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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Jailed Sisters Freed; Revisiting JonBenet Ramsey Murder Investigation; One-Person Death Panel in Arizona?

Aired January 7, 2011 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to 360. Thanks for tuning in.

Tonight: Her critics are calling her a one-person death panel, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her budget-cutting decision that leaves nearly 100 people who need organ transplants high and dry, a number that's shrinking because people are dying.

She's defending her decision, but is she playing fast and loose with the facts? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also tonight: two sisters freed from life behind bars, life with no prior records and no one killed in their crime, which netted as little as $11 -- 11 bucks, life sentences. But that's not the half of it. When you hear about the condition for their release, you might be more than just shocked.

And later, we revisit perhaps the most notorious cold case in modern history, the death of JonBenet Ramsey, looking back at the murder, the bungled investigation, and the most recent moves by police to conduct new interviews.

We will also go over the case with John Walsh of "America Most Wanted."

We begin, though, as always, "Keeping Them Honest," with 96 people waiting for lifesaving transplants and one state governor who says, sorry, there's just no money to pay for them.

We're talking about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and 96 gravely ill constituents, 96 people no longer eligible for Medicaid-funded transplants, people like Francisco Felix, who has got four kids and needs a liver transplant. He was just hours away from surgery when he learned that Arizona's Medicaid program would no longer pay for it.

Someone else got the liver. Francisco is still hanging in, but others have already died.

Mark Price was the father of six. He needed a bone marrow transplant. Doctors found a match, but it also happened to be on the same day that Arizona's Medicaid program stopped covering the procedure. He then had to scramble to find private financial help, which he did, but, unfortunately, he died before the transplant could be done.

Last week, a liver patient who was no longer eligible for Medicaid- funded transplant also died. The governor says cuts had to be made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: The state only has so much money, and we can only provide so many optional kinds of care. And those were one of the options that we had taken liberty to discard, to dismiss.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, states are strapped for cash, and Arizona is no exception, but it turns out that this entire crisis could have been avoided for just $1.2 million, out of an $8.5 billion budget, money Governor Brewer says she just couldn't find anywhere.

We wanted to ask her about it. Last month, when all this first broke, we invited her on the program. She declined and her office sent us this e-mail: "Unfortunately, Governor Brewer's completely booked today and has an incredibly busy schedule throughout the remainder of December and into the first half of January, as she's booked with budget review heading into our upcoming legislative session, travel to D.C., her inauguration, and the state of the state. Again, we appreciate the invitation and your understanding. Let's touch base after the 1st of the year."

Well, that sounds reasonable, right? What's funny, though, is, the very next evening after we got that, after telling us that governor -- after telling us that, Governor Brewer somehow found time to appear over on FOX News.

Such is life. It's possible some time may be freed up at the last minute. Who knows. We are going to give her the benefit of the doubt, but what we can't do tonight is give her a pass on the facts. Facts matter.

During that interview, Governor Brewer downplayed the effectiveness of bone marrow transplants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ON THE RECORD WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN")

BREWER: Bone marrow transplants we still cover, if it is a donor given from the -- from the family, meaning that, if your sister would donate the marrow to you, because it's more of a successful rate.

Those that are outside generally, according to our records, we have that 14 bone marrow transplants have been utilized, and 13 of those people did not successfully live long afterwards.

So, you know, these are difficult decisions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, difficult decisions, no doubt about it, but if by pointing out 13 bad outcomes, the governor was suggesting that the outlook for bone marrow transplants is by and large bleak, well, that's simply not true. In a letter to Governor Brewer, Dr. Jeffrey Schriber, who runs Arizona's largest adult bone marrow transplant center, writes: "Our data was virtually identical to the national data, with 42 -- with 42 percent alive and apparently cured of their disease."

Now, 42 percent isn't perfection, but it's a far cry from the one in 14 that Governor Brewer mentioned there.

And then there's this comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ON THE RECORD WITH GRETA VAN SUSTEREN")

BREWER: A lot of transplants are still being provided in the state of Arizona.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST, "ON THE RECORD": By the state of Arizona or privately?

BREWER: By the state of Arizona. The bottom line is, is that we still provide, even with the cuts, heart transplants, liver transplants, kidney transplants, pancreas, and kidney transplants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, that's not completely true. Liver transplants are not fully covered under the new system. The patient who died last week, for instance, was denied funding for a transplant because he had hepatitis C.

Under the old rules, he would have been eligible and might be alive. As for Governor Brewer and the Arizona legislature, how they arrived at the new rules, transplant groups say they use outdated, even faulty data.

For instance, lung transplants were cut out entirely because Arizona's version of Medicaid said data showed the surgery did not extend life expectancy. According to USTransplant.org, though, which provides the national report card for all major organ transplants, about 66 percent of patients survive at least three years after having the transplant.

So, the governor's science may be outdated, and some of her statements didn't fit the facts, but what about the $1.2 million? She claims to be open to suggestions for alternative funding. It turns out she did get some ideas back in September. Representatives at transplant programs at four Arizona hospitals wrote her offering cost-cutting measures.

Democratic state lawmakers have suggested dipping into federal stimulus money, $30 million, they say, but they say Governor Brewer has been vague about how much, if any, of that money is left. Some has already gone to fixing the roof on a rarely-used coliseum.

And enough money has been spent on algae research to fund the transplant program two times over. Five families dropped from the transplant list, they have gotten so fed up, they launched a Web site to show just how much money is out there. They say they have identified $2.1 million for Arizona's portion of the settlement with AIG, $6 million in unclaimed lottery prizes, and get this, $1.25 million left over from a recently canceled project to build a bridge to save 250 squirrels, not people, squirrels.

Earlier, I spoke with Arizona Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. He calls Governor Brewer a one-person death panel, also Douglas Gravagna, who needs a heart transplant, was a candidate under Arizona's Medicaid program until the rules were changed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Douglas, you have a heart condition. If these budget cuts were not in place, would you be on the list for a transplant?

DOUGLAS GRAVAGNA, WAITING FOR HEART TRANSPLANT: I assume so, yes, sir, absolutely.

COOPER: Well, your -- your heart right now, I'm told, is -- is literally the size of a football, but it's not -- it's obviously operating at, what, like 6 percent of capacity?

GRAVAGNA: That's correct, sir, yes.

I have viral cardiomyopathy, nonischemic myopathy. And it's not currently covered. So, I'm not a transplant candidate. So, I have been cut out of the transplant process. The way the law was written up, I'm not on -- I'm not able to be put on the list.

COOPER: What have you been told about what will happen without a transplant? I mean, how urgent is the transplant for you?

GRAVAGNA: It's urgent for me, Anderson. I will die. My condition's getting worse each day.

COOPER: How many times have you been to the hospital this past -- this year?

GRAVAGNA: This year, I have been in the hospital now 13 times.

COOPER: Senator-elect Shapira, I mean, the governor has asked for ideas on how to make up the budget shortfall. She now seems sort of open to ideas.

But the governor's spokesperson released a statement yesterday that reads in part -- quote -- "The minority leader has yet to produce a single proposal to resolve Arizona's massive Medicaid deficit, only this empty rhetoric."

Have there been proposals submitted to the governor?

DAVID SCHAPIRA (D), ARIZONA STATE SENATOR-ELECT: Well, I think one thing that is interesting, the governor has a serious timing issue on this issue. And -- and -- and, in this particular case, I'm -- I'm not the minority leader. I won't be until Monday. I'm not even a sworn-in state senator yet. And so, you know, they're coming out criticizing saying that, for the last year, they have been asking me, when the -- the minority leader they may be referring to is someone who passed away actually a few months ago.

I actually, even though I'm not sworn in as minority leader, have already presented multiple proposals to them. And, in fact, our caucus will introduce a bill on Monday that will offer up just one of those many proposal.

COOPER: What are some of the other proposals?

SCHAPIRA: I mean, there's lots of things that we can do. The one that we will be offering up Monday, in Arizona, we have an accounting credit where, for retailers like myself, if you file your sales tax on time, you get basically a gift from the state, saying thank you for filing on time. That's -- that's about $10 million. That would -- about eight times as much as the cost of this transplant program.

COOPER: What about the stimulus funds?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Because the governor's office says it's all accounted for. But -- but you think there's another $30 million that could be used for these transplants, right?

SCHAPIRA: Well, the governor has publicly announced all but $30 million of the stimulus money, of -- of how she plans to spend the stimulus money. We did a public records request. And basically she said to us that the $30 million's been spent.

And in the public records request, she kind of generically said, this much money for public safety, this much money for counties and the cities. Those checks haven't been written. And I can't think of -- I can't think of anything more important than -- than restoring funding for these transplants.

COOPER: Douglas, Governor Brewer called these optional services.

I mean, does that -- when you heard that, does that make sense to you at all? Or does it feel optional to you?

GRAVAGNA: No, it doesn't make sense to me. I do not feel it's optional.

I feel like, why is she spending money on the penal system, you know, when I'm a good citizen, and, you know, I should get a chance, another chance at life? It shouldn't be taken away from me. She shouldn't be able to decide whether I live or die.

COOPER: And you were working at, what, the Four Seasons Hotel, and then, with the economy going down, you lost your job.

GRAVAGNA: Yes, sir. I used to work 16-hour days. And now my condition is -- is very severe, and I just want to be another working member of society.

I don't want to, you know, fade away and die, you know? I'm a good person, Mr. Anderson.

COOPER: Senator-elect Schapira, I mean, what -- what -- what happens now? I mean, how does this thing get resolved?

SCHAPIRA: Well, first, I just want to say I'm very saddened by Doug's case. He and I have met just about a month ago. And this is really a case of rationing care. And it just -- it's just so troubling that this has become such a political football.

I will tell you, Anderson, on Monday, we're going to ask the governor and the leadership and legislature to set politics aside and hear the bill that I have introduced, Senate Bill 1001, to restore this transplant funding. We have offered up many different solutions to do that.

And we're going to hold a press conference Monday morning with some of the transplant patients. Tiffany Tate, who Doug knows, is going to be there as well, and we're hoping Doug can attend as well.

We are going to call on the governor and the legislature to act quickly. And I think -- I don't like all the political rhetoric -- rhetoric and all that, but, you know, Republicans on the national level were talking about death panels. And if there's ever been a death panel, it's what we have right here.

And for the last three months, the governor has essentially been a one-person death panel by failing to use stimulus money to restore this funding and save lives. Two people have died during that time.

And starting Monday, every day the legislature doesn't deal with this, we become a legislative death panel. And I -- I sure hope that we can get Doug his transplant and others who are on that list. And I feel I'm pleading my case, and -- and a lot of people say, well, this is just over the top.

There are 96 people whose lives literally count on us acting quickly to deal with this issue. And -- and it's time. It's time to -- to set aside all this other jib-jab about all this stuff and just deal with it.

COOPER: Well, senator-elect David Schapira, I appreciate you being on. We will continue to follow this.

And -- and, Douglas Gravagna, Doug, I -- I wish you strength, and I -- and I hope this -- this resolves for you quickly. I -- I -- I wish you all the best.

GRAVAGNA: Thank you so much, Anderson. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we will continue to follow, and we continue to invite Governor Brewer on the program.

Let us know what you think. Join the live chat right now at AC360.com.

Up next: the latest on a new scare, another incendiary package. This time, though, it not targeting a state official. The sender was aiming higher. We will tell you who was the target -- late details from Washington.

Also tonight: the release of two sisters jailed for life armed robbery. Their haul? As little as $11. That alone is raising eyebrows. But it's the rest of the story that people cannot stop talking about: what one sister has to do, or both will go back to prison.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, there's a chill in Washington tonight. It's not just the weather. The D.C. postal facility set up after the anthrax scare to screen mail that's headed for federal offices got hit today with one of those incendiary packages, the same kind that went off yesterday in two state government offices in Maryland. This one targeted Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security.

The investigation happening as we speak.

Jeanne Meserve is here with the latest.

Jeanne, what do we know?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, as you mentioned, the device found here at this postal sorting facility addressed to the homeland security secretary. No one was injured. Authorities say it ignited when a postal worker threw it into a bin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The package had been described as popping, smoking, and with a brief flash of fire, and then it -- it -- it went out, it extinguished itself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: The device looked and acted like two devices found yesterday in Maryland, one addressed to the governor, the other to the secretary of transportation, all three described as white boxes about the size and shape of a box you would find a VHS tape inside.

Authorities aren't saying whether the device found here in Washington had a note inside, but the two in Maryland did. It read, "Report suspicious activity, total 'expletive.' You have created a self- fulfilling prophecy." At the bottom was an X or a representation of the Roman numeral 10.

Now, the superintendent of the Maryland State Police says there are no suspects and no claims of responsibility. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COL. TERRENCE B. SHERIDAN, MARYLAND STATE POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: We have got to make sure we go after this person and get them off the street and get them behind bars, because these kinds of things are very, very dangerous.

We just don't know where this person is going with this. We don't know who it is. We don't know what they're thinking about now, but we're very concerned about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: The Postal Service will be trying to determine, of course, where these things were mailed -- mailed.

Meanwhile, investigators have a lot of forensic material to work with because none of the devices incinerated. All of them will be analyzed at the FBI lab in Quantico. Meanwhile, authorities are on the lookout for any additional suspicious packages -- Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Well, let's hope they find something in the lab.

Jeanne, thanks.

In Congress today, House Republicans began making good on their promise to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. With four Democrats joining them, they voted to move forward on a mouthful of a bill called the -- quote -- "Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act."

They're pointing to a new preliminary report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office saying their bill would save $540 billion in spending over nine years.

What they're not saying is that, according to the very same Congressional Budget Office, repealing health care reform would also cost $770 billion in lost revenue. In other words, according to the CBO, this bill killing health care reform would increase the deficit by the difference, $230 billion.

Those are the numbers the Democrats, of course, are trumpeting.

Here to talk about it and talk about that and who knows what else, guitarist, gourmet and gunman Ted Nugent, producer and host of the award-winning "Ted Nugent: Spirit of the Wild" TV show on the Outdoor Channel.

TED NUGENT, MUSICIAN: Gourmet. I like that, Anderson.

(LAUGHTER)

NUGENT: Aren't you tired of me yet?

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: You did a cookbook a couple years ago about...

NUGENT: Yes, "Kill It and Grill It." Didn't you...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: "Kill It and Grill It." I did. I...

NUGENT: Didn't you make a donation to that...

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I have seen it.

Also Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and some part-time hunter himself.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Hey, Paul.

BEGALA: Hey, Ted. In fact, I have got an autographed copy of your book, Ted. I don't know if you remember. But I have used the recipes. I just got home from a Texas hunting trip last night. So...

NUGENT: I can see there's a certain effervescence to you.

(LAUGHTER)

NUGENT: You are infested with the Texas venison, are you not?

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Absolutely.

NUGENT: All right.

COOPER: Vim and venison.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: All right, so, Ted, what about this? I mean, the Senate is not going to take up this -- this -- repealing health care. The -- the -- certainly, the president's not going to sign it, even if they did. So is this just political, you know, showmanship on the part of the House?

NUGENT: Well, you know, everything is claimed to be political showmanship or a stunt.

I believe the characterization of the Obama health care outrage is accurate when they say it will bankrupt the country and destroy jobs. We can't afford to do either.

But I am compelled to share with you and my friend Paul here and America on CNN, please, somebody, instead of squawking about health care, could we finally get a leader? Maybe it's me. Why doesn't America start caring about their health? You're supposed to care about your health before you squawk and demand health care.

And I know that may sound oversimplistic, but every medical study has has -- concluded, and my own experience in 62 years has concluded that, if people treat their sacred temple with such disrespect, and you don't care about your health, then the damage control of health care will be...

COOPER: So, you're saying some of the folks yelling about health care reform and problems with the health care system, they need to take care of their own health first?

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Yes. And the leaders of our political system out there should be talking in serious terms to their constituency. Take better care of yourself. Quit eating like pigs.

COOPER: You -- you told one of -- told one of our producers -- and it was among the best pre-interviews I have ever read -- that our children have a layer of blubber.

NUGENT: Well, I mean, I -- I -- yes, I might have mentioned that.

(LAUGHTER)

NUGENT: But I think all you have to do is open your eyes as you cruise this great country of ours.

The kids have blubber. When children have blubber, they're going to need health care way earlier than kids without blubber. If your kids have blubber, you are a rotten, soulless parent. Start caring about your health, and we wouldn't be having these discussions about an emergency of health care in all its different strategies.

COOPER: Paul, I don't know if you want to talk about blubber and kids, or if you just want to talk about Republicans.

NUGENT: He's a big fan of muktuk. You like muktuk, don't you?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: No, I'm not a muktuk guy.

But I -- Ted sounds to me, you know, like a slightly more Motor City Madman version of our first lady, Michelle Obama, who's getting lots of criticism from...

NUGENT: I supported her.

BEGALA: ... Ms. Palin, the half-term governor.

COOPER: You actually wrote something in her favor, didn't you?

BEGALA: Yes, she's right. She's trying to help encourage parents to get their kids more active, to -- she's grown a garden herself at the White House.

So, I think Ted's right. I will say that the health care bill that -- that Ted and some of his friends want to repeal has a lot of preventive care in it, and it has a lot of incentives for preventive care.

But he's absolutely right. I was astonished that Sarah Palin, who is a fitness buff herself -- she's in terrific shape -- she was criticizing our first lady for -- for advocating much of the very same things that Sarah Palin seems to live by, which is be fit and eat right.

NUGENT: Well, Paul, what we were -- what my friend Sarah Palin was doing was criticizing once again that it's being pushed and forced by the government, instead of it being a community action campaign and the leadership saying, moms and dads, teachers, if you see a giant, fat, blubbery kid at school, take the garbage out of their hand and say, don't eat this stuff.

And I know we're getting away -- away from the discussion about...

COOPER: That's all right. It's interesting.

NUGENT: ... repealing the health care bill, but, again, the reason we're having the discussion in 2011, and the reason we passed a health care fiasco in 2010 is because, since about 1950, we haven't cared about our health.

I beg of you, I plead, I implore, America, watch what Mr. Hand picks up and puts in Mr. Mouth. You're killing yourselves out there.

BEGALA: Well, that's right. And it's in part because we have -- the government -- and, by the way, Mrs. Obama is not forcing anybody to do anything. She's leading by example, in the finest tradition of, say, first lady Nancy Reagan, who encouraged kids to stay off of drugs. Mrs. Obama is encouraging kids to eat right.

But we also have a federal agriculture policy that has been driven by corporations and by corporate agriculture conglomerates, instead of small family farmers. And so poor people especially now, the only food generally that they can often afford is the really high-fat, low quality, you know, crummy food that -- that makes their kids fat.

So, a lot of this...

NUGENT: I don't agree with that.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... is driven by government policy. If we didn't have an agriculture policy, mostly fostered by Republicans, I have to say, that favors these giant corporate agribusiness combines, then our kids would be healthier. That's why they were healthier in the '50s, before we turned our agricultural system away from the family farm and to the corporate farm.

NUGENT: It's all about choice.

Literally, the doctors of the world will tell you that America is sick because they get up every morning and make stupid choices. And the Agriculture Department didn't do that, and the government didn't do that, and the farmers didn't do that, and the corporations didn't do that.

We have lost our soul incrementally, to the point where we're not accountable, we're not responsible, we're not conscientious, and we're not thoughtful. And I think all those painful adjectives apply to the health care bill, as well, as how it will impact our society.

COOPER: It's an interesting discussion.

I -- we're actually out of time, so we're not even going to discuss what actually happened today, but I actually liked that discussion better.

NUGENT: I think it's important.

COOPER: It is.

NUGENT: Let's do this often.

COOPER: No, it's...

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: America has to treat themselves better, so that we're a stronger, more capable nation individually, as an army of Americans.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, it's a national security -- it's the health of the country. It's an important issue.

NUGENT: It's all relative to quality of life.

COOPER: I just want to quickly show, this is not the first time you guys have been united on television.

I just want to show...

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Oh, the gag -- my gag fest, that time...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I remember that. I almost -- I almost choked poor Nugent on television.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Yes. I think we got a little bit of the first time. Let's go back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CROSSFIRE," MAY 2002)

NUGENT: Paul, with all due respect -- this is good venison, by the way. Good work.

BEGALA: Isn't that good? Isn't that good?

NUGENT: I will have you handle my carcass when I go.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: I would be thrilled to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NUGENT: , So you will be thrilled to handle my carcass?

(LAUGHTER)

NUGENT: This is great. You and me, Paul, blood brothers from the waist down.

BEGALA: It will be an honor.

That venison was from my buddy Tony Sanchez's ranch in South Texas. I have got more for you, Ted, if you want it.

NUGENT: I'm telling you, that's the last thing I need, is more guitars, guns, ammo and meat.

COOPER: You send...

NUGENT: I have got plenty.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: You send -- you actually send meat overseas to the troops.

NUGENT: Yes. Paul would be proud of this, because hunters are the great stewards. We have more deer, more bear, more cougars, more moose and antelope in America today than ever.

The Nugent family just sent our second ton of venison jerky to the heroes in Afghanistan...

BEGALA: Great.

NUGENT: ... that we killed ourselves with our trusty bow and arrow.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Ted Nugent, been three days with us.

(CROSSTALK)

NUGENT: Yes, great, great three days, guys.

COOPER: Have a great weekend.

Paul Begala, have a great weekend as well.

BEGALA: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: 360 exclusive coming up: Soledad O'Brien talking to two sisters who received double life sentences for a crime that netted them about $11. Tonight, they're free -- the terms of their release, though, raising some eyebrows. We will hear from them, an exclusive interview with Soledad.

Plus, oil-soaked marshes in Louisiana left over from the BP spill -- new anger over who will clean up the mess. Billy Nungesser speaking out, yelling -- you will see it tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In a moment, an exclusive interview with two sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, who walked out of prison today in Pearl, Mississippi, free after 16 years, their double life sentences suspended.

Today, Jamie recalled the moment that she heard the news they would be released.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE SCOTT, RELEASED FROM PRISON: Now, a girl ran in the kitchen and bust open a kitchen door. She said: "Jamie, you're on the news. You're free."

(LAUGHTER)

J. SCOTT: And I bust out the kitchen. And when I bust out the kitchen, all the inmates was standing at the door, beating on the door, saying: "You did it. You did it. You free. You free."

So, that was a wonderful experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, You might think double life sentences, these women must have committed the worst kind of crime.

Well, here are the facts. The Scott sisters were arrested in 1993 and charged in an armed robbery. They were 19 and 21 at the time. Neither had a criminal record. They were convicted for their role in the robbery, which netted as little as $11. No one was killed.

A jury sentenced each woman to two life sentences. Three teenage boys were also convicted, but received much lighter sentences, even though court records show they, not the Scott sisters, were armed.

The prosecutor in the case told us that life isn't in -- that life in prison is not customary for a case like this. The typical sentence is between three and five years.

Governor Haley Barbour, a Republican who took office in 2004, has been under pressure to step in. The NAACP has led a national campaign to free the Scott sisters.

Late last month, Governor Barbour announced he would suspend the sisters' sentence but with one condition: that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie, whose kidneys are failing.

In the statement, Barbour said, quote, "Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott's medical condition creates a substantial cost to the state of Mississippi."

Now, Gladys Scott says she wants to give her sister a kidney and that she made the decision months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLADYS SCOTT, FREED FROM PRISON: I told her that I didn't want her to go on dialysis. I wanted her -- I wanted to donate my kidney so she can live a normal life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Gladys she wants to donate her kidney, that it was her idea. Many medical ethicists are outraged that Governor Barbour made the organ donation a condition of the sisters' release. The American Society of Transplantation is calling on him to drop the requirement.

Soledad O'Brien sat down with the Scotts just hours after their release today. She joins me now -- Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. There are many folks who called that requirement barbaric, but I've got to tell you, the Scott sisters today were actually saying thank you to the governor. Because they said they're -- now that they're out of prison, they're able to fight to clear their names altogether for a crime they said they did not commit.

He has suspended their sentence, not pardoned them. They want to fight to clear their name. They left prison this morning, Anderson. The ladies were absolutely ecstatic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're free!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're free!

O'BRIEN: So how does it feel to be free?

JAMIE SCOTT, FREED FROM PRISON: Oh, it's great. Because I don't have to worry about no wake-up call, don't have to ask anybody if I have to go to the bathroom. It just feels great.

O'BRIEN: How are you feeling? You look tired.

J. SCOTT: I am tired but I feel -- I feel great. You know, like I say, it's just a dream come true, you know, how you dream for so long, and then when it finally comes, you're scared to wake up because you're scared it's not real. And it's -- it's just wonderful.

O'BRIEN: When did you first get sick?

J. SCOTT: Well, they told me January of 2009.

O'BRIEN: So you thought you might die in prison?

J. SCOTT: Yes, yes. I thought I was going to die in prison. And so they came -- when they got my sister, she talked some sense into me. And she came in the room, and she was crying. And she said, you know, "We're going to beat this, Jamie. We're going to beat this." She said, "You can have one of my kidneys." She said, "That's not a problem. You can have it." She said, "I'm healthy. You can have one of mine."

G. SCOTT: I told her, I said, "I can't do this time. I can't live without you." I said -- I said, "I want you to, you know -- I want you to see your grandkids, raised." I said, "We're going to walk out this door."

And she was like, "No, no, I don't want to go on dialysis." So I was begging and I was crying and I was crying. She said, "You're going to give me your kidney?"

I said, "Yes, we're both going to have one kidney walking out of prison."

O'BRIEN: Part of the condition of release is that you give your kidney to your sister. What happens if your kidney is not acceptable?

G. SCOTT: Well, from my understanding, I don't think nothing's supposed to happen, but we have other people lined up that's willing to donate in case I'm not.

O'BRIEN: If she's not a match, plan B?

G. SCOTT: Yes, plan B.

J. SCOTT: Plan B.

O'BRIEN: Some people said to make the donation of your kidney to your sister as a condition of release is barbaric, is unfair. Do you think that's true?

G. SCOTT: Yes.

O'BRIEN: You do? Even though you're willing to give the kidney anyway?

G. SCOTT: Yes.

J. SCOTT: I think that a lot of people are looking at it as an organ for your freedom.

O'BRIEN: But is it?

G. SCOTT: Yes.

J. SCOTT: You can look at it like that, you know, because that was her condition of her release. But I -- I think that I'm not agreeing with that, because I'm not agreeing with in my mind, because she was going to do it regardless.

O'BRIEN: Many people focus on the fact of the condition about the donation of the kidney and not even what you guys talk a lot about, which is you say you didn't do it.

G. SCOTT: Right.

O'BRIEN: Is that -- is that frustrating?

J. SCOTT: I don't too much focus on that, because everybody played their role, and it mounted up to one thing. We're sitting here in front of you today.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think now? I mean, you have filed for petitions for release before. So why now?

J. SCOTT: I think there's a time and a purpose for everything.

G. SCOTT: I believe it was just our season. God said, "Let them go."

J. SCOTT: I believe -- yes. I believe that wholeheartedly. No matter how much we do, I believe there's a time and a season for everything.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Soledad, what is next for them? What are their plans?

O'BRIEN: Well, they're going to head out of the state. There's a rule that they have to get out of Mississippi within 24 hours. So they'll leave this evening. And then Jamie is going to get right to dialysis tomorrow morning.

They're going to figure out how to put the pieces of their lives back. They have five kids between them and a couple of grandchildren, as well. And they don't know those children much at all, so they're going to be rebuilding their lives, as well.

And Jamie said a really interesting thing at the press conference. She said she wanted to be the voice of the other female prisoners who she was leaving behind.

Legally, they're going to work to clear their name through their lawyers, of course.

COOPER: And the release is contingent on Gladys giving her sister a kidney, but she isn't necessarily a match, as you said, right? O'BRIEN: They haven't tested her. She has no idea if she's a match. But they put it out, they've got other people who will step in.

The lawyers have told us they think that if, in fact, she's not a match, if it's not physically possible for her to donate her kidney to her sister, that doesn't mean that she'll go back to prison. In fact, they think that that would be very difficult and that the governor would not step in to do that.

COOPER: Soledad, appreciate it. Soledad O'Brien with the exclusive tonight. Thanks.

We're following other important stories. Joe Johns has a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, some encouraging news for job seekers, a pick-up in employment last month: 103,000 jobs were added in December, and the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 9.4 percent. However, job growth was lower than expected.

State and local officials in Louisiana toured an area along the Gulf Coast today that is still covered in oil from the BP spill. They're concerned about a federal report due out Tuesday that spreads around blame for the spill, and angry that BP and the federal government appear ready to pull out of the region before the cleanup is completed.

Today one local official who we've had many times on "360" let a Coast Guard officer have it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY NUNGESSER, PLAQUEMINES PARISH PRESIDENT: I put a girl that works at the parish on the boat, because we were called on Sunday to have somebody out there that Monday morning. So don't song and dance, because if you want to really get ugly, don't throw (EXPLETIVE DELETED) back at me like I -- you give me the money, let me put the plan together. Then you can blame me.

But don't tell me I've got a voice in the way you all put that crappy document that isn't worth the paper it's written on. That is (EXPLETIVE DELETED). OK? Don't piss me off, because that is (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

Because you know what? I kept off of TV hoping you'd do what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you're supposed to do, and you haven't done it, so kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Wow.

And a special guest made a pilgrimage today at Graceland. Edison Pena is one of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days. You'll recall, he's an Elvis fanatic and led his fellow miners in Elvis sing-alongs during their ordeal. By the way, the king would have turned 76 tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. That's cool.

Tonight's "Shot," Pee-Wee Herman stopped by today, stopped by the office. It was fun, kind of surreal to actually meet the Pee-Wee behind "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's nice to have you here, not only because I'm a huge fan but also because you're pretty much paler than I am.

PAUL REUBENS, PLAYS PEE-WEE HERMAN: But not blonder.

COOPER: Yes.

REUBENS: I considered going white before I came on the show.

COOPER: Did you?

REUBENS: Just to match you.

COOPER: Wow.

REUBENS: It's a lot of work, though.

COOPER: It is a lot of work.

REUBENS: Very little payoff.

COOPER: Yes. No, it takes a while.

REUBENS: I mean it's working good for you, but I don't think it would work as good for me.

COOPER: I would like -- in my mind I still have brown hair. So when I look in the mirror I'm still kind of shocked every time I look in the mirror.

REUBENS: I love that story. I watch you all the time. Like right now. And now. I'm still watching.

COOPER: You're making me uncomfortable.

REUBENS: Sorry. OK. I'll look away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We talked about his big Broadway debut, his new show that's going to be on HBO in March. We also talked about him being on Twitter. He's on the Twitter and @PeeWeeHerman. And his new movie that he's just going to start working on. He even did the "Tequila" dance right here in the studio.

You can see the entire interview with Pee-Wee Herman on a special edition of 360 Monday night, 9 p.m. Eastern.

Serious stuff next. Coming up, our series on some of the most notorious cold cases in history. Tonight we're revisiting the JonBenet Ramsey case. The murder of the 6-year-old girl stunned the town of Boulder, Colorado; much of the nation, frankly. Fourteen years after that murder, we'll show you where the case now stands. Recent moves by the police to question her brother. And I'm talking with "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh.

And why porn pictures of a "Beverly Hills Housewife" are in the news and why the people who put them there are on tonight's RidicuList.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, continuing our week-long look at the country's cold cases, the most notorious cold cases, tonight the JonBenet Ramsey murder.

She was 6 years old, killed on Christmas night. Stunned the quiet town of Boulder, Colorado, the killing did, soon the entire country. To this day, 14 years later, there's still no clear answer to the simple question of who killed JonBenet?

Tom Foreman has covered this story from the beginning. He investigates tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is hard for many people to recall it now, but the murder of JonBenet Ramsey was little more than a tragic local news story that holiday season of 1996 until her parents appeared on CNN.

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET: There is a killer on the loose.

JOHN RAMSEY, FATHER OF JONBENET: Absolutely.

P. RAMSEY: I don't know who it is. I don't know if it's a he or a she, but if I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you. There's someone out there.

FOREMAN: John and Patsy Ramsey's comments turned the story into a sensation, fed by those captivating pageant photos and a puzzle. How could a 6-year-old girl be killed in a quiet neighborhood and no one see or hear a thing?

Investigative reporter Julie Hayden has followed the evidence and the relentless questions since day one.

JULIE HAYDEN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Was it an intruder? Wasn't it an intruder? If it was an intruder, how on earth did this happen?

But on the other hand, you have was it a family member? Well, how could that happen? How could somebody do that to their own child? You know, but it's got to be one or the other. You know? Somebody killed JonBenet. FOREMAN: This year, attention once again turned to her brother, Burke, who was 9 years old and, by all accounts, sleeping soundly in his room while his sister's skull was fractured and she was strangled nearby.

Now he's 23, and although police investigators aren't talking, a Ramsey family attorney says officers have invited Burke to discuss the case again, and so far he's declined this latest request.

Good for him, say some legal analysts in the Colorado foothills. He's answered all the questions many times before.

Larry Pozner is a Denver defense attorney not connected to the case.

LARRYPOZNER, DENVER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Burke Ramsey has been completely cleared and way back at the beginning of the case when tabloids got otherwise, they got sued. And I believe they settled paying large amounts of money. Burke Ramsey has nothing to do with this case.

FOREMAN: Part of the problem deciding who should be connected to this investigation has always been a tantalizing and perplexing collection of facts.

There was, for example, no clear sign of forced entry. No footprints in the snow. The rope used to choke JonBenet was tightened with a paint brush from her mother's hobby kit. An alleged ransom note was written on a pad of paper from inside the house. And some investigators thought the handwriting looked like Patsy's. And the body was found in a little-used basement room that police didn't even notice at first, which created another problem.

POZNER: The Boulder police engaged in a crime scene search and preservation that was worse than amateurish. It borders on criminal.

FOREMAN: Police have always defended their work, but despite all the scrutiny, all the hours of investigation, nothing. Each possible break in the case, each supposed suspect over the years has proven worthless or a fraud.

Just two years ago the district attorney said new DNA testing methods had cleared all family members of suspicion.

J. RAMSEY: We're certainly grateful for the acknowledgment that we are innocent, this was an intruder, which of course, we've always maintained.

FOREMAN: So does JonBenet's brother Burke have some memory locked away that could unlock the case? Attorney Scott Robinson, who has also followed the story closely, says not likely.

SCOTT ROBINSON, DENVER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Even if Burke were to have some miraculous memory that could lead to the arrest of a suspect, that information would be so dated and so questionable that most criminal defense attorneys would have a heyday with it at trial. It's very problematic to be using information that would be so stale from an individual who did not remember it before. The colder the case gets, the colder the trail gets.

FOREMAN: The main figures in this murder mystery are almost all gone. To other jobs, other cities. Some, including Patsy Ramsey, have died, leaving so many questions and one terrible truth. A 6-year-old girl was killed in her home on Christmas, and no one has ever spent a day in jail for her murder.

Tom Foreman, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Such a mystery. The JonBenet case is one that's close to the heart of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, having suffered the loss of his own 6-year-old son, who was murdered in 1981. I talked to Walsh about why the Ramsey case seemed to go so terribly wrong so fast.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": It was horrible police work, and some of the worst police work in the history of the abduction and murder of a child.

I suffered what the Ramseys did firsthand and, you know, they look back at it. And I think that such a horrible job of collecting evidence, not interviewing sex offenders in the area, just focusing in on John Ramsey and Patsy Ramsey was a huge mistake.

There are both sides of the argument, but I've learned one thing in all these years. Look hard at the family, but don't ever rule out the possibility that it's a sexual predator passing through or in the neighborhood. You have to do a parallel investigation.

You know what they did way back in the day? They never looked at anybody else but the Ramseys. Personally, I don't think the Ramseys had anything to do with it.

COOPER: You don't think they had anything to do with it?

WALSH: Absolutely not. I think it was just horrible, terrible police work.

COOPER: JonBenet's brother is now 23. Authorities wanted to talk to him again just to see if there are any memories that have come up that he hadn't already talked to them about, and he declined. It's understandable why, given what that family has went through, that he wouldn't want to talk to authorities any more.

WALSH: I think that would be a natural consequence, that he's tried to go on with his life. He saw what happened to his mother and father. He saw how they were brutalized by the press, by the media, how they were, you know, finger pointed right from the police from day one. Saw his mother die of cancer, you know, and saw his father go through hell.

I think that there has been, I think, two D.A.s now and several cops have totally eliminated him as a possibility.

COOPER: And probably one of the strangest twists in this case was suddenly, you know, this guy John Mark Karr popping up and saying that he was involved, and yet, you know, authorities cleared him after DNA tests.

WALSH: He reveled in the publicity, Anderson. He wore makeup for the -- for the trip back to the United States. He just reveled in the exposure, just a low life creep that just said, "Hey, you know, I've been nothing in my life. I exist on the bottom of the spectrum. I'm a bottom feeder, and I'm going to get publicity."

The sad thing is it gives parents hope.

COOPER: Do you think the killer will ever be caught?

WALSH: I really believe that this is going to be a tough case to solve. I would love to see them start from square one. They have a couple times.

I know from my own experience of waiting 27 years that a really good cop, a really dedicated crew that does it, starts back at square one and throws out all the preconceived notions, can sometimes solve something. I never give up on cases.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, more in our month-long look at some of the most notorious cold cases. Next week we look back at the case of Amber Hagerman, an 8-year-old taken from a parking lot in Texas. Her abduction and murder led to the launch of the Amber Alert system that saved countless lives. It's little comfort, probably, for Amber's family. No arrests have ever been made in connection with her murder.

One footnote in connection with Wednesday's broadcast in the 9 p.m. Eastern 360 special, references were made by CNN guests to certain named products. These statements were made during speculative dialogue about why the birds died in Arkansas and do not in any way reflect CNN reporting.

Coming up, we're adding to the "RidicuList" tonight. The so-called friends of J. Lo (ph), Camille Grammer, Miley Cyrus and others who have been done plain wrong.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time to add some new names to tonight's "RidicuList." Tonight, we're adding a whole group of people: celebrity frenemies, the so-called friends who make you wonder who needs enemies.

Let's start with the case of Camille Grammer. Now, you know I love me some "Real Housewives." So I'm disappointed, I must say, by the latest move by the bevy of Beverly Hills ladies.

According to "Life & Style Magazine" -- which by the way, is a sentence I never thought I'd find myself uttering -- Camille's cast mates found some soft-core porn pictures of her and forwarded them to everyone they know in an e-mail chain apparently filled with nasty comments.

Come on, ladies. Now, I'm all for the delicious drama that's lovingly ladled out on your show. When the cameras aren't rolling do you really have to go all "Mean Girls"? It's like a high-tech burn book or a four-way call attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my gosh, she's so annoying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. Just get rid of her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brigina (ph) says everyone hates you because you're such a slut.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't hear it from me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Totally. She said that.

Then there's the case of Miley Cyrus. She was caught on camera smoking from a bong. Now, we'd show you the video, but to be honest, we're too cheap to buy it again, so we made an artist's rendering of it. That's sort of the artist rendering of it.

The thing is the video never would have gotten out if one of Miley's fellow partiers in the USA didn't sell it. Now, I don't -- I don't know that I actually want to live in a world where you just can't kick back with friends and acquaintances and take monster bong tokes free from the fear that it will end up online.

And now that TMZ is saying that even the guy who owns the bong itself is trying to sell it. Is nothing sacred?

Then there's the case of JWoww. I believe it's pronounced JWoww from "Jersey Shore." She's trying to legally prevent an ex-boyfriend, reportedly, from selling nude photos of her.

The ex tells Radar Online that the pictures are from before JWoww's second breast augmentation, and the photos aren't flattering. She's reportedly claiming she was unconscious when the pictures were taken.

Stay classy, San Diego.

I think it's time for a lesson in loyalty. A lesson in the real meaning of friendship, courtesy of JWoww and Snooki.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to have sex with you later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well said, ladies. Well said. And that's really the point I'm trying to make. Not that a real friend has to offer sex for Slim- Jims, but a real friend gets you Slim-Jims and Red Bull. What happens afterwards, frankly, is up to you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you sell embarrassing photos and you send mean e-mails, you're not a friend and you never were. You're just a loser who belongs on "The RidicuList."

That's our report tonight. Thanks for watching. "PARKER SPITZER" is next.

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