Return to Transcripts main page


Zimmerman`s Secret Funds Revealed in Court

Aired April 27, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City. Secret funds revealed in court. Despite what his family told the judge, George Zimmerman is not broke. Guess what? His Web site, will the judge decide to haul him back to court and raise his bond?

And who are these people who are willing to hand over so much money to George Zimmerman? I`m going to talk to George Zimmerman`s attorney in just a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, should George Zimmerman go back to jail? Did he lie about how much money he had at the time of his bond hearing? That`s what Trayvon Martin`s family says. We`ll take you inside today`s contentious court hearing.

Plus new developments in a bizarre and baffling murder. The wife of a Marine serving in Afghanistan files for divorce, and then she`s murdered, allegedly by another Marine, and it gets even more complicated and tragic. Was her death the result of a dangerous sex game? We`ll investigate.

Then it`s a shirtless scandal. This judge is in hot water after he sends a picture of himself naked from the waist up to courthouse employees. Now one co-worker`s husband is filing a complaint, but if you think the judge is ashamed of these photos, you`ve got to hear what he said on camera.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zimmerman`s lawyer came forward to tell the judge about a legal defense fund that he did not know about until a couple of days ago.

MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: When we were before you last Friday on a bond testimony, there was testimony elicited from family members concerning their financial standing. They said they didn`t have very much and didn`t have very many savings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At last week`s bond hearing, Zimmerman`s family had testified that George Zimmerman did not have any money.

JUDGE KENNETH LESTER, OVERSEEING ZIMMERMAN`S TRIAL: I`m going to grant the motion to set bond in the amount of $150,000.

O`MARA: I then realized in the discussion that she was setting it up, sent it to me, that there was about $200,000, to $204,000.

LESTER: I saw it on the news last night, so I heard about it last night, too. I will submit that`s a change of circumstance regarding the bond. I would ask the court to address it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because Zimmerman is in hiding, he used some of that money for living expenses. Sounds like he used about $54,000 for that.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S PARENTS: George Zimmerman looked at my clients in their eyes, these grieving parents, and misled them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a secret that could have potentially changed everything at George Zimmerman`s bond hearing exactly a week ago. Remember that Web site Zimmerman created, soliciting funds to help with his defense in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin? Well, his attorney spilled the beans about those funds on last night`s CNN`s "AC 360."


O`MARA: He asked me what to do with his Paypal accounts, and I asked him what he was talking about. And he said those were the accounts that had the money from the Web sites he had and that there was about $200,000 to $204,000 that had come in to date.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He slapped it over, 200 grand. That would have been nice to know at Zimmerman`s bond hearing a week ago. That`s when the judge thought Zimmerman and his family were indigent, i.e., broke and set bond at $150 grand. Zimmerman`s family only had to post $15,000 to get him out.

Today Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara, told the judge about the money.


O`MARA: I then realized in the discussion as he was extending to me that there was about $200,000 to $204,000 that was contributed in the past 30 to 45 days from the public into that account.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember watching George Zimmerman walk out of jail Sunday night? So will the judge ultimately rewind his decision in light of this new information, and order Zimmerman either back to jail or increase his bond significantly?


MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Is it a big deal? Yes. I think Mark candidly admitted. If some judge is being told "I`m indigent" and he`s got all the family members saying, "We don`t have much money," and he`s setting the bond at 150 over the prosecution`s objections, and the prosecution is asking for a million bucks, and it turns out this guy`s got 200,000 in an account, you know, I know a lot of judges who would -- who would remand the guy back into custody immediately.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Last week, Zimmerman`s father, mother and wife all testified they didn`t have any money in hopes of a low bond. We have to wonder if they were keeping this 204 grand under wraps or not.

The attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, the teen who was shot, blames George Zimmerman.


CRUMP: He did not come forthright to the court where he understood completely what the court was inquiring about his financial status and his ability to pay a bond.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what happens to this money now? Who`s in charge of it? What will it be used for?

Straight out to George Zimmerman`s attorney, Mark O`Mara.

Thank you for joining us. Mark O`Mara, so many question, but I think the big one: When did you find out exactly about this money and were you as shocked as many others have been?

O`MARA (via phone): Well, I think it was Tuesday late afternoon. I can go back and look. And it really came up literally as a matter of closing out some of the online presence that George Zimmerman had once we closed down all of the Web sites. He asked about the Paypals, and that`s when I found out there was that much.

And I must agree it is a lot of money. It was surprising that people have been so committed to George that they would offer to donate that much money, not to suggest it`s not going to take a lot more than that to defend him, but I was surprised there was that much gathered in one month.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we knew about this Web site before last week`s bond hearing. Did you ever flat-out ask George Zimmerman before the hearing, "Hey, how much money did you raise with that Web site of yours?"

O`MARA: No. Actually, the only insight that I had, there were two other Web sites administered by somebody else. I think one was a local group who was raising money for him and then one by one of his friends. I heard, like, there was like $2,000 in one and $700 in the other. That`s what I told Judge Lester at the hearing.

I didn`t know about the money. This wasn`t really discussed. I guess I`ll take some responsibility for not really vetting all of that through, but there was a lot else going on, trying to keep him safe and get him ready for release.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Well, listen, I have been vocal in admiring some of your techniques in the courtroom. But I do have to ask you, did you make a mistake by not asking George Zimmerman flat out, "Hey, how much money have you collected" before the hearing where there was a claim that this guy was broke?

O`MARA: Absolutely. I mean, without question. Think about it. Had -- knowing what I know, which is that as soon as the opportunity presented itself for George to discuss it with me, as soon as that presented himself in telling me without question and transferring the money into my trust accounts, literally moments later, so I know his position in it. So certainly, had I asked him that question beforehand I would have said these very words. "George, do you have any money?"


"How much is it? What`s it`s purpose? We`re going to move it into my trust account. We`re going to go before the judge and say, `Judge, we have little money in the family, but there`s $200 to $150,000 in my trust account. That`s what we have."

Because at that point, which would have accomplished the same exact thing, Judge Lester would have granted a bond, and it would have been a high bond. And I consider 150 a high bond. And all of that would have made a difference, if you think about it, is that money would have already been in my trust account to be used for the purposes it was created.

Now, the only caveat is the purposes that he asked for before I was involved was to help him with his legal defense and his living expenses. Because I will tell you right now he has spent some of that money on living expenses.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that raises another question. But just to wrap that up, you say yes, you should have asked him. That`s your conclusion.

O`MARA: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. OK. I mean, listen. None of us is perfect, so I`m just trying to straighten this out.

Now, here`s another thing. You were -- were you involved at all in helping get George Zimmerman`s bond last weekend, because we understood that in court it was revealed $5,000 of that Web site money was used to get that bond, the bail, the 10 percent bail.

So wouldn`t it have been evident at that time, given that there was $5,000 used? The obvious question was, well, how much money is there, all told, since we have $5,000 to use for the bond?

O`MARA: Sure. I mean, let me answer it the way you asked it, which was I wasn`t particularly involved. I helped set up the bail bonds person.

I will tell you that the first 24 or 36 hours the Zimmerman family was very concerned about getting a bail bondsman involved because of security. I mean, literally, for the first day, they refused to, as a matter of fact. They were trying to raise the $150,000.

Now, you think that through, they were trying to raise $150,000 not using the money that was in that account, because quite honestly, if they wanted to, they could have just taken the check out of there and paid the full bond.


O`MARA: I know from having dealt with them for 24 hours, trying to convince them use the bail bondsman. He is trustworthy. This is the way to do it. They were going to talk about getting a grandmother involved and her house.

So in my opinion, just from my view of it, not even as his advocate, it made sense that they weren`t focused on that money for the bond.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Mark. I just have so many questions for you. How is it possible that he`s already spent 50 grand approximately on living expenses? I mean, that`s a year`s salary for a lot of Americans, at least.

O`MARA: Yes. And I`m going to answer those questions as soon as I see all the bank records and see what he spent it on. I do know, for example, the five went to the bail bonds person. I imagine that the other 10 that is going to be due to the bail bonds person will come from that fund. I still think that is a legitimate defense fund expense.

I know that there has been a few thousand dollars to prepare the location where he was for him to get there, and there are just particulars I can`t get into.

I don`t know -- I don`t think there were any large expenditures, because I certainly asked that question. But I really am going to defer to when I get the records, review them and disclose what I think should be disclosed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to ask you one other question.

O`MARA: Sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At the hearing last week, the investigator for the prosecution revealed that he hadn`t seen the hospital records for George Zimmerman, an obvious piece of evidence. Were you as shocked as so many others that he hadn`t looked at George Zimmerman`s hospital records?

O`MARA: I did -- when I asked the question, it wasn`t a setup question. I really thought he would have had them, because George had been so -- working with them. But you know, he had what he had. I don`t want to get too far into talking about the facts of the case, because again, that`s exactly what we`re not supposed to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Well, what do you think? Just a quick guess. Do you think that the judge ponders all of this, he`s going to call George back and increase the bond or even remand him back to jail?

O`MARA: I don`t think he`s going to remand him. I don`t think he`s going to increase the bond, because it`s 150,000.

If he does something, he may remind Mr. Zimmerman that he is on a very short leash. That he is under an absolute microscope. That if he is anything less than fully candid with the court in the future, whether or not this was being less than candid, if he has any concerns or questions, he needs to err on the side of caution and that if anything else comes up I think there`s going to be a real problem.

But I don`t think the judge is going to revoke the bond or increase it, because that`s already a quite high bond.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So there is a possibility he was being dishonest here.

O`MARA: You know, it just -- if you looked at it as you might look at it and say 200 sitting in an account just down the street, let`s say, and no one mentions it, yes. That could be interpreted as not being fully a full disclosure.

When I look at it, and I know how quickly he responded to the question I asked him and how quickly he sent that money over, it`s hard for me to think that he was actually trying to hide it. Because he had to know that question was going to be asked momentarily anyway, because I was -- now that I had him out on bond, he knew that my next step was to deal with all the periphery. And that periphery included all the Web sites and the bond.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark, we`re out of time, but I want to thank you so much for taking the time. I know you`re very busy. I appreciate it, and I hope you come back to our show as we continue to cover this case.

O`MARA: Sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you again. Thank you.

Now, more on the Zimmerman case in a moment. We have an expert panel. We also have the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family. So we`re going to get to that.

And the murder of a Marine`s wife takes a very bizarre turn. Could a suicide note reveal a very bizarre sub-plot here?



GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR KILLING TRAYVON MARTIN: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: George Zimmerman`s Web site raised more than $204,000, and we`re learning about this not during the bond hearing where he said he was broke, but just now within the last 24 hours.

Our expert panel reacting. Natalie Jackson, the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, your reaction to the news and to what George Zimmerman`s attorney just said on our air.

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: I`ll tell you, attorney O`Mara is a very good attorney. He`s doing what attorneys do. They do damage control when their clients are out of control, and that`s what he did here.

George Zimmerman has proven to be a master manipulator. He sat next to Attorney O`Mara in court. He has a criminal justice degree, albeit one credit shy from a criminal justice degree. He knows what a bond hearing is about. It`s inquiring whether or not you have enough money to post a bond to assure this court that you`re not a flight risk or a danger to society.

He knew that the questions were about his financial situation. And he sat there knowing that he had at least -- I don`t know how much money he had in there, but he knew that he had some money in this account. And he did not just lean over to his attorney and disclose it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mark Nejame, HLN legal analyst. Basically, Mark O`Mara admits he didn`t handle this the way he should have.

MARK NEJAME, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think because he heard there were two accounts that had a very small amount of money, he jumped to the conclusion that the other was not such a big deal, which has obviously turned out to be something different.

I think the point Natalie makes is almost right. What it is, is that he was in jail for a week, and then he was not in contact with Mark O`Mara for a week. So what I`d like to do -- see is exactly what O`Mara was saying and that is look at when the money went in there.

You know, presumably, most people are not going to put a lot of money in that account, until and such time as he was arrested. Once he was arrested and he turned himself in, one`s got to believe that that`s when the massive amount of money went into the account, and he would have no way of knowing that because he was sitting in jail.

With that said, I think that once they get the books and they`re reviewed as to what money was in there and how much was in there and when it was in there, all that should be disclosed without question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, I also have a question of who are these people donating all this money to George Zimmerman? Because there`s been a lot of scuttlebutt that there could be political organizations, people who have -- have really turned this into some kind of a political issue.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The only thing I know is none of that money came from me or my family.

I want to go back to Natalie`s point. I disagree with her. I don`t think O`Mara did anything improper in that interview. In fact, add that interview to the list of reasons why I admire him so. I didn`t know him before this case.


JACKSON: ... say improper?

EIGLARSH: Let me finish. What you did say was he was doing damage control, and I don`t think that that`s what he was doing.

No. 1, he took responsibility for him not inquiring further. And that he also did not say that "my client didn`t do anything wrong," which so many lawyers would have done. What he did, if you listen to the interview...

JACKSON: I think Mark Eiglarsh makes a very good point.

EIGLARSH: ... he said -- Natalie, I`m not done. I`m not done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. One at a time.

EIGLARSH: What I said is just what I heard, Natalie. I heard you say he was doing damage control. He did not say that his client...

JACKSON: Well, I did ask...

EIGLARSH: ... didn`t do anything wrong -- Natalie, would you let me finish, darling?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Wait, wait, wait, wait.

EIGLARSH: You`re interrupting me more than Kanye. OK?


EIGLARSH: Let me finish, OK? What he did say was that his client either intentionally misled the court or didn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Natalie on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More big news, but first, here`s your "Viral Video of the Week."






CRUMP: Today we find out what is most important is what George Zimmerman did not say to the court. With...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: New controversy over -- well, the hearing that resulted in George Zimmerman being released. He had $204,000 that he has made from his Web site, but we didn`t know about that when he had his bond hearing last week. He said he was broke.

So now we`re learning in court he has spent about $54,000, some of it on living expenses, some of it on the $5,000 bond. He`s got about 150 grand left.

Natalie Jackson, attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, finish your thought that you wanted to finish about this controversy.

JACKSON: My thought is, is that this is -- this is not about Mark O`Mara, his attorney. This is about George Zimmerman.

I think Mark O`Mara did the ethical thing by telling the court. He`s done what a good attorney does. However, his client has continually pretended to be clueless about things. He portrays himself as a clueless person, and it keeps coming up inconsistency after inconsistency of things that he has -- he has lied about, clearly. And this will come out.

George Zimmerman confronted -- he pursued, confronted, shot and killed a teenage kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, here`s...

JACKSON: That`s what we have to remember here. It`s not that -- this is not a hard case, and I don`t want to get distracted. He killed an innocent child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, there`s going to be distractions because a mega case like this -- and I`ve covered so many of them. This is par for the course. Something wild. Bombshells every few days.

I want to go to Frank Taaffe, George Zimmerman`s neighbor, one of his defenders. Listen, at the bond hearing last week, the father of George Zimmerman, the mother of George Zimmerman, his wife spoke. Notably, his brother did not speak. And his wife said, "Well, I don`t know anything about the money. You`ll have to ask my brother-in-law," i.e., the brother.

Do you think that they purposely withheld this information?

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: They didn`t withhold any information, Jane.

I wanted to share with you. I set up the Justice for George Web site on March 29, and up until his bail hearing and to defend Mr. O`Mara`s position, we had collected $100. And that was going on your show and sharing it.

And once he received his bail, there was a flurry of activity. We raised a mere pittance to that amount. Of course, I went on April 9 and shared with the media when George called me that he started his Web site,, and it wasn`t up until the bail hearing that the money started to flow.

Of course, you know, we only got another $500. But I can see where Mr. O`Mara`s point was that, you know, really, things didn`t start happening until that bail weekend. And then when George probably had access to the Paypal account, but you know, he started it April 9. And I guess really as my account, my Paypal account for Justice for George started flowing in not until after he made bail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So -- so you made a point of that. Now let me just give a chance for Natalie to respond to that one.

JACKSON: My response is that that`s what the court is asking. They`re asking, "When did this money -- when was this money known to this man and to his family?" When -- this is The Real George Zimmerman Web site. Right after you get money, you call everyone.

TAAFFE: ... George Zimmerman. There you go again, Natalie. You`re trying to read...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. One at a time.

TAAFFE: You`re trying to read...

JACKSON: Frank, you came on here and you announced -- George.

TAAFFE: Mr. Zimmerman -- go ahead, Natalie. I`m going to let you finish this time. Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Go ahead.

JACKSON: Thank you. You are the one that announced his Web site on camera when I -- when you and I were on here so you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New details are emerging about Friday the 13th, the last night Kilgore was seen alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe there is a high likelihood that Brittany was the victim of foul play.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cops suspect foul play is involved in her disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last seen with another Marine, 45-year-old Louis Ray Perez.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that he knows more than he has told us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jessica Lopez and Sergeant Louis Perez both pled not guilty to a first degree murder charge in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he allowed Jessie to search his vehicle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Possessing an assault rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They found a stolen AR-15 assault rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looking for clues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About two dozen detectives and volunteers searched this rugged terrain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cops suspect foul play is involved.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: A baffling murder mystery as the beautiful young wife of a Marine is slain and dumped in the wilderness allegedly by another Marine who had an interest in S&M. Was this a dangerous sex game gone wrong?

Jane Velez-Mitchell back with you in New York.

Brittany Killgore, just 22 years old vanished earlier this month on Friday the 13th. Four days later her body discovered dumped near Lake Skinner in California. Her estranged husband was in Afghanistan serving our country at the time so we know he was not responsible.

Two people have been charged. Staff Sergeant Louis Ray Perez, 16-year Marine veteran; as well as a woman named Jessica Lopez. The judge in this case demanded their faces be blurred. I don`t know why, but he did, and they both pleaded not guilty.

Now, this is the female suspect you`re going to see right here. The connection between her and Perez has not been established, but they live at the same address and some published reports claim -- this is a claim -- that she was behaving in some kind of a sex game as one of his sex slaves and that he advertised himself as lord and master on several sadomasochistic Web sites.

We tried to reach representatives and attorneys for these suspects, without success. They are invited on our show any time. We want to get the full story.

This we know, Brittany had just filed for divorce from her husband who was then deployed in Afghanistan. She was supposed to go out with Staff Sergeant Perez on the night she disappeared. Her blood found in his car as well as what prosecutors believe is the murder weapon. Secrets spilled in court yesterday including the Brittany`s final call for help.


PATRICK ESPINOSA, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Brittany sent a text message in distress asking for help shortly after the point in time, when Mr. Perez was with her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brittany`s desperate text said just this, "Help" -- that`s the one word. Authorities won`t say who she sent this to or why or exactly how she was murdered -- this beautiful woman.

Straight out to KUS iReporter Bridget Naso in San Diego, the region where this is going down. Bridget, what a bizarre case -- what`s the latest? Fill us in.

BRIDGET NASO, KUS IREPORTER: Well, we can tell you the very latest is that an arraignment just took place. And Jane you just released some of the information that we learned in that arraignment; some new information coming to light about the last moments of Brittany Killgore.

We did learn that her blood was found, prosecutors say, in the suspect`s car, in Louis Perez`s car and also a weapon. And we also heard for the first time from her husband Corey Killgore who was in Afghanistan at the time she disappeared. And he made a statement pleading that his wife`s memory be ensured and that her good reputation remain intact following this bizarre murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re absolutely right. She is not here to defend herself. And just because well, affiliate KGTV is reporting that this suspect was connected to at least two sadomasochistic Web sites, it doesn`t mean that she knew anything about that. She may have been an unwitting victim who just walked in saying she was going to have a drink or cup of coffee with these folks.

This is supposedly this suspect`s profile on one of those bizarre S&M sites. Now KGTV says Perez boasted about having a slave and solicited other women to join his, quote, "household" and some of these habits are obviously allegedly dangerous.

Here`s what authorities had to say about that.


ESPINOSA: Whatever salacious rumors are out there, I can`t respond to that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Brittany`s husband vehemently denying his wife had anything to do with this man`s alleged S&M habit, but she did file for divorce against that husband, again, who was serving the Marines.

Pat Brown, criminal profiler, I don`t want to get graphic but obviously -- and again, the victim may have had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of these proclivities but these proclivities, hypothetically can become dangerous.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, they can, and that also can indicate the type of person that likes this activities because you can have -- bondage can be not dangerous and can be not painful if you`re doing it in the right way just so it`s a kind of a fantasy thing. But then when you slide into S&M there is that sadistic part and there`s a masochistic part where there`s pain going on and humiliation.

And those kind of people, you have to wonder, what kind of guy likes to do that to women? What kind of cruelty is in him? And if he`s willing to do that, some of them go pretty darn far and some of them turn into sexually sadistic serial killers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: After Brittany disappeared her neighbors started airing their own suspicions about well, various things.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just saw her last week so I didn`t believe that she was missing. I thought maybe she was out with friends, you know. Maybe she was at somebody else`s house but she hasn`t been home.

Sometimes I hear like she was probably cheating or something. I told my husband I would hear things but I don`t know if she has friends over --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, that`s one person talking. We have no idea. This woman is not here to defend herself. She is a victim. She is a murder victim.

Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. This is doubly unfair that this other sort of salacious angle has entered this case because she may have had absolutely no idea that the person she was having an innocent drink with had these proclivities -- again.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree. I don`t think that it`s relevant at all. It doesn`t have anything to do with the value of her life. We often try to devalue someone`s life by coming up with these salacious details. And also quite frankly the S&M stuff, if I`m his lawyer -- even if he`s guilty as can be, I`d still move to keep that out of evidence because the mere mention of it seems to suggest to many people bad character. And bad character typically doesn`t come in unless it`s linked somehow to the actual death and motive and bias or interest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s why the discussion occurred to a certain degree because there`s another bizarre wrinkle. What are we to make of the suicide attempt by one of the suspects -- the female suspect, Jessica Lopez? This woman was the woman who lived in the very same house as Louis Perez even though -- and some suggests she may have been one of his purported sex slaves, as it were.

She was found in this hotel after apparently trying to take her own life. Police determined her whereabouts and raced to the scene. Listen to this witness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a bunch of cars and they just came up from everywhere. There were cop cars and then there were plain clothes with vests on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Jessica had a suicide note in which she reportedly detailed aspect of this alleged murder. And Bridget Naso, isn`t that one of the reasons why this whole lifestyle issue was coming to this case because she tried to commit suicide?

NASO: Well, I think a lot of it came to light because of hearsay and that`s what the prosecutor is saying these things. Be very careful about what you report that a lot of things that have come out are not indeed fact at all. And the fact that the suspect was found with a letter led to some more investigation, but again, it is hearsay.

We don`t have any facts in the matter and they`re cautioning against reporting anything of that nature.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t want to -- I want to debunk absolutely anything that is not accurate. So what I want to ask you Bridget is what do they think happened that night?

NASO: Well at this point, they are being tight-lipped. They are only saying what they know and the facts as they know them and that is that she was found. Her body was found the same day that the paramedics went to the hotel when they found the suspect and the note there. So once they found her body they`ve released very little information as far any details as to what they know that night.

Except the fact that one of the suspects, Louis Perez reported that he had dropped -- had seen her and dropped her off in a district of downtown San Diego called the Gas Lamp. But they have determined that during the arraignment they said that he was not in that area. That he was actually near the Camp Pendleton in the area called Fallbrook.

So there is very little details coming out Jane on this, as far as all of the salacious things, that as far as we know is all hearsay at this point.


Well, again, anybody who is involved in this case or anybody who represents any of the principals, we invite them on our show anytime. We want to get to the truth.

Thank you so much, fantastic panel.

All right. Coming up, we`re going to switch gears a little bit. A judge sends a racy snapshot around -- a judge, did I say a judge? Yes. I said a judge. This is an unbelievable story. You`ve got to hear it to believe it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have this little, I guess, battle between us on who`s in better shape, and I`m ten years younger, but yet I look like I`m ten years older. So it was a great shot. He`s in great shape. It was not sent out for any ill will or any wrong purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bad judgment. Not the best thinking in the world, but as I see it from a civil liability point of view. I don`t see any legal violation here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he does have a good body, got to say that. A Michigan judge strips off his shirt, smiles and presses "send". 55-year- old Judge Wade McCree took a half-naked self-portrait and apparently sent it to some courthouse employees. There he is fully clothed with a little bow tie.

Now his co-worker`s husband said he found it on her phone and he`s filing a complaint. He doesn`t like it at all. But this judge is telling Night (ph) Fox Detroit, he is proud to flaunt his fine -- and I mean fine physique.


JUDGE WADE MCCREE: There is no shame in my game. I didn`t talk to nobody else`s wife -- shoot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tastefully cropped, I might add.

MCCREE: Thank you. Thank you. See. You can almost get that here and now.

Oh, yes. I sent that out to other women. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s all right with your wife?

MCCREE: Sure. I mean there`s nothing nude about it. I am no more clothed than I`ll be at the Y this afternoon when I swim my mile.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the question is, is he going to get censured or is he going to get his own talk show, you know, like Judge Judy? A friend says the picture was taken about two years ago and it was part of a little fitness battle between the two.

Judge McCree sent it to a few colleagues as a testament to his athleticism, nothing more. So did this judge make a bad judgment call?

Joining me now, one of my buddies, former state court judge, Larry Seidlin; what do you think? You`ve worn the robe, you`re a judge -- harmless or harassment?

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, JUDGE ON ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: It`s not harmless. As you know, a judge is a judge 24 hours a day when you`re on the bench or off the bench. And a judge must not appear improper, and must avoid all improprieties. And by him going topless like this it sheds bad light on the judiciary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now I would look at this and I was saying, you know this reminds me something of what is it? What is it? Oh, I know, this will be a little hint right here.


ANTHONY WEINER, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Thank God, pervert.

WEINER: And most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former Congressman Anthony Weiner, there he is resigning. He admitted he engaged in several inappropriate electronic relationship with six women over several years after he was caught with a shirt off and literally his pants down in photos he took himself and sent out.

Yes, career over. Like politicians, judges are held to a very high standard and there`s the court of law and the court of public opinion. Mark Eiglarsh, it is important to maintain a certain comportment when you are a judge because you are sending people to jail. I think that is the key difference. Like, a police officer he has a gun and he has the power to arrest you, so it`s a power, but it brings responsibility.

EIGLARSH: I agree, but I disagree with my dear friend Judge Seidlin. He didn`t take his shirt off in court. Let`s understand the facts. He`s a 55-year-old guy who`s just run a marathon. He`s proud of his physique. He sent it to a couple of colleagues. They were not offended. This would not have been a story, but for a husband of the colleague looking at the phone and he, for some reasons has defects in character and he felt threatened by the photograph. So he blew the lid on this whole thing.

No one was offended. In court, he is fair, apparently. They like him. He doles out justice, sending a photograph like this to me, not a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Judge Seidlin.

SEIDLIN: It`s going mitigate the damages that it`s an isolated incident. There`s not a pattern of this kind of behavior, but it doesn`t give credibility to the judiciary. It puts us and sheds us in a bad light and he should really know better because his family is from that same area. His father was solicitor general under one of the Presidents of the United States. He`s got to know better.

They`re going slap him on the wrist pretty hard, but they won`t remove him from the bench for this act.

EIGLARSH: I`ll defend him for free. He shouldn`t be slapped at all. He didn`t do anything wrong. The guy`s ripped. What`s the problem?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s ripped.

SEIDLIN: I`ve got a great body. I`ve got a great body, but I keep my shirt on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, you can`t prove it because you keep your shirt on. He has proved it.

Listen, here`s what I say about this. You know, we`re suffering with an obesity crisis in this country. Everyone`s trying to get healthy. This guy is a living example of being fit. He is ripped, Mark.

He could have demonstrated that with his shirt on. In other words, he could have worn a tank top and put it in context of "Hey, I`ve just run the marathon, here I am crossing the finish line or just crossed the finish line" and everybody would be applauding. He just crossed that invisible line.

It is so easy to do today because you know there`s -- come on, I walk around with two cell phones. I`ve got my iPad, my Macbook and all of this and it is so easy to Skype and iPhone. The temptation is there all of the time, but --

SEIDLIN: Jane, what happened is during the Anna Nicole case, I was playing tennis, and I went into the locker room to take a shower and one of the guys took a picture of me nude. I made him destroy that picture because I was afraid that would get out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would you do that?

SEIDLIN: Because it would lessen my value, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have questions about the guy who took the photo for you. But you know, it`s funny; it`s not the end of the world. It seems like it`s --

EIGLARSH: What kind of judge is he? The question is what kind of judge is he? He didn`t put this out in public. It was sent to private people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are so right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can help horses next but first, you deserve a laugh break.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On January 2nd, 2006, a horse named spotty was returning to his stable and something happened. He was spooked. He ran into traffic. Can you imagine a huge horse over 1,000 pounds running with a carriage still attached to his back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I could see out of the corner of my eye was this horse kind of like going fast clearly out of control.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Growing demands tonight for a ban on New York City`s horse-drawn carriages. More than 100,000 people have signed a petition protesting what they say is cruel and inhumane treatment of these horses. May 1st is being called lobby day. Supporters of the ban will go to the New York State Capitol to demand this ban be put in place.

So far the people who are in favor of taking care of these horses in a different way have been ridiculed by city leaders. The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, has said things like "I have no idea what goes through their minds. The horses are well taken care of and most of them wouldn`t be alive if they didn`t have a job."

This isn`t a job they signed up for, Mr. Mayor, with all due respect. I admire you in other areas. But this is wrong; it`s morally wrong. They can`t speak for themselves.

So straight out to someone who can speak for the horses -- my very special guest, Donald Moss, the filmmaker behind the powerful new documentary "Blinders". Don, tell us what these horses go through.

DONALD MOSS, FILMMAKER: They spend nine hours of the day confined between the shafts of their carriages working in the congested streets of midtown Manhattan dodging cars, emergency vehicles, taxis, tour buses, ingesting car exhaust. They live a nose to tail pipe existence. They`re working on hard pavement which hurts their hooves. And at the end of the day they are relegated to small stalls in warehouse buildings on the far west side of Manhattan which are about two miles from Central Park where they work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Horse and Carriage Association told us, "Never in the history of our business have we been cited for animal abuse, neglect, abandonment or cruelty." But I have to say, I walk my dogs every day past these horses. I look down from my apartment. I see them going past me on the way to their, quote-unquote, "job".

You know, they look really sad to me. They look miserable to me. My heart goes out to them. What do you say to what the carriage -- the Horse and Carriage Association told us?

MOSS: One equine expert after another who I interviewed in "Blinders" conveyed the same basic point. And this, there are certain conditions in New York City that simply cannot be corrected in a way that would make the operation of horse-drawn carriages humane or safe.

For starters, horses are flight animals. When they spook and there are many stimuli in New York City that could spook an animal, they bolt. They bolt down the street into oncoming traffic. There have been numerous accidents over the years in which a spooked horse has been killed by a car, crashed into a car, pedestrians have been injured, people have gone flying out of the carriages.

21st century Manhattan is no place for a 19th century horse and buggy. They simply don`t belong on the streets anymore. That`s why so many New Yorkers have come together to demand that these horses are taken out of harm`s way once and for all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something. There are many cities around the world that have banned horse-drawn carriages. This is not something that a world class city, a leader in finance and in so many other areas should be condoning much less promoting.

On the other side, we`re going to show you a special alternative that is being devised -- an electric car that is going to be a fun alternative for tourists. There is no need for these animals to suffer anymore.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw the driver of the carriage kind of go flying.

There was a lot of blood on the horse. And I personally didn`t approach the horse because it looked like it would have caused it more pain. What I wanted to do was go to its face and try and calm it down.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mayor Bloomberg, please consider what these animals go through and that there is an alternative being proposed. Look at these snazzy electric cars. These would be fun for tourists. I live in this area. I see it all the time. These animals are in the middle of traffic.

Donnie -- you can go to to get involved. 15 seconds to wrap it up.

MOSS: The last thing I would like to say is what people don`t realize is that New York City has no pasture. So these horses are unable to do any of the things that come naturally to them like graze --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got to leave it right there.