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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Missing Girl`s Father Arrested on Drug Charges; Casey Anthony May Plead Guilty to Check Fraud
Aired January 21, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking news in the hunt for Haleigh Cummings. Haleigh`s dad Ron and his ex-wife Misty have been arrested, but it`s not what you may think. These two on-again, off-again lovebirds were busted for alleged prescription drug trafficking. Ron`s little girl has been missing for almost a year, and now dad`s allegedly pushing pills? Did drugs have anything to do with little Haleigh`s disappearance?
And stunning new twists and turns in the Casey Anthony case. Caylee`s mom has proclaimed her innocence from day one. Now sources say she could admit committing check fraud just as her case was set to go to trial. So why now? Is Casey starting to crack?
Also, blood on the hands of Hollywood. Those harsh words from the family of the late Brittany Murphy. They vehemently deny her alleged drug use and eating disorder. Her husband is actually pointing the finger at Hollywood. What does he think killed this Young starlet? And how does he explain the drugs found in her home?
Plus, inside the world of sexual addiction. Reports say Tiger Woods is hiding out in a sex rehab center. What exactly is going on in there? Does treatment really work, or is all this just spin control when you`re caught cheating on your wife? We`ll get the inside scoop from experts.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking new twists in the case of missing 6-year-old Haleigh Cummings. Haleigh`s father Ron and his ex-wife Misty Croslin have been arrested on serious drug trafficking charges. Police tell "The Orlando Sentinel" they hope these arrests will help solve the tragic mystery surrounding Haleigh`s disappearance.
Misty`s brother, Tommy Croslin, and two other women, Hope Sykes and Donna Brock, were also arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE CHARLES TINLIN, ST. JOHNS COUNTY, FLORIDA: Ms. Croslin, you`ve been charged with four counts of trafficking in hydrocodone out of Putnam County, actually a total of five counts of trafficking hydrocodone out of Putnam County and one count of trafficking oxycodone in St. Johns County.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, look at that expression. We`re going to analyze that one.
Could little Haleigh`s disappearance be connected to this alleged prescription drug ring?
Ron and Misty say they don`t know anything about who took Haleigh or why. But Misty was the last person to see little Haleigh alive, and cops have said they believe she is hiding something. Misty insists she was sleeping when little Haleigh was taken. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISTY CROSLIN, EX-WIFE OF RON CUMMINGS: Got up because I had to use the bathroom, but I didn`t make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on, and I walked in the kitchen, and the back door was wide open. I mean, I didn`t notice about Haleigh then until I seen the back door open. And then I go, and she`s gone. And that`s all I know. Is when I woke up, and when I went to sleep she was there, and then when I woke up she was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Astounding developments. Tonight, they`re both under arrest. Here is brand-new video of Misty and Ron in court. Cops say they sold oxycodone and hydrocodone to undercover officers. If convicted, Misty could go to prison for -- are you sitting down -- 25 years.
This adorable little girl has now been missing for almost a year. Are we any closer to getting answers? I want to hear from you about this mystery. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Wow. This is -- it`s such a startling and bizarre development. Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: former criminal investigator John Lucich. And we`re delighted to have tonight former television host and Miami-Dade County judge, Judge David Young. And we begin with WBDO radio reporter Drew Petrimoulx.
Drew, what an astounding day. What is the very latest?
DREW PETRIMOULX, WBDO RADIO REPORTER: Well, the latest is the pair, Misty and Ron Cummings, are still in jail now. They were caught selling -- selling drugs to an undercover cop, about $3,900 worth of prescription painkillers.
And you know, while it is a big deal, they do face a lot of time, both their bails are over, half a million dollars. There have been accusations of drug use, but -- among them before. And they have both had multiple run-ins with the law since the Haleigh Cummings case first started. So they are no strangers to law enforcement.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the bond? They`re both in the clinker tonight. Any chance of them getting out?
PETRIMOULX: They`d have to come up with a lot of money. Ron Cummings` bond is about a half million dollars. Misty`s bond is almost $1 million. I think it`s about $950,000.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So clearly, Judge David Young, this would be an opportunity. Look at them. Look at them. Oh, my gosh. This -- this blows my mind. I mean, because of course, these two got married, and then they got divorced. And now they`re back allegedly doing drugs or -- trafficking drugs together.
But will law enforcement use this arrest of Misty to put pressure on her to spill the beans about what really happened that night?
JUDGE DAVID YOUNG, FORMER MIAMI-DADE COUNTY JUDGE: Well, they...
YOUNG: They say these are two separate cases. They wanted to make that clear. That they hope that something that comes from the drug case will lead to Haleigh in some way. But they did make a point to say that these two are separate cases.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But a judge, David Young, one of the investigators also said while they`re separate, they`re parallel, and he knew in his heart that one day these two cases would cross. What do you think he meant by that?
YOUNG: Well, he meant -- he meant by that that one of them is going to crack under the pressure. Now that they`ve have both been arrested, pretty significant charges, especially when you have minimum mandatories with drug trafficking like you do in the state of Florida. They`re going to do anything they can, I would think, to try to lessen the time that they`re going to have to serve in jail.
And the perfect way to do that is give the investigators what they want about little Haleigh. Because you know she knows something, and you know he knows something. They both know something. It`s a small town. And I, for one, do not believe them for two minutes. It`s like the trailer park is missing two -- two of its residents tonight.
Now, this is not the first time Misty has allegedly been involved with drugs. In October, police said she was robbed while trying to buy drugs. ArtHarris.com reports a friend of Misty`s claims she was drugged out the night Haleigh vanished.
Also, a man named -- nicknamed White Boy Greg says he was with Misty on the weekend leading up to Haleigh`s disappearance. He claims they took part in a three-day bender of drugs, cocaine, and sex. Now police have questioned this man but have not confirmed any of those details to us.
Take a look inside the trailer. Misty says she was sleeping right near little Haleigh when somebody came in and grabbed her in the middle of the night. It`s hard to believe you could be sleeping that close by and not hear anything.
John Lucich, what do all these new developments and all these details tell you?
JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: The cops have a tremendous hammer on top of these people. No. 1, they have five people under arrest. That means there`s four other people that could possibly turn state`s evidence, gets a deal for themselves if they know it.
Now these guys, they all hang around together. Criminals are criminals. They talk to each other. It`s very possible that one of these guys are going to crack in order to get out from under this hammer.
In addition to that, the more time they spend in jail, the more time, the possibility that they could say something by accident to a jailhouse snitch who is going to work a deal for themselves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I do not understand? Is that police have said flat out they don`t think Misty is telling the whole story. They have said that there are inconsistencies in her story. They have said she has not provided details about what happened that night. And she was the last person to see little Haleigh before she vanished.
And nevertheless, Misty has not been called a person of interest and not been called a suspect. Why not, Judge David Young?
YOUNG: Well, there probably is not enough evidence to link her to the disappearance. It seems to me that Haleigh is -- was a 17-year-old girl at the time. She was under the influence of Haleigh`s -- Haleigh`s father. They were both using drugs. They were both partying. They were both being totally irresponsible. What did they think was going to happen to that poor child?
You know, this is a young girl who will crack under pressure. She`s going to crack under pressure, because she`s going to realize, when she`s drug-free, which she will be in prison, that 25 years is her whole life. And she`s not going to want to give up her whole life to support this clown that she was married to at one time. They were married, now they`re divorced.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say a couple of things. One, that we really have no independent confirmation that they were using drugs. They are charged with drug trafficking.
And we invite them -- and I`ve done this every time I do this story. If you want to come on, Misty and Ron, or both of you, or your attorneys, come on. We`ll give you a whole hour to tell your side of the story.
Take a look at that face. Look at the dark circles under her eyes. She is a teenager, and she looks like an old woman. Why?
OK. Here`s my big issue tonight: is there a drug connection? Police say these two cases, the drug arrests and Haleigh`s disappearance are separate, but they also say they parallel. Hypothetically, when you look at other cases where children go missing, a lot of times it does turn out that drugs are somehow involved.
Let`s talk about a totally different story. Remember this story: little Shaniya Davis was caught on surveillance camera being carried into a hotel room moments before she was brutally raped and murdered. Police believe her own mother sold her as a prostitute. The girl`s father claims her mother trafficked her to pay off a drug debt.
Now once again, getting back to the Haleigh case, we have absolutely no confirmation that Haleigh`s disappearance is connected to her father and stepmother`s alleged drug trafficking. But one investigator did say that he believed the two cases would ultimately cross.
I ask again, John Lucich, take all of this information and try to give us some -- some sanity out of it.
LUCICH: Well, you`ve got people that they`re dealing with that they`re selling drugs with. Trafficking is a serious crime. It`s very possible that either, A, she sold her for drugs before, and she`s covering all that up. There`s a lot of possibilities in dealing with drugs.
But what comes down to it is that drug -- this drug arrest may help solve this crime because they got them in jail and they`re going to be able to question them separately. They don`t have to worry about them talking to each other. So whether there was drugs before or after, no one knows, and you won`t know until we find his little girl. But this is going to be the best opportunity we have.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a fascinating angle involving one of the women who was arrested. You won`t believe this.
We`re going to take your calls on all of this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. What`s your theory?
Coming up, Casey Anthony has never admitted to playing a role in the death of precious daughter Caylee. But could she be fessing up to something else?
And we`re going to have more on the curious Cummings case in just a bit. Stay right there
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON CUMMINGS, FATHER OF HALEIGH: If I find whoever has my daughter before y`all do, I`m killing him. I don`t care. I`ll spend the rest of my life in prison. I`m telling you, you can put it on record. I don`t care.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. It`s OK, sir. We`ve got them on the way. OK, can you give me any -- what kind of description of her pajamas that she was wearing?
CUMMINGS: I don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) know. I was at work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sir, let me talk to your wife. Let me get some information from her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Can I talk to her? OK?
CUMMINGS: How the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you let my daughter get stolen, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the frantic 911 call made to police when Ron Cummings came home and found out his 5-year-old daughter Haleigh was missing.
His girlfriend at the time, Misty Croslin, was babysitting the girl while Ron was at work. She told investigators she woke up and realized little Haleigh was gone, but there were no signs of forced entry. The back door was reportedly propped open.
And stunning developments tonight. Both Ron and Misty have now been arrested on drug trafficking charges, accused of being part of the same group of alleged drug traffickers.
Phone lines lighting up. Amy, Illinois, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. I`m glad to get on. Thanks for all your work that you do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: My question is, you know, Ron to me always seemed sincere. His grief was sincere. Misty, a young gal, she was questionable from day one. I was just wondering because, you know, there`s drugs all over the nation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure are.
CALLER: The police probably were keeping close tabs on them, because, you know, no one really knows his play in this. I just -- I think he`s very depressed. I mean, he`s lost his daughter. I don`t think he`s that bad of a guy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy, I got to -- I got to -- I respect your opinion, and I thank you for calling. But take a look at his mug shot. He`s smiling in his mug shot. We`re going to show you that mug shot in just a second. And I find it completely shocking that he is -- there she is. She doesn`t look too happy. I wouldn`t be. That`s for sure. Look at him. He`s smiling. I don`t get that.
John Lucich, what do you make of that smile?
LUCICH: He`s a despicable person. She`s a despicable person. They - - it is unbelievable the way these two carry on. I just can`t wait for the day that they slap the cuffs on them for the murder this little girl.
There`s no doubt in my mind, those people know what happened to this little girl. And they`re just not saying it. And I hope either they spend the rest of their lives in jail on this drug charge or they go down for that other charge. But either way, these two have to be taken off the street.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And once again we`re theorizing. We do not know, nor do police, what happened to little Haleigh. And Misty is not even considered a person of interest, much less a suspect. So -- and neither is Ron.
Cynthia, Indiana, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, ma`am.
CALLER: I don`t think between the two of them they could come up with a single brain cell. I -- just trafficking, I`m wondering if maybe they trafficked -- they were trafficking Haleigh, and maybe she could still be alive in another country. And I was thinking about that way back at the beginning. Remember that girl that said that Misty was at a party and had Haleigh there?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, there was a claim. One of one of the many claims, yes.
CALLER: I was wondering if maybe that`s where Haleigh went missing. Maybe some -- but Misty knew about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, excellent questions all the way around. Drew Petrimoulx, there was that talk that they all had gone to a party, and there was a lake that was dredged as a result of that. Tell us about that.
PETRIMOULX: Well, I mean, they searched this entire area. There was volunteers out there searching. They had, you know, cadaver-sniffing dogs out there. They did extensive searches on this whole area.
And you have to think if she was at a party where she was sold off and there were multiple parties involved, there would have been a way to trace this down just by the sheer fact that there are so many people that would have been a party to this incident. It`s hard to imagine, with the amount of police work that`s gone into it, that they couldn`t find anyone to spill any valuable information if there were multiple people involved.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now here`s one of the strangest aspects of the story. One of the women arrested along with Ron and Misty is named Donna Brock. And there`s a very bizarre connect here.
Donna apparently volunteered for Texas EquuSearch, and then she allegedly befriended Misty on their behalf and became her confidante in the hopes that she could get some information out of the teen step-mom. Donna reportedly even accompanied Misty on a trip to Orlando shortly after Haleigh went missing.
Drew, what do you know about this Donna character?
PETRIMOULX: Well, I believe she was with Misty whenever there was this road rage incident, one of the other brush-ins with the law that they`ve had, where some girl called 911 saying that Misty was chasing after her, yelling obscenities out the window on the highway. But other than that I don`t know much.
I will speak to during this drug bust be just by the bond -- the way the bonds were issued, you have to think that Misty Croslin was kind of the ringleader of this, just because her bond is so much more than Ron`s. And if you look at the report, she was the one that was going around doing a lot of the drug deals that were documented before they were arrested. So she was somewhat of a ringleader in this drug ring.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. She`s...
YOUNG: Jane, that`s true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s a fascinating and bizarre character. And of course, she reportedly miserably failed a lie detector test and a voice analysis test given to her by Texas EquuSearch.
They say Misty agreed to take the test. She was asked, "Do you know what happened to Haleigh?" She said no, and that was found to be 99 percent likely a lie. Misty also took a voice analysis test. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROSLIN: The light was just glaring into my bedroom. So I got up and went to the kitchen. That`s when I noticed the back door was wide open. I ran back and tried to call her, and I turned around. And that`s when I saw she was gone. And I started freaking out, looking under beds, closets, everywhere, screaming her name. Couldn`t find her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. All right. That is one young lady I cannot figure out at this point. But I know something`s -- Beatrice, Virginia, very quick question, ma`am.
CALLER: My question is, why did the judge give Ron Cummings, with his record, the two children? He didn`t even -- he didn`t even have a bed for them. The child was sleeping on a mattress.
And if you want to find out what happened to Haleigh, I think you need to ask Junior. Junior gave them information. People will not listen to children. People need to listen to their children no matter what age, because Junior said someone in black...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Beatrice. You`ve made some excellent points. We need to listen to the children. There are other children involved.
Fantastic panel, thank you so very much for joining us.
And another mystery, a Hollywood starlet found dead inside her home. The family of Brittany Murphy tries to set the record straight. Well, why does her husband say Hollywood has blood on its hands?
And brand-new developments in the Casey Anthony case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight," fast-breaking developments in the Casey Anthony case. Her check fraud trial is on hold. It was set to start on Monday, but now we`re hearing a plea deal is in the works. Does that mean we`re finally going to hear Casey say the word "guilty"?
If so, Casey will be admitting to bank fraud. She allegedly stole her best friend`s checks and went on a $700 shopping spree. Let`s not forget she`s accused of killing her adorable child, Caylee. So how would an admission of guilt affect her upcoming murder trial?
Back with me, former Miami-Dade County judge, Judge David Young, and WBDO reporter Drew Petrimoulx.
Drew, what is the very latest?
PETRIMOULX: We`ll go back to court on Monday on this. And what we`re going to find out is if there`s a plea deal on the table here where Casey Anthony won`t have to go to trial on these fraud charges.
As you said, she`s accused of stealing checks from her friend and using them at Target and other supermarkets. But whether or not there`s a plea deal we don`t know exactly, because lawyers, defense lawyers haven`t answered that question. We find that out on Monday.
We`ll also hear some motions in the murder case involving Texas EquuSearch and their records of searches during the search for Caylee Anthony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Texas EquuSearch seems to be all over the place. It`s fascinating. Let me ask you this question: where do we hear about this possible plea deal? I mean, you`re saying it`s not for sure, so how do we know?
PETRIMOULX: Leaked reports and court sources and nothing firm. So we`ve tried to contact the Baez defense team. We`ve tried to contact the state, and nobody`s budging on this. That`s why, you know, this is a pretty anticipated hearing on Monday, because everyone wants to know if she`s going to plead guilty.
And the issue here was then in the murder case, if she`s put on the stand, she`ll have to answer questions about being a felon. And that will, you know, kind of shoot down her credibility amongst the jurors.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now the timing of Casey`s alleged bad check shopping spree is very significant, since it happened after her precious toddler disappeared. Take a look at the security camera footage. It`s compelling evidence that shows Casey had at a Target store only three weeks after her daughter Caylee was reported missing. She certainly wasn`t buying anything for Caylee. Casey bought lingerie, beer, and those white sunglasses she always wore before her arrest.
So Judge, if she pleads guilty to check fraud, would that speed up the murder trial, and would prosecutors be able to use that guilty plea against her in the murder trial?
YOUNG: I don`t think they`ll be able to use it against her in the murder trial unless it was charged as a felony. And she`ll admit readily that, yes, she`s a convicted felon.
Yes, I think all the circumstantial evidence against her is so overwhelming that you don`t really need this arrest.
But what this will do, though, Jane, is when it comes time for sentencing, if she`s found guilty, they could use that against her as an aggravating factor to give her the death penalty.
YOUNG: So I don`t understand why the defense lawyer is doing this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? They could give something like check fraud as an aggravating factor for the death penalty?
YOUNG: Well, what the court looks at is how many times you`ve ever been convicted of a crime, and do you show propensity of committing law violations. Then when you plead guilty to a felony, that`s going to be used against you. That`s certainly not going to help you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And look at her. She has transformed so much since we first saw her. See the bags under her eyes, too. It`s fascinating stuff to see how these people change going through these horrific dramas.
All right. Brittany Murphy`s husband speaking out. Find out what he is saying about drugs found in their home and who he thinks is to blame for Brittany`s death, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Inside the world of sexual addiction: reports say Tiger Woods is hiding out in a sexual rehab center. What exactly is going on in there? Does treatment really work, or is it all just spin control?
Also, blood on the hands of Hollywood: those harsh words from the family of Brittany Murphy. They vehemently deny her alleged drug use and eating disorder. And her husband`s actually pointing the finger at Hollywood. What does he think killed Brittany?
Tonight, what killed Brittany Murphy? Her family confronts the harsh rumors swirling around the actress` mysterious death. There were a slew of prescription drugs found in the home, but they completely deny she had any addiction or eating disorder.
Here is Brittany`s husband on NBC`s "Today Show".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON MONJACK, BRITTANY MURPHY`S HUSBAND: This is -- to set the record straight for once and for all. Brittany was not taking any medication for her mood, for anorexia, for any kind of mental illness. And it`s just utterly ridiculous to -- these suggestions and these rumors have perpetuated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 32-year-old actress who starred in "Clueless" and "Just Married" died a month ago in her L.A. home reportedly of cardiac arrest. We`re still waiting for the toxicology reports to tell us exactly what caused her death.
Brittany`s mom believes it was a heart murmur. Her husband thinks it was a virus. He also claims most of the prescription pills found in their home were his. He admits Brittany took at least one narcotic painkiller but says that was just for her menstrual cramps.
We`re going to analyze that with a team of experts. But what about Brittany`s erratic behavior, and what some call extreme weight loss? Her mom and husband say, whoa, wait a minute. They can explain.
I want to welcome my truly fantastic panel. Attorney Darren Kavinoky, legal correspondent for "The Insider"; Ken Seeley who served as interventionist on A&E`s hit show "Intervention", and Lisa Guerrero special correspondent for "Inside Edition".
Let me start with you, Lisa. You know Hollywood. He is saying that there is blood on the hands of Hollywood. I don`t know exactly what that means. But essentially he`s accusing people in Hollywood of waging a vicious campaign against a dead woman who cannot defend herself or speak for herself. What do you make of it?
LISA GUERRERO, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, first of all, Jane, as you know, Hollywood is a tough, tough town. And she met with some very early success. And as most women know as they get older in Hollywood, it becomes a tougher battle to get roles and to be, you know, considered the leading lady.
I think that the accusation specifically of the producers of "Happy Feet", they apparently rescinded an offer for her to be in the sequel. So I think they`re laying the blame at Warner Brothers, but I just don`t buy it. Hollywood is a tough town and that`s part of the deal.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to say one thing. For everybody who accuses her of anorexia, we`re going to show you pictures where she looks darn thin. The coroner`s report says she was 5`5" and 115 pounds. That is normal, people. That is not anorexic.
There`s plenty of people who are 5`5" and 115 pounds. It`s slim but it`s not anorexic. Two days after Brittany died she walked off a film in progress. Some claim she was fired. She denied that and cited creative differences.
But she was also having problems on the set of a different film. Sources say she was, quote, "barely there" and was in and out of consciousness. The staff presumed she used prescription drugs.
But her husband has some strong words for anyone in Hollywood who has attacked Brittany.
Here he is again on NBC`s "Today Show".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONJACK: Hollywood is a village, and once you upset the villagers, they talk and they gossip and they rumor. And they have blood on their hands. And I hope they wash them with very hot water because the way they treated Brittany Murphy when she was alive was terrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I have tremendous compassion for the mother and the husband, and I understand them trying to set the record straight. But are you buying it, Darren, given that he had said that she used two drugs, Vicoprofen (ph), which is a cousin of Vicodin and is considered a narcotic painkiller and it can become addictive, and Cerafem (ph), which is an anti- depressant which is an anti-depressant that is used to treat premenstrual dysphonic disorder, a severe form of PMS.
So he`s saying that she took these serious drugs for basically when she had her period.
DARREN KAVINOKY, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE INSIDER": Right. Right.
Well, first of all, as far as being a relentless gossip, I want to go on record and plead guilty to that. And I like to write off my subscriptions to "People" magazine and "Us Weekly" and "The National Enquirer" because it`s a business expense, you know. So I -- I think guilty as charged there.
You know, as to the toxicological findings, we have to wait until the lab results are in. At the end of the day, that`s really going to solve the mystery and all of the speculation about whether it`s a heart murmur or some other condition or what kind of drugs she needed to take for menstrual cramps.
It`s all -- all nothing but speculation at this point. And when those results are in, a lot of questions are going to be answered.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Has there been a rush to judgment since Brittany died? Stars` deaths are so often linked to drug use; we`re talking Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith. Are we essentially being programmed to assume that when a star dies young, well, we`re going to assume drugs are involved?
Brittany`s mom says not her daughter. Here`s another clip from NBC`s "Today Show".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON MURPHY, BRITTANY MURPHY`S MOM: So horrific. She was diagnosed with a heart murmur when she was a young teenager, and she was terrified of anything happening to her. She never did any drugs ever.
MONJACK: The bottom line is if she had done cocaine she`d be dead in a second. She had mitral valve pro-lapse. There`s not a physical possibility that Brittany would do cocaine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ken Seeley, you`re the interventionist. I have no idea if Brittany Murphy was a drug addict or did drugs. But don`t a lot of drug users -- they manage to keep it from their families and the families do go into denial, don`t they?
KEN SEELEY, INTERVENTIONIST: Yes and that`s one of the signs that I see all the time, Jane, is that the family goes into denial and they don`t see the behaviors. So they try to cover them up. And that`s human nature; we try to cover up and protect our loved ones.
But as Darren said, the reports are going to tell us everything. They`re going to show us everything.
KAVINOKY: And part of it, part of it Jane -- forgive me for interrupting -- but part of it relates to her behavior, as well. You know, God forbid one of the Jonas brothers were to drop dead now, I doubt many people would be speculating about drugs or eating disorders. But in the case of Brittany Murphy, it was her life as she lived it that now gives rise to that speculation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you fabulous panel. We`re moving on.
Lying, cheating, and the spotlight: Tiger Woods rumored to be in sex rehab. So does this treatment really work or is it just PR? And what about John Edwards; he now admits fathering a child with his mistress. We`re going to talk about both of these sex scandals, coming right up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events. So I know it`s not possible.
I don`t talk about these tabloids -- tabloid trash is full lies.
I don`t respond to these lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are they going to get away with this? He`s been lying repeatedly. He wanted to be president.
We`re taking your calls; 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, a family brutally murdered inside their home: new, horrifying details from the mass killing in Texas, the youngest victim just 2 years old.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiger Woods, life in rehab if he is there. How is the fallen sports star spending his days inside the sexual addiction rehab facility? We`re going to examine all that with somebody who`s been in one of those.
First "Top of the Block".
This Texas man being charged with capital murder in an absolutely horrific crime; cops say Maron Thomas (ph) killed five members of his own family, decapitating his 2-year-old niece with a machete. Thomas was arrested butt naked, breaking into a neighbor`s house after the killings on Sunday. The bodies of his five family members were found less than two miles away.
You know, this is -- it`s happening every day in America it seems. This is just the latest eruption of irrational violence in this country.
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TRAVIS KOEHN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: One of the most horrific crimes that we`ve had in Austin County. Austin County is -- is a safe place to live, but unfortunately we are not immune to the same kind of crimes that occur in other locations.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: This family just wasn`t safe. No area of the country is. As a society, we need to find a way to stop this senseless violence. It`s a crisis.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".
And also tonight, sex scandals continue to implode on two fronts; more fallout from the stunning photos purportedly showing Tiger in sex rehab. And after years of lying right to our faces, one-time presidential hopeful John Edwards finally tells the truth and admits he has a love child.
We begin with Tiger Woods. "The National Enquirer" says it captured this image of Tiger Woods wearing a cap and a hood at a sex rehab clinic in Mississippi. Two local news stations and a "New York Times" magazine reporter say their sources confirm, yes, it is Tiger.
So if so, what the heck is going on in there behind those closed doors? Tonight, stunning claims by noted addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky, that Tiger`s mistresses may be invited to get involved in Tiger`s recovery process.
We`ve already heard that wife Elin is likely to be asked to visit and listen to Tiger recite his laundry list of infidelity to her. Here is Dr. Drew on RadarOnline.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: It takes about three to five years to treat a sex addict. So it`s going to be an ongoing process that she is going to have to actively participate in.
That`s hard to get it under -- to get the significant other to participate when they`re not the identified patient. He did me wrong, why should I be doing all this work. And she will have a lot of work to do. It`s often -- oftentimes the significant other has more delicate work to do than the patient after all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s not all. Dr. Drew says disclosure day in sex rehab sometimes involves putting the addict through a lie detector test.
It`s astounding. Would Tiger Woods stand for a lie detector test? "The Daily News" reports its sources claim Tiger might have to sign a celibacy contract promising no sex in any way, shape, or form while in treatment.
Does this help the sex addicts shatter their dance of deceit? What do you think? Give me a holler; 1-877-JVM-SAYS, that`s 1-877-586- 7297.
I am back with my panel: Darren Kavinoky; and we`ve also got Debbie Nigro; and interventionist Ken Seeley; and again joining me Lisa Guerrero, special correspondent for "Inside Edition" who gained fame as a sideline reporter. Also on the phone, Nicole Narain, a recovering sex addict, who has appeared on "Celebrity Sex Rehab". Nicole can you hear us?
NICOLE NARAIN, CELEBRITY SEX REHAB (via telephone): Yes, I can.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, you`re hearing all these things that are being reported. We certainly have no independent confirmation. You`ve been in sex rehab. Were you -- did you sign a celibacy agreement? Did ex- lovers come in and listen to a litany of your disclosures?
NARAIN: You know, I`m just -- it`s so upsetting. I just heard you say that, when you said that he might have his ex-lovers come in. Yes, you do sign a way -- you can`t have sex. There`s no masturbation allowed. I understand that.
But as far as having the exes come in, like that`s -- that`s really just pushing it. I don`t think that`s going to help anybody. I definitely think him going into rehab is very premature on his part. I think that is...
NARAIN: I absolutely think so. I think it is just way too soon to just jump into a rehab center -- I mean, where you know there`s going to be, you know, cameras posted up outside, you`re not really -- I feel like it`s like it`s not being taken seriously at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ok.
Let me just -- I want to jump in with Darren Kavinoky, You are a correspondent for "The Insider" and you`ve also worked as an interventionist. Do you think it`s too soon -- Darren?
KAVINOKY: Well, it`s interesting. I think his behavior in response to some of these items if in fact they`re true like taking a polygraph or this -- his other participation in family week; that will really tell us whether this is just spin or if he`s legitimately seeking help for a problem that he admits that he has.
And ultimately whether Elin participates in that family week, I think will tell us whether or not there`s a chance that those two will be able to reunite and perhaps move on as a family.
The real tragedy here is that it`s not just the two of them, that they have kids together. And so he`s going to need to be in her life and there is going to need to be some kind of family unit that moves forward from here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s fascinating. Because you`re saying even if they did ultimately get divorced, they do have to maintain a relationship.
Ken Seeley, you know a lot about rehab. We`ve already established from Nicole Narain that yes, they do ask you to sign a celibacy contract and not have any kind of sex, even masturbation, while you`re in treatment.
But what about some of these other reports that the wife is going to come in and listen to, on disclosure day, a litany of all of his infidelities. Have you heard of that?
SEELEY: Yes, no. I`m pretty familiar with that facility that they`re saying he`s at. And I don`t -- I know they do sign the celibacy contract, but I don`t think they do have where other participants come in.
But absolutely they do have the family come in. I think that`s a key component to have the family come in. And as Darren said is the family`s going to be needed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me stop you there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get specific. You now we`re all talking about...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...all the kumbaya. But is she going to listen to him recite, is it likely that she`ll sit there and listen to him recite a list of all of the things that he did with all these women?
SEELEY: I don`t think that`s really helpful. I don`t think that`s going to really help them in their recovery process. I mean, that`s like pulling out the -- that`s like asking a drug addict how much drugs do you do and what`s the amount and what`s the different types -- I mean, that`s the past.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But isn`t that part of rehab?
SEELEY: Yes but Jane...
KAVINOKY: It is. But there`s this part -- there`s this part about not disclosing the sins of the past where it`s going to harm others.
KAVINOKY: And certainly it would seem to me that -- that those kinds of disclosures have the capability of harming others. So we -- people in recovery...
KAVINOKY: ...don`t save themselves at the expense of injuring still more people in the process.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
You know the executive director of the program where Tiger is reportedly being treated wrote his first book on the topic of sex addiction in the late `80s. Now, here`s what he told CBS about how attitudes have changed since then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK CARNES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PINE GROVE: And I wasn`t the only voice at that time, but it was a time where it was difficult to stand up and say, "Hey, folks, there is a thing here." That`s not so much an issue anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know about that. There`s a lot of skepticism still about sex addiction.
Look, the early `90s, Michael Douglas was labeled a sex addict by his ex-wife and he reportedly sought treatment at an L.A. rehab clinic. We have no independent confirmation of that, but that`s the report out there.
Halle Berry`s ex, Eric Benet, announced he was a sex addict in 2003. That admission apparently caused their breakup.
David Duchovny plays a sex-crazed writer in the show time hit "Californication". Life imitates art or vice-versa; he spoke publicly about checking into a rehab for sex addiction.
So what I find interesting Lisa Guerrero is with a lot of these guys, they have beautiful wives. Tiger`s wife is beautiful. Halle Berry, what could get more beautiful?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Douglas has been linked to the most beautiful women in the world over his lifetime.
GUERRERO: Yes. Well, it`s definitely not about the wife. And the problem doesn`t lie with the wife at all.
So, you know, the sports community is looking at this very differently. There`s a lot of cynicism within the sports community as to whether sex addiction is a real addiction. And so many people think that Tiger Woods, who has been so controlled with every aspect of his public image is doing this to repair his public image rather than repairing his marriage.
So a lot of people in the sports community are rolling their eyes right now at Tiger Woods.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Interesting. So they`re not buying it because of the culture of the sports? Where it`s kind of, we`re different from the rest of us and we can sort of make our own rules because we`re these sports stars?
I`m finding that fascinating because I think there is this sort of separate reality in the world of sports.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody stay right where you are. We have so much going on inside the world of sex rehab. Does it really work or is it just PR?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: It`s not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so it I know it`s not possible.
I don`t talk about these tabloids. The tabloid trash is full of lies.
I don`t respond to these lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Liar, liar, pants on fire. Oh, my gosh. Edwards now admits he is the father of his mistress`s baby. Edwards -- He has me verklempt. I can`t even speak after hearing all those lies.
Edwards says he intends to support little Quinn, now 2 years old; too little, too late. Will this child be scarred when she learns her father went to such extreme lengths to deny that he was her papa?
This one is rivaling Tiger for just strangest sex scandal of the new century.
Sandy, Colorado, your question or thought, ma`am?
SANDY, COLORADO (via telephone): Yes, I was wanting to say about politicians now. Everybody knew that Edwards was lying I think from the very beginning. But he is one of so many politicians that have been caught. And they`re so quick to criticize one another, but when you start looking in their own closets, some of them think more with their zipper than they do anything else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Debbie Nigro, well put. Debbie Nigro was the founding partner and chief executive of First Wives` World. You`re watching both of these scandals unfold. And it`s hard to figure out which one tops the other, although I think John Edwards` deceit is worse because he wanted to be the guy who had his hands on the red button. And I`m so glad he`s not.
DEBBIE NIGRO, FOUNDING PARTNER, FIRST WIVES` WORLD: Everybody wants a piece of somebody rich and famous. We`re finding that`s the game everybody is playing these; it`s just a matter of which piece? When the piece is the personal part it gets kind of complicated.
I don`t want to be going to family week Tiger Woods and his family. That`s like the worst vacation idea I`ve ever heard. I`m actually feeling the pain for Elin because as the (INAUDIBLE) unfold, I thought she was done, going to file for divorce. Every marriage and every relationship, John Edwards, and -- it`s about the internal relationship.
Can it sustain it and with -- you know, can it survive this? And that`s individual for every person. And as we`re watching this roll out here, I know Tiger Woods is doing this because of various reasons. One, he had to. He had no choice. And two, if he does want to save his marriage, which is what most guys want to do when they screw it up, they`ll do what they have to.
Whether she`ll forgive him or not and be able to sit there through all the intimate details, I don`t know. The kids in both these families are the ones you really have to worry about. Tiger`s are really young so thankfully they won`t know what`s going on. John Edwards kids are a little bit more...
KAVINOKY: With John Edwards, you`re talking ant a politician. And of course, politicians are required to be rigorously honest in all of their affairs. So we`re all stunned and shocked to hear that perhaps there might have been a dishonesty, a transgression.
But wait a second, on the other hand, there was that guy, oh, yes, Bill Clinton. What was his famous line? "I did not have sex with that woman." And yet somehow...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It depends on what the definition of it is.
I`ve got to ask Ken Seeley, yes or no. Do you think that John Edwards should go into lying rehab? Is there a lying rehab?
SEELEY: There should be. There should be. Absolutely.
KAVINOKY: Ken should do the intervention, definitely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, let`s do an intervention on John Edwards.
NIGRO: The word that keeps coming into my head is pile of tricks. Somebody had that phrase about living (ph) up the situation -- pile of tricks
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. We`re laughing but it`s not so funny for those in the middle of it.
KAVINOKY: No, it`s not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re watching issues on HLN.