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Debra Lafave Arrested Again

Aired December 4, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the sex scandal teacher who slept with her student is busted again. Her former husband responds.
Our panel of legal eagles weighs in, too. On that, the MySpace hopes that drove a teen to suicide; Sean Taylor; Stacy Peterson; and more, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

The incredible story of Debra Lafave continues. She was arrested again today, this time for allegedly violating her probation for talking to a 17-year-old girl.

Joining us in Tampa, Florida is Owen Lafave, her ex-husband. She's the former Florida teacher convicted in 2005 for having sex with a 14-year-old boy.

On the phone with us is Dennis Cutini. Dennis is the owner of Danny Boy's Restaurant in Ruskin, Florida, where Debra Lafave recently worked and where she made contact with the 17-year-old girl.

Owen, what do you make of this?

OWEN LAFAVE, DEBRA LAFAVE'S EX-HUSBAND, REACTS TO HER ARREST: Well, you know, Larry, I'm not shocked. I assumed at some point in time she would violate her probation. I'm just shocked at the timing of it, to be honest with you. I was under the impression that today her attorney was going to file a request for her last year of house arrest to be dropped to probation. So I assumed that when the news came across the wires, that was going to be the news.

However, obviously, we hear that she was involved in inappropriate conversations with a co-worker of hers that just happened to be a minor.

KING: Do we know that they were inappropriate?

LAFAVE: We do know some of the conversations, you know, revolved around, you know, boyfriends and sex. We really don't know the extent of the conversations. And I think that's one of the things we really need to get behind and see what was actually said, If it was appropriate, if it wasn't appropriate. But the reality is, is that she was on probation. She knew the terms of her probation. And it strictly prohibited her from talking to any minors. And yet she still did it, regardless.

KING: Any minors, male or female?

LAFAVE: Male or female. And I'd like to bring up a point on one of the things that we've discussed previously on your show. She did have a relationship with a woman years ago. So we have no idea. I mean these conversations she had with this girl could have been sexually in nature, specifically directed at this minor.

KING: And does the probation say conversations with a minor? It doesn't say about sex?

It could be about baseball?

LAFAVE: Well, I think that's kind of the fine line. I mean we need to let common sense prevail. And if she was talking about baseball and that's all it was, then I think we all could agree that this is all going to be for naught here. But we don't know what she was talking about and it's just speculation at this point. And people have said -- and the allegations are that she was talking about inappropriate conversations.

KING: All right, Dennis Cutini is the owner of Danny Boy's Restaurant, where Debra worked and where, supposedly, she had this conversation.

Dennis, what was the reaction. Today at the restaurant?

DENNIS CUTINI, DEBRA'S FORMER EMPLOYER, ON HER ARREST: Again, all the -- her fellow employees, which have, you know, are all friends of Debbie, were shocked by the information we received today. Debbie's worked here for two years. She's been a model employee and she's done a tremendous job of serving the people that come into the restaurant.

KING: Does she still work there?

CUTINI: No, Larry. She -- the probation officer called us three weeks ago to say that she would no longer be able to be employed here.

KING: Because?

CUTINI: It was very vague. He didn't really give us a specific answer. He felt that, you know, he was the one to call to say that she couldn't be employed here. So we -- we've had no contact with Debbie in the past three weeks.

KING: So this conversation then apparently took place some time ago?

CUTINI: Correct. Her last day was November 14th.

KING: All right. So she spoke to this girl before that.

Do you wonder why the probation officer waited until today to arrest?

CUTINI: Yes, I do. It's kind of awkward. You know, she -- you know, in the local newspaper here, it states how wonderful that she kept all of her records and went through, you know, her probation and her two years was up, as I believe Owen said, that her attorney was going to file to try to get her another year knocked off, I guess, as far as the house arrest goes. So it's an odd timing, is what I'm thinking.

KING: Also, Dennis, how could you work in a restaurant and not have contact with minors?

CUTINI: That's -- I agree with you, Larry. That was odd. You know, if that was the situation, then her probation officer should not have let her get employed in a restaurant. And that was two years ago. So that's -- again, this is all kind of vague and very strange of the timing.

KING: Owen, would you say that if the conversations were not sexually inclined, this is really much ado about nothing?

LAFAVE: You know, yes and no, Larry. I will go to the extent that, you know, under the terms of her probation, she knew that she was strictly prohibited from talking to minors. And yet she, you know, openly engaged in conversations that were personal in nature, weren't related to work. And I think there, in itself, you know, she did cross the boundary.

Now whether or not she deserves to go to jail if the conversations are very innocent, that's something else. But it's something that can't be looked over. And, really, although there hasn't been any news regarding her violating her probation over the past two years, I think now is the time to look into that, to figure out if there's something that was missed that just wasn't reported. And I would assume that the prosecutors, as well as probation officer, is doing that right now.

KING: What feelings do you have for her now, Owen?

LAFAVE: You know, again, it's a situation where I feel she really got a second opportunity. I do believe that she should have went to jail the first time. Here, you know, there's a question of whether or not she acted inappropriately. And if she did, I think she should go to jail. And I'll stick by those comments.

KING: Do you have bitter feelings toward her, anger, what?

LAFAVE: You know, I think there's a side of me that probably always will. I mean here we are a number of years later and we're still talking about this. This is a very real part of my life. I feel -- you know, the images and kind of the stories that, you know, we have all shared and heard of her actions are emblazoned in my mind. And I will always carry that with me. But, you know, I guess there's a lot of good that has come from it.

So that being said, I mean I'm trying to move on with my life.

KING: So you're saying mixed?

LAFAVE: Yes, I would say mixed. That's a fair assessment.

KING: Dennis, what kind of employee was she?

CUTINI: Oh, wonderful, Larry. I mean she was in there. She was a team player. She helped other employees. She, you know, serves my customers to the best of her ability, which was just wonderful. We had some -- with all of the news channels coming in here this evening, we had some of my customers actually get up and talk to some of the newscasters that were here and saying how they miss her and, you know, that they really appreciated the work that she did.

KING: All of the employees like her?

CUTINI: Oh, yes. Absolutely. The girls are very struck by what happened today.

KING: Supposedly, Owen, she is suffering from bipolar disorder and is receiving treatment.

Do you have knowledge of that?

LAFAVE: That's the same understanding that I'm under, Larry. You know, from personal experience here, someone who definitely has some emotional issues, whether or not she is bipolar, you know, I don't know for certain. But there are many people that are bipolar that don't engage in sexual behaviors with minors. That being said, I do believe she is a sexual offender and obviously she was convicted of that and she's a sexual predator.

KING: Yes.

Dennis, do you know if she had any relationship going on now?

CUTINI: No, I'm not aware of that, Larry.

KING: Thank you both very much.

We'll be discussing lots more of this as it continues.

We'll also discuss this with our guests following.

Owen Lafave and Dennis Cutini.

You're watching


And we'll be right back to meet our judges and attorneys.

Don't go away.


KING: We've got a great panel of legal eagles.

Here in Los Angeles is Judge Greg Mathis. He presides over TV's "Judge Mathis Show" and is a former Michigan district court judge.

In New York is Judge David Young. He's host of the "Judge David Young" TV show.

In Miami, Judge Alex Ferrer. He's TV's "Judge Alex".

Back here in Los Angeles, the famed defense attorney, Mark Geragos.

And rounding it out, Stacey Honowitz, Florida assistant state attorney.

Let's start with what we've just been talking about.

What do you make of this, Judge Mathis, the Debra Lafave case?

JUDGE GREG MATHIS, TV'S "JUDGE MATHIS SHOW": Well, number one, she should have never been allowed to go and work at a restaurant called Danny Boy, first of all, after having been convicted of preying on a 14-year-old. But we really have to find out what it is she discussed with this minor, because incidental discussion regarding, perhaps, did you get a good Thanksgiving dinner -- I don't think that's grounds for violating a probation. You know, a judge has to take everything in its context and circumstances and have some discretion.

KING: Mark, is an arrest a little premature?

Couldn't her probation officer have talked to her -- or do we assume he did talked to her?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don't know if we assume. But it's premature in the sense that they could have just sent a notice to the judge, set a probation violation hearing, have her walk in the door...

KING: And not arrest her now...

GERAGOS: ...and find out what was going on and not arrest her. But, you know, this case is so ridiculous in the first place. I mean the -- first of all, it shouldn't be a crime. Second of all, the idea that somehow talking to a 17-year-old, another female, in a restaurant where she's working as a waitress, I assume it's not a place that doesn't let people under 18 in.

So why -- why in the world would a probation officer say it's OK to be there for two years then all of a sudden -- is it just coincidental that as soon as the lawyer is getting ready to go file something that all of a sudden they arrest her and hook her up?

I think not. I just think it's absurd.

KING: Judge Young, what's your read?

JUDGE DAVID YOUNG, TV'S "JUDGE DAVID YOUNG": Well, my read is that the law in the State of Florida, Mark, is different than the law anywhere else. We have -- we're very strict here in Florida in dealing with sexual predators. And the probation officer did the right thing because once there's a violation, the subject has to be arrested instantaneously. GERAGOS: Yes, except I -- see this is where I disagree. The -- I don't think this is a sexual predator. I mean there isn't a 14-year- old boy in America who doesn't fantasize about this and when he takes...



YOUNG: Mark, unfortunately...


YOUNG: Unfortunately, you think it is irrelevant because the bottom line is...

GERAGOS: And you always get...


YOUNG: ...she was found guilty...

KING: One at a time.

YOUNG: ...of being a sexual predator.

GERAGOS: You're always going to -- well, it's...

KING: All right, Judge...

YOUNG: Well, well nothing.

GERAGOS: ...if that's a sexual predator that's...

YOUNG: That's what the jury found.

GERAGOS: That's -- I know. And I'm running home right now to close my doors because she's on the streets.

MATHIS: Well, we -- we can't make decisions based on gender...

HONOWITZ: Oh my god.

MATHIS: ...because this...


MATHIS: ...had it been a man who had preyed on a 14-year-old girl...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's (INAUDIBLE). That's a crime.

MATHIS: ...he definitely would have been convicted...

KING: All right.

MATHIS: ...and he would be in prison right now.

KING: All right, let's get -- let me get the thoughts of the other two.


KING: Judge Ferrer, what do you think?

JUDGE ALEX FERRER, TV'S "JUDGE ALEX": Well, I tend to agree, it's not the biggest crime of the century here. I don't think that she was wrong in working at a restaurant because it's generally not contact with minors that's the problem -- it's unsupervised contact with minors, when you've been charged with a sexual offense. And that probably was not an issue during her working hours.

And I don't think that she's going to be that big of a threat.

But she should have been brought in for a tune-up, like was discussed. She should have been brought before the judge. The judge should have told her that she walking a thin line if she was talking with minors, whether it was male or female. And that probably would have put an end to it. I don't think she needed to be dragged in and arrested for this.

KING: Stacy, what do you think?

Would you want to prosecute her on this?

HONOWITZ: Well, I would have liked to have prosecuted her the first time around. I can't believe that Mark still believes that this is not a crime, what she did -- the first time around.


HONOWITZ: That's neither here nor there. She got convicted of the case. She pled to the charges. And there were strict orders. The orders were you're not to have contact under anyone under the age of 18.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: well, then why let her...

HONOWITZ: Now, the one thing...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why let her work in a restaurant?

HONOWITZ: The one thing that I don't understand -- I don't understand is why a probation officer, quite frankly, if that was part of the orders, allowed her to work in a restaurant for the last years. It really doesn't make sense.

So now, like everybody else has said, this judge has to take into consideration what was the conversation?

If she talked to a 17-year-old girl about where she bought her makeup and how she liked her lip gloss, you're hard-pressed to put somebody in jail for that. But you might have a judge that said the orders were no contact, that's what you were supposed to do and, therefore, you're going to be convicted of it again. So we're going to have to wait and see what was said.

KING: Why...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the judge in the case...

KING: Why do you think...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the judge in the case -- excuse me -- said, let her out on her own recognizance. I know when Alex and I were both judges in Miami, if someone came in for a probation violation hearing, in most cases, they were locked up until the hearing.

In this case, she was let out on her own recognizance, which tells me that the judge is not taking these allegations too seriously.

FERRER: And, Larry, one thing that you should take note of is the probation department in the State of Florida has taken a no exceptions stance because of the high publicity cases we've had over the last few years, where people on probation have gone out and committed horrific crimes. So now if there's any even semblance of a violation, they just go ahead and file the papers and they say it's off my hands. Nobody's going to criticize the probation department.

GERAGOS: Yes, isn't that...

FERRER: So I don't think the judge will give it the same weight.

GERAGOS: tolerance. Zero tolerance. Make sure she doesn't go talk to any 15- or 16-year-olds. And God forbid if she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, as the 17-year-old did.

KING: Doesn't -- Judge Mathis, doesn't the terms seem a little weird -- you can't talk to anyone under 17?

Now, I would say no one could live up to those terms.

MATHIS: Well, I agree. You know, first of all, I believe she should have received treatment. Anyone who is convicted of sexual predatoring on a minor, they have a problem and they should receive treatment...

HONOWITZ: She did.

MATHIS: ...and be punished.

HONOWITZ: She did.

MATHIS: I don't know about the treatment as a condition of her probation and if it...

HONOWITZ: She had to.

MATHIS: Well, I don't know. I haven't heard that, that it was a condition of her probation. Secondly, there is extenuating circumstances that the judge should be given discretion over in most circumstances -- not this mandatory sentencing, mandatory probation that she can't say hi and if so, call her in.

HONOWITZ: That was part of the deal.


HONOWITZ: The judge didn't make that deal. The prosecutors made that deal. When she decided to plea, then they negotiated that plea. That was part of the plea negotiations. There are special conditions...

KING: Let me get a break in.

HONOWITZ: ...of the probation.

KING: Let me get a break.

We'll come back and talk about the MySpace suicide case. That's next.

Don't go away.


TINA MEIER, MEGAN'S MOTHER: She was looking for me to help calm her down like I normally always did.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Megan then ran to her room. Her parents describe what happened next.

RON MEIER, MEGAN'S FATHER: Tina left and walked upstairs. I didn't really pay much attention to it. And then I just heard a blood curling scream.

T. MEIER: I just saw her hanging from her closet.

R. MEIER: It's just like please. Please, Megan. Please.



KING: Welcome back.

We're now going to take a look at the MySpace suicide case. A 13- year-old girl, Megan Meier, committed suicide last year after a MySpace romance ended. The problem is the so-called Internet romance was a hoax created by a neighbor. Authorities are not bringing charges against the girl's neighbor, who had created the fake romance.

Stacey, would you want to prosecute this or not?

HONOWITZ: Yes, I mean unfortunately, the prosecutors out there didn't have a crime. They're trying to pass the bill now that talks about this cyber stalking. The reason why they couldn't do it is because they said there wasn't a pattern of conduct for harassment that led to this emotional distress and unfortunately led to this girl committing suicide.

GERAGOS: Stacey, why couldn't they just file involuntary manslaughter and talk about conscious disregard or some other mental state?

I mean isn't there some degree of irony here, that we're hooking up Debbie Lafave for having sex with a 14-year-old, yet it's OK, to create some kind of an alternate personality that goes out and stalks some girl...

HONOWITZ: Hey, Mark...

GERAGOS: ...until she commits suicide?

HONOWITZ: ...I'm not disagreeing with you.

GERAGOS: It's ludicrous.

HONOWITZ: I'm not disagreeing with you...

GERAGOS: They've got involuntary...

HONOWITZ: There has to be something.

GERAGOS: They have involuntary...

HONOWITZ: I agree with you. But...

GERAGOS: Right. There is involuntary...

HONOWITZ: ...right now, the prosecutor said there is nothing that they can do.

KING: But he's saying they don't...

GERAGOS: Then the prosecutor is brain dead, because they've got an involuntary manslaughter statute.

KING: Judge Ferrer, what do you think?

FERRER: I agree with Mark. Frankly, the problem seems to be that so many people had access to this account -- the daughter, an 18-year- old co-worker and the mother. But in original reports, it said that the mother knew that this child was depressed, that she was taking medication. And my feeling on it was if she knew that and she intentionally tormented this child to the point that the child killed herself, in most states that would satisfy the culpable negligence or recklessness requirement for manslaughter and she should have been charged with manslaughter. The problem is they cannot...

KING: Judge Young?

FERRER: ...they cannot pin it down on her.

YOUNG: You know, we can't...

KING: Judge Young, what do you think?

YOUNG: As judges, we can't let the emotions affect our decision. It seems to me that if the prosecuting agency -- both the federal prosecutors and the state prosecutors -- could not find a charge in which to put on this woman, then there's no charge there. We're not here to second guess. If we don't like the law, run for the legislature.

KING: Yes.

YOUNG: It's very simple, unfortunately -- and sad.

KING: Judge Mathis?

MATHIS: Well, I'm not sure if a crime was committed because there must be causation and foreseeability -- whether the woman saw that her aggravating the pre-existing condition would foreseeably cause a death.


MATHIS: Now, on the other...

KING: You're saying it's tough to prove?

MATHIS: Correct. On the other hand, negligence probably is easier to prove, because, indeed, she knew that there was a pre-existing condition. But a crime -- negligence isn't a crime unless you find an underlying crime.

KING: Here's the statement...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Culpable negligence.

KING: Let's show a statement from the mother, Tina Meier.


T. MEIER: I absolutely hold the mother responsible -- and the father. The father knew what was going on, also. And, you know, in the beginning -- we've always known that the mother probably was not the one who actually typed the MySpace. She had no idea how to do this. The bottom line is she was the adult. She knew my daughter and had known us for years, knew that she was on medication. If you're an adult and you're allowing this to go on -- she has stated that she also stood behind her daughter when she typed messages to my daughter.


KING: Is the Internet so new, Stacey, that we don't have laws to cover it? HONOWITZ: Well, everyone thinks it's so fabulous, this superhighway. And I can tell you, in doing the work that I do, I see nothing but problems with the Internet. I see it with soliciting kids for sex, soliciting kids for things that are absolutely disgusting. Something like this takes place and it's not regulated enough. And, unfortunately, I don't think you're going to be able to. Nobody is going to be able to sit in someone's house and know how old they are, if they have prior convictions when they get on that Internet. And I don't think there's anything that can be done.

There needs to be some sort of regulation. But right now, our hands are really tied. This is going to continue. This isn't going to get any better.

KING: Judge...

GERAGOS: Well, in this case, clearly, even if the prosecutors dropped the ball and can't figure out how to do a basic manslaughter, the family themselves should get over there and sue. They can do an intentional infliction of emotional distress...


GERAGOS: ...a negligence cause of action.


GERAGOS: Bankrupt this other family. Take their house and put them out of business.

KING: Judge...

GERAGOS: Somebody needs to suffer the consequences.

KING: Judge Young, could you write a good law?

YOUNG: Oh, I could write a good law because I think, you know, law is like a coming of age. What happened 15 or 20 years ago is different than what's happening today.

Who knew from the Internet?

I think the legislatures and Congress have got to get together and pass some laws which are consistent what's going on in America today. And the Internet is the home of predators. It's the home of deviants of all types. And we need to address it.

In this case, unfortunately, there was no law that has been established which would warrant prosecution.

I agree with Geragos. I think definite -- the civil action is the way to go and just bankrupt this disgraceful family.

KING: Judge Ferrer, could you write a law to cover this?

FERRER: Well, I think -- well, could I? I don't know. You know, I stick to judging, frankly. I let the legislators do the writing of the law. But I certainly believe it could be written. It's difficult. The Internet has got all kinds of difficult avenues, including the, you know, choice of law provisions and things like that, that you have to deal with when people are in different states and even different countries when they're committing crimes. So it is difficult to regulate the Internet.

But that's how we are. You know, legislation is proactive. I'm sorry, it's reactive. Something happens and then they go we need to fix this...

KING: Yes.

FERRER: And, hopefully, it will get fixed now.

MATHIS: Well, you know, it might be difficult to enforce, but you can never catch criminals, for the most part. Most criminals get away. But we must have deterrents. And deterrents is by punishments that are stiff. And if you enforce a law that has stiff punishments -- I mean pass a law that has stiff punishments, I think it would deter much of the Internet crimes we see.

KING: We're going to take a break.

Some great shows coming up.

Brad Pitt tomorrow night.

We're pre-empted Thursday for a special on Heroes.

And Friday night, Jack Hanna and the animals return.

And when we come back, we'll talk about the murder of Redskins' safety Sean Taylor.

Don't go away.


ROSH LOWE, WSVN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taylor was murdered in his home last Monday. Police say the four suspects planned to burglarize the house and not commit murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, for the arrest affidavit, I'm finding probable cause and no bond as to all three counts.

LOWE: Eric Rivera, 17 years old, is still being held in Lee County.



KING: We're back with Judge Mathis, Judge Young, Judge Ferrer, Mark Geragos and Stacey Honowitz. We're now going to take a look at the Sean Taylor case.

As you know, Redskins safety Sean Taylor was killed last week when he was shot in his own bedroom. Three of the four suspects were denied bail today. A fourth is being held in Fort Myers. All are under suicide watch.

Let's start with Judge Ferrer.

That's your town.

FERRER: That's my town.

KING: What do you make of this?

FERRER: Well, I don't think we will see a death penalty in this case because the shooter is 17 and under Florida law cannot be executed. So Florida is very picky about the fact that if the more culpable shooter is not given the death penalty, then nobody else is eligible, except in rare circumstances, like for example, where somebody is the motivational force behind the shooter and the shooter is being manipulated and controlled by a stronger individual. And I don't know that's what has happened in this case at all. As far as the comments from the defendant, we didn't know he had a gun. Frankly, time will tell. But the reality is, I don't remember a single case I had where a crime was occurring and somebody was shot that the person who didn't pull the trigger didn't come to court and say, oh, my God, I didn't know he had a gun. So that's a common defense. And we'll have to wait until it gets flushed out.

KING: Stacey, of course, we don't want to prejudge anything here. But from a prosecution standpoint is this kind of duck soup when you know the victim was so popular?

HONOWITZ: Yeah, I mean, well, it's a horrible case. Everybody's watched it unfold. It's like Judge Ferrer just said, the shooter being 17. He will be waived from juvenile court right into adult court. And really what I see happening, you already hear people will start cooperating. You will hear some of these guys start to flip. You've heard some of the attorneys come out and say there are remorseful what happened. They didn't know he was going to get shot. They didn't know a killing was going to take place. But everybody is going to be watching it very carefully. I think the next move is for these people to come forward and say, listen, I'm pointing the finger. He's the one that did it. So I think that's what we are looking at next.

KING: Mark, is this going to be really up-against-it defense?

GERAGOS: I agree with Stacey. You're going to have a situation where three of these guys are going to be racing to get into the prosecutor's office to see who could cut the first deal in this case. This is not a case generally, if there's evidence there and if they have got the fingerprints and if they have the forensics, even if they don't, as soon as somebody flips, the other three are behind it and as you say up against it. The only race here, the only competition is going to be who gets into the prosecutor's office first.

KING: It was first announced, Judge Young, it was non- premeditated murder. And did that go away?

YOUNG: What happened was they were saying it was a home invasion and it was relative to the home invasion and he got shot. But what's interesting, what Mark said, they are racing. I heard two interviews on another one of your shows that the lawyers were talking and the lawyers kept saying, my client really wishes that this didn't happen and expresses remorse.

For a criminal defense lawyer to say his client has remorse and gives out his heart and his soul to the victim's family, who would do that as a criminal defense lawyer unless you're already going and having discussions with the prosecutor about taking a plea?

And what's interesting, talking back to MySpace, CNN also had a response, a show on Rick Sanchez about the MySpace of these four kids. Very, very scary.

KING: Yeah. Judge Mathis, what is your read?

MATHIS: Let me say regarding the premeditated murder issue, I think you have a problem. The sheriff announced first that it was not premeditated. Now they are coming back with first degree murder. And I don't believe they are going to be successful ...

HONOWITZ: Yes, they will.

MATHIS: Because you have to prove intent.

HONOWITZ: No, they don't.

KING: Hold on. Let him finish.

MATHIS: They committed a murder.

HONOWITZ: Felony murder.

MATHIS: And it instead should be felony murder.

HONOWITZ: That's what it is. First degree murder.

MATHIS: The difference between premeditated murder and felony murder, lawyer, and so as I was saying, Larry, they will be able to charge him with felony murder, not premeditated murder. And so the case has been compromised already.

HONOWITZ: But the case -- listen, don't think, first of all, don't think the case has been compromised. Everybody knew from the first get-go that was a home invasion that turned ...

MATHIS: Let's go back to you not knowing the difference between premeditated murder and felony murder.

HONOWITZ: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. I do know the difference, OK? You don't have to -- wait a second. Wait a second.

MATHIS: You interrupted me.

HONOWITZ: Wait a second.

MATHIS: You interrupted me.

KING: All right. Let her explain, judge.

HONOWITZ: Listen. You don't have to criticize me. I understand the difference between the two. All I'm saying.

MATHIS: You interrupt me to tell me I was wrong.

HONOWITZ: All I'm saying is that from the get-go everybody knew this was a home invasion that turned into a murder. Ergo under Florida law it is considered to be first degree felony murder. That's what I'm saying.

So the case is not compromised because nobody in the very beginning talked about any kind of premeditation. Everybody said felony murder under Florida law. I'm sorry if you felt as though I interrupted you but I do happen to know the difference between the two. I have been practicing law for close to 20 years.

MATHIS: You should practice the law more if you don't know the difference. Go ahead, Mark, tell her the difference.

GERAGOS: There's a certain misconception here. You can still have a premeditated murder that takes place once -- you don't have to have the premeditation before you go into the house. You can go into the house not premeditating. You can commit a felony murder. You can still have premeditation, as I'm sure, premeditation as the jury instructions say can happen in the flash of an eye. If somebody goes inside that house and decides that they are going to commit a crime once they find somebody inside of there, that's a premeditated murder.

So this is really somewhat of a distinction without a difference, number one. Number two, the sheriff's got, I think, probably going to have to make up. They are fighting here. But the sheriff is going to have to make up with the prosecutor. Because the prosecutor is not going to be happy the sheriff is out there making statements.

MATHIS: That's why I said it's compromised.

KING: You think it's compromised? Is this going to be a tough prove, you think, Judge Ferrer.

FERRER: No. Frankly, the fact they already tracked them down so quickly and as David points out, the defense lawyers are already apologizing for their clients. Seems to me like they pretty much have their case. As Mark pointed out, premeditation can occur with just enough time for reflection. And very often the state will charge both grounds, felony and premeditated murder and get their first degree conviction.


KING: We're going to take a break. Stick around. When we come back, we will discuss the Stacy Peterson case and new sex allegations against Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Idaho Senator Larry Craig is facing more accusations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a statement Senator Craig calls the claims, quote, "completely false."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Idaho Senator Larry Craig is facing new allegations about his past.



KING: We're going to get to the Stacy Peterson case in a minute. First the latest on the sex sting. Senator Larry Craig, the Republican from Idaho, is facing more gay sex allegations. Four gay men -- four -- have gone public with the "Idaho Statesman," linking them with Senator Craig and gay sex. What do you make of it, Mark?

GERAGOS: Part of that great right wing conspiracy. We were talking over the break about how there seems to be a correlation between these accusations and those in the right wing, the Republican Party. I don't know why it really matters and don't know what the fascination is except to the extent that it's hypocritical. And that's I think what the fascination is.

KING: Judge Young, isn't the matter hypocrisy?

YOUNG: Well, I think Senator Craig -- Senator Craig should have honored what he said initially and simply resigned from the United States Senate. And I hope this is not the only thing that comes out. I hope he finally comes out and comes to terms with himself. Because he's done a lot more toe-tapping in his career than we know, obviously.

KING: Do you think it will all come out, Judge Ferrer?

FERRER: Frankly, Larry, I really couldn't care less who Senator Craig sleeps with. The only thing I ask for from my legislators is that they do a good job and that they not be on the take. Most of the time, I don't even want to think of them sleeping with somebody because some images you just cannot get out of your mind. So ...

KING: Stacey?

HONOWITZ: I mean, a long time ago we discussed this and we said we were kind of surprised was appealing it because it was kind of was just going to go away. I think now that it's back in the limelight because he decided he still wants to continue appeal, all of these things will keep coming out. I just don't think it is really going to make a difference. Like the judge said, who cares who he's sleeping with? He has consensual sex with someone, who cares?

YOUNG: I always say on my show denial is not a river in Egypt, does not flows through the courtroom. Well, denial is obviously running through the United States Senate.

MATHIS: I am going to stick up for the senator a little bit here. I feel sorry for him. All of these men coming out of the woodwork, they are just piling on top of him, these men.

YOUNG: That's the problem, Greg. That's the problem!

MATHIS: And I'm sorry to see them piling on top of him.

KING: Don't try to top it. You can't top it.

Let's go to the Stacy Peterson case. The woman obviously is still missing. A previous wife, they have exhumed the body. No charges have been brought against the Illinois State policeman. Now we have the State Police say two truck drivers were approached by a man believed to be Drew Peterson. Asked him to take a package to an undisclosed location. Hours after the former police officer's wife was last seen. What is your read on this whole matter, Mark?

GERAGOS: Well, this is -- this is the perfect example of a case and why you should have the Contempt of Court Act like they do in England. This case should have been clamped down on. There should not be any more publicity about this. You've seen every rumor get floated. First there was a blue barrel and then it's a rectangular object and now a package. All of these things become amongst urban legends. There's no point, I think, in pursuing this except that obviously it gets big ratings. And the problem is that you taint everybody out there in the legitimate investigation.

KING: Haven't we, Judge Young, in a sense he has not been charged, found him guilty already?

YOUNG: Well, it's obvious that Drew Peterson would not win Mr. Congeniality within the police department. And the fact now that we learned he tried to do some investigation using police equipment on his wife's family and his wife's friends and his wife is just another bone of conjecture that he must be involved with something. But I agree. I think we need to clamp down. I think we are dealing with a woman's, victim's family, victim's family, another victim's family and we have to come down to whether or not this man actually committed the murder or had something to do with the commission of the murder. And we need to have some finality. We really do.

KING: Stacey, if she's never found, might it be possible that whoever did this gets away with it?

HONOWITZ: Sure. We all know you can prosecute a murder without a body if in fact they think they have enough evidence against him. But yeah, somebody can get away with it. But the bottom line to all of this, his lawyer has been all over the news trying to justify -- every time a rumor comes out, the lawyer comes on to try to justify. I think the biggest thing when you hear this about Drew Peterson, and you see him on TV, if you didn't like him before, you hate him even more now because of the action. Tell his lawyers to leave him in the house and shut up and let the investigation continue.

I think that's part of the problem. He comes out and he draws the attention to himself.

KING: Judge Mathis, have we preconvicted him?

MATHIS: Perhaps. But what I think what we can do now is charge him with police misconduct based on these allegations that he has investigated the background of others and that might provide a window to which we can get some insight on the other issues regarding the deaths or alleged deaths.

KING: Judge Young?

YOUNG: I agree with Greg. If it is proven that he used police computers and investigative tools to enhance his own alibi or his own investigation, then I think he should be charged because what he did was absolutely wrong.

KING: Let me get a break. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He hosts AC 360 coming up at the top of the hour. What's up, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Larry, thanks very much.

At the top of 360, Mitt Romney, tonight is in damage control mode. You may remember during the last debate Romney got into it with Rudy Giuliani over his hiring of a lawn service company that employed illegal immigrants. Well, we now know Romney gave the lawn service company a second chance. But "The Boston Globe" broke the story that the service is still employing illegals. Romney just issued a statement saying he fired the firm but the big question, what is this story doing to his presidential ambitions? We will dig deep tonight.

And we are also going to look at a bizarre and tragic story out of Florida. A hedge fund manager making tens of millions of year is found dead in his pool. And now allegations of cocaine abuse and sexual fetishes emerge as the possible cause of his death. All that and more and Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: And also, Anderson, possibly a murder case?

COOPER: That's right. Absolutely. It is a bizarre case. He actually appeared on cable channels talking about finance. A lot of people will probably recognize him when they see them.

KING: That's Anderson Cooper. You will see him at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. And we will be right back with our guests. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: This is Larry king. I'm in New Orleans, specifically in Ward Nine. An area destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Brad Pitt and I will discuss it on a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Talk about a lot of other things, too. Wednesday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Brad Pitt exclusive right here.



KING: And now the latest in the Natalee Holloway case. Joran Van der Sloot remains in jail but the two Kalpoe brothers have been released. All three were previously held in the case two years ago. You want to try cases in Holland?

GERAGOS: We talked about this what, a week ago Monday? And I -- at least I said at the time, everybody was saying oh, the prosecutors must have something. They wouldn't have arrested again if they didn't have something. They said at the time, it sounded to me based on everything that we heard that it was nothing more than another guy rehashing the same old stuff and predicted that these guys would be released. And I think the other gentleman will be out -- the only reason he isn't out now he was returned I think two or three days after the brothers were.

KING: Stacey, that's a different kind of law, isn't it?

HONOWITZ: Yeah. Over there, they can just basically arrest you while they investigate it. From what I have read and what I have seen, I think Mark is right. I think the other guy is probably going to get out. But it is an interesting fact. In order to rearrest these guys, they did have to have something new and material. So what was it to allow the judge to allow the arrest and now let them go? I don't think we are ever know until it becomes public what this new information was supposed to be.

KING: We may never solve this, right?

GERAGOS: I don't think this will ever be solved, number one. And number two, I think they are just kind of throwing mud up against the wall to see what will stick. Contrary to Stacey, I'm more cynical. I think all it was, was you had a new prosecutor. Wanted to go in there and do a little forum shopping.

KING: Could she just have gotten drunk and walked into the water?

GERAGOS: Absolutely could have happened, got drunk, passed out and the tide comes in and she rolls out and that's it.

KING: I want to discuss something before we leave you folks. Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. Let's go to the judges. Judge Mathis, they are still fighting over custody. Britney makes over $700,000 a month. Can she give to him?

MATHIS: Oh, absolutely, she is going to have to give him money, particularly if he remains in custody of the children. One of the interesting facts I have seen in the recent development is her confidante and assistant didn't show up in court to even speak on her behalf. So that she could win custody.

And I don't see what's going on there because that could have helped her case. So, obviously, there's something that must have been hurting it.

KING: Judge Young, does a judge lean over backwards for the woman?

YOUNG: No, not at all. I mean, there are some judges that have bias, say, towards women. Some judges have biases towards men. But I think in the case if you really look, the judges don't have biases towards anybody. Judges follow the law and that's what the judge is doing in this case.

KING: Judge Ferrer, aren't these very difficult cases, custody cases?

FERRER: Custody cases are always difficult. As long as you don't lose focus of the fact that it's the best interest of the child. We get caught up on what did Britney do and what did K-Fed do and all of this stuff? And in the meantime nobody is focusing on the fact there are two real children here who someday are going to have to end up with one or the other.

And in this case, it looks like it's more likely to be K-Fed than Britney. Although I'm speaking for a lot of judges who have been in family court that will tell you across the country, sometimes you look at both parents and you think to yourselves, these children would be better off raised by wolves.

GERAGOS: Well, the judge is right. And in this case, the kids are lucky. They have got Commissioner Gordon, who I have known a long time, even when he was in the D.A.'s office, is a wonderful guy and he's handled this with great aplomb. And he has only got one interest. This is somebody who only cares about the kids.

KING: And that's all that should count.

GERAGOS: And that's all that should count and he's doing, I think, a marvelous job in handling this.

KING: Thank you all very much.

YOUNG: Larry, can I make one last point.

KING: Quick, quick.

YOUNG: One last point is we are so concerned about Britney and Kevin. We should be concerned about the people of New Orleans. I'm on the board of Tulane University. That's a tragedy. That people need to be concerned about and be angry. Because our government has done absolutely nothing for those people. KING: Glad you mentioned that. When we come back, a special look at tomorrow night's exclusive interview with Brad Pitt in New Orleans. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, we have got something you will not want to miss. An hour with Brad Pitt. We sat down with him in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. Spent a lot of time talking about Brad's efforts to rebuild there.

In this extended preview, Brad addresses some of the controversy surrounding the effort.


KING: How do you answer those who suggest the rebuilding in New Orleans could be folly, given the city's vulnerability? In fact, after Katrina, I believe it was a senator, I forget who, if you were planning the country today, you would not build a New Orleans? It is just too hazardous.

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: I - listen, we need a whole segment to talk about this. But for those very reasons, you shouldn't be building a San Francisco, you shouldn't be living in Tornado Alley. These are ...

KING: Miami.

PITT: Miami, certainly. And let's not forget the Netherlands, they're 27 feet below sea level. This where we are sitting is two to five feet as far as I understand it right here. It's not that difficult to deal with. But more importantly, it's that there's no clear-cut direction for the people that are caught in limbo.

And so if you're telling them to relocate and you find that location, great, let's do it. I'm all for it. But that hasn't been done. They are enticing people to come back but it's not really -- it's not a clear path for them to do it. And that's what we want to do. So the key is you build safely.


KING: Brad also takes us on a walking tour around the Lower Ninth Ward. While the pink structures that surround us represent the future, there are also stark reminders of a New Orleans past and present everywhere.


KING: Brad, it looks Herculean.

PITT: We talked about it. If you have seen a list all of the road blocks we encountered and have yet to encounter, it would appear too daunting. But with people like Charles and everybody else on the ground, there are literally hundreds of people now involved in this. That this thing is working. It will get done.

KING: What's this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be a Herculean project ahead of us but those of us who are here, Larry, we are like pioneers on the frontier here and we are committed to this work. This is our community.

KING: Charlie, we talked about this before. Can you imagine what this must have been like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't. It's a big project. But there's no reason why we -- and when I say we, I mean America, can't get it all done. We can get this built.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. The muck and wood and everything just thrown around.

KING: Somebody lived in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah, somebody lived in here. Children were once here. Their neighbors were there. With time, we're going to make this right.


KING: We also talked a lot with brad about his celebrity and the good and bad that comes with it. Watch.


KING: How you have handled the kind of spotlight you have handled? How do you, Brad, deal with that?

PITT: Well, you know, I duck and jive. Keep moving. Keep my head down. That's been my -- that's been my modus operandus. But for something like this, I feel very fortunate to have it and I can direct it this way.

KING: So then you can use it?

PITT: Absolutely. Absolutely.

KING: But you have to -- you don't like public attention a lot?

PITT: I'm not good at it. There's other people who are ...

KING: You're a very good guest.

PITT: Thank you.

KING: You're very responsive.

PITT: Thank you. But, it's just not part of my makeup. But for something like this, I feel very fortunate to be able to do it.

KING: So you use the perk then to take advantage?

PITT: Absolutely. It uses me and I use it. So ...

KING: How about the attention afforded your children, good or bad?

PITT: Truthfully, I worry about that. I am very concerned about that. Call out my kids names and shove cameras in their faces and I really believe there should be laws against that.

I mean, my kids believe that any time you go outside the house there is just a wall of photographers and people that take their picture. That is their view of the world and I worry about the effect it will have on them but we'll do our best.


KING: We cover a lot more. Angelina, his career and his passion about rebuilding the Lower Ninth Ward. All tomorrow night. Don't forget to check out our Web site, See what's coming up on our show.

And now AC 360. Here's Anderson Cooper.