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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Women Attackers in Kenya Mall Siege?; Rehab Racket; Congress in Crisis; Congress in Crisis; Rapist Out of Jail after One Month; New Trial, New Hope for Marissa Alexander; Remains Found in Costa Concordia Wreckage; Man Showing Off Incredi-beard
Aired September 26, 2013 - 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: Also a rapist is free tonight after serving just a month for his crime. That's right, a month. His victim was 14 years old, and she later killed herself. The judge in the case described the victim as, quote, "older than her chronological age."
We begin, though, with breaking news tonight out of Kenya. Tonight Kenyan authority said they have a man in custody who they believe is one of the terrorists who attacked the Nairobi shopping mall. He was caught trying to escape as shoppers were evacuating the mall.
Authorities were concerned that the terrorist might have tried to flee in the chaos, slipping out with the panicked crowds.
Also tonight multiple eyewitnesses tell CNN that several young women, that's right, young women were among the attackers and one of them was a white woman. Now authorities are much more cautious with a senior Kenyan government official saying they know of only one woman for sure and that it was not possible to identify that woman's ethnicity at this point.
The bodies of six terrorists are believed to be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed parking garage in the mall.
CNN's Nima Elbagir joins me now. She's been covering the story from the beginning.
So, Nima, these new details about women being among the attackers, according to eyewitnesses, what do we know about this?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, a number of people that we spoke to were very categoric that they saw women amongst the attacker -- amongst the attackers and this white woman they say appeared to, in fact, be giving orders and firing indiscriminately into the crowd.
As you said, Kenyan authorities up to now are being slightly circumspect about this but they do acknowledge that there -- there's a growing body of evidence leading them to believe that this could indeed be true but they -- they just say they can't be sure for now -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And obviously, you know, eyewitness reports are always -- are, you know -- you have to take them with a grain of salt. So we'll see what the forensic evidence shows.
But there have been a lot of reports about this British woman, so- called White Widow and about her possibly being involved. What do we know about her? Can you tell us what you know about her?
ELBAGIR: Well, today the Kenyan authorities requested a "Red Notice" through Interpol which effectively activates a trip wire which requires police forces around the world to -- if they come across her, attempt to arrest her and start putting into motion extradition to Kenya.
This, they say, is to do with charges that stem back to 2011 where she was suspected of involvement in a plot to blow up a hotel, also frequented by Westerns in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa. The timing, however, Anderson, especially given all these reports we're hearing about a white woman amongst the attackers, that's raised a few eyebrows to say the least.
COOPER: So her name is Samantha Lewthwaite. What -- she was the wife of one of the London bombers? Is that right?
ELBAGIR: Yes, she was. She was the wife of Germaine Lindsay. One of the bombers who killed himself during the 7/7 attack. Interestingly, she's actually the daughter of a British soldier. She's a convert to Islam. And I remember seeing all these interviews after the 7/7 bombing where she was categoric about how she condemned Germaine Lindsay's actions. She then disappeared off the radar for a while and then popped up in 2011 at a house of another suspect Kenyan authorities were pursuing.
She managed to evade the men. But when they came back, they found a fake South African passport, an extraordinary amount of weaponry and an awful lot of money, and she has been on the run since then -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's fascinating stuff. Now we know the FBI is on the ground right. Have they gained access to the mall? What are they doing there?
ELBAGIR: Well, we understand that they didn't gain access immediately, but that since yesterday morning they have been on the ground, they have been in there, and that mainly what they're doing is they're involved with the forensic investigation. Because given the state of that crime scene, and we've been seeing pictures of that collapsed parking lot, the fires, the detonations that are happening, the Kenyans need all the help they can get.
So the FBI, as we understand it, is involving itself with the chain of evidence and specifically the forensics in this -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. I mean looking at the devastation inside that mall, it's incredible -- it's incredible that the death toll, you know, is what it is right now. It seems very likely it will go up as they're able to start to sift through some of that. It looks like several floors collapsed in on each other.
Nima, I appreciate the update.
In addition to the red alert that's issued by Interpol for this so- called White Widow, Samantha Lewthwaite, another alert has gotten the world's attention. The U.S. State Department has renewed its global terrorism alert. Today U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said there is, quote, "no specific credible evidence that al-Shabaab, the group behind the Nairobi attack, is planning anything here in the United States, but as we've said, the FBI is on the ground in Nairobi, combing through the records of the mall.
Joining me now is CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen and Fran Townsend. Fran is also a member of the DHS and CIA External Advisory Boards. Steve Moore also joins me. He is a former FBI supervisory special agent.
Fran, does Interpol's red notice for the so-called White Widow, Samantha Lewthwaite, you've dealt with these before when you were in the Bush administration. What's the significance of it? What does it actually mean?
FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: It -- what it signifies, Anderson, is that they found Interpol will review the charges levied against her by the Kenyan government. They believe that there is probable cause so they've made some judgment about the sort of bona fides of the charges.
And then it's like an international arrest notice, right? So every time she tries to cross a border, anytime she comes in contact with law enforcement, they will run against the database and it will show that there is this red notice that allows them to take her into custody until they can contact Interpol and then get to the Kenyan authorities to file formal charges for extradition.
COOPER: Peter, you know a lot of about how these terror groups operate. Would you be surprised if this woman Lewthwaite was among the attackers or part of the planning of this?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Very surprised, Anderson. Because, I mean, typically, you know, let's start with the fact that these are a bunch of misogynists who believe that women, you know, shouldn't be involved in operations that men are doing.
We've seen groups like al-Shabaab deploy female suicide attackers to go in and carry a bomb but if what Nima was describing where a woman was actually firing automatic weapons and, you know, playing a leading role in this operation, that would be, I think, quite unusual.
COOPER: There were reports, though, from eyewitnesses of multiple women. But didn't -- I mean, Chechen militants, Chechen terrorists use women in attacks even in -- I'm thinking back in Sri Lanka? Weren't there a lot of suicide attacks by women as well?
BERGEN: Yes, I mean, that's a good point. But certainly they were mocked in -- there was a huge attack on a theater in Moscow where women were amongst the operatives. I just -- you know, I haven't seen it with al-Shabaab, the group that's responsible for the Kenyan attack. I haven't really seen it with groups that are affiliated with al Qaeda. They're happy to send women as suicide bombers but I -- it's very unusual for them to actually be playing an operational role.
Now, you know, that doesn't mean that they can't be involved in financing the group or supporting it in some other way, but it is quite -- it would be very unusual.
COOPER: Steve, you surprised the last investigation into the U.S. embassy attack in Nairobi. The team has eight agents on the ground in Kenya right now. We're talking with Nima. We understand their focus right now is solely on forensics. Exactly what does that entail and is eight agents enough?
STEVE MOORE, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Well, eight agents isn't enough. I supervised the attack on the U.S. embassy attack on Karachi, Pakistan, just to be clear. But yes, eight agents is not enough. You saw the size of that -- the hole on the ground. You couldn't excavate it and get the -- get the information you need.
You would need dozens and dozens of agents to go through that. You're going to call out the entire evidence response team. I mean, looking at that crime scene plus the rest of the mall, I'd need over 100 agents to effectively work that. I mean, if you want to work that for a year, fine, but you're going to lose a lot of evidence on the way.
COOPER: Well, a hundred agents. It seems like a lot of the forensic evidence is outside in the parking deck. How big a concern is that in terms of evidence degrading of those conditions?
MOORE: It's not going to be so bad here because it's not an explosion. When you really want go get in is when you want to get explosive residue off of bodies, off of vehicles, things like that. That degrades very quickly. This was -- I think we know the cause of the explosion here. And even the bodies as they degrade, you're still going to be able to get the evidence out of them, the DNA, the objects as hard as it sounds, the objects that are within the body that would give an indication of how they died and at whose hands they died.
COOPER: What is it particularly that's the most important thing to try to get out of this? I mean you said they know probably the cause of these explosions. I would say assume it's IEDs set by these groups. So what are they actually trying to find? The identities of the attackers?
MOORE: Well, first of all you want to find out if it is an IED set by the group or whether they used some kind of -- some kind of RPG to try and get the terrorists out. So, yes, that's -- you're going the try to find that. You're trying to find out who the victims are and who the attackers are.
And the way you do that very simply is you find all the missing people reports, you match the bodies with the DNA taken off of the family members who reported them missing because frankly fingerprints are useless in third world countries. And then the ones who have nobody missing them are reliably going to be your terrorists. COOPER: Peter, in terms of al-Shabaab, their capabilities, do they have capabilities inside the United States? I mean, we know a lot of Americans, or, you know, a few dozen Americans have been recruited, mostly from the Somali community, have been recruited to join al- Shabaab. Could they launch an attack here in the United States, and particularly this kind of attack, I mean, you know, a couple of handfuls of gunmen going into a mall.
BERGEN: I think it's quite unlikely, Anderson. Because the people that have gone -- for all of them, it's been a one-way ticket, 15 or the 40 people who have gone over to Somalia being killed. Three or four of them are suicide attackers. That is subject of intense enforcement scrutiny, something called Operation Rhino, which is the Justice Department and the FBI has been doing for years, looking into these -- into these folks.
So I think, you know, if they came back to the United States, they'd be arrested. I mean, joining Shabaab is a crime.
Now, you know, on the other hand, there are plenty of American targets in Kenya itself and in other places in Africa, whether it's Americans going there on safari, whether it's American businesses. And that, of course, these are often soft targets. So that's the real concern, I think, rather than happening here in the U.S.
COOPER: Fran, do you agree with that? That an attack like this in the United States is unlikely?
TOWNSEND: I think it is unlikely. Certainly I think it's unlikely by those who have left the United States to go and fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia. What you worry about is more the self-radicalized. Right? You worry about a small cell here in the United States radicalized over the Internet. You know, we've seen this happen with al-Awlaki. When he was alive, I mean, he preached radicalizing Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood shooter.
So that's what I worry about. And truthfully, Anderson, soft target attacks, whether it's malls, hotels, that sort of an attack has long been the focus of an FBI effort working with the private sector. The hard-nosed targets to make people more aware so they watch for suspicious behavior, so you try to disrupt that.
COOPER: Fran Townsend, Peter Bergen, Steve Moore, thanks for being on. I appreciate that.
As we said, there's no official confirmation the British national Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow, or called that, was involved in Nairobi mall attack but there is growing concern about it. If the notion of a female terrorist sounds strange or unlikely, Peter and I were just talking about this, there is precedence for it. As we mentioned in our conversation, they do exist. Watch.
COOPER (voice-over): Before the white widow, there were the black widows, a name given to female Islamist Chechen militants who were part of the struggle for Chechen independents. They were first seen as hostage takers in the Moscow theater attack in 2002. The black widows were believed to be seeking revenge for lost husbands in the war. They dressed all in black and wore so-called martyr's belts which were filled with explosives. They were responsible for a series of suicide bombings.
This Russian security expert man was trying to diffuse a bomb left by a young Chechen woman outside a Moscow restaurant in 2003. He died when the bomb went off.
A number of females were involved in terrorist attacks for the Irish Republican Army. Rose Dugdale was one of the most infamous. She was an heiress who joined the IRA in the 1970s and later attempted to blow up a police station. Dugdale was arrested for crimes relating to the IRA and served time in jail. Years later she spoke to the Irish Public Broadcasting Station about her experiences.
ROSE DUGDALE, FORMER IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY MEMBER: I was accepting the recognition that there come a time when you may or may not want to kill people.
COOPER: The long simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict also produced a number of female terrorists. Including this one, a grandmother who attempted to blow up Israeli soldiers in Gaza in 2006. She died after detonating explosives in her belt. Her family reportedly saying she wanted to become a martyr.
But female terrorists haven't only been overseas. Patty Hearst became radicalized after she was kidnapped by a far-left revolutionary group in 1974. She later claimed she was brain washed by the group.
And more recently Colleen LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, a self- radicalized Philadelphia woman who tried to recruit other women online to participate in violent jihad. LaRose later pleaded guilty to supporting terrorism.
Another example that terrorism knows no boundaries, whether they be geographic or gender.
COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. You can follow me at Twitter @andersoncooper.
Just ahead tonight, CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered massive fraud in California drug rehab program. This summer we tried ask officials questions. Well, today lawmakers did the grilling. We'll tell you if they got answers. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
Also ahead, Stacey Rambold is a free man tonight. He served a month for raping a former student. She was just 14 years old. That's him scurrying away from our reporter, from our cameras. His victim later killed herself. Could he actually go back to jail after serving just 30 days? We'll get the latest from Kyung Lah ahead.
COOPER: A "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight. California legislators grilled bureaucrats from that state today as a result of a yearlong investigation by CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
If you're a regular viewer of the program you know the hearings centered on allegations of fraud in California's drug rehab program. Program that receives millions of your taxpayer dollars as well. Our investigation found fraud so egregious, so bad that as a result, 174 drug rehab locations were suspended with some even shut down.
CNN's Drew Griffin repeatedly for a long time tried to ask the people in charge of the program why they weren't doing more to stop the fraud. His reporting uncovered. In nearly every turn, however, people just didn't want to answer.
Watch what happens when you finally track down an official named Diana Dooley who runs the agency that was supposed to oversee the rehab program.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Drew Griffin with CNN.
DIANA DOOLEY, SECRETARY, CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY: How do you do?
GRIFFIN: Hey, we've been trying to reach you and talk to you about the widespread fraud that's in the Medi-Cal drug rehab business. But we're told that neither you nor the program director nor anybody at the state of California will talk to us about it.
(Voice-over): In an uncomfortable moment the secretary at first refused to speak.
(On camera): Secretary? Do you know Alex Ferdman, a convicted felon who apparently runs one of these clinics and has been billing the state of California for several years despite the fact that there have been complaints registered with the department about him? He is convicted of a major insurance fraud in the state of Texas but somehow was able to get certified and has been billing them.
I'm just wondering if there's anybody in the state of California that's concerned about this fraud.
(Voice-over): Then finally answered a question.
DOOLEY: The state of California takes fraud very seriously and there are many investigations that are under way. The allegations, all allegations are given full and fair consideration. And you've caught me running because I am late for a meeting that I am chairing.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, there were certainly not a lot of answers in that interview. And then once we aired that interview which was frankly kind of embarrassing for that official, they sent out another official to actually come on the program, answered questions that Drew and I could ask that official live, but, frankly, that official didn't have many answers either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And you have no idea what happened in the past? You have no idea who's responsible?
TOBY DOUGLAS, CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE SERVICES DIRECTOR: What we -- what my focus is on now, Anderson, is making sure that I'm rooting out all this fraud, that we have all our investigators. We are putting all resources to root out the fraud.
COOPER: How about --
COOPER: Right. For a year you've been investigating. Have you not shut down any in that year?
DOUGLAS: I can't give you the numbers on -- right now but what I can tell you --
COOPER: So you can't name one clinic that you've shut down in the entire year that you were allegedly investigating?
DOUGLAS: These are open -- no. These are open investigations, Anderson.
COOPER: Can you name one person -- one of the felons who are running one of these clinics that Drew has talked to. Have you -- can you name one person, one clinic you've actually shut down? Or stop --
DOUGLAS: Again, the focus is -- you know, again, Anderson, our focus is on rooting out this fraud in this program.
COOPER: Right. And I feel bad that -- I mean I appreciate you being on tonight and I know your boss didn't want to talk and I appreciate you being on, but you've only -- you have one talking point and you continue to say it. In fact, you answer every time by saying, again, just verifies that you're giving the same answer over and over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As you can see, not a lot of answers from that interview. Today, as I said, the next step. Lawmakers demanding answers.
Here's Drew's report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GRIFFIN (voice-over): After weeks and even months of dodging CNN's questions concerning rampant fraud in California's Drug Medi-Cal system, the head of California's health care services Toby Douglas today went before state legislators, confirmed the fraud has been out of control and apologized.
DOUGLAS: What we are uncovering in terms of the fraud and the other issues with the Drug Medi-Cal program is completely unacceptable and I am here to tell you that we are sorry.
GRIFFIN: While legislators grilled Douglas on why it took a news report to get the agency to act, the state has confirmed it is, in fact, now acting.
DOUGLAS: The system didn't work well, that it was a fractured system, that there was a systematic failures within the state. It is true that many of the problems came to light through investigative reporting.
GRIFFIN: Sixty-four criminal cases are being investigated through the state's Department of Justice. One hundred seventy-four clinic sites have also been suspended including every single clinic exposed in our rehab racket series.
(On camera): Wait a minute now. Did he call back and say he's not coming?
(Voice-over): This past July CNN and the Center for Investigative Reporting exposed widespread fraud in the nation's largest Medicaid system. We found that in the last two years half the nearly $186 million spent on Drug Medi-Cal, about $94 million, went to clinics that have shown questionable billing practices or signs of fraud.
DR. RICHARD PAN, CALIFORNIA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Personally as a physician who cares for children on Medi-Cal, I am outraged to learn that people are cheating taxpayers.
GRIFFIN: Dr. Richard Pan, a California assemblyman, who heads the state's Health Care Committee, said today, as a physician himself he's offended that fraud was allowed to go on and says as of today it must stop.
(On camera): The same people in there that are apologizing, the same people that are telling us we're now seeing all this systematic failure and fraud throughout the system are the same people now who are telling you we're going fix the problem. Are you satisfied?
PAN: Well, there's going to be ongoing work. I am happy to see that they have made progress, but clearly under testimony, there's still unfinished work. They have taken steps to address sort of the immediate problem, but we need to be sure that we have the fundamental changes in place to prevent this fraud from happening again.
COOPER: Drew Griffin joins me now from Sacramento. So this is a complete turnaround by the head of this department. Basically admitting everything in our reporting and not trying to defend anything. Why the change?
GRIFFIN: Well, I think there is no defense. They began looking into it and found what we found and maybe even worse, Anderson.
Look it. The state knew fraud was going on. They ignored the warning signs. They looked the other way, even when they found convicted felons running some of their own clinics -- Anderson.
COOPER: It's incredible, I mean, to see the kind of results that you're able to get on this reporting to see that today. No one is getting fired, though. No big changes at the state health department. And the same people who allowed the fraud, they're now in charge of cleaning it up, right?
GRIFFIN: Yes, the same people I might add that you and I interviewed and were trying to defend the program just a month or so ago are now saying that, you know, they are going to clean it up, they are going do something. Lawmakers say they're on it now. They're going to give this department exactly one year to permanently solve the fraud problems or as one lawmaker told me, they'll solve it themselves.
But, Anderson, just this year, just this year, 36 million taxpayer dollars have already been sent to these clinics that are now suspended. So we're talking about a lot of wasted money here.
COOPER: It was so frustrating when we had that guy on from the program who, you know, were saying, well, he had no idea who previous to him, getting to his position, was responsible for oversight and who dropped the ball -- he's not able to name any names. Really frustrating stuff.
Drew, we'll continue to report. And great reporting. Thanks, Drew.
If you've got a tip for Drew and the CNN investigations team, go to CNN.com/investigate.
Up next. New fears tonight that al Qaeda's influence among opposition groups in Syria is growing. And it's pushing the idea of replacing the Assad regime with Sharia law and a number of group seems to be aligning themselves now with al Qaeda-backed groups.
And later a major development in the case of Marissa Alexander. A Florida woman imprisoned for firing a gun in self-defense against her abusive husband. She's getting a new trial. She was originally sentenced to 20 years. We'll tell you why.
COOPER: As Republicans appear to be shifting tactics in their battle with President Obama and Senate Democrats over the possible shutdown of the federal government set for Tuesday if no funding is in place, Speaker John Boehner told reporters today that he doesn't expect the government to close up shop and it now looks like he and other GOP leaders are focusing on the next looming battle, raising the debt ceiling in mid-October. They're calling President Obama to come to the table and work out a compromise.
The president said firmly again today that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling.
Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill tonight with the "Raw Politics."
So Congress hasn't figured out how to avoid next week's government shutdown but already gearing up for the next showdown with the White House? Is that right?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is right. Absolutely. House Republicans met this morning. They huddled about the kind of package they want to put together that includes the debt ceiling. And it does seem odd, although it isn't that far away. It's only about 2 1/2 weeks away. But one of the main reasons is because Republicans consider these things very much connected for a couple of reasons but primarily just in terms of controlling the rest of the caucus that John Boehner has.
And he knows that -- he's learning some lessons about this. He wants to try to tell them, look, hopefully from their perspective they will pass a bill that fund the government. It may not have the spending cuts on it, it might not have the other things, Obamacare defunding on it, but they shouldn't worry so much because the next fight is just around the corner and they a laundry list of things.
One Republican congressman, Anderson, said to me that they're putting on there pretty everything that the House Republicans voted on this entire year. The Keystone Pipeline, delaying Obamacare for a year, tax reform. And they're doing it primarily in order to try to calm the Republican caucus because they know how hard it is to get consensus in order to get votes.
COOPER: I mean at this point, though, do they seem any closer to a deal? Is it actually possible the government could shut down Tuesday?
BASH: It is possible. I don't even want to venture a guess as to whether or not it's probable or possible when it comes to a deal. The issue at this point really seems to be one of timing. It seems inevitable that the Senate is going to pass a bill that funds the government. The question is how quickly the House will return that bill and whether they will change it and whether the Senate has time to pass something that they can send to the president in time for that Monday night deadline. It is a race against the clock right now.
COOPER: Do members of Congress realize how tired people are of this careening from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis?
BASH: Absolutely. So many of them do. You can't walk around the hallways here without people saying that their constituents have crisis fatigue. However, particularly when you're talking about the House and Republicans, many of whom were elected in 2011 on that Tea Party wave, frankly they don't care. They believe that they came here to stand for principle and the main principle is to deal with the country's debt and there's no place they say they'd rather do it than on the whole concept of raising the debt ceiling, meaning allowing this country to borrow even more money to pay for its debts.
So that's why, even though it seems a little bit odd, since that is more economically catastrophic if we reached the debt ceiling, they believe in terms of principle and philosophy, that's the best place to have these negotiations.
COOPER: All right. Dana, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
There's a lot more happening tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin."
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we start with breaking news. The U.S. and Russia have agreed to a draft resolution on Syria's chemical weapons disarmament. It must now get approval from the full U.N. Security Council.
The push comes after the U.S. said more than 1400 Syrians were killed in a gas attack last month. However, a source says the resolution won't authorize automatic use of force if Syria violates it.
Meanwhile, 13 of Syria's most powerful opposition groups have announced they've rejected another powerful opposition group that's formed an interim government in exile. And all 13 have called on supporters to embrace Sharia law.
In New York, a historic meeting. The first of its kind in more than 30 years. Secretary of State John Kerry holds face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart to talk about Tehran's nuclear program.
And an amazing discovery, where a plane crashed on a glazier in France more than 60 years ago. According to local reports, the climbers found rubies, emerald and sapphires that could be valued at up to $332,000. Wow.
COOPER: Isha, thanks.
Coming up, a former teacher walks out of jail after serving only a month for raping his then 14-year-old student, a young girl who later committed suicide. There is a chance, though, this isn't the end of the story for Stacey Rambold or the judge who imposed the sentence.
Also ahead, new hope for Melissa Alexander, the Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot into a wall trying to scare off her abusive husband. Now no one was hurt. It took a jury just 12 minutes to convict her. But now she's getting another chance to tell her side of the story. We'll explain ahead.
COOPER: Our "Crime and Punishment" segment tonight, a former teacher who admitted to raping his then 14-year-old student walked out of jail in Montana today after serving only one month.
Stacey Rambold left prison this morning. Here he is entering the Probation Office in Billings. We've been covering the outrage surrounding this case for a while. Outrage not only for the light sentence that he received but for the comments the judge made about the victim suggesting she was partly to blame because in his opinion she seemed, and I quote, "older than her chronological age." She was 14, remember. The judge later apologized but there are still calls for him to step down.
The victim Cherice Moralez killed herself before the case went to trial. Her mom says she is still waiting for justice for her daughter, but for now the man who raped her daughter is no longer behind bars.
Kyung Lah joins me now from Billings, Montana.
So you caught up with this guy outside his parole office. Did he have anything to say or was he just scurrying away?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Scurrying away, and other than actually shoving me out of his way, he didn't have anything to say to us going in, going out. He wore a ball cap. He actually tried to switch out cars as he was leaving so he didn't tip us off. That he was actually going to be exiting out of the parole office.
We asked him questions about the sentence, about Cherice Moralez, if he had anything to say about this young girl, and he had nothing to say -- Anderson.
COOPER: Do we know where he's going now? Does he just go home and pick up where he left off a month ago?
LAH: Essentially, yes. I mean, he has served his time. He is free on parole. He does have to follow the conditions of parole. There are some 59 things that he has to do, cannot do. He can't open a checking account. He get on the Internet, he can't be around kids, he can't even walk into a bar. So it's quite restrictive but he is still home, he is essentially free because he's done his time.
COOPER: And as far as this appeal with the Montana Supreme Court, that -- it could send him back to jail. What's the latest with that? What's the status?
LAH: Well, it sucks. You know, we have seen certainly in this case the wheels of justice move quite slowly. This original crime happened in 2008. It happened way back then. Cherice's mother has often exclaimed how much longer do you have to wait? Well, when it comes to the state's supreme court weighing in, it could take anywhere from six to 18 months so the wait will take some time.
Prosecutors, though, hoping that they can make their arguments before the state's Supreme Court and that they will send him back to jail for the minimum of two years.
COOPER: He's not still a teacher, right? LAH: No, he is absolutely not a teacher now. He has lost his job. The school was actually sued by the mother and the school had to pay out something. We don't know the conditions of that. But yes, he is absolutely not an educator right now and he can't be around kids as a condition of parole.
COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, appreciate the update. Thanks very much. Sorry you got pushed around.
In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, a major development in another controversial case we've been following in Florida.
Marissa Alexander, you may not know -- remember her name but she was sentenced to 20 years in prison after she fired a warning shot into a wall trying to scare off her abusive husband. The bullet did not hit him, no one was hurt, still it took a jury less than 15 minutes to convict her, rejecting her defense under Florida's Stand Your Ground law.
Now Marissa Alexander has been granted a new trial after an appeals court rule that the judge didn't properly handle jury instructions.
We're going to have more on that in a moment. But first last year Gary Tuchman got the only on-camera prison interview with Marissa Alexander. Listen.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She walks down the jail hallway in handcuffs. Marissa Alexander has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She says she was defending herself, standing her ground, from a husband who had been arrested before on charges of abusing her.
(On camera): He was arrested for doing what to you?
MARISSA ALEXANDER, SERVING 20 YEARS IN PRISON: He choked me. He pushed me forcefully into the tub. He pushed me so hard into the closet that I hit my head against the wall and I kind of passed out for a second.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Her husband received probation after that incident. Months later Alexander says she was in the bathroom at their home here in Jacksonville, Florida, when her husband started pounding on the door. She said he was in a jealous rage over text messages on her cell phone.
ALEXANDER: He managed to get the door open and that's when he strangled me. He put his hands around my neck.
TUCHMAN: Alexander got away from her husband and then made a fateful decision. She could have run out the front door and escaped. Instead she ran into the garage but says she did not have her car keys and the garage door was stuck. So instead she grabbed her gun she kept in this garage. (On camera): And what did you think you were going do with it?
ALEXANDER: I thought that I was going protect myself. I --
TUCHMAN: Did you think that you might have to shoot him?
ALEXANDER: Yes, I did. If it came to that. He saw my weapon at my side. And when he saw it, he was even more upset and that's when he threatened to kill me.
TUCHMAN: But how was he going to kill you if you're the one with the gun?
ALEXANDER: I agree. I thought it was crazy, too.
TUCHMAN: But why didn't you run out the door at that point?
ALEXANDER: There was no other way to get out the door. He was -- he was right there threatening to kill me.
TUCHMAN: And what if you ran around him to go out the door? Your life would have been easier today if you did that.
ALEXANDER: Yes. But the law states I don't have to.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The law she's talking about is the controversial Stand Your Ground law. Instead of running, she did what she thought was allowed by law. She believed she stood her ground and fired the gun into the wall. Nobody was hurt but it was enough to scare her husband Rico Gray and he left the house with his two young children from a previous relationship.
Alexander was safe from her husband but not from the law. She was arrested. Her Stand Your Ground defense rejected and found guilty by a jury.
(On camera): Marissa Alexander's husband Rico Gray agreed to do an on-camera interview with us to counter his wife's allegations but a few hours later he made the decision not to do the interview, claiming that going on camera would put his life in danger.
(Voice-over): However later he sent us an e-mail saying he would do an interview if he got paid which CNN does not do. But he has already said quite a bit. During a deposition with the prosecutor from the office of State Attorney Angela Corey, and a defense attorney for his wife, Ricoh Gray acknowledged hitting his wife in the past and said this about the shooting incident, quote, "If my kids weren't there, I knew I probably would have tried to take the gun from her. I probably would have put my hand on her."
Marissa Alexander's attorney then asked her husband what he meant about putting his hand on her, and Ricoh Gray responded, "probably hit her. I've got five baby mamas and I put my hands on every last one of them except for one."
ALEXANDER: I believe when he threatened to kill me that's what he was going to do. It's exactly what he intended to do. And had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here.
TUCHMAN: But later at a court hearing to determine whether Marissa Alexander should get immunity based on the Stand Your Ground law, Ricoh Gray changed his story saying he lied repeatedly in the deposition to protect his wife, claiming he did not threaten to kill her. And testifying, quote, "I begged and pleaded for my life when she had the gun."
The jury deliberated for 12 minutes before convicting her. The Jacksonville NAACP wrote a letter to the trial judge saying, "Marissa Alexander may not have received justice because of her gender, race, or economic status." Some African-American news Web sites are saying much the same thing, that if Marissa had been white, her Stand Your Ground defense would have been accepted and she wouldn't be facing 20 years in prison. But Alexander will not say if she agrees with that possibility.
ALEXANDER: I'm going to be honest with you. I'm a little uncomfortable answering that.
TUCHMAN: For now she remains behind bars. She had a baby girl with Ricoh Gray. But she only sees her child in photographers. Ricoh Gray has custody. He's considered the victim. Marissa Alexander the criminal.
ALEXANDER: This is my life I'm fighting for. This is my life. And it's my life, and it's not entertainment. It is my life.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins me now from Atlanta. She's now been granted this new trial. But her Stand Your Ground defense, that's still off the table?
TUCHMAN: Right. That's still off the table. The Appellate Court didn't have a problem with that being ruled inadmissible. What the Appellate Court said was during the trial the jury was told that Marissa Alexander had to prove it was self-defense, and they said that was wrong. It was up to the prosecution to prove that it wasn't self- defense. They said that was wrong. So there will be an increased burden on the prosecution in the new trial.
There will also be a hearing before the trial, Anderson, in which Marissa Alexander could get out of jail on bond until the trial.
COOPER: What's interesting, she was prosecuted by Angela Corey's office, the same office that prosecuted and lost the George Zimmerman case. Has there been any reaction from them?
TUCHMAN: Yes. There has been and they are still being very aggressive about this case. They came out with a statement and it reads, "The defendant's conviction was reversed on a legal technicality. The First District Court of Appeal found that Florida's Supreme Court jury instructions were wrong. We're gratified that the court affirmed the defendant's Stand Your Ground ruling. This means the defendant will not have another Stand Your Ground hearing. The case will be back in Circuit Court in the Fourth Judicial Circuit at the appropriate time."
One final thing, Anderson, she has come out with a statement, Marissa Alexander. She talked to her lawyers earlier today. Her lawyers told us, she's, quote, "ecstatic, thankful and wants to get back to her family."
COOPER: All right. We'll continue to follow it. Gary, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Coming up, human remains just discovered among the wreckage of the Costa Concordia 20 months after that ship hit rocks, capsized, killing 32 people.
Also ahead, here's a scary notion. Hundreds of passengers aboard an airliner and 30,000 feet with at least one of the pilots asleep in the cockpit. New details about an incident on an Airbus when we continue.
COOPER: When the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the coast of Italy in 2012, 32 people died. Two of the victims' bodies were never found. Now human remains have been found in the wreckage which divers will try to recover. Engineers only righted the ship last week after it's on its side for 20 months.
Journalist Barbie Nadeau joins me now from Italy with the latest.
These remains, Barbie, what do we know about them?
BARBIE NADEAU, JOURNALIST: Well, these aren't bodies. These are really just bones and fragments of bones that were found in an area that has -- previously been inaccessible because the ship was lying on its side on these two underwater mountaintops until they righted it last week.
The salvage operator has sort of pinpointed the areas in which they thought they would have the best success in finding these remains and that's where the divers began. They only started yesterday so within 24 hours they found the remains. What we don't know, though, is if these are the remains of both of the people, 50-year-old Sicilian woman and a 33-year-old an Indian waiter who was a crew member on the ship.
Those are two people they're looking for and there's nothing identifiable at this point. They'll need to use DNA in order to determine if these are, in fact, those two missing victims.
COOPER: And the captain of the ship his trial resumed on Monday. He's arguing that he's a hero actually who saved 4,000 people, right?
NADEAU: That's right. There are 4,229 people on that ship, 32 people died. He said he's not the villain, he's the hero, because so many people lived, but, of course, he is also being charged for abandoning ship. You know, he's sort of, as he says, fell into a lifeboat the night of the accident. He was on ground on the island of Giglio, you know, before several thousand passengers are on. So it remains to be seen and this is certainly what the -- prosecutors are trying to prove, that he was not actually involved in the evacuation of those passengers, therefore he's culpable in the deaths that occurred as a result.
COOPER: He's actually saying he fell into a lifeboat?
NADEAU: That right. He says he fell into a lifeboat in -- during the chaos of that night. He coincidently had his laptop computer so it's a little bit argue about how that dynamic could have played out. And then he says he couldn't get back on the ship. There was plenty of conversation that was taped between the port authority and the captain when he was on land.
And the port authority saying get back on ship, get back on the ship, and the captain is arguing, I can't. It's on its side. You just can't crawl out the side of a ship when it's in that position. But at the end of the day, you know, he is the captain. He should have been able to convince someone to put him back on the ship.
There were plenty of other people getting on the ship trying to save passengers and get them off. The captain was not one of them, according to what we're hearing.
COOPER: He fell into a lifeboat with his laptop. I've never heard of that.
Barbie, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
There's a lot more we're following tonight. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, the autopsy of the Navy Yard shooter is complete and his body has been released. Authorities won't say who retrieved his body or the results of the autopsy. The gunman killed 12 people in a shooting rampage earlier this month.
Jury deliberations to start at the end of Michael Jackson wrongful death trial. The jury must decide if the concert promoter AEG Live is liable for Jackson's 2009 overdose death. If executives hired Dr. Conrad Murray who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the criminal trial. The Jackson family seeking up to $2 billion in damages.
And the U.K. aviation authorities say pilots snoozed in a cockpit of a 300-passenger airliner like this one while cruising at 30,000 en route to Britain. However, the airline Virgin Atlantic says it has no evidence both pilots were asleep at the same time.
Anderson is back next with the "RidicuList."
COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." And tonight I want to introduce you to a man who will forever change the way you feel about facial hair. It's incredible. It's a beard. It's incredi-beard. Mr. Incredi-beard posts pictures of his new designs every other Monday. He has a whole big stash of them, in fact. As you can see, Mr. Incredi-beard is sort of a pursued Picasso, working primarily in pomade and hairspray. The designs are always impressive, sometimes sleek, sometimes gravity defying, studies in geometric whimsy, and some of them have actually have practical applications as well.
Take for instance this one called -- you guessed it -- beard pong. Or how about a beard bowl full of noodles. I personally find this one disgusting. You can also find Incredi-beard on Facebook, Instagram, and thank you, god, YouTube.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is how you make a bowl of beard ramen. Got my chopsticks, got my ramen, I need something else. What do I put in it? Aha. Sauce. Oh, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So disgusting. I don't know why I find that so repulsive. Maybe hairy noodles with hot sauce are not your thing. It's not my thing. How about fast food? This one has an instructional video as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is how you eat hands-free fast food. Oh, my gosh, it's so good. That's so good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Mr. Incredi-beard, we salute you, sort of. Always keeping your chin up, boldly growing where no man has gone before on the "RidicuList."
That does it for this edition of 360. We'll see you again one hour from now 10:00 p.m. Eastern for a panel discussion show AC 360 later. We hope you join us for that.
"PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.
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