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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Tommy Croslin Sentenced to 15 Years on Drug Charges

Aired August 06, 2010 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, turning up the heat in the desperate search for Haleigh Cummings. Misty Croslin`s brother Tommy has been slapped with an astoundingly tough sentence for drug trafficking. Did the judge throw the book at Tommy, hoping he would crack or to send a message to Misty?

And jaw-dropping, heartbreaking secret letters from Cindy Anthony to Casey have just been released. Tonight Casey`s heartbroken mother vows to find Caylee`s real killer. You won`t believe who she`s pointing the finger at this time. I`ll give you a hint. He wears a cowboy hat.

Plus ISSUES goes inside the dark, hellish world of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs. Amazingly, he`s had his conviction overturned in Utah. Tonight, I`ll go one-on-one with the young woman who was the star witness against Jeffs. He forced her to marry her cousin when she was just 14 years old. We`ll get her reaction to her tormenter`s big break.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news in two stories of missing little girls that have captivated the nation. Explosive top secret emotional letters written to Casey Anthony behind bars by her mother. You will not believe what Cindy Anthony has to say. Does she believe her granddaughter Caylee is still alive?

But first tonight, breaking news in the Haleigh Cummings missing child investigation. A judge just slapped Haleigh`s former uncle, Tommy Croslin, with a 15-year prison sentence for drug possession. Haleigh`s relatives were in court, hanging on every word, hoping something might spill out about what happened to this precious girl.

Here`s video of Tommy at today`s monumental hearing. He could be almost 40 years old by the time he gets out of prison. He pleaded no contest to two drug trafficking charges after being arrested last January in a drug sting.

Tommy is the brother of Misty Croslin. Misty was baby-sitting 5-year- old Haleigh Cummings when the little girl vanished 18 long months ago. Misty was also once married to Haleigh`s father, Ron. Tommy could have gotten three years, so why 15 years? His sister, Misty, is also being held on drug charges. This is a stunning slap-down for a guy who sounded like he didn`t think he was in that much trouble. Listen to this.


TOMMY CROSLIN, MISTY`S BROTHER: I`m worried about Misty.

HANK CROSLIN SR., MISTY`S FATHER: Me, too. She`s got herself in a mess.

T. CROSLIN: Me, too.

H. CROSLIN: Yes, but not as big a mess as yours.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The drug charges have nothing to do officially with little Haleigh`s disappearance but what does this lengthy sentence mean to that other case, and could it be reduced if Tommy offers new information? His grandma, Flo Hollars, has told us what she believes happened to little Haleigh. Listen to this.


FLO HOLLARS, MISTY`S GRANDMOTHER: She called me on Monday to let me know that Tommy and Joe had wrapped Misty -- I mean wrapped Haleigh in a yellow rope and tied a brick to it and throwed [SIC] her off the dock in the St. John`s River.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Moments after Tommy`s sentence came down, his attorney expressed shock, saying they were not expecting 15 years. Look at this guy crying. But Tommy, quote, "took it like a man," and they are considering an appeal.

Straight out to my very special guest, Tommy`s grandmother, Flora Hollars. Thank you so much for joining us. Flo, this has to be a very tough day for you. You`ve already been through hell. What`s your reaction, Flo, to what would seem to be a very harsh sentence for your grandson, Tommy?

HOLLARS: I don`t really think they should have charged -- give him that much time for the two charges that he had. But maybe since he got all this time, he may break himself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What -- what happened in your heart today when you heard this news?

HOLLARS: I broke.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re heartbroken?

HOLLARS: Yes, it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue tonight. Why so harsh? I mean, isn`t Tommy the one who broke down and actually told you, his grandmother, what happened? Isn`t he the one who led cops down to the river where Haleigh`s body was allegedly dumped?

HOLLARS: Yes, he was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s listen to what you had to say about that earlier. You spoke about this. And we`re going to play that now.


HOLLARS: He was sort of crying when he started talking to me. He says, "Nanny, I don`t think I can hold this any longer." And that`s when I -- I mean, I cut down on him. I cut down on him hard. And that`s when he started running his mouth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why is Tommy Croslin being so harshly punished when it would appear that he is one of the few people in this entire fiasco who actually gave cops the concrete information that sent them down to the river? I mean, why -- I don`t get it, Flo.

HOLLARS: I think I`m the one that give them the information where to go to at the river, because I was called and told from Chelsea to tell them to go down 309 to Magnolia Street at -- I think it was 310 Magnolia and go -- start at the back and work their way down to the river. And that`s where they would find Haleigh at.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tommy Croslin wiped away tears in court today when his father took the stand to tell the court that Tommy grew up with drug- addicted parents. Let`s listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a drug addict?

H. CROSLIN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long have you been a dug addict?

H. CROSLIN: Started doing drugs when I was about 12 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the atmosphere that Tommy grew up?

H. CROSLIN: Yes, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is Tommy`s father in court today. Tommy`s mom and dad are jailed. That`s your daughter jailed on charges of buying crack cocaine. But they were...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... allowed to come to today`s hearing to testify. Flo, it would seem your entire family is crumbling because of drug abuse. Why is that?

HOLLARS: That I don`t really know. It`s like I said. All three of the kids was brought up into doing the drugs, because Misty seen her daddy sitting in the bathroom with needles hanging out of his arm, and they just grew up with it. And I think that`s where they started from.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How does it -- you know, Art Harris, I`ve got to go to you, investigative reporter, with this entire family ensnared in drug problems, you have to wonder could drugs be at the heart of Haleigh`s disappearance?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Absolutely, Jane. It`s a great question. I spent hours on the phone talking to Hank Croslin before he went to prison, telling me that he blames himself for Tommy`s addiction, Misty`s troubles. They were modeling.

And behind this whole thing, you know, was there -- I guess the question is, was there some drug deal gone wrong? Did somebody in the family owe some dealer something and that`s why she disappeared? I don`t think that`s what police believe. They believe that Misty and Tommy were the last people to see her alive and that`s why they`re coming down hard on him.

One reason they`re so angry, Jane, is because he gave them information but they did not find the body. Did not find any forensic evidence to match where he said Cousin Joe dropped Haleigh in the river. So they`re back to square one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, I still don`t understand. It seems like this guy did try to provide some information. He`s the one who led them down to the river. He`s the only one who seemed to cooperate in any way, shape or form. He`s the one being sent away for 15 years to the slammer. Does that make you conclude that police perhaps believe that entire down by the river episode that the body was dumped in the river was a big, fat lie?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, they went to a lot of trouble, Jane, taking everyone down there. We even saw what appeared to be Misty down on the dock.

Look, I`ve said all along and thought possibly maybe everyone -- when little Haleigh disappeared, maybe everyone was so high, they don`t really remember exactly what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow! Now, I`ve got to go back to grandma Flo. Your granddaughter Misty, OK, who was watching Haleigh when the girl disappeared could face 25 years in prison on drug charges. On the same sting that got Tommy, she was also caught on tape. It also got Ron, who you`re looking at there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this could be to send a message to your granddaughter, "Hey, look what we did to Tommy, your brother. We can do it to you. We can do it worse to you. We can send you away for 25 years."

Grandma Flo, what would you say to Misty right now if you could tell her anything?

HOLLARS: I would tell her to tell the truth, because I know in my heart that she knows the truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you saying that the whole down by the river story, that the body was thrown down in the river, that you were the one -- you broke that story. Are you saying that`s a lie?

HOLLARS: I don`t really know. All I know is I was called and told tell the police to go down -- I think it was 309 highway to -- and then go to magnolia, I think it`s 310 or 110 magnolia street and go through the woods back there down to the first dock and that`s where they dropped Haleigh off at. And it wasn`t just Tommy there, because Joe was also there to do it, too. And, yes, in my mind, I still say Joe is the main source.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So you`re sticking by the story that another cousin named Joe threw the baby in the river and that Tommy was there watching it. Joe has said that didn`t happen, and he`s saying that`s a lie.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: And he`s the only one that`s not locked up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he`s the only one who`s not locked up. Very good point, Mike Brooks. OK, fabulous panel, stay right where we are.

Cindy Anthony`s secret letters released. Find out what she`s been writing to her jailed daughter Casey.

Plus we talk more with Misty Croslin`s grandma about what she thinks happened to little Haleigh.


HOLLARS: Well, if it was your child or your stepchild, would you be walking and laughing with her gone? Because Misty is laughing. She doesn`t care. She had Ron by herself.



H. CROSLIN: I don`t want you to say nothing that will hurt you, Misty.

MISTY CROSLIN, EX-WIFE OF RON CUMMINGS: I`m not, daddy. There`s nothing against me. I`m telling you.

H. CROSLIN: Your brother told me to tell you -- your brother told me to tell you he loves you.

M. CROSLIN: I love him, too.

H. CROSLIN: You want to get your brother out, too.

M. CROSLIN: Well, worry about me first, OK?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Misty Croslin not exactly showing much sympathy for her jailed brother, Tommy. And now Tommy has just been sentenced to 15 years in prison. They were all netted on this same drug trafficking sting.

Jean Casarez, is this possibly -- this tough sentence on Tommy -- a way for the powers that be to send a message to Misty?

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": Well, whether they want to or not, they are, right. You know, a lot of these charges were mandatory minimums, meaning they had a minimum that the judge had to sentence to. Some were 25. Some were 15.

But you know, he`s really got a good deal in a sense, because there`s a five-year drug possession charge that runs at the same time. He could have gotten 20 years.

But what`s really unfortunate -- I`m looking back at the original incident report. He`s only involved in one incident. It`s Misty and it`s Donna Brock and all these others that were involved in the other ones. Also Ron Cummings. So he was just sort of at the wrong place at the wrong time once, and this is what happens.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I`ve got to say, Levi Page, you`re a blogger who has been very vocal about this. The last chance Misty has to take a plea on all of this is a week from Monday. Her drug trial comes up starting -- it begins around the end of August. So what do you think Misty is thinking behind bars tonight hearing about Tommy`s sentence?

LEVI PAGE, HOST, "THE LEVI PAGE SHOW" ON BLOG TALK RADIO: Misty is probably scared. Misty probably doesn`t want to go to trial. She probably is going to plead guilty and get it over with.

And everybody is saying that Tommy Croslin`s sentence is so harsh. Well, you know what? I disagree. I think what`s harshest, the liars, all three involved in this case, Misty, Tommy and Ronald Cummings, I think that what`s harshest is what they did to that child, Haleigh Cummings, whose birthday is coming up here in August soon.

I think that this not only sends a message to Misty Croslin to finally tell the truth; it sends a message to Tommy Croslin that they`re not messing around, that you`re going to serve some hard time. And I think it sends a message to Ronald Cummings, as well, because part of Ronald`s plea deal was that he was going to testify against Misty. And if Misty pleads guilty, like some people say that she`s going to, then there`s not going to be a plea deal for Ron, because prosecutors are not going to work with him when Misty is going to plead guilty.

So I think all three of them are involved. They`re all three liars. Ronald is guilty because Ronald was dealing drugs. Instead of searching for his daughter he drove two plus hours to go get him tattoo instead of searching for his daughter. He married the person that lied over and over to police. He...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, hold on.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He was not sentenced for that today. He was sentenced today for drug trafficking. In Florida, Jean is right, there are mandatory minimums. The judge could not go -- according to the amount of weight of the drug, the judge could not go below the 15-year mandatory, and he could have gone as high as 30 years.

However, the way to do it is the buzz words "substantial assistance." If the defendant cooperated, the state -- the state is the only...

PAGE: He hadn`t cooperated. It`s a lie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. One at a time.

WEINTRAUB: Excuse me. The state can petition the court to reduce the sentence. Now, cooperate and substantial assistance don`t mean they tried to give them information. It means information that beared [SIC] out worthy, worthy information to make another case or worthy information that would corroborate what they have. It`s not just, well, they tried to cooperate or they told them what they know. That`s not enough for substantial assistance. Substantial assistance means...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A defiant Misty Croslin has sworn up, down and sideways that she had nothing to do with little Haleigh`s disappearance, even though she was babysitting the child. Listen again.


M. CROSLIN: I will prove to the world that I didn`t have nothing to do with it.


M. CROSLIN: And everybody can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and I`m going to get on TV and I`m going to tell them all to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right. I don`t blame you at all. I mean, they need a video nationwide apology.


BROOKS: Good luck with that one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the last thing we heard through Flo Hollars, who is joining us tonight, is that the little girl was taken down to the river and thrown into the river by Cousin Joe, who denies it, and that Tommy was there and saw it. And Tommy went down to the river and so did Misty.

So Art Harris, can we conclude that this entire side journey down to the river was based on complete lies and fabrications, and that`s why he`s getting such a tough sentence?

HARRIS: That`s right, Jane. There`s nothing to back up there was a body there where he told investigators there was a body. So Jayne Weintraub is right in that he was warned and a message was sent to him -- I talked to his father Hank. He was told by detectives, "You better tell Tommy he`s in deep trouble because he told us, he gave us some leads but guess what? We got nothing." And so that is where they stand.

And right now, I think they`re very happy the judge has given him some hard time. He`ll have to think about what he knows and what Misty knows and come up with something to save his rear end.

Misty has thrown him under the bus before, Jane, and she`s out for herself. We`ll now see what she will do. She doesn`t have many options here. But her lawyers told me she has told and been squeezed like a Florida orange so hard that all there is left is pulp. Now, police would say pulp fiction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Flo Hollars, we heard the story about the baby being tossed in the river -- and you`re looking at the river -- from you. What do you think happened to Haleigh?

HOLLARS: I still say that Tommy and Joe did it. I still say that they killed -- I don`t know whether the baby was dead when she hit the water, but I really absolutely hope that she was. And I know Misty said that Joe went into a rage that night because he couldn`t find the machine gun and she jumped in the bed with the baby...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on the other side with Grandma Flo.



HOLLARS: Those three grandkids of mine is involved in this, and I don`t know why. But I`d sure like to know why. They have no remorse or something, but nobody decided to say anything until I broke Tommy on the phone Sunday. And, yes, I`m the one that called the detectives and, yes, I`m the one that sent them to the river.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That`s Flo Hollars on "Nancy Grace." And she is the one who broke the story of little Haleigh being taken to the river and thrown into the river with Cousin Joe and Tommy there. Joe has said that`s not true. Tommy just got sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mike Brooks, is it possible that Tommy was telling the truth, but by the time they went down to the river it was too late, the body had disappeared, natural elements?

BROOKS: Well, if Tommy thinks he might have been telling the truth, it could have been a little bit too late, Jane, because the flow of that river, the alligators and everything else. I mean, they found basically nothing down there, and we haven`t heard anything about that search since.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Apparently they did pull up two cinderblocks.


BROOKS: Because remember a cinderblock was propping open the door, according to Misty, on the night that Haleigh disappeared, and Grandma Flo said that the boys tied the body to cinderblocks and threw it in the river to weigh it down.

Art Harris, I know authorities tested those cinder blocks. What came of that?

HARRIS: Jane, it`s inconclusive, but they did find the same kind of yellow rope that was described to be put around the cinder blocks at the home of Tommy and in his car. In fact, Tommy`s wife, Lindsay, who testified today and testified he was a good father, actually let police into his house and led them to ropes similar to the rope that -- that Grandma Hollars described was tied around those cinderblocks. None of that was apparently pulled from the river either.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Jean Casarez, Ron Cummings, who was also snagged in the same drug sting that snagged Misty and Tommy and a couple of other members of the family and friends, he has apparently agreed to testify against Misty in her drug trial.

So that has got to be a one-two punch to Misty. Her ex-husband, who she has tattooed his name on her lower back, is now going to testify against her.

CASAREZ: But it`s not going to help him that much. Because, you see, he had a number of charges, and he had 25-year mandatory minimums and 15 years. I think it will knock it down to 15 years, but Ronald Cummings is going to be in for a long time.

Misty could have it better than anybody. You know why?


CASAREZ: She was a minor when all this happened. So it`s judicial discretion, but she possibly could be sentenced as a minor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Flo Hollars, you are Misty Croslin`s grandmother. You have said that Misty is still in love with Ron, Haleigh`s dad. In fact, she tattooed Ron`s name on her lower back. How is it going to affect her emotionally to have Ron get on that witness stand and testify against her in the drug trial?

HOLLARS: I don`t really know, but I think she may break down a little bit when she gets in the courtroom when he starts testifying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s still in love with him?

HOLLARS: Yes, she is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your whole family has been destroyed. My heart goes out to, Flo. You have done nothing wrong, and we thank you for taking the time, ma`am, to tell your story.

HOLLARS: Yes, ma`am. I`ve lost that part of my family, and I`ve lost Joe`s part of the family, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, polygamy, Casey Anthony, a whole lot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jaw-dropping, heartbreaking secret letters from Cindy Anthony to Casey have just been released. Tonight, Casey`s heartbroken mother vows to find Caylee`s real killer. You won`t believe who she`s pointing the finger at this time. I`ll give you a hint. He wears a cowboy hat.

Plus ISSUES goes inside the dark, hellish world of polygamist sect leader, Warren Jeffs. Amazingly he just had his conviction overturned in Utah. Tonight I`ll go one-on-one with the young woman who was the star witness against Jeffs. He forced her to marry her cousin when she was just 14 years old. We`ll get her reaction to her tormenter`s big break.

Tonight, mind-blowing breaking news: we`re going to show you pages and pages of explosive, highly emotional, top secret letters sent to Casey Anthony behind bars. Casey`s mother, Cindy, smuggled the deeply personal handwritten notes to her daughter in jail through Casey`s attorney who marked them as legal mail.

There`s been a ton of speculation swirling that Cindy was angry and possibly even estranged from her imprisoned daughter Casey but that apparently is not the case. In these letters Cindy says she still believes Casey had nothing to do with the disappearance of her 2-year-old granddaughter Caylee.

Cindy writes, "You stay strong, Casey. Many, many people believe in you and are trying to get to the truth. Not everyone has been brainwashed and not everyone is trying to cover his or her butt."

Plus in a bizarre twist the grief-stricken grandmother of murdered Caylee also writes she thinks the crime scene where little Caylee`s remains were ultimately found was staged. And Cindy says she thinks that the tiny body found in those woods was not Caylee Anthony. She writes, "By the way, I`m not convinced it was Caylee."

What? Is Cindy in complete denial? That`s incredibly strange. And it`s not the first time Cindy has said she believes little Caylee is still alive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wanted them to keep searching for a live Caylee?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re clear about that?

ANTHONY: Oh, absolutely. I still think Caylee is alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is Cindy drunk with grief or could she seriously, even after that little body was identified as Caylee through DNA testing, still believe her grandchild is alive?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But first, to Jean Casarez, correspondent with "In Session" on TruTV; Jean, give us the essence of what is inside these astounding letters from Cindy to Casey.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Well, all together it`s 2,000 pages of discovery, believe it or not. The letters are just part of it. But it really shows a mother`s love for her daughter. And I`m sure these letters are consoling to Casey Anthony as she reads them.

Cindy is probably a little upset that we`re all talking about them. But discovery is public and it talks about her love for her daughter, her forgiveness for her daughter in regard to things that Casey Anthony said in some of we believe the courthouse letters to a jail house inmate. She says some disparaging things about her mother.

Her mother says, "I could never be angry at you for a long time." She also talks about how upset she was when she fell and broke her tooth right before a court hearing. She had a bad feeling that morning. She thought something was going to happen. She was actually relieved she said it was just a tooth.

And she said she also was so alarmed at the hearing when she saw the SWAT officers but she learned from the attorney that in fact that`s normalcy.

But you just see the care and the concern and the defiant attitude she has on behalf of her daughter, for her daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It boils down to a mother`s love. That`s unconditional love in those letters.

Here`s my big issue tonight. Conspiracy theory? In these letters Cindy insists the crime scene where little Caylee`s body was found was staged and that the cops -- yes, the cops are in on it.

She zeros in on Roy Kronk, the meter reader who discovered Caylee`s remains.


ROY KRONK, DISCOVERED CAYLEE`S BODY: I`m in the wooded area down by the school. I need you like now. I just found a human skull.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Roy Kronk called 911 three times in August reporting there was something strange in the woods where Caylee was eventually found. It was several months later in December that he was the one to discover the body. That is a bizarre coincidence.

My question to Michael Cardoza, former prosecutor, is it enough to throw a wrench in the prosecution? After all, the cop conspiracy angle worked for O.J. Simpson. Could it work for Casey?

MICHAEL CARDOZA, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, it might work; you never know what juror is listening to this or reading these type of letters.

I go back right to the core here. Why are these letters getting out? Why do the sheriffs do this? Do they have to do it or they just -- they have a need to stir the pot here? And the mother, Cindy, knows that when she writes these letters, the letters will be published to the press. We`ll be talking about it. It will get out to most people and possibly potential jurors in this case. So I would think what she`s trying to do is to affect the jurors that might come in to the case by saying things that I have a difficult time believing that she believes.

And the other issue that I have is she knows once the letters get out, she can take shots at people. She can libel people. Like you know in these letters she took a shot at one of the lawyers. What can the lawyer do about that? He`s really got no defense unless he goes into court and brings a lawsuit against her. So this is sort of an open forum for her to take a shot at whoever she wants.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Michael -- speaking of taking shots, Cindy also insist to Casey, quote, "They need to be looking for the real person that took Caylee," end quote.

Does she mean that hypothetical nanny Zenaida Gonzalez? Are they still sticking to that story? Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla tells Nancy Grace there`s no evidence that Zanny the nanny even exists. Listen to this.


LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER: I can tell you this. We have gone over every phone call and identified every one of them and there is no Zenaida on there whatsoever, none.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Cindy attacks Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter insisting he is in on the conspiracy. She notes it`s strange that Leonard happened to fly into town two days before little Caylee`s body was discovered.

Mike Brooks, this conspiracy theory is getting bigger and bigger. The way Cindy tells it, it`s the cops and Roy Kronk and Leonard Padilla all in cahoots with each other. What do you make of it?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They sure didn`t mind taking his bail money so that Casey could get out and help them, did they? Come on. She said you let me out of jail and I`ll help you find her. She didn`t do a thing, Jane.

Let`s not forget Jesse Grund. He was in the mix there too of being involved in this. No, I`m not buying any of it.

I still think -- look, I know Cindy is the grandmother, the mother, but she still -- as I say, I think she`s overdosing on that Casey Kool-Aid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy in Rhode Island, your question or thought, ma`am.

NANCY, RHODE ISLAND (via telephone): Hi, Jane. First of all, I watch the show every night and I love it.


NANCY: My question is this. With all this denial that we have heard from Cindy Anthony, have they ever put little Caylee`s remains to rest? Has this child ever been put -- buried?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I believe she was cremated if I`m not mistaken. That`s my recollection.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course we all remember the funeral service where the entire Anthony family got up at the podium and gave very emotional eulogies for the little child. That was covered live on television.

Recent reports said Casey`s jail house bank account was in the red and that her angry parents had purposely cut her off after Casey wrote notes to a fellow inmate claiming that her brother Lee -- you`re looking at there -- fondled her breasts and possibly she was also fondled by her father. Cindy, however, seems to forgive Casey even for that, writing Jose -- meaning Jose Baez, the defense attorney -- told me you were sorry for some of the things you wrote about me. I am not upset with you at all.

My gosh. Michael Cardoza, that`s one forgiving mother. This girl is accusing her husband of fondling.

CARDOZA: Well, no question about it. All this is -- no, it doesn`t. This is all unconditional love. It is.

BROOKS: It is.

CARDOZA: It`s about a family pulling together, trying to walk their daughter out of something and then when they try to create these illusions -- it`s the old SODDI defense, Some other dude did it. It wasn`t Casey that did this.

WEINTRAUB: No, it isn`t.

BROOKS: Yes it is.

CARDOZA: Somebody else did it. If they can get one juror to believe that, they`re going to have a hung jury, if they get a juror to believe.

WEINTRAUB: Michael --

CARDOZA: And they are already starting to work on jurors.

WEINTRAUB: You don`t have to get the juror to believe anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, I`m going to give you the last five seconds. That`s it.


WEINTRAUB: They don`t need to get the jury to believe anything. They`re the defense.

CARDOZA: You know as a defense attorney you`ve got to get in there and try to convince them of something that your client didn`t do it.

WEINTRAUB: There`s no forensics, there`s no eyewitness, there`s no evidence whatsoever whether Zanny the nanny --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I have to bring out the big gavel because everybody is talking over each other but a fantastic, nonetheless. Thank you so much.

Coming up I`m going to go one-on-one with a star witness in polygamist Warren Jeffs` trial. We`re going to go inside the hell of this polygamist sect.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was young, my mother taught me that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. This has not been easy for us. The easy thing would have been to do nothing. But I have followed my heart and I`ve spoken the truth.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I will talk live with a woman who took down America`s most infamous polygamist leader in just a moment.

But first, last night we reported on a horrifying story. Seven dogs died after a long, hot flight from Tulsa to Chicago. It`s a tragic story. But during our segment, we made one mistake on our graphics. It should have said 224 dogs were killed, injured or lost on domestic flights in the United States between 2005 and 2009.

We mistakenly attributed that figure to US Airways alone. In fact, a vast majority of US Airways flights don`t even allow animals in the cargo compartments for the safety of those animals. Bravo, US Airways.

Now if we can just get the other airlines to do the very same thing, we can eliminate these horrifying animal deaths altogether.

Switching gears, a firestorm of controversy has always raged around polygamy and accusations that polygamist sects basically keep young girls as sex slaves. Warren Jeffs was an infamous polygamist leader taken down by the testimony of a star witness against him.


ELISSA WALL, AUTHOR, "STOLEN INNOCENCE": I was sobbing and my whole entire body was just shaking because I was so, so scared. And he didn`t say anything. He just laid me on the bed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This woman, Elissa Wall is my hero. Elissa accused Warren Jeffs of forcing her to marry her own cousin, who she said she despised and to have unwanted sexual contact with him. Elisa`s testimony against Warren Jeffs got this polygamist leader convicted of accessory to rape and sent this guy to the slammer for ten years.

But now in a shocking development, the Utah Supreme Court has overturned Warren Jeffs` conviction based on -- are you ready for this -- a legal technicality. Will all of Elissa`s courageous work unravel?

Elissa Wall, the author of "Stolen Innocence: My story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs." Elissa joins me tonight for an ISSUES exclusive.

Elissa, what was your reaction when you heard about this stunning decision to overturn Warren Jeffs` conviction?

WALL: I was in disbelief. I really was. It was a very shocking realization to me to -- to understand that Warren Jeffs -- his conviction was now overturned. I -- I really -- in the beginning -- it`s taken me almost a week to really process and understand what that all meant.

And it`s been rough. It`s been really hard and emotional and overwhelming, honestly. It`s been very overwhelming.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In 2001, Warren Jeffs performed the wedding ceremony between the woman you`re seeing right there, Elissa, who was only 14 years old and her 19-year-old cousin who she says she couldn`t stand.

Elissa claimed she was sexually abused by her husband and that she went to Jeffs repeatedly but he would not let her out of the marriage. Now, after Jeffs was convicted on two counts of being an accessory to rape, Elissa`s cousin/husband -- that`s right, her husband was her cousin -- was charged with rape.

Elissa, now that Warren Jeffs `conviction has been overturned, what are your fears about the case of rape against your former husband?

WALL: That -- the case of actual rape against my former cousin is still kind of in a limbo stage. There`s a lot of processes that I`ve learned have to go on within the justice system. And it`s all very confusing to me in a lot of ways but it still just proceeding forward. I don`t know what this will impact it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yet but let me tell you his attorney has now said that they`re going to use the overturning of Warren Jeffs` conviction to try to get him out of his charge of raping you. How do you feel about that?

WALL: It`s painful. It really is. It`s very hard for a lot of people to see the woman I am now and imagine me as a vulnerable, innocent child. And often -- I wish I could just remind people, remember your sister or your daughter or whatever it is that you may remember that is 14 right now and imagine them in a forced marriage. Imagine them going through that. And it`s hard. It really is hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that -- are you sitting down, people -- it was a stretch to argue that forcing marriage between Elissa right there and her cousin was forcing rape. I`m going to just say it flat-out. That is an idiotic ruling.

What do you think happens behind closed doors on a wedding night? Sex. Elissa says she believes the jury was very well aware that she was instructed by Warren Jeffs to have sex during her marriage and that she was in Warren Jeffs` absolute control.

Elissa, given this crazy ruling, I`ve got to wonder, do you think the Utah Supreme Court is perhaps biased in favor of polygamists?

WALL: Well, you have to understand that the Utah state itself has very deep roots within polygamy. Many, many people -- many residents within Utah have roots that follow back to a polygamist lifestyle. And I would like to hope that their decision was not at all influenced by any bias whatsoever.

And for me, it`s -- it`s almost comforting and it`s kind of the way that I deal in convincing myself that maybe they were just doing their job. Maybe they were just trying to hold up what they considered was their interpretation of the law.

It`s hard. It`s hard for me because it is a technicality and I went through a lot to see justice served.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re a nicer person than I am, because I don`t -- I cannot stand this ruling. And what kills me is that there`s two women. And this was a unanimous verdict. There`s two women on the Utah Supreme Court. And I hate it when women take positions against other women, and it happens.

Now there`s speculation Warren Jeffs might not even face a new trial on these rape charges, assisted rape. Utah prosecutors tell "The L.A. Times" it would be tough to prosecute him now.

Meantime, Texas is getting ready. They`re going to try to charge him on his own alleged marriages to under-aged girls. And he faces a whole bunch of federal charges.

Elissa, do you want to see Warren Jeffs retried in your case and would you be willing to testify against him again?

WALL: That is a very complicated question for me because I well remember what it took to testify against him the first time around. But given all that, it`s worth it to me because I still believe that we have to take a stand in Utah against child abuse. We have to show people all over that within these cult communities a religious belief is not a right to abuse children.

And that`s what it boils down to. It`s child abuse, and yes, if that means taking a stand against child abuse and reminding people and keeping - - enforcing laws, keeping laws enforced so they can protect girls like I was at 14, then yes, I`m willing to go through that. And I`m willing to do it, no matter how hard it may be.

Your mother had 14 children, including you. And she was just one of your father`s three wives. Ten seconds. Do you have a relationship with anybody in your biological family?

WALL: I do have some relationship with some of us that have also exited the community. It`s very hard for me to have any relationship whatsoever with anyone who still is a part of the FLDS religious community.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank you. You are my hero. Coming up --

WALL: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Canadian geese -- we`ll tell you about this. It`s a shocker.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a firestorm of controversy erupts nationwide over the mass killing of Canada geese in New York. Canada geese have certainly been around for as long as airplanes, but in the wake of the double strike that forced US Airways flight 1549 to land in the Hudson in January of last year, Canada geese have been under fire.

While everyone applauds the heroism of Captain Sully and his amazing team, there is outrage over New York State`s plans to preemptively kill two-thirds of the geese population. We`re talking almost 200,000 geese, purportedly to make air travel safer.

In one section of Brooklyn, New York alone, 400 geese have already been killed. Outraged animal lovers point out DNA tests show the type of geese that took down the US Airways flight were migratory geese, not the kind that are being systematically exterminated.

I`m thrilled to welcome Scotland Haisley, the new president of In Defense of Animals. Scotland, killing the geese is inhuman and ineffective. Tell us why.

SCOTLUND HAISLEY, PRESIDENT, IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS: Completely ineffective. Jane, as you said, the United States Department of Agriculture has waged war on America`s Canada geese. They`re slaughtering them by the hundreds.

They`re taking these geese, they`re coming -- they`re sneaking into parks in the middle of the night, they`re rounding up the geese and their goslings, they`re bounding their feet and putting them in gas chambers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, American citizens are outraged, because we insist that our own tax dollars be spent developing a humane solution to the geese problem. "New York" magazine describes the current method as brutal.

Now, there is birth control for geese, believe it or not, called ovo control, a bread like oral contraceptive that can be hand fed to geese for a small amount of time, it doesn`t kill them, it affects their reproduction.

Scotlund, you know, tax dollars were spent developing that, because of the outrage over killing geese. But they`re not using it. Why the heck not?

HAISLEY: I don`t know why not. But contraception and management is the solution. Killing absolutely is not the solution. What happens when they kill geese in these parks, other geese see an empty park and they move right back in, just as they have in Prospect Park after they killed 400 just weeks ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Throngs of A-list animal lovers from across Brooklyn and the entire country are planning a protest this coming Thursday. The rally will be at New York City Hall at noon. New York City council members and other big-wig politicians will be there, so you can be sure, the media is going to be there. You can be there, as well.

Scotlund, what else can people do to stop this mass slaughter of so many tens of thousands of innocent geese?

HAISLEY: I do encourage all of your viewers to attend our rally at 12:00 noon on Thursday. Jane, I hope you can join us, as well.

But in the interim, what folks can do is, they can contact Secretary of USDA Vilsack and ask him to put an immediate end to this slaughter on Canada geese; 170,000 are slated to be killed.



HAISLEY: 170,000 are slated to be killed in the State of New York alone in the coming year.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I take JFK. I travel LaGuardia. I know there are better alternatives. I don`t want them using my tax dollars to kill thousands of geese in my name. I`m a traveler.

Thank you. Fantastic information -- it is up to us to speak for the voiceless. These animals cannot speak for themselves.

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