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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Budget Showdown Over; Jackson Doctor's Trial Set to Begin; Amanda Knox Trial Continues

Aired September 26, 2011 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight with breaking news. It looks like a government shutdown has been averted, at least for another few weeks, Congress appearing to finally be cleaning up the mess it made for itself and the country, the Senate tonight in a 79-12 bipartisan vote passing a short-term spending bill to carry the country into fiscal year 2012, which starts on Saturday.

It ends a showdown which badly needed disaster relief money essentially became a hostage to congressional bickering.

Let's turn now to Kate Bolduan for the latest on Capitol Hill.

Kate, what's happening this evening?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Anderson.

Well, it seems the Senate has been able to do what it hasn't been able to do to this point, as they have been fighting over keeping the government running for weeks now. they have been able to reach a bipartisan agreement, as you said, to avert a government shutdown that is absolutely -- has been absolutely looming.

The issue it comes down to, the amount of FEMA funding in this short-term spending bill. FEMA announced today that it's able to basically stretch the funds that they have in this federal disaster relief fund which is helping recovery efforts for all the natural disasters the country has been facing in recent weeks.

They're able to stretch the funds to make it through the end of this week, which is a different estimate, which is a better picture than they have been painting previously, that they felt the coffers were going to run dry early this week.

By doing that, it's key because the end of this week is the end of the fiscal year which really essentially takes the big obstacle that was holding up agreement off of the table. It makes it a moot point. And that is because the fight was over federal disaster relief in just the end of the fiscal year '11 which, as we know, is just the next few days. Democrats and Republicans were fighting over whether that bit of FEMA funding should be paid for or should not be. Republicans wanted it paid for, Democrats didn't. It's now -- that issue is taken off the table, as we see, the Senate was able to move forward in a 79-12 vote --

COOPER: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- to push through this clean short-term extension, push it through and push it through pretty quickly.

COOPER: So what -- what does this mean next? Because the House is on vacation. They're gone. So what comes next? How does it get passed?

BOLDUAN: As always, it's not exactly easy and clean to say, but the House does still need to vote on this. And they are not in full session this week. But essentially what we know now is that because the big obstacle that's been holding up agreement to this point, the issue of paying for this FEMA funding or not, since it's off the table, presumably, this -- they should be able to move forward quickly to pass this bill, but still it's not necessarily -- we can't say they will at this moment because there was a big group, as you'll remember, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Of two dozen house conservatives that were opposed to the short-term spending bill. Had nothing to do with exactly the FEMA funding, but the overall spending number. So someone could object to this. They could do it quickly with a voice vote. We talked about this before. Someone could object and hold it up.

Regardless, the Senate passed a one-week spending extension as well in order to allow for the House to be able to come back and vote on it when they return next week if need be.

COOPER: OK. Kate, appreciate the reporting. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

COOPER: Let's bring in Democratic strategist James Carville and David Frum, our newest political contributor. He's the founder of the FrumForum.com and a former speech writer for President George W. Bush.

So, James, I mean is this now basically what politics has become? Is this now how decisions are going to get made, that things have to wait until the last minute and before -- yes, and basically until the last minute?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if one is to believe that the House -- the Senate Republican leader Senator McConnell who said after we went through the last deal on the debt ceiling is that this is what they were going to do in every instance, that they were going to try to extract something before they vote on this.

I don't know the details, but it looks like that the Republicans got -- common sense got the better of them and they decided this is one of the things that they -- the mountain they wanted to die on. But again I'm a little -- I'm a little shaky on the details right now.

COOPER: David, it is remarkable that it seemed like the only thing that kind of saved the day was FEMA basically realizing they didn't have money to get through to the next funding period, next week. I mean it didn't seem like either Republicans or Democrats were going to give in, did it?

DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I really worry that the president and the Democrats' new strategy is to change the title of a famous old book, "Getting to No." That after the debt ceiling crisis, the president and the Democrats seemed to decide that look, there's just no doing business anymore. What we want to do is to force the Republicans to say no in ways that make them look as bad as possible.

So that's what happened on the jobs bill. The president produced a proposal. The proposal was acceptable but then it had all the barbs and hooks in it in the way it was paid for that were designed to be unacceptable for Republicans.

A similar thing looked like what's happening here with FEMA. As James says, a lot of the details working -- waiting to be worked out. But again, it was -- it was to push the Republicans to say no to aiding disaster relief operations. And I think the idea is that the president feels he's not got a strong re-election proposition so he needs to make sure that the other guy is as unappealing, unattractive, unacceptable as possible.

COOPER: James, is that the Democratic strategy?

CARVILLE: Well, I think probably operate with a different set of facts. But my understanding was that they under-appropriate FEMA and in order to increase appropriations Republicans said we want to take the money out of energy program or something, auto industry. And that's where the Democrats said no.

What generally happens, at least according to an article by Norm Ornstein, that they do these things, they're going to have to come back and get more money because they tend to underfund it at the beginning of the year and this was, as we know, a particularly bad year with all the things that happened.

And so I think it was actually Cantor that started this whole thing in motion, but I -- you know I'm not the greatest expert --

COOPER: But James, overall --

CARVILLE: I read up on it before I came on the show.

COOPER: Overall, though, James, I mean is there a strategy you believe by Democrats to push Republicans to make them look as -- to push them to no to make them look as unattractive as possible? CARVILLE: Well -- I don't know. Because the Republicans said they got 98 percent of what they wanted in the debt ceiling bill. No Democrat ever claimed that. And the Republicans said that their strategies worked beautifully to hold the government hostage. And I don't think any Democrat felt that. And I sure don't think there's any Democrat we'd like to know the 2 percent that we got out of the deal.

And it was a Republican that said they're going to hold up FEMA funding and cut other Democrat programs. The Democrats didn't say they would hold up it. That's my understanding of it. I'm a little vexed here.

COOPER: David?

FRUM: Well, Eric Cantor took this position on disaster relief some weeks ago, before this latest request for money arrived. And that was -- he trapped himself. I'm not saying Republicans here are purely innocent victims. I think the Democratic strategy has been there are strained intentions within the Republican leadership. There's a difference between where I think a lot of the national Republicans would like to be and where some of the more vocally conservative members of the House and Senate are.

And that's the pressure point if you're President Obama and the Democrats, to lean on, to trap the leaders of the Republican Party between normal governance, the demands of this important part of their caucus. And a government shutdown, if you can force them to vote for that, that would be a very strong reelection message for a president who doesn't have a lot of otherwise very strong re-election messages.

CARVILLE: Look, Dave, if they want to shut the government down on FEMA funding, I don't think that would be a wise thing to do. But you know if you watch these debates, a lot of their supporters seemed to have some -- get pretty cranked up on some pretty odd things, David.

I don't know. It's a little strange out there to me.

FRUM: It's like a schoolyard fight where the crowd has gathered and the kid in the fighting ring has decided maybe I don't want to do this fight after all, but he's brought too many of his supporters along with him to back down. So if you can push him and push him and push him, you can maybe make him throw a punch which he'll regret.

COOPER: It's interesting, David, because I mean this showdown was over a tiny sliver of emergency disaster aid money. It certainly doesn't bode well for, you know, the upcoming round of budget negotiations where obviously the stakes are far higher.

FRUM: Well, what I'm hoping for in the next round is that, as we get into 2012, there is actually going to be a Republican presidential candidate. There's going to be a real leader of the Republican Party who is going to have some authority to apply some commonsense discipline to Republicans and to say the party cannot be swayed by this faction within its congressional membership that seems to think that somehow that pushing the U.S. economy over the cliff is a good way to make a point.

And as those national presidentially nominated leaders emerge, I'm hoping that we may have a better 2012 than we've had a 2011.

COOPER: Let's hope. James Carville, David --

CARVILLE: I agree -- I agree with David. They're totally out of control. And maybe they need some adult supervision or something. But what you're seeing right now is some pretty strange stuff. Maybe the Republicans need somebody to crack the whip on them, to not be as crazy. But the stuff is pretty weird right now, I will have to say.

COOPER: James Carville and David Frum. Appreciate it, guys.

Our coverage continues all week on CNN. We're going to be taking an in depth look at why things are so dysfunctional in Washington.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight as well.

Up next, we bombed Libya for killing Libyans, sanctioned Syria for killing Syrians, so why is the U.S., the Obama administration, apparently now rewarding Bahrain for killing Bahrainis?

We're going to tell you about a new proposed arms deal with the country that America recently put on the same list of human rights offenders as Syria, Iran and North Korea. "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, opening statements tomorrow in the trial of Michael Jackson's doctor. We're going to preview that and tell you about the courtroom action today. The fight over potentially key piece of Jackson video. One of the last he ever appeared in.

Let's first check with Isha Sesay -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, the world is already watching the Amanda Knox courtroom drama. Today some of the harshest words yet for the American as she appeals her murder conviction. The woman now being called a she-devil in court.

That and more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight. What do you think a repressive regime that guns down its own people deserves from the United States? Condemnation, economic sanctions perhaps, even military action? How about $53 million in brand new U.S. weaponry instead?

That's the answer when it comes to the Gulf state of Bahrain. And it's a striking headline tonight. But before we tell you more, take a look at how they have been using the weapons they already have. A warning, though, this is very ugly stuff.

It begins with protesters marching, chanting the words, "peacefully, peacefully," then watch.

That was back in February. Anti-government protesters being shot by American armed security forces. Just part of a government crackdown that drew global condemnation back then and continues to this day.

Back in June the Bahraini crown prince visited Washington but his reassurances of reforms apparently weren't enough at the time for the White House which issued this statement. Quote, "The United States believes the stability of Bahrain depends upon respect for the universal rights of the people of Bahrain including the right to free speech and peaceful assembly and a process of meaningful reform that is responsive to the aspirations of all."

A week later the America's U.N. ambassador addressed the Human Rights Council putting Bahrain on the same list of human rights violators as Iran, North Korea and Syria, yet the protests went on through the summer and so did the harsh crackdown on the dissidents, most of them members of the minority Shia community.

"The New York Times," citing human rights watchers, reporting more than 1400 arrests including doctors whose crime was treating the wounded. And as many as 3600 workers, mainly Shiites, fired from their jobs for not supporting the government.

Widespread reports of torture as well and at least four people reported killed in custody. In just a few months after putting it on the same list as North Korea, listen to the change in tone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Bahrain, steps have been taken towards reform and accountability. We're pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we'll continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc that we fought to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's President Obama at the U.N. last week. Tonight we're learning that the Pentagon is proposing to grant the sale to Bahrain of $53 million in missiles, night vision gear and armored personal carriers.

Bahrain, you see, is an American ally home to the Navy's Fifth Fleet. And in case you're wondering about the progress being made there that the president spoke about and that the Bahrainis had boast about, well, take a look at this from YouTube just a couple of days ago.

It's an SUV driven by police. It stops in front of a home and fires something, we can't tell if it is tear gas or bullets. You can hear the people inside screaming.

Joining us by phone is national security contributor, Fran Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush. So, Frank, I mean on the face of it, it seems hypocritical for the Obama administration to be selling Bahrain arms just months after calling them out for its human rights offenses or is this just the way foreign policy works?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Anderson, let me be clear, there's no condoning the clips and the activity that you've shown -- you've just shown here on CNN. But I will tell you there are multiple administrations, Democrat, Republican, over decades that have sold to places like Egypt and Pakistan and others, large scale military sales been to countries that have been cited for human right abuses.

This is not new. This has gone on in -- in the foreign policy community for decades. Now, you know, some of these sales do tend -- are conditioned, if you will, that Congress and the administration can condition them for sales on -- that they're not to be used against civilian populations. Those condition-based sales are very difficult to police.

And, of course, if they're violated, it's too late. And so this is a -- this is a real, you know, difficult problem for the administration because, as you've noticed, the Fifth Fleet is there. And as a result of that, Bahrain has been treated differently by this administration and previous administration.

COOPER: Yes. And look, I mean, I certainly get the reality of foreign policy and this isn't, you know, my first time in the rodeo either, but it does seem what is different this time is that you now have this uprising throughout the Arab world, which the U.S., you know, arguably -- and maybe they haven't been in the forefront of it, but they have been encouraging in general of it in Egypt finally after a while, not being so in Libya, even now in Syria.

I guess for some in the Middle East, they will say, well, what is different about Bahrain? And clearly what is different about Bahrain is its location, its geopolitical importance and the fact that the fleet is based there.

TOWNSEND: Well, that's right. And you have to remember, the Fifth Fleet is there and in the Gulf because, of course, from our perspective, it is our guardian against Iranian aggression and perhaps most importantly, our Saudi allies use Bahraini security as their last line of defense before they have to deal with an Iranian threat on their own shores.

And so this is not just about a military -- a bilateral military sale from the United States to Bahrain, you can be certain that there's pressure put on the United States from others in the region, especially Saudi Arabia to facilitate this sort of a sale.

COOPER: It's also -- I mean I guess the fact that it's armored personnel carriers which are things -- which I remember when Saudi sent in troops, it was armored personnel carriers. I remember those videos of those vehicles coming across the bridges. Clearly Bahrain could use the night vision goggles, armored personnel carriers to suppress their own population.

TOWNSEND: That's right. And so I suspect what you will see as part of it there's a congressional notification. The administration does not do this on its own. It needs at least acquiescence from Congress if not approval. And conditions can be put on the use of these materials. I suspect for political reasons. Forget the fact that -- how effective that is.

But I suspect for political reasons these will be conditions- based and that the Bahrainis will accept those conditions. Oftentimes foreign governments, if you put conditions on it, will not take the sale and will go to European providers or others. I suspect the Bahrainis will take these conditions.

COOPER: All right. Fran, appreciate you calling in. Fran, thank you very much.

Still ahead tonight, "Crime and Punishment": dramatic day in the Italian courtroom where Amanda Knox is hoping to win her freedom. Prosecutors are pulling out all the stops to paint the former American student as a ruthless murderer. You should hear some of the things they're calling her today, Lucifer-like, satanic. We'll explain what's behind all the slurs.

Also ahead, up close, Dr. Conrad Murray preparing to face the jury that will hear the manslaughter case against him. Opening statements for Michael Jackson death trial beginning tomorrow.

Will a ruling today on a potentially key piece of evidence hurt Murray's defense? Answers coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Crime and Punishment" tonight. Italian prosecutors using some very strong language to describe Amanda Knox as her appeals case nears the end. Now in court today lawyers said Knox has two sides. One of which they described as diabolical, Lucifer-like and satanic.

Knox is trying to get her murder conviction and 26-year prison sentence overturned. She was convicted of killing her roommate, a woman named Meredith Kercher. And today in court a lawyer for Kercher's family showed very graphic pictures of her dead body.

I spoke about it earlier with senior international correspondent Matthew Chance who's covering this story from Italy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Matthew, the prosecution was pretty tough on Amanda Knox in court today, weren't they?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they were, Anderson. They were delivering some pretty heavy lines when it comes to the characterizing her personality. One of the attorneys that was, you know, presenting his side of events in the case today saying that Amanda Knox is a she-devil. He called her an enchanting witch. He described her personality that was split between angelic on the one side and Lucifer-like and satanic and demonic on the other side.

So, you know, some very, you know, tough words being told there to the court by the -- by these prosecution attorneys with the sole purpose, of course, of convincing that jury, which is lined up to listen to the evidence and the testimony, of upholding the conviction for murder against Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito as well. And so obviously it was a heavy day in court.

COOPER: It sounds like -- I mean some of the hyperbole that these attorneys are using, calling her a she-devil, Lucifer, et cetera, et cetera, it sounds like they're kind of covering up for the fact that the DNA evidence, which was used initially to convict her, has largely been ruled inadmissible or has been ruled out.

CHANCE: Yes, I mean, I think that's probably right. I mean certainly I spoke to some of the family members. And they said look, you know, these kinds of insults are very hurtful, but what we're seeing here is we're seeing these prosecution attorneys essentially use insults in the place of evidence.

But one of the attorneys, in fact, the attorney that was representing Meredith Kercher's parents, the murdered girl, he went to pains not just to show photographs of the dead body of Meredith Kercher again with her slit throat in after what prosecutors said was a sex game gone wrong that Amanda Knox took part in.

But he also went to pains to say that he supported the original police forensic investigation and the findings that they have made even though the court's own independent experts have said that those police forensics were flawed and that the DNA samples they got from their methodology is not reliable at all. And so quite astounding stuff.

COOPER: What happens in court tomorrow?

CHANCE: Well, tomorrow will be the first of the defense case summing up. It's Raffaele Sollecito's attorneys, they'll get a chance to put across their version of events. What we're going to see over the next few days is a distinct change in tone from the prosecution version of events that we've been hearing for the past several days to the defense version of events.

And that's obviously going to be much more sympathetic to Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend.

COOPER: And the judge still expects the trial to conclude next week some time?

CHANCE: Early Monday morning is now what we're expecting for the judge to, you know, basically direct the jury to go away and consider this, then we're expecting a decision, I suppose you'd call it, in a hearing like this. A decision as to whether Amanda Knox is going to be kept behind bars or set free some time on Monday afternoon. COOPER: And I know her family has grown optimistic that she will be set free. We'll be watching.

Matthew Chance, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, up close, on the eve of the opening arguments in Dr. Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial in the death of Michael Jackson. We're going to retrace the day Michael Jackson died from an overdose of a powerful anesthetic. What happened after that.

But first Isha Sesay has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, investigators are looking into whether the gunman in a deadly shooting at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan was simply disgruntled or inspired by militants. He opened fire in the CIA annex of the embassy killing one U.S. citizen and wounding another before he was killed by security.

LinkedIn hosted the presidential town hall online today. President Obama appeared by a live video stream on LinkedIn and the White House Web site. He talked about the American Jobs Act and the economy, and took some questions from the audience.

Market news. Confidence in plans to resolving Europe's debt crisis pushed U.S. stocks higher. The Dow surged 272 points or 2. 5 percent. The S&P 500 added 27 points. The Nasdaq rose 33.

And, Anderson, Diana Nyad says she is giving up her dream to swim from Cuba to Florida. Last time it was an asthma attack. This time jellyfish did her in. The 62-year-old endurance swimmer was stung twice during her third attempt to complete the 103-mile crossing.

Intense pain and partial paralysis from the stings caused Nyad to end her swim yesterday after 40 hours in the water.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANA NYAD, ENDURANCE SWIMMER: It's all worth it. There's so much boldness in living life this way. We did it all. And no one can ever take it away from us. So, I stand here proud. I really am.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: She should be proud.

COOPER: As well she should be. Incredible.

SESAY: All I did was eat burgers yesterday.

COOPER: What did you say?

SESAY: All I did was eat burgers yesterday. She swam. You know?

COOPER: You know what? Sadly, I ate burgers yesterday, too.

SESAY: Yes, that was our achievement.

COOPER: I was proud I didn't have onions on mine. That was my big -- yes, I know. Yes. Wow.

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: Puts it in perspective, doesn't it? I'm going to go for a run after the show tonight, I think.

SESAY: Maybe I'll find time, too. Possibly.

COOPER: I don't believe you for a second. Yes. I don't believe you.

SESAY: OK.

COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." Actually, we found this on YouTube. Who can resist bear cubs playing in the middle of the road? It was a shot in Yosemite. They stopped traffic. You can see why. Take a look. That's very sweet. As long as you don't near the cubs.

SESAY: Certainly cute.

COOPER: Yes.

SESAY: He's saying, "Get off me."

COOPER: We didn't have to go as far as Yosemite for an official 360 bear cub video. This comes from Kate, one of our writers. Her husband took it through their living room window in Massachusetts. Take a look at this. Yes, a bear right in their backyard.

SESAY: A little too close for my liking.

COOPER: I know. That's crazy.

SESAY: Yes. All righty.

COOPER: There we go.

SESAY: I'm getting ready for my run.

COOPER: Right.

SESAY: I don't appreciate that.

COOPER: Well, maybe we'll run together.

SESAY: It's a deal. And I hear them laughing in the studio.

COOPER: People are laughing in the studio. It's very possible. Look, I've got sneakers on already. Look. I've got sneakers on. Right there.

SESAY: I like the sneakers.

COOPER: I'm ready to run. I'm ready to run.

SESAY: All right. I'll be in town next week.

COOPER: OK.

SESAY: All right. Moving on.

COOPER: Just ahead, amazing new video taken inside the Washington Monument. Have you seen this video when an earthquake struck last month? Some incredible images.

Also, the video that will not be shown in court when Michael Jackson death trial begins tomorrow. Will today's ruling hurt Dr. Conrad Murray's defense? Talk about that with Tom Mesereau.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Up close now, opening arguments begin tomorrow in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the Houston cardiologist who was in Michael Jackson's home when the pop singer died more than two years ago.

The video was taken in March of 2009, three months before Jackson's death. This was when he was announcing what he said would be his final concert series called, This Is It.

Today the trial judge ruled that Murray's lawyers won't be allowed to show the video to jurors. The defense team says Jackson appears hung over, proved he wasn't healthy long before he died.

Just weeks before Jackson's first concert date in London, during the final stretch, news of his death broke. Randi Kaye takes us back to that day more than two years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The desperate 911 call comes from inside Michael Jackson's rented Beverly Hills mansion. It is just before 12:30 p.m., June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles.

ALBERTO ALVAREZ, SECURITY FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: He's pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything, sir.

KAYE: The King of Pop's heart had stopped. He is unconscious. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who can be heard in the background on the call made by Jackson's security guard, is attempting CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody witness what happened?

ALVAREZ: No, just the doctor, sir. The doctor's been the only one here. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So the doctor see what happened?

ALVAREZ: Doctor, did you see what happened, sir? Just, sir if you -- if you can please...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're on our way.

KAYE: As the emergency unfolds, news spreads.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're getting some breaking news coming into "THE SITUATION ROOM" right now from -- about Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.

KAYE: His family is at his hospital bedside.

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL: My brother, the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 2:26 p.m.

KAYE: Sorrow, shock and so many unanswered questions. Immediately, the investigation begins to focus on Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist hired to care for the pop star as he prepared for the upcoming concert tour.

June 26, the day after Jackson died, police announce they impounded Dr. Murray's car from the singer's mansion in search of prescription medications that could be, quote, "pertinent to the investigation." Days later, on June 30, a registered nurse tells CNN Jackson had insomnia and had asked her for Diprivan, a very powerful sedative also known as Propofol.

CHERILYN LEE, NURSE: I said, "Michael, if you take that medicine, you might not wake up."

KAYE: Propofol is usually administered through an IV drip and produces such a comatose state, it is not supposed to be used outside a hospital setting.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Propofol is a medication he uses all the time. So this is it right over here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

GUPTA: It looks like -- milk of amnesia, they call it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Milk of amnesia.

KAYE: By July 1, Jackson's death is a full-blown drug investigation, involving the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

COOPER: Here in Los Angeles, the investigation into Michael Jackson's death has taken a dramatic turn. There are reports that police found Diprivan, a powerful anesthetic, in Michael Jackson's house.

KAYE: Weeks later, July 22, in a surprise raid, federal agents searched Dr. Murray's Houston clinic. Investigators are authorized to seize evidence related to the offense of manslaughter. They take a computer hard drive, documents and Rolodex cards.

Five days later, July 27, a major bombshell. A source tells CNN that Dr. Murray gave Michael Jackson Propofol, also called Diprivan, within 24 hours of his death.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: For a patient to be administered Diprivan in their home or in the outside world to me is outrageous.

KAYE: On July 30, search warrants for Murray's home are made public.

(on camera) There's a lot of surprising information in here, Anderson. The search warrant said that they were looking for evidence, quote, "demonstrating crimes of excessive prescribing and prescribing to an addict," also evidence of manslaughter.

(voice-over) On August 18, Dr. Murray makes his first public comments. He releases this video online.

DR. CONRAD MURRAY, ON TRIAL IN MICHAEL JACKSON'S DEATH: I have done all I could do. I told the truth. And I have faith that truth will prevail.

KAYE: August 24, the L.A. County coroner concludes Jackson died of an overdose of Propofol.

(on camera) The key thing, though, that we have learned tonight is that lethal levels of Propofol killed Michael Jackson. The coroner's preliminary report is telling us so.

Dr. Murray thought that Jackson was addicted to the drug, and he was apparently trying to wean him off it.

(voice-over) According to an affidavit, Dr. Murray told detectives he'd been treating Jackson for insomnia for weeks. Murray says he tried other drugs but the pop star demanded Propofol to help him sleep. So at 10:40 a.m., the day he died, he gave him 25 milligrams of it. Nine-one-one was called almost two hours later.

COOPER: And what about Murray's actions the day Jackson collapsed? I mean, did you learn anything more about where he was, actually, when the singer stopped breathing?

KAYE: He said he finally went to sleep. According to this affidavit, he watched him for about ten minutes, and then he left the room to use the bathroom. He said he was gone for about two minutes maximum, according to the documents. And when he came back, Michael Jackson wasn't breathing.

(voice-over) On February 8, 2010, Dr. Conrad Murray is officially charged with involuntary manslaughter. He surrenders to authorities, pleads not guilty and is released on $75,000 bail.

ED CHERNOFF, CONRAD MURRAY'S LAWYER: Dr. Murray did not cause the death of Michael Jackson. There's no way that Dr. Murray would pump Michael Jackson full of Propofol sufficient for major surgery and walk out of that room.

KAYE: Dr. Murray could get up to four years in prison for the death of the King of Pop.

Randi Kaye, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Memories of those terrible times. Digging deeper now, Tom Mesereau joins me. He's a criminal defense attorney who represented Michael Jackson in his child molestation trial.

Tom, thanks for being with us.

You believe Dr. Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. But it's difficult, often, to convict doctors in criminal cases. How hard a case do you think this is going to be for the prosecution?

TOM MESEREAU, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, here's what I think the prosecution has to do. The prosecution has to effectively and powerfully educate this jury that this particular drug is not like a prescription medication. It's not like a pill to help you go to sleep; it's not like an anti-depressant pill.

This is so radically different from prescribed medications. And this is something that's powerful, dangerous, and should never be in a home. Every doctor I talked to was shocked it was in a home, not to mention you didn't have trained personnel and you didn't have the proper equipment. The prosecution must explain how outrageous it was to have this powerful drug in the home.

COOPER: Do you think the defense is going to try to basically attack Michael Jackson's character, kind of bring him down?

MESEREAU: I think they're going to try to devalue him in subtle ways. They have to be very careful. If they go too far, they'll really turn off the jury, because Michael Jackson was a very loved and very wonderful person. All over the world people revered him.

Nevertheless, I think they're going to try and say he was a drug addict, and that this doctor was treating him as a drug addict and trying to help him.

Again, the prosecution has to show that having Diprivan in the home is outrageous. It's not a typical prescription medication, and it wasn't a pill that you can take excessively.

COOPER: It sounds like the defense is going to argue that Dr. Murray was already addicted to Propofol and that Dr. Murray was basically trying to wean him off it. I mean, do you think his actions that day or his actions previous to that day bolster that defense, though?

MESEREAU: No, I don't. And I think the biggest problem he has, aside from the fact that this drug doesn't belong in the home and he didn't know what to do with it, the biggest problem he has is that apparently he did not tell paramedics at the scene about Propofol. He didn't tell police at the scene about Propofol. And then he went to the hospital with him and didn't tell the hospital personnel he had given him Propofol. This shows consciousness of guilt.

He also asked people to help him sanitize and clean up the crime scene. I think that evidence is going to hurt him significantly.

COOPER: There were, though, other doctors in the past who had given Michael Jackson Propofol. I remember we tracked down one doctor who had given it to him on tour, actually gone on tour with Michael Jackson. That would argue in the defense's favor of, well, this was an ongoing problem, that Dr. Murray was just kind of, you know, coming in and trying to wean him off of.

MESEREAU: Well, I think the question is what did those doctors do when they administered it? Did they have a trained anesthesiologist? Did they have a trained nurse anesthetist? Did they have heart monitoring equipment? Did they have breathing equipment?

You know, Murray had none of this stuff. Murray just ordered these gallons of Propofol, had them delivered to his girlfriend's house, and administered them without trained personnel and without proper equipment. It's an outrage.

COOPER: Yes, it's pretty extraordinary when you think about it.

Tom, I appreciate you being on. Thank you very much.

MESEREAU: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Let's take a look now -- coming up, we'll Piers Morgan. That's coming up in a little while. We'll check in with him.

Also, incredible images tonight from inside the Washington Monument when that earthquake hit the nation's capital last month.

And David Gergen, the Gergenator, our senior political analyst, gets drunk with George Clooney. And if that weren't enough, oh, yes, he lands on our "RidicuList."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay, back with a "360 Bulletin."

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has asked a New York judge to dismiss the civil lawsuit by a hotel maid who accused him of sexual assault. His lawyers claim at the time he was immune from such a suit under international law. A judge dropped the criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn when prosecutors questioned the accuser's story and her credibility.

A 360 follow in that tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last month. You'll recall seven people died when scaffolding gave way during a thunderstorm. Dozens more were injured, including Alisha Brennon, who lost a partner in the wreckage. She's joining a federal lawsuit trying to force Indiana to raise its cap on legal damages and to recognize same-sex couples who might not be entitled to payment otherwise. She spoke today about the horrible moment before the storm, when first the audience was told conditions were safe, and quickly discovered they were not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALISHA BRENNON, SUING OVER PARTNER'S DEATH: And not five minutes later, I was knocked unconscious with her right in front of me on the ground. I never saw her again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: A tribute over the weekend to Jamey Rodemeyer, who took part in the "It Gets Better" anti-bullying campaign, then months later took his own life after facing harassment at school over his sexuality. He made a big impression on Lady Gaga, who remembered him at the keyboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY GAGA, SINGER: So tonight, Jamey, I know you're up there looking out there. And you're another victim. You're a lesson to all of us. so tonight, I know it's a bit of a downer, but sometimes the right thing's more important than the music, isn't it?

Let's do this one for Jamey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Jamey was just 14.

Other news, extraordinary new video from inside the Washington Monument at the very moment a magnitude 5.8 earthquake shook the nation's capital last month. The monument remains closed. The National Parks Service says engineers have determined the monument is still structurally sound, despite four cracks discovered after the quake.

And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no fan of the "Jersey Shore" reality TV show. He's vetoed a $420,000 tax credit dubbed the Snooki subsidy for the production company that films episodes of the MTV show. Christie says the program hurts the state's image, and tax credits should go to projects that actually benefit the state -- Anderson.

COOPER: Isha, thanks.

We have some very exciting news tonight. The program and our staff at 360 won two Emmy awards for our coverage of the crisis in Haiti following the earthquake there in January of 2010. As you may remember, we spent -- we spent a month in Haiti covering the disaster, telling stories about the survivors and the victims. One Emmy was for outstanding coverage of a breaking news story. The second Emmy for outstanding live coverage of a news story. So congratulations to all the hard-working people at AC 360.

Coming up, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen. His new drinking buddy is George Clooney, apparently. I'm not kidding. The Gerg is putting the party back in political party. We have full analysis on "The RidicuList" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding our very own CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen. First time on "The RidicuList," because frankly, he's been holding out on us.

We've always known David is a brilliant political mind, former advisor to four different presidents and a Harvard professor. What we did not know until today is that he's also an unapologetic party monster. I'm talking the "staying up all night drinking, skinny dipping, almost missing your flight" party monster.

Now, if you follow David Gergen on Twitter, you know, he usually tweets things like this, and I quote, "With differences deeper than ever before, hard to see deficit super committee succeeding this fall. Jobs bill may be harder, too."

OK. Then out of nowhere, this morning, there was this tweet. Quote, "Ten hours sleep, 20 hours talk, one nasty hangover, nonstop fun. Reflections on my stay with Clooney at his Lake Como villa." That's right. David Gergen partying with George Clooney?

It turns out Gergen interviewed Clooney for "Parade" magazine and stayed at his Italian villa for a few days, along with some of Clooney's friends. In the "Parade" article the Gergenator writes about the experience in vivid detail. I'm just going to cut to the part where it gets really good.

Quote, "I lost track of time, but by 2 a.m. or so when I was hammered and was reasonably certain that others were, too, we had become raucous." David Gergen hammered?

At this point Clooney apparently climbed the fence and jumped in a lake fully clothed and challenged his guests to do the same. But the Gergmeister had an early-morning flight to catch and, being every practical even when hammered, didn't want to get his clothes wet. Oh, no.

I quote, "So what choice did I have? I stripped down to my skivvies, climbed that darn fence, and, whoa, it seemed like I was 30 feet above the water. One, two, I was in the water by three. It was very dark. A little cold but terrific. So we kept jumping."

You know, I've always thought of Paul Begala as the Snooki on the CNN political team. But I think I'm going to have to re-evaluate. Also, he used the word "skivvies." The night didn't end there. Oh, no. It was only 2 a.m. The Gerg train had barely left the station. Quote, "Eventually, we repaired to his kitchen in bathrobes trying to warm up. Out came a bottle of Limoncello, and the conversation flowed on until I finally crawled up to bed at 4:30."

And four hours later, with what he describes as a, quote, "nasty hangover," G. Diddy headed for the airport.

Now, this is definitely a side of David Gergen that we have not seen before. Although it isn't first time he's hinted at other aspects of his Gergenality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that timing is everything in politics, just as it is in love.

COOPER: David, did you say timing is everything in politics as it is in love?

GERGEN: I said that. Yes, I did, indeed.

COOPER: David Gergen, this is a whole new side of you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: David Gergen, one part poet, one part philosopher and, as it turns out, one part Bluto from "Animal House."

Now, I have a feeling his groupies are going to go kind of crazy over this. Oh, yes, didn't you know, Cyrano De-Gergerac has groupies. Oh, yes. Exhibit A, Kelly Ripa. She has said, and I quote, "I'd love to have dinner with David Gergen. I'd love to have him take me somewhere in Washington. I love David Gergen. He fascinates me. He reassures me like no other man can."

She's not the only one. A few years ago comedian Jessi Klein wrote an article for "The Daily Beast," in which she proclaimed her undying affection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It was basically a confession of love for you, David Gergen. And I know a lot of people around the world, frankly, agree with this. David, there's more. We invited Jessi Klein to tape a personal message for you. Watch and enjoy.

JESSI KLEIN, COLUMNIST: Thank you for being the most objective, intelligent, truthful analyst on television. And for always being super hot and dreamy while you're doing it.

Anderson, I love you, too but my heart belongs to Gergen.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: But seriously, David Gergen, you really have inspired us with your lost Italian weekend story. We expect a dramatic re- enactment, maybe at the fountain in Columbus Circle, after the 360 Christmas party. We'll bring the Limoncello.

And that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. "JOHN KING USA" starts now. We'll see you tomorrow.