Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Campaign Hitting Below the Belt?; New Developments in Trayvon Martin Case; Pardoned Mississippi Man Faces New Charges; Violence Increases on Mexican Border

Aired May 15, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

It's 10:00 on the East Coast. And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the question of whether President Obama is trying to have it both ways, attacking leaders of companies that make millions by taking over companies and sometimes putting average Americans out of work, when at the same time President Obama racks up millions for his campaign courtesy of the very same type of corporate leaders.

This week, it even happened on the same day. A new ad from the Obama campaign is attacking Mitt Romney for his work as the founder and head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm whose business dealings sometimes led to people losing their jobs. That's what happened at the Kansas City steel mill that's the focus of the new Obama campaign ad featuring workers who say that Romney and his company ruined their lives.

The ad was released yesterday. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having a good-paying job that you can support and raise a family on is hugely important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That stopped with the sale of the plant to Bain Capital.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know how business works. I know why jobs come and why they go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain Capital was the majority owner. They were responsible. Mitt Romney was deeply involved in the influence that he exercised over these companies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They made as much money off it as they could. And they closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or the communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.


COOPER: "Vampire that came in and sucked the life out of us," pretty strong words. The ad is clearly designed to tug on emotions, to paint Mitt Romney as a heartless corporate raider who cared nothing for the workers at the steel mill.

Now, the Romney campaign points out that Romney wasn't even actively managing Bain when that steel plant closed, though you can make the argument this ad is fair game since Mitt Romney has portrayed his time at Bain as a time of creating jobs. He's repeatedly said he created jobs even though the goal of Bain Capital was not job creation, it was money creation for his investors. That's what private equity is all about.

What's interesting however is the Obama campaign ad came out at about 6:00 a.m. yesterday. At about 6:00 p.m. Yesterday, President Obama was in New York at a private fund-raiser at the home of this man named Tony James. He's the president of Blackstone, which is a private equity firm, a private equity firm that has just like Bain made business deals that have shut down factories, put people out of work, 270 workers at a food plant, 800 at a travel services company.

The list goes on and on. Now, Blackstone and Bain have even done business together, teaming up to invest in the same companies. The point is, if the head of Bain is labeled a vampire, shouldn't the Obama campaign also have somebody label the head of Blackstone as one as well?

Now, there are arguments to be made about whether what private equity firms do is good or bad. We will leave that for you to decide. But "Keeping Them Honest," isn't it disingenuous to try to drive a stake into the corporate heart of the one so-called vampire in the morning and then sit down and eat a steak with another vampire at night?

We don't know if they actually served steak at Tony James' fund-raiser for the president, but you get the point. What we do know is that 60 people paid $35,800 a plate for a grand total of more than $2 million. The Romney campaign did not waste any time striking back against the new Obama campaign ad, releasing its own ad also using somber music, slow-motion, and steel workers.

It focuses on a company called Steel Dynamics that Bain invested in under Romney's guidance with, they claim, happier results.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When others shied away, Mitt Romney's private sector leadership team stepped in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Building a dream with over 6,000 employees today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it wasn't for a company like Steel Dynamics, this county would haven't a lot.

NARRATOR: American workers in a small town proving that anything is possible in America.


COOPER: Well, anything is possible in America. And certainly anything goes in American politics in an election year.

Joining me now is CNN political contributor Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher, who is a pollster, a strategist for the Obama 2012 campaign.

So, Cornell, the fact the campaign releases this video slamming Romney for his time at Bain the same day the president is at this fund-raiser hosted by a private equity giant, isn't that kind of hypocritical?


One is first you refer to a vampire and all that sort of language. Vampire and vulture capitalist is not something that has come out of our mouths. That, quite frankly, comes from the Republican primary. Look, so, yes, and the president and the campaign...


COOPER: Wait, but you have somebody in that ad saying vampire. That's -- the Obama campaign made that ad and they had that person say vampire, whether or not the person came up with it on their own.


COOPER: But they put it in the ad.

BELCHER: You have never heard anyone from the Obama campaign saying -- calling it vampire or vulture capitalism.

Look, but the bottom line is this. If Mitt Romney is going to make the predicate of his run that he's going to fix the economy, that he's going to create jobs and the primary -- his time was spent at the head of Bain, we have a right to examine that. We have a right to look at what in fact he did at Bain Capital to make his money and sort of unfold that for the American people.


COOPER: I totally agree with that. But I'm not arguing that. And I don't think anyone is arguing that.

It -- just on the same day that he's attacking Bain Capital for being a private equity firm and doing what they do...


COOPER: ... he's entertaining other private equity...

BELCHER: Well, this is where I disagree. He's not attacking equity firms.

What he's pointing -- what we're pointing out is this is what Mitt Romney has done. You know, this is the central predicate of him running for office. And what he's done at Bain Capital is make an awful lot of money for himself while putting an awful lot of people out of work. His job there wasn't making jobs. His job there was in fact making money for himself.

And if you're going to be the president of the United States, the American people have the right to ask, you know, do we want these values and this culture, these Wall Street values and this culture at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? So that's what we're pointing out. We're not attacking private equity firms.

But what we are doing is examining his record at Bain Capital.

COOPER: But at the same time to on the very same day be reaching out a hand and asking for money from people who do the exact same thing that Mitt Romney does and in fact has worked with Bain Capital, even just the timing of it, did someone not realize that?


BELCHER: Well, look, again, I think we're not -- no one's attacking private equity firms. Heck, I wish I owned a private equity firm.

However, what we want to convey to the American people is this is what he did for a living. Given what he did for a living, putting people out of work, making millions of dollars for himself, should we then put him in the White House? It's as simple as that. It's not about attacking private equity firms. It is pointing out what this man has done for a living.

COOPER: Ari, in your opinion, is it about attacking private equity? Is it hypocritical?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yes. That was one absurd sentence after another.

Even the president's former top economic adviser, Steve Rattner, who came from the auto industry to help bail out the auto industry, called this ad unfair. And it really is. It's unfair, but it's worse than that because it's really an indication of the president's world eye view.

You wonder why the private sector in America, the business community is not generating jobs and jobs are being suppressed in the Obama economy, it's because they're sitting on their cash because they don't trust President Obama because he is so anti-business.

And you're not going to see a surge in job creation in this country so long as President Obama sits in the White House. He in this ad is expressing what he thinks about private equity, about the private sector writ large. That's the problem with it. He will raise money. If you're for President Obama, he will give you a pass.

If you're against President Obama and you're the private sector, he attacks you. The fact of the matter is everybody in the private sector has created some jobs and they have lost some jobs. Some days people get laid off from work. Other days you hire more people. This is the dynamic that has made America great. Barack Obama will only attack anybody if they ever let somebody go in their job, if they ever laid somebody off in their job. It's fundamentally anti-capitalist.


COOPER: Ari, I pushed back on Cornell. Let me push back on you.

Isn't it fair game if Mitt Romney is portraying himself as a job creator -- and that's what he keeps portraying his time at Bain Capital -- in the prospective for private equity firms -- I have read them -- they don't talk about creating jobs for average Americans. They talk about making money for your investors.

And, you know, there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing illegal about that.


COOPER: But isn't this then fair game, if Romney's saying well, I was all about job creation, when in fact he was about money creation for himself, his partners, and his investors?

FLEISCHER: Well, the fact of the matter in a capitalist country if you do good, and if you make money, you're going to employ people. That's how profits get created, and through profits you are able to hire people.

But I have heard Romney on the stump -- Anderson, you have too -- where he regularly says some of our investments worked out and we were able to create jobs, Sports Authority. And other investments didn't work out. And in the case of this steel mill, of course they went in, in 1993 and invested in it. And it was going under back then.

Half the steel mills in this country were going under in the '80s and '90s. And then they actually got eight extra years of life to 2001 as a result of Bain hopefully helping the company.

I think they would have gone under way earlier had it not been for what Bain and private equity were able to do. That's the dynamic

of our economy. And what's so troubling is when President Obama just focuses on the minus sign and says, as you pointed out, he put somebody on the air to call them vultures.

If they're a vulture, the private sector is a vulture. That's the problem I have with President Obama writ large. That's why the private economy is so hurting in this -- under the Obama years. And the only group that is doing well is the public sector.

BELCHER: Well, quite frankly....


COOPER: Go ahead. BELCHER: Yes, well, quite frankly, the private sector is actually doing pretty doggone good, 26 months of job growth under this president. But it still doesn't...


FLEISCHER: Twenty-three million unemployed...


FLEISCHER: ... is pretty good? That's a problem.

BELCHER: How many were unemployed when he put his hand on that Bible and took that oath after your guy destroyed the economy, after Bill Clinton built it back?


FLEISCHER: The average unemployment rate in the eight years of George Bush was 5.3 percent.

BELCHER: Well, we're not talking about the average.


COOPER: One at a time.


BELCHER: We're talking about the economic collapse...


COOPER: Guys, guys, one at a time.

Cornell, finish.


BELCHER: ... that happened under your guy's watch.

COOPER: Ari, do you want to respond?

FLEISCHER: And we have had the most tepid recovery in the nation's history because the president's policies are suppressing job creation.

Under the stimulus, the president promised us the unemployment rate would be 5.6 percent right now. It's at 8.1 percent. He said GDP would be growing at 6.0 percent.


BELCHER: What you can't escape...


FLEISCHER: I know you want to change the subject.


BELCHER: What you can't escape the fact is that...


COOPER: Guys, no one can hear you when you're both talking.


BELCHER: We were losing a couple of hundred thousands of jobs a month when he came in. Now we're gaining jobs each and every month. That was because of what President Obama did from moving away from the failed policies of which your guys did.

That's his record. And, quite frankly, for us to sort of point out what -- what he did at Bain, destroying jobs, cutting benefits to line his own profits and to make millions more himself, that's -- absolutely, that's fair game. Absolutely, that's fair game.


FLEISCHER: I think what you're seeing is the president's...


COOPER: Final thought.

FLEISCHER: ... reelection...


FLEISCHER: ... blame and complain.

I think what you're hearing is in 2012 the president will run a blame and blame and complain and not solve. That's a formula to be a one- term president.

BELCHER: Blame and complain, how?


BELCHER: He has solved a lot of problems, quite frankly.


COOPER: Cornell Belcher...


BELCHER: What we don't want to see is a return to the policies that got us into this mess.

COOPER: Guys, thank you very much. Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. Follow us on Twitter right now. Let's have a conversation about this right now. What do you think? Is it hypocritical for the president to attack Mitt Romney on this, the same day as he's reaching out for money from private equity firms? Let me know @AndersonCooper on Twitter.

Still ahead, breaking news, a new twist in the Trayvon Martin case. A medical report apparently shows George Zimmerman had a broken nose, two black eyes, and cuts on his head the day after he shot Trayvon Martin. The reporter who broke the story joins me. Martin family attorney Ben Crump and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, also join me to talk about this potential bombshell next.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight in the Trayvon Martin case, revelations that could help the defense.

ABC News is reporting that a medical report compiled by George Zimmerman's family doctor shows that Zimmerman was diagnosed with a broken nose, black eyes, cuts on the back of his head, one of them nearly an inch long, and a minor back injury the day after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

Now, in this security video taken at the police station where George Zimmerman was questioned the night of the shooting, you can see marks on the back of his head. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self- defense after Martin attacked him. Also tonight, WFTV in Florida is reporting that Trayvon Martin's autopsy report shows the 17-year-old had injuries to his knuckles when he died.

ABC News correspondent Matt Gutman joins me now.

Matt, you have gotten details about George Zimmerman's medical condition. What can you tell us?

MATT GUTMAN, ABC NEWS REPORTER: Well, the morning after that shooting, February 27, 11:00 in the morning, he goes to his family doctor.

And she looks him over. She sees as you mentioned the broken nose, the cuts on the back of the head. He had swelling over his face, two black eyes. She also mentions a couple of interesting things that he told her, specifically that Zimmerman thought of -- had nauseous feelings when he thought of the violence the night before.

She also recommended that it was imperative that he go see his psychologist at some point for an evaluation. She also recommended he got to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, which he declined. So it's actually -- that sets up a number of times that George Zimmerman did not go and seek additional medical attention, despite the fact his doctor recommended so.

COOPER: So there are details about his mental state which also then bring us back to other of his friends saying that he might have been suffering from PTSD. GUTMAN: Afterwards, but we're talking about before. And there's some question about the medications that he was on the night before and during the period of that shooting.

He was taking Adderall and a number of other medications. And he had clearly been seeing a psychologist during that time. So, we are wondering if it that had had any effect. It probably did not. But there was clearly some significant effect that that altercation and obviously the shooting of Trayvon Martin had on George Zimmerman afterwards.

His family members and friends had said that he didn't stop crying for days afterwards. He was clearly significantly affected by it, Anderson.

COOPER: Matt Gutman, I appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

I want to bring in on the phone Ben Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin's family, also analyst CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Benjamin, I want to start with you.

These injuries seem to be consistent with Zimmerman's claims all along. What's your response to this latest news?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Well, Anderson, the family has very strong positions about this family physician's report that was done the next day.

What we do know is on February 26, the E.R. person there didn't believe his injuries were significant enough for him to go to the hospital. They didn't even put a Band-Aid on his head. And we all saw the video 30 minutes after he had shot and killed Trayvon Martin. So we saw what his injuries were with our own eyes.

That's important. He didn't have a concussion. That's what the report says. He wasn't diagnosed with a concussion. And remember, he said that his head had been beat repeatedly against pavement by Trayvon Martin for over a minute. But there is no concussion.

And, also, it says there are no stitches. And that is very important. But we have got to put this in full context, Anderson. Let's not forget that Trayvon Martin was fighting a man with a .9-millimeter gun. He was in a battle for his life that tragically he lost.

And we also have to remember that he didn't start this fight. George Zimmerman got out of his car and pursued Trayvon Martin. Had he just stayed in his car, had he stood down, there would be no need for George Zimmerman to stand his ground.

And I have to say this, because we just got a glimpse of this report, Anderson. What -- there's a doctor's note that says why he came to the doctor. He sought an appointment with the doctor to get legal clearance to return to work.

So it is very suspicious that he doesn't have to go to the doctor February 26, when he shoots and kills Trayvon Martin, he doesn't have to go to the E.R., but then the next morning, he has to go. We do know one thing, Anderson. And that is, Trayvon Martin was taken away in an ambulance. He lost the battle for his life.

COOPER: Jeff, Jeff Toobin, what do you make of all this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I just wonder if I could ask Ben a question there.

You said you know that Zimmerman was the aggressor. How do you know that? What's the evidence that once he gets out of the car, that Zimmerman is the aggressor, rather than Trayvon Martin?

CRUMP: It's the 911 tape, Jeffrey.

You can listen to that tape and listen to what he says (INAUDIBLE) in his state of mind that he's going to make sure that this F-ing A-hole don't get away this time. And that's important.

It's also equally important that he's running after him. We hear that with our own ears. So everything else is Zimmerman's version. But when you look at the objective evidence, that video taken 30 minutes after he shoots and kills Trayvon Martin, you listen to those 911 tapes, that's not something that we have to depend on anybody to judge for us. We get to judge that for ourselves. And that's most important when you're trying to weigh credibility.

COOPER: But the 911 tapes only tell us what Zimmerman was saying when he was in that vehicle. We haven't heard any direct eyewitness testimony about what happened when he got out of that vehicle.

CRUMP: Well, I think we have heard some.

But I'm trying to just say listen to the objective evidence. There's going to be a full trial. And we want everybody to wait until all the evidence comes out. And that's what we have always asked for. We think George Zimmerman has a right to a fair and impartial trial.

And we hope that everybody listens to that, because all Trayvon's parents have wanted from day one was justice. And they wanted to make sure that Trayvon Martin got a fair trial, just as if George Zimmerman -- he would have shot George Zimmerman, that he would have got a fair trial.


COOPER: Jeff, I mean, information in a case like this is often leaked out by law enforcement, by people with -- who want to further a certain narrative. What do you make of the latest information...


TOOBIN: Well, I think, first of all, it's good that we are talking about actual information, you know, medical reports that show facts about this case, as opposed to people assuming what happened. Frankly, I think the evidence that came out today will be useful for the defense. It is one thing to say that George Zimmerman was attacked, as the defense will say. Now they can say, look, he had a broken nose. He had lacerations on the back of his neck. And apparently Trayvon Martin had injuries to his knuckles, which suggest that he was hitting someone. Those are facts.

They don't decide the case. They are not the only facts in the case. But they are certainly useful facts for the defense in arguing that this was a shooting in self-defense.

COOPER: Well, we're going to continue obviously to get more facts as we approach the time for trial.


COOPER: Yes, Benjamin?

CRUMP: Anderson, Trayvon was fighting for his life. Trayvon was fighting for his life.

COOPER: And you're saying that's why he would have injuries on his hands?

CRUMP: Absolutely. He was standing his ground. It was self-defense. So, if somebody got a gun, I have a -- I want to fight for my life.

TOOBIN: That's a very good argument. I mean, these are the kind of arguments that are going to be played out in front of the jury. And now at least we have some facts, some actual evidence to discuss that.


COOPER: Right, and still more to learn from forensic reports, from ballistic reports, all of that, none of which we have seen yet.

Benjamin Crump, I appreciate your time, Jeff Toobin as well.

There's a new twist in the Mississippi pardons mess that could mean justice for the family of 18-year-old Charity Smith. The drunk driver who killed her is now charged with a crime. But why was the three- time convicted felony on the road in the first place? And why was he pardoned by former Governor Haley Barbour after the deadly crash? We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.


COOPER: The violent drug war next door in Mexico. This time, dozens of bodies turned up headless, mutilated, and the murderers left their calling card at the scene, or did they? Why it's not so easy to determine which drug cartel is responsible. That's ahead.


COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report: a major development in a mother's search for justice. A Mississippi grand jury has charged this man, Harry Bostick, who was pardoned by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in January with drunk driving and causing a fatal accident last October. Now, the indictment says Bostick -- quote -- "negligently caused the death of 18-year-old Charity Smith," a talented artist with a lot of big dreams when she crossed paths with Bostick.

His truck slammed into her car as she pulled out onto the highway outside Tupelo. You can see by the wreckage how bad the crash was. Now, Bostick, who is a former IRS investigator, was arrested for driving under the influence. But it wasn't the first time.

He'd already been arrested three times for drunk driving. This dash- cam video shows one of those arrests. By the Bostick crashed into Charity Smith, he'd racked up three DUI convictions, all of them a matter of public record. But that did not stop former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour from pardoning Bostick barely three months after Smith's funeral.

Barbour's office has said they didn't know about Bostick's fourth DUI arrest. We still want to how that is possible.

When Barbour pardoned Bostick along with nearly 200 convicted felons, including four murderers, on his way out of office, he defended his decision on "JOHN KING, USA."


HALEY BARBOUR (R), FORMER MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: The power of pardon in the state is to give people a second chance who have repented, been rehabilitated and redeemed themselves.


COOPER: Repented, rehabilitated and redeemed themselves. Harry Bostick was sitting in jail on his fourth DUI arrest when he received the pardon from Haley Barbour, the pardon that erased his previous felony drunk driving conviction.

Does that sound like rehabilitated to you? Governor Barbour has refused our repeated invitations for an interview, invitations that have really spanned the last five months. Watch.


BARBOUR: How are you doing?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Can we talk to you real quick?

BARBOUR: Let me go get my instructions first.

COOPER: Governor Haley Barbour, who has refused our repeated requests, by the way, to be on the program.

Governor Barbour, we would love you to come on this show and answer some questions.


LAVANDERA: Governor, can you talk to us about the pardons?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) business right here.

LAVANDERA: All right. We'll wait for you out here then.

COOPER: Again, an open invitation stands for Governor Barbour to come on this program.

LAVANDERA: Could he come out and talk to us here in a second?

COOPER: Now, despite repeated requests, Governor Barbour will not come on this program. We have tried multiple, multiple times.

QUESTION: Governor, can we get a few minutes to talk about the pardons with you?

BARBOUR: Not really. When the Supreme Court rules, it'll be time to talk.


BARBOUR: I'm not so presumptuous as to predict...



BARBOUR: I'm not so presumptuous as to predict what the Supreme Court is going to do. But when they rule, then we can talk.



COOPER: When they rule we can talk, he said. Well, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the pardons. They ruled, but Barbour didn't keep his promise to talk to us or Ed Lavandera. We asked again just today. His office today said he couldn't fit us into his schedule. But they'd add us to their consideration list.

Ed Lavandera joins me now.

Ed, what kind of jail time is this guy Bostick now looking at?

LAVANDERA: Well, it's a little bit complicated. But remember, this fourth arrest -- he's been charged with a DUI after this indictment -- will now become technically his third. So he faces anywhere between one and five years, five years being the max.

But most importantly is the DUI death charge that he now faces. That faces a maximum of 25 years. So at least he's facing 30 years in all this. He's also charged with fleeing the scene of that accident, as well.

COOPER: He turned himself into police. Was -- is he still in jail now? Was he released on bail?

LAVANDERA: No, we're told that he turned himself in, and he's been released on a $50,000 bond. So he's back living in Oxford, Mississippi.

COOPER: So this was the fourth DUI charge. The third one was basically wiped off his record. So how does that pardon he got from Governor Barbour affect what kind of punishment he might face?

LAVANDERA: Well, the way it works in Mississippi -- and I've talked to several attorneys there today. It doesn't really matter after you get your third, fourth, fifth. Everything is still, for those simple DUI charges, they remain a felony even if it would have been a misdemeanor charge. But they all become -- remain felonies. They're up to five years.

Now what happens is, is that you know, if it's your third time, your fourth time, your fifth time, the judge -- the judge will see all of that.

So essentially, that third one is gone and this will be that third one. So it's very likely that he could get the same sentence he got the first time around, which was a year of house arrest and participation in a drug and alcohol program, if the judge decides to do that.

So depends on how he will be convicted, if he's convicted in all of this, and what the judge will decide. And that trial is still several months away.

COOPER: Has Governor Barbour -- I mean, I know he won't talk to us; he won't talk to you. But he's done plenty of other interviews in the last five months. Has he ever commented on why he pardoned this guy at all? Has he ever expressed regret, remorse?

LAVANDERA: No, you know, the fascinating thing about this is you remember that those murders were the ones that got most of the attention.

But this case really highlights just the way all of this was handled behind the scenes. Bostick is a former IRS investigator living in Oxford, Mississippi. He had very influential friends, former U.S. attorneys, that wrote glowing letters on his behalf, saying that he had turned his life around, had stopped drinking.

Barbour said that he was unaware of the accident that killed Charity Smith. That's what he told us when we first reported on this story. But as you know we got a hold of some e-mails that showed that it was those very same friends that wrote back and tried to get to the governor's office saying, "Look, we heard that this guy's had another accident. He should not be pardoned." All of that was ignored.

COOPER: I'm told just a couple hours ago, actually, that Barbour was on MSNBC. I just would ask any other reporter out there who does get the chance to interview the governor, maybe throw him a question about this. Because it would be great to get him on the record, explaining how he could give a pardon to a guy while he's sitting in jail on his fourth DUI and not make even any comment on it in the five months since then. So anybody does interview him, maybe you could ask him that question.

Ed Lavandera, appreciate it. We'll keep on it.

Charity Smith, as we said, was just 18 years old when she was killed in that terrible car crash. She was saving money for college. She had a lot of big plans for her life. Charity's mom, Linda Smith, told me a couple months ago that she doesn't have good days anymore. Losing her daughter has been unbearable, as you can imagine. She joins me again tonight.

Thank you so much for being with us. I'm sure this has been a tough day for you. How are you holding up when you got the word that he was going to be charged?

LINDA SMITH, MOTHER OF VICTIM: I was praying for justice, and I felt like -- that if he -- if it's served. I just -- I don't know how this is going to turn out, you know? I mean, he -- for his third one he -- he got probation. And we know how that turned out. So, I mean, I'm glad they charged him, but I still don't know how this is going to turn out.

COOPER: Has the governor -- former governor at all reached out to you? Has anybody tried to explain from his office why they gave this guy a pardon?

SMITH: No. No one has called me. No one has tried to get in touch with me. No one.

COOPER: If you could talk to Governor Barbour, what would you say to him? What would you ask him?

SMITH: He saw the e-mail. And he pardoned this man anyway. Did he not commit a crime himself? Is that not a crime? I would ask him if that would have been his daughter that this man had hit, would he still have pardoned him?

COOPER: I know you've been getting support from people in the community, people who are outraged by this -- by what happened and interested in Charity's story. That's got to feel -- does that help at all?

SMITH: Look. I know a lot of people love my daughter. But it doesn't change the fact that I don't have her. I mean, I love everybody that's -- I mean, they've done lots of things for me. And I know -- and I know everybody's praying for justice, but it still doesn't change the fact I do not have my daughter.

COOPER: Linda Smith, we'll continue to try to get some sort of answers from the former governor. And I just -- I wish you strength in the days ahead. Thank you for being with us. SMITH: Thank you.

COOPER: Linda Smith.

Just south of the border the violent drug war rages in Mexico. Dozens are murdered in the latest round of violence. But determining which drug gang may be responsible is not that easy. We'll see why next.


COOPER: Despite the stunning $2 billion trading losses at JPMorgan Chase, shareholders did not rebuke CEO Jamie Dimond. They approved a giant pay package for him. That's ahead.


COOPER: A vicious and bloody drug war in Mexico is taking another violent turn. On Sunday, 49 decapitated bodies were found on the border, 80 miles south of the U.S. border.

This latest round of violence bears the marks of the escalating turf war between rival drug cartels. And the victims are most likely cartel members or associates.

Now, over the last several years, the rival gangs have increasingly used brutality murders as warnings to each other as they battle for control of this multi-billion-dollar drug trafficking business in Mexico.

So which cartel is likely responsible for these murders? Well, the answer may not be as clear as it looks. We want to warn you. The images you're about to see are difficult to watch. Here's Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this grisly scene, an unmistakable message, "Z 100 percent." The "Z" for the violent Zeta cartel. But was it their work or a rival gang trying to discredit them? Is this horrific scene the opening salvo in a new gang war?

FRED BURTON, SECURITY CONSULTANT: There had been some indications that the Zetas were responsible for this. It's not beyond the realm of possibilities that this was perpetrated by a rival cartel. Either the Sinaloa or the Gulf Cartel.

MARQUEZ: The area where the 49 decapitated bodies were dumped, Mexico's Highway 40. It's a major route for drugs, cash, and guns going to and from the U.S., but it's Zeta territory. No reason for them to draw that kind of attention on their own turf.

Then there's this. New video posted from the rival cartel. It shows a woman cutting off a man's head then dismembering him. The title: a warning to the Zetas. Commander Diablo and King of Kings finishing with the Zetas. And another major and feared cartel, the Sinaloas, recently joined forces against the Zetas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking at the continuation of the turf war in that vicinity.

MARQUEZ: Since 2010 the cartels have expanded their operations, the fight for the territory has grown increasingly violent. Also clear, the cartel has been squeezed hard by the Zetas, and they're fighting back.

BURTON: Literally on a day-to-day basis, control of this very lucrative supply channel shifts.

LAVANDERA: The Zetas are feared for good reason. Many are deserted Mexican military commandos who formed their own cartel military know how into a killing machine. So powerful and wealthy they've even recruited young Americans to protect their interests in the U.S.

Rosalio Reta (ph) from Texas says he was just 13 years old when he was trained to be a killer. "I loved doing it," he says. "Killing the first person, I loved it." I thought I was Superman."

It's a battle over billions of dollars and survival. Los Zetas are at mortal war with the Sinaloa cartel. Its leader, Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as El Chapo. The Mexican government is offering millions in reward money for the capture of Guzman, but it pales in comparison to the extraordinary wealth Guzman and other cartel leaders have amassed.

BURTON: I'm not very optimistic that El Chapo is going to be caught. He's too powerful. He is very well wired within the Mexican security and military apparatus.

MARQUEZ: An estimated 50,000 people have died in this war. the 49 decapitated bodies may be an ominous foreshadowing of yet another deadly convulsion of violence.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: So much murder. Let's dig deeper now with Fred Burton. We saw him in Miguel's reporting. He's vice president of counterterrorism and corporate security at Stratfor, a global intelligence company. Also with us Rusty Fleming, maker of the documentary "Drug Wars." Thanks, both for being with us.

Fred, do you think the Zetas were behind this? I mean, they are known for cutting off heads.

BURTON: I don't think so, Anderson. Simply because this was on their patch. It would be bad for business for them to have done this on their very lucrative piece of the drug supply chain.

COOPER: It's a fairly common tactic, I mean, isn't it? Law enforcement, they try to disrupt the activities of the cartels -- or the rivals in its home territory.

BURTON: Well, when you look at this, the more probable suspects, Anderson, would be the Sinaloa or the Gulf Cartel or one of the other fractured gangs that came in into this turf, dumped the bodies and placed a poor claim of credit to try to implicate the Zetas for this. But I don't think that the Zetas were behind this.

COOPER: Rusty, what do you think? You've been inside the organization. Does it sound like their M.O.?

RUSTY FLEMING, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER, "DRUG WARS": Oh, it -- you know, I think it was just exactly what Fred's saying. That there's been a lot of counter-intelligence and misdirection, misinformation. That's how they conduct their war. And I think this is very likely another cartel that's trying to hang it on the Zetas and trying to make it look like them.

You know, the Zetas are a different kind of cartel. They are not the drug dealers from old. You know, they are military trained. They run with military structure and discipline. And they have a network that is far more sophisticated than most other drug networks. And they're going to use that.

You know, Rosalio Reta (ph), I interviewed him once. And that kid, like many others, were trained in Mexico just like we would train any other special forces soldier. And they're doing that even here. They're recruiting kids now to get degrees in computer science. So they can hack into data bases. And they can run money laundering operations.

They want them to get into criminal justice and get a criminal justice degree so they can become lawyers or policemen. You know, their thinking, that is the most forward-thinking cartel out there. And that's what they've done.

They told me five years ago that what their goal was is they wanted to take these kids, 10, 12, 13 years old, and raise them up and indoctrinate them and bring up a better generation of narcoterrorists than they are. And that is the goal, and that's what they're doing.

COOPER: Fred -- Fred Burton, I appreciate it. Rusty Fleming, thanks for being on tonight. We'll continue following this.

A U.N. convoy came under attack in Syria, another reminder that all the talk of a ceasefire is just talk. More details ahead.


ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

A U.N. convoy was hit by an explosion in Syria. No U.N. workers were injured, but three vehicles were damaged. Opposition groups say the attack happened around the time government forces opened fire on a nearby funeral procession, killing at least 23 people. John Edwards was not aware an elderly heiress provided money that was used to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter and acted surprised when told about the donations. That testimony came from a friend and adviser to Edwards. The defense could call Edwards' oldest daughter, Cate, to the stand tomorrow and then wrap up its case.

JPM organ investors have approved a pay package for Jamie Dimon. Despite the $2 billion trading loss.

And a cute dog is at the center of an ugly custody fight. A New York man claims his ex-girlfriend dognapped his pooch named Muffles when they broke up. He says he's willing to spend up to $60,000 in court costs and go into debt if necessary to get him back -- Anderson.

COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners, our chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the photo we put on our blog every day.

Tonight's photo, President Obama with the Harlem Globetrotters doing a push-up on the White House basketball court last month.

Our staff winner is Elise. Her caption: "I will have arms like Michelle. I will have arms like Michelle. I will have arms like Michelle."

Our viewer winner is John from Toronto. He caption: Obama sees his shadow, seven more months of presidency." John, your "Beat 360" T- shirt is on the way.

Up next, how did MSNBC host Chris Matthews go from "Jeopardy" to "The RidicuList"? Here's a hint: he's in good company.


COOPER: Time now for the RidicuList and tonight, I've got to do it. I hate to do it. But I have to add Chris Matthews, MSNBC host and unsuccessful "Jeopardy!" contestant. I know how it goes. Chris was on "Jeopardy!" last night as part of the show's "Power Players" week. He was up against former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and CNN correspondent Lizzie O'Leary. And while Mr. Matthews started off strong, the rest of the show was apparently too much of a hardball.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Let's go back to -- what is Crossword Clues -- I mean, I'm sorry. Let's go $200 for the category Crossword Clues.

ALEX TREBEK, HOST: All right, pay attention now.

At blank soldier. Four letters. Chris?

MATTHEWS: At ease soldier. What is at ease soldier? What is ease? What is ease?

TREBEK: At ease, yes.


COOPER: At ease, Chris Matthews. Things did not get much better from there.


MATTHEWS: Who is Gary Powers?

TREBEK: We need the full name.

MATTHEWS: Who is Gary Powers?



COOPER: It wasn't pretty. But look, I don't want to be tough on Chris Matthews. I'm a big fan of Chris Matthews. I'm actually on "Jeopardy!" this Friday night, competing against Thomas Friedman of "The New York Times," a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News. I've been on the show twice before. The first time, I won't lie: I cleaned up.


TREBEK: Anderson.

COOPER: Who's Maria Callas?

TREBEK: Correct.

COOPER: What is Germany?

TREBEK: West Germany, correct.

COOPER: Who is Archie Bunker?

TREBEK: He's the one.

Canada is right.

COOPER: That's it?

TREBEK: That's it. Yes, indeed.

You're the leader and the winner today.


COOPER: All right. Second time, not only did I lose, as I've said before, I lost to Cheech. As in Cheech of Cheech and Chong.


TREBEK: Cheech?




MARIN: What is a baster?

TREBEK: Yes. You're the winner today.


COOPER: Now, I know what you're thinking, all those stoner movies. How could anyone lose to Cheech Marin? But you're forgetting the panther-like reflexes he developed on "Nash Bridges."

Besides, it's "Jeopardy!" it's tough. It's not like I lost a spelling bee to a 12-year-old.


COOPER: Malleable. M-a-l -- m-al-i-a-b-l-e. Wait a minute, what did I say? Hold on? M-a-l-i-a-b-l-e. I hate this game.


COOPER: Yes. Not only did I lose to a 12-year-old. He spent the entire time just laughing at me.

As for Chris Matthews on "Jeopardy!", well, by the end of last night's game, he was pretty fed up with proper game show procedure.


TREBEK: Keanu Reeves was born in this Lebanese capital?

MATTHEWS: What is Beirut?

ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What is Beirut? I actually had that before Chris said it.


COOPER: That's right. To heck with the buzzer. Just start blurting out answers.

I'd also add that it's not a true game of "Jeopardy!" unless they squeeze in a Keanu Reeves question. Robert James ended up winning last night's game, but don't worry. Chris Matthews, you are tonight's champion on "The RidicuList."

OK, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.