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Paris Hilton`s Special Treatment; Stars Who Marry Their Crushes
Aired June 13, 2007 - 23:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: An explosive war of words between Larry Birkhead and his former attorney. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And we have attorney Debra Opri right here tonight to tell her side of the story. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.
HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, new outrage over Paris. Is Paris getting the heiress treatment even in jail?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like the velvet rope extends all the way from the Hollywood clubs to the downtown jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: You would think they would be sure to make it look like Paris gets no special privileges. Wrong.
Plus, believe it or not, some people are rushing to her defense. And we`ve got them right here. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the controversy over defending Paris.
Tonight, celebrity crushes. Come on, admit it, we`ve all had them. And so do the stars on other stars. Tonight, what happens when a star`s crush becomes a real life relationship? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with dreams come true; when crushes become soul mates!
Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: Hi there everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And tonight it`s the interview everyone is talking about. The father of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, Larry Birkhead, making explosive claims about his former attorney Debra Opri. Tonight, in a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive, Debra Opri responds for the very first time, and all I can say is buckle your seat belts. That`s coming up in just a bit.
HAMMER: But first tonight, that Paris Hilton, isn`t she special?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
HAMMER: Guys, not everyone agrees with you, because tonight there is new outrage about Paris behind bars and claims that she is, in fact, getting special treatment.
ANDERSON: A.J., this latest controversy has to do with her family who went to see her in lockup and, unlike the common folk, there was no waiting in line.
ANDERSON (voice-over): SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you back to a simpler, more carefree time for Paris Hilton, when this was the phrase we most associated with the partying heiress.
PARIS HILTON, "THE SIMPLE LIFE": That`s hot.
ANDERSON: Now let`s fast forward to the present. Paris Hilton is sitting in a jail medical wing, and another two-word phrase is what we hear most often about her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Special treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Special treatment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Special treatment.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you critics are once again slapping the special treatment label on Paris Hilton, as outrage grows over the VIP treatment her parents got when they visited their jailed daughter.
MIKE FLEEMAN, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": It looks like the velvet rope extends all the way from the Hollywood clubs to the downtown jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Settle down! Settle down!
ANDERSON: It was a mob scene as Kathy and Rick Hilton pulled up to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility to visit their daughter for the first time since she was ordered back to jail after a disastrous one-day house arrest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kathie, how are you doing today?
ANDERSON: Watch as they get a personal escort from sheriff`s deputies through the media throngs, not exactly standard procedure for relatives of inmates. Within minutes they go right in to visit Paris while other jail visitors, who were told the place was closed for lunch, complained of having to stand in line for hours. Critics, like Headline Prime`s Nancy Grace, went ballistic.
NANCY GRACE, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Today the parents skate right in while other people wait five hours.
ANDERSON: It was the same experience when Hilton`s sister Nicki and Paris` ex-boyfriend went to visit days earlier.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s being strong.
ANDERSON: They too were whisked past the line and were in and out in a jiffy. Ever since Hilton was sentenced to jail for driving on a suspended license, L.A. officials have been slammed for affording her treatment not available to other less famous inmates.
PATRICK HUGUENIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": People are fascinated by whether Paris is getting special treatment in jail, you know, because of her wealth and her status.
ANDERSON: She got her own cell when she first went to jail, then was briefly let out to serve the rest of her sentence at home for a mysterious medical reason. That is until an angry judge ordered her back to jail. And now there`s the charge that her visitors are being fast tracked.
FLEEMAN: Clearly, they got special treatment. They got to see their person faster and easier than other people did.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went straight to the L.A. county sheriff`s department for answers, and, boy, did we get them. Their spokesman, Steve Whitmore, defended his department`s handling of the Paris situation. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that deputies had to escort Hilton`s parents. Otherwise, they never would have gotten past all the reporters.
And he adds that Paris Hilton`s specific prisoner designation allows her to see visitors in closed-off areas while regular visiting hours are closed during lunch.
FLEEMAN: This cuts both ways for Paris.
ANDERSON: "People Magazine`s" Mike Fleeman tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Paris Hilton`s celebrity status may be a mixed blessing for her in jail.
FLEEMAN: She is getting, clearly, some special treatment. Her visitors are treated better. She`s being protected. At the same time, there are a lot of people who say that her sentence is much harsher than anything a normal person would have gotten. Her celebrity seems to be helping her and it seems to be hurting her.
ANDERSON: But as people hear of Paris Hilton getting one accommodation after another as she sits in jail for a serious crime, there will be concerns that her hard time she`s serving is anything but.
ANDERSON: L.A. county sheriff Lee Baca, who runs the jails, is being forced to officially explain his treatment of Paris Hilton. He has been order by the County Board of Supervisors to answer in a report why he assigned Paris Hilton to house arrest. That decision, as you may remember, didn`t go over so well, and Hilton was back in jail a day later.
HAMMER: So, her mom, dad, sister and ex-boyfriend all breezed past that four hour visitation line to see Paris. I`m wondering who is next? The cupcake delivery boy? Are there truly special circumstances here? Or is it indeed special treatment just for Paris?
With me tonight from Hollywood, Howard Bragman, founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations. Also in Hollywood tonight, Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative journalist and author of this book, "Secrets Can Be Murder." It`s in stores now. Howard, Jane, hello to you both.
First, of course, it was sister Nicky and Hilton`s ex, Strabros Miyarkos (ph). Then her parents just breezed by this line. As we heard, the sheriff`s office says, hey, you know, this is just normal business. It`s normal procedure around here. Jane, do you buy that?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I absolutely do not. In fact, I think that the L.A. county sheriff has a huge credibility problem. I, frankly, don`t believe anything that he says when it comes to Paris Hilton. He has been engaging in what I call double speak, Orwellian language. That`s where they torture people at the Ministry of Love and spread lies at the Ministry of Truth.
It`s the same thing. Oh, no special treatment. Come on. It`s obviously special treatment. The convoluted explanations as to why everybody who goes in to visit Paris Hilton gets to move past the line are something out of a Franz Kafka novel. The fact is, I`m wondering why is she even in that medical ward?
We have heard from many, many people now, one represented by famed attorney Gloria Allred, that they had more serious medical conditions. One woman was an amputee and said she was far worse off than Paris Hilton and didn`t get the medical help she needed. Yet, she wasn`t allowed to go to the special ward.
When is Paris Hilton going to get transferred out of that and back where she belongs?
HAMMER: Yes, a lot of people are wondering that tonight, Jane. As you say, it`s a big mess, and certainly a P.R. nightmare going on for the sheriff. Let`s give the sheriff the benefit of the doubt for just a moment. Even if, as he says, they were just following the normal procedure there, given everything that has happened, Howard Bragman -- you are the P.R. guru -- should they have not been a little more sensitive even to the appearance of special treatment? Or do you think they just had no alternative?
HOWARD BRAGMAN, 15 MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: A.J., that`s exactly it. Sheriff Lee Baca is politically tone-deaf, and anybody with a little history lesson in L.A. remembers that Gil Garcetti (ph) lost his next election after O.J. won his case. I think Lee Baca has a very short political future.
It`s not about whether or not she`s getting special treatment. That`s for lawyers and judges to know, and most people aren`t that. It`s the perception of special treatment. And he keeps helping this perception along. And it`s not Paris who is suffering. It`s Lee Baca and the credibility of the sheriff`s department that`s suffering, and he is going to go down.
HAMMER: And it really does go down to the issue of double standards, doesn`t it? That really seems to have been what everybody has been complaining about, rightfully so, since the moment Paris was let out of jail. What do you think, Jane?
MITCHELL: Absolutely. I think, actually, something very good is coming out of this. We are putting the spotlight now on this two-tiered system of justice that exists. I have seen it for a long time. I go to court waiting for my VIP famous cases, and I see all the folks coming in with their public defenders.
The system is operating at the speed of light. Transactions are being made very quickly. Decisions that are going to affect the rest of these people`s lives; sometimes they have a language barrier, made in moments. Then when the famous person comes in, the system slows down to a crawl, and every last nuance is weighed, and the dream team of lawyers and criminalists make every move, to the point where they drag it out until the witnesses can`t remember what happened.
So I think we`re putting a spotlight on really a nationwide problem. I think judges and sheriffs and police officers and everybody in the criminal justice system should be put on notice. Treat everybody the same. It shouldn`t matter what the color of their skin is, how much money they have, what kind of car they drive, or what they wear.
HAMMER: Yes, how could they not expect that there would be an uproar, because it seems that any time special treatment is even implied, people are paying attention. It really got out of control this time, if that, in fact, is what`s going on.
Howard, I want to ask you, given everything that`s happened here, with Paris`s early release, the sheriff defending his decision, and now all of this; if you were right there running the P.R. office for that sheriff`s department, advising Sheriff Baca, what would you do differently? What would you be advising to this point to dig themselves out of this hole?
BRAGMAN: Well, when she went back to jail, she would have gone in the regular population. She would have certainly had her medical needs met, but I would make people wait in line to go see their person in jail the same as everybody else has to. You can`t make people wait two hours and four hours and then say the Hiltons, you go in.
They`ve been horribly prepared. I have taken clients to court plenty of times. We`ve had barricades up to hold the paparazzi and the media. Part of the problem in the crush that they talked about, the Jerry Springer atmosphere, is their own fault for not being prepared. You don`t have to be a genius to figure out that there`s going to be hundreds of media waiting for the Hilton family. Every decision they`ve made has been wrong.
HAMMER: It seems so simple, doesn`t it? You spell it out like that. It makes sense to us, but, hey, we`re not running the department out there. Howard Bragman, Jane Velez-Mitchell. Hopefully they`re listening, and I thank you both.
ANDERSON: And now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Paris Hilton; do you think she is getting special treatment? Vote at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. Send us your email, and that is to SHOWBIZTONIGHT@CNN.com.
All right, special treatment or not, you may find this hard to believe, A.J., but some people actually sticking up for Paris Hilton. Coming up, 44 minutes past the hour, defending Paris. We`re going to tell you who they are and why they say Paris deserves a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S BABY: It`s kind of like one of those Freddy Krueger movies, when you try to get rid of somebody and they keep coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: That`s Larry Birkhead talking about his former attorney, and she is right here tonight. You are not going to want to miss this. Coming up, my exclusive interview with Debra Opri. I got to find out what she has to say about her former client`s explosive charges made on "Larry King Live." Things are going to get heated up.
ANDERSON: Also, we`ve all had our celebrity crushes. Even the stars have them on other stars. What happens when a celebrity crush becomes a celebrity soul mate? Hollywood fairy tales that have to come true and that have come true, next.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. I want you to think back to the days of your first crush. Do you remember seeing that certain someone and your heart just started racing? Well, it can happen to anyone at any time, even to the celebrities.
But when that crush turns into an actual relationship, the fairy tale can have a Hollywood ending.
ANDERSON (voice-over): Once upon a time in a place called Hollywood, a young Katie Holmes dreamed of her prince. His name? Tom Cruise.
TIA BROWN, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Katie Holmes did an interview with "Seventeen Magazine" saying that when she was a little girl she actually used to dream about marrying Tom Cruise.
ANDERSON: And, poof, her prince arrived. And they drove off into the sunset, this time not on a horse, but a motorcycle.
BROWN: It`s definitely a fairy tale ending for Katie Holmes.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that Mrs. Katie Holmes-Cruise is the perfect example of a childhood crush turning into a Hollywood reality. But as "In Touch Weekly`s" Tia Brown tells us not all Hollywood crushes start out during your teenage years. Case in point, Michael Douglas, who was in his mid-50s when he got a head over heels, life altering crush on Catherine Zeta-Jones.
BROWN: Michael Douglas saw Catherine Zeta-Jones in "The Mask of Zorro" and decided that he wanted have her. He followed her to a few different cities trying to woo her and get her attention, and she said that on their first date, he told her that he wanted to be the father of her children. And it happened.
ANDERSON: Michael Douglas pursued his crush, got the girl, and married her. Then there`s the crush that began with a naughty dream.
BROWN: Josh Duhamel had a crush on Fergie. He had a naughty dream about her before they actually met. He is the star of the show "Las Vegas," so Fergie did a guest appearance. Before she did her appearance, she found out that he had the crush. The way they connected was she actually went up to him and said, hey, I heard you had a dirty dream about me. And he admitted it, and they hit it off since then, and they have been together ever since.
ANDERSON: In the 1990s Tori Spelling`s "Beverly Hills 90210" character Donna Martin was the crush of many teens. "90210" not only launched Tori`s acting career, but it opened the door for a crush that knocked her socks off six years later, when she met Dean McDermott on the set of their TV movie "Mind Over Murder."
BROWN: Dean says that he had a crush on Tori since her days on "Beverly Hills 90210," but it wasn`t until they were working on the set that they actually got to spend time together and, again, they say that the chemistry was instant, that they knew that they were each other`s soul mates. And they decided to both divorce their partners and build a life together.
ANDERSON: From crush to soul mate in the blink of an eye. That`s Hollywood for you. Then there`s the couple that defines cute, Kelli Ripa and Mark Consuelos.
BROWN: Kelly and Mark met on the set of "All My Children." Kelly says as soon as she saw Mark, she was instantly smitten.
ANDERSON: The crush was mutual, as Ripa described on "Regis and Kelly."
KELLY RIPA, "REGIS AND KELLY": We were working on "All My Children." We had the day off. So Mark and I were eating pizza, sitting on the floor of his apartment. And he said, hey, we don`t have to work tomorrow. Do you want to go to Vegas and get married?
ANDERSON: A decade later, the crush that brought Kelly and Mark together still lives.
RIPA: So ten years later I got a ring for my tenth anniversary. He said that he wanted to make sure that it was going to last before he --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many years has it been now?
RIPA: It`s been eleven years.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s next smitten kitten, Mark Anthony. His crush for Jennifer Lopez started back in 1999 when Jen appeared in one of his music videos.
BROWN: Jennifer and Mark; this is also a story where friends become lovers. They met each other many years ago, when Mark was a huge singer, but Jen was still kind of working her way into the upper echelons of Hollywood. She was not a super star, and Mark said that he just felt like there was a special connection between the two of them.
ANDERSON: A connection neither of them did anything about at first. Mark watched from afar as his crush Jen fell in and out of high profile relationships with Sean Diddy Colmes, Chris Judd, whom she married, and Ben Affleck. Jen watched Mark marry miss universe, Diane Aritorez (ph), not once, but twice. But in the end fate took over.
BROWN: When you find your soul mate, you know, which I think Jennifer and Mark feel that they have, even when things don`t work out in other relationships, you tend to gravitate towards each other. And the fact that they were able to maintain a friendship all of those years, you know, many people will say, well, why did they get married in five months? It was because for, you know, five or six years they had maintained this relationship.
ANDERSON: Crushes that have turned into real relationships; a fairy tale ending for those who always kept the dream alive. If it happened to them, it could happen to you. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT says keep on crushing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: So what does Catherine Zeta-Jones think now about the crush that became her true love? Well, in an interview with "In Style Magazine," Catherine says, quote, let`s face it, when it comes to leading men, I scored big-time. You can see more of what Catherine had to say in the July issue of "In Style," A.J. It is on newsstands next Friday.
HAMMER: Excellent. Well, for the first time, Brooke, "Grey`s Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington is speaking out about getting fired from the show. You remember, he had to go to rehab for calling his co-star an anti-gay slur. Find out what Isaiah is saying now coming up next.
We`ll also have this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIRKHEAD: It`s kind of like one of those Freddy Krueger movies, when you try to get rid of somebody, and they keep coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Ouch. Let the games begin. It is a war of words between Larry Birkhead and his former attorney, Debra Opri. And we have an exclusive interview with Debra Opri to find out away she has to say about her former client`s explosive charges on "Larry King Live."
HAMMER: Also, defending Paris Hilton. Did I really just say that? There are actually people who are sticking for Paris. Find out who they are and what they`re saying, and see if you believe it too at 44 past the hour.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer New York. Former "Gray`s Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington is now speaking out for the very time about getting fired from "Gray`s Anatomy." As you remember, the sparks flew after Washington used an anti-gay slur referring to his co-star T.R. Knight. He went to rehab after that incident.
Well, last Thursday, "Gray`s Anatomy" creator Shonda Rimes (ph) called him and told him you`re not returning to the show. Washington tells "Entertainment Weekly" that he will miss it.
Here`s what he says, quote, "I did everything that the producers and the network asked me to do. I came back under great duress and stress, and thought I was doing the job I was hired to do. I thought that was going to speak for my future at Grey`s, but apparently that wasn`t the same vision that the network and studio had for me."
Washington says he can only apologize so many times and accept so much responsibility. Right now, he`s working on an independent film and keeping his options open. And when asked if he is on good terms with T.R. Knight, Washington said, you`ll have to ask T.R. that.
ANDERSON: Oh, that didn`t sound like a yes.
ANDERSON: All right, A.J., we`ve had Donald Trump on the show plenty of times. So we both know that he is really out there sometimes. But I have to say his latest idea for a TV show, with the word tramp in the title, no less, kind of turns my stomach. We`re going to tell you what Donald has up his sleeve straight ahead. Also this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIRKHEAD: It`s kind of like one of those Freddy Krueger movies, when you try to get rid of somebody and they keep coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Yes, uh-huh. Larry Birkhead last night talking about his former attorney on "Larry King Live." Well, she is right here tonight. Coming up, you will get to witness my exclusive interview with Debra Opri. We get to find out exactly what she has to say about everything her former client had to say. Some explosive charges were made last night.
ANDERSON: Also, defending Paris Hilton. You know, I find this really hard to believe, but there actually are people who are sticking up for Paris. What they`re saying coming up at 44 minutes past the hour.
HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, defending Paris. That`s right. Some people, even some stars, are rushing to get Paris` back while she`s sitting in that jail cell.
And they`re not shying away from the controversy that comes with lending Hilton a hand. But why would they do such a thing? I mean, so many people have had it with Paris. Tonight, we`ve got them right here. The defenders of Paris Hilton on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.
Coming up -- a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. A brand new Anna Nicole Smith legal battle. Larry Birkhead, the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, leveled some explosive allegations against his former lawyer, Debra Opri. Debra is all fired up and she will be right here, in just a minute, to answer these charges. It`s the exclusive interview you`ll see here only, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
But first, tonight, Larry Birkhead is speaking out about just how life has been with his daughter Dannielynn. In his first live primetime interview since winning custody -- remember his ugly battle with Howard K. Stern in the Bahamas? Larry tells CNN`s Larry King that it has definitely all been worth it, and he never doubted for a second that Dannielynn was his daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR, "LARRY KING LIVE": Did you always know she was yours?
LARRY BIRKHEAD, DANNIELYNN`S FATHER: Always. Always knew it. And I always maintained that. And, you know, I wasn`t about to make a fool of myself in court and television, but, you know, I just felt like, honestly, that it was just doing what you are supposed to do as a father. And my instinct was just to take off and do whatever I had to do to get her back - - or get her. And, fortunately, along the way, you know, there`s a lot of loss and pain and heartache and very little celebration until the very end.
KING: What`s it like being a dad?
BIRKHEAD: Oh, it`s one of the most -- the greatest feelings. It`s -- you know, it`s like magic. You wake up every morning and you rush in, and you can`t wait until she wakes up. Sometimes I kind of cheat and take a couple of peeks. When I hear her cry, those first sounds, I just take off running and can`t wait to spend every minute I can with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Proud father. And Birkhead also says he has hired lots of security for himself and Dannielynn just in case.
HAMMER: Now, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. Dannielynn not the only thing Larry and Larry spoke about. Birkhead also let loose on his former attorney, Debra Opri, the very woman who helped him gain custody of Dannielynn.
Debra Opri, joining us from Hollywood tonight, in this exclusive interview you will see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Debra, it`s always good to see you.
DEBRA OPRI, LARRY BIRKHEAD`S FMR. LAWYER: Well, all I can say is call me Fredericka Krueger. I have been booked. I guess I had to show up. Only in Larry`s dreams would I be a Freddy Krueger. That`s where he usually shows up.
HAMMER: Let`s talk about what he was talking about last night because certainly a lot was said. And I think it`s good that you have an opportunity to --
OPRI: I appreciate it.
HAMMER: -- to set the record straight, and at least hear your side of the story.
You know, when I think back to when this case, the custody case -- or paternity case over Dannielynn was in full gear, you had put your heart and soul into proving Larry Birkhead was the father. Now you are involved in this bitter legal battle with him over money, the over $600,000 in legal bills that you claim he owes. So how is it, Debra, that this thing got so nasty?
OPRI: It didn`t have to get this way. I started seeing a pattern in Larry, and it`s on my web site. If you go to Debraopri.com, you`ll see my side of the story in my filing on June 6. But it didn`t have to get ugly.
I mean, I literally said to Larry, I`ve gotten you a $1 million deal. $860,000 is in your client trust fund. Here`s $275,000. Let`s get the bill together so we can start paying off people. And let`s move along and get this done. He didn`t want to do that. He wanted all of the money, and he started saying I should work for free. Howard told him he made me famous, and James Brown would be rolling in his grave if he heard that.
But Larry received three bills over the course of the many months, so he wasn`t shocked, and he wasn`t billed for family members. And it`s time we put to rest the laundry bill. It was my laundry. Not my husband`s. There was a lobster dinner to say thank you to someone who had given us their large home for eight days. All of this is easily explained, and all Larry has done for only to get out of paying a bill, is to defame me and to say I`m ethically challenged as a lawyer.
I have worked 20 years as an attorney. And I have a great reputation, and I am going to fight him. And I am going to prove that everything I did was legitimate, reasonable, and above board. And, A.J., you have known me a long time, and when someone got the services -- and I worked my heart out for him and I believed in him.
And when someone does to me what Larry Birkhead did to me, he will have his day of reckoning. He will pay his bill. I will discount it any more, and I will demand a public apology from him.
HAMMER: Well, Debra, let`s talk specifically about some of the things that he covered with Larry King on "Larry King Live".
OPRI: Of course.
HAMMER: People have questioned who ended this relationship.
OPRI: I did.
HAMMER: Well, let`s take a look at exactly what Larry Birkhead said.
OPRI: Of course.
HAMMER: Because he said plain and simple, he fired you. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIRKHEAD: It`s kind of like one of those Freddy Krueger movies when you try to get rid of somebody and they keep coming back. I don`t know. We terminated -- I terminated her relationship -- the attorney-client relationship way back a couple months ago. And it just seems like every time I turn around, she`s going on a show saying this or that or I`m -- long back before I terminated her, or around that time, she went on shows and said I asked her to do unethical things. She was divulging confidential information about me, my case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: What`s your story?
OPRI: Larry did not terminate me. Larry gave me an ultimatum. Either waive your bill, or I`m going to fire you. So, think about it. I thought about it. On Friday the 16th when he was walking into the Bahamas to get the DNA order that I had laid the foundation for, I resigned. I walked away and very nicely I said we have terminated our relationship.
I did not make bad statements about him. I did not do anything other than say we terminate our relationship. I support him and Dannielynn. I walked away. I had to file a motion to withdraw, which was finally granted on April 23rd. Larry Birkhead made a false statement. I was not fired. I was withdrawn from the case on my own motion, and I have the facts and the documents and the witnesses to prove it, Mr. Birkhead.
HAMMER: What he said, though, is he hired you because you told him you wanted to work this case for free, basically, for the publicity, as he alluded to with Larry King. And then he says you had him sign a contract, and before he knew it, he was getting these bills for $600,000.
OPRI: That`s incorrect.
HAMMER: Did you ever tell Larry at any time, Debra, that you would work for him for free?
OPRI: At no time. At no time, ever, I tell Larry Birkhead I would work for free. He signed a retainer. The retainer was clear in the hourly fee and the cost advances. I took $100,000 out of my own moneys and advanced it. He made one payment against the bill for $20,000, because I told him in January I quit because I couldn`t carry him anymore. He signed the retainer. If go to my web site, you will see the retainer as part of my pleadings.
HAMMER: He also did say that the bill changed in the course of your relationship and then after your relationship ended.
OPRI: Not correct.
HAMMER: Let`s take a look at what he told Larry Birkhead told Larry King about how he reacted when he did get that bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: When you got that bill, were you shocked?
BIRKHEAD: I think -- I was shocked. You know, it was just a bunch of -- well, I was shocked because it was a variance, after I terminated her, it was -- the amount that she discussed from free, to no, it wasn`t free. I`m saying now to this is what it is today. It almost quadrupled or tripled after the fact that I got rid of her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: He is basically saying, Debra, that you padded the bill after the relationship ended.
OPRI: Absolutely incorrect. Larry received three bills. The public doesn`t know that. Larry received a bill in November-December, in January, and again in March. And the third time he received the bill was after I had quit. And he leaked that bill to the press, and he started a smear campaign against me, which I didn`t deserve, all for one purpose, so he wouldn`t have to pay the bill. That he would scare me away from demanding it. And I said go to arbitration. But he wanted to keep it out in the press. And I was forced by the arbitrator to file a court order to get an order for petition for arbitration, and after that he sues me for malpractice.
No. Larry received three bills. He wasn`t shocked at the bills. He was shocked that I was making him pay the bill. And that I had quit, and he no longer had any leverage over me.
HAMMER: If I understand correctly, you are going to court next week, petitioning the court is in process, for this arbitration. Part of this petition, if I have this correct, is that you say Larry wasn`t the greatest client, and that he was getting obsessed with you. Can you explain what you meant by that?
OPRI: Larry signed a retainer agreement which said the proceedings, if we ever have a dispute on any level, we go to arbitration, and it`s confidential and privileged. He didn`t choose to do that. In my representation of Larry, I found that Larry was an idiosyncratic personality who could turn it on and off. To the public, in front of Larry King last night, he is a charming man. He has his baby by his side. He is a nice, ah shucks guy. It`s the image I presented and developed for him. However, behind the scenes, Larry just didn`t want to pay anyone. And it was very, very upsetting.
Let me be very frank. The lawyers Larry now has to sue me for malpractice, I mean, they`re Howard K. Stern`s attorneys. And so let`s let the public know everything. Read my pleadings; 30 pages of very informative factual representation.
HAMMER: Debra, real quickly, because I need to know how you are feeling about this. And I only have about 30 seconds.
But before the whole baby battle was resolved, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, with tears in your eyes, you were telling us --
OPRI: That`s correct.
HAMMER: -- you had no doubt that Larry Birkhead was the father of this child. When you are seeing her on "Larry King Live", Dannielynn, how are you not feeling badly that you are not a part of what this life is like for this child now?
OPRI: Let me tell you something, as a professional, I am having to treat this as business. He owes me money. I owe a lot of people money. But I`m hurt because I care a lot about him and that baby, and it was an unfortunate way he chose to treat me. That`s all.
HAMMER: Debra Opri, I do appreciate you joining us for this exclusive interview to set the record straight with your side.
ANDERSON: OK, another startling twist in this whole Paris Hilton jail mess. Tonight, there are people coming out in defense of Paris Hilton. Yeah, they say she is getting a raw deal, and unfair treatment. Not just anybody. I`m talking stars. I can`t wait to hear this. That`s next.
HAMMER: And get this, it seems that all these young out of control party girls like Parises and your Lindsays have inspired a new TV show from -- Donald Trump? Is this thing going to be huge? We`ll get into that next.
ANDERSON: Also, some really surprising guys on this year`s people magazine list of hottest bachelors, including one star who was oh-so-proud of his shaved chest. I don`t know where to go from there, but stick around for that unhairy situation coming up.
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LAUREN LAKE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What we have seen is the blatant different treatment of rich people, than what poor people would be treated like. As a defense attorney, this is why I`m so offended by this case. I have represented people, poor people that have done far less than Paris, that have spent far more time in jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That was criminal defense attorney Lauren Lake. Just one of the many people absolutely outraged. She thinks Paris Hilton is definitely getting unfair preferential treatment in jail.
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.
Well, despite all the bashing that has been going on about Paris Hilton these days, there are indeed, some who say Paris is getting a raw deal. Yeah, tonight, I`ve got two people who are defending Paris Hilton. From Hollywood comedian Paul Mooney, and author and comedian Kerri Pomarolli.
Good to see both.
KERRI POMAROLLI, COMEDIAN, ACTRESS: Hey, Brooke.
PAUL MOONEY, COMEDIAN: Hello. Hey.
ANDERSON: Hey, there. Paul, you think Paris has gotten a raw deal here. Why?
MOONEY: Well, it`s beyond that. I mean, we got to be real about it. I mean, Paris didn`t harm anybody but herself. I mean, she`s not a murderer. You know? And she broke the law, and it happens -- she`s human. And we all break the law in some ways.
MOONEY: You know, it is -- even you. I mean, everybody has jaywalked. It`s like they`re making such a big deal out of it because it`s -- to keep it real. Let`s face it. It was for drunk driving, half America drives home drunk. They just don`t get caught.
ANDERSON: Oh, it`s horrible. Putting others lives in danger. And it`s really up to the courts to decide what the punishment should be.
Kerri, why do you think she`s getting a raw deal here?
POMAROLLI: First of all, Brooke, I would like to make it clear that neither you nor I have ever jaywalked in our lives.
I just want America to know that, Paul.
I don`t think that she`s getting a raw deal. I`m not here to say she shouldn`t be in prison, because I absolutely believe that the punishment fit the crime.
I think she`s getting a raw deal because people are bashing her and saying she can`t change, and she`s going to be this way for the next 70 years. And Paris is the only one that knows that, what her life has in store for her. And I say we give her the benefit of the doubt, Brooke. I mean, why not?
ANDERSON: OK, well, here`s being optimistic about it.
And, so Paul, you do have to understand, she`s in jail basically because she snubbed her nose at the law several times after that DUI arrest by driving with a suspended license. Certainly you can understand why people are ticked off.
MOONEY: Listen, I understand it, but they`re making a -- they`re making it -- look, she has everything that America loves, OK? America is into, look -- she`s young. She`s white, OK? This is what America worships, all right? And she`s rich, OK? And she`s famous. They cannot stand her for this. It has that double edge. They really -- black, white, man, woman, my friends, everyone, they want to crucify her, OK?
So, she`s right, she did something wrong, so she`s locked up, OK? But going to jail is not that -- I mean, they took Jesus to jail. They took Gandhi to jail, they took Martin Luther King to jail. She`s in good company.
But the way they`re carrying on about it is they want something done to her. The want her beaten, they have no forgiveness. You have to have some sort of forgiveness. She`s a human being. Put yourself in her place. You kinda look like her. When she goes again, when she goes out there, you could stand in for her. You look like her.
ANDERSON: Paul, stop it right now! I can believe you said that. And I also can`t believe you compared her to Jesus and Gandhi.
And Kerri, you are a comedian who promotes Christianity. And as we`ve heard Paris` claim she has found God in jail, but people are skeptical about that.
POMAROLLI: Well, Brooke, first of all, he forgot to say skinny. She`s skinny and I don`t like skinny people either.
So, you know, she looks like a natural blonde. I don`t like that.
Brooke, if she --
ANDERSON: I don`t like that either. I`m kidding.
POMAROLLI: IF she did find Jesus, Brooke, who am I to say she didn`t or she did. I don`t believe that we need to bash her to the point where she can`t even have the option. Do you think Jesus is, like, I`m going leave this one behind? I want everybody to have it, but, Paris, you stay here. You know? I don`t believe that Jesus would be like that if he was here talking to you right now.
You know, I`m just saying that people need to chill out. And she is the one that`s going to have the last laugh if she decides to make a change with her life.
ANDERSON: Or decides to capitalize on this.
ANDERSON: Paul, looking at everything that came before this, she made the sex tape. Then there`s another tape, Paul, of Paris spewing racial expletives, being very derogatory, acting -- frankly -- like a spoiled brat, out of control party girl. Didn`t she make her own bed here and now she has to sleep in it?
MOONEY: Well, do you know what -- everyone has this whole thing about condemning her. Where`s the forgiveness? So did a lot of things. Everybody does a lot of things wrong. If she`s -- you said making racial statements. Look, before she went to jail -- look, after she went to jail, I started loving her, because she didn`t go to Yale. She didn`t go to Yale, she went to jail.
But I was impressed with her. I know her aunt. I was with her aunty the other night. Francesca Hilton, who is her aunt, and who is Zsa Zsa Gabor`s daughter. She said she felt real bad about Paris because Paris called her up and wanted her to drive her home when she was drunk. She said I couldn`t do it, because I was drunk too. So they`re all drunks!
ANDERSON: Get a cab. Get a cab, Paul. Get a cab. Get another driver.
MOONEY: But you know --
ANDERSON: Carrie, you know, we mentioned that she might try to capitalize on this. Very quickly, if she does, will you still defend her?
POMAROLLI: You know, I don`t think it`s about capitalizing. If she comes out with, like, "Jesus is hot T-shirts", I`m not going to defend her. But you know what? It`s up to her to break the cycle. Why does she have to do what everybody says she`s going to do and call Lifetime, and say, "I`m ready to make my movie"?
When basically she has the power to say, "You know what, it`s my life. And I`m going to choose to live it the way I want to." She has an amazing opportunity to here to actually become a role model, because I`m not saying that she`s ever been one. But maybe this could be the wakeup call that she needed.
MOONEY: But you know what I`m happy about?
POMAROLLI: What are you happy about?
ANDERSON: I`ve gotta go, five seconds.
MOONEY: I`m happy about they have her in jail by herself and not with the regular jail people, because we don`t want -- April in Paris, now, do we?
ANDERSON: We`re going to end it there. Paul Mooney, Kerri Pomarolli, thank you both for joining us. You can pick up a copy of Paul`s new DVD, "Know Your History", in stores now.
Paris says she found God. Donald Trump may have found a new TV show because of Paris? What? The inside scoop, coming up next.
HAMMER: All right, you didn`t actually think you`d seen the last of Donald Trump after "The Apprentice" went off the air, right? Get this. Tonight, I can tell you that Hollywood`s bad girls, talking about Lindsay, Britney, Paris and they`re pantiless partying -- I haven`t said that in a while.
It seems that all of that has inspired a new show from The Donald. Here`s the deal with this new show. Along with "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett, Trump is developing "Lady Or A Tramp" for FOX. It`s a reality series that would take a group of wild party girls, send them off to charm school to straighten them out. Donald will pick up the cost and possibly come on air to check up on them. Oh, goodie.
ANDERSON: Oh, goodie, is right.
All right. I`m about to steam things up right now. I have your sneak speak at "People" magazine`s brand new hottest bachelors list.
"American Idol" runner-up Blake Lewis says is he the sensitive type. And yes, he admits to doing some old-fashioned serenading of his crushes. But I hope that doesn`t mean his beat box thing.
All right. Want to hook up with Kevin Connelly, well, you had better like movies. Because not only is this "Entourage" star a film fanatic, but he likes to test his date`s knowledge about his favorite flicks.
And Maxim Chmerkovskiy, one of the dapper dudes from "Dancing With The Stars says his senoritas don`t have to be Samba superstars, but they need to have some sort of rhythm. He is proud of his shaved chest. All right.
Check out more of "People" hottest bachelors of 2007. The issue hits newsstands Friday.
HAMMER: Well, we`ve been asking you to vote our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. And here`s where we`re going tonight. Paris Hilton, do you think she`s getting special treatment? Please, let us know what you think. Cnn.com/show biz tonight is where you go to vote. If you have more to say, we want to hear your thoughts. Showbiztonight@CNN.com is the e- mail address.
And you can always say on top of the latest and most provocative entertainment news stories by signing up for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. Go to cnn.com/showbiz tonight. click on newsletter on the left- hand side of the page. We`ll email it to you every day.
Time now to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Brooke, I hear you were chatting with Barbara Walters tomorrow.
ANDERSON: I am, indeed, A.J. You know we have so much to talk to her about. Her jail house chat with Paris Hilton. Who might replace Rosie on "The View" and a lot more. My revealing interview with Barbara Walters is tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: Also, stop the presses. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your first pictures of Paris Hilton in jail. All right. I don`t want to get any nasty e-mails on this. We are doing a bit of a stretch here. The creators of a hilarious Paris parody, joining us here, tomorrow.
And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: Have a great night. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. "Glenn Beck" coming up next after the latest headlines from CNN "Headline News".