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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Fans, Family Celebrate Michael Jackson

Aired July 7, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on ISSUES, special coverage of Michael Jackson`s memorial service. Tens of thousands of fans flock to the Staples Center as millions worldwide dropped everything to remember the King of Pop. It was a somber, star-studded celebration of the legend`s life, but did it live up to the hype? Was it truly fit for a king? We`ll debate it.

And where does the family go from here? And where is Michael Jackson`s final resting place? The memorial service is over, but the custody battles and the wrangling over the will have just begun. We`ll analyze it all. This ISSUES special presentation starts now.

PARIS JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S DAUGHTER: Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eleven-year-old Paris Jackson, devastated by the sudden death of her dad, Michael. Her words heart-wrenching, and her unbridled emotion on display as a global community joined her in mourning.

Tonight, special coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service. It was a bittersweet event. Profound sadness mixed with celebration and even humor as we all said good-bye to this international icon. A bronze casket with 14-karat-gold-plate handles, covered in roses, containing Jackson`s remains, placed in front of the stage.

Thousands of fans joined Michael Jackson`s family along with celebrities and dignitaries from the world of entertainment inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles as thousands more packed the Nokia Theater nearby.

Jackson family friend, the Reverend Al Sharpton took the stage to mark Michael`s legacy as a turning point in history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. AL SHARPTON, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: He opened up the whole world in the music world. He put on one glove, pulled his pants up, and broke down the color curtain. Where now our videos were shown and magazines put us on the cover. It was Michael Jackson that brought blacks and whites and Asians and Latinos together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And a tearful Brooke Shields who told of meeting Michael when she was just 13, describing the bond formed my their common experience of being child stars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE SHIELDS, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I used to tease him, and I`d say, you know, "I started when I was 11 months old. You`re a slacker. You were what, 5?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the service was not without references, both subtle and overt, to the pop singer`s controversial past, but all were delivered in context with Michael Jackson`s tremendous achievements.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERRY GORDY, FOUNDER, MOTOWN RECORDS: Sure, there were some sad times and maybe some questionable decisions on his part, but Michael Jackson accomplished everything he dreamed of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, at this very hour, mystery continues to surround Michael Jackson`s death. As his casket was rolled out of the Staples Center earlier today, still no word on where his final resting place will be.

An incredible day for everyone whose lives were touched by Michael Jackson, and I want to hear from you.

But first, straight out to my amazing panel: Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition" and attorney; Firpo Carr, Jackson family friend and former Jackson family spokesman; Ashleigh Banfield, host of "Open Court"; Joe Tacopina, criminal defense attorney and former Jackson attorney; Bryan Monroe, CNN contributor, who conducted the very last interview with Jackson.

But we begin with Natisha Lance, "NANCY GRACE" producer, who`s been on the scene, doing a tremendous job at the Staples Center in Los Angeles all day long.

Natisha, right now, the big question: where did Michael Jackson`s body go when it was taken away from the Staples Center? What do we know about Michael Jackson`s final resting place tonight?

NATISHA LANCE, "NANCY GRACE" PRODUCER: That is the big question still, Jane, and we do not know. There have been some reports saying that he would not be going back to Forest Lawn, where his body was taken from this morning and brought to the Staples Center. But however, a final resting place has yet to be determined for Michael Jackson.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But this is absolutely bizarre to me.

Ashleigh Banfield, it`s a very, very strange situation when a casket, especially one as ornate as that, in a hearse takes off from a public memorial, and nobody seems to know where it`s going.

We`ve been hearing talk and reading reports that some in the Jackson family would still like to see him have a final resting place at Neverland, perhaps cremated, with his ashes sprinkled there. Is that something that can be done under the law?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST, "OPEN COURT": Well, if he`s cremated, yes. If he wants to be entered in that casket with the remains the way they are now, no. It`s really difficult in California to bury a body on private property. It sort of defies logic. But you`ve got to go through a lot of hoops.

I think Arnold Schwarzenegger, Slate.com reported, said he`d be willing to help in that effect, but it is not that easy. There are laws that preclude you from doing that. You have to go through your local zoning board, and this situation, the zoning board has no interest in. Because making this a public spectacle on a two-lane mountain road, like Graceland, is just not in their interest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bryan Monroe, you conducted the last interview with Michael Jackson. It always seems that mystery surrounds him, even in death, even after this beautiful memorial. And everybody said there`s not one thing you could criticize about it. It was perfect, down to the last song and the last prayer. And yet his casket leaves in a hearse, and nobody knows where it`s going.

BRYAN MONROE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, it was a beautiful service today, and there are many images that were swirling around this last week, but I think the last one that all of us are going to be stuck with is that last image of his daughter, Paris, saying, "Daddy, Daddy, I love you."

And then the image of the brothers and the sisters gathering and hugging, and even little Blanket, who I met when I interviewed Michael, tucked in there amongst all the brothers and sisters, inside the family, part of the family. The kids are where they belong right now. And I think Michael is looking down and smiling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We hope so. You know, of course, as you just mentioned, we had a rare glimpse, a very rare glimpse of Michael Jackson`s children today. His daughter Paris spoke at the end of the ceremony. Let`s listen to what she said once again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. JACKSON: Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Tacopina, you used to be an attorney for Michael Jackson. Could Paris` statement and the warmth of the Jackson family surrounding her onstage impact the big custody hearing over Paris and her two brothers coming up this coming Monday?

There was a big group hug. You see Janet Jackson right there. Little Paris was leaning her head against Janet. This would be hard for the kids or the Jacksons to fake if they didn`t really mean it.

Meantime, Debbie Rowe didn`t even show up. How is this going to impact the court?

JOE TACOPINA, FORMER MICHAEL JACKSON ATTORNEY: Well, I don`t know if this clip will, but I think this is a window inside to this child`s desires, where she wants to go. Clearly, there seems to be a bond there. Look, this is the family she grew up with. And I think that`s something. She seems very articulate.

I mean, she`s 11 years old. She lost a father. She`s on stage at the Staples Center in front of thousands, and you know, she seemed to be enormously composed, even though she broke down. This little girl`s going to be able to articulate why it is she wants to stay wherever she wants to stay. And clearly, the people she turned to, the people that hugged her are the Jacksons.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, does everybody on the panel agree that she should have a say? Because during this past week or so, I`ve talked to people who say no, no, no, no, no. They can`t determine what`s in their own best interest? They`re too young.

TACOPINA: It`s not them alone, though. Let me just make one thing clear, Jane. They will have a say. It`s not her statements alone. The judge won`t say, "Where do you want to go? Fine, that`s it." They`ll look to what`s in the best interest of the children`s standard, or the best interest of the child`s standard, but if the minor who is 11 can articulate a basis for her desires, it`s something the court can and will consider.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jim Moret -- go ahead.

BANFIELD: I want to jump in on what Joe said. The best interests of the child in California, particularly, break down into two categories. No. 1, a wholesome and stable environment. Those are the magic words.

And then also something that`s considered to be continuing care or someone who`s been able to provide a continuing relationship. If you look at Debbie Rowe, she doesn`t really fit into that category, that continuing relationship. And certainly, the Jacksons do.

But that stable and wholesome environment is extraordinarily important. And some say even more so than the biological, you know, connection to the child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Firpo Carr, how close were Paris and the two other brothers to the Jackson clan? Because you could see they look so close here, Janet Jackson hugging her. The whole family just really protectively gathered around.

Yet, I`ve heard reports that after Michael Jackson was acquitted, he went to Bahrain, he went to Ireland. They didn`t really spend that much time with Katherine or the other siblings.

FIRPO CARR, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESMAN: Paris knows exactly who her family is, and that`s the Jacksons. There`s no doubt about it.

As I`ve mentioned before, I was in the room with Paris and Michael and her brother alone when Michael pulled me to the side and said, "Listen, I`d like to talk with you. And he pulled me away from his mother, as well as his sister and Grace, the nanny.

I saw Michael up close interact with Paris and her brother. And it was amazing. She is very intelligent, articulate just like she is here, even back then. And she made it very clear that she did not want to leave the side of her father as he asked me into the next room to speak with him privately.

So upon her insistence, she came. So I think that that`s some indication. In fact, I know that that is a great indication, as she stated here, that she is in love with her father and his family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, everybody. So much more to cover. What did you think of Michael Jackson`s memorial? Was it fit for the King of Pop? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Please, weigh in.

A mass influx of fans descended on L.A. to remember Michael Jackson today inside the Staples Center. Stevie Wonder, just one of the many huge stars who performed. Listen and look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: In the past I have gone from "where is he?" to "there he is again." I must confess, it feels good to be thought of as a person, not as a personality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: During the memorial service, there were some thinly- veiled references to what you might call the elephant in the room, Michael Jackson`s controversial molestation trial. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDY: Sure, there were some sad, sad times and maybe some questionable decisions on his part.

SHARPTON: I want his three children to know, wasn`t nothing strange about your Daddy. It was strange what your Daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: And we know that people are innocent until proven otherwise. That is what the Constitution stands for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jim Moret, it seems some speakers were resentful that the allegations of child molestation, of which Michael Jackson was acquitted, are still an issue in the media that`s discussed, but you do have people like this conservative congressman Peter King bringing it up.

Is it still an issue because it is more than one allegation, that in 1993, he settled out of court for a reported $20 million?

MORET: Look, it`s an issue, but is it an issue at a memorial? No. I think that the tone of the memorial, I was there in the Staples Center, and you know what? The crowd was very respectful. They were very patient. They were sitting there, really attentive. And that -- that place where the Lakers play and crowds go wild, this place was really transformed, almost into a house of worship. And it was a very respectful event. And I think it was befitting of Michael Jackson and, frankly, anyone who died.

Look, he`s never been convicted of anything. Has he done strange things? Sure. Is this the place or the time to talk about it? No, I don`t think so. I think that Bryan is right. You know, at the end of the day, saying Daddy is the image I`m going to come away with every time I see it. I have seen it now five or six times, I choke up. I have an 11- year-old myself, and I think about my 11-year-old. And it really humanized Michael Jackson to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think it showed that he`s a good parent. The proof`s in the pudding. I mean, there were so many controversies, Bryan Monroe, about for example, the baby dangling incident, where Michael Jackson infamously dangled little Blanket over a balcony in Berlin.

And yet, I talked to bodyguards who have taken care of these kids who said that Michael Jackson was a doting father. He did apologize for this incident, and that these kids are incredibly articulate, well balanced, and just all-around great kids.

CARR: I`d like to say something...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure.

CARR: ... about that dangling incident. A lot of people do not understand why did this, the same way they don`t understood why he stood up on the van.

Let me set the record straight here. Michael only did that because the fans there wanted to see the child. So what he did is like say, OK, I have him here in my arms. If you want to take a closer look, see, here`s a closer look. And you see how he pulls the child back right away, because he realized, wait a minute, this is a little dangerous. He was saying this is a closer look at the child.

Was it the best decision? Probably not, but it was done in innocence.

It`s the same way with him standing up on the van. After he heard that there were some fans from far-flung parts of the earth who were out in the extremities of the crowd there, who could not see him, they simply wanted a shot of him, even if there was -- he was a little dot in their frame there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, it`s no day to be critical of Michael Jackson, but the baby dangling, no matter who asked for it, was ill advised, certainly. And being there when he jumped on the SUV, I could say there was a stampede afterwards, and I was even slightly injured during that. So...

CARR: I was there, too.

TACOPINA: Sounds like a money claim coming.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no.

TACOPINA: Sounds like Jane`s getting ready for a money claim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wouldn`t take that day back for anything. I felt like I was a part of history that day.

CARR: I saw you there, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. I was the one who was being trampled on.

TACOPINA: Jane -- you know, Jane, last week, when we talked about this Staples Center event, I`ll cop to this. I was one of the ones who was skeptical that something like this could go off as Gracefully as it did, with elegance, like Jim said. Jim was there. You know, I thought this was going to be a spectacle, the fact they were having tickets and selling tickets, but you know, I was wrong, because this -- this today was really befitting of him and really was a very Graceful ceremony.

And to see Paris react that way, you know, it put a different face on Michael Jackson. We all knew Michael Jackson the superstar, the entertainer, and the defendant, but I don`t think we really ever got to know Michael Jackson the father. And I think today, we got a little glimpse of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Natisha, let me ask you a couple of questions. What about -- we know some very, very famous people showed up: Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Usher, Lionel Richie, Magic Johnson, Brooke Shields. The list goes on and on.

Were there any notable no-shows? Obviously, Liz Taylor tweeted that she wasn`t going to show up. But what about, like, Liza Minnelli? What about Macaulay Culkin? Where were some of his other buddies?

LANCE: You`re absolutely right, Jane. Liza Minnelli, Macaulay Culkin, Lisa Marie Presley, who Michael Jackson was married to for a short period of time, and of course, Debbie Rowe, who we`ve spoken about. Diana Ross also didn`t show up, but she did send a statement where she did address an issue of her being named in the will as second in line to have guardianship of the children. She said, "If Michael wants me to have the children," she said, "I will be there for them."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phones. Gloria in Michigan, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, thank you for taking my call. I just wanted to say that I`m really proud of his daughter Paris, that she had the courage to get up there and speak. And I`m proud of the family and the way that they gathered around her and sheltered her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bryan Monroe -- I`m sorry, ma`am. Go ahead. All right, Bryan, how was -- what was the connection between Paris and her older brother, who was standing right next to her, and Blanket, with this family? How often did they see each other?

MONROE: They see each other very regularly. In fact, when they came back, they were there in the house in Encino with all the cousins.

Remember, Michael is one of nine children, the third youngest. Six brothers, three sisters, many with children. There`s a whole host of cousins that are their family. That`s where they belong. And that`s where they should stay.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I happen to agree with you there.

All right. Don`t go anywhere. More on the historic Michael Jackson memorial in just moments. We`ll have all, all the latest for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There you see it, everybody gathered together as the ceremony came to a climactic conclusion today. Seeing the Jackson family unite onstage and sing together, it was really a beautiful, beautiful ceremony. Really down to the last song, the last prayer, everything perfect.

We`re back talking about highlights of today`s memorial.

Firpo Carr, we talked about the big elephant in the room and the fact that there were veiled references to the criminal case against Michael Jackson. The one thing nobody talked about whatsoever, as far as I can tell, was how he died and his reported drug addiction.

CARR: There`s a lot that was said about that outside in the media, but there was no reference to that. Because you want to keep one thing in mind. That is this: Michael Jackson was not taking recreational drugs. You never heard about cocaine or heroin or anything like that. He took things for an ailment he and his family had, namely at least in one case, insomnia. The whole family has that.

I stayed up with Randy when I lived with him. And get this: it`s so interesting. He`s half asleep, what have you, trying to change -- channel surfing. He turns to me, asks me a question. Apparently, I wasn`t speaking loudly enough, so guess what he did? Pointed the remote at me and pumped up the volume without realizing what he was doing. And we both laughed at it afterward.

The whole family are insomniacs. I have stayed up all night, practically, with several members of the family, talking because they couldn`t sleep. So Michael took something for that. He was not taking drugs for recreational use.

And I`d like to say this one other thing. I would have loved to have seen a line of celebrities there when Michael needed them most, when he was being charged.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s exactly what Nancy Grace said, or she was talking about when he was trying to break his addiction. You`re saying you would have liked to see a line of celebrities when?

CARR: When he was -- both trial -- the last trial, 2005. When I was out there, the Santa Maria trial is what I`m saying. When I was out there as his family spokesman, I put my reputation on the line, my life on the line as it were. If Michael Jackson had been found guilty, trust me: I would be on your show for a different reason. Here`s the guy who backed him up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me jump in here. There were plenty of celebrities on Tom Mesereau`s list of witnesses for the defense.

MORET: Yes, there were, but your point actually is also a good one. Where were a lot of his friends when he needed help? Clearly, they didn`t talk about it today because as Firpo said, he may have had an illness. He may have had a very serious illness, an addiction. We still don`t know what killed Michael Jackson. I think that not talking about that today was perfectly appropriate. They were there to celebrate Michael Jackson the man.

I have to say, Jane, after listening to you also for a week, this -- this clearly touched you. I can tell a difference in your tone and the way that you are approaching the story. Even if it`s only for the day, and that`s fine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you saying, Jim? Spit it out.

MORET: I`m sorry...

MONROE: ... that you`re sensitive. He`s saying you`re sensitive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m always sensitive. Usually I`m dealing with a lot of serious criminals, and I think we need to crack down on them.

Thanks, everyone.

Today, the world remembers Michael Jackson. We`ll have more analysis next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS JACKSON, DAUGHTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. And I just want to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A heartbreaking statement from Michael Jackson`s young daughter, Paris. The whole world choked-up hearing those emotional words from his beautiful 11-year-old daughter who most of the world has never seen or heard from until just now.

I`m back with my fantastic panel: Joe Tacopina, criminal defense attorney and former Jackson attorney; Ashleigh Banfield, host of "Open Court;" Firpo Carr, Jackson family friend and former Jackson family spokesman; Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical psychiatrist and associate professor of Psychiatry in New York Presbyterian Hospital; Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition," and attorney; and Diane Dimond, a syndicated columnist and author of the Jackson book "Be Careful Who You Love."

Diane, say what you will about Michael Jackson`s controversial life but you could also say the proof is in the pudding. And young Paris was so amazing on stage today.

DIANE DIMOND, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Oh yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She seemed like a well-brought up, well-balanced articulate girl who really loved her dad very much.

DIMOND: As a mother of a daughter, Jane, I watched that young girl, that brave young girl who obviously wanted to say something to the world. And boy, if you didn`t get tears in your eyes at that point, you`re pretty hard-hearted.

She was absolutely terrific and you know what I noticed the most? I noticed when she broke down she turned to her aunt Janet. And that to me tells me that there`s a real family bond there.

I hope Debbie Rowe was watching. I hope she realizes that there is a bond there where there is none with her and her biological children. Maybe she`ll step out of this custody fight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe it`ll melt her heart. Who knows right? Dr. Gail Saltz...

DIMOND: You never know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...yes, you never know. There`s always hope, possibly, right?

Dr. Saltz, it seemed to me watching Paris that she is quite sophisticated and seemed aware, possibly, that her father was a very controversial figure, almost seemed to be defending him in that brief statement.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: I think it`s hard to read into that one way or the other. I think for her, she`s the daughter, so he has been the ideal dad. And especially in death, it`s very important for -- to some degree everyone, but particularly the children to be able to idealize their parent, to not have conflicted feelings which lead to guilt which really complicate grief.

So this is just seemed to me a very natural, normal, healthy expression of how a child would feel upon losing her father. And I think it was really good for her that they allowed her frankly the opportunity to stand up there and express her feelings. And tell the world, you know, that her dad was a wonderful dad and she loved him very much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Also very emotional was actress Brooke Shields who was a longtime friend of Michael Jackson. She spoke about them both growing up as child stars. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE SHIELDS, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FRIEND: We both understood what it was like to be in the spotlight from a very, very young age. I used to tease him and I would say, "You know I started when I was 11 months old. You`re a slacker. You were what, five?"

Both of us needed to be adults very early. But when we were together, we were two little kids having fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Firpo Carr, they did act like kids together and certainly not an adult couple. I mean, who could forget Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields showing up in 1984 to the Grammys with Emmanuel Lewis.

They obviously cared for each other and she was careful, however, to mention that they were friends and they dated, but not really boyfriend/girlfriend situation.

FIRPO CARR, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: That`s absolutely correct. Michael Jackson was a big kid inside. In fact, he was a child trapped in a man`s body in many ways. But when it came to business deals, oh my, you wouldn`t find a better business mind.

But there`s something else I would like to talk about when we go back to Paris for a moment. And this is connected to what we`re talking about now. Paris was protective of Michael -- as I stated and I don`t mean to beat a dead horse -- but when we stepped into the next room, she wanted -- she insisted on going with them.

And I never mentioned why I was there. I was there -- because Department of Children Protective Services -- I forget the exact name of it -- but that some other families may know but I`ll just say Child Protective Services they were coming to examine whether or not Michael was a fit parent and they wanted to interview her.

She was protective of him like please do not ever even suggest that he is a bad parent and even when he stepped into the next room, once again, she wanted to be with him, although she trusted me I`m sure but it was like, "No, I need to keep an eye on you, dad."

So that`s a nice segue way when you talk about Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson being big kids and children at heart because even, at least in this case, Michael`s child watched the same thing.

And I myself, although I may not look like it, but I have a 9-year-old grandchild and a little girl and she`s sweet as can be and she`s protective of me, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just -- I`m trying to figure all this out.

And Ashleigh Banfield, we`ve been talking up until this point before the memorial service about the cause of death, the possible cause of death, the toxicology reports aren`t in.

But we`ve been hearing all these reports of people, whether it`s Uri Geller or Deepak Chopra talking about Michael Jackson being out of it and how they begged him. Cherilyn Lee, the registered nurse, get help, we can`t give you this, we can`t give you that.

And then, On the other hand, you see this child who seems to be so beautiful, so sophisticated, so well-balanced. In my head, those two things do not dovetail.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST, "OPEN COURT": No...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What am I missing?

BANFIELD: I think we`re all missing something. There`s a great deal of secrecy with regard to how this man lived his life. And I think if we think back to the Anna Nicole Smith case, she also had children and she also had a terrible addiction to prescription pain killers.

And then, I disagree with one of your panelist who said, that because he wasn`t doing cocaine or some other kind of drug like that, that he wasn`t using recreational drugs. Prescription medications when abused, no matter what they`re for, even if they`re for sleeping, it`s considered recreational use.

And God forbid there was someone actually administering Diprivan in that home because Jane, your show is going to take on a whole new event in the coming weeks if that`s the case.

CARR: But there`s something -- there`s something to be said about that though. When you talk about different drugs here, we`re talking about motivation. I`m talking about motivation, coming from south central L.A. and being around a lot of drug addicts and serving for ten years -- at least 10 to 15 years on a panel in North Hollywood, "Cry Help," which was a -- which is a halfway house where some of the addicts are there...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- can I just jump in Firpo for one second? I think what the point that Ashleigh is trying to make is yes, there is a difference between somebody who is using illegal drugs and involved in that whole world and somebody who is just hooked on something like anesthesia. I`ve never heard of an anesthesia addiction until this story broke.

CARR: Yes, I know what she`s saying but I think along with that...

BANFIELD: That is just breaking the law, period. If you get controlled substances by furnishing a false name or a false address or for having other people procure it for you or pay for those to dispense them...

CARR: No, I understand, I understand that.

BANFIELD: ...you`re breaking the law, period, no matter what you`re using it for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m not even talking about that Jim Moret. What I`m talking about is here we have this beautiful girl who seemed so well- balanced, not acting out, terribly appropriate, heart felt and yet all we`re hearing about Michael Jackson is how out of it he was.

BANFIELD: Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And to me, I don`t know that you can be a great parent if you`re that out of it. And I just don`t -- I can`t put these two images together, whoever wants to take it.

DIMOND: Jane.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, I mean, with respect to the anesthesia addiction, it sounds like and we`ve listen to -- at least one doctor say that he would bring Jackson down at night and bring him up in the morning, but that he would function in the day.

I don`t know that that little girl was around that at all or was even made aware of it. And in that respect they can be separated. It doesn`t mean...

DIMOND: Jane.

MORET: ...that doesn`t mean that he doesn`t have a problem or didn`t have a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Diane.

DIMOND: Jane, you remember, because well Jim, you were there, too during the 2005 criminal trial. There was testimony there by Neverland Valley ranch workers who said there was so much alcohol consumed, he seemed so wobbly, that they were worried to let the children around him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes, the Jesus juice -- the white wine that was the Jesus juice and it was concealed in the soda can.

DIMOND: Jane.

CARR: But there`s something to be said about that. Bob Jones who is now deceased, in his book he said, the only thing he could find against Michael and he was what -- his publicist for 30, 40 years, was that he thought he saw some wine on a plane in a can. That was it and as far as these...

DIMOND: Well, Bob would also tell you that he didn`t spend a lot of social time with Michael Jackson.

BANFIELD: You know what all you need to do is go to one Narcotics Anonymous meeting and you`ll meet a lot of people who functioned daily including prosecutors...

CARR: Right but that`s not mean that that was Michael...

SALTZ: It`s very possible to be a very high functioning addict.

CARR: And you can also take a look at people who were guards at Michael`s house and also at Neverland and Encino and find that they have sold so many stories to the tabloids, it`s a shame.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s hard to tell -- separate fact from fiction when it comes to Michael Jackson. Expert panel, please stay right there, excellent insights.

There are some serious legal battles looming for the Jackson family. But today, they came together on stage to remember Michael. Here is brother Jermaine with a heartfelt performance of Michael`s very favorite song.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(JERMAINE JACKSON SINGING "SMILE")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXCERPT FROM MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Images from the memorial, basketball great Magic Johnson reminisced about Michael`s influence on his own life. He also said this. Listen

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGIC JOHNSON, BASKETBALL STAR: His three children will have the most incredible grandmother that God has put on this earth to take care of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He seems to be sending a message to Jackson`s kids, perhaps to the judge, perhaps alluding to a looming custody battle.

So much to talk about; a fantastic panel and the phone lines lighting up.

Barbara, New York; your question or thought, Ma`am.

BARBARA, NEW YORK (via telephone): Just a comment and thank you, Jane.

The coverage was beautiful. The memorial service was the most wonderful thing I have ever, ever seen. And those little kids are so cute. Jackson couldn`t have been doing anything wrong. They are perfect little kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, okay. I think that`s interesting Dr. Saltz that people are looking at the children and saying they look like they`re so well-balanced and well-brought up that it reflects positively and gives us a whole side of Michael Jackson we haven`t been seeing.

GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, Jane, I think it`s difficult to read too much into that. By that, I mean that kids are one, unbelievably resilient. They can, you know, there are high functioning incredible people I see in my practice who have been abused at kids.

And I`m not saying Michael Jackson did anything wrong to his kids. I`m just saying from a few statements or for looking at a well-groomed child who is able to articulate their feelings it does not necessarily mean that things were all rosy.

It doesn`t mean that they weren`t rosy. It`s very difficult to say from this.

You know, obviously, it`s wonderful that they have generally loving feelings. I`m not surprised. I think that obviously he wanted children very badly and probably in many ways he was a wonderful parent. But that doesn`t mean that he potentially did not have a problem with addiction or did not have other problems going on that he either hid from the children or the children saw.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the other thing -- if I could jump in -- is that it doesn`t also dovetail with the idea that he`s a child. How many people said that even today? That he had the child persona. Even though he was a dynamo on stage, he was shy and childlike offstage. Does that segue with being a good parent?

SALTZ: Yes. You know, Jane, there are people who have role reversals with their parents, and they are -- as someone pointed out earlier -- protective of their parent because they feel like the parent.

It doesn`t mean that they don`t feel loving. In fact, sometimes it makes them have to be very independent and self-sufficient.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, IN SESSION: Might I also jump in and just mention that I cover plenty of trials and cases where the parent who is in court perpetrates crimes against others and not against his or her own family.

SALTZ: Absolutely possible.

JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And, of course, I`ll just jump in at that point and say he didn`t perpetrate a crime against anyone according to the jury`s verdict.

FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Thank you.

TACOPINA: And the Constitution of the United States -- that case, believe me when I tell you -- and I don`t know if Diane is still with us -- that case was a joke from the get-go...

CARR: It was.

TACOPINA: It was one of the most incredible allegations and...

BANFIELD: You have to be careful when you say that.

TACOPINA: No, I`m not. I don`t have to be careful.

BANFIELD: There were some important facts that came into that courtroom.

TACOPINA: I don`t have to be careful because the jury spoke loud and clear.

BANFIELD: There were good facts that came into that courtroom. I will also say as a legal journalist that being called not guilty is not the same as being called innocent.

TACOPINA: No, it`s not, but you can`t then presume guilt when the jury has spoken.

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But Diane, what about the...

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But here`s the thing, I think...

DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It`s hard to hear you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was just asking you. What about -- forget the criminal trial for which he was acquitted for a second -- let`s go back to the `93 case.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": But so what? The `93 case had more holes in it than the 2005 case, which was a joke.

CARR: Thank you.

MORET: The `93 case, if it was a case -- don`t you think (INAUDIBLE) or his associates would have brought a case in two seconds? That wasn`t even worthy of being looked at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I must give Diane a chance to answer that one.

DIMOND: Did you want me to answer or did you want him to answer? I can`t get a word in edgewise.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diane, jump in. You`re aggressive.

DIMON: You know, I look -- can I just tell you something? I`m standing outside the Staples Center. I was in there all day today, listening to some of the most beautiful music, the most wonderful eulogies and that`s really what I think today is all about.

(CROSS TALK)

You know, if you want to know more -- hey Firpo, let me talk for once, ok? Just let me get a damn word in edgewise.

(CROSS TALK)

DIMOND: If you want to know about the allegations, read my book. Today, it was about the passing of an icon and the...

CARR: Diane, you`ve always been against him. Let me say this about this...

(CROSS TALK)

DIMOND: You know, Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second.

DIMOND: I don`t know why I`m on the show tonight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? Judge Karen gave me this, and I`m going to use it because I understand that this is a touchy day to be having debate over this. But it`s always every day here on HLN and in the news business; it`s a day we talk about reality, unfortunately or fortunately.

DIMOND: If I could talk, I would talk about it. But I can`t get a word in edgewise.

CARR: You plugged your book, you got it in.

You already said, you said look in your book.

Let me just say something right here, I worked for the LAPD for 10 years. And Michael Jackson...

DIMOND: You know what Jane? Why don`t you just talk to Firpo and I`ll talk to you when I get back to New York. How about that? You know what?

CARR: For ten years, I saw Michael Jackson, first of all -- 1994, he was accused of child molestation. 2004 -- are they gone?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m listening.

CARR: 2004, child molestation again. Are you trying to tell me, Diane Dimond, that here is a child molester who strikes once every ten years only in the L.A. AREA? By that token, all we have to do is wait for 2014.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Firpo. Wait a second. Guys, seriously, Diane has wanted to say anything. Let`s give her a chance to respond. You said your part, let her, and then we`ll move on. Diane, get your 10, 20 seconds in.

DIMOND: I have said my part. Today was about saying good-bye to an icon. It was very emotional in there especially when the Jacksons themselves spoke and sang. Especially Paris and Katherine. That is what today is all about.

Jane, you and I have covered the trials. We have done the allegations. I`ll be glad to talk to you about that at another time.

And if Firpo he wants to argue, he can argue with you because I`m just not interested in that. That`s not what today is all about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that, you know what? I think today is a day not to argue. I think that today is a day...

DIMOND: Exactly.

CARR: I know but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: To try to remember -- no buts, Firpo...

You know what, guess who I think is the voice of reason right now, Jim Moret. I`m going to give it to you.

CARR: All I want to say is, very quickly, what we`re talking about...

DIMOND: Is this the Firpo Carr Show?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on...

BANFIELD: What`s going on?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Jim talk.

MORET: This is Jim Moret. Jane, it`s Jim.

Okay, first of all, the issue with the children isn`t about Michael Jackson anymore. Michael Jackson is gone. This little girl, her two brothers have lost their father.

The issue is before the court, should the mother -- should grandmother have custody or should the biological mother? That`s really the issue. What his legacy is as a father, we saw. This little girl loved her dad. End of story.

Let`s not talk about that today. Let`s move forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. Everyone, sit tight. Final thoughts on Michael Jackson memorial when we come right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(EXCERPT FROM MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Singer Jennifer Hudson remembers music icon Michael Jackson by singing his song "Will You Be There."

And, again, a beautiful ceremony; everything just flawless: incredible performances, prayers, statements. It all came together beautifully. And the scene outside Staples Center; dignified, 100 percent fabulous.

Phone lines lighting up. Marisa, Kansas, your question or thought, ma`am?

MARISA, KANSAS (via telephone): Yes, my thought is on this Debbie Rowe issue. You know, just because she gave birth does not make her the mother. There are sperm donors. She donated her body.

And those kids are Michael`s kids. His family`s kids. What does Debbie -- what would Debbie know how to raise them? She`s never been there. He paid her to have them. And then he turned around and had a (INAUDIBLE).

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this -- go ahead, Joe.

TACOPINA: I really don`t think at this point these kids are going to the mother, not just because of what we saw today, but the standard in California is will it be harmful to the kids. One of the things they look to is continuity of relationship. Basically putting these children with the birth mother would be to thrust them with a stranger.

And you can`t -- young teenager`s life, ask them to start anew. They have a family relationship. Clearly this is going to play out. I don`t think there`s any judge in the world at this stage who will give Debbie Rowe custody of these children.

They belong with the Jacksons and they`ll stay with the Jacksons.

BANFIELD: What Joe is saying, really, in California, the law is quite strict when it comes to biological parents. But that`s when it pertains to a normal situation, and someone who`s fighting for custody or who has some kind of relationship is trying to regain custody, trying to regain a relationship or moving forward to establish a relationship. And none of that has been established by Debbie Rowe.

She actually said on the record, I think back in 2001, "You earn the title of parent. I have done absolutely nothing to earn that title." That`s not good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Jim Moret, we`re going to give you the final word. Do the laws need to be changed to accommodate the new technology today when it comes to childbirth?

MORET: Look, I don`t -- this is a very unusual situation. This is not a typical case where somebody gives your eggs or gives your sperm. This is a very unusual situation.

I think that the judge has a very serious matter here. He`s going to try to do what`s best for the kids. That`s what you should do. He`s going to probably listen to the kids, maybe appoint lawyers for them. And take everything into consideration.

But, again, today was a memorial for Michael Jackson.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And with that we have to leave it. Thank you, fabulous panel. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

END

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