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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Testimony: Suspects Photographed Home Invasion; Pastor Responds to Accusations
Aired September 23, 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, tortured, raped and burned alive. A beautiful family randomly attacked inside their home. The father tied up while his wife and young daughters are brutally and viciously murdered. Tonight, horrifying new details emerge from the courtroom. Was this poor woman raped to even the score?
And sex and corruption rip through a southern mega church. Tonight Pastor Eddie Long fights to save his reputation as new revealing cell-phone photos have just been released. Did he use his position of power to force young men into sex?
Also, a desperate grandfather pushed over the edge. Explosive new twists and turns in the Casey Anthony case. Tonight, did George Anthony become violent with Casey during the desperate search for adorable little Caylee?
And toxic nation out of control. Jaw-dropping new details in the tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith. She was prescribed 1,500 pills in a single month. Tonight, her pill-happy doctors face justice.
And we`ll show you amazing new video of Anna Nicole Smith in a tub.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, horrific new details revealed about the day Dr. William Petit`s family was brutally assaulted and murdered inside their home. It appears this innocent, wholesome family came face-to-face with pure, unadulterated evil.
Testimony today that the two suspects, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky took photos -- that`s right, pictures -- while they terrorized this entire family. And we`re talking obscene photos.
Imagine being Dr. William Petit, the only survivor of this attack, having to hear about all of this in court. Hayes is the first suspect to go on trial, and the cop who took his confession took the stand. He said Hayes reeked of gasoline as he described what happened in the Petit home, which was ultimately set on fire. Hayes told the cop they`d only planned to rob the Petit family, but things spiraling out of control. Oh, really?
The cops testified that when Joshua Komisarjevsky raped 11-year-old Michaela, the other suspect, Steven Hayes, felt pressured into raping the child`s mother. Was this a competition to see who could be more evil?
A close friend of the Petit family told "In Session" the death penalty was created for cases like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON BUCCHI, TREASURER, THE PETIT FAMILY FOUNDATION: I think, and I`m sure most of your viewers would agree, that if you don`t prosecute this as a death penalty, what -- what could you ever prosecute as the death penalty?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Video of Hayes buying $10 worth of gasoline to set the Petit home on fire was revealed. How`s that for premeditation?
A mother and her two daughters died an unimaginably hideous death. Only Dr. William Petit made it out after being beaten to a pulp. This is pure sadism, pure evil.
I am taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, but first to Michael Christian, field producer for "In Session" on TruTV.
Michael, you have been inside the courtroom. Describe this horrific photo evidence and the reaction inside the courtroom.
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, FIELD PRODUCER, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION" (ph): You know, Jane, it`s -- these are photos that were found apparently on the cell phone belonging to Joshua Komisarjevsky. Now again, he`s the defendant not on trial now. He will probably be tried sometime next year.
But apparently, there were eight photos that were recovered from his cell phone. Two of them show him touching his erect penis. Now, we don`t know whether those were necessarily taken that same night.
But there are five photos that show a young girl tied to a bed. It`s believed that it`s Michaela Petit, the 11-year-old. She`s in various states of undress. At times her skirt is pulled up. At least one photograph focuses on her genitalia, according to what we were told in the courtroom.
And then the last photograph is of an older girl, almost certainly Haley Petit, who was 17 at the time of her death, and apparently, in that photograph she is nude, and her legs are spread. And again, the camera is focusing on her genitalia.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to ask Sunny Hostin, legal contributor from "In Session" on TruTV. These details are so revolting. They are so insidious, so evil.
Why do we have to hear about them? Why does the jury have to hear about it, when essentially the defendant isn`t even contesting that he was there?
SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, the burden of proof is always on the prosecutor, and that really is the bottom line here. And so the prosecutor is being very methodic, because the prosecutor wants this to be a conviction. And so this type of evidence, although horrific and gory, the jury must hear it. It`s because this is what they did.
And I have to tell you, having been a prosecutor for many, many years, this is one of the worst cases I have ever, ever seen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say, being a reporter for 30 years covering crime for 30 years this is one of the worst cases I`ve ever, ever covered. And I hope to God that I never have to cover another one as absolutely evil as this case. Could these rapes and murders have all been about two men essentially trying to even the score?
Here`s my big issue tonight. Was this some sort of competition to see who could be more evil?
The cops testified that when Steven Hayes drove the mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, to the bank to withdraw $15,000, his partner remained back at the Petit home and took things into his own hands. Hayes told the cops Joshua Komisarjevsky raped 11-year-old Michaela while they were at the bank.
When Hayes returned, Komisarjevsky allegedly dared Hayes to, quote, "even the score." So Hayes says that`s when he agreed and raped the girl`s mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit.
The cops testified that Hayes felt threatened by his partner, because the partner was walking around with a baseball bat.
Debra Opri, I do not buy it. This creep Hayes is acting like he`s the victim, and he`s trying to push the blame on another partner who will be tried at a later time. Do you buy it?
DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I do not buy it. They were a team. They were a conspiracy to commit a felony.
And these people died heinously. And I agree with your contributor. The reality is you have to incite this jury to get the death penalty. These people should not be even given a free meal on taxpayer money. This is horrific, and I`ve done criminal defense work. I don`t know how anyone could sleep at night defending these people. I certainly wouldn`t.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, everybody in the courtroom seems to be getting ill. The judge has gotten ill. The jurors have had to leave early. Dr. Petit has walked out. It`s a torture just listening to these details.
Evidence shows Steven Hayes and his accomplice traded text messages on the night before they went on their raping and killing spree.
At 7:45 p.m., Hayes texts Komisarjevsky, saying "I`ve champing at the bit to get started. I need a margarita soon."
At 8:45, Hayes texts, "Are we still on?" His accomplice responds yes.
8:51, Komisarjevsky texts, "Putting kid to bed. Hold your horses," end quote.
Hayes responded, "Dude, the horses want to get loose, LOL."
Now, Dr. Stacy Kaiser, this is unbelievable to me. Joshua Komisarjevsky has a 5-year-old daughter. He is a family man putting his girl to bed, and then he takes part in a home invasion, where he rapes, allegedly, an 11-year-old. I don`t understand the Jekyll and Hyde here.
DR. STACY KAISER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, this is really sociopathic behavior. You see these people having two separate lives. And from everything that I`m reading and seeing here, what I`m seeing is that this was a game for them. And the photos that were taken were almost like the trophies.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Larry, Connecticut, your question or thought, sir?
CALLER: I`m very sick to my stomach right now. I just heard the news, Jane, about the forensics on Michaela concerning the rape kit and where semen was found. I`m totally upset right now. Only tears come to my eyes. My granddaughter is 11 years old. Those animals, those animals.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s unbelievable. And you are in Connecticut, sir. What is the mood in Connecticut over this horror?
CALLER: Well, you know, I`m a nurse by trade. And people are just really upset, you know. Seventy-five percent CO2 in her blood. You know, it only takes 30 percent to kill a normal person. She fought and suffered. You know, it`s just too much. It really is. It is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to ask Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney, Dr. William Petit did not, in fact, hear the medical examiner`s testimony. He actually walked out of the courtroom, because it was all too much to grasp.
The medical examiner testified that 17-year-old Haley was found laying facedown in the hallway, her clothing and body burned. She died from smoke inhalation. The 11 year old, Michaela, the medical examiner said she likely died a very painful death. And of course, the mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, strangled and then her body burned beyond recognition. Perhaps it was thankful she was not alive during the fire.
I have to come back to this whole notion of how much the jury needs to hear. Do they need to hear everything? Is that something that always happens in every trial? Everything has to come out, no matter how painful it is to the family sitting there in court?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it really does. And normally what will happen is the defense will file a motion in a death penalty case in the guilt/innocence and say, "Hey, judge, this isn`t necessary to prove guilt/innocence." But quite frankly, every judge is going to let it in.
And the reason why the prosecution is doing this is, remember, the way a death penalty is constitutionally handled is, after a verdict of guilty, there is a balance the jury must conduct between aggravating circumstances and mitigating. And the prosecution is always going to leak in aggravators in the front end of the case. We fight it all the time, but it`s the way the system works, and it`s happening here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, good luck with mitigating circumstances. I cannot see any, any mitigating circumstances.
Everybody stay right where you are. An innocent family picked at random, brutally murdered in Connecticut. We`re taking your calls, 1-877- JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, an outspoken anti-gay pastor is now accused of using his power to force young men into sex. Tonight, the pastor is fighting back.
But first, an affluent family brutally murdered inside their own home, doing nothing wrong, minding their own business, as these home invaders come in and turn their life into a living hell before killing them. More on this completely unimaginable, horrifying crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCCHI: Maybe Connecticut should readdress how they use the death penalty and make sure that they do use it, rather than just saying that they have it and not enforcing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. WILLIAM PETIT, SURVIVOR: I guess if there`s anything to be gained from the senseless death of my beautiful family, it`s for us to all go forward with the inclination to live with the faith and body of action. Help a neighbor, fight for a cause, love your family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sick, demented, unimaginable, sadistic new developments in the brutal murder of three members of Petit family. A detective revealing on the stand what defendant Steven Hayes told him after his arrest. Hayes said they`d only planned to rob the Petit family, but things got out of hand and ended up with rape and strangulation and the whole place being set on fire. I really do not buy it.
I want to go back out to Michael Christian, field producer for "In Session," who has been in the courtroom.
What has the reaction been of the Petit family, particularly Dr. Petit, to some of these gruesome details about one of the defendants taking photographs, obscene photos of his precious loved ones?
CHRISTIAN: Well, as you said, Jane, he has not been in the courtroom during the autopsy stuff, but he was in court to hear that description of those photographs.
And I looked over at him occasionally. I couldn`t see him terribly well from where I was sitting, but he was looking ahead. He was obviously very intense, very interested in what was being said, but he`s a very calm man. He keeps a calm demeanor.
And you have to remember the Petit and Hawke families have been waiting three years for justice in this case. They know they have to go through this trial. They know it`s not going to be pleasant. They know there`s another one coming next year, and that one isn`t going to be pleasant.
But they don`t want to do anything that could possible disrail [SIC] the system, have some other sort of delay. They don`t want to have to go through this years down the line. They want this to be over. So they are acting as well as they possibly can. They`re...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I understood that Dr. Petit did get up. I understood that Dr. Petit did get up and walk out at one point. What point?
CHRISTIAN: You know, I`ll be perfectly honest. I did not see that. I didn`t see that from where I was sitting. But again, I can see that he`s very intense with this.
And let`s face it: none of this can be easy to listen to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Debra Opri, why did it take three years for this to go to trial when these two fiends were caught, literally slamming into police cars at a roadblock that was set up a block way?
OPRI: Court delays, motions filings, witness reports, investigations and on and on and on. It`s the game that`s played.
All I can tell you -- and I`ve been thinking about this on the break, Jane -- I`m so concerned that there may be some sociopathic, psychotic individual out there who`s wanting to do a copycat of this crime now. I mean, it`s fearsome to me that there are people out there who may be studying this and thinking, "These people are getting so much press coverage, and we can do the same thing only better."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please. I mean, Stacy Kaiser...
OPRI: I`m worried.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... do you think this -- this -- Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, this defendant, Steven Hayes, who had convulsions and urinated on himself back in the jail cell at night during his trial, this is the kind of attention somebody seeks? It`s, to me, the ultimate humiliation.
KAISER: I mean, I agree with you about the humiliation piece, but a sociopath doesn`t look it that way. What they`re looking at is the news coverage, the glory, and the possibilities that are out there for them. Regrettably.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The author who wrote the book "Murder in Connecticut," which is about this horrific Petit family killing, told the "CBS Early Show" one thing is for sure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BENSON, AUTHOR, "MURDER IN CONNECTICUT": Even the most liberal people I talk to say there are three categories of murderers who should be executed. There are cop killers. People who kill someone while they`re already in prison for life, and these two guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sunny Hostin, let`s talk about the death penalty. They say that this case alone has kept the death penalty issue alive in Connecticut.
HOSTIN: Yes, absolutely. And, I mean, Connecticut in the northeast is really not known for bringing these death penalty cases. In fact, the last time there was a death penalty case in Connecticut was about five or six years ago, and that was a serial killer. Before that, Jane, 50 years since a death penalty case was brought.
But, you know, what people are saying is, if there is ever, has ever been, a case that warrants the bringing of a death penalty case, it would be this particular case and especially in Connecticut. And I`ve been here for the most part of the week. I`ve spoken to a lot of people just on the street. And everyone, everyone, that I`ve spoken to really is in favor of the death penalty for this particular case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s emotional and psychological terrorism for everybody in Connecticut, in fact, everybody in the United States. Every single person who sees this said there was absolutely nothing, nothing that this family could have done to have predicted this. They were shopping for groceries when these creeps sighted them. I don`t say allegedly, because it`s all been pretty much established.
And it doesn`t seem like the defense is putting up any kind of defense to contradict the idea that these people were there. I mean, he`s trying to blame it on the other guy, but that`s not the same thing.
Shawna, Michigan, your question or thought.
CALLER: Love you, Jane. I want to know if these two spawn of the devil murderers, are their families actually showing their faces in the courtroom? And, if so, I hope they`re being heckled.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Michael Christian, what about the defendant`s families?
CHRISTIAN: I don`t believe that they have been here. You know, Steven Hayes was kind of on the outs with his mother.
Supposedly, part of the reason this all happened was because she was going to kick him out of their house, and he needed money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boo-hoo hoo.
CHRISTIAN: If he didn`t get money to get an apartment, he was going to have to go back to prison, because he was on parole. So part of, supposedly, why this all happened was so that Hayes could get money to get an apartment, because his mother was kicking him out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Michael.
All right. Coming up, Casey Anthony case. You will not believe the latest.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mega church committee rocked by a sex scandal. Did famous televangelist and anti-gay crusader Eddie Long use his spiritual authority to seduce young male members of his flock?
Three young men claim the pastor coerced them into sex when they were teenagers. Today his lawyer read the bishop`s statement on the Tom Joyner morning show. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG GILLEN, ATTORNEY FOR BISHOP EDDIE LONG: "Let me be clear. The charges against me and Newburg are false. I have devoted my life to helping others, and these false allegations hurt me deeply. But my faith is strong, and the truth will emerge. All I ask is for your patience as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bishop Long was scheduled to hold a news conference to address the allegations today, but after the third young man accused him, he canceled it. The pastor now plans to respond on Sunday to his congregation.
Straight out to Veronica Waters, reporter with WSV Radio.
Veronica, could these photos -- and we`re going to show you the photos as we talk about them -- be the tip of the iceberg? What are people saying about him canceling his appearance?
VERONICA WATERS, REPORTER, WSV RADIO: Well, a lot of people are split on the cancellation of the appearance. Some people say, "I`d be screaming from the mountaintops that I`m innocent, I`m innocent, I`m innocent." But his attorney, Craig Gillen, this morning, if you heard his entire appearance on the Tom Joyner morning show, said, "Listen, make me the bad guy here. I`m the one who stepped in and said, `Bishop, you don`t need to do this. Let me do this in your stead`."
As for the pictures being the tip of the iceberg, who`s to say? The plaintiffs` attorney, B.J. Bernstein, has said there was very little physical evidence to back up these claims, only the testimony of her now three clients. And these pictures might be seen as a little odd, if it`s true that they were sent by cell phone to some young men.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A little?
WATERS: But you can see that they`re not illicit photos. He`s wearing workout gear in one, and a tight muscle shirt and some jeans in another. Some people might say, is that the best you got?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, OK. That`s a good point. But, again, why would a pastor send this photo of a very buffed body to young men in his congregation?
Stunning new photos released by the lawyer for the three accusers, B.J. Bernstein. She claims they were sent to a fourth young man not named in any legal action.
Bishop Long`s attorney is saying these photos don`t paint much of a picture. And he responded on Atlanta TV pretty much the same thing that you just heard from the reporter: "The photos don`t corroborate these charges. Bishop Long is a health advocate. He`s a weight lifter. He`s a fellow who`s going to go to work, and he`s going to have on a muscle shirt."
Family law expert, Debra Opri, what do you make of these photos?
OPRI: No. 1, this man`s career is over. He wants to help people? We`re getting an inside look into the very luxurious lifestyle he leads. He`s not helping the poor, Jane. He`s helping his own pocketbook. And I`d like to know where the money is coming from.
As far as the evidence to be accumulated against him by these kids who are now adults, it remains to be seen whether these will ever be proven charges or proven elements of sexual assault, but this pastor, self- proclaimed pastor`s career is over. People will not trust him any more.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Once again, he`s going to speak on Sunday. And we ask, is it the tip the iceberg, or have we peaked? We`ll stay on top of the story. Thank you so much.
George Anthony loses his cool, big-time. Did he threaten his daughter Casey with physical violence?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- shocking claims by volunteers who helped search for little Caylee in the months after she vanished. Did Caylee`s grand dad George get so boiling mad at Casey that he physically grabbed her?
New explosive audio interviews between searchers and cops portray a very frustrated grandfather, pushed right to the edge, maybe over the edge. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George had went in there grabbed a-hold of her and they had it out. And he said that, the answer to where that baby is, is in that bedroom and the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) won`t talk.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, if that`s true, what is the significance of a physical altercation between George and his daughter Casey over Caylee`s disappearance? In that very same batch of interviews, another volunteer claims George said he almost had Casey convinced to put an x on a map to show where Caylee`s body was located.
Meantime, listen to what Tim Miller, director of Texas Equusearch said about what he observed.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TIM MILLER, DIRECTOR, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: Out of the four-day period of time being in that house, Casey Anthony never said the word Caylee one time.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tim Miller also claimed that after all the drama calmed down, he asked the Anthony family where to search but said Cindy got so angry she banned his team, the Texas Equusearch team, from her home.
And there`s yet another disturbing development. Court documents reveal that Casey`s ex-boyfriend was trying to sell these adorable yet chilling photos of little Caylee to a major American tabloid.
Is the evidence against Casey overwhelming, or is it all pretty much circumstantial? What do you think? Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, Mark Eiglarsh, how might the prosecution exploit this alleged physical battle between George and his daughter who is now accused of murder?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if they`re smart they stay away from it. I don`t think it means anything. And I don`t know that the judge is going to let it in, and I think that every piece of evidence that you put in you are taking time away from the focus the jurors have on other pieces of evidence, like her not reporting her child missing for so long, like the scientific evidence.
When you`re putting in this evidence, you`re desperate, it`s D-list, it`s like the Kato Kaelin of evidence. It`s like -- so the father thinks that she might know? It`s just not solid. It`s not good. I don`t know that it`s even going to come in.
I understand it`s gossipy, but we didn`t invent it. This came down in the document dump. And so much of the evidence is like this, Rozzie Franco. I mean for every hard piece of forensic evidence there`s got to be a million anecdotes about what George and Cindy and Casey and Lee did. And is it going to muddy up the trial? What do you think, Rozz?
ROZZIE FRANCO, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Absolutely. I mean everyone`s been trying to solve this mystery. Everyone`s had some sort of piece of the puzzle that they feel like they can fix in there to actually solve this.
We knew about Cindy`s anger. We knew about George`s anger. This sort of solidifies the fact what they believed in the beginning, that she obviously is the one that knows what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even though they backtrack on that and have been insisting ever since that their daughter is 100 percent innocent. Of course, there`s the story of Zenaida, the baby-sitter that prosecutors say is fictional, taking the child.
But Beth Karas, I`ve got to ask you, why would all of this stuff be in a document dump, a lot of stuff like it, if it`s never going to get in, according to Mark Eiglarsh?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Oh, because discovery will include lots of things that may not be admissible. These are -- just the things the police have been collecting and statements they`ve been taking.
Now, you just mentioned how the parents have flip-flopped in their attitudes. That is an issue that could possibly be relevant at the trial. If George Anthony, for some reason, is on the stand and says he never believed his daughter had anything to do with this, he will be confronted with his statements to the police close in time to Caylee being reported missing and the car discovered because he went to the police station and he said, "Don`t tell my wife. She doesn`t know I`m here. I think my daughter knows something more. You know that odor. I`ve smelled that odor. I`ve been a police officer."
He`s talking about the odor of decomposition in the car. He was suspicious of his daughter for months but may not be saying that today.
EIGLARSH: I agree with that. That would be the only way I see it coming in, Jane. On cross-examination when George tries to help the defense case by advancing some point, then somehow magically says and I`ve always believed in her innocence, boom, that`s when it will come in. I don`t see the prosecution when they`re laying out their case in opening statement or throughout their case in chief saying, now, a significant point is that George at one point actually said that she knew the key to blah, blah, blah. I just don`t see it. That`s weak evidence. He wouldn`t do it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ann, Michigan. Your question or thought.
AMY, MICHIGAN (via telephone): Hi, Jane. Absolutely love your show. Watch you every night.
My question is, when is this going to court?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s supposed to be going in to court in May. Good luck with that. They keep pushing it back and back and back. Come on, Rozzie, do you think it`s actually going to start in May? We are going to start making plans to go down there?
FRANCO: Yes, absolutely. I mean I think we`re starting to see the process speed up a little bit here. I mean, obviously we`ve gotten the witness list by the defense. We see the defense deposing at this point. I think it very well could happen in May.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`re all going to be down there in Orlando hearing all this evidence. It`s going to be a drama probably right up there with the Michael Jackson trial, which I was also at which was pretty astounding.
My big issue, cracking Casey; her own father allegedly became so enraged at her lack of cooperation he physically grabbed her. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, well, he knows that the answer`s in the bedroom, and he pointed to Casey`s bedroom.
And his were, "But the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) won`t talk."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey reminds me a whole lot of Misty Croslin. I mean the only time we know of Casey cracking is when she was behind bars and reportedly freaked out when she heard human remains had been discovered near her parents house found; remains that would later be identified as her daughter Caylee.
Remember Misty -- suspicion has swirled around her for God only knows how long, and she finally came up with this claim that Haleigh was snatched and stuffed in a bag and thrown in the river.
Both women deny involvement in the crime.
Beth Karas, can you see a situation where Jose Baez would put Casey on the stand?
KARAS: I don`t think that he would put her on the stand, and she was caught in so many lies that they have to deal with, they certainly don`t need her on the stand being cross-examined about these lies, especially why she never reported her daughter missing for 30 days. But --
EIGLARSH: No chance. Yes.
KARAS: If -- let`s just say hypothetically Casey has admitted some complicity in this, he could not -- Jose Baez could not put her on the stand legally, ethically, to say she had nothing to do with it. I`m not saying that she ever did say anything.
She has toed the same line all along as far as we know. She has always proclaimed her innocence and always blamed the nanny for this.
FRANCO: Casey will go to her grave saying that Zanny the nanny took her daughter. She will never admit any complicity in this case.
EIGLARSH: Right. And by the way --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve also heard -- let me ask you this Mark -- I`ve also heard that the defense is going to try to back away from the Zanny the nanny claim because there`s no evidence that Zanny the nanny exists. The prosecution is convinced that that is completely fictional, there is no Zanny the nanny. And they believe they have a lot of evidence to prove that.
How would the defense backpedal on that and present a new theory?
EIGLARSH: Well, in each and every case generically the defense always has reasonable doubt, that somehow the state just didn`t prove the case. We still don`t know exactly how the child was killed. We don`t know a lot about the case. And so they may just go with reasonable doubt.
You did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt, yes, her actions were bizarre in certain instances, yes there are excuses, but they don`t have proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For sure that`s what they`re going to go with and maybe something else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you hear them blaming, pointing the finger at Roy Kronk, pointing the finger at this one, at that one. If they`re going to blame Zanny the nanny, they can`t blame somebody else, too, unless they`re going to create a conspiracy theory where Zanny is somehow involved with Roy Kronk. It gets a little ridiculous at a certain point, Rozzie?
FRANCO: It is ridiculous. But in all seriousness, the state cannot prove that the body wasn`t moved. The defense does have that, but who moved the body, that`s the question, if in fact it was moved in the area where Caylee was found.
KARAS: The biggest hurdle for the defense, Jane, are all the statements that Casey has made, and she was all along blaming Zanny the nanny, even if they do back off that now, they are stuck with her statements. And the prosecution is likely to use a lot of her statements to show that she was confusing and obstructing and doing anything but helping the investigation.
EIGLARSH: And I`m not convinced they`re going to back off of it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re going to put so many people on the stand that say, oh, I was dating her and she never mentioned Zanny the nanny. I never saw Zanny the nanny. The phone numbers she gave for Zanny the nanny aren`t the correct numbers. The place where she said she left her daughter with Zanny the nanny was an unoccupied apartment that never had anybody named Zanny living there. I mean how do you overcome that?
EIGLARSH: The mother. The mother has given statements in deposition describing in detail what she believed Zanny looked like physically as described by Casey. She and George I think will serve as probably the most compelling witnesses; she`ll try to prove to the jurors that this Zanny does exist.
And -- and you don`t necessarily have to -- the defense doesn`t have to prove anything. Just throw it out there and then point the finger at law enforcement. Why didn`t you search more?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, they`re also going to use "ugly coping" we understand where they try to explain Casey`s partying for the month that her daughter first went missing, going out dancing as an "ugly coping" method.
And we are going to discuss that the next time we discuss Casey, which is probably going to be very, very soon.
Thank you, fantastic panel, very much.
Medicated to death, Anna Nicole Smith was prescribed 1,500 pills in one month. Tonight -- her doctors face justice. And we`re going to show you an extraordinary new video that just came in. It`s an HLN exclusive of Anna Nicole Smith in a tub with her baby. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Check this video out on the other side of the block. You will not believe it. We`re going to hear her. Was she slurring when this video was made?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Turning now to chilling, astounding new evidence in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy trial. Did her companion and her doctors feed a drug addiction that led to her death? Anna Nicole died in 2007 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Her companion Howard K. Stern and two of her doctors are charged with conspiring to supply drugs to a known addict. All three have pleaded not guilty. The case hinges on whether Anna Nicole was really an addict or not.
Prosecutors showed the jury a compelling home video today. The former model is loopy and seems to be slurring her words while taking a bath with her infant daughter -- extraordinary video, an "HLN Exclusive." Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, ACTRESS: Can for her treatment so --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll be right back you`re going to --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say Anna Nicole got prescriptions for 1,500 pills in one month. That`s 50 pills a day. And yet a pain management doctor testified in court that that amount of drugs does not mean Anna Nicole was an addict. What? Does that make sense?
Will anybody be held accountable for this woman being hopped up on a mountain of meds? Straight out to my fantastic panel, I want to start with CNN producer, Alan Duke.
Alan, you`ve been in court for this entire trial. What is the very latest?
ALAN DUKE, CNN PRODUCER: Well, I just was told by one of the defense lawyers that -- get this -- they don`t plan to offer any witnesses. Now, they have already gotten one witness in, an expert, a pain medications expert, who testified this week out of order.
But they`re not going to call any more witnesses. And they believe that the case has -- has not been made by the prosecution and they`ll go ahead and let the jury decide, which could happen early next week.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So we could be going to closing arguments very soon. Now, what is the significance of this video? Because -- first of all great job in obtaining it. And it is dramatic. I mean, here you see Anna Nicole Smith with her -- her baby. But what is it supposed to prove?
DUKE: Well, it -- it`s supposed to prove, the prosecution says, that Anna Nicole was groggy and under the influence of medication, but that`s not really a point that the defense is disputing. They know she was taking drugs. There`s no question about that. The whole argument is, the drugs, were they legitimately prescribed for pain, or was she addicted?
And the judge has repeatedly said he didn`t think the prosecution has proven that, under California law, she was addicted to drugs.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. Well, here`s my big issue. Not an addict? Really? Seriously? The defense claims Anna Nicole was just taking meds to treat chronic pain, but often on her reality show she appeared to be totally wasted. And who can forget the clown video? I mean, let`s check that one out again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: I`m having brain trouble. Brain trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think this is a good time to announce the sex of your baby?
SMITH: Look. It`s a battery baby -- come open hug then.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition", author of "The Last Day of my Life," we`ve all covered Anna Nicole Smith for years, long before she tragically passed away. And nobody ever really seemed to question that she was a druggie. But yet it seems like that`s not going to be able to be proved necessarily in court?
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, you know, the prosecution -- the judge is the one who made the statement, first of all. It`s not the defense. The judge said it`s the prosecution`s burden to show that she was an addict. Yes, she had 1,500 pills in a month. That`s excessive. No one will argue that.
But the defense has maintained all along it`s for chronic pain and under California law you can treat somebody and give them what would otherwise be excessive amounts of medication to you or me to treat chronic pain. The -- the -- the standard here is, was there a conspiracy to provide addictive drugs to a known addict? And if they haven`t met that burden, the prosecution and the defense is in a very bold move going to say, you know what? We don`t have to call any witnesses. You didn`t prove your case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I -- I agree with you conspiracy theories can be very hard to prove. Jim Moret, you and I both covered the Michael Jackson molestation trial where they could not prove a conspiracy and he was acquitted on all counts.
But I`m saying, ok, even if they can`t make their case against Howard K. Stern and the two doctors, I find it bizarre, Judge Larry Seidlin, and you presided over Anna Nicole Smith`s body custody case that prosecutors are even having a hard time proving that this woman was an addict. Do you have any doubt that she was an addict?
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDED OVER SMITH BODY CUSTODY CASE: When you looked at the video, in my trial, of her in a clown outfit, pregnant, you saw she was under the influence of drugs. And I have no doubt that she is a drug addict and she says, I`m in pain, I need drugs.
California lawyer is allowing a doctor to give prescription drugs to a known addict if the patient says I need those drugs for pain. I believe this judge had certain preconceived notions before he took this case. He sent enough red flags to the prosecutor; there`s more red flags there than they are flying in the streets of Moscow.
The judge is showing --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this, chronic pain is one of the most frequent excuses used by addicts to score prescription meds. As a recovering alcoholic, I am very well aware of that. I know a lot of people in recovery, and they`ve all told me they`ve used chronic pain as a way to score pills from their doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She thinks she can. Is this a mushroom trip?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a mushroom trip?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a mushroom trip?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can you claim that woman, with the clown face is not an addict. That`s video of Anna Nicole Smith before her tragic death - - about six months before she died.
Will her companion and her doctors go to prison for supplying her with prescription meds? It looks like it could be a big win for the defense. And Howard K. Stern and the two docs will walk. We`ll have to see.
Courtney, Maryland, your question or thought, ma`am?
COURTNEY, MARYLAND (via telephone): Hi, Miss Jane.
COURTNEY: First, thanks for bringing to the forefront issues against women. But my thought was there`s an obvious parallel between Anna Nicole`s doctor and Michael Jackson`s. I know Michael Jackson`s doctor retained his license. I think he just can`t administer certain classes of drugs.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He can`t administer Propofol.
COURTNEY: Right. But he has his license. I`m not sure about Anna Nicole but it just seems ridiculous, I just wonder what kind of clientele these doctors are receiving because it just seems like --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you make a good point, Courtney. And Debra Opri, I mean there has been controversy surrounding these doctors and their behavior. For example, the psychiatrist traveled down there and seemed like a buddy at the very least, than an objective doctor.
DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: And your question?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what about these doctors. Can they be held liable for anything?
OPRI: Well, you know, there`s a big burden of proof. It`s beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution is not doing their job, and not bringing in a stream of witnesses to say, yes, I saw this one, he`s an addict. Or yes, I saw that one, she`s an addict.
I have not been following the Anna Nicole case, I had moved on from that paternity action a while ago. But I will say this, I know the players --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go back to -- go ahead. Go ahead.
OPRI: I will say this, when you have clear and convincing witnesses beyond a reasonable doubt out there, saying this is what I saw, this is what I know. It`s one thing. But when a judge is starting to make comments of, you haven`t proved she was an addict, only that she had a lot of prescriptions, I would start to get concerned if I was the prosecution.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, they are concerned apparently. A key prosecution witness recanted. She changed her story a couple weeks ago, Anna Nicole`s nanny, quickly, Alexie, now says she never saw anyone inject Anna Nicole with anyone -- anything rather.
She had signed a sworn affidavit previously that she saw Howard K. Stern tie a band around his girlfriend`s arm and inject her with a white substance. Essentially she`s now saying, Jim Moret, that this didn`t happen. That`s got to be a tremendous blow to the prosecution.
MORET: It is a tremendous blow. The judge has dealt a blow to the prosecution, by saying you haven`t necessarily proven this conspiracy. But you do have the other charges about fraudulently obtaining prescriptions under aliases. So it`s not as if all the charges are going to be thrown away.
Also, I just want to point out, I had the privilege of reading Judge Seidlin`s book, (INAUDIBLE), excellent book Judge Seidlin.
SEIDLIN: Thank you.
OPRI: I read it too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Judge Larry Seidlin, we love you. We`re sorry we`re out of time but you are the bomb. I love all of you on this panel.
OPRI: Go to the court transcripts.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.