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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Family Torn Over Drunk Driving Accident; Autopsy Reveals Drugs Contributed to Pitchman`s Death; Friend of Farrah Fawcett Pens Memoir; Killer Ratings?; Buttafuoco`s Beef; Heroin Bust at Home
Aired August 12, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a family torn apart by alcohol and denial. One man lost his three beautiful young daughters when his sister sped wrong way on a New York highway, while drunk and high on marijuana. Now this devastated dad is speaking out, and he`s not just blaming his dead sister. According to the "New York Post," the family is furious at the dead driver`s husband, who refuses to accept that his wife was drinking before this horrific crash.
And did drugs kill Billy Mays? The family of the famous TV pitch man upset drugs were even mentioned in his autopsy. But now a world-famous medical examiner says the coroner didn`t go far enough. He thinks drug use was directly responsible for his death.
And don`t call Joey Buttafuoco a sociopath, or you could end up with a lawsuit. Buttafuoco is suing his ex-wife because of a new book she`s written. Unbelievable. First Buttafuoco cheats on his wife. Then his mistress shoots his wife in the face, but he`s the one playing the victim.
Plus another pathetic twist in the sad saga of a Hollywood prince gone bad. Michael Douglas`s son is already under house arrest for meth charges. Now his girlfriend was allegedly busted trying to sneak him heroin? Could we conclude "nothing says I love you more than being a drug mule for your boyfriend"?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a family torn apart by alcohol and death. The family of the three little girls killed in that horrific, wrong-way accident caused by their drunk-driving aunt, Diane Schuler, is reportedly cutting off all ties with Diane`s husband, Daniel.
Diane`s distraught brother, William Hance, who entrusted his sister with his precious children, is reportedly enraged in the aftermath of the crash, which also killed Diane, her 2-year-old daughter, and three men in an SUV.
William Hance found out that Diane had consumed the equivalent of ten alcoholic drinks and smoked pot that morning. But that`s not the only thing he`s upset about. Listen to what his brother-in-law had the nerve to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL SCHULER, HUSBAND OF DIANE: I go to bed every night knowing, my heart is clear, she did not drink. She is not an alcoholic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Truly unbelievable. The Hance family cutting off ties with Daniel and seeking solace in an unusual place, the Bastardi family. They lost their father and brother in the horrific crash when they were hurt head-on by Diane`s minivan. The Bastardis don`t believe a word Daniel Schuler says, either.
Listen to what they said on "The Today Show" on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t believe everything we hear, you know, from the Schuler family. You know, when he says about his heart is clear, my heart is broken at night, OK? I lost my father and my brother. My family is devastated by this.
But I feel like if he`s -- he`s in denial. Because somehow, somewhere along the line, you have to know somebody can drink like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Newsday" reports Daniel told cops that Diane Schuler drank socially and smoked pot on occasion. So is it possible that he did know she had a problem?
But what exactly happened that morning? Daniel says she was fine when she left the camp site. She was reportedly fine at a McDonald`s on the way home. So when did everything go terribly wrong? And will the lone survivor of the crash, Diane`s son, little 5-year-old Brian, who is now recovering from severe head injuries, be able to shed any light on that fateful morning?
We`re going to dissect it all. Straight to my stellar panel: Brenda Wade, criminal psychologist; Steve Kardian, criminal investigator and founder of Defend University; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; and Matthew Lysiak, reporter for "The Daily News."
Matthew, you`ve been all over this story from day one. What is the very latest?
MATTHEW LYSIAK, REPORTER, "THE DAILY NEWS": Thanks for having me, Jane. I just got off the phone with a close friend of the Schuler family, categorically denying reports that they`ve cut off ties with the Hances.
LYSIAK: Yes. I also spoke to the Bastardis` lawyer, who also is dispute be the quotes and the published reports, saying -- the quote he gave me was, "Absolutely false." Never said that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I understand that they had said that they will give any funds that come from a foundation set up -- and I`m talking about the Hance family -- to the Bastardis and that they also plan to meet with the Bastardis to console each other because they both lost loved ones in this horrific crash. What is your knowledge about those published reports?
LYSIAK: Completely true. The Hance family, I spoke to their attorney yesterday. Tremendous loss. A lot of grieving. And their hearts go out to the Bastardis. They`re another victim in this, and they wanted to show an expression of, you know, mutual grieving. They thought maybe they could get together at some point in the future. There hasn`t been a date scheduled yet, but they hope to get together and kind of console each other on what happened. Try to make sense out of this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Brenda Wade, there are a lot of published reports. This story is getting national attention. You have some conflicting stories here.
And certainly, we would like to invite the Hance family on to set the record straight. Obviously, they`re grieving, and they may want to maintain their privacy right now, which we understand. But if they feel like they want to discuss all these nuances, we`d love to have them on.
But we hear that they`re going to be going and visiting with the Bastardis, who lost loved ones when the minivan smashed into their SUV. So you have these two consoling each other...
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Exactly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But it would seem like the person on the outside who is not involved in that little conference is the husband of the driver.
WADE: It`s the husband. It`s the husband. And Jane, it makes sense. Because at the end of the day, we have several complicated dynamics. No. 1, the husband is guilty by association. His wife was the perpetrator who killed the young children of the Hance family, and the son and the father in the Bastardi family, as well as their passenger.
So when people are grieving, the very first thing most people feel, in addition to the shock, is a sense of rage, a sense of outrage. How could this happen? And we want to have somebody to blame.
Now, my heart goes out to all of them. Because look, here is a guy, he may be on the outside, but he lost his wife and his daughter. And his 5-year-old son is in the hospital. So everyone in this scenario is wounded.
But I have to say, I know denial when I hear it. And so do you. And he is deep in that river in Africa that is spelled N-I-L-E. He is in denial. There is no way he didn`t know his wife had a problem. You cannot live with someone who can hide that level of drinking and marijuana use effectively.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I would like to -- I would like to discuss that, because there are some closet drinkers that are extraordinarily clever, and we say guilty by association. He`s not really guilty of anything, except perhaps holding a news conference that got...
WADE: No, he`s not guilty -- but the other family sees him as guilty. The other family sees him that way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody, stay right there. I will have much more on this horrific wrong-way crash. Eight people dead, more fallout in 30 seconds.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are back discussing this horrific wrong-way crash. Conflicting reports tonight, some published reports claiming that there is a rift in the family because, essentially, Diane Schuler was driving her three nieces who perished, and the mother and father of those dead nieces, now meeting with the family that lost loved ones in the SUV that was hit.
This was a head-on collision. Diane Schuler was drunk and stoned, according to the toxicology reports, going the wrong way for almost two miles on the freeway.
And this is a cautionary tale. What we`re discussing here is did the husband know she had a problem? He says she didn`t have a problem. She was -- barely ever drunk, but there are reports, Stacey Honowitz, that he said something a little different to law enforcement when they first interviewed him. Published reports out of "Newsday" say that he first told law enforcement she drank socially and smoked pot on occasion. That`s not what he said at the news conference.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: No, I don`t know at what point he decided he should really step back and, you know, not make any kind of admissions.
But I think the difficulty in this -- I mean, beside the horrific nature of what happened was, people thinking to themselves, if he knew she had a problem, would he have then subjected his own child to her behavior? You know what I mean? Like, if he knew that she had this horrible drinking problem and she got into the car drunk, why would he have put his own children in the car with her?
So I think that`s what the analysis has to be. How much did he know? How did she go from being a social drinker to having the amount of alcohol that the blood alcohol level said it was? It`s just a horrific way to look at things all the way around. I don`t think you`re ever going to get a clear-cut answer on whether or not he knew she was a drinker.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk time line. Schuler insists his wife was sober that fateful morning, and that everything was a-OK when his wife piled into their car with their four children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULER: She was fine. We had a cup of coffee in the morning. We packed the cars up like we always do. We headed out. It was just like every other weekend or every weekend we go up there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Diane Schuler and her husband parted ways at about 9:30 that morning. She and the kids stopped at a McDonald`s about 15 miles from the campsite. They left there at about 10:30. Employees told cops she seemed fine.
At about 1, Schuler`s 8-year-old niece calls her dad and says Schuler is talking funny and having trouble seeing.
Thirty minutes later, approximately, Schuler`s car collides head-on with an SUV.
There`s a couple of weird things here, Steve Kardian. You`re the investigator. Shortly before she -- she abandons her cell phone, OK? Which led me to believe, and this is a crazy theory. I have no proof whatsoever. Could this have been a suicide?
STEVE KARDIAN, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Well, I don`t think it was a suicide, Jane. I think it was a depraved indifference to human life and murder second.
I think that she became so intoxicated that she was probably a habitual drinker. When you -- when you -- you mix marijuana with alcohol, you can increase the effect of that alcohol by five times.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you can! And the whole point is everybody is saying that he had to know; the husband had to know. And this is where I take issue with this, Darren Kavinoky.
I`m a recovering alcoholic with more than 14 years of sobriety. I tell that to our viewers all the time. I happen to be the kind that went out and drank and bars and restaurants. But I know, I`ve talked to alcoholics who drank in secret, and they would hide their bottles. This happens all of time. And they`d hide it even from the people closest to them.
WADE: Jane, it also means -- it means that somebody is ignoring symptoms, because everyone who is drinking, there are mood changes.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, not necessarily.
WADE: Or they`re too tired to get up in the morning. There are lots of symptoms that would...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember, he worked the night shift! He worked the night shift.
KAVINOKY: I`ve got issue with that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he wasn`t around at night, so he might not have seen her tippling.
KAVINOKY: But there are many, many people -- and in my professional practice, which is criminal defense, and I concentrate on cases involving alcohol and drugs, I see the aftermath of these criminal arrests with great regularity. And I can`t...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you saying?
KAVINOKY: A number of people come to me and say families that they say they had no idea. People are very effective at hiding.
LYSIAK: Jane -- Jane, can I just get one thing in here real quick?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very quickly.
LYSIAK: We`ve gone through at least 30 bars looking for anyone who can say they`ve seen this woman drinking. We haven`t found one person yet, and I just think we should stand back. There`s still a lot to come out on this story. It`s obviously a cautionary tale. But you can`t be quick to judge on this one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Matthew, good point. More on the wrong- way crash in just a moment. Does the driver`s husband deserve all this heat? Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-2977. Weigh in.
Then the autopsy of famous pitchman Billy Mays found cocaine in his system. His family`s disputing the findings. A seasoned medical examiner will stop by here on ISSUES to sort out the facts for us. He`s seen the toxicology reports.
But first, the wrong-way crash has sparked an intense family feud. But then, some say no, it hasn`t, that family feud is overblown. They`re not cutting this guy off. What`s the truth? Conflicting reports.
The husband of the driver`s vehemently denied his wife was drunk and high.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULER: I go to bed every night knowing, my heart is clear, she did not drink. She`s not an alcoholic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you trying to say that you do not believe the toxicology report that she was not drunk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That cannot be true.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re saying there is no way she could have been drunk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way.
SCHULER: No way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Tell me exactly what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know. I just woke up right now, and I went and looked at him to roll him over, and his lips are all purple.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you with him now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is he?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he awake?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, and he`s cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 911 call made by Billy Mays` wife the day he died. But now Mays` wife is speaking out, saying his autopsy results are speculative. She`s angry, because the coroner`s office said cocaine played a factor in his death, and they found traces of Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium, Xanax and booze.
Is this another case of blame the messenger, and is Mays` outspoken wife, much like Daniel Schuler who claims his wife`s booze and drug-filled toxicology reports are just plain wrong, just making it worse for themselves?
Back with my fantastic panel, but first straight to my esteemed forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht.
Dr. Wecht, you are famous. You have weighed in on everything from the Kennedy assassination to the death of the son of Anna Nicole Smith. You`ve read this autopsy report. You`re saying the cause of death wasn`t heart disease, but an acute combination of drug toxicity. Toxicity. Is that essentially saying, Doctor, that a drug cocktail killed him?
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, it is. He had six central nervous system depressant compounds, alcohol being one of them. And as you have just said, hydrocodone, OxyContin, Xanax, Valium and Tramadal, which is another narcotic.
So when you have six brain depressant drugs, they act cumulatively to depress the lungs and the heart. I believe that he was more susceptible because of his somewhat enlarged heart, and focal atherosclerosis, hardening of one major coronary artery. But he did not have the findings that you do encounter when you can contribute a death directly to cocaine. The enlargement...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I ask you this question about the cocaine, because there`s all this controversy?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he didn`t use cocaine the day he died. There was evidence that he had used cocaine in the days leading up to his death. What`s that all about, in layman`s terms?
WECHT: Well, just what they say. There was no evidence that he had taken cocaine shortly before his death, and hence, I think a further bit of corroboration of my point that cocaine really did not play a role in his death.
Cocaine is a stimulant. What caused his death was not the stimulant. It was the six depressant drugs. Cocaine can produce death in rare instances, usually from coronary artery vasospasm, and sometimes even from a stroke.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I -- can I jump in, Doctor, and ask you?
WECHT: Yes, please.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess the big controversy is, had he taken cocaine or not? What you saw in the tox report, does it show that yes, there was evidence that he took cocaine, whether or not it caused his death or contributed to his death?
WECHT: Yes. The principle metabolite of cocaine is present. Cocaine itself had broken down benzoylecgonine, which is the major metabolite, was present in Billy Mays. But that was indicative, as you`ve already said, that he had taken it may be sometime within the past 48 hours.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz, did the family make it worse by coming out and saying, "This original medical examiner`s report is awful"? Now we`ve got a report that`s more incriminating about drug use.
HONOWITZ: I don`t know if they made it worse, but I mean, you know, it sounds sinister. Nobody wants to believe that anybody in their family is involved and has all that medication in their system. They don`t want the public to know maybe what they secretly did know. But may I ask the doctor one question?
HONOWITZ: Doctor, I wanted to ask, if he was continually taking this medication, you know, like every day for the last month...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re running out of time, so make it quick.
HONOWITZ: ... is it a cumulative effect, or how did this happen? Was it a build-up or one day of taking the medicine?
WECHT: That`s a good question. No, there is no cumulative effect. These drugs are all metabolized and excreted by the kidneys and the urine after being broken down in the liver, usually. And they do not accumulate.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you do this, Doctor -- did you do this for fun, or were you hired? Just yes or no.
WECHT: No, I -- I haven`t been hired.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right. Thank you. I want to thank you, Dr. Wecht. Come back soon. I`m a big fan.
A jaw-dropping story -- and thank you to the rest of my panel. Cops in Brazil investigating a TV host who allegedly killed for ratings?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight," Farrah Fawcett`s excruciating battle with cancer and the close friend who stood by her until the very end.
Alana Stewart`s new book, "My Journey with Farrah," chronicles their decades-long friendship, from the glitter of Hollywood to the grueling days and nights in hospitals.
Stewart spent the last three years at Farrah`s side, struggling to help her survive. She has poured her most personal feelings about all of this into her book. I want to welcome my very special guest, Alana Stewart.
Thank you for joining us.
ALANA STEWART, AUTHOR, "MY JOURNEY WITH FARRAH": Thank you for having me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`m very, very happy to hear a portion of proceeds are going to the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. Good for you.
It`s been less than two months since lost Farrah. Does this help you process the lost: talking about it, the documentary, the diary, all of it? Does it help you cope?
STEWART: You know, I thought it would be very difficult to talk about Farrah so soon, because the timing wasn`t something that I had planned, obviously.
But when I read the first copy of the book, I was very happy that I had done it, because it brought her memory back so clearly, to my heart and to my mind. And I hope that it will do that for anyone who reads it.
You know, sometimes you go through an experience that`s so important, and as the years go on, the memory sort of gets dimmer and dimmer. And I didn`t ever want that to happen with this experience. It was too life- changing for me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You helped make the documentary also, "Farrah`s Story," that aired in May on NBC, and it includes some very gritty, poignant moments. Let`s listen to a clip of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FARRAH FAWCETT, ACTRESS: I was just thinking how much I would miss the rain sometimes. I wonder whether I would be able to experience it from heaven.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is difficult stuff, Alana, and I see that this is, of course, done in diary form. As it got more and more pronounced, the illness, were there things that you left out that you said, "This is her privacy. I cannot -- I cannot share that"?
STEWART: You know, as far as the documentary was concerned, Farrah was very much in command of her decisions, and there were sometimes she was the one that decided to let it be a documentary. Originally, it was just for her own personal use. And she`s the one that handed me the camera and said, "Here, will you film this meeting with the doctor, so I can remember it."
That`s how it started.
And once she decided to let it be a documentary, she made that decision so she could help other people and get her message out there. And that`s when she started her foundation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what is her message? What was her primary message that she wanted to send?
STEWART: Well, she wanted people to know that there were alternative methods of treatment. She wanted to talk more about her own particular kind of cancer, which was kind of a cancer that a lot of people were embarrassed to talk about. Anal cancer.
And she also wanted, most importantly, to tell people not to give up, and to keep fighting, no matter what. And that`s, I believe, what she did. I think she was such an inspiration.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did you learn? I remember watching a friend who passed away and her courage, and it always struck me. And it`s something I always think of any time I have a problem. What did you learn from this experience?
STEWART: I learned so many things, Jane. I learned that, because of Farrah`s strength and her bravery, I found that walking through this with her, I was able to find a deep inner strength inside me that I didn`t know I had. I mean, I used to faint at the sight of a hang nail, believe me. And this really changed my life.
And I also -- learned to enjoy every moment of your life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alana, thank you. We`re going to have you back soon. We`re out of time. I really, really love this book.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Don`t call Joey Buttafuoco a sociopath or you could end up with a lawsuit. Buttafuoco`s suing his ex-wife because of a new book she has written. Unbelievable. First Buttafuoco cheats on his wife and then his mistress shoots her in the face but he`s the one playing the victim.
Plus another pathetic twist in the sad saga of a Hollywood prince gone bad: Michael Douglas`s son already under house arrest for meth charges; now his girlfriend allegedly busted trying to sneak him heroin.
Tonight: a mind boggling true crime story that you will not believe. A TV crime show is a massive ratings hit because, say cops, the show`s host has been ordering hits; as in killing people. That`s right.
Brazilian police say the host of a TV crime show is under investigation for possibly ordering killings so that the show`s TV cameras could be the first on the scene, and thereby boost the show`s popularity and ratings. This puts a whole new spin on that old TV saying, killer ratings.
The top cop investigating this case pulls no punches in slamming TV host Walter Souza (ph) saying they`re investigating him in connection with as many as -- are you sitting down -- four, slayings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS AUGUSTO VASCONCELOS, BRAZIL POLICE INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: To be honest, he went as far as creating facts and ordering the crimes be committed to generate news for the program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. The show`s host is also a state lawmaker and a former cop, albeit a disgraced one. Prosecutors say they`re also investigating this TV host for alleged drug trafficking and involvement with a gang.
So what does this host say for himself? Well, he says he`s innocent and all of this is just his political enemies out to get him.
Straight to my expert panel: back with me, Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.
Darren, we both know television is a cut-throat business, but this is ridiculous.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Jane, you`ve got to give the guy points for creativity. It`s a slow news day and no one likes to sit around and just wait for stuff to happen. You have to go make it happen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I was a reporter for years, and I used to fantasize I was a field reporter out on the street driving around looking for news, and I would fantasize, why do I always have to get to news after it breaks? Why am I always chasing after something that has already happened, and I`m playing catch-up?
KAVINOKY: There is a great premium to being the first one on the scene, and this guy apparently capitalized on that fact. It`s amazing if these facts are true.
Obviously, it`s incredibly outrageous, but he claims he`s innocent. We`ll have to wait for the justice system to play that one out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The lawyer for the accused Brazilian TV host Walter Souza says investigators have nada on his client -- nothing. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCISCO BALIEIRO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR BRAZIL TV HOST: All the investigations made by the public ministry and the police in this task they have created have so far not been able to present any proof of any kind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe this is some kind of reality show that went bad and we`re all just trapped in it.
TV host`s Walter Souza`s house was searched with the cameras rolling, and that`s the actual search you`re looking at. Look at those bullets. They discovered ammo, they discovered weapons, and in a safe they found thousands of dollars in cash. I don`t know any reporters that have that. The ones I know, anyway.
So far, no charges against him in these killings.
Now here`s my problem with these allegations, Stacey. You know, you get to the story first. And TV is what you call a collaborative enterprise, so there`s a lot of people involved. So there`s photographers, there`s assignment editors, there`s reporters, there`s producers.
If I was a reporter who kept getting sent to the scene of a murder before the cops got there, before anybody knew, I would start to get suspicious after a while that either my assignment editor was a psychic or a psycho.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Yes, I mean, that`s exactly why they think that there`s something awry here, just because of the fact that you just mentioned. Somewhere on the inside, someone is tipping off the police that these killings are taking place at the behest of the TV host. And that`s exactly what we`re talking about.
If you get there before the police get there, and you`ve gotten there four separate times and the same events have transpired, then obviously there`s an inside job. And I think what was found in his house -- I think they`re also like, you said, investigating him for maybe drug trafficking and some gang-related incidents. So this is all one big investigation and certainly I`m sure he`s thinking that it`s his competition that`s trying to get to him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. You have to ask yourself -- let me just continue with this because this is absolutely fascinating. We`re dealing with a crazy TV landscape here in the United States these days, and you`ve got to ask yourself what`s next.
We all, of course, have our own true crime shows in the United States, like cops. That`s maybe a little too much reality. But these allegations that Brazilian TV host ordered killings to the show`s rating, well, there`s -- a pop culture precursor.
Do you remember the movie "Network?" Do you remember where the lead character, Howard Beal (ph), TV show anchor is killed on the air live for ratings? That was a satire of network TV made years ago. And a lot of people looked at it and said, oh, my God, could this be a prophecy of where TV, the vast wasteland, as they called it back then is headed. And so many people saw that as a cautionary tale that we`re going down the bad road, and this is becoming a force for evil, not good.
KAVINOKY: Well, I was just going to ask, if anybody else is troubled by the idea that the viewing audience wants to see these murders. I mean, that`s really...
HONOWITZ: It`s definitely a ratings-grabber. If anything, it`s a horrible story. But if he wants his ratings to go up, they`re going to go through the roof.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. I mean, but he`s not going to have a show when he is doing life or getting the electric chair.
Stacey, Darren, stay right there. We`ve got dramatic developments in the rocky relationship of Long Island`s most infamous former couple, Mary Jo and Joey Buttafuoco.
The Buttafuocos became household names in 1992 -- you remember this -- Joey`s 16-year-old mistress, Amy Fisher, shot his wife in the face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY FISHER, SHOT MARY JO BUTTAFUOCO: I had an affair with a married man, and it`s also the truth that Joey knew of my intentions towards his wife and he encouraged me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary Jo survived and stayed with her husband for about a decade before calling it quits. Now Mary Jo has just written a book about her ex-husband in which she calls him a sociopath. Enraged, Joey is now suing his ex-wife, accusing her of slandering his good name.
I spoke to Mary Jo Buttafuoco recently here on ISSUES, and she talked about the moment the light bulb went of in her head and she realized -- according to her -- Joey was a sociopath.
MARY JO BUTTAFUOCO, JOE BUTTAFUOCO`S EX-WIFE: My son looked at me matter- of-factly and said, "Mom, he`s a socio path. He`s never going to get it and never going to change. And I dismissed that. I thought sociopaths were crazy, murdering people.
And I went and I looked it up on the Internet because it disturbed me so much to hear it. And I read the list of traits, and the bell went off in my head, and I went, "Oh, my God, this is what I have been living with all of these years."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what`s behind Joey`s latest legal battle? Is he really concerned about slander, or could this just be another one of his many ploys to get his name back in the news again?
Back with my fantastic panel: Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney.
All right, Stacey, this time we are starting with you. Joey Buttafuoco suing for slander; does he have a case?
HONOWITZ: Good luck is what I say. I mean, the bottom line is, you know, he`s worried about his reputation.
Let`s go back and think about all of the things that he has been in the news for, and let`s worry about his reputation. I don`t think he`s got anything to worry about.
And quite frankly, he better be able to prove that her statement is false. If she believes that that`s the truth, that she researched on the Internet what a sociopath was, and he fit the bill. She put it in there and she published it, again, he will not have a case.
So I think it`s going to be real hard. I don`t think his reputation is damaged in any way, and certainly you have to be able to prove some sort of damage.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have a sneaking suspicion that Joey Buttafuoco doesn`t mind being in the news again, even if it is for a bad reason.
Exhibit A -- this one really takes the case, he appeared on Fox`s Celebrity Boxing to fight China. Yes, folks, China is a woman. He is slugging a woman. This is a couple of years ago.
This is not exactly the behavior of a guy who wants to live a discreet, respectable life. In fact, this could be Exhibit A for Mary Jo if she is taken to court that, "Maybe I had a point." Darren?
KAVINOKY: I love it because I love the opportunity to agree with prosecutors. This is great -- we have Joey Buttafuoco who`s accused of being a sociopath. And I went to the Internet as well to do some digging around. It`s means more than just having two scoops of crazy in your breakfast cereal. It means being unconcerned with the impact that your actions have upon other people.
And when you go back and you look at Joey`s history, when you look at having the extra marital affair with the underage girl and pleading guilty to statutory rape, and insurance fraud and solicitation of prostitution and illegal possession of ammunition, you`ve got to wonder, gosh, what could he be looking for here, other than publicity? The idea that he`s actually going to get monetary damages from a jury is laughable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
HONOWITZ: And you know what, Jane? Excuse me.
It`s exactly what he does. This is really feeding into the ego that he has. So the fact that she is bringing this lawsuit, he probably is very excited by it. Because once again, like you said, he will be back in the news. And bad press, it doesn`t make a difference. It`s publicity for him.
KAVINOKY: Right. Absolutely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, what I find fascinating is we have all seen these divorces that drag on for years, but this one in terms of just longevity of the battle has to take the case.
It is like the professional wrestling match of nasty divorces. This one really should go into some kind of hall of fame for sicko divorces.
Thank you both. This human behavior stuff, it`s just fascinating, isn`t it?
An NFL superstar accused of rape fights back. Ben Roethlisberger now claims his accuser was bragging about having sex with him.
And the son of Hollywood royalty continues to spiral out of control. Kirk (SIC) Douglas`s son already busted for meth, now accused of using his girlfriend as a drug mule?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Douglas`s son accused of selling tens of thousands of dollars worth of meth. Now the offspring of Hollywood royalty faces life in jail, possibly. We`re going to talk about it.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: a legal thunderstorm, an NFL quarterback accused of rape fires back, spiraling accusations against his accuser. Lawyers for Ben Roethlisberger are claiming Andrea McNulty told her friends that she hoped to have his baby, and that she bragged the sex was consensual.
His lawyers are also claiming McNulty`s lack of job security and alleged psychological breakdown are just some of the reasons for her false accusations.
Now, listen, allegations of rape are something I take very seriously; the only two people who really know what happened in that room that night were inside that room that night. We`re going to continue to cover the story, both sides of it.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Now to an unbelievable twist of the sad saga of a Hollywood prince. The son of Hollywood legend Michael Douglas was recently busted in a drug raid in an ultra-trendy Manhattan hotel. Thirty-year-old Cameron Douglas was charged with possession and intent to distribute crystal meth and the purest form of meth called ice.
But instead of sitting behind bars like a lot of accused drug dealers, he was allowed to go to his mom`s swanky apartment, where he was under house arrest and being monitored by court-appointed private security guards.
That`s until now. Cameron was thrown in the slammer for violating the terms of home confinement. Cops say his girlfriend, 32-year-old Kelly Sott tried to smuggle heroin into Cameron`s mom`s apartment by allegedly stashing 19 tiny bags of the drug -- ready for this -- inside the handle of an electric toothbrush.
But Kelly didn`t get to chill out at home. No, no, no, no. She -- she went straight to jail. Worse yet for Kelly, she`s being treated for heroin abuse and hypertension while behind bars.
This is a tragic story. It`s an outrageous story.
Straight out to my fantastic panel: Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney a.k.a. voice of reason; Robin Bond, former prosecutor; and Kim Serafin, senior editor with "In Touch Weekly".
Kim, this story is outrageous on so many levels. But it`s also just incredibly sad. It seems to be another example of preferential treatment for celebrities or in this case the son of a celebrity. What is the very latest?
KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Yes. Exactly.
Now, Cameron was staying at Diandra Douglas`s apartment, that`s where he was under house arrest. And apparently, according to court papers, the security -- the privately-hired security that you had mentioned heard him requesting some personal items from someone, specifically this electric toothbrush.
They noticed that he was very intent on getting this electric toothbrush when his girlfriend delivered it. They opened this electric toothbrush up, 19 bags of heroin.
She said she didn`t know they were in there. According to reports, they went back to her hotel room that she`d been sharing with Cameron and found traces of heroin, marijuana and other things, as well. So -- she, of course, now is in jail.
And it`s tragic. It`s really terrible. And hopefully now they will both get the help they need.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy just doesn`t seem to be too bright or even somebody is just not home upstairs, because if you`ve got authorities surrounding you, you`ve got security surrounding you, and you already have a toothbrush in your bathroom, which he did. To be ranting and raving about desperately needing an electric toothbrush in earshot of the people who were watching you, strikes me as either you want to get in trouble again or you`re just not thinking, Darren.
KAVINOKY: Well, maybe I`m just a big softy here, but this one really breaks my heart, not because of any preferential treatment...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can your heart please be broken for all of the people who are sitting behind bars at Rikers Island, waiting for their case to come up on drug possession, with the cockroaches crawling the walls and the horrific conditions and being assaulted by other inmates? And this guy gets to go to his mother`s apartment.
KAVINOKY: Hang on a second. My heart breaks for those people. One of the drums I like to beat loudly and often is the idea that people who suffer from the disease of addiction are entitled to treatment and not punishment.
But I look at this particular scenario as a situation that just illustrates the depths to which addicts will go in order to feed their addiction. And I know this full well, first-hand.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: If he was in jail, he wouldn`t have been able to call his girlfriend and said allegedly come over with that electric toothbrush.
KAVINOKY: What, you can`t get drugs in jail?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you think she would have been able to saunter into jail with an electric toothbrush allegedly filled with 19 packets of heroin? I don`t think so.
KAVINOKY: No, he wouldn`t have gotten it there. But he would have gotten his drugs from some other source, because you can get drugs just as easily in prison as you can outside, maybe even easier.
ROBIN BOND, FORMER PROSECUTOR: She couldn`t have gotten the drugs in prison because there are detection device that would have detected anybody coming in with any residue of drugs on their person. And the contraband would have been confiscated. She would have been barred for 90 days from visiting the prison and he wouldn`t have gotten that.
This is another example, just like we have the Michael Jackson story that`s in the papers all the time. Celebrities and their addictions manage to circumvent things that other people at Rikers have to deal with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come on.
Kim Serafin, we know, we`ve spent years in Hollywood, there are actually private trials for celebrities. I`ve actually visited the private trial center where there`s beautiful artwork on the wall and they`re served al kinds of things to nosh (ph) on and coffees and sodas when they`re having their trials. They don`t have to go to the smelly Los Angeles courtroom that we all have to go to.
Now we have this idea that when you get out, instead of going to jail to await your trial, you go home and you get to stay there and there`s private security guards watching while you`re chilling at mom`s house.
Ok, stay right there. We`re going to have more on Cam Douglas right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST & ADDICTION SPECIALIST: 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 that they`re going to get in trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Girlfriend of Hollywood prince, Cameron Douglas busted for allegedly trying to sneak heroin into the pad where he was under house arrest. What?
I`m not sure what`s more outrageous, the fact that he got to go to mom`s place and chill instead of going straight to jail, or that she allegedly tried to smuggle smack into the handle of an electric toothbrush.
Kim Serafin "In Touch Weekly," what about the enabling factor, when Cameron was busted recently, starting all of this off even though he has a drug history, he was staying at this fancy, fancy, pricey, Manhattan hotel. Who was paying for that?
SERAFIN: Well, exactly. That apparently was being paid for by his father, Michael Douglas, reportedly. Now, of course, this investigation had apparently been going on for three years, even though he did have a prior history, an incident with a cocaine bust back in 2007. And they`re saying now he could face up to life in prison, a minimum of ten years.
So, definitely, I think you`re right that celebrities, relatives of celebrities do get special treatment, but then you can always go back to the example, the famous one of Paris Hilton who probably got harsher treatment because she was a celebrity, because they were trying to make an example out of her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that went back and forth and back and forth. First they let her go, and then there was a public uproar and practically a riot and a stampede outside her house and then they made her serve her time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t you remember, she went home sick, Kim?
BOND: They`ve been able to delay this prosecution for years. He`s arrested for cocaine in 2007; that trial`s still pending. Then he`s been arrested again.
So this is his third strike, as was just pointed out, and he`s going to be facing a minimum mandatory under the sentencing guidelines of ten years and then possibly life imprisonment.
KAVINOKY: But this is not about celebrities or high net worth individuals getting better stuff, better amenities...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m making it about that.
KAVINOKY: If you really take a step back from this, how sad and pathetic that you have this person, this human being who`s clearly troubled, clearly addicted, has this history, facing drug charges.
Think about the depth of his addiction, if what everybody is reporting is true, that he would have his girlfriend sneak in the heroin. We`re talking about someone that has a disease...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have total compassion for him. I am a recovering addict myself, an alcoholic.
KAVINOKY: Right. It was felony stupid. The kid needs help.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not talking about -- I don`t blame him. We`re going to do whatever we can to stay out of jail. I blame the system for being a two-tiered system of justice.
Take a look at all the faces and all the people behind bars and you`re not going to see the Cameron Douglases of the world awaiting trial behind bars.
KAVINOKY: Get them treatment too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you fantastic panel.
As we`ve been saying, the face of addiction is not what we think it is. It`s not just the children of celebrities or the crack addicts in the gutter.
Millions of middle class Americans suffer from addiction, and 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 preorder your copy right now. Just click on cnn.com/jane and look for the preorder section.
If you`re struggling with an addiction to booze, drugs, food, or shopping, this book can help. It can also help if you`re trying to help a friend or relative with a problem. And there`s more than a few shockers in here.
You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.