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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Cop Massacre Suspect Planned Attack, Sources Say; D.C. Party Crashers; David Hasselhoff Hospitalized; Tiger Woods Mystery

Aired November 30, 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, fast-breaking developments in a coffee shop massacre. Four police officers gunned down in cold blood. The carnage triggered a massive manhunt searching for the suspected shooter. Cops surrounded a house Seattle, but after 12 long hours, the SWAT team came up empty.

Now the big question. Why was this alleged psycho cop killer roaming the streets? This guy has more than a dozen felonies. He was awaiting trial for child rape, and he`d already been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison, so why in the world wasn`t he behind bars?

And shocking new details in the Tiger Woods mystery. We don`t know exactly what happened yet, but I can tell you this. It was anything but a happy Thanksgiving at the Woods household. His car is wrecked, his window smashed out with a golf club, and he was taken to the hospital. So what the heck happened and what was his wife`s role in all of this? Is this just a case of bad driving, or are cops investigating possible domestic violence? Why isn`t Tiger talking to cops? We`ll investigate.

Plus, mind-blowing new twists in the case of those two White House party crashers. More and more pictures surfacing of these two want-to-be socialites with the leaders of the free world, even rubbing elbows with President Obama. Now they`re being investigated by the Secret Service, but they don`t look too worried. In fact, there`s new claims this couple was trying to sell their story for hundreds of thousands of dollars, telling TV networks to get their bids in. They`re denying it, but is this another case of everyday people addicted to fame?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a massacre at a coffee shop. Four young police officers, gunned down in cold blood. And a suspect still at large, terrorizing the entire state of Washington.

Cops say the suspected gunman is 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons has a rap sheet a mile long in two states. This alleged killer thug was released from jail in Washington state just about a week ago, even though he faces a charge of attempted child rape. He posted just $15,000 with a company called -- and I`m not making this up -- Jail Sucks Bail Bonds. Then he waltzed out.

Court records also show he`s accused of punching a sheriff`s deputy in the face earlier this year, but that`s not all. About two decades ago, back in Arkansas, he was convicted of a slew of felony charges. On top of a 48-year sentence, he got 60 more. Then he faced another 95 years.

So what happened? Well, after about a decade behind bars, then- Governor Mike Huckabee commuted his sentence. Huckabee cited Clemmons` young age at the time of the crimes, and the guy walked.

Cops say Clemmons was out to kill police officers execution-style. Four officers simply sitting in a diner, getting ready to start their shifts, were massacred. Cops say the suspect planned the ambush and even bragged that he was going to kill some cops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON, SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: We can tell you that two of them are just flat executed, sitting, writing reports. One of them stood up and tried to go for the suspect and got shot. And the fourth one fought his way out to the parking lot, and fired off some rounds, we`re hoping, and the suspect`s hit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, while cops hunt for the man they say hunted their fellow officers, they`re faced with a horrifying task. Imagine this: talking to the families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF BRET FARRAR, LAKEWOOD, WASHINGTON, POLICE DEPARTMENT: I had the opportunity to meet with the families yesterday, and it`s the hardest thing I`ve ever done. And I hope I never have to do it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The devastated sister of Officer Tina Griswold, a 42- year-old mom, spoke out just hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIFFANY RYAN, SISTER TINA WAS SHOT AND KILLED: My worst nightmare has come true. I can`t tell you how painful it is to lose my sister to me. I can`t. I don`t know what the days to come will be like without her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight`s big issue: busted justice. When are we finally going to admit our criminal justice system is broken? It`s trashed. It needs a complete overhaul. Something has to be done to keep high-risk, repeat offenders behind bars. How many more innocent victims have to die before we start making changes?

I`m sure you at home have something to say so give me a holler: 1-877- 586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Tanya Acker, attorney and "Huffington Post" blogger; Susan Filan, defense attorney; Dr. Gail Saltz, clinical psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital; John Lucich, former criminal investigator.

John, we have to begin with the fact that they have not found this guy. They thought they had him at a house. They surrounded the house, they had SWAT Teams, hostage negotiators, and they even brought in a robot. And when they finally went into that house, he was nowhere to be found. What do cops do now?

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Well, you know, he`s breaking all -- he`s doing all the right things to not get caught. Typically, cops set up on his friends and family, and he`s staying away from that, so he could be living in the Woods.

There`s no doubt about it: this guy is soon going to have to surface for food, because it`s getting cold out there. He`s going to start tripping up, and cops will be right on his tail.

I just want to address the criminal justice system real quick. The criminal justice system in this work -- in this case actually worked. He got a whole bunch of jail time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What?

LUCICH: He got a whole bunch of jail time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He didn`t serve it, though.

LUCICH: It`s politics that got inside the mix that let this guy out. When the judges did their job, he got 95 years in jail. Somebody stepped in on the political side and said, "We`re going to let this guy out" for whatever reason.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I disagree with you, with all due respect, and Susan Filan, you`re the former prosecutor. Help me out here. Just recently, this guy was facing charges of child rape involving a young relative. He also was accused of punching a police officer in the face this past May, and yet, he was able to post bond by just paying $15,000 to Jail Sucks Bail Bonds and walk away.

What kind of a crazy mixed-up system do we have when somebody can be accused of raping a child and punching a police officer and just plunk down 15 grand and walk out?

SUSAN FILAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Jane, you`re right. That`s where the system failed, at the bond hearing. Bond is afforded to everybody, as long as you are not a danger to the community and you`re not a flight risk.

How can you say, based on this guy`s rap sheet, because you look at prior history -- and history escalates, and his history was surely one of escalation -- how can you say he`s not a danger to the community on child rape and the past history of violence?

And then how can you say that he`s not a flight risk when this guy has already been in jail, knows what it`s like and had his sentence commuted? He`s tasted freedom. He`s both a danger and a flight risk, so for that bail to be set low enough that he could get these bondsmen to post them, it`s probably a 10 percent cash or surety bond, which means for $60,000 bond, he probably had to pay maybe -- I don`t know -- five grand, six grand.

And now they`re hurting so bad they probably took far less and maybe some kind of trade-in or something up front and then paid off over time. You`re right, Jane, that`s where this failure was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight`s big issue, busted justice. Suspected shooter Maurice Clemmons was set free by then governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee way back in 2000. Here`s a clip of Huckabee in the Republican presidential debate in `07.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: I`ve got a responsibility to set the record straight. And to let people know I didn`t reduce meth penalties. Ours were harsher than his. I didn`t open the prison doors. I`m not soft on immigration. I`m certainly not soft on crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, really? Well, let`s take a look at Clemmons` criminal history in Arkansas.

At age 18, he got 60 years for burglary and theft. He was already serving 48 years on five felony convictions. He faced another 95 years. We`re talking well over 100 years in prison he was supposed to serve.

But after Clemmons served just over a decade, then-Governor Huckabee cited the prisoner`s young age and commuted his sentence.

Once freed, Clemmons violated parole, was accused of aggravated robbery and theft and went back to prison, and then he got out on a technicality after three years because some of the charges had been dropped.

Now, former Governor Huckabee says, should he be found responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state.

But Tanya Acker, the system is made up of people and the governor is one of the most important people.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY/"HUFFINGTON POST" BLOGGER: Oh, what`s interesting is about that statement that Mike Huckabee made is that he speaks about these failures, these alleged unnamed failures in Arkansas without taking any responsibility for this clemency decision.

And look, clemency is always politically tricky, because if the person who`s let out does something wrong -- Mike Dukakis knows this well -- then it can really be the end of the grantor`s political future.

And so I do think that he should take some responsibility for that, but, you know, hindsight is certainly 20/20 and, you know, there`s only so much that he could have known at the time of that decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, I`m so happy to have with me Dan Simon, CNN correspondent and my good buddy from previous jobs that we worked on together.

Dan, you`re out there at the scene. Bring us up to date on all of this.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, first of all, I should tell you people are very blunt in criticizing what has happened with Maurice Clemmons. A lot of people coming down hard on Mike Huckabee for essentially letting Clemmons go free all those years ago.

In terms of what is happening right now, we can tell you that there has been an intense manhunt going on all day. Police at one point thought they had the suspect, Maurice Clemmons, cornered in a Seattle house. They had the SWAT team there, but it turned out empty.

Then, at one point, cops were summoned over to the University of Washington, where there was another alleged sighting, but Clemmons not there either. Right now, there`s a $125,000 reward for anybody who has information that may lead to an arrest -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, Dan, I got to ask you: I hear that he allegedly bragged to others that he was going to do this, he was going to kill some cops, and nobody called the cops to warn them.

SIMON: Right, Jane, I`ve heard the same thing. We don`t know who he made these alleged statements to, but according to the investigators, at some point as early as this weekend, Clemmons allegedly said that he was going to kill some police officers, and this was going to make the news. And of course, that just makes what happened even more chilling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that makes me crazy, if he told people, and they didn`t take action. Maybe they didn`t want to snitch.

All right. More on this brutal coffee shop massacre in just a bit. We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, we`re going to try and wrap our heads around the Tiger Woods story. What exactly happened that night? And why isn`t Tiger talking to police? Does he have something to hide?

But first, a community ripped apart. Four police officers killed in cold blood inside a coffee shop. This alleged gunman has a rap sheet a mile long. Why was he walking the streets in the first place?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have lost -- lost four officers today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes me angry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart`s going out to even their families. They -- I know that they probably, some of them have children, and it just hurts me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are following breaking news from Washington state, where four police officers have been shot to death in what authorities are calling a flat-out ambush. Investigators say the three men and one woman were gunned down while they were sitting in a coffee shop near McChord Air Force base.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. Explosions and gun shots overnight outside a house that police have surrounded. How this is linked to a coffee shop rampage that left four police officers dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manhunt is on for a cop killer. Police in Seattle may be closing in on 37-year-old Maurice Clemmons. He`s a person of interest in the killing of four Washington state police officers. The A.P. Says shots were fired at a Seattle house, where it`s believed Clemmons could be hiding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suspected cop killer Maurice Clemmons reportedly warned that he was going on a cop-killing spree. Here`s what a deputy from the sheriff`s office said on ABC`s "Good Morning America."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TROYER: We are now learning, after the incident occurred, we`re getting reports that he made some comments the night before to watch the news because he was going to go kill a bunch of cops. Those people did not report that until after the incident occurred. So we believe that he was just after police officers and, unfortunately, they were the four that were in that coffee shop when he went by and saw that they were there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So this was an unavoidable -- an avoidable, I should say, an avoidable horror. Had those people called cops and said, "Hey, this guy is threatening to kill cops," those four individuals, those police officers might be alive right now.

Joe, New York, your question or thought?

CALLER: Well, my thought right now is, as much as my thoughts and sorrow go to the families of these officers, so should, basically, our resentment and disgust go towards our criminal justice system that lets this individual, this animal, go free. After previous convictions...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t call them animals. I don`t, because that`s - - that`s ridiculous. These people are human beings who have the power to make a decision about right and wrong. That`s what distinguishes us from animals.

CALLER: Residual, and we let him go free, allowing him to hurt others. That`s very simple. And basically, he showed he was an animal by what he`s done in the past.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Dr. Gail Saltz, give us your analysis of someone who says that they`re going to go out and kill a bunch of cops.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: You know, unfortunately, it`s often the case that, before a mass murder, there are some red flags. The person does make statements. They write something, they leave word with people that they`re intending to do this, and it often is unreported. People often report things that they don`t go ahead and do. So, you know, sometimes people just aren`t aware that they really need to report these things.

In addition, Jane, let me just add that the fact that this man was 17 when he committed his first crimes does not make it more likely that he would go on to be a safe individual. Just the fact that he was young probably means he was going to continue to commit anti-social, violent crimes. And so I think, you know, it was a very unfortunate judgment, based on what kind of data I can`t possibly imagine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s so much evidence here that this man has serious mental problems.

SALTZ: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the officers` sisters spoke out this afternoon. Tiffany Ryan choked back tears as she made a plea to the public. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We have to change the laws, because without doing that, law enforcement can only do so much. How many more lives will be taken before we do something? We have to change the laws and it`s the people. We can do this, but I can`t do this by myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, some of Clemmons` relatives said that he was psychotic. He`s accused of gathering his wife and young relatives around at three or four in the morning and having them all undress. He told cops that families need to, quote, "be naked" for at least five minutes on Sunday. Cops say he told them the world was going to end, that he was Jesus. Clemmons` wife said that the Secret Service was coming to get him. That`s what he said, because he had had written to the president. He reportedly said he could fly, and that President Obama would confirm him as the messiah.

And nevertheless, prosecutors in Pierce County, Washington, had his mental health evaluated earlier this month. A psychologist concluded that Clemmons was competent to stand trial on the child rape and other felony charges.

Dr. Saltz...

SALTZ: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... something is not working here. I don`t care how many people say the system worked. The system did not work in this case.

SALTZ: You know what? Obviously in this case, clearly it did not work.

But let me tell you, Jane, that someone can appear psychotic at one time and not appear psychotic at another. They may still be mentally ill, but they could be guarding and not reporting their symptoms and not answering questions, because at the end of the day, unfortunately, the psychologist that looked at him is an evaluator, is not a mind reader. So it`s possible that he is quite ill.

Let me also say, Jane, that that doesn`t mean that he`s not competent, and it also doesn`t mean that he`s not responsible for his crimes. Because if his psychotic thoughts were not around his criminal behavior, then he still made those choices, unencumbered by those symptoms.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Susan Filan, if he had been determined to be not competent, would he still be behind bars locked up somewhere, even in a mental hospital?

FILAN: Not necessarily. Because the competency issue just goes to whether he can defend himself at his trial or whether he has to have a different kind of lawyer. Competency just has -- it goes to whether he can stand trial for his crime. He would then be in a mental facility rather than in a prison.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

FILAN: If he was allowed to be out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll be back.

FILAN: The failure here is that he got out at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang in there for a second. We`re going to be right back. Four police officers gunned down. A suspect still on the loose. More with my panel in a moment.

Also, we`ll talk Tiger Woods. Is he telling the truth about that smash-up in the middle of the night? A lot of questions THERE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARRAR: They`re here; they`re doing their jobs; they`re working hard; they`re dealing with their loss, but they`re here for the citizens. We`re here to carry on. This is what we do. We will get through this. However, it is a very, very tough time for us and the families of our fallen officers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a horror story. The four officers shot dead were all original members of a police department that was established just five years ago. All four were parents. Among them, nine kids. They`ve been identified as 39-year-old Sergeant Mark Renninger, 37-year-old Officer Ronald Owens, 40-year-old Officer Tina Griswold and 42-year-old Officer Greg Richards, all dead tonight. And it didn`t have to happen.

Michael, Kentucky, your question or thought, sir?

CALLER: Yes. First off, I`d like to know where this guy got $15,000 to post a bond and, as much as I`d like to see the bondsman lose the money, in order to do that, he can`t be captured. I don`t want to see that.

But the other thing I want to know is, they spent half a day looking for a car the wife had sold. I think in cases like this, if they find out that you lied one sentence to the police, you should be in jail right along with them, right now, not later.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lucich, great points by our caller.

LUCICH: Absolutely. If you`re harboring a criminal, it`s a crime, and they`ll lock them up. And because of the viciousness and the magnitude of a crime like this, they`ll go away for a long time, and they should. Everybody`s got to know that, as soon as they see this person or think they see this person, call the cops right away, call 911, get somebody and point them in the right direction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, the system, in my opinion, is broken. It`s just broken. We lock up more people in this country than any other country in the entire world.

Nevertheless, the people who really need to be locked up, like this guy, accused of raping a child, punching a police officer in the face, with a string of felony convictions a mile long, he`s walking the street.

So what happens here, Tanya Acker, in my opinion, is we are creating criminal factories with these prisons. We are producing a whole bunch of prisoners. Kids go in, they come can out hardened criminals, and then they commit more crimes. Then we lock them up. And then it`s so overcrowded, we`ve got to release the serious prisoners, or so we think. And the whole system is screwed up.

ACKER: That`s absolutely right. I mean, not only are we recreating these criminal factories, but it seems as if our criminal justice system and the politics -- the politicians who are making certain of these clemency decisions, and the judges who are making some of these bail decisions, they are not making the appropriate distinctions between certain kinds of crimes.

You can have a case where a drug dealer, you know, somebody who`s got some cocaine, will be locked under the jail for 30 years...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

ACKER: ... whereas this guy, a violent offender, not only he gets -- he had no business getting bail.

And again, it`s very easy for us to criticize Huckabee`s decision, but again, even at 17, this guy was convicted for aggravated robbery. That was no small thing. And the fact that he was able to get out, while you see other kinds of offenders who really don`t pose the same sort of risk to life and limb, you know, we see those people locked up forever. It just doesn`t seem to make any sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Something`s got to change with our criminal justice system. It`s a big business. And it`s not working.

Coming up next, rubbing elbows with President Obama, posing with the vice president. Two party crashers. We`re going to talk about them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Shocking new details in the Tiger Woods mystery. We don`t know exactly what happened yet, but I can tell you this. It was anything but a happy Thanksgiving at the Woods household. So what in the heck happened? And what was his wife`s role in all of this?

Plus, mind-blowing new twists in the case of those two White House party crashers: more and more pictures surfacing of these two want-to-be socialites with the leaders of the free world, even rubbing elbows with President Obama.

There`s new claims this couple was trying to sell their story for hundreds of thousands of dollars. They`re denying it but is this another case of everyday people addicted to fame?

Knuckleheads. A D.C. couple party crashes a White House state dinner. Did they do it all for the cameras or for the cash? A top TV executive tells the Associated Press the couple is shopping their story around for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Michaele and Tareq Salahi deny it all.

The White House says they were not on the guest list but they waltzed right through a secret service checkpoint into the exclusive event. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t they look happy. They sure acted like they belonged. Snapping photos with Vice President Joe Biden, chatting up White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel and posing with the Marines in their blues. The grand finale: shaking president Obama`s hand.

Did they just want to rub elbows with the prez or was this a publicity stunt to snag a spot on a reality TV show? The couple showed up to the dinner with bravo TV cameras in tow.

Michaele is angling to be a "Real Housewife of D.C." Will this stunt score her a spot?

Check out this YouTube video we dug up of Michaele at a charity event. A reporter is trying to interview her and there she is shimmying, blowing kisses and dancing. Is this a couple addicted to fame? How did they pull this off?

Straight out to my fabulous expert panel. Joining me now, former secret service agent Scott Alswang and from the Bravo TV show "The Real Housewives of New York" and author of "Class with the Countess," Countess LuAnn de Lesseps.

But first -- there you are, ma`am or Countess, I should say. How are you doing tonight?

First, "Inside Edition" chief correspondent Jim Moret...

COUNTESS LUANN DE LESSEPS, AUTHOR, "CLASS WITH THE COUNTESS": I can`t hear anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right Jim. What is the very latest with this kooky crash couple?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, the very latest is this is certainly a black eye for the Secret Service. I know that members of Congress want to get to the bottom of it. The Secret Service wants to get to the bottom of it.

Some people are suggesting that these people should be charged with a crime although I don`t know exactly what that crime would be.

Look, the bottom line is this, Jane. I`m going to a movie premiere in about an hour for "Up in the Air" to interview people on the Red Carpet. If I`m not on that list, even with a camera crew, even with a press credential, I`m not going on the line.

How did these people do it? This is a serious breach of security and I know that a lot of people love this. This is like being punked, I suppose. But I take this very seriously.

This is the President, the Vice President, the Prime Minister of India. This is very, very serious, I think; and I think something should be done about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s totally serious and I`ll tell you why. This was President Obama`s first state dinner and he had the chief of India, the most important man in India, and he`s trying to assure him about our security issues vis-a-vis India and Pakistan, which share a border.

So if they can`t take care of the border around the White House, how are they going to take care of the border between India and Pakistan? It upstages everything; everything THAT they were trying to achieve with the Prime Minister of India goes out the window because all we`re talking about are these two knuckleheads.

My big issue tonight, desperately seeking celebrity: People are going to do insane things to get on reality TV. I know you remember balloon boy. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FALCON HEENE, BALLOON BOY: You had said that we did this for a show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We did it for show. What about Mr. and Mrs. Salahi? Are they doing it for show?

More and more photos surfacing of these two cozying up to politicians and celebs. Here they are with the president and the Black-Eyed Peas. Michaele also posted pics of her posing with Matt Damon and hamming it up with the "Dancing with the Stars" champ Donny Osmond.

Countess, is this going to work for them? Do you think this White House fiasco increases their chances of her getting on "Real Housewives of D.C."?

DE LESSEPS: I think she might think it will increase her chances or they might think it will increase their chances but I just think it makes them look bad. We don`t crash parties as adults. We may have crashed parties when we were 16 or at college, but as adults, you know, it`s just bad manners.

Who crashes a party, especially at the White House? I think it`s just unbelievable that they lied and that they were able to get into the White House.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they`re saying that they got an e-mail invite and a verbal invite which is such a joke, Scott Alswang. That`s not how it works when you`re invited to the White House. It`s not a carrier pigeon, it`s not an e-vite.

DE LESSEPS: You just don`t call and get yourself invited or call a friend and say hey, you think you can get us invited to the White House. If you want to get invited to the White House, you have to do some fund- raising, get active in politics.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`ve got to actually have an invitation.

DE LESSEPS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Scott Alswang, how did this happen?

SCOTT ALSWANG, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well, it happened -- I think they were at the wrong place at the right time. I don`t think that they had an invite. Apparently their hairdresser asked to see the invite when she was being made up at the same place that members of Obama`s family had been made up for the inauguration, and she couldn`t produce that invite then.

I think they did a great job of socially engineering their way in. It was raining out, there was a lot of commotion at the entrance to the portico where they were going to be brought through the magnetometers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Get this. I`ve got some news just in.

A senior Pentagon official is now confirming that they spoke to her but says that even though they spoke to her, they didn`t invite her. What do you make of it, Scott?

ALSWANG: Well, they could speak to whoever they like. If they`re not on that list, they shouldn`t have been allowed in. The staff should have been present to make sure that because that`s a staff function, not a security function, albeit the Secret Service, bottom line is they have to protect the president. And we took the fall, we took the blame, we took the hit.

But the staffers should have been there to rectify the situation, the fact they weren`t on the list and if they were going to be placed on there, they should have been given permission.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will Michaele star in "The Real Housewives of D.C."? We put together some clips from Bravo`s "The Real Housewives." Does Michael fit in? You decide. Take a look

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Grow up. You`re a 40-year-old woman (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) liar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have no class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, I don`t have class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you don`t. No you don`t. Get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands off of me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are (EXPLETIVE DELETED) engaged 19 times? Who (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of trash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my office.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is me not being the victim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not me being a victim. This is me telling you to shut the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jim Moret, what do you think? You think Michaele Salahi fits in with that crowd?

MORET: Look, you`re looking at some of the reasons why this is a very successful television show. Clearly -- my daughter and my wife, they love these shows, but what we`re talking about here, this was not an innocent mistake.

This couple prepared all day and probably much longer than that; she was at the -- her hairdresser for hours. She had to pick the perfect dress. This was an engineered plan to do just this, get attention, we`re talking about them, it overshadows the state dinner and more importantly, it brings up a very serious security breach.

I hope, I hope that they`re not rewarded by being given a TV show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what, they`re being rewarded by being asked to testify before a Congressional panel on Thursday, which I`m sure they absolutely love, because it`s going to make them even more famous.

Thank you, fantastic panel. Come back soon. I think these people are going to be in the news for awhile.

Coming up, David Hasselhoff is in the hospital and his ex-wife is in handcuffs. You will not believe how these bitter exes both ended up in trouble on the very same week. Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was on the ground semi-unconscious and had lacerations to his upper and lower lip.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The mystery of Tiger Woods` car crash deepens. Rumors fly about why he tore out of his home in the middle of the night. I want to hear what you think happened. Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The plot thickens in the Tiger Woods mystery. How did his windows get busted out and why isn`t he talking to cops? We`re going to investigate.

But first, tonight`s "Top of the Block."

It was a rough Thanksgiving weekend for the Hasselhoff family. In two unrelated stories, David Hasselhoff wound up in the hospital and his ex- wife and mother of his kids ended up in jail. The sad thing is alcohol could be to blame for both. How`s that for happy holidays?

It started when an ambulance was called to the Hoff`s house Friday afternoon. The former "Baywatch" star spent two nights in the hospital. His attorney would not say why he was hospitalized but we all know David Hasselhoff has been going through a long battle with alcoholism.

Radar Online reporting Hasselhoff suffered seizures after drinking heavy amounts of alcohol and was actually under involuntary psychiatric hold.

Meantime, the very next day, Pamela Bach, Hasselhoff`s ex-wife arrested for DUI; she allegedly had a blood alcohol content of .14. This isn`t her first time around. She was actually arrested for another DUI earlier this year and now, she could be headed for jail.

I know all about the dangers of alcohol. I just really hope and pray these two can get their acts together for the sake of their daughters.

Oh, well. Tonight, we are dying to know the real story behind Tiger Woods` car crash. The megastar golfer just announced he`s skipping his own charity tournament this week as this wild story picks up steam.

Tiger insists the incident was your average 2:30 a.m. Thanksgiving night crash into a fire hydrant and a tree. Then why has he refused to talk to investigators three times?

A neighbor`s 911 call doesn`t give us too many clues about exactly what happened. Listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: What happened, what`s wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a neighbor, he hit the tree. We came out here just to see what was going on. I see him and he`s laying down.

911 OPERATOR: He hit a tree, you mean there was an auto accident?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: Is he unconscious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: Ok. Are you able to tell if he`s breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can`t tell right now.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here are TMZ`s photos of Tiger`s smashed-up SUV. TMZ reporting that he was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and no shoes. Police say Tiger was not drinking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF DANIEL SAYLOR, WINDERMERE POLICE DEPT: We had a call to the accident which is a (INAUDIBLE) with injuries. My two officers arrived at the scene and there was Tiger Woods laying on the ground in front of his vehicle with his wife over him, rendering first aid. He was in and out of consciousness with lacerations to his upper and lower lip with a little bit of blood in his mouth, but he was conscious enough to be able to speak a little bit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now police are after medical records from Tiger`s post-crash hospital visit. Police question whether his injuries were actually a result of the accident or possibly from a fight with his wife. Tiger and ex-model Elin Nordegren have two young kids -- I don`t know if I pronounced her last name right.

He made vague references to quote, malicious rumors about his marriage. He`s apparently talking about last week`s "National Enquirer" claim that he had an affair with a New York nightclub hostess. Could that have pushed this couple to the breaking point?

I want to welcome back my fantastic panel: adding Roxanne Jones, vice president of ESPN, the magazine; Fraser Seitel, PR consultant and crisis manager; and Harvey Levin, executive producer of TMZ.

Harvey, what is the very latest?

HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TMZ: I mean, we know that the Florida Highway Patrol is extremely suspicious here. And they are suspicious because they have been shut down every which way. They can`t talk to Tiger; they can`t eyeball Tiger which is what they want to do.

We know there is -- there were surveillance cameras there and we believe that they have not yet anted up any video of the scene and the cameras would show exactly what happened once Tiger stepped out of the house. And we know that the Florida Highway Patrol is pursuing getting a search warrant.

We also know that two troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol went to the hospital today and they believe, they are suspicious of these injuries. And Jane, I think that the biggest issue is if you remember, the day this happened on Friday, Tiger was saying it`s minor, I went in and I went out of the hospital, it was nothing. Well, now he`s saying I can`t go to the tournament because of these injuries.

So what suspicious minds in law enforcement are saying in Florida right now is he`s waiting for everything to heal so they can`t look at him and say that wasn`t a car crash.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, obviously all of this is happening in the context of an article that appeared in the "National Enquirer." The timing of the crash is one reason people are so intrigued. It happened just days after the "National Enquirer" reported Tiger was having an affair with a beautiful nightclub hostess from New York City.

That woman told the Associated Press it`s not true. Nevertheless, she hired big-time attorney Gloria Allred to quote, "handle the situation". Harvey, why would this alleged mistress need a lawyer?

LEVIN: Well, I talked to her. We actually found her first and she told me it was B.S. that the "enquirer" story was made up, that she says that they paid these two women who talked to them. That the reason she was hiring Gloria Allred, she told me, in part was she wants the look at the possibility of a defamation lawsuit against the "National Enquirer."

Beyond that, she wouldn`t say why. But I know she hired Gloria at 3:00 in the morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow.

LEVIN: On Sunday. Yes. On saturday morning, rather. I know. I know. The funny thing is I said to her, I said did you call anybody else and she said yes, I called Mark Geragos, too. And it`s like -- are they all just sitting there?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s out of control.

LEVIN: The answering service apparently got in touch with Gloria and indeed, Mark, but she decided, she hired Gloria and flew out yesterday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiger`s wife was the first person to reach him after the crash. He basically says Elin was a hero that night. Here`s what he posted on his Web site.

Quote, "My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false."

Elin told police she took a golf club and bashed in the back window of the SUV to get her husband out.

I`ve got to ask you, Roxanne Jones, I don`t understand this. Why would you bash in the rear window if your husband is in the driver`s seat and is stuck there? It doesn`t really seem to make sense to me.

ROXANNE JONES, VICE PRESIDENT, ESPN MAGAZINE: Well, I mean, none of us were there. And we haven`t spoken to Tiger or his wife. So all we have to go on is the police report. So I can`t speculate about that.

But I do think that this is much ado about nothing. Tiger is a world- class athlete and person and we actually don`t know what happened. Maybe he had a human episode, something that I think many people can relate to, if there was a tiff.

But there`s no criminal action here. I mean, he can pay for the fire hydrant and move on. I really think this is not a story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here is my big issue. This is a P.R. disaster. Who advised Tiger how to respond in this particular manner?

It seems like the alleged cover-up is worse than the crash itself. Tiger`s statement only added to the speculation. Here`s sports and entertainment reporter Pat O`Brien today on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT O`BRIEN, CNN SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: You can`t come out with a statement that says this will never happen again, because what will never happen again? Running into a tree?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frazier Seitel, is this being handled badly?

FRAZIER SEITEL, P.R. CONSULTANT & CRISIS MANAGER: Yes, Tiger is botching this. He may be a world-class athlete, but he really surprisingly is botching the public relations.

The fact of the matter is what he has to do is go public because the point is Harvey`s not going away until Tiger goes public, goes public himself, explains in some way what`s going on.

It`s perfectly legitimate to say look, "I`m having some problems in my marriage, this is a personal thing, I got mad, I went out, I had a car crash. That`s all I`m going to say."

But until he says that, Harvey and the rest of the media are going to camp right outside his door and this is what Letterman did.

ROXANNE JONES, VICE PRESIDENT, ESPN THE MAGAZINE: Really.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right...

SEITEL: This is what Michael Phelps did. This is what they all did. He`s got to do the same thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, we`re so happy to have this panel, great panel. Not a happy start to the holidays, however, for Tiger and family. Woods still not talking. What`s going on? More analysis after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN JACKSON, SENIOR VP, HEALTH CENTRAL HOSPITAL: Tiger Woods was in a minor car accident outside his home last night. He was admitted, treated, and released today in good condition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, why did it say serious injuries?

JACKSON: I didn`t say serious injuries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FHP report said it was serious...

JACKSON: He was released today and in good condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what time?

JACKSON: No, I don`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it this afternoon or this morning or...

JACKSON: It was today. And that`s a joint statement both from his office and from the hospital.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she hold that news conference at a golf course? It looks like it.

That was a hospital executive making a statement about Tiger Woods` condition. And she seemed to get a little defensive when pressed for details about this mysterious car accident.

You know, I`ve got to tell you that I was on "The Wanda Sykes Show" this past weekend and it was a hoot and a holler.

And while I was waiting backstage to go on she just turned this into a joke, but it was a pretty funny joke. Listen to Wanda`s take on all of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANDA SYKES, COMEDIAN: Tiger goes out, gets in his Escalade, starts to take off. This woman comes out of the house and swinging the golf club. "Get your black Asian ass back in here. You don`t run out on me. I was talking to you."

Tiger, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He backs up, tries to get out of the driveway. She runs up, big Viking (EXPLETIVE DELETED) she runs up, starts banging the -- hitting his car with the damn golf club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. That was funny.

We all know she`s joking. But of course with all the speculation it`s basically, I think, speculation fills a void when the principal, namely Tiger Woods, isn`t talking. And what`s going to happen is the void`s going to get filled with jokes, with speculation and rumor and innuendo and that`s exactly what we see happening right now.

Pat, Arizona, your question or thought.

PAT, ARIZONA: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey.

PAT: I think his wife probably got mad and took the golf club after him and it`s just a very embarrassing situation for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I mean, I don`t understand why police care. This is not a law enforcement issue. It`s a public relations issue.

Really there`s no evidence that any crime has been committed. He wasn`t driving drunk. It was a single-vehicle accident. So all this talk about the cops looking for his hospital records and trying to get surveillance video, are they working overtime, Frazier?

SEITEL: No, what you said is really the case, Jane. The public relations axiom is this -- silence grants the point. And the longer he is silent going through statements, the more people will be suspicious.

So if Roxanne is right and there`s nothing to this, he`s got to go public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

SEITEL: Even if she`s wrong, he`s got to clear the air.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiger recently became the first athlete ever to earn $1 billion in a career. He`s only 33.

Check out these sponsorship deals: Nike, Gatorade, American Express. He made $105 million in endorsements last year alone.

So let me ask you, Roxanne, is any of this in jeopardy?

JONES: Absolutely not. I mean, Tiger is still Tiger. He`s human. If what`s alleged or rumored happened, he`s still a very human man, just like the rest of us. I don`t think it takes away one cent. 90 percent of his money comes from endorsement deals and they`re not the average endorsement deals. They`re based on ratings. They`re based on wins. They`re based on ownership.

I mean, he`s got a good thing going and I don`t think anyone at this point would say my goodness, Tiger may have had an argument at home, let`s not sponsor him anymore, let`s not be associated with him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

JONES: It doesn`t make sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think one of the reasons is he`s always been so squeaky clean. That`s why we`re fascinated.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

END