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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Taped Beating Leads to Search for Answers; Closing Arguments in Michael Jackson Death Trial
Aired November 3, 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: Good evening, everyone, 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest," we're taking a look at the Texas judge whose brutal beating of his disabled daughter shocked millions when video of it surfaced online. The shock has turned to outrage, because not only is William Adams a judge; he's a family court judge who handles child abuse cases.
One of the questions tonight, is that outrage justified?
We will have both sides of a very ugly story, so you can decide for yourself.
But back to the main question, and so many people are asking it tonight. What might Judge Adams make of what about you're about to see if it came before his court?
Before we show you, though, we will warn you, it's incredible hard to watch, let alone stomach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE WILLIAM ADAMS, ARANSAS COUNTY, TEXAS: Bend over that bed.
HILLARY ADAMS, VIDEOTAPED BEATING BY HER FATHER: Dad.
W. ADAMS: Bend over that bed. Bend over the bed.
HILLARY ADAMS: Well --
W. ADAMS: Bend over the bed.
HILLARY ADAMS: Stop. Stop. Stop.
W. ADAMS: Bend over the bed.
HILLARY ADAMS: No.
W. ADAMS: I'm going to keep spanking you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) face. Roll over.
HILLARY ADAMS: No.
W. ADAMS: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) HILLARY ADAMS: Stop. No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We showed you just 24 seconds. The full video lasts 7:30. Judge Adams with his wife at the time beating their daughter, Hillary, when he found out she was downloading music and games from the Internet. He accused her of stealing. Cursing as he swung the belt, repeatedly cursing.
Hillary, who lives with cerebral palsy, was 16 when she recorded that video back in 2004 with the hidden camera after what she calls her father's abuse and harassment escalated. She says she waited seven years to post it online fearing what might happen to her, her mother and young sister.
Judge Adams now on a two-week suspension seems to have no regrets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
W. ADAMS: In my mind I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing, and I did lose my temper, but I have since apologized. It looks worse than it is. There is a story. It will come out in due time, OK?
QUESTION: So you do acknowledge that's you in the video?
W. ADAMS: Yes, absolutely. It's me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And it is. In a moment we'll be joined by Hillary Adams and her mother Hallie now divorced from the judge. But first Gary Tuchman who's in Rockport, Texas, tonight trying to get answers from the judge and reaction from the community -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is the courthouse where Judge William Adams works. He hasn't been here all day. It appears he's out of town while this is all percolating but he has come out with his story.
And we should tell you that the story that he's come out with in the form of a written statement from his attorney does not apologize whatsoever for whipping his child like a jockey would whip a race horse. Instead, he heavily criticized his daughter.
This is what the lawyer statement says in part. Let me read it to you." Just prior to the YouTube upload, a concerned father shared with his 23-year-old daughter that he was unwilling to continue to work hard and be a primary source of financial support if she was going to simply drop out and strive to achieve no more in life than to work part time at a video game store. Hillary warned her father if he reduced her financial support and took away her Mercedes automobile, which her father provided, he would live to regret it. The post was then uploaded." And the statement continues, "Perhaps Hillary Adams should explain why she insisted on living with her father and not her father from the time her parents divorced until she moved out on her own."
Now you may be wondering when will this man Adams be criminally charged. Well, the answer is, it's mostly likely he never will be criminally charged. That's because police here in Rockport say they have very strong evidence with this video of a crime called injury to a child which is a felony many years in jail but there's a big problem, there's a five-year statute of limitations on that crime.
The crime happened seven years ago so as of now it does not look like the judge could be criminally charged.
Now we spent sometime by his house today, it's 10 minutes away from this courthouse. He was at home, as we've said. His neighbors in the area, the ones we've talked to, said he seems like a nice guy. They didn't seem to know him very well.
Inside the courthouse, his courtroom is empty. His nameplate still sits on the stand. It will stay empty until a visiting judge comes here Monday for the next two weeks to take his place.
Now we talked to two people know Adams very well inside this courthouse. The county attorney who argues cases before the judge, also the county administrator known here in Texas as the county judge, who works for the judge, and here's what they had to say about the shocking situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BIANCHI, ARANSAS COUNTY, TEXAS, ATTORNEY: By and large what recommendations this office made he would accept. The -- was he stern in the courtroom? Could he become upset if things weren't done appropriately or he felt like lawyers were not properly prepared? Sure.
JUDGE C.H. "BURT" MILLS, JR., ARANSAS COUNTY, TEXAS: In my observation, he was very fair and very honest judge. You can hear rumors about any judge but judges don't make people happy most of the time. And you hear of him berating people in the courtroom but I never witnessed that.
TUCHMAN: When you talk about hearing him berating people, what had you heard from people?
MILLS: Just that. That he has an anger management problem, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: It should be noted that we could find no one inside this courthouse who wants to see Judge Adams come back to the bench -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nobody who wants to see him come back to the bench, you said?
TUCHMAN: No. That's an understatement. There's nobody in that building -- they're being very careful with saying, we don't want him back, but they're also not saying they do want him back and that should be noted.
COOPER: Interesting. Gary, appreciate it.
Now Hillary Adams and her mom Hallie. I spoke to them just before air time.
COOPER: This tape -- I mean, it's extraordinarily difficult to watch. Is it -- did this kind of thing happen a lot to you?
HILLARY ADAMS: Well, a lot of people are asking that and, well -- the corporal punishment was just corporal punishment when I was younger and -- but then it escalated and got worse and worse over time until when I was a teenager it started turning in to full-blown abuse like similar to what you see in the video.
And it got so bad and I recognized the pattern of it about to erupt that I knew to set up the camera and I knew that I just needed to capture this because it was getting so bad.
COOPER: So you actually -- the night that happened, you actually set up the camera in advance because you could sense things were escalating?
HILLARY ADAMS: Yes, sir. I didn't exactly know why yet. I just needed this -- I just knew that this was something I needed to hold on to. I needed to show people one day. I didn't know why. But -- so I set the camera up and sat there for half an hour recording a blank room because the discussion was taking place elsewhere in the house. And -- but then when it came in to the room and my father switched off the lights and nobody could see in through the window, and then it erupted in to what you see on the tape.
COOPER: It looks in the tape as if in this incident you were trying to sort of participate to kind of stop it and like get her to lay down, hit her once and then with the idea that would stop it. But then he basically goes and gets another belt and comes back and continues on.
HALLIE ADAMS, MOTHER OF HILLARY ADAMS: That's right. I was -- like I said, he would force me to do things so when I'm out of the room, he's talking to me saying things, telling me to go do things, and I was just very, you know, pressured. I act very zombie-like. My voice is very cold.
COOPER: What is it like for you to see this tape now?
HALLIE ADAMS: I -- it was very upsetting to me. I thought he was a monster. I thought that I was a witch.
COOPER: Did you have bruises after that?
HILLARY ADAMS: Oh, yes. The bruises were the worst I would ever had. I had had other lashings like that but this one produced the worst bruising. And the next day it was all up and down my legs and he'd also hit my arms when he couldn't get to my legs.
COOPER: Because he was saying it didn't -- it's not as bad as it looked in the tape.
HILLARY ADAMS: He's -- I don't -- I think he's in serious denial because I told him it hurt to walk the next day and his response was, one word, he said, good.
COOPER: It was much more. You heard Gary Tuchman reporting on Judge Adams' statement. When we continue, Hillary's reaction to her father's statement after seeing it or hearing it for the first time.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter, @AndersonCooper. A lot of folks already on Twitter talking about this. I will be tweeting tonight.
Also ahead, yet more headaches for Herman Cain. A new report detailing how seriously the organization he ran took one of the alleged sexual harassment incidents. New details about one of the cash settlements, and more mixed messages from Cain and his top adviser about who leaked the story.
And later, the Michael Jackson death trial. Now up to the jury. We're going to look at a powerful day of closing arguments.
First, let's check in with Isha Sesay -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, incredible video that looks like a scene out of a "James Bond" movie. Only thing is, this is the real thing. We'll see why a speeding automobile crashed in to the wing of an airplane knocking it right off the runway. The goal was to keep that plane from taking off and why the focus on this plane? The answer and much more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, the video of a Texas father, a judge, beating his daughter has gone viral and as we said at the top of the program, the man is a family court judge. So could his career be in jeopardy?
Our legal experts are going to weigh in on that and other questions in a moment. But first the second part of my interview with Hillary Adams, who's now 23 years old, and her mom Hallie.
COOPER: So you held on to this tape for seven years.
HILLARY ADAMS: Yes, sir. COOPER: Why -- why release it now?
HILLARY ADAMS: I decided to release the tape now after these seven years because it just -- I finally snapped. It wasn't any carefully- planned orchestration or anything like that. And I didn't really mean for anything huge to come of it.
I just wanted to put it out there for my dad to see it and maybe a few other people. To maybe help us reconcile and see that this was wrong.
COOPER: You thought this would help you reconcile?
HILLARY ADAMS: Yes. I wanted to show my father, hey, you -- I think you're in some denial about the way that you're treating me and my mother. And maybe showing him this would make him see something that he didn't before.
COOPER: Your dad has put out a statement. I don't know if you've seen this but I just want to read what -- part of what it says. It says, "Just prior to the YouTube upload a concerned father shared with his 23-year-old daughter that he was unwilling to continue to work hard and be her primary source of financial support if she was going to simply drop out and strive to achieve no more in life than to work part time at a video game store. Hillary warned her father if he reduced her financial support and took away her Mercedes automobile which her father had provided he would live to regret it. The post was then uploaded."
Is that accurate?
HILLARY ADAMS: Wow. I think that's a perfect example of the way he always would twist stories to our community to make him come out as the good guy. It's stunning the way that his behavior continues in the exact same pattern and even as we have this cold, hard proof in front of him of how bad he really was, he still continues.
And I won't say that he wasn't supporting me but he's definitely not my primary financial support. I live with my long-term boyfriend who's been wonderful to me and he has supported me through so many things. He's been with me through this whole ordeal and he will continue to support me, I know.
And I have been working to support myself also, and I do admit I have been spinning my wheels for a little while. I have been working retail which is probably -- I can definitely do better than that but at the same time it has allowed me to live away from my father and this toxic situation and I have done a lot of personal healing in that time. And --
COOPER: So this -- you're saying this wasn't vengeance for him stopping financial support or taking away a car?
HILLARY ADAMS: Well, it was -- I wouldn't describe it as vengeance. It was really -- I wanted to make him see what he was doing. Really. I didn't really have in my mind any idea of revenge or anything like that. That's not what I wanted. I wanted to make this a positive thing after he could -- after he saw the video.
I wanted it to turn out to be a positive thing and the fact that he brings up this -- you know, providing my car and phone for me, he did do that, but I feel that it wasn't out of love. It was out of look at these things that I have given my daughter. Do you see how much of a wonderful father that I am. And he consistently proves that viewpoint with how often he brings it up. Like he specifically mentions the model of the car.
And I admit it's pretty nice, I really appreciated it, and -- but at the same time he would hold it over my head as a reason for me to never, ever get away from him, and it was infuriating, the amount of control he had over me because of that.
COOPER: I just want to read you, give you the opportunity to respond to something else he has just in the last -- I guess couple of hours put out a statement saying. He says, "It is regrettable that Hillary Adams, a bright and gifted person, would include in her post that she is or was a disabled or special needs child. As multiple media appearances clearly demonstrate, Hillary Adams is articulate, possesses a superior I.Q., and is capable of functioning as a productive adult in today's complex society.
"No one should take the affliction of cerebral palsy lightly. Hillary's parents did not. Hillary's condition was monitored as a child and her medical needs met. However neither should a perfectly capable adult try to use an affliction as a device for media sympathy. It should now be apparent to the world that disabled was mislabeled."
HILLARY ADAMS: Wow. That's incredible. Did you know that he's always denied that I even had a problem? This is the first time he has ever written that I had something.
COOPER: Do you want to have a relationship with him again at some point?
HILLARY ADAMS: Of course I do, yes. I still -- I still love and care for my father because it is a fact that he did provide a lot of things for me, and he did make sure I had a very stable and fulfilled life when I grew up. He did make sure that I had a bunch of opportunities. And -- but what he didn't make sure that I had was a father that did those things out of love rather than a wish to have his child reflect back on him.
That's pretty much what he wanted me to be was a mirror. He wanted me to be a mirror so he could throw good things at it and they would reflect right back on to him.
COOPER: Well, I hope -- I hope something come -- good comes out of this for everybody involved and I wish you well. Thank you.
HILLARY ADAMS: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's talk about some of the potential legal issues in this case.
Sunny Hostin is a legal contributor for "In Session" on our sister network truTV. She's also a former federal prosecutor, and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is with us, as well.
So, the police are saying they are not going to bring any charges. I mean nothing can be done legally against this judge, correct?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think that's right. I mean, clearly, when you look at the tape -- and I have seen the entire thing -- this is child abuse, pure and simple. I mean he's abusive not only physically but verbally and emotionally, as well. But the statute of limitation has run. You either get five years or 10 years in Texas depending on if it's a misdemeanor or a felony, and I think that time period has run.
COOPER: He's an elected judge, so I guess if the people in this community feel this is egregious they can not reelect him.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, but before that, there is what's called a Committee on Judicial Conduct which has now initiated an investigation. If they find reason they can then recommend to the Texas Supreme Court that he be removed right away. So there doesn't have to be an election. They can get rid of him right away and those wheels are turning as well they should be.
COOPER: He was saying his daughter was being disobedient and that he was disciplining her. Is there any iota in your mind, a doubt, that this is abuse?
HOSTIN: No, not really. Not at all. In Texas, yes, you can reasonably discipline a child. Spanking is OK. But what we just saw is more than spanking, Anderson. I mean he has a belt. He beats her for several minutes. This is just beyond the pale when it comes to reasonable discipline of a person under the age of 18.
No question in my mind that this is child abuse and I used to try child abuse cases and I often said to people what you can't do to an adult you can't do to a child. Can you do this to an adult? Can you take a belt and beat the person for several minutes? Of course not. That would be assault. This is child abuse, very simple.
COOPER: There is a custody case involving a minor child still that the judge is trying to regain custody from his wife. Could this affect that?
TOOBIN: Well, sure. Absolutely. This is relevance to his fitness to be a parent. But, you know, all that other stuff about his motive and her motive, you know, I don't mean to trivialize either story but it's like, you know, the Herman Cain people saying that, you know, this was leaked for this reason or that reason.
The issue is did he commit child abuse, period? Now, what their motives are, releasing it now, I don't know. I'm sure it's a much more complicated story than we can uncover in this brief period but if that's him on the video as it appears to be --
COOPER: And which he says it is.
TOOBIN: Which he is. And he's doing what he appears to be doing, end of story. This guy should not be a judge.
COOPER: Really? You can --
TOOBIN: I -- look. I'm usually an advocate of saying well, let's wait until all the facts are in. Let -- but, you know, tomorrow he could be hearing cases on child abuse. That's not right. The Texas judicial -- the committee seems to be doing the right thing. He's not -- he's not hearing cases now. Unless some facts come out that's completely --
COOPER: Could somebody look at this who has faced him as a defendant and use this to try to get something overturned?
TOOBIN: That I doubt. I mean I -- you know, you can always try. But I don't -- I would find that a --
COOPER: You don't think he should be on the bench? Do you think he should be on the bench?
HOSTIN: No. Jeff and I sometimes disagree on things. We do not disagree here.
TOOBIN: No, no, not on this one. No.
HOSTIN: I mean he certainly needs to be removed from the bench, no question.
TOOBIN: And he's lucky all this time has passed and the statute has lapsed.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Sunny Hostin, thanks so much.
Up next: new developments in the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegation story, including a report on whether Restaurant Association knew about the most serious allegations.
Also ahead, "Crime & Punishment": closing arguments in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. The jury gets the case tomorrow, a case that prosecutors say will never end for Jackson's three kids because their father is never coming back. Details on tonight's -- on today's closing arguments when we continue.
COOPER: More new developments tonight in the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegation story. And "Keeping Them Honest": a backflip with a twist in the campaign's blame game over who leaked the story.
First, new details about the most serious allegation of unwanted sexual advance by Cain at a National Restaurant Association event back when he was CEO. Politico has a new reporting attributed to what it says are multiple sources independently familiar with the alleged incident. Their leak, quote, "There were urgent discussions of the woman's accusations at top levels of the National Restaurant Association within hours of when the incident was alleged to have occurred."
Mr. Cain denies anything inappropriate happened and had previously denied even remembering that a statement was reached -- that a settlement was reached with the woman concerned. One of two women the association settled with. One got $35,000 according to "The New York Times," a year's salary. Politico reports the other got $45,000.
The lawyer for one woman says she's reluctant to go public but may release a statement. The Restaurant Association is promising a statement tomorrow.
As for Herman Cain he's now spent the last four days responding in a whole variety of ways to the allegations. From "no comment" to "I don't remember" to "I remember one alleged incident." As for who's behind the story, he's gone from blaming liberals or other Republicans to blaming the Perry campaign to un-blaming a Perry operative to blaming the campaign again this afternoon on Sean Hannity's radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's just say there aren't enough bread crumbs that we can lay down and connect that leads us anywhere else at this particular point in time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Late today, again, pointing fingers at the Perry campaign.
Here's his chief of staff just a few hours earlier letting Perry adviser Curt Anderson whom they spent yesterday blaming off the hook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK BLOCK, HERMAN CAIN'S CHIEF OF STAFF: All the evidence that we had and what's transpired in the last two weeks led up to Mr. Anderson as being the source. We were absolutely thrilled that he came on your show and said that it wasn't, because Mr. Cain had always had the utmost respect for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So he's saying he had ample evidence, but never mind -- evidence, by the way, that he never produced. In the end, it may not matter to primary voters. Mr. Cain is still riding high in the polls and the campaign says they have raised $1.2 million since the story broke.
More on the "Raw Politics" now with chief national correspondent John King who sat down today with Rick Perry for an exclusive interview. Perry responded for the first time to the allegations his campaign was involved in the whole thing.
Also tonight chief political analyst Gloria Borger and joining us by phone political contributor Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman for former George W. Bush. You can follow him on Twitter @AriFleischer.
Gloria, we're expecting to find out tomorrow whether one of these women will be able to tell her story, right?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. We are. I just got off the phone with one of these women's attorney, Joel Bennett. He said the National Restaurant Association right now, an attorney for the association, has in front of it a -- what he calls a one-page press release typed statement in the third person from the attorney on behalf of his client.
He says, it in effect responds to comments that Herman Cain has made and it is essentially a summary of what she did and why she did it without the specifics of the incident. Now the Restaurant Association can say go ahead and release this. They can say we don't like your statement. How about rewriting it? Or they can say, you know what? We're not going to release you from the confidentiality pledge so no go. And we'll know tomorrow.
COOPER: And, John, you talked to Rick Perry in Iowa today. I want to play a little of what he had to say to you about all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, ANCHOR, "JOHN KING, USA": I want to start with what's driving the news right now which is the Cain campaign, and the candidate himself, say that you and your campaign owe him an apology.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
KING: Do you?
PERRY: No apology needed. We found out about this the same time that I suppose the rest of America found out about it. Both on the Internet or next day in the news so, you know, I don't know how to tell any other way except knew nothing about it, sir.
KING: You said nothing to do with it, I don't know want to draw on this. But if you ever found out somebody in your campaign did something like that, would you fire them?
PERRY: Out the door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Out the door. So, John, what happens now in all this? KING: Well, the Perry campaign insists they had nothing to do with it but you have the mudslinging. An interesting point -- Governor Perry says his staff handled this. He did not himself called around to the senior staff. But he said the staff assures him nobody had any role in it. Mr. Cain is not backing down.
What happens now is we see two things. What happens tomorrow if the statement comes out, what new revelations will come out that will affect Mr. Cain, how long will he have to continue talking about this, and will he continue to point the finger at Governor Perry?
Sixty-one nights from now, Anderson, the people of this state start the voting. What do they think of all this is a key question.
COOPER: Ari, you've got a less-than-flattering name I think for some of the reporters and pundits following this controversy. Here's some of what you had to say today.
Do we have that? I guess not.
Well, Ari, what do you make of this?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Anderson, my concern all along here has been, there's one simple, overarching issue, and that's, did he sexually harass anybody?
And it's kind of hard for him because he doesn't have the benefit of the accuser stepping forward and telling their side of the story. But he's been unequivocal and the story has not changed when he said, "I never sexually harassed anybody."
So if he's lying, his goose is cooked, and he's going to have to drop out of this race. But if he's telling the truth, and what I'm afraid of, Anderson, is what I call the Washington scandal industry has kicked in. And he's being held to a measurement that nobody can pass. Of course, the story's going to change as he tries to remember things from a long time ago. He may remember some things, may not remember other things. I attribute that to human nature.
The one thing that hasn't changed is he denied that he harassed anybody. If he didn't harass anybody, I think this story is very unfair to Herman Cain.
COOPER: Gloria, to that point, I mean, it is a hard thing for him to fight against if the accuser isn't putting a face on it and coming out with any details. Then it's just this unnamed accuser making un -- allegations with no details.
BORGER: Well, at risk of being part of the Washington scandal industry, I would say that Herman Cain could say to the Restaurant Association, "You know what? I think we need to get these documents out. We need to clear the air." That's a possibility.
And also, I would add, that he's also been out there accusing other people. I interviewed a person from the Perry campaign today, Curt Anderson. He accused him of leaking. Curt Anderson says, no, he didn't.
And so, I think you end up -- you know, this -- this is a person running for president of the United States. And I think people who run for president are held to a very different standard or a high standard, I should say, and rightly so.
And I think the issue does need to be resolved, one way or the other. Either the women need to come out or the documents need to be released, but I think now that the story has risen, it needs to get resolved.
COOPER: Ari, are you saying it's unfair to -- that it's still a story, because he's denied it and no one has come forward?
FLEISCHER: I'm saying the issues the people are focused on are all the sideshows. Is somebody accusing somebody of leaking?
BORGER: I agree.
FLEISCHER: This is memory -- memory, remember, that he gave three or four months severance or that his company gave one year's severance. It's 35,000 or how much was it?
These are all side issues that really don't determine whether someone's a good president or not. It determines whether or not they know how to do the Washington dance and survive a Washington scandal.
The only disqualifying issue in my judgment is if he's lying about sexual harassment. That's the core matter. I think all the rest of it: how does he handle a scandal as a sign of whether he'll be a good president or not is part of the Washington nonsense, getting a lot of people turned off by what Washington does and how Washington conducts its business.
COOPER: John, how do you think this plays out with voters? I mean, the charges, the finger pointing, the -- you know, the shifting explanations.
KING: I think we'll know better in a week or two in the sense that I talked to Mr. Cain's Iowa state chairman, Steve Gross (ph) tonight. He said not only is it not hurting them. They're actually having more people sign up in the last 24, 48, 72 hours than they were a week before so he says it's helping.
I talked to a top political reporter for "The Des Moines Register" here tonight. She says at the moment she sees no damaging impact, but I did talk to a conservative activist tonight who says at the moment Mr. Cain is doing fine. But her point was this.
If we're still talking about this tomorrow and next week, remember, Republicans are picking a nominee. The first votes will be cast 61 nights from now in Iowa. They want somebody who can beat President Obama. If they believe there's a sideshow, if they believe there's baggage, if they believe Mr. Cain -- I disagree with Ari a bit. How you handle a crisis is very important. How your staff handles a crisis is very important. Because being president, as Ari well knows, is crisis management 24/7.
So there are some clues here, whether you like the allegations or not, whether it's fair or not. But life isn't fair. Politics isn't fair. The presidency isn't fair. You have to deal with these things. And how he deals with them and how his staff deals with them, assuming a lot of the campaign staff goes on to a White House, it does matter.
BORGER: And you know, when you talk about finger pointing, it's Herman Cain who's been pointing the finger at other people and, you know, Curt Anderson today made a point, which is that this is also diversionary, because instead of talking about the sexual harassment charges, you're talking about who the bad person was who leaked the story instead of talking about the story itself. So, he's pointing fingers.
COOPER: Gloria Borger, John King, Ari Fleischer, thank you. We're following some other stories tonight, as well. Isha is back with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the battle's intensifying between the White House and congress over the government's huge loan to Solyndra. A House panel has voted to subpoena White House documents. The Obama administration loaned the maker of solar panels more than a half billion dollars, but Solyndra went out of business in August, meaning the loan is unlikely to be repaid.
The prime minister of Greece now says it won't be necessary to hold a referendum on the international bailout plan designed to rescue Greece from its heavy debt load. That's if the opposition supports the tough austerity measures that are attached to the plan. The prime minister's initial call for a public vote sent worldwide markets into a nosedive earlier this week.
Wall Street's staged a rally for the second straight day. The Dow gained more than 200 points. Investors were pleased that Europe's central bank cut its interest rates, and they shrugged off the concerns over the Greek debt crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Incredible video you're checking out there. The Brazilian police purposely crashed their vehicle into the left wing of that small plane on the screen to prevent it from taking off. Police said smuggled goods were on board. Anderson, among the items confiscated, surveillance equipment and a bicycle.
COOPER: Amazing video.
COOPER: All right. We'll check with you a little bit later.
Coming up, we're going to show you the most dramatic moments today of the closing arguments in the Michael Jackson death trial plus a look back at the key testimony from the last five weeks that could decide Dr. Conrad Murray's fate.
Also, disturbing reports out of Syria tonight that suggest the government's promise to end the crackdown barely lasted 24 hours.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight. After five weeks of testimony, the jury in the Michael Jackson death trial today heard closing arguments, the last chance for both sides to sway the 12 men and women who will decide Dr. Conrad Murray's fate. Here's lead prosecutor David Walgren.
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DAVID WALGREN, PROSECUTOR: Michael Jackson trusted Conrad Murray. He trusted him with his life. He paid with his life. And the evidence in this case is overwhelming. The evidence in this case is abundantly clear that Conrad Murray acted with criminal negligence. That Conrad Murray caused the death of Michael Jackson. That Conrad Murray left Prince, Paris and Blanket without a father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: After Walgren was finished, defense attorney Edward Chernoff took the floor and repeated his version of the facts, that no crime was committed and Michael Jackson, battling an addiction, gave himself the fatal dose of Propofol.
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ED CHERNOFF, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The prosecution has to show that Dr. Murray actually killed Michael Jackson. Dr. Murray had no control over the situation, because what was happening in the background -- he was just a little fish in a big, dirty pond.
They want you to convict Dr. Murray for the actions of Michael Jackson. They just don't want to tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Randi Kaye was in the courtroom today and joins us in a moment. But first she looks back at the key testimony, evidence the jury is going to have to weigh when they get this case tomorrow. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tears, tales of addiction, and half truths. Just another day in the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray. From day one, Michael Jackson's doctor cannot hold back his emotions.
Prosecutor David Walgren shows little sympathy, hammering home what he calls Murray's incompetence in the scramble to save his star patient.
Day two, Jackson's personal assistant tells the jury Murray called saying something was wrong with Jackson but never said he'd stopped breathing or to call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you asked to call 911?
MICHAEL WILLIAMS, MICHAEL JACKSON'S PERSONAL ASSISTANCE: No, sir.
KAYE: Day three, Jackson's former head of logistics testifies Murray was hiding vials at Jackson's home before paramedics arrived.
ALBERTO ALVAREZ, MICHAEL JACKSON'S HEAD OF LOGISTICS: I was standing at the foot of the bed. He reached over and grabbed a handful of vials, and then he reached out to me and said, "Here, put these in a bag."
KAYE: Day four, this Los Angeles paramedic tells the court Murray never told him he'd given Jackson the powerful anesthetic Propofol, the drug that killed Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Conrad Murray ever mention the word "Propofol" to you during the time that you were at the location or in his presence?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he did not.
KAYE: Day six, a harem of women -- a stripper, former cocktail waitress, and Murray's girlfriend -- all testify they were in touch with Murray the day Jackson died. Sade Anding was on the phone with Murray when he noticed Jackson wasn't breathing.
SADE ANDING, FRIEND OF CONRAD MURRAY: I said, "Hello, hello?" I didn't hear anything.
KAYE: Day seven, a disturbing iPhone recording taken by Murray is played in court of Michael Jackson sounding wasted and slurring his words.
MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: I love them. I love them, because I didn't have a childhood. I had no childhood. I feel their pain. I feel their hurt.
KAYE: Also on day seven, Elissa Fleak (ph), an investigator for the coroner's office, testifies she found 12 bottles of Propofol in Jackson's bedroom, though the defense jumped on her for what they call mistakes in her investigation.
Day nine, detective Scott Smith shares his two-hour recorded interview with Dr. Murray.
DR. CONRAD MURRAY, ON TRIAL FOR JACKSON'S DEATH: I sat there and watch him for a long enough period that I felt comfortable. Then I needed to go to the bathroom. Then I came back to his bedside and was stunned in the sense that he wasn't breathing.
KAYE: Day 14, the prosecution's key expert, Dr. Steven Shafer, testifies the only scenario that fits is that Murray hooked Jackson up to a slow Propofol IV drip and didn't notice he stopped breathing.
Day 18, the defense puts Murray's former patients on the stand to praise Murray. He listens in tears.
Day 20, the so-called father of Propofol, Dr. Paul White, testifies for the defense. He supports the theory Jackson gave himself the fatal dose, unaware it would kill him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think it was a self injection of Propofol near the hour of -- between 11:30 and 12 that did it?
DR. PAUL WHITE, PROPOFOL EXPERT: In my opinion, yes.
KAYE: Day 21, Murray takes a hit when prosecutors press Dr. White about Murray's failure to tell paramedics he gave Jackson Propofol.
WHITE: It was obviously overlooked. He didn't tell them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not obviously. It could also be a lie. Correct? Correct? That's another option.
WHITE: If you say so, I guess, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's another option. Correct?
WHITE: It's an option, yes.
KAYE: That same day on cross-examination, prosecutors get White to admit he believes Murray drew up the syringe of Propofol and left it in the bedroom, accessible to Jackson.
COOPER: Randi, you watched the closing arguments. What struck you today?
KAYE: Well, Anderson, I mean, I think the prosecution played it really well. We've had about five weeks of testimony. A whole lot of detail. A whole lot of science. But prosecutor David Walgren came straight out of the gate going for the emotion.
He reminded the jury that this isn't just about Michael Jackson. This is about his children. He reminded them that it was Paris who was curled up in a ball on the floor crying, when her father is in cardiac arrest. Prince, the oldest son, was in shock. And now Blanket, who's just 9 years old, the youngest child, they all have to grow up without their father.
He had such a strong closing argument, Anderson, that when he left the courtroom he was cheered.
Every day in the hallway outside that courtroom, all the Michael Jackson fans are lined up. They're usually pretty quiet. But today they cheered. They erupted. They actually were screaming great job, great job.
Now, the defense had some good moments, too. They reminded the jury that this is not a reality show, Anderson. This is real life, and you don't convict Conrad Murray because this is Michael Jackson -- Anderson.
COOPER: Do you think the jury is going to return a verdict quickly?
KAYE: I do. I mean, I'll be really surprised if we don't have a verdict tomorrow, because they weren't taking notes today in court. They really seemed to want this over with. In recent weeks they've been heard whispering that they want to get this done. The trial is already a week longer than it was supposed to have been. So like I said, I'll be real surprised if we don't have this over with tomorrow.
COOPER: All right. Randi, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Still ahead tonight, new reports of deadly violence in Syria, despite the government's promise to end its crackdown on its own people. What opposition groups say they witnessed today.
Back her at home, in Oakland, California, anti-Wall Street protesters are tear-gassed and arrested after demonstrators shut down the city's port last night. The latest on that.
And incredible video of a surfer's surprise encounter with a pair of humpback whales. Amazing stuff, next.
SESAY: Back to Anderson in a moment. First, a "360 Bulletin."
Starting in Syria, fresh reports of violence just a day after the government pledged to end its crackdown. Opposition groups say Syrian troops killed at least 20 civilians in two cities while rounding up anti-government protesters.
In California, the port of Oakland has partially reopened. Occupy Oakland protesters shut it down last night. Hours later, police used teargas on demonstrators, arresting dozens. Nearly every office building and store in downtown Oakland has been vandalized. The protesters blame that on the radical fringe of the movement.
NASA is predicting a close call for planet Earth. Next Tuesday, an aircraft carrier-sized asteroid is expected to come within about 200,000 miles of earth.
And speaking of near misses, a YouTube video called "Surfer Almost Swallowed by Whale" -- it does kind of speak for itself -- it shows a California surfer floating on a board off the Santa Cruz coast when, as you see there, two humpback whales pop out of the water. Wow -- Anderson.
COOPER: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" ahead at 11 p.m. Erin, what's up?
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, what we've all been talking so much about, Herman Cain, what happened. Well, tonight, we're going to talk to a man who knows a lot. He's known Herman Cain for 27 years, ran human resources for Herman Cain when he worked at Burger King and then at Godfather's Pizza. Well, we put the questions to him. Was anyone during those years ever come forth with a complaint against Herman Cain? It's all about character. We're going to talk about that.
Plus, amazing video on an airstrip -- literally, godforsaken airstrip. I mean, this is just amazing and this is on purpose. Do you think the car will hit the plane? Well, if you do you are right. We're going to tell you exactly what went on there. An amazing story about smuggling.
Plus, Anderson, a little bunga bunga.
BURNETT: Bunga bunga. You don't know what it is?
COOPER: Italian -- Italian bunga bunga?
BURNETT: Italian bunga bunga.
COOPER: All right. Involved in the...
BURNETT: Yes. Makes it appropriate, right?
COOPER: Well, at least I get the genre that you're talking about, and I'm glad you committed to it, as well. You went all out. Erin, I'll look forward to it.
BURNETT: All right, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, "The RidicuList." Meet the Wedding Lawsuit Guy. That's what we're calling him. He's suing his wedding photographer. Never mind the nuptials were eight years ago and he's now divorced.
COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList," and tonight we're adding a man named Todd Remis whom we're calling Wedding Lawsuit Guy. You see him there in a photo from his wedding back in 2003, a photo taken by H&H Photographers. Both of those facts, date and photographer, are key to the story.
You see, Wedding Lawsuit Guy, brought to our attention by today's "New York Times," sued H&H Photographers, because he claimed they botched the job they were hired to do. He claims their photographer missed the last dance and the bouquet toss.
Now, OK. Let's just stop right here. So far, you're probably thinking, "Hey, the guy's got a legitimate gripe." Right? I mean, the wedding's a big day for a couple: love, communion, sleazy cousins hitting on bridesmaids. You want the whole thing documented properly. I get that.
But now consider this: Mr. Wedding Lawsuit Guy did not file his lawsuit until six years after his wedding, just before the statute of limitations was to expire.
So you might also want to consider that, by the time Mr. Wedding Lawsuit Guy had filed said lawsuit, he and his wife had separated. And perhaps you should also consider that Mr. Wedding Lawsuit Guy is asking to be paid the $4,100 he spent on the photography plus an additional $48,000 -- that's right, $48,000-- so that -- wait for it -- he can fly the key players back in to recreate the wedding exactly as it was and have it re-shot by another photographer.
Oh, did I mention he and his wife are now divorced, and she's believed to have moved back to her home country of Latvia?
Now, while you're trying to absorb all this, I'd like to address you, Wedding Lawsuit Guy, because I think you're in luck here. In fact, forget about that lawsuit. I think we can help you.
Here's what your ex-wife's bouquet toss would have looked like. I'm sure she's much lovelier than our artist managed to convey, but you wanted a memento. Boom, you got a memento.
Also, just FYI, this is a map showing New York and, you know, Latvia, where you apparently want to fly her back from to recreate your wedding. By the way, this map is on the house. Please take note of the fact that Great Britain is apparently now due east of Long Island. A little confusing.
As for the co-founder of the photography business that Wedding Lawsuit Guy is suing, according to the "Times," he's an 87-year-old man who, quote, "escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna and was drafted into the United States Army, where he learned to shoot pictures assisting cameramen along the legendary Burma Road supply line to China during World War II.
So let's just recap, shall we? Wedding Lawsuit Guy -- Wedding Lawsuit Guy is suing a family-run company started by an 87-year-old who escaped the Nazis and learned his photography skills while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. I just want to be clear on all that. Oh, yes, and the company, it's been in business for 65 years. That's longer than Wolf Blitzer's been alive.
As for Wedding Lawsuit Guy, well, most of his lawsuit was thrown out by a judge who, in telling him to take a hike, quoted lyrics from Barbara Streisand's song, "The Way We Were." The judge did allow the man's allegation of breach of contract to proceed, and a hearing was scheduled for today. Win or lose, though, I now pronounce Wedding Lawsuit Guy bonded for all eternity with "The RidicuList."
Hey, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.