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Fugitive Father; Vehicular Terrorism?; Moussaoui Sentencing; State Abortion Ban; The "Pellicano" Brief; Cab Cam; Survival Secrets

Aired March 6, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Robbery, assault, murder. 360 investigates how cameras are making the streets safer for cabbies across the country.
From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, thanks for joining us. We begin the hour with a married couple that isn't a married couple at all. Here they are. Take a look. Byron Perkins and Lee Ann Howard -- they've been posing and husband and wife, on the run in Mexico.

Not only is he not her husband, he's also not much of a father. Byron Perkins conned a judge into letting him out of jail to donate the kidney his son, Destin, so badly needs. And then he and Ms. Howard bolted to Mexico.

Now, we know this because CNN viewers have seen them there. And tonight, we take you on the trail of a fugitive deadbeat dad. Here's CNN's Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fugitive couple on the run in a Mexican paradise.

DAWN IZGARJAN, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: People are willing to help other people and they're very kind and they're very generous.

CANDIOTTI: In Boca de Tomatlan, fugitive kidney donor dad Byron Perkins and his girlfriend, Lee Ann Howard, found a perfect hiding place. For about a week, villagers say the couple worked the cobblestone streets, conning their way into the hearts of locals. Spinning a sob story that their money and IDs were stolen.

RAMAUN PALAMERA, RESTAURANT OWNER (through translator): He said that he had been robbed of his papers and money, that he was desperate to get credit cards to replace the ones that had been stolen. And then he could pay me back.

CANDIOTTI: Ramaun Palamera said he gave Perkins $20 a day for incidentals and set up a tab at his beach site cafe for the seemingly down and out Americans. His brother Angel let them buy groceries at his corner store.

ANGEL PALAMERA, STORE OWNER (through translator): He came every day for cigarettes, beer and food. He said he would pay me Wednesday and never came back.

CANDIOTTI: They put the couple up at an apartment. And Perkins said he expected money wired to him any day.

An American couple also duped by Perkins in Mexico called investigators when they got home, saw him on CNN, and found out he was a fugitive.

At their request, CNN agreed to protect their identity.

"JOHN," TOURIST: I just think he's the most despicable person I've met in a very long time.

CANDIOTTI: John and Lynn say they met Perkins and his phony bride on the beach, had drinks and dinner, saw Perkins give his girlfriend insulin. They said he bragged about his son, Destin, but never once mentioned Destin needed a kidney, that he was the intended donor, and that he had run out on his son -- and a life sentence for a string or robbery, drug, and gun charges.

"LYNN," TOURIST: He made quite a point that he had read the bible, supposedly cover to cover, 18 times. The things that we found out about him since we've returned, it's hard to believe that he's a God-fearing person.

CANDIOTTI: Palamera says Perkins vanished after running up a $500 bill for food, drinks and lodging.

R. PALAMERA (through translator): I trusted him. I never thought he could be so shameless to leave me, a poor person who works for a living, with this debts.

CANDIOTTI: A villager says he saw the couple late at night on a highway out of town a week ago with a trunk and other small bags.

IZGARJAN: So it's not going to be easy for them to go anywhere. I mean, they're going to have to be picked up by a trucker or by bus or by a large taxi.

CANDIOTTI: Authorities are asking Mexican police to alert bus and truck drivers to the runaway dad, in case Perkins and his girlfriend continue to stay in small towns off the beaten path.

Back in Kentucky, Destin remains on dialysis, hoping his dad will one day be found and he'll get a possible lifesaving kidney. His mother says he cannot understand why his dad skipped out on him.

How does a young man recover from something like that?

ANGELA HAMMOND, DESTIN'S MOTHER: I don't know that he will. I don't know that he'll ever recover.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Louisville, Kentucky.


COOPER: Well, it hasn't been easy for Destin or for his mom. We spoke with Angela Hammond earlier tonight.


COOPER: Angela, how is Destin doing right now?

HAMMOND: Depressed and scared.

COOPER: Does he talk about what his dad has done, I mean the fact that he's run off?

HAMMOND: Not a whole lot. Usually he keeps that to himself.

COOPER: And physically, how is he doing?

HAMMOND: Some days he's good. Some days he's really tired, sleeps a lot. You know, just doesn't feel well at all.

COOPER: When you heard that Destin's father had, you know, agreed to do this for his son, you must have been overjoyed.

HAMMOND: Oh, yes. I thought that was one thing that, you know, he could do. He had been absent for several years. This is one time that he could step up and be a father.

COOPER: And what did Destin think when he had heard that his dad, you know, was going to get out of jail and had agreed to donate a kidney?

HAMMOND: Oh, he thought it was great.

COOPER: What kind of kid is Destin? What is normal? I think I heard he likes to play football?

HAMMOND: He does. He likes to hunt. He likes to ride dirt bikes. He's just a good kid.

COOPER: Is he able to do that stuff now? I mean, can he hunt right now? Can he play football?

HAMMOND: No. No. He cannot. Usually he just hangs out with me and some of the family members.

COOPER: So getting that kidney is really getting his normal life back? It's the hope of one day hunting again and playing in sports?

HAMMOND: That's correct.

COOPER: Why do you think he ran?

HAMMOND: I think he thought more of himself and his girlfriend, than he did his own son.

COOPER: What's this health struggle, not just this latest problem with the dad, but I mean, what's this been like for Destin, this struggle with his kidneys? I mean, how long has this been going on? HAMMOND: We found out in September of 2004. And then since then, it's just we've been in and out of hospitals and he's had surgery after surgery. Basically, that's where we spend most of our time.

COOPER: I understand you have a letter from Barbara Barr, who's Byron's mother?


COOPER: Can you read part of that?

HAMMOND: "You took the joy of my life away. Now here's my grandson who I love more than life itself, waiting and hoping for a stranger to give him a kidney. That should have been you giving that to him. But you choose to run instead. Byron, you thought more of yourself and Lee Ann than you did us. I have so many questions and no answers. How can you do this to us?"

COOPER: And is that the question you have too? How can you do this to everyone, to Dustin?

HAMMOND: How can he do it to his son?

COOPER: Well, Angela, again, I hope someone out there, you know, takes a look at these pictures and has seen these two and gives the marshal a call. And we'll keep following it. And we wish you luck and we wish Destin luck as well. Thank you.

HAMMOND: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, if you've seen Byron Perkins or his girlfriend in this country, you can call the U.S. Marshal Service, toll-free number is 1-877-WANTED2. That's 1-877-WANTED2. If you spot them in Mexico, first go to the nearest local police station and report them or you can call the marshal service in Washington at 202-307-9100 if calling from Mexico. It's not a toll-free call.

Coming up next, one state makes a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. South Dakota's sweeping abortion ban was signed into law today. Will it hold up? We'll check with our top legal expert.

Also tonight, now that the Oscars are over, Hollywood can get back to the biggest story in town. It's about a private eye and the secret tapes he's accused of making.

And later, taxi targets. The dangerous life of a cab driver and how a routine fare can quickly turn into a vicious crime.


COOPER: There's a terrible truth that the people of Baghdad and Basra and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have known for a long time now. It is this -- whatever else cars may be in certain hands, they are also weapons. You don't hear much about that sort of thing in this country. Yet, that's what happened Friday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where political point and a car -- both were driven home into a crowd.

CNN's Rick Sanchez reports.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the air, you can see the chaos. Victims sprawled out after being plowed into by an SUV. Then, from this very place comes a call to 911 from the very person who drove the SUV.

911 OPERATOR: Orange County 911, Josh.

REZA TAHERI-AZAR, DRIVER OF SUV: Uh, yes sir, I just hit several people with a vehicle and uh...

911 OPERATOR: OK, sir, you said you hit several people with the vehicle?

TAHERI-AZAR: Yes, sir.

SANCHEZ: The 911 operator sounds incredulous. A suspect strangely cooperative.

TAHERI-AZAR: I don't have any weapons or anything on me. You can come and arrest me now.

SANCHEZ: This, from a man who deliberately hit and injured nine people. How do we know he did it deliberately? Because he says so to reporters as he's being placed in a police car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you trying to kill people?


SANCHEZ: If you listen carefully, you can detect an accent that's part Iranian and part southern. That's because Mohammad Taheri-Azar, a UNC grad student, has been in the United States most of his life. But he blames the U.S. government for his actions.

911 OPERATOR: Can you tell me what you did this?

TAHERI-AZAR: It's uh really -- it's really to -- to punish the government of the United States for their actions around the world.

911 OPERATOR: So you did this to punish the government?

TAHERI-AZAR: Yes, sir.

SANCHEZ: It's a sentiment the 22-year-old psychology major affirmed when he showed up for his first court appearance. There, he was formally charged with nine counts of attempted murder. None of the victims was seriously hurt. His bail is set at $5.5 million.

Meanwhile, back on campus, college Republicans held what they called an antiterrorism rally. They want federal terrorism charges brought against Taheri-Azar because they don't see it as a simple crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If everyone thinks it's a simple crime, which a lot of people do, we cannot hope to have a good response to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does not represent Islam. He does not represent Iran. He represents nothing but his own crazy thoughts.

SANCHEZ: CNN made repeated phone calls to the FBI, to ask if terrorism charges would be filed. They would only tell us they're looking into it.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: He's a private eye to the stars, and he may hold a treasure chest of secret court recordings. Did he snoop on his own celebrity clients? And who was paying his bill? That's what some of the biggest names in Hollywood may be fearing and wondering.

Also tonight, caught on tape -- cab drivers being assaulted, robbed, even stabbed. Will Cabbie cams reduce the risk of violence?


COOPER: Tomorrow, the penalty phase continues for the only person charged in the U.S. in connection with the September 11 terror attacks. Zacarias Moussaoui is a confessed al Qaeda member. He's already pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Now comes the question of his fate. The jury must decide if he should spend the rest of his life in prison, or be executed.

One of the people inside the courtroom today was Debra Burlingame. Her brother was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77. That plan crashed into the Pentagon. Now here's what she said earlier.


DEBRA BURLINGAM, BROTHER WAS PILOT: This is a very bad, bad, evil man. And I want you to know that as we sat in that courtroom and the prosecutors played Jihadi tapes from the camps in Afghanistan in which terrorists are singing about bringing blood and death to the infidels, to America, and to Israel, this man was sitting in the courtroom, in full view of the jury, singing along, or mouthing the words along.


COOPER: Now, his defense attorney says he's being scapegoated, but prosecutors maintain Moussaoui's lies led to the deaths of more than 3,000 people.

Helping us sort through the complicated case, Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

It is kind of a confusing case because he has basically said, I'm an al Qaeda member, and he was in jail during 9/11.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right. It's really one of the most unusual legal proceedings in American history. Moussaoui was arrested on immigration charges in August of 2001. So he was not part of the 9/11 attacks. And he's sometimes, in the media, called the 20th hijacker. He's not even accused of being the 20th hijacker.

COOPER: But the prosecutors say he lied, and because of that, people died. He knew about the conspiracy.

TOOBIN: Correct. He was arrested and they say he knew about the conspiracy; thus, withholding that information from the FBI prevented them from stopping the plot, and thus led to the deaths of the 3,000 people. That's the prosecution's claim. That's what they're going to try to prove in court.

COOPER: Could the prosecution claim that if they had that information, they could have stopped the...

TOOBIN: That's what the whole case is based on. One of the lines of defense here is the FBI has proven itself so incompetent, that even if Moussaoui knew what you say he knew, and if he told the FBI, they wouldn't have stopped the plot anyway. It's one of the stories that's going to play out in this trial.

COOPER: But if Moussaoui gets -- I mean, if they don't buy the prosecution's case, Moussaoui gets what, life in prison?

TOOBIN: Life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is a two-part proceeding. The first part they're going to try to establish that Moussaoui's lies led to the death of the 3,000 people. If they jury says no, the proceeding ends. If the jury says yes, it continues to a second half, where the prosecution will present evidence of what the attack was like and how it impacted the victims, likely to be horrific, heart-wrenching testimony, if the case gets that far.

COOPER: And the guy's sitting there, mouthing on to Jihadi tapes -- probably not a wise strategy.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, one of the reasons this case has dragged on for more than four years to get to trial...

COOPER: He's bizarre.

TOOBIN: ... is that, you know, he's tried to represent himself. His sanity has been questioned many times. He's been disruptive in court. They already have a room set aside for him to -- if he gets disruptive -- to watch the trial on closed-circuit television. So, I mean, he's barely in the courtroom at all. He hates his defense lawyers, he's denounced them. So there could be conflicting agendas even within the defense case.

COOPER: All right. Fascinating. Jeffrey, stick around. We have another case I want to talk about. With a stroke of the pen today, South Dakota's governor signed a bill that would make nearly every type of abortion -- every type of abortion carried out in the state, a crime. The measure flies in the face of the landmark case, Roe v. Wade, of course. And it sets up a likely showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court, which may be exactly what lawmakers are hoping for.

CNN's Candy Crowley explains.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A journey to the Supreme Court begins with a single law. Which brings us to Roger Hunt...

REP. ROGER HUNT (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Hi Jerry, how we doing?

CROWLEY: ... a member of the South Dakota State Legislature.


HUNT: Yes, yes. CNN is shadowing me today. I think it's a little overkill maybe, but so be it.

CROWLEY: He is a lawyer by trade. But for 35 days every year, Hunt and other members of the legislature, take up residence in the hotel rooms of the State Capitol to do the state's business.

Business this year included passing the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. No abortions in South Dakota unless the mother's life is at risk. Sponsor -- Roger Hunt.

HUNT: My underlying premise here is those unborn children have no advocate. South Dakota has become their advocate.

SEN. J.P. DUNIPHAN (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: Roger is a very caring, committed man who fights for what he believes in. He does his homework. He gathers his army, as we say, and he moves forward.

CROWLEY: South Dakota is a live and let live sort of place, with wide open spaces and spots of quiet as far as the ear can hear. It is not the sort of place that goes looking to stir up a national fuss, but that it has.

NANCY KEENAN, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: It's been a bit of a wakeup call, and we are finding that people are very outraged.

CROWLEY: The national troops for and against abortion rights are on high alert around the country.

CROWD (chanting): Racist, sexist, antigay...

CROWLEY: The courts will never let this one stand. It will be challenged. That's precisely the point.

GOV. MIKE ROUNDS (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: And it will be struck down as unconstitutional at each and every appellate court level, up to the point that the Supreme Court would be the only court left to consider hearing it.

CROWLEY: Roger Hunt has always believed abortion is wrong. And South Dakota has a long history of antiabortion legislation. What gives this particular bill its juice is a reconstituted, more conservative U.S. Supreme Court, and one liberal member Justice John Paul Stevens about to celebrate his 86th birthday.

HUNT: So that means President Bush is probably going to have the opportunity in the next two to three years to appoint a third nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

CROWLEY: As it happens, it will take two to three years for South Dakota House Bill 1215 to work its way up to the high court.

HUNT: Actually, it's just a lot of e-mail. A few hundred of those, good and bad.

CROWLEY: There's no guarantee the Supreme Court would even hear this case, but for now, lots of other people are listening. Hunt, a soft spoken heretofore, unknown state legislator in South Dakota has captured the attention of e-mailers far and wide, familiar with his work, if not his nature.

HUNT: And they live in some other state and they want to tell us how we should do things here in South Dakota. You know, that doesn't usually fly too well. We take a little a umbrage with that. We're kind of independent people out here and when we think we're right, we think we're right.

CROWLEY: And Roger Hunt thinks he's right.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Pierre, South Dakota.


COOPER: So, of course, can South Dakota ban abortions? And what does the law mean for Roe v. Wade? That is the question we're going to put to Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

I mean, can they do this?

TOOBIN: Well, they can challenge Roe v. Wade. This is the best way of doing it. I think the governor had it exactly right. It will be struck down every step of the way.

Their problem is, the current Supreme Court with Justice Stevens, the soon to be 86-year-old, has five justices on it -- Kennedy, Suiter, Ginsberg, Bryer, Stevens -- who have all supported Roe v. Wade. So if this Supreme Court gets this case, they very well could reaffirm Roe v. Wade, yet again.

COOPER: But they are hoping that, I mean, in the two or three years it might take for this case to actually get to the Supreme Court, there may be a change. TOOBIN: There may be a change. And, you know, if it's not South Dakota, it will be someone else. The red states, many of them, are lining up for these challenges. Mississippi is next. There are apparently 10 states where changes in abortion laws are in the works. So even if the Supreme Court doesn't take the South Dakota case, it looks like a frontal attack on Roe v. Wade is coming to the court in the next couple of years. And they can't turn them all down.

COOPER: But I mean, some were saying that this case is not the ideal one to challenge it because it is so severe.

TOOBIN: Right. It is not like -- the court is taking this year the federal antiabortion law, which deals with certain later-term abortions. Those are the kind of restrictions that most people think have a better chance of being upheld. Parental notification laws -- those kind of laws that chip away at Roe v. Wade, rather than a law that completely blows it out of the water. That's what South Dakota is.

COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin, thanks.

Coming up, a celebrity private eye who's now in the glare of the spotlight, facing criminal charges. And that has plenty of people in Hollywood kind of nervous. Will the private eye spill the dirt he knows about the rich and famous, the people who may have been paying his bills?

Also, caught on tape -- proof that driving a cab is dangerous. But could cameras, like this one, make a criminals think twice before they attack? Coming up, on 360.


COOPER: It's a fascinating story we're about to tell you. He was a private eye with an eye for celebrities. And for many years, Anthony Pellicano was the man the rich and the famous turned to when they needed the dirt on, well, among others, on the rich and the famous.

But now, Pellicano, himself, is being investigated for the alleged way that he conducted his business. And he's already been indicted on criminal charges.

CNN's Joe Johns investigates.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And the Oscar for best B-movie with a scary ending, The "Pellicano" Brief, about a private detective who knows all the secrets, starring Anthony Pellicano, private eye, whose career played out over two decades here.

The plot swirls around how he knows what he knows and how much of that will become public. And who might take a fall. But we'll get to that in a minute. First, the leading man -- a hard-boiled tough guy, fixer and former Army cryptographer. Pellicano made a name for himself specializing in discreet work for the rich and famous.

But in the mid-80s before anyone had heard of him, he picked up a job working for the writer Dominic Dunne.

DOMINIC DUNNE, AUTHOR: I heard about this private detective, who was Anthony Pellicano. He was not famous, nobody ever heard of him in those days. And he had an office on Sunset Boulevard. And it was like a B-movie in black and white, you know, being there with Anthony.

JOHNS: Dunne's daughter, Dominique (ph), had been murdered, and her killer got just two and a half years. When he went free, Dunne was angry, if not confused. And he turned to Pellicano.

DUNNE: He and I got along. And he was -- I mean, I liked him. And he followed this guy, made reports on the killer and so forth. And I was going through hard times financially, and he knew it. And he said, listen Dominic, after about three months. He said, you know, I don't know what I can do more. He said, I know what your things are. He said, I'll keep an eye on the guy for you. And so forth. And I've never forgotten that.

JOHNS: But forgetting is exactly what a lot of Pellicano's former clients wish they could do right now -- forget about him. Forget what he did for them. And if they knew how he did it, forget about that too because now, Pellicano and several others have been indicted on 112 counts for racketeering, illegal wiretapping, and illegally obtaining confidential information.

Among his clients, celebrity lawyers, including Burt Fields who once worked for Michael Jackson. Though it's not clear what Pellicano did on those cases, the court documents to not allege wrongdoing by Fields or his firm.

But the Indictment does charge that Pellicano wiretapped or illegally accessed confidential information about stars, including Gary Shandling, Kevin Neiland (ph), Sylvester Stallone. The names of big studio executives and top talent managers have come up too. Former Disney President Michael Ovitz testified before the grand jury as a witness. His lawyer says a firm that represented Ovitz hired Pellicano, but that Ovitz did nothing wrong and had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by Pellicano.


JOHNS: Harvey Levin reports on Hollywood for a website. He says Pellicano's high tech operation was hardly a secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It'd be a lot easier for me and a lot more satisfying...

JOHNS: Pellicano was even proud of it.

LEVIN: He took me back to a room in his office, and it looked like the CIA. I mean, it was the most unbelievable thing. I saw more recording devices and it was sophisticated and it was a whole wall full. And he was gleeful about it.

JOHNS: Pellicano's fall started with a raid on his Sunset Boulevard offices four years ago. He was convicted for illegal possession of grenades and plastic explosives, and went to jail.

And when he finished his sentence, the feds hit him with the wiretapping charges, plus illegal accessing of protected government computer databases, payoffs to phone company workers and police officers, a web of alleged criminal activity going back to the mid- 90s.

Lawyers, speaking on behalf of Pellicano, have been quoted in newspapers as saying, the government is trying to persuade him to become a witness. Something government lawyers say they can't talk about.

CNN has been unable to get a statement from Pellicano's current Lawyer Steven Gruel.

The "Pellicano" Brief is a movie in production, with federal prosecutors still investigating, still holding out the possibility of additional charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our investigation remains ongoing and we will have...

JOHNS: But what has come out so far has only served to confirm people's worst notions about how this city really operates.

DUNNE: You know, there's always stabbing each other in the back. This is just a highly technical version of that. You know, I suppose that's part of Hollywood life. I mean, Hollywood doesn't get a good rap anyway.

JOHNS: Hollywood is on the edge of its seat now, and not in a good way. Waiting for the next surprise, the next scene is this increasingly gloomy movie. And for once, nobody wants a role.

Joe Johns, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, you saw him in Joe's report. I spoke with Harvey Levin earlier tonight.


COOPER: So, Harvey, is this really how deals are made in Hollywood? I mean, it seems like this case is exposing sort of a very dirty little underbelly, a seedy underbelly of Hollywood.

LEVIN: Anderson, I have to tell you, I have been a reporter in L.A. for a long time and this was really a not so well kept secret. I mean, a lot of people knew that Anthony Pellicano was doing things he shouldn't have done. And, you know, I have seen it with my own eyes. I've seen things in his office that are just stunning. And I saw them 13 years ago.

COOPER: So, he actually gave you a tour of like his recording room?

LEVIN: I was in his office right after Michael Jackson was first accused back in 1993 of molesting that boy. Anthony Pellicano tape- recorded that boy's stepfather, and I got hold of the tape. I went to his office; and rather than denying it, he took me into a room. Anderson, I am telling you, it looked like the CIA. He showed me this bank of recording equipment against a wall. It was so sophisticated. And he was gleeful about it. I mean, it wasn't really a shock that Anthony Pellicano was doing this stuff.

COOPER: Yes, it's like the old scene in "Casablanca," you know, when the guy, you know, the French police officer shocked to hear that there's gambling going on in Rick's casino. I mean, it seems like a lot of people knew what Pellicano was doing, but they didn't really, you know, officially, they didn't want to know.

LEVIN: They didn't want to know or in some cases, they couldn't not know. And that's what prosecutors are dealing with. I can tell you something, Anderson. I know something about this case and another shoe is about to drop and this will create a whole new dimension to this case. There are a lot of very nervous people in this city. And my hunch, based on what I know, is you're going to see a huge indictment -- and you're going to also see some people who were involved in Anthony Pellicano's world turning on behalf of the prosecution, and a lot of people are scrambling right now.

COOPER: I mean, of all the people to have recorded or allegedly tried to get information on, Gary Shandling, the comedian; Kevin Neiland (ph) -- seems like kind of odd choices to me, but I guess he was paid by whoever needed information on specific people.

LEVIN: He wasn't picky about the types of people. I have to tell you, one of the most stunning things about Anthony Pellicano, is that he would sell certain clients down the river in order to protect other clients. I mean, there is a notorious tape out there between Pellicano and a reporter from the "National Enquirer," where he talks about, hey, I don't care about her. I'll give you stuff on her, just protect this other person.

COOPER: And he kind of, you know, cut this figure of this like film detective, tough guy -- is that for real or is that just sort of all part of the Hollywood hype?

LEVIN: It was for real. I mean, he was a shadowy -- in some ways, larger than life kind of guy who was always on the down low, who would always kind of make you feel like you were hearing something you shouldn't hear. And I think he took -- he reveled in, you know, having stuff that other people didn't have and stuff maybe he shouldn't have had in the first place. He loved living that kind of life. And frankly, he succeeded at it for a long, long time. COOPER: Well, it's fascinating. I usually think those guys are blowhards. You know, the ones who sort of allege like, you know, CIA connections, or they have secret information. Clearly, though, if this guy is convicted of, you know, having wiretapped people, he clearly did have secret information that no one else had.

LEVIN: Anderson, I am from a very blustery town, Los Angeles, where lots of people make all sorts of claims that they don't live up to. Anthony Pellicano was the kind of guy who really lived up to that kind of infamous hype.

COOPER: Harvey Levin, fascinating. Thank you.

LEVIN: See you, Anderson.


COOPER: Coming up ahead on 360, caught on tape -- not wiretaps, this time videotape. It shows, and you'll see, why driving a cab is one of the most dangerous jobs around.

Also, secrets your employer doesn't want you to know, secrets that could save your job. Why you maybe shouldn't go to the HR department about them. Coming up on 360.


COOPER: Well, it's one of the most dangerous jobs around, believe it or not. You pick up strangers on the street, often late at night, and drive them where they want to go, hoping and praying that they don't kill you before the ride is over. Hoping they pay you, instead of robbing you. That is the grim reality of being a cab driver.

But what if a camera is put into the equation? Does the job actually become safer?

CNN's Greg Hunter takes a look.


GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Las Vegas -- this city truly never sleeps. It's a playground for adults. Thousands of tourists come here to have fun, hoping to strike gold.

But when night falls, it can be a dangerous place.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got problem...

HUNTER: This is not a scene from an episode of the HBO television show, "Taxicab Confessions." Watch again.


HUNTER: The cab driver is being attacked. The crime was caught on camera and the police have a warrant against the attacker, thanks to a new technology that keeps drivers a little safer.

A camera is mounted right by the rearview mirror. It provides a wide angle view inside the vehicle. Michael Taylor has one in his taxi. Just months ago he was a victim of crime.

MICHAEL TAYLOR, LAS VEGAS CAB DRIVER: And it was a good ride. It would have been a good ride. So, you know, I took him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're going to 3700 Eastern (ph) Avenue...

TAYLOR: We had some great conversation on the way there.

HUNTER: Only three months on the job, he stopped for what he initially thought was just another night fare. But when they reached the destination and Michael asked for his fare, the ride turned ugly.

TAYLOR: I turned around. He's like, no, give me the money. And that's when I turned around and looked back at him. And he had a knife in his hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just give me your money. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). All of it. All of it.

HUNTER: Take a look at his left hand. It's a knife.

What raced through your mind?

TAYLOR: The first thing that ran through my mind was like, oh, God, this can't be happening to me. I'm never going to see my twins again. I'm not going to see my kids get to grow up.

HUNTER: Michael was unhurt, but the camera captured it all.

(On camera): One of the features of this video system is every single time a person opens the door, a camera automatically goes on inside, and that way each and every person is on video.

(Voice-over): The robber realized that. At knife point, he told Michael to rip the camera off the windshield.

TAYLOR: I'm trying to pull -- you see, I'm trying to pull it off, man, all right?

HUNTER: He tried, but it didn't budge. The robber got away with $300, but without the camera. Now, police have his picture and are looking for him. While it may not stop a determined criminal, drivers say cameras serve as a deterrent.

TAYLOR: He knew it was there, but he was desperate enough to do it anyway. And not too many people are going to take that chance when they know they're caught. I mean, if you're caught, you're convicted.

HUNTER: And cameras are aren't capturing crime just in Vegas.

When this young group got into a cab in West Virginia, it seemed like they were just having a fun night out. But take a look at what happens next. The girl in the middle of the back seat pulls out a gun right there and starts firing.




HUNTER: Look at the cab driver. He is terrified. Nobody was hurt, but the gun-slinging woman was convicted of carrying a dangerous weapon and she served time in jail.

Driving a cab is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Drivers work alone. They deal in cash. And they often work at night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chavez (ph) was shot while working as a taxi driver.

HUNTER: So it's no surprise that violence against cab drivers is a common event, especially where there are no safety measures like cameras. Only weeks ago a driver in Palm Beach, Florida, was robbed and fatally shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The shots rung out.

HUNTER: In Jacksonville, Florida, a taxi driver was killed. Her body was later discovered in the trunk of her car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who committed this crime to be brought into justice.

HUNTER: In Seattle, the brutal murder of a taxi driver changed the law there to require cameras in cabs. But in cities with little or no safety measures, taxi drivers remain vulnerable.

Did you think he was going to kill you?


HUNTER: Silvana Sandri (ph), a former cab driver from Orlando, Florida, was working the night shift on her wedding anniversary in 2004. She thinks a camera could have prevented what happened to her.

SANDRI: He opened the door, but he still had the knife on my throat. And he pushed me out of the car then with his other hand once he got out. He grabbed me by the hair and pulled me out of the car. Then he sexually assaulted me outside of the car.

HUNTER: She is now suing the cab company she used to work for, for not providing safety measures.

(On camera): So far he's gotten away with it.


HUNTER: Do you think they'd be able to find him quicker with a photo?

SANDRI: Absolutely.

HUNTER: So why aren't there more cameras in cabs? Well, there are a couple of reasons for the delay. In Las Vegas, for instance, the American Civil Liberties Union is raising privacy concerns. And another one is just plain old cash. It can cost as much as a thousand bucks to put a video system in a cab.

HUNTER (voice-over): Back in Las Vegas, authorities say cameras are effective in fighting crime. Since they were installed in more than half the taxies in the city, cab robberies have dropped almost 70 percent.

(On camera): Do you think you can attribute that to cameras in cabs?

ROB STEWART, NEVADA TAXICAB AUTHORITY: I think so. I think among the factors, cameras absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you shut your mouth (EXPLETIVE DELETED)...

HUNTER (voice-over): Just like this man. He tried to open the cab's door while it was moving.

UNIDENTIFIED: Touch me once...

HUNTER: When the driver told him to close it, he punched him. Because of this video, police found out who he was. He later pled guilty to battery.

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But now if you commit a crime in a cab, don't bet on it.

Greg Hunter, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.


COOPER: Tough job.

Erica Hill, from "HEADINE NEWS," joins us with some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.


We got to start off with AT&T, a big business story of the day. The company saying today it expects to cut 10,000 jobs by 2009. That's if its $64.5 billion purchase of Bell South is approved. Now, that is an addition to the 13,000 jobs the company already planned to eliminate in the next three years as a result of its November merger with SBC Communications. AT&T says it does expect a deal with Bell South, which is still pending federal approval, to result in cost reductions of $18 billion.

U.S. factory orders plunged 4.5 percent in January. That's actually the largest drop since 2000, according to the U.S. Labor Department. It says the plunge reflects a big drop in demand for commercial and military airplanes.

Well, a separate report shows pending sales of U.S. homes slipped in January, as well, extending a month-long slide.

And finally, OK, it may not really be a business story, technically, but, it proves you can make money off some very talented cats. In New York, the greatest cat show on earth is back -- all the way from Russia. The Moscow Cats Theater, showing off a few feline skills, including a handstand you just saw. And then, here we go, crawling along the high wire there. The ringmaster has been working with his troop for three decades.

Now, the secret here, according to him, Anderson, you've got to let them do what they like to do. Basically, you cannot force the cat. I think anybody who's ever had a cat would agree with that.

COOPER: You're telling me those cats are not forced to do that? I find that hard to believe.

HILL: Somehow he gets them to do it of their own will...

COOPER: Yes, I'm sure.

HILL: ... because he's the cat master. I'm sure my cat would be so excited...

COOPER: OK, I see your cute cat story, and I raise you a monkey on a dog.

HILL: Oh, you might win.

COOPER: There you go. There you go.

HILL: Oh, you might win. Look. Now that's pretty cute.

COOPER: You can't go wrong.

HILL: And the dog looks happy too. He's having a grand time.

COOPER: Yes, it may be my new favorite video. The monkey's name is apparently Whiplash. That's all I know.

HILL: That's cute. Does the dog have a name?

COOPER: I don't know. I don't know where it is, I don't know where it's from, but I can look at it all day long.

HILL: Well, maybe, you know, that should be like our goal for the week. We just get more details on Whiplash and his buddy the dog.

COOPER: Yes, maybe. Erica, thanks very much.

They're the secrets your company doesn't want you to know about, but it's actually a fascinating story coming up about your HR department. If you think they're there for your benefit, you might want to think again. An HR insider tells the real deal on what you need to know about what's going on inside your company, when 360 continues.


COOPER: So in Corporate America, is an honest day's work for an honest day's pay still the secret to success? Maybe. Maybe. We're not quite sure, but maybe.

As you know, some people's success has little to do with performance, sadly. Leave it to a former human resources executive to reveal the real playbook, or at least what she says is the real playbook.

Cynthia Shapiro is the author of "Corporate Confidential, 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn't Want You to Know." We spoke with her earlier.


COOPER: Cynthia, it's a fascinating book. And you're basically arguing that human resources departments, HR departments, which everyone kind of thinks exist, you know, for the employees' benefit, really don't. They're basically for the benefit of the employer.

CYNTHIA SHAPIRO, AUTHOR, CORPORATE CONFIDENTIAL: They are. It's absolutely true. And what HR is advertised to be is almost like an employee concierge, come to us with all your problems and we'll help you, and boosting morale and all that kind of thing. And that's probably how it started about 10 or 15 years ago. But now, it is a corporate protection mechanism...

COOPER: Protection from what? From getting sued?

SHAPIRO: Absolutely. From getting sued, the secret edict of an HR department is to avoid inconvenience or potential liability for the company. And if they feel that you're going to become one of those things, they will absolutely remove you as quickly as possible.

COOPER: So you're essentially saying, and you've been in HR for much of your career, for I think more than 20 years or something, you're essentially saying don't go to the HR department with any of your problems.

SHAPIRO: Well, it's not a good idea. It's really not. It's not safe, because if you go to HR, you might as well be talking directly to the CEO or your boss. And if you're saying something that you don't those two individuals to know, then it's better not to go. I say leave HR for benefits and barbecues. That's what they do best. COOPER: Benefits and barbecues. Man, I mean, there are laws that protect employees in the workplace, you know, when they go on medical leave or they file a sexual harassment lawsuit...


COOPER: ... You're saying you shouldn't even go to HR for a sexual harassment suit?

SHAPIRO: Well, I'm saying you should understand what's at stake if you decide to do that. I mean, obviously, if you feel that you would have to leave because of a very difficult sexual harassment issue or something like that, then go ahead and file. But what you need to understand is that the moment you file, your job at that company is essentially over. And if you know what's at stake, there are better ways to handle it if you love your job and you want to stay there.

COOPER: Because you're essentially getting blacklisted by the employer, you're saying?

SHAPIRO: Any open negativity or complaining in a company meeting, around the water cooler, on a blog, is going to be seen as a huge betrayal by your company and that's a real easy way to get blacklisted and removed.

COOPER: And it's not a question that you say of, you know, getting fired because you're complaining to the HR department. You write a lot about people getting managed out. What does that mean?

SHAPIRO: Right. It's horrible. It's basically, kind of a relatively easy way for companies to get rid of employees that they no longer want to have around without having to deal with the paperwork and the potential liability of a firing. And basically, what they do is they make your job so difficult that you'll quit and leave on your own.

COOPER: So, is there a checklist someone in their head who's listening right now can go through and say, you know what, it looks like I'm being managed out right now?

SHAPIRO: If you're feeling ignored, undervalued, marginalized, sidelined, if someone's being promoted above you even though you have the skills and talent, you may be in trouble.

COOPER: It's fascinating stuff. The book is "Corporate Confidential." Cynthia Shapiro, thanks.

SHAPIRO: Thank you so much.


COOPER: "On the Radar" tonight, our story of Buddy, the cadaver dog and the search still after all these months for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Dozens of people weighing in on the blog. Here's just a couple. Says David in San Antonio, "I just really can't believe it took this long to start back up the searches. It's almost as if we are living in a 3rd World Country."

Meantime, Ann in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, has this to say, "Good job, Buddy!" She writes, "This is why dogs are man's best friend. And so much smarter and more compassionate than many humans...dare I say the humans in the White House and FEMA? Buddy is doing a better job than all of them."

More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: "LARRY KING" is next, with new developments in the mysterious and brutal murder of a young grad student.


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