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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

More Developments in Haleigh Cummings Case; Fiancee Standing by Accused Craigslist Killer

Aired April 28, 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, high drama in the Haleigh Cummings disappearance. Mom Crystal reportedly rushed to the hospital after collapsing and hitting her head at the family search headquarters.

Also, is another family feud brewing? Investigative journalist Art Harris says Ron`s new father-in-law, Hank Croslin, accused Ron of almost poisoning him with painkillers in a misguided attempt to help Hank recover from injuries. We`ll get Ron`s response.

RON CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH CUMMINGS: People say a lot of things, and they don`t know what they`re talking about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ll speak to Art Harris about the strange report and his breaking news about Misty`s friend Nay Nay that could make her a central figure in this tragic soap opera.

Then, whoever said love is blind may be right. The fiancee of accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff has called off the wedding, but she`s still standing by her man. In a statement, Megan McAllister says she still loves the suspected panty-raiding murderer.

And the Casey Anthony saga takes another wild turn. The meter reader who found little Caylee`s remains makes a startling request that has some outraged.

Then, while Rihanna chills in Barbados, Chris Brown gets ready to face a judge in the alleged pop star`s beating. I`ll have a preview of tomorrow`s courtroom showdown.

Plus Octomom goes on the offense, saying she will sue "InTouch Weekly" for what she claims was a false report that she was a stripper for a year. I`ll show you her on-camera tirade.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight the desperate search for missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings takes a dramatic and stunning turn. Haleigh has now been missing almost 80 days. Tonight we learned that the attorneys for Ron Cummings, the child`s farther, are scheduled to set down and meet with the law enforcement task force investigating little Haleigh`s disappearance. Could this signal a big break in the case?

Meantime, as the stress of not knowing mounts, the missing child`s mom collapses and is rushed to the hospital. Haleigh`s mom, Crystal, suffered a bloody gash after hitting her head during a seizure. She reportedly so fears a stalker, it appears she has been carrying a hatchet for protection.

Investigative journalist Art Harris also reports this stunner. Now listen carefully. It involves the father of Misty, the teenage girl who was watching little Haleigh when she vanished. In a very strange twist, Misty later married the missing child`s dad, and now Misty`s father -- Misty`s father claiming Ron Cummings, his new son-in-law, tried to poison and kill him.

Art says his source is a Putnam County sheriff`s deputy. The cop reportedly said Misty`s dad accused Ron of deliberately giving him a mystery pill that got him very sick.

Perhaps you should take notes at home. It`s very complicated, this soap opera.

Plus another shocker involving Misty`s party pal, Nay Nay. That`s right. That`s what they call her, Nay Nay. We will get to that.

So much to talk about, and I want to hear from you. First to my fantastic panel: Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Beth Karas, correspondent for the legal network In Session; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney, a.k.a., the voice of reason; Robert Castelli, professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former New York state police investigator; and the one and only Art Harris, investigative journalist par excellence, who has been breaking exclusive after exclusive.

Art, give us the lowdown on your latest scoop. This allegation by Misty`s dad, claiming Ron tried to poison him. Does this signal trouble between newlyweds Misty and Ron?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: It sure could, Jane. I obtained a police report. It`s called a suspicious incident report, and Hank Croslin, Misty`s dad, called a deputy to his house to say that Ron Cummings, his son-in-law, had given him painkillers, a mystery white pill he`d asked for. He took it, and he wound up in a coma for four days.

This is not a good turn of events in a family that is -- has more dysfunction than numbers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think they have to rename that town Dysfunction Junction. But you know what? It is easy to make claims about people, and Ron has been through hell. I mean, everybody`s coming out of the woodwork. Every time he`s had a phone conversation with anybody, suddenly it becomes newsworthy.

What is Ron and what are Ron`s attorneys saying? Because we`ve tried to reach him, and we can`t get a response, Art.

HARRIS: I`ve been trying. I tried to call his mother. I tried to call his grandmother and the attorneys. They have issued a press release, Jane, that supposedly addresses this report that I obtained from the sheriff`s department, and also the fact that I had a story about a former co-worker...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to get to that.

HARRIS: OK. That Ron had an alibi.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let me bring in Beth Karas, because you have covered so many of these criminal cases. What I find fascinating, when we called today to get a response on this, Ron`s attorneys essentially said they are not talking about anything, because they just learned that a meeting has been scheduled with them to meet with the law enforcement task force handling little Haleigh`s disappearance.

What do you make of the significance of that, Beth Karas?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, IN SESSION: We have too many questions to know really how significant it is. Maybe there`s a break in the case. It may be that they want to question his wife once again. She has had some inconsistent statements she`s given to the police. And perhaps they`re suspicious about that. And information about these other two women who are in some sort of social circle with her, who were arrested just last week on drug charges.

You know, this case does remind me, though, a little bit of Jessica Lunsford and John Couey. That was a kidnapping, rape and murder of a 9- year-old girl in Florida, from a mobile home park, but from a sex offender, not someone in the family, although police did look close at family members and did eventually rule them out before they zeroed in on a sex offender who was living there. He had relatives there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. The father and Mr. Lunsford has since become a crusader trying to help other children prevent similar disasters, and that sicko who took his daughter, kept her and did horrible things to her and the reports are buried her alive. It was one of the most horrifying stories that I`ve ever covered in my life.

Now Ron`s attorneys did respond to an earlier report by Art Harris that a coworker of Ron`s claimed -- get this -- he overheard a shocking conversation between Ron and Misty. The co-worker claimed that Misty said she was hysterical, because she couldn`t get Haleigh to go to bed. And according to this co-worker, Ron suggested whipping her or playing a movie. Two diametrically opposed options, obviously.

Now, Ron`s attorneys responded to that claim, saying it`s, quote, "a combination of hearsay, speculation and gossip."

But Jayne Weintraub, why is it that, as the police remain silent, more and more people in this community are coming forward with these shocking allegations. It`s almost like they`re filling a vacuum left by the police silence.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And the problem is that none of it has anything to do with where is Haleigh and how did she disappear?

The one common thread, to get back to what Beth Karas says, very common is lack of parental supervision in the home. That`s what the common thread is here and the Lunsford case. And that`s the problem in a lot of these cases.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can you say it might not have anything to do with the girl`s disappearance. If somebody -- and again, I have no idea if this is true. They`re saying it`s basically ridiculous, but if somebody, a co- worker, overhears someone saying, "Well, whip the child if she won`t go to bed," certainly that, Darren Kavinoky, has to have...

WEINTRAUB: Has the child been whipped before and you heard Ron`s immediate reaction. You heard his voice saying on the tape, when he heard that his child was not there. Did you call the police? You heard the panic and the franticness. This is a loving father who was awarded custody of the child.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. I`ve just have to jump in on this, Jane. I wonder, am I the only one on the panel that starts hearing the sounds of dueling banjos whenever we`re talking about this case?

HARRIS: No, I do.

KAVINOKY: And we glossed right over the case involving the father-in- law and these -- and these drugs. We may have a natural curiosity about what`s in other people`s medicine cabinets, but, come on, you don`t just go taking drugs that people hand you. Even kids at rave parties are more discerning about what they`re putting their bodies. This whole thing is just insane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I do not want to make fun of this community. This is a wonderful community in Florida, and just because this tragedy descended on it doesn`t mean that, you know, we have permission to make fun or ridicule it.

But I think that there were some problems here that keep coming up, themes. And one theme that has come up over and over: drugs. More than one person has said Misty Croslin, who is obviously a key player in this drama -- she`s the one who was watching Haleigh when she disappeared -- was partying like a rock star the weekend before the child vanished. Remember, Haleigh vanished while Misty was watching her in Ron`s trailer home.

Listen to Misty`s pal, Kristina Prevatt, a.k.a., Nay Nay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTINA PREVATT, FRIEND OF MISTY CROSLIN: He said he threw her against the mirror, and her arm was all cut up and stuff, because he thought she was pregnant. And she just does pills and stuff. Xanax, Loritab, she`s always smoking weed. That`s like her main thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then there`s Greg. The guy reportedly says he and Misty hooked up as a revenge romance. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY PAGE, ACQUAINTANCE OF MISTY CROSLIN: Just riding around. You know, it was a typical Friday, Saturday night, just riding around having fun. Partying and getting high, you know? I don`t exactly remember the last date, but I`m sure I seen her, like, Sunday. And then that was the last day I seen her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Props to Art Harris for breaking those exclusive and getting those interviews. But remember, Greg is not a suspect. He says he`s spoken to cops and told them what he knows. But for all intents and purposes, that guy is off the radar. His words and Nay Nay`s words that are relevant.

I mean, Art Harris, the theme of drugs keeps coming up over and over again.

HARRIS: That`s right. In fact, drugs have gotten Nay Nay in trouble again. Cobra, a.k.a., William Stubbs, the bounty hunter and private investigator, picked her up. He bailed her out last week. He just put her back into jail today, because he learned she tried to take her child from the child`s natural father. And she has a serious drug problem, according to Kim Picazio.

WEINTRAUB: And you don`t question this Cobra, what his reasoning is here? He`s like a Leonard Padilla. These guys are just weasels trying to get into these cases, elicit confidentialities and then sell them to tabloids. You can`t trust a guy like that.

HARRIS: He`s not selling his stories. He`s there, you know, as a pro bono investigator, working for whoever.

WEINTRAUB: That`s today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Everybody, more on this tragic soap opera in just a moment. Do you think dad Ron is getting an unfair shake? Give us a call at 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Let me know what you think.

Then the case against the accused Craigslist killer may be building, but his fiancee is still in love with him. Either love is really blind or she`s in serious denial about a guy cops say led a double life.

But first, the focus, again on Ron and Misty and the search for Haleigh Cummings. Here`s one version -- just one version -- of Misty`s story about what happened the night little Haleigh disappeared.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MISTY CROSLIN, WIFE OF HALEIGH`S DAD: Three o`clock in the morning I got up and -- I got up because I had to use the bathroom, but I didn`t make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on, and I walked in the kitchen, and the back door was wide open. I didn`t notice about Haleigh then until I seen the back door open. And I went in the room, and she was gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUMMINGS: If I find whoever has my daughter before y`all do, I`m killing them. I don`t care. I`ll spend the rest of my life in prison. I`m telling you, you can put it on record. I don`t care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. It`s OK, sir. They`re on the way. Can you give me any -- what kind of description of the pajamas that she was wearing?

CUMMINGS: I don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) know. I was at work!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The frantic, desperate sound of a man whose daughter has just vanished without a trace.

We`re back, talking about all the drama swirling around the Croslin/Cummings plan and how that may relate to the search to little Haleigh. And we`re taking your calls, phone lines lighting up.

Not that Misty, but another Misty. This one`s from Oregon.

Your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes. Since Haleigh went missing, has Misty or Ron been drug tested? And if they haven`t, why not?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s an excellent question. I don`t have the answer to that. But Beth Karas, in situations like this, what do you do when you start hearing these stories about drug allegations?

And by the way, we`d always love to get Misty`s side of the story, along with Ron`s, so you have an open invitation to come on the show and tell your side.

But what do authorities do when they start hearing this stuff?

KARAS: It`s not like they can go and demand and get a court order for a drug test unless they have probable cause to believe that whoever they want to test for drugs has done something wrong. And so much time has passed now that it really wouldn`t be worthwhile at this point.

So they just have to do their regular investigation to try to confirm drug use through other sources and people who may have sold or used in their presence or witnessed it.

It`s certainly not a great home environment for this little girl, if indeed all this drug use is going on, but that doesn`t mean that these folks are responsible for her disappearance.

WEINTRAUB: Yes. It doesn`t.

KAVINOKY: And what Beth says is absolutely right. They would be in violation of their constitutional rights to engage in that kind of search or seizure without a warrant or probable cause.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Robert Castelli, you`re a former investigator for New York state police. I just want to get your sense of what cops do to deal with a situation like this where these parents, this father is the victim. They`ve stolen his child and nevertheless people keep saying things that are very serious allegations against him.

ROBERT CASTELLI, FORMER INVESTIGATOR: Well, let me say this to you. The drug testing is actually less of an issue than something that Misty from Oregon, to answer your question, was done. Both the husband and Misty, the wife, were both given polygraph exams. And apparently, the police are satisfied with the results of those polygraphs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know that they`re...

HARRIS: Not exactly, Jane. I can tell you that they have not declared how they see them. Misty told me that she was told she passed. Ronald feels the same way, but the police will not say that definitively.

I can tell you, as far as the drug goes that they are -- that they are now looking at this report that I told you about I obtained on ArtHarris.com, that -- that Ron allegedly gave Misty`s father-in-law some pills he requested. They are now going to use that to look at Ron and maybe what he`s carrying around on his person.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

CASTELLI: That`s mutually exclusive...

WEINTRAUB: What the police should be doing or anybody else that`s concerned about what`s going on in that house, they should call the Department of Children and Family Services who is very alert and will get there. And that`s what needs to happen here.

(CROSSTALK)

WEINTRAUB: Not the bail bondsman, not a tabloid, but DCF.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s what I want to know. Who was taking care of little Haleigh and Junior if, in fact, Misty was off partying, which two people claim she was and doing drugs in the days leading up to Haleigh`s disappearance? Who was taking care of the kids?

HARRIS (?): Ronald is the dad and presumably he was, if not home alone, you know, Junior was with him or with Crystal Sheffield, who is the mother. And she`s been having her visitations on a regular basis.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And apparently, Crystal Sheffield, the mother -- and I`ll direct this to Jayne Weintraub -- is so scared of a stalker that she believes she has seen. She actually collapsed and had a seizure. And they found a hatchet on the floor. And they believe that she was carrying this hatchet for protection.

It certainly doesn`t escape notice that the person that little Junior, the little brother of Haleigh, said he saw take little Haleigh was a man dressed in black.

CASTELLI: You know, Jane. Getting away from the soap opera aspect of this, though, if you get back to Haleigh and her disappearance is another area that Beth addressed in one of the earlier cases. And that`s the fact that there are 44 registered sex offenders within five miles of this little girl`s home, one of whom, Chad Reynolds, is nowhere to be found at this juncture. So those are things that are important from an evidentiary standpoint.

HARRIS: I`ve spoken to the investigators, and they have tracked the GPS devices. These sex offenders are required to wear. And they don`t report that any of them were near the trailer at the time, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Lori in Georgia. Your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi. I just wanted to know, Misty -- a little while back, Misty said that she just had to get married because this is just what Haleigh wanted. OK, why didn`t she and Ron wait until Haleigh was back home, if this was something that Haleigh wanted so bad?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my understanding of that, what I`ve heard is she said that this is what little Haleigh would have wanted. That little Haleigh said she always wanted them to be man and wife and that they`re doing this for her, even though, Darren Kavinoky, a lot of people said it was truly strange. Your child goes missing and you marry the woman who was watching the kids when she -- when the child disappeared? A lot of people think "I`d be furious at her. I wouldn`t marry her!"

KAVINOKY: It does seem like odd timing and, of course, there are those conspiracy theorists who like to think that people get married so that one spouse or the other can now avoid testifying or providing damning information that would -- against the other spouse.

Of course, while there is marital privilege, and that`s important to protect confidential marital communications, there`s a huge exception in that area, and that relates to criminal behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I have to...

WEINTRAUB: Privilege only applies to confidential conversations during the course of the marriage. This all happened before the marriage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to go. We`ve got to go, but great insight. Please come back. We`re going to stay on top of this case.

Accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff may be in jail, but his fiancee is standing by her man. She insists she still loves the suspected murderer. Why? We`ll examine it with a shrink.

Then, Chris Brown prepares for tomorrow`s courtroom showdown. I`ll tell you what Rihanna is reportedly telling her friends about their hip-hop star accused of beating her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, another bizarre twist in the case of alleged Craigslist killer, Philip Markoff. His wedding has reportedly been called off, but his fiancee is still standing by her man. In a jaw-dropping statement, read by her lawyer, Megan McAllister says she still loves -- loves -- the suspected panty-raiding murderer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT HONECKER, MCALLISTER FAMILY ATTORNEY: What has been portrayed and leaked to the media is not the Philip Markoff that I know. To me and my family, he is a loving and caring person. I also love my fiancee, and I will continue to support him throughout this legal process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s recap. This guy accused of murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, trolling online for erotic encounters, allegedly with men as well as women, including transsexuals, and of having a panty fetish. How fast can you say, "Love is blind"?

Joining me, Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist.

And boy, do we need you to figure this one out. Is this what we call unconditional love, or is this what we call total denial?

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think this is total denial, Jane. And as you know, that`s a deep river in Egypt.

And I think that this poor woman, bless her heart, has ignored a lot of the really obvious signs that this guy is undoubtedly a sex addict. And I understand he has a problem with gambling. He can be a gambling addict. And all of the signs must have been there, and it is so easy for someone to have the disease of co-dependence and just ignore those signs and say he`s fine.

Now one thing I have to say is love is never enough to get through a situation like this. There also has to be honesty, clarity. She also has to look at herself and say, "What am I doing in a situation like this that I couldn`t read the signs?" Remember his lab mates all said they could see the mood swings.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You have to wonder why she seems to be directing her anger at the media and at cops, but not at him. Markoff`s fiancee has reportedly been back and forth over whether the wedding is on or off. Even the neighbors have weighed in with an opinion to Dr. Phil. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They lived in the same apartment that we do. And if you`re living with somebody, you basically know what`s in their drawer. You pick up books; you dust books. You go through their stuff when you do laundry. I don`t know how she couldn`t have known he didn`t have a gun, and that he had other women`s lingerie in his pocket or wherever he hid it. It`s just shocking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police sources claim Markoff actually hid his victims` panties and the gun he allegedly used to kill the masseuse under the bed where he and his fiancee slept.

So those people, those neighbors raising the question, Brenda, how could she have lived with Markoff and not seen any signs of at least his double life? I`m not convicting him. He`s just been charged.

WADE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But clearly he had a double life.

WADE: He clearly had a double life. And, Jane, if you understand the disease of co dependence, co-dependence depends on never being willing to face the elephant in the living room, never being willing to say, "Something is wrong here. I have to confront this person."

Co-dependence is all about propping that person up, hiding them from the consequences of their own behavior. So never are they held accountable. And best of all, she`s not holding herself accountable.

I have a lesson on my Web page. People want to learn more about this, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right. Brenda, thank you so much.

The Casey Anthony saga continues. You won`t believe what meter reader Roy Kronk is demanding now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chris Brown gets ready to face a judge and enter a plea in the alleged beating of pop star Rihanna. I`ll have a preview of tomorrow`s courtroom showdown.

Plus octo-mom says she will sue "In Touch Weekly" for what she claims is a false report that she was a stripper for a year. I`ll show you her on-camera tirade.

Tonight the shocking toll the trial of Casey Anthony could take and it`s not what you think. The prosecution announced they would seek the death penalty against Casey charged with the brutal murder of her own precious daughter Caylee, but the cost of that decision is a lot more than emotional.

It will tack on years, manpower and an estimated $1 million in tax dollars, but it doesn`t stop there. Casey has built a dream defense team and taxpayers may wind up putting some of her bills, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY ATTORNEY: Will it affect the trial? Yes. It may delay it. It may -- it certainly will make the costs to the taxpayers in the state of Florida at least triple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Triple?

What Baez fails to mention he could have Casey declared indigent. That would allow him to charge the state for her lawyer fees and expert witness costs; all those expert witnesses.

Meantime, Florida taxpayers already paying Roy Kronk`s legal fees, the meter reader who found little Caylee`s remains was on the job when he made that gruesome discovery therefore Orange County agreed to pay $10,000 for Kronk`s attorney and just yesterday, county officials agreed to an additional $2,000 plus dollars.

Some taxpayers are up in arms about paying all these costs wondering why would Kronk need an attorney in the first place. Well, because this case has become a three-ring circus with every volunteer private eye and bounty hunter coming out of the woodwork to lend a hand, but only costing taxpayers more money.

When will the insanity end and justice for little Caylee prevail?

So many ISSUES.

Back to my expert panel: the fabulous Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney and Beth Karas, correspondent for TRU TV.

Beth, many people wondering why Roy Kronk of all people needs an attorney. Does every person in a case like this, every single person need a lawyer?

BETH KARAS, TRU TV CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not. It is very unusual for a witness I don`t care how important the witness is, to have an attorney. You might in a big case need a PR person. It`s my understanding that the first $10,000 is really to deal with the media. But do you need an attorney to deal with the media, you need a PR person.

The $2,500 recently approved by the county is for an attorney to represent him at the deposition. Again, if he`s going to be truthful in his answers there`s no reason why he really needs an attorney, but the county has agreed to pay for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, every one of these big cases I`ve covered is just everybody gets sucked in and everybody gets an attorney and even the attorneys get attorneys.

I`ve actually seen that happen.

Just seeking the death penalty in the case against Casey Anthony could cost taxpayers an additional $1 million. A change of venue could cost a lot more than that.

The investigation into Caylee`s disappearance itself, reported to have cost tens of thousands of dollars. If Jose Baez has Casey declared indigent, this question to Jayne Weintraub, could taxpayers wind up paying for her expert witnesses and other fees, too? How does that work?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well what -- you have to petition and fill out certain applications and she`ll be treated just like every other defendant that is indigent that can`t afford the expert witnesses and the attorneys according to the rules and regulations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why doesn`t every poor person just hire the most famous attorney they can think of?

WEINTRAUB: She will not be entitled to a $5 million lawyer. She will be entitled to a lawyer to be paid according to the state fees unless there are exceptional circumstances which there very well might be here.

Normally in death penalty cases there are certain roots and the JAC in Florida would determine that amount of money. But as far as Roy Kronk is concerned, I`ve got to tell you Jane, Florida bar rules prevent -- prevent witnesses from being paid.

Can you imagine if the defense paid for a witness` lawyer and to pay a witness $10,000 like the county agreed? The witness would be charged with witness tampering and obstruction. The defense could never get away with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re not paying him, they`re paying for a lawyer.

Well, I tell you what, many Floridians are furious about paying for Roy Kronk`s attorney.

WEINTRAUB: They should be. I`m one of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here`s why the guy may need one.

Listen to what Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter, told Nancy Grace about Kronk back in January.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, NANCY GRACE SHOW HOST: What`s your theory? How is Kronk somehow part of a conspiracy? Go ahead and tell me.

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: Well, we know that the defense is the one that`s benefiting by the confusion right now as to the finding of the body and how it was found.

How did somebody get word to Kronk to get out there? I think he was the end of a daisy chain that started with Casey and two or three people in the middle there and -- I mean, he says he saw something white out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, the reason why this guy needs a lawyer is because Leonard Padilla is saying he`s the end of a daisy chain. And that is a quite a wild statement given that this guy -- the cops say he was a good Samaritan who did a good job and had a good gut and found the body.

WEINTRAUB: And he cooperated that`s why he needs 12,500 for a lawyer?

KARAS: I was in Orlando when the body was found and I was at the press conferences when the sheriff`s department was saying they have no reason to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of Roy Kronk and they really don`t.

The state attorney`s office stands by him as far as I understand. I understand because of the media attention on this case that he did need some help perhaps. He took another job within the county as a result. He didn`t want to be out reading meters at this point because some people feel he knows more than he is saying.

But -- and I heard the sheriff`s spokesperson say that they have no reason to believe anyone going...

WEINTRAUB: That`s what the sheriff said, he also -- they also haven`t charged the cops that was lying under oath, crane with any offense for lying under oath...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what guys? This is why people aren`t Good Samaritans because look what happens, you`re a Good Samaritan and you find the body and then...

WEINTRAUB: I`m not so sure this guy is a Good Samaritan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh please.

WEINTRAUB: Oh please, selling his story to "Good Morning America."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, I`m going to give Beth the last word on that because she was there.

KARAS: Well, I have no reason to believe, it was very strange, but I didn`t have any reason to believe once the sheriff`s department said that they were standing by him. They are thorough...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

KARAS: They are good down there in Orlando, I must say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank you Beth Karas, always, I`m a big fan and Jayne, stay right there.

And turning now to breaking news in the Chris Brown and Rihanna saga; reports that Brown may be close to a plea deal. His attorney is set to be in court tomorrow, but could a plea deal make all of this go away for the embattled hip-hop star.

Plus, the pop princess left badly bruised after the alleged beating by Brown reportedly telling friends and family, "Hey we`re back together and if you don`t like it, deal with it."

A shocking turn after the public outrage by fans all over the world; what could their reunion mean for Rihanna`s career? And meantime, Rihanna begging the LAPD please return almost $1.5 million worth of jewelry I was wearing on the night of the alleged attack.

Her attorney say it has no evidentiary value. Rihanna needs to return the Bling to its rightful owners or they could hold her liable for it; again, almost a million and a half bucks worth of jewelry. Only in Hollywood, people.

So many ISSUES.

Let`s go to my expert panel: back with me, Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; and Mike Walters, assignment manager TMZ.

Mike, what is the very latest?

MIKE WALTER, TMZ: You know Jane, Chris Brown is back in court tomorrow. I can tell you that they have been working on this plea deal. We are told it will not happen tomorrow, but the important motion which you were just talking about is that Rihanna, during that night, remember, it was Grammy night after the night before the Grammy`s happened.

She was wearing $1.4 million of diamonds out at the party, and it was taken as evidence because, remember, she got beat up and there was blood and they were taken for forensic testing.

So there`s been -- a motion is going to be heard tomorrow with her attorney, Donald Etra there, basically saying we need these back. Four jewelers are saying where`s our jewelry? I don`t care what`s going on in your case, we need our jewelry back. So they`re going to hearing and if not, they want the $1.4 million back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Jayne Weintraub, there are speculation and certainly we have no way of confirming this and I don`t think this would really happen but there are speculations maybe the DA is holding on to the jewelry to put leverage on Rihanna, "Testify or you`re going to be liable for $1.5 million."

WEINTRAUB: You know, I wouldn`t be surprise with anything out there with those prosecutors. But what I will say is that as far as evidence is concerned they can take pictures of it and they can stipulate the pictures. This is not a jewelry case and it has nothing to do with the value and she is responsible. There`s an innocent third party. The jewelers loaned her the jewels for the Grammy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s why we`re thinking and maybe it`s leverage. Now the "Chicago Sun-Times" rewarding sources close to the couple, saying they are back together. It`s not something everyone is thrilled about to put it mildly.

Sources say quote, "Unfortunately, Rihanna still wants him and has told us all to get over yourselves. I`m with him so deal with it."

But, Brenda, isn`t it interesting the report also suggests she wants to keep the reunion quiet because she knows there`s going to be public backlash?

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I would think she`d want to keep it quiet, Jane because she by now has heard everybody weigh in on the problem that she has, not just the problem that Chris has, and I have compassion for her.

She`s not the first woman to make this mistake, but an abuser cannot be healed overnight just because he`s been publicly shamed. He has deep problems and anybody who is back with an abuser, who has not been treated, is in danger.

She is in danger and again, she really needs to look at why she`s clinging to someone who is so -- I mean, so likely to go off again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda, this seems to be a theme, you have the woman who is sticking by her man...

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...who is accused of being the Craigslist killer. You have Rihanna sticking by this guy who is accused of pummeling her.

WADE: Both co-dependents, Jane. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Explain co-dependents for people who don`t know.

WADE: Here is the simplest way to look at it, what happens when a co- dependent dies, somebody else`s life flashes before their eyes. Because it`s all about the other person, there is no me without you. There`s this kind of losing the boundary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it.

WADE: That`s what we`re talking about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Walters, give us a ten-second preview of tomorrow.

WALTERS: You know what? Tomorrow they`re going to hear this motion and I`m pretty sure that Rihanna will probably score the jewelry back. And there`s going to be no plea deal, Chris Brown is not going so don`t expect the circus like last time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I want to thank my fantastic panel.

A man clings to a truck while the carjacker takes it on a 50-mile high-speed chase. Look at the guy right there. This is extraordinary and I will show you the unbelievable video.

And octo-mom brings out the octo-lawyers, she wants to octo-sue a magazine about what she says are false claims about her past as an octo- stripper. I want your take, give me a holler.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bring out the lawyers. Octo-mom wants to sue a magazine for a story they ran about her alleged stripper past. I will have an update.

First "Top of the Block" tonight.

An unbelievable police chase in Georgia this afternoon. A man stole a trailerless semi truck and took cops on a 50-mile high-speed chase, oh, and by the way, did I mention the owner of the semi was clinging to the back of the truck the entire time? There he is, clinging.

He must really love that truck. You see the man right there. He`s hanging on for dear life. He had to cover his face with his shirt because of all of the pieces of debris flying everywhere. Here`s a word of advice. If you love something, let it go.

As the driver finally slowed down the owner wisely took advantage of the opportunity and he jumped off the back of the truck and scurried over to the side of the highway. Moments later, the truck stopped and the cops swarmed the semi and dragging the driver out, wrestling him to the ground.

What a crazy mother trucker. Sorry, I couldn`t resist that and I had to say that very carefully, indeed.

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

Octo-mom comes out guns a blazing, furiously firing back at a celebrity magazine`s blistering expose that she performed as a stripper for a year. Suleman whipped herself into a frenzy with this shocker to Radar Online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADYA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever worked even one day in a strip club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Octo-mom claimed she never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, met the stripper named Sage who told "In Touch Weekly" that Suleman was a colleague of hers and went by the name Angelina. Suleman claims it`s all bogus and she will sue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SULEMAN: I`m so sorry. And then all of a sudden, secrets of her past revealed and then a scene that according to this man, Gunner Reid, who I`ve never met in my entire life. I`ve never met any of these people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are going to seek legal actions?

SULEMAN: Yes, most likely. My attorney is in the process of doing that. And this man is really intelligent to have his picture there and his real name. So Mr. Gunner Reid, you will be in the middle of a lawsuit -- pending lawsuit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She seems pretty happy about suing, isn`t she?

"In Touch Weekly" told ISSUES today they stand by the reporting of their story. So who is telling the truth? And is this lawsuit just another way for octo-mom to make an octo-buck?

Back with me: Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and "Voice of Reason" and joining us again, Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, what is the very latest on this?

WALTERS: You know what`s interesting about this story, Jane is that it`s "In Touch Magazine" and what`s weird is all of a sudden octo-mom saying this is not true, I can`t believe this.

In the past I expected her to go, yes, I sold the story, of course, it`s true. Everything about octo-mom is true in the media because she`s selling it all. So what`s weird is that she`s actually saying this is not true.

I can`t tell you for sure I spoke to someone on her legal team that says, you know she is really upset. Whatever it is about her stripping in San Diego in "In Touch." She`s really upset, they are considering legal action against the three people that did the interview and maybe even "In Touch."

But like I said, it`s really weird is like these magazines and Radar and everybody else who`s paying her for stories, I can`t believe that she`s actually saying one of them is not true. It`s really weird to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, because it almost makes her a better story and she reportedly is on the verge of making a deal for a reality TV show.

Nevertheless, Darren Kavinoky, we all remember that old movie "Absence of Malice" there`s a whole legal issue here. If you are a public figure, you have to prove actual malice, in order to win any kind of libel suit. Tell us all about that.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, what she would have to prove is that the entity who published the story either knew that the story was false and published it anyway or that they acted with disregard for the truth or falsity of the story. But I think the problem that octo- mom is really going to have is that she`s never, ever, ever, ever, ever going to find a jury that`s going to want to award her a dollar. She`s not exactly a sympathetic...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you sure about that? So I mean, some jurors might think oh, she`s got all those kids. I`m going to give her a lot of money so she could take care of them.

KAVINOKY: Yes, well at least from everybody who I gossip with about the octo-mom, there`s more outrage than there is sympathy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I agree with you. I mean, I`m outraged when I look at this. I mean, that is -- I feel for those children. I`m certainly not outraged at the children and I wish them the best.

But we live in a world with over populations and dwindling resources and this woman not only has all these children, she can`t afford them and then she goes out and she gets a tattoo on top of everything else. It`s unbelievable.

She claims she`s not a celebrity yet she courts the media all of the time. Check out this attack on, you got it, the media with Radar Online.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SULEMAN: I`ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever worked even one day in a strip club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Mike Walters, doesn`t she understand if you sit down for media exclusives with whatever -- Radar Online for example, you become the story? You`re putting yourself in the public arena and then you`re liable to get these kinds of stories told about you.

WALTERS: Well, yes. You`re right. I think that she is almost confirming some of the stories by going on the record, sitting down in an office where you see like the L.A. office skyline in the back ground saying, I never, never, never.

You know what? Don`t say anything. If you`re going to sue, go sue. Don`t go somewhere and start talking about it.

But what`s weird is -- we talked about this before, Jane, when I was on before that this isn`t the first time the strip club thing came up. There`s multiple people saying that she work in that industry, at least for some bit and she even admitted that she was in a lingerie contest, that she won.

Guess what octo-mom, lingerie contests are pretty much strip contests. So what are you talking about? I think she should just keep it down. Go to her kids.

And then real quick with the tattoo; that was at 2:00 a.m., by the way so everyone knows.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang in there. More octo-madness in an octo-minute. Stay there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s not a celebrity but you have to look at this new video of octo-mom just yesterday; getting a tattoo. She has 14 kids at home. Three of her older kids, we understand, have disabilities. One of the octuplets was just back in the hospital. All eight, of course, were preemies. Preemies often need extra care and attention with their developmental needs and there she is, spending her time and money getting a tat.

Phone lines lighting up. Brook, Pennsylvania. Your question or thought?

BROOK, PENNSYLVANIA (via telephone): Hi, Jane. Even though the octo- babies are too young to make everything of it, what kind of example is octo-mom setting to her or her children by getting this tattoo and broadcasting it all over TV and the Internet?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, that`s a really good question, Darren Kavinoky. We have not really focused on the impact all of this is having on the older kids who certainly can appreciate more than the preemies that something strange is going on.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There was quite a bit of discussion when octo-mom first became octo-mom about whether those octo- kids would get taken away from her. And one of the things that a lot of folks overlooked was these older kids. If this was indeed a dangerous environment for the younger ones, it was certain a dangerous environment for the older ones too.

Here in America, we have the freedom to set bad examples and to do lots of stupid stuff. And octo-mom is clearly guilty of some of this bad judgment. But you know what?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She is taking advantage of our freedoms.

KAVINOKY: Absolutely. There are a lot of advocates for that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheila in Texas. Your question or thought?

SHEILA, TEXAS (via telephone): Hi, Jane. I just wondered, has anyone seen anything of the octo-grandmother since Nadya and her had that argument?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A brilliant question. Mike Walters, what`s happening to octo-grandma?

WALTERS: You know, we haven`t; I actually have been monitoring. She lost her house; it is in foreclosure, the one that Nadya used to live in. We`ve been monitoring that at TMZ.

So far it looks like it`s going to be sold at auction. I think once that happens, unfortunately for her, she might be in the house with everybody else.

I want to say something real quick that I tried to say before. You noticed the tattoo she got was at 2:00 a.m. What kind of example are you setting, like you said, for the other kids when you get a tattoo at 2:00 a.m.? She should be home with the kid in general without getting a tattoo. She shouldn`t have been there in the first place at 2:00 a.m.

And I have no idea. I hope that maybe grandma will come and help with everything as soon as possible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you have the last word. Thank you both. Fantastic.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

END

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