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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Amanda Knox Returns Home; Christie Will Not Run for President; Interview With California Congressman Darrell Issa

Aired October 4, 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: Good evening, everyone. It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, supper time in Seattle, where Amanda Knox is finally home and reportedly in seclusion with her family.

She is home a little more than 30 hours after an Italian appeals court overturned her murder conviction in the killing of her roommate Meredith Kercher and nearly four years in prison. Imagine that feeling. There it is, Amanda Knox returning to a press conference at the airport. This was our first glimpse of her on American soil moments after stepping off the plane. She and her parents spoke to reporters. Here's what they had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURT KNOX, AMANDA KNOX'S FATHER: First of all, we'd like to thank everybody. As Ted said, this has been a very long four years, but we couldn't have made it through it without all you people out here that have supported us and especially Amanda.

EDDA MELLAS, AMANDA KNOX'S MOTHER: All I can say is again thank you. It's because of the letters and the calls and just amazing support that we received from people all over the world, especially here in Seattle.

That we've been able to endure and that we've been able to, you know, make sure Amanda had had the support she needed. There's no way we could thank everybody. So here -- individually, so here's our way to just say thank you.

C. KNOX: I would like to add in one more thing. We'd also like to send our appreciation to our Italian lawyers, Carlo Dalla Vedova, Luciano Ghirga and Maria Del Grosso. They did a fantastic job on that side of the pond and Ted was phenomenal on this side of the pond.

And obviously, we couldn't have done it without you. So appreciate that. You want to talk? Yes, Edda and I will take any questions if anybody has any. There's a couple hands over there. How are you going to hear it? Can't hear it. OK, all right. You want to talk?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome home, Amanda!

AMANDA KNOX, MURDER CONVICTION OVERTURNED IN ITALY: They're reminding me to speak in English because I'm having problems with that. I'm really overwhelmed right now. I was looking down from the airplane and it seemed like everything wasn't real.

What's important for me to say is just thank you to everyone who's believed in me, who's defended me, who has supported my family. I just want my family's the most important thing to me right now. I just want to go and be with them. So thank you for being there for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Amanda Knox and her parents at the airport tonight. Again, they are all home now, Amanda, family and friends, in Seattle. Many in Seattle are celebrating.

Joining us now is Drew Griffin, along with Nina Burleigh, who moved to Perugia to cover the murder trial. She is the author of the book "The Fatal Gift of Beauty," all about the case. And on the phone is Tom Wright, a filmmaker and founder of Friends of Amanda.

First of all, Tom, this has been a long time coming. You have been a long time supporter of hers. What's this moment like for the family members that you have talked to?

TOM WRIGHT, FOUNDER, FRIENDSOFAMANDA.ORG: Anderson, it's almost indescribable the joy that they're feeling, the relief overall just to be reunified with Amanda and to be able to express their love to her directly, and most of all to have the opportunity to watch her grow and make this transition.

I think in the weeks ahead and months ahead I think third parties are going to begin to ask how does something like this happen? How does an innocent young American girl fall prey to a situation like this in a foreign country? And there was some question today on some of the discussion about this homecoming, was she friends with Meredith? She was friends with Meredith.

And strangely, the laptops that belonged to Meredith and to Amanda and to Raf were -- the hard drives on those laptops were destroyed very early on. One wonders how that happens, because those people that said they weren't friends, how do you prove you're friends with someone? Well, you have photographs. You have anecdotes and you have keepsakes. And Amanda had all those things and they were lost very early in this investigation. All that will be dealt with later. Right now they're just enjoying her physical presence and celebrating her return as are we all.

COOPER: Yes, I can only imagine what that's like. I really can't imagine.

Drew, has the prosecution or the prosecutor in Italy indicated whether or not he is going to appeal yesterday's decision to the highest court? Is this case over or not?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, no, no, Giuliano Mignini held a news conference today, I believe. He said absolutely he's going to appeal. He believes she is guilty. He believes that Raffaele Sollecito is guilty and he intends to take this to the Supreme Court.

It's a big hurdle, though. This is more of the appeal that we're used to here in the U.S. where the appeal would be based on the legal standards of this current trial, whether or not judges followed the rules, whether all the legalities were followed, a much greater hurdle to overcome for Mignini to get some kind of a new trial or for this overturned verdict overturned.

But he fully intends to do it. And that is what's going to take place in Italy.

COOPER: Nina, is there anything to that? Do you think it could actually result in anything?

NINA BURLEIGH, AUTHOR, "THE FATAL GIFT OF BEAUTY": Oh, I don't think so. You know, Mignini has already been convicted of abuse of office and he's got a suspended sentence hanging over him and I believe it was an 18-month suspended sentence.

And I think he's -- you know, his career is just hanging in the balance here. So he has to keep fighting because...

COOPER: He's trying to save face.

BURLEIGH: Well, he's trying to save face. But his career literally could end, I think, before it should, before his retirement, because of what happened previously.

And so I don't know that he can -- I don't know that he has the time to go through the Supreme Court.

COOPER: You know, early on it seemed like she was vilified in the Italian media and much of the European media. Is that case? Do you think is that still the perception in Italy?

BURLEIGH: Well, you know, you heard boos when she was exonerated in the piazza outside the Tribunale. And I think that there's been reporting from Italy, you know, people are mystified, from mystification to absolute disgust. They thought she was guilty.

In the U.K., you can read in the newspapers today, "The Daily Mail," there's an article. You know, they're looking at her. They were looking at her giving her plea to the appeals court, that tearful plea before she was released and saying, you know, just another actressy act from the psychotic or psychopathic young woman.

So there are millions of people persuaded that this, again, a very simple crime with a very complicated created story around it, there are millions of people who believe the created story and will ignore all of the facts leading to the simplest conclusion about what happened in that house.

COOPER: Tom, do you think Amanda knew what a big case this had become, the attention that this was receiving around the world?

WRIGHT: No, she didn't, Anderson. And that was one of the concerns of the family. I think she didn't realize until just before she was released how much attention had been paid. The world of the prison is very self-contained. There is not a lot of awareness of what's going on outside. But she's a very sharp, sharp lady.

I know that she knew how she was being depicted because when she moved into the courtroom and these outrageous things were being said to her, you know, the things calling her a she-devil and a witch and things like this, it was so completely bizarre to her, just unfathomable. She couldn't understand it at all.

This is a very wholesome, all-American, athletic, scholarly young American woman. And to be called these names and then have it spread on the Internet and then have all of these people have at her in the tabloids, how does one combat that? I think that's a big question that we have to ask. Do we let people -- here's a man suing people for slander and yet he slandered this woman mercilessly over and over again. How do you defend yourself when you're behind bars and you're 20 years old and you don't have any way to change people's perceptions of you?

That was our big challenge in this situation.

COOPER: And, Drew, you know, I think early on it was portrayed as if Amanda Knox was deeply involved with this young Italian guy Raffaele Sollecito. They had only been going out together for eight days, right?

GRIFFIN: Yes. They barely knew each other, Anderson. They were two college kids in a college town really almost falling in love, but probably didn't have enough time to even do that, you know, eight days or so.

Edda Mellas told me that she just heard about this young man that she met at a classical music concert. And the next thing you know, the two of them are arrested. So they really didn't have a relationship that developed much beyond those initial dates. So it was really -- it's a life interrupted. It's two lives interrupted and Meredith Kercher's life has ended, a tragedy all the way around.

But the fact that Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were locked up for something that quite frankly the evidence shows they did not do was every bit as tragic and certainly shouldn't have brought any solace to the Kercher family, to have these two locked up.

COOPER: And, Nina, as tough as it has been for Amanda, it has got to be tough for this guy Raffaele. He's staying in Italy.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: He's not in the United States.

BURLEIGH: Well, his sister -- I corresponded with him a lot, actually, more even than Amanda. He wrote a lot of letters to me. And his sister told me that they -- she was hoping that they could leave Italy. She had lost her job over this. And he's -- his studies were interrupted. He was about to get his degree. He's a very -- he's a wealthy -- son of a wealthy man. But he has had a tragic life. His mother died when he was 20. You know, it's awful. It's like Rip Van Winkle. Their lives were stopped on the night of the 6th of November, 2007, you're 20 and 22 years old or 24 years old, and their lives ceased on those -- on that night. Literally. They were locked in these rooms for four years and they are now coming out.

COOPER: And there are multiple victims. Obviously the family of Meredith Kercher feels as if she is the forgotten victim in all this. I mean her life, you know, she's dead. And they're still now left asking questions about, well, what really happened?

BURLEIGH: Yes, well, because they were persuaded by their Italian attorney that the story created again around this very simple crime was what happened, that it wasn't one person who killed her, it was a group of people. And they have been told that from the beginning.

They're grieving people. And this idea of how their daughter and sister died has been implanted by the Italian authorities and by their civil lawyer. I don't know that they will ever relinquish it. And it's very sad. It just adds to the tragedy of it.

COOPER: Yes.

Well, Nina, I appreciate you being with us. Drew as well and Tom, thanks very much. Our best to the family and all those in Seattle.

We're continuing to cover this. Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Coming up, "Raw Politics." Governor Chris Christie officially not running for president. What that could mean for the field of the Republican candidates. I will talk to Erick Erickson, Mary Matalin and Gloria Borger.

Also ahead, new memos about the botched ATF operation we have been covering, Fast and Furious. That operation that lost track of thousands of firearms across the Mexican border, tough questions for the attorney general tonight and the congressman behind the investigation. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And, later, the Michael Jackson death trial. Three of Dr. Conrad Murray's girlfriends took the stand today. That's right. He has three of them. He actually has four of them. What they said could mean trouble for the defense ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Raw Politics" now: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the no heard around the Republican presidential world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Now is not my time. I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Governor Christie today saying he was swayed by calls to run for president but ultimately not moved, which shouldn't come as news to anyone who has been following him the last couple years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: I'm governor, I want to be governor. I'm not running for president. I don't feel ready in my heart to be president. I don't want to run for president.

I don't feel like I'm ready to be president. I don't want to run for president. I don't have the fire in the belly to run for president.

I have big things to accomplish here. And that does not include leaving and running for national office.

I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you do see the presidency at all in your future?

CHRISTIE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you running for president?

CHRISTIE: No!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm kidding. I'm kidding. All right.

CHRISTIE: My God, I'm not running for president.

I did. I said what do I have to do short of suicide to convince people I'm not running? Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I'm not running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, with Christie out, Rick Perry struggling for the moment, Mitt Romney seems to be emerging to as a front-runner right now with Herman Cain getting a surprising boost.

Let's talk about it with our political contributors, Erick Erickson, editor in chief of RedState.com, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, also with us chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

So Gloria, I can only imagine that Mitt Romney is part breathing a big sigh of relief tonight.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I spoke with some people in the Romney camp. They are clearly breathing a sigh of relief. Look, they would have been competing against Chris Christie for the same constituency in the Republican Party. They would have been competing for money in the Republican Party. And essentially they would have been making the same argument about being the most electable candidate in the Republican Party.

So, with Chris Christie gone, what we're hearing tonight and what we're reporting on CNN is that some of those top would-be Christie fund-raisers are now moving very quickly to the Romney camp, including Ken Langone, who is the co-founder of Home Depot. So, the Romney people are quite happy about this. And all they have to do is convince Republicans to get on board. They're polling at a solid 25 percent. But you need to do better than that to get the nomination.

COOPER: Mary, let's look at some of those polls because after losing support, now seems as it Gloria says some voters are giving Romney a second look. New polls like this one from "the Washington Post" and ABC show Romney claiming the top spot, Perry battling of Herman Cain. For a second, what do you make about the rise of Herman Cain and I guess the stumble of Rick Perry?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Romney is the same floor and the same ceiling he's had throughout the race. So, the dynamic hasn't changed, still a two man race Romney versus the anti- Romney. There is a two-man race for the not-Romney candidate. And there's well, or you could say another way, 75 percent of the primary electorate is still not with Romney. What Gloria just reported is an important fact to see where the money goes.

But there is still an enthusiasm gap for Romney and there is a 13-point enthusiasm advantage for the conservative electorate at large. So this primary's very rational. The activists want their enthusiasm for their candidate to be commensurate with their enthusiasm for their message. And I think this thing will go longer into the primaries than people think.

COOPER: Well Erick, I mean is the Christie phenomenon, the interest in him as much about what voters thought of the current crop of candidates as what they thought about him?

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: Yes, I think it was a lot to do with him. His leadership performance at this press conference was so strong today. There will probably be a poll out next week showing he moves into first place in the Republican primary and Bill Kristol will start the rumor again that he's going to run again. And then we'll have another press conference next month where he says yet again for the 13th or 14th time he's not running.

Look, the problem here and Mary is absolutely right here. The Republican conservative electorate wants someone who can beat Barack Obama but they want someone who can beat Mitt Romney along the way. Seventy five percent of them subdue. And they are trying - that's why you see all these other numbers bouncing up and down. Bachmann's rise, Cain's rise, Perry's rise. They're vetting these guys to see who can be the anti-Romney to then run against Barack Obama and be viable.

The Romney is the bar in a survey that came out today that shows he has a huge problem with evangelical voters in the country, which will impact not just in Iowa, but in South Carolina as well.

BORGER: You know, Anderson, this wasn't supposed to be an establishment year for the Republican Party. This was supposed to be an outsider's year. You know, this was the Tea Party coming in and saying we're going to bring you a different kind of Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama, who was a different kind of Republican candidate. Only guess what? It may turn out to be an establishment year.

COOPER: Mary, I mean is all -

ERICKSON: You know -

COOPER: Go ahead.

ERICKSON: Well, I was going to say, Gloria's absolutely right. It is largely because there are 50 billion Tea Party groups in the country all vying to be the national Tea Party. And each of them has a different candidate that they like. As long as there's no consensus there, it's Mitt Romney's race to lose.

MATALIN: But let me say to that point there is no establishment message.

BORGER: Right.

MATALIN: There might be an establishment candidate at the end, but this is an anti-establishment, anti-Washington, stop spending, start working year. So it doesn't matter who the messenger is. The message is not changing. That dynamic hasn't changed.

COOPER: Mary Matalin, Gloria Borger, thanks very much -- Erick Erickson.

Just ahead tonight: The attorney general says he only learned about a botched ATF operation, Fast and Furious, a few weeks before lawmakers asked him about it. "Keeping Them Honest," we have got memos that say otherwise. We have got tough questions too for the congressman behind the investigation.

Also ahead, "Crime & Punishment": the Michael Jackson death trial. The doctor on trial, Conrad Murray, his girlfriends taking the stand today, including the one who received cartons of the drug that killed Michael Jackson.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Now, tonight "Keeping Them Honest": what newly uncovered memos say about the botched ATF operation we've been reporting on, called Fast and Furious. The operation to let firearms bought in America get across the border into Mexico.

The idea was to trace them to drug cartel leaders, but instead of tracing them, the ATF lost track of them. They never even informed the Mexican government about the weapons. And to add insult to injury no one ever told the Mexican about the entire thing. The whole thing was predicated on being able to follow these things but no one told the Mexicans.

So, the U.S. is basically arming murderous drug cartels and no one tells Mexico. We're not talking about a dozen or even a couple of hundreds guns, we are talking about thousands of weapons.

Two of them, two of those weapons turned up at the murder scene of a U.S. border agent named Brian Terry. That's his photo. It's important we remember his name. Tonight, the GOP controlled house Judiciary Committee asked the White House to name a special counsel to determine whether the attorney general himself Eric Holder lied when asked about Fast and Furious. Here's what he said back in May.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R), CALIFORNIA: When did you first know about the program officially I believe called Fast and Furious, to the best of your knowledge, what date?

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: However, "Keeping Them Honest," we've obtained memos that show otherwise. Weekly reports from Holder deputies to the attorney general, weekly reporting one dated the week of October 18, 2010 talks about eight pending indictments then under seal in connection with gun running to Mexico -- quote -- "The ceiling, will likely last until another investigation, operation Fast and Furious, is ready for takedown."

So, assuming that attorney general Holder read the memo, assuming that in fact he was at least aware of the operation months before he testify, head was. Now, another memo from the first week that July also mentioned Fast and Furious and gives a brief thumbnail description of it. Now, presumably the attorney general read that one as well. Both, we should say, are heavily redacted. So, we don't know what else they say about Fast and Furious if fact, they say anything more at all.

Tonight at the Justice Department, an official told us all we know for sure is that the memo suggests Eric Holder had reason to at least be aware of the operation months before he said he did before the oversight committee last May.

Now, an official of the Justice Department though says the attorney general was simply repeating the answer he gave a Senate committee in March about whether he was aware of questionable tactics. This official says, and I quote, "Chairman Issa, of all people, should be familiar with the difference of knowing about an investigation and being aware of questionable tactics employed in that investigation."

But recall in the clip that was played Congressman Issa's question wasn't that complicated. He simply asked when Attorney General Holder became aware of the operation, not when he learned the details of it.

So is our source at the Justice Department splitting hairs or is Congressman Issa? You can decide for yourself. We spoke with the congressman earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Congressman, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has formally asked the president to appoint a special counsel to investigate what Attorney General Holder knew and when he knew it. The request is based on an exchange you had with him back in May. Do you believe the attorney general lied to you?

ISSA: Well, I certainly believe that he either misrepresented the facts or he's sufficiently incompetent that he didn't know what was in his weekly briefings. And I certainly support the fact that the attorney general cannot investigate himself.

COOPER: CNN has obtained some of the documents that you and your colleagues have referenced. And the attorney general did receive some memos last year acknowledging the existence of Operation Fast and Furious, but only in passing. The Justice Department is saying basically, look, he receives dozens of reports every week, some more than 100 pages, there's no indication he knew the problems with this particular operation that far back.

Do you believe that?

ISSA: Well, it's difficult, if at all possible, to believe it.

Additionally, there's a spin going that when they talked about guns walking in excess, that this were other programs. We've had testimony in front of our committee that says Justice never lets guns walk. And now we have written proof that they were concerned about the guns walking. They were concerned about the optics of press interviews in which they were going to talk about problems, including Brian Terry's murder.

And very clearly this was not hundreds of pages of reports. This was the key weekly briefing that the attorney general received, on which there was a paragraph on Fast and Furious repeatedly. So to say when asked specifically about Fast and Furious, he didn't understand the question, he certainly had to know that every week he was seeing briefings on Fast and Furious. He had to at least say, I'm familiar with the name, what is it you mean, or that I don't fully understand everything as well as I did two weeks before.

Instead, in fairness, both to myself and to Jason Chaffetz, the attorney general implied that he'd never heard of this until two weeks before rather than that perhaps he didn't know what a felony stupid program this was that led to the death of Brian Terry and the release of at least 2,000 weapons into the worst of the worst people's hands.

COOPER: I want to read you what a Justice Department official has told CNN. Because they're pushing back on what you're saying. They said, "Chairman Issa, of all people, should be familiar with the difference between knowing about an investigation and being aware of questionable tactics employed in that investigation, since documents provided to his committee show that he was given a briefing -- meaning you were given a briefing that included the Fast and Furious operation in 2010 -- a year before the controversy emerged."

I mean, did you, yourself, know about the operation last year?

ISSA: That is an outright lie that the Justice Department has been spinning. They shot that to the newspapers, and they found one that would print it.

The fact is Kenneth Nelson, a man who under oath, very, very well recorded, has said, "He didn't know about much of this and clearly did not brief me in one briefing that was about gun trafficking into Mexico."

Let's understand something, Anderson. They would have you believe that I knew -- that I knew what the attorney general didn't know, that I knew what they were deliberately withholding from ATF, DEA and justice agents in Mexico City and from the Mexican -- the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

So if this cover-up and this game of spin and delay continues, the problem is it's only creating problems that didn't initially exist. Initially, this was a dumb program that led to very adverse consequences. Now it's about a cover-up, about deception, about slow- rolling discovery of this and other committees.

Understand, I got involved in this because Senator Grassley was denied any discovery because he wasn't the chairman over in the Senate. And I got involved somewhat on his behalf, and my committee has taken a lead on it. But this was about stonewalling of the Senate long before I got involved.

COOPER: I'd always thought this was the first time this kind of a program had been tried. There are new revelations to night coming out that the Bush administration had a similar weapons program, something called Operation Wide Receiver. Do you know about that? Do you think officials from that administration should be looked at, as well?

ISSA: Well, Anderson, we'd know a lot more about it, except hat's among the documents we're still waiting to get. What we do know about Wide Receiver somewhat is very small amount of weapons. Much more intensive following.

But, in fact, we will get to the bottom of whether or not this practice in a smaller way may have begun on the Bush watch. We're not putting it past any administration and giving anyone a pass. The American people and the people of Mexico expect us to have a zero tolerance for letting drugs come into our country or weapons go into Mexico.

COOPER: Congressman Issa, appreciate your time. Thank you.

ISSA: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: Still ahead, the Michael Jackson death trial, his doctor on trial in the courtroom today. Three of Dr. Conrad Murray's girlfriends took the stand saying Murray talked -- or texted each of them the day that Jackson died. Why that could mean trouble for the defense, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Crime & Punishment," on day six of the Michael Jackson death trial, Dr. Conrad Murray's complicated love life is front and center in the courtroom.

Prosecutors called three more of Murray's girlfriends as witnesses today. That makes four so far. He used their testimony to establish the time line that's central to their case. Dr. Murray talked to or texted each of the women on the day that Michael Jackson died.

Now, remember, Dr. Murray was Jackson's personal physician. The singer was his only patient, his sole responsibility. That's why today's testimony could be a problem to the defense.

Here's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors trying to persuade the jury Conrad Murray is responsible for Michael Jackson's death showed he was busy making phone calls and sending text messages instead of monitoring his star patient's iv. They paraded out a small harem of women in Dr. Murray's life.

Michelle Bella, a dancer at a Las Vegas club who met Murray in 2008, told the jury she was contacted by the doctor in the hours before Jackson died.

DEBORAH BRAZIL, PROSECUTOR: Did Conrad Murray send you a text on June 25 of 2009?

MICHELLE BELLE, DANCER: Yes.

KAYE: And this woman, Sade Anding, Murray's former girlfriend, who prosecutors say was on the phone with Murray the moment he realized Jackson had stopped breathing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SADE ANDING, WITNESS: I said, "Hello? Hello?" I didn't hear anything. And that's when I pressed the phone against my ear, and I heard mumbling of voices. It sounded like the phone was maybe in his pocket or something. It was "shhh," and I heard coughing. And nobody answered.

KAYE: The timing of this phone call is key. Here's why. Anding says Murray called her at 11:51 a.m.

BRAZIL: How long into your conversation with him would you estimate that he stopped responding or speaking back to you?

ANDING: Well, when I realized five to six minutes. But he probably could have been off the phone before that.

BRAZIL: The call was made at 11:51 and only lasted six minutes. Prosecutors say that would mean Murray knew Jackson was in trouble at 11:57 a.m.

Remember, 911 wasn't called until 12:20 p.m., 23 minutes later.

Next came Nicole Alvarez. They, too, met in a Las Vegas club. Alvarez testified that from April to June, Murray had packages delivered to her apartment.

BRAZIL: Did you have any sense of what these packages contained?

NICOLE ALVAREZ, WITNESS: No.

KAYE: The man who knows is Tim Lopez, a Las Vegas pharmacist who testified Murray ordered vials of Propofol from him and had them shipped to an address in Santa Monica, California. Turns out that was Murray's girlfriend's address.

The defense tried to lessen the blow.

NAREG GOURJIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Was there anything wrong with shipping medication to an address provided by a doctor?

TIM LOPEZ, LAS VEGAS PHARMACIST: No.

GOURJIAN: OK. So as long as the doctor directs you to ship the medication and tells you "I will have control of the medication," that's OK for you, correct?

LOPEZ: Yes.

KAYE: The coroner says Jackson died of acute Propofol intoxication. Listen to how much Murray ordered.

BRAZIL: Mr. Lopez, after reviewing all of the orders placed by Conrad Murray to you, can you provide me with the total number of Propofol vials that were sold and shipped to Conrad Murray?

LOPEZ: I can confirm the number.

BRAZIL: Is the number 255?

LOPEZ: Yes.

KAYE (on camera): Two hundred and fifty-five vials of Propofol over 2 1/2 months. In fact, on May 12, 2009, just two days after Conrad Murray made an iPhone recording of Michael Jackson sounding wasted and slurring his words, prosecutors say Murray ordered another 65 vials of Propofol. Yet, the defense says Conrad Murray was trying to wean Michael Jackson off the drug.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's talk about it now with criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor and legal contributor for "In Session" on TruTV.

Mark, I mean, it's pretty damning stuff. If -- if the defense is to be believed, the doctor is trying to wean Michael Jackson off of Propofol, he orders what amounts to basically four gallons of Propofol. It's hard to believe he's trying to wean him off it, no?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that does present a problem. I have no doubt that they're trying to deal with that. And they're going to deal with that.

The problem, at least for the prosecution, is that they still are going to have to get over this hurdle that it was the Propofol that he administered that killed him. When I say he, Dr. Murray. Because they can -- he can order up as much Propofol as he wants, and I agree that if the theory was he's weaning him off, it doesn't look good and undercuts that, but the fact remains if the Propofol that he gave him did not kill him, and it wasn't at a dosage that would kill him, he's not guilty. So that still becomes a problem for the prosecution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Sunny, even if it wasn't the Propofol that the doctor gave him, if the doctor left an addict in a room full of drugs that Jackson consumed, and if the doctor was using equipment that wasn't meant to monitor somebody long term like the manufacturer has already testified, that's bad -- that's being a bad doctor.

SUNNY HOSTIN, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": That's right. Well, you just summed up, I think, part of the prosecution's case. They have to show this jury that this is a doctor prone to negligence. This is a doctor that deviates routinely from the standard of care. There were so many things that he did wrong. Why would someone believe his version of events?

I mean, we heard evidence, Anderson, that he lied to several of the treating physicians in the emergency room. He lied to his own security people. He lied and lied and lied. That is not the behavior of an honest person. That is not the behavior of an innocent person.

COOPER: Well, it's not necessarily a lie. He just did not say Propofol. I mean, it's an omission.

HOSTIN: It's an omission. But really, I think the average person, the average juror is going to see that as a lie. Why not try to help your patient and be honest and be truthful by omitting that crucial, crucial evidence? That's a lie.

COOPER: Mark?

GERAGOS: Yes, deviating from the standard of care, though, isn't what it takes to get a conviction. You've got to be grossly negligent. So the -- you could be incompetent and still not be grossly negligent for a criminal conviction. And that's what they have to show.

And, look, all of these things -- and I've said the elephant in the room is always when they put on a doctor and ask the doctor, is this going to be -- would you ever say that it's within the standard of care to administer Propofol to somebody in their home? I don't think there's any doctor who's going to say yes, that's within the standard of care.

The problem is do you ever get to the point where you're going to say this person is so grossly negligent that we're going to convict him of a criminal offense? He's got that mindset. That's -- I don't think they've reached that yet. They're trying to build the case for that.

COOPER: But Mark, I mean, the fact -- I don't want to keep harping on this equipment stuff. But if -- you know, when you do put somebody under Propofol, you're supposed to monitor their vital signs. And you're supposed to monitor them very carefully, because you can easily -- your heart can easily stop.

He -- Murray hooks up Michael Jackson, hooks up a little thing to his finger that doesn't even have a, you know, a warning sound, an alarm sound if the heart stops. So unless he's standing there, watching the heartbeat on the monitor, if he has his back turned, he has no idea if Jackson's heart has stopped if he's talking to his girlfriends, his multiple girlfriends.

So that would seem to be, just in and of itself, of using shoddy equipment that the manufacturer label says is not meant for, you know, long-term monitoring or even consistent monitoring. That would seem to be grossly negligent.

GERAGOS: Well, that's where the argument is going to be. And then I'm sure the defense is going to come back and say, look, the same kind of equipment is used in outpatient surgery centers and things look that. We weren't trying to put him over. We were just trying to ease him into a sleep situation.

I still have maintained that I think the single most important witness in this case is going to be the defense witness. Even though the defense doesn't have to call anybody, they said in opening statement they're going to call Dr. Wecht, this father of Propofol. That doctor, I think, is going to be the make or break for the defense in this case. He either is going to come in and say, "All of this stuff matters," or he's going to say, "Look, when you get down to it, none of this stuff matters, because it wasn't at high enough levels," meaning the Propofol, "to do what it did." Or it's the lethal combination with other drugs which is what caused this.

They still have to get to causation. So you can say -- you can still say he's grossly negligent, but if he didn't cause the death -- and causation is the second prong of this -- then he still has a "not guilty."

COOPER: So Nicole Alvarez made an impression, particular impression. Why? HOSTIN: She really did. I mean, bottom line is she testifies in some -- in an outfit extremely inappropriate for the courtroom, very provocative. And she said that she was an actress and that she was working on her instrument, which she defined as herself.

I think the inference that many of the jurors, Anderson, will have is, wow, this is a doctor who has such poor judgment in the people that he chooses to surround himself and his personal life with.

COOPER: Is that fair based on what she's wearing?

ALVAREZ: It's very fair. I will say this, Anderson. Most prosecutors aren't allowed to attack the defendant, right? They're not allowed to get that character evidence in.

The prosecution today did get that evidence in. Sort of through the back door. Because I don't think there's any question that she was perceived by this jury. And I spoke with people that were in the courtroom today, who said the jury hated her. There's no question that that jury looked at Nicole Alvarez and thought, well, she's now auditioning for her own reality show. And he spent more time dealing with his girlfriends than caring for the one patient that he had.

COOPER: Mark...

HOSTIN: I think that's a very strong argument, Mark. You've got to -- you've got to agree. That's going to take place in the jury room. They're going to talk about Nicole Alvarez. They're going to talk about the girlfriends.

GERAGOS: No, let me tell you what -- they're going to -- they're going to talk about Nicole Alvarez. They're going to talk about, my experience, and I'll bet you a quarter on this. That at the end of this case, because I've seen it happen 20 times if I've seen it once, the jurors are going to come out and you're going to start asking them about the baby momma drama. And what's going to end up, the juries are going to say is "Why did they waste our time with this? We wanted to hear the case, or we wanted to get down to the reality."

Every time the prosecution defaults to what I call character assassination block, jurors rebel against that. What you or somebody in the courtroom may have perceived as somebody not liking her, may have just plain been what I've experienced, where jurors are disgusted by this character assassination evidence and say, "Why you are trying to, you know, deflect us from what the real issues are?"

HOSTIN: Well, they were relevant, though, and I'll take that bet. I'll take that bet. But they were relevant because the time line.

GERAGOS: They're relevant in a sense...

HOSTIN: They were time line witnesses. But in that, there was the subtext that they certainly did attack his credibility and his character.

COOPER: All right. Mark, you get the final thought and then we've got to stop.

GERAGOS: They were -- they're time line witnesses. That's how they got them in the front door. This is nothing more than back-door character assassination.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin, fascinating stuff. Thank you very much.

Up next, a dramatic rescue in the waters off New York City after a helicopter with five people onboard crashed in the East River. New details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SESAY: Back to Anderson in a moment. I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

One person is dead after a helicopter crashed this afternoon in New York's East River near midtown Manhattan. Officials say the passenger killed was trapped inside the chopper. Three other passengers and the pilot were rescued.

A much different type of accident in Arizona north of Tucson. One person is dead and four others critically injured after a dust storm triggered several highway pileups on I-10.

On Capitol Hill, the House has approved a bill to keep the federal government running through November 18. It already passed the Senate. The next step, the president's signature.

On Wall Street, stocked surged after a day of sharp swings. The Dow added 153 points at the close. The S&P 500 gained 25. And the NASDAQ soared 69 points.

And Apple has unveiled a new iPhone, the 4S. It looks exactly like the current iPhone but has a faster processor and a new feature that allows users to ask the phone questions and get answers. Sounds like a robot. The iPhone 4S goes on sale in ten days at Sprint, Verizon and AT&T stores.

Coming up, it could be the beginning of the end for one of the best shows in the history of television. Are "The Simpsons" days really numbered? Anderson is back with "The RidicuList," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now nor "The RidicuList." And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no joy in Springfield tonight, because after a mighty 23 seasons on the air, "The Simpsons" may be in danger of getting canceled. It's all because, reportedly, the studio thinks the actors who voice the characters are making too much money, and they want them to take a 45 percent pay cut.

The Daily Beast reports the actors have tried to negotiate, saying they'll take a 30 percent pay cut if they get a small piece of the other profits from the show for syndication, merchandise, DVDs and the like. That's apparently not good enough for the studio.

In a statement, 20th Century FOX Television says, and I quote, "We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We're hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows 'The Simpsons' to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come."

Yes, we are hopeful, too. Homer Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Moe, Patty, Selma, Apu, Sideshow Bob, Krusty, Millhouse, Mayor Quimby, Ned Flanders, some of us know these people better than we do our neighbors. Behind those characters are the great voices. Take a look at this from one of the casters on "Inside the Actor's Studio."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN CASTELLANETA, VOICE OF HOMER: Donuts are -- donuts are much like life. They're round on the outside and empty in the middle.

NANCY CARTWRIGHT, VOICE OF BART: Hold on. Redial. Hello? Ring-a-ding-ding.

HANK AZARIA, VOICE OF MOE: Yes? The world's smallest large screen TV.

JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO": Mr. Burns.

HARRY SHEARER, VOICE OF MR. BURNS: Yes?

LIPTON: What is your occupation?

SHEARER: Mobile.

Okelie-dokelie.

CASTELLANETA: I was wondering when you were going to get to me.

LIPTON: What is your least favorite word?

CASTELLANETA: Canceled.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: "The Simpsons" is the longest-running sitcom in broadcast history for three reasons: amazing talent, brilliant writing. Perhaps most importantly, the wisdom of Ralph Wiggum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARTWRIGHT: So -- do you like -- stuff? The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger out of there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We're trying not to get too freaked out by the possibility of "The Simpsons" getting canceled, but it would be pretty bad. No more -- no more couch gags. No more "Treehouse of Horrors." No more Barney, Cletus or Disco Stu. There are 360 staffers who actually use "The Simpsons" as a gauge of whether someone is datable or not? What about them?

I'm telling you these nerds are apoplectic about this. The only way to cheer them up today was to remind them that "Arrested Development" is coming back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm mom, and I want to shoot down everything you say so I feel good about myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You old horny slut!

JASON BATEMAN, ACTOR: Well, no one is going to top that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I like that show. That's "Arrested Development," coming back for a few more episodes and a movie. If that can happen five years after it was canceled, there's got to be a way to keep "The Simpsons" on the air. There's just got to be.

And that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.