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Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Targeted in Bribery Investigation; Supreme Court Chief Justice Suffers Seizure; Michael Vick Speaks Out

Aired July 30, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We have breaking news on two fronts tonight.

First, John Roberts, the top man on the U.S. Supreme Court, until now almost literally the picture of good health. Remember those images of him and his young family? Well, now a somewhat different picture emerges, the chief justice of the United States having a seizure and collapsing. It happened today. We have got the latest on his medical condition and a preliminary diagnosis from his medical team.

Also, the U.S. senator who tried to spend millions of your dollars on a bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Well, tonight, one of the eldest and most influential men in the Senate is the target of a bribery investigation. His home is raided, the FBI and IRS digging for evidence.

Also tonight, Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, one of his co- defendants pleads guilty. And, today, Vick is speaking out, with his career, his endorsements and his freedom all at stake. You will hear from him ahead.

And the battle over O.J. Simpson's book, especially profits from it. The victims' families are fighting -- new details, new development tonight. We will talk live with Denise Brown.

We begin, however, with Chief Justice Roberts spending the night in a hospital in Rockport, Maine, after collapsing at his summer home today. He is the youngest member of the Supreme Court doing a job that only 16 other Americans have held in the nation's history. His oldest colleague is 87. Six are over 65. At least one has battled cancer.

And with that kind of makeup, you would expect a health scare on the court, but not from a robust 52-year-old. Today, it happened. It was not the first time. A short time ago, we learned the preliminary diagnosis.

CNN senior league analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now, along with Dr. Katrina Firlik, who teaches neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Firlik, the hospital has said that Chief Justice Roberts had a benign idiopathic seizure. What is that? DR. KATRINA FIRLIK, NEUROSURGEON: That just means they were not able to figure out the cause. And that is actually the case in a frustratingly large number of seizures, is that there is no known cause. They have done all the testing. They have done scans. They have done blood work, presumably, and no cause was found.

COOPER: Well, what does a seizure actually mean? What is happening?

FIRLIK: Well, a seizure is a sudden burst of electrical activity in the brain, almost like a misfiring, almost like an arrhythmia of the heart.

And it can lead to many, many different types of seizures. The type that Justice Roberts had was a generalized seizure, meaning a grand mal sort of a seizure.

COOPER: So, when they say it's benign, do they really know that? Essentially, it's a fancy name for saying they don't know what it is.

FIRLIK: Right. But it also means that there's no life- threatening disorder. There's no tumor. There's no blood clot. There's no infection. Presumably, all that's clear. And, so, it is -- it is lucky, in a sense.

COOPER: Jeffrey, when -- you follow the court closely. What was your reaction when you heard what happened to Chief Justice Roberts?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I was absolutely astonished. As you pointed out, he's the youngest member of the court. He's a very vigorous, healthy looking guy.

And, you know, it's often been pointed out that I'm no brain surgeon, but this does strike me as a fairly serious thing. And, for the Supreme Court to come out with the statement within hours that he is fully recovered -- that was the term they used, fully recovered -- that seems, at least in my layman's knowledge, to be a little premature. And I hope it's true.

But, you know, it seems like they should probably do a little more investigation before they make that sort of categorical statement.

COOPER: Well, Dr. Firlik, what about that? Roberts had a similar seizure back in 1993. Is there any way -- I mean, are there more tests that are going to be run on him now?

FIRLIK: Yes, there definitely should be more tests. And I assume he will be under close observation. He will probably get follow-up brain wave testing further to look for any causes.

And he will have to be followed over time. This does have certain implications, not only for health. But, also, he won't be able to drive for a certain period of time. And, you know, it's a serious diagnosis, even though there's no known cause.

COOPER: And what are the general treatments? I mean, are there treatments, unless you know the specific cause?


If it's a single isolated event like this, then usually medications are not used. If he has a second -- another seizure or a third seizure in his life, then neurologists may consider actually putting him on a medication. But, at this point, my bet is that he will just be observed very closely and further testing will be done.


COOPER: Jeffrey, in the past, the health of Supreme Court justices has always been kept pretty much private.

TOOBIN: It's been kept very private when there hasn't been active deception on the part of the court, or, to put it more charitably, unduly optimistic statements about the -- the health of the justices.

You know, Chief Justice Rehnquist, before he died, put out statements that were -- turned out to be highly optimistic, too optimistic. During the 1980s, it turned out that then Justice Rehnquist, before he was chief justice, went through a terrible period where he was addicted to drugs and suffering from hallucinations. That was never disclosed to the court.

In the 1970s, William O. Douglas several strokes, was virtually incapacitated, again kept -- kept from the public. There's no legal requirement that the justices inform the public of what their health is.

Many of them do, but, unfortunately, a lot of those statements that we have heard over the years have not turned out to be accurate, or at least they have turned out to be way too optimistic.

COOPER: Not a good track report.

Jeffrey Toobin.

Dr. Katrina Firlik, appreciate your expertise. Thanks.

FIRLIK: Thank you.

COOPER: Sharing the spotlight this evening with the chief justice is a senator who voted for his confirmation, Republican Ted Stevens of Alaska. He's one of the most influential lawmakers in Washington and now apparently under federal investigation to see if he sold that influence.

Today, federal agents actually raided his home in Alaska.

CNN's Joe Johns tonight is "Keeping Them Honest," keeping up with the latest developments.

He joins me now.

Joe, what's going on?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, federal agents searched the Girdwood, Alaska, home of Republican Senator Ted Stevens this afternoon, apparently as part of the widening investigation into the activities of a big-time oil services company.

The feds have been eying the Stevens' house for some time. Back in 2000, the senator and his wife commissioned extensive renovations, doubling the size of the place. Stevens insists he paid for the remodeling out of his own pocket, but the feds are looking into whether an Alaska oil company called VECO could have helped foot the bill.

VECO's CEO at the time, Bill Allen, is a friend of the senator's. He recently pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators. "The Anchorage Daily News" recently reported investigators requested records for the Stevens home project and interviewed at least one of the remodeling contractors.

One of those contractors even told the newspaper he submitted his invoices to the oil company before sending them on to the Stevens family. In a statement this evening, Senator Stevens says: "I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome. I will continue my policy of not commenting on this investigation until it has concluded."

The senator is also urging his constituents not to rush to judgment based on what he called sometimes incorrect reports in the media -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, just so this isn't one of those incorrect reports, I just want you to restate what it was that one of the contractors told a local newspaper in Alaska. He said that he actually submitted his bills to the...

JOHNS: Right.

COOPER: ... to the oil company?

JOHNS: He said that he actually submitted his bills to the oil company, which, as far as we could tell, doesn't really have anything to do with remodeling of homes, for example.

And, apparently, someone at VECO actually looked over those documents that had been submitted before, we're told, the Stevenses actually paid the bill. That's what Senator Stevens says.

COOPER: And the home was raided. Was anything removed, do we know?

JOHNS: It's not clear. I talked to the FBI about that. Usually, when you have a search warrant that has been executed on a house, there's something called a return, or a document that lists everything they took out of the house. We're told that that return document is going to be sealed. So, it's not going to be available for the news media to find out precisely what the investigators were looking for -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. We will continue to follow this one.

Joe Johns "Keeping Them Honest" tonight -- Joe, thanks.

Senator Stevens has been a mainstay on Capitol Hill for decades now. Here's the "Raw Data."

Ted Stevens was born back in 1923. During World War II, he flew support missions with the Army Air Corps. He has been in the Senate since 1968. He's the longest serving Republican senator of all time.

Another big story we're following tonight, Michael Vick, the star athlete accused of being a star player in the brutal world of dogfighting. To the government, Vick gets pleasure and profit from watching dogs fight to the death.

Today, Vick began speaking out, as the case against him seemed to grow stronger.


COOPER (voice-over): Facing years in prison and the collapse of his multimillion-dollar career, Michael Vick is speaking out.


MICHAEL VICK, NFL QUARTERBACK: To all my ATL fans, I love you all.


COOPER: The Atlanta Falcons quarterback accused of masterminding a bloody dogfighting ring was interviewed on the radio today. He thanked his fans.


VICK: You know, it's good to know that I still have support out there. And that means more to me than anything, because, without the fans, there really wouldn't be no Mike Vick.


COOPER: The evidence against Vick may be growing. One of his co-defendant, Tony Taylor, pled guilty in Virginia, a move that will likely make Taylor the prosecution's star witness.

Taylor was named in the same indictment as Vick and two others, accused of conspiring to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiring to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. The government says Vick bought property here in the Virginia for the purpose of breeding, training, and fighting pit bulls. He and his co-defendants are also accused of buying dogs and staging fighting competitions in other states.

The indictment says dogs that performed poorly during test exhibitions were executed, including several that were shot. At least one was electrocuted.

Since the arraignment, Nike has suspended its endorsement deal with Vick, and Reebok has pulled his jerseys from stores. The NFL is barring him from training camp. The NAACP calls it a rush to judgment.

DR. R.L. WHITE JR., PRESIDENT, NAACP ATLANTA BRANCH: Mr. Vick has already been convicted, because he has been tried through the court of public opinion.

COOPER: While Vick wouldn't allow questions about the case, he told the radio audience he plans on playing again.


VICK: Yes, I will see you all again. But it remains to be seen, but that's what I'm working on.


COOPER: It remains to be seen.

Vick says he's innocent. The question is, what will his co- defendant's plea mean for the case?

We want to bring back in legal expert Jeffrey Toobin. Also joining us tonight, ESPN analyst and "Philadelphia Inquirer" columnist Stephen A. Smith.

Stephen, good to have you on the program.

Jeffrey, how potentially damaging is this plea for Michael Vick, given that there's a conspiracy charge?

TOOBIN: Huge, because this is how federal prosecutions almost always work.

The prosecutors take the lesser defendants, and they flip them. They let them plead guilty, face lesser -- face a lesser sentence in return for their cooperation. And conspiracy cases are always stronger when you have a conspirator saying to the jury, "I was involved and so was the co-defendant."

Assuming that this defendant who has flipped will testify credibly -- and we obviously don't know that at this point yet -- but, if it turns out to be true, it's devastating for Vick.

COOPER: Stephen, we just heard how the NAACP is concerned the public has already convicted Vick. In -- in a recent column, you -- you talked about reserving judgment.

And you wrote -- and I quote -- "What about all the other possibilities in high-profile cases? With overzealous law enforcement officials salivating at the possibility of a high-profile conviction, what if Vick really didn't know what was going on? What if he wasn't around at all and had never visited the house?"

Do you think the -- the public has -- has rushed to judge him?

STEPHEN A. SMITH, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": I don't think there's any question about it. They definitely have rushed to judge him.

I can't say I blame them, because, looking at the 18-page indictment -- and I read it clearly -- he looks guilty big time. There's no doubt about it. But we do live in America. And, in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.

Again, I'm not saying, in any way, shape, form or fashion that he is innocent, because he looks guilty. But, still, the -- the rush to judgment, it's -- it's not shocking to me, unfortunately, because I see it in a world of sports all the time. But this is definitely another situation where I think, clearly, that is the case.

COOPER: But, Stephen, I heard some people saying, why is the NAACP commenting on this case? Do you think race plays a role in this?

SMITH: Well, race plays a role in it from the perspective that, you know, you have got a segment of the black populace that firmly believe that he's being tried in the court of public opinion and he's already been guilty, whereas you have some people in the white community that obviously feels otherwise, because they know about the indictment, and they have cast their judgment, as far as I'm concerned.

In regards to your specific question with the NAACP, let me add this comment. I think they are a bit late to the party. I mean, all of this stuff, there's been -- PETA has been out there. The Humane Society has been out there. This is almost two weeks ago. Why the NAACP waits two weeks to come out and say, it's a rush to judgment, he's innocent until proven guilty, and he's already been convicted in the court of public opinion, well, that was going on a long time ago.

They are a bit late to the party. It seems to me like they are more interested in camera time than anything else.

COOPER: Jeff, it's been reported that -- that this guy Taylor, who flipped, as you said, had a falling out with the other three defendants back in 2004. Obviously, he hopes to get a sentence reduced, part of a plea agreement.

I mean, the defense can attack his credibility, can't they, if he has -- obviously has a vested interest in testifying against his co- defendants?

SMITH: Absolutely. I mean, the -- the flippers, cooperators are always cross- examined very, very aggressively, because they do have a tremendous incentive to make the prosecutors happy, because it gets them a lesser sentence.

And I think Stephen raised an important point here which is worth keeping in mind. When you have a very wealthy athlete, like Michael Vick, they sometimes do own multiple properties, and sometimes don't go there for long periods of time, and let relatives or friends or sleazy people that they shouldn't use the property, and not fully know what's going on here.

I mean, that is a built-in defense in this case. Now, I don't know if it's true. The defense -- the prosecutors may be able toe put Michael Vick in this house, maybe have evidence, photographic evidence, testimonial evidence that -- that he was there.

But it is true that, sometimes, rich people and rich athletes own property that they don't visit very often.

SMITH: Anderson...

TOOBIN: And that does seem like a possible defense here.

SMITH: Anderson, I would like to add this.


SMITH: There are -- there are a plethora of professional athletes that I know -- know own numerous homes, and they never go there. They buy it for relatives. They buy it for friends. It's in their names. And, obviously, they just let people live there, what have you. It doesn't appear to be the wisest thing to do.

But we're constantly pontificating on the subject of young athletes being millionaires. Well, guess what? Sometimes, they don't know better, and they don't know that it's not wise to do such things, to put your name in stuff that you can't verify or validate in terms of the actions that go on in that home on an everyday basis.

I'm not saying it's a defense here. Believe me, I'm not saying that. But it is a possibility that simply cannot be ruled out.

COOPER: It will all come out in trial, no doubt.

Stephen Smith, appreciate you being on the show again, Jeffrey Toobin as well.

The NAACP is accusing the government of piling on Michael Vick. The NFL has also taken action.

So, what do you think? Do you think the NFL should have waited for Michael Vick to have his day in court before banning him from training camp? We want to hear from you. Send us a v-mail. Go to You might just get your feedback on the air.

Straight ahead tonight -- a 360 exclusive.


COOPER (voice-over): Career criminals accused of a crime that's rocking the country. Now a friend is talking about what makes one of them tick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was really real good at it. I mean, he could get into a house without any problem whatsoever.

COOPER: But what about murder? Coming up only on 360: what she is saying about whether her burglar buddy is also a brutal killer.

Also tonight, they died for a live shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. Channel 15 and Channel 3 just had a mid-air collision. They are in the park. Oh. Oh, man.

COOPER: Probing what went wrong in the skies above Phoenix that sent two choppers and four people to a fiery end -- ahead on 360.



COOPER: A vigil tonight in Plainville, Connecticut, for members of the Petit family., a mother and two daughters robbed, brutalized, murdered in their home.

Their alleged killers, who, we ought to point, have yet to plead one or another, and are now facing capital murder charges.

CNN's Randi Kaye has been on the ground investigating the pair, and, tonight, only in 360, brings new details to light about one of them.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This woman says she and suspect Joshua Komisarjevsky have been close friends for seven years. They met through his ex-girlfriend. She asked us to protect her identity, but agreed to share these letters she says she received from him during his last few years in prison exclusively with 360.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Prison was a hard pill for me to swallow. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get angry. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel the pain of being taken from my daughter. I use that anger and emotion to keep myself in check and to stay disciplined, so that I can get where I want to be."

KAYE: The letters include a great deal about Komisarjevsky's dislike for police, his love for his daughter, and his anger at her mother, his ex-girlfriend.

He also writes about politics, taxes, the Constitution, and a desire to make an honest living. (on camera): A lot of people would be surprised that an alleged would-be killer would be discussing things like that in letters to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is surprising, you know? I mean, he obviously wasn't a stupid people.

KAYE (voice-over): Komisarjevsky shares his dreams. When he's released, he writes, he would like to become a real estate developer. There is no hint of violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I'll be playing nice, though, when I'm released. I can't afford mindless indulgences or a lack of discipline to attention to detail. My daughter needs me, and I can't accomplish my goals when I'm locked up."

KAYE: But it seems those plans were sidetracked. Komisarjevsky and fellow suspect Steven Hayes are charged with taking the Petit family hostage in their own home, strangling Mrs. Petit, and leaving her daughters to die in the fire police say they set.

Komisarjevsky is also accused of sexually assaulting 11-year-old Michaela. Mr. Petit survived.

On these pages, a disturbing hint of what Komisarjevsky seemed to fear would come.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "I need someone like you who knows a little about my past to keep me grounded in the future, when my criminal demon starts to wander."

KAYE: The last time this woman spoke to Komisarjevsky was just five days before the murders. He was under pressure, she says, to win custody of his daughter, and distraught over a breakup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was really, really depressed. He wasn't talking back to me. He wasn't talking back to me.

And I was like, "Josh, you know, you want to go do something? You want to get out of the house?"

"No, no, no."

KAYE: She describes her friend as quiet, giving and a master burglar, able to get in and out of homes in a matter of seconds. She says, if he did attack the Petit family, then something inside him must have gone terribly wrong.

(on camera): How hard has this been for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been really hard, you know. I'm not sleeping at night. I keep waking up. I think that, you know, he put the terror into these poor girls' hearts. And he was the person that -- that they spent last hours in fear for their lives. And he left them to burn. That's not fair. KAYE (voice-over): When Komisarjevsky was in prison, she visited him numerous times. Now haunted by the charges against him, she has no plans to see her friend again.


COOPER: You know, Randi, it's interesting. She describes him in this nice way, but it seems like she has no doubt that he did this.

KAYE: Absolutely no doubt, Anderson. And she doesn't plan to speak to him about it or ever ask him that question.

But I did learn a lot from spending some time with her and also from reading those letters, which the letters, actually, Anderson, seem to expose a softer side of Komisarjevsky. He writes about this -- this visit from his little girl in prison, and the thrill he got from holding her hand.

And this friend of his tells me that she believes that, at some point in his life, he actually shied away from violence. She says that she asked him about, what if these people came home during many of these burglaries that he was convicted of?

And she says that he always told her that he would have run, that he never wanted a confrontation with these families.

And one another interesting note: She told me that, just a few days before these murders, he was actually wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, which was a condition of his parole, and that bracelet had been removed on the Friday before the Monday morning murders.

We tried to ask police about that tonight, Anderson, and they did not return our calls.

COOPER: We will keep looking into that angle.

Randi, thanks very much.

No doubt, we're going to have a lot more on this story in the days and weeks ahead.

Coming up tomorrow: a program set up to save family farmers from going under. As you will see, though, in tomorrow's reporting, it's turning into a way of putting your tax dollars into the pockets of millionaires, even billionaires. CNN's Dan Simon is "Keeping Them Honest."

Here's a preview.


DAN SUMMER, PROFESSOR, U.C. DAVIS: As taxpayers, we're spending a bunch of money to hand to individuals who are relatively wealthy people. DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some very wealthy. "Keeping Them Honest," we looked to see who else has been getting your tax dollars.


SIMON: Basketball star Scottie Pippen got $289,000 for his farm in Arkansas, David Letterman $8,000 for farming on his Montana ranch. The list from an environmental watchdog reads like a who's who, billionaire David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, the founder of this network. Even members of Congress got in on the game.


COOPER: A lot of money. It's all your money. That's tomorrow on the program.

Up next tonight: Was Hillary Clinton a Republican? Her college pen pal is revealing new details about the Democratic front-runner -- the story in "Raw Politics" ahead.

Also tonight: What was he thinking? If you think the picture you're about to see is odd, yeah, well, wait until you hear the story behind it -- next.


COOPER: Welcome back. We're coming to you live from Los Angeles tonight.

President Bush and Britain's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, held their first news joint conference today after their first official meeting. It all took place at Camp David.

And that is where the "Raw Politics" begins.

Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In July 2007, two politicians disappeared in the woods of Maryland: the Blair switch project.

Tony Blair is out. Gordon Brown is in, and the new British prime minister is with the president at Camp David in Maryland. Brown did not agree with Blair's strong support of the war, so can he agree with President Bush?

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are at one in fighting the battle against terrorism. And that struggle is one that we will fight with determination and with resilience and right across the world.


BROWN: Absolutely.

BUSH: What do you expect the answer to be...

BROWN: Absolutely.

BUSH: ... Rutenberg? Come on, man.

FOREMAN: I will have the pulled pork.

Congressional Democrats promised last fall to change the law so you will know when your tax dollars are being steered into pet projects of lawmakers. But, like a slow waitress, they haven't delivered yet, so they are hoping a new pork reform proposal is approved this week before everyone heads out for the August recess.

On the jukebox, you're so vain. "Vanity Fair" has put the Obamarama's wife, Michelle, on its best-dressed list in the September issue.

Signed, sealed and delivered. Some old college letters between Hillary Clinton and a pen pal have surfaced, with insights on why she used to be a Republican. No explanations for the hair, however.

Stir it up. Mitt Romney says Hezbollah made friends by building health clinics and schools, and America could learn from that. And, oh, by the way, he calls Hezbollah a bloodthirsty terrorist organization.

And I did it, and I'm glad. Muahahaha. Al Gore III has pled guilty to marijuana possession. He was pulled over a few weeks ago after allegedly doing more than 100 miles an hour in his Toyota Prius.

(on camera): And the "Raw Politics" surprise of the week: Who knew a Prius would do 100? -- Anderson.


COOPER: Tom, thanks.

Don't miss "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. You can watch it on your computer at Or get it from -- free from the iTunes stores.

Let's get you up to date on some of the headlines right now. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.


ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, police in Ocean City, Maryland, have found the bodies of three more babies in and around a woman's home there. Police searched in Christy Freeman's apartment after they found a stillborn pre-term baby boy in the home last week.

She faces first and second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in that death. Tests will be done to determine if the other bodies are linked to Freeman, who is currently being held without bail.

If you are flying Northwest, I hope you packed your patience. The airline says it expects to cancel 8 percent of today's flights due to a surge in pilots calling in sick. The pilots union blaming management for not having enough staffing.

Northwest said it scheduled 8 percent of its scheduled flights over the weekend. A tracking service, though, puts that figure at nearly 13 percent.

And at a Navy air station in California, a white knuckles landing, check this out. A twin turbo prop plane spun off the runway after its landing gear malfunctioned. Several people jumped out, and fire trucks sprayed the aircraft. But luckily, Anderson, no one was hurt.

Good news on that one.


HILL: This one, I don't know if it's good news. I don't really know what it is. It's definitely what were they thinking. Look at the picture and judge for yourself. Zsa Zsa Gabor's ninth and current husband.

COOPER: Oh, lord. Not him.

HILL: Oh, yes. Prince Frederic Von Anhalt back in the news in the buff. Yes. Police found him this way after he apparently called for help.

Now here's how the story goes. He claims he was robbed and left naked in his Rolls Royce by three women because he says of course he stopped when the women flagged him down, thinking that naturally, they'd want to pose for a picture with him. Because I mean, who wouldn't, right?

Well, instead, he says he was forced to strip at gunpoint. Then the women handcuffed him to the steering wheel after robbing him. By the way, police say they didn't find any handcuffs when they arrived.

Of course, you may know him because in February he famously declared that he was, in fact, the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn. We now know that's not quite the case.

COOPER: So how would there just happen to be a photographer on hand to take a picture of him in this vehicle?

HILL: I thought that, as well. Happened to be a photographer -- yes, I don't know. It's nice that they let him keep his baseball hat.

COOPER: They gave -- they left him with some dignity, those robbers.

HILL: How kind.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.


COOPER: Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING", a stunning beauty moonlights to help track down an alleged beast.


LAUREN NELSON, MISS AMERICA: I actually chatted online with these predators. I talked on the phone with these predators and then eventually, I was the 14-year-old decoy in the sting house.


COOPER: She's the reigning Miss America. Lauren Nelson will be a guest on "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow.

We've been getting new details on that terrible chopper collision above Phoenix. We'll have that story coming up.


COOPER (voice-over): They died for a live shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. Channel 15 and Channel 3 just had a mid-air collision. They're in the park. Oh, man.

COOPER: Proving what went wrong in the skies above Phoenix has sent two choppers and four people to a fiery end.

Plus, he owes them. They despise him. A judge rules in the battle of the Browns and the Goldmans over O.J. Simpson's book money. Denise Brown joins us live, next on 360.



COOPER: Well, 13 years ago CNN and much of the world was riveted to a murder story unfolding right here in Los Angeles. The victims were Nicole Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman.

We all know how the criminal and civil trials turned out. What we didn't know until today is who will profit from the controversial book that O.J. Simpson wrote about the bloody murders. It was billed as a hypothetical account of the crimes, but no one knows how much is fact and how much is fiction.

Today a judge in Florida issued his ruling.

With that, here's CNN's John Zarrella.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is federal bankruptcy court in Miami. It is 2,749 miles from Brentwood, California, where 13 years ago Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, were stabbed to death.

But it is here in Miami where Fred Goldman, Ron's father, has fought for the right to publish O.J. Simpson's book "If I Did It".

FRED GOLDMAN, RON GOLDMAN'S FATHER: We believe it's truly an indictment of a wife beater, of a murderer written in his own words.

ZARRELLA: Nicole's sister, Denise Brown, is adamant. No way.

DENISE BROWN, NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON'S SISTER: Fred, this book should not be published. I have said this over and over and over again. It's a manual to commit murder, and it just shouldn't be.

ZARRELLA: But if it is, Nicole's estate doesn't want Goldman getting all the income. The bankruptcy judge was about to do just that when the estate suddenly filed its own claim for a percentage of the proceeds from any book deal.

Two beneficiaries would be Nicole and Simpson's children, Sydney and Justin. Denise says her father, who is executor, had no choice but to challenge Goldman's claim.

BROWN: The estate has to do what's legally right, because the kids could come back and sue my father for doing -- for not doing what's right. So the estate has to do what's legally correct, and that is be in on this lawsuit.

ZARRELLA: After Simpson's acquittal of the crimes, the Goldmans and the Browns won civil judgments against him totaling tens of millions but have collected next to nothing.

Goldman's attorneys argue the book is the first big asset they've had a chance to get their hands on.

DAVID COOK, GOLDMAN ATTORNEY: So ultimately, the book was the only viable major asset available to us. It was the asset of last resort.

ZARRELLA: So how did the fight over this last resort asset end up here in a Miami courtroom?

(on camera) The first attempt to publish "If I Did It" was shelved after an avalanche of criticism. But the rights to the book still belong to Lorraine Brooke Associates, a Florida company. The name of the president, Arnelle Simpson, O.J.'s oldest daughter.

(voice-over) The bankruptcy judge said the company was a scheme to, quote, "defraud his creditors," end quote. It had no assets other than the book.

When Goldman went after the book rights, the company declared bankruptcy, a further attempt, Goldman's attorneys charged, to keep it out of their client's hands.

In a deposition, Arnelle Simpson said it wasn't deceit but ignorance that forced bankruptcy. ARNELLE SIMPSON, O.J. SIMPSON'S DAUGHTER: I was overwhelmed with things, you know. Things were coming at me which I'm not used to, by no means. I never thought it was going to be this hard to have a corporation and to start something new like this. Have I made a lot of mistakes? Excuse me, hell, yes, I did.

ZARRELLA: O.J. Simpson has never appeared during these court proceedings. He collected nearly $800,000 for writing the book, money he claims is gone.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: Well, today's ruling awarded the Goldman family 90 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the rights to Simpson's book. The remaining 10 percent will be used to pay the former football star's creditors, including the wrongful death judgments owed to the Brown and Goldman families.

The Brown family has sued for a bigger cut of the proceeds than they got.

Joining me now is Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, and Greg Hafif, the attorney for her estate.

Obviously, you were disappointed.

BROWN: Well, disappointed, yes. But one thing I want to make very clear is that it's not the Brown family. It is the estate of Sydney and Justin, not Nicole.

COOPER: And that's why -- that's who you were suing on behalf of?

BROWN: Well, no. I have always been saying that, no, this book should never be published.

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: But legally -- and that's why Greg is here -- we have to go in for what's in the best interest of Sydney and Justin.

COOPER: And your father is the executor of that -- that estate?

BROWN: And I think that's where the confusion lies. And -- but it's not the Brown family getting a penny of this.

And the sad thing is, is that, you know, what -- is there one life that means more to this judge than the other life? You know, Sydney and Justin lost their mother. My parents lost their daughter.

Yes, Fred lost his son and Kim lost a brother and I lost a sister, you know. So where does it say that 90 percent needs to be with one family and not with the other when we are just as large a creditor as Fred Goldman? COOPER: Fred Goldman has said that this is not a how-to to commit murder.

BROWN: But it is. I mean, I have seen gruesome details. I have heard Barbara Walters, even, on "The View" say how gruesome, how detailing this is about, you know -- about the murders.

So it is a manual to commit murder. It is written down on paper on how he murdered two people.

The whole world practically knows that O.J. Simpson killed my sister and Ron Goldman. And I don't think -- I don't believe that we immediate to see it published in a book so that other people can do the same thing.

There were copycat murders after Nicole's murder, after Ron's murder, copycat murders that we don't want to have happen again.

COOPER: You think this book could lead to copycat murders?

BROWN: Well, absolutely. There it is in black and white. It wasn't in black and white before. Now it's in black and white. And yes certainly I believe that it could lead to copycat murders.

And I pray to God that everybody that opposed this book, even Fred at the beginning, I pray that everybody that signed that petition, DontPayOJ.come will also sign a petition against the publisher so that they will feel the same thing that Newscorp felt and Harper Collins felt to not have it published.

COOPER: Fred Goldman is saying -- is swearing that this is going to be done in the best way possible. I just want to play some of what...

BROWN: How could it be in the best interest of anybody?

COOPER: I just want to play you what he said earlier tonight on Paula Zahn's show.

BROWN: Right.


GOLDMAN: The asset is the only asset that has shown its ugly head in all these years. The court awarded us that asset, and we're going to turn that asset into something positive. And I -- I promise you on my son's memory it will be something positive.


BROWN: How could anything be positive about two people being brutally murdered? I don't know how they're going to turn it into anything positive, do you, Greg?

GREG HAFIF, LAWYER: I can't see it. I mean, our whole goal down there in Florida was the -- for the estate's purpose was to get the book out of Goldman's hands, which would be the first step, basically, to stop this book from being published.

If it's ultimately going to end up being published, then the estate, these children whose mother has been murdered, is entitled to a portion of it. That's the alternative.

But the main goal down there was to get it out of Goldman's hands, which I think increases our odds of not having it published, and we're disappointed that the judge ruled against us.

COOPER: One of the things the judge said, he said he regrets any animosity this case has caused between yourself and -- and the Goldmans. He said, "They're both the victims of a horrible tragedy. It's sad they would be reduced to quibbling with each other instead of working together."

BROWN: We have worked together. We've worked together all along.

I was the first -- the people that came to me with this, you know, taking Simpson's identity and taking his name and his likeness, they came to me first. I sent them to Fred Goldman. I said you know what? Call Fred, because Fred will do that.

My parents are in a very touchy situation and that's where, you know, people get confused of it being with the Browns and being the estate. My mom will do anything to see these children. If she goes and fights against their father -- I mean, do the kids want to see their grandparents, then, you know, going after him?

So my whole stance was, God, yes, I think it's awesome. I think it's fantastic. Make his life miserable, do whatever you possibly can. Go after him Fred, do it.

But the only thing that we have been at odds with at all is that he didn't want to see the book published, because it was a manual on murder and that he thought it was morally wrong, morally -- what was his language, just horrible to have this book published.

COOPER: Right.

BROWN: And now he's turning around and he wants money. How much money is going to bring Nicole and Ron back? Nothing, as far as I'm concerned.

Would I rather have Nicole and Ron back and have them alive than being fighting with the Goldmans over a stupid book that everybody in the whole world knows that Simpson murdered our sister -- my sister and Ron Goldman? Yes, I would so much rather have them back.

HAFIF: I think it's time to actually both families rest in peace. And I understand Mr. Goldman's zeal to get something money- wise out of what's happened to his son, just as the Browns would like to do in that sense, but publishing this book just isn't the way to do it. There are other ways.

COOPER: Greg Hafif, appreciate you being on. Denise Brown, thanks so much for talking with us.

BROWN: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, up next on 360, tragedy over Phoenix. Two news helicopters collide; four people were killed. Tonight more details about their final moments and whether the crash could have been prevented. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Incredible video. That was back in 2004 in New York when a local news chopper lost control, falling from the sky, hard landing there on a roof building.

Just today another close call. This time a news helicopter in Texas was forced to make a crash landing.

Now, in both those accidents everyone on board survived, thankfully. It was a much different outcome in Phoenix on Friday when two news choppers collided in mid-air.

CNN's Rick Sanchez has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this is bad. This is very bad up here, Scott. We do have major breaking news. Because of this crash...

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Voices cracking. Experienced professionals hyperventilating, trying to come to grips with watching colleagues die.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, my God. Channel 15 and Channel 3 just had a mid-air collision. They're in the park, oh, man. Oh, Jesus.

SANCHEZ: It's mid-afternoon over the streets of Phoenix, and five news choppers are jockeying for position. Their focus, a suspect in a stolen truck being chased by police. A spike strip doesn't stop him.

DANIEL CLARK, KPNX PHOTOGRAPHER/REPORTER: This guy is very aggressive. He's taken over another vehicle. Cops are surrounding him right now, and it's right there in front -- part of the car.

SANCHEZ: He gets away again, and as that story plays out one much more tragic and personal is about to unfold.

CLARK: All the tires are actually -- OK, oh, Scott. We're going to have to turn back around and get away from this. We do have two helicopters down.

SANCHEZ: Preliminary information from radio transmissions indicate the pilot of Channel 15's news chopper was desperately trying to tell Channel 3's pilot that he was right above him. That's when witnesses say the Channel 3 chopper rose and banked into Channel 15, igniting a fiery collision. This photograph was taken just moments after.

On the ground in a city park an explosion, smoke, flames and confusion. While on the air a fellow news pilot struggles to hold back tears. His colleagues, Jim Cox and Scott Bowerback from KTVK and Craig Smith and Rick Krolak from KNXV, were killed instantly, as a witness who watched the crash from the ground found out when he reached the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it exploded and I can't find anybody. I couldn't find anybody.


COOPER: Rick is live in Phoenix.

Rick, five choppers covering the same car chase. It seems extreme. Is there a way for local news stations to try to get a handle on this kind of coverage?

SANCHEZ: It's a great question, Anderson. It's what the bloggers are talking about. It's what television critics are writing about.

Respectfully though, let me bring your attention to something else out here, though. This is the makeshift memorial that's been set up here by many of the residents of Phoenix who are coming out here even today, holding candles, presenting candles, presenting signs, presenting flowers. That's just how much this community has been affected by this.

Back to your question now, Anderson, an important question. Yes. Obviously, there's a lot of questions being raised about the idea of having a helicopter pilot have to multi-task in this way. He has to be moving his helicopter, piloting his helicopter, looking around while he's following someone in a stolen car, while at the same time, in this case, there were as many as four other helicopters around him. It's a difficult task.

The question is should they change their policy? Should they maybe even use pool video? One helicopter instead of five?

We called the stations that have been affected by this tragedy today. We asked them those questions. They say at this point they're too busy mourning. They're waiting at this point for the NTSB report. We'll keep tabs and let you know, Anderson.

COOPER: It's questions news groups around the country no doubt will be facing. Rick, thanks for that.

Still to come tonight, the government taking action on a drug that millions of us use, a drug that could be killing some of us.

Also tonight, a 360 exclusive on the home invasion killings in Connecticut. We're going to hear from one a women who called one of the alleged killers a close friend. That when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, the "Shot of the Day" is coming up. It's not your typical diving competition, but these bold moves -- ouch -- are impressing the judges.

But first Erica Hill joins us with a look at the headlines in a "360 News and Business Bulleting" -- Erica.


HILL: In Afghanistan the Taliban is claiming to have killed a second South Korean hostage, but the body has not been found in the location given by the Taliban.

Another hostage killed last week. He of course, was one of 23 members of a South Korean church group. That group was kidnapped 11 days ago. The Taliban is now threatening to kill the remaining hostages if rebel prisoners are not released by Afghan leaders.

A Food and Drug Administration panel recommends keeping the popular diabetes drug Avandia on the market, despite research linking it to an increased risk of heart attack. The non-binding vote of 22-1 is now up to FDA regulators to decide, though, the fate of Avandia. And they usually follow the panel's advice.

On Wall Street the markets rebounding a little after last week's sell-off. The Dow climbed nearly 93 points to close at 13,458. The NASDAQ up 21, closing at 2,583. The S&P gaining about 15 points, Anderson.

COOPER: So Erica, while the markets didn't dive, some folks in Germany did just that. Check out the "Shot of the Day".

Splash diving world cup was held over the weekend in Hamburg, Germany. I don't know. If you asked me, I think you could rename this the belly flop or the cannonball championship. The goal -- ouch...

HILL: Ouch.

COOPER: -- make the biggest slash.

HILL: Yes, that does seem more like -- like a belly flop.


HILL: but you know what? I'll see your belly flop splashing Germans, and I'll raise you. I'll raise you, my friend, dramatic animal video of a naked German in a Rolls-Royce wearing a baseball hat. There you go.

HILL: Oh, please keep -- just -- that's so undignified.

HILL: I know. It's wrong, too. He's a prince after all. He's a prince.

HILL: Well, no. No, no, not a real prince. He was adopted by a princess. Title only. It's not really official. Just a name.

COOPER: All right.

Well, we want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some alleged princes handcuffed to an automobile tell us about it, We'll put some of the best clips on the air.

And up next, breaking news. The chief justice of the United States suffers a seizure. How serious is it, and what could it mean for the court? We'll look at that ahead.

Also tonight, Michael Vick speaking out for the first time since the dog fighting charges against him. This is 360 from L.A.