Edition: U.S. | Arabic | Set Pref

 

Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Bizarre Behavior Revealed in Jailhouse Video of Murder Suspect; Organization Rescues Factory Farm Animals; Jon Gosselin`s Epiphany; Quaids Pay Up; Letterman Sex Secrets

Aired October 2, 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, it`s one of the craziest jailhouse videos cops have ever seen. A jail-cell strip show, performed by a millionaire murder suspect. A 61-year-old man accused of killing his wife is on videotape modeling his prison jump suit, unbuttoning his shirt and dancing. This doesn`t exactly look like a husband in mourning.

Cops say this guy shot his wife, then called 911, confessing to the murder. But now he`s behind bars. He`s joking with his daughter and talking about being released. What`s up with this guy?

And Jon Gosselin`s fighting back. The former star of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" claims he had an epiphany, and now wants his children taken off the reality TV show. An epiphany? Really? Funny how his sudden enlightenment comes less than a week after he got the boot from TLC.

Now that he`s out of the picture, he suddenly feels the TV show is unhealthy for his kids. Wild coincidence?

Plus, a late night bombshell. David Letterman admits to having sex with his co-workers, telling the live audience he was blackmailed by a colleague from CBS. Cops say an Emmy Award winning producer from CBS`s "48 Hours" threatened to expose Letterman`s sexual affairs if he didn`t pay up $2 million. Letterman allegedly gave this guy a phony check. Now the TV producer`s behind bars. This is the same kind of story he exposes on "48 Hours." If true, what was he thinking?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, shocking behavior caught on jailhouse video and released to the public. J. Robert "Bob" Ward charged with shooting his wife to death inside their $3.5 million south Florida mansion. Cops say the high-flying real-estate developer called 911 and actually confessed. Quote, "I just shot my wife. She`s dead. She`s on the floor of the master bedroom," end quote.

Then, a bizarre twist, Bob Ward being taken into custody. In this home video from WFTV.com reportedly changes his story. According to cops, Ward said his wife was trying to commit suicide and shot herself. He was just trying to get the gun away from her.

But that`s not even the strangest part of this very bizarre story. What you`re looking at right there, video from inside the Orange County, Florida jail. Bob Ward then begins to do a strip tease. His daughter and his sister-in-law clowning around and joking with one another. Mind you: the younger woman just lost her mom. The older woman just lost her sister.

Meanwhile, here`s what the millionaire murder suspect, Bob, said about his accommodations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB WARD, MURDER SUSPECT: I`m in some kind of lockdown right now, just to keep me safe supposedly. But I told them -- I said I`m not worried about anybody so get me the hell out of here. A special lockdown, so I`m protected from the general population, which is a bunch of crap. I`m not worried about anybody here. You know, I just would like to get out of this nasty cell that doesn`t have any water. I mean, this place hasn`t been cleaned in I can`t tell you when.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but it`s not a hotel room, Bob. Published reports indicate this real-estate mogul`s empire had recently collapsed during the housing crisis, and his company has declared bankruptcy. Friends say he`d been complaining his wife was spending too much money.

And tonight`s big issue: do Florida`s sunshine laws which permit all this jail video to be released to the public help or hurt justice?

Straight out to my awesome expert panel: Mark Eiglarsh, Florida criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Lisa Bloom, CNN legal analyst; Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital; and Drew Petrimoulx, reporter with WDVO radio in Orlando. He`s been tracking this case.

Drew, give us the back story of this seemingly wealthy couple and what was happening in their lives before she wound up dead with a bullet to the head.

DREW PETRIMOULX, REPORTER, WDVO (via phone): They came to Orlando from Atlanta in 2007. Bob Ward started a real-estate company called Land Resources, which really had a hand in real estate all over the country developing luxury townhouses and homes and developing neighborhoods. You know, they made a lot of money. He was making -- the company pulled in hundreds of millions of dollars during its prime.

But as a lot of business has happened during this economic downturn, business went south, and they had legal problems with certain developments. And their house here in Orlando was foreclosed on so the economic tough times really took a toll on this man`s business and, apparently, his family, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And among the hours of jailhouse tapes that have been released to the public, there were only a few references to the victim, so how does she fit in in this entire story? Where`s the motive here? Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, handsome. You look good. I`m completely here for you, 100 percent, because you know that you`re my hero. I also want to let you know how nice I think that you look right now. I`ve been trying to get you to wear pajamas for years now.

WARD: Oh, God, you look great. You look really, really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I`m hanging in there. I`m showering daily which is obviously very important. You know how we feel about hygiene. And I`m glad to see you`re showering. So I`m so disappointed you have to keep putting the dirty jump suit back on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Gail Saltz, this is so bizarre. I mean, this is a family in crisis. A woman that supposedly they all love and they`re related to, has died a violent death, and they`re -- they`re joking about wardrobe and hygiene?

DR. GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: You know, it -- it is entirely bizarre, and this just goes to show that you really can`t evaluate someone`s mental health by just looking at them or listening to them. We don`t know what each of them is thinking.

So until someone has sat down and asked them, you know, what is the laughing about? What -- you know, what was your relationship like? What was going on?

I mean, this looks so, you know, completely out of place that you`d almost wonder if this wasn`t group, you know, psychosis or something, because no one is reacting like there`s been a death. But we -- we really don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Lisa Bloom, according to published reports, he had complained to two friends at least that his wife was spending too much money. You heard about the fact that his company went into bankruptcy, and he was experiencing the downward spiral of going from tremendous wealth into money problems. That`s obviously a stressor. Could that be something prosecutors use as a motive here?

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Money is the oldest motive in the book. We see it in case after case. And I think the most telling fact is that, when he initially called the police, he said that he shot her. You know, in the shock of the moment, in the crisis of the moment, people generally tend to say the facts. They say what`s true. And then later on, he`s got to backtrack and call it a suicide.

And my goodness, if it was a suicide, wouldn`t that be all the more tragic? Wouldn`t that make them even more somber when they`re in the jailhouse talking to each other? I mean, this just does not make a lot of sense.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And Jane, he`s definitely jeopardizing his own case right now. At a maximum, this could affect the criminal case, and it could be used in evidence against him.

At a minimum, he has a bond hearing potentially coming up. Second- degree murder here in Florida is a non-bondable offense. The judge is the only one in his discretion who can give him a bond. His actions on this videotape will be considered by this judge as someone who, "Hey, listen, you might be a flight risk."

So I say in short, there`s three things we know right now. One, you don`t eat meat. No. 2, Lisa has a phenomenal smile, and No. 3, this guy...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Neither does Lisa, by the way.

EIGLARSH: ... is an idiot.

BLOOM: Just trying to butter me up. You know, I`m still going to argue with you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re giving the -- you`re giving the suspect a run for his money, Mark Eiglarsh, with your little quirky observations. Bob Ward and his daughter spoke about everything under the sun, including wardrobe. Here`s a very interesting sample of their bizarre conversations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, handsome.

WARD: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) beard?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look good. I`m completely here for you. 100 percent. Because you know that you`re my hero. I also want to let you know how nice I think that you look right now. I`ve been trying to get you to wear pajamas for years now.

WARD: Oh, God, you look great. You look really, really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I`m hanging in there. I`m showering daily, which is obviously, you know, very important. You know how we feel about hygiene. I`m glad to see that you`re showering. I`m just so disappointed you would have to keep putting the dirty jump suit back on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Gail Saltz, this is so strange. Honestly, we`ve watched hours and hours of this stuff, and it was hard to decide which clip to use because there were so many bizarre clips.

Is he trying perhaps to set himself up for an insanity defense, or is it perhaps that he is losing it, because he`s lost so much money? I mean, we`ve seen so many people recently, in the Bernie Madoff case and in the housing crash, the stock market crash, lose their shirts, and some of them go a little loopy.

SALTZ: Yes. There are many people who have lost their shirts and subsequently lost their minds. I mean, we`ve seen a number of suicides of very, very wealthy people who have lost it all. And I think it is a huge stressor that can actually cause someone to have a depression, to have a psychotic depression.

But what`s very bizarre in addition is his daughter`s acting bizarrely. She`s not acting like someone who`s just lost her mother to suicide or murder. And frankly, she has sort of a really strange, intimate talk with him there about how he looks and how she looks and how she`s bathing, and that`s all very strange.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s her hero.

SALTZ: Exactly.

EIGLARSH: A hero? A hero? When did -- when did the standard to become a hero be reduced to someone who admits to killing their wife? I guess we`re all heroes.

BLOOM: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know...

BLOOM: You know what else, Jane? This is...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The questions that you would ask of somebody who`s accused of killing your mother.

All right. More on this very bizarre jailhouse video in just a bit.

Plus, speaking of bizarre, Jon Gosselin says he`s had it. Suddenly, he wants his kids off the reality show. This just a couple days after he was basically booted from the show. So was this really an epiphany, or is there a timing issue here?

But first, dancing, stripping, and laughing. A man accused of killing his wife, shooting her in the head, joking with family members from inside his jail cell. Doesn`t exactly look like a grieving family to me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: They like watching me go to the shower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: Believe me, I`m not here in the Ritz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lifestyle change for you. I can only imagine. I know you`re missing a bidet.

WARD: This place hasn`t been cleaned in I can`t tell you when.

PAULA SAARE, SISTER-IN-LAW OF SUSPECT: Well, I`ll definitely get housekeeping for that. I`ll call housekeeping right now and make sure. And I`ll have them put a mint on your pillow, too, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Ha, ha, ha. Big laugh. A woman`s dead. Related to them, with a bullet in her head.

Tonight`s big issue: do Florida`s sunshine laws, which permit all this stuff to be released to the public, help or hurt justice? Listen to Bob Ward`s sister-in-law actually caution him about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAARE: The media can request transcripts of this, so we want to be pretty much as bland as possible, because these guys, you know, we just don`t want to give them anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As bland as possible? They`re putting on a show that`s being called the most bizarre jailhouse performance of the century.

If the format of this video looks familiar, well, take a look. Casey Anthony also in custody, the Orange County Florida sheriff, same place. During visits from her parents, Casey provided the media and public lots of colorful rants. We all saw them.

What about Hulk Hogan`s son, Nick? His words came back to bite him after Pinellas County, Florida, released audio of him complaining about his tiny holding cell and his desire for a reality show, even though he`d been charged with reckless driving after an accident that left his friend and passenger paralyzed.

Drew Petrimoulx, you`re the reporter down there in Florida. Are these liberal sunshine laws making Florida seem like it`s the capital of crime because obviously, the media gravitates to these stories since they`re so colorful, since we see them all on videotape?

PETRIMOULX: Well, they definitely make my job a lot easier, frankly, but you know, there`s something to having a transparent system like that, where everything is shown to the media and available to everybody. It`s not just the media that can see it. You can go down to the courthouse and get all these documents and get this stuff for yourself. So it is very liberal.

One thing I will say, the 911 call, where he allegedly admitted to shooting his wife, that hasn`t been released. I guess police are saying that that`s part of their investigation and too sensitive. So there are some things that they won`t release, but of course, it will be very interesting when they do release that, because allegedly, he admits to murdering his own wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to debate this issue. Mark Eiglarsh, you`re a former prosecutor. You`re a criminal defense attorney. You work down there in Florida. Are these extremely liberal sunshine laws in Florida, which are described sometimes as the most liberal in the entire country, helping or hurting justice in Florida?

EIGLARSH: Well, let me defend Florida. We don`t have the kind of crime that people think, based on what we see every night on this program and others.

The bottom line is the media will not show something unless there`s something to see. So if the story was, well, we heard someone overheard him acting inappropriately, that wouldn`t be on the news. So the fact that there`s a videotape with him, Casey Anthony and the other examples you gave, makes people then see, and thus, they think erroneously we have more crime here than others. So I...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but don`t blame the media, Lisa Bloom. Don`t blame the media for that.

BLOOM: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re reporting what we see.

BLOOM: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If we were to keep this quiet, people would say, well, you wouldn`t show this because he`s a rich guy and...

EIGLARSH: I`m not blaming the media.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If he`s a poor guy...

BLOOM: Listen, all states should have...

EIGLARSH: It`s a fact. I`m not blaming the media. I`m not blaming the media. I`m just saying I understand your function, and you then show it on the news...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa...

BLOOM: But listen, listen, the judicial system is a branch of government, just like the legislative and executive. We`re all paying for it. We should have transparency in all three branches of government. I think the other 49 states should follow Florida`s lead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Me, too.

BLOOM: We should know what`s going on in our courts and in our police and in our jails and, by the way, everybody is warned. I mean, this guy, everybody in jail is warned, you are being videotaped. You are being audiotaped when you`re on the phone. Hello. And they go ahead and engage in this behavior anyway.

Look, I was an anchor on Court TV for eight years. We loved Florida because Florida had these sunshine laws and we could get our cameras in. And it`s good for the system of justice for people to see what`s going on, be educated about what`s going on. So I`m a big First Amendment absolutist. I applaud them for having a sunshine law.

EIGLARSH: There`s no debate here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, there is a debate.

EIGLARSH: I know you want to debate with me and Lisa. I don`t disagree with you. I believe that steak is magnificent. She doesn`t. But on this issue, I don`t have a problem with that. I don`t mind them putting it out there, as long as the public knows...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying...

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All we`re saying is every single state in the union should open up and have the same sunshine laws.

BLOOM: Here, here.

EIGLARSH: Kumbaya, we all agree. I`m not disagreeing with you on that issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Finally you came around and agreed with me. I like when that happens.

BLOOM: But most defense attorneys do not want this kind of tape out there. They`re going to say it will taint the jury pool.

EIGLARSH: Right.

BLOOM: We`re going to see this guy looking like an idiot.

EIGLARSH: Right.

BLOOM: It makes him look guilty. So most defense attorneys don`t like it.

EIGLARSH: Right. If I was defending him, that would be my position. Personally, let it out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there, since we all agree. Thank you.

We`re excited to welcome "The Joy Behar Show" to our primetime lineup. It airs every night at 9 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN. Here`s just a little nibble, a taste of what you`re going to get. It`s her "Not for Nothing" commentary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, HLN ANCHOR: Not for nothing, but all I keep hearing is that President Obama is trying to do too much, that he has too much on his plate. Rush Limbaugh has too much on his plate. Barack Obama is the president. He`s supposed to be busy.

Sorry, but after two terms of a president who had more time to work on his tan than George Hamilton, Obama looks like a guy with hyperactivity disorder.

By the way, how you spend your time is also important. May I just add that? Obama has spent the last eight months trying to pass health-care reform and negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons. Bush spent eight years just trying to pronounce the word "nuclear."

President Obama hasn`t taken on too much. He just has to work too hard to achieve anything because a lot of people in Congress fight him at every turn. You know, it`s easy to sit on your behind and criticize. My staff is doing that right now. I see you. I`m watching all of you.

Rather than accuse Obama of being overextended, why don`t they blowhards in Congress come up with some alternatives or solutions? All you hear is this endless stream of, "No," "I don`t want to," "You`re going to do what?" They sound like me on my wedding night.

May I offer up this solution? When these lazy SOBs come up for the midterm election, just tell them you would have voted for them but you were just too busy.

That`s just me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joy`s guest tonight, two of my favorites, Kathy Griffin and Vanessa Williams. That is 9 p.m. Eastern tonight here on HLN.

Once again, thank you, fantastic panel.

Now we`re talking sex, blackmail and late-night television. We`re going to take a look at David Letterman`s admitted sexual affairs and the network TV producer who allegedly tried to extort him for 2 million bucks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight," the cruel reality of factory farming. Helpless animals living out their lives in unspeakable conditions in order to put food on your dinner table. You always hear Americans proclaiming their love of animals. But what most people don`t realize is the vast majority of animals in this country, the U.S. of A., are raised and slaughtered for food. Ten billion animals every year.

Finally, Americans are waking up to the reality of factory farming. This Sunday, Americans all across the country are marching to speak out for these voiceless farm animals. I will be speaking at the biggest march in New York City, leading this movement is my very special guest and dear friend, Gene Bower, president and cofounder of a wonderful organization called Farm Sanctuary.

Gene, let`s take a look at some of the animals you`ve rescued from sickening conditions. They`re now living out their lives on your sanctuaries in New York and California, and this is the way nature intended. This is a beautiful thing. But it`s a rare thing.

What is Farm Sanctuary`s goal with these marches this weekend, Gene?

GENE BOWER, PRESIDENT/COFOUNDER, FARM SANCTUARY: Well, what we intend to do is to make people think about what they`re eating. And unfortunately, most people don`t really recognize how these animals are being abused on factory farms every day, whether in cages so small they can`t turn around or even stretch their limbs. They will live that way for months or years, and they`re driven mad. Their physical and psychological needs are not being met. And we think that needs to change.

Most people are humane, and they would not abide this if they saw it. So we want people to think about what they eat and make choices that are consistent with their own values.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Once again, these are the beautiful pictures of the farm animals you`ve rescued and given sanctuary to. But this is not the experience of most animals in this country.

You know, every few months, PETA or the Humane Society, they do undercover investigations to expose some of the worst animal facilities. We`re going to only show you a tiny snippet of PETA`s just-released video, because it is so disturbing. Be forewarned.

PETA filmed these cows at a dairy farm in Pennsylvania that supplies a major brand, and we can`t even show you the worst of it. I`ve got to tell you, it`s really horrific stuff.

You know, Gene, how can anybody with a conscience look at the way those animals were being treated and say, "Hey, that`s OK"?

BOWER: I don`t think people can. I mean, when you see this, it`s upsetting. It`s disturbing; it`s unnecessary. You know, farm animals, like all animals, have feelings. They deserve to be treated with respect and compassion.

Unfortunately, on these industrialized factory farms, the animals are seen as nothing but commodities, pieces of meat from the day they`re born until the day they`re killed. And that`s wrong. You know, these are animals with feelings. They deserve to be treated better.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is a consumer issue, because if consumers decide, "Hey, I don`t like the way these animals are being treated," there are things they can do to make the conditions better, according to the law of supply and demand.

BOWER: That`s absolutely right. I think most consumers are un- wittingly supporting abuse by buying factory farm meat, milk and egg products. Consumers need to take more responsibility and think about their food choices. Go to farmers markets`, buy fruits and vegetables, you know, replace meat with plant foods. It`s healthier to be vegan, in fact. I`m a vegan. I`ve been a vegan since 1985. I eat no meat, no dairy, no eggs. And there`s, thankfully, growing awareness and more vegans around, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I just want to say, I am one, too, and full disclosure, I`m a big supporter of farm sanctuaries. That`s why I`m marching this weekend. That`s why I`m speaking this weekend, because I love animals.

And I`m going to be a special guest at the walk for farm animals, Sunday here in New York City. Marches going around all over the country. To find one in your area, go to CNN.com/Jane or go to FarmSanctuary.org. This is an important cause, people.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Gosselin fighting back. The former star of "Jon and Kate plus 8" claims he had an epiphany. And now wants his children taken off the reality show.

An epiphany? Really? Funny how his sudden enlightenment comes less than a week after he got the boot from the TLC show. Wild coincidence?

Plus, a late night bombshell: David Letterman admits to having sex with his co-workers, telling the live audience he was blackmailed by a colleague from CBS. Cops say an Emmy award winning producer from CBS` "48 Hours" threatened to expose Letterman`s sexual affairs if he didn`t pay $2 million.

Tonight, Jon Gosselin fires back at his meal ticket, TLC. He wants filming of his family`s hit reality show to stop for good and guess why? He says the show is bad for the kiddies. Too bad it took him four years of using his eight kids and cashing those fat TLC checks for him to see the light suddenly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON GOSSELIN, "JON & KATE PLUS 8": I`m asking not to be on the show and I`m asking my children not to be on the show. I mean, I don`t want them to film anymore.

I don`t think it`s healthy for them and the reason I don`t think it`s healthy for them is we`re going through a divorce right now. And I don`t think it should be televised and I think my kids should be taken off the show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon`s self-proclaimed epiphany has some pretty interesting timing. Just a few days ago, TLC announced that the show would now be called simply "Kate plus 8." The network said it was just trying to evolve along with the family, or devolve.

Translation: mom and dad Gosselin can`t even be in the same room together since their separation.

So is Jon`s change of heart in response to his dwindling role in the show? He claims he made the first move asking to be off the show weeks ago, so what is the truth?

Back out to my fantastic panel and we`re delighted to have Paul Peterson, president and founder of A Minor Consideration, a group that works to watch out for these showbiz kids and very happy to have Amy Palmer, senior editor of "In Touch Weekly."

Amy, so many back and forths, it`s hard to keep up. What is the very latest on this one?

AMY PALMER, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": The very latest is that Jon Gosselin has gone mad. I mean, the guy every single day it`s something new.

I think he feels empowered by his new management team. It seems that they`re telling him take back your life, be empowered, you`re the man of this family. That`s what we`re seeing. He`s trying to do what we all thought he should have done months ago but it`s a little too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I would say so. Jon Gosselin suddenly a father with a conscience?

Listen to him explain his newfound clarity and how Kate`s attorney responds to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. GOSSELIN: I had an epiphany one day. I just looked in the mirror and I said I don`t want to be this person anymore, I made mistakes, I know I messed up.

MARK MOMJIAN, ATTORNEY FOR KATE GOSSELIN: It`s clear that his timing is connected to his diminished role on the show. Just last week, September 25th, he was taping with the children. All of a sudden, he has an epiphany. Maybe he`ll have another or new epiphany tomorrow. Or maybe he`ll have another epiphany the following week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paul Peterson, president and founder of A Minor Consideration, you look out for these show biz kids but this show is being taped in Pennsylvania, not exactly Hollywood.

He`s made some rumblings -- Jon has -- about violations allegedly of child labor laws. What can be done to protect these children in this ugly, ugly mess?

PAUL PETERSON, FOUNDER, A MINOR CONSIDERATION: Well, first, all of us must not kill the messenger because of the message. Jon Gosselin admitted that the kids did not have the Pennsylvania permits required to be on a television show. We already know they`re not being fairly compensated.

This is a mess of huge proportions, because now we have hundreds of kids on reality shows. And let me repeat this so people understand: if a state does not have individual child labor laws for entertainment, the kids are without protections.

When kids are employed on these shows -- and they are performers in every sense of the word -- they need to have the full weight and protection of our industry. That means a competent teacher welfare worker, always present; limited hours; mandatory education. No goofing around with the health, safety and morals of the minors. No filming potty training and babies taking a bath.

We have got to stop. I`ve had enough. Haven`t you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well...

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hear, hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think this is a huge, huge mess. And I could tell you that TLC insists that it has done absolutely nothing wrong.

But what I`m hearing you say, Paul, is that even though the messenger, Jon, may be dirty himself in some senses, and the timing very suspicious, you believe essentially that what he`s saying has validity, even though he`s been doing this show for seasons and didn`t seem to notice these problems until they tried to kick him off the show.

PETERSON: Well, he`s not the only one in the country. First of all, I trust nothing TLC says. I have publicly been saying for the last two years; it`s time to go, time to quit. The harm being done to these children is genuine, and Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry must step forward. They have been investigating this family and the work circumstances for eight months.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, what do you make of this?

BLOOM: Listen, I agree with Paul. Not just because my mother represents him.

I think that children are really the heart of this case. Jon and Kate are going to fight, who cares. There are eight kids here and as Paul points out, money is supposed to be set aside for them. God forbid they all reach the age of 18 and find out they have zero from all of this work they have been doing as children.

Now, I don`t know if TLC is complying with the laws or not but I do think it`s unhealthy for children to grow up surrounded by cameras, crews, sound equipment, lighting equipment, producers telling them what to do.

We only see what`s in front of the camera. We don`t know what`s going on behind the camera but all of us who work in television know it`s a lot.

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course it is. It`s stressful to be on television. We`re all stressed at the end of the week. You feel like you`re limping to the finish line because it takes it out of you, at least me.

BLOOM: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe because I`m arguing all the time. But it does seem to take it out of you by the weekend.

But I have a follow-up question for Lisa Bloom because I want to ask you a specific question.

Jon seems a tad overmatched in this battle against Kate and TLC. Check out this pitiful sign he posted on his property. It read, "Notice. No film crew or production staff from TLC permitted on this property under penalty of trespass. Johnathon Gosselin." but unfortunately, penalty and his own name Jonathan were misspelled.

So how can this guy be taken seriously, but beyond that, Lisa, you`re a lawyer. Can he keep the crews out given that he`s arguing his name is on the title of this house?

BLOOM: Here`s what happened, obviously. He`s in negotiations with the network. They couldn`t reach an agreement as to money. He wants money so he goes to his lawyers and says, "How can I ramp up my leverage against the network."

I know, they get a bright idea. It`s his house, his property or at least 50 percent if they`re getting a divorce. He can say who can come on the property and who can`t. Let`s put up no trespassing signs and keep the network off. It was a bold move. It was a creative move. You got to hand it to him.

Maybe there`s a little tiny part of me that always likes it when the little guys stick it to the network. I know that`s wrong. I know it`s wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy is the father of these children. So if he says, "These are my kids, you cannot videotape them..."

BLOOM: Yes. He`s on strong legal ground.

(CROSS TALK)

BLOOM: Both on trespassing and on the fact that he`s a custodian of the kids. He can make decisions as to what they do and they can`t do. He`s obviously doing it to leverage money for himself. I think we can all see that. That`s what makes it distasteful but legally, I think he`s okay.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gail, you`re the psychiatrist. How is this impacting the children? You see their ages here, approximately.

GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they too young to understand what`s going on or do they sense the toxicity?

SALTZ: They`re too young to understand some of it but that doesn`t mean it`s not having impact. Really, this should have all stopped the minute the parents were saying we`re not getting along.

Divorce has a huge impact on children; their mental health, physical health, their long-term wellbeing. And for this to be happening under the cameras, never mind that obviously they`re not in treatment, they`re not getting help with what`s really happening in their world, which is their parents are getting divorced which is really the demise of the child`s world. So the parents need to be investing themselves in that instead of fighting with each other and with TLC.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just have to say, TLC fired back, they issued a statement calling Jon`s behavior erratic and opportunistic. Kate said basically I`m saddened and confused by Jon`s media statements -- yada, yada, yada. It`s going on and on.

Paul Peterson, bottom line, does Jon, do you think, have the power to stop the taping of a show involving his kids? Either on his property that he co-owns or on somebody else`s property?

PETERSON: I think he does. But here`s what`s really important. We have the power to stop this. This is a mess. The children are at risk. And if we can devote time to the welfare of animals, surely we can find some time to help these 8 children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not a competition, Paul.

BLOOM: We can do both.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a matter of fact...

PETERSON: Isn`t it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: People who abuse animals often abuse children. When you go to a house where somebody`s abusing animals, chances are the guy`s beating up on the wife and kids, too. It`s not a competition. Lisa Bloom.

PETERSON: And here we have a circumstance where publicly, the children are being placed at risk. We must all speak up and step up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, I`ll give you the last ten seconds.

BLOOM: Well, hear, hear, I agree with that.

Again, I don`t know if TLC is complying with the labor laws or not. You know, that`s the key thing. The children are what we have to remember. Are they being protected?

PETERSON: That`s right.

BLOOM: Is their time limited on camera and is the money being set aside for them? That`s my concern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to see how this plays out. So great having all of you on -- Paul Peterson, especially -- thank you for coming on. You`re doing great work with your group, A Minor Consideration.

Randy Quaid and his wife paid up but that doesn`t mean they`re in the clear. Could this Hollywood couple get thrown in jail for running out on their hotel bill?

Plus, David Letterman exposes an extortion plot. We`ll give you the juicy details in this extraordinarily bizarre sexual blackmail case, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More scandalous details coming to light after David Letterman`s shocking announcement that he was involved in an extortion plot over his sex secrets.

We`ll give you the latest in a minute but first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Randy and Evi Quaid pay up. The famous couple has reportedly paid the remaining balance on the roughly $10,000 hotel bill they allegedly skipped out on. The first half was paid last week, shortly after a warrant was issued for their arrest. The rest was reportedly paid off yesterday but that doesn`t mean they`re in the clear.

The Quaids still face charges of burglary, conspiracy, and defrauding an innkeeper. They are expected in court October 19th. You can bet your bottom dollar ISSUES will be there.

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

This one: wild story -- steamy sex secrets and vicious blackmail inside a $2 million Hollywood extortion plot. Well, sort of. The target: late night`s funnyman, David Letterman.

Check out the scandalous headlines. This is unbelievable. Today`s New York Post, "I had Sex with Staff." "The New York Daily News reads "$2 Million Sex Extort Plot." Love it when they are dual headlines on these papers in the city.

On CBS` "The Late Show" Dave describes how it allegedly all began. He got a mysterious package.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS HOST: Contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things. At 6:00 in the morning -- and maybe this looks better to you at noon -- but 6:00 in the morning, all you can think about is every terrible thing you have ever done in your entire life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love David Letterman. He`s so funny. Letterman then dropped this bombshell on his live audience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: What was all the creepy stuff that he was going to put into the screenplay and the movie? And the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.

Now, my response to that is "Yes, I have." I have had sex with women who worked on this show. And would it be embarrassing if it were made public? Perhaps it would. Perhaps it would, especially for the women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. Leave it to Letterman to get a laugh out of this whole thing.

During an elaborate sting, Dave allegedly wrote his blackmailer a phony $2 million check. Cops swooped in and busted the unlikely suspect.

This is perhaps the most shocking twist of all. The suspect is a big-wig CBS producer. CBS says the alleged mastermind behind the scheme is Joe Halderman, an Emmy award-winning producer for "48 Hours."

Now, this TV producer could face up to 15 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty, but how did alleged blackmailer Mr. Halderman know about Letterman`s top-secret sex with co-workers?

Straight out to my expert panel: also joining us, Mike Walters of TMZ. Mike, I need a score card on this one. Dare I ask what is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, you asked how he knew. He dated the girl; the girl that dated Letterman. And that`s how this all came about and the really interesting part is like you said, he pled not guilty.

But if you go back to what happened in the sting, apparently he wrote a screenplay like he actually wrote all the women David had been with throughout this big entire screenplay. That`s when he dropped off with photos, a diary, e-mail correspondence, and basically said if you don`t call me in a couple hours, I`m going to release this. I`m going to make it a book, a movie, whatever.

So Letterman did what anybody should do and those watching this, too. Call your attorney; they got with the special prosecutors at the Manhattan D.A. And they set up this sting.

Now, my favorite part of this whole story is, okay, look, this happens in Hollywood where extortion, people have money, this happens. This guy who works for "48 Hours" and I have talked to people over there, apparently he`s a brilliant producer but he asked for a check for $2 million and then tries to cash it in his personal bank account.

It`s like what in the world are you thinking about this, especially trying to go after somebody as big as David Letterman. But trying to get a check, and you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t he have money problems, Mike Walters? Doesn`t this guy have money problems?

WALTER: I was going to say -- I`ll end with this, we dug up his divorce in 2004 with his ex-wife and he had to, at the end, he had to pay $6,800 a month in child support, which is a lot of money. Not saying we know for a fact he has money problems, but it looks like he has some woes there.

And just to end it, we just heard the clip, my favorite part of this, how David Letterman delivered this. Did you hear all the people laughing? Like it was a joke.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He`s brilliant. That`s why he is where he is.

WALTERS: Like it was entirely a joke. He got away with saying, I slept with my staff." Unbelievable how he delivered that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Walters, TMZ, doing an amazing story on this, as always. Explaining how this guy allegedly got the dirt on Letterman`s escapades.

"The New York Post" is reporting Halderman`s ex-girlfriend told him she had slept with Letterman years ago. Now, we do not know who this woman is. But "The New York Post" reports Halderman`s most recent ex is a long-time late show staffer.

You keeping up with all this? TMZ got their hands on this clip of a woman named Stephanie Burkette appearing on "The Late Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you care to demonstrate the Heimlich on either Stephanie or on Rupert, either one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what you do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stephanie, pretend you`re choking to death, Stephanie. Ok. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s just hope the wife`s not watching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ reports Stephanie lived with Joe Halderman until recently.

Lisa Bloom, we have no idea whether she had sexual relations with David Letterman, but this is a can of worms. Could this young woman -- who we`d love to get her comment, by the way, and feel free to come on our show and tell us your side of the story, my dear -- could she be in any legal quandaries?

BLOOM: I doubt it. It sounds like this was behavior between consenting adults. I mean, my Facebook page has been lighting up with this. A lot of people are really outraged and scandalized. Other people say look this is just consenting adults; leave David Letterman alone.

Bottom line for me is he`s apparently the victim of a very serious crime. And I think most of us would be terrified as he says he was when he gets a package in his car at 6:00 a.m., which mentions his 6-year-old child, by the way and threatens him...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

BLOOM: ... unless he discloses this or gives this guy $2 million. I mean, that`s a horrendous thing and that (INAUDIBLE) to me in a behavior that he`s engaged in.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, one thing...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the one thing we don`t have here is apparently addiction.

But a lot of people are battling addiction. I`m one of them. In my new book "I Want" you`ll learn a lot about my struggle with alcoholism and how I overcame it.

If you want to check it out, it`s "I Want" and you can click on CNN.com and look for the order section, CNN.com/Jane. If you`ve got an addiction, it`ll help you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: That`s a decision for them to make if they want to come public and talk about the relationships; if I want to go public and talk about the relationships.

But what you don`t want is a guy saying, "I know you had sex with women. So I would like $2 million or I`m going to make trouble for you."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: David Letterman on the CBS "Late Show" last night talking about the man who allegedly tried to blackmail him and reveal a scandalous sexy secret in a screenplay.

Dr. Gail Saltz, we need a psychiatrist. This guy is a producer for "48 Hours," one of the most prestigious and well-respected shows on television of a non-fiction nature. And he`s drumming up allegedly this screenplay.

It seems like a very immature plot and almost like something that he would cover as a reporter and unravel rather quickly. Why this naive alleged plot, do you think?

SALTZ: Well, I think you`re bringing up the important point, which is this is what this man does for a living. He immerses himself daily in these bizarre, strange criminal acts for his show.

And you know that can start to seem very real to you. You can start...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, come on. I`ve been covering stuff for 30 years and I`m not running around concocting bizarre plots. Not yet anyway.

(CROSS TALK)

SALTZ: Well, you know what? But -- but you know what, Jane? Part of your show is about what`s right and what`s wrong. As opposed to being involved in the storyline like it`s a movie.

I mean, there really are two different kinds of shows if you think about it.

BLOOM: But I mean, wouldn`t a guy who works in the crime field be asking for cash? I mean, come on. You don`t want it by way of check...

(CROSS TALK)

SALTZ: Well, I also think...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think this is an incredibly self-destructive move on his part.

SALTZ: Right, I was going to say also, I won`t be surprised if it turns out he is under tremendous financial pressure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely.

SALTZ: His job may be at risk like we talked about earlier in the show.

EIGLARSH: Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s losing.

SALTZ: ...that kind of thing can drive people to do really ridiculous behaviors.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s losing it and he`s cracking up.

All right, Mark Eiglarsh.

EIGLARSH: Jane I wanted to go back to something you mentioned earlier. I question where he got all this information from. Either there was very loose pillow talk between one of the former staffers with whom he had relations, extensive pillow talk, enough to fill a screenplay and other evidence, or I know they`re looking into this to determine what role, if any, she might have played.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, she`s not charged with anything. And I don`t want to cast aspersions on her.

But Mike Walters, I understand that there were also in this packet, either there or threatened emails, photos, diaries and all sorts of things.

WALTERS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So I`m wondering if it`s just, oh, plain old sex or might there be other creepy stuff that is yet to be revealed.

WALTERS: Well, if she`s in the warrant -- just so to make it clear -- the reason that that`s there is because what basically happened was now Halderman was dating Stephanie; and during their relationship, which we hear has just ended also -- think about that.

You know, when you have a girlfriend and then your girlfriend slept with David Letterman...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know that she slept with him. We can`t say that.

WALTERS: Well, you`re right. I mean, you know you`re right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "The New York Post" is reporting that there was a fling with somebody who had gone out with Halderman, but I don`t want to make that leap. I don`t think it`s fair to make that leap about anybody.

WALTERS: Right, right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

WALTERS: I understand what you`re saying. I agree.

But if, you know, you`re in this relationship and she tells you whatever happened with David letterman -- if something happened -- that`s where he`s decided to get the plot.

He has emails and he has correspondence and diaries from his ex-girlfriend that has David Letterman in them. So he`s trying to present it like I know all of your past...

BLOOM: By the way Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? We`ve got to leave it there.

But do not write a diary. Sorry. That`s very 20th century.

BLOOM: Oh no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Remember: click on CNN.com/Jane, preorder your copy of my book, "I Want."

END

Home  |  Asia  |  Europe  |  U.S.  |  World  |  World Business  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  World Sport  |  Travel
Podcasts  |  Blogs  |  CNN Mobile  |  RSS Feeds  |  Email Alerts  |  CNN Radio  |  Site Map
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.