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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Arizona Immigration Law Showdown; It's Not a Black and White Issue

Aired July 28, 2010 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news tonight in the battle on the border.

In just a few hours, Arizona's controversial immigration law goes into effect minus its most controversial requirements. Federal district judge -- district Judge Susan Bolton today blocking a number of key provisions.

For instance, the requirement that police check the immigration status of people they stop if there's a reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally. The judge said that is the federal government's business, not the state's.

Also, she blocked the portion of the law that would allow police to arrest someone without a warrant when there's probable cause to believe they have committed an offense they could be deported for.

In addition, Bolton blocked the provisions making it a crime for lawful immigrants, citizens, not to carry their papers and making it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work.

The Justice Department today applauding the decision.

Arizona's governor, however, did not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: I think that it's important to remind everybody that today they -- absolutely, the federal government got relief from the courts to not to do their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is what defenders of the Arizona law say. And a lot of Americans agree with them, looking at polls. They say the federal government has for years now failed to do its job protecting the border and dealing with illegal immigration.

We are going to talk to legal analyst Jeff Toobin in a moment, but first, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff, appreciate you being with us. You've said that the ruling today doesn't really make a difference for you, that your deputies are permitted by federal -- by the federal government under a special program to check immigration status of people in your custody. But you did support this law. So, what effect will the judge's ruling have?

JOE ARPAIO, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SHERIFF: Well, we're still going to stop those that are in the area illegally.

We have a crime suppression operation coming up tomorrow, 17th. We are going to send out a posse and deputy sheriffs. And if we come across any people here, pursuant to our duties, we are going to arrest them, turn them over to ICE, or book them into our jails.

COOPER: But if there are already programs under which law police can help enforce federal law, why do you need this Arizona law?

ARPAIO: Well, this law that -- the part that she struck out so far, when we come across an illegal immigrant, I was hoping that we could arrest that person under that misdemeanor law, in lieu of turning them over to ICE.

But, right now, we will keep turning them over to ICE. We will do our duties, doing our enforcement. If we come across any illegal aliens, we're going to do what we have been doing for three years, enforcing the human smuggling law, the employer sanction law. Those are both state laws. We have been doing it -- 40,000 people, we have arrested, detained, or investigated in our jails.

I would like to have seen this law go through, but we're still going to do what we have been doing.

COOPER: Why would you prefer to hold them in your jails, as opposed to just turning them over to federal immigration authorities? Because under current law, you can just turn the illegals over to federal immigration authorities and therefore not incur the expense of putting them in jails, right, which the new law would require.

ARPAIO: I don't care about expense. I have tents, very cheap to put them in tents, if they're convicted.

But you know, when we stop someone and there is a violation of the law, regardless if there's a criminal violation, they're here illegally, they are going to be booked into our jail, instead of turning them over to ICE. So, that's the way we operate. And I --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But what's the disadvantage of turning them over to ICE? What does ICE not do that you do?

ARPAIO: Well, we -- they violated a law. They should go to jail and do their time if they're convicted, and then we turn them over to ICE. Why should we give them a pass just because they're here illegally?

COOPER: You're allowed to check the immigration status of people in your custody. But now, because of this ruling, other law enforcement groups and anyone will not be required, if I'm correct -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- to check the status of people they stop for whatever reason while on routine parole. Is that correct?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, if a police officer is on routine patrol, under this -- under the judge's blocking of this law now -- or excuse me -- under this law, it would have been, before the judge blocked it, that under -- on a patrol routine stop, say, for a broken taillight or something, police, Arizona police, would have had to check the immigration status. Now, because she's blocked it, that requirement is not there, correct?

ARPAIO: No, no. They said require. You can still do it.

COOPER: Right. You can still do it. You're just not required to do it.

(CROSSTALK)

ARPAIO: Yes, that's right. But I'm going to do it. So you're not required, but it can still be done. But I would hope that the law enforcement not worry about this new law and use that as a reason with the politicians and chiefs of police not to enforce the law.

COOPER: The critics of this law, as you well know, say that if a police officer stops someone for jaywalking or a broken taillight and suspected they were an illegal immigrant, they would be required to act on that. And the critics say that gives police officers too much power, in particular, what makes some -- what makes someone a suspected illegal immigrant, that U.S. citizens are going to be hassled, that people of color are going to be hassled far more than white citizens.

You say that's completely not true?

ARPAIO: Listen -- listen, we have had the Justice Department a year-and-a-half investigating us for alleged racial profiling. I think we have done pretty good.

I don't think that law enforcement, the local police are going to racial-profile. I'm convinced they are not. They know how to do their jobs. And when they do come across people, pursuant to their duties, and they find out that that person is illegally here, they're going to take action, I hope.

COOPER: Because what the critics ask you, though, and I would like to hear an answer, though, is, what makes somebody -- what makes somebody suspicious -- a police officer suspicious of someone is being an illegal alien? If you stop someone for a taillight, what is the suspicion of being -- what's reasonable suspicion of being an illegal alien?

ARPAIO: Well, here we go into criterias, as many criterias to follow, and we will spend all day doing that.

But, basically, if they don't have any identification, that they admit being here illegally, that they say they have not registered with the federal government -- I can go on and on. There's a lot of criteria to pursue this type of investigation on illegal immigration. It's not just one criteria.

COOPER: Sheriff Arpaio, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

COOPER: This is certainly heading for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, probably on to the Supreme Court.

Let's check in with our legal counsel; senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

You have no doubt this is going to end up in the Supreme Court?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's very hard to imagine this case ending up anywhere else. This is why we have a Supreme Court. This is a big issue. It deals with fundamental constitutional law. What's the responsibility of a state? What's the responsibility of a federal government on a very important and controversial area? It seems to cry out for the Supreme Court's attention.

COOPER: The judge was not addressing whether or not this is racial profiling or whether this would lead to discrimination; she was basically just saying that this is territory that the federal government has jurisdiction over.

TOOBIN: Right. You know, the -- this law has been attacked by civil rights groups on that first ground, on the ground that it is racial profiling, that it opens people up to harassment by the police. That's why there's a -- there is a boycott by many artists of Arizona right now.

But that's not the tack that the U.S. government, the Obama administration, took. They took the more legalistic tact of saying we're not dealing with racial profiling. All we're saying is that this law treads on federal responsibilities. We can't have 50 states with 50 different immigration laws. There has to be one federal rule. That's what the judge agreed with and that's the basis for the ruling today.

COOPER: It does seem like on both sides of this discussion, opponents for it and critics and those who support it, there's been a lot of misstatement it seems, of fact on both sides of this. Critics, though, say without a doubt that this will lead to racial profiling. What does the past evidence show in laws like this?

TOOBIN: It's very hard to know, because there are not laws quite like this.

What makes this law so unusual is that it's -- is its very vagueness on the subject of immigration. As you were asking the sheriff, what does it look like to be -- have a reasonable suspicion that someone is an illegal immigrant? The state of Arizona put out a video that tried to instruct the police, but it was --

COOPER: Right. We're going to look at that video shortly.

TOOBIN: It's not terribly clear.

And a lot of Hispanics, a lot of Latino groups are saying, look, this just is an open invitation to ask every brown-skinned person in Arizona, show me your papers.

And that's something that a lot of people object to. But that was not the basis for striking this law down so far. Now, it may be as this moves through the courts, the courts will engage that issue directly, but they haven't so far.

COOPER: With a conservative Supreme Court, any sense of where they might go based on past rulings?

TOOBIN: Well, chances are the law will be upheld by the conservatives on the Supreme Court. That's just how the court tends to break down. Liberals tend to support what the Obama administration wants. Conservatives don't.

What makes this somewhat different from the traditional issue like abortion or same-sex marriage is that it's an issue about federal power. And justices like Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, they have -- are big believers in strong federal power.

So, they might be more inclined to support the U.S. government position here, the Obama administration here, rather than the usual, you know, sort of taking the Democratic and Republican lines.

COOPER: It's interesting, because you hear liberals arguing that this is more in line with the Constitution, that supporting the federal powers in this case is more in line with the Constitution, which is basically an argument that many of the people who support this law, you know, also use the Constitution.

TOOBIN: Right. Well, there is the text of the Constitution. Article 6 is the supremacy clause. It says federal law is the supreme law of the land. When there's conflict between state and federal, federal law is the supreme law of the land.

That was the basis for Judge Bolton's decision. Again, this is not an easy case. This is a hard case. You are going to see other judges come out other ways on this. And I --

COOPER: Was this a liberal judge? I know it was a Clinton appointee.

TOOBIN: She's a Clinton appointee, but she was recommended by Jon Kyl.

COOPER: Recommended by Jon Kyl, right.

TOOBIN: -- who is a very conservative senator from Arizona.

I don't think she has a strong political profile one way or another, which is, I think, a sign that this decision has a good deal of support in the law. She's clearly not a strong partisan, but we are long way from the last word on the constitutionality of this law.

COOPER: Right. The bottom line, the law goes into effect. They had 12 -- about 12 provisions. Four or five of them now have been put on hold, that they're blocked.

TOOBIN: Right.

COOPER: Jeff, thanks.

Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running, AC360.com.

Up next, we continue to focus on immigration. You have all heard the argument that illegal immigrants are doing jobs that many Americans won't. But is that really true?

Well, we asked Gary Tuchman to do one of those jobs for the day to see. He went picking grapes in the fields of California. And what he found may surprise you.

Later, "Essence" magazine, a major lifestyle magazine aimed at African-Americans, hires a white fashion director. And some are crying foul, including a former employee of the magazine. Is it reverse racism, though? Two sides square off tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news: Arizona's immigration law set to take effect at 12:01 local time, minus key controversial provisions, a federal district judge issuing a temporary injunction blocking them.

Now, the case is heading for higher courts, no doubt about it. Supporters say they need the legislation because the federal government's simply not doing its job and hasn't been for a long time.

Also fueling the debate, the economy and the perception, right or wrong, that illegal immigrants take jobs from American workers.

Gary Tuchman decided to see how well that charge stands up to the facts in a sweltering-hot California vineyard.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before dawn, migrant laborers in the California desert. Despite triple-digit temperatures still to come, they wear long sleeves, scarves and bandanas to protect themselves from the sun and from dust.

Their job today, to pick the purple grapes you will snack on tomorrow. They're all veterans, and they're all Mexican, except for me, the rookie American, who is joining them for a full day of work, the only person in short sleeves, the only person who doesn't know what he's doing.

But I have been assigned a partner. Benjamin Rodriguez (ph) has worked in the California fields for 32 years. He knows his grapes, which are called "uvas" in Spanish, and he is teaching me the trade.

(on camera): Here's what I'm learning. You have got to get rid of the green ones. But, sometimes, the green ones are way down. And, if you miss them, and they get to the grocery store, and then you go to the grocery store to buy grapes and see green ones, you will complain to the store. The store will complain to the ranch, and the ranch will complain to me, the worker.

(voice-over): You make $8 an hour, minimum wage, and split 30 cents per each big box of grapes you pack between three workers. The third is Benjamin's wife, Maria (ph), who is loading up the grapes for the grocery store.

She tells me it makes her back hurt and it's hot, "But we have to work hard. It puts food on the table. We have to do it."

(on camera): Benjamin is my partner today. If I don't work fast, I cost him money. So, there's some pressure. It's not just doing a story.

(voice-over): Maria and Benjamin have five children, two of them grown. They, like all the other workers here, won't discuss their immigration status.

But, if you're legal, you would usually seek a less punishing occupation. Either way, taxes are taken out of all the paychecks. They each make a base rate of $64 for the day. After taxes, it's about 45 bucks for the eight hours.

As the hours go by, the workers sing to help make time pass, to take their minds off the heat. They're aware many people believe Mexican immigrants take away American jobs, but, over the years on this ranch --

(on camera): (SPEAKING SPANISH)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)

I asked him how many Americans he has seen in then his 32 years in the field. He has said zero.

(voice-over): Santos Montemayor is the man who does the hiring in these fields.

(on camera): So, for 15 years, you have been hiring labor crews to do agricultural work.

SANTOS MONTEMAYOR, LABOR CONTRACTOR: Right.

TUCHMAN: How many Americans have you hired over the 15 or 16 years?

MONTEMAYOR: None, not one.

TUCHMAN: I mean, has one ever expressed interest?

MONTEMAYOR: No. Not since I have been working the fields, no.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The temperature has now climbed to 102.

(on camera): As it gets hotter and the sun gets brighter, your mind starts playing tricks with you. Is it purple? Is it green? You start not being able to make out the colors anymore. These are purple, though.

(voice-over): The trucks start getting loaded up with the grapes we're picking. I'm doing some wheelbarrow duty, which can't be good for the back.

(on camera): I realized before this day started this work would be hard. What I didn't realize is just how monotonous it would be. These people do it six days a week.

(voice-over): I have never looked at my watch so much, and it's not even lunchtime yet.

(on camera): Delicious grapes hot off the vine.

(voice-over): The afternoon goes slower than the morning.

Benjamin stays on top of me to get rid of the green grapes. At 2:30 p.m., eight-and-a-half hours after we started, our final load of grapes.

(on camera): This is the last.

(voice-over): It's quitting time, and there's mass exodus. Benjamin, Maria and I have done 100 boxes. That's a $30 bonus for the two of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bye.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Bye.

(voice-over): I wish Benjamin and Maria luck, and they head home as quickly as possible. They have to do it all over again at 6:00 a.m.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So -- so what are their lives like when their work is done?

TUCHMAN: You know, their lives are very difficult.

I mean, Benjamin and Maria bring home about $300 each week. So, that's $600 a week. Now, that would work out to $30,000 a year if they worked every week. But they only work like six, seven months a year, because there's not harvesting work. So, they don't go out to dinner. They don't go to the movies. They try to spend very little money on food.

They eat a lot of grapes, just like I did, as a matter of fact, when we were done. But their life is very Spartan.

COOPER: And the job, I mean, was it harder than you thought it was going to be? I mean, obviously, you knew it was going to be tough.

TUCHMAN: Yes, it's a very physical job.

And I felt what -- the toughest part of it was just how boring and monotonous it was. I mean, I have just never seen my watch go so slowly. I mean, maybe in calculus class in high school, I remember it going that slowly. But it was just so boring.

What made it slightly easier was that the people there were just very nice. And it was nice to be around with them the whole day. But it's a -- it's a real tough life, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Gary, appreciate it.

That is obviously just one grape field in California. There are other kinds of jobs as well.

Let's turn to Tom Foreman for the big picture.

So, Tom, are illegal immigrants doing jobs that Americans won't do?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, that really does depend on where you live.

We spent the day talking to folks on both sides of this debate and looking at studies and this is what we found. The Labor Department says that there are 130 million jobs in the United States. And Pew Hispanic Center, which does some very good work on this, says there are about eight million illegal immigrants in the work force.

Where Gary was, out in California, of if you talk about Nevada or in Arizona over here, there are a lot of illegal immigrants. They're believed to hold one out of every 10 jobs in this area. So, if you live there and you don't have at least a high school diploma, you could find enough competition for certain very hard, low-skill jobs that, indeed, you might not even apply for the wage that is being offered, especially once it's been established that those jobs are handled by other people.

But, in other places, like, say, over here in West Virginia, they also have very hard, very dirty jobs there, like coal mining, for example. And all those jobs get filled, but almost none of them by illegal immigrants, Anderson.

COOPER: So, what kind of jobs are illegal immigrants taking and doing?

FOREMAN: Well, it's an interesting question.

Farming is absolutely huge, Anderson. Pew says 25 percent of farm workers are here illegally. And Gary was in a state where that type of work is big, and it's a state that is heavy with illegal immigrants.

Nineteen percent of workers in building maintenance or janitorial services are here illegally. In restaurant work, it is 12 percent. They don't make much money at this. The median family income is about $36,000 a year. So, you heard the numbers Gary was talking about there. And while they do take some very low-wage jobs from citizens by working for even less, it's worth noting that they often take those jobs from earlier waves of illegal immigrants, too -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what about the notion that they depress wages for -- for the rest of -- for U.S. citizens?

FOREMAN: That's a great question. That appears to be true. But, again, it's primarily in certain jobs in certain places, not necessarily across the board.

For example, 17 percent of the people who work in construction are believed to be illegal immigrants. And Pew says that's up 7 percent from 2003. Look at that, 10 percent to 17 percent. That's a big jump in a short period of time.

Forty percent of brick masons, for example, and 37 percent of drywall installers are now here illegally or at least believed to be. Those were jobs that not long ago were held by U.S. citizens, who today could probably not demand the same wages they did when they were the only game in town.

I know, Anderson, all of these are very complex answers, but the truth is, they are fitting for a very complex issue.

COOPER: That's interesting to see the breakdown.

FOREMAN: Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thanks.

Up next: Critics say the law in Arizona would lead to racial profiling. The police who support it in Arizona say there are ways to determine if someone is here illegally. There's a video for Arizona police. We have a copy of it. We will show what they are learning about the new law. We will take you "Up Close" tonight.

Also, our guest who joins us shortly to talk about why she thinks an African-American magazine should not be hiring a white woman for a top position. Some are calling her comments reverse racism. Hear what she says ahead. Michaela Angela Davis joins us on 360.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, critics of Arizona's immigration law say it allows police officers too much latitude in stopping and questioning people they suspect of being illegal, that it's going to lead to racial profiling that police will go too far. Those who defend the law say that is completely misguided. And they point to a videotape used by police officers to train for the new law, a tape Soledad O'Brien got hold of.

Here is her report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until this afternoon, Arizona thought it found a way to address the central criticism of its new immigration law: how do you catch people suspected of being in the United States illegally without engaging in racial profiling?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Race or ethnicity is not an issue of criminality.

O'BRIEN: The solution for Arizona? Deputies have been watching a 90-minute training tape, reading a manual, and hearing from supervisors about how the law should work.

The takeaway? Deputies can't just stop someone for driving while Mexican. They need suspicion of a crime.

SGT. BOB KRYGIER, ARIZONA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I think the perception is that we're going to be walking around, knocking on doors, saying, I need to see your papers, and hauling you off to a Border Patrol and deporting people. And that's -- that's not the way it is. If we don't have a reason to talk to you, then the questions are not going to be asked.

O'BRIEN: But, this afternoon, a federal judge threw that training strategy into doubt by suspending the key provision of the law, the section that allows local police to question people they have legally stopped about immigration status at all.

Critics feared that local police, regardless of training, could use any suspicious action to question immigration status.

THOMAS SAENZ, MEXICAN AMERICAN LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND: They're basically being required to enforce a law that labels a crime something that is not an action. If you're engaged in jaywalking, that's an action. If you're engaged in running a stop sign, that's an action. Being undocumented is not an action. It's a status.

O'BRIEN: Federal agents, Border Patrol, customs, but not local deputies or police already question people about status, usually when they catch them illegally questioning the border or while investigating a workplace.

The Arizona training manual suggested local deputies could go even further. The judge today said, let's leave those powers with the federal government.

(on camera): Some of the things that are listed under reasonable suspicion are not speaking English well, depending on how somebody dresses, maybe riding in a crowded vehicle. The list sort of goes on and on.

SGT. GILBERT DOMINGUEZ, ARIZONA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: It's a long list. I mean, not each of those things stands alone, though. It's going to have to be the totality of the circumstances.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Sergeant Gilbert Dominguez, whose great- grandparents came from Mexico, says he will continue to aggressively patrol the border using whatever laws exist.

(on camera): Does it ever seem weird to you when you're talking to people about their papers, as someone --

DOMINGUEZ: No.

O'BRIEN: -- who is Mexican-American?

DOMINGUEZ: The thing that I have always thought of is that I'm fortunate enough that they came to this country when the border was a line in the sand. It doesn't mean you're better. It doesn't mean anything else, other than that you were just more fortunate.

We're dealing with illegal immigration all the time.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): We joined him on patrol to see how immigration enforcement works in Pima County, which shares a border with Mexico. Policing illegal immigrants is already business as usual compared to communities further away from the border.

Sergeant Dominguez says they have always turned illegal immigrants over to the feds. Dominguez pulls over a car he believes is driving erratically.

DOMINGUEZ: Do you have your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance, please?

O'BRIEN: The alleged bad driving empowers him to ask for I.D. that determines immigration status. In Arizona, that's a driver's license.

(on camera): So, if those guys in the car had turned out to not have documents?

DOMINGUEZ: If they had not documents, you would take the effort to identify them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It -- it does give a lot of latitude to the local law enforcement officer to decide, you know, which attributes he's going to focus on.

O'BRIEN: Well, what Sergeant Dominguez said to me was -- over and over again was, but you would never use one of those things.

When I would say, you know, a group congregating, how someone is dressed, ability with the English language. He said, well, you would never just say one of those things. You have to have stopped them already. And then you would sort of, as you would in any investigation, piece many things together.

I said, well, how many?

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: I mean, is it two additional things?

He said, well, I don't really know. This is sort of part of the police work.

Now, this is a guy who works on the border. This is what he does day in and day out. He's constantly calling the Border Patrol to pass off people who he thinks are in the country illegally.

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: He says his job really wouldn't change.

But what I think is really important is just the frustration that people are feeling that the federal government's not doing its job.

COOPER: This law also allows people in the state to sue their local law enforcement if they feel their local law enforcement is not doing the requirements of this law.

O'BRIEN: Yes, and I think, for some people, that feels like between a rock and a hard place, on one hand being accused potentially of racial profiling, on the other hand maybe not doing what the letter of the law says.

COOPER: Right. It's a very difficult situation.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it is. And, again, I go back to it underscores a frustration for a state to say, we want to do this because the federal government, we don't feel, is doing its job, and many people point to that as, well, then maybe immigration reform is something that needs to come sooner than later.

COOPER: Soledad O'Brien, thanks very much. Interesting.

Up next, "Essence" magazine and what's become a controversial hiring decision. A magazine geared for African-American women has hired a white fashion director and that's outraged many online, including one former employee. We'll debate the issue ahead.

And later, one of the strangest stories we have come across recently. This guy, a defense contractor, allegedly stole from his own company millions spent on porn for his son and prostitutes and expensive jewelry, and then tried to cover his tracks, allegedly, with a pill that he thought would erase the memories of his colleagues.

"Crime and Punishment," and you can't make this stuff up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, just a week after the story of Shirley Sherrod, we have a new story tonight involving race and gender. The controversy this time involves the leading fashion and lifestyle magazine for African-American women, "Essence," which is, we should point out, a Time publication, which is a corporate cousin to CNN.

Now, "Essence" has hired a white woman as its new fashion director. Now, you might think, OK, so what? But it prompted an uproar online, started by an African-American woman who used to hold that position at "Essence". And essentially she's arguing that there are so few opportunities for African-American women in fashion that for "Essence" to not hire an African-American is inappropriate. Her critics, however, say that attacking a black magazine for hiring a white woman is essentially reverse racism.

The woman who used to hold that job at "Essence" joins us, cultural critic, Michaela Angela Davis. Thanks for being with us. And also with us is CNN analyst Roland Martin.

Now, Michaela, you wouldn't argue that a white fashion magazine should hire a white fashion director, so why is it OK to argue that a black fashion magazine should hire a black director?

MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, FORMER FASHION EDITOR, "ESSENCE": Well, you know, Anderson, I don't know of any women's magazine that says they're a white fashion magazine. "Vogue" does not say that. They say that they are there for luxury and elitism or -- or a class.

"Essence" is the one magazine in that kiosk that puts race in their brand. They say this is the place for African-American women, the place where black women come first. So, black is in their brand DNA. No -- "Marie Claire," oh, "Glamour," we can go on and on and on.

COOPER: But that's -- that's marketing.

DAVIS: They don't say that.

COOPER: That's marketing, though. I mean, why --

DAVIS: It's a promise to a reader. It's a promise to an audience.

So, no other magazine -- "Vogue" doesn't say they're white; they're not a white magazine. However, all those titles that I have said don't -- there's not one fashion director that is black there.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But would it be OK for, say -- I don't know what the stats for "Town & Country" magazine, but it was -- that used to be a magazine geared toward, like, New York society, which is probably overwhelmingly white. Would it be OK for "Town and Country" to say, well, since most of our readers are white, we've done surveys and are white, we only want a white director. You would say that's outrageous.

DAVIS: Well, you just -- no, I wouldn't because I haven't said that. What you have said is say -- that's something that's implied. This is saying -- when you say that you are the one -- the one magazine that is there to reflect and celebrate the African-American woman through the very specific filter of the African-American woman experience, you put race in -- it's not -- you put race in your brand. You don't --

COOPER: I got it. I got --

DAVIS: It's not inherent. Do you know what I mean?

COOPER: Roland -- I mean, I understand the frustration, Roland, there are not more African-American women or -- or the possibilities for more African-American women to get positions of power in magazines.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right.

COOPER: But is non color blind hiring the answer?

MARTIN: Well, I think, first of all, there's a history if you look at black publications historically. I worked at "Savoy" magazine when Michaela's at "Honey" magazine. There were white staffers there. I've run black newspapers. I've had white staffers there as well.

There have been folks who were white who edited black newspapers. You look at Mr. Greenburg (ph), who was the second person to lead the NAACP Legal Defense Education Fund after Thurgood Marshall.

So I, as an advocate of diversity, I can't say you don't hire the best person, and so that is a slippery slope that we walk on. I understand Michaela's point, but I do believe the larger point is that you have a massive lack of opportunities across the magazine industry.

I remember, you know, 1992 when Spike Lee said he only wanted black folks to come interview him. What happened was he was saying you need to go in -- hire some people. Magazines looked up and said, whoa, where are the black people? And they realized, wow, we don't have any. And so, his stance changed the industry.

You have to have more of that, but I just can't say I want to deny a white person opportunity when I don't want to see an African- American denied an opportunity at any of the magazines. They should be held accountable to have diverse staffs and, unfortunately, they do not.

DAVIS: To that point -- and Spike Lee is a very good example, that he ushered in a lot of people who would not be in the film industry, would not get credentials, had it not been for him.

MARTIN: True.

DAVIS: "Essence" was that gateway. I got -- I became an editor at "Essence," so then I went on to contribute to "Vanity Fair," I've had a very rich career where I had hired people of all colors. But if --

COOPER: When you -- I'm told when you were at "Honey" magazine, you hired a white person to be an art director.

DAVIS: Yes. And "Honey" is an urban magazine. It does not say black. It reflects urban aesthetics and urban and hip-hop aesthetics. It did not say the place for young, black women. I was very close to hiring a Latino fashion editor because she worked at "Sex and the City" and "The Source" which reflected urban culture.

So this is about reflecting the culture in which you say you stand. And -- and quite honestly, Anderson, I --

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: We see this debate.

COOPER: Go ahead, Roland.

DAVIS: Go ahead.

MARTIN: And we do see this -- we do see this debate with the Hispanic publications as well. We see the same debate when it comes to gender. If you have a magazine that is targeting women and then all of a sudden if you have a man who is in charge of that. So we've seen these debates.

But, again, I understand Michaela's point in terms of "Essence" brand targeting black women. But here's what this says to me. What it also says is that "Essence" is frankly more progressive as a black women's magazine than all these other magazines out there who refuse to hire African-American and Hispanics.

I think what the argument should be, and as a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Black Journalists, we're targeting the magazine industry, these online publications, cable networks, broadcast networks who continue to deny opportunities for people and we're saying that America is changing, so how can't you hire anybody?

And I do believe that if there are more African-American, Hispanics at those fashion magazines, Michaela's argument also might be a little bit different because the opportunities are more plentiful. What she's really saying is this is the only shot you really have, because the rest of the folks are not hiring you.

DAVIS: But I'm saying this also for literally the black girls that called me crying that had -- this is the one place. You know -- you're -- you come from the fashion elite, you know? From -- from the -- from a family that knows it, there's one seat in the shows that -- that is for black people. One. Just one. Just one seat at the table that -- where you can usher in other people, where you can gain not just self esteem and self love, but professional experience.

So, this is also sending a message to those girls. Are you not qualified? There are plenty of qualified black female fashion professionals. What does this say to them? What does this say to the industry at large, if the one place doesn't feel that you can determine your own style?

COOPER: Roland very quickly, you can respond.

MARTIN: Yes. That is we need -- we need to target the industry. You cannot have the number of magazines out there -- Lloyd Johnson cannot be the only African-American editing a non-black magazine. That makes no sense in 2010. That's the real issue. We should be fighting those folks to say open the doors now.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. Michaela Angela Davis --

DAVIS: The one opened door is now closed. It's sealed that way.

COOPER: -- thank you. Roland Martin as well.

I want our viewers to weigh in on this at the blog, ac360.com. The live chat is up and running. Let us know what you think. Interesting discussion.

We reached out to "Essence" magazine to come on the program tonight. They declined. The magazine's editor-in-chief gave us this statement, "Our new fashion director, Elliana Placas, is part of the growing fashion team at "Essence". We are making a number of new hires in the coming months. I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience.

However, we selected Elliana, who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African- American Women in "Essence" magazine and online at essence.com".

A lot more news we're covering tonight. Tom Foreman joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.

Day 100 of the Gulf oil spill and BP's incoming chief executive Bob Dudley says he thinks the leak is permanently stopped and the worst may be over.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard official overseeing the government's response to the disaster says he's cautiously optimistic about the cleanup efforts.

In "Raw Politics," veteran New York Congressman Charlie Rangel could be facing the first corruption trial of the House Ethics Committee in nearly a decade; that is unless his lawyers reach a settlement. Rangel, who says he welcomes the trial, is being investigated on several charges, including failure to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.

Jury deliberations are already underway in Chicago in another corruption trial of former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors accuse Blagojevich of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama and he says no.

And tomorrow, President Obama joins the ladies of "The View," the first time a sitting president has appeared on daytime television. It's a move that some are calling inappropriate, but that did not stop the President from fielding questions like this one from Barbara Walters and company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": In the last month, what has been the rose and what has been the thorn?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, in the last month, the rose has to be a couple of days we took in Maine with Michelle and Sasha and -- and Malia, and we went on bike rides and hikes.

And, you know, the girls are getting old enough now where they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you, but they're full of opinions and ideas and observations. And it's just a great age. Malia just turned 12 and Sasha just turned 9. And it couldn't have been a better couple of days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There you go -- Tom.

FOREMAN: And who were the thorn? I guess we'll find out.

COOPER: Yes. Next on 360, Tom, we've heard a lot of -- we've covered a lot of -- of things that are kind of unbelievable. This story kind of takes the cake.

It's about a defense contractor who's accused of stealing millions and a search -- and allegedly after all of this was searching for a pill that would make some of his colleagues who were involved in this alleged fraud lose their memories so they wouldn't be able to testify against him, which they are testifying against him.

Tonight's "Crime and Punishment" story, ahead.

Plus, an update on how a garage sale turned up an Ansel Adams collection potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The guy paid what -- like, $45 for these pictures. The photographer's family, however, says not so fast.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, in "Crime and Punishment," one of the strangest criminal trials to come our way in a long time. You really have to hear this one.

It is unfolding here in New York where a defense contractor stands accused of running a Ponzi scheme. The money he allegedly stole was spent on prostitutes, a multimillion dollar bat mitzvah for his daughter, porn for his son, pricey belt buckle and -- get this -- he tried to find a memory pill, allegedly, a memory-erasing pill that he wanted to use to help conceal his crime.

As Alina Cho reports, bizarre does not even begin to describe this case. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A $100,000 jewel- encrusted belt buckle, one million on race horses, even allegations of hired prostitutes for employees. It's a list that reads like a bad B movie.

The man behind all of it -- business executive David Brooks. He's now accused of stealing millions of dollars in company money and you wouldn't believe where he got that money to pay for an over-the- top lifestyle, luxury cars, a Learjet, lavish vacations for him and his family.

CHO (on camera): Prosecutors allege David Brooks and his co- defendant not only used the company as their personal piggy bank, they profited handsomely in a classic pump-and-dump stock scheme. Brooks allegedly cooked the books to drive up the stock then sold at a high for a windfall of more than $185 million.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Legally, it's not all that exciting. It's a fairly classic pump-and-dump case. It's the details that make this case so delicious.

CHO (voice-over): Yes. One of those delicious details, Brooks allegedly built this opulent life literally on the backs of soldiers. That's because the company he founded and ran, DHP Industries, now known as Point Blank Solutions makes body armor for the U.S. Military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Interceptor has saved thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CHO: Why should you care?

TOOBIN: It does seem particularly bad, given what he was selling, something that we all want so desperately to work and protect our troops, but it's also bad because all the money here ultimately comes from taxpayers.

CHO: That's right. A government contractor, who, before he left the company, was accused of making money by taking your money. After all, your tax dollars paid for those bullet-proof vests.

Michael Adair has been watching the trial closely, because he invested in DHP Industries and lost a half million dollars when the alleged scam was revealed and the stock plummeted. Adair feels especially betrayed because he's a Vietnam veteran, who chose to park his money in DHP as a way of showing his patriotism.

MICHAEL ADAIR, LOST RETIREMENT SAVINGS: How could I have been so stupid? How come I have not -- you know, gotten out of this thing before it was this low as it was? Yes, you -- you really feel dumb.

CHO: Brooks has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers, who would not talk to CNN on camera, don't dispute that his personal expenses were paid for by the company, but add, those expenditures were authorized.

TOOBIN: You know, this is the kind of case that makes a defense lawyer think, why didn't I go to medical school? White collar cases are never really slam dunks, but this one seems to come pretty close.

CHO (on camera): And that's not all. Prosecutors allege David Brooks also spent years trying to develop a memory-erasing pill with the veterinarian who cared for his race horses. The alleged target -- the former CFO of the company, so that none of the alleged crimes would ever be reported to the government.

That obviously did not work. That CFO spent 23 days testifying against her former boss. If he's convicted, Brooks could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Alina Cho, CNN, Central Islip, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: He had 50 Cent and Aerosmith play at his daughter's -- daughter's bat mitzvah. Wow. That's got to cost a lot.

Up next, who leaked secret documents about the war in Afghanistan to a Web site? Pentagon says it has a main suspect. We have new details on that.

And a new twist in the story, that garage sale find turned possible treasure -- remember this story? Supposedly somebody bought this for $45 and the photos might be worth $200 million? Well, what we've learned since last night when this story broke.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lot more happening tonight. Let's check in with Tom Foreman with the "360 News and Business Bulletin," Tom.

FOREMAN: Hey, Anderson.

Seven doctors who treated Michael Jackson will not face criminal charges, that from the California attorney general's office. However, investigators have suggested one should face disciplinary action from the State Medical Board. No name released on that. Jackson's personal physician, Conrad Murray, not included in this new development. He still faces involuntary manslaughter charges.

The Pentagon says Army Private Bradley Manning is their main suspect in the leak of about 91,000 secret documents in the war on Afghanistan. An official says he's believed Manning accessed a classified computer system to download the reports. Some 76,000 were posted on WikiLeaks.org leading the headlines around the world.

Crews are trying to recover the bodies of all 152 people who died in a plane crash near Islamabad, Pakistan. It's not easy. It's way up on the side of a mountain.

Things looking slightly up for the economy' the Federal Reserve now seeing modest improvements in 10 of 12 federal districts, the exceptions, Atlanta and Chicago which reported slowdowns.

And a new twist in the story we told you about last night of the glass negatives bought by a California man at a garage sale for $45, an art appraiser says they could be worth $200 million because they're the work of photographer Ansel Adams, but Adams' grandson doesn't buy it.

He wants scientific tests to prove they were taken by his grandfather. And even if they were, he says, he doesn't think they'll be worth that much. Big change, huh?

COOPER: Yes. Well, we shall see.

Time for "The Shot" tonight from Sweden -- Sweden, where one police officer lays down the law with some Techno music. Watch.

There you go -- the Swedish police in action. We got this from liveleak.com. I -- I do not believe that's real. I don't believe that's a real police officer.

FOREMAN: Oh, yes. Somebody better check his papers. I don't know what's going on there.

COOPER: Yes. Yes, that's true.

No joke, of course, our very own "360" crew dancers do much better. Do we have the -- Do we have Seaman Ship still (ph)? All right. There you go, "360" crew dancers.

FOREMAN: Beautiful.

COOPER: Yes. All right. Enough of that. I have to sleep tonight.

Oh, Seaman Ship, we do have Seaman Ship. There's the original. That's years old. That's far better.

FOREMAN: Wow.

COOPER: This was actually a commercial for the Japanese Naval Defense Forces.

FOREMAN: Yes.

COOPER: OK.

Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow.

"LARRY KING" starts now.