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NANCY GRACE

Rosie and "The View"; Stealing from a Charity Benefit

Aired May 25, 2007 - 20:00   ET

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


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: TV talk superstar Rosie O`Donnell leaves "The View" with a bang after a real-life smackdown with a "View" co-host, conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Then as an encore, O`Donnell`s chief writer and longtime friend allegedly hauled out of the building after vandalizing supersize photos of Hasselbeck hanging throughout the building. What`s the legal fall-out on the multi-million-dollar contract and allegations of downright vandalism?
And tonight: Caught on video. He`s caught plundering, stealing from disabled and dying kids` fund-raiser. Hey, let`s lock him up and throw away the key! But first, we`ve got to catch him.

And breaking news out of Illinois. After never missing a single day of work for three straight years, a young mom vanishes into thin air, her car mysteriously still parked in the driveway. Where is Naomi Arnette?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s been missing, and I was wondering if I could put that in the front window?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been days, and no one`s seen or heard from Naomi Arnette, a mother of seven who`s missed by many. Now Arnette`s boyfriend, Angel Martinez (ph), is hitting the streets in search of a woman he`s only known for three weeks. But he says it`s something he has to do because Arnette let him (INAUDIBLE) even let him live with her despite his past. He`s on parole for stealing cars and burglary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to call her every night, Hey, can you come over, and whatever, you know what I`m saying? She would never say no to me. She`s a good girl, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is loved by two men. Martinez and her estranged husband, Robert Arnette, started fighting over her Sunday night at her house. Martinez called police. Now he says he`s sorry the fight ever happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe if I -- if me and her didn`t meet and we didn`t hook up, then none of this would have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say they don`t have any suspects, and her friends say she`s not the type to take off without telling anyone for seven good reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All she talked about was her kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids who are holding out hope they`ll see their mother again soon. In the meantime...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, fallout at the bitter end of Rosie O`Donnell`s contract with "The View," while her longtime writer and friend accused of outright vandalism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Say good-bye to Rosie O`Donnell. She is done with "The View," the early exit coming after Wednesday`s biggest catfight with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

ROSIE O`DONNELL, "THE VIEW": You, who actually knows me...

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, "THE VIEW": Yes.

O`DONNELL: ... do you believe I think our troops are terrorists, Elisabeth?

HASSELBECK: I don`t think that you...

O`DONNELL: Yes or no.

HASSELBECK: I don`t think that...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: ... say yes or no.

HASSELBECK: Excuse me. Let me speak.

O`DONNELL: You`re going to double speak.

HASSELBECK: OK? I`m not...

O`DONNELL: It`s just a yes or a no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rosie had planned to leave the show on June 20 but said she`d return for her (ph) special episodes. Now, though, all bets are off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That was from ABC`s "The View," and there`s a whole lot more of it, a live TV smackdown between Rosie O`Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Did it lead to Rosie O`Donnell walking off the show, a multi- million-dollar contract hanging in the air? And then allegations of downright vandalism. Allegedly, a longtime writer and friend of Rosie O`Donnell`s draws mustaches and further defaces big, supersize photos of conservative Hasselbeck hanging throughout the building.

What the hey`s going on? Out to Ramin Setoodeh with "Newsweek." What happened?

RAMIN SETOODEH, "NEWSWEEK": Well, what happened most recently was that there were allegations that Rosie`s friend was asked and escorted outside of the ABC studios because she was drawing mustaches, as you said, on Hasselbeck`s photo.

What happened earlier in the week is that Rosie and Elisabeth fought over something that happened earlier on the show, on Monday. Rosie felt hurt because she said on Monday that all weekend long, Fox News and other conservative outlets were saying that she didn`t support our troops and called our troops terrorists, and Rosie was trying to defend herself. And when she brought it up, Elisabeth, instead of taking Rosie`s side, took the networks` side and said, Well, you said this, they may have inferred this. And that`s what happened.

GRACE: OK. Well, with the contract hanging in the balance, and now allegations of graffiti and vandalism -- hold on. I`m hearing in my ear, joining us right now, Donald Trump. Hold on. Satellite down. We`ll be right back with him.

To you, Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." Is Rosie expected to come back?

TOM O`NEIL, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": No. No way. She was supposed to be back next Tuesday, but today ABC issued a notice that said, Look, we have conceded her request to let her out of her contract early. Look, Nancy, she just didn`t want to be there. She said on her blog the other day, This is like being a senior in high school. Graduation`s coming and you know you`re leaving. She said, Just let me out of there.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSELBECK: I think it`s sad. I think it`s sad because I don`t understand how there can be such hurt feelings when all I did was say, Look, why don`t you tell everybody what you said. I did that as a friend.

O`DONNELL: What you did is not defend me. I asked you if you believed that I thought...

HASSELBECK: You could have answered your own question. I don`t believe that your suggestion was...

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: ... every day since September...

HASSELBECK: Yes.

O`DONNELL: ... I have told you I support the troops.

HASSELBECK: I have done the same for you!

O`DONNELL: I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying...

HASSELBECK: Did I say yes?

O`DONNELL: You said nothing, and that`s cowardly!

HASSELBECK: No, no, no! No, no, no!

O`DONNELL: Nothing, Elisabeth!

HASSELBECK: That is not -- do not -- you will not call me a coward because, number one, I sit here every single day...

O`DONNELL: So do I.

HASSELBECK: ... open my heart and tell people exactly what I believe.

O`DONNELL: So do I, Elisabeth.

HASSELBECK: Do not call me a coward, Rosie!

O`DONNELL: It was cowardly...

(CROSSTALK)

HASSELBECK: I do not hide. It was not cowardly...

O`DONNELL: It was!

HASSELBECK: ... it was honest!

O`DONNELL: Do you believe that I think our troops are terrorists?

HASSELBECK: I...

O`DONNELL: And you would not even look me in the face, Elisabeth...

HASSELBECK: What are you talking about?

O`DONNELL: ... and say, No, Rosie, I can understand how people might have...

HASSELBECK: I asked you...

HASSELBECK: ... thought that. Why don`t you take this opportunity -- like I`m 6!

HASSELBECK: Because you are an adult, and I am certainly...

O`DONNELL: So are you~!

HASSELBECK: ... not going to be the person for you to explain your thoughts. They`re your thoughts~! Defend your own insinuations!

O`DONNELL: I defend my thoughts!

HASSELBECK: Defend your own thoughts!

O`DONNELL: Right, but every time I defend them, Elisabeth, it`s poor little Elisabeth that I`m picking on!~

HASSELBECK: You know what? Poor little Elisabeth is not poor little Elisabeth, OK?

O`DONNELL: That`s right. That`s why I`m not going to fight with you anymore, because it`s absurd. So for three weeks, you can say all the Republican crap you want.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: I`m not going to -- I`m not going to do it.

HASSELBECK: ... easier to fight someone like Donald Trump, isn`t it, because he`s obnoxious.

O`DONNELL: I have never fought him. He fought me. I told a fact about him.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: He didn`t like the conversation...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the middle of this conversation.

HASSELBECK: I gave you the opportunity...

O`DONNELL: You don`t give me anything!

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: You don`t have to give me~! I asked you a question!

HASSELBECK: I asked you a question...

(CROSSTALK)

HASSELBECK: You didn`t answer your own question!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That, again, from ABC`s "The View." Out to the lawyers, Susan Moss, Michael Mazzariello, Renee Rockwell. Susan Moss, a lot of people are saying, Is this a breech of contract? Is Rosie going to owe ABC millions or vice versa? As long as neither party is complaining, I don`t see a breach, Susan.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, there certainly is a contract, and each party is obligated to live up to that contract. But apparently, in this scenario, they both agreed to let each other out of the written document, and for good reason. They don`t want another Star Jones debacle. I mean, I can tell you, I lost my office pool with Rosie O`Donnell leaving.

GRACE: And to you, Renee Rockwell. The reality is, it doesn`t matter what the contract says when two parties agree on the outcome. Conditions change. Conditions change over the time of a contract.

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s right, Nancy. She asked to get out. They let her get out. It`s over. And breach of contract means lawsuits, and lawsuits are for people that have time. And Rosie, frankly, doesn`t have time for a lawsuit.

GRACE: And back to you, Michael Mazzariello. What do you make of it? Will there be any legal action on the contract issue?

MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think so Nancy. And like you said right from the beginning, as long as both sides aren`t contesting it, everyone`s going to be happy here. And it`ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Amy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Amy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You answered my question about the breach of contract. But can I make a comment?

GRACE: Sure, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I just want to say that Rosie`s given over $1 million to the veterans hospital in Texas that was just built, and I really don`t think she doesn`t support the troops. I think she was misinterpreted.

GRACE: You know what? Everybody is taking it a different way. Everybody has their own opinion. You know, in politics and religion, you`re going to be in a fight. I don`t care what you say. We don`t even talk about it when I go home to my family in Macon, Georgia. Forget about it. It`d be World War III. And they sit at the table every day and talk about very explosive topics. Of course there`s going to be a blowup.

You know, to you, Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." The reality is that whether you loved or hated Rosie O`Donnell on "The View," the ratings skyrocketed. Why?

O`NEIL: Well, because she transformed that show from a tea party into a show with ideas and great challenging thoughts. This is a quote from Barbara Walters. Let me read this to you. When Rosie joined the show" -- she wanted this defined (ph) because you could see Rosie was taking it a new direction. And Barbara came out and said, "This is an entertainment show, based on people who like each other and are having a good time. This is not a show for people who are arguing." Well, you know what? Rosie didn`t pay any mind to that at all, and they cashed out on the ratings. They zoomed up 17 percent.

GRACE: Take a listen to this, Tom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HASSELBECK: I just don`t understand why it`s my fault if people spin words that you put out there or phrases that suggest things. And I gave you an opportunity two days ago to clarify the statement that got you on trouble...

(CROSSTALK)

HASSELBECK: I did that as a friend.

O`DONNELL: That got me in trouble. As a friend, you gave me the opportunity. That was very...

HASSELBECK: I said, Why don`t you clarify that?

O`DONNELL: That was very sweet of you. What I was asking is, you, who actually knows me...

HASSELBECK: Yes.

O`DONNELL: ... do you believe I think our troops are terrorists, Elisabeth?

HASSELBECK: I don`t think that you...

O`DONNELL: Yes or no.

HASSELBECK: I don`t think...

O`DONNELL: Do you believe that? Yes or no.

HASSELBECK: Excuse me. Let me speak, OK?

O`DONNELL: You`re going to double speak. It`s just a yes or a no.

HASSELBECK: I am not a double speaker! And I don`t suggest -- I don`t put suggestions out there that lead people to think things and then not answer my own question, OK?

O`DONNELL: I had a question to you, and you didn`t answer.

HASSELBECK: I don`t believe that you believe troops are terrorists. I have said that before. But when you say something like 650,000 Iraqis are dead, we invaded them...

O`DONNELL: It`s true!

HASSELBECK: Let me finish!

O`DONNELL: You don`t like the facts!

HASSELBECK: ... who is the terrorist -- I am all about facts. You know that. You tell me not to use facts because you want me to go only on emotion. Guess what? I like facts.

O`DONNELL: Wait, Joy. You just said our enemies in Iraq. Did Iraq attack us?

JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": No. I`m saying al Qaeda.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Did Iraq attack us, Elisabeth?

HASSELBECK: Iraq did not attack us, Rosie.

O`DONNELL: Correct.

HASSELBECK: We`ve been there before.

(CROSSTALK)

HASSELBECK: I`m saying our enemies, al Qaeda -- are you hearing that?

O`DONNELL: I hear it. But where do you want to go...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a political discussion. Don`t interview each other. Just say what you mean.

HASSELBECK: If you`re playing a game, OK -- if you`re playing a game and I`m going to say, OK, I`m going to throw it to my wide receiver, wide right, OK? Do you do that? I`m going to do it in two seconds. What does that do for your enemy?

O`DONNELL: Well, you know what Elisabeth?

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: If the enemy are innocent civilians, I don`t want to play that kind of football.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Again, that is from ABC`s "The View." After that on-air smackdown, Rosie O`Donnell leaves "The View" in the midst of a multi- million dollar contract. And now her chief writer and long-time friend allegedly hauled out of the building after vandalizing photos of Hasselbeck.

You know, back to you, Ramin Setoodeh with "Newsweek." I know it sounds funny and juvenile to go painting mustaches on photos, the supersize photos of Hasselbeck throughout -- they all have them, and they`re gorgeous -- throughout the whole building. But the reality is, if you or I went down to ABC studios and started spray painting, we`d be dragged out in cuffs, all right? It didn`t happen, Ramin.

SETOODEH: We don`t know for a fact that it happened for sure. We know that it was reported in one of the gossip columns that it happened. We also know...

GRACE: I thought that it was ABC confirmed that the photos had been defaced.

SETOODEH: ABC confirmed that the photos had been defaced. They didn`t confirm that it was Rosie`s friend, who actually appears on her blog and has a following of her own now. She appears on Rosie`s blog every single morning. She seems like a very nice person. We don`t know if she did it. Someone did it.

GRACE: Joining me right now, we`ve got him back on the line, Donald Trump. And I`m not even going to ask you about Trump steaks (ph) at Sharper Image. I was minding my own business, driving home from work the other night. There`s a big, giant Trump and a big, giant steak. And they`re very expensive, Mr. Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, they`re very good, and it`s the finest you can buy. And sharper Image has done very well with them, so we`re very happy about it, but...

GRACE: OK, forget about Trump steaks.

TRUMP: ... I think -- if you like steak -- if you like steak, it`s really good steak.

GRACE: Mr. Trump, you and Rosie O`Donnell had a long-standing feud. What do you think about this latest argument that has apparently ended her stint on "The View"?

TRUMP: Well, Nancy, as I`ve told you before, she`s very, very self- destructive. I know her well. Sadly, she came to my wedding. She ate lots of wedding cake. And you know, Rosie is a very self-destructive person, and she`s not a particularly smart person. Now, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is certainly no genius. She`s not the smartest bulb on the planet. That I can tell you. And I watched that debate in a rerun, and I was amazed to see Elisabeth Hasselbeck absolutely kill Rosie in the debate. I was really shocked. Rosie was embarrassed by it.

Rosie is not a smart person. I`ve been saying it for a long time. But more importantly, she`s a very self-destructive person. All she had to do is sit down for two weeks, she didn`t even have to say much, and she could have gone on to her next whatever it is. Now she looks like exactly what she is, a troubled, troubled person. She`s got some real issues, and she`s always had some real issues. She is a very -- in my opinion, a very sick mentally person.

GRACE: You know, while we`ve got Donald Trump with us tonight, I`ve got a question for you, Mr. Trump. From what we see of you and what we know of you, this would be hard for me to imagine, but are there times in business situations where you have to keep your mouth shut and just endure it, like you said, two more weeks?

TRUMP: Well, it just was amazing to me. In fact, when I saw the big problem that she had and I saw how badly she got beaten, I think she should show up the next day. But instead, she decided to celebrate, as she calls her, her wife`s birthday, and they went out. I mean, she should have absolutely been back in the studio the next day, not celebrating somebody`s birthday. And she should have just gone through another week-and-a-half, two weeks, and just said, Hey, it`s been wonderful, I love you all, good- bye, and nobody would be talking about it in such a negative way. But for her to do what she did just shows that she`s just a self-destructive person, Nancy.

GRACE: Now, when you say self-destructive -- with us, as you all know, is Donald Trump, a CEO, an entrepreneur who has built his empire with his own two hands. Mr. Trump, you keep saying self-destructive, self- destructive. But she has also had a very successful talk show of her own. And hey, it`s not everybody...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: That was canceled. Her show was canceled. And she also had a Broadway play that was canceled. And she also had a magazine that totally failed. And now she has "The View," and she goes out looking like a jerk. I mean, she just self-destructs all the time, whether it`s Broadway, whether it`s a magazine called "Rosie" or whether it`s her first show.

And you know what? She`ll get another shot at it because the networks are stupid. And what`s going to happen is she`s going to do well for about two months, and then people will get tired of her and they`re not going to watch her anymore.

GRACE: Here`s a question. You`re a successful business person. How is it, if you say Rosie is destructive, the ratings skyrocketed? You know TV, Mr. Trump. How do you explain that?

TRUMP: Well, her ratings were the highest in December and January, when she and I were going. That was when they had their all-time high ratings, I`m sort of proud to say. But at the same time, I`m not very happy about it because I knew that was going to happen. But her ratings were at the all-time high when she and I were going at it in December and January. Since then, the ratings have come down very sharply for "The View." People got tired of Rosie. Now they`ll go up a little bit with this spike.

But now, you know, I mean, Rosie`s put herself in a very bad position. Rosie`s got serious problems mentally, in my opinion.

GRACE: Now, I thought that she left her talk show, her own talk show, "Rosie," on her own, that she got tired of the grind of a talk show every single day. But you`re saying...

TRUMP: She left her talk show because the ratings were terrible at the end.

GRACE: OK.

TRUMP: Terrible.

GRACE: Another question. To succeed in business, how do you -- when you`re in a situation like this, Mr. Trump, and it`s a bad situation, in the middle of a heated argument, how do you stick it out and keep your pie hole shut?

TRUMP: Well, I think if I were Rosie, no matter how much I hated going to that show -- she had another, like, week -- I would have just gone in there for another five or six days and I would have just sat there and been nice and tried to get through it. Not that she wanted to, not that they liked her. They didn`t like her any more than I like her. But I would have gone in, I would have sat, I would have done whatever I do, and I would have gotten through it and I would have announced that I`m leaving and I`m doing another show, or whatever`s going to happen.

Instead, the way she went out, she comes across looking like an absolute spoiled brat. She looks very foolish. And frankly, she gives Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is a -- you know, frankly, I think she`s the worst -- I mean, not as bad as Rosie, of course -- but Elisabeth Hasselbeck has nothing going for her. She gave her a great stage.

And I was actually impressed because I watched that and Hasselbeck really beat up Rosie pretty good. It wasn`t hard. Which really confirms to me that what I`ve been saying over a period of time, Rosie is not a very bright person, Nancy.

GRACE: With us is Donald Trump. And he`s right, during his feud with Rosie O`Donnell on "The View," the numbers skyrocketed. And according to Mr. Trump, those numbers immediately began to plummet once the feud settled down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I asked you if you believed what the Republican pundits were saying...

HASSELBECK: Did I say yes?

O`DONNELL: You said nothing, and that`s cowardly!

HASSELBECK: No, no, no! No, no, no!

O`DONNELL: Nothing, Elisabeth!

HASSELBECK: That is not -- do not -- you will not call me a coward because number one, I sit here every single day...

O`DONNELL: So do I.

HASSELBECK: ... open my heart and tell people exactly what I believe.

O`DONNELL: So do I, Elisabeth.

HASSELBECK: Do not call me a coward, Rosie!

O`DONNELL: It was not cowardly.

HASSELBECK: I did not hide! I was not cowardly...

O`DONNELL: It was.

HASSELBECK: ... it was honest!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Oh! On-air smackdown between Rosie O`Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, followed by allegations one of O`Donnell`s writers defaced supersize photos of Hasselbeck. That was from Wednesday`s episode of "The View" on ABC.

Joining us, Mr. Donald Trump, and we are taking your calls. Out to Rick in California. Hi, Rick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I want to thank you for the opportunities. Mr. Trump still there?

GRACE: He sure is. Be nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, I`d like to ask you a question. Where`s your credibility when you mix yourself up with wrestling? But my other question about Rosie is this, ma`am. With her only three weeks to go, is she screwing herself to go onto another network station? Will ABC let her go?

GRACE: Did you ask me, Will ABC let her go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, if she can go to another network station, or is -- with the three weeks still binding, can they hold her hostage?

GRACE: I imagine that they are parting mutually. I don`t think ABC will hold her back. And before you come down on Trump about having anything to do with wrestling, you may want to wonder, Rick, how much money he`s making off of it.

Out to Bonnie in Florida. Hi, Bonnie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you today?

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m fine. I have a question. Do you think that Rosie discussed this situation with her agent and used today`s action to force ABC to let her out of her contract?

GRACE: Let`s ask the expert. What about it, Mr. Trump? Did she talk...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No, I don`t think so at all. By the way, the wrestling question -- I did make a lot of money, and I gave it to charity. So I think -- you know, like, I hope that`s OK. But it wasn`t very hard. It was a great evening. And a lot of money went to charity.

And as far as an agent -- no, I don`t think Rosie has the kind of capability of doing that. I think she went wild, she went crazy, and she did something that was very irrational because she`s an irrational person. And that`s the way it came down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Rosie O`Donnell in an on-air smackdown, leading to her walking off in the midst of a multi-million dollar contract. Weigh in, Bethany Marshall.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: You know what I think this really is? I think sometimes we do to others what`s been done to us. So just how Rosie`s been outed, I think she`s just outing Elisabeth. I think that`s all this is. I wonder, did Elisabeth give her a show of support behind the scenes and didn`t do it on camera? She`s outing her for that? Does she feel she doesn`t have an intellectual grasp of the issues, and Rosie is outing Elisabeth for that? Does she feel that she`s playing the conservative, Christian, pregnant, feminine, big-breasted card, and Rosie is outing her for that? But I think it`s just an outing...

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa~! Wait a minute! Wait a minute!

MARSHALL: Yes?

GRACE: How are you getting Christian mixed in with big-breasted conservative? I don`t appreciate that for a minute, Bethany.

MARSHALL: Because I think what happened -- the whole mustache drawing thing, that Rosie and her friend went around and kind of defeminized Elisabeth. And I think that that is very significant. I think that they`re resentful of her for playing to the audience as a vulnerable person and not...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, "VIEW" CO-HOST: Because you are an adult. And I am certainly...

ROSIE O`DONNELL, FORMER HOST, "THE VIEW": So are you.

HASSELBECK: ... not going to be the person for you to explain your thoughts. They`re your thoughts. Defend your own insinuations.

(APPLAUSE)

O`DONNELL: I defend my thoughts.

HASSELBECK: Defend your own thoughts.

O`DONNELL: Right, but every time I defend them, Elisabeth, it`s poor, little Elisabeth that I`m picking on.

HASSELBECK: You know what? Poor, little Elisabeth is not poor, little Elisabeth.

O`DONNELL: That`s right. That`s why I`m not going to fight with you any more, because it`s absurd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Eek! That from ABC`s "The View." You think it`s just a mid- morning gabfest? Forget about it. Will it turn into a legal battle royale? Out to the lawyers, joining us, Susan Moss, Michael Mazzariello, Renee Rockwell. Renee, weigh in. Rosie, right or wrong?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, no, Rosie`s right, but there`s nothing worse than an off-air smackdown. And, Mr. Trump, shame on you. She has no more TV to even respond to what you`re saying. You`re sucker-punching her, and it`s not fair.

GRACE: You know, Renee, believe me, Rosie O`Donnell has plenty of platform. She`s on her blog every day, and she`s probably headed right over to another network to get her own talk show. Believe me, she can defend herself.

Out to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop and former fed with the FBI, you know, Mike Brooks, if you and I walked into ABC studios, a little spray paint, and decided to enhance the super size -- have seen these things?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: Oh, yes.

GRACE: They`re six feet tall. They`re gorgeous. They`re like all air-brushed and beautiful. What would happen to us?

BROOKS: Nancy, who cares...

GRACE: How long would it take us to get bond?

BROOKS: I`ll tell you what, Nancy. Who cares what either one of these two windbags had to say? But I`m telling you what? The chief writer, ABC security ought to review the security cameras, the tapes, because in those --they`re usually in public areas where these pictures are. Take a look, see who did it, call the police, get a warrant, and lock whoever it was up. Those pictures are not cheap, Nancy. I`ll tell you, and it`s childish. It`s childish, juvenile, and it`s criminal.

GRACE: And to you, Susan Moss. You know that`s never going to happen, not in a million years.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It`s never going to happen, but she could have, if the network decided otherwise, she could face both criminal and civil liability, but it won`t happen in this case.

GRACE: Hey, Bethany, why do people do things like the graffiti or deface?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, as I was implying earlier...

GRACE: And try not to drag the Christians into it, all right?

MARSHALL: OK. OK. No, I was just trying to speak what I thought might be in Rosie`s mind, not what`s in my mind, but, you know, to draw a mustache on a woman is to defeminize her. And it`s not sort of the worst kind of insult and putdown, but, remember, Rosie has made a lot of money off of saying some intellectual things, some smart things, but some child- like things, too. That`s why so many watch her and love her. It`s kind of like a train wreck.

So I completely disagree with Donald Trump about her being self- destructive. I mean, she`s always in the ratings, she`s always in the headlines. She`s doing exactly what we want her to do. Hey, she`s giving us something to talk about, right?

GRACE: True. Tom O`Neil, with "InTouch Weekly," actually worked on Rosie`s magazine for a long time. What was it like working with her, Tom?

TOM O`NEIL, "INTOUCH WEEKLY": Well, she was an absentee landlord. She ruled by fear and from a distance via e-mail. Her staff did not like her at all. I was just a freelancer. I would come in and out. And whenever one of them got a new job, they would go out and celebrate.

GRACE: Wait a minute. A lot of time, Tom O`Neil, people don`t like the boss.

O`NEIL: I know, I know, and I think that`s a really good point. I`m glad you mentioned it, Nancy. That`s OK. It was certainly within her right. I think the magazine was marginally successful. It all fell apart when she decided to quit the TV show, and she had too much of a burden going on. But let me tell you what`s next. You mentioned -- you intimated it a second ago. She`s talking to another network. She`s talking right now to CBS. And what`s happening -- and I think what largely contributed...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: How do you always know everything?

O`NEIL: It was in "Broadcasting and Cable" magazine two weeks ago, Nancy.

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: I`m sorry, ask me about murder, I can tell you anything. I don`t know what`s in "Broadcasting and Cable." OK, go ahead.

O`NEIL: She`s going to get $20 million for doing a show opposite "The View." And she`s going to have to, for part of that money, also appear on CBS "Early Show," plus do Showtime specials. They`re only going to pay her like $10 million, but she wanted the $20 million, and that seems to be what`s going on. Now, you can imagine how that`s contributing to tension behind the scenes right now. She should have just left when she said she was going to leave.

GRACE: Out to Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative journalist. What can you tell us?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, Nancy, I think that obviously Rosie`s the type of person who is not afraid of confrontation. And in that sense, I think she kind of articulates society`s unarticulated rage. She says what everybody else is afraid to say in polite company, and that`s why she is such a lightning rot, rod, but that`s also why she drives the ratings up. Ironically -- and this is the big irony of all this -- had she made her point diplomatically, lady-like and politely, we wouldn`t be talking about it right now.

GRACE: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, why do we have to be lady-like, to you, Bethany Marshall? Why are women expected to act lady-like? Why do we have to be lady-like to be accepted?

MARSHALL: For the first time, that`s a stumper. But I`m going to tell you, Rosie O`Donnell is accepted by a lot of people and not for being lady-like. She`s accepted because she speaks her mind. She says what other people are thinking. She polarizes people.

GRACE: Well, I think that she`s loved and hated, and people tune in for that reason.

Out to the lines, Terese in Pennsylvania. Hi, Terese.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. Thank you for taking my calls. You`re awesome.

GRACE: Yes, ma`am.

CALLER: I wanted to ask you, do you think that this story is getting more attention because it`s between two women as opposed to two men?

GRACE: Oh, sure. Of course, because women are expected to be prim and proper and lady-like. And they`re not. They`re fighting. I thought they were going to throw a punch, so that adds to the spectator viewership of it all. I agree with you.

Out to Rhonda in Florida. Hi, Rhonda.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for taking my call.

GRACE: Yes, ma`am.

CALLER: Since Rosie was the one asked to be let out of her contract, will she be paid for the three weeks or do you think they will take that from her?

GRACE: Good question. To Ramin Setoodeh with "Newsweek," what do you think about the contract issue?

RAMIN SETOODEH, "NEWSWEEK": I think they`ll probably pay her until the end of her term. You know, we don`t know how much she`s getting paid right now, but she asked for $10 million. That`s why she didn`t continue on "The View." And they only offered her...

GRACE: Sorry, I choked on that one, $10 million?

SETOODEH: Ten million dollars a year for three years. Now, you did choke on that, but the viewership was significantly up. And there were two things that Mr. Trump said that I just wanted to clarify.

One is Rosie`s show was not canceled. The ratings were slightly down, but it was doing really well. And, two, the highest ratings in "The View" this season so far this year were in February, which was well past her fight with Mr. Trump. So we have to keep in mind that Rosie O`Donnell has had a very successful run on "The View," even if she`s leaving on a little bit of a sour note. She`s done wonders for the show.

GRACE: I`ve got to say, the ratings have been huge, but they were huge during the feud with Trump. And, finally, back out to you, Tom O`Neil, what do you believe is next for her?

O`NEIL: I think she`s just going to lay low for a little while and cool off. I think she really got upset that Elisabeth cornered her on an inconsistency. And, by the way, she just didn`t yell at Elisabeth. What has gone unreported here is that she was also fighting with the audience that day during commercial breaks. And now, of course, there are reports, which she denies, that she trashed her dressing room.

She was upset. And I think this is a woman of extreme emotions. We know that. And it`s part of the reason we love her, because she`s got a big heart, and she`s certainly got a big temper.

GRACE: When we come back, everybody, you`re not going to believe this. Caught on video, the lowest of the low. Two thugs steal from a child with a terminal illness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unthinkable crime. Two men stealing items from a benefit set to help find a cure for a rare and fatal childhood disease. The men can be seen fighting each other after they grabbed the items off the auction table. Tonight, police are asking for your help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: The lowest of the low. I was just trying to get a good look at those two, stealing from a disabled child. That`s right, an auction trying to raise money for this little girl, Elise Rochman. They steal and walk out, this baby`s life hanging in the balance. Who are they?

Out to Melanie Streeper, investigative reporter, what happened?

MELANIE STREEPER, KTRS RADIO: This is truly a heartless crime. Earlier this month, these men walking away with items from a silent auction. Items at the auction were to benefit charities for kids who suffer from this deadly disease known as Tay-Sachs. Meantime today, police in Union County, Illinois, are re-releasing the video to the media and the description of the suspects. Investigators are working to enhance the video in hopes of finding any new clues on these two men who committed the crime.

GRACE: Well, could anybody just walk into the auction, Melanie?

STREEPER: Yes, absolutely. If you pay your money, you can walk in there and partake of anything. Of course, no one thinks that anything like this is going to happen. But if you pay your money to get in there, sure thing, you can walk right on in.

GRACE: And so luckily there was a surveillance camera. Mike Brooks, how do we catch these two? How do we enhance it? It`s obviously two white males, I would say in their 20s to 30s. What do you think?

BROOKS: I`ll tell you what, Nancy, it`s not bad quality, and it can be enhanced. Most state crime labs do have a capability of enhancing video like this. And if not, they can call the FBI. FBI can open up a domestic police cooperation case, send it to Quantico and the lab there, the engineering section, and they have an excellent section there that could actually make it better, and also freeze still shots out of it that they can post up and hopefully get these two scumbags.

GRACE: Joining us tonight is a renowned pathologist, medical examiner, Dr. Joshua Perper. A lot of people are not familiar with Tay- Sachs disease. Dr. Perper, what is it? Is it fatal?

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Yes, it`s usually fatal. It affects usually mostly young children who die, unfortunately, before the age of 5. It`s a neurological disease of the brain, which is do basically to single molecule which is abnormal and cannot break certain fats, which accumulate in the cells of the brain. And, unfortunately, the child develops paralysis, eventually blindness, retardation, and even, unfortunately, dementia. And there`s no cure for this particular condition at this time.

GRACE: Dr. Perper, is there any treatment or cure for Tay-Sachs?

PERPER: No, there`s no treatment. There`s research, because there`s just one molecule. And today, medicine is addressing the problem of the molecular disease, trying to change genes in the DNA. So we correct those genes so the disease doesn`t manifest itself. But we don`t have a cure at this time.

GRACE: Joining us tonight, not only the little girl for whom this auction was being held, but her parents, Tim and Kerri, the parents of Elise Rochman. Thank you so much for being with us, Tim and Kerri. Your girl is absolutely beautiful.

Kerri, what happened?

KERRI ROCHMAN, PARENT OF BABY ELISE: With the theft, or with Elise?

GRACE: With the auction, these two guys coming in and stealing?

K. ROCHMAN: And I heard right away after the benefit was done, they told me that some items were missing, and I thought it was a misunderstanding. I said, "How could anyone do this?" Because she is a child with needs. And they knew coming in, they knew it was a benefit, and they knew it was going towards research to find a cure.

And you can see on the video -- it doesn`t show it very clearly there -- but as they`re leaving, you can see them passing me. I walked in with Elise, and you can see the guy with the bald head. He looked over at us, and he actually saw her, and they left anyway.

GRACE: And could walk right by the baby, for whom this money, it was supposed to help her. To Bethany Marshall, it`s almost incomprehensible that they could go in and steal basically from this 2-year-old little girl.

MARSHALL: If you gave these guys the MMPI, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, you would discover that they probably have about zero anxiety. And that`s important, because anxiety is what helps us form a conscience, anxiety about getting in trouble, anxiety about doing the wrong thing. So they probably saw pictures of this baby. They saw the fact that it was a charity auction, and they had no sense of remorse or wrongdoing. I think it`s all the more startling because it was for a child.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Cindy in Ohio, hi, Cindy.

CALLER: Good evening, Nancy. My question tonight is, when -- and hopefully it does happen -- these two men are caught, how will their sentence be determined? Will it be from the value of the items that were stolen from the auction or from another way?

GRACE: Excellent question. Unleash the lawyers. Susan Moss, Michael Mazzariello, Renee Rockwell, Susan, what do you think the charge will be when they`re caught? And they will be caught.

MOSS: Unfortunately, it will be based upon what the value is. And the value of these items are not substantial. However, when they are caught, and they will be caught, as part of their punishment, they should be required to do community service with terminally ill children, so they will have to look into the eye of the children that they were stealing from.

GRACE: Melanie Streeper, what exactly was taken? What was the value?

STREEPER: Well, it was a backpack, estimated value about $25. There was also a motorcycle helmet valued at about between $100 and $125. In the state of Illinois, if items under $300 are stolen, it`s considered a misdemeanor theft.

GRACE: What about, Renee Rockwell, the fact that it was stolen, taken from the presence of the person? Is there any way to kick that up to a robbery?

ROCKWELL: No, Nancy, I don`t see a robbery, but this is something that now they probably know what they`ve gotten themselves into and, as I can say, Nancy, is just -- it`s so disgusting. I`m speechless.

GRACE: Michael Mazzariello, any way to kick this up to a felony?

MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think so. But maybe tack on a trespass charge, if they didn`t pay to get in. I think they`re going to catch the bald-headed guy, and they just turn themselves in immediately, Nancy, and beg for mercy.

GRACE: I want to go back to Tim and Kerri Rochman. They are here tonight with Elise. The auction was to help her. She has Tay-Sachs disease. When did first learn your daughter was sick, Kerri?

K. ROCHMAN: She was perfectly normal at birth. And it wasn`t until about six months, when she was six months old, that we realized something just wasn`t right. We went to the doctors, and they said that she had a delay, but that she would eventually catch up.

But then she started to slow down. She started to lose her skills. She wasn`t rolling over anymore. She had a really strong startle reflex. As you can see now when I`m talking, sometimes she`ll startle. She stopped rolling over. She never sat up. She didn`t talk. She lost her laugh. You know, she had a precious little giggle. And I remember the last day she did laugh, it was -- she`s trying to talk to you, Nancy -- but it was the last day -- it was the day after the benefit last year. And that was the last time she laughed.

And I think that`s the day that we really remember, but, ever since then, it`s been a progressive decline. She`s lost almost every skill. She has a feeding tube now, and we just take the little things for granted.

GRACE: Tim, your wife, Kerri, was describing the last time you heard her laugh. I noticed, in the commercial break, you inserted a tube into her mouth. What was that for?

TIM ROCHMAN, PARENT OF BABY ELISE: Well, she just, as of recently, probably the last month and a half, has been the ability to swallow. And so the suction is to get the secretions out. And if she has a cold and she gets mucous, it just makes it really bad. So the common cold now affects her really bad, and she can get pneumonia, and basically...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: ... is Tim and Kerri Rochman, and their little girl, Elise. Why don`t you please help them? Elizabeth, let`s put up the Web site that can help little Elise.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Welcome back. I want to clear up something. Elise`s parents just said the money they were trying to raise were for other Tay-Sachs victims, not just Elise.

What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories and the people who touched our lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s emotionally just in a mess.

GRACE: In this shot, it looks like she`s smoking a doobie, but whatever. Go ahead.

This photo can be enhanced. And by tonight, the FBI knows the make, the model, and the year. I mean, that`s an excellent shot. If they can`t figure that, they need to go back to first grade.

The defense that "the devil made me do it," B.S. You know, I don`t get it. Why don`t, when they`re stressed out, they burn themselves or commit suicide? Why do they always hurt the children? A 2-month-old baby, now second-degree burns all over her body by her father, a would-be minister.

You know, well, that`s because you haven`t been locked in a microwave, all right? Wait, wait, that`s not a joke.

We are very happy here on our show, and at Headline News, to honor a real crime fighter. With us tonight -- come on over -- Ernie Allen with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And our network, Headline News, is very happy to present him with $25,000 to aid in the search for missing children.

This is 2007. We`re not girls. We`re women, Caplan. Deal with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Air Force Staff Sergeant John Self, 29, Pontotoc, Mississippi, killed, Iraq. Fourth tour of duty, loved hunting, fishing, computer games, playing the trumpet. Always wearing a smile, he swore dedication to family, country and God. He leaves behind mom, Jill, stepdad, Terry, sisters, Misty, Sandy, brothers, Ronny, Sam. John Self, American hero.

Thank you to our guests, but most of all to you for being with us. A special good night from the New York control room. Where are they? There they are. Night, Liz, Brett, Big Ben. See you all tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END

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