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Mel Gibson Gets Misdemeanor Charges; Brazilian Woman Dies From Complications Following Liposuction
Aired August 2, 2006 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news, the LA district attorney announces formal charges against Hollywood icon Mel Gibson, Gibson facing the consequences after another DUI. Did Gibson get star treatment by police? Will his anti-Semitic and anti-woman comments come before a jury? Or will there ever even be a jury? Or will Gibson get just another slap on the wrist?
And tonight, live to Massachusetts. Will a home basement liposuction end in murder charges? Tonight, a third arrest after a gorgeous 24-year- old girl loses her life to lipo.
But first tonight, to Mel Gibson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This individual was arrested. He was booked. He made a very stark confession the following day. Where`s the cover-up? There is none.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Let`s go straight out to "Showbiz Tonight`s" Brooke Anderson. Brooke, what went down?
BROOKE ANDERSON, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Well, there is big news today. Mel Gibson was charged with misdemeanor DUI, Nancy, one misdemeanor count each of DUI and driving while having a .08 percent or higher blood alcohol content. His BAC was actually.12. The legal limit in California is .08. And in addition to that, he was charged with driving with an open container -- allegedly, an open bottle of tequila was found in his car -- driving more than 85 miles per hour. An arraignment has been set for September 28, but he does not have to appear for that arraignment.
And like, you know, Steve Whitmore (ph), spokesman for the sheriff`s department, was just saying, they are adamant that there has been no cover- up with the reports in this situation.
GRACE: Well, Brooke, I really don`t think you`re being fair because, let`s give a little credit to Mel Gibson, he said that was not his tequila.
ANDERSON: Well, you know, Mel Gibson has come out twice since this all happened, Nancy. Five days ago, Friday morning, is when he was arrested in the early hours. On Saturday, he came out and he apologized, said he did a number of things that were wrong and for which he was ashamed, said he made despicable comments and that he apologizes to anyone who he offended.
Well, just yesterday, he came out with another statement, and in this one, he became very specific and he apologized for making anti-Semitic comments, which is what this is all about. I mean, how many people in Hollywood have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, Nancy? A lot. So here we`re talking about the anti-Semitic statements and what that all means for Mel Gibson.
GRACE: Well, I`m a little concerned about the DUI aspect of this. I want to go out to Sheryl McCollum, the former director of MADD, Georgia, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And PS, the video you`re seeing is courtesy of TMZ.com.
Out to Sheryl. Sheryl, we`re hearing a lot about anti-Semitic remarks, anti-woman remarks made by Mel Gibson, allegedly made by Mel Gibson. I`m a little concerned about the prospect of mowing somebody down at 87 mph in a 45-mile-an-hour zone at .12. The legal limit there, .08. This is almost twice the legal limit, Sheryl.
SHERYL MCCOLLUM, FORMER DIR., GEORGIA MADD: Absolutely, Nancy. That is the bigger problem to me, as well, that somebody could have been killed by his driving, not by his remarks.
GRACE: And everybody keeps talking, Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly" -- he`s a senior editor -- about a cover-up. Where are they getting the cover-up from? The theory is that because the police report deletes a lot of the information, and we find that on a supplemental report, Tom O`Neil?
TOM O`NEIL, SR., "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Yes, Nancy. Come on. At first, they were saying that this was -- this was without incident, and then more and more facts come out, and that`s -- I`m quite confused myself, at this point. Yesterday, the sheriff`s department came out and issued some preliminary report saying that there`s nothing really wrong here, but yet conceding that maybe there`s something wrong in the doctoring of the report.
Now, all of this is under wraps. It`s very hard to figure out what went on. But clearly, they took the really bad stuff out of the initial report and that those arresting officers were told to water it down, to take the bad stuff out. And we don`t know to what extent it is, but it looks really bad. The question is, what are they going to do?
GRACE: I believe the word they`re using is "sanitized." Now, if you take a look at the arrest warrant -- Elizabeth, do we have that to show the viewers? We`re talking about an alleged DUI, driving under the influence, formal charges just handed down by the LA district attorney. "Gibson quickly turned and bolted toward his own vehicle. As he said, `I`m not going to get into your car,` Gibson attempted to escape arrest."
Now, if that had been me or you, Tom O`Neil, we would have been thrown down face first on the asphalt and dragged back by our ankles, put in cuffs and put in the back seat of the car. What happened to Gibson?
O`NEIL: Well, actually, standard operating procedure is he should have been cuffed right away. But in fact, he then -- he makes this escape attempt that you reported there. And now there`s another report that we don`t know whether, whether -- you know, whether to believe this or not, that he was jumping up and down and acting like a monkey jumping on a cage, they said, and that he was yelling at the cops, I`m going to hurt you, I`m going to hurt you, while he was claiming that he could, you know, hurt -- that he owned Malibu and that he could hurt them all this way.
But it looks as if he got a pretty easy ride. Then when he got to the police station, things get really funny. This is where the deputy starts fawning over him like he`s a rock star.
Now the sheriff is afraid the videotape from the police station`s going to leak out and embarrass the station. And then the morning after, when Mel got out, he was given a ride by a deputy officer over to the tow park to get his car. This is very unusual.
So he was given preferential treatment all along, and now we also hear that there were possibly two other cases before this where he was pulled over for going 20 and 30 miles over the speed limit on this same road, one of the incidents where the cops suspected that Mel may have been inebriated, and he got off on that, too.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the guy. I guess I`d be the Mel Gibson slayer, but not by -- not because I want to be. And I don`t want the celebrity. And of course, my department doesn`t want me talking to the media and giving any statements. The department has got all these investigations going, and they -- you know, they don`t want to upset the investigations or draw attention away from the investigations, I guess.
As far as the report on line -- of course, obviously, the report on line -- I`ve seen it because people have shown it to me, but again, I can`t -- I can`t confirm or deny that it would be my report because I don`t know how it got there, so -- and the handwriting appears to be mine, but you know, that`s all I could say about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Boy, that`s lot of beating around the bush! Was it your report or not? Is it that hard of a question?
Mickey Sherman, speaking of all these comments that were allegedly made, the anti-Semitic comments, the anti-woman comments, you know, it`s Trial 101, Mickey Sherman. If there is a trial, these are circumstances incident to arrest, they will come into evidence, Mickey.
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, unless they get, you know, an all-Jewish jury, which is unlikely, it`s not going to mean a lot. And also, Nancy, there`s no way...
GRACE: Excuse me! Are you totally discounting the anti-woman comments?
SHERMAN: Yes, I am.
GRACE: Did you hear what he said?
SHERMAN: Yes, I did. The sugar thing, right?
GRACE: Right. You really did just kind of gloss over that.
SHERMAN: Yes, well, and I...
GRACE: I don`t think you need an all-Jewish jury, as you just said...
SHERMAN: All-Jewish woman jury...
GRACE: ... for anybody to be offended by that. I mean, that`s not going to help, come trial time.
SHERMAN: Look, the guy was drunk. That`s why he`s charged with drunk driving. And I`ve represented a zillion drunk drivers, and I got to tell you, they all act stupid. That`s why they are arrested because they`re not responsible -- they`re not acting responsible. They are responsible for their actions, but they`re acting like jerks, and this is what Mel Gibson did.
And the only thing that takes this away from being a garden-variety DUI, which it otherwise is, the escape thing -- obviously, he said that and it just didn`t go anywhere. The police handled this appropriately. They took him under -- they put him under arrest and they took him in.
And the fact that the cop gave him a ride the next day, I don`t see any great preferential treatment there. The problem is, he`ll get a first offender kind of a treatment or a pre-trial diversionary thing. Maybe he`ll lose his license. That`s not going to exactly hurt him.
This is like a pimple on his problem. It`s like giving the captain of the Titanic a ticket for parking overtime. His disaster is the public relations disaster, and that`s where we don`t know if he`s ever going to recover from that.
GRACE: Back out to Sheryl McCollum, former director of MADD Georgia, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. You just said that this is a blip on the screen. Let`s take a look at the drunk driving "Fast Facts" -- $114.7 billion annually, 1.5 million drivers arrested in `99 for DUI, nation`s most frequently committed violent crime ending in death and harm, one person every minute injured in alcohol-related crashes, 3 in 10 Americans will be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes.
To Sheryl McCollum, response. Why is this all about a so-called PR nightmare?
MCCOLLUM: It is a PR nightmare, Nancy, but I`ll tell you something. I think he ought to lose his license. Maybe that will save his life or somebody else`s. And it`s a PR nightmare because we`re putting the emphasis on who he is, not what he`s done. And what he`s done potentially three times now, which could be habitual, is put his life in danger and everybody else`s on the highway with him.
GRACE: To Brooke Anderson with "Showbiz Tonight." Is this his first DUI? I don`t think so.
ANDERSON: You know, first I want to say that by no means do I mean to downplay the DUI arrest and what he was arrested for because it is a very dangerous situation when somebody gets behind the wheel, has been drinking and then decides to drive. It is very, very serious. Now, would this big a deal have been made if he had not uttered those anti-Semitic statements? You know, I don`t know. Maybe it would have been just chalked up...
GRACE: Was it his first DUI?
ANDERSON: No, it`s not, Nancy. Back in the early `80s, he was in Toronto, was arrested and charged with DUI. He was working on a film there. And let me tell you, he has said in a statement that he has battled alcoholism for all of his adult life, and he regrets this, as he calls it, horrific relapse. So the question now moves to, for Gibson, is he being sincere? Can people believe him?
GRACE: You know what, Brooke? I will deal with his sincerity later. I`m talking about DUI. I`m talking about driving the streets of California not for the first time. And was there special treatment for Mel Gibson? That`s what I`m concerned about.
ANDERSON: Well, let me tell you this, as well, Nancy. TMZ.com, which published the first report that it claims was the arresting deputy`s hand- written report, has also said that Mel Gibson has been stopped for reckless driving twice before in Malibu on the PCH and that he was let go. Three years ago, Gibson was driving reportedly 75 miles per hour...
ANDERSON: ... and the deputy, although suspicious that he had been drinking, TMZ reports he was let go. And then a year ago, same situation, not driving quite as fast but on the PCH, ultimately let go without a citation.
The sheriff`s department says -- when asked about this, the spokesman said he doesn`t know anything about this.
GRACE: Let`s go to the lines. Laurie in Pennsylvania. Hi, Laurie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. I think you`re the best!
GRACE: Thank you. What do you think about Mel Gibson`s DUI?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that his celebrity status is going to get him off with a slap on the wrist.
GRACE: Another slap on the wrist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what I think.
GRACE: To Bruce Robertson, private investigator, joining us out of LA. What is SOP, standard operating procedure, when you make a DUI arrest?
BRUCE ROBERTSON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, normally, in situations where you have an arrest of someone of some notoriety, you release a photograph to the press, a booking photograph. That wasn`t done in this case. That`s one example of where he got some preferential treatment.
GRACE: Hold on. Wait a minute. I think we do have a booking photo. Elizabeth, is there a booking photo? If there is, let`s put it up. Go ahead, Bruce.
ROBERTSON: Yes, well, it was released only after the controversy arose over his arrest.
GRACE: That`s true. That`s true.
ROBERTSON: They delayed the release of that booking photo. Yes, they released it eventually. When Nick Nolte was arrested years ago on PCH, they immediately released a photograph that made him look like a complete wreck. So it looks like there was some preferential treatment there. You know, a lot of times, stars do...
GRACE: Oh! Ow!
ROBERTSON: Sometimes, stars...
GRACE: OK, point well taken.
ROBERTSON: ... get preferential treatment. They`re given courtesies.
GRACE: Nolte sure didn`t!
ROBERTSON: But this time, it looks like they went over the line toward favoritism because when you release a report that says that he was arrested without incident, and then you start finding out these details, that`s certainly...
GRACE: That he ran to his car and said, "I`m not going to get into your car." Gibson -- and I`m reading, Elizabeth, from our full screen, "Gibson attempted to escape arrest. He also said, `I`m going to F you. You`re going to regret you ever did this to me.` Gibson almost continually threatened, the officer, saying he, Gibson, owns Malibu and will spend all of his money to, quote, `Get even with me.` Gibson blurted out a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks about, You F-ing Jews. He yelled out, `Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,` then asked, `Are you a Jew?`"
There was the tequila three-fourths full that he said belonged to someone else. Then there were sexually derogatory comments made toward a female cop.
All right, altogether, Mel Gibson in a mess tonight. What does it mean to DUIs across this country? Was he given preferential treatment?
Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." The search goes on for the killer of a 16-year-old honor student, her body found dumped like garbage on the streets of Brooklyn, Chanel Petro-Nixon, a straight-A student on her way to apply for a summer job when she went missing. Anyone with information call Crimestoppers toll-free, 800-577-TIPS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCITA NIXON, CHANEL`S MOTHER: I look at her picture every day, and I have to break down because I feel sad. A sad moment always come about me when I see her picture because it`s not fair. She didn`t do nothing to deserve this, nothing at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Los Angeles Star (ph) organization, Los Angeles sheriff`s Star organization, is an organization that was set up to benefit the children of deputies who have been killed in the line of duty. Mr. Gibson did us a public service announcement, where he was talking about the benefits of it. He even donated $10,000. Now, the obvious follow-up question, if I may be so bold, is, Because of that relationship, did the sheriff extend some special consideration to this individual? Absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Was Mel Gibson given preferential treatment for his DUI arrest? Not his first, I might add. And now swirling accusations that there have been other times Gibson was pulled over but not ticketed.
Here in the studio with us, internist Dr. Holly Phillips. Dr. Phillips, how drunk was Gibson at .12?
DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, M.D., INTERNIST: Well, .12 is significantly above the acceptable level of .08. His dexterity would have been significantly impaired. His response time behind that, the wheel of that vehicle, really would have been significantly slower.
GRACE: How many drinks does that equal?
PHILLIPS: It depends on the person. We each have our own metabolism. But I would say for someone of his size, at least a good three or four.
GRACE: Joining us now, the host of "Religion on the Line" on WABC radio, Rabbi Joseph Potasnick. Thank you, Rabbi, for being with us. What do you say to comments that Gibson spoke as he did because he was drunk, Rabbi?
RABBI JOSEPH POTASNICK, WABC RADIO: Well, first, I want to tell you, as the father of a teenage son, if his anti-Semitic statements create more scrutiny on his DUI behavior, I`m happy with that. We say "In vino veritas" in Latin -- when you drink, you reveal your inner sentiments. I think it clearly shows he harbors anti-Semitic feelings towards the Jews.
GRACE: With us, Rabbi Joseph Potasnick. Why is everyone reluctant to criticize this behavior? This is a DUI. I`ve seen -- by the time I got DUIs to prosecute, Rabbi, they were vehicular homicides. I didn`t deal with any misdemeanors like this. And I`m stunned. Mel Gibson is a Hollywood icon. He`s actually a role model to a lot of people, especially after his last movie. I think this is very serious. Why are people so reluctant to speak the truth?
POTASNICK: Well, firstly, because of his celebrity status, people treat him in a very deferential fashion. I must tell you, I saw the movie. I didn`t like the movie. We saw it with a number of members of the Christian clergy. So to me, he wasn`t an icon. I thought it was a very unfairly portrayal of Jews. But that being the case, it is not right to treat him any differently than anybody else. And he is -- he has shown he`s an anti-Semite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he seem drunk or...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seemed like he had a couple drinks in him, yes, definitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he out of control?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he wasn`t out of control, but he was drunk happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody makes a mistake. He was drunk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t really think an apology can excuse much. Being a young person, knowing that when we get drunk, we tend to say what we actually believe, I don`t think an apology is really going to do much good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Breaking news, formal charges handed down by the LA district attorney in the past two hours. I have in my hand that document, counts one, two and three. Count one, July 28, 2006, DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, committed by Mel C. Gibson. Count two, .08 or higher blood alcohol. We know it now to be .12. And count three, possession of open container while driving. A three-fourths full container of tequila was found in Gibson`s car, according to police. Gibson said it didn`t belong to him.
Let`s go to the lines. To Susie in Texas. Hi, Susie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I have a question. Why is there being such a great emphasis being put on smokers and ex-smokers, you know, being dangerous and stuff to people, but they`re not making that big of a deal with these drunk drivers being over the limit? You know, they`re banning -- they banned all the commercials to do with cigarettes. And it doesn`t matter whether I`m a smoker or not, but it`s just the issue. They still have the alcohol...
GRACE: OK, I got a question for you. Are you a smoker?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am.
GRACE: OK. Just wondering if you had a dog in the fight. Susie, you`re right. Regarding smoking, the second-hand smoke is proven now to cause cancer. But I think you`re right. There is a much greater emphasis needed on driving drunk.
To you, Sheryl McCollum, former director of MADD Georgia. Why are people afraid to comment on Gibson driving drunk? This is not his first offense. In Toronto, I believe it was, Ellie, the -- yes, Toronto, 1984, ended up hitting a tree. The reality is, other people are on the road, Sheryl, people that get killed. I guess you got to prosecute a couple of vehicular homicides and see the crash scenes before it becomes real for you, Sheryl.
MCCOLLUM: Absolutely, Nancy. I mean, unfortunately, for a lot of people, they haven`t been touched with it, like some of the members of MADD and other organizations like MADD. But once you see a scene where somebody`s been hit head on and a car has been split in two, an entire family has been wiped out, that`s when it becomes very clear that four beers or five shots of tequila is not worth that.
GRACE: And Sheryl, you know what would happen to a typical drunk driver if they told a cop, I`m not getting in the car with you, and raced toward their car. Are you kidding me?
MCCOLLUM: Yes. I mean, they couldn`t -- they couldn`t get me on the ground quick enough. And there wouldn`t be any conversation about whether or not there was going to be handcuffs on me. I guarantee you that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gibson was detained for DUI. He was brought back to the station, and cooperated eventually, and blew into a breathalyzer, and received a positive reading, which then caused him to be detained for a number of hours.
I am confident, based on the information that I have today, that Mr. Gibson`s -- the handling of Mr. Gibson`s arrest was in accord with departmental policies. That is the number-one priority. If we had a situation where information that was relevant to the district attorney`s determination was discarded, or shredded, or somehow kept from the purview of the prosecutor, we`d have a way different situation than we have now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Seventeen thousands Americans die each year due to drunk driving. Take a look at the faces of some of the victims. Forty-one percent of traffic accidents are alcohol-related. Nearly 600,000 Americans injured every year because of drunk driving. Think about this: Every 30 minutes an American dies because of drunk driving.
Let`s go out to the lines. Dana in Texas, hi, Dana.
CALLER: Hi. My question is: Why has he not been charged with speeding? And also how come he hasn`t been charged with eluding arrest?
GRACE: Interesting. What about it, Brooke?
ANDERSON: You know, that`s a great question. The district attorney`s office was presented this case by the sheriff`s department. The spokesman for the sheriff`s department told me that everything they presented to the district attorney, it would contain everything, that nothing would be left out. His words were, quote, "lock, stock and barrel."
What that means, who knows? Because he went on to say that they do not focus on what Gibson did or did not say, his behavior. They focus on the facts, and the facts are he had a blood-alcohol content of .12, .04 over the legal limit.
So, you know, that`s up to the district attorney and the sheriff`s department in what was included in the case and what they felt was pertinent to the investigation.
GRACE: Here`s what the sheriff`s department had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no -- there was no orders to do anything. We treated this in terms of releasing it to the public. And, perhaps, there comes the issue, is that, is this a cover-up to the press or is it a cover-up to the public? Because we believe it`s not a cover-up at all.
Having said that, I understand the concern. Is there influence peddling here? Absolutely not.
This case is going to go to the district attorney. In that case file will be his statement, will be our report, will be everything pertinent, his blood-alcohol level. We have done our job. And we hope we`ve done it with, not only professionalism and intelligence, but held to the highest standard of legal and moral imperative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To defense attorney Kathleen Mullin, Kathleen, if there is no influence peddling as a result of this, why is it that Gibson has been pulled over while speeding on several other occasions and there`s never been a citation, there`s never been a warning, nothing?
So this shows up as his first DUI. His last one was several years ago. And under the law, in that jurisdiction, if the second or third offense is within seven years, it ups the ante. If it was prior to seven years, then it`s considered an old case.
KATHLEEN MULLIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, have your viewers or other members of your audience never been pulled over for speeding and had an officer say to them, "Well, all right, all your paperwork is in order. I`m just going to give you a warning on this occasion." We have no idea what the circumstances were.
GRACE: All right, that`s not the facts, though. The facts, according to the documents, are he was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, not for just speeding.
MULLIN: But he wasn`t arrested and charged with drunk driving.
GRACE: Yes, I know. Why?
MULLIN: Well, because, Nancy, who knows whether or not he actually was drunk when they pulled him over on suspicion of drunk driving. We don`t know why.
And you`re saying tonight that you think that he`s being treated lightly. And I have to say to you: Mel Gibson is taking a hammering on this DUI arrest unlike a hammering that I have seen in recent memory of any celebrity bad behavior. This guy is getting hammered.
Unlike when Naomi Campbell gets arrested, unlike when other stars get arrested for bad behavior, throwing phones, beating up hotel clerks, getting arrested with drugs, Mel Gibson is taking a hammering on this DUI. It is not fair to say that if, you know, we had behaved the way that Mel had behaved, the cops would have beat us down and dragged us by our ankles.
It simply is not fair to say that there are police officers who don`t know how to handle what Mickey Sherman correctly termed a garden-variety DUI. You have a drunk driver spewing vitriol and acting like an idiot. This is not unheard of if you are a policeman who arrests DUI drivers with regularity.
And to say that all cops or most cops would have beat this guy down onto the ground and dragged him by his ankles back to the car under these circumstances, I don`t think that`s exactly something that we can say with certainty or is fair to say at all.
GRACE: Kathleen, maybe we should stick with what was actually said. I don`t believe either Sheryl or myself said the cops would beat someone. But they, when confronted with a drunk driver who took off running and refused to get in the cop car, would definitely have apprehended them and handcuffed them. Do you disagree with that, Mickey Sherman?
SHERMAN: ... they were forcibly turned away and eluded arrest. That probably happened for about a millisecond.
And, you know, a couple of things. DWI, no one is in favor of DWI, and I don`t choose to be the DWI spokesman here. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Students Against Drunk Drivers, all of those organizations have done an incredibly effective job. My hat is off to them. And they have made drunk driving a priority in district attorneys` offices around the country.
But everyone can commit this crime, and that`s what you got to understand. You don`t plan, you don`t intend to commit DWI. It could happen to almost anyone. It`s a mistake. It`s generally not a crime of intent.
GRACE: You know, that is where I have an issue, the notion that a DWI or DUI just happens. Sheryl McCollum, that has been argued in so many courtrooms across this country. It is a conscious decision to go to a bar and drink...
GRACE: ... then reach in your pocket and get your keys, then go to your car, put the keys in the ignition, crank it up, put it in reverse, and drive out onto the roads. Those are all conscious -- it doesn`t just happen.
MCCOLLUM: Right, you got to have money, you got to have your I.D. with you. Mr. Gibson even told the valet he, quote, he was "f`ed up." That tells me he knew what condition he was in when he chose again, again to get behind the wheel of a car.
GRACE: To Bruce Robertson, private investigator, former cop, Bruce, I`m hearing a lot of excuses. It`s my understanding and my observation as a felony prosecutor that, when a DUI suspect refuses to get into the car, to try to run back to their own car, refuses to be arrested, those are grounds for handcuffed and being placed in the car and arrested.
ROBERTSON: That`s true, Nancy. Well, in fact, he was handcuffed after he attempted to flee the officer and get into his car. Initially, the officer told him, if you go ahead and cooperate, get in the back of my patrol car, I`m not going to have to handcuff you.
Then Gibson fled for his car. When he got to his car, the officer pursued him and, at that time, did handcuff him. But standard operating procedure would have been to have him handcuffed as soon as the decision was to go ahead and take him into custody.
So I think that he was cut some slack there, and how the officer detained him or how rough he was with him in actually bringing him under control, we don`t know. But in fact, he was handcuffed and arrested after he tried to escape to his car.
GRACE: And to Brooke Anderson with "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," a lot has been made regarding a cover-up. And I agree with Kathleen Mullin and Mickey Sherman on this one: It`s very common for cops to fill out the front page of a police report and then to add on -- if you can come over my shoulder, Dusty -- a supplemental report which puts in detail, as you can see, several pages of detail. They`re very simply called supplemental reports. I don`t know if I believe there`s any kind of a cover-up, Brooke.
ANDERSON: Right. You know, I spoke with Mike Gennaco who heads the independent watchdog group looking into the allegations of misconduct and a cover-up, Nancy. And he told me the same thing: It`s not unusual for a report to be altered or changed. The question is, was it changed for legitimate reasons? And that`s what they`re looking into.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was surprised that, why wouldn`t someone like that hire a driver to come pick him up just to avoid something like that? But, yes, I mean, when we were leaving, he was leaving, too. So I guess it was like literally three minutes after I saw him that he got pulled over when he got in his car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A young Brazilian woman named Fabiola DePaula, age 24, was pronounced dead at the Metrowest Hospital yesterday afternoon after experiencing some procedures authorities believe at the hands of these -- of this doctor and his wife in the basement of an apartment in Framingham.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Did she lose her life because of a botched liposuction performed in a home basement? Today, the breaking news: A third arrest made in the death of 24-year-old beauty Fabiola DePaula.
Out to "Boston Globe" reporter Brian Ballou, Brian, who`s the third arrestee?
BRIAN BALLOU, REPORTER, "BOSTON GLOBE": The third arrestee is Anna Sielemann. She`s 40 years old. She owned the apartment with her husband on Bishop Drive. And basically, she rented out her basement to this so- called doctor.
GRACE: Brian Ballou is joining us with the "Boston Globe." Brian, let me get this straight. So you`ve got a doctor -- was he from Brazil?
BALLOU: Yes, he`s from Brazil. And there`s some indication that, you know, over at least three years that, you know, he would come from Brazil, come back, go back and forth between Brazil and the U.S., and basically, you know, do these types of procedures.
GRACE: OK, now, we`ve got arrested the so-called doctor, Luiz Carlos Ribeiro, and his wife, Ana Maria Miranda Ribeiro. What, was she dressed up like a nurse and wait down there in the basement for people?
BALLOU: He wasn`t. He basically -- I talked to some clients, and they said that, you know, he was pretty casual. Dressed in, you know, just casual clothing, basically.
GRACE: OK, tip off number one: You have surgery on a massage table in somebody`s basement, and they`re boiling the instruments over the kitchen stove in a pot and pan. I would think that`s a problem.
But, you know what, the issue, Mickey Sherman, is not everybody is familiar with that. We can`t expect everyone to have the same degree of savviness and know that this is horribly wrong.
SHERMAN: I`ve represented physicians who have done this, and I`ve represented dentists, and even lawyers who are practicing illegally. Usually the way it works is that they kind of not prey on their own community but they cater to their own community, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, whatever it is.
And that`s why the customers, the patients feel somewhat comfortable, and they make allowances. It`s obviously incredibly stupid. It`s illegal. But the big issue is going to be for Martha Coakley, the district attorney, is it some kind of an intentional homicide or does it rise to the level of recklessness where she`ll sub a charge of murder or manslaughter?
And that I`m not so sure about it. This guy was a doctor, not a legitimate doctor, but he was a doctor back in his hometown, I think.
GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines. Karen in Indiana, hi, Karen.
CALLER: Hi. I have a question. How do we check the medical doctor`s histories when we go for treatment abroad?
GRACE: Well, number one, regarding this case, for God sake, no lipo in the basement.
But let`s go out to Kathleen Mullin. You know what, Kathleen? Hold on. I`m going to ask you about the charges against this third person.
Right now to Dr. Holly Phillips, internist. What can you do, in response to Karen`s question, to make sure that you`ve got the real deal, a legit doctor?
PHILLIPS: Well, in response to Karen`s question, it`s much more difficult to do it if you go abroad. But here in the States, we have great resources to check a doctor`s certification.
Online, there are marvelous resources. The American Board of Medical Specialties runs an absolutely wonderful site. You can just log onto that and check whether the doctor is licensed or board-certified, and each state runs their own Web sites to delineate licensing.
Other things, one of the tips I tell people, ask your doctor if they are hospital-affiliated. If they hold full admitting privileges to a hospital within the United States, you can pretty much trust that they are legitimate, that they are at least licensed to practice medicine in the state.
GRACE: And back to Brian Ballou, this third arrestee, what was her role in this?
BALLOU: Well, again, there`s some indication that she participated in some of these procedures, that she had actually given some anesthesia to patients and...
GRACE: Oh, good lord in heaven. She was giving anesthesia? It was my understanding she went out and cast a net in the community to get customers.
GRACE: Like a pimp.
BALLOU: Exactly. You know, the Brazilian community is pretty tight- knit, regardless of whether you`re in Framingham or, you know, in Cambridge or whatever. And, you know, so she just basically just, you know, worked the grapevine, word of mouth.
GRACE: Well, speaking of Ana Celia Pena Sielemann, joining us right now, a special guest out of Boston, her lawyer. Welcome to Kevin Leeper. Mr. Leeper, what are the charges against your client? What`s her defense?
KEVIN LEEPER, ATTORNEY FOR SIELEMANN: Thank you for having me, Nancy. The charges against my client are actually three counts of possession of medication. She is not charged with participating in any way in the tragedy that happened in her apartment.
GRACE: Well, what were they doing down in her basement performing lipo?
LEEPER: Nancy, it should be known, first of all, that these folks arrived at her apartment on Saturday morning, had performed some sort of consultation on Saturday. And Sunday, this tragedy happened.
She specifically advised the doctor and his wife, the alleged doctor and his wife, not to perform any medical or invasive procedures. She specifically advised them only to consult with patients. And his reputation in the community was actually very good, and she knew him to be a good doctor in Brazil. It turns out that`s not the case.
And as Mickey Sherman said, we`re not dealing with a very savvy, savvy population.
GRACE: OK. What about the allegations that she would actually go into the community and reel, let me just say, patients, for lack of a better word, in? And isn`t it true that, when she was arrested, she had a couple of grand stuffed in her shoe? Where did that come from, the money tree?
LEEPER: Absolutely not, Nancy. And one of the reasons that I wanted to come on your show tonight was to dispel some of the misinformation that has been circulating about my client. She has not charged with participating in any way in any of these procedures.
GRACE: Well, what`s the distribution then, the distribution of the drug? Wouldn`t that be the anesthesia?
LEEPER: They have charged her with the distribution of the drug. We haven`t received any certifications on the drugs or any of the facts surrounding or even supporting the distribution charge. I can only speculate that it must be some of the medication that was found in the home. What was found in her possession was medication.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two individuals had a 30-day work visa coming from Brazil. The sole purpose of coming up here was to perform plastic surgery in the basement of a local condominium.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That local condominium belonged to Ana Maria Ribeiro. No, she was staying there. It belonged to Anna Celia Sielemann, now the third arrestee in this case.
You`re seeing a shot of the alleged victim in this case, a 24-year-old girl, absolutely beautiful, that submitted to lipo in a home basement and lost her life.
I want to go to a special guest joining us now, Don Ayer. His daughter died during complications of plastic surgery. Don, what happened to your daughter?
DON AYER, DAUGHTER DIED DURING PLASTIC SURGERY: Hello, Nancy. On September 25th of 2003, I received a phone call from her boyfriend in Sarasota, Florida, and the phone call was that she had gone into a doctor`s office, a clinic, surgery center, for a breast implant, and they couldn`t wake her up. And that was the beginning of the case. And so she was in a coma, and that was the beginning of it.
GRACE: She passed away as a result of plastic surgery. When you heard the news about this 24-year-old girl, Don, what were your thoughts?
AYER: Well, the first question I`m thinking on that particular case out there in Massachusetts is if the doctor is actually licensed to do medicine in Massachusetts.
GRACE: No, I can tell you that right now.
AYER: Well, then, the second thought I have is that, in Sarasota, Florida -- I`ll get to this in a couple minutes here -- we think there should be criminal charges in this case in Sarasota, like negligent homicide. We`re convinced of it.
GRACE: Well, if it`s any consolation to you at all, there are criminal charges going down in Massachusetts. Joining us, Don Ayer, who lost his daughter. We hope you`ll be joining us again.
Tonight, we`re stopping to remember Army Captain James Funkhouser, 35, from Katy, Texas. He escorted camera crews and correspondents from all over the world in Baghdad, leaving behind a grieving widow and two little girls, James Funkhouser, American hero.
Thank you to our guests, especially to Mr. Don Ayer, and to you for being with us. Nancy Grace signing off until tomorrow tonight, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.