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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Missing Woman`s Father-in-Law Arrested for Child Porn; Latina Hopes to Represent U.S. in Boxing at Olympics

Aired September 23, 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, a bizarre depraved twist in the case of missing mom Susan Powell. Cops arrest her father-in- law on child porn charges. They say they found photos and videos of children on his computer. Also discovered, images of his missing daughter- in-law. Could his alleged sick obsession have something to do with Susan Powell`s disappearance?

And Michael Jackson conspiracy theories left, right, and center as we count down to the start of the Jackson death trial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s possible that Michael Jackson was kidnapped. He`s alive. I`m convinced of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think? We`re taking your calls.

Plus, more drama from the infamous alleged White House party crashers. In a prime-time exclusive, I`ll speak with Tareq Salahi about his wife`s torrid affair with a rock star who used to be his best buddy. Is this the ultimate betrayal or just fodder for another reality show?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her father-in-law was arrested last night and charged with child pornography.

KIIRSI HELLEWELL, SUSAN POWELL`S FRIEND: One of the reasons that Susan and Josh moved to Utah, I found a few months after she moved here, she told me, was to get away from her father-in-law, Steve Powell, because he had made these advances to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s disturbing and I feel really bad for the kids that had their pictures taken, and feel for the parents.

ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We also have pictures of Susan Powell that were taken that she probably doesn`t know they were taken of her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Astounding breaking news tonight. You will not believe the sick, depraved twist in the Susan Powell case. The father-in- law of Susan Powell, that`s the young mother of two, who`s been missing for nearly two years, well, her father-in-law has now been arrested on child porn charges. That`s right. Can`t make this stuff up. It`s crazy.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from Los Angeles.

Cops say Josh Powell`s dad, Steve, was secretly videotaping neighbors through their open windows. We are talking children, as young as 8 years old, in their most private moments. Cops call these very lewd photos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TROYER: These are pictures, we believe, he took, he created, he produced. We have photos from his neighbor`s houses, of little girls in bathrooms and naked and totally inappropriate pictures, with high-end lens where he`s by the window or he put himself in a position to take these photos.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little girls on the toilet, little girls in the shower, in the tub, what? My guests here on set are just horrified, and so am I. Did this alleged dark and depraved obsession have anything to do with Susan`s disappearance? Or is it some crazy coincidence?

Cops say they found the sick videos while they were investigating Susan`s disappearance. And they say there were also photos of -- are you sitting down -- Susan herself. The guy`s missing daughter-in-law, missing under very suspicious circumstances.

Remember, this is the same man who creeped us out when he told ABC`s "Good Morning America" that he, the father-in-law, had a, quote, "sexual relationship" with Susan, his daughter-in-law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE POWELL, SUSAN`S FATHER-IN-LAW: Susan is very sexual with me. She was very flirtatious. We interacted in a lot of sexual ways, because Susan enjoys doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think a part of you started falling in love with Susan?

S. POWELL: That`s pretty likely, yes. I mean -- yes, I would say so. And there`s no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Susan vanished from her Utah home nearly two years ago while her husband, Josh, and their two young sons were on a very suspicious middle-of-the-night camping trip in below-freezing weather on a Sunday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH POWELL, SUSAN`S HUSBAND: A lot of times I just go camping with my boys, you know, not -- not anything big. I just go overnight, and -- and we do s`mores and stuff like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: S`mores and stuff. Hmm.

Police have long considered Josh Powell a person of interest in Susan`s disappearance, but he`s never been charged.

Susan Powell`s two kids now in foster care, because they were living in Steve Powell -- in his home when he was arrested. Susan`s parents have now filed an emergency order to get custody of their two young grandchildren.

Tonight in a prime-time exclusive, Chuck Cox, Susan Powell`s father -- that`s right, the missing woman`s father -- joins me right now.

Chuck, thank you. I know that the last two years have been utter hell for you, a living nightmare. Describe the moment you heard the stunning news that the father of your missing daughter`s husband has been arrested and accused of taking hundreds of lewd photos of children.

CHUCK COX, SUSAN POWELL`S FATHER (via phone): Basically, disbelief. Just another strange twist in this case. And it`s just unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you are moving, I understand, to get custody. The kids were living with this guy we see here now, who was just arrested. He`s being taken away by cops in cuffs.

When Susan, your daughter, disappeared, her husband, who is a person of interest, fled to his dad`s house. And now the dad`s been arrested. So what happens to your two grandchildren, Susan`s children?

COX: We`re taking any -- the legal action that we can take, and beyond that, I can`t discuss that. The documents that were filed are a matter of court record, though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But are you concerned about what might have gone on with these kids, in this home? I mean, this is seriously depraved stuff, and I don`t want to convict him, if he`s convicted of this, but the cops say they have these photos of children, 8-year-old girls going to the bathroom, naked, in tubs. What are your concerns for your grandsons, who are 4 and 6?

COX: Yes, I don`t -- I don`t know what they may have witnessed or not witnessed, and I can`t discuss the grandchildren. I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, what are your feelings about this? Do you feel a sense of vindication? This is the guy who went on national television and claimed that there was some kind of sexual chemistry between your missing -- your missing daughter and him, the most inappropriate thing you could possibly say. What is your reaction to his arrest?

COX: I do feel, certainly, it vindicates our position that Susan was not anything like the person he was portraying her to be, that she`s a loving mother and-- and a devoted wife, trying to make her marriage with her husband work and have that happy family that she wished for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I assume that you must feel some kind of relief tonight. I mean, this has become sort of a war of two families. And you`ve scored a major victory, Chuck Cox.

COX: Well, I do feel -- I`m very pleased that that has essentially vindicated me, because it has been played up a lot as a war between two families, but I don`t see it as that. It`s really a sad situation. But I am very relieved that now everyone can put Steve`s comment in proper context.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And do you think that the apple doesn`t fall far from the tree? That there`s something wrong with his son, your former, or estranged son-in-law?

COX: I don`t know. I`m letting the police do the police work. I can`t -- I just can`t go there. And I just pray that we can do things to - - that are best for the children, and that the police will bring -- get the investigation done and bring justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Chuck Cox, thank you so much for joining us in this prime-time exclusive.

Now, Steve Powell`s own daughter, who was estranged from him, Jennifer Graves, says she broke off contact with her dad years ago. She says she saw this coming. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER GRAVES, DAUGHTER OF STEVE POWELL: He`s had a pornography issue for a long time, and then he was not faithful to my mom. There were other issues, verbal abuse, things like that. So, you know, one thing kind of -- kind of just leads to another in that kind of a situation, when you start down a path like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue: in the family, Jennifer Graves told ABC she wouldn`t be surprised if her brother, Josh, had similar tendencies.

So I want to bring in Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist, who is here with me, as well as Lisa Bloom, an attorney at the Bloom firm. But Michelle Golland is a psychologist. Is there a nexus here? That`s what everyone`s wondering.

MICHELLE GOLLAND, PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. I mean, we learn about ourselves and our sexual identity and our sexuality through our parents. And clearly, there was something very deviant going on here. This individual is a voyeur, and what that means is that he gets sexual gratification from watching unsuspecting people in compromising or sexual, or what he believes are sexual positions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Now, he also had photos of Susan Powell, the missing woman. This is what I find so astounding, Lisa Bloom, is that he also had photos of the missing woman.

We don`t know the extent of those photos, like whether she was dressed or undressed or -- apparently, a lot of these people, kids and adults, are not aware that they`re being photographed. So could that have maybe sparked an argument in the family if she discovered, let`s say, hidden family or camera equipment to photograph her?

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Well, that`s very possible, Jane. I have to tell you, I`m not surprised at all by this shocking news today, and I`ll tell you why. Because when he told ABC news that Susan Powell had come on to him, had made a sexual pass at him, I knew there was something wrong with this guy. When there`s a missing person who`s presumed dead, you don`t speak ill of that person, right?

And it`s very unusual that a woman comes on to a man 30 years older than her who`s her father-in-law. I just didn`t believe it. To me, that`s the mind of a sexual deviant.

He probably also thinks those 8-year-old girls were coming onto him. That girls on the playground are being flirtatious with him. It`s very much like Jaycee Dugard`s abductor, that he thinks that Jaycee Dugard was coming onto him. Right? That`s the way that these guys think. There`s something very, very wrong with this man if these allegations are true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s fascinating, because when I first heard him saying that, I thought, well, this guy stops at nothing to protect his son. And I saw it as co-dependent -- inappropriate co-dependent behavior to try to protect his son, who`s a person of interest in Susan`s disappearance.

But now it appears it is something far more than that, and we are getting word that police say that Susan was not aware that she was being photographed, it appears, from these photographs that they seized. So what was going on?

We`re going to have more on the arrest of Steve Powell. Got phone calls lining up. We`re going to take Mary from Montana on the other side of the break: 1-877-586-7297. What is going on with the Powell family?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COX: I think it`s disgusting. I think it very clearly shows that her concerns were justified about Steven Powell. And that it basically supports everything she said and people have said about that issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HELLEWELL: One of the reasons that Susan and Josh moved to Utah, I found a few months after they moved here, she told me, was to get away from her father-in-law, Steven Powell, because he made these advances to her.

And after they had lived here a year or two, she sent him a packet of pictures in the mail of her favorite actor. So she started the pictures and she started flipping through them, and her first thought was, "Maybe he`s changed. This was actually nice of him to do this." And then in the middle of pictures were some naked pictures of men.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Were red flags ignored? Susan Powell`s best friend - - you just her, saying Susan told her that her father-in-law, Steve Powell, made unwanted advances. I mean, this is a woman who later disappeared, vanished off the face of the earth and has not been found, despite repeated searches.

Ann Bremner, criminal defense attorney, you`re the attorney for Susan Powell`s parents. Obviously, this is long before she disappeared, because she`s complaining about it. Is there a nexus between, do you think, her disappearance and what we`re learning about the alleged depravity of her father-in-law?

ANN BREMNER, ATTORNEY FOR SUSAN POWELL`S PARENTS: Well, it is stunning, Jane, and I think, you know, this was going on for a long time. That`s why Susan moved to Utah. She didn`t want to be near Steven, because he creeped her out. That was her language.

And al these things he`s alleged recently were complete fabrications and lies about her being sexually interested in him, in any way. So is there a nexus? Well, we`ve got some police (ph), but the fact is, this is so far beyond what we thought in terms of his creepiness factor, in terms of -- that he was taking pictures of Susan, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds. He was a voyeur, had a camera, a zoom lens, looking from his bedroom into people`s bathrooms, with their children. He was in parks.

And the police, they say they have 5 percent of what he has, 5 percent they`ve looked at, and there`s thousands of images. So we may just have scratched the surface out here in Washington, and there`s a lot more investigation, probably, to be done. Is it creepy is as creepy does? I mean, there`s just a lot more here now. It was a stunning involvement.

Chuck called me late last night, kept calling me. My phone kept ringing. I finally picked it up, and Chuck says, "You`re never going to believe this," and it is unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is absolutely unbelievable. And it`s kind of overshadowed the original bizarre aspect of this story, which was that Susan`s husband had this crazy story about going camping in sub-zero, sub- freezing temperatures in the middle of a snowstorm on a Sunday night with his two young sons, who were toddlers. You see the snow there. This was taken a couple of days later, when he was due at work the next day. He failed to show up at his job, and he had an excuse.

And his general bizarre behavior, like this song that he performed about his missing wife, called "You Were My First Love," claiming it was inspired by a photo of her with her newborn son. Check out this weird -- weirdness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. POWELL (singing): You were my first love. I could hear your voice before I knew you. Your heartbeat was calling to me through you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This -- that music, that song, that voice you hear is Steve Powell, the father-in-law.

Victoria Taft, host of "The Victoria Taft Show" on 860 Portland, what do you make of this? Because I know this has been the talk of the whole coastline.

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO HOST: This is so bizarre, Jane. These latest turn of events just blow my mind.

But in addition, what I don`t understand is, even though he was in court today and he said he was not guilty, and he`s still being held on $200,000 bail, what I don`t understand is how the Utah police can say that these images have nothing to do with the disappearance of Susan Powell. I don`t understand that. Maybe they know something far more than what they`re letting on at this point.

And, yes, it`s weird. We`re all thinking, just as you are, just as your guests are, that the apple may not fall too far from the tree. That, in fact, he may...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely.

TAFT: ... says son may have learned whatever happened to Susan may have been some -- who knows? Some bizarre ritual, some -- whatever it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, because once your dad is allegedly doing stuff like this, it`s -- there`s no boundary for bizarre behavior. If that`s what you`re learning as a child, and you can take that to the next level, who knows where it could end?

Mary, Montana, your question or thought, Mary?

CALLER: Hi, Jane!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

CALLER: No. 1, I wanted to ask, did they get the DNA results from the skeleton they had found?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s not her body, my understanding, Ann Bremner. They thought they had found a body about 30 miles away from where Josh Powell, her husband, had gone camping very suspiciously, but it turned out -- what was the latest on that?

BREMNER: They had 11 days of searching, Jane, and they actually have further analysis to do. They had cadaver dogs in this search, and it was a search about 30 miles, of course, from where Steve had gone camping at midnight and had s`mores and stuff, as he said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was it her?

BREMNER: And that`s still pending.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was it her? They found remains. Were the remains...

BREMNER: They found remains -- the analysis is pending.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, OK.

BREMNER: It`s not clear...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I thought that I had read a report that it was sort of pointing away from being her. But you`re saying...

BREMNER: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... there`s still an open question about that. All right. Michelle Golland, very quickly, 20 seconds.

GOLLAND: You know, the thing is, this isn`t just weird behavior, voyeurism is a criminal act. And part of what we need to understand is that this kind of sexual deviance can escalate and will escalate.

And what I`m seeing in this family is some serious antisocial behaviors. The fact that the daughter of him also is estranged. It`s very...

BLOOM: But I think we have to be careful not to paint the son with the sins of the father. The son has enough problems from his own behavior. Let`s not accuse him of what his father did. They are too separate...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there were friends who said he was very controlling and that she was very unhappy in the marriage.

OK. Up next, Michael Jackson conspiracy theories. You will not believe what some people are saying about him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The big news this year in Hollywood is that Hispanic actresses are finally getting the significant roles they`ve been looking for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Movies, music, now maybe Olympic gold. Latinas in America making their mark, like music superstar Shakira and her Grammy Award-winning hit, "Don`t Lie" from Sony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC: SHAKIRA`S "DON`T LIE")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now another Latina prepares for the fight of her life to follow her dream to become the first female Olympic boxer and a household name.

Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARLEN ESPARZA, BOXER: I want to win. This is my life, and this is what I do. I haven`t lost, in like nine years. And that would just be like, like the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, we`re so delighted tonight to have CNN`s Soledad O`Brien with us tonight.

You spoke with this Olympic hopeful. What has she been through to make it this far?

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Marlen Esparza is amazing and she`s been through a lot. First of all, her father works seven days a week, 12 hours a day to try to fund her Olympic dreams.

She`s 21 years old. She only has five numbers in her phone, because she never talks to anybody. She doesn`t go out; she works out. Works occasionally in her mom`s dental office and then goes back to the gym and works again. Because her dream is to become a gold medallist in the Olympics. For the first time, women are allowed to box, and she thinks she can do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at her moves, unbelievable! She is an inspiration to me personally. Her dedication, her drive, her left hook. And now she has to fight for a spot on the team. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESPARZA: It`s stressful. It`s something that I`ve been working for my whole life. And then not only did this come out of nowhere, but then there`s the pressure, not that anybody puts that pressure on me, but I know that people expect things from me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, this Sunday, "Latino in America 2: In Her Corner," at 8 Eastern -- 8 Eastern on CNN.

Soledad, what`s -- what`s the essence of this special?

O`BRIEN: You know, we call it "In Her Corner," because it`s really a look at what it takes to be successful. Marlen Esparza is a six-time national champion, but she suffers in the middle of our documentary a massive loss, and so she has to decide whether she`s going to recommit, kind of go for the gold, or if she`ll give up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say that, to be a woman, a woman of any background in a boxing world has got to be really, really rough. Is this a one-two punch for her to be a woman and a Latina, competing in this very tough, rough world?

O`BRIEN: You know, she says people root for the underdog. To be a woman in boxing and to be a Mexican-American. as well. She says it feels sometimes that she`s got to fight for a lot.

But she also says if one day her face happens to be on a Wheaties box, she thinks not only will she be a tremendous role model to other young Latinas, but also, think of all the people who would be inspired by her story as a Mexican-American woman competing in the Olympics. I agree with her on that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, your specials are always absolutely extraordinary.

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Soledad, on a personal note, it`s a delight to have you here on ISSUES. You are one of my heroes and role models.

O`BRIEN: Back at you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next, Michael -- no. Thank you. Michael Jackson conspiracy theories you will not believe. I`m telling you, fasten your seat belts. There are some crazy ones out there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a drug that people call the zombie drug, and it makes a person seem as if they`re dead. He`s alive. I`m convinced of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got some breaking news just in. A jury deliberating the fate of a Florida millionaire accused of killing his wife. Real estate mogul Bob Ward called 911 in the dead of night from their Florida mansion saying, "I`ve shot my wife." But it wasn`t long before he changed his story, and he said his wife was shot during a struggle while she was trying to kill herself. The jury got the case this morning.

We`ve got breaking news in this story. Mike Galanos, host of HLN News, in Orlando, all over this trial. What have you got for us? What`s the latest?

MIKE GALANOS, ANCHOR, "HLN News Now": All right, jury still deliberating, and right now as we speak, they`re listening to testimony read-backs. Pretty dry stuff, Jane. Got to give this jury credit, they`re taking notes.

The DNA expert, they`re trying to figure out once again whose DNA was on that trigger and on that gun barrel. This jury`s asked for three questions. They want to see the gun again. They wanted a yardstick. That was denied, by the way. But that tells you, they want to know how far away was that gun fired from Diane Ward?

And now they`re listening to the read-back here. Whose DNA was on that gun? When you talk about distance, Jane, prosecution saying 18 inches that gun barrel from Diane Ward`s face. The further away that gun is from Diane Ward, the picture for the jury, from the prosecution, is that`s Bob Ward shooting his wife in cold blood. The closer, more of a struggle, more of an accident, that`s what the defense is going with.

Go ahead, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the key. Bob Ward called 911 and he told the 911 operate, uh -- well, let him tell you. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what`s the emergency?

BOB WARD, ACCUSED OF KILLING WIFE: I just shot my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just what?

WARD: I just shot my wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where`s your wife?

WARD: She`s right here on the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Put the next script up. All right. Now, here`s the key. This guy, Bob Ward, well, he was rich on paper, but the truth is that he had severe money problems. And his wife was supposed to testify in a deposition in a couple of days and possibly reveal all the secrets of his wild spending, even as his company was going down the drain. And he was headed toward bankruptcy.

So, the prosecution`s contending he shot his wife to silence her, but of course, the defense is saying, hey, it was an accident, she was drinking, which she was. She was drunk and she had a lot of antidepressants in her system, and there was a struggle. She was suicidal, and in that accidental struggle, she died.

So we`ll tell you when there`s a verdict, because, guess what, it`s Friday night and juries usually like to go home on Friday night.

All right. Let`s switch gears now to Michael Jackson conspiracies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: The legendary king of pop, Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody witness what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just the doctor, sir.

SHARON SIDNEY, MICHAEL JACKSON FAN: There`s a drug that people call the zombie drug and it makes a person seem as if they`re dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he`s not breathing, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s not conscious either?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he`s not conscious, sir.

ERIN JACOBS, MICHAEL JACKSON FAN: Conrad Murray on June 25th, 2009 killed Michael Jackson.

DR. CONRAD MURRAY, ON TRIAL FOR MICHAEL JACKSON`S DEATH: Your honor, I am an innocent man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s no way that Dr. Murray would pump Michael Jackson full of a bolus of Propofol sufficient for major surgery and walk out that room.

SIDNEY: It`s possible that Michael Jackson was kidnapped.

ALAN DUKE, CNN PRODUCER: They saw a body. They saw Michael Jackson there in the coffin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes, there was a stare-down, and apparently it was enough to get them booted.

SIDNEY: He`s alive. I`m convinced of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. There`s a Jackson fan who thinks Michael Jackson is alive. The Michael Jackson death trial hasn`t even started, but the conspiracy theorists are out in force.

Good evening, everyone, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from Los Angeles, right next to the courthouse where the countdown is on. Opening statements set to begin Tuesday. The jury is selected, locked and loaded, ready to determine whether Conrad Murray killed the king of pop.

Or is MJ still alive? There are already conspiracy theories, ok, that put this trial up on the map with Tupac or Elvis sightings or the JFK assassination, or even that moon landing that a lot of people think was faked.

But some of these conspiracies are actually very down to earth, such as the claim that the LA courts might be trying to keep out Michael Jackson fans. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At all the courtrooms in the criminal court building, like the Grim Sleeper and the O.J. Case, they had these big, joint courtrooms. In here, they have a very small courtroom with only six seats for the public. I think what they`re trying to do is premeditate a conspiracy to keep the crowds down. They want to support the Jackson family. They want to support the Jackson case. And they want to support Michael Jackson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I am here with my dear friends and colleagues, Lisa Bloom, attorney, and my dear friend, neighbor, and good buddy, Molly Murphy, trial consultant. Ok, we have, you saw her, a woman on last night who thinks Michael Jackson is alive, and he has been kidnapped. And he is being held as a music slave, churning out music.

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: A music slave?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At gunpoint, churning out music that then they are describing as newly discovered old compositions of Michael Jackson. What do you make of it?

BLOOM: Ok, conspiracy theories are great in the movies and on television shows, but in real life, they`re almost never true. And I`ll tell you why. It`s hard for people to keep their mouths shut. In this day and age, to get a whole bunch of people to be involved in a conspiracy and everybody`s going to be quiet and they`re going to turn down huge payments from the media for these kinds of stories, it`s just impossible.

I`m sorry to say it, but he is gone. And usually the simplest explanation is the right one in real life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, how real are some of these conspiracy theories? That one, well, maybe that`s a stretch that Michael Jackson is still alive; actually, I mean, seriously, it could be very hurtful to his kids. But somebody did say it, so don`t blame the messenger.

But check this out, it`s from Michael Jackson`s classic music video "Thriller" from Sony Records.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MICHAEL JACKSON`S "THRILLER")

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, listen to Jackson fan Sharon Sidney describing how Michael Jackson`s death may have been faked. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNEY: There`s a drug that people call the zombie drug, and it makes a person seem as if they`re dead. There`s a case on it that was done many years back, where a man was actually buried alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now I`m going to bring in my dear friend, trial consultant, Molly Murphy. The jury picked today. So we`re ready to go, Tuesday, we are starting, seven men, five women. What do you know? I mean, do you get any sense that this jury is going to be pro-prosecution or pro-defense?

MOLLY MURPHY, TRIAL CONSULTANT: I believe that they`re going to be pro-defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why?

MURPHY: I`m kidding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really?

MURPHY: No, they`re going to be pro-prosecution, and here`s the reason why. This has been going on in the news, he was a superstar; the whole world has been keeping an eye on the story of this. To have a pop star just completely go under a doctor`s care is a really tough battle that the defense is going to have to hang on to.

The prosecution already is ahead. They already have -- they had -- this is the questionnaire, viewers. This is what the jury had -- the potential jury had to fill out. There`s 115 questions. There are eight specific areas that they had to go through. And one very important area that they went through was lifestyle, talking about -- there was one question that had 27 different drugs. Did you, yes or no, take these drugs? So this is all about, they basically put on their trial in their questionnaire.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. They say that a trial is won or lost on jury selection.

BLOOM: Yes. And you know, some of the jurors got emotional during jury selection today, according to the reports that I`ve read. And they were excused from the jury. I mean, they`re emotional hearing about Michael Jackson`s death from two years ago, and the doctor who`s on trial for it, I mean, bursting into tears, Jane. That`s the kind of atmosphere we`re already dealing with, and the trial hasn`t started yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I hear that there was one juror who was selected who met Michael Jackson, and supposedly he was still allowed on the jury. I think it`s a bad idea.

BLOOM: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ll tell you why. In the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, there was a juror who had gone to Neverland as a child and he was wheelchair bound, and I guess the prosecution was so confident that they said, hey, leave him on. And of course, Michael Jackson was acquitted on all accounts. If you`ve met a superstar of Michael Jackson`s caliber, it will have an impact on you.

BLOOM: He`s like a God to a lot of people, Jane. He really -- that`s not an overstatement. People who would sleep all night in the street, just to watch him walk by, just to touch him, there were thousands of people in that category. And remember at his child molestation trial, at the end, some of the jurors said, "Not my Michael. Not my Michael."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know.

BLOOM: They thought that he was "their Michael".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, when Michael Jackson looked at me and said, "Nice smile", I was verklempt for days -- for days. They couldn`t -- nobody could talk to me.

BLOOM: That`s a legal term.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We have to leave it right there. We`re going to be all over this trial and the conspiracy theories -- the conspiracy debates are far from over.

Up next, that Tareq Salahi -- and some people call him Tareq Salahi -- a prime-time exclusive, got to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are no ordinary cookies. They`re filled with hope.

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HOLT-WITT: The very first treatment that we helped to fund just became available and children are now receiving it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sadly, it was too late for Liam. He passed away before his 7th birthday. His spirit, though, continues in the people dedicated to fighting cancer with cookies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember the Salahis, the "D.C. Housewives" stars who crashed that state dinner at the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tareq Salahi says his wife, Michaele, was kidnapped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this is a stunt or not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s probably trying to get away from him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She apparently just took off to hang out with a guitarist from Journey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss Salahi advised that she did not want Mr. Salahi to know where she was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Broken-hearted or just breaking back into the business? Infamous alleged White House crasher, Tareq Salahi, has filed for divorce from his "Real housewives of D.C." star Michaele. Tareq cried to everyone saying his wife, Michaele had been kidnapped. Listen to this from TMZ.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAREQ SALAHI, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C.": Michaele used to always tell me that she would never want to date a rock star like Neal Schon because of that lifestyle. The lifestyle of, there`s always cheating, the guys are doing things backstage. And she always told me, she never wanted to be associated with that.

Neal really should be ashamed of himself for doing this. You know, this was a beautiful marriage we had. And, you know, I was just blindsided that it was going on for two years. I just had no idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, as somebody who broke up with me once said, were you blindsided or were you just blind? And now we know that Michaele allegedly ran off with the guitarist, Neal Schon, from the rock band Journey. You know, "Faithfully", "Any Way You Want It" -- you remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SONG FROM JOURNEY)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know if that`s my favorite song from Journey. Anyway, Tareq isn`t pulling any punches. Listen to this from NBC`s "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SALAHI: She broke our family, she broke our love, she destroyed our relationship, just because she wanted, in my view, more money, more fame. She wanted to go to more, to a celebrity, if you will. But it`s an `80s band. She`s acting like a 16-year-old, you know, jumping on a tour bus from the `80s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If it were a `90s band, would that make it ok? Some skeptics still think the Salahis are just kind of stirring things up for more fame and more attention.

Joining me now, tonight in a prime-time exclusive, Tareq Salahi; Tareq --

SALAHI: Hi Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- I`ve heard your name pronounced so many different ways, how you doing, buddy? But I`m going to go with Tareq.

SALAHI: Is Lisa still with you? Is Lisa next-door with you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, Lisa had to go to a party.

SALAHI: Thanks, Jane. All right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You and I have met at a party, we`ve talked. I think you`re a fun person. I don`t think you`re a mean person.

But I think that a lot of people can no longer take you seriously. Any drama, they feel that maybe those tears aren`t for real, because you`ve kind of sold your life to reality television. And once you do that, it kind of robs whatever happens to you of its pathos. What do you think?

SALAHI: Yes, look, I mean, reality TV is exactly the way you just described it. You know, it`s nothing real -- you really don`t do anything real on reality TV. And Michaele and I, you know, we had enjoyed, you know, that lifestyle. Michaele loved it more. I tried to honor her and always keep her on that platform, because she really wanted that, Jane, as you know. And --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you feel betrayed by the fact that she ran off? Do you feel betrayed, or did you see it coming? Because you knew Neal for years, he was your best friend. And what we`ve heard from people is that it was kind of an open secret that your wife had a crush on him, at the very least.

SALAHI: You know, obviously, I knew that she dated him back in the `90s. We had talked about that openly, like all of our relationships, you know, before we got married.

But I just was blindsided, Jane. I had no idea. I really didn`t -- I didn`t even know how long it was going on, you know, for two years now we know, there was an affair going on. We didn`t know that. And then, you know, it started getting even more distasteful when Neal sent a picture of his penis to the Oasis server e-mail and it went into my phone and Michaele`s phone and it went everywhere, and it just got a little -- you know, just really gross. And I`m surprised Michaele would want to be associated to that, even though we considered him a friend.

But it`s almost like I didn`t know who my wife was. You know, it`s like a light switch. She`s become a different person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, let me say a couple of things. Neal, you`re invited on any time to respond to that whole comment that Tareq`s just said.

And I want to ask you about your marriage, though. I mean, you`re saying this was a beautiful marriage that was destroyed by this guy. But we, the American people, saw your marriage broadcast on "Real Housewives of D.C.", so let`s recap and review with a clip from Bravo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you don`t have anything good to say, don`t say it at all. Isn`t that what your mom taught you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s not true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The new Michaele isn`t going to let people put me down or insult me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you talking to him instead of me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I`m allowed to talk to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But talk to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve heard reports from people that your marriage wasn`t so fabulous, and that you were very controlling. I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that. Also want to give you an opportunity to respond to claims that you are in the process of pitching another reality show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE DIMOND, AUTHOR, "CIRQUE DU SALAHI: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST: I worked with them on this book for weeks together. And I saw that he was a domineering man. He is the one who calls the shots. When she wanted to say something differently, this flash of anger would show. Not that he was physically abusive in any way but I have to tell you when I heard this kidnap story, I said, "No way. Go girlfriend, you`ve finally got enough guts to get out."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL; Welcome back to my exclusive interview with Tareq Salahi who says he`s betrayed by his wife who ran off allegedly with the guitarist from `80s rock group Journey.

Any way you like it -- remember that? "Any way you want it."

Ok. First of all, Tareq, if Michaele came back to you, would you take her back?

SALAHI: No. I couldn`t take her back. Look I love Michaele and I`m still in love with Michaele but the fact that she had been committing adultery and has been going on for at least two years, I think we have to close that chapter. I have to keep my head up and move forward and, you know, get along with my life now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve heard rumors that you may be moving forward with a new lady. TMZ reporting, Kristin Davis, the famous New York madam is taking you as her date to her birthday party, is this true?

SALAHI: Is that the party -- if that`s the party tonight, you know, our management has organized a social activity tonight so I`m not going there as a date. I`m going to the event where, I understand, there will be, you know, a large crowd. But, you know, I will be watching --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So you`re saying you`re not dating her? You`re not dating her?

SALAHI: No. I`m definitely not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is that what you`re saying?

SALAHI: No, no. Absolutely not. I`m not dating her.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to move on. We have a lot to cover. We heard rumors about trouble in your marriage.

Now we had a fellow "Real Housewives" star on ISSUES. Here`s what she had to say about your marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDA ERKILETIAN, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C.": During the show I felt that Tareq was being very dominating and at one point the ladies and I had decided we wanted to do an intervention with her and we reached out and it was near impossible to get her alone to even discuss what was going on with her marriage. He was just extremely controlling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tareq, were you extremely controlling and did you keep your wife on a tight rein?

SALAHI: Well, absolutely not. Look, we`re a married couple. And, you know, I thought we had a great marriage and certainly, you know, it wasn`t the case when I found out she was cheating.

Was I controlling? Will I own up to controlling in certain areas? Sure. I`ll own up to some things. This is what I`ll own up to. I`ll tell you that when it came to Michaele maybe wanting to spend a few thousand dollars on maybe some plastic surgery or couple thousand dollars on hair extensions versus the mortgage on the house, well, we`re going to keep the house versus the plastic surgery.

So, you know, yes, when the money would come in from different TV shows and different activities we would certainly know how to spend it in the right way. Michaele, you know, I love her to death but she wanted to spend sometimes the money in the wrong places versus --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you headed into bankruptcy? The vineyard, is it going? Is the vineyard going? Are you losing the vineyard?

SALAHI: No. The winery, in fact, is reopened. We`re doing dream weddings again. We have one that was booked this fall and all next year. We have a very positive future for the winery. And looking forward to, you know, going back and getting things going there.

I`m heading to L.A. Coming to see you on Monday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Big question up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tareq, there are claims that you are pitching a reality show where you play the betrayed husband and that you`re kind of in cahoots with Neal and your estranged wife Michaele and they will be a part of this. The three of you are conspiring together.

SALAHI: No, absolutely not. I`ve heard these rumors. I`ll tell you that`s 100 percent inaccurate. I wouldn`t do that. You know, the only thing I would do since Michaele doesn`t want to talk to me directly about what happened, why she walked away from our marriage and abandoned the whole house is if she wants to sit down like a Dr. Drew or another doctor and go through it. I would do something like that if that`s what Michaele wants to do. But certainly not with Neal Schon; no I don`t -- I don`t want anything to do with Neal Schon.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It sounds like you are pitching yourself for a hit on Dr. Drew. I`ll pass it along when I talk to him. And take care of that dog of yours.

"NANCY GRACE" starts now.

END