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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Lindsay Lohan in Trouble Over Missing Jewels; Octomom, Web Site Under Investigation for Child Labor Violations
Aired June 17, 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, bizarre behavior has Lindsay Lohan back in the news? Four hundred thousand dollars worth of jewels missing after she wore the bling for a London photo shoot. Lohan`s people deny any wrong doing on the star`s part, but authorities are preparing to grill her.
Of course, this isn`t the first time Lohan`s been accused of having sticky fingers.
Then there`s this: a topless picture Lohan just posted on Twitter. Is she headed for another massive meltdown?
And exciting new leads in the nationwide hunt for little Haylee Donovan, believed to be on the run with her mom and her mom`s sex-offender boyfriend. Newly-release surveillance footage shows the mother gassing up the boyfriend`s truck in Colorado, two days after security cameras spotted them in Ohio. So where, oh, where are they now?
Then, in an infuriating case of justice denied, an ex-con rapes a 4- year-old in Oklahoma and gets one year behind bars. I`ll analyze how the justice system dropped the ball, leaving Americans beyond outrage over this travesty.
Plus, more trouble for Octomom and her Web site of choice, Radar Online, slapped with a child labor law investigation regarding their wall- to-wall coverage of Nadya Suleman and her brood. I`ll show you why high- profile attorney Gloria Allred used that news to blast Octomom and reignite their feud.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight troubled young starlet Lindsay Lohan at the center of an international scandal swirling around the disappearance of almost half a million dollars worth of bling.
This as the notoriously unpredictable Hollywood actress stays true to form and posts a picture of herself topless to her Twitter page. What was she thinking? In fact was she thinking?
And what about those missing gems. Lindsay apparently fell in love the precious baubles she was modeling, worth a staggering $411,000. She was the -- flashing those gems for a spread in the uber-chic high-fashion magazine "Elle." "New York Post" reporting sources on the London set say Lindsay repeatedly -- repeatedly -- asked if she could keep the designer jewels and repeatedly was told, "No, you cannot keep them."
Two days later, staffers noticed the jewelry had vanished -- voila -- into thin air. Scotland Yard is now investigating, but refuses to say if they`ve questioned the internationally-famous celebrity.
Lindsay says she doesn`t do it. Words are "Elle" magazine has let her off the hook, at least for now, saying they have no reason to believe she was in any way responsible.
Is this just some kind of wild coincidence or the latest in a string of bizarre and possibly unlawful behavior committed by the embattled actress whose antics date back for years?
In 2006 she tried to set the record straight on Oprah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: So tell me this. You have this huge reputation for being the big party girl.
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: Oh, I hate that.
WINFREY: Is that true or not?
LOHAN: No, no. I mean I`ve been acting my whole life. This is what I love to do. And I`m very lucky and blessed to be able to do that. I`m 20 years old. Is it a crime to go and -- you know, dancing with your friends?
LOHAN: It`s not -- I have a life and I have my family and I have work. I have those three things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Actually, Lindsay, nobody has ever attacked you for going dancing. She didn`t go to rehab three times because she was dancing too much.
Is this young star in denial and in a downward spiral?
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney, a.k.a. the Voice of Reason; A.J. Hammer, host of the amazing "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," seen every night right here on HLN; and Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.
Michael, start with you. What is the very latest on the investigation into the mystery of the missing bling?
MICHAEL WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, I`ll start with this -- this, Jane. Right now, in our business, this is normal in some cases where celebrities wear really expensive items -- dresses, in this case earrings and necklaces -- in a photo shoot.
But like you said, Scotland Yard is now investigating 250,000 pounds of these diamonds, earrings and necklaces that came up missing in a "Elle" photo shoot.
Now, I just spoke with them a couple seconds ago, and at this point, they have not talked to Lindsay specifically yet. So what they are doing is questioning the entire place. So anyone that was anywhere near this photo shoot, they`re starting, and they`re going down the list.
Now of course, because Lindsay Lohan is Lindsay Lohan, in our business, the media, it`s like, well, Lindsay was there; it`s Lindsay`s fault. Well, right now "Elle" is saying it`s not -- right now they have no reason to believe it`s Lindsay, and at this point, Scotland Yard hasn`t even gone there first. They`re going down the list for anyone that was there. So it`s an ongoing investigation.
But at this point, it doesn`t point towards her, but they did say that she was someone that was there; she was wearing them; and she was in the photo shoot. So she`s a part of the investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But A.J. Hammer, she has, as we say, a history of similar incidents. Tell us about her back story when it comes to this.
A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Yes, well, you know, we don`t want to make too direct an association, saying because of the back story, she necessarily lifted the jewels.
And by the way, may I just say, the fact that we get to say "Lindsay Lohan" and "jewelry heist" in the same sentence, pretty much speaks to what Mike Walters was just saying that, you know, if a celebrity`s involved, particularly of her stature and with her troubled past, we`re going to talk about her.
And included in that troubled past there was an incident not that long ago where she was seen in a paparazzi photo wearing a mink coat. Well, a woman who happened to be near Lindsay Lohan at a nightclub that night and went on to miss her mink coat before leaving the club, said, "Hey, that`s my coat. I want it back." So was that a case of sticky fingers? You know, there`s still some debate on exactly what took place in that situation.
But, yes, she does have a past with being very interested in the finer things that aren`t necessarily hers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there is the fur coat in question, and as you say, they settled that for an undisclosed amount. And of course, I like to say that that coat was stolen twice, once perhaps, or perhaps not by Lindsay, but of course, originally from the animals that own the fur because they were born with the fur. Here`s my little "no fur" button, I think. There you see it. All right.
One of Lindsay`s most infamous run-ins with the law was her second DUI arrest back in 2007. It went all went down after Lindsay`s personal assistant quit and split. Listen to a portion of the 911 call, reportedly from the mom of that assistant as she was being chased down the streets of Los Angeles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re being followed by a damn diva. A gentleman jumped out of the car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did he do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, sir! They`re following us. We need help!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Turns out Lindsay was the one chasing her. Cops arrested her for suspected DUI, driving with a suspended license and cocaine possession.
Lindsay was not alone in that car. Listen to what one of the guys who was with her alleged to TMZ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told her, I`m like, we`re going to the police station, I hope you know. They`re leading you right to the police station."
She`s like, "I don`t care. I`m a celebrity. I can get away with whatever. I`m not going to get in trouble."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa, Lindsay would end up pleading no contest to cocaine use and DUI. Her shocking sentence: one day in jail and 10 days of community service. Look at that mug shot.
Wouldn`t any ordinary citizen, you or I, in those circumstances get the book thrown at them? You know, possibly attempted assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, speeding, drugs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera?
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: It all depends, as you know, Jane, who you are and where you are, what venue. If it was Davenport, Iowa, she might have been doing some time in the hoosegow.
But if it`s Hollywood-weird or New York or places where trendoids love to play and the paparazzi have a field day, they get little if no time.
Look, this is a young lady who thinks she`s entitled, entitled to take somebody`s coat, entitled to take jewels, and that she`s got it like that. In fact, recently I had a conversation with a director who`s just signed her up for her comeback film to get her back into the flow of what she first established herself as, great on the big screen, David Michaels.
And I`d say, "Are you sure, man? All the furniture is upstairs and rearranged in the wrong rooms."
And she assured them, a manager assured them, she`s back on the straight and narrow. But remember, all those punch-up with Samantha Ronson when they were dating? And they would get away with it. They would be beating themselves into a bloody pulp. Jane, if you and I had a Knock`Em, Sock`Em Robot battle out in the street, we would both be handcuffed. We`d both be charged with assault.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hang on. Hang on one second here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Uh-oh. Voice of reason, watch out.
KAVINOKY: I`ve got to jump in.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Voice of reason jumping in.
KAVINOKY: I was in court in Beverly Hills the day that Lindsay was sentenced, and there was much more to the sentence beside that one day in jail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes? Like what?
KAVINOKY: Well, she`s given...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A signed photograph.
KAVINOKY: No, there was -- there was more, Jane. She actually had to go and spend time at a rehab center in Utah. And I believe it was something like 90 days.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes.
KAVINOKY: Well, hang on. In California you are allowed to get time...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Dr. Dale Archer, I`m bringing in the gavel here. Dale Archer, she`s been in rehab three times. Sirclas (ph), Wonderland, Promises. I am a recovering alcoholic with 14 years of sobriety. I`m not coming from here, but this is a chronic slipper who has a serious problem.
The reports are that just this past weekend, "Page Six" is saying she was partying in Southampton. And then she had photos of her deleted, allegedly, according to this published report. The party goers were taking photos, and she had them deleted. There`s a reason why you might want to do that.
Then she behaved very erratically at a New York City club at 4:40 in the morning, where she spent some quality time with a stripper pole.
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Who hasn`t? Look, this is a woman who has a severe alcohol and drug problem. And so we can`t make any other psychiatric diagnosis other than that. She has a problem. She needs to get this fixed, and because she is relapsing again right before our eyes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I mean listen. I`m not trying to attack her, A.J. Hammer, but I feel that if everybody`s enabling her and saying that this behavior is OK, really that`s not helping her. It`s doing her a disservice in the long run.
HAMMER: Well, that`s absolutely true. And this really goes against what we thought we were seeing happening just a couple of months ago. She had a great appearance on "Ellen" right around the time of her very public breakup from Samantha Ronson. Seemed to be on the straight and narrow at the time.
In fact, she did this terrific parody of a Match.com commercial, basically calling attention to her flaws. We really thought she was ready to come back and now this.
ARCHER: That`s the nature of this disease, though, that you can be fine for a month or two or three and then you relapse right back where you were.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right. We only get a daily reprieve.
OK, fabulous panel, stay right there. More Lindsay lunacy in just a moment. Is the troubled star headed for a Britney-like meltdown? 1-877- JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7207. Sound off to me.
Then Haylee Donovan believed to be with her mom and her Mom`s sex- offender boyfriend on the run. First, they were spotted in Ohio, now Colorado. Where could they be going? Where are they now?
But first, Lindsay Lohan being investigated in connection with $400,000 worth of missing jewelry. She says she had nothing to do with it. Of course, this isn`t her first run-in with the law. Two years ago she was in a very, very, very, very strange DUI car chase.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. ALEX PADILLA, SANTA MONICA POLICE DEPARTMENT: After officers conducted their initial investigation, they determined that she was driving her vehicle under the influence. She was arrested for driving under the influence and transported here to the Santa Monica Jail. While in the jail, officers found in her possession a small amount of cocaine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANETTE MEYERS, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Ms. Lohan received the same sentence as anyone would receive given the same facts and circumstances. No special treatment for Ms. Lohan. She got everything -- she got everything that everyone else would get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, really? DUI, cocaine possession, driving with a suspended license, presumably like a bat out of hell, I might add. Would you or I get a day in jail and community service? She did.
Phone lines lighting up. A lot of guys calling in. Interesting. Bradley in Montana, your question and thoughts.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wait. You`re Bradley; you`re a woman?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is this?
CALLER: Bradley from Montana.
CALLER: Oh, sorry. Forget it. Never mind. Go ahead.
CALLER: I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- I think both parties are to blame in the whole Lindsay Lohan incident. I think "Elle" magazine should have thought twice about giving jewelry to Lindsay Lohan, even like $400,000 worth of jewelry.
And I think Lindsay Lohan should get herself checked. I don`t know anybody who would think they`re somehow entitled to freebies or anything...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what, Bradley, I hope you call back again soon. We were only hearing every other word. But I think we got the basic point there, A.J. And that is why are they giving these celebrities so many freebies to the point where they expect they could take something? And not -- and not be charged with anything?
HAMMER: She`s been at this a long time. Look, I don`t think she would have walked away with the jewels, unless somebody had actually told her. As much as we have to say about Lindsay Lohan and her state of mind, the truth is, she has been at this, as I say, for a long time. She`s been at a lot of events, where they have the sweets, where you go in and get all your free swag.
When you`re on a photo shoot, you`re given clothes to wear. You`re given jewelry to wear. This goes on all the time. And there is a protocol. Even Lindsay Lohan I have to believe knows that protocol.
However, you would like to believe that at a photo shoot like that, if you`re dealing with a half a million dollars, nearly, in Dior diamond necklaces and earrings, that there is somebody who is assigned to watch that jewelry wherever it is. But again, we need to remind everybody, nobody has charged her with anything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. Absolutely.
HAMMER: But Scotland Yard has said she is not above suspicion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, listen.
KAVINOKY: A.J., as an entertainment reporter, though, I`m sure you`re in the know. I heard that the working title of her next project is called "Damn Right I Stole Your Diamonds." So maybe that was -- it was all research there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I got to say, Stacey Honowitz, you`ve been very quiet, very patient here.
A couple of things. One, isn`t it possible that somebody who was there saw that she kept and heard that she kept asking for it and thought, "With her history, this is a perfect opportunity for me to pull this inside job, and the finger is going to be pointed at her because of what she said over and over again."
HONOWITZ: Well, Jane, anything`s possible. I mean, we don`t know what went on. But I`ll tell you one thing: Scotland Yard has a duty and an obligation to investigate her. And just because she has a celebrity status and she`s a celebrity, doesn`t mean that she`s exempt from being investigated. They have a duty to talk to every single person who was at that photo shoot who saw her with the jewels, who handled the jewels.
And I think A.J is right, you see these celebrities go on these shows. And if ever they`re with, you know, major pieces of jewelry, there`s always a security person that`s escorting those jewels. We don`t know if anybody -- obviously, nobody was on set there.
But they will talk to her at some point. They`ll talk to all the staff that was there, and eventually, they will have to talk to her. And she`s going to have to give some answers.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Dr. Dale, this is an upside-down world where we have people across the world, children who are on the side of the road, picking up, trying to pick up a grain of wheat to eat so that they don`t starve or get malnutrition.
And yet, these rich celebrities who have everything, they`re the ones who are loaded up with the bling time after time. We`ve all seen it in Hollywood. A.J. Hammer`s just spoken about it. They go to these events and, literally, people are throwing expensive stuff at them in the hopes that they`ll wear it, and it will show up on some magazine somewhere.
ARCHER: Well, it`s just one more type of entitlement that they`ve become accustomed to. And I think that, in her particular case, this is a huge, huge issue on why she`s having such a problem with the alcohol and drugs. Because she has a whole vested-interest group to keep her going, no matter what. And so they`re going to bury it; they`re going to cover it up. They`re going to enable her in any way they can to keep them going and keep her producing for them. So it`s a terrible system.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. It is. Ray in New Jersey -- go ahead.
KAVINOKY: I just don`t know why anybody is surprised about bad judgment now. Am I the only one who saw "Herbie: Fully Loaded"? I mean, there`s a history there. And somebody...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and then Mike Walters, there`s the Twitter pick of her topless that she`s just released.
HONOWITZ: You know, what, Jane? She -- you know, everyone talks about the sense of entitlement. And I think they do think they have a sense of entitlement.
There was one time when a director really laid it on the line for her. Well, she straightened up her act a little bit. Because he wrote a scathing letter and basically told her...
ARCHER: I remember that.
HONOWITZ: ... she was going to be fired. They need more people. She needs Britney Spears` father, maybe, to come in.
HONOWITZ: Yes, but you know what? She straightened up her life. Somebody of responsibility needs to come in and be with her and straighten her life out because she can`t do it on her own.
ARCHER: She only straightened up her life -- yes, but it was only for a couple of months. I mean, that`s the whole hallmark of the illness. And that`s why it`s so hard to treat. They have denial. They look OK for a month or two, and then they relapse.
SLIWA: Illness. I`m seeing Winona Ryder here. What are you talking illness? See, that`s nothing to do with drugs or booze. She`s a kleptomaniac.
ARCHER: You cannot say that.
ARCHER: I think this is a very sick individual. She has an alcohol and drug problem and it is an illness.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know for sure even whether she has an alcohol or drug problem. We can say she`s been in rehab three years. She`s had a history of struggling with it, and she`s certainly not behaving in an emotionally sober fashion. Let`s put it that way. Maybe she`s on a dry drunk.
Everybody, thank you for the lively debate.
Octomom`s favorite media outlet, Radar Online, under investigation, allegedly for violating child labor laws. We will take you there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in the "Spotlight" tonight, Octomom Nadya Suleman. Suleman feeling the heat because California`s Department of Labor says that RadarOnline.com, her favorite place to mouth off with her babies, failed to get the proper permits to videotape two of Suleman`s octuplets, Noah and Isaiah. And they allegedly flat-out ignored labor laws.
According to four -- count them -- four citations issued yesterday. The preemies worked beyond permanent hours on March 17, the very day they came home from the ICU.
The state got involved after Gloria Allred, an attorney and child advocate, who once tried to work with Suleman, filed a complaint. Allred spoke after "The Early Show" this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: In Paris, the media will not protect these babies. But I can assure you that others will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, RadarOnline.com says those restrictions do not apply to them, because they are a news organization.
So who is looking out for these little babies? Look at that beautiful little face, so innocent, so young. Doesn`t know what`s going on, doesn`t know from TV, doesn`t know from the Internet.
Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist, what do you make of this investigation and all of those citations?
ARCHER: Well, I mean, I think we have to be realistic there. There are child labor laws. So I want to know what type of labor were these children doing? They were sleeping, and they were eating. So I think we have to be realistic.
They have very strict laws in California, 9:30 to 11:30, 2:30 to 4:30, only 20 minutes at a time. So if you break the law, yes, you have to be held accountable. But I mean, it`s not like this is a serious type of abuse.
And I really would not want to get on Gloria Allred`s bad side. I wonder what Octomom did in order to bring this wrath on her time after time after-time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s been a long history of conflict with these two.
Now let me just say this. I think there`s a lot of confusion surrounding new media. OK. The old days you had film, you had television. There were rules about the kids. But now you have all this new media like the Internet, like Twitter, like -- and the lines are blurred.
So essentially, Radar Online is saying, "We`re a news organization." Do you buy that?
ARCHER: I mean, you know, I just think that what they did was not that bad. And if you look at the citations, one of which was two of the kids didn`t have a work permit. What does that mean? So I mean, I guess you have to register to be able to work as a child actor in the state of California even when you`re a newborn.
So I think that we have to use common sense when we evaluate this and look at this. And yet you have to follow the rules.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Knowing Octomom, these kids already have their head shots.
Octomom has often spoken out by Kate Gosselin, mom of sextuplets and star of "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." Here`s what she said to Radar Online about an incident where Kate didn`t give her daughter a drink of water before an interview. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADYA SULEMAN, MOTHER OF OCTUPLETS: Maybe she didn`t process what her daughter was asking her. I don`t know. I`m getting mixed (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But if she really processed it and was really aware of the situation and her daughter was really thirsty, then it seemed like it was a controlling issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve got about 10 seconds. She`s getting a taste of her own medicine now, being criticized herself.
ARCHER: yes. Pot calling the kettle black, perhaps? I mean, come on. Who among us as a parent hasn`t been busy and not been able to attend to our child`s needs immediately? I mean, come on. It was just a few minutes later she got her the water.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, I hope these kids are OK. I`ve got to say, because (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the media focus like this from infancy, got to have psychological issues.
Hopefully, they`re keeping a little money aside for therapy when they get a little bit older.
Dr. Dale, thank you for your insight.
A promising lead in the hunt for little Haylee Donovan, missing with her mom and her mom`s sex-offender boyfriend. Security cameras spot the mom in Colorado just days after they`re seen in Ohio. The big question: where could this troubled trio be right now?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exciting new leads in the nationwide search for little Haylee Donathan believed to be on the run with her mom and her mom`s sex- offender boyfriend. Surveillance footage shows the mother in Colorado two days after she was spotted with little Haylee in Ohio. So where, oh where are they now?
And an infuriating case of justice denied. An ex-con rapes a 4-year- old and gets one year behind bars. I`ll analyze how the justice system dropped the ball.
Troubled young starlet, Lindsay Lohan at the center of a scandal swirling around the disappearance of almost a half a million dollars worth of bling; this as the notoriously unpredictable Hollywood actress stays true to form and posts a picture of herself topless, topless while her hair is covering certain key parts to her Twitter page. -- that`s the photo right there.
I am back with Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ. Where does this case go from here, Mike?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Yes, you`re showing the picture, it`s weird, we were talking about her behavior and how erratic it`s getting. And speaking of Twittering, this photo she twittered it`s like -- talking about erratic people and their behaviors, it`s like their worst nightmare. That you can write on it anytime of the day.
Just this morning she also twittered that J.B. -- of talking about Jessica Biel that Justin Timberlake might be cheating on her -- she was in a nightclub -- I mean and she`s writing all of this early in the morning.
It`s like one of those things where I`m looking at it going, Lindsay, I mean, I`m not sure -- number one she should be twittering at all, especially if she`s not in the right state of mind. but number two, like you said, putting herself up topless on her Twitter page -- so everyone can see it on purpose for what reason, I don`t know.
But I think -- then we`re talking about this jewelry and that being stolen. People are going to start looking at her because of her erratic behavior.
And every morning on TMZ, when we do the meetings there`s always the story that comes up about Lindsay`s behavior or what she did the night before or the photos of her coming out of the nightclub the night before or the that morning; or her insanity and the erratic behavior and the breakup.
And they are back together and her dad, I mean all this stuff keeps coming up over and over.
And I think you`re right I mean, at this point, I think this is why we`re going to have to keep discussing this and her, even if she`s not pointed out right away by Scotland Yard with the theft.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and let me say this, her erratic behavior is really an addiction to drama. And I thought it was very interesting that when she Twitter-picked that photo of her topless with the hair covering her breasts. She said, "I`m that bored."
That was her explanation for why she did this, old picture, I`m that bored. So obviously her idea of excitement is a lot of drama and she`s getting what she wants, a lot of drama.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Mike.
WALTERS: All right Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A breaking development tonight in the nationwide manhunt for a precious Ohio 4-year-old Haylee Donathan, she is on the run with her mom and her mom`s tier-3 sex-offender boyfriend Robbi Potter. He escaped from a halfway house.
Tonight a possible break in the case, even as the child`s family desperately pleads for her safe return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY WATSON, GRANDMOTHER OF MISSING 4-YR-OLD: I`m scared something has happened to them. I don`t know what. I don`t know if he`s hurt my granddaughter or if he`s hurt them both or what, I`m scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The trio`s truck has been spotted all the way in Colorado. U.S. marshals released brand new photos of the 1988 Chevy pickup at a Colorado gas station, more than 1,000 miles away from their hometown in Ohio.
The surveillance camera even snapped a shot of Haylee`s mom, Candace Watson, putting gas into the truck. But unfortunately, U.S. marshals were not able to confirm that little Haylee was indeed inside the truck at that time. The new pictures were taken June 2nd, just two days after the truck was last seen at an Ohio Wal-mart.
If this fleeing trio made it all the way to Colorado from Ohio in just two days, where could they be now?
And what does this video tell us about the mom`s state of mind? Is she there of her own free will or is she being held hostage?
Straight to my fantastic expert panel: Robin Bond, attorney and former prosecutor; Michael Cardoza, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the "Guardian Angels;" and by phone, U.S. Marshall Brian Fitzgibbon, the lead investigator on this case.
Marshall, are you surprised that with all the national media attention, we`ve been talking about this and talking about this and the release of videos like this Colorado sighting, these people have yet to be spotted?
BRIAN FITZGIBBON, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHALL (via telephone): Hey, it`s alarming. I mean, we received over 200 phone calls from our tip line in the past four or five days. We`re exhausted. We are talking to people and our concern is the citizens across the country, and this is a heart breaking story, they want to help.
We can`t catch a break right now. They didn`t disappear, they didn`t fall-off the face of the earth -- they`re somewhere.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, is there an incentive for this mom? Let`s say for example, she might be watching right now, to turn herself in now, would her penalties or possible prison sentence, what could happen to her in the justice system be a lot less if she came forward now than if she waited?
FITZGIBBON: Absolutely. If she takes the route of turning herself in, it could do nothing but help herself out.
We would even encourage her to call our tip line or call her mother or call somebody close saying, "I`m ok, Haylee`s ok." We need to hear something. We haven`t heard anything from them in over two weeks. And their welfare at this point is just making everybody an emotional wreck that`s surrounded by both families.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, now she used to live in Arizona. There`s speculation that she might be headed there as well with this tier-3 sex- offender boyfriend and her child.
What do you do? I mean, there`s so many states, is this a needle in a haystack situation? How are you focusing in?
FITZGIBBON: We`re trying to focus obviously, we track back to where she used to live, we spoke to some of her close friends. Everyone is saying, "Listen, we haven`t heard from her, she`s not reaching out to us."
Now, she`s had history where she`s gone out west and she hasn`t spoke to anybody, but this is national news, this is making newspapers, this is making CNN news. She`s got to hear about it, she`s got to understand.
VELEZ-MITHCELL: Obviously, yes the biggest concern is for the child, is there any -- I know you have to be very careful with what you say, but obviously -- you originally believed that she -- the mother went of her own volition with this cretin and took the child with her. They were going on a camping trip.
And now do you still feel that she`s there of her own volition with the child? Or is there any way to figure out what the emotional state of this mom and this child is right now?
FITZGIBBON: There`s just no way of figuring that out. A lot has changed, she met this man and in three days she decides to run cross country with him.
In the past two weeks, she spends nothing but all of her time every hour of the day with him. She`s got to be realizing something isn`t right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s hope -- let`s hope that she`s aware that the entire country is begging her for the sake of her beautiful precious 4- year-old child to get away from him, and if she can do that safely God willing and get to safety.
Thank you so much Marshall, I wish the best of luck. I know you guys are working around the clock with no sleep to find this precious child.
Let`s take another look at the surveillance shots from the Colorado gas station. These shots were snapped on June 2nd in Stratton, Colorado. That`s more than 1,000 miles away from where they started at their hometown in Ohio.
They managed to travel very far in a very short period of time. Now, just two days earlier, the mom was spotted at a Wal-Mart in Ohio where she appeared to change clothes in a bathroom. So two sightings in two days, thousands of miles apart, but since then they`ve be totally off the radar.
So Michael Cardoza, you`ve covered so many of these cases. Do you get a sense that they wised-up to the national manhunt, realized they couldn`t afford to be seen and have either switched cars or they`re still in Colorado because you can only drive so far without gas.
MICHAEL CARDOZA, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, certainly if she hasn`t, he has. I mean he apparently has some criminal smarts -- if there is such a thing -- and he appears to be taking the back roads and avoiding any contact with the public but for the necessities of life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, only one shot shows Haylee`s mom Candace Watson actually putting gas into the truck. Investigators won`t say how she paid for this gas and how it factors into their search for little Haylee.
But Curtis isn`t it safe to say that the trio obviously needs money to survive during this time? Ok, so would it be a safe guess to assume that she used a credit card and cops traced that credit card to this gas station where they then found this video as opposed to randomly finding this video?
CURTIS SLIWA, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Oh Jane, no doubt that`s exactly it. And that`s generally what causes people on the lam to get bagged and tagged, the old credit card. For her sake, she should hope that that credit card number bounce, you know when you keep pressing you`re number in and it doesn`t seem to work. But thank God it did register and now they`re on their case.
But could you believe this mother?
SLIWA: ...to actually participate in this? It`s not a Stockholm Syndrome. She`s not Tania Patty Hearst, you know under there because she`s been brainwashed.
She`s willingly there with a tier-3 sex-offender who has fled with her and her child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, extremely bad judgment in going off in the first place.
But Robin Bond, former prosecutor, at some point she could have realized that this was an awful situation. Remember, they originally were going camping and they -- she actually returned the tent that they have used. She might have at some point realized "Oh, my gosh, this guy is dangerous, I need to get out of here," and become a hostage.
So how do prosecutors deal with that? Let`s say they`re all found, God willing alive and ok?
ROBIN BOND, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I think that one of the things they`re looking at and we`ve had this commentary before, is her conduct on the videotape, the surveillance tape. Does she appear to be walking with confidence which she has? Or does she appear to be having furtive glances and trying to escape. That has not been apparent so far in this case.
But as a prosecutor, you want to encourage this woman to come in and bring the child back because, you know, you care as much about a reward for the safe return of the child as you do for apprehending Robbi Potter.
And so I would not be focusing on charging her, I would be focusing on incentivizing her in some way to come back in bring the child back in. And then, you know, help us better understand what has really occurred here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so if you`re watching, I want to send a special message out to this man, this tier-3 sex-offender, "let this mother and child go." Let them go and go on your way and take your chances but don`t take it with the lives of these two mother-child, two females who have nothing to do with your mess, please let them go.
I want to thank my excellent panel.
NFL star Donte Stallworth only gets one month behind bars for driving drunk and killing a pedestrian back in March. I`ll have the story of justice denied.
And from one outrage to another, an ex-con rapes a 4-year-old girl and only gets a slap on the wrist; a year in the slammer. Did the criminal justice system drop the ball? Give me a holler.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A hardened ex-con rapes a 4-year-old and only gets one year behind bars. You do not want to miss this infuriating story.
But first "Top of the Block" tonight.
Outrage over another light sentence: NFL star Donte Stallworth gets a measly 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter. The 28-year-old wide receiver hit and killed a 59-year-old pedestrian with his car in Florida back in March.
Prosecutors say Stallworth`s blood alcohol level was .126; well above the legal limits. In addition to the slap on the wrist jail time, Stallworth will serve two years house arrest, then eight years probation. He also lost his driving privileges for life. The disgraced NFL star also reportedly reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the victim`s family.
Frankly, I`m getting sick and tired of watching the justice system let these big-time athletes off the hook, aren`t you?
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Turning now to another infuriating case of justice denied as a child rapist gets just one year behind bars. Sixty-four-year old David Earl pleaded no contest last month to charges of first-degree rape and forcible sodomy of a 4-year-old Oklahoma girl.
The rape charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison but Earl struck a deal with prosecutors getting 19 years of his 20-year sentence suspended. With time served, he`s expected to get out in September. That is three months from now.
Residents are beyond outraged at the slap on the wrist sentence. Some lawmakers slamming the judge, calling his approval of the plea deal gross neglect of duty. The judge said he followed the law and all parties were on board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE THOMAS BARTHELD, PITTSBURG COUNTY, OKLAHOMA: They were in agreement, the victim`s family was in agreement, the advocates were in agreement, and the defendant was in agreement. So I took the plea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say they only agreed to the plea deal because the case rested on the testimony of the little girl now 5 who initially talked about the rape but later said she just couldn`t remember. A medical examination found evidence of sexual assault but no DNA to tie Earl to the crime.
Earl had just gotten out of prison a few years ago after serving nearly 10 years for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was baby sitting -- who hires a guy like this as a baby sitter -- he was baby sitting the little girl and her brother while they were mom was at work.
What is going on here, people? Why is our justice system handing out lollipops to perverts and failing to protect our most vulnerable and innocent? The DA reportedly noted the fact that this cretin had cancer and only three years left to live. So what? Is that any reason to let a child rapist out on the streets so he can do it again? Of course not.
Back with me: Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor and Michael Cardoza, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, plus Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels.
Curtis, with time already served, this dirt bag is going to be out of on the street in September. What the hell is going on here?
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: What`s mind-blowing is everywhere in New York, or Boston, Chicago, L.A. or Portland, Oregon, you say oh, yeah, it`s a turnstile criminal justice system.
Jane, this is Oklahoma where they hang them up high and they hang them often if they can. This is just so unfathomable. And as you mentioned, the mother who initially said I had bad feelings about this guy, bad feelings? You hired him to watch your two children.
And apparently the young boy also got engaged in having sex with the young girl because of the influence of this older guy. This is one big sicko. Castration should be his cure; he misused it, he should love it. That should at least be part of the...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this time, I -- you know what? I`m leaning towards agreeing with you. I know that sounds really awful but this is such a horrific case. I mean, raping and sodomizing a 4-year-old girl.
And this is what I don`t get, Stacey Honowitz. The DA is insisting, quote, "We won. He was convicted. He`ll be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. He`ll never go near another child or his sentence will be revoked."
He`s got three years to live. He has nothing to lose.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Listen, Jane, it sounds horrific and all of your viewers who aren`t familiar with the criminal justice system or how these sex crime cases work would be horrified in hearing this.
But I can tell you as an insider, as a supervisor in the sex crimes unit, this happens more often than not. And I`m going to tell you what the problem is. When you don`t have a case or you don`t have a child to testify, you are stuck. So the prosecutors were stuck in this position of getting nothing versus getting something.
And that`s what happened here. When you don`t have a child to say he`s the one that did this to me, then what do you have in front of a jury? So while it sounds awful to the general public, without them knowing the inner circles of the criminal justice system or what happens when a case like this comes in then they don`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey, if they`re going to do a plea deal, why a plea deal for a year? That`s what I don`t get?
HONOWITZ: The bottom line is, Jane, if the defense attorney knows that they have you over a barrel, that the state doesn`t have a case, do you honestly think they`re going to plead to something more than a year? This guy said I`ll take a year and the prosecutor probably jumped on it.
CARDOZA: Stacey -- you know -- I`ve got to tell you, Jane, like it or not, and I certainly don`t like it on a certain level, but as an ex-D.A., as a defense attorney, I know, Stacey knows, you need evidence to prove a case. They didn`t have the evidence here, so they tried to save what they could.
Does it please anybody? No. What I think is despicable is going after this judge and saying, why did you, judge, lose -- why did you agree to this?
That is wrong. What that does to judges is it makes them draconian in sentencing because they`re so afraid. Oh, I`ve got to give the maximum sentence to people now because I will be criticized. It`s wrong to go after the judge.
The D.A., the defense attorney agreed, the family agreed, and the judge put his imprimatur on it; shame on them for going after the judge. They should do it more dignified.
Take a look at the judge. See if he has a history of being liberal. If he does, you may have an issue, but not in this case. It`s wrong what they`re doing.
HONOWITZ: Not in a negotiation.
CARDOZA: No, it`s wrong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, everybody. More on this sickening case of justice denied when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA BIRDWELL, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, PITTSBURG COUNTY, OKLAHOMA: Do I like that he only got -- served a year? No. Do I like that? No. Like I said, I would prefer child molesters go to jail forever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say they got the best sentence they could in the case of an ex-con who copped a plea for raping and sodomizing a 4- year-old girl. The dirt bag got just one year behind bars. He`s going to be out in September, people. Lock your doors. It`s June already. That`s three months from mow now.
Have we all lost our minds? We heard the prosecutors` side of the story from Stacey Honowitz and Michael Cardoza -- very articulate in their expression of it. I could tell Curtis Sliwa from the Guardian Angels, your head was out about to explode however.
SLIWA: Take the chance. Go before a jury in Oklahoma. Show some onions. If you lose, you lose. But don`t give me this, "Oh, we can only get a year." You didn`t want to try this case because they didn`t want a big "l," loss in the loss column. That`s what prosecutors are all about.
They`re just looking for wins and they plea bargain away everything else. A jury in Oklahoma; give them a fair chance to assess it for themselves and I think they would have found him guilty.
CARDOZA: No, no...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead Michael.
CARDOZA: Absolutely not. There`s no evidence. You`re doing all that on a motion. A D.A. gets paid to make tough decisions.
And I`ll tell you what`s wrong with that. District attorneys now seem to make a lot of decision based on politics instead of justice. They have to look at the case and ask themselves, can I prove this beyond a reasonable doubt? And in this case, they said no. So they took what they could. I think that`s a tough decision to make and kudos to that DA for making it.
HONOWITZ: Of course, it is.
CARDOZA: And he will be challenged by someone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey, Stacey -- the reason this case came to light is because the little girl allegedly came up to her grandmother and touched her breast and then said, David Earl said that that`s okay. Then an unidentified relative came forward and said that this guy had raped her, no charges were ever filed -- her or him, I don`t know. And he was also suspected of a lewd act against the little boy, but those charges were dropped when the little boy recanted because he`s about 6.
HONOWITZ: Right, I mean, that`s what happens. And unfortunately you have little kids -- the youngest I ever put on the stand was a 4-year-old child. The guy was convicted for life.
I was very lucky. The child was able to tell the difference between a truth and a lie and wasn`t intimidated in the courtroom and was able to talk in front of a jury.
But for Curtis to stand there and say go in front of a jury. You cannot do that. You have a good faith obligation, ethics as a prosecutor when you go to court that if there`s a likelihood that you can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
SLIWA: Leave it to the jury.
HONOWITZ: Curtis, is it better -- excuse me...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: America`s angry about this. We`ll have to leave the debate right there. But we`re not going to let this story go.
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