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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Final Snapshots Discovered on Mount Hood; Palestinians on the Brink of Civil War?; Father of Ronald Goldman Files Lawsuit Against O.J. Simpson
Aired December 19, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Final snapshots from Mount Hood -- how pictures taken by climber Kelly James just before his death might hold clues to the fate of his companions still missing.
ANNOUNCER: Scaling back the search on Mount Hood -- with hope fading of finding the two missing climbers alive, pictures taken by the men themselves give us new clues to what went wrong.
You're not fired.
TARA CONNER, MISS USA: I have had a very big blessing bestowed upon me. And you will never know how much I appreciate Mr. Trump for saving me on this one.
ANNOUNCER: Miss USA and the Donald -- the troubled beauty queen gets a big break. Is it a second chance or shameless self-promotion? Tonight, the latest on Tara and Trump.
And deadly odds -- beyond the casinos and slot machines, a serial killer may be on the loose, preying on women and hiding in plain sight.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: We want to welcome our American viewers and everyone watching around the world right now on CNN International.
Footprints and photographs may give us the best evidence of what happened to three climbers on Mount Hood. When they began their ascent nearly two weeks ago, the men planned on traveling light and traveling fast. They didn't take much with them. But we know at least one of them brought along a camera to capture what was supposed to be a thrill of a lifetime. We know what those snapshots show. And, tonight, so will you.
CNN's Rob Marciano reports.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): When they recovered the body of climber Kelly James in a snow cave on the north face of Mount Hood, they also found a camera and some new clues about what happened.
JOE WAMPLER, HOOD RIVER COUNTY, OREGON, SHERIFF: Kelly James had taken some pictures of his climb. We got -- so, we know pretty much what they had with them. After looking those -- you know, developing those pictures, looking what they had with them, I'm pretty concerned about how long somebody can last out there.
MARCIANO: The pictures show Jerry "Nikko" Cooke and Brian Hall had only the basic gear with them, probably not enough to survive the battering of wind and 10 feet of falling snow over the past week.
Theirs is a story of a routine climb gone wrong. The three friends took photos at the summit, but, then, on the way down, a painful injury. James suffered a dislocated shoulder, likely from a fall. Rescuers think his friends built him a snow cave and went for help.
But a massive storm with hurricane winds hit the northwest region and caught them off-guard. The photos confirm the route the men took. And, today, rescuers refocused their search on a steep narrow section of the north face, where they think Hall and Cooke might still be trapped.
WAMPLER: There is a chance that these guys, instead of falling, which is one scenario, they have been covered up by snow, that they have crawled into a crag or a crack to get out of the wind, some stuff has come on top of them, and they're still waiting for us to come get them.
MARCIANO: The rescuers, many of them volunteers, waited anxiously to continue the search while planes look for clues from above. But, with another storm on the horizon, even rescuers are beginning to question the odds.
WAMPLER: We're approaching that time when, you know, we have got to make some serious considerations whether we're spinning our wheels or not, honestly.
MARCIANO: With the storm headed in, rescuers are scaling back. Some plan to stay through the storm, hoping there will be an opportunity to resume the search.
COOPER: Rob, what is the forecast for tomorrow?
MARCIANO: It's -- we have the next storm system coming in, actually, a couple coming in. It's a pretty weak front. It's not a very strong storm. The problem is, tomorrow morning, we have this cold air mass that has been in place, a very stagnant air mass, that has brought freezing fog to the rescue pad, or the tarmac, here at Hood River Airport every morning this week. It has been clear above the 2,000-foot mark. But, here, it has been cold -- so, freezing rain, some snow.
Winter storm watches are posted -- or warnings are posted for not only here, but higher up on the mountain. Could see as much of a foot of snow by Thursday morning.
MARCIANO: So, we're entering in a pretty active weather pattern. It will be increasingly worse tomorrow. Thursday doesn't look a whole lot better, maybe a break on Friday.
And, then, we go into the weekend, which will bring more -- typical winter storms here for the Pacific Northwest. So, the last three days were really their solid window of good visibility opportunity. And, once again, beginning tomorrow, they're going to be battling the weather.
COOPER: And bad news there.
Rob, appreciate that report -- Rob Marciano reporting.
The three climbers didn't have a very simple device that might have given rescuers their -- their precise location. It is a device created after a tragedy on Mount Hood that happened nearly a decade ago.
CNN's Dan Simon now on how it works.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listen for a moment.
SIMON: That simple beeping sound could mean the difference between life and death.
(on camera): Have you seen a case where this has actually saved somebody's life?
ROCKY HENDERSON, PORTLAND MOUNTAIN RESCUE: Oh, yes. I have -- yes, I have personally been on three missions that we have used this technology to find subjects that needed to be found.
SIMON (voice-over): Rocky Henderson is a volunteer rescuer for people trapped on Mount Hood, and a big believer in this device.
(on camera): OK, so, to turn this on, all you do is just pull the cord.
HENDERSON: Just pull the cord. SIMON (voice-over): It is called a mountain locator unit, or MLU for short. When it is turned on, it emits a sound and can be heard from 20 miles away.
(on camera): But I'm not hearing anything.
HENDERSON: You're not going to hear anything. It's -- it's not -- there's no speakers here.
SIMON (voice-over): To hear it requires a directional antenna and a receiver.
HENDERSON: It is just like tuning your car radio, OK? And what I have here is the -- kind of the tuning of that various frequencies.
SIMON: The MLU was born out of tragedy right here at Mount Hood.
In 1986, seven high school students and two teachers died of exposure after being hit by bad weather while climbing here. By the time rescuers got to them, it was too late. Henderson and others here at the time felt something had to be done.
HENDERSON: Through a lot of research and testing and so forth, we came up with what we called the mountain locator unit. And it is similar technology to wildlife tracking. It works, you know, the same sort of way.
SIMON (on camera): And I'm just going to hunker down here.
(voice-over): We decided to put it to the test. I positioned myself in a tree well...
(on camera): And this offers pretty good protection.
(voice-over): ... and wait to see if Henderson and his partner can find me, a little game of hide-and-seek.
HENDERSON: Now we're going to go see if we can find Dan.
SIMON: Within seconds, Henderson has a read...
HENDERSON: I just sweep back and forth, back and forth, listening for kind of the strongest signal.
SIMON: ... and finds me in about five minutes.
HENDERSON: Dan, you OK?
SIMON (on camera): There you guys are. Thought you would never come.
HENDERSON: This thing works great. We came right to you.
SIMON (voice-over): MLUs can be rented here for just $5, and are widely used on Mount Hood. The three climbers in this latest tragedy didn't have them or any device other, than a cell phone, that would have allowed rescuers to find them.
COOPER: And, Dan, I guess we will never know if it really would have made a difference if they had had those $5 devices.
SIMON: Well, it is really tough to say.
On the one hand, it would have allowed crews to hone in on their locations pretty darn quickly. On the other hand, given the fact the weather was so lousy for so many days, and -- and it prevented rescuers from getting up there, it may not have helped.
But I can tell you this. You still have two missing climbers. And, if they did have those devices, there would be no guessing game. They would know exactly where to go to find those guys.
COOPER: Yes, sad. Dan -- Dan, thanks very much.
We are going to continue to monitor the developments on Mount Hood.
But we want to get you caught up on a developing story out of Washington. It is about the size of our military. According to "The Washington Post," President Bush believes the best way to win the war on terror is make our Army bigger. He may also be ready to send thousands of more troops into Iraq.
CNN's Ed Henry now joins us from Washington with the latest -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, senior administration officials confirming to CNN that the president has asked his incoming new secretary of defense, Robert Gates, to come with this plan, increase both the -- the size of the Army and the Marines -- White House officials, though, cautioning that this is not a confirmation of the president approving a so-called surge of up to 30,000 or 40,000 additional U.S. troops to actually go directly to Iraq.
They insist that this is part of -- of the president laying out broader priorities, in advance of Democrats taking over the new Congress, setting budget priorities -- clearly, with former Secretary of State Colin Powell over the weekend agreeing with the Army chief of staff -- staff -- that the Army is so strained, that it is close to being broken, that this is a clear priority the president has to come up with.
But there's also no denying that this could help the president lay the groundwork for this surge in troops to Iraq. The bottom line is, if he moves ahead on such a plan, a surge of troops to Iraq, immediately, critics are going to say: They're already stretched thin. How are you going to deal with this long term?
If the president puts this plan, the long-term plan, in place, that can help him answer his critics. It is unclear whether it's going to be enough to -- to get a surge of troops approved, get -- get enough public support for that. But, clearly, the president is looking at that as an option.
Another key point to take a look at is the fact that the president now calling for more Army service members, more Marines, as well -- clear repudiation of what his own defense secretary, for the last six years, Donald Rumsfeld, has been calling for. He was saying that a leaner Army, leaner Marines could do more with less. This is a clear sign the White House tonight admitting, that's no longer true -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ed Henry, thanks for the report from Washington.
Talk of putting more boots on the ground in Iraq, a surge of thousands of troops, as Ed as just talking about, into Baghdad, may be what the president wants, but it is apparently not what the Pentagon is thinking.
The Joints Chief of Staff apparently see the White House as having no defined mission for these additional troops, and worry that sending them in would only give insurgents more targets.
That's what Robin Wright of "The Washington Post" reported today. She joined me earlier.
COOPER: Robin, why are the Joint Chiefs and the White House split over this idea of -- of a surge in troops to Iraq?
ROBIN WRIGHT, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think the Joint Chiefs have concerns that defining a mission, in terms of the time the troops would be on the ground and what they would be doing on the ground, actually allows the insurgents, allows al Qaeda, allows the Shiite militias to all game out what they will do during that process.
For example, the Joint Chiefs fear that the al Qaeda foreign fighters will actually increase their attacks, and use the additional deployment to rally foreign -- other foreign Arab forces to join them in their fight against the Americans.
They're concerned that the Shiite militias may just fade into the woodwork, back into the local populations, for six to eight months, only to reemerge when the U.S. withdraws that additional surge, and retake the streets of Baghdad, that it could actually backfire on them, and that it could look, at the end of the day, as if not only did it not succeed, but it -- but it actually was a setback.
COOPER: The -- the White House, the press secretary, Tony Snow, was asked about this reported split.
And he said -- and I quote -- "I can tell you that the notion that, somehow, there is some sort of feud between the president and the Joint Chiefs would be wrong." What is ironic here, I mean, based on your reporting, is that the White House has always said: Well, we listen to the commanders for -- you know, for troop levels, for things like that.
Clearly, this is a situation where this is a White House which is pushing for some sort of surge, or probing the idea of a surge, and it's the military commanders saying, it is not a good idea.
WRIGHT: Well, I think the commanders on the ground have not yet asked -- asked for additional troops. So, that's another factor to consider.
I -- and I don't think that it is a feud. I think Tony Snow is right. But I think there's a -- a very serious probing of -- of what is viable, what will work, and what a troops -- a surge in -- in 15,000 to -- to 30,000 troops actually could accomplish.
COOPER: And you're reporting that any notion of a larger force, that's -- that's simply off the table, 40,000, 50,000.
WRIGHT: Well, I think they're afraid that any surge that large would then begin to eat into the rotation, that those who are, you know, scheduled to go out in six or eight months, that would limit them down the road.
COOPER: Robin Wright, appreciate the reporting. Thanks, Robin.
WRIGHT: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, in the debate over the troop numbers, there are other statistics to remember, other numbers. Here's the "Raw Data."
Since the war began, 3,199 coalition troops have been killed. The vast majority, 2,952, were U.S. The Iraq body count estimates that more than 50,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the war so far. And, just today, 65 bodies were found in Baghdad, as well as Baquba, all believed to be victims of sectarian violence.
The war in Iraq was certainly a major story this year, but was it the top story of 2006? What do you think? We want to hear from you. Answer our online poll at CNN.com/360blog. Right now, the Democratic takeover of Congress is leading the votes. If you think another story is more important, better get online.
As Iraq falls deeper into chaos, the Palestinians are on the brink of civil war -- gunfire in the streets today, innocent lives caught in the middle. CNN was there when all hell broke loose. We will bring you that report next.
Plus: Fred Goldman files a lawsuit against O.J. Simpson over his canceled book deal and TV interview. We will talk to Mr. Goldman coming up.
And later, much lighter news: beauty and the billionaire -- how Donald Trump saved Miss USA from herself -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: You're looking at Palestinian children caught in the crossfire wearing backpacks, running for their lives. This all happened in Gaza, a Palestinian territory, where violence between political party Hamas and Fatah have left at least 14 people dead.
You could consider it a spark that threatens to turn the entire region into an inferno. Then, late this afternoon, a cease-fire was declared.
But, before the truce, our cameras were there on the streets, as the bullets flew.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has more.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CAIRO BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It is time to run for your life.
WEDEMAN: This gun battle between Palestinian police and the Hamas militia broke out as schoolchildren were out on a lunch break.
Shopkeeper Hader Elian (ph) is closing up.
"I'm going home," he tells me. "I'm afraid. We're done with. It has never been this bad."
Gangland style warfare seems to be taking hold.
Elsewhere in Gaza City, vendors pack up -- another gun battle brewing just up the street, as members of Palestinian military intelligence, angry over the killing of a comrade, try but fail to trash a Hamas banner. They were interrupted by more gunfire.
The bloody confrontation between Fatah, which wants new elections, and Hamas, which rejects them, has left at least 14 dead and dozens wounded.
Every new death brings new calls for revenge, a vicious cycle of killing and counter-killing no one seems able to stop.
At this funeral for a Fatah member killed in clashes with Hamas, curses for the militant Islamic group . As they head to the graveyard, yet more shooting, we run into the first open door.
(on camera): We have taken cover inside a vegetable store here in Gaza city. There's gunfire going on outside between members of Palestinian security and unknown others somewhere out there.
(voice-over): Gunmen told us, if we videotaped any more, they would shoot us. So, all we could do was set the camera on the ground and let it roll, recording as this city teeters on the brink of chaos.
COOPER: Unbelievable story there, Ben.
There is a cease-fire now. Is it holding?
WEDEMAN: Well, it has been in place for six hours, Anderson, but it is not really holding very well.
There has been -- there have been clashes all night long in the southern part of the city. There are reports of two dead and six wounded.
Other parts of the Gaza Strip, we're told, are relatively quiet. So, we will have to wait and see. But we have to remember, on midnight Sunday, the previous cease-fire went into effect. And that one didn't even last 24 hours -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ben, you live in this region. You speak the language. You have reported this story more and better than just about anyone. How does this compare now to the way you have seen it in past years?
WEDEMAN: This is the worst I have ever seen it, Anderson.
Certainly, since 1993 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, there haven't been this -- this level of bloodshed, this level of anger and hatred between factions in the Palestinian territories.
So, people here are extremely worried that this cease-fire won't last, that, simply, the controls are not in place to stop Gaza from basically falling into what many are afraid of could be a civil war.
COOPER: Ben Wedeman, stay safe. Ben, thank you.
Here in the United States, new legal trouble for O.J. Simpson tonight. He's facing a $1 million lawsuit. Coming up, I will speak with the father of murder victim Ronald Goldman about he fighting back again against O.J., filing a lawsuit.
And the story a lot of people have been talking about: Miss USA, just a small-town girl who got into big-time trouble -- or maybe not. Oh, the drama of it all -- later on 360.
COOPER: A tearful apology from Miss USA, after she admits to underage drinking -- more on how Tara Conner got a last-minute reprieve from the Donald -- 360 next.
COOPER: Well, just in tonight, a new legal battle for O.J. Simpson. He says he's innocent of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. But, in that shocking book and interview deal, Simpson was going to hypothetically describe how he could have done it.
Even though the project was canceled, the Goldman family says Simpson was paid in advance. And now they are suing to get the money they believe should be part of the $38 million wrongful-death judgment against him.
Fred Goldman, who is the father of Ron Goldman, he joins me now from Phoenix, Arizona.
How do you know that Simpson made money from this book deal?
FRED GOLDMAN, FATHER OF RONALD GOLDMAN: Well, first of all, he has admitted it. He flat-out admitted that he did it for money, and received the money.
First, he said that he did it for the sake of his children. And, then, later in that same interview, he said that he used it to pay bills and pay off tax obligations. So, there's no question he received the money.
COOPER: He set up, what, a -- a -- a shell corporation?
GOLDMAN: He set up a shell corporation to receive the money, and, then, ultimately to funnel it to himself.
So, there's no question there was a fraudulent conveyance of money, so that he could avoid the judgment. Now, who else was involved in that fraudulent conveyance? We will find out. But bottom line is, we know certainly he was and this shell company were.
COOPER: I mean, it -- it does raise a lot of questions, because, clearly, anyone who went into business with him would have been aware that he had set up this corporation, and certainly would have been aware of the past lawsuit and -- and the judgment against him that -- that -- that you guys won.
GOLDMAN: That's exactly right. And we believe that to be true.
It would be hard to imagine that anyone could suggest that they weren't aware that this monster had a -- a civil judgment against him.
COOPER: Do you know how much money he made from it?
GOLDMAN: Well, we're fairly certain that he was to be paid, in total, about $1.1 million, and that he received about $880,000.
COOPER: Do you think that's already spent?
GOLDMAN: I doubt it very much.
COOPER: So, you think he still has the money somewhere in that shell company? GOLDMAN: No, I -- absolutely. I suspect that either he has got it himself, or it is sitting somewhere, and he may have used some of it. We don't know.
COOPER: He lives in Florida, which is obviously a state very hard to -- to get -- you know, to -- to follow the money trail. And it is very hard to pursue people legally once they have residence in Florida. Do you think -- is that why he moved to Florida, do you think?
GOLDMAN: Oh, without question. He moved there to protect his home and protect what other -- other assets he might have.
It gives him some opportunity to earn money and keep some of it. There's no question that's why he's there.
COOPER: What do you want to do with the money?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know what? He has never been punished for a single act of violence in his whole life.
COOPER: Has he ever paid you a dime?
GOLDMAN: No, he has never, himself, paid one single penny toward this judgment. Never.
COOPER: So, I mean, when we see pictures of him right now at, you know, this -- this -- this -- I guess getting paid money to sign his autograph, and stuff like that, you're not getting any of that money?
GOLDMAN: Absolutely not.
He's made it very clear that he's never going to willingly honor the judgment.
COOPER: What do you think of Judith Regan? You know, she put out this statement a while back, when -- when all this blew up, really, in her face, saying that she was doing this as -- as, herself, a victim of -- of some form of domestic abuse, because she wanted to confront him.
Do you buy any of that?
GOLDMAN: I don't buy any of it.
It is a heck of a way to -- to justify creating a book that, however you want to look at it, is a how-to murder book, how I murdered, or how I could have murdered the mother of my children and Ron -- bad taste, morally reprehensible, any way you look at it, bad, bad idea.
COOPER: She got fired. Do you think that was the right move?
GOLDMAN: Oh, absolutely. I think that she should be the first of many to go. And I think it was a -- a reprehensible notion. And, yes, she's done rather sleazy stuff in the past, but this rose to new heights.
COOPER: Who do you go after in this? I mean, is it just O.J. Simpson? Do you depose Rupert Murdoch, who owns the FOX corporation?
GOLDMAN: Well, through this suit of both the killer and this -- we will call it a shell corporation, named after, I might add, two of his children, the middle names of two of his children, we will discover, in -- in depositions, who else was involved, who else knew about what. And we will take it from there.
COOPER: So, he named the shell corporation after the middle names of his two children?
COOPER: Ron (sic) Goldman, it is always good to talk to you. And we will be following this, as you -- as you make -- so, do you know how long this is going to take? I mean, do you have any sense of a -- a timeline on this? It has got to be a -- a nightmare.
GOLDMAN: No. You know, I don't know how long it is going to take.
We are going to be an albatross around his neck for the rest of his life. And, whatever he does, we are going to be -- be looking over his shoulder, and trying to make certain that, one way or the other, he gets punished.
COOPER: Well, Fred, again, I appreciate you being on the program. And...
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: ... appreciate what you're doing, and -- and telling us about it. Thanks very much, Fred.
GOLDMAN: Appreciate it. Thank you.
COOPER: Troubles for the reining Miss USA. Did you see the news conference today? A lot of people talking about it -- all those cameras going off, the tears. The makeup didn't run, I noticed, but a lot of tears. We will talk about that ahead -- what Tara Conner admitted to, and what is going to happen to Miss USA now.
And, in a city of casinos and gamblers, women are falling prey to a possible serial killer -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: I've always been a believer in second chances. I've been always been. Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And the crowd erupts. With a sweep of his magic wand, that is exactly what he gave Ms. Tara Conner, a chance to keep her Miss USA crown and to clean up her act.
The latest now from CNN's entertainment correspondent, Brooke Anderson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miss USA 2006 is Kentucky.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It played out as a melodrama. A beautiful woman who is on top of the world, now under siege, her fate in the balance...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't let them break you.
ANDERSON: ... in the hands of Donald Trump.
TRUMP: I've always been a believer in second chances. I've always been. Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance.
ANDERSON: After reports that she was on the way out, a surprise decision allowed Tara Conner to hold on to the title of Miss USA and a chance at redemption.
TARA CONNER, MISS USA: Walking into this building this morning, in now way did I think that it would be possible for a second chance to be given to me. I've had a very big blessing bestowed upon me. You'll never know how much I appreciate Mr. Trump for saving me on this one.
ANDERSON: The party girl lifestyle almost cost Conner her crown. And while it's not surprising that a 20-year-old would have trouble dealing with alcohol, she's not just any 20-year-old.
CONNER: Yes, I went out. I had a couple of nights where yes, I did drink. And that was stupid. I'm underage. It's strictly prohibited. And you know, that's why I thought coming into this, I thought there's no way that I'm going to be allowed a second chance for this.
But anything, like with a drug issue, things of that nature, I don't have a comment on anything like that.
ANDERSON: Pageant officials were not willing it tolerate an out of control beauty queen. They took a hard look at how her lifestyle was affecting her job performance, which includes appearing in public and making speeches.
Now, a day after Conner turned old enough to legally drink, she's planning her trip to rehab. TRUMP: I believe that she can do a tremendous service for young people. She's agreed to go into rehab. She knows that if she makes even the slightest mistake, from here on, she will be immediately replaced.
ANDERSON: Pageant officials were vague as to just what type of treatment she would undergo, refusing to address reports of drug use, but they are planning to keep close tabs on her. For the first time, Miss USA will be subjected to drug testing.
TRUMP: They will be doing drug testing, yes.
PAULA SHUGART, PRESIDENT, MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION: There have been a lot of things that are new with Tara.
TRUMP: So for now, the queen gets a reprieve. But the Donald no doubt hopes all of this publicity will create a royal buzz for the 2007 Miss USA pageant.
Brooke Anderson, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Donald Trump wanting publicity? Cynical.
It's been 11 years since Shanna Moakler was crowned Miss USA. Shanna went on to "Dance with the Stars". Also landed a show on MTV. Coming up, we'll have her take on all the drama and the tears.
Also ahead, the search for a suspected serial killer amid the glitter of casinos. Next on 360.
COOPER: Well, when most of us think of Miss USA, we probably think of the annual pageant, and that's about it. But there is an actual job description that goes along with all the glitz and the glamour.
With a look at that, CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tara Conner gets to keep her job, but what exactly is it?
CONNER: I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you've ever seen.
KAYE: For starters, according to the Miss USA web site, the title holder receives exciting prizes, cash and services. Some of those exciting prizes include an official Miss USA Mikimoto pearl tiara, a year's supply of Cover Girl cosmetics, a swimsuit wardrobe from BCS Swimwear Thailand, and a four-day, three-night, all inclusive vacation from American Airlines. Miss USA is signed to an exclusive employment contract with the Miss Universe organization, a joint venture by NBC and Donald Trump. Under the terms of that agreement, Tara Conner is deemed a representative of the company. For one year, she must travel the world, meet heads of state, participate in official charity and social events. And judging by the snap shots from the Miss USA web site, it appears Tara has been doing just that.
She also must make appearances on television. That's Tara in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. She also must fulfill speaking engagements on a host of topics.
And what's a beauty queen in New York to do without a place to live? Well, under the deal, Miss USA is given a, quote, "luxury apartment" in New York City during her reign. Guess where? The Trump Towers. Considering the rent in Manhattan, it's another reason why Tara is so happy tonight.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, you may know Shanna Moakler from "Dancing with the Stars" or from MTV's "Meet the Barkers". What you may not know is Shanna was Miss USA in 1995.
Earlier I spoke with her about Donald Trump's decision.
COOPER: Shanna, do you think Donald Trump made the right call?
SHANNA MOAKLER, FORMER MISS USA; I think Donald Trump is an amazing businessman, and I think what he's doing for his pageant, which is a business, at the end of the day, is remarkable.
COOPER: Because what? It garnered tons of publicity for it? It's a good thing overall for the pageant?
MOAKLER: Absolutely. I think, you know, today they took a poll over here at CNN where they said that 94 percent of Americans feel -- or 97 percent of New Yorkers feel that pageants are outdated.
I think what Donald Trump has tried to do is really modernize it, which he's done a remarkable thing. But as pageants really are dying, there's no better way to get some publicity and press by, you know -- by all of this.
COOPER: Well, he's certainly got publicity and press, and he's no stranger to that.
COOPER: Do you think he did the right thing, though, in giving Tara Conner a second chance? MOAKLER: I think she's a young girl, and she's doing what most young men and women are doing in college. And I think giving her a second chance, yes, I think it was a very kind thing to do.
COOPER: Are you surprised by the accusations, I mean, by her conduct or her alleged conduct?
MOAKLER: I am surprised. I think, you know, all the women who vie for that title, they know very well going into what their responsibilities are. So I mean, that is a little shocking.
COOPER: So do you buy the sort of, you know, naive young woman who just came to New York and got overwhelmed by the Big Apple?
MOAKLER: Absolutely. I think a lot of women that do pageants are doing them to get out of their small towns, you know, to get these opportunities. So yes, she's just a young girl from Kentucky. She just turned 21. She moves to New York. She's living in the Trump Towers, going to these events, these celebrity and these power players.
And yes, I can absolutely see where she got really caught up.
COOPER: And she...
MOAKLER: But I think she's very grounded now.
COOPER: Well, yes, I guess that will do it to you.
COOPER: Tara Conner and Donald Trump wouldn't answer questions today about reports, you know, of alleged drug use. If a Miss USA had, indeed, used illegal drugs during her reign, I guess you'd call it, how serious would that be? I mean, would that be highly unusual?
MOAKLER: I think it's highly unusual, and I think it's a very serious matter. And I definitely think she should be dethroned if that was ever -- ever proven.
COOPER: What are the rules you have to follow when you're Miss USA?
MOAKLER: Well, first of all, one of the complications is that, you know, you become this title. You become this label. You become the face of America. You're supposed to be a role model for young girls and women. And you're supposed to be going out and really empowering women.
You know, some of the rules, are no, you shouldn't be smoking and drinking. And you know, you're supposed to be leading by example. And obviously, going out and partying until 3 in the morning isn't really leading a great example for our youth.
COOPER: So what kind of events? I mean, what are the actual obligations? What kind of events do you go to? What do you actually do when you get there?
MOAKLER: There are so many different things. There's different charities and foundations. There's sponsors from the pageant. You know, you can do anything from working with the Special Olympics to opening up a store. You can work with different companies, oil companies, opening Christmas galas. All kinds of things.
COOPER: Is it true you're not allowed to have a boyfriend?
MOAKLER: I was not told that. I know that you cannot be engaged or definitely not married. When I reigned, I lived with a chaperone. But I believe now the three women who live together do not have one, which probably may be a rule that's now enforced again.
COOPER: And is it stressful? Is there a lot of pressure?
MOAKLER: I didn't find it stressful. I thought it was a really wonderful life experience. There is a lot of traveling involved. You know, it is a rough schedule, but it's not something that -- you know, is going to lead you to go to nightclubs to destress.
COOPER: My favorite moment from today's press conference. Let's replay that from Tara Conner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNER: I'm willing to do whatever it takes, not only given a chance to have time to better myself, but to better me as a Miss USA. And I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you've ever seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Long may she reign.
I want to show you -- a lot of people on CNN were watching that press conference today. And when the Donald in that very dramatic moment said that she will get a second chance, listen to how our crew reacted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yay!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And no, none of them had ever partied with Tara Conner.
Coming up, the FDA is considering changing the warning labels on some of the over-the-counter pain relievers. What it could mean for you and what might be in your medicine cabinet right now that you need to know about.
First, though, the search for a serial killer. In a U.S. City, several women have been murdered, their bodies dumped alongside a highway. The latest on the investigation when 360 continues.
COOPER: A suspected serial killer arrested in England is making a lot of headlines, but there is another murderer targeting women right here in the U.S., in a city that for years has been trying to change its gritty image. WE get more on that now from CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wherever there's light, there are shadows, and some say beyond the glare of Atlantic City's casinos, there's a darkness that haunts the soul.
HUGH AUSLANDER, HUSBAND OF MURDER VICTIM: Just about everywhere I look, I see a little bit of her. You know?
MATTINGLY: Hugh Auslander recounts the painful memories of how his wife, Kim Raffo, left their Florida home three years ago, chasing a wild life driven by crack cocaine. Their children went to foster care, and Kim eventually ended up walking the hard-luck streets of Atlantic City, selling sex to support her habit.
(on camera) Why didn't you split up? Why didn't you just get a divorce right then?
AUSLANDER: Well, I wasn't -- I didn't want to. I didn't -- I loved the girl. I wanted her to realize that she's making such a mistake. I wanted her to see that I was there for her.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Seeing her in happier times, it's hard to believe how far Kim Raffo had fallen. But in November, they found her body behind a lonely row of low rent motels. She had been strangled and dumped in a smelly New Jersey marsh, along with three other women, the victims of an apparent serial killer. Two of the women had records for prostitution, just like Kim.
(on camera) Walking through the crime scene even now, there is a gloomy sense of seclusion. There's a major highway so close you can hear the roar of the cars. But the killer obviously felt comfortable bringing his victims here. He left all of their bodies down here in the water.
And he did so in a strange way. They were all fully clothed, except for some unknown reason, the killer removed their shoes, and he positioned their bodies so that they were facing east, that way, towards the lights of the casino.
(voice-over) In a town known for its gambling, street walkers like Kim Raffo take the biggest risks of all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they similar to these?
MATTINGLY: Atlantic City outreach workers seek out prostitutes and distribute condoms. Since the murders, they find business on the street has dropped dramatically.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very dangerous, because you don't know who you're getting in the car with. You could be getting in the car with a murderer anyway, you know. It's very unsafe.
MATTINGLY: But even when the stakes are so high, some can't afford to quit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to make a living for myself. You know, it's fast money.
MATTINGLY: At a candlelight vigil on the Atlantic City boardwalk, friends remembered Kim Raffo as more than a prostitute. To them she was a caring person who was vulnerable and deeply troubled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was kind to everyone she met. She never hurt anyone except herself. She didn't deserve this.
AUSLANDER: I cared so much that I never gave up.
MATTINGLY (on camera): You were willing to take her back?
AUSLANDER: Oh, yes. Even just a few months ago, I tried to get her out of there.
MATTINGLY: Hugh Auslander always hoped Kim would one day clean up, come home, and his family would again find happiness. But the deadly allure of the life of the shadows of this gambling town was just too strong.
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlantic City.
COOPER: Our "Shot of the Day" is coming up. Here's a real Grinch for you, a really disturbed one. Yikes. We'll explain what's going on with that.
First, Randi Kaye joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.
KAYE: Hi, Anderson.
As expected, Vice President Dick Cheney will be called to testify in a former aide's CIA leak trial. Lewis "Scooter" Libby faces a number of charges, including perjury and obstruction of justice, in connection with the exposure of an undercover CIA agent.
Libby resigned as Cheney's chief of staff on the day he was indicted. Trial begins next month.
An Arizona polygamist has been sentenced to nine months in prison for charges related to his marriage to an underage girl. Prosecutors say 49-year-old David Bateman fathered a child with a 17-year-old.
Bateman is a member of the FLDS, the polygamist sect headed by Warren Jeffs. Jeffs faces trial in Utah as an accomplice to the rape.
On Wall Street another record day for the Dow. The blue chips closed up 30 points, and the NASDAQ lost 6, and the S&P rose almost 3 points.
And wholesale prices are on the rise. The Producer Price Index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, was up 2 percent last month. This is a big rebound after two straight months of drops -- Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, thanks.
It's time now for "The Shot of the Day". I have to -- I found this one a little bit disturbing, a vicious attack on a inflatable snowman is caught on videotape, and it happened in Hamilton County, Ohio. There it's going on.
Tired of Frosty being vandalized, Nat Williquette decided to set up a camera to find the culprit. What he recorded was that man punching the snowman repeatedly. Also caught on tape, a man and an accomplice using a screwdriver to actually puncture him.
The men were arrested, and they've been charged with a misdemeanor. We don't know what provoked the attack. Williquette says he will patch his inflatable Frosty and put him back on his front lawn.
A reminder: tomorrow night, didn't miss your chance to enter the "360 Takes You Live" sweepstakes, takes you live. The grand prize, a trip to New York, and a behind the scenes look at 360. Here's what you've got to do: check our out new 360 web site, CNN.com/AC. Watch 360 tomorrow night. Look for a location clue that will pop up on the screen sometime during the newscast. The clue is the code you'll need to enter the contest. Again, the address and the explanation, CNN.com/AC.
More on the fall from grace for Miss USA coming up. There's a code of ethics for her to follow, but she didn't do it. And she won't hear, "You're fired" from The Donald. We'll have that and the ugly side of beauty pageants. There is one, apparently.
Plus adding more troops, the U.S. military, will the president get what he wants?
And with Christmas around the corner, we'll look at the early years of Christianity, part of a special "CNN Presents" when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, he could have been the Grinch, but Donald Trump is playing Santa, bringing a big holiday gift to a beauty queen who's kind of been a naughty girl. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Keeping her crown. Miss USA gets a second chance, despite her tarnished reign.
CONNER: We all have personal demons that we have to face at some point.
ANNOUNCER: But are we victims of the Trump card? A true publicity stunt?
Dangerous painkillers? The FDA calls for warning labels. Tonight, what you need to know about the pills in your medicine cabinet.
And after Jesus. The birth of Christianity, the greatest story every told. How it became the world's largest religion.
Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Well, Donald Trump today delivered a knockout punch. It was the Donald and Miss USA show. Tara -- or as Donald says, Tah-ra -- Conner, the 2006 winner, was crowned earlier this year. While she posing, she was partying big time, apparently, so much that the billionaire who runs the Miss USA pageant was ready to fire her.
But then came the press and all that publicity, and in the end, Trump spared Tara the axe, giving her a second chance, provided that she enter rehab. So let's hear from Tara herself in her own words. You may want to grab your hankie. The tears pour down, but mysteriously, the mascara doesn't run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONNER: You heard about the other things he could have said, you know, "You're fired." And I think that's what everyone expected, especially me. But he's a very, very compassionate person, and obviously, I've learned that today. And I'm so happy that I'm being given this opportunity, because I know that when I do my job, I'm very passionate about it.
Like that's one of the good things about having some kind of little troubles here and there.
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