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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Battle over Same-Sex Marriage; Veterans Charity under Scrutiny; The John Edwards Trial; Deadly Bombing In Syria; Dow Breaks Losing Streak; Art Heist Investigation; Profits And Prostitution; Fugitive Adam Mayes Killed
Aired May 10, 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 ANCHOR: "Keeping Them Honest," what appeared to be strong and decisive words from a politician in support of full equality for gays and lesbians. I'm not talking about President Obama who yesterday announced he believed gays and lesbians should be able to marry.
Tonight, we're talking about Mitt Romney who 18 years ago said he supported, quoted, "full equality," end quote, for gays and lesbians. What's not clear tonight is what did that mean to Mitt Romney then, full equality, and what does he believe now?
We're going to get into the specifics of what Romney wrote in just a moment 18 years ago. But first news tonight about the timing of President Obama's comments yesterday. This report comes from CNN chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin. Two senior administration official said Vice President Joe Biden met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office yesterday morning and apologized to the president for putting him in a tough position.
You'll remember last weekend Biden spoke out on "Meet the Press" about same-sex marriage saying it's a simple proposition of who you love and that he's comfortable with same-sex couples as having the same rights as heterosexual couples.
After Biden apologized, the president responded by saying that he knows Biden was speaking from the heart. Biden spokeswoman has also released this statement, quote, "The president has been the leader on this issue from day one and the vice president never intended to distract from that."
Unintended distraction or not, once President Obama voiced his support for same-sex marriage, it was all anyone was talking about. Here's what Romney said yesterday after the president's interview when Romney was asked about his own position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have the same view on marriage that I have when I -- had when I was governor and that I've expressed many times. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, he also said he does not support civil unions if they have all the same rights as a marriage.
"Keeping Him Honest," though, back when Romney was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts, Romney positioned himself as the gay rights candidate. Romney met with a Log Cabin Club in Massachusetts, a gay Republican group, and in a letter dated October 6th, 1994 wrote, quote, "I am more convinced than ever before that as we speak to establish -- as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent."
Full equality. Those were his words.
Romney also writes in the letter, quote, "If we are to achieve the goals we share we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this, I can and will." A promise from Mitt Romney for equality, full equality for gays and lesbians.
Now one might ask how that can be reconciled with Romney's longstanding position that same-sex marriage should not be legal. What does full equality mean if not fully enjoying the rights of all other citizens including the right to marry?
Well, in a FOX News debate in December, moderator Chris Wallace brought up the Log Cabin letter and asked Romney the following question. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, MODERATOR: So you are still more of a champion of gay rights than Ted Kennedy was?
ROMNEY: I do not believe in discriminating against people based upon their sexual orientation. I believe as a Republican, I had the potential to fight for anti-discrimination in a way that would be even better than Senator Kennedy as a Democrat. He was expected to do so. At the same time, Chris, in 1994, and throughout my career, I have said I oppose same-sex marriage. Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, it's true that Romney has opposed same-sex marriage throughout his career, but at the same time he was pledging support for the gay community. In a 1999 interview with the newspaper "Bay Windows," Romney said and I quote, "I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts."
Romney was asked about that quote in January's NBC debate and specifically what he has done to stand up for gay rights. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROMNEY: From the very beginning in 1994 I said to the gay community I do not favor same-sex marriage, I oppose same-sex marriage, and that has been my view. But if people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or will in anyway try and suggest that people that have different sexual orientations don't have full rights in this country, they won't find that in me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Full rights, full equality, a fight for anti-discrimination, all Mitt Romney's words back then.
We'll leave it for you to decide if it makes sense to promote full equality for gays and lesbians and at the same time oppose marriage equality.
Romney's position on whether gays should be allowed to adopt children seems to be open to interpretation as well. Here's what he said on FOX News just today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: If two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child in my state, individuals of the same sex are able to adopt children. In my view that's something which people have the right to do but to call that marriage is in my view, a departure from the real meaning of that word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "Keeping Him Honest," though, back in 2005 Romney seemed to oppose the idea of same-sex couples raising kids. He was at an event in South Carolina and he said, quote, "today's same-sex couples are marrying under the law in Massachusetts. Some are actually having children born to them. We've been asked to change their birth certificates to remove the phrase mother and father and replace it with 'Parent A' and 'Parent B.' It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact. Every child deserves to have a mother and a father."
Joining me now live is Romney adviser Kevin Madden and CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala.
So, Kevin, full rights, full equality, the words that he used back in 1994, a promise not to discriminate against the gay community, how does that square with Romney's position today? What did full equality mean to Romney back then?
KEVIN MADDEN, MITT ROMNEY ADVISER: Well, I don't know the full context of what the debate was taking place in 1994 but I expect in answering that question and in talking about the issue he was talking about discrimination and that he didn't believe that then as he does now that we shouldn't -- that we should discriminate against people based on their sexual identity or their sexual orientation. And he still holds true to that belief. I think on the issue of marriage it comes down to the definition, whether it's the government's -- how the government defines it and what -- what the contract between two people is and -- his belief is that a marriage should be defined very simply as that as a union between one man and one woman.
COOPER: But in South Carolina when he was talking to conservative groups back in 2005 he made it sound as if he didn't like the idea of gay people having kids.
MADDEN: Well, I don't know what the -- I don't know what the exact specifics of that question or that debate were. I know that there has been a lot of different discussions in different states and in different jurisdictions about what the laws would be as they relate to adoption or gay adoption. That question may have been phrased as one down in South Carolina. I know that in Massachusetts the law differs there than it does differ from other states.
COOPER: Paul, do you see an evaluation in Governor Romney's position from the time he was running in Massachusetts to now?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, a devolution. You know it -- from committing again and again in writing to the Log Cabin Club for full equality and now -- even now saying well, I don't support discrimination. Yes, he does. Governor Romney wants to kick people out of the military because they're gay. He wants to reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which was a discriminatory policy. It kicked people out because of their sexual orientation.
He supports amending the U.S. Constitution. This is a man who in writing said he was for full equality. He wants to change our most precious founding document to write discrimination into it.
COOPER: Paul, I thought Romney said he doesn't want to touch "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at this point?
BEGALA: No, he wants to -- look it up, he said he wants to reinstate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Maybe Kevin can tell like the last seven minutes what his new position is. But he has called for reinstating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Anderson. I'll double check that. I've been wrong before but --
COOPER: Kevin -- Kevin, what about that?
MADDEN: Well, Paul, under your definition then in 1996, President Obama then was for discrimination.
BEGALA: Yes, he was.
MADDEN: Your definition then President Clinton who signed the Defense of Marriage Act was for discrimination. BEGALA: That's right. That's right, Kevin. I love President Clinton. I love President Obama. They were for discrimination. They have now evolved like most of the country. I will say, this is what's odd. When Mitt Romney was saying he was for full equality only about 25 percent of Americans held that view. So that was a pretty bold thing that he was saying back then, that Governor Romney was saying. Then Mr. Romney.
Today over 50 percent, so the American people have been on the same journey that frankly former President Clinton has been on and that President Obama has been on. The majority of Americans now have been on the same journey as President Obama. And I think that's why this change of position for President Obama will not likely hurt him, but I think the position for Governor Romney likely will because he's going the wrong way, frankly, toward more and more discrimination.
MADDEN: Well, there are a lot of Americans out there, Paul, who believe that we shouldn't be discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation but when it comes to defining marriage that it should be defined as that of a union between one man and one woman. And I think if you've seen it, every -- time and time again when that -- that question has put to voters, 32 states, 32 times, people have made that -- their voice heard.
COOPER: But Kevin --
MADDEN: What they believe should be the definition.
COOPER: Kevin, doesn't he open himself up to yet again another argument about flip-flopping if when he's running in liberal Massachusetts against liberal Ted Kennedy he's talking about full equality for gays and lesbians, and --
MADDEN: Well, look --
COOPER: You don't hear him using that phrase anymore today. Today he's talking about, you know, opposing same-sex marriage and even civil unions.
MADDEN: Right. Well, look, Anderson. I think there's going to be charges of flip-flopping all over this campaign. That's just what happens. You know, and I think it's up to the voters to really decide. I don't believe that right now voters are going to be talking about what happened 19 years ago or 50 years ago. They're going to be talking about the issues here before us.
And I think in this campaign, we have a -- we have an agreement that there's a very clear contrast on the two candidates and how they define what a marriage should be. Governor Romney believes it should be between a man and a woman. He's made that very clear -- continue to make it clear during this campaign. And voters going to the polls that are animated about this particular issue who care about it, will have a clear choice.
COOPER: Paul, just for accuracy's sake. I just want to read you -- I just looked this up, headline, "Romney would open gay service in the military. Mitt Romney indicated he would preserve the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' during an interview with the 'Des Moines Register' editorial board this afternoon." This was on December 9th, 2011.
BEGALA: OK. I stand corrected, then. I thought I heard him say that he wanted reinstate it. I guess I was wrong. So I'm happy to be corrected about that.
COOPER: But --
BEGALA: That is a form of discrimination. I'm glad he doesn't want to go back to it.
COOPER: Kevin Madden, I appreciate you joining us. Paul Begala as well.
Getting into the "Raw Politics," there are those who say President Obama's stance on same-sex marriage could hurt his base with African- American voters. But civil rights activists and former NAACP chairman, Julian Bond, said that is not necessarily the case, in his opinion, that the tied, he says, is turning. I spoke to him right before our broadcast. I spoke to Mr. Bond about that and about what he believes Mitt Romney' definition of equality is.
COOPER: So, Mr. Bond, back in 1994, Mitt Romney talked about seeking what he said was full equality for gays and lesbians. To you, what does full equality mean?
JULIAN BOND, FORMER NAACP CHAIRMAN: Full equality, it means enjoying all of the rights that everybody else in the country enjoys. If everybody else in the country enjoys rights one, two, three and four, you got to enjoy those rights, too.
COOPER: OK. Because as recently as yesterday Romney said he didn't favor, certainly not same-sex marriage, he didn't favor civil unions, that they're identical to marriage and everything but name. Does that sound like full equality to you?
BOND: No. Not at all. Of course not. It doesn't sound like it and it isn't like it.
COOPER: You've been very outspoken, an -- an outspoken advocate for marriage equality. What was your personal reaction to the president's public endorsement yesterday?
BOND: Well, I was thrilled and excited. This was a position I'd always thought that he had. I always felt that he felt this way. I was waiting and waiting for him to say so. And I'm just so happy that he finally did. I wish it had been sooner but I'm willing to take what I got.
COOPER: Were you surprised that he said this before the election?
BOND: Well, not because of the series of events that preceded it. The statement from Vice President Biden, the secretary of education, and just the rising tide in the country of people who changed old ideas and adopted new ideas and said the time for change has come. So I think it was almost inevitable that he would this sooner or later, and I'm happy with sooner rather than later.
COOPER: There's been a lot of question about support among African- Americans for same-sex marriage. Some African-Americans have expressed strong disapproval of the president's position and there's a lot of people wondering if that's going to affect their support for him come November. What do you think?
BOND: I don't think so. I think this -- and African-American communities like every other community in the country, the tide is shifting. People are thinking differently, younger people are saying these are old-fashioned ideas. We don't feel that way. My mom, my dad, my grandfather may, but I don't feel that way. And I think President Obama is just going with the tide. He's sensed that feeling people are -- people are different now and he's willing to take a risk that this will effect his election, but I don't think it will effect it one wit, except for those people who say my enthusiasm for him has grown since you made this statement.
COOPER: Do you think, you know, often a lot of people look at the African-American community and say that there is not a lot of support for same-sex marriage there. Do you think the tide is turning even among African-Americans? Do you think that's kind of overstated the opposition to same-sex marriage among African-Americans?
BOND: I know the tide is changing. I can see from poll results where the support for same-sex marriage used to be minimal. It's grew -- it grew and grew. I'm not sure exactly what it is now, but I think at least a majority if not more of African-Americans say this is the right thing to do.
COOPER: You, though, have really been out in front in comparing the fight for equality for gay and lesbian Americans to the fight for equality for African-Americans, for the -- to the civil rights movement. You say that really this is the new front of the civil rights movement. Why?
BOND: Well, I think it is. I mean any time a group of people are denied rights and struggle for their rights, that's a civil rights movement. And what's peculiar to me is that when women were struggling for their rights, as they had been for many, many years and will continue to do so, nobody said that they were trying to ape the black people's movement.
This is only -- this question is only raised when gays and lesbians are at issue. And I think it's a front for homophobia and for just hostile feelings toward this section of the population which exist among all people, black, white, whatever they are, gay people everywhere in this country and we ought to embrace them and help them to achieve equal status with the rest of us.
This is a country that likes to be proud of its stance on civil rights. And this is another step forward we're going to take pretty soon.
COOPER: Do you think what the president did yesterday, do you think it makes a big difference? Do you think it actually changes something?
BOND: I think it makes an enormous difference. First it is an endorsement. You know when the president says he's for something, it doesn't mean it's going to happen. It just means we now know what he feels and how he thinks about it. And when he says that it sends a powerful signal that the most powerful figure in the land of the -- of the brave and the free has spoken out in favor of freedom and justice and rightness and correctness for everybody.
And while he can't make everybody believe that, he certainly can make everybody think this is the right thing to do and I think he did that yesterday.
COOPER: Julian Bond, I appreciate your being on. Mr. Bond, thank you.
BOND: My pleasure. Thank you.
COOPER: Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google Plus, follow me on Twitter right now @Andersoncooper.
Up next a development in our investigation to a charity that claims to raise money for disabled veterans. They've raised some $56 million in the last three years. We got a very strange e-mail from them, quoting the lyrics to a George Michael song, as their response to the questions we ask them. Now they claim their e-mail was hacked. What they haven't addressed is what they've done with the millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars in donations. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight, yet another strange twist in our investigation of that charity that claims to raise money for disabled veterans. Now every night this week we've been reporting on the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. That's what they call themselves. Its own tax filings showed that it's raised nearly $56 million in donations for veterans in the past three years. But not one dime of that money has actually gone directly to help disabled veterans that we could tell.
Over the past couple of nights, I've issued direct challenges to the group's president, Precilla Wilkewitz. Make yourself available anywhere anytime to me or to Drew Griffin who's been doing the reporting to explain what the foundation has done with the nearly $56 million -- $56 million that you've collected.
Yesterday CNN's Drew Griffin sent her an e-mail to see if she'd come on this program to answer our questions. He's been trying for years, by the way, to get a response. And last night he got a strange response. As we've reported on the program, the e-mail said basically she disagreed with Drew's reporting and the only other thing she had to say, and she actually wrote all this out, were the lyrics of a 1980 hit George Michael song, "Careless Whisper." That's right. We got all the lyrics to "Careless Whisper" in her e-mail.
Then today came the latest twist. We got a statement from a -- a spokesman for the group who claims someone hacked into Miss Wilkewitz's e-mail and her Facebook account. The statement says, quote, "Bizarre and nonsensical communications were sent from the account when it was outside of her control. The hacker damaged both Pricilla and DVNF's reputation." By the way that's the wrong spelling in Wilkewitz's first name in their own statement. Their error, not ours.
The spokesman went on to say, "We want everyone to know about our programs, services and direct financial support we provide to veterans and the positive impact we have made in the lives of thousands of individuals and families."
Now this whole "Careless Whisper" thing might be funny if the allegations here were not so serious, but they are. And nowhere in that statement was a response to our questions, our repeated questions over a lengthy amount of time about the group's failure to provide direct monetary help to veterans groups. They still won't answer those questions.
Now recently Drew caught up with Miss Wilkewitz, the president of the charity, and tried to get answers. Look what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRECILLA WILKEWITZ, PRESIDENT, DISABLED VIETNAM NATIONAL FOUNDATION: You are the one from CNN that we've been talking to?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That's right.
(Voice-over): Meet Precilla Wilkewitz, president of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation that we found a small VFW office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
WILKEWITZ: Well, this is the veterans of (INAUDIBLE) wars and I really didn't think you'd do something like this. And we've agreed to talk to you --
GRIFFIN: Nobody has agreed -- so here's the question. You raised over three years --
WILKEWITZ: Only in writing. Thank you so much.
GRIFFIN: -- and none of the money has gone to any veterans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So if the $56 million they've raised isn't going to veterans group just what does the DVNF provide veterans groups? Well, listen to this.
JD SIMPSON, PRESIDENT, THREE HOTS AND A COT: They sent us 2600 bags of cough drops and 2200 little bottles of sanitizer and the great, they sent us 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's JD Simpson who's the executive director of the St. Benedict's Veterans Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Talking to us earlier this week on 360, I spoke to again tonight along with Drew Griffin.
COOPER: Drew, these allegations that this e-mail account was hacked, what do we know about this?
GRIFFIN: The only information we have comes from DVNF which sent to us that e-mail statement this afternoon. We do know that that would be potentially a federal crime. We asked if there was a police report filed on this. Earlier today there wasn't and I was notified late this afternoon that indeed the FBI may be calling Precilla Wilkewitz to look into this.
I also did reiterate our, you know, suggestion that they come on the air and answer some questions or tell us where this money went but we haven't heard back on that -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Mr. Simpson, you told Drew that what this national veterans charity is doing is stealing. Those are your words. You said stealing when it gets right down to it. Why do you think it's stealing?
SIMPSON: Mr. Cooper, we help veterans down here every day in the trenches. We're working with the homeless veterans on the streets. We struggle every month to pay our bills. We're a nonprofit organization, none of us are on any payroll, we're all volunteers. And what they're claiming their did would fund my organization for 300 years. They're taking money from patriotic Americans to help veterans and what they are doing with it that's what you guys are trying to figure out, we don't know.
It's not getting to the streets to help the veterans. We've still got guys on the streets that I can't find housing for. I'm running out of food, I'm running out of money to pay the bills. And organizations like this are out there just stealing. I mean there's no other way you can put it, Mr. Cooper. This money is given in good faith to help veterans. There's groups like me all over the country. I'm one small guy in Alabama trying to do my part.
There's hundreds of me out there. We're Three Hots and a Cot. That's what we want to give these people. Three hot meals and somewhere to sleep. And there's very limited resources out there. We all know that. But this company has taken $56 million and done what we don't know -- need help and disabled veterans and there are great projects out there they can be helping. COOPER: In their promotional material they say, and I want to quote them right, so let me just read this. They say that in Alabama where your center is that what they sent to the centers in Alabama they said, quote, "We send by the truckload items that these centers say they need desperately to provide the daily outreach."
Have you ever requested thousands of bags of coconut M&Ms or hundreds of pairs of Navy dress shoes from this organization because that's what they've sent you.
SIMPSON: No, sir. They called me -- the three truckloads they sent us, they called and said, hey, we've got some donations coming in from the DVNF. We know you guys can use them. Send us a thank you letter and we'll send them to you. We bring them in to a central warehouse here with the Christian Mission here in Birmingham, and we get what we can use out of it which usually is very little. And the rest we try and give to other organizations in the community that might be able to use them.
The 11,500 some bags of M&Ms, I think sent CNN the last four bags I had just because I wanted somebody to have them. We got very tired of them around here. Nothing against Mars, I'm sure they're a great company, but that's not what our homeless veterans need. Our homeless veterans need work boots, they need work gloves, we need clean shirts, we need -- we need money to help get these guys bus passes and buy them work clothes so we can find them jobs.
I mean it -- M&Ms isn't the answer. You know when I was 7, that was the answer to my world problems. That's not the answer today.
COOPER: They say they're responding to your request. Have you ever specifically asked them for a specific item for help?
SIMPSON: Yes, sir, I asked them for $38,000 in November of last year to help us replace some storm windows in our centers and they sent me a declined letter in February of this year. That's the only thing I've ever asked them for and they told me no.
COOPER: Drew, where do things go from here? I mean we're still trying to figure out where the $56 million that they've raised over the last three years, what they've actually spent them on or where it is.
GRIFFIN: Actually we do know where it went. It went to their chief fundraising company, this private company named Quadriga Arts. What we're having trouble dealing with or finding answers to is Quadriga is basically charging this charity more than a dollar to raise a dollar. That's basically where we're at. And Quadriga, you know, they raise funds, they admittedly raise funds for more than 500 charities. So we would like to find out, is this the same pattern at all these charities that Quadriga is involved with? Well, we are trying to follow the money that way but so far we have just gotten shut doors from Quadriga Arts as well.
COOPER: We'll continue to try. Drew griffin, appreciate it. JD Simpson, thank you so much. Well, the John Edwards trial is entering a new phase. Prosecutors resting their case today. Live report on what we can expect as the defense team prepares to take over, next.
COOPER: Backpage.com is not backing down. Tonight the classified ads Web site is ignoring calls to shut down its adult services section despite evidence that it's a tool for people who want to sell kids for sex. We're "Keeping Them Honest" ahead.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, prosecutors resting their case against John Edwards. They wrapped with testimony detailing how hundreds of thousands of dollars from two of Edwards' donors went to lavish expenses like private jet flights and luxury hotel rooms.
Prosecutors claim it was all to hide Edwards' affair with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter. As they wrap up nearly three weeks of emotional testimony, times revealing the Edwards' family most intimate moments.
John Edwards is overheard weighing in on the case against him. Joe Johns joins us now live from Greensboro, North Carolina. Joe, a lot of testimony today about Edwards jockeying and laying the groundwork for various positions in future administrations, vice president, attorney general, even a spot on the Supreme Court?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Leo Henry, this is a former economic adviser for John Edwards during the 2008 campaign. He said that when it became clear in January of 2008 that Obama was going to win the Iowa caucuses immediately almost John Edwards sent him to a top adviser for Obama.
That would be Senate Democratic leader, Tom Daschle and ask for the vice presidential slot and just a few days later sent him back to ask for the attorney general's slot.
Jen Palmieri from the White House now just testified yesterday that he was delusional. He wasn't even being vetted. But it's clear John Edwards was confident even though he had all bunch of stuff going on in the background including this controversy with his mistress. Back to you, Anderson.
COOPER: We're fully surprised that the prosecution rested. I mean, there had been a lot of talk about whether Rielle Hunter would be called to testify, but in the end she wasn't. Why?
JOHNS: Well, she wasn't called at least if you listened to the testimony, it was pretty surprising. For one thing, she has been called a loose canon. She has been called somebody who is very unpredictable.
Edwards himself was quoted as calling her a couple of times, "crazy." So it's pretty clear the government wasn't willing to take a chance with Rielle Hunter. There's still though a possibility that the defense might call her if they put on a case.
COOPER: So she could still end up on the stand. When the court recessed yesterday, Edwards learned who would testify today. I heard he was overheard mouthing something to his lawyer. What did he say?
JOHNS: That's their case, sort of a question. And I also saw right around the same time you describe there, his attorney with a half smile on his face. It sounds cocky and look, these guys are trial lawyers.
They are cocky. On the other hand though, talk to some of the other lawyers in the courtroom and a lot of people have said they've been sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop in this case involving Edwards.
Big problem they say is, look, a lot of the key witnesses the people you most want to hear from just haven't been on the stand. Why? Well, let's see.
Elizabeth Edwards, she's dead. Fred Baron, a big contributor, he's dead. Bunny Mellon, she's 101 years old, another big contributor, she's almost blind.
Rielle Hunter, just mentioned her. People say she's crazy and unpredictable. So many people haven't been heard from. It's really hard to get your hands around how well the prosecution's going to do once the case gets to the jury if it does -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's fascinating. Joe Johns, thanks. Isha is here with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a pair of bomb blasts in Syria's capital killing 55 people today and injuring hundreds of others. It's being called one of the deadliest attacks since the start of the uprising 14 months ago. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan who brokered the Syrian peace plan condemned the attack.
New details on the foiled terror plot to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. A source tells CNN the man who infiltrated the al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula was of Saudi origin and holds a British passport. Saudi intelligence sent him to Yemen after learning a plot was in the works.
Stop snapping a 60 losing streak, the Dow Jones closing up 20 points today thanks in part to a small dip in new jobless claims.
And Anderson, a possible break in a 22-year-old art heist. Law enforcement agents removing evidence from the home of a suspected gangster. He is facing drug and weapons charges, but police believe he has information on the 1990 theft at Boston Isabel Stewart Garden Museum. The paintings are worth about $500 million.
COOPER: Wow. That would be amazing. It is a beautiful museum. That was incredible heist that occurred. Isha, thanks very much.
New calls tonight to shut down the leading adult services web site, backpage.com. Backpage though isn't budging. They say the sex trade would be harder to police if their web site is shut down. We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.
COOPER: Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes headlines for being tough on crime, but did his department go too far? Why it's going to face a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department ahead on the program.
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report about backpage.com, the leading web site for adult service ads. Now last week, we reported on the growing push to shut down the web site's adult services section where law officials say underage girls are sold for sex. That was on Friday.
On Monday, U.S. Congressman Robert Turner from New York introduced a House resolution calling for Village Boys Media Holding, which owns backpage.com to shut down the ads immediately. Pressure on the web site has been building for months.
The country's 51 attorneys general, 19 U.S. senators, 600 religious leaders, more than 50 NGOs and a petition with more than 230,000 signatures are all calling on the media company to shut down its classified ad adult services section.
But tonight backpage.com is not backing down one inch. To understand the outrage over backpage.com, take a look at what CNN's Deborah Feyerick found in a recent report she did for 360.
JOHN CHOI, RAMSEY COUNTY, MINNESOTTA ATTORNEY: When we get a case involving the trafficking of prostitution, usually the story is going to start on backpage.com.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The daughter I know is a kid that likes to color.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Dawn that's where the story took her 15-year-old girl, a child who apparently ran away with a man who seduced her online.
Within days, that man had posted pictures of the child on backpage.com selling the girl into prostitution. Allegations detailed in a criminal complaint.
"DAWN," MOTHER OF GIRL ADVERTISED ON BACKPAGE.COM: He officially took her and beat her into submission to raping her and then held her into prostitution. It totally, totally crushed me to know that somebody actually did this to her.
FEYERICK: The accused pimp in that case has pleaded not guilty pending trial. It's one of more than 50 cases in 22 states of people charged with advertising underaged girls for sex on backpage.com.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: The New York City Council recently held hearings on a resolution to stop those Backpage ads. One of the people testified described how she ended up with a pimp after running away from home. She told her story from behind a screen to protect her privacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"BRIANNA," GIRL ADVERTISED ON BACKPAGE.COM: The main way that he felt that he made the most money was through Backpage. At this time, I'm 12 years old and Backpage sent me at least 35 dates a night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She says 35 dates a night at the age of 12. Liz MacDougal the lawyer for backpage.com also testified at the hearing. She says shutting down Backpage will only make it harder to actually catch child predators and sex traffickers.
The ads people run in Backpage brought in almost $27 million last year according to the internet research firm, Aim Group, after Craigslist shut down its adult services section back in 2010.
The ads migrated to Backpage and that has obviously been something of a windfall for the parent company. Liz McDougal joins me now. Thanks very much for being with us.
You say that this is not a site for prostitution. But any reading of these ads, I mean, can you really say with a straight face it is not a prostitution site?
LIZ MCDOUGALL, LAWYER FOR VILLAGE VOICE MEDIA: What I say is that this is a site where any illegal activity is unwelcome, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and illegal prostitution.
COOPER: But it is full of ads for illegal activity?
MCDOUGALL: Well, we actually have more than 85 percent of our content has nothing to do with the adult category.
COOPER: But that is where you make your money?
MCDOUGALL: No, we charge on a multitude of categories. This is one category where there is income. We are a business. We do make money.
But keep in mind that we have 80 percent of our staff dedicated to policing and to cooperating with law enforcement to prevent cases of exploitation from ever making it live on the internet.
So that we can facilitate rescues and so that we can cooperate with law enforcement to ensure convictions when there are those opportunities.
COOPER: But there are ads, which are just clearly for prostitution. I mean, I looked at these ads for a brief amount of time. You can find ones, you know, saying very slim Filipino Dominican hottie. She says I'm all about good times and freaky pleasures. Another one says come to my garden and enjoy the rose bush. Do you think she is a gardener, I mean?
MCDOUGALL: I don't think she is a gardener. But there's no -- one of the challenges in this area is that there is not a black and white line between legal sex work and illegal sex work.
Prostitution is illegal, but there is legal sex work of a variety of kinds and particularly in this economy. There are people who are engaging in legal sex works as the only means to be able to pay their bills and to survive.
COOPER: So you believe --
MCDOUGALL: And we are doing our best to find the lines between what is illegal activity and what is not. To do that better and we want to do that better, we need more collaboration with law enforcement and with NGOs and with projects like CNN's freedom program that is trying to focus on preventing exploitation.
COOPER: But to say that you want to be the sheriff's of the internet, which is what you've said in interviews before. It just seems disingenuous. The actually sheriffs the states attorneys general want to shut you down.
MCDOUGALL: The states attorneys general aren't the actual sheriff. If you talk to the vice officers on the ground and I provided a list of those officers to your producer to talk to. They say just the opposite. They say that Backpage is the most cooperative and one of the most valuable tools they have --
COOPER: I have also talked to law enforcement --
MCDOUGALL: -- for rescuing victims and for getting the evidence for a conviction furthermore --
COOPER: You do respond to law enforcement and they appreciate that as does the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I have talked to law enforcement though who also say, you know, they wish you would shut down. There are plenty of police out there who believe you are basically just providing a huge street corner for prostitutes to work on.
MCDOUGALL: Well, I would disagree because the law enforcement that we talk to repeatedly -- we have hundreds and thousands of e-mails of accolades for our assistance. But the point is not just to assist them in stings and stalking the perpetrators when they're online.
We are actively pursuing rescues. Since January of this year, I can give you at least four examples of rescues. In January, we rescued a child in Seattle, Washington because our moderators -- before the ad got online, identified this as a potentially exploited minor. We reported to Nick Mick.
COOPER: There are other ads, which, you know, -- there was an ad that a woman writes about make me beg, spit on me, degrade me that CNN found just recently. MCDOUGALL: As I explained to Deborah if that language got through it should not have. That was a mistake and mistakes happen with human moderation --
COOPER: But you are saying in order to stop prostitution, which is an illegal activity you need to give pimps websites. Does that make sense?
MCDOUGALL: What you say doesn't make sense because we are not giving the pimps web sites.
COOPER: You're giving them advertising.
MCDOUGALL: That is a factor of the internet and the internet is not going away.
COOPER: There are plenty of places to advertise, but you are giving them the most well organized, biggest one since Craiglist has gone away.
MCDOUGALL: Actually My Red Book is currently the biggest one -- if you would like to call them. But the fact is --
COOPER: You are a big slice of this pie.
MCDOUGALL: There are according to Shared Hope International approximately 5,000 web sites that permit adult advertising and we could drive this traffic to other ones like Arrows, like My Red Book that are off shore and that have no interest in cooperating. And that two, we can't get when they are off shore.
COOPER: Just because there are other bad actors doesn't mean that what you are doing is right.
MCDOUGALL: It's right because we enable rescues and convictions. The other sites won't and don't.
COOPER: You say you don't allow underage people. You have no way of verifying whether or not somebody is underage. You just have to check off whether the person just says I'm over 18.
MCDOUGALL: We do far more. We have filters for terms and two tiers --
COOPER: They can lie in the ad about it though.
MCDOUGALL: They can lie in the ad. We have people examining the images to try to identify if someone is underage.
COOPER: The U.S. Conference of Mayors has asked you just this week to actually have physical verification. There are some websites that somebody who wants to place an ad actually has to go to an office and show an ID. You could have that in every city that you're offering. Why don't you do that?
MCDOUGALL: I was so glad to get that letter from the mayors this week because finally, some elected officials are taking an intelligent approach to this problem.
COOPER: So would you consent to do that?
MCDOUGALL: That is something that we have been exploring for months and are continuing to explore. When you're talking about the internet --
COOPER: What does that mean continuing to explore that? You guys have been in business for a very long period of time. There are been plenty of people who wanted you to do this before. This is not the first time you considered this idea. So why not just say we're going to do this. I know it costs you money, but if that is the right thing to do.
MCDOUGALL: Money is not the issue. The issue is how do you functionally implement this? There are already technologies where you can verify the age of the poster, but that's not helpful to verifying the age of the person in the image. There is no technology to do that currently --
COOPER: Unless the person comes directly in.
MCDOUGALL: Which --
COOPER: And you have to show an ID.
MCDOUGALL: If you have any knowledge and understanding of how the internet works is a practical impossibility in the internet realm. What we are exploring is ways to make it a possibility.
COOPER: You have --
MCDOUGALL: When we do we will set that standard not just for us but for the entire online service provider community.
COOPER: Do you know when you will be able to decide whether or not you can actually do that?
MCDOUGALL: It's not a matter of decision. It's a matter of exploring and programming and collaboration with other online service providers, other technology providers, with law enforcement. There are some experts who have looked at how to better identify whether an image is somebody who is underage or not.
COOPER: But whether you are talking about internet verification you could just say anybody photographed in an ad has to come to your office in whatever city it is. You have these set up by cities and states and just show an ID why would that not --
MCDOUGALL: That's where you have a complete misunderstanding of the functioning of the internet.
COOPER: I'm not talking about the internet I'm talking about physical location --
MCDOUGALL: Exactly. COOPER: This is -- you say this isn't about money, but it seems like this is only about money.
MCDOUGALL: No. There -- in no way is this only about money. This is about the functionality. Setting up an office in every place that we have -- that we have a site you would be asking Craigslist to do the same thing.
COOPER: Craigslist stopped the service and you benefitted from that.
MCDOUGALL: We certainly achieved some of the -- obtained some of the ad advertising from that, but to claim that Craigslist is out of this business is grossly ignorant. And that's one of the ridiculous fallacies that has been perpetuated with saying taking down the adult category is going to cure human trafficking online?
COOPER: I'm not saying this will eliminate human trafficking. It seems to me the only reason you are in this business is to make money. And you're making an awful lot of money. It's helping the parent company, which is having losses in other areas of the business.
This is a hugely profitable area of business. So you are coming up with all these reasons to explain why you are doing this, but the bottom line is you are in the business to make money and this is a way to make money.
MCDOUGALL: That is your articulation of the bottom line. I joined Backpage a couple of months ago with more than a decade of fighting cybercrime and in anti-trafficking.
This -- this political campaign to shut down an adult category so we can say, look we did something effective here is -- it's a ridiculous ineffective approach and taking attention from the serious issues here.
The social conditions that create the vulnerabilities of the people who are trafficked and the demand issue. Let's face the issue there is demand that drives this. I came here to stop this problem. I don't make money from this.
COOPER: Your salary is paid by this.
MCDOUGALL: My salary is paid, but it has nothing to do with how much money the company makes.
COOPER: It does. This is how your company makes money. This is a big money -- according to this group, Aim. I don't know if their figures are accurate.
MCDOUGALL: That's true, but does that mean that every business that is out there because they are making money is doing it for some level and purpose?
COOPER: No, but if it is illegal activity and you are giving them ad space or you're allowing them to advertise and you're making money off that it seems harder to take a really firm stand. And say we are not in the prostitution business we want to be the sheriffs of the internet when all of these states attorneys general are saying please stop this.
MCDOUGALL: We are in the classified ad business. As I've explained, the adult category is less than 15 percent of our business. The attorneys general are pounding their chest on this issue, but talk to the people who really know how the internet works and what's going on, on the ground and they don't agree.
Talk to Dana Boyd at Harvard from the Berkman Institute on Internet and Society, talk to David Finkelhor at the University of New Hampshire and talk to Dr. Mark Latinero who is now heading research on human trafficking and technology.
And there are multitude of academics out there who are saying as well as the vice cops on the ground, this is not the answer.
COOPER: Appreciate your perspective and you coming in to talk about it. Thank you very much.
MCDOUGALL: Thank you for listening.
COOPER: We'll be right back.
COOPER: Breaking news right now. We're just getting word that Adam Mayes, the suspect in the Tennessee murder kidnapping case is dead. The two young girls he is accused of kidnapping have been found reportedly alive.
Joining us now in the phone is CNN's Martin Savidge and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin. Martin, what have you heard?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Anderson, that's correct. We have been told by a high level federal official that is close to the investigation that Adam Mayes is in fact dead. He was killed.
And that the two girls have been found, they are alive and right now are being transported to a hospital to be checked out. The additional information we have is that this all took place in Union County, Mississippi.
That means that Adam Mayes never ventured too far from where this originally took place. Supposedly there was a SWAT team that was moving in on a wooded patch as they were closing in, they heard a single gunshot.
When they got to the middle of the wooded area, they found Adam Mayes dead and they found the two girls. It is naturally welcome news for this family that has suffered the loss of a mother and a daughter, but at least the two youngest daughters are alive. COOPER: And Martin, the two who were found dead explain where they were found. Wasn't it -- it was in the yard by the home of -- it was Adam Mayes' mother's house correct?
SAVIDGE: Yes, on the 27th of April you had the kidnapping that was allegedly orchestrated by Adam Mayes. The mother that is -- I can't think of her last name right now, but Joanne --
Thank you, Bain was killed along with their daughter Adrianne in the garage of their home in Whiteville, Tennessee. It's about 80 miles away from where this drama played out this afternoon and then they were transported, their bodies along with the younger girls an 8-year- old and 12-year-old were transported down into Mississippi.
And of course it was in the yard of his mother, Adam Mayes' mother where the shallow graves was dug and where the bodies were found last weekend and then of course, the whereabouts of Adam Mayes and these two young girls became the focus of a nationwide search, but it was felt by authorities that he never went too far away from his home down there in downtown Mississippi and that is exactly what happened.
He didn't go that far. A SWAT team moves in on him and he apparently took his own life.
COOPER: Martin, just standing by on the phone is Adam Mayes' sister- in-law, Bobbi Booth. Bobbi's sister is now charged with first degree murder, Teresa, for her alleged role in helping Adam Mayes.
Bobbi, first of all, your thoughts on hearing that your former brother-in-law has been shot and is dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via telephone): All I'm worried about is that the children are safe. The rest is not a concern. Thank you, God for letting the kids come home.
COOPER: Your sister, Teresa, had called you several days ago expressing her concern that Adam Mayes had killed -- had killed Bobbi --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joanne and Adrienne.
COOPER: Yes, explain what your sister said to you.
BOBBI BOOTH, ADAM HAYES SISTER-IN-LAW: She told me -- she told a family friend who had he had killed and she just told me about the grave.
COOPER: Your sister has been charged with first degree murder. What are your thoughts on that?
BOOTH: I'm going to be honest. I'm overwhelmed right now. I don't know how to answer that. I'm just glad the kids are safe.
COOPER: I can understand that. Bobbi, I appreciate talking to you. Sunny Hostin, I mean, legally this is done. He's dead. SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's done for him as you mentioned. His wife has been charged with first degree murder. We don't know enough I think to sort of close the case on this.
We know or we believe that the two girls are OK. I don't know that we know all about the circumstances surrounding the death of Joann and her daughter, Adrienne. So I think there is a lot of work to be done in this case to determine everyone's role.
COOPPER: Right and whether or not -- the mother is also in custody in all this. I'm not sure if she's been charge.
HOSTIN: That's right. I'm not sure either. I wonder sometimes if this was, perhaps, a law enforcement way of pressuring Adam Mayes or sort smoking him out. Sometimes that does happen. But again, by certain reports, Teresa Mayes was involved or could have been involved in the murders of Joann --
COOPER: She allegedly told her sister she had driven a vehicle with some of the people involved in this in that vehicle. Again, it's not clear exactly what her involvement was.
HOSTIN: That's right. And certainly if you are an accomplice or co- conspirator you can be charged with the same crime as the person who actually murdered Adrienne and Joann.
COOPER: At this moment though, the headline is Adam Mayes is apparently dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as SWAT team was moving in. The two girls who he had with him are apparently safe and in custody.
That does it for us. We're going to see you again one hour from now. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.