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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Does Haleigh`s Stepmom Know More than She Says?; Wild Horses Being Removed from Lands in West

Aired September 23, 2009 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, seismic developments in the search for Haleigh Cummings. Are the walls closing in on Misty Croslin Cummings? The missing girl`s stepmom has skipped town. The chain- smoking teenager, the last person to see this little girl alive, apparently got into an argument with Haleigh`s father, so she flew the coop.

This alleged fight comes just days after Misty`s own brother threw her under the bus, claiming Misty was not home the night Haleigh vanished. So what happened that night? Does Misty know more than she`s told the cops?

And a race against time. The countdown is on for America`s wild mustangs. They used to roam free but now they`ve been corralled, branded and roped by the U.S. government. Are these animals destined for slaughter? We`ll debate it. You can save them. They`re a symbol of freedom in the American west, so why is our government forcing these horses off their land?

Also breaking news in the Anna Nicole Smith case. Prosecutors planning to throw the book at Smith`s lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern. And that word came from defense attorneys. Smith was prescribed sedatives, methadone and painkillers, just to name a few. And Stern has been accused of aiding and abetting Smith`s drug habit. Now he could be facing 11 felony counts.

Plus, drugs, sex, rock and roll. And incest? Former TV star Mackenzie Phillips claims she was raped by her musician father, the lead singer in the Mamas and the Papas, John Phillips. But she says, as she slipped deeper into addiction, this alleged incestuous sex became consensual. Her dad has been dead for eight years. So why is she coming out with these shocking claims now?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: High drama, conflicting stories, conspiracy theories. The desperate search for little Haleigh Cummings passes the seven-month mark. Tonight, we will expose bitter feuds and possible deception. The adorable 5-year-old child vanished from her Satsuma, Florida, home in February. She and her little brother had been left in the care of dad Ron`s girlfriend, 17-year-old Misty Croslin.

But now it is Misty who`s on the hot seat. "The Orlando Sentinel" reporting Misty failed a second lie detector test, quote, miserably. Here is Misty`s story about what went down that night.


MISTY CROSLIN CUMMINGS, MISSING GIRL`S STEPMOM: I put her to bed about 8, and I woke up and she was gone. The back door was wide open. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you all in the same bed?

CROSLIN: No. She was in her bed in front of the TV. And me and Junior was in my bed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sir, let me talk to your wife. Let me just get some information from her.



R. CUMMINGS: How the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) do you let my daughter get stolen, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do Ron`s harsh words during that crucial 911 call signal something amiss in that relationship? Investigative journalist Art Harris reveals Misty has, quote, taken off to parts unknown. Has she skipped town? I`ll talk to Art in a moment.

All this as phone records reveal Haleigh`s dad tried to call Misty 20 times on the night little Haleigh disappeared. If she was at home, why didn`t she pick up?

Tonight`s big issue, keeping dark secrets. If Misty Croslin Cummings does indeed know more than she`s saying, how has a 17-year-old managed to keep such a deep, dark secret?

Straight out to my fantastic panel: Tanya Acker, attorney and blogger for "The Huffington Post"; Brenda Wade, a clinical psychologist, as well as Art Harris, investigative journalist; Art`s Web site,, has become the source of record for the latest developments in the Haleigh Cummings case.

Art, what is the very latest?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: The latest I can tell you, Jane, is that Misty is on the run to parts unknown. She took off after a fight with Ronald, her husband, and refuge, who`s been her big defender, but he threw her clothes out last -- several days ago, and she ran out, kicked her out of the trailer they were living in.

He then has a change of heart, chases her down, apologizes, brings her back, and then the next day, she gets in a car and takes off. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Tanya Acker, is she allowed to do that? I mean, she hasn`t been charged with anything. She has not been named a suspect.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY/BLOGGER: She hasn`t been charged with anything. She is not yet a suspect. We don`t know if she will be named a suspect. So she hasn`t done anything wrong, but it does raise some interesting questions about why you would flee in the midst of this very critical investigation, where she is, at the very least, somebody who, having seen - - been the last person to see Haleigh alive, she should have probably stuck around.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You have to wonder why did she leave? The timeline of the night that Haleigh vanished doesn`t make any sense, people. Haleigh`s great grandmother, Annette Sykes, says she saw Haleigh at about 7:30 that night. Misty claims she put Haleigh to bed at about 8 p.m. that night. We just heard her say it.

Misty`s brother, Hank Croslin, who is now in jail on an unrelated charge, is telling cops that Ron Cummings asked him to go by the house where Misty was and check on Misty, Haleigh and little Ron Jr. that night. Hank says he did that at 9:45 p.m. and nobody was home.

Law enforcement sources say phone records show that Ron tried unsuccessfully to reach Misty 20 times over the course of the evening. But Ron`s lawyer says that Ron did not ask Hank to go check up on Misty. Ron`s lawyer claims Ron and Misty had been in touch during the evening. The lawyer says Ron called Hank`s house at around 9 p.m. just to see if Misty was there.

Well, here`s what I don`t understand, Art Harris. If Ron had been in touch with Misty, why was he calling around looking for her? Why do records show, reportedly, he tried unsuccessfully to call her 20 times? It just doesn`t make sense. What do you know?

HARRIS: I don`t have any -- any information that he was talking to her. In fact, my sources say that he did not speak with her after 8:30. They had a fight on the phone. He did not speak with her until 3 a.m., when he came home.

So you have all those phone calls. You have cell phone towers that put him at work, and you have other towers that are now being investigated along with Misty`s telephone to see if, in fact, hers was off or if, in fact, she made other calls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I don`t understand, what do you mean, they are now being investigated? I mean, the big question is, if she went out, where did she go, and who else knows where she went? How is it possible they`re just checking now on her phone records?

HARRIS: Well, they have her phone records but you know, there`s a GPS issue. There are some cell towers concentrated in one area of the county, and then there are sketchy ones elsewhere. So right now, they`re trying to figure out if, in fact, she had it off or what happened with her phone.

And right now, Jane, I can tell you that she is under a lot of pressure and my latest on their relationship is Ron has told her don`t come back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight`s big issue, keeping dark secrets. Listen to what Misty, the teen bride of Haleigh`s dad, said on "The Today Show" back in March.


MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": Why were there inconsistencies? Why did you say one thing one time and one time, the other? One thing the other?

M. CUMMINGS: I don`t know.

VIEIRA: But you -- you know you did do that?


VIEIRA: And you`re not sure why?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s an amazing interview for what it doesn`t say. The six months since that appearance, Misty has basically not changed or said anything new.

Here`s the thing. Let`s assume hypothetically, Brenda Wade, Misty has been harboring a dark secret all this time. If she`s hiding something, she is stone-walling as effectively as a terrorist suspect. How is it possible for a teenager to pull of something that would require such sophistication and self-control?

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Jane, I don`t know if she`s hiding anything or not. This family has so much dysfunction, so much, you know, bad communication, breakdowns, fights. Now your clothes are in the street; you`re in, you`re out. There`s so much confusion.

And one of the things I always remind myself when I look at Misty is she is 17. Now, your brain isn`t finished until you`re about 24, Jane. We`ve got a person with an immature brain and a lot of immaturity in other ways, left with two children. It`s so confusing.

But there`s one thing that jumps out at me, which is that the brother who says Misty wasn`t at home is in jail on a felony charge. Yet his mother believes him. I don`t know. I don`t think anybody in this family has any character. I don`t know who to believe.

What I do know is that it`s very likely that Misty was acting out and punishing Ron, because they had a fight on the phone. Whether she shut off the phone or whether she left the house, that fight is what triggered whatever went on next.

HARRIS: I can tell you...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Art.

HARRIS: Jane, I can tell you that Misty, I`ve talked to her family, her grandmother, up in Tennessee. They say Misty didn`t really have a chance. She grew up, you know, living out of cars. Her parents had their own issues. She wasn`t made to go to school. She had learning disabilities.

And it`s really sad to hear her describe Misty coming home from school saying, "Grandma, I can`t do this. Will you help me." And then her grandmother sitting down and poring over her homework, this -- this wonderful lady trying to summon what she remembered from school, unable to help her granddaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One thing I will say about secrets that I`ve learned covering crime, is that you tell a lie, you have to cover it with another lie. Then you have to cover that lie with another lie. And the chance of other people getting involved and being involved increases, right?

WADE: Yes. Absolutely, Jane. There`s no question.

ACKER: And I think that the...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the idea that you could keep this secret forever is really unrealistic, and what happens is at a certain point, it festers to the point where it`s no longer sustainable, and it explodes in your face.

All right. More on this in just a moment.

Coming up, shocking claims through the daughter of a rock legend. From drugs to incest, it`s the story that`s going to make your head spin.

Then, how is it possible Haleigh`s dad, Ron Cummings, is holding up through all of this hell?


R. CUMMINGS: That I`m not hiding anything for anybody and, if somebody has something to do with it, let them fry. So be it. Whoever it might be.




R. CUMMINGS: If I find whoever has my daughter before y`all do, I`m killing him. I don`t care. I`ll spend the rest of my life in prison. I`m telling you, you can put it on record. I don`t care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, it`s OK, sir. We got them on the way. OK, can you give me any -- what kind of description of her pajamas that she was wearing?

R. CUMMINGS: I don`t (EXPLETIVE DELETED) know. I was at work!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A frantic father, out of his mind, as you can hear, with worry over his missing 5-year-old daughter, a girl with special medical needs.

Tonight, speculation swirling about whether Haleigh`s stepmom, Misty, has been keeping a dark secret in the seven months since Haleigh vanished. Listen to what Misty said in the days following little Haleigh`s disappearance.


M. CUMMINGS: I was looking by the dirty clothes for the clothes she was wearing earlier that day for school, and I found that shirt, and I showed the detectives. If I was hiding something, why would I show the cops the shirt?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Art Harris, investigative journalist, you`ve become the source of all things Cummings. You`ve heard some reports of a comment that Misty allegedly made. This is new information.

HARRIS: That`s right. That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about it.

HARRIS: It`s on I interviewed the neighbor who says that her brother, Tommy, stole his gun. Tommy`s in jail now. He told me, though, that Misty when she was over there using the phone, once said, "I`m," quote, "damned tired taking care of someone else`s children."

And then as she was leaving, she turned to him -- she called him Mr. Child, "will you please pray for me?"

He said, "Misty, I don`t really go to church that much, but I`ll see what I can do."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, what do you make of that comment, if it`s true?

WADE: You know, I don`t think it`s unusual for somebody who`s 17, caring for two young children to feel I`m tired of it. It`s overwhelming. And this -- she`s a girl. I can`t even say young woman. This girl must have been overwhelmed.

Jane, I don`t know what she`s hiding or if she`s hiding something. But I feel a certain empathy for her, because it seems to me she`s in a situation that is overwhelming, that is so dysfunctional, with a guy who throws her out on the street. I mean, it just seems like mass confusion to me. And in their relationship, one thing is clear. They don`t know how to talk anything out. Everything gets acted out. So I have a lot of concerns about all of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you know -- go ahead, Art.

HARRIS: Ironically, I have talked to a lot of her friends and family. Ronald was probably the most stable relationship she`s ever had.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she`s only 17 at the time of all this. So that doesn`t really say a whole heck of a lot. I mean, Tanya Acker, what I could never get my mind around in this case is the fact that Ron Cummings married her. Your child disappears on this girl`s watch, and you marry her? I can`t understand that, no matter what explanations I`ve heard.

HARRIS: Well, his explanation...

ACKER: There are so many -- there are so many things about this case that just don`t make sense. I think that Brenda raises some very good points about the dysfunction in this family. I mean, the mother who`s now siding with the brother in jail. I guess has also reportedly said that she`s estranged from Misty and not talking to her.

The whole notion of this marriage that takes place after the disappearance, I think you`re absolutely right, it raises serious questions. It`s a little suspicious, given that married couples can`t testify against one another. And so I think there`s some reason, there might be some reason to question some of those motives. But I find it all very bizarre and very, very troubling.

HARRIS: I asked Ron that question, Jane. And you know what he told me?


HARRIS: Over dinner several months ago, he said you keep your friends close and your enemies closer.


HARRIS: He was afraid -- he was afraid, he said, that if, in fact, Misty took off to Tennessee, wherever, he would never find out what happened to Haleigh, because she was the last one who was with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now she`s missing. Where is she, Art?

HARRIS: I`m just told she is -- she is out of town. No one can find her. She was supposed to come back and have a reunion with Ronald on Thursday, but I`m now told that`s off.

ACKER: And I think...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Art -- go ahead.

ACKER: I was going to say, the other point, really, that we sort of talk about the mystery of her disappearance and the strange timing of it and why it was really not very well thought out or a good idea. Let`s again remember that she is 17. This girl clearly does not have and has not exercised the best judgment. So I think we should be careful about ascribing too many motivations...

WADE: Yes. The other thing, Jane, that I want always...

HARRIS: The pressure`s on her. She hops in a car with someone...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, Art. What are you saying?

HARRIS: The pressure`s on her. She hops in a car with someone, and she takes off.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is the pressure on her now? This has been going on for months. Is it because they dredged the pond?

HARRIS: They dredged the pond. Her brother comes -- her brother comes in and says that, you know, she wasn`t home when he went over and banged on the door. I had a major, Major Gary Bowling demonstrated to me how hard he banged. He banged on the table, and I could hear it all the way over the phone. It was loud.

So if anybody...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So that implies she was not at home at the time that Haleigh disappeared?

HARRIS: Or she was so -- so, you know, in such a hard sleep from whatever she`d been doing -- that`s what Ron`s mother believes -- that she didn`t wake up. And she claims through her lawyer that she was home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Misty`s whereabouts as well as the story she`s told about what happened that night are now under intense scrutiny, obviously. A guy named Greg, with whom she reportedly had a revenge romance after a fight with Ron, says Misty partied with him the weekend before. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right before she went back to him, she was with me. And she was telling me that she left him, because he`s going to beat on her, whatever. They used to fight all the time. She came to me and we hung out, me and her friend, Nene. We were just riding around. You know, it was a typical Friday, Saturday night, just riding around having fun. Partying, getting high, you know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Greg goes on to say he`s sure he saw Misty on Sunday, the day before Haleigh vanished. In fact, he thinks they talked on the phone on Monday. Is Greg`s testimony relevant here? Given the fact that drugs were allegedly involved, Tanya Acker?

ACKER: I think that, look, we`re going to have to look with great suspicion at any testimony, at any statements of that, made in the context of either the -- the person making them or the person about whom they are where drugs are involved. I think that we need to take that with a grain of salt.

HARRIS: That`s the problem with the investigation, Jane. Law enforcement tells me that they have had such a tough time verifying stories, determining credibility. One of the -- one of the officers told me, you know, Art, some of these people, it`s like trying to interview a rock.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And try to figure out what`s real, what`s fantasy, what`s made up.

HARRIS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very difficult. Excellent job, thank you, fantastic panel.

Coming up, shocking claims from a former TV star, from drug-crazed nights to having a sexual relationship with her dad?

Then, there`s nothing more beautiful than witnessing a herd of wild horses, but time`s running out. We`ll show you how you can help these horses.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight," the clock is ticking for America`s wild mustangs. They are a symbol of our freedom and the great American west.

But the Bureau of Land Management, BLM, keeps rounding them up and selling them off. Right now as we speak, 67 stallions sit in pens at the base of a horse range where they once roamed free in Wyoming and Montana. The Cloud Foundation is fighting to keep these wild horses on public lands and to protect Cloud, for example, a pale palomino stallion, and his herd.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The noise from the trailer spooks Cloud, and the family bolts to freedom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After a public uproar, the government freed Cloud. But many of the other horses you see on that PBS show are going to be auctioned off in just days. Where they go if they`re not adopted is a huge controversy.

Here to talk about it is Chantal Westerman, who was the Hollywood reporter at "Good Morning America" for 13 years. She gave it all up to be an advocate for the animals.

Chantal, describe this BLM roundup of these horses. Is it terrifying for the animals?

CHANTAL WESTERMAN, ADVOCATE FOR HORSES (via phone): It`s devastating, Jane. It`s absolutely devastating. I went to the top of the Pryor Mountain Ridge which covers Wyoming and Montana. And we were there as the horses, Cloud`s herd, would stand there very quietly and calmly around ponds and playing with each other.

And out of the clear blue sky, literally, you hear that horrible pop, pop, pop, pop of a helicopter. The horses are absolutely petrified, absolutely terrified.

Now, what happens is, in a wild herd like this, they have bands or families that stay together. That means like there`s a stallion. He has several mares, children, and they all stick together. But when they`re frightened of something, they run, Jane. And the helicopter, the purpose of the helicopter is to drive them down the range.

Now, if you can picture this, if you can imagine running down a mountain and they`re at probably -- they`re probably at a level of 8,000 feet. And the helicopter drives them down to 3,000 so that the 5,000 altitude drop, horses running.


WESTERMAN: And for me, the most terrifying part was I would see mothers running alongside foals. I saw...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to jump in on that. The most heart- wrenching part of this roundup, which is described as cruel, is the baby horses, the foals. Of more than 140 animals captured, approximately 15 were foals. Three mare/foal pairs are up for adoption.

Supporters of these roundups say, well, all these horses are going up for adoption. But what they don`t say is wild horses are not adoptable very often because -- guess what, people -- they`re wild. So it`s almost impossible to turn them into a riding horse.

So realistically, what I`ve heard is a lot of these animals end up in a downward spiral, where they`re ultimately sold for horse meat, which means a horrific journey to the slaughterhouses of Mexico or Canada. Yes or no, Chantal?

WESTERMAN: Well, I have to say yes and no. Because I will tell you, thanks to you and your intelligent audience, who watches this and follows Cloud`s herd, you know, Cloud`s herd...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in. And I want to say that I would like to help out these horses. You can go to the The Cloud

There`s an auction set up for the 26th of September. You can get involved and save some of these horses that are going up for auction. So go to the and save one of these wild horses.

We`ll be back in a moment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news in the Anna Nicole Smith case: prosecutors planning to throw the book at Smith`s lawyer and boyfriend, Howard K. Stern. And that word came from defense attorneys. Now he could be facing 11 felony counts.

Plus, drugs, sex, rock and roll, and incest? Former TV star Mackenzie Phillips claims she was raped by her musician father but she says as she slipped deeper into addiction, this alleged incestuous sex became consensual. He`s been dead for eight years. Why is she coming out with these shocking claims now?

Sickening secrets revealed in an explosive tell-all written by former TV star Mackenzie Phillips. reports Phillips said she had sex with her own father.

In her memoir, the "One Day at a Time" star writes at 19 on her wedding night she claims to have woken up from a drug-induced haze and was having sex with her dad, rock legend John Phillips, who founded the Mamas and Papas. He died in 2001 so he cannot defend himself.

But John`s other daughter, Chynna of Wilson Phillips fame says she believes her sister. Chynna says her sister told her this years ago. Mackenzie exposed all her dark secrets to the public today on Oprah.


MACKENZIE PHILLIPS, TV STAR: My father shot me up for the first time. Mick Jagger locks the door and he says, "I`ve been waiting for this since respect you were 10 years old.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. This is mind-boggling. The book`s title, "High on Arrival is based on a song John dedicated to Mackenzie. The chilling lyrics, "She`s just 14, there isn`t much she hasn`t seen. She`s always too high on arrival."

As she spiraled out of control, Mackenzie says the relationship became consensual. Her dad even said let`s move to Fiji and live as a couple?

Mackenzie has a history of drug abuse that started in her teens. She has been in rehab. Want to take a guess how many times? Ten times, people. Did her father`s alleged abuse fuel her addiction?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: also joining us, Dr. Reef Karim, addiction specialist and psychiatrist, and Carlos Diaz, correspondent from "Extra." Carlos, dare we ask what is the very latest?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Well, I tell you what, the very latest is the response you`re getting from people and it really is split right down the middle between the people that you see online who are writing now saying ok, do we need to know this information, is it transparent that she`s trying to sell a book. And then the other half of the people are saying you know what, you know, kudos to Mackenzie for coming out and saying this, maybe what she`s saying will help other people.

It really is split right down the middle between those two opinions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I keep going back and forth between those two opinions as I read more and more. I`m sure you do, too. In her book, Mackenzie says of sex with dad, quote, "there was a relationship that crossed the boundaries of love to break taboos," end quote. "My father was not a man of boundaries. He was full of love and he was sick with drugs. I woke from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father," end quote.

She has said in the past, she looked up to her dad. Listen to this.


PHILLIPS: We have to remember that we are our children`s role models, you know, and certainly, my role models -- my role model was my father, who had hair down his back and was wearing a dress -- you know. And said whatever turns you on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, I honestly don`t know what to make of this. What concerns me is that the father is dead; he died eight years ago, so he cannot speak to defend himself. What do you make of it?

BRENDA WADE, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, Jane, I rarely see people come out with this kind of story just to sell books or just to make a name for themselves, because it`s too shameful. It`s very, very shameful and painful to think of having sexual intercourse with one`s parent. People don`t make that up randomly as a rule.

And the thing that makes me believe that it`s true is exactly what she just said. She said her dad had this belief that anything goes, anything`s ok.

And Jane, you know as well as I know that when someone is addicted to drugs, the brain stops working properly. The judgment that we normally count on to keep boundaries, to keep relationships where they need to be between parents and children; all those boundaries break down and anything could happen.

I, for one, believe her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I say it over and over again, I have said it to you, Brenda, I say it in my book, alcohol and drugs make you capable of things you would never, ever, ever be capable of sober.

WADE: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Mackenzie Phillips -- Mackenzie Phillips also has a history of severe drug abuse, along with her dad, but she was kicked off the show, "One Day at a Time" because of her constant drug use.

Last year -- we`re just talking 2008 -- she was busted in the airport with cocaine and heroin. She told Oprah about this arrest. Listen.


PHILLIPS: It was terrifying and the woman was like are you holding, are you holding, and I was like no, no, no. Then finally she pointed down to my foot and I could see the baggie of drugs sticking out of the corner underneath my foot. And I, you know, at some point you have to give in and I said yes, I am holding. I said but I`m somebody`s mother, I`m somebody`s mother, please don`t bust me, please don`t bust me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mackenzie says she is now sober. TMZ reporting she will appear on VH1`s celebrity rehab as a mentor this season.

Dr. Reef Karim, she`s got a book, she`s on "Celebrity Rehab" and she`s now revealing these deep, dark secrets. Connect the dots for us.

DR. REEF KARIM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST (via telephone): Yes. You know, I`m split down the middle as well.

On one side of it, you`ve got the entrepreneurial aspect of things and on the other side you`ve got the sex, drugs, rock and roll lifestyle. Where I thought Brenda said it very well. When you`re acutely in the throes of addiction, all boundaries are completely thrown out the window.

A family member who`s supplying drugs is no longer a family member. It`s a drug dealer. The role has completely changed.

And research in the field of addiction shows that (INAUDIBLE) sexuality, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse and early drug use while the brain is still being developed as an adolescent completely changes one`s coping skills, ability to deal with life, ability to set boundaries later on in life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in with Tanya Acker.

You`re the attorney and I first thought whoa, wow, this is a pretty libelous statement and, of course, then a second later I realized the person who is being accused of this has passed away. So what`s the legality of that, Tanya?

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: First off, the fact that he`s dead suggests that he no longer can prosecute this cause of action. His estate would have to prosecute it, but it seems that there might not be anybody who would be willing to do that.

I mean, I don`t know the mechanics of who his estate administrators are, but the fact that Mackenzie`s sister, Chynna, is prepared to corroborate these allegations would suggest that any claim that anyone would want to make about...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good analysis, Tanya.

We have, by the way, an exciting addition to our prime time lineup coming to you next week. "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW" will air every night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN.

Here`s just a little taste of what you`re going to get. It`s her "Moment of Joy" commentary.


JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST, "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW": So I hear the Ukraine has turned down Elton John`s request to adopt a 14 month old Ukrainian boy named Lev. Ok. Who`s in charge there? Who`s in charge there?

Viktor Yushchenko? I think dated him.

Listen Viktor, are you saying Elton John is too old or too gay? He may be gay but he also happens to be a celebrated humanitarian and has been knighted by the Queen of England. In fact, some people think he is the Queen of England.

This baby, this poor baby, is unwanted, HIV positive and stuck in some depressing orphanage that makes Abu Ghraib look like the presidential suite at the Waldorf with no prospects to move up in the world. Where`s he going to go, Estonia?

And here`s a chance to be taken in by two loving, fabulously rich parents who will give him the best health care in the universe and dress him in Versace jammies and cashmere Huggies. Now Sir Elton will move on and find some other more tolerant country willing to let him be a dad.

Meanwhile, little Lev will likely grow up in foster homes, turn into a bitter, vodka swilling drunk and one day, will return to the orphanage, "You (BLEEP) I`m living in a dumpster when I could have had front row seats at the garden for the rest of my life and hung out with Sting and Elizabeth Hurley."

That`s a sad story. But maybe that`s just me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The show premieres on HLN next Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern but you can check it out now at Once again, "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW," we can`t wait to see it.

Coming up, an accused family killer finally in U.S. custody: The latest on the case of this man accused of wiping out his entire family.

Then more trouble for Howard K. Stern. Is that even possible? Yes, it is. What does today`s court appearance reveal about his role, alleged, in Anna Nicole Smith`s death?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Howard K. Stern in court today on additional charges related to Anna Nicole Smith`s death. We are going to discuss it but first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Breaking developments in a brutal Florida family murder: the man accused of cutting his family`s throat and then fleeing to Haiti is now in U.S. custody. Mesac Damas was booked last night and was served a warrant charging him with six counts of premeditated first degree murder. Damas is slated to appear in a Florida court tomorrow.

And then in a stunning twist, cops say Jaycee Dugard`s alleged captor is not connected -- not connected -- to two other missing girl cases. This comes after human bones were discovered on Phillip Garrido`s property.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

New charges today against Anna Nicole Smith`s boyfriend and lawyer: did Howard K. Stern keep her or help keep her stocked with the dozens of meds that killed her? He and two of Anna Nicole`s doctors are accused of basically enabling her to death. They have all pleaded not guilty.

The newest allegation against Stern is that he scored opiates for Anna Nicole using aliases. Court docs say 44 medications were prescribed for her under a number of names, including Stern`s -- 44 medications. Was this addict getting whatever she wanted because she was a celebrity and a potent sex symbol? Anna Nicole died in 2007, just months after her son, Daniel, died. Stern says Daniel`s death started her on a very dark road.


HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S ATTORNEY AND COMPANION: From the day that Daniel died, Anna honestly was never the same. I mean, I would say that physically, she died last week but in a lot of ways, emotionally, she died when Daniel died.


Were the people closest to Anna more concerned with feeding her addiction than getting her real help? Could they even help her? She was an adult, after all.

Let me welcome back my fantastic panel. Also joining us, Mike Walters, news manager at TMZ. Mike, what is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, NEWS MANAGER, TMZ: Well, you said it, Jane. Howard was charged with five more felonies. He was in court today, he pled not guilty. But I think you got to get into what they are to explain what happened here. And that is four counts of the fraudulent prescriptions.

In these documents, it goes into really good detail about how he used his name, his name spelled s-t-e-a-and it has no a in it to score drugs and taking it to Anna Nicole in the Bahamas, here in Studio City and all over her houses. That`s what that`s about.

But the one that sticks in my head is the fifth one, that is administering, prescribing or dispensing narcotics or controlled substance to an addict. And the interesting thing is remember we talked about it yesterday, there`s a really gruesome thing inside the documents that talks about taking medication, crushing it up, heating it up into liquid and injecting it into Anna Nicole; him and Eroshevich.

That`s what I see when I look at it. But I got to say really quickly, the zinger today in court was on the way out, his attorney decides to stop and do a press conference and you guess what this guy says. He says Anna Nicole Smith wasn`t an addict and tries to call the charges BS.

Now, whether the charges are BS or not, I dare anyone on this panel or Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who said that Anna Nicole is not an addict?

WALTERS: Howard`s lawyer said that on the way out of the courtroom. We live-streamed it here on our Web site. It just happened on the way out.

If that`s your excuse that you tried to claim that Anna Nicole and that`s your defense, wasn`t an addict, I dare anybody to explain that to me. Go ahead and roll the videotape of her in the clown outfit and face paint and all the times that we`ve seen her on Red Carpets and anything, and tell me, and then read the documents and tell me Anna Nicole Smith didn`t have a drug problem. You`re crazy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I have to say that Stern has pleaded not guilty and his attorney wants all the charges dismissed and we are going to say that any time Howard Stern wants to come by and appear on ISSUES and tell his side of the story, we are very, very, very happy to have him.

Stern denies all the accusations and says Anna Nicole was his world. That world included off the wall apparent seeming drug-induced scenes like this. All right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This footage is worth money.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing you`re looking into.

SMITH: It`s a camera.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I think that is pretty powerful evidence that at least Anna Nicole was high on something, at least at the time. Now, if you ever saw her TV show, she also appears high at that time.

Brenda wade, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, can we assume that yes, it is a duck?

WADE: It`s a duck. It`s a duck, Jane, we all know that. The thing that I want people to take away -- because addiction is rampant in America, you know that -- and one of the things that`s important is to know that there are ways to intervene and get people into treatment.

But if you`re a pusher, your motivation is to keep making money off the person getting the drug. If you`re the enabler, you`ve got your own motivations for crushing up drugs and injecting it into somebody`s veins. But if you want to help someone, there are many, many, many fine services for doing an intervention.

We have free 12-step programs in every church basement and synagogue basement all over the country. For God`s sake, we need to address this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here. Steve Kardian, is it possible that Howard K. Stern was your classic enabler, co-dependent, who thought that he was doing what Anna Nicole wanted?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. He believed that he was doing what she wanted. But the bottom -- the fact of the matter is that he enabled, he facilitated, and he conspired to ultimately lead to her death through criminal negligence, so yes.


WADE: I also think he had some motivation of his own here, Jane. I don`t think enablers are just doing what they think the other person wants. Most enablers continue to enable because they`re getting something, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or they`re in denial. Addiction is at the heart of the Anna Nicole tragedy and so many other stories, including my own.

It is national recovery month; great time to get sober. I also want to urge you to buy my new book, "I Want." You`re going to learn so much about my struggle with alcohol addiction, how I overcame it. Some of my confessions, they are actually quite shocking.

You can get my recovery memoir in book stores now or go to and click on the order section.

You know, they say the only thing that has to change is everything. That`s exactly what happened to me once I sobered up. You won`t believe some of the things that changed.

All right, everyone, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on the Anna Nicole Smith drama in just a moment. You won`t believe what`s next.



JERRY BROWN, CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: The scenario is using false names and getting prescriptions for thousands of pills without medical necessity and making them available to Anna Nicole Smith, who obviously was addicted. And all of that violates the law of California.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thousands of pills. That was the California attorney general who was overseeing the investigation into Anna Nicole Smith`s death.

Back with my fantastic panel. Tanya Acker, attorney, one of the arguments that Howard K. Stern`s attorney is using is "Howard is not a doctor. The statute does not apply to him." Is it that simple, really?

ACKER: No, it actually is not that simple, Jane. And you know, the interesting thing here is that this notion that they`re going to go down this road of suggesting that he was somehow innocent and didn`t know that she was an addict when by the same token he`s being charged with using aliases to get her drugs and participating in her drug habit while she was pregnant, I just don`t think that`s going to go very far. So I don`t think this is going to be a very fruitful line of defense for him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about the doctors who are involved because he`s not the only one charged. There are shocking new allegation that`s Anna Nicole had sexual contact with her doctors.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Court documents cite some really, and I mean really racy photos of Anna Nicole with her psychiatrist and neighbor Dr. Khristine Eroshevich. Now, these pictures apparently allegedly -- I have not seen them -- show the two naked and embracing in a bathtub two months before Anna died.

The documents also alleged Dr. Sandeep Kapoor had some kind of sexual contact with Anna. There he is. TMZ has this photo of her with a shirtless Dr. Kapoor. The doctor`s attorney, however, told ISSUES, "No way, Jose, my client is openly gay."

So I`ve got to go back to Mike Walters on this. If he`s openly gay, he`s not having sexual contact probably with Anna Nicole. So let`s talk a little bit about the other one, the female psychiatrist.

WALTERS: Well, yes. I mean, the one thing in the documents that doesn`t -- when this story came out in the news, in the media, they didn`t really get into detail. I mean, in a bathtub with topless or something like that doesn`t sound as bad. But there are several photos, and they are very racy. We`re talking totally nude...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you seen them?

WALTERS: I have not seen them personally, but they are described in very specific detail. If you read the full documents, it goes into very specific detail as in fully nude on a bed, crotch area, open legs -- stuff like that is in these documents. So they are very racy.

And I have to go back to the fact that they`re doctors. So again, this is an inappropriate relationship, whether they`re playing and having fun or Sandeep Kapoor is openly gay and he`s nuzzling her neck at a nightclub. And you saw the photo. That was actually a gay pride parade they were at, at the end of the night.

But that doesn`t matter. He`s her doctor on paper. He`s prescribing medication. And that`s inappropriate either way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda Wade, what are the rules for doctors and their patients?

WADE: The rules are -- look, Jane, you take the Hippocratic Oath, and in this case I think these doctors took the "Hypocrite`s Oath." The oath says that you are to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a good one.

WADE: ... to protect your patients, you are to help ever, hurt never. Always do those kinds of things that empower and help people.

In this case clearly the doctors aren`t helping. They knew it. They were hurting her.

And in terms of relationship, there`s professional distance. It`s not professional to nuzzle your patient`s neck or being nude with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we`re going to have to leave it with that brilliant line. As they say, first do no harm.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

Remember, click on Preorder my book "I Want."

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