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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Alleged Rape Shocks Ohio Town; Guns and Health Care; Doctors Urge Research on Gun Safety; Malala Leaves Hospital; Supreme Court to Hear 'Baby Veronica' Case
Aired January 4, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
We begin tonight with explosive new allegations in the rape case that is tearing the small town of Steubenville, Ohio, apart. Two high school football stars are charged with raping a teenage girl during a string of parties one night this summer, an alleged crime where social media then played a disturbing part.
Video and tweets rocketed around the Internet showing kids laughing about the alleged rape, saying things that are frankly just too crass to even say here.
But two starkly different narratives are emerging. One puts heavy blame on alleged witnesses for not coming forward and on a community that critics say tolerates bad behavior by local sports heroes. The other narrative says the charges are exaggerated, the criticism unfounded, and the bad rap on Steubenville unjustified, but now, only on 360, new allegations.
Susan Candiotti got the exclusive and joins us now.
Susan, you spoke to the attorney for one of the accused, I understand. What did he tell you?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
This is the attorney who represents 16-year-old Trent Mays, who is one of the two defendants in this case. And he tells me that on August 14, this would be about three days after the alleged attack, that the woman, the young lady that prosecutors say is the victim in this case allegedly sent a text message to the defend, Trent Mays. And here's what he said it said: "I knew you didn't rape me."
We talked to him about this. He explained it. Here's what the lawyer had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM NEMANN, ATTORNEY FOR TRENT MAYS: I would like to bring up an interesting fact that we do plan on presenting at trial, is that my client received a text message the following day from the alleged victim, the alleged victim herself, stating that she said, "I know you didn't rape me." CANDIOTTI: What?
NEMANN: She texted my client the next day stating -- quote -- "I know you didn't rape me."
CANDIOTTI: Do you have that text?
NEMANN: We do. That's something that is going to be introduced at trial.
CANDIOTTI: And what did he reply?
NEMANN: That's something that's going to be introduced at trial. Yes.
CANDIOTTI: Why do you think she sent that?
NEMANN: Because I don't think she thinks she was raped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, the lawyer says he has that text message. He would not show it to me, but he says it will be used and he intends to ask the alleged victim about it.
GUPTA: Wow, that is an explosive new piece of information.
The attorney, I understand, Susan, also made a claim about the photo, the disturbing photo that has gotten so much attention on online media. What did he say about that?
CANDIOTTI: That's right. This is a photograph that by now we have all seen.
In this photograph, the lawyer identifies his client as being the person standing on the right. And the other defendant, he said, is standing on the left. That's identified as Malik Richmond.
He said this photograph, now, he used the term staged -- however, he says about that photograph that in fact in it the girl is not unconscious and that he has a witness, a potential witness, who will testify at trial to that effect, to say that this young lady was not unconscious. I said, what do you mean by using the term staged?
He says that: What I mean is that if she was -- if she wasn't -- excuse me -- if she wasn't unconscious, in other words, she was conscious when that photograph was taken, that would mean that even though at some point during the evening she might have been unconscious, but if she was able to make decisions or offer consent at some time during the night, even though she might have been intoxicated, and he adds that his client and the young lady were dating at the time, and if they had sexual relations, and he's not acknowledging that, then nothing would have been illegal.
So, Sanjay, this is something that's also very interesting. Remember, his client denies that a rape occurred -- Sanjay. GUPTA: That's, Susan, two very potentially important pieces of information. Great reporting. Thank you so much.
In a moment, we're going to talk to the attorney for the alleged victim.
First, we want to talk to Walter Madison, who represents the other defend, Malik Richmond.
Thanks for joining us, Mr. Madison. I think you probably were just listening to my colleague, Susan Candiotti there, talking about the fact that the accused Trent Mays claims that the alleged victim sent a text message to him the day after the alleged rape saying -- quote -- "I know you didn't rape me."
Are you aware -- first of all, were you aware of this text message?
WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY FOR MALIK RICHMOND: All parties have that information.
Unfortunately -- well, fortunately, because we respect the integrity of the process, we were silent about that, and we were going to allow that to play itself out in a court of law. Unfortunately, the situation has unraveled in a way that it has, and it's created an atmosphere that we feel is unfair.
My business is Malik Richmond, and his trial proceedings are being threatened. Quite frankly, they have been hijacked. And the court of public opinion has formed, and their pride has been aroused now because, typically, we're all raised to protect elderly, women, and children. In this instance, you have an allegation coupled with a video that has zero evidentiary value, a photo that is out of context, and an allegation of a woman or a young child, female child, and a rape violation.
People are outraged and they're inflamed and I understand that. These are very serious matters and we need to really go through them in a court of law, where the proceedings are protected and there is some fairness to the process and integrity.
My issue is not against social media. I think it's wonderful in all that it does for us today, but there is an ugly underbelly that goes along with it. And we're witnessing it now. And these efforts by individuals who have no accountability, who aren't responsible for what they say, whether it's true or not, are taking our system and this city under siege.
And when that happens, it threatens the very core of our system, which is the greatest in the country, the greatest in the world. Those efforts are...
GUPTA: I want to be clear on something, if I might. You're saying that all parties actually had knowledge of this text message for some time now. We're just hearing about it now. If that's true, why are we hearing about it now then? If you're trying to protect the process, so to speak, why disclose that at all?
MADISON: Well, you should not have heard about it, first off.
And one of the first things I did on behalf of Malik Richmond was ask the court pursuant to Ohio law to suppress all information details, the names of the alleged victim, the accuser in this case, and the accused. And had that been done, the sacred nature of these proceedings would have been intact.
I was rejected in that regard, so here we are and we're dealing with it. The discovery, which is where this information was provided, is not uncommon. It happens in every criminal case in the United States of America. And these things are often withheld, if you will, until the appropriate time, at trial.
And that time is not in the court of public opinion, because people aren't educated on the law. They're not educated on these matters, and it's just inappropriate.
GUPTA: It's out there now. So just to be clear, so do you disagree with the other attorney representing Mr. Mays having put this piece of information out there?
MADISON: I don't disagree. I think at some point there has to be balance.
And to protect the fairness of the proceedings, you know, this case has to be tried eventually. What has occurred, there has been an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion that has made our witnesses reluctant to come forward. Well, if we don't have...
GUPTA: You're saying this is a bit of a defensive posture.
GUPTA: OK. Let me ask you about this other thing that Susan brought up as well, this photo.
MADISON: If I may finish.
GUPTA: OK. Go ahead.
MADISON: If I may finish.
It is the ethical thing to do on behalf of a client, when the balance of the case has gotten out of control due to parties that have nothing to do with the case. You know, and let me just say, I think this is a problem for everyone's concern.
Every time that video is shown and now viral, this young lady is subjected to even more embarrassment. And that's exactly what we don't want. OK? No one wants that. Everybody is here to seek justice. Now, how and what side you stand upon, that's your issue, and that's your prerogative, but at the end of the day, we all want justice.
And what we're trying to do is make sure that the integrity is intact so that we can live with whatever result our court of law determines. And that is not in the court of public opinion from any person with an Internet -- with Internet access.
GUPTA: I appreciate that. We're trying to get the facts out here as well because I agree with you. I think that's very important.
But just this text message is obviously potentially a very important thing. Can you, for us, confirm that it actually exists? Have you seen this text message yourself?
MADISON: That text message is part of discovery. We all have it. The state of Ohio has it. They provided it to us.
Steubenville Police Department detectives, they found that information. It was provided to them, and by law, they provided it to us. We have that. We were honoring the process, and that was amongst the attorneys and the court. OK? Now, how it got -- the reason you're hearing about it...
GUPTA: I apologize. There's a little bit of a delay here.
Let me just ask you. I think I understood your answer on that. This other issue that came up, if I can ask you about it quickly, the photo showing the alleged victim, the insinuation it was staged in some way -- you yourself were on CNN this morning and raised questions about that photo. What can you tell us about that claim that the photo was staged?
MADISON: Well, the accuser in the picture, it's out of context. OK? A photo is just a frame. It's just one frame taken at whatever shutter speed that camera was operating. It doesn't depict the entire context of what was going on at that particular moment.
And again, as part of discovery, there's additional information that would offer context, OK, that would offer context and circumstance before, during, and after that photo was taken that I think would have the world view it in a different light. OK? But the way it's been promoted, which I certainly understand, would lead one to draw a very negative inference.
And that, I can't control and that's not my business to control, but again, the fairness is what I'm concerned most about.
GUPTA: All right, Mr. Madison, I appreciate that. Obviously, we're going to have to read into what you're saying a little bit here in terms of the context, but as more details emerge, hopefully we will have you back on. (CROSSTALK)
GUPTA: I do want to talk to the other side as well.
The alleged victim's attorney, Bob Fitzsimmons, he joins us by phone now.
Mr. Fitzsimmons, I want you to respond a little bit to what you have just heard, but first of all let me just ask, how is this young woman, how is she doing and how is her family holding up with all this?
BOB FITZSIMMONS, ATTORNEY: Well, Sanjay, it's been a difficult time for the family. This young girl went through a very horrific event, and her family has also gone through it.
And the media attention that's been devoted to this since that time has just been pretty much kind of a reliving of it. And I think we lose sight this is a 16-year-old girl. She's a high school kid, basically, and fortunately, she's been able to go back to school. She's actually participated in an athletic event on a team sport this fall.
But there are many moments that this family has. The mom and dad, grandparents are very involved kind of watching over her, hovering over her almost every movement, and there have been many days that they find her, that she's upset, crying from something that another student says, a friend of hers says or she reads about it or hears something that is on the news.
This is kind of unparalleled, the news attention that this story has gathered. And we lose sight of it. We do have a young girl. This is just -- this is everybody's daughter that's out there that could happen to any family and a mom and dad that has to go through something like this and grandparents that are caring. It's tear- jerking. It is actually to watch them go through it.
GUPTA: Yes, I imagine. I have three daughters myself, and it's been painful to read some of this.
I know you don't want to get and haven't wanted to get into some of the specifics of this, but I did want to give you the opportunity to respond to these claims by one of the attorneys for one of the accused, Trenton Mays. You just heard the reports by Susan Candiotti is that the alleged victim texted Mays very soon after the alleged rape and said -- quote -- "I know you didn't rape me."
Do you have a comment on that?
FITZSIMMONS: Well, I kind of take attorney Madison -- I really respect what he said about not commenting on evidence and trying not to try your cases in the media.
What he said, I have respect for what he said. He's representing a young man, also, whose life and liberty is at stake, as is Mr. Nemann with his client. I have great respect for those individuals, and they have an a obligation and a duty to put on evidence.
It's a case, Sanjay, and it's not just one text or whatever. I'm not going to comment upon the evidence that I do know. I'm not a participant. I represent the family. The state of Ohio actually is the prosecuting authority that is bringing it.
But you saw the picture. And I know the arguments. I have been there in court. And you can talk about frames and things like that. Picture speaks -- common saying is a picture speaks 1,000 words. This girl was unconscious. She wouldn't have the ability or the knowledge to text or even say that to one of the defendants, because she wouldn't know.
The allegations in this case are not that this was a person that knew what was happening to her. It's that she was so unconscious that she didn't know what happened. And a lot of that information that we have now learned from some of the media sources and the other sources that have come about with evidence have shown that much of this was revealed days after, maybe even weeks after, as to really what happened.
This young girl was unconscious, so she wouldn't have the ability to know whether she was raped or not on the day after or two days after, three, whatever the timing of that was. We also don't know, and we don't know whether the defendants were texting, trying to coerce or talk people into making statements and trying to build up a defense for themselves after they started realizing.
This thing kind of unfolded and I think you're aware of that -- kind of unfolded and then it just grew beyond all proportions that we ever thought with the pictures and the graphic descriptions of the boy that was on the video the other day talking about this on that particular night. This young lady didn't know what happened. That's what I believe that the case is about.
GUPTA: Yes, I imagine it is hard from a single static photograph to determine precisely what is going on, consciousness, level of consciousness, all of that.
But, Mr. Fitzsimmons, I appreciate you joining us and talking about it.
FITZSIMMONS: Oh, you're more than welcome, Sanjay.
As we mentioned at the top and clearly as you have seen by now, Steubenville, Ohio, is sharply divided.
Gary Tuchman is there and he's been talking to people or at least trying to talk to them, I guess. He joins us now -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, this is not only a story of an alleged sadistic rape but also its nexus with social media and high school football.
And that's because Steubenville, Ohio, is a high school football hotbed, and the two young men arrested for allegedly raping this girl were high school football stars. This city, the Big Reds, Steubenville high School Big Red football team is a big deal here. They have won three state championships in this football-mad state. They had two undefeated seasons recently, and their coach is absolutely a legend here.
The coach's name is Reno Saccoccia. He's such a legend -- he's been here for decades -- that the 10,000-seat stadium which is a huge size for a high school stadium is named Reno Stadium.
We wanted to talk to the coach because the two young men who have been arrested for the alleged rape were suspended after they were arrested, but at least two other football players were in the room when the young girl were allegedly raped, and they were not suspended. They played football for at least eight weeks. We went to his door. We wanted to find out from the coach why he didn't suspend these players, what he knew, when he knew. He was home when we got there, but he only opened the door a crack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: Hello sir, Coach Saccoccia.
RENO SACCOCCIA, COACH: How are you?
TUCHMAN: I'm Gary Tuchman with CNN.
Yes, we haven't met before, but I wanted to give you a chance to -- I wanted to ask you about your players on your team when you heard about this case. Did you take any action?
SACCOCCIA: No comment. You will have to see my superintendent. I'm sorry.
TUCHMAN: Just tell me if you took any action with the football players? That's all...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: So he told us to talk to the superintendent of schools. We called the superintendent, we talked to his wife. She said he would call us back. He did not call us back.
It's clear there are many authority figures here in Steubenville, Ohio, who are figuring out right now how to play their cards, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Gary, thanks.
A population of about 20,000, I believe, in Steubenville, Ohio. We should note that after Gary's attempt to talk to the coach, we did get a statement from someone claiming to represent him.
And it reads this -- quote -- "After last night's inaccurate report on CNN's ANDERSON COOPER show regarding recent events, through a representative, I offered to do a live interview with them my home in order to set the record straight. They refused to allow me that chance."
The statement continues and says that today, after it was made clear to them I would only do a live interview, a CNN reporter knocked on my door and asked me to tape an interview. I declined. We look forward to the proper opportunity to correct the many inaccuracies which have been reported by some media".
We disagree with that characterization. Through the same representative, the coach put other demands on the offer of the live interview, and that's why we declined. We will say the coach is free to come on this program any time, but without conditions.
There's a lot more happening tonight. Up next, with everyone now focused on preventing another gun massacre like the one in Newtown, Connecticut, we will tell you about a little known provision in the health care reform act that critics say could shut down research on public health consequences of gun ownership.
GUPTA: Sandy Hook Elementary students went back to school this week in a different building, and in some ways a very different world.
Also today, the wounded survivor of another mass shooting, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, she paid a visit to Newtown, Connecticut. Meantime, this is also new. Take a look. It's the moment captured by a White House photographer when President Obama got word of the Newtown massacre. The president called it the worst day of his presidency.
Consequently, he's made gun control a key term of his second-term agenda, but you may not be aware the big accomplishment of his first term, the health care bill, contains a little known item about guns. It bars doctors from collecting data about their patients' firearms use. And it was pushed into the bill by the National Rifle Association.
Considering that merely owning a gun increases your chances of homicide and suicide, it's not such a strange thing to study, but the NRA objected. We wanted to ask them why, but they declined to come on 360.
Instead, we're joined now by Peter Wallsten of "The Washington Post" who has been reporting the somewhat strange story.
Peter, thanks for joining us.
I have to say as a doctor and as a journalist, I was surprised to read about the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. You have been investigating this for a while. How did it get into the bill specifically? What did you discover about that?
PETER WALLSTEN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The NRA, as you know, is a powerful organization on Capitol Hill. They spend a lot of money on lobbying, and they did lobby Congress and the Senate specifically in the final days of the health care debate back in 2010, and they got the provision added.
It's not a very long provision, but they got it added on the Senate floor at the end. It was actually Senator Reid, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, who put it in.
GUPTA: I have read this recently again. It doesn't outright forbid, as far as I can tell, a doctor or prevention program from asking a patient if they own a firearm, but it does say they can't write it down, they can't provide any data to the government agencies for research purposes. And you say that has been the NRA's focus really since the 1990s.
So, in this case, the NRA did speak to us when we did the story. My colleague and I, Tom Hamburger, when we wrote the story, they said that their concern was that insurance companies -- if there was a database collected as part of the law, that insurance companies would discriminate against gun owners.
The senators who put it in said they didn't deal with the NRA, that they had different intentions. They just thought that by putting this provision in, they would eliminate the chance that the NRA and gun rights supporters would oppose the bill. So -- but the NRA has a long history of targeting research into gun safety.
In fact, going back to the 1990s, they lobbied Congress to limit, severely restrict funding to the Centers for Disease Control, after it had some -- in fact, you cited some data. I think that's probably from the old CDC studies. When those came out, the NRA was very upset and they got Congress to limit that funding.
That's been a goal ever since because the NRA argues those studies are biased and are politically motivated.
GUPTA: They talk about being 2.7 times I believe more likely to be involved with homicide, 4.5 times or so more likely to be involved with suicide.
But one of the things about the whole notion of discrimination based on gun ownership, the Affordable Care Act specifically says that insurance companies can't discriminate period against gun owners or anybody, and we couldn't find any evidence as we looked of that ever even being a problem. From the senators you have spoken to, is the broader issue that the NRA lobbied for this because they want to separate guns from just simply being part of any health issue?
WALLSTEN: That's the NRA's argument, that they believe, they argue, they say guns should not be considered a public health issue, that they felt that researchers and doctors at the CDC and in the government have looked at guns as a pathogen, and they say that that's unfair, that gun rights are protected in the Second Amendment, and that it shouldn't be that way.
Now, what is interesting is now that the Obama administration is starting to look at, and Congress is starting to look at possibly new gun laws, they're looking for data to support something that might actually work, and the data they say doesn't exist because of these restrictions over the years that have been placed on gun research.
GUPTA: You know, we reached out to HHS as well for clarification on these provisions, what they mean specifically, how they would impact patients. They didn't comment on that.
I was curious, have you spoken to the White House about that possibility of this being taken out of the health care bill?
The White House really just directs questions to the Senate. Frankly, a lot of people we called in the administration and on the Hill weren't even aware of this provision until we brought it to their attention. It had gotten a little bit of coverage, but nobody really put it together in a big way.
And so a bunch of medical groups, especially pediatricians, who are very concerned, because as a matter of their guidelines, they ask new parents about gun ownership in the home and recommend safety measures. They were very concerned and they brought their concerns to the administration and have asked for this to be changed. We don't know yet whether that will be seriously looked at.
GUPTA: Peter, thanks so much for the background. Really appreciate you joining us.
I want to keep the discussion going now with Dr. and "Forbes" magazine contributor Carolyn McClanahan.
Thank you for joining us.
You have just been hearing this conversation, I'm sure. The health care bill says wellness and health care programs can't collect data about firearm use. And you believe these provisions are essentially a scare tactic. That's what you wrote. What did you mean by that?
DR. CAROLYN MCCLANAHAN, PHYSICIAN: Well, you know, through, since the '90s, like he stated, the NRA has inserted itself into health care in numerous states and in the health care law.
Now, when I read the law, it was frankly a big surprise to me, so it's an intimidation tactic to me. Think of physicians. I'm in Florida. They have a law right now that's being appealed on a gag rule of physicians being able to talk about gun control or -- I'm sorry -- just gun safety or anything to do with guns at all. And so that's a little frightening.
GUPTA: In Florida last year -- and people may not know about this either -- a law was pushed through by the governor making it a crime, if I got this correctly, for doctors to even ask a patient if they owned a gun.
People should listen to that again, a crime for asking. A federal judged overruled that ruling, but now the governor has vowed to appeal this, and seven other states are enacting similar laws. You live in Florida, have written a lot about that. What can you tell us about that?
MCCLANAHAN: This one goes a step further.
At least with the health care law, the ACA, there really weren't any teeth. There was no punishment if you didn't pass -- if you didn't -- if you asked about guns or if you had any issue with guns. With the Florida law, it's very different. First off, you can ask only if you're worried that you think there might be a problem.
Well, who can determine what's relevant, a relevant medical problem where you should ask about guns? It's very squishy territory. The other problem is, though, the fine, $5,000 for an unintended violation, up to $40,000 fine for a willful violation. That's scary.
So it's going to make physicians not want to ask about guns. You know, and I find it very ironic that the NRA wants to create a list of all the people who have mental health illnesses, create a database, yet they don't want physicians to ask mentally ill patients if they have firearms. It just doesn't make sense to me.
GUPTA: And you say simply having the conversation can thwart, diminish these suicides and homicides we have been talking about.
MCCLANAHAN: Oh, absolutely.
GUPTA: I do want to point out something -- I do want to point out something along those lines, especially with regard to numbers, especially for our children.
Take a look at these numbers. These are specifically from the CDC --5,740 children and teens were killed in 2008 and 2009 from guns. More than 34,000 were injured during that same time.
GUPTA: And some numbers up here -- hang on one second, Doctor.
Guns are the third leading cause of death for kids aged 5 to 14. These numbers, I think, you would agree, are why doctors see this potentially as a public health threat. Would you agree that most of the doctors speaking out are not against owning firearms, but, rather, are for wanting to continue research on how to make them safer?
MCCLANAHAN: Absolutely. You know, physicians basically want two things. They want continued research so we can find out what's happening along the lines of firearms and health care.
And the second thing, though, is we just want to provide basic gun education. Studies have shown if you ask parents, especially pediatricians ask parents, do you keep your gun locked, do you keep it unloaded, do you keep the ammunition separate from the gun, that creates -- that decreases the chance of a death from a firearms.
And so why is the NRA fighting physicians? Why don't they work with us and all of us help educate people in better gun safety?
GUPTA: Dr. McClanahan, thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate your time.
MCCLANAHAN: My pleasure.
GUPTA: I just want to again -- thank you. We did ask the NRA to come on the program. They declined.
Elsewhere, though, another milestone for the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by Taliban gunmen. Malala Yousafzai walked out of a London hospital, a big step forward on the road to recovery. And just ahead, we're going to tell you what's next in her treatment and also how authorities plan to protect her from the Taliban moving forward.
GUPTA: We have some really good news to report tonight. Take a look at this.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager who was shot by Taliban gunmen in October, walked out of a London hospital today. No wheelchair. She walked. She has more surgery and treatment ahead, but as a neurosurgeon, I can tell you, it is remarkable progress.
I want to remind you what Malala's condition was just after the attack. She was shot in the head, the bullet grazed her brain. It is remarkable that she even survived. Yet, Malala has become an international symbol of courage. Her crusade for girls' education is what made her a target of the Taliban. But she's never backed down in the face of their threats.
In the next month, surgeons are going to replace a scattered portion of her skull with either her own bone or titanium plate. Still got a long recovery ahead, but again, just amazing how far she's come. And Matthew Chance joins me now.
Matthew, I think you'd agree, it's pretty remarkable to even look at those images. Do we know what Malala and her family are planning to do now? Are they planning to stay in Britain, at least for the foreseeable future?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. It is absolutely amazing. I mean, nobody thought she would be able to get up so quickly from those terrible injuries she sustained.
Well, it's interesting, that question, because over the past couple of days, the Pakistan government has announced that it's given a job to Malala Yousafzai's dad, that being the job as the education attache in the Pakistani consulate in the English city of Birmingham, which is right where the hospital is. And that's for the next three years.
Malala obviously has to go through a lot of treatment, and so that enables the family, at least temporarily, to stay in Britain for the next three years, so that could be extended. Because even though the father says that, ultimately, he wants to go back to Pakistan, there is this huge threat hanging over the family still.
The Taliban say, still, that they're going to go and finish off the job, as it were. They're still going to try to kill Malala Yousafzai if she goes back. And so my suspicion is they may stay there for a significant period of time.
GUPTA: You know, along those lines, I mean, what is the security or the protection for her, you know, given this vow by the Taliban to continue to try and find her and kill her?
CHANCE: Well, the police in that part of Britain are refusing to comment officially on what kind of security arrangements they've got around Malala Yousafzai and her family, but it's understood that a risk assessment was carried out before the decision was taken for her to be discharged from hospital. It was concluded that the risk was low in Britain for her to go back with her family, and so they went ahead and discharged her.
All along, the months she's been in the hospital receiving treatment, though, British police have been providing security, and it's sort of expected that that will continue now that she's living with her family back at their temporary home in Birmingham. It's a pretty low-profile security presence, though, I have to say.
GUPTA: You know, another thing I'm curious about, because she's a young woman. The hospital said that she's able to read and speak. And is she going to continue her education there in Britain, as well?
CHANCE: Difficult to say. I mean, you're right, the hospital, the doctors do say she can read and speak, but they stop short of saying whether she's well enough to continue her education. You know, I think we have to remember, this is a girl that took the bullet for the position of, you know, promoting women's, girls' education. I think she's going to find a way to get back to her studies.
GUPTA: All right. Matthew, thanks. Good to hear a little bit of good news there about Malala. Thanks so much for joining us.
A big development today, as well, in a story that we've been following for months. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide who will get to raise this little girl. We'll dig into the legal issues just ahead.
GUPTA: A "360 follow" now. The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide who will get to raise this little girl.
Her name is Veronica. She's 3 years old, and she's at the center of this adoption battle that we've been following along for months. This video here was taken about a year ago, New Year's Eve 2011. That's the night Veronica's biological father, Dustin Brown, took her home. It was the first time they had met. Veronica was 2 years old at the time.
Until that night, she had lived in the South Carolina home with her adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco. They watched her come into this world. Matt cut her umbilical cord, and they took her home from the hospital.
By all accounts, in the court records, they gave Veronica a warm and loving home. And yet, a court ruled they had to give her up. Why?
Well, Veronica's biological father is a member of the Cherokee Nation. The case hinges on a federal law designed to ensure that Native American children are adopted by Indian families. This case is complicated as well as heartbreaking.
The Supreme Court's ruling is expected by late June.
In a statement today, Veronica's adoptive parents, the Capobiancos, said, "We're so incredibly grateful to the justices for agreeing to hear our case. It's been an extremely difficult year, but we now have a renewed sense of faith in our legal system."
If the court had denied their appeal, their legal options would have been pretty much exhausted.
Paul Clement is part of their legal team, and we spoke earlier.
GUPTA: Paul, first off, a big day, obviously, for you and the Capobianco family, as well. I want to get your reaction to this news. Are you surprised by it? I know that you hoped for it, but did you expect the Supreme Court would take this on?
PAUL CLEMENT, ATTORNEY: Well, we were hopeful that the Supreme Court would take the case, but you have to understand, when you're asking the Supreme Court to take a case, the odds are literally 1 in 100 that they'll take a case. So we were confident throughout, but we were, I have to say, pleasantly surprised that the court took the case.
GUPTA: When you look at the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is, I believe, from 1978, been on the books for a long time, what was the intent? I mean, what was it sort of intended to protect or do?
CLEMENT: Well, it was intended to address a very serious problem, which was, you had a number of children being born on Indian lands, on reservations, who were being kind of systematically given up for adoption, and that's the real concern that Congress addressed. It was worried about the futures of the tribe and this kind of almost this problem of children being taken from the reservations.
Obviously, what you have in this case is quite a bit different, because you have a situation where you have a non-Native American birth mother and you have a Native American birth father, but one who is not living on the reservation or on Indian land. So it's quite different from the principal concern that motivated Congress back in the '70s. GUPTA: Yes, and so just to reiterate, the father is Native American, the biological father. The biological mother is not. And you say, but for the fact that baby Veronica has Native American blood and a Native American birth father, she would have remained with her adoptive parents.
So when you look at the South Carolina Supreme Court decision, what were the rights of the adoptive parents?
CLEMENT: Well, the adoptive parents, you know, have the right to continue to have custody under South Carolina law, if doing so is in the best interests of the child. And again, my client is the guardian ad litem who was appointed specifically for the purpose of protecting the best interests of the child.
GUPTA: And to be clear, this family, the Capobiancos, they took Veronica home from the hospital. They cut the umbilical cord. So obviously, her whole life, as you say, has been with them.
The Supreme Court has actually dealt with a similar case before, back in 1989. In that case, they -- they ruled in favor of the tribal council, but you say this case is different. How so?
CLEMENT: That was a case that involved a couple who were both Native American, who were domiciled on an Indian reservation, and basically left the Indian reservation to give up their twins for adoption. And so that is the classic case that Congress was concerned about when it passed this statute.
Here, you have a child who really has no direct connection to the reservation or Indian lands, because even the Native American father isn't domiciled on the reservation. And so her only connection to the Native Americans is through the birth father.
And because the birth father, during the pregnancy, terminated his parental rights, if you were just looking at this as a matter of state law, he would really be no different from a sperm donor. He would not have really any claim to interfere with the adoption procedures.
So everything in the birth father's claim here, all of it stems from this federal law.
GUPTA: Sort of a subjective question. Justice Scalia talking about that 1989 case we were just talking about, he said that that decision, having to turn the child over to the tribal council, was one of the toughest that he'd ever had to make on the bench. What do you make of that as you're getting ready to argue this case in front of the court?
CLEMENT: Well, it's a really interesting comment that he said that. I mean, you know, he's been on the court for 25 years. And for him to think back and kind of remember one of these cases as one of the most kind of personally difficult to decide, I think is really telling. And what I think it shows is that the Supreme Court is used to deciding cases that are, by and large, unemotional disputes about the meaning of federal statutes. And this case has that.
I mean, at the bottom, the reason the court took this case was not because they were very, very interested in the individual custody issue. They took this case because there are difficult issues of federal law on which courts have divided.
But at the same time, there's no denying that this is a very emotional case and much more emotionally charged than the average Supreme Court dispute.
GUPTA: OK, Paul Clement, thank you so much for joining us.
CLEMENT: My pleasure. Thank you.
GUPTA: We got an update now to that horrifying story out of India. A 23-year-old woman who died after being raped and beaten by several men on a bus. Well, now, for the first time, her boyfriend, who was with her on that bus, is speaking out. What he's saying about the attack is next.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Joe Johns with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
The boyfriend of the 23-year-old woman killed in a gang rape in New Delhi, India, is speaking out. He told A.F.P. he was on the bus with her when the nearly hour-long attack took place last month. And he said he tried to fight the men and begged them again and again to leave her alone. He said he suffered a broken leg.
There's been widespread public outrage over the attack. Five men are charged with the crime and are expected to go on trial soon.
Adele has done it again. For the second year in a row, the British singer's album, "21," was the top-selling album in the U.S. It's the first time an album pulled off a repeat win since Nielsen started tracking sales in 1991.
And the "New York Times" is reporting that Lance Armstrong is weighing a public confession to using performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions. The paper, citing, quote, "several people with direct knowledge of the situation." As for why, they say he wants to persuade anti-doping officials to undo his lifetime cycling ban so he can compete again -- Sanjay.
GUPTA: Joe, thanks so much.
You know, we've been counting down the top ten "RidicuLists" of 2012. And tonight, it's your pick for No. 1. Your favorite "RidicuList" of the year. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GUPTA: Well, it's that time. We've been counting down the top ten "RidicuLists" of the year based on your votes. Tonight, we're up to No. 1.
Now, I'll tell you, it features a little-known holiday, a repentant Anderson Cooper, and an invitation for Anderson we thought we'd never hear. Take a look at your choice for the best "RidicuList" of 2012.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight I've got to do it. I'm adding myself again for losing it on air again on last night's "RidicuList."
On last night's "RidicuList," we added anyone who missed out on Dyngus Day, a little known holiday. Sounds like a lot of fun. Now, for the record, I didn't put the holiday itself on "The RidicuList." It was anyone who missed out on the holiday, for the record.
Now, I started giggling about halfway through last night's "RidicuList." Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The quirky little rituals include boys sprinkling girls that they fancy with water, and the girls striking back with a tap from a pussy willow branch.
COOPER: Sorry about that.
I'm not going to do this one. I'm sorry. It's so stupid. It's really so stupid. Stop, come on. Come on. This is torture. I've just got to let it out. Just got to let it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. Now, if you noticed in the midst of the giggle fit, I said something like, "This is so stupid. It's so stupid." I think I said it twice.
Now some people, especially folks in the Buffalo area, seemed to think I was calling Dyngus Day itself stupid. I absolutely was not. I was saying that my giggle fit was so stupid, and it was.
I also said it was torture at one point. I certainly wasn't calling Dyngus Day torture. I said it was stupid, because it's stupid that a grown man giggles like a 13-year-old girl meeting Justin Bieber for the first time. And I think it's stupid that I cannot stop giggling once I start. And I think it's stupid that this is not the first time I have had an immature giggle fit. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Depardieu -- I know you've got it, but -- all right, sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In Buffalo, New York, the Dyngus Day capital of the world, however, today there was actually a demonstration called. They held a pussy willow pride rally. And if you notice, there's a sign there that reads "Cooper is a pooper." A saying, which by the way, I found funny in third grade and I still find funny to this day. Cooper, pooper.
Anyway, what actually makes me sad about this is that I really hope those people at that demonstration today know I was not calling Dyngus Day stupid. There are tons of quirky and little-known cultural and religious celebrations in this country, and I enjoy them. I think it's cool that we have them. I think it's part of what makes this country so great.
Because I was legitimately sad that I upset people in Buffalo and elsewhere, I invited the co-founder of Buffalo's Dyngus Day celebration, Eddy Dobosiewicz, onto the program. I spoke with him just before air time.
COOPER: Mr. Dobosiewicz, thank you very much for being on with me. I just want to explain and make sure you understand that, when I said it's so stupid, I was giggling. And I was talking about myself giggling yet again.
EDDY DOBOSIEWICZ, FOUNDER, BUFFALO DYNGUS DAY: We accept your apology, Mr. Cooper. Graciously we do.
As a gesture to prove that we're genuine in your acceptance of your apology, I personally would like to invite you on behalf of Dyngus Day Buffalo and really on behalf of the entire city of Buffalo to come to our festivities next year, and you will be the very first ever pussy willow prince. We will crown you as the pussy willow prince of the festival.
COOPER: Are you trying to make me giggle again?
COOPER: All right. So I hope everyone knows I was calling myself and my stupid laugh stupid, not Dyngus Day. And if I did really offend you, I am sorry. I said it last night. I'll say it again to the good citizens of Buffalo and elsewhere, happy belated Dyngus Day.
GUPTA: 2012 was quite a year in "RidicuList" history indeed. Remember, you can watch all of the top ten "RidicuLists" of 2012 on AC360.com. Also in the featured section of the CNN app for iPad.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. Join me tomorrow, 4:30 p.m. Eastern, for "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." Also, Sunday morning at 7:30.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.