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Convicted Killer Scheduled to Be Executed Tonight; New Developments in Michael Jackson Trial
Aired May 12, 2005 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, death by lethal injection just six hours from right now. Serial killer Michael Ross bragged that the rape of eight innocent women really wasn`t that many. After 21 years, will an appeals court block Ross` execution?
And we go live with the Michael Jackson child sex defense blows ahead claiming nothing happened.
Also tonight, a missing 16-month-old toddler`s mom found strangled to death. The search for little Justin Black turns desperate.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. And I want to thank you for being with us tonight.
Will Michael Jackson himself take the stand to swear under oath he did not molest a string of little boys? And if he does, what happens on cross?
And tonight, we need your help more than ever. We want to find this 16-month-old toddler. His name is Justin Black, missing since his mom, Kristy, was found strangled in their New Mexico home. Police believe the baby is with Kristy Black`s husband, Ivan Villa. Villa wanted on felony kidnap charges.
But first, convicted serial killer Michael Ross faces lethal injection six hours from now. The clock is ticking down for mass killer Michael Ross. Ross gets the needle in six hours.
Tonight, in Connecticut, Lan Tu, his sister, Dzung Ngoc Tu, was a victim of Michael Ross; also with us, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal; defense attorney Debra Opri joining us in L.A.; in New York, defense attorney David Schwartz; and psychologist Michelle Callahan.
But first, to CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick in Connecticut. Welcome, Deborah. Bring me up-to-date.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, as you said, it`s six hours away. Michael Ross saying that he does not want anyone to appeal on his behalf. This is what he wants. It`s what he wanted back in January.
He was angry back in January when a federal judge stepped in, basically saying, "You guys better be pretty sure that this guy is competent before he gets put to death." Michael Ross said, "I am competent." And then when the federal judge threatened to disbar the lawyer, effectively, Michael Ross said, "Fine, let me go under the tests. Let me show you that this is what I want," and this is what he`s doing -- Nancy?
GRACE: Well, let me go quickly to the attorney general before I go to Lan Tu`s brother. With us tonight, Richard Blumenthal. He is the Connecticut attorney general in charge of all these massive, massive appeals. I told you, this guy has been waiting 21 years for execution.
Mr. Blumenthal, are there any issues left uncovered that an appellate court should hear?
RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, CONNECTICUT ATTORNEY GENERAL: We say, really, there are no issues that ought to prevent execution from going forward. The legal process should be permitted to reach finality for the sake of all our citizens. But most particularly for the sake of victims` families who have suffered so much anguish and pain over the years.
Right now, what we have, essentially, is intermeddlers, third parties trying to raise claims. As Deborah said, Michael Ross himself has said he wants no more appeals. And that ought to be what happens. There ought to be an execution.
GRACE: Richard, this is the second time in four months the Supreme Court has upheld a finding that Ross is competent. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN GARNETT, CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: He woke at 5:45 this morning, had breakfast shortly after 6:00. He spends part of the morning watching television, reading newspapers. At approximately 8:10, he was moved to the execution holding cell, which is immediately adjacent to the execution enclosure.
In that cell, he took with him a bible, a book of bible versus, a coffee cup, and some candy. He has had visits throughout the day, from both attorneys and also friends and family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL ROSS, CONVICTED MASS MURDERER: (INAUDIBLE) the motions saying, I`m incompetent, and some of it`s just out and out lies. (INAUDIBLE) have you read the motions at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven`t.
ROSS: Well, one of them basically say, for example, this is nothing less than state-assisted suicide. Mr. Ross` wishes the state to kill him, to execute him, to extinguish a life, that he no longer wishes to live.
It really makes me angry when I read stuff like that. I mean, it really makes me angry, because they know that`s not the issue. That`s not it. That`s not what`s going on here. And I just get angry when they write stuff like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He`s angry? Michael Ross is angry? You know, his killing spree started in 1981 on the campus of Cornell University with the rape and murder of Dzung Ngoc Tu. She was a tiny and brilliant economics grad student. That reign of terror lasted for nearly three years.
He killed eight women in all, ranging age 14 -- 14, you heard me right -- to 25, raping and murdering the women. Dzung Ngoc Tu was murdered outside a building on campus, her face pushed down in the dirt. She was raped and murdered.
I want to go to her brother, Lan Tu. Lan, why are you there for the execution?
LAN TU, SISTER KILLED BY MICHAEL ROSS: Well, I am here to represent the family and relatives who want someone here. I`m here for myself and to give a voice to my little sister and to make sure everyone knows that we want Mr. Ross dead.
GRACE: Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS: I have had some difficulty sleeping, especially when the -- for example, the public defenders filed a motion on December 1st. And on December 2nd, I received those motions. And I think I got about two hours` sleep that night. I just tossed and turned all night.
You know, so things like that can affect me. They just want me to shut up and be a nice little boy and go quietly to my execution. I`m not going to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He`s having a hard time sleeping because of the public defenders? David Schwartz, you`ve got to be kidding me. He`s not losing any sleep over the eight women he raped and murdered? And don`t tell me this guy`s incompetent. He is talking better than you and I can talk put together. This guy`s not crazy.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, aside from the fact, Nancy, that two psychiatrists said that he was incompetent. You know, Nancy, anyone who makes this decision is incompetent. There is a mental illness at stake here. This is a barbaric punishment. It is anti-the Eighth Amendment.
This is not what the founders of this country had in mind when they made the amendment against cruel and unusual punishment. What did we think that cruel and unusual punishment is? We are the only civilized nation in the world that uses the death penalty. What about the 114 people that were exonerated off death row, Nancy?
GRACE: You know what, David? I didn`t ask you to launch off into some crazy sermon. I asked you about this guy being incompetent.
GRACE: Elizabeth, when you can, will you queue up another dissertation by Mr. Ross? Oh, you`re ready? OK, go ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS: I think what makes me so angry is they know how this is affecting me. And they`re doing it anyway. They know what my beliefs have been from the beginning, the last ten years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Have you ever -- we need a shrink. And with us, Dr. Michelle Callahan, psychologist. Michelle, have you ever seen anybody so self- absorbed? All I heard was me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me. It`s all about, "I can`t sleep. I wanted decaf. I need more reading material from the law library." I did not hear one thing about the eight women he raped and murdered.
MICHELLE CALLAHAN, PSYCHOLOGIST: And he`s not going to say anything about them because he is totally self-absorbed. And I think part of the reason why he`s willing to go ahead and move on with this thing is he doesn`t want to be dealing with it anymore.
He`s not doing it because he`s concerned about the families and he wants to, you know, put an end to their misery. He wants to put an end to his own misery.
GRACE: You know, I want to go back, very quickly, before we go to break, to the attorney general out of the state of Connecticut.
Everybody, this execution, which is now in less than six hours, is set for 2:00 a.m. in the morning, is the first time in 45 years an execution has gone down in New England. It will be death by lethal injection, unless, of course, a federal court of appeals or an appellate court breaks in and stops the execution.
Richard Blumenthal has handled -- his office has handled many, many years of appeals by this guy. Richard, when you hear this guy talking from behind bars about how he`s agitated people are trying to help him, how he can`t sleep at night -- when I take a look at what he did to these eight women, one of them as young as 14.
Richard, you`re sitting behind -- you`re sitting beside a victim`s brother. They came to this country because they thought it`s the best thing to ever happen to them. And now she was raped and murdered. What do you think when you listen to this guy talking about himself?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, we`re determined, absolutely determined to fight and defeat any last-minute maneuver to stop or delay what is a lawful punishment and perfectly appropriate. If ever there was a case where the death penalty ought to be imposed, this one is it.
And I happen to be a supporter of the death penalty in cases exactly like this one, where heinous, horrible crimes are committed, whether against young women, or police officers, or others who leave victims` families, such as this gentleman, whose American dream really was devastated by Michael Ross.
And hopefully the justice system -- and it is a justice system -- will be permitted to go to finality and a lawful sentence imposed without anyone interfering or imposing any delay or other derailment.
GRACE: We are quickly going to break. We`re going to be back with the brother of one of Ross` victims.
But as we go to break, I just want to tell you about a couple of his victims. Robin Stavinsky was 19-years-old. After he killed her, he hid her body. Her mother was sure she was coming home for Thanksgiving. Instead, two police officers came to her door that day and told her she needed to come identify her daughter`s remains.
And hold on, Elizabeth, before we go to break, Leslie Shelley and April Brunais, 14-years-old and best friends, kidnapped and killed by Ross on Easter Sunday, 1984. And he can`t sleep because of his legal proceedings? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS: Thanksgiving is a difficult time for me because on Thanksgiving Day, (INAUDIBLE) the mother was expecting her daughter to come home. Instead, two police officers came to the door, and she had to go (INAUDIBLE) her daughter. Thanksgiving is always a difficult day for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS: (INAUDIBLE) I`m a monster, obviously I didn`t care about the families, this is just a ploy. Public defenders are out there saying I`m suicidal. My reported concern for the families is simply a smoke screen for my suicidal desires.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He doesn`t look suicidal to me. He looks like a smart aleck. That is Michael Ross sitting behind bars whining about himself. He was just talking about how Thanksgivings are hard for me. I wonder how they are for the mothers of Leslie Shelley, April Brunais and Robin Stavinski. She was murdered just before Thanksgiving. Her mom thought she was coming home for thanksgiving.
Thanks, Elizabeth. Here are a shot of some -- repeat, some -- of Ross` victims. There were eight in all that we know of. He admitted to raping and killing seven of them.
I`m going to go quickly to CNN correspondent standing by, Deb Feyerick. She is at the location of the execution.
What legal battles have led up to this moment? I mean, we have been paying for this guy`s room and board for 21 years.
FEYERICK: And prison officials actually believe, Nancy, that it`s about $1 million that has gone into his care and feeding over the last...
GRACE: Sorry, I just choked.
FEYERICK: Yes, that`s the number that they`re putting on to this.
And one interesting thing is the whole issue of the appeals. Michael Ross has actually said that one of the reasons he`s not appealing is because he wants to spare the families, that this is the right thing to do. He had something of a religious conversion when he was in prison, and so he says he wants to do this for the families.
But at the same time, one of the reasons he`s not appealing is because he knows there`s no possible way he`s ever going to get off death row and get life in prison. He said, "Sure, if somebody banged on my door and said, `I`m going to give you life in prison,`" Ross has said, "I would take that because not to take it would be suicide."
But short of getting that sort of free pass, he just doesn`t want to stay on death row. He says he`s been on death row for 20 years. It`s no way to live. He said when he dies, it won`t be a sad day.
GRACE: I want to go to Lan Tu standing by. Lan Tu is the brother of one of the victims.
And I was just reading about your sister. And I read earlier today how it was such, such a big deal for your very large extended family when she went to Vassar. I mean, they all came in carloads, the story reads, at the end of the year to pick her up from Vassar. She was such a big source of pride. She graduated from Vassar in `77 and won the economic department`s honors prize.
And when I think of the way your sister was forced face down in the dirt, and raped, and murdered -- I want to know what your thoughts are tonight, Lan Tu.
TU: Well, Nancy, at first when it first happened, I had a great feeling of anger, and numbness, and disorientation. Over the years, that has faded somewhat.
But I`m more determined than ever that Mr. Ross should take the death penalty because I do not believe that he`s entitled to humane treatment. I do not believe that he is a human being. There are certain organisms that put themselves so far outside the boundaries of human society that I do not believe that they deserve any kind of mercy.
I`m not talking just about people such as Pol Pot, Adolf Eichmann, (INAUDIBLE) but people such as Michael Ross, I`m sure, qualitatively, anyway, fit in that category.
GRACE: You know, I was just reading about your sister graduating from Vassar. I remember when my sister graduated from Wharton. All of us came up for the graduation. It was the biggest thing that had ever happened in our family.
Back to you, David Schwartz, defense attorney. You keep going on and on and on about the Founding Fathers and how this is cruel, unusual punishment. The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution at a time when the death penalty was in effect. So that is a very tired and old argument you`re making. That`s simply not true.
SCHWARTZ: I don`t think so. You know...
GRACE: You don`t think so? But that`s what the history books say. You think it`s all a big communist plot to brainwash people?
SCHWARTZ: You know what, Nancy? We`ve come such a far, long way since then.
GRACE: Oh, so you`re dropping the Founding Fathers argument?
SCHWARTZ: No, I`m not dropping the Founding Fathers argument. If the Founding Fathers knew that 114 people were exonerated off death row -- these were cases where there were eyewitnesses, jailhouse informants, including -- and there some scientific evidence cases which now we`re seeing -- it`s not really the little guy -- wait, Nancy, it`s not the guy in the little white lab coat anymore. We`re seeing that massive mistakes are being made.
Obviously, it`s not this case. Obviously...
GRACE: Yes, so why don`t you talk about this case? Because all this preaching you`re doing -- this case has DNA and the guy confesses.
SCHWARTZ: Because we`re a nation of laws, Nancy. We`re a nation of laws. And we must uphold the law.
I understand the victims in this case want to see this guy dead. God forbid, I mean, it is the most horrible thing to hear what Lan and his family has gone through. But we`re still a nation of laws.
We`re the only civilized nation to have this death penalty. It`s time that we get rid of it. It`s time that we go along with many of the other states that have gotten rid of it, including the state of New York, I may add.
GRACE: OK, you go ahead and line up with the European Union. I`ll stay put, right here.
SCHWARTZ: I`ll stay put also, Nancy.
GRACE: I`d like to finish -- where a majority of the states and the federal government agree with the death penalty, agree that it is an alternative that should be given to the jury. But I notice, every time your factual argument gets weak, you fall back on some theory.
SCHWARTZ: The factual argument is strong. There`s a factual argument that`s being made all over this country.
GRACE: There`s DNA and there`s a confession.
SCHWARTZ: And you know what? There`s 114 people that have faced death and that were taken off death row. And how many more are there, Nancy? That`s the question. You know as well as I do that innocent people get convicted every single day. Isn`t it funny that people facing death, none of them...
GRACE: You think this guy is innocent? Do you think this guy is factually innocent? Yes/no?
SCHWARTZ: No, I don`t.
GRACE: OK, thank you.
SCHWARTZ: But we are a nation of laws...
GRACE: Very quickly to Debra Opri, defense attorney. Debra, response?
DEBRA OPRI, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Let me tell you, I`m a criminal defense attorney. I believe in the death penalty. I believe this is a case that should not be a litmus test for doing away with the death penalty. So that argument of that gentleman is just not appropriate here.
Timothy McVeigh took the death penalty. And I almost wish this guy would have done it 20-something years ago. This is a test case where there`s an abuse of the constitutional rights.
This man is basically a victim of his lawyers. His lawyers should have went to him quite a while ago and said, "What do you want to do?" But the constitutional rights are built in where they have to make these appeals and they have to try to save him from the death penalty. But he`s now saying, "Leave me alone. Let me die." Give him his wish.
GRACE: You know what? Ellie, what did he have for dinner tonight? Tuna casserole? Turkey ala king. And apparently he has been turned into a hero because he didn`t have a special last meal. He ate with the other inmates.
You know what? His victims didn`t have a special last meal. They died with their face down in the dirt.
OPRI: This should not even be a news story.
GRACE: Hey, very quickly to Elizabeth in the control room, Renee, anybody, what`s the clock? Four minutes. Excuse me, four hours -- five hours, 38 minutes. Quick break, everybody. We`ll be right back.
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Quickly out to Lan Tu, the brother of victim Dzung Ngoc Tu.
Lan, if you could speak to your sister tonight, what would you say?
TU: I would say that, ever since we lost her, there has been an empty place in our family, that my niece and nephew are missing a fabulous aunt, and that if Michael Ross finally dies tonight, she can sleep. And I hope that she has peace.
GRACE: Well, Lan Tu, on behalf of your sister and all the other victims of Michael Ross, I hope that after tonight they rest in peace.
To Richard Blumenthal, keep up the faith. He is the Connecticut attorney general.
And to Deborah Feyerick, CNN reporter, thank you, friend.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON, DEFENDANT: Peter Pan to me represents something that`s very special in my heart. You know, it represents youth, childhood, never growing up, magic, flying. And to me, I just have never, ever grown out of loving that or thinking that is very special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Speaking of magic, the defense plows forward in the Michael Jackson case. That bite that you just heard is from the ABC version of the Martin Bashir documentary. It was shown to the Jackson jury.
Welcome back, everybody.
Let`s go straight out to Santa Maria. Standing by, Jane Velez- Mitchell with "Celebrity Justice."
Jane, big day in court today.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, "CELEBRITY JUSTICE": It was huge. It was all about the lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, Nancy.
First, a former Jackson attorney took the stand. And he suggested, if there was any sort of conspiracy, it was probably against Michael Jackson, because he suspected two of the alleged unindicted co-conspirators stole $1 million from the pop superstar. Then there was a huge controversy, fireworks over another former Jackson attorney, Mark Geragos. He sent his own lawyer here to say he didn`t want to show up, as per subpoena, to testify tomorrow morning because he`s very busy with cases in Los Angeles.
GRACE: Say what?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The judge, furious, said, tough. You be here first thing tomorrow. Now you know how everyone else in this case feels, no special privileges, first thing tomorrow, or I`m going to issue a warrant.
GRACE: OK. Hold on. I was there at the Scott Peterson sentencing, the verdict. No Geragos to be seen. He did not show up for his own death penalty client.
That day, he said he had other business. Now, what business could be more important than showing up when your client`s sentence is handed down? I don`t know. Now, what was the excuse, Jane Velez-Mitchell? Now, Geragos is no idiot. He did not just fall of the turnip truck. This guy is a smart lawyer. What did he say?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officially, through his own lawyer, he said that he was very busy with a number of cases in Los Angeles and Orange County. He`s got a trial going on. He`s also got a preliminary hearing. He`s got a custody case. He`s got a lot on his plate. And they just wanted to reschedule.
Some people suggested perhaps -- and this is pure speculation -- that he`s not to thrilled about testifying, because he`s seen that Michael Jackson`s team has tried to blame everybody else for any evidence of an alleged conspiracy on other people, like the alleged unindicted co- conspirators, and perhaps he`s concerned that they`ll try to blame him for some of the evidence that the prosecution has dug up, for example, the private investigator Bradley Miller`s office where they found surveillance tapes. There`s going to be a lot of questioning about that tomorrow.
GRACE: To Debra Opri, Jackson family defense attorney.
Debra, you know you`re in trouble when your lawyer has a lawyer. OK? Something is not right with that.
OPRI: Well, just to summarize Mark Geragos` travails, he should not be challenging a subpoena, number one. Number two, he is a defense witness. He`s on the defense`s witness list. He should go there willingly and it should never get in the press -- and he knows it will -- if he sends a lawyer saying he`s too busy.
I think Mark Geragos may be having some sort of an emotional condition at this stage of his life, because you don`t do things like this. You don`t go telling judges, I`m too busy for you. You work it out.
As far as him taking the Fifth, let me just say this. There are two privileges. There`s the attorney-client privilege, which has been waived. It`s held by Michael Jackson. It`s been waived by Michael Jackson, by him being on the witness list, and the Fifth Amendment against discrimination. If Mark Geragos did anything wrong...
OPRI: Right, self against -- yes, absolutely.
If he did anything wrong and he`s going to be used as the fall guy, he will take that. He`s going to plead it.
GRACE: Take the Fifth.
OPRI: Yes. And he`s going to argue, you know, I don`t want to set myself up.
I think the way the defense is going to go, however, is that they`re going to use him to support what happened with the investigator, that they were given assignments. He`s going to help support the Dieter and Ronald Konitzer conspiracy on and of themselves, because, in the end, I think Michael Jackson`s going to be shown to be a person who just didn`t know what was going on.
GRACE: Didn`t know what was going on?
Wait, Michelle Callahan, how could he not know what`s going on in his own bed?
CALLAHAN: He knows what`s going on.
GRACE: Yes. He knows.
CALLAHAN: And he wants to cover it up.
GRACE: Yes. Yes.
With me, Michelle Callahan, psychologist -- excuse me, Dr. Michelle Callahan.
Out to Anne Bremner.
Anne, she`s right. Let`s not confuse the attorney-client privilege, communications between Geragos and Jackson, and the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, right not to incriminate yourself.
ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.
GRACE: Now, why would Geragos take the Fifth?
BREMNER: Well, because he has exposure, Nancy.
Jane said this is lawyers, lawyers, lawyers. Well, I think it`s the Shakespeare quote. First, let`s kill all the lawyers. Michael Jackson can`t trust anybody. Everybody uses him. Everyone is out for money. It`s been said, he said he can`t trust anybody except for his mother, and he`s not even sure if he can trust her half the time.
So, everybody in this case has wanted something from Michael Jackson. And what they`re going to use Geragos to show are all these people that say they were trying to help him were trying to hurt him. They`re the ones that were doing things to try and get money from him. They`re the ones that were falsely imprisoning the accuser`s family, if anybody.
And, you know, Michael Jackson, he is a child. He doesn`t know what`s going on around him. They were stealing from him. They were lying to him. And they got him in the place where he is. And his lawyer may have a warrant out for him tomorrow, one of his lawyers -- he`s had nine, at great expense -- won`t come into court because he doesn`t want to have blood on the walls about him and his involvement.
GRACE: Well, yes.
And I got to tell you, David Schwartz, speaking of Jackson`s lawyers, I just saw Benjamin Brafman at Johnnie Cochran`s memorial service tonight, before I came to the studio. Now, that`s a good lawyer. That is a street- fighting man. He is mean. He will win a case. Let me tell you that much. So what do you think about this allegation that Geragos may take the Fifth?
You know, I don`t know that I`d want to put -- Geragos is a smart lawyer. I don`t know if I want to put him on the stand and accuse him of anything. You would be -- you`d have a tiger by the tail then.
SCHWARTZ: He`s not going to take the Fifth. He`s going to stand up and testify in this case. However, I heard something before. He`s on trial. I mean, if it`s true he`s on trial, guess what, folks? Guess what?
GRACE: That`s not what she said. She said a family -- in family court.
Was that right, Jane?
SCHWARTZ: So, that`s not a trial?
GRACE: We all know, all of us practicing lawyers that actually try cases...
GRACE: That a felony case takes precedent over a custody case or a domestic matter. But maybe you`re right.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, what does he say is on his calendar for tomorrow?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he has a variety of things on his calendar, three specifically his lawyer mentioned.
I want to say that his lawyer very specifically held a news conference outside court and said, he is not reluctant to testify. So, I think it`s very important to stress that. Now, "CJ," "Celebrity Justice," first broke the story that he was going to testify. And we suggested at that time that he was going to talk about the mother of the accuser being after money and how that`s why they began an investigation of her, perhaps surveilled her, because they were concerned that she was trying to extort Michael Jackson.
However, today, in testimony from another former Jackson attorney, a defense witness, on cross-examination, he admitted that Jackson`s people, he said, offered the mother, through her attorney, $25,000 to remain a participant in an effort to have Martin Bashir disciplined by a British media association. And she declined the $25,000.
So, the prosecutor said, so, she didn`t want Michael Jackson`s money, did she? And the guy said, I guess not.
GRACE: Very quickly to Anne Bremner, Seattle attorney. She`s been in the courtroom from the get-go.
GRACE: The Jackson defense has a lot bigger problems than whether Geragos is going to show up to court tomorrow. I`m talking about good character that the defense has inadvertently put in. Everybody in court yesterday and today, you know, there was the Bashir documentary.
Well, they were outtakes of the Bashir documentary the jury hadn`t seen yet. And they portray Jackson in a very good light. Well, the defense played all those. It was like a big movie of Michael Jackson. And in my mind, they put in good character.
Now, what does that mean for the prosecution, Anne?
BREMNER: Well, they are going to try and bring in more bad things about Michael Jackson, which they`ve already done in this case, a lot of things I don`t think should have come into evidence and wouldn`t in a lot of jurisdictions.
But the thing is, they got those outtakes in, Nancy, because of the rule of completeness and also to show that Martin Bashir -- and this is a mouthful -- but he was basically like a gushing, oleaginous sycophant, and he misled Michael Jackson. And he put something out there on the air that damaged Michael Jackson, when, in reality, what Jackson said was completely different and it had to be put in context.
Now, does that mean they put in character? I think they`re going to argue no. The prosecutor put it in this video.
BREMNER: So, we had to balance this out. That`s what they`re going to say, Nancy.
GRACE: Anne, I`m not asking you what each side is going to argue.
GRACE: You are a trial lawyer.
BREMNER: I am.
GRACE: I`m asking you, what`s going to happen? They put in -- the defense put in video footage of Michael Jackson talking about his philanthropic works, of which there are many.
GRACE: What a good guy he is, his theories on peace on Earth.
GRACE: That is inadvertently putting in good character. Now the state can likely respond with other bad acts. You saw the motion. What does the state want to bring in? Be specific.
BREMNER: Well, they want to bring in the baby-dangling incident. They want to bring in details from the Jordy Chandler `93 case. They want to bring in other potential settlements, checks written to very poor families. I mean, there`s a lot else -- there`s a lot of stuff out there that could be very hurtful. That is in the briefing, Nancy.
GRACE: You mean very poor families with little boys with whom Jackson had a special bond.
BREMNER: There`s been at least mention of one.
Now, Nancy, here`s the thing on the character evidence, is that, in reality, he did say things like: I`m married to God. I`m married to my family. I love my fans. I`m married to my fans.
But I think the defense should have gotten a ruling on this beforehand -- we`ve talked about this before -- so they knew the danger of putting this video, which was dynamite and five-star for Jackson. But opening the door into character and bringing in these other things may be consistent with the judge`s other rulings, i.e., the pornography, the 1108 pattern evidence, et cetera, under the statutes in California and the evidence rules here.
GRACE: I think what she just said is, yes, that this did open the door to bad character.
BREMNER: I did, Nancy.
BREMNER: ... lawyer speak. I`m being a lawyer out here.
GRACE: I know. It`s crazy.
Quick break, everybody. Please stay with us.
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody.
The trial of Michael Jackson rages on in a Santa Maria courthouse. And, tomorrow, on the stand, a face we know well by now, Mark Geragos, has been called to court. Don`t know if he`s going to show up. There`s been a lot of speculation that Geragos will take the Fifth Amendment. That has not been confirmed. We do know that he says he can`t make it to court. But we`ll find out tomorrow what goes down with Mark Geragos.
Believe you me, this is one smart attorney. And they are putting him on the stand for a reason.
Switching gears, I want to go straight to an Amber Alert we told you about earlier, a 16-month-old toddler. Elizabeth, can you show the picture of Justin Black? He looks like a baby doll. That Amber Alert has been in effect for a couple of days.
Tonight, victims rights activist Marc Klaas is with us.
But first to CNN reporter Charles Molineaux.
Charles, bring us up to date.
CHARLES MOLINEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, this situation has pretty much gone from being the hot pursuit situation into a slow grind of an investigation.
The Amber Alerts have been pretty much allowed to peter out in both Texaco (sic) and New Mexico in the search for Justin Black. The search does continue. But, at this point, it is much more a matter of trying to go over the clues and figure out where this little boy might have gone to.
Of course, this all started back on Sunday evening, when his mother, Kristi Black, was found dead in her apartment in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Her husband, Ivan Villa, is missing, along with the little boy. And he disappeared with this white Mustang that the family had. Well, the cops have been looking for that. An Amber Alert was issued and the search was on in both New Mexico and in Texas, because Villa has a Texas license, driver`s license, and apparently has relatives in the Houston area.
He also has relatives in El Paso. Well, what do you know? Then the missing white Mustang turned up in Juarez, Mexico, right across the Rio Grande from El Paso. Well, now, the question remains, are these two people still in this country at all?
MOLINEAUX: Or have they come back into El Paso, where the police do know that Villa has some relatives? That search does continue. The Amber Alert, however, pretty much petered out in Texas on Wednesday night and in New Mexico on Thursday morning, because once the vehicle had turned up, it wasn`t as if the cops had more information to convey to the public to ask them for their help.
MOLINEAUX: So, the Amber Alert is over. And now they`re into a very long, slow process of investigation to try and figure out where they might be, looking in both El Paso and Houston and even in Chicago, where there are other relatives.
GRACE: Very quickly to victims rights advocate and founder of Beyond Missing, Marc Klaas.
Number one, what`s the problems if this guy has gone into Mexico with a 16-month-old toddler? There`s Ivan`s picture. If you could show, Elizabeth -- there you go. Thank you.
If he has gone into Mexico, that`s a whole new set of problems, trying to get extradition.
You MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, you know, unfortunately, the only child that has ever gotten any kind of attention in an international custody case is little Elian Gonzalez. And he was a Cuban national.
When children are taken into foreign countries, it`s the job of the State Department to try to recover those children and bring them back into the United States. But given the fact that international relationships trump the rights of little children every time, nothing is ever done with that. In fact, the Geneva Convention for the rights of children is not worth the toilet paper that it was written on, quite frankly.
If they`re going to get this little boy back, it`s going to be about a murder investigation and it`s not going to be about an international kidnapping.
GRACE: And, of course, at this juncture, no one has been named a suspect in Kristi Black`s murder, the mother of Justin Black. The warrant is only for kidnap of the little boy.
Very quickly, we`re talking about Ivan Villa. Can you show that picture again, too, Elizabeth, please? What is your organization, Beyond Missing, doing to help find Justin Black?
KLAAS: Well, as soon as we found out about the Amber Alert, we contacted both the Texas and the New Mexico authorities. And we distributed fliers of the little boy, Amber Alert fliers, to every law enforcement agency, media outlet, highway motel service station, convenience store, and fast-food outlet within a 100-mile radius of where the child disappeared, a 100-mile radius of El Paso, and a 200-mile radius of Houston, Texas, in an effort to saturate those areas with those fliers.
Again, strangely, four days after the child disappeared, the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children distributed 10,000 fliers to many of the same entities. But one wonders, if the car`s already been found in Juarez, Mexico, why they bothered to do that in the first place. You see, it`s about Amber Alerts and...
GRACE: Well, there`s no such thing as too much when you`re trying to find a 16-month-old child.
KLAAS: Well, no, you`re absolutely correct.
But Amber Alerts are about immediate notification, which is why these things didn`t peter out.
KLAAS: It`s about immediate, not four days later.
GRACE: Marc Klaas is with us, the founder of Beyond Missing, trying desperately to find Justin Black.
Very quickly to tonight`s all-points bulletin. FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Michael Leon Zeve, wanted by the FBI for alleged sex encounters with children under 14 between `96 and 2000 in California, 6`2``, 220 pounds, brown eyes. If you have info on Zeve, call the FBI, 310-477-6565.
Local news next for some of you, but we`ll be right back.
And, remember, live coverage of the Jackson trial tomorrow, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, on Court TV.
Please stay with us.
GRACE: Sixteen-month-old toddler Justin Black. Take a look. The Amber Alerts called off, believed to be with his stepfather tonight. His mother has been murdered.
Very quickly to Charles Molineaux.
What comes next, Charles?
MOLINEAUX: Well, Nancy, as you heard, this is not considered a -- he`s not a murder fugitive yet. He`s only wanted on kidnapping charges.
But he could very well end up officially a suspect in this case. Police in both New Mexico and in El Paso, Texas, say that he is, at the very least, a person of interest in this case. You get a murder warrant against this guy and now you`re getting a little more clout when it comes to reaching across the border, if it comes to that.
Again, there is also the possibility that he may in fact have come back into the United States after dropping this car off in Mexico, because, of course, Juarez, where it turned up, is right across the river from El Paso, where he does have family. But this is now a long, slow process of investigation, rather than the kind of hot pursuit we`ve had with the Amber Alerts.
GRACE: Very quickly to Marc Klaas.
Ivan Villa, a suspect in kidnapping, that`s his warrant tonight. The little baby`s mother has been found strangled.
Quickly, Marc Klaas, hours count.
KLAAS: Well, hours count.
And this is a horrible situation. If this guy is in Juarez with this kid, we have to remember Juarez is basically the murder capital of the world. There are hundreds of cases of young women and girls in Juarez that have never been solved. And they feel that there`s police complicity in many of these cases. So, this is not a good situation for this little boy. We have to continue to look for him. We have to be vigilant. We have to do everything we can to recover him. He`s in a very bad circumstance and obviously in very bad company.
GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests tonight, but, as always, my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of us into your homes.
Coming up, headlines from all around the world and Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. I hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern.
And, until then, good night, friend.