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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Casey Anthony Evidence Shockers; Senior Bush Celebrates 85th by Skydiving
Aired June 12, 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, explosive news in the Casey Anthony case. Stunning new allegations that Casey has night terrors in jail, shrieking Caylee`s name in her sleep. What can that tell us about her psychology?
Meantime, prosecutors release an avalanche of documents today. But not included: her autopsy report. George and Cindy successfully blocked its release. The question is, why?
Then, the American co-ed dubbed Foxy Knoxy takes the stand in Italy, on trial for the brutal murder of her roommate during what prosecutors say was a drug-fueled sex game. Today, Amanda Knox testifies that she was high during questioning and that cops mistreated her, hoping this will explain away her conflicting stories about that fateful night. But will the court buy it?
And the brave story of Chastity Bono, Sonny and Cher`s only child. The woman who came out 20 years ago to become one of the first openly-gay celebrities is undergoing a sex change, hoping to fully embrace her true self, while helping our society embrace others like her. I`ll bring you her amazing story.
Plus, HLN`s own Robin Meade sky-dives with former president George H.W. Bush. She`ll stop by to tell us about her death defying jump.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, shocking revolutions as a key witness in the Casey Anthony case is speaking out from beyond the grave, believe it or not. The latest massive evidence dump contains almost a thousand pages of just-released evidence. It includes a word-for-word sworn statement to police made by a crime blogger who died of cancer in February.
In an article entitled, "Cindy`s Confession, Part Two," the now-dead blogger said that more than a month before the child`s decomposed remains were found, Cindy told him she suspected her daughter had something to do with little Caylee`s disappearance.
Quote, "When I spoke to her on that particular day, it was the first time that she agreed that she actually really believed that her daughter actually did something to Caylee," end quote.
The blogger said Cindy also sent e-mails telling him she had scoop for his blog. She later denied doing that. Cindy would stick to her denial again during a depo in that Zanny the nanny case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know why it would be then that the next morning Casey would have left with her daughter and not returned?
CINDY ANTHONY, GRANDMOTHER OF CAYLEE: I have no idea why Casey and Caylee did not come back. I mean I know why Casey didn`t come back now, but I don`t know why Caylee didn`t come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, are blood-curdling screams coming from Casey`s jail cell? A source from inside the Orange County jail tells the "National Enquirer" that Casey is tormented by nightmares. Casey reportedly screams in her sleep, which the report claims terrifies the other inmates.
Do we believe this report? We`re going to debate that, these explosive developments, as Casey`s parents are at least temporarily successful in blocking the release of those autopsy results of little Caylee`s remains, discovered back in December.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, ORANGE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: The skeletal remains found on December 11 are those of the missing toddler Caylee Anthony. The manner of death in this case is homicide. The cause of death will be listed as homicide by undetermined means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You just heard the medical examiner: homicide by undetermined means. If there is more to the story hidden in that autopsy is it something George and Cindy do not want us to know about?
Straight to my fantastic expert panel: Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator and director of Defend University; David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney and former New York prosecutor; Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney, a.k.a. the Voice of Reason; and the one and only Rozzie Franco, reporter with WFLA-AM, who joins me by phone.
Rozzie, bring us up to speed on this chilling and possibly incriminating allegation by the now dead blogger.
ROZZIE FRANCO, REPORTER, WFLA (via phone): We now have hundreds more of pages. Now we have a crime blogger, Sean Krause, on December 2 who said Cindy said that Casey had something to do -- she believed that Casey had something to do with Caylee`s disappearance.
But what this is really doing, I believe, and later on as you read the transcript, is debunking the whole theory of Zenaida. It says here that she made references to him to actually help her find out information about finding Zenaida. She wanted to prove that Zenaida, who -- the Zenaida that`s suing Casey, is actually a liar.
Now, in an e-mail, there was also Excel spreadsheets about Casey`s friends and drug use. And she did descriptively tell him that she believed that Casey had something to do with Caylee`s disappearance.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mark Eiglarsh, this man, this crime blogger, died in February. So can he testify from beyond the grave or is the fact that he`s dead mean all of this evidence is basically not going to get in?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nothing. Sorry, Jane. I was rooting for you. I was hoping you could say "blockbuster" or "stunning." But it`s nothing.
And even if he was alive, who cares what Cindy thinks? Who cares? It`s not going be the central part of this trial, nor should it be. A mother who wants to believe that her own daughter is innocent is just normal. It doesn`t matter. Back off Cindy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait a second.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When that mom has stuck by this other story of Zanny the nanny and, "Oh, I gave cops phone numbers of Zanny that my daughter had given me." When she has created this whole alternate universe, and then it turns out she told a blogger, allegedly, "Hey, I think my daughter had something to do with it," that`s not relevant, David Schwartz?
DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. It`s not relevant. I completely agree. Who cares what Cindy thinks? Who cares what she speculates about her own daughter? It`s the same thing, like we shouldn`t care about what police think and speculate. Cases are won and lost on real evidence before real juries and this won`t see the light of day. It`s non- evidence in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, then, Darren Kavinoky. I`m going say the blockbuster, the shocker is that, in the thousands of pages of evidence, what is there that is incriminating? Where is the smoking gun? Where are the eyewitnesses? Where is the murder weapon? Where is the cause of death? Where is anything? I don`t see it.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I love it, Jane. You`ve actually joined the defense team. Come on and join Mark and David and me. You raised excellent points.
The statement that the coroner just gave at the top of the show, that clip that you ran, is a huge, huge problem for the prosecution. Remember, they`ve got the burden of proof. They`ve got to put forward some kind of theory. And as you just identified, there may not be any there, there.
And I join my learned colleagues when I say that all of these speculations on the part of Cindy Anthony, it`s absolutely non-evidence. It`s hearsay. It`s wild speculation. And it ain`t coming in. It will not see the light of day in trial.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mark Eiglarsh...
FRANCO: ... pictures from the crime scene that we do not have. We do not even have those pictures that was physically over, allegedly over her face, the remains of Caylee Anthony. We don`t even know if it was over her mouth.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re talking about the tape?
EIGLARSH: That`s -- Jane, that`s a piece of evidence. Sure. The prosecution is going to present evidence in this case. But we`re merely talking about the statements of Cindy right now and, clearly, those are not going to come in. It doesn`t matter what she speculates. Sure there`s other evidence in the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now...
EIGLARSH: And let me say this. There are compelling pieces of evidence in this case. We certainly haven`t heard anything from the prosecutors. They`re not out there talking, like Baez is. So there`s a lot that they have to say.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark, let me just say this...
EIGLARSH: We have to see the evidence first. We didn`t see it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, I didn`t make all this stuff up and say it`s important. It`s included in the evidence that was released in discovery. And if you had stacks this big that we spent all night going over, looking for information and there`s nothing really in there, what does that say about the prosecution`s case? I mean, are they just trying to do a paper dump and sort of overwhelm the defense with paper? Oh, here`s all this paper. If it doesn`t mean anything, who cares?
EIGLARSH: Jane, let me explain. Having served as a prosecutor here in Florida, they have an obligation pursuant to the rules of evidence 3.220, to supply to the defense all those things that are arguably relevant. It doesn`t mean that even a fraction of 1 percent will make it into evidence. So what we`re doing now is different than what`s going to happen at the trial.
SCHWARTZ: And I want to add, Jane, that Florida has the most progressive discovery statute in the country. If this were a New York case, we`d be getting the stuff the night before trial. I commend Florida.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s talk about the fact that George and Cindy Anthony do not want us to see the autopsy results. They say they have not seen Caylee`s autopsy results, and they don`t want to them either. The Anthonys convinced the judge to temporarily delay the release of the autopsy.
So my question to Daren Kavinoky is why. What is in that autopsy report, potentially. Because I don`t buy the whole idea that it`s just too upsetting. I think there`s got to be something in there that is so threatening to them that they do not want it to be out, because they`re fighting it tooth and nail.
KAVINOKY: Yes. I buy the notion that it`s just very upsetting. Autopsy results are inherently gruesome. Bodies are dissected piece by piece. Organs are weighed and analyzed. It`s just a horrible thing for a relative to read about the autopsy of a loved one, especially a grandchild.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Dr. Dale Archer, these guys are way too clever just to be doing this on an emotional basis. They`ve got a strategy here.
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, I totally agree. And I`m glad I`m not an attorney here. Because I think this case is more complicated than sorting Octomom`s laundry. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. With that I give you a gavel. Hang on. More Casey Anthony drama in just a moment.
And another young woman facing murder charges, Amanda Knox, taking the stand in Italy, accused of killing her roommate in a drug deal sex game. You will not believe what she testified.
But first, Cindy Anthony back under the microscope after trying to block Caylee`s autopsy results from going public. Of course, this isn`t the first time Cindy has been the center of attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: I don`t need to mike anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma`am.
CINDY ANTHONY: I never agreed to have a mike on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma`am?
CINDY ANTHONY: I`m not miking up. Someone touches me I`m going to file harassment charges on who`s touching me. I`ll talk loud enough the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) cameras will hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right after the -- Casey had a fight with her family and left the home.
CINDY ANTHONY: She didn`t have a fight with me. Go there. Go there, Mr. Morgan. She didn`t fight with me, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cindy Anthony defending her daughter tooth and nail. Now let`s examine those public reports just in that claim Casey has crazy dreams and screams in the middle of the night.
"National Enquirer" quotes sources from inside the Orange County jail who say, quote, "Casey will go days without talking to anyone. Then she will become very active and agitated, chattering to guards, doing sit-ups, push-ups and jumping jacks in her cell and dancing like a maniac. She veers between deeply depressed and cheerfully upbeat," end quote.
The problem, possibly, with that account is that Casey`s cell is reportedly, according to jail officials, isolated from the rest of the population.
So let me go to you, Steve Kardian. You`re the former criminal investigator. What do you make of these claims? Because they`re rather detailed. And I`m always very astounded that people, if they do make something up, go into such incredible detail.
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: I`m not buying it, Jane. I mean, one minute she`s talking and screaming and yelling in the night dreams. The next minute she`s asking corrections officers about the night life in Orlando.
One thing that she`s been is consistent. She`s consistently lied to the police, her family, and to the system. So I`m not buying it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, thought, hypothetically -- and I`m not saying this is the case in her case. But hypothetically, do criminals sometimes come out of their fog and start to realize the import of their crimes and at that point begin feeling more and more increasingly remorseful?
ARCHER: Well, I think that she`s probably increasingly remorseful because she`s looking at the possibility of being jailed for the rest of her life or perhaps worse. So obviously, the symptoms sound like bipolar disorder, but she has a motive to portray these symptoms, so I suspect that they may not be real also.
KAVINOKY: Jane -- Jane, if I could jump in. And I`m not a jurist doctor, not a medical doctor. But it does sound like bipolar when you get into these kinds of cycles of depression and then being agitated or chatty. But the notion that -- that she`s screaming in her dreams at night or these other kinds of things, I mean, come on. People that are wrongfully accused and languishing away in jail, awaiting false charges, they`d be pretty upset, too, and they might engage in this kind of behavior.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you suggesting that she`s wrongfully accused?
ARCHER: Not only that, I think sometimes a dream is just a dream. In the old days, we used to try to analyze every aspect of a dream. Now we know. You know, sometimes you can`t...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re saying she woke up in the middle of the night screaming Caylee`s name.
ARCHER: A cigar is just a cigar.
SCHWARTZ: Let me just say, her state of mind -- her state of mind at this point is meaningless, Jane. Her state of mind in her jail cell after she`s been accused is meaningless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Jane -- Jane...
SCHWARTZ: It`s her state of mind up until the point of the disappearance.
ARCHER: Even if she does have bipolar disorder, they`re not going to allow her to...
EIGLARSH: Can I get in here?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait. Mark Eiglarsh. Mark Eiglarsh. Mike?
EIGLARSH: And I heard she ordered Twinkies, too. I mean, Jane, it all -- it all just doesn`t matter. She`s doing jumping jacks. She`s switching to push-ups tomorrow. She screams; she`s happy. None of this means anything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it doesn`t mean anything, necessarily, to the criminal trial, but it could mean something to the public. And mixed in there with the public, guess what we have? The jurors, somewhere out there. Twelve people will be jurors.
EIGLARSH: If you want to justify it -- if you want to justify discussing it, we can do it, but it really has almost no value, in my opinion. In both, I think, the court of public opinion -- really, she could be screaming. She`s facing death.
KAVINOKY (?): I totally disagree. It has a huge role in the court of public opinion. Of course people want to know what her mindset is.
FRANCO: I will say this. I don`t think she`s doing jumping jacks, but I do know that her boyfriend, Tony Lazarro, said she did the same thing, sweating, the nightmares and screaming, before she was even arrested after the disappearance of the girl.
EIGLARSH: But we could...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Hold on. That`s really good information, Rozzie. Now Mark, that is relevant.
EIGLARSH: I`ll tell you why it is. I`ll tell you why it is. Because Terry Ledeman (ph), the former death-penalty attorney, had raised issues about her state of mind, that maybe she was suffering from bipolar disorder. Assuming -- can I finish? -- assuming they want to make that, and they should, a part of both the guilt phase, not to explain that she did do it but that she was suffering from something which would explain why she lied and also to use that in the penalty phases, assuming it can happen. Then those things become relevant. Yes.
ARCHER: That cannot be used, because bipolar disorder, in and of itself, in no way, shape or form, allows you to use the insanity defense. Not even close.
FRANCO: They`re not even looking at the insanity defense.
ARCHER: But my point is it doesn`t help them, so why would they go to great lengths to try to say, "Oh, she`s bipolar?"
EIGLARSH: I`ll tell you why. I`ll tell you why. Not to help the defense here. Because you have to explain away some of her bizarre behavior. Not the killing of a child. She didn`t do that, is the defense`s position. But why she would lie, why she would take law enforcement officers to Universal Studios, to a place that she didn`t work, when she claimed that she did, you have to explain that...
ARCHER: And bipolar disorder does not explain that. That`s the point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And most important -- most important, you have to explain why a woman whose child went missing is out partying instead of looking for her child.
ARCHER: Yes. Yes, Jane. And she had plenty to cover. Bipolar does not do that.
SCHWARTZ: You may not have to explain anything. Can I remind everybody of the constitutional standards that we have in this country? It`s up to the government and only the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Please. She doesn`t have to show anything, and we have to keep that in mind.
EIGLARSH: The only -- the only thing she`s got at this point is, even if she is bipolar, so what?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, that`s a good way to end this conversation, but obviously, this debate will continue.
I want to thank my excellent, feisty panel.
HLN`s own Robin Meade went skydiving with former president, George H.W. Bush, who turned 85 years old today. I`ll talk to Robin next about what it`s like to throw yourself out of a plane at 13,000 feet.
Then, three years after his infamous drunken appearance on "The View," Danny DeVito is allegedly drunk for another morning show this week. You do not want to miss this outrageous video.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, how does a former president celebrate his 85th birthday? By jumping out of a plane with HLN`s Robin Meade.
Earlier today, former president George H.W. Bush took a leap at 13,000 feet into the skies over Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush`s 41st cloud buddy, Robin Meade, jumped first into the big blue, closely followed by the ex- pres.
Did I mention he`s 85 years old and he`s doing this? That`s pretty astounding.
Each were tethered to a member of the Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team. And it`s a good thing. You know what they say: it takes two to tandem skydive.
Joining us with the scoop on the shoot, HLN`s very own Robin Meade, host of HLN`s "Morning Express with Robin Meade."
Robin, this was your first jump. There`s all these issues I`m supposed to ask you about. But I want to know, what was the scariest part?
ROBIN MEADE, HLN ANCHOR: The leap out the door. So you`re at 13,500 feet in the air, and the door is open. So you think about these big jetliners that you`re on, and the doors close, and you can hear the wind. The door is open. And so, yes, I`m strapped to someone behind me, and he was the national skydiving champ from last year. So I feel safe, but when they say it`s time to go, my knees shake. And it was...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they have to push you? Do they go, like...
MEADE: They don`t push you, because -- well, luckily, I did have these visions of, what if I have to leap? But no, what actually happens is you`re strapped to the person behind you, so you just kind of -- your weight is on them. They`re the one who has to do the leaping but you` re right there for the ride, baby.
The first five seconds, I`ll tell you right now, it did not feel good the first five seconds. But then you stabilize in the air. Then you`re stable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just remember all those old World War II movies where, you know, one guy after the other has to jump out, and they kick the reluctant ones right out. And it just -- it scares the wits out of me. That`s why I want to live vicariously through you so I never have to do this.
Now, I love your style when you were landing, legs up and he takes the hit. In other words, his feet hit the ground. You`ve got your legs just kind of -- we`ve got to watch this. Because tell me what this landing was like. That`s got to be the other scary part.
MEADE: Yes. You know, the whole way down, once that canopy, once that parachute opened, I kept saying to him, "Repeat to me what we`re going to do." Because I knew that we were broadcasting it live, and I did not want to face plant on my TV.
So I was like, "Keep repeating to me what we`re going to do."
And he kept saying, "Just lift your legs up. I`ll do all the work. Just lift your legs up. And if we start skidding, we`ll end up on our butts but, you know, you won`t end up face first.
So when he said, "Hike your legs, honey, I was piking like a cheerleader in tenth grade."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were. And you can always say, something that very few of us can say that you were tethered to a Golden Knight. I don`t know that anybody else can say that here at CNN. But you know what? I have to tell you, I`m pretty amazed that you guys can chat up there. It never occurred to me that you could actually talk to him.
MEADE: Well, your tandem partner -- and this was the same for President Bush 41. So he was with a tandem partner, too. You`re right next to each other. There are four different hook sites on the -- I was wearing this outfit, but then I had a bunch of harnesses. And I`m hooked into four different sites, you know. In your hips and up in the shoulders. So you`re smack together. So the president was able to talk to his fellow, and I was able to talk to mine fellow right behind me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An easy, good way to get to know somebody really well in a short period of time. You are my hero, Robin. Way to go, girl. You did it, and you lived to talk about it.
We`ll have more in just a moment.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: American coed Amanda Knox takes the stand in Italy on trial for the brutal murder of her roommate. Today Knox testified she was high during questioning. Will this hurt her defense?
And the brave story of Chastity Bono, Sonny and Cher`s only child. The woman who came out 20 years ago to become one of the first openly gays celebrities is undergoing a sex change hoping to embrace her true self while helping our society embrace others like her.
Stunning testimony tonight from a trial that has captured international attention: American college student Amanda Knox, labeled "Foxy Knoxy," by the tabloids took the stand today in Perugia, Italy to defend herself against charges that she murdered her roommate.
Knox was all business on the witness stand offering the Italian courts shocking details from the days following her Meredith Kercher`s murder. Amanda Knox claims Italian police hit her and pressured her to make statements implicating herself in the murder.
Not only that, Knox said she was high on pot while talking to cops and did not realize her interviews were even on the record. So did police take advantage of her in her drugged out state?
Her dad told the "Today Show" just back in May.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURT KNOX, AMANDA KNOX`S FATHER: She was taken advantage of being a young girl, very naive to the situation. And I think they took advantage of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does drug use explain the inconsistencies in Amanda Knox`s story or does it give more credence to the prosecutor`s case?
They say Meredith Kercher was killed in a drug deal sex orgy gone horribly wrong. But this man -- take a look at him there -- Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast has already been convicted of this murder after his print, his DNA found at the crime scene.
Knox and her handsome Italian boyfriend say they weren`t even there that night. They we`re canoodling over at his place.
So are Italian authorities hell-bent on framing a pretty, young American girl? Does this Italian prosecutor have a history of targeting Americans?
Straight to my expert panel: Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney; Michael Cardoza, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney; and a very special guest on the phone with us, Janet Huff, Amanda Knox`s aunt.
But first, Atika Shubert, CNN correspondent in London. Atika, what is the very latest?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, just to clarify one point there was some confusion at the court earlier. Amanda Knox testified that she had taken marijuana the night before and that maybe one reason why her memory of the night was hazy.
But she did not say that she was under the influence of marijuana while under questioning. She did say however, that she was hit and bullied into making false statements.
She insists however, that she was not at the scene of the crime at the time of the murder. That she was with her boyfriend Raphael Sollecito. That they watched a movie, and went to bed and it wasn`t until the next morning that she returned to the villa and that`s when the police were called in.
Now, her family and her lawyers say this is her version of events. That this is her chance to tell her side of the story but Meredith Kercher`s lawyer say they are wondering who to believe. The Amanda Knox that spoke today or the one that spoke at her preliminary hearings.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Atika let me ask you this. Did she testify or say at one point to police way back when that she heard the screams of a dying girl in the house? And then did she later say, "I wasn`t sure what was my imagination and what was reality?"
SHUBERT: Well, the short answer is yes, she did say that. However she now says that she was simply following police and public prosecutors in their lead when they bullied her into making these statements. She said she was confused, she was naive. Her Italian wasn`t as fluent as it is today and that`s why she made those confusing statements.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, one last thing, she says, ok, she sleeps over at her boyfriend`s house. She goes back to the house which is the murder scene the next morning and she sees a whole bunch of stuff that seems very strange. It looks like blood in the sink.
But the door to the victim`s room is locked. She then goes back to her boyfriend`s house and suggest they call the police. Does that pretty much amount to what she is saying happened?
SHUBERT: It does. She says that she went back. She noticed a few strange things like dried blood in the sink, that the Villa door was opened. But that Meredith`s door was closed. But she says she wasn`t suspicious. She simply thought that one of the roommates had come in and not unless the door opened.
It was then that she went back to her boyfriend`s place. She mentioned it to her boyfriend, Sollecito. He said maybe they should go back, check and see if anything was stolen. That`s when they called the police.
That`s her version of events, we`ll have to see what the prosecutors say when they question her tomorrow.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank you Atika, excellent reporting out of London. It`s great to hear from you.
Now we want to go to a very special guest. Janet Huff, who is Amanda Knox`s aunt. You`ve been hearing all the reports about the testimony of Amanda Knox. What I don`t understand and maybe you can explain it.
If she was suspicious and she gets to the house the next morning and thinks something is wrong, why not really try to open that door and find out what`s behind that door. Why go all the way back to her boyfriend`s house and then decide -- oh they`re going to call the police there.
JANET HUFF, AMANDA KNOX`S AUNT (via telephone): Well, hindsight of course is always 20/20. And now that we know that there was something wrong behind that door, but at the time that the girls sometimes locked their door when they just want to get some sleep.
So Amanda knocked on her door and likely nobody answered. So she just figured out Meredith is still having a sleep in; she`s going to leave her alone. But then she thought about it more and more and she went back to Raphael and mentioned what happened.
They both thought ok, there is just too much strange stuff. Let`s just go back and knock again. And try to get some attention here, try to get to wake up or something -- maybe something is wrong and that`s, you know, when they...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, ok, so Amanda and her boyfriend say they weren`t even there but they admit in Italian court that she smoked marijuana the night of the murder.
Now, let`s take a look at this YouTube video. And in the YouTube video, we see a very drunk young woman. There you see it, she drank, admitted to smoking some pot when the murder occurred. She is a young woman, living abroad. First semester, carefree, happy.
Michael Cardoza, does her admission of smoking pot the night of the murder and then saying she was sort of woozy when she spoke to police or confused, didn`t know reality from fantasy does that explain her behavior, the inconsistencies in her statements about the screams? Hearing the screams and not hearing the screams and the bizarre behavior like police say she did a cart wheel while in police custody?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I`ve got to tell you her attitude there and the cartwheel type thing is certainly is not going sit well with the judges in this case. The fact that she smoked marijuana the night before, you know, it`s -- it`s a somewhat plausible explanation. But I don`t think the judges are going buy that.
The bullying, does that type of thing take place? Yes. It takes place here in the United States. Remember the Central Park jogger rape case?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes.
CARDOZA: You have what? Four or five kids confessed to that and years later we find out they were coerced into that confession.
So do I believe a coerced confession could happen? Absolutely, will it sell to judges back in Italy? I highly, highly doubt it.
There are too many inconsistencies in the story. There is DNA involved. There is an expert that says that there was more than one person involved with this homicide. I think she is heading right for a conviction in this case unfortunately.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa. Well, that`s -- there is a problem however with this prosecutor. This prosecutor is under the microscope himself. He is accused along with the police chief of actually planting bugs on an American journalist and abusing his power on another prominent case.
The case of a serial killer called the "Monster of Florence," American journalist, Doug Preston was researching the serial killing when he was targeted by the prosecutor and actually the prosecutor basically claimed that he was the suspect.
Eventually, he was cleared but it certainly raises questions, Mark Eiglarsh, about whether this prosecutor is legit and whether he has a grudge against Americans and goes after Americans.
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It does and he is under our microscope, but the question is, is he under the judges -- the Italian judges` microscope. The answer is probably not. I don`t even know if that issue even came up in this trial.
And so then you are left with physical evidence and a gal who is either giving good legitimate reasons as to why she`s innocent or someone throwing every possible piece of theory evidence that you can get. Language problems, marijuana problems, they are picking on me problems.
Anything that she can get to somehow get her acquitted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know...
CARDOZA: One thing that I think is interesting, Jane, is that language problem. She said her Italian is a lot better now but keep in mind she had an interpreter back then.
The question could focus on the interpreter. And how good was the interpreter and whose side was the interpreter on, if anyone`s side.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Janet Huff, you`re the aunt. There is so much of difference between the American criminal justice system and how it operates in Italy.
And frankly, it seems so much more haphazard they only meet a couple days a month and then they go on vacation in the middle of a trial. And apparently, she`s claiming that this interpreter was biased against her. What do you make of all of this?
HUFF: The interpreter was not an official interpreter; it was somebody who is in the office who happened to speak a little bit of English. And they had shown that a lot of the things that she interpreted, she interpreted incorrectly. And that made Amanda sound like she said being said she` never actually said.
There just so much of the stuff that`s already been said just here on this show that`s incorrect. I don`t even know where to begin.
EIGLARSH: Jane there is some truth to that.
I`ve seen a lot of interpreters take a single word and it has two or three different meanings and one meaning could be susceptible to with guilt; another one innocuous, completely innocent.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, well I mean, listen it is like a game of telephone. And we`re trying to interpret what`s happening in Italy in a court system that is so different from ours.
We`re going to stay on top of this story. And we`d like Janet Huff the aunt to come back very soon. Thank you, everyone for the excellent insights.
Famous actor Danny DeVito gave a bizarre interview this week. He looked drunk, he sounded drunk and was drinking from a can. But was it all a hoax?
Then Sonny and Cher`s only child declare she`s undergoing a sex change. I will bring you the story of this courageous woman who wants to become a man.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cher`s daughter decides to undergo a sex change. I`ll have her courageous story.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Danny DeVito drunk again. Who could forget when the famous actor slurred through a 2006 appearance on "The View?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, HOST, "THE VIEW": Danny has been out partying all night with -- tell them, I`m so jealous?
DANNY DEVITO, ACTOR: George, George.
DEVITO: No, I knew it would last seven Lemon Cielos it would going to get me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he struck again without George Clooney`s help this time during an early morning interview on Wednesday. The pint-sized actor seemed to be a few pints deep even clutching what appears to be a beer can.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know I love you right?
DEVITO: Yes, I love you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had to wear my extra high shoes because you`re the only man I can look down to.
DEVITO: Well, that`s good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At three feet tall.
DEVITO: And you wore a short skirt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I sure did Danny.
DEVITO: Really nice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok here`s the thing.
DEVITO: Oh wow more than...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Naughty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: DeVito claims it was a prop beer for the scene he was shooting and he was just acting drunk. So was he really drunk or did the reporter get punked? You be the judge.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Chastity Bono, the only child of legendary entertainers Sonny and Cher, will now be known as Chaz. 40-year-old Chastity a long time civil rights activist and one of the first openly gay celebrities has just announced that she has begun her transformation to becoming a man.
Her publicist confirmed it. Quote, "Chaz, after many years of consideration has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," end quote.
Chaz has always been strong and outspoken in hopes of becoming transgender and opening the mind of the public. Just as her coming out almost 20 years ago did.
Chaz`s famous parents host of the "Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" back in the early 70s. They used to bring their daughter on their show. Dad Sonny Bono, died in a skiing accident back in 1998. And her even more a well known mom, Cher, has not publicly commented thus far.
So what`s in store for Chaz Bono now? How does all this happen?
Straight to my expert panel: Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; and Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist.
Dr. Dale, this is not a single event. It`s a long process that is very involved. Take us through the journey of going from female to male.
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, first of all, you start with a psychiatric, psychological evaluation. And there you want to make sure they`re doing it for the right reason.
If you determine that`s so, next is the hormone therapy. You get an endocrinologist involved and then you want them to live as a member of the opposite sex for about a year to make sure that`s really what they want. Then only at that time if everyone is in agreement does the surgery take place.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, on a show titled "The L Word" there was a transgender character named Max. Max went through this very similar journey. She started out as a lesbian character. And similar to Chastity, decided she wanted to be called Max and Chastity has now switched to Chaz. There were all sorts of emotional and psychological complications that resulted.
So Brenda Wade, how do physical changes like hair growth and muscle growth affect the psychological changes?
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, before we even get to those changes, there`s a lot of emotional upset for somebody who has what we call transgender dysphoria (ph), which is a lot of the emotional disturbance or even depression. Because they feel they are in the wrong body.
Many people going through this process before they get to the changes feel that they are stuck in the wrong body, somebody else`s body, the wrong gender. They never feel they fit in.
So this is a group of people that very often suffer from high levels of depression, are highly vulnerable to things like addiction and suicide so there`s a real need to be understanding and supportive.
So then we get to the changes where already we have someone who may feel depressed or feel vulnerable and those changes can trigger deeper feelings of anxiety, deeper feelings of depression.
So some people feel elated initially and it`s a bit of a roller coaster. There are some real ups and downs with people going through this kind of process.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she is not alone. Stu Rasmussen is the nation`s first transgender mayor, Rasmussen elected last year as the Mayor of Silverton, Oregon. This is an elected position. Are American`s attitudes, Dr. Dale, changing towards transgender individuals?
ARCHER: I think they are. And I think that, you know, all of this now is being standardized by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. They actually have a protocol that is recommended that these folks go through to prevent anxiety, depression or regret.
So I think that as we get it standardized medically then the public will more and more accept the fact. You know what, life is short. You need to live the type of life you want and if that means a sex change, bravo.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, what is the protocol? Brenda Wade, at what point do you start referring to the person as he. Because we were kind of grappling that -- with that as we wrote the introduction to this segment.
Do we say Chastity? Do we say Chaz? Do we refer to...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...this person as he or she? And we really didn`t have all the answers.
WADE: Often that cue has to come from the person going through the change. But Jane, the most important thing in supporting someone going through this is what we know is if someone`s family can accept them and love them for who they are, they will come through this in pretty good shape emotionally.
And so I just want to say to family and friends it may be difficult to understand. It may be surprising maybe even shocking. Because I notice Cher hasn`t said anything yet. But it is important to grapple with the issue. There are support groups for family and friends. There are all kinds of resources available as Dr. Dale just said.
And I ask family and friends to avail themselves to those resources.
ARCHER: And Jane, I will say that when you want to start using the opposite sex is when they start the hormone therapy, because that is a trial run to make sure this is really what they want so at that point you start referring to them as the opposite gender.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have so many questions for you. We`re back on this amazing story; this courageous person making a change from female to male. In a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHASTITY BONO, DAUGHTER OF SONNY & CHER: After many, many years of being dogged by the tabloids and having horrible things printed about me, and the only really true thing was that I was a lesbian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chastity Bono coming out there. The only child of legendary entertainers Sonny and Cher has revealed to the world she`s taking steps to become a man and would like to be referred to as Chaz.
20 years ago, Chaz was one of the first celebrities to come out as a gay woman publicly. Is Chaz a pioneer in this very, very kind of still unknown, misunderstood process?
And the courage, Dr. Dale Archer that it takes to do something this dramatic; I just can`t even comprehend the courage it takes for her. Not just as an individual, but as a child of celebrities, knowing that there`s going to be so much attention on this. What kind of courage does it take to make this step?
ARCHER: I think she`s fantastic. I think that this is the type of groundbreaking courage that is going to make this acceptable eventually. I wish that we would have more celebrities come out with various mental illnesses and talk about them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This isn`t a mental illness.
ARCHER: No, no, no, I am saying that in general we want people to talk about all aspects of psychiatry, this included, because it makes it accepted. This needs to be accepted by the general public. Unless they can understand it, the best way for it to be understood, is when a celebrity, a well-known person comes out and talks about it and takes that first step.
The first step is always the hardest for anyone to do. She is fantastic.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chastity may be the first celebrity to announce the decision to transform to the opposite sex. Another very well-known transgender celebrity is Alexis Arquette -- ok -- from the famous Arquette acting family.
I have to ask you, Brenda Wade, these are sort of success stories in this process. But we talked about the psychological interviews so that it`s determined that this is being done for the right reason.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is there sometimes a change of heart? I mean, let`s face it. This is like jumping out of a plane; you cannot go back.
WADE: Right. And there are people, of course, who change their mind because it is a very difficult process. As Dr. Dale outlined, you have injections, you have all sorts of bodily changes and surgery. It`s not for the faint of heart. It does take courage, but above all Jane, it takes understanding.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s it. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.