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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Recent Celebrity Legal Cases Updated
Aired August 24, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM, HOST: Tonight, while Lindsay Lohan confesses her drug and alcohol addictions to the world and cops a plea to do one day in jail, Nicole Richie slips in and out of the slammer in 82 minutes.
We'll ask Nicole's lawyer how that happened and then some of TV's top judges lay down the law on Lohan and Richie and on Michael Vick and those gruesome dogfighting charges. Details of his plea deal revealed today. The NFL suspending him tonight.
Is he going to prison, and, if so, for how long?
Plus, Britney versus Timberlake (ph) -- should he get custody of their two sons?
Our judges rule next on LARRY KING LIVE.
I'm Harvey Levin in for Larry King.
Nicole Richie served her sentence with lightning speed yesterday -- 82 minutes. Count them -- 82 minutes.
She had been popped for DUI last December, driving the wrong way on a Los Angeles freeway. She was given a three day sentence, but that was whittled down and we're going to find out why.
Joining me in Los Angeles is celebrity attorney Shawn Chapman Holley, who represented Nicole Richie.
Daniel Baldwin, also in Los Angeles, an actor and recovering addict.
And in Miami, Stacey Honowitz, the Florida assistant state attorney and a frequent guest on "LARRY KING LIVE.
Shawn, how did you pull that off, 82 minutes?
SHAWN CHAPMAN HOLLEY, ATTORNEY FOR NICOLE RICHIE: Well, you know, all we wanted was for Nicole to be treated like every other person given a sentence like she was given -- 96 hours. She had credit for six hours. She's a nonviolent offender. And because of overcrowding at the jail, everybody serves about that amount of time. They're just processed in and processed out.
Our concern was that she would be treated differently because of her celebrity status. We thought the sheriff might be concerned that there was going to be an appearance that she was getting special treatment. But ultimately they treated her just as they would treat everyone else, and that's all we could ask for.
LEVIN: Was she surprised that it was that quick?
HOLLEY: I think she was a bit surprised that it was that quick, though she was prepared to serve the entire time. She went in there thinking there was a possibility that she would do that. She was prepared to do that, but as anyone would be, she was pleasantly surprised that it was, as you say, 82 minutes.
LEVIN: So what's her state of mind today?
HOLLEY: You know, Nicole, from the time that she entered her plea, just before then, has accepted responsibility. She wanted to go into court and plead guilty, not no contest. She has accepted responsibility for what she did. She had an opportunity to serve time in a private jail, which would have been much more cushy.
LEVIN: But she would have had to serve the entire time had she gone to a private jail.
HOLLEY: That's true. But again, she thought there was a real possibility that she would spend the entire time in the county jail. She didn't want to be treated any differently than anyone else. And I think that's part of her accepting responsibility. She's a mother now and I think she is a mature young woman and wants to get on with her life and do the right thing.
LEVIN: Stacey Honowitz, is this a fair sentence?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY: Well, I'm not a California lawyer but a lot of Florida defendants are wishing they lived in California lawyer, but I can tell you that a lot of Florida defendants down here are wishing that they lived in California when they see a sentence like that, because you don't have that down here.
If you have two DUIs within a five year span down here, you do at least 10 days in the county jail. And 10 days in the county jail is day for day.
Up there, they seem to have an overcrowding problem, so there seems to be credit given anywhere that you can give it so that the person can go in and out.
We've had turnaround defendants before, but turnaround isn't 82 minutes. Maybe it's six months.
So is it a fair sentence?
I guess in California, according to what's going on up there, it seems to be.
LEVIN: Daniel, she clearly had a problem last December with what she did. Do you learn a lesson by serving 82 minutes?
DANIEL BALDWIN, ACTOR, RECOVERING ADDICT, HAS BEEN THROUGH REHAB: Well, I think that the difference -- and I don't know what this attorney is talking about with clients that she has in Florida -- but I think the distinct difference between Nicole and some of the other celebrities that have gotten in trouble recently is she put her hands up immediately and surrendered and said look I have a problem, this is what's going on and I want to change my life.
And I believe that that's something that I did. You know, I mean, you're not kidding anybody when you say you borrowed someone's pants and they found cocaine in them. No one is going to buy it. No one believes it.
Nicole never did anything like that. So, you know, I mean she's making an effort to try to make her life better and rejoin society as a responsible mother and everything. So I mean I believe that somebody like that, you give an opportunity to, because they're willing to try.
It's when you're backpedaling saying I didn't do it and trying to find legal snafus and stuff that you're going to get the book thrown at you, because no judge that's been in the system long enough is going to buy any of that crap.
LEVIN: Sean, you know, Paris Hilton served 23 days for probably a lesser offense -- driving on a suspended license.
LEVIN: Did that sentence complicate things for you?
HOLLEY: Well, I thought it might. I certainly thought it might. Obviously, there was a lot of fallout; and before and after Paris, the first sentence and the second sentence. And I know that the sheriff was very concerned about what the perception would be. And, ultimately, I think he did the right thing, the sheriff, because I think that she should be treated like everyone else. And I think that, in Paris's case, the judge wanted to, for whatever reason, make an example of her. And the fact of the matter is, Paris got nine times the sentence that anyone else would have gotten in the same situation.
LEVIN: And you know what?
That brings me to the bottom line, Stacey.
Which is it, is it celebrity justice that Paris got slammed or celebrity justice that Nicole got 82 minutes?
HONOWITZ: Well, I think people are looking around this and saying that it's celebrity justice all the way around, that Paris Hilton got 23 days because she basically spit in the face of the court. They gave her opportunity after opportunity and she continued to violate her probation.
I think when it comes to Nicole Richie, I agree with Mr. Baldwin, who's in the studio. I mean, you know, it's nice to give people second chances. But to say that what -- to spend 82 minutes, when she had a prior DUI and then was found going the wrong way on the freeway, where serious things could have happened, people could have been killed, I think people do look at this and say to themselves why is she only getting this amount of time, when I'm going to have to do more time?
So I think the general consensus is it's very nice that she's trying to get her life in order. We've all seen her out there and giving interviews and she's really trying to better herself, but at the same time, she still needs to do little time and be punished.
LEVIN: We got an e-mail from Paul in Toronto.
Do any of you think these pampered stars who break the law would be better served by stiffer than usual sentences, maybe giving them a true reality check, with time to reflect on their lives?
What do you think, Daniel?
BALDWIN: You know, again, I think that the biggest thing involved here is -- and what's failing in our courts and what's failing in our judicial system around the country is we're not spending the money on trying to educate these people and educate our young and get them into some kind of recovery.
It's proven fact that just by throwing them in jail is not going to help anything. So, I mean, if the person has a willingness -- I'm in a program called Prop 36 that I graduated from. And in this program you're remanded by the State of California to take these classes and try to learn something about your disease and try to process some of the problems you have with other addicts and alcoholics.
I would -- I would encourage anyone that has an addiction problem to go ahead and get in some type of 12-step recovery program and try to benefit themselves and help themselves so that they don't have to live this way anymore.
The State of California happens to be one of the big proponents of this system. A lot of other states aren't.
But the fact of the matter is throwing somebody in jail is not going to help them. It's the sober horse thief theory, you know what I mean?
You know, you can...
HOLLEY: That's not always true (INAUDIBLE).
LEVIN: Well, I have to ask you one question before the break.
Did you use Lindsay Lohan and all of the craziness around her to sneak Nicole in and out of jail?
HOLLEY: Well, Blair Berk, Lindsay's lawyer and I, are friends. And we had spoken. And I did know that she was probably going to be in the center of a media storm and thought that it might be a good time to handle Nicole's case, as we did.
LEVIN: And for the record, TMZ got fooled, too.
OK, we are going to take a break.
More on Nicole and we're going to talk about Lindsay Lohan and the craziness yesterday involving her plea bargain when LARRY KING continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY TMZ.COM)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officially charged actress Lindsay Lohan with seven misdemeanor charges.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And two counts of driving under the influence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And being under the influence of cocaine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...copped a plea after her latest dui.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsay Lohan pleads guilty and says she's an addict and gets one day behind bars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: Harvey Levin here for Larry King.
Lindsay Lohan dodged a huge bullet yesterday. She copped a plea in her DUI cases. She had been stopped twice in just a couple of months. She could have faced felony cocaine charges. She ended up pleading no contest to two misdemeanor DUIs and guilty on two misdemeanor drug possession charges. She will serve, when all is said and done, one day maximum in L.A. County Jail.
Her lawyer, Blair Berk, performed nothing less than a miracle, given what Lindsay Lohan faced.
Stacey Honowitz, what's your reaction to the plea bargain?
HONOWITZ: Well, I'll tell you something, she ought to kiss and hug that lawyer from now until the end of time, because that is an unbelievable deal. And I don't like to Monday morning quarterback. I don't know the facts of the case other than what everybody else does. You know, I haven't been in on the case, so I don't know if there were problems with the case and that's why she got such a good deal.
But, Harvey, when you look at all of these things, when you look at Nicole Richie's 82 minutes, you look at Lindsay Lohan doing one day and then supervision, I mean the general public is getting the feeling that there is special treatment. That's just what everyone feels, because they don't know what went on in the case. And I don't know how she was able to really get such a good deal on it because it wouldn't happen down here. LEVIN: Well, Sean what I'm hearing is that there were some proof problems in the case, that the amount of cocaine was not chargeable as a felony. She had less than what they normally use.
LEVIN: So what about what Stacey says?
There's a perception that these people are just getting away with craziness.
HOLLEY: What, are we supposed to pay attention to the perception or are we supposed to do what's right?
And what was really great -- I mean Blair Berk is a brilliant lawyer and she did a great job. But I do think that there were -- not but -- and there were proof problems. And I think that probably most people would have been treated as Lindsay Lohan was.
The problem is the D.A.'s office has to deal with the perception. And so when they can stand up to that perception and just do the right thing, treat Lindsay Lohan as they would others in a similar situation, I think that's the right thing. It can't be the perception's going to be one thing so we've got to treat these people differently. That can't be right.
LEVIN: Lindsay Lohan issued a statement yesterday. She said: "I very much want to be healthy and gain control of my life and career and have asked for medical help in doing so. I am taking these steps to improve my life. Luckily, I am not alone in my daily struggle and I know that people like me have succeeded. Maybe with time, it will become easier. I hope so."
Does this sound sincere, Daniel?
BALDWIN: Yes, I believe it's sincere. And I think one of the things that we would be foolish not to acknowledge is the fact that all of the details of her ordeal have not come out yet. And I will guarantee you -- I'd bet my life on the fact that she's going to be remanded into DEJ or Prop 36 or something else, some kind of a program by the State of California.
Which means she's not clear on going to -- not going to jail now. What will happen is if she completes this successfully, tests clean, doesn't miss her meetings, shows up, participates -- and a report will go to the judge. And this will be, you know, probably 18 months at least, you know, with her charges.
She has to graduate from that and be, you know, held accountable. If not, she goes right to jail. All bets are off, no matter how much time she put in there.
I just went through this program. That's what will happen. If she fails this program, she goes right to jail.
LEVIN: But at a point addiction becomes more powerful. BALDWIN: no doubt. But the point of it is is that she has asked, like we talked about Nicole, she has asked for help.
So why do we want to put somebody in jail if they're saying I want help and we have an opportunity that the State of California is paying for, why wouldn't we see whether this person is serious or not. And if they're not, they're going to jail anyway.
LEVIN: You know, Stacey, I have heard -- and it's kind of an interesting argument -- that, in some ways, the fact that Lindsay had two DUIs in such a short period of time actually helped Blair Berk get the deal that she got with the D.A. Because it really shows that someone is really out of control, that they are off the hinges and usually driving is the first manifestation in L.A. That something's wrong.
HONOWITZ: Well, I think you can argue it both ways. Certainly, that's a point for -- that's a great point for a defense attorney to go in with. And a prosecutor might say well, that sounds good and, you know, you're right, she is out of control, but she needs to be punished in some way. And I don't disagree with trying to get people help. A prosecutor's job is to seek justice. And if there is a chance of somebody recovering or doing well, that's what we want to happen.
But just like what we have in Florida, they can go to jail and get the help in jail. It's not a matter of sitting in a jail cell all day long and doing nothing. There are programs in the jail. And sometimes a scared straight approach is what's going to help these people.
She already did go to rehab. She came out of rehab, she relapsed again. Maybe for somebody like her, scared straight being in jail is what she needs, while getting the help there.
So there's a fine argument to be made both ways. But I think in certain cases, you have to take a look. You have to get these people off the roads -- it is extremely dangerous -- and punish them.
LEVIN: Sean, is it possible that Blair Berk was actually able to use the fact -- and I don't know how else to put it -- that Lindsay came from such a screwed up family that it becomes more understandable?
HOLLEY: Yes. You know, the D.A.s and, I think, the city attorneys here in L.A. County, have common sense. I mean they recognize that a lot of people are coming through these court system with drug problems, with family problems, with dysfunctional families and they live in the real world. They're not just necessarily about putting somebody in jail if somebody can get some help.
LEVIN: OK, Sean Chapman Holley, Daniel Baldwin, thank you so much for joining us.
Stacey is going to stick around.
Next on LARRY KING LIVE, celebrity TV judges weigh in on Lindsay and Nicole Richie and a lot more.
You're watching LARRY
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE FROM "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," COURTESY CBS/WORLDWIDE PANTS)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: I don't know the details of your problems, but is this a prison a likelihood or is it -- am I...
NICOLE RICHIE: Yes.
RICHIE: I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and, you know, of course, I'm scared also. But, you know, I'm willing to face whatever consequences come my way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "PEOPLE'S COURT")
JUDGE MARILYN MILIAN, TV'S "PEOPLE'S COURT," FORMER FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: But you wanted the car. You wanted that truck. You wanted to keep it and spending whatever you spent on it to get it up to speed was worth it to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JUDGE ALEX")
JUDGE ALEX FERRER, TV'S "JUDGE ALEX," FORMER FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: You are a pathological liar.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
FERRER: I don't believe for a second you were pregnant with twins. I have -- I've never seen anything so outrageous in my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "DIVORCE COURT")
JUDGE LYNN TOLER, TV'S "DIVORCE COURT," FORMER CLEVELAND HEIGHTS ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE: I'm asking you about your moral core. And your answer is to point to the mother of your child and call her a thang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "CRISTINA'S COURT")
JUDGE CRISTINA PEREZ, ATTORNEY, PRESIDES OVER TV'S "CRISTINA'S COURT":
Your judgment is offset by her judgment and you will be awarded a total of $450.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: So we have a bunch of TV judges here, as well as a famous criminal defense lawyer.
We're going to get right into it.
In Los Angeles, Judge Lynn Toler presides over TV's "Divorce Court" and she is the host of "Decision House," which premieres on MTV Network on September 12th.
Let's go around the table.
Nicole Richie, your reaction to the sentence?
TOLER: We're not in Ohio anymore.
TOLER: I'm an Ohioan and things are so different there. And I think, you know, alcoholism is alcoholism. The act of picking up the keys is a crime and I look at it that way. Help is wonderful. Help is good. But there must be some criminal -- they must have some kind of consequences for it that are significant, because what -- the act is significant.
LEVIN: Well, Judge Cristina Perez, who presides on TVs "Cristina's Court," previously provided on Telemundo's "La Corte de Familia, the fact is there's overcrowding in this town.
PEREZ: There is overcrowding in Los Angeles.
LEVIN: And, you know, it -- there is a revolving door for everybody else.
Why not Nicole Richie?
PEREZ: You know, and I think her lawyer made a very passionate argument.
You know, why should they, as lawyers, and as defense lawyers, be subject to what everybody else perceives?
If she got sentenced to four days in jail, if she went, she only served 82 minutes -- was it 82 minutes?
If that was enough for the sheriff who made that decision, she need to go home. She was a nonviolent offender.
Of course, I understand what Lynn is saying, it's the punishment.
What did she do?
She drove on the freeway the wrong way under the influence of something.
You know, what could have happened?
We always think of that, what could have happened?
Serious things could have happened.
But, under the law, she had a great lawyer who helped her out and she served, under the law, what was adequate.
LEVIN: Famed criminal defense lawyer, Mark Geragos.
Lane Garrison from "Prison Break" is in prison because right now because he drove a car under the influence and somebody died inside the car.
Nicole Richie served 82 days -- 82 minutes.
What's the difference between the two, other than bad luck?
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That's really what it is. I mean that's the way the law divides it up. If you drive and you don't hit anything, then you're subject to whatever the penalties are for a first offense DUI. If you drive and you hit a parked car, most prosecutors are going to ask for 48 hours. If you drive and hit a parked car and somebody's in that car and they're injured, then you're talking about 90 days. If you drive and you hit a car, somebody's in it, somebody dies, then you're talking about state prison.
LEVIN: So it's all about luck?
GERAGOS: It's all about luck. I mean that's -- that's as simple as you can put it. And Wayne Garrison also has not been sentenced to prison yet.
LEVIN: Well, he's in there right now.
GERAGOS: Here's there for an evaluation. Right, what they call a 1203 evaluation. Harlan had him put in there and the judge is going to wait and see what the probation or prison report comes back as.
But remember, not only is the county jail overcrowded, in the same "L.A. Times" today, that had a headline, "82 Minutes," you had on the front page the fact that California -- in our state prison system, we're shipping guys out to private jails out of state.
We've got a crisis where we are criminalizing everything in this state and we don't have enough beds. We've got the largest criminal population anywhere in the world. We don't have enough room. So at a certain point, somebody's going to have to say do we just keep warehousing all of these people for these nonviolent offenses and then not put people away who deserve to be put away or what?
There's choices that have to be made.
LEVIN: In the Lindsay Lohan case, outside of the courthouse, the Beverly Hills Courthouse yesterday, L.A. County D.A. Danette Meyers talked about the plea deal.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: The fact that Lindsay has been in rehab for a while right now, does that play in your (INAUDIBLE) in any way?
DANETTE MEYERS: No.
MEYERS: Miss. Lohan received the same sentence as anyone would receive, given the same facts and circumstances. No special treatment for Miss. Lohan. She got everything -- she got everything that everyone else would get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: So Judge Marilyn Milian from "The People's Court" -- I've heard of that show -- what's your reaction to what you heard from the D.A.?
MILIAN: You know, I think that most people, throughout the country, get outraged when they watch what happens in Hollywood. But if most people throughout the country spent half an hour in their local courthouses watching what happens in their own local courthouses, they would be equally as appalled, just not quite as enthralled watching it.
I mean this gets all this publicity because they are the starlets that they are. But, you know, the overcrowding problem is a problem not just in California. Florida, years ago, when I was a young prosecutor, was under a federal mandate as well.
But, you know, people get sick of hearing it. And sometimes what happens is that judges will just -- understanding what the revolving door system is -- might then give a stiffer sentence than something that's going to result in 96 hours turning into 82 minutes or that sort of thing.
You just don't see that happening much in L.A. I guess.
But, you know, really, so long as -- unless somebody can show that they really are being treated differently, then the right thing is happening.
I think the better question is what you're going to do about overcrowding in your jails in California.
LEVIN: Which is a reality.
But Judge Alex Ferrer from the TV show, "Judge Alex," why not make a celebrity an example?
I mean people make them role models. They sign up for becoming role models. So when a judge gets a celebrity, knowing that people are going to look, is it ever OK to pull a Paris Hilton and throw the book at that person because of who they are?
FERRER: Well, I'm not so sure they threw the book at Paris Hilton because of who she is. I think they threw the book at her because she violated her probation. These two individuals, Nicole and Lindsay, were not on probation. I think their sentence would have been much more severe had they been.
I don't think it's right to throw the book at a celebrity because they're a celebrity. If you have somebody who is a police officer and abuses their office, it's a different story.
But I agree with Marilyn, the sentences for Lindsay and for Nicole, I think, four days are probably standard under California law, from my understanding. The fact that Nicole got out in 82 minutes because of prison overcrowding or jail overcrowding, that's not her fault. But, you know, to find out whether that's really what happened, I guarantee you there are dozens of people who on the same day went to jail for DUI. Pull their records and see if they got out in 82 minutes. If they didn't, that's not what it's about.
LEVIN: We are going to take a break.
Up next, the judge's rule on Michael Vick.
You're watching LARRY
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL VICK: You know, the most important thing is for me is to do my job out on the field and win football games for this organization.
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: The training of these poor creatures is simply barbaric.
WARRICK DUNN, ATLANTA FALCONS: As a friend of Mike, it's disturbing, obviously, that how some of the charges that he's up against are definitely inappropriate.
R.I. WHITE, PRESIDENT, ATLANTA NAACP: In some instances, I believe Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he killed a human being.
BYRD: Barbaric. Can him. Barbaric. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick plea bargained his case today. He pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges involving an illegal dogfighting operation. He admits he was part of a group that killed dogs that didn't test well by hanging and drowning them. He faces one to five years in federal prison and today, the NFL suspended Vick indefinitely without pay. Stacey, was it appropriate for the NFL to suspend him?
HONOWITZ: Well, I won't say that I know so much about football but I think really, this is why he decided to take this plea. Because if you remember yesterday, the headlines were that he wasn't going to plead guilty to actually killing dogs. I think maybe, they might have been in negotiations, that if he came forward and said some things, there will be an indefinite -- it's not a ban. It's an indefinite suspension, so I think we have to wait and see what they're going to do. I don't think they know what they're going to do until he actually takes the plea. So I don't know what was behind the scenes and what was going on.
LEVIN: Judge Toler, there has been some criticism, some people have said that he's been singled out because of race. What do you think about that?
TOLER: I don't think he's been singled out because of race. I think he's been singled out or is so notable because he is so notable, doing such a heinous thing. You're always going to have the issue when you're black and you're out there. You're always going to have that issue. Is it because of my race? Is it more notable because of what I am, but I think it's because of who he is and really how damaging.
LEVIN: And what he did.
TOLER: Not just to the dogs but the culture and the community in which the dogs are fought.
LEVIN: Got an e-mail from Elaine in Kelowna, did I get that right? British Columbia? I don't get around much. "How long do you think it will take for Michael Vick to claim to have found God and profess he's become a new person?"
Judge Perez, that has happened before.
PEREZ: Is that a trick question?
LEVIN: No, but people do that. That seems to be the card.
PEREZ: They do. I think the only thing that, in my opinion, saved him in this plea agreement is that he actually admitted yes, this is what I did wrong. It's very funny that's how he admits I gambled but really didn't gamble. And part of his plea agreement he admitted he killed these dogs. And what's most important to me is that he's agreed, essentially, to be a snitch for the federal government. I will give you as much information I have on any national dogfighting rings. And I think that's what helped him. Whether he found God or not, yesterday, today, I think the plea agreement has really helped him out.
LEVIN: Mark, do you think this was a smart plea?
GERAGOS: Well, you know, this is -- I've defended a lot of people who have been pariahs and had a lot of vitriol thrown at him. I don't think I've seen anything like the vitriol directed at this guy for killing dogs. I mean, it's absolutely unbelievable. The gentleman that I think you had on the tape that ran that said it's been more upsetting to people than if you had killed humans, I think it's the same thing. There is something in the American psyche that you just don't mess with dogs, and so.
LEVIN: This was not just messing with dogs.
GERAGOS: Mess with dogs in the sense that you don't kill dogs, you don't torture dogs, you don't do anything in terms of messing around with pets so that's just -- he had to find an exit and he had to find it fast.
LEVIN: Judge Milian, the possibilities here are realistically one to five years in federal prison. What should it be?
MILIAN: You know, I have to agree with Mark on the treatment of this, because I'm sort of surprised at how, you know, sports will tolerate the abuse of women and domestic violence but boy, when we're talking about the dogs, that's it.
The judge, the federal judge is presiding over this case is a judge known for being a stiff sentencer, and you know, I think that it's going to be substantially more than one. He's certainly not bound by what the U.S. attorney has agreed to recommend, and I think it's going to be probably somewhere in the two to three range.
LEVIN: Judge Alex, what about -- I'm not buying this, that you know, this was not just dogs versus people. This was about torture. This was about hanging, drowning. I mean, this was shocking. Is it -- am I off here that we shouldn't be outraged because he killed dogs?
FERRER: Oh, no, absolutely, we should be outraged. I'll tell you this. I handled dog abuse cases. I would receive 200 letters from the public telling me the guy should get the death penalty.
I handle a case involving a baby that was murdered, I don't get a single peep from the public. Not that people should go out influencing judges, but it just shows the sentiment that people have about animals and this is a horrific case.
It's not even just the seven or eight animals that he supposedly helped drown or hang. Dogfighting is animals killing animals so if he had 100 dogfights, there's probably another 100 dead or maimed dogs involved. It's a horrible crime. The fact he was doing it as a business, I think that's going to lead to the judge to look at it and say, I'm looking at the higher end of the sentence.
LEVIN: Next, a serious turn in the astronaut love triangle case, that gave comics so much material when it first broke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A favorite in the tabloid press.
REGIS PHILBIN, TV HOST: Lust in space.
DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST: Captain, an astronaut is trying to kill you, she poisoned your tang.
JAY LENO, TV HOST: Houston, we have a problem!
MOOS: But there's one word in particular that captured the public's attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if you have a diaper on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Special space diaper.
UNIDENTIFIED MLE: By the way, Bush, maybe you can hook me up with one of those heavy-duty astronaut diapers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVIN: And welcome back. I'm Harvey Levin in for Larry King.
Former astronaut Lisa Nowak was in court today, accused of attacking a romantic rival. Authorities say Nowak assaulted and attempted to kidnap Colleen Shipman. The object of their affection, astronaut Bill Oefelein. Nowak spoke outside of court today and apologized.
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LISA NOWAK, ASTRONAUT: The past six months have been very difficult for me, my family, and others close to me. I know that it must have been very hard for Colleen Shipman, and I would like her to know how very sorry I am about having frightened her in any way, and about the subsequent public harassment that has besieged all of us.
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LEVIN: Stacey Honowitz, that's kind of an interesting statement outside of court, apologizing and then the question is, for what, and can something like that be used against her? Was it smart to do?
HONOWITZ: Well, I never could understand why her attorney let her speak. The only thing I could think of is she went in court in an attempt to get the ankle bracelet removed. Colleen Shipman testified that she's still fearful of her, that she wants the ankle bracelet to remain on.
I don't know if this was some strategy on the defense's part to show I'm sorry, I won't go near her again in an attempt to try to show people and even show the judge that she's not a danger.
I don't know why that she spoke outside of court other than to garner some sympathy and try to get some influence in the further hearing. Also, I didn't think it was a smart move and it can be used against her.
LEVIN: You would have never thought that was smart?
GERAGOS: Absolutely can be used against her. The prosecutor's dancing at this point because they know they're never going to go to trial. This is obviously -- it may be from the defense' standpoint they've got a plea bargain in the works or something else. You're not going to let your client go out there and say I apologize to somebody unless you know at that point for sure you've got a deal in the works.
TOLERR: I think she was trying to split hairs. She's saying I apologize if I made her afraid. Not I apologize for what I did but if you mistook what I did as something that frightened you. I think she was trying to split hairs. Doesn't work very well, but I think that's what she was trying to done.
LEVIN: But if it's ambiguous, the jury will take it in the worst way.
TOLER: Absolutely, it was a bad idea.
PEREZ: Of course. The whole fact of the case, she drove from Houston to Orlando nonstop, to chase a woman who was her romantic rival. I mean that's straight out of the movies.
LEVIN: Judge Marilyn, under the category of chutzpah, I'm wondering what you think about the argument that her ankle bracelet should be taken off because it was causing abrasions to her leg and it as real expensive for her.
MILIAN: It's really expensive for her. I like the commentary that the prosecutor made back to her, "request don't you fire your publicist and then you'll have a little more money to pay for the ankle bracelet."
That was just silly. But I've got to tell you, I don't think - although I would never, as a defense lawyer, let my client talk to the press, I listened to her whole statement that she made to the press and it was basically most of it was an indictment of the press and the coverage, and telling them how they'd ruined her life.
And I also read her 75-page so-called confession, which is really not a confession, and she had already admitted to the police that she, in fact, walked up to the window, and you know, so saying "I apologize if I frightened her" didn't really, I don't think it really hurt her case any more than she didn't really give anything she hadn't already given. LEVIN: Judge Alex, is it possible this is such a crazy scenario that the jury is just not going to believe that it happened and maybe she could get off that way?
FERRER: No, I don't think so. I think -- it was a nice try. I think as long as we have CNN and Court TV, people are seeing the bizarre things criminals do out there every single day. I don't think that's going to help her at all, no chance. You know, but for your point of reference, I am wearing my astronaut diaper right now, and everything's under control.
LEVIN: They're saying, by the way, they're saying it's not true. They're saying that the diapers were in the car, but I think they made the argument today they weren't wearing -- she wasn't wearing it. She just had some in the back seat.
MILIAN: It was very efficient. It was one of the most efficient things I've ever heard of, you know. In fact, I'm going to start using this policy when I go on long car rides.
LEVIN: But Mark -
MILIAN: I've got children in the car, I don't want to keep stopping.
HONOWITZ: She stalked her at the airport, too.
LEVIN: The big argument today was that the cops didn't properly mirandaize her, that they didn't tell.
GERAGOS: Which is exactly why I was thinking when the judge was speaking, even though there was a previous so-called confession, the last thing you want to do is potentially get that thrown out, and then have this statement out there hanging out there admissible.
Talk about winning the battle, losing the war, and so that's what makes thee believe at least that this is some indication that there's never going to be a trial in this case.
LEVIN: Would she do time for this? It sounds like she was off the rails for awhile over a love interest.
TOLER: I think she should do time for this. I don't know if it's my judge hat speaking or what, but off the rails is one thing but when -- you have to have a sanction for criminal acts.
You may need to get her help while she is in there but we've all been disturbed or upset at some time. You cannot say she was off the rails for awhile so bad, so sad, let's go. Get her some help while she's in there or on probation, but there has got to be a criminal sanction for criminal conduct.
LEVIN: Stacey, the woman that she attacked, Shipman, she actually paid a visit to Houston to see her boyfriend not too long ago and she ended up on the stand today and Nowak's lawyer said look, if you're so scared of her, why did you come to Houston where she is? Could that actually be used in her favor? Is that something for her?
HONOWITZ: Well, I'm sure the judge is going to mull that over and think, exactly what you said if you're so scared, what are you doing? Her point was at least I know she's on a bracelet, she's monitored and they're going to know if she goes in a specific area. And that was her whole point of taking the stand. "I went there but I knew she had the bracelet on her."
He's no longer in Houston this guy, he moved someplace else. She won't be going there again. But she specifically told the court "I'm scared. I don't want the bracelet off of her."
And by the way Harvey, the detective testified there were three used diapers found in the back seat of the car in a black trash bag.
LEVIN: She was recycling. Tom Foreman is in tonight for Anderson Cooper. Tom, what's up?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks so much, Harvey. Tonight on "360," Michael Vick sidelined. The NFL suspend the star quarterback just hours after he filed a plea agreement admitting he bankrolled gambling on dog fighting and helped kill some of the dogs. So what's next? Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin will join us.
Also tonight, much of the Midwest is still under water and it's not over yet. A terrible weekend ahead. We'll have a live report from the flood zone.
And, your tax dollars being wasted. We are keeping them honest, a "360" special you don't want to miss, that's next. Harvey?
LEVIN: OK, Tom.
And next here, "Kid Nation" controversy, you're watching LARRY KING LIVE.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turned 15, the youngest eight and a half. Forty kids with no parents, no teachers anywhere. It's the first ever "Kid Nation."
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LEVIN: And welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. There is a new reality show recently shot for CBS, it is called "Kid Nation." Kids 8-to-15 participate without any contact with their parents for 40 days. They form a community. It was shot in Santa Fe in April and May. One kid was spattered with grease during the shoot, another drank bleach. The New Mexico attorney general is investigating. Judge Alex, what do you think of this show?
FERRER: I don't know whatever happened to being a parent. I read that the parents had to sign some 22-page releases that basically said if we kill or maim your child, we're not liable. I don't know why anybody would subject their children to that kind of risk. It's a reality show. Eight-year-olds don't need to be in a reality show where dangers are real. I think they need to be parents before they start trying to be their kid's agent.
LEVIN: Judge Toler, if Judge Alex is right, who is worse, CBS or the parents?
TOLER: The parents no question about it. That's their kid. You know, CBS is trying to make money, right or wrong, moral, immoral but your children are your responsibility. The buck stops right there.
LEVIN: There is also an issue of child labor. Now, CBS is saying they didn't need to get child labor permits because the kids were not employees. Should that matter?
PEREZ: I mean, I think that that's something that definitely has to be taken into account, for me. I have to stop on the issue of the parents.
You're sacrificing your kid's well-being for fame, and talking about the labor laws, did they look at all the protections? What is CBS going to do, the network to protect the kids? What did the parents agree to? Could they be there if something happened, if there was an emergency with one of these children?
For me that's more prevalent and more important than these other issues. If the kids were just acting out in real life, they're not working.
LEVIN: Stacey, if one of these kids, god forbid, got hurt or even worse during this shoot, it would create a huge problem, wouldn't it, for CBS?
HONOWITZ: Well, absolutely, but you know, these parents, I'm sure, signed a ton of waivers. I'm sure there was a ton of paperwork they had to go through and they knew ahead what they were going through.
I hate to say it Harvey, but in the business that I'm in, when I go to dependency court and I do the child abuse cases, some of these kids can take care of themselves better than the parents, that is the truth.
But in this case you have nobody on the set when they're not around, 40 days, starting with 8-year-olds, CBS could be in big trouble if in fact, something did happen.
LEVIN: Judge Marilyn, are those releases going to be enforceable when push comes to shove?
MILIAN: You know, I don't know, and -- but I got to tell you, even though clearly these parents are the ones who should be indicted, I think CBS has some responsibility here, too.
I mean, I just -- I don't understand how it is that any network can say that for profit what they want to do is expose these children to that kind of danger.
I think it's outrageous. Even though it's morally reprehensible on the parents' part, it's also morally reprehensible on the rest of the industry. When, as a society, did we just lose it like this, that it's so important to make a profit that we would subject children to this kind of anarchy? It's insanity and it was insanity on the part of the parents as well as CBS.
LEVIN: And we are going to take a break. What would a show like this be without talking about the Britney/K-Fed custody battle? Your wishes will be answered, next.
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A.J. HAMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Make no mistake about it, K-Fed is going to make an issue of Britney's constant partying, her questionable mothering choices and her late night outings with their children for all the paparazzi to see.
MARK KAPLAN, KEVIN FEDERLINE'S ATTORNEY: The more time that the children are with him they feel the more risks that would otherwise be possibly visited upon them.
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LEVIN: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. K-Fed and Britney locked in a custody war. They have 50/50 custody. We know that K-Fed wants 70/30 custody and she's fighting it. Mark, you have been in this town for a long time and seen a lot of things. What do you think about this one?
GERAGOS: This is exactly why I don't do family law. There's, you know, an expression in the courthouse, people often ask, they say aren't you scared to go into the criminal courts? I said no, because those are people on their best behavior. It's the scariest place in the courthouse is the family law court. That's where people get shot, that's where people get crazy and when can comes to custody and money, there's nothing that makes people crazier.
LEVIN: But Judge Toler, the advantage has to be for the mother, just because of the culture in a fight like this.
TOLER: Yes, the advantage goes No. 1 for the culture and two because they look at who is taking care of custody of the children and it's usually the woman doing that.
But my take on this is, mediation ought to be mandatory, even though I think in California, they mandate each court have mediation available, I think the fight itself is so damaging that mediation ought to be required before anybody starts subpoenaing anybody.
LEVIN: Isn't it possible that a judge could say, as parents you both stink? PEREZ: Of course. That's possible, but I don't think that's going to happen. I think that as parents we're human. We make mistakes and we have the right to make a mistake, but we're talking about two kids. We're talking about the best interests of the child.
What is in that best interest? Is it being with a mother who, we don't know if she's going to get out? We talked about this before. Is she in an emotional state, is she having problems? We don't know.
Here is a father who is a lot smarter than what we thought he was. In my opinion, he's got a great lawyer, one of the two, where he really is trying to show she is not a fit mother. Is he doing it for the love of the children or the money? I hope it's the first.
LEVIN: Judge Alex, is it appropriate for a judge to be influenced by what he or she reads in the various magazines on, hmmm, Web sites about Britney Spears and K-Fed?
FERRER: Absolutely not. If it has any legitimacy, the attorneys will bring it before him in true evidence form, in true evidence form. Anything that's written in the tabloids, I remember when she was in rehab, there was some talk about her attempting suicide, I don't think that ever panned out. You can't rely on that stuff at all.
But I'll tell you what, eight months ago if you'd told me that K- Fed or Fedex, whatever his nickname is now, was going to get primary parental responsibility I would have laughed. Now it may very well be his to lose, because her behavior has been very erratic and bizarre and the best interests of the children, the judge has to be concerned.
LEVIN: Judge Milian, Star Jones was on Larry King last week. She had an interesting point. She was saying with all their foibles, there are still nannies, they have means, these kids aren't going to starve and bottom line, they're a lot better off than a lot of kids in America, so this is not a big deal.
MILIAN: I think she's right. I think she's right and I got to tell you, I'm really bored of Britney Spears. I don't know if I can handle it anymore.
LEVIN: I can.
MILIAN: I'm glued to this hard, you know me, I am glued to this stuff sometimes but frankly, I think the whole thing is nothing more than a bunch of posturing for money, that's what this is and I just want there to be some resolution.
LEVIN: Stacey, do you think this is about money?
HONOWITZ: I think there's some portion, I don't know if any of us could say what his true intentions are. But I think you have some real problems on her own mother is siding with him. I mean, there's some legitimacy to the fact that she might not be fit at this point, or at least not at this juncture to handle those kids. Now maybe it means that he gets more temporary custody while she goes and gets some help. And quite frankly, I can't understand why a publicist or a lawyer isn't saying to her, you have a hearing coming up, what are you out every single night? I know it's great for the tabloids and it's front page stuff, but why isn't somebody controlling her? Especially when there's something pending. And we're going to have to wait and see. But I think his chances now are better than they've ever been.
LEVIN: Well you know the fact is, she has fired most of the people in her life, including publicists and managers and what not. So Britney Spears right now is keeping her own counsel. It remains to be seep whether that counsel is good.
And that will do it for tonight. Although Larry is not here tonight, his latest podcast is available for downloading. It's the always outspoken Bill Maher. Download the podcast at CNN.com/LarryKing or on iTunes. That's Bill Maher with Larry King, available at CNN.com/LarryKing or iTunes.
Special thanks to Larry for letting me fill in tonight. Now we turn things over to Tom Foreman in New York, he's filling in for Anderson Cooper on "A.C. 360." Tom, take it away.
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