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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Interview with Mark O'Mara; Eleven Secret Service Members on Trial; Interview With U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice

Aired April 16, 2012 - 20:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight with breaking news. A new development in the Trayvon Martin case. The attorney for George Zimmerman, who's charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, has filed paperwork to request a new trial judge.

Mark O'Mara is asking for the circuit court judge to recuse herself because of a possible conflict of interests. This is where it gets a little complicated. O'Mara became Zimmerman's attorney after being recommended by Mark NeJame, who CNN recently hired as a legal analyst. That's Mark NeJame. You've seen him on our air.

Now he's an Orlando lawyer, and he's also the law partner of the judge, Judge Recksiedler's husband. Their firm turned down the case when Zimmerman asked them to represent him. They referred him to Mark O'Mara, who filed the recusal motion today. He joins me now.

Mark, thanks for being with us. Earlier this afternoon, you filed this motion to recuse the judge. Are you confident that your request is actually going to be granted?

MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR George Zimmerman: Yes, I do. The way the rule is set up is that once a presentation is made by a verified motion, the court should grant it. She could have an inquiry if she wanted to, but I don't think she will. I think she's going to go ahead and grant it and move the case on to another judge.

COOPER: Were you surprised that she didn't recuse herself? I mean, she brought this up the other day. It certainly could -- whether or not there's conflict of interest, someone could argue there's the appearance of a conflict of interest.

O'MARA: Exactly, and there is an opportunity for the judge to do that. However, also in the rules provide that it's the attorneys who present the motion to the judge. If it's reasonably well-founded and sworn to, it'll be granted. So it could be by the judge initially. But us doing it through motion is just as well.

COOPER: Also today, CNN, along with a number of other news organizations, petitioned the court to reverse an order sealing court records in Zimmerman's prosecution, an order that you requested last week. Why do you feel the records should be sealed?

O'MARA: Well, my initial concern is that I knew there was going to be information flowing into the court file that included witnesses' names, telephone numbers, addresses, actually had some information about Trayvon Martin in there as well.

And my concern is that with the publicity this case has gotten so far, and with the interest from all sorts of people that there may be a concern for some safety to some of those people, should addresses be given out.

COOPER: Well, if personal information about witnesses or individuals attached to the case were redacted from the records, and the records were released in that form, would that be acceptable to you? Or is this part of wanting to -- because there -- when I talked to you a couple of days ago, you said you wanted to kind of, you know, dial down the pressure or the focus on this. Is that part of this?

O'MARA: Yes, it is. I mean, it's an overall philosophy of trying to keep the information flow concentrated within the court system. It's much better handled there. And, again, if information like this, even a police report with names on it, gets out, then my concern is that they're going to be spoken to.

They're going to be questioned. There's going to be four or five different statements from this one witness, let's say, and then we have to sift through all of that to try and get to what is the truth.

COOPER: How often are you in communication now with George Zimmerman and how is he doing?

O'MARA: Daily basis, at least a couple times a day. And, again, he's doing well physically. He wants out. He is certainly frightened as to what's going on. He's very concerned with the process. But I think he understands it.

COOPER: You said he's frightened about what's going on?

O'MARA: Well, he's --

COOPER: I'm sorry. Is that the word you used?

(CROSSTALK)

O'MARA: (Inaudible). Yes, frightened.

COOPER: OK. In terms of your actual meetings, are they face-to- face? Are they over the telephone?

O'MARA: Face-to-face and over the telephone. I saw him earlier this afternoon, spoke to him again on the phone. I try and get to see him at least every couple of days, particularly during the time that he's in. Hopefully, he'll be out soon.

COOPER: Yes, you have a bond hearing coming up this Friday. What do you think the likelihood is that he could actually get out?

O'MARA: Well, a bond schedule is set. It's a no-bond status until a judge reviews it. When the judge reviews it, he does or she does what we call an author inquiry.

Basically, with the case where you're going to try and keep somebody in pretrial, which I would consider pretrial punishment, because they've not been convicted of anything yet, then the court has to look at it and in a case like this, decide that the proof is evident and the presumption great, proof, of course, evidence.

Evidence, look at Webster's, I guess, for a good definition of what evident is, but certainly would seem to be cooperated, unopposed, undeniable. And then the presumption of guilt has to be great. Our case law has interpreted that standard, the standard to apply it in an author inquiry, to be greater than beyond a reasonable doubt.

So if the judge follows the law, the judge would have to make a determination that the proof of guilt is evident -- I'm sorry, the -- yes, the proof is evident and the presumption is great. I'm hoping that the judge is not going to decide that and we'll get him out on Friday.

Of course, maybe for the last day or two, I'm going to be able to argue ignorance, because I haven't seen the discovery yet. I hope to see some of it before Friday so I can be properly prepared for the hearing and determine what the state is going to present and maybe rebut it.

COOPER: And if he did get out, are you concerned about his safety?

O'MARA: Very concerned about his safety. The concern, of course, is once we get him out (inaudible) he needs to be -- I believe he deserves to be out -- and I need him out for our defense purposes, is we need to keep him safe.

Again, there's been a lot of emotions that have come forward in this case, and some of those emotions are showing themselves in bad ways. And I'm just hopeful that, you know, we can get him out, keep him safe and then give me the time to do my job.

COOPER: Mark O'Mara, appreciate your time.

Let's talk about what today's legal filings mean for the trial ahead. Joining me now, criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.

So Mark, given the possible conflict of interest, do you think the judge should have been recuse herself from this case?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don't know if she should have. She obviously had to disclose it. I think now the paperwork's been filed, I think she will recuse herself. She's in a no-win situation. If she rules for him, somebody's going to say well, you know, there's a connection because the husband referred the case over. If she rules against him, they're going to say well the husband's firm turned him down. I mean, why be second guessed? The easier thing here is to just take her out of the mix.

COOPER: Sunny, you said there's another reason O'Mara might want her out.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEAL ANALYST: Well, bottom line is this is a very new judge. She hasn't presided over a homicide case. She's only been on the bench a little over a year. And so, she sort of the x- factor. Mark O'Mara doesn't know her. He would know the other three judges. They have been on the bench for a long time. So, this is sort of a win/win. This is boom for him because she just got assigned for the case randomly. Now he gets the chance to probably be in front of judges he's been in front of before. That's a good place for an attorney to be.

COOPER: Mark, the sealed court records, does that help one side of the prosecution and the defense more than the other?

GERAGOS: I always think, frankly, that sealed court records help the defense. Because generally what you're sealing is the prosecution's records. The defense records are generally in the defense lawyer's file. You don't necessarily, until you file a motion, put in things like your theory and other kinds of witness statements, things like that. So what you're trying to prevent from getting out there is prosecution evidence.

And a lot of times the evidence that is put in by the prosecution into police reports, probable cause, statements, things like that, are stuff that may never reach a courtroom. And a case like this supersized, you don't want that out there. You don't want us discussing it. You don't want everybody pursing it. You don't want the witnesses and we mentioned this last week when you were interviewing the witnesses. You start to get witness statements out there and people start talking about it and things of that nature. That never helps the defense.

COOPER: Do you think they'll reverse that order to seal the records?

HOSTIN: I think so. Florida with the sunshine laws is really transparent especially the court system. And I think your questions to O'Mara was so good, Anderson. I wonder sometimes if you don't have a law degree. The bottom line is --

COOPER: Stop trying to butter me up.

HOSTIN: Bottom line is --

GERAGOS: Yes. I was going to say the same thing, but I didn't want to suck up to you.

COOPER: OK. All right.

HOSTIN: But the bottom line is they can redact witness names. They can redact the information that is of great concern. And so, I would imagine that in looking at the standard, there's no doubt that a lot of this information will be made public but in a redacted form.

COOPER: Mark, explain to people who -- you know, having no legal background. I'm surprised by when a lawyer says I haven't asked my client at this point about what happened that night.

Mark O'Mara says he's waiting for whatever evidence the prosecution has for him to look at before he talks to his client about that. Explain why that would be. I mean, my instinct would be instantly tell me what happened. But, why is that not a good idea?

GERAGOS: Tell me everything.

COOPER: Yes.

GERAGOS: I tell that to clients all the time when they come in. I say look, before I start questioning you, before I start grinding you. I want to see what the prosecution has. And it's very simple. It's based on the fact that the prosecution has the burden of proof. It's not a civil case where you're fighting over money and each side's got to tell their story. This is a criminal case. The prosecution's got the burden of proof. I want to know what they have. Before I start grilling the client, I want to see what the prosecution has and I'm going to learn their case, know their case as well as they do. And then I'm going to go to my client and maybe start to cross examine him basically on what he knows and what he doesn't know.

COOPER: Is there a danger for a defense attorney to hear too much from his client or her client?

GERAGOS: Absolutely. Because -- let me give you a perfect example. If I start asking my client questions before I know the discovery, my client then has told me something. I'm locked into that. At a certain point, I cannot ethically put that client on the stand if the client is going to -- his memory's going to evolve. He's going to remember something he didn't know before. If I suspect that he's not telling the truth, I'm in be twist in between and I'm conflicted. So yes, there's a problem with that.

COOPER: By not asking your client at this stage in the game you are protecting yourself as well as your client, really.

GERAGOS: Well, I'm protecting the client more than anything else. I mean, protecting myself is the last of my worries. What I want to make sure is that I understand the prosecution's case, that I hold them to their duty which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And that I'm not making it easier for them.

COOPER: Do you think, Sunny, he will get bond? Do you think he'll get out?

HOSTIN: I think so. I mean, I think when you - you look --

COOPER: On Friday? This soon?

HOSTIN: If it's on Friday, yes. I think if you look at the standard, it's pretty clear that the judge -- that the state has to prove that he should be held. And then the judge could still release him if he isn't a flight risk. And he isn't because he turned himself in. If he is a danger to the community is a tougher question. If he has ties to the community. So, I suspect there will be some sort of bond situation here. Depends on whether or not he can meet the requirements because they should be pretty strange.

COOPER: Mark, do you agree with that?

GERAGOS: I agree. I think that if you look at the law, he should get bail. Whether he gets out is a completely different question. Because I don't think, frankly, he's got the wherewithal or the means to post any kind of significant bail. I mean, pretty much -- we face this situation all the time in the courts. Somebody gives you bail but you don't have the wherewithal to bailout.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, appreciate your expertise. Sunny Hostin, as well. Thanks.

Let us know what you think. Follow us on facebook, Google plus. Follow me on twitter tonight @andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting in the hour ahead.

Plenty of buzz online about the people who are supposed be protecting President Obama during his trip to Colombia, they're accused of partying with prostitutes. What happens in Cartagena certainly did not stay in Cartagena that investigation is growing. We have got new development tonight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Raw politics now. New developments in the secret service prostitution scandal. Sources are telling John King that the investigation now involves 11 secret service employees and ten department defense personnel. All of whom who were supposed to be protecting President Obama on his trip to Colombia. All 11 secret service members have had their security clearances revoked. They're all under investigation accused of bringing prostitutes back to a hotel that was secured for members of the American delegation. Again, that's 11 secret service employees, ten from the defense department.

Today, in congress, chairman of the joint chief had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF: We let the boss down. Because nobody's talking about what went on in Colombia other than this incident. So to that extent, we let him down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Joining us now with more details, chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin. So, what is the latest you're hearing about this incident, Jessica?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson. The details are a little bit sorted for these guys. It happened two days before the president arrived. And according to multiple government officials, the people involved range inexperienced from relative newcomers to nearly 20 year veterans. We're told they went out in separate groups on Wednesday night. Then one secret service agent let a prostitute stay overnight in his room. And then there was a dispute over payment. The hotel called local police. Police filed a report. That report went to the American embassy. You can see where this goes. The embassy alerted secret service headquarters and it all unraveled from there.

COOPER: How big - I mean, it's obviously embarrassing for the secret service. It totally distracted from the so many in Columbia. But, how big a deal is this in terms of potentially for compromising presidential security?

YELLIN: Well. You know, the service maintains the president's security was never compromised because these guys routinely lock up sense of the documents and the president wasn't even in the country yet. But the real question is what if?

I've spoken to many former agents in the last few days. And they say one thing they're taught specifically is to avoid prostitutes for fear of possible blackmail even years down the line when an agent could be promoted into the president's protective detail. And having personally traveled with the president, I'm most surprised that they bring these women back to a staff hotel where White House officials would be staying in a few days.

COOPER: I want to bring in a journalist Ronald Kessler, author of "In the President's Secret Service."

Mr. Kessler, you say this is the biggest scandal ever to hit the secret service. How did this happen?

RONALD KESSLER, AUTHOR, IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE: Well, since I broke the story, of course it's the biggest. But it is a symptom of the lax attitude of secret service management. And we saw that come out in the fact that the Salahis were able to crash the state dinner. In my book, "In the President's Secret Service," I reveal dozens of examples of corner cutting by management. Allowing people into events without magnum time of screening for example. It's just like letting people into an airplane without the entire screening. That alone is shocking.

COOPER: So, you put the responsibility at the secret service director, Mark Sullivan, you're a critic of his?

KESSLER: Yes. Obviously these people, you know, engaged in egregious behavior and there kind a could be blackmail. But I think that when people on the grounds see that the boss really doesn't care, is sort of winking and nodding, is lax and is over working them and is showing favoritism.

One example, they don't even insist of regular physical fitness testing or regular firearms requalification testing. And sometimes they will ask agents to fill out their own test scores on these things which is dishonest. They are also not keeping up to date with the latest firearms. One example, you know, of what goes on is that when Dick Cheney's daughter marriage and he was under protection, she would try to get her agents to take her friends to restaurants. But they're not taxi drivers. They refused as they should have. But she threw a fit. And because of this, she was able to get her detail leader removed by secret service management.

So, what does that tell the agents on the ground? It tells them, you know, if we do our job, we might be removed. And that's what happened with the Salahis. You had secret service uniformed officers who knew that they were not on the guest list and a third also not on the list, Carlos Allen, a story I also revealed. And yet they ignored that. Why? Because they were afraid that gee, if they turn her away and it turned out they was supposed to be on the list, the management would not back them up. All this culture filters down and I think led to this really scandalous situation.

COOPER: Jessica, the president has indicated he'd be angry if these allegations were confirmed. Do you expect he's going to personally have more to say on this? Or is the White House eager to move on?

YELLIN: Eager to move on definitely. Look. They'd rather focus on policy agenda, obviously. And the body language at the White House is for now at least this can be handled by the secret service.

But, let's be honest, this is an election year. And the president has to demonstrate leadership. This is the same head of the secret service, who, was in charge when the Salahis scandal happened. He's been there since 2006. So, the service has to handle this quickly and decisively to insulate the White House from any political fallout here if they don't want the president to eventually intervene, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Ross Kessler, appreciate you being on. Jessica Yellin, as well. Thanks.

Tonight, this what the ceasefire in Syria looks like. The latest in the Assad's regime's broken promise to stop the killing and talk with U.N. ambassador Susan Rice who has got no problem calling Assad basically a liar. The big question is, what's the U.N. and the U.S. going to do about it? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest." One of America's top diplomats using blunt language tonight about Syria's regime acknowledging what we have been reporting night after night said that thousands of Syrian murder victims which what they really, murder victims, won't be forgotten. And their killer won't get away with it.

Tonight, I spoke with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. She told me that the regime there has lied to the world about slaughtering victims. The biggest liar she said is the dictator himself, Bashar Al Assad.

Here he is on the left in Homs, the day he promised to abide by U.N. plan to pull out tanks and troops, to stop the shelling, to stop the killing. There on the right, that very day, video of his forces pounding other parts of that same city. That day, March 27th, 57 Syrians died mostly in Homs, according to opposition figures. The regime then killed hundreds more between then and April 12th when the ceasefire went into effect.

And "Keeping Them Honest." Today, four days into the cease fire, U.N. monitors arrived in Syria, the opposition is reporting 55 people killed. That's Homs today. Bombardment continues. U.N. commissioner on Syria today reporting it's quote, "seriously concerned," unquote, about reports in Homs and elsewhere of government forces using heavy weaponry against the population.

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

COOPER: The video claiming to be from yesterday in Homs. You can hear large explosion of incoming heavy artillery. You can hear and see it's a big bombardment of explosions coming just seconds apart.

Today's U.N. statement acknowledging violations as well on opposition forces. There is an exchange going on between sides. However, opposition fighters don't have more than ak-47s and RPGs, rocket propeller grenade. The Syrian army has been pounding suburbs. The Syrian army that still has tanks like this one in Homs.

Now Assad, remember, promised to pull tanks and troops out. As always, we can't independently verify what you're seeing, when the video was taken exactly where. But by now, no one seriously doubts it.

The U.N. commission today recognizing that what you're seeing is the ugly truth and has been for a long, long time. Quote, "the commission also hopes that the ceasefire will contribute to putting an end to the gross human rights violations that has been reporting on over the past six months." That we've been documenting for more than a year now.

However, in all that time, the Assad regime has yet to keep really a single promise. Spoke about all the broken promises tonight with America's ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Ambassador Rice, in November last year Syria agreed to an Arab League plan to halt the violence. They kept on killing. March 27th of this year, Assad agreed to this six-point U.N. peace plan. The same day 57 people were killed, according to activists. This past Tuesday when Syria was to pull troops out of urban centers, they say 101 people were killed. On Thursday when a proposed cease- fire was set to take effect, apparently another 77 people were killed. Why should anyone believe at this point anything this regime says?

SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: There's every reason, Anderson, to be exceedingly skeptical, and the United States certainly is. The Russians and the Chinese who have been protecting Assad in the Security Council for many, many months, however, have in the past couple of weeks stepped up the pressure on Assad. And I think it's as a result of that that he even agreed to the Annan plan and began a cessation of violence, which did hold largely for a couple of days, Thursday and Friday.

He resumed the shelling of Homs on Saturday and has continued and intensified.

So really the onus remains on Assad and those who are protecting him to ensure that he does, in fact, defy his pattern and begin to uphold his commitment.

The U.N. monitors, the first handful of whom have gotten on the ground, are not in the position to enforce anything, nor is that their mandate. Their role is simply to observe and verify a cessation, provided that the parties -- particularly the government -- actually adhere to their commitments, which thus far they don't seem to be.

COOPER: The Syrian government maintains that the cease-fire was broken by, quote, "armed terrorists." And they say the campaign of violence by them has, quote, "hysterically escalated" since the cease- fire was supposed to go into effect this past Thursday. You deal with Syrian representatives all the time. I've had them on this program, and they've said things that are just not true. They've lied. They've said things which are demonstrably untrue time and time again. Do they have any credibility to you? I don't know even if you can say that, whether they think--

RICE: No, they don't. And let's be plain. You're right. They have lied to the international community, lied to their own people. And the biggest fabricator of the facts is Assad himself. His representatives are merely doing his bidding and under probably some not insignificant personal duress.

But no, words, as we have said repeatedly, are meaningless. The actions are what matter, and the actions thus far have continued to disappoint.

COOPER: I don't know if you can answer this question, but what is it like to deal with people who are not telling you the truth on a daily basis and -- I mean, how do you deal with that?

RICE: Well, Anderson, you would not be surprised that in diplomacy and national security matters and foreign affairs, the truth is not always the currency of choice for some of the countries we have to deal with. Fortunately, they are the minority. But they're some of the greatest troublemakers.

But that's why we don't take anybody at simply their word when they are abusers of human rights or states that have used violence against their own people or their neighbors. We have to hold them to their actions, and we have to apply meaningful pressure that has a viable prospect of potentially changing their behavior.

COOPER: At what point does military intervention of some sort become inevitable or a real possibility?

RICE: I don't know at what stage anything becomes inevitable in this business, Anderson. The reality is that these are very, very complicated circumstances. Syria's even much, much more complicated, for instance, than Libya. There isn't unity in the region among the Arab countries or the neighbors for any kind of international intervention. There are differing views even among the internal and external opposition. The Security Council, as you know, has been divided, with Russia and China opposing even sanctions, much less military intervention. And indeed, the context on the ground is much different. Whereas in Libya, the opposition controlled a major swath of territory beginning with the major city of Benghazi and were able to push out from there, there's no such degree of unified geographic control on the ground, nor is there a degree of a unified military command within the opposition.

So many of these factors are different. Plus the fact that there are many powerful countries in the immediate neighborhood and beyond that are determined to back one side or the other to the hilt, which raises the stakes quite dramatically in terms of consequences for the region.

COOPER: Just finally one question on North Korea. You spoke today about the U.N. Security Council saying it strongly condemns North Korea's missile launch attempt. After that failed attempt, Mitt Romney said and I quote, "incompetence from the Obama administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies." How do you respond to that?

RICE: Well, that is just completely wrong. What has happened over the last many years in the past prior to this administration was North Korea would behave badly, and they were rewarded for their bad behavior with being taken off the terrorist list or food aid or what have you.

This administration has given North Korea nothing. And they won't be getting food aid as a consequence of violating their agreements. Instead, we've imposed the toughest sanctions to date on North Korea. We just enhanced them today in the Security Council with an agreement that not only strongly condemned the missile launch, but threatened further measures should there in fact be any further launches or nuclear test. And indeed today imposed additional sanctions.

So the message that this administration has sent is, again, you will be judged by your actions, not your words. There will be no rewards for bad behavior. And if you break your commitments, not only will you get nothing, you'll get increasing pressure and international isolation. And that's what we have proved yet again today.

COOPER: Ambassador Rice, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

RICE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're following a number of other stories tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha. ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a trial is underway in Oslo, Norway today for the man accused of going on a shooting and bombing rampage last summer that killed 77 people.

Anders Bering Breivik told the court that he acknowledges what happened, but pleads not guilty because he was acting in self-defense. The trial's expected to last 10 weeks.

In Oklahoma today, pleads of not guilty were entered by a judge for two men charged in a murder spree this month. Jake England and Alvin Watts are accused of going into predominantly black section of Tulsa and shooting to death three people and wounding two others. They also face hate crimes charges.

Also in Oklahoma, a sixth person has died as a result of injuries sustained in this weekend's series of tornadoes. All of the deaths occurred in Woodward, Oklahoma. Dozens of twisters touched down in 10 states across the Midwest and the plains.

The space shuttle discovery has been mounted atop a 747 at the Kennedy Space Center. Tomorrow, it will make its final trip. It will be flown to Washington at its new home at the Smithsonian.

Check this out. Nature at its most fantastic. This is a fire ball erupting today on the left side of the sun. NASA refers to --

COOPER: Wow.

SESAY: I know. NASA refers to it as a giant prominent. That was accommodated by a solar flare. NASA says the eruption was not aimed at us.

COOPER: It's crazy.

SESAY: Is that not the coolest thing you've seen today?

COOPER: Yes. That is probably the coolest --

SESAY: I know you don't see a lot of cool things, but that is truly a cool thing.

COOPER: That is really amazing and also just the image. Did they just happen to -- I mean, are they rolling on that all the time? Did they know it was going to happen?

SESAY: I'll have to ask my people to check that.

COOPER: Please do.

SESAY: But that is magnetic plasma you see there.

COOPER: I knew that. No, I didn't.

SESAY: I know you didn't.

COOPER: That's magnetic plasma? I don't know what that means. That's really cool. The other cool thing today that occurred is congratulations. You have a new program on CNN that launched.

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: So what time is it that people have CNN?

SESAY: At 3:30 p.m. Eastern. We launched today and it was a great start so thank you so much for making it -- now I'm going to get all emotional and I'm going to cry.

COOPER: It's well deserved. Congratulations.

SESAY: Thank you.

COOPER: Speaking of international news, did you cover Pippa Middleton today on your show, Isha?

SESAY: I passed on that one.

COOPER: Really?

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: Well, you're very highbrow. We decide to cover it. The sister of the Duchess of Cambridge may be in trouble with the French police and the royal family. The person she was with pointed a gun at photographers. It was a big to do as they say. That is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Pippa Middleton, Prince William's sister-in-law may be in trouble tonight with the French police and the royal family. Since her debut at the royal wedding serving as her sister, Kate's maid of honor in a dress that got huge rave reviews and attention around the world, Pippa for the most part has been a model of good behavior.

The constant attention though and paparazzi have not gone away, but only they've increased. Over the weekend in Paris, Pippa Middleton was photographed in a convertible with three male friends.

The driver was holding a gun pointing it seemingly at the photographer. Lapse of judgment by any measure, but actually it might be much worst for Pippa Middleton.

I talked earlier to CNN International business correspondent, Richard Quest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Richard, Pippa could actually be facing criminal charges and possible jail time for this, right?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No question about it. The allegations are extremely serious and if you look at the pictures from the "Sun" newspaper, you see quite clearly, one of the people in the front of the car pointing what's alleged to have been a gun. We don't know whether it's real or fake, but under French law that wouldn't matter one way or the other. All the others in the car could also be charged with offenses. Now, depending on the exact nature of the offense they will be charged with, it could be anything from two years to seven years.

But that is at the upper end and extreme end. This will all now be decided by the police, which will put the facts before examining magistrate who will then decide whether charges should go forward.

But the important thing here besides the folly of what they were up to. The important thing is the anguish and angst that this has raised in France and in Paris where, of course, the country is still reeling from some grotesque serial murders.

COOPER: To the royals, is this a big deal? Have they put out a statement or anything like that?

QUEST: Absolutely not a word, which tells and speaks volumes. They will be working out what to do. On the one hand, Pippa is not a member of the royal family as such. Her sister is married and is part of the royal family.

So the royal family, Buckingham Palace, will not comment at this stage. The spokesperson hasn't commented at this stage. Everybody is -- my gut feeling is everybody is waiting and watching to see how this plays out.

COOPER: She's got a lot of attention obviously in the United States, Kate Middleton, has since the wedding. Is she as big a source of interest over there?

QUEST: The picture editor of "The Daily Mail" newspaper is quoted as saying he gets 400 photos a day. Now, unlike the Duchess of Cambridge who has now got royal security, when she goes somewhere, it's carefully controlled. She is within the royal bubble.

And although she has a lot of attention, she enjoys the protection. Pippa Middleton is on the outside of that and it must be -- although she's had this for some years, it might be quite dramatic.

She now knows she is suffering in some ways the sort of attention that Diana post divorce had. No security, no protection. Free for all for the paparazzi.

In that scenario, this is the sort of thing that happens. Frankly, she hasn't put a foot wrong so far. This is the first. She's probably got a bit of grace as a result of it, but the warning signs are there.

COOPER: Interesting. Richard Quest, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's worthwhile to know that 15 years ago, this August, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris while being chased by paparazzi. Strictly speaking, Pippa Middleton is not a member of the royal family as Richard said.

But the paparazzi are not known for splitting hairs. She's become one of their favorite targets. Gary Tuchman takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the highly anticipated royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, all eyes were not only on the bride, but on another Middleton, Kate's younger sister, Pippa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to say the look of Pippa Middleton, my word.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. Drop dead gorgeous.

TUCHMAN: The rave reviews for Pippa Middleton's dress and her figure turned her into an instant celebrity and a paparazzi favorite. The tabloids began calling her your royal hotness with photographers stalking her wherefore she went.

Shortly after the wedding, personal pictures of the 28-year-old began to leak out to the press including this photo showing her in a bikini while on vacation in 2006 with her sister and Prince William.

A photo of Pippa sunbathing topless on that trip was also made public. Later photos from a private party showing Pippa dancing in her bra were also leaked.

An everyday task for Pippa like walking to work or going to getting coffee also became photo ops for the paparazzi. The photo editor at London's "The Daily Mail" said he would see about 400 photos a day of Pippa across his desk.

The fascination with Pippa extends into all areas of her life. Her clothes, hats, boyfriends, rumored boyfriends, sometimes even her lack of boyfriends.

While she's tried to avoid the paparazzi, she's been gracious in the times she's spoken to a reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pippa, how are you doing? How's the race been so far?

PIPPA MIDDLETON, PRINCE WILLIAM'S SISTER-IN-LAW: Tiring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tiring? Did you prepare for the race?

MIDDLETON: Yes, I did prepare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much? How long?

MIDDLETON: Couple of weekends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So are you a good skier? What -- from 1 to 10? MIDDLETON: Average.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what time did you plan for?

MIDDLETON: To get around in time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, good luck.

TUCHMAN: The constant attention began to take its toll. And in January, Pippa threatened to take out an injunction to stop what she called harassment by photographers.

Saying it was causing her a series of stress and anxiety, but the paparazzi continued to follow her. And this latest incident will certainly mean one more thing, more photographers following a woman who clearly doesn't want that. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Isha's back. It seems totally unfair they're hounding this young woman and she has no protection from the royal family at all.

SESAY: Yes, I know, indeed. I mean, she's really left at the mercy of the British paparazzi, which is relentless as we see. I mean, they're going after her because they have access to her unlike her sister.

Because they don't have the access, it makes Pippa all the more valuable. Really we're seeing them approach her and follow her the way they followed Diana as Richard himself said. She's in a really uncomfortable spot.

COOPER: And of course, as people's fascination with her that fuels the desire for the magazines, it fuels the photographers. So everybody plays a role in this.

SESAY: Yes. And she's good looking. You know, she's good looking. She's, you know, she's got the look. She's got the connection. She's mixing in very high power circles, exclusive circles and people want those images. You know, paparazzi and scandal and that kind of media is very popular in the U.K.

COOPER: You'd think the royal family would give her some protection or something. I mean --

SESAY: You would think, but she's not a royal, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, I know, but she's suffering because -- anyway.

SESAY: I know. I'm totally with you, but protocol is protocol.

COOPER: Right. Right, right. Bangers and mash. I don't know.

SESAY: What's bangers and mash?

COOPER: I don't know. The only other thing I could think of is popped in my head.

SESAY: Goodbye.

COOPER: I'll talk to you later, bye.

Here's a real scandal, government official spends close to a million dollars in taxpayer money on a lavish conference in Las Vegas and gets a bonus. They faced angry lawmakers in Capitol Hill today and so did this former boss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see this widespread abuse of money and then you as the former administrator said they were entitled to it. That's where there's frustration just steaming out of our ears.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Hear more of the testimony when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Isha's back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, heated exchange today at the congressional hearing about the General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas back in 2010 that cost $800,000 in taxpayer money.

Former GSA head, Martha Johnson resigned over the controversy. Today, she was grilled about the $9,000 bonus that GSA official, Jeff Neely, received after he organized the Vegas event at a time there was a freeze on federal pay.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why were you giving out bonuses when the president said there was a pay freeze?

MARTHA JOHNSON, FORMER GSA ADMINISTRATOR: The senior executives were entitled to bonuses under our -- were entitled to bonuses. I don't believe the pay freeze affected those bonuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would the gentleman yield for one question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as it doesn't take my time.

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA (R), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The gentle lady said I thought it was going to possibly be granted. Entitlement seems to be a question the gentleman may want to follow-up on.

JOHNSON: I apologize. I didn't mean entitled.

REPRESENTATIVE JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: I think you did mean entitlement. I think that's the fundamental problem that America gets and that government doesn't get. There are a lot of good federal employees who work hard to patriotic and they're frugal with their money.

But when you see this widespread abuse of money and then you -- you as the former administration so while they're entitled to it. That's where there's frustration just steaming out of our ears.

It is totally unacceptable. For the president of the United States to look in the American people in the eye and say we got a pay freeze in place while you're getting bonuses and going on trips is totally unacceptable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SESAY: Republicans in the Senate have blocked President Obama's Buffett Rule, which would have set a minimum 30 percent tax on millionaires and billionaires. The Senate vote was 51 to 45, mostly along party lines.

In a statement after the vote, President Obama said Senate Republicans once again chose tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class.

And Anderson, three men face charges after allegedly stealing a penguin from Sea World in Australia. I know, bragging about it online, posting pictures of it on Facebook. The penguin was found last night. Apparently not hurt and you'll be pleased to know back at Sea World.

COOPER: Wow. Glad the penguin is safe. Why would you steal a penguin and then brag about it?

SESAY: Dumb and dumber.

COOPER: Time now for the shot. Brace yourself for some serious cuteness. There's a clouded leopard cub sleeping and enjoying a scratch after his feeding. He was born just over a month ago. The leopards are endangered. Certainly, wish this guy well.

SESAY: He's loving that.

COOPER: Yes, very cute.

SESAY: Life is good.

COOPER: All right, coming up, a real heart breaker for rock music. Somebody stole a bunch of guitars from Tom Petty and his band. "The Ridiculist" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators of a petty theft in the world of rock. Some bone head stole five guitars from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, five guitars including Petty's vintage 1967 Blonde Rickenbacker. A 1967 Epiphone, a 65 Gibson SG, sounds like I know a lot about guitars, doesn't it? I don't. The pictures and the descriptions are on the band's web site.

Anyway, the guitars were stolen from a sound stage in Culver City, California where the band has been rehearsing for a tour that starts next week. It's just wrong people. You don't steal from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

You don't steal their guitars. That's like stealing Picasso's paint brushes. It's like stealing the doll hands from the sketch on SNL. I love Kristen Wiig.

The point is artists need their tools and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' tools just happened to be these badass guitars. Exhibit A, the song "I Should Have Known It" from the 2010 album "Mojo."

See. That just wouldn't work without guitars, would it? What do the petty thieves think they're going to do with them anyway? They'll get caught if they try to sell them. Maybe they got the idea from when the band covered the Birds, "So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star."

There was a line get a guitar and learn how to play. Just because you stole their guitars, doesn't mean you're going to be able to play like Mike Campbell. That's right. I know my heart breakers.

There's been a lot of fretting over this guitar case, but it could have been worse. In 1999, Sonic Youth had all their equipment stolen, guitars and drums, everything. Same thing happened to Radio Head in 1995. They had to borrow instruments on tour.

Some of these stories do have happy endings. Peter Buck of REM actually got his guitar returned to him after it was stolen in 2008. And Yoyo Ma even got his $2.5 million cello back after he forgot it in a truck of a taxi.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers offering a $7,500 reward. No questions ask for information leading to the recovery of their guitars. So here's hoping they get them back because it's a senseless crime that has literally rocked us to the core.

That does it for us. Thanks for watching. I'll see you again one hour from now on another edition of 360. "PIERS MORGAN" starts now.