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Aunt to Raise Children if Jackson`s Mom Gets Custody; More Medical Professionals to be Investigated in Jackson Death Probe; Obama Lobbies for Health-Care Overall

Aired July 23, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a torrent of alarming new information in the Michael Jackson death probe. One day after a massive dragnet descent on his doctor, investigators zero in on a Beverly Hills anesthesiologist linked to long-time friend and doctor, Arnie Klein. How many doctors could go down in this saga?

Now Radar Online says, no matter what the cops find, the Jacksons will file a wrongful death suit against somebody. The question is who?

And did sexy sideline reporter Erin Andrews ask for it? New outrage over an article suggesting she was too flirty in the frat-boy sports world. Is she being victimized again, this time by a female sports writer? We`ll debate it.

Then Jon Gosselin`s mid-life crisis continues. He`s reportedly partying in the Hamptons with Lindsay Lohan`s infamous father.

Plus, the whole country is in an uproar over health care, with Obama pitching his plan. But when will we start talking about health? We`ll investigate how some say the government is sabotaging our health, even as it proposes to fix it. It`s the story you won`t get anywhere else.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, sweeping developments in the Michael Jackson death probe as more of the superstar`s medical inner circle find themselves in the crosshairs of investigators.

On the heels of yesterday`s surprise raid on the Houston office of Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Michael Jackson when he died, and also on the heels of a personal visit by the coroner to Nurse Cherilyn Lee`s office, TMZ reveals there is yet another doctor on the radar of investigators.

TMZ reporting assistant chief coroner Ed Winters visited an anesthesiologist at a medical clinic in Beverly Hills. TMZ sources say investigators became interested in that clinic after looking at the Jackson medical records turned over by Dr. Arnie Klein, the King of Pop`s long-time dermatologist and friend. So what exactly is the connection?

Larry King recently asked Dr. Klein about the drugs he administered to Michael Jackson.


DR. ARNIE KLEIN, DERMATOLOGIST: I mean I`ve used them, you know, when he had surgical procedures because don`t forget, he had a lot of -- he had a burn, a severe burn when he was burnt on the Pepsi commercial, and severe hair loss. Lupus also. So when you have to fix all these areas, you have to sedate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Klein says the strongest drug he ever gave Michael was Demerol and that he had warned Michael about the dangers of Diprivan. That`s that powerful surgical knock-out drug. By the way, we reached out to that Beverly Hills clinic for comment and have not heard back as of yet.

Meantime there`s something reported Jackson connection to that Beverly Hills clinic that has caught the eye of investigators. Get this. This is unbelievable. It`s the same clinic where Debbie Rowe reportedly gave birth to Michael`s second child, Paris, when she was born back in 1998. That`s 11 years ago.

As for Debbie, she might have to take a number in the custody dispute. By all accounts, it`s growing more heated and complex by the minute. TMZ also reporting that if Katherine wins custody, the children`s aunt, Rebbie, not aunt Janet or grandma Katherine, will raise those kids. The 59-year- old Rebbie has been called the quiet, normal Jackson. But there`s no doubt she has the Jackson gene. Listen to her performance from Sony Music Studios.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Catchy tune.

Also tonight, news from that Joe Jackson and several of the Jackson siblings will sue for Michael`s wrongful death, with or without an arrest. But who are they going to sue and for how much?

So much to talk about, and I want to hear what you think about all. This straight out to my awesome panel: Firpo Carr, Jackson family friend and former Jackson spokesperson; Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels and WABC radio talk host; Stacy Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; and the one and only Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, you broke another story today, maybe two or three on this case. What is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ ASSIGNMENT MANAGER: Well, Jane, you said it. Rebbie Jackson. This is the first time we`re hearing her name come up in this case. We`re told, obviously Katherine has custody at this point and probably will keep primary custody. But within the family several people are telling us that Rebbie is going to take a lot of the responsibility of raising the children: now, for many reasons. One being she`s stable. She`s been married a lot of years. She has kids of her own, and she`s from Las Vegas. Remember Michael spent a lot of years in Las Vegas when his kids grew up. His kids are friends with her kids. They`ve grown up together; they`re cousins. So that`s what we`re hearing is going to go on with custody.

It`s funny, because this is one of the things they`re not arguing over. The family had some disputes with some of this other stuff. Interestingly enough, Jane, today also, the lawyers for the estate and Katherine went to court because Katherine was -- needed the money from Michael Jackson`s estate to live. She only has Social Security benefits.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can`t believe that. That blows my mind, that she only had Social Security benefits, Jayne Weintraub.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Joe Jackson is probably managing her money and taking that, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t say that. OK, hold on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe, I invite you on to tell your side of the story.

I want to go back to Mike Walters for a second, because you had a fascinating report. And I want to keep the names out of it at this point. But that investigators from the coroner`s office went to an anesthesiologist in Beverly Hills at this clinic that has connections to Dr. Arnie Klein, where his one-time assistant, Debbie Rowe, gave birth to Paris. Am I getting that right?

WALTERS: Yes. So this is an outpatient facility. More like the Four Seasons, a really upscale place where you can do procedures. A lot of doctors have an office, but they go somewhere else that has stuff where they can do procedures. And an anesthesiologist in that location.

Apparently, two anesthesiologists that worked there worked with Arnie Klein when Arnie did procedures, including Michael Jackson. So what they wanted from -- whatever they saw, keeping the names out of it, that they saw in Arnie Klein`s office connected these people. Ed Winter went over. He wanted to look at it.

But remember we told you before that Michael was addicted to anesthesia. So what we`re looking for Arnie Klein is said he gave him Demerol. Well, the connection is anesthesia, and how did that come into play? That`s why they`re looking at anything connected to anyone that has access to Propofol, which I`m telling you is going to be one of the primary causes of death. They want to find that...

CARR: Hey, Jane you know what? Jane, I`d love to say this. Listen. Let me go back for a moment to the Rebbie Jackson thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got to take a break in 20 seconds, so say something in 20 seconds.

CARR: OK. I`ll make it real quick. Michael Jackson pulled me to the side in 2004, saying that he wanted his mother and then Rebbie to take care of the child -- the children, and then Stacy, Rebbie`s oldest daughter, after that. I`m a fan of TMZ, as well as Radar. But they did not break that story. I mentioned that three weeks ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait, wait a second. Hold on. But why didn`t Michael put that -- I`m going to give you something to think about. Why didn`t he put it in the will? Thank you, Stacy.

CARR: I`m just saying -- I`m just saying what he told me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to come right back. You can answer that question in a moment. Will Michael`s big sister Rebbie be the one to take care of the Jackson kids? We`ll be back in just 30 seconds.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ reporting a new twist in the custody drama swirling around the Jackson family. Rebbie Jackson, Michael`s big sis, is said to be deeply involved with the kids. Rebbie has kept a pretty low profile publicly, but she hasn`t stayed totally out of the spotlight. Listen to this recording from Sony Music Studios.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rebbie`s been married to her childhood sweetheart for well over 20 years. They have two daughters and a son, and those children are all grown up. All three kids are singers, no shock there. The family lives in Las Vegas, but Rebbie has been living in the Jackson family`s Encino, California, compound since Michael died, taking care of those kids.

Stacy Honowitz, could the judge fashion some kind of a solution whereby Katherine gets technically guardianship, but Rebbie is the one there who has some kind of something on paper that, "Hey, I take care of the kids?"

STACY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Yes, absolutely. The judge can fashion whatever he thinks is the standard. What is in the best interest of these children. That`s the standard that he`s going to go by.

And you can believe, Jane, that these kids -- you saw Paris at the funeral -- are old enough to voice what their opinion is. And if they have a good relationship with Rebbie, if they have a relationship with the children, and they tell the judge this is where we feel the most comfortable, the judge is going to take that into consideration. So very easily, Rebbie could get generic custody of these kids with Katherine, you know, being the guardian.

CARR: Absolutely. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what absolutely shocked me, Firpo. And I want to ask you about this. Reports that Katherine needs money, and lawyers for the estate wrote in a declaration, "We are informed that Mrs. Jackson," meaning Katherine, "was financially dependent upon Michael Jackson and that, other than extremely modest Social Security benefits, Mrs. Jackson has no independent means of support" and that there`s an urgent need for money, for an allowance. I find that mind-boggling. I mean, how could it be that close to the vest?

CARR: Well, it`s real simple. I don`t have the answer to that question. You know why? Because they don`t run their finances by me. So whatever they`re saying...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. But she lived in a big house in Encino.

CARR: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I find it hard to believe, Curtis Sliwa, that she`s like some little old lady in tennis shoes just living on her Social Security check and "Oh, my gosh, my Social Security check hasn`t come in and I need money"?

CARR: Do you have any proof to the other -- you know, to the opposite of that? Does anyone here have any proof?


WALTERS: They filed for bankruptcy several years ago, and there`s creditors on the bankruptcy. I`ve seen the documents. Katherine Jackson filed for bankruptcy.

CARR: All right. All right.

WALTERS: Several creditors, including you know, banks and houses and stuff like that. Look. I`m not judging their finances.

WEINTRAUB: You`ll see how quick a wrongful death suit is settled in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis, you wanted to say something.

SLIWA: Yes. The concern here is that these three children are like jewels in the crown, whether it`s Katherine, whether it`s Rebbie. All of a sudden she`s now got a music contract. Maybe she`s actually the first act of Joe Jackson Sr. You remember that famous press conference: "Oh, everybody wants to know what I`m doing. I have a record company." Man, these kids need an order of protection from the Jackson family that`s going to exploit them to the Jackson 3.

CARR: Oh, my God. I don`t believe it.

SLIWA: It`s all about making money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody...

CARR: There is no Jackson 3 here. There`s never going to be a Jackson 3.

SLIWA: Oh, come on, please. They keep throwing that out there, time and time again.

CARR: They do not. No.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s say this. Rebbie`s three kids are all singers. Now, maybe it`s just like the family business. In some families everybody becomes doctors.

CARR: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And in another family, everybody becomes singers. Stacy Honowitz, I mean, what about Curtis` concerns? Will a judge look at this possibility that everybody`s after the money?

HONOWITZ: Look, the judge has to take a lot of things into consideration. The judge in family courts are very smart guys. They`ve been doing this for a long time. So he`s going to look at all these facets, and he`s going to say, "This is where I think they -- this is the best fit."

What does he take into consideration? He takes in prior backgrounds of the people that they might go to, if there`s been allegations, again, allegations, if they want to put them out, you know, in front of an audience. But the bottom line is what is in their best interest and where will they feel comfortable and safe?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what about...

CARR: Real quick question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no. We`ve got to -- hold on. We`ve got another segment on this coming right up. Everybody, lots more to get to.

How many doctors are caught up in this web? Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1- 877-586-7297. Please sound off.

Then Jon Gosselin, living large. We`re talking very large in the Hamptons, with Lindsay Lohan`s infamous dad. But what does the original bad-boy dad have to say about the reality star`s newest romance? Which one is it anyway? We`ll find out.

But first cops said they were investigating doctors in the death probe, and then a surprise raid at his physician`s office changed everything. So were investigators trying to throw the doctors off the scent? How many doctors are they investigating? Here`s what the coroner said just a few days ago.


ED WINTER, ASSISTANT CHIEF CORONER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: We`re not investigating the doctors. We`re investigating Mr. Michael Jackson`s death. And we`re contacting all of his doctors.




ED CHERNOFF, DR. CONRAD MURRAY`S ATTORNEY: Dr. Conrad Murray was not a doctor first. He was a friend first. They were close personal friends, and they had been for several -- for a couple of years before he ever became his doctor. And Michael Jackson really treated him as family, and on occasion he would ask him to stay over. It got more and more frequent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson, close, personal friends. I kind of find that a little funky. I`m not friends with any of my doctors. And it just strikes me as somehow inappropriate. Hypothetically, for example, wouldn`t that type of relationship make it hard to say no when your buddy, your friend asks for something that might be outside of what`s appropriate medically? And I`ll throw that at Jayne Weintraub?

WEINTRAUB: No, I don`t think so. You have to keep an open mind. Just as lawyers, you have to keep an open mind. Just as lawyers, you know, we have oaths and professional responsibilities that go along with ethics.

I mean, you know, before we all take a big giant leap here, we have to keep an open mind. Remember how everybody thought he was a pedophile and then he was acquitted. So I mean, let`s just take a deep breath and see what they`ve got.

CARR: Thank you.

WEINTRAUB: The search warrant is going to show, I`m sure, exculpatory evidence to show that these doctors didn`t know what other cocktails Michael Jackson was getting from other doctors.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s just interesting. Anna Nicole Smith was also friends with her psychiatrist, who was there. See, there`s a pattern here.

WEINTRAUB: You can`t say all doctors...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m just saying anybody`s guilty. I`m just saying, to me the idea of a doctor being a friend of somebody who is especially somebody who`s addicted, it just strikes me as a bad idea. Maybe not illegal, maybe not immoral...

WEINTRAUB: It may or may not have been a good idea but that`s...

HONOWITZ: If the doctor does know and becomes a very close friend and the doctor doesn`t want to say no because it is a celebrity or very close friend and he`s enabling him, then, of course, it does become a major problem.

WEINTRAUB: What if he doesn`t know? I mean, let`s be honest.

CARR: A true friend would say no; I`m not going to do that. A true friend will say, "No, I`m not going to give you what you want, because it`s dangerous for you." So there`s nothing wrong. That`s not inconsistent to be a friend and a doctor.

SLIWA: Jane, Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Curtis.

SLIWA: You know, Medicaid bills get busted every day by attorney generals in which they`re writing out prescriptions, mad prescriptions. People go to jail for this. What`s this friends, friends? This is illegal. This is doctor shopping.


SLIWA: If it was in the streets, they`d be in jail.


CARR: It`s not unusual to be a friend, and it`s not unethical to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dolly in Canada, your question or thought.

CALLER: All right, Jane. I love you. Thank you for taking my call. My question is what would make Michael Jackson so tired to want to sleep for up to 72 hours three, four days at a time if he wasn`t up for three to four days at a time before that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I haven`t heard those numbers. I`ve heard that he had insomnia. But I guess if you have insomnia, when you finally go to sleep, you might sleep for quite a while.

CARR: Indeed I have heard those numbers. I don`t know how true they are. But I`ll tell you this much. Michael Jackson was under a lot of emotional stress, period. And it didn`t start just with the Pepsi commercial. It started with this trial when he was told that he could no longer be around children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Pepsi commercial was long before the trial.

CARR: That`s what I`m saying. I understand that. What I`m saying is that the Pepsi commercial, yes, that was a start, but the trial really did it. The reason for it is because Michael Jackson had the weight of being called "Wacko Jacko" and one who is going to be take -- take advantage of children. That really crushed him. If you know Michael...

WEINTRAUB: Jane, he was depressed.

CARR: ... listen to this. This man just -- that`s -- absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Jayne.

CARR: It was awful.

WEINTRAUB: He was stressed. He was depressed. And he was probably on other drugs. So, you know -- that`s an uphill battle. The prosecutor would have to prove -- to get a manslaughter case the prosecutors would have to prove that the doctors that were prescribing drugs knew what the other doctors were giving him. And the added whole M.O. is to go to different doctors so they didn`t know what they were doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll give you the last word.

HONOWITZ: Not if they can prove that Diprivan is what killed him, and this doctor is the one that administered it outside of a hospital.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know that, but that`s obviously what`s being investigated. Dr. Murray, you`re invited on at any time to tell your side.

Thank you, Jayne. Everybody else, stay put.

Addiction is a chronic illness in America, and in my new book, "I Want," I lay out my own personal battle with this disease and my long road to sobriety. It`s a recovery memoir due out this fall, but you can preorder your copy right now. Just click on and look for the preorder section. It`s my very personal story, and it will contain things that will surprise you, I promise.

Up next on ISSUES, a female sports writer sports a furious backlash over her controversial comments about ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was videotaped naked by a creepy peeping Tom. This columnist implies Andrews may have been too flirty for the frat boy world of sports. Some are asking now, is Erin Andrews being victimized again?

And everybody in America is talking about health. But avoiding the...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, America`s health-care crisis. The president took his fight to complete the overhaul of the U.S. health-care system to the people last night.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You take one test. Then you go to another specialist, take a second test. Then you go to another specialist. You take a third test, and nobody`s bothering to send the first test that you took -- same test -- to the next doctors? You`re wasting money.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. That`s true. But there`s an even bigger problem. The government is so focused on what happens after somebody gets sick they`re forgetting to focus on the public`s health before they get sick.

For example, obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, but critics say the U.S. government actually encourages obesity by pushing unhealthy food and cheap calories on Americans through its massive subsidies to agri-business, forcing smaller farmers out of business.

Instead, Uncle Sam should be backing small organic farms and encouraging people to eat locally-grown organic produce. That`s how we can solve the health-care crisis in America.

Straight out to Dr. Dean Ornish, president of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute and the author of a fantastic book called "The Spectrum: A Scientifically-Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight and Gain Health." What America wants.

Dr. Ornish, you`re on the front line, fighting America`s obesity crisis. Everybody`s talking about health care, but they`re missing the most obvious component. Why is that?

DR. DEAN ORNISH, PRESIDENT, PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well, I`m not sure. You know, I`m a great admirer of President Obama and his commitment to health reform. And I listened to his speech last night with great interest.

But as it turns out that I think we need to focus not only on who is covered, in other words, the 48 million who don`t have insurance but also what is covered.

It turns out that 75 percent, three-quarters of the $2.1 trillion in health-care costs are from four illnesses: heart disease, diabetes, obesity, as you indicate, and either prostate or breast cancer, all of which, in our studies we can not only prevent but even reverse, simply by making changes in diet and lifestyle. That`s what we ought to be covering, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first lady Michelle Obama started a vegetable garden at the White House. I was thrilled. It was a wonderful symbol. But take a look at her here. I was so happy when I saw this video. And it really inspired me. But does this reflect the White House stance on food?

Here`s an example. The latest stimulus plan directs tons of money to unhealthy food products. It`s spending $28 million on ham and cheese alone for food banks, $17 million to buy canned pork. These are fatty, high- cholesterol foods which are creating some of the health problems that we`re talking about. So clearly, the government is talking out of both sides of its mouth, doctor.

ORNISH: Well, I guess it gives a new meaning to political pork as you`re describing it. But you`re right. On the one hand we incentivize fat, salt, sugar, and junk foods, things that really promote illness, and yet we don`t pay for things that can really prevent it and even reverse it.

I think part of the issue is to reframe lifestyle changes, not just as preventing disease that actually is reversing it. You know, last year we spent over $1 billion for bypasses and angioplasties. And yet the randomized trials show that for most people they don`t prolong life or even prevent heart attacks. And yet by simply making changes to what we eat, how much we respond to stress, whether or not we smoke and how much love and intimacy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to go. But the bottom line, eat healthy. And government, wake up. You`re part of the problem.

Thank you, Dr. Ornish.

The Michael Jackson death probe takes a wild turn as investigators aero in on a Beverly Hills anesthesiologist. I`ll tell you how it`s all connected.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did sexy sideline reporter Erin Andrews ask for it? New outrage over an article suggesting she was too flirty in the frat boys sports world. Is she being victimized again? We`ll debate it.

Then Jon Gosselin`s mid-life crisis continuing. He`s reportedly partying in the Hampton`s with Lindsay Lohan`s infamous father.

But first the latest on the sweeping new developments in the Michael Jackson death probe as more of the superstar`s medical inner circle find themselves in the cross hairs of investigators.

Yesterday the offices of Dr. Conrad Murray raided by the DEA and the LAPD, then nurse, Cherilyn Lee`s records were investigated. Now TMZ is reporting coroner`s investigators have zeroed in on an anesthesiologist at a Beverly Hills clinic where Debbie Rowe gave birth to Michael`s daughter Paris. Are you following all this? It`s complicated.

Plus a custody shocker: TMZ revealing Michael`s older sister, Rebbie Jackson, is poised to take over even if Katherine gets custody.

And then there`s the reported wrongful death lawsuit the Jackson family plans to slap on whoever they think is responsible for Michael`s death.

I`m back with a fantastic panel: Firpo Carr, Curtis Sliwa and Stacey Honowitz.

Stacey, Dr. Murray`s own attorney said cops were looking evidence of manslaughter. We`ve been talking about what you have to prove to make manslaughter stick. And does the complicity of the patient affect it in any way?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: No. I mean nothing that the -- in other words you`re trying to say if the patient was an addict, is that going to play a role in manslaughter?


HONOWITZ: Absolutely not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If their patient says, "Give me this, give me this, give me this."

HONOWITZ: No, because the victim in this case is deceased. You can`t say because the victim`s participated, it`s not a contributory kind of death. The bottom line is, if they can prove negligent homicide -- that his actions were so negligent, such a reckless disregard for human life that it caused the death of Michael Jackson. If they can prove that, if they can narrow it down, then they can make the case.

And that`s what they`re looking for now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Jackson and reportedly LaToya have both accused Dr. Murray of disappearing from the hospital the very day Michael died. Here`s Joe on "LARRY KING."


JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: You want to know about foul play? If a doctor couldn`t bring you back -- and this doctor, he ran away. They had to look for him for three days to find him. So what do you think there is happening? To me that`s foul play.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently the vanishing act doesn`t hold water. Listen to CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands on "Nancy Grace."


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENG: Totally false. Basically what happened was initially after Michael Jackson died, Murray was at the hospital, talked to investigators for a short period of time. Then he left. And at that point he retained counsel.

His counsel out of Houston, they came to Los Angeles to help facilitate the communication between Murray and detectives. Before he went to talk to detectives, he wanted a lawyer. That`s simply what it was.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Murray`s attorney seconded that saying Dr. Murray should not be a target of criminal charges, that he was just, quote, "the last doctor standing when Michael Jackson died and it seems all the fury is directed told him," end quote.

Curtis Sliwa, do Dr. Murray`s attorneys have a point? He`s been an addict for years. He admitted himself in 1993. And this guy was like in a game of musical chairs -- the person without the chair at the moment that Michael Jackson died?

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: No question. But you know, I equate it Jane to thoroughbred racing. Because as you know, thoroughbreds fetch a high price and have to earn it back.

And they`re surrounded by vets who are injecting them with chemical concoctions that are mind-boggling. And then all of a sudden the thoroughbred doesn`t perform or drops dead on the track. The first one they want to blame are the blame are the vets -- go after the doctors.

So it`s just like with Michael Jackson -- think of him as a thoroughbred. He`s making money for everyone. The Jackson family, they had window shades on their eyes and cotton balls in their ears. They knew doggone well that this guy was surviving on drugs and then he dies and they`re looking to make money on his death.



CARR: Totally false?

SLIWA: Come on. The guy was a drug addict.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let Firpo talk.

CARR: The family tried to intervene a number of times. Randy Jackson went down to Mexico at one point to try to help Michael out with that. So this malarkey about them having cotton balls in their ears and what have you and blinders on their eyes is madness.

This man is probably red. Something that -- or tertiary -- some secondary, tertiary information and is merely repeating it or regurgitating it. I was close to it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, let me say this. Stacey Honowitz...

HONOWITZ: Why would they want him to die?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... you can`t stop an addict from doing drugs...

HONOWITZ: You can`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...unless they want to get help.

And now we have this wrongful death suit that is being considered according to RadarOnline by the Jackson family. Is it premature? Shouldn`t we wait to see if there are criminal charges first?

HONOWITZ: Yes. I mean, you know always want to wait and see if there`s criminal charges. But I would dare say that they`re mulling it over. I don`t know how much of this that we hear the speculation. I`m sure if they figure out that the doctor is responsible for the death -- and we don`t know, again, this is the investigation -- that there will be a wrongful death suit to follow.

Again, what you said earlier, does the victim, the fact that he was an addict make a difference? They must prove cause of death. If the cause of death is from the Diprivan, then they have a case.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, outstanding panel. We`ve got to leave it right there. You`re all going to be invited back to continue this debate another day. I thank you all.

Turning now to an unexpected twist in a horrible peeping tom video shocker that targeted ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews: ESPN and cops trying to figure out which sicko is responsible for taking naked peephole video of the unsuspecting Andrews in her hotel room.

Meanwhile a brand new controversy erupting tonight over the comments of a veteran female sports writer named Christine Brennan. She seemed, according to some people, to imply in a radio interview yesterday that Erin Andrews herself might be partially responsibility for the situation. Listen.


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS WRITER: If you trade off your sex appeal, if you trade off your looks, eventually you`re going to lose those. She doesn`t deserve what happened to her, but part of the shtick seems to me is being a little bit out there in a way that then are you encouraging the complete nut case to drill a hole in your room?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Brennan also commented on her Twitter page that women sports journalists need to be careful about not playing to the frat house. She later said her comments were misunderstood and that she supports Andrews.

She issued this statement this morning, quote, "As far as the hundreds of women who work in sports media know we often still have to be twice as good to get half the credit. It`s not fair, but it is the way it is. I have fought for years for opportunities for women in sports journalism and will continue to do so. For those who think I am against Erin, nothing could be further from the truth. What happened to her is terrible and she will also have my full support," end quote.

So the big question, did that female sports columnist make a valid point or is Erin Andrews just being victimized a second time around?

Straight to another veteran sports reporter, Lisa Guerrero -- I`m a huge fan of you, Lisa. You`re special correspondent for "Inside Edition" and you were a sports reporter for 13 years on Monday night football.

Were you surprised by columnist Christine Brennan`s comments about Erin Andrews?

LISA GUERRERO, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": I was, actually. I was pretty disappointed to hear it because the bottom line is this. I don`t care who you are, what you look like or what you do for a living nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted. And that`s exactly what happened to Erin Andrews.

So I was surprised to hear Christine`s comments. Regarding those comments, here`s the bigger picture. Unlike Christine who can go to work if she wants to, gain 300 pounds and wear sweats, with all due respect she works behind a computer. Erin Andrews works in front of a camera.

So whether or not we want to believe it, what Erin looks like is part of her job. She has to know sports and she does know sports. She is a beautiful woman and because of that she has a lot of male fans and I say, "Good for her." Because the bottom line is that she does her job well, she`s very articulate, she`s sports-knowledgeable, she looks great, she helps drive ratings. And bottom line is, she did not deserve what happened to her and to imply otherwise is disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, look. She`s 31, she`s in great shape, she`s beautiful, she`s statuesque. I don`t think she could change that if she wanted to. To me what was disturbing is the suggestion that she needs to dull herself down or maybe even -- it implies that, perhaps what -- she should dress in a dowdy fashion to discourage these nut jobs? It just -- it really bugged me too.

GUERRERO: Well, let me tell you something, Jane. Here`s a news flash. Television is a visual medium. So it helps for all of us that work in television to care about our appearance.

When I worked on Monday night football I went to hair and make up. I went to hair and make up and I went to wardrobe and so did John Madden and so did Al Michaels. Everybody that works in television has to worry about what they look like, it`s true.

Because she`s beautiful, does that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But women have to worry more, let`s be real.

GUERRERO: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s be real.

GUERRERO: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Especially in the world of sports. They`re programming for a mostly male audience and it`s no shock and it`s no coincidence that you happen to be gorgeous and she happens to be gorgeous. Let`s be real about this.

GUERRERO: Well, absolutely, Jane. And look at the demographics. The demographic for sport is an 18 to 34-year-old male audience. So I guess, you know, it kind of goes without saying that it would help to be attractive if you`re going to work on television and sports.

But besides that, you still have to be articulate. You still have to be sports knowledgeable. You still have to do live television.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I just don`t know why she didn`t say, "You know what? I misspoke," if she, in fact, wants to support Erin Andrews. And by the way, I invite this sports columnist on to discuss this. We`ll have a debate about it. We`d love to hear your side.

But to me, I hate to see women attacking women. And I think it puts women in a no-win situation because if you look gorgeous and you`ve got this natural sex appeal that you probably couldn`t turn off if you want to, then you`re going to upset some people. But if you don`t look great, you may not get the job. Right, Lisa?

GUERRERO: Exactly. And the bottom line is this. It still comes down to the Erin Andrews story. In her situation, no matter what, she`s a wonderful reporter, she`s beautiful, and she certainly didn`t deserve what happened to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she`s not the one breaking the law and drilling holes in walls.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And peeping at someone. She is the victim. And let`s not victimize her twice. Lisa thanks.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope you come back real soon.

GUERRERO: I will, thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sure we`ll have a new scandal for you the next time around.

More scandalous news on the sports world, NFL star Ben Roethlisberger responds to sexual assault accusations. I`m going to tell you all about his forceful statements.

And while Kate Gosselin is home with the kids, Jon partying in the Hamptons with Lindsey Lohan`s dad. Is this father of eight going through a midlife crisis? Is he just doing what a single guy in his 30s is supposed to do? Give me a holler. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Newly-single father of eight, Jon Gosselin parties with Lindsay Lohan`s infamous stage dad. We`ll find out if it`s a match made in heaven.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight:

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger breaks his silence. Andrea McNulty filed a civil suit accusing the two-time Super Bowl champ of sexually assaulting her last July. Today he vehemently denied the allegation in a brief statement.


BEN ROETHLISBERGER, SUPER BOWL CHAMP: I did not sexually assault Andrea McNulty. This Saturday was the first that I learned of her accusations. Her false and vicious allegations are an attack on my family and on me. I would never, ever force myself on a woman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Roethlisberger did not take questions saying he was confident the truth would prevail through the legal process. Cops previously said there will be no criminal investigation.

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

New twists and turns tonight in the never-ending drama of reality stars Jon and Kate Gosselin. The couple lived out a very public separation on camera. Now, father Jon Gosselin appears to be living something else out on camera.

It looks like a mid-life crisis. Just days after his gal-pal Hailey Glassman gushed to "People" magazine about the reality star. Another woman, this reporter from "Star" magazine says she is the one romantically involved with the father of eight -- and get this -- she just resigned from her job citing a conflict of interest.

But now Jon reportedly says she`s making it all up. Ouch. That hot mess perhaps sparked by the fact that Jon was hitting the Hamptons pretty darn hard, even hanging out with another infamous dad, Michael Lohan.

Michael, reportedly told Radaronline, Gosselin slept as his house with Kate Major although he did not elaborate on whether their quarters were separate; so two remarkable candidates for father of the year here and a lot of drama to cover.

Straight to my fantastic panel -- this is what really takes the cake - - Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Melanie Bromley, a West Coast editor at "US Weekly;" and Carlos Diaz, correspondent for "Extra."

Carlos, I`ve been juggling it all day. It`s hard to keep up with the Jon dramarama. What is the very latest?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Yes, so Jon, let me get this straight. You`re hanging out with Michael Lohan. Why? Was Joe Francis busy? I mean, you couldn`t -- I don`t understand this.

Here is the thing. I mean, is he trying to napalm his entire existence -- I mean why -- why would you do this when you know the world is watching? The world is watching for the last five years, be a great father or a decent father and now I think the world is going, hmm.

Maybe Kate was right and all the time she yelled at Jon for all the things he did wrong because I`m not kidding. I know a lot of dumb guys, most of them my friends. No one is as dumb as Jon. No one, he takes the cake. And how stupid is he being right now?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s pitting these two women apparently against each other, Melanie, which is not a very nice thing to do. And one of them, senior reporter for "Star" magazine Kate Major resigned this morning citing a conflict of interest between her reporting duties for the magazine and her relationship with Jon.

And then Hailey Glassman says in a teary-eyed statement, "I still love Jon and Jon loves me," And she seems stunned to learn that Jon was linked to Kate Major.

Now Jon says I`m not with Kate? I don`t -- I mean, seriously you need a score card.

MELANIE BROMLEY, WEST COAST EDITOR, "US WEEKLY": I know, I`m slightly confused as well. It`s a little hard to keep up with this one. I wonder with Jon whether he is just denying it because he knows that at the moment public opinion is going against him.

This is the man who when him and Kate was first having problems definitely had the sympathy of the nation. And now it looks like people are turning against him because he`s taking -- it seems like his fame has kind of gone to his head a little bit too much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Dale, he`s also hired a publicist reportedly and a top publicist -- somebody who helps David Letterman out. Has he gone Hollywood? Is this just basically a big ego trip?

Let`s face it. He`s on TV, he thinks he can get the girls and apparently he can.

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, I think that he`s doing what a lot of guys do after they go through a divorce. And that they want to prove that they still have it so they go after younger women.

Fortunately in most cases this is short live and they still realizing, "Hey, these kids are going to be mine for life and this is the mother of my children and she will be there for life." So they come to their senses and hopefully that will happen with them also.

But I will say that he`s managed to accomplish one thing here. He`s managed to make Kate look like a victim and a great mother all in one fell swoop. Go figure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right.

The reporter who said she and Jon Gosselin are an item was once on our show. Let`s listen to her report on the alleged Rihanna sex tape.


KATE MAJOR, FORMER REPORTER, "STAR" MAGAZINE: "Star" has learned exclusively that people close to Rihanna have told the magazine that there is, indeed, sex tapes that do exist. We are worried, you know, she -- is worried that somehow they could get out to the public and be leaked.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was interesting because Dr. Dale was also on that show.

Melanie Bromley, again, it`s all so confusing. But why would she give up her job and actually resign if she was just a friend? It doesn`t add up. I`ve never resigned a job over a friendship. I`ve never resigned a job over a relationship or a friendship. But you don`t resign over a friendship.

BROMLEY: No, absolutely. And I mean, (INAUDIBLE) like people shouldn`t get close to their subjects. We`re journalists. There`s kind of a professional line.

But Kate has done this before. She obviously -- she got close to Lindsay Lohan before after interviewing her for "In Touch" magazine.

And so she`s done this before. And we think how Jon says that him and Kate have known each other for a while, but other people have said that her and Kate met because interviewed him...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ll have more Jon and Kate dramarama in a moment.

Stay right there.



KATE GOSSELIN, "JON & KATE PLUS 8": Everyone wants to know everything about us and I feel like this is a situation where, you know, you can`t believe everything that you read. You know that, I know that. And so we are dealing with it privately.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kate Gosselin repeatedly talking about not being a celebrity. Listen.


GOSSELIN: We are living our lives like a normal family. Cameras come in and film us and that, to the world, to the public, makes us celebrities.

I do not like that word. I am not a celebrity. I am a mom and a wife.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Carlos Diaz, I don`t think Jon got the memo on the "not a celebrity."

DIAZ: Yes. And he hasn`t. And as a pseudo-celebrity, he needs to realize you need to keep your relationships under wraps. And you need to have a little tact.

And one thing that no one has pointed out -- as a single straight guy -- let me just say this. None of the girls that he`s dating now are as hot as Kate. I`m sorry.


DIAZ: These are all downward moves. (INAUDIBLE) strictly looks -- Kate is the hottest one of the bunch. I`m being very serious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, she`s available now, Carlos.

DIAZ: Well, I`m making phone calls. Don`t worry. I`m not going to quit "Extra" to date her though all right, don`t worry about that all right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pennsylvania is a beautiful place. I can see you right there. I`ve worked there. It`s a great state.

DIAZ: I`ll stay in Hollywood.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, Susan, Canada, your question or thought?

SUSAN, CANADA (via telephone): Well, my thoughts on it were just before they split up, his big thing was how much stress being in the public eye was causing and how he hated it and needed to move on with his life. And now he seems to be more the public eye flaunting around than ever before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale, what is his psychological issue?

ARCHER: I mean, I just have some random thoughts, I guess. But, maybe Jon is not really as bad as we think he is because he did get a thumbs-up from Michael Lohan, Lindsay`s dad, who is said quote, unquote, "He`s a great guy." So he`s got that going for him.

DIAZ: Sure.

ARCHER: I mean, that may be the equivalent of having your financial advisor get a positive recommendation from Bernie Madoff, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or Melanie, maybe he just realizes that being on TV is not that much fun without the perks.

BROMLEY: Absolutely, but this is a man who, you know, claimed he didn`t like celebrity and then went off to the South of France on a yacht to (INAUDIBLE) like drinking champagne. So he`s kind of -- it is so odd that he said he didn`t like fame. But now he`s now he`s embracing it; he`s loving the attention.

And I think if you want to stay under the radar, going to dinner with Michael Lohan is not the way to do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Melanie, if he calls you, I wouldn`t pick up.

Thanks to my panel.

Tomorrow "US Weekly" with explosive news on Jon and Kate. We`ll have it here.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.