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JOHN KING, USA
New Herman Cain Accuser Comes Forward; Dr. Conrad Murray Found Guilty
Aired November 7, 2011 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, Michael Jackson's personal physician faces prison time, guilty, a jury says, of contributing to the king of pop's 2009 death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Conrad Robert Murray, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter, in violation of Penal Code Section 192 Subsection B, alleged victim, Michael Joseph Jackson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As you could see right there, Dr. Murray sat stoically as the verdict was read. He was then handcuffed.
After the trial, the judge deemed him a risk to society and denied his request for bail pending sentencing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Murray is remanded to the custody of the Los Angeles Sheriff with no bail. And in the interim, he is to be kept in the care and custody of the sheriff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Also tonight, a Chicago woman accuses Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of an unwanted sexual advance. Sharon Bialek said she came to Washington to ask Cain for help finding a job. She said he first shocked her by upgrading her hotel room to a suite and then she says, he shocked her again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON BIALEK, ACCUSES HERMAN CAIN OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals.
He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crouch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Bialek said she wants just one thing from Mr. Cain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIALEK: To come clean. Just admit what you did. Admit you were inappropriate to people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The Cain campaign said it never happened but its statement tonight doesn't answer whether Cain knows Bialek or whether he was with her on the night in question. Cain remains a front-runner in the GOP presidential polling, but tonight some new numbers suggest the mounting allegations are taking a toll.
More on that breaking news in a moment, but up first, the very latest on the day's other big crime and punishment drama, the verdict against Dr. Conrad Murray. The jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nine hours, capping a 23-day trial. Murray now faces up to four years in prison and a loss of his medical license now that he has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
The prosecution case, that Murray caused Jackson's death by recklessly and repeatedly giving the entertainer surgical the anesthetic propofol to treat his insomnia. Jackson's family was on hand for the verdict and there was a large crowd outside the courtroom, most of them Jackson fans who greeted the verdict with cheers and applause.
Was justice served?
CNN's Ted Rowlands is outside the Los Angeles courthouse.
And, Ted, two days of deliberation, a pretty quick verdict. A surprise to anybody?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, no, because of the timing, John.
The fact that this jury wasn't out three, four, five days and they came to a unanimous decision, I think most people figured that there would be a guilty verdict here. Of course, you never know until you hear it. However, it seemed as though the defense team was ready for this. It seems as though Dr. Conrad Murray was ready for it.
When they put him in handcuffs, he got up and was heading out. He turned and he looked at his mother, he looked at his daughter who was crying in the second row on the defense side. And he sort of gave them a knowing nod as if to say, it will be OK. His girlfriend, Nicole Alvarez, who testified in this trial and has a child with Conrad Murray, said I love you.
As for the Jacksons, there was an audible reaction from LaToya Jackson and/or Kathy Hilton, who were sitting next to each other. But for the most part, the Jacksons were somber. They did however exchange hugs after the jury left the room with David Walgren, the lead prosecutor who by all accounts did an outstanding job in this case. Mrs. Jackson stopped and hugged the prosecutor before she left the courtroom.
Murray now has been taken to the L.A. County jail. He will be there until he is sentenced on the 29th of this month -- John.
KING: And watching that at the very end as the judge was wrapping up the proceedings, it was interesting to watch the deputies handcuff Dr. Murray while he was still seated in the chair. I don't think I have ever seen that. Normally they wait for him to stand up as the proceedings are ending.
But back in on the 29th, sentencing then. That is the issue, right? He faces up to four years in prison. Are there any other questions to be answered between now and that next court appearance?
ROWLANDS: Well, they will do a sentencing report beforehand, but one would think that this judge already has a good idea of what he will impose in terms of a sentence. The big question is the state of Southern California is broke. A lot of nonviolent offenders are getting light sentences because of that and/or are not going to state penitentiaries. So will this judge give him they maximum four years and will he end up serving his time in a county jail or go to the state pen?
KING: Questions raised by Ted Rowlands. Ted, great job covering the trial. Thank you.
Now joining us to dig a little deeper, the former state prosecutor Stacey Honowitz, former prosecutor and legal contributor for "In Session" on truTV Sunny Hostin and investigative reporter and special correspondent for "Newsweek" and The Daily Beast Diane Dimond.
I want to start to start with you, Diane Dimond. When you watched this case play what is it in your mind that sealed it for the prosecution?
DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: It had to have been the pharmacy records.
Four gallons of propofol delivered to Conrad Murray's, not his clinic or a hospital but to Conrad Murray's girlfriend's house and then of course transferred over to Michael Jackson. It was the trail. I wrote this on The Daily Beast today. It was the trail that Conrad Murray left for himself that really was his undoing. Those pharmacy records, his phone and e-mail records that show he couldn't possibly have been paying attention to Michael Jackson those final few hours of his life because he was on the phone and he was sending e-mails on his iPhone.
KING: Well, Stacey, let's follow up on that point. I want to you listen here to the testimony of Dr. Steinberg, a cardiologist who was part of the prosecution's case, making the case that number one, Dr. Murray was negligent for giving Michael Jackson the drugs in the first place. But then he goes on. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the patient, Michael Jackson, was able to administer to himself either lorazepam and or propofol without Conrad Murray's knowledge, doesn't that by necessity mean Conrad Murray was neglecting or abandoning the patient for that to happen without Dr. Murray's knowledge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I want to -- again, I didn't think I said this, but when you monitor a patient, you never leave their side, especially after giving propofol.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Stacey, the expert witnesses for the prosecution painted a pretty damning picture of Dr. Murray's behavior and his demeanor.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, absolutely.
When you had Dr. Steinberg take the stand and then Dr. Shafer, they basically laid out the case for the prosecution. They didn't just say it was one issue that caused or substantially caused the death of Michael Jackson. They gave a litany, a number reasons why there was gross negligence. It wasn't just giving propofol in that setting.
It was leaving. It wasn't having the proper devices. Not having staff. Not calling. So all of these issues led to the guilty verdict in this case.
KING: And Sunny Hostin, I want to you will have to another Dr. Steven Shafer, another one of the expert witnesses again providing what the prosecution, this methodical case to say he was a bad doctor to begin with and then at the very end, incredibly negligent. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's your opinion that Conrad Murray will still be a direct cause of Michael Jackson's death, correct?
DR. STEVEN SHAFER, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And why is that?
SHAFER: That's because he is a physician who has brought propofol into the room, started an intravenous and provided access to propofol, to a patient who may in fact be developing a dependency on sedatives.
And he has been entrusted by Michael Jackson to look after his safety every night. He has failed that responsibility while enabling the administration of intravenous propofol. He is responsible for every drop of propofol in that room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Sunny, rate the prosecution in the case that sometimes we watch especially in these high profile cases where the prosecution overreaches, tries to prove too much. In this case they kept a pretty narrow and damning focus on those key moments.
ROWLANDS: They really did. They tried this very leanly. They didn't overcharge it. And many people say there was enough evidence to charge second-degree murder.
And I think that is accurate, I think that was accurate, but the prosecution decided just to go with involuntary manslaughter. They felt that that was the more appropriate charge. They didn't have a fallback charge. Really this could have been an acquittal. The jury had no other choice. I think the prosecution really did a superb job of leanly trying this case. Not overcharging it. Focusing it on really Conrad Murray and the deviations from the standard of care.
What was remarkable to me this really sounded in -- medical malpractice. A lot of those cases are very complicated. They're not user friendly. Juries struggle with them. Not so in this case. The prosecution team did a wonderful job of making the evidence very, very simple for this jury. And I think a 10-hour deliberation in a case like this is actually quite good.
KING: And, Stacey, one of the questions the prosecution team faced after the trial, they win at the trial, but they did face questions. Should they have charged it up higher? Should they have pressed ahead with second degree. Do you think they could have made that case?
HONOWITZ: Listen, I'm still a prosecutor. I supervise the unit in the state attorney's office.
And quite often, people want us to take it to a higher level. But, John, even in the Casey Anthony case, as you remember, people said they overcharged, they overcharged. They didn't in this case. They analyzed evidence the. It wasn't the type of thing where it came in and they all of a sudden willy-nilly decided to go through this route. They analyzed. They looked out to see which would be the best charge to go in front of a jury with. Certainly they could have made a case, because it is implied malice, second degree. And his actions could have said there was implied malice.
But this was really the way to go for a jury to understand it was gross negligence and to point out all the issues why he was negligent and what he did.
KING: Diane Dimond, this was the state of California vs. Dr. Conrad Murray. The defense tried to make it Conrad Murray vs. Michael Jackson. Trying to make the case that Michael Jackson did this. That it was his behavior. He was the one who was an addict. He is the one who was having not only the propofol, but an array of other drugs. Where did the defense in your view fail?
DIMOND: I think they had a no-win case, honestly.
The state of California led by Jerry Brown, their attorney general, has let it be known now that these doctors to whom the celebrities go while they're doctor shopping are not going to be allowed to get away with it anymore. David Walgren is a perfect example of the perfect golden boy prosecutor.
He didn't overcharge. He said let's get him on what we can get him on. And I think when David Walgren looked at the jury and said, you know what, nobody will know exactly what happened in that room between Conrad Murray and Michael Jackson, but the very fact is that Conrad Murray brought in the propofol. He brought in the lorazepam and the midazolam. It wouldn't have been there unless he did it. The defense didn't -- how can you argue with that? You can't.
KING: Stacey Honowitz, Sunny Hostin, Diane Dimond, thank you for that.
Stay with us. We will continue our conversation.
Before we go to break, I want you to listen here. Several members of the Jackson family and some of his friends spoke to Jane Velez-Mitchell of our sister network HLN as they left the courtroom. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice was served. Yes. It wasn't enough time though.
QUESTION: What would you say for Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael is with us. Michael is with us.
QUESTION: Tell us what you would say to America right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just thank you so much. I'm just happy it's over with. Nothing will bring him back, but I'm happy he was found guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, America. Thank all the fans. Thank the prosecuting team. Walgren, you were great. Everybody was wonderful. I just want to thank you, really. Jane, I love you.
QUESTION: What would you say to Michael if you could say something to him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to say something. Michael loves everybody out here. I love him. We all love him. And guess what? He was in that courtroom and that's why victory was served.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Still to come, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us to break down where Dr. Murray crossed the line from caregiver to killer.
And here's a question. If Michael Jackson can pay $150,000 a month to get drugs whenever he wants, then how many other doctors are there just like that in Hollywood?
KING: More now on tonight's developing story. A Los Angeles jury convicts Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson died of an overdose of a powerful sedative called propofol which is used in operating rooms for anesthesia.
Jackson used it to get to sleep. Witnesses testified Dr. Murray obtained large quantities of the drug. And experts told the jury that even if Jackson injected himself Dr. Murray should still be held responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAFER: He has been entrusted by Michael Jackson to look out for his safety every night. And he has failed that responsibility while enabling the administration of intravenous propofol. He is responsible for every drop of propofol in that room.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us now. Also joining us, Florida state prosecutor Stacey Honowitz, criminal defense attorney Trent Copeland, and Diane Dimond, a special correspondent for "Newsweek" and The Daily Beast. She is also the author of "Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case."
Dr. Gupta, I want to start with you. When you watched the prosecution lay out this methodical case saying number one, Dr. Murray is responsible. Number two, even if Michael Jackson somehow injected himself, Dr. Murray is responsible. As a doctor, a member of the medical community, what went through your mind when you heard all the things Dr. Murray did, what I would say crossing the line from caregiver definitively, and the prosecution made its case to the jury, to killer.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, from the very beginning, John, more than two years ago, this whole thing was just so bizarre to hear, almost unbelievable, I think, among a lot of members of the medical community, that propofol, a medication that most doctors who work in hospitals know and know quite well, that it could be even thought to be used in this way outside of a clinical setting inside somebody's home designed to try and give sleep. It was just so strange.
But very specifically, besides the fact they said this was something that most doctors would never do, they also said here's why. Because you need to have proper resuscitation equipment on standby. You need to have proper monitoring equipment. You need to have someone who is always present monitoring the patient, oxygen, all these sorts of things there, things that you find in a clinical setting in a hospital.
They made the case and then they explained why it was so problematic for propofol to be administered this way.
KING: And, Trent Copeland, you're a defense attorney. You have handled some pretty high profile cases. Did the defense fail in your view or is there something they could have done better, or was this just stacked against them?
TRENT COPELAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Stacked against them.
From the very beginning, my suspicion was that the defense would probably at some point enter a plea. Try to get a plea deal before this case found its sea legs. But they really didn't. Going forward, I think what happened for Conrad Murray really was arrogance got the best of him. I think arrogance got the best of him and his defense team at the very outset of the case.
Because remember the biggest part of the case was that two-hour- plus interview that he gave to law enforcement at the time he was arrested. Well, he wasn't arrested, but at the time that he was asked to give a statement and they nearly arrested him. But they didn't and he gave the statement and he went on and he went on. His lawyers allowed him to talk. And endlessly over that period of time, he gave incriminating information that really ultimately led to the prosecution having some of their strongest pieces of evidence.
KING: Those recordings were damning. So was the methodical case of the expert witnesses. That was evidence the if you will laid out in a methodical way to build it up. Then there was the emotion. All this happened, of course, Michael Jackson's death, when he was planning this big comeback show. The prosecution also entered this into evidence.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: Elvis didn't do it. Beatles didn't do it. We have to be phenomenal. When people leave this show -- when people leave my show, I want them to say, I've never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go. I've never seen nothing like this. Go. It's amazing. He's the greatest entertainer in the world.
I'm taking that money, a million children, children's hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson's children's hospital.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KING: Stacey Honowitz, the emotions there, the drugged-out voice of Michael Jackson making the case that he wants to have this comeback show be the best in the world to prove he was the best in the world, from an emotional standpoint, I think it's pretty obvious. But why was that important for the prosecution to get that in?
HONOWITZ: The prosecution wanted the jurors to see that this is a doctor who said he wanted to try to help this person. He wanted to wean him off medication.
Here he is in a drugged-out state and then he orders all of that propofol. And look at the state of mind that this person is in. So this was very important for the prosecution. I think it was also very important for the prosecution to show consciousness of guilt in this case. Because without an outright confession, his actions, his omissions alone were as good as a confession was. The idea that he hid part of the drip. The idea that he never told anybody, never told anybody involved in this indication that might have been able to help that he gave Michael Jackson propofol, and I think that was huge for the jury to see and it showed consciousness of guilt on his part.
But this drugged-out state, hearing this voice, humanizing Michael Jackson, letting the jurors hear what he was really all about was huge for the prosecution.
KING: Diane Dimond, in one way it does humanize Michael Jackson but it is also pretty horrifying. It's pretty horrifying in the idea that Michael Jackson is a grown man. A lot of this were his decisions. I'm not excusing anything Dr. Murray did. But when you hear what Dr. Murray did and then you hear the voice of Michael Jackson, this is a bizarre world.
DIMOND: It really makes you wonder about that comeback tour -- 50 concerts? It sounds like he could not even do one concert.
I think the most important piece of evidence put in was that tape of Michael Jackson, because it was taken in May, early May. He didn't die until the end of June. This doctor, for some reason tape-recorded him and he knew what kind of shape he was in. He knew he was drug dependent or drug addicted. He knew his health was failing.
And yet as Walgren said, what did he do? He ordered more propofol and more benzodiazepines for Michael Jackson to ingest. I think Trent Copeland is exactly right. That tape of Murray plus this tape of Michael Jackson really sealed the deal, because Conrad Murray locked himself in really early, two days after the death, to this, I only gave him 25 milligrams of propofol and I was only gone for two minutes. The rest of the testimony proved that that just wasn't true. It just couldn't have been true.
KING: Dr. Gupta, is there a message to the medical community in this verdict? Or is Dr. Murray so far out there that let's hope anyway there is nobody else out there who needs to learn this lesson?
GUPTA: I think it's a little of both.
John, when I first about heard this, and I think I was talking to you pretty early on, it was just so bizarre that it was hard to fathom that someone would think of abusing propofol in this way outside a clinical setting. Propofol isn't even considered a controlled substance. It is in hospitals and obviously clinics, but the fact that people would take that medication and use it in the home, it seemed almost unimaginable to a lot of people.
It's not to say that people haven't abused this drug in hospitals, but not like this. There is also maybe a message. And I think you have alluded to it already, John, about these doctors for hire, these Hollywood doctors, as they're being called, or concierge doctors.
I interviewed some of them myself. They are plentiful in many cities across the country. What exactly is their obligation? What exactly are they doing? And how do they not let things like this happen just because someone has resources or wealth?
KING: Dr. Gupta, thank you. Diane Dimond and Stacey Honowitz as well. Mr. Copeland will stay with us and he will be with us in the next block.
A quick programming note. Be sure to watch tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for a CNN special report, "Michael Jackson: The Final Days."
Up next, are there more Dr. Murray's in Hollywood? Dr. Drew joins the conversation next.
KING: Michael Jackson's personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray is in jail tonight and facing up to four years in prison after his conviction on involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of the pop singer. The defense had argued Jackson's dependence on the sedative drug propofol was his own fault and contended Dr. Murray was trying to wean him away from it even though he helped Jackson get that drug.
For more about addiction and Hollywood big money drug culture, we're joined in Los Angeles by HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky. He's a board- certified internist and addiction medicine specialist. Still with us also in Los Angeles is defense attorney Trent -- Trent Copeland.
Excuse me, sir.
Dr. Drew, let me just go to you first with this question. How many Dr. Murrays are there out there, meaning if Dr. Murray had said no, could Michael Jackson have shopped around and found another?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Absolutely.
And not only could he have found another, he certainly could have found people as you hear with Dr. Klein giving him the Demerol on a regular basis, found people to collude with giving opiates and opiate pain medication. The problem is twofold. The problem is that when celebrities demand special care, they get substandard care.
The fact is that those of us who provide care to patients provide a the standard that is the best for everybody. That is why it's the standard of care. Every time somebody seeks anything special or out of the standard, out of the ordinary, they're much more likely to get something substandard.
The other issue is once, say, Dr. Murray or any of the Dr. Murrays out in this town get ahold of somebody and realize they're in over their head with addiction or mental health issues, they need to assemble a team. As much as anything else, that's where this really went off the rail.
These people were not consulting with the appropriate people that could have potentially saved Michael Jackson's life.
KING: And, so, Trent Copeland, you're an attorney out there in L.A. and defense attorney. Your clients include some celebrities. I want to listen to the defense here. Here's Ed Chernoff trying to make his case in closing arguments that essentially the wrong person was on trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED CHERNOFF, ATTORNEY FOR CONRAD MURRAY: What they're really asking you to do is to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A., Trent, do you think that is a fair argument, and, B., to Dr. Drew's point, I guess why not as a defense lawyer make the case why blame Dr. Murray, this is available everywhere?
COPELAND: Look, I think that's right.
Remember, the other part off that phrase in that closing statement was that Conrad Murray was just a small fish in a big dirty pond. And truly he's probably right. He probably was. And the truth is that there are a lot of Dr. Feel-goods here in Hollywood and there are a lot of doctors frankly who will give celebrities just about anything they want.
The reality is we saw that in the Anna Nicole Smith case, where frankly in that case the defendants, the doctors were found not guilty on all of the most serious of charges. And in this case it was just the opposite. I think that's where the prosecution learned its lesson. That is that you go after these doctors and you go after them not related to the issues associated with their criminal activity, but you go after it associated with issues connected to the standard of care.
And that's where this doctor really, really found himself in hot water, because the prosecution went after the standard of care. They found that there were 17 different egregious violations of that. And there was simply -- there was simply no way out. And, remember, even their own defense witnesses. Even their own expert witnesses came in and said that, "Look, There's no way that we can, in any way, account for this guy's conduct. Bringing Propofol in this setting, leaving the -- leaving the patient alone, not monitoring him. Not having the rescue -- appropriate rescue equipment. There's no way that we can account for that. And I think once that happened, the prosecution really had him in a corner and there really wasn't any way out for him.
KING: So Doctor Drew, how does the culture break down? These are trained medical professionals. How does the culture get to a point -- is it greed? Did they get caught up in celebrity? Is it a combination of those things? Drew, they would repeatedly do things that they know -- they know are, A, dangerous for the patient and, B, a violation of their oath.
PINSKY: Before I answer your question, I just want to say one thing about the defense's strategy of making it Michael Jackson's problem. I find it egregious of the defense to blame the patient. To blame the patient for the outcome. That is a very cautionary -- I would caution anyone against that.
When somebody has an addiction, the nonsense that they get into is part of their disease. It's incumbent upon to us bring them to proper recovery. In terms of...
COPELAND: But Drew, does the patient have any responsibility?
PINSKY: The patient has some responsibility. But I wouldn't expect the doctors to be leaving the medications that the patient is addicted to around the individual and leaving the room. I mean, it's a collaborative effort, to be sure. But to be blaming the patient as the reason, I think that's a major, major problem. It really is.
Because -- and especially when the patient had not been given any of the things he needed in order to get better. That's -- that's the other issue. It's one thing if the patient had been getting everything reasonable at the standard of care and then the patient misbehaved, OK. Perhaps. But to blame the patient outright I think is a big mistake.
COPELAND: I agree with you. But playing devil's advocate, and I think here's where the defense might have made a mistake, John. And frankly, and that is, look, I think most people look at Michael Jackson. Certainly a pop icon, and his death was a tragic loss for everyone involved. There's no question about that.
But I think most people say, look, Michael Jackson had, by all accounts, a relatively odd life. And I think that -- that the fact that he died in this way is not entirely, not entirely surprising.
But I think some people would say, hey, look, this doctor was simply the last man standing. This doctor was simply the guy who was just there at the wrong time, because Michael Jackson had a series of doctors. Michael Jackson had a series of people who were giving him the kind of medication, just the kind of medication that would cause his death.
PINSKY: I think you're right. I think you're right.
KING: So does this -- so does this stop it in any way? Does this...
KING: ... Dr. Murray going to jail, will the others out there who are doing it get the message?
COPELAND: I think it serves notice on a lot of people.
PINSKY: I didn't have a chance to answer. I think it absolutely will. Yes, I think it will catch -- in fact, it may go overboard. We may have young people out there contemplating going into medicine who will think twice about it if they think to themselves, "My goodness, a misadventure is going to end me up in prison. Not just a malpractice case." That's the unintended effect of all this.
The intended effect, hopefully, will be people will think twice about going it alone with a celebrity and not building teams and consulting where they should. And nothing special for celebrities. Just the standard that we give to everybody.
KING: Dr. Drew, Trent Copeland, appreciate your insights tonight. It's a fascinating case, and I hope there's a lesson learned. We'll see how this all plays out.
Next, hear what Pennsylvania officials are saying about the sexual abuse scandal shocking Penn State university's football program.
Plus, today's dramatic and explosive new developments in the presidential race. A fourth woman comes forward accusing Herman Cain of unwanted sexual advances.
KING: Important developments today in the unfolding child abuse sex scandal at Penn State University.
Two former officials, the university's athletic director and a senior vice president, who resigned abruptly yesterday, were in court today. They face charges of perjury, covering up the alleged sexual abuse of young boys by a one-time assistant football coach. That coach, Jerry Sandusky, was arrested Saturday. He was Penn State's defensive coordinator for 23 years. Now stands accused of assaulting eight boys between 1994 and 2009.
Today Pennsylvania's attorney general called on any other unidentified victims to step forward. She also was asked about the legendary Penn State coach, Joe Paterno.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDA KELLY, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: He's been cooperative with the investigators in this case. He's not regarded as a target at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: In other news, stocks closed higher today, even though investors remained jittery about developments in Europe, especially in Italy.
Up next, today's bombshell news in the presidential race. Another woman accuses Herman Cain of unwanted sexual advances. And she's not anonymous.
KING: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" coming up at the top of the hour. Erin's here with a preview.
And you're following the Conrad Murray verdict.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Conrad Murray verdict. And we're going to have Joe Jackson's lawyer, Brian Oxman, who's been a friend of the family for 25 years; talked to the children of Michael Jackson today. And we're going to hear from him.
We're also going to talk about Herman Cain. John, of course, that press conference today was riveting. And one thing that I was curious about was when the woman said that the night happened and she chose to not tell her boyfriend or her mentor ever the exact details. And is that something that helps or hurts her case? That's something that stood out to me. We're going to be following that, tackling that angle of the story.
And also, John, did you know that 120 million Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant? It's a pretty serious issue, and Erin Brockovich is going to be our special guest to talk about what that means and what's happening in some of those nuclear power plant zones. It's not something good.
KING: I bet it's not.
KING: But I'm looking forward to it and for the information we need to have. Erin, thanks. We'll see you in just a few minutes.
As Erin, noted, an important new chapter in the sexual conduct questions surrounding presidential hopeful Herman Cain tonight. A fourth woman now claims inappropriate behavior by Cain when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.
The first three made their allegations anonymously, through news organizations. But today Sharon Bialek became the first to step forward and to speak publicly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON BIALEK, ACCUSER: At that time I had on a black pleated skirt, a suit jacket and a blouse. He had on a suit with his shirt -- with his shirt open. But instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over, and he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Bialek says she had met Cain previously twice at National Restaurant Association events back when he was its CEO and that she had a job with an affiliated educational foundation. She says she called Mr. Cain after losing that job to see if he might be able to help her find a new one. According to Bialek, Cain somehow envisioned a quid pro quo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIALEK: Mr. Cain said, "You want a job, right?" I asked him to stop, and he did. I asked him to take me back to my hotel, which he did, right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The Cain campaign denies the unwanted sexual advance ever happened. In a statement, though, it ignores Bialek and her very specific allegations. Instead, the Cain statement questioned the motives of Bialek's attorney.
Quote, "Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist/celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forth more false accusations against the character of Republican front runner Herman Cain."
The statement goes on to say, "All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone."
The political fallout for Cain in a moment. But first the legal issues at play here and how Bialek's account changes a drama that up to now was anchored on anonymous allegations.
Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is with us tonight, as is Joel Bennett, who represents one of the women who says Cain sexually harassed her when she worked at the Restaurant Association back in the late 1990s.
Mr. Bennett, let me start with you. When you had read the statement last week about your client, who says she was sexually harassed, you also made a reference to getting a phone call from somebody. Do you believe it was this Sharon Bialek?
JOEL BENNETT, ATTORNEY: It seems likely. The woman who called me, name was Sharon. She lived in the Chicago area. And it seem unlikely there are two women in Chicago who were harassed by Herman Cain.
KING: When you listened to her account today, you have been careful about the details of what happened specifically to your client, because you say your client wants it kept that way. Plus, she also had signed a confidentiality agreement of sorts.
What Sharon Bialek describes is an unwanted sexual advance. Is that what happened to your client or was that -- is what happened to your client, in your view, more of a repeated pattern of sexual harassment?
BENNETT: My client alleged a repeated pattern. There were multiple incidents over multiple days. But my client has decided not to specify the incidents, although she did so in writing to the National Restaurant Association in July of 1999.
KING: Jeff Toobin, when you watched this play out today, both the specificity of the allegations, the fact that she came forward and took the risk, if you will, of going public with it, what went through your mind?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It sound awfully believable to me. Plus remember also, Gloria Allred, the attorney, brought forth two affidavits from corroborating witnesses who had spoken to Ms. Bialek at the time of the incident.
I mean, I don't know what happened, obviously. But certainly, that was a very credible presentation from someone who had no obvious axe to grind. She did not have a political motive. She's a Republican. She's not out for money. Why is she lying? It's -- if she is, it's very hard to fathom why.
KING: And I want to you listen to Gloria Allred. Because you have made the case, Jeff, about her abilities as a lawyer. You heard the Cain campaign statement. They somehow think that perhaps politically it benefits to them to take shots at her celebrity attorney status, if you will.
I want you to listen to one of the things she said before she introduced her client.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR SHARON BIALEK: At the suggestion of her boyfriend, a pediatrician, whom she had dated for four years, she reached out to Mr. Cain for help in finding another job. Instead of receiving the help that she had hoped for, Mr. Cain instead decided to provide her with his idea of a stimulus package, which she will describe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Jeff, there's a little bit of laughter in the room there. But I would call that a public relations mistake on Gloria Allred's part. If you're trying to make a case against Mr. Cain, why try to be cute?
TOOBIN: Absolutely. You know, Gloria Allred has been on TV a lot, and she knows a zinger when she hears one. It was probably inappropriate there, but I don't think it really does much to -- does anything to damage the credibility of the accusation that she's made.
And in fact, Herman Cain's people talking about Gloria Allred as if she's the story. She's not the story here. The story is this woman who has made this accusation and seemed to do so pretty credibly to me.
KING: And Mr. Bennett, you spoke to your client today. She has decided not to come forward publicly. Does this woman's decision, some would say courageous decision -- the Cain campaign would disagree with that, of course. But her decision to come forward, does it affect your client's calculation at all?
BENNETT: My client has not advised me of any change in her position to date.
KING: Not to date. What did -- what did she tell you about what she saw?
BENNETT: Actually, my client and I corresponded by e-mail before the conference, but we haven't spoken since the conference. But as far as I know, it has not changed my client's position.
KING: And do you have any recommendation to her based on what you saw today? Or do you think it's best for her to stay quiet and stay out of the spotlight? Or do you think, if the Cain campaign is going to continue to say this -- none of this ever happened, that a second woman in the public domain would help you make your case?
BENNETT: First of all, we don't have a case to make. May client settled the matter with the Restaurant Association in 1999. She never brought a public complaint in 1999, although she could have. She chose to resolve it privately and confidentially.
It's only because Mr. Cain responded once the matter was leaked by others that my client felt it was necessary to respond. She has no case to make, and she prefers to maintain her private life and not become a public figure.
KING: Mr. Bennett -- Jeff, I just want to close with this to make sure -- I want to get the sense you agree with me, since I'm not a legal expert by any means. Mr. Bennett's client says repeated sexual harassment. When you heard Sharon Bialek say -- am I right, that that's an unwanted sexual advance? That would not legally be sexual harassment?
TOOBIN: Well, it's hard to know. I mean, there's also the issue of Ms. Bialek, as I understand it, was not still an employee of the Restaurant Association when it happened. So, you know, there are all sorts of legal issues that, if this were to be a case, which it's clearly not -- she has no interest in filing one. The statute of limitations has long run, -- you know, I think you're talking a little semantics here.
You know, the issue is did Herman Cain do something that's really appalling. And I think if you believe her, if you believe Ms. Bialek, the answer is yes. If you believe Herman Cain, the answer is no.
And we're in the political realm here, not legal. And that's really, I think, what people want to know.
KING: Jeff Toobin, Joel Bennett, appreciate your insight tonight.
And when we come back, Jeff just noted that the political arena, the political impact on the man who is the surprise of the GOP race, including some brand-new poll numbers just out, suggesting these allegations are beginning to take a toll.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: A defiant Herman Cain tonight is not only denying another allegation of inappropriate sexual behavior; he's trying to raise money off the controversy.
In the commentary posted on his campaign Web site, Cain ignores the allegation made today by a Chicago woman named Sharon Bialek. Instead, he asserts, quote, "Everyone knows the process only became further detached from relevance this week as the media published anonymous, ancient, vague personal allegations against me. Once this kind of nonsense starts," Mr. Cain kept on saying, "the media rules say you have to act in a certain way. I am well aware of these rules, and I refuse to play by them."
So can he survive politically without answering any and all questions about his conduct while leading the National Restaurant Association? Joining me now, two conservative CNN contributors, Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com, and Dana Loesch. She's editor of BigJournalism.com.
And that is the question. I want to show you first NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll numbers out tonight that suggests this is beginning to have a harmful effect. Here's the favorability ratings of Herman Cain. Favorable, unfavorable. If you look at his unfavorables, they have doubled, essentially. In October, just 18 percent of Americans viewed Herman Cain unfavorably. Now it's 35 percent.
Dana Loesch, to you first. He says the media rules. He says the media rules, that we in the media want him to speak out. It's not just we in the media. I want you to listen to this. Bill Bennett, the former education secretary and drug czar, conservative radio talk show host, just posted this on CNN.com.
"If Herman Cain cannot stand up to these charges, if he refuses to, then he should step out of the race. A man big enough to run for president should be big enough to have a full and candid press conference on all of this. Wants us to elect him president after all. He's asking us to trust our lives and the country's life to him."
Dana, is Bill Bennett right?
DANA LOESCH, BIGJOURNALISM.COM: I think in this instance he is. And that's kind of been one of my criticisms of some conservative candidates.
Whenever you have charges like this, regardless of whether or not the merits are legitimate, whenever you have charges like this brought against you, in order to have a chance, especially in the public eye, you need to fight back.
Newt Gingrich didn't do that, and it had a hugely negative effect on his popularity. The same thing with George W. Bush. They didn't fight back against certain, if they could call them smears.
So in this case, I think it would -- it would do a disservice to Cain to -- just to run away from the issue and ignore it. And you know, regardless of whether or not the merits are legitimate, people are tired of the circus. That's what I heard all day from people who normally had favored Cain before. Now they're just really, really tired of the hoopla, and they want it to end.
KING: And Erick, they want it to end. Again, I want to make this point. As a reporter, as a journalist, as someone who's covering his seventh presidential campaign and asked questions of Bill Clinton during the Gennifer Flowers and the Paula Jones saga, et all, I do think there's a responsibility, as Bill Bennett says. If you want the nuclear football, you have to answer questions about your behavior, even if they're not true.
But he says it's the media. That's Bill Bennett. He's not the media. He's a CNN contributor. I want you to listen. Here's the governor of Iowa, very important state. Listen to what Terry Branstad says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD (R), IOWA: I think it's important for him to directly and forthrightly address the issues that have been raised there. And I think Iowans are very fair-minded people. I think if he does that, he can put that behind him. But I do think it's important. I don't think you can just ignore it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's Terry Branstad. But tonight it seems like, Erick, the Cain campaign thinks it can push us away still.
ERICKSON: You know, I think the only one who really wants the story to be kept alive right now is Justin Bieber so we're not on the baby daddy controversy. And everyone else, even the reporters I talked to are really kind of tired of this at this point.
But the Cain campaign keeps digging the hole. Why not go on "60 Minutes" like Bill Clinton did after the Gennifer Flowers accusations? The fact of the matter is, there's only one poll number that matters right now, John, and that is women voters, who will turn out huge in the Republican caucuses in Iowa and elsewhere.
And he's now at a ten-point disadvantage with women. And that gap is going to grow unless he sits down and actually has some explanations for this.
You know, talking to my wife about this, she and I both love Herman, but even my wife is starting to scratch her head and say you can dismiss one or two, but when you have four come forward, you've got to answer some questions.
KING: Dana, how much of a difference did it make that, when the fourth came forward it was not anonymous. It was a woman on camera, whether you believe her or not, it was a woman who came out with quite specific detail to describe what she says happened to her.
LOESCH: I think it made a huge difference, and whenever you have a face, a face, a voice, a real person behind the accusations, it makes a huge difference.
And added to that, she says she's a Republican. And to go even further, she's not just a Republican. She's a Tea Party Republican. At least what she says.
Now, that I think, gives it a little bit -- it gives it a little bit more legitimacy, her claim. So it becomes -- it becomes a bigger problem, because now you have someone that can get public sympathy. People can see who's making the accusations, and so I think it does matter.
KING: Erick, who do they listen to? Or do they listen to anybody outside their tight inner circle?
ERICKSON: Well, I'm not sure that they're listening. I get the sense that they're strongly in bunker mode right now. They were caught off guard. They say they had ten days. They expected more people to rally. Then they threw the accusation against Perry, which I think hurt them.
And I'm not sure the Cain campaign really has firm grasp right now. I'm getting the sense that they're in denial. But you know, today in his point on the press conference today, I was struck by a lot of e-mails that started floating. And I was doing a radio show this afternoon as the press conference happened.
And most of the male callers and the male e-mail I've gotten from men to say, "You know what? This happened 12 years ago. She didn't complain. There probably isn't anything there. She's got Gloria Allred, for God's sakes." But the women are really concerned.
KING: Woman are really concerned. Erick, Dana, thank you. And NBC polling shows the concerns across the Republican electorate.
We'll see you back here tomorrow night. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.