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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
American Accused of Model Airplane Bomb Plot; Botched ATF Gun Sting; President Obama's Titanic Struggle
Aired September 28, 2011 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: John, thanks very much. Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight with breaking news on the terror front. An alleged plot to attack targets in Washington, D.C. A sting operation and today an arrest and charges. Federal authorities saying a man by the name of Rezwan Ferdaus was plotting jihad. Planning, they say, to pack oversized model planes with C-4 plastic explosives and fly them into the Pentagon and the capitol.
They say he's no bumbling fool. Ferdaus is an American citizen from the Boston area. He's got a physics degree from Northeastern University.
Take a look at the pictures. The Justice Department releasing two photos of planes similar to ones that they say Ferdaus was planning to use. As you can see they're big enough to carry a serious load.
The Department of Justice also believes that Ferdaus was planning a simultaneous ground attack as well involving six people armed with automatic weapons.
Brian Todd is working the story. He's got more on who this guy is, what, if any, overseas connections he might have, and how the FBI caught him.
Joining us on the phone, our national security analyst as well, Fran Townsend.
So, Brian, this was an FBI sting. What do we know about how it went down?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it appears to have been a very elaborate string. Authorities were tracking Mr. Ferdaus, according to these affidavits, for at least the better part of this year. At least since January of 2011. They do indicate that he began some of his various plotting last year but they have tracked him at least since January.
They have used undercover agents. They have used at least one cooperating witness who started taping conversations with him earlier this year. So this was a fairly elaborate sting operation and it lasted until today when they actually sold him what he thought was some explosive material.
They said that not a lot of it was the real thing because they were obviously trying to trick him, but it lasted until today when they actually took him down.
COOPER: So did he ever have any connection to real people at al Qaeda?
TODD: They say that -- the federal authorities say that he did not. There is no indication according to a law enforcement official that CNN spoke with today. No indication that he has any kind of connection with a foreign terrorist organization. He dealt with undercover FBI agents who were posing as al Qaeda operatives.
He believed he was dealing with al Qaeda operatives. But according to a law enforcement official we spoke with, no indications at this time that he had any serious connections to foreign terrorist groups.
COOPER: Fran, using remote control planes as bombs, I mean, I'd never en thought about as possibility. Is that something the authorities have thought about before?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR (via phone): Sure, Anderson. We've -- I think it's fair to say authorities have looked at this both offensively if it's something that we could do, and you know we (INAUDIBLE) the U.S. government doesn't acknowledge it. We use predators that have missiles on them and we have looked at it for that very reason that we have the offensive capability. We've looked at it defensively if somebody use it against us.
The thing that's sort of -- stunning here is the notion of it being used inside the United States, a weaponized remote vehicle. But this time it's pretty serious. He took overt steps in furtherance of this plot. He took -- he did surveillance down in Washington. He rented a storage facility to work on these remote drones. So I regard this as a pretty serious case.
COOPER: Once he'd flown these bombs into the Pentagon, Brian, and the capitol, there was supposed to be a ground operation as well?
TODD: That's right. He was going to bring in some ground operatives, two teams, according to these affidavits, to attack these buildings and as he put it, according to the documents, put the squeeze on people as they tried to evacuate these buildings. Essentially they would fire on people with automatic weapons as they tried to evacuate the Pentagon and the capitol, Anderson, so he did have those plans afoot to bring in ground operatives.
No other names, though, mentioned in this affidavit. No other possible leads on suspects. He at least had plans to do this however.
COOPER: Fran, I mean, you said this seemed like it was serious, that he was visiting a place to work on the planes. I guess some people, though, would be skeptical and say, well, look, if somebody just talks about doing something, I'm sure there's lots of people that talk about things. It seems like it was the FBI who was providing him with the fake explosives. So if he didn't have access to explosives of his own, I assume his defense will argue some sort of entrapment.
TOWNSEND: Well, absolutely, Anderson. But the interesting thing here, and it's clear as the reason that you see in the complaint and affidavit, that he took these actions. The significance here is in trying to suggest that only the government -- it's on the government's side, the government taking all the action, having the idea, they attribute this guy's statement and to show his intent, commit jihad, and that he himself went down to Washington and did surveillance in furtherance of this planned attack in addition to renting the storage facility.
You know the government didn't do any of those things. He was relying on what he thought were al Qaeda operatives to provide the explosives and he was looking to get them in order to load them onto these drones. And so I will tell you, having been a former prosecutor, the overt acts are significant and they go directly to the heart of the plot. And so I think the government is going to be able to beat an entrapment defense.
COOPER: We'll continue to watch it.
Fran Townsend, Brian Todd, appreciate the reporting.
Now tonight another stunning story. "Keeping Them Honest," new and troubling details about the botched and some would call outrageous ATF operation called "Fast and Furious" that aimed to track firearms bought in Arizona, brought across the border to be used by Mexican drug cartels.
There's word tonight that taxpayer dollars, your money, paid for some of those weapons. There's also new evidence of a huge communications blunder. One of the gunrunners the ATF was targeting was in fact an FBI informant and the ATF did not know that.
Drew Griffin has got more on both developments shortly. But let's give you some background first because the story has been around for a while. It is a stunning story and it came to light when Border Patrol agent Brian Terry -- this man here -- was shot and killed last December on the Arizona side of the border.
Two of the guns that -- that were used in this "Fast and Furious" program, two of the thousands of guns the ATF had lost track of were found at the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT HEYER, COUSIN OF LATE BORDER PATROL BRIAN TERRY: He had already made his travel plans to fly back to Michigan and spend the Christmas holiday with his family. Brian's attention to detail had ensured that all the Christmas gifts he had meticulously selected for his family had already been bought and sent in the mail prior to his arrival.
Brian did ultimately come home that Christmas. We buried him not far from the house that he was raised in just prior to Christmas Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: His still grieving cousin speaking before the House oversight committee. Now the committee also heard from ATF whistleblowers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER FORCELLI, SPECIAL AGENT, ATF: We weren't giving guns to people who were hunting bear. We were giving guns to people who were killing other humans.
JOHN DODSON, SPECIAL AGENT, ATF: Rather than meet the wolf head on, we sharpened his teeth, added number to his claw. All the while we sat idly by watching, tracking and noting, as he became a more efficient and effective predator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So remember, the idea was to give guns to drug -- to gun runners, to drug runners, to Mexican drug cartels, track where those weapons were and ultimately -- ultimately on the Mexican side of the border arrest the people and kind of figure out the networks, the drug cartel networks.
Testimony, though, revealed that Mexican authorities couldn't tell the U.S. where the weapons were, where they were going because they weren't even told about the operation. So the United States was essentially arming Mexican drug cartels and no one told the Mexican government.
The question both then and now is who ultimately was responsible for conceiving this kind of an operation, a risky operation, and never -- anything like it had ever been done before, and then seemingly executing it so poorly?
The answer -- the true answers, we still don't know. Washington is not saying. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder told the committee that he learned about "Fast and Furious" more than a year after it was launched. And President Obama has said that neither he nor his attorney general approved the strategy of letting firearms just walk into Mexico.
Acting ATF director Kenneth Melson also testified there was no policy director from Washington or the administration to use this tactic. He said he had not known that such details or briefed superiors about them. He has since left the job.
Now back in July a man named William Newel, the head of the Phoenix ATF office, told Congress that he made mistakes in handling the operation but defended the aim of it. He said he wanted to take out the entire gun running organization, not just a -- stop a few easily replaced links in the chain. He has been reassigned.
And the details keep coming out now. Drew Griffin joins us with the latest.
Drew, so not only -- what have you learned now, Drew?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it deals with what was happening and the guns that were being used. In a letter that was written by Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley that we got ahold of, the lawmakers say they have now obtained detailed information from confidential sources that the biggest fish that the ATF had in his whole operation, Anderson, was actually this informant with the FBI.
So not only was this an operation that didn't have any way to track guns once they went across the border, but one of the biggest targets that the ATF thought they might take down as part of it was working with the FBI.
Senator Grassley's letter suggests that shows a complete lack of communication between the ATF, the DEA and the FBI.
COOPER: So let me just -- I just want to re-clarify this just -- because it's a little bit confusing.
COOPER: These guns were being purchased with taxpayer money and then the guns were being basically allowed to go over the border into Mexico by drug runners that were then used by Mexican drug cartels.
GRIFFIN: Some, some. Let me first tell you about the operation.
GRIFFIN: Here's what the ATF agents did. They sat outside gun shops in the southwest where they knew these straw buyers were buying 10, 15, AK-47s at a time and going across the border into Mexico.
They're sitting out there doing surveillance, knowing these guys are bad guys. And they were said -- literally calling their superiors, let me arrest them now, let me take them down now. Their orders were, no, let's let them walk across the border with the guns. That's where they lost track of the guns because there was no way once they went across the border to know where those guns were.
Now the information from yet another letter, right? This one written to a gun shop owner essentially is informing that gun shop the ATF is going to send in an agent to buy four pistols for, quote, "official duties." We now know that these too were purchased as part of "Fast and Furious." So not only were they tracking the guns purchased illegally, they were also buying guns with taxpayer dollars and allowing those to go across the border as well.
COOPER: So -- I mean, again, clarify why the ATF would purchase these weapons?
GRIFFIN: This -- the operation makes no sense. According to every law enforcement authority I have talked with, and that includes many ATF agents themselves, you don't ever let a gun walk, as they say in this business, Anderson. Especially without any way to know where it is going.
So what's the real purpose? The lack of sense, the apparent cover-up has opened the door now for these conspiracy theorists. And you got to follow this. They believe this was part of a convoluted plan for the Obama administration and the attorney general to actually increase the level of violence on the Mexican border with assault weapons purchased in the U.S. in an apparent attempt to rekindle interest in an assault weapons ban.
As wacky as that may sound, I must tell you that theory is gaining traction, not just among the second amendment crowd because this operation makes no other sense.
COOPER: You've spoken with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, what do they say is the next step in all this?
GRIFFIN: Congressman Issa said there is only one step to take. And that is for a special prosecutor, somebody outside the realm of the Attorney General's Office, to get in and get to the bottom of this, trying to find out who knew exactly what, who knew when, and that call is being backed up by the second amendment crowd, the National Rifle Association.
The NRA's president releasing a statement saying that this is the biggest cover-up since Watergate. It's time to ask Watergate questions like who authorized "Fast and Furious" and how high up does it go.
COOPER: Drew Griffin, appreciate you staying on this.
Earlier tonight I spoke with a sheriff, Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Arizona. He says that neither he nor his deputies were told about "Operation Fast and Furious" and he has a lot of other strong words. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, Sheriff, the Mexican cartels have obviously been a huge problem in your county for your officers. When you hear, when you realize that the federal government has essentially been arming these cartels, what goes through your mind?
SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: We feel it's a -- it's a betrayal. Forty-two thousand people have been killed. And these weapons that our own government gave -- facilitated to these violent criminals in Mexico, 200 plus people we know have been killed for them. So there's --
COOPER: Two hundred plus?
BABEU: Two hundred plus. And we also now have our hero in the Border Patrol, as you know, Agent Brian Terry, killed on American soil. Three guns have been found at the murder scene. All three of them were connected to this program. And so for us, my -- I'm fearful, not just my deputies, other officers, citizens in America that we're going to be facing the barrels of guns that have been put in the hands of the most violent criminals in North America and who's going to be held accountable for this?
COOPER: Have your officers encountered any of the weapons linked to "Fast and Furious"? I mean obviously, as you said, three were involved in the killing of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
BABEU: Well, we had a shooting just last week. A cartel member opened fire on an officer coming down from a hilltop. We've been actively pursuing the cartel members in our county. We're not even on the border, we're 70 miles north of the border and we had this happen. And we don't know if these weapons that were confiscated are linked yet to "Fast and Furious."
But 11 crimes now on American soil have been linked to these weapons. And they're semiautomatic, fully automatic and even 50 caliber rifles that are sniper rifles.
COOPER: I want to --
BABEU: We don't even have those type of guns.
COOPER: Yes. I want to read something that you said or quoted as saying, "If somebody gives a gun to somebody knowing they're going to commit murder, guess what we call them? We call them accomplices."
Do you think the ATF are -- have been accomplices to murder?
BABEU: Absolutely. That --
BABEU: There's no immunity when --
COOPER: So you're saying what they were doing was criminal?
BABEU: Absolutely. Not just these individual agents, but people up the chain of command who have made the decision. The U.S. attorney for Arizona just resigned. And this is a big deal. Now it's one step away from Eric Holder. This is his Department of Justice and there are people who have lost their lives.
We have broken countless treaties with our neighbor, Mexico, and we have a hand in responsibility in this violence that has come to the United States but more importantly Mexico is our partner. They're not our enemy. And we facilitated guns into the cartels that have worked to topple the Mexican government.
COOPER: From a law enforcement standpoint, I mean did this operation make any sense at all?
BABEU: It doesn't. Where it came from is this concept when we allow drugs or cash or sometimes a criminal walk, we may watch a crime in progress and -- where we can take lawful action. We allow that criminal to go in an effort to watch it spider web and to see how many people we can catch.
They use the same concept with weapons. And this is pure insanity. It's never been done before to give weapons like this. And their idea was to track the weapons? There was no tracking mechanism. Now all these guns are nowhere to be found, and for years this will haunt the conscience of America rightly.
COOPER: And as you say, I mean, the weapons are still out there and who knows how many others may die because of that.
Sheriff, I appreciate you being on with us. Thank you.
BABEU: Thank you, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let us know what you think. It's pretty stunning. We're on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting tonight as well.
Up next, new pressure on President Obama. Why David Axelrod, his top adviser, may have said that winning reelection would be a titanic struggle. A new polling in key states showing just how titanic it may be. John King has got that. Paul Begala is joining us, as well as Cornell Belcher, coming up on our political panel.
And later, the Michael Jackson death trial. Dr. Conrad Murray's actions that fateful day as described by Jackson's personal assistant and head of security. What they say they witnessed as Michael Jackson lay dying or even dead.
First let's check in with Isha Sesay -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, where is Moammar Gadhafi? That is the question. And tonight we might have the answer.
We'll bring you the latest word on his whereabouts and tell you who he's said to be hiding out among. That and much more when 360 continues.
COOPER: It's time for some "Raw Politics" now. And a president under pressure. When your top campaign adviser admits your reelection campaign will be, quote, "a titanic struggle," that is some pressure.
The president not showing the strain today but maybe that's because he hasn't seen some of the state-by-state polling that John King has. Watch.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, they know at the Obama campaign it will be nearly impossible to replicate this. This is 2008. Blue, Obama, red McCain.
Here are the big challenges for the president. Just watch his travels in recent days. He knows what's happening. Raising money out on the West Coast but Colorado, the governor told me just yesterday Obama won last time, a toss-up at best last time. Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, two states the president won last time, he knows it will be difficult. Twice in the last two weeks he's been gone to Ohio.
Why is he going to these places? Watch this. 2004, George W. Bush won those nine states that look a little purple. Nine states went from red to blue in 2008. The president knows they will be some of the biggest battlegrounds. Nevada, highest unemployment in the country, I just mentioned Colorado.
Let's come over here to two of the bigger battlegrounds here. Take away the president's travels. Let's just look right here. The state of Ohio, always a bellwether. The president carried it last time. His disapproval rating, a majority disapprove. This is significant. A majority of people of Ohio say he does not deserve four more years. That's Ohio.
Pennsylvania has been a Democratic state for some time. Another trouble sign for the president, 54 percent disapprove, 51 percent. Again, a majority say he does not deserve four more years.
So the president sees the trouble in the big battleground states including some friendly Democratic states. The big question is, if it won't look like this, can he make it so it doesn't look as bad as that -- Anderson.
COOPER: Interesting stuff. John King, thanks.
Joining me now is CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Obama 2008 pollster, Cornell Belcher.
Paul, not a lot of great news from some key states for the president's campaign. Is it as bad as John is saying?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Sure it is. First off, the iron law of incumbents is the only way to run is to run scared, but this president has to run really scared. The data is very bad.
Now there's other data, though, that I would caution you about. Stan Greenberg, who's a Democratic pollster, he used to work for President Clinton, and my buddy Carville, they're with Democracy Corps. They surveyed these 60 Republican House districts. Republican. That are battleground districts.
And they are seeing a collapse in the support for the Republicans there and a huge shift to Democrats if Democrats run on a progressive message about Medicare, about fighting for the middle class, and about actually asking the wealthy and oil companies, special interests to pay their fair share.
So in other words, the president has a path to victory here. But it's -- I think it's the path he's on frankly. I've been thrilled with him these last few weeks. And as you know, I've been complaining mightily for the last year or so. But he's I think now on the kind of message that will reach those folks in those states that John was just pointing to.
COOPER: Well, you want the gloves to come off. I mean you like the rough and tumble of politics.
BEGALA: I don't like it, I love it. I donated to him in the last campaign, Anderson. I wrote on the check for negative campaigning only. I mean that's all I would do. Now -- it's really comparative. Nothing personal. I wouldn't do any of that. But I would make my chief strategist Henne Youngman, who every time he was asked the old comic, you know, every time he was asked how's your wife, he said, compared to what?
Right? Every issue, how's your president? Well, compared to what? Compared to Republicans. And the president should be out there as he is this last week or two, every day drawing the contrast. And I think it is a titanic clash between two really different visions of government. And the Republicans aren't fooling around and I'm glad the president isn't either.
COOPER: Cornell, how do you see it? You had an inside view of the last Obama campaign.
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, look, it's going to be a tough reelection and all those people sitting on the sidelines and are angry about the country not changing enough, look, the forces of evil who don't want change to happen in this country are on the march and they're winning.
The interesting thing is -- so it's going to be tough and we're going to need everyone to get out and vote like they did last time around. And we can't have this lack of enthusiasm that you see -- that we saw in 2010.
I will say this. You know, the media is pushing this narrative about so how awful things are going, how bad things are going. Some perspective here. You know if you go back to Clinton's reelect, there was a time point where Clinton was losing to Bob Dole. And the other interesting thing about those two states that you just talked about, Ohio and Pennsylvania, also in that same -- you know, that public poll, it also shows the president beating both of the -- the two top front runners right now in the Republican Party.
You know, Americans are not happy with anyone in Washington. And they are particularly not happy with Republicans in Washington.
COOPER: But it's interesting, Cornell, you're portraying it as evil on the march. And, you know, the Democrats have to stand up to evil. Is that how -- I mean it sounds like that you're saying it should be portrayed in the same way that Paul is saying it should be portrayed as this -- as this, you know -- I mean this kind of epic clash.
BELCHER: Well, all campaigns are going to be an epic clash. And by the way, I'm always going to probably agree with Paul because he's really bright about these sort of things. But yes, it's going to have to be a contrast here, a strong contrast. Look, if you want to double down on the policies that got us into this mess, well, then you've got Rick Perry or Mitt Romney or actually I'm rooting for Cain at this point, or if you want to sort of march this country forward and continue this sort of tackle-the-tough problems that -- the tough problems and move as a country in a different direction, and see change happen, you have Barack Obama.
It is a clash. It is also a clear contrast. Look, the Republican -- everyone who are on the Republican side, they've already bought into doubling down on all the policies that got us here. And in the end it's going to be -- it's going to be that. It's going to be the future or going back to the past that got us into this mess.
COOPER: Paul, what did the polls show, though, about liberal support for the president? I mean, am I reading it -- it seems like it stayed pretty steady while independents have abandoned him in droves.
BEGALA: Absolutely. He's lost about half -- depending on the poll you look at, but half of those independents. Now the conventional wisdom is that means he should try to split the difference with the Republicans. That's what he's been doing for the last year as he's lost 50 percent of the independent votes.
Now what independents want, and this is not just from the wind, in other words, I've got research and data that backs this up, I advise our audience should know, a pro-Obama, independent from Obama, but is one of these PACs that supports Obama. In our research, independent voters, swing voters in a swing state who we talked to, they want him to fight.
This is not the liberal base. Independents want him to fight if he's fighting for the middle class. And the president -- maybe Cornell is doing it, he's getting the same polling data, I bet you, because that's just what he's doing. And that's what those independents want. They want a fighter and somebody who's fighting for the middle class because they feel like the middle class is getting squeezed.
When he's on that message, he's now uniting his base with the swing voters, where the Republicans are appealing to their base in a way that is driving away swing voters, because swing voters don't want to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, or cripple Social Security and Medicare.
So the Republicans have this terrible tension between their base and the swing. The truth is the president can unite his base and the swing voters with the same message.
COOPER: Let me ask you. You guys have both briefed presidents and/or candidates. I mean is that how you brief them? I mean is it -- do you say, look, well, here are the polls say they want you to be fighting for the middle class? I mean is it what you just said, is that how you -- is that how a briefing goes?
BELCHER: Paul, let me jump in here first on this. There's conflict here because at the same time, you know, you'll attach whether you want to fight or not or whether you want someone to reach across and compromise, and there's always a -- there's always a divide. And the sort of the whole -- you know the predicate of changing politics has been around this idea that, you know what, so much about Washington has been wrong because we've always wanted to sort of just fight and demonize the other side.
And I think in President Obama you've seen a different kind of candidate, a different kind of president who wants to say, you know what, we're not going to solve these big problems that confront our country by -- by demonizing the other guy and making the other guy the bad guy and fighting, fighting all the time. At some point you've got to try to reach across and compromise.
I think the problem here is that you have an entrenched Republican Party. Look, Mitch McConnell said his top job was to make sure that Barack Obama gets defeated. Not moving -- not moving jobs or the economy forward, but getting Barack Obama defeated. So you have -- you've had some Republicans on the other side who want to reach across and get things done as well.
COOPER: Paul, do you want to weigh in on that or --
BEGALA: Yes. I mean at least President Clinton who I served, you know, the best briefings are the most unvarnished. And I'm trying to -- we once told him, which was true, that we were dropping like a rock in a well. In fact we used a slightly different metaphor than that. But we explained to him that things were going really badly but then here's the path forward.
And the truth is, the president's new tone and new message is exactly what voters want. When he compromised with the Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts last year, it cost $858 billion to the deficit, did not help the economy very much if at all, and it drove him down in the polls.
And he cut that deal on the debt ceiling with Republicans. It drove him down in the polls. We want now, we the voters, the middle class, the swing voters, they want him to stand up there and fight for them.
COOPER: OK. Paul, appreciate you being on. Cornell Belcher as well.
Still ahead, where is Moammar Gadhafi? A question a lot of folks have been asking. Representatives of Libya's interim government say they know where he's hiding. We'll tell you where they believe the former Libyan leader is and who's helping him escape. We'll report from the frontline.
Also another dramatic day in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. We're going to talk to Sanjay Gupta, he's been talking to the defense team. He's going to bring us the latest inside info and tell us about their plan to prove their client's innocence. We'll also talk to Mark Geragos and Marcia Clark.
COOPER: Coming up, dramatic testimony at the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. His former personal assistant describing the frantic last moments of Jackson's life. First, let's check in with Isha for a "360 Bulletin." Isha --
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there's word tonight that Moammar Gadhafi's whereabouts may no longer be a mystery. Representatives of Libya's interim ruling government say Gadhafi is in hiding near the western Libya town and living under the protection of fighters. They say he often turned to the tribe in the past to shore up his fighting forces.
Four families have filed lawsuits over deaths and illnesses resulting from tainted Colorado cantaloupes. The listeria outbreak has already caused 13 deaths and more than 70 illnesses across 18 states.
Reebok just took a kicking from the Federal Trade Commission. The company agreed to pay $25 million for what the agency called deceptively advertising that their easy tone walking shoes and run tone running shoes would shape your butt.
The FTC says there's no proof the shoes do any more than make your feet look good. Reebok says they stand by their shoes. So, Anderson, you may have to mix it up a bit.
COOPER: I'm not going to weigh in on that one.
COOPER: The serious news coming up, "Crime and Punishment" on day two in Michael Jackson's death trial. Gripping testimony from Jackson's personal assistant and his head of security. Both men describing what they saw and heard the day Jackson died from a panicked voice mail message left by Dr. Conrad Murray to a scene of chaos inside the rented mansion he was living in.
Jurors heard one witness describe a sweaty Dr. Conrad Murray trying to revive Jackson even though it was clear to him Jackson was dead. The jury also heard about a bizarre request Dr. Murray allegedly made later at the hospital where Jackson's body was taken. Here's Randi Kaye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And does this depict --
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're looking at the bedroom where Michael Jackson took his last breath, shown inside the courtroom. One of Jackson's security guards had been called to the house when Jackson stopped breathing and described the scene for the jury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when you came around to the far side of the bed, what was Conrad Murray doing? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He appeared to be administering CPR. He appeared very nervous. He was on his side, he was sweating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time, did you see Michael Jackson's face and his full body?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what did you observe about his face at that time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That his eyes were open and that his mouth was slightly open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he appear to be dead?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KAYE: Mohammed said at one point Dr. Murray asked Jackson's security guards if they knew how to revive someone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had Conrad Murray asked you and Alberto Alvarez if you knew CPR?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you see Alberto go over and assist Dr. Murray with CPR?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KAYE: By the time, Mohammed had arrived, 911 had already been called, but 911 was not the first phone call Conrad Murray made when Jackson stopped breathing.
In court, new insight into Murray's state of mind from Jackson's personal assistant, Michael Williams. He painted a picture of a doctor on the edge. On June 25th, 2009, Williams received a frantic voice message from Murray which was played in court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please call me right away.
KAYE: That message was left after Michael Jackson had suffered cardiac arrest. Murray gave no indication of that on the message only saying Jackson had had, quote, "a bad reaction." Murray called Williams, not 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you asked to call 911?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you, upon hearing that message, call Dr. Murray?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he ask you to call 911?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir.
KAYE: In court, Williams was also asked about Murray's strange behavior at the hospital, as news spread that the king of pop was dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, if anything, was the request of Conrad Murray?
MICHAEL AMIR WILLIAMS, JACKSON'S FORMER PERSONAL ASSISTANT: He said that there's some cream in Michael's room or house, I believe room, that he wouldn't want the world to know about and he requested that I or someone give him a ride back to the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you agree to take Conrad Murray back to the house?
WILLIAMS: No, sir.
KAYE: Williams told the court he was so spooked by Murray's behavior, he asked Jackson's security to lock up the house and not allow Murray back inside. But defense attorney Ed Chernoff pointed out Williams waited months before sharing his concerns with authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Williams, the very first time you told the police about Dr. Murray wanting to get some cream on August 31st, 2009, correct?
WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was over two months after Michael Jackson had died?
KAYE: Williams told the jury he frequently saw oxygen tanks at Jackson's house. Oxygen is required by the FDA to be on hand when Propofol is being used, in case the patient has to be resuscitated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe what you personally saw in that regard?
WILLIAMS: It was normal for oxygen tanks to be there. If they were there, we'd bring them to the bottom of the stairs and the chef or the children would bring them up. But it was normal to see the oxygen tanks the last few months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be a period of time that you knew Conrad Murray was coming on an almost nightly basis?
WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.
KAYE: Even with all those oxygen tanks, Michael Jackson never had a chance. As the defense says, he died so quickly, he never even closed his eyes.
COOPER: Randi, did the security guard who testified say where Michael Jackson's kids were at this point?
KAYE: Well, he described that chaotic scene, Anderson, but the security guard, Fahim Mohammed described that in the midst of all of this he noticed Michael Jackson's two oldest children, Paris and Prince Michael standing at the bedroom door.
He said they were panicked so he quickly asked the nanny in the house to take them to another room, but to hear him describe Jackson's son with a look of shock on his face.
And then Paris later on, his daughter, on the floor, Anderson, curled up in a ball crying was just so sad and so hard for that courtroom to hear, especially Michael Jackson's family who was there.
COOPER: Randi, appreciate the reporting. Thanks. Much more on the Jackson trial ahead.
Dr. Conrad Murray could get four years in prison or lose his medical license. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some information on the defense team's strategy. We'll also talk to Mark Geragos and Marcia Clark.
Also ahead, Sarah Palin is threatening a lawsuit. She's not happy about a new book about her and her family. Details on that coming up.
COOPER: More on day two of the Michael Jackson death trial. The prosecution zeroing in on the minutes that are crucial to their case. They called two key witnesses who described Dr. Murray's words and actions on the day that Jackson died. They recounted as you heard the scene of panic, chaos that left his kids in tears. Their testimony also raised questions the defense will have to address.
Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some inside information tonight on the defense team's strategy. He joins me now. Sanjay, you talked to sources on the defense team, inside the defense team. What direction do they say they are going to try to take this case in?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they had some very specific descriptions of what they say happened on that particular day. And they described a scene where they say Conrad Murray did give Michael Jackson Propofol, something that we've heard quite a bit about.
They say then he waited about 10 minutes or more before he left the room. Relevant because they say the amount of Propofol that he gave would have been in and out of Michael Jackson's system within that time.
What they say next, though, was pretty startling, Anderson. They say they think that after Conrad Murray left the room, that Michael Jackson had in fact been feigning sleep or as they put it playing possum. He got up, got out of bed and took more tablets.
This Lorazapam, took eight of these two milligram tablets of that and injected more Propofol into his system and then went back to bed. So they say that Michael Jackson actually self administered both this anti-anxiety medication and Propofol after feigning sleep in front of Dr. Conrad Murray. Again, sources close to defense saying this.
COOPER: There was something else they wanted in particular to clarify with you. Was that the means by which Jackson administered the lethal dose of Propofol?
GUPTA: Right, yes. This has gone back and forth as you know. There was some talk yesterday that he ingested, which typically means someone who takes this in orally, but now sources are saying that it was actually -- he had what's called a port in his leg, sort of in in- dwelling IV.
That port was hooked up to an IV bag with tubing and they say Jackson himself injected the medication into the tubing and the IV fluid sort of pushed it into his body.
COOPER: So the defense also talked to you about another drug that Jackson was being treated with by another doctor, Demerol. They're saying Dr. Murray didn't know he was being treated with that?
GUPTA: That's right. They're saying even up to two days before Michael Jackson passed away, they say he was getting three to four procedures a week on his face so up to two days before he was still getting these procedures. As part of these procedures, which were described to me as often times as minor procedures, things like Botox, for example, but he would get Demerol with those procedures.
Relevant for two reasons, one is that, you know, Michael Jackson had known problems with Demerol in the past. As you say, Dr. Murray is saying he didn't know about it. The second thing is as Demerol breaks down, as people are coming off of Demerol, sometimes it breaks down into a metabolite that acts as a stimulant in the body and keeps people awake.
They say in Michael Jackson's case it made it very difficult for him to sleep, which brings us all back full circle.
COOPER: I want to bring in, Sanjay, Marcia Clark, former Los Angeles deputy DA and also Mark Geragos, criminal defense attorney.
Marcia, Jackson's personal assistant was testifying and said that when Murray called him after Jackson has stopped breathing at no point did he tell him to call 911. That surprised me. How damning do you think it is?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LOS ANGELES: I think it's terribly damaging. If you're going to go -- you have a patient who's at least in some form of distress that looks very severe and you call three personal assistants before -- and children before you even think about calling 911?
As I understand it, Anderson, he never did call 911, one of the assistants did or one of the security guards, whatever. That's outrageous. That's just simply outrageous. I think it looks terrible for him.
COOPER: Mark, is that explainable from the defense standpoint?
MARG GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think clearly the defense is going to take the position why is he going to call 911? Why do you call a paramedic when you've got a cardiac trained physician who's there, who presumably if somebody is in cardiac arrest, who would you rather have working on you, a physician or EMT? I think that's going to be their position.
COOPER: Another interesting moment, Marcia, came when the lawyer for AEG testified that the Murray request AEG as the company that was sponsoring the upcoming concert, paying Jackson a lot of money.
That they requested that Murray -- Murray requested CPR equipment what he said was because of Jackson's age and the schedule that he was going to be on. We now know from own reporting that when administering Propofol, one of the things that you need on hand is resuscitation equipment.
CLARK: That's right. So that's why he was requesting a setup like that, obviously, because he was going to be administering Propofol. That was the plan. I think that it was the plan all along. That's why Michael Jackson hired Dr. Murray to begin with.
This was the doctor who was going to give him everything he wanted. In my opinion, this is a doctor who's turned into a pusher and Michael hired his own provider, his own supplier, and Dr. Murray was willing to do it.
So he was at least responsible enough to request some of the equipment. What's surprising to me, Anderson, is that he didn't have a lot of the equipment that you see -- that you've actually shown before on your show that is necessary to do it safely.
The oximeter, all of the kinds of monitoring that have to be done in order to make sure that too much Propofol is not given. In spite of the fact that he requested CPR equipment, he obviously wasn't using it.
COOPER: Mark, how do you think the defense so far has been going about defending their client?
GERAGOS: Look, so far you're in the incipient stages of this trial. It's not like an ESPN analysis of a football game where you look after every play and what's going on. The opening statement I thought was effective for the defense in this sense.
They put up there the idea that they're going to have Dr. White, the self-professed father of Propofol, get up there and talk about the fact that there was not enough Propofol in his system to kill him. And they're going to also -- and I thought one of the most significant things they're going to talk about is that the coroner did not test the contents in the stomach.
If they tested the contents in the stomach, which the defense says they have, that that's going to show that somehow that is what -- that something was administered that was not done intravenously.
If that's the case, the defense has got a pretty good point. I think the biggest problem with the defense is going to be on cross examination of Dr. White.
What is he going to say when they ask him, when the DA says to him, you know, do you give Propofol? Do you think it's the standard of care to give it in your house? That's the problem they have to deal with.
COOPER: Sanjay, you back in 2009, you tracked down another one of Michael Jackson's doctors who had traveled on tour with him, according to sources that you had spoken with, that back then he gave Michael Jackson Propofol. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: We've come here because your name was obviously associated with Michael Jackson and people said that there was a question of whether or not you gave anesthesia to him while he was on tour. We just wanted to come to the source, you, here and find out if that had happened?
DR. NEIL RATNER, TREATED MICHAEL JACKSON: I'm very upset. I'm distraught. Michael was a good person. I can't talk about it right now. It's really something I don't want to talk about right now. I lost a friend and I feel very badly about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do we have Sanjay any idea just how far back Jackson's struggles with or use of Propofol went?
GUPTA: Well, you know, I don't know before that point. That was over 15 years ago. What was striking about, you know, talking to Dr. Ratner and talking to people who led me to Dr. Ratner was they were describing a scenario where essentially, you know, an anesthesiologist.
In this case Dr. Ratner they say was traveling with Michael Jackson and putting him down, as they put it, every night an bringing him back up in the morning. It was quite striking to hear that description again, many years ago while he was on tour.
COOPER: Sanjay, appreciate it. Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark as well.
Up next, Sarah Palin threatening to sue the author of a new book about her. We'll tell you why. And later did she or didn't she show too much on "Dancing with the Stars." What happened? All the wardrobe haters of Nancy Grace, they earn a spot on our "Ridiculist" coming up.
COOPER: Coming up, did our own Miss Nancy Grace have a wardrobe malfunction on "Dancing with the Stars"? Her critics get dressed down on "The Ridiculist." First, Isha is back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin." Isha --
SESAY: Anderson, Sarah Palin is threatening to sue the author of a new book about her. Palin's lawyer say Joe McGinniss wrote a series of lies and rumors and presented them as fact in his book. The publisher said the reporting in the book is solid, reliable and well substantiated.
Amazon is joining the tablet craze. The Kindle 5 will have a seven-inch color touch screen and Google Android operating system. It goes on sale November 15th for $199.
And authorities in Long Island, New York, have arrested seven people, most of them students in an alleged SAT cheating case. Six students face misdemeanor charges.
The seventh suspect, a 19-year-old, is accused of impersonating several students and charging them between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the SAT for them. The next test dates are this weekend. My suggestion is finish watching the show and hit the books.
COOPER: Yes. Isha, thanks.
Still ahead, she said it wasn't a wardrobe malfunction. I for one am not going to argue with her so what really happened with Nancy Grace? Tonight's "Ridiculist" next.
COOPER: Time for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we are adding the wardrobe critics of our dear friend from the hall, the one and only Miss Nancy Grace. As you've heard by now there's a bit of controversy over a disputed and we stress a disputed wardrobe malfunction on Monday night's episode of "Dancing with the Stars."
And before we go any further, I just want to say that we are going to take the high road here. We are not going to sensationalize this or make fun of it. Get on board, America. Anyway, here's what happened Monday night on ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There we go. Just help you out there a little bit. Here we go. That's all right, that's all right. On the European version that would be perfectly fine. Come on over here.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: OK, first of all, his voice cracked. Did Tom call her Miss Kitty? What the heck is going on out there? Miss Kitty? Now, I know it's hard to tell exactly what happened from that clip. You might have missed the split-second shot that made it on the air so let's just freeze it and put it on screen.
Now, of course we blocked out the disputed portion of the image. Have we? Yes, we have. We've blocked out -- whose face is that? Wolf. OK. We're using Blitzer. We've used Blitzer to block out the image because a lot of people who saw this thought Nancy had a bit of a slip and showed America let's just say one of her jurors was tired of being sequestered.
I'm taking Nancy's side on this though. She tells TMZ, quote, "when I got dressed, I was wearing petals, nipple covers, and an industrial strength bra. My dancing dress also had a bra sewn into it. I have been judged guilty without a trial. I will go to my grave denying the nip slip."
Nancy, do not worry, friend. Not only do I have your back. I will promise not to snap that industrial strength bra strap. Though I think you should watch out for that Dr. Drew. The reality is you're simply not the type of person who would show skin on national television.
What kind of TV host would have the nerve to do such a thing? OK, fine, I did it on my daytime talk show. But I can't bring myself to show it again. My skin is just too, too pale plus I don't trust Tom Bergeron and his bag of kitty litter.
The bottom line is this, this isn't a joke. This is serious business. This isn't just some Seinfeld episode.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I see a nipple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. So it's a Seinfeld episode. Look, the fact is, Nancy, I believe you. I'm on your side. It was merely a nipple cover, a pasty as the ladies call them and nothing more than that. As for your critics, my friend, they can go tit for tat on "The Ridiculist."
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again at 10 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.