Published January 25, 2017
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," August 21, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Another new twist tonight in the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide. Was the pro wrestler taking steroids for a medical condition? Now, that's what Benoit's doctor, Phil Astin, is saying, and he says that federal agents did not do their homework.
In Atlanta is Manny Arora, the lawyer for Chris Benoit's personal doctor. Welcome, Manny.
MANNY ARORA, ATTORNEY FOR DT. PHIL ASTIN: Hi. Thanks for having me tonight.
VAN SUSTEREN: Manny, first of all, when can we expect the autopsy report, toxicology report, the final, to be out on Chris Benoit?
ARORA: The toxicology report has been completed. However, the state DA, who's not brought any charges, has decided that the investigation is going to stay open, and therefore it's not been made public. We won't have access to it probably for a few more weeks through the federal government, is what we've asked for.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You have gone to court to file what's called a motion to suppress evidence — and I have a copy of it — saying that evidence seized from your client, Dr. Astin's, apartment was unconstitutionally seized. And in those papers, you suggest that Mr. Benoit, Chris Benoit, had a hormone disorder. Are you saying for certain that he had one?
ARORA: Well, what we did is — when you look at the state medical examiner that conducted the autopsy went and did a press conference about a month ago, he suggested specifically that the testosterone that was found in the home — understanding that all testosterone is a form of anabolic steroid — the testosterone found in the home isn't the typical kind you find with body building, not the synthetic type that you typically see with body building. And he also suggested that there was a testicular deficiency with Mr. Benoit.
And so we took his words, followed up, did some investigation, met with an endocrinologist who studies hormones at one of the medical universities here in the Southeast, and we got an opinion based on the amount of pills that were prescribed to him over that one-year period.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, stop. Here's the problem, though. The question — I don't mean to be rude to you. but was actually not — not what somebody else suggested later, but really, your client, Dr. Phil Astin, was treating him. Was he treating him for a hormonal disorder?
ARORA: Well, we can't get into what he was talking about. What I've specifically done is, based on the records that the government has made public, I've used those in my public filing, which is...
VAN SUSTEREN: I got that.
ARORA: ... this motion to suppress. And so using the government's own words, what we're saying is the first person that does an autopsy and looks at it says this isn't the typical muscle-building type of steroid that you hear about all the time. And what our position was, is in the search warrant affidavit that they presented to the judge, they made it seem like that...
VAN SUSTEREN: And I understand — I understand that, and the person who is making that statement wasn't a doctor. It was simply an investigator holding himself or herself out as an expert. I got that. But the problem is — but what I'm trying to get to is you know, your client, who is Dr. Phil Astin, whether or not that is the specific reason he had prescribed those steroids to Chris Benoit.
ARORA: I understand your question. I wish I could answer it, but just because it's not a public...
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it that you don't know? Is it that you don't know or that...
ARORA: It's not that you don't know, but the rules are very specific that you don't start talking about facts of the case. What I've done is, I've disagreed with a lot of the things the prosecution has said, but I've taken their words through their agents that they made public and put those in a pleading.
VAN SUSTEREN: Got it.
ARORA: Otherwise, I would have filed it under seal.
VAN SUSTEREN: I got that. Where are these rules that tell you that you can't do this?
ARORA: Well, if you read the American Bar Association rules, you're not supposed to do it. Everybody seems to just pretty much ignore them because there doesn't seem to be any consequences. But we've decided to follow that We don't make any facts about our case public that the government already hasn't put in the indictment or their witnesses haven't called press conferences about. You've never heard me say anything specific about our position on any of these, and I wouldn't do that unless it was under seal because I don't want to prejudice our jury pool.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess for some reason, now you've put up a red flag for me. It may be totally legitimate, but you've only made me more curious by the fact that you first didn't answer the question, then you say you can't answer it because of the rules. You say that others do answer it. So naturally, I'm curious why that because that actually is going to be profoundly important in terms of, you know, whether or not your client's got a problem or not. But anyway, we'll get to it, and the case will develop. But right now, there's a motion pending to suppress evidence because someone who was not an expert claimed to have all this information and a search warrant was issued. But it'll get litigated. And Manny, as always, thank you for joining us.
ARORA: Thanks for having me.
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