a reaction from them or how they would react.
Within 96 hours, we started to get hits on the Website from down in Mexico. That peaked our interest, we flew down there, we came up dry the first time. We continued with the strategy and then lo and behold, they started coming up in the Mexican Riviera between Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.
We set another crew down there and then we started getting positive sightings of him. In fact those sightings were so positive that people were sure that they had seen him less than 96 hours before our arrival.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how easy -- I mean, it can`t be very easy to hide in Puerto Vallarta, I`ve vacationed there. It`s a tourist spot, it`s filled with American tourists and many of whom probably have seen this story. We`ve covered it extensively over the years.
KLEIN: Exactly. And what he was doing is we believe his motive of funding himself, his mode of transportation is that he`s working on a yacht or possibly a private cruise line. And where he`s been sighted the most is in small towns and one of them is Sayulita, Mexico, which is what we call an American drop-out town.
Guys like me go hunt people down there all the time. This is an area where Americans go down to drop out of society; that have either financial problems or problems with law enforcement. And he was sighted there.
We have 17 witnesses that saw him. And these witnesses aren`t just people that look at it and go, yes, I think I know him. These are people that go, yes, I know him. He was there --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s got a very distinctive look. He`s a good- looking guy. He`s got a mane of gray hair. He`s going to stand out in a crowd in Mexico I would think. So it`s amazing that he hasn`t been picked up yet.
KLEIN: Well --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me ask you this question. What was so fishy about the fishing trip? He went on this fishing trip, and he apparently, initially everybody thought he went overboard, but then upon investigation, everybody became very cynical about that.
KLEIN: Well, I`ll tell you, the whole key to this case was obtaining the Coast Guard and the LAPD investigation. And going back through and step by step going to hear investigations --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What -- what did he do? I mean, people do fall overboard. Why did you think he didn`t fall overboard?
KLEIN: Well, why don`t we think he fell overboard? Well first, we have a witness that said they saw him less than a minute before the boat docked. He paid his bill on the vessel and most importantly is the psychological and personal background we did on him.
During that time, we found very clearly that he had not paid his rent at his house for two months. He had not paid his car loan for two months. However -- and all of his bills for two months.
However, he did have enough money to go out on "The Freedom" eight times in those two months. That sounds like to me he was casing the boat to see how he could he slipped off it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is it a crime to just fall off the face of the earth? I mean, if somebody who`s just decides I`m dropping out, I want to go away, is that a crime?
KLEIN: That is a great question. And let me tell you. The answer is plainly no. But I will tell you this in my next breath. There is a $100,000 insurance policy out there, and in my next breath after that, after that I will tell you that somebody has made an inquiry and then, of course, we want to ask Patrick this question. Who has been paying the premiums up to date because the premiums have been paid up to date?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And I think it`s important -- we`ve got to wrap it up there -- it`s important to say that Olivia Newton-John has remarried. What I had heard is that she was actually not actually dating him at the time he disappeared. She had dated him previously. They had kind of transitioned to friendship.
KLEIN: Well, he broke up with her 24 hours before he disappeared. He brought her some flowers and a funny card, and he broke up with her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, listen, we`re going to have to leave it right there. Anyway, she`s remarried and she`s moved on, although she has a lot of compassion for the situation.
Thank you, Philip.
Coming up, I have Bernie Madoff`s list, and you will not believe some of the famous names showing up on this list.
Plus, what do you think of all the finger-pointing over the Madoff scandal on Capitol Hill? You won`t believe the screaming and yelling on the hill. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297 to sound off.
But first, here`s the investigator who reported Madoff to authorities nine years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRY MARKOPOLOS, FINANCIAL FRAUD INVESTIGATOR: I gift-wrapped and delivered the largest Ponzi scheme in history to them and somehow, they couldn`t be bothered to conduct a thorough and proper investigation because they were too busy on matters of higher priority.
If a $50 billion Ponzi scheme doesn`t make the SEC it`s priority --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The list of Bernie Madoff`s victims has finally been released. You won`t believe some of the big names on what the "New York Post" calls "Swindler`s List."
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
We are following a very bizarre and violent story out of Arkansas. This is something straight out of the godfather.
A prominent doctor remains in critical condition after a car bomb detonated in his driveway yesterday. Dr. Trent Pierce, chairman of the Arkansas State Medical Board was on his way to work when a bomb in his Lexus exploded. He lost one eye in the explosion and suffered severe facial burns and shrapnel wounds.
At this point, federal investigators aren`t even sure if Pierce was the intended target of the bombing. Local cops have no leads, no suspect, no motive.
Pierce is a co-defendant in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a nursing home accused of abuse and neglect. Otherwise, the board attorney knew of no disputes Pierce was involved in.
More than 13,000 names on a list that runs 162 pages; that is the customer list of people potentially ripped off to the tune of billions of dollars by Bernie Madoff. Now that list is public, released in bankruptcy court filings. It reads like a veritable who`s-who of celebrities.
Names like Sandy Koufax and John Malkovich. Whether they are that Sandy Koufax and that John Malkovich is yet to be confirmed. But you know, when you`re dealing with losses in the billions, it seems like a pretty reasonable assumption.
Failure to stop those losses was the topic on Capitol Hill yesterday as the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, got a severe tongue- lashing for their failure to stop this fraud. The whistle-blower ignored by the SEC and the Congressmen blew their stacks at the regulators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARKOPOLOS: If you flew the SEC staff to Boston, sat them in Fenway Park for an afternoon, they would not be able to find first base.
REP. GARY ACKERMAN, (D) NEW YORK: We thought the enemy was Mr. Madoff. I think it`s you. You have totally and thoroughly failed in your mission. Don`t you get it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t you get it? I love that.
Today we learn ignored tipster Harry Markopolos is about to reveal another Ponzi scheme as soon as tomorrow. Hopefully those bureaucrats do get it the next time around.
I`m joined by Ali Velshi, CNN`s senior business correspondent and author of "Gimme my Money Back." I`m sure all these people on that list are shouting are shouting that tonight. As well as Jordan Belfort, author of the "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Ali, I want to start with this list, this curious list. I mean, how come Steven Spielberg and Kevin Bacon aren`t on it when they were supposedly victims but Bernie Madoff himself is on it a couple of times.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right. And his wife and his lawyer who says he was never a client. Kyra Sedgwick who we think might have been affected isn`t on it.
We`re not sure exactly what this list is, whether they are customers or victims. We`ve, of course, put in calls to the trustee. We haven`t had confirmation, especially as you said that some of those names that on there and we think we know about -- Sandy Koufax and John Malkovich.
But this whole thing just remains a big puzzlement. But the bottom line is we know there were some very big investors, some major institutions investing. There were some very small investors. There were people who invested their life savings, which might have been very small amounts of money from somebody else who invested with Madoff.
So, a massive, massive list as you said -- it`s 167 pages long. We`re poring through it and trying to get confirmation as to what these names on this list are all about.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen to how fired up some members of Congress were yesterday. You`ve got to hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ACKERMAN: One guy with a few friends and helpers discovered this thing nearly a decade ago, led you to this pile of dung that is -- that is Bernie Madoff and stuck your nose in it, and you couldn`t figure it out. You couldn`t find your back side with two hands if the lights were on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy, Jordan. This is the financial equivalent really of Katrina.
Is part of the problem that political hacks were given positions that should have gone to sophisticated financial experts? Of course, that was a pattern during the Bush administration.
JORDAN BELFORT, AUTHOR, "WOLF OF WALL STREET": One of the problems of the SEC, there are way too many lawyers and not enough investigators. You have people that once something is uncovered and someone does the leg work, they can bring a case to court per se, but they don`t have people actually investigating these cases.
They don`t have the sophistication, the background and the turnover is staggering. People that go into the SEC, they leave in a couple of years and new people come in have to be brought to speed, have to be trained.
So when this guy, brought all this information and put it on the lap of the SEC, they looked at it like, huh? You know, we can`t see it. What`s wrong with that? They`d rather go to a simpler case that they can prove easily versus having to sift through all these complex instruments and try to figure out what`s what.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, people are furious about this.
The phone lines are really lighting up on this one. Marvella, Ohio, your question or thought, ma`am?
MARVELLA FROM OHIO: Hi, Jane. I`m wondering if there`s any possibility that he would still go to jail before the trial? It seems it`s not right for him to be staying in that fancy penthouse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. And, Ali --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- didn`t Markopolos say that he feared for his life if Madoff found out that he was investigating this?
VELSHI: Yes. He said the connections and the types of people who are invested with Bernie Madoff ran very deep and that he was, he would receive threats. He`s talking about Markopolos now, this is the whistle-blower.
But the bottom line is Bernie Madoff is allegedly involved with -- through his investments -- some folks who might be very, very angry now that their money is not there. If I were Bernie Madoff I might want to have been in jail and the protection of the law.
And to your question about whether it`s possible he could be in jail, I suppose it`s possible, but we`re all a little mystified by the fact that a judge keeps him out of jail. You know, there`s some talk that they`re trying to get him to lead investigators to more information, but ultimately, it`s a little surprising. It does seem to be a double standard sometimes in the justice system.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It sure does. And I`m going to just give you some facts here and we can talk about them on the other side of the break.
A "New York Times" article quoted a source as saying Madoff spent one- third of his time in Washington, D.C. in the early 1990s and was very involved with the regulators who used him as a sounding board. Stay right there. More on the fallout from this crazy scam in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARKOPOLOS: I want to make this perfectly clear to all those Russian mobsters and Latin American drug cartels out well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re talking directly to them.
MARKOPOLOS: I was acting on your behalf trying to stop him from zeroing out your account. I`m the good guy here. Make that clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Harry Markopolos, the guy who became the whistle-blower who was totally ignored when he tried to tell the SEC years ago about the Madoff scam.
Jordan Belfort, mob money involved in all of this? That is pretty astounding.
BELFORT: I`m sure there`s some mob money involved in it. But you know, Bernie`s clients came from everywhere. These feeder funds, the reach of them is global. Money came in, I`m sure from Russia, from probably the Middle East. From rich people, poor people, this guy spared nobody and he doesn`t seem to have remorse about it at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not at all.
BELFORT: You see him walking around, he`s glib walking back to his house and he has that look on his face. Some people I see ask why is he not in jail right now. And this guy should be in jail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, he should be.
BELFORT: It`s insane. And the fact that he`s cooperating he`ll cooperate more if he`s in jail. They can make his life --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, he will.
BELFORT: I know a person that can make his life so miserable there, ok, he`ll cooperate.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know. It`s such a joke. It`s such a sad joke.
LouAnn, Canada, question or thought, ma`am.
LOUANN, FROM CANADA: I have a question actually, Jane. The question is very simple. When you have that kind of money that you want to invest to make more money, would you personally not investigate this fellow or a company?
VELSHI: Louann, what a great question because I have people who have virtually no money to invest who e-mail me or they call my radio show or they call up when I`m on TV. You would think that the more money you have the greater your sophistication about this thing. And it`s the same piece of advice to protect yourself against this in the future. Just don`t over- invest with one person so that you`re not losing your life savings, diversify, but ultimately do the due diligence.
People thought that it was such a privilege to be invited to invest with Bernie Madoff. And unfortunately they didn`t do as much work as they could.
Now there are a lot of victims, by the way, Jane, who went through those feeder funds. They had no idea they were investing with Bernie Madoff. But please do your due diligence and find out who exactly is investing your money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It wasn`t just mom and pop people who didn`t do their due diligence; there were huge investment funds.
VELSHI: Corporations, pensions, all sorts of people.
BELFORT: You know, there`s also -- there is also another issue here that some of these people, there were rumors floating around that Bernie was making his money front running. And there were these things that were going on --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well you know what? Guess what? We`re going to have to cut it off because that`s a whole can of worms. But I would love to have both of you gentlemen back real soon. This story is not going anywhere. You know that and I do, too.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you are watching "ISSUES" on HLN.