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Another Pro Wrestler Death Tied to Benoit`s Doctor
Aired July 09, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, breaking news as the investigation expands in the case of superstar WWE wrestler 40-year-old Chris Benoit, Benoit and his entire family found dead inside their upscale home, Atlanta suburbs. Headlines tonight: Another body turns up, stunning allegations Benoit`s personal doctor now connected to the death of another pro wrestler, Mike Durham, AKA "Johnny Grunge," dead at 40 and allegedly under Dr. Phil Astin III`s care. While yet another raid goes down on the doctor to the stars, Dr. Phil Astin facing federal charges regarding painkillers and other drugs.
And tonight: Did anabolic steroids play a role in the deaths of Benoit and his family? The clock still ticking on those toxicology reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A potential bombshell in the investigation into wrestler Chris Benoit`s doctor. Investigators say Dr. Phil Astin may also have written prescriptions for a second wrestler who died. Police say he prescribed muscle relaxers to Michael Durham, better known as "Johnny Grunge," the day before his 2006 death. Durham`s body was found next to an empty pill bottle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, in the college town of Madison, Wisconsin, a murder suspect on the loose. Breaking developments in the search for a 22- year-old Wisconsin coed who vanished into thin air, downtown Madison. As we go to air tonight, police announce the discovery of a young woman`s body found in a heavily wooded area just a few miles from the 22-year-old`s disappearance. Tonight, that murder suspect at large.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to John Stanley (ph), the Dane County coroner, he says it indicates that body is a female and that it is probably -- these are his words -- probably Kelly Nolan, the missing student, 22 years old. She`s been missing since June 23. This particular case has moved from a missing persons case to a homicide case, and that a suspect is at large.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, breaking news, stunning allegations in the death of a WWE superstar wrestler and his entire family found dead, Atlanta suburbs. Is the same celebrity doctor connected to yet another WWE death?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Federal investigators are reportedly looking into the death of a second professional wrestler, who is also a patient of Dr. Phil Astin. Astin is the doctor who prescribed steroids to wrestler Chris Benoit, who last month killed his wife, son, and then committed suicide. Now investigators tell "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" Michael Durham, AKA "Johnny Grunge," who died in his sleep last year, was also a patient of Astin`s. Toxicology reports on Michael Durham are pending, and Benoit`s are due this week.
Authorities say Astin has not been charged in the Benoit case, but he has been indicted on seven counts of overprescribing painkillers and other drugs to two of his other patients.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Seven counts. That`s putting it mildly. Have you seen this indictment? If you take a look at it, on one day, this doctor allegedly prescribed 540 pills, another day 670, another day 480, one day 720 -- in one day, July 22. What the hey?
And tonight, apparently, yet another death within the WWE connected to the same doctor.
Let`s go straight out to Brian Alvarez, Alvarez with Figurefouronline.com and a friend of Benoit`s. What do you know about this doctor and about Johnny Grunge?
BRIAN ALVAREZ, FIGUREFOURONLINE.COM: Dr. Phil Astin had prescribed medication to a lot of different guys in Atlanta. Chris Benoit actually got hooked up with him through guys in WCW. And the thing with Johnny Grunge`s death is that had pretty much been finished when he passed away, but it`s being reopened now because the pill bottles that were found by his body were prescribed by Dr. Astin. And he was prescribed 120 Somas...
ALVAREZ: ... the day before his death and the thing is...
GRACE: Whoa, whoa! A hundred and twenty what?
ALVAREZ: A hundred and twenty Somas.
GRACE: What are they?
ALVAREZ: Muscle relaxers.
GRACE: Wow, the day before his death. OK, go ahead.
ALVAREZ: The day before his death. And it`s not unusual to be prescribed 120. So I think the key is, How often was Dr. Astin prescribing him 120 Somas? Because if this were every three days, that`s obviously a major problem. If this was every two weeks, that`s something different.
GRACE: Tell me the circumstances surrounding Grunge`s death, Brian.
ALVAREZ: He was found dead with two pill bottles next to his body that were empty. And I believe one of them that was empty was 120 he`d been prescribed the day before. And I believe the coroner stated that the pills alone -- he was found with Soma and Hydrocodone in his system. And the doctor said that the amount of drugs in his system was not enough to kill him, but he also had some major heart issues and he was morbidly obese, and the combination of everything probably killed him.
GRACE: Was he still wrestling at the time he died?
ALVAREZ: He may have been doing indy dates, but he was out of the major leagues.
GRACE: He may have been doing what?
ALVAREZ: Indy dates, independent pro wrestling, smaller shows outside of WWE.
GRACE: Got you. To Dr. William Morrone out of Michigan. He is a medical examiner, an expert in the field of forensic pathology. Soma, Hydrocodone -- explain.
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, TOXICOLOGIST: Those are two bad words to say together. Hydrocodone is commonly called Vicodin, and it`s mixed with Tylenol. It is a schedule three substance. Soma is a really good drug. I only use it in the hospital, though. I never give it in the office because of its addictive potential. Soma`s metabolites are also addictive. When you put the two of them...
GRACE: What`s a metabolite?
MORRONE: Metabolite is what the body turns the drug into, when the body metabolizes a drug that`s trying to detoxify its system, and the metabolites are also addictive in Soma.
GRACE: Hey, Doctor?
GRACE: They said that Johnny Grunge -- Mike Durham -- he wrestled under the name Johnny Grunge, very, very well-known -- died of sleep apnea. Please. Stop. That`s basically snoring, and you know, not breathing for a few seconds periodically through the night. You don`t die of sleep apnea. That is complete BS.
BREMNER: Here`s what I see. The number one side effect from an overdose of Hydrocodone would be respiratory depression. The number one side effect of Soma at higher doses would be respiratory depression. And you put those two together, and that spells trouble.
GRACE: What you are seeing right now, everyone, is Chris Benoit wrestling in the WWE on USA network. What a star, dead way too soon at the age of 40, just like Johnny Grunge.
Let`s unleash the lawyers, Susan Moss, Daniel Horowitz, Ray Giudice. Susan, what more do you need to at least launch an investigation, an empty pill bottle prescribed the day before beside your bed, the guy dies -- the guy dies of sleep apnea, or as the doctor just suggested, respiratory problems, just plain failure? Where is this going? Already two bodies allegedly connected to one celebrity doctor.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: No deal for this disgusting drug doctor! This doc should be under lock! Let me tell you something. Not only is he now allegedly connected to two dead wrestlers, but how many teenage boys are looking to find and try steroids, to be like their heroes, Benoit and Grunge? This man has a lot of blood on his hands.
GRACE: I don`t understand why he`s on bond, Ray Giudice.
RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, he probably has no criminal history.
GIUDICE: He`s on house arrest.
GRACE: Neither did Ted Bundy.
GIUDICE: Nancy, a bond is to ensure you come to court. He lives in the jurisdiction. He has no criminal history. And he has an attorney that has guaranteed his appearance, and he`s on house arrest with electronic monitoring. The feds will not have any trouble bringing him to court.
GRACE: Right, right, just like the feds are going to monitor steroids in the wrestling industry. What about it, Horowitz?
DAN HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I took my steroids before this show, so I`m ready to fight you today. That doctor did nothing wrong, Nancy.
GRACE: Not funny.
HOROWITZ: He prescribed drugs for people who were in pain.
GRACE: Daniel, let me ask you a question.
HOROWITZ: They`re in pain. They`re athletes, Nancy.
GRACE: Question. Question. Answer truthfully. Do not look away from the camera. Have you read this indictment? Have you read the indictment word for word?
HOROWITZ: No, I haven`t, Nancy.
GRACE: So you don`t even know what you`re talking about. Did you see this?
HOROWITZ: Oh, I know what I`m talking about, Nancy. I know that there is...
GRACE: Five hundred and forty...
HOROWITZ: ... a vendetta against these doctors.
GRACE: ... pills in one day to one person.
HOROWITZ: I know...
GRACE: Five hundred and forty pills in one day to one person!
HOROWITZ: These are traveling athletes, Nancy. They are athletes. They travel. They`re on the road. They need pain pills.
GRACE: They don`t need almost 800 pills in one day. You know what...
HOROWITZ: Nancy, they`re huge men hitting the mat time and time again. You think they don`t hurt?
GRACE: Let`s go to the expert...
HOROWITZ: Ask a football player, Nancy.
GRACE: Let`s go -- yes, they`re dead. Let`s go to the experts.
HOROWITZ: Yes, they`re dead. That`s unfortunate...
GRACE: Joining us tonight...
HOROWITZ: ... but the doctor didn`t do it.
GRACE: Joining us tonight, Marc Mero. You all know Mr. Mero, a friend of Chris Benoit`s. Also with us Carlos Ashenoff, also known as Conan. Both of them famous wrestlers, well-known in their field. Welcome, gentlemen.
To Marc Mero. The whole concept of steroids in the wrestling industry, how does it happen? How do you -- how does one of these doctors -- how do one of these doctors latch onto a famous up-and-comer that wants to win?
MARC MERO, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, it`s usually introduced by another wrestler, whenever a guy finds a doctor who`s going to give him the prescriptions. We medicate ourselves. We diagnose ourselves. We tell the doctor what we need.
And what this gentleman just said about -- that we get prescribed pills for the road -- but the problem is that we get prescribed too much pills, too many. And if we tell the doctor we lost our bottle in Tacoma, Washington, he just sends us another script or whatever, whatever we need.
But I got to tell you something. Being on the road as much as we were is unrivalled in any other sport, and that is one of the problems with professional wrestling. There`s no offseason. Right after the Super Bowl of wrestling, which is called "Wrestlemania," we do "Monday Night Raw" the next night. Now, could you imagine in the NFL if they had Super Bowl, and they started the season the next day on"Monday Night Football?" It`s unheard of. We need changes.
Vince McMahon, you are the CEO of the WWE, the most powerful man in the wrestling industry, I ask you to please start doing something about the state of professional wrestling before we start having congressional hearings on Capitol Hill and that they`re going to make the changes. The problem is, that could take weeks, months or even years. And how many more funerals will I be attending or more people I add to the death list of the people I wrestled? Johnny Grunge, number 17, his tag team partner, Rocko Rock (ph) -- Rocko Rock is number 15. Please do something about it.
GRACE: What you`re seeing right now -- what you`re seeing right now is Mero wrestling with Benoit back on the WCW wrestling circuit, now owned by the WWE.
I want to go to Carlos Ashenoff before I go back to Mero about that list of dead wrestlers. Mr. Ashenoff, also known as "Conan," joining us tonight. How do you believe a doctor, one of these celebrity doctors or a wrestling doctor, latches onto a young guy who -- he wants to be on that poster in every 12-year-old`s bedroom, what little kids want to look like, what they think they should look like, all these little boys across the country -- how does the doctor latch onto somebody like Benoit or like Johnny Grunge?
CARLOS ASHENOFF, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, some of them, you know, like wrestling. They`re wrestling fans. And so we take advantage of that. And you know, they want to be friends with us, and one of the ways that they become friends with us is giving us what we want.
GRACE: I want to also ask you, Carlos, also known as "Conan"...
ASHENOFF: Let me deviate for a second.
ASHENOFF: I mean , to me, our industry, not only is it rife with the racism and sexism, but we are exploited, you know, in preposterous proportions. And I`ll give you an example. Not only do we not have no pension or retirement or a union, do you know that when we go on the road, we have to pay for our own hotel, we have to pay for our transportation from the airport to the hotel? I mean, what other athlete does that?
A company that I worked for, TNA, Total Nonstop Action, if you got hurt, you had to pay for your own operation. I mean, in baseball, you had this guy, Belcher (ph), the pitcher for the Orioles who died because he took a supplement that had ephedra, ephedrine, and it was taken off the market. You`ve got all these wrestlers dying, you know, from a combination of painkillers, prolonged steroid usage and alcohol, recreational drugs, and nothing has been done. If 10 people on your staff died, there would be an investigation. Nothing has happened in wrestling. To me, Vince McMahon has gotten away with murder figuratively and literally.
GRACE: I want to ask you about your personal circumstance right now regarding your kidneys.
ASHENOFF: Well, that was just from the prolonged use of painkillers. I mean, like Marc Mero said before, it`s impossible to be on the road year- round. I mean, you could -- you know, a baseball team, you know, they play 160-something games, and then they`re off for the rest of the year. You know, a rock band might go out for a world tour for six months, and then they rest for six months. I mean, we`re on the road year-round, traveling from city to city, country to country, and you need to take painkillers. That`s the bottom line to be able to...
GRACE: Out to the lines. Keisha in Georgia. Hi, Keisha.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My question is, what type of charges will be brought to this guy, the doctor that prescribed him the pills?
GRACE: I`m sorry. I couldn`t hear your question. Repeat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said what type of charges will be brought upon this guy that prescribed Benoit the pills?
GRACE: Jean Casarez with Court TV news, explain the actual charges. There are seven counts in this one federal indictment.
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: That`s right, and it does not include Benoit at this point. First of all, it`s in federal court, and it`s seven counts of basically distribution, distributing excessive amounts of prescription medications. And that`s to two people that at that point are unknown. You have Benoit, no charges as of yet for Astin with that, and then you have this wrestler, Michael Durham, who died in February of `06, who was a patient. That could be even more charges.
GRACE: Out to Amy in Tennessee. Hi, Amy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. If the doctor is charged with illegally prescribing medication, would he not be responsible for the deaths of Chris Benoit, his wife and son? Would that not be murder?
GRACE: Let`s talk about it. Susan Moss, Daniel Horowitz, Ray Giudice. Not only is this doctor going to escape any type of a murder charge but -- Vince McMahon is not a murderer. People voluntarily fight in the WWE, wrestle in the WWE, and no one forces these circumstances on them. However, there has been no investigation, Sue Moss, of any type of anabolic steroids. In fact, everyone gets angry at you when you suggest possibly maybe Benoit was on steroids.
MOSS: It`s out -- it`s unbelievable and it`s certainly out of control, as all of our witnesses have come forward to testify to. The toxicology report will set a lot of things straight. We will find out exactly what he had in his system, and how much he had, and then we will trace where he got it from. If, in fact, he got it from this doctor, I believe charges will follow.
GRACE: Will it work, Daniel Horowitz, charges, actual murder charges or accessory to murder charges?
HOROWITZ: I think it could happen, Nancy. I noticed that the doctor`s attorney was open to a deal, even though he said there`s no deal in the works. I think he will make a deal now, before they found steroids in Benoit`s blood because there`s a voluntary manslaughter charge looming if you gave drugs to somebody, knowing that it was either illegal or excessive or not medically necessary, and that has been a direct cause of the death of his wife and child and his own suicide. I think it`s wrong to charge him that way, but if I was his attorney, I`d be worried.
GRACE: And to Ray Giudice. Would the comparison be, for instance, a bar serving, over-serving someone and then they crash and kill somebody?
GIUDICE: That`s right, Nancy. It`s the law of foreseeability.
GRACE: But murder is an intentional act.
GIUDICE: Not manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter. Those...
GRACE: No, no. No, no.
GIUDICE: ... you don`t have to have the intent to commit the murder. You have...
GRACE: Right. I`m talking about Benoit`s murder.
GIUDICE: Well, yes, if the doctor knew that it was foreseeable that Benoit would overdose, abuse the steroids, and that these steroids might make him violent, which all of the medical testimony and literature indicates it can, then the law foreseeability may bring an involuntary manslaughter charge to the doctor.
GRACE: The other headline today, Mike Brooks, in addition to another body surfacing connected to this Dr. Philip Astin III -- that would be the body of Johnny Grunge, dead in 2006 at the age of 40 to sleep apnea -- Mike Brooks, another raid goes down on the doctor`s offices. Didn`t they get it all the first time?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Nancy, they`ve done basically three or four search warrants on his office. Now, the DEA took over this case last week, and they were out there at the office again on Friday. But as they conduct their investigation, as they go through the medical records, see exactly what the doses were prescribed, they`re going to go back and get more. They`re going to go say, OK, well, we`ve got this piece of the puzzle, let`s look for another piece, and they`re going to try to complete this whole thing and put this case together.
GRACE: Well, another thing is the faster they could indict him, the faster they could keep him and keep pharmacies from delivering on his prescriptions. Once he`s indicted, pharmacies are not supposed to honor his prescriptions.
Another question I`ve got, Brooks, is if this little boy, Benoit`s little boy, did not have fragile X syndrome, what were all the intravenous needle marks for? What was that all about?
BROOKS: That`s a very good question. Maybe that`s what he was telling everyone and maybe he was getting some of these other drugs from one of these mail order pharmacy houses down in Florida that they`re also looking into, and maybe he was giving his son human growth hormone on his own, prescribing on his own. We don`t know. It`s going to be interesting to see exactly what the toxicology reports of Chris are, and also his son and his wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Federal investigators are reportedly looking into the death of a second professional wrestler who was also a patient of Dr. Phil Astin. Michael Durham, AKA "Johnny Grunge," who died in his sleep last year, was also a patient of Astin`s. Authorities say Astin has not been charged in the Benoit case, but he has been indicted on seven counts of overprescribing painkillers and other drugs to two of his other patients.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Can you believe that? They had to form a human chain to get all the evidence, apparently, out of Dr. Philip Astin III`s office, the doctor to the wrestlers, two of them, now we know of, dead.
Out to the lines. Richard in North Carolina. Hi, Richard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howdy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My question is -- yes. My question with the deaths that have occurred in the WWE (INAUDIBLE) WWE and Vince McMahon, and with the strict drug testing, are there no -- are they not going to be charged in any of these?
GRACE: You`re talking about is McMahon or the WWE going to be charged?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: Good question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if not, how many is going to have to die, you know, for them to start doing the drug testing correctly?
GRACE: Good question. Let`s go out to the wrestlers. Marc Mero, how is the drug testing conducted?
MERO: Well, that`s what I`d like to know. They have to implement some type of testing like the International Olympic Committee does. There are certain ratios that are given on drug tests, and from what I understand, the WWE`s drug policy, it`s not working because the tests are not done properly. In other words, they`re not done by a source that is -- for example, there`s ratios like a 2-to-1, a 5-to-1, and their ratio is up to 4-to-1 testosterone to epitestosterone. And there`s got to be better testing done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prescription drugs are controlled substances because if they are abused, they can cause serious illnesses, addiction, and even death. Dr. Astin allegedly prescribed these drugs like candy, without regard for appropriate medical practice or the recipient`s health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Tonight, another raid has gone down on the offices of Dr. Philip Astin III, the doctor to the celebrity wrestlers. All the while, another body has turned up, that of Johnny Grunge, allegedly connected to the doctor. He died with empty pill bottles beside his bed, dying of sleep apnea.
OK, to Brian Alvarez. Brian, what do we know about this doctor? We know he`s connected to two wrestlers. Are there more?
ALVAREZ: I actually wanted to make a comment about the steroid testing in WWE very quickly.
GRACE: Go ahead.
ALVAREZ: Marc talked about the testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio. In the Olympics, it`s 6-to-1, and in WWE it`s 4-to-1. And between a 4-to-1 ratio and a 10-to-1 ratio, they investigate you. And at 10-to-1, it`s an automatic failure. Now, the thing is, in the WWE drug policy, they explicitly state that you can be prescribed testosterone for purposes of replacement therapy and such. So that`s the loophole the guys are using to get these drugs. They go in and say, My testosterone count is low, they get prescribed testosterone, and there you go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BLACKMAN, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: I never took any steroids when I was in WWF, and he says who gives a damn? I give a damn. I don`t want to be stereotyped like this. Let me finish. You stop interrupting me for a second.
MARC MERO, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, answer the question. Did you ever take steroids?
BLACKMAN: Why does he sit here and keep interrupting me like this?
MERO: Did you take steroids ever?
BLACKMAN: In 1987 and `88, I did for a little while, until I had allergic reaction in `89. I never took anything since.
MERO: OK, so we can agree we all did steroids, whether you were in the WWE or not. I didn`t do steroids in the WWE. Last time I did steroids was 1994.
MERO: Look, just admit you did steroids. That`s all you got to do. Then we can move on and start making changes.
BLACKMAN: Well, it does need to be regulated. I`m not disagreeing with you on that issue. I`m just trying...
MERO: You`re giving this TV this opportunity to make changes in people`s lives. In life, it`s about doing the right thing. Let`s step up to the plate and do the right thing.
BLACKMAN: OK, well you`re all wound up here. Yes, a lot of the guys` families have been destroyed. And I agree with you: It does need to be regulated. But everyone in there is still an adult, and we do suck it up, and we all live in pain, and we all live on painkillers, trying to make it through this horrible business. But it doesn`t change the fact that everyone`s an adult here and they`re making their own choice. And nobody`s putting them on a platter and shoving them down your throat, so you got to take a little bit of responsibility for yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Almost 100 pro wrestlers dead at an early age, why? Now another body surfaces, allegedly connected to Dr. Philip Astin III, the celebrity doctor to wrestling stars. That body of Johnny Grunge, dead at 40, as well as connected to Chris Benoit. What is the connection, if any?
I want to go out to Marc Mero. You just heard him speaking. Mr. Mero, you have spoken out clearly against the use of anabolic steroids in the wrestling industry. Have you gotten any backlash for from that?
MERO: Yes, I have, I`ve gotten backlash, but I`ve also got a lot of positive input from so many wrestlers out there, some of the old timers, like Bruno San Martino (ph) and Superstar Billy Graham, guys that I respect in the business. So that means more to me than all the people that would e-mail me or call me and say some negative things, including some of my close friends in the business that don`t like to see me on TV talking about this. But you know something? If one of those friends died on the road, I would certainly be the voice that would come forward, because someone`s got to do something. Something`s got to be done in our industry.
GRACE: I`ve got a question for you, a personal question for you and Conan, Carlos Ashenoff. To you, Mero, why did you do it? Why steroids?
MERO: Because it`s tough the business to get into. You`ve got to look the part. You`ve got to recover quickly. You know, Nancy, there`s only about 12 to 15 spots available on television. You`ve got to look your best. You`ve got to be prepared. Your body`s got to be in top shape. And you know what? If you`re not going to do it, the guy behind you is going to.
So many kids emulate us, so many kids have our action figures, our posters, and that`s where the real problem is, and that`s why I`ve changed my whole life because of this, because Governor Charlie Crist passed a law in Florida, as you know, that we`re now randomly testing high school athletes. It`s something I`m really behind. We`ve got high school and college programs that we`re going out and speaking in schools and colleges, and I really look forward to that.
GRACE: What about it, Conan, agree or disagree? Why steroids, why use steroids?
CARLOS ASHENOFF, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, you know, I think that, you know, WWE educated the fans that, you know, the big physiques is what were going to be the big moneymakers. When I was growing up and I was watching wrestling, it wasn`t based on big physiques like it is now. But when I first got into the business, you know, everybody was on the juice or on steroids. And to make money, you had to be on the juice. That`s basically it.
GRACE: How do you get off them?
ASHENOFF: Well, I mean, after you`re seeing all these people that are dying from prolonged steroid use, I mean, common sense would dictate that you may be following the same route.
GRACE: Did you see that list, Conan, of almost 100 wrestlers dead before their time? You can`t tell me there is not a connection.
ASHENOFF: Well, I was just looking at the list, and it`s very sad. Some of the wrestlers I had forgotten until I just saw the list. But to me what I can`t believe is nothing has been done about it. You know, why are all of these wrestlers dying? And we know what they`re dying from, and nothing is being done to clean up the sport. There is no investigation; there is no congressional oversight. There`s nothing going on. And that to me is more tragic than the deaths themselves.
GRACE: There may be an answer with the lawyers. Let`s go to the lawyers, to you, Daniel Horowitz, likely because it`s voluntary drug use.
DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, to me, any large man who is in a sport is going to die young, and that includes the NFL. The National Football League players, particularly the linemen, die young, and in this sport it`s the same way. You know, there`s a normal level of testosterone. It`s just like when you fill a beer glass. Sometimes it`s a little low, and you can top it off. That level of steroids is not harmful. It`s when you go too far, and you load them up so that it overflows. That`s the problem.
GRACE: What about it, Giudice?
RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, all I hear is people complaining about their own voluntary acts, and they harm themselves, because they made the choice to live the life, be rock stars, make lots of money, and get lots of girls. And now, when the consequences are awful, let`s blame the doctors, let`s blame Vince McMahon. At least the first guy talked about personal responsibility. I think the entire industry and all of these players need to start talking about who put the pills in their own mouths.
GRACE: You know, Susan, earlier, our caller, Richard, from North Carolina, asked, would McMahon or WWE be charged with anything? What do you think? I doubt it. What do you think?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, I don`t think they`re going to be charged, but it`s time for them to step up.
GRACE: That would be like Major League Baseball being charged with steroid use.
MOSS: Yes, but it`s time for us, as society, to say, "No way, this has got to end," because it`s not just the wrestlers. It`s not just these adult men making the decisions to use steroids. It`s the kids. It`s the teenagers. It`s the young boys who want to emulate Benoit, emulate the Grunge, and it`s those people that we, as a society, must protect.
GRACE: And to Susan Lipkins, psychologist and author, children, little boys and little girls alike, look up to certain pop stars, icons. Little girls run around wanting to be skinny and look like Posh Spice. You have little boys running around wanting to look like wrestling action figures. I mean, how do you stop that?
SUSAN LIPKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, that is the responsibility of the celebrity, and I don`t really think they bother to consider that. I`m really proud of these two wrestlers on your program who are breaking the code of silence, and that`s what we have to do. We have to realize that prescription drugs are the second-most-used drug in America. The first is marijuana, and it`s on the rise, both with boys and girls, teenagers from 12 to 17, and the NIH is very concerned about it. We have to make people responsible and make the systems, the celebrities and these wrestlers, responsible for what`s going on.
GRACE: Back to Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner, forensic pathologist, if you take a look at Benoit, then you take a look at Johnny Grunge, Grunge much beefier, weighed more, more out of shape, still a wrestler, but out of shape. How would steroids or the use of these drugs affect someone that was not in tip-top condition? We always hear about athletes taking anabolic steroids.
DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, the most important thing is the chronic use of steroids is what does the damage. The damage is poor cholesterol, cardiac disease, liver failure, and you`re not getting the benefit from the muscles, but you`re always getting the wear and tear on the body. Nancy, this is a single-use vial of steroids. This is what you give once a month to somebody with testosterone failure. The doctor in Georgia that gave these out gave a million doses in two years. I give this 25 times a year to my steroid replacement people.
GRACE: Out to the lines, Tammy in West Virginia. Hi, Tammy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: I`m a rehabilitation nurse in West Virginia, and my question is that I wanted to know, why aren`t they regulating the steroid use like they do in other sports?
GRACE: Why don`t they, Bryan Alvarez? And, Alvarez, if you could just break it down more a little more for me about how this test works.
BRYAN ALVAREZ, FIGUREFOURONLINE.COM: Well, the way they do the steroid testing is they compare your epitestosterone level to your testosterone level. And basically a normal human being has a 1:1 ratio. In WWE, if you get to 4:1, you still pass.
ALVAREZ: In the Olympics, it`s 6:1. So WWE is actually somewhat more strict, but between 4:1 and 10:1, they start asking questions, and it`s not an automatic failure until you hit 10:1. But the key is, if you hit 10:1 and fail, and you say, "I`ve got a prescription for this stuff," you`re OK, and that`s the biggest loophole in the policy.
GRACE: And that`s where people like Astin allegedly come in. And back to Tammy`s question, very quickly, Alvarez, Bryan Alvarez is with us, everyone, from Figurefouronline.com, why isn`t it being regulated? Can you beat this test? Could Benoit have beat the test? His test was April 10.
ALVAREZ: Absolutely. If he went to Astin to get a prescription for testosterone replacement, and if he produced that prescription after he failed the test, he would basically have tested clean.
GRACE: Got it. Julie in Texas. Hi, Julie.
CALLER: Hello, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: I was wondering, who is in charged or should be in charge of the entire testing protocol, is it Vince himself or even somebody other than him?
GRACE: Who is in charge, Bryan?
ALVAREZ: Dr. David Black out of Nashville, and he`s a real doctor, and he drew up the entire test -- this was all in his hands -- and he`s got his reputation staked on this, so he`s not a marked doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A potential bombshell into the investigation of Chris Benoit`s doctor. Investigators say Dr. Phil Astin may also have written prescriptions for a second wrestler who died. Police say he prescribed muscle relaxers to Michael Durham, better known as Johnny Grunge, the day before his 2006 death. Durham`s body was found next to an empty pill bottle. And Dr. Astin`s attorney says he doesn`t know anything about the case and will not comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That`s right. Though Dr. Philip Astin III and his lawyer laying low tonight, the lawyer not even giving a statement regarding his client`s arrest, but we do know that now, not one, but allegedly two bodies connected to Dr. Philip Astin III, the celebrity doctor to the wrestling stars. First of all, Benoit, Chris Benoit, and also Johnny Grunge, also known as Mike Durham.
Out to the lines. Vicki in Illinois, hi, Vicki.
CALLER: Hello, my friend, Nancy.
GRACE: Thank you. What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: I`m a nurse, also. My question is, I know that testosterone drugs and growth hormones are prescribed legally in patients with certain medical conditions, and I think it`s already been established that these wrestlers got them when they didn`t have these medical conditions. My question is, what is the difference between those medications and the illegal anabolic steroids we hear about?
GRACE: You know, Bryan Alvarez, that`s an excellent question. What is the difference?
ALVAREZ: Well, Chris Benoit was getting straight testosterone, and, I mean, there are many ways thaw can lower your testosterone levels before you go into the doctor, and one of them is to just come off steroids and your natural production is shut down. You go in there, you test low, you get your testosterone.
GRACE: And how long does it take for you to come off and then test?
ALVAREZ: I would actually ask the wrestlers about that.
GRACE: What about it? To you, Marc Mero, how can you beat -- how could Benoit or any wrestler beat the drug test?
MERO: Well, back in the early `90s, we used to use a little Visine bottle when you went into urinate in a cup. You squirt a little Visine in there, and somehow it would disrupt the test. But, you know, even back then when I was doing steroids, I passed tests and didn`t even know how I passed the test.
MERO: But, you know, Nancy, I really find that we`re just -- this is just scraping at the tip of the iceberg, because all of these wrestlers that are out there right now that are getting prescriptions we`re going to see more and more doctors come out and get in trouble because of this.
GRACE: Agree or disagree, Carlos?
ASHENOFF: Yes, I just think that there`s just double standards. I think a lot of guys are being caught, and the ones that are making money for them, they just get a slap on the wrist. They tell them not to do it again or they cover up for them, and they just always have somebody that they use as a patsy. But I do want to make a comment to that one guy with the beard, I don`t know who he is.
ASHENOFF: I mean, he`s a complete moron for him to say that. You know, we`re taking drugs to get chicks and stuff like that? We were taking drugs because the bottom line is, they never come out and tell to you take anything, but you can see that the guys making the most money are the guys that are on steroids. That`s number one.
Number two, it`s impossible to be on the road year-round without painkillers. And another thing, it`s frowned upon highly, and you can ask Marc about this, if you say that you don`t want to wrestle because you`re injured. Everybody wrestles injured.
GRACE: You know, Ray, I`m sure you`d like to fight back right now, but don`t fight with this guy, OK. As your lawyer, please, do not start anything with Conan. Just let it go.
Very quickly to Mike Brooks, the investigation clearly not over, raid just going down. I guess this would make it the third or fourth raid on Astin?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: Absolutely, Nancy. As they continue to put together these pieces, I`ll tell you what, more doctors are going to be involved in it, and more investigations across the country with DEA.
GRACE: Let`s quickly shift gears. As we went to air tonight, we have heard that a body has been found, possibly that of a 22-year-old co-ed missing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More agony for the family that has searched almost two weeks for Kelly. A body found not far from where she was last seen, and police believe this victim was murdered, calling the search a homicide investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been able to make a determination from preliminary investigation that the evidence at the scene indicates that this is a female and that it is probably the missing person that we`ve been looking for, Kelly Nolan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: She went missing after a night of partying with friends at a local bar, like many other college co-eds. And tonight, in that small college town, a killer on the loose, still unapprehended. Out to Robin Colbert, news director with WIBA, 1310 AM radio. Robin, what`s the latest? Is this Kelly Nolan?
ROBIN COLBERT, WIBA 1310 AM: Well, as you just heard, the coroner John Stanley, the closest he`ll come to saying is probably. I think we all pretty much know the answer to that, though, Nancy, that it is Kelly Nolan. They have to wait for forensic testing, DNA, before they`re going to make that official confirmation. Madison police have been more than just a little cautious with this case. They don`t want to create -- they`re erring on the side of caution. That`s all I can say.
GRACE: You know, Jean Casarez, they`ve been awfully cautious, because they apparently already searched this area once and didn`t find the body. Back us up, Jean, what happened?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: That is true. Well, the K-9 went in, and the K-9 could not find the body. But what we learned today -- and this is truly amazing -- cell phone pings that we`ve heard so much about apparently led them to this three-mile radius this morning to begin the search at 4:30 a.m., and we know that Ms. Nolan had a cell phone, because authorities have said that she spoke with her sister sometime in the early morning, after midnight on June 23rd. So that cell phone, even if she wasn`t using it, if it was on, they still could locate where she was.
GRACE: To Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI, Mike, give me the time line on this.
BROOKS: Tell you what, Nancy, though I don`t know the exact timeline, but they`re going to be able to put together this timeline, because today at the presser, I listened to the whole thing, with the coroner and with the chief of police. They were talking about a number of locations where they got pings apparently. And they said that it took a number of days to put all the cell phone technology together but it was technology of the cell phone that actually cracked this case. And if you look at what he was also saying, the chief, early on, said, used the word "suspects," then he went back to "suspect."
So, again, we don`t know if there was someone who acted alone or someone together. And I can tell you what, you know, you put together the timeline, because she was seen being escorted by one guy, and then she was basically handed off to another guy that she apparently knew. I guarantee you that, right now, they`re talking to both these people to try to develop the exact timeline and compare that with what they`re saying with all of the pings of her cell phone. And it brought them, they said, to this three-square-mile area. So, again, I think cell phone technology broke this case, and we`re going to hear more about that later.
GRACE: Jean Casarez, I don`t understand why they`re saying they may not have a match for another -- they say tomorrow or the day after. Dental records will give you a match immediately.
CASAREZ: Right, but, remember, we also heard in the press conference that the body has been there for a long time, and so the forensic investigators are coming in to do that forensic search, and they may want to keep the body out there for awhile as they collect evidence.
GRACE: As we go to air tonight, the body of a young woman has been found near Madison, Wisconsin, a population of about 200,000. We are now fearing it is that of 22-year-old Kelly Nolan, a University of Wisconsin- Whitewater co-ed. Out to the lines, Laura in Wisconsin. Hi, Laura.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. What do we know about the employee at Amy`s Cafe, who walked Kelly Nolan partially home that night? And how does his timeline of the evening match up with the sister`s timeline and his last phone call?
GRACE: Excellent question, Laura. What do we know, Robin?
COLBERT: ... employee of Amy`s Cafe didn`t actually walk her home. He walked Kelly -- or what he told police, he reportedly walked Kelly part of the way home. They ran into another guy, who said he knew Kelly, and so he left Kelly with that guy. Now, that guy was the focus of a sketch that Madison police showed to some downtown employees. Noba Ray (ph), the police chief today, just ruled him out as a suspect.
GRACE: Joining us, Robin Colbert, news director with WIBA, 1310 AM, and Jean Casarez, Court TV news correspondent, on the story.
Let`s stop to remember Air Force Staff Sergeant Matthew Kuglics, 25, North Canton, Ohio, killed Iraq, on a second tour, receiving Bronze Star, also serving Kuwait and South Korea. With a smile that lit up a room, always putting others first, loved video game, soccer, dill pickles, pepperoni, sausage, motto, "No worries, no regrets." Leaves behind parents Les and Donna, sister and best friend Emily. Matthew Kuglics, American hero.
Thanks to our guests and a special good night from Georgia friends of the show Carol, Julie, Cricket, Jamie, all winners of the Macon Rescue Mission Auction, Georgia`s original shelter for homeless and victims of domestic violence.
Thank you for being with us, everybody. See you tomorrow night. And until then, good night, friend.