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All Charges Dropped in Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
Aired April 11, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight, all charges dropped against three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a student-turned-stripper at a team party in March 2006. Today`s bombshell decision came from North Carolina`s attorney general, who took over the case after DA Mike Nifong was accused of ethics violations. The attorney general says there is insufficient evidence to proceed with the case, adding his investigation showed the three young men are innocent and there is no evidence that an attack occurred at all. During the investigation, DNA failed to link any -- any -- of the players to the accuser, who also changed her story several times.
And tonight: After months of stonewalling, court delays and appeals, an announcement, photographer Larry Birkhead is the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s 7-month-old baby girl. Howard K. Stern, Smith`s live-in lawyer, says he will not fight for custody. But the saga is not over. Now the legal battle heads back to a Bahamas court, as a formal inquest into the mysterious death of Anna Nicole`s young son, Daniel, gears up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE`S ATTORNEY/COMPANION: I just want to say that I`m obviously very disappointed, but my feelings for Dannielynn have not changed. I`m not going to fight Larry Birkhead on custody. We`re going to do what we can to make sure that the best interests of Dannielynn are carried out, and I`m going to do whatever I can to make sure that he gets sole custody.
VIRGIE ARTHUR, ANNA NICOLE`S MOTHER: All I care about and all I`ve ever cared about is the safety and wellbeing of my little granddaughter, Dannielynn. And I look forward to working with Larry, raising my granddaughter and doing what is very best for her.
JOHN O`QUINN, ATTORNEY FOR VIRGIE ARTHUR: We`ve been in touch with Mr. Birkhead, who seems to be a man of good faith, and Virgie`s certainly a woman of good faith. They both love that baby. They`re going to work it out.
LARRY BIRKHEAD, ANNA NICOLE`S FORMER BOYFRIEND: My baby`s going to be coming home pretty soon. You know, it`s all up in the air. Nothing`s really determined except parentage, and I`m the father. And it`s been a long road, and I`m just happy to, you know, have this behind me and just to be able to start a life with my daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-year-old Daniel Smith came here to the Doctors Hospital in Nassau. He came to celebrate the birth of his baby sister. But three days after she was born, he was found dead in his mother`s hospital room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He (INAUDIBLE) came to see his newborn sister and (INAUDIBLE) suddenly (INAUDIBLE) down there. It raises a lot of questions. Anna Nicole, the mother of Daniel, is dead, and Howard is the only one who`s alive who was in the room. So it really arouses our interests (INAUDIBLE) find out exactly what happened (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Howard will make his own comments in due time.
BIRKHEAD: I`m just here to tell the truth, and they can use my information any way they want. If it helps, it helps. If it doesn`t, it doesn`t.
QUESTION: What kind of things do you think you might be able to add?
BIRKHEAD: Well, there`s a lot of things that happened before people got here, so maybe you never know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. First, charges dismissed against three Duke lacrosse players.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The result of our review and investigation shows clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges. Today, we are filing notices of dismissal for all charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. The result is that these cases are over and no more criminal proceedings will occur.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roy Cooper said a word today. The word is I-N-N- O-C-E-N-T. I want to make sure everybody`s got that and knows how to spell it. These young men were, are and always have been innocent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been 395 days since this nightmare began. Finally today, it`s come to closure. From the very beginning, many of the men who are sitting in this room, including myself, Reade and Collin, have said that we were innocent, and we`re just as innocent today as we were back then. Nothing has changed. Facts don`t change. We have never wavered in our story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This experience will be with me forever. I`ll never forget all those who stood next to me throughout the whole thing. The truth finally did prevail, as everyone said it would.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This entire experience has opened my eyes up to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed. If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us with absolutely no evidence whatsoever, I can`t imagine what they`d do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This, ladies and gentlemen, is not a great day of celebration. I want you to understand that. This is a great day for justice. For all of us up here at this table, it`s a great day of relief. So don`t expect us to be happy (INAUDIBLE) these young men went through this (INAUDIBLE) We`re not happy. We`re angry, very angry. But we are very relieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. A stunning announcement out of North Carolina, all charges have now been dropped against the three Duke lacrosse players originally accused of sexually assaulting a stripper at a party. The attorney general of North Carolina lashed out, using strong words to condemn the DA who fought to prosecute this case, which, as we all know, was loaded with racial, gender and class issues, pitting an African-American female accuser from a local college against three young white men from elite Duke University.
In announcing his decision, the attorney general described DA Mike Nifong as overreaching, and implied he was a rogue prosecutor.
Let`s go straight out to Kenneth Moton, a reporter with News 14 Carolina, who was also at the news conference held by the young men who have now been cleared and their very angry lawyers.
What an astounding day! What is the very latest?
KENNETH MOTON, NEWS 14 CAROLINA: You know, there were a lot of twists and turns for a lot of people here in the Raleigh-Durham area, a year of controversy and turmoil for not only these three Duke University lacrosse players, but also for their team and also their families. And now it has all come to an end with that major and dramatic announcement by state attorney general Roy Cooper.
He has said since he took over this case back in January, after Durham district attorney Mike Nifong handed it over to him and he recused himself -- he said that his state prosecutors would take a long and thorough review of the case files, also talk to the witnesses in this case, before he made that decision. He made that dramatic decision today in front of local and national media here, who have been here following this case from the beginning.
But I think the real story today is what happened in this room just behind me on that stage, when the three defendants, their families and their attorneys all walked up on that stage. It was a little bit of a mix of emotions from those folks when they were up there, as far as -- the defense attorney, Joe Cheshire, the attorney for David Evans, saying, as you heard before, that this was not a celebration, that this was a relief. But he was so angry at the injustice that happened to his clients.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Kenneth, I want to jump in here because one of the things that I loved that I believe Reade Seligmann said was that, Hey, if this could happen to us, if we could get railroaded -- and we`re kind of these elite students -- imagine what happens to poor people who don`t have the kind of resources and the high-priced lawyers that we have.
And I thought that was almost like an attempt to reach out to the other side because this has been such a divisive issue. Did you get that sense at all?
MOTON: I did get that sense. Reade Seligmann, the once accused, charged player, he said that statement that you just made, and he was saying that -- you know, as you said, people who do not have the means that he did, cannot afford an attorney, cannot afford the representation, to really get his point out that he is an innocent man and that him and the other players charged are also innocent. You know, there`s been a lot of talk about Durham and the community there and...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`m going to jump in...
MOTON: ... the salaries that people make there...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to jump in with that because you raise some excellent points. First I want to go to Stephen Miller. This is the Duke University student who has been critical of this district attorney from the very start. This has to be the day that you were waiting for. Your reaction to this announcement?
STEPHEN MILLER, DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Well, you`re quite right, Jane. I`ve been waiting a long time for this day. And let me just say that although the criminal case has come to an end, the delivery of justice has only begun because now it is crucial that Mike Nifong answer for his actions and that he pay a price for railroading these innocent people. And that is absolutely essential.
So I`m not as, attorney Cheshire said, at all celebratory because this has been a terrible year-long ordeal. What I feel is a sense of relief, and I`m just incredibly satisfied that finally, we see the case disappear. However...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s interesting because...
STEPHEN MILLER: ... I am also tremendously eager...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... you`ve been so angry in the past...
STEPHEN MILLER: ... that real justice be done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and you don`t seem as angry tonight.
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I`m -- I still having the same sense of outrage that this kind of thing can happen in the United States of America. But the fact is that these players can finally now can step outside the shadow of these charges that have been plaguing them for one year. But it doesn`t change the fact that there is still a district attorney in the county that is absolutely out of control and seemingly without any ethical constraints whatsoever. And that situation needs to be addressed. And until it`s addressed, there`s a lingering issue that hangs over the heads of everybody who`s under the power of this man.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I want to go to Rony Camille because he kind of represents perhaps the other side, although, as Reade Seligmann said, we shouldn`t be pitting communities against each other and relying on stereotypes, and I really like those points that he was making. Rony Camille is assistant editor of "The Campus Echo" from North Central University. That is the university that the accuser attended.
Rony, thank you for joining us. What`s the mood at your campus tonight. How are you and your fellow students reacting to what was done today?
RONY CAMILLE, ASST. EDITOR, "CAMPUS ECHO": Well, the mood at North Carolina Central University is a relieved one. The members of "The Campus Echo," many of the reporters that have been covering the story today, have spoken to many students. First off, they are relieved, but also, one of them that I spoke to earlier today believes that, you know, the student -- the girl now (INAUDIBLE) no longer an alleged victim -- didn`t get a fair chance in this whole pan -- panned out -- but again, with her story changing at least five or six times throughout the whole year, you know, students are now thinking, What is going on with this case, really?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this question as a follow-up because, you know, one could say that Mike Nifong, in pushing this, what now appears to be a bogus case -- he said he believes, based on his investigation, no attack occurred -- that he also betrayed the minority community in the Duke area because they assumed that he was working on a legitimate case. They went out. They protested. It seemed like a horrific thing. And so in a sense, he`s made them look foolish.
CAMILLE: And again, I`ve spoken to many students and activists today who live near North Carolina Central, and they`ve told us -- there was no minorities, you know, working on this case in Mike Nifong`s office, even in the -- in Roy Cooper`s office, and that`s one of the concerns that needs to be addressed and looked at from -- those are the concerns that students and members of the community are addressing to us and to our reporters.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. The phone lines are lighting up. Let`s listen to the questions. William from Missouri, your question, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I just wanted to ask the panel what their thoughts on -- were with this Duke case scandal going on, whether or not other rape victims are going to be afraid to come forward because they`re not going to be believed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that is a great question. Cassandra Thomas, senior vice president of the Houston Area Women`s Center, you heard the question from our viewer, William. Are women who have been raped, who have legitimate complaints, going to be afraid to come forward now?
CASSANDRA THOMAS, SR. VICE PRES., HOUSTON AREA WOMEN`S CENTER: I think they will be. It is very difficult for a survivor to come forward under normal circumstances. When a national case has gone on like this, when survivors have been denigrated, it is very difficult for the survivor to step out and believe that she`ll be given a chance to tell her story and be supported and believed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, let`s go to Joe Lawless. He is not only a defense attorney, but he is the author of a book, "Prosecutorial Misconduct," and it appears there was prosecutorial misconduct in this case. In fact, Mike Nifong is being charged with ethics violations that could get him disbarred, so many of them. Can you give us a rundown of some of the things that he did wrong?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Jane, he did a number of things. First of all, there was evidence that the DNA test exonerated these three young men. That was never disclosed. That`s a violation of constitutional provisions, which require exculpatory evidence to be turned over. He repeatedly, at the beginning of this, made statements to the press that went simply beyond informing the public. They were declarations of guilt, very clearly attempting to pollute the jury panel prior to trial.
And he basically castigated these guys before the investigation was completed. And as Roy Cooper said, there not only was no evidence sufficient to support charging them, there was evidence indicating they were innocent. And he has an ethical obligation not only to prosecute people who`ve committed crimes, but to make sure that people who don`t commit crimes aren`t wrongfully charged. I think very shortly, Mike Nifong is going to be on the wrong end of a malicious prosecution civil rights lawsuit, and I think he should be.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paul Henderson, San Francisco deputy DA -- you`re a deputy DA. This was such a stinging rebuke of a sitting district attorney. Have you ever seen anything like it? What should happen to Mike Nifong?
PAUL HENDERSON, SAN FRANCISCO DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not something that`s really common or happens in a lot of cases. As a prosecutor, your job is to seek justice. Generally, the courts give you wide discretion, and you`re protected in your role as you represent victims and you seek justice absent a showing of something like ethical violations or clear misconduct.
In this case, I think we have a really tough problem with a second prosecutorial agency making an independent review of the evidence and coming out with a statement indicating that they`ve reviewed it and that there is no evidence to sustain any charges.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, this case has touched a nerve with the public. Phone lines lighting up. Ronda from West Virginia, your question, ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Short and brief. What`s going to happen to this woman that has accused these young men?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent point, because we cannot forget about her. Kevin Miller, investigative reporter, what`s her status? Where is she? Has she commented on today`s announcement?
KEVIN MILLER, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Jane, she -- as far as we know, she hasn`t. North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper has said that he will not press charges against her because he believes in his mind and in the mind of the investigators from North Carolina that she believes her numerous stories that have led to this -- this horrible case that has happened. So there will be no charges against her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, former D.C. police who also served on the FBI terrorism task force, do you think that`s the right decision, that this woman should not be charged?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: No, I don`t think it`s right at all. I think if she filed a false police report, Jane, that they ought to go after her. You know, I don`t care what her mental state is. Let her prove her mental state in a court of law. But if she broke the law, if she -- I mean, she -- you`ve got three victims now, three victims from her reporting of -- this false reporting she did. Let`s go after her. These are the three victims we`re looking at right now. She was...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I bet you, Anne Bremner...
BROOKS: ... the alleged victim -- she was the alleged victim. Hey, let`s give her name. She`s not a victim anymore. We`ll find out who she is. If she`s charged, I want to hear what her name is and it`s going to be public record if she is anyway. But apparently, she`s not. That`s too bad.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Defense attorney Anne Bremner, do you disagree? Because some say the real villain in this case is Mike Nifong...
ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... not this accuser.
BREMNER: The state prosecutes the case. And the fact is that she`s the complaining witness. And when we look at this scathing rebuke by the attorney general, that this was overreaching by a prosecutor, there was misconduct and a rush to accuse, that there is where the fault lies, squarely Mike Nifong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The result of our review and investigation shows clearly that there is insufficient evidence to proceed on any of the charges. Today we are filing notices of dismissal for all charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans. The result is that these cases are over and no more criminal proceedings will occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. Complete exoneration for the three Duke students who had been accused of sexual assault in an emotionally charged case with racial overtones. The attorney general of North Carolina not only said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the young lacrosse players, but he also said his investigation showed that the three are innocent, actually said the word innocent, and that the evidence indicated no attack occurred. His conclusion, the flawed case was a tragic rush to accuse by a rogue prosecutor, he implied, full of bravado.
The attorney general added something very fascinating. Comment on this, Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst, that the young woman may have actually believed the many different stories she told. How is that possible?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: I was fascinated by that, too. This speaks to something called symmetrical equation, and it happens to people who have personality disorders and who are under extreme stress. Symmetrical equation is when you experience two things as being identical that are not. So if someone hits you, you actually experience it as if they were going to kill you. Someone yells at you, you experience it as if they were going to hit you. Someone fondles you inappropriately, you experience it as a rape. And some people under times of extreme stress revert to this kind of thinking.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and there was also talk that she might have been very intoxicated that night, which could have affected her memory. Now, she doesn`t have a lot of money. Joe Lawless, if these young men should sue, who should they sue?
LAWLESS: Well, the lead defendant is obviously going to be Mike Nifong, but then you also sue the district attorney`s office for Durham and you sue the municipality that the district attorney works for. They`re the deep pocket. You could get a $20 million or $30 million verdict against Mike Nifong, and you`re not going to collect it. The municipality, the entity, will probably have insurance. That`s the entity you sue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, the inconsistencies were so significant and so contrary to the evidence that we have no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house on that night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. The three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexual assault in an explosive case have now been cleared, all charges dropped, the young men speaking out, marking the end of what one called a nightmare that lasted more than a year. But is it really the end? Are they going to sue? Who should they sue?
Now, let me go to Stephen Miller, the Duke University student who`s been so outspoken on this. Isn`t suing a double-edged sword because if they sue, it keeps their name in the papers, associated with this case, and they want to be known for something else in their life, other than this false charge?
STEPHEN MILLER: Well, I think the crucial thing for them is that they`re known for a being a false charge, as you say. As long as the words "charge" and "false" are together when it appears, then that`s not a problem for them because the idea is that they want everyone to know that these charges are totally bogus.
See, beforehand, when people saw their name in the news, (INAUDIBLE) Oh, well, you know, maybe they did it, or I think they did it. But now the attorney general of the state has come out and said they`re innocent. So when their name appears in the press now, people who are going to see it next to the words "bogus case" or "false charge" or whatever...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it.
STEPHEN MILLER: ... it would be. So I don`t think any harm, in that sense, can come from it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Kevin Miller, investigative reporter, what is going to happen to Mike Nifong. The North Carolina Bar Association is holding hearings into his misconduct. What could happen to him?
KEVIN MILLER: Well, Jane, he can be disbarred. He has a hearing this Friday. He wants the case against him thrown out. He could be disbarred, and he does have limited liability. In addition, I have heard rumors that possibly Duke University, as well as Durham County, could be sued civilly in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF DANNIELYNN SMITH: I told you so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry Birkhead has stuck to the truth all the way through. He stuck to his guns.
VIRGIE ARTHUR, ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S MOTHER: I`m looking forward to working with Larry, raising my granddaughter, and doing what is very best for her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll likely settle. And of course, she`s delighted, I`m delighted.
HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH CONFIDANTE: I`m obviously very disappointed, but my feelings for Dannielynn have not changed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howard Stern can no longer falsely go around saying he`s the father of the child. That`s over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace.
As we move on to the flurry of controversy still raging around the Anna Nicole Smith saga, the world has finally learned that the real father of little Dannielynn is L.A. photographer Larry Birkhead. So does that settle it? Not by a long shot.
Now the issue of custody takes center stage. Anna Nicole Smith`s mother, the baby`s grandma, appears to be making a bid for some sort of role in the child`s life. Will she demand joint custody at a hearing on Friday?
And for the latest on the inquest into Daniel`s death, let`s go straight out to David Caplan, deputy New York bureau chief for "Star" magazine. What`s the latest on all of this, David?
DAVID CAPLAN, "STAR" MAGAZINE: Well, the latest is two. First of all, with the inquest, today there was a status meeting into Daniel`s inquest today in the Bahamas, where the jurors were called back, just to sort of really touch base with the judge. Interestingly, though, tomorrow, though, all the major players, including Howard K. Stern, will return to court, where the judge is going to listen to an appeal that Howard K. Stern`s lawyers have put forth where they`re requesting to question the jurors, a process known as voir dire, in which -- because he`s not really sure that the jurors in this case are going to be particularly impartial. So that`s what we`re going to see with the inquest.
And then we`ll find out -- hopefully, it will kick off about 40 or so people. So that`s with the inquest.
Then Friday is another big day with custody. Virgie Arthur still is seeking some sort of custody, but Larry Birkhead has been very vocal, and he was on the "Today" show earlier today saying he will not share custody with anyone. In fact, Howard K. Stern is aligning with him, saying he will make sure that Larry gets sole custody.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, David Caplan, guess what? We are very delighted to have with us tonight John O`Quinn, Virgie Arthur`s attorney. Mr. O`Quinn, can you answer the question for us, what does Virgie want? Because we`ve been hearing so many stories that she just wants to be the grandma, that she might go for joint custody. What exactly will she seek at this hearing on Friday?
JOHN O`QUINN, ATTORNEY FOR VIRGIE ARTHUR: Well, from conversations with Mr. Birkhead, Larry, and from what was said last night by him and his sister in particular, we`re all family, and we respect the grandmother, and we want her to be involved. And we`re supposed to have a meeting tomorrow about that subject, and I think it`s going to get all worked out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you think you guys are going to sit down, maybe at a coffee shop or something, and have a little meeting, and work it out that so, when you go into court, you`ve kind of got a deal, like, OK, I`ll let you visit her, x, y, z number of times a year.
But doesn`t the court, Mike Brooks, have to weigh in on that? I mean, Larry and Virgie can`t make deals and then demand that the court accept it.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: No, absolutely not, but you can have joint custody in the Bahamas, but I seriously doubt that will happen. You know, I was sitting in appeals court the other day next to Virgie and her husband, James.
And, you know, I think she just, she cares -- it sounds like she wants to make sure that Dannielynn is cared for. Now we know who the father is. Yes, she would like to get custody, because she had already filed a motion to be guardian ad litem. And that`s what the original hearing tomorrow afternoon was supposed to be.
Now it`s going to be -- now we know who the father is, it will be on guardianship and custody. But, you know, at the very, very least, she wants grandparents` rights, you know, whether that`s allowed in the Bahamas or not, she just wants to be able to see, you know, her granddaughter. That`s basically all she wants at the very minimum. At the very maximum, she would like to have custody or at least joint custody of Dannielynn. Whether that will happen or not, the judge will decide, Judge Isaacs will decide on Friday.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Joe Lawless, defense attorney and author of "Prosecutorial Misconduct," you`ve seen so many of these cases. I can understand where Virgie`s coming from. She`s lost her daughter. She`s lost her grandson, and she wants to make sure she has some kind of relationship, that she doesn`t have to walk on eggshells, that this is not sort of at somebody`s whim, that she had something in writing that says, hey, you know, I`m legitimate here, I can come visit.
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, at this point, it`s a question of Bahamian law. The child is in the Bahamas. The court is going to decide who the custodial guardian is. I think it`s likely it`s going to be Larry Birkhead.
And at some point, the court may or may not decide that Virgie Arthur has legitimately enforceable legal rights. Ideally, I think what Mr. O`Quinn was saying is a great idea, that they just work it out between themselves, and you don`t have to get the courts involved. If everyone`s interested in this child`s well-being, it`s in a child`s well-being she sees her grandmother, and hopefully that`s where this is going to go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s see. If it happens, maybe Friday will be the big day, and Larry will get custody, and this all will be resolved. But somehow, I doubt it.
Let`s go to the phone lines. Rose from Ohio, your question, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes, ma`am. Since Stern is on Dannielynn`s birth certificate, will Mr. Birkhead have to adopt her?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. David Caplan, deputy New York bureau chief, "Star" magazine, my brain short circuited on that question. Did you hear it and can you answer it?
CAPLAN: Yes, the question was whether or not Larry Birkhead would actually have to adopt the child, since Howard K. Stern`s name is on the birth certificate. The answer to that, I believe, is no.
Right now, the way it stands is, Howard K. Stern`s name is on the birth certificate in the Bahamas, and that, you know, the baby cannot be taken out of the Bahamas, because, believe or not, actually, Larry I believe actually does not have a legal claim, per se, to the baby to take it. So it`s really involving custody. It`s not so much adoption, two different issues.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Now, let me ask you about the name, little Dannielynn`s name. Is Stern the last word on that name, and do they have to change this little girl`s name?
CAPLAN: I`m hearing there may be a little bit of a modification to her surname. And interestingly enough, actually, Larry was also asked whether or not he would change Dannielynn`s first name, because he obviously wasn`t necessarily part of that decisionmaking. But rest assured, Dannielynn is going to stay the name, he said.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Mike Brooks, I want to ask you about Howard K. Stern, because he said in his news conference yesterday when he walked out of court, "I want to stay in the Bahamas to be near the gravesite of Anna Nicole Smith and Daniel."
Can he stay in the Bahamas? Aren`t there requirements? Now he has no job, no source of income, and he may not even have a home, because Horizons, the mansion that he`s been staying at, has been contested.
BROOKS: That`s very true. And he may be thrown out of there, after hearing that, in fact, on Friday morning they could be -- there is going to be a hearing on whether or not he`s going to be able to stay in Horizons mansion.
You know, I`ve spoken with his attorney, Godfrey "Pro" Pinder, and they basically have filed papers to have him thrown out, because it belongs to G. Ben Thompson, who is an American who lives in South Carolina, was basically was letting them stay there, you know, especially after the birth of Dannielynn, but now, since Dannielynn might be leaving, you know, what is Howard going to do?
Now, he supposedly has a new home that we`re seeing here down in an area called Coral Harbor. It`s a very, very nice area down on the southwestern part of the island. But, apparently, it`s not very well- furnished. There was rumors that they were moving some things out of Horizons down to that, but, again, he has no standing in the Bahamas, period.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... because, Mike, does he own that home? He has testified in court that everything, even shoes, were purchased by Anna Nicole Smith. So if he has this house, how do we know it`s his and that he got it -- probably I`m not saying he got it improperly, I`m just saying how do we know?
BROOKS: Well, we don`t think it`s his. We heard from sources that it is in someone else`s name, not even Anna Nicole`s name, it`s in someone else`s name. So to be a resident of the Bahamas, you have to own at least property worth $500,000 to even apply to be a -- you know, not a permanent resident, but a resident of the Bahamas.
The bottom line is here, talking to the Bahamians down there, all the time I`ve spent, they don`t want him on that island. They want him off. You know, whether that will happen, that remains to be seen. We might get closer to that on Friday, if he`s basically told to leave Horizons mansion.
If he goes down to the other house in Coral Harbor, you know -- but I can tell you one thing, Jane. They don`t want him leaving that island until after the coroner`s inquest, you know, when and if that ever happens, because, you know, they can compel him. If he`s living in the Bahamas, they can compel him to come to court, but if he`s not living there, it`s voluntary.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a love-hate relationship. They don`t want him on the island, but they want him on the island, because they need him on the island for the coroner`s inquest.
Oh, we`re going to get to more of that in just a moment. But, tonight, we need your help in the search for a 3-year-old San Diego boy in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Xavier McLeod suffers from chronic renal failure, an abnormality affecting one in 8,000 male infants at birth. The condition damaged both his kidneys. Xavier has been on a transplant list since October 2005. His parents suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure and cannot be living donors for their son. Take a look at this adorable little boy.
To find out how to become a living donor for Xavier, please help out. Call Rosemary with his transplant team at Rady`s Children Hospital in San Diego. Here`s the number, 858-966-8354, and become an organ donor, visit Donatelifecalifornia.org. It`s so important.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-year-old Daniel Smith came here to the Doctor`s Hospital in Nassau. He came to celebrate the birth of his baby sister. But three days after she was born, he was found dead in his mother`s hospital room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... came to see his newborn sister, and so (INAUDIBLE) suddenly dropped down dead raises a lot of questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace.
The tug of war over Anna Nicole Smith`s baby girl not over, even though we now know the real father is L.A. photographer Larry Birkhead, and the battle is heating up over how to conduct an inquest into the drug- related death of Anna Nicole`s son, Daniel.
Now, defense attorney Anne Bremner, the way I understand it is, Howard K. Stern has literally petitioned the Supreme Court to change the way juror selection is conducted in the Bahamas, because he feels, with all this intense publicity, it`s going to be very damaging to him, but he`s not a defendant in this coroner`s inquest. He`s just a witness. Why is he acting like a defendant?
ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, because I think he anticipates he may be. And the fact that whether that`s right or wrong -- but, you know, inquests are medieval. They come from the British system. I defend a lot of them in officer-involved shootings out here in Seattle, and they`re, "Who, what, when, where, how?"
But they can lead to the filing of criminal prosecution. It`s an advisory type of a verdict from the jury, so he`s right to have concerns about whether this jury`s biased. When Larry Birkhead walks out of a courtroom, everyone cheers that he`s the father, and everyone boos the villain, who`s Howard K. Stern.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Paul Henderson, San Francisco deputy D.A., we do know that Howard K. Stern has an image problem and a popularity problem. Could it turn into something where he is unfairly targeted at this coroner`s inquest?
PAUL HENDERSON, SAN FRANCISCO DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He might, but the problem is, he`s still in the Bahamas. I think what we need to start focusing on is being clear that I think a lot of this case is going to shift back to the United States, especially now that the paternity has been cleared up.
You know, they`re playing around in the Bahamas, because that`s where this case initially started, and you see the grandmother has now jumped in, and she`s filed papers in the Bahamas.
But now that the paternity has been settled and Stern has indicated that he`s going to work with the father, I think a lot of the case ultimately is going to shift, and we`re going to see all of these discussions about custody, all of the discussions about paternity, all of the interaction is going to be right here in the United States.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s not forget the discussions of money, Joe Lawless, defense attorney, because this little trial could potentially be worth at least half-a-billion dollars from the estate, if it`s won for Anna Nicole Smith`s estate, of the late J. Howard Marshall, but also, just Anna Nicole Smith`s image and likeness. Who controls all of that? So that`s likely to be battled in California courts.
LAWLESS: Well, that`s the interesting part. At this point, we have Howard K. Stern as the executor of Anna Nicole`s estate, and he would control the funds coming in and out of the estate. But if I were advising Stern right now in the Bahamas, as long as he`s not under subpoena or being held, I`d suggest he come back to the United States. There`s nothing that can serve him there that`s going to protect his best interests. But the money is going to go through the estate. And right now, he`s the executor of the will.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but that will hasn`t been probated, and it was written before Dannielynn was born and left everything to the late son, Daniel. So a lot of people feel that it`s going to be invalidated.
LAWLESS: And it may very well go to probate, but that doesn`t necessarily, you know, mean it`s still not an issue, and I think that that`s something that`s going to happen. And if it goes through probate, then, you know, I don`t know exactly who would control the funds at that point, to be honest with you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s a big mess. And if anybody thinks it`s going to end soon, I`ve heard that the Supreme Court could toss this whole issue about jury selection to the legislature, and it could be months before this inquest even gets underway. That`s a remote possibility, but it could happen.
Let`s go to the phone lines. Cynthia, Texas, your question?
CALLER: Yes, since Howard Stern is the executor of Anna Nicole`s estate, does he not stand to gain a lot of money from this?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mike Brooks, former D.C. police, I know you`ve been down there in the Bahamas talking to a lot of people. We certainly don`t want to cast any more aspersions on Howard K. Stern. He`s been very much beaten up in the media, and he is complaining bitterly about that, calling the coverage irresponsible and malicious.
So we want to be fair. But what is the whole issue with Howard K. Stern and money, vis-a-vis him being the executor and his battles in all of this?
BROOKS: Well, you know, he represented her when they went to the Supreme Court to try to get the money from Howard K. Marshall`s estate (sic), and he hasn`t been paid for that, so he could get at least somewhere in the neighborhood of about $6 million just for being her representative for the estate case.
But, you know, Howard K. Stern`s got some other problems down there, too. You know, there`s still an ongoing investigation into whether or not there was a corruption case dealing with Shane Gibson. If you recall, he was the former minister of immigration and labor who apparently fast- tracked, allegedly fast-tracked her process for application for permanent residency, and that allegedly there was monies exchanged and possibly an expensive Rolex watch involving Howard K. Stern.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So basically you`re saying Howard K. Stern could have other legal problems vis-a-vis that whole issue.
I want to go to David Caplan from "Star" magazine quickly, if I can, to ask him about the fact that Larry Birkhead apparently saw the baby last night. That`s big news. Paint a picture for us. What happened?
CAPLAN: Yes, this is huge news. Last night at 9:00, Larry Birkhead went to Horizons, the house where Howard K. Stern and Dannielynn are staying. Larry arrived with his twin brother and with his wife and kids. They went there. He carried Dannielynn. He even changed Dannielynn`s diaper for the first time, so this was a complete first.
He also dangled some sort of baby toys above Dannielynn, and then his brother and then his other sister came later on in the evening and also played with the baby. And Howard K. Stern was there and even showed Larry a little bit how to handle Dannielynn, and what to feed her, and Larry fed her applesauce.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wow.
CAPLAN: Very warm and fuzzy picture that we really haven`t seen lately.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask John O`Quinn, the attorney for Virgie Arthur, how he feels about that, because I think she`s only seen the child, what, once?
O`QUINN: Yes, that`s true, and it was very limited. She wasn`t allowed to touch the child or much less feed the child, just walk through the room and look at some distance at the child. Stern was very -- he acted as though -- he acted as though he owned the child. He knew all the time he committed fraud in claiming the child was his own. He knew he wasn`t the father.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anne Bremner, defense attorney, there is definitely no love lost between Virgie Arthur and Howard K. Stern.
BREMNER: I know. It`s a family feud, but not a family feud. Unbelievable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace.
We are talking about the amazing new book out by psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall. My dear friend, as well, she`s the author of "Deal Breakers: When to Work on a Relationship and When to Walk Away."
Bethany, first of all, I have to tell you that the lady who did my makeup tonight just finished reading the entire book, and she loved it and said it helped her with her relationship. So kudos there. That`s the best kind of review you can get.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Thank you. Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I often think that if relationships had ended, a lot of the murder cases that that are covered on this show wouldn`t be covered because they would have gotten out of the relationship.
MARSHALL: Oh, well, that`s true. And actually, "Deal Breakers," it helps you take your breaking point in the relationship and use it as a guide towards either working on the relationship or getting out. The premise of the book is that all relationships are deals. They`re complicated arrangements. They might be a sexual arrangement, a financial arrangement, an emotional arrangement, a marital relationship, and the deal-breaker is the thing that undermines the deal.
So let`s say you like autonomy, but he wants to oversee your date book. You want monogamy. He`s faithful, but when he sees another woman, his tongue unfolds like a cartoon rodent. That`s a deal breaker. You want marriage. He doesn`t. He`s a felon and goes to jail. That`s a deal breaker.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I like what you say about, you know, hoping that somebody magically is going to become better. It never happens.
MARSHALL: I think there`s some universal deal breakers. You work harder than he works to fix the relationship and make it better, like every time you try to have a discussion, he walks out of the room. Or the future is better than the present, because that`s all you have to hang your hopes on.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, here it is, "Deal Breakers." I want to show it to you one more time. It is a fabulous book, and it got the highest recommendation from somebody who read it cover to cover, and I`m taking it home and reading it tonight. Thank you, Bethany.
MARSHALL: Thanks, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Staff Sergeant Shane Becker, 25, from Helena, Montana, killed in Iraq. Becker was already discharged from the Army working in an oil field when he decided to reenlist after 9/11. On his second tour of duty, he received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. A proud father, Becker loved getting haircuts and riding bikes with his 7-year-old daughter. Becker leaves behind a large family, a grieving widow, Crystal, and two daughters, Sierra and Cheyennah. Shane Becker, an American hero.
Thanks to all our guests for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these important cases with us. Nancy`s back tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, have a terrific and a very safe evening.