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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy Giuliani For President; Murder of Three Arkansas Boys Reexamined

Aired November 7, 2007 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a coveted political endorsement from an unlikely source, why televangelist Pat Robertson, the man who blamed 9/11 on gays and abortionists, is endorsing pro- choice Republican Rudy Giuliani. Will his backing actually translate into votes? Just ahead, the battle over Christian conservatives.
Plus, a stunning revelation from the polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Thousands consider him a prophet. Tonight, they will hear them say he's no prophet. And you will find out why he tried to -- or what he tried to do to himself while locked behind bars.

Also ahead tonight, O.J. Simpson preparing for another day in court. We talked with the prosecution's star witness and investigated the heavy baggage he brings to the trial.

All of that in the hour ahead, but we bring the endorsement that has produced the latest pair of strange bedfellows, Pat Robertson and Rudy Giuliani, an unlikely couple, to say the least. One is the founder of the Christian Coalition, who literally put the religious right on the political map. The other is a pro-choice presidential front-runner who, in the past, has supported equal rights for gay Americans and is on his third marriage.

The common ground they have managed to find says a lot about where the race for the Republican nomination may be heading.

More on that right now from CNN's John King.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: We're both prostate cancer survivors.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Two men with a personal bond, and now a surprising political alliance.

ROBERTSON: Rudy Giuliani is without question an acceptable candidate.

KING: It is a striking statement from a legendary and controversial religious broadcaster who calls abortion evil and homosexuality an abomination. But Robertson says he is convinced Giuliani would appoint conservative judges and also convinced there is a bigger test for the next president. ROBERTSON: The overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists.

KING: Giuliani backed taxpayer-funded abortions as mayor and also signed a sweeping civil unions policy. So, Robertson's blessing is a boost for a candidate whose biggest weakness is the Christian right.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope it sends the message that we have the same goals, all of us in the Republican Party.

KING: In Iowa, more evidence of the fierce competition. John McCain welcomed the endorsement of anti-abortion Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who dropped out of the Republican contest three weeks ago.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS), FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm here today to endorse the best pro-life candidate to beat Hillary Clinton.

KING: White Evangelicals are critical in two of the early nominating contests -- Iowa and South Carolina -- but have yet to coalesce around one candidate.

KING: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's appeals include this stop at a South Carolina Christian adoption agency.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the Book of Psalms, what is it, 126th?

KING: Later, Romney predicted most evangelical voters won't follow Robertson's advice.

ROMNEY: I don't think the Republican Party will choose a pro- choice, pro-gay-civil-union candidate to lead our party.

KING: Robertson founded the Christian Coalition from the ashes of his 1988 presidential campaign bid. And it was a powerhouse in Republican politics in the 1990s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: The coalition is here for the long haul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: But others have eclipsed Robertson's political clout in recent years, some going as far as warning of a possible third-party effort if Giuliani wins the Republican nomination.

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: To the degree that the party moves away from those principled issues, social conservatives, evangelicals will move away from the party.

KING: So, some saw this as a risky effort to reclaim the spotlight by making a different calculation, that Giuliani is electable and better than the alternative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same-sex marriage issues, abortion issues are being decided in the courts. So, what's most important is that Hillary Clinton is not picking our judges or Barack Obama is not picking our judges.

GIULIANI: I am very, very pleased to have Pat Robertson's endorsement.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: In South Carolina, hours later, Giuliani saw only an upside.

(on camera): But with the benefits also could come some baggage. Asked here about one of many controversial Robertson remarks in recent years, that 9/11 was caused by God's wrath over abortion and pornography. Giuliani said, Robertson had long ago explained what he meant and that all leaders from time to time say things they later regret.

John King, CNN, Columbia, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, as John mentioned, Robertson's endorsement does not come without controversy. He can be a lightning rod, to say the least. Here's the "Raw Data," some of his more controversial comments.

In a 1992 fund-raising letter, Robertson said that feminists encourage women to kill their children and practice witchcraft. Last year, he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And he also suggested that Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine restoration for Israel's withdrawal of Gaza, which Robertson opposed. He later apologized.

The former Israeli prime minister is still hospitalized in a coma, by the way.

Pat Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani has a lot of people talking today, including our political roundtable, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, Bill Bennett, CNN contributor and author of "America: The Last Best Hope," and CNN contributor Roland Martin, the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within."

We talked earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Bill, let's start with you.

Were you surprised, Pat Robertson endorsing Rudy Giuliani?

BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I was a little. I was a little. It's a very big endorsement for Rudy Giuliani. As people have said in the last few years, you never know what Pat Robertson is going to say or going to do, but this was a surprise. And this is a big -- big help to Giuliani.

COOPER: Big because Robertson still has that big a following?

BENNETT: Yes. People have suggested over the last couple years that he's just kind of a crank. He's...

COOPER: Right. They say he's not as important.

BENNETT: But he's got a TV show that has 800,000 viewers a day, which, I think, stacks up pretty well with a lot of shows. There are a lot of people who listen to him. And he's a bona fide TV personality of the conservative Christian persuasion who has done an awful lot of work, whether people are happy with the things he said in the last few years or not, long track record of working in these vineyards. It's very good for Giuliani.

COOPER: Gloria, were you surprised by it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I wasn't totally surprised, only because rumor was out that Giuliani had really been courting Pat Robertson, that he had appeared at Pat Robertson's university, that they are united in their fight against terror.

COOPER: But, I mean, Mitt Romney has also been really courting him.

BORGER: Yes, he really -- he really had.

And I think -- you know, in a way, Anderson, this might be more about Pat Robertson than it is about Giuliani.

COOPER: How so?

BORGER: Maybe Robertson thought -- well, maybe he thinks he wants to go along for a ride with the winner. Maybe he wants to be the preacher to a president. Maybe this is about Pat Robertson's own survival more than it is for Giuliani's candidacy in the long term.

COOPER: What, showing that he's still relevant?

BORGER: Yes, exactly, showing that he's still relevant. He will be out there. Now, when he speaks, people are going to listen.

And I think, in the end, Giuliani may end up having to apologize for a lot of things that Pat Robertson ends up saying.

COOPER: And, essentially, I mean, Roland, you have Robertson saying that the most important issue, above all, anything else, above social issues, is -- is Islamic terror.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And that's why I'm not surprised.

Why I interviewed Reverend Jerry Falwell on the CNN special "What Would Jesus Really Do?" back in April, he said then -- and I said, is there a litmus test? Reverend Falwell said: I would rather have someone who can fight national security than someone who is a Sunday school teacher.

That signaled right then that that was going to be an issue there. And, so, I think what this also does, it also puts evangelicals on the spot, because for years they have been saying there's nothing more important than abortion and homosexuality.

And so now all of a sudden, you have a candidate who is pro-gay marriage, who is pro-choice. And, all of a sudden, evangelicals will say, wait a minute. What's really more important, party or principle? Is it God or Giuliani? That's what is going to happen here. And they are going to have to answer to that. All of these comments they have made over the years about this being most important, no chance at all, forget everything else, abortion, gay marriage, now they have to deal with that. And their own words are going to come back to haunt them.

COOPER: I do want to talk about the Democrats a little bit, because Bill Clinton, you have him weighing in on his wife's performance in the debate and going after those who, you know, dare to criticize or -- or question Hillary Clinton.

I want to play what former President Clinton said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We would listen to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff, when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he had done in his life, when that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry.

Why am I saying this? Because I had the feeling, at the end of that last debate, we were about to get into cutesy land again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Does it make her, though, look weaker, that Bill Clinton has to be the one stepping in to do this? Or is that just the -- the traditional -- is he playing the role that the vice president usually plays?

BENNETT: She needs to be very careful about -- about that.

But she's -- she's pretty good on it, it seems to me, Anderson. She says things like, well, if he were here, you know, he could -- he could say his own piece. For him to do it, I think -- I think is fine.

But what they have to, I think, be careful of is this piling-on thing, the complaining about the piling on, on the guys. The biggest trouble I think she has got is not any of this. I think the biggest trouble she's got is this immigration business. I think coming out and supporting Governor Spitzer has bought her a whole lot of trouble. MARTIN: Anderson, I say, thank God. Four months ago, I said Democrats, why do you keep giving her a pass in the debates, allowing her to take credit for all of Bill Clinton's, you know, great success stories, but then slide on some of the failures?

At some point, they had to say, wait a minute, Bill Clinton is no longer on the Democratic side. He's on her side. And, so, we are fighting him and her. And, so, you need to figure out, wait a minute, how can I take some of the failures and then sort of amplify that?

And, so, the criticism is on the money. But this notion that, all of the sudden, it's a Swift Boat deal, it's ridiculous, just like Geraldine Ferraro's comments on Monday all of a sudden injecting the race card, saying, well, they would never attack Barack Obama like this. It's OK to be sexist in America, but not to be racist.

That is ridiculous. She's running for president. She should be questioned, just like everybody else is.

COOPER: Gloria, doesn't it also raise the issue of this two-for- one issue of, are you -- you know, are you getting Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton? Are they -- I mean, what exactly is -- how are they going to rule?

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Is this really some sort of partnership?

BORGER: Well, you know, I think it does raise the issue.

And I think, in the Democratic primary contest, it's a good thing to get two for one -- in a general election, not so much. So, I think, right now, when you heard Bill Clinton complaining about the cutesy stuff and getting swift-boated and all the rest, he was talking to the Democratic primary audience, the people who love him.

And there are two roads to take in a campaign. You know, you take the high road or you take the low road. The candidate doesn't take the low road. Her surrogates will take the low road. And Bill Clinton is the one who will feel free to be out there, attacking on behalf of his wife, particularly during this primary season.

COOPER: We are going to leave it there.

Gloria Borger, Bill Bennett, Roland Martin, thanks for being on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Christian conservatives are not the only hearts and minds the candidates are going to be trying to win. In the last presidential election, roughly one in four voters who turned out on Election Day were independents. And they split their votes almost evenly between John Kerry and George Bush.

They are also the subject of a new book by CNN's Lou Dobbs. "Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit," it's called. I talked to Lou earlier about why he thinks independents have an even more important role to play this year.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: By registering as independent, is that to send a message to these parties?

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Absolutely, to say to...

(CROSSTALK)

DOBBS: Here's the message to the Republican and Democratic national committees: Go to hell. You have screwed this system up. You're nothing more than patsies to corporate America and multinationals. And you no longer hold American citizens in regard, whether the issue is border security, illegal immigration, public education, free trade, public investment. My God, the list goes on.

And then you have got these people lining up to say they want to be president of the United States? How dare they?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, now to a stunning admission by Warren Jeffs, the polygamist leader who is awaiting sentencing this month in Utah.

He was convicted this fall of being an accomplice to rape. You probably remember that. Now the judge has unsealed sensitive court documents, including a videotape that shows Jeffs as we have never seen him before.

Now, keep in mind, Jeffs has always told his sect that God speaks directly through him, and they have always believed him.

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To as many as 10,000 followers, this man, Warren Jeffs, is the undisputed prophet, his word sacred, even when a jury convicted the polygamist leader of being an accomplice to rape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a perfect preacher man. He's a man of God. And we will always love him. And once a prophet, always a prophet.

TUCHMAN: But now a new image of the powerful man, like his followers have never seen before.

WARREN JEFFS, CONVICTED FELON: I ask for everyone's forgiveness.

TUCHMAN: This is video from a jail taping system. It recorded Jeffs and his brother, Nephi. Jeffs was depressed, and, as it turns out, suicidal. W. JEFFS: Farewell, all of you.

TUCHMAN: Three days later, the head of the largest polygamist sect in North America attempted to hang himself.

An unsealed psychological report indicates that, in the days following the suicide attempt, he threw himself against jail cell walls and banged his head against a wall.

W. JEFFS: I have been the most wicked man.

TUCHMAN: Jeffs' followers make major life decisions based on what he tells him. If they didn't believe unconditionally in him to be their prophet, it would cause huge upheaval. That's why what about you're about to see and hear is so significant.

W. JEFFS: I'm not the prophet. I never was the prophet.

TUCHMAN: Prosecutors wanted to use this dramatic jail video during Jeffs' trial. The judge would not allow it.

But after requests by the news media, it has now been released. It might be even more difficult for the faithful hear this. Other court documents indicate, in a recorded phone call, Jeffs cryptically said, "I was covered with immorality with a sister and a daughter when I was younger."

Again, Warren Jeffs with his brother:

NEPHI JEFFS, BROTHER OF WARREN JEFFS: You're perfect in every way.

W. JEFFS: If we were perfect, we would be doing better.

TUCHMAN: In the Utah-Arizona border community where Jeffs' FLDS Church is headquartered, most followers do not deal with the outside world. So, do they know about the suicide attempt?

(on camera): Can I just ask -- I just want to ask you. We learned yesterday that Warren Jeffs tried to kill himself. Do you have any comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I'm not (INAUDIBLE)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This follower was more willing to talk, but not with a microphone. She told me Warren Jeffs was perfect and there is no way he wanted to kill himself. Those are all lies, she said.

(on camera): Warren Jeffs' attorney say he was in bad medical shape when he made the prophet comments, and retracted them a month later.

But it's reasonable for others to come to the conclusion that maybe it was a dose of honesty from a man who perhaps had some remorse. (voice-over): This couple also doesn't believe that Warren Jeffs has said these things.

(on camera): If he stays behind bars and doesn't get out for a long time, will you still consider him your prophet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will always consider him a prophet.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Jeffs ended his visit with his brother by saying this.

W. JEFFS: Farewell.

N. JEFFS: We love you. We love you. We love you.

TUCHMAN: If his brother thought he was on the verge of a suicide attempt, authorities say they were never told.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Quite a family. Gary joins us now outside the courthouse in Saint George.

What is next for Warren Jeffs?

TUCHMAN: Anderson, Warren Jeffs is coming to this courthouse a week from Tuesday, where he will be sentenced on his two convictions, faces the possibility of five years to life on each count.

But, even if he gets five years, the state of Arizona will still try him on similar charges. So, Warren Jeffs, whether he's a prophet or not, will likely be in jail for a very long time.

COOPER: Fascinating.

Just ahead, we are going to hear from one of Warren Jeffs' former followers who managed to escape from the sect in the middle of the night, taking her eight kids with her. What does she think about these new revelations?

Find out next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is awaiting sentencing in Utah later this month.

Before the break, we told you about the newly unsealed court documents, including a videotape in which Jeffs admits he's not a prophet after all. It is a stunning admission.

Earlier, I talked with John Llewellyn, a former polygamist who was not a member of Jeffs' sect, but has written about the lifestyle in "Polygamy's Rape of Rachael Strong." And Carolyn Jessop, who managed to break free from Jeffs' sect three years ago and describes her terrifying experience in the book "Escape." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, John, were you surprised to hear that -- that Warren Jeffs tried to kill himself?

JOHN LLEWELLYN, AUTHOR, "POLYGAMY RAPE OF RACHAEL STRONG": No, it wasn't any surprise at all, because here's a man that has been born and raised under the umbrella of the FLDS, somewhat secret society.

And when he was arrested, I believe it was probably the first time that he really was confronted with reality and the real world, what it was like. So, it had to be a very traumatic situation for him while he was incarcerated, away from all the support and the -- the literature that he had to -- to help him along. So, no, it was no surprise.

COOPER: Carolyn, the fact that he denied being the prophet, and then sort of later recanted that, what do you make of that?

CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER MEMBER, FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS: Oh, I wasn't surprised about that at all. I think...

COOPER: Really?

JESSOP: Well, I think that him denying that he was a prophet was, in his own way, trying to get out of going to jail. I think he felt like the authorities were after him because he was the leader of this cult, and, if he denied that he was the prophet, then they would let him go.

COOPER: But you don't think -- you think, in his mind, he always -- that he truly believes he's a prophet?

JESSOP: No, I think, in his mind, he knows full well he's not a prophet. I just think he has something going that's working well for him, and he's taking advantage of it.

COOPER: John, do you agree with that?

LLEWELLYN: He knows the difference between right and wrong, you bet.

And I -- what he does is, he indulges himself into the character, so that he can sound believable before his people. But, down deep, he knows that he is not a prophet and he's not received the revelation.

COOPER: Carolyn, he also confessed to -- to immorality with a sister and a daughter.

JESSOP: Yes, he did. And there's actually been reports around about the sister he hurt. So, there were many of us who were already somewhat aware that he had injured one of his sisters.

Nobody was aware of the daughter, though. That came out of the blue. However, he's -- there's a lot of people who claim they have been hurt by him sexually. So, that was not a surprise, that he would confess to some of...

COOPER: And, I guess, John, in a community like this, you know, with so many siblings, so many people in the families, I guess it's not that big a surprise?

LLEWELLYN: No, it isn't, you know, and I have studied just about all of the groups. And every single one of them have these horrible stories coming out of pedophilia, molesting of children.

And all of these kids, a lot of them are put together with very little supervision. And the boys have that testosterone running through their bodies. The white chromosome is as active in them as it is anybody else. And these things are bound to happen.

COOPER: It's fascinating, though, when, even now, we have had, you know, people from CNN talking to folks in the community, the few who would talk to us. And they say simply they don't believe Jeffs ever said these things.

LLEWELLYN: Well, they are going to believe what they want to hear.

And it's been my experience in other lawsuits against the polygamist subcultures, you know, they believe in the spirit. And they believe that the spirit speaks the truth, even when it conflicts with facts. So, they are -- you know, there's a symbiotic relationship between the prophet and the group. They are dependent upon each other.

And the group, without the prophet, is like a ship without a rudder. They need each other. So, they are going to manufacture and believe whatever they want to keep that prophet as a prophet.

COOPER: It's fascinating, that this goes on hiding in plain sight in the United States of America.

John Llewellyn, we appreciate your expertise.

LLEWELLYN: Thank you.

COOPER: And, Carolyn Jessop, it's always good to talk to you.

JESSOP: Thank you.

LLEWELLYN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In Arkansas tonight, new developments in a case that had captivated the country more than a decade ago. It was 1993. Three boys were murdered in the woods. Three teens were convicted of the unspeakable crime.

Now, right now, two of those, well, former teens are in prison for life. One is on death row. The question is, are they actually innocent? CNN's David Mattingly reports on some shocking new developments.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened in these woods shook even hardened cops. It was a crime so terrible, families from miles around lived in fear. And, at the time juries had no doubt, three West Memphis, Arkansas, teenagers were guilty in the satanic ritual murders of three 8-year-old boys.

But, a decade-and-a-half later, many now believe it was a case of justice gone bad.

(on camera): The police, the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, all of them got it wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In our opinion, yes.

MATTINGLY: Reexamining old evidence and using DNA testing not available at the time of the murders, defense attorneys say the belief in a satanic ritual of sexual assault and mutilation was a fantasy, a satanic panic that they say sent three innocent teenagers to prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we are saying is that there's no credible evidence that links any of these defendants to the crime.

MATTINGLY: The bodies of Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Steven Branch were discovered bound, naked and submerged in a muddy ditch.

In a petition filed in federal court, defense attorneys say their experts today find no evidence of sexual assault and no evidence of a satanic cult.

And the evidence that horrified juries, signs of ritualistic torture and mutilation, may have actually come from animals attacking the bodies after the boys were killed.

(on camera): When we asked for a comment about the old case, Arkansas prosecutors turned us down. But, in an earlier statement, a spokesman for the state attorney general said that Arkansas will look at the new findings objectively. But they stand behind the old convictions and do not believe that the courts will change anything.

(voice-over): The oldest defendant at the time, 18-year-old Damien Echols, was sent to death row. Sixteen-year-old Jason Baldwin and 17-year-old Jessie Misskelley got life in prison.

RON LAX, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: They were victims of poor representation, poor resources, and a community that was already on track to convict somebody.

MATTINGLY: I returned to the scene of the crime with Ron Lax, a private investigator for the defense in 1993. Back then, he made this video of the woods where the three boys went to play, never to be seen alive again. Today, defense attorneys say they can find no DNA traces on evidence taken from those woods to show the convicted teenagers were ever there at all.

(on camera): Is this a crime that three teenagers could pull off and leave no trace of their existence out here?

LAX: It sounds pretty remarkable if they did.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The woods were recently cut down and cleared way. But plenty of questions remain. If it's true the teens were not in these woods to commit these murders, then who was?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Faces of evil or of wrongly convicted young men? Those three young men were found guilty of a triple murder, the victims, three boys, each 8 years old.

Prosecutors called the killings part of a satanic ritual. As we told you before the break, the defense team is hoping new evidence is going to lead to those young men's freedom. We're going to let you be the judge tonight.

Once again, here's CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY (voice-over): To many, they have become known as the West Memphis three. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were all teenagers sent to prison for the gruesome satanic ritual murders of three 8-year-old buys.

And, 14 years after the crime, proving their innocence may depend on two human hairs recovered at the scene.

THOMAS FEDOR, FORENSIC EXPERT: None of the defendants could have been the source of that hair. None of the victims could have been the source of either hair. None of the DNA evidence from the crime scene connects any of the defendants to the scene of the crime.

MATTINGLY: So, who could the hairs belong to? A defense petition in federal court says the DNA from one hair is consistent with that of Terry Hobbs. Hobbs is the former stepfather of victim Steve Branch.

(on camera): Mr. Hobbs, do you feel like that the attorneys are accusing you of this crime?

ROSS SAMPSON, HOBBS'S ATTORNEY: The answer to that would be no.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Hobbs agreed to go in front of our cameras while his attorney did the talking. And through most of my questions, Hobbs remained silent. (on camera) Is it possible, Mr. Hobbs, that that was your hair?

SAMPSON: Sure. It was his son, Stephen Branch, who was murdered, and he's had to deal with this for the last 15 years.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Defense attorneys say a second hair found at the scene is consistent with the DNA of Hobbs's friend, David Jacoby, and that the two were together in the hours before and after the victims disappeared.

Jacoby did not return our calls, but he did volunteer DNA samples to the defense. Authorities say they stand by the old convictions. West Memphis police have no plans to question anyone.

(on camera) Is there anything that you feel comfortable telling me?

TERRY HOBBS, FORMER STEPFATHER OF VICTIM: You live with this every day. And then, to have your friends and neighbors look at you and think, is there something else there? That's -- that hurts.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): After 14 years, the rampant fears of devil worshippers and murdered children have subsided, replaced by a new wave of emotion, demanding a reopening of the case of the West Memphis Three.

Now in their 30s, their entire adult lives spent behind bars, three grown men greet the DNA findings with hope, wondering if this latest twist will one day set them free.

David Mattingly, CNN, West Memphis, Arkansas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll continue to follow up on what happens next.

Tomorrow on 360, we take our "Planet in Peril" investigation one step further. Last month more than 15 million people around the world watched our special report on our changing planet; sparked a lot of questions, a lot of controversy. Tomorrow we're going to answer some of your questions, like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much impact would it have if each individual becomes an eco-friendly person?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If everybody behaved like this viewer, we would certainly be much, much better off. But, again, that is not going to be enough to solve the problem. We absolutely have to have policies, because consumers don't have enough choices to real solve this problem. We never solved any major voluntary issue just with voluntary consumer action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the most important thing that citizens can do, we live in a democracy, and we should influence the decision makers. We should ask them, the candidates from office, are they really going to do anything? Not just set a goal for 2050, because they won't be in office in 2050. Will they really do the things that are needed?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: An interesting discussion on climate change and other things, tomorrow on 360.

Let's get caught up on more of today's headlines. Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, a development tonight in the crisis in Pakistan. President Bush has called President Pervez Musharraf, telling him he should hold planned elections soon and that he should step down as Pakistan's military leader.

Meantime, in the streets of Islamabad, police firing tear gas in support of former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. She wants the people of Pakistan to join protests on the government's state of emergency that she says amounts to martial law.

In Finland, a high school student opened fire, killing eight people before turning the gun on himself. He later died in a hospital. Seven of the victims were students. The eighth was the school's headmistress.

Just hours before that shooting, a video posted on YouTube warned of a massacre at the school. One clip shows a young man firing a gun at fruit in the snowy woods. It is believed to be the gunman.

And the Space Shuttle Discovery back home tonight after a 15-day mission to the International Space Station. The crew had to fix a broken solar wing. NASA called the dangerous mission one of the top all-time space saves.

COOPER: That's cool.

HILL: Not bad at all.

COOPER: Not bad at all.

HILL: There you have it.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Up next, an eighth grade girl busted at school, sentenced -- sentenced to two days in detention. So what was her crime? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MEGAN COULTER, SUSPENDED FOR HUGGING FRIEND: I went like this, and I went to Katie like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Yes, she hugged her friends. We couldn't believe it either, so we had Randi Kaye check out our story. She's "Keeping Them Honest" next.

Also ahead, television's bounty hunter in the doghouse. His racist comments and tearful apology to Larry King less than an hour ago. That's coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, the next story seems, frankly, pretty outrageous. An eighth grader in Illinois is being punished for violating a school policy banning public displays of affection.

So what exactly is this young girl guilty of? Turns out she hugged two of her friends. At a time when we hear so many stories about school violence, we have to wonder what could possibly be wrong with a simple hug?

Randi Kaye's "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At just 13, Megan Coulter is a bit of a celebrity. Her phone is ringing off the hook, people offering their support.

MEGAN COULTER: I love you, Mama.

KAYE: What's all the fuss? Her Mascoutah middle school put her in detention for two days for -- get this -- hugging. It was two hugs, in fact, given to two friends, one boy and one girl, after administrators say she had been warned.

MEGAN COULTER: I gave him a hug. It was just simple, across the shoulder, nothing. No bodies pressing up against each other or anything.

KAYE: Megan says it was the same squeeze she's given her parents and friends before, but this time the hugs landed her in hot water.

(on camera) Turns out there's a written policy against public displays of affection at Megan's school. A student handbook given to every family spells out policy and punishment. It's been in place for over a decade, approved by the board of administration.

Administrators tell us Megan was not the first to get detention this school year under this policy.

(voice-over) The policy reads, "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved. First offenders will be warned. Second offenders will serve detention, and a parent conference will be held. Third offenders will serve in-school suspension."

Why was Megan considered a second offender? Because she gave two hugs.

"Keeping Them Honest," we ask the superintendent of schools, isn't this a bit extreme?

SAM MCGOWEN, SUPERINTENDENT: You know, hugs lead to other things. And when they get to the point where they're leading to other things, then they are in violation of our policy.

KAYE: Superintendent Sam McGowen went on to say he doesn't want the 600 or so students, quote, "distracted."

MELISSA COULTER, MOTHER: I think it's ridiculous. Most children are naturally affectionate creatures.

KAYE: Megan's mom, Melissa Coulter, agrees too much affection is not a good thing for impressionable kids, but she insists this rule goes too far. She and her husband plan to push the school board to reword the policy and be more specific about what constitutes a public display of affection.

MEGAN COULTER: It's very confusing to me, because I have always been taught, like, you know, when you see your friends, you hug. When someone is having a bad day, you hug.

Even in sixth grade at the same middle school that I go to now, we had a DARE program, and the motto was, "Hugs, Not Drugs." At one point they're telling us to hug each other, and at one point they're not.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Man, so much for hugs, not drugs.

All right. O.J. Simpson has a big day tomorrow. He's due in a Las Vegas court, where evidence in the alleged armed robbery case is going to be presented. Simpson, you know, is accused of masterminding the hotel room holdup. I'm not sure masterminding is really all that accurate of a term.

Anyway, if he's convicted, he could spend years in prison.

But will the questionable credibility of the other players in the room that night give Simpson all the defense he needs?

CNN's Ted Rowlands joins us tonight live from Vegas -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, tomorrow is the beginning of what is expected to be a two-day preliminary hearing. We'll hear from a number of witnesses we expect. We'll also, we expect, hear that infamous audiotape of the alleged incident inside that hotel casino, that audiotape that we've all heard before that was obtained by TMZ.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O.J. SIMPSON, ACCUSED OF ARMED ROBBERY: Nobody leaves this room. (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and sell it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

SIMPSON: Don't let nobody out of here. (EXPLETIVE DELETED), you think you can steal my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: That audiotape could go a long way in holding Simpson over to trial.

We're also going to hear from Bruce Fromong. He's the guy that had a heart attack, the memorabilia dealer who was in that hotel room who says he got all of his stuff stolen. He is a key witness in this case.

Coming up after a short break, we have an exclusive interview with him. Stay with us. Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIMPSON: Don't let nobody out of here, man.

And you, I trusted you, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bag this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bag this (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SIMPSON: Where'd you get all my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) personal (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Were they trying to say the most curse words in the shortest amount of time? What do you think? They may have come close to breaking the record there.

That, of course, is the audiotape from the night O.J. Simpson allegedly committed armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Tomorrow morning, Simpson faces a judge in a preliminary hearing, one that his defense team hopes put the case against him to rest. But the prosecution has its own game plan.

Once again, here's Ted Rowlands.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS (voice-over): If the armed robbery and kidnapping case against O.J. Simpson goes to trial, prosecutors will be counting on this man to help them put Simpson in jail.

BRUCE FROMONG, ALLEGED ARMED ROBBERY VICTIM: I don't care if he was my friend or not; nobody is above the law.

ROWLANDS: Bruce Fromong was in the room at the Palace Station Hotel when the alleged crime happened. Simpson denies the charges.

Fromong says, even though Simpson is an old friend, he wants him to pay for what he says happened that night.

FROMONG: All of a sudden the door bursts open, and in come, you know, four people and then O.J. And, you know, they had guns drawn.

ROWLANDS: Fromong says an audio recording of what happened, obtained by TMZ.com, seems accurate. In it, a voice that appears to be Simpson's can be held yelling and giving orders.

SIMPSON: Don't let anybody out of here.

ROWLANDS: Fromong claims Simpson and the other men took tens of thousands worth of memorabilia, carting it out in boxes and pillow cases.

FROMONG: They took everything. And the last item that was taken, because the last man out of the room, was O.J. Simpson. And he took my cell phone.

ROWLANDS: A few days later, Bruce Fromong suffered a heart attack, which he partially blames on stress from that night.

Fromong says he's known Simpson for years and even supported him after the former football star was accused of murdering his wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman. In fact, Fromong testified on Simpson's behalf during the civil trial.

FROMONG: O.J. was a very good friend. I mean, I knew him for 17 years.

ROWLANDS (on camera): Do you want him to go to jail?

FROMONG: I think that jail may be -- may be the answer to O.J.'s problems.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): But Bruce Fromong as a witness may have some problems, as well. Listen closely to the TMZ.com audio recording after Simpson left the hotel room.

FROMONG: I helped him set up his (EXPLETIVE DELETED) offshore accounts. Don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) with me.

ROWLANDS: Fromong seems to say he helped Simpson set up an offshore bank account, which could be used to help shield income from the Goldman and Brown families.

FROMONG: At the time I was extremely mad, you know, and I said a lot of things that night. But it -- it will be explained later on, and people will understand. I think even the -- you know, the Goldmans.

ROWLANDS: Fromong says, while he's still a little weak from his heart attack, he's ready to testify this week against his old friend.

FROMONG: This is the right thing to do. And that's the only reason. I mean, it saddens me that I have to -- you know, I might be the one that puts O.J. in jail.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Las Vegas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We shall see.

Still ahead -- Dog the Bounty Hunter, in his own words. What he told Larry King tonight about the racist rant that cost him his job, so far. But first, Tom Foreman is in Washington with "Raw Politics" -- Tom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, when everybody in Washington knows something, there's a good chance it's not true. For months everybody here has said it's about the war, the war, the war. That's the election. Turns out, they may be wrong. "Raw Politics" coming up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More fallout today from the so-called fake FEMA news conference. That's it right there. You might recall that, when it was staged during the recent wildfire crisis in California, there actually weren't any real reporters present. Now a second FEMA official has resigned, press secretary Aaron Walker.

On that note, let's go to Tom Foreman and tonight's "Raw Politics" -- Tom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: We have been saying it for months, and now the "Raw" numbers are backing us up. The war may very well not dominate this election. (voice-over) Economic worries have taken over as the number win issue for voters in our latest CNN poll. Housing, health care, gas prices. The "Raw" read: when the economy goes south, voters often lean left. So politically, the Dems are dancing.

But they can expect a firestorm over this. A new federal law is moving swiftly through Congress to outlaw discrimination in jobs or housing based on sexual orientation.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: To tell millions of Americans who are gay and lesbian that they are not bad people.

FOREMAN: The conservative roar is already rising.

Spruce up the guest room. French President Nicholas Sarkozy spent the afternoon with President Bush at George Washington's maison in Virginia. Sarkozy says he wants to re-conquer the heart of America. Hint to Mr. Bush: don't bring up the ex-wife.

Some quick hits: Fred Thompson losing a lot of weight. Says his health is fine, just eating more salads.

MICHAEL MOORE, COMEDIAN: Get in my belly!

FOREMAN: Barack Obama going blue color, with new economic promises to make college more affordable, overhaul bankruptcy law, cut the income gap.

And Obamarama's charter plane swooped in to Iowa for a big rally in Cedar Rapids this week. The problem was, it landed more than 100 miles away in Des Moines.

(on camera) The mix-up made him about an hour late. Still, he says he can lead America in the right direction -- Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, honest mistake.

His racist comments cost him his popular TV show. We're talking about the Dog. That's right. Tonight, Dog is talking again. Is he sorry? You can hear for yourself in just a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got an 8-year-old daughter, looks like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica Hill joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Anderson, a manhunt ends in Florida with an arrest in a killing of a sheriff's deputy. Escaped prisoner Michael Mazza is accused of shooting the deputy on his way from jail to a court appearance. Mazza is already serving two life sentences for an earlier robbery conviction.

Developments tonight in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. She, of course, is the wife of an Illinois police sergeant. Investigators now want to question the officer's children from earlier marriages. They're also taking a new look at the bathtub drowning of Sergeant Drew Peterson's third wife.

In business news, a dark day on the trading floor, the Dow plummeting 3609 points to close at 13,300. That is one of its steepest dives (ph) of the year. The NASDAQ lost 76. The S&P plunged 44 points.

And a fender-bender on the waters of San Francisco bay: a container ship clipping one of the towers holding up the Bay Bridge. No word on the exact cause, but it did happen in heavy fog. There was little damage to either the ship or the bridge, and we are told it is unlikely the bump was even felt by any drivers, which is probably a good thing.

COOPER: Wait. It was a fender bender in the water?

HILL: Well, yes. You know, the fender of the container ship. Maybe only one fender.

COOPER: Hmm, I see.

HILL: Maybe a hull bender.

COOPER: OK.

HILL: A hull bender perhaps.

COOPER: All right.

HILL: So technical, Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: No.

HILL: Come on. Just have a little fun!

COOPER: Yes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Now "The Shot", Duane "Dog" Chapman. You know the former TV bounty hunter. Former, that is, because his show has been yanked by A&E, for the foreseeable future, they say, over Dog's use of the "N" word to describe his son's girlfriend.

Well, tonight Dog tried to explain everything by Larry King, saying he thinks he was set up by his son Tucker -- well, we know he was set up by his son Tucker and the girlfriend -- even before Tucker sold the audiotape to the "National Enquirer." It's very confusing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN, BOUNTY HUNTER: One time outside my office these girls were going to jump Beth and tape record Beth and try to get her to fight.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Your wife?

CHAPMAN: My wife, Beth, right. And they had dressed for the fight, had tank shirts on, these girls. So ended up one of them was Tucker's girlfriend.

So I called him up and said, you know, "What are you doing, son? What are you guys doing here?"

And the whole idea was the "Enquirer" magazine was trying to trap me using racial slurs.

First I thought, oh, my God. You know, well, people know it's the truth. I thought, you know, people know it's me. They know me.

KING: You didn't think anything would happen?

CHAPMAN: Well, I knew it would happen, but I went, "Oh, my God. Here I have to explain now." What -- you know, why I think I'm cool with the black race. And I thought -- I was thinking, God, America just don't -- wouldn't understand that.

And then when it happened, I thought, you know, wait a minute. You know, people know me. They know that I'm not prejudiced; I'm not like that. I've come a long way. And, Larry, it's tough to be a nobody and then work up to be a somebody. There's -- and some of old things still hang onto you.

Unfortunately, my vocabulary. I'm not -- trying not to swear. The "F" word, the "A" word, the "P" word, the "N" word. I'm trying not to use any of those words. Then I won't be accustomed to just letting this stuff fly. I have quit swearing for four or five days. And now to hear the "F" word when people use it, it kind of upsets me a little bit in my spirit: "Oh, what are you saying?"

And I thought today, you mean, when I swore like that, that's what it meant to people?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I can't explain that. I watched the whole thing. It lasts an hour. You can watch it on "LARRY KING LIVE" later tonight.

That does it for this edition of 360. For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next. Here in America, "Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling," a CNN special investigation, starts right now.

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