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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Town Hall Brawls; Message from the Grave; Dangers of Texting While Driving; Charles Manson - Life in Prison
Aired August 7, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Debate over health care reform is starting to resemble a bar room brawl. Check out these pictures from a Town Hall meeting in Tampa yesterday. An overflow crowd essentially turning angry and aggressive, but Tampa is not alone with a scene like this.
Across the country lawmakers are being met with shouting, shoving in your face rudeness and not a whole heck of a lot of talking or debating.
So what is going on here? Who's showing up at these events? And is their anger real or is it a page out of a political playbook? Could it maybe be a little bit of both?
Tonight, we're going to look beyond the finger pointing and try to cut through the noise of which there is plenty. First though, we want to let you see and hear for yourself what we're talking about.
Here's Gary Tuchman, "Uncovering America."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is it democracy? Demagoguery? Or both? Congressional Town Hall meetings during August recess used to be rather sleepy affairs. Not anymore.
There are images of President Obama with a mustache like Hitler's or looking like the joker. And also elected Representatives hung in effigy.
Democratic Senators like Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter...
SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Medicare and Social Security...
TUCHMAN: And Missouri's Claire McCaskill, are hearing it from extremely unhappy Americans who don't like the idea of health care reform.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Same plan they're asking us...
TUCHMAN: People have been arrested. Others have suffered minor injuries with pushing and shoving.
Democrats like Florida's Kathy Castor have barely been able to get in a word edgewise.
At her meeting, reform opponents were seething because hundreds of them were stuck outside the Town Hall because they couldn't sit in the room. Protesters held signs on the other side of the window. The Congresswoman had to be hustled out.
In Texas, Congressman Lloyd Doggett tried to talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You voted against them and that's not right.
TUCHMAN: He, too, was drowned out. One protester used his artisan reach to pick the Congressman in a rather unsavory way.
REP. LLOYD DOGGETT, (R) TEXAS: The crowd certainly was angry. I suppose some might have had a negative reaction to the poster that said Lloyd Doggett, traitor to Texas, devil to all people.
TUCHMAN: So how did it come to this?
It depends on who you asked. The Democratic National Committee says these confrontations are orchestrated by the Republican Party and the Democrats have released this Web video.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've lost the confidence of the American people. Now desperate Republicans and their well-funded allies are organizing angry mobs just like they did during the election.
TUCHMAN: The word mob is greatly insulting to the folks on the other side of the argument. Many of the participants in these demonstrations said they are simply exercising their rights.
Ana Puig is Pennsylvanian who attended a Town Hall being hosted by Arlen Specter, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
ANA PUIG, THOMAS JEFFERSON CLUB: I feel like my constitutional rights are being taken away from me right before my eyes. I don't like the direction that we're going. They're taking away our freedom of speech. And the silent majority is finally fed up with it.
TUCHMAN: But now liberal advocacy group Moveon.org, has sent out an email to supporters saying they have a plan, quote, "to fight back against these radical right-wingers." The group is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
It's not only the weather that's hot in August, now the political temperature is boiling, too.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.
HILL: And just a short time ago we learned Senator Claire McCaskill -- you saw one of her events in Gary's piece -- had planned to hold a Town Hall meeting in Missouri on Tuesday.
That now has been canceled. The school district where it was to be held was worried about security.
We want to "Dig Deeper" now with one of the people who's been working hard and sending millions to discredit President Obama's health care reform plan.
Rick Scott is chairman of Conservatives for Patient's Rights. He's also a former hospital chief executive. He helped build Columbia HCA into the biggest health care company in the world. He was ousted by his own board in 1997 during a major health care fraud scandal. His former company pleaded guilty and paid $1.7 billion to settle charges including over-billing state and federal health programs.
Rick Scott joins us tonight. Good to have you in the studio with us.
You even mentioned when you came in here, you said, have you seen this tape? They're yelling like crazy. They're not getting much accomplished. And that seems to be the main question.
I saved the main question I have, I look at this and I say, it makes sense to come with your question and to challenge your lawmakers because you're the constituent.
What do you achieve when you stand up and you yell?
RICK SCOTT, CHAIRMAN, CONSERVATIVES FOR PATIENTS' RIGHTS: Well, they ought to be doing -- there ought to be a forum where you can ask questions. And you ought to be -- ask the question and hopefully get a response.
People need to be civil about it. It needs to be organized. But they ought to have the Town Hall meeting.
HILL: But what we're being told, too, from lawmakers and some people who are there is that, look, we're trying to answer questions. But every time we try to answer a question, there's somebody who stands up. There have been things like "tyranny" yelled. Things like "no" yelled.
You I know -- you do not support the president's plan for health care reform. A lot of these people don't either.
HILL: So then, if you were giving them advice and helping to rally them on your side, what's your advice to them?
SCOTT: Well, what I'll tell everybody, whatever you believe. Whether you believe in the U.K. or Canadian government health care or you don't, show up, learn the bill -- first off, get educated.
Learn the bill and show up and ask your questions and let your Congressman, Senator -- I mean, and not just go to Town Hall meetings. Write them letters; call them. But show up at these meetings and ask questions.
But you have to do it in a civilized manner. The difference between this and other things is this is really important to people. Health care is the most important thing.
So you have seniors, they are showing up because they say, how can you cut $400 billion out of Medicare and not impact me? How can you do it?
And then, you have the small business owners who say how can I afford eight percent of wages for health benefits? I can't do it. I'm struggling.
HILL: Well, there's also a little -- a lot of misinformation out there which is, of course, what these Town Halls are set to help people with, to help them understand. Because let's be honest here, there isn't even an official bill at this point before Congress.
That's the beauty of these Town Hall meetings is you can learn from your constituents what their concerns are. But again, I have to go back to this. Because I know that you're helping to fuel this. Because you don't want to see this health care reform, parts of which the president has proposed you don't like. But if this is what's coming out, how is that helping anybody's case, yours included?
SCOTT: Well, we want health care reform. But what we want is health care reform that's good for patients. So and there are -- there are bills. I mean, there's the House bill out. And there's the health committee bill out. So there are bills out. And people are starting to see what's happening.
And the person has said he would like a government insurance plan. There's a lot of people that are very concerned about how that's going to impact their health care. And they're showing up and say, tell me how this is going to work?
That's my understanding. Our goal is...
HILL: Are they really saying that, though? Because I see people in these videos who are showing up saying things like, this is turning into socialized medicine or you just said, sort of implying that any plan that's going to be out there is all of a sudden going to turn the U.S. health care system into one like the U.K. or one like Canada.
HILL: And I think lawmakers have been pretty clear in saying look, we're not trying to do exactly what other countries are doing. We want to take your ideas and your concerns and figure out how this can work best for Americans.
SCOTT: Well, I also guess it's definitely true. We are already in the stimulus bill. We already have a thorough coordinating council, that's very similar to what they started in the U.K. that now 10 or 11 years later, puts a value on your life.
That's scary to people. So that's already passed. Health care I.T. has passed. They're going to know your medical records. That's pretty scary to people.
HILL: So you agree that some things in this country need to change when it comes to health care?
SCOTT: Oh, absolutely. The first thing we did was that we have four pillars. One -- choice, you won't have the right to choose your doctor and choose your insurance plan. Two -- competition; you ought to know what things cost and insurance companies are to sell across state lines. So there's more competition.
HILL: We're getting short on time...
HILL: I need to come back to these tactics. Because you keep coming out and saying you don't get the yelling either. But do you support the organization of getting people out there?
SCOTT: Oh absolutely.
HILL: So if you support that...
HILL: ...but you don't -- I'm just confused.
SCOTT: Oh, absolutely. I think people ought to show up. I think they ought to learn the bills, show up and ask questions. Now, you have to do it in a civilized manner so you have a real...
HILL: So you're reaching out to some of these groups like the 912 project in Tampa? We had a Representative on from that earlier tonight on CNN. And she said her problem is she feels like she's not being heard. But yet she's admitting that they're going out there and they're yelling. So would you reach out to people like that?
SCOTT: Well, we've -- all we've done on our Website, we just put up all the Town Halls. And what we've suggested to everybody is show up. But other than that we don't run a grassroots organization that says go -- here's 50 people that show up at this meeting. We don't do that.
HILL: So you're saying you don't try to organize people to come to Town Hall meetings?
SCOTT: No. What we try to do is get people to show up. We don't have an organization at the grassroots level that does that.
HILL: And just to be clear, too, concerned citizens as we know is one thing but there has been a lot of talk that some of this is being incited by people who stand to benefit from -- people who may have ties to health care industry who would benefit from reform proposals being defeated at this point.
SCOTT: Well, I don't know about that.
HILL: So you wouldn't benefit from that at all?
SCOTT: No. I have an investment. The only investment I have in health care is a walk-in doctor's office company. So we take care of insured and uninsured patients. So we'll do fine either way.
HILL: Ok. Thanks for being here, Rick Scott.
SCOTT: All right, thanks a lot.
HILL: I appreciate it.
Just ahead, we're going to talk more about this. And we want to know if you've been to any Town Halls when it comes to health care. Let us know what you think. Join the live chat that's happening right now at ac360.com.
And still to come on the program, there is more on the backlash lawmakers are coming face to face with on their summer recess. The noise as you saw in those videos is deafening. We're going to try to find a quiet zone here to sort out what's really going on with the help of David Gergen.
Also ahead, see "Close Up" why texting behind the wheel is at least as dangerous as driving while drunk. And if you think you're the exception to this rule, that's even more reason for you to watch.
HILL: Tonight, we're doing our best to cut through the shouting that's drowning out any real debate over health care reform. At Town Hall meetings across the country this week, anger over proposed reforms seemed to boil over, at times resulting in minor injuries, even arrests, from Michigan to Missouri to Florida, lawmakers facing furious crowds.
No as for where all the anger is coming from, no surprise both Democrats and Republicans are doing plenty of finger pointing. So we can't think of anyone more level-headed to help us sort through this than our own senior political analyst, David Gergen -- our voice of reason, David.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not sure about that, Erica, but thank you.
HILL: I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt.
GERGEN: It's a big doubt.
Since the early days of the republic we've had protests in this country whether against higher taxes or wars or discrimination; any number of injustices that people have felt, our politics have been raucous, they've been boisterous. They've been full of sound and fury.
But I must say I think that this has become very offensive, what's happening at these Town Halls. Its one thing to have people show up, ask questions, ask hard questions and to hold up signs. That's their first-amendment right, the freedom of speech.
But they are denying the right of others to exercise their freedom of speech. To hear these members of Congress both ways to ask the questions and to get answers.
And it seems to me the issue here is not what's the White House doing but where are -- where is the Republican leadership on this question?
HILL: Meaning you feel that they should be leading the opposition to this and not letting brawls basically break out at Town Hall meetings?
GERGEN: Yes, absolutely. You recall that during the campaign -- hard-hitting campaign -- there were some times at McCain rallies and often at Palin -- well, more often at Palin rallies. You remember people there was a lot of anger being expressed there against the Democratic ticket. And some really nasty things were said. You know, like, "Kill him." You remember that?
And eventually, John McCain spoke out against it. And it was the right thing to do. And he helped to quell that. And it does seem to me now that it's up to the Republicans, the conservatives to say -- and I think Mr. Scott had the right point, this needs to be civil.
GERGEN: But if they're going to help stir people up, that's fine. But they now need to take responsibility for the people that are showing up and say we've got a hand in this. We want them to do this in a civil way.
HILL: David though, is there...
GERGEN: ...you vote against the bill, have protest -- whatever...
HILL: ...is there something more to this?
GERGEN: Go ahead.
HILL: Is there something more to this than just I'm opposed to health care reform or I'm opposed to some of the ideas that I've heard or some of the things I think I understand? Because this seems to be a fairly large vocal opposition.
GERGEN: Yes, there is. And I think it has roots in the campaign. It has roots in a group of people who do feel aggrieved, feel the country is on the wrong track. Or unhappy with the election of Barack Obama, we saw it in those rallies. I think we saw it in the anti-tax, the tea-parties earlier this year.
We've seen it, perhaps, a strain of this in the birther question, which is really the question of legitimacy of Barack Obama. I don't see these health care protesters as racist.
Paul Krugman was I think trying to suggest that today in his column in "The New York Times." Health care does go deep with people in this country. And it's a very fundamental issue. This touches a raw nerve. But I do think there's a relationship that goes back to some of the anger we've seen over the last year.
HILL: And you mentioned earlier that the Republicans need to do more to speak out.
HILL: Peggy Noonan today in "The Wall Street Journal" actually called the Democratic response stunningly crude and aggressive. She's making some specific references there just being said by Speaker Pelosi.
But there is also some criticism when it comes to the Democrats. We called a number of lawmakers this afternoon and tonight. And not one of them would agree to come on this show and talk to us about why they were canceling Town Hall meetings. How they felt about these brawls. They wouldn't even discuss it.
So do the Democrats need to step up a little bit, too, on their side?
GERGEN: Absolutely. You know, Senator McCaskill did a few days ago, but more of them need to step up. I don't know why people feel intimidated by this sort of stuff on either side, whether it's Republicans or Democrats.
This is -- this is very discouraging for people who want to see the democracy work. We've had two presidents in a row now, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, come to Washington promise to change, make this our discourse, make it more civil. And it just gets worse.
I mean, we saw last night, Erica, in the "200-Day Report Card." There is a tremendous polarization that's now taking place that equals that of what we saw under George W. Bush. And there's anger growing on both ends of the spectrum at the other end.
That makes governing very hard. It makes -- and the real question facing us as people right now, are we a self-governing people or not? Can we face the large challenges we have as a country? And health care is clearly one of them.
And I think this is putting democracy to a real test and leadership on both sides, leaders on both sides need to step up and put an end to these disruptive kind of brawling, physically violent sessions. Senator Claire McCaskill had to even had to cancel one next week because of fear of violence.
HILL: Well, it will be interesting to see what happens as the recess and the Town Halls continue or not.
HILL: Depending whether or not they're canceled. Just the beginning I have a feeling.
David Gergen, always a pleasure. Thank you.
GERGEN: Thank you, Erica. HILL: So let's put those brawls over health care reform aside for just a moment and let's try something here. Let's look at actual facts.
Let's take a look at what is on the table at this point in the House and the Senate.
Who better than Ali Velshi to join us now with the "Raw Politics?" So Ali, a lot of the anger that we've seen in the Town Hall meetings is over the idea of a public insurance plan.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
HILL: The word "Socialism" gets thrown around there. We're compared to governments in Europe, Canada. Critics say it's essentially a government takeover of the health care system. Even House Democrats, though, who support the idea don't seem to agree to make it work.
So give us an idea. What are the real proposals here for public insurance? And why is it unpopular?
VELSHI: All right, well, because it's unfamiliar, because it does have those overtones of socialism. That's not necessarily true. And you're absolutely right about one thing. Democrats are having trouble agreeing on what that is. Republicans are having an easier time on agreeing that they don't want the public option.
But there's more than one thing when we talk about a public option. Let's take a look at what it is. The first option is a publicly- funded insurance system that basically deals with -- and remember this, there are up to 50 million Americans who are not properly insured right now. This wouldn't even take care of all of them.
But basically it would be a federally-funded insurance program that would compete with privately-funded insurance programs. So I think this talk about how it's going to take away the insurance people have, it doesn't make sense. That's not on the table at all.
The other proposal that the Democrats have is a coop type of insurance; a cooperative that is not necessarily funded by the government. It's funded by its members, although, it would get seed money by the government.
One of the problems is we don't know how many people would participate in these programs. So it's hard to do the actuarial science to figure out whether or it would cost more or less. So I'm fascinated by people who are yelling and not letting others speak on this thing because there's so much information that we actually have to have.
But this is in very, very broad strokes the two public options. It would not be all of the program by the way. It would be part of health care reform -- Erica.
HILL: Ok, so that's one part of it.
The other part, of course, is the cost, Ali. VELSHI: Yes.
HILL: The Congressional Budget Office saying this is going to add $1 trillion over ten years to the national deficit. So how do you pay for something like this?
VELSHI: There are two problems when it comes to cost. The first is health care costs themselves. Put insurance aside for a second. Health care costs are escalating. And we have to get those under control.
The second one is the cost of insuring everyone. And this is really reason to be concerned. This is a big deal.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates about $1 trillion. How do you pay for this? Well, hopefully you try and reduce costs of health care. That's one thing.
Number two, a surtax; a tax on top of income tax for the highest 1.2 percent of earners in the country.
So basically if you're in that top category you just pay extra money. That's another way we can think about doing it.
The next way is to tax some health insurance policies. In other words, tax the health insurers. Critics say that would just pass the tax on to those people who are insured.
But that's another proposal that's in the works. And finally, providing either incentives for employers -- and typically that means employers that bring in more than half a million dollars a year or have more than 25 employees -- incentives for them to provide insurance for their workers or penalties for those who don't. Pay or play -- if you don't insure your staff you have to pay a penalty, basically a tax to the government.
Those are some of the things that are in the works.
One thing I need to correct that Rick said a little earlier. He talked about insurance records and I.T. and how they're going to have all your information. That's a tax-saving measure that was put in to the stimulus to allow medical records to be electronically stored.
That is something almost universally agreed upon that is going to save money. So I think that was a bit of a misrepresentation -- Erica.
HILL: All right, Ali I always appreciate you clearing it up. It's good to have you, thanks.
HILL: Just ahead on 360, major new legal development in the Drew Peterson murder case. What his lawyers are doing to silence his late wife's so-called words from the grave.
Plus, is Charles Manson really having a grand old time behind bars 40 years after the killing spree that put him there? Wait until you hear what a former prison employee has to say.
HILL: Still ahead, Charles Manson 40 years after his notorious killings spree. A look at what his life is like behind bars and if he could soon be paroled.
First though Gary Tuchman joining us for the "360 News and Business Bulletin." Hi, Gary.
TUCHMAN: Hi, Erica.
A matriarch of the Kennedy clan in critical but stable condition tonight: family spokesman said 88-year-old Eunice Kennedy Shriver was surrounded by loved ones at the Massachusetts Hospital where she's being treated. The sister of President John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy is best known for starting the Special Olympics. She is also the mother of California's first lady Maria Shriver.
A deadly day in Iraq, at least 42 people killed, 154 wounded in 50 separate attacks. Today is a Shiite religious holiday and four out of the five attacks targeted Shiites.
A new job report out today, with some encouraging news: the unemployment rate, falling to 9.4 percent in July, down for the first time since April 2008 -- that's 15 months. The White House calling it, quote, "The least bad report that we've had in a year."
And a lighter moment from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Africa trip; at a gala dinner in Nairobi, Mrs. Clinton got down on the dance floor. She looks like she was having fun there in Kenya. What a week. Started with Bill Clinton in North Korea, ends with Hillary Clinton doing a jig.
HILL: I think they'll have a lot to catch up to do when they're both back in the same country. Don't you?
TUCHMAN: Absolutely, a lot to talk about.
HILL: Gary thanks.
Still ahead, texting while driving; you probably heard about the new study revealing just how dangerous it really is. We talked about it here on 360. Well, tonight we're going to show you just how bad it can be.
Also ahead, Drew Peterson's third wife feared he might kill her. Well now, five years after she was found dead, could her testimony from beyond the grave help convict him? His legal team is planning a major offensive. And we have the exclusive details tonight.
When 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HILL: Tonight, as Drew Peterson sits in a jail cell awaiting trial on charges he murdered his third wife, Kathleen Savio, we're learning his defense team has big plans on Monday hoping to deliver a fatal blow to the prosecution's case.
Kathleen Savio, you may recall, was found dead in her bathtub in 2004. Originally ruled an accidental drowning, her death was later classified as a homicide after her body was exhumed in 2007 and additional autopsies were performed.
Savio allegedly believed Peterson wanted to kill her and reportedly made several comments that if anything happened to her, he was probably behind it. Before Peterson was arrested the former Illinois cop, seemed to craved attention; parading in front of the cameras, making jokes, clearly enjoying the spotlight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW PETERSON, ACCUSED KILLER: What do you get when you cross the media with a pig? What do you get? You get nothing because there's some things a pig won't do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Peterson who was also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy, claims he is innocent of his third wife's death. On Monday his attorneys will file a motion asking the court to throw out all the statements Kathleen Savio allegedly made implicating Peterson.
In an exclusive to 360, Lisa Bloom has seen a draft of that brief. We're going to speak with her in just a moment, to get more on the details.
But first, we want to speak with Anna Doman, the sister of Kathleen Savio. She joins us tonight along with her attorney, John Kelly. Good to have both of you with us.
ANNA DOMAN, SISTER OF DREW PETERSON'S THIRD WIFE: Hi, Erica, how are you?
JOHN KELLY, ANNA DOLEMAN'S ATTORNEY: Hi Erica.
HILL: Well, I'm doing all right. And I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us about this. Because I'm sure it doesn't get easier no matter how much time passed.
And I know that some of the evidence Drew Peterson and his attorney would like to have thrown out or made inadmissible in court are things that you say your sister Kathleen said to you about Drew Peterson.
What are those statements?
DOMAN: She told me that she would never live for the divorce settlement; that Drew was going to kill her. She would never live. And if anything did happen, he did it and to please take care of her children.
HILL: And when she told you those things, what was your first thought? Did you think, "Oh, Kathleen, calm down, you're going through a divorce. Obviously it's a tough time."
DOMAN: Well, yes, I know I'm like, you know, you really don't believe someone would actually go so far as to kill them. I knew Drew was lethal. I mean, I knew he had been physically abusing her and black eyes and all that.
But you never really believe someone would go so far for money. You know, I tried to make her feel better but she was very, very insistent that I say -- she'd say "Anna, say the words. Tell me you will promise to take care of my children, make sure they're healthy, they get their education, they're happy. Say it in those words."
She wanted me to hear it. She was very upset. And she knew and she said, "Please make sure you take care of them first. No matter what, my kids come first and they get -- everything I have goes to them 50/50."
HILL: And she had actually made sure that her life insurance policy as I understand did go to them?
DOMAN: She changed -- she had a very large million-dollar life insurance policy. There was more than one. But the one big one that Drew had been beneficiary on and she told me at the time that she believed he did not know she changed the beneficiary. She made the boys' 50/50 beneficiaries on that policy, where for the longest time Drew had been the beneficiary.
But she changed it and that's when she told me, "I changed the beneficiaries. I want to make sure the kids get everything."
HILL: I know you haven't been able to have much contact with your nephews, with her children. Take me back, though, to the statements, again, if you could. How many times did she say these things to you and over what period of time?
DOMAN: All the time. Oh, all the time, especially when the divorce hit, towards the end. I mean, before the divorce -- before the divorce was filed for and Drew had moved out, she was trying to save the marriage.
After the divorce had -- she kept telling me, she goes, you know, Drew's lethal. She goes, "I'm terrified of him. He's told me on many occasions he's going to kill me. He will never let me have the children;" over and over. Every time I saw her she would be terrified.
She used to call me up on her phone -- on her cell phone and she'd go, "Anna, you're going to think I'm crazy but somebody's following me." I'm like, "Who is it?" She goes, "I don't know." I said, "Is it Drew?" She's like, "No, I don't know."
All the time this is what happened. She'd be going to school or going to work or whatever. You know? Most people were thinking she was crazy. I believed her and I kept telling her, please move in with me.
HILL: Well, it will be interesting to see what happens on Monday and how this goes once this brief is filed which I mentioned we're going to learn a little bit more on from Lisa Broom.
John, a quick question for you. If, for some reason this evidence is thrown out, if the criminal trial doesn't go the way that you and Anna would like it to, are you planning to try this case in civil court eventually?
JOHN Q. KELLY, DOMAN'S ATTORNEY: Well, sure. That's, you know, we're queued up. If for some reason the prosecution is not successful -- we anticipate they will be -- but if not, it will be another case like Simpson where we try the wrongful death action.
HILL: We'll continue to follow it.
KELLY: And you know, that would be a whole different ball game, Erica -- if.
HILL: As to whether or not the testimony would be admissible?
KELLY: Oh, no, the whole thing. I mean, you have a lower burden of proof. It would just be the preponderance of the evidence. It would be you don't need a unanimous jury.
And I think the most important thing in a civil case is I would be able to depose Mr. Peterson and he'd have to take the stand. He can't avoid testifying. I'd have the opportunity to cross examine him in the trial.
HILL: A lot of things that will be coming up in the near future. We'll continue to follow it. Anna Doman and John Kelly; thanks for being with us tonight.
DOMAN: Thank you, Erica.
KELLY: Thanks Erica.
HILL: We do want to talk a little bit more about this major new legal development in the Peterson murder case. Because as we told you the defense team will file a brief on Monday claiming any so-called beyond the grave statements Kathleen Savio made be ruled inadmissible. Things like what her sister Anna just told us she said to her.
CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom had an exclusive look at the preliminary draft of this motion. Lisa joins us now. Lisa, what did you see in that document?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erica, this is a detailed, thorough, powerful, one-two constitutional punch on the biggest issue in the case and that is whether Kathleen's statements should come in.
The arguments are number one, that this is an ex-post facto law. There was a law passed in 2008 -- just last year -- that many called Drew's Law. Changing the rules of evidence, allowing in what would normally be hearsay evidence from Kathleen Savio into the trial.
The defense says this is an ex-post facto law; unconstitutional under the federal constitution to target a particular case to change the rules of evidence in the middle of the game.
The second argument is under the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution that Drew Peterson like everybody else has the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him. Allowing in this kind of statement from somebody, even if she's a murder victim and can't come in to testify means he can't cross- examine her and, therefore, that would be unconstitutional.
I have to tell you, I think it is a strong motion on a gut level, moral level. I think most people would like to see this evidence come in at trial. But the U.S. Constitution is pretty clear. And the case and the law under the constitution is pretty clear.
We haven't seen the prosecution's response.
BLOOM: The prosecution hasn't seen this brief yet. They may have good arguments in response. But this is going to be the biggest legal battle in the case.
And Erica, if the defense wins on this motion, I understand the prosecution will immediately take it up on appeal. Drew Peterson would then be out of jail during the time of that appeal. That would be a big win for him.
HILL: If, for some reason, this is ruled inadmissible, how much of a case does the prosecution have if they continue forward with it?
BLOOM: In my opinion this is the strongest evidence in the case. Kathleen's statements if anything happens to me, he did it. There's no DNA evidence linking Drew Peterson to this crime. There's no forensic evidence.
And on the weekend Kathleen Savio died, Drew Peterson has witness, family members that say he was with them. We don't know what the prosecution's theory of the case is but we do know that Kathleen Savio drowned.
How did Drew Peterson get in the house? How did he do it? There was no sign of a struggle. This is a tough case for the prosecution, in my view, even with these statements from Kathleen Savio. Without these statements it's a real hard case.
HILL: In the autopsy, the private autopsy the family ordered from Michael Baden, he did say that some of the wounds did show signs of a struggle.
Unfortunately I have to leave it there. I'm being told we're out of time.
BLOOM: Thanks Erica. HILL: Lisa Bloom, always appreciate it. Thank you for sharing this with us tonight; really good to have you here especially before it's filed on Monday morning.
You can join the live chat happening now at ac360.com.
Up next, texting behind the wheel: another state issuing a ban on it but still millions of people do it every day. Do they really understand, though, the danger? Tonight we're going to show you just how a split-second of texting can lead to tragedy.
And a bit later, Charles Manson in prison from his voodoo dolls made in the cell to the dozens of infractions. We'll show you what life is like for this infamous murderer.
HILL: It's tough to find anyone who defends drinking and driving. Ye millions of Americans continue to engage in far riskier behavior pm the road without a second thought. Perfect example -- texting.
A new study finds truck drivers who text behind the wheels are 23 times more likely to get in a crash. On Thursday Illinois became the 17th state to ban texting while driving. It is also illegal in the District of Columbia.
That's where Tom Foreman is tonight for the "Keeping Them Honest" demonstration that will hopefully make you think twice about texting while driving -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Erica. We had such a strong response to this demonstration of these findings out of Virginia Tech that we aired earlier. With this news, we wanted to show it to you again.
The Tech researchers told me that the average person, for example, loading a CD into a car takes his or her eyes off of the road for a second and a half.
Look at this. We went out and got into an empty parking lot in Maryland. I got up to about 25 miles per hour at that cone; took that time and second and a half later looked up and stopped the car. This is about where I stopped, getting on the brake as quickly as I could.
HILL: Which to a lot of people probably doesn't seem terribly bad but when you bring a phone into the equation, it's a far different picture?
FOREMAN: Then it becomes very, very different. Because dialing a phone, the researchers say, takes your eyes away for about three seconds. So, same test. Look at this. Same speed. I get up here. This is where we begin.
I take about three seconds. I go past the cone from earlier and now look where I wind up stopping when I look up and stop. So it's a considerable distance further than it was -- going to stop it for a second here. I'll take it back so you can see precisely where I passed.
This is where I wound up. Way back there is where I passed the earlier cones. You can see it's about twice as far down the way when I'm trying to dial a phone number.
HILL: And that whole way you're driving with your eyes off the road, essentially.
FOREMAN: Yes, that's right. What they measured was how long you flick your eyes off the road. And it may not be one time.
To get that done or to text a message, you may do it repeatedly. But this is the longest single period of time in which we might do it. Which brings us to the question of texting which they say can take a driver's eyes off the road for almost five seconds at a stretch.
So watch this. This time -- this is my starting point. I shoot right past my earlier points while I'm texting here for 4.6 seconds. There's the first point. There's the second one. Finally I come to a stop way down here.
I want you to look at that again as we did before. Here's where I am. But look at how far I went compared to the point where I had been dialing and particularly the point way back here, that's it, where I was putting in the CD.
This is really a substantial distance to cover in that amount of time. Remember, this is only 25 miles an hour. At highway speeds, the researchers say I could easily come more than the distance of a football field and then some, essentially driving blind -- Erica.
HILL: Not hard to see why it could be 23 times more likely to get into a crash while you're texting. Tom thanks.
Up next on 360, "The Face of Evil:" Charles Manson may be older but just as controlling as ever. We'll tell you what he's been up to behind bars. You'll also meet one woman who actually moved to be near his prison, just to be close to Manson.
The death of a pitchman: was it his heart that killed Billy Mays or could he have been playing with fire? New details tonight within 360 continues.
HILL: Charles Manson has spent the last 40 years inside a California prison. As we approach the anniversary of the killing spree he led, it's clear Manson may be exactly where he wants to be.
A former prison employee says the madman is actually having a great time behind bars. As you'll hear, still taking pleasure in tormenting others.
With tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, here's Ted Rowlands.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1971 Charles Manson was sent to California's death row at San Quentin Prison.
CHARLES MANSON, MASS MURDERER: Aren't we all born to die?
ROWLANDS: Manson was transferred out of San Quentin and his sentence was reduced to life with possible parole when California briefly abolished the death penalty.
(on camera): After bouncing around between several different facilities, Charles Manson ended up here at the Corcoran State Prison in central California. He's been here for 20 years.
He's housed in a special unit; it's on the inside of the prison. You can't see it from here. Basically it's just on the other side of where you can see those prisoners exercising.
(voice-over): Over the years, Manson has been cited for more than 100 disciplinary actions in prison including threatening peace officers, possession of weapons, illegal business dealings and failure to maintain grooming standards all in the past decade.
PATRICK SEQUERA, L.A. COUNTY, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He's been an absolute -- absolutely horrible prisoner in terms of disciplinary violations.
ROWLANDS: But he has made friends. Ed George is one of them. He's a former prison employee and co-authors the book about Manson called "Taming the Beast."
George says Manson has a unique ability to get close to people who may be able to help him and get under the skin of others.
ED GEORGE, FORMER PRISON COUNSELOR: The family used to send him socks, different colored socks -- that was one of the items they could send him. He would unravel them, did all different colors and he'd make dolls out of them; little Voodoo dolls. And then he would tell when you go down the cell, the tier, and looking at him he would say, "This is you." And then he'd have a pin and he'd stick it in you.
ROWLANDS: according to prison officials, Manson receives lots of mail and over the years has had a steady stream of visitors. One of them is this 21-year-old woman named Star who says she first wrote to Manson at 16 living in Illinois.
STAR: MANSON VISITOR/FRIEND: I thought, man, this guy is right on. You know? He's truthful.
ROWLANDS: Star says she then moved to the prison to be close to Manson.
STAR: Charlie is wise and he sees what's going on in the world.
ROWLANDS: Star claims she's drawn to Manson because of his views on the environment, which has been one of his reoccurring themes over the past 40 years. MANSON: This music, and not the ecology. It's the air -- ATWA.
STAR: Charlie is all about ATWA which is air, trees, water, animals.
ROWLANDS: Manson's day-to-day life according to Ed George and others consists of playing guitar, reading, writing letters and spending time on the phone. His next parole hearing set for 2012.
According to George, Charles Manson has said he would be perfectly happy to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Most people believe he probably will.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Corcoran, California.
HILL: "Digging Deeper" now: Steve Kay was one of the prosecutors who tried the Manson killers and believes all of them should never be released from prison. Steve Kay joins us now.
Good to have you with us tonight.
When you hear the account...
STEVE KAY, PROSECUTOR: Thanks for inviting me.
HILL: Absolutely. When you hear the accounts of what Charles Manson's life is like in prison these days, writing letters, all this fan mail, playing his guitar. What do you think about that? Are you surprised at all?
KAY: Not at all. Prison has been his life. The last time he was in prison before the Tate/LaBianca murders, he was in Terminal Island federal prison here in Los Angeles.
And when it came time to parole him, he told the authorities that he did not want to leave prison. He wanted to spend the rest of his life in prison. They literally had to take him to the front of the prison and boot him out.
He has spent basically all of his life since he was 8 years old either in reform schools, boys' camps, county, state or federal prisons. And he is not having a bad time at all in prison.
He gets on the average of four fan letters a day. And people will write letters and they'll get a response and they'll think, "Oh, this is great. I got a response from Charles Manson. This is going to be worth something."
Manson is such a con that he passes the letters out to other prisoners and has them act as his correspondent secretary and answers the letter. He doesn't care what they write.
HILL: Interesting. We just heard in that piece from Ted Rowlands the L.A. County D.A. called Manson an absolutely horrible prisoner. When it comes to some of the Manson family members though -- I know you said that they're model prisoners. Yet you don't ever want to see any of them released. Why is that?
KAY: This is a very unusual case and you can't apply regular standards in other murder cases to this. These people wanted to start a race war. They killed seven innocent people they didn't even know, they had nothing against. They wanted to blame the murders on blacks.
Manson wasn't along on the first night of murders but he did go along on the LaBianca murders. He stole Rosemary LaBiancas wallet and had it placed in a gas station in what he thought was a black area because he wanted a black person to find the wallet and to use her credit card and get blamed for the murders.
These people are fine in prison. I commend them for doing well and they can help other prisoners. But you can't predict what they're going to do on the outside. These are people -- they're not hippies. They hated hippies.
When they joined the family, a lot of hippies heard Manson, what he was saying and they got away from him as fast as possible because what he was saying was Adolf Hitler was his hero for what he did to Jews in World War II.
Manson was a racist; would not allow minorities in the family and would tell different people who could get together and have babies. These killers, something resonated within them and they stayed.
Some of them were pretty bright. Leslie Van Houten has a 121 IQ, puts her in the top 5 percent of people in the U.S. She admitted under my cross-examination that it took her two days to decide whether or not she could commit murder. She made that decision before Manson or anyone else asked her.
HILL: I know you've -- over the years you have gone to a number of the parole hearings across California to argue against parole for many of the Manson family members. You definitely have a unique insight to this case. We appreciate taking some time to speak with us tonight.
Steve Kay thanks.
KAY: Thank you very much.
HILL: From Manson to the moonwalk. 1969 was full of historic and horrific moments. You can read about all of them, the bad and of course many of the good at ac360.com.
Just ahead, we have a "360 Follow" for you. What killed TV pitchman Billy Mays? Some shocking details just revealed.
Plus, an incredible sight you really have to see. But is it too good to be true? We'll investigate. It's our "Shot" of the day.
HILL: Let's get you caught up now on some of the day's other stories. Gary Tuchman joining us again with the "360 Bulletin" tonight -- Gary.
TUCHMAN: Erica, a "360 Follow." Florida officials say TV pitchman Billy Mays had cocaine in his system when he died. A medical examiner revealing today that the drug contributed to the heart disease that killed Mays in June. His family is calling the finding speculative and is considering getting an independent review of the toxicology results.
The gunman who killed three women in a shooting spree at a Pittsburgh area gym this week got some of his gun equipment from an online weapons dealer. The dealer also provided merchandise to the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University shooters. The company based in Wisconsin runs dozens of Web sites selling firearms.
Moving out. South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has the official residence to himself. His wife and four sons packing up and leaving today and will live at the family home on Sullivan's Island which is near Charleston. In June Stanford admitted to an affair with an Argentinian journalist.
And Trekkies unite. Thousands have gathered for the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. Fans of the TV and movie franchise will not be disappointed. The stars, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner will be there.
HILL: I wonder if William Shatner will be reciting any of his poetry?
TUCHMAN: That's a good question. And I wonder how often we will see the Star Trek salute. Can you do that, Erica?
HILL: I can.
TUCHMAN: I cannot do -- I have to hold my fingers to do it.
HILL: I can do it with two hands, Gary Tuchman.
TUCHMAN: That's really -- that's like a genetic thing. And I just have never been able to do it.
HILL: I'll get you some superglue though, don't worry.
TUCHMAN: Thanks Erica.
HILL: Next, the "Shot" of the day just got us all talking. A daredevil's jump -- we'll show you how it ends.
HILL: For tonight's "Shot," a Friday twofer, Gary: two incredible clips from none other than the Worldwide Web. They look real, but because we found them on the Internet, are they? We're going to let you be the judge.
First up: the daredevil and the water slide. That is one heck of a slip and slide. This shows what appears to be -- watch -- a stuntman sliding down a slippery and massive ramp -- wow -- flying a few hundred feet into a shallow pool of water.
TUCHMAN: That's not real. That's not real.
HILL: Come on, Gary Tuchman. That was the focus of your "What I did on my Summer Vacation" essay, wasn't it? It was a video essay?
TUCHMAN: I tried that myself and I missed the pool. I thought it was impossible.
HILL: I'm not so sure that's real.
TUCHMAN: That's Evel Knievel.
HILL: That guy would die, I think.
A lot of folks say it's computer generated. Again, we'll let you be the judge.
Here's the next one. Two girls walking through a river. Right? Here it comes. La, la, la, la, la. There they go. One of the girls bends down not because she lost her tube. Nope. Look. Oh, can we see what she pulls up? Oh, yeah I just found a large fish and I'm going to carry him like my teddy bear.
What do you think, Gary, real?
TUCHMAN: What I'm wondering is why is she picking up fish in the water whether it's real or not.
HILL: I mean, the fish is there, come on. You got a cage, you have to pick up the fish. That fish would have flipped out.
TUCHMAN: Helps to have a pole and bait I guess.
HILL: But the kids are cute, so there you go.
TUCHMAN: So what's your vote, Erica?
HILL: I think they're both fake but they're cute.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.