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Lafave Pleads Guilty; Michael Jackson Heads Back to Court

Aired November 22, 2005 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news out of a Florida courtroom in the Debra Lafave teacher sex case. Lafave, the 25-year-old Florida teacher and magazine cover girl pleads guilty to sex with a 14-year-old student. And Michael Jackson heads back to court.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight: He raked in millions to become one of the wealthiest performers in the world. But tonight, newly revealed exclusive audiotapes of Michael Jackson on phone calls literally begging for money. And hey, just in time! No, not Christmas. Jackson is heading back to a court of law.

But first tonight, breaking news out of a Florida courtroom. Debra Lafave, a school teacher, pleads guilty under oath to lewd and lascivious acts with a 14-year-old male student.


DEBRA LAFAVE: I want to apologize to the court, to the young man involved and to his family for my actions. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I`m very sorry for everything which has occurred.


GRACE: Let`s go straight out to Eben Brown with Newsradio 970, WFLA. He was in the Florida courtroom today. Bring us up to date, Eben.

EBEN BROWN, NEWSRADIO 970, WFLA: Good evening. Debra Lafave`s attorney, John Fitzgibbons, said he wants to keep her out of prison, that she was too pretty to go to prison, and today, he was able to convince...

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait!

BROWN: ... the prosecution...

GRACE: Wait! Wait!


GRACE: He didn`t want her to go to jail because she was too pretty for prison? Did I hear that, or am I crazy?

BROWN: No, you heard that. That was...


BROWN: ... the word from Fitzgibbons.

GRACE: Continue.

BROWN: Well, today, he was able to convince the prosecutors that she should not go to prison and that she should have three years` worth of what`s called community control. It`s similar to house arrest, following seven years probation after that. And she will be registered as a sex offender in the state of Florida.

GRACE: Three years house arrest. So she has to stay at home for three years. Gee, I wonder what she`ll be doing at home all day long. Eben Brown, who was the judge in this case, may I ask?

BROWN: The judge was Wayne Timmerman. He`s been very forceful on this case in making sure that...

GRACE: Forceful? Forceful?

BROWN: I think so.

GRACE: The woman got no jail time, Eben! If this were a grown male gym teacher and a 14-year-old little girl and they were driving around town in his SUV, having sex back in the SUV bed of the truck, you don`t think you would go to jail, Eben?

BROWN: Well, this plea agreement came out of concern by the mother of the victim, who didn`t want her son to go through the ordeal of a trial. She was more interested in getting her son through this. The son at the time was 14. He`s now 16. She wants her son to go ahead and have a normal life and put this behind him. And she felt that this was in the best interests of her boy.

GRACE: You know what? Let`s go to Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst. Bethany, if these role were reversed, a guy, a male, that had raped -- this is what this is! This is rape! This is an adult -- how old was she, Eben, 25? Eben?

BROWN: Debra Lafave was 25, yes.

GRACE: So 25 years old with a 14-year-old boy! A boy, Bethany!

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Any way you slice it, it is child rape. And when you take look at boys who are molested by adults, 14 percent of boys are molested by women who are acting alone. I mean, that`s one-and-a-half in ten. That`s really, really high. And then when you add in women who are coerced by a man to commit the crime, that goes up to 30 percent, 40 percent. And then women who know that their husbands or partners are molesting children, it goes up to -- in 50 percent of all sex crimes against children, there is a woman involved. And pedophiles don`t have a learning curve, so they really need bars, imprisonment, a really strong message sent to them.

GRACE: You know what`s bugging me, Bethany. Number one, you`ve got an adult that had sex with a minor not once, but according to eyewitnesses, according to this young boy, multiple times -- in the classroom, in this SUV, in her home. She was a newlywed, for Pete`s sake.


GRACE: Elizabeth (ph), can you show me the wedding photo? And of course, she`s dressed in white. But they`re acting like this boy, and he is a boy, has no repercussions. Let`s just sweep it under the rug, give, basically, probation to this woman for flat-out sex with a child!

MARSHALL: I think the judge, jury, and society is getting seduced, just like this boy was seduced into thinking that nothing`s wrong because boys tend to subjectively report molestation as a rite of initiation, rather than abuse. But longitudinal studies show that they are equally negatively impacted. And Nancy, as I said earlier, pedophiles, they molest, they molest, they molest. They go on and on and on. There`s no learning curve. So if there`s no repercussion, how can you contain them?

GRACE: Well, here is what the little boy`s mother had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Debra Lafave needed to be punished. What she did was wrong. And I believe that she is being punished. There`s no guarantee that if we had gone to trial that she would go to prison.

My son is the most important thing. He needs to move on. He needs to move on. And this thing, it would have gone on for another, you know, two years, including Marion County. I mean, it -- not only once he got through this, then he`d have to do it all over again in Marion County. What kind of life is that for him? He didn`t deserve to be put in this position to start off with.

It was the trust of a teacher. You think you`re sending your children off to school, that they`re there to protect your children. And I think that`s the most appalling thing with this situation, is that you have a teacher that spotted, you know, what she wanted and went to the -- I mean, did what she did. Just an incredible breach in trust.


GRACE: I don`t know about you, Stephen Hegarty -- Stephen is the PIO with the Hillsborough school district -- but laying on the sofa for three years, watching cable TV and eating bon-bons, maybe a little QVC action, to me is not punishment for rape of a child.

STEPHEN HEGARTY, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, HILLSBOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT: It`s up to the judge to decide whether she belongs in jail. We decided a year-and-a-half ago that she did not belong in the classroom, and she hasn`t been...

GRACE: Bless you!

HEGARTY: ... with our schools in that period of...

GRACE: Bless you, Stephen! Bless you! Because you know what, Stephen Hegarty, a lot of teachers may suspect something is going -- in a moment, we`re going to have Nancy Geisel`s attorney on, a case very similar here in New York. They suspect it. They talk about it. They murmur about it. There`s gossip. Nobody does anything. You took her out of the courtroom (SIC), thank God. So are you telling me you think probation is appropriate for child rape?

HEGARTY: Well, that`s not my decision to make.

GRACE: Yes, I know that.

HEGARTY: As I said...

GRACE: But you said...

HEGARTY: ... it`s up to the...

GRACE: ... it`s up to the judge.

HEGARTY: ... school district to decide whether she belongs in the classroom. Like I said, a year-and-a-half ago, we decided she did not belong there. There`s a lot about this case that makes it interesting for national news, but from our point of view, an adult in a position of authority takes advantage of a student, you have no place in a classroom.

GRACE: Stephen, you`re dead on. Question. When did you guys first realize something was amiss?

HEGARTY: Well, we were part of the investigation early on. This was back in June of `04, when she was arrested. She`d only been with us for a little while, and we took her out of the classroom immediately, suspended her. And then we just didn`t re-hire her. We were able to do that. So she wasn`t coming back. Regardless of what happened today, she wasn`t coming back.

GRACE: Well, I hope to God in heaven this is her only victim. According to police documents, everyone, another young boy was driving Lafave around in an SUV while she was having sex with a 14-year-old in the truck bed, back in the back of the SUV, all right? In my mind, that`s another victim right there. I smell a lawsuit. I smell a whopper of a lawsuit, Anne Bremner!

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: I agree, Nancy. But you know, the thing in a case like this -- I had the Mary Kay Letourneau civil case out here in Seattle. You know, as the world Letourneaus. That case, the boy sued and his mother sued for failing to protect him, Mary Letourneau. And then he turned around when he lost and he married her and got a million dollars from being on television in that wedding.

You know, there`s three R`s in the education system, you know, reading, writing and arithmetic. But in the criminal justice system, we`ve got restitution, you know, rehabilitation and -- and retribution. So here, what are the -- what do we serve with a woman who`s not a pedophile -- I totally disagree. Women are not predatory. Women are not out with multiple victims over many years, like the many that we see year after year after year. And in fact, the boys are not as damaged, and that`s what the studies showed.

GRACE: You know what, Anne?

BREMNER: In my case...

GRACE: Anne, Anne, Anne -- it is a very different...

BREMNER: ... this Mary Kay Letourneau...

GRACE: ... Anne, Anne, Anne...

BREMNER: ... she was a very different...

GRACE: Anne...


GRACE: Anne, Anne...


GRACE: ... beautiful speech. One question. You say women are not multiple predators. How many kids did Letourneau have by the little boy she was sleeping with?

BREMNER: But Nancy, that`s totally different. You know what...

GRACE: Answer! Answer!

BREMNER: But Nancy...

GRACE: Answer!

BREMNER: She had two. But you know what, Nancy?

GRACE: Oh, OK. Thank you!

BREMNER: She is with him and he`s an adult.

GRACE: But -- but -- but -- but -- but -- yes...

BREMNER: She`s not with a little boy anymore.

GRACE: Now. Now. But she was. OK, you know what? I`m going to go back to...

BREMNER: But she isn`t now.

GRACE: ... this case because right now, joining us by phone is a very special guest. Now, here`s someone with some background. This is Lafave`s husband, Owen Lafave. Elizabeth, do you have those wedding photos?

Mr. Lafave, thank you for being with us.

OWEN LAFAVE, DEBRA`S EX-HUSBAND: You`re welcome, Nancy. I`d like to make one correction.

GRACE: Yes, sir.

LAFAVE: It is ex-husband. Ex-husband.

GRACE: Yes. You`re right. Thank you. Thank you. And you know what? You`re a very wise man, Mr. Lafave. Mr. Lafave, you guys had just gotten married! I mean, she had everything! She had a beautiful job, a white wedding, a handsome husband who wanted to step in and support her and take care of her. This is what a lot of women dream of, a future, to have children. How has what happened in court today -- how do you react to this?

LAFAVE: You know, I`m appalled by it. And first and foremost, I`d just like to say, what message are we sending to our educators and to our children in the fact that she`s not punished by going to jail? There has to be some sort of deterrent to deter these teachers from acting in a behavior similar to how my ex-wife acted. And I don`t think that justice was served today, and I think a precedent has been set for other non- violent sexual offenders that they can go out and have sex with children and they don`t risk the possibility of going to jail.

GRACE: Well, I think it`s abhorrent, frankly, Owen. And my question to you is, going back in time, when did you first find out about your wife`s aberrant behavior? I mean, this is a crime. It`s being romanticized. Whenever the woman is the predator, it is somehow romanticized and the child is left behind in the dust. When did you first realize that your wife had a criminal problem?

LAFAVE: I realized when her mother had called me at work the day she was arrested. I had no indication...

GRACE: Holy moly!

LAFAVE: ... prior to then...

GRACE: How long had you two been married at that time?

LAFAVE: We were married 11 months at that time, but I`d known her for a number of years, and we`d actually been dating for four.

GRACE: Now, what was the courtship and the marriage like?

LAFAVE: I -- I mean, it was fine. I think you could describe us as, you know, your everyday American couple. I mean, we were young and in love and in college. And you know, we dated for three years, and things were for the most part very good. We were engaged for a year and then decided to tie the knot, and it was 11 months almost to the day when she had gotten arrested.

GRACE: You know, you mention you didn`t know anything about her activity until you were called the day she was arrested. Did she try to explain it to you?

LAFAVE: You know, she provided me a number of explanations. However, none of them ever never made any sense. And that`s one of the things that`s most troubling, is I just want to know why. And that`s...

GRACE: I can`t wait to hear...

LAFAVE: ... something...

GRACE: ... this, Owen. What was her excuse?

LAFAVE: Oh, Nancy...

GRACE: Let me guess. It was the boy`s fault?

LAFAVE: No. No. It was never -- one of the faults (ph) were that I don`t want to have children. I embarrassed her in front of her family by saying that I wasn`t ready. I mean, there was just a number of excuses that just made no sense at all. And quite frankly, I mean, I was just very irritated and angered by it.

GRACE: Wait a minute. She has sex with a minor because you wanted to wait a few years before you had your first child?


LAFAVE: Isn`t it bizarre? I mean, it (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: Yes. So -- no, I knew that somehow, this was going to be somebody else`s fault, not hers. It can`t possibly be her fault, for God`s sake! Was there any other excuse you wish to share with us?

LAFAVE: Not right now. I mean, there was a number of them that...

GRACE: Oh, man! I bet...

LAFAVE: ... were even a little more bizarre.

GRACE: ... they were whoppers!

LAFAVE: And they changed by the hour. So I mean, it was nothing I was ever satisfied with.

GRACE: Owen, I`m kind of stunned, especially -- you know, judges get away with a lot on the bench because, normally, the public isn`t in there watching. They give cheap pleas, they dismiss cases, you name it, with the help and aid of prosecutors. But for her to walk free, basically, she`s going straight back home, and her punishment is she has to stay in unless she goes to work?

Let me go back to Eben Brown. Even, what are the conditions of her house arrest? Can she leave to go shopping, to go to work? What else?

BROWN: It`s not quite house arrest. It`s called community control. She has to abide by a curfew, which is 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. She must not live within a thousand feet of children or anywhere children may congregate. And it`s -- I guess, for all intents and purposes, you could call it house arrest. She does not have to stay in the house at all times. She is allowed out for work and such.

GRACE: Work and such. What is such? That`s my concern.

BROWN: Shopping for food, perhaps, anything you need to do for your daily living. There`s no restrictions on her, I believe, in that regard.

GRACE: Now, Eben, you said it`s not house arrest, it`s called what?

BROWN: It`s called community control. I think it`s just more...

GRACE: Community control.

BROWN: ... semantics than anything.

GRACE: OK. Well, I`m stunned. Back to Owen Lafave. Before we go to break, Owen, how is this little slap on the wrist -- this is child rape. How is this going to affect her life? None at all?

LAFAVE: Well, I mean, obviously, it`ll affect her life, and she gets to wear a little bracelet around her ankle, but...

GRACE: No, I don`t think she even has to wear an anklet, does she, Eben? Eben? OK, I know the answer to that one. She does not have to wear a bracelet -- no bracelet, no anklet, nothing, Owen!

LAFAVE: Then I can`t imagine she`s going to be impacted, you know, very much at all. I mean, I think it`s very unfortunate. The thing that I keep in mind is that the parents had a lot to do with the decision. And I don`t have children myself, but I understand the mother wanting to protect her child. But you know, that being said, I mean, it is a criminal offense and some jail time should have been served.

GRACE: Quick break, everyone. To "Trial Tracking." John Couey, accused of the kidnap, sex assault and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, tries for a cheap plea deal. Court documents reveal Couey offered tried to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors claim a deal has not been discussed and is unlikely. Trial set for July. The state will seek the Florida death penalty.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. School teacher Debra Lafave gets a slap on the wrist today for sex with a 14-year-old boy. Now, where I come from, that`s called child rape, child molestation.

Straight out to Tony Locascio, defense attorney. What is your explanation as to why she got such a light sentence, Tony?

TONY LOCASCIO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s very easy, Nancy. You played a clip of the most important person in the state of Florida, that basically made this determination, the mother. It`s plain and simple. The mother -- and I think we all lost sight of what happened in the Kobe Bryant case, Nancy, where the victim refused to cooperate. And in that case, as we all know, Kobe completely walked and the charges were dismissed.

I doubt you would have appreciated that in this case. At least here, she is now a registered sex offender. And I wouldn`t call it a slap on the wrist. I know you would because you wanted her to serve decades of punishment in the prison.

GRACE: Hey, Tony, let me clear one thing up.


GRACE: This is not about me. And it`s not about you. This is about Lady Justice and what goes down in the courtroom. So let`s try to keep personal...

LOCASCIO: Absolutely. I agree.

GRACE: If I could finish?


GRACE: Let`s keep this about what happened in court. Now, let me ask you something.


GRACE: A 14-year-old child having sex with an adult -- would you agree or disagree that that is child molestation?

LOCASCIO: I would agree. Under the rules of court, yes, absolutely.

GRACE: OK. Do you know, Tony...

LOCASCIO: But it has to be proven.

GRACE: ... maximum and minimum for that crime? Do you know the minimum and maximum?

LOCASCIO: In the state of Florida, the maximum, you`re talking about 15 years.

GRACE: Yes. And the minimum would be?

LOCASCIO: That`s right. The minimum is five years. So 5 to 15...

GRACE: OK. Five years. Five years what? Five years?

LOCASCIO: What, are we talking about over, under? Five-year minimum, fifteen-year maximum.

GRACE: Five years behind bars, for Pete`s sake!


GRACE: Five years behind bars!

LOCASCIO: Yes. But we have a mother that is preventing her child from testifying. The mother, the most important person in this case, frankly, as the victim`s mom, does not want him to testify...

GRACE: OK, you know what?

LOCASCIO: ... and is satisfied by the result.

GRACE: The reality is, Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter, the most important person in this case is a group of people. It`s the people of Florida, who expect the courts and the prosecutor to do the right thing. And for Lady Justice, who coincidentally, everybody, is wearing a blindfold -- she is to be blind to the race, the sex, the age, the beauty, the wealth, the education of defendants and victims!

JANE-VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I agree, absolutely, Nancy. Her attorney said she was too pretty to go to prison. What does that mean? Only ugly people have to go to prison? On the other hand, I would say she has suffered quite a bit. She has suffered the humiliation of having photographs of her, naked photographs taken in jail to try to corroborate the boy`s story. And in fact, some of those photographs involved...

GRACE: Well, then she shouldn`t have told the cops that she had a Brazilian wax, all right? That`s why they took the photos. The photos are sealed. No one`s ever going to see them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, but...

GRACE: Hey...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... I`m saying that it is humiliating for her to have to sit there in stirrups and have graphic gynecological photos taken of her. And on top of that, she has to register as a sex offender. She loses her teaching credential. She can never profit from this story. She also has to attend psychiatric courses and sex offender courses. She has to pay for all the costs that this boy suffered. She`s humiliated. She has a scarlet letter around her. Her face is smeared all over the world.

GRACE: She needs more than that.



DEBRA LAFAVE: I want to apologize to the court, to the young man involved, and to his family for my actions. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I`m very sorry for everything which has occurred.

MICHAEL SINACORE, HILLSBOROUGH PROSECUTOR: The agreement calls for the defendant to plead guilty as charged and be adjudicated and be sentenced on count one to two years of community control, and to be sentenced on count two to one year of community control, followed by seven years of probation. Count two is to run consecutive to count one for a total period of supervision of 10 years.

She is not to be allowed early termination of supervision. However, she is allowed to request the court to convert her third year of community control to probation after successfully completing the first two years of community control.


GRACE: No jail time, nothing! No fine, nothing! Debra Lafave, a school teacher, multiple episodes of sex with a boy, a 14-year-old boy, now a slap on the wrist.

I want to go straight back out to Owen Lafave, Debra Lafave`s ex- husband. Did you realize the court date was today?

LAFAVE: Well, I knew they were going to court today, but it was under my understanding that the defense was trying to have the gag order that was placed on them released. And so this came as a (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: As a what?

LAFAVE: I`m sorry. As a complete shock to me.

GRACE: Owen, why do you think the victim`s family wanted such a cheap plea deal?

LAFAVE: I don`t know that they wanted the plea deal the way it occurred, but I think they were just willing to take anything that they could to prevent the boy from having to testify.

GRACE: Anne Bremner, do you sense a civil suit in the offing?

BREMNER: Oh, absolutely. I -- I -- Nancy -- yes. And whether it will be successful, I don`t know. If it ends like Letourneau, no.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Susan Hendricks. Here`s your "Headline Prime Newsbreak" now.

If you`re traveling today, you`ve probably got plenty of company. Experts says high gasoline prices and airline bankruptcies aren`t having much of an effect on the number of people going away for Thanksgiving. The Air Transport Association says 21.1 million people will fly on U.S. airlines over the holiday.

And you`ve always heard it was a good thing to do. Well, a new study says breast-feeding appears to lower a mother`s risk of developing adult- onset diabetes. New research, involving 157,000 U.S. nurses, found the longer mothers nursed, the lower their risk of developing diabetes.

Outside a church near Sacramento, California, a statue of the Virgin Mary appears to be crying tears of blood, some say because of tragic events around the world. Others see it as a premonition. However, skeptical observers are thinking the tears may just be a big hoax.

And that is the news for now. I`m Susan Hendricks. Back to NANCY GRACE.


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Do you understand the charges to which you`re pleading guilty, that is, two counts of lewd or lascivious battery, each of which carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 15 years in a Florida state prison, a total of 30 years? Do you understand that?


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: I have in my right hand, ma`am, a plea form. Have you seen this before?

LAFAVE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Did you read it?

LAFAVE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Did you talk to your lawyer about it?

LAFAVE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Do you understand it?

LAFAVE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Did you sign it?

LAFAVE: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Do you have any questions whatsoever about the contents of this plea form?

LAFAVE: No, sir.


GRACE: And from now on in Florida, whenever anyone is charged with raping a 14-year-old child, they can point to the Debra Lafave case and go, "Judge, she got straight probation for about two years." She`ll have to stay in a home after 10:00 to 6:00 a.m.

So let me ask you, Jane Velez-Mitchell, what is this judge, what are all other judges in Florida going to say to other defendants? Let`s just say male defendants that are having sex with 14-year-old girls, the little girl across the street? What message is this sending?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you raise a very important point, that this sets a bad precedent, if you are going to parallel male behavior with female behavior.

But let`s face it, Nancy, in real-life terms, that`s often very, very different. According to the reports that I`ve read, this boy is apparently very well-adjusted. He did not want to testify against her at the trial; he wanted to move on with his life.

And according to the mom, the trial itself could have traumatized him very severely, in fact, possibly more than the actual incidents themselves. So perhaps, for the benefit of this boy, it was best for him to move on and to try to lead a normal, healthy life.

GRACE: Yes. Well, what I was asking you was about criminal law precedent.

To Anne Bremner, defense attorney out of Seattle, Anne, the reality is every defendant that lines up at the podium from now on is going to say, "Hey, I want that deal. I want that deal. If I can`t have that deal, to heck with it."

BREMNER: Well, but this is cultural, I mean, Nancy. It`s like every school boy`s dream, you know, with these teachers. Mary Kay Letourneau had probation, too, to begin with before she re-offended and got pregnant the second time with the young man that she married, ultimately, who`s no longer a child.

You know, the thing is on these kinds of cases is that this isn`t a precedent for anything. These cases are true anomalies with these women. And, in fact, she`s not going to have another victim like him. And there`s no evidence that she will...

GRACE: Anne, Anne, Anne, that`s simply...

BREMNER: They`re completely different.

GRACE: I can`t even allow you to perpetrate that on the public, because every child rape defendant that comes back up in front of a judge is going to point to this case and the lenient sentence.

BREMNER: Nancy, it`s totally different.

GRACE: And the judge cannot possibly say, "Oh"...

BREMNER: Yes, they can. Yes, they can, because...

GRACE: You don`t even know what I was going to say, Anne, because I didn`t finish.

BREMNER: OK. Well, you finish, then I have something.

GRACE: No judge in his or her right mind is going to say, "Oh, I gave that lenient sentence because she was a woman and you`re a man."

BREMNER: There`s a double standard for a reason, Nancy. And that is because women don`t re-offend; women are not predatory.

GRACE: OK. Stop. Stop.

BREMNER: And you don`t have the boys as damaged. It`s different.

GRACE: Mary Kay Letourneau, the case you handled...

BREMNER: That`s right.

GRACE: ... had sex over and over and over with the boy, starting, I think, around age 12. That is repeat offense, Anne. Get that law book right behind you and look up "repeat offense."

BREMNER: I`m not talking about repeat offense. I`m talking about repeat victims, more than one victim.

GRACE: OK, fine, thanks.

BREMNER: Totally different.

GRACE: Special guest, Don Kinsella. He is the attorney for Beth Geisel. Beth Geisel is yet another beautiful schoolteacher, this time in the northeast. She pled guilty September 27th, one count of third-degree rape. She did get some jail time.

Don, are you surprised Lafave did not get jail time?


GRACE: Would you care to expound on that or is that your full statement?

KINSELLA: Well, no. I agree with your last guest. Every case is individual, and we don`t know what went on here entirely. She`s relatively young. There`s no indication that she was doing this with other people.

GRACE: Sir, she pled guilty...

KINSELLA: She`s relatively...

GRACE: ... in court to sex with a 14-year-old. How can you say we don`t know what went on?

KINSELLA: Well, because, in any sentencing, you want to understand the person you`re sentencing. It`s easy for a judge to just look at whatever the maximum sentence is and give it out.

GRACE: Well, what about the minimum? The minimum is five years behind bars.


GRACE: She didn`t even get the minimum in this case. Question...

KINSELLA: Well, she has to have gotten the minimum, because the judge sentenced her or is going to sentence her.

GRACE: He did sentence her, and she got no jail time whatsoever. Regarding your client, will Geisel ever be able to teach school again, be around children?

KINSELLA: No. Well, she`ll be around children, but she`s not going to be teaching school again.

GRACE: Will she be a registered sex offender?


GRACE: When will she be released from jail?

KINSELLA: In a couple weeks.

GRACE: I want to go straight back out to our reporter, Eben. Is it true -- everybody, we`re about to take you out to California on the Michael Jackson update. He`s headed back to court.

Eben, is it true that Lafave had on an engagement ring in court?

BROWN: Some of us saw a ring on her finger. We`re not quite sure what it`s for. We do know that she has had a new boyfriend of recent weeks. We don`t know if she`s been asked to marry him yet.

GRACE: OK. Let me ask you a couple questions.

Elizabeth, could you pull up that wedding video, please?

Eben, wasn`t a diamond -- that`s a still. The video of the wedding is what I`m looking. Eben, wasn`t a diamond ring on her left hand?

BROWN: I didn`t get a good shot of it. We kind of noticed it after the fact. And we were all wondering whether or not it was truly an engagement ring. But, like we said, we don`t know what it`s for.

GRACE: Ellie, what reports did you hear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I heard it described as a rock on her left hand.

GRACE: OK, pretty much, pretty much -- if anybody spotted a rock on her left hand, that`s usually an engagement ring.

And, Eben, last question: I understand that there`s a TRO that was filed against her. What is that all about?

BROWN: A woman by the name of Lisa York in the Tampa area filed that. She is the ex-wife of the man Debra is now seeing. She has two children by that man. She wanted a temporary restraining order against Debra Lafave. She feared for the safety of the children, I think was the reason she gave.

That was originally denied the beginning of this month. The judge in that review said there was no reason to believe she would harm those children.


Very quickly, everybody, we are taking you out to California and the latest in the Michael Jackson case. No, he hasn`t quite left the country all together. We know that he has bought a home in Bahrain, actually two palaces and put them together. But he`s headed straight back to court.

To Jim Moret, chief correspondent with "Inside Edition," what`s the latest?

JIM MORET, CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": The latest is you`ve got a couple of former business associates of Michael Jackson that are suing him for a total of around $67 million, one for $3 million, another for $64 million, both claiming that he owes them this amount of money.

One of those people, Marc Schaffel -- and both of these people, incidentally, Nancy, were unindicted co-conspirators in the criminal trial that we followed for months and months.

But one of them, Marc Schaffel, had recorded two years worth of voice mails on his answering machine. Those were turned over to a news agency. And some of them were actually played.

The other individual said that he was basically sold Michael Jackson`s name and likeness for purposes of merchandising. The problem was Michael Jackson had allegedly previously sold those same rights to somebody else. So Michael Jackson clearly still has some legal problems ahead of him.

GRACE: And, Jane Velez-Mitchell, these are, I think, more than just legal problems. They`re lawsuits filed against him to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. What is this about, the phone calls where he`s begging for money?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, of course, Marc Schaffel, one of the formerly alleged unindicted co-conspirators, who`s often called the former gay porn producer, he was -- nobody disputes this -- a business associate of Michael Jackson`s. He`s the one who helped put together that rebuttal documentary that aired on FOX after the initial, very damaging Martin Bashir documentary aired that was kind of the counter-documentary.

Well, he claims that Michael Jackson owes him millions. And so now these audio recordings have surfaced, purportedly of Michael Jackson calling Schaffel on the phone over and over again, and asking for money. "Uh, I need $7 million."

And sometimes he allegedly speaks in code, saying, "I need fries." Fries means money. And then when he says, "Super-size it," that means lots of money. And so, once again, the very bizarre world of Michael Jackson, the cryptic world, continues.

GRACE: Well, speaking of those phone conversations, take a listen to this.

OK, guys. I`m going to play it right when we get back.

Very quickly, to "Trial Tracking." Death row inmate, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, set to be executed December 13, California, San Quentin. Williams is actually the Crips gang co-founder and was convicted for four separate murders in a `79 robbery spree. Activists this weekend rallied, wanting the executive called off, claiming it was all a racist plot and the 1981 trial was wrong and that Williams has reformed.

After his failed appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to take the case.



THOMAS MESEREAU, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: Mr. Jackson has been repeatedly advised by those who stood to make fortunes in his business affairs to pay money rather than face certain false allegations.

As a result, many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children. People who intended to earn millions of dollars from his record and music promotions did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits.

These two false allegations must be placed in a proper perspective. Mr. Jackson has interacted with millions of children. Many millions of children around the world love Michael Jackson and never allege that he harmed them in any way.


GRACE: Welcome back. Michael Jackson, the so-called King of Pop, was acquitted, as you know, of all counts in a child molestation case in California. But he is, in fact, headed back to a court of law, Jackson being sued for millions of dollars.

Elizabeth, do we have that sound for the viewers? OK, let`s take a listen to Jackson on the phone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First saved message, received June 4th at 2:03 a.m.

MICHAEL JACKSON, SINGER: Marc, I really need you to (INAUDIBLE) $7 million for me as soon as possible. I agreed to do this thing, but there`s something here that I really want to get.

If you do this for me -- I know the deal is (INAUDIBLE) seven. But I just want seven upfront. If you can get that for me, it would be perfect, seven to seven and a half. That`s in advance. Can you please try to get that for me. There`s something here I really want. Thanks, bye-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sent, Thursday, July 10th, at 9:52 p.m.

JACKSON: Marc, it`s Michael Jackson. Call me tomorrow. We`ve got to get this (INAUDIBLE) to Europe. But I want to get some fries. You know, I`m (INAUDIBLE) the tape (INAUDIBLE) version. (INAUDIBLE) everywhere. You`ve got to get me some fries. There`s big money overseas. I know it is. Call me (INAUDIBLE) thanks, bye.


GRACE: No, he`s not making an order at McDonald`s when he is asking for fries and super-size it. Jane Velez-Mitchell, what is fries codeword for?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Money, money, money, that`s how he would disguise it. But, of course, he then, a couple sentences later, would say, "I need money," and mention a specific figure like a million, seven million, whatever.

I think the bigger picture here is that, as came up in the trial, at least according to prosecutors, Michael Jackson purportedly spends $20 to $30 million more than he earns every year. And the prosecutors had insisted that he have a severe financial crunch, would only have gotten worse now that he`s traveling back and forth to Bahrain and London and driving Ferraris and palaces, and who knows what.

Obviously, if he had a money problem then, it`s probably gotten worse. And there are those who say that it could get even worse December 20th, when he has a huge, huge loan that may come due at that point.

GRACE: Let`s go to an exclusive interview with Howard King. He represents Dieter Wiesner and Marc Schaffel.

Welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us. What is the basis of your clients` lawsuits and for how much?

HOWARD KING, REPRESENTS FMR. JACKSON ADVISERS: Well, Marc Schaffel`s lawsuit was filed a year ago. And it was for the remaining balance Michael Jackson owed him for producing two documentaries for FOX, as well as approximately $2.5 million that Marc Schaffel loaned him, largely in cash, in 2003, when there was severe cash flow problems.

Dieter Wiesner`s lawsuit, which was filed yesterday, is somewhat different. Dieter Wiesner actually advanced $9 million to Michael Jackson to get the worldwide merchandising rights, only to find that they had been sold once before.

GRACE: Long story short, Howard, how much money are we talking about?

KING: Well, Dieter Wiesner`s lawsuit, when you calculate in the lost profits of not being able to merchandise, is upwards of $64 million.

GRACE: To Brian Oxman -- he`s the Jackson family attorney -- question, Brian: Why does Jackson refer to money as "French fries" and he wants it super-sized?

BRIAN OXMAN, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: I don`t think that that`s really what he`s talking about. He is talking about...

GRACE: He actually wants to order fries on the telephone?

OXMAN: No, he`s talking about something entirely different. What you`re having a listen to on these tapes are really an edited version of them. We`ve never been able to get a hold of them, despite requests repeatedly.

And so what you`re hearing, Nancy, is not what you appear to see on these things. They are edited. And they are not authentic.

GRACE: OK. You know what? I would be careful before I accuse someone, Brian, of actual fraud, because, Howard King, that`s what it sounds like.

OXMAN: I`m saying that they`re edited. And what you`re hearing is not what he is actually referring to in these tapes.

GRACE: Howard?

KING: Mr. Oxman, I don`t know what he talks about when he says, "We`ve tried to get it." He is not Michael Jackson`s lawyer.

Michael Jackson`s listened in my presence to the every one of these messages and testified under oath that that was his voice and those were the complete messages he left for Marc Schaffel.

So I have no idea what Mr. Oxman is talking about. And, you know, these charges are ridiculous. It`s typical Jackson approach to any litigation, make Michael the victim. Nobody else is right. Michael`s the victim.

GRACE: Is that true, Brian Oxman? Is Michael somehow the victim, this time Michael Jackson?

OXMAN: I don`t think it`s appropriate to have recorded conversations broadcast anywhere in the United States. I don`t think it`s appropriate to record these kinds of conversations.

What I think we have here, Nancy, is we`re trying a case in the public press which belongs in the courtroom. And that is where this entire controversy belongs.

GRACE: Well, you know what, Brian? It seemed to have worked out pretty well for Jackson in the child molestation suit. You can only pray to God`s ear that it works out as well in this civil lawsuit.

OXMAN: I think that...

GRACE: I`ll be right back with you, Brian, but I`ve got to go to break.

OXMAN: Sure.

GRACE: Trust me. I`ll come right back to you.

Very quickly, everyone, to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin."

FBI and law enforcement across the country on the look-out for Morris Alex Mills, wanted in connection with a 2004 Chicago double murder of 26- year-old Charles Caldwell (ph) and 51-year-old Roger Snyder (ph).

Mills, late 20s, 5`8", 230 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have information on Morris Alex Mills, call the FBI, 312-431-1333.

Quite update on last night`s "All-Points Bulletin." Kenya Wright on the run after allegedly shooting an Indianapolis cop. Tonight, just hours after our show, she is behind bars. Thank you.

Local news next for some of you. We`ll all be right back.

But as we go to break, stay with us as we remember an American hero, Private Christopher M. Alcozer, just 21.


GRACE: Welcome back.

Michael Jackson may very well be headed back to a court of law after just escaping felony child molestation counts. But this time, it`s all about money.

I want to go back to you, Brian Oxman, as I promised. Continue.

OXMAN: ... Nancy, is that this case needs to be tried in the court of law. We can`t tell whether or not these things are legitimate or whether or not they`re valid.

We do know that the police did a search of Marc Schaffel`s home during the investigation which led to the trial in Santa Maria. They were specifically looking for these tapes. They asked Mr. Schaffel for them. He said he didn`t have them. Lo and behold, all of a sudden, they show up being broadcast nationwide.

GRACE: OK. So you`re concerned about the timing of the tapes. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Next message, received March 29th at 10:49 p.m.

JACKSON: Hello? Marc, it`s Michael. Let`s break all-time records, Marc. I want to make history so badly. And I`m speaking from the bottom of my heart. And, Marc, please, please, please never let me down.

I really like you. I love you. I`ve been betrayed so much by people. And I want us to really, really be friends and to conquer the business world together. I really do. I`ve thought about it a lot.

But please be my loyal, loyal, loyal friend. I love you and thank you so much. Bye-bye.


GRACE: We`ll have more in the coming days about the Michael Jackson now-civil lawsuit, multi-millions of dollars at stake.

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

Coming up tomorrow night, please join us. There will be three empty seats at a Thanksgiving table as the search for these three missing women. One case now including the private eye on the Natalee Holloway case.

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


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