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Goldman Sachs Deception?; Land of Ice and Volcanic Ash; Nightmare at 37,000 Feet; Saving Children's Lives; Kevorkian: Dr. Death

Aired April 16, 2010 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs accused of fraud; suspected of lying to the people who trusted it. The government says Goldman defrauded investors, concealing the truth about the value of those subprime mortgages that many believe triggered the economic collapse. We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

Also tonight, at the volcano, Gary Tuchman is in Iceland where ash continues to rise into the air causing chaos in the sky. Thousands of flights still canceled. Airports closed. Gary will have a live "360 Dispatch" ahead.

And Jack Kevorkian, the man called Dr. Death is out of jail, off parole and freely speaking out about what he did and what he says other doctors should do.


JACK KEVORKIAN, DR. DEATH: I didn't do it to end a life. I did it to end the suffering the patient's going through. The patient's obviously suffering.

And what's a doctor supposed to do, turn his back? If he's a coward, he is.


COOPER: Part two of "The Big 360 Interview" tonight with Dr. Kevorkian.

But first up, "Keeping Them Honest" on Wall Street. Many Americans have long believed that Wall Street -- I'm talking about the big firms, those bankers who make millions in bonuses basically do what they want to get rich no matter how, no matter who's hurt and only rarely are they ever held accountable.

Well, today Goldman Sachs which had profits of $13.4 billion last year and for the most part has escaped blame for the meltdown was accused of fraud. I want to point out they have only been accused at this point.

The SEC says the firm knowingly sold toxic bonds to investors, bonds which would become nearly worthless within a year. According to the SEC, the bonds that Goldman sold to investors were picked mainly by a hedge fund. The hedge fund that was also betting the subprime mortgage market would collapse.

The SEC says Goldman never told the investors about the deal with the hedge fund. In the end, investors were wiped out losing a billion dollars. The hedge fund however, pocketed billion dollars of profits and Goldman picked up millions in fees.

The transactions they're talking about are confusing. So I want to bring in our own Ali Velshi right now to help explain more -- Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson, you're right. It is confusing. Let me try and give you a little more light on this one. The hedge fund that you're talking about, the company named Paulson and company -- no relationship to the former Treasury Secretary.

Let's just replace Goldman Sachs and these bonds. Let's treat Goldman Sachs as if it were an antique car dealer, an exotic car dealer, and they're selling '57 Chevys. All right. So got these two '57 Chevys in the shop on the left and the right. They are what you'd expect from '57 Chevys, they got a few dings on them. Some of the parts are really good, some are not.

Now, let's just say that this Paulson and Company, this hedge fund company we're talking about walks into that dealership and says, "I will take this car as long as you take all the bad parts out of it and put it in the other car and take all the good parts out of the other car and put it in this one.

So now what happens is you've got one of these two '57 Chevys that's got great parts in it. It's all shiny and new. The other one's battered up and it's got bad parts in it. Ok.

Let's move forward. Now the dealership, Goldman Sachs as we're calling it and this is all what's alleged. Nothing has been proven. This is what the SEC says.

Basically, the dealership has sold that one shiny new car. They take the other car with all the bad parts in it and they shine it up. They make it look like the same car, and they sell it as if it is a good car that is likely to work with a normal amount of good and bad parts in it.

That is what the SEC alleges happened, that basically they took this pile of bad stuff and sold it to investors as if it was a stable investment that might have gone up or might have gone down, knowing full well that it was not going to appreciate in value and that someone had done something to that pile of stuff to make it lack value.

And that's basically what the allegation is. That Goldman sold unworthy stuff to people who were buying it as if it was a normal investment. And it is those residential mortgage-backed securities, those bonds that you're talking about.

COOPER: And for all these accusations the money they're accused of making is $15 million.

VELSHI: Very little.

COOPER: Which --

VELSHI: Very little.

COOPER: -- which for Goldman Sachs isn't a lot of money for a transaction.

VELSHI: I would guess they make more out of their vending machines. That's exactly the point.

Did they -- the question here is did Goldman knowingly sell a bad investment to its unsuspecting investors without saying someone is betting against this investment actively so it is likely to lose value. That's what the question is.

COOPER: All right, Ali, I appreciate it. Thanks very much.

VELSHI: All right.

COOPER: In a statement today Goldman Sachs called the SEC allegations completely unfounded.

My next guest believes Goldman rigged the market to get rich. Matt Taibbi is the national affairs editor for "Rolling Stone" who wrote a scathing article on the company, he joins us along with legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

Thanks for being with us both of you.

Matt, you accused Goldman Sachs of a lot of shady behavior. But you say that what they're accused of right now is even worse than you thought.

MATT TAIBBI, NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR, ROLLING STONE: Yes, back in the summer I wrote an article. And basically what I wrote is I said that Goldman was betting against its clients.

And at the time all I really knew is that at a certain point in time Goldman was short the housing market. They were short mortgage-backed securities. At the same time, they were selling these same sorts of instruments to their clients.

This is actually a step worse than that. The allegation here is that they got together with this guy, Paulson, and they conspired to basically make a giant ball of crap that they could sell to their investors. And this -- this is actually making a bad investment that you can bet against and then unloading it on your clients.

COOPER: What's interesting, too, Matt, is that -- I mean, what -- what shocks people on, you know, about this, it's one thing people kind of think, ok, you know, doing things which hurt the Americans in general, but for Wall Street firms to actually even hurt their own investors, by people on Wall Street, that sort of seen as doubly bad as if hurting Americans isn't bad enough.

TAIBBI: Well yes, that's why this is going to be incredibly damaging to Goldman Sachs. It's one thing to have some left-leaning commentators picking on them for being unethical or even to be accused of bilking the government out of billions which they, of course, did in the bailout.

This is an entirely different ball game. This is robbing from your own clients. And on Wall Street, that's -- it doesn't get any worse than that. This is going to directly affect our bottom line and the relationships with all of their customers.

COOPER: It does seem Sunny, if it hurts American taxpayers that's one thing, but they're actually hurting their investors, so people are doubly, you know, people on Wall Street are doubly upset. Does the SEC have a strong case here?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I've got to tell you, I read the complaint, Anderson, and it looks very beefy. It does look like they have a very strong case. If they have evidence to support all the allegations that are in that complaint, I would say that this is really going to be a horse race here.

I mean -- and typically, you know, the SEC really blew it with the Madoff investigation. They dropped the ball there and I think they have a chip on their shoulder. It really -- the commission has something to prove here. And by alleging that the golden boys of Wall Street engaged in this type of fraud, that is very, very significant.

COOPER: Matt, let me play devil's advocate here. If they only made $15 million off this transaction, Goldman, why would they take such a risk, assuming these allegations are true, when right now they are just allegations, but why would they take such a risk for $15 million? I mean, that's a lot for any citizen, but on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs, you know, for the money they make, that's not that much.

TAIBBI: Well, we don't know the entire story here. I've also heard versions of this story where Goldman was also short some of these instruments. So we don't know how much they're making out of it as well.

The $15 million figure that you're quoting is just the fees they made off the transactions. So we don't know what Goldman's actual interest was in this deal. So that remains to be seen.

COOPER: So Sunny, is it possible they could say well, look, this is just the trader who was involved in this, the one employee whose name is on the e-mails, who sent the e-mails about this and we didn't know -- the higher-ups will say they didn't know?

HOSTIN: Well, absolutely and typically in these kinds of cases, that employee is generally fired. And I've been looking into it and apparently the employee has not been fired yet

But I have to tell you Goldman did release a statement today saying that they also lost $90 million. And they made very good points in their statement. And so, you know, they're obviously going to defend this pretty vigorously.

COOPER: Matt Taibbi, it's a fascinating case. Sunny Hostin, I appreciate you both being on. Thank you.

TAIBBI: Thank you.

COOPER: Let us know what you think. Join the live chat right now at You can talk to viewers watching around America and around the world right now.

Coming up next, the ash cloud that is causing worldwide chaos -- this stuff is unbelievable. Thousands of flights have been canceled, airports shut down. A lot of travelers caught in limbo. The erupting volcano in Iceland is the cause.

Gary Tuchman is there. We'll talk to him coming up. He's on the ground.

And how dangerous is that ash? We're going to show you one passenger jet's close call decades ago. First the smoke filled the cabin, then came the flames, the engines caught on fire -- incredible story of survival ahead.

And what you don't know about Jack Kevorkian, the doctor who helped more than 130 people die. He's not sure of the exact number. He joins us for "The Big 360 Interview"; a pretty fascinating candid interview with the man at the center of this life-and-death issue.


COOPER: A fiery volcano in Iceland continues to cause air travel chaos across much of Europe tonight. The eruptions have created a massive could of smoke and ash that airplanes cannot fly through.

We're going to tell you what -- what can happen to planes if they attempt to fly through the danger zone. We're going to take you inside a dangerous flight decades ago.

But today across much of Europe, some 16,000 flights were grounded in nearly 20 countries. Can you imagine the chaos that has caused?

Back in Iceland close to the volcano, residents are on edge.

Gary Tuchman is there with a "360 Dispatch".


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Olafur Eggertsson is a farmer. His family has owned this farm on the southern coast of Iceland for 104 years and that's why this is a very traumatizing time. Getting closer and closer to his land as the wind has shifted, a huge plume of ash billowing larger and larger from the newly active volcano that looms over his farm. The eruption took place under a glacier causing the water from that glacier to flood much of his farm. OLAFUR EGGERTSSON, ICELANDIC FARMER (through translator): I was really scared. I was shocked afterwards. I was standing here and watched the water come.

TUCHMAN: Olafur's family is feverishly building a dike in case more floodwaters pour down the mountain. But it's the approaching volcanic ash which can destroy homes that is really frightening him and so many others in this part of Iceland.

A town called, Hvolsvollur (ph), little over an hour's drive from the capital, Reykjavik. People are sealing their windows and doors in hopes the ash doesn't ruin their homes.

Deputy Kristin Thordardottir is with the local police department.

(on camera): How scary is this for the community of the eruption of this volcano?

KRISTIN THORDARDOTTIR, POLICE OFFICER: Well, it's pretty serious because it's mostly because the properties of people and their life's work are being -- possibly being destroyed.

TUCHMAN: The last time this particular volcano erupted was in 1821, almost 190 years ago. And those eruptions lasted for about two years. People are sure hoping it doesn't last that long this time.

But what's happened from this volcano, because it erupted underneath a glacier, it flooded these fields. So now you're seeing all these muck, this mud, these rocks, these ice balls.

But so far the damage has been limited to the flooding, some buckled roads, there have been no fatalities, no injuries and the people of Iceland consider themselves so far very lucky.

(voice-over): Because the last eruption of this volcano was almost 190 years ago, Olafur's family hasn't dealt with something like this. He just doesn't know what to expect.

EGGERTSSON (through translator): I don't know. You don't know. There's no way to know.

TUCHMAN: What he does know is that this weekend will be tense.


COOPER: So Gary, what do experts say, I mean, about how long this huge plume cloud of ash is going to be there and cause a threat?

TUCHMAN: These experts know a lot, Anderson, but they don't know enough to tell us how long it will last. Usually when there are volcanoes here in Iceland and regularly volcanoes in Iceland they don't last very long. But like I just told you, this particular volcano back in 1821 lasted two years. That would be big trouble.

And Icelanders, when they tell you their history they know about what happened in the 18th century. 9,000 people, a quarter of the population of this country, were killed during a volcano back then.

They do not expect fatalities during this but they certainly expect the possibility of house and property damage.

COOPER: Yes. And that country already been hard-hit economically. It's the worst thing that could possibly happen and they're also causing problems for all of Europe.

Gary, appreciate it, thanks.

Now a look at the danger the volcanic ash poses for airplanes, Boeing tells us in the past 30 years, more than 90 jet-powered commercial airplanes have encountered volcanic clouds of volcanic ash and suffered damage as a result.

Tonight we have the frightening story of one flight.

"Up Close" Randi Kaye with the nightmare at 37,000 feet.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This documentary from "National Geographic" recreates the terrifying but true ordeal of a British Airways jet caught in a cloud of volcanic ash.

June 24th, 1982, Flight 9 from London to Australia. The radar says expect a smooth flight. But suddenly inside there's reason to panic.

BETTY TOOTELL FERGUSON, PASSENTER ON BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT 009: I noticed that thick smoke was pouring into the cabin through the vents above the windows.

CAPT. ERIC MOODY, PILOT OF BA FLIGHT 009: The acrid smoke was at the back of your throat, up your nose, in your eyes.

KAYE: They are 37,000 feet above the Indian Ocean when the engines ignite.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The engine's on fire.

FERGUSON: There were huge flames coming out of the back of the engines, 20 -- some people said 40 feet long.

KAYE: In about a minute and a half, all four of the Boeing 747's engines fail.

MOODY: Engine failure. Number four. Fire action, number four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of us believed it was happening.

KAYE (on camera): What Captain Moody doesn't realize is that he's actually flying through volcanic ash from Mount Galunggung (ph) in Indonesia. The ash made up of tiny bits of glass is drawn into the engine. It melts and gloms on to the engine parts instead of passing through choking the engine to death. (voice-over): The Boeing 747 is dropping from the night sky heading straight for the Indian Ocean. They are about six miles up, about a half hour from crashing into the sea.

MOODY: Mayday, mayday, mayday, speed bird 9. We've lost all four engines.

KAYE: Captain Moody warns the nearly 250 passengers to prepare for an emergency landing.

MOODY: And I said, "Good evening again, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. All four -- we have a small problem in that all four engines have failed. We're doing our utmost to keep -- to get them going. I trust you're not in too much distress."

KAYE: Passengers begin to accept they may not survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma, in trouble, plane going down.

CHARLES CAPEWELL, PASSENGER ON BA FLIGHT 009: We'll do best for the boys. We love you. Sorry, pa.

KAYE (on camera): The jet sails through the sky like a glider. Still unaware of the ash, the crew glides low enough to escape it.

Captain Moody considers landing in the ocean. But then at 13,000 feet, the crew gets all four engines started again. They'd had a chance to cool, and the ash had broken away.

(voice-over): One quickly fails again. Still, he lands British Airways Flight 9 safely in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Almost 27 years later after his heroic flight, Captain Eric Moody, now retired, tells us it's smart to keep airplanes away from volcanic ash. He wouldn't want to fly through it again.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: I love how understated the British pilot was. "We have a small problem. Four of our engines, all of them, have gone out." Amazing they got through it.

Check out for everything you need to know about the air travels delays. That's where you'll find the list of all of the countries affected.

Up next, saving hundreds of kids' lives, one doctor's special mission and how he is inspiring others, when 360 continues.


COOPER: "Up Close" tonight, one man's mission to help kids suffering with medical problems and give them a new chance of life. For 20 years now an American doctor named Rick Hodes has been providing medical treatment and surgery for kids in Ethiopia, it's one of the poorest countries in the world. He's not only treated thousands of Ethiopians, he's also adopted five kids himself.

The Dr. Hodes is the focus of an HBO documentary, "Making the Crooked Straight" and the new book "This is a Soul." Marilyn Berger wrote the book. While writing it her life changed forever after meeting an Ethiopian boy named Danny, in need of medical attention.

I spoke with her and the Dr. Hodes earlier.


COOPER: Marilyn, you went to Ethiopia to write an article about Dr. Hodes. And it really changed your life?

MARILYN BERGER, AUTHOR, "THIS IS SOUL": I went to write about Rick and I found this extraordinary human being who is the most altruistic, selfless, wonderful doctor who takes care of some of the sickest people on the planet.

And while I was walking down the street, I found a little boy with just the disease he deals with which in this case was tuberculosis of the spine.

So I brought the little boy together with Rick and to make a very long story short, I suggested he bring the boy here so he could learn some English, and we never let him go.

COOPER: And he's living with you now?

BERGER: He's living with me now. He goes to school in New York. And he's having the time of his life. He's 8 years old.

COOPER: And Dr. Hodes, when you saw him, did you know instantly what the matter was?

DR. RICHARD HODES, AMERICAN PHYSICIAN WORKING IN ETHIOPIA: Oh, one second. Yes, it's a big "v," it's a symmetrical "v" like that caused by tuberculosis. It's very common now. I actually have well over 100 patients with this condition.

COOPER: What is it about Ethiopia that first drew you?

HODES: I first went to Ethiopia -- I wanted to teach in Africa so I went to Ethiopia in the famine '84 and '85 and then I left and went back after my residency to teach at the medical school. I did that for two and a half years.

I left and went back in 1990 to work for the American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee; I'm still working for them. So I've been the doctor for Ethiopian immigrants to Israel and then in addition to that I've been working at a Catholic mission taking care of sick destitutes.

COOPER: And how is Danny doing now? BERGER: Oh, he's amazing. He's doing very well. He's taken up American baseball, he likes soccer. He learned how to ski a couple of weeks ago. He loves school. The teachers love him. The kids think he's the funniest kid in the class. He is great.

COOPER: And I mean all this was happening around the time that your husband, Don Hewitt, was diagnosed with cancer.

BERGER: Yes. I went from being the wife of a high-powered television person and I was a journalist myself and you know, out every night and all of that. And Don got sick. Danny came into my life and I love him.

COOPER: Did you ever expect that at age --

BERGER: 74 -- everyone knows.

COOPER: -- that you would be a mom?

BERGER: It never occurred to me at all. I mean, after 30 I've never thought of being a mother, but Danny is my kid, and I'm mad about him.

COOPER: And Dr. Hodes, he's supposed to have another surgery soon.

HODES: He is. He's going to have another surgery in June.

COOPER: You said that good medicine doesn't cost a lot in Africa.

HODES: That's true. When I started treating kids with cancer, I literally put them on a mattress on my front porch and I hooked up the chemotherapy to the drain pipe. And I was giving them chemotherapy. And it worked fine. I gave them IV fluid, I covered the what you call (INAUDIBLE) platen with thin foil to protect it from the light. And I cured some boys of bone cancer that way.

And I think there's a lot of low-tech solutions. I mean, for example, if we import ADBD, the four components of treating Hodgkin's disease from India. And we can cure Hodgkin's disease in an adult for $1,000. In New York it would be at least $60.

COOPER: Well, Marilyn, what did you learn, I mean, in seeing Dr. Hodes work up close?

BERGER: I want to say that Ricky is the doctor that all of us wish we had because he treats the entire person. Every person who comes into his office, the first thing he does is he takes a photograph of the kid and -- or the adult and says "You have to smile."

And he takes that photograph and sends it with studies that he sends to other doctors when he's looking for a diagnosis or a confirmation or whatever. And they say, "Why are you sending me a picture?" And he said -- and he says, "This is not a back. This is not just a back, this is a soul." And he treats the soul.

COOPER: And that's the title of the book, "This is a Soul."


COOPER: -- and that, to you, says what? I mean, it says --

BERGER: Well, to me it suggests that Rick is a very spiritual person and that he sees that the people he deals with have souls that need caring for. But also, they discovered in a study in Israel that doctors do better diagnoses when they can see the patient. And Rick sent this to me and he said, who thought of this first?

COOPER: Does Danny talk a lot about his background, about what his life was like before?

BERGERG: Very little, when he does say one or two things and I continue the questioning as a normal journalist would. He will say movie's over, the end.

COOPER: Movie's over.

BERGER: He will stop. He doesn't want to talk anymore about it.

COOPER: And you're plan for him is what?

BERGER: Well, he's on a student Visa, so he has the right to stay here until he finishes school. So I figure when he graduates from Harvard, we'll revisit the issue.

COOPER: Marilyn, thank you so much. Dr. Hodes thank you.

HODES: Thank you.

BERGER: Thank you.


COOPER: Two remarkable people.

Coming up, sitting down with Dr. Death; Jack Kevorkian, out of jail and not apologizing.


COOPER: But a lot of people as you know, I mean, say look, you're playing God.

KEVORKIAN: Well, isn't the doctor who takes a leg off playing God?

COOPER: You're saying doctors play God all the time?

KEVORKIAN: Of course. Anytime you interfere with the natural process, you're playing God.


COOPER: And Bill Clinton speaks out about why he worries about President Obama's safety.


COOPER: American Amanda Knox is in an Italian prison facing 26 years for the murder of her roommate. But it could get worse for; why prosecutors want to increase her sentence. That's coming up.

First Joe Johns has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson a new development from Haiti. Last night we reported charges had been dropped against nine of ten Americans arrested in Haiti earlier this year.

Now Haiti's top prosecutor is denying those kidnapping charges have been dropped. He says they will stand until a judge decides whether to proceed to trial. The tenth American missionary Laura Silsby remains in a Haitian jail.

Former President Bill Clinton said anti-government rhetoric can lead to violence like it did 15 years ago this month with the Oklahoma City bombing. He told Wolf Blitzer that anger directed toward President Obama is potentially dangerous.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He symbolizes the loss of control, of predictability, of certainty, of clarity that a lot of people need for their psychic well-being. And I worry about it.

Look, he's well protected by the Secret Service. They're terrific. And the President, I can tell you, I've never met a president -- and look, George W. Bush had some threats against him from people who strongly disagreed with his policy.


JOHNS: Mr. Clinton says he sees parallels between the mood of the country today and at the time of the Oklahoma City attack.

Toyota is recalling about 600,000 Sienna minivans due to corrosion problems on spare tire cables. The automaker says the recall affects 1998 through 2010 models sold in the U.S. that have been operated in cold weather climates.

And we've all seen pictures of Marilyn Monroe, but what about x-rays? Images of the star's chest and pelvis will be up for auction along with other memorabilia in Las Vegas at the end --

COOPER: Ai-ai-ai.

JOHNS: I know -- of June. Also on the block, a couch from her psychiatrist's office. And you know, people will actually spend a lot of money for those things. And we won't even be that surprised.

COOPER: Well, also what medical personnel actually sold those things originally?

JOHNS: Yes. Exactly.


COOPER: Coming up next on 360, Amanda Knox, convicted of murder in Italy, as you know. Tonight, a new development in the case. We'll tell you ahead.

And later, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, part two of the "Big 360 Interview". We talk about life and death and faith.


COOPER: Are you a religious man?


COOPER: Do you believe in God?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know. Is there a God?

Look, I'm a scientist. A doctor is always a scientist.


COOPER: More from my interview with Dr. Kevorkian after the break.


COOPER: For tonight's "Big 360 Interview": more of my conversation with Jack Kevorkian. By his own admission he's helped more than 130 people die. He says he didn't end their lives, Kevorkian said it was to end their suffering.

After eight years and three months in prison, two years on parole, he's now a free man and he remains as polarizing as ever.

His life is now the subject of a fascinating upcoming HBO film called "You Don't Know Jack", directed by Barry Levinson. I've seen it. No matter what side you are on this issue, it's a really remarkable film.

We'll talk to the stars and the director of the film in a moment. But first, more one on one with Dr. Kevorkian.


COOPER: How many people, in total, did you help die?

KEVORKIAN: It's around 130.

COOPER: Around --

KEVORKIAN: A little more than 130.

COOPER: You are not sure of the exact number?

KEVORKIAN: Well, I was helped by a colleague, a psychiatrist who joined me near the end, the only doctor who offered to join me.

COOPER: And the first time you did it, who was the first?

KEVORKIAN: Janet Adkins (ph) was the first.

COOPER: And that was in a van.

KEVORKIAN: In a van.

COOPER: Why in a van?

KEVORKIAN: I couldn't find a place. I tried nursing homes, churches, hospitals, clinics.

COOPER: You didn't want to do it at your apartment?

KEVORKIAN: No, because the police would raid the apartment, clean it out. And I didn't want to involve anybody else in it like the landlord.

COOPER: I mean, what is that like to end somebody's life in a van?

KEVORKIAN: You are not ending their life. I didn't do it to end the life. I did it to end the suffering the patient is going through. The patient is obviously suffering.

What is a doctor supposed to do, turn his back? If he's a coward he is.

COOPER: A lot of doctors do, though.

KEVORKIAN: Well, they are cowards. Doctor's are cowards, you know that. They won't take anything that's going to hurt their income or their reputation; anything that's impossible -- any illegal thing that's going to possibly be damaging.

COOPER: Do you think still about the people, I mean about the 130 or so people?

KEVORKIAN: Once in a while we do. In fact, you develop families. We, for a few years there, four or five years, we had annual meetings of family relatives.

COOPER: Relatives of people you've helped.

KEVORKIAN: Relatives of people I helped. Obviously, they didn't think I committed a crime.

COOPER: I mean do you have nightmares about it? Did you ever feel --

KEVORKIAN: No. No. I don't think a doctor should have a nightmare about any medical procedure or else he's not a doctor.

COOPER: Did you find it sad?

KEVORKIAN: Well, of course. You don't like to end a life. Look, if a doctor -- if somebody has cancer of the bone -- the hip, you don't take their leg off at the joint, the hip joint because you want to do it and say, "I want to take that leg off. I can't wait to take that leg off."

No. The leg has to come off to save a patient's life. Unfortunately, it entails the loss of a leg.

COOPER: But a lot of people, as you know, I mean say, "Look, you are playing God." That you shouldn't --

KEVORKIAN: Isn't the doctor who takes a leg off playing God?

COOPER: You are saying doctors play God all the time?

KEVORKIAN: Of course. Anytime you interfere with a natural process, you are playing God. God determines what happens naturally. That means that when a person is ill, he shouldn't go to a doctor because he's asking for interference with God's will.

But of course, patients can't think that way. They want to live as long as possible and not suffer. So, they call a doctor to help them end the suffering.

COOPER: Are you a religious man?


COOPER: Do you believe in God?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know. Is there a God?

Look, I'm a scientist. A doctor is always a scientist.

COOPER: You were in prison when Terri Schiavo --

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

COOPER: -- was in the headlines.

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

COOPER: Did you think -- what did you think of Terry Schiavo?

KEVORKIAN: They called me for my opinion.

COOPER: What did you think of it?

KEVORKIAN: Well, of course, it's wrong. What counts is not her husband's opinion, not her brother's opinion, her opinion. And she's expressed it to all of them very plainly.

COOPER: So you didn't -- so you thought what happened to her was wrong?

KEVORKIAN: Well, they forced -- look, is it humane to cause a human's death with starvation and thirst?

COOPER: When you hear Sarah Palin talk about death panels in health care reform --

KEVORKIAN: Fear mongering because they oppose it. She's religious, no doubt about it.

All the Catholic priests are not against this. But they keep quiet. Fear keeps control.

COOPER: You're off parole now, right?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes. I have only two years after I got out of prison on parole.

COOPER: So you're a free man.


COOPER: Would you do it again? Would you help somebody?

KEVORKIAN: Under certain circumstances, yes, as long as I know they're not going to throw me in jail again and imprison me. Yes, I would do it again.

COOPER: Have you had people approach you for help?

KEVORKIAN: People approach me -- I got letters even when I was in prison. They wanted help. They wanted advice how to do it. I couldn't do that in prison.

COOPER: Can you give advice to people now?

KEVORKIAN: Not in parole. It stopped it. With parole ending, I could give any advice I want.

COOPER: So now you could give advice?

KEVORKIAN: Absolutely. I can -- notice I'm talking very freely about it.

COOPER: And are you in touch with people who want to end their life?

KEVORKIAN: Not right now, no. They all assume, like the judge says, "You have now been stopped." Well, she was wrong. I haven't.

COOPER: You haven't been stopped?

KEVORKIAN: No, of course not. I still push for this issue. And when the chance comes, I'll do it the way it should be done.


COOPER: Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

A reminder -- you can join the live chat happening now at Coming up, the "Big 360 Interview": Dr. Death, Kevorkian, the focus of the new HBO movie. We'll talk to some of the stars of the film: Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, also the director Barry Levinson and more with Dr. Kevorkian.

Susan Sarandon talking about life-and-death decisions.


SUSAN SARANDON, ACTRESS: I've been with people who doctors have upped their morphine at the end. You know that happens all the time. Nobody really talks about it, but that happens. They say at a certain point, ok we're going to -- this is the choice.


COOPER: We'll have more with that ahead.

Plus, a new twist in the case against American Amanda Knox who was found guilty of killing her roommate in Italy.


COOPER: Before the break, Dr. Jack Kevorkian told me physicians who don't help terminally-ill patients die are, in his words, cowards. As you also hear, he participated in more than 130 assisted suicides.

Kevorkian is not backing down from what he did, and he said now that he's out of prison and not on parole, he said no one can stop him from legally doing it again if the law changes.

HBO has turned his life into a film. "You Don't Know Jack" airs April 24th. Al Pacino plays Kevorkian. The movie also stars Susan Sarandon and John Goodman and was directed by Barry Levinson. They and Dr. Kevorkian joined me earlier.


COOPER: Barry, why did you want to make a film about Jack Kevorkian?

BARRY LEVINSON, DIRECTOR, "YOU DON'T KNOW JACK": The character, first and foremost. When I read the draft that was sent to me, I thought the character was interesting, the characters around it, his core group was very interesting.

COOPER: What did you learn about what he had done?

LEVINSON: Well, I think it's more complicated than what I saw because I only saw the snippets of it, you know. In other words, to watch that ten-year period from the time he began until the time he was sent to prison is an amazing journey of a man coming up against the system and ultimately a man that could not be intimidated in that way. In a sense as Jack has said that he knew eventually he would be imprisoned.

COOPER: Was prison hard for you?

KEVORKIAN: No. When you know you're not a criminal, it's easy.

COOPER: I mean you were in solitary confinement for a while.

KEVORKIAN: Just for protection. For about, oh, maybe four or five months, something like that. I got one hour a day free out there to make phone calls or walk the yard. The other 23 hours I was in a cell.

COOPER: So there was never a moment of doubt for you.


COOPER: Not even in the eight years you were in prison? Eight years, three months?


KEVORKIAN: How can there be a doubt about your duty as a physician? There's no doubt. I knew exactly what was going to happen and what I was doing.

You're taking a risk because you're breaking the law that's based on religion which makes it doubly hard. And you're going to get punished.

COOPER: And Susan, you play a woman from the Hemlock Society who supports him in his work.

SARANDON: And becomes a good friend. And I was really lucky because the niece of the actual woman was very helpful to me to explain kind of the inner workings of her and any kind of character exaggerations or whatever in the script we corrected.

I think that what's really amazing is the courage of the people, for me, you know, watching the videos and understanding, because you don't want to think that far ahead.

You know, I've been with people who doctors have upped their morphine at the end, you know. That happens all the time. Nobody really talks about it, but that happens. They say at a certain point, ok we're going to -- this is the choice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could carry that for you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would have been nice, Dr. Kevorkian, but it's a little late now, don't you think? And it's Mrs.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, good. So you know who I am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do I look like June cleaver? What can I do for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, hey, I have my first patient. What I don't have --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I could use your home. That would be just fine. Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, if you're going to come to my home, you have to dress more cheerfully.


COOPER: John, in the movie you play basically kind of a guy who assisted --


COOPER: His Jimmy Olson. But who is really in essential in the work in order -- getting him the supplies that he needs for the work.

GOODMAN: Yes. They find out where he was operating and they'd start cutting my character off of the gas that he needs and stuff like that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't be cutting corners anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't the old days. We're not winging it anymore.

Jack? The next time it doesn't feel right, call it off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are my decisions to make, Neil. Mine alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, Kimosabi (ph).


COOPER: What did you think of Kevorkian before you got involved in this?

GOODMAN: Well, it just surfaced, fascinating topic. Not to reduce his life to a topic, but it's a fascinating issue. And when they sent it to me I said, "Yes, please, I'm very curious about this."

COOPER: If you got to that point in life, is this something you would want?

GOODMAN: I want it now.

SARANDON: I want it for you now, too.

COOPER: You mean right now?

GOODMAN: Yes, sure. It depends. It depends on how painful everything was. You never know. You never know.

COOPER: You would want it as an option out there?

GOODMAN: I like the option, yes.

COOPER: What did you think of the movie that was made? Is it accurate?

KEVORKIAN: I was embarrassed to think of what I thought of before it was done.


KEVORKIAN: Yes. Much better than I thought --

COOPER: You were worried about what it would be like?

KEVORKIAN: Not really worried, but I just -- you can't be done. You can't get this message across in one movie, two hours, covering 130 cases of a big issue like this. It can't be done. I was proven wrong.


COOPER: You can judge for yourself. It's a fascinating film, HBO film, "You Don't Know Jack" premieres Saturday April 24th, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Up next, new development in the Amanda Knox case, the American exchange student in an Italian prison right now for killing her roommate. Prosecutors -- well, they want to extend her sentence. We'll explain ahead.


COOPER: Yesterday we reported that President Barack Obama was moving to end discrimination in hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples. He told the Department of Health and Human Services to direct hospitals to allow patients to designate who can visit them and to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Janice Langbehn, who yesterday received a call from the President himself, joined us on the program and told us she was not prevented to see her partner before she died at Jackson Memorial Hospital in florida. The hospital contacted us and they told us they didn't discriminate and provided a copy of the letter they say was sent to President Obama telling him this as well.

There are other stories we're following tonight. Joe Johns is back with the "360 Bulletin".

JOHNS: Anderson, federal safety inspectors have found more than 60 serious safety violations at mines operated by Massey Energy Operations since 29 miners died at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia 11 days ago. Officials believe explosive gas and coal dust may be to blame for the worst U.S. mining disaster in 40 years.

Amanda Knox could be looking at a longer prison stay in Italy. She was sentenced last year to 25 years in prison in the 2007 murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. A prosecutor says that's too lenient. He filed an appeal for life in prison.

And could paddling be coming to schools near you? It's been almost a year since the school district in Temple, Texas, re-introduced corporal punishment. While it's controversial, the school board president says the discipline problem is much better even though only one student has received the punishment.

That's old fashioned stuff there.

COOPER: Sure is. For tonight's "Shot" we have some classic Willie Nelson, the country music legend. As you know Joe, he was on "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight and admitted smoking pot. It made headlines but then things kind of got weird. Watch.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Did you smoke today?


KING: Did you smoke pot today? Today, this day?

NELSON: Yes, sure. Yes.

KING: You did, before you came in here.


KING: Never saw the sun shining so bright, a memory of love's refrain.

Love you Willie.

NELSON: Thank you.


JOHNS: Next they'll be pulling out the junk food.

COOPER: Yes. We -- we re-edited that, I will admit. But I kind of like -- can we watch that again -- do we have time? All right, let's watch it again.


NELSON: Did I smoke cigarettes?

KING: Did you smoke pot today? Today -- this day.

NELSON: Yes, sure. Yes.

KING: You did, before you came in here?


KING: Never saw the sun shining so bright, a memory of love's refrain.

Love you Willie.

NELSON: Thank you. Love you, too.

JOHNS: That's kind of extraordinary. I mean --


JOHNS: Long pause there.

COOPER: Well, we re-edited. It didn't actually happen. We made that up. We edited all the pauses together.

JOHNS: Oh, I got it.


I loved that you believed it, Joe, too.

JOHNS: I did. I totally fell for it.

COOPER: That makes it even better. Just some people out there don't believe it. Yes, we re-edited. He wasn't that stoned so he was totally silent and then singing.

JOHNS: Hilarious.

COOPER: Yes, there you go.

JOHNS: It worked.

COOPER: It worked. I'm glad it worked.

Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend.

Larry King starts now.

I'll see you Monday.