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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Casey`s Prosecutor Accused of Coercing Witness; Police Search for Girl, 5, in Florida
Aired February 11, 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): As praise pours in for the Caylee memorial that grandmother Cindy organized, a major new scandal breaks, involving one of the prosecutors in the case against Casey Anthony.
A former witness in a 13-year-old murder trial claims that prosecutor coerced her into falsely identifying a man who was later sentenced to life in prison. The prosecutor says she`s lying. But how could this new shocker impact the prosecution of Casey Anthony?
Also, bounty hunter Leonard Padilla, who once bailed Casey out of jail and yesterday held his own alternate service for little Caylee, now at the center of another storm. He`s being dragged into the civil case against Casey.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Give us a call.
Then, only 70 miles away from where Caylee`s remains were found, the desperate search for another missing girl continues. Now the 5-year-old`s disappearance is officially being called an abduction. Her hysterical parents beg for her return.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I want is my baby home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll bring you the very latest on the search efforts.
Plus, bank biggies on the bill defend their spending today. But as these big-shot CEOs explain their use of bailout funds, a former Manhattan madam says she knows exactly where some bank bosses are spending their bucks, and it`s not the sort of stimulus plan the president had in mind. We`ll have all the details.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stunning developments in the Caylee Anthony murder case. After the solace of little Caylee`s memorial, new storms are brewing tonight.
Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla is being criticized for holding an alternate memorial for little Caylee. Tonight, he`s also being dragged into the civil suit against Casey Anthony filed by Zenaida Gonzales. Padilla will now have to answer questions under oath. So will the Anthonys` two private investigators.
How will this new side show impact Casey`s upcoming criminal trial?
Meantime, CNN affiliate WKMG reports that a prosecutor in Casey`s criminal case, Jeff Ashton, is accused of coercing a false identification in a 13-year-old murder trial. The judge has been asked to toss the sentence and order a new trial. The only eyewitness is now claiming her story was forced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAZZIE JACKSON PAULDO, ACCUSES PROSECUTOR OF COERCION: They knew I wasn`t sure, but it was like, they ain`t going to win with the police officers in the state of Florida. So I did what they wanted me to do. And that was pick him out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutor Ashton says not true. He tells an Orlando news station that the eyewitness is lying.
We reached out to the state attorney`s office, and they sent us this statement. Quote, "Should any legitimate legal claims be made regarding our office, they will only be discussed in the courtroom where appropriate." But is this an opening for the defense?
And could the Casey Anthony murder trial be taking on the hallmarks of the infamous O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson trials? Let`s ask my expert panel. Rick Robinson, former West Virginia state trooper. There you are. Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney; and former prosecutor Brian Russell, forensic psychologist; and attorney Jason Friedman, former prosecutor; and Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter.
Leslie, you`ve been digging deep into this accusation of coercion against Casey Anthony prosecutor Jeff Ashton. What have you found out?
LESLIE SNADOWSKY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, an Orlando TV news station has reported that the state prosecutor could be in a lot of hot water.
Now, let me take you back to 1996. There was a murder in Orlando where Benjamin Smith was accused and convicted of killing a teenager. He`s now serving a life sentence.
But the witness, the key witness who fingered him, not once but twice in two separate lineups, is now changing her tune. She`s saying that she`s not so sure Smith was the guy and the reason why she chose him, because she was coerced and pressured by not only an Orlando detective but by state prosecutor Jeffrey Ashton, who`s working on the case, the Anthony case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, we`ve got more on that. The woman who accused police and this prosecutor, who is now on the Casey Anthony case, of coercion said this in court last week. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULDO: I was under the instructions of the state attorney and Detective Glenn Gloss (ph). So when I...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, without necessarily saying that at this point, we`re not...
PAULDO: Well, that`s the reason I did it. I did what I was told.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So this 13-year-old murder conviction, which resulted in a life sentence for the man she incriminated, is now being challenged. The key eyewitness says, as we`ve been saying, she was coerced by the state`s prosecutor, Jeff Ashton.
Ashton is on the prosecution team in the Casey Anthony case. Very important to point out Ashton says this woman is lying. However, can and will the defense use this -- and I put that question to Paul Callan. Keep in mind it was just last month that Casey Anthony`s attorney, Jose Baez, asked the judge to recuse the whole prosecution team, and the judge said, "No way, Jose."
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Jane, it never looks good for a prosecutor`s integrity to be challenged. I mean, when prosecutors go into court, they like to be the white knight who is seeking justice. So this -- this hurts his public image.
But it only hurts his public image if there`s any truth to this allegation, and I`ve got my doubts. I mean, it`s 13 years later. She was subject to cross examination at preliminary hearings and in other proceedings. And why now, all of a sudden, 13 years later, is she coming forward with this story? I think there`s a lot more of this that has to be investigated before I`m willing to accept the truth of these claims.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, as soon as I heard -- go ahead.
RICK ROBINSON, FORMER WEST VIRGINIA STATE TROOPER: Let me jump in, Jane, if I can. Paul, you have restored by confidence in defense attorneys. I don`t think I`ve ever seen a defense attorney -- well, I know you`re under no obligation to tell the truth or to seek the truth, but to be so obvious about it and so honest about it. Thank you very much.
CALLAN: Well, you see, what you don`t know is that I was a prosecutor for many, many years. So maybe that`s where I got the good genes, you know?
ROBINSON: I like it. I like it, Paul. I like it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to say when I heard this, I thought of two words: O.J. and Jackson. All of the hoopla and constantly-emerging side shows that surround the Casey Anthony murder case have the hallmarks of these other high-profile cases.
Remember the O.J. trial of the century? Detective Mark Fuhrman was grilled about his previous use of the "N" word. He and other detectives were accused of planting evident, even though there was never any proof of tampering. Simpson was acquitted.
And then, remember the case of D.A. Tom Sneddon taking on Michael Jackson? He was accused of having a vendetta against Jackson. Songs were even writing maligning this D.A., Tom Sneddon.
I have to ask you, Jason Friedman. You`re a former prosecutor. Is this par for the course that this issue with this particular prosecution -- this prosecutor is going to be used by the defense in the Casey Anthony case, given that that is a high-profile trial that some are calling the new trial of the century?
JASON FRIEDMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I don`t think it`s going to bear directly on this particular trial. What it might do is taint a possible jury pool in getting fair and impartial jurors for this particular case.
But ultimately, the remedy for these allegations are back in court. If this person is wrongly convicted on a bad I.D., he has his remedy, and he`s having hearings for that right now. I don`t see how it has a bearing directly in the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: None of this is -- is hilarious, but it is kind of ironic, Brian Russell, that we have been hearing so much about the tainted jury pool basically being unfair to Casey Anthony. Now we`re hearing a possibility that the jury pool could be tainted in the other direction and be unfair to the prosecution team.
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. You know what, Jane? You couldn`t find an experienced prosecutor who didn`t have some complaints and allegations exactly like this in their career. And so if you had to have a prosecutor who was free from that, you`d have to get somebody who started last week. You couldn`t find anybody to prosecute the case. So I agree with the other panelists that this is not going to be a big issue.
FRIEDMAN: Jane, could I just jump in on one point?
FRIEDMAN: Because I`ve got...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can all jump in whenever you want.
FRIEDMAN: You`ve got a great memory for the O.J. Simpson case and the Mark Fuhrman controversy. Fuhrman was, of course, criticized and his integrity was attacked. But there`s a key difference. Fuhrman was a witness in the O.J. Simpson case. He was the key investigating detective. His testimony at the trial was critical.
In this case, this is just a prosecutor. You know, there -- you can change seats for prosecutors. The evidence, however, is very, very different. So I don`t think this is going to have a long-term impact on the Casey Anthony case. I think it`s very different from the O.J. Simpson case.
RUSSELL: I agree.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... if you think back on the O.J. Simpson case, as well, Marcia Clark and all of the controversy, the focus on her, Brian Russell, I mean, they were even talking about her hairstyle. Imagine standing up in a courtroom and having to argue the most-watched case in history in the history of jurisprudence and have the entire world talking about your hairstyle. I mean, isn`t that depressing?
FRIEDMAN: That`s never been a problem for me, Jane. But...
RUSSELL: Well, one of the uphill battles that defense attorneys have is that prosecutors do sort of come into the courtroom sort of cloaked with believability. To a lot of jurors, they do kind of -- it`s hard for them to shake the presumption that, where there`s a smoke, there`s a fire; and where somebody is arrested and accused of something, there`s something wrong with their behavior.
So to the extent that maybe this offsets that a little bit, it might be helpful to the defense, but I really think it`s a non-factor, especially given how long...
What you always -- what you always think about is was she lying then or is she lying now? The judge is going to look at it that way. What is the motivation? I`m just wondering, has somebody gotten to this witness? We`re talking about a murder that happened 14 years ago and then he was convicted 11 years ago. Has somebody gotten to her to make her say these things? She`s afraid.
We have to say that we have no independent knowledge of that at all. And this -- all of this is coming from a local station down there reporting all of this.
Leslie, thank you so much. Everybody else, stay right there. More controversies for you.
Don`t forget: Nancy Grace will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case. She`s up immediately following this program at 8 p.m. Eastern.
And, of course, here on ISSUES, we will have more on the Caylee Anthony, case as well.
Plus, we`ll have an update on the disappearance of another little Florida girl, 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. An Amber Alert issued and the investigation being treated now as an abduction. I will be taking your calls. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
First, the desperate 911 call placed by Haleigh`s father, Ron.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH: I just got home from work. My 5- year-old daughter is gone. I need somebody to be here now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen to me. Listen to me. We`ve got two officers...
CUMMINGS: If I find whoever has my daughter before y`all do, I`m killing them. I don`t care if I spend the rest of my life in prison. I`m telling you, you can put it on the report (ph). I don`t care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s OK, sir. We`ve got them on the way. OK. an you give me any -- what kind of description of her? What was she wearing?
CUMMINGS: (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sir. They`re coming, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: I know somebody took my little girl. Some sorry piece of trash that will be wasted when it`s all over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A full-blown investigation under way in the small town of Satsuma, Florida. Tonight, less than 90 miles away from Orlando where little Caylee once lived, another frantic search is under way for a missing child.
Authorities say 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings was snatched from her home on Monday night. Haleigh was last seen by her father`s 17-year-old girlfriend who put the adorable little girl to bed at 10 at night. It wasn`t until after 3 in the morning that this teenage woman discovered Haleigh was missing. She immediately called 911.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just discovered my back door is open, and I can`t find my daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma`am...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was in pajamas. We were sleeping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right. You said your back door was wide open?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. [ inaudible ] when I was asleep, it was not like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. The back door -- listen to me. Your back door was wide open. What are you talking about a brick?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the brick?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s on the back door, on the stairs. Like it has a walkway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-huh. And there was a brick laying there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It`s still there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just hours ago, the Putnam County Florida Sheriff`s Department defined this case in no uncertain terms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are treating this like an abduction. We`ve had several questions about that. All of the world is a suspect. We are going to treat everybody, every family member, every associate, every neighbor, like a suspect until we can eliminate them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A warning to one and all.
We have so much to discuss, and I want to hear from you. The number, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
And of course, if you have any information at all, anything about Haleigh, please call immediately the Putnam County Sheriff`s Department. We will be giving you the number over and over again.
I am back with my panel, and we are joined my Jennifer Bauer, a reporter with our affiliate WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida. And on the phone is Sheriff Jeff Hardy of Putnam County, Florida.
Sheriff, thank you for joining us tonight. I know you`re busy working furiously to solve this case. So I appreciate you taking the time. Please describe what this 17-year-old woman says happened in and around the time this little girl disappeared, because we`ve been hearing various conflicting stories.
SHERIFF JEFF HARDY, PUTNAM COUNTY, FLORIDA: Yes. And thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I apologize about a poor cell connection out here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s pretty good.
HARDY: OK. Well, we know just what you heard with the 911 tape. We`re right at over 40 hours now that we`ve been unable to locate this young lady. We did receive the 911 call at 3:27 a.m. Our deputies were here shortly thereafter.
A short time later, we went ahead and dispatched our major crimes unit. They came out. And then, after that, we initiated the child abduction response team, which resulted in over 130 law enforcement agencies across northeast Florida that descended on the area. And we immediately began our -- our search by air, by water, ground searches, and we`ve continued those efforts through today.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question, because a lot of us have expressed confusion. I`ve heard the story that this 17-year-old woman was asleep in bed with the little boy, who`s younger, and 5-year-old Haleigh. And that at some point in the night, it was discovered that this little girl was missing.
Since the mom was in the same bed, there`s two possibilities, I think. She got up to go to the bathroom, came back and found that the child was missing or she remained asleep while the child was taken. Which is it?
HARDY: Well, what we know is that at 10 o`clock was the last time that the girlfriend saw the child. Approximately 3 a.m., she woke up to use the bathroom, discovered the child missing, and then she observed that the back door of the residence was ajar. It was open. And the child was gone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, did she discover the child was missing before she went to the bathroom or after she came back from the bathroom?
HARDY: That`s not known at this time, whether it was before or after, but it was within a matter of minutes of her getting up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because the thing that occurs to everyone is how do you come into a house -- and I understand it`s like a double-wide trailer - - and take a child out of the bed without waking anybody else when there`s two other individuals in the bed, without disturbing their sleep?
And yet, if she were to go to the bathroom and come back from the bathroom, it would be an odd coincidence that that abduction was timed precisely at the moment that she went to the bathroom.
HARDY: That`s a very good question, and that`s something that we are looking into in detail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you say that the -- that no one has been eliminated. What are you doing to try to conduct that process of elimination?
HARDY: Well, actually, we`ve actually got the FBI and -- they just sent a special team down from D.C. They were on the ground with us this morning. We`ve been conducting polygraphs with family members. I will let you know that everybody has been cooperative, just so you know.
And -- and that`s the phase we`re in now. We`re interviewing family members. We`re doing polygraphs. The results of those are not available right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Were there -- were there any inconsistencies between the 911 call and the stories that you were told when you arrived?
HARDY: Well, you know, we have some of the same questions you and your viewers will. You know, there are some inconsistencies here, but those are thoroughly going -- we`re looking at everything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
HARDY: So, you know, a matter of how upset this 17-year-old was. The father obviously is extremely upset. So, you know, we`ve got a -- we`ve got a bad situation here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sheriff, I want to thank you for taking the time. And I wish you the best of luck. And let`s hope if anybody is watching out there and knows anything, they contact you immediately. Thank you, sir.
Jennifer Bauer, you`re a reporter on the scene. What is this search looking like from the ground? Because I understand it is intense. And ironically, it`s only about 70 miles away from where all the searches were conducted for little Caylee Anthony.
JENNIFER BAUER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It`s huge tonight. And you know, it`s ironic that a lot of those people from central Florida that were helping in the Caylee Anthony investigation are now here. Volusia County, Flagler County, Marion County from central Florida have all come up here now to northeast Florida to offer their services and support.
As you just heard the sheriff say, they are continuing to investigate. I can tell you, you know, after 7 p.m. here at night, it is not quiet. The command center is behind me. There are investigators coming and going throughout the day. And they`re giving us little bits of information as, of course, they learn it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We only have a couple of seconds. What about the biological mother?
BAUER: We were able to talk to the biological mother today for the first time. Her name is Crystal Sheffield. She does not have custody of Haleigh. In fact, the father, Ron Cummings, has custody of the little girl in the home where we think she was taken from.
The mother lives near the Florida/Georgia border, probably about an hour, an hour and a half from here. She has visitation. She talked to us a little bit. It seems like her and Haleigh`s father have a good relationship. Don`t have a lot of information about whether they were married or not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Jennifer, we`ve got to leave it right there. But you`re doing a great job. I hope you come back and update us.
All right. Much more to cover in the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings. And we will stay on top of this case. We promise you, we won`t let it go. We have to find this little child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD, HALEIGH CUMMINGS` BIOLOGICAL MOTHER: I just want my baby home. Whoever has got her, I just want them to bring her back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was little Haleigh`s biological mother. When the child disappeared, she was with the biological father`s girlfriend. There you have the information on the Amber Alert. The phone lines are lighting up.
Sheba, Illinois, question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. My question is since this Casey Anthony thing is going on, if they`re going to try to connect little Haleigh with any of this like Zanny the nanny or...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, fascinating. Paul Callan, thoughts?
CALLAN: You know, except for the fact that they`re both in Florida, I really doubt it. It would be so bizarre if there was a connection between the two cases. But, you know, the names sound alike and everything. So I can understand why the listener would say that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, they`re two young children. They`re both very beautiful. They`re both blondish. And the location is just 70 miles` distance. Obviously, there`s a big time span, but it`s a very interesting question. Good point.
Danielle in Illinois, question, ma`am?
CALLER: I was just wondering what is going on with all of the missing children in Florida?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, thank you for that. And I have to say, Jennifer Bauer, obviously there`s nothing about Florida. I love Florida. I actually worked in Ft. Myers for a number of years, and it`s one of my favorite places on the planet. But there does seem to be a lot of these cases popping up. We had the Jessica Lunsford case. We had the Carlie Brucia case. These are horrible tragedies.
BAUER: It`s frustrating, isn`t it? I mean, it`s horrible tragedies that we keep covering year after year after year.
I don`t know what to say. I don`t think people in Florida are more prone to let their children going missing. I know we`re a very populated state, so obviously, your chances of having an incident like this are more likely.
But, you know, it`s frustrating for everybody. It`s frustrating for us. It`s frustrating for the police, and it`s especially frustrating for the parents and the people who live in these communities.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Let me ask Rick Robinson, the operator, the 911 operator told the girlfriend, "Do not touch the door." Because she said there was a door ajar. What do you make of that? Why?
ROBINSON: Well, there`s a number of things. The sheriff, of course, is going to get his CSI guys in there. He`s going to be looking for evidence.
And you know, our hearts go out to these people. I almost hope it really is an abduction so maybe the guy will let her go. But there`s so many -- there`s the inconsistency of -- how many 17-year-olds wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? I`m 57. I wake up in the middle of the night, but that`s just not common.
And she waited by -- just what the sheriff said, 27 minutes before calling the police. That`s just -- that just doesn`t seem like something someone would do. But there are 44 sex offenders, registered sex offenders right in that immediate area. So these guys have got their hands full.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to give Brian Russell the final word. Because certainly, it`s -- this woman has not been charged with anything. She`s not a suspect. And we have to give her the presumption, obviously, that she was just doing the right thing, calling 911. I mean, when something like this happens, people don`t always act rationally.
ROBINSON: Yes. First I`m looking at the family and if I rule out the family -- that`s the problem with the Casey Anthony case. It took so long to rule out the family, because Casey was so uncooperative. And it turns out that family member was ultimately charged.
So I`m looking first at the family. And, if I rule out everybody in the family, then I`m looking to those sex offenders. And as we`ve seen time and time and time again, I`m sure there were plenty around there who should not have been out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`re going to stay on top of this case. I want to thank you, fabulous panel. Great job, as always. Come back soon.
Coming up, I`m going to have more bizarre details about the mother who just gave birth to octuplets. Food stamps, collagen. Oh, my gosh. You will not believe it. Are you outraged? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A prosecutor in the Caylee Anthony murder case is accused of coercing a former witness into a false I.D. in a murder trial 13 years ago. The prosecutor says it`s all a lie. But could this jeopardize the prosecution`s case against Casey Anthony?
And octo-mom outrage mushrooms. Is she trying to imitate Angelina Jolie?
Also tonight, the doctor who performed the procedure that produced eight babies is reportedly under investigation. Suleman`s own dad reportedly begged the doctor not to do it. So who should be held responsible?
Give us a call. "ISSUES" continues now.
We are back analyzing the latest twists and turns in the Caylee Anthony murder case. A prosecutor accused of coercing a false identification in a 13-year-old murder trial and he says it`s a lie.
And more analysis with my expert panel: Jason Friedman, former prosecutor and Paul Kallen, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.
And I also want to talk about the other big news of the day. Of course, Zenaida Gonzales is suing Casey Anthony, saying that Casey Anthony ruined her life when she said Zenaida Gonzalez abducted her child. Even though now, Casey Anthony says it wasn`t that Zenaida and they believe that she was referring to that Zenaida.
Now here is the twist. Here is the new news, Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter who had bailed out Casey Anthony at one point but who has since turned and says he believes that Casey Anthony is guilty of murdering her child he`s now been subpoenaed to testify under oath in the Zenaida Gonzales civil case.
Are you keeping up with me? What a can of worms.
My question to Paul Kallen is how could this civil case impact the criminal case? Let`s say bounty hunter Leonard Padilla sits down and starts saying the very things he said on camera over and over again, that she`s a liar and she did all sorts of incriminating things.
PALLEN KALLEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Wow, what a circus this whole thing has turned into. You know, it`s really amazing. And can the civil case affect the criminal case? Most definitely, yes in two ways.
First, if the civil case goes forward and there`s testimony under oath by witnesses, that stuff can be used in the criminal trial, and it might help or it might hurt the prosecution, depending upon what happens.
The second thing that can happen is the jury pool can be influenced because there is so much press coverage. Anything that happens in the civil case may affect the jury pool in the criminal case so one can definitely affect the other, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Casey Anthony`s attorney wants the civil case tossed out and has filed a motion to that effect. I`ve heard a lot of people saying well at least it should be postponed until after the criminal trial.
How does that happen, Jason Friedman? Can the judge in the criminal case say, this civil case needs to be postponed? Does he have that power?
JASON FRIEDMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: No, what you do is you make an application to the judge in the civil case to say, listen, this case needs to be stayed until the criminal case is resolved.
If you remember the O.J. Simpson case, the civil case didn`t get off the ground until the criminal case was over. And that`s typically the way it is. It`s really the criminal case should take priority over a civil case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now what -- go ahead.
KALLEN: And most judges will -- most judges will stall the civil case to let the criminal case run its course. After all, in a criminal case, somebody is going to jail. They`re just fighting about money in a civil case so it can wait.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, here`s another twist. We`ve only got a few seconds here. The two PI`s who work for the Anthony family in one way, shape or form, who videotaped the scene of the remains long before the remains were actually found, they have also been ordered to answer questions under oath in the civil case.
What do you think the attorney for Zenaida Gonzales wants to ask them? Remember, there was a whole controversy about why they happen to know to go to the scene of the remains long before the remains were found and videotape that area.
FRIEDMAN: Well, in my opinion, I think that what they want to do is to ask questions about how they got alerted to go to that scene. Obviously the civil attorney pressing this case has a different agenda than in the criminal case. He wants to prove that his client was wronged and is entitled to money as a result of the conduct of Casey Anthony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you both said it when you said it was a can of worms. It continues to be. It`s not going anywhere. Jason, Paul, thanks so much.
Obviously, we`re going to stay on top of the Caylee Anthony case.
And don`t forget Nancy Grace is up next at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest on the Caylee Anthony case.
Turning now to crimes of a less literal sort, the fat cats of Wall Street hauled before Congress today to defend their use of $176 billion in bank bailout money, taxpayer money, our money. The CEOs of eight major U.S. banks blasted by Capitol Hill lawmakers earlier today; they were slammed with criticisms over their use of bailout funds and their conduct throughout this financial crisis. One bigwig said he`s learned his lesson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIKRAM PANDIT, CEO, CITIGROUP: I would also like to say something about the airplane that was in the news. We did not adjust quickly enough to this new world. And I take personal responsibility for that mistake. In the end, I canceled delivery.
We need to do a better job of acknowledging and embracing the new realities. Let me be clear with the committee, I get the new reality, and I will make sure Citi gets it as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So is the decadence finally over? One woman says, maybe we wouldn`t be in this mess if Wall Street didn`t give in to excess; excess like using corporate credit cards on high-end prostitutes. Yes, Madam Kristin Davis who counted CEOs, bankers and others as her clients, busted last year, but she is now speaking out.
And we`re delighted to say that she`s here with us tonight.
Kristin, old habits die hard. I guess my first question to you should taxpayers check the receipts on all this bailout money to find out how it was used?
MADAM KRISTIN DAVIS: It might be a good idea. I mean, you know, they should really monitor where their funds are going a little bit better.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you about how this all played out. I was reading the details of what you allege -- you say you`ve got this list of names. The masters of the universe, the big bankers on Wall Street, and they actually use their corporate credit cards, according to you, and hired prostitutes, some of them even using tens of thousand of dollars racking up those bills, having sex with prostitutes, and then you typed out receipts that said it was all consulting work and all sorts of other things, including construction?
Tell us about this.
DAVIS: Well, I mean, I did what the clients directed me to do. You know, whatever would get past their accountants is how they wanted to bill it. You know, I ran a -- a very large, profitable business, and some of these guys were spending, you know, $100,000 -- $200,000 a year on company credit cards.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. On prostitution?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So how many -- I have so many questions that come to mind. How many hours is $100,000 in one year?
DAVIS: It depends on the girl.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ok. Let`s say -- what`s --
DAVIS: At the average say $1,000 an hour.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s a lot. That is a lot. Now, how do you know that these were CEOs and bankers? I mean, they obviously maintain anonymity or certainly try to. Remember Eliot Spitzer was client number nine.
So how do you really know that these people are these high-profile bankers that you claim that they are?
DAVIS: Well, when you -- you know, when you collect money via credit card, you have an imprint. So you know their real name. And we`ve also obtained their billing information. So we have all of their correct information or else we couldn`t process the charge. You can`t maintain any anonymity with using a credit card. There`s always a paper trail obviously.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, why didn`t the prosecutors want to prosecute this, in your opinion?
DAVIS: I mean, traditionally this is an industry where the girls and the clients never get into any trouble. It`s just common knowledge. So the people -- the only people they`re interested in is always the people in charge of the business.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, in other words, you`re saying that the Johns, as they`re called, just get a free pass?
DAVIS: Of course. Of course. That`s traditionally how it`s been. I have a client at black book of 10,000-plus names, and no one -- I haven`t done anything with it. And it`s been of no interest.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So I don`t want you to reveal names now, and I obviously know that you`re not going to, but we`ve been seeing a lot of people and high profile in the news in general, bonuses, bailouts, there`s been a lot of bankers in the news lately. Are any of these high-profile bankers on your list?
DAVIS: Sure. And my list is comprised of some of the who`s-who of the business world. I mean, there`re CEOs of the major corporations on the list. So it`s most definitely -- I mean, I`d talk about it a little bit in my book. And, you know, it`s -- it`s widespread. You`d be surprised at how mainstream this is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, here`s what I don`t understand. You`re saying that the CEOs would ask you to disguise their payments. But I mean, did they all come up with the same idea at once? It seems sort of highly unlikely. Wouldn`t they be using cash or opening up phony accounts? If they were that in to this, I mean, it seems odd to me that they all said, you know, say you`re a consultant or type up a phony receipt. How would they all have that idea at once?
DAVIS: Well, not all of them have that same idea. I mean, if you`re spending a significant amount of money then you`re looking for ways to, you know, get it to not come out of your own pocket, so to speak.
So, you know, they wanted to have it invoiced so that they weren`t actually paying for it. The company was paying for it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kristin, we`re almost out of time but let`s say that one of these big bankers, did they want to have the same woman over and over again or do they like to mix it up?
DAVIS: Always diversity. It`s included in "The Manhattan Madam" my book, I talk all about it. Diversity is the key. I had to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hey Kristin, will you come back and keep us updated?
DAVIS: Of course.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I would love to have you back.
DAVIS: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The author of "The Manhattan Madam." And it certainly seems like a juicy read. I will definitely check it out. Thank you so much.
All right, controversy continues to swirl around Nadya Suleman, the woman who gave birth to octuplets. You won`t believe the new outrageous details. What do you think? And who do you think is to blame for this mess? Octo-mom or the doctor who gave her the fertility drugs? Call 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. We`re talking octo-mom.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More fall out from the interview with octuplet mother Nadya Suleman. She is taking donations now. Details in just a bit.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
An update on the horrific murder in Ohio. Charlie Myers charged with brutally killing a woman after she reportedly tried to stop him from sexually assaulting her 4-year-old son. Not surprisingly, he has been ordered by an Ohio judge to undergo a mental health evaluation. Myers is facing more than 20 charges, including aggravated murder.
Here on "ISSUES" I will be sure to update you with any developments on this truly shocking case.
The outrage over Nadya Suleman continues. Ann Curry called her the most vilified mother in America and apparently the single unemployed mother of 14 is really feeling the heat. In the final installment of her interview series with NBC, the new mother of octuplets attempted to explain whether or not she`s getting government assistance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMA, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: No, I`m not living off government money. If I am, it`s food stamps, it`s a temporary resource. You will see no cash, and it`s every month, $190, and that`s only for food. It`s an excellent resource if used appropriately and not for too long. So it`s not affiliated with welfare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was that a yes or a no? Well, one thing is for sure. Suleman is receiving food stamps and disability checks for three of her children.
In the meantime, octo-mom`s octo-doctor stand to lose his license, the fertility specialist under investigation by the California Medical Board and a handful of fertility organizations. If you`re as angry as I am or if you feel differently, I want to hear from you.
But right now, let`s bring in my fantastic guest, Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist -- and, boy, do we need one on this one -- and Lisa Bloom, anchor of "In Session."
Lisa, let`s start with you. She says no welfare, but we`re hearing about food stamps and disability payments for three of the kids. What are those disabilities, and does word that she already has disabled children put an even more outrageous twist on the story?
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR OF "IN SESSION": Well, it does. One of her children has ADHD. One is disabled, has a developmental on the disability and one is autistic. And as any parent of a disabled child knows, these children need extra care, extra attention and now they`re going to get far less because mom just had eight new babies.
So I think it`s preposterous for anyone to think that she is capable for caring for 14 children; three who have serious disabilities.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the truly bizarre twists, and there are so many in this story is that a Website has now popped up called the NadyaSulemanfamily.com Website. It seeks a donation from the strangers who come to check it out.
Well, Dr. Saltz, inappropriate or hey, you`ve got to do what you`ve got to do when you got 14 kids.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: I think when you talk about inappropriate, there are so many things that come before putting up a Website to try to get support. I mean, this is just a colossal tragedy in the making. Because as you`ve just brought up I mean, there`s a high likelihood of these eight babies -- they`re also going to have the potential for developmental disabilities and learning disabilities and mental health issues, not to mention medical issues they may face.
And they`re just -- you know, clearly there`s not enough emotional support to go around. There`s not enough physical support to go around. There`s not enough financial support to go around. So I mean, look if she can get money, she needs money to raise those children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s been talk of obviously a reality show. We haven`t heard whether she`s going to take one or which one she`s going to take. But many offers have come in apparently.
SALTZ: Well, exploiting those children is not going to be to their best interest, either.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the understatement.
Dylan, of South Dakota. Question or thought, sir?
DYLAN OF SOUTH DAKOTA: Yes, ma`am. Say, I was wondering now during the investigation, are they going to check and see if this doctor has ever had any other problems like legal problems and things like that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, what`s happening with the investigation?
BLOOM: Yes, he has a clean record, I have to say. And so the question is did he deviate from the standard of care? Most fertility doctors will tell you, they only implant two or three embryos at a time and that`s because they know there`s a possibility of splitting.
Six were implanted here, two split, leaving us with eight children. So it`s very irresponsible to implant more than two or three. If he deviated from the standard of care, he could be sanctioned for that, but it`s not illegal. I want to emphasize that, I don`t think he`s facing any criminal time. Or even a civil liability, he has not broken the law even if he did deviate from the standard of care.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what`s so -- it`s funny except that it could be tragic is that Suleman reportedly said, oh, well, given my history, he decided to implant six embryos. Your history? You`re totally fertile. You`ve had six kids already. It just none of it makes sense.
Daryl in Washington, question or thought?
DARYL IN WASHINGTON: Yes. With $50,000 in student loans and a million-dollar doctor bill, I don`t see how she expects to pay it. She said she didn`t want no state assistance. That`s what I`m stuck with on that one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, Dr. Gail Saltz, that fact that she is getting various forms of public assistance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Food stamps, the disability payments. And then she says she`s going to use her student loans.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How realistic is this woman?
SALTZ: You know what when you listen to this woman, I mean, she is in a tremendous amount of denial. She`s in denial about what it`s going to take to manage these kids. She said I don`t get state assistance when in fact she does get state assistance.
So she is using this very, you know, primitive defense mechanism that lots of people do when they`re completely overwhelmed, denial. And she`s in denial about what she`s actually doing and what the future is going to bring. And I think that`s what we`re seeing here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some psychiatrist have actually suggested that the Department of Children and Family Services check in on this family because shots of the interior of the home where they have the six kids show there`s clutter and that even these six kids are piled up one on top of another.
Let`s hear what octo-mom has to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMAN, GAVE BIRTH TO OCTOPLETS: NADYA SULEMAN, OCTUPLETS MOM: Child Protective Services could come and visit any time they want. They see the interaction I have with my children and the love that`s there, because I am definitely -- I`m having help. I`m having -- I`m receiving help already. So, yes, there is -- this takes -- what is it? It takes a village to raise a child? This will take a lot to do it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, she`s basically saying, bring it on. Is that questionable?
BLOOM: She`s the one that created this village. A lot of us would have loved to have huge families but we decided to limit our families to what we could actually support. I`m among that group. I only have two children. I would have loved to have a million more but I can only support two, that`s all I had.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what? I don`t have any kids.
BLOOM: And I`m a single mom too.
Listen, what she`s doing is very, very wrong. I think we all need to come out and say that. That million and a half dollars medical bill, that`s being paid by Medicare, by the state of California that is currently furloughing its workers because they can`t pay the bills.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. Tune in to "Showbiz Tonight" I`m going to be discussing that precise subject, co-hosting, guest hosting that show. Much more octo-mom drama.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about controversial octo-mom, Nadya Suleman. We want to put up a split screen now. There is growing speculation that perhaps Suleman is trying to imitate Angelina Jolie.
And, of course, she says that`s nonsense, that she really is not and that it`s just way off base. But, look, they`re both dark-haired, people pointed out the similar full lips and, of course, the big commonality, Dr. Saltz, the many children. Angelina Jolie has six and Nadya Suleman has outdone her by quite a bit.
SALTZ: You know, most people that are, you know, stalking or trying to be someone else because they`re truly obsessed with them would quite readily tell you that. They would say, I do, I do -- wonderful, that`s really what I`m trying to do.
It would be unusual to have someone say, you know, no, no, I don`t know what you`re talking about. So, you know, there looks like there could be a resemblance. She denies it. I would say it is probably not really the big issue here.
BLOOM: There is a big difference. Angelina Jolie can afford her children and many of them are adopted. Out of the goodness of her heart, she`s giving children a better life. She`s not bringing kids into this world she can`t support and she can`t care for and at a high risk of being neglected. That`s what Ms. Suleman has done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know what, Lisa? I blame Hollywood. These movies like "Cheaper by the Dozen," they really encourage this irrational belief system that it is all going to be hunky-dory. Bring it on.
BLOOM: Right. Because she believes in the power of live. Children need love but they also need food, they also need caretakers. In a day care center, it`s a ratio of about one adult to three newborns. You would never have this many kids cared for by one person.
SALTZ: You know, what actually happens in very large families is you have older children who are taking care of younger children. There`s 16- year-old who is sort of being the little mom to the 2-year-old and a lot of reality shows, quite frankly, in addition to movies and so on, have really romanticized the notion. But the notion is not having 14 children under the age of 7.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I would like to romanticize the notion of taking care of some of the kids who need homes, who are orphaned all over the world. Every day in the third world, 16,000 children die from hunger or malnutrition. That is equal to one child every 5.4 seconds. Where is the love for those kids, Lisa Bloom?
BLOOM: Yes and she says I didn`t limit them because God provided, this is what God wanted. This has nothing to do with that.
She had these children implanted in her by IVF. This was science that put these babies into her, not God. And so to blame God, I think, is really irresponsible on her behalf.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. Thank you so much, please come back soon.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you`re watching "ISSUES" on HLN.