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Is Governor Bush Terri Schiavo`s Last Hope?; 28-Year-Old Virginia Man Accused of Murdering Pregnant Twin Sister; Michael Jackson Trial Continues
Aired March 25, 2005 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, CNN HOST: Tonight, a beautiful young woman, Terri Schiavo, running out of time. It`s been over a week, day eight since Schiavo`s feeding tube was removed. Is Governor Bush her last hope or is it all just talk?
And a shocking turn of events. A 28-year-old Virginia man murders a pregnant woman. P.S., the victim is the killer`s twin sister.
And bombshell testimony and the state ends the week with a major score trial-wise in the Michael Jackson sex trial. Both sides waiting for Monday`s major ruling, whether the Jackson jury will ever hear about Michael Jackson`s other alleged molestation victims.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us tonight.
Twenty-eight-year-old Larry Nielson behind bars tonight in a Virginia jailhouse. Why? The stabbing death of Tabitha Bonaparte, the young victim, three months pregnant and the defendant`s own twin sister.
And in the Michael Jackson trial, trial judge Rodney Melville rules Monday morning if other boys, young boys, claiming Jackson molested them as well will be before the jury.
But first, day eight and still no food, no water for Terri Schiavo. Her family continues to hope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB SCHINDLER, FATHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: And I kissed her (UNINTELLIGIBLE) again, which was encouraging but I think people who are anxious to see her die are getting their wish. It`s happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, in Tampa, Florida, David Gibbs; in Pinellas Park, the Schindler family spiritual brother, Paul O`Donnell; in New York, from the National Advocate for Compassion and Choices, Robert Raben.
But first, to Time Magazine Miami bureau chief, Tim Padgett.
Hello, Tim. Friday night has come. Another day has gone, still, no food, no water for Terri Schiavo. Bring us up to date, friend.
TIM PADGETT, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, and it`s Good Friday night, which has even more meaning for a lot of people, particularly in this case.
Tonight, Nancy, where the case stands is that, once again, it`s in the court of state Judge George Greer. And he held an emergency hearing this afternoon as the Schindler family lawyers brought another claim that they said that he should pay attention to this time, claiming that they have evidence that Terri is actually has been actually communicating thoughts such, "As I want to live."
GRACE: OK, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. Did you say the same judge heard evidence today that Terri Schiavo said she wants to live?
PADGETT: Yes. One of the lawyers for the Schindler family testified to Judge Greer that -- I believe it was about a week ago -- that she had been convinced that Terri had uttered something very much like, "I want to live." And this is the new claim, the new evidence that the family`s bringing to the courts in an attempt to get the courts to at least pay attention to the case and reinsert her feeding tube in the meantime.
GRACE: Now, is this the same judge that turned the family down before?
PADGETT: Yes, yes. This is the judge that has been with this case since the outset seven years ago.
GRACE: OK, you know, Tim, this is something I don`t understand.
OK, you know what? Let me get Elizabeth. Elizabeth, do we have the sound from the doctor?
Earlier, and I`m going to play this for you in a few moments, we have heard one of her treating physicians, Tim, say over and over that she does recognize people.
OK, here we go. Roll it, Elizabeth. Thanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM HAMMESFAHR, NEUROLOGIST: The woman is very aware of her surroundings. She`s very aware. She`s alert. She`s not in coma. She`s not in PVS, which is a type of coma. She understands when you talk to her. You can ask her to do things and she does it. She understands English.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tim, what I don`t understand is, with testimony like that, how is a judge -- he`s not a medical doctor -- how is he so sure Terri Schiavo can`t feel anything and that she`s actually in a vegetative state?
PADGETT: Well, because, at this point, Judge Greer is relying on testimony from a larger number of doctors over the course of this case that have testified that she is in a persistent vegetative state and would not be able to have the sort of emotions, reactions, responses, and, in particular, communication that`s being claimed now that is being presented and on which he says he will rule by tomorrow at around noon.
GRACE: You know, Tim, it is very distressing that judges are making life-and-death decisions for families.
I want to go to Brother Paul O`Donnell with us now. He`s the Schindler family religious adviser.
Brother O`Donnell, welcome back to our show. I`m very concerned. Tim Padgett just told me -- and he`s correct -- that the judge heard more doctors that said she can`t feel a thing, she is a vegetable than said otherwise. So is it a matter how many doctors you can hire?
BROTHER PAUL O`DONNELL, SCHINDLER FAMILY RELIGIOUS ADVISER: I think so. I think you can find a doctor that will say anything. But having an experience in hospice care and caring for people, and caring for people in persistent vegetative states, I know that they`re capable of feeling pain, from firsthand experience and caring for people and also from what I know of Terri Schiavo.
If she was not able to experience pain, they wouldn`t have given her pain medication for her monthly menstrual cycle each month. Of course she feels pain. Also, they rushed her to the hospital in the early 1990s to have a bone scan done to see what was wrong, because she was moaning out in pain due to physical therapy. And she had a fractured femur.
GRACE: Well, Brother, let me ask you this: What about pain management for Terri? I mean, from my understanding, the judge has not even allowed -- maybe there`s been a change today.
Tim, you may have to clear this up for me.
Not even allowed then to moisten her lips, much less give her pain -- I mean, the woman is starving to death, Tim. What are they doing to ease her suffering?
PADGETT: A morphine drip was administered. But we`re told that this time, for reasons that medically I`m not sure of yet, that a morphine drip is not being administered. I think there was a conclusion among some doctors that it wasn`t necessary really, so I`m not sure...
GRACE: Oh, really?
PADGETT: I`m not really sure that anything of that order is being done at this time.
GRACE: You know, that`s really interesting to me, David Gibbs, Schindler family attorney, that a group of doctors, who are going home to a nice steak and lobster dinner tonight, a little surf and turf, maybe a little vino, they don`t think she should have a morphine drip while she`s starving to death?
You know, David, animal rights people would go berserk if you`d put a dog of in a room and let it starve to death. But apparently a lot of people think it`s OK for this woman to starve to death in front of our eyes.
DAVID GIBBS, SCHINDLER FAMILY ATTORNEY: But, Nancy, we all know it`s not OK. It`s a crime to do this to a dog. We wouldn`t do this to a capital murderer. It would violate our Constitution.
And the United States Congress recognized what was happening. The medical doctors, Dr. Frist and Dr. Weldon and others, said this is barbaric. This is un-American. Terri has a right to life.
And we argued today in the courts and before the federal appeals court, as well, that Terry is alive. She is communicating. She wants to live. And as we`re going into this Easter weekend, we are literally pleading for her very life.
GRACE: I`m going to go to the other side. Robert Raben with us, National Advocate for Compassion in Choices.
Robert, what do you make of today`s revelation that Terri`s family has stated she does want to live?
ROBERT RABEN, NATIONAL ADVOCATE FOR COMPASSION AND CHOICES: It`s completely consistent with what they`ve been saying. And I have tremendous respect for that. I absolutely am empathic and can`t imagine the tragedy that they must be feeling.
What troubles me, and bothers me, and has repeatedly been in my mind is, you quibble with judges and courts making the decision. To me, the only thing worse than a judge making the decision are the politicians or strangers circling this tragic family`s circumstances.
GRACE: I agree.
RABEN: We just saw Brother Paul -- I`ve never met Brother Paul. I`m going to assume he`s a man of the Lord.
GRACE: He is a friend of Schindler family.
RABEN: And I`m going to assume he loves the Lord like I love the Lord. And behind him is a big sign that says, "Jeb," which I`m going to assume is Jeb Bush, governor of Florida. I`m appalled, and I think many Americans are appalled, at the politicization of this tragic family circumstance.
GRACE: Robert, Robert, I agree -- with that I agree with you. The last thing I want is Congress, or the president, or the governor jumping in on a family decision of life or death.
But I`m asking you tonight, from your position, what do you think of removing this feeding tube and letting the woman lay there and starve to death? This is not a ventilator. She`s not on life support. It`s simply feeding her.
RABEN: Well, what we all have in common is none of us are part of the Schindler family and can speak credibly and firsthand what she wanted. We relied on courts. We are now up to at least 30 judges that have looked at the facts or looked at lower courts looking at the facts. And everybody has determined that her wishes were not to prolong her life and to have hydration and nutrients removed. So from that perspective, if you believe that, if you trust her will and you trust her autonomy, you ought to let her...
GRACE: Well, according to her husband, who has another woman and another family, he`s the one that says she said that.
RABEN: Well, I wasn`t in the courtroom in Pinellas County, and neither were you, and neither was anybody else...
GRACE: Well, I can read a transcript, sir. I mean, he`s the one who says she wants to die.
RABEN: Right. I trust that the judges who have looked at this over and over again have made the right decision.
GRACE: OK. We are taking a quick break. When we come back, straight back to Time Magazine Miami bureau chief with the latest as of right now, 8:10 p.m., day eight of Terri Schiavo, no food, no water, this Good Friday.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. PATRICK MAHONEY, CHRISTIAN DEFENSE COALITION: Governor Bush, please act. If you see that, brothers and sisters, they`re watering the plants at the governor`s mansion while Terri is being dehydrated. Governor Bush, please act. We respect you, sir. Please, act on behalf of Terri. If you care enough for the plants in your yard, will you not please care for Terri Schiavo?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUZANNE VITADAMO, TERRI SCHIAVO`S SISTER: She looks like she is in a concentration camp. I mean, she`s beginning to hollow out. I mean, it`s just awful. It`s awful to have to sit back and watch that -- this process can happen to anybody. I mean, we live in America. And, you know, I`m sitting here. I can`t even believe I`m sitting here discussing this. This is sick. So it`s horrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, day eight, Terri Schiavo, no food, no water. She is not on a ventilator, a life-support system. She is merely being fed. Now, no food, no water. Her family in distress. Her husband, who is moved on with another family of his own, insists this is what she wanted, to lie in a hospital bed and starve to death.
Let me quickly go back to Tim Padgett with Time Magazine.
Tim, have you heard about this guy in North Carolina arrested by the FBI for allegedly soliciting offers over the Internet -- I guess that he doesn`t know the FBI can look on the Internet -- for the murder of Michael Schiavo, the husband, soliciting offers for murder.
PADGETT: No. These sorts of the threats have been gaining ground a lot this week. Up in Tallahassee, a lot of Republican state legislators say they`re fed up and exasperated with the threats that they`ve been getting, some of them because they did not vote with Jeb Bush last week in the legislative efforts to get Terri`s tube reinserted. This sort of thing has been growing, and Jeb Bush even made a point yesterday exhorting people, particularly on the radical religious right, to cool it.
GRACE: Let me go to Daniel Horowitz, trial attorney.
Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, Daniel, allegedly offered $250,000 to kill for the killing of Michael Schiavo. And he topped it off with $50,000 for the death of the judge who ordered the feeding tube removed. What is going on, Daniel?
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, what this is, this whole Schiavo case, is the abortion debate in America repackaged. We are constantly arguing as Americans, if somebody or something has DNA and a heart beat, does it have a soul? Is it human life?
And by taking this young woman who has no brain function, that`s a fact, but saying that she does have a soul and that therefore she can`t die, we`re stirring that same emotion that makes people say you cannot abort a child at three weeks, two weeks, one week, and so on.
GRACE: OK, you know, how you managed to work in the abortion argument in this case -- you know, I`m going to have to go home and run a Lexis- Nexis search to figure this out. But I get your drift.
Daniel Horowitz, as much as you want the feeding tube removed and want the woman to starve to death, if you were lying in that hospital bed starving to death, don`t worry. I would make an argument to save your life. Very quickly...
HOROWITZ: Don`t save my life. Get Dr. Kevorkian, Nancy, to come there and take care of me in a humane way. But, no, he`s in prison for the rest of his life for doing something that people wanted done. That`s what`s so crazy about this. The humane person who gives people what they want is in prison, but she has to starve to death.
GRACE: To Brother Paul O`Donnell, Brother O`Donnell, what is your response to all the people that are so sure that Terri Schiavo feels nothing, she knows nothing, she has no idea what`s going on around her and she wants to lie there in misery and obvious pain and starve to death?
O`DONNELL: Well, Terri Schiavo can feel pain. And it`s ludicrous to say that she has no brain function. I think those people that believe it have been sold a bill of goods by George Felos and Michael Schiavo.
It is not a nice way to die. People did this in Nazi Germany in concentration camps. Ask people who are in those starvation bunkers without food and water. This is the United States of America.
And as I said, I`ve had a background in hospice care. And we would swab our peoples` mouths, offer them ice chips, cool sips of water, even when they no longer could eat. I don`t know about your other guests` sense of compassion, but to me it`s a false sense of compassion and it`s murder. It`s absolute murder.
GRACE: David Gibbs is the Schindler family attorney. He is with us tonight.
David, take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMESFAHR: She`s very much aware of her surroundings. She can discriminate between different people. She`s partially blind. So when you look at videos, you will notice a lot of times that she looks sort of off into space. And when her mother comes by, she suddenly will light up. And that`s because she can only see about 18 inches in front of her. She can really do quite a bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Let me go to David Gibbs, the family attorney.
What are the points the Schindler family argued on appeal?
GIBBS: Well, on appeal, Nancy, we`ve argued before the federal courts, Congress intended to have a trial, number one, on what Terri wanted and, number two, what condition she is in. And before the state court today, we argued that Terri has expressed a desire to live.
It is combined on testimony from guests and from family, but also Dr. William Cheshire from the Mayo Clinic said Terri is not in PVS. She`s aware. She`s communicating. She feels pain. And on behalf of the government, he had come in as a volunteer this week. And he rendered a sworn seven-page statement that said Terri Schiavo should be given food and water. She`s not a vegetable. She is a living, breathing, human being worthy of life.
GRACE: So that is Dr. William Cheshire from the Mayo Clinic?
Let me go straight back to Robert Raben, the National Advocate for Compassion and Choices.
So, Robert, do you presume to know more than a doctor at the Mayo Clinic regarding Terri Schiavo`s condition?
RABEN: That`s an excellent question. I presume to know a lot less. The only thing that`s more...
GRACE: Me, too. Me, too.
RABEN: The only thing more tragic than what this family finds itself in right now is the incredible politicization of her tragedy. It is shocking to most Americans that the Congress and the incredible number of groups protesting, not protesting, screaming, yelling, imposing their will on what Terri Schiavo wanted.
Let me tell you. The Supreme Court of the United States, the most conservative court in generations, declined to overturn the Florida courts. They know how to overturn a Florida court order. They have done it before. They declined to do it this time. That tells me something.
GRACE: Finally, as we go to break, back to David Gibbs, the Schindler family attorney.
Is time running out? How long does Terri have left?
GIBBS: Nancy, we fear this will be the weekend, over Easter, where Terri will not necessarily die but she will begin from dehydration to have renal failure. And we are very fearful that, if the courts don`t rule tonight or early tomorrow morning, that effectively, because of Terri`s health, all will be lost.
GRACE: Well, David, that would be irreversible if she goes into renal failure. That would be -- there`s nothing they could do once that happens.
GIBBS: The doctors have told us that will occur between seven to ten days. And we`re moving into day eight.
GRACE: Day eight, no food, no water for Terri Schiavo. As many people around the country celebrate Good Friday, look forward to Easter, her family in intense pain, begging for anyone to help their daughter.
As we go to break, to "Trial Tracking": Catch this. The Robert Blake jury demanding a formal apology from the L.A. district attorney, Steve Cooley. Cooley stated openly Blake was guilty as sin and that the jury, who acquitted him, was, quote, "incredibly stupid." So far, the district attorney`s standing firm, no apology. Hey, I want an apology from that juror who tried to sell a homemade CD about the Blake trial the other night on national TV on Larry King`s show.
And on the higher note, Ashley Smith, remember her? The courageous young lady held hostage by the Atlanta courthouse shooter then led police to Brian Nichols whereabouts. She takes on about $70,000 in reward money, an incredible blessing for Ashley Smith, a waitress and a single mom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY SMITH, HELD HOSTAGE BY BRIAN NICHOLS: But that is a small fraction compared to all the families that lost loved ones during this tragic event earlier in the month.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: In the Michael Jackson trial, testimony today reveals fingerprints from both Michael Jackson and the little boy, the alleged child molestation victim. Testimony showed they were both found on Jackson`s porn magazines.
Tonight, with us from Santa Maria, former prosecutor Anne Bremner.
But first, to "Inside Edition`s" senior correspondent, Jim Moret. Jim, I`ve only got two minutes to break. Tell me what happened in court today.
JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION": I know you love to cut to the chase. Here`s the headline: "Fingerprints and filth." We talked about all that pornography that came in this week. Well, today, prosecutors finally revealed that they found fingerprints, five fingerprints from the accuser, two from the accuser`s brother, and twelve from Michael Jackson all on some of the pages of those magazines.
On one magazine, they found Michael Jackson and the accuser`s fingerprints, but on different pages so, obviously, here the prosecutors are saying the connection has been made.
GRACE: OK. You know what, I lost audio for a moment. Repeat that last sentence.
MORET: On one magazine, the prosecutors introduced evidence that there was Michael Jackson`s fingerprint and a fingerprint from the accused, same magazine, different pages. But the prosecution is trying to make the connection between Michael Jackson and the alleged victim and pornography.
GRACE: Question: Were there more magazines brought in today, Jim?
MORET: You know, it reminded me of that scene from "Miracle on 34th Street" where they brought in all of that mail to prove they`re Santa Claus. The prosecution brought in boxes -- boxes -- of pornography. But they only introduced evidence of 19 fingerprint matches and five from the accuser, two from the accuser`s brother. I think it`s a case of overkill. I really do. I think it could backfire on the prosecution.
GRACE: Hey, hey, hey. It`s easy for us to sit back and say you`re doing too much. You know what? They said that in the Blake case, too, and we all know what happened. So I am not going to stone at the prosecution for overkill.
Jim Moret, don`t move an inch. Anne Bremner, stay right there. Quick break.
As you know, we hear at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides. Tonight, take a look at Nolan Moi, shot to death, March 2002, in his Cincinnati apartment. Look at that, age 19. He was just beginning to live. If you have any information on Nolan Moi, call the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation toll-free, 888-813-8389. There could be a reward involved. Please help us.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And here`s your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."
Good Friday ceremonies went on at Rome`s Coliseum today without Pope John Paul II in attendance. It is the first time he`s missed the "Way of the Cross" service since he assumed the papacy more than a quarter century ago. He did appear via video link from his private chapel in the Vatican. Cameras showed him only from the back as he watched the live broadcast of the event.
The royal palace of Monaco says Prince Rainier`s condition is, quote, "worrisome." He remains in intensive care, breathing through a respirator, three days after being taken to the hospital. Doctors say Rainier is suffering heart, kidney and breathing problems.
Douglas Ramsburg of Colorado has won an out-of-this-world sweepstakes, a free ticket for two hours of a spaceflight on Richard Branson`s Virgin Galactic. Ramsburg, an administrator at the University of Colorado, says he`s been dreaming about something like this for years.
That is the news for now. I`m Thomas Roberts. We take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER ACCUSED OF MOLESTATION: I feel totally at home with them. I can talk to them one-on-one because they don`t judge you. You know, they`re not looking for anything. They just want to have some fun, you know? And that`s the same with myself. And I can connect to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Yes, kids just want to have fun, a little booze, a little porn. That was from the Michael Jackson rebuttal video that was shot by a Jackson staffer.
I want to introduce all of my guests tonight. What a panel. There in California at the courthouse, senior correspondent from "Inside Edition," Jim Moret. Also, with Jim, high-profile Seattle lawyer, Anne Bremner. Here in New York, Michael Hardy, defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, defense attorney in California, and here in the studio with me, Dr. Jeff Gardere, author and psychologist.
Quickly out to Anne Bremner. Anne Bremner, you have been in and out of the courtroom today.
ANNE BREMNER, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I have, Nancy.
GRACE: When this fingerprint evidence came in, Anne, and you have been pooh-poohing the state`s case from day one. Don`t deny it.
BREMNER: Oh, just sometimes. Just sometimes.
GRACE: Just whenever I speak to you. But when this evidence came in today, and you got Michael Jackson`s fingerprints on porn, which everybody tried to convince me last night was mainstream. Let`s see, we had Barely Legal, Almost Legal, "Could Be Legal," "On the Edge of Legal." Let`s see, they had Plumpers, which is overweight ladies, butt-naked. Let`s see. There was Over 50. Whatever. Don`t care.
Do care, the boy`s fingerprints, a 13-year-old boy`s fingerprints, on the same book as Jackson`s fingerprints. What do you think tonight, Anne Bremner?
BREMNER: Dynamite evidence for the prosecution, Nancy. No doubt about it. And I`m going to agree completely with you on this case right now, because it`s not just Michael Jackson`s fingerprints. It is also the victim`s fingerprints in the same magazine. I mean, what a coincidence.
They`re denying that there was ever sharing of looking at the pornography. These aren`t bedtime stories. This is Barely Legal, just legal, finally legal. And they`re looking at pornography together. And this corroborates what the accuser says. It`s corroboration, corroboration, corroboration. And it`s devastating for the defense and great for the prosecution. What a way to end the week.
GRACE: Well, Michael Hardy, all along -- you know, this week, the computer hard drive of Michael Jackson, who you know personally, was disallowed. And the judge said that computer hard drive did not reflect the same dates on the porn that the boy was there. It was totally disallowed.
MICHAEL HARDY: Right.
GRACE: So I think Anne Bremner is right. They have got to have something to corroborate this boy`s word.
HARDY: Well, they do. And of course, you know, this finding of fingerprints there is a good way for them to end the week. But there is going to cross-examine next week.
GRACE: You can cross-examine a fingerprint? Good luck.
HARDY: Well, you are going to cross-examine not the fingerprint but you`re going to cross-examine when the examination of the magazines were done. You know, I believe that they were not done until after they were in the possession of the police and after the grand jury testimony...
GRACE: Well, duh, Michael. Of course they didn`t put a fingerprint test on the magazines until police got them.
HARDY: ... and after the boys were basically in the custody of the prosecutor. So we are going to see cross-examination on that.
GRACE: Well, what is your point? What is your point?
HARDY: Well, the point is...
GRACE: Are you trying to say the cops planted the fingerprint evidence?
HARDY: Well, I`m saying that anything could have happened, number one.
GRACE: That`s what you`re saying.
HARDY: And number two, we don`t know whether or not -- and nothing in that says -- that the two of them looked at the magazine together because...
GRACE: Well, that is a good argument. That`s a good argument.
Daniel Horowitz, off the porn, on to the similar transactions. When I say that, I`m talking about the other two boys that we know of that claim Jackson molested them. Clarify California law for me. Is it pretty much a given that the judge is going to let it in under the law?
HOROWITZ: Nancy, from day one, the law said it`s coming in. You don`t have a burden of proof. If there`s a prior similar act, it comes in. And the jury gets to balance whether it`s relevant or not.
It spins both ways, though. Because, look, everybody in all of America knew about these prior accusations and made it very easy for this grifter, lying, cheating family to have essentially a script to go by in order to accuse Michael again.
GRACE: Hey, hey, hey. Wait, wait. Daniel, Daniel. Before you come down on this family and this young cancer victim, I just want to remind you, I don`t know if they taught you this law school. But there`s something called slander and libel. Before you start pounding on this family...
HOROWITZ: The best thing this kid had going for him is the cancer to save him from being maligned as what he is, a grifter child. He`s used his cancer, as unfortunate and tragic as that is...
GRACE: OK, OK, OK. Stop, stop, stop. Don`t make me cut your mike, OK? I don`t want to do that to you. But I cannot tolerate that kind of talk about a little boy at the time that almost died of cancer.
Very quickly to Jeff Gardere. Dr. Gardere, I`m going to go back to the porn quickly before we go to break. For an asexual being like a child, what effect would porn have on a boy? And, also, what`s the significance of this to the jury?
DR. JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, the effect that it would have, of course, it`s very confusing for a child to become in many ways eroticized at such a young age to be aroused. And that`s how sometimes molesters actually get to these kids. They kind of model them while they`re aroused into feeling certain things and into certain types of gratification. So that could be a real problem.
As far as the jury`s concerned, I think the defense has been saying for a long time, "Hey, listen. At least this adult erotic material is heterosexual and it proves that perhaps Michael is not a molester." But what it does prove is that he did have this pornographic material, for one. And for two, it might have been used as a way to seduce a child, especially if it can be proven -- and I don`t know if it can at this point -- that the fingerprints of the alleged victims were at the same time as Michael Jackson so they looked at it together.
GRACE: Well, I can tell you right now, it`s very difficult, if not impossible, to date fingerprints.
You know, Jim Moret, I was schooled -- Jim, you are a lawyer, too, right?
MORET: Sure am.
GRACE: Yes, yes. Jim`s not only with "Inside Edition." He`s a practicing lawyer for a long time, as well.
Jim, I was schooled for many, many years trying cases that you cannot date a fingerprint. Then there`s another school of thought that says that you can date it as back to the hundreds of years due to lack of oil in some of the prints. It`s impossible. You cannot date a fingerprint.
MORET: Yes. And the government`s own experts said pretty much the same thing. You can`t tell which fingerprint was put on first. And you can`t tell if they were put on at the same time, which is what the prosecution really needs to show.
GRACE: But, Jim Moret, do they really? Because think about it. If this kid can say to a cop, months later, I know where Michael Jackson keeps his porn stash because we looked at it together. He keeps in it a black briefcase. It`s locked. It`s in his bathroom, off the master bedroom. It`s to the left of the commode, blah blah blah, and they go there and they find there`s the briefcase, OK? They unlock it. There`s the porn.
MORET: That`s corroboration. You are absolutely right. You are right.
GRACE: So why do we -- what do you want, a video?
MORET: No. My problem with the pornography isn`t the fact that this is valid evidence and relevant. It is. You are right. It`s circumstantial evidence, and it`s very powerful.
My problem is, these boys have fingerprints on three magazines, Nancy. But they introduced dozens, and dozens, and dozens. Why? I think to humiliate Michael Jackson publicly and to bring him down to a different level and to allow the jury to see him in a different way. And I still feel the same way.
GRACE: I thought you said last night -- Jim Moret, you told me last night that Plumpers, and Barely Legal, and Over 50 was all mainstream. So, if that`s true...
MORET: No, I didn`t say that. No, I didn`t say that.
GRACE: Then why would it embarrass Michael?
MORET: I don`t believe that Plumpers and Over 50 can be used to groom a young boy because I don`t think a young boy cares about Over 50 and Plumpers. That`s my point. My point is you`re trying to show Michael Jackson in a different light. That`s all.
GRACE: OK, OK. Jim?
MORET: I`m not arguing with you that it`s not valid. It is.
GRACE: You got me over a barrel. I agree with you. I agree with you.
GRACE: But if all of these mags were found in the same location, the state, pretty much, Anne Bremner, between a rock and a hard spot. How are they suppose to not introduce some and introduce others that would selective and then they would attacked on that?
So, Anne Bremner, it was argued last night that all of this porn actually helps the defense, makes Jackson seem normal. Is that possible?
BREMNER: Normal? Well, again, we have heard it argued that it makes him appear that he is only interested in young girls. But I`ll tell you, Nancy, seeing it in that courtroom was devastating evidence. And he was so uncomfortable. The jury was so uncomfortable. His parents were so uncomfortable.
This is the private life of Michael Jackson. It`s not milk and cookies. It`s vodka and wine, "Jesus juice." It`s not bedtime stories. It`s pornography, Barely Legal, Just Legal, et cetera. You know, it`s not little rides on the Ferris wheel. It is drunken capers. It`s sleeping in his bed, you know?
We have an eyewitness. We have fingerprints. We have got, you know, the accuser himself. And we have got corroboration in this case from people that work for Michael Jackson. This is his private life. This is what we saw. And we saw a lot of it in the courtroom, and it was devastating for the defense.
GRACE: Anne Bremner has tried her share of cases, Seattle lawyer. The whole panel will be right back. Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: Years ago, I allowed a family to visit and spend sometime at Neverland. Neverland is my home. I allowed this family into my home because they told me their son was ill with cancer and needed my help. Through the years, I have helped thousands of children who are ill or in distress. These events have caused a nightmare for my family, my children and me. I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position ever again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: My greatest inspiration comes from kids. Every song I write, every dance I do, all the poetry I write is all inspired from that level of innocence, that consciousness of purity. And children have that. I see God in the face of children. And, man. I just love being around that, that all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He says children, his inspiration for all of his songs and his dance moves. I don`t know how he`s going to explain this to the jury. That bite was from the ABC version of the Bashir documentary shown to the Jackson jury.
Welcome back. Let`s wrap up our discussion of Michael Jackson before we move on to a very disturbing Virginia case I want to tell you about.
To Jim Moret very quickly. Jim, I know that on Monday we get the ruling regarding the similar transactions. The legal community is split down the middle whether this jury will ever know about two other boys that we know of claiming Michael Jackson molested them in much the same way. What do you think?
MORET: I think most people think the information`s coming in and I think that Monday will decide this case. If that comes in, I think you have a very good chance of a conviction. If it`s kept out, I think it`s an even playing field. And, frankly, I think Michael Jackson may be acquitted.
GRACE: And very quickly, Anne Bremner, the fact that this ruling is on Monday, does that signal the end, basically, of the state`s case in chief, we`re now moving into other allegations?
BREMNER: Yes, exactly, Nancy. And this is 11-08 make or break, in terms of the state`s case, according to a lot of people out there. And then we`re going to go into conspiracy and other charges in the case.
GRACE: OK. So we`ll have...
BREMNER: If this comes in, Nancy, we`re going to have a much longer trial, of course, you know, like mini-trials, mini-trials within this trial.
GRACE: Got you. Got you.
Very quickly, let`s shift gears. I want to tell you about a Virginia case. In Danville, Virginia, Larry Nielson, 28, faces murder one charges, possibly the Virginia death penalty. Nielson`s stabbed his pregnant twin sister to death as their elderly mother looked on.
Tabitha Bonaparte and her twin brother always had a rocky relationship allegedly fueled by alcohol. On March 21, just after midnight, it all exploded. It left a mother of six, six children, another on the way, dead.
Tonight from Raleigh, North Carolina, Larry Nielson`s girlfriend, Crystal Carter, is with us. Also in Raleigh, Lieutenant Mike Mondul of the Danville Police Department. In New York, you know defense attorney, Michael Hardy, in San Francisco, attorney Daniel Horowitz, in New York, psychologist, Jeffrey Gardere.
But first, let`s go to Danville and WSLS reporter, Tim Gehret.
Tim, what can you tell us?
TIM GEHRET, WSLS REPORTER: Well, Nancy, it`s a horrible situation that not only has this small town talking but they`re horrified at the details. I`m going to recap a little about what you said.
Right now, 28-year-old Larry Nielson is behind bars without bond for first-degree murder. They say he stabbed his pregnant sister, his twin sister, Tabitha Neilson Bonaparte over, and over, and over while her six children slept just footsteps away.
Now, again, she was pregnant. She was three months pregnant. But police, they`re not charging Nielson with the murder of the unborn child at this point. They are working with prosecutors to see if they can bring those charges against him.
As of November 2004, Virginia is one of 32 states with what`s known as a fetal homicide law, which makes it a felony to kill a fetus. But Virginia statute is very specific. In order to prove that they must prove that it was willful, premeditated and deliberate. And police say that`s important because they aren`t sure the man they charged knew his sister was pregnant at the time they say he killed her.
And, of course, as you mentioned, if they can prove all of that, then he could be facing double-murder charges, which is a capital offense and is punishable by death.
GRACE: OK, let me get this straight.
I`ll go to Lieutenant Mike Mondul. Lieutenant, so the defendant must know -- it`s got to be an intentional act, which a multiple stabbing obviously is intentional, and as opposed to one stab wound. But multiple stabbing you have time to form intent. Are you telling me the defendant must know the victim is pregnant at the time?
LT. MIKE MONDUL, PIO DANVILLE POLICE: Well, I`m not a legal expert. What I will say is that, based on the evidence that we collected at the scene, that we charged him with first-degree murder. And we`re cooperating with prosecutors right now to determine what direction we want to go in.
GRACE: OK. Let me ask you this. What did the officers find there at the crime scene?
MONDUL: They found her -- it was just after midnight this past Monday -- they found her lying on the floor. And she had, as you indicated, several sharp force wounds all over her body, in her abdomen, her chest, back and arms.
GRACE: Do you think alcohol contributed to this?
MONDUL: It appears that there was a history of alcohol within that family. Again, a lot of this information we`re still trying to harness and bring together to put together the pieces of the puzzle.
Let me go to Crystal Carter. She`s joining us by phone. This is the defendant`s girlfriend.
Crystal, are you with me?
CRYSTAL CARTER, NIELSON`S GIRLFRIEND: Yes, ma`am. I am.
GRACE: Hi, Ms. Carter. Thank you for being with us. Did your boyfriend know that his twin sister was pregnant?
CARTER: Not that I know of, no, ma`am. He did not.
GRACE: How far along was she?
CARTER: I didn`t know how far along she was, either. I`ve read in the paper that it was ten weeks.
GRACE: Did Larry have a drinking problem?
CARTER: Yes, ma`am. He did. Something he battled with daily. I think it was something that he wanted to quit for our son`s sake but just something he always explained to me that was just bred in the family, even with Tabitha. It was a problem.
GRACE: Michael Hardy, voluntary intoxication is not a defense.
HARDY: It`s not a defense, but it does impact on the degree of guilt in the event that you are convicted. It could make a murder into a manslaughter or something along those lines.
GRACE: Very quickly, Dr. Jeff Gardere, if that was a defense, everybody in jail would claim they were drunk. What does alcohol have to do with murdering your twin sister?
GARDERE: Well, in this case, allegedly she was also drinking, too. And it could have been an impulse murder. It could have happened in a frenzy where they were having an argument. And it seems that they had a history of arguments with one another.
GARDERE: And the drinking, of course, lowers the inhibition.
GRACE: Well, I still say, generally speaking, voluntary use of alcohol and drugs, not a defense. We`ll see what`s happening there in Virginia, a very disturbing story. Six children left without a mother.
Very quickly to "Trial Tracking": A Pennsylvania prosecutor`s considering capital murder charges against a 70-year-old woman. Kathy MacClellan, known for baking cookies for neighbors in her mobile home community, could face lethal injection if convicted of a vicious attack against 84-year-old Marguerite Eyer.
The elderly woman was struck in the head 37 times with the claw end of a hammer. Mrs. Eyer identified MacClellan as her attacker to police just before she died.
News is coming up for some of you. Remember, we bring you the latest, weekdays 3:00 to 5:00, on Court TV`s "Closing Arguments." Stay with us.
GRACE: Man, what a week in America`s courtrooms. As we head into the weekend, take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched all of our lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The murder of nine-year-old Jessie Lunsford has galvanized the country.
MARK LUNSFORD, FATHER OF JESSICA LUNSFORD: She is right here with me, and that`s what keeps me going.
GRACE: Convicted sex offender, a guy with a rap sheet a mile long, John Evander Couey faces murder charges and likely the Florida death penalty.
I remember the day it was announced that he had been named judge. Everybody said, "Thank God somebody like Barnes has been named to the bench."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My dad was my best friend. He was my rock in life.
GRACE: Ashley Smith, a courageous young lady held hostage by the Atlanta courthouse shooter, she takes on about $70,000 in reward money, an incredible blessing for Ashley Smith, a waitress and a single mom.
ASHLEY SMITH, TURNED IN COURTHOUSE SHOOTER: My life is a testimony that God can use us even in the midst of tragedy and that miracles do happen.
GRACE: Michael Jackson back in court today on time and wearing his pants.
JACKSON: I`m very much in pain.
GRACE: In the courthouse, a fan who said she saved herself for Michael Jackson -- that`s her screaming, not me.
Terri Schiavo, no food, no water. What`s right? What`s wrong?
MARY SCHINDLER, MOTHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: Please let me daughter live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not really about what Mike wants. These are Terri`s wishes.
HAMMESFAHR: She is very much aware of her surroundings. She can discriminate between different people. When her mother comes by, she suddenly will light up. She can really do quite a bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Breaking news, CNN has just confirmed the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the Schindlers` request to keep Terri Schiavo alive and reinsert the feeding tube.
I want to thank all of my guests tonight, Jim Moret, Anne Bremner, Michael Hardy, Daniel Horowitz, Jeff Gardere, Crystal Carter, Lieutenant Mondul, Tim Gehret, David Gibbs, Brother Paul O`Donnell and Robert Raben.