Return to Transcripts main page
ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Family of Missing Girl at Odds; Will Rihanna Cooperate with Police?
Aired March 30, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, an intense battle heats up between the parents of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. Dad Ron`s lawyers on the attack against mom Crystal Sheffield. They claim she coached Haleigh`s little brother into saying he saw a man in black take her. But wouldn`t they want any lead to be taken seriously? Is this bitter feud between the exes getting in the way of the investigation? I`ll talk to someone in the thick of it.
And I`ll have the very latest on the mystery man named Greg who Cobra, the bounty hunter, says was with Misty around the time little Haleigh vanished. Could there by a connection to the family feud?
Then, startling accusations in the Casey Anthony case. Is Jose Baez a defective lawyer? That`s what one former client claims. Milton Diaz is serving a 15-year sentence in the death of a toddler. And he said it`s Baez`s false he`s behind bars. Should Casey be worried?
And with Chris Brown`s court date a week away, new reports say Rihanna is not cooperating with prosecutors, because she wants the story to go away. Well, the sooner she lets the truth out, the sooner it will go away. And what`s with her new gun tattoo? I`ll have a shrink weigh in on that one.
Plus, bizarre twists in the Octomom saga. Nadya Suleman`s former publicist, who once said she was nuts, now rushes to her defense in the public feud with Angels in Waiting. All this as Octomom struggles to raise 12 of her 14 kids.
And speaking of feuds, you know him as the Sham-Wow guy. Cops say they know him as the guy who beat up a Miami prostitute. I`ll have the shocking details.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the powder keg custody battle between the parents of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings is exploding with shocking - - and I mean shocking -- new allegations.
Little Haleigh`s estranged parents, Ron Cummings and Crystal Sheffield, are at each other`s throats, fighting tooth and nail over custody of Haleigh`s 4-year-old brother, Ron Jr.
Crystal Sheffield, who does not have custody of the kids, has accused Ron of abusing them and told Geraldo Rivera she fears for little Junior`s safety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD, MOTHER OF HALEIGH: I feel like he`s in danger where he`s at.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Give us another couple of sentences on that. Why?
SHEFFIELD: Well, for one, Haleigh is missing. And there`s a 17-year- old girl watching them. And she`s practically a child herself. And I mean, I just -- I don`t feel safe with them there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Ron`s attorneys fire back at Crystal, charging she has put the boy in danger by showing him on television. Ron also says she has documents proving little Haleigh`s injuries were from a schoolyard fall, not abuse.
Ron charges Crystal is the liar. Listen to what he told Meredith Vieira on "The Today Show" earlier this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": Your 4-year-old said and the fact that he said that somebody, a man dressed in black, took Haleigh out of the trailer that night she disappeared. Did he tell that to either one of you? Misty, you were there at the time. Did he say anything to you at the time?
MISTY CROSLIN, WIFE OF RON CUMMINGS: Huh-uh.
RON CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH: Me neither. This is some of the garbage that Crystal, the mother, has made up. But I`m the same way.
VIEIRA: So you don`t even believe that Ronald Jr. said this at all?
CUMMINGS: I don`t know. I wasn`t at home. I was at work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ronald`s lawyers just fired a new round of charges. They claim that Crystal has been coaxing little Junior to make false statements about the black man in black who the child allegedly claims took little Haleigh back in February. Some wonder, could Crystal be planting seeds in little Junior`s head about Greg, the mystery man some allege Misty Croslin was with around the time Haleigh Cummings went missing?
Meantime, where is little Haleigh? Are these ferocious battles a distraction from the real issue: finding this precious 5-year-old girl? What do you think? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297.
But first, my incredible expert panel: Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; Kim Picazio, attorney for Haleigh`s mother, Crystal Sheffield. So glad you`re here tonight, Kim. Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; and Jared Alber, reporter for WOKV in Jacksonville.
Jared, what is the very latest?
JARED ALBER, REPORTER, WOKV: Well, the very latest is that nobody in Satsuma in this Putnam County community is giving up any hope at all. In fact, I heard from the principal of little Haleigh`s school today that, in fact, her desk remains empty. Items of the little girl, that kindergartner, remain in her cubby.
Now, we also learned just a couple of hours ago that Crystal Sheffield, Haleigh`s mother, was involved in a minor car accident this afternoon. Initial reports indicate that she may have had some sort of seizure or something. She checked herself into the hospital. We understand she may actually still be in the hospital undergoing some kind of treatment. Again, we understand it was a minor injury. But, again, leads perhaps to the amount of stress that this family is under, now going into the 50th day of this little girl missing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can only imagine. And Kim Picazio, you are Crystal`s attorney. Certainly, we hope and pray that she`s OK and this was just a minor little incident. So good wishes to her in that regard.
KIM PICAZIO, ATTORNEY FOR CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you have, information-wise, about Greg? I understand you`ve got new information to tell us about this mystery man everybody`s talking about named Greg.
PICAZIO: Yes. I just got off the phone with Greg. So I was here at your studio, and my investigators that are on the case have finally located this person that has been of interest to our team for quite some time. And I`ve just gotten off the phone with him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what did he say? Did he say he was with Misty that night? Did he say that he`s having any kind of a relationship, as some claim, insinuate, with Misty?
PICAZIO: He did intimate a lot of details. I asked him as many questions as I could. We`re going to have to -- I`d like to go and check some of his allegations.
It`s my understanding he was with Misty the weekend prior to the disappearance of Haleigh. And with regard to anything with regard to that night that Haleigh went missing, I need to double check his facts. I`d hate to report something...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. We don`t want you to report anything that -- you`re just off the phone. I mean, let`s put this into context for our viewers. Hold on one second, Kim. I`ll get back to you momentarily.
PICAZIO: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two people have come forward, insinuated that Misty Croslin may -- and I say may -- have been having some sort of affair, relationship, something. During a phone call on this show, Crystal Sheffield described what Ron Jr. allegedly told her. Listen very carefully.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEFFIELD: And I asked him about it. And I was like, what about the black -- the person dressed in black. He said it was a black man dressed in black and he had squeaky shoes, and the couch was bouncing. And that`s just what he told me. And I`m not lying, and I have no reason to lie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. "The couch was bouncing." That`s the quote the night Haleigh went missing, according to what Crystal Sheffield says her son told her. Remember, this boy is 4.
Just last week, bounty hunter, this guy named Cobra, claimed that even Ron Cummings knew about an alleged relationship of some sort. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM "COBRA" STOUBS, BOUNTY HUNTER: Ron was convinced now, beyond any question of doubt, that she was not there. She wasn`t home, bro. She was out (EXPLETIVE DELETED) very possibly with (EXPLETIVE DELETED) again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to emphasize these are just claims. We have reached out to Misty Croslin to get her side of the story. She has not commented. She has an open invitation to come here on ISSUES and tell her side.
However, Ron Cummings` attorneys raised an interesting question in a press release just released a couple of minutes ago. They said, quote, "Picazio," meaning Kim Picazio, the woman you just heard from, "once represented Cobra`s wife in a divorce against Cobra, where Cobra had no attorney, according to Broward County records. Cobra tried to befriend Ron Cummings and stoked his fears about what happened the night Haleigh went missing," end quote.
Kim, Kim Picazio, can you explain to us your relationship with the bounty hunter/investigator who appeared out of nowhere named Cobra?
PICAZIO: Absolutely. I met Cobra, which is William Staubs. I purchased a house from him. And he know I was a divorce attorney. He needed a divorce. I was friendly with both he and his wife at the time and remained friends with them throughout the course, even after the divorce. So we`re all...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you working in tandem with Cobra?
PICAZIO: Well, he`s an independent investigator who went to the scene, and he has four -- actually five children himself. This case really struck a nerve with him. He wanted to go crack the case. It was important to him. So I do converse with him all the time regarding the facts he`s learned.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s bring Mark Eiglarsh in, criminal defense attorney. You`re listening to all of this. You`ve followed this case. What do you make of it? It`s -- my head is going to explode with all of this stuff.
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: First of all, Jane, I`m saddened. I`m going to tell you why. We are missing this child so desperately, and the parties involved, no disrespect to the attorney on your -- on your panel, has turned this into a Jerry Springer-like environment.
There are invaluable resources that should be devoted to finding this child. Instead, what we`re getting is the makings of a book on how to behave or how not to behave when your child goes missing. Including but not limited to chapter one, marry your 17-year-old girlfriend in the middle of a search for your child.
Secondly, how to contaminate a potential eye witness to the crime. That took place either intentionally or unintentionally. And then, during the interview by Craig Rivera, with a child in her arm. That was so unbelievably improper the way that that went down that it has almost no value in court and certainly, almost now value in the court of public opinion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey, you`re the prosecutor. Do you agree with Mark?
STACEY HONOWITZ, PROSECUTOR: I actually have to agree with him, which is very rare. But in this...
HONOWITZ: I`m going to tell you something very important. The bottom line is all of these leads, all of these potential witnesses, shouldn`t be handled by private investigators working for lawyers. All of these leads of potential witnesses should be spoken to by the lead investigators and the detectives on this case trying to locate this child.
And so it`s not so rare that a 3 or a 4-year-old child would be interviewed by investigators. And they`re trained and they`re seasoned and they know what to look for and what not to look for.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they may be seasoned, Stacey, but they`re not finding anything. They`re the ones who have said that they`re sort of at wits end, which I think is creating a vacuum that a lot of people are filling with gossip and innuendo and speculation.
Everybody stay right there.
HONOWITZ: But that doesn`t do the case any good.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. I agree with you. We`ve got more of the growing list between Haleigh`s parents. Do you think Crystal is manipulating Haleigh`s little brother to get back at Ron? Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297 and let me know.
And outrageous claims in the Casey Anthony case. Is Jose Baez a defective lawyer? That`s what a former client says. He`s in jail right now. I`ll have the details.
But first, attention between Haleigh Cummings parents have something to do with Ron`s new wife, Misty? Here`s a shocking claim for Misty that could have sparked some anger from Crystal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROSLIN: I love Haleigh more than anything in this world. Almost like my baby. They used to call me Stepmom. Now, they know that I`m Mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: I have been slandered into a sorry father. Obviously, in most cases the fathers don`t get custody of their children. I took good care of my kids the three years I had them by myself. A lot of people are talking like this is a custody battle. It`s not a custody battle. It`s about finding my 5-year-old daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Haleigh Cummings` father, Ron, urging people the keep the focus on finding little Haleigh.
We`re back, taking your calls. The phone lines are lit up. Julia, South Carolina, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Thank you, Jane. Why did the mother not fight for these children before? And why is it all of a sudden she can get the money now to hire a big lawyer?
PICAZIO: OK. First, I`m working for free, which is pro bono. I have three children myself, and it was an issue that I really wanted to take on. So I accepted the case for free.
And also, she did not -- Crystal did not -- was not aware of all of these facts that have now come out as a result of this investigation. And she did fight for custody originally. She lost. And at that point, she was not aware that there was a legal avenue to come back and try again to modify the custody situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She lost, in a nutshell, for what reason?
PICAZIO: Well, it`s my understanding that she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of Ronald Cummings, as has been every other girlfriend he`s had since then, as has been every other girlfriend...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to jump in and say we want Ronald Cummings` side of the story on this. We went to present a very fair -- and it`s very hard with this case, but give each side an opportunity. We have no independent knowledge of any relationship with other girlfriends and what might have gone down there.
Brenda Wade, weigh in, please. We need a shrink on this one. It`s gotten so ugly.
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: We definitely need some mental health and psychological care for everyone concerned, Jane. I mean, there`s no manual on how to behave if your child goes missing. I think these people are extraordinarily stressed.
And we all know that, if you want to see people on their worst behavior, you want to see people who are separated from one another dealing with any kind of issue around their children.
What I`m seeing in terms of the in-fighting is that, when people can`t get at the real target, which is the person who took Haleigh, they turn on anyone who`s close to them. And that`s what we`re seeing with Ron and with Crystal. They`re turning on one another. They`re turning on Misty. And at this point, I don`t think anybody knows any more than we all know about who took Haleigh or where she is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Brenda, I think that`s absolutely brilliant analysis, that because they can`t express their frustrations at this mystery person who abducted the child, they`re going at each other. Very good observation.
Ronald Cummings` attorneys are now claiming that Ron Jr.`s statements about the night Haleigh was taken were coaxed by his mother, Crystal Sheffield, and were a product of, quote, "shabby journalism." Let`s look at the interview between Crystal Sheffield, Ron Jr., and Craig Rivera from March 2, 2009, for "Geraldo at Large."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHEFFIELD: Did you go back to sleep after the man took sissy or did you stay awake? Was you awake? No? But you heard the squeaky shoes? Sissy didn`t wake up when you took him -- when he took her? No?
CRAIG RIVERA, FOX NEWS: No one told him to say that?
SHEFFIELD: Did anybody tell you to say that? No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, Mark, it`s hard to tell, because the child`s face is blurred for obvious reasons. We want to protect his identity. But I can`t make heads or tails out of what that child is saying, whether he`s saying that -- I can`t tell.
EIGLARSH: Jane, I watched the...
HONOWITZ: And one thing, Jane...
EIGLARSH: I have seen the full version. I watched the unblurred version. And you don`t need to see the child`s face. You look at the techniques or lack thereof being implemented.
If this was truly an eye witness, and I have no idea, but if the child really saw something, investigators should have been called. They should have immediately taken that child into a room with someone who`s trained to handle this and extracted those facts raw.
This was contaminated. It was poisoned. And you know what? This is just fundamentally wrong. We`re supposed to be finding this girl.
WADE: And Jane, I want to say just from the standpoint of developmental psychology, a 4-year-old is not a reliable witness. A 4- year-old still lives very much in the realm of what is magical.
HONOWITZ: That`s not true. That`s not true. In a criminal case, that`s not true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Stacey?
HONOWITZ: There was a case -- I don`t know if you remember this, Jane, but there was a case a couple of years ago where a police officer came into the house, and he killed this 4-year-old`s mother, and he rolled her up in a carpet. Guess what? That was the eye witness. He gave competent testimony, and the man was convicted.
The cops brought him in. He gave his statement. They were able to see in what context he witnessed things. He was able to give them an idea of what happened. And this man was convicted based on this child`s testimony. So you cannot in general say that any 4-year-old...
WADE: ... doing the interview, but that`s not what we have here. I`m sorry. There`s...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim, what about Ron`s attorney`s claim that your client put the child in danger by putting the child on television? Now he was a potential witness of this crime and he could be targeted.
PICAZIO: Well, I think that what everyone is missing is the police, to my understanding, had already done exactly what everyone had suggested. We`re not tainting him after the fact. We`re -- he`s not being tainted before the police have already even seen him. They`ve already done this. They`ve already interviewed the child...
EIGLARSH: I have a question for Kim, Jane. I have a question for Kim.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. We have ten seconds. Make the point. Thank you.
EIGLARSH: I have one question, Kim. Don`t you think that the feuding back and forth is taking away from the central issue of finding the girl?
PICAZIO: No, no, I don`t. No, I don`t.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. I want to -- we could talk about this all night. Fascinating stuff. Please come back. Thanks to my excellent panel.
There are new reports that claim Rihanna is not cooperating with Chris Brown in the Chris Brown case, with prosecutors. But prosecutors in L.A. just moments ago issued a statement denying that, saying she is cooperating. We`ll have the very latest.
Meantime, Rihanna has got a new gun tattoo. I will speak to a psychologist to try to figure out what the heck that`s all about.
And a shocking story you will not believe till you see it. The famous Sham-Wow spokesman arrested for allegedly beating up a prostitute. I`ll have the details next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An astonishing demand from pop superstar Rihanna in the spotlight tonight. Conflicting reports about whether Rihanna is helping or stonewalling prosecutors who want her help in their beating case against singer Chris Brown. The D.A.`s office says her attorney tells them Rihanna is, quote, "a cooperating victim."
But "Look" magazine says Rihanna wants Brown to make a public apology to per on "Oprah." So which is it? Is it both? And what kind of message would it send if she doesn`t fully cooperate?
Still with me, Brenda Wade, fabulous clinical psychologist.
Brenda, help us make sense of all of this. Rihanna is the alleged victim of a brutal beating. I mean, this is not child`s play here. If she doesn`t cooperate with prosecutors, would that send the message that she, in some way, shape, or form, condones this kind of behavior?
WADE: Absolutely, Jane. There`s no question about that. But this is not unusual. This is so typical. I`ve spent years working with battered women. And the hardest thing is for the women to view someone that they love and trusted as someone who is now a dangerous enemy. And it`s a very emotionally conflicted state: "I love you, but you`ve turned on me."
Now one of the things I have to say is that Rihanna is someone who comes from a background, as I understand it, as does Chris, where there was violence. And she`s got that template in her head: love equals pain. And until she changes her thinking, she is not going to be able to stand up and say, "Absolutely no woman should be beaten and I will not go back to a man who has beaten me."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well...
WADE: She can`t do it until she changes her thinking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that is some stinking thinking right there. Over the weekend, Rihanna revealed a gun tattoo she got on her right rib cage earlier this month. Check out this image from the MySpace page of the artists who call themselves Bang-Bang. There`s the little gun right under her armpit there.
WADE: Oh, God.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come on. If you ask me, this is -- I mean, come on. This is just violence with more violence.
WADE: This is such a disturbed message. It`s such a disturbed message. And Jane, I want to say to anybody out there who wants to change their life by changing their thinking and getting rid of those patterns, I`ve got a free what I call quantum thinking lesson on my Web site: DocWade.com.
But in Rihanna`s case to have a gun tattoo, doesn`t that tell you how much her background says to her violence is OK?
WADE: And violence against women is OK? It`s not OK.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, if she got a peace sign tattoo, I would have said that`s a wonderful expression of perhaps turning the other cheek and practicing...
WADE: Right, exactly. She has a lot to learn. And she has a lot of growing up to do, because I -- I can tell you right now -- and it`s the saddest thing, I can predict for you that he is going to do it again.
WADE: Or she`s going to find somebody else until she changes her thinking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they`re both destroying their careers, Brenda, in the process. This is not helping her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There was just a big story today saying -- actually speculating that she`s going to lose endorsements unless she actually testifies against him.
WADE: Well, I think that`s true. And unfortunately, I think it`s appropriate. I don`t think anyone in the spotlight who has been battered and who is a role model for young women -- there are so many young women still being battered on dates and who think this is OK, that somehow this - - this male patriarchy says that women are less valuable. And a lot of young women are endeared with that idea.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got to -- we`ve got to end that, Brenda. Thank you so much. Got to end that.
Casey Anthony, no stranger to the court system. Is her lawyer defective? We`ll answer the question next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Startling accusations in the Casey Anthony case. Is Jose Baez a defective lawyer? That`s what one former client now claims.
Milton Diaz is serving a 15-year sentence in the death of a toddler and he says it`s Baez`s fault he`s behind bars. Should Casey be worried?
Plus, bizarre twists in the octo-mom saga, Nadya Suleman`s former publicist who said she was nuts now rushes to her defense in the public feud with Angels in Waiting.
And speaking of feuds, you know him as the ShamWow guy. Cops say they know him as the guy who beat up a Miami prostitute. I`ll have the shocking details.
A massive double-barreled blow to Casey Anthony`s defense tonight; Attorney Jose Baez is now facing his own troubles. A former client currently behind bars is claiming that Jose Baez was defective in defending him.
Milton Diaz is serving a 15-year sentence for the death of a toddler. He blames the judge, prosecutors and particularly his former attorney, Jose Baez. Diaz says it was a botched defense strategy that led to his false conviction. This, as Baez prepares for what could be explosive question and answer confrontations this week.
Tomorrow, he is set to depose Jim Hoover. Remember him? From last week, that`s the controversial former volunteer security guard for the Anthony family. He`s also set to take on two jail guards. They could reveal more about Casey`s behavior that key day that Caylee`s remains were found.
Will accusations of lousy lawyering throw Baez off his game? Should Casey Anthony be worried about her own defense?
Let`s go back to the experts. We`re delighted to have with us tonight Thomas Luka, the attorney representing Casey`s brother, Lee Anthony -- lots of questions for him; and still here, Brenda Wade, a clinical psychologist; plus Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.
Stacey, what do you make of this claim by this convict that Baez failed to disclose information to prosecutors which then prevented Baez from showing jurors a video that explained how the child skull fracture could have theoretically been an accident, quote, "Baez wanted to surprise the prosecution and the surprise blew up in the defendant`s face."
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, this is very interesting.
It`s a motion for ineffective assistance of counsel. That`s basically what he was trying to say. And these pop up quite often with people that get convicted of the crime. And certainly prosecutors at this point kind of come in and jump to the defense of the defense attorney because they don`t want the conviction to be thrown out.
But certainly Baez at this point has to be embarrassed because most of these times these claims are made and the only people that know are the lawyer, the prosecutor, the defendant and then the judge of the appellate court that looks it over.
And in this case, now the whole world is getting a view that this person thought that Jose Baez did him wrong. But the interesting thing is that the viewers have to know it`s my understanding that this defendant has accused the prosecutor, the judge, of everybody is being unfair to him. It`s like a bitter pill.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, Baez by the way is not embarrassed. He says through his spokesperson that this is a common post-conviction strategy. And he`s not going to let his ego get in the way and he hopes that the strategy works out for this guy.
So there you have that.
Now another big issue, private investigator, Jim Hoover, deposed by lawyers for Zenaida Gonzalez just last week -- we talked it about all last week. Hoover speculated about who Dominic Casey, another private eye working for the Anthony family, was talking to on the phone in that now infamous video of Dominic searching the area where Caylee`s remains were discovered a month later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM HOOVER, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I don`t think it was George and Cindy, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who?
HOOVER: I don`t think he was talking to Cindy or George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who do you think he was talking to?
HOOVER: I think it might -- possibly be Lee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lee Anthony?
HOOVER: Possibly. You know, low probability, possibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thomas Luka, you represent Lee Anthony, Casey`s brother. After that statement came out last week, you seemed angry and threatened possible legal action. Why? And what steps are you planning to take?
THOMAS LUKA, LEE ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: Well first of all, Jane, these allegations by Mr. Hoover have to be substantiated through phone records or some other objective way. And they`re not being -- they`re not being that.
Even that, Mr. Hoover does say it`s a low probability that he was talking to Mr. Anthony. I`ve spoken to Mr. Anthony and Mr. Anthony steadfastly denied that he ever spoke to Mr. Hoover about that particular incident or on that particular day.
But we hope that the object of phone records are going bear that out and will show that Mr. Hoover was, at the very least, gravely mistaken.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s a pretty serious thing because obviously the implications are that whoever that gentleman, Dominic Casey, is talking to on the phone knew something, knew, Stacey Honowitz, where the little girl`s body was buried.
HONOWITZ: That`s right Jane. We discussed it last week.
What are the implications, when people hear or they see it replayed over and over again, why are they at the exact spot where this body was found later? And certainly it does give the impression that somebody in that Anthony camp sent them over there.
So certainly we`re going to hear tomorrow some more details. And the attorney`s right. Basically the phone records are going to bear out or substantiate what we`re trying to find out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ok he`s got a lot of questions, I`m sure Jose Baez does, for this Jim Hoover as we`ve been talking about. Jose Baez plans to depose the Anthony`s former volunteer security guard, Jim Hoover, this week. Tomorrow, I believe.
But he may not be very happy about what Hoover has to say about a Zanny the nanny abduction. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole time that you were with the Anthony`s family, you never heard one of them mention the babysitter.
HOOVER: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never heard them mention Zenaida Gonzalez.
HOOVER: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that seem -- I`m probably asking a question I know the answer to because it`s so obvious. Did that seem strange to you that the -- the person who Casey said had taken the baby that that name never came up?
HOOVER: Did it seem strange to me? For the hours I was out there and the times I was out there, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, the Anthonys still publicly claim a Zenaida Gonzalez stole the child. They say it`s a different Zenaida than the woman who is suing Casey, but the point here is wouldn`t the Anthonys be talking about this alleged abductor more if they really believed the story that a Zanny the nanny took the child?
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Of course, I would think so. I would absolutely think so Jane, simply because if it`s the case, you`re going to do everything you can to find that person.
So why wouldn`t they be talking about that person? I don`t think this sounds like something where there is veracity; it doesn`t sound like truth to me. And it looks like another attempt on the part of the family to rally behind Casey.
I don`t blame them. She`s their daughter. They love her. But at the same time, it doesn`t hold water.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right now...
HONOWITZ: Jane, can I say...
HONOWITZ: Can I say one thing?
I think it`s interesting to note that if you look at the very early tapes, the videotapes of George and Cindy Anthony, when the case first came to light, never one time did you ever, ever hear them say in any interview even as they were walking down the street, "We need to find this nanny. We need to find her, this woman." The name was never brought up. And I think that`s very telling.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and now it seems like the defense is stuck with this Zanny the nanny defense, which may be a big problem for them.
Let`s talk about somebody else that Baez plans to depose.
This week, Amy Huizenga (ph), now this is a former friend of Casey`s who has said incredibly damaging things. She says that Casey is a liar, stole checks to go on a shopping spree at target to buy push-up bras and beer. That Casey partied hard the whole month little Caylee was first missing before she was reported missing and that even before that, Casey brought Caylee to booze-drenched parties.
Thomas Luka, as an attorney for Lee Anthony and by extension being on the family`s side, this has got to be very difficult for them day in and day out to hear these things about Casey.
LUKA: It certainly is. And just going back a little bit, the whole Zanny the nanny or Zenaida Gonzalez, all of this has come from Casey Anthony herself. So everything has to be taken with a grain of salt and has to be verified through some third party because there have been so many inconsistencies by Miss Anthony herself.
LUKA: And all of these have to be explained.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Stacey, what do you think is going to happen with Amy Huizenga? I mean, how is Baez going to undo that damage?
HONOWITZ: Well, I think what he`s going to try to do is say that since Casey stole from her, then obviously she`s got a grudge against her. And so she`s going to say anything.
Now, that doesn`t work. I mean, it can be a double-edged sword because do you want the jury to hear that not only did she murder her child -- which is they`re trying to prove -- but that she`s also a thief? That`s a prior bad act that the defense would want to try to keep out.
So now if you go and you use the -- the theory of you don`t like her because she stole from you, now you have the jury hearing that she`s a thief. So that can really play out either way seriously.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the last thing, Brenda Wade, he`s also going to depose Kio Marie Cruz, who told the "National Enquirer" that as soon as she heard that Caylee`s remains were found double wrapped with a heart, she was shocked because she claims she and Casey used to bury their pets in the same manner at the same location.
Is that damaging? How damaging is that?
WADE: That is -- yes, I think it`s so disturbing, Jane. It`s hard for me to even hear it. But, yes, I think that that says, again, all the arrows seem to be pointing to Casey Anthony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Although, when you tell your story or you give your story to the "National Enquirer," and we don`t know if she`s stole it -- sold it that could hurt her credibility.
Thanks to my fantastic panel.
In other news, the famous ShamWow pitchman arrested for allegedly beating up a hooker. You have to see this story to truly believe it.
And more kookiness from octo-mom Nadya Suleman; her former publicist who once called her nuts is now furiously defending her. Do you think she`s kooky? Or is she`s some sort of media mastermind. Call 1-877-JVM- SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297 at let me know.
But first, the battle between octo-mom and Angels and Waiting has gotten pretty intense. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTY. FOR ANGELS IN WAITING: He was shouting and yelling obscenities to our AIW nannies stating quote, "Get the `F` out of here," he used the word. "All of you are fired."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The man who called octo-mom "nuts" now races to her defense. I`ll have the very latest.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Famous or maybe infamous ShamWow pitchman, Vince Shlomi was arrested for allegedly giving a prostitute a serious beat-down and I mean serious. Shlomi was nabbed on felony battery charges in Miami last month. Cops say he punched a prostitute because she bit his tongue and would not let go. The woman reportedly suffered facial fractures and lacerations.
Prosecutors did not file formal charges but the victim is reportedly considering suing the ShamWow spokesman who also happens to sell a product called the "Slap Shot." That`s right. You cannot make this stuff up.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
More exquisitely bizarre twists in the octo-mom saga tonight. Nadya Suleman`s former publicist who recently said she was "nuts and greedy" now rushes to her defense. Victor Munoz who blasted Suleman`s behavior when they parted ways is now an ally in her very public feud with Angels in Waiting. Here`s what he told Radaronline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR MUNOZ, NADYA SULEMAN`S FORMER PUBLICIST: I felt from day one that she was being bullied to going into Gloria Allred`s camp. They didn`t understand the way Nadya thought and Nadya obviously didn`t understand what Angels in Waiting`s agenda really was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And octo-mom`s ex-PR flak didn`t stop there. He fired a shot at Angels saying they had their own commercial agenda and tried to push it on Nadya and Dr. Phil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUNOZ: Right away, they started getting into, you know, product placement, things like that; a very nice book that they`re trying to have published. And they have also a plush toy that has a little tag that has something special, you know, on it. She just pushed that right in front of us and said, "Dr. Phil, can you please look at this? I want you to see this." You know, gave him a sales spiel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Isn`t that the pot calling the kettle black, folks? Some have suggested that Angels in Waiting are a little holier than thou. Maybe, but pushing product to make a buck?
Did this feud between octo-mom and Angels just open up another battle front? With six of the eight octuplets home from the hospital, we have to ask when does the all-out war surrounding these babies finally end?
Joining me is psychologist Michele Borba; and we are delighted to have HLN`s very own Brooke Anderson, co-host of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT;" as well as also delighted to have Jeff Czech, Nadya Suleman`s attorney.
Let`s start with Brooke. This former publicist for Nadya called her nuts, but now he`s vigorously defending her against Angels in Waiting. Why do you think he has done a 180 and come to her defense suddenly?
BROOKE ANDERSON, HLN CO-HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes. He`s completely backtracking Jane. And I think it`s because he really regrets the fact that he did call her nuts, that he did call her greedy. And now he is trying to side with her and he`s trying to defend her by saying that, yes, he believes Angels in Waiting acted as a bully and that they were trying to force some sort of financial agenda on Nadya Suleman -- who knows if that is true.
But clearly from the beginning, Jane, both sides Angels in Waiting and Nadya Suleman were very suspicious of one another and very unsure about this -- the whole situation. And it is no surprise that it all came to a head in the way that it did.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Czech, you are Nadya Suleman`s lawyer. I have so many questions to ask you.
One is, she keeps saying I`m not taking public assistance, but I`ve read reports that say having these babies in the hospital and caring for them to the point where they`re healthy enough to leave is costing an estimated $1.5 million to $3 million. Who is paying for all that?
JEFF CZECH, NADYA SULEMAN`S LAWYER: Well, that`s the first time -- by the way, thanks for having me on, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CZECH: That`s the first time I`ve heard those numbers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s say it`s $500,000. Let`s low ball it. Who is paying for it?
CZECH: Okay. Who is paying for it? Well, to my knowledge, Kaiser is still being paid by MediCal, that`s true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that`s California`s health care program; that`s taxpayer dollars, right?
CZECH: That is. But Nadya is doing her best to get off the public dollar and be self-sufficient.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I`m just making the point that --
CZECH: She`s in the process.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I totally understand you. But when somebody says that they`re not taking public assistance, then you have bill, even if it`s $400,000, I mean that`s a lot of money.
Octo-mom`s ex-PR flak also fired a shot at Angels in Waiting on Radaronline, suggested they were not ready for the challenge. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUNOZ: When Angels said Victor, can you go find the nurses, can you call the local places, organizations to bring in some nurses, I was thinking out loud what nurses? You don`t have them? This is not set up already? You mean we`re going to train from the beginning? I thought you guys had been around for a while, had people in place all ready to step in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michele Borba, first of all, I`m a big fan of Gloria Allred, but it seems that Angels may have had some problems.
Does water find its own level? Are opportunists looking at this situation, saying, "Hey, how can I benefit from this?"
MICHELE BORBA, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know what, I think absolutely everybody in the case of this is looking for the opportunity and these kids are becoming absolute pawns. These children right now need more than anything else an emotionally available and stable mother. The research is absolutely clear if they don`t get it and she doesn`t tune into those, the writing is on the wall as to what`s going to happen to these kids later on. This is hard-core stuff.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Angels in Waiting has accused Nadya of letting the media get too close to the babies. Nadya has defended herself saying not so, they wash their hands, everything is above board.
But look at this video of Nadya inside her house when the babies first came home -- the first two of them. As she makes her way up the stairs we noticed something very interesting. Let`s take a closer look. There is a media mob inside the home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There it is. There`s the media mob. As her attorney, Jeff, who are these people? They can`t all be working for Radaronline.
CZECH: No, they weren`t. I believe ET was the show at that time.
And Nadya and I were at the hospital when all of them came in, including Gloria. And by the time we got to the house it was filled with brothers and uncles and aunts and family members, et cetera. And we did our best to remove all of the unnecessary people. But once that -- that dam broke, it was very difficult to get the people out of that house.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. When you look at that you`re in the media, Brooke, what do you see? Seeing that mob inside the house.
ANDERSON: I`m appalled. I`m appalled for those newborn babies that were premature. This is no environment for them to be brought home to. It`s clearly unsafe and not sanitary.
And we saw with the chaos surrounding the arrival of the first two octuplets, when they came home it was very, very dangerous. And my question is, if she wasn`t at home, who was letting the people in the house? Who was responsible for that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we`re going to answer that question in a moment.
Stay right there. We`ll have more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR ANGELS IN WAITING: She and her attorney permitted a dangerous and unhealthy environment inside of the home for the babies` arrival.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fireworks never far from octo-mom Nadya Suleman as her ex-publicist who called her nuts recently now leaps to her defense.
Back with my panel, phone lines lighting up. Anne, New Hampshire, question or thought, ma`am?
ANNE, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Hi, Jane.
I just want to say that I think that we`re all being pretty hard on Nadya, you know? Because I mean after al we`re celebrating the birth of these babies and they are medical miracles. And after all she didn`t that she was going to have eight children. So I think she`s just playing it by ear, every day by day, trying to do the best that she can.
And I have great respect for Gloria Allred as a lawyer and as a person.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Me too.
ANNE: But I believe threatening to take the children away from her and all of this stuff about Angels in Waiting, I mean I think Nadya can take care of her own children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go back to Jeff on this.
I have no personal animosity against Nadya Suleman. She seems very charming. She seems to love her kids.
CZECH: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a world where every 5 1/2 seconds a child around the globe dies of malnutrition and starvation, where we only have certain number of resources in this world of ours. To have 14 children strikes many as being a resource hog, have you ever discussed with her the environmental, for example, implications of her having 14 children?
CZECH: No, I have haven`t. And really, I don`t even think that`s relevant quite frankly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is relevant.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s relevant because we`re living in the world where there are only so many resources. And the worst environmental decision you could possibly make is to have 14 kids.
CZECH: She`s not taking up any resources by having these children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course she is.
CZECH: That`s really quite ridiculous.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not ridiculous. We have a finite number of resources and to have 14 kids takes resources away from other people when we only have so many resources on this planet.
CZECH: She`s not taking resources away from anybody. She`s raising a family, she`s striving to be on her own and the interlopers can just go away. She`s trying to be self-sufficient.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, an interesting way of trying to be self- sufficient.
Michele, we`re going to give the psychologist the last word here.
BORBA: Well, you`ve talked about malnutrition in terms of physical.
My concern is right now, emotional malnutrition of those kids. Mom needs to be tuned into those kids and somebody needs to be supporting those children.
CZECH: Mom is tuned into those kids.
BORBA: Well, then, have mom make sure that she`s home, that she`s stable and that she`s getting some kind of support.
CZECH: She is.
BORBA: I`m not seeing that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
Well, listen, we have to leave it right there. I respect everyone for engaging in a very healthy debate. And hope you can come back soon. Thanks to my fabulous panel.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell and you`re watching ISSUES, a hot-fiery one, on HLN.