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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with T.D. Jakes

Aired January 07, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, mega pastor T.D. Jakes -- celebrity preacher on the celebrated president-to-be.
Can Barack Obama bring this nation together?

Plus, Bishop Jakes has words of comfort for grieving Travoltas. What he might tell Oprah if she asks.

And then, Caylee's grandparents desperate to bury their child -- they can't because her remains are tied up in court. Now, a second autopsy has been performed.


And then, an adopted boy disappears for a decade and he's not reported missing until now. His heartsick birth parents are here with us with their emotional reaction, right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with one of the distinguished members of the pulpit in this country, Bishop T.D. Jakes. He's chief pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. He's co-producer of a new film, "Not Easily Broken." It's a new film based on one of his best-selling novels. It opens Friday. We will ask about it later.

Bishop Jakes, some extraordinary images today -- America's first African-American president is at the White House, meeting with the former -- the current president and three former presidents.

What do you make of that, looking at it?

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, CHIEF PASTOR, THE POTTER'S HOUSE: Well, you know, it's a fascinating time in American history, from a racial perspective to see how far our nation has come in my lifetime. It's just absolutely mind-boggling to think that a little over 40 years ago, I was sitting on the couch with my dad and looking at Dr. King in the middle of the civil rights movement. And to see today how far we have come, with the election of President-Elect Obama, it's heartwarming.

KING: Having a black first family, what will be the effect, do you think, on the African-American community in this country?

JAKES: I think it will be huge, from many perspectives. I think it will affect the African-American community with a sense of pride and admiration and support that has been long-awaited, on the bones and the blood of our ancestors, to see an acknowledgment of our contribution to the country. I think it's of paramount importance. But the thing that really excites me the most, Larry, is how impactful it will be for mainstream America to really have an opportunity to become more involved with minorities and ethnicities, to break stereotypical ideas about who we are as a people, to develop a greater sense of appreciation, because, quite frankly, as it exists in this country today, it is possible to get a Ph.D. And not know anything about any minority. But most minorities can't get a GED without understanding anything about mainstream America.

That's about to change.

KING: Well put.

How do you think people will respond to that extraordinary marriage?

JAKES: You know, any time you see a family so young and so well connected as they seem to be, it is heartwarming, particularly at a time that marriages are eroding and there is so much pressure in the world today. I think they're going to bring a uniqueness, not so much because of their ethnicity, but because they're very unique people -- extraordinary people, very, very brilliant people, very, very articulate people. And I think our nation is excited to see them up close and to see that image projected from the White House.

KING: Any danger, bishop, in their getting the celebrity treatment to be over celebritied?

JAKES: You know, I am concerned about it. I don't think that it's anything that President-Elect Obama is doing himself or his wife, Michelle. But I do think that there are two dangers in leadership. One is extreme low expectations, where people really do not have confidence in their leader. And any time the confidence of Americans or any group of people erode where their leader is concerned, that leader is greatly impaired in his ability to make the appropriate decisions and implement them with the goodwill of the people behind them.

On the other extreme, however, is where people expect him to be the Messiah and to fix every ill and to straighten out every issue. And there are so many people who expect him to walk on water that I'm also concerned about extreme expectations.

And I'm hopeful, over time, that we will balance out to a happy medium, whether we voted or did not vote for the president, for those who are antagonistic or those who are just enthralled, that we'll come to the balance that it's not just one man's job alone to lead us out of the darkness of the night in which we're surrounded today, but a team effort -- a coalition of people and minds and talents committed to bringing America out of the cesspool of degradation to which we have emerged.

KING: Yes.

We'll switch gears a little. A very tragic celebrity story has been making headlines, as you know. John Travolta's teenage son died suddenly on Friday. Sadly, John is no stranger to grief. He talked about coping with loss on our show in 2001.



KING: Are you able to deal well with loss?

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: I don't know really how to answer that, because I think you have to...

KING: Paul McCartney said you just -- he cried. You just...

TRAVOLTA: Of course you do.

KING: Right. Yes.

TRAVOLTA: I think what happens is that you always miss that person.

KING: They're always around you?

TRAVOLTA: Yes. The crying, you have to do. I mean, just don't bypass that.

KING: Yes.


KING: Don't be strong.

TRAVOLTA: Forget that. I just meant that I was tough in getting used to the fact that people die, but not tough to the idea that loss wasn't significant to me, because it is and it always will be. And -- but the magnitude of that is very, you know, big. And you do feel it deeply.


KING: One would imagine, Bishop Jakes, that the toughest part of your profession is dealing with grief -- counsel people who have lost someone. And the loss of a child -- triple grief.

How do you deal with it?

What do you say to John Travolta?

JAKES: It's -- it's an unbelievable pain -- very, very difficult to deal with. And not only is he devastated, his family is affected, but even the greater part of this country is affected. Because when you have celebrity status, there is a feeling that emotes out of the American people that suggests, in fact, that we feel a part of the process with him. And perhaps there -- he can extrapolate from that unity some sense of comfort, to know that there are many people throughout this nation and around the world who are praying for them, who grieve with them who feel a sense of pain that the loss of a precious child. Whenever I work with someone who's lost a child, I don't try to give them canned answers or superficial religious cliches, but to sit with them and to say I feel you and I understand you and to share their memories. Because the child continues to live on in the heart of the parent through the many memories that they have collected.

And I remind them that there are people who have never had the benefit of having someone to love or to love them like other Travoltas have. My heart goes out to them. Grief has many waves. It has many processes. And there are many, many days when you are in the spotlight of notoriety that you're not camera ready because you're a human being. And I hope that they take the luxury of just backing away for a while, processing what they have had, what they have lost. And then what people seldom share, Larry, is what remains. After the loss of a child, what remains is the gift of life and memory. That doesn't go. The experiences, the moments, the laughter, the Christmases -- those things remain.

KING: Yes, well...

JAKES: And when grief is over, they enthrall you and they envelope you and give you a sense of the great gift that you've had, even though it was for just an abbreviated period of time.

KING: Very well said.

Bishop T.D. Jakes. His film "Not Easily Broken" opens this weekend. We'll ask how he counsel Oprah if she asks, next.



OPRAH WINFREY, HOST "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": I'm mad at myself. I am embarrassed. I can't believe I'm still talking about weight. I can't believe that all of the other things that I know how to do and all of the other things that I'm so great at and, you know, all the other accomplishments -- I can't believe I'm still talking about weight.


KING: Bishop Jakes, Oprah Winfrey, in the show you've appeared on frequently, has coped with a lot of tough stuff in her life and now this weight issue.

Watch this clip.


WINFREY: All the money and all the fame and all of the attention and the glamorous life and the success and all of that doesn't mean one thing if you can't control your own being. It doesn't mean anything if you can't fit into your clothes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: She says she's reaching out.

What counsel would you bring her, Bishop?

JAKES: I'm not sure I'm a great one to counsel anybody about weight.


JAKES: I'm a pretty big guy myself. You know, the thing that I think is so visible about Oprah is that she is such a perfectionist. She does so many things so well that excellence has become normal to her. And sometimes when we hold ourselves to such high standards and we find that we have feet of clay, there's a feeling of disappointment.

But I don't think she should be too hard on herself. Because I think that, in some ways and some degree, that Oprah has been able to mentor many, many women, and perhaps some men, around this nation -- not necessarily realizing that her strength is not always in her strength. But her real strength is in her struggle and how believable she is, that she's getting older, she gains weight. Most of us do.

And when people look at people that we admire and appreciate and we find out that they're human like us, that they have issues and flaws and struggles, like we do, we don't lose admiration, we begin to gain more admiration because she is so transparent about it.

I would encourage her to do what she is doing, but not to be so hard on herself, just because she has some area that doesn't come up to 100 percent. All of us have issues of struggles in our lives and how we deal with that struggle is what makes us worthy to be mentors to other people.

KING: With all she has, Bishop, what do you say to people who will say how could she not be happy?

JAKES: Well, I don't think that it's so much a matter of not being happy. All of us have something that we're not happy with ourselves about. It might not be weight. It may be your nose. It may be skinny legs. It may be wrinkled knees. I mean, all of us have these little secret areas that we wish were different than we were or plastic surgeons would go out of business.

To think that riches or notoriety or fame brings happiness is an illusion for which the American people have become obsessed. In reality, happiness comes from within -- sometimes in the worst of times. We draw warmth and a grace and a peace that transcends our net worth or our value or how many people know us. In fact, those can be complications on the road to happiness.

But I think it is very much an internal thing and very much a spiritual thing. And she's a very spiritual person.

KING: The Caylee Anthony murder case in Florida, her mother Casey is accused of that crime. What would you say to her?

Would you pray with her despite the ramifications?

JAKES: You know, one thing that is so wonderful about the grace of God is that it does not stop at the doorsteps of the frailties of men. As horrific as circumstances may be in anyone's life -- I've worked on death row. I've worked with people who were incarcerated. I've worked with child molesters. I've worked with people who have murdered people and so forth and so on.

It's not my right nor my privilege to judge them, but to minister to them where they are and to show them the grace and the love of God, even when they do things that are deplorable or despicable, even when they face things that are horrific. Still, the grace of God is not intimidated by the fallacies of men.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more of Bishop T.D. Jakes. His movie, "Not Easily Broken," will be open -- opening this weekend.

Should the porn industry get a government bailout?

Believe it or not, they're asking for it. We'll see what T.D. Jakes has to say about that in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back with Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Publisher Larry Flynt of the "Hustler" magazine fame and GirlsGoneWild CEO Joe Francis are asking Congress to give the porn industry a $5 billion bailout, as they've done for other industries -- Wall Street, automobiles and the like.

How do you react?

JAKES: Surely you can't be serious?

You know, I think that's unbelievable and totally ridiculous. So it's -- I find it very difficult to even comment on it.

The reality is that there are so many people in this country who need help and need our support, who provide services that really help this nation to move forward. Our priority, obviously, has to be there, with people who are really going through crisis and trauma. This is a tough time in our nation today and we don't -- we don't have time to move in that direction.

KING: Did you make a moral comment at all about Sarah Palin's daughter being unwed and pregnant?

JAKES: No. You know something, I think that people's children should be off limits. My heart went out to them to have to deal with that in public. Compassion, I think, mandates that we support our children. They don't choose the public life, but they find themselves immersed in it by virtue of their parents' decision. And we find them on center stage.

The good point, however, is to see a family rally around a daughter who has had a child -- gotten pregnant out of wedlock, because there are so many people who put their daughters out and walk away from them. And they walk the street, alienated and in tears.

And so it is nice to see families stick together as they face crisis. I really believe that's what family -- what family is all about. And I think that's what America has to get back to -- the rebuilding of our families and nestling together and nurturing one another, even when we go through disappointing circumstances.

KING: Are you optimistic about that happening?

JAKES: You know, I think that if there is any good thing that's coming out of the economic crisis that we're having today, we're having to reach beyond the superficial wealth and the tapestries of success and what have you, and find something else to hold onto. I have been telling at The Potter's House and the 30,000 members of our church that we are strong people, we are resilient people. Many of us have come from backgrounds where our ancestors were slaves. My church is interdenominational, but to those that are of African-American descent, we came from tough times.

And not just us, but many people who come from different ethnicities have faced hard times before. We don't want to go back to that, but that can be the catalyst of a wellspring of strength whereby we can nestle together, we can strengthen one another, we can get together and build ourselves up. And I really do think that we will survive whatever life throws at us, as long as we stick together and keep our faith in God.

KING: Barack Obama and Rick Warren -- they have created quite a stir. We'll ask about it when we come back.



JAKES: Most people are being guided by their feelings and the problem with that is sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. You can't be fruitful if you're not stable. And you can't be stable if you're guided by your emotions.


KING: Bishop T.D. Jakes, chief pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. He's our guest.

Rick Warren, as you well know, will deliver the invocation at the -- at the ceremony honoring the next president of the United States.

What did you think of that choice?

JAKES: Well, you know something? I think that this is President Obama's opportunity to pull around him who he chooses to celebrate what is a great and historical moment for America, but then also for him personally. I don't begrudge him his right to choose who he wants to pray for him. And I certainly think that Pastor Warren has the ability to represent all of us who are going to be praying, whether the spotlight is on us or not.

KING: He's opposed to gay marriage, Rick Warren. So is President-Elect Obama.

Are you?

JAKES: Yes, well -- yes, I am. But I don't think that that should really be the paramount issue here. There are preachers on all sides of that issue. I think what we really need to focus on when we choose somebody to pray is not the vessel, but who we're praying to. And asking God to bless our nation as we face some of the most tumultuous times that we have ever seen in this nation -- and I realize it became a firestorm for many, many people. And I understand why.

But no matter who you choose to come into the spotlight, there's going to be some level of controversy because all Americans are not going to agree with anybody about everything.

KING: Let's take a look at...

JAKES: The other thing...

KING: Abortion, by the way, remains a divisive issue. Pastor Warren asked Obama about it during a campaign forum in August.



RICK WARREN, PASTOR: At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is -- is above my pay grade.


KING: Did he duck that?

JAKES: Not totally.


JAKES: I am not unstable on that answer. I believe that life begins at conception. But he has the right to believe or to speculate or to wonder about something that is very vague to people who don't really study the scriptures from a scientific perspective. And I'm not qualified to respond to that either.

But from a theological perspective, I believe the scriptures are quite clear.

But I want to get to another issue that you touched on that I think is real important. One of the great intriguing things about President-Elect Obama is that just watching him from a distance, as he chooses his cabinet, as he chooses who prays with him, as he interacts with diverse people, I think the American people are going to have to adjust to his style of leadership. He seems to be a centrist philosophically. And to galvanize and coalesce people who will not agree on every issue.

And while that will create some rub and some tension in this country, the great thing about it is some of our best and brightest minds are on both sides of all issues. We need a government and a leadership that brings our best and brightest forward at a time like this, without allowing partisan politics to cloud the way. We cannot afford to be partisan or to get stuck in the quagmire of theological debates and say we can only talk to this one or that one.

We have to talk to people that we don't agree with or we won't be a United States and we won't be prepared for the many challenges that will hit this generation.

KING: You've said that the United States is not a Christian nation, right?

JAKES: I did say that.

KING: But many, many people think it is.

JAKES: Yes, I understand that. But, clearly, it isn't. It is a nation with a lot of Christians in it. And I'm proud to be one of them. But it is not a Christian nation. And there are many issues -- Christians need to be able to separate from their secular brothers and sisters on certain issues, without allowing the government to tell us what to preach, without allowing the government to come into our services on Sunday morning.

We like to think that it is a Christian nation I understand that many of the founding fathers -- some of them had a Christian beliefs. But, by and large, it is an umbrella of government that allows people -- atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews and all types of people -- to coalesce up under that umbrella. They pay taxes, they should have equal representation. And I'm proud to be a part of this great nation.

But I do not think it is, in fact, a Christian nation.

KING: Just ahead, the latest on the Caylee Anthony case and a sneak peek at T.D. Jakes new movie.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Bishop T.D. Jakes wrote a hip book -- a novel, five years ago, "Not Easily Broken." It is a new film. It is opening Friday.

You produced it?

JAKES: Yes, I did, with -- along with Morris Chestnut.

KING: What's the concept of "Not Easily Broken?"

JAKES: You know, it's a -- it's great movie. Bill Duke directed it. He did an incredible job. We were able to coalesce some great, great actors -- Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Lewis, a plethora of others that came together.

It's about a couple who are struggling, ironically, economically, even as many people are today. Their marriage is being tested and tried by adversity, tempted with infidelity, growing apart rather than growing together.

And yet they have an ultimate covenant that a threefold cord is not easily broken.

And so they're trying to hold their marriage together. And we watch them almost unravel before our eyes. And then they come back together again in a very powerful and touching way.

I've been amazed at the pre-screening, how people have laughed and they've cried and they've been inspired. They've been motivated. And for me, it's a great privilege to work with Sony in making this movie available. I think it's a movie that people from every walk of life will really enjoy. And I think it will resonate with where we are as a nation right now.

KING: Is it a comedy?

JAKES: It is comedic at moments; it's dramatic at other moments. It's kind of hard to categorize this film. Somebody asked me is it a faith film? One of the things about categorizations is that it alienates people. I think it transcends everything. It certainly came from a heart of faith. I wrote the novel from which it evolved. But I think what's fascinating about this movie is I think it's a love story told from a male perspective. And over the years, over the some 30 years that I've been counseling couples, and women in particular, have said that men don't talk enough. We don't share our feelings. We're not forthcoming about our feelings, in touch with ourselves.

And I think this is a great opportunity for women as well as men to come out and enjoy a film that is written by a man, that is directed by a man, that the script was written by Brian Byrd, and the leading character is Morris Chestnut. And women can get to see how men feel about relationships. And I think it's going to be a catalyst for great conversation and a great evening out with a lot of fun.

KING: Autobiographical?

JAKES: Not at all. Not at all. I'm really drawing from the wealth of experience I've had in my life. One of the greatest privileges of working with people from the crack house to the White House. I've been in and out of the Oval Office for the past -- this one being now the third administration. I've seen people on death row and everywhere else. So when I get ready to write, I can draw not only from the 27 years that I've been married, but from everybody I've counseled and all the people I've met, and kind of weave together a story that I think will intrigue and bless a lot of people.

KING: You're a terrific guy, thanks, Bishop Jakes.

JAKES: It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me, Larry.

KING: He's co-producer of his own book, "Not Easily Broken." Bishop T.D. Jakes, the chief pastor of the Potter's House in Dallas. Caylee Anthony, can she ever rest in peace? We'll be back with tonight's developments after this. Stay with us.


KING: Legal maneuvering looms in the Caylee Anthony murder case in Florida. Little Caylee was reported missing by her grandmother last July, shortly before her third birthday. Her skeletal remains were found in December about a half mile from her grandparents' home, where she and her mother often stayed. Caylee's mother, Casey, is behind bars, charged with first-degree murder in this tragic case.

Joining us to discuss it in New York, Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of "Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell" on HNL, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, the forensic expert and professor at John Jay College. Here in Los Angeles, the famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, and in Miami, Stacy Honowitz, assisted Florida state attorney.

We'll get the thoughts in a little while of Dr. Henry Lee. But why a second autopsy, Stacy?

STACY HONOWITZ, ASSISTANT FLORIDA STATE ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, that was standard. We kind of knew that was going to happen. In the very beginning, they were requesting a second autopsy, because they want to know -- as you know from the state's point of view, from the medical examiner, she said that she cannot determine at this time what the cause of death is. So they want to bring in their people. They want a second autopsy. And they want to see if there's anything they can rediscover that maybe they can bring into the courtroom.

It wasn't a shock that they asked and they were granted a second autopsy.

KING: Jane, does this look like a tough case or not so tough?

JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HNL TV ANCHOR: It's getting crazier and crazier by the minute, Larry. So many developments. You have two huge legal battles tomorrow. Zeneida Gonzalez, this woman who says Casey Anthony ruined her life when she accused the women by the same name of abducting her child, is suing Casey for defamation of character, and wants to do a deposition on Monday. And Casey's defense team is saying, no, you have to wait until after the criminal trial. That's one complication.

Then you have this huge battle over the disks -- there are these three disks of the skeletal remains, X-Rays, photos. Prosecutors don't want the defense to even be allowed to copy them or print them or e-mail them. And the defense is saying, you're crippling us. We can't even mount a defense if you're restricting us in that way. And the prosecution's saying, hey, those are going to be sold to the tabloids.

So it's really becoming even more grotesque and more complicated with each passing day.

KING: What's this like for the defense?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's tough, number one, because she is a pariah. The lawyers are getting nowhere in terms of being able to get any kind of public momentum for anything else. Clearly, the autopsy was something they had to do in a case like this, where they don't know -- nobody knows the manner or cause of death. And the idea that somehow somebody's going to take a deposition of her is never going to happen. The mother of the judge has not been born who is going to grant that.

From the defense's standpoint, I've said it before every time we've talked about this, what they're up against, all the forensic evidence notwithstanding is, is this she didn't act right evidence. And that is stuff that is extremely hard to combat.

KING: So, Dr. Kobilinsky, you're a consultant for the defense. What's the defense?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, the defense is, let's look at all of the evidence that the prosecution has. And let's determine if it's reliable, and if it gives us a single message or is there an alternate explanation? I think there was a real need for an independent autopsy. And, of course, an autopsy is far more than just a visual observation of skeletal remains. There's radio- graphic evidence. There may be histology, tissues studies of the bone. And there may be toxicology that has some bearing on this.

An autopsy is not completed in a matter of hours, when you have to look at all of these different things. It could take days, weeks, sometimes, in unusual circumstances, even months.

KING: Stacy, why can't the defense see the autopsy, see the bones?

HONOWITZ: Why can't the defense what? I'm sorry?

KING: See the bones, see the evidence?

HONOWITZ: Well, it's not a matter of them not being able to see the evidence. I think that they wanted to be limited in where they see these things. I think there's a big motion that's going on tomorrow morning with regard to whether or not the judge can limit whether or not the defense can disseminate these photographs that they have experts in different places, that they can send it through the Internet, because they don't want it sold to the tabloids. It's already all over the news. It's become this media circus.

GERAGOS: Yes, but Stacy, would you agree with me that there's something inherently unfair in this case about the fact that the prosecution has consistently leaked every single thing, while the defense is trying to defend this case. And then as soon as the defense gets in and wants to do anything, the prosecution goes running in and starts screaming, oh, we don't want it to get on the Internet; we don't want it in the tabloids. Blah, blah, blah. Who else was the one who was leaking what was happening out of the trunk. Who else leaked all the other stuff? That was obviously the prosecution team.

HONOWITZ: Well, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the prosecution team was leaking anything. They want to keep the evidence close to the vest. And any time --

GERAGOS: They're keeping it close to the vest --

KING: Somebody released it.

HONOWITZ: Well, I can't say it's the prosecution.

KING: Let me get a break. We've got limited time tonight. We're going to get a break, come right back. Has the second autopsy been concluded? We're going to ask Dr. Henry Lee in 60 seconds. He's on the Anthony defense team. Stick around.


KING: With us on the phone is Henry Lee. Dr. Lee is the internationally known forensic scientist, a member of the Casey Anthony team. He's a professor of forensic science at the University of New Haven. What can you tell us about the second autopsy, Dr. Lee?

DR HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, Dr. Warren Spitz (ph) has completed a second autopsy about five days ago. However, that's just major inspecting of the bone. But the periphery testing he is still conducting. We need an anthropologist, entomologist, forensic criminalist. We're all working separately, but together, except we don't have any reports, X-Ray, photograph to compare with the remains. So it's difficult.

KING: How long is it going to take?

LEE: Well, as soon as we get the results and original photograph and documentation, then we can start our work.

KING: Thanks, Dr. Lee. We'll be calling on you again. Dr. Henry Lee. Jane Mitchell, I don't understand why everybody doesn't get the information.

MITCHELL: Well, you know, Larry, this case is really gone into a whole vortex of insanity. And that's why, to address Mark Geragos' comment, the prosecution has to try to keep the lid on it. For example, today, one private investigator who is associated with the Anthony family accused another private investigator who works for the Anthony family of actually knowing that little Caylee Anthony was dead a month before her remains were discovered, and knowing exactly where her skeletonized remains were scattered.

They actually went there and videotaped. Now the second private eye is denying it. But imagine if actually somebody knew a month before the body was discovered that that body was there. That kind of blows your mind about how crazy this case has gotten.

GERAGOS: Except the problem is that if that person knew it and that person got that information from the defendant or the client, they could not ethically reveal that information. And the whole problem with this case is the prosecution has systematically leaked information. And when I say prosecution, I'm not necessarily saying that it's the prosecutor or the lawyers per se. It's generally in these cases law enforcement, meaning the police.

KING: Well, we only have limited time. Dr. Kobilinsky, are we ever going to have this whole thing unravel?

KOBILINSKI: I think so. But I think the defense also just wants a level playing field. If there were a low profile case, there would be no problem getting the radio-graphic and photographic evidence.

KING: So, Stacy, you insist it's because of publicity they don't get it?

HONOWITZ: Eventually -- listen, the defense is entitled to discovery, The defense is entitled to anything that's going to be used in trial. I think eventually these things will be turned over. But I think there has to be a protocol as to how to do it. And right now, that's what they're looking at. They want proper protocol. They don't want this floating around the Internet.

So eventually, will the defense get the information? Absolutely. They have to.

KING: I wish we had more time. We'll have you all back, thank you. Thanks for coming, Mark. Thanks to everybody. A little boy vanishes. No one reports him missing until now. Ten years later, the people who gave him up for adoption are with us after the break. And wait until you hear their reaction next.



KING: Adam Herman was 11 years old when he vanished from his home in Kansas in 1999. He lived in a mobile home park with his adoptive parents. They never reported his disappearance. Authorities received a tip last week alerting them to the fact. Adam is now or would be now 21 years old. First we talk with Gerri George, the biological mother of Adam Herman. Do you know where your son was all these years, Gerri?

GERRI GEORGE, BIOLOGICAL MOTHER OF ADAM HERMAN: No, I did not. Last time I heard, he was in Derby, Kansas, in a foster home with Valerie Herman.

KING: Why did you give him up?

GEORGE: I didn't exactly give him up. They kept -- the county kept throwing my past of what my parents did to me. And they more or less said that I would repeat history again with my own children. And it seems like they're the ones who are repeating the history of what my parents did to me. But they're doing it with my own kids.

KING: Your parents were harmful to you?


KING: OK, so you give him up for adoption, don't know where he is for 10 years. How did you hear about this story that he has been gone and no one reported him?

GEORGE: Through my daughter Tiffany, his blood sister. She had called me and asked me to sit down and not to panic and to be calm, but that my son Irvin had disappeared. And I was in total state of shock. I could not believe that all of a sudden he was gone. And then the next day I had the Butler County Sheriff Department call me and says, did you know your son's gone and that he's been gone almost ten years? And I'm --

KING: Well.

GEORGE: It reinforced the statement. And it's like, OK, more shock, more questions.

KING: Have you spoken to the adoptive parents?


KING: Will you try to?

GEORGE: Not really, for the simple fact I have a lot of questions I know they won't answer. And they won't talk to me talk to me about it.

KING: We'll stay on top of this. The big thing is we hope we get him back. Gerri George is the mother. Now let's go on the phone to Irvin Groeninger. He's the biological father of Adam. How did you hear about this, Irvin?

IRVIN GROENINGER, BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF ADAM HERMAN: I was notified by the Butler County Sheriff's Department. They had called me. And about five years ago, my daughter Tiffany had contacted me. I thought, well, OK, they're trying to locate me for him. He's trying to locate me. They said, I need to speak to you about your son. I said, well, yes. I ain't seen him since he was 18 months old. They said, well, I don't know how to tell you this, but he's missing.

I'm like OK, he's 21 years old. He's a grown man. He's not missing. Then they commenced to telling me he has been missing for ten years and it blew me away. KING: Are you going to try to talk to the adoptive parents, who never reported him missing?

GROENINGER: At this point in time I'm going to reframe from trying to talk to them. I don't know what I'd say. I'm scared of what I might say to them. And until anything is proven, I'm going to go under the assumption that what they're telling everybody is the truth. I'm not going to be judgmental towards them.

KING: Do you think, in your worst fears, that harm came to him?

GROENINGER: I believe in my heart that something probably bad happened to him. But I'm also very hopeful that -- and I said on another news report earlier today that in a worst case scenario, I hope he's homeless. I hope he's living in a homeless shelter and doing fine. That way he's still alive. In my mind, I'm sure it's probably not.

KING: It must boggle your mind as to how they could not report it.

GROENINGER: Right. Yes. I've got all kinds of questions about that, how a doctor whose seen him during his first 11 years didn't -- all of a sudden, you know, he ain't showing up for doctor visits anymore. He ain't showing up for dentist visits anymore. They said he was under psychiatric care. He's not showing up for psychiatric care anymore. Somebody had to miss him.

KING: Well, we'll talk to the lawyer for the parents. We'll stay in close touch with you, Irvin.

GROENINGER: Thank you.

KING: What were Adam's adoptive parents, the people who raised him, thinking? We'll try to find out when we come back.


KING: Joining us now in Wichita, Kansas is the attorney Warner Eisenbise. He represents Valerie and Doug Herman. They are Adam's adoptive parents. One of the biggest mysteries is why they never reported him missing. That's the obvious question. Why not, Warner?

WARNER EISENBISE, ATTORNEY: I cannot actually answer that. The answer was attempted today in a news report to our local paper and that would best explain the reasons. I cannot come up with anything other than the fact that when he went missing -- and he had, in fact, gone missing many, many times before this -- the last time he went missing, my clients -- my client father spent the entire evening driving around the area looking for him.

Why they didn't -- they did not call the law enforcement officials, I don't know. I cannot answer that.

KING: On the screen right now what we have is an artist's rendering as to how he would look at 21. On the left is how he looked when he was missing, 11. That's how he might look now at age 21. They say they do feel very guilty, don't they, that they didn't report him missing? Haven't they said that, Warner?

EISENBISE: They say -- they're very, very contrite and feel very guilty about not reporting that. And they can't explain other than the fact that this had happened so many times before they felt that either he had returned to his former family or just had walked away and hid and did not return.

KING: Was he under psychiatric care? Go ahead.

EISENBISE: Yes. He -- he was diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic by two different psychiatrists.

KING: I interrupted you. You were going to say something else.

EISENBISE: He was a -- a very important thing happened today. When I was in court, my office received a phone call from a lady whose name I didn't write down, who is certain that she, after having seen the initial photograph of the child when he was around 11 or whenever, was certain that she saw him in a neighborhood, and lived in a residence with other children, and that they often came over to her home for cookies, and that this one boy who did not look anything like the other siblings or other children looked exactly like the photograph that's been dispersed.

My clients are hopeful that somehow this will cause, you know, someone to find him.

KING: One of your clients' homes was searched today. Do you know why?

EISENBISE: It was a former home, and I have no idea. The problem with investigative parts of this case is that counsel -- I am not entitled to anything more than a copy of a search warrant and a copy of what items were taken. I am not privy to -- because in Kansas, an affidavit upon which the search warrant is signed is sealed. And I can't -- I know nothing about what probable cause the law enforcement had to either search the home here in Cedrick County, in the town of Cedrick, and the area and the home in Derby, where they presently live.

KING: Are they his adoptive parents or are they foster parents?

EISENBISE: No. Originally -- and they were court certified as being foster parents. When he was two, they took him in as a foster child. After the age of two, the SRS or the state allowed them to adopt him because the parents, the natural parents' rights had been, I think, severed.

KING: Thanks, Attorney Warner Eisenbise. We'll be calling on you again. By the way, thank you. Anyone with information about Adam Herman is asked to call the Butler County Sheriff's Office. It's 316- 322-4398, 316-322-4398.

Priscilla Presley is here tomorrow, live from Graceland. Thursday would have been a big birthday for Elvis. We'll talk about that and a lot more. And Suze Orman is back with your 2009 financial action plan and, boy, do we need that. See who else is coming up on future shows. Sign up for text and email alerts and check out our blog. Do it all at, because we love hearing from you.

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