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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 6, 2018 12:37am-1:07am EST

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♪ ooh oh-oh ooh oh-oh ooh oh-oh ♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight -- >> where are you going today? >> i'm going to children's mercy hospital. >> the picture of a young girl constantly plagued by illness. her mother always by her side. >> deedee was so controlling of her. >> one day a shocking murder. >> did you have involvement in this? >> no. >> unraveling a web of lies. >> if she can walk, what else have we been lied to about? >> is she the victim or villain? >> i made a horrible mistake. fiery fallout. a new tell-all book on
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administration, outrage and threats of a lawsuit by the president. >> i'm not going to waste my time or the country's time talking about a book that's complete fantasy and full of tabloid gossip. >> the author making explosive claims about what he says staffers told him behind closed doors. how much of it is true? trump allies weigh in. but first the "nightline 5." >> cough doesn't sound so good. >> take mucinex. >> i'll text you in four hours when your cough returns. >> one pill lasts 12 hours. >> looks like i'm good all night. >> one mucinex lasts 12 hours. let's end this. looking for balance in your digestive system? try align probiotic for a nonstop sweet tweet goodness hold on to your tiara kind of day. 24-hour digestive support with align. the number one doctor-recommended probiotic brand. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
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good evening. thank you for joining us. we begin with a twisted tale of murder and deceit. the police uncovering not just the suspects but an elaborate scam involving what's now believed to be munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caregiver invents illness in a person to gain attention for themselves. this time was it motivated by greed? here's abc's amy robach. >> are we still on? >> reporter: home movies capture the vibrant spirit of a young teenage girl. >> they were the shining star in this town of people who can outlast adversity and get through everything. >> reporter: jipsy blanchard and mother deedee are local celebrities. >> jipsy and her multiple illnesses andis
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she was 5 years old. >> what medical conditions did you believe you suffered from? >> leukemia. asthma. both vision and hearing impaired. muscular dystrophy. and seizures. >> reporter: behind the spotlight, jipsy's life is shrouded in a web of lies. doctors now believe it was deedee, not jipsy, who was ill, with a case of munchausen by proxy. >> it's essentially when a caregiver will fabricate an illness or induce an illness in their child in order to get medical care. >> reporter: dr. jamie kofman is a board certified child abuse pediatrician. >> it's abuse on the child. but it's to obtain attention or some kind of secondary gain for themselves. >> reporter: the fabricated illnesses and the abuse that went with the lies would come to light when deedee is stabbed to death, turning the once local hero into an unlikely suspect in her mother's murder.
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jipsy was born perfectly healthy, says her father rob blanchard. after his relationship with deedee fell apart, he began hearing that his daughter was sick. >> jipsy was probably 7, 8 years old. in a wheelchair now, needs a feeding tube. >> reporter: 2005, hurricane katrina. >> in some areas the water is now 20 feet deep -- >> reporter: they were evacuated from slidell, louisiana, to springfield, missouri, where they pieced together a life. largely from donations, disability payments, and child support from gypsy's dad. >> the blanchards moved into that house built by habitat for humanity. a wheelchair ramp was built just for her. >> reporter: in between hospital stays, gypsy frequently jetsets across the country. ball games. galas. >> make a wish taking her to orlando, all expenses paid and everything -- >> reporter: but in private gypsy just wants to be a regular teen and find love, according to friend and neighbor aaliyah
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>> she would show interest in different boys and try to ask me advice on how do you approach them? >> reporter: aaliyah says mom deedee didn't approve of the girl talk. >> it was like, my daughter has the mentality of a child, you're talking to her about teenage girl things. >> reporter: gypsy ignores her mother, going behind her back, and sets up this online dating profile. she soon connects with this man. >> i need to tell you something, i'm no model, i have a medical condition so i can't walk. i have a chair i use. is that an issue? >> why would that be a problem? you're an angel in my eyes. >> she was talking about this new guy that she was now in love with. >> we want a snow wedding in a gazebo with red and white roses. >> reporter: one day the fantasy shattered. horrified when something different popped up on the facebook page. >> it said, that bitch is dead. then we saw the second one which said, and i
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daughter too. >> reporter: kim and david race to the house. >> we circled the house. knocked on all the doors and windows. >> reporter: concerned, they call for help and the police make a gruesome discovery. >> we have breaking news, the body of 48-year-old claudeina blanchard is found. >> reporter: authorities trace the facebook posts to a small house 600 miles away in big ben, wisconsin, at the home of nick gotajob, gypsy's boyfriend. the two are taken into custody. >> your mom's dead. >> wait, go back -- >> she's deceased. what you want to ask you, did you have involvement in this -- >> no. >> reporter: gypsy and nick are charged with killing deedee. >> it was hard to wrap your brain around. how can this young, sick girl who can't walk be involved in her mother's death? >> things are not always as they appear. >> reporter: the people of springfi
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witnessing a miracle when astonishingly -- >> wisconsin versus gypsy blanchard -- >> reporter: check out begingyp first appearance in court. that's her walking. >> big red flags. i felt so stupid. if she can walk, what else have we been lied to about? >> reporter: at her arraignment, gypsy enters a plea of not guilty to her mother's murder. >> we are here in missouri, we're driving to visit gypsy rose in prison. >> reporter: when she walks into the meeting room, i'm immediately struck by her radically changed appearance. she tells me about meeting nick online and quickly falling in love. even hatching an ill-fated plan to introduce him to overprotective deedee. >> she had ordered me to stay away from him. that was a very long argument. yelling. throwing things. calling me names. bitch, slut, whore. >> did you hate your mother at that point? >> i didn't hate her. >> you wanted her de
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wanted to escape her. >> reporter: nick had traveled to springfield from wisconsin. that's him checking into a local days inn motel where he waited for gypsy to give word deedee is asleep. >> the [ bleep ] going to go down tonight. just the gloves and knife? >> duct tape too, to muffle her. >> i'll precut it. >> reporter: gypsy says she hands the items to nick and hides in the bathroom while he goes into the bedroom. >> okay, i'll admit it, i did actually -- stab her, i will admit it. >> did she scream or holler? >> yeah, she did. first she said, help. then she called for gypsy, but gypsy didn't do anything. >> reporter: just moments later, incredibly, the couple says they have sex on gypsy's bed. deedee's body in the room next door. before taking a cab back to nick's motel, and there they are caught on surveillance cameras.
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>> gypsy then shoots video of them in the hotel room. >> how did you go from this to this? >> i thought back then that i was a good person. and now i just see it as it was a fraud. and i made a horrible mistake. >> reporter: not only a horrible mistake. it turns out that house was actually the nerve center from which deedee perpetrated an elaborate scam. >> we've unearthed the appearance of a long financial fraud scheme along with this tragic event. >> reporter: celebrities, charities, all coned. did you always know you could walk if you wanted to? >> yes. the only thing that i have wrong with me is i have a little bit of a lazy eye. that's it. >> reporter: but the pills and procedures were
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including multiple gastro intestinal operations. eye surgeries. even the removal of her salivary glands. medical records reviewed by abc news show gypsy was treated by at least 150 different doctors. >> she'd use her southern charm to get them to be friendly. and get on their good side. >> and then she had no records? >> because of hurricane katrina. wiped out all the records, supposedly. >> reporter: hospitals we contacted declined to comment. but we tracked down one of her former neurologists, dr. bernardo flaskerstein. >> i saw a 14-year-old girl sitting in a wheelchair. >> reporter: who examined her for muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. >> there was nothing there to support either. that kind of made me very suspicious. >> reporter: and his suspicion only grew when he told deedee gypsy's prior diagnoses were wrong. >> the mother was not happy
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that. and when she left the office in a storm -- >> dr. flaskerstein ultimately said, i believe that the mother suffers from munch housen by proxy. >> you could report that to social services and say, i have a suspicion. i at the time did not think that i had enough information to call. >> reporter: according to this police report obtained by abc news, another doctor alerted authorities when he could not find any symptoms that support what deedee alleges to be wrong with her daughter. two case workers later did visit the home but found nothing out of the ordinary. and closed the case. why did your mom do this? >> she was constantly seeking attention for herself. because she didn't feel loved. so let's make this baby girl sick so it forever needs you. >> reporter: gypsy and nick here in their only selfie together facing the possibility of life behind bars. and now at
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>> my codefendant was putting my name out there in a bad light. >> reporter: that's nick himself speaking to me via video conference from jail just hours ago. it's the first time he's ever spoken publicly. >> she was basically the mastermind behind it all. i was basically a hired hitman in its own weird sense. >> do you still love gypsy? >> i still do love her. >> breaking news this morning, gypsy blanchard has pleaded guilty to her role in a plot to kill her mother -- >> reporter: in a courtroom stunner, prosecutors cut gypsy a deal. >> how do you plead to the class a felony of murder in the second degree? >> guilty. >> you're actually a prisoner now. >> the prison that i was living in before with my mom, it's like i couldn't walk, i couldn't eat, i couldn't have friends. over here, i feel like i'm freer in prison than living with my mom. just live like a normal woman. >>
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>> no. not for most. but for me, it is. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm amy robach. >> we contacted a number of charities and celebrities who gave money and services to deedee and gypsy. they say they were duped. and nick has pleaded not guilty. next, more firestorm over the new tell-all book about the trump administration. okay, i never thought i'd say this, but i found bladder leak underwear that's actually pretty. surprised? it's called always discreet boutique. it looks and fits like my underwear. i know what you're thinking. how can something this pretty protect? hidden inside is a super absorbent core that quickly turns liquid to gel... ...for incredible protection. so i feel protected... ...and pretty. new always discreet boutique. ( ♪ )
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we turn now to the fallout over the explosive new book on
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after the president threatened a lawsuit to stop its release, it was rushed to stores today and quickly became a top seller. the trump administration now blasting the book's credibility and sourcing. but today the author fired back. here's abc's david wright. >> reporter: even on the coldest night of the year -- >> everyone really has been talking about it. as cliche as that is. >> reporter: crowds lined up outside this washington, d.c. bookstore, which stayed open until 1:00 a.m. they quickly sold out of the new kiss and tell book on the trump white house, "fire and fury" by journalist michael wolff, already the talk of the town. >> it seems like everyone has such a story to tell and wants to tell it. >> reporter: early reviews from the white house, not so favorable. >> i'm not going to waste my time or the country's time going page by page talking about a book that's complete fantasy and just full of tabloid gossip. >> reporter: the white house is not happy at all about the devastating portrait the book gives of donald trump's
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year in office. >> they all say he is like a child. and what they mean by that is, he has a need for immediate gratification. it's all about him. >> reporter: today the author gave his first interview on "today." he stands by his reporting, despite the powerful pushback from pennsylvania avenue. >> my credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on earth, at this point. >> reporter: the president's lawyers even threatened to block publication, to no avail. >> the supreme court has made very clear that you really basically cannot libel a public figure. and he's just left to rail against it. but not be able to really do anything. >> reporter: instead, the white house reaction has almost guaranteed that "fire and fury" will become a bestseller. on amazon it's already jumped to number one. >>
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that trump was not prepared to be president, that he doesn't pay attention to details, that he is demanding and childish, are things that we've been hearing all year. seeing them all in one place and in somewhat probably exaggerated form is more shocking than the actual facts of them. >> reporter: the controversial book appears to have opened a rift between the president and his former chief strategist, steve bannon. the two men, who seem to be kindred political spirits. >> steve's been a friend of my opinion for a long time, i like steve a lot. >> donald trump was the best candidate i think we had since ronald reagan. >> reporter: the new book quotes bannon using words like treasonous, unpatriotic, to describe don trump jr.'s 2016 meeting at trump tower with a russian lawyer whom he thought had dirt on hillary clinton. bannon reportedly says they should have called the fbi right away. today former white house spokesman sean spicer
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>> are you confident that the president did nothing wrong? >> as far as the campaign and the collusion, absolutely. i was there for most of that, the end part of the campaign. i know that that didn't happen. i think it's pretty cheer that there was no collusion. >> reporter: so did former communications director anthony scaramucci. >> the treasonous comment is absolutely ridiculous. there's nobody less treasonous than don jr. there's nobody more patriotic. >> reporter: bannon has not denied the treasonous quote attributed to him. or that he reportedly said they're going to crack don jr. like an egg on national tv. or that he reportedly called daughter ivanka trump dumb as a brick. trump's punchback? steve bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency, when he was fired he not only lost his job, he lost his mind." almost immediately, bannon tried to apologize to keep the peace. >> the president of the united states is a great man, you know i support him day in and day out -- >> if steve bannon's purpose is to have influence inside
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republican party, then it was crazy of him to talk to michael wolff. if his purpose is to show that he knows the truth about donald trump and he's going to tell the american people, then he's done it. >> reporter: the book is just one of the distractions now facing the trump white house. there's also the russia investigation. "the new york times" reports that last year the president sent white house counsel donald mcgann to pressure attorney general jeff sessions not to recuse himself from the justice department's probe into russian meddling and possible collusion by associates of the trump campaign. a move that the "times" claims could fuel an obstruction of justice case. >> the fact is that the attorney general is the attorney general of the united states. not of the president. the president has a lawyer. and the president's lawyers can protect the president. >> reporter: sessions ultimately did recuse himself. and that paved the way for special counsel robert mueller.
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president trump tried to change the subject today. >> the stock market is up very, very big today. the tax cuts are really kicking in. we're making america great again. >> reporter: he headed to camp david trying to project an aura of business as usual. but clearly he's hurt. >> did steve bannon betray you? >> i don't know, he called me a great man last night, so he obviously changed his tune pretty quick. >> reporter: in washington the phrase fire and fury seems to sum up the mood pretty well. i'm david wright for "nightline" in washington. >> our thanks to david. we'll be right back. not all fish oil supplements provide the same omega-3 power. introducing megared advanced triple absorption it supports your heart, joints, brain, and eyes. and is absorbed by your body three times better.
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thank you for watching "nightline." as always, we're online at our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the >> you know, it isn't every day that people win huge amounts of money on this show, but lately, it sure feels that way. stick around. it's time to play "who wants to be a millionaire." [dramatic music] ♪
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[cheers and applause] hey, everybody, welcome to what could be a very, very special day here at "millionaire." why? because we're in the middle of an incredible game with this guy. from los angeles, california, please welcome back patrick friel. [cheers and applause] >> hi, chris. >> welcome back. >> it's good to be back. >> high school teacher from los angeles who walks in here with all three lifelines... >> yes. >> and just 5 questions away from $1 million. [cheers and applause] you're at $30,000, already a large chunk of change. we're at a very pivotal part of the game. but $30,000's a lot. >> it is. >> you could do a lot. you could--new car. i mean, what would you do with this? >> well, so here's the thing. i don't drive. >> at all? >> at all. i've never driven a car in my life. i live in los angeles, and there's this perception that everyone in la drives, but-- >> yeah, everyone does. i know this to be a fact. >> well, but i'm right here and i'm real. [laughter] >> you're a unicorn is what you are. >> yeah, something like that. so, uh, no, i don't think i would buy a car,

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