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CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN
Martha Stewart Released From Prison; Interview With Rob Borsellino
Aired March 4, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again everyone.
Martha Stewart is home. The horse is fed, the greenhouse inspected, the lemons harvested. Unlike most convicts just out of the slammer, Ms. Stewart neither hopped a Greyhound nor hitched a ride home.
There was that private jet to carry her back to her country estate north of New York City in the Tony town of Bedford, horse country, where fittingly she spent a little time getting reacquainted with her horses, walking her dog, receiving floral arrangements and answering a few questions from the other side of a well-protected fence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA STEWART: This is a funny story. We'd asked the guards everyday for a cappuccino. You know, just a joke. And they'd come in with their cups of coffee and stuff. So, I get here and I have a spot for a cappuccino machine, and it didn't work. So, I don't have any cappuccino.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't have any cappuccino. The cappuccino machine does not work.
STEWART: No, I didn't miss cappuccino at all!. It's the idea I missed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Fortunately, reporters were there to cover that moment. Here are the ground rules, cappuccino, yes, freedom no, not really five months of home detention. She wears a monitoring bracelet on her ankle. She'll be allowed out 48 hours a week to work, to go to the grocery or to go to the doctor, after that, a life of quiet reflection, not really.
Here's CNN's Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Would you buy lemons from this woman? The slimmer, newly tenderized Martha Stewart is banking on it.
ROBERT PASSIKOFF, PH.D., PRESIDENT, BRAND KEYS, INC.: It's all up to her. I mean she's still the human embodiment of the brand.
CROWLEY: Robert Passikoff measures consumer loyalty for a living.
STEWART: The launch of our everyday garden furniture collection.
CROWLEY: From Stewart's hay days at Kmart to the guilty verdict her brand loyalty numbers have gone from extraordinary, higher than Coke, to disastrous, lower than Enron.
STEWART: It's shameful for me.
CROWLEY: She leaves prison somewhere in between, turning things around means writing a new myth of Martha.
PASSIKOFF: What you see is a lot of discussion regarding a kinder, gentler Martha Stewart, someone who helped folks out in prison, someone who is understanding.
Clearly, that's going to help the image because what we found out during the trial that no one, well not a lot of people knew and no one really needed to know was how mean-spirited she was and how stingy she was and how unkind she was.
CROWLEY: Even before her release friends were telling the new story of a woman wronged. Remember, she's still fighting the charges, who nonetheless endures prison and emerges both more powerful and more human.
RICHARD FEIGEN, FRIEND OF STEWART: She told me she learned a lot about how things are on the other side of the tracks. She knows a lot about these families, cares about them. She's gotten sort of mellow.
CROWLEY: The problem with fiddling with the brand is you don't want to actually change the brand. The editor of Stewart's magazine wrote this month about Stewart's days in the slammer.
"When Martha discovered a set of old molds in the facility's ceramics studio, she decided to cast, paint, and then glaze a nativity scene for her mother as a gift."
And now there she was just after the stroke of midnight with hair so well coiffed it didn't look coiffed, a hip outfit selected so carefully it looked like she threw it on.
Even the amount of time from car to plane seemed calibrated, enough time for a wave, too far away for a question. The cameras were positioned on a flatbed truck provided by Martha's company, a photo op orchestrated by a former Kerry campaign staffer.
ERIC DENZENHALL, CRISIS MANAGER: The only thing that really matters is that core consumers continue to buy her products. The whole idea that she's going to have to get every American of every demographic to love her is ridiculous. She just needs to be able to move her products. CROWLEY: No grisly ex-con face for this former felon, just smiling, kissing, cocoa serving, horse petting, dog walking, media- loving Martha Stewart. As any good cook will tell you it's all about presentation.
STEWART: My favorite thing is lemons.
CROWLEY: And need we remind you Martha Stewart is an excellent cook.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
BROWN: Now here now is where we compare Martha Stewart to Richard Nixon, who is said to have enjoyed cottage cheese with ketchup on top. Even so, Mr. Nixon got what Ms. Stewart is hoping for, what a rogue's gallery of other rogues also got, something a little more satisfying than a plate of cottage cheese.
Here's Jeff Greenfield.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): If you want to know how Martha Stewart went from this to this after five months in prison, start with the most famous words of this famous American writer. F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed, "There are no second acts in American lives." He could not have been more wrong.
MICHAEL MABRY, "NEWSWEEK" SENIOR EDITOR: This is a country where we believe in second acts. We believe in redemption. We believe in confessional stories. We believe in the comeback.
GREENFIELD: Marcus Mabry, a senior editor at "Newsweek" could be talking about all sorts of famous Americans. Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry went to prison after being caught on tape smoking crack, came out, got elected mayor again. He's now on the D.C. City Council.
RICHARD M. NIXON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore.
GREENFIELD: Richard Nixon came back from political death in 1962 after losing a California governor's race to win two terms as president.
NIXON: We live in a new world.
GREENFIELD: And came back from resignation and disgrace after Watergate to become an elder statesman. And the man who helped plan that Watergate break-in, G. Gordon Liddy, came back from a lengthy prison term to become a best-selling author, radio talk show host and lecture circuit writer.
G. GORDON LIDDY, G. GORDON LIDDY SHOW: If you decide that there are no second acts and don't do anything, well there won't be any. But if you will not accept that and you go on out and work at something, you can do it.
GREENFIELD: In Martha Stewart's case, her comeback flows from many sources. She did her time with no grousing, no demands for special favors. Her crime was by some measures relatively minor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love you Martha.
GREENFIELD: Many of her supporters, in fact, believe her real crime was being a rich, very successful, very demanding, boss woman. Nor did she ever express contrition, a good thing editor Mabry says.
MABRY: And I think it's really interesting that her stock and her company are doing well in fact because the woman looks defiant and she looks strong.
GREENFIELD: She is also a famous person, a quality that in some cases seems to insulate wrongdoers from scorn. We are, after all, in a country where an auto mechanic who became famous for having sex with a teenager who almost killed his wife still gets asked for his autograph.
LIDDY: I can't speak for Joey but I can say that people who are either famous or notorious are treated pretty much the same.
MICHAEL JACKSON: Neverland is my home.
GREENFIELD: Which does not mean we forgive everything. If Michael Jackson is found guilty, it's hard to imagine most of the public will embrace a convicted child molester.
(on camera): But in general those who have fallen from grace in this country have a powerful ally in their efforts to come back, that deeply embedded belief that this is the land of the second chance, the fresh start.
(voice-over): Millions of our ancestors crossed oceans or a frontier and left behind their roots, their language, their country and their pasts. So, it's not surprising that we may be so willing to extend to others what so many of our forbearers sought for themselves.
Jeff Greenfield, CNN, Los Angeles.
BROWN: Michael Wolff joins us now. He writes about media and business for "Vanity Fair" magazine. Also with us tonight ethicist Jim Lichtman, who is the author of "What do you Stand for, Stories about Principle that Matter." We're glad to have you both here.
Michael, have you gone soft here? You're the most caustic writer I know about media and yet you see this is a kind of moment of vindication almost for Ms. Stewart or heroic is the word you used.
MICHAEL WOLFF, COLUMNIST, "VANITY FAIR": I think I've gone soft.
BROWN: Yes. WOLFF: I don't know what it is. There's something about Martha. There's something about Martha that has -- that makes me go soft and I don't know what it is that I like her business, that I like her, I don't know.
BROWN: Five months ago would you have said that about her?
WOLFF: Yes. I mean (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I sat through the trial and I thought, I thought, no, she shouldn't go to jail and I thought this is -- this is a crime, a conspiracy.
I don't know what I thought it was. And then when she went to jail I thought, oh God, you know, this is -- this is unfair and I thought, oh when she gets out of jail this will be great. Why do I think this? I can't exactly say. I have been swept along and I'm professionally not swept along. In this one I have been swept along.
BROWN: Jim, call me old-fashioned here but, gee, an apology or some contrition would be nice.
JIM LICHTMAN, ETHICIST: I'm old-fashioned too I guess, Aaron, because I think sometimes the public confuses charm for character and I think we need to understand that this person, you know, I have nothing personal against Martha Stewart.
She's a convicted felon and she did do her time but she's now being held up with a show, "Apprentice, Martha Stewart" for supposedly teaching future apprentices good business skills and leadership skills and I think it's the wrong role model at this particular time.
WOLFF: But there are a couple of issues here. I mean I think at the core of this there's a lot of people who say, "Well should she have been convicted?" Actually, there's a lot of people who say "What exactly was she convicted of again?"
BROWN: She was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to thwart an investigation.
WOLFF: But what is that exactly?
BROWN: That's obstructing justice and lying to...
WOLFF: No, no, no, but that's -- but that's, no. Actually that's the important point because most people think she was convicted of insider trading. No, no, no, no. She was convicted of obstructing justice to a crime which it turns out that she did not commit. So, there is this kind of thing that I think everyone perceives, you know, there was something funny here.
BROWN: Oh, OK.
LICHTMAN: I don't know am I missing something here? How many times does someone lie to you before they're a liar? I mean all the reports that I read she lied.
WOLFF: Well, I think it's a thing that we recognize that lying is not something you should necessarily go to jail for. Everybody lies.
BROWN: OK. Let me turn this for a second before we lose this. The charm offensive is rolled out and it has been rolled out brilliantly. I mean it has been brilliant but Jim talked about the TV show coming out. At what point are we reminded of a Martha Stewart we didn't like so much that the petulant, difficult, excessively demanding, cheap, at what point?
WOLFF: Well, there may be, actually there may be two parallel tracks here. There's a lot of people who detest Martha Stewart who still detest Martha Stewart. There have always been a lot of people who adore Martha Stewart. That's why the company was a success.
So, I'm not sure those things merge. I think the people who detest her continue to detest her even more. The people who like her continue now to like her even more.
LICHTMAN: I think it's perfectly OK to like Martha Stewart or dislike her, however you choose, but the bottom line from an ethical standpoint is she was convicted by a jury of lying and obstruction of justice and I don't think this is the kind of role model that we need to be teaching people.
BROWN: OK, but the other side of that is at what point do you go, OK, she did the time and she did the time? I mean do you hold it against her forever? Is it up to us I think in a sense to say, OK, I mean she's an imperfect person, she went to jail, she's paid a price, let it go?
LICHTMAN: Well, I think the bottom line here is, you know, if she goes back to her lifestyle show, I really don't have a problem with that. I think she should get on with her life. But I just don't think -- I think it's the wrong move at this time to be held up as a leadership model for good business skills when she's a convicted felon.
WOLFF: Well, good business skills are can you sell more sheets than the other guy sells? And that's what we're going to see.
BROWN: That's a whole other program.
BROWN: Nice to meet you, good to see you again, have a good weekend both. Thank you for coming in.
BROWN: We have much more to come tonight starting with a profile in real courage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in a good place right now. When I'm at the point where I can't lift my head or my arms or whatever, I suspect that's when it, you know, really slapped me in the face.
BROWN (voice-over): He's dying and he's writing about death with humility and humor and humanity, a NEWSNIGHT conversation with Rob Borsollino.
He's talking, boy is he talking, about himself it turns out and boy is the real him coming through, a convicted rapist.
DET. JERRY GIORGIO, RET., NYPD HOMICIDE: Not only are you thinking about the child, you're thinking about I'm going to get the S.O.B. that did this.
BROWN: A case gone cold and the cop who's not letting retirement stand in the way of catching a young girl's killer.
GIORGIO: I sometimes think of what she would be doing now, you know. She'd be a teenager, dating and looking forward to her future.
BROWN: And in Congress there are hundreds of lawyers but only one sheriff.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Who are the good guys on the Hill and the bad guys on the Hill?
REP. DAVID REICHERT (R), WASHINGTON: I'm still working on it.
BROWN: Sheriff Reichert goes to Washington but we stay right here in New York.
This is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: A short time ago we learned that four soldiers were killed in Iraq today and there's word also that the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has apparently agreed to help Osama bin Laden launch attacks outside of Iraq.
U.S. counterterrorism officials tell CNN they've intercepted a message in which Zarqawi signals his cooperation. They've already intercepted bin Laden's original communication to Zarqawi seeking his help. Meantime, they can't find either of them. Officials say it's not clear if they plan to stage attacks inside the United States.
In the post 9/11 world, it didn't hurt that Dave Reichert had a tough-as-nails reputation as a cop when he ran for Congress last fall. He beat a 5'6" talk show host, hardly a fair fight in the post 9/11 world.
Reichert is the former sheriff of King County, Washington, Seattle and its suburbs, his story worthy of a paperback novel. But freshmen Congressmen learn quickly that whatever reputation they came in with they are still just one of many and the many have seniority, which translates into power. In CNN's America Bureau tonight here's Ed Henry.
HENRY (voice-over): As a sheriff in Seattle, Dave Reichert caught the infamous Green River serial killer in 2002, after a 20-year investigation.
REICHERT: This cleared out area right here where that log is laying down that's where the -- that's the first body that I located.
HENRY: Now, a freshman Congressman, Reichert wants to bring the same level of determination from that case to another tough task, improving congressional oversight of homeland security.
REICHERT: When somebody tells me it can't be done, I just -- it's a challenge to me because it can be done. I don't care what it is. There is a way.
HENRY: His tough guy persona came in handy when Reichert was King County sheriff, like in 1999 when he chased looters at the WTO protests. But now he's running headlong into the bureaucracy of Congress, where some 88 different panels oversee homeland security.
REICHERT: There has to be a breaking down of these walls and barriers. The turf wars have to stop.
HENRY: The Port of Tacoma, through which two million containers pass each year, is vulnerable to terrorist attack. Reichert says it's only another reminder that after 9/11 America has to be constantly looking for new and different threats.
REICHERT: Because airplanes were the tool used by the terrorists, we clamped down on airport security and today we need to really broaden our thinking about that and what's the most efficient way, the smartest way to protect our community?
HENRY (on camera): The challenge of guarding a port like this takes Reichert back to his detective days. He once caught a bank robber by spending three nights hiding in an alleyway garbage can where he learned the value of perseverance.
(voice-over): But even his patience was tested at a congressional hearing on first responder preparedness.
REICHERT: I did have to bite my tongue a few times as I listened to the first hour and a half of the discussion.
HENRY: Reichert's used to being in charge but realizes he's now a rookie who has to wait his turn. His first test comes as his successor as sheriff seeks $8.5 million from Congress to replace this 35-year-old helicopter.
It's the only helicopter patrolling the Port of Seattle, which could face attack by air, by water or by the rail lines which go right past two major sports stadiums. After two months in his new job, Reichert compares the transition to a barroom brawl.
REICHERT: As a cop, you walk into a bar and there's no way I'm going to get involved in this thing until I know who the good guys are and the bad guys are.
HENRY: Who are the good guys on the Hill and the bad guys?
REICHERT: I'm still working on that.
HENRY: That he admits could take a while.
For CNN's America Bureau, Ed Henry, Seattle.
BROWN: Dennis Rader's arrest in the BTK serial killing set off a scramble in the state of Kansas this week, police reexamining unsolved murder cases to see if there are any links.
In police jargon they're known as cold cases. Headlines fade. Media interest passes. Loved ones may move on with their lives. But somewhere a cop is still re-reading the file, tossing an informant, looking for justice.
Here's a story of a cop, a child and time reported by NEWSNIGHT's Beth Nissen.
BETH NISSEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most seasoned homicide detectives carry one concealed, the memory of a case they couldn't crack, a case that haunts them.
GIORGIO: The cardinal rule, don't get involved, I got involved. I became emotionally involved in the case.
NISSEN: This one case has haunted NYPD Detective Jerry Giorgio for almost 15 years. On a July morning in 1991, a plastic picnic cooler was found at the site of a Manhattan highway. Inside was the body of a malnourished four or five-year-old girl, naked, bound, suffocated.
GIORGIO: It was a horrible sight. People say with time memory fades. I can close my eyes and I can picture it today as vividly as I did that day. It's a horrible sight.
NISSEN: For weeks this veteran detective had trouble sleeping.
GIORGIO: You toss and turn. You're not only thinking about the child. You're thinking about I'm going to get the S.O.B. that did this.
NISSEN: Police had few clues to who did it, no I.D. on the little girl. Detectives in the 34th Precinct gave her a name, Baby Hope. Forensic dentists and anthropologists helped give her a face or at least a vague sketch of one. Officers and detectives worked double shifts for weeks to find anyone who might have seen something.
GIORGIO: In a case like this nobody's looking at that clock. They'll go that extra mile.
NISSEN: Detectives had hundreds of calls but no solid leads, no good clues from the physical evidence. The best tests at the time gave them no good fingerprints, no DNA matches. Months passed, then a year, then two, Baby Hope's file was moved into the cold case drawer.
GIORGIO: We weren't able to solve this case and find the people responsible.
NISSEN: Giorgio and his colleagues felt their own responsibility to Baby Hope. Two years after they found her they removed her unclaimed remains from the morgue and buried her as one of their own. At the funeral, Detective Giorgio and his wife Catherine (ph) took the position reserved for next of kin.
GIORGIO: I took her as my own. She was our baby. I keep saying our baby, our squad, our baby.
NISSEN: Detectives from the 34th paid for the headstone engraved with their shield, the only name they ever had for the girl, the only date they were sure of in her short life.
GIORGIO: The day that we found her, which was July 23, 1991.
NISSEN: But Giorgio did not, could not let the case go even after retiring from the force. He now works as an investigator for the New York D.A.'s Office but still has a desk at the 34th Precinct.
GIORGIO: We worked on cases here that were ten, 15, 20 years gone by, passed, and we've solved them.
NISSEN: They still have hope that more advanced DNA testing will give them their break. The fast-growing national database now contains thousands more samples, thousands more chances of a match if a relative or possible killer of Baby Hope is in the system.
And the news from Wichita reminds them, reassures them that cold cases can be solved, even after 25, 30 years, maybe by the latest in forensic science, maybe by simple luck, maybe by age-old human compulsions to talk, to confess.
GIORGIO: We pray for that one break, either somebody being arrested or some inmate talking to another inmate and hearing about this or someone on their death bed saying, you know, "I'm sorry I did this." I'll be back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Jerry.
NISSEN: Giorgio still visits Baby Hope's grave every year.
GIORGIO: I sometimes think of what she would be doing now, you know. She'd be a teenager dating and looking forward to her future. But most times I just think of her as a baby. She's with me every day.
NISSEN: The detective still has hope.
Beth Nissen, CNN, New York.
BROWN: A follow-up to a story we reported on earlier in the week, the parole hearing for convicted rapist Alex Kelly. He's the Connecticut man from a family of means who attacked two young girls when he was a teenager, then fled to Europe as a fugitive for eight years hiding out, if you can call it that, on the ski slopes.
Kelly returned to the United States, has served eight years of a 16-year sentence. When parole was denied yesterday, Kelly expressed surprise and annoyance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX KELLY, CONVICTED RAPIST: So, there's no more parole hearings?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more parole considerations. There will be no new hearing date set.
KELLY: I would like to say something real fast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kelly, this hearing is concluded. Thank you.
KELLY: Why did we come here? This was a waste of time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kelly, this hearing has been concluded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Mr. Kelly's victims testified at the hearing, spoke afterwards about why he should not be released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIENNE BAK, RAPE VICTIM: I think the one thing that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that was missing was he never actually admitted that he raped us. He never said the word raped. He never said attacked. He never said kidnapped. He never said any of those words. I don't know how he could expect that they would let him out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Alex Kelly could be released from prison for good behavior in May of 2008.
Still ahead on the program on this Friday night, bravery in the face of an incurable disease, bravery and grace and candor, you'll meet a man who exhibits all of this and, at the end tonight, morning papers. This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.
BROWN: Every night, newspapers send us their front pages that will run the next day. And, as you know, we never know what we'll get, which is the point and part of the fun.
Sometimes, what we get is extraordinary. A couple weeks back, a headline we saw in "The Des Moines Register" made us want to know more about the columnist behind it. Rob Borsellino has spent his life telling other people's stories. Now he's writing the final chapter of his own. He was diagnosed in November with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. There's no cure. There is no way to know how much time he has left.
As his speech slurred, the symptoms taking over, Mr. Borsellino shared the news with his readers in the column that caught our eye, which only made us want to know more.
And so we talked with him a few days ago.
BROWN: There are, interestingly here, two moments. There's the moment when you actually learn that you have ALS and there's a moment when you decide -- because you are a public person -- you're a columnist in a medium-sized town -- to talk about it, to talk publicly about it. And that's where we came in the other night.
Talk for a minute about that period between November, when you found out, and the decision to share it with your readers and with the community.
ROB BORSELLINO, COLUMNIST, "DES MOINES REGISTER": Initially, this happened early November. I got the diagnose in Des Moines. A week later, I had a diagnosis in Iowa City. Then I came to New York to Columbia Presbyterian, at which point, I had resigned myself to the fact, OK, I got this stuff.
And it was tough in terms of telling the kids, in terms of...
BROWN: Your kids are how old?
BORSELLINO: I've got a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old who's a freshman at Amherst.
And once they knew about it, I felt a little more comfortable talking to friends, but -- and, again, in a town the size of Des Moines, somebody who's in the paper three times a week, I've got a relatively high profile there. And it was getting to the point where, as I say, I was having trouble talking. I am slurring my words. I haven't had a drink in 20 years. And that's a big, you know, thing with me, that I don't drink.
BORSELLINO: But I'm slurring my words. So, what's going on here?
BORSELLINO: And so it got to a point where I felt it was necessary to write about it.
BROWN: You talked in the piece about dealing with the disease and dealing with the denial.
BORSELLINO: Oh, yes.
BROWN: Let's talk about denial for a minute.
BROWN: How have you come to terms? And how does one come to terms with a diagnosis and a prognosis like you've gotten?
BORSELLINO: Well, the thing is what you deal is day to day, hour to hour, is the reality of it in that, OK, it's not affecting me. I can still write. I can still drive. I can still go out to dinner with my family and not have to worry.
So, as long as you're going along like that, I'm not thinking I've got this problem and it's crippling me, and I can't -- so, you know, until there comes a moment, as I said in the piece, when I'm having a hard time buttoning my shirt or I'm slurring my words, then it really slaps you down.
BROWN: Just a little bit more about the column, and then I want to talk about some other things. How have -- columnists tend to be controversial people. Tell me how people have reacted to it.
BORSELLINO: Well, I've gotten 500 or 600 e-mails and about 150 voice-mails, mostly from elderly people who don't have e-mail.
And it's been a phenomenal outpouring of support, folks saying, look, if you need anything, if your family needs anything. And, again, columnists being controversial, 75 percent of the voice-mails start out with, Mr. Borsellino, I've never agreed with one thing you've written in seven years, or, I know, you know, we don't get along, but if you need anything, or, you're in my prayers, and very -- a real outpouring...
BROWN: What does that tell you?
BORSELLINO: I'm, again, getting e-mails from people in Sacramento who I worked with years ago, in Albany. I saw it on the web. I saw it on CNN. And it's -- it's...
BROWN: The world got smaller.
We'll take a break. We'll continue in a moment.
BROWN: Continuing now with Rob Borsellino.
We talked about how people have reacted to you. I want to talk about how you've reacted. Do you look at everything different, every meal, every night's sleep, every day differently?
BORSELLINO: Not quite.
I mean, in the overview, yes, in the sense that I don't let stupid things or might have been stupid things at one time -- when my kid leaves his -- his, you know, books all over the living room floor after doing his homework, I'm not going to get upset about something like that. I'm not going to get upset if somebody cuts me off on the road or nonsense stuff that used to, you know, get you worked up and get you angry.
So, in that regard, things have changed. But as I say, day to day, I'm not like, wow, you know, I can't believe this lasagna is the last lasagna I'm ever...
BORSELLINO: I don't go there, not yet. And it may come to that point.
BROWN: Are you angry?
BORSELLINO: No, I am not. I've been working a job I love. I've got a storybook marriage, two great kids. I've been to Asia. I've been to Europe. I have been to the Caribbean. I don't have a lot to be angry about.
I mean, and then again, you get in a situation like this, and you start hearing from people who have ALS who are unemployed, no health insurance, no family support, no nothing. And here I am feeling, you know, I'm getting an incredible amount of support, friends, you know, getting on a plane and flying to Des Moines, which is no small thing. I mean, it's not like I'm living in Boca Raton anymore, like I used to.
BROWN: Yes. Yes.
BORSELLINO: When I lived in Boca, a lot of people came to visit. Des Moines, not so much.
BROWN: Had you thought much prior to November, last November, had you thought much about -- we're at that age where we, I guess, do start to think about this a little more -- about mortality?
BORSELLINO: Yes, to an extent, but 20 years down the line, as opposed to within the next five years or whatever. BROWN: One of the things about ALS is that its progression is not necessarily predictable, except that it does progress.
BROWN: So, you really don't know if you're talking two years or five, do you?
BORSELLINO: No, you have no idea. And, again, I'm hearing about people who have lived 10, 20, 30 years with this.
BORSELLINO: ... has had it for -- I think since the '60s or '70s, and he's still going. And, again, do you want to live in a wheelchair with all kinds of breathing devices and stuff to help you write and move? And where do you want to go with that? How far do you want to go?
BROWN: Do you feel wiser than you did six months ago?
BROWN: Do you think people expect you to feel wiser?
BORSELLINO: Well, I suspect everything I do from now on publicly, my writing, will be filtered through this ALS situation.
BROWN: They want you to be Maury.
BORSELLINO: Yes, exactly.
BROWN: People are going to want -- I mean, people are going to -- that's sort of an odd truth, I think, but people are going to want you to be -- do you want to be Maury or do you just want to be Rob for a while?
BORSELLINO: No, I want to be Rob. I want to be myself. That's what I'm comfortable with. And, you know, it works for me.
BROWN: Are you scared?
BORSELLINO: Not yet.
I will be, I suspect, as I say, once it gets to the point where I can't function. But, you know, my editors, the folks I work with and my wife, I cannot even begin to go there and explain the extent to which she's put her life on hold to take care of me.
BORSELLINO: And to make me feel positive about things. So, I mean, I'm not in a situation where I'm going around feeling scared or depressed or angry or -- you know, I'm just, to some extent, in denial, I suppose.
BROWN: One of the things about -- I know about you, I've learned about you in the last couple days is your -- that you have great good humor. You've tried to -- even in the column -- there's a line in the column about, at least they call it Lou Gehrig's disease, not George Steinbrenner disease.
BORSELLINO: No, Steinbrenner syndrome.
BROWN: Steinbrenner syndrome.
BORSELLINO: Or Dizzy Dean disorder.
So, humor is a part of who you are and what you are.
BROWN: And I assume that people -- I've noticed it in the last 15 minutes -- people sort of gingerly walk around you. We're tiptoeing, all of us, a bit around you. Do you ever want to say, stop doing that; I'm dealing with it; you deal with it?
BORSELLINO: Yes, very much so.
And the people that I'm around day to day, hour to hour, know that. And, you know, they're not quite comfortable teasing me or, you know, the way they might have six months ago.
BORSELLINO: But they do see that I'm wiling to get on their case, and I'm willing to be self-deprecating and have -- you know, let's not sit here and mourn over it. And, again, that was something I talked to my kids about when we laid this whole thing out, that you hear about these people who live 15, 20 years with this stuff.
Are we going to sit here for the next 20 years and mourn over it and stress over it? Let's just see where it goes. Let's see where it takes us and we'll deal with it.
BROWN: It's nice to meet you.
The truth is, there's no segment in the program that I love more than morning papers, because, in many ways, it's an adventure. I never know what I'm going to find. And finding you the other day was a find. And meeting you today has been an experience.
Best of luck.
BORSELLINO: Well, thanks, man.
BROWN: Nice to meet you.
BORSELLINO: Nice to meet you.
BROWN: Thank you.
BROWN: Rob Borsellino is a columnist for "The Des Moines Register."
We'll be right back.
BROWN: Imelda Marcos is familiar with infamy. Shoes, thousands of them, became a symbol for her life of luxury among the poverty of most Filipinos. She and her late husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, were eventually ousted from the Philippines.
As part of CNN's anniversary series "Then and Now," we take a look at Imelda Marcos and where she is today.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, is also known the iron butterfly. An ex- beauty queen, Marcos brought glamour and song to the presidential palace in 1965. By the end of her husband's 21-year dictatorship, Imelda's personal and public extravagance was causing an outrage. A popular uprising in 1986 forced the Marcoses into exile.
Imelda left behind closets stuffed with rows and rows of designers gowns and a now-legendary designer shoe collection, so many that if she changed pairs every day, even after three years, she still wouldn't have worn all of them. She now says it was her way of sharing her wealth.
IMELDA MARCOS, FMR. FIRST LADY OF THE PHILIPPINES: By giving it to the people, it is really flaunting it to the world. But if you were keeping it like a miser, nobody will see what you have accumulated.
ZAHN: Nowadays you could say that Imelda Marcos collects lawsuits, 900 civil cases and pending prosecutions alleging everything from corruption to human rights abuses. She's 75 years old, lives in Manila and frequently meets with her team of lawyers. She hasn't been convicted of any crime so far, and is unrepentant about alleged excesses.
MARCOS: I'm not only extravagant, I'm not only excessive. I give it all.
ZAHN: By the way, Imelda now keeps active as a spokeswoman for the Philippine shoe industry.
BROWN: Okeydoke, time to check morning papers from around the country, around the world.
Start with "The International Herald Tribune," published in France by "The New York Times." Lead story: "March 11 Still Darkens Daily Life in Madrid," the anniversary of the train station bombings. I remember being on the way to Iraq when that happened.
"Washington Times" leads -- this is a bizarre incident today. "U.S. Friendly Fire Kills One Italian." This is an Italian hostage, a newspaper reporter. "Officer Was Protecting Recently Freed Journalist." And then Martha Stewart is on most front pages, but not all. Sometimes, they put her on the business page. "Stewart Returns to the Good Life. Domestic Diva to Begin House Arrest." That's the "Washington Times."
"Dallas Morning News." This is an awfully good story. "Fallen From the Ranks" is the headline. It's a story of Armin Cruz, who returns to Plano, Texas, after serving time in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and an uncertain future waits, charged with homicide in a case that has drawn a lot of attention. It's a good story. And it's a local story for them. And they justifiably put it on the front page.
"Newsday" here in New York. "Tasting Freedom," yes, Martha with a cup of cappuccino. I think -- well, I don't know -- the cappuccino machine wasn't working, so maybe it is just coffee or some cocoa. She brought cocoa to the reporters out there.
"Dallas Morning News." "War" -- that's "The Rocky Mountain News." Isn't that what I said? "War Leaves Babies Behind. Carson Cavalry Redeploys Amid Great Expectations." Isn't that a great picture? Isn't that nice? You see it? One more time?
How we doing on time? OK.
"Chicago Sun-Times" reports to us that the weather tomorrow in Chicago...
BROWN: Thank you -- will be "relentless." We'll wrap it up in a moment.
BROWN: Don't you wonder what the stockbroker in the Martha Stewart case thought of all the coverage? He's still in the slammer in Nevada somewhere.
Good to have you with us this week. It was an interesting week of programs. "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" next for most of you. Have a wonderful weekend. We'll see you Monday at 10:00 Eastern time.
Until then, good night for all of us.
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