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Vick Accepts Plea Deal in Dog Fighting Case

Aired August 20, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight: NFL superstar multi- millionaire quarterback Michael Vick, indicted by a secret federal grand jury, set to take a guilty plea on charges of hanging, shooting, body slamming, even electrocuting dogs to death all as part of a multi-state underground dog fighting operation, much of it at Vick`s super-secret compound, Richmond, Virginia.
Headlines tonight: Vick`s guilty plea set, but will the feds give him a sweetheart deal? Over 72 hours after the deadline on a plea, is Vick finally ready to go to court, or will there be more celebrity kid glove treatment? All the while, 66 dogs confiscated from Vick`s secret compound set for euthanasia. They`re getting the death penalty and Vick is getting a few months at club fed? Outrage!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bombshell in the Michael Vick case. Four months after reports first surfaced connecting the Atlanta Falcons quarterback to dog fighting, word this afternoon Vick will plead guilty, Vick`s lead attorney, Billy Martin, releasing this statement about those charges, saying, quote, "Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter." Vick is expected to enter that plea in a Richmond courtroom next Monday.


GRACE: And tonight, a tiny week-old baby boy abandoned on the porch of a Chicago home. Who`s the mom? Who`s the baby? And why was the little baby left alone in the dark on a stranger`s doorstep?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A South Side Chicago man got a big surprise Sunday night when he answered his door, a week-old baby boy on his front step. Police say the man heard a knock at his door around 8:30 PM, saw a female running down the street, then looked down and saw a baby at his feet. The baby was taken to a local hospital and is in good condition. Police now trying to figure out why this man`s home was picked and where the baby`s mother is.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, multimillionaire NFL superstar former number one NFL draft pick Michael Vick set to plead guilty, guilty in a vicious canine death match scheme, a gambling enterprise that stretched up and down the Eastern seaboard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in a dog fighting case. Vick`s attorney the NFL star plans to plead guilty to a felony conspiracy charge. On Friday, Vick`s remaining two co-defendants pleaded guilty for their part in the dog fighting operation. One of them signed a statement alleging that Vick participated in the killings of dogs that didn`t perform well in test fighting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all hanged eight dogs that were not performing. The eight did not all die. Five of them remained alive, struggling as they`re hanging. So one by one, they took a bucket and drowned them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The deal means Vick could potentially serve up to five years in prison, but in all likelihood, he will serve less time. Earlier today, sources close to the case told CNN that prosecutors had offered Vick a deal, recommending 18 to 36 months in prison, but Vick`s attorneys were trying to get that reduced to less than one year. Now, by accepting the deal, Vick is expected to avoid more serious charges in this case.


GRACE: Vick set to plead guilty in a federal courtroom. But maybe I`m crazy. Wasn`t the deadline Friday? All the other co-defendants have pled guilty, but now Vick shows up late, wanting a deal. We don`t know exactly how much time Vick is set to do in a federal penitentiary. Is he getting a sweetheart deal, all the while, all these dogs set for likely euthanasia? They`re getting the death penalty for being pawns in NFL superstar Michael Vick`s dog fighting scheme.

What`s the latest? Out to Sandra Golden with sports talk radio. She`s a host at 790 AM "The Zone." What`s the latest, Sandra?

SANDRA GOLDEN, SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST, 790 AM "THE ZONE": The latest is Michael Vick took the deal. And from what I`m hearing, Nancy, from last Wednesday on, Michael Vick`s attorneys were trying to negotiate a deal with prosecutor Michael Gill (ph), who`s right now the MVP (ph) in Richmond. Here`s what the deal was from Michael Gill. There is no deal. There was no negotiating from day one. Michael Vick finally today had to surrender, for lack of better words. He said, I got to take the deal. This is all I can do.

We won`t know the exactness of the deal until Monday at 10:30, with those statement of facts will come out. And then Judge Henry Hudson, who is very, very tough on crime, and he is a dog lover -- he has said that to everyone, I love animals, I love dogs. He finds this whole thing disgusting. We won`t know exactly what the sentence is until Monday when he gets the statement of fact, and then when they set a statement -- a date ahead for him to be, you know, found guilty.


GRACE: Sandra, do we have any guidelines about the guilty plea? For instance, is it something like 18 to 36 months, somewhere in that parameter? Do we have any guidelines about where the feds are headed?

GOLDEN: Well, I`ve heard 12 to 36 months, anywhere in there. We don`t exactly know. And again, that`s just a guideline to the judge. He can do the maximum, which is five years.

GRACE: OK, let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining me, Renee Rockwell out of Atlanta, Anne Bremner, high-profile lawyer out of the Seattle jurisdiction, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, victims` rights lawyer out of Boston.

The reality, Wendy Murphy, is if he goes in front of the judge, this is not a blind plea where no negotiations have been discussed, and they don`t like what the judge says, the defense, can they back out of the plea and go to trial?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Probably, Nancy. Probably. And the judge does have flexibility, so if he gets something on the high end, like 36 months, you can bet this guy will probably gamble.

GRACE: Wendy Murphy, has the world turned upside down? Did I hear you say 36 months is the high end?

MURPHY: Well, for what he`s pled to...

GRACE: These dogs are set for euthanasia. Did you know that, Wendy?

MURPHY: Well...


GRACE: ... dogs are probably going to be put to sleep.

MURPHY: If I were the queen of world, that wouldn`t be the max. That U.S. troops happens to be the max right now, as the law looks. But I`ll tell you something. He`s getting a bargain, and you`re right, and the public should be outraged. And I`ll tell you why. He`s pleading guilty now because as of next Monday, he would likely be facing superseding indictments that would include RICO charges, gambling charges that would extend that sentencing period quite a bit longer. That`s why he`s doing this. He wants...


GRACE: Renee Rockwell, don`t you see the irony in the fact that the other co-defendants had to ante up? The fed said, Hey, take it or leave it. We`re here -- - prosecutors are there to try cases! Why did they let Vick twiddle his thumbs and go, Hmmm, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, over the weekend? The other co-defendants had to say yea or nay, while Vick -- PS, he got picked up on a traffic problem over the weekend, nothing serious. But while he is doing nothing, the others had to take their plea. They had to commit. Why was Vick left hanging in the wind?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, there`s no telling, except they did the smart thing because the name of the game now is damage control. He`s coming forward. He`s taking responsibility. And you know what? He will be rewarded for two things. Number one, when you`re taking the plea, you`re taking responsibility. But they may also expect, number two, substantial cooperation, substantial assistance. He may have to pimp out somebody else, Nancy.

GRACE: Oh, is that a technical legal term, "pimp out somebody else"? Anne Bremner, the reality is, he`s looking at a maximum of 36 months, to my understanding of the feds` parameter right now. What about the Virginia prosecutors? Are they going to step forward and add onto that, or will they be the weak sister, too, and let him plead to something that is concurrent or running at the same time as the federal sentence?

I mean, think about it. You remember your cat that rides the elevator?


GRACE: You know how much you love your cat?


GRACE: Think about this. I believe there`s -- let`s see, 53 plus 13 -- 66 dogs set for euthanasia that were confiscated from Vick`s place. They`re all likely going to be put to death, and he`s getting a few months in club fed.

BREMNER: Yes, Nancy, my cat -- to know me is to love my cat. I even have a crazy cat lady action figure in my office. I love animals. But the question here -- and the dog -- or the dog! The judge has said the same thing, that he loves dogs, he loves animals. But let`s see whether or not he`s being treated the same as anybody else in the situation. And this is the...

GRACE: Well, already, he`s been treated differently. I don`t even know how you can even say that and look at the camera.

BREMNER: Well...

GRACE: The other co-defendants have already had to plead guilty...

BREMNER: True, Nancy...

GRACE: ... while Vick twiddles his thumbs.

BREMNER: That`s true, except for the fact that (INAUDIBLE) others beyond this case, in terms of the sentencing range and what the crime is. The superseding indictment is not going to be filed. That`s part of the negotiated plea. And my guess would be the state will basically have concurrent time, as well. And that was all negotiated thoughtfully, and I should say doggedly also, by his lawyers.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Candy in Indiana. Hi, Candy.


GRACE: I`m good, dear. I`m glad to be back. I missed you guys. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We missed you, too. On the prompter, it says, Vick in the doghouse. May I design his doghouse real quick, hon?

GRACE: I`m sorry. I couldn`t hear what you were saying. Repeat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, on the prompter, it says, Vick is in the doghouse.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me design his doghouse real quick.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vick`s doghouse will be tall enough for him on all fours, 24/7, bare lighting hanging down, and of course, in the middle of water, and his choice to stop his suffering is either gun or rope.

GRACE: You know, what`s interesting, Candy, is in the end, this is going to be a sweetheart deal, and I`m very surprised at the feds for allowing him additional time. Your job as a prosecutor is to assess the case, determine the truth of the case, whether you should go forward, offer a plea deal. Here`s your deadline, take it, leave it. Instead, they gave him extra time, and the word is, Candy in Indiana, that he was actually trying to get a better sweetheart deal, less than 12 months.

You know what that means? Out to you, Wendy Murphy. That means his lawyers were trying to get him a misdemeanor, a misdemeanor offense, with all these dead dogs, all of his gambling, all this mistreatment, the rape stands, the blood on the walls. They wanted less than 12 months so he could have a misdemeanor and continue to play NFL football.

MURPHY: And you know what, Nancy? You know what`s disgusting? Even with 12 months, he may yet play NFL ball again. In a year from now, we may see this guy out there, tossing the ball around, because he wasn`t charged with the gambling. The RICO charges are not going to be brought. That`s a shame. That`s a shame. And the fact that he`s going to get a misdemeanor resolution, effectively a misdemeanor resolution, 12 months for what he did? Are you kidding me? If the public buys tickets to watch this guy play ball, shame on them! It`s our own fault if we let this guy become and stay a superstar after all of this.

GRACE: Out to Jane Velez-Mitchell, animal rights activist. Jane, in a nutshell, outline to me the charges against Vick, the brutality that now is no longer just an accusation, Jane, he is pleading guilty.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: You know, Nancy, it`s so horrific. There`s a 19-page indictment that`s difficult to read because it`s so gruesome. Dog after dog, if they didn`t perform well, electrocuted, shot, drowned, body-slammed to the ground. And this was not a momentary indiscretion. This was allegedly a criminal enterprise that went on for years, from 2001 to 2007. Eight of the dogs were killed just this past April.

GRACE: And what`s interesting is the co-defendants made out -- they submitted to the court that Vick actually personally participated in killing the dogs.

To Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and author. All that money, millions and millions of dollars from the NFL, money that most of us would never even dream of, but he still did this. Why? Personally electrocuting, drowning, shooting innocent, defenseless dogs. Robi, these dogs weren`t born bad. They weren`t born killers. They were bred to be killers.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: No. It`s disgusting. And when you look at the profile of people who engage in this kind of dog fighting, it tends to be people who do it because they want to feel powerful in some way and they want to get recognized, or they tend to be rebellious. So you wonder, Vick, you know, he was a recognized sports hero, in a way, so he obviously wasn`t doing it for that reason. So the alternative is that there`s some type of violent streak here. So people who engage in dog fighting also tend to be violent and abusive in other areas of their life, and perhaps he fits into that category.

GRACE: Joining us also is Gerald Rose. He is the founder and CEO of New Order National Human Rights Association. He organized a rally in support of NFL superstar Michael Vick. Mr. Rose, thank you for being with us.


GRACE: Yes, sir. Do you believe that Vick was targeted in some way?

ROSE: Well, basically, the reason why we had this event is that we was talking about due process, you`re innocent until proven guilty. Nancy, I know that he did come out today and pleaded guilty, but as a human rights organization, it`s time for a healing process. At the age of 27, I feel that this young man will go do his time and come out and be a better man, as myself. I spent 45 days in jail myself. And I remember this letter my dad had sent me. He said, Son, Don King was in jail for manslaughter. He came out to be a famous boxer promoter.

So I met Vick personally. I`m disappointed. I shed tears all day on what I heard about Michael Vick, but I`m going to stick with him...

GRACE: Mr. Rose, I watched you last week on this very show with Mike Brooks, and you insinuated that he was targeted because he`s African- American. Do you still believe that?

ROSE: Yes, I do, because there`s been...

GRACE: I`ve got news for you. Dogs are colorblind, sir. You think they cared what color their tormenters were?

ROSE: Well, Nancy, I can honestly feel that since he`s African- American, he`s been attacked. You had a case that happened on Patrick Kearney (ph), a rape case...

GRACE: No, no, no, no, no, no, no! I want to stay with Vick. I want to know why you think he was targeted.

ROSE: I`m giving you examples of other cases that happened that have been high profile, like Michael Vick. Patrick Kearney had a rape case that took place on his property...

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait!

ROSE: Hold on. Let me finish, Nancy.

GRACE: No! No! You hold on! I want to know why you think Vick, with all of these dead dogs, with blood on the wall, a rape stand in the back yard -- you`re telling me that he was targeted?

ROSE: Yes, I do, because dog fighting is going on every day. But Nancy, I can honestly say I just can`t feel why a man who`s making that money would get caught up in this process. I just want everybody to believe that Michael Vick will come out and be a better man.

GRACE: You know what, sir? You and me both.

Very quickly, everybody, we`re going to be back on the Vick story, taking your calls live.

Breaking news, Hurricane Dean is picking up strength, heading to Mexico. CNN`s Jason Carroll in Cancun right now. Jason, what`s the latest?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy -- well, right now, Nancy, I`m looking at the surf being pounded repeatedly by the onslaught of Hurricane Dean. You know, it was on Friday, everyone believed that Hurricane Dean was really going -- the eye of Hurricane Dean was going to be in direct path with Cancun. Now it appears as if it`s going to be tracking somewhat south. Even so, on Friday, the governor was so concerned, he told all the tourists here at this popular beach town that they`d be better off if they got out.

And so far, Nancy, we`re being told that 70,000 people have, in fact, evacuated from Cancun, but we`re also told from the secretary of tourism, who I spoke to just a little while ago -- she said anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 are still left in hotels, like where I`m standing, looking outside, watching the surf, waiting to see what exactly is going to happen.

I can also tell you that a lot of lessons have been learned here in Cancun from two years ago. When Hurricane Wilma swept through here, Nancy, it caused widespread devastation. A lot of hotels learned that they had to do a better job of retrofitting the buildings. Some were torn down and rebuilt, rebuilt with stronger reinforcements.

And so this time, many people here in Cancun feel they`re going to be better able to weather this storm for two reasons -- one, because the buildings are better built, and two, because Hurricane Dean seems to be tracking a little bit further south. Even so, they`re still awaiting for the damage that will come -- Nancy.

GRACE: With me is Jason Carroll, CNN correspondent. He`s joining me there in Cancun. We`re talking about Hurricane Dean. Very quickly, what`s the damage so far, Jason?

CARROLL: So far, it`s beach erosion, and once again, it`s because it`s early, Nancy. Even though we`re looking at this pounding high surf that`s coming in, even at this hour, we`re not expecting the full brunt of whatever Dean does to Cancun. That`s not expected to happen until sometime after midnight. So right now, the only damage that we`re seeing is damage to the surf, the eroding surface, a little bit of wind damage to some of the trees that are here. But once again, the real damage not expected until sometime after midnight.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Vick`s attorney says the Atlanta Falcons quarterback has accepted a plea deal in the dog fighting case against him. His attorney says Vick will plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges involving an illegal dog fighting operation and that Vick has accepted full responsibility for his actions. Three of Vick`s co-defendants have also reached deals.


GRACE: Superstar NFL quarterback, once the number one draft pick, the world at his feet, set to plead guilty in an underground dog fighting scheme. He`s accused of personally participating in the murders of innocent dogs.

Out to the lines. Barbara in California. Hi, Barbara.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. I have a question, because you know, these seem to -- we seem to forget who are the innocent victims here. They were all the 66 animals who were innocent. And also, I have a question is, when he goes to court, will the court make it, I guess like a law or something where he will be not allowed to have any animals for the remainder of his life, I guess? Because that`s a criminal act.

GRACE: You know, Barbara, that is an excellent, excellent question. I want to go out to Sandra Golden, sports talk radio host, 790 AM "The Zone." Right now, we are looking through a window darkly at the police. We don`t know the exact terms of the plea yet. But certainly, this federal judge, who is an animal lover, will put conditions on Vick when he gets out of jail, which will be all too soon.

GOLDEN: Right. And remember, when the Knight (ph) indictment came down, one of the stipulations was that he had to immediately surrender his kennel license. That was part of it. So I won`t be surprised at all that he won`t be allowed to have animals.

GRACE: Yes. I agree. You`re right. You know, when you don`t know a horse, look at his track record, Sandra. They`ve already given him some conditions. I predict more.

Gwen in South Carolina. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question? Well, I appreciate the break. It gave me time to take an Alka Seltzer after Mr. Rose got through with his commentary. but I`ll tell you this, they missed an opportunity to set an example for the rest of us, the people that live in the rural South, where dog fighting is rampant. Now all of these people are going to expect pretty much the same thing. What is it saying to our judges here? What can we expect?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After consulting with his family over the weekend, Michael asked me to announce that he has reached an agreement with the federal prosecutors on the pending charges against him in Richmond. We have agreed to accept a guilty plea for one count in the indictment. It is the count of interstate commerce for the purpose of dog fighting.


GRACE: Guilty to just one count of the indictment? Explain that to me, Wendy Murphy.

MURPHY: I hadn`t heard that, Nancy. You know, he`s charged with one indictment, but it`s conspiracy to violate three different laws related to dog fighting. I`m surprised -- I`m stunned that he said they`re only going to accept responsibility for one. That means he may well get something like six months.

GRACE: Oh, God forbid! And out to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed who has actually busted dog fighting rings. I think he came upon it. Very quickly, Mike, how can we stop this -- let`s go to our last caller -- other than some sweetheart deal with Vick?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Nancy, I`ll tell you, what I`m thinking is, part of this plea agreement with the other ones, they had to agree to cooperate fully with the United States government and to submit to a polygraph test. If those are the conditions of Michael Vick, we may see him rolling over on someone else who was the big dog when it comes to the dog fighting ring.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Vick will accept a plea deal on federal conspiracy charges linked to the alleged illegal dogfighting operation. Vick`s attorney, Billy Martin, says Vick reached an agreement with federal prosecutors after he consulted with his family over the weekend. And in a statement, he says Vick will, quote, "accept full responsibility for his action and the mistakes he made," and he says, "Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

The guilty plea could put Vick in prison. Now, earlier today, two sources close to the case told CNN that federal prosecutors had offered a plea deal recommending a prison sentence between 18 and 36 months. Three of Vick`s codefendants last week pled guilty in exchange for reduced sentences. Vick is now expected to be in court next Monday.

As for his career, just a short time ago, the NFL issued a statement saying that it`s going to continue to conduct its own review under the league`s personal conduct policy and, in the meantime, it says it has asked the Falcons to continue to refrain from taking any action until a decision by the NFL commissioner.


GRACE: Vick set to take a sweetheart deal from the feds. Out to Sandra Golden with 790 AM "The Zone," did I just hear that the NFL asked the Falcons not to take action?

SANDRA GOLDEN, SPORTS TALK RADIO HOST: That`s exactly right, because the NFL wants to get that statement of facts on Monday. They want the details. And, remember, Michael Vick lied to Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL. What I expect to happen is that they will suspend Michael Vick indefinitely by the end of this week and then the Falcons can all-out release him by the beginning of next week.

GRACE: But do you believe, Sandra, when he gets out of some cushy federal penitentiary he`ll just go to another team?

GOLDEN: I don`t personally, because there`s an underlying gambling undertone that is not going to sit well. Often, Nancy, we`ve talked about other NFL players that have been to a dogfight or are involved. Roger Goodell has to send a message to anybody and everybody in the NFL that they have absolutely -- this will not be tolerated. This could cost him his career.

GRACE: Out to Katie in New York. Hi, Katie.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I love you.

GRACE: Thank you for watching, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: My question is, well, first of all, this whole deal just seems ridiculous. I`m wondering, how is he being allowed to take this plea bargain for murdering and torturing these animals, when it seems, from what I`ve been hearing, that there`s charges that could be brought against him for much more serious crimes that have to do with not reporting monies that may have been taken in and other charges that don`t seem like they`ve even been investigated?

GRACE: You`re right. Katie in New York, I find it could be very, very light. Even at 36 months, he won`t do the whole 36 months, period. Let`s go out to Leigh Steinberg, she`s a sports agent and a lawyer. Excuse me, he. Leigh, what do you think of the deal?

LEIGH STEINBERG, SPORTS AGENT AND ATTORNEY: First of all, we don`t know what the deal is yet, and I don`t think that the federal prosecutors are going to be lenient on him. I think they`ve got a lot of pressure on them. The whole country`s watching this, Nancy, and there`s no way that they`re going to have succumbed to pressure, so why don`t we wait and see?

GRACE: You think it`s going to be more than 36 months?

STEINBERG: I`m not sure what the time will be, but I haven`t seen such a precipitous fall from grace. This is a player who was the whole face of the NFL three years ago. He was the golden boy, and he has fallen hard, so this issue is being discussed around every vector of this society, and those prosecutors know that.

GRACE: OK, maybe I`m crazy, Jane Velez-Mitchell, but I`m sure I read the A.P., Associated Press, wire correctly, that the deal is going to be between 18 and 36 months; 36 months equals three years. He is not going to do the full three years behind bars. Everybody gets some type of parole. Nobody, practically speaking, does the whole time. So long story short, the only hope left is that the Virginia prosecutors step up to bat.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, he should face state charges. And it`s really sad, if they want to wipe out dogfighting, that they don`t go for a trial, because what better way to expose all the horrors of dogfighting in all its gory detail if they had a trial that would lay out how these horrible fights are conducted where dogs` eyes are gouged out, their ears are bitten off, their faces are sliced up like salami.

This is one of the most barbaric things on the face of the Earth to the point where you can`t even show it on television. That`s how horrible it is. The American people are absolutely disgusted. They are getting more and more sensitive about animal issues with every passing day, and they will not put up with a slap on the wrist in this case.

And one more thing, Nancy. Mike Vick said he wants to take full responsibility for his actions. Well, then he should step up and announce to the world that what he did was morally reprehensible and agree to devote his life to fighting dogfighting, just like people who kill people in drunk driving accidents go to schools and talk to people about the horrors and dangers of driving drunk. He should go schools. He should tell young men and boys, it`s not manly to torture animals.

GRACE: And the bottom line is now, the courts are trying to determine what to do with all of these dogs. I believe it`s 66 of them that were taken from Vick`s compound. They very likely are going to be euthanized. And I believe the thinking behind that is that, once they are trained to be killers, you can`t adopt them into a family. You can`t adopt them into regular homes, although there are people willing to adopt these animals.

Out to Donna in Florida. Hi, Donna.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. I`m glad to be back. What`s your question?

CALLER: We love you down here. And congratulations on you and your babies.

GRACE: Thank you.

CALLER: Has Vick made money fighting these dogs?

GRACE: Oh, oh, oh, Sandra Golden, come on, how long has he been doing the dog fights? You think he was going to do it if there`s no money involved in it for him?

GOLDEN: Well, we know about them from 2000 on, and I don`t believe that the statement of facts, where they`re listing $700 and $300. I think it was much more money than that or the feds would not be involved.

GRACE: Out to Marty in Georgia. Hi, Marty.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I`ve been involved in animal rescue for many years, including some of these dogs that have been fought, and I`ve seen their terribly mutilated little bodies. And my question is, with all of the incredible amount of testimony by his alleged best friends, why is he even being given the opportunity for a plea deal? Why don`t we prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law?

GRACE: You know what, Marty? I got to tell you something. Maybe I`m coming at it from a different angle, but I agree with you. You don`t have to take a plea. The feds, who usually button down their cases pretty well before they go to trial, Marty, they don`t have to take a plea. They can go to trial and seek the maximum at the end of the trial.

What`s the incentive, to work up the case, to go to all this trouble to work up a case, and then take a cheap plea? I mean, to me, it is just like -- take, for instance -- not just like, but for instance, taking a murder case, and in order to avoid going to trial, pleading it down to manslaughter. Where is the justice in a cheap plea? I don`t get it.

What about it, to you, Renee Rockwell and Anne Bremner, out to you first, Anne?

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, they used to call it plea bargaining, Nancy, but we now know it`s called plea negotiating, and it`s both sides negotiating a plea. And the fact is in this case, with these witnesses, they were in it, too. And when the crime`s committed in Hell, you don`t have angels for witnesses. That`s what they have.

GRACE: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, Miss Bremner.

BREMNER: Yes, Nancy?

GRACE: Sometimes you have to go to Hell to get your witnesses...

BREMNER: You do.

GRACE: ... to put the devil behind bars.

BREMNER: You got it.

GRACE: And long story short, I have had witnesses that were dopers.


GRACE: That I drug over from the jail.

BREMNER: Me, too.

GRACE: Hookers, drunks. Who do you think Vick`s hanging around with, nuns and priests and virgins? Uh-uh!

BREMNER: Absolutely not, Nancy, but the fact is those are things the feds look at when they decide to negotiate a plea. And it takes two to tango right here. It`s the feds, and it`s his lawyers, and they made an agreement. And there`s got to be a reason from the fed`s side, and that`s part of it.

GRACE: I don`t know about that. Renee Rockwell, don`t you believe, even as a defense lawyer, haven`t you seen prosecutors -- let`s just go back all the way to your practice, back in Cajun country, haven`t you seen a prosecutor take a case to trial to get the max because it deserves the max, it doesn`t deserve a guilty plea and some cheap deal?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, it does, but, Nancy, in this situation, maybe they want more than just Vick. And I don`t think that, in this situation, his celebrity...

GRACE: OK, I can live with that.

ROCKWELL: Wait a minute, Nancy, time out, sister. His celebrity is now working against him simply because he is Michael Vick. I don`t think he should be treated differently than any other defendant.

GRACE: OK, number one, don`t "sister" me. Number two, you may have a point that Vick could be going for -- they could use Vick to get somebody bigger.

What about it, Mike Brooks?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: Absolutely, Nancy. As I said, as part of the plea agreement, to fully cooperate with the United States government, and it`s going to be interesting to hear what he has to say and what other bigger kingpins who are involved in this, because we`re talking about a possible RICO violation, racketeering, influence, and organization, Bad Newz Kennels.

GRACE: When we come back, everyone, a tiny baby boy abandoned in the dark on a stranger`s doorstep.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walter Ganadeck says, about 9:15 Sunday night, he heard loud knocking on his front door.

WALTER GANADECK, CHICAGO RESIDENT: I opened the door real slow, you know, because I didn`t know who was out there. I`m scared, you know? So I opened the door nice and easy, and then I see the little baby in the little cradle with the bags and the milk and everything there, crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ganadeck took the infant inside and called 911. Police and paramedics were there within minutes.

GANADECK: They found a little note, and it was Spanish, it says, "Would you take care of my baby? I know you`ll take care of it and look out for it."


GRACE: Right to Chicago, a tiny baby boy found abandoned in the dark on a random doorstep. Who`s the mom? Who`s the baby? And why abandoned?

Out to Michele Fiore, reporter with News Radio 780 WBBM, Michele, what`s the latest?

MICHELE FIORE, REPORTER: Well, Chicago police continue tonight looking for the mother. And Mr. Ganadeck describes her, he believes that he saw her leaving his house last night after dropping off the baby at his doorstep. He described her as a small, petite woman, possibly as young as 14 years old, and so police are looking for her still at this hour.

GRACE: Well, my question is, did he see her running away, leaving?

FIORE: He did. He did.

GRACE: He saw her from the back? Then how does he know how old she is?

FIORE: You know, her size made him think that she was a younger woman. She was described as under five feet tall. Well, she was very petite, very thin, and just -- her appearance, she was dressed just as a younger lady would.

GRACE: OK. And tell me the condition of the baby, Michele Fiore?

FIORE: The condition of the baby is great. The baby was taken to the hospital in the area, checked over, and a nurse over there says that the baby`s doing well tonight, doing just what a newborn baby does, eating OK, and having a fairly regular...

GRACE: Was the umbilical cord still attached?

FIORE: I have not heard that. Actually, I believe that they said the baby could be up to a week old, so at that point, I`m certain that the umbilical cord was not attached. This was not a baby that was just a few hours old; this baby was at least a week or so.

GRACE: I`m reading the A.P., the baby was found in the carrier with a bag of formula and clothes, part of the umbilical cord still attached. How is that possible, Dr. Jennifer Shu, Dr. Jennifer Shu, pediatrician and author?

DR. JENNIFER SHU, PEDIATRICIAN: Nancy, the umbilical cord is no longer needed after the baby is born. And usually what happens is that it gets clamped off and then cut. That cord is going to be a little bit moist and wet, but it`s going to stay on for a good one to three weeks, so it`s hard to tell how old that baby is unless we know the condition of the cord. Is it still moist? Or is it in the process of drying and falling off? So the baby could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks old still.

GRACE: Dr. Shu, how long can a baby like this survive left out in the elements?

SHU: A baby can last maybe one or two days without any food and maybe a week or two without any fluid, any water or liquid.

GRACE: And back to Michele Fiore, did the mom or the woman -- I don`t know if it was the mom or not -- knock on the door, ring the doorbell? Did she know somebody was home?

FIORE: You know what? Walter Ganadeck is known in the area as being a guy who really cares about people and animals. He actually has taken in a few pit bulls in his time. And so he`s known as a caring person, and there was a knock on his door, and that is how he responded.

GRACE: Let`s go out to Michael Morrisey with Baby Safe Haven New England. Mr. Morrisey, thank you for being with us. This state is a safe haven state. Instead of abandoning a baby to be left for dead, and throwing it into a garbage disposal or leaving it somewhere where it won`t be found, moms, or whoever, moms particularly, can leave a child at certain safe havens. Explain quickly.

MICHAEL MORRISEY, BABY SAFE HAVEN NEW ENGLAND: Well, safe havens are in 48 states now, Nancy. And in Illinois, up to a week old, that young woman could have gone and knocked on the door of a fire station, a police station, or gone to a emergency room in a hospital and just handed the baby to anybody, anybody in any of those locations, just to make sure that it was given to somebody and put in safe hands. And she would have had no prosecution.

GRACE: But it`s my understanding, Mr. Morrisey, that doesn`t include leaving a baby on an unknown doorstep. I mean, what if she had left it on the doorstep of someone not so wonderful as this guy is?

MORRISEY: Well, that`s why it`s written in the laws, to make sure you hand the baby to the hospital, policemen or the firemen at one of the designated locations, because it`s the safety of the baby involved. We don`t want to see one -- you know, what if nobody answered the door?

GRACE: To Dr. Robi Ludwig, Robi, for a mom to leave the baby on a doorstep, what point was she at?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, clearly she was desperate. Either she could have had a denied pregnancy where she did not know that she was pregnant until it was too late. Perhaps she was religious and didn`t believe in having an abortion, so she has this child, she`s frightened, and she leaves it at the doorstep of somebody who she fantasizes will take good care of the baby. And perhaps one of the reasons why she didn`t leave the baby at the hospital is she feared that somehow she`d be punished in some way.

GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks, Mike, you, as a cop in a highly populated area, have seen cases like this, as have I. And I`m always torn, because I don`t like the thought of the mom leaving the baby out in the elements. What if he hadn`t come to the door? What if he was on vacation? On the other hand, do I want another Andrea Yates or Deanna Laney, where they get overwhelmed and they kill the baby, then they become murderers? I mean, there`s no good choice, so what do we do?

BROOKS: No, there`s not a good choice, Nancy. And I don`t think that a lot of these baby safe haven programs are well-publicized. This woman -- the note was written in Spanish. You know, are there multilingual signs telling people about this, where you go for your prenatal care? I think that`s what has to be concentrated on. You know, and apparently she knew this guy. And as the reporter was saying, this guy was well-known in the area, was very compassionate, so she knew that the baby would be well taken care of.

GRACE: Wait, are you saying that this mom knew the baby would be well taken care of? Did I just hear you say that?

BROOKS: That`s what it sounds like. Because we heard from the reporter...

GRACE: She left the baby in the middle -- in the dark on a doorstep!

BROOKS: Right, Nancy, but she didn`t put it in a trash bag, she didn`t leave it under her...


GRACE: And I`m supposed to give her a gold star for that?

BROOKS: Well, it`s better than just leaving him out...


GRACE: Yes, I agree, but none of those choices are good, Wendy Murphy. None of it. I mean, this is a state that has the baby safe haven laws. You can abandon your baby. You can get -- I want you to. I`d be mad if you didn`t, but on a doorstep?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Look, the whole idea of abandoning a baby sounds so cruel, but there`s really no nice way to do it. But the bottom line is, this is a little kid. She was obviously desperate. I do give her credit. She does deserve a gold star, a small one.


GRACE: A baby boy left abandoned on a doorstep, Chicago. Who`s the baby? Who`s the mom? Out to Diane in Connecticut. Hi, Diane.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: My question is, a lot of these states, when people have abandoned their children, regardless of where they`ve left them, a lot of states have programs where they force these people to go to classes to be good parents. Why are we trying to encourage a reuniting of these children with those parents?

GRACE: I`m totally against a reuniting, Diane, I am with you. Why do that for the mom at the sacrifice of the baby? But that`s kind of what it sounds like. Out to you, Anne Bremner.

BREMNER: Absolutely, and, you know, I was thinking on some of these cases, you know, the more I meet people or deal with people, the more I like my dog is the saying. But the fact is, what do they say later? "Oh, well, I left you on a doorstep." And that kind of an issue in adulthood, so it`s very, very difficult, but reconciliation is the key under the law.

GRACE: What about it, Renee?

ROCKWELL: Well, Nancy, here you have a situation where, if they tried to put the baby back, the baby would be in harm`s way. So what they do is they -- the safe haven laws are bring the baby here, no questions asked.

GRACE: Well, I have to agree with Wendy in that the child is alive. The mom didn`t kill the baby or dispose of it in a garbage pail on the side of the street, thank God in Heaven. Thank God in Heaven the baby is alive and well tonight. We may never know the answer.

Let`s stop. I want to remember Army Colonel Jon M. Lockey, 44, Fredericksburg, Virginia, killed, Iraq. A quote "brilliant officer," West Point grad, master`s degree, New Mexico State University, specialized in biometrics. Father of two, a leader in his field, remembered for patriotism, loved the army. Leaves behind wife of nearly 20 years, Dorothea Jean, sons, Steven and Chris, parents, Pat and Hal, sister, Susan. Army Colonel Jon M. Lockey, American hero.

Thanks to our guests, but most of all to you for inviting us into your home. And a special thank you tonight to the E.R. doctors and staff at Apalachicola, Florida, hospital and at Tallahassee maternity ward. The twins and I thank you.

Also, to my 96-year-old Aunt Ella, thank you for the beautiful wedding gift you made with your own hands. Nothing could be more precious to me. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.