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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Bride Disappears without a Trace; Interventionist Discusses Addiction

Aired September 11, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight fear and panic mount as the countdown continues to the missing bride`s weekend wedding. Where is 90 pound, 4`11", Annie Le? The Yale grad student vanished at a research facility in New Haven. Tonight ISSUES is going big picture. Is there a crime crisis on American campuses? Ironically, this young woman just wrote an article telling students how to stay safe at school.

Also bruised and battered. New pictures of reality TV star Tila Tequila show bruises all over her arm. The MTV diva claims she was assaulted and choked by NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman. He claims he was just trying to stop her from driving drunk. Do these pictures tell a different story?

Plus, another pro-family values politician caught with his proverbial pants down. The latest values crusader caught on tape talking in graphic detail about sex with women who are not his wife. The sad part is, this guy has tons of company in the halls of government. We`ll profile the sleaziest and most hypocritical politicians in America. How can they talk about family values while they betray their own families?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Escalating alarm and sheer panic as the wedding day for beautiful missing grad student, 24-year-old Annie Le, quickly approaches. Her sudden disappearance is making headlines. There we go. Take a look at it. This is the front page of the "New York Post." It screams "Bride Vanishes."

There has been no sign of the bride-to-be since Tuesday morning. Just as mysterious, barely a word from law enforcement or Yale University campus cops.

However, the chairman of her department is saying, quote, "She did not feel safe," end quote. The pretty and petite doctoral student is planning to marry 24-year-old Columbia University student Jonathan Widawsky this Sunday. But no one has heard from her. Not family, not friends, not coworkers, not Jonathan himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBBIE APUZZO, ANNIE LE`S CO-WORKER: She`s getting married on Sunday. Her fiance hasn`t heard from her. So everybody is pretty worried, pretty scared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Annie lives in a New Haven, Connecticut, apartment. It is about two miles from where she was last seen on surveillance video on Tuesday, walking into the Yale medical research lab. Her purse, her cell phone, her credit cards and her cash were found in her office, which is located in a separate building, a few blocks away from the research center where she was last seen.

As the furious search for clues intensifies, Yale University is offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to Annie`s whereabouts? Ten thousand dollars? That`s it? From Yale? That seems like chump change for an Ivy League school. What`s going on there?

Meantime investigators are asking if Annie Le is a bride with cold feet or the victim of foul play. And we`re all asking are America`s campuses more dangerous than we think, especially for women? I want to hear straight from you.

But first, straight out to my awesome expert panel: Michael Cardoza, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Ashleigh Banfield, host of "Open Court" on In Session; Steve Cardian, former criminal investigator and director of Defend University; Dr. Dale Archer, noted clinical psychiatrist; and Mary Snow, CNN correspondent, on the ground in front of the very building where Annie was last seen on Tuesday.

Mary, what is the very latest?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, law enforcement is really concentrating. The focus, the investigation here at that lab building where Annie Le was last seen. They`ve also searched that building you mentioned just a few minutes ago, where Annie Le was first working on Tuesday morning before she came here and her home.

But throughout the day we have seen law enforcement officials in and out of this building, and what Yale is saying is more than 100 officers from federal, state and local are all now working at the case, taking a look at Annie Le`s computer. They`re also going through those security cameras and the footprints for this building. There`s a parking lot, or a parking garage also attached to this lab building.

What we know is that last -- this past Tuesday when she was last seen, it was about 10:10 a.m. And she was seen entering the building. Now what Yale is saying is that they are going through all these security cameras throughout the building and around the streets.

When did she leave the building? That`s unknown.

You also mentioned that there have been reports of a fire alarm or smoke alarm going off later in that day. It isn`t believed to be connected, say officials here. But that is also something that is being looked at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary...

SNOW: Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say, and we`re going to ask you to stand by. That was an excellent report. I have to say, even though they say there`s no connection, I find it highly coincidental that this woman goes in there and then suddenly somebody puts out a false fire alarm or a smoke alarm. And I think they need to look at that and try to figure out who was the one who called that smoke alarm in or who pulled that fire alarm? And get the fingerprints on that person. I think it`s very, very bizarre. We`re going to talk about that in a second.

Now joining me by phone, Deborah Kiley. Deborah is the hairdresser who Annie Le hired for her wedding to do her hair and her bridal party`s hair.

Deborah, thank you for joining us. I know this has to be tough for you. Some are actually wondering if Annie could be a runaway bride. Was she excited or was she worried about her upcoming marriage?

DEBORAH KILEY, DEBORAH`S HAIR LOFT (via phone): She was definitely organized and excited and very meticulous about the planning and very excited and always would e-mail me and call me week by week just to make sure we were on the same page. So I don`t think this is a runaway bride instance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s your gut telling you no way that she`s getting cold feet.

KILEY: I don`t think so. It ran through my mind when I got the phone call from her future mother-in-law. But we still even can`t put our heads around it to understand what happened. We can`t even really expect it. Like, her whole wedding party was coming in tomorrow for manicures and pedicures. And then we were scheduled to be at her hotel on Sunday morning at 7:30 to start, you know, getting her ready.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a horror story for this family. It`s very sad. And we still can`t even accept that she`s missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now let`s take a look at some of Annie`s recent Facebook status update postings. She certainly seemed very jazzed about getting married.

Quote, "Less than one week until the big day." And "Eeeeek! 13 days `til the wedding!"

Last question, Deborah Kiley. That "eek," that kind of worries me a little bit. Is that a good "eek" or a bad "eek"?

KILEY: Oh, she said that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. She said, "Eek." That`s what -- she typed it on her Facebook.

CALLER: I don`t know. I don`t even have her as a friend on Facebook. I`m sorry. I`m unaware of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you had said, essentially, you think she was very excited about marrying this young man, and certainly that seems to be the case.

I have to go to my expert panel now. Ashleigh Banfield, you have covered so many stories. I have covered so many stories. When we`re dealing with crime, I always think coincidence, I don`t know.

This fire alarm that has gone off at 1 after the woman walked in at 10 a.m. I find that very suspicious timing. Almost as, if somebody wanted to kidnap her, they could throw the fire alarm to distract everyone while they removed her from the building.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, IN SESSION: I certainly hope they dusted it for prints, Jane. That would be one good clue to start with.

What I find pretty fascinating, and Mary alluded to this at the beginning of her report, was that there -- there are a phalanx of cameras, security cameras recording every movement around that building. They actually were able to record her coming in. She swiped her security pass to come in. And they`re not able to determine that she came out.

We just covered a case in New York exactly like this. And it was a week later or so where the woman, who was a night cleaning woman, ended up being attacked in that building. And her body was hidden within that building. God, I hope that`s not the story here. But it is very, very unusual and curious that they aren`t able to record her leaving the building.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Cardoza, I found it odd that she would go to this research lab but leave her cell phone, her purse, her credit cards and her cash behind in her office three blocks away. That struck me as odd.

MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, I hate to admit this, but I leave my cell phone behind a lot. I mean, at times you`re working so hard, you`re so focused. And certainly, she was working, what, 10 to 14 hours a day...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

CARDOZA: ... so she could be ready for her wedding. That doesn`t surprise me. That`s nothing unusual.

You know what`s going to solve this case is good old-fashioned detective work. The shoe leather on the street. They`re going to eliminate, if they can, the alarm, the fire alarm. Then they will look to that article.

And that article interests me a lot, because she writes an article for the school paper, telling them or telling students who read it how to avoid crime, how to avoid having their car taken, how to avoid things like that. Did somebody read that article and go, "Really, you think you know how to stop crime? Try and stop this one." Maybe that`s what happened. So they`re going to have to eliminate that.

Did she work so hard that she finally snapped? It doesn`t sound like it. But, you know, they`ve got to explore that possibility, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mary Snow, they always have to explore the possibility of the fiance. Has he been eliminated as a suspect?

SNOW: All we know at this point is that Yale is saying that he is working with law enforcement along with the family and friends. We have not been able to talk to the fiance or his family. But he has not been seen or named so far as a suspect. And the university did say that he is working with them on this case, that he is cooperating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And my understanding, Mary -- my understanding, Mary, is that he was in Manhattan. And he lived in Manhattan. And then when he found out that she was missing, he high-tailed it up to New Haven. So that could also be an alibi for him, that he was literally in another state.

SNOW: We -- all I can tell you is that we did go to his apartment in Manhattan. And we tried to talk to his roommates. We were unable to do so. So we haven`t been able to contact him or find out where he is.

And I just want to add one other thing. I talked to a couple of people who have been going back and forth at these buildings. They say it isn`t so uncommon to leave things behind and run back and forth to some of these lab buildings. So it may not have been all that unusual for her to leave her belongings behind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you. Excellent reporting. Mary Snow, more on the desperate search for the missing bride in just a bit.

We`re also taking your calls. What`s your theory on her disappearance: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

And hypocrisy at its worst. Yet another pro-family values politician accused of cheating on his wife. How can these men talk about family values while they tear their own families to pieces?

But first, where is Annie Le? The bride-to-be vanished from the Yale campus just days before her wedding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

APUZZO: Energetic, always smiling. They loved her in the lab. Great future ahead of her. So we`re just praying that she`s just going to pop up somewhere and everything is OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

APUZZO: She was getting married Sunday. Her fiance hasn`t heard from her. Everybody is worried. Pretty scared.

TARA BANCROFT, YALE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: A lot of good friends. A wonderful fiance she`s going to marry on Sunday. Yes, we all love her a lot.

ALAN WILLIAMS, YALE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: She was just a very, very cool person, very down to earth. You know, always willing to help someone out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight fear and frustration mounting as the desperate search for 24-year-old Annie Le intensifies. Annie`s wedding just two days away, but nobody`s heard from her since Tuesday morning. She was last seen going into a research lab Tuesday morning at about 10 a.m. An alarm went off at about 1 p.m. But some published reports say she was not seen leaving the building at that time.

Could the fire alarm been part of a ruse to kidnap her, to create a distraction? Mary Snow, CNN correspondent, saying authorities are now saying, no, they don`t think so. But it is suspicious timing.

Phone lines lighting up. Kevin in Ohio. Your questions or thought, sir. Kevin? Oh, Kevin. All right.

Over the course of my career, as a reporter I have covered countless stories about crime on college campuses. The Virginia Tech massacre is one of the first that comes to mind, obviously. A mentally-ill student went on a rampage, slaughtering 32 people before killing himself. What a horror story that was that we all lived through as a nation.

But crimes against women on urban campuses are also a huge problem, and society needs to look at it. We`re going to look at the big picture here. There was that horrifying rape and torture of a Columbia University student here in New York. The thug turned the 23-year-old`s apartment into a torture chamber. He blinded her with bleach, scalded her, glued her lips together and sliced her eyelids. Thirty-one-year-old Robert Williams was convicted and sentenced to 422 years in prison.

Ironically, missing Yale grad student Annie Le had just written a cover story for her medical school`s magazine, entitled "Crime and Safety in New Haven." She wrote, quote, "With a little street smarts one can avoid becoming yet another statistic," end quote.

But according to Annie`s department head, she didn`t feel safe in New Haven.

Women who attend city schools often live off campus. Sometimes violent crimes like rape go unreported. And then, Ashleigh Banfield, you have the additional problem of schools sometimes keeping these stories hush-hush to protect their reputations. Don`t we need to address this problem as a society?

BANFIELD: Yes. Without question. Jane, you and I covered Eastern Michigan University, where Orange Taylor was sneaking into the room of one of the coeds and killed her. And it was all on videotape. And he was in there. His DNA was all over her. And it was a hung jury.

In the beginning the school tried to keep this all very quiet. Of course, after that, it just could not be kept quiet. It was a huge trial and then a retrial.

So absolutely, it`s the first thing that a coed needs to know if they`re going off to school, if they`re going off to a city school like New York, of course. They are vulnerable. They`re young. They`re impressionable. They`re probably out late at night partying, many of them. The biggest rule any young woman needs to know: do not be alone, especially at night.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it makes me sick to my stomach that, in the 21st century, a grad student at Yale can`t go about her business without fearing being attacked in a university setting. It`s barbaric. And we as women have to stand up and say, "We`re not going to take this anymore." This is part of the war on women.

Breaking news just in, Steve Cardian. We just got this in our earpieces. Mary Snow, who was at the scene, reporting that two cadaver dogs have been brought into the building, which just churns my stomach. What`s the significance?

STEVE CARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: It`s part for the course. Jane, it`s par for the course, and it`s something that they do. God forbid, if the body -- if there was something or if there is a body, now would be the time that they would hit up on it.

I just want to make a comment on her crime prevention piece. I believe she`s sharing a personal story. She`s 24 years old. She just didn`t pull that out of her -- a hat. That is a story, I believe, that probably -- and events that happened to her over the course of her time at Yale University.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she could be stalked. I was stalked in college. Dr. Dale Archer -- Dr. Dale Archer, psychiatrist.

CARDIAN: Stalking on campus is a huge, huge problem.

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, Jane, I think that -- this is nothing new, having crime underreported on campuses. They passed a law back in 1990 called the Clearly Act, which requires campuses to report all crimes that occur.

And the problem is, no one knows about it. And universities get to define, really, on their own what exactly constitutes a severe crime. So the thought is that a lot of it is still being brushed under the rug, because they don`t want to lose admissions and they don`t want to lose students. But I think it`s something that all of us need to be aware of.

And parents out there, if you are sending your child to school, you can get records for three years from that school on any crime that has taken place on or near the campus.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Cardoza, a lot of these students have a false sense of security. Because when you think campus, you think an idyllic, bucolic setting. Even if it`s in a city, it`s a leafy courtyard. And you really let your guard down.

CARDOZA: Well, sure you do. And I remember -- I`m not sure I remember back. This was long ago that I was in college. But people -- students have to be a lot smarter.

And that`s, as somebody just said, it`s on the parents to educate the young women on how to protect themselves on campus. Not be alone. Maybe carry mace with them.

But one of the things that strikes me, with a school like Yale, they can certainly afford a topnotch police department. What type of officers do they hire? How much education do those police officers give the students?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We are going to have to leave it right there. But this is a huge problem that we have to address as a society. Thank you to my fantastic panel.

So much of the crime we cover is drug and alcohol-related. Next, we`re going to talk to a famous interventionist who sees the ugly side of addiction every day. Do you know somebody who needs an intervention?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERILYN LEE, MICHAEL JACKSON`S NURSE: I looked at him, and that was the first time I got this chill through my body. And I said, "Michael, if you take that medicine, you might not wake up."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was nurse Cherilyn Lee, who said she tried to warn Michael Jackson about the powerful knock-out drugs that would eventually stop his heart.

Whether it`s Michael Jackson or DJ AM`s untimely death, so many stories we cover right here on ISSUES have to do with drug abuse. The good news: tomorrow, I`m going to be part of a history-making event. I`ll be the mistress of ceremonies at A&E`s Recovery Rally in New York City, the largest gathering of people in recovery in history, ever.

I`ll be signing copies of my new autobiography, "I Want." I reveal my battles to get sober and how putting down the last drink 14 1/2 years ago completely changed my life.

And now another warrior in the battle against addiction, interventionist Jeff Van Vonderen from the hit show "Intervention," the Grammy-nominated show on A&E.

Jeff, your show has changed so many lives. Do you think it`s also helped shatter false notions about addictions and what addicts and alcoholics look like?

JEFF VAN VONDEREN, INTERVENTIONIST: I think so. You know, there`s a lot of stereotypes about the problem, and a lot of hopelessness about it. And it`s shrouded in denial and secrecy even in our society. So anything that we can do to make it OK to talk about, more OK to admit you have a problem, to ask for help. And I think that`s probably the biggest thing the show has done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I love what you do. And let me tell you, when I look at your show, and I see a changed life -- it really -- this is the first time in history that we have these tools at our command to deal with a disease that has plagued humanity since the beginning of mankind. There are references to alcoholism, as you know, in the Bible.

VON VONDEREN: Well, sure. And, you know, the thing is that people don`t have to wring their hands and wait for somebody to hit some kind of bottom later on and there`s no control over that and nothing left to say. There`s an intervention coming anyway, you know, with this kind of problem. And when that one comes, well, then, we don`t have anything to say. Because death or, you know, the judge or somebody like that has -- has the final say.

So we want to do our intervention first. We want to preempt that intervention by having ours first and raise bottom and have them hit tomorrow. Because if they hit it tomorrow, they can get a really good bounce.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to talk about tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, you and I are going to be there in Lower Manhattan, Foley Square, which is right near city hall. Gathering at 8:30 a.m. Everybody, if you`re sober or even if you want to get sober, you are invited to join us. And it`s going to be fantastic. We`re going to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. And then Smokey Robinson on the other side. I`m going to be signing copies of my book.

What would you say to folks about the importance of tomorrow`s event?

VON VONDEREN: You know, I was here last year. And there were 5,000 people here last year. And it was the most incredibly uplifting celebration party. I mean, can you imagine putting 10,000 people together who are grateful to be alive and having them celebrate that going across the Brooklyn Bridge.

So it was one of the most incredible things that I`ve been a part of. And I`m really looking forward to tomorrow. And you know, there are a lot of people there who weren`t in recovery, but they just want to see what`s going on. I know of stories of people that got in recovery.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. But see you tomorrow morning. We`re going to have some fun. I`m sober. You`re sober. We`re all sober.

Reality TV star Tila Tequila, she claims her NFL star boyfriend beat her up. He says he didn`t. New breaking news on this one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bruised and battered: new pictures of reality TV star Tila Tequila show bruises all over her arm. The MTV diva claimed she was assaulted and choked by NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman. He claims he was just trying to stop her from driving drunk. Do these pictures tell a different story?

Plus another pro-family values politician caught with his proverbial pants down. The sad part is this guy has tons of company in the halls of government. We`ll profile the sleaziest and most hypocritical politicians in America. How can they talk about family values while they betray their own families?

Breaking news just in: San Diego Charger star Shawne Merriman will face no charges after reality personality Tila Tequila claimed he choked her. The DA`s office says, "After a thorough review of the investigation into the September 6th, 2009 incident at the home of Shawne Merriman, our office has determined there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed. This case is now closed. No further comment will be made."

Wow.

Plus shocking new details about what might have gone down between Tila and the NFL linebacker. Could jealousy over a proposed threesome be at the heart of this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you forgive Shawne? Do you forgive him?

No.

Did he apologize to you at all?

Do you have any bruises or anything you can show us?

TILA TEQUILA, REALITY TV STAR: My arms.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, your arms. Can you forgive him?

So there`s no forgiveness there.

TEQUILA: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t know? Are you going to file charges?

TEQUILA: We`ll see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tila says Merriman choked her. It does look like there`s some bruising on her arms. But what really happened? We haven`t confirmed this, but KGTV in San Diego`s reporting a source claims Tila saw Merriman go into his bedroom with two women. The report also claims he invited Tila to join them and Tila was allegedly drunk and angry and threatened to have sex with his friend and then tried to leave the house with nothing on.

Again, we have absolutely no confirmation of this report published by KGTV.

ISSUES has contacted lawyers for both sides. They haven`t gotten back to us.

Merriman maintains he was just trying to stop her from driving drunk. So is Tila a liar? KGTV says Tila lied about her injuries and insisted on going to the hospital even though nothing was wrong. But where did those bruises come from?

Tila is no stranger to drama, of course. She`s proved that on her MTV reality show "A Shot at Love."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEQUILA: You ladies ready to party? Are things going to fall apart?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tila.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re losing control everywhere.

TEQUILA: I will kick your [BLEEP].

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

TEQUILA: I don`t give a (BLEEP). That`s how I feel.

Hey. Here`s to a shot at love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Back to my expert panel. And we`re having on the one and only Mike Walters, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, what the heck is going on? Oh, we don`t have Mike Walters. All right. Well, forget about Mike Walters then.

We kind of know what the heck is going on, Michael Cardoza because of a statement by the San Diego County DA`s office. Basically, no, we`re not going to prosecute. Why do you think they decided to come out and say we`re not going to prosecute?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, simply there is no evidence. They can`t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Listen, I`ve gone down to San Diego. I`ve tried cases down there. That DA`s office is a little bit right of Genghis Khan; they`re very, very conservative people there. For that office to come out and say there`s no evidence, you believe me, there`s no evidence to carry this case.

And the bruises that she has on her arms are very consistent with his story. Because if he reaches out and grabs her, it makes sense. A man of that size, a little woman like that would bruise on the arms.

After all, what is she? Does she like this publicity? Of course, she loves this publicity. She reminds me of Paris Hilton. Somebody with no talent who gets out in the public and at any opportunity will jump at publicity. I wouldn`t prosecute it either.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know that she likes this publicity. I know she likes publicity, but this publicity with the bruises on her arms? I think it`s humiliating and embarrassing. Let`s ask another woman -- Ashleigh Banfield.

CARDOZA: That`s you. That`s you. Look at what she is. No, no. That`s you. You have respectability. Not her.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HOST, IN SESSION: Not all TV hosts want that kind publicity. But I will say this: she`s a reality TV star for MTV. She`s been on tape doing all sorts of unsavory things.

There is an allegation that she might have actually been lying about drinking that night. Bartenders or witnesses at least in the bar suggesting that they did see her drinking that night.

And here`s the deal. This is not a demure young woman trying to avoid the paparazzi. This is a woman offering up the pictures. It`s just nothing like the Chris Brown story here. I think what we`re hearing is that it`s going to be too difficult to prove a case like this when you have a he said/he said, she said/she said and the whole bunch of drinking and sex going on.

Sometimes these things happen. But if you can`t prove them in court, you really can`t do a whole lot about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like a wild party.

CARDOZA: And in addition, law enforcement through their investigations, their interviews with the people that were present, that he acted -- they allowed him to act in good faith and that she was probably intoxicated and he was restraining her from leaving and further injuring herself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a way they might both be right that there was an altercation because she was trying to leave. She regarded it as an assault.

He was regarding it as a big guy trying to keep her from leaving. Whatever, I wasn`t there, thank God.

CARDOZA: How many of us have dealt with drunks before like that? They get belligerent. You`re trying to stop them from going somewhere. They start kicking and fighting back and punching at you. You`re grabbing at them and telling them don`t leave, don`t leave. I`m sure it appears to the drunk like it is a fight, like you`re beating them up.

Their recollection, their perception is totally off. You cannot trust what she says.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now singer Rihanna became a poster child...

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Singer Rihanna is totally different case As Ashleigh said. She became the poster child for battered women syndrome when she refused to testify against her abuser, Chris Brown, initially anyway. She continued to date him for a time, even after this horrific photo leaked out.

Tila Tequila was kind of taking a different road. She`s the big tweeter. She has 240,000 people that she tweets to. She said, "I`m a strong woman. I will never be a victim of anything. I will stand tall and speak up."

Then she said something else. Let`s show the next tweet. A couple of days later I guess is what she said. She said, "A real man is able to apologize. A real woman is able to forgive and accept the apology."

Dale Archer, is she all over the map? It`s almost like at first she`s saying one thing. Then the next tweet it`s 180 degrees different.

DALE ARCHER: Yes, she`s definitely all over the map. I loved her statement where she came out and said that the Tequila nickname had nothing to do with drinking because she was allergic to alcohol. That has been heavily contested mightily. How do you get a show named "A Shot at Love" and have the nickname of Tequila when you don`t drink? That was a little bit hard to accept.

BANFIELD: I have to jump in because I don`t dispute necessarily that her facts are -- she got beaten up. Her arms are in bad shape. I think the sad story here is if you find yourself in a circumstance like parties that she may be at or with the kind unsavory people that she`s with, you may find yourself in a circumstance of being a victim without a provable case. I think, that may be where we are this story.

(CROSS TALK)

CARDOZA: No. No.

He was trying to hold her and keep her from driving.

BANFIELD: It doesn`t take a lot to restrain a girl this size. You do not have to really squash her arms to restrain her.

CARDOZA: No you don`t. But look at his size and strength.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what it is? It`s like (INAUDIBLE) that famous story where everybody is seeing the same thing, but seeing something different because they`re seeing it through their eyes. And it could be...

CARDOZA: Exactly. That`s a great analogy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It could be that there`s a little truth to everything. She may have been drinking. She may have been on a dry drunk because she says she doesn`t drink. She may have been acting in jealousy and rage because maybe that story that that local San Diego station reported has truth. Maybe there was jealousy.

I know that jealousy can provoke rage that makes you as drunk as when you`re drinking tequila. How do you know that? Because I`ve experienced it.

Dr. Dale Archer?

(CROSS TALK)

ARCHER: You`re absolutely right, Jane.

And the other I find interesting from Shawne Merriman`s statement. He said she was intoxicated. He didn`t say that she was drunk in his statement so that opens up a whole other door. And we can speculate what if anything to read into that.

But you`re right. Strong emotion can definitely trigger that. But again, from looking at her tweets and her Facebook and all of that, I just think that it`s hard to get a coherent story that makes sense from her.

I think his story at least seems to make sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, what strikes me is that all these athletes seem to go to all these wild parties. How do they get up the next day and actually play the sport that they`re making so much money to play?

BANFIELD: Amen. I`m with you, Jane. I don`t know how these people function. I don`t know how they get these jobs.

CARDOZA: Is there any proof he was drinking? Was he drinking? Or are you just speculating there? Do we know if he was drinking?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it sounded like a wild party.

CARDOZA: Well, it doesn`t mean you have to be drinking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I stand corrected.

CARDOZA: Sounds like he was having a pretty good time without drinking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re right. Maybe alcohol wasn`t involved at all. Maybe it`s just people who are both addicted to drama and who acted out.

CARDOZA: Of course, they are.

BANFIELD: Oh, come on, Jane. They`re at a big old bar, a big old party. I think they were drinking.

CARDOZA: And you got to think, if Shawne Merriman is that upset with her, you know her arms are bruised but boy, I got to think that there would be a lot more bruises if he went that emotional on her.

ARCHER: Absolutely. Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, because she says he choked her and we didn`t see any bruising around the neck.

CARDOZA: No bruises other than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much. Hang in there, panel.

Up next, one of Phillip Garrido`s business associates wants Jaycee to break her silence. We`re going to tell you why.

Then sex-obsessed politicians, it seems like a new one`s caught every week. What about John Edwards rumored love child? Has the disgraced former presidential candidate taken a paternity test?

I want to hear from you. 1-877-JVM SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former assemblyman Mike Duvall now on the list of disgraced politicians who have resigned over sex scandals. What makes a guy like him talk about graphic sex with a colleague in a public legislative chamber? We`re going to debate it.

First, "Top of the Block" tonight.

A desperate plea from one of Phillip Garrido`s business associates. Cheyvonne Molino wants Jaycee Dugard herself, the woman who went through 18 years of hell to tell cops to leave her alone and clear her of any wrong doing. All this comes after three of Molino`s properties were raided in an apparent search for child porn. Cops seized Molino`s videotapes and laptops.

The raid, as Molino claims, also had something to do with this picture, you`re looking at what`s believed to be Jaycee`s two daughters -- the picture was taken at Molino`s house at her daughter`s sweet 16 party. Molino is not considered a suspect in this particular case. It appears investigators are just dotting their i`s and crossing their t`s.

With all due respect, Jaycee Dugard has vital healing work to do and doesn`t need to be focused on anybody else`s problems. If anybody deserves a break at this moment in time, it`s Jaycee Dugard and her kids.

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

Turning to a topic we cover all the time. What is it with these sex- obsessed family values politicians? It seems like every couple of weeks another wholesome politician gets caught in a lurid sex scandal.

The latest is this little gem from Republican California assemblyman Mike Duvall. The married dad was busted giving graphic -- and I mean graphic -- details about his alleged mistresses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE DUVALL, FORMER CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLYMAN: So, I`m getting into spanking her. She goes, "I know you like spanking me." I said, "Yes, because you`re such a bad girl."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Spanky spanky. Duvall now joins the hall of shame occupied by Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards and Mark Sanford. They all made morality and family values a central part of their political careers.

Republican, Democrat, it doesn`t matter. These unfaithful husbands are always talking about their beloved families even as they`re betraying them. Listen to Eliot Spitzer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIOT SPITZER, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: I`ve disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think? As attorney general and then governor of New York, Spitzer led a moral crusade against prostitution, even as he used hookers himself. Talk about a first-class hypocrite.

Then there`s South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, what a gem he is. He used the now infamous line -- I`m hiking in the Appalachians when he was actually in Argentina hooking up with his soulmate girlfriend. It wasn`t long before Sanford was confessing his sins in front of the camera, too.

Finally, former presidential candidate John Edwards; he made his wife`s cancer a campaign theme, even as he had a secret love affair with his campaign videographer. She had a baby and there are rumors swirling about a secret paternity test. Will the Edwards baby drama ever end?

My expert panel is back.

Dr. Dale, why does the propensity to preach family values seem to always come with a propensity to engage in sleazy sex outside the marriage?

ARCHER: I`m not sure that the two are necessarily related...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am.

ARCHER: It allows us to be able to say, wow, what a hypocrite so much more. There comes a time with these powerful men where as they get older they feel that maybe they don`t have it anymore. So they want to do something to prove to themselves that, hey, you know, I`m still the guy. And often it is having sex with a younger woman. But when you think about how horrendous is this? Because basically they`re going out and doing an act which is cheating on their wife, cheating on their kids, cheating on their pledge to be faithful and they`re using that to feel good about who they are as a man. It`s a complete contradiction but obviously we see it all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s been a cloud hanging over John Edwards since he admitted his affair. Is he the father of his mistress` baby?

A Raleigh news station reports that John Edwards is going to admit that he is. I have no idea whether there`s any truth to that report. We cannot confirm it independently.

What we can say is Larry King asked Elizabeth Edwards if her husband would take a paternity test. And here`s what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: My expectation is at some point something happens. I hope for the sake of this child that it happens in a quiet way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Ashleigh Banfield, wouldn`t Edwards and the family want to clear this up for the sake of the child? Why have they waited so long, do you think?

BANFIELD: God, I don`t know that answer. All I can say is that at this point I don`t care if that baby is John Edwards`. I think we kind of know the whole story.

What I do care about is that poor Elizabeth Edwards stops getting these questions asked of her. She seems to have come out on the real short end of this in the media and everything else.

We know the story. It`s ugly. It`s yucky. I just want Elizabeth Edwards to move on and get better.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this, Ashleigh. Here he is at a podium that says Father of the Year.

BANFIELD: How about that, huh?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, to me, Michael Cardoza, I don`t want to psycho babble, but yes, maybe I do. I think one of the reasons why it`s precisely the men who try to tell other people how to live their lives in their bedroom and who preach about how wonderful they are as family men, they`re the ones who usually get caught in these scandals because they`re projecting what they really want to do onto everybody else and then trying to stop them from doing it.

It`s -- there`s a psychiatric term for this, Dr. Dale.

CARDOZA: Jane, Jane. You want to know the sins of the preacher? Listen to what he preaches about.

ARCHER: Jane, obviously, yes, you`re talking about classic projection here. But you know this is a rampant problem in America. And we only hear about it when it`s someone who`s famous or someone who`s in the news or someone who`s a politician.

But there have been numerous polls trying to get a grip on this. But the problem is it`s very hard to do because folks, when they start taking to task, whether it`s online or pencil and paper, wherever, they think you know what, maybe it`s not totally confidential and to be safe I`m going to lie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang in there. We`re going to have more of these sleazy hypocritical politicians in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": Anything that can be done to bring some shame on this guy makes me happy. I just want to thank you for putting in the part about his small penis because I really got pleasure out of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love it. That was a funny moment from Tuesday`s show when we talked to Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff`s mistress. It goes to show you how men who stray and get caught can become the focus of universal ridicule and humiliation, especially when they`re crooks on top of it.

You know, do cheaters simply think they`re never going to get caught? Back to my fantastic panel.

And Michael Cardoza, I think we`ve all covered a lot of politics as well as crime. You know, there`s talk of a fraternity atmosphere in state capitols around the country because these politicians, mostly male, go to the capitol and their wives stay back in the home district, so they`re not together.

You know, when the mouse is away, the cat will play kind of thing.

CARDOZA: But you`d think. I mean, yes, that does happen a lot. But you`d think that we send mature people to make our laws, to regulate us when in fact we`re sending very insecure people there to do exactly that.

Look at Duvall here in California, the case you were just talking about, where he talked about his two mistresses who happened to be, at least one of them, lobbyists. Today he said here in California, one of the newspaper reports that I read, that he said, "Oh, I was just joking with my fellow Congressman or assemblyman, I was just joking, I really didn`t mean it, I really didn`t do that."

And I`m thinking, okay, you really didn`t do it, so you were lying to him about that to make yourself a bigger guy. So am I supposed to think more about you than less because of that? It`s amazing the people that we elect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t necessarily believe that he was lying. And I think...

CARDOZA: I don`t believe it for a second.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s an investigation under way right now because he was actually on a committee, he was the vice chairman of the utilities committee and the probe centers on whether this woman was a lobbyist for an energy company and that she was influencing his decision.

So we, the taxpayers, are impacted by this kind of behavior. This isn`t just salacious behavior. This is cynical behavior.

CARDOZA: It`s beyond cynical.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Karen, West Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am.

KAREN, WEST VIRGINIA (via telephone): Yes. Is this -- these politicians having affairs, it`s almost like there was a precedent set by our president, President Clinton, several years ago. And it`s just become the norm across the country that it`s perfectly acceptable for these politicians to go out and have affairs and go into the public and lie to us first and then admit it and then, you know, be forgiven by their family and their children and continue on in politics...

BANFIELD: I don`t think they have a chance to continue. Mark Foley is Gonzo. A lot of these guys the more pious they get the bigger the thrill and the bigger the kill. I don`t think they survive this a lot of times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I don`t think they do at all. Look at John Edwards, and look at Eliot Spitzer. He`s trying to make a comeback, but I don`t think it`s going to happen.

I want to thank my fantastic panel for joining me tonight. It`s such an interesting topic. And you know, I think it deals with narcissism, egotism, and all of the isms.

You`re invited to A&E`s recovery rally, a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. I`m going to be the mistress of ceremonies. Join me and 10,000 tomorrow, Saturday, September 12th.

I talk about my struggle to get sober in my new autobiography called "I Want." For more information on the book and the rally go to cnn.com/Jane.

END

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