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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Cops Raid Jackson's Doctor's Clinic; President Obama's Health Care Push; Harvard Professor Profiled?
Aired July 22, 2009 - 23:00 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. I'm Anderson Cooper. Good to be back.
Tonight breaking news, plus a make or break presidential push for health care reform and what's in there for you.
Tonight we're "Keeping Them Honest." The president and his critics; how their claims jibe with the facts.
First the breaking news: police raiding Michael Jackson's doctor's office in Houston, searching for evidence of manslaughter, according to Dr. Conrad Murray's attorney.
Randi Kaye joins us now with the latest -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a lot to tell you about tonight. Here's what we know right now.
Homicide detectives and federal drug agents raided the office of Dr. Conrad Murray in Houston. As you know, he is the cardiologist who was with Michael Jackson the day he died and has said he performed CPR on him at his house.
His lawyer says, "They were looking for evidence of the offense of manslaughter" -- that is a quote. This is the first time, Anderson, someone this close to the case has used the word "manslaughter."
Investigators apparently spent more than two hours at the doctor's medical clinic. What were they looking for and what did they take. We'll let you know in just a few minutes.
Also, why do investigators now want to interview Dr. Murray for a third time? His lawyer says he's been so harassed he can't even go to work and now needs a bodyguard 24/7. More details on this doctor's history with Michael Jackson and much more, Anderson, in just a few minutes.
COOPER: All right, Randi. Thanks for that.
Now we turn to President Obama's push, make or break, for a complete overhaul of America's system of health care. He spoke tonight with most Republicans opposing him; many Democrats are going over what to do and how to pay for it and some new polls showing fewer Americans supporting his approach.
Tonight the President made his strongest case yet against delay with his sharpest focus yet on what he thinks is in it for you and me.
We'll be "Digging Deeper" on his promises, the objections and the "Raw Politics" but first we want to play you an extended portion of tonight's news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now six months ago, I took office amid the worst recessions in half a century. We were losing an average of 700,000 jobs per month and our financial system was on the verge of collapse.
As a result of the actions we took in those first weeks, we've been able to pull our economy back from the brink. Even as we rescue this economy from a full-blown crisis, we must rebuild it stronger than before and health insurance reform is central to that effort.
So let me be clear, if we do not control these costs, we will not be able to control our deficit. If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we don't act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day.
And if you don't have health insurance or you're a small business looking to cover your employees, you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange, a marketplace that promotes choice and competition.
Then finally, no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition.
I've also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade and I mean it. So even though we still have a few issues to work out, what's remarkable at this point is not how far we have left to go, it's how far we've already come.
I understand how easy it is for these town to become consumed in the game of politics, to turn every issue into a running tally of who's up and who's down.
I've heard that one Republican strategist told his party that even though they may want to compromise, its better politics to go to for the kill. Another Republican senator that defeating health care reform is about breaking me. So let me be clear. This isn't about me. I have great health insurance and so does every member of Congress.
This debate is about the letters I read when I sit in the Oval Office every day and the stories I hear at town hall meetings.
This debate is not a game for these Americans and they can't afford to wait any longer for a reform. They're counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership and we can't let them down. We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice and provides coverage that every American can count on and we will do it this year. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was President Obama tonight pushing for action by year's end, not the end of August as he once hoped.
House Speaker Pelosi today talking to the Hill newspaper about keeping the House in session to work through the summer recess, even as our conservative Democratic members say, "go slow."
For those of us old enough to remember the fast-acting mint Alka- Seltzer, these days just seem to spell political heartburn.
Let's "Dig Deeper" now with our senior political analyst, David Gergen and BET's senior political analyst, Pamela Gentry.
David, you wrote on our blog at AC360.com that President Obama is currently on, quote, "One of the steepest, most important climbs of his young presidency." How did he do tonight?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think he showed again tonight he has one of the best grasp, the most articulate grasp for public policy of any president we've had in a long time. He's extremely articulate, it was almost like a classroom out there and long-winded answers, but very articulate.
I think he also made a compelling case against the current system.
What he's having a really hard time doing is making a compelling case in favor of the fixes that he is proposing and with his fellow Democrats.
COOPER: Well, part of the problem is that all of the Democratic fixes are not in yet.
GERGEN: No -- it's fractious but it also extremely complex. And it is coming now from an administration that promised us with the stimulus bill, fast-action, a lot of employment, lower unemployment and so there's this question of credibility.
But I think he might have been better off tonight giving a speech from the Oval Office with some charts. You know a sort of Ross Perot- like charts to try to explain it. I think that he's very articulate, but it's so complex, I have a hard time believing that people walked away with a very clear sense of what he's trying to do to fix it and whether they are persuaded yet.
COOPER: Pamela, you said the President hasn't been doing a good enough job trying to convince American people of the need for health care reform. As David said, I mean, it was a complex discussion tonight that he had.
Do you think he did a better job of it or do you think he lost a lot of people?
PAMELA GENTRY, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, BET: I think that the complexity of the issue -- I totally agree with David -- is so overwhelming that the president has got to do a better job of saying this is why you care. And if you noticed one portion of his speech he stopped and said, why is this important? Why do we have to do it now?
And he tried to go through the laundry list of the differences it'll make in each individual's life. The thing is that, that's very hard to put in a policy speech.
So I think the best thing he did this evening -- the highlight for me this evening -- was that at least he was able to try and list some of the things that they've accomplished so far, that what have happened. And that maybe now here is where we go next.
But again I just think it's going to be very tough to get people to link the economy, health care and what's going to make a difference at their kitchen table.
COOPER: It is somewhat unusual, David, that the president is making such a hard sell for a policy which is in a proposal which is still evolving.
GERGEN: I agree with that and it is a -- ordinarily president stands up and says here's what's wrong with where we are now and here's how I plan to fix it, 1, 2, 3, 4.
He can say what's wrong where we are now, but it doesn't -- it's 1, 1 and a half, 1 and three quarters, because the plans are all over the place in aspects of them. And I think it's much, much harder to in effect persuade people to sell a plan under these circumstances.
In some ways I think tonight was a holding action to try to hold public in place over the August recess. There's a real fear in the White House that if a -- if they don't get something passed before August recess or even if they just get the House bill passed, but no Senate bill, that support will start to crumble over the recess.
And they've got very important numbers coming out in mid-August, Anderson. The new deficit numbers are coming out and they could be shocking numbers. And that would, of course, be a dampener, too, so I think tonight may have been a holding action.
COOPER: Pamela, how much of the president's capital is riding on this?
GENTRY: I think a great deal of his capital is. I mean, I noticed that he tried -- he'd slipped that little comment in tonight that he was able to not spend all that money in the defense department by canceling the -- what -- the F-14 was it...
GENTRY: F-22 -- so he was saying, look, I'm moving dollars around now, I'm trying to show you that I can make this happen. But he has a lot riding on this.
And you know, personally I've always thought that this was a huge risk, because he just decided not to even start with single payer. I think if he had started out with the single payer and he could have acquiesced the town to having a public option plan, I think he runs the risk now, of even getting a public -- an option -- a public option plan on the table if he doesn't pull this out with his Democratic colleagues.
COOPER: David, you worked in the Clinton administration, we all know what happened with health care reform then. How much damage could this do to the president?
GERGEN: It's pivotal to his presidency.
GERGEN: It is -- it's his single most important domestic initiative. And we're on the...
COOPER: You mean, the recovery or the...
GERGEN: Well, it's the thing -- one of the reasons he ran for the presidency. He didn't run to fix the economy...
GERGEN: ...because he inherited that, but he ran to fix health care. And it's the number one issue for many Democrats.
It's a dream of more than half a century to get universal coverage, so one understands why he's so committed. And give him credit; he's got to a lot further along than most other presidents have. He's come a long way with it.
But the parallel he has to be worried about with Bill Clinton is that Bill Clinton's health care plan started out as a very popular plan, but over time people picked it apart and support crumbled. And we see these slipping numbers for now President Obama on health care and he has just -- tonight was about shoring that up and trying to hold long enough to try to get it passed.
GENTRY: But you know -- the only difference this time, David, is that this time corporations now agree they can't afford health care in the near future if the costs continue to rise. So there really probably will be more people to lose coverage if it's all going to be employees-based.
COOPER: Let's leave it there. Pamela Gentry, good to have you on and David Gergen as well, thank you.
GERGEN: Thank you.
COOPER: As always we want to hear from you. What did you think about the president's speech tonight, the news conference? Join the live chat underway right now at AC360.com.
Up next, the president's promise to reform health care without adding to the deficit. Is that really possible?
Tom Foreman tonight is "Keeping them Honest."
Also Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates arrested after breaking into his own home. Charges were dropped, professor Gates speaking out tonight in an exclusive interview on CNN.
The President speaking out about it as well, first praising police for the quick response, but then saying this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That comment getting a lot of pickup already tonight in the media. We'll talk about that ahead.
And later, more on tonight's breaking news, authorities raiding Michael Jackson's doctor's office, searching elsewhere as well. We'll have all the late developments Randi Kaye is uncovering on this late edition of 360.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're talking tonight about President Obama's push for health care reform and his promise that it will be paid for, that it won't increase the deficit. As always we're bringing you extensive coverage of the president in his own words so you can decide for yourself what to think.
And here's a moment from the larger chunk earlier that really bears repeating because it quite literally is the money quote, President Obama's central promises on reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you don't have health insurance or you're a small business looking to cover your employees, you'll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange, a marketplace that promotes choice and competition.
And finally no insurance company will be allowed to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing medical condition. I've also pledged that health insurance reform will not add to our deficit over the next decade and I mean it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama pledging reform that will cost big bucks, no doubt about that; but generate big enough savings coupled with some kind of funding so that it doesn't add to the deficit; a big promise under fire even before tonight. The question is, how does it fit the facts?
Tom Foreman is with us tonight "Keeping them Honest" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well you know Anderson, really what's happening here is a collision like they have in D.C. from time to time. And what's happening really is you're having the promises run headlong into the problems of all of this. And that is what the president is dealing with.
Let's start with one of the biggest ones in this whole big thing here. The promise here, for months and months the contention has been that this is not going to cost money. The reform will essentially pay for itself, more cost-efficient methods at hospitals and doctors offices, more preventive care to keep people healthier and higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans so that it will pay for itself.
The problem is independent economic analysts say that's just wishful thinking; the numbers don't add up. The Congressional Budget Office, which is widely considered a neutral authority on such matters in D.C., hit very hard a few days ago, when it said one version of the House bill will cost a $1 trillion over the next ten years and significantly expand the deficit by about a quarter trillion dollars, Anderson.
That is where the promise and the problem hit on the cost issue.
COOPER: Now, let's talk about another promise, what about the promise that everyone is going to be covered? Again the president repeated that pledge tonight. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We will pass reform that lowers cost, promotes choice and provides coverage that every American can count on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Yes Anderson that is the promise. Around 50 million Americans without insurance now will be essentially all covered, and the problem, again, is the CBO says not really.
Here are their projections.
At first they expect that you'll wind-up with millions of people uninsured, because at first you'll have a little bump here because the population is growing and all this has to settle in and then it'll go up a little bit. And then it will decline and stay down for quite some time, but even in ten years or so you're still going to have about 17 million people uninsured. No health care coverage because some of them are here illegally, because some of them are just slipping through the cracks, Anderson.
But in the end, still you don't get that 100 percent or really close to 100 percent that people were expecting back in the campaign.
COOPER: Let's talk about some of the criticisms that the Republicans are making.
Mitch McConnell, for instance, Republicans say the president is setting up a single government insurance program that eventually we're all going to have to sign-up with. I want to play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: The government will, with the backstop of the taxpayers, undercut the 1,300 or so health insurance companies we have. We won't have any competition at all. Pretty soon the doctors in the hospitals will all be working for the government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: And you're right there, Anderson. The Republicans are quite simply saying, look, they start with the problem side on this. They are saying that if this goes through, you're going to have a disaster on your hands, because all you'll have is one big government insurance health program.
That's all you can do, but just like the president is being accused of being only interested in the best-case scenarios, this is a worst-case scenario, which no one can say with certainty will come to pass. And for the record, the president and the Democrats have said all along they want to keep the private insurance business in business and the government care option should simply be there for those who have need of it -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Tom Foreman, "Keeping them Honest." Tom thanks very much.
Let's talk "Strategy" now, the politics behind the policymaking. The president tonight, latching on to Republican remarks that health care could break him, but also praising Republican contributions to the process on the Senate side.
Let's talk about this in our "Strategy Session:" political contributor, Hilary Rosen, editor-at-large of the Huffington Post joins us; also GOP strategist and former Mitt Romney campaign adviser, Bay Buchanan.
So Hilary, some members of Obama's own party have been voicing concern over the costs, over the details or really a lack thereof of this overhaul. Did he at least make those fellow Democrats feel better tonight?
HILARY ROSEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Well, I think Democrats are united in wanting to get something done, which is what's different from Democrats and Republicans here. There have been some Democratic squabbling, but most often about sort of reimbursement rates and things that can be resolved.
I think when push comes to shove, the president is going to have Democratic support for this for one reason -- the American people want health care reform. That the majority of people still believe that there's not enough protection in the system, and they want more. They trust the president.
COOPER: Well, what about that, Bay? According to a CNN poll of poll showing 47 percent of Americans approve how the president is handling health care, 44 percent disapproved.
Do you think the president changed any minds tonight?
BAY BUCHANAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I don't, Anderson. I really looked at this objectively, because he is a very fine communicator and this is a strong suit of his, to get out there and sell a policy.
But I thought it was somewhat rambling, anecdotal defense of a really major policy. It was hard to keep your mind focused as he went on and on in a lot of details. I don't think it was compelling or convincing. And so I think he hurt himself tonight because I think they really needed a real push, at least to stop the erosion of public support. And I don't think it happened tonight.
COOPER: Well Hilary, what about the time line in this? I mean, the president had set a deadline for passage by August. Tonight he said reform is going to get done this year. A, I mean, is he now saying it's the end of the year? And how important do you think the timing is?
ROSEN: Well, I think the timing is important. And I think that the leadership, the House and the Senate, do believe that they need to pass something this year, that their momentum is there, and I think members of Congress feel somewhat accountable here.
And I think right now it's actually less important that the public understand all of the details than it is that the president keeps up the pressure on Congress to keep going. And that's really what his consistent public activities are geared towards, is make the Congress continue to feel the pressure from their constituents, from the public that -- that moving something now is in their interests and I think you see that with Nancy Pelosi pushing and threatening her House members, saying, you know what? We can stay in here during the August vacation if that will get people moving more quickly.
I think members feel the pressure, I think the president is ultimately going to be successful here and the Republicans have offered no alternatives, so nobody is buying the fact that -- oh, let's slow down, this is wrong.
ROSEN: If there were an alternative, if they were actually putting other ideas on the table to stop the 14,000 people a day who are losing their health care, then maybe they would have an argument.
ROSEN: But they're not putting an alternative on the table. BUCHANAN: What -- it undermines that what Hilary has just said is if they really thought the American people were going to put the necessary pressure, then let them go home for recess. If they go home from recess, they're going to be hearing from these people and say, get something done. What are you guys doing back there?
They don't want them to go home, because the American people have lost faith in this policy, the Obama care. They need reform, they want reform, no question, but this policy is not something they support.
COOPER: Well Bay, what about Hilary's argument, the Republicans don't have a policy of their own?
BUCHANAN: Well, you know the first thing, we're not in power. They have all the votes. This is about Democrats fighting Democrats right now. And so the first thing you have to do is you establish what you're against.
We're opposed to this huge costly monstrosity of health care, a takeover of 20 percent -- virtually 20 percent of our economy. So we establish what we're against. But at the same time, even Barack Obama admitted there are Republicans who could come up with some ideas.
We're looking at them where both side agreed they're good and there's others out there that we are formulating. I've read several myself but they don't get national attention because, of course, we don't have any chance of getting them proposed, much less voted on.
ROSEN: Well, that's simply not true.
BUCHANAN: They're not in play, they're not in play. But I think the first thing we have to do is stop Obama care and then start looking at really constructive, meaningful change that's healthy for everybody.
ROSEN: There have been -- I think the president said like 160 Republican amendments that have been adopted in the committees over the last several weeks. So when Republicans do have ideas, the Democrats have listened, the White House has been receptive. But this notion that somehow 14,000 people a day losing their health care and that the option is just to keep slowing down and slowing down, it's not an answer.
BUCHANAN: The option is to get them jobs.
ROSEN: Bay Buchanan has health care and those Republican members of Congress who are trying to slow the president down have health care. Barack Obama has health care.
People who don't have health care need help.
COOPER: Bay you've got to qualify...
BUCHANAN: The answer -- ok quickly, the answer to their problem is to get them their jobs back, Hilary, to make the economy start growing, and then they will get and be able to afford health care.
COOPER: We've got to leave it there.
COOPER: Hilary Rosen, Bay Buchanan, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you very much.
BUCHANAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, more on the Jackson doctor raid: and what was taken and just who he is this guy, Dr. Conrad Murray? He's been in the public eye since Michael Jackson's death.
And later, a Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates speaking out, talking only to CNN about being led out of his own house in handcuffs. Also what police are saying and what President Obama is now saying about the incident.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: I want to go back to the breaking news that we told you about at the top of the hour: the stunning major new development in the investigation into the death of Michael Jackson. Today the Houston office of Jackson's personal physician was raided by dozens of police officers and detectives.
This is video of the raid as it unfolded; they were armed with a search warrant. The question is what were they looking for? What did they take?
The lawyer for Dr. Conrad Murray says, they were hunting for evidence that would support a manslaughter charge.
Now, Murray is the cardiologist who was with Jackson when his heart stopped beating and now he's become a big part of the criminal investigation. And the question is, how big?
Randi Kaye has the latest in tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE (voice-over): More than 1,500 miles from where Michael Jackson took his last breath, a painstaking search for clues. Without warning, robbery homicide detectives from Los Angeles, Houston police and Federal Drug agents raided the office of Dr. Conrad Murray, Jackson's personal physician who was at his house the day he died.
His lawyers said investigators were authorized to, quote, "Search for and seize items, including documents they believed constituted evidence of the offense of manslaughter." That's the first time the word "manslaughter" has been used by anyone closely connected to the case.
During their two and a half hour search, his lawyer says investigators seized a forensic image of a computer hard drive and 21 documents.
A spokeswoman for the lawyer said, "The raid was absolutely a surprise to us, because we've had open lines of communication this whole time." In fact, she told me Dr. Murray's lawyer and investigators had already scheduled a meeting later this week, because detectives want to interview Dr. Murray a third time.
And in a statement released before the search, his lawyer said, quote, "We're still in the dark like everybody else. He should not be a target of criminal charges."
(on camera): So who is Dr. Conrad Murray? He's a cardiologist who first met Michael Jackson back in 2006 in Las Vegas when he treated one of the Jackson's children. He didn't become his personal physician until last May, when Jackson asked him to go along on his final tour to London. He reportedly stood to earn six figures a month.
Dr. Murray has clinics in both Nevada and Texas. He does not have hospital privileges in California, which means he could not treat Michael Jackson in a hospital even on the day he died.
(voice-over): We also know Dr. Murray has a history of financial troubles. Documents obtained by CNN show his Nevada medical practice was hit with more than $400,000 in judgments for debt in the last couple of years.
On CNN's Larry King, Joe Jackson pointed fingers at Dr. Conrad Murray.
JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: But you don't take a doctor and stick him in a room there. And the doctor gave him something to make him rest and then he don't wake up no more?
KAYE: Murray hasn't responded to Joe Jackson's accusations, but his lawyer maintains he's a witness, not a suspect. He told us weeks ago Dr. Murray did not, quote, "Prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson."
He would not say if the doctor ever gave Jackson Diprivan, the powerful sedative reserved for hospital settings, reportedly found in Jackson's home. If that is what killed the pop star, investigators seem more determined than ever to figure out where he got it.
(on camera): The LAPD told us today that despite this raid, this is still a death investigation and not a criminal investigation. Also, we checked with the D.A.'s office and we're told the case has still not been submitted for them to consider charges.
COOPER: It doesn't seem to add that activity has picked up regarding anyone who has prescribed medicine or interacted in a medical capacity with Michael Jackson. KAYE: Absolutely. A lot of action on this case today. In fact, the L.A. Coroner's office, in addition to this raid done in Houston, the coroner's office subpoenaed the records of Jackson's former nurse, former nutritionist Cherilyn Lee who you interviewed here on 360. And she said tonight, that basically she gave investigators her whole medical file on Michael Jackson. She was cooperating, but the documents were protected by law, so they require a subpoena to get them and it was just too much to fax.
She said this was not a surprise, she says, but something she and authorities had agreed on. And remember, this is the nurse who told 360 that Jackson had begged her for Diprivan.
KAYE: That powerful sedative because she said he had told her that he just couldn't sleep. So it seems as we're getting closer and closer to the autopsy report and toxicology report coming out, they seem to be zeroing in...
COOPER: They have a file...
KAYE: ...on some of the facts they really want to find.
COOPER: All right, Randi thanks.
COOPER: As Randi just pointed out Dr. Murray's attorney said investigators are looking for evidence connected to a potential manslaughter charge.
So let's talk about what that actually means, with legal analyst, Lisa Bloom.
Lisa, this would seem to be a pretty big deal, the fact that authorities went in and took evidence -- potential evidence out of his office in Houston.
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's right. And we're hearing today for the first time that this is a manslaughter investigation and we're hearing that from the doctor's own attorney. That was very surprising to me.
And what do they look for? I think they are looking for prescription records, medical records, anything pertaining to Michael Jackson and potentially leading to other patients as well. And we just don't know at this point, but they could be expanding the investigation.
COOPER: Well, we know that there were a number of doctors on a list that they had talked to and we were looking at. Does this mean that Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Michael Jackson in the final night of his life, in the final moments of his life, has become the central focus of the investigation? BLOOM: Well, I think it does, Anderson. And add to that the attorney said that Dr. Murray was perfectly willing to cooperate. The authorities didn't need to go in and do a surprise raid, but that's what they did.
That indicates to me a certain lack of trust, a concern on their part, that they wanted to get in there without any prior warnings so that nothing could be tampered with, nothing could be disposed of.
COOPER: The fact that the attorney is using the term "manslaughter" -- earlier the police had said this is not a murder investigation. What is the difference?
BLOOM: Big difference. I don't think anyone is suggesting that Michael Jackson was murdered. Legally a murder is a premeditated killing of a human being done with malice, a forethought, done intentionally.
Nobody is suggesting that, but there are a lot of other homicides below the level of murder and one of those is manslaughter, there's voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, there's also negligent homicide.
And these homicide crimes are the taking of a human life accidentally, but at a level of risk high enough that an ordinary person should know that this is a dangerous activity.
COOPER: The registered nurse who we have interviewed, Cherilyn Lee, who said that Michael Jackson had three months prior to his death, asked her for drugs to help him get to sleep at night. She has turned over her file to police. What do you make of that?
BLOOM: Well, it's clear to me that she's cooperating with the police. She's expressed concerns about what happened to Michael Jackson. I assume that she's got nothing to hide if she's turned everything over voluntarily to the police and she's cooperating with them.
COOPER: Clearly -- I mean, they are on the trail of whatever drugs Michael Jackson may have been prescribed, either in the last few weeks of his life and/or going back years, right?
BLOOM: Well, they are. I think one of their concerns has to be did he get prescriptions under an assumed name. I mean, celebrities do that sometimes. That happened in the Anna Nicole case and the doctors there are being criminally charged in connection with giving her drugs under an assumed name. It's illegal, whether it's a celebrity or not.
The biggest thing that we're waiting for is the toxicology results of course. The police may have some preliminary toxicology results right now, but they and we have to know what drugs were in Michael Jackson's system. And that's just a critical piece of information that we're all waiting for.
COOPER: And the spectrum of things that any doctor or a doctor might be charged with could run the gamut from what? I mean, homicide would be...
COOPER: ...on the one far end of the spectrum?
BLOOM: Right, that's at the worst end, of course, that would carry the highest charges, down to simple negligence.
In the Anna Nicole case and that's also in California like the Michael Jackson case, the doctors were charged with knowingly giving drugs to an addict. I mean, that's a crime under California law.
So the question would be, did Dr. Murray or any other doctor know that Michael Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs and did they give further drugs endangering his health?
If so, that's a crime under California law, but with much lower penalties maybe a year in jail maximum and some fines.
COOPER: All right, Lisa Bloom thanks.
COOPER: There's a fascinating and chilling account of Jackson's final days alive in the new issue of "Rolling Stone." You can check it out at AC360.com.
Erica Hill joins us now with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a U.S. counterterrorism official says one of Osama bin Laden's sons was probably killed earlier this year in Pakistan. The son of bin Laden is believed to have died in a missile strike by a U.S. predator drone.
Also in Pakistan, an American arrested, accused of helping al Qaeda attack a U.S. military base in Pakistan. According to that indictment Bryant Neal Vinas (ph) fired rockets at the base in September of last year. Prosecutors say the 26-year-old from Long Island also gave al Qaeda information about both the New York City transit system and the Long Island railroad.
The University of Mental Health files of Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho will soon be released to the public. Virginia Governor Tom Kaine saying the files were recently discovered at the home of a former university employee in April of 2007. Cho have killed 32 students and faculty members before killing himself.
A key Republican senator planning to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor: Senator Lindsey Graham saying, quote, "Elections matter" and Judge Sotomayor's, quote, "Mainstream record has convinced him that her views on race and gender don't drive her decisions on the bench."
And a "360 Follow" for you tonight: voters in Oakland, California, passing a tax on medical cannabis dispensary. That landslide vote will make Oakland the first city in the country to tax marijuana directly -- Anderson.
COOEPR: Well, on Friday we're going to re-air our special about pot in America, can we afford to make pot legal or can we afford not? Do join us for "AMERICA'S HIGH: THE CASE FOR AND AGAINST POT;" it's an AC360 special Friday night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up next, was it racial profiling? Tonight Professor Gates is speaking out about his arrest, his reaction to the police and if would he do the same thing again?
Also the latest in the Florida double murder, a husband and a wife killed, the suspects pointing fingers and providing details about the days leading up to the crime.
COOPER: Well, for the first time since his arrest, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., is speaking out, saying he's considering legal action again the Cambridge Massachusetts Police Department. The distinguished scholar was arrested outside his home near the Harvard campus after a neighbor reported seeing two black men trying to break in.
Was professor Gates a victim of racial profiling? Or were the police just doing their jobs?
Tonight during his prime time news conference, President Obama weighed in on the debate and has our nation divided. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts.
What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house. There was a report called in to the police station that there might be a burglary taking place. So far, so good, right?
I mean, if I was trying to jigger -- well, I guess this is my house now, so it probably wouldn't happen. But let's say my old house in Chicago -- here, I'd get shot.
But so far so good; they're reporting, the police are doing what they should. There's a call, they go investigate what happens.
My understanding is, at that point Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in, I'm sure there are some exchange of words, but my understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house. And at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct; charges which were later dropped.
Now, I've -- I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry. Number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.
And number three, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, there are two different versions of the story, one from the police, one from Professor Gates.
Tonight he told his version to Soledad O'Brien, in his first TV interview since his arrest. She joins us now.
I want to play some of your interview with the professor earlier, his version of how he was led away from his own home in handcuffs. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY LOUIS GATES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: This officer said, "Thank you for accommodating my earlier request, you are under arrest." And he slapped handcuffs on me and they took me to jail.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Originally they put the handcuffs behind your back?
GATES: They put my hand -- the handcuffs behind my back. But what it made me realize was how vulnerable all black men are, how vulnerable all people of color are and all poor people to capricious forces like a rogue policeman. And this man clearly was a rogue policeman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's interesting, Soledad. Different people have different reactions to this, especially I mean, do you see division from African-Americans and why it's the way they view this.
O'BRIEN: There's been a decent amount of outrage on all sides but some white people said me, "Well, wouldn't you want your neighbor to call the cops?"
And Professor Gates actually thanked the woman who called the cops. He said, "And if anybody right now is breaking in my home in Martha's Vineyard, I hope someone's calling the cops right now." But I think what happens is that there's a sort touchstone moment for African-Americans.
I mean, people are nodding their heads as he told the story, because people have similar experiences. Maybe not being arrested in your own home or right outside your home, but certainly having a cop stop you.
I mean the president referred to it. The cops stopped you in a car that's a nice car. Could it to be your car? No, let me see, let me see, prove to me it is.
Harvard students actually back in May wear ID, and also their ID of black Harvard students had to show their ID when they're on the Harvard property. You know having one of this get together because there was this expectation that maybe they don't belong there.
So I think African-Americans have a lot of experiences, of maybe you don't belong here, so prove who you are. And that's a different experience than many white people.
O'BRIEN: And I think still a lot of white people said to me, "Well, wouldn't you want the cops to come and see if there's a burglar in the house?" No question, but even in the police officer's own police report by the time he had established that in fact this was the homeowner in the house, that's when he placed him under arrest. So the stories don't really match up.
COOPER: And I hadn't realized that he had him leave his home so that he could arrest him.
O'BRIEN: Yes, well you know, you can't be arrested for disorderly conduct in your own house. It has to be public. To be public you have to be outside your house.
COOPER: So he asked him to step outside.
O'BRIEN: So you've got to be stepped outside. So that's when he stepped outside, he put the cuffs on him. And he walks with a cane, so when they put the cuffs behind him, he was in pain. I mean when we placed him to sit during our show...
O'BRIEN: ...it took a lot of placing, because he's uncomfortable a lot. I mean, it's hard for him.
So, you know, he had to put the cuffs in front of him and he was clearly very humiliated and upset still about the entire experience.
COOPER: And he talked to you about the -- in his belief, the importance of continuing to speak out about this. I want to play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GATES: I haven't heard from Sergeant Crowley, I would be prepared to listen to him if I were convinced that -- if he would tell the truth about what he did, about the distortions that he fabricated in the police report. I would be prepared as a human being to forgive him.
That would not deter me from using this as an educational opportunity for America. Because if this can happen to me in Harvard Square, this can happen to anybody in the United States and I'm determined that it never happen to anybody again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the officer who arrested Professor Gates, Sergeant James Crowley won't be apologizing, he told CNN affiliate WCBB earlier today saying, and I quote, "There are not many certainties in life, but it is for certain that Sgt. Crowley will not be apologizing," he said.
Obviously the center of this question is I mean, did race play a role, if so what role?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I mean, you never really know. But I think it's that nuance that just what really drives people crazy.
Who know, the question is if he had been a white professor, a white professor who walked with a cane, a white professor who was wearing a polo shirt and gray slacks -- you saw what he was booked in -- A white professor who is 5'7", and weighs 150 pounds, would everybody have been as quick to assume that he was the burglar?
Wouldn't they have said, "Sir we've heard that maybe there's a burglar, can we help you?" As opposed to assuming, he's a perpetrator and not the victim in some capacity, he was in the house. Why would you assume and he was not in some kind of danger from people having broken into his home? That was not the assumption.
So I think it's that expectation thing. Why is the black woman always expected to be the nanny and not the mom? I mean, that's the stories, the mom is in the school and my kids go say all the time, why do I always have to be the nanny? And no one expects me to be the mom? Why does no one expect me to drive a nice car? It's that nuance that I think really is frustrating for African-Americans.
COOPER: Now that the president is on record talking about this, I think we're going to hear a lot about it playing in the media tomorrow.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely, absolutely.
COOPER: No doubt about that. Soledad, stick around. We're going to have more with Soledad in a moment.
You can read more about Professor Gates, including his daughter's reaction to his arrest on AC360.com. That's where you can also weigh in on the story; join the live chat happening right now at AC360.com.
Up next: more from Soledad and more inspiring stories from tonight's "BLACK IN AMERICA 2" documentary including an aspiring principal and one woman on a remarkable journey for change.
Also ahead, sad news on the star of those "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" commercials -- remember those? Well, we'll let you know what's happened.
We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Tonight's "BLACK IN AMERICA 2" documentary on CNN tells the stories of African-Americans making a difference in their communities, including a Connecticut principal whose routine of tough love and high expectations is helping kids in one of the traditionally poorest-performing districts in that state.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: It's before dawn and Principal Steve Perry is already on the job.
STEVE PERRY, PRINCIPAL CAPITAL PREPATORY, MAGNET SCHOOL: What's up, sleeping beauty? Ok. I'll be there in 15 minutes.
O'BRIEN: Some quick good-byes to his wife and sons and he's out the door.
PERRY: I wake up at 4:45 in the morning and I drive kids to school.
O'BRIEN: You take kids to school?
PERRY: I do.
O'BRIEN: In your car?
PERRY: I have to.
O'BRIEN: You pick them up.
O'BRIEN: Why? Because you're the principal.
PERRY: I know.
PERRY: I'm the bus driver in the morning though and if you walk the halls, I'm picking up papers. I'm the custodian. You do what you got to do you get it done.
O'BRIEN: And Perry's students are getting it done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up chief?
O'BRIEN: Connecticut has one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. Black students on average are three grade levels behind white students. But every day, Perry and the students at Capital Prep defy the numbers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now is Principal Steve Perry and Malaak Compton-Rock who's "Journey for Change" program was also featured in tonight's program and "BLACK AMERICA" host, Soledad O'Brien.
Principal, I've got to start off with you. It was stunning to see the level of personal involvement you have with these students. I mean, driving them to school in the morning. Is that what it takes to be a principal and get kids to succeed today?
PERRY: Yes, if you look at America's best and most exclusive high school, you'll see that each teacher does something that they called a triple threat -- they coach, they teach and they advise.
Two of the responsibilities that they have are affective, not academic in nature. So for us, we have to make sure that we build relationships. Because once you build a relationship with a child, they'll go through fire for you. And that's really -- that's how I can be tougher on them in the other times, because they know I love them to death.
COOPER: Both of you blew me away tonight, I mean, both for you're your doing, Principal.
But also Malaak, what you're doing taking kids to South Africa, and as part of a year-long effort to really change their lives and change sort of their eye to what is possible.
And it seems what you both have in common is attention to detail. I mean, you Malaak, you know, kind of figure out, see what a kid needs and really kind of hone in on, you gave I think it was Jonathan, a book that was autographed by President Barack Obama, because you saw something in him that you thought that he might respond to?
MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK, THE ANGELROCK PROJECT: Absolutely. I think that's so important. And you know, Soledad asked me a question during the special, she said you could write a check. And I said I do need the check, I am a nonprofit person for the last 15 years and a fund- raiser and you do need money to do these innovative programs, but it does not take the place of mentorship.
And one thing that is so important to me is that I get to know each and every kid, their background, their parents' history and make sure that I'm there for them in any way that they need me. That's the only way that they're going to succeed in my program.
COOPER: It was stunning, Soledad, I mean the -- in some cases the lack of involvement of some parents. In you know coming in -- the principal was talking about coming to meetings, coming to conferences and stuff and even in some of the meetings with Malaak, you know a parent and sometimes the kid wouldn't show.
O'BRIEN: You know what's interesting for me, in the entire documentary -- and part 2 will air tomorrow -- that all the people we profile as being successful, they have what Malaak and Steve Perry have.
They are -- they go above and beyond. I mean, without exception, they do what they're supposed to, more than that and then even more on top of that, because they assume all those other responsibilities. And they are able to inspire people, because they just live that example.
To see Malaak with a binder walking through the streets of South Africa -- looking fabulous as always -- but running this business that she has decided she's going to make this work, it was just stunning for me to watch that happen and watched that unfold. And to see 30 kids literally, you saw their lives expand before your eyes.
It was absolutely stunning to watch Gloria's Medifi (ph), as she sobbed with joy. You know it's amazing, it's amazing thing to watch.
PERRY: It's also important to understand -- what I like about this, not just this installment, but what this means, "BLACK IN AMERICA 2," is that we are showing what can happen when dreamers are allowed to do.
I am one person in this nation who's doing this type of work. Malaak is another. We come from all sectors of life. And there are so many of us who believe in the unbelievable.
We go into areas in which it doesn't seem possible to change people's lives and we make it happen. And the only way that we can do that is if we believe. And there are a lot of believers out there.
In this installment of "BLACK IN AMERICA 2," it's just telling that story. It's saying here are some of the people out there. What makes me most inspired by this is that it inspires others to feel like, "You know what? I think I can do something too."
COOPER: Malaak, what surprised you the most? I mean, you came up with this idea and you were able to execute it. Did some things work out that you thought we're going to work out? Did some things work out better than you anticipated?
COMPTON-ROCK: You know I'm really lucky. The dream that I have for these kids has come true. I wanted them to be a part of the global world. I didn't want them just to be a part of Bushwick. I wanted them to feel like they were servants and that they were a part of a village of people.
And that is what's happened. They are now fund-raising for other children. They are going to the United Nations asking really phenomenal questions. They are going into the delegate signing room and feeling like they can belong. They just really are changed human beings.
And the one thing I'd like to say also is that one of the kids that we featured, Jonathan -- I'm really proud of him this semester because Jonathan actually got a 73 average, the best he's ever done.
COOPER: That's great.
COMPTON-ROCK: He received a certificate for most improved and a service award and he's attending Christ the King High School in September.
COOPER: Well, I mean, to see Jonathan... COMPTON-ROCK: So...
COOPER: ...to see the effect of just going to another country, interacting with people had on Jonathan, I mean, this is a guy who in that introductory meeting, you know, could barely look at you and only said a few words, I think Soledad said. And yet by the end he seemed like a different person.
COMPTON-ROCK: Anderson, everyone told me to leave Jonathan, including some of the staff at the Salvation Army. And I told them this is why I started the program, for kids like Jonathan, and I cannot even imagine if he was not a part of this program and a part of my life. And he really is one of the kids that made me realize that this...
COMPTON-ROCK: ...program is possible, that I can build global leaders through service, travel and education.
COOPER: Well Malaak Compton-Rock, thank you so much for being on tonight.
COMPTON-ROCK: Thank you.
COOPER: And Steve Perry as well, both of you...
PERRY: Thank you.
COOPER: ...just really inspired. So inspiring to a lot of people and maybe you want to get out...
COMPTON-ROCK: Congratulations, Steve, I love you.
PERRY: Thank you very much, Malaak, you're amazing.
COOPER: Tomorrow in "BLACK IN AMERICA" what's going to happen?
O'BRIEN: Yes, you know, we're going to continue our stories. We're going to take a look again at people who are having success, what is working in the community. Some doctors in health care who is trying to tackle that problem.
A female doctor goes back to Africa to figure out why do black women get hit with triple negative breast cancer, which is a devastating breast cancer. And what can she do in her travels back to Africa to see if she can fix that problem, not just for black woman but for all women.
So lots of remarkable people, I mean, and I've got to tell you we've left a lot of people behind, a good problem to have. They have other great, inspiring stories that you can't fit in for a time, so we're really proud of the people we'll talk about tomorrow.
COOPER: It was a great show tonight. I can't wait until tomorrow. O'BRIEN: Thank you.
COOPER: Thanks again, Principal, thanks for being with us.
PERRY: Thank you.
COOPER: I know you've got to get up in the morning. You have to drive some other kids...
PARRY: I do. Kids have already texted me to make sure I'm picking them up in the morning.
COOPER: All right, again, thanks for being on.
Coming up next, new information in the Florida double murder, that we've been following: suspects revealing details about how the murder took place and the days leading up to the crime.
And talk about a political fight, no holds barred in South Korea. That's our "Shot" of the day.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right. Erica Hill joins us again with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, two of the seven suspects in the murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings say the accused ringleader of their group was the lone gunman; that information coming from some newly-released court documents. Leonard Gonzalez Jr., once worked at a car dealership owned by the Florida couple and at some point else received financial support from them for his martial arts studio.
President Obama meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki today in Washington; both leaders cautiously optimistic about progress in Iraq as the U.S. military continues its pullback. Mr. Obama today, also reiterated his pledge that all U.S. forces will be out of Iraq by 2011.
And a sad night for fans of tacos, Chihuahuas, and frankly taco eating and loving Chihuahuas. Gidget, the pup who famously starred in those "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" ads -- she died of a stroke. She was 15 but apparently lived out her final years very happily.
COOPER: I would hope so.
COOPER: Well deserved.
All right, if you're joining us for the first time every night, we'd like to end the program with some we called "The Show" usually a video, it can be silly or serious or just plain strange.
For tonight's "Shot," the wacky world of South Korean politics.
HILL: Oh, bring it, Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: That's right -- we've seen this before they always fight. But this may be the largest and ugliest melee yet. Rival parties and the country's parliament went to the mattresses today over bills that would make it easier for business companies to control media stations. Go figure.
HILL: Look at that. And no one is letting go there.
HILL: Just holding onto each other.
COOPER: It got really ugly. A lot of leaping and jumping, some throwing, it like a -- they turn their chamber to mush pit.
HILL: There you go...
COOPER: Look at that guy right there. One woman was actually sent to the hospital.
HILL: He just did a Tom Foreman there. He tried to jump on a desk and gashed his knee.
COOPER: It was very a Tom Foreman act. They are setting a very bad example for law and order but a pretty good one for pro-wrestling.
HILL: Yes and they have a future.
COOPER: All right, you could see all the most recent shots at AC360.com. Also our "Beat 360" which we didn't have time for tonight. Check it out online.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
Now, here's Soledad O'Brien again with "Black in America 2."