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Benoit`s Physician to Be Indicted Again
Aired July 11, 2007 - 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 in the case of a major superstar WWE wrestler, 40-year-old Chris Benoit, he and his entire family found dead in their upscale gated community, Atlanta suburbs. Tonight, federal prosecutors hand down a superseding indictment, more formal charges against doctor-to-the-wrestling-stars Dr. Phil Astin III, as another wrestling star turns up dead under Astin`s care, "Johnny Grunge," AKA Michael Durham, dead at the young age of 40. Tonight, his widow speaks out in a primetime exclusive.
After a total of three raids by the feds on Astin`s office, home and storage, the case now heads to a secret grand jury on charges of overprescribing painkillers and other drugs. Did anabolic steroids play a role in the death of Benoit and his family? And what about Johnny Grunge and nearly 100 pro wrestlers now dead? The clock still ticking on Benoit`s toxicology report. And tonight, House rep Cliff Stearns with us live, demanding Congress bring down the hammer on steroids and pro wrestling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida congressman Cliff Stearns is calling for hearings on steroids in professional wrestling. Stearns says the abnormally high number of deaths should raise congressional alarms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) steroids ever. In 1987 and `88, I did for a little while (INAUDIBLE) I had an allergic reaction in `89, I never took anything since.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so let`s -- so we can agree we all did steroids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris was not the biggest guy in the world. You know, I would guess that he probably experimented with steroids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it steroids? Maybe, but I don`t want to hang everything just on the fact they found steroids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s impossible to achieve or attain that look without steroids. I mean, I`m pretty well-versed on them because I used them for a long time because in this industry, there`s a premium on that look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, the doctor-to-the-wrestling-stars, including Benoit and Grunge, facing even more federal charges?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Phil Astin had prescribed medication to a lot of different guys in Atlanta. Chris Benoit actually got hooked up with him through guys in WCW. And the thing with Johnny Grunge`s death is that had pretty much been finished when he passed away, but it`s being reopened now because the pill bottles that were found by his body were prescribed by Dr. Astin. And he was prescribed 120 Somas the day before his death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are here to announce the indictment of Dr. Philip Astin III. The federal grand jury charged Dr. Astin with illegal distribution of prescription drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he`s obviously very upset. I mean, this sort of came out of nowhere. Allegations have been made against him where they compare him to some type of street-level drug dealer, which is ridiculous. He`s a doctor. We`re going to fight the charges, and it`s going to come down to medical experts whether the prescriptions he wrote were appropriate, based on the need of the patient.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, the feds are bringing down yet another indictment to doctor-to-the-wrestling-stars Dr. Philip Astin III. That means more formal charges. And what about Johnny Grunge? The death toll is rising amongst pro wrestlers, and now even Congress, believe it or not, is poised to act to bring down the hammer on steroid use within pro wrestling.
Out to Bryan Alvarez, friend of Chris Benoit`s and with Figurefouronline.com. Bryan, what`s the latest in these new charges from the feds?
BRYAN ALVAREZ, FIGUREFOURONLINE.COM: I`m not sure exactly what the new charges are. I know that there are a lot of reports coming out right now about wrestlers that Astin may have treated that have not been released yet. There was two initials, "OG" and "MJ," and reports are coming out that those two may have been individuals in the -- one in WWE, and another that`s currently working in Mexico. And I think that over the next couple of days, we`re probably going to hear about more wrestlers that Dr. Astin was involved with, many of which are in WWE right now.
GRACE: You know, we all sat by and watched day after day after day of hearings regarding steroid use within major league baseball. Why is it important to have those hearings, but when it comes to wrestlers dying, up to nearly 100 -- Elizabeth, if you could run that scroll of all of the pro wrestlers that have died before that time -- everybody`s is turning the other way.
One person is speaking out on Capitol Hill. It is Representative Cliff Stearns. Out to the representative joining us right now. Why you? Why now, Representative?
REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: Well, I think you pose a very good question. I had hearings dealing with steroids in baseball, basketball and football, but when I saw these deaths and I realized that about 90 wrestlers have died before the age of 50 over the last period of years, I thought to myself, well, these wrestlers obviously are taking steroids, and they`re influencing a lot of fans because millions of young wrestling fans, for better or for worse, look up to the professional wrestlers as role models, much like people look up to baseball stars.
And it turns out the National Institute on Media and the Family reported that over a million people watch professional wrestling, are children 11 years of age or younger. And one fourth of the viewers are children and teenagers under the age of 17. So the point is, these professional wrestlers are damaging and hurting themselves with their liver and their kidney tumors and their high blood pressure and their aggressive, violent behavior, and ultimately suicide tendencies. But at the same time, they`re influencing the young people of our country, and they`re disobeying the law because the Drug Abuse Act of 1988 makes it a felony to distribute this.
GRACE: Right. With us is Representative Cliff Stearns. He`s going to be leaving shortly for a vote on Capitol Hill. He is pushing Congress to actually do something as the death toll rises amongst pro wrestling.
What you are seeing right now is superstar Chris Benoit wrestling in the WWE on the USA network.
Joining me right now is someone you all know very well, superstar Billy Graham. He is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and a friend of Chris Benoit. I`m a personal fan of Billy Graham. Sir, thank you for being with us. How does it make you feel when you see Congress doing a backflip -- I`m a big baseball fan -- to save major league baseball players, but when it gets to wrestlers, pro wrestlers, they all hold their nose? What, you`re not classy enough to save your life? How many bodies do we need in the body count before somebody does something?
BILLY GRAHAM, FORMER PRO WRESTLER: Yes, that`s a very good point, Nancy. And first of all, I`d like to thank you for inviting me onto your show. As you know, I`m a big, big fan of yours, my wife, Valerie (ph), and I. And one of the high spots of my book tour last year was getting to meet you in person and giving you a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
GRAHAM: So the problem we have in professional wrestling is it`s considered to be a circus. We are no more than soap -- soapbox -- opera -- you know, actors...
GRAHAM: ... as nothing more than a -- as nothing more than a Broadway play. So the foolishness of professional wrestling degrades the actual people who are involved in it. However, as you had mentioned with this death risk that Marc Mero has drafted, reveals of these are real human beings, after all, and we really are people with families, and with loved ones and mothers and fathers, but yet we`re treated as almost like circus animals in the professional wrestling.
GRACE: Well, it`s funny that you brought up circus animals. With me, superstar Billy Graham. Back to you, superstar. It seems as if more people are concerned about the treatment of animals than they are about wrestlers in the ring. And look, you see that video right there of -- I can`t see his face, but I`m sure this is Benoit in the ring. Look, there are thousands of people there. Why is that any different than any other performance in this country? Why is pro wrestling, you hold your nose and Congress won`t act?
GRAHAM: Yes, Nancy, because there`s no respect for professional wrestlers. There`s respect for steroid users like Barry Bonds, without a doubt. For some reason, the respect...
GRACE: Hey, that`s Barry Bonds with an asterisk, according to me, OK?
GRAHAM: Yes, but...
GRACE: When he goes in the Hall of Fame, put a line of asterisks beside that name!
GRAHAM: Yes, and put "actively steroid user" next to his name, by the way. And this is the problem, Nancy. It`s simply a matter of disrespect for professional wrestling. People do not care about the characters of pro wrestling. We`re like actors. We`re like circus animals being told what to do. We have script writers, Nancy, from Hollywood telling guys what to say on the show. We have storylines. We have silliness out there that is so ridiculous that people laugh at this product now. They never laughed at the product years ago, but now it`s so outrageous, people have no respect for pro wrestling.
GRACE: I want to go out to the lines. We`ll go to Becky in California. Hi, Becky.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you. My question is this. We`re hearing a lot about the steroid use, but what are the symptoms of someone on steroids? And what are steroids made out of?
GRACE: Excellent question. Let`s go to Dr. Marc Siegel, internist and author. Tell me about steroids, Dr. Siegel. What are they made of? What is the effect on the body? And what is the difference -- we get this question a lot -- between legal steroids and illegal steroids?
DR. MARC SIEGEL, INTERNIST AND FORMER ER DOCTOR: Well, you know, Nancy, they`re only legal if they`re prescribed for a real use, like a deficiency. That`s why the doctors that are involved in this really ought to be ashamed of themselves because they`re not prescribing them for real uses.
These are artificial substances -- that`s what "anabolic" means, that approximates testosterone or steroids like that, that the body makes. And what they actually do is, they make your skin very oily. They make men act like women. They feminize men, they masculinize women. They have a problem with effects on the liver, on the heart. They`re bad for the kidneys. They`re bad for the bones. They`re bad for the joints.
What they do is, they make you more enraged. They make you more temper-prone. They`re bad psychologically. But of course, they build muscle and they make you stronger. So if you`re on stage and you`re showing -- in a show like this, they give you a short-term benefit. But long-term, they couldn`t be worse.
GRACE: But there are legal ones like, for instance, prednisone, cortisone. Those are steroids of a type.
SIEGEL: Those are totally different. Those are the steroids that you make in your adrenal gland, that don`t have the androgenic effect. We`re talking about sex hormones, basically, to distinguish between prednisone, which is a pure medical use, and steroids like these, which are essentially sex hormones.
GRACE: Joining us in just a few moments is a lady I know you will all want to meet. It is the widow of "Johnny Grunge," AKA Michael Durham, dead at 40 in his sleep, also under the care of doctor-to-the-wrestling-stars Dr. Philip Astin III. Penny Bordeau-Durham, his widow, the mother of his two little boys, age 9 and 5, will be joining us.
Very quickly, I want to go out to Jean Casarez, Court TV news correspondent. She`s been on the beat, as well. Jean, these new federal charges, they`re calling it a superseding indictment, coming down on Dr. Phil Astin III. I want to find out how many wrestlers were in his care.
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, I think that`s the whole question right there. Now, the U.S. attorney`s office is saying through legal documents that they are going to another grand jury, that they are going to present more evidence. And what they want, at that point, would be a superseding indictment. So I think that`s what we have to wait for because remember, this Dr. Astin has not been charged with anything in regard to Chris Benoit.
GRACE: You know, I want to unleash the lawyers. Joining us, defense attorney Renee Rockwell out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, and out of Philadelphia, Lauren Lake. Lauren Lake, you know, when I was prosecuting, I`d get a dope addict in, couple of hits of crack, and I`d want to help them. I would want to send them to rehab, if I could, on their first offense.
The state and federal governments are all too happy to pay for rehab, pay for your lawyer, get you drug counseling, do anything. These are dope addicts, crackheads on the street the government wants to help. I`m fine with that. But when it comes to pro wrestlers, nobody wants to lift a finger, Lauren Lake. Why the double standard?
LAUREN LAKE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know what, Nancy? This is really problematic. And so many of these men, predominantly men, are suffering, and I don`t know why we`re not doing anything. I think the gentleman made such a great point, is that we almost don`t look at wrestling as a sport.
However, what we need to understand is that these men are still people and they have a problem. But I want to say this in defense of wrestling. They did have drug standards and testing in place even before all of this congressional stuff came up, Nancy, unlike baseball, who had to catch a little hit of the fire first, and then all of a sudden, they had all of these standards and practices.
So at some point, we also have to look at the individual and see what is going on as to why these individuals are making these choices, when we know good and well it`s about money, it`s about celebrity, it`s about stardom. But when it leads to death, come on, we have to make better choices.
GRACE: Renee, do you really believe anything is going to happen with those congressional hearings, or is it just another dog-and-pony show Congress is putting on to act like they`re doing something?
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, Nancy, something...
GRACE: They can`t even balance the budget!
ROCKWELL: Something will come from this. And it takes a disaster before something comes of it. But Nancy, ease off of the wrestlers association because this is also a personal choice. Nobody...
GRACE: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Wa-wa-wa-wait! What did I say about the wrestling association...
GRACE: ... or Vince McMahon? No! You name me one thing. I mean, I know that this is a conscious decision that wrestlers make.
ROCKWELL: No. And Nancy, I`m not talking about you yourself, but a lot of people are coming down on the wrestlers association, when these guys are taking these pills themselves. But here`s why, Nancy. It`s not fair if one wrestler wants to be clean and everybody else in the ring is taking all this dope. They can`t compete. There`s no way to win if you`re not on the drug.
GRACE: Out to the lines. John in Missouri. Hi, John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. Quick question for one of the wrestlers there. Has any of the WWE officials actually seen or been aware of the fact that the wrestlers are actually taking the drugs at the time they`re taking them?
GRACE: Man, there is...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If so, does that increase perhaps the culpability of the WWE in this case?
GRACE: Got you, because if they know about it, if they see it, if it`s a prevalent habit amongst all the wrestlers, then they have basically constructive knowledge that it`s being encouraged amongst the wrestlers.
Let`s go back out to superstar Billy Graham. Don`t they know?
GRAHAM: Oh, Nancy, that`s a very good question. And you know, before I answer that, back to that -- trying to oversee professional wrestling. You have to realize that we have predetermined winners. We have predetermined losers. Everything is scripted out from start to finish. We sit in the locker room with each other, and like you and I sitting here, and talking over our match. There is no -- there`s no make-believe world championship. This is -- the fix is in. This is pure entertainment.
And so I`m saying to the Congress they`re going to have problems because of the entertainment, WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment. So that`s going to be the huge issue. Are we going to regulate Broadway? Are we going to regulate Hollywood movies? It`s going to be a tough, tough deal for them, Nancy.
GRACE: What about it, Marc Mero, former WWE wrestling star and friend of Chris Benoit? The WWE has got to know.
MARC MERO, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: They do know. You know, Vince McMahon is an admitted steroid user. And let me tell you, if Broadway and Hollywood were dying like we`re dying, something would be done. Remember, 104 wrestlers in 10 years. You know, baseball players -- those guys are doing the juice and doing steroids. They`re just hitting a lot of home runs. We`re dying. Please, something`s got to be done.
GRACE: Joining us right now, everyone, as promised, the widow of Michael "Johnny Grunge" Durham. You all know Johnny Grunge, famous wrestler, leaves behind a beautiful widow and two little boys, age 9 and 5. Penny Bordeau-Durham.
Penny, you were telling me about your son. His teacher asked him what was he worried, what was he stressed about.
PENNY BORDEAU-DURHAM, WIDOW OF MICHAEL "JOHNNY GRUNGE" DURHAM: Yes, that -- she had asked -- she was speaking about worry in the classroom, and then she had asked each of the children what they were worried about. And then he says, Well, I`m worried about my daddy, that he has nobody to eat Cocoa Puffs with.
GRACE: Another thing I was talking about last night regarding Johnny Grunge. In his obituary, it listed the cause of death as sleep apnea. I nearly fell out of my chair. Sleep apnea, you wake up all night long. Sometimes you`re not breathing, but you snore, essentially. What do you think about that?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Well, he did have sleep apnea.
GRACE: You think that was the cause of death?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: No, no, no. What happened -- the day that he was -- the morning that he had...
GRACE: Hold on. Was there an empty pill bottle by his bed?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Oh, yes. Definitely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was found dead with two pill bottles next to his body that were empty, and I believe one of them that was empty the 120 he had been prescribed the day before. And I believe the coroner stated that the pills alone -- he was found with Soma and hydrocodone in his system. And the doctor said that the amount of drugs in his system was not enough to kill him, but he also had some major heart issues and he was morbidly obese, and the combination of everything probably killed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Well, according to the coroner`s official report, Johnny Grunge also died of enlarged heart and acute toxicity. He was under the care of doctor-to-the-wrestling-stars Dr. Philip Astin, who was also treating dead superstar Chris Benoit.
Joining me right now is Mr. Johnny Grunge`s widow, Penny Bordeau- Durham. Your husband was on steroids for many, many years. Why did he do it?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: That`s what they all did. And not only that, he said it made him feel invincible when he got out in the ring, that he felt like he could take the world on, and you know, jump off the ladders, jump through tables, and to do all the things that they did in the ring.
GRACE: Did Astin prescribe him pain medication, painkillers?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Well, see, that`s the (INAUDIBLE) thing that the wrestlers have between them, the top secret stuff. And so most of the wrestling wives -- this is totally hidden. And so if I would find the pill bottles, then I would contact the doctor`s office and...
GRACE: Were they painkillers?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: ... yes, they`re all painkillers -- and tell them about the problem that he had and...
GRACE: You actually called doctors, begging them not to prescribe to Johnny Grunge.
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Yes. Yes.
GRACE: What did they say?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Well, some of them listened and some of them -- there was one doctor`s office, and they just wouldn`t talk to me. And then the privacy act came in, and there was nothing I could do. So it was a dead end street, basically.
GRACE: Did he feel he had to take steroids in order to compete and win?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Well, that`s what he felt that he had to do at that time. But the `roid rages were unbelievable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are all these wrestlers dying, and we know what they`re dying from and nothing is being done to clean up the sport? There is no investigation. There is no congressional oversight. There`s nothing going on. And that`s even more tragic than the deaths themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, it is revealed that the feds are bringing down a superseding indictment against the doctor to the wrestling stars, Philip Astin III, obviously bringing down more charges after the death of superstar Chris Benoit. He also treated another wrestling star, Johnny Grunge. His widow with us tonight. Joining us is Penny Bordeau-Durham, the wife of Michael Durham. He died with an enlarged heart and acute toxicity.
You said his `roid, steroid rages were unbelievable. Explain.
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Yes, one time, we were -- you know, we were just having a conversation and talking, and you know, just -- and drank a couple beers, and he just went off, and he came after me with the butcher knife. And I got down on my knees and I just started praying -- and I just started praying, and then it just started dissipating.
GRACE: What do you think of these doctors? Your husband was taking 70 or more pills a day.
BORDEAU-DURHAM: It`s unbelievable. And they need to be stopped because this is no different than the drug dealer at the corner. It`s a suburbanite drug dealer and -- and...
GRACE: They get away with it because they have a medical license.
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Because they have a medical license.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charges against Chris Benoit`s doctor may grow. Prosecutors will present evidence to the grand jury for a second time, after combing through thousands of documents. Many wonder if famous names may surface, and Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns is calling for a hearing on steroids in professional wrestling. Stearns says the abnormally high number of deaths should raise congressional alarms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And it`s not just that ever-growing list of professional wrestlers left dead, now nearly 100. What about all the high school students that think they have to take steroids, too? What about the little 7-year-old boys that have pro wrestlers on posters up in their room? What are they going to do when they have the chance to take anabolic steroids? You think they`ll say no? Or will they do what their heroes, like Johnny Grunge and Chris Benoit did?
Right now, the feds mulling over additional superseding indictment against the doctor to the stars, Dr. Philip Astin III, after three raids on his home, his office, his storage unit. What are the feds really going to do? Everything heating up, with congressional hearings being demanded.
Out to the lines, Cindy in Ohio. Hi, Cindy.
CALLER: Good evening, friend. My question is, at the time of Johnny Grunge`s death, was there an autopsy done? And I believe you answered that part of my question. But with all the empty pill bottles found, why wasn`t anything with Dr. Astin`s name, why wasn`t that ever investigated at the time before Chris Benoit`s death? And if Dr. Astin is found guilty, do any of these families have a recourse, as far as a civil suit?
GRACE: Well, that is what we call in the courtroom a compound question, but I`m going to answer it. First of all, let`s go to the lawyers. Joining us, Renee Rockwell, Lauren Lake. If it is proven that Astin over-prescribed to Johnny Grunge, can the family have a lawsuit against him?
LAUREN LAKE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, yes. Wrongful death all the way, Nancy.
GRACE: Renee, do you agree or disagree?
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree, Nancy. You could file a lawsuit for anything and there could be possible...
GRACE: I don`t mean that. There`s frivolous lawsuits every day. I mean a legitimate lawsuit.
ROCKWELL: I don`t think it would be a frivolous lawsuit, but I don`t see any criminal involvement for the murders, not anything along those lines.
GRACE: I didn`t ask you that. I didn`t ask you about Chris Benoit murdering his wife and his little boy. And, P.S., tonight, we still don`t know why the 7-year-old boy has track marks on his arm. Can somebody answer that? I`m talking about Johnny Grunge and others, Renee, that Astin treated. There`s 100 people. I don`t know how many are connected to Astin. I know of two that are dead.
ROCKWELL: Nancy, you can file a lawsuit, but the first thing that a defense attorney is going to say is, hey, they did it themselves. They took those pills themselves. And, therefore, you`re going to take me out of this lawsuit, because this was choice. The thing you need to remember, Nancy, is, if you can`t get these pills legally, you can always get them on the black market.
GRACE: OK, you know what? You know what I have to say to that? Carroll O`Connor. Remember Archie Bunker? He brought a lawsuit -- and I`m going to direct this to the widow of Johnny Grunge, joining us tonight in a primetime exclusive, Penny Bordeau-Durham speaking out. He sued his son`s drug dealer, OK? It has happened. There is precedent for it.
Now, I want to go back, Penny, to some of Cindy in Ohio`s questions for you. The guy dies. Your husband dies with empty pill bottles by his bed. He had an enlarged heart. I take it there was an autopsy, Penny?
PENNY BORDEAU-DURHAM, WIDOW OF JOHNNY GRUNGE": There was an autopsy, and I received the report six months later.
GRACE: Why -- I`m just wondering why there was not a formal investigation into the doctors at that time that prescribed him. You said he was taking over 70 pills a day. He had to get them somewhere.
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Yes, and then I addressed the question, you know, to, you know, the investigators, and basically, you know, they need more, you know what I`m saying? I mean, and I`m sure that they were working on it. But just that they needed more, and then what happens is this thing with Chris, then it basically broke the mold. It broke everything open.
GRACE: Why are people within the industry, Penny, so very afraid to speak out?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Because they can`t. They`ll lose their job. They lose the fortune, the fame, the notoriety. And most of them have no kind of skills to do anything else. And a lot of the wrestlers that lost their job, they were depressed. And it`s once a wrestler, always a wrestler. And that`s basically the motto, and it is so true. It holds true, not to all of them, but most of them, most of them.
GRACE: Back to Superstar Billy Graham, member of the WWE Hall of Fame and friend of Benoit. Benoit -- speaking of depression, Penny just talking about wrestlers being depressed, would just break down at these funerals, and the news of yet another wrestling death.
BILLY GRAHAM, FORMER PRO WRESTLER: Yes, Nancy. And, first of all, let me offer my sincere condolences to Penny. And I should put you on the phone with my wife, Valerie, because Valerie has actually pulled food out of my mouth while I`m choking to death on taking an overdose of drugs, commonly and daily and weekly and monthly. She went through hell with Superstar Billy Graham, and I`m sure she could help console you.
And, number two, let`s stop calling Astin a doctor. Let`s call him as a monster that he is. Let`s call him a quack. Let`s call him a greedy, evil devil. That`s my opinion of wrestlers who feed off of professional wrestlers -- or, rather, doctors who feed off of professional wrestlers, baseball players or who else it may be. They are nothing but pure, greedless, soulless human beings.
GRACE: You know, Superstar, I want to tell you and Marc Mero something. I`ve got right here in my hand the original indictment by the feds. Now we know there`s going to be a bigger, more comprehensive indictment, superseding indictment.
But, guys, listen to this. In one day, he prescribed to an individual 540 pills. In one day, he gave another person 670 pills. It goes on. There`s count after count after count, as high as over 700, 770 pills in one day to one individual. Marc Mero, how does this happen? How prevalent is this in the industry?
MARC MERO, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, first of all, I want to say to Penny Durham, I commend you for coming out. Penny and her two boys are the faces of professional wrestling that you never hear about or you never see. These are the people that are left with nothing. These are the people that should be taken care of. That`s why wrestlers have no pensions, no retirement, no nothing.
But getting back to the pills, it is unheard of. When I talk about this, wrestlers can get anything they want. These doctors are our biggest fans. They have our pictures on the walls. If we need something, they give it to us. And, unfortunately, it took two murders for it to come out for something finally to be done.
And, Congressman Stearns, I would like to say that, if you ever need me to testify on Capitol Hill, I got to tell you one thing: The truth is the truth is the truth. Please, don`t stop now. You did it for baseball, football and basketball. We`re people, too. Take care of this.
GRAHAM: Nancy, could I follow up on that? Let me just say one thing about Marc Mero. I feel that he is a voice crying in the wilderness. This man is leading the battle charge against steroids in the state of Florida. He has joined forces with the governor.
And I suggest that you, Nancy, have the power to help him bring all the senators and congressmen and every mayor in every little small town in Florida and make the first real stand. And Marc Mero needs to be commended. It is a very honorable thing this man is doing, and I`m very proud of him for his stance against steroids.
GRACE: You know, you guys mentioned something about retirement and how people are left in the end. Back to Penny Bordeau-Durham joining us, this is Johnny Grunge`s widow, after all that, all the fame, all the years, all the steroids, all the pain killers, what did he leave you with?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Broke, with a funeral bill.
GRACE: You`re now living with your parents?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: And I`m now living with my parents, and it`s -- you know, when WCW closed, two weeks and it was over with, that was it. The cars, the house, you couldn`t pay for it. That was it, two weeks. It was over.
GRACE: Take a listen to what Dr. Astin`s lawyer had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s nothing sensational or glamorous about this case. It`s straightforward. The records will show what pills were prescribed. They were specific about what pills they think were improperly prescribed. I don`t know who it is that`s giving them the information where they think it`s improperly done. We will look to have it reviewed by good experts from universities to see if the documentation and the prescription is appropriate, and that`s how we`re going to defend this case.
If you read the indictment, there`s nothing mentioned in there, there`s no steroid mentioned in there. They went through his office once, took all the records, all the patient records, and looked at them, made a decision that there was a rumor that he was selling Demerol out of the office. So they went back and checked to see if there`s any storage of Demerol there. They didn`t find any.
They then went to his parents home, checked there, didn`t find any. This is a straightforward case. We`ve had dozens of them before where doctors are being prosecuted for allegedly writing false prescriptions or prescriptions without a medical basis. That`s all this case is about. It`s got nothing to do with a wrestler, as the indictment clearly indicates.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever a guy finds a doctor who`s going to give him the prescriptions, we medicate ourselves. We diagnose ourselves. We tell the doctor what we need. The problem is that we get prescribed too much pills, to many. And if we tell the doctor we lost our bottle in Tacoma, Washington, he just sends us another `script or whatever we need.
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GRACE: Tonight, congressional hearings being urged on Capitol Hill, looking into the use of anabolic steroids within pro wrestling. Joining us here tonight, the widow of Johnny Grunge, Penny is with us, speaking out.
You stated that his life and addiction was horrific, that he tried when he wasn`t wrestling to do construction work, to do different types of work. What happened?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: Well, just, you know, the same thing that Mr. Graham was saying. It is hell to live in that kind of a situation. They are so - - people don`t realize how these drugs are so addictive. And he tried to detox on his own. He was crying out for help before he had passed.
And it was difficult for him, because we didn`t have the money to do it. And at that point, I was just so -- I mean, if he would have changed, then that would have been -- if he could have gotten through it, that would have been awesome, that we could have moved on and had a great life, I bet, but the problem is, is that he went back to it and couldn`t do it on his own. And it was difficult.
GRACE: Yesterday would have been his 41st birthday.
GRACE: How did the boys take that?
BORDEAU-DURHAM: It was a difficult day. I mean, we usually have cake and ice cream, you know, in honor of his father, and I try to pick out the good things, because he was an awesome guy. It has nothing to do with him as an individual. He had a great heart. He was an awesome guy.
But when it comes to the addiction, you know, it changed him. And my son, he said, my 5-year-old, he said, "Mommy, can we go to Heaven and visit Daddy for his birthday?" You know, it`s difficult. My little guys don`t have a father. And it`s absolutely right: These guys are over- prescribing. And, yes, they do take them. And, OK, but if it wasn`t so accessible, like back in WCW days, Mike would get the stuff ringside, and he`d get the bottles without the labels. OK, so if it wasn`t so accessible, then these guys wouldn`t be so addicted. I mean, he`s been on the stuff for 12 years.
GRACE: Out to Don Clark, former head of the FBI Houston bureau. Do you think there are any charges coming down against the WWE?
DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD OF FBI HOUSTON BUREAU: You know, Nancy, I really don`t think so, unless they can find some kind of complicity with the WWE and either getting kickbacks or either supporting those doctors or breaking some laws. And we`ve talked about Congress having to come through with some other laws. That may help just a bit. But also the doctors, there are issues there with the prescription and with the organization itself, such as the WWE.
And until they put the brakes on it a little bit, it`s going to make it extremely difficult for law enforcement to do anything but after the fact go in and investigate, just like in the Benoit case, and maybe they`ll find something to get one doctor, but there are many of these doctors that are out there, Nancy, just like this.
GRACE: And to Caryn Stark, psychologist, you know, everyone keeps saying -- and it`s true, I`m not arguing with this, that wrestlers take steroids and painkillers on their own, it`s a conscious decision. But you could say that about any drug addict. So what do you do with the pusher, the pusher that pushes it on them, that writes prescriptions for 770 pills in one day to one person? Here is Grunge taking 70 pills a day. So my question to you is, why, knowing what steroids and painkillers do to you, do wrestlers and others continue?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: They continue, Nancy, because it`s part of what`s happening in their organization. They see other people taking it. They feel that they want to compete, and they also become addicted. You can`t have -- when you heard that guy talking about the look, you can`t have that wrestler look unless you take those steroids.
And so they get trapped in wanting to keep working and have that look. And so they often take them, and then they develop also steroid psychosis, which was what the widow was talking about. And unfortunately, that`s what her husband had, and you wind up having rage. Aggression turns into rage. It`s very scary, and it doesn`t stop because they`re addicted to these pills.
GRACE: And it`s almost superhuman rage.
Out to Superstar Billy Graham, what did steroids do to you?
GRAHAM: Nancy, first of all, I`d like to -- I`ll get back to your question. I`d like to get back to Penny for a minute. Again, Penny, I`m so sorry for what has happened, the loss of this man you`ve loved. And wouldn`t it have been wonderful if the WCW or whatever organization he was wrestling for would have had the decency to give professional wrestlers health insurance?
Guess what? The janitor who`s sweeping up the arena that we perform in have more health benefits and insurance than we do. Your husband was on the road just like me. And we put our lives, and we lay our bodies on the mat. We sacrifice ourselves for the fans who pay the money. And wouldn`t it be wonderful if they just had a little bit of a heart that they could grant us health insurance? They give their secretaries health insurance who type out the memos. Can`t they give the people like me and your husband health insurance?
GRACE: What did steroids do to you, Superstar?
GRAHAM: Nancy, I have suffered catastrophic bone loss. Steroids not only has ruined my bone stature, I`ve lost four inches in height. I`ve been suffering from avascular necrosis, which the doctors call the death of a bone. I have lost my hips. I`ve had six or seven hip replacements. They fused my ankles. My ankles have collapsed. avascular necrosis, the death of a bone, happens when the blood supply to the bone joints is stopped by the excessive and prolonged use of steroids. And also, my wife, Valerie, has suffered, because I became sterile. And she wanted a family of 10, and I can`t give her a family of one.
GRACE: Out to the lines, Agnes in Florida, hi, Agnes.
CALLER: Hi, love to talk to you, Nancy.
GRACE: Thank you.
CALLER: What I`m concerned about is, with all these prescriptions that are being passed out and given to these people, where are they getting filled, that there isn`t an investigation into a pharmacy or wherever they`re getting filled?
GRACE: What about it, Marc Mero? Where do they get filled, once these docs give you the prescriptions?
MERO: Well, you can go to any local pharmacy. I mean, that`s not really the issue. You go to your local pharmacy. They can write the prescription, because a doctor wrote it, so they`re going to fill it.
GRACE: Right now, we are waiting for another federal indictment to come down against the wrestling doctor, Dr. Philip Astin III. Out to the lines, Chris in Ohio, hi, Chris.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I had a question about prescription medical coverage.
CALLER: Was it getting covered? And why wasn`t there a red flag coming up when they were getting these prescriptions filled?
GRACE: What about it, to Bryan Alvarez, are steroids covered and all of these painkillers? Doesn`t the insurance company notice something`s wrong when their client gets 700 pills in one day?
BRYAN ALVAREZ, FIGUREFOURONLINE.COM: Well, it depends on what you`re getting prescribed and what the reasons are for that. I mentioned yesterday that you can get a prescription for testosterone replacement therapy and you`ll be OK. You can also be prescribed steroids for purposes of injury rehabilitation. So if you`ve got a prescription for it, I mean, you can go fill it.
GRACE: A special thank you to Bryan Alvarez, Jean Casarez, Penny, as well as Marc Mero and Superstar Billy Graham.
Let`s stop to remember Army Staff Sergeant Jimy Malone, 23, Wills Point, Texas, killed, Iraq. On a second tour, awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He loved giving speeches at his former high school, where his picture now hangs on the wall of honor. He leaves behind grieving widow, Leslie, a baby girl, Regan, and grandmother, Ramona. Jimy Malone, American hero.
Thank you to our guests, but especially to you for being with us. A special good night for the students of Fulton County, Georgia`s, Junior D.A. program, Jamari (ph), Jordon, Arthur, Taylor, Brandon, Earl, Jessica, Morgan, Hailey, Crystal, Taylor, Princess, Jaylene (ph), and program directors Jada, Debbie and Kenya.
And tonight, a special happy birthday to friend of the show Chuck Lynch in Fayetteville. Happy birthday, Mr. Lynch.
Everyone, thank you for being with us. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.