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No Jail Time for Hot Sauce Mom; Husband Flees to Venezuela after Woman Vanishes

Aired August 30, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, public outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s abusing the hell out of the kid. Or the heck out of the kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hot Sauce Mom, found guilty of child abuse, but the judge refuses to give her any time behind bars or even a fine. And she`s keeping the adopted son she tortured with hot sauce. Another case of junk justice?

And where`s this beautiful teacher? Cops are not calling her husband a suspect, but why did he buy buckets and concrete, then jet off to Venezuela? Is she another victim in the war on women? I`ll talk exclusively to her desperate best friend.

Also, will the prime suspect in the disappearance of beautiful Robyn Gardner be freed from jail and leave Aruba? And what witnesses are saying about blood on the beach and a cut on Gary Giordano`s throat. Where is Robyn?

Plus, another "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" bombshell. Cops say Russell Armstrong`s business partner killed himself within hours of Russell`s suicide. What`s going on here? And we`ll play the emotional 911 call from Russell`s friend, who discovered his body.

ISSUES starts now.



VINNIE POLITANO, HLN ANCHOR: This woman voluntarily went on to Dr. Phil. Now she`s facing charges.

JESSICA BEAGLEY, FOUND GUILTY OF CHILD ABUSE: What happens when you lie to me?

CHRISTOPH BEAGLEY, SON: I get hot sauce. .

J. BEAGLEY: You get hot sauce.

When Christoph lies, we put soap in his mouth.

Don`t spit it.

It had no effect. So we went to hot sauce.

STACY KAISEM, MOTHER OF SEVEN: The conversation she was having is good, but who can really listen with a mouth full of hot sauce?

J. BEAGLEY: Did you swallow it?

Why are you getting a cold shower?


J. BEAGLEY: Did you listen to your teacher today?


J. BEAGLEY: No, you did not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That woman caused a national uproar after abusing her adoptive son on videotape. Just last week the Hot Sauce Mom was found guilty, but now a judge is sending her home to her kids with no jail time whatsoever.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you from Atlanta.

What this woman did is child abuse. There`s no doubt about that. But is this sentence also an abuse of justice?

Jessica Beagley made this videotape herself pouring hot sauce into her 7-year-old son`s mouth, then forcing him to take ice-cold showers. Jessica made this video in order to get on the Dr. Phil show. And this footage is very disturbing, but you have to see it. We need to remind people of what she did.


J. BEAGLEY: What is the consequence for pulling a card?

C. BEAGLEY: Cold shower.

J. BEAGLEY: A cold shower. Get undressed right now.

Christoph, why are you getting a cold shower?

C. BEAGLEY: Because I pulled three cards!

J. BEAGLEY: You pulled three cards today.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, those screams, the screams of a young boy in agony, being humiliated, break my heart.

Well, listen now to the mom in court. Here she is, defending herself from the CBS "Early Show," claiming she is a good mother.


J. BEAGLEY: I feel that it`s my most important job to love, care for, nurture and teach my children. I`ve tried to do that every single day that I`ve been a mom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Believe it or not -- I was shocked by this. There are actually some hot sauce advocates out there. Listen to "Facts of Life" actress and author Lisa Whelchel on "GMA." This is a shocker to me.


LISA WHELCHEL, ACTRESS/AUTHOR: I just happen to believe that I would rather my child receive a small amount of pain from my hand in love than to encounter a lot more pain in life not learning boundaries and consequences.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s her opinion.

On Friday, Jessica Beagley was found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse for using hot sauce. So why won`t the judge give her some jail time? The judge instead suspended her 180-day jail sentence and her $2,500 fine. He said she committed, quote, "a one-time act to get on TV, and otherwise she`s a good mom." Well, as far as I can say, that`s like that old saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

If I were the judge, you know what I would have done? I would have sentenced this woman to have hot sauce poured down her throat, followed by a cold shower on her, all recorded on videotape for the whole world to see her being humiliated. That`s what I would have done.

Joining us now tonight, exclusively, is the woman who successfully prosecuted this case, Alaska prosecutor Cindy Franklin.

Cindy, congratulations. You did a great job.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The jury found her guilty. You had begged the judge for a harsher sentence. "At least give her 30 days, Judge," you said. How disappointed are you with the judge`s decision? And what kind of message do you think it sends out there?

FRANKLIN: Well, I wouldn`t say I`m disappointed with the judge`s decision, because frankly I expected it. And I think that what the judge did in this case had more to do with what`s going on around here in our community in terms of other sentences that are being given in other cases than it does with this particular case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What kind of message do you think it sends? Because I think it sends a terrible message.

FRANKLIN: Well, I think that if the judge had sentenced her to jail time, it would send a definitive message to people that you can`t use your child to get on TV. And when I decided to prosecute the case, to me, that was the most compelling message that I think this case could send.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring informal Jennifer Brant, family law attorney. I personally am outraged by the judge`s decision. I understand that the prosecutor has to be political. She`s got to live there in Alaska with this judge. But you heard her say it. She doesn`t think it sends a good message. What`s your reaction to the judge giving this woman absolutely no jail time?

JENNIFER BRANT, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, Jane, I agree with you on this. I am outraged by this judge`s decision. And he needed to put this woman in jail to serve as a deterrent to others. That would be the message that he would be sending.

I think the prosecutor was trying to say that in a political way. But that was the main goal that this judge needed to do. You can`t use your children to get on TV, and you can`t punish them in a way that`s so disproportionate to what this child did. I mean, he was supposedly sword fighting in school, and you force hot sauce...?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: With pencils. With pencils.

BRANT: With pencils.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was going like this. He was doing this.

BRANT: Exactly, Jane. And moreover, this child has behavioral problems to begin with, so this is not your typical child who`s misbehaving. This is a child with serious emotional problems. The parents knew about it. And to pull a stunt like that, this woman needs to be put away, to deter her and to deter others.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I am shocked to hear -- tell me I`m wrong. Mark Eiglarsh, you agree with this judge`s decision? Say it isn`t so, Mark.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, I thoroughly disagree with you more than I ever have on any topic we`ve discussed. If you let me speak, hopefully, I can bring you over to the right side.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. Go ahead. Try that.

EIGLARSH: First of all, all the arguments that you have made and your other guests have made were reasons why she was prosecuted to begin with. We start off with her conduct is arguably abhorrent. Clearly, it`s troubling. I`m a father of three. I`d never engage in that behavior.

But what she did do, and now I`m making mitigation arguments, not to negate her guilt, but what was presented at sentencing. And that is, she reached out. She said, "I need help. Help me. I`m amenable to treatment. Help me." That`s mitigator No. 1.

No. 2, she received that needed help from Dr. Phil even before she was prosecuted, and it`s working. She`s learning. She`s increasing her level of awareness.

Secondly, she has other children in that home, and even this child, who she`s now bonding with, and she`s getting along better with. You`re going to strip her of her liberty and throw her into jail to harm them more?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all...

EIGLARSH: I have more reasons, but it`s your show. Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, she didn`t reach out to a counselor in her town. She reached out to a national, international celebrity.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And secondly, I certainly don`t think the fact that she has other kids is a mitigator. Frankly, I think it`s a little outrageous that somebody who has four kids goes and adopts two children from Russia, one of whom who has reactive attachment disorder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If she can`t handle it, she shouldn`t take on that responsibility.

EIGLARSH: I don`t think -- I don`t think...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s completely arrogant on her part.

EIGLARSH: I don`t disagree with you. However -- however, Jane, during the pendency of this trial, she was at home. She wasn`t in jail. She was living with the children. She was...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the bad decision of Child Services...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... who went over to their house and said, "Oh, there`s nothing to see here. Move along."

EIGLARSH: You know better than them?


EIGLARSH: They investigated the situation, and they made the determination that they were moving in the right direction. She was increasing her level of awareness and getting the treatment she needed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, you`ve spoken. All right. Listen, I want to hear a little bit more of this hot sauce video, and then we`re going to talk to a woman who actually had hot sauce poured down her throat as a child. Check this out.


J. BEAGLEY: Open. Close your mouth. Did you swallow it? Go ahead. Do you lie to me? No, don`t spit it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t spit it. Oh, by the way, she also made her 10- year-old child an accomplice, because she had her 10-year-old biological daughter videotaping this whole horror show.

Now I want to bring in somebody who has said that she had had hot sauce poured down her throat as a child and that it -- it just really, really damaged her psychologically. We`re calling her Kate.

Kate, I want to get your reaction to the fact that this woman has gotten absolutely no jail time and that the judge said, "Well, other than that, you`re a good mom."

KATE, ABUSED WITH HOT SAUCE AS CHILD (via phone): Well, my biggest concern is that everybody focusing on the message of this shouldn`t be done to get on TV when I think that the message should be you`re not allowed to torture your child in this country. And I would like to see her get some kind of jail time for that so that it sends that message.

You know, my stepmother, you know, she`d bake bread for us, and she went to counseling to try to stop her behavior. That didn`t stop it. Twenty years later, the counselor that talked to us is traumatized by the fact that she couldn`t stop the abuse. Just because she`s reaching out for help doesn`t mean a child isn`t being tortured.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think that the point you`re making, which I think is the biggest point of all, is that children are not property to do with as you please. And that hot sauce is not a form of discipline. It is a form of torture, in my humble opinion.

I agree with that person who just spoke anonymously, who says she had hot sauce poured down her throat as a child, and it traumatized her and impacted the whole entire rest of her life.

We`re just getting started on the Hot Sauce Mom case.

And later, we`re going to talk about another horrifying mystery, this one set in Aruba. Where is Robyn Gardner, and is the guy that you`re looking at right there going to be released or is he going to be charged? He remains a suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear about a $1.5 million policy, and now I hear he`s that the beneficiary. Well, sure, that`s odd. That`s suspicious.




POLITAN: VINNIE POLITANO, HLN ANCHOR: This woman voluntarily went on to Dr. Phil. Now she`s facing charges.

J. BEAGLEY: What happens when you lie to me?

C. BEAGLEY: I get hot sauce. .

J. BEAGLEY: You get hot sauce.

When Christoph lies, we put soap in his mouth.

Don`t spit it.

It had no effect. So we went to hot sauce.

KAISEM: The conversation she was having is good, but who can really listen with a mouth full of hot sauce?

J. BEAGLEY: Did you swallow it?

Why are you getting a cold shower?


J. BEAGLEY: Did you listen to your teacher today?


J. BEAGLEY: No, you did not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, if that mom wants to come on our show or her husband, who is a police officer, or her attorney, anybody, they`re invited on. We want to be fair. We want to explore this from all sides.

Let`s not blame the messenger here. Dr. Phil has explained why he had this show about angry moms and why it was important to do this issue. Listen.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TALK SHOW HOST: I know that`s an extreme story, and that`s why we did it, because it needed doing. This woman needs a wake-up call. Both of those mothers do, in fact. I know you`re outraged. I was outraged. But hopefully, it will make us step back and grade our own paper a little bit, too.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I think that this also brings up the whole issue of parents using power plays. If we have no power in our lives, sometimes we can feel powerful by lording (ph) over the smallest and most helpless members of our household. And you have to wonder if the Hot Sauce Mom fits that profile

I want to go to Areva Martin. She`s an attorney who is a special needs advocate. What I was struck by is that this child has already been through hell in Russia. He has reactive attachment disorder, which gobbledygook aside, is when nobody gives you love and warmth when you`re an infant and you`re an orphan; and you shut down emotionally and you develop behavioral problems. And the way you counter abuse is not with more abuse. Would you agree, Areva?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY/SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCATE: Absolutely, Jane. This case was appalling.

I happened to be on the Dr. Phil show, sitting in the audience when I saw the tape. And the entire audience was absolutely appalled at the conduct of this mom. And as a special needs advocate -- and I`m a mom myself of a special needs child -- I know that these kids need love. They need nourishment. They need support.

And unfortunately, this mom thought by torturing, by punishing this child, she could change his behavior, but the exact opposite is true. This child needed some specialized behavior. Therapy, perhaps medication. Now we learn that he is getting counseling.

The good news here is that, as despicable as this conduct was, the special needs community scored a victory, because now we know you cannot torture kids and particularly kids with special needs. And I applaud the prosecutor who prosecuted this case and got a conviction and to send a message to parents all over this country, all over the world, really, that you can not torture your child. And this form of discipline, as it`s been called, is indeed torture.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: With due respect, Areva, I get your point, but unfortunately, I think the judge sort of pulled the rug out from under that point. Now, Judge David Wallace suspended her sentence, didn`t give her a day in jail, and suspended her fine. And he spoke in court before handing down this non-sentence sentence, or nonsensical sentence. Here it is from "GMA."


DAVID WALLACE, JUDGE: The crime here of child abuse was not a spur- of-the-moment thing. It`s something that the evidence indicates you`ve been thinking about for two years. You just weren`t quite sure how to do it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, this judge is all over the map. "Oh, other than that, you`re a good parent. But oh, it`s premeditated. It`s something you thought about for years." What is his problem?

EIGLARSH: Jane, Jane. Jane..


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Mark -- Mark a second, and then we`re going to go to Areva. Go ahead.

EIGLARSH: Jane, I still love you, but I think that you`re all over the map on this one, candidly.


EIGLARSH: Yes, I do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve been very specific. I said this woman should be punished. We need to send a message that kids are not property. You cannot do with them what you will in the name of...

EIGLARSH: Just think -- Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... discipline, and you certainly can not abuse a child who has already been abused by pouring hot sauce down his throat and humiliating him in front of his siblings.

EIGLARSH: I don`t disagree with you. The analysis starts with this is abhorrent behavior. She`s the first one to admit it at this point, because she`s learned and increased her level of awareness. But where we part company is whether she deserves to go to jail.

Now, as a prosecutor, I saw some -- I mean, some horrible stuff. Stuff that would make this look tame. Parents making kids kneel on bottle caps. Putting out cigarette butts on their arms. It made me sick. And those parents didn`t want treatment, didn`t want help, looked up and said, "I`m going to do it again to my other kids." They should go to jail. This woman, no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me. Let me just say this. Kate...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... not your real name, do you think getting hot sauce poured down your throat, which you said happened to you as a child, is any worse -- less than having a cigarette butt put out on your arm?

KATE: Well, it`s less consequence for the parent, because there`s no mark at the end of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. See what I mean?

EIGLARSH: I`m not minimizing the conduct. My point is the woman sought help. She got help. Child Protective Services says she is doing well. The other kids are benefiting from the treatment. You don`t then pull her, strip her of her liberty...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Areva, you`re going to get the last word.

MARTIN: You know, OK. I agree that jail is probably too harsh for this mom.


MARTIN: She does -- there`s no prior -- there`s no prior evidence of abuse. But...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you did it to an adult....

MARTIN: ... this is not a small issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... you`d go to jail. It would be an assault. If you do it to a kid...

EIGLARSH: Let her talk, Jane.

MARTIN: Every parent -- every parent out there needs to know you can not abuse your child...


MARTIN: ... whether it`s on television or not. There`s 600 million - - there`s 6 million cases of child abuse reported every year in this country.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I have a friend who went to jail for a couple of days because she didn`t pay a parking ticket.

MARTIN: We`ve got to keep children in perspective in this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you telling me you can pour hot sauce down a kid`s throat and not go to jail? You`re wrong.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, we`re not releasing too many details in the case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s very odd. I would think that he would want to be involved in finding his wife and making sure that she`s safe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re hoping that someone will come forth with some information.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Suspicion spreads in the disappearance of a very much-loved Louisiana teacher, missing for nearly two months now.

Look at that beautiful woman and her beautiful 4-year-old daughter. It was July 5 when the family says they last heard from Sylviane Lozada, seen here on Mother`s Day with her young daughter. This is footage never before publicized, as we really desperately try to find this woman.

The very next day, her husband reportedly bought bags of concrete and several big buckets. The husband has not been named a suspect. His behavior, however, the days after she vanished has called into question. That`s an understatement. Exhibit A: he fled to Venezuela, taking their young child with him. Now cops cannot reach him.

Police have scoured the couple`s home. They`ve reportedly found evidence of foul play.

Joining me now, in an exclusive interview, Sylviane`s very best friend, Karen Wooley.

Karen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I know that you`re doing everything you can...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... to help your friend. My heart goes out to you. Cops have said that Sylviane contacted them twice about fights that she had with her husband in the past. Now, what exactly did Sylviane tell you about the alleged abuse by her husband of her?

WOOLEY: Well, the last few months of her life were very abusive. Sylviane went into the hospital because her husband punched her in the back. He threw chairs in the house. He would constantly grab her around the throat to make her listen to what he was telling her.

The emotional abuse was much more damaging than the physical abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you want to see cops do? Because in order for him to be extradited back to Louisiana from Venezuela, they have to issue an arrest warrant. Are you urging cops to do that?

WOOLEY: Well, something needs to be done. Something needs to be done. Oscar is over in Venezuela. He`s not answering to anyone. He`s inconsiderate about the family, their feelings, about friends, loved ones, school -- from Sylviane`s school and community.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she`s a teacher, very much loved. What`s the reaction? Students, friends and family? The school year has begun, and she`s nowhere to be found.

WOOLEY: Well, the reaction is a lot of sorrow, a lot of pain. One student confided in me the other day she woke up crying and could not stop. Her mother had to hold her to calm her down. .

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. And of course, the most suspicious thing of all, cops say this husband bought big buckets and concrete bags the day after she was last heard from. These are two key items that were not found in the search after she disappeared. And it doesn`t take a genius to do the math here.

Obviously, in previous cases -- and we`re not trying to convict him. He hasn`t been named a suspect. He`s free to come on our show. In previous cases, items like these have been used to hide bodies.

We certainly hope that she is found alive and well, but there`s a tremendous amount of concern. Karen Wooley, we are not going to let this case become a cold case. We want you to come back. We want you to keep on this...

WOOLEY: Thank you so much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and tell us anything, anything at all that happens vis-a-vis your missing friend. We want you to help find her.

All right. Up next, Aruba, Robyn Gardner.



RICHARD FORESTER, BOYFRIEND OF ROBYN GARDNER: I just can`t see her taking or anybody taking sleeping pills in the middle of the day and then following it up with vodka and then going snorkeling. It just doesn`t make any sense whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do I believe that in one instance that she could still be alive? Absolutely I do. But only Gary can tell us that.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A new witness reportedly says that he was on the beach that afternoon when Robyn Gardner and Gary were supposedly snorkeling. He says he saw the couple but he never saw them go into the water.

FORESTER: All I want to do doesn`t matter. I just want to find her. And I want justice to be served.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: These things really mean little except for, as was pointed, the time frame. What she was wearing. Who she was with, when it happened and where she was going. And this was the last time she was seen.

SAVIDGE: They searched a vast area, so far no sign of Robyn Gardner. No clues even as to what may have happened to Robyn Gardner.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The clock`s ticking in Aruba. The prime suspect in the disappearance of beautiful American tourist Robyn Gardner sits in a jail cell waiting to learn his fate. As soon as tomorrow an Aruban judge could decide whether Gary Giordano will stay in jail or be set free to walk.

The missing woman, Robyn Gardner, flew to Aruba with Gardner almost a month ago now. He claims that Robyn vanished in the water while they were snorkeling. But now ABC News is reporting that witnesses on Baby Beach spoke with Giordano the very day Robyn vanished. They told Aruban cops Giordano had scratches on his throat and there was blood on the beach and that he really didn`t look like he was searching for anybody.

We`ve heard that Giordano`s been in virtual isolation since being jailed about a month ago. His 80-year-old father who happens to be dying of cancer defended his son on NBC`s "Today" show.


FRANK GIORDANO, GARY GIORDANO`S FATHER: The least I can do is stand up for my son and tell the world that what they`ve been hearing about him is not true. He`s not a monster.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: However, at least two women have taken out restraining orders against Giordano. He`s been named in domestic abuse complaints although never charged. And then there`s the very bizarre arrangement he alleged tried to make with a mother a daughter. Listen to this.


CARRIE EMERSON, GIORDANO PROPOSITIONED HER AND HER DAUGHTER: Then he started proposing to me that -- long story short -- if he could sleep with me he would take care of me financially. And he said if I could fulfill his fantasy of having a mother-daughter threesome, he would take care of us financially for the rest of our lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So big question tonight, will Aruban authorities have enough evidence to charge Giordano with Robyn Gardner`s disappearance. Or will this be another Natalee Holloway case; no body, no arrests, no justice?

Straight out to HLN law enforcement analyst, Mike Brooks; what do we know about these scratches on Gary Giordano`s neck and could that be the evidence cops need to hold him even more behind bars?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, apparently witnesses are saying that it looked like it was made by a nail. Now, how did they know that? That remains to be seen. But we don`t have anything to compare it to. There is no body. We don`t know where Robyn Gardner is because if that were the case, it would most likely be her nails; there would be something under her fingernails.

Could he have gotten this on rocks or coral because he was allegedly snorkeling? That could be. But witnesses also say his tennis shoes were wet but his shorts weren`t and he seemed to be wet from sweat, Jane, not like he had been in the water snorkeling.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The whole story doesn`t make a lot of sense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And people, especially women have been coming out of the woodwork with horror stories about this guy. However his father told NBC that his son is not a killer and wouldn`t kill anyone. Listen to this.


GIORDANO: I would like to show the other side, the side that says Gary is a good human being, who`s good to his family and good to his friends.

I know that he would not be able to kill someone, murder someone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the initial hours though of the search, Giordano apparently looked very drunk and then looked down at his watch and reportedly said to Aruban authorities, "She might be dead now." And ABC News reports witnesses who spoke to cops the day Robyn vanished and said they saw Giordano on the beach again, scratches on his, blood on the beach itself and, of course, we don`t know whose blood that is. It may even have to go to the Netherlands for testing.

And then there is Gary Giordano`s money problems; they were escalating before the trip. He asked the judge to lower his child support payments. He has other adult children. He filed and then dropped a $5 million lawsuit against a competitor in the temporary staffing business. And the most incriminating of all he took out a $1.5 million accidental death policy on Robyn Gardner.

Now joining me tonight, Tom Murphy, he`s the lawyer who represented the company Giordano actually sued; very happy to have you here. His dad is going all over the place saying my son is a man of good character. What do you know about Gary Giordano`s character and his relationship with money?

TOM MURPHY, ATTORNEY FOR COMPANY GIORDANO SUED: Well, when I was hired to represent the company that had been sued, I investigated it thoroughly and I learned and determined that Gary Giordano had fabricated a contract, had forged a signature of the alleged executive that was supposed to have signed it, fabricated another contract and basically made up a lie without the slightest foundation or substance to it.

The remarkable thing that I discovered is that Gary Giordano was prepared and did continue his lie all the way through to the court. He only dropped the case when faced with overwhelming evidence that he was going to lose. So it was just a remarkable story and one of the strangest cases I`ve ever been involved in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he`s a strange guy. Here`s a guy who lives in a house that`s worth over $1 million, yet he was arrested for shoplifting. He`s a guy who says he can`t make his child support payments but he`s driving a very, very expensive luxury car. He`s all over the map.

I want to go straight out to Martin Savidge, who has just landed in Aruba and who joins us from Aruba on the phone. Martin, what do we know about the likelihood or not of Gary Giordano being, A, kept behind bars and, B, charged with something.

SAVIDGE (via telephone): Well, that`s a very good question at this point. I mean I`ve talked to a number of legal experts on the island. Of course, tomorrow is the day that he goes before a judge. We`ve gone through that 16-day extension that the prosecutor`s office got and now they`ve asked for an additional 60; that`s six-zero days.

But there are a lot of people on the island here who follow the justice system and say boy, they`re not really sure that the prosecutor is going to get it.

However, that said, they do point out a couple of things. Number one, this island does not want to get the reputation that it seemingly earned in the eyes of many Americans after the Natalee Holloway case where it did not go after a potential suspect aggressively enough. So that`s one factor that may come in here.

It may not be condoned by the court system, but it`s got to be said that the government here is very anxious to make sure that the American perception is they are going to go after Gary Giordano as strongly as they can within the letter of the law.

However, that said Jane, tomorrow we really don`t know. Many people say the prosecution will get its way. They`ll get an extension; may not get 60 days, but will get something. This case, they believe still needs further investigation. And that`s the argument the prosecution is making.

The defense of course, is saying hey there`s no body, no proof of any crime here. Just because you`ve got a hefty insurance policy, that may be motive but again that is not conclusive proof. He needs to be set free and go home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we have with us, Richard Forester, who is Robyn Gardner`s boyfriend and who had just been fighting, fighting, fighting to find out what happened to his precious girlfriend and is quite devastated. Richard, I want to ask you, what do you want to see happen tomorrow?

FORESTER (via telephone): Well, of course, I want to see 60 days. I think that he`s, you know, he`s the last one to see her. He`s the key to this. Maybe, you know in that 60-day time he`ll break down and give some input as to what happened and where she is.


FORESTER: Anything less than that I think is going to be pretty devastating to anybody. Like Martin pointed out, I don`t think they want that sort of reputation. I think that the public out-lash would be tremendous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I certainly don`t think that Aruba wants to be known as a place where if you go on vacation, you`re likely or possibly might disappear and nothing will ever happen as a result. It`s almost like the wild, wild west.

Go ahead.

FORESTER: I don`t want to say it`s Aruba. They`re not responsible for the disappearance. But I certainly want to see them use every resource and anything they have to figure out what happened. And if they`re being offered it, then take that offer, you know, and let`s get this taken care of now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have a sound bite with a woman who was a companion of Gary`s. And we`re not trying to play -- but suffice it to say, Mike Brooks, that she`s saying that he wasn`t a violent guy and that he never showed any violence. He`s a man of many contradictions.

Is that going to make this case more difficult, Mike?

BROOKS: Well, I think it`s, you know, it`s going to be up to the judge in Aruba. He will take probably a lot of this into consideration, but what he`s mainly going to go on is the evidence or lack thereof that they have in Aruba, what they`ve turned up so far.

The most important thing in this, though Jane I think, is that time line. What happened before all these witnesses saw him? We just don`t know for sure. We`ve got the new pictures that we`re showing right now to show the two maybe just hours before this incident happened. But it`s that all important time line in this particular case and there`s a lot of gaps in it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to stay on top of this. We`re going to bring you the very latest tomorrow. There`s an old saying, but unfortunately sometimes it`s true. "No body, no case." We have to find out what happened to Robyn and hopefully they can find out and get some really hard evidence before this guy walks.

We`ll tell you what happens tomorrow. Meantime, more tragedy, more drama: another suicide connected in some way shape or form to "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and the cast members and their spouses.


GABRIELLE STAUB, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY": I relate to the darkness he`s experiencing prior to taking his own life. I`ve gone there a few times. It`s very difficult when everyone is coming at you and judging you and especially when they really don`t know you. I can understand that feeling. I relate to it and I empathize with everything that they`re all going through.




TAYLOR ARMSTRONG, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS: A lot of the issues in my marriage are definitely addressed this year.

DYLAN HOWARD, "STAR MAGAZINE": Two weeks before he died, he took himself off his anti-depression medication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Physical abuse and debt, those are things that can be made up by producers.

HOWARD: There are graphic photos showing Taylor Armstrong with a cut on the right side of her face from her mouth to her eye socket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taylor tried to keep those injuries under wraps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, "Well, you know, this is the way reality TV is." I said, "Russell, this is brutal."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, chilling new revelations in "The Real Housewives" suicide shocker. We have the emotional 911 call made by Russell Armstrong`s friend right after his body was discovered hanging August 15th.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hasn`t been responding to anybody for the last three days. And we just came up to the house and we finally went in and that`s it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve actually chosen not to air some of the most emotional parts of the conversation. At one point you can hear Taylor Armstrong, the estranged wife of the dead man, in the background sobbing uncontrollably and asking for her psychiatrist.

There`s also this shocking twist, a second suicide that is tied to "The Real Housewives" in one way, shape or form because just one day after Russell hanged himself, his good friend and business associate shot himself in the head. Alan Schram`s body was found August 16th in a car parked alongside an L.A. street. He and Russell were both members of Tiger 21, reportedly anyway -- an elite group of mega rich investors who meet to discuss their investments.

Were their suicides just a tragic coincidence? Or is there a connection?

Straight out to Alexis (INAUDIBLE), senior reporter for RadarOnline; Alexis, what do we know about this second suicide?

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, SENIOR REPORTER, RADARONLINE: I know, it`s really tragic. He and Russell shared a business together. It wasn`t a business but they were in an investment group where they would each look at each other`s business plans. And as you know, Russell was in terrible financial shape. And this man was also a member of this club and he tragically killed himself one day after Russell`s body was found.

There isn`t a connection yet, but it seems very suspect that these two men who were so financially in trouble as Russell was, that it may have had something to do with the other one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, let`s listen to another clip of the 911 call August 15. This is involving Russell Armstrong, the estranged -- and they were in the process of divorce -- husband of Taylor Armstrong of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills". Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s going through a divorce and he`s living at a friend`s house. And he locked his door. The friend went over through the back window and he saw him hanging there and that`s it. And we don`t know how long it has been because the last time we all saw him was Friday.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Russell Armstrong and Alan Schram who both committed suicide are both members of Tiger 21. This is an exclusive club of high net worth investors; there`s fewer than 200 of them and they together managed about $15 billion in assets. So we`re talking about a lot of money.

Alan Schram was a manager of a hedge fund and according to published reports he got into a lit bit of trouble in 2006 for fudging details about his education.

Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, you have to wonder are these two suicide somehow connected. And given that have they`re suicides, will the Los Angeles Police conduct an investigation to see if these two deaths are connected and how far will they go given that in one case the suicide involved a gun?

BROOKS: No, they definitely will. Even though one was a hanging and one was a gun, they still right now are classified as suicide, Jane. But because of how close they are to each other with this group, law enforcement will definitely take a look at this. We don`t know, I`ve not heard if Mr. Schram had any kind of note.

It all may be connected. We don`t know anything at all about that and not a whole lot of details. But right now, both of them are classified as suicides.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, Russell Armstrong`s family wants Russell edited out completely -- edited out from the upcoming "Housewives" season. His mom spoke to me last week here on ISSUES. Here`s what she had to say.


JOHN ANN HOTCHKISS, RUSSELL ARMSTRONG`S MOTHER: I better not see one frame. I better not hear one frame. And that goes for all the family. We are circling the wagons.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Duncan Roy, you`ve been on "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew". You know about reality TV, how can they do this special that they`ve just announced about the suicide without showing any images of Russell himself?

DUNCAN ROY, CAST MEMBER, "SEX REHAB WITH DR. DREW": Well, it depends what kind of releases he`s signed. But ultimately, I don`t know whether they will be able to do that. There`s a whole bunch of archived material which they`ll be able to use.

You know, Andy Cohen and Bravo are kind of laughing their way all the way to the bank. I mean, you know, a big special will attract a lot of attention and a lot of viewers and a lot of people will want to see him. So I mean, you know, I`m cynical about this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side. Stay right there.



HOTCHKISS: It turned into a terrible tragedy. He was so distraught toward the end of it. And before the new season started, before he took his life, he said, "Mom, they`re just going to crucify me this season." And he said, "I don`t know what to do." He said, "I`ll never survive it." And I thought he meant businesswise or something. Now perhaps there was a double meaning there, I don`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Russell`s mother, talking to me on ISSUES about how Russell was terrified how he would be portrayed in the upcoming season of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills". He was going through a divorce from one of the cast members, Taylor Armstrong.

And now we hear word that Bravo has taped a special episode to discuss Russell`s suicide. And the big question, of course, is -- first of all, they say that the ladies of Bravo, Taylor is not taking part because of her grief, but the other women are going to be free to say whatever they want, whatever they want about Russell`s suicide. They want natural thoughts and reactions.

We reached out to Bravo and they have not commented. But they`re invited on anytime and I have run into Andy Cohen several times at various events and he seems like a very upstanding, good person, who does a lot of good things with various groups. We`re not trying to disparage him in any way, shape or form.

But getting back to Duncan Roy, who is a producer and director and has a lot of experience with reality TV, this special -- ok, the way it has been reported is that the women of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills", with the exception of Taylor, can say whatever they want about Russell`s suicide. Do you buy it?

ROY: Well, I -- yes, I do, I think this says a lot about the way the shows -- these shows are put together. They are scripted largely. And, you know, this particular couple were the kind of problem couple. And that`s the way they were cast. And I think, you know, the pressure of being the problem couple that have to come up with the drama week after week ultimately killed this guy.

Because, you know what, I`ve not seen and have you seen the pictures of her scar or her alleged scar on her face? Have you seen -- I mean, you know, what evidence do we have? But, you know, if you look at this guy, who is now off the show, living on his own, away from his kids, the pressure must have been absolutely huge for him. And, you know what, I mean, I can imagine why he killed himself and he had nothing to do with debt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Duncan, I will say that we have this photo of her with a cut over her left eye. Now, she said she got this playing football, Alexis Tereszcuk, which I thought was odd because she doesn`t seem like a likely candidate to be playing football.

But the bigger issue, how do they do a special without showing a frame of Russell and do you think they`re going to choose to be respectful of the family`s demand, Russell`s family`s demand, that they not show a single frame as the mother said to me on ISSUES of Russell, either in a special or on any of the episodes of this season that debuts soon?

TERESZCUK: No, from what I`ve heard Bravo --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Alexis.

TERESZCUK: Bravo actually -- Bravo owns these images. They own their first season. They have a lot of images of Russell. But the thing that is really going to come out in this special, these women know that Taylor was a victim of domestic violence and Russell absolutely did hit her. She wound up in the hospital, she had to have reconstructive surgery and they`re talk about that because she was the victim here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, ok, but he`s not around to defend himself anymore and you got to wonder -- wow, it is a dilemma. It is a dilemma, but it is also as Duncan points out an opportunity because reality TV likes nothing more than drama and this is drama.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Russell Armstrong`s mom says we don`t want a single image of our son who committed suicide, shown on Bravo. Bravo, let`s assume for a second, has the rights to show whatever they want of him, which is in all probability true. What does Bravo do, Duncan Roy?

ROY: Well, I think Bravo will end up showing him because frankly reality TV has at its core no heart. It will do what it has to do to encourage ratings. And, you know, I don`t think Andy Cohen is sitting in his office not crying his way to the bank. I mean, you know, this is a huge deal for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is in a sense a form of fiction. And the problem is that it doesn`t really have clear boundaries. And sometimes real reality intrudes on reality TV in quotes and that`s when things get really muddy. And often tragedy ensues. And that`s when we have to get real.