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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Body Found May be Missing Boy; New Tip in Case of Missing Orlando Woman; Jackson Family Drama; Michael Douglas`s Son Busted
Aired August 4, 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, heart-breaking developments in the search for adorable little Robert Manwill. Police now say a body floating in a nearby canal matches the size and age of the 8- year-old boy.
This grim discovery comes after an intense ten-day search that had cops digging up the backyard of a family friend and searching the boy`s mother`s house for evidence. The boy`s troubled mother spotted leaving the police station crying. Cops aren`t ruling anyone out as a suspect.
And a stunning ruling in the Michael Jackson custody battle. Sources now reporting that a judge has barred Joe Jackson from living at the family`s L.A. compound. Is this because of his often discussed history of whipping young Michael Jackson or his controversial behavior after his famous son`s death?
Also, a major lead in the case of a beautiful woman missing from more than two months. Cops are combing new areas as they desperately search for Tracy Ocasio. Cops say a new tip involving her car matches up perfectly with their disturbing timeline. I will speak to Tracy`s distraught mother about this nightmare.
Plus, a drug bust for the son of Hollywood royalty. The son of Michael Douglas was busted, allegedly with more than half a pound of meth. Tonight, we`ll take a look at kids living under the shadow of their famous parents. Do they get a free pass?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, heart-breaking developments in the search for adorable little Robert Manwill. Police now say a body found floating in a nearby canal has been tentatively identified as being the 8-year-old boy who vanished without a trace 11 days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEP. CHIEF JIM KERNS, BOISE POLICE DEPARTMENT: We`ve received word from the Ada County coroner`s office that a tentative identification has been made of the body found in the New York canal yesterday as that of 8- year-old Robert Manwill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officials say a positive I.D. is coming as soon as they receive and can confirm dental records. The coroner`s report does not suggest a cause of death. That, according to officials, is pending investigation. Does this mean there is a killer on the loose? If so, who?
The coroner`s report also says the place of death is unknown. Do cops believe Robert was killed elsewhere and his body dumped in the canal? The body was found about 15 miles from the boy`s mother`s apartment where little Robert vanished. But that long irrigation canal where the body was floating passes less than half a mile from the mom`s apartment. Could the body have floated the 15 miles?
The child`s body was found just two miles away from a home that was searched by cops over the weekend. We will analyze these key locations in just a moment.
This grim discovery comes after an intense search that had cops digging up the backyard of a family friend and searching Robert`s mom`s home for evidence. The boy`s troubled mother was spotted last night leaving the police station crying. She had not been seen at the daily police news conference for days. That led some to ask, where is Mom? What led police to search her apartment?
What do you think about this tragedy? Give me a call.
Straight out to my amazing expert panel: Terry Lyles, crisis expert and psychologist; Mike Gaynor, retired NYPD detective and president of East Coast Detectives; Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and attorney; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels. Boy, do we need you tonight, Curtis. And Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some."
But first, on the phone, Dave Burnett, reporter with KIDO-AM 580 in Boise, Idaho.
Dave, I hate to even ask: what is the very latest?
DAVE BURNETT, REPORTER, KIDO-AM (via phone): Well, as you know, the press conference is held by Boise Police Department stating that tentatively, they have identified it as Robert Manwill. The coroner won`t give a positive identification, a final one, until the dental records come through.
But I think we all knew yesterday about 1:30 here Mountain Time when reports came in of the fact that a body had been found in the canal, everyone knew. There was no other young males reported missing anywhere in the northwest. So I think everybody had that sinking feeling, knowing that it was the body of Robert.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Dave, watching the news conference, the law enforcement authority there made a statement. I believe it was the deputy chief. And then as he was walking out, everybody asked, "Are you making an arrest? Is this a homicide?" And he did not answer those questions, correct?
BURNETT: That has been the policy of the police all week long. Initially when this broke out a week ago last Friday, there was a question and answer period, but when we got through the weekend, after that point, it became a briefing. It did not become question and answer. No questions have been answered even as we`ve e-mailed or texted questions into P.D. They have been very tight-lipped on this case since a week ago last Saturday.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Wendy Murphy, before we get to the whole who, what, when, where, why, how, which we`ve got so much of tonight, including Google maps and sound bites. I just have to express my revulsion at, again, we are covering this. It seems like we lurch from one of these horrible stories to the next. Innocent, precious, young children like this boy. Look at his face. Look at that face of innocence. And they go missing, and they turn up dead.
And there is something wrong with this country that we are covering this so often. And we have to start looking at some underlying issues and not just covering the particulars of any one case, but saying what can we do to protect our children, Wendy?
WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": Yes. Boy, I couldn`t agree more. And they`re often ending up in ponds and lakes and rivers. I mean, could you treat a child with more disrespect than to dump the body in a pond?
I am so sickened by this. How many times have I said on your program, yet another case of yet another child dead from some horrifying circumstance. We still don`t even know the details of how this child died, but I`ll tell you this, Jane. You want to talk about what we`re doing wrong.
I`ll say this. Children don`t vote, and they don`t have any money, which is why they`re not respected enough in the way that we enforce our laws. People hurt children because they can get away with it, because we never punish them nearly enough. I know you`re going to disagree with that, and you`re going to talk about drug abuse and all this other stuff, and that`s fine. But you`ve got to get them at the other end, too. You`ve got to send a message that you hurt a kid, you`re gone. Your liberty is gone.
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST/ATTORNEY: Absolutely. Jane, can I...
MURPHY: That`s something we don`t do in this country.
RUSSELL: Can I follow up on that in a little different way? If we have billions of dollars to spend buying people`s clunkers, if we have cash for clunkers, then we have cash for kids` lives. It is inexcusable that child protective services across this country is as underfunded and understaffed as it is. And this is one of the more horrendous failures of child protective services than you and I, I think, have ever covered.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And that is because -- and I`m not saying the mom is a suspect by any way, shape, or form, but Curtis Sliwa, the fact is that this boy`s mother did not have custody. The boy was visiting for the summer, because the mom has a troubled history. And she has a history of having fractured the skull of the boy who`s now turned up tentatively as dead`s younger half-brother.
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Right. And it`s not just her. It`s the guy she has as a boyfriend in her house...
SLIWA: ... who can`t even go to the half sister, because there`s a court order against him coming anywhere near her. And you`re beginning to say, "Cuckoo, cuckoo, dysfunction." It`s a house of -- of ill means towards children.
Can you imagine that father, who had to send the child there, because the mother is entitled to her fair share of custody, what he must be thinking?
And then, Jane, as part of this investigation, they questioned 140 registered sex offenders within a two-mile residence. This is Boise, Idaho. This is like "Leave it to Beaver" land, "Father Knows Best," "Little House on the Prairie." A hundred and forty registered sex offenders within two miles of this young boy`s house.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, it`s an x-rated "Little House on the Prairie." That`s for sure.
And I think -- I agree with everything. Yes, Wendy, we`ve got to punish, but we`ve also got to learn and prevent. And I want to move onto the specifics, but I want to say that, if we don`t start educating people about peaceful conflict resolution, if we don`t start making people psychologically aware of their underlying problems so that they don`t resort to violence, if we don`t start teaching some of these fundamentals that you get in therapy and you get in 12-step and you get in counseling, if we don`t start teaching Americans this in school, we`re just going to be doing this until the end of time. Because the way you prevent this is...
MURPHY: I don`t agree with you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... is making people aware of why they`re violent so that they can get a handle on it. Otherwise they`re flying blind.
MURPHY: I don`t agree.
TERRY LYLES, CRISIS EXPERT/PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, listen, I agree with you totally.
MURPHY: You can`t teach -- you cannot teach a cruel parent not to hurt the child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait. Who agrees with me? I want to hear who agrees with me.
LYLES: I agree with you, Jane. I agree. But I`ll tell you, teaching goes with responsibility. You know, and I think that`s why I agree with you. No, you cannot make everyone conform to education, but what you can do is if they don`t conform, you can put restraints around them. You can put, you know, issues around them to protect them from these children. That`s where, as mentioned earlier, child protective services, underfunded. This is going amuck.
And we`re looking around going, how could this happen again? We`ll talk about this every week until something substantially changes.
RUSSELL: Education helps people who want to do the right thing and don`t know how.
RUSSELL: We have a lot of people out there who are in that boat, but we`ve got a lot of people -- and Jane, you and I cover them all the time -- who -- they know what`s the right -- they know you`re not supposed to crush your kid`s skull, but they`re putting their own needs ahead of their children. They`re living with dangerous people.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, they don`t. They`re flying blind. They`re just one big react -- ball of reaction. Because they`re not self-aware. What therapy does is make you aware, "Oh, I`m having this impulse because. Let me work on..."
MURPHY: Oh, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "... the underlying why and get..."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "... and get healthy so I don`t have to lash out."
RUSSELL: Coupled with consequences, I buy it.
RUSSELL: I think you can do things on the front end and the back end, but we`ve got to start charging not just the people who hurt the kids, but people who live with others who have hurt the kids in the past.
MIKE GAYNOR, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: This problem here is all of this that we`re all talking about today is after the horse is out of the barn. All of these cases that we come across -- and we don`t know what the disposition of this particular case is going to be yet. But all these cases we come across with these children, it`s because the children are vulnerable, and most times the parents or the people, the guardians, are ignorant of facts.
So education would be great, but it`s usually after the horse is out of the barn.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why you`ve got to start educating people young, the next generation of parents to stop this.
LYLES: That`s why it`s got to start now.
GAYNOR: They ought to have a parenting license.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because I personally am so sick of covering these tragedies day in and day out.
RUSSELL: Me, too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s giving all us of nightmares. It`s -- it`s awful. And we have to state that as opposed to just saying, who, what, when, where, why, how? We have to state that we don`t want to accept this anymore.
More on this truly horrific tragedy in a moment. We are going to get into the details of the forensics. Who did this to this poor little child, this innocent child? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Sound off.
Then a custody shocker in the battle for Michael Jackson`s kids. I`ll tell you why his infamous dad is banished from the Jackson compound.
But first, cops believe the body found in an Idaho canal is that of missing 8-year-old Robert Manwill. The family`s worst nightmare come true. Here is the deputy police chief, rehashing this gut-wrenching case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERNS: All of us, including investigators on this case, have said to ourselves, "What if Robert were my child?" Our hearts go out to Robert`s family tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERNS: Finding Robert will not be the end, but just the beginning of an entirely new investigation. Our priority remains finding answers for Robert`s family and this community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The young boy`s body was found floating down an irrigation canal, 15 miles from his mother`s apartment where he disappeared. That young man now tentatively identified as the beautiful boy you`ve been looking at on the scene there, 8-year-old Robert Manwill, missing 11 days.
Now, that same canal winds its way to less than half a mile from Robert`s mother`s apartment where he disappeared. He was last seen there about 11 days ago. The body`s location, two miles from a home whose backyard was searched by cops over the weekend. The big question: how did the boy`s body end up in that spot? Was it dumped there? Did it float there? Bodies have been known to float for weeks and travel as much as 14 miles along that very canal.
Mike Gaynor, if that`s the case, wouldn`t that body have been spotted a lot sooner? Is it more likely it was dumped there, waited down, and then floated to the surface?
GAYNOR: You never know. It really depends on what else is in the water and how it`s going to affect the buoyancy. It could pull it down for a while. It could come up later when a body floats up with gases. It`s sometimes difficult to know and not unusual to find a body ten or 12 days later.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jennifer in Washington, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Yes. I guess you kind of answered partial -- part of it. But I was curious if they had checked in and around that canal by the apartment in the days that he went missing and the days after. Because, if he had gone in the canal on the 24th, would it have taken his body that long to surface?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dave Burnett?
BURNETT: Well, I guess the question is this. Yes, to answer the first question, it was searched daily from the time that he was reported missing. Everybody knew that canal was there. Tragically, sometimes children do drown in canals out in this part of the country, where they irrigate crops and fields in the area deep down.
The water is swift. The banks are difficult to get out of. Those kind of -- those kind of things do happen. And as you see on the video, they`re wide. The water does move fast.
My question was there were lots of gates along these canals. Now, as I understand it, between where the apartment is and where the body was found, there is one what they call a body gate. If there is a drowning, the irrigation -- the ditch rider can lower what they call a body gate, which is just a screen that goes over the canal to stop anything from going down.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what you`re saying basically is that it would have hit that gate, had it been floating down from the mother`s apartment?
BURNETT: If the gate was shut. Now, I don`t know -- and so far the police have not released the information as to whether they requested the gate shut or not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The body was found about two miles from a home that was searched over the weekend. A man who lives at that home had a truck that cops checked out. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN WALLIS, HOME WAS SEARCHED: Pretty devastated that my truck is being, you know, considered part of this. Whatever helps. I mean, I have complete cooperation with them, because it`s a little boy that needs to be found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, this man says cops searched his home after bloodhounds picked up a scent on his Chevy Suburban. The man says his truck was stolen two days before Robert vanished, and it later turned up again. He says he notified the sheriff`s office.
Authorities dug up this man`s backyard. They`re not saying what, if anything, they found.
This man, coincidence, knows Robert`s mom and her boyfriend but says he has absolutely no idea what happened to Robert. So we asked Boise police, "Hey, did you get a missing vehicle report?" They did not get back to us. What do you make of it?
MURPHY: Well, it could be that the truck was stolen and he really is innocent, and the reason it was stolen from him is because they knew each other. It could be that.
Look, the point is not, you know, how fast were the currents going and so forth. Cops were digging up ground and hunting in, you know, water because they knew there was something very bad that had happened. They found evidence in the mother`s apartment that made them say something tragic happened. The child may be hurt. I don`t know what that means to you, but to me it seems like they must have found some blood or guts or something.
SLIWA: Me, too.
MURPHY: And I hate to be so crude about it, but there`s a reason they`re digging up dirt and looking in water. So it doesn`t really matter if they can put together a timeline or necessarily directly connect the truck. Because what they`re really doing is focusing on the fact that they found something very significant in her home.
And by the way, she cracked the skull of her own child less than a year ago.
RUSSELL: And the crocodile tears.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis Sliwa...
MURPHY: Please. I mean, you know what she got? A $74 fine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the police in the news conference today said don`t jump to conclusions. Were they referring to all the talk about Mom?
SLIWA: Of course. And it`s not just Mom; it`s her boy-toy friend who can`t even go near the half daughter. You have two people in the house who are not even permitted to go near two of the children who are in that house.
And then this boy is ordered by a court because of a custody hearing to be able to stay with his mom in the summer. There`s something wrong here. I mean, why was that boy allowed to go with a mother who can`t even go near her half-son who has a boyfriend who can`t go near the half- daughter?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, guess what, Terry Lyles? We`re getting back to our original point...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that what`s happening in our country, is that these agencies that monitor these children, these crucial agencies, every time we cover a story like this, child services always seems to be missing in action.
LYLES: Well, you think -- you talk about being overwhelmed and overtaxed and stressed. I mean, they`ve got to be under a lot of pressure. I don`t want to indict them alone. But you know, this -- this is a huge problem. And it`s getting worse and worse. And until that system is corrected to help monitor what parents can`t do on their own, unfortunately, this is going to continue, and that`s a tragedy.
RUSSELL: Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is. Well, we are going to stay on top of this story, obviously. Thank you, my outstanding panel.
A new lead in the search for a beautiful young missing woman. And we`re going to talk to her devastated mother next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brand new clues about the night Tracy Ocasio vanished into thin air. The 27-year-old Orlando woman disappeared the night of May 27. Now police may have the tip they need. A man spotted Tracy`s car that night about five miles from where it eventually was abandoned. That tip has helped police refocus their search.
While nobody has been charged in Tracy`s disappearance, a lot of suspicion has fallen on that guy right there, 28-year-old James Hataway. He is the last person believed to have seen her alive. Hataway claims Tracy gave him a ride home from a sports bar and that was it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HATAWAY, LAST MAN SEEN WITH TRACY OCASIO: I`m innocent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened the last night with her?
HATAWAY: She left. I hung out with my father.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you guys do that night?
HATAWAY: We just hung out. She gave me a ride home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hataway has a long criminal history. He`s currently charged with assault. His alleged victim, a woman who gave Hataway a ride home from a bar.
Now to our very special guest, Liz Ocasio, Tracy`s mother.
Liz, thanks for joining us. I know how tough this has to be for you. Has this latest tip given you any hope that you will finally find out what happened to your daughter? And, if so, why are you hopeful with this tip?
LIZ OCASIO, TRACY`S MOTHER: I`m hoping that they can find her so that we can at least have -- have her back. You know? Even if she`s not still with us, at least we can have her. Hopefully -- hopefully tomorrow the search will turn up something.
We do want to say, though, that because we`ve gotten this tip, even if this doesn`t pan out, anybody who has seen anything, please, you know, come forward and tell us, even if you don`t think it was important. Any little tip could help.
This man waited so long, because he didn`t think it was the right kind of a tip to give. He didn`t think that it would mean anything. But it could mean everything to us.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are twin tragedies here. Another Orlando woman, 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse, disappeared near the very same sports bar in 2006. Here is Kesse`s dad talking about the eerie parallels between these two cases.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW KESSE, JENNIFER KESSE`S FATHER: When you start looking at some of the similarities, obviously it is a path that should be looked at. It`s just incredible. In fact, Jennifer lived just a property over from the Tap Room. I`ve been in the Tap Room myself, handing flyers out, and I don`t think Jennifer was a regular at the Tap Room. It`s just a neighborhood place where she was, though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Jennifer Kesse`s parents are going to join us tomorrow night on ISSUES to discuss their daughter`s case. Liz, I`m very pleased to say that you are going to be returning, as well.
You`ve been in touch with the Kesse family. How have these two cases overlapped? Because I understand that they wanted to search in the very area which you`re now searching or going to search as a result of this new tip.
OCASIO: Yes. Meeting the Kesses was really nice. We finally got to meet people that Joe has been e-mailing. And a lot of the similarities -- there`s a lot of similarities in the case. And there`s a lot of overlap in the two areas. So we were hoping that one, if not both, of the girls would be found last weekend.
Hopefully, that group can come back and help us search again some of the other areas up towards Racouie (ph) and Acosta (ph), and maybe we`ll get lucky and they will be able to find both girls.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And your daughter was last seen at the Tap Room, which is the very location where Jennifer Kesse`s dad is referring to her being near there. Is that a yes or no?
OCASIO: Yes. It`s just a nice little sports bar where you go. Tracy watched the Magic games there and cheered them on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Liz, thank you. I will see you tomorrow night.
Up next, Joe Jackson banned from the family compound?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: A stunning ruling in the Michael Jackson custody battle: sources now reporting that a judge has barred Joe Jackson from living at the family`s L.A. compound. Is this because of his controversial behavior after his famous son`s death?
Plus, cops say Michael Douglas` son was busted allegedly with more than half a pound of meth. He`s certainly not the first celebrity child to have problems with the law. Tonight, we`ll take a look at kids living under the shadow of their famous parents. Do they get a free pass?
Tonight: a stunning revelation about the Jackson kids` custody deal that stands to divide the Jackson family forever. And more unanswered questions in the manslaughter death; was there a secret stipulation that Michael`s reportedly abusive father, Joe Jackson`s was to be barred from raising Michael`s three children -- Paris, Prince and Blanket?
Now according to published reports, Debbie Rowe promised not to make a bid for custody as long as Joe Jackson stays out of the picture. Katherine Jackson`s attorney shed some light on Joe`s limited role last night on "Larry King."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will not have a role raising the children. He doesn`t live in Hayvenhurst.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Jackson signed a consent, consenting to his wife being guardian.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Oh, he did sign that. That was presented in the court.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did sign a consent that was presented there today. He also signed a declaration explaining that he lives most of the time in Las Vegas and will visit with his grandchildren occasionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll investigate why this detail came to light seemingly on the down low. We didn`t hear about it yesterday. But if there`s any doubt about whether Joe Jackson used physical force to discipline his son, he appeared to admit it in an interview with the BBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael`s on record saying that you beat him with switches and belts.
JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: I never beat him. I hit him with a switch and a belt. I never beat him. You beat somebody with a stick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, what about Michael Jackson`s dermatologist/friend, Dr. Arnie Klein and his surprise -- actually shocking, stunning bid to be involved in the lives of Michael`s two oldest children. He didn`t mention Blanket.
We`ll analyze that in a second. Dr. Klein`s own words are providing tell- tale clues about his possible motivation -- custody, chaos, and so much more.
Straight out to my awesome panel of experts and Jackson family friends: Brian Oxman, former Jackson family attorney; Sharon Liko, family law and criminal defense attorney; Stacy Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Firpo Carr, former Jackson spokesperson and Jackson family friend; and Jim Moret, attorney and chief correspondent for "Inside Edition."
Jim, you were in court for part of the day yesterday. Now, today we suddenly hear this stunning revelation about Joe Jackson. How do we connect the dots? And do they connect back to Debbie Rowe?
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": It`s possible, but I -- you really have to be careful in putting any stipulation on what happened.
Joe Jackson and Katherine Jackson are married. They`ve been married for a long time. They`ve also lived separately for a long time. Joe Jackson signed a consent decree -- consent order basically admitting that he allows Katherine -- he supports Katherine in being the sole guardian of these children. By the way, Paris and Prince also signed a consent saying that they wanted their grandmother to be their guardian.
However, there was no limitation; there was no barring of Joe from seeing his grandchildren. He simply acknowledged that Katherine will be the one to make all of the decisions. She will be the one to raise them.
I know that Debbie Rowe stated publicly to a reporter a couple of weeks ago, that was her only real concern and if this is enough to satisfy both parties, then good for the kids.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And why? Well, in 1993, Michael Jackson told Oprah that his father, Joe, beat him. We just heard Joe admit to whipping Michael. And then there`s this notoriously bizarre behavior on the red carpet at the BET Awards just three days after Michael Jackson`s sudden death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: I want to make this statement. This is a real good statement here. (INAUDIBLE) and I -- we own a record company -- Marantz Records. It`s treated by Blu Ray technology. That`s his next step.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Oxman, do you think this whole "Joe Jackson stay away" issue would have come up had he not done that? Does it pre-date that? Does it pre-date to Debbie Rowe`s concern about Joe Jackson? But he didn`t do himself any favors with that.
BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think it`s all overblown, Jane. I think that what you have is Debbie Rowe has been very concerned about how the kids get raised and how she`s going to be introduced to them. She wants Katherine Jackson.
And to read anything further into this is a mistake. I don`t think that there`s animosity there with Joe Jackson. I don`t think that Debbie Rowe has ever felt that. So I think we`re reading a little bit too much into this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, in other words, Firpo Carr, we shouldn`t say that Joe Jackson is banned from Hayvenhurst, the Encino home. He has said, "I`ve had a close family relationship with these grandchildren since their birth. I do visit the family residence from time to time and will continue to do so. However, I will not be involved in raising the children," end quote.
Why issue that statement unless he was pressured to do so by somebody who said, hey, "That`s the terms of the deal if we want to make a deal to have custody."
FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: As Katherine Jackson`s attorneys said, Joe Jackson voluntarily signed a consent decree, if you will. All he did was endorse what he`s already doing. He lives most of the time in Las Vegas and he visits Encino occasionally. That`s what he will continue to do.
As Brian mentioned, there is no big deal here. Nothing has changed. He will continue doing what he has always done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I got to get Sharon Liko`s insight into this because you always have the controversial spin, Sharon.
Do you buy it? Do you buy that this was just, "Oh, we`re going to all make nice and I`m going to say this. It doesn`t really matter because I`m already doing that. I already live in Las Vegas and it`s no big whoop." Or is it something that Debbie Rowe said, "I need to have," in order to walk away?
SHARON LIKO, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I think that Joe Jackson`s behavior is a concern for Debbie Rowe. It`s a concern for Mr. Jackson`s wife. And it may be a concern for other people.
I mean, Jackson`s a loose canon. And who knows what he`s going to say, when, and where. I think the concern is that his presence may be emotionally abusive to the kids because he`s going to say something outlandish about their father or mother and they`re going to be mortified.
They`ve got to live with that on TV. So he`s not...
CARR: Well, if you`re going to go by that...
LIKO: Well he`s not -- hold on, tiger. Hang on there. Take some time- out.
CARR: Ok. Yes, ma`am. Go ahead.
OXMAN: I`ve heard Firpo referred to a lot of things, but tiger really takes it.
LIKO: You like that?
CARR: Hey, I like that. Go ahead.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to say this. Speaking of inappropriate humor, it was only a matter of time before gallows humor surfaced in this case; a very snarky comment coming from none other than Joan Rivers.
Joan was recently was roasted by fellow showbiz types, so when TMZ caught up with her they asked her who she would like to roast. You`ve got to hear this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN RIVERS, COMEDIAN: I`d like to roast Brooke Shields, who was Michael Jackson`s dearest friend. Hadn`t seen him since 1993.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think that was like really an honest statement from the heart.
RIVER: Oh, darling. It`s called face time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brooke Shields seen here in AEG`s footage of Michael Jackson`s memorial spoke warmly and humorously of her relationship with Jackson over the years -- you see her there crying.
Joan Rivers claims Brooke hadn`t seen Michael since 1993, but as TMZ points out Joan hadn`t seen him since 1991.
Jim Moret, is it too soon to be joking about this? Or does the behavior, let`s say, of Joe Jackson promoting his record company three days after his son died open the door for this kind of nonsense?
MORET: I think Joe Jackson`s statements and Joan Rivers` are totally separate. I think that attacking Brooke Shields was so inappropriate.
Brooke Shields wasn`t saying she saw Michael Jackson every day. She was trying to point out to people why she and Michael Jackson were friends. They were both kids in the limelight, under the microscope. They understood each other. They didn`t have to pretend around each other.
I thought what she said was so heart-felt and humanized Michael Jackson in a way that we hadn`t heard before. Frankly, it gave a great sense of empathy to both of them.
Look, you`re going to have gallows humor no matter what, but Joe Jackson`s comments were strange after his son`s death to promote his record label. But I think Joan Rivers stepped a bit over the line.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Stacey Honowitz, let`s talk about this bizarre development of lawyers for Dr. Arnie Klein jumping up in court and saying they want a role -- he wants a role even though his not acknowledging being the father -- in the raising of the two older kids. A -- he didn`t mention blanket.
Do you find that odd? What do you make of this bizarre maneuver that was shot down by the judge?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: I think I make of it what everybody makes of it. That obviously there`s more of an involvement than he wants to admit to.
First of all, the judge said he had absolutely no standing. There hasn`t been a paternity test. He`s not alleging that he`s the father. He`s saying, "I was instrumental. I know what the kids are all about. I want to be instrumental in their lives."
Certainly no judge in the world is just going to let this person come in. If he wants to be present in their lives, if he has more of an involvement with those kids, then he has to be willing to maybe take a paternity test to determine if he is the biological father. And then they do it in front of a family court judge to determine what kind of role he would have to play.
But at this juncture, he has no standing to do anything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, thank you, fantastic panel for weighing in.
Of course, it`s not just Michael Jackson. Millions of people across America are grappling with addiction and guess what, I`m one of them. In my new book, "I Want" I reveal details of my own personal battle with alcoholism and how I finally got sober more than 14 years ago.
It`s a recovery memoir due out this fall. You can pre-order your copy right now. Just click on cnn.com/jane and look for the pre-order section.
This book is also about how everything -- and I mean every single thing -- changed in my life after I got sober including my relationships and oh, boy, a whole bunch of new addictions like sugar popped up. I`m going to tell you how I kicked that one.
There`s more than a few shockers in this book and it could help you with your issues or with somebody you love.
Speaking of addictive substances, cops say the son of Michael Douglas was busted in half a pound of meth. He is not the first celebrity child to be busted with drugs and I doubt he`ll be the last. Will these kids ever learn their lesson? Or are they getting a free pass.
And no homecoming party for Michael Vick. Instead of partying up, Vick meeting with the Humane Society and talking to high school kids. Is this the start of a new image? Give me a holler; 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Douglas`s son busted in a meth sting? He is not the first Hollywood offspring to get into big trouble. Will he be the last? We`re going to talk about it in just a second.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: A homecoming party for Michael Vick is being postponed so the disgraced NFL star can attend an event organized by the Humane Society of the United States. That is the very group Vick is going to be working with to urge intercity kids not to make his terrible mistake and steer them away from dog-fighting.
The Michael Vick community celebration was slated for Saturday in Newport News, Virginia, Vick`s hometown. The Southern Christian Leadership Council, the event`s sponsor, says the homecoming party is still a go, date not yet decided.
Now yesterday, Vick made a surprise visit to a Virginia high school. He showed up to the team`s football practice. The "Virginia Pilot" reports Vick never once mentioned spending time in jail.
Hey, Michael, was this a wasted opportunity to spread the message about the hazards of the cruel so-called sport of dog-fighting? If you`re going to crusade against dog-fighting, what are you waiting for? You were with a bunch of kids. That was a perfect opportunity.
Vick was reinstated by the NFL last month under certain conditions which means he is eligible to play before the year is over. That`s if a team picks him up. We shall see.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Turning now to another celebrity in trouble: Cameron Douglas, the 30-year- old son of Oscar winner Michael Douglas, arrested for alleged possession of methamphetamines with intent to distribute. The "New York Post" reporting the heir to the legendary Douglas acting family is under investigation for being the alleged middleman in a deal to move a half pound of meth from California to New York.
FYI: this isn`t the first time this young man has been in trouble. In 1999, when Cameron was just 20 years old, he was arrested for alleged cocaine possession. The charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. In 2007, Cameron was in trouble again, charged with felony possession of a controlled substance.
Reports say the troubled young man has been in and out of rehab as he tried to launch a movie career, but were problems rearing their head earlier this year? "Star" magazine reports Cameron was evicted from his Malibu home in February when he failed to pay rent, despite having access reportedly to a multimillion-dollar trust fund.
Now, Cameron could face a minimum of five years in prison. Is he just another example of a celebrity kid like for example, Nicole Richie getting in trouble and then getting a slap on the wrist?
We`re going to dive into all the details. Straight out to my outstanding expert panel: Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor and Kim Serafin, senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."
Kim, you have been tracking Cameron Douglas` arrest. What is the very latest?
KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Well, you pretty much summed it up. I mean, we know what he did. We know that he was caught allegedly in the middle of this bust. He was going to be the middleman in transporting these drugs from California to New York. And apparently he was arrested at the Gansevoort Hotel in a hotel room paid for by his father, apparently.
So this really does go back to a lot of these children of celebrities influenced by their parents, their parents who are hugely successful. And of course, in the case with him, you have not only his father being enormously successful, but his grandfather an acting legend.
So of course the pressure is on a lot of these children to live up to the expectations of their parents.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, the Gansevoort Hotel, the ultra center of cool here in Manhattan. It`s where the cool party people, the sophisticated hipsters go; so no surprise that he would be holed up there.
Stacey Honowitz, this is not some joke. This is not some misdemeanor for pot possession. CNN cannot confirm this, but the "New York Post" is reporting this went down during a drug bust by the DEA Task Force. And the "Post" says law enforcement sources tell them an informant claimed to investigators Douglas was the middleman in a deal to make a move -- to move half a pound or $18,000 worth of crystal meth.
So what -- what kind of trouble is this guy in?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: This is really serious stuff, Jane. You`re right. It`s not just a misdemeanor possession. I mean, if the DEA is involved, you`re talking about maybe federal trafficking, maybe distributing. Federal offenses that carry very stiff penalties, a minimum of five years in prison. You know, up to a million dollars in fines.
And now that -- what the sources are saying is there was an informant involved. And I don`t think just because he`s the son of a celebrity that he`s going to be treated any differently. You know, you see these crystal meth labs all over.
HONOWITZ: These arrests have tripled in the last...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, except -- except -- let me say this. Children of celebrities are, of course, notorious we all know that for getting in trouble.
Cameron Douglas` first arrest back in 1999, then in 2007 Cameron was arrested for alleged felony possession. His lawyers later argued the cops were in the wrong.
Ryan O`Neal and Farrah Fawcett`s son, Redmond, famously arrested earlier this year after two run-ins with the law and drug charges.
Nicole Richie, daughter of Lionel Richie, arrested twice and convicted twice for DUI. She only spent 82 minutes of her four-day sentence in jail back in 2007 after driving the wrong way down a freeway. Although I have to say Nicole Richie appears to have turned her life around, so hallelujah for her.
Dr. Reef Karim, what is it about living in the shadow of a super famous person that makes you more likely, possibly to succumb to drugs?
DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, I mean, first off, Jane, the Gansevoort is a cool hotel but methamphetamine distribution is not cool. You know what we`re talking about here is...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh yes, I agree.
KARIM: You know, this is a big deal, it`s intent to distribute, really, if you look at the amount that is being involved here of meth.
A lot of kids when they have celebrity parents -- first off, when you`re a celebrity, you do not have a normal life, a normal existence, compared to the average person.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who has a normal existence? It was like who has happy childhood?
KARIM: Yes, Jane but come on...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come on.
KARIM: Here`s the thing. If you have no privacy at all in your life and you`re a kid who`s living up to major expectations from you`re parents....
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, finish that sentence in a second. More on celebrity dysfunction in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: No one does, do they?
NICOLE RICHIE, DAUGHTER OF LIONEL RICHIE: No, no, but I really don`t think about it anymore. I mean, everyone has made mistakes, like I said. And it`s really all about moving forward and learning from your mistakes. And that`s really where I`m at in my own head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole Richie told Larry King about moving forward from drug use. She went to rehab in 2003, relapsed with a DUI conviction in 2007. But now she seems to have turned her life around.
Dr. Karim, celebrity children seem to constantly have problems with drug addiction. Is there anything about that particular type of upbringing that leads to addiction?
KARIM: Yes, I mean, just upbringing in general for kids requires structure. You`re testing things. You want to know what you can get away with and what you can.
In childhood development, there`s an area of our brain that deals with motivation. Motivational circuitry and impulses and that part of the brain is jacked-up in your adolescence. But the part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex which is your brakes in your brain takes a much longer time to develop.
So if your gas is on and you`ve got no brake, you need to be structured. You need to have parents that are around to help you understand what`s right and what`s wrong and not go...
HONOWITZ: That`s right...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead...
HONOWITZ: That`s why I feel that it doesn`t matter -- you know no, if you`re a celebrity`s kid or not I mean. You can walk into any courthouse in this country, you`re going to see tons and tons of defendants on crystal meth whose parents aren`t celebrities.
Now, we seem to see these celebrities...
KARIM: Well, here is the thing...
HONOWITZ: ... because that`s what`s in the news.
KARIM: Well, here is the thing...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, let me just say this...
KARIM: Here is the thing. It`s about access. If these kids have full-on access to get whatever drugs they want when they`re partying, whether their parents are celebrities or not but if there`s more of a chance of getting that, not having parental structure overseeing them and having access to whatever the hell they want, there`s a much higher likelihood they`re going to get in trouble.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me get to another issue...
SERAFIN: Except let me -- can I jump in here?
SERAFIN: I just want to say for every one of these celebrities that we`re mentioning there are also celebrities like Bryce Dallas Howard and Kate Hudson and Gwyneth Paltrow and all of these other celebrities that "In Touch" covers that you guys cover that don`t have any problems so...
KARIM: Who may...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, I`m not here to beat up on celebrities. I`m here to talk about, is there a double standard? According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2005, 20 percent of inmates were incarcerated on drug charges.
We got more people in prison in this country than any other country in the entire world. They`re in there doing hard time for these convictions. And a lot of them -- the celebrity kids get off with a slap on the wrist.
The real issue here is, is there a double standard Stacey Honowitz? And do we have to end it by perhaps legalizing drug use, putting a tax on it, so that people don`t commit crimes to supply their habit because the price of drugs goes up because of the black market?
You know, marijuana would cost the same as a pack of cigarettes if it was just legal.
HONOWITZ: I don`t think there`s a double standard. I mean, I see it every single day. And I don`t think there`s a double standard. I think what we talk about on the air when we see these celebrity kids is they go in, they go out.
But you know what, Jane, then we talk about like what you just said, should we keep them in jail if they`re addicted? What should we do? So we don`t know...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what about the poor kids, though? What about the poor kids, Dr. Reef. I mean, they don`t have the high-priced lawyers who can argue every nuance of the case and get them probation.
KARIM: Yes, first off, there is a double standard. I deal with this every single day. There is absolutely a double standard, because of just raw finances and being able to hire attorneys; being able to hire the right people and knowing the right people; stigma. There are absolutely is a double standard.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And guess what? We`ve got to end it there. Come back. I love this debate.
You know, remember to click on CNN.com/Jane and pre-order your copy of my new book "I Want." It`s about addiction.
You`re watching ISSUES.