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Judgment Day for Bernie Madoff; Casey`s Court Crisis; Punch-drunk Love; Casey`s Attorney Seeks Release of Evidence; Missing Girl`s Father Weds

Aired March 12, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, one day before Casey Anthony is due in court, shocking revelations about a second jailhouse meltdown. Reports claim Casey and attorney Jose Baez are seen sobbing together the day remains were found near the Anthony home. This before those remains were identified as Caylee`s.

But a conflicting report claims only Baez was crying. Did something trigger that reaction? Or is Baez the victim of a smear campaign?

Then, new drama surrounding Chris Brown and Rihanna. Despite reports that they`re recording a love song together, there may be a rift between the two camps. Brown`s people reportedly want a picture of the two together, while Rihanna`s people want no part in that publicity stunt. Could Rihanna be having second thoughts about their reunion? Nicole Brown Simpson`s sister, Denise, will weigh in on the cycle of abuse.

And outrage as a Humane Society investigation uncovers horrific abuse of chimps in a Louisiana lab. I`ll show you the gruesome video and tell you how you can help these poor creatures.

Plus, more Octomom psycho drama. Nadya Suleman gives RadarOnline a tour of her new home, which Suleman says she bought. Where`d she get the money? And TMZ claims they have seen the infamous octobirth video. Does this mean it`s being auctioned off to the highest bidder? I`ll try to find out why anyone would actually want to see that tape.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But first, breaking news tonight in the case against Casey Anthony. Today, America got its first real taste of what her impending murder trial will look like.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please raise your right hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a crime scene investigator, level two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What else was in the trunk of that car?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, I`m going to object again. This is...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fireworks as a real-life CSI investigator was grilled by lead defense attorney Jose Baez. His client, a wide-eyed Casey Anthony, took it all in. Behind her, her parents held onto each other for support.

Baez argued tooth and nail that prosecutors should be punished for not cooperating with the defense team, the state allegedly not sharing information with famous forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee that garbage in Casey`s car had to be removed, the same car that her own parents once proclaimed smelled of death.


CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY: The babysitter took her a month ago, that my daughter`s been looking for her. There`s something wrong. I found my daughter`s car today, and it smells like there`s been a dead body in the damn car!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey`s mother, Cindy, back-tracked on that claim and later said it was old pizza. Maybe that is the possible significance of the garbage at the center of this courtroom fight.

Meantime, prosecutors argued that this was all unnecessary drama and that the defense has been given all the information it needs. A judge agreed and refused to sanction prosecutors.

Plus, a win for George Anthony. The judge refuses to release the suicide note little Caylee`s grandfather wrote while thinking about taking his own life. But could the media now intervene?

Plus, we will find out what happened with this creepy MySpace photo posted by Casey`s ex, Ricardo Morales.

So much to talk about tonight, and we`re going to be taking your calls. But first, my expert panel: Dr. Bill Manion, forensic pathologist; Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Vinny Politan, former prosecutor and host for Sirius XM Radio; Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; and Rozzie Franco, reporter with WFLA 540 AM.

Jayne, I want to start with you. It was mean, it was ugly in court today as both sides seemed to detest each other. Is that animosity going to drag out this trial even more?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It probably will. And it`s a shame that they`re not cooperating and that both sides just can`t put it aside. I certainly know the feeling. But that is the way it seems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I`ve got to talk about her look. Because Casey Anthony has gone through quite a fashion evolution over the past three months. Let`s go back a little bit.

During her first court appearance, she wore prison blues, Looking like every other accused murderer. But hen for her second appearance. She took the conservative route, covering up in a plain blazer and putting her hair back in a tight bun, making the 22-year-old looking more like a 45-year-old librarian.

Then last week, Casey changed yet again. She appeared in court in a bright blue button-down, wearing her hair down and with her parents in tow. Today, Casey really dressed down, wearing a looser bun with a white sweater and a purple T-shirt.

I`ve got to ask you, Vinny Politan. You`re a former prosecutor. Is this sort of schizophrenic fashion style, this ever-changing look, going to hurt her? I mean, people have to have a consistent idea of who this person is.

VINNY POLITAN, HOST, SIRIUS XM RADIO: Well, you know, you don`t know exactly what`s going on, you now, in her day-to-day life being locked up. So you don`t know what happened the day before. How is she feeling.

I don`t know much about women`s style sense, but I know when it`s time to go to trial, there`s going to be a definite strategy on how she wants to appear in front of the jury.

Right now she`s appearing in front of the cameras. You don`t know if every potential juror is watching this. But, you know, it`s back and forth, maybe testing the waters to see, you know, which one has a more comforting look, which makes her more sympathetic. But the bottom line is that when it really counts is when those 12 jurors are going to be inside that room, looking at her every day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and she seems to be changing physically, as well, seems to be putting on a little weight. That was a comment that a lot of people made. Looking a little bit pasty. Not to, in any way, shape, or form, put her down for that.

I mean, but once you`re in jail, Jayne Weintraub, does that have a tendency to happen with these defendants? Because they`re sitting around. They`re not exercising much, and they are eating.

WEINTRAUB: Exactly. And what they get to eat is just pure carbohydrate. They don`t get exercise. The pasty look is because she doesn`t get outdoors.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to talk to Dr. Bill Manion -- you`re the forensic pathologist -- about one of the big battles today was over the bench notes.

And the defense making this huge issue of they don`t just want the DNA conclusions that prosecutors reach. They want the notes and understanding the whole process, how they reached that conclusion. How much was the DNA sample that they started with to reach their DNA forensic conclusions.

What I heard was, uh-oh, we`re going to go for a garbage in, garbage out defense, the same one that was used so successfully during the O.J. Simpson trial, where they questioned every single thing, every single move that the investigators make.

BILL MANION, FORENSIC PATYHOLOGIST: Well, if it you look closely enough at the hundreds of pieces of evidence that have been gathered here, I`m sure there`s going to be one or two pieces that may not turn out to be as accurate as originally thought.

So that is definitely a defense strategy. And they certainly have a lot of bright people looking at that evidence. Dr. Henry Lee, some pathologists, Michael Baden. They have very smart people. The anthropologists. And they better be very careful.

Now, the other thing I`d be concerned with is, if I was the prosecutor, I`d let them see. I`d let them see my cards and not try to withhold anything or keep anything behind closed doors like these notes and things, because if that comes out, that someone was holding back their personal notes or some other piece of evidence, because it didn`t fit their -- their story, then that`s explosive. That will destroy their case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, basically the prosecution said, "Hey, they could have solved this by making two calls to the FBI and to a lab that`s out of state. It`s not our place to provide all of this. It`s really up to the defense to make these calls."

Do you buy it, Vinny, or do you think that the defense had a point?

POLITAN: It`s difficult when you`re at this point of the case, especially a case like this with all this information and all this discovery that has to come out. Do you go through the prosecutor? Do you go directly to the agencies? Make the request. It`s taking place now. We`re not anywhere near the trial yet. So everything is being...

ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER, WFLA: And we`ll never get there either, Vinny.

POLITAN: Well, we`ll get there eventually. But Jayne, I think a great point was made by the doctor, saying, you know, if they don`t give them everything that they should have and it comes out in the trial that they`re hiding something, the fact that they`re hiding something becomes much more explosive than what they were actually not giving to the defense. So I agree that everything should be given to the defense.

WEINTRAUB: Absolutely, but that`s not what happened.


WEINTRAUB: Can I say something? That`s not really what happened today in court. And I think it was a really big misunderstanding.

What happened in court today was that the state was playing cutesy, and they were telling the judge and the defense that, "Well, it`s not in our possession."

But you know what, Jane? It`s in the FBI`s possession, and they`re a witness of the state. And I happen to know firsthand that phone calls and subpoenas using interstate commerce did not work for the defense in this case so far to get these notes. They have tried.

And I will also say that it`s outrageous that the judge hasn`t done something before. We`re four months out from being indicted for first- degree murder. These depositions, every witness is going to take hours and hours. What are we doing arguing about basic discovery in Florida?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I`d agree with you. Now, there were some wins for the defense today. Rozzie Franco, tell us about the suicide note. I know George and Cindy were in court today, and this was a big win for George.

ROZZIE FRANCO, SFLA RADIO: Absolutely. Also a big win for George and Cindy that the suicide note, the judge said, will not be used as evidence. He felt like it was embarrassing to George Anthony and it was immaterial to the case entirely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And, Vinny, I think that that is a smart move. If it`s irrelevant and it only serves to embarrass this man who has already been through hell, who`s lost a granddaughter, who`s seen his daughter go to jail and await trial, what`s the point? And my question is why was it in the discovery to begin with if it`s irrelevant?

POLITAN: Well, that`s part of the problem with this case, is it`s just so vast and there`s so much, and you`re going to look at everything that you can. Every statement that`s made by anyone connected to the case. And obviously, he is connected to the case. He was in the middle of it. He`s in the house.

So anything he says could potentially be evidentiary. The judge took a look at it and said, "No, that`s not the case here." So, you know, it`s a win, but it`s good, I guess, for the grandfather. And if it did have anything in it that was valuable to either side, it would come out and it did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, hang on everybody. We`ve got so much more to analyze from the courtroom battle today. I want to hear from you at home. Call 1-877-JVM. That`s 1-877-586-7297 to sound off on this case.

Now, 70 miles away, 100 cops descend on a field in the search for little Haleigh Cummings. I will tell you if they found any clues.

But first, a major ruling today in the Casey Anthony case. The judge rules the public will not see George Anthony`s suicide note. Listen to this.


JUDGE STAN STRICKLAND, ORANGE COUNTY CIRCUIT: I don`t see that it`s relevant to this case and I don`t know that it needs to be disclosed. So to the extent that you have it, and I`m ordering the state not to do anything with it. This is without prejudice to an immediate -- for now that`s my ruling.




GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY`S FATHER: I got within three feet of my daughter`s car and the worst odor that you could possibly smell in this world. And I`ve smelled that odor before. It smelled like a decomposed body. I`m being very straight with you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was little Caylee`s grandfather, George Anthony, describing the odor coming from Casey`s car. Perhaps the center of a defense motion heard in court today.

We`re back with all the latest details on this case. And we are taking your calls. Phone lines lighting up.

Joyce, Pennsylvania, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: There were two police officers, so-called romantically linked to Casey at the beginning of All this. I want to know were they questioned? Are they going to be re-questioned? Could one of them be Caylee`s father? And if anyone on your panel knows, are they still police officers working in that area?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know of one who definitely was knocked off the force. Rozzie, do you have any information on this?

FRANCO: Yes. To my knowledge, both of those police officers were let go. And Ricardo Morales is actually one of the -- one of the police officers that were brought up today, because one of the issues was that he allegedly deleted all of his files before he handed over his computer to forensics.

And one of the issues on that was because he had a picture that said "Win her over with chloroform," and chloroform was actually linked to Casey`s car at some point.

As far as the other deputy, we don`t believe he`s being questioned in any of this any further. But he`s been let go, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I always understood Ricardo Morales as Casey`s ex-boyfriend. They dated, but they broke up months before little Caylee went missing.

And the reason why it`s significant, of course, is that chloroform was found in the trunk of the car. And I believe we do have that video of the "Win her over through chloroform." So I had no idea. There it is. "Win her over through chloroform." That, allegedly, Ricardo Morales posted at some point, but long before little Caylee disappeared.

And it`s my understanding, Vinny Politan, that eventually the defense is likely to argue that the computer searches on Casey Anthony`s computer for chloroform were done by Ricardo, because that would certainly take the heat off Casey.

POLITAN: Well, that`s what the defense needs to do, and I`ve seen it in every trial I`ve ever covered when I was at Court TV and watching trials every day.

You know, the defense has to find someone else for the jury to look at, to consider. You know, they don`t have to prove it, but they`ve got to say, "Hey, you know what? Maybe. Take a closer look at this guy. Maybe it`s not so clear-cut."

And this seems to be the guy they`re focusing on right now. And the fact that he`s got that on his computer search, if he erased something from his computer, anything that is suspicious is going to look way more suspicious inside courtroom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re destroying lives in the process. We`ve got Zanny the nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, who says she can`t get a job. She`s a mother whose life has been destroyed.

Now you`ve got this guy, Ricardo Morales. You also had an ex-fiance, Jesse Grund. All these people have had their lives devastated.

FRANCO: Not only that, Jane, but with Ricardo Morales, he was also let go because when he was initially questioned, he lied, and then he actually went back and told the truth.

So they said, "You know, we`re going to let you go based on the fact that you lied about your relationship with Casey." So his character is obviously in question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well...

WEINTRAUB: But that`s who she was dating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that we have to say that Ricardo Morales, we`d like to hear your side of the story if you ever want to come up here and tell us. We would be happy to have you on. Because there`s two sides to every story -- Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: I mean, that`s who she was dating. It`s not like these people were just, you know, picked out of the sky. I mean, that was a player in her life. That is somebody that obviously is going to be questioned because of the computer. It was like a date rape to him. So doesn`t that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please. Somebody posts one inappropriate thing on their computer, and now they find that their entire life they`re going to have to live with this idea that they`re some kind of pervert? I mean, we`ve all done and said inappropriate things over the course of our life.

WEINTRAUB: That`s the danger -- that`s the danger of the Internet, and that`s why careful what you post.

But I`ll tell you a couple of other things that came up during this trial -- the hearing today that I thought were unusual. I mean, Jane, you questioned why were they picking apart everything, the defense.

And the answer is because he showed you very clearly today how the officer who received the car impounded didn`t even know about all the garbage that was there. So what does that tell you? Was that the pizza box? Maybe there was a piece of pizza.

POLITAN: Jayne, Jayne.

WEINTRAUB: No. Then his recollection...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait, wait. Let Vinny jump in here.

POLITAN: Well, here`s the -- I mean, the argument of the pizza box versus the smell of death, that is one -- Jayne, you wouldn`t make that argument in a courtroom.

FRANCO: Oh, please. It`s ridiculous.

POLITAN: You`re not going to win that.

WEINTRAUB: I would make a lot of these arguments. But it goes to show the sloppiness of the investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me get to some more calls. Because we`ve got so many people lined up.

Patty, Ohio, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. My question is simple. Casey Anthony appeared to put on weight in court today. My question is, I don`t agree with the panel because she`s not doing anything. My question is, is to lose a child is devastating to begin with, your baby dies, but to be up for -- she was murdered -- and then to be up on trial for her murder, why wouldn`t this young woman be losing weight, not eating...



VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Doctor. No, let Dale Archer, clinical psychologist, answer that question.


WEINTRAUB: You just got promoted, dude.

ARCHER: You know, I mean, no doubt with a clinical depression, you would absolutely expect a weight loss. But I really question whether she`s depressed.

I mean, I`ve been watching these videos. And I`ve seen her change over the last several months, you know, as this whole thing has played out. And it`s almost like they are playing a strategy to try to see what is going to get her the most sympathy. Today she looked almost like a school girl.

And I don`t see depression. What I see is more like a -- a sociopath. I mean, basically, someone who has absolutely no regard except for the fact that they got caught. So it`s not like there`s a death here that`s bothering her. It`s the fact that she got caught and she may have to spend life in prison.

FRANCO: Jane, we get her commissary report all the time. She`s buying candy. She`s buying foods that are high in fat. She`s in jail. There`s high-sodium foods. I mean...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I get your point, Roz. And I think...

POLITAN: Can I jump in on the weight loss issue, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

All right. I want to thank my excellent panel. More on this case just a little bit later in this program.

Casey Anthony wasn`t the only one in court today. Bernie Madoff pleads guilty, saying bye-bye to his penthouse as he is thrown in the jailhouse.

And then Rihanna spotted partying into the wee hours. But after hitting the clubs, is she secretly meeting up with her alleged abuser, Chris Brown? I`ll have the details.



MISTY CROSLIN, WIFE OF RON CUMMINGS: Anybody is probably going to take this marriage thing the wrong way, but it`s not. It`s still focused - - everything is focused on Haleigh. This is what Haleigh wanted. She`s always talked about it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Ron Cummings` new wife, Misty, discussing the dramatic circumstances surrounding their engagement. And it is tonight`s "Spotlight."

Shocking news in the Haleigh Cummings investigation tonight. The missing child`s father, Ron, and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Misty Croslin, have reportedly tied the knot, married on the very day, the very same day that 100 officers descended on a new search site in a desperate bid to find that little girl.

Is this marriage a good thing, or is it in really bad taste? And could Ron`s sudden marriage deepen the riff between his family and Haleigh`s devastated mother, Crystal Sheffield?

Crystal just hired a lawyer who says she has grave concerns for Haleigh`s little brother, Junior. Could this be the first shot in a potentially ugly custody battle?

Joining me is the one and only Vinny Politan, former prosecutor and host of Sirius XM Radio.

Vinny, now we hear that Ron and Misty are going to appear on "The Today Show" tomorrow morning for an exclusive as newlyweds. Why does all this seem wildly inappropriate to me with little Haleigh still missing?

POLITAN: It really does. Now, one thing that, you know, families that have a missing child, you know, they go to the media to keep the story alive. But the story and the search are alive. So, you know, why are you going to "The Today Show" now? I don`t know. Why are you getting married on the day that there are 100 officers searching for Haleigh? I don`t know.

And there`s so many unanswered questions here. And we don`t know what we`re looking at here, you know. Is this child still alive? Is this child -- what happened to Haleigh? And that question hasn`t been answered.

And it seems -- and in the public perception, it`s going to be very bad that someone is -- is turning a page, moved on. And then that statement from Misty, that this is what Haleigh always wanted? I mean, how many months ago did they get together? And how old was Haleigh? I mean...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they`ve been together about four years. And this young lady is only 17 years old now. So you do the math on that one. But what`s fascinating about this...

POLITAN: It`s insane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... is that some cynical people -- and I have to say, I certainly do not want to judge, Vinny, because I don`t know what it`s like to be in any of these shoes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I might not respond as well as they -- they have. This is -- this is a hellish situation. And maybe they need this for comfort. But some cynics have suggested, "Hey, does it have anything to do with spousal privilege?" Can you explain that?

POLITAN: Well, spousal privilege, you know, a husband can`t testify against a wife. A wife can`t testify against a husband. That`s not going to apply in this case, because that`s only for statements that are made while you are married. And then there are exceptions involving crimes with people involved in the household. So I can`t see that as any motivation here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me ask you this.

POLITAN: What we often see, though, Jane, is that people often break up when there`s a missing child involved, not get together. So this is sort of unusual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, especially because the child disappeared on this young lady`s watch.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She was watching the kid.

The new search, two miles from Haleigh`s home. A hundred officers descend. They say no tip involved. We have 10 seconds. Your thoughts?

POLITAN: Well, you know, it`s great that the search is continuing. Maybe they`re not telling us everything that they know. Let`s just hope that they find some clue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. This is just such a shocking mystery.

Vinny, thanks so much.

Now, tomorrow, we may see pictures from the wedding. You don`t want to miss that. We will bring it to you.

And from one strange love story to another, will Rihanna testify against Chris Brown? His attorney`s working up a secret hearing to find out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bernie Madoff goes from the penthouse to the jailhouse. After pleading guilty, it`s straight to the slammer. You`re looking at what`s probably the last moment Bernie Madoff will ever breathe free air; a dramatic judgment day as victims converge on the courthouse to vent their rage.

Then, Rihanna spotted partying for the second night in a row, but after hitting up the clubs, is she having secret rendezvous with Chris Brown? I`ll have the details.

I will have much more on that slime bag, Madoff`s date with justice, as well as the Rihanna/Chris Brown drama. But first, a big day in court for Casey Anthony, her father got a big win. His suicide note will not be released. We are back talking about all the details.

And I want to start with Vinnie Politan and this whole battle over evidence.

What I don`t understand in this case is that the defense keeps going back to court time after time, demanding more evidence. The trial is supposed to start in October.

Is there any process whereby the prosecution can legitimately hold back evidence, for example claiming that well, you know the detectives are still looking at it and we haven`t gotten it yet?

VINNIE POLITAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well first, if its exculpatory evidence, anything that could help demonstrate that she didn`t do it, they cannot do that. They can`t hold that back.

Other evidence, their parties have to work it out; it`s the discovery process. And when things don`t work out among the parties, that`s when one party goes to court and that`s what the defense is doing right now. Because they`re saying the prosecution is not cooperating, and not doing everything they`re supposed to do.

At some point, if it gets really bad a judge will then admonish or sanction or do something to the prosecution if they believe they`re holding back evidence. It didn`t happen today.

So my belief is, you know, the parties will work this out and the eventually the defense will get everything they need to prepare for trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, last week the state released thousands of pages of evidence in their case against Casey Anthony. Released in that evidence were more images from Casey`s Photo Bucket account, including this one. Take a look very carefully. It shows two skeletons kissing.

But if you look closely, and I got this from a viewer who wrote to me, you will see that the skeletons kissing actually make the formation of a heart. Do you see that? Now, anybody who`s been following this case knows hearts have been an all-important theme.

Remember, hearts were found on other images of Caylee. Like the one you`re about to see right now. There you see it. There`s that heart. And most important authorities believe a heart was placed on the duct tape that was placed across little Caylee`s mouth.

Does the heart formation give the skeletons an even more morbid interpretation for prosecutors to use during the trial because they are going to argue that all of this was posted, Vinnie, just days after Caylee went missing?

POLITAN: Oh, I can see prosecutors using that, absolutely. You know, if the judge allows it to put that connection together and show some sort of a theme and to put it together. Because as you said, the heart is found on the duct tape at the crime scene. So you put two and two together.

This is the type of evidence that jurors love this stuff because they can understand it. And ok, it makes some sense. This woman has some sort of thing for hearts. Here it is in the skeletons, a little bit morbid, but it`s a heart nonetheless. And then you tie it together.

And that`s what prosecutors will do. It won`t be the biggest piece of evidence, but its part of the entire picture that you`re going to present to this jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Rozzie, what can we expect from here out? What`s going on now that this court case has been resolved?

ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA, ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Well, as you saw today, Baez was adamant about getting more information on that forensic evidence. So he plans to ask the FBI specifically for their notes. And he also plans to ask the Orange County Sheriff`s office why their investigators actually destroy notes before they -- they put it in the computer.

And also one of the things that was brought up today was he kept trying to talk about the 17 hairs that was found in the back of the trunk as opposed to the one hair that we found had Caylee`s DNA on it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. So much evidence to pour over and just the beginning of this long battle. Vinnie, Rozzie, thank you both so very much.

And now to another courtroom showdown -- the most hated scam artist in the world is finally out of his fancy penthouse and spending his first night in jail as we speak. Take a very good look at this video of Ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff, walking into court today because right here, this very moment, almost certainly marks the last breath he will ever draw as a free man.

There he goes behind the doors. Madoff`s victims packed the courtroom and cheered wildly as a judge finally sent the 70-year-old to the slammer. That`s where he will likely spend the rest of his life. He will be formally sentenced in June.

Madoff told the judge he was deeply sorry and ashamed of what he has done. But is that enough? Victims converged on the courthouse to express their rage at the man who decimated their life savings.


CYNTHIA FRIEDMAN, MADOFF VICTIM: He`s destroyed our lives. So, you know, I want him to stay in jail. I don`t want him to see the light of day again. And I want his family to join him.

RICHARD FRIEDMAN, MADOFF VICTIM: He`s going to be sentenced for 150 years. I hope he lives a very long life.

MIRIAM SIEGMAN, MADOFF VICTIM: That made me happy. I admit it. When I heard those handcuffs go click, I said, "Yes."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But these victims looking for justice didn`t get a juicy trial and most of them haven`t gotten a dime back from Uncle Sam. So is this still justice denied?

I am joined now by a fantastic panel: Jeffrey Toobin, CNN`s senior legal analyst; as well as Jeannene Langford, one of Bernie Madoff`s many victims who lost the bulk of a life savings in this scheme; plus Alan Chernoff, a senior correspondent for CNN who has been on this case from the beginning.

Alan, you`re at the courthouse all day. Bernie Madoff spoke for about five minutes. What did he say, and what did the judge do in response?

ALAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, he said he is sorry. He also said that all he wanted to do was satisfy clients, but he said he did it at any cost.

So while he was telling clients that they were returning great money from the stock market, the fact is he said he simply put their money into the Chase Manhattan Bank. He said the scam went on for a long time --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What? You know what --

CHERNOFF: Yes, go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s so incredible is that if you deposit more than $10,000 that is supposed to be a red flag. I mean, we`ve all heard that.

Now, how many billions did he deposit in Chase Manhattan Bank?

CHERNOFF: Well, at the end of November he did report to clients that they had $65 billion. That was a fiction. They never had that much. So it wasn`t that much. But clearly he tucked away billions and billions of dollars. He must have had plenty of accounts over there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And I interrupted you. What did the judge do in return?

CHERNOFF: Well, Bernie Madoff pled guilty to 11 criminal counts. The judge set sentencing for the 16th of June. He is looking at potentially 150 years in prison. And most importantly, as you said, the judge sent him to jail. No more penthouse life for Bernie Madoff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what -- I just want to ask you a follow-up on that. Where is he tonight? Is he going to go to one of those fancy club feds or does he have to go through the same process everybody else does, you know the cavity searches and all that humiliating stuff?

CHERNOFF: He`s at the Manhattan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan, just a block away from the courthouse. They just led him through the underground tunnel. He didn`t have to take a step outside at all.


Cameras were not allowed in the courtroom today, but a transcript was released. One part that stood out to me in particular, this quote, "When I began the Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would able to extricate myself and my clients from this scheme. However, this proved difficult and ultimately impossible. And as the years went by I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come."

Jeffrey, do you buy that? Couldn`t he have faced the music a long time ago?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I don`t know where to start with that comment. I mean, it was a fraudulent scheme. Ponzi schemes never end well for anyone. But it worked well for Madoff for years and years. What he leaves out in that statement is that for nearly 20 years, he made millions of dollars off this scheme.

So it`s not that it was impossible to stop. He didn`t want to stop it because he was making so much money at it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what`s happening now with the family? I understand "The Daily News" is reporting that investigators are honing in on 20 individuals.

TOOBIN: Well, when you look at the complexity of this scheme -- I mean, just think about -- 4,800 clients got monthly statements; every single entry in those statements was false, was a lie. And Madoff basically wants you to believe that he is the only person involved in that scam.

Well, that`s ridiculous. You couldn`t run a scam this complicated for this long by yourself. So the question investigators are looking at is who helped him? And the obvious candidates are his two sons, who worked in the other supposedly legitimate side of the business; his brother, also inside of that business; and his wife, who also claimed to be involved in the business.

Those are the people investigators are going to spend a lot of time looking hard at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeannene Langford, you are a Madoff victim. How much did you lose and did you get any satisfaction from what happened today in court and the fact that he`s in the slammer tonight as we speak?

JEANNENE LANGFORD, MADOFF VICTIM: Well, I lost about 80 percent of my life savings. And I don`t know that I got satisfaction, but I`m really happy that he`s going to have a long time to think about what he`s done. He`s destroyed so many people`s lives.

It`s just -- it`s -- he needs to -- he needs to spend time thinking about that at the very least.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t understand, Jeffrey, is where did the money go? If he took all this money and deposited it into a bank, he didn`t lose it in the stock market, it was sitting there.

So how did it disappear?

TOOBIN: Well, a lot of it went to pay off the first investors. That`s how Ponzi schemes worked, but I think you put your finger on a very important point in your -- in your first question to Alan.

Where was Chase Manhattan Bank during all of this? This was certainly a multibillion-dollar operation with money apparently going in and out of these Chase Bank accounts. Why didn`t Chase say something? And why didn`t they report this to the authorities?

I think they are going to have some very hard questions to answer because this was not a normal way that bank accounts are supposed to be used. And as you point out, banks are supposed to report suspicious transactions. And had they stopped this years ago, a lot of people`s life savings might have been preserved.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m so sorry we don`t have more time. I could talk about this all night, fascinating subject.

Let`s hope it`s a psychological turning point for the markets. Now that we see some justice, people might have more optimism and confidence. Jeffrey, Jeannene, Alan, thank you so very much for your insights.

In other outrageous news, is Rihanna making secret late-night visits to see Chris Brown, her alleged abuser? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297. And tell me if you think she will ever pull the plug on this relationship.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rihanna seen out partying alone, but is she secretly meeting with Chris Brown? I`ll have the details.

First, "Top of the Block" tonight.

More outrage over animal abuse. Tonight, this time instead of primates, it`s puppies. You are looking at pretty shocking videos, anti-puppy middle activists protesting outside a Florida pet store. A fight then breaks out as a woman tries to return her sick puppy to the store.

Protesters claim the dogs in the store live among the opened bleach bottles to mask the smell of animal waste. They claim full-grown dogs are kept in cages meant for puppies. Store employees deny the abuse claims.

Here`s a great alternative in either case. Don`t shop for pets. Adopt pets from shelters. Save a life.

That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Tonight, another shocker in the Rihanna/Chris Brown saga, the recovering pop star out on the town for the second night in a row.

Here we see paparazzi in hot pursuit -- we`re about to see that, and there it is as she bolts from one club in a chauffer-driven pick-up.

Twice this week, Rihanna has been spotted wearing sunglasses at night. What does it mean? Could it be very seriously that the bruises and gashes she suffered allegedly at the hands of boyfriend Chris Brown are still healing? Probably.

Is Rihanna wearing earplugs too? She is reportedly back with Brown, even after warnings from women like Oprah. The talk show queen dedicated her entire show today to dating violence.


OPRAH WINFREY, "THE OPRAH SHOW" HOST: You have two celebrities who have everything, every advantage, every access that you know to help. So they have an opportunity here to break the cycle. And, as I said before, use this as a teaching moment for all the people who don`t have that opportunity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait until you hear what some teenagers have to say about Rihanna and Chris Brown. And here`s one shocking example from the program.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the picture of Rihanna came out, everybody is just running to the computers, you know, during lunch in the middle of class. Just to look at her face and then, you know, laughing about it like, "Oh, Chris Brown, they`re the new Ike and Tina."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

After all this does Rihanna stay with allege attacker?

I am taking your calls. But first, my fantastic panel: Dr. Dale Archer, a clinical psychiatrist; Lisa Bloom, anchor of the Legal Network, "In Session;" and A.J. Hammer, host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT."

A.J., so many twists and turns in this real life drama; what`s the latest on this duet, which I find incomprehensible?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": It is a little strange, isn`t it?


HAMMER: Well Jane, I can tell you that "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" has in fact confirmed earlier this week Rihanna and Chris Brown were together in a recording studio and they recorded a duet.

Now, there are various reports floating around as to what exactly this song is. Apparently the song was written before the alleged beatings took place, but the reports are also that this is a song about the difficulties in a relationship.

Hello. I`m just wondering -- the thing that I can`t wrap my head around is who in the heck is going to buy this thing? And what radio station is going to play this thing? Unless, of course, proceeds, profits from a single would perhaps go to an organization that raise awareness about domestic violence. But even so, and so it still very complicated.

But obviously, they are back together. We know that now and they`re working together as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, this is not a funny story, but when you do something as ridiculous as record a duet with somebody who is alleged to have beaten you up people are going to say things. And they are already making jokes about to what song they`re recording. "Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting," was one that was floating around here, or "Breaking Up is Hard to Do."

I mean, it`s not funny, but when you do something ridiculous, you`re going to be ridiculed.

Now, I want to ask you, Lisa Bloom, what`s going on with Chris Brown`s attorney Mark Garagos? They`re supposed to go back to court in April for the arraignment and he would formally plead, but apparently they want an earlier hearing, something about Rihanna. Will she testify, won`t she?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR OF "IN SESSION": Yes, what I understand is that maybe a status conference on March 23rd; a status conference would be routinely ordered by a court in any case. You simply show up and as the name applies talk about what the status is.

Perhaps the defense at that point wants to raise with the judge the issue of Rihanna`s testimony. Will she be permitted to refuse to testify, for example? But that`s the kind of thing that would have to be fully briefed. A judge isn`t going to decide that at the spur of the moment at a status conference.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think she`s going to testify?

BLOOM: I`ve talked to Los Angeles District Attorneys over the weekend who handled domestic violence cases. They tell me this case will be treated like any other case. They have procedures in place to deal with victims who don`t want to testify. It happens in 80 percent to 90 percent of the cases.

If they don`t want to come in voluntarily, law enforcement will be sent to bring them in.


BLOOM: They will be required to testify and that will be true for Rihanna.


BLOOM: And by the way she has always said to her attorney that she will testify. Even though she`s back with him, we haven`t heard any public statements that she won`t, strangely enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we hear it all over the map. It depends on what outlet you`re hearing she will and she won`t or maybe she will. But obviously we`ll have to wait and see.

Elizabeth, Texas, your question or thought, ma`am?

ELIZABETH FROM TEXAS: Yes, I`d like to know if Rihanna`s manager is threatening to pull the carpet under her feet with her career if she`s photographed with Chris? And I`d like to say that the judge and the DA is put on notice that they`re representing every woman in the United States and they need to make Chris a poster child and give him whatever it takes for him to step up to the plate and be a man and admit what he did --


ELIZABETH: -- and speak up for Rihanna. Because he`s already isolated her from her family and that`s the biggest sign of abuse. He has isolated her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, well very well said, but I`d like to also dovetail Dr. Archer to another aspect of all this. You now have very strong women all across America like Lisa Bloom, like Oprah Winfrey, like Ellen, like the women on "The View" --

BLOOM: Like Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and Campbell Brown. We were talking about it last night on her show and we`re all really getting together and saying as women with the voice, we`re not going put up with this anymore. Is this going to perhaps spark a new feminist movement, Dr. Archer?

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, that`s what it takes. I mean, basically as a woman, if you allow a man to abuse you one time and there are no consequences whatsoever, you are giving tacit permission for that to happen again.

You absolutely have to call 911 and get the police involved, tell him he needs therapy. You need to do whatever it takes to let him know that this will not be tolerated. You let it happen once, it can happen again.


ARCHER: Rihanna is making a huge mistake going back this quickly.

BLOOM: Clearly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She is. And we`re going to have more on that huge mistake in a second.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three years to the day after those words, Rihanna would become the alleged victim of dating violence, but will she become the role model she speaks of? I`m back with my fabulous panel and Florence from Massachusetts, your question or thought, ma`am.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you doing?

FLORENCE: Good. This is in regards to the rumor that Rihanna maybe pregnant.


FLORENCE: And if that is true do you believe that could have been a factor in their altercation? Because I do know that pregnant women are one of the leading targets in domestic abuse.

BLOOM: Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, let me just say that there are so many rumors floating around and we`ve heard that they`re going to be married but none of those can we independently confirm, and I don`t think there`s any, A.J., any confirmation or --

HAMMER: No, and I don`t want to do anything to perpetuate anything like that --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, nothing, no --

HAMMER: -- as far as that the point that the caller was making the doctor can speak to that, but no, there is no confirmation of anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nothing, ok, so x-nay on the pregnancy rumor. Forget about it, forget that you heard it here because we`re not in any way endorsing that.

I want to go back, Lisa Bloom, to what we were talking about before the break and how this is an opportunity for women. When Nicole Brown was infamously being brutalized two decades ago, women weren`t in the vocal positions that they are now.

You have the women of "The View," you`re up there, you have Ellen, and you have Oprah, everybody is -- really all these women have more of a voice. Can we use this as a subject to coalesce around and to create a new feminism?

BLOOM: Absolutely, although I`m perfectly happy with the old feminism, it seems to me just fine. I think the women`s movement frankly has won. I think we should declare a victory, there`s not a single person out there publicly who says, "You know what? It`s great that Rihanna reconciled with Chris Brown. You go girl."

Every single person is disgusted and understands how terrible it is. Even teenagers, you had the school at the Oprah Show today, just ordinary kids saying, "Are you kidding me? I mean, this is ridiculous."

And by the way, Chris Brown is the alleged aggressor here and we`re all criticizing Rihanna. She`s the victim. I think we should keep our eye on the ball as to who the wrongdoer and who is here and that`s Chris Brown.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely and I think yes, she`s taken a lot of hits for her stance.

And Dr. Archer, we only have a couple of seconds, but I don`t necessarily think that feminism has won because women are still getting beaten up. That`s the problem.

ARCHER: Yes, you`re absolutely right. They`re getting beaten up and it`s still brushed under the rug. I mean, a relative will look away -- you know, one in ten women will be battered at some point in their life. That`s 10 percent, and we hear about it only in these high profile cases.

So what you have to do is take this high profile case and use it --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time.

ARCHER: -- to get a message to all the other women out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much all of you. I wish we had more time.

BLOOM: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you`re watching ISSUES.