Edition: U.S. | Arabic | Set Pref

 

Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

More Info Surfaces about Craigslist Killer Suspect; Did Factory Farming Cause Swine Flue Outbreak?

Aired April 27, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a tidal wave of new information in the case against suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff, accused in the brutal murder of a beautiful masseuse.

Now a man claims he was set to meet with the clean-cut med student and that Markoff e-mailed erotic pictures of himself. Was the engaged-to-be married preppy targeting men, too, including transsexuals? Is the suspect a sex addict?

Meantime, Markoff`s fiancee finally wakes up to reality and reportedly calls off the wedding. Also, I`ll tell you if cops are charging Markoff in the attack on a stripper in Rhode Island.

Then, could we see a deposition duel in the Casey Anthony civil suit? Zanny the nanny`s lawyers to drag mom Cindy in front of a camera again for more grilling. Will Cindy be as fiery as she was the first time around?

And I`ll have an update in the soap opera surrounding Haleigh Cummings` disappearance. Investigative journalist Art Harris says cops don`t think it was a stranger abduction. So who are they focusing in on now?

Then, new reports raise questions about Melissa Huckaby`s past as investigators continue to search for a motive in the ghoulish rape and killing of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

Meantime, Huckaby`s latest court appearance offered no clues, as the 28-year-old Sunday schoolteacher remains silent and showed no emotion, a complete reversal from her first court date.

Plus, swine flu panic grips the nation as 40 cases are confirmed. How dangerous is it? And I`ll have the story you will not hear anywhere else. Did inhuman factory farm conditions help cause this outbreak?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news as the nation is gripped in a panic over an outbreak of swine flu, with more than 40 cases confirmed. Could it all have been prevented? I will give you the astounding -- and I mean astounding -- back story nobody else is talking about. It`s what your family needs to know.

But first, jaw-dropping twist in the story of alleged Craigslist killer Philip Markoff. Tonight an avalanche of shocking information sheds new light on Markoff`s double life.

The seemingly clean-cut med student accused of murder, kidnapping and armed robbery, appears to have had everyone fooled. As the cracks start to break, we see an even darker side of Markoff.

Sources say he used the e-mail address sexaddict5385@yahoo.com to troll online for erotic encounters. Now an anonymous source has come forward telling NBC News Markoff wasn`t just after women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I posted an ad on Craigslist under "male for t (ph)," which stands for "males for transsexuals."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s where he found you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s where he found me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. A shocking revelation from an anonymous man who believes he is not the only one. Philip Markoff allegedly looked for encounters with men, including transsexuals, and even e-mailed sexually- explicit photos of himself.

So was Markoff a sex addict who would go to any lengths for an erotic encounter?

Plus, Las Vegas escort Trisha Leffler claims she was robbed by Philip Markoff in a Boston hotel for days before the murder of Julissa Brisman. Listen to the crazy details she gave CBS` Morgan Atlas (ph).

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRISH LEFFLER, ESCORT: He picked up a pair of my underwear that were on the floor and put them in his pocket. I thought it was weird.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll have more of her account of that night and analysis of Markoff`s alleged panty fetish.

But first, just a week after Markoff`s fiancee told ABC News he couldn`t hurt a fly, reports claim the wedding is off. While his fiancee might be drop-kicking the accused killer, Markoff`s parents and brother visited him behind bars over the weekend. They are standing by their son. That, even though reports say he warned his family, "Hey, guess what? There`s more coming. You should move to California."

And Markoff`s preppy facade begins to crack. What other secrets will be revealed?

So many issues. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1- 877-586-7297.

But first, my fantastic expert panel: the one and only Curtis Sliwa, founder, Guardian Angels; Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Judy Kuriansky, Dr. Judy, noted clinical psychologist; and sex expert Rebecca Rose Woodland, criminal defense attorney. But we begin with Maria Kramer, crime reporter for "The Boston Globe."

Maria, what is the very latest?

MARIA KRAMER, CRIME REPORTER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Well, at this point, Rhode Island authorities are poised to announce any new charges against Philip Markoff. As you know, two days after Julissa Brisman was killed, another woman, a Las Vegas prostitute, was attacked, was assaulted by a man fitting the description of Philip Markoff. So that`s basically what we`re expecting to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I hear they found allegedly his fingerprints in that hotel room?

KRAMER: Yes. That`s what we know. We also -- from sources. We also know from sources that he was -- that he was texting from his cell phone in that area in that evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was texting all over the place, and that`s going to be huge evidence against him.

Philip Markoff`s sexual behavior seems to be all over the map. Listen to what his college friend said allegedly happened one night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN HOUSTON, COLLEGE FRIEND OF MARKOFF: Never said anything to anyone else, because it was Phil. He was our friend. I figured he had too much to drink. And I didn`t want to say anything or make a big deal. But that was the only time in college, or ever, that something like that had happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And something like that is, she says he forced himself on her and tried to kiss her, and that luckily a friend came by and pulled him off. Then there`s the collecting panties from erotic workers, Dr. Judy, sex expert. There`s trolling the Internet for men and women, including transsexuals. What is your analysis of the sexual inclination? Is he a sex addict?

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, the criteria for a sex addict are three. One, persistent thoughts, impulses or behaviors, and it can be thoughts, not just behavior about sex.

Second, getting into trouble with the law, which clearly has happened here.

And the third is being out of control of the sexual urges. They`re all over the map, as you said, with him, including some paraphilias, which means an attachment to collecting objects like collecting the panties.

And the point is here that it`s not really about just the sex for him. I think there`s multiple addictions here, including with some of the gambling. And also, it`s a lot about power, because what you just heard described by that young woman is really about a kind of harassment and date rape. And that is a power exertion. Also, looking for prey in terms of the young man who advertised himself as a transsexual.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, all of this, Mike Eiglarsh, is embarrassing, but is it going to affect the criminal case?

What`s fascinating about this, he`s not charged with sex crimes. So there`s a lot of sexual intrigue. I`ve studied sexual addiction intrigue. The dance is sometimes more important than the act itself. There`s precious little about him actually having sex with someone.

MIKE EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I assure you the defense will focus their resources on trying to keep this stuff out. If your public says, "Oh, my gosh," that`s the stuff that you want to keep out of evidence.

He didn`t commit any crime with this latest revelation. He tried to, and what law enforcement officers will suggest is, probably find another person who he can prey upon. But it doesn`t, I believe, necessarily come into the criminal case itself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this question. Rebecca Rose Woodland, is this anonymous man going to end up being a witness in this trial, and a witness for the prosecution presumably?

REBECCA ROSE WOODLAND, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure. The prosecution can -- the prosecution`s going to try to introduce this as a possible pattern that may lead to other killings, other murders. That is motive.

Did he go looking for people and then at some point meet them, and at that point we have one person who they have alleged that he killed. They are going to look for others with the same pattern.

Serial killers, they`re thinking he may be a serial killer. We`re not saying he is. But they`re thinking the same pattern, same mode, same way to meet the people and get them.

Again, the control issue, with the sexual problems, sexual issues. But in this case it`s a man, so as Dr. Judy said, he is all over the map. But yes, the prosecution will very much so try to get and introduce this person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa, you have seen so many sickos out there over the course of your many decades fighting crime. What do you make of this guy? I think it`s absolutely fascinating that he robbed these women, allegedly, he kills this woman allegedly. He takes their panties, but there is no sexual allegation here. And even the anonymous man who said that he traded e-mails with him said it never came to anything.

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Well, Jane, more than being a first class sick-ola with the panty raid syndrome, he`s a degenerate gambler. He said, "Hey, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, you have no internal controls, no security. I can scam money. I can rob people. No one`s going to report it. I`ll take advantage of the female prostitutes who say they`re giving you a therapeutic massage."

Please, Jane, yes, therapeutic massage and a happy time, too.

"And then I`ll go after the transgenders, transsexuals, transformers, transvestites. They`re not going to report me either."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, his arrogance, Curtis, is astounding. According to the anonymous man, he actually used his own e-mail address. So my theory is -- and I`m not convicting him, because he hasn`t been convicted of anything. He`s just accused.

But Judy Kuriansky, I think that, obviously, addiction is progressive. When you start out, you don`t take yourself to the end point. And by that time you`ve already revealed a lot of information.

KURIANSKY: Yes. And Jane, he used the word "sex addict." But that`s partly also to engage his prey. And I think what`s really important here, too, is that there likely was a long history of this. He knows the lingo.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, he does. Fantastic panel. More on the huge developments in a moment. And I want to hear from you on Philip Markoff`s secret double life. Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Then, accused killer Melissa Huckaby makes a second court appearance as a judge seals the autopsy results in the murder of Sandra Cantu.

But first, the father of Philip Markoff`s fiancee said just last week that his daughter was standing by her man. With the wedding apparently called off now, has she changed her tune?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM MCCALLISTER, FATHER OF MARKOFF`S FIANCEE: As expected, not well. She`s still confident in Phil. Other than that, we`re saying a lot of prayers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN SALSBERG, PHILIP MARKOFF`S ATTORNEY: They loved their son very much. They`re supportive of him. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff`s attorney speaks out on behalf of Markoff`s parents. Imagine the hell they`re in right now. They stand by their son, as we learn more about his shocking double life, reportedly using an e-mail address that says "sex addict," seeking out transsexuals. The list goes on and on.

I am taking your calls. My expert panel. Linda, Tennessee, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. My question is that we have all heard that he`s a premed student. I would think it would be quite ironic if he were a psychology major. Does anyone know?

KURIANSKY: I`m going to have to answer that one, Linda. Actually, the pre-med part of it really fits, because his actions were really a lot about in control. And in fact, when you`re a medical student, one of the issues is being in control over life and death. So it would make more sense that he would be a pre-med student than, really, a psychologist.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fascinating.

Misty, Oregon, your question or thought?

CALLER: Yes. I`m curious if his fiancee still believes he`s innocent after all the facts that are coming out?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maria Kramer, the wedding is supposedly off. But she had really stuck up for him initially, even accusing the cops of trying to set him up for money. What`s the latest on her?

KRAMER: Well, nobody has said the wedding is officially off, but we do now it`s been indefinitely postponed. One of the vendors, the band was told that they should not be expected to come in August when the wedding was scheduled.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So they`ve stop rehearsing, apparently?

KRAMER: Yes. We shut correct Philip Markoff is actually a medical student, a second-year medical student, not pre-med.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. OK. So he`s in his second year.

Listen, Trisha Leffler, a Las Vegas escort who advertised on Craigslist, says she was robbed at gunpoint by Philip Markoff. She spoke to CBS` "48 hours" about this terrible experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEFFLER: We went into the room. And as soon as I had closed the door, I turned around, and he was standing just inside the door. When I turned around and looked at him, that`s when he pulled out the gun.

I was a little nervous. I immediately started shaking. Like my heart started beating real fast. He just told me to lay down and told me, "If you just be quiet, you know, no harm`s going to come to you."

As soon as he tied me up, he sat back in front of me and pulled out some black leather gloves and put the black leather gloves on. And then he asked me where my money was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Trisha escaped unhurt just four days before Julissa Brisman was murdered in a different Boston hotel. Investigators have posted messages looking for more victims on Craigslist.

Curtis Sliwa, do you suspect there are more men and women out there who have exchanged e-mails with this guy and are just too scared and too embarrassed to come forward?

SLIWA: Absolutely. Everybody knows that, if you want to get over like a fat rat, go on Craigslist. There are no internal controls. In fact, the founder, Craig Newmark, when pressed on the issue, like, "You`re making all this money. Don`t you have a way of, like, an integrity test? Because we know you`re promoting prostitution and even the sale of underage girls for sex."

And he goes, "We`re not going to spend an extra nickel, dime or penny."

Now, if this is free and open economics, you know, free and open exchange of situations, where you can...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come on.

SLIWA: No, no, no...

EIGLARSH: Listen.

SLIWA: That`s an advertisement for crime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, what they said, Curtis, is that they required telephone verification...

SLIWA: Oh, get out of here. Do you believe that stuff? That never happens. Why don`t you give it an integrity test? This guy is making money hand over fist, promoting prostitution, and sale of underage kids.

EIGLARSH: I don`t want to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Mark.

EIGLARSH: I don`t want to go toe-to-toe with him. Because candidly he frightens me. But -- but I don`t know that you can blame Craigslist for all of this. There are numerous other places where people advertise their sexy massages, and the issue is not necessarily where people are finding it. Because if it`s not Craigslist, it`s going to be many other places. It`s those predators, allegedly, like this gentleman, who find these people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean, Judy Kuriansky, this has gone on since the dawn of time. Before the Internet, it was the classifieds. And it`s really the behavior. But I do feel that the Internet facilitates it.

KURIANSKY: The Internet definitely facilitates it. We know that from so many cases, because of the anonymity. It`s the anonymity that helps people, and it`s the anonymity that hurts people. It shows how people with these kinds of murderous and angry impulses show up in all kinds of jobs.

We had the killer clown, the -- John Wayne Gacy who ended up being a clown for kids to put himself in this situation where he could find the victims. And here we have a medical student who`s finding his victims.

Listen to more of what an anonymous Boston man said today about contacting Philip Markoff online. Fascinating stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be very difficult for his fiancee to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be tough for anyone to hear, that your fiancee is saying that he`s single and looking for sex online anonymously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With men. With men who dressed up as women. With transsexuals. With anyone he would be able to get online. This person was trolling Craigslist like a Monopoly game. I don`t know who else he contacted through there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think there are others out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rebecca Rose Woodland, how do you cross-examine him if you`re the defense attorney and he`s a prosecution witness?

REBECCA ROSE WOODLAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if he`s the -- the defense, believe me, is going to try to block any sort of testimony from this man, saying it`s unrelated. It`s much too prejudicial without any probative valley. That`s what the defense will say.

What the judge will do in this case, I don`t know. Most likely he will -- this particular person will most likely not testify, because it will seem very prejudicial without that much probative value because of such differences. And there was no murder. There was no contact. So he never even saw the alleged killer that we`re talking about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But he used -- apparently, he claims that he used his real e-mail. In other words, he used his real name. And that`s forensic evidence.

WOODLAND: I agree. But could someone else have used his e-mail? Could one of his roommates? That`s what the defense will say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Eiglarsh, I think that this case has a really strong forensic evidence, electronic evidence, surveillance video, cell phone pings, the plastic ties...

KURIANSKY: The gun that they found in his -- in his possession, as well.

SLIWA: Yes.

WOODLAND: Absolutely.

EIGLARSH: All of that. And that`s why you hear the defense lawyer not coming out like Jose Baez did, holding back and waiting before you blame it on the nanny. You know, you hold off.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Curtis, we`re going to give you the last word, tough guy.

SLIWA: Let`s get Craigslist to actually start doing some enforcement for all the criminality that they know they`re promoting. It`s their fault.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s it.

Swine flu next. We`re going to tell you the story nobody else is telling you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, swine flu panic grips the nation with at least 40 cases confirmed. But the story nobody else is telling you: some scientists believe inhuman factory farming of pigs helped cause the outbreak. The Humane Society of the United States said swine flu viruses are on an evolutionary fast track. They say pigs are forced into tiny cages and unable to even turn around. It`s so stressful on the animals that their immune system cannot fight infection.

Plus, raising pigs and hens in nearby sheds is unsound. All of this only helps the viruses adapt and grow.

The Humane Society now speaking out, saying this cruel treatment may play a role in the emergence of the swine flu bug.

With me, Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health and animal agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States.

Doctor, in your opinion, has the intense confinement imposed on pigs known as factory farming played a role in this swine flu outbreak?

DR. MICHAEL GREGER, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ANIMAL AGRICULTURE, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATS: When thousands of animals are overcrowded together in these cramped, football-field-size sheds, nose to nose in their own waste, they`re a breeding ground for disease. Really, the perfect storm environment for the emergence and spread of these new diseases.

This is not the first time a triple hybrid human bird/pig/swine flu virus has emerged. The first time this happened was on a factory farm in North Carolina in 1998. Five thousand pigs confined in metal cages so small, can`t even turn around. That`s where the last triple hybrid virus, swine flu virus emerged. These factory farms can be considered public health menaces.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know what? It`s not just the Humane Society of the United States that is criticizing factory farms. A two-year study by the prestigious Pew Commission on the impact of factory farms came out this time last year. It concluded that factory farms pose unacceptable risks to the environment, animal welfare and public health. It recommends to phase out the most intensive and inhuman confinement practices: namely pig gestation crates, veal crates and battery cages.

Why, doctor, do you think the media, the media around the world is doing 24/7 coverage on this story, and doesn`t ever, not once, talk about what you argue is the root cause?

GREGER: Well, we don`t tend to shore up the levee until after the disaster, unfortunately. But the public health community has been shouting this from the roof tops for years. The American Public Health Association has declared that there should be a moratorium on factory farms. This was back in 2003. The oldest and largest association of public health professionals in the country has called for an end to these factory farms. And again, this is over five years ago. We didn`t listen. And this is where we are today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what should the government do to stop this, what you`re looking at right now? I know Proposition 2 passed in California. It banned these crates in California. But that ban is being phased in over a number of years.

GREGER: We have to give these animals more breathing space. Certainly all animals, even those raised for food, deserve humane treatment. How we treat animals can have global public health implications. And the emergence of these animal flu viruses is the perfect illustration.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I thank you, I thank you, doctor, for coming on. I don`t want the exclusive on this. I hope that other medias watching this picks up on this story. Because this is the underlying story that nobody seems to talk about. Please come back again soon.

Cops in the Haleigh Cummings case, reportedly ruling a stranger abduction is now possible. And who are they focusing on?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Could we see a deposition do-over in the Casey Anthony civil suit? Zanny the nanny`s lawyers want to drag mom Cindy in front of the camera again for more grilling.

Then new reports raise questions about Melissa Huckaby`s tests, as investigators continue to search for a motive in the ghoulish rape and killing of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Meantime, Huckaby`s latest court appearance offered no clues as the 28-year-old Sunday schoolteacher remained silent, and showed no emotion, a complete reversal from her first court date.

I will have the latest on those cases in just a bit.

But first, big developments in the case of little Haleigh Cummings, she vanished without a trace from her Satsuma, Florida home almost three months ago.

Tonight, investigative journalist, Art Harris reports police believe Haleigh was not -- I repeat -- not abducted by a stranger. If this turns out to be true, it signals a dramatic turn of events.

What`s more, a lead member of the Haleigh search task force claims he has been given the go-ahead to offer immunity to anybody who helps crack the case.

Meantime, more alleged cracks in the happy family facade of Haleigh`s father, Ron Cummings and his teen bride, Misty Croslin. We will hear a shocking claim by one of the desperate dad`s former co-worker.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Thomas Ruskin, former NYPD detective; Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; plus, Art Harris, investigative journalist par excellence.

Art, tell us about the stunning revelation made to you by a lead member of the task force. What is this about they`re confident it was not a stranger abduction?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: That`s right. Jane, they are looking at people close to the families, to see how this could have possibly happened. It does not have the earmarks of a stranger abduction. A lead investigator tells me.

And they are narrowing the search to look at timelines of everybody who knew Haleigh and her family and to try to plug the holes and find the contradictions. Then they hope they can find someone who can put one of these key people, I`m not going to say suspects, out of where they said they were.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, now, Drew Findling, what about this offer of immunity to anyone who helps crack the case? I don`t know if that`s official. That`s what we`re hearing from Art Harris actually. Do you think that`s going to be effective and why didn`t they do it sooner?

DREW FINDLING, ATLANTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, because that has to come from the prosecutors. Law enforcement cannot offer immunity. You have to get permission from the prosecutors. So if you look at the law enforcement officer`s statements, he said, "I`ve been told by the prosecutors that if I can find a witness of this magnitude, we can offer immunity."

That will be pretty powerful. But remember, immunity means it`s going to be somebody that`s real close to the abduction. If there was an abduction, it`s going to be somebody in the inside, which would be critical in terms of how damaging that evidence can be against the suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let`s go to the other big story here tonight. Art, you spoke exclusively to one of Ron`s former co-workers. Tell us about the conversation between Ron and Misty that he claims he overheard.

HARRIS: Right, this is a fellow who`s a fellow crane operator, Jane, and he overheard Misty call Ron, and this is what he heard him say. He said, I remember she called him in tears because the little girl was giving her fits.

And he told her, "Whip her. Just whip her and make her be quiet." He said, "Just whip the little brat. She needs to understand it`s time to go to bed. Or put a movie in for her." Then he hung up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, before we go on, I do want to say that we have reached out to Ron`s attorney. And he says he will respond tomorrow. We will bring you that response tomorrow. We want fair coverage here.

But let me ask you this, Thomas Ruskin. Based on that conversation, do you think the cops could go in and arrest Misty for example for child neglect?

Remember, Casey Anthony -- and I`m not comparing the two -- but Casey Anthony was originally arrested for child neglect because she lost her kid essentially?

THOMAS RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And didn`t call a cop.

RUSKIN: It`s a far stretch to have police go in and -- first you`d refer to a CS, Child Welfare Services, and they would do a full investigation.

Just because he said to hit her, doesn`t mean that Misty did it. I think there`s other problem around Misty`s case, or Misty`s defense. And I think Misty would be one of the people that I would be targeting on, even though she passed the lie detector test, supposedly.

FINDLING: Jane, I`ve looked at that statement as a little bit different, I think that that is a helpful statement to Ron Cummings because it helps establish his alibi. We now know he was at work. They have the cell tower records that confirm he was at work.

And what`s most important about this, because I was very pointed when Art and I had a chance to talk about this before going on air, you know how I get about "National Enquirer types." Art did not pay man for his statement or whatsoever. Art has respect for the integrity of the criminal justice system. Art just did great investigative reporting which helps Ron Cummings.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Art -- I agree kudos to you for breaking so many stories on this case. I almost wish you were the lead investigator for the police. But give us a time line here. Because when was this conversation held? This wasn`t held the very night?

HARRIS: No, this was several weeks ago, Jane, before the child turns up missing.

And so the investigators tell me, they`re well aware of this phone call and the frustration of a 16, 17-year-old babysitter who`s trying to keep a rambunctious 5 year-old in her place. What do you do? You call daddy.

So that`s -- like Drew said I think that`s how a lot of people will interpret this, as a frustrated babysitter calling dad. And he`s frustrated and he`s at work, he gets interrupted. And this co-worker who overhears him with this phone call being rough who said whip her and you make her be quiet. He then is very sweet and sugary on the phone at another phone call that was described to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, there seems to be many faces, as you just mentioned, of Ron Cummings. Here`s his tearful plea for Haleigh`s return in the days immediately following the child`s disappearance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RON CUMMINGS, HALEIGH`S FATHER: Please bring my daughter home. She`s not yours. It`s not property. You know, it`s not something that you just take and say it`s mine or whatever. This is my daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As for teen bride Misty, she`s been portrayed as a party girl, to put it mildly. Now, according to Art Harris`s source, a babysitter on the verge. But she`s always maintained her love for little Haleigh. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MISTY CROSLIN, WIFE OF HALEIGH`S FATHER: I love Haleigh more than anything in this world. She was like my baby. They used to call me step- mom. They would rather be with me than their own mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t understand, Drew Findling, why can`t they -- we heard these allegations that she was on a drug binge, in three days leading up to little Haleigh`s disappearance.

Couldn`t they arrest her on that and put her in jail to put pressure on her to get her to iron out the inconsistencies in her story? Remember, the child disappeared on Misty`s watch.

FINDLING: You know, Jane, if we arrested, if law enforcement arrested people every time there was hearsay that they were on a drug binge, we would be just be using schools and Macy`s Department Stores to store criminals.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true.

FINDLING: Or alleged criminals. You need something more than just pure speculation, conjecture and hearsay.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

FINDLING: So it`s something that helps in their investigation, but it`s not something to take somebody into custody based on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Thomas Ruskin and Art Harris, thank you both. Drew, sit tight.

In the second of our twin tragedies out of Florida, the case of little Caylee Anthony. Tonight, attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez putting the squeeze on Caylee`s grandma, Cindy Anthony. They want a judge to force her to fess up about whether Casey ever stole from her. It is a question she adamantly refused to answer April 9th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Casey ever take money from you by using your credit cards without your permission?

CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: It`s not relevant to this case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not...

ANTHONY: I`m not answering the question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So will the lawyers for Zanny the nanny get to drag Cindy back in for a deposition do over?

Straight out to my guests still here: Rebecca Rose Woodland, criminal defense attorney and Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney.

Rebecca, why do you think they`re so focused on getting her to answer that question? I mean, we have plenty of evidence that she allegedly stole from her friend, from her grandmother, from a lot of people.

REBECCA ROSE WOODLAND, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the attorneys for Zenaida Gonzalez, now, this is a civil case, they are claiming in their motion, I read it in detail, that they need the information, they want the information because they want to prove that she couldn`t have afforded a nanny.

So if she`s stealing from her mother, using her mother`s credit cards without the mother`s permission, then that is further proof, they claim, that she could not have afforded a nanny. Nor Zenaida Gonzalez and they claim of course, this Zenaida isn`t -- has nothing to do with the Anthonys.

But even if it were a nanny, that she couldn`t afford any nanny. And of course, the Anthony family is saying, and, you know, Jose Baez should be saying, none of this is relevant in that case.

And we don`t want it to infringe on the criminal trial because it can shed a bad light on their daughter in the criminal aspect and in the jury pool prior to it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Findling, the police have said they don`t believe there is a Zanny the nanny; that this is complete and utter fiction.

So given that this is a civil case about that issue, could they bring the police in to testify and get a deposition from some of the investigators?

FINDLING: You know, they absolutely can do that. And Jane, let me say, you know, I`ve gone through this deposition. I`ve read the whole thing here. And this little series of questions is a teardrop in this very detailed deposition.

And you know my opinion, and that is this lawsuit is utterly ridiculous. But the fact that it`s gone on -- and let me say this -- you can make accusations against Cindy Anthony about blindly loving her daughter, but she absolutely, and I know she doesn`t mean to, nails Casey Anthony in this deposition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

FINDLING: Question after question, she nails her on not telling the truth. They don`t need that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, I`ve got to get to this next issue because it`s fascinating. The Anthonys, if they`re fans of "Law & Order" may want to skip tomorrow night`s special victims used at this episode. Look at this clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ashley Walker (ph)? Put the hose down, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She went to the cops?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where`s your daughter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are such a bitch...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you she`s at the babysitter...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but you`re full of crap. You know that I`m Sierra`s babysitter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you were, until two weeks ago when you got drunk and left her in the basket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a liar...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not here to play family feud. We just want to know that Sierra is ok.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what are you doing are you cleaning out the trunk of your car here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was on a trip. A cooler tipped over. Some meat must have spoiled or something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rebecca, could this influence the jury pool?

WOODLAND: Well, of course. Anything, I mean, us talking tonight Jane, obviously influences the jury pool. Sure this can influence the jury pool. I mean, this is the problem they are going to have.

Jose Baez has a huge problem before he even gets to trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

WOODLAND: On picking a fair jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rebecca, Drew, thank you so much.

A man accused of stalking Tyra Banks on trial this week. I`m going to tell you if the superstar will have to face him in court.

Then, the case against suspected rapist and killer, Melissa Huckaby; a gag order. We learned, Sandra Cantu`s autopsy will not be made public. I want to hear from you all the details.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sandra Cantu`s autopsy results will not be made public. I will analyze what this means for the case against her suspected rapist and killer, Melissa Huckaby.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Supermodel and TV star Tyra Banks -- and that`s not her -- is about to confront her accused stalker, and that is him. Grady Green charged with stalking Tyra Banks, goes on trial this week. And Tyra Banks will testify in court against him.

The 38-year-old accused of following Tyra all over the country last year. In March of 2008, Green took a bus from L.A. to New York and was arrested in Manhattan near the set of the Tyra Banks Show.

Green reportedly told cops, "Say yes, we`re good friends, Tyra and me, we`re real close. We`re like this." Green has pleaded not guilty of stalking, harassment and criminal trespassing charges. If convicted, he will -- get this, this is scary, he would only face a maximum of 90 days in jail. It`s hard for me to say because it`s so upsetting -- 90 days in jail. What`s she supposed to do after he gets out?

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

Shocking new reports in the murder of 8-year-old California girl Sandra Cantu. Two area news stations, KCRA and KTVU quoted unnamed sources Friday of saying, listen to this carefully, authorities traveled to Washington Idaho border to investigate allegations of past child abuse.

The claims date back to the 1980s, and apparently took place in a church where the grandfather of the accused rapist and killer Melissa Huckaby reportedly once worked.

But tonight, a big twist, an Idaho TV station, KLEW reports it could find no link between granddad and the church suggesting these reports are false. Melissa Huckaby lived with her 77-year-old grandfather, the current pastor of the local Baptist church, where police sources indicate the crime -- the crime against little Sandra may have occurred. In a church, people.

And in other stunning news, a judge has ruled that the autopsy of little Sandra will be sealed to avoid public outrage.

So much to get to tonight, straight to my expert panel: Judy Kuriansky, Dr. Judy, clinical psychologist; Mark Eiglarsh, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, and Bob Moffitt, a reporter with KFBK Newstalk 1530.

Bob, so many conflicting reports. We want to be very, very careful, because this grandfather is not accused of anything. And in fact, has cooperated fully with police.

But what can you tell us about these reports of investigators going across state lines?

BOB MOFFITT, REPORTER KFBK NEWSTALK 1530 (via telephone): Well, I have an email from the pastor of that church in question in Washington. I talked to him this morning. Pastor Bill Crutchburg (ph) says that he wanted to make sure that everyone knew that to the best of the church`s knowledge, that Wayne Wallace, the grandfather in question, had never been part of the church or employed by it.

Furthermore, the FBI did contact -- one of them contacted the pastors there at that church but it was for a totally unrelated incident. As far as the -- as far as Wayne Wallace ever being interviewed in regards to any other case, any reports of that have been unsubstantiated at this time.

You mentioned that the autopsy report has not been released. And furthermore, that the judges -- that the defense attorneys rather withdrew their motion to have a second autopsy on the body of Sandra Cantu.

So she will remain interred where she is. The lawyers in the case can now make statements to the media and tell them more about the processes of the case as the gag order was also partially lifted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The gag order was partially lifted? Ok. That`s interesting. Because I thought that they couldn`t talk.

So how was it lifted? In other words, how will they be able to speak? Just clarify that.

MOFIT: Well, as far as policy and procedure goes, where they are in the case, generally speaking. And also, you know, if there`s a motion that`s put forth. And what does that motion mean? What the other normal responses to it, that sort of thing, the kind of inside baseball, as it were, of the goings on of the trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

MOFIT: Both sides can now comment on that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, investigators went back again Thursday to the church where Huckaby`s grandfather is the pastor. This is the same place that had crime scene tape around it. And from which they removed a lot of evidence, including a possible cot.

So there`s speculation that this may be in fact where the crime against little Sandra was committed, in the church. We`ve tried to reach out to Huckaby`s grandfather, the church`s pastor, to get his side of the story. We`ve been unable to reach him. But he did say he will have a lot to say about all of this when the investigation is over.

Mark Eiglarsh, what do you make of all this? Because in cases like this involving children, we have to be so careful not to just, you know, do a blanket of, well, you know, this could be, that could be. It`s not like you have adults making accusations. It`s a very different thing.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, we need to be very careful not to go from Huckaby to grandfather, and condemn him for anything. What`s crystal clear is that these were unnamed sources. And then investigators followed up and found nothing. So that`s critical.

The second thing is, they`re going to have to investigate all of these leads, because perhaps she might have done any type of abuse at any of the places that he was also at and that`s critical to her case.

But he has done nothing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right in court this Friday, the judge ruled the autopsy of little Sandra will be sealed to avoid public outrage.

EIGLARSH: Good. Good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Additionally, the defense has withdrawn their request to exhume the body as you heard and they`ve also questioned...

EIGLARSH: ...great...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...the objectivity of the medical examiner.

But what is your analysis Dr. Judy of saying, we won`t release the autopsy results because it would cause such outrage. Obviously, I think that has to be connected to the special circumstance charge of rape with a foreign object.

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Exactly, and the hypothesis to be that this is so gruesome that it would be horrific for people to know. And actually Jane, I have been involved in cases where there has been such horrific abuse of children, where things have been inserted into a little girl`s vagina, knifes...

EIGLARSH: All right...

KORIANSKY: ...of all kinds of sticks and twisted...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

KORIANSKY: ...and that`s what would make the public horrified.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on a minute. We will have more on this case in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA HUCKABY, ACCUSED KILLER: From what I can see on TV it does not look like my suitcase. The police have not disclosed any information as to whether or not it is my suitcase.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the voice of accused killer Melissa Huckaby, saying the suitcase which she claimed was stolen from her house did not appear to be the one that Sandra`s body was found stuffed into before being thrown into an irrigation pond like trash. This woman now charged with the murder of that gorgeous 8-year-old child from California.

I`m back discussing this case with my fantastic panel.

Phone lines lighting up. Georgia from Florida, you`re question or thoughts, ma`am?

GEORGIA FROM FLORIDA: Yes, is Melissa Huckaby is a pedophile, it`s very possible she has molested her own little girl. Has her daughter been questioned by the police or child welfare people?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Bob Moffit, I understood that Melissa Huckaby`s own mother had taken the child away to get away from all of this which is totally understandable. But what do you know about the child being questioned?

MOFIT: The family has taken the little girl away but the police did do an investigation. They called the Child Protective Services, the Tracy Police Department told us a couple weeks ago, that they had done an investigation into the possibility of that, and they found absolutely nothing that would verify anything that had happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Dr. Judy, how do you question a child of that age, so young and there was also -- this claim that she, in fact, admitted she took another girl from the same mobile home complex and took her for four hours to the park. That child came home and was allegedly drugged, even though she denies drugging her.

But she said she took her with her own daughter to play in the park. So how do you question a little girl about all of this stuff?

KORIANSKY: Well, many times when kids are questioned like this, they are not asked directly about it. They are often given little dolls to play with, and then you watch really what happens with it which is what goes on.

And often as this caller said, it`s not always the child that the woman would really molest. That sometimes their own children are left alone. That`s not always the case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, quick question...

KORIANSKY: And what`s missing here is actually the mother. The father has been in the picture...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she took the -- she took the child away, the mother. Quick question, why the delayed plea? She has been in court twice Mark and hasn`t issued a plea. When will we get her plea?

EIGLARSH: Well, when it`s ready. 500 pages of evidence were released to the defense. Both sides need to be prepared. First issue was whether she understands the nature of the charges against her. If she doesn`t, they can`t have an effective communication with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, that`s it we`re out of time. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

Thank you so much. Great panel.

END

Home  |  Asia  |  Europe  |  U.S.  |  World  |  World Business  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  World Sport  |  Travel
Podcasts  |  Blogs  |  CNN Mobile  |  RSS Feeds  |  Email Alerts  |  CNN Radio  |  Site Map
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.