Norman Wielsch Appears on Dr. Phil - NBC Bay Area

Norman Wielsch Appears on Dr. Phil

An indicted former East Bay drug squad leader appears on talk show.



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    Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, the former commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, appeared on "Dr. Phil" on Friday and on the CBS "48 Hours Mystery" Saturday.

    An indicted former East Bay drug squad leader, who was previously blocked from traveling to Los Angeles for the "Dr. Phil" television talk show, has now appeared in taped interviews on both that program and a CBS crime feature.

    Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, the former commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, appeared on "Dr. Phil" on Friday and on the CBS "48 Hours Mystery" Saturday in excerpts of an interview legally recorded in Northern California by CBS correspondent Maureen Maher.

    Wielsch and former private investigator Christopher Butler, 50, of Concord, are accused in federal court in Oakland of an array of corruption charges, including stealing and selling drugs seized by CNET, extortion and conducting phony law enforcement stings.

    Wielsch is free on $100,000 bail and is required to remain in Northern California while awaiting trial.
    Earlier this month, he sought court permission to travel to Southern California. Prosecutors opposed the request, however, after learning that Wielsch's purpose was to go to Los Angeles to tape an appearance on "Dr. Phil," a reality talk show hosted by psychologist Phil McGraw.

    U.S. District Judge Saundra Armstrong of Oakland, the trial judge assigned to the case, blocked the trip in an order issued on Feb. 3.

    But Wielsch's taped appearances on "Dr. Phil" and "48 Hours Mystery" last week were made possible by an interview recorded within the Northern California federal court district by Maher, the chief reporter on the CBS feature.

    Segments of the interview were played on both shows.

    The two shows focused on both the criminal charges against Butler and Wielsch and on fake investigative stings staged by Butler to drum up publicity for a planned reality show featuring his staff of female investigators, whom he dubbed "P.I. Moms."

    Although the reality show never aired, publicity about "P.I. Moms" that was based at least partly on staged stings appeared in several media, including the "Dr. Phil" show itself in 2010.

    Last week's "Dr. Phil" program was called "P.I. Moms: the Truth Behind the Scandal." It featured taped onstage interviews with three former Butler employees and Maher as well as segments of Maher's previously recorded interview with Wielsch.

    In the interview excerpts played on the show, Wielsch acknowledged he agreed to provide Butler with confiscated marijuana that was due to be destroyed by CNET.

    "I somehow agreed to it. I don't understand why," said Wielsch.     

    Wielsch suggested the reason may have been that he "was in a bad place" with stress from nerve problems that were deforming his feet and the illness of a daughter diagnosed with liver tumors. He wept as he spoke of his daughter.

    "I cry about it every day. I shamed my family, I shamed my department, I shamed law enforcement. I violated their trust," Wielsch said in the taped interview.

    The former officer also said, "I have no one to blame but myself."

    Butler did not appear on the television shows.

    The two men are scheduled to return to Armstrong's court on March 20 for a status conference and the setting of future court dates.

    Wielsch and Butler are accused in a 2011 federal grand jury indictment of stealing and selling marijuana and methamphetamine from CNET and extorting weekly protection payments from women in an illegal massage parlor they established in Pleasant Hill.

    They are also charged with conducting phony sting operations in which they stole money and cellphones from prostitutes they identified from Internet advertisements.

    Wielsch and Butler are additionally accused of violating the civil rights of a boy whose mother had hired Butler in 2009 to conduct a fake sting operation to deter her son from selling drugs.
    The indictment alleges the two men staged a false arrest and illegally handcuffed, interrogated and searched the youth.

    If convicted of the charges, Wielsch and Butler would face sentences of up to life in prison.