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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Battle Over Jackson Children?; Final Jackson Rehearsal Caught on Tape
Aired July 2, 2009 - 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 number of major developments in the Michael Jackson investigation to tell you about.
Let's get started.
We're going to show you video we first obtained of Michael Jackson's last full rehearsal, as well as my interview with the man who saw him last the night before he died at the Staples Center.
Also, confirmation Debbie Rowe may fight for custody of two of Jackson's children. We will have all the developments on that.
But we begin potentially significant breaking news, news you will only see here on 360. As you know, a registered nurse who had worked for Jackson three months ago has claimed he asked her for a powerful intravenous sedative drug three months before his death.
Tonight, new information on Jackson's history with potent sleep drugs.
360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta has been on the trail of a doctor who we have learned worked for Jackson on tour in the late 1990s, an anesthesiologist himself with a checkered medical past.
Sanjay, what have you learned?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you, we know several things now.
Sources close to Michael Jackson tell us that, during the "HIStory" tour back in '96 and '97, Jackson was actually traveling with what looked like a mini clinic, including an I.V. Pole, drips, and what looked like a rack with lights and monitors and such.
Sources who had the opportunity to see Jackson at various points during the tour say Jackson was traveling with at least two doctors, one of whom was anesthesiologist Dr. Neil Ratner.
Now, one source says he asked Ratner about all this elaborate equipment, and Ratner said he was there because Michael simply couldn't sleep. Now, Ratner went on to say, according to the source, "I take him down at night," referring to Jackson, "and I bring him back up in the morning."
Now, a source said Michael Jackson often appeared groggy. And when the source asked Jackson about all this equipment, he just said he needed sleep.
So, it was -- it was pretty remarkable, Anderson, to just hear that so clearly.
COOPER: Well, Sanjay, I mean, over the past couple nights, we have talked to each other about how dangerous powerful anesthetics can be. Do we know anything about precautions taken to protect Jackson on this tour?
GUPTA: Yes, we do.
Sources say that Ratner would keep the equipment in his hotel room, which would be next to Jackson's. And he would use that for monitoring Jackson's vital signs when he was asleep or under, as the source put it.
Now, there was a "Vanity Fair" article that said a former business associate of Jackson's said the singer had a -- quote -- "sleep disorder". And then Ratner confirmed that to us today on the phone.
But I really wanted to talk to him some more. So, we tracked him down, Anderson, today to Woodstock, New York, where he now lives with his wife.
Here's what he had to say.
GUPTA: We have come here because your -- your name is obviously associated with Michael Jackson. And people said that there was a question of whether or not you gave anesthesia to him while he was on tour. And we just wanted to come to the source, you, and -- and here, and find out if that had happened.
DR. NEIL RATNER, TREATED MICHAEL JACKSON: I'm very upset. I'm distraught. Michael was a good person.
I can't talk about it right now. It's really something I don't want to talk about right now. I lost a friend, and I feel very badly about that.
GUPTA: There were two -- two people -- and I just want to allow you to respond to this. And you can, or you don't have to. But I think it's important that you hear this.
We have a couple different sources that said they would see I.V. equipment, what sounded like probably pumps. They described it as a -- as sort of an audio rack sort of looking thing in a hotel room with Michael. And -- and they -- they made it sound like that was your stuff. Are they wrong? Or was it -- was it...
RATNER: I really don't want to talk about this topic at all now. I really have nothing to say about it right now. You know, the man hasn't had a funeral and the man hasn't been buried. It's inappropriate. I don't want to talk about it right now. And I appreciate it if we could end this now.
GUPTA: So, who is Dr. Neil Ratner? Well, he's a board-certified doctor who was -- as we mentioned, served as one of Jackson's doctors on the "HIStory" tour that spanned '96, '97, over 80 performances on the tour.
Now, Ratner was actually stripped of his medical license for three years back in 2002 after being found guilty of insurance fraud, Anderson.
COOPER: So, to the -- back to the hotel rooms, the "HIStory" tour. Did Ratner or your sources say anything about seeing -- you know, there's been talk about this drug Diprivan or propofol in the last couple days because of this registered nurse who said that Jackson asked her for that three months ago. And have the sources mentioned anything about that?
GUPTA: Well, there was no specific mention of the medication propofol, also known as Diprivan, no specific medication.
But it was worth noting that, you know, we're talking back in '97. At that time, at least, propofol wasn't nearly as commonly used as it is today. But there weren't specific drugs mentioned, just that equipment, Anderson.
COOPER: Is it odd to you as a medical doctor to have an anesthesiologist with somebody on a tour?
GUPTA: Completely odd.
GUPTA: No question, very odd. And to have all that equipment as well, I had never heard of such a thing. To have that equipment outside some sort of medical setting, you know, I'm -- I'm hearing things that frankly I had never heard of before as a doctor.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, obviously a lot still we don't know.
And, just to be clear, we do not know what, if any, drugs Michael Jackson was taking for insomnia or for any other reason. And we won't know until the toxicology reports are made public. I talked with Jackson's concert promoter today, who told me point-blank the singer had passed a five-hour insurance physical with flying colors -- that interview later on in this hour.
But I want to show you some of the last images ever recorded of Michael Jackson performing. This is Tuesday night, two days before he died, a full-length dress rehearsal for his upcoming show. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC) (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The tape a very vivid reminder that, no matter what information comes out in the next weeks or days or months, even, that tape reminds us all that this is a story about a man who died far too soon, a remarkable performer the world has lost.
COOPER: We're going to show you the whole tape later on this hour.
But, first, there are other big developments to talk about involving custody of the two eldest Jackson children, a judge today pushing back the permanent guardianship hearing for Prince Michael and Paris Michael by a week, to the 13th of July. And word tonight that birth mother Debbie Rowe, who was not mentioned in Jackson's will, or specifically not mentioned in Jackson's will, might -- we say might -- try to seek custody, her lawyer saying -- quote -- "She has not reached a final decision."
More on how she got to this point from Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's the woman Michael Jackson picked to have his children. And Debbie Rowe was happy to help, as she told "The Insider" back in 2005.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE INSIDER")
DEBBIE ROWE, EX-WIFE OF MICHAEL JACKSON: If someone needs something I'm there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Their brief marriage, which seemed to be more of an arrangement, gave Jackson two children, Michael Jr., now 12, and Paris, now 11.
Rowe waved her parental rights in 2001, telling a Los Angeles court -- quote -- "They are his children" -- all part of an $8.5 million settlement in which the pop star got full custody.
Rowe explained on FOX in 2003.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROWE: I don't need my children. My children are with their father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: But now, with their father dead, Los Angeles TV station KNBC spoke to Rowe and reports, she wants her children back.
CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
(on camera): Does Debbie Rowe have any custody rights at this point?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: As the biological mother, Debbie Rowe is first in line to get custody under California law, which favors a biological parent.
KAYE (voice-over): Rowe's attorney said tonight he had no reason to dispute KNBC's report, but insisted she has not reached a final decision.
Jackson's will names his mother, Katherine Jackson, as guardian.
BLOOM: Katherine Jackson can claim, she's had no connection to these kids for a number of years. That makes her an unfit mother. But I don't think that would be enough for the court to sever her parental rights.
KAYE (on camera): KNBC also reported Debbie Rowe is willing to submit to psychological and DNA testing to prove she's the children's biological mother. Legal experts told me that will likely come into play in a custody showdown.
KAYE (voice-over): Rowe, now 50, lives on a horse farm outside of Los Angeles. As part of her agreement with Jackson, she says she wasn't even allowed to have pictures of the children in the house.
If she does decide to fight for custody, and wins, she won't need the pictures. She will have the real thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's a startling development today, that we heard this. And, again, according to the lawyer, she has not yet made up her mind. Has there been any reaction from the Jackson family legal team at this point?
KAYE: We haven't heard from the lawyers today.
But, as you know, yesterday, Anderson, the -- the legal team did come out and say that they absolutely do not expect to have a custody battle on their hands. But now it looks like they very well might.
And from what legal experts have told me today, they think that -- that the court may actually show some sympathy for Debbie Rowe, because, over the years, even though a lot of people think that she abandoned her children, over the years, there were a couple of times where she actually tried to get custody of them and protect them, once when Michael Jackson was charged with child molestation, and another time when she felt that he had been too closely associated with the Nation of Islam. And she felt that was dangerous for her children. So, legal experts do believe that maybe the court will see that, maybe it will show that she cared, and they may have a little sympathy for her.
COOPER: All right, Randi Kaye, appreciate it.
We're going to have more on the custody angle next. Is this about what's best for the kids, or is this about money for Debbie Rowe? We will talk about that.
Let us know what your take is. Join the live chat happening now at AC360.com.
A lot to talk about, a court hearing postponed as we mentioned, the case that Debbie Rowe might try to make. Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here, along with the Reverend Al Sharpton, who has been working with the Jackson family.
Later, a fuller look at the last known video of Michael Jackson on stage, and the picture it does and does not paint of the performer's condition.
And, also, my interview with the Jackson creative team, including the promotion company president who saw the star the night before he died, who hugged him goodbye about 12:30 a.m. on Thursday morning -- what he says ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was two days before he died, Michael Jackson rehearsing with his dance company at the Staples Center. That was their final dress full rehearsal, dress rehearsal, for his comeback concert series, the footage just taken, as I said, just two nights before he died.
If not the warp speed Jackson of his "Thriller" and "Bad" days, he is certainly looking fit enough for a 50-year-old -- I should be so lucky to look that fit at 50 -- in fact, the picture of health, according to his top concert promoter. He says Jackson passed a five- hour checkup with flying colors.
We will have more in a moment from him and members of Jackson's creative team. And we will show you the entire tape later on.
President Obama today also paying tribute to Michael Jackson. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that Michael Jackson is -- will go down in history as one of our greatest entertainers. I grew up on his music, still have all -- all his stuff on my iPod. You know, I think that his brilliance as a performer also was paired a tragic and in many ways sad personal life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was President Obama today.
With us now talking about all the late developments, including custody arrangements, longtime Jackson confidant, the Reverend Al Sharpton, also longtime chronicler and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Reverend Sharpton, let me start off with you.
Your reaction to comments made by Debbie Rowe and her attorney that she may seek some sort of custody.
AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I don't have any reaction to that.
I mean, I have basically been one that has admired and respected Michael's value, historically, and we have been trying to deal with that. I have not gotten into the private thing one way or another.
My personal view is, no one can deny Katherine Jackson as the matriarch of that family, who has been a driving force. And I think the whole world respects and loves her. And I think and her legal team will resolve whatever matters in their way. I don't get into that.
COOPER: You met with Joe Jackson today, other members of the Jackson family. Was there any discussion about that?
Their discussion is preparing, of course, with whatever the services and the public celebration of his life -- we talked about the Apollo thing that I helped coordinate -- and preserving his legacy.
I mean, those of us in civil rights see him as the icon and want to make sure he's treated fairly and we stay within that area. I'm not a confidant in the sense of their legal or family strategy. I'm one that just wants to see him treated fairly. Elvis, and Frank Sinatra, others had flaws that people talked about, but not to this degree.
I don't know that any of this stuff about Michael is true. I just want him to be treated properly in history. That's all.
COOPER: Jeff, I want to play you a clip of Jermaine Jackson speaking to Larry King just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What do you make of the ex- wife possibly seeking custody?
JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, see, Larry, the will is what it is. And the will was really written well. And it was executed by the executors. And they did a great job. It's what it is.
KING: So, you don't think she has a shot?
JACKSON: Well, no, no, because this is what Michael wanted. We're looking at Michael, and this is all about Michael. This is what he wanted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jeff, clearly, this is what Michael Jackson wanted. We're not sure now what Debbie Rowe wants. What do make of her sort of stepping in now saying, well, maybe she -- she does want to fight for custody?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, this could get complicated, because, ordinarily, the biological mother does have first claim.
But this is, to put it mildly, not an ordinary situation. She's had virtually no relationship with the kids. Katherine Jackson apparently has had a relationship with the kids.
But there's another factor here that we haven't mentioned yet that is very important. What do the kids want? They're 12, 11 years old. Blanket is 7. a judge will ask the three of them who they want to live with. And that will have a big impact on the resolution of this case.
COOPER: Also, Debbie Rowe, to the extent that she had any involvement, being the biological mother, it was only of two children. So, if in fact they did award custody to her in any capacity, that would actually be separating this family, which seems highly unlikely now.
TOOBIN: It does seem very unlikely.
And one of the rules that judges try to follow -- they don't always follow it -- is, in a terribly traumatic situation like this, is, you try to keep the siblings together. And -- and Debbie Rowe has absolutely no claim on Blanket.
So, it does seem unlikely that she would have a -- that she would wind up with the children. But it is also true that the biological mother is favored under California law. So, it would not be a frivolous claim.
If you want to get cynical about the whole thing, she, in essence, sold the rights to these children for $8.5 million several years ago. There could be another monetary settlement here. It's an ugly way to think about parenthood, but it's one way that -- that it's -- makes sense here. COOPER: Well, clearly, she hasn't thought much about parenthood over the life of these kids, by her own admission in several interviews.
Jeff, do you think this is about money for her? I mean, do you think this is some sort of negotiating -- you know, she kind of rattles her saber, and then sees what happens?
TOOBIN: Certainly, that's a plausible interpretation. I don't know her well enough. I don't know all the circumstances well enough.
But just from the -- from the facts that are publicly available and her history with these children, it certainly is something that you could make an argument to a judge that this isn't about the children; this is about money.
COOPER: Reverend Sharpton, you have been focusing on the legacy, as you said, and the -- what do we know about this memorial service that's going to take place now on Tuesday? Is it a done deal that it's going to take place Tuesday?
SHARPTON: I think there will be an announcement in the morning. And I think, by then, they will have -- they will announce at that point what has been -- you know, whether they have concluded. I think they're still conversing.
But I think you have got remember, this is a mammoth task. You're talking about a world star figure, people from all over the world wanting to celebrate. There have already been celebrations like the one we did at the Apollo. So, I think they're working out the details. This is an awesome task for the family and others that have done business with Michael.
You're not talking about something they planned on. And then you're talking about someone you can't easily give the kind of due that he's entitled to.
COOPER: I talked to officials from AEG Live today, the company which was promoting the concerts. They say they have more than 100 hours of behind-the-scenes footage of Michael Jackson rehearsing, preparing for this concert.
They have this entire stage production, which they have put some $30 million into at this point already. They have the dancers. It's all done. They would like to see, it seems, some sort of tribute performance, not necessarily -- this is separate from what's going to occur on Tuesday.
Is that something you would also like to see?
SHARPTON: I mean, I think that, as you get by whatever happens in terms of the public memorial, if it's Tuesday, I think that we would love to see a global celebration, maybe around his birthday, where all kinds of people -- Michael was one of the few artists in the history of the world that every continent celebrated. And it would be wonderful to have him bring the world together one more time on his birthday or some date like that. That would be wonderful. That would be the spirit of Michael, uniting people across religious, and national, racial lines. That was Michael Jackson, not all of this who shot John, who did this, but the spirit of unity and love. That's what Michael was about.
And I think that that's what we ought to concentrate on.
COOPER: There has been increasing pushback from Jermaine Jackson during "LARRY KING," you just saying tonight about the importance of focusing on his legacy. Do you think it is appropriate to be asking questions about potential drug use, about what may be in the toxicology report, things like that?
I mean, that -- clearly, that is what reporters do. There's a lot of interest in that. And there is a death involved here that is unanswered.
SHARPTON: I think that they're -- reporters have a right to ask questions, but I don't think that ought to be the only questions.
I don't hear reporters asking about how Michael did "We Are the World" first and raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Africa before Live Aid. I don't hear them talk about how he broke the racial barrier with MTV. I don't hear them talk about how Michael would come into communities and make sure poor kids had funds for their programs.
So, what I'm saying that I got involved is because I'm only hearing the negative. I hear all these stories about his family dysfunction.
What are you talking about? When Michael was on trial here, his mother and father and siblings walked in that courtroom every day and stood with him. So, why don't we talk about the whole Michael, not just blow up a small percentage?
You have the right to ask the questions, but when that's the only question, people like me come in and say, is that really being fair to the legacy of a person that did so much for so many?
COOPER: And -- but, Tuesday, you hope and expect that legacy to be on full display?
SHARPTON: I think, whatever the family does, I think we all will respect. And I think there will be future dates as well where the whole world will say, you can say in the media what you want about Michael.
Those of us Michael touched know what Michael meant to us. And that's why thousands surrounded the Apollo in the rain, because they don't believe the hype. They know what Michael Jackson meant.
COOPER: Reverend Sharpton, we appreciate your time, Jeff Toobin as well.
We have a lot more ahead tonight, my conversation with AEG Live officials, the last people, the people who worked with him over these last weeks and months getting ready for this concert, their recollection of -- of their last moments with Michael Jackson, how he seemed to them early Thursday morning, around 12:30 a.m., when they said goodbye to him at the Staples Center.
Also, we will show you the full tape of his final live dress rehearsal, live -- ahead tonight.
COOPER: And we're live in Los Angeles tonight.
Just ahead, the video shown first on CNN today before you saw it anywhere else. It was shot just two days before Michael Jackson's death, during his last full rehearsal for his comeback concert series. You will see what he looked like. You will hear from four people who were with him on that night, his final night, on Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
How did he seem to them? Find out.
But, first, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, North Korea test-fired four short-range missiles off its eastern coast today. But a U.S. intelligence official says there are no indications whatsoever of an impending long-range missile test.
Meantime, President Obama telling the Associated Press the U.S. is trying to keep a door open for North Korea to return to international nuclear disarmament talks.
Vice President Joe Biden arriving in Baghdad today for an unannounced visit. The White House says he's there to visit U.S. troops and meet with Iraqi leaders. It is his first trip to Iraq as vice president.
Employers cutting 467,000 jobs in June, that is actually far more than forecast. It pushes the jobless rate to 9.5 percent, which is a 26-year high. Now, this is actually the first time in four months job losses rose from the month before.
And her first birthday party as first daughter, what will it be like? Malia Obama turns 11 this Saturday, the Fourth of July. And, apparently, she's getting a head start with a slumber party at Camp David. About 20 young friends have already arrived to help with the celebration, dad revealing those plans today in that interview with the Associated Press. Sasha Obama turned 8 last month.
COOPER: Happy birthday to both of them.
Still ahead tonight, the last known video of Michael Jackson, as we said, made just two days before his death, shows him on stage dancing, singing, not lip-synching, actually singing, preparing for his comeback concert series. We will show you more of the video ahead. And you can judge for yourself how he appeared.
You will also hear from four people who were with Jackson at his last two rehearsals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: M.J. had a glow about him. He had his shoulders back, his head up. And he just -- he just looked great. He sounded great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Also tonight, a couple in crisis, and they can't seem to stop talking about it -- Governor Mark Sanford's wife speaking out again about her cheating husband -- the latest ahead.
We're live from Los Angeles.
COOPER: Tonight, we know much more about the final days and hours of Michael Jackson's life, including how he looked, how he seemed on stage as he prepared for the comeback concert series that, by any measure, would have been grueling.
More now of the video made on June 23, two days before Jackson died. It shows the last full rehearsal he took part in. Now, no one knew then, of course, that these would be among the last images ever recorded of the pop legend on stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold for applause. Hold for applause. Slow umbrella, fade out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Michael Jackson, perhaps where he felt most comfortable, on stage. That was Jackson on June 23, 48 hours before he died. The next day, Wednesday, June 24, Jackson had another rehearsal, less intensive session, one that by all accounts, went just as well as the day before.
Now, today earlier I sat down with four people who were at both rehearsals. Randy Phillips, president of AEG Live, the promoter for the "This is It" concert series in London; Kenny Ortega, well-known show director and co-creator of this performance; choreographer Travis Payne; and musical director Michael Bearden.
Now, they told me that Wednesday's rehearsal wrapped up at around 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning. They said good night to Jackson, not knowing it would be the last time they saw him alive. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE
COOPER: You were all with Michael Jackson Tuesday night and Wednesday night before he died. How did he seem?
MICHAEL BEARDEN, MUSICAL DIRECTOR, "THIS IS IT TOUR": Michael was great to me. He -- he was happy. You know, we did a long, exhaustive technical rehearsal maybe Tuesday or -- Tuesday or Wednesday. And then, by the time we got him to the stage, I would just like to describe it. Because my band saw this. M.J. had a glow about him. He had his shoulders back, his head up, and he just -- he just looked great. He sounded great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happiness.
BEARDEN: He just had this triumphant feel about him, just like, you know...
COOPER: There are reports circulating that he didn't want to do all these shows, that he maybe didn't want to follow through on the commitment.
RANDY PHILLIPS, PRESIDENT & CEO, AEG LIVE: When we did the deal, I'm the one who did the deal with Michael. Originally when we were doing this, we were going to do 30 shows in London. We didn't know how big it was going to be, nor did he. He was a little insecure about how the public would be, him coming back after 12 1/2 years.
So normally when you promote concerts, you're going to be doing 30 shows, you don't put them all on sale at the same time, because it's a disincentive for people to buy early.
COOPER: Initially, only ten shows were announced.
PHILLIPS: Ten shows. And then we sold those out, we were going to Yes, roll into the next ten, roll into the next ten. It became relatively obvious in the first pre-registration on Wednesday that this thing was unheralded. I mean, we had over a million registrations. So we knew we were going to blow through the 30 shows.
And I called a gentleman named Dr. Tomei (ph), who was managing Michael at the time and was his representative. And I said, "Listen, we're going to blow through the 30 shows in the presale. We're going to have nothing left for the general public. We're going to need to add more shows. Will you talk to Michael?"
So then he called Michael and then called me back and said, "Michael will go to 50 shows, as long as you make sure the Guinness Book of World Records is there to record that."
COOPER: Because there is a report out that -- by unnamed sources, that he didn't want to do 50 shows. You're saying point blank that is not true.
PHILLIPS: That is absolutely not true. KENNY ORTEGA, SHOW DIRECTOR, "THIS IS IT TOUR": It's the way he wanted to do them, you know? Michael wanted to make sure that he had that sort of turnaround time. Because what Michael did when he went on stage, I mean, he put it out like no other performer, ever. I mean, he gave -- he exhausted himself.
COOPER: What happened? What do you think happened to Michael Jackson? You saw him the might before he died?
PHILLIPS: We all saw him that night when he finished Wednesday night, at 12:30 in the morning. I looked over and he, Kenny and Frank DiLeo, who was managing him during this process, were hugging each other.
I walked him to the car. And I was going to my car. And he put his arm around me and, with that soft voice of his, he whispered in my ear, "Thank you. We're going to get it there together. I know I can do this."
COOPER: Randy, I mean, you're a businessman. From a business standpoint did you have concerns about being in business with Michael Jackson? I mean, given his history on backing out on some concerts?
PHILLIPS: The answer, Anderson, is yes. It would be untruthful of me to say I wasn't. We had those concerns. I discussed it with the gentleman I worked for, Phil Anschutz, who owns the company, and Tim Leiweke.
But you know what? In very few times in anyone's career do you get a chance to touch greatness. OK? And to me, it was worth taking that risk. And a reporter asked me if I would do it all over again? And the answer is, hell yes.
COOPER: As part of the business proposition, Michael had to undergo a medical exam for -- to get insurance?
COOPER: Do you -- do you have the results of that exam? Was there a drug test for that exam?
PHILLIPS: The insurance carrier sent a doctor out from New York named Dr. David Slavic, I believe. And -- independent of us. We had nothing to do with it. He examined Michael for about five hours at his house. And I think they went somewhere for some other tests. And I'm sure there was a blood test.
We're obviously not privy to the parent/doctor relationship or that information. But the insurance broker told us that he passed with flying colors. OK? And that the only issue was some slight hay fever.
COOPER: So you -- as you have been watching over the last several days allegations come out about drug use, what do you think?
PHILLIPS: Well, you know, I don't know. Because I wasn't with him 24/7. I've spent a lot of time with him. OK. All I know is the Michael Jackson that hugged me and said good night was a healthy, vibrant human being about to undertake the greatest undertaking of his life. OK? And something happened between 12:30 when he left us and the morning when I had to rush to the hospital when I got the first call.
COOPER: That night he did ask his doctor to stay over, overnight. Did any of you have any indication that there may have been something wrong with him that night?
ORTEGA: He left happy. I mean, he looked into my eyes and he said, "Are you happy?" I said, "I'm happy and proud. It was an incredible night." And I said, "Are you happy?"
And he said, "I'm very happy."
BEARDEN: I had to stay and wait for him, because his car was blocking mine. So the security team was there. And he's coming out, looking at him like, dude, I'm ready to go. I'm sorry. And he's looking at me, says, "I'm sorry, Bearden. See you tomorrow. It was a good day today?" Yes. Yes. He always had this thing, yes.
COOPER: The decision to have a full-time doctor, was that his decision? Or was that AEG's?
PHILLIPS: No, it was -- this was a debate. Actually, my production guy, Paul Gondaway (ph), who's in charge of the budget, had a big fight with him, because we wanted to hire a doctor in London. I mean -- and I know I could get in trouble for this. I know there are good doctors in Bangladesh. But the shows weren't in Bangladesh. They were in London. OK? It made no sense.
We spent a lot of money to take Dr. Murray, Conrad Murray out of his practice, OK. Well, he went public, $150,000 a month plus travel plus hotels plus per diems. As producers of the show it made no sense with the doctors and the medical, and what you have in London.
COOPER: Michael Jackson demanded that?
PHILLIPS: He demanded.
COOPER: That wasn't a doctor you selected? That was a doctor he...
PHILLIPS: Michael said to me, "You don't understand." Because I took one last shot at talking him out of it. And it has nothing to do with Dr. Murray. No judgments whatsoever. I just said to Michael, I said, "Michael, we're spending too much money. It doesn't make sense."
He said, "You don't understand. My body is the machine that fuels this whole business. OK? I need that kind of attention." And you know what? When Michael Jackson says that to you, and there's this much at stake, you don't argue.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, obviously, all these four people are business people. They're also, in the case of at least three of them, artists, as well. And they are all deeply saddened by Michael Jackson's loss. They feel it very personally, as well, of course, as professionally.
You can watch the video of Michael Jackson's last full rehearsal, shot just two days before he died, as many times as you want. It's on our Web site at AC360.com.
You can also join the live chat, let us know what you think about the program tonight, at AC360.com.
We're also following two plane crash investigations. Some shocking new details about how that Air France plane, Flight 447, actually went down. Whether or not it really did break up in midair or whether it was intact when it hit the water.
And a sole survivor from a different crash, one that killed more than 150 people. The only survivor, a young girl speaks out tonight.
Also ahead, invading a Taliban stronghold. U.S. Marines in Afghanistan launching a new offensive. The latest in their fight against the insurgency. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're back live from Los Angeles. Tonight, new developments in two deadly plane crashes in what some are calling a miracle. We have some stunning new information on the final seconds of Air France Flight 447, and the details reveal the plane hit the Atlantic Ocean intact. Everyone on board the plane, of course, died.
But another jet plunged into the Indian Ocean this week, and this 14-year-old girl survived the disaster. She's the only survivor. Tom Foreman has her extraordinary account in just a moment. But he begins with the new details on Air France Flight 447.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the mystery of Air France 447 is just getting deeper. The preliminary French report dismisses the idea that the plane broke up in the air in terrible weather. Instead, investigators say it came down -- they don't know quite how -- but ultimately, it belly-flopped onto the ocean after falling fast and nearly straight down.
They think that, because they found this large debris field. You can see where all the pieces are in relation to where the plane went down right here. And some of the bigger pieces like this one show signs of vertical stress, like they were crunched from the top to the bottom. That's why they're thinking that they had this belly-flopping phenomenon.
They've also confirmed that they had a dramatic loss of cabin pressure, that systems were failing all over the plane all at once, and that the auto pilot had switched itself off, because it couldn't get accurate readings on the plane's speed or altitude.
All of that is refocusing attention on that great big line of storms that this plane passed through. They were terrible storms at the time. They're wondering if that caused a massive electrical failure or maybe a broken rudder, making the plane uncontrollable.
On the other side of Africa, French and Yemeni officials are also looking at bad weather around the crash of another Airbus.
(voice-over) It happened near the island nation of Comoros, leaving a mystery and what some consider a miracle. One hundred fifty-three people disappeared when that plane hit the Indian Ocean while trying to land. And one has come back.
This 13-year-old girl, Baya Bakari, is in a hospital in France with only some cuts, bruises and a broken collar bone. The shy teenager was going to visit relatives. Her father says she can barely swim, yet somehow she stayed afloat for 13 hours until she was spotted by rescuers amid the wreckage.
He says, she told me, "Papa, we saw the plane going down in the water. I could hear people talking, but I couldn't see anyone. I was in the dark. I couldn't see a thing. On top of that, Daddy, I can't swim well, and I held onto something but I don't know what."
(on camera) Even Baya can't explain how she survived. She says she felt nothing during the impact. By the time the rescuers found her, everyone else appears to have been loss, including Baya's mother -- Anderson.
COOPER: Unbelievable that she was able to survive. Tom, thank you very much.
You can go to AC360.com to hear other amazing stories of plane crash survivors.
Coming up next on the ground in Afghanistan, the latest: searching for an American soldier captured by insurgents. And the latest on the offensive, a major U.S. offensive targeting the Taliban. The strategy and what's at stake ahead.
And Governor Sanford's wife is speaking out days after her husband admits to crossing the line with multiple women. Crossing the line is his term, by the way. We have the "Raw Politics" ahead.
COOPER: In Afghanistan, U.S. forces are trying to rescue one of their own: an American serviceman captured by insurgents. The Pentagon says the kidnapped trooper was not taking part in the major new offensive against the Taliban that's left at least one Marine dead and several others injured.
Operation Khanjar, or Strike of the Sword, is aimed at rooting out the Taliban in Helmand province, which is a militant stronghold where the fighting has been fierce for some time.
Take a look at what some American Marines were up against just last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to cover you, on three. One, two, three.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Nic Robertson is in Islamabad, Pakistan. He joins us now for more on the missing soldier and the offensive.
Nic, what do we know?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, one of the concerns right now is that the missing serviceman may be across the border inside Pakistan already. Why do people think that may be possible? The group that has captured him, Haqqani clan, affiliated with the Taliban, they also held a prisoner for seven months, the "New York Times" journalist David Rohde. They brought him here to Pakistan to hold him in a safe location. And their concern is that could be what's happening to the U.S. serviceman right now.
Pakistan has moved additional troops to the border with Afghanistan to help support the Marine operations, stop more Taliban coming into Helmand province where the Marines are fighting.
But the Marines have a tough challenge ahead. This is the hottest time of the rear. So fighting in these conditions very tough. Winning over the local population, which is what they're going to do to hold those areas, also incredibly tough. Because they lack the civilian element, the civil affairs, the civilian element that will come in, convince the local population that the Marines are there to help them.
Vets, doctors, agricultural experts, these types of people, they're just not there. And this is going to add to the challenge of the Marines' job, that once they kick the Taliban out, to keep them out, Anderson.
COOPER: Nic, you have a lot of experience in this area, a lot of contacts, even with the Taliban. You're hearing that they're going to try to make a big deal out of this capture of the American service member?
ROBERTSON: Anderson, I've talked to people who have been involved in Taliban kidnappings inside Afghanistan. And they say that this is a big deal for the Taliban, that this group, the Haqqani group, will make as much out of it as they can. They will, quote, "go for humiliation." They will try to release a videotape. They will try to use this -- use the serviceman as a bargaining chip to get other -- to get Taliban released from captivity. They'll ask for a lot of money. But they're going to milk this for all it's worth.
Because captured U.S. servicemen for the Taliban is worth far more than inflated figures of attacks against U.S. troops and claims of downing helicopters. Here they will try to get a video out. That's the assessment of everyone who's watching this right now, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, let's hope they get him back soon. Nic Robertson, thanks very much.
Coming up next on 360, South Carolina's first lady speaking out about her cheating husband, Mark Sanford. Her new statement: she's ready to forgive him, she says. But does she want him to resign? Find out.
Plus, the dash cam cuddle. Have you seen this? A police chief caught on camera, kind of getting cozy with another police officer. The story and the fallout ahead on 360.
COOPER: Welcome back. We're in Los Angeles, live tonight. Let's get caught up with some of the other big headlines. Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, a federal judge has tentatively thrown out the misdemeanor conviction of a Missouri mom for her role in a MySpace hoax involving a 13-year-old neighbor who ended up committing suicide. Prosecutors say Megan Meier killed herself after receiving humiliating messages Lori Drew, who was posing as a teen boy on the site. Megan's mother, though, still believes justice was done. She says that's because people learned about the dangers lurking on the Internet.
"Raw Politics" now, South Carolina's first lady Jenny Sanford saying she's willing to forgive her husband for his wandering eye, but it is up to South Carolinians, she says, to decide if he should step down as governor.
The wife of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff evicted from the couple's $7 million Manhattan penthouse. Federal marshals seized the home today. They refused to let Ruth Madoff take her fur coat. The property and its contents will be sold to help pay back the victims of the Madoff scam.
And the police chief of Perry Township, Ohio, is taking early retirement after this dash cam video became public which shows him kissing and caressing a female officer, all while -- wait for it -- a prisoner is in the back seat, Anderson.
COOPER: Whoa. Are you serious?
COOPER: Nice. Yes. Wow.
HILL: You're the police chief. You've got a dashboard cam. Just letting you know.
COOPER: All right. Yes.
Now, Erica, thanks very much. Coming up next, "The Shot." Stop, a sea lion. Take a look as the sea lion kind of tries to take a police boat on a joyride. Bizarre video. We've got the video and the story ahead.
Also at the top of the hour, the latest on the last rehearsals for Michael Jackson. The new video of Michael Jackson taken just two days before his death.
And late developments on whether Debbie Rowe is going to try to seek custody of the two kids that she had with Jackson. We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right, Erica, time for tonight's "Shot." A sea lion hijacks a police harbor boat here in Southern California. The -- apparently, the Orange County Sheriff's Office says two deputies saw the sea lion trying to attack the boy on a dock. They enticed the sea lion onto the boat, planned to take the sea lion out to sea. Somewhere more suitable for the animal.
The deck lights started going on and off. The deck lights started going on and off for no reason. And so they went to investigate. And in the cabin, where another ceiling -- steering wheel is located, the sea lion was hitting buttons and trying to steer the boat, they say.
HILL: I love it. I think the sea lion at one point even put the boat into reverse, I read.
COOPER: Is that right?
COOPER: They ultimately brought the sea lion back to marine headquarters, where, after some prodding and a few treats, it apparently went back into the water. I'm not sure what kind of treats they gave it, but it seemed to work.
HILL: How about that? The sea lion is cute and all, but I don't really want it driving my boat.
COOPER: Yes, exactly. Don't let sea -- sea lions get behind the wheel.
You can see all the most -- you can see all the most recent "Shots" in tonight's "Beat 360," which we didn't have time for on the broadcast, on our Web site at AC360.com.
Coming up at the top of the hour, exclusive new information that 360 MD Sanjay Gupta uncovered about Michael Jackson's history with a potent sleep drug. Why he had an anesthesiologist on tour with him back in the late '90s. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Tonight, a number of major developments in the Michael Jackson investigation to tell you about. Let's get started. We're going to show you video we first obtained of Michael Jackson's last full rehearsal, as well as my interview with the men who saw him last the night before he died, at the Staples Center.
Also, confirmation Debbie Rowe may fight for custody of two of Jackson's children. We'll have all the developments on that.