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Horror on the Highway: Bikers Beat up SUV Driver

Aired October 1, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, horror on the highway. Caught on tape, by the way, a confrontation between the driver of an SUV and a pack of bikers turns ugly and really violent. And tonight there`s a fight over who`s to blame, the bikers or the driver who got beaten up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A road rage incident captured on helmet cam video and posted on YouTube.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They take their helmets, and they started to dent his car and apparently, his tires are slashed there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He gets boxed in, rolls over three more bikers. The chase is on yet again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not going to bring my son`s legs back, because they`re go not going to make him walk again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the bicyclists, he got off his bike, and he started attacking the person in the Range Rover, breaking the windows, and after they got him out of his car, they beat him up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In his car, his wife and baby.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. Thanks for joining me.

A man was driving his SUV along a highway last Sunday, his wife and baby daughter in the vehicle. A large group of bikers suddenly appeared riding near him. The driver reportedly called 911 to tell cops these motorcyclists are driving erratically.

Then the bikers claim the man in the SUV hit a member of their pack, Christopher Cruz, but cops say Cruz is the one who swerved in front of the car, and they`ve charged that biker with reckless endangerment.

But the real drama occurred after this first collision. Cops say the bikers then surround the SUV and begin to hit his car with their helmets and slash his tires. So the driver hits his gas pedal but in getting away he plows down three cyclists with his SUV. One of those men, Edwin Mieses Jr., suffered two broken legs and may be paralyzed for the rest of his life. His family devastated and furious.


YOLANDA SANTIAGO, EDWIN`S MOTHER: He could have at least, the first incident, at least apologize or said something, anything, exchange information of anything and I`m almost more than sure, I guarantee that these people wouldn`t have -- it wouldn`t have gone any further.

MARGIE MEJIA, EDWIN`S SISTER-IN-LAW: I don`t condone the violence. There was no need for it but he left. Yes, I`m glad they chased him down, and they stopped him and now they know who he is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But this wild story doesn`t end there. The bikers had chased that driver down until the SUV is eventually forced to stop in traffic on the side streets of Manhattan.

And then the bikers bash the car with their helmets, and that`s when the video stops.

But witnesses say the bikers pulled the driver out of his vehicle and brutally beat him while his wife and 2-year-old daughter look on. You can see the little girl in this photo taken at the scene, the driver raced to the hospital where he had to get stitches.

Another biker has just turned himself in, by the way. Cops say he`s the one who bashed the window of the SUV with his helmet.

While the video seems to confirm most of the SUV driver`s story, we haven`t seen any visual evidence that the bikers attacked him first before he ran over three of them. So who`s the aggressor here?

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel with us tonight. Straight out to it. I`ve got to start with Eboni Williams, radio personality. This guy says, "Oh, these bikers surround me; I`m scared," so he takes off, and he runs over three of them. Was he right to take off? Is it right that he`s not being charged? Should he be?

EBONI WILLIAMS, RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, Jane, I don`t think he should be. I believe the burden of proof here is reasonable fear. And I believe, based off the video that I`ve seen there, Jane, anybody would be in absolute fear for their life, not to mention the baby in the back seat, the wife. I mean, my goodness, Jane, what do we expect this guy to do? I think he was so afraid he panicked and did the only thing that any reasonable person would do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, J. Wyndal Gordon, how about lock your car, call 911 and wait? They usually arrive in three minutes. I don`t know.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: First of all, the driver had no business rear-ending the biker. I mean, that`s first and foremost. So he was wrong. He rear-ended the biker. He ran -- he ran into his rear, and he caused -- there were serious bodily injury at that point.

So as far as I`m concerned, the bikers were making a citizens` arrest. They noticed what they believed to be a felony. And as this man evaded the scene, they chased him. So they had a right to pull him out of the car and hold him until the police could come arrest him. It`s called a citizen`s arrest. And -- perfectly legitimate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jon Leiberman. Jon Leiberman.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: With all due respect to J. Wyndal, I couldn`t disagree more. First of all, police say the investigation has shown that the motorcyclists actually acted as the antagonist, cutting in front of the SUV, which started all of this. That`s No. 1.

GORDON: It`s on tape.

LEIBERMAN: People should be -- And you see it on tape that he gets in front of him and then he slows down even more, antagonizing him.

GORDON: Well, the SUV didn`t have the presence of mind to put on the brakes?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let him finish. Let him finish.

LEIBERMAN: The second thing is the people that should be charged are the people who dragged this innocent man out of his car, out of his SUV and start beating him. And most of them have hindered the police investigation, because there were no license plates on most of these motorcycles. Everybody kept their helmet on, and everybody suddenly stopped talking like they didn`t know who their other 30 buddies were.

GORDON: So what?

LEIBERMAN: So that`s really the problem here.


GORDON: I didn`t see -- I didn`t see any brake lights.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are thousands of law-abiding motorcyclists. OK. But for better or for worse, bikers have long been associated with gangs, OK, hence the phrase "motorcycle gang." The image of motorcycles, you know, rough-and-tough guys in these motorcycle gangs obviously reinforced by the pop culture. You don`t have to look any further than FX`s "Sons of Anarchy."

Look at this: Hardened criminals who run guns involved in the drug trade, create gruesome murders, and they`re all doing it on their bikes.

So I want to bring in Stephen Stubbs. You`re an attorney for 43 motorcycle clubs. That`s a heck of a lot of bikers that you represent. Is there a chance that the SUV driver who drove over these three bikers was terrified, not so much about what these bikers were doing to them at that instant, but because of the reputation of bikers in general, however unfair it is -- Stephen.

STEPHEN STUBBS, ATTORNEY (via phone): Absolutely there`s a chance. The reality is that because of shows like "Sons of Anarchy" that people watch too much of, there`s that persona. But I don`t think he was that afraid. I think he just wanted to get out of there, and he ran over those people. But yes, I think you`re right. Certainly, pop culture has driven this image.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s something else at work here, and that was what was happening at the time. You see, all these bikers had tried to get into an unauthorized rally in Times Square. This is a stunt that they pulled off last year. I want you to check it out.

OK. That`s last year. They swarmed midtown Manhattan, completely clogging up Broadway and, of course, the area, Times Square known as the crossroads of the world. And the cops didn`t like it. So this year they set up roadblocks to keep them out, and the bikers were kept out of the Times Square area. That`s how they ended up on the West Side Highway driving away from Times Square.

Straight back out to the Lion`s Den. Listen, Heather Hansen, criminal defense attorney. Could this fight have been inspired by the fact that these bikers were frustrated and angry? They didn`t get into their rally in Times Square. They`re looking to pick a fight, and boy did they find one?

HEATHER HANSEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that`s absolutely right, Jane. I think they came looking for a fight. There was up to 15 arrests other than this particular circumstance; 55 bikes were taken away from the bike riders. These bikers came with a -- with a chip on their shoulders, and they found a bad situation on that highway.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go out to the phone lines. Debbie, New York, your question or thought. Debbie, New York.

CALLER: ... follow the rules of the road. They`re all over it. There were no lines. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I don`t know how this works.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am, Ma`am, I`ve got to ask you to turn down your TV set. Turn down your TV set, and then we want to hear what you have to say.

CALLER: OK, it`s off.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi Jane, how are you?


CALLER: You`re the best. What I don`t understand is, if I didn`t know better I would think this is a movie set. And I`d like to know why these bikers don`t have to follow the rules of the road. They`re all over the place. They`re not within the lines. They`re lucky I wasn`t in that vehicle. I would have run all of them over in fear for my life. In fear for my life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go to Dan Alexander. You`re a reporter for New Jersey`s 101.5. You`ve been covering all of this. Were they breaking the law before the first incident began?

In other words, from what the cops are telling him, when he is driving, who sparked the initial confrontation: the biker who gets right in front of the car or the SUV -- Dan.

Dan? Oh, Dan?

OK. Dan, I think I want to throw that out to Jon Leiberman because you`re our in-house reporter, and you cover all these things brilliantly. You know, it`s really a judgment call. You`re looking at it in slow motion right there. Who sparked it?

LEIBERMAN: It`s a judgment call, and it`s based on interviewing those who would talk. Obviously, the victim in the SUV has been able to speak to police. Police made the determination that that motorcyclist initiated the problem there on the street.

I think the caller does bring up a good point, and that is that, yes, the bikes were all over the place. And all of that chaos, I think, contributed to the mood out there.

And make no mistake about it: It is an awful tragedy that three of the cyclists got run down by this SUV. But the police commissioner has made it clear the driver will not be charged; the driver of the SUV will not be charged with any crime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, the great thing about motorcycles, they can swerve in and out of traffic. The bad thing about motorcycles, they can swerve in and out of traffic.

Anybody who`s ever been behind the wheel of a car has had that heartbeat when all of the sudden you`re stick in traffic and a motorcycle shoots past you, going on the white line in between the cars, weaving crazy. And you look at it, and you go, that`s an accident waiting to happen. And so that`s a factor here.

Stay right there. More on the other side. And we`re taking your calls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the bicyclists, he got off his bike, and he started attacking the person in the Range Rover with his helmet, breaking the windows. And after they got him out of his car, they beat him up.



COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is sort of a major stunt event where motorcyclists from various locations come together. Their ultimate goal is to get into Times Square.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. What a mess. A melee on the West Side Highway, SUV versus bikers, and the SUV kind of won, but at what cost, driving over three bikers. One of them may be paralyzed.

But the SUV driver says, "Hey, I`m the victim here. They attacked me." OK. He claims the bikers surrounded him, slashed his tires, tried to get into his car because he thought -- well, they were going to kill him.

We don`t know if they really slashed his tires or why they initially surrounded him but they stopped him from driving at one point down the highway.

I want to go to Dan Alexander, reporter, New Jersey 101.5. What do we know about the evidence here? Do we know if his tires had indeed been slashed? Because as I learned from the Jodi Arias trial, easier said than done. It`s very hard, actually, to slash a tire to the point where that tire isn`t going to operate, and it can`t be done like that -- Dan.

DAN ALEXANDER, REPORTER, NEW JERSEY 101.5 (via phone): The car was stopped -- the SUV was stopped several times on the West Side Highway. At one point it was surrounded several times. So at some point they very well could have slashed his tires. And there`s a lot of motorcycles around that SUV before he took off.

There are at least two points there where he took off and surrounded, and someone may have slashed his tires. Ultimately, once he got into the city traffic in Harlem, when they got off the highway, he was surrounded, and someone could have slashed the tire one final time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eboni Williams -- I want to do a little face off with Eboni and J. Wyndal. Here`s my question. Is there a cultural bias that somehow, if you`re in an SUV, you get sort of the benefit of the doubt and it`s almost like vehicle profiling as it were -- Eboni.

WILLIAMS: I don`t know that that was the case. What we do know is that this was a Range Rover. A Range Rover is a huge vehicle, Jane, 14,000 pounds about, to be exact.

Look at this video. This is very clear that this motorcyclist -- and again, we can talk about pop culture bias against motorcycles, but we know this was a real, actual motorcycle gang here. They had a name and everything. The Hollywood Stunts they called themselves. To me very clearly -- you see him doing it right here, Jane. He`s instigating this matter by pulling out in front of this Range Rover, 14,000-pound vehicle, and slowing down, as if to bait the driver into what are you going to do? It`s an issue of control.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That sounds suicidal to me, J. Wyndal Gordon. Why would anybody purposefully put themselves in front of a Range Rover and risk death? For what reason?

GORDON: Clearly, that`s not what was going on in the case.

First of all, the rules of the road say that you`re supposed to keep a safe and proper distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you look at that motorcycle, that motorcycle did not have its brakes lights on. If you look at the operator of the motorcycle, he wasn`t even paying attention to the SUV. For whatever reason he wasn`t paying attention to the SUV.

The SUV slammed into the back of the motorcycles. And you all -- I know you all take these differing views, but they`re not based upon what the evidence actually shows in front of your eyes. This -- this car did not think to put on the brakes. He`s got a whole family in the car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal, with all due respect, you`re not speaking to people who have never driven before. We`ve all driven a car. I may not be the best driver in the world, but frankly you can`t just stop on a dime. I remember...

GORDON: Nobody stopped on a dime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somebody pulled out in front of me once, and I did slam into them but I was not at fault, because the person pulled right out in front of me.

GORDON: That`s not what you have here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where I couldn`t stop in time.

GORDON: Look how many seconds it takes for that man to make contact with that motorcycle that does not have its brake lights on. You do not see brake lights coming from that motorcycle. So that tells me that the motorcycle did not jam on the brakes as everyone is trying to insinuate. The car, you clearly see the car slamming in the back of the motorcycle.

LEIBERMAN: Where do you want the SUV to -- well, the question is, where do you want the SUV to go? He`s surrounded by 30 bikes.

GORDON: I want him to put on his brakes. He should put on his brakes. He knows the rules of the road. You have to keep a safe, proper distance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve made your point. On the other side of the break we`re going to give you an action point of what you can do to protect yourself on the freeway if you think somebody is coming at you and they`re dangerous. There are techniques to avoid a situation like that. Stay right there.


SANTIAGO: I`m devastated. I`m devastated. All his ribs fractured. His lungs are so badly bruised. He`s still on the ventilator.




SANTIAGO: He should at least, after the first incident, at least apologize or said something, anything to exchange information or anything. And I`m almost more than sure, I can guarantee that these people wouldn`t have -- it wouldn`t have went any further.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This incident seems like something straight out of the movies. It kind of is. It reminds a lot of people of the classic "Mad Max." Remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His only weapon, 600 horses of fuel-injected machine. His mission is a nonstop, high-torque pursuit of speed-crazed bandits.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, a young Mel Gibson. But this is not a movie. Take a look at the injuries this biker sustained. His family devastated. They say he may never walk again.

Stephen Stubbs, you`re an attorney for 43 motorcycle clubs. Isn`t there just an inherent danger in riding motorcycles? Some doctors call them donor-cycles because there are so in people who die as a result of motorcycle accidents -- Stephen.

STUBBS: Not if you -- not if you ride safely. The big problem here is this. Motorcyclists are second-class citizens. That`s a fact. If these were cars, then this SUV would have slowed down, would have been behind them. It would have been no big deal. But because they`re motorcycles, people don`t think they deserve to be on the road, and they`re treated this way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, and there`s just a lot of, I would say, angry people on the road, road violence. In fact there was another case that hit the news just today. And take a look at this video. This is also extraordinary.

This doctor is arrested in his Indiana hometown. You`re going to see it in a second. There he is. For allegedly pointing a gun at another driver. So the driver thought that this guy was driving erratically, so he starts pulling out his cell-phone camera and videotaping him, and all of the sudden he sees this man pull a gun on him.

All right. A couple of mistakes. If you feel threatened while driving do not whip out your cell-phone camera and start videotaping, because somebody`s liable to flip out on you.

Don`t make eye contact. Don`t confront the upset driver. Do not make hand gestures. And you know which one I`m talking about. Don`t drive home, because they can follow you home.

So instead just very quietly call 911 and try to slow down, let the person pass and just let the cops deal with it.

Rebecca, Texas, your question or thought. Rebecca, Texas.


CALLER: Yes, yes, I`m here. I`m sorry. Hi. Yes, I think he acted right. I mean I understand, you know, that he ran over some people. But when you have your children in the car you have to do what you have to do to protect your family.

I don`t think he intentionally meant to hurt someone, but if you`re surrounded by that many people and it`s just you and your family, you have to protect your family. They should have allowed the police to handle it after the first was hit instead of surrounding a vehicle and terrifying a family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s another lesson here. Maybe get a Prius or a smaller vehicle. I mean, these ginormous cars are potentially very dangerous if you hit someone. And, you know, they`re also gas guzzlers. Let`s talk about that for a second.

All right. On the other side of the break, we`re talking shut down. Yes, we`re less than five hours away from day two of the shutdown, people, and Americans are steaming mad. They went to stick all those politicians inside that dome, not let them out until they do something.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What message would you send to Congress?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go back to work. I`m going to work. You get to work. Are you getting paid now? I mean, when you stop work do you still get paid? I don`t.




WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It`s day one in the federal government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Totally, totally can`t believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government shut down at midnight last night. First time in 17 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s awful. I think it`s awful. It`s terrible. It should not have been done. It should not have gone this far. Do your job or get out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: America`s largest employer laying off about a quarter of its work force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bunch of jerks running the show up there, and it`s not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s stupid. They can`t get together and get it organized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The embarrassment of a great nation like America with a shutdown government over a manufactured political crisis should end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s upsetting that Congress doesn`t seem to be able to do anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news, we are less than five hours away from day two of the U.S. government shutdown, and public outrage is hitting a fever pitch. Three quarters of a million Americans have been sent home without a paycheck, people, as politicians keep on bickering on the American people`s time, leaving more and more people fed up.

Tonight, should politicians be forced to give up their paychecks until a deal is reached? I say yes. Cut them. Cut them all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to find another job if, like, they`re not paying us while they`re laid off or file for unemployment, but it`s still not going to be enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things like this can have such a big impact on the people that aren`t in the limelight, you know. The people that work in hourly positions that this whole island will be shut down. That`s a ton of different positions that people won`t be working or won`t be getting paid for.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: By the way, today marked the huge rollout of Obamacare, that`s the thing they were fighting over. I went online to test out the new health care signup Web site. You won`t believe what happened to me. I`ll show you in a second.

Straight out to my fantastic "Lion`s Den" panel and we begin with famed radio host Stephanie Miller. Here is my challenge Stephanie. Should we tell our members of Congress they cannot leave the negotiating table until they have a deal? No food, no water, lock them up, throw away the key -- I say yes, I like the sound of it.

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: I am with you girl. Go Jane. You have me all fired up. Yes, absolutely.

I mean this is just beyond ridiculous. The Republicans have taken us to this point that we have not been in at in 235 years of our history -- Jane. This law passed three and a half years ago, upheld by the Supreme Court, reaffirmed in two elections.

As John McCain said, elections matter. There is no negotiating. They just need to get back to work. You know, this law has already gone forward. You know, the sites were crashing because so many people were trying to sign up today. It`s time to move on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, some craven politicians are now trying to fund the government bit by bit -- piecemeal is what they`re calling it -- forking over money only on the basis of what the public seems the most upset about.

Exhibit A, today hundreds of veterans stormed through the barriers and they went right into a World War II Memorial even though it had been closed down by the government shutdown. Check this out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not four hours after TV cameras captured veterans going into the war memorial, jumping over the fences as it were -- a bill suddenly pops up to keep the funding for the Veteran`s Administration.

So back out to the "Lion`s Den", Amy Holmes, anchor of the Hot List -- how pathetic has politics become? Really -- lawmakers only act when they`re threatened with embarrassing publicity? Is that what it`s come to?

AMY HOLMES, ANCHOR, HOT LIST: Well, certainly we saw that with funding for the military and them getting -- active military rather and being able to get their paychecks. Both Democrats and Republicans came together on that. President Obama signed that bill because none of those politicians wanted to be embarrassed that men and women who are fighting for our freedom and in harm`s way taking bullets for their fellow citizens wouldn`t get their paycheck. So you see it on both sides of the aisle.

But I have to applaud those veterans who went down to the National Mall. I lived in Washington, D.C. for 15 years and I consider the National Mall -- the Mall -- public space. What are you going to do? Tackle people and arrest them when they want to go and pay tribute to our country and their patriotism. Clearly that wasn`t going to happen.

I don`t agree with the piecemeal approach either and I think it`s frankly a nonstarter. But in terms of, you know, who is being stubborn here, we have heard from the President and from Senate Majority Harry Reid, over and over and over, they refuse to negotiate. They weren`t even in Washington over the weekend to talk to Republicans --

MILLER: Excuse me.

HOLMES: -- talk to Republicans to be able to come to an agreement on this continuing resolution. But there was some daylight today as Senator - -


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes, yes. Yada, yada, yada -- day light. I don`t want something daylight. I want something signed, sealed and delivered. This shutdown is affecting people`s jobs, their paychecks and huge life events -- a couple was planning to get married at the Grand Canyon. They have to change their plans because of the shutdown. They`re not happy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been all over the place. I got the call Thursday night, I cried, I was freaking out. And then I thought I was turning into a bridezilla or something like that because I had to make all new plans on Friday.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then there are the three-quarters of a million people who`ve lost their jobs. I want to go to Melanie, no last name, but you`re having the courage to talk to us tonight. I`m so happy to have you on. You`re a furloughed government engineer.

So many people are laying low that have been furloughed. How does it feel to be furloughed, no paycheck while members of Congress are cashing their paychecks and making their money?

MELANIE, FURLOUGHED GOVERNMENT ENGINEER: I`m angry. I will say that`s the biggest thing. And if you talk to my co-workers and people I work with, that`s the first thing that`s come up. Everybody is angry.

We`re tired as public workers being demonized and having people in Washington play games with our life when it has real life consequences. I mean people are suffering. It`s -- we`re angry. That`s like the only word I can use to describe how we feel right now -- very upset, very angry and very let down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you have ever right to be upset. One U.S. Senator put it very well. They said Americans are so fed up many are saying a pox on both of your houses.

There`s a new poll that shows 90 -- nine-zero -- 90 percent of Americans do not support Congress, an extraordinary level of disgust frankly with our government. A lot of people really feel the whole system is morally corrupt. I do. I feel it`s driven by money and power that politicians respond more to powerful lobbyists with deep pockets than to average Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

And I want to go back out to the "Lion`s Den" -- with record levels of cynicism, I think this is an opportunity for a new voice, a new approach that`s not Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative but replaces those stale ideologies with a fresh way of doing things purpose. What do you think Amy Holmes?

HOLMES: Well, I agree with the caller that if these politicians are going to be playing this game and refusing to sit down and talk with each other, they should feel the pain too. They certainly get to cash their paychecks every two weeks. The federal workers can`t. And I think that that would possibly motivate them, put a fire underneath them to try to resolve this and talk to one another.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stephanie Miller, listen, I`m talking about a new voice, perhaps somebody who says let`s get term limits, let`s cut out the corporate lobbyist, let`s ban politicians and bureaucrats from graduating to the private sector so that they do everything the private sector wants because they want that cushy job once they leave the government.

There are so many things we could do in terms of ethics to make these people more accountable. They`re power mad -- Stephanie.

MILLER: Listen. Yes, I agree with you. But you know what? You just had a furloughed government worker on Jane. And guess who`s the only party that`s been rooting for public employees to be laid off? Republicans. Amy Holmes knows I love her and I`ve had lunch with her in D.C. But don`t slip that both sides in because you know it`s not both sides.


MILLER: Name me one time that another party has tried to repeal a law that has already been passed.

HOLMES: They won`t talk to the Republicans.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hate to disappoint you ladies but you`re part of the stale dialogue unfortunately. Republican, democrat, liberal, conservative -- I think it`s the time for an entirely fresh idea, somebody who really wants to clean up this entire government which is -- I call it legally corrupt. Basically the corporations control the agencies that are supposed to monitor them. And that`s the bottom line.

And we all know it`s true. C.C. Stinson --


MILLER: Jane -- there`s only one answer. You have to run for president and give up your show and give it to me. That`s the only answer. I would love it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, all right.

HOLMES: I`ll be your speech writer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You`re my official (inaudible) along with Amy.

C.C. Stinson, thank you for joining us. You`re an uninsured single mom and you`re affected by the government shutdown. Your sister got a furlough by text. Is that for real, C.C.?

C.C. STINSON, UNINSURED SINGLE MOM: Yes, can you believe that? It was just really so devastating. I mean he she was actually visiting me for a little bit when we received the news and it just really put a damper on anything. And in addition, she still takes care of our mother who is actually on Medicare and doing chemo treatments.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

STINSON: This is a trickle down effect on an American family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve heard of breaking up by text, that`s nasty and so is putting somebody on a furlough via text.

Now today, Day one of Obamacare, the roll out and really, thousands - - maybe even millions have flocked to the Web site to sign up. So I tried to sign on to the site just a couple of hours ago and this is what happened to me. Check it out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Despite all the fighting in Washington, Obamacare is on. So let`s check it out. It`s very easy. They say go to, that`s what we`ve done -- Very simple, right?

The health insurance marketplace is open, apply now. Let`s just click on that and see what happens. All right.

Let`s get started. It says select your state. So let`s select my state, New York, right here. Visit the state of New York, applying with -- there it is. Fabulous. All right. I`m ready. I`m ready. I`m ready. Let`s get started.

"Web page cannot display". There have been some kinks and this is coming up a lot. A lot of people complaining they`re going to the site and they`re either getting a "please wait, thanks for your patience" or they`re just getting "web page cannot display".

So a bit of a rocky start.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. "Lion`s Den", Stephanie, the whole fight is over delaying Obamacare. They push it through, it`s there and then it doesn`t work. Is that an example of government incompetence?

MILLER: Well, Jane, as the President said, there were so many people trying to get on today, the site was crashing. I just installed iOS7 on my iPhone and I almost threw my phone in to ocean.


MILLER: Like, you can`t tell me Medicare, Social there haven`t been glitches in any huge program that`s been rolled out. This was day one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we all have a sense that the government often doesn`t work. How soon have you ever gotten somebody on the phone from the government and this just reinforces it, Amy.

I`ll give you the final word for a couple of seconds.

HOLMES: Indeed it does and you wonder why faith in government is so low. There was three and a half years to get prepared. There were warning signs of all these glitches and interestingly, you know, it`s conservatives and Republicans were suggesting let`s do a delay so they can get their act in order.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you`re back with that old dialogue. New party.

We need a new party. Wait. There is a new party -- the Green Party.

HOLMES: Or the Independent Party.

MILLER: Or the Liberal Party.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The most important thing, people you can go to my Facebook page, JaneVelezMitchell/Facebook, it tells you how to get in touch with your member of Congress. Demand that they stay locked up without food or water until they make a deal.

All right. Up next -- a husband accused of murdering his stunning wife. You will not believe the interrogation tapes that were played in open court today. Wedded bliss turns to murder?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re just thrilled to know that so many people want justice for Nikki.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you see this tonight David, you`re were you`re supposed to be. Thank God, finally.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next: mistresses and murder, a wild story of a stunning couple whose marriage looked idyllic but not quite. Oh no. Is a cheating husband guilty of murdering his stunning wife? We`re going to examine that next. Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nicole Pietz disappeared in January 2006. She was naked and had been strangled. Police always said this. It`s the husband. He had multiple affairs.

MARTIN DAVID PIETZ, HUSBAND OF NICOLE PIETZ: When I got there, she was not there. And I haven`t been able to contact her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An acquaintance testifying today that David dosed his wife with the drug Ecstasy in order to have sex with her in a Seattle nightclub.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the defendant ever helped you with (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he woke up one morning in 2006 and his wife was simply gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The suspect in this incident may have started to think he was going to get away with this one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case against David Pietz is completely circumstantial but prosecutors say he left a mountain of mistakes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you see this tonight, David, you`re where you`re supposed to be.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight breaking news. Stunning new police interrogation tapes played in the brutal murder trial of a beautiful suburban wife. Prosecutors saying this handsome hubby murdered his wife more than seven years ago so he could keep having a slew of mistresses on the side but no longer on the side because she`ll be dead.

Nicole Pietz vanished from her Washington home back in 2006. Days later she was found naked and strangled in the woods. Cops say she disappeared the very same day she found out her husband was cheating on her. Prosecutors have laid out evidence that David Pietz was a serial cheater. Four different women testified that he was having affairs with them, one even dating back to when he was newly engaged to his wife.

Husband David Pietz claims his wife who was eight years sober left home for an AA meeting to celebrate her sobriety birthday and never came back. Then he suggested she took a bottle of pain killers -- Percocet, right -- and OD`d. Listen to this part of his interrogation tape played in court from ABC News.


PIETZ: So many pills, I don`t know if I was just hoping she did or I was thinking she flushed them down the toilet.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the "Lion`s Den", Jon Leiberman, is he really suggesting that his wife took her clothes off, got naked herself, took a bunch of pills strangled herself and then tossed herself in the woods?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you said it. Look, the bottom line is this. Circumstantial cases can be won. They`re much more difficult. Yes this case is entirely circumstantial but there is a lot of evidence and at the heart of it is the credibility of this alleged killer.

I mean I went through the court documents and you look at it, for one, a major thing is this diamond tennis bracelet that he claims disappeared when she disappeared but then six years later it turns up in his possession. He fails a lie detector test about it. He lies about, you know, not having any affairs and then all these women take the stand. He says he`s not into drugs.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is a smoking gun here that I think is absolutely extraordinary, all right. We`re going to get to it now because it`s really unbelievable. It`s like something out of "Murder She Wrote".

Minutes after learning his wife`s body was dead -- found dead -- ok, David Pietz is interrogated by cops. Detectives say it looks on the surface like he might have broken down and sobbed during this investigation. Listen to this and watch carefully -- from ABC.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had the appearance of crying but I didn`t see the tears.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, yes, basically the detective is saying that it looked like he was crying but when he looked very carefully there were no actual tears. But here is the smoking gun and I want to throw this to Ebony Williams. This is unbelievable.

When the body is found naked and strangled in the woods, Nicole is wearing a mouth guard that she never wore except when she was going to sleep. So first of all, who goes off to an AA meeting to celebrate their sobriety birthday and then decides I`m on my way to celebrate my sobriety birthday, I`m going to go get stoned. As a person who`s 18 years sober, I can tell you, that`s not the moment when you decide to go out.

And secondly, who goes wearing the mouth guard that they only wear when they`re sleeping. What does it tell you Ebony?

EBONY WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: Well it tells us that he`s clearly lying about that part of it. He`s got to be a criminal defense attorney`s worst nightmare because he`s talking too much, you know, cardinal sin as a defendant talking way too much. It`s not this guy`s job to figure out the theory of the case. That`s the prosecutor`s job let them handle that.

But what he`s doing in his statement, he`s giving away too much evidence, you know, showing himself to be a liar to the gentleman`s point earlier, credibility completely undermined and now we don`t believe him. Even though it`s strictly circumstantial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It tells me that she was in bed when whatever bad thing happened to her happened. She did not go off to an AA meeting. She was wearing her mouth guard, she was asleep in bed and something interrupted her life. Stay right there. We`ll be back on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six years have gone by. The suspect in this incident may have started to think that he was going to get away with this one.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to

Lucky -- you are very plucky with that baby pacifier. Ms. Cookie -- you are scrumptious. What an outfit. And, Tikka -- what are you, snowboarding? What`s going on there? He`s a rugged dog. And Sky looks towards the sky with those beautiful blue eyes.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just thrilled to know that so many people want justice for Nikki.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you see this tonight, David? You`re where you`re supposed to be. Thank God -- finally.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After his wife suddenly vanished, David Pietz told cops he was depressed, he never used drugs and he had virtually no sex drive. Listen to this from ABC.


PIETZ: I don`t have much of a libido. It`s usually -- kind of off (inaudible).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the jury`s already heard from four women who testified about his cheating ways while married to Nicole. And, again, one of his mistresses testified that this women slipped his wife Ecstasy to try to get her in bed to have a threesome.

Back out to the "Lion`s Den", Heather Hansen, criminal defense attorney, a terrible thing if true but it doesn`t -- a cheater doesn`t make a murderer necessarily.

HEATHER HANSEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s right, Jane. We have plenty of direct evidence that he was a jerk, plenty of direct evidence that he was a cheater. What we don`t have is direct evidence that he killed her. You talked about how she had her mouth guard in. There`s no evidence of a struggle in the house. There`s no DNA evidence whatsoever and in fact, there`s a fingerprint of a third person found in her car.

So the prosecution is going to have to overcome all of that in order to make this case stick.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal, the mouth guard to me is the smoking gun.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think so, too, Jane. I don`t think the case is that complicated. His defense attorneys would do him well to be trying to consider some type of plea bargain in this situation. How is she going to have a mouth guard, how is she going to be naked, how is she going to be strangled, all --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but it doesn`t necessarily point to him. That`s the problem. Yes. It`s all very suspicious, but six years have passed --

GORDON: A mouth guard? Doesn`t she go to bed with a mouth guard to keep from snoring? Isn`t that what that`s for?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you but would you convict on that basis?

GORDON: I think circumstantially, you can consider that evidence and I think it militates towards a conviction more so than whatever defense he has of not being the one responsible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I don`t know.

GORDON: And I`m a defense attorney. That is the rule.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beyond reasonable doubt. It`s very suspicious.

So check this out from GMA. We`ll be right back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another idyllic wedding turned into a murder case? Are you sleeping with the enemy? To find out, go to my Facebook page. Information you need to know.

"NANCY GRACE" is up next.