Return to Transcripts main page
Mansion Hanging Death Ruled Suicide
Aired September 2, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Has the millionaire mansion mystery been solved? Cops calling a woman`s hanging death a suicide, but her sister says it`s a murder.
Plus, another Casey Anthony courtroom drama. Payback could be coming.
And does it matter if your child`s teacher is a porn star? The man who was fired for his X-rated past is here to explain.
Let`s go figure it out.
"We do not believe that our sister Rebecca committed suicide." Those words from Mary Zahau, whose sister Rebecca was found hanging, bound and nude in a San Diego mansion earlier this summer.
Earlier today, police ruled that Rebecca`s death was a suicide, but her family is not buying it. Tonight, I`m exclusively talking to Rebecca`s sister Mary to find out why. Watch this, then we`ll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two fatalities involving one mogul and his $13 million mansion. Rebecca Zahau, the girlfriend of the mogul, reportedly watching his son, 6-year-old Max, when he fell down the stairs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child was injured in the home and was transported to the hospital for treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two days later, Rebecca, the girlfriend, is found hanging from the second story balcony naked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hands were bound behind the back and the feet were bound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they connected? There`s nothing to indicate that those two incidents are connected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suicide and homicide at times can look very, very similar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Two deaths occur in the same southern California mansion just days apart. And tonight, police rule one death an accident, the other a suicide.
First, here`s what police said earlier today about the death of 6- year-old Max Shacknai.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Tragically, Max succumbed to his injuries on Saturday, July the 16th. Our responsibility is to answer one very important question. Were these deaths the result of criminal conduct? Was Max`s death a homicide? The answer is no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And just two days after Max`s fatal fall, Rebecca was found dead in the same mansion. Was his death a catalyst for hers? And this is supposedly a suicide.
Here`s what the police said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. DAVE NEMENT, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S OFFICE: The last outgoing call from Rebecca`s phone was found to be to her own voicemail at about 10 minutes to 1:00 in the morning. We know from the investigation that message that was left on her phone was to inform Rebecca of Max`s grave condition and imminent death. We also know that that was in contradiction to previous, more positive reports she had been receiving regarding his condition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Anne Bremner is the attorney representing the family of Rebecca Zahau. Judge Alex Ferrer is the presiding judge on "Judge Alex." Jen Heger, legal editor for Radar Online.
And the phone with me now is Mary Zahau. She is Rebecca`s sister.
Now, Mary, despite what we heard from police today, you still are firmly of the opinion that your sister did not harm herself. Can you tell us what your thoughts are?
MARY ZAHAU, REBECCA ZAHAU`S SISTER: Yes. I believe that my sister did not commit a suicide. My sister --
PINSKY: Do you --
PINSKY: Do you have a theory about what did happen?
ZAHAU: I believe that my sister was murdered.
PINSKY: And have you talked to your sister recently, or prior to this event? Had there been a conversation with here? And did she sound depressed? Did she ever have depression? Has she ever been prone to self- harm? Can you give us those sorts of details?
ZAHAU: My sister never had a psychiatric problem, never been on psychiatric medications, and never have attempted suicide, let alone talk about harming herself.
PINSKY: Did you have any kinds of conversation with her in the days before this horrible thing happened? Was she in any sort of distress? Can you shine a light on that for us?
ZAHAU: Actually, I spoke with her the day of Max`s injury and the day after. The day of the injury, she called me to ask for my opinion, what to do with the injury that my younger sister had sustained while they were cleaning up the chandelier pieces.
PINSKY: It`s awful. How are you and the family doing? Are you guys OK?
ZAHAU: We are trying to survive one day at a time.
PINSKY: Yes. I understand.
Now, Anne, police provided compelling evidence that, well, allegedly - - well, seemingly compelling evidence that this was a suicide. What evidence are you disputing?
ANNE BREMNER, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING REBECCA ZAHAU`S FAMILY: Well, starting with that there`s never been a suicide like this in history of a woman naked, binding her own hands behind her back and her feet, and throwing herself over a balcony. Never.
I`m sure, as you know, there`s a few with men. They`re few and far between, and those were cases where people tried it before and then bound themselves so they couldn`t save themselves.
So starting with the fact that it`s a complete anomaly, to conclude it`s a suicide when there`s no evidence indeed that there is, I think is erroneous. But, additionally, they didn`t check prints of certain very close people to Becky at all.
There`s mixed DNA at the scene. That note that`s on the wall, on the door, is not a suicide note and it`s not in her handwriting. That`s what her family said.
Also, there`s no forensic psychiatrist that`s been consulted in any way, no human factor experts and forensics criminologists. And what they recreated you saw in the press conference was simply what someone in Cirque du Soleil could do, a contortionist.
And the fact of the matter is they didn`t one that would be reflective an alternative theory, i.e. a homicide or assisted suicide. And there are many other issues.
She`s religious. She thought she would go to hell if she committed suicide. She was not depressed. She was doing well.
She wasn`t even blaming herself for Max`s death. They have to exclude everything else if they`re coming to come to a suicide. And you know what? They only met with the family two days ago, and the family offered lots of information that should be investigated. But you know what? They closed the case. It`s premature and it`s a rush to judgment.
PINSKY: Anne, can you tell us -- you mentioned a note on the wall. Can you tell us what was on that note?
BREMNER: It was something along the lines -- I know they whited it out, and I don`t know why, because they released everything else in the case, Dr. Drew. But it`s something like this -- she saved him so he had to save her. And the family has seen it and they said it is definitely not her handwriting.
PINSKY: Well, that`s interesting. I wonder what that was all about.
Jen, you`ve seen these allegations and you`ve now heard about this note. You`ve heard the sister now, Mary, and you`ve heard the attorney. What are you thoughts on this?
JEN HEGER, LEGAL EDITOR, RADAR ONLINE: This doesn`t pass the sniff test, period.
PINSKY: You know, I`ve worked in a psychiatric hospital for a long time. And when they said she was bound with an electrical cord, she was naked, I mean, that sounds like somebody who -- I mean, if that were a suicide, it would be just -- it`s just bizarre.
HEGER: It goes against everything we have learned about Rebecca Zahau. One thing that was really distressing to me today from law enforcement was them saying that Rebecca Zahau had been distraught even before this accident with Max.
HEGER: Before. And that she had stopped exercising. Well, on July 19th, RadarOnline.com spoke with Rebecca`s physical trainer at her gym down in Coronado. She`d been working out.
PINSKY: The whole time?
HEGER: She`d been working out the whole time. We spoke with her personal trainer. And she and Jonah would go to the gym together.
So I want to know, did the cops talk to this trainer? Because she had not stopped exercising.
So that`s just one thing that stood out at me. You know, there was also nothing in her toxicology report. There were no drugs. There were no SSRIs, no anti-depression medication.
And the police also said that she kept -- there was a phone journal on her cell phone. Well, that`s a very odd place to keep --
PINSKY: A phone journal?
HEGER: Yes, to keep a journal on your cell phone.
PINSKY: I don`t know what that means even.
HEGER: That`s odd.
PINSKY: So you`re saying shoddy police work?
Now, just weeks ago, Jonah Shacknai publicly addressed the death of his son Max and girlfriend Rebecca for the first time. And Jonah`s statements were made during a planned conference call with the shareholders of his pharmaceutical company.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JONAH SHACKNAI, BOYFRIEND OF REBECCA ZAHAU: Before I begin our conversation today, I want to express a personal note of appreciation. So many of our shareholders, as with our customers and employees, have provided me and our family wonderful encouragement and support.
We`ve obviously had an extraordinarily difficult time. We have undertaken some tragedies, some losses that one couldn`t imagine experiencing in a lifetime. Over the past few weeks I`ve obviously been spending time with family and loved ones. And during that time, the company`s day-to-day operations have continued without interruption.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, Judge Alex, the son`s death was ruled an accident, his girlfriend`s death a suicide. Does this erase any suspicion around him?
JUDGE ALEX FERRER, "JUDGE ALEX": Well, first let`s start by the fact that I`m a former police officer, and we are the most suspicious animals on this planet when somebody dies, let alone when people two die back to back. So, when I heard about this, I thought, this I`ve got to see, how this coincidental death following the death of the child, and she`s hanging, and her hands are bound and her feet are tied, really got to see that.
When I heard more details about it, I have to tell you -- and I sympathize with the family -- it does seem to fit the model of a suicide in a very bizarre way. And let`s understand something, people have killed themselves in the past many times and tried to make it look like a murder. That`s not what`s happening here, obviously. That`s usually a husband who wants to kill himself but wants his wife and children to benefit from the life insurance policy.
But there are people who also have killed themselves and they were afraid that they couldn`t go through it, and tried to do things so they couldn`t change their mind. Perhaps that`s what happened here.
What I do know is the police only found -- if we believe the police -- and I don`t have any reason not to not believe San Diego. It`s not some podunk police department. They are a pretty solid police department. They only found her DNA and her fingerprints on the ropes that bound her, they only found her DNA and her fingerprints on the knife that cut the sections of rope she used.
They did -- I understand about the whole handwriting analysis on the wall, but as I understand it, that was painted on the wall. So I wouldn`t expect it to be identical.
I just don`t see any reason for the police to jump to a conclusion here unless they suspect that they`re somehow trying to favor the boyfriend, and they believe the boyfriend`s the murderer and he`s so rich, that he`s got the police department in his pocket. I just don`t see that.
So I think that as it goes on, and as we look into it more, we may find out that it is in fact a bizarre suicide, but it seems to fit those pieces.
PINSKY: Before I go to break -- thank you, Alex.
Jen, I`m going to just paraphrase something you whispered to me a minute ago, is that Dina, his former wife, didn`t have good feelings towards the girlfriend.
HEGER: That`s correct.
PINSKY: So that`s another sort of thing to --
HEGER: Absolutely. And Rebecca Zahau was actually picking up Jonah`s brother Adam from the airport. And law enforcement sources have told me throughout this investigation that Dina forbid Rebecca from coming into the hospital to visit Max while he was on life support.
PINSKY: Next, police have ruled the millionaire mansion deaths were caused by an accident and a suicide, but is it really a case that`s closed? I`ll have more with the victim`s sister when we come back.
PINSKY: Two bizarre deaths occur in the same southern California mansion just days apart. Investigators ruled the death of a 6-year-old, Max Shacknai, was an accident, and the hanging death of 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau was a suicide.
Anne Bremner is the attorney representing the family of Rebecca Zahau. Judge Alex Ferrer is the presiding judge on "Judge Alex." Jen Heger is the legal editor for Radar Online. And on the phone I have Mary Zahau. She is Rebecca`s sister.
Mary, thank you for joining me. I really do appreciate it. I know this is just an awful time for you, and I appreciate you staying with us and sharing this story.
What is the next step for your family? Are you for instance considering pursuing legal action?
ZAHAU: Well, at this point, our goal is to find out what happened to my sister and to find more answers. We`re not pointing fingers, but we want to find more answers. There`s a lot of questions that we have on the investigation that -- where we didn`t have any (INAUDIBLE).
PINSKY: Can you be -- your phone is fading in and out a little bit. Can you be more specific about where your concerns are?
ZAHAU: For example, the writing on the door, it said she saved him, can he save her? That does not sound like something my sister would come up with. And her right hand fingerprint was on the right side of the door. My sister is right-handed. So did she right it with the left hand if the writing is hers?
PINSKY: Did it look like her handwriting?
ZAHAU: No, it did absolutely not look like her handwriting. It was all in block. And my sister does not write in block.
PINSKY: What other concerns did you have?
ZAHAU: For example, there was blood on her. We asked if she was having her period and they said no. But then where did that blood come from? Enough to be down her leg. Was it even checked if it`s hers?
PINSKY: Anne, can the police departments involved be forced to reopen this case and address some of these concerns?
BREMNER: We have asked them to do that. I think they have a duty to do that.
We can`t force them to do anything. We may ask for an independent examination by another department, but we`ve been discussing it today, and we had people say we can always look at these things. Well, we can`t. They closed the case.
And there`s so many unanswered questions in a case where it needs to be resolved, and it hasn`t been. There was no reason to rush and close this case today.
PINSKY: I`m going to ask -- this may be asking for too much, but do you have a message? Here you have a platform. A message to San Diego police?
BREMNER: Yes. Our message is open the investigation. Keep it open.
You have a duty to the public, but you have a duty to the victim. You have a duty to the victim in this case to make sure that justice is done.
And when it`s the only suicide that`s ever been like this in any reported history -- and I would dispute anyone that can find more than four or five involving only men. She has no history, there`s been no psychiatric evaluation, no forensic psychiatrist.
We don`t have everyone printed, polygraphed. Evidence doesn`t connect with her. It`s beyond bizarre.
And her family is grieving, but they`re also stunned. That you, at the minimum, can investigate the things you talked about with them only two days ago in a seven-week-long investigation. Only two days ago. And that`s all we`re asking for.
Keep investigating. Find the truth. We`re seeking justice.
PINSKY: Now, Judge Alex, considering what you`re heard today from both sides, would you pressure them or ask them or hope that they would reopen the case?
FERRER: Oh, absolutely. I mean, just because the evidence seems to indicate that it was a suicide doesn`t mean they shouldn`t go that extra mile, cross the Ts and dot the I`s and sit down with a family and say, look, we`ve done everything we can, this is why we think this, this is why we don`t think it`s that.
I mean, this is the loved one of a family that is very distraught and very suspicious about the circumstances, as I think most of America was when they first heard the circumstances. And I think that a good police department like San Diego should go that extra mile and do everything else they can possibly do to rule out foul play.
PINSKY: And Judge Alex, I would hope they would do that in every case. But here`s a case that`s attracting a ton of national attention. You would think they would want to have every I dotted and every T crossed, and if somebody came up and questioned anything, they should have an answer, because we`re going to keep talking about this case.
FERRER: Sure, absolutely. And I think most police departments do operate that way.
It`s just that, let`s face it, in most cases, things are as in fact they seem to be. In some cases, they`re completely different than they seem to be. And this may be one of those cases where your first appearance is oh, my God, this cannot be anything but some kind of bizarre murder. And then it turns out to be something different.
But just because the police department is convinced doesn`t mean that they shouldn`t go that extra mile to convince the public and to convince especially the family of the deceased.
PINSKY: Now, Jen, you`ve talked to insiders. Do any of them believe that someone wanted Rebecca dead?
HEGER: I don`t -- she had no enemies. Rebecca Zahau had absolutely no enemies. She was very well liked.
PINSKY: Except Dina.
HEGER: The two of them had a very --
PINSKY: I was just saying, they did not like each other.
HEGER: They did not like each other. That is documented.
But what I want addressed here is that Adam Shacknai was given a polygraph test. Why wasn`t Jonah Shacknai and Dina Shacknai given polygraph tests either?
PINSKY: Well, here`s the thing that I`m hearing -- and again, I`m certainly no expert in all this. I`m just listening to this the way the viewers are listening to this. And that is, these are simple things that - - they seem like things that ought to be addressed. Why aren`t these things being addressed? I don`t understand why they wouldn`t be. I`m just the average person here.
HEGER: Bring them in.
PINSKY: Explain the blood. Get a polygraph. Do those things.
HEGER: I want polygraphs for every single --
PINSKY: And especially since they know we`re going to keep talking about this case.
HEGER: We have to.
PINSKY: Why close it down?
HEGER: Why was this case closed seven weeks after this alleged suicide? I`m not buying it`s a suicide.
PINSKY: It`s certainly -- as somebody, again, who has worked in mental health for a long time -- Alex says yes, that he`s seen it like this. Particularly a modest woman going without her clothes, knowing that the public is going to be aware of this, doesn`t sound right to me at all.
And again, this note. I mean, could you surmise that she was in some sort of weird, altered psychotic state with no antecedent psychiatric history?
As you say, Jen, it doesn`t pass the sniff test really very well.
Judge Alex, Jen Heger, Anne Bremner, Mary Zahau.
And Mary, please, the best to your family. We will be watching this. And if we can help, please let us know. OK?
ZAHAU: OK. Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN LOFTIS, TEACHER FIRED FOR X-RATED PAST: One day I get a phone call from Miami-Dade public schools telling me not to go into work the next day. I was going in every day to the school. I made connections with these students. I enjoyed the time that I had with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Tonight I`m going to talk to a substitute teacher -- you just saw him there -- that was fired for some X-rated skeletons in his past. Sean Loftis was in the porn business for years before taking a substitute teaching job.
He taught for nine months before Florida administrators learned about his racy past. And I`m going to talk to Sean in just a bit.
But first, we posted a poll question on our Facebook page that asks this: "Should the substitute teacher in the Miami-Dade school district have been fired over his work in porn?" Here are the results.
Forty percent of you said yes, 49 percent of you said no. That`s a majority. Eleven percent of you said you are unsure.
So let`s hear more about what you guys think on this topic.
This here is Diana in California.
Diana, go ahead.
DIANA, CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Diana.
DIANA: Just a quick comment. I used to be a teacher myself. And as one of our unwritten rules, it is to be a role model. And a porn star as a teacher is not a role model in my book. We owe it to our students to give them someone to look up to inside and out of the classroom.
PINSKY: Diana, I don`t think anyone can dispute what you`re saying, except to say if somebody isn`t presently behaving in an appropriate ways, and did so in, say, the remote past, and is fully rehabilitated, such as some of the addicts I deal with and who end up being very, very good professionals in various kinds of professions, it`s a really hard thing to answer. You know, how much to protect somebody`s civil liberties to give them that second chance.
Here`s Katy on Facebook, who writes, "Doesn`t porn just eliminate the need to connect with another person emotionally or intellectually?"
Now we`re kind of getting into your questions about pornography more generally here.
Yes, people use porn for many, many reasons. And one is to regulate emotions and to deal with emptiness and loneliness and all kinds of things. It can become an addiction, and that`s where you`ve got to be very, very careful.
And everybody kind of keep in mind that there are people being exploited with these industry. I understand there are grownups for the most part consenting to this, but think about it.
Mike tweets, "What should you do if you are addicted to porn?"
There are Web sites out there that have tons of great information, screening tools you can use to see if indeed you are addicted. And books by somebody by the name of P.M. Melody (ph) I recommend to you.
And there are numbers of professionals -- in fact, armies of professionals out there -- really now armed to help you with this problem. People that snicker under their breath about this being an addiction, when you meet someone that really has this problem, it is not funny business. And it requires treatment, usually involves 12-step, usually there`s trauma in the past that sets it up.
Rolanda writes, "Can`t porn mess with what your expectations of what sex really should be?"
Absolutely. This is one of these rather destructive aspects of pornography, particularly as it pertains to male/female relationships.
Our young men are learning to exploit women and expecting them to be not the way they really are. This is not the way we want our youngsters to understand the relationships between man and woman. And in the case of our substitute teacher, it was a man and a man. And these things can be -- these are not good role models for relationships.
The former substitute teacher who I`m referencing here is -- by the name of Sean Loftis -- will be with me a little later in the show to tell us his side of the story.
But next, Casey Anthony and payback. Will she have to reimburse law enforcement for all the money their investigations cost? I think we all certainly hope so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Everybody wants a piece of Casey. The state of Florida for investigation costs, the woman whose name she spun into her web of lies, and the group that searched for Little Caylee. She has to testified but mums the word, and five is the number. Guess which amendment she is getting familiar with.
And later, would you be comfortable knowing your child`s teacher used to do gay porn? A lot of folks in Florida were not, and now, the teacher is out of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Tonight, she`s back. It`s round two of another Casey Anthony trial. This week, Casey`s attorneys were in court for the Zani the Nanny civil suit. Now, you remember, Casey told detectives in 2008 that her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, was kidnapped by a nanny named Zenaida Gonzales. Gonzales, Zani the Nanny, which I speculated for a long time might be Xanax, because that`s sort of street name for the Zani, Zani bars.
And we all know that no such babysitter existed. However, a woman named Zenaida Gonzales is suing Casey claiming her reputation has been ruined because of Casey`s lies. And then, Casey has this other lawsuit to deal with. Today, Casey`s lawyers are fighting to keep her from having to pay back the state of Florida for hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on their investigation. Prosecutors say her lies led to a massive and expensive search for Little Caylee. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She spins tales which are not harm tales (ph), but all these crazy stories about all this stuff. She also made up a story about her parents, her dad cheating on her mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be the point where you stop all the lies and you stop all the fids and you tell us exactly what`s going on.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: We need to have something to go on.
CASEY ANTHONY, ACCUSED OF KILLING HER DAUGHTER: Mom, I don`t have anything. I`m sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know and you know that everything you told me is a lie. Correct?
CASEY ANTHONY: Not everything that I`ve told you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The information provided by Miss Anthony as the whereabouts of her daughter, I would point out that the truth and Miss Anthony are strangers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything about this story that you`re telling me that is untrue or is anything that you want to change or divert from what you`ve already told me?
CASEY ANTHONY: No, sir.
PINSKY: Joining me tonight, Judge Alex Ferrer, host of the syndicated TV program, "Judge Alex" and a former Florida circuit court judge. He`s back with us. And a Florida prosecutor, Stacy Honowitz. Also with us is the attorney for Zenaida Gonzales, The Zenaida Gonzales, Matt Morgan.
Judge Alex, let me start with you. Casey was found not guilty, and yet, she`s going to make money off her story someday, it seems, and many people don`t want to se her profit from Caylee`s death. And there`s some that say that hitting her in a wallet is better than doing nothing. Do you think the state filed this suit out of some sort of retribution?
JUDGE ALEX FERRER, HOST, "JUDGE ALEX": Are you talking about the recovery of the investigative costs?
FERRER: Yes. The state is seeking to make a -- seeking to recover investigative costs, and no, that is not retribution. That is the law in Florida. I think it`s chapter 938 of the Florida statute that provides that in every criminal case where a defendant is convicted of a crime, they are to be assesses investigative costs.
Now, normally, it`s just perfunctory. Nobody challenges it because it costs are not this large. And frankly, 90 percent of the cases get pled out in plea bargaining, and it`s just part of the plea. However, when you have a case of this magnitude, the dollars of the massive search that was conducted by the police and the following up of all the lies that she gave really totaled up a half of million dollars, and that`s paired down. That`s eliminating the thing she was acquitted for which were the murder charges. So --
PINSKY: Right. The lying charges. Lying charges. And Alex, let me take a specific look at the costs. I`ve actually got the numbers here. According to the state of Florida, a staggering $293,123.77 to the Orange County Sheriff`s office, $71,939 and some cents to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and $10,645.38 to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. So, that grand total is $375,708, and of course, that 71 important cents just the investigative cost from this case.
Judge Alex, do you think Casey is going to pay any of this, number one. And number two, if she`s not going to pay, is she going to have some success in pleading out of this or defending herself? What is the defense going to say?
FERRER: Well, is she going to pay? It really depends on whether she ever makes any money. I mean, there`s -- you know, down the road, I`m sure she`s going to try to profit on notoriety. They`re selling pictures of herself, which I think has already happened with those pictures that came out publicly with TMZ. Or she`s been offered several opportunities to do some kind of adult entertainment movie or porn movie or something like that.
Or possibly, she will get interest in somebody who wants to hear her story, kind of like ala O.J. So, if she does come into money and government does get a judgment against her, you better believe they will go after her. If she was on probation for these charges that she was convicted of, that would be a condition of her probation, but her probation, really, that she`s serving really stems from check fraud and defrauding a roommate of hers.
I don`t think that they run together. I`m not positive about that, but I don`t think that this will be a condition of probation. But they can go after her for any money she makes.
PINSKY: Now, defense attorney, Cheney Mason, poked a hole in the prosecution`s case by pointing out some mathematical errors. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY MASON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She claimed then to have spent 1,106.5 hours in a period between July 16th and July 21st of 2008, a period of 15 days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
MASON: You know there`s only 360 hours in 15 days when 24 hours a day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that you tell me, that makes sense.
MASON: Yes. So, it makes sense, sir, is that even if you look at she did eight hours (INAUDIBLE) that would be 120 hours, not 1,106.5, wouldn`t it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, Stacey, if they made a math error, is there a chance that the numbers are all off?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, certainly, if there`s one math error, they should all be checked so that you`re not embarrassing coming back into court to say, well, not only did you get A, B, and C wrong, but you got D, E, and F wrong. The fact of the matter is like the judge said, these investigative costs are due and owing. And in the state of Florida, they are normally tacked on any time the defendant pleads or is convicted.
The only reason that we are making such a huge deal out of this is because you never see a case this big and in a fish bowl. And now, not only did we hear the trial, but now, we`re hearing about investigative costs, and it`s being put out in front of the media, and so, we are dissecting it. These investigative costs are due and owing because of what she did by sending these people on a wild goose chase and involving so many different agencies.
So, the judge took it under advisement today. He`s going to research the law. He`s going to look at the numbers, and he`s going to make a decision as to what she owes the state of Florida.
PINSKY: Like we were saying when we were covering this case, lies, lies, likes. At least, there should be some sort of punishment for those lies and the incredible costs that have been incurred. Now, on to the next person who is suing Casey Anthony, Zenaida Gonzales. Gonzales is suing for defamation. Here`s a video of Cindy talking about Zani the Nanny and getting mad. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: No, because I didn`t know her name was Zenaida Gonzales or I would have cleared her name. I said nanny on there. I didn`t say C. Zenaida. What`s C stands for? You slandered me on TV. And you perjured yourself with this because she`s not Fernandez.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Wow! Matt, now, we all know that Casey was lying about Caylee, and then, lying about this made-up person Zani the Nanny. What proof do you have that Casey was talking about your client and not some other Zenaida Gonzales? I understand there are few other Zenaida Gonzales out there that aren`t too happy either.
MATT MORGAN, ATTORNEY FOR ZENAIDA GONZALES: Absolutely, Dr Drew. And the proof that we have is that Saw Grass apartments. There is a visitor sign-in sheet. And we believe that Casey Anthony got Zenaida Gonzales`s name from that sign-in sheet at Saw Grass apartments.
PINSKY: Are you having much traction, do you think? I mean, do you think you`re going to have success with this case? And is it something you`re trying to extract from Casey, personally? You know what I`m saying? Is she going to be able to weasel out of this one, too?
MORGAN: You know, we`re going to our best to ensure that Zenaida gets justice at the end of the day. We`ve, you know, been fighting for her since the beginning of this case, and we believe that her claims are valid, and we believe it`s an open and shut defamation case. And, at the end of the day, Casey Anthony will have to pay for what she did to Zenaida and her family.
PINSKY: Matt, are you keeping track of what sort of resources, money, income is flowing in for Casey on behalf of this awful situation?
MORGAN: Very closely, Dr. Drew. And at the end of the day, you know, we believe that she will profit as a result of this as unfortunate as that is for America to hear. We believe that, ultimately, she will profit which, you know, is something that`s unfortunate, but at the same time, it will allow Zenaida to get retribution for what she`s been through.
PINSKY: Thank you, Matt. Thank you, Stacey and Judge Alex.
Up next, a teacher in Florida is fired because of a gay porn past. Stay with us.
PINSKY: All right, now. I have a very interesting and controversial story for you tonight. Shawn Loftis enjoyed his substitute teaching job in the Miami-Dade School District until they found out about his past, past that included participating in the porn industry. Shawn had a second identity as Collin O`Neil gay porn star, but he failed to reveal his past to his employers, and another teacher spilled the beans, they fired him.
Now, before we begin, you might have seen Shawn on our air before not as a porn star, but as a citizen journalist. He has participated as one of our iReporters for CNN just like many people around the world. You see him here reporting on a storm in Florida last year. That, of course, has nothing to do with why he`s here tonight to talk to us about his termination. And now, he`s trying to fight for his job. Welcome Shawn. Shawn, how long did you teach as a substitute teacher before you got fired?
SHAWN LOFTIS, FIRED FROM TEACHING JOB: It was approximately nine months.
PINSKY: Nine months. And let me -- I`m going to try to ask the questions that I`m imagining people at home are thinking. It`s a very challenging story, right?
LOFTIS: I agree.
PINSKY: I mean, you have your civil liberties. On the other hand, we have, what does this mean for teachers and children? You agree with this?
PINSKY: Did you -- you trained as a teacher. And you had a teaching certificate?
LOFTIS: Correct, Yes.
PINSKY: Just the way any teacher would?
LOFTIS: Yes. Even as a substitute in Florida, you have to meet certain standards. And so, I went through that process.
PINSKY: And anywhere in that process did you fudge or hide or did you see things you thought I don`t know if that violates a morality clause?
LOFTIS: No. Basically, from what I read from the morality clause is that as a teacher, not that we can bring something from your past and bring it against you as your current role as a teacher.
PINSKY: You can`t?
LOFTIS: You can`t. I didn`t read any of that. The morality clause seemed to me, you as a teacher now.
PINSKY: Now in the present.
PINSKY: Do you -- for people that are watching that would say, oh, I would have concerns about his behavior now based on his past behavior, what would you say to them?
LOFTIS: I really don`t understand the issue. It seems like they`re equating somebody from the adult industry as a child molester.
PINSKY: Let`s say it`s not that --
PINSKY: That`s a place, I`m sure, people go, but let`s say it`s not that extreme. They just are worried. They`re just like, oh, that seems unsavory -- I don`t want him around my kids. For whatever reason, I don`t feel good about it. What do you say to those people?
LOFTIS: Well, I walked into that classroom and I left my past behind. I went in there as a teacher, and was I ever going to bring any of this into the classroom? No way.
PINSKY: Did you have any treatment of any type? And I`m asking this only -- you don`t have to reveal this if you don`t want to, but I`m wondering if there were any mental health professionals that can support your claim for stability and the abilities to do your job and that kind of thing?
PINSKY: You didn`t feel the need for anything --
LOFTIS: No, no, no, no.
PINSKY: And then, tell us about your rights as a teacher and being fired. What is your position on that?
LOFTIS: Well, my position and the position I`ve always had is that I was not acting in front of -- they basically fired me as a substitute because I was acting in front of the camera, because you can Google and find --
PINSKY: So, they`re saying the fact that there`s material available that kids could get exposed to of you.
LOFTIS: Of myself.
PINSKY: That`s the reason?
PINSKY: And you`re saying that violates your civil liberties?
PINSKY: OK. Let`s take a look at how some of the parents reacted to Shawn`s termination. Look at this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know how to feel about him teaching my children. I`m not sure. Honestly, it`s a bit, you know, concerning.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Miami Beach. If that was a bar for every occupation, there would be a lot of people out of work in this city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So, it seems that parents are kind of split. They kind of go both way with this. Have you gotten support from the community?
LOFTIS: Yes. From my surrounding community, all of the articles that have been written have been supportive of me and my civil liberties that I can go ahead and change my career, leave the past behind, and move forward.
PINSKY: You know, it`s -- I just thinking to myself it`s a cautionary tale about the internet and for young people out there. I mean, whatever you choose to do now, whether it`s you`re sexting or you`re being abusive of other people or doing something like Shawn did, it will stay with you. People will find it. Now, Shawn sought legal help from the ACLU, but they declined to help him citing the following.
Here`s the quote. "Your case would be stronger if your job did not involve supervising children. It`s clear that you had a career in pornography, and it`s just a difficult hurdle in view of the state`s role to protect children. For these reasons, our chapter cannot take your case on at this time." Were you surprised by that response?
LOFTIS: Extremely, because there again, if you read in between the lines, it`s equating my past to misuse of children.
PINSKY: Or dangerous behavior around children.
LOFTIS: Yes, a dangerous behavior around children.
PINSKY: So, they`re not saying that it`s because there`s material out there that kids might get exposed to.
PINSKY: They`re saying you are going to do something dangerous, and the possibility of that causes them to shy away.
PINSKY: Even the thought of them takes that out of the case. It`s a really interesting situation. Can you appreciate that people can understand both sides?
LOFTIS: Oh, yes. I understand both sides of it.
PINSKY: Let`s take some more Facebook comments here. Here`s a Facebook from Shannon. She says, "Teachers should be held to a higher standard. And if it`s a distraction to the students, the adult has to go."
And to me, that`s kind of one of the things that -- I know that physicians have to sort of -- you know, because we`re responsible for people, we have to take responsibility for our mental health and our behavior and we have to sort of do things to make sure that -- not just our morality, but that out condition is such that we can serve the patients. No such thing for teachers? No such check and balance?
LOFTIS: I don`t believe so. I believe that my past was my past. And I didn`t -- the thing is, now they know. Now, the cat`s out of the bag, to say. It was not known when I went into that school or any of the schools that I taught at --
PINSKY: May I ask, were you a good teacher?
LOFTIS: I believe I was.
PINSKY: Did you receive good reviews and everything?
LOFTIS: Yes. And actually the state of -- Florida Department of Education called the schools I worked at to ask them.
PINSKY: Let me ask you a question. It`s not a clear to me for this very second. It`s a tough one. Do you think that the fact that it`s homosexual pornography made it even worse?
LOFTIS: Initially that was my -- that was my initial thought. In addition, the principal that wrote me up, the principal of the middle school, she wrote there that not that I was a porn actor or involved in the adult industry, that I owned a gay website. Those were her quotes when she submitted her report to Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
PINSKY: Take one more Facebook. This is Crystal Lee who writes, "Why is it OK to hire a recovering addict who has probably done far worse but someone who has done porn and hasn`t hurt anyone has no right to be a teacher?" How do you respond to that?
LOFTIS: I completely agree with her, because the county does hire -- if you have a DUI, you can still be a teacher. If a teacher becomes an addict and brings it into school possibly, the school tries to rehabilitate them. That makes me feel like I`m not rehabilitable.
PINSKY: Well, let me say (ph) for a second. I want to say also that we tried to reach out to get a comment from Miami-Dade, the school district, and we received no comment as yet. But let me tell you, as a physician, you treat addicts and you can vouch for their recovery. That`s why I was asking you if you had somebody to vouch for you. You know what I`m saying?
PINSKY: You could go see a mental health professional (INAUDIBLE) there was some sex addiction here or whatever it was. I don`t know you. And I don`t know what led to those choices, but or he`s perfectly fine and he was a desperate guy in a horrible financial situation, and that`s over with (ph) and I can vouch him. That`s what I`d look for before I`d send an addict with kids and I want to see long track records of good behavior before I did. (INAUDIBLE). Got to take a quick break here.
PINSKY: Now, you`re coming back, so stay with me.
Up next, was Shawn Loftis still working in the porn industry while he was teaching children? That`s a big question. We`re going to address that in just a second. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We are talking with Shawn Loftis who was fired from his substitute teaching job in Miami once the school district found out about his gay porn past. Now, ironically, those in the gay porn media industry have not been what you call supportive.
According to the website, thesword.com, they wrote quote, "gay porn star and gay porn businessman, Collin O`Neal, has told the "Miami New Times" that he recently lost his job as a substitute teacher in Florida because of his porn career. A porn career that O`Neal says was in the past. Yes, no, Collin O`Neal never left porn." Shawn, what do you say to that? How do you react to that?
LOFTIS: Well, the thing is that number one, I stopped acting in front of the camera like two to two and a half years ago. Then, I transferred my company to a company in Canada. And so, I was gaining residuals. And I was down a path of selling my company. And, I wanted to also withdraw all of the scenes that had me in it from the website when I did sell the company.
PINSKY: So, just to condense it down, you were getting out of the business?
PINSKY: You are in the process of getting out of it. They didn`t move fast enough.
LOFTIS: They didn`t move fast enough
PINSKY: Did you find it ironic or bizarre that this kind of media is the one attacking you? Did you expect more support this questioning kinds of conversation from those media?
LOFTIS: There is just -- it seems like the gays attack gays. You would think that, you know, we protect each other, we`re cohesive, and we`re not.
PINSKY: Have you gone to glad or anybody else to try to get some support?
LOFTIS: Not as of yet. It just happened so quickly.
PINSKY: When did it happen?
LOFTIS: Just within the past five days.
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness. I didn`t know it was that fast. Well, I would think glad would have a position on this. At least, help you through (ph) this, because this is not -- this is complicated. It`s not clear to me what the right answer is here. I mean, you can sympathize with people firing you.
LOFTIS: I can sympathize with the parents having concern.
PINSKY: No, no. Firing you. You can sympathize with that, right?
LOFTIS: I can sympathize with that.
PINSKY: Yes. And I don`t know what the Florida statutes are. There may be -- you may have sort of duped around some things that aren`t so cool. You may have. Maybe you know this thing and could have gotten (ph) away with. I don`t know.
LOFTIS: Maybe here in California.
PINSKY: Well, maybe. But, you know, I`m going to give you the last word. I`ve got about 30 seconds. What is it you`re trying to do here? What is the message you think your story ought to give?
LOFTIS: That I should be able to change my past. That, if you go and you make an indiscretion in your past, you shouldn`t be held accountable for the rest of your life. I want to move forward.
PINSKY: So, you`re done with all that?
LOFTIS: I`m pretty much done with it. The thing is, if that`s how I`m going to make my money if I can go back and be a producer, and --
PINSKY: You got to be (INAUDIBLE). You don`t have to go half way. You don`t have to go half way. If you`re going to be a teacher, you don`t get to be kind --
LOFTIS: Of course.
PINSKY: And the other thing about terminated, you asked me what I`m looking for in terms of rehabilitation, I`m looking for abject honesty, OK, a sustained abject honesty, too. So, but thank you. I really appreciate the story. It is challenging.
And I want to address a couple more words about it before we go. Now, the story`s about trying to move forward after questionable life decisions. Again, I remind young people out there, the internet stays with you forever. So, under what conditions do we let individuals move on if they`ve got to checkered past?
On the one hand, we have to be careful about allowing certain people to play important roles in children`s lives, you know, doctors, patients, teachers for these kids. On the other hand, second chances are often very much in order. If a person does the heavy lifting to rehabilitate and truly change, shouldn`t we give them a second chance? In fact, a fully rehabilitated person could be a rich source for sharing experience.
But I have to stress the importance of something we`ve been talking about here. Thorough rehabilitation. Somebody that you can really vouch for, and how do you know that for sure? The trick is trying to figure out where that line is. It is not simple. Thank you for watching. We`ll see you next time.