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Woman Brain Dead after Taser Strike

Aired February 20, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from New York City.

A state trooper`s split-second decision has left a young woman brain dead, and it`s all caught on tape. Was the officer in the wrong? We`ll show you the video so you can decide.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a young woman tries to escape police custody. Cops zap her with a Taser, causing irreversible brain damage. The incident caught on tape. The cop has been cleared of all wrongdoing, but the injured woman`s family is suing mad. I`ll talk live to her mother and their lawyer.

Plus a handsome lacrosse jock accused of murdering his beautiful college sweetheart in a jealous rage faces a jury. Will he be put away for life in person? Or will a two-tier justice system let this privileged preppy walk out of jail?

Also an Arizona sheriff famous for his tough stance against illegal immigrants faces an enormous scandal. He`s accused of having a secret gay sexual affair with a Mexican immigrant and then threatening to deport his lover if he spoke a word about their secret relationship. I`ll have all the details.

Plus, is a burger worth risking your life? A man has a heart attack while eating a 6,000-calorie burger at a famed restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. I`ll talk to the owner of the restaurant. And I`m taking your calls for the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 20-year-old Florida woman is in a vegetative state after being Tased by police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fleeing, handcuffed suspect being Tasered in the back by a trooper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She suffered severe brain damage. Now she cannot speak. She cannot move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you give a verbal warning that you were going to use it?


SHERYL MAUDSLEY, MOTHER OF INJURED WOMAN: He was right behind her. He could have reached out. It was unnecessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-year-old Danielle Maudsley moaning in pain from hitting her head on the concrete.

S. MAUDSLEY: Pretty much in a vegetative state right now. She opens her eyes a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking? Are you stupid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trooper`s action were legal and within the scope of his duties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would have been better off to use his night stick on her than he would a Taser.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a gut-wrenching dash cam video that has sparked a fierce debate. It shows a Florida state trooper firing and hitting a 19-year-old woman in the back with a Taser. A short time later, Danielle Maudsley fell into a coma.

Before we show you the footage, I want to warn you, it is disturbing. Here`s Danielle running out of a highway patrol station. The trooper runs after her and fires his Taser. It hits Danielle in the back, knocking her to the ground. Her head slams onto the concrete. You can hear Danielle moaning in agony as the trooper hovers over her and then proceeds to scold her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking? Are you stupid? Man!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want you to get up.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: "What are you thinking? You stupid?" That`s what he says.

You may have just heard Danielle`s last words. She is now in a vegetative state. Doctors have told her family it`s unlikely she will ever wake up.

As for the trooper, he has been completely cleared of any wrongdoing. Well, that`s just not good enough for Danielle`s family. They plan to sue.

What do you think about how this trooper reacted? Call me: 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Is law enforcement becoming a little Taser happy?

I`m honored to welcome Danielle`s mom, Sheryl Maudsley, and her attorney, Kevin Hazelet.

First of all, Cherie -- Sheryl, I`m so sorry about what you`re going through. I know you love your daughter very much. And your heart is broken because your daughter is in a vegetative state.

So Sheryl, tell us about how you heard of your daughter`s injuries and how this nightmare has unfolded from your perspective, Sheryl.

S. MAUDSLEY: Well, I had a trooper knock on the door and tell me that my daughter had been Tased and hit her head on the ground. That I needed to get to her right away. I did so. I arrived there. I had troopers, priests, doctors, nurses -- she was on life support -- telling me she was living hour to hour. That she might not make it.

I came around the corner and saw something no mother should ever have to see. She was practically brain dead. She was on feeding tube, trach, life support, two bags on each side of her head. They had taken her skull off. She was draining fluid. And to say the least, I could barely stand. It is staggering. It`s hard to accept. It`s a nightmare.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so sorry...

S. MAUDSLEY: It`s a nightmare.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that you`re going through this. And look at that beautiful young woman. I can only imagine the effects a Taser would have on a petite 19-year-old woman. Take a look at what Tasers could do to men who are much, much bigger. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a deep breath. Keep breathing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s absolutely debilitating.

Now, it`s important to note: law enforcement decides how and when to use stun guns. And again, there`s been an investigation, and this officer who says he wouldn`t have done anything differently, has been exonerated. But that`s not good enough for the young woman`s family.

Let`s bring in Kevin Hazelet, the attorney for Sheryl Maudsley. You are there beside the mother of this young woman, who is now in a vegetative state. What do you think the officer should have done differently? And we`ll show some video of the actual incident as you speak.

KEVIN HAZELET, LAWYER: Jane, it is extremely disturbing. A couple things that I think the folks at home need to understand.

No. 1, at this time this occurred, Danielle had already been in custody for over an hour. This is not a situation where the trooper is trying to effect an arrest. She`s in his custody.

If you watch the video, she is led into the police department, which is allegedly secured, and she is cuffed behind her back. But then he re- cuffs her in her front.

And Jane, there`s not a police expert in this country that will tell you that the protocol for a prisoner is to cuff them in the front because it is dangerous, it`s wrong, and it`s reckless.

So once she`s cuffed in the front, she leaves what`s supposedly a secured facility when she`s under the custody and control of this trooper. He allows her to leave through an unlocked door. She gets into the parking lot. And then in the parking lot, this trooper`s go-to weapon is not reaching out and grabbing her. Because, if you slow down the video, Jane, he`s within three feet of her. He grabs her...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s show it again. Let`s show it again in slo-mo. You asked us to show -- there we are. Yes. He is right behind her there. You can see. And he Tases her very, very close range. So you`re saying that was totally unnecessary.

HAZELET: Well, a couple things. No. 1, his protocol. Not our protocol. The Florida Highway Patrol`s protocol is not to Tase folks who are escaping. That`s No. 1.

No. 2, the protocol for all Taser is to provide a warning. He provides no warning. And he admits he provides no warning in the internal investigation.

And thirdly, he had the ability to either reach out and grab her or, off-screen, about 20 feet beyond this, she would have been on kind of a field, and it wouldn`t have been the pavement where she hits her head, which causes the brain injury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, a couple of things. One, the officer says, well -- he`s 267 pounds. About three times as much as she weighs. He said he was afraid he might hurt her, reportedly. And also said he was afraid she might run into traffic.

I want to give you the opportunity to respond to that. Because this is what the officer is saying.

HAZELET: Jane, here`s No. 1. Those folks who haven`t been to the station, the traffic is over a football field and a half away from where this occurred. This is almost a quarter mile from where this happens. He would have had ample opportunity to stop her before that. That`s No. 1.

No. 2, if you watch the video, there was never any intent for him to tackle her. When he comes to the door, he realizes, he made a mistake. He let someone who was cuffed in front walk out the station front door, and his go-to weapon is the Taser. He never considered tackling her.

And my question is when you look to the video, do you think that he could have ever caught her or tackled her? He had to use the Taser, because that`s the only -- that what was going through his head. He didn`t think about it.

As you said at the beginning of the program, law-enforcement officers across this country are going to the Taser first. Not second. And it`s the wrong use of force in this condition.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you are absolutely right that the number of Tasing incidents has skyrocketed, particularly in Florida, as well as California. There`s a lot of complexity to this case, though. We have to get to it. And we`re going to get to it on the other side.

But I want to -- I want to ask you about the drugs that were in her system and whether that might have played a role in her reaction to being Tased and also, her trying to run away from the officer. So we want to give you a chance to think about that.

We`ve got to state the facts. We want to be fair. But the facts are that she did have cocaine and oxycodone in her system. So on the other side of the break, we`re going to get your reaction to that, and we`re also going to talk to a panel of experts.

All right. And we want to hear from you. We`re taking your calls: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS.

Later, will a privileged preppy escape a murder? A college athlete accused of killing his girlfriend.

But first, a young woman running from cops, Tased by a trooper. Now she`s in a coma. Her mother is with us live tonight along with the family attorney. They are very upset, asking, why didn`t this trooper tackle her? He was just a couple of feet away. Now she is, this beautiful young woman, likely never to wake up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking? What, are you stupid? Man!

D. MAUDSLEY: I can`t get up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want you to get up.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking at the video was very disturbing. This is an egregious misapplication of a very dangerous tool. The officer demonstrated poor judgment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Independent investigations have cleared the officer who Tased that young woman. But she, Danielle Maudsley, now in a vegetative state. Vegetative state. Her mother with us live tonight, very upset, saying there were many other alternatives.

Danielle -- let`s give you a little recap and review. She was arrested on suspicion of hit and run and driving without a valid license. When the trooper went to get her out of the cruiser, she told him, according to the cops, quote, "I took this off." She had slipped the handcuffs off one of her wrists.

The officer sat Danielle at a table next to him, wrote his report and says she suddenly took off. He chased after her as she ran out the front door of the station. And then, as he`s just a couple feet behind her -- we`ve seen it a couple times now -- he fires his Taser. Her head hits the pavement, and she is bleeding from the back of the head.

And then there is this other factor that we have to mention because it is part of the facts, that she was taking cocaine and oxycodone. They were in her system at the time of this incident.

So briefly, Sheryl, do you think that could have played a role in what happened to your daughter?

S. MAUDSLEY: I do not. I do not think so. Danielle was scared. She -- she obviously was scared. He was saying a lot to her. He had already started the abuse at the house. He went there. He knew exactly where she was. She went straight to her house where she was living. He went in. He, you know, did actions there that were brutal to begin with, starting with the abuse on her head.

And I think she was scared. She was scared. He`s a big man. He was talking to her rough, doing rough things, being rough with her from the beginning and he had her scared to death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. By the way, we have divided -- invited the trooper or somebody from the department to come on the show and they declined because of the ongoing lawsuit. But again, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, independent review found the trooper`s actions were legal and within the scope of his duties.

Marcia Clark, former prosecutor, author of "Guilt by Association," what do you make of it? Because it does seem, according to the stats, the cops are getting very Taser-happy. And we`re going to show you more of this as we discuss it.

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean, it does seem that the statistics are going up. And you see the problem here very vividly. A Taser strength is -- that is appropriate for a grown man is certainly inappropriate for a small woman.

And unless there is some -- and here`s the problem, too, for any officer. He doesn`t have the moment to think about, "Oh, let`s see. She`s about 100 pounds. Let me reduce the strength of this." And that`s the problem with the Taser. That you`d have to make these snap judgments about how much strength to use that is appropriate for the person.

I think when it comes down to a jury, they`re going to have to weigh these tragic circumstances. This girl, it`s such a tragic thing, what happened to her. It`s heart-breaking. And they`re going to have to decide whether or not it was appropriate for him in the moment, as he was, you know, making a decision in split seconds: "How do I stop her? She`s running towards the highway. She could cause an accident. She could get killed. If I tackle her myself, I could hurt her very badly." All of these things are running through his head.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and my question is, are we overusing Tasers? Are cops getting a little Taser-happy?

2009, an elderly driver in Texas refuses to sign her speeding ticket. Elderly. I`m talking in her 90s, or 72, anyway. Get this. It goes from bad to worse. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind your back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m getting back in my car. I`m getting back in my car.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, you are in Florida. Are the cops there getting Taser happy?

JEFF BROWN, ATTORNEY: Yes, I think they clearly are. And the problem is that the public is watching movies like "Hangover," where we seem to make a joke of it, and it`s accepted as if it`s not that dangerous. It`s extremely dangerous.

And there`s no reason why Florida has to be the second largest -- or the state with the second most amount of Tasering incidences of all the states in the country. Just no excuse for it. And I don`t see why it is that the cops seem to want to go to the Taser all time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, thank you, fabulous panel.

And thank you, Sheryl. Our hearts go out to you. We hope that your daughter has a miracle...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is your "Viral Video of the Day."






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The murder trial of George Huguely. He is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Yeardley Love, in 2010.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a pool of blood on her pillow and bruises on her face. Her right eye was swollen shut, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. But it didn`t take police long to zero in on a suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the late hours, Chapman says a drunk and angry George Huguely kicked in Love`s bedroom door and beat her to death.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s being called something straight out of a horror movie. A handsome lacrosse player accused of kicking through the bedroom door of his college sweetheart in a drunken rage and beating her to death. But George Huguely`s lawyer says, oh, it was all an accident.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re confident that Miss Love`s death was not intended but an accident with a tragic outcome.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: According to police, this wasn`t the first physical fight between this on again, off again couple. But this final attack was just days after Huguely threatened to kill Yeardley Love in an e-mail.

The jury deliberations begin the day after tomorrow. But will they be willing to convict the handsome preppy college kid with a "V" at the end of his name? Are we going to see a two-tiered system of justice again?

Straight out to Marcia Clark. I`ve got to ask you, Marcia. Of course, you`re famous as the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case and the author of "Guilt by Association." How much does class play into these kinds of cases? Because I`ve seen it myself in the courtroom.

CLARK: When you say class -- tell me what you mean.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean he`s a preppy kid. He`s a kid of privilege. He is the fifth, George Huguely V. A lacrosse player. He`s handsome. He`s not some...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... kid from the inner city kicking in a door who`s high on crack. That guy would probably get sent away very quickly for murder one for life without anybody even thinking about it too long.

CLARK: Yes. You know, to me there is never any chance that these things don`t come into play in a jury`s mind. I don`t think necessarily they consciously do, Jane, but people see that this handsome kid. And he`s probably well-mannered in the courtroom. And he automatically gets a credibility point just for that, even if it`s just a subconscious thing. And being good looking, very helpful also.

On the other hand, I have to say what does not help him is that you have an e-mail that he wrote to her, admitting the fact that he -- he gets rage-filled when he`s under the influence of alcohol, that he gets out of control. He loses the judgment. He knows this.

Yet, he gets drunk, and he goes to her apartment that day. And he kicks in the door. That`s going to hurt him quite a bit.

So even though he does come in with this kind of impression of, you know, good-looking young white guy and all that, you know, which does help, I think it`s going to be offset.

Don`t forget, too, she`s a sweet, beautiful girl. And that makes her a very, very sympathetic victim. And that can also cut down on the amount of benefit he gets by being the rich white kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s also been drama. As one of the final defense witnesses, a neurosurgeon, left the courthouse, it was a big scene. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us how you think she died, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oxygen. She suffocated. That`s all I can tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not -- not blunt-force trauma?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s all I can tell you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The surgeons claim that she died from suffocation, not blunt-force trauma to the head. But Marcia, isn`t it all the same thing? She -- she wouldn`t have been in that position had he not kicked the door down. Ten seconds.

CLARK: Yes, exactly right, Jane. That`s ridiculous. Blunt-force trauma...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An Arizona sheriff is outed by an ex-lover then quits as the chair of Mitt Romney`s Arizona campaign.

PAUL BABEU, SHERIFF, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: All these allegations that were one of these newspapers are absolutely completely false.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tough on illegal immigration Arizona sheriff outed by his migrant ex-boyfriend.

BABEU: Except for the issues that refer to being gay because that`s the truth. I am gay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then also the issue of the photographs that he sent. Some of them were sexually explicit. And I think that speaks to the poor judgment on the part of a high profile politician and especially somebody that has congressional aspirations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jose, a 34-year-old Mexican national, afraid to be identified but speaking out because he says he was threatened by his powerful ex-lover.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: A powerful Arizona sheriff facing allegations tonight that he threatened an ex-lover with deportation. If true, that would be quite an abuse of power. Sheriff Babeu has made his name as a tough on immigration sheriff along the border. And he is even running for congress. But it turned out that he had a secret.


BABEU: I am here to say that all these allegations that were in one of these newspapers are absolutely completely false. Except for the issues that refer to being gay because that`s the true -- I am gay.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Babeu was apparently leading a double life. The sheriff was on the rise politically in a very conservative county. He even had a position with the Romney campaign. Now his secret life has become very public indeed. A man who goes only by the name Jose because he wants to remain anonymous was the sheriff`s lover. Both sides agree that is true.

But Jose claim after their relationship ended, the sheriff threatened to have him deported to keep the affair secret; this, despite the fact that Jose is here in the U.S. legally. Listen


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At some point, you felt --

JOSE: Used.

MARQUEZ: Used. And then threatened?

JOSE: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Why threatened?

JOSE: I got a text from him directly on my phone saying that I will never have business, that my family will be contacted.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jose gave a local newspaper, sexually explicit photos of the sheriff that he says the sheriff posted on gay dating sites. The sheriff has now proclaimed what was not public knowledge before the scandal. Namely that he is in fact gay. But the sheriff denies making any threats against Jose, saying those claims are absolutely false.

So straight out to Greg Paul, a well known radio reporter in the area where this is all going down. Greg, you were there on the ground in Phoenix, how big of a scandal is this?

GREG PAUL, RADIO REPORTER: This is the biggest thing in the state and around the country right now Jane. Definitely everybody is talking about this story. Paul Babeu, a very famous sheriff here in the state, especially when he got involved with John McCain during the 2010 senate campaign. He was backing him with his border fence. So definitely, it`s a huge story. And everybody is talking about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Sheriff Babeu, again, adamantly denies ever making any deportation threat. Listen.


BABEU: At no time did I or anyone who represents me ever threatened deportation -- ever.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. But here`s my question. The sheriff admits these two men, he and this man, who goes by the name of Jose, were secretly lovers. That they broke up and it apparently got nasty. So shouldn`t we just accept the sheriff`s word that he did not threaten this man or the man`s family with deportation? Because the guy says something about, oh, we contact your brother allegedly. If the sheriff did make those threats, it would, make no mistake, be an abuse of power.

So I want to go to Alexis Tereszcuk, senior reporter RadarOnline, you cover so many scandals. Do you think there should be an independent investigation into this man`s claim?

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, SENIOR REPORTER, RADARONLINE: I think that there should be, absolutely. He is a law enforcer. And it seems as if he is absolutely breaking the law. And not only that, he is trying to go for an office where he`s actually going to make the laws. You cannot have people who are making the laws actively trying to break them. There should absolutely be an investigation to this man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: CNN got an exclusive interview with the ex-lover at the center of the scandal and asked him about his claims that the sheriff and sheriff`s attorney made threats. Listen.


MARQUEZ: Do you think he was trying to make you leave the country?

JOSE: Maybe. He just, what I think he just want me to keep me as far as, so I don`t say anything about him or about his behavior.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sheriff denies ever threatening deportation. Straight out to CNN`s Miguel Marquez, who scored that exclusive interview; well done Miguel, tell us about Jose. Did he seem like somebody who was genuinely afraid for his safety?

MARQUEZ: He seemed like somebody who was genuinely in love with Paul Babeu at one point and was frustrated that that love was not reciprocated. He also seemed like someone who was struggling to figure out where he fit in this drama. I don`t think he expected it to turn into what it has turned into.

I don`t think he understood it; a 34-year-old guy now smack dab in the middle of presidential politics. It is an extraordinary place for this guy to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff Babeu was just on CNN actually moments. And he explained his side on some of those texts. For example, one of the texts allegedly said, "You`ll never have any business after this" -- or words to that effect. Listen to the sheriff`s explanation of that.


BABEU: This is documented as well. I said, how can you think you`re going to do business? He had a business with Web sites. He just stole my Web sites and put slanderous information on my Web sites. And how can anybody expect to do business? All I wanted, because I have lawful authority for arrest, there was no arrest. There was no lawful authority.

I did what you and most other citizens would have done. I went to an attorney. The attorney handled the matter. I thought it was done.

And now as I`m approaching five months into this election, I`m ten points ahead in the poll over an incumbent member of congress and all this stuff comes out.


All right. Reporter in Phoenix, Greg Paul, do you buy his explanation?

PAUL: You know, a lot of people don`t here in the valley. I think that a lot of people say, you know, right here I have this cease and desist letter that was sent in September which was fine. And then Jose turned over all the pass codes and everything else. But then just last month, there was another letter. Those were the letters that went out between the two lawyers. Jose`s lawyer was telling Paul Babeu`s lawyer that basically, "Leave my client alone or we`re going to have to get an injunction."

So there seems to be -- there needs to be some more investigation as something is not adding up right now. So it looks like more investigation is going to have to be done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, Sheriff Babeu is now saying openly, I`m gay. But he had not been saying that. Had not, according to my understanding, been living as an out gay man at all until this scandal broke over the weekend. A lot of people were shocked by that revelation. And some would say he had been living a double life.


BABEU: This is my personal, my private life. But now it is not so private any longer. And it is an awful position for me to be in.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some people have compared this to the scandals involving for example Reverend Ted Haggard who preached against gay marriage but was secretly having an affair with a male escort. And then there was former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey. He was married but he was having affairs on the side also with a male aide.

I want to go to Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney, because here`s where I have a slight problem. He says, well, this was my private life. It was my private business. But A, he is the sheriff, and B, he admits creating a professional relationship with this one time lover by letting the lover create and maintain his campaign Web sites and Twitter accounts. That`s where it got very messy. Because he is claiming this guy, once they got rid of him and brought in a professional to maintain those sites, then used the codes that he had to go in there and reveal all this stuff.

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. I could care less whether he is gay. That`s not the issue here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Nobody cares about that.

BROWN: What is the issue is the hypocrisy behind this and the lying. He is holding himself out as a public figure. He is joining a party that is denouncing that lifestyle so he has put that out there. He wants to say my public and my private life. If you want to keep your private life quiet, don`t run for office. Don`t be the sheriff.

But it`s the lying that he did to the public. It`s the lying about who he is. It is this whole false pretenses that he is getting out there - - that to me is the real problem. That`s what I think needs to be investigated. As well as everything that he was telling people during this time frame. This is the hypocrisy that bothers me. It has nothing to do with the lifestyle choice. It is the lying and the covering up. That is the problem

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff Babeu allegedly has posted several pictures of himself on gay dating sites. Again, who cares except the scandal is complicated because he is a public figure accused of threatening the man you see there blurred with deportation, which he denies.

Some of these pictures were underwear only, no shirt on -- that kind of thing. The article claims there are graphic photos. Now, Alexis Tereszcuk, obviously this isn`t the first time that social media has become scandal with a politician. Anthony Weiner, obviously that`s the first thing you think of. He tweeted pictures of himself in various stages of undress. He was forced to step down. Why do people think these photos won`t get out there, Alexis?

TERESZCUK: They never learn. I don`t know if it is because they`re arrogant. I think it is. They`re arrogant. They`re self-centered. They think that they`re above the law. Even the sheriff thinks he is above the law and above public scrutiny. Everybody can find these things.

Twitter isn`t your own personal poster board in your house with your personal pictures hanging on the fridge. This is for lots of people to see. They never learn.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you fantastic panel.

A man has a heart attack eating at a place called The Heart Attack Grill -- 6,000 calorie burgers, fries, cooked in lard. We`re going to talk to the owner of this restaurant next and you can ask him your tough questions -- 1-877-JVM-SAYS.



"DOCTOR JON" BASSO, OWNER, HEART ATTACK GRILL: One of the nurses came back to me and said Dr. Jon we have a patient who`s in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Heart Attack Grill actually lived up to its name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was having the sweats and shaking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apparent heart attack at a place called The Heart Attack Grill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think I would walk into a place even if it is called The Heart Attack Grill and order food and expect that I was going to have a heart attack.

(INAUDIBLE) told us the man had been eating what`s called a triple bypass burger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says right on the door -- hazardous to your health.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A man goes into cardiac arrest at a place called, yes, The Heart Attack Grill. It`s a restaurant where the motto is "taste worth dying for". I have to ask, is this making fun of a very serious epidemic that is literally killing a lot of people in our country?

Check out this video from YouTube. It shows the apparent heart attack victim -- that`s right -- being wheeled away in a stretcher from this Las Vegas restaurant. He was eating a, quote, "triple bypass burger", end quote when restaurant workers noticed something was very, very wrong.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was having the sweats and shaking.

BASSO: The gentleman could barely talk. He was sweating, suffering. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would have felt for him.

Of course, we feel very compassionate for this guy. But did he know what he was getting into? Well, just check out the front door. It says it right there on the front door. This establishment is bad for your health. A single meal at this place can clock in at well over 10,000 calories. Customers literally wear hospital gowns. The waitresses dress up as nurses. They pretend to take your pulse. What does this say about our out of control eating habits?

I want to hear from you people. Give me a call because I need help with this one. 1-877-JVM SAYS. I need your input. 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to the owner of The Heart Attack Grill; now, you call yourself Dr. Jon Basso. First of all, are you a doctor?

BASSO: I`m a burgerologist. I`m actually the founder of that field of medicine and I could throw a lot of jokes back and forth like that all day long. But I think that why I`m here is to discuss a very serious issue of addiction. Addiction comes in many forms, whether it is alcohol addiction, sexual addiction, or in this case, food addiction.

The Heart Attack Grill is a breeding ground of addiction. It is intended to be so. And we pull no punches. We bring it forward exactly as people want it and we fairly warn them up front. So if I --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But some people would say, Dr. Basso, even though I don`t think you`re actually a doctor, that you are the pusher; that you`re as much, if overeating is an addiction, which I agree with you 100 percent. In fact, I wrote a book called "Addict Nation" where I talked about how this is the number one addiction in America today right up there with prescription pills is eating -- food addiction. That`s why two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese but it is causing all sorts of problems. To wit the heart attack the man had right in your restaurant.

I mean I would understand the sense of irony and this clever attitude if people weren`t keeling over and dying. But people would say you are a drug pusher. You are pushing this addiction overeating.

BASSO: Absolutely. I am familiar with your book. Food addiction is the most serious issue in the United States right now from a health standpoint. The obesity epidemic speaks for itself. Two out of three Americans are either overweight or obese.

Right now I Dr. Jon and The Heart Attack Grill am here to bring this issue to the head and we`re doing it right on Las Vegas Boulevard in plain daylight right on national TV. And I want to talk about it. I want to hear any of your callers who really want to discuss this and get to the bottom. Call in right now. Let`s talk about this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s my job. Thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me tell you this. The physicians committee for responsible medicine says if you want to help with this addiction, declare moral bankruptcy and close your restaurant. Why don`t you close your restaurant if you want to make this problem go away? Answer on the other side, doctor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More triple bypass burger in a moment. But first, we all deserve a laugh break, don`t we?






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve made incredible progress on the Heart Attack Grill diet. A couple months ago, I was wearing these.

Side effects may include sudden weight gain, repeated increase of wardrobe size, back pain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, lung cancer, tooth decay, liver sclerosis, stroke and an inability to see. In some cases, mild death may occur.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill back when it used to be in Phoenix, Arizona. He weighed nearly 600 pounds and talked about how great the restaurant was.

Tragically, he died last year at the age of 29 leaving behind a young daughter. And the guy who had the heart attack at the Heart Attack Grill the other day, oh, my gosh, what was he eating, triple bypass, three hamburgers, five slices of cheese, 15 slices of bacon, onion, tomato, 6,000-what, calories? That`s what they say.

Ray, Nevada. Your question or thought?

RAY, NEVADA (via telephone): Ray? Are you asking for Ray?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I`m asking for Ray.

RAY: Hi Jane. Love you. Love your show. I watch every day.


RAY: I am from Las Vegas, as you know. We are a city of extravagance. We`re a city known for our buffets, for our food, for our entertainment. It`s just, we`re over the top with everything. And Heart Attack Grill is just an extension of that. We offer everything from gourmet dining to heart attack grill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you work at Heart Attack Grill? Are you one of Dr. Jon`s -- let me get back to you -- let me talk about excess. Dr. Jon, honestly, I think that you would make a fabulous point if people weren`t keeling over in the process. When they do an experiment and a lot of people in a study start having Ill effect, they stop the study in progress, because they don`t want people to die as a result of studying. I think you`ve made your point. But now, is it time to close down?

BASSO: Jane, my point is far from being made. Now, it is true, I sell burgers, I sell fries, but I sell food for thought. And if you`re willing to digest the latter, you`ll be vastly better off.

Never met Ray before or any of the other people who are calling in right now, but I do believe that they understand my modality of treatment and I`ll often say, look, I`m on the frontlines of the battle against anorexia and you might laugh that away.

But we have to look at both ends of the bell curve or the spectrum. No one wants to be too heavy. No one wants to be too thin. We all want to feel good. We want to look good. We want to live a great life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Dr. you`re not really a doctor but Mr. Fake Doctor, people are keeling over, they`re getting heart disease. They`re having heart attacks. They`re suffering from high cholesterol. They`re getting type 2 diabetes and literally. We are killing people with this diet. And you are literally the penultimate example.

You`re a very clever man and I actually have to give you props for being very funny. I think you should take your show on the road. Now that you`ve made your point, do other people have to keel over in your restaurant?

BASSO: What you have to understand is simply this. The AMA may refuse to recognize me. You may say, you`re not really a doctor. But let me explain something. The American Medical Association fitness trainers, diet professionals, the entirety of what we think of as traditional healing has failed the American public. That`s evident. You can look at the statistics and see that. What I`m trying to say --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say, they broke the mold with you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Heart Attack Grill is the height of unhealthy hedonism. It`s menu is a killer catalogue of only the greasiest, fattiest foods.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s "Extreme Pig-Out" from the Travel Channel. Alexis Tereszcuk, is the joke on us as a culture?

TERESZCUK: Maybe, but you know what, I think maybe this isn`t real. I don`t know that this man really did have a heart attack. You saw him on the stretcher. He was kind of sitting up. Might be just a big publicity stunt by the doctor and they get the word out about his restaurant.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no. Paramedics say that`s not the case.

Jeff Brown criminal defense attorney, I wish Alexis were right on this one. Maybe it`s wishful thinking but paramedics are saying it was real.

BROWN: Yes, they said it was real. You know, it`s not this burger that gave him the heart attack. It`s probably the 10,000 other burgers that he had before this. At least we know in this restaurant where the hidden calories are. That`s always been a problem. I think you`ve kind of talked about this before -- it`s not knowing what the calories are in some of the things we eat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.

Nancy next.