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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Will President Obama Raise Taxes?; Jackson Custody Decision; Who Should Control Jackson's Estate?; Researchers Track Source of Malaria
Aired August 3, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: A boost for the economy, but does it mean a boost for your taxes to pay for it? We will take a look at that.
Also, Randi Kaye on a breakthrough in the Michael Jackson custody case and growing questions about the Jackson fortune. First and foremost, just how much of a fortune is it?
And, later, Dr. Sanjay Gupta with word of a major discovery in the war against a disease that kills more than a million people every year, uncovering the origin of malaria and how it could save human lives.
Plus, four decades after their murders horrified the country, what became of Charles Manson and his twisted followers?
We will get to all of that tonight.
We begin, though, with new signs the recession is slowing. But these signs come with a potential price, new taxes, possibly for you? Will President Obama end up breaking a campaign promise not to raise taxes even a single dime on the middle class?
This weekend, a pair of the president's top economic advisers refused to rule out new taxes to close the budget gap, a shortfall that actually grows the economy during a recession, but could hurt it later.
Your money, your future, your taxes, chief business correspondent Ali Velshi has got it all covered for us, as always.
Ali, good to have you here.
So, bottom line, is everybody going to start paying more in taxes?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, six, even, eight months ago, we couldn't get through a nights without talking about the terrible things happening in the economy. So, before we get to taxes, let's tell you about what is going on.
We have several weeks, some months, in fact, of good reports, an indication that things are going better. Let's take a look at one of them. We always know that the stock market starts to recover before the rest of the economy in a recession. But take a look at this. Go back to Election Day and see where the Dow was, about 9139. It was pretty choppy, but pretty much down all the way until about March 9, which we now think, at least if things don't go wrong again, was the bottom of this market.
Now look at what has happened since then. It is almost like a V- shape. We are back up today higher than we were on Election Day. That is number one. Now take a look at the thing that got us into this recession in the first place, the housing market.
We have seen, in June -- that's the last month for which we have numbers -- an increase -- a little one, but an increase -- in the price of homes. We have seen a lot of homes being sold. And that is interesting, because what is happening is, people are buying a lot of homes that distressed or in foreclosure.
Let's take a look at this. The increase in home prices in June in major metropolitan areas was only half of 1 percent. But, boy, Erica, we will take a gain, as opposed to a loss. Let's take a look at existing homes -- that's basically used homes -- 85 percent, 90 percent of the homes that are all sold are existing homes.
The price from May to June went up 3.6 percent. It's still low compared to last June, a year ago, but, over the course of one month, we have seen an increase. Take a look at new home sales. This is interesting, because we had sort of stopped buying and stopped building new homes, up 11 percent from May to June, again, down compared to last June, but up in one month.
So, a lot of stuff going on, giving people a sense, Erica, that this economy might be on the mend.
HILL: OK. So, if it might be on the mend, how did we get to this mending point? Is it the government intervention that worked? Because it wouldn't be just the stimulus, of course. There were programs put into place before President Obama took office. So, can his administration really take credit?
VELSHI: You know, I have talked to a lot of economists about this, and there are some mixed views. There are some people who say that, if the economy continues to grow in a robust fashion, this administration can take credit for it.
But, right now, the growth that we have seen in the second quarter -- that's the second three months of this year -- the things that we're seeing now probably have a lot to do with what happened before the election, probably what happened in last October, where we had TARP and we had all of that intervention by the federal government. Boy, the government threw so much money at this economy. And, back then, we were saying, look, you will see a reaction. You are starting to see that reaction.
This probably has less to do with the Obama administration and more to do with more than $1 trillion that was thrown at this problem by the previous administration -- Erica. HILL: That trillion dollars, though has a little something to do with every single American out there. So, getting back to the issue at hand, even if things...
HILL: ... are getting better, how is the country going to pay for all the money that has been thrown at this problem? Is it inevitable that taxes are going to increase, and not just for those making more than $250,000?
VELSHI: Yes, and -- and that was a long way for me to get back to the point you asked in the first place. But that is exactly right.
What happened here is that we have seen -- let me give just you an example of what we have spent in the fist half of this year. The government took in a little less than $1 trillion, $986 billion. OK? That's revenues. That's taxes and things like that.
Let's take a look at what they spent: $1.94 trillion. So, the government spent almost twice what it took in, leaving a gap of $954 billion, almost a trillion dollars. That's the deficit. When you take all of the deficits, you put them together, you have the national debt.
And it is a whopping national debt. You are going to talk to somebody after this a lot smarter than me about this, but it is not obvious how exactly we end up paying for this national debt without increasing taxes on more than just high earners -- Erica.
HILL: All right, Ali Velshi, always appreciate you putting it into perspective for us.
We are going to dig deeper now on two angles here, first, the taxes, when and where we could see them and just who will pay, plus, a little damage control today at the White House in response to what was said on this subject over the weekend.
Joining us, senior CNN political analyst David Gergen, and David Walker, former comptroller general of the United States.
Good to have both the Davids with us tonight.
David Walker, I want to start with you.
Basically, from what we heard from Ali -- and I saw you shaking your head during that segment as well -- a tax increase is all but inevitable. But what kind of taxes could we be talking about? Is this an increase in income tax for maybe those making under $250,000 a year, or something like a value-added tax, or a VAT, that would apply almost across the board, because it's -- it is goods and services?
DAVID WALKER, FORMER UNITED STATES COMPTROLLER GENERAL: I think it is going to be a combination.
I think we're going to see a broadening of the tax base to try to keep rates as low as possible. But there will be income tax increases for better-off people. There will be an increase in the taxable wage base cap for Social Security, but not the tax rate, and a vat probably dedicated to health care expansion, all three.
HILL: None of those, I imagine, are going to go over very well.
David Gergen, the president, of course, throughout the campaign saying, "I'm not going to raise taxes even one single dime on 95 percent of Americans," kind of boxing himself into a corner there.
So, how does he go back now and sell a new tax, which sounds like he has to do?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he is not going to do it quickly, in any event, Erica.
He is certainly going to wait until the recession is over and unemployment comes down. That may be a year-and-a-half, two years. But David Walker is right. Inevitably, this is -- the taxes are going to go up, and go up on the middle class.
The administration will try first to take it out of people at the high end, but there is not enough money there. And one day, eventually, as -- as so many have done, if you spend a lot of money, as this administration wants to do, and as the Bush administration did, that combination of spending is going to force taxes to go up eventually.
HILL: We are going to continue this conversation next.
As always, you, too, can join in the live chat now under way at AC360.com.
Also ahead tonight: Sanjay Gupta with news out of Africa that could one day wipe malaria off the planet.
And some late new developments in the Jackson story tonight, including Dr. Arnie Klein getting into the legal act -- a judge ruling on custody as the fight continues over the estate.
HILL: Digging deeper now into your money and your future, the benefits of spending money now to stimulate the economy and the reality of who will pay further down the road.
When it comes to taxes, President Obama campaigned on and kept his promise to cut taxes for the middle class. But the question now, will he be able to keep that pledge when the bills come due?
Over the weekend, two of his chief economic advisers raised some doubts. And, today, the White House tried to squash them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS")
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We're going to have to do what it takes. We're going to do what's necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FACE THE NATION")
LAWRENCE SUMMERS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: It's never a good idea to absolutely rule things -- rule things out no matter what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm reiterating the president's clear commitment in the clearest terms possible that he's not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Back with us, the two Davids, Gergen and Walker, to weigh in on this for us.
David Gergen, I want to go back to you, because you said just before the break that the president, if he did have to raise taxes, would not do it now, would take a while until we were out of the recession.
But is there, in some ways, a bit of a political window here, because there are midterm elections coming up, and would it be better to maybe get it out of the way, so as to not end up with a larger problem for Democrats, if he wants to maintain a majority?
GERGEN: I don't think so, Erica.
I think to raise taxes now, first of all, would be bad economics, with a recession still under way and high unemployment. But, secondly, I think the political price of doing that now would be just horrendous, and Democrats would lose badly in the 2010 elections.
I understand, yesterday, why the economists on his team said, you have got to keep the door open to higher taxes. I also understand why the political side of the house today tried to close the door, because they are going into a month that is really vital for health care. And they don't want this question of higher taxes dampening public support for health care.
They have already got enough problems on health care reform. But, inevitably, as David Walker has been telling us again and again and again, we have created a bubble in -- in our federal government spending that is going to burst.
And the only way you are going to be able to try to control -- control and contain that bubble over time is to reduce spending and to raise taxes. And the middle class will have to pay for part of that. There is just no way around it. There is just not enough money among -- among people over $250,000 to pay all that -- close that gap. HILL: David, you brought up health care. David Walker, I want to turn -- return to you. One other thing I noticed yesterday from both Treasury Secretary Geithner and from Larry Summers is, they both put out there this idea that, look, you can fix the deficit, but the way to do that is to reform health care.
The Congressional Budget Office, though, has said, look, health care -- this health care reform is going to add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.
Is it smart to go out with this message, if you are the administration, of saying, yes, we can fix this deficit; we can do it with health care, which is what we really want to push right now?
WALKER: We clearly need comprehensive health care reform. And health care costs are the single biggest driver to our long-range deficits.
But you cannot reduce health care costs by expanding coverage. That is an oxymoron. I'm sure that the president meant it when he said that he didn't want to raise taxes on people over $250,000 when he was running for election. However, there have some big subsequent events, and the math doesn't come close to working. And, so, therefore, he will have to break that promise at some point, but it won't be until after the economy turns around.
HILL: There is some good news on the economy, we should point out. We heard a little bit of that from Ali earlier. And there has been some recovery. How much credit can the Obama administration claim for that recovery?
WALKER: Some, but not as much as they will.
WALKER: But that's -- that's how politics work.
HILL: So, David Gergen, how much do you think they should claim?
GERGEN: I think they should claim as much as they can get...
GERGEN: ...you know, as a political matter.
But I think David Walker is right. I mean, most economists will tell you that the -- that the -- exactly what Ali said in his report earlier, and that is, the stimulus program has helped some. The credit program, the housing program that this administration, the Obama administration, has put forward, they have helped some.
But probably what did -- what the Federal Reserve did before they took office and all the money that was thrown at the economy before they took office probably did more.
But I -- listen, when you're in the White House, you're going to get blamed for what goes wrong. It is totally understandable you try to take the credit for as much as you can when it goes right.
WALKER: Victory has 1,000 fathers. Defeat is an orphan.
HILL: Truer words may have never been spoken.
GERGEN: An old John F. Kennedy statement.
HILL: There you go.
WALKER: That's right.
HILL: David Walker, David Gergen, great to have you both with us tonight.
WALKER: Good to be with you.
And what do you think about this? How is the new president doing, as the second 100 days of the Obama administration winds down? We want to know. You can cast your vote at CNN.com/reportcard, where you can give your grade.
And, then, on Thursday night, right here, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, on CNN, you will see the results.
Just ahead, though, tonight, there is breaking news: former President Clinton heading to North Korea. Two lives may depend on his diplomacy tonight.
Also, new evidence that chimps are the source of one humanity's deadliest and toughest diseases to treat. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with the latest.
HILL: Breaking news tonight: CNN has learned former President Bill Clinton is now on his way to North Korea -- a reliable source telling us he is headed there, in hopes of securing the release of journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.
You may recall, they were tried, convicted and sentenced to a dozen years hard labor for -- quote -- "grave crimes against North Korea."
Mr. Clinton is reportedly on his way, but has not yet arrived in the North Korea capital of Pyongyang. Euna and Laura have been held there since the 17th of March. We will keep you updated as we learn anything more tonight.
Meantime, we are following several other stories tonight.
Gary Tuchman here tonight with a 360 bulletin.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica.
The Navy is awaiting results from DNA tests on the remains of the first American officer shot down in the 1992 Persian Gulf War. Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher over west central Iraq during a combat mission on the first night of the war. Yesterday, the Defense Department said it had found Speicher's remains and identified them with help from dental records. A tip from an Iraqi citizen last month helped solve the mystery.
Iran still not officially confirming it is holding three American hikers, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Swiss diplomats in Tehran are pressing Iranian officials for information. All three are former students at the University of California Berkeley and were hiking last week through parts of Iraq's Kurdistan region. They apparently crossed an unmarked border near the area of Ahmed Awaa.
And, on Friday afternoon, they contacted a friend to say they were surrounded by Iranian soldiers.
A new strain of the virus that causes AIDS has been identified and, for the first time, traced to gorillas, instead of chimpanzees. Researchers detected the new strain of HIV in a 62-year-old African woman from Cameroon who now lives in Paris.
And a terrifying moment for those on board a Continental flight en route to Houston from Rio de Janeiro -- severe turbulence more than two dozen passengers, four of them seriously. Many passengers said they did not hear any warning. The aircraft was forced to divert to Miami.
I know there's a lot of frightened fliers out there who get scared about stories like this.
TUCHMAN: But, Erica, flying is very safe. This is very rare, but wear those seat belts.
HILL: This from a man who flies about 18 times a week.
TUCHMAN: That's right.
HILL: All right, I will take your word, Gary Tuchman, but I still don't want to encounter that turbulence.
TUCHMAN: That's right.
HILL: Gary, thanks. Just ahead on 360: Michael Jackson's children and a fresh wild card from his former dermatologist, Dr. Arnie Klein. We will have the latest on today's custody hearing -- ruling for you, that is, what it means for Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe.
Plus, that strange request from the dermatologist. Just what did he ask the judge for? That is coming up.
And a bit later: 40 years later, the anniversary of the Manson murders. We will take a look at the crime and the killers -- when 360 continues.
HILL: Tonight, a major decision involving Michael Jackson's children, and a final one -- a judge today making it official, granting Katherine Jackson permanent custody of her three grandchildren.
It was the singer's wish that Michael Jr., Paris and Blanket live with his mother. But what about Debbie Rowe? Well, the hearing also addressed her rights and looked at who should control Jackson's estate.
But it wasn't all that straightforward. There was a bizarre moment involving one of Jackson's doctors that still has many people talking and wondering tonight.
Randi Kaye joining us live from Las Vegas with all the latest developments.
Randi, I'm still wondering about that one, actually.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we all are, Erica.
Katherine Jackson was awarded full custody today, as you said. Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, will have visitation. But, before all that was made official, major drama in the courtroom -- a strange request on behalf of Jackson's longtime dermatologist, Dr. Around Klein.
His lawyer told the judge Dr. Klein wanted to be involved with the children's medical care and education and be a part of their lives. This came out of nowhere, and was all so bizarre because of all the talk out there that Dr. Klein may actually be the biological father of these kids.
He told CNN -- quote -- to the best of his knowledge, he is not their father. But he did admit he donated sperm once and he just doesn't know. Now, we are talking of course about the two oldest children. This is all very bizarre.
The judge told his lawyer, Dr. Klein would not be a party to the custody hearing. His lawyer released a statement late tonight saying, Dr. Klein is not opposed to Katherine Jackson being the guardian, adding -- quote -- "Dr. Klein has always had a special relationship with Paris Katherine and Prince Michael, loves and cares deeply for these children, and is looking out for their best interests."
He apparently promised Michael Jackson he would do so, according to this statement.
HILL: Interesting, though, kind of the last person a lot of people would expect to -- to come forward, but not the first twist or turn we have seen in this.
The real business of the day, though, was of course this custody issue and the hearing on the estate, as well. Custody resolved. How about the estate?
KAYE: Not exactly. The estate battle continues. More hearings have been scheduled.
But what is really behind this is, Mrs. Jackson wants a seat at the table and some more control over her husband's estate. But it is unclear really what the estate is even worth. When he died, Michael Jackson was about to go on tour. He had hoped that final tour would jump-start his career and juice his bank account.
KAYE (voice-over): He was $400 million in debt, by some estimates, so why the fight over his estate?
MARK ROESLER, CEO, CMG WORLDWIDE: Michael Jackson will certainly be worth more dead than he was alive. I think...
KAYE: Business agent Mark Roesler handles the estates of other celebrities who have passed, like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. He predicts Jackson will be the biggest-grossing personality of all time -- good news for his mother, Katherine, and his three children, who together were left 80 percent of his estate.
(on camera): So, what is the estate really worth? Katherine Jackson's attorney has said it's worth $2 billion. But a source close to the estate dealings called that ridiculous and called her attorney terribly misinformed. That source told me the estate is more likely worth $100 million right now, with the potential to be worth a whole lot more.
(voice-over): Already, we have learned deals are in the works that could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, including a movie featuring hours of Jackson's final rehearsal footage. Our source says the estate will get 90 percent of the profits. Also, Jackson's memoir, "Moonwalk," will be re-released in October. That deal is worth about $60 million.
ROESLER: You are talking about the copyrights. You are talking about the trademarks. You are talking about the -- what you call the -- the right of publicity that is associated with his name and likeness. KAYE: One of the men in charge is John Branca, who also helped turn around Elvis Presley's estate.
Two years ago, "Forbes" magazine put Elvis at the top of its list of top-earning dead celebrities. If all goes as planned, Jackson may surpass him. Since his death, he's outsold every artist in albums and downloads. In fact, he is the highest-selling artist after death since Nielsen started tracking this stuff in 1991.
The numbers don't lie. From January 1 of this year until the week he died, Jackson sold 297,000 albums. Compare that to 3.73 million five weeks later. And, in 2009, prior to the week he died, fans downloaded just 1.3 million of his songs.
Five weeks later, it had jumped to 8.5 million. Also, he had the top 10 albums on the Billboard chart for two weeks, the first time any artist alive or dead has done that.
This senior editor from "Forbes" says the time is now for Jackson's estate to cash in.
MATTHEW MILLER, SENIOR EDITOR, "FORBES": Right now, Michael Jackson has got his best shot ever, because everyone is looking at it through rosy, tinted glasses. And the further we get from his death, the more you will see those sunglasses taken off. And, so, the value of his assets will actually go down.
KAYE: No doubt Jackson's family and his creditors hope that doesn't happen any time soon.
KAYE: Now, the most significant piece of business to come from today's estate hearing was probably the fact the will was sent on to probate, which will review Jackson's wishes and interpret his instructions.
This means, I'm told, the judge accepted the will as valid and Katherine Jackson apparently did, too. It's significant because her lawyer made a really big deal about the will not being notarized. But, in California, a will doesn't have to be notarized. So, this was a very good thing for the executors named by Michael Jackson in the will to handle his estate -- Erica.
HILL: All right, Randi, thanks.
Well, those, of course, are the issues over the Jackson estate. But there is plenty to get to tonight.
So, joining us now here in New York, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, in Los Angeles, CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
There is never a dull moment in these discussions.
Jeff, we were talking...
HILL: We were talking about this a little bit at the break. I have to go back to the kids for just a minute, before we continue with the estate, because this custody battle, Dr. Arnie Klein showing up today, essentially saying he wants a say in how the kids are raised, did you see this one coming?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, the -- the good news is that there is not a custody battle, is that Katherine Jackson has custody, and there wasn't a fight with Debbie Rowe.
But the -- Arnie Klein comes in, and he doesn't ask for custody. He doesn't ask for visitation. He just sort of asks to be invited to Thanksgiving every year. But I don't know what...
HILL: But how often does something that like that happen in a custody -- in a custody case?
HILL: I mean, it seems...
TOOBIN: But the thing is, what he was asking for, the law does not have any provision for. And he has no legal status, because he is not -- he is rumored to be their parents, but he has never proven to be the father.
And, you know, the -- the deceased's dermatologist gets no rights to the children. So, I -- I don't think...
HILL: Are you sure?
TOOBIN: ... is any...
TOOBIN: ... there is anything going to come of this.
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, and, Erica...
HILL: Lisa, though, what if -- what if he does turn? What if it happens, he says -- and it turns out he is the biological father? Would he at that point have any rights and be invited to perhaps more than Thanksgiving, as Jeff mentioned?
(LAUGHTER) BLOOM: ... remember, that Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe when she was six months pregnant with their first child. And I thought he did that to take advantage of California's conclusive provision that a child born to a married husband and wife who are cohabiting is the child of that marriage, period, conclusively, except -- and, of course, there are always exceptions under...
BLOOM: ... the law, even when we use words like conclusively -- except if a putative father comes in within two years and requests a blood test.
Now, those two years have passed for a long, long time. There are some other cases in California, though, where the father can come in and request a blood test under unusual circumstances, even after those two years. So, nothing, as far as I'm concerned, is off the table in this case.
BLOOM: Anything could happen, just as we saw today in court.
TOOBIN: But the weird thing is, at -- at one level, you could see, OK, I want to have a DNA test, I want to prove Arnie -- Arnie Klein saying, I'm the father.
He didn't do that.
BLOOM: I know, but he is being so cagey.
TOOBIN: He just said...
HILL: You think, Lisa?
TOOBIN: ... Well, I -- you know, I want to -- I want to make sure they go to a good college.
I mean, it was just not a...
HILL: It was -- it was a little odd.
TOOBIN: It was strange, yes.
HILL: And we could probably...
HILL: We could go back and forth on this one forever, but we do have a couple other things to get to. TOOBIN: All right.
HILL: Really quickly, Debbie Rowe. Does this seem like a good setup? Any surprise that she got these -- these visitation rights?
TOOBIN: No. I think it's a -- it is a nice resolution, that there is no conflict there. She has gotten a great deal of money from the Jackson family in the past.
I, frankly, thought she would hold them up for some more money. But, apparently, she didn't. But, again, it's good for all concerned that there's no lingering conflict.
Lisa, let's turn now to the estate. We didn't get a final -- a final judgment on this today. Why not? And do you think it is something that we will actually be -- that the judge will be able to come to quickly moving forward?
BLOOM: The judge did give a temporary win, in my opinion, to the executors of the estate, because they stay in as executors and the will is accepted. And the will names them as executors and doesn't name Katherine.
You know, Michael Jackson had the opportunity to name his mom. He did not name her. So, they are going to continue for the next 60 days administering the estate. And my prediction is that Katherine Jackson is not going to be brought in as an executor of the estate, unless she can show some serious misconduct or fraud by these guys, which, so far, has not even been
BLOOM: They're going to continue for the next 60 days administering the estate. And my predication is that Katherine Jackson is not going to be brought in as an executor of the estate unless she can show some serious misconduct or fraud by these guys, which so far has not even been suggested. All we have is a run-of- the-mill discovery dispute, which I think is going nowhere. She's going to get the documents. She's going to agree to some confidentiality. And I think that's going to be the end of it.
HILL: And doesn't she get to see a certain amount of the comings and goings, I guess, of this Michael Jackson family trust because she does receive a certain portion from it?
BLOOM: Absolutely. She's a 40 percent beneficiary and is guardian of the kids, who have another 40 percent. I mean, she's looking at, really, talking about 80 percent of the will. She absolutely has a right to get documents, to get information, to make sure that the executives are acting in her best interests and children's best interests.
That doesn't mean that she gets everything she wants. She doesn't get control over the complicated legal and financial dealings. That's why these two guys were brought in. We've got a record industry executive and a lawyer to oversee that stuff, which only really makes sense.
TOOBIN: That's right. But it's also worth noting that they don't have to resolve everything right away. This is a very complicated estate, which exploiting it will take years. Is it worth 400 million? Is it worth 2 billion? We don't know how much it's worth, because it depends how intelligently the assets are used.
HILL: The value of the estate, I mean, that's not going to change what the judge decides. Or could it?
TOOBIN: No. It's not. Because it's an ongoing business, and the beneficiaries are 80 percent the Jackson family.
HILL: Yes. So we need this wrapped up with a bow tonight, Jeffrey Toobin.
TOOBIN: It's the legal system. Nothing gets wrapped up quickly.
HILL: Who are we kidding? This is the gift that keeps on giving. We're going to keep talking Michael Jackson forever.
BLOOM: Yes. Keeps legal analysts in business.
HILL: There you go. Jeffrey Toobin, Lisa Bloom. Thank you.
BLOOM: Thank you.
HILL: To weigh in on this story or anything else we're covering, join the live chat, happening now at AC360.com. I have been completely remiss. I swear I'm going to log on right now.
Still ahead, a discovery that may have solved an ancient mystery. This will get you talking. Virus hunter extraordinaire Nathan Wolfe turning his tracking skills now on the parasite that causes malaria. The disease itself kills more than a million people across the globe every year. Just wait till you see where the trail led Nathan Wolfe.
Plus, the grisly murders that stunned a nation 40 years ago. Charles Manson, now 74, gave "Helter Skelter" a new and terrifying meaning. Just ahead, his bloody legacy.
HILL: Tonight a possible major break in a medical whodunit. A team of researchers says it has tracked down the origins of one of the deadliest killers on the planet. Malaria. One of the authors of this just-published study is Nathan Wolfe. You may remember him from our "Planet in Peril" investigation. He is a well-known virus hunter. In this case he focused his skills on the parasite that causes malaria, and he'll join us in just a moment.
But first 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on his incredible finding.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deep in the jungles of Africa, Nathan Wolfe is on the hunt. Wolfe is a pathogen hunter, looking to unlock the mystery of one of nature's greatest killers, the source of malaria.
He's been at it for more than a decade, working with people who hunt these forests to take blood samples of the animals they kill, animals that could provide the answer. Through those blood samples and work with research animals, Wolfe says he and his team have solved the riddle.
(on camera) There's a particular chimpanzee in here, Max. What has Max taught us about viruses?
NATHAN WOLFE, VIRUS HUNTER: What we've found in Max and a couple of other chimpanzees here on the Ivory Coast is actually malaria parasites. Give us, really, the answer to an old riddle. Namely, what is the origin of malaria? Where would they come from. And the answer is actually...
WOLFE: ... we discovered it came from chimpanzees. Yes.
GUPTA: So malaria comes from chimpanzees. We can say that for sure now?
WOLFE: That's right.
GUPTA: You're a virus hunter, pathogen hunter. How hard is it to hunt malaria?
WOLFE: We've been chasing this for some time. So it was -- it was pretty exciting for us to nail it.
GUPTA (voice-over): They nailed it by first identifying strains of malaria found in chimpanzees and comparing them to strains killing humans globally. Turns out genetically, they're nearly identical, except the chimpanzee strain is older. All of that suggest that chimpanzees pass malaria to humans.
(on camera) There's this interface, if you will, between animals and humans so important because they can actually exchange viruses, they can exchange pathogens, things that you may have heard of like HIV, Ebola, Marbor (Ph), parasites like malaria.
The question is exactly how does that swapping take place? And I think more importantly for researchers, what can they do about it?
(voice-over) Knowing the origins of a disease, even the close relatives to it, could be a huge step toward stopping it. More than 30 years ago, scientists used a close relative of human smallpox found in cows to create a vaccine for humans. Whether the same will happen with Wolfe's discovery is still unknown. He and his colleagues believe it is a major breakthrough and only the beginning.
WOLFE: We know very little about the diversity of microorganisms, even within our own bodies, let alone within other animals. And really, that's one of the things we're just beginning to do, to sort of begin to describe this iceberg. We know a lot of it is under water that is part of the excitement scientifically for those of us who are out there trying to discover this one.
HILL: And one of the reasons the study is getting so much attention are the high stakes here. Malaria kills more than a million people every year. Many of them are children. We want to dig deeper now with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Nathan Wolfe, both joining us tonight.
And Nathan, first of all, congratulations on this discovery for you.
WOLFE: Thank you.
HILL: I know this is so important, especially in the scientific community. I think a lot of folks at home, myself included, though, I listen to all this, and I think, "Wait a minute. Malaria, where does the mosquito fit in here?"
WOLFE: Sure. Well, mosquitoes are what permit malaria to move from animal to animal. And in this case, at some point, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, it was probably a single infected mosquito that had fed on a chimpanzee and later fed on a human that permitted this parasite to cross over into humans.
HILL: It's amazing you can trace it back from that one single mosquito, that far.
Sanjay, give me an idea, medically. Why is this discovery so important?
GUPTA: Well, you know, you mentioned, Erica, that a million or two die from malaria every year. About 500 million or so get infected every year, as well. I've had malaria. I think Nathan has told me he's had it a few times, as well.
So, you know, a lot of people get this. And it's pretty awful in terms of symptoms. I think sort of more to the point, and I'm curious what Nathan thinks about this, this idea that if you isolate a pathogen like this in chimpanzees, could you possibly be one step closer to creating a vaccine?
We talk a lot about mosquito nets. We talk a lot about preventing malaria in the first place. A vaccine would obviously be a huge, huge development in the world of malaria. Now, whether that could happen or not, who knows? But this -- this definitely puts us a step closer.
HILL: Nathan, can -- I mean, you mentioned that, that it's kind of far off. This is an initial discovery. But are you hopeful that we could see something like that in our lifetimes, or is it too soon to tell?
WOLFE: Well, I certainly am hopeful. I mean, I think what Sanjay says is very true. If you sort of were to compare HIV, let's say HIV is something like Katrina as a hurricane. You think about malaria. This is a hurricane that's been hitting us constantly for the last thousand years. So this is an incredibly important parasite for the history of humanity.
And notably, there's been an incredible struggle to come up with an adequate vaccine that prevents against malaria. Perhaps part of the reason is that there are very few models, very few close living relatives to human malaria to compare and to understand and perhaps generate vaccines.
HILL: Like we just heard about the smallpox that Sanjay mentioned, using cow smallpox to create human -- the human vaccine. You mentioned, though, in that piece, when you and Sanjay were in Cameroon, this is really just the tip of the iceberg. What other diseases are there out there that you're really focused on right now?
WOLFE: Well, we tend to be interested in two kinds of diseases. No. 1, things that are closely related to diseases that have had a huge impact on humans. So the viruses that are retroviruses like HIV, malaria parasites. Perhaps unknown ones.
There was a very interesting malaria parasite which started to infect individuals in Southeast Asia that jumped over from a macaque, for example. The second group is things that are completely unknown. And part of the reality of this is our ability to understand these agents has really just begun. We now have the sort of tools which will allow us to do that.
But what we need to do is more field studies. We need to be out there, watching when people get sick, to see if these are actually novel things that are causing people to be ill.
HILL: And I understand, too, and I remember this from "Planet in Peril." From both you and Sanjay talking about it. Sanjay, you talked so much about these unknown viruses and, actually, their ability to jump so quickly just because of things like air travel nowadays. How much concern is there over, specifically, the unknown viruses?
GUPTA: Well, we've just been talking about this a lot recently with H1N1, the swine flu virus. This is something that we were down in Mexico, looking at this. And I think Nathan was fascinated, because he's ten years searching for the origins of malaria. And with H1N1 they think it may have come from this -- this pig farm, essentially, in northern Mexico.
What's sort of interesting is that exactly what you said. I mean, it starts at this really isolated location, finds its way into Mexico City, finds its way in hospitals, subsequent tourists there. And all of a sudden, we have something that would have been in a very, very small part of the world all over the world. And finding the origins of that, finding how it behaves can provide a lot of valuable lessons.
HILL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Nathan Wolfe, great to have both of you with us. and congratulations again. We look forward to hearing more of what you find.
WOLFE: Thank you very much.
HILL: You can log on to AC360.com to watch an excerpt from "Planet in Peril," including Anderson, Sanjay and Nathan Wolfe, all in action, investigating how these deadly viruses spread. And while you're there, you can also find ways to help stop malaria.
Just ahead on "360," the face of evil. Charles Manson on the anniversary of the murders. We'll take a look at the killings, the cult, and the crime that gripped a nation.
And a little later on, talk about an oops. A bad blowup. The unexpected outcome of a botched building implosion. The video and the story are ahead.
HILL: In tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, Charles Manson and the killing spree that cut deep into America's psyche. Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called Manson family murders.
But with his followers now asking for freedom and speculation of even more victims, the story continues to make news today. And we're going to bring it to you over this full week.
First, though, Ted Rowlands takes us back to the crime that shocked the nation.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The psychopath who carved a swastika into his forehead in 74 now. Time has changed his face, but peer into the eyes. They are as dark and penetrating as they were when the world first met Charles Manson.
It has been 40 years since the messianic madmen and his disciples slaughtered seven people.
(on camera) And it began right here on Cielo Drive, a quiet leafy cul de sac overlooking Beverly Hills. You see this security gate. Behind it there's a mansion, but in the 1960s a much smaller house was at this address. It was home to two rising Hollywood stars: director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate.
(voice-over) At 26, Tate was young, beautiful. She was also 8 1/2 months pregnant when the killers arrived on August 9, 1969. On Manson's orders, four members of his cult, or the family, as they were called, went on a murder spree at the home. With knives and guns they took the lives of Tate, a young caretaker, and three family friends.
Before leaving, they left a message on the front door, scrawled in blood. The world "pig." The scene was horrific, but there would be more to come.
(on camera) The next day Manson himself accompanied the group here to the home of supermarket executive Leno La Bianca and his wife. Except for this gate and some remodeling, the house today looks very much the same as it did when the Manson family entered the property and tortured the couple before killing them.
(voice-over) Again, more cryptic words in blood, like "rise" and "helter-skelter," a reference to the Beatles song of the same name.
BLOOM: I think the Manson murders were the iconic crimes of the 1960s. They incorporated everything with the sexual fascination of Manson with his many women followers, to the Beatles music of the day, the outlandish courtroom circus that the trial became.
ROWLANDS: Manson was a 5'2" megalomaniac, a man who spent more than half of his life behind bars before moving to California, where he portrayed himself as a hippie and a musician. He attracted the lonely, desperate, and troubled, mostly women, who traveled with him across the state, until they moved into an abandoned building on an old movie set outside of Los Angeles.
What was behind the murders?
BLOOM: Manson said that he did it to try to start a race war. His theory was that blacks would win in a race war against the whites. They would be unable to govern, and then he would emerge and take over.
ROWLANDS: In 1971, Manson and four of his followers were given the death penalty, but the sentences were commuted to life when California abolished capital punishment.
Over the years, Manson has turned his parole hearings into a circus filled with wild antics and ramblings. He will likely die in prison, a fate other members of the so-called family want to avoid.
Susan Atkins, who has terminal cancer, was denied parole last year but is up again next month. Leslie Van Houten is also longing for freedom. This is what she said in 2004.
LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I was raised to be a decent human being. I turned into a monster. And I have spent these years going back to a decent human being, and I just don't know what else to say.
ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
HILL: Amazing. Tomorrow "The Manson Killers." The women who followed his orders to murder, 40 years later. They say they've changed, as you just heard. You heard them asking for forgiveness. And they also want their freedom. So should they get it? We'll let you decide tomorrow.
And for a full timeline of the Manson murders and to see crime- scene photos and more background, log onto our Web site at AC360.com.
Just ahead, 70 percent of children in America are in need of an important vitamin. What is it, and what can parents do? Lucky for you we'll have the answer next.
Plus, demolition disaster. Find out where this implosion -- keep watching -- went terribly wrong.
HILL: Just ahead, tonight's "Shot." A building demolition didn't exactly go as planned. First, though, Gary Tuchman joining us again with a "360" bulletin.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erica.
Bank of America has agreed to pay a $33 million fine to settle government charges they misled investors about bonuses for Merrill Lynch employees. The SEC said when the bank bought the brokerage company it made plans to pay year-end bonuses but did not tell shareholders.
President Obama is praising the expansion of the G.I. Bill, calling it the, quote, "moral obligation." Under the plan, the maximum benefit is a free education at various state colleges and universities. That's for those who have served at least three years in the military since the September 11th attacks.
A new nationwide study suggests about 70 percent of U.S. children have low levels of Vitamin D. Thus, they're more at risk for bone and heart disease. Scientists say a poor diet is to blame, as well as not enough sunshine.
And they have a contest for everything, even screaming. In Thailand, more than 1,500 people tried to break the Guinness world record for the loudest scream this past week. One contestant chimed in with a scream as loud as an ambulance siren...
TUCHMAN: ... but that was a few decibels short of the world record.
HILL: Short of the world record?
TUCHMAN: Erica, I think this is a competition I'd be very good at.
HILL: Really? TUCHMAN: You know, when I go in the library, people that know me run away. It's really something. I've got a loud...
HILL: Gary Tuchman, the things we learn about you.
HILL: That is an event that I really don't ever want to cover, without earphones.
TUCHMAN: You want me to try it right now?
HILL: You could, but...
TUCHMAN: Better not.
HILL: They probably wouldn't be happy.
TUCHMAN: Just kidding.
HILL: We'll try it in the break.
We'll move on, though, to the "Beat 360" winners. We'll see how we do with this competition. It's our daily challenge, of course, to viewers, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the picture we post on our blog every day.
Tonight's photo, a little taste of the fun and the atmosphere at a music and arts festival in Jersey City, New Jersey, this weekend. In case you weren't in this area, it rained like crazy on Sunday. Hence the mud.
Our staff winner tonight is Elise. Her caption: "A little taste of Levi Johnston's new reality show."
(SOUND EFFECT: GROANS)
HILL: That was very clever. It was my staff favorite, I have to admit.
And our viewer winner tonight is Ken, who didn't tell us where he's from. Very cagey. His caption: "And with one final strategic move, the U.S. Congress begins their summer break."
(SOUND EFFECT: "Ooooh!")
TUCHMAN: Democrats or Republicans?
HILL: That is an excellent question. I think it's a nonpartisan metaphor.
TUCHMAN: Let's say one of each. That would be a good idea.
TUCHMAN: Yes. HILL: Ken, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
But we are not done with all of you. Up next, a planned building implosion gone terribly wrong. We'll tell you where it happened. It's our "Shot of the Day," and I think you can probably see why.
Plus the economy is improving, but will President Obama keep his campaign promise not to raise taxes on the middle class? That's ahead on "360."
HILL: Gary, for tonight's "Shot" a demolition disaster. Check it out. A factory in Turkey was supposed to implode. We know how these things work. And it's obvious that one didn't work.
Instead of collapsing, as you can see, it tumbled over. I can't believe it's still in one piece, flipping over before coming to rest next to a residential building. Incredibly, no one was injured.
TUCHMAN: Can you imagine being in the balcony of that residential building and saying, "Honey, look what's going on next door."
HILL: You're thinking, "I'm going to watch the implosion," you know, like they do on Vegas all the time on the strip? "It'll be great. We've got popcorn. We're getting a building on our balcony. Fantastic."
TUCHMAN: The luckiest people in Turkey are the people in that building, because like you said, nobody was hurt.
HILL: No one was hurt.
You can see all the most recent shots at AC360.com.
Just ahead at the top of the hour, your money, your future, your taxes. Will President Obama be able to keep his promise not to raise those taxes for the middle class?