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Cops After Those Who Helped Alleged Killer

Aired December 1, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a suspected cop killer, gunned down on the streets of Seattle. Maurice Clemmons was on the run since Sunday, wanted for murdering four police officers in a coffee shop. Now he`s dead. But police say the roundup has just begun. Cops are now hunting down anyone who assisted this fugitive, allegedly including his own sister. Cops say she bandaged up his wounds and tried to help him escape, and she`s not the only one. Cops are promising that others are going to pay for helping this suspect.

And bizarre new twists and turns in the case of the alleged White House party crashers. As if this story could get any crazier. The two now say they`re the victims in all this, and their lives have actually been destroyed. They claim they were actually invited to the party and have e- mails to prove it. Now I`m no security expert, but I`m guessing it takes more than an evite to get into a White House state dinner. When are they going to show us this so-called evidence? And what happens to them if this latest explanation turns out to be full of holes?

Plus seismic insight into the Tiger Woods soap opera. The alleged mistress who`s been rumored to be at the center of this whole mess is speaking out. Rachel Uchitel is denying the whole thing, saying she never had an affair with Tiger. She`s even willing to take a polygraph test to prove it, and that`s just the beginning. We`ll have all the drama in this already steamy scandal.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, growing outrage in the wake of Sunday`s coffee-shop massacre. The gunman suspected of gunning down four police officers in Washington state is now dead himself. Tonight, fast-breaking developments as investigators round up the growing network of suspects.

Cops believe several friends and family members helped Maurice Clemmons lay low during his two-day flight from justice. Police say Clemmons` own sister was one of two people who bandaged a gunshot wound he sustained during the initial shootout. Investigators say that wound was stuffed with cotton balls and then shut with duct tape.

They also say his sister might have helped Clemmons escape from Lakewood, Washington, the scene of the bloodbath, and fleed about 70 miles to Seattle. That`s where he was finally caught, shot and killed earlier in morning.

Clemmons, a dangerous and reportedly psychotic repeat offender, left these four anguished law enforcement families in his wake. Nine kids in all lost a parent.

But those weren`t his only alleged victims. His own family has been destroyed. Here`s Clemmons` niece.


DESTINY HINTON, NIECE OF ACCUSED COP KILLER: We`re being punished for something he did. We didn`t do this. We didn`t ask him do this. We didn`t know he was going do this. I didn`t. I didn`t know this. And if I saw him, you know, if I knew something like that, you know, I would have tried to talk to my uncle. My uncle was not in his right mind. He`s crazy. He`s lost his mind.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tragically, she may never lose the label of being related to an alleged cop killer.

Meanwhile, three people have been arrested on suspicion of aiding Clemmons during his time as fugitive. The Pierce County, Washington, prosecutor spoke to the media just a short time ago.


MARK LINQUIST, PROSECUTOR, PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Last night officers booked into custody three individuals who allegedly helped the killer Maurice Clemmons evade capture. They are Ricky Hinton, Eddie Davis and Douglas Davis.

At this point, we`ve charged Eddie Davis and Douglas Davis with rendering criminal assistance in the third degree. Strike that: we have charged them with rendering criminal assistance in the first degree, which is a class "C" felony. These are extremely serious allegations, and we are going to prosecute these cases to the greatest extent possible.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: At this hour, anguish and anger as we learn more about the people who allegedly helped this accused cop-killing monster run from the law. Did they call in false tips to throw cops off the trail? And were measures of his own family involved in this?

Tonight`s big issue: families destroyed. What do you think of the other victims whose lives are shattered when a relative commits a crime? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my awesome expert panel: Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; Stacy Dittrich, former law enforcement officer and author of the new book out today, "Murder Behind the Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill"; Elizabeth Kelley, criminal defense attorney. And we begin with Travis Mayfield, reporter with KOMO News Radio.

Travis, what is the very latest?

TRAVIS MAYFIELD, REPORTER, KOMO NEWS RADIO: Jane, the very latest: in the last hour we`re learning from the investigators on this scene that they believe they actually may have the getaway driver from that crime scene on Sunday morning in custody. In fact, they are questioning him right now. And they are getting ready to charge him. It could come tonight, we`re told.

Of course, they`re also trying to round up any other friends and family members that they say helped him evade police and may had been sending them on all sorts of goose chases yesterday over the last 24 hours. They say they know where all of these people are. They are bringing them in one at a time.

But again the very latest-breaking details: that getaway driver in custody, likely to be charged later today -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are absolutely right. In fact, we`re just getting some sound in on that. A law enforcement [SIC] says one of the guys in custody is the alleged so-called getaway driver. The sheriff`s spokesman explained what his alleged role was and what he could face.


DETECTIVE ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON, SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: The getaway driver`s with our detectives. We`re trying to determine his knowledge and how much information he had going into this, and that`ll determine what charges are -- we arrest him for and what charges are filed by the prosecutor`s was on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he knew what was going on happen, couldn`t he be charged with murder?

TROYER: Oh absolutely he could be charged with -- if he knew that he was driving him there for the murder, absolutely. If he knew that that was going to happen and drove him there and drove him out of there, then absolutely. We will arrest him for murder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maurice Clemmons reportedly told a whole bunch of witnesses that he was going to go out and kill some cops.

Curtis Sliwa, why would anybody help him do that? This is not a robbery. There is no financial motive. It`s insanity. It`s one psycho who hates cops. Why would anybody facilitate that?

CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: It`s maddening. I have to believe they`re all part of the three-eyed cousin-fornicated extended family, because he`s not someone with a political agenda. This is not like George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers, Angela Davis from the volatile `70s.

This is a guy whose own family members some of them said is crazy. He raped his daughter. Second-degree rape charge against his daughter. And they bailed him out on $15,000.

And Mike Huckabee, the holy roller guys who wants to be our next president, you let this guy out in Arkansas. This is going to be a stain on you until the day you die.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops are looking at as many as seven suspects in this growing network of possible conspirators who allegedly aided this guy. Listen to HLN`s law enforcement analyst, Mike Brooks.


MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They provided him with money, a cell phone, helped to get out of state. And one of the things I think worst of all, they called in false tips to the police to put them off of his trail or attempted to get him off of their trail.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now obviously, these are just allegations at this point. Cops say it was one of those misleading tips, however, that led SWAT members to surround a house -- you remember that happened -- for 11 hours. They falsely believed Clemmons was on the inside. They had hostage negotiators, SWAT teams, a robot, and it turns out he wasn`t there. Apparently, that was a false tip.

So Stacy Dittrich, why on earth would anybody get involved in helping a cop killer get away by giving cops a phony tip? Don`t they realize that they`re going to be in a bleep, bleep load of trouble?

STACY DITTRICH, AUTHOR, "MURDER BEHIND THE BADGE": They don`t care. that`s the whole point. Their family, I cannot tell you how many times in law enforcement, doing investigations where the family has lied for the suspect. It is extremely frustrating for us.

And you know this -- this standoff in this empty house, if that was put forth by a family member to throw off the investigation, not only do you have four cops dead, but just this standoff alone. I`ve been in, you know, live gunfire standoffs. That is still a dangerous situation for police officers even though it`s an empty house. You can have all kinds of accidents happening.

So they were continuously putting the law enforcement officers in danger by their lies, by their false leads and everything else. They should go to jail.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s so much outrage over this case. Phone lighting up.

Judy, Florida, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: My thought is that it`s a good thing that they actually killed this gentleman. Actually, he`s not a gentleman; he`s a monster. Anyway, we`ve actually been paying a lot of money just to get him well. To put him -- to kill him or put him in life in prison. I think we just saved a lot of money, thanks to that one officer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s -- it`s a horrific case.

Brenda Wade, there is so much rage out there. How do we put that rage into context?

BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I don`t blame people for being angry and upset. When we see a tragedy of innocent people killed in the line of duty, it`s a terrible thing for all of us.

But I also want to comment on the family, Jane. Dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional people. We cannot be surprised that somebody who has been described as on drugs, mentally ill, has family members around him who are also dysfunctional. You don`t find dysfunctional people, as a rule, coming from high-functioning families that fall within the norms we expect families to have.

There are no boundaries in this family. There`s no sense of integrity. And that`s the family that produced this killer. We can`t be surprised.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And a lot of the members of this family are -- are really in shock tonight and those who are not in shock, may be in trouble, accused of perhaps helping him.

All right, everybody, stay where you are. We`re going to have more on this mind-boggling story in just a moment. We`re also taking your calls. I want to hear from you: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, the infamous couple accused of crashing a party at the White House, now insists they were invited. They say they have proof. So where is the proof?

But first, the monster accused of killing four cops in cold blood as they sat at a coffee shop. He was gunned down himself earlier this morning. A suspected killer`s off the streets, but will cops ever know what led truly to this senseless massacre?


TROYER: The only interesting part to me would had been to know what his motive was and what his thinking was, and from everybody we`ve talked to that`s been around him since then, there is no answer for it, other than he was angry about being incarcerated the eight or nine weeks prior to the shootings, because he`d just gotten out of the Pierce County jail on November 23. So there`s never going to be an answer that makes any sense.




TROYER: Well, the assistance he was getting was they tried to do some medical aid. They tried to move him from residence. They tried to hide him. They supplied him with cell phones. They supplied him with money. They were making arrangements to get him out of the state. And just a continuing effort to throw wrenches in our investigation, give us misdirection, and so they`re going to pay for it. They`re just (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say Maurice Clemmons might have had up to seven people helping him, including his own sister. Investigators suspect she may have helped him flee and also helped his wounds, bandage his wounds.

You know, Elizabeth Kelley, criminal defense attorney, imagine the ethical dilemma a person faces when a close relative asks for help in covering up a crime. Is being a relative any sort of defense?

ELIZABETH KELLEY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think his sister might be able to play on the sympathy of law enforcement and the prosecutor.

But I`d like to defend Governor Huckabee. Because as a criminal...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You would, would you?

KELLEY: I would.


KELLEY: Because as a criminal defense attorney, every day I fight on behalf of people who deserve second chances. And I hope and I pray that this tragedy will not stop governors and judges from having the courage to do the right thing because people can be rehabilitated, and people can change.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what? I`ve got a sore throat, so I`m going to let Curtis take that one.

SLIWA: Yes, here it is, Clemmons. All he did was what the holy rollers want to see: "Hallelujah, Jesus! I`ve given up my life for crime." And the holy rollers say, "Oh, sanctify him. He`s cleansed himself."

Meantime, he went on to commit more crimes in Arkansas. They let him go from there, went to Washington, beat up four cops. They let him go. Raped his own daughter. They let him go. I mean, how many times does this guy have to sing to us he`s an enemy of society?

I don`t care if it is Jesus, Allah, anyone he praises. Let him say his prayers in jail in an 8-5-4 cell for the rest of his life.

He was supposed to do 108 years, and Mike Huckabee felt the spirit to release him. But Mike Huckabee didn`t have him come to his house, didn`t have him do his parole in his house, did he?

KELLEY: You`re missing the point, Curtis. First of all, there were layers and layers and layers of people in the penealogical [SIC] system in Arkansas who recommended that this man have his sentence commuted.

And secondly, when he committed that crime back in Arkansas, he was a juvenile. He was 16 years old.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not a crime. There were a whole bunch of them, honey. He had a rap sheet a mile long at the point that his commutation happened. He had many felonies, and he wasn`t just looking at 60 years. He was looking at 60-plus, 48-plus. It goes on and on. And then he violated his parole when he got out after the commutation.

KELLEY: He was a kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, I have tremendous sympathy for young people who are born into an urban situation where they are almost fast-tracked into the criminal justice system. In fact, we did a special on it, how locking up people has become a big business. People are -- there are companies getting rich off of feeding these people and housing these people. And we`re locking up more people than any other country in the world. And we`ve got do something about the over-criminalization of our society. And liberals and conservatives both agree this is a problem.

But when you have somebody who is clearly a psycho, who is clearly violent, and you let them out on the streets, think about how you would like to have that person in your home before you grant them a commutation.

KELLEY: Jane, I`m not -- I`m not advocating...

WADE: Jane, one of the things that`s lost here in the translation is that we have to make a distinction between who is a criminal and who is criminally insane. And I believe we`re talking about someone here who isn`t just a criminal but who clearly has mental problems. So we have to look more closely at who was doing the evaluations.


WADE: Who was doing the assessment?

DITTRICH: Jane, I want to intervene.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to use my gavel for the first time tonight. OK. First of all...

DITTRICH: One of the things that is important...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got a caller I want to go to, but I want to go first to the Travis Mayfield. Because Travis, you`ve actually talked to this suspect, now deceased, Clemmons, as part of a fluke. It was a local news story, a fire, and you ended up interviewing him a couple of years ago.

MAYFIELD: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he seem crazy to you?

MAYFIELD: He didn`t, and that`s what I want to inject into all this conversation. He was actually a landlord. He owned several homes in the Parkland area. He has his own -- or had his own small business.

And when I approached him, it was a house fire. He was the landlord. And he seemed a little shy. He was soft-spoken but incredibly polite. And a really -- the interview was reasonable intelligent.

I mean, honestly, I would never in a million years have expected that he had this long criminal history and certainly couldn`t look ahead and say that he would possibly do what police now accuse him of doing. At the time he seemed incredibly put together, incredibly lucid and honestly, a nice man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let`s go to our caller. Wayne, Indiana. You want to weigh in on all this.

CALLER: I feel like this. I`m sorry for the four police officers losing their lives. But you know, how many shootings have we had where innocent black people have gotten gunned down by police officers?

You know, if that was my uncle, I don`t know if I would have helped him. I probably would have, you know, just the simple fact that we`ve endured so much violence from the police officers. And I`m not saying these four police officers deserved what they got...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me tell you something. There`s a big problem in this country when there is some kind of war going on between law enforcement and any kind of group within society. And that means that we as society need to take a look at it. Not from a position of hate or anger, but this is a problem. We`ve got to fix it. Our criminal justice system`s broken.

Stay right where you are. More on this horror story in just a moment.



TROYER: In the overall scheme of things, this has been very successful. As you`ve all seen the tactical operations all week, which were done on purpose at known locations where he was going or going to go to or people that had helped him and what it did is, it worked. It tightened the noose around his neck. He had nowhere to stay, and he`s out in a stolen car in the middle of the night.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The officer who shot and killed Maurice Clemmons at about 6 a.m. Eastern Time today was not injured. He`s on administrative duty while the investigation continues. But surely, he is being hailed as a hero tonight.

And tonight`s big issue: families destroyed. Of course, the families of the four officers who were gunned down are absolutely devastated. We can`t even imagine what they`re going through.

But then there`s the second set of victims, as well. The people who get caught up in a crime when a relative does something hideous and unthinkable and then suddenly appears in their lives as they`re running from justice. Here is Maurice Clemmons` niece.


HINTON: We`re being punished for something he did. We didn`t do this. We didn`t ask him to do this. We didn`t know he was going to do this. I didn`t. I didn`t know this. And if I saw him, you know, if I knew something like that, you know, I would have tried to talk to my uncle. My uncle was not in his right mind. He`s crazy. He`s lost his mind.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Understandably, she is trying to distance herself from her uncle. She`s not responsible for his actions. And yet Stacy, the stigma of his horrific actions could devastate her life, as well. This is something we never talk about when we talk about the cops and the robbers, is that everybody`s lives that are destroyed. It`s a no -- it`s a zero-sum game everybody loses.

KELLEY: This is true, but I just have to touch on that last caller. And I`m glad you didn`t ask me when he was on the phone, because I probably would have blown a gasket.

I lost -- my department lost an officer back in `07, so for someone to come on and make it a race issue and say, "Oh, I`d hide him, because he`s my family." I look forward of seeing that guy in jail when his relatives commit a crime, and so there is that.

But yes, it does. It devastates an entire family. And this family knowingly aided and abetted a multiple cop murderer. And they should absolutely have to pay the price for that to the fullest extent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, not every single person in the family did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what I`m saying.

KELLY: Right, the ones who helped him, absolutely. But ones that didn`t, that weren`t aware, their lives will be affected just as much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I`ve got to go to Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist. That caller was very disturbing. What are your thoughts?

WADE: You know, Jane, I can see both sides of the issue, because I have worked extensively with criminally, mentally ill people in prison, out of prison in community programs. And what people try do when it`s someone in their family is they try to be sympathetic. They try to help.

And in this family, I see so much dysfunction amongst the family members who were trying to help him. But I also see dysfunction in the people who heard him say, "I`m going to go out and kill police officers."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Curtis -- Curtis Sliwa, is this a hate crime? Is hating cops, is that -- should that be a hate crime?

SLIWA: Well, I don`t want to add another angle to the hate crimes, but you have to say they`re sitting there work their laptops, and he executes them right there in cold-blooded murder.

WADE: I think the guy`s crazy; I`m sorry. I think that we`re dealing with a mentally ill person. And...

SLIWA: Mentally ill? Most people who are in prison are mentally ill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to leave it right there. We`re going to stay on top of this story.

And up next, the D.C. party crashers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bizarre twist and turns in the case of the alleged White House party crashers. As if this story could get any crazier, the two now say they`re the victims in all this. And their lives have actually been destroyed. They claim they were actually invited to the party. And have e-mails to prove it. When are they going to show us this so-called evidence?

Plus, seismic insight into the Tiger Woods soap opera. The alleged mistress who is rumored to be at the center of this whole mess is speaking out. Rachel Uchitel is denying the whole thing saying she never had an affair with Tiger. She`s even willing to take a polygraph test to prove it.

The White House party crashers speak out. They say, "We were invited. We will be exonerated."

Michaele and Tareq Salahi waltzed right past the Secret Service to the exclusive state dinner. They mingled with President Obama. They rubbed elbows with some of America`s most powerful people, but guess what they weren`t on the list.

The couple appeared on NBC`s "The Today Show" to defend themselves. Listen to this.


MICHAELE SALAHI, ALLEGED WHITE HOUSE PARTY CRASHER: We were invited, not crashers. And there isn`t anyone that would have the audacity or the poor behavior to do that. The White House is the most -- it is The House; and no one would do that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. Who would do that? Michaele was oh so dignified on "The Today Show" but here is the other side of Mrs. Salahi.

Look at this interview we found on YouTube in happier times. Oh yeah she`s having a great time shimmering around dancing. Blowing kisses.

The couple says the accusations are ruining their lives. Here they are on "The Today Show".


M. SALAHI: Our lives have been destroyed.

TAREQ SALAHI, ALLEGED WHITE HOUSE PARTY CRASHER: Our lives have really been destroyed.

M. SALAHI: Everything we worked for, Matt. For me, 44 years just destroyed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why speak out now? Could it be because reports leaked out that they were holding out for a six-figure paycheck to tell their story? They tell Matt Lauer, "We never asked for cash."

Were they actually invited? Is it possible or are they con artists? The truth will obviously eventually come out and they are going to look pretty bad if they are lying.

Straight out to my fabulous and I mean fabulous expert panel: joining me criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh; and we`re delighted to have editor-in-chief of, Bonnie Fuller; as well as the one and only, Omarosa, Omarosa Manigault. You probably know her as just Omarosa. Reality show star who knows this couple.

Omarosa, we`re so happy to have you on tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Try -- please, try to give us an insight into the mind of this kooky couple, Omarosa.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hello Omarosa.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, how are you.

MANIGAULT: Hey, there was a delay.


MANIGAULT: I think once you get to know Michaele and Tareq you know that they are actually really good people and they are really a pillar on the social scene in Washington, D.C. I`ve enjoyed hanging out with them. I`ve enjoyed going to their events but what`s important to know is I think that they believe they were meant to be at the state dinner and that`s the most important aspect of their story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That cracks me up.

MANIGAULT: In your head if you think that you should be there then you think you should be there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I believe that I need to be in a space shuttle because I`ve always wanted to be in a space shuttle. Hold on I believe it.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey Jane, there`s a big difference between believability and accuracy. They can believe all they want they were supposed to be there but are they really accurate? And you know what I do say in their defense...


MANIGAULT: But the social scene in Washington is about three things. Three things.


MANIGAULT: Access to power, money and the boldness to do this sort of thing. And Michaele and Tareq are two people who have the boldness to walk up to the White House and crash the state dinner so you have to give them some credit for that.

EIGLARSH: Boldness, no, no credit. It`s a crime. You can`t do that. I don`t give them credit to let the world know, hey, they`re vulnerable. Anyone can walk in and compromise national security.


EIGLARSH: I don`t give them, that`s not how I see, it Omarosa.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The couple says they have an e-mail that proves they were legitimate guests. So we`re going to hear from you in a second, Bonnie.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But listen to this first from NBC`s "The Today Show".


T. SALAHI: We`re going to be coming up, up to New York sitting on your couch. We`re going to show you documentation from e-mails that you know -- you`ll get a chance to see.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, did they get an e-vite to the White House or are they serial party crashers?

This photo was taken at a different dinner with Obama. Published reports say the Salahis weren`t invited to this one either and they were asked to leave this event.

And TMZ reports that Michaele, that`s the girl, also infiltrated the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad. She allegedly crashed the field posing the team as a cheerleader. The team says she was never on the team.

So now given that evidence, Bonnie Fuller, take it away.

FULLER: Well, I`ve actually heard from a source that this couple was in line to actually do a party crasher`s reality show.


FULLER: So they are expert at this and they may very well professionally believe that they were invited. But it was for a cause.

And I think that we`ve seen with the balloon boy family that people will go to any length if they want to get on a reality show.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Which brings me to my question.


MANIGAULT: Compared to balloon boy because the distinction is that they didn`t hop on a balloon and get carried away. Yes, they crashed this party but they are not on a reality show as of yet. It`s not broadcast. They are not reality stars. So it`s important...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. One at a time.


EIGLARSH: I think that Omarosa is minimizing this. It`s not like they crashed Joey`s bar mitzvah.

MANIGAULT: I`m not minimizing it.

I`m probably the only on the panel who has worked in the White House. I understand how difficult it is for Secret Service to secure the president. I`m in no way defending this action or minimizing it.

I`m just telling you that I know them. I know how they think and I know how they operate.

EIGLARSH: Are you saying they didn`t crash?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me add this, ok. The Salahis are in talks to join the cast of "The Real Housewives of D.C. which is on Bravo. Bravo and NBC are brother and sister. So they appear on "The Today Show" which is on NBC. Do the math, Bonnie.

FULLER: Oh, I think that Bravo is -- could be delighted with all this attention. I mean they were being followed for days by a Bravo camera crew. We had even heard that there was a Bravo producer with them at the White House. I haven`t been able to confirm that but we`ve heard that.

And I mean that`s what these -- what reality shows are all about. They`re about extraordinary circumstances and people that are willing to do extraordinary things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok now we confirmed that Bravo TV they in fact tell us their cameras did follow the couple to the dinner. They were filming for "Real Housewives of D.C."

Now let`s take a look. This is what Michaele`s aspiring to be part of.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Grow up, you`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) 40-year- old woman. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of my face. You`re a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) liar. You have no class. Wait a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no class? No you don`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No you don`t. Get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hands off of me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You prostitution whore. You are (EXPLETIVE DELETED) engaged 19 times. You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stupid (EXPLETIVE DELETED).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off of there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put your hands on me. Put your hands on me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is me not being the victim. This is me not being a victim. This is me telling you to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Omarosa, those were some highlights from other "Real Housewives" shows. Do you think this is -- this whole scandal involving the White House, is it going to help them get the show or possibly hurt it?

MANIGAULT: I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that they`ll be a part of the cast of "The Housewives of D.C." And probably they`re going to push up the air date for this season. Because this season is hot, hot, hot. This story is hot, hot, hot. And why not exploit the fact that these...

No it`s not sad. It`s reality TV.


FULLER: Exactly.

MANIGAULT: And if you want to say it`s a good or bad thing all of the shows that are top shows in this country are reality TV from "dancing to the stars to "American idol" so American public has an appetite for reality TV. So if you are bashing them you are essentially bashing the appetite of the American people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mark, I`ll give you the last word.


Ok as a criminal defense lawyer let me just say, we can wait a few days and let`s just see if they really can come out and prove that they were invited. If not, they should be crushed. What they did was not minimal, it was major.

MANIGAULT: There`s no question they should pay the price for doing this but that does not mean they`re not going to be on TV.

FULLER: That`s right. Who would not tune into that show? Can you imagine the ratings? It`s going to be enormous.

MANIGAULT: It`s going to be enormous. You are absolutely right.

EIGLARSH: Oh, sad. What does that say about us as a society?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does it say about our society?

FULLER: I don`t think it matters what it says about us. It`s going to make unbelievable television and that`s what it`s about is ratings and they`re going to get ratings.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to watch the Congressional hearings when they appear before the Congressional committee on Thursday.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

FULLER: That`ll have good ratings too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next, David Hasselhoff. He tries to set the record set on why he spent two days in the hospital.

And everybody is talking about this: the latest on Tiger Woods and his alleged mistress? He might not be talking but she is. We`re going to tell you all about that.

And I want to hear from you on the Tiger story. Give me a ring- a-ding, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, Tiger Woods` alleged mistress opens up about what`s fact and what`s fiction.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: we told you just yesterday about David Hasselhoff raising eyebrows this week after he was admitted to a hospital for two days. Initial reports are he`d suffered a seizure in his California home. Then speculation swirled he was placed under involuntary psychiatric hold and that it might have something to with his acknowledged alcohol problem.

But now the Hoff is putting out a very positive spin. Here`s what he told TMZ.


DAVID HASSELHOFF, ACTOR: To Encino. I went with my family. Contrary to the reports I`m healthy. I did not have a seizure. I did not get admitted to a psychiatric ward.

My private life is exactly that, private. I`m healthy. I`m healthy. Thank you very much. I love you guys.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s interesting, he did not respond to reports that he was drinking over this past week. We`ll keep tracking the Hoff`s progress and wish him the best. That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Turning to the scandalous new twist in the Tiger Woods` car crash saga, his alleged mistress has come out swinging. Here is today`s "New York Post". Let`s take a look at it. There we go.

Exclusive, "Tiger & Me: Beautiful other woman reveals the truth about her relationship with sports` biggest star." And she says the truth is -- there`s nothing to it, it`s all a big lie.

Nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, seen here in sunglasses being dramatically swarmed by the paparazzi -- oh leave her alone, people, completely denies reports that she had sex with the superstar golfer. She told "The New York Post", quote, "Not a word of it is true." I don`t know if she has that kind of accent I`m just having fun with the story.

"The National Enquirer" broke this story last week just hours before Tiger`s infamous car crash. Uchitel claims two female acquaintances of hers made the entire thing up. She said one of the women, quote, "got paid money to send a story to the `National Enquirer`. I heard she got $25,000 and another girl got another $25,000."

As for the Thanksgiving night crash, police simply gave Tiger a citation -- here you go -- for careless driving. They fined him $164 for slamming his Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree.

But of course lots of unanswered questions about his injuries. Were they the result of the crash or could they have been something do with a nasty fight with wife Elin? If the cuts on Tiger`s face were from the crash, why isn`t there any blood in the car? Despite the questions, cops say this investigation is done, closed, put a fork in it.


MAJ. CINDY WILLIAMS, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROLL: It was determined that there was insufficient evidence available to issue a subpoena for any additional medical information that might exist in this case. We cannot speak to the existence of any blood evidence. There are no claims of domestic violence by any individual.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Okey-dokey. The cops say nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

But are the media and the public done with the story? I think not.

Back out to my fantastic panel. I want to welcome back reality TV star, Omarosa Manigault; Bonnie Fuller, president and editor in chief of And PR consultant and crisis manager, Fraser Seitel.

Bonnie, let me start with you. We can barely keep up with this story. What`s the latest, girl?

FULLER: Well, it`s really -- it`s quite unbelievable. Tiger Woods may have -- the case shut but from the legal aspects, however in the court of public opinion I think there`s a tremendous number of questions that have to be answered. And I mean here he was this squeaky-clean billion- dollar man, I mean the most highly paid athlete, and people want to know, they feel that they`ve got a right to know, what went on behind closed doors.

Did he really have an affair? Was there a fight with his wife Elin? Did she follow him out to the car? Why was she -- why was she chasing him in a golf cart? And why that was back window smashed with a golf club? It all seems suspicious to the public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here`s another question was Thanksgiving at the Woods` mansion ugly even before Tiger crashed his SUV?

Listen to what a RadarOnline reporter said on "HLN`s Prime News" just a couple of minutes ago.


ALEXIS TERESZCUK, RADARONLINE.COM: What learned exclusively was that day, Thanksgiving Day, Elin was furious with Tiger. She had heard -- read about the allegations that he had the affair with Rachel in the "National Enquirer" and she was mad. They got in such a big fight.

But in fact Tiger told her that she ruined Thanksgiving for the family. Today they just told us that the two had been arguing because of the allegations that Elin was really mad that that story had been published. And that they were arguing about it and as I had said that Tiger had accused her of ruining the day by being so angry all day long.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiger says, excuse me, the affair didn`t happen. Rachel Uchitel says the affair did not happen but apparently Elin might have read the tabloid and been upset and been grilling him. You could certainly understand that, Fraser Seitel.

FRASER SEITEL, PR CONSULTANT: Yes. No, I can understand it. And you know Bonnie said it, in the court of public opinion Tiger is getting worser and worser because his silence is starting to become the story.

Others -- this woman is coming out and she`s now setting the agenda. The media are setting the agenda. What he is losing is the thing that he cares most about and that is control. And the only way he`s going to get it back is he`s got to decide to go public. He`s got to figure out what he`s going to say, when he`s going to say it, and most of all, he`s got to stop listening to lawyers who are telling him to shut up and we`ll think that because they`re not handling it.

It`s not a court of law, and it`s in the court off public opinion, he is losing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me say this, has the media crossed the line with this story? I want to ask you that question. Is there really an expectation of privacy when a billion-dollar celebrity does something strange? Chris Rock says yes. And he says leave Tiger alone. Listen to Chris Rock.


CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Oh, he had a car accident. What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You guys are the news. You are supposed to report the news. A guy crashed his car. You`re making up (EXPLETIVE DELETED). So are you reporting the news or are you making the news?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No we`re just asking how do you think he should handle it? He hasn`t said...

ROCK: Handle what? He crashed his car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said it`s a private manner and he needs...

ROCK: If I crashed my car on my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) property it`s a private manner.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Omarosa, does he have a point? Or when you`re that rich, that famous, that talented is it unreasonable and naive to expect that nobody`s going to care?

MANIGAULT: I think that he has no obligation to tell anything that happened between him and his wife. Had he hit someone else, had he -- God forbid -- got into an accident with another care, yes, there was an obligation to disclose that.

But he does not have to come out and tell stories about what`s happened between his personal life and his personal home in this personal situation. It`s personal. He`s decided to keep quiet. And we have to respect his privacy.


Everyone stay right where you are. We`ve got more on the Tiger Woods crash.

It may be funny to some of us, but to the Florida Highway Patrol it`s very, very, very, very, very, very serious. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The investigation has determined that Mr. Woods is at fault in the crash. This afternoon FHP is in the process of issuing a uniform traffic citation for careless driving to Mr. Woods.



BILL SHARPE, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF LINDA ADAMS: Mrs. Woods`s attitude at the time was consistent with her being concerned about her injured husband, not with anything else. I mean, she was upset, didn`t know what to do and concerned about Mr. Woods`s welfare and not anything else.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s what`s so amazing about this story. Even the neighbor who called 911 has now lawyered-up. And that`s the lawyer talking about the neighbor`s motivation and -- it`s really a wild story considering that this is a fender-bender, a single-vehicle crash.

Vicki, Utah, your question or thought.

VICKI, UTAH: Hi. I`m sitting here, and I -- you know, I think we need to leave Tiger alone. He has -- you know, he`s a great athlete and he`s gotten a lot done with kids and everything. And this man`s worth a billion dollars. And he can walk away from golf. Now, I never liked golf. I used to see no sense in it. And I like golf today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good for you.

VICKI: I thought, yes. It was like football we should...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have kind of a love-hate relationship with golf.

VICKI: Yes, it`s like why hit a ball? When nobody`s going to chase it and pick it up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, listen, I think you have brought me to tonight`s big issue, ma`am. Punch-line payback, Tiger Woods is the world`s richest athlete, the first to make a billion dollars.

So how much is this public hazing over a minor fender-bender jealousy? Here`s Conan O`Brien on NBC`s "Tonight Show."


CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, NBC`S "TONIGHT SHOW": Of course everybody`s talking about Tiger Woods. That`s the big story over the week -- you all know the story, right? Tiger Woods crashed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his house Friday morning. That`s the story. Yes. Although his air bags didn`t deploy, fortunately, Tiger was protected on all sides by bags of million-dollar bills.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bonnie Fuller, come on, Tiger`s got it all. He`s rich. He`s famous. He`s an amazing athlete. He`s got a gorgeous wife. He`s been scandal-free. Isn`t there an innate desire to take somebody down who is so perfect?

FULLER: Absolutely not. I think the fact that he`s got so many fans, that he`s been squeaky clean for all this time means that he owes it to his fans to come clean, to say more about this.

I mean, these allegations, the allegations are not simply going to evaporate. And what we`re hearing is that there are new allegations from other women coming forward saying that they`ve also been involved with Tiger.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I have to say that CNN, HLN has absolutely no independent confirmation of what are essentially rumors and gossip. And Fraser Seitel, that`s the problem with this story, is that it`s the snowball effect.

And we`ve been talking about how this reality TV world has created a real sort of blending and enmeshment between reality and fiction and some people don`t really know where one begins and one ends.

SEITEL: No, that`s right, Jane.

And of course as Omarosa said, there is no obligation for this individual to come public and spill his gusts.

But what Bonnie said is right. The story is not going to go away. This is not going to evaporate. The only way he can tamp it down is by going public and framing it and trying to control it, for which he is known.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Omarosa, last five seconds. Your final thought.

MANIGUALT: I just am so glad that in this accident, first of all, that Tiger Woods was not hurt and that we still have him, this great athlete. And we should just celebrate that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you, fantastic panel.

You are watching ISSUES on HLN.