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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Another Sex Offender Linked to Missing Girl
Aired May 28, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, harrowing updates in the search for adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan. Cops allegedly focusing in on another sex offender in addition to George Kennedy. Meantime, two of Nevaeh`s little playmates make the jaw-dropping claim that they say a man they`re calling Daddy George stab the child in the woods. But authorities say Kennedy has an alibi. So could the second sex offender hold the key?
Then, a dream team shakeup as Casey Anthony if dragged into court today with yet another new look. Her defense has added a tough new attorney with an amazing track record on death penalty cases. Is she the Angel of Death Row? I`ll analyze the courtroom fireworks.
And more Drew Peterson drama. Cops come to a shocking conclusion about the skeletal remains found in a river just miles from Peterson`s home. Meantime, the accused killer is yucking it up on morning radio shows from behind bars. Is this all a sick joke to him?
Plus, it`s a family feud for reality stars Jon and Kate Gosselin. Gosselin family members make the media rounds to bash the couple for exploiting their eight kids. Also, a flood of reports say Jon wants out. But TLC says the show will go on. Could Kate continue without him? And should she?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight in the frantic search for missing 5-year-old Michigan girl Nevaeh Buchanan. In a stunning and gut- wrenching development, investigators announced they now have two -- count them -- two persons of interest in this case. Both are convicted sex offenders. Both are friends with the missing child`s mother.
Forty-eight-year-old Roy Smith is now in custody on suspicion that he violated his parole by allegedly having contact with little Nevaeh. Sex offenders are not supposed to have contact with kids.
This new person of interest apparently owns a van driven by the other sex offender and person of interest in this case, George Kennedy. Cops say Kennedy is the boyfriend of the missing girl`s mom, although she calls him just a friend. Just a friend.
Investigators made an ominous discovery inside that van: a multipurpose tool covered in blood. They also allegedly found blood spattered around Kennedy`s motel room.
And there are more horrifying developments. Nevaeh`s little playmate, a 6-year-old girl, tells investigators that Nevaeh went to the woods to meet somebody called Daddy George. Another playmate claims he saw her stabbed in the stomach. Could that explain the bloody tool found in the van owned by one person of interest and driven by another? The blood still being tested at this hour.
But meantime -- got to say this-- cops say George Kennedy reportedly has an alibi, a solid one. Two people say they were with him at the time of this little girl`s disappearance. Does that mean he`s off the hook?
Nevaeh`s devastated mom says there is absolutely no way her daughter just wandered off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER BUCHANAN, MOTHER OF NEVAEH: I think they put their hand over her mouth, maybe hit her in the back, something. I have no idea. I really don`t want to think about that. I don`t want to think about the bad. I just want to think about the good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Should have thought of that before you got involved with all these people.
We all hope we will get some good news soon. But these developments are beyond troublesome.
Straight to my fantastic expert panel: Lisa Bloom, anchor at the legal network "In Session" and CNN legal analyst; Debbie Magids, psychologist; Mark Eiglarsh, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney; Mike Gaynor, a former NYPD detective and president of East Coast Detectives; and by phone, Michael Rosenfield, a reporter with WXYZ, who`s been doing some great work on this case.
You`ve been tracking this case from the start, Michael. What is the very latest?
MICHAEL ROSENFIELD, REPORTER, WXYZ (via phone): Yes, Jane, stunning developments today on several different fronts that you`ve been mentioning. The main thing, though, this gentleman by the name of Roy Lee Smith, 48 years old, yet another convicted sex offender. Now he`s in custody on a parole violation, and police are calling him a person of interest in Nevaeh`s disappearance. He was picked up on Monday shortly after Nevaeh disappeared.
And also, these two other witness accounts from child witnesses. Police aren`t sure if these witness statements are credible. But here`s what they`re saying. One girl, she`s 5 years old, said she was playing with Nevaeh on the day she disappeared, and she saw Nevaeh go into the woods. Nevaeh told her she was going to meet, quote, "Daddy George." George could likely be, perhaps, George Kennedy, the friend of Nevaeh`s mother.
And also an 8-year-old boy says he was riding bikes with Nevaeh Sunday afternoon in the parking lot at their apartment complex. He says, quote, "Nevaeh went into the woods" and was, quote, "kidnapped by a bad man." He also reported the bad man stabbed Nevaeh in the stomach with a knife. He says he tried to help the little girl but couldn`t and went back home.
Later, though, investigators say he was unable to convey clearly that he actually witnessed these events. So they`re not sure how credible these statements are. Or if there just might have been so much trauma to this boy that he couldn`t put the pieces together once again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or maybe they were watching the news, and children are impressionable, and often they confuse reality with fantasy. We`re going to analyze that in just a moment, Michael.
Nevaeh`s mom was asked about George Kennedy, the convicted sex offender she befriended, and even allowed her to hang out, allowed her own daughter to hang out with this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Honestly, I really do not see him doing it, but then again, I could be wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How worried does that make you, knowing all those...
BUCHANAN: Very, completely -- very worried. Very. It just makes me sick to my stomach. I cannot imagine.
He had had contact with her before. But I`ve never left her alone with him. There was always another parent with her, and him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bad answer. I don`t care. It`s incomprehensible, I would argue, criminal that this mom would let a convicted sex offender anywhere near her daughter in the first place.
But Lisa Bloom, look at the mom`s own record. "The Detroit Free Press" says she served 11 months behind bars for a home invasion that was reportedly due to a drug problem. And her own mother is quoted as saying she met George Kennedy at a parole office.
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, IN SESSION: Well, that`s my question, Jane. Did she know he`s a convicted sex offender? If not, she`s an innocent victim here. I don`t care about her criminal history. Her daughter`s missing. She`s a grieving mother. She`s not a suspect in her daughter`s disappearance. Did she know that her friend was a sex offender or was she ignorant to that?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it sounds like she knows, because she said, "I only allowed her to see him with other people present." Why would you do that if you weren`t dealing with somebody who didn`t have a record?
BLOOM: Well, because I don`t leave my kids alone with people who I don`t know very well. They`re just a friend. I`m not assuming that they`re a convicted sex offender. And I think that`s a bit of a leap.
Now, if she did know, that`s a different subject. But I`m not going to blame her right off the bat. Right now she`s a mother with a missing little girl. I think she deserves some compassion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go back to Michael Rosenfield. What did she know and when did she know it?
ROSENFIELD: Well, first off, she definitely knew that he was a sex offender, and she allowed her daughter to hang out with him. Many of her friends and family didn`t like it at all. They knew for awhile he`d been hanging out with her and at the apartment. And they warned her not to get too close, but she did anyway.
In the end, Jennifer Buchanan is an adult and can make up her own decision. She apparently was hanging out with a couple of sex offenders who, you know, did get to know her daughter very well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mark Eiglarsh, it`s not just one; it`s two guys. And they were both her friends, and now they`re both persons of interest.
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s right. She`s off my mother-of-the-year list.
And Lisa is right: anyone who loses a child, at least temporarily, we should have certain compassion for them. However, we can also have those same feelings that you have, Jane, my friend with three names. You can also have that feeling that, you know, "You put your child in harm`s way. Whether these guys are responsible or not, you did it." Not a strong choice to put her with guys, or a guy that you met at the parole office.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Debbie Magids, you`re the psychologist. This happens all the time, according to prosecutors. Stacey Honowitz, a Florida prosecutor, says she sees this all the time, where mothers put their children in danger, because they think they`re an extraordinary judge of character, or this guy just had a tough break and they buy a sob story.
DEBBIE MAGIDS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, this mother definitely has her own psychological issues. I mean, she got attracted to someone with a sex offender history, and she is not acting like a protective mother. And she did put her child in harm`s way. And I`m sure she feels very terrible about it now. But one has to wonder about the judgment of this mom.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I`m not trying to attack her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m saying we have to learn from this case, as a society, because this is going on right now all over the country. So at home, if you are a mom, or a parent, and you have any inkling that anybody that you`re hanging out with is a convicted sex offender, press the rewind button.
MAGIDS: Don`t let them near your children. You know, this mother had a drug issue to begin with. So she`s operating from a place of emptiness inside on her own. So it`s really a sad story to me.
BLOOM: But Jane, the other problem is, we don`t know if either of these sex offenders actually did anything wrong. One of them has two alibis. I mean, it`s all going to come down to the DNA. If that DNA can match the blood in the van to one of these guys, it`s a slam dunk and the case is over as far as I`m concerned.
If there is no DNA match, then the police are still looking. All they have right now is a couple of persons of interest, unfortunately.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mike Gaynor, Lisa is absolutely right. Apparently, this guy you`re looking at right here, not that one, but the other one, George Kennedy, that guy has a solid alibi, according to published reports. Two friends who passed polygraphs said they were with him when the child disappeared.
MIKE GAYNOR, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, that`s true. But it doesn`t mean necessarily that it wasn`t involved in some way.
Let me address this issue of persons of interest. I want to assure you that the police only have two types of persons of interest in a criminal investigation. And those are witnesses and suspects.
These guys are suspected to have some kind of an involvement in this case, and their background is the indication for the police to follow up on. If these guys are witnesses, they would have been singing like canaries on day one. They haven`t done that. So they`re going to be checked out thoroughly. As Lisa said, the DNA is going to be a substantial part of this case. And any other physical evidence that they may come up with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say this. Right now they are not considered suspects. We have to say that for legal reasons. They are just persons of interest. And police say they still hope this child might be alive.
GAYNOR: I would disagree with that legal issue.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`ll disagree in a moment. Hang tight.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fantastic panel. We`ll have more expert analysis in just a moment.
What is your take on these seismic developments? Give me a holler: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Sound off.
Then Casey Anthony back in court with a new `do and a new lawyer. I`ll tell you why her top new attorney is considered the Angel of Death Row and could really shake up this case.
But first, throughout the frantic search for little Nevaeh, police have played it very close to the vest. Here is the sheriff dancing around a question about the bloody tool they reportedly found just yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF TILMAN CRUTCHFIELD, MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: During the course of the investigation, we`ve found different articles, conducted many searches, and submitted various, you know, pieces of property to the crime lab for analysis for various reasons. I`m not commenting any further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: The little girl came in and said, "Nevaeh is playing outside, in the road on her scooter." So I go outside, and I go to tell her not to play in the road, to stay on the sidewalk. And I couldn`t find her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We do feel badly for Nevaeh`s devastated mom. Talking about the tragic moment she realized her little daughter was missing four nights ago from outside her Michigan home.
Very troubling, ominous developments tonight, as cops name a second person of interest, another sex offender who was friends with the little girl`s mom. What was she thinking? We do have to ask that.
And reports of a bloody tool, allegedly found in a van, is sent to the lab for testing. We do know, apparently, that it`s human blood, but we don`t know whose.
I`m back discussing the latest in this horrifying case.
Phone lines lighting up. Susan in Ohio, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes, Nevaeh`s maternal grandmother stated that she had legal custody of the child. And I wondered what the circumstances were that allowed her to gain custody?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my understanding is that the mother, the woman you just heard from moments ago, went to the slammer for 11 months, and that was on a charge of home invasion that reportedly, according to "The Detroit Free Press," stemmed from a drug problem.
So she`s got problems herself, Debbie Magids, and that complicates the issue. Because when you`re woozy, you`re not going to make the best judgment calls.
MAGIDS: Yes. Not at all. And I just want to get out there, you know, if you`re a sex offender, it`s a high recidivism rate. They`re likely to attack again. And it`s a really deep problem going on. So never allow a sex offender near your child. I just needed to get that out there. Not at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And never meet anybody at a parole office.
MAGIDS: Yes, exactly.
EIGLARSH: Hey, Jane, have we turned this into "Let`s state the obvious" hour? The other thing is...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you saying? Don`t hold back. Don`t hold back, Mark.
EIGLARSH: I mean, it`s so obvious. The other thing is, more subtle, I guess...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s obvious, but millions of people are doing it.
EIGLARSH: I know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s obvious. It would be obvious: don`t make friends with sex offenders who...
BLOOM: But you know...
EIGLARSH: And -- and letting your child on a scooter outside unattended who`s 5 years old. I have a 5-year-old daughter. Because I watch shows like this, she doesn`t go out there unsupervised.
BLOOM: OK, but let me just say something. I`m surprised how frequently on this show people with alcohol and drug problems are attacked and vilified. I mean, this woman is not accused of doing anything wrong. Yes, she`s got a criminal history.
But guess what? Sometimes people with criminal histories have children, meet other people with criminal histories, and don`t have these tragic outcomes.
EIGLARSH: That`s true.
BLOOM: I think it`s unfair to blast her for meeting somebody at the parole office. You know, she may not have the life and the resources and the opportunities that we on this panel have. And she could have met someone.
EIGLARSH: That`s not what this is about.
BLOOM: It could have gone very well. They could have both had criminal histories. I don`t think we should be up on our high horse about this poor woman whose daughter is missing.
EIGLARSH: That is -- that`s not what this is about, Lisa. This is about her poor choices. It`s not about how much money she has.
BLOOM: But we don`t know if that`s connected to her missing daughter.
EIGLARSH: We don`t. But you would concede, would you not, it wasn`t a strong choice for her to do something...
BLOOM: You make a lot of innuendo. And there`s no facts or evidence yet to base it on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, you know I talk about all the time I`m a recovering alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety. I`ve certainly done plenty of things that I`m not proud of.
BLOOM: I would trust you alone with my kids, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. And you know what? If we see signs that this woman is in recovery, I think that would be very positive. I think we know, though, that this is a cautionary tale. And I don`t think we`re saying these things to be cruel. I do have compassion for this woman.
BLOOM: But we don`t know if she -- she could be clean and sober now for all we know. She could be clean and sober For the last several years for all we know.
GAYNOR: She made some bad decisions anyway, whether she`s clean and sober or not.
BLOOM: She`s not the only mother who lets her daughter play outside in the Midwest in daylight.
GAYNOR: I agree with you. We shouldn`t be condemning her. She`s got real problems. We have to take it into consideration.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. All right.
EIGLARSH: Is there anything that she did wrong? Can you concede that maybe any...
BLOOM: If she knew -- look, if she knew that she was hanging out with a convicted sex offender, of course she shouldn`t be doing that...
BLOOM: That`s what a reporter says.
EIGLARSH: That`s what the evidence shows. That`s what the evidence shows.
BLOOM: OK. I have not seen the evidence of that. I have not read that in any of the A.P. or published reports about it. If that`s true, that`s obviously a bad choice.
GAYNOR: How about an unsupervised 5-year-old?
BLOOM: You don`t take a child away just because she once had a drug problem.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Doreen in New York, your question or thought.
CALLER: Hi, Jane, I love you. I watch you every night. My question is, if she knowingly placed her daughter around the company of sex offenders, can she be charged with any kind of crime? I mean, the alcohol and the drug abuse aside, even if she did not have those problems, she`s knowingly putting her child in a dangerous situation.
BLOOM: She says she never left the child alone with him anyway.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, OK. What about that? Let`s talk about that question. I think it`s an excellent question. Mark Eiglarsh, could she potentially face any kind of charges? And again, we`re not trying to beat up on this woman.
EIGLARSH: I don`t see any criminal charges. But if they do bring the child and do recover -- if they find the child, let`s say, I think that maybe Children and Family should come in and evaluate her choices. That`s all. No offense, Lisa. But I do think...
BLOOM: No, look...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, here`s the thing that gets me. Of course sometimes people are very persuasive. And they can say, "Hey, you know, I got a bum rap. I was innocent. I didn`t do this."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "I didn`t do that." And they can convince somebody, who might be kind-hearted, to give them a break. But maybe sometimes that`s a bad decision, and one is not the best judge of character.
BLOOM: Nobody should let a convicted sex offender around a child, period. I mean, that`s inexcusable.
EIGLARSH: That`s the point. That`s all we`re making.
BLOOM: I brought a civil case against somebody who did that, a mother who let a sex offender hang out with a child.
BLOOM: My only point here is, not to blast an innocent woman without some evidence to back it up. That`s all I`m saying.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got to go. Fabulous, feisty debate. Thank you, excellent panel, for your insights.
Drew Peterson makes sick jokes on a morning radio show from a phone behind bars. We`ll -- we will play you his stupid joke, and we will ask why is he allowed to do this.
And Jon and Kate Gosselin`s family members call them out for exploiting the kids. Will this show survive all the turmoil?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, a shocking revelation as cops say that the decomposed body found in a river just miles from Drew Peterson`s home is that of a man. The grisly remains found last week struck a firestorm of speculation that the skeleton may have been Peterson`s missing wife No. 4, Stacy.
Dodgy Drew has long been a suspect in her disappearance, but he insists she ran off with another man.
Meantime -- you won`t believe this -- the accused killer -- well, maybe you will believe this -- yucking it up on a morning radio show from behind bars. Why is this all just a sick joke to him? Take a listen to his collect call from the clink.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, live from the Will County Jail, it`s Drew Peterson. Give it up! Yay. Nobody`s clapping.
DREW PETERSON, ACCUSED OF MURDER: Hey, Mancow?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PETERSON: I know we can`t do the date with Drew anymore. But I`m thinking what we should do is, like, win a conjugal visit with Drew. Let`s do that!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Peterson is in jail, charged with murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Her death originally deemed an accident, now considered a homicide. Peterson has pleaded not guilty.
Still with me, the fabulous Lisa Bloom, anchor on the legal network In Session. And CNN legal analyst Lisa, the remains are not Stacy`s. How does that impact the current case against Drew Peterson and the chances of charges also being filed against him for Stacy`s disappearance?
BLOOM: The current charges are for Kathleen Savio`s murder, his third wife, not Stacy, so really, it`s irrelevant. By the way, I can tell you that these results were devastating to Stacy Peterson`s family when they heard about it. They are still very much hoping that it was going to be Stacy Peterson. They`re still holding out hope that she`s going to be found somewhere, somehow. And this is just very disturbing to them.
So hopefully, her remains, or her living self will be found somewhere, somehow. But until then, it just seems to me the prosecutors are not getting an indictment for him for Stacy. They`re continuing, of course, with Kathleen, with the charges in connection with her murder.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it also has to be very frustrating for the family. Lisa Stebic, another woman missing in the vicinity since 2007. They were also hoping perhaps it was her.
Let`s listen to more of Drew Peterson`s sick, bad jokes during a collect call he made into a radio show from behind bars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`s your love life?
PETERSON: My love life? Well, I got a lot of buddies here that are real anxious to, you know, wash my back in the shower. But you know, what`s that all about, you know, "Hey, I got it, you know, leave me alone, you know."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you enjoying the showers?
PETERSON: No, not at all, they`re cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`s your bling? Do you get to wear bling every once in a while?
PETERSON: I get my -- I get my bling coming and going out of the courthouse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Lisa, his lawyers say, "Oh, he relieves stress this way." Why can`t they put a muzzle on this guy?
BLOOM: You know, his lawyers cannot control him, Jane. He did an interview with Matt Lauer on "The Today Show" recently. That was arranged through his attorneys.
This one, apparently, he just called in on his own. After his attorneys had been on air, on your show, saying they don`t want him to do this kind of thing. And it really just shows his flippant and cavalier attitude about what`s going on.
And P.S., Drew Peterson cannot get conjugal visits with anyone. He`s still legally married to Stacy Peterson.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have 10 seconds. Why is it that they allow this in prison, for him to make calls?
BLOOM: He can make a collect phone call to anybody he wants, even a local radio show. Even to you, Jane, if you want him to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I don`t want to get a call from him. Maybe I do for a news value, but not to talk to the human being.
Lisa, thanks so much.
Casey Anthony hauled into court today. I will analyze everything, from her new `do to her new attorney. It`s all up next. It`s an amazing day in court for Casey Anthony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A dream team shakeup as Casey Anthony is dragged into court today with yet another new look. Her defense team added a tough attorney nicknamed the "Angel of Death Row." I`ll analyze the courtroom fireworks.
Plus, it`s a family feud for reality stars Jon and Kate Gosselin. Family members bash the couple, accusing them of exploiting their eight children; also a flood of reports that Jon wants out. So will the show go on?
A momentous day in court for Casey Anthony whose life literally hangs in the balance; Casey made a command appearance this morning where she introduced yet another new look -- long hair this time. Check it out right there.
And where Jose Baez introduced the newest member of Casey`s phenomenal dream team, death penalty lawyer Andrea Lyon; aptly named a.k.a. the "Angel of Death Row." Lyon has tried more than 130 homicide cases, and her track record for getting clients off death row? Perfect.
After court, Lyon spoke about her latest client, Casey Anthony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA LYON, CASEY ANTHONY`S DEATH PENALTY ATTY.: The prosecution has to be able to convict Casey Anthony, and since she`s innocent, one hopes that we can actually get a fair jury that will acquit her.
But the state has noticed up the death penalty. They have done so for strategic reasons in my opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kind of intimidating. So will the feisty, emotional "Angel of Death Row" be able to maintain her record and keep Casey off death row? Meantime, why was there no ruling on whether Casey`s infamous jail house meltdown video will be released to the public?
Straight out to my fabulous panel: Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney; Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Kathi Belich, a reporter with CNN affiliate WFTV in Orlando; and Marti MacKenzie, the spokesperson for Casey`s defense team.
Marti, glad to have you on...
MARTI MACKENZIE, SPOKESPERSON FOR CASEY`S DEFENSE TEAM: Ok.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you are also the author of "Courting the Media: Public Relations for the Accused and Accusers." I`m going to read that one.
Everybody, Marti, wants to know what role Andrea Lyon is going to have in this case. Will she be cross-examining witnesses or does she only take center stage if Casey is convicted to present mitigating evidence during the death phase?
MACKENZIE: No, as long as the death penalty is on the table, Andrea will be at the table. And she will be involved in the courtroom at every stage of the trial. Jose Baez went out and he found an outstanding lawyer to fill this role.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. She is impressive indeed and a bit intimidating. And she also has a reputation for crying in the courtroom before the jury.
Since Casey`s newly death qualified attorney hasn`t been admitted to practice temporarily in Florida, she wasn`t allowed to speak in court this morning, but the new powerhouse defender did hold court outside where she set the agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYON: The trial will not go in October. This is a death penalty case and requires the preparation not only of the defense of the case, but the defense of Miss Anthony`s life. And that`s going to take quite some time and quite some work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kathi Belich, you were in court today. What was the reaction in general at the courthouse to Andrea Lyon jumping on this case? And why do you think she`s doing it? Could it have anything to do with her book coming out, I believe in January: The "Angel of Death Row?"
KATHI BELICH, WFTV, ORLANDO: Well, it could have something to do with that. She possibly doesn`t need to get paid for this job. She`s got independent income coming in. But also, the reaction today was she has an impressive record. There`s no doubt about that.
But, you know, once again, Baez announced to his defense -- the new member of his defense team would be to the media before telling the judge and the prosecutors. And so she was in court this morning before she officially joined the defense team.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
BELICH: And there was some bantering back and forth about that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Marti, let me ask you this question.
What about this reputation for extreme emotion and crying in court. According to published reports, there was actually a motion filed against her to attempt her to stop in a previous case from crying in the courtroom.
MACKENZIE: When the death penalty is involved in a case, there are many, many people, myself including a large contingent of lawyers, and people throughout this country who passionately believe the death penalty is absolutely wrong, no matter what. And that we should not have capital punishment as part of our justice system. And Andrea is one of those people.
So it is hard sometimes to contain that passion. Fortunately, she balances her passion with an outstanding legal mind, and this is what will come to play as a member of the defense team.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Casey`s defense team does not want the videotape of her infamous jail house medical clinic meltdown where the remains were found, released to the public. Listen as another one of her lawyers talks about how he feels she was mistreated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD MACALUSO, CASEY ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: This is cruel. This is inhumane. This is illegal. This is unconstitutional. This defies any common sense of what law enforcement should or should not do.
The media frenzy in this case has painted her in a false light. The release of this videotape will undoubtedly have a media spin to it, just as every other piece of evidence has had in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marti MacKenzie, why the fierce battle over this particular videotape?
MACKENZIE: Well again, I think it goes back to the question of fairness and justice. She is -- Casey Anthony is in the Orange County jail. She is completely without any personal freedom. She was escorted to the medical facility under false pretenses. And then she was surreptitiously videotaped while the commentary on the television was playing about the remains of what turned out to be the remains of her daughter.
And this was very cruel. And this is not just the defense team saying it. There are depositions that have been taken. There are comments by people in the jail. And there is a large question about whether this should have ever happened. And it certainly should not be public fodder.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I think there`s a huge debate about that. Certainly the public wants to see it, simply because we`ve been talking about it so much.
We`re going to have to see -- wait and see what the judge does with that ruling.
Marti MacKenzie, spokesperson for Casey Anthony`s defense team. I hope you come back again and again. We would love to have you.
MACKENZIE: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you.
Jeff Brown, I don`t understand something, explain this to me. All right, she`s a -- this Andrea Lyon, a death penalty qualified attorney who really takes center stage if Casey is convicted.
But then she tries to establish mitigating factors, doing psychological tests, et cetera. Doesn`t that sound kind of to me like admitting guilt after months of saying you didn`t do it?
JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I just got out of a federal death case, and this very issue is prevalent in all of these types of death cases. For the jurors -- I mean for the viewers who don`t know, there`s a guilt phase and there`s a penalty phase if they`re found guilty in that guilt phase. But it`s the same jury that`s going to decide both.
So you better be very careful what issues and how you raise a defense in the guilt phase of that case. Oftentimes lawyers like to talk about beyond the case, hasn`t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
That`s a lot different from saying my client is innocent. Because if you`re saying you`re client is innocent and they get convicted in the guilt phase, jurors in the death penalty phase love to hear about the defendant being remorseful and it`s often hard to switch now and say, ok, my client isn`t innocent, but she`s remorseful.
So this is going to be a real good balancing act. This is a very good lawyer. But I want to see how she changes this whole defense team. Because right now, they`ve taken mental health and all of these issues out of the trial and said she`s innocent, innocent, innocent.
And in a good death lawyer that comes in, you`ve got to play a lot of these death issues in the guilt phase as well. You`ve got to be consistent in this case. So I`d be curious to see what she does to shape this team up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paul Callan, in her news conference today outside court, Andrea Lyon said she is going to challenge the prosecution`s right to even ask for the death penalty. On what basis?
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I don`t see where she goes with that argument. They certainly have the right to ask for the death penalty in this case. And I think she`s just trying to make a headline there and make a splash as she enters the case.
Jane, what I`m really interested about is -- how is she going to play in front of a Florida jury. Her background is, I think, Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, she`s used to playing big town, big city juries. And I don`t know how well Florida jurors may take to her. So it will be very interesting.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know that`s a good point because sometimes their lawyers go across the country and they have a different style that doesn`t work in that city.
But let me go to Kathi Belich. You were in court. And we`re going to go through all of Casey`s shifting appearances. What did you make of Casey in court this time around?
BELICH: Well, today she was mostly quiet. A couple of times she whispered things to her attorney. She took some notes and was passing notes to a couple of her attorneys.
I did notice that during discussions about Caylee`s body, when it was found, when Caylee was murdered, her reaction the day she found out that Caylee was found, she did shift in her chair. She fidgeted a little bit.
At one point she looked like she was holding her breath. She sort of puffed up and stayed that way for awhile and then let the breath out. And this was during those times when they were talking about things that I guess were making her tense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, quickly, what is with this changing style? The bun, not the bun, a jacket, not a jacket; I mean are they experimenting to see what works?
BROWN: Yes, I think they are. They`re trying to see what`s the best feel -- they`re probably doing some surveys to see how people are taking this. Remember, jurors stare at a defendant all during their trial. They`re looking for anything. So all of these factors are important.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`ve got to leave it right there. But thank you for the amazing insight.
And don`t forget "NANCY GRACE" is up next at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest analysis of Casey`s court appearance.
And here on ISSUES, the very latest on Chris Brown`s legal troubles mounting. Could we see Rihanna testifying against him there?
More Jon and Kate drama, speculation mounts that Jon wants out of the marriage. Do you think the show could survive without him? Give me a holler. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297, to sound off, I want to know what you think.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The family feud over Jon and Kate Gosselin rages on. I`ll have an update.
First, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Big-time news in the Chris Brown assault case, Brown`s high-profile attorney Mark Geragos was in court today, trying to get his paws on police records. He wants to find out who leaked this photo. That photo right there, showing pop star Rihanna`s battered face after Brown allegedly beat her. But a judge shutdown that request.
Meantime, prosecutors made waves of their own. They intend to call the woman you`re looking at, Rihanna, the pop star to testify at the hearing in June. Her lawyers say, she will absolutely comply with the subpoena.
So was this a double dose of bad news for Chris Brown? Joining me to analyze it all -- Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.
Paul, you have represented Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Michelle Rodriguez, quite a threesome there. You know a thing or two or three about celebrity justice.
For Chris Brown, it looks like his defense was dealt two body blows today. Does this mean Mark Geragos is going to go to Plan B and try to work a plea deal?
CALLAN: No, I don`t think so. Because I think well, we`ve got the criminal case and there`s a civil case now, a paparazzi photographer who`s suing him. You know, I think the civil case probably is going to be resolved quietly. And I don`t think it`s going to have much of an impact on the criminal case.
And Geragos is hoping that when Rihanna testifies, that she`s going to try to testify in a friendly way possibly so that the jury has sympathy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can she testify in a friendly way about getting pummeled when the police report goes on and on about this extended. This wasn`t just a pop allegedly, this was long beating.
CALLAN: Well, Geragos has got a tough, tough case on his hands. There`s no question there. But we do know that Rihanna had wanted to drop these charges. And I think ultimately they`re going to try to say to the jury, if she doesn`t care about it, why should you care about it?
That`s the only defense he really has in the criminal case. I don`t know whether a jury will buy it or not. I do know that usually prosecutors tend to drop these cases, or to take a plea to a minor charge when the victim wants to drop.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Paul, thank you so much.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Tonight, Jon and Kate Gosselin under fire, and not just from the tabloids, but from Kate`s own family. Jon and Kate barely spoke to each on the emotional premier of "Jon and Kate plus 8."
And just yesterday, Kate`s brother and sister-in-law blasted the couple on CBS`s "Early Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JODI KREIDER, SISTER-IN-LAW OF KATE GOSSELIN: They`re being exploited. And it`s time for America to see the situation for what it really is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s talking about the kids when she says they`re being exploited. TLC says the show will go on. But we are left to wonder, should there be laws protecting children in reality TV shows?
Should it be, for example, this is a provocative question, illegal for young children to be put on reality shows. Tell me what you think. Should it be outlawed? Give me a shout out.
Straight to my expert panel: the fantastic Carlos Diaz, correspondent for "Extra;" my good buddy Debbie Magids, psychologist; and a very special guest Paul Petersen, who was a child actor on the "Donna Reed Show" and is now an advocate for child actors as President and founder of "A Minor Consideration."
Paul, how worried are about this kids in "Jon and Kate plus 8" and why?
PAUL PETERSEN, FORMER CHILD ACTOR: I am desperately concerned. I don`t think this family had any idea when they began, just how grinding notoriety can be. And these children did not have the power to disobey. And what I`m worried about is that, who is speaking for them?
Certainly not mom and dad who are embroiled in their own emotional roller coaster. Where is the state of Pennsylvania? Who is the advocate for these children to make sure not only that they`re safe, that their health safety and morals are being guarded, but that they are protected financially. Bad things could develop...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But then, let me ask you, Paul, isn`t there a law -- I remember the Jackie Coogan story, the famous child actor that was ripped off and then they created all these laws saying you have to have a trust fund set up for kids, child actors so that you can`t rip off your own kids?
PETERSEN: It`s very important that you understand that the Coogan law exists in California.
PETERSEN: And we former kid stars amended that law so that it then covered all kids in entertainment. There is a milder version in the state of New York.
Pennsylvania has no such Coogan law, although they do have some statutory requirements to guard the income of the children. And therein lies the rub. Are they working or are they just potted plants?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Carlos Diaz, you`re there at "Extra," and you`re in the heart of Hollywood, you have said that you don`t think this is abuse. You don`t think it should be outlawed.
CARLOS DIAZ, EXTRA: Paul is way off here. I`m sorry. Can we just get a reality check? These kids are not learning lines. They`re not asked to cry on cue. They`re not supposed to hit a mark at a certain time.
They go and have parties. And they film their parties. They went out -- in a future episode which comes up next week, they take their mom out and try to find a birthday cake with her and they make her cards. They`re kids, they`re not actors. Ok, they don`t follow the same rules as child actors.
PETERSEN: Really, Carlos, are they on camera? Carlos, are they on camera? Are they being broadcast, their images, all over the United States and the rest of the world through the Internet? Excuse me, it`s you who are wrong.
These children are performers in every sense of the word. And they are in an environment where every adult is being compensated, every one.
DIAZ: Right and Paul, Paul, we`re talking about their parents are being compensated. Their parents -- hold on, Paul, I`ll let you finish while you let me finish.
They`re getting $75,000 an episode; 40 more episodes over the next four years, that`s $3 million for their parents. Do you think the parents are not going to give the money to the kids at some point?
And my point to you is this, these are not child actors. These are children living their lives with a spy -- a camera watching them their live lives. And this show is affording them opportunities that they would never have if the show did not exist.
Paul, you`re a child actor, Paul, you`re not a reality show actor.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But ok, let`s bring in psychologist there, psychologist Debbie...
DEBBIE MAGIDS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...who are saying that this is psychologically damaging because it`s teaching them to perform and not have a genuine relationship with their parents, but rather a relationship based on performance.
MAGIDS: I was going to say it`s actually something in between. I mean, these cameras in the home are certainly impacting these children. You can`t just say it`s just a normal childhood.
On the other hand, they`re not child actors and they`re not going after the fame and the fortune. And when this show is over they`re not going to be so disappointed that they didn`t make it in the world of Hollywood.
I do think it`s something in between, but to think that there`s not an effect is really not being truthful and honest. I mean, there`s always an impact.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I went to professional children`s school so I kind of relate to Paul over there. We`re going to have more analysis and more debate on "Jon and Kate plus 8."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The "Big Tease" tonight, new clues in the search for Madeleine McCann, missing for than two years. Could a DNA sample from a convicted pedophile provide cops with a break, a big break in this investigation? We will have the answers tomorrow right here on ISSUES.
But right now we`re debating "Jon & Kate plus 8," are they cashing in on their kids? Give me a holler to weigh in on this great debate.
Elaine in Canada, your question or thought, ma`am.
ELAINE IN CANADA (via telephone): Yes, Jane, I just wanted to say that I think the children are vulnerable and need protection because on the season opener when Kate was taking the children to pick up party decorations, she said to them, "Ok, line up and don`t look at the paparazzi because they`re going to get us."
And those kids are little and those kinds of comments can make them very fearful and I don`t think that Kate`s thinking about that. She`s got money, money, money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paul Peterson, here`s what I don`t understand. This isn`t a set, but there are rules generally, kids can only work a certain number of hours at a certain time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That there is somebody monitoring the kids. Does any of that apply to this?
PETERSEN: Well, and it`s a curious question. If you want to believe Carlos` position that this isn`t work at all, that it`s just the lark -- they`re like meerkats or something then, of course, no laws apply because it`s not child labor. But if you accept my premise that these children are engaged in a commercial enterprise under the direction and the control of their parents, who are being highly compensated, then there are rules. And it`s interesting that in the state of Pennsylvania, children under the age of seven aren`t even supposed to participate.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Carlos, do you want to take a shot back?
DIAZ: Yes, Paul, I just want to say one thing right now, ok? I`m in your corner, big guy. I think we should take the kids off the show because no one is watching Jon and Kate for the kids.
They`re watching because Jon and Kate, their marriage is imploding. So I`m all for it. You know what?
Seriously, I mean this. Take the kids off the show ok, because people will still watch because the only reason people watch is they want to see Jon and Kate and their marriage go down the toilet which is what is going on right now. So I`m in -- Paul I`m with you, take the kids off the show...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but wait a second. But what show would you have, if you have no kids and then you have Jon who doesn`t want to be on the show and you`ll just have Kate walking around by herself.
DIAZ: Because it`s about Jon and Kate. It`s not about the kids anymore. It`s about Jon and Kate and their marriage and their problems their marriage is having.
PETERSEN: We have no way to get rid of these images.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`re going to give Carlos the last word.
Thank you, fabulous panel. Come back and debate some more.
Got a question or comment? CNN.com/Jane.
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