Skip to comments.The Interview That Wasn't Michael Schiavo got the usual Larry King softballs.
Posted on 10/28/2003 8:39:33 AM PST by aculeus
Here are the questions King should have asked.
MICHAEL SCHIAVO, Terri Schiavo's husband, finally went on national television last night to tell the world his side of the story. Appearing on "Larry King Live," he strived mightily to play the loving husband. Until more than half way through the interview, when King got around to tentatively asking Schiavo whether or not it is true that he has a girlfriend. (King, who must have known the answer, somehow failed to mention that Schiavo has already sired two children with this woman, who he calls his fiancé.)
The loving husband answered, "I'm lucky. I have two great women to love." He then paused to take a swipe at Terri's mom, "My girlfriend has done more for Terri than her own mother." Asked what that might be, Schiavo answered, "She washed her clothes."
THAT EXCHANGE should have opened the door to some very interesting conversation. King could have asked Schiavo if he is raising children with another woman--a matter finally brought up by a caller near the end of the show--why he should continue to have any say over Terri's care, given that the sanctity of the marriage vows he took are no longer operable. King didn't, of course, which is precisely the reason why people in the center of heated public controversies like to go on his show.
There are a number of questions King should have asked Schiavo:
(1) Why did Schiavo tell a medical malpractice jury in 1992 that Terri would live a normal life span? After Terri's collapse, Schiavo sued for medical malpractice. Under civil law, the longer Terri was expected to live, the larger the verdict would probably be. This fact of legal life could explain why Michael presented evidence to the malpractice jury not only that Terri would likely live a normal life span but also that he intended to be a good and loyal husband and care for her for the rest of his life.
(2) Why did Schiavo have a rehabilitation expert testify in front of the malpractice jury to present a detailed plan of therapy for Terri? Schiavo and his lawyer claimed that Terri is incapable of improving physically, but during the 1992 trial, a rehabilitation plan and its anticipated undertaking provided one of the underpinnings for the jury's $1.3 million award. Of that money, Schiavo received $300,000, lawyers' fees were paid, and about $750,000 was put in trust to pay for Terri's rehabilitation.
(3) Given that the jury awarded $750,000 to be used in part for Terri's therapy, why hasn't Schiavo provided any rehabilitation for her since 1991? When asked by King about the issue of rehab, Schiavo described some early efforts to help Terri, such as an experimental surgery in 1990. But he never identified when this rehab took place.
Which is an important point. The only efforts ever undertaken to improve Terri's condition took place in 1990 and 1991. They had ceased by the time of the malpractice trial in 1992 because her insurance coverage had run out. Indeed, the pressing need to restart therapy was an urgent part of the malpractice case. It could have--and should have--paid to restart the rehabilitation that had been abandoned due to lack of funds.
Once Terri's $750,000 was in the bank, however, Schiavo would not approve a single cent of it to be spent on rehabilitation. Not only that, but once the money was in the bank, Schiavo ordered a "do not resuscitate" order placed on Terri's chart so that if she had a cardiac event, the doctors would not attempt to save her. And within a few months of the money being deposited, Schiavo also refused to permit curative treatments, such as antibiotics for infections. If Terri had died during the early or mid-1990s, as Schiavo's orders were designed, he would have inherited somewhere around $700,000.
The issue of Terri's money did come up several times during last night's interview. Schiavo assured King he isn't in it for the money because there is only about $50,000 left in Terri's estate.
(4) Is it true that Terri's money has paid for attorneys to make her dead, instead of therapists to make her better? The answer is, unquestionably, yes. According to court records, George Felos, the dutiful "right to die" attorney who sat at Schiavo's side on King's show, has been paid over $350,000 from Terri's trust fund. Another of Schiavo's attorneys, Debra Bushnell, has received about $90,000. These two lawyers alone have received more than half of Terri's entire trust.
According to court records, when Schiavo began his quest to pull Terri's feeding tube in 1998, she had more than $700,000 in the bank. This was primarily because Schiavo generally refused to authorize payments for any nursing home services on Terri's behalf beyond the basics of room and board. Thus, only about $50,000 was paid on her behalf in the five years following the jury verdict. Since 1998, about $650,000 (not taking into account any earnings from the fund) has gone out--not for therapy, but primarily for lawyers.
And yet on "Larry King" Schiavo went so far as to suggest that Bob Schindler, Terri's father, is fighting to save Terri's life because he wants her money.
(5) So how could Terri's father make any money off the case? Schiavo's story is that once Schindler became Terri's guardian, he would get her a divorce, and then he would stop her food and fluids. The alleged point of such a scheme being that as next of kin, the Schindlers would inherit their daughter's money.
This sounds like a mighty stretch, particularly given that Bob Schindler has spent every nickel he has--including his entire retirement fund--desperately trying to save his daughter's life. If Bob Schindler is a venal man, he has a funny way of showing it.
Schiavo told King that his falling out with his father-in-law occurred in February 1993, when Schindler demanded a share of the proceeds in Terri's trust fund. But Schindler and his wife Mary tell a different story. They claim that the argument was over their insistence that the long-suspended rehabilitation recommence, since there was finally money available to pay for it. They contend that the breach of relationship occurred because Schiavo refused. The behavior of both parties since seems much more consistent with this story than with Schiavo's version of events.
Too bad Larry King didn't ask.
Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. He is the author of Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder."
© Copyright 2003, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
Just thought it bore repeating.
I've read on several fronts that Felos, the Greek bearing gifts to himself, is also on the board of the hospice seeking even more funds from Terri's trust. Papadakis is the name of the doc who testified as to Terri's hopeless state.
Now a very highly placed and respected forensic NY doctor has made a bald public statement as to evidence of past trauma injuries to Terri, injuries consistent with what might have caused her brain damage in the first place. Astonishing--no one of this reputation would make such a potentially libelous remark unless there was something indisputable backing him up.
This is shaping up as the ultimate Greek tragedy ... what a story.
Did you feel this way about his credibility when he testified for O.J.?
Although LK didn't press this guy sufficiently he gave me the distinct impression he was both surprised by Hubby's demeanor and very suspicious.
..and yes, he asked his usual softball questions....
..but, to his credit, IMO, King did suggest he bring in his CNN cameras to Terri's room to record her...(this being in response to Schiavo saying Terri reacts to everyone like she does her mother...per the video...)***insinuating it was no big deal.
When King suggested this, Schiavo immediately said 'No' ....it wasn't dignified to let him film Terri...
...and King also suggested Schiavo take a lie detector test.....which Schiavo declined...(surprise!)
So, I felt King put a couple dents in Schiavo's armor.
How anyone could listen/look at Schiavo and not see this conniving, greedy person, I don't know.
Pathologist says silence indicates more than one killer SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Silence during the killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman indicates that more than one person attacked them, a renowned pathologist testified for O.J. Simpson.
"I can't understand how these two people could have been murdered and not yelled out unless there were two," Dr. Michael Baden said Monday at Simpson's wrongful death trial.
"Neither victim was incapacitated or unable to cry for help," he said. "One can yell, 'Help,' five times in a second or two seconds."
The eerie silence in the Brentwood neighborhood on the night of June 12, 1994, has been the subject of testimony in Simpson's criminal and civil trials. Most witnesses have testified that the quiet was interrupted only by barking dogs. One man testified that he heard someone shout, "Hey! Hey! Hey!"
Baden, New York City's former chief medical examiner, contradicted the testimony of his old friend, Dr. Werner Spitz, the plaintiffs' pathologist who insisted a lone killer committed the crimes. "It's likely there was more than one perpetrator," Baden said. "It's very difficult for one perpetrator to control two victims at the same time. It would be impossible to stop people from yelling and screaming and taking evasive action."
Death by Bulimia, doctor's fault? Excuse me. Possible, yes. Probable, no.
At that point LK could have asked "How could her mother wash her clothes when you have ordered that she can't visit Terri?"
As for the bone scan report, it did mention "trauma" in the extremities and lower back - of a type that many adults have. Read it. It doesn't give any indication that she was beaten. And it doesn't say anything at all about any injury to her neck.
Larry has a talent of letting people relax and then revealing their worst side. I remember an interview he did at least ten years ago with the father of a burn victim. "Rothenberg" was the father's name, and he had set his son on fire when the kid was a young boy, approx. 8 years old. He had custody of the kid and took him to a motel room and then set the room on fire. This was in the mid-80's. The kid survived but had to have years of reconstructive surgery and was terribly deformed.
When Larry interviewed him, you could see he was phrasing his questions very carefully. He got the man talking and it showed the father's total selfishness and evil spirit. I have to give him credit for his interviewing skills. By the way, that father spent years in jail for his crime.
Baden asserted evidence of injuries and he saw the evidence --enough to at least have a look.
BTW--that potassium thingy is also consistent with a pillow over the face for ten minutes. It's consistent with more than one thing.
Bulimia. Not likely. Possible.
Wow--what if it's the worst possible scenario--a suspicious death combined with lawyer insurance fraud and corrupt hospices? What a movie plot!
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