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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Did Alleged Rapist Want to be Caught?
Aired September 2, 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, is alleged kidnapper Nancy Garrido the real monster behind Jaycee Dugard`s abduction? Cops say the evidence is stacking up against her, that she was a key player in keeping Jaycee in secret captivity for nearly two decades, standing by her husband as he raped young Jaycee, as he fathered her two daughters.
Well, get this. Phillip`s brother says Nancy was under a spell all those years. And now Nancy`s attorney is saying she can`t get a fair trial because of the media scrutiny of her. Give me a break.
Then, jaw-dropping reports in DJ AM`s apparent drug overdose. Did the celebrity disk jockey take his own life? "People" magazine says Adam Goldstein had eight undigested OxyContin pills in his stomach and a ninth still in his mouth. Hello? OxyContin is a synthetic form of heroin. You don`t pop that many because you`re trying to catch a buzz. Do these findings suggest Goldstein swallowed the powerful and very dangerous prescription drug because he wanted to die?
Plus, "Exhume my wife`s body, I`ll prove she wasn`t drunk." That`s the latest from the man whose wife`s wrong-way accident killed eight people. Daniel Schuler`s attorney says Diane may have suffered a stroke and that a fire ignited by the accident may have turned her blood sugar into alcohol. Is this the wildest defense you`ve ever heard? Is this a hubby in total denial or does this guy actually have a case? We`re digging deep on this one.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a bone-chilling new theory in the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping nightmare. Did her alleged rapist and captor, Phillip Garrido, want to be caught? According to police, he hand-delivered a bizarre manifesto right to the FBI: "Here, guys, here it is." And on the day of his arrest, Garrido was parading his poor victim around in public.
No surprise that one of his first orders of business from jail was to call up a local TV station and do an interview. Listen carefully to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP GARRIDO, ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING/RAPE: You`re going to find the most powerful story coming from the witness, from the victim. You wait. If you take this a step at a time, you`re going to fall over backwards and in the end, you`re going to find the most powerful, heartwarming story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He seems very excited to be telling the whole world his story. It all highlights the mind-boggling incompetence of parole officers, who visited Garrido for years without apparently ever asking, "Hey, who`s the pretty girl on your business card?"
And speaking of incompetence, how about the bureaucrats who let this sicko out of prison, after only ten years of a 50-year rape sentence, neglecting to inform his original rape victim that he was getting out, forcing her to go into hiding when she finally eyeballed him? Is anybody going to take responsibility for all of this injustice?
Also, guess who`s playing the victim now? His wife, Nancy Garrido. Her court-appointed attorney is already whining about an unfair trial and calling his client another victim.
However, cops say they have damning new evidence that Nancy was an accomplice in little Jaycee`s abduction, and she herself allegedly kept the girl prisoner for months while hubby did time for a parole violation. Are we really supposed to believe she was merely brainwashed, a submissive wife or is learned helplessness a phenomenon that we`ve got to look to?
Straight to my fantastic guests: Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator; Stacey Honowitz, supervisor of the sex crimes unit at the Florida prosecutor`s office; sex therapist Judy Kuriansky, a.k.a. Dr. Judy; and Kara Finnstrom, correspondent for our sister network, CNN.
Kara, Garrido`s arrest has sparked investigations into a bone, two missing girls, and several murdered prostitutes. I want to get the very latest on all that, but I understand you have some breaking news, because there have been reports that Phillip Garrido had business cards with Jaycee, the actual hostage, on it. And he was distributing these for years, and when people asked, he would say, "This is my daughter, Alyssa." That`s the published report.
You have some late-breaking information on that. What do you know?
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, I can just tell you that we did get a hold of one of those cards today, and it did not, from our research and what we were able to do on it, we were not able to confirm that that was Jaycee.
So there are obviously some cards out there that have images that look similar to her. Whether they were pulled off the Internet of another girl, another -- or a model, they were very pretty pictures of a blond girl about the same age. But they were not, according to our research and according to people we spoke with that knew Jaycee Dugard, they were not her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kara, tell us about the bone, the prostitutes and the two other girls. What`s the latest on that? Recap.
FINNSTROM: Well, police obviously looking into a whole slew of sex- related crimes that have been unsolved in this area. They want to make sure because of all the criticism they`ve received in this case, that they don`t miss anything here. We can tell you that Pittsburg police...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a little too late for that.
FINNSTROM: Well, Pittsburg, California, police came. They searched the property, just across the street, Garrido`s property. They also searched the home next door, looking for any evidence that might link him to that series of 1990 slayings. Many of those women were prostitutes that were killed. And they were found in a park, their bodies in a park close to where Garrido once worked. So the thought was perhaps there was a connection here.
They say from the evidence they took from across the street and everything they have at this point, he is not a suspect in that crime. They do not believe he is linked.
Now, at the same time, those two -- at the same time, those two investigations continue into the two girls that were abducted 20 to 25 miles away from here. And we understand there`s enough similarities in those cases that police are continuing to look at him as a potential suspect in those cases.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent. Thank you, Kara. And I know they`re still analyzing that bone. They don`t know if it`s human or animal, but they`re going to find out.
You know, this case has more and more people asking what good are sex offender registries? What good are monitoring devices? Garrido had to wear one of those GPS devices, just like that one, after he was released from prison. He also had to check in regularly with the parole officer. Some reports say parole officers visited him at least twice a month.
Did any of that prevent this convicted rapist from reoffending? No.
Garrido was also on a number of sex offender registries. Anybody could have looked him up, Stacey Honowitz, and found his picture, his address, his criminal history. But apparently, when a 911 call came in, complaining that he was a psycho sex addict, holding kids in tents, nobody cross-checked the sex offender registry. The responding officer left without even checking out the backyard, which the caller had mentioned, where Jaycee and her daughters were being held.
Stacey, you are the supervisor of the sex crimes unit in the Florida prosecutor`s office. This is happening on the other coast but I think somebody has to be held accountable. Somebody has to say yes, this is incompetence at work here. Or not at work.
STACEY HONOWITZ, SUPERVISOR, SEX CRIMES UNIT: Well, listen, Jane, I mean, this is what you have. You have the registries where he went and he registered. You have the GPS monitor, but unfortunately, the GPS monitor tells you what location they`re at. It doesn`t tell them -- if you don`t investigate or go inside or ask the proper questions, the idea that you`re wearing a device makes no difference. We just know the location you`re at.
So in this case, when the call came in, that there was something going on in the backyard, you`re right, the registry should have been cross- referenced, should have been cross-checked. So in this case, they are going to investigate, they are going higher to find out why nobody did a further investigation.
But you have to do something to start the ball rolling. The fact that we have registries is one way for us to locate them. So they have to remain in place, but there has to be an overhaul. We have to figure out, just because we know where they are, how do we know what they`re doing inside that location. And that`s why the ball was dropped in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, it`s outrageous. There is this stanky (ph) tent city in the back yard. Anybody who`s seen it -- we`ve got tons of photos. We`ve been showing it for days now, knows that something nasty`s going on in there. You don`t know what, but you know something nasty is going on in that stanky (ph) collection of sheds and tents. Something is sick.
Now, Judy Kuriansky, there`s an excellent column in the "Mercury News" that says essentially here`s a theory. He wanted to get caught. That`s why he took the manifesto to the FBI a few days before he was caught. That`s why he was parading around with his offspring that he produced as a result, allegedly, of rape.
DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, SEX THERAPIST: Exactly. For 18 years, he wasn`t caught, so why now?
The point is, this is a psychotic person who I think was planning on having a cult. He wanted the world to know about his manifesto. He`s looking, in fact, for attention. But psychotically in his own mind -- this is obviously not normal attention -- he went onto a campus. He wanted to spread his word.
This is very similar, Jane, to my view about Charles Manson. He also had manifesto. David Koresh, who had a cult. These are figures who want their psychotic ramblings, their new religion, their revelations about the way the world is, to be heard. And so they don`t think about what is going to happen to them. All they want is the attention. That`s why the TV; that`s why the manifesto; that`s why then going on campus and wanting his word known.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He is getting the attention.
HONOWITZ: Well, you know, he`s a pedophile, and you know in pedophilia, we`ve discussed it many times. He doesn`t think what he did was wrong and that`s evident by what he said. "You`re going to hear a very powerful story. You`re going to hear from the victim and what she`s going to say." They don`t think they did anything wrong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s leave it right there...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because it dovetails with what his wife, Nancy, is now claiming, saying she misses the kids. This is very sick stuff. We`re going to get to it in just a second. More on this momentarily.
We`re taking your calls right now: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
DJ AM, cops say he died of an apparent drug overdose. Now we`re hearing he may have had eight OxyContin pills in his body when he was found. Accident or suicide?
Then, is alleged kidnapper Nancy Garrido the real monster behind Jaycee`s 1991 abduction? Did she stand out as someone who can commit such a disgusting crime?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was kind of quiet and stayed in the background. Whatever he said, she said yes. And I would look at her and she said yes, she would frown. And she was -- you know, she seemed nice. She seemed like she was harmless, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) always. He`s a little eccentric person. But the last three years, he has been talking a lot of strange stuff, such as that he`s talking to angels and stuff like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wonder if he ever said any of that to his parole officers. Probably. That was a first-hand account of some of Phillip Garrido`s very bizarre behavior. No matter how freaky he acted, Garrido was essentially ignored by those who should have discovered his monstrous crimes.
Let`s go straight back to my panel. Darren Kavinoky, noted criminal defense attorney, the California Coalition against Sexual Assault says, quote, "Here, we have a guy who`s essentially under every kind of supervision we allow law enforcement to have, and every tool available, and the tools failed." But the people failed, too.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, yes, clearly this is an area where there`s an element of human error. And as you pointed out, quite correctly, at the top of the show, that we`ve got this GPS monitoring, which only shows his whereabouts. He`s on the registry, which allows neighbors to look him up and see if there`s anything going on.
But it doesn`t give us any insight as to what`s going on behind closed doors, and that`s exactly what investigators failed to pick up on. And as we look forward to the eventual criminal trial, it`s exactly those investigative failings that could be -- could be -- the undoing of the prosecution in this case.
Clearly, Phillip Garrido had two scoops of crazy in his breakfast cereal. The question is whether or not they`re going to have lawfully obtained evidence in order to prove it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, look, you don`t have to be Sherlock Holmes to go into a house like this and look around and say something is fishy. The tent city. What if the parole -- yes, that`s the house but there`s that tent city right behind it.
Now, when these parole officers visited, what the heck did they ask him about? They know, Steve Kardian, he has a printing business. Did they ever ask him, "Who`s your designer?" Did they ever ask him, "How did you get all this stuff done? Who are you working with?" I mean, these are obvious questions. You don`t have to be Sir Conan Doyle.
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: That is the job of the parole department and parole division, go in, be inquisitive, look around, ask questions. If, in fact, they did see that card, "Who is this girl. I want to speak with her. I want her contact information and why is she listed on your card."
And it comes down to, Jane, was he that good? Was law enforcement and the system that bad or was it a combination of both?
KAVINOKY: You know what`s interesting on the...
KURIANSKY: ... all the failures of the law enforcement system, but there`s also a failure of the psychiatric system here, because people are calling this guy a pedophile. His disorder goes way back to when he was 7, apparently, which he admits himself, when he was a voyeur looking at naked people.
Then he became an exhibitionist, where he said he was masturbating in front of even schools with young children.
Then he developed all this aggressive behavior at high school, wanting to put a pin in his girlfriend at the time`s eyes.
So from a psychological and psychiatric point of view, we have to change this child psychiatry and pay more attention to what happened a long time ago, before all the pedophilia started. And then we have the drug abuse. So it`s not just pedophilia. Drug abuse, LSD, cocaine, all these things become...
KAVINOKY: Where`s the gavel? There we go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got it. Right here. Right here.
HONOWITZ: He is a pedophile. He is a pedophile. We know that. It`s evidence from what transpired. He impregnated this girl when she was 14 years old.
The problem that I see is that, if he was on parole for violent sexual acts with an adult, what were the restrictions with regard to being around children? I think that`s what they`re going to say. Was there anything that said he was not allowed to be around kids?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I read something that said that he was not restricted from being around children, because the laws didn`t grandfather him in, because he -- whatever he did was back in the `70s. That`s what I read. I don`t know if that`s true.
KAVINOKY: Hang on one second, Jane. Remember, there`s been talk about this freaky tent city, and just because people are freaky doesn`t mean the fourth amendment goes out the window and we just get...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Parole officers don`t need a search warrant to go back there and check it out.
KAVINOKY: Hey, I`m just trying to tee it up for you, Jane. That`s exactly my point. Is that, you know, generally we live in a country where people are allowed to be a little freaky, except when you`re on parole. And they could have gone charging back there and really...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s bikes. There`s kids` bikes. You were looking at pictures of kids` bikes. Again, you don`t have to be Baretta to figure out, "Ah, there`s kids` bikes in the yard. Maybe there`s kids around." There shouldn`t be. This guy apparently doesn`t have any kids.
KAVINOKY: Baretta had his own problems, too, that I don`t know about that reference.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true. Maybe I shouldn`t use Baretta. How about -- who was it in "Murder She Wrote"?
OK, Kim in Indiana, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Love your show. My question is I have never heard anybody bring up the fact that, or the chances that he may have molested his children. His children by Jaycee.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent point. Judy Kuriansky.
KURIANSKY: Yes, I think that`s...
HONOWITZ: They`re investigating that now. That`s part of the investigation. When she`s debriefed -- and that`s what they`re doing now, they`re debriefing her -- that`s all going to be part of an investigation.
KURIANSKY: It will be very hard for her to admit that her children were abused, but it is entirely possible, as the caller said, that in fact they were.
They were observed to be looking at him like he was a god. They may have even been given drugs, just like the rest of the group of this dysfunctional group was given. So I would be very concerned about the psychological disturbance of these children and being very careful about assessing them.
KAVINOKY: It`s going to take an extremely long time for all this to come out, for law enforcement to gingerly handle those children and Jaycee, and it`s going to take years before this is all sorted out, because they`ve got to be handled with kid gloves. They`re very vulnerable and fragile right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And everybody`s confused. We`re going to get into the fact that Nancy, Garrido`s wife, says she misses her family, and she`s describing this hostage and the two children fathered, allegedly, by rape as her family.
And then those kids, the 11- and 15-year-old, are reportedly upset that Daddy`s in jail, reportedly. And they`re confused, because they don`t know the whole story of what Daddy did. Ten seconds, Judy Kuriansky.
HONOWITZ: That`s the only life they know. That`s the only life they know.
KURIANSKY: Yes, I agree. Those kids know that family as being their normal family. And we need to respect that that`s how they feel.
KURIANSKY: And we`re...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. I`m bringing out the gavel. Got to go to break. More on this disturbing story just after the break.
Coming up, shocking reports DJ AM may have swallowed a bunch of OxyContin pills, because he wanted to end his own life.
Then, what did we learn about Jaycee`s abductors? Who was the mastermind behind the kidnapping? Could it have been prevented? We will discuss all of this and hear from Nancy`s attorney in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE CALLOWAY HALL, VICTIM OF PHILLIP GARRIDO: Just turned around the corner and pulled over, and he slammed my head into the steering wheel, and pulled out handcuffs. He took my keys out, threw them on the floor and pulled out handcuffs and handcuffed me, and said, "I just want to (EXPLETIVE DELETED). If you be good, you won`t get hurt."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sick stuff, chilling words from Phillip Garrido`s first known victim, Katie Calloway Hall. He was convicted of kidnapping and raping her in 1976, but he only served 20 percent of his sentence.
Meantime, his wife Nancy Garrido`s attorney says she misses her family. Here`s what Nancy`s court-appointed attorney told "Good Morning America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re asking me to formulate for you a defense strategy, I guess my position would be she`s a victim. When he walked into the parole office, she went placidly along. And later on, I`m told that when the officers asked if they could search her home, she said, "Whatever Phillip wants. If Phillip says it`s OK, it`s OK."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacy Honowitz, a victim? Give me a break.
HONOWITZ: Yes, there`s nothing to say about that. She absolutely is as responsible as he is for everything in this case. It almost sounds like if you remember that -- that Hedda Nussbaum case, the case in New York where Joel Stein, you know, beat the you-know-what out of that kid, and she claimed that she was a victim. She couldn`t get out. And some of that stuff was true, that she was under his spell. But give me a break, like you said in this case.
KAVINOKY: Hang on. There may be something yet to say here.
KURIANSKY: ... under the spell, but in fact she was likely a borderline personality who took drugs with him, and then became his -- his accomplice in all of these things.
KAVINOKY: Hang on. Hang on.
KURIANSKY: She is equally -- just like all the women who were with Charles Manson, she could end up in jail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, OK.
KAVINOKY: There may be -- there may yet be something to say here, though. And -- and the defense position will likely be, and there may be evidence to support the idea that blaming Nancy Garrido for her role in this may be like blaming people in that POW camp for being well-behaved.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second.
HONOWITZ: Blaming her is just making her take responsibility.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, wait. Finish -- Darren, finish, because I`ve got a fact here to throw at you when you`re done.
KAVINOKY: OK. There`s -- there are people -- clearly, she met Phillip Garrido when she was visiting a prison. Obviously, that doesn`t speak well about her self-esteem. People like Nancy Garrido may be targeted and groomed to play exactly that role and she had been...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, I hear you. Steve Kardian.
KAVINOKY: ... under his spell for a long time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. Hold on a second.
KURIANSKY: That doesn`t mean she shouldn`t take responsibility. She`s a prison groupie, like you said, Darren. But even so.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, yes. But hold on. He went for -- to serve several months, five months, for parole violation, Steve Kardian, and she watched the child, allegedly, and kept her hostage for five months.
KARDIAN: And Jane, for that reason, if there`s anybody out there that thinks that she should get some sort of a break, they`re crazy. She deserves to be seated right alongside him. Not in the electric chair but in the electric couch.
KAVINOKY: Hang on. The hook -- the hook may well have been already sunk by that point. So there may yet be criminal culpability, but don`t overlook the possibility that, when you`re looking at Nancy Garrido, you`re looking at another victim, too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz, final word. I hate it when women give away their power. This is what happens when women give away their power and become doormats.
HONOWITZ: I mean, the bottom line is, like you said, five months. She had every ample opportunity not to keep those kids hostage.
But the bottom line was, look, they became her family. She`s as culpable and responsible on every charge just as he is. And she needs to be found guilty and responsible for it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it right there. Next, DJ AM coming up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jaw-dropping reports on DJ AM`s apparent drug overdose. Did this celebrity disc jockey take his own life?
"People" magazine says Adam Goldstein had eight undigested Oxycontin pills in his stomach and a ninth still in his mouth. Hello? Oxycontin is a synthetic form of heroin. You don`t pop that many because you`re trying to catch a buzz.
Do these findings suggest Goldstein swallowed the powerful and very dangerous prescription drug because he wanted to die?
Plus, "Exhume my wife`s body, I`ll prove she wasn`t drunk." That`s the latest from the man whose wife`s wrong-way accident killed eight people. Daniel Schuler`s attorney says Diane may have suffered a stroke and that a fire ignited by the accident may have turned her blood sugar into alcohol.
Is this the wildest defense you`ve ever heard? Is this a hubby in total denial for doe or does this guy actually have a case? We`re digging deep on this one.
DJ AM, dead from an apparent drug overdose but was it a suicide? "People" magazine reporting Adam Goldstein smoked crack and then downed a handful of pills. He allegedly had eight undigested Oxycontin pills in his stomach, a ninth pill still in his mouth. A heavy mirror blocked the bedroom door.
Cops found the hot Hollywood deejay`s body lifeless, face down, reportedly on top of a pile of crack cocaine; a crack pipe reportedly lying at his side. But AM`s publicist says this was a tragic accident, not a suicide.
Just weeks ago, the deejay spoke to MTV News about his struggle to stay sober.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DJ AM, DISC JOCKEY: I always find every single addict that I`ve met, I`ve bonded with, you know. I speak addict. I am one. And they, for the first time, see someone who`s sober who made it out.
Once I told them I know what it`s like to be that obsessed with getting high and feel like you can never stop. I know your biggest secret. That you think you can`t go through life without using something.
And right away, they kind of, you know, everyone at least that I`ve met so far has had that feeling and identified with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: DJ is reportedly being buried today. So what could have triggered a relapse? Was the craving brought on by the anti-anxiety drugs he was reportedly taking after surviving last year`s almost deadly plane crash? He survived, others did not.
Was there something more? AM was reportedly devastated over a breakup with model Haley Wood but we`re going to tell you what she says about all that. She says they didn`t break up.
"People" magazine reports photos of the couple were strewn about the apartment, a Valentine`s Day card was open to the message "Thank God you are in my life. I love you."
The girlfriend denies the split, but if he was depressed, and swallowing pill after pill, could that be a lot more than somebody trying to get high?
Straight out to my amazing expert panel: Dr. Reef Karim, addiction specialist and psychiatrist; criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky and Mike Walters from TMZ.
Mike, you have been breaking so much news on this one, what is the very latest?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, the very latest is as we speak right now, DJ AM is being buried here at a cemetery. Friends and family are by his side as he does. It`s actually going on as we speak.
But I want to get really quick into what you were saying. I have to disagree with this report for this reason. The fact of the matter is we`re told this was not a suicide. We`re told it was a mixture of the anti- anxiety medication.
Obviously this new report has come out about the Oxycontin. I do agree with you that is a lot of Oxycontin but you got to remember, and understand this, that this is an addict and that if he was smoking crack and taking Oxycontin and we know he was taking pills because of the crash, the pain medications, he had burns. If he was taking it, this stuff when you get addicted to it, you build up a tolerance. And the way that I feel about this is that taking 8 Oxycontin even if they were undigested, does that prove it`s a suicide? I don`t think so.
I think that if you`re smoking crack and you`re in the situation, and you`re taking a lot of pills, in that situation, that`s not enough, that is like wow, he took a bottle of them. That`s just my opinion on the subject.
But there was a report that there was Oxycontin. We`re told it`s not a suicide although they did break up, him and his girlfriend but this was not triggered by that. It was triggered by post-partum depression from this crash and the disorder and the anti-anxiety medication that he was taking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, a couple of things.
One Haley Wood, the girlfriend tells "US Weekly", quote, "any indication that this horrible accident happened because of a rumored breakup is not only untrue but disgusting. We were very much together at the time of his passing and I love him very much."
So that`s what she has to say. She said they hadn`t broken up.
Now DJ AM has attempted suicide in the past. At the height of his addiction he was morbidly obese and hooked on crack. AM opened up in a raw interview with "Glamour" magazine; he said he felt like his life was over. He grabbed a gun and put it in his mouth. He said "F this" and pulled the trigger but the gun didn`t go off.
That apparently Dr. Reef was when he hit bottom. He went on to seek treatment and reportedly lived clean and sober for 11 years.
So you have a history of a suicide attempt. How does that work into the theory that this could be suicide or not?
DR. REEF KARIM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, this is a tough one, Jane, because impulsivity and cognition, problems with your thinking, are a hallmark part of addiction.
So on one side of it you`ve got somebody who is an addict who was kind of brought back into his addiction through the prescription pills, and possibly pain pills, narcotic analgesics like Oxycontin so it`s kind of reigniting his limbic system, his animalistic primal drive for the drugs. On one side, you have that, somebody not thinking clearly.
On the other side of it you`ve got a lot of Oxycontin. Maybe he developed tolerance and maybe he needed that much but you also have a history of suicide attempts. He`s had at least one attempt that`s documented. And the cardinal sign for someone who might commit suicidality (ph) in the future is someone who`s committed or attempted suicide in the past. So we definitely have that in play.
Then you`ve got all the stressors. You`ve got a, the stress of the plane crash and fear of flying, introducing the benzodiazepine. Then you have the pain associated with the burns from the plane crash and the narcotics that were probably prescribed in that case.
Then you have the breakup and then you have the stress of actually doing a reality show where you`re trying to help people get sober.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Darren Kavinoky, you apparently knew DJ AM? I was shocked to find this out. Tell us what your story is.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This story hits very close to home. I knew AM about a decade ago, when both of us were leading a very different non-healthy lifestyle. And as a matter of fact, both of our lives actually went full circle after that. And besides the work that I do in the law, I`ve participated in over 150 interventions. It`s an area that I`m very active in.
KAVINOKY: And AM and I actually were working together on that MTV show, "Gone Too Far" where I appeared alongside him as a guest interventionist.
And the thing that just seems so awful to me thinking back on that, because he and I did this intervention in Tennessee maybe a month ago on a young kid who was hooked on Oxycontin.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A month -- did you say a month ago?
KAVINOKY: About a month ago, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Well, they say, you know, the slip occurs long before you have the first drink or the first drug. Did you see him as being close to a slip on a slippery slope?
KAVINOKY: Well, my sources actually do confirm the idea that he was taking Xanax in order to be able to get on a plane. And of course, if you`re a normal person suffering from anxiety, taking Xanax is just fine.
If you`re a recovering addict or an alcoholic, taking Xanax is like lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite and sticking it down your pants. It`s an explosion that`s waiting to happen. And so that was something that caused me grave concern.
And of course, now with 20/20 hindsight and looking back on some of the discussions that we had, and I can`t help but wonder if the pressure of being involved in the interventions of others while he was dealing with his own substance abuse issues was too difficult to bear.
There`s that expression about you know, you can`t save your face or your ass at the same time so you got to pick one. Typically it`s more important to save your ass, not your face. I wonder if he was able or unable to do that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Dr. Reef, could his depression -- and if this suicide is true, we don`t know -- we don`t know what was in his brain. So we can`t say one way or another what he was thinking when he took those reported eight Oxycontin and had the ninth in his mouth, when he apparently lost consciousness.
However, if he -- he was obviously involved in the recovery movement. That would have to be especially humiliating for him to slip, given that he was actually working on a show and he might have been wondering, "Oh, my God, what am I going to do? I`m working on this show where I`m supposed to be helping people recover and now I`ve slipped." And felt like he was boxed into a corner.
KARIM: Jane, you nailed it. I mean, think about this. We`re speculating here but think about the guilt, the shame, the lack of control and the powerlessness associated with you being somebody who`s helping all these other people -- and he has a long history of helping a lot of people. Here you are on this reality show where you`re being documented and viewed as the savior for a lot of people in regards to these interventions, and at the same time, you`re doing the one thing that addicts just cannot do, and that`s hide and have a secret.
Having a secret and holding on to that with the guilt and the shame associated with that has got to eat you up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re only as sick as your secrets.
Guys, unfortunately we have to leave it right there. We`re going to stay on top of this story. Thank you all for your really amazing insights.
Coming up, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer has been out of the public eye since his 2008 sex scandal. Could he be planning a comeback?
And you will not believe what the husband of the wrong-way driver is saying now about the booze found in his wife`s system.
We want to hear from you. Give us a call -- 1-877-JVM-SAYS; -1877- 586-7297.
I`ve been talking about those struggles with addiction. In my new book, "I Want," I reveal details of my battle with alcoholism and how I finally got sober more than 14 years ago.
You can order my recovery memoir; it`s out in bookstores now. Or just click on cnn.com/jane, look for the order section.
They say the only thing that has to change is everything. That`s exactly what happened to me when I sobered up. It`s a real shocker. You will not believe some of the things that changed in my life.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Daniel Schuler, the man whose wife killed eight people in the wrong-way driving accident, speaking out again. We`re talking about his latest outrageous statements in a minute but first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Is New York`s disgraced former governor, Eliot Spitzer, thinking about making a run for office again? Though Spitzer has denied it, several sources have confirmed that the former New York governor has been participating in informal talks about running for either state controller or the senate.
As we all remember, in 2008, Spitzer left office after his sex scandal with then 22-year-old prostitute, Ashley Dupree. So what does she think about all this?
Her mom told "The New York Post" that poor Ashley has been having a rough time of it so she imagines she`s not happy about the news. Who is?
What is Spitzer thinking? For years, he markets integrity and ethics, then he`s caught sleeping with a prostitute. And now he`s thinking about returning to public office? I wonder what his campaign slogan`s going to be. How about "Do what I say not what I do"? Catchy.
In the meantime, it looks like he will be Professor Spitzer. A spokesman for city college of New York has confirmed Spitzer will teach an undergraduate course in law and public policy. He will reportedly make $400,500 -- excuse me, $4,500 which is almost equal to the cost of his high-priced hooker.
Interesting. That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Now to more shocking and bizarre claims in the very tragic case of the wrong-way drunk driver: police say soccer mom Diane Schuler was very drunk and high on pot and driving the wrong way when she smashed her mini van into another car. Diane wiped out eight people, including herself, her own daughter, three nieces and three other men in another car. The medical examiner said she had a .19 blood alcohol level. That`s equal to 10 alcoholic drinks and more than twice the legal limit.
But Diane`s husband, Daniel, has continued to insist his wife is not a drunk. Last night he appeared on "Larry King Live" alongside his controversial, flamboyant attorney, Dominic Barbara.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Daniel, are you saying that the authorities are lying when they say there was 0.19 of alcohol and evidence of marijuana? Are you saying they`re making that up?
DANIEL SCHULER, HUSBAND OF WRONG-WAY DRIVER: I know my wife was not drinking. She doesn`t drink, very rarely.
KING: Why would the authorities say that?
SCHULER: There`s an error somewhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, there`s an error somewhere. Is that the face of denial? The pair also announced plans to exhume Diane`s body for further testing.
Just wait until you hear some of their baffling theories and outrageous claims as to why she couldn`t have been drunk. So many issues and I`m taking your calls on this one.
Straight out to my fabulous expert panel: Dr. Reef Karim, psychiatrist and addiction specialist, director of the Control Center in Beverly Hills and assistant clinical professor at UCLA; Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator and director of Defend University; and Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney.
Mark, is Daniel Schuler being manipulated by his very flamboyant attorney who is now getting a lot of face time promoting what some would say are rather outlandish hypotheses?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: None of us know where this exactly is coming from, whether it`s him on his own or whether his attorney is behind it holding the little strings like a puppet. The only error is not the reading in this case which registered double drunk but the error is coming out and continuously saying the things they`re saying to try to cause excuses for her obvious recklessness.
What that does -- it`s ok if you want to do it inside your home but what it does when you say it publicly is it interferes with the next of kin`s ability to start to grieve properly. They`re upset with these outrageous remarks and they have every reason to tell this guy to just be quiet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Police found a broken vodka bottle inside the wreckage. Listen to her husband and his attorney explain that one on "Larry King Live."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULER: I`m very surprised that the vodka bottle was in there. I had no idea.
KING: Well, why does -- does it give you pause to think maybe, just maybe she was a drinker and you didn`t know it?
SCHULER: I been with her for 13 years. Absolutely not.
DOMINIC BARBARA, SCHULER FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is not a case where she`s a hidden alcoholic or a secret alcoholic or she drank once in awhile in the closet. That never occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You want to talk about denial which is a factor in alcoholism. In my book "I Want" I describe the vicious cycle of alcoholism. Quote, "I would go out on the town with a friend determined to have just a couple of drinks. I would get plastered. I would have a conversation with somebody I hardly knew. I would wake up the next morning with a horrible hangover and call my friend for a quote, `damage assessment meeting`, end quote. We would laugh about all the silly things that happened the night before and then I would experience a rush of euphoria. I wasn`t in trouble. I had gotten away with it."
That was my form of denial, Dr. Reef Karim. But to me, the Schuler story is a clear-cut case of co-dependency, perhaps enabling and certainly, denial. What`s your diagnosis?
KARIM: Oh, yes, I agree with you completely, Jane. This blows me away. A .19 blood alcohol level; there was a whole lot of undigested alcohol in her system, which basically means the liver was sitting there going, "Ok, you know what, I can`t do this anymore, I can`t keep detoxifying this and digesting it."
You`ve got so many factors here that involve poor perception, delayed tracking time, problems with cognition, problems with your dexterity associated with all this. At a very minimum if you look at all of the substances in her system, she was going to have a major, major problem with reckless driving.
Now, whether you want to add on the fact that there was any psychiatric history or that marijuana made her paranoid or this was suicidal or this was something else going on, I don`t know at this point. We`re speculating. But a very minimum, this was reckless driving due to substances unless proven otherwise.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve Kardian -- 20:00 seconds -- will the exhumation actually prove the police`s point?
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Yes, it will. And I doubt it`s going to happen because that would shut Dominic Barbara up and not be able to make these ridiculous connotations about what actually happened. All that matters is what happened that day of the crash, not what happened a month...
EIGLARSH: It better not happen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody, let`s stick right here. We`re going to take your calls. We`re going to have more.
Oh, you won`t believe some of the angles that we`re going to have right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: She`s gone. We can`t bring her back. We`re never going to know the truth really. So why are you carrying on?
SCHULER: We will know the truth and I know my wife. She`s not an alcoholic. She would never drive with kids in her car...
KING: Ok. But we`ll never know. Since we`ll never know, why keep on doing this?
SCHULER: The truth will come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Daniel Schuler`s motivation behind appearing on "Larry King Live" even had Larry himself puzzled, as you saw right there. What is making this guy tick? Everybody in the country scratching their head over that one.
Sue, Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am. Sue?
SUE, VIRGINIA (via telephone): Yes. Jane?
SUE: Hi. As a former drinker and a person that has a medical background, the fact that this 35-year-old does not have any physical damage as far as liver changes or esophageal changes does not mean that this lady did not have a drinking issue.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Reef?
KARIM: Absolutely right. If you`re young enough your liver may have problems detoxifying but you might not see the damage, the physical damage to the liver for quite a while. I`ve had patients where they`re heavy, heavy drinkers but they`re young enough and their liver hasn`t been abused enough that their liver enzymes, which are a measure of how bad the alcohol is being processed, aren`t even elevated. And their liver looks perfect but yet they`re still chronic drinkers.
EIGLARSH: I want to bring in the legal angle here. Ok, so they want to exhume the body to take hair samples to show whether she was a chronic user or not.
Let me explain to you legally that it doesn`t matter if she was a closet Rastafarian that got high 24/7 on days ending in Y or this was an isolated incident where she got high and then drank approximately ten drinks. Legally it doesn`t matter. Let her rest in peace and stop this PR campaign.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s hear one of the really bizarre theories floated by attorney Dominic Barbara. This one takes the cake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA: One thing we have learned is that her body was charred. And I read from the medical autopsy report that there was charring of the body because there was a fire. And I found -- my doctors have found numerous cases where you can actually have the sugar in the blood turn into alcohol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve Kardian, have you ever heard of that?
KARDIAN: No, Jane, I never have. This is a first of its kind. It`s ridiculous. And it`s not correct. He`s just so off base. This is fairy land for him.
EIGLARSH: It`s insulting, Jane. It is. It is. I`ve prosecute these cases. I defend them.
I`m a defense lawyer. I currently represent people accused of doing what she did. And I would never go on national TV or anywhere publicly and come up with this malarkey. It`s insulting to the victims. You don`t do that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Dr. Reef, it`s all because she looks like the perfect, ideal soccer mom and she was a cable executive. We have this twisted notion of what an alcoholic looks like, that it`s some bowery (ph) bum warming their hands over a fire in some skanky part of town, which is not true.
KARIM: Yes, you know, it seems like the prototypical alcoholic is some shady person. That`s not true. And obviously, we`re seeing that in this case.
And the number of women being hit up for DUIs and being arrested right now are higher and higher than ever before. Women are drinking, you know, to the same degrees as men now.
And there is no prototypical alcoholic. It`s everyone. It could be your neighbor. It could be your boss. It could be anyone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A great way to end this segment. Thank you for that wisdom.
It is national recovery month. If you`re in recovery, guess what, you`re invited. It`s A&E`s recovery rally. We`re going to do it on September 12th. Join me. I`m the emcee.