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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Folllowing the ICY Winter Storm; Mourning the death of Nelson Mandela Continues; Mandela Embraced Violence Briefly; Prosecutors Withholding Crucial Evidence and Getting Off Scot Free; North Korean State TV: American Merrill Newman Deported
Aired December 6, 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: Good evening everyone.
Breaking news tonight. An ice storm is now a killer storm and people from California to Kentucky, Duluth, Minnesota, to Dallas, Texas are caught in the deadly grip.
Also tonight, how South Africa and the world is saying goodbye to Nelson Mandela.
Also I will have my conversation with Maya Angelou and white South African Gary Player about Mandela's power to inspire people to imagine a better world and make it real.
And later, you'll meet a man who spent 18 years in prison, came within weeks of being executed for a murder he didn't commit despite evidence he couldn't have done it, evidence that prosecution had and kept from the defense.
We begin tonight with breaking news of freakish and dangerous weather pattern that made it possible today to experience a 105 degree swing in temperature just by traveling from Miami where it was 80 to Montana where it was minus 25. The biggest problem though is in places in between where super cold rain is falling, freezing and coating a big chunk of the country in misery and ma mayhem.
Details now from Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It maybe December, but next to one around here was ready for this. Just two days ago here in Arkansas, the state was reaching near record high temperatures, 75 degrees on Wednesday. Today, try 26 and a dangerous layer of ice coating the roads, cars spun out and power lines weighed down with the frozen rain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest problem we got right now, no traffic on the road. Therefore no traffic when we put the salt and sand down, sleet come down and sit on top of it and sit there, and until there's really stop, I don't think we'll see any improvement at all.
ROWLANDS: Dallas, Texas is nearly shut down at 26 degrees, it was colder there today than in Alaska, causing the city to cancel this weekend's downtown holiday parade and its annual marathon.
The freakish weather also causing the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights in and out of Dallas Fort Worth airports and highways across the region are littered with accidents causing pile ups.
In Oklahoma, this truck lit off in icy bridge into a nearby lake.
In Illinois cars slid on highways and onto the side of the road and medians.
In some cases, the weather has been deadly. At least, five deaths have been attributed to the storm. And the sudden drastic change in weather in Memphis has caused some with no place to go, trying to find places to get out of the cold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This weather is getting to be awful. Rainy, very rainy, very wet, chilly and there's no place for the homeless downtown Memphis. It's unusual at this time of year.
ROWLANDS: And this may not be over. A new storm hitting the region this weekend is expected to bring more wintery snow by Wednesday.
Ted Rowlands, CNN. Joiner, Arkansas.
COOPER: Crazy to see Dallas shut down like that.
The storm is still active and there another right behind it. And as always, we have Chad Myers in the weather center keeping an eye on things for us.
So. what's the latest on the storm? And I haven't seen Dallas like that in awhile.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You know what? 120,000 square miles covered with ice, all the way through here Memphis, all the way to almost to Nashville. That's the size for California covered in a layer of ice right now.
Now, if you changed over to snow like Columbus and Louisville and Cincinnati you're good, you're done. You won't see any more ice there. Once you get to the snow it's over for you. Sure you are going to pile up snow. But snow is a whole lot easier to drive in than what they are dealing with now in Dallas and Memphis and Jonesboro, Arkansas. There is so much ice. It happens when the air on the ground is 30. Even this morning, some spots were 28 and it's raining because it's warm aloft. And when it is warm a lot, it has to be a rain drop. Those rain drops hit the ground and they freeze and there is nothing you can do. You're a passenger in your own car.
Now, the deal is here, and there is another thing. I know we're talking about this storm but for a major metropolitan area, Washington D.C. Sunday night into Monday, there is another ice event happening. There may be a half to one inch of ice in the nation's capitol, snow to the southwest but the ice is the biggest deal and I believe the nation's capitol could be an absolute mess Monday morning.
Sunday is OK. I know you just kind stay home. But Monday, people have to get out and I don't think many people will get out. I know the forecast, a lot of people you've heard this, it will get warm and it is not going to be bad. I don't believe it's going to get warm. I believe it's going to be 30 or 32 all the way through Monday morning and the ice doesn't melt.
So, stay with your local TVs. Stay right here. We'll have it for you because after that, Anderson, there is another storm for Tuesday and Wednesday that is now threatening the west with warmer air to the south and much, much colder to the north.
COOPER: No relief. All right, Chad, thanks very much.
I want to go next to South Africa where plans are coming to focus for the global farewell to Nelson Mandela. Former president, George W. Bush will travel to South Africa with President Obama board Air Force One. Presidents Clinton and Carter are also expected to attend memorial services.
For more on how Nelson Mandela is being celebrated and mourn, we are join now by Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg.
So, you've been outside Nelson Mandela's home over the course of the day and the night. What's the mood like? Did you see today?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's 3:00 in the morning here, Anderson, and as you can see from this makeshift memorial behind me, it's quiet here. It's -- there's a real sense of spirit and this is a bourbon street you were talking about. And that memorial you see behind me is a police barricade that has just been gardened with flowers and, you know, little candles flickering, very personal messages from people of all walks of life. They have literally come here throughout the last 27 hours since we hear he died and people have written very personal notes, left very personal flowers out of their guardian and there really is a sense of a country understanding that they have got to try and come to terms with this.
We spoke to one man out here who said he knew he was sick. He knew this was imminent but he still can't quite believe that Nelson Mandela is gone.
COOPER: We've been learning more about the mourning period underway in South Africa. What's the latest on the memorial and funeral plans?
CURNOW: Well, I think the key is that there are two big events. There's this memorial on Tuesday and then a big state funeral on Sunday. And the locations of both couldn't be more different.
On Tuesday, we're looking at a memorial, which we're going to see President Obama at, which is in a big football stadium, a soccer stadium, and what is also very key about that, there is that they are not going to be tickets issued. People are going to be invited, (INAUDIBLE). They can come because this is going to be a very public event. You can hear people starting to sing behind me.
Everybody feels that this is their funeral, too. And that's also going to be the key with that state funeral on Sunday. Just think about it, it's going to be the largest state funeral probably in recent memory in one of the most remote parts in South Africa, literally, under a tent in the hills where Nelson Mandela grew up. So, from a logistical and security point of view, both events I think are going to be very, very challenging.
COOPER: All right, Robyn, we are going to continue to follow it all weekend.
Thanks very much.
Let us know what you think, you can follow me on twitter, @andersoncooper. Tweet us using #ac360.
Coming up, we are going to have a remarkable conversation about Nelson Mandela with poet-author legendary Maya Angelou. I talked to her just before the broadcast aired.
And later, the Nelson Mandela you might not have known. We are used to seeing him as kind of secular saint or siege, Gandhi-like in many ways. People compared him to Dr. Martin Luther King. He was also a savvy political operator and fierce fighter. Those facets of his life when we continue.
COOPER: Poet author and civil rights pioneer Maya Angelou who was the American journey personified. Beyond that, she needs no little introduction. Her words, do it for here. She wrote and recited a tribute to Nelson Mandela on behalf of the American people. The White House tweeted it out. Here is an excerpt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His day is done, is done. Then he was came on the wings of a limb, we left him to carry its burden. Nelson Mandela's day is done. No sun out lasts it's sunset but will raise again and bring the dawn. Nelson Mandela's day is done. We confess it in tearful voices, yet, we lift our own to say thank you (INAUDIBLE), thank you our David, our great courageous man. We will not forget you. We will not dishonor you. We will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us, all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I spoke with Dr. Maya Angelou shortly before air time.
COOPER: Dr. Angelou, I watched the poem you wrote and recited in memory of President Mandela and one of the things you struck me that you said, you refer to him as David, not just South Africa's David, but as our David, the world's our David and our Gideon.
MAYA ANGELOU, POET: The truth is we have many of us are David. A man, a woman, we can all be that particular person who has enough courage to stand up and say I am one. I have enough courage to dare to be a lover, not an indulger but something who dares to love. That's what Nelson Mandela was about. He had enough courage to say I am -- you may call me. I am a person who dares to care for other human beings.
And you see, one of the reasons I said this to you some time ago when I had the pleasure of speaking to you, Anderson, Cooper, I like the fact that you have enough courage to stand up. Courage is the most important of all the virtues.
COOPER: The thing about Mandela that I find so extraordinary in reading his history is from a very young age he had the courage to see beyond his own situation. I mean, he was born into a, you know, a regal family. He had access to education. He could have stayed in his community, but he saw -- he started to see himself as an African, not just as a hossa (ph). He started to see himself and see how the white regime was dividing people by stressing ethnic differences and he was able to overcome that. And I think that's such an extraordinary thing.
ANGELOU: It's true. It's true. He was a courageous human being, and full of the idea that he was on a journey and he had something to do. He had a place to be, and it's fabulous to realize that there is an old spirit, an old song which is -- I'm on my journey now mount Zion, on my journey now mount Zion and I wouldn't take nothing, mount Zion for my journey now, mount Zion.
He was on a journey and he knew it, and he had something to do, and this is what each of us has. If we have enough courage, we can say I'm on a journey. I have a charge to keep.
COOPER: You were living in Cairo with your husband, who was a South African freedom fighter when you first met Nelson Mandela. And you said your husband and Mandela were something of rivals but you say that didn't matter. Tell us about that experience.
ANGELOU: But they were rivals, but when Nelson Mandela came to visit, he never joined the (INAUDIBLE). He never joined argumentative people. He was simply kind to everybody.
COOPER: When you heard that he was gone, what first went through your mind?
ANGELOU: Well, I felt lost in a way. We've been friends so long from the early '60s, and I felt lost. I didn't know quite what to say. I mean, it was a -- it was a piece of news that we have known would come, but it threw me, and I'm -- I don't know if I'm over it quite yet.
COOPER: Dr. Angelou, appreciate you spending some moments with us tonight. Thank you so much.
ANGELOU: I thank you very much, Mr. Anderson Cooper.
Thank you, God bless you.
COOPER: How awesome is she?
Much has been made of Nelson Mandela's talent for using one-time symbols of separation to foster unity. Take a look, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, you probably seen this already but it is just remarkable, Mandela wearing the uniform of the Spring buck (ph), a team adored by white Afrikaners and hated by black South Africans as a symbol of apartheid. That message, that outreach resonated on and off the playing field.
Or in Gary Player's case, the golf course. He was deeply moved by Mandela. Earlier in his career though, he astonishly (ph) supported apartheid. And a 1966, "Sports Illustrated" profile John Under wood write quote " he feels critics are not aware how near to savage the black natives of South Africa really are. He believed they are growing children who will someday be ready for the responsibility of adulthood, but in the meantime must be given guidance in Christian compassion."
Well, in his memoir as published same year, Player write that he lives in a country which is quote "the product of its instinct and ability to maintain civilized values and standards amongst the alien barbarians." Unless, you will see, and this in part, a tribute to Nelson Mandela, the Gary Player today is not the Gary Player of 1966. He has changed as so many South Africans have and so many people around the world have. We spoke earlier.
COOPER: Gary, you tell a remarkable story about the first time you met Nelson Mandela after he had been released from prison. Explain what happened.
GARY PLAYER, LEGENDARY GOLFER (via phone): Well, I was invited and he had an office in Johannesburg, and I went there. And of course, I saw this fellow that he loved in and was prosecuted for doing the right thing, not the wrong thing, trying to promote democracy. And my heart was filled with pain and admiration that a man that could spend over 25 years in jail would have no hatred, no revenge and only the greatest word that exist in any language or dictionary is love, because love is God. And I said to him, I just appreciate you leading us into a new era of true democracy. And I said I've never -- and he sat there, which is typical of African tradition. He had no shoes on. He was sitting in his office relaxing, and I said I'm going to kiss your feet, which I've never done in my life before and never will do to anyone else, and it's the only one I can tell you for the pain that I have in my heart and admiration for you.
And you know, you think about it, he's taken us into this new democracy, a thing that I never thought I would never see, a black president of America, or a black president of South Africa. And I'm just privileged to have the opportunity to see both.
COOPER: You said many times that sport had the power to change the world. He understood what it meant to the people of South Africa. He use that power to unite people.
PLAYER: Anderson, let's go to the world. Let's see what he said. He said sports can change the world. He says people that live in despair, people that have no hope, people that have no education, have no money, through sport and he quoted often to me, look at the African American athletes that have came from broken homes and didn't have much that became multi millionaires and set the bar for young people to take part in sports and stay out of trouble.
I mean, sport and remember that a sportsman, you take a man like Tiger Woods, he goes on for a career like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and myself. I've been a pro for 60 years. They can go on forever promoting the good of sports.
COOPER: Do you remember the moment when Mandela wore the Spring buck jersey and wore the hat? Do you remember that moment?
PLAYER: Very much so. And you must remember that rugby, we were the champions of the world on several times and it was a white man sport, an Afrikaners sports, so to speak. And he came out there in the stadium stood up. I get goose pimples. You have to be there to see certain things that transpired with this man.
The warmth, the feeling and he changed the whole of rugby. Today, we have many black representatives playing in all teams in all sports and excelling. I mean, it is just -- you know, when I shook hands with him the first time, I already -- I won the masters and I had won all these world titles and he said, in his great humility, I won't wash my hands for the next month. Imagine a man of that magnitude saying something like that.
COOPER: He had remarkable humility at all stages of his life.
Gary Player, such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.
PLAYER: Thank you, sir.
COOPER: Just ahead from prisoner to president, Nelson Mandela's journey was a long and complicated one. He began his fight as a revolutionary prepared to die for his cause.
And as we go to break, the scene at Nelson Mandela's home. People, even at this late hour in South Africa, it is about 3:20 in the morning, paying their respects, lighting candles, celebrating the nation that he and they built together.
COOPER: When Nelson Mandela walked out of prison after nearly three decades, he was 71-years-old, his hair gray, his youth behind him. He spent his prime years in a cell out of sight while his power as a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle only grew. When he came to New York just months after his release, he was welcomed as a hero in every turn. The city threw a parade for him.
Patrick Gaspard, now the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, worked in the mayor's office then and recalls being overwhelmed with Mandela's presence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK GASPARD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SOUTH AFRICA: After the parade we were in the mayor's private chambers. I was alone with him and I was so struck sharing at him for a quite must have been a thermal period. At some point, I heard somebody say young man can I trouble you for a glass of water? I realized that he had been waiting on me to get him some water and, of course, I raced and did it and practically spilled it on him. And I have to tell you, I've never felt more honored serving someone and I just wish I could do a little bit more for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Over the next four years, Mandela was spear head negotiations that this man halt apartheid. His journey from prisoner to president, transformed him from a revolutionary to a peacemaker.
Jill Dougherty looks back.
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT: There is room for all the various races in this country.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nelson Mandela began the revolution in hiding, willing to do almost anything to end the apartheid regime, including violence.
MANDELA: There are many people who feel it's useless for us to continue talking peace and non-violence against the government does it apply is only salvage and unarmed and defenseless people.
DOUGHERTY: His movement, the African National Congress was banned. The young lawyer helped establish a military wing called the Spear of the Nation. He was appointed the commander in chief. Mandela said he would pay any price for freedom.
MANDELA: If it need be, it is an idea for which I am prepared to die.
DOUGHERTY: His inspiration was none other than Fidel Castro's 1959 communist revolution in Cuba. Three decades later freed from prison, one of the first trips was to thank Castro for his support.
MANDELA: Long live comrade Fidel Castro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was Mandela's fierce loyalty to anybody who had stuck by him personally and by the ANC, the African National Congress, his party, during his long 27 years in prison and Castro did and Mandela never forget it.
DOUGHERTY: In 1964, Mandela and other ANC leaders faced the death penalty accused of trying to over throw the government by force.
MANDELA: We believed that the death sentence was going to be passed on some of us, and that is how we should be mortals and disappear under a cloud of glory.
DOUGHERTY: Mandela, the revolutionary found common purpose with socialist, communist and other revolutionary leaders like Libya's former dictator, Moammar Gaddafi.
MANDELA: Libya, Cuba, Iran, all my friends and I propose to honor that friendship. I welcome the friendship with the United States of America and other powers.
DOUGHERTY: The United States put Mandela on the terror watch list. It wasn't until 2008 that president George W. Bush removed him from it. And what did Mandela think of being called a terrorist?
MANDELA: What I tell other people who say those who are struggling for operation as a terrorist, I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday. But today, I'm admired by the very people who said I was one.
DOUGHERTY: Jill Dougherty, CNN. Washington.
COOPER: Robin Curnow joins me again, also Charles Ogletree, professor at Harvard law school and author, "all deliberate speech."
Professor Ogletree, one activist said that Mandela of moral leaders go to places that are sometimes unlikely and unexpected for their cause. That it's OK to see him as a hero but a hero with flaws. What do you make of that statement?
CHARLES OGLETREE, AUTHOR, "ALL DELIBERATE SPEED": I think he's a great hero and I think the flaws need to be taken into context. He's a man who suffered a lot, spent 27 years in jail, treated differently because he was a part of the apartheid system, many people in Africa didn't have support. I like what he was able to do and he's a transcendant guy who will have impact not just now, but well into the 21st and 22nd Century because of what he's been able to do.
COOPER: It's interesting to see throughout the history of the struggle, Professor Ogletree, the defiance campaign, which was really kind of the first time ANC was working with colored South Africans, with Indians to get a unified response and then the evolution from non-violence from civil disobedience to an armed struggle when they found they basically couldn't headway using civil disobedience.
OGLETREE: Right, and I think the thing that's missing in a lot of this presentation, Anderson, is that a lot of South Africans died because of the resistant of the apartheid system to integration and liberation of Africans in South Africa. I think when we think about folks that lost their lives, it's a shameless act of the powers in South Africa.
One -- there were only 10 percent of the population, but they controlled 90 percent of the population. I think that it's important we talk about this fact, they were fighting a battle trying to end apartheid, trying to make sure everybody could be treated and Nelson Mandela was a symbol of that.
He said I want everybody to come to the table, everybody to be a part of the new South Africa, everybody to vote. That's why he was elected not as the first African elected president of South Africa, but the first democratically elected president of South Africa. That's important. Democracy and justice and truth made a big difference in his life.
COOPER: Robyn, I keep coming back to this and mentioned a couple times, I'm fascinated how he began to see himself and it was critical for him to see -- start to see himself as an African first, not just as a member of his ethnic group in the area that he was born as a Hossa, but as an African and in that way was able to overcome efforts by the white regime because they wanted groups to be divided. They wanted didn't ethnic groups, Zulus against Hossas to divide and conquer and rule them.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. He grew up as a proud Timbu, so there was a subgroup he identified with, but when he came to Johannesburg to work and train as a lawyer, he identified more with the politics of the African national Congress. What is key with this is that Nelson Mandela was not only pragmatic politician. He was very tactical and he very much understood the power of symbols.
So for him it was quite useful to be seen as an African, as a man who was symbolic of everybody. He couldn't be seen as somebody who was just representing the causes or the timbers and he couldn't after just of course, when he was released from prison, he couldn't be seen and he understood that just representing black people. He had to be this man, this symbol.
This identifier of everybody and played that and he was very strategic and it comes down to also appearances. I mean, look how he used the issue of tribalism when he was in court in 1964 and dressed in the African dress i a white man's court. I'm a black man in a white man's court. I won't get justice but flipped it around, as well.
COOPER: A politician as well as many other things. Robyn Curnow, appreciate it. Professor Ogletree, appreciate having you on again. Thank you.
Just ahead more of the moments and images that Nelson Mandela will be remembered by.
Plus, some unexpected economic news about jobs and a who spent 18 years in prison, 14 of them on death row took a jury just 35 minutes to acquit him once they found out what prosecutors had done to convict him. We'll tell you ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back, in "Crime and Punishment" a story that really boggles the mind. We hear all the time about people that go to prison and end up on death row, but what about the prosecutors who put those innocent people behind bars with sloppy work or worse? Prosecutors in this country are above prosecution, even when they knowingly withhold evidence just to get a conviction. This hasn't happened just once, it's still happening in case after case. Randi Kaye investigates.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In May 1999, John Thompson was just weeks away from his execution at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. This is his signed death warrant. So you may be wondering, what is he doing talking to me at his office in New Orleans?
(on camera): Did you think you would die on death row?
JOHN THOMPSON: I knew I was going to die on death row. I didn't have anything else to say. Everybody executed, I didn't see no one leaving off death row for sure.
KAYE (voice-over): How John Thompson survived is complicated to say the least. It would be more than a decade before he learned that the district attorney's office in New Orleans withheld evidence from his defense team that would have kept him from going to prison all together. His story begins in January 1985 when Thompson was charged with the murder of a white hotel executive. Back then, Thompson was just 22 with two children.
(on camera): After Thompson's picture made front page news, three white teenagers came forward accusing him of carjacking them weeks before. So prosecutors charged him with robbery and got a conviction. A month later, they used that carjacking conviction to prove he had a violent history and convinced a jury to sentence him to death in the murder case.
Now keep in mind, there was no forensic evidence linking Thompson to either crime, no fingerprints on the gun, none of his blood at the scene.
(voice-over): And Thompson didn't even match the description of the killer witnesses described.
THOMPSON: The murder happened December the 6th, 1984. This arrest happened six days after the murder had happened. So they are looking for a man 6 feet tall medium bald with a bald head.
KAYE (on camera): A bald head.
THOMPSON: Bald head.
KAYE: You have a full head of hair. THOMPSON: I have a full head of hair.
KAYE: On September 1st, 1997, John Thompson landed on Louisiana's death row. He calls what prosecutors did to him, attempted murder.
(on camera): You're saying the prosecutors tried to kill you?
THOMPSON: The evidence is there.
KAYE (voice-over): That evidence he's referring to saved his life. It was found just after Thompson's eighth execution day was set. An investigator working for Thompson's defense lawyer discovered that critical evidence had deliberately been hidden from the defense, documents showing the state had analyzed blood found on the carjacking victim's clothing, the perpetrators blood.
The blood type was B, John Thompson's is O. It turns out a junior assistant DA had hidden those blood test results and taken the victim's pants from the evidence room. On his death bed, he revealed that bombshell to a fellow prosecutor. That was five years before Thompson's team discovered it and still, nobody said a word. Nick Tranicosta is John Thompson's defense lawyer.
(on camera): How key was that to his freedom?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew it was going to save his life.
KAYE (voice-over): After that explosive discovery, the armed robbery conviction was thrown out. Then in 1999, Thompson was taken off death row. A few years later, his murder conviction was thrown out. At the retrial for the murder, Thompson's lawyers proved prosecutors withheld lifesaving evidence, which federal law requires they share.
After John Thompson spent 18 years in jail, 14 of them on death row, it took the jury just 35 minutes to acquit. He keeps this photo of one of the prosecutors who sent him to death row. That's Jim Williams posing for "Esquire" magazine. That's a miniature-sized electric chair on William's desk decorated with the faces of six African- American men Williams helped send to death row including John Thompson, five, that's right, five of these men had their convictions overturned. We tried to contact Jim Williams both at his office and by phone but did not hear back.
(on camera): In 2005, John Thompson sued his prosecutors and the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office saying the office hadn't properly trained prosecutors to hand over the evidence. The jury agreed and awarded Thompson $14 million, $1 million for every year on death row, but in 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision saying Thompson hadn't proven a pattern of misconduct at the prosecutor's office.
The Supreme Court's decision stunned Richard Bourke who believes despite the new district attorney's promises to clean things up, his office in New Orleans was still withholding evidence, more than two decades after John Thompson was sent to death row by his predecessor. And Bourkes say it's part of a pattern. Bourke represents, Michael Anderson who was sentenced to die after the 2006 murder of five men in an SUV. In January 2010, long after Anderson went to prison, Burke received this videotape from prosecutors. He believes they purposely kept it from the defense for years knowing it would have proven Anderson was innocent. On it, the state's key witness contradicts her story, even gets the time of the murders wrong saying it was daylight. The shooting occurred at 4:00 a.m.
RICHARD BOURKE, ATTORNEY: What's clear is she wasn't telling the truth. She didn't say this happened. The prosecution had evidence of that and didn't hand it over.
KAYE: We asked the district attorney to tell us why the videotape wasn't handed over before trial, but he wouldn't comment. Anderson was removed from death row, but is serving life in prison for federal drug charges. Between 1990 and 2012 there were 14 people exonerated in New Orleans, the highest per capita of any city in the country. Statewide the number jumps to 35.
EMILY MAW, NEW ORLEANS INNOCENCE PROJECT: When there is that clear error rate from the cases other people have discovered, I think it's absolutely, absolutely incumbent on the prosecutor's office in New Orleans, Louisiana to go back and review older cases to make sure that the right person is in prison for those crimes.
KAYE: John Thompson couldn't agree more.
(on camera): Did anyone apologize to you for this?
THOMPSON: For what? I don't need an apology. Apology won't shine my shoes, put food on my table. You don't need apology. You need to correct the system. That's what you could do for me.
KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New Orleans.
COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with CNN legal analysts, Sunny Hostin and Mark Geragos. Sunny is a former federal prosecutor and Mark is a criminal defense attorney. Mark, while watching this Sunny said look, this doesn't happen very often, this doesn't happen very often. What do you think?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It happens way too often. Sunny, as you know likes to put a happy face on most prosecutorial offices --
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And all prosecutors are evil, according to you, right, Mark?
GERAGOS: No, I didn't say all prosecutors are evil, but I'll tell you how to solve this problem and solve it overnight. You strip prosecutors of their immunity. If I screw up a case, I get sued for malpractice. If a cop goes and commits a negligent act or if a cop uses excessive force you can sue him, why is it the prosecutors get a free pass? I'll tell you something, as soon as you strip prosecutors of their immunity in cases like this, they are going to stop playing hide the ball. They going to understand something, which is if you can be held civilly liable, if they have to pay out of their pocket, they won't play hide the ball anymore.
COOPER: Sunny, what about that? Why shouldn't prosecutors be like police officers --
HOSTIN: Bottom line there is liability for prosecutors. They can be disbarred --
GERAGOS: That's not liability.
HOSTIN: That's not civil. We're talking about money judgments. Prosecutors don't really have money anyway. They don't make a lot of money.
GERAGOS: Sunny -
COOPER: One at a time, one at a time. Let Sunny finish.
GERAGOS: Don't mislead the public. Cops don't have money. Prosecutors get paid -
COOPER: One at a time. Guys, one at a time because no one is going to pay attention.
HOSTIN: This intentional misconduct by prosecutors hiding the ball, hiding the evidence for defendants is really rare.
COOPER: But you say it's really rare, it's rare that it's caught but isn't -- how many defendants on death row were able to hire the "Innocence Project" and get people to review cases?
HOSTIN: Again, I believe the intentional hiding, intentional prosecutorial misconduct is rare. Now, prosecutors have really heavy case loads. A lot of prosecutors' offices unfortunately are under staffed and when you have 100 cases in front of you and cops that may not be doing the right thing giving you evidence is a hard job to do well.
COOPER: Mark --
GERAGOS: Yes, yes --
COOPER: The central park five in New York City where the confessions were bogus and they were all sent to jail and convicted and now the police officer who got those confessions of the accused, the prosecutors are going off sometimes what some detectives, what evidence they have gathered. So if there is a problem on the police side, then it filters down to the prosecution.
GERAGOS: Of course, it does. But, you know, the nonsense that Sunny was just spewing, this idea that prosecutors don't make that much money, they make more than cops do. When you sue a cop, what ends up happening, the municipality picks up the tab and one of the reasons a lot of law enforcement officers and departments end up correcting their mistakes is because lawyers get out there and sue them.
And the municipality says we're sick of paying these judgments, we're going to correct what happens. That's no different if you did the same thing to this New Orleans, city of New Orleans municipality. If you started suing them, getting judgments, they clean up their act immediately. They get a new police chief.
HOSTIN: Spoken like a true defense attorney --
COOPER: Sunny --
GERAGOS: I'll give you one other thing, this idea, what always happens is when a prosecutor gets caught, what do they do? They blame the cops. They throw the cops under the bus.
HOSTIN: You don't have the answer, Mark. That's not the answer.
COOPER: Sunny, so why --
GERAGOS: Strip them of immunity.
COOPER: Why should prosecutors be able to go after them if municipality going to pick that up --
HOSTIN: I don't think civil --
COOPER: What would change?
HOSTIN: I think the answer is training, monitoring, disbarment --
GERAGOS: Never do it.
HOSTIN: Criminally prosecute a prosecutor who has hidden evidence, tamper with evidence. That's the way to go. If you cripple an office, if you cripple prosecutors by threatening them with civil liability for doing their job every single day making these tough decisions --
COOPER: But that's saying the police department would be crippled because of civil liability.
GERAGOS: Exactly. Sunny, name how many prosecutors have been criminally prosecuted? I can name you one in the last ten years. One. So it's not going to happen. No prosecutor --
HOSTIN: Perhaps because it's rare --
COOPER: OK, well --
GERAGOS: You strip them of immunities and their budgets start to feel it in the end there, and city councils or supervisors hit them over the head. COOPER: It's a good debate. Let us know what you think on Twitter. Should prosecutors be stripped?
We're just actually getting some breaking news in now. Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old American Korean war vet who had been arrested in North Korea, I'm told he's now -- he's been deported by North Korea. So he's leaving -- if he hasn't left already, he's going to be leaving North Korea.
That's a major development and terrific news for his family. He had been forced to confess, read a confession. That was clearly something written by the North Koreans. We'll have more on that when we come back.
COOPER: Breaking news in the case of the American Korean War vet who was pulled off a plane in North Korea and held captive for more than a month. Just moments ago we got word from North Korea's state run news agency that 85-year-old Merrill Newman has been deported. In other words, he is either coming out or already out of the country. Again, we can't independently confirm that. Paula Hancocks is monitoring late developments from Seoul, South Korea joins us now on the phone. What are you hearing there?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, Anderson, we're hearing from KCNA that Merrill Newman has been deported. The state run news media saying that Newman had tried to confirm the whereabouts and terrorists have been trained while he was in North Korea. This is why they had arrested him in the first place. They say he was part of a special operations team during the Korean War, which is working against North Korea.
His family always said it was a case of mistaken identity. They said because he admitted to this crime, we saw that last weekend, he was reading out a sheet of paper admitting to this crime, we don't know if that was co co-horsed or not and because of his advanced age and health condition they deported him from a humanitarian view point. We're trying to decide if this is the case, if he's in Beijing or back to the United States. We're trying to confirm this.
COOPER: We don't know about his whereabouts or the condition he's in. We're showing you the video and still shots from the alleged confession he read on North Korean state television, he bowed at the end of it, clearly something written by the North Koreans or printed by the North Koreans. Paula, appreciate the reporting. We'll continue to follow this throughout the evening. That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks very much for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts after the break.