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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Ex-Cop`s Wife Found Dead; Killer of Yale Student Pleads Guilty

Aired March 17, 2011 - 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 Mel Gibson`s outrageous day in court. The troubled actor/director finally faces his domestic violence charge. Last year, explosive audio tapes leaked between his ex, Oksana, and a ranting and raving lunatic. She claims he hit her while she was holding their little baby. Now will he face justice or get a celebrity-style slap on the wrist? We`ll have all the Mel-o-drama. And we`re taking your calls.

Plus dramatic witness testimony in a mother`s murder. Cops say this cheating husband was so enraged his wife wanted to leave him that he strangled her to death. Did her plan to escape a toxic marriage completely backfire?

Also, cops raid Charlie Sheen`s home. An alarming tip that this bad boy reportedly threatened to harm himself leads cops on a late-night hunt for guns. This as a custody deal is reached over Charlie`s adorable twin boys. And you won`t believe Charlie`s new plan to go on tour. I`ll talk to "Diff`rent Strokes" star and recovering addict Todd Bridges, live.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RENEE HILL, EDDY COELLO`S ATTORNEY: He is not being charged. Not at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news of the worst kind. A missing mother of four found dead, stuffed into a trash bag, dumped in a wooded area. And now all eyes are on her ex-cop husband. Police say he has a history of domestic abuse. This is an absolutely horrific ending to the search for this beautiful woman.

Tina Adovasio, the 40-year-old maternity nurse and mom, vanished from her Bronx apartment nearly a week ago after what neighbors call a blowout fight with her husband. Now, here is the husband. Look carefully. Thirty-eight-year-old Eddy Coello leaving the police station today. His lawyer says he came in voluntarily, but police commissioner Ray Kelly says Coello was less than cooperative. He refused to look at photos and refused to give a DNA sample. Hmm.

The top cop calls Coello a person of interest because of his rocky marriage to the victim. Coello, the last person to see his wife before she disappeared Friday. He remains a free man tonight. We`ll talk about that.

Now Tina`s first husband says he thinks he knows exactly who did this to the mother of his three children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE ADOVASIO, TINA`S EX-HUSBAND: Who did this? Because look at his history. Look at his history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us what you know about any type of abuse that happened.

ADOVASIO: Actually, she was very quiet. She was quiet about this. Even the children did not -- I guess they feared for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Relatives and neighbors claim the dead woman`s husband had beaten her black and blue in the past. "The New York Daily News" reporting that Tina was very afraid of her husband and that she had filed for divorce and applied for a restraining order.

"The New York Post" reporting, surveillance video shows Coello taking some sort of large bags out of the apartment around the time Tina disappeared. Will that be the evidence that cops use to nail this guy?

One cop was quoted as saying, "We`re going to squeeze him until he pops." But he was just there less than half an hour. Then he left the police station and he`s a free man tonight. Hmm.

We reached out for Eddy Coello`s lawyer. We did not hear back. Come on the show any time, lawyer, or Eddy Coello, and tell your side.

I`m taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to investigative journalist Jon Lieberman. Cops feared the worst and, unfortunately, they were right. What is the very latest?

JON LIEBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, I`ll tell you, Jane, our thoughts and prayers go out to Tina and her family. The very latest is this.

Mr. Coello was very chatty with investigators, according to my sources, when cops went out there initially. He was talking to them. He said he got into an argument with his wife, and she scratched his face.

But as you alluded to, when he went into the police station today, the 45th Precinct, he was less than cooperative. He wouldn`t give DNA. He clammed up and wouldn`t talk.

But you know what? Let`s not get too ahead of ourselves. This could actually play into cops` hands in a positive way. This gives them a little bit of time to build the case. And my sources are telling me, bottom line, this guy will get charged sooner rather than later. It`s just a matter of getting some of the forensic evidence back and some of the statements in the can.

And they`re going through car. They`re going through his car tonight at this very hour. They`re going through it, looking for forensic evidence and things like that. Because that`s when he clammed up, Jane. He clammed up when cops said, we want to look in your car. We want to look for that sheet and things of that sort. And that tells you what you need to know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me get this straight. This ex-cop, this estranged husband, accused wife beater, won`t look at photos, won`t give a DNA sample, didn`t want to let cops get into his car until they have a warrant. Here`s my take. Sounds like this is a guy with something to hide. I mean, look at him. He`s walking out of the police station flanked by two attorneys. Does he look smug to you? He doesn`t look torn up to me about his wife`s death. Murder.

We`re also hearing Coello told cops, as you just heard from John, that his wife scratched him in this big argument that they had before she stormed out of the apartment leaving her car behind at night in the Bronx.

Now, John Lucich, could it turn out that this was an excuse, the scratching, and if they find evidence of his DNA under her nails, that`s why he`s saying being an ex-cop, "Well, she scratched me."

JOHN LUCICH, FORMER DETECTIVE: Absolutely. You have to understand this guy is an experienced police officer and knows what the cops are going to be looking for. He knows that they already have the body. He knows that they most likely, that they have the video. They`re putting it together. He`s not going to provide any evidence.

And the reason that was such a quick visit with the police department, he goes in with his attorney most likely. And a cop, once he says, "I want to talk to -- I don`t want to do anything without my attorney," and the attorney tells him not to say anything, it`s useless. He`s got to walk out, because the cops will just sit there all day. They can`t question him any more.

He`s not giving up anything, and he`s making these stories up. Because he knows -- and the reason he wouldn`t look at those photos, he knew the cops would be looking at him and reactions to those photos when he looked at them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, "The New York Post" reporting court records show Coello once allegedly went berserk in the home while his wife Tina was holding their then 1-year-old daughter. That child is 5 now. And he was allegedly smashing trophies and breaking Tina`s phone against a wall.

The criminal complaint says Coello told his wife, "Wait until you see what I`m going to do with your bleeping car. I`m going to break all the windows." I

Back in 2000 he was forced to quit the police department because of a domestic incident involving a previous wife. I am thinking, psychologist and psychotherapist Heidi Banks, that this guy has got anger issues. Does he sound like some sort of rage-aholic to you?

HEIDI BANKS, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Absolutely. And also, in these domestic violence cases, Jane, it`s when you file a restraining order that the violence escalates usually. That is the pattern. So it`s the minute she went in and filed that restraining order, her life was in danger. And clearly, that`s what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are so right. Because how many times do we have to report on a woman turning up dead who had just gotten a protective order or a restraining order? It`s a constant theme. And I think we need to reexamine the entire system as to how those restraining orders are issued and whether or not they`re effective at all.

BANKS: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, it`s scary. It`s scary. It`s almost like putting a target on your back is really what it`s doing.

BANKS: We have to put out something -- something to these women also out there who right now are sitting at home going, "Well, I don`t want to put out a restraining order. Then what`s going to happen to me?" And that`s the exact wrong thing to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely.

BANKS: You have to keep reporting this. Even if you`re in that police station every day, you have to keep documenting it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Stacey Honowitz, the Florida prosecutor, what should women do? We have covered so many stories where women turn up dead after they`ve gotten a TRO or a protective order. But yet they have to do something, because if they don`t do anything, that`s also a problem.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Right. I mean, I wish I had the answer. I can`t look into a ball and tell what you the right thing is. The bottom line is you do have to constantly stick it out. If women don`t go forward and they don`t file these restraining orders, it`s just really, you know, a free-for-all for the person who is doing the abusing.

The bottom line is, they have to let other people know, not just the judge with the restraining order. They have to let family members know. Friends know. As embarrassing as it might be, as difficult as it is to talk about it, so that everybody in the family is on notice that this person is in a toxic relationship and can help them.

Unfortunately, it is true. Sometimes when you go for that restraining order, the perpetrator finally says, "Oh, my God. She`s putting the world on notice." And so they do put themselves in a position of vulnerability. But if other people in the family know, if friends know, then they can be around to help protect. So don`t ever think...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody knew here. The ex-husband knew. The neighbors knew. Everybody. The mother of this woman knew. Everybody was talking about it.

Jody, Illinois. Your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hi.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

CALLER: First of all, I just want to say my heart goes out to that woman`s family and especially those kids. But here`s my question. When they asked him, you know, the guy for the DNA sample or whatever, what was his reasoning why he wouldn`t give one?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Lieberman? Do we have any idea?

LIEBERMAN: Well, yes. You don`t have to have a reason. He can simply say that he didn`t want to give one.

But I can tell you one thing. Those detectives are watching him 24 hours a day. Don`t be surprised if they`re looking at any cigarette butts he might throw out, any soda cans. They will get DNA from him.

HONOWITZ: Well, they can get a warrant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. They can get a warrant.

HONOWITZ: They can follow him around and try to pick up a cigarette butt or they can apply for a search warrant so that he has to give his DNA.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait a second. He -- can`t they just take it off of evidence that they find in the house? They`ve gone through the house.

HONOWITZ: That`s what I`m saying. There`s other ways of getting the DNA. So he`s have to -- at some point, they will have his DNA. That he didn`t give it today doesn`t mean anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on this. We`re just getting started.

The murder of a mother of four. Beautiful woman. We are taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

And coming up, you remember that beautiful Yale graduate student who was brutally murdered days before her wedding? Well, today her killer, big developments, and the killer`s father speaking out in an emotional public statement. We`re asking, does the punishment fit the crime?

First, the mother of four murdered, stuffed into a garbage bag. The cops are asking, is her husband to blame?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POLICE COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NYPD: He was asked if he would give a DNA sample. He was asked to look at certain pictures. He refused.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the kids?

HILL: I know the kids are fine and I hope that they remain that way. My condolences go out to the family. And that`s all I can say right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the lawyer for ex-cop Eddy Coello whose wife has been found murdered, stuffed in a trash bag, dumped in a wooded area about 20 miles from her Bronx apartment. And take a look at her husband today, leaving a police station. This guy Eddy Coello, he`s an ex-cop. In fact, he had to quit the department in 2000 because of a domestic incident involving another wife.

New York`s top cop tells "The New York Daily News" Coello is a person of interest in his wife`s murder because of their tumultuous past. He was the last person to se her.

Rhonda, Florida, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Thank you for taking my call, Jane. Congratulations on your sobriety.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much.

CALLER: I`m very proud of you. I really am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. I appreciate that. That`s very sweet of you. And what`s your question, ma`am.

CALLER: The question, I have a two-part question. One is, does anyone in the family know or knew that he beat her like before? Did they have, like, proof? Did she confide in anyone?

And the second part of it is, does he think he is beyond the law because he`s police officer?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a -- yes, that`s a good question because of, well, look at the Drew Peterson case that we talked about in connection with this. So many parallels.

Jon Lieberman, it seems to be a host of examples here of alleged domestic violence on the part of this man.

LIEBERMAN: Well, absolutely. And again, we`ve said it. But this victim did everything she was supposed to do. She filed a restraining order the same day she filed for a divorce. One month ago.

But I`ll tell you, to the point of is this guy getting any preferential treatment because he`s a cop, I can tell you. I spoke to my sources today. Absolutely not. They want to nail this guy to the wall. They believe that he is going to get charged very, very soon.

Right now, they`re trying to figure out when exactly this woman was killed. Was she killed in the house on Friday evening after she was last seen going into the house at 7 or was she killed somewhere else? The working theory right now is that she was indeed killed in the house, and that was when she was last seen. And that is what investigators are pursuing right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this husband, Eddy Coello, actually called 911 to report his wife missing. Here`s my big issue tonight: Is 911 call an alibi or evidence? Calling 911 doesn`t automatically mean you`re innocent.

Check out this husband, who called 911 after cops say he murdered his wife and then staged it to look like a stranger attack. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is your wife at now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s in the computer room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is she still breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don`t -- there`s a lot of blood. Please hurry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Tina was supposedly last seen at 9 p.m. Friday night. John Lucich, it is fortunate, despite this horrific tragedy within the context of the tragedy, it`s fortunate that they found the body so quickly, because that means that they would have more evidence to collect there, correct?

LUCICH: Absolutely. And there`s going to be a lot of evidence on that body, especially before the warm weather set in, which is starting to do, as you see outside.

When you talk about the 911 call, it could be both. But in this case, I would love to see this time line. When he carried that big bag out, was that before or after the 911 call? All of this stuff is going to come into play. So that 911 call and the timing of that 911 call is going to be crucial. And if they don`t charge this guy before next Tuesday, I`ll be really surprised.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. An ISSUES caller had a fantastic idea last night. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLER: We have a sex offender database. Isn`t it time for -- isn`t it time for a women abuser database?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. I think that is so fantastic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I say bravo. And it is my call to action tonight. A domestic violence registry. OK? Just like they have a sex offender registry, women would be able to go on a computer and check the person they`re dating and find any information so that they could avoid relationships with abusive men.

Heidi Banks, psychotherapist, that`s doable.

BANKS: It`s doable. But it also doesn`t take the responsibility off the community. And that`s something to really talk about here. The neighbors said that they heard them arguing earlier. They`ve been hearing them argue very violently for two weeks. And that`s a call to action to the community.

And people should be aware of this, that when you know of domestic violence, when you know somebody is going through something, it is your responsibility to step up.

And often with lists like this, they think, OK, so it`s public. And I don`t have to do my part. Her ex-husband said she was very quiet about it, but he knew about it. I wondered why he didn`t step forward even more. I`m not blaming him. But I`m just curious why the veil of silence.

HONOWITZ: Because nobody wants to get involved. That`s the bottom line I can tell you, as someone who`s prosecuted these cases for years. People don`t want to get involved.

Not only do people or strangers not want to get involved but a lot of times, the victims themselves don`t want to come to court and have to testify against the abuser. The cycle is disgusting, and it`s terrible. Her ex-husband knew that she had a broken jaw. He kept her from the kids at one time because she was beaten so savagely.

So that`s really what happens here. This is a horrible crime. It`s - - it`s uncomfortable for people to talk about. It`s uncomfortable for the victim of domestic abuse. And strangers, unfortunately, don`t want to have to get involved in it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is a cliche. But we have to say it. It`s a cautionary tale.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Top of the hour, "NANCY GRACE," special report: crisis in Japan. Thousands dead and missing after the massive earthquake and tsunami. Hundreds of Americans being evacuated we speak. What can you do to help the victims? "NANCY GRACE," special report, 8 p.m. only on HLN.

Later, mind-blowing new details in the deadly sweat-lodge trial. A witness now says that doctors thought this was a mass suicide.

And next, a Yale grad stuffed inside the walls of a medical lab.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAYMOND CLARK JR., DEFENDANT`S FATHER: We will live out our life knowing that he is behind bars. But we are proud of Ray for taking responsibility for his actions and pleading guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is proof that a criminal destroys his own family`s life, as well.

Tonight a Yale university lab technician says, "I`m guilty." He murdered Yale grad student Annie Le while he tried to sexually assault her and then stuffed her body inside a wall. In exchange for his guilty plea, Raymond Clark III will get 44 years in prison. Is it enough?

What Clark did to Annie Le was so bad even her mother couldn`t listen the court testimony. His DNA found all over Annie and all over the crime scene. And she had a broken jaw and collar bone.

Le was found four days after she disappeared from the lab. She was stuffed inside a wall. On the day that she should have been walking down the aisle marrying her fiance.

Straight out to Florida prosecutor Stacey Honowitz. Stacey, this story is so sad. The victim`s family signed off on this plea deal. But here`s what I worry about. We cover so many cases where people are sentenced to half a century and they get out in ten. Will a 44-year sentence really mean 44 years?

HONOWITZ: Look, you know, different states have different time lines. Some, they give good time and gained time. I don`t know how much time he has credit towards. But I would think that on charges as severe as this, that the 44 years, he will do very close to 44 years.

I think a lot of people look at this crime, and they wonder why would the state offer a plea of 44 when he was looking somewhere in the neighborhood of 80? And the only thing that I can tell you, I don`t like to Monday morning quarterback any prosecutor, because I don`t like people doing it to me after I`ve been involved in a high-profile ca.

I just know that everything was discussed with the family. A plea like this would never have been put in place unless the family was kept abreast and really, it was their, they really had their blessing. I hate to say it, but had their approval and OK. I don`t think they wanted to go through the trial. I don`t think they wanted to listen to the painful testimony. They weren`t even present in the courtroom today when he pled.

And that`s really the only reason I can see, because there was, you know, great evidence in this case, overwhelming DNA. And I think that`s really where it was. I think they discussed it with the family and this was the route that they wanted to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the defendant`s dad said that the man who killed Annie Le is not the son that he knows. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK: I want you to know that Ray has expressed remorse from the very beginning. I can`t tell you how many times he sobbed uncontrollably, telling me how sorry he is, telling me how his heart is tortured by the reality that he caused the death of Annie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man also a victim. Defendants destroy their families` lives.

But I understand in his guilty plea today, some weird law that allows him to maintain his innocence? Are you kidding me?

HONOWITZ: Yes. Like a document they plead under called an alpha plea. And it happens lots of times in the courtroom. The bottom line is what they`re saying is "I`m not going to stand here and plead guilty. What I`m going to say is that the state does have enough evidence, and if it went to trial I could be convicted of the crime."

It`s almost a way for them to kind of tell themselves almost that they`re not really guilty of what transpired. It really does translate into a guilty plea. It`s just done by this alpha doctrine. That`s what it`s called.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it`s always something else with this criminal justice system. Guilty doesn`t mean guilty; 44 years doesn`t mean 44 years. It`s an upside-down world where words really have no meaning.

Stacey Honowitz, thank you so much.

Eye-popping new details coming out of the deadly sweat lodge trial. You won`t believe what people are saying now. It`s a shocker.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jaw-dropping new testimony in the deadly sweat lodge trial. Witnesses say doctors first thought it was a mass suicide. The people participating in this insanely hot sweat lodge say they didn`t want to let the self-help guru down. Was he using some kind of mind control?

Plus Mel Gibson`s newest mug shot. Is he angry or sad? He pleaded no contest to battery. That was last week. Why was he allowed a week between his plea and his booking? Is this another example of Hollywood`s special treatment of super stars? I`m taking your calls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU CACI, SWEAT LODGE PARTICIPANT: I remember pulling my arm out. I see my skin hanging there. People coming out, yelling, screaming; they looked like a battleground.

Just by looking at her, I knew there was something wrong. The way she was breathing. It was --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dramatic testimony tonight. A witness at the trial of self-help guru James Ray relives the physical and psychological torture he experienced inside a sweat lodge. Conditions so hot and stifling inside, three people died, 15 got sick.

One witness said doctors who treated the victims first thought they had some kind of mass suicide on their hands.

Now it is James Ray, leader of the Spiritual Warriors Sweat Lodge seminar who is in the hot seat. He is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of a healthy 38-year-old woman, a 40-year-old husband and father, and a 49-year-old mom.

You know James Ray as the self-help guru from the inspirational movie, "The Secret".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES RAY, SELF-HELP GURU: Every tradition has told us, there is something bigger than us. And a genie always says one thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your wish is my command.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your wish my command. That may factor in here. Prosecutors want to know and they want to show that Ray was basically running some kind of cult.

Ray`s defense says, not so fast. Either way, was James Ray using his persuasive power as a guru to put people in harm`s way? Listen to what one sweat lodge survivor said Ray told her to write about in her diary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEVERLY BUNN, SWEAT LODGE PARTICIPANT: She said that sex was one of the most stimulating ideas or stimulating things to the body that you should be able to express yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was James Ray a cult leader? Did he control the minds of those people who stayed inside the sweat lodge until they became ill and later died? Call me. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to Beth Karas, who was on the ground at the James Ray trial in Arizona; Beth, what are the bombshell developments this week?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Well, you know, Jane, James Ray broke down in court today, actually started crying in front of the jury. And the judge took a break so that he wouldn`t disrupt the proceedings. That was really a big deal today.

There was one other witness; the one who talked about having to write about sex in her journal. She broke down also a couple of days ago. So that`s the emotion we`ve seen in the courtroom.

But I`ll tell you, the defense is bringing up poison, poison, poison all over the place. No one says anyone intended to die or wanted to die. Ray didn`t want anyone to die. But there does seem to be some evidence of poisoning here, accidental poisoning. That`s what the defense is.

The doctors in the hospital were perplexed and this week jurors saw medical records that talk about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is what I don`t understand, Stacey Honowitz. If they were poisoned and apparently the defense has implied that the tarps used to cover the sweat lodge were stored in an area where they might be some poison of some sort, like a rat poison or something. But wouldn`t that show up, first of all in the toxicology reports. And additionally, three died; 15 got sick but a whole bunch of other people some say -- what -- it`s like 30 or 40 people were not hurt at all. If there was poisoning, wouldn`t everybody be poisoned?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, I think that`s probably what the prosecution is going to say because the defense`s biggest point is that in some medical records, some of the doctors seemed to believe there was chemical toxicity somewhere because they couldn`t figure out what had go on.

So the prosecutor is definitely going to make that point, Jane. If there was some kind of chemical poisoning, a hell of a lot more people would be ill than really are.

And now they`re just going to show that he -- very interesting, I don`t know if that`s new -- but they`re going to allow the testimony from an individual who can talk about mind control and that`s really the prosecution`s biggest anchor in this case. That`s what they`re trying to show that these people were following him in a cult-like way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My understanding has been that there is a big battle about that and whether they`re going to allow somebody who is going to be an expert on cults to talk. Tell us, Beth.

KARAS: That`s right. The prosecution wants to put on a man named Rick Ross (ph). The judge wouldn`t let him talk about that in opening statement because he is a little bit concerned about the credentials of this person so it is not clear that he will be able to testify.

But Stacey is absolutely right. That is the crux of the prosecution`s case. They have to explain why these educated upper middle class people who could afford $10,000 for a five-day seminar where they were starved and then cooked were listening to this man, who were --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

KARAS: -- persuaded by this man even in a life-threatening situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The prosecution asked what James Ray wanted participants to write about in their journal. Are you sitting down, folks?

Listen to this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUNN: Talk about your sexual experiences, how you learned about sex. Who all your sexual partners were; every sexual experience you`ve ever had and keep journaling and journaling and journaling until you run out. He said that sex was one of the most stimulating ideas, or stimulating things to the body that you should be able express yourself and you will be getting to the core of things that are bothering through that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychotherapist Heidi Banks, you apparently know James Ray, this guru. What do you make of this veering toward the sexual arena with his followers especially this blonde lady? It kind of gives me the creeps, Heidi.

HEIDI BANKS, PSCYHOTHERAPIST: Well, I think you have to start here. These were not desperate people in these seminars. These were people of a certain amount of affluence and they really went in it to be more ambitious in their lives. It wasn`t that they had severe problems.

They were saying I like where my life is and I`m looking for a growth opportunity. To grow, you have to be able in some place to surrender your defenses. So what these people did is surrender their defenses to somebody they trusted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I`m asking you, you know this guy.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s get to brass tacks.

BANKS: You`ve got it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is he a creepy guy who`s going to be like talking sex with a cute blond?

BANKS: Let`s put it this way. For 20 years I`ve been doing personal growth work. I`ve participated in almost every training out there. And I did do a James Ray seminar about five years ago. And I must tell you, I walked out because of something as silly as the room was 55 degrees in the middle of winter. And I said I`m not going to sit here for two days in 55 degrees.

There is a pushing that James Ray does to people. And in that, the people believe they`re going to change. That`s why this is happening.

Do I think he is creepy? Yes. Do I think he controlled their minds? No. Do I think he had poor judgment? Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you may know, Heidi Banks, I decided to try out a sweat lodge because of this trial and see what it was like. Check this out. Pretty fascinating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say something to the families of those people who died in (INAUDIBLE). What would you say to that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What scared me wasn`t the heat. It was my nasal passages. Would they stay open? Would they stay open so that I could breathe?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. At one point I go, you can see all this smoke come out because it is so hot in there. But you know what? I found it an incredible experience. Because we did the traditional Native American sweat lodge which is not about some ego maniac charging $10,000 and trying to turn it into an endurance test.

It was really all about spirituality and it was only four rounds as opposed to eight rounds. And we didn`t starve ourselves for 36 hours with a fast the way they did in the James Ray version where they fasted and didn`t even drink food or eat for 36 hours, breaking the fast just a few hours before they went in here. Had I done all that, I probably would have gotten sick and passed out.

(CROSSTALK)

HONOWITZ: And the people on staff. That`s the other issue.

KARAS: That`s the big question.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

All right. Joyce, North Dakota, your question or thought, ma`am.

JOYCE, NORTH DAKOTA: Yes. I went to numerous sweats and we are never -- we are encouraged to drink plenty of water and be healthy before we go into a sweat. And we don`t go into a sweat for sexual experiences. It is a spiritual thing for us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Yes. Now, Heidi, this is what I got out of this. This was -- what we were doing was chanting and singing and prayers. We weren`t talking about sex before we went into this sweat lodge.

It seemed to me that he takes a sacred ceremony and kind of like just welds it on to a bunch of pop psychology mumbo-jumbo and that`s not how you do any of this stuff, Heidi.

BANKS: No, there is a sacred energy to all of this that must be respected.

But let`s talk about the sexual aspect of it. Your sexuality is a very powerful part of your spirituality. And often a person has deal with their own sexual impulses and put them to the side so that they can get clearer about what their goal are in life and what they`re looking to achieve.

So her writing about it, I don`t have a problem with. What I would like to know is what happened with her writings after that? Was she to expose them? Does she have a private session with him? That`s my question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to stay on top of this. We`re just getting started. Fantastic fascinating trial.

Thank you panel.

On the other side of the break, Mel Gibson`s angry new mug shot. Or do you think it`s angry? Maybe it`s sad. We`re going to tell you the behind the scenes story of this mug shot you will not believe. Is it Hollywood justice?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am sleeping with a baby. I am waking up every t hours. I fell asleep because I was waiting for you because you were not ready to go to jacuzzi as we agreed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We agreed nothing.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know plead?

MEL GIBSON, ACTOR: No contest pursuant to People v. West.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. You do understand a no contest plea will have the same force and effect as a guilty plea, only in a misdemeanor it can`t be used against you in a civil case. Do you understand that?

GIBSON: I understand that, your honor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Book him. But let`s make this snappy. After all it is Mel Gibson and he always seems to get special treatment from law enforcement. The actor-director zipped into a police station last night for a mug shot and some fingerprints. He was out in 30 minutes.

There it is. Here`s the latest mug shot. How convenient that he was able to show up and take his mug shot on the very night the media was expecting him at his movie premier?

By the way, this all went down almost an entire week after he was in court pleading no contest to simple battery. Apparently it is standard procedure for an admitted batterer to hang out for a week before turning himself in. But I feel the courts afforded him a luxury you and I would never get.

Mel`s misdemeanor battery charge stems from the explosive allegations that he hit ex-girlfriend Oksana in the face during an explosive argument in January 2010 shortly after these jaw-dropping audio tapes were recorded.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How dare you act like such a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) when I`ve been so (EXPLETIVE DELETED) nice. I`ll burn the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) house down. You`re a pain in my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Stop being that.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Allegedly, Mel. All right. Let`s do the math. Mel got zero days in jail, 16 hours of community service, a grueling year of domestic violence counseling, and three years of informal probation where he doesn`t even have to check in with a probation officer. Hard time? No.

Ken Baker, executive news editor at E! What is up with the curious timing of the premier and this quickie booking?

KEN BAKER, EXECUTIVE NEWS EDITOR, E!: Well, let`s take the quickie booking first. That was really was a luxury afforded to him. You`re very much correct in that. There was -- all the experts -- I was at the courthouse last week when he was formally charged and they announced the plea deal. A lot of the legal experts I spoke to were surprised that they didn`t put him into custody right there and book him and get it over with.

They gave him the luxury of checking himself in to one of a number of different booking facilities so that the media wouldn`t know where he was going or when. They gave him a span of over a week to do it.

So the fact that he was able to go to El Segundo, this tiny little booking station in a pocket of L.A. County, go under the radar was a real luxury to him. And a lot of people are talking about how, oh, he wasn`t smiling in the mug shot but you would think he has a lot to smile about because he`s very lucky, he`s very fortunate.

As far as "The Beaver", his new movie that`s out by southwest; I`m told, at least we`ve been told at the network here, that the producers of that movie didn`t want him to go to the premier. That was in Austin, Texas.

Even though the movie is very well received, obviously there is a PR issue there with the film. But he, by all accounts, actually does a very good job in the movie. No one has ever said he was not a good actor. But it is more of what has been going on behind the scenes in his personal life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, let`s check out the trailer for the movie, from "TheBeavermovie.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To save you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want me to get better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy Gold, comedian, co-star director close friend Jody Foster calls him "incredibly loving and sensitive". Your thoughts, my dear.

JUDY GOLD, COMEDIAN: You know, I think the exact same thing. I look at him and I just see an incredibly loving, sensitive person. I mean how can you say that? How can you say that? He beat the crap out of his girlfriend.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Allegedly.

GOLD: Allegedly, I`m sorry. I mean listen to those tapes. Is that loving? I don`t know. Where is his community service? At the Holocaust Museum? I mean what`s going on here?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I guess, you know, I`m going to correct myself. We don`t to say allegedly because pleaded guilty to simple battery. But he did it in such a special way that he doesn`t to have admit guilt; that he can still maintain his innocence.

So actually I`m confused as to whether or not we should say allegedly anymore. Because everything that happens with Mel is special. There is a phrase for that, terminally unique. It comes with the disease of alcoholism which he has admitted having.

Everybody stay right there. More on Mel.

Well, she`s been sober since 1984. Brave Mary, you`ve won a signed copy of my new book, "Addict Nation". Send me your stories about overcoming addiction to cnn.com/jane. You could win a book and I hope you do. It`s a great book. Check out " "Addict Nation", available at amazon.com right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In effect, he`s entering this plea to take advantage of the plea bargain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is entering this plea to have it done with because it`s in the best interest of his children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first, Mel Gibson cuts a very sweet plea deal. Now, nearly a week later takes the perfect time to head to the police station to get booked the very night when people expect he`s going to be at his new premier.

Here`s my big issue: superstar justice. It seems that everything is tailor-made for this guy.

Judy Gold, when he pleaded, he didn`t even have to admit guilt. They used a special plea where he can maintain his innocence and he was able to say that he did it for the sake o his children. And of course, we all remember him being pulled over for DUI, and he unleashed an anti-Semitic tirade that was allegedly sanitized initially before the press got ahold of it.

So it`s special treatment, after special treatment, after special treatment here.

GOLD: It`s incredible. And if you look at his mug shot, he totally looks Jewish. Look at that. Does he not look like rabbinical in that picture?

I don`t get -- I don`t understand why he gets special treatment. I mean the guy has done one bad thing after another bad thing. I mean these are two separate incidences: the anti-Semitic ranting and the rage, and then the alleged beating up of his girlfriend. I mean and nothing.

It`s not like he only did one little thing and he apologized and he seemed, you know, contrite. Not at all. This guy is so cocky, and Jodie Foster is totally defending him. I don`t get it at all. I don`t get it. And now he`s in a family movie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, in his plea deal it says that he has to go to counseling for a year. Now, we know he could use some counseling after his alleged rants. Let`s check another alleged rant out.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re going to answer. One day boy, you`re going to answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, what are you threatening me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing. Nothing. I`m not the one to threaten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll threaten you. I`ll put you in a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) rose garden you (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Here`s my take.

GOLD: He did that for his kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve -- hopefully in a couple of weeks, I`ll be 16 years sober. As part of that, I`ve done anger management through a recovery center. And you take a tennis racket, you hit the pillows, you scream. And you`re supposed to do this seven times. It really does change your relationship with anger. Because at the end people applaud and so you feel like your anger is accepted and that doesn`t make it so volatile. Do you think anger management can help Mel at this point?

GOLD: I don`t know what he needs. But a year of therapy is -- I mean, I`ve been in therapy since I`m 18 and I`m still mentally ill. Ok. But I can admit it. One year of that, and anger management, I mean, he needs a lot of anger management. This guy is really angry. And he has nothing to be angry about. That`s what is so pathetic.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the thing. I mean, he was the king of Malibu. He said, I own Malibu, as one of his quotes. And he did. And he`s incredibly wealthy. He has so many beautiful children. Why is he so angry? Do you have any thought?

GOLD: I have no idea. He has a career. He gets special treatment. He`s rich. What is he angry about? What is going on with him? The guy -- I mean, honestly, if I had half of what he had, I would not be screaming at people and beating up my girlfriend. I just wouldn`t do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Listen, when we come back in a couple of seconds, you`re going to have a minute to talk to Mel. Think about what you are going to say. Because I know it`s going to blow the roof off.

GOLD: Oh, boy, this is going to be good, Jane. This is going to be good.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Judy Gold, comedian, your minute to talk to Mel. Take it.

GOLD: Oh, God. Mel, Mel, first I want to say "shalom". You know, look, I don`t know what your problem is, but you have it all. You can have any woman -- well, any Gentile woman that you want. You have healthy children. You have a lot of money. What is the matter with you?

And now you`re talking to a beaver and getting paid millions. I mean, come on. You know what I would do to talk to a beaver and make millions? I mean please. Let`s get it together.

Apologize. Say you`re sorry. Tell your kids you`re bad, but you`re going to be good. I don`t know what you should do. But it should be something in Israel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. Hold a news conference, but not a Tiger Woods news conference.

GOLD: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Answer questions. Be real.

GOLD: He shows no - there`s nothing in his face that shows, you know, I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll leave it there. Love you, Judy.

Nancy Grace --

GOLD: Love you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next. Love you too.

END