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Casey`s Lawyer Deposes Deputies; Octomom Sued Over Treatment of Children

Aired May 5, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Casey Anthony`s defense goes on the attack, opening another front in the war on law enforcement. They`ve already called out the prosecution and local cops. Today they grilled two law enforcement officials, including the corrections officer who witnessed Casey`s dramatic jailhouse meltdown. That after a child`s remains, later I.D.`ed as little Caylee`s, were found near the Anthony home. I will analyze the shocking testimony.

Then, a famed attorney goes head to head with Octomom. Gloria Allred sues Nadya Suleman. She wants a guardian appointed to the octuplets so that Octomom can`t clean out the bank before they turn 18.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Rather than choosing to provide her children with a normal life, their mother, Nadya Suleman, has chosen instead to commercially exploit them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suleman gave her response to Radar Online. You will not believe it until you see it.

And evidence mounts against suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff. A warrant for the preppy wannabe doctor`s arrest has been filed for the alleged assault and robbery of a stripper in Rhode Island.

Meantime, three state attorneys general meet with Craigslist lawyers to try to get the Web site to remove erotic listings. But is it even possible to police content on Craigslist?

Plus, first, breast implants; now a topless photo? Miss California, the controversial beauty queen and evangelical Christian, bares it all in an old modeling photo. So is the anti-gay marriage activist a hypocrite? I`ll find out if she`ll lose her crown.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, it is all-out war between Casey Anthony`s defense team and law enforcement attorneys for the accused baby killer go on the offense grilling the deputies who witnessed Casey`s emotional meltdown as she learned skeletal remains of a child had been found near her home December 11. Here is the deputy describing how Casey reacted to that breaking news story.


LT. TAMMY UNSER, DEPUTY: She collapsed into the chair and started to what appeared to be hyperventilating. She lost her breath. We told her a couple of times, take some deep breaths. She had real shallow breathing. Her hands started to sweat. she started rubbing them profusely.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow! Quite a reaction. Now remember, this dramatic reaction took place long before the remains were identified as being her daughter Caylee`s. Today Jose Baez turned the tables, deposing two officers of the sheriff`s department, including that very woman you just heard from who marched Casey to the jail`s medical center. That`s where Casey watched the reports unfold on television.

After today`s session Baez told reporters he`s not done with that deputy. He also paints it as a future shocker.


JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: Everyone is going to be pretty surprised as to what actually had transpired. I disagree totally with the way she was treated, and I don`t think it was appropriate. And it`s all going to come out in court at the right time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the big surprise? And what does all this, along with yesterday`s change of venue motion, signal about the Baez defense strategy?

Let`s get to the bottom of it with my fantastic expert panel: David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney and former New York City prosecutor; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; Rozzie Franco, reporter with WFLA in Orlando; and the one and only Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, law professor and author of "And Justice for Some."

Wendy, prosecutors will argue Casey`s reaction is a sign that she`s guilty, that she immediately knew those remains were her daughter`s because that`s where she put the body. Even if Baez were to grill these officers for months on end, how can he drum up, when he just hinted on camera a second ago, an innocent explanation for his client`s intense reaction?

WENDY MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR: Let me just say this, Jane, if there were such an explanation, I think he would have told us today instead of just hinting at it. Maybe he`s got some magic potion he`s going to whip together to try to get something that we might actually believe, but I doubt it.

Here`s the problem. Let`s assume Casey is just a weirdo who, every time there`s a story about a little baby`s body part showing up, she sobs and has a hyperventilation attack. Let`s assume she were that kind of person. Then he might have an argument: she`s the sensitive type; this is just what happens.

Problem is she also was told, and she was observed when she reacted to a different report about different evidence of a different child, and she didn`t react. You know why? Earlier, when that evidence came out, she knew it wasn`t her child. That`s what kills his case. He can`t explain this away.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: David Schwartz, you heard Jose Baez say there`s going to be an explanation and everybody will be shocked when they hear what really happened.

What could he be referring to? The only thing I can think of is he`s going to argue this was a setup. If they manipulated her and stuck her right in front of the TV set so that she could see the breaking news while they were secretly taping her. So what?

DAVIS SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, Wendy Murphy`s explanation of this is pure speculation, pure guesswork. Who cares how she reacts to the TV report? Who cares?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Obviously, we do.

SCHWARTZ: It`s completely irrelevant, Jane. Completely irrelevant. And sure, they did set her up. Of course they set her up next to the television. And you know what? Each though there`s no expectation of privacy in a jail, it`s a big difference between expectation of privacy and admissibility in a court of law, and that tape should not be admissible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz, you`re a Florida prosecutor. Will it be admitted as evidence? Your prediction.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, I think the prosecution is definitely going to try to get it in. But I have to tell you something, Jane. I think you have to be very careful. As Wendy and as David both know, trial is strategy, and sometimes you have to take a step back and wonder if this evidence is going to do much to improve your case, because I think there could be a problem with this.


HONOWITZ: I think she`s never been humanized. She`s always looked stoic, like Wendy said. She`s always looked stoic and no emotion.

I think if you have some jurors on that panel that see her break down and if that defense attorney asked the officer, "Isn`t it true, deputy, that it`s possible that she was a grieving mother who reacted when she found out that it was her daughter. Is that possible?"

And if that deputy says, "Of course, that`s possible," you have jurors sitting there thinking, "You know what? It might cut the other way."


MURPHY: But the point is -- the point is you juxtaposed her unbelievable anxiety-based reaction when she found out about Caylee`s body being found when no one knew it was Caylee when her non-reaction when she heard about a different child`s body parts because she knew that wasn`t Caylee. She`s not an emotional person. She felt guilty.

HONOWITZ: Wendy -- Wendy I agree with you. That`s the prosecution, and I`m a prosecutor. That is the spin from a prosecutor, but I also think that if a defense attorney can get up and make that argument, and this deputy has to answer, "Yes, that`s a normal emotion," you might have a problem.


HONOWITZ: It might not be -- wait, wait, wait. It might not be the most relevant evidence on top of everything else. You don`t need to throw everything into the pot.

SCHWARTZ: Jane, it would be the best thing for the defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to hear your analysis of how the jurors are going to react if they see this tape of her hyperventilating and rocking back and forth and having a meltdown.

Jane, the difficulty is that she didn`t react this way to the other reports. And without the corroboration that, in fact, these were Caylee`s remains, she had a huge reaction.

HONOWITZ (?): I think it`s going to be very much a question in the minds of any juror why is she reacting without the confirmation that these were Caylee`s remains? And I think any juror is going to look at this and say too big a reaction. This does seem to speak to her being guilty, because she had some knowledge that those were Caylee`s remains to have that big reaction.

SCHWARTZ (?): Because Jane, Baez is going to sum up and he`s going to say you cannot -- ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you cannot base your decision based on speculation, guesswork and hypothesis.

You cannot base your decision based on a reaction.

MURPHY: He`s also -- the prosecutor is not going to be able to say and in addition to behavior, we have A, B, C, D, E, F, G, miles of forensic evidence.

SCHWARTZ: What evidence? What evidence, Wendy?

MURPHY: Plenty of evidence.


MURPHY: The trunk. Exhibit A, I win. The trunk!

SCHWARTZ: The trunk? You win on the trunk?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is grilling this officer who maneuvered her into this spot going to accomplish for debunking or undercutting the impact of this evidence? I don`t get what he`s going to get out of this officer. We haven`t gotten the transcript of the depo, and I don`t know if we will, because I don`t know if it`s going to be released in discovery.

But Stacey Honowitz, what is his point? What does he achieve with grilling this woman?

HONOWITZ: Well, I think just like you said in the beginning. He`s probably going to try to show that it was some kind of setup, that they were taping her. They wanted to see what her reaction was going to be.

But like I said, Jane, I think sometimes -- you know, we`re all sitting here. We don`t know what the deputy said. We don`t know what the tape actually shows. And I think that before we know any of this, we have to think about what`s going to be relevant in this case.

Now Wendy said it before, on top of A, B, C, D, E, F and G, so do we really need this in order to prove that she intentionally murdered her child? We might not need this evidence. As a prosecutor I would have to take a step back and say is this strategically something that is going to make these jurors believe that she killed her child? And I don`t know if it is.


MURPHY: Something else we need to look at here is why they actually videotaped her reaction on this particular child that was found -- obviously, we know it was Caylee -- and not the other reactions and why that information wasn`t released.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So they didn`t videotape any of the others? So how are they going to prove in court that she didn`t react negatively or -- or intensely to those others, Rozzie?

ROZZIE FRANCO, WFLA REPORTER: Well that`s exactly my question at this point. It was leaked early on that the Orange County deputies in the jail had actually set up cameras there to tape this reaction, and this was the only reaction we learned about.

MURPHY: And so you know what? That may be Baez`s best argument, that this is a setup, that these people did try to do this on purpose, because they knew that she was going to have a reaction. They wanted to be able to smear her. And that`s -- you know, that`s not going to...

SCHWARTZ: It`s not going go over well with the jury. Not going to go over well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So many other issues. Hang on, fabulous panel. More analysis of the key depositions in a moment to be sure to tune in to "NANCY GRACE" tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest developments in this case, and I will have much more analysis with my panel here on ISSUES. Do you think Casey`s defense team is too aggressive for its own good? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Let me know.

Then, controversial Miss California bares almost all in a modeling photo. Yes, she lost her top, people. We will find out if she`ll lose her crown.

But first, will a change of venue help Casey Anthony`s defense? Jose Baez thinks so, claiming Casey`s getting a hatchet job from the local media.


BAEZ: So much negative things and so much inaccurate things have been said about Casey Anthony that I think no one has the first clue of who she really is.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever seen her react that way before?

UNSER: No. This was the first time she`s ever reacted so strongly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that`s the first time she`s ever reacted so strongly?

UNSER: Yes. Prior to today most of my conversation with her was very -- she was weird to talk to. She was very -- not cold. I don`t exactly know how to explain it. Non-emotional would probably be the best way to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So today was definitely different?

UNSER: Definitely different today. First time I had ever seen emotion on her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. First time I had ever seen emotion on Casey, another stunning observation from the deputy who claims Casey crumbled and hyperventilated upon hearing the news that the remains of a child had been found near her home, remains that turned out to be her precious daughter Caylee.

How does attorney Jose Baez undo the damage of her potentially damning reaction? Can he keep it out of evidence by arguing she was manipulated into sitting right in front of the TV in the medical unit when the news broke? Was it a setup? Even if it was, can law enforcement play those kind of games legally?

We are taking your calls, and the phone lines are lighting up.

Dawn, New York. Your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Love your show.


CALLER: My question is if everybody is so concerned about Casey getting an unfair trial, does Casey have the opportunity to have her case heard before a judge and not a jury? And if so, then what`s the problem?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Well, Stacey Honowitz, you`re the Florida prosecutor.

HONOWITZ: No. You can always -- the prosecution and the defense have to agree that a case is going to go non-jury. First-degree murder death penalty case is a jury trial in the state of Florida and so, in this case, you`re not going to have the prosecutor or the defense attorney agreeing that we`re going to waive the jury, in this case.


HONOWITZ: Death qualifies them, and make a decision whether or not, if she`s convicted, if, in fact, she`s going to be given the death penalty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robbi in Louisiana, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Yes, I have a question. Do you remember back when Caylee was supposedly kidnapped by the nanny? She said the nanny wrote a note and left instructions for her to do certain things. Whatever became of this note? Was it examined? Was it produced? Was it was actually written by the unknown nanny?

And No. 2, she also said that she had ran over a squirrel, and it was on the hood of her car. If so, how did the smell get in the trunk of her car?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go with the first question, Rozzie Franco, she`s told so many different stories about Zanny the nanny who took the child, where she took the child, how she took the child, why she took the child. What about this note?

FRANCO: Well, it`s really interesting, because that was the second story that surfaced, that she`d actually told Orange County investigators. And what she said was that Zenaida, Zanny the nanny, actually took her to Jay Blanchard Park with Caylee and blindfolded her, left her there, and left her a note and said not to call police until after they were gone. Police followed up on that. The note was never produced and this never surfaced and that story was quickly debunked right after this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, I think one of the most incriminating things is the many stories she`s told about Zanny the nanny. You`ll remember that she initially said that she dropped the child off June 9, I believe it was, at the Sawgrass Apartments with Zanny, Zenaida Gonzalez.

And then, later videotape surfaced of little Caylee a few days later on Father`s Day visiting her great-grandfather. So oops. Guess what? We can`t go with that story. So let`s switch to another explanation. Then suddenly, the child is taken at a park. I mean, what does the prosecution do with that?

MURPHY: Proving the old adage if you`re lying, you`re probably not going to get your story straight, duh.

Look, if lies were evidence, she would have been convicted a long time ago, but it really isn`t enough. Frankly, first thing I can say that can happen on part of the defense, and it kills me to say this, because that poor child is in my thoughts all the time.

I feel so bad to say this. Casey Anthony actually could win simply on reasonable doubt by having Jose Baez stand up and say how did she die? Who killed her? When did it happen? If you can raise doubt about the how and the when, you know, a jury might get caught up in that and say, "We want to wring this woman`s neck, but we don`t know how she died."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. David Schwartz, I mean, how many cases have we covered? I can think of celebrity cases, certainly, that I`ve covered, whether it`s the O.J. Simpson original criminal trial, Michael Jackson child molestation trial. The list goes on and on, where it seemed like open and shut.

And yet, reasonable doubt and one thing after another comes up, and the jury, in confusion, there is reasonable doubt.

SCHWARTZ: Well, yes. Confusion is always a good thing for the defense. And it`s all about reasonable doubt, and it`s all about the how and the when.

As far as the statements go, you know, first of all, there`s a presumption here. You have to believe the police in the first place. You have to believe the credibility of those police officers. And based on some of the investigation in this case, there is some credibility problems on the part of the police, but certainly there is reasonable doubt in this case. It just depends on how it`s articulated.

MURPHY: I don`t agree with that. I don`t agree with that. I`m not saying there is reasonable doubt. I`m saying that we haven`t heard all the evidence yet, and there`s a difference. There is a ton of documentary and forensic evidence in this case that we haven`t seen yet.

We know, for example, Jose Baez, big mouth Baez on cameras all the time when he feels like it, has a big pile of stuff. He`s got something like 700 pages handed to him today from the prosecution. One of those documents is the autopsy. Come on, Baez. Show us the autopsy!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We only have a couple of seconds, Brenda.

SCHWARTZ: I don`t know if he got the autopsy.

MURPHY: He hasn`t.

WADE: They keep saying here in this case that always troubles me is that, whatever the evidence may say, at the end of day the jury is going to be looking at a person that one time after the next, she is lying. She looks so absolutely unsympathetic. It`s very difficult for the jury to offset an emotional reaction to her with evidence. It`s going to be tough.

SCHWARTZ: That`s the wrong analysis, though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the partying while her child`s missing.

OK, panel. Thank you for the amazing insights. We`ll have more analysis of the Casey Anthony case in just a bit.

Also Miss California, the controversial beauty queen and evangelical Christian, bares almost all in a topless photo. Could that cost her her crown?

And Octomom in a fierce feud with famous attorney Gloria Allred, Allred suing Nadya, saying she`s commercially exploiting her little ones. I`ll have the shocking new twist in that case up next. You won`t believe it.


PHILLIPS: In the spotlight tonight, the never-ending baby drama surrounding the world`s most infamous mom, of course, Octomom. A legal battle rages as Nadya Suleman is smacked with a lawsuit, accusing her of exploiting her eight new babies. Lawyer Gloria Allred is on the attack.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Our petition asks the court to protect the financial interests and opportunities of Nadya Suleman`s octuplets by appointing a guardian over the estate of these eight infants. In the case of the octuplets, rather than choosing to provide her children with a normal life, their mother, Nadya Suleman, has chosen instead to commercially exploit them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Octomom angrily responds to the harsh claims, speaking to Radar Online.


NADYA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: I`m sure that there will be a lawsuit. Am I going to acknowledge any of them in probably not because there are no grounds. If someone wants to do that, so, feel free to try, but again, I`ll reiterate. They just want a piece of this situation and my babies and they`re not going to get it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got a whole new thing going on where she does this while she`s talking.

So should the law step in and protect all the octo-money so that the kids can have some octo-cash when they grow up?

Straight out to Mike Wallace, assignment manager at TMZ.

Mike, what is the very latest?

MIKE WALLACE, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: You know, Jane, I just got my hands on the actual documents. You know, Gloria Allred did the press conference about this whole lawsuit. But it`s exactly like you just said.

Basically in the documents it says that she -- right when these kids were born, she brought in the media right away. And it`s kind of sick when you look at it. In the actual lawsuit, there`s a stack this thick of the headlines from Radar and all of these people that are paying her with the kids, kids, kids all the time, and it`s this thick. Like, literally they have the headlines printed in the lawsuit where you can see how many times she brought these cameras especially Radar into the house to exploit, they say, her children.

Now, the rest of the lawsuit basically says that these kids, and which I can tell you from experience with TMZ, she`s spending a lot of the money. She`s going shopping. She`s going to La Brea Mall, ordering all these clothes and Dr. Phil and whatever.

The point is that they`re saying, look, these kids are not going to get the money. By the time she`s done. These kids are infants. They`re not going to get their fair shake and they don`t have accounts, which -- a bank account which she could put money in for their future.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Octomom lashed out, though, about this lawsuit talking to Radar Online. Listen to this.


SULEMAN: These are opportunists, and they just want to be in the spotlight. How ironic is that, that people who don`t want are thrust into it overnight and they`re just foaming at the mouth for it. Don`t get it so they have to go to extraordinary lengths to get some form of attention.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Mike, her lawyer says -- just a little while ago said the family did establish a trust for all 14 kids a couple of months ago. They`re essentially claiming they`re already doing what Allred`s demanding. What do you think?

WALLACE: Yes. I mean, I did speak to her lawyer also and told me the same thing, to TMZ, that there is an account and that the actual TV show that she`s supposedly doing, the reality show, isn`t actually inked yet and there`s no contract or whatever.

But it`s obvious to us -- and like I said, when I just looked at these documents, it`s this thick full of headlines from Radar going into the nursery, shooting the kids, and obviously, she`s being paid for it. You just played it again. It`s her reaction, you know, 30 seconds later in -- of what happened in the lawsuit online in a media outlet that paid her to do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Mike, as we wrap up, let me say that there`s also going to be hours issues. If she`s going to do a reality show, kids can only work during certain time periods. Thank you, Mike.

Suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff facing more charges? You won`t believe the debate we`re going to have over Craigslist in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Evidence mounts against suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff. A warrant for the preppy wannabe doctor`s arrest has been filed for the alleged assault and robbery of a stripper in Rhode Island.

Plus, Miss California, the controversial beauty queen and Evangelical Christian poses topless in an old modeling photo. I`ll find out if she`ll lose her crown.

I will have the very latest shocking details on the abduction of adorable little Briant Rodriguez in just a bit, but first, Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez says he`s not done deposing the deputy who witnessed Casey`s jailhouse meltdown.

I am back with David Schwartz, Stacey Honowitz and also joining me, Curtis Sliwa founder of the Guardian Angels.

Curtis, I am just dying to get your insights on the Casey Anthony case. You`ve fought crime for years, rarely is it a mom who was accused of killing her own precious child. Do you think that`s why this case has struck such a nerve with people all around the world, really?

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Oh, yes. Well, they just can`t imagine how somebody who would produce a child could then either take that child and give it to somebody else to do the dastardly deed or do it herself. And in this case, he`s deposing the two sheriff`s deputies, but then he`s also at the very same time asking for a change of venue because he`s claiming he can`t get a fair trial for her in Orlando.

Well that may well be the case because if you`ve seen the people in Orange County, they`re like frothing; they`ve been outside the house. They`re like with pitchforks and torches ready to burn the place down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. They`re furious. Because -- and let me tell you something, a lot of these people were searching for months on end for little Caylee only to find out that prosecutors are now going to argue that this child was killed soon after she disappeared. So a lot of them may feel very resentful.

Now, you`re looking at Jose Baez. He might have tipped his hand in a big way when he spoke to the media before this morning`s deposition. Listen to this.


JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: The court sees that none of the parties are ready, he`ll -- I`m sure if he feels that`s the cause we`ll issue a continuance, but other than that -- hold on. Other than that, I can`t really get -- I can`t assume I`ve got one in my back pocket.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: David Schwartz, to me it sounds like he almost wants a delay in this case. It`s scheduled to start in October, but now that it`s a death penalty case a lot of people feel there will be a continuance and who knows when the heck it`s going to start? Maybe sometime in 2010 or something?

DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, I`m sure he does want a delay. He just received 700 pages of documents today. He`s got to go through that, prepare his defense and prepare the death penalty on this case. There`s a ton of stuff to do, I`m sure he wants a delay in this case.

But just addressing the fair trial issue, no matter how much the people of this county hate Casey Anthony, she still deserves a fair trial and this trial needs to go somewhere where...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why want have it moved into Miami.

SCHWARTZ: Well, it should be moved to Miami because she deserves a fair trial as every criminal defendant deserves a fair trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Stacey Honowitz is a lawyer. I wonder why is he so interested in delaying this case. It kind of reminds me when I was a kid and I had to take that first back dive and I kept postponing it. It doesn`t get any easier however long you postpone it, in fact it can get more difficult.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well Jane, you have to realize something. First of all, we`re talking about a first-degree death penalty case. There are several witnesses to be deposed, there are a ton of experts, forensic experts and plan experts and all these things take time and we knew that this motion for change of venue was coming down. I mean, this was basically a prediction that I made a very -- a long time ago.

There was so much activity going on in Orlando. The judge has to hear that motion. And there`s a lot of things that have to take place.

So I don`t know if he`s standing there saying, delay, delay or if he`s really telling you, were not going to be ready. Either side might not be ready. And I`ve got to tell you something, when you have a first-degree murder charge to get everybody onboard the same time for that timeframe is very difficult. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m just amazed that any trials ever go to jury. I mean, it`s just amazing the complexity and the layering and the delaying tactics. As you know, often the delaying tactics benefit the defendants.

We saw that the first time around with Phil Specter...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...delay, delay, delay, mistrial.

So we`ll have to see if it`s a tactic here. Thank you, Stacey. David Curtis, stay right there.

Turning now to new charges in the stunning case against suspected Craigslist killer Philip Markoff. Rhode Island`s attorney general says, the accused panty-raiding murderer will now also be brought to justice for allegedly trying to rob an exotic dancer last month at gunpoint.


PATRICK C. LYNCH, RHODE ISLAND ATTORNEY GENERAL: And I think today is that we can announce that it was not that. It was Philip Markoff. He will be brought to justice, but it may take some time to bring him formally into a court of law in Rhode Island.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: As Markoff sits in a Boston jail charged with murder and armed robbery, attorney generals from three states faced off with Craigslist lawyers today. They want the Web site to remove, get rid of erotic listings.

Now these are the very listings that Markoff allegedly used to find his victims. Here`s what one attorney general told the CBS "Early Show."


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: We`d like them to eliminate the erotic services section and we want them to block all of these prostitution ads. Clearly the ads have led to the kind of tragedy we saw in Boston.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is the problem with all of that reasoning. You`re not going to eliminate the world`s oldest profession by cracking down on Internet listings.

Oh, no, but in the process of trying you just might rob all Americans of our freedom of expression. You heard him. Let`s get rid of the erotic services section. Do we really want to crack down on all erotic Internet exchanges between consenting adults?

You give the government that power and who knows what`s next. Perhaps they`ll start cracking down on political exchanges between consenting adults. You get my drift? Do we really want that?

Joining us: Paul Callan noted criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor along with Curtis Sliwa founder of the Guardian Angels. Curtis, I know we`re disagreeing on this one because you`re a crime fighter I know you despise those low lives out there. This Craigslist killing is horrific, it`s a tragedy, but we can`t create enormous new restrictions on all Americans every time there`s a tragedy that afflicts just a couple of people.

SLIWA: Jane, Jane, Jane, you couldn`t be more hopelessly wrong on this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, Curtis, Curtis, Curtis.

SLIWA: This is about Craig Newmark making big bucks and not having any integrity to do the vetting out process of the very posting he makes money from. He knows what`s going on. It`s illegal activity. It`s criminal.

Now, you want to legalize prostitution as it is in Rhode Island? You want to legalize prostitution as it is in parts of Nevada? So be it, but it`s not legal and he`s making mad money and won`t even have and go out and hire some other people to vet out some of these ads. And then the underage girls were performing sex, and I guess that`s ok, too? Come on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no I`m not endorsing in the exploitation of underage females by any stretch of the imagination, but what I am saying once you open that Pandora`s box, Paul Callan, where does it end?

You hear these attorneys general saying -- these attorneys general as they like to call themselves -- saying the core words are now going to be screened. So you`re giving them enormous power to now come in and screen core words and what core words, who`s going to choose the core words?

Who is going to decide whether oh, well, maybe this person is homophobic so we`re going to make sure that no words that involve homosexuality are going to appear on the Internet. You`re opening a Pandora`s Box.

PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You`re absolutely right and I think you`ve got severe first amendment problems here. I mean this whole idea of screening the Internet reminds me of what`s going on in Iran and China now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re right.

CALLAN: They use censors to try to block political talk and also sexual references as well. And you look at this situation and yes, we don`t want to encourage crime in the United States, but if you look at the yellow pages of the telephone book there are more escort services listed in that section than you can possibly imagine, as are in magazines.

What do you do? Prohibit masseuses from advertising? What do you prohibit the reference to the word gay? I mean, there`s no way you can make this happen from a practical standpoint.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa, the prostitutes are actually saying that Craigslist overall helps them because it takes the pimps out of the equation so they don`t have to deal with the pimps.

I mean, honestly, I`m a proponent of legalization of prostitution, if you do something such as exists in the Netherlands and regulate it and put it out in the open. This oldest profession isn`t going anywhere.

SLIWA: Yes, yes but wait a second. You don`t give it an opportunity to promote itself on a thing like Craigslist with no vetting process. You know that New York City Police Department had a Craigslist Bureau.

That`s how much crime was being committed on Craigslist. And more importantly when you find the freaks who come out to play like the Craigslist murderer, maybe we should put them in Abu Ghraib and put the panties on his head, right? And humiliate him that way and maybe everyone then will be satisfied. Oh he got his...

CALLAN: So Curtis, do you close down the yellow pages of the telephone book? Have you looked in the yellow pages lately or have you looked in the back of New York magazine where they advertise masseuses? Where do you stop in terms of the censorship once you start going down this road.

SLIWA: You know the police department checks some of those ads...

CALLAN: And they raid and make arrest...

SLIWA: Right.

CALLAN: ...and it assists them in making arrests because they go after those ads.

SLIWA: Right, but look at Craigslist.

CALLAN: But you`re saying ban the ads. If you ban the ads who are the police going to investigate then?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say one thing, Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer -- used to be attorney general of New York -- cracking down on prostitution, guess what? He ended up using, what`s her name, Ashley Dupre and becoming client number 9, so, so much for the powers that be being holier than thou and saying this is what we have to worry about when they themselves end up involved in the very same thing.

CALLAN: So I mean you have -- I`m sorry...

SLIWA: So if they commit a crime or if they steal money from the taxpayers, that`s ok for a bank robber to go in a bank and steal money? That makes no sense.

CALLAN: Well you just put it into other areas...

SLIWA: The freaky weaky and the jiggle wiggle for $4,000. No way.

CALLAN: You push it to other areas of the Internet as well. I mean, it`s the world`s oldest profession as you say, Jane and unfortunately or fortunately you can`t stop it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to go great debate guys.

The Amber Alert still in effect for 3-year-old Briant Rodriguez; I`ll tell you why investigators think gunmen may have taken him to Mexico already.

And controversial beauty queen, Miss California poses topless. Do you think she should lose her crown? Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS; 1-877- 586-7297. Sound off.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Miss California bares it all in topless photos leaked online. I will find out if she loses her crown.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

An Amber Alert still in effect for California`s 3-year-old Briant Rodriguez as cops frantically track down all leads to Briant. Abducted Sunday, after two gunmen stormed into his family`s home, robbed them, tied up his mom and four siblings. Briant`s dad at work at the time of the abduction.

In a shocking twist his mom claims said they would going take Briant across the border and would kill him. Investigators fear the child may already be in Mexico. The kidnappers have not contacted the family for ransom.

The suspects described as skinny, one said to be 18 years old and the other 5`8" and the other described as 24 years old and 5`10".

Here on ISSUES we will stay on top of this truly terrifying story. Look at this precious child, this little innocent.

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

A truly shocking twist in the story of Miss California, Carrie Prejean: racy, semi-nude photos of the 21-year-old runner up in the Miss USA pageant have now hit the Internet. Yet another controversy for Miss California who made national news with these comments during the Miss USA pageant.


CARRIE PREJEAN, MISS USA RUNNER-UP: We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and you know what? In my country, and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that`s how I was raised and that`s how I think that it should be between a man and a woman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Opposite marriage? Is that a new term? Her comments polarized the nation, but she insisted she was just giving her opinion.


PREJEAN: No offense to anybody out there, this is just what I believe. I think we`re all entitled to our own opinion. He asked me mine specifically. I gave him an answer and because of that I was called names. I was made fun of. I was mocked.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was just the beginning of the saga. Rumors swirled that she got a breast up on the competition, so to speak with implants. Soon after the co-director of the Miss California pageant confirmed they helped pay for her augmentation.

Now with the topless photo scandal, she may lose her crown because her contract bans nude or semi-nude photos. Pageant officials in closed doors sit down today because she never told them allegedly that there were these semi-nude photos.

Reports are there are five more pics out there and some claim they could be even more revealing. Meanwhile, Prejean became a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Marriage, an advocacy group against same-sex marriage.

What will the racy photos do to her conservative family values image and will she keep her crown? So many issues to debate.

Now to my fantastic expert panel: Michael Musto, entertainment columnist for the "Village Voice;" Matthew Staver, founder of Liberty Council and dean, Liberty University School of Law; and the fantastic A.J. Hammer, host of the fantastic "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT."

A.J., what the heck is going on with Miss California?

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Oh, are we shocked by any of this, Jane? Come on. I mean Michael Musto, I know he`s going to jump in to say none of this is a surprise to any of us; however, the bottom line here is these photos got out. She claims they were taken when she was 17. There`s been some disagreement with that. There`s speculation that the photos were taken just after her breast augmentation that the Miss California pageant people paid for.

The fact is end of the day, bottom line, contractually she breached her contract and she`s going to be out on her butt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As Miss California awaits her fate, suspense continues. Carrie Prejean just released this handwritten note to TMZ, quote, "The photo in question was taken when I was a minor several months before the 2005 pageant. "The photo was not meant for disclosure to the general public."

Now, Michael Musto, I have absolutely nothing against nudity. I also have nothing against breast implants but I think there`s a certain amount of hypocrisy here with a woman who says I`m going to give myself tremendous leeway in my behavior even as I promote myself as a proponent of family values at the very same expressing intolerance for people who want to marry whoever they want to marry regardless of gender.

MICHAEL MUSTO, ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST, "VILLAGE VOICE": Do you think so, Jane? Absolutely. Look, first of all I`m not even going to ask for her to be dethroned because I think that`s the wrong thing to do here. But this is a walking, parading, half-naked hypocrite and a ding dong.

Carrie Prejean wears breast implants and walks around with half-naked pictures of hers and yet she`s spouting rhetoric saying consenting gay adults should not get married because it`s against her morality. Hello pot, you have no right to call the kettle black.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Matthew Staver, take it away.

MATTHEW STAVER, FOUNDER, LIBERTY COUNCIL: Well, whoever is without sin cast the first stone. That`s what Jesus said. Obviously she`s not and I`m not here to defend what she did when she was a minor. I think the issue was not what she did when she was 17 years old when she posed for a lingerie show, but in fact, what she did when she answered a question that most Californians and a majority of Americans agree with and that is marriage is between a man and a woman. And as a result of that she was vilified by a judge on the blog.

Despicable pictures were super imposed over her photograph. That`s the outrage, not what she did when she was a minor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, she also gave a very inarticulate response and she referred to heterosexual marriage as opposite marriage; never heard that before. I think that will be the title of a new movie -- opposite marriage. And she also said, "In our land, I`m happy to live in a land where we can all choose."

That is blatantly inaccurate, Michael Musto, because we can`t choose. Gay marriage is only legal in a handful of states.

MUSTO: I know but it`s in California...

STAVER: The issue is not about them, it`s about what the judge did.

The judge in this case, Hilton Perez, went on the Internet, called her a four-letter word...


STAVER: Perez Hilton. Called her four-letter words and wrote all kinds of graphic depictions of sexual objects on her photograph. That is wrong. We should say that that is wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So A.J. Hammer, if she can be intolerant but because she did it in a polite and lady-like way that`s ok? What if she had politely expressed a racially insensitive opinion? Would that be ok too because she`s smiling?

HAMMER: No, of course not. You and I have talked about it this, Jane, and those nude photos or semi-nude photos of her would still have wound up on the Internet.

Look, she says at the end of the day she has been persecuted because of the answer that she gave and she has said all along that that is why she lost the pageant. Guess what, Donald Trump today said that is not why, she would have lost anyway even if the question was never asked.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Sit tight. More on the drama in a minute.

Don`t forget, you can catch A.J. Hammer on "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" at 11:00 p.m. Eastern with all the details.



PEREZ HILTON, JUDGE, MISS USA: She lost not because she doesn`t believe in gay marriage. Miss California lost because she`s a dumb [bleep].


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oops. That was Perez Hilton, celebrity blogger and judge of the Miss USA pageant, sounding off about Miss California`s comments.

What do you think? Should Miss California lose her crown? Give me a holler. And the phone lines lighting up. Dennis in New York, question or thought.

DENNIS, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hey, Jane, I have a comment about Miss California. She says she`s a Christian and a model. Well, I`m a Christian and I`m gay, and I think she`s a hypocrite. If she can take her top off, I can marry another guy. And she should lose her crown. Vanessa Williams did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Matthew Staver.

STAVER: Jane, I`m not here to defend what she did when she was a minor. We all make mistakes. But I will defend that she has a right to an opinion. An opinion shared by the vast majority of Americans that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Donald Trump says she has a right to an opinion. You have a right to your opinion. And wouldn`t you agree that she has a right to her own opinion as well?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the thing, Michael Musto, help me out with this. If you express an opinion politely, as she did, but it`s an intolerant opinion, for example, if she had said something racist or anti- Semitic or sexist, would that be ok too?

MUSTO: No. And the way she added that kind of cutesy little I hope I haven`t offended anybody made it worse for me. She`s basically saying I`m against gay people living their lives and getting equal rights, I hope that hasn`t offended anybody.

How about if she said blacks should be slaves again? It did offend me, Carrie. But I still will defend your right because this is a free country to say that. And I will defend Perez Hilton`s right to slime you right back.

And by the way, dethroning Miss America, Vanessa Williams, proved to be the dumbest thing they ever did. That`s why I`m saying we shouldn`t dethrone Carrie. Vanessa turned out to be the biggest star to ever come out of any pageant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Actually, A.J. Hammer, all of this controversy could help her career.

HAMMER: Look, we still aren`t talking about who won the Miss USA pageant. Can you tell me her name and what state she was from? No you probably can`t. Michael Musto, you probably can.

MUSTO: I didn`t watch it, no.

HAMMER: The truth is I would be very surprised, as I said, at the end of the day if she doesn`t lose her crown because she signed a contract that said she acknowledges she has never posed for nude or semi-nude photos before. Clearly she was in breach of that contract and they`ve spent the entire day with the Trump Organization, with the pageant people sorting through all of it.

MUSTO: But Jane, Jane, how hypocritical is that, they paid for her breast implants and they`re mad at her because she...

HAMMER: No, no. Michael, that`s just fantastic.

STAVER: At the end of the day, though, this is really about her right to express her opinion. And the vilification that she experienced by a judge, not somebody who didn`t agree with her that`s an audience participant or a viewer, but a judge. That has no place in any kind of pageant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we all got to express our opinion, and I thank all of you gentlemen for joining me.

Got a question or comment? Go to Send me an e-mail. You are watching ISSUES on HLN.