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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Ex Says Zimmerman is Suicidal; Greenpeace Activists Granted Bail in Russia

Aired November 20, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news. Tonight, George Zimmerman is out of jail, but in deep trouble. And says a Florida affiliate, in deep depression.

There he is, leaving in shorts. Right now he`s somewhere in Florida with an electronic monitoring device attached to him, waiting for his next trip to court in January, after being accused of pointing a gun at his now ex-girlfriend on Monday.

But the drama surrounding this former Neighborhood Watchman is the big story tonight. It just keeps escalating, with shocking new information from WKNG that the ex-girlfriend`s family claims George once almost OD`d on sleeping pills and stuck a gun into his mouth, saying he wanted to end it all.

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

We are also learning tonight that George`s estranged wife, Shellie -- you remember her from the trial, of course -- she took the opportunity of George being locked up in jail this week to hit him with divorce papers.

Does all this stunning new information shed new light on Zimmerman`s killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin? We all know four months ago, Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon, even though he admitted shooting the teenager on a dark, rainy night.

Tonight, stunning new allegations from George`s now ex-girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, who called cops on Monday and said, "George is pointing a gun in my face," but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Zimmerman is out on bail, but not out of hot water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, do you have anything to say?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, WAS ARRESTED ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGES (via phone): I never pulled a firearm. I never displayed it.

SAMANTHA SCHEIBE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S EX-GIRLFRIEND (via phone): You just broke my glass table. You just broke my sunglasses and you put your gun in my freaking face!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His estranged wife, Shellie, called 911, accusing him of assault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And by the way, Zimmerman`s wife, Shellie, served him with divorce papers Monday night while he sat in a jail cell.

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, ESTRANGED WIFE OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He`s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun, and he keeps saying, "Step closer." He`s just threatening all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, do you want to defend yourself?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, in court yesterday, the prosecutor dropped a bombshell when she said the victim said George tried to choke her also a week and a half earlier, adding George was frequently suicidal. Is it because he`s flat broke? Indeed, reports are he`s $2.5 million in debt and is being represented not by a fancy lawyer. Remember Mark O`Mara? No, this time it`s a public defender.

But we also remember his BFF, Frank Taaffe, who came to the rescue again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Taaffe, is it true, you`re putting up the bond?

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I am.

GRACE: You`ve got $9,000 to throw down the -- right down the tubes to get Zimmerman out of jail? Better make sure you`ve got...

TAAFFE: What difference if it`s $9,000 or $9 million? George has been oppressed by the press, you know, since day one, since this all happened. I`ve got the money, yes. I`ve got the money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel tonight. We begin with investigative reporter, Jon Leiberman, with this jaw-dropping information from Florida`s WKNG about George Zimmerman being in deep, deep, deep depression. Jon, tell us.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, well, Jane, a local affiliate there is reporting that the ex-girlfriend claims that George Zimmerman has been spiraling out of control for the past several weeks.

One thing that is telling is this. She tells the local affiliate that he got more and more depressed when his name was not in the headlines. That he had a marked change in his behavior and his demeanor when he didn`t open up the paper or turn on TV and see himself. This would actually corroborate the fact that, in the four months since he was acquitted, he`s been in the traffic stops, he`s been in the middle of now multiple alleged domestic incidents. So it does appear that he does love the limelight, at the very least.

And one other quick thing, Jane. These reports about him being $2.5 million in debt, these might actually be inflated. And I`ll tell you why. Because a couple of his attorneys, if you`ll recall, said they were doing a lot of his work, in the Trayvon Martin case, pro bono. So he claims he has $144 to his name, and he owes $2.5 million. I`m not quite sure that that`s completely accurate, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, given that George has now had at least two major incidents with women in his life, where he`s accused of having a gun and turning violent, we have to ask the big question. Does this shed new light on his motives on that dark and rainy night that she shot and killed unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin?

You remember that his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman, has said publicly, on television, that on the night her husband shot Trayvon Martin dead, she was not at home. She was staying at her dad`s house, because she and George had gotten into an argument the night before, and she had left.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. ZIMMERMAN: Hey, we had some break-ins in my neighborhood, and there`s this real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. It`s raining, and he`s just walking around, looking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old would you say he looks?

G. ZIMMERMAN: He`s got a button on his shirt. Late teens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Late teens, OK.

G. ZIMMERMAN: Something`s wrong with him. Yes. He`s coming to check me out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, George had been portrayed as an overzealous Neighborhood Watchman profiling a teenager, but now it seems like George has this pattern of pulling guns after relationship problems.

His estranged girlfriend, Samantha, says George pointed a shotgun at her just a couple of months ago. Shellie, his estranged wife, called cops saying George was threatening her with a gun.

Got to go out to the Lion`s Den. Wendy Walsh, psychologist, does this say that perhaps that horrible, horrible tragedy was really a lot more about George Zimmerman`s reaction to a relationship problem at home? Does it put a whole new spin on the shooting of Trayvon Martin?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it absolutely does, Jane. Remember, the common denominator in all these three incidents is George Zimmerman.

And I want you to understand how an attachment injury, being betrayed or left by a secure attachment figure -- your girlfriend, your husband, your wife -- can make people feel terrified, because it`s like they`ve lost their mooring, they`ve lost their anchor. So him feeling afraid might make him go out in the neighborhood, see something that feels like a threat to him and maybe him alone, and act on it.

And here we see the same thing happening again. The wife serving him divorce papers. He`s fighting with his girlfriend, and again, he`s reacting in a fight or flight, violent way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Areva Martin, attorney. Do you think, in light of all of this, and in light of the fact that Shellie Zimmerman said, "Hey, we had a fight the night before. I wasn`t home," that maybe the prosecution mishandled Zimmerman`s prosecution by focusing so much on the profiling of an innocent teenager and not getting into the head of a man who may be a guy who has just got a screw loose, especially when he`s got a relationship problem in one hand and a gun in the other.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I think, Jane, you know, we spent a lot of time talking during the trial about the mistakes that the prosecution was making. And clearly, this, I think, highlights some of those mistakes.

And also, I think it`s important to know the 911 call that you just showed. Also, the call with the fight with the girlfriend, George is very smart about calling the police and getting his version of the story on the record. And we saw during the trial, he took this criminal justice class, and he thinks that he can outsmart the police.

I hope in this case with the girlfriend, this domestic violence charge, he doesn`t get away with that, because when I listen to that call, again, it seemed like George trying to get his story on the record, so that the girlfriend`s story would be discredited. And this guy is very savvy in that way. And I think, hopefully, this case, you know, he won`t get off; he won`t be allowed out on the streets. This guy is dangerous. He`s a train wreck waiting to happen.

WALSH: He tends to grab for his gun. And when he`s going through some kind of breakup or relationship problem, he feels particularly scattered, particularly terrified, particularly looking everywhere he can in a paranoid way.

But, Jane, I do want to say one thing about the ex-girlfriend and the 911 call. While I`m sure she was frightened and I`m sure she was getting her story out, if someone held a gun to your face, would you stand there on the phone talking to them and talking to the 911 operator? Or would you be running like lightning as far away as possible? The fact that she`s still staying there engaging him and he supposedly has a gun is confusing to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, indeed. She then tells prosecutors, "Oh, a week and a half earlier, he tried to choke me," and she`s still in the same house with him. But I`m not one to judge.

And the way it went down was that supposedly he had kicked her out of the house and locked the door, so that when she`s talking to the police on the 911 call, he`s in the process of shoving her out. And she did say on that 911 call, she didn`t want to get the neighbors involved, which I can certainly understand. I can understand that.

(CROSSTALK)

LEIBERMAN: But Jane, one other point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Jon.

LEIBERMAN: Well, a couple points. No. 1 is, you know, if George Zimmerman was so depressed and he was threatening suicide and attempting suicide, why didn`t anybody try to get him some help? That`s something we don`t know.

The second thing is, you know, in all fairness here, it`s easy to Monday morning quarterback, the acquittal in the Zimmerman case. The bottom line is that the evidence that was presented wouldn`t be any different now than it was then. And the bottom line is we may...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I disagree. I disagree for one second. Ashleigh Merchant, criminal defense attorney, Shellie Zimmerman spoke to, I believe it was ABC News, and said, "I wasn`t there. I had a fight with him the night before, I left. I stayed at my dad`s house."

If you`re -- if you`ve got psychological awareness, you`ve got to know that that is a factor. And I think if they had played up that factor, it would have put the jurors more in his head, that he`s in a state of crisis about something that has nothing to do with this poor kid, Trayvon Martin, who walks into his world and ends up getting blown away.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But there`s really no way for that to be interjected in a criminal trial, Jane.

LEIBERMAN: Exactly.

MERCHANT: The problem is there is no -- there`s no psychological test before you can own a gun. There`s no psychological test before you can stand trial...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no. But let me ask you this question, and I`m sorry to jump in, Ashleigh. In the opening statements, couldn`t the prosecution have said, on that night, Shellie Zimmerman was not at home. She had had a fight with her husband, George, the night before. She had left to go to her father`s house. He was already in a state of anxiety, perhaps, and this was an unusual situation. When he`s out -- when he`s out and about with his gun, doing his errands, he`s already in an unusual situation, because his wife just left him. I think they could have said that in opening statements.

MERCHANT: They could have, but that might have come back to bite them later on, because, remember, Shellie Zimmerman was not cooperating with them at that point. She was charged with perjuring herself. So they didn`t really want to bank on Shellie Zimmerman helping their case, and that might have proven risky if they used that in opening statements.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`re just getting started. This is a stunner. This guy gets acquitted of murder, and he`s suicidal because he`s not in the headlines anymore? And that`s why, perhaps -- I don`t know, we`re asking the question -- he keeps getting into trouble? Are you kidding me?

Stay right there. We`ll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. ZIMMERMAN: I never pulled a firearm. I never displayed it. When I was packing it, I`m sure she saw it. I mean, we keep it next to the bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is her weapon put up?

G. ZIMMERMAN: I have no idea. It`s hers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about your weapon?

G. ZIMMERMAN: It`s in a bag, locked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s going on?

SCHEIBE: He`s in my house, breaking all my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) because I asked him to leave. He has a freaking gun, breaking all my stuff right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: According to CNN affiliate WKNG, that now-ex- girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, is claiming George recently took a bottle of sleeping pills and then stuck a gun in his mouth, inside his mouth, and threatened to shoot it and end it all, because he had nothing to live for.

Yesterday in court, the prosecutor echoed those claims. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The victim had indicated that there was a prior domestic violence incident that occurred approximately a week and a half ago that involved a choking that she did not report to the police. She didn`t fear for her safety on the day of this incident. She had indicated that they had been discussing breaking up.

He`s also -- has mentioned suicide in the recent past. Due to those factors and the defendant indicating at the time he was threatening to commit suicide that he had nothing to lose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(SFX: ELEPHANT TRUMPETING)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s talk about the elephant in the room. Samantha alleges George seemed to become suicidal when he was not in the headlines. This man was acquitted of murder. I mean, he should be happy that he`s not behind bars.

So Areva Martin, attorney, there`s a couple of possibilities. That he simply likes being the center of the media`s attention, and he gets depressed because he misses the cameras.

But the other thing that occurs to me is that, perhaps when the attention goes away, he`s left with himself, and the horror of what he`s done rises up and depresses him, because he did kill someone. That`s not in dispute.

MARTIN: I think you`re right, Jane. There are two possibilities here. What we know about this guy is that he does love the limelight. He keeps finding himself in trouble. And I think, also, what we`re learning about him is that this isn`t new.

Now, in the trial, they dressed George up, and he was a different guy. But remember, he had domestic violence issues even before the Trayvon Martin incident occurred. So I don`t think this is a new George. I think this is the same old George. And the limelight is driving him to act even more irrationally. And we keep reporting it; we keep talking about it.

So in some ways, we`re playing right into what he wants, which is to wake up in the morning, see his name in the paper and think, you know, now I`m a big man of sorts. It`s really sick conduct. It`s dangerous conduct, and I just want to say Wendy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me -- OK, go ahead. Go ahead.

MARTIN: I just want to say to Wendy, about you know, whether the girlfriend was standing there with the gun being pointed at her and talking to the police.

Wendy, you know that women in domestic violence situations, they do very irrational things sometimes. They stay in relationships that are harmful to them. So I don`t want to cast aspersions or suggest that this woman isn`t telling the truth, because there are too many incidents of George Zimmerman with a gun.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. This could be a ginormous case of alleged domestic violence that that story line was totally missed. And this is the thing that occurs to me today as I start seeing this pattern.

But by the way, if we didn`t cover the story, all hell would break loose. People would accuse us of covering up for him. So of course we have to cover the news.

Vanessa, Texas, what do you have to say? Vanessa, Texas.

CALLER: Hi, Jane, how are you? This is Vanessa. I`m a big fan of the show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL; Thank you.

CALLER: However, what I would like to say about the consequences of George Zimmerman`s actions the night of Trayvon Martin is that, you can only put up a thought for so long. And his conscience is what`s really eating at him and the outbursts and the whole reasons for his outbreak and actions that he`s having now.

He got -- he got away with murdering Trayvon. But because of his actions and the guilt he`s feeling within himself, that`s why he`s continuing to cry out. He`s trying to hide a psyche that he`s just not able to hide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree you 100 percent.

And Ashleigh Merchant, criminal defense attorney, I`ve argued with this with O.J. Simpson. Everybody says, oh, he`s a sociopath, a psychopath; he has no feelings. I think everybody, except for these advanced serial killers, have some kind of a sense of guilt on a subconscious level.

MERCHANT: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: hey want to be punished for what they`ve done, and many people, of course, felt that O.J. Simpson got away with double murder.

And Joran Van Der Sloot was never prosecuted for Natalee Holloway`s disappearance, but then he ends up in prison in another country.

There`s a cycle and a pattern here of people who, quote, "get away with things" ending up bringing on their own punishment down the road.

MERCHANT: Right, there`s two things, Jane. First of all, he is used to being involved with law enforcement. He`s used to talking to lawyers every day. He`s used to having to obey conditions of bond and things like that. So for him to go from a life where he has had to live under the public scrutiny, under law enforcement scrutiny, for well over a year, to not having that at all is difficult.

And so he could be provoking these incidents, so that he gets back in having a lawyer and having to go to court and having to pay attention to law enforcement and things like that. You know, he definitely could have that. But there`s also got to be an immense amount of guilt, even if he truly believes that he was justified in killing Trayvon Martin, he has to feel bad. Because he took a young child`s life. So he`s got to have some amount of remorse, and that has to weigh heavy on his soul.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We reached out to all parties involved for comment, including Zimmerman`s defense attorneys, his brother, Samantha Scheibe`s mom, Frank Taaffe, the whole bunch. Frank Taaffe confirmed he bailed Zimmerman out. He says he has no idea where he is right now tonight. But know he`s wearing an electronic monitoring device, and he`s back in court January 7.

And coming up, wow, you won`t believe the latest saga not just from this kooky guy, who`s but there`s another politician, an American politician making headlines for cocaine use. It`s an unbelievable story right on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: You know what, I made mistakes. I drank too much. I smoke some crack sometimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That you would do it in the first place...

FORD: No, I didn`t say that. I didn`t say that. You`re absolutely wrong, what you said. They said, do you smoke crack and are you a crack addict? No, I don`t smoke crack and I`m not a crack addict. Have I? Yes, I have.

So that`s -- I didn`t lie. I don`t smoke crack. I haven`t smoked crack in over a year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protesting to protect the environment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are on a peaceful voyage important to protest against the threat to the planet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities claiming their actions endangered the oil rig`s crew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty of them from 18 different countries are all now in jail waiting for their trial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight in "Planet E.R.," when will this American hero -- you saw him walk by right there -- see freedom?

He`s Captain Peter Wilcox, one of the heroic and courageous Greenpeace activists granted bail after being harassed, handcuffed, and thrown in dank, cold Russian prison cells two months ago. He`s been sitting in prison for two months after protesting a Russian-owned oil rig, operating in the Arctic Sea.

Russian courts announced today they would begin granting bail for some of the other 28 activists and two journalists known as the Arctic 30, including our buddy, Captain Peter Wilcox, who hails from Connecticut. We`re going to talk to his wife in just a second.

Two months ago, Greenpeace sent out on a ship to peacefully protest a Russian state-owned oil rig they say is extremely dangerous to the environment, because it`s sitting in a sealed-off area of the ocean. Any kind of spill would get trapped, causing immense damage to wildlife.

The activists sailed near the oil rig in inflatable boats, trying to climb aboard to raise a banner. That`s when Russian authorities started spraying them with high-pressure water blasts and firing warning shots. Russian authorities claim the activists endangered the crew on the oil rig. Greenpeace says they were unfairly arrested in international waters.

Russia was denounced around the world for doing all of that. And that may be why they released some of these activists and granted bail for others.

All 30 members who were aboard the ship called the Arctic Sunrise still face charges of hooliganism. In Russia, that carries up to seven years in prison.

Straight out to the executive director of Greenpeace U.S., Phil Radford.

Phil, Greenpeace has posted bail, but what happens to these people now? These people are from Americans. They`re from Europe. They`re from all over the world. Do they have to stay in Russia until they face trial?

PHIL RADFORD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE U.S.: We don`t know yet, but the conditions of the bail aren`t clear. What is clear is that bail is very rare in Russia. And so the activists are receiving treatment that they should.

And what`s really clear is that they did not commit a crime. They deserve to be home with their families. And the Russian government should spend time thinking about protecting our environment and not imprisoning innocent people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Russia is going backwards on a whole bunch of issues, including gay rights. And so this doesn`t surprise me, but it really upsets me that, when you are protesting in international waters, you can be hauled in and stuck in a prison cell for two months. We don`t know what`s going to happen to these people. I mean, this has been horrifying.

I want to bring in my very special guest, Maggie Wilcox. You are the wife of the captain of this ship, Peter Wilcox. He captained the Greenpeace ship. He`s behind bars right now. What are you going through emotionally as the drags into its -- beyond its second month?

MAGGIE WILCOX, WIFE OF PETER WILCOX (via phone): Well, have to say, I was thrilled to actually be able to see my husband on the courtroom video. That -- that just made my month.

But, you know, I`m relieved and I`m grateful that his living conditions are about to improve, but this isn`t over yet, by a long stretch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you scared that he might end up behind bars in Russia, which has notorious prisons, for up to seven years?

WILCOX: Of course I am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, how is that affecting your day-to-day life?

WILCOX: It`s -- you know, as you might imagine, it`s been a roller coaster, but I know Peter needs his family to stay strong, so that`s what we`re doing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Phil Radford of Greenpeace, has this boomeranged on Russia? I mean, Greenpeace wanted to draw attention to the environmental destruction that is connected to climate change, which of course, we`ve had these devastating -- the typhoon in the Philippines, the tornadoes in the Midwest. People are starting to get the idea that, yes, it`s for reals, and it`s going to affect me. And by arresting your people, have they brought the world`s attention to exactly the point that you wanted to make?

RADFORD: I think it has. I think there`s nothing more embarrassing than being this heavy-handed right before the Olympics for Russia.

And what has happened is leaders like Hillary Clinton have said, this is outrageous. There should be more public outrage. And world governments should work together to regulate drilling over fishing and other extractions in the Arctic.

So what Peter took this risk for is actually paying off, but the truth is, he doesn`t deserve this. He should be freed today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me tell you something, one of the reasons why Greenpeace does what it does, one of the reasons I`ve been a longtime Greenpeace member, is because the big countries are not doing what they should be doing.

They failed on the Kyoto Protocol. There has been basically no movement in terms of a global agreement between developed nations and developing nations to cut greenhouse gases, to cut the emissions. Our waters are getting warmer. The Arctic caps are melting. And you`re seeing the results in the storms that are covered on the news every single day.

These people are trying to save your property and your lives. There is a connection. We`ve got to support them. Thank you, Greenpeace. Carry on!

On the other side, what do these two politicians have in common? It`s unbelievable, but it`s drugs. That`s a hint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROB FORD, TORONTO MAYOR: Well, let`s see this video, once and for all, please. And they keep talking about a video...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know that it --

FORD: ... and have spent millions of dollars following me, but I haven`t been charged with anything. Just show the video and stop playing the games.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, what do these two politicians have in common? It`s unbelievable, but it`s drugs. That`s a hint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: Well, let`s see this video once and for all, please. They keep talking about a video --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know that it --

Ford: -- and they have spent millions of dollars following me, but I haven`t been charged with anything. Just show the video and stop playing the games.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freshman congressman Trey Radel, a family man.

REP. TREY RADEL (R), FLORIDA: I`m Trey Radel and this is my wife, Amy.

Hello, my name`s Trey, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charges of misdemeanor cocaine possession after his arrest last month, saying he`s profoundly sorry to let down his family and the people of southwest Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terribly disappointed.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congressman Radel said I plead guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s destroying his own family.

RADEL: I want to be a conservative voice that stands up for what`s right and does the right thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oops. Not anymore. Tonight I`m fed up with this cocaine congressman. A D.C. drug sting netted the freshman representative almost by accident. The self-proclaimed family man, Trey Radel, pleaded guilty today to buying cocaine from an undercover officer. He says he`s got a problem and he`s off to rehab.

What`s emerging tonight, this wasn`t a one-time horrible decision. Radel had done it before. Tell me this. Why hasn`t he resigned yet?

The former TV news anchor told a federal judge this morning, he`s hit rock bottom. He`s apologized. He`s admitted his cocaine use was a product of his alcoholism. Ironically, just two months ago, he voted for a new law that would -- are you sitting down -- force food stamp recipients to pee into cups to prove they`re not on drugs. Oh, the hypocrisy. I wonder if he`d vote the same way today.

Last month, Congressman Radel paid an undercover cop $260 for Three and a half of cocaine. He got a year-probation as part of a plea deal. He could have gotten up to six months in prison. Another day -- another political drug scandal.

We`re also hearing some surprising new developments in the Rob Ford debacle. Radel may have stolen a little bit of the attention from Toronto`s crack-smoking mayor, but knowing Mayor Ford, he`ll grab those headlines right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Shame. Shame. Shame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got your hands in the cookie jar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a fraud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are we finally waking up to the fact that drug addicts aren`t just creepy-looking dudes lurking in back alleys or gang members? These are the real faces of addiction, people. And they`re wearing suits and ties.

Straight out to the "Lion`s Den", Jon Leiberman, how did cops nab this cocaine congressman?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: This was a wide-ranging drug investigation between the locals, the FBI, and the DEA. This congressman`s name kept coming up as somebody who would regularly buy cocaine. So they did an undercover buy, they nabbed him, and to his credit, Jane, and we do need to give him credit here, he invites the FBI back to his apartment, where he admits to everything and even produces another vial of cocaine that he had in his apartment. He never denied it, like the mayor in Toronto. He isn`t playing in games. And he pled guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s cocaine -- and I don`t give him -- I got to tell you something, Jon, I love you, but I don`t give him props for anything. Ok, he was caught? He didn`t wake up one morning and say, "Oh, I`m doing the wrong thing. I`m suggesting that people be forced to pee in cups to get food stamps but I`m doing drugs, myself." He was caught.

(CROSSTALK)

LEIBERMAN: He was caught but it`s not a fair comparison between he and Rob Ford in Toronto, is what I`m saying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think he`s a little bit better, but I still think he ought to resign. That`s my rant, "Resign, dude." Resign because you have broken the law not once, but repeatedly. You admitted to it. There`s a statement of offense here, where you said, you on several occasions bought, possessed, and used cocaine. And the defendant had on several occasions used cocaine with an acquaintance. So he agreed that`s all accurate. It`s right here.

All right. I want to go to Patrick Krill. You are the director of Hazelden and I think you wrote a fantastic article about the face of drug addiction. Because I, personally, am tired of seeing a two-tiered system of justice where people in suits and ties who are middle class get all the understanding in the world, but people who use drugs on the street, primarily the poor and minorities, get locked up and thrown away for a long time -- Patrick.

PATRICK KRILL, DIRECTOR, HAZELDEN: Thank you, Jane. It`s good to be with you. I`m the director of the Legal Professionals Program at Hazelden, which is a program that specifically works with addicted judges, attorneys, and law students. And I think the point there really is that this is a disease that doesn`t discriminate.

And as I mentioned in my op-ed for CNN, it really does. This disease walks upright in the corridors of all avenues of our society.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is a stereotype that comes with drug addiction and it`s so far from the truth. And I say this as a person in recovery for 18 years, in recovery from alcoholism, that, you know, we always think that it`s this stereotype, it`s an ugly stereotype.

And Danielle, are these people doing us a favor in a sense that they`re showing the real face of addiction?

DANIELLE BELTON, POLITICAL BLOGGER: I think in some respects, they are. Because the reality is, a lot of people, when they think of drug addiction, which is why Radel wasn`t able to get away with saying, you know, he`s going to vote for this bill that would cut food stamps for poor people. People see drugs as something that happens to poor people. They see it as something that happens to people on the streets, the homeless. If you look at drugs that way, it`s so easy to target the poor, to target people who are on the margins and criminalize just being broke -- criminalize behavior.

By saying that drug addiction affects all people, including people in congress, including mayors and congressmen and all sorts of high-level figures, it shows that we`re just not talking about a poor problem. It wasn`t like this representative went to some broke-down, horrible neighborhood in D.C. to get drugs. He went to DuPont circle. People are dropping $2,000 a month or more for housing in this neighborhood. So it`s not like he had to go outside of his social circle to find drugs.

I mean the reality is, drugs are everywhere. If you are wealthy, you can get them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course they are. And the thing is, if you`re living in a penthouse, you`re less likely to be arrested, because you`re not doing it on the street.

BELTON: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if you`re not a young, black or Latino male who`s pulled over and asked to empty your pockets, they won`t see that you have drugs, because they`re not asking you to empty your pockets. There was just an article in "The New York Times," a middle class white man walked around with practically pot coming out of his backpack and nobody touched him.

Ok, if Radel, this congressman, successfully completes probation, the court could dismiss the case without adjudication of guilt. In other words, he basically will have no record. And it`s another example of the two-tiered system of justice. A couple of years ago, there were 237,000 people in prison in America for drug offenses. I`m sure it`s about the same now.

Listen, Patrick Krill, it`s really not fair. 237,000 people behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses.

KRILL: You know, I couldn`t agree more, Jane. And I was actually just on a panel discussion recently, with some judges and some defense attorneys and the topic was, incarceration -- addiction treatment, rather, versus incarceration. And we were weighing the pros and cons of locking people up for drug offenses versus treating them. And I think if you really do look at it, both, you know, on a numerical, mathematical basis, but also on a more humane, what`s actually right and just in our society, treatment is much more beneficial across the board, rather than incarceration. Yet that seems to be the direction that we have consistently gone for decades.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, listen. I love treatment. I`m totally for treatment. Let`s treat everybody. Let`s not be fair. Let`s not have a -- let`s not be unfair. Let`s not have a two-tiered system of justice in this country: one, for people who are of a certain background and the other, for people who are of another background. It`s not fair. It`s un-American.

All right, example -- exhibit A of our culture of violence on the other side. You will not believe it. It`s disgusting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like threw a hook with his left hand and just got me right in the face, and he said, wa-pow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The knockout game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is as brutal, random, and violent a game as it gets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a painful scene to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video speaks for itself, but I don`t remember it happening when it happens.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Videos of attacks posted online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh -- (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People need to do more constructive stuff with their time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I travel alone a lot and it`s scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My whole head, like, went flying to the side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight in our culture of violence is a sick, sadistic new game that`s going viral. Warning, it is disturbing. Teens, maybe some of them are in their 20s at most, going up to complete strangers and sucker punching them -- just punching a total stranger in the face. It`s called the knockout game or one-hit Twitter and the sole purpose is to knock somebody out with a single, devastating blow.

This video shows an unsuspecting teacher in Pittsburgh walking past a group of teens when he`s suddenly hit with a fist and his limp body falls to the ground. The teens appear to celebrate their victory. This is beyond sick, cowardice. Here`s what the 50-year-old victim said about the experience of playing the role of prey in a game he didn`t even know he was playing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES ADDLESPURGER, VICTIM OF KNOCKOUT GAME: I was shocked -- I was shocked at the whole narrative of it. Boom, came the punch and down I went. You know, straight down with my face falling and hitting the cold concrete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man was attacked last year. A 15-year-old boy is charged with assault, but it appears this so-called game is catching on all over the country. How sick is that? Three people have died in three states.

Attorney Ashleigh Merchant, what these young people don`t realize is that the courts are going to have the laugh last, because it`s all caught on surveillance tape and they`re going to jail.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, ATTORNEY: Right. And I think a lot of kids, a lot of teens think they`re just going to go away with it, because they`re in juvenile court. And that`s not the case especially when it`s an elderly person who is the victim. And a lot of these attacks have been that way, where there`s an elderly person as the victim. And a lot of kids are going to have a rude awakening when they are spending a lot of time in juvie or they`re treated as an adult.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nobody`s safe from these bullies. They`re going after everybody including women. And not just in the United States, a 15- year-old girl got a right hook to the head from behind in London. And she says, well -- here`s another lady in D.C. who was hit by a teenager on a bicycle. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just, like, threw a hook with his left hand and just got me like right in the face. And he said, wa-pow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shame, shame, shame. Jon Leiberman, just ten seconds. These people are cowards. I don`t know what we`re teaching our children, that this is supposedly fun.

LEIBERMAN: They are killing for sport, Jane. And what they`re doing is they`re going online and they`re watching videos and then they`re trying to one-up what they see in the video. They`re trying to be more risky and pick an even more innocent victim. It`s sickening and as Ashleigh said, it needs to be taken seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent.

Up next, (inaudible), the way I make it, with some help.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Get ready to catch the wave and ride to health. And we`re bringing in nutritionist Keri Glassman, the big star of "UPWAVE" here on HLN. We want to eat healthy, Keri, but of course we all love those comfort foods like burgers. How do we have both?

KERI GLASSMAN, "UPWAVE": No matter how healthy you are or how healthy you want to be, we all do crave certain comfort foods. Whether you`re a meat eater and you want to dive into that burger all the time or you`re vegan and you want a vegan burger, you still want to dive into a burger sometimes.

And I made one for you here, because I know you`re a vegan and super healthy. The base of it is black beans, quinoa, and sweet potato.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is sweet potato? Why are they so good?

GLASSMAN: Sweet potato -- first of all, loaded with fiber, less calories than regular potatoes, and we also know that there`s lots of Vitamin a, and that Vitamin A is good for your skin and it`s also good for your immune system, which is good of course this time of the year.

I love quinoa. People think of quinoa -- check out this beautiful quinoa right here. And we have actually some white quinoa right here and red quinoa. So this is what it looks like before you cook it. And then we have the beautiful cooked quinoa right here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is it so good for you?

GLASSMAN: Quinoa is actually a seed. People think of it as a grain, but it`s actually a seed, and it`s a complete protein. So for you vegans out there, it`s an excellent way to get in your protein, because it has all of those amino acids that you need.

And check out these black beans we have here. This is one of the main components of this vegan burger. What I love about black beans are they are loaded with protein and fiber so they keep you satisfied and full. And they also are super packed with antioxidants, which do everything from fight heart disease to cancer to even wrinkles.

So I just blended the beans already and now I`m going to add the quinoa. So here, dump that in there, dump the sweet potatoes in there, and then we`re going to add the onions. We`ve got the garlic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s this?

GLASSMAN: That`s cilantro. Jalapenos, cilantro, all herbs and spices are so great. They add flavor, but no calories. They add antioxidants. We just added the flaxseed and chili powder.

Here we go. We`re blending away.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Now`s the fun part. Now we get to makes some patties.

GLASSMAN: We get to make some patties.

I want you to make some with me though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

GLASSMAN: So here -- I`m going to scoop some out. Put some in your hand here and you just get to make --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, I washed my hands.

GLASSMAN: -- a nice little ball. And this right here -- they`re about a four-ounce patty and that`s about the size I like to make them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A healthy patty.

GLASSMAN: That`s all we do. And then we`re going to cook for about 20 minutes, flip them and cook for another ten minutes on 350. Super, super easy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Like healthy fast food.

GLASSMAN: No excuses, you can have them around -- exactly -- healthy, fast food.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now the moment of truth. So we get rid of the burger and we go to the healthy burger, and guess what, we`re using a lettuce wrap here. I think this is a great idea, because you`re getting rid of the white flour.

GLASSMAN: You`re making it even healthier. Not only getting rid of the meat but you`re getting rid of that bun that`s really just sugar. And you can eat it just like a burger, just like this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m biting in.

GLASSMAN: Who needs forks and knives?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s delicious.

GLASSMAN: You don`t have to be vegetarian or vegan to go for a burger like this. Vegetarian meals a few times a week are healthy for you no matter what kind of an eater you are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a vegan, I want to thank you for introducing us to this amazing alternative. Americans need alternatives --

GLASSMAN: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- we`re giving them to you.

Check out "UPWAVE" starting December 1st right here on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your Slice of Happiness. Check out this curious cat. He decided to get close to a CDC TV crew. Way to go, Kitty. A producer on the scene snapped these photos. I call that breaking news.

"NANCY GRACE" is next.

END