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Hope Fades in Case of Missing Children in Idaho; Michael Jackson Will Not Take the Stand

Aired May 24, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, day nine, and hope is fading for many in the case of an Idaho triple murder and a missing 8- and 9-year-old. Tonight, autopsies reveal illegal drugs in both the children`s mom and her boyfriend found murdered in the home.
And if you`re afraid to fly, turn off the TV now. Two America West pilots on trial today in Florida for allegedly being sky-high after a night of drinking caught on tape, and then manning the cockpit of a jet plane.

And breaking news in the Michael Jackson child sex trial. The defense announces it will rest without calling Jackson to the stand.

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us tonight.

Day 59 in the trial of music icon Michael Jackson. Jay Leno, "Tonight Show" host, on the stand for the defense. But did Leno deliver what the Jackson defense promised?

Did two America West pilots operate a jetliner after drinking till 4:30 a.m.?

But first, 8- and 9-year-old Shasta and Dylan Groene still missing tonight after a massive search effort in Idaho like no other. Their mom, brother and the mom`s boyfriend slain in their own home nine long days ago. Toxicology reports show the two adults, the mom and the boyfriend, both had used illegal drugs before the kids were kidnapped.

Tonight, police still searching for one single, solid lead in the disappearance of these two beautiful children. Tonight, in Coeur d`Alene, Idaho, from the Kootenai County sheriff`s office, Captain Ben Wolfinger; in New York, defense attorney, Jason Oshins; in L.A., defense attorney Debra Opri; and in New York, psychologist Dr. Robi Ludwig.

But first, from Coeur d`Alene, Dave Turner. He`s with the "Coeur d`Alene Press."

Welcome, Dave. Bring us up-to-date.

DAVE TURNER, "COEUR D`ALENE PRESS": Well, I`ve been -- news coming out of the investigation has been small and slow, as you would figure on an investigation of this magnitude. About the earliest thing we have today is that Jesse Groene, who`s going to be able to mourn with his family tomorrow at a memorial service for his mother and brother, will be allowed to come out of jail for six hours and then have to go back. But that will at least get some closure for him.

GRACE: Now, that is Mrs. Groene`s older son that had been behind bars.

Let me go to Captain Ben Wolfinger. Captain, what can you tell us about drugs being in both the mom and the mom`s boyfriend`s bloodstream, so says the autopsy?

CAPTAIN BEN WOLFINGER, INVESTIGATING CASE OF MISSING KIDS: Well, the initial toxicology report, as released by the county coroner, said that both adults from the scene, both victims, both adult victims, had illicit drugs in their system. The coroner`s report did not identify those drugs, but he did follow up by saying the identity of those drugs would take several weeks of testing in the toxicology results. Now, that`s all the information we have been given here in the investigation over at the sheriff`s department.

GRACE: Back to Dave Turner. Dave Turner, is the area around Kootenai County and in Kootenai County very populated with methamphetamine use?

TURNER: Well, probably is, as almost as any other area has been -- characterized as a high methamphetamine use by state government. And there has been a lot of methamphetamine arrests made. Most were made from traffic stops. But I don`t think it`s what you would be called a hot-bed for manufacture or delivery, as much as it is a personal use and possession.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


WOLFINGER: We had over a thousand calls on the tip line. And every one of those generates something else, so it`s just following up those tips, prioritizing and following up those tips. And eventually, you know, we know that we`ll come to a resolution, a positive resolution. We`d just like to be able to find those children somewhere sometime real soon.


GRACE: And that reward, everyone, over $100,000 tonight for any information leading to these two children, Shasta and Dylan Groene.

Very quickly, to defense attorney Jason Oshins. Jason, it`s a lot different, you coming as a defense attorney, myself as former prosecutor. You know, I think we can agree, methamphetamine use much, much different animal than, for instance, pot, OK? If these two had meth in their system -- we know other people were over that evening -- if methamphetamines were being used, God only knows what happened. What went down?

JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you are right, Nancy. Certainly, it`s become a more pervasive drug in our society. It`s easy to manufacture. It can be done in a small home.

You`re right. It could be something very dangerous. And based upon the toxicology report indicating that it`s going to take a couple of weeks, we can certainly rule out that it would be marijuana, which would show up very quickly.

GRACE: Oh, yes.

OSHINS: The fact that it could be or that we`re rumoring it to be would certainly give one pause to think that it could have been an outside person involved in this heinous crime.


And Debra Opri, very often when you get an autopsy report, immediately, if it`s pot, it shows up as...


GRACE: ... cannabis. It`s just like that. You don`t have to send it off and get the result three weeks later.

I`m betting it`s not pot. I agree with Jason Oshins on this. That opens a whole another can of worms, Debra Opri. And this mom and boyfriend were using meth before the kids went missing?

OPRI: You know, Nancy, what did you and I discuss the first night this show came out? It`s crystal methamphetamine county over there. It`s very high usage. And if they were bound, and tortured, and beaten, and bludgeoned to death, what do you think it was? It was an interrogation style. And that`s the drug world. And I`m sticking...

GRACE: Well, I can tell you this much, Debra. If it were pot, believe me, they would not have bludgeoned the victims up.

OPRI: Yes, we have talked about it.

GRACE: Nope. They`d all be laying on a sofa right now watching reruns of TV Land. All right? Not what happens with meth.

To Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist. Let`s just look at this statistically. Most attacks on children are from people they know.


GRACE: What`s your take on -- is it random? And as the hours pass, what`s the likelihood these kids are still alive?

LUDWIG: You know, I`m hopeful that they are still alive, because they weren`t killed immediately, so, of course, that gives us a little bit of hope. But for anybody who can behave in this heinous type of way, and especially if they are a drug addict and addicted to drugs, that can make them crazy, even psychotic, especially with methamphetamine.

So anything can happen if somebody is high and in a crazed, addicted state. So that`s, of course, what causes a lot of concern.

GRACE: So many tips coming in tonight.

Elizabeth, if you could put that number up for the tip line.

You are seeing pictures of Shasta and Dylan Groene, 202-446-2292. We are back in Coeur d`Alene, Idaho. Not a single solid lead on these two missing kids.

Captain Wolfinger, how do you prioritize and follow up on all the leads that are pouring in?

WOLFINGER: Well, we have got some great assistance from the FBI analysts who help us prioritize those leads. We have got about 40 investigators working right now with another 30 expected before the end of the week. And it`s just a management of the case that our investigative team has put together to prioritize and follow those leads. It`s a long process.

You know, Nancy, I appreciate you really putting the pictures out there and the tip line. That`s really what we`re looking for. That`s really going to help us, but I caution anybody from speculating too much on so little information. I don`t have the information; the investigators do. And they`re the ones who are really investigating this. And that`s why we have to be cautious about speculation.

GRACE: Captain, were there illicit drugs in the mom and the boyfriend`s bloodstream?

WOLFINGER: That`s correct. That`s what the coroner`s report says.

GRACE: OK, were they bound, before they were killed?

WOLFINGER: Well, they were bound when they were found, yes.

GRACE: OK. Were they bludgeoned to death?

WOLFINGER: Yes, they were.

GRACE: Captain, were other people that were there that evening at the so-called barbecue, did any of them have drug histories, as well?

WOLFINGER: I don`t know that.

GRACE: OK, everybody. Quick break.

WOLFINGER: That`s what the investigator would have to have.

GRACE: We are live in Kootenai County. There`s Coeur d`Alene, Idaho. Trying the find out the latest regarding these two missing children. Please stay with us.


SAM GOBLE, AUNT OF MISSING CHILDREN: I mean, it just can`t get any worse. My heart, I know they`re coming back to us. They have to.




BRANDY HOAGLAND, AUNT OF MISSING CHILDREN: Our prayers are that we`re going to find that these two children are somewhere, that they`re alive, and that they`re healthy. And we just want them to be brought back to us.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody.

Elizabeth, if you could put up that tip line number one more time. We are talking about Dylan and Shasta Groene, 208-446-2292. The reward is now up over $107,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of these two missing kids, just 8- and 9-years-old. Nearly their entire family wiped out.

Let me go to Dave turner with the "Coeur d`Alene Press." Why was the Amber Alert called off, Dave?

TURNER: Well, that was -- the Amber Alert, as you know, is for immediate notification of missing children. Now, it`s been a week, and as Captain Wolfinger said earlier today, that has basically run its course. And it`s basically to be used before the media gets a hold of missing children.

And as you know, for the last week, these children`s faces have been on every channel every 15 minutes, 24/7. So it probably frees up their systems like that.

Also, what we`ve known is that the state is continuing to run their information on reader boards throughout the state. And so it`s basically called off on name only. They`re still considered missing children.

GRACE: But that same flashing information is on all the interstates, states around Idaho. Dave Turner is us with the "Coeur d`Alene Press." Do police have any suspects or even a person of interest at this juncture?

TURNER: Not that we`ve been told. And the sheriff`s office has been very forthcoming with any information we have needed. It`s been kept very -- in the loop as much as they can.

GRACE: So the answer is no? No, there`s no suspect...

TURNER: The answer is no.

GRACE: ... no person of interest. Dave, there are reports that the children`s father failed a polygraph. For all I know, he may have failed a question about his own background, his alibi that evening. Is it true that he failed the polygraph?

TURNER: He, according to Steve Groene who was on live on TV on Sunday, he failed a question about the whereabouts of his children which -- but as Captain Wolfinger could also explain, the polygraph is not perfect. And when you have one child dead and two other children missing, it`s got to affect your physiology.

GRACE: To Jason Oshins on that, veteran defense attorney. Jason, I put a lot of stock in polygraph tests. I think it`s very difficult to beat a polygraph. I know it can be done theoretically, but you have to look at the questions on the polygraph.

For instance, this guy may know nothing about where his kids are, but he fail a question in some tangential area of his life and thus fail the polygraph. It`s my understanding he`s been totally cleared, but what do you make of this polygraph issue, the father not passing the polygraph with flying colors?

OSHINS: Well, such aspect of the polygraph, again, as you are getting reported to you, and that`s clearly why ultimately it`s not admissible in court. It certainly is a significant aid to law enforcement, and you are right. They do rely on it to rule out or rule in certain suspects.


OSHINS: But you`re right. Based on the physiology, as the reporter said, based on the totality of what we`re talking about, it wouldn`t be, you know, illogical for him to not pass such portion of the test...


OSHINS: ... just based on that.

GRACE: To Debra Opri. Debra, surprised they have not got a solid lead yet?

OPRI: Listen, there`s no lead because the kids are missing and nobody`s talking. Whatever Lutner did in his polygraph examination, it was to provide information.

I think everybody`s making too much of these polygraphs. I mean, we are running out of people to give polygraphs to. I mean, the long and short of it is, we have no leads until the cops get those people that Lutner gave information about. End of story.

GRACE: Captain Wolfinger, where do the cops go now?

WOLFINGER: Well, they`re continuing to get leads and develop more leads. They`ll start looking through the sanitary landfill later this week for any evidence there. The house had rural dumpsite just two miles -- less than two miles from the residence. So there`s a lot of things going on.

Every time they talk to someone, it seems to generate another lead. And with all those investigators, nearly 70 investigators, we`ll have people out there doing those interviews and following up on each and every one of those.

GRACE: Captain, have you gotten any results back from the blood that was taken from the home from Quantico?

WOLFINGER: Not yet. It was just starting to be analyzed on Sunday evening. And we haven`t got blood results back. We figure at least a minimum of 72 hours for those results.

GRACE: So that would be tomorrow, correct?


GRACE: Are you expecting any additional FBI personnel to come in and help?

WOLFINGER: Well, we are getting 30 additional FBI personnel this week to come in and help through the investigation, help our investigators, help us with that search at the landfill, as well as -- some of these investigators have been doing 16-, 18-hour days since this began. They`re physically exhausted, and they need a break, too. So we`ll start spilling those, a day here and a day there. That`ll give us a big benefit.

GRACE: Hey, Captain, what is the reward up to?

WOLFINGER: Well, there`s two rewards, actually. There`s $100,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible in this case. And then there`s a separate reward by a local organization, a secret-witness organization, and it`s currently at $7,500. And that one you can obtain anonymously. The $100,000 you have to be able to give your name and identity.

GRACE: And last, Captain Wolfinger, what is the red ribbon for on your lapel?

WOLFINGER: That was given to me by the family. One side says Dylan, and the other side says Shasta.

GRACE: Oh, Captain. Captain Ben Wolfinger with us, the Kootenai County Sheriff`s Department. Thank you, sir.

WOLFINGER: Thank you, Nancy.

GRACE: Let`s go to "Trial Tracking": Lionel Tate -- remember him -- he`s back behind bars. Convicted in the `99 beating death of a little 6- year-old girl, Tate was the youngest person ever sentenced to life behind bars without possibility of parole.

But Tate never served that sentence. His conviction overturned on appeal, and he struck a sweetheart deal, one year house arrest, ten years probation. Sweet. But now it`s sour, sour grapes that is.

Tate, now 18, a grown man, arrested again for pointing a gun at a pizza delivery man and beating a 12-year-old child. As of tonight, he faces charges of armed robbery, armed burglary, and battery.



JAY LENO, COMEDIAN, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": And listen to this. I was called by the defense. I`m a defense witness. So apparently, they have never seen this program.


Actually, I`m kind of flattered by the whole thing, you know? I mean, I`m thrilled that I`m being called to testify. Because you know what that means, you know what that means me being called to the stand? Michael remembers me. He remembers me.



GRACE: Jay Leno, "Tonight Show" host, who was a defense witness today for Michael Jackson. Let`s go straight out to the Santa Maria courthouse. Standing by, "Celebrity Justice" correspondent Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jane, bring me up-to-date, friend.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": Well, Nancy, you might say they were doing stand-up on the witness stand here at the Michael Jackson trial. Comedian Jay Leno, as you just saw, took the stand, and in between cracking jokes, which he did -- some funny ones, too -- he testified that he became suspicious of the boy now accusing Michael Jackson of molestation.

He said it was about five years ago he started getting a series of voice-mails from this young man who was at the time suffering from cancer. And Leno said that they sounded odd, that they were overly flattering, that they were overly effusive, is the phrase he used. And he said they sounded scripted.

And then I have to tell you, at the end of the day, another big star, comedian Chris Tucker, took the stand, of "Rush Hour 2" fame. And he talked about how his heart went out to this young boy because his hair was falling out at the time from chemotherapy. Now, Chris Tucker is back on the witness stand tomorrow. He is the last witness for the defense. And he is expected to talk about the time of the alleged conspiracy, expected to say that he was there during some of that time and didn`t see this family being held against their will.

GRACE: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Didn`t you skip something? It`s called cross-examination. On cross-examination, didn`t Jay Leno say this family, this boy or his mother, never asked him for money?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. Actually...


GRACE: Oh, yes. You mean what Mesereau said was a load of B.S.? That`s a technical legal term, the B.S. thing. It`s Latin. I won`t explain it tonight.

They never asked Leno for money. Hello? That was the whole point, wasn`t it? Isn`t that what Mesereau said in opening statement?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leno`s testimony was absolutely underwhelming from that perspective. The defense had led us to believe that he was going to say that he thought this family was looking for a mark, and that he became so suspicious he called cops in Santa Barbara. It turns out that the cops called him. So yes, he did not deliver what the defense had promised. And in that sense, he bombed on the witness stand.

GRACE: Now, let me see. Is there a Debra Opri in the house, Jackson family lawyer? Mesereau promised this family were grifters, they were trying to get money from Jay Leno. Leno said, "No, didn`t happen." Ruh- roh.

OPRI: Details, details. It`s all in the presentation. What did I tell you about celebrity bookends? Celebrity bookends, Jay Leno, Chris Tucker. Whatever is in the police report of what he told them and whatever he said on the stand, add two years to it, Nancy. People forget.

GRACE: So Jason Oshins, do you agree or disagree with Debra Opri, the Jackson family lawyer, in that it doesn`t matter what the celebrity says. The jury won`t remember any of that. They`ll just remember that Leno took the stand?

OSHINS: You don`t think I`m going to go against Debra. We`re on the same side here. Listen...

GRACE: So you`re going to go against me? Your studio`s closer to mine that it is to hers.

OPRI: He`ll go against you, Nancy.

Let`s get Nancy.

OSHINS: Yes, Nancy, listen, let`s be clear about this. What the hyperbole or the, you know, the theater of the opening statement or the closing, we`re cutting -- we`re splitting hairs on this here. I mean, it was Leno`s feeling that he thought that this...

GRACE: His feeling, that he thought -- oh, please. There`s no room for touchy-feeling and thinking.

OSHINS: I wasn`t about that. It was...

GRACE: There was no request for money.


GRACE: Take a look -- take a listen to this.



LENO: People say, "How do you get picked to be in" -- it is a long, drawn-out process to get chosen. Well, show how it was done. Show the footage.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The votes have been counted, and only one of you will get to testify...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chimp, you are going back to the ring.

That means, Jay, congratulations. You are going to Santa Maria.


GRACE: Jay Leno from "The Tonight Show" on the stand for the defense today. Stay with us.



CHRIS TUCKER, ACTOR: Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?


GRACE: Comedian Chris Tucker, best known for movies like "Rush Hour 2," he appeared in court today. Not done yet. He will be back tomorrow.

You know, Debra Opri promised us all -- that`s the Jackson family lawyer -- that Michael Jackson would in fact take the stand. But let`s take a look.

OPRI: Misstatement.

GRACE: Misstatement.

Let`s take a look at the top 10 reasons that he will not take the stand. Last chance, tomorrow, most likely for Michael Jackson.

Number 10, you can`t vomit/hurl on the stand. We know he`s already left the courtroom once for that. Nine, insists on being called Mr. Peter Pan. Eight, he has already used the bad back excuse to be late to court once. Seven, he has also already used the spider bite excuse last time he came to court. Six, uh-oh, never know when Jackson could make a horny head on the stand again.

Number five, ruh-roh, no hair and makeup during direct. That was his book-in photo. Number four, dancing not allowed on direct exam. Number three, pajama bottoms, fashion felony. Number two, crotch grab equals contempt of court. And, number one, while the witness stand is elevated, it`s not quite high enough for baby dangling, 10 good reasons Michael Jackson will not take the stand.


GRACE: His last chance is tomorrow.

Debra Opri, you want to make good on your promise he`s going to take the stand?

OPRI: Well, at least you didn`t say he has a nose for the truth in his testimony, huh?

GRACE: I was tempted.


OPRI: Oh, yes, right.

All I can tell you is, Michael Jackson testified, perfection testimony. You can`t cross-examine a video. When Mesereau pulled a coup and got that in, why in heck should he testify, Nancy? You`re a prosecutor. Why should we give people like you a field day with your blood red nails?


GRACE: That`s right. That`s right.

OPRI: Yes.

GRACE: And, you know, jurors see everything about a witness on the stand, including Michael Jackson.

Speaking of witnesses, today, Jay Leno on the stand.

Back to Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jane, you got through his direct and then you kind of skipped forward to Chris Tucker. Let`s go back to cross for a moment. On cross-exam, what happened with Jay Leno on the stand?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you made the point already, Nancy, that he kind of imploded, in the sense that he didn`t deliver what Tom Mesereau said in his opening statements he was going to deliver.

I have to tell you, a far more significant witness for the defense was an office manager who came after Jay Leno, who testified that the mother told her that the beatings and the injuries that she had told in a sworn deposition she had gotten from J.C. Penney security guards, this woman said that the mother told her those injuries were actually inflicted by her then husband. And she went on to say that the mother threatened her, saying that her husband`s brother worked with the Mexican Mafia, knew where she lived, and would get her if she ever revealed that information.

She also implied that the mother coached the children through an independent psychiatric evaluation that was done as part of that lawsuit. I mean, this was absolutely devastating testimony. Of course, it was overshadowed by the star power.

But this mother came out as not just a person with bad judgment or perhaps unbalanced, but, according to this witness, evil.

GRACE: You know, Dr. Robi Ludwig, Jane Velez-Mitchell has an excellent point.


GRACE: The mother`s credibility has been destroyed.

LUDWIG: Right.

GRACE: Not only on cross-examination, but during the defense`s case in chief.

LUDWIG: Right.

GRACE: Could they both be true? Could the mother have no credibility on the stand and the molestation have happened?

LUDWIG: Yes. Both can be true.

But the problem is, we are going to be looking at the mother, who`s basically the vocal piece for her child. And everybody around her basically makes her look like a liar. So, it makes it very, very hard to trust what she`s saying and even, if it did, in fact, happen.

GRACE: Very quickly to Jason Oshins.

If Jackson really wanted to take the stand, Jason, could Mesereau stop him?

OSHINS: I don`t think really Michael Jackson is asking to take the stand.

And, certainly, the defense team is not encouraging him to do so. So, I think throughout, as I said from the beginning, I saw no reason for Michael, once everything unfolded and based on the lack of a really solid prosecution case on the conspiracy end, I never saw the reason for him to go and testify.

GRACE: And what did Chris Tucker have to say today, Jane Velez- Mitchell?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he is kind of setting up the clip for tomorrow. Tomorrow should be the more dramatic testimony. He was basically talking about getting how he got to know this boy back when he had cancer, that there was a fund-raiser for him, that he understood that that fund-raiser was to pay for the boy`s medical expenses.

And, as we have heard, those medical expenses were covered by the father`s insurance. And he is going to talk tomorrow, it`s expected, about more about the time of the alleged conspiracy. Chris Tucker was there during a lot of time that this family says that they were being held against their will. And he`s liable to say he didn`t see any of that. So, that could be much more dramatic.

But, today, he was basically showing that he reached out to this child because he tugged at his heartstrings, a common theme throughout this entire trial. I have to say one thing I have gotten out of all of this is how many good people there are, the owner of a dancing school, who gave these children free dance lessons, all three of them, for more than three years, because they said they just didn`t have any money. The list goes on and on.

The number of people who helped this family accusing Michael Jackson is absolutely astounding. Guilty or innocent, there are a lot of good people out there. And, you know, the amazing thing this owner of this dancing school said, after all of this, she was asked on cross-examination, do you regret helping these kids? And she said, no.

GRACE: You know, you were mentioning that insurance covered the medical expenses.

You know, Dr. Robi Ludwig, I remember working for a philanthropy. It was called the Ronald McDonald House and it was for families that had children that had very serious illnesses and they had to stay in the hospital a really long time. And the parents could not afford to even stay in a hotel for such a long period of time, maybe out-of-towners. And this Ronald McDonald House gave them a place to stay.

Now, that included even if their medical expenses were covered for time out of work, a place to stay. A kid battling what was then believed to be terminal cancer is very expensive.

LUDWIG: It is true. But the problem is, is that this family is being made to look like scam artists and that it is very calculated and they`re going after very wealthy people who have good hearts and big hearts.

GRACE: Well, very interesting, though. When they had the jackpot of money, Jay Leno, on the phone multiple times, they never asked for money. All you people that are claiming they`re grifters, take a listen to this.


JAY LENO, HOST: I`ll be testifying in the Michael Jackson trial. I have to go up on Tuesday. I`m going to go up in the morning. You know, I`m going to call Michael Monday night. I just want to make sure we don`t wear the same outfit. You know?


LENO: Walk in, oh, my God, oh, my God, same armband, same red jacket.


LENO: Actually, I`ve been getting ready for the testimony. Do I have time for this? I`ve been practicing all week drinking wine and looking at porno magazines, yes, just to get ready, to try to get into the feel of the testimony, you know, that kind of...


KEVIN EUBANKS, BAND LEADER: Been practicing a while, huh, Jay?

LENO: Exactly. Exactly.

In fact, after I testify ON Tuesday, my mom is going to testify on Wednesday that nothing happened.



GRACE: Jay Leno from "The Tonight Show" was a witness for the defense today. Of course, nothing like what Mesereau, the defense, promised in opening statements.

To Debra Opri. Debra, when it will all wrap up? You know there`s going to be a rebuttal case by the state.

OPRI: Yes. But like what?


GRACE: I don`t know yet. I`m not sure. But I think it will be at least under 10 witnesses.


OPRI: Nancy, don`t hold your breath. They have a handful of witnesses. They`re going to come and go, surrebuttal, come and go. I`m holding my breath for the closing arguments. I`ll be there. Hope you will be, too.

GRACE: Jane Velez-Mitchell, you think there`s going to be a surrebuttal?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There could be. I mean, the way I understand it is the defense wraps up tomorrow morning and the prosecutor said in court today, Tom Sneddon, I`m ready to go with my rebuttal case, bringing in some witnesses tomorrow. And they expect that to wrap up Wednesday.

Then you could have a surrebuttal Thursday. There`s some arguments over jury instructions at the end of the week. And then, of course, Monday`s a holiday. Tuesday, we could start hearing these closing arguments.


Jane Velez-Mitchell from "Celebrity Justice" there at the courthouse.

Quick break. Please stay with us.



HILLAH KATZ, PROSECUTOR: What mattered most to them was enjoying their evening in Miami starting the night before and partying on through from 9:30 at night until 5:00 in the morning.


GRACE: Man, that`s some party. The problem is, it was a school night. That`s right. These two former America West pilots got in the cockpit following a night of drinking, that drinking, unfortunately, for them caught on tape.

Tonight, let`s go straight down to Miami, WIOD. Miami-Dade reporter Al Warnell is with us.

Welcome, friend. Bring me up to date. What happened in court today?

AL WARNELL, WIOD REPORTER: Well, we had the testimony of a former airline flight attendant who partied with the two pilots the previous night. And, basically, she was a prosecution witness, but I think that she did a body slam on the prosecution.

She got up. She testified basically to the fact that she partied with the gentlemen up until about 10:45 or so. And then she left. And she didn`t see them anymore until the following day, when the airline shuttle came to pick them up.

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Debra Opri, courtroom decorum. When I first saw the lady, I didn`t think she had a top on.

OPRI: The lady in white.

GRACE: Almost in white.

I`m serious. When I first reported on the case today over at Court TV, the chiron was -- I didn`t think she had a top on.

OPRI: The lady...

GRACE: You know, I have had witnesses come into court in flip-flops and I turned them around and made them go put some shoes on. I had one woman in the middle of August come into court. It was 103 degrees outside. Her name was Queenie (ph). She came in one of those giant fur Russian hats. And the jury was intrigued, but today...


OPRI: Let me check this out.


OPRI: The lady in white. I`m sure those jurors were busy listening to the testimony or the beat of her heart?


GRACE: Well, there were...

OPRI: The beat of her...


GRACE: ... six men on the jury. Here we go.

Thank you, Elizabeth. You just had to show that, didn`t you?

OPRI: God bless you.


GRACE: There were six men on the jury, so they didn`t take any affront at this.

OPRI: As my husband says, if you got it, flaunt it. And she flaunted it all day for those guys.


GRACE: I would have shown the witness the button to her jacket.

But, very quickly, back to Al Warnell.

The guys are on video. I know you think this witness helped the defense. But they`re on video, OK, until 4:30 in the morning. Then they get behind the steering wheel of a jet. They`re in the cockpit. The thing would have taken off if one of the security person at the airport hadn`t smelled booze on them. They tried to say it was mouthwash.

Al Warnell, how are they going to get out of this?

WARNELL: Well, the situation is, the prosecution contends that they drunk seven 34-ounce beers and seven 16-ounce beers. Now...


GRACE: That is a snootful.

WARNELL: That`s three gallons of booze. OK? Three gallons of alcohol.

But the defense is contending that a lot of those beers didn`t actually go to these two pilots, that they picked up the tab for these beers, the beers were on their tab and it went to people who were also playing pool, allegedly.


Jason Oshins, let`s go with that. Let`s go with Al Warnell`s tidbit from the defense.


GRACE: You think the jury is going to disbelieve a security guard there? I think she was at the metal detector when she smelled them and went wahoo?

OSHINS: Well, I think the issue that is going to down for the defense is whether or not they were operating that plane or not. I mean, certainly, the fact that the defense is contending that the tug or that large sort of box that pulls out the plane from taxiing, that that was in control of the vehicle and they were simply sitting in it waiting for it to get turned off, disconnected.

And, of course, then they would assume controls. And that didn`t occur, because the TSA stepped in and had the plane called back. So, that`s the defense`s contention, is that they were not operating that plane.

GRACE: Basically because the plane had not taken off yet and they weren`t somewhere over the Antarctic, that makes it OK.


OSHINS: Not that, Nancy. The fact that when a plane gets pulled out from the taxi, it`s pulled out and operated by that operator. And he, in fact, or she, as the case may be, was in control of that plane. And until such time as it`s disconnected, the pilots had no control over the plane whatsoever.


Very quickly, yes, no? Al Warnell, were they in the cockpit?

WARNELL: They were in the cockpit. But the defense claims that they had no control over the plane.

GRACE: Well, then what were they doing in the cockpit?

WARNELL: They went through their preflight checks and, basically, they were waiting to be pushed away from the gate. And, at that particular time, according to the defense, they were going to turn the engines on.

GRACE: I like the defense. It`s mouthwash. Take a listen to this.


KATZ: You`re going to hear about the abusive language used by captain Cloyd, the profanity. You are going to hear about the belligerent argument that they got into.


GRACE: Here with me, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig.

Is reaction time and coordination slower after a night of heavy drinking? Now, if I watched...

LUDWIG: Absolutely.

GRACE: ... TV until 4:30 a.m., I couldn`t read the next day, much less drinking.

LUDWIG: Oh, yes. This is absolutely frightening, to pass off the responsibility.

The fact of the matter is, they are in control of this plane. They are responsible. And the fact that they`re dismissing this responsibility is just what many people who suffer from alcoholism or have alcohol-related problems do. They`re entitled and in denial.

GRACE: Take a listen to this, Robi. This is the video the jury saw today. This is of the two pilots playing pool and drinking. It continued on until about 4:30 in the morning.

Elizabeth, let me know when you have that sound.

Debra Opri, give me your best shot as a defense attorney in this case.

OPRI: Well, number one, I`m not going to go saying they weren`t operating the plane. The minute they get behind the controls, run the test, close the doors, they are operating the plane, because they`re in control of it. Hell with this tugging them off.

The best defense, they should have said it was an overreaction. You know when the problem started? When the security said, give up your Starbucks. You know, they triggered an altercation and everybody started overreacting. I`d attack the way they were stopped. I would attack the visual impairment that was testified to. And I`d attack that blood count. It was a 0.09.

GRACE: You know what? I like that, Debra Opri. They could walk and they could see. Then they could fly a plane. OK. Good defense.

OPRI: And they could order Starbucks.

GRACE: All I can say is...

OPRI: They got their order straight.

GRACE: The security guard smelled them a mile away.

Quick break, everybody.

OPRI: Overreaction.

GRACE: To tonight`s all-points bulletin.

FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Augustine Chidoro Eke, wanted in connection with the shooting death of his four-month-old daughter. Eke, 50 years old, 5`7``, black hair, brown eyes, armed, dangerous. If you have information on Chidoro Eke, contact the Houston FBI at 713-693-5000 or go to There is a $50,000 reward leading to Eke`s arrest.

Local news coming up for some of you, but we`ll all be right back.

And, remember, live coverage of the Jackson trial tomorrow, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, on Court TV`s "Closing Arguments."

Please stay with us as we remember an American hero.


GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want desperately to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people.

Tonight, take a look at Marilyn Cox, a 63-year-old grandmother, shot and killed May 7, 2003, in her Tucson driveway. If you have any information on who killed Marilyn Cox, please call the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation toll free 888-813-8389. Please, help us.

Welcome back, everybody.

Two former America West pilots on trial in Florida for allegedly drinking, then getting into the cockpit of a jet full of people.

Let`s go straight down to WIOD Radio reporter al Warnell.

Al, where do we go from here? Three people, I believe, claimed they smelled alcohol on the two pilots.

WARNELL: That`s correct.

What we go from here or where we go from here is the fact that, basically, you had Mrs. Bulger (ph) testifying today. And, as I said, she had the full attention of the courtroom in her outfit and plunging neckline, as you want to call it. But there is a witness that the prosecution is going to have a deposition for tomorrow. So, therefore, the trial will begin tomorrow afternoon, once again with the bartender at Mr. Moe`s, where all this activity...


GRACE: Right.

And, very quickly. Al, I`ve only got a few seconds left. Did the prior DUI pled down to reckless driving on Cloyd, will that jury ever hear about that?





And, very quickly, do you expect them to take the stand, Al?

WARNELL: That`s hard to say, to be really honest with you. But I -- you know, the conclusion amongst we in the media is that they will take the stand.

GRACE: You know what? I agree with you. I think they will in this case take the stand.

I`m going to hold you to that, Al Warnell with WIOD Radio. Thank you, friend.

I want to thank all of my guests tonight. But my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of us into your home.

Coming up, headlines from all around the world and Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. Hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern.

And, until then, good night, friend.


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