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Police Fielding Tips on Murdered Girl; What`s Causing Growing Problem of Drunk-Driving Moms?

Aired October 23, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a devastated mother has an angry message for her daughter`s killer: "Watch out. We`re coming to get you."

Somer Thompson, abducted, murdered, dumped in the trash. She was only 7 years old, and her mystery killer is still on the loose. Now her mom vows to devote her life to finding the monster who did this.

Meantime, cops tracking down hundreds of leads, shifting through tons of garbage, looking for any clues that could lead to this killer.

And tonight`s big issue: how do we stop another child from being abducted and murdered?

Plus, a steamy sexual affair turns really ugly. An ESPN analyst accused of sleeping with a 22-year-old co-worker turned jilted lover. Take a look at these photos from TMZ. When the TV commentator broke it off, this heart-broken girl allegedly started harassing his wife with nasty phone calls and vicious letters. Cops say she even crashed her car into his house. We`ll have all the jaw-dropping details.

And pharmaceutical suicide. Bombshell allegations in the Anna Nicole Smith case. A pharmacist now testifies that Anna had a laundry list of prescriptions, including muscle relaxants, sleeping meds, and methadone. Five months later she was dead. So who`s responsible for prescribing her enough drugs to kill her? We`ll take a look.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a frantic search for a child killer. The monster who murdered 7-year-old Somer Thompson is still out there. Cops have interviewed more than 100 sex offenders in the area. They believe none of them were involved.

Tonight, police zeroing in on this sinister, abandoned house right there. Gosh, that looks like a house of horrors. The last place they believe little Somer was seen alive. Could this be the house where she was murdered? Crime tape surrounds this dilapidated home, burned up in a fire. Officers are taking bags of evidence from inside and using something called light technology, presumably, to detect blood and fluids. They`re also combing through a Dumpster in the yard.

Also under investigation, a public bathroom at the park right across the street from that house. Is there evidence there? The vacant home and park just steps away from Somer`s elementary school.

Plus a very strange twist: a mystery woman talking to local reporters. Could she know something about Somer`s murder? Police are following up more than 800 tips as Somer`s devastated family tries to cope with the unthinkable.

And with the killer still on the loose, communities in northern Florida are living in fear, many keeping their kids inside.

Somer`s mom spoke out on NBC`s "Today Show."


DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER: We`re coming for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident that they`ll be able...

THOMPSON: We`re going to get you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident they`ll be able to find your daughter`s killer?

THOMPSON: I want to be confident. But I was confident that she was going to come home. And she didn`t. But I know they`re working. And doing it, and I have faith in them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somer`s body was found covered by truckloads of trash, dumped in a landfill. Investigators went there on a hunch, expecting to find perhaps a backpack or maybe a piece of clothing. What they found, two lifeless little legs poking out from under the rubble.

This crime is just unspeakable. We need to find a way to stop these predators from terrorizing us. That`s a very big issue to tackle. But we`ve got to stop somewhere. And the first step is to say, we here on ISSUES are not going to cover this as just another crime story. We`re going to cover this as a national crisis that must be addressed you now.

Straight out to my expert panel: criminal profiler Pat Brown; psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer; former detective Steve Kardian; and criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh. But we begin with Adam Landau, reporter with WJXT.

Adam, you`re on the scene. What is the very latest?

ADAM LANDAU, REPORTER, WJXT: We are waiting for a news briefing any minute now from investigators. But we know this. There are two very active scenes right now, and you showed both of them off the top.

There`s that landfill in Georgia where investigators found Somer`s body. Then there`s that home right near her school. She would have walked past it to get home, and that`s the last place that several witnesses have told police that they saw her. One of the witnesses, we`re told, is a 9- year-old boy who was riding on his bike, saw Somer leave her brother and sister, and the last time he saw her you was in front of that home.

So now the desperate search continues at that home. It started yesterday afternoon, and it`s continuing today. Every inch, both inside and outside of that home are being looked at by investigators.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Adam, let me ask you -- let me ask you about this mystery woman. We`ve heard a report that a mystery woman came forward and said, "Oh, I was suspicious about this home and a nearby dump, or Dumpster on Monday, and I feel guilty that I didn`t take action." Tell us about that.

LANDAU: Yes. Police haven`t said much about it. Again, we`re waiting for a news conference to start any minute. But there is that report out there. A lot of people in the neighborhood are now talking about what they may have seen and could it have meant anything. There`s talk about maybe a suspicious van that was possibly in front of that home at the time Somer was last seen.

So there`s so much going on right now. And a lot of people are looking back, saying, "Wait a minute. Did I see something? Did I miss something? Was there something there that I just didn`t report to police in time?" That`s really what is going on in that neighborhood tonight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And look at this house. It looks so creepy and eerie. Almost like one of those Halloween house of horrors. And this is the home that was burned in a fire a while back that authorities are poring over with light technology to detect blood and fluids.

Pat Brown, what does that tell you?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: They obviously have zoned right in on that, Jane. There`s got to be something there they`re really looking at. Because other than that, I mean, there are so many people in the neighborhood it could be.

I`ve been real concerned about the fact that they said they`ve talked to those 100 or so sex offenders, and they say they`re certain that none of them are a suspect. And I want to know how. Because unless you`ve got a video camera with them at a certain place at that particular point in time, or they`re in a pulpit or out of the country, I`m sorry, but you can`t take them off the suspect list. Unless they have something that they really know that we don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mark Eiglarsh, I agree completely with Pat Brown. You remember the horrible case of Couey, John Couey, who had a precious child in his trailer even as the police came by and searched for her. And it was after that search that he killed the child by burying her alive.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s correct. I agree with both you and Pat. You never want to take anybody off your radar. Look for corroborating evidence. Unless you know for sure that they`re out of the country. And we know that over 160 people could not be. You keep them in your sights.

And the other lesson that we`ve got to learn from previous cases is don`t put out too much detail, specifically about the autopsy results. Because when one of these creeps finally starts to come around and admits to doing it, we want to make sure that his information comes from firsthand knowledge of the brutality that he committed and not from what he heard from the media.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise the issue of the autopsy. The autopsy on Somer`s body has now been completed. Authorities called it a heinous crime that they are not releasing anything like cause of death. Somer`s mom issuing a warning on NBC`s "Today Show."


THOMPSON: Just always, it takes just a couple seconds to tell them you love them. Tell them you love them because you don`t know what`s going to happen. And just -- just make them aware of stranger danger. I tried with Somer. I feel like I`ve failed, obviously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody -- nobody would say that.

THOMPSON: It just takes one.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steve Kardian, as a criminal investigator, it`s got to be so tough for the investigators to get the autopsy results and then tell the mother, not just the initial news that the child has been found and identified, but then, what she died from. And whether or not there was any sexual abuse.

I mean, these are things that are so horrifying to even talk about here. But imagine having to convey that information to the mother. Is that one reason that they keep the cause of death and some of these details from the public? Because it`s disrespectful in a sense to the child and the mom?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER DETECTIVE: Well, that and they`re preserving the integrity of the investigation. They`re doing a good job about keeping this close to the vest.

For them to reveal specific details, including the cause of death and whether or not she was sexually assaulted, may be revealing information that only the predator or the killer may be able to provide to police in terms of qualifying that crime.

And can I add one thing about that? The children of that age, they`re a little -- they`re way too young. They`re way too trusting. And they yet have not developed the techniques or the tactics to deal with a predator at this age.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course not. And unfortunately, we live in a world today where your kid cannot walk home from school, even with an older sister, because she was with her 10-year-old sister and her twin brother, and they had an argument. There was a little girl, apparently, involved.

And this little Somer ran ahead and went out of the line of sight of her older sister and may have got into that house. But it was right in that area where there`s a house, there`s a park, there`s a bathroom in the park, and boom. She was gone.

Because isn`t it true, Adam, that this family jumped on this very, very quickly? I mean, the second that these kids realized their sister wasn`t at home when they arrived home, less than a mile walk, everybody went into action. And still, it wasn`t fast enough.

LANDAU: Absolutely. That`s what we`ve been talking about, a lot of us here, even investigators. The time frame here is so short. She left her brother and sister. They got home when she wasn`t there. They immediately tipped off a family friend. They started looking for her. They called police.

So the time frame is so short. That`s what`s really amazing. When did she disappear? There just wasn`t a lot of time. How could someone have snatched her?

BROWN: I want to comment on that, Jane, because this is what I call the wind of opportunity. A lot of times, people say, well, if there`s lots of people around, how could anybody grab the child?

But you take that predator, he`s going to be out there every day, 24 hours a day when he`s not sleeping, looking for that window of opportunity. And all he needs is one child separated from the herd, just like a gazelle getting attacked by a lion.

So that`s why you cannot, you know, say, just teach your children about this, and they`re going to be safe. All they need is one minute away, which is why we`ve got to get these predators off the street. Because we can`t protect our children against them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on this tragic story in just a moment.

Coming up, yet another sex scandal exposed. We`re going to tell you how this one is shaking up the sports world.

But first, a mother shares her bewildered grief with the world just a day after her precious daughter`s body is discovered.


THOMPSON: For everybody who stopped by and who`s passed out fliers, who`s brought me food to my work and my friends and my family, and if anybody can help me find her, and I just wanted to say you thank you to everybody. And just bring her home to me.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You`ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don`t take...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You`ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don`t take...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You`ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don`t take...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is beyond heart breaking. The mother of 7-year- old Somer Thompson singing, "You Are My Sunshine," the little girl`s favorite song. Now she is dead. Somer`s body found dumped in a garbage pile. Her killer still on the loose tonight.

Straight out to my expert panel. Dr. Dale Archer, now we understand that law enforcement has interviewed all of the more than 100 registered sex offenders in the immediate vicinity living there.

But cops also say that often, sex offenders are transient and they move from community to community. So we could be dealing with somebody, especially -- we heard mention of a van -- who is just moving through the town may be long gone at this point.

DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, as of today, Jane, there are 686,515 registered sex offenders in America. And the sad news is that it`s estimated that 100,000 of those are off the grid. They`re not accounted for.

So the problem is the system is overburdened. What we need to do is take out the minor tier one and tier twos, and focus on the violent sex offenders, the tier threes, the pedophiles. Those are the ones who are committing these types of crimes. And if we don`t have the resources to monitor everyone, we need to know that those folks are either in jail or know where they are at any given moment. And if they stop reporting, they need to have an arrest warrant issued immediately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it brings us to the big issue tonight: where do we start? Take a look at these shirts. They are right on. We`re going to show you them right now. This has to stop; stop with Somer.

Somer`s mom pledged to devote her life to making sure this will not happen to one other family.


THOMPSON: I never thought in my -- in all of my life that I would ever have to do this, be -- even know anybody. I don`t want to see another parent feel empty.

I will not sleep until this person is found. I hope they get you, and I hope they make you pay for a long, long time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to help this devastated mother. But how? We always talk about reforming the system. But that`s like saying, let`s stop global warming. It`s such a big issue. It`s such a daunting task. I man, it feels like trying to empty out the ocean one spoonful at a time. How do we take the first step in tackling this crisis in America?

Pat Brown. I want to hear from my entire panel, but Pat Brown, to me, the first things we have to do is set an intention, set a goal, and express it. And I think the goal has to be a world where children can walk home safely without worrying about being abducted, raped and murdered. That is something we need to verbalize and say, "That`s our goal."

BROWN: Well, that is a good goal. But if we don`t put our money where our mouth is on this, this is where we -- we`re going off the path. Here we have a simple solution. When you have any kind of predator, one who crosses the line to abduct a stranger, to rape a stranger, to commit violence against a stranger, like we`re seeing, these guys that get 12 years and are out in four. And they, you know, they actually -- look at the guy, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Phillip Garrido?

BROWN: Yes, Garrido.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Phillips Garrido.

BROWN: Yes, exactly. Here he actually kidnaps a woman, puts her in a storage locker, rapes her repeatedly. This guy should be in life -- in prison for life or he should get the death penalty. There should be no other possibility. Because he didn`t accidentally cross any line. He did something so egregious, you know, that you just -- he should get life and that`s the end of it.

And the trouble is we have sympathy. Somebody, not me. But some people out here have sympathy: the parole boards, the judges, some of the citizens say, "Oh, give him another chance."

I`m like, wait a minute. That person he attacked did not get a second chance. They have to suffer their whole life or they`re dead. So let`s get them (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that`s it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree you with you 100 percent. We shouldn`t have sympathy for these predators, but we should have sympathy for the other people who are locked up for nonviolent crimes. Kids from inner city neighborhoods who start out in juvie and then they end up, make some mistake. They end up in prison.

We`re packing our prisons with more people than any other country in the world. And the vast majority of them are not predators. And yet, the very people that we should have in prison, the predators, you see them on the dots around this town. They`re all over the place. So we`ve got an upside down criminal justice system that needs to be completely revamped.

Steve Kardian, how do we separate the serious predators from the less serious ones who maybe have watched some porn that involves children, which is horrific, but it`s not at the same level of being an attacker.

KARDIAN: Jane, from the petty criminals to the very serious murderers, rapists and serial killers, we have a plea bargain system in place which allows more than 85 percent of the predators, the criminals out there, to plead to lesser charges. Therefore, receiving a reduced sentence that allows them to go out and act as a predator again before their original term would have even been terminated in jail.

EIGLARSH: Let me make a point about this, having served as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney for a number of years. The reality is a lot of the cases that they have against these predators are poor. And if they went to a jury, they would lose.

So sometimes the best thing you can do is get a conviction, get a lesser sentence. They now become part of the 100 or so people that can be interviewed in the future, and now they`re above the radar. We know that they are predators on our kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. But we are working on a special report here on ISSUES, where we`re going to examine this in- depth next week. Thank you, fantastic panel.

Coming up, legendary sport network ESPN rocked by a sex scandal. You will not believe the jaw-dropping details.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, the national crisis of drunk driving. Now, the focus is on females, women like Diane Schuler who drove drunk and high, in the wrong direction, down the Topanac (ph) state parkway, killing herself, four children and three men. Eight total. Mind- boggling.

Then there`s the horrific case of the allegedly drunk mom, Carmen Huertas getting behind the wheel with seven little girls, losing control and killing an innocent 11-year-old.

And just today, she was indicted on charges of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and assault.

Millions of women suffer from drug and alcohol abuse in this country. One fantastic group helps women recover from these destructive addictions. It`s called Friendly House.

Joining me to talk about this growing epidemic is the president of the board of directors at Friendly House, Wendy Slavkin.

Wendy, is it my imagination or are we seeing more drunk-driving moms?

WENDY SLAVKIN, PRESIDENT, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, FRIENDLY HOUSE: No. It`s not your imagination. In fact, there are statistics that show that from -- in the last seven or eight years, the percentage of women driving drunk has grown -- has increased to over 30 percent what it was before.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that women now are the bread winners. There`s more stress on them, more pressure to achieve and to be on top.

But no, you are not -- that is definitely what`s going on here.

But there are places that women can go to recover. And I think a lot of women don`t know this. That there are specific places that are just for them. Friendly House, which you mentioned, is one of them, which is one of the oldest houses for women, residential treatment programs for women, recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction in the United States, having been first started in 1951. Has two houses, one of which is on Normandy. That was our original house. That was built in about 1918. And we have another house that was given to us by the grace of William Shatner. That`s in the Castle Heights area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, these -- I`m looking at these videos right now, and these are actually beautiful places. Some people are so afraid, women are so afraid of going into rehab.

Look, it`s a great environment. And consider the alternative. Consider that, if you don`t do this, you could kill someone. In the case of drunk-driving mom Diane Schuler, her husband has insisted that she was not a drinker, despite the tests that show she was very drunk and she was high.


DANIEL SCHULER, HUSBAND OF DRUNK-DRIVING MOM: I go to bed every night knowing, my heart is clear: she did not drink. She is not an alcoholic. Listen to all that. She is not an alcoholic, and my heart rests every night when I go to bed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, this guy may be in denial. Are there cases where wives and mothers are battling addiction in secret so that their husbands don`t even know?

SLAVKIN: Well, absolutely. The disease of alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease of denial. So the fact that it would carry over to women that are moms or soccer moms is absolutely the way it is these days.

We have women that come into Friendly House every day, whose husbands, whose boyfriends, whose loved ones had no clue what they were doing behind closed doors. They were -- they were closet alcoholics or closet drug users. We -- we see this all the time.

And I think that it`s an epidemic in the sense that the percentage of women drinking and using is increasing, and they`re not getting the help that they need, because there`s so much shame attached to it, or they don`t want to tell their husbands until something like this happens where people are killed, people are injured. Then all of a sudden, oh, well, maybe they should have done something about it.

So we`re here to offer women a safe place to go. We don`t turn anybody away for lack of pay.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Wendy, excellent advice. Listen to her. Get sober if you`re a drunk.

Another sex scandal, next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A steamy sexual affair turns really ugly. An ESPN analyst accused of sleeping with a 22-year-old co-worker turned jilted lover. Take a look at these photos from TMZ. When the TV commentator broke it off, this heart-broken girl allegedly started harassing his wife with nasty phone calls and vicious letters. Cops say she even crashed her car into his house. We`ll have all the jaw-dropping details.

And pharmaceutical suicide: bomb shell allegations in the Anna Nicole Smith case. A pharmacist now testifies that Anna had a laundry list of prescriptions including muscle relaxants, sleeping meds and methadone. Five months later she was dead. So who is responsible for prescribing her enough drugs to kill her? We`ll take a look.

But first, another shameful sex scandal exposed. Philandering family man and ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips has come clean about a tawdry sex tryst with a young ESPN production assistant. "The New York Post" reports the 46-year-old TV sports guy hooked up with 22-year-old will Brooke Hundley for three days this past July. After the brief affair was over, things got very ugly very fast.

Cops say young Brooke began sending harassing text messages to Steve`s wife. Even more bizarre, she contacted their kids on Facebook posing as a high school classmate. Bizarre turned to brazen in August when Brooke seen here on TMZ hand-delivered, allegedly, a taunting introductory letter to Steve`s wife Marni at their Connecticut home, "He hasn`t been honest with you about our relationship. I`m the woman he`s been seeing for a while now, not just some random girl he had sex with in parking lots."

That close encounter sparked this frantic 911 call.


MARNI PHILLIPS, STEVE PHILLIPS` WIFE: I have a crazy woman who is involved with my husband and she comes to my house to harm me and my children.

911 OPERATOR: Ok, ma`am is she outside?

PHILLIPS: She`s pulling down my hill right now. She is in a blue Prius. She just pulled past me.

911 OPERATOR: Ok, I`m sending officers right now. What`s your name ma`am?

PHILLIPS: Please hurry.

911 OPERATOR: They`re coming. They`re on their way.

PHILLIPS: Please hurry and catch her. She`s crazy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, what dramarama. Police say Brooke used ESPN company property in her pursuit of the Phillips family. According to "The New York Post," she is still working there. What?

We at ISSUES wanted to know why and called the network but they declined to comment. Very interesting.

For his part, Steve Phillips who was sued for sexual harassment 11 years ago and settled out of court is on a, quote, "extended leave of absence." He says he wants to spend more time with his family. That should be a trifle awkward considering his wife had now filed for divorce.

Oh, and gee, where do we even begin? How about with my fantastic expert panel and on board tonight: Kim Serafin senior editor of "In Touch Weekly."

Kim, I`m almost afraid to ask, what is the very latest in this one?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: Well, you just said it. Of course, he has now taken a leave of absence. He wants to spend time with his family. And, of course, his wife has apparently filed for divorce.

He obviously acknowledges right away, took the leave of absence, and right now it seems like this production assistant, Brooke Hundley is getting the bad rap.

He doesn`t really seem to be facing a lot of these bad, negative things about him, oddly enough. It seems to be all about her. And of course, you look at the past instances -- of course, we just went through an issue, not totally similar -- but David Letterman having a sexual relationship with someone who worked for him. And we really didn`t hear as much about Stephanie Birkitt but we`re hearing a lot about Brooke Hundley right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There were more shocking claims in that letter delivered to Steve Phillips` wife by allegedly the young production assistant Brooke Hundley.

Here are some scary quotes. "He assured me I wouldn`t have to worry about getting pregnant since his vasectomy." And quote, "Steve has a big birthmark on his crotch and one on his inner left thigh so you know I`m not being fake."

By the way, Mark Eiglarsh, Brooke Hundley was not arrested because the Phillips family decided not to press charges. But is it really up to them? I mean, this is pretty serious stuff. This is alleged stalking, this is alleged harassment. It is even vandalism allegedly because she hit a post on the way out of the family home, apparently.

MARK EIGLARSH, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Right. I was shaking my head because I thought you were coming to me with a crotch question. I didn`t want to -- I told you, no more.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you prefer, I could ask something about that.

EIGLARSH: No, ma`am. You`re absolutely right. I`ll take a pass. You`re right. I don`t know why law enforcement don`t -- doesn`t go after her for all the alleged crimes that you just mentioned. I don`t know. They should.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I guess, when you know, there is a family that doesn`t want to prosecute because obviously they don`t want the publicity. The cops are like, well, then I wouldn`t get anybody to testify. So maybe it`s not worth the trouble.

EIGLARSH: It is not up to them. If you look at domestic violence court, it`s packed full of defendants who were arrested when the victims were saying, "No, no, don`t take him away." You take him away and then let prosecutors decide how they`re going to protect the people of the state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I believe this one is not over. I think we`re just scratching the tip of this iceberg, so to speak.

On the surface, this sex scandal, as Kim Serafin just mentioned, it sounds a lot like the David Letterman affair but there are some very, very important differences.

While Brooke Hundley is alleged to have stalked the Phillips family, this young lady here, Stephanie Birkitt, was outed because she reportedly left her diary, her secret diary out where her reportedly jealous boyfriend was able to find and it read it and may have allegedly become enraged over what he read about Stephanie and Dave in the diary.

So we can contrast those two, the way these two paramours are portrayed in the media.

Now check out these descriptions from the "New York Post". This is about Stephanie -- "She`s a pretty former late show staffer" -- Stephanie Birkitt.

But now check out the quotes about the ESPN chick. "After ESPN talking head Steve Phillips dumped his portly, production assistant lover." And "The Post also called Brooke, schlubby.

Dr. Dale Archer, is there some kind of underlying sexism here in the sense that if you`re ugly or perceived to be not attractive, and you do something like this, you get taken to task but you if you`re cute, and you do something like this, as a female, it is perceived more as, oh, a fun anecdote and gossip?

DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: No. I think that in her case there are e-mails...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who? Which her? Which her?

ARCHER: Right. The Brooke Hundley case; I think she basically you was on record as saying she was going to do whatever it took further her career in the media. So I think that she is being portrayed in this case as a gold digger that was using him in order to try to make it to the top in the media world. And when that did not work, of course, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: See, I think that`s sexist. This guy has a track record. I`m going to go to Steve Kardian on this. This is not the first or only time Steve Phillips has cooked up his own sex scandal stew.

ARCHER: Oh. I didn`t get that. Ok.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: 11 years ago, Phillips was -- let me tell you, I`ll tell you the facts and we`ll go back to Dr. Dale. Eleven years ago, Phillips was general manager of the New York Mets and he admitted to having sex with a team employee who sued him for sexual harassment. That case was later settled out of court.

Now, the "New York Post" quotes an ESPN source who says Phillips is suspected of sleeping with several ESPN employees.

So again, back to Dale Archer; this is more than hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

ARCHER: I know but I`d only done half of it. So now we have to go to Mr. Phillips and say that, look, he does have a record of being a serial adulterer without a doubt. And I think that these two guys deserve each other.

They ended up in a situation that is horrible for both their careers. He`s lost his wife. He`s going to lose his kids probably in the custody battle. So I think that it is a tragic tale and a cautionary tale for anybody out there who wants to enter into an extra-marital affair. This is what can happen on both sides.

EIGLARSH: Another issue is, why does ESPN and all these networks hire these people with significant baggage? They say that we forget -- we`re going to forget about it.

But every time I look at, let`s say, Marv Albert, I`m thinking, good analysis, cross-dresser, bizarre sexual behavior. I can`t get it out of my mind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, okay. All I can tell you is that it all reminds me of that great movie "Fatal Attraction."

ARCHER: Absolutely.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to leave it right there. Fabulous panel -- we have some more stuff to tell you about.

Up next, is Michael Jackson`s mom in the poor house? We`re going to tell you why she is asking a California judge for a lot more money.

And then, is foul play to blame for Anna Nicole Smith`s death? Her pharmacist dropped some stunners in court.



A camera.

STERN: Exactly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at that. That`s so pathetic.

Addiction comes in so many forms: prescription drugs, sex, power, and of course, the substance that had me in its grips for so many years, alcohol. In the pages of my new book, "I Want," I talk about my addiction to alcohol and how I overcame it 14 and a half years ago. If you`re struggling with any addiction of any sort, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, co- dependency, workaholism; this book will help you. Go to and pre-order your copy. Or you can get just it in the book stores. I hope you read it. I hope you get help some help or help for someone you love.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s meet today`s winner, Al from Monterey Park, California. Al says he hit rock bottom in 2006. He even got a black eye - - take a look at that black eye -- falling off his bicycle on the way to buy drugs. Ouch. That`s bottom.

Believe it or not, it was his drug dealer. His drug dealer who told him he had a problem. But after struggling through treatment, Al made it and now he has more than three years of sobriety. Look at the difference. Look how fantastic he looks like there. All cleaned up.

He also gave up smoking and sugar and he`s been exercising regularly. Al even rediscovered his passion for music and often performs on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I think I`ve seen you, dude.

Al, for sharing your story, you`re going to be getting an autographed copy of my new book, "I Want" plus a chance to win a trip to New York and visit me on the set of ISSUES. Either that or I`ll fly out to Santa Monica and we can just jam out there on the Promenade because I love to do that, too.

Way to go. Congratulations on your sobriety.

New revelations into Anna Nicole Smith`s death, but first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Mind-boggling developments in the fight over Michael Jackson`s estate: Michael`s mom Katherine having a hard time paying her bills. This is what TMZ is reporting. Allegedly her $30,000 a month allowance just isn`t quite enough. She apparently is demanding more money.

Keep in mind she was granted full custody of Michael`s three kids. But wait a second, the kids have their own monthly income, a healthy 60,000 clams. I have to ask, where is all this money going? It has to be going to more than candy.

According to TMZ, Katherine`s lawyers told the judge because she`s made more money this year, she has to pay more in taxes. Ladida -- that`s what she needs, more pocket change because of taxes?

Some may call this an embarrassing display of public greed. But I`ll tell you, I don`t know. I think she could be taking a page from her wild spending son. Remember him? The late great Michael Jackson? He knew how to spend.

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

The tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith: who is responsible for her death? The drug pushing enablers or concerned friends?

Anna Nicole Smith died from an overdose of prescription drugs. Were they needed? Was she overmedicated? That`s all the stuff they`re trying to determine in a Los Angeles courtroom right now as we speak. A preliminary hearing being held this week to find out if the one-time playmate was illegally furnished drugs. Now, just on the stand, a pharmacist by the name of Ira Freeman; he says he warned Anna`s doctors that she was being given too many drugs and was at risk for pharmaceutical suicide.

What did those drugs do to Smith? Well, take a look at this video her long-time companion, Howard K. Stern took.


STERN: Ok. This footage is worth money.

SMITH: Why? What footage?

STERN: The thing you`re looking into.

SMITH: It`s a camera.

STERN: Exactly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So does that help prove Howard K. Stern and psychiatrist Khristine Eroshevich and Dr. Sandip Kapoor illegally gave Anna Nicole Smith drugs? They have all pleaded not guilty. The buxom model died of an accidental overdose in a Florida hotel in 2007.

Back out to my fabulous panel and again, we have to go back to Kim Serafin, senior editor of "In Touch Weekly". Sort it out for us, there`s a whole lot going on at this hearing. I understand some fireworks also between Larry Birkhead and the prosecutors?

SERAFIN: Exactly. A lot going on. As you just mentioned, this pharmacist said that Anna would be committing pharmaceutical suicide had he filled these prescriptions that he got faxed to him. He was so concerned that he actually consulted a pharmaceutical expert, someone he had worked with who said that Dr. Eroshevich apparently was out of her league when he saw this list of what was being prescribed to her.

And as you mentioned, there are some fireworks, too. Larry Birkhead in his testimony, he said that he felt that he was being encouraged to ramp up the testimony to try to curry sympathy about Dannielynn because of one of these deputy DAs who said something to him.

This deputy DA also apparently said to him that she felt that he was taking Howard K. Stern`s side in this. And now apparently this deputy Da is no longer serving as the deputy DA on the case and is back to being a law clerk.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a huge can of worms. Thanks for explaining it. But let`s try to sort it out in depth. Larry Birkhead, as we all know, is the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s daughter Dannielynn. When Anna Nicole Smith first died, Birkhead was very outspoken at a hearing in Florida about Anna Nicole Smith`s behavior vis-a-vis drugs. Now it seems like he is maybe changing his tune a little bit.

Listen to this.


LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF ANNA NICLE SMITH`S DAUGHTER: At times I took her medicine and I was told by Mr. Stern to give it back to her because she needed it to live. And in addition to that, I just told her over and over, I said don`t. Something is going to you. Something is going to happen.

When you said something to Anna, it was always -- she referenced back to the bottles with the doctor`s name on it. So then you found some comfort that basically that a doctor is prescribing this. And there was someone who was supposed to be, you know, have the right mind to be in charge of this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Kim Serafin, explain this to me. Some people feel like Larry Birkhead is now somehow aligned with Howard K. Stern and is sort of backing off this whole drug abuse allegation.

SERAFIN: Well, again, he is saying that he is not taking Howard K. Stern`s side. Like he said, he was kind of insulted when the deputy DA kind of implied that he was. That he said, they were riding up in an elevator and she apparently said to him she thought that he was taking Howard`s side. And he said he`s not. He said he`s telling it like it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So if he`s telling it like it is that she had a drug problem, Anna Nicole Smith, or it`s his opinion that she didn`t have a drug problem?

SERAFIN: Well, again, we are hearing so many different testimonies. It`s hard to say that she didn`t have a drug problem when you are hearing about people injecting drugs into her.


SERAFIN: Of course her bodyguard`s testimony going back to that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, wait, I`m going to get back to you after the break. You can absorb all of this information. Hang in there, everyone. We`re going to go to break.

And then when we come back, we`re going to analyze this very complex case and the many, many, many drugs we`re talking about vis-a-vis Anna Nicole Smith.



JERRY BROWN, ATTORNEY GENERAL, CALIFORNIA: The scenario is using false names and getting prescriptions for thousands of pills without medical necessities and making them available to Anna Nicole Smith who obviously was addicted at all of that (INAUDIBLE).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: California`s Attorney General Jerry Brown talking about drugs and the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Was she illegally given too many drugs? Was sex a motivator?

Back to my fabulous panel; Mark Eiglarsh, I think the essential dispute here is prosecutors say these people furnished drugs to a known addict. But the defendants are saying hey, she was a depressed woman, she had lost her son, she needed to be medicated for that reason. She was suffering post-partum depression, she had medical issues and they are trying to basically say, it wasn`t just we were pushing drugs at a known addict.

EIGLARSH: And there is some merit on both arguments. She probably could have been prescribed those medications lawfully at some level. Where the case turns in favor of the prosecution, if you believe the pharmacist`s testimony is the quantity, the gross amount of pills that this doctor was prescribing would be tantamount to handing a loaded gun to someone hell- bent on killing themselves. The amount that this doctor enabled Anna to get is problematic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Dr. Dale Archer, according to pharmacist who testified, he claimed Dr. Eroshevich, the psychiatrist seemed unfamiliar with the meds that she was ordering, allegedly prescribing eight times the recommended dosage...

EIGLARSH: That`s outrageous...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...for a hypnotic sedative and he concluded she`s way out of her league.

DR. DALE ARCHER: Yes. He prescribed at times the dose of Dalmane which is a sleeping pill. But look, she was prescribed multiple painkillers, multiple nerve pills, multiple sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, antidepressants -- I mean, the list go on and on, and (INAUDIBLE) methadone, one of the strongest narcotic painkillers in the world.

So there is no question that she was a drug addict. I mean, any treating physician would have to realize that. And if you give a drug addict those doses of drugs then, in my opinion you`re committing grave malpractice and I think it`s criminal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, one thing that won`t be mentioned in the preliminary hearing was sex a motivator for pushing drugs. The prosecutor wanted to argue that the former playmate had -- get this a sexual relationship with her psychiatrist, the female psychiatrist, Dr. Khristine Eroshevich.

And it doesn`t there however. Supposedly there is a video of Dr. Kapoor kissing and snuggling with Anna Nicole Smith at a night club.

However, Kim Serafin, we contacted Dr. Sandip Kapoor, one of the defendants lawyer and she actually laughed and said that`s ridiculous. Dr. Kapur is openly gay and that they were at some kind of a gay rights event when they were just kind of hugging each other.

SERAFIN: Exactly. And as you mentioned, the judge did not want to hear any of this when the prosecution brought up something about the Dr. Eroshevich and Anna Nicole. The judge said what`s the relevance? I don`t want to turn this into a circus about this.

So we didn`t really hear any of that during this preliminary hearing. I imagine if these guys eventually go to trial, we`ll hear more about that. But again, the judge is asking, what`s the evidence. You have this video of Dr. Kapur and apparently there`s a photo or some photos with Anna Nicole and Dr. Eroshevich.

But now, the body guards said that they had more of a mother-daughter relationship.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But whoa, whoa, whoa. Those photos are apparently are pretty graphic according to prosecutors. They are photos of Anna Nicole and Dr. Eroshevich allegedly in the tub together naked?


EIGLARSH: It`s relevant. It`s very relevant. If it`s true, it`s relevant. You let it in and let the jurors decide how much weight to give it. But if a doctor is having an affair with a patient, then there`s bias and motives, ok.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got to leave it there. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.