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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Sterling Case; Actor Charged in Wife's Death; No Prison Time for Rapist Husband
Aired May 20, 2014 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for AT THIS HOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira. I'm so, so worried about this now. Thanks for joining us.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm John Berman. A germ-free "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Michael Jace, who played an L.A. cop in the TV drama "The Shield," charged with shooting and killing his wife April in a real-life Hollywood homicide investigation.
Also this hour, Donald Sterling may go face-to-face to plead his case to fellow NBA owners as the league lays out its case for terminating his ownership.
And, say it ain't so, guys. The opening rift from one of rock's greatest anthems stolen? The "Stairway to Heaven" plagiarism claim that could leave Zeppelin fans dazed and confused. Listen for yourself and you be the judge, just ahead.
Hello, everyone. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Ashleigh Banfield. It is Tuesday, May 20th. Welcome to LEGAL VIEW. Great to have you along with us.
So, how is this for irony? If Donald Sterling hadn't opened his mouth, the NBA wouldn't be trying to take away the franchise he's owned and controlled since 1981. But now, if he keeps his mouth shut, he could lose his team even faster. Weeks after racist comments earned Sterling a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine from the NBA, the league has detailed its charges and ordered Sterling to respond by May 27th. That's one week from today. It's also invited Sterling to make his case in person at a board of governors meeting, essentially a trial behind closed doors, and that would be one week after that.
Now, if he does neither, the league will assume he's admitting guilt. So joining me now with details and insights are our CNN correspondent Jean Casarez, defense attorney and CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, and CNN commentator and defense attorney Mel Robbins.
So, great to have you three with us.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice being with you, Pam.
BROWN: So, Jean, I'm going to start with you. Let's first look at this list of grievances that the NBA put forth. Here we go. It says, "Donald Sterling has taken discriminatory actions and supported discriminatory positions that have had and will continue to have a material adverse impact on the NBA and its teams.
Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and minorities, denigrated the contribution of NBA players, directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans, admonished that acquaintance for posting pictures of herself with African-Americans on social media, directed that acquaintance not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games and criticized African- Americans for not supporting their communities."
Now, if you break this down, most of that came from the infamous taped conversation with V. Stiviano, but some came from Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper, you may remember. So let me ask you this, Jean, might broadening the charges beyond a private conversation make it easier to get the required three quarters vote of team owners to oust Sterling?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I guess the owners will determine that. But you're right, these are the formal charges. It's the first time we've had them. And they have expanded.
Now, if we look at the two tapes, factually speaking, they are different. The first tape, there was an expectation of privacy. It was allegedly illegally recorded. But then the second tape was the interview with Anderson Cooper. He knew that he was being interviewed.
Now, in that tape, I think both sides can use that interview, because he, number one, admitted what he said in the private conversation. So there's no question now that he said what he said. He also tried to explain it, which helps his side to say it wasn't intentionally to discriminate or be prejudiced against African-Americans. It was because I liked the girl and I was jealous.
He also gave some statements that were just very, very not based in fact at all, meaning his side could say there's a psychological issue and we want a psychological determination of this. But I do want to tell you that there has been new information that was released overnight by the NBA, which I think escalates this to even a more serious situation.
It says during the course of the NBA investigation into this, they have found that relevant evidence was destroyed in this case and also that false and misleading evidence was given to the NBA as part their investigation. It doesn't say what evidence was destroyed or by whom. They base it on Sterling's conduct. But those are very, very serious allegations there.
BROWN: Yes, it just makes this situation even messier.
All right, Mel, I want to go to you. Sterling's lawyer reportedly wants three months, not one week, to formulate a response here. Do you think that could be sort of a tactic to stall so that his legal team can seek an injunction against the NBA to force him out? Sort of a legal recourse for his team. MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR: You know, Pamela, your instincts are exactly right. That is kind of his main recourse right now is to try to delay this because the longer that this draws on, the kind of calm down the public outcry and the momentum for the NBA comes.
But I actually think what you're going to see is, you're going to see Adam Silver deny the request to give him three months. It's unreasonable. They want this resolved before the 2014/2015 season. He's going to push him to respond. And I bet you I would not be surprised, Pamela, if we see him file a claim against the NBA for breach of contract seeking an injection against these proceedings. I don't think it will be successful, but, again, it will be a delay tactic. And Sterling's clearly on the offense (ph) here.
BROWN: Absolutely. And, Paul, someone else who's on the fence a little bit is his wife. Of course, the league is making it clear that if Sterling is forced to sell, his estranged wife, Shelly, will be out too, contrary to her wishes. She has made that clear. Do you think we could see a three-way tug-of-war here? Is there another legal option Shelly has that could complicate this already messy situation, especially in light of the fact that she's not the one who made these comments?
CALLAN: You know, she makes a compelling case and, unfortunately, we don't have all of the documents to see if she truly is a co-owner who negotiated with the league and has her name up in lights as co-owner of the team. But assuming that she is, that's what she claims, she will say, hey, why should the team be taken away from me because my bozo husband makes inappropriate racial comments when having an affair?
It's not fair and she argues the flip side as well, suppose, hypothetically, that the situation were reversed that, you know, I had made these comments, would the team be taken away from my husband? She says, no, that would never happen, and this is sexism, that she's being punished for this. So it's going to be very interesting to see where that potential case goes.
BROWN: Yes, so many moving parts to this. Thank you so much, Jean Casarez, Mel Robbins and Paul Callan.
Mel and Paul, stick around, more questions for you just ahead.
ROBBINS: You got it.
BROWN: We appreciate it.
Well, the actor who played an L.A. cop in "The Shield" is facing real- life charges in his wife's shooting death. Michael Jace's wife April was found shot to death in their home in Los Angeles yesterday. Officers booked him on a homicide charge early this morning. CNN's digital reporter Alan Duke is following this story.
Alan, what's the latest?
ALAN DUKE, CNN DIGITAL REPORTER: Well, he's in jail and the only way he'll get out is if he posts $1 million bond. He was arrested actually at the scene of his home last night. Police were called there after some gunshots and about 8:30 in the evening in south Los Angeles, the Hyde Park area, he was brought outside, handcuffed and we've got video of him standing near a police car waiting to go into the homicide unit to be interrogated.
They talked to him for several hours and then finally booked him on a homicide charge, accusing him of shooting his wife to death. A statement from police say they believe the motive is domestic violence.
Now, it must be an interesting complicated crime scene. At least that's what I surmise. Because they were out there from about 8:30 or 9:00 last night and they're still out there. Homicide and coroner investigators are still at the crime scene more than a dozen hours later.
BROWN: Oh, and we know the couple had kids. Do you know if they were at the house at the time of this?
DUKE: There are reports, our affiliates here in Los Angeles are reporting that no one saw the children, but we understand that they had a couple of young children. Also I understand he had an older child from a previous marriage who probably would not have been there. But, yes, there are reports of that. We've not confirmed.
Keep in mind, the detectives are still at the crime scene. That's how fresh this is. And so a lot of the questions that we have about his prior relationship with her, was there any other domestic violence, we don't know that yet. We should know some time later today what was going on, or at least some of what was going on.
BROWN: Yes. A lot of unanswered questions. What we do know though is those children are now without a mother. Alan Duke, thank you.
And our other big story today, a woman was stunned when the man accused of drugging and raping her got no prison time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never in a million years did I think that my rapist would be walking out the door that I am walking out of. He should have been walking out wearing orange while I went home. As (ph) I watch TV and I live my life, he gets to go home and do the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The person she says attacked her, her own husband. She joins me live to tell her terrifying story right after this quick break.
BROWN: You'll find this next story hard to believe. A woman says she was drugged for at least three years, raped in her sleep and her attacker recorded it on video. Take a look. This is him, David Wise, her husband. Once Mandy Boardman found the video clips on his phone, she confronted him. And this is the e-mail she got from him. It read, in part, "I was taking advantage of you in your sleep and you kept coming to me and telling me it was not OK, I needed to stop."
So with all the evidence against him, it seemed like a slam dunk case. A jury convicted him of one count of rape and five counts of criminal deviant conduct. And on Friday, Wise got his sentence, 20 years, but not one day in prison. Twelve years were suspended. Eight years will be spent in home confinement. He has to wear a GPS monitor, but can leave home if he gets a job. And he's not required to be on therapy or get treatment of any kind.
So if that wasn't enough to crush his now ex-wife, here's what the judge told her. She should forgive him. She needed to let him walk. Marion Superior County Judge Kurt Eisgruber clarified his remarks to the "L.A. Times" saying, he made the comments in the spirit of, quote, "I hope that you can forgive him one day because he's obviously struggled with this and struggled to this day and I hope that she could forgive him."
We did reach out to that judge, Judge Eisgruber, and neither the Marion Superior Court, nor the judge, will comment on this case. Meantime, David Wise is appealing his conviction.
I'm joined now by Mandy Boardman in Indianapolis to talk about this.
Mandy, thank you so much for having the courage to come on our show and to talk about this, to tell your story. First off, if you would, just walk us through, for years, you felt something was off. Why?
MANDY BOARDMAN, REPEATEDLY RAPED BY HUSBAND IN HER SLEEP: Well, it started off, I was sleepy quite often. I couldn't figure out why. And things were happening to me and I just knew something was off. And one night I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a pill dissolving in my mouth. I typically don't get up in the middle of the night and take pills, nor do I leave them sitting, dissolving in my mouth. So I was a little confused as to what happened.
Again, like I said, I just continued to wake up sleepy and groggy and would never be quite with it. I didn't know exactly what was happening with those pills and why that continued to happen until one evening I woke up to my husband standing over me with a flashlight administering a liquid-type medicine to me while I was sleeping.
BROWN: So, Mandy, when were you able to put two and two together? All these strange things are happening. When did you finally realize what was actually going on?
BOARDMAN: I always knew something was happening, because on those nights that I would have that medicine taste in my mouth. I would also wake up the next morning feeling like I had had sex, feeling like something had happened to me that night prior, and I had no recollection.
I considered getting infrared cameras that would videotape me in my room while I slept to make sure that I wasn't losing my mind. I didn't know for sure what was happening until one day he had left his phone at home and I decided to go through it. And when I went through it, I found videos of him raping me when I was passed out.
BROWN: I can't even imagine. That e-mail that he sent you after you confronted him, he said, you kept telling me to stop. So you had spoken to him about this. Here's the e-mail. You were telling him to stop what he was doing. Tell us about that.
BOARDMAN: I did. I found him -- going back to that night where I found him with the flashlight standing over me, that happened more than one time. I found him multiple types administering drugs to me without my permission, and I confronted him each time, asked him multiple types to stop, told him it wasn't right. And he continued to do it.
BROWN: Why was it so important for you to take legal action?
BOARDMAN: It's important to me because what he did was wrong. He did something beyond what anybody should ever do to anyone, especially a husband to a wife. I trusted him with every single ounce of trust I had in my body, and he violated that trust in our own marital bed.
It's important for me to seek justice for this, not only, one, because he -- what he did was completely wrong and he deserves to spend many, many years behind bars, but to also give a voice to other women who have been through the same thing
I know I'm not the only one out there that has had this done to they, and I want women to know that there are other women out there that this has happened to, and they shouldn't be ashamed to come forward as well.
BROWN: You mentioned you want him to spend many years behind bars. Based on the sentence he was given, that's not going to happen. What was your reaction when his sentence was announced? Not only that, but when the judge told you you should forgive your husband?
BOARDMAN: I was flabbergasted. The judge began to talk to me before he started talking to David about his sentence, and began to tell me how I needed to forgive my attacker.
Why somebody would ask a rape victim to forgive their attacker is beyond me. Regardless whether I knew him or I didn't know him, this man repeatedly raped me over and over again for three-plus years.
And there's -- he doesn't deserve forgiveness. He deserves to pay for the crimes that he committed. And when I found -- when he continued and told David that he'd be going home, for home detention, I really felt like I got a sucker punch to the gut from the justice system.
BROWN: Given what your husband did to you, are you worried, Mandy, that he's a threat to other women out there?
BOARDMAN: I absolutely am worried. I know I am not the only person that has been violated by him. I am absolutely worried he will continue to do what he's doing, you know. Nobody's safe around somebody that can violate their own wife, the person that's standing by them, that married them, was going to spend the rest of their life with them, if he can violate somebody that close to him, he'd have no trouble violating anybody else.
BROWN: Thank you, Mandy, we appreciate you sharing your story with us.
Be sure to stay with us. The sentence also shocked the prosecutor on the case. Can anything change, or is it too late?
Next, we talk to that prosecutor who fought to get Mandy's ex-husband convicted and get the LEGAL VIEW on what could happen next.
BROWN: I'm back with Mandy Boardman, whose ex-husband escaped prison time for drugging her and raping her in her sleep for three years. She's also joined by the prosecutor in this case, Courtney Curtis.
And for the LEGAL VIEW, I want to bring in CNN legal analyst Paul Callan and criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor and CNN commentator and defense attorney Mel Robbins. Great to see you guys again.
All right, Mel, I know you're fired up about this case. Let's talk about it. The prosecutor, Courtney Curtis, who we have with us, told us that the defendant promised to love, cherish and care for Mandy. She was his wife, the mother of his children.
If he did this to his wife, what could happen to others? As we heard Mandy say in the segment before, she worries he's a threat to other women.
ROBBINS: Of course he is. This is a sicko who was drugging his wife in his own bedroom, raping her and videotaping it, obviously because this is the kind of thing that turns him on.
And as Mandy said, and I believe her, there are probably other victims. And I've got to applaud Mandy for the courage of coming out and speaking about this.
And I'm sitting here, Pamela, I'm sure, as every woman and reasonable man watching is outraged, saying the punishment is not only to punish him for what he did to Mandy, but the punishment is also supposed to protect society from this sicko and make sure he doesn't hurt anybody else.
And the fact he's able to walk out of that jail, scot free, and then the judge has the audacity to ask Mandy to forgive him, to find it in her heart. I hope that the commission for -- the commission in Indiana brings charges against this judge because everything he did is unethical.
And I'm hoping there's a way they can overturn this sentence on appeal and that perhaps this judge didn't follow proper sentencing guidelines like we saw on the case, Pamela, in Montana, with the guy that raped a 14-year-old student.
BROWN: Yeah, we've seen these cases before, Paul. Let's talk about this judge.
Were you shocked to hear what he said? And not only that, but by the sentence that he gave to this man who was convicted of rape, that he's not going to spend one day in jail?
CALLAN: I was absolutely stunned by it. And it shows you also how society has changed on this issue. You know, when I was looking at the law in this area, in 1976, prior to 1976, Mandy would not have been able to bring this charge because women were considered to be, even in the United States, marital property, and essentially, by getting married, you could be consented to all sexual contact of any kind with your husband, so a husband could not rape a woman in the United States.
From '76 to '93, those laws were changed. By the way, as late as '93, that was still the law in some states. So this judge is in a time warp. He thinks it's 40 years ago, and that women have no rights within the marital context.
The other thing that I found to be bizarre about the sentence, and maybe the prosecutor can comment on that, this idea that he's going to be in home detention for 12 years as part of the sentence, at least that's what was reported.
Now, of course, he's not in jail, but how is that monitored in any sort of realistic way and at what cost to the state? It's really a bizarre sentence. In a rape case, you usually see a jail sentence and a long one.
BROWN: Yeah, Courtney, what was your reaction to the sentence? I know so many people are so outraged about this, but from a legal perspective, too, why is this so important?
COURTNEY CURTIS, MARION COUNTY DEPUTY PROSECUTOR: Actually, I do want to correct you. He's not serving 12 years on home detention. He's serving on eight years on home detention.
Twelve years of his sentence is set back to hold over his head if he should violate the terms of his probation, so it's actually even less than what is causing outrage for women, for men. Everyone has a mother, everyone has a sister or a female friend.
The position that I took, the position that my office takes, is that it is no different to us if you knew your attacker, if you didn't, if you chose to be with him.
You know, Mandy is not less of a victim because at one point she stood in front of God and family and promised to love him, and he is no less her attacker because he did the same.
ROBBINS: Well said.
BROWN: Yeah. All right, now I want to go to you, Mel, because this fight isn't over on his part. He's been convicted and sentenced, as we talked about, but he's appealing to have the sentence lessened even more.
Is there a chance that could backfire, a judge could actually send him to jail? I know a lot of people would be hoping for that.
ROBBINS: Well, you know, when you appeal a case, kind of all things are on the table. He's going to be appealing probably the plea, the conviction, all of this stuff. And, you know, unfortunately, when defendants do this, it's a way for them to continue to attack and penalize their victims, because this means the case is not going away.
But for Mandy's benefit, I'm hoping that the case doesn't go away. I'm hoping they take a look at the guidelines very closely and they find some way to say that this judge was in error.
When somebody is convicted of six felony accounts of sexual assault, how it's even possible under our sentencing guidelines to sentence somebody to anything other than a long stay in prison -- and, by the way, he wasn't even sentenced to go to therapy of any kind.
He's basically told, you've got to stay at your house and find a job, we'll see you in eight years, end of story, and, Mandy, why don't you find it in your heart to forgive him?
I mean, this is the most insane thing I've heard in a very long time, and I just, again, am completely thankful to Mandy for going public with this story.
Hopefully, the public outrage will put the pressure that's already there to do the right thing in this case and relook at this sentence.
BROWN: And, Mandy, I want to bring you in. If you could face this judge right now, what would you say to him?
BOARDMAN: I would ask him why he did this. For many years, we fought for this conviction and we got it. And we thought it was over. And I thought I could move on.
It's so hard to move on we I know this is still hanging over my head, and I will still have to fight it every day. But I'm going to and that's what I would tell him is that you can go ahead and you can give that sentence, but I will continue to fight over it, because it's not right. It's not just. I will fight it till the end.
BROWN: Has your husband ever apologized to you for this?