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Boy 8 Points Loaded Handgun on School Bus/Search Warrants Served on Two Doctors in Anna Nicole Smith Death
Aired October 12, 2007 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Tonight: A school bus filled with children heading to an elementary school in the Cincinnati suburbs comes to a screeching halt when an 8-year-old boy pulls out a gun. The 3rd-grader takes a .38-caliber Beretta from his backpack and points it at a dozen students. Just how did this young child get his hands on a gun? Tonight: An arrest goes down.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A routine bus journey for a group of young students heading to their elementary school takes a scary turn when an 8- year-old boy pulls a loaded gun from his backpack, the gun a .38-caliber Beretta. Police say with the handgun still in its holster the young boy waves it around and point it at several students. The alert bus driver pulls over immediately and calls for help. Police rush to the scene and arrest the 8-year-old. But tonight, parents and teachers want to know just how the little boy gets access to a gun.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: And breaking developments in the sudden and unexpected death of covergirl Anna Nicole Smith. In just the last few hours, law enforcement agents raid homes, businesses and storage units of two doctors who prescribed Smith a shocking collection of prescription drugs before her death. Smith was found unresponsive in a Florida hotel room this past February from a deadly mix of prescription drugs -- anti- depressants, anti-anxiety meds, benadryl, human growth hormone and a powerful sleep aid, chloral hydrate, all found in Smith`s system. The medications were prescribed by Los Angeles-based psychiatrist, with a second doctor prescribing Smith the powerful narcotic pain killer methadone. Both doctors now under investigation by the California medical board. Will criminal charges follow?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Department of Justice today served search warrants at various doctors` offices, billing locations and residences in Los Angeles and Orange County. The locations that were searched today relate to doctors who prescribed medical treatment or prescribed drugs for Anna Nicole Smith or her associates. On March 30 of this year, the California Department of Justice commenced an investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Anna Nicole Smith, including the prescribing and dispensing practices of several California-licensed doctors and pharmacies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. First to Ohio. An 8-year-old boy pulls a loaded gun on the school bus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The morning started out normal on Sacramento Street until around 20 to 9:00.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband looked out, and he`s, like, Something`s wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something was wrong, indeed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a weapon found on one of our buses. There are children on the bus. The children were saying, He`s got a gun, he`s got a gun. They`re elementary students.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to investigators the kid reached into his backpack. The gun was actually still in a holster in the backpack. The kid pulls out the gun, still holstered, starts pointing it at some of the other kid, no specific threats to any particular child. And then the kid put the gun and the holster back in the backpack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver pulled over, confiscated the backpack, called her supervisor, who called the cops.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s no trouble. There`s nothing. She got the bookbag and has it in front of the bus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other kids were praised for doing the right thing, telling the driver what was happening. And the driver, a substitute, kept cool and calm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. No charges filed against an 8-year-old boy today after brandishing a loaded .38-caliber handgun on a school bus. However, somebody is arrested tonight.
Let`s go straight out to Joe Wessels, a reporter with "The Cincinnati Post." Joe, what is the very latest?
JOE WESSELS, "CINCINNATI POST": Good evening, Jane. Yes, we -- basically, this evening, no charges are being filed against the 8-year-old boy. But Michael Wilson (ph), who is the ex-boyfriend of the boy`s mother, is being charged with endangering children, a first degree misdemeanor. Means he could spend up to six months in jail, and again, $1,000 fine if he is convicted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Six months in jail and $1,000 fine. Susan Moss, family law attorney and child advocate, what do you make of that, a misdemeanor for allegedly leaving a gun in a position where an 8-year-old boy picked it up and took it to school? What charges do you think he should have faced?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I think it`s absolutely ridiculous. I think this has to be much more than a misdemeanor. This needs to be a felony. Everybody runs (ph). An 8-year-old Rambo has a gun. This is not what we can let our elementary schools become. This is not what should happen on buses. If this guy had a fully loaded .38-caliber gun that he let this 8-year-old take with him, and not even saying boo to anyone about the tremendous risk of life to all these kids on the bus and that bus driver, man, he should be facing felony charges.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, of course, the good news is that nobody was hurt and a very quick-thinking female bus driver managed to avoid a real catastrophe. But I want to go to a defense attorney, Alex Sanchez, and ask you what if tragedy had struck? What if this gun had gone off? Should this man face the same misdemeanor, or should he face serious charges? Because essentially, what he allegedly did was the same thing in either case.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I mean, in fact, I think he should have been charged with some sort of reckless endangerment, which is a felony, because he`s not only putting the child in harm, he`s putting everybody else on that bus in harm. And for there to be, what, a six-month penalty on a misdemeanor seems grossly insufficient. Thank God nobody was hurt, and thank God the police are deciding not to try to indict this young 8-year-old boy for possession of a gun.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Tom Shamshak, one of my favorite private investigators in the United States, the first thing that popped into my mind was the word "ex," ex-boyfriend. Now, if their relationship was discontinued, what was his gun doing in the mother`s house for him to be able to pick up? Usually, when you break up, you take your things. And that especially includes a gun.
TOM SHAMSHAK, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. I agree with you. This is egregious on the part of the gun owner. That gun should have been in a locked safe. It should have had a locking mechanism on the trigger. And there`s no way that a child 8 years old should have ever had his hands on this gun. As a former police chief and a licensing authority, I am outraged at this behavior.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Joe Wessels -- let`s go back to the reporter from "The Cincinnati Post" -- what do we know about the relationship between this man who was arrested and the mother currently? And how did this little boy, police think, got ahold of a gun?
WESSELS: They`re not really saying exactly how he got ahold of the gun. It seems to be unclear. He may -- and it seems like it was left out, is kind of what they`re indicating. And he took the gun with him on the school bus. Not with really -- and he`s 8 years old -- not really thinking that he was doing anything wrong, other than maybe in trying to impress some kids on the school bus. He waved it around, and apparently, he briefly pointed it at a 10-year-old girl, who -- who was a little scared. But basically, nobody was hurt. And they don`t -- he was just showing off. He never had any intent to shoot anybody or anything like that. Matter of fact, he didn`t even take it out of the holster.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s absolutely fascinating that he didn`t take it out of the holster. Tom Shamshak, can you fire a gun -- I have to tell you, I admit, I don`t handle guns. I know nothing about them, and I intend to keep it that way. If the gun is in the holster, can you still fire it and kill somebody?
SHAMSHAK: Yes, you could. If the safety mechanism was off, if the gun was charged and it was hot, and the child, with limited four to six pounds of pressure on the trigger, a bullet could have been fired.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we`re getting some conflicting information in. And I want to caution -- this is from our CNN affiliate in Cincinnati and we haven`t independently confirmed it, but this is a report that quotes the mother of a girl who was on the bus. And the mom says the girl told her -- remember, these are very young children we`re talking about. She tells 9 News that her daughter told her the boy said, Hey, I got a gun. If anybody gets in my way today, I`m mad. At that point, the girl allegedly told him, Oh, boy, just sit down. Then he pulled the gun out, and she said, That ain`t real. He pulled back on the gun, and she saw something in the chamber. And I assume it was a bullet in the chamber, said her mother.
And the story continues that the mother says that the child said somebody else asked what was the purpose of the gun -- to go after the afternoon bus driver and his teacher because they made him mad. He said something about his father gave him the gun.
So a lot of inconsistencies, Joe Wessels, with what reports initially said about the gun being in the holster and it`s a boyfriend, not a father.
WESSELS: Right. And you know, the superintendent is feeling the heat. He said he went out to the scene and he talked to several people there, and he feels that the child was not doing something malicious. And I think that kind of played itself out in the fact that the Hamilton County prosecutor`s officer and the Hamilton County sheriff`s department, along with the Colrain (ph) township police department, had decided -- and apparently, they`re telling me that they all agreed that no charges should be filed against this 8-year-old child for what he did there today. So that`s kind of where they`re leaving it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Another major player in this case, obviously, has to be the mother, who did not face charges. And we`re going to get to our legal team in a second to ask them if they think the mom should have faced charges. But let`s go to our psychotherapist, Leslie Austin, first and ask you about what is going on in the mother`s head. And when family services goes into this home, as they undoubtedly will, what should they be looking for?
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST : Well, what we want to know is how aware was she that there was a gun in the house? Did she know that the supposed ex-boyfriend had one? If she did, was she taking care of that it was absolutely out of the reach of the 8-year-old? What we don`t know is what she was aware of or not. But in any case, it`s also her responsibility to make sure that her child understands, even if there`s a gun there, you never, ever touch it. You never go near it. You stay away from guns. That has to be made absolutely clear.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know, we all know that kids don`t listen to that stuff, and we all know, Susan Moss, family law attorney, that kids are fascinated by guns and it`s like a magnet. And we know even if it`s put under lock and key, which we don`t have any information that it was in this case, kids will see where dad or mom hides the key and they will get to that key and they will open that drawer.
MOSS: This mother had a responsibility to keep this gun away from her 8-year-old son. And if she neglected that responsibility, she is just as guilty as this alleged boyfriend and she should also be facing some serious-time charges.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What charges?
MOSS: Well, for certainly, endangering the welfare a child. I think it should be kicked up to a felony because it`s endangering the bus driver, as well, and other people. It might be even a conspiracy charge with the boyfriend because they worked in tandem through their ignorance to allow this 8-year-old to create a very serious situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bonnie in Wisconsin -- the phone lines are lighting up -- what is your question, ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is regarding the mother involved with this ex. The ex wasn`t living in the house. Will the child be removed from home, as well as charges pressed on the mother? Federal?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve talked about the possibility, or at least the suggestion some have, that the mom should face charges. But let`s go back to Joe Wessels, reporter for "The Cincinnati Post." Where is this child tonight? It`s an excellent question.
WESSELS: The child, apparently, is with the Hamilton County job and family services, who will be looking into and investigating this incident today. The superintendent told me that they`re going to have a hearing on Monday to evaluate the child and see kind of -- as he put it, kind of what`s going through this child`s mind. He says we`re going to see what is going through his mind and have -- he said just have the youngster evaluated. So tonight, Hamilton County job and family services, which is the social service agency for the county that handles this sort of issue, is where the child is with tonight.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Leslie Austin, what`s so, so upsetting about this is that this is now going to shatter this little boy`s life. He is going to be left with this as his reputation. He`s going to be taunted about it. And he`s being removed from the home. He`s probably very confused.
AUSTIN: Exactly what I was just thinking. This poor little child is the result of adults being irresponsible and adults putting him in an environment where there are guns or where it`s OK to wave guns or to say, I`m mad. We don`t even known if he really did that. But it is the adult`s responsibility to protect that child and make sure that he is safe and totally away from weapons. There should not be weapons available in the home, period, especially when you have a young child who doesn`t understand.
He`s the victim of their ignorance and their lax behavior around him. He doesn`t understand the import of what he did. He thinks it`s OK. He sees it on TV. He sees it in the movies. And his maybe sort of dad had one in the house.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and you know, a lot of times, they think it`s a toy. They don`t even know it`s real. What a tragedy all the way around. But thankfully, nobody was physically injured today.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." A standoff near Fort Worth after police find the bodies of a woman and her two children. It all began when a 3- year-old, covered in blood but unharmed, is dropped off at a day care center. Police alerted, then end up at the home, where a woman, a 13-year- old girl and a 10-year-old boy are found shot to death. The 3-year-old apparently dropped of by her father, who is now holed up in a car in a standoff with police.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The school system will likely suspend the boy and recommend him for expulsion. The case has also been turned over to children`s services for possible action over why an 8-year-old was packing heat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just wonder how they get ahold of them and what they`re doing with them, and it`s just -- it`s a different world these days.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. A 3rd-grader today waving a loaded .38-caliber handgun on the morning bus ride to school, the mother`s ex-boyfriend charged tonight with one count of child endangerment after leaving the gun in the child`s reach. But should the child or his mother also bear responsibility? And what about society in general?
Paul Henderson, San Francisco deputy DA, this all seems to be happening amid a wave of violence and gun issues involving youngsters. What about this 14-year-old in Pennsylvania, accused of accumulating a huge stash of weapons, his mother arrested today, accused and buying her son a gun, two rifles, one automatic? And this is just one in a whole series of problems involving violence in young people.
PAUL HENDERSON, SAN FRANCISCO DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know it is. And we keep seeing these cases, and whenever I see a case involving a child or a juvenile and guns or weapon charges, my very first question is, What is the parental authority that`s involved in this case? Because those are the individuals that are supplying these weapons or are making them available and not restricting the juveniles and letting them go out into the streets or bring these weapons to school.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Paul...
HENDERSON: I think what you`re going to...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you...
HENDERSON: I think what you`re going to start seeing is more of a trend where these parents are going to be found culpable criminally and they`re going to be charged with reckless endangerment because it really is them who are offering or making these weapons available. The kids aren`t going out and having guns made available to them, except in the homes. Time and time again, that`s how it happens. It`s from the parents.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paul, you are a rational assistant DA. But you know what the charges that I`ve seen here that the actual prosecutors come up with? They charge the kids! This is absolutely outrageous. In Ocala, Florida, two boys, ages 9 and 10, were charged with felonies for making allegedly violent drawings with stick figures. How about an 11-year-old girl in Florida arrested at a school for having a butter knife and charged with possessing a deadly weapon? I mean, the list goes on and on. How about in New Jersey, there was an 8-year-old charged with making terroristic threats for playing with a piece of paper shaped like a gun.
Susan Moss, are people out of their minds for charging the kids?
MOSS: Well, in these cases, they are. But the parents need to be looked at. I mean, certainly, if someone`s playing with a piece of paper, you know, that`s one scenario. But when somebody brings a loaded .38- caliber gun on a crowded bus with a bus driver who has this bus in motion, then there needs to be charges. There needs to be the criminal system looking in, and society as a whole needs to say, This is unacceptable and we will punish this with jail time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Jake Deutsch, doctor of emergency medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center, obviously, tragedy was averted. Briefly tell us what it could have been like, 12 kids on the bus, a 13th kid with a loaded gun.
DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, DOCTOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, HACKENSACK UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: Oh, you`re talking about a potential mass casualty situation, with multiple injuries, gunshot wounds, some of the most devastating type of traumas that we can see. You could have had head injuries, penetrating injuries to the chest and the abdomen. This could have been absolutely catastrophic. The consequences are just astounding to think about.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let`s go to the phones. Michelle in Chicago. What is your question, ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, it`s just -- it`s unacceptable. Where are the parents? Obviously, there`s no father in the household, but there is a mother and she should be held accountable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Alex Sanchez, defense attorney, a lot of parents who have guns in the home think they`re getting these guns to protect their family. It`s so ironic.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know, this case is alarming, but you know, it`s not really that surprising with the proliferation of guns. People don`t know how to handle the guns. People don`t know how to secure them. But the question I have is, How is it that this kid gets up in the morning, is preparing for school, hopefully, with the mother`s assistance, and he has a gun that`s half the size of his leg -- how come the mother did not notice that he was carrying a gun in the holster? How could that have happened?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s go to the psychotherapist, Leslie Austin. Briefly.
AUSTIN: Again, we don`t know if the mother was even paying attention. We don`t know if she was there. Somehow, this little child was left on his own, unsupervised, and he needed to be watched more closely.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When we come back, multiple raids by California agents in the sudden death of covergirl Anna Nicole Smith. Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight search warrants have been served in connection with Anna Nicole Smith`s death. The California Department of Justice served the warrants to two different doctors at the residences, businesses they owned and a storage facility used by one of them. Both doctors were present at their residences when they were served. No arrests expected at this time.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. Dramatic new developments tonight in the ongoing saga of Anna Nicole Smith`s tragic life and gruesome death, California the site of eight raids targeting two of her doctors. And believe it or not, Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole`s lawyer and companion, was at the home of one of the doctors, Dr. Khristine Erosevich, at the very time of the raid. Can`t make this stuff up.
For the very latest on all of these breaking developments, let`s go straight out to CNN correspondent Kareen Wynter. Kareen, what is the very latest?
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Of course we can`t make this stuff up. But oh, my gosh, talk about being coincidental here, right? We were able, Jane, to confirm with Stern`s attorney that, sure, he was there at the time that these search warrants were being conducted at Smith`s former psychiatrist`s home. So what was he doing there? Well, we`re told that he was just coming back home from a flight from New York and that the psychiatrist just happened to be, you know, baby sitting his dogs, believe it or not. She was pet sitting. He showed up there to pick up the dogs, and boom, there he was in the midst of all of this activity.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s absolutely fascinating. Tom O`Neil, senior editor, "In Touch Weekly," I know you have been analyzing the significance of Howard K. Stern being at Dr. Erosevich`s residence when all of this went down. What is their relationship?
TOM O`NEIL, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Well, they were friends for many, many years, of course, not just having Anna Nicole in common as, you know, patient/psychiatrist there. So I`m sure that, you know, since there are legal issues involved with all of them and he`s an attorney, I`m sure he`s helping her in any way that he can.
But we`re missing a key part of this scene. Imagine this morning, six squad cars pulling up in front of Dr. Erosevich`s house, not just California agents but federal DEA agents who had guns. They go into this house. Now, imagine right next door -- remember, Anna Nicole`s house was right next door, and that`s where Larry Birkhead lives now with Dannielynn.
O`NEIL: I just imagine them this morning...
O`NEIL: ... peeking out the curtains, going, Wait...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Say that again. I didn`t -- I cannot fathom what you just told me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Say it again.
O`NEIL: In March of last year, Anna Nicole and Dr. Erosevich had decided they were such great friends that they wanted to be neighbors. So Anna Nicole purchased a house directly next door to Dr. Erosevich. That is where Larry Birkhead moved in with Dannielynn earlier this year, in June, actually.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is so totally mind-blowing to me. And Dr. Austin, very briefly, good idea or bad idea? Yes or no.
AUSTIN: (INAUDIBLE) professional relationship. Bad, bad, bad idea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many different things was she on by then?
DR. KHRISTINE EROSHEVICH, PRESCRIBED SMITH DRUGS: By then, she was on maybe four or five medications, and some of them were routine, some were as needed. So we were talking about even cutting back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you afraid that you could have your medical license revoked?
EROSHEVICH: Not really. I would hope that who I am and what I do represents the quality of service I provide. You can ask my patients. I have been practicing for many years. I have background in emergency room, internal medicines, psychiatry. I`ve always treated patients. The same thing I`m saying now I would say to the medical board. Anything can happen to anybody at any time, but I feel like I did a right thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is a woman now at the center of this saga, Dr. Eroshevich, Anna Nicole Smith`s doctor and close friend. And, of course, we`ve raised questions as to whether that should ever happen.
I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in tonight for Nancy Grace. Anna Nicole Smith partied with one of her doctors. She traveled with that one, and then she died. So do these doctors bear any responsibility for her death? Raids on their offices spark a lot of questions. And how is all of this going to affect, let`s not forget, the formal inquest into Anna`s son, Daniel`s, death? That is said to start at the end of this month.
Tom O`Neil, how is this all going to intersect? And how could this investigation into these two doctors here in California affect what could happen in the Bahamas?
TOM O`NEIL, "INTOUCH WEEKLY": Because the drugs that they dispensed may have been what killed Daniel. Remember, when you compare the two cases of mother and son, the death of Daniel is far more mysterious. We know that, when he got in a plane in the United States, he had just one valium with him, and we know that because his roommate packed his bags, took him to the plane, gave him this valium. It`s possible Daniel never even took it.
He lands in the Bahamas. He gets off the plane at 10:00 at night, goes right to the hospital, and dies so many hours later from a drug overdose. Where`d those drugs come from? If those drugs came from the orbit of Anna Nicole and her drug providers, then this is a big issue in the inquest in Daniel`s death.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tom Shamshak, private investigator, can we connect the dots at all between the drugs Anna Nicole Smith is alleged to have used and were found in her system and the drugs that were found in Daniel`s system when he died?
TOM SHAMSHAK, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, FORMER POLICE CHIEF: Well, that`s the interesting question. I think that people experienced in pharmacology are going to have to answer that question. But I`m sure that they`ll be doing an audit of the dispensing practices for everybody involved in this case. And who knows where it`s going to lead?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, the phone lines have lit up. Angie in Virginia, your question.
CALLER: My question is, does anyone know if this Dr. Eroshevich is also the one that prescribed Daniel`s medications?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a very good question. Kareen Wynter, CNN correspondent covering this story, we know that substances were found in Daniel`s system when he died. We know that substances were found in Anna Nicole Smith`s system when she died, a whole bunch of them, a cocktail, including chloral hydrate. We also know 11 prescriptions were in her room, all reportedly or allegedly made out by this Dr. Eroshevich. So what else do we know about Dr. Eroshevich`s possible connection, if any, to Daniel?
KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And their reports also changes to add that she traveled to Florida with Anna Nicole Smith at the time that she died. So there are so many connections there, many of which have been raised and were raised to the California attorney general`s office today. And he reiterated right now that they`re not ruling anything out, but they say that there`s, right now, no link, even though, you know, drugs were found in Daniel`s system, as well as Anna Nicole`s system, but that`s still where things stand, but they`re still interviewing witnesses, and who knows where this could go?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Susan Moss, family law attorney, the first thing that occurred to me when I heard about those raids today, why did it take so long? She died in February. It`s now more than eight months later. What were they waiting for?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, according to Jerry Brown, he just learned at the end of March that it was prescriptions that were prescribed in the state of California that may have been -- that may have led to her overdose. How did this take so long?
They know that her psychiatrist is licensed in the state of California. They know where she gets her prescriptions from. All you need to do is connect the dots. I don`t know. I think their excuse is a pretty lousy one.
But I got it tell you something, it is time to separate fact from myth about what happened to Anna Nicole Smith, and I`m just thankful someone is doing an investigation at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alex Sanchez, defense attorney, why didn`t they have enough to charge or to do something involving these doctors, given the 11 prescriptions made out to Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K. Stern found in her hotel room?
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, it looks like there`s some negligence on the part of some officials investigation here. I mean, they took eight months? That will seriously impair any opportunity to convict these doctors if they had done anything wrong, because if those doctors are criminals and they`re drug dealers, they won`t think twice about destroying evidence in their office connecting them to any criminal activity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Thirty-nine-year-old Anna Nicole Smith did die of accidental drug overdose at a Florida hotel in early February. You may recall 11 prescription medications found in her hotel room the day she died. According to the Associated Press, more than 600 pills, including 450 muscle relaxants, were missing from Smith`s prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old when she died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a photo from TMZ.com. That photo purportedly shows Anna Nicole Smith`s fridge, allegedly with methadone in it. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in tonight for Nancy Grace. We want to ask about the other doctor. We`ve been talking about Dr. Eroshevich so much, but there`s the other doctor, Dr. Sandeep Kapoor.
Kareen Wynter, CNN correspondent, his connection is the alleged methadone, which he prescribed to a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith. What can you tell us about the raids on his offices?
WYNTER: And we had cameras that were actually rolling at the time, Jane, earlier this morning when all of this activity, just a buzz of activity was taking place outside of his location. Again, he`s alleged to have prescribed the drug methadone to Anna Nicole Smith, methadone being a narcotic painkiller. We don`t know too much about him, except that the California medical board has been investigating him for quite some time now, for several months. And so that`s how he fits in the puzzle here in this whole investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Jake Deutsch, emergency medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center, what possible reason is there to prescribe a pregnant woman methadone? Isn`t methadone used to kick heroin?
DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, EMERGENCY MEDICINE: It is primarily, but chronic pain can be another indication for people that have rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, may rely on methadone. So it`s not really clear if she was detoxing from heroin or had other chronic pain issues.
It is safe to give when people are pregnant. There`s issues of dependency with the newborn child, but it certainly seems like a bad combination with all these other 11 medications, particularly the chloral hydrate, the other sedatives. This was a recipe for an overdose if I`ve ever seen one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. John from South Carolina, what is your question, sir?
CALLER: Yeah, weren`t both these doctors just doing what they were trained to do? They were trained to give pills, and they did it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s a very interesting question, but let me go to Leslie Austin, psychotherapist. I think part of their investigation undoubtedly is going it be, Leslie, whether they were just writing scrips, and that`s it, being essentially pushers with the word "Dr." in front of them, or whether they were doing other things, like taking blood tests and doing everything else that doctors should do.
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, the Hippocratic Oath for doctors says first do no harm, and do no harm means you have to be judicious and wise about what you prescribe. You don`t just give pills to people randomly. And, yes, we hope that they were doing blood tests and medical tests, which is why I have a concern about what appears to be inappropriate collapsing of professional relationships with personal relationships. You can be lightly social with someone, but to be intimate and party with them and also prescribe, it can get dicey. You may not be appropriate as a doctor because you look your objectivity.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Dr. Kapoor, there were photos of him and Anna Nicole Smith partying together, and he`s wearing a t-shirt that says, "Trust me, I am a doctor." It`s important to emphasize at this point that no charges have been filed, no arrests have been made. These two doctors deserve the presumption of innocence. And, in fact, Dr. Eroshevich`s doctor has said this has nothing to do with whether or not she in any way contributed to Anna Nicole Smith`s death.
And I want to bring in the lawyers for that, because he`s essentially saying that this is not going to possibly result in any homicide charges. But yet, Jerry Brown, the attorney general of California, said they`re not leaving any door closed, that there are all sorts of possibilities here. What do you think? Let`s bring in the lawyers. What do you think -- we`ll start with Paul Henderson -- are the charges that are going to result from these raids?
PAUL HENDERSON, SAN FRANCISCO DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, I think both of these doctors should be on pins and needles right now, because you better believe they`re not serving those search warrants because they want to exonerate or remove them from suspicion. And based on what`s going on, what`s happening now is law enforcement is presenting evidence from the autopsy and from these prescriptions to evaluate whether or not it was reasonable for either or both of those doctors to make the prescriptions that they did, given her background and history and her interaction with those doctors.
And if they can come up with a direct enough correlation to show that their behavior was irresponsible or correlated directly to her death, then they will be charged, and I think they`re likely to face some repercussions from the medical boards at the very least...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Charged with what?
HENDERSON: Oh, they could be charged with involuntary manslaughter, depending on how direct the correlation is, in terms of their culpability, for her death and those prescriptions that they gave her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Susan Moss, let me jump in here, because Dr. Joshua Perper ruled this to be an accidental overdose with complications from the fact that she injected herself and got an abscess and that led to a flu. So if it`s accidental, how could anyone be charged with a crime?
MOSS: Well, that`s his opinion that it`s accidental. But the DEA does not waste their time for just mundane things. When they go in, there`s reason.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Paul, I know you`re jumping to get in. Go for it.
HENDERSON: I am. I was just going to say, even though Anna Nicole Smith may have contributed to her own death by taking an overdose, they have a responsibility as doctors to find out what else she`s also taken. And one of the things that may be interesting in a case like this, especially with the estate in the background, you never know what type of civil charges could be brought against the doctors by the estate against the doctors for their negligence, possibly, and whatever these prescriptions may have been given to her. So that might be interesting, and that`s going to be on the back burner. But that`s going to follow up to whatever criminal charges could be coming from this investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alex Sanchez, I still don`t understand how, if the medical examiner did an autopsy and said this was an accidental death, and in very great detail laid out what were the causes, like the fact that she had given herself or somebody had given her an injection of either B-12 or growth hormone that led to an abscess in her buttocks, and then that became infected, and she got a flu, how could they then turn around, no matter what these guys are prescribing, and charge them with being responsible?
SANCHEZ: Well, that`s why I think it`s going to be very difficult to bring any type of criminal prosecution against these doctors. More likely than not, their licenses are in jeopardy.
But, you know, there`s one person here that has a lot of responsibility for what happened, and that`s Nicole Smith, because she`s an adult. She was the one that was ingesting these various medications. She was the one going to various doctors, and she bears some responsibility for putting those drugs in her system. And, you know, it`s unfortunate that she passed away, but, you know, the primary responsibility is Nicole Smith.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, this is one of the big debates when it comes to addiction. Is the person who takes it, is personal responsibility everything, Leslie Austin, or do we have to also look at code of conducts for professionals that may prescribe or advise somebody to take something? Because the whole uproar that we hear today is about everything, I don`t care whether it`s overeating or drugs or alcohol, personal responsibility, but people can get hooked.
AUSTIN: Absolutely. Personal responsibility is extremely important. And unless the person takes responsibility, they`re not going it get through their addiction and change their behavior.
However, if you have doctors giving you prescriptions, and you don`t have the good judgment to not take them, those doctors, in a sense -- and I`m not speaking about these specific doctors, any doctors -- could be seen as being in collusion with your addiction or enabling your addiction. It`s a professional`s responsibility to make sure that you make a judicial use of medications or prescriptions or counseling, for that matter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me get Tom O`Neil, senior editor at "InTouch Weekly," who has been following this story from the very beginning. Your analysis of all this, because with 11 prescription medications found in the hotel room, some prescribed to Howard K. Stern, to ensure Anna Nicole Smith`s privacy, all coming allegedly from Dr. Eroshevich, if that`s true, wouldn`t you think that would be enough? Why do they have to do this prolonged investigation, read 100,000 documents, and then raid their offices?
O`NEIL: Because it`s against the law in the state of California to dispense medication to a fictitious person. Do you know who Dr. Kapoor dispensed his methadone to?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Chase.
O`NEIL: Yes, Michelle Chase. And then it was shipped from the pharmacy in California to Vicki Marshall in the Bahamas, and it`s illegal to import methadone into the Bahamas. Both of these doctors face serious charges, nothing else. If they get off on all of these other things and they excuse the dosages they gave, how do they explain all these fictitious names?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess that`s what I`m just saying. Michelle Chase is a pseudonym or a name that she used to protect herself. I would think that they would have enough, at least, to charge them with that, to do some preliminary charges. But, again, they haven`t been charged with anything, and that`s very important to point them out.
Yolanda from Delaware, your question?
CALLER: They answered my question, but it is illegal. I`m a nurse, and it is illegal to prescribe medication that are in other people`s names. I mean, it says it right on the bottle. It`s not to be dispensed, and nobody other than the name on the bottle.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I agree with you, ma`am. Thank you for clarifying it. You`re absolutely right. Susan Moss, family law attorney, Howard K. Stern has admitted that this doctor put his name on the bottle to protect Anna Nicole Smith`s privacy. There are reports that one of the doctors used a pseudonym. So why isn`t that enough?
MOSS: It is absolutely not enough, and that`s because the law is clear. And what the law says is: You may not prescribe to fictitious people. They are going to suffer for this. And I am going to tell you something, there are going to be criminal charges brought up, and they are going to go to jail, because this is a warning to all doctors who will prescribe people, to the rich and famous, and they should all watch out.
Blessing, what a great name, from Texas, your question?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, Blessing.
CALLER: Yes, ma`am. Why did they wait to bring this case back (INAUDIBLE) this woman die? At least they can do her little girl a favor by like, you know, keeping this case out of the media and public (INAUDIBLE) didn`t do something about it in (INAUDIBLE) eight months?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leslie Austin, psychotherapist?
AUSTIN: You know, one of the reasons why this might have taken so many months since the investigation started is, with medical things, they`re not as clear cut as you think they are. They may be able to justify many of these prescriptions, even though we don`t think so. They may be able to find some way to explain she wasn`t taking them all at the same time, they were on as-needed bases, et cetera. But I do want to say that I am glad that the police are taking their time and the D.A. doing a very thorough investigation, so that, if they do bring charges, they will be more likely to stick.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a look back on the stories and the people making the rest of the headlines this week.
NANCY GRACE, CNN HOST: She said she had money problems, so she decided to sell everything, including her newborn baby boy. Price tag for a black market baby right here in America, $25,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... New York state has no statute about selling her baby.
GRACE: ... sell the twins on the street, I`m going to hire you to defend me.
Some are calling it vigilante justice, a sex offender discovered with child pornography. People in the neighborhood (INAUDIBLE) burned his house down. He escapes. His (INAUDIBLE) wife dies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was my sister, somebody`s mother, somebody`s daughter.
GRACE: A gunman armed to the hilt opens fire at an Ohio high school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 14-year-old student went into the school today, shot two adults and two teenage fellow students.
GRACE: Her 11-month-old baby girl drowned in the family tub while she`s downstairs shopping for shoes online. Now all she needs is a pair of flip-flops for the county jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, and there were actually toys that had been in the bathtub that had overflowed the width of the tub and fell on the floor of the bathroom.
GRACE: This baby didn`t have a chance.
Finally, murder charges come down in the murder mystery at sea.
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The moral of this is you don`t say anything...
GRACE: Renee, I would think that you would agree with me that the moral is, don`t commit mass murder on the high seas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Corporal Ryan Woodward, just 22, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, killed in Iraq. A paratrooper awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the National Defense Service Medal. He loved traveling, motorcycles, telling jokes, and meeting new people. He leaves behind grieving parents, Michael and Sue, sisters Tasha and Brooke, and brother, Ben. Ryan Woodward, an American hero.
We want to thank all our guests tonight for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these very important cases with us. And a very happy birthday to cameraman Todd! Whoa, way to go. I`m Jane Velez- Mitchell in tonight for Nancy Grace. We hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Have a wonderful and safe evening.