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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Mother of 15-year-old Boy Sue the George Westinghouse School; George Zimmerman Remains in Jail; Michael Marin Commits Suicide after Verdict; New TomKat Divorce Details

Aired July 02, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JIM MORET, HLN HOST: Thanks, Ryan. We begin tonight with shocking video out of Brooklyn from the New York daily news showing a teach brutally beating a 15-year-old student. Did the school try to cover it up? I`ll have all the details, and I`ll be taking your calls.


MORET (voice-over): An outrageous video you have to see to believe. Brooklyn teen is brutally beat up by a teacher nearly twice his size in the hallway of the school. And it`s all caught on tape. His mom is now suing the school, claiming they tried to blame her son for the attack. Was this a massive cover-up by the school to protect one of their own. We`ll show you the shocking video tonight.

And what will the judge decide? George Zimmerman spent the weekend behind bars after his second bond hearing turned mini trial ended without a decision. Prosecutors say the former neighborhood watch captain accused of gunning down Trayvon Martin lied about his finances while speaking in code to his wife about the first bond hearing. Zimmerman`s attorney says, it was all a misunderstanding. Will the judge let Zimmerman out again?

Plus, shocking allegations from a Phoenix courtroom. Did a former Wall Street banker poison himself in court? A jury had just found the 53-year- old man guilty of setting his mansion on fire, when he appears to put something in his mouth. Minutes later he collapsed and died.

Did this one time banker commit suicide in order to avoid his sentence as investigators` alleged? We`ll have the latest tonight.

And a Hollywood showdown heats up. New claims that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are set to duke it out over custody of their 6-year-old daughter Suri after the Dawson`s Creek actress filed for divorce last week. Was the leading man`s strong ties to Scientology behind the split?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an attempt to cover it up. She only learned about what really happened when the "Daily News" knocked on her door, and she viewed the tape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see her thrown to the ground a couple of times like a rag doll. Thrown against a table, which nobody, 110, 112 pounds should be thrown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She saw the horrible beating her son took at his hands. It`s clear that this is an act that has to be investigated and brought to criminality and appropriate charges should be brought to bring this man to justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he did is outrageous, and all who was involved in this incident should pay for what he did to my child.


MORET: Tonight, an outrageous video surfaces of a teenager viciously beating a school-aged student, 15 years old. I will show you the whole tape. Right now the boy`s mom says the school didn`t tell her the whole story.

I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition." In tonight for my friend, Jane Velez- Mitchell.

This video obtained by the "New York Daily "News shows Brooklyn High School teacher and security Dean, Stephan Hudson, grabbing and pummeling student, Kristoff John, a freshman boy half his size.

Kristoff`s mother spoke out at the press conference about what happened. Listen.


DIANE JOHN, MOTHER OF KRISTOFF JOHN: What he did, you know, see that`s bullying. Because look at him. He`s like 300 pounds or more. And my son is like 110, 112 pounds. You know, come on.


MORET: Kristhoff`s mom said she was originally told her son started the struggle. And it wasn`t until the "New York Daily News" showed her the tape three months later that she saw what happened. Listen to her describe watching the video for the first time.


JOHN: What I saw on the tape, my son gave him in. They called him back. He went back to where they were processing the I.D. then he went back to the side. Then you can see him grab onto his arm and pull him to the ground.


MORET: When the fight first happened, the principal only gave Hudson a disciplinary letter in his permanent file. We have left messages for Hudson and have not heard back yet.

Now, was this all a cover-up? What do you think? Call me at 1-877-jvm- says.

Straight out now to Ben Chapman, "New York Daily News" education reporter. You broke the story. How did the video stay hidden for so long, and how did you uncover it?

BEN CHAPMAN, EDUCATION REPORTER, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Well, basically this was a surveillance video, or I believe it was a surveillance video. And a source from within the school staffer at George Westinghouse High School in Downtown Brooklyn contacted me anonymously and e-mailed me this video, which showed Kristoff, you know, getting his beating there.

MORET: Well, what was your reaction, Ben, when you first saw this video? After hearing what the school had to say originally to the mom, it must have come as a shock to see a completely different scenario unfold.

CHAPMAN: Well, clearly I think that from watching the video, it`s pretty clear that the instructor, Mr. Hudson, you know, was being fairly heavy handed with the kid. And basically what happened was I took the video to the mom`s house, Diane John. And we showed her the video, and she was completely shocked by what she saw. She had no idea that her son had been tossed around so badly at school. And she had just received like a call from Hudson the day of the event, she told me. And Hudson told her that, you know, basically her son had been acted up. Her son had attacked Hudson, and then Hudson basically, you know, graciously told her that he was going to be magnanimous about it, and, you know, not press charges against this kid, not even punish him. We`re just going to let the whole thing go. But, you know, he started it, basically, is what Hudson told us.

MORET: I mean, the tape is remarkable.

And as Ben has been telling us. The alleged victim`s mom says she wasn`t told the whole story from the school when the incident first happened. Listen to what she says they originally told her.


JOHN: All the school told me is that my son had a problem with his I.D. you know, they did not explain to me like what you guys saw on the tape, I didn`t know anything about it. He had a problem with his I.D. They ask him to stand on the side while they scan it or look at it. And he started walking away. That`s what they told me. And when he started walking away, the Dean told him come back here, and my son hit the Dean. That`s what they told me. But clearly, that`s not what I saw on the tape.


MORET: We reached out to George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education high school and received no comment.

How does something like this happen in the first place? There are other adults standing around? Why doesn`t anybody stop it? Let`s go right now to Alison Triessl, criminal defense attorney coming from our Los Angeles bureau.

Alison, you heard Ben was able to uncover this for the "New York Daily News". Shows it to the mom, she`s justifiably horrified. You`re a criminal attorney. What do you say when you see this tape?

ALISON TRIESSL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s outrageous. It`s outrageous. And I think my strongest reaction was they can`t claim this as a rogue employee. There are many employees standing around. Some get in on the action of grabbing this kid. So we know that there`s a cover-up.

The fact that the mother then sends the son to the native country because of this incident, and they all say that her son was the aggressor when he`s being thrown around like a rag doll, he only weighs 112 pounds, and you can see this man a basically a beast. He weighs 300 pounds. It`s outrageous. I would be shocked if criminal charges don`t follow.

MORET: Well, from a legal standpoint, though, the school district could be on the hook because this is an agent of the district, right?


MORET: And there was a cover-up allegedly.

TRIESSL: Absolutely. I mean careless liability, you name it. They`re on the hook. This is their employee. This is during the course and scope of his employment. And he`s apparently the Dean of security for the school. So he`s not just a teacher. He`s called the Dean of security. So there`s no question that he -- that the school district and probably the city are on the hook for his actions.

MORET: Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and my friend also from New York City. Robby, from your perspective, we heard so much about bullying recently. You don`t expect it to come from your own teacher. What`s the potential impact on this young boy? He doesn`t want to go back to school, we understand. And you can`t really blame him.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, it`s so unfortunate. Because not only was he victimized by the teacher, but he was also victimized by the system. And he was also demonized when, in fact, it doesn`t look like he did anything wrong. And let`s say for argument sake, he did do something wrong. Teachers are supposed to know better.

Now, I don`t know what it`s like in this school system. I don`t know if this teacher is kind of, tough, interactive style was felt appropriate for really intimidating students and somehow his wherewith all to be equally aggressive was somehow viewed as a positive factor in this school. I mean, in some cases you do have kids who are dangerous, and teachers who feel they need to act a certain way in order to keep the peace.

But this is just really outrageous. I think what we need to know is that that behavior is not acceptable, period. And people are being taped now. So it`s very hard to get away with things that perhaps people were able to get away with in the past.

MORET: And Ben Chapman, from "New York Daily News," we only have 30 seconds before the first break. But, was there an indication whatsoever that the student did anything to provoke the teacher`s action?

CHAPMAN: Well, nothing other than what you see in the video. There is a moment in the video kind of where he`s throwing Hudson`s arm off of him. So, I mean, some folks who have watched the video say it looks like he`s, you know, angering Hudson by doing that. But, you know, certainly nothing to -- you know, you would think would warrant the kind of treatment that he received.



JOHN: My son kept complaining with back pain. He said he had a lot of back pain. His back is hurting him. And obviously his back would hurt him. Because I don`t know if you saw the tape. You see he was thrown to the ground a couple of times like a rag doll.


MORET: You`re listening to a mom describe the beating that her son allegedly received at the hands of his teacher. And that beating, as you see here, was caught on tape. This is at a New York city school.

If you`re just tuning in, I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" filling in tonight for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Let`s go right now to Alison Triessl, criminal defense attorney.

Alison, talk about what you do first. You file, obviously, a lawsuit in this case. And we`re told that the mom plans to do just that. Look, I`ve got a son about to go to high school. He`s been taught to respect authority.

This kid here on tape, 110 pounds. The teacher supposedly outweighs him by 100 pounds. It doesn`t look like from the tape the boy did anything to provoke this beating, and even if he had done something outrageous, it doesn`t justify what happened.

So, where do you go from here if you represent this family?

TRIESSL: Well, I would do exactly what the family`s attorney is doing right now which is upon filing the intention to sue, h he`s also asking and demanding that a criminal investigation get started so that they can uncover what really happened here.

There is no question that this Dean of security committed an assault against this really defenseless young boy. He weighs 112 pounds. So you just look at the tape and he`s being thrown around, he is being pushed and his head slammed against the table. So, I think this is a really easy case for the prosecutor`s office to determine there should be a filing.

Now, the next question is the cover-up. Should anybody else be charged with covering up this up, covering up this crime? You know, they never came forward with this tape. It was only through really the skill of this reporter that this tape surfaced, and who covered it up?

All these people knew what happened. And your other guest was absolutely correct. In this digital age where video is everywhere, you have to be really mindful of what you`re doing and know you may be on tape doing it.

MORET: The alleged victim`s mom and her attorney are suing the city for a reported $5.5 million, they say that the school tried to scoot the whole thing under the rug, as Alison was just suggesting. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, JOHN ATTORNEY: When she had spoken to the principal about this incident and there was an attempt to cover it up, she only learned about what really happened when the Daily News knocked on her door, and she viewed the tape.

This is almost three and a half months after it occurred. And she saw the horrible beating her son took at the hands of this Dean, that she became aware of what really happened and realized there was an attempt to cover this up by the principal of the school.


MORET: If you`re outraged listen to this.

Originally the teacher on the tape was only given a disciplinary letter in his permanent file by the principal. However, we reached out to the school chancellor, and they told us, quote, "the chancellor was disturbed by the video footage and believed that the disciplinary action given to the teacher was inadequate. The department is moving forward with a termination proceeding."

Now, how are punishments handled on this kind of situation? Why was the teacher not fired on the spot?

Let`s go right out to Ben Chapman. Ben, what`s disturbing as Alison Triessl just suggested was not only the beating, but this cover up. And you were able to show the mom, the student`s mom this tape for the first time. She believed that her son may have instigated this incident. It clearly wasn`t the case, or at least it doesn`t appear to be based on the tape. But more disturbing still is the fact that the principle only put a letter in the file.

CHAPMAN: Yes, that`s right. Diane John, Kristoff`s mom told me that she specifically asked the principal if there was a video of anything related to this incident, when she was first told that her son had had a problem at the school, and that it was no big deal.

So, Miss John had asked them to look into it. The principal, Miss John tells me, never called her back. And Miss John let the matter drop. So apparently this guy Hudson got a letter to his file, and was just kind carrying on with his business at the school until, you know, I got my hands on the video last week.

And, you know, then I showed it to the chancellor, Dennis Walcott, and as soon as he saw it he decided, you know, we need to start the process of trying to get this guy, Hudson, terminated. Removed from the system.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened here on April 20th, and why did that happen?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOT TRAYVON MARTIN: He said, you got a problem? And turned around. I said, no. I don`t have a problem, man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not about (INAUDIBLE). This is about a right and wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somehow, Mr. Martin, because he was wearing a hoodie is a criminal?

ZIMMERMAN: He sat up and he said, you got me. You got it. You got me. Something like that.

MARK O`MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: It`s not the grand conspiracy that the state seems to suggest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had lacerations on the back of his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So his head was banged into something harder.

CROWD: No justice! No peace! No justice! No peace!


MORET: Welcome back. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" filling in tonight for Jane. You can follow me on twitter at my name @jimmoret.

George Zimmerman`s fate hangs in the balance. Will the judge rule Zimmerman is not a threat to the community and let him go free on bail? Zimmerman`s second bond hearing was explosive. A so-called mini trial of the century as the defense rolled out a slew of new evidence about the night Zimmerman shot unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin.

They played in court video of Zimmerman`s injuries and called testimony from an EMT who was there on the scene. Watch this.


KEVIN O`ROURKE, EMT: He had blood on his face and the back of his head. And that was about all I remember as far as his injuries. I think he had a cut on his nose as well. A good 45 percent of his head and face were covered in blood.


MORET: Here`s the thing, none of that evidence had anything to do with why the bond was revoked. It was taken away because Zimmerman and his wife lied to the court about their finances. That is the main issue here.

Straight out now to attorney Michelle Suskauer. Michelle, coming to us on Skype.

Now, obviously, the judge here is taking his time making a decision. How do you think the judge should rule?

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, ATTORNEY: I think the judge should grant Zimmerman a bond, but what he`s going to do is take into conversation the change in financial situation. The fact that there was a lot more money than what was originally discussed and revealed. I think the judge is going to let him out.

The defense is saying he`s not a danger to the community. Because what they`re bringing in with new evidence is he was not the aggressor here. So I think that`s why that was significant.

MORET: Well, as you suggest, Zimmerman raised a ton of money through private donations on his Web site. How much cash did he have? The prosecution spelled it out in court. Listen.


There was a transfer into the account of George Zimmerman of $5,880. And then also that day 9,900. 9,900. 9,900. 9,900. 9,900. 9,900. And I believe one final 9,900.


MORET: OK. If you don`t have a total, the grand total, over 200 grand in donations.

Why did Zimmerman lie to the court in the first place? What did he have to gain.

Michelle, you`re his attorney. You got to be saying, what were you thinking at this point?

SUSKAUER: And I think what you have to portray is that this is somebody who is not a sophisticated individual. He and his wife are not sophisticated. And that this said they were not -- all you can really argue is they were not trying to mislead the court, but this was money that they were going to be using towards their lawyers, towards their defense, towards their living expenses.

But again, I think the judge is really weighing this out. And looking to see really what are the important points here? The fact, is this individual a flight risk? And is he a danger to the community? Is he going to show up at his next court date? The court date after that. His trial, does he have enough money, so he`s going to flee? So what is he going to do? Is he going to raise the bond significantly, continue on house arrest? I think he`s going to. But it`s going to be very high. Much higher than what he let him out originally.


MORET: Tonight, one of the most bizarre courtroom dramas ever. An Arizona banker, art collector, adventurer and one time multi-millionaire did the unthinkable. He apparently committed suicide while sitting in court.

I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" sitting in tonight for Jane Velez- Mitchell.

And warning now, some people may find this very disturbing. Michael Marin was accused of arson for burning down his Phoenix mansion in 2009 because he couldn`t afford the $17,000 a month mortgage payment. His trial lasted five weeks. He faced a possible 16 years in prison. Then, the jury reached a verdict.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the injury sworn and embossed the side of action, upon our oath do find the defendant, Michael James Marin guilty of arson of an occupied structure.


MORET: Right after that verdict was read, Marin put his hands up to his mouth and appeared to swallow something. No one in the courtroom seemed to notice. They were focused on the jury.

Then five minutes later, Marin does it again. Puts his hands up, rubs his face, appears to swallow something; this time his face turns bright red. Afterwards he turned and asked for a Kleenex. But that is where we will stop the video because at this point Marin suffered a seizure and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

In this stunning fall from grace, you have to wonder if it was all the embarrassment of the verdict or the prison sentence that pushed Marin over the edge. And if he did indeed poison himself, how did he get the drugs into the courtroom? Aren`t the defendants searched?

What do you think? Give me a call at 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out now to Judge Larry Seidlin, famous for his role in the Anna Nicole Smith case; thanks for joining us, Judge Seidlin. Have you ever heard of anything like this happening before?

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDED OVER ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: Yes. The courthouse is a dangerous place. It`s a tinderbox. And it`s only recently that the courthouses are putting security, metal detectors.

I wore a gun right on my foot, right on my ankle, because I knew things are happening there. There`s danger. There`s been shootings and killings in courtrooms and in the courthouses. And -- each judge knows this -- yes, Jim?


MORET: I`m sorry. But you wouldn`t necessarily find the pills, if they were, in fact, pills through a metal detector. And at this point you have to assume that whatever he had would be a danger to himself and not to others. But what is your reaction when you see this video and realize that by all accounts this man took his life right in that court after the verdict was read?

SEIDLIN: It was sickening. It was a suicide. I feel he was a coward. And he was selfish. He left behind four children. And there are a lot of people are facing economic problems, where they`re losing their homes and the homes are underwater.

He missed the most important thing in his life -- the love of his family, the love of his children. You can live in a hut. But if you have love and you have your family around you, that`s all that matters. There was no way to prevent him bringing those chemicals into the courthouse.

But as a judge, someone who has to be astute and aware of everything going on and I hope I was, I would try to watch these red signals, these red herrings and try to watch out for the danger. But bad things happen in the courthouse. Tensions are at the highest level, as you know, Jim.

MORET: Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist joining us from New York. Robi, when you see the video -- Judge Seidlin accurately states there are a lot of people in this situation. Look, I wrote a book, "The Last Day of My Life", which is talking about dealing with financial problems that seem insurmountable. But there are other options. And as the judge suggests you can`t really protect people from themselves.

What`s your reaction as a therapist when you see this person`s way out? The way he chose after really doing the unthinkable in front of all these people?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes. Well, the way he described his life, it almost sounded like he was an excitement junkie; that his life -- he was always on the edge. So I wonder if part of living his life that way almost gave him a charge so he wouldn`t have to face depressive feelings. Here he was in a situation where there was no way out, and where he actually was not in control of his own fate.

Perhaps prior when he was living life on the outside, it felt like life was more in control. And when he had to face the reality, he really couldn`t tolerate it. His ego couldn`t tolerate it. So he took matters into his own hands, and he could not deal with the consequences, so he had to put an end to his own life.

MORET: Judge Seidlin, if you`re the judge in the case, can you imagine what`s going through that poor judge`s mind now wondering if they did everything they could have to have prevented the situation and the guilt that that judge must be feeling.

SEIDLIN: Well, that`s why we on the bench have to have compassion, have to have sensitivity. And you have to sort of have all of your antennas up there, prepared for every different moment.

This defendant couldn`t face sitting in the can for 15 years. It`s a heavy penalty. And you get the worst foods. You`re getting abuse by the other prisoners in the jail. It`s the worst of the worst that you have to live with every day in that jail.

We one time had a brand new jail and the sheriff said, spend a night in the jail, as a VIP tour. I ordered a few pizzas about three hours later. I couldn`t stay -- I couldn`t stand being in that jail. I got right out of there.

This guy knew he would have to spend 15 years in the can. He`s a Yale Law School graduate. He probably couldn`t stand being anywhere for too long. And he knew the consequences.

But unfortunately, he did something wrong. He burned down his own home. And he should have just let the home go into a foreclosure and assume the responsibility. He was a coward.

And now he`s left four children behind that needed his -- hopefully he would have had the good direction and guidance to present to these children. These children now are going to be devastated, living with the sin that he committed through the Bible.

MORET: Alison Triessl, criminal defense attorney joining us from our LA bureau. And I want to tell our viewers that Alison has an app. If you have an iPhone, it`s called "Wild on Trial" and you can follow some of the big trials across the country. I`ve used the app. It`s great. It`s my little brief plug for Alison my friend.

Alison, if you`re an attorney representing somebody, and you see this happening with your client, I mean, you heard the judge`s viewpoint. What is yours?

ALISON TRIESSL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, I respect the judge, but I categorically disagree with him. I mean what an act of desperation; how absolutely awful. This man did not burn down an office building to get the insurance. He burnt down his own home with all his personal effects in it. And he found there was no other solution than for him to kill himself.

How awful is that? And you know, I think it says a lot about our economy and --


MORET: Wait, wait, wait. How are you disagreeing with -- wait, Alison. I have to catch up. How are you disagreeing --

TRIESSL: Well, he`s calling him a coward.

MORET: The Judge is calling this a -- how else would you define what he`s doing? He burned down his house.


TRIESSL: But this is such an act of desperation and true sadness and shame. And, you know, when you represent people who are going through really horribly hard times, and remember, this was not a crime against other people. This was really -- he burned down his own home. I just hope someone would have said to him, you will get through this, there is light on the other side of this. You`ll probably serve ten of those years, and then you`ll have the rest of your life to be with your four kids.

Really tough. This is a very, very tough case. You know, and it says so much about how this was not the first Wall Street person to kill themselves. I mean, you have Kenneth --


MORET: Let`s listen to what he says. Michael Marin happened to have scuba gear -- wait hold on. Michael Marin happened to have scuba gear and a portable ladder handy when his house caught fire. Here he is talking to affiliate KTVK from his hospital bed. Listen to this.


MICHAEL MARIN, BURNED DOWN HIS OWN HOUSE: Unfortunately had some air left in the tank. That`s what enabled me to get back to the window and deploy that ladder. If I hadn`t had those two things, we wouldn`t be talking.


MORET: Well, as it turns out he had a $17,000 mortgage on the mansion. $17,000 a month mortgage, I should say. He had a $2.3 million balloon payment coming due. He had $2,500 on a second home that he owed every month, $34,000 in back taxes.

So Alison, look, a lot of people are in this situation, maybe not to this degree. But you walk away from the house. You declare bankruptcy. You do a lot of things. This was, I think what the judge suggests was a cowardly act. And let`s face it, if you set your house on fire and somebody can get hurt or killed.

You know, I understand your empathy for this man. But I think what he did was kind of reprehensible, frankly.

TRIESSL: Well, I have to disagree. I think it was so desperate and so sad. And here is this man whose children will be without a father, and you can say that it`s selfish and cowardly. But to imagine the state that this man is in. And I think for a lot of us, we would walk away. I just hope that there are people who are feeling this desperate and this caged turn to someone and talk to them before they kill themselves, especially in a courtroom like this.


MORET: Now here`s your "Viral Video of the Day".



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their marriage began as a fairy tale, to be honest, made for the movies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said Tom`s poster once hung on her bedroom wall.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This went from what a lot of people thought might be a publicity stunt to something a little bit strange.

KATIE HOLMES, ACTRESS: I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People couldn`t understand why the two of them were together. There`s a huge age difference. They were in very different places in their careers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cruise`s representative said it was Holmes` decision to end the marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What may have led TomKat to turmoil --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her main concern is her daughter`s best interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, who knows. I mean the fact that we haven`t seen her. This could actually get pretty nasty.


MORET: I`m Jim Moret from inside edition in tonight for Jane Velez- Mitchell.

New details surface in the divorce that everyone is talking about. Katie Holmes calls it quits on her five-year marriage to Tom Cruise. And now TMZ reports the actress felt her marriage to the "Mission Impossible" star was over in 2011. That`s something Tom was apparently oblivious to even though tabloids were buzzing about relationship problems when Katie was a no show to the premiere of Tom`s new flick "Rock of Ages".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your first album gave birth to some of rock`s greatest anthems. What`s it like to be the Stacey Jacks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stacey, you made it.



MORET: Plus, more developments -- Katie`s concerns about tom`s religion could be the cause of the split. Katie is allegedly worried that their 6-year-old daughter Suri would be shipped off to a strict Scientology school.

Here with the latest on this A-List couple`s sudden separation is TMZ news manager Mike Walters. Mike, you`ve been working on the story all weekend. What`s the latest?

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ NEWS MANAGER: Well, the latest is we found out a really interesting thing in the divorce filing that Katie filed. That is that she`s decided that they`ve been broken up for six months, but they`ve been residents of New York for two years. Here`s why that is important. In New York law, in family law, a lot of times the judges will give legal custody to one parent and not the other, so that all major decisions are made by that parent.

If that`s Katie Holmes, which she wants, she`ll decide the religion of the child. This whole thing about Scientology and how she really doesn`t want Suri brought up that way and to be exposed to what Tom Cruise wants, if she gets full legal custody, which she`d asked for in the paperwork, she`ll decide what happens with Suri, and Tom Cruise will get visitation.

If it`s in California, which they have a house here, it`s a lot different. They`ll be 50/50. Tom can do what with his daughter he wants, when he wants to do it. That was the most interesting thing.

The other thing I got to say about being broken up for six months. There`s photographs of them out from two weeks ago holding hands in Iceland. So it`s a little interesting. You have to kind of take it with a grain of salt when you read those documents.

Like I said, if they`re in New York and she gets custody, Scientology is gone.

MORET: And, Mike, just to make sure that I understand what you`re saying. She is claiming that they have been residents of New York for two years?

WALTER: Right. Because she filed the divorce in New York and everyone wondered, why is that? They live here in Beverly Hills sometimes -- you know, they have a place in New York. She`s trying to establish the fact that they`ve been there for a full two years living so that she can keep this divorce filing in the state of New York.

If that happens, the family law is a lot different than here in California. So she could get sole legal custody of Suri. That will give her all the right to decide religion, schooling, and various specific things of Suri`s life.

MORET: Good enough. That`s Mike Walters, news manager, TMZ; joining us from the TMZ newsroom. Thanks a lot.

Besides being a movie star, Tom Cruise is known for his involvement, of course in the church of Scientology. Here he is in one of their videos talking about his beliefs.


TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: It`s our responsibility to educate, create the new reality. You know, we have that responsibility to say, hey, this is the way it should be done.


MORET: NewsCorp head honcho Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted that Scientology was quote, "a very weird cult" and claimed that Cruise was either number two or number three in that hierarchy. We have reached out for a response from the church and have not heard back. But this is the same time Holmes believes she`s being followed by the church, something that the church has publicly denied.

Alexis Tereszcuk, entertainment editor at RadarOnline; sources have told you that the church may, in fact, be the reason for the split. Is that correct?

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR, RADARONLINE: Absolutely. That`s exactly what we have heard. Katie wants Suri to have a different lifestyle. She does not want her to be brought up in Scientology. She wants her to go to school, a regular school. She doesn`t want to adhere to all the rule that Scientology has.

Even it`s a completely different language when you`re really involved in Scientology. They use words very differently than anyone else. People that have left the church said they had to look up words in the dictionary because they didn`t know if they were speaking the English language anymore.

So Katie doesn`t want this for Suri. And she`s fighting against Tom. She`s got her lawyers lined up. She has fired everybody around her that was involved with Tom. She`s hiring a whole new staff, including bodyguards. She does not want to be associated with Scientology anymore.

MORET: Alexis, you`ve been following this couple for some time. They`ve been married for five years. Were you surprised -- were folks at RadarOnline surprised when the split was announced?

TERESZCUK: We were a little surprised. Tom and Katie have put on a really good show. As we said, in the beginning, it seemed so weird. They had nothing in common. They couldn`t even say how they really met.

But then they had Suri, the cutest celebrity baby ever. They`ve been such a happy couple. They`ve gushed about each other. But recently there have been cracks in the marriage. Tom said he doesn`t want any more children. Katie isn`t anywhere with him. But today for the first time since filing for divorce just four days ago, Katie stepped out, and she was not wearing her wedding ring.


MORET: We asked you for fun pictures and videos of your pets, and we got some great ones. Send your pics to us here at



HOLMES: It`s just been so exciting, I love him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you surprised though at the scrutiny that you have experienced?

HOLMES: I don`t really care. I mean I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.


MORET: It raised eyebrows when the divorce papers were filed in New York instead of California. Katie allegedly filed on the East Coast because she thought her chances for sole custody would be better because New York courts generally grant sole custody to one of the parents when there is a conflict.

Tom is not letting that fly. He`ll allegedly file for divorce in California and ask the New York divorce proceedings be stopped because the family, in fact, according to him lived in California full-time.

Divorce lawyer, Randy Kessler, who`s a family law professor, John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, (inaudible) of the ABA family law section, joins us. Randy what is your view? Do you sense a custody battle is brewing here? And how will it shape down in your view?

RANDY KESSLER, DIVORCE LAWYER: It sounds like a custody battle. (AUDIO GAP) custody battle, custody dispute, custody difference of opinion. But you know, Mike from TMZ, he seems to know his law pretty well, but the bottom line is, no matter where they`re divorced, the judge is going to give the final decision making to the parent who`s better able to do that - - so whether it`s New York or California.

And it`s really not a question of which state is best; it`s a question of where was their residence? Mike (inaudible) and Jonathan Wolfe, Katie`s two lawyers are wonderful lawyers. They`re astute lawyers and they would not have filed in New York if that was not an appropriate basis for filing. I mean if you`ve been in the state for six months or longer, that`s the state that has custody jurisdiction.

MORET: Randy, you have handled a number of high profile cases. In this particular case, it does not look like money is an issue, there was allegedly a pre-nup that would give Katie something like $3 million for every year they`ve been married. But that doesn`t appear to be the main issue.

The main bone of contention or discussion, if you will, is Suri and her well-being. What does the judge have to look at in determining custody? Because you can`t use religion necessarily as anything in determining which parent gets the child, correct?

KESSLER: Right. Well, it all comes down to who the judge is because you know, judges have their own baggage, their own content, their own history. And really, there`s one standard that applies in family law for custody and that`s what`s in the child`s best interest. You can`t decide ahead of time in a pre-nup who should have custody because you don`t know what the circumstance will be six years later.

So this judge is going to have to figure out what is in Suri best interest. And the lawyers are going to do a good job of saying if Suri is the control of the mom, mom is going to do some good things, some stable decision making or if custody is given to Tom Cruise, there will be bad decisions made. And they`re going to have to convince the judge that the more stable parent, the more decisive parent. And the parent is better able to take care of Suri`s best interest is the mom.

And nothing is predetermined. There`s no mom gets custody because she`s the mom or dad gets custody because it`s New York or California. It`s all a clean slate when they start off.

MORET: Alexis Tereszcuk, entertainment editor for RadarOnline, we have about 30 seconds left but I want you to chime in here on the PR ramifications. Doesn`t it seem that Tom Cruise may have more to lose than he has to gain in this particular case?

TERESZCUK: Absolutely Tom has taken years to rehabilitate his image. When he and Katie first got together after he jumped on Oprah`s couch, everybody thought he was nuts; absolutely, certifiably insane. He then had this beautiful baby, he has done amazing movies, he`s really brought his career back. He`s back on top.

And now the Scientology is out there and everybody thinks this is a crazy religion so he`s got a lot of work to do.


MORET: Tens of thousands of our troops have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many are facing their recovery with the same spirit and determination that called them into service. And that courage was on display recently at the warrior games in Colorado Springs.

Our Robin Meade was there and this Wednesday night she brings you their stories of courage in a prime time special. Here`s a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just a normal person and I get out there and do what everybody else does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just awesome to kind of participate in something that`s so patriotic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to accept what we went through, but we also have to get accepted to what we want to be a part of. And that`s the biggest thing there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every one of my victories is a victory for them, it`s a victory for their families; that`s what keeps me going now.


MORET: I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" sitting in tonight. Follow me on Twitter @JimMoret.

And Nancy Grace is coming up next.

And tune in tomorrow for Robin`s special, CNN.