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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Teen Boy Used Being Too Rich as Defense; Asiana Crash Investigation; Federal Investigators Say Inexperience And Culture Contributed To Asiana Flight 214 Crash; Deaf South Africans Say Sign Language Interpreter At Mandela Memorial Was A "Fake"; Problem With Space Station Cooling System; Senate Staffer Investigated For Child Porn; House Passes Child Research Bill; Newlywed Trial: Jury Sees Picture Of Husband's Body Face Down, Decomposed Hand

Aired December 11, 2013 - 20:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jake, thanks.

Good evening , everyone.

Tonight, what new video of the Asiana Airlines crash that killed three people may reveal. Plus, some stunning testimony from the cockpit crew about the moment leading up to the crash. Did the pilot have the skills needed to actually land the jet manually? Why were warnings ignored as the jet descended too fast?

Plus, the sign language interpreter who's being called a fraud and fake by South Africa's deaf community. They are outraged over the peace of history they missed and they are demanding answers.

We begin with a sentence handed out in a Texas court that has stunned the families of four people who were killed by a drunk driver six months ago. It was Father's Day weekend. The young woman with car trouble was stranded on the side of the road late at night. The mother and her daughter had no inkling their decision to be Good Samaritans, to help out a stranded motorist would prove fatal. Neither did the youth pastor who also stopped to help.

But a teenager, who'd been drinking heavily, plowed into the group of people with his truck. That's the teen there. His lawyer didn't deny he was drunk when he mowed them down. They didn't contest the facts the prosecutors presented. What they argued instead was surprising. Their defense, the 16-year-old, who killed four innocent people, was a victim, too, a victim of his family's wealth and gave it a name, affluenza. The judge agreed, and the teen that faced up to 20 years behind bars got no prison time at all. Here Is Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He got drunk, then jumped behind the wheel of his pickup truck and plowed down four people in a drunken haze. So why isn't Ethan Couch behind bars? Keep in mind, he's just 16, too young to legally drive with any alcohol in his system, and in this case, his blood alcohol measured .24, three times the legal limit in Texas. Eric Boyles' wife and daughter were both killed. ERIC BOYLES, WIFE AND DAUGHTER KILLED IN CRASH: We had over 180 years of life taken, future life, not 180 years lived but 180 years of future life taken, and two on those were my wife and daughter.

KAYE: Investigators say surveillance tape shows Couch and his friends stealing beer from a Walmart store in June, then they got drunk at a party. Leaving there, police say Couch gunned his pickup going nearly 70 miles per hour in a 40.

Just about 400 yards down the street, he slammed into Holly and Shelby Boyles, who had stopped to help Breanna Mitchell (ph) fix a flat tire. Youth pastor Brian Jennings was driving by and had also stopped to help. All of them were killed. Ethan Couch was charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter, and tried as a juvenile.

In one of the most bizarre defense strategies we heard of, attorneys for couch blamed the boy's parents for his behavior that night, all because of how they raised him. A psychologist, and defense witness, testified that the boy suffered from something called affluenza, a lifestyle where wealth brought privilege and there were not consequences for bad behavior.

He sited one example where Coach, then 15, was caught in a parked pickup with a naked 14-year-old girl who was passed out. Couch was never punished, according to the psychologist. He also testified that couch was allowed to start drinking at a very early age, even drive when he was just 13.

Prosecutors fought for a 20-year sentence, but the defense argued Couch needed treatment, not prison. The judge agreed, and gave Couch ten years probation, plus time in alcohol rehab, no prison. She told the court she believes Couch can be rehabilitated if he's away from his family, and given the right treatment. He'll likely end up at this pricey rehab center in Newport Beach, California. His father has agreed to pay the half a million dollars or so that it will cost

SCOTT BROWN, ETHAN COUCH'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen, that's a consequence.

KAYE: A consequence for killing four people? Not even close says this woman, whose daughter Breanna Mitchell died in the crash.

MARLA MITCHELL, DAUGHTER KILLED IN CRASH: He'll be feeling the hand of God, definitely. He may think he's gotten away with something, but he hasn't gotten away with anything.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: As you just heard, Eric Boyles' wife and daughter were killed when the car that Ethan Couch was driving slammed into them on Father's Day weekend. Several teenagers riding in Couch's truck were injured in the truck, as well. The most critically hurt Sergio Molina (ph) remains paralyzed. Eric Boyles told us he's now ready to talk. Mr. Boyles, first of all, thank you so much for talking to us at this unimaginable time for you. I'm so sorry for your loss. When you heard the sentence that was handed down that this young man received only probation for killing your wife Holly and your daughter Shelby and two other people, what went through your mind?

BOYLES: I was unprepared for the sentence that was delivered. I knew we were talking. I knew we were in juvenile court. We had hoped to be treated as an adult. So we knew that there were some restrictions, and that we knew that even with a 20-year sentence, that he would be eligible for parole in a couple years.

And frankly, you know, I was disappointed. I would have been disappointed even a couple years eligible for parole because when you consider -- when you consider the victims that night, you consider four lives taken with 180 years of future life, not present life, future life.

COOPER: Do you have any doubt that if this young man did not come from a rich family, if he came from a poor family, that the outcome would have been different?

BOYLES: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. My request to the court, my request to Ethan was that, you know, he came from a life of privilege. His -- it's interesting, one of his -- one of his psychologists used the term affluenza that had just been basically given -- he had been provided anything and everything in life that you could ask for, and even when presented with difficult circumstances, there had been previously in trouble, this level of affluenza, money will take care of it was addressed.

I, as well as other victims, expressed that look, we understand he's a juvenile. We understand rehabilitation has to occur, but let's face it, there needs to be justice here.

COOPER: Let me tell you, as you know, the defense attorney said and I quote, "there is nothing the judge could have done to lessen the suffering for any of those families." That's just not true.

BOYLES: And here -- and here is why I disagree. For 25 weeks I've been going through a healing process, and so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is I'm back to week one. Okay? We have accomplished nothing here. This -- my healing process is out the window.

COOPER: Does it seem to you that he is, in fact, getting away with this? That he is getting away with murder? I mean, he's going to a $450,000 therapy facility, which sounds kind of like a spa.

BOYLES: But it -- and that is -- Cooper, that's exactly the issue. But it's been that way all along. Every time, every time the family has faced some level of adversity to Ethan, they have either removed him from that situation, or they have indeed, somehow money has taken care of it. When the teacher confronted him for driving at 13, his dad pulled him out of the school. So, you know, Ethan from 13 to basically 15 is just sitting there. He's -- by his parents' own admission is alcohol. There is drugs.

COOPER: That's the incredible thing. He has prior experiences with alcohol and the law. This is not --

BOYLES: That is correct.

COOPER: This is not his first offense, so you have a multiple offender that killed four people who is not going to spend any time in jail, simply because, I mean, it seems to me his family has money and is able to convince a judge well, you know, he's -- he doesn't -- it's not his fault. He's not responsible because the parents are responsible. So he doesn't have to take responsibility, oh, and by the way, they got so much money they are going to send him to a nice facility to get years of therapy.

BOYLES: Exactly -- exactly correct. So Ethan's dad didn't see anything the matter with him. He made the indication, he's a great driver at 13. So he gets to 15. There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day.

The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can't buy justice in this country, that it's not okay to drink and drive and kill four people, wound -- severely injure another and not have any consequences to that. That's not the -- that's not the American dream that we grew up to participate in, and I just don't understand it.

COOPER: Neither do it.

BOYLES: The term came up during this whole thing of affluenza and you first have to listen, did I hear what? Because I never heard that term before, but after it was used several times, I think it's either a perfect for Webster's dictionary. You're just talking about an indication where money, power, influence, affluenza has taken place through this whole process.

COOPER: Seems like nobody on that side is taking responsibility for it, not this young man, not his parents certainly and I know it's difficult, obviously, for you to talk about Holly and Shelby. What do you want people to know about them? Because I don't want them to get lost in this, focusing on this criminal. What do you want people to know about your wife and your daughter?

BOYLES: Well I think it's worth mentioning that, you know, there were five real victims that night. You still have Mr. Molina (ph) who still is in -- who is paralyzed and receives daily care. No longer in the hospital basically in his parents' home. His mother's quit work. His father is - excuse me, his grandmother has quit work to take care of him around the clock.

You've got Breanna Mitchell (ph), who lost her life that night. She was the original car that was stranded there. But Holly and Shelby, along with Brian Jennings, who was a youth minister, you know - Holly and Shelby went out first. I went out with them. Was probably out there 30-40 minutes with them.

COOPER: To help the stranded motorist.

BOYLES: That's correct. And helped Breanna. It wasn't a simple matter as changing a flat tire. If that had been it, that would've been a whole different circumstance, but it was clear that the car was going to have to be towed. Her mother was on the way. Police were probably going to need to be called. But you know Holly and Shelby - were strong in their faith, and their family and their friends. And they were givers.

There are some people in life that are givers and takers. And they were truly givers. It was clear that night that they wanted to make sure that Breanna, who was 24, who was a little shook up. You know, she was a little shook up about what had happened. And they were providing comfort to her. Just like - you know I - I had two daughters. Just like you would hope that someone would do for - for my family, my daughters as well. And ultimately they gave up themselves. We're proud of them for being the good Samaritans that they were. And ultimately they gave their life.

COOPER: Mr. Boyles I - I am - I'm so outraged and sorry, and I - I'm just - I appreciate you spending some time with us tonight. Thank you.

BOYLES: Thank you.

COOPER: Eric Boyles, who's wife and daughter were killed by a young drunk driver. A lot of issues to discuss here.

Joining me, Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "DR. DREW ON CALL," also CNN legal analysts Mark Geragos and Sunny Hostin. Mark of course is a criminal defense attorney, Sunny is a former federal prosecutor.

Drew, let me start off with you. Have you ever heard of affluenza as a defense?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": No. It's disgusting. It's disgusting. There is no such term. It's not as if you can open a diagnostic manual and -- find affluenza. It a cute, clever twist of a phrase that the psychologist should be ashamed of himself for having brought in the courtroom. And even more shameful is the -- the judge having fallen for that nonsense.

Come on now, that's ridiculous. And by the way, just because we in mental health understand the environment as parenting as causational in certain syndromes later, as an explanation, it's not a justification.

Once somebody gets to the point that they're harming other people, justice must be what's applied, not some nonsense about some pseudoscience about what caused it.

COOPER: Well, Dr. Drew, tomorrow I interviewed the therapist who came up with this term, and I'm going to play something he said tonight. We're going to interview him more extensively tomorrow because I think it's only fair to let him express his opinions on this. But this is what he said earlier, just before air time when I spoke to Dr. Miller. This is what he said about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. G. DICK MILLER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: The things that are most important to this kid are instantly taken away. He will not have, and I send these people, I said many, many examples. I send these people to facilities if people can afford it, and I wish everyone could afford this.

I think it's a very, very good system that I know about. Send them to places where they don't get women, these boys. They don't get Xboxs. They don't have computers. They don't have the freedom to go where they want to go when -- and they have to work all week to get to watch a television program on the weekend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, Drew, what the doctor also says is that he wishes everybody could go to these kind of facilities who needs treatment rather than being sent to prison.

PINSKY: Absolutely. I don't disagree. I don't disagree, Anderson, with one word of that. You go to treatment before you kill people. Not after. After you kill people, God help you, it's up to the justice system at that point or at minimum, within the confine of, say, a prison and for extended periods of time like on the order of five to 10 years, not one year.

This is ridiculous. This is a travesty.

COOPER: Sunny, what do you think about this as a former federal prosecutor because there are plenty of people, teenagers with prior run-ins with the law as this young man had.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure.

COOPER: Who get sent to jail as adults.

HOSTIN: Yes. I mean, they suffer from poor ends, right, like I suffered when I grew up in the south Bronx. I think certainly there is something wrong with a system that works this way. The system failed in this instance. It actually flies in the face of everything that we believe in the justice system because there have to be consequences to actions and this young man --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But what the doctor is saying that this young man is basically a victim of his parents being irresponsible, just giving him whatever he wanted, not having any repercussions --

PINSKY: But, Anderson, that's an explanation.

HOSTIN: Yes.

PINSKY: That's not -- that's not a justification.

HOSTIN: And I agree --

PINSKY: That's an explanation.

HOSTIN: And I certainly agree that there is parental responsibility, and I've been a proponent of parents being held responsible for their children's actions. If you let --

COOPER: So you're saying the parents should maybe be held responsible.

HOSTIN: Absolutely. If you let your kid drink in your home, then you should be responsible if they do something.

But, let me say this, Anderson, I believe that this sentence is borderline illegal, it's too lenient, it's unjust, and I suspect that the prosecutors will appeal the sentence. It's something that is rarely done but I suspect it will be done in this case.

COOPER: Mark, you're a defense attorney. Does this defense make sense to you? Is it legitimate?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, you know, I hate to rain on everybody's parade here and I know that I'm going to get angry e-mails and everything else. The prosecution has no basis to appeal this.

HOSTIN: That's not true, Mark.

COOPER: Let him finish.

GERAGOS: They've got to no -- start yelling, Sunny. Look, everybody is going to agree with you tonight, Sunny, so you don't need to yell. OK. I'm going to take a position that is not going to be popular, but I'm going to tell you --

COOPER: We have you here, sir.

GERAGOS: There is -- right, that's why I'm here. So there is -- there is --

PINSKY: Sunny, I'll yell, it's OK.

GERAGOS: Right. And Drew can yell in the other room --

COOPER: So explain yourself, Mark.

GERAGOS: You know, Drew, got -- just wait for a second here and take a deep breath. The judge used, you know, the affluenza similar to what Dan White used in California many years ago, the Twinkie defense. That is not the defense. It's not the legal defense. There is no such thing as the Twinkie defense, there's no such thing as affluenza.

What there is here is a judge who took a look at this kid. A judge who decided this kid is too young. I'm not going to put him into a prison system where he wouldn't last 95 seconds. I'm going to put him into rehab. I'm going to put him into -- HOSTIN: He killed four people, Mark.

GERAGOS: I understand.

HOSTIN: He killed four people.

GERAGOS: I understand that, Sunny, just keep yelling that. OK. I'm telling you --

COOPER: But, Mark, let me ask you --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Mark, you always argue --

GERAGOS: I would -- I would finish the point but it's going to be just a prosecutorial gang bang. I know what I'm getting into.

PINSKY: Well, how about -- how about --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Mark, Mark, let me just --

PINSKY: How about an extended course? How about five years, three years?

COOPER: Let me just ask you.

PINSKY: Why one year?

COOPER: Mark, it's interesting because on this program you often argue that the criminal justice system is inherently racist, is inherently --

HOSTIN: Yes.

COOPER: You know, unequal, unjust. Isn't this a case that argues in your favor on this one?

GERAGOS: And I would love to -- yes. And I would love to finish my point.

COOPER: Go ahead. Go ahead.

GERAGOS: And I'm going to have Sunny screaming in my ear.

COOPER: No, no, go ahead.

HOSTIN: Yes.

GERAGOS: He killed four people.

COOPER: Go ahead. Let him go.

GERAGOS: I said I can show you, I was about to get to. I can show you case after case after case where if this kid was not wealthy, if this kid was indigent, if this kid had some first year, God forbid, overworked public defender who had just gotten into juvenile, that this kid would have been deemed probably fit for adult court, who would have been put into a prison and would have been killed within a year.

And that's what most people want and that's what they would have gotten. So I'm telling you, I understand this completely. I've defended cases like this on more than one occasion.

HOSTIN: But is it just?

GERAGOS: And I've gotten --

HOSTIN: Is it just?

GERAGOS: Well, there's nothing just about the criminal justice system. If you're looking for justice, you don't go into the halls of justice. It doesn't happen there. You go in there because all we do in the criminal justice system is we just -- we just move people in and out. That's all we do. We warehouse people. We move them in, we move them out.

HOSTIN: Well, he's not being warehoused.

GERAGOS: That's all that's --

HOSTIN: He's not being warehoused and he should be.

GERAGOS: He's being warehoused in a nice place in Newport Beach.

HOSTIN: And that's wrong.

GERAGOS: Which Drew is familiar with. Well, it can be wrong but the judge who --

HOSTIN: And it's unjust.

GERAGOS: Unbelievable, a judge who actually looked at the case, a judge who was familiar with the case made a decision. If you're going to say the judge was corrupt, then I would --

COOPER: Then, Mark, Mark --

GERAGOS: Then have some ammunition for that. Some judge listened to the facts of this case.

COOPER: But, Mark, doesn't this -- you know, there is so much commentary about how there is a separate system of justice if you have money. Isn't this --

GERAGOS: There is. There is.

COOPER: -- a prime example of this?

GERAGOS: Yes. There is a -- I mean anybody who says -- COOPER: I mean, you not only get better lawyers and better doctors, you now have your own defense which is just being rich --

PINSKY: Made up.

GERAGOS: No. Because the only -- understand something, I agree with you, Anderson, and you're absolutely right, I always argue this and say it. There are two levels of playing fields, so to speak. But it's not a different defense. This is just something that's cute that the media catches on to just like the Twinkie defense.

All this is, is a way to characterize what the kid's problem is, that the kid has never had any consequences.

HOSTIN: And he still doesn't have any.

GERAGOS: Some will argue -- and some would argue, we still doesn't -- Sunny, if you let me finish, I'll get there.

HOSTIN: You've been talking a long --

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: Awhile, and a long time.

GERAGOS: He doesn't have any consequences.

HOSTIN: And you're saying the same thing, Mark, over and over again, which really doesn't make sense. You're saying that, in a sense, that this is just, that this kid kills four people --

GERAGOS: I didn't say it was just.

HOSTIN: - and get away with it.

GERAGOS: I told you you're not going to get justice --

HOSTIN: Our system is designed to make sure that people have consequences --

GERAGOS: -- in the halls of justice.

HOSTIN: -- for their action. There are no consequence here.

COOPER: What about --

HOSTIN: And this is sending a terrible message to other kids that suffer from affluenza and kids that suffer from poorenza that there is this inequality and you can get away with murder.

GERAGOS: Sunny, you --

HOSTIN: And it's wrong.

GERAGOS: Sunny, you should know -- Sunny, you should know better than to just put out that. That is not the message that's being sent. HOSTIN: Sure, it is.

GERAGOS: There was a judge. There was a prosecutor, who were there, who were there the whole time. Obviously this judge of -- you know, they have elected judges in Texas. You think this judge is going to do this because he felt like this is going to enhance my election prospects next time around?

HOSTIN: Well, she's retiring.

GERAGOS: Give me a break.

HOSTIN: She's not running for e reelection. And so there --

GERAGOS: Well, because she's in what --

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: She's in her federal term.

COOPER: Drew, to the doctor's point, and again, we're going to talk to him more tomorrow, it's not like the jail system is ideal for any kind of treatment.

PINSKY: No, but this whole discussion is so demoralizing. I got to tell you. On the other hand, let me propose something otherwise, which I've seen patients in other states, Mark, I know you're primarily here in California. I have a patient in -- somebody I was involved with in Indiana, drug problems, behavior problems, domestic violence, ends up in prison, and in prison has a five-year addiction treatment program that is outstanding.

HOSTIN: Sure.

PINSKY: That's a model program and she is suffering real consequences. She has prison guards on her 24/7 and making great stride. Going out to the beach --

GERAGOS: And Drew --

HOSTIN: Drew, it happens all the time.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: Drew, you don't have that in Texas and you don't have that in California.

HOSTIN: You know --

GERAGOS: You've got a crippled system here in California. You've got a crippled system in Texas. That's where we --

(CROSSTALK)

HOSTIN: Are you saying people can't get rehab in --

COOPER: All right.

PINSKY: You guys are making me -- you're making my heart hurt with this whole story.

COOPER: Drew, final thoughts.

PINSKY: But the fact is, although we are -- let me just quickly say, whether we're advocating poorenza or affluenza, what we are not saying is, that you need to take care of yourself before you hurt somebody else. There can be things in your life. You can mental illness. Things can happen. It could be poor family, bad parenting, I don't care what it is. Get help before you harm yourself or somebody else.

GERAGOS: Then why not -- then why not just give -- just give the 16- year-old the death penalty? I forgot, the Supreme Court said you couldn't do that so, you know --

HOSTIN: Maybe not the death penalty but certainly consequences for killing four people.

GERAGOS: Maybe not --

COOPER: OK, we've got to go.

GERAGOS: You put this -- you put this kid in prison, he's going to get killed.

HOSTIN: He killed four people.

COOPER: OK. We've got to go.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We're going to be discussing it more tomorrow and we'll be talking to the therapist who came up with this idea of affluenza. We'll talk to him about that.

Dr. Drew, thank you. Mark Geragos, Sunny Hostin as well.

Let us know what you think. Let's talk about this on Twitter @andersoncooper. Tweet us using hash tag ac360.

Up next, new information about what was happening in the cockpit moments before the Asiana crash that left three people dead in San Francisco. Some new information. I also speak with hero pilot Sully Sullenberger about why sunglasses may have had something to do with the crash and why the pilot said he wouldn't wear sunglasses because they were impolite. We'll explain that.

And later the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service, by all accounts not an actual sign language interpreter. What he's doing? Gibberish. It's not really sign language. We'll look at how this could happen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: As the NTSB investigates the July crash of Asiana Flight 214, a chilling new look at the crash that left three people dead. Security camera video just released shows the plane skidding on the runway in San Francisco and hitting a seawall and then the crash landing.

New information released by the NTSB shows that the pilot had warnings that the plane was descending too fast in the minutes before the crash.

Rene Marsh reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This newly released security camera shows Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashing last July in San Francisco. Now we know more about what was happening inside that cockpit. It's clear the plane was descending too quickly, and today, we learned one of the pilots realized it.

The cockpit voice recorder show 52 seconds before the crash, a relief pilot in the backseat of the cockpit called out sink rate, warning the plane was dropping too fast.

"Yes, sir," the pilot flying responded, and that warning was repeated two more times, once in English and finally in Korean.

The pilot at the controls, Lee Kang Cook, was a trainee on the 777 but had substantial experience in other aircraft. He told investigators he was not confident in understanding how the plane's auto flight system worked and felt he should study more. He also said it was difficult and, quote, "stressful to land the plane visually without an instrument approach to guide them." But he felt pressured to do it because other pilots were.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHAIRMAN: We do have an issue in aviation that needs to be dealt with, with respect to automation and performance when it comes to the interaction between the aircraft and the human being.

MARSH: NTSB investigators question if the pilots were too reliant on technology. The pilot flying thought the auto throttle, which is similar to a cruise control in a car was engaged but it wasn't, dramatically slowing the plane.

SULLY SULLENBERGER, FORMER U.S. AIRWAYS PILOT: Well, automation is a tool, but ultimately, the pilots must make sure you have a safe flight path and you're responsible for that, no matter what happens.

MARSH: Crash survivor Ben Levy took these photos immediately after the plane went down. Like most passengers he didn't attend the hearing, saying he wants to focus on family and work but he still hopes to find out what caused the crash.

BEN LEVY, CRASH SURVIVOR: I've got a sense of what happened. I just want to get to the bottom of it and everything that went wrong that day.

MARSH: The NTSB investigation will continue for several months, a final determination of the causes of the crash will come next year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was Rene Marsh reporting for us tonight.

No one except another pilot really understand what it's like to be at the controls when something potentially catastrophic happens. We all remember this U.S. Airways flight from 2009 which Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger crash landed into the Hudson River after the plane lost engine power. Everyone made it off the plane alive.

Sully Sullenberger joins me now.

Captain Sullenberger, some pretty surprising findings coming out of today's hearing. One of the co-pilots warned three times that the plane was dropping too fast but no one noticed they were going too slow until just before impact. How does something like that happen?

SULLENBERGER: They had help, which is to say they didn't have help and that's a mystery this NTSB investigation has to answer for us, is what other factors were in play? What will they do to widen the scope of this investigation to include how these pilots were trained, how the culture at that organization and in their society may have played a part?

How was it that a professional crew could get to the point where they are a literally a few seconds before impact and no one has effectively intervened? Because ultimately, the pilots are always responsible for whatever happens whether you're using automation or not, they should have a flight path that is stable and appropriate, and they should manually fly the airplane to make sure that happens, and if they can't, they need to abandon it and bring it around again.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You brought up culture, which is a really interesting factor in this crash. I mean, according to investigators, the Korean culture deference is given to older more senior people regardless of whether something is wrong. The pilot wouldn't wear sunglasses, despite possibly being blinded by reflection because it was considered impolite to wear sunglasses. Is this a problem that's cropped up before with Korean pilots or pilots from other cultures?

SULLENBERGER: Absolutely, yes. In fact, there are a number of accidents where this has been noted. So what we have to do, and what has been done in the past to change their -- the cockpit culture is teach them how important this is. In fact, we fought a similar battle in changing the cockpit culture at American Airlines, the United States of America Airlines about 25 or 30 years ago where I along with other pilots developed and implemented a leadership and team building course to teach captains to be inclusive to build a team, listen to others, make good decisions, not isolation.

But, I don't know to what extent the foreign airlines are trained in these procedures and I don't know if they are trained, does their culture allow them to be used in practice --

COOPER: Because it is shocking to think -- I mean, as a passenger in planes, if the captain of the plane I was on had -- you know, had thoughts of I should be wearing sunglasses, but I would seem impolite or there is a senior instructor on board. As a passenger that seems outrageous.

SULLENBERGER: Well, what we have to do and what's been done before is you have two sets of society rules in cultures like this where the hierarchy is to extreme. In the general population, it's appropriate to behave in certain ways, and we understand that but for safety reason when is you come to work and get in an airplane, then you have to do it this way and be more inclusive you have to listen to the most junior person if they bring up a concern and the decision maker, the captain must effectively act on that information, and that's what didn't happen soon enough in this case.

COOPER: The pilot told investigators that he was and I quote, "very concerned" about making a visual approach on this runway, something he had not done on this aircraft before. Are pilots becoming too accustomed to auto pilot?

SULLENBERGER: You know, the appropriate use of automation in the cockpits is a growing concern globally. These concerns had been appearing for years, but it's shocking to hear such a frank admission in a public hearing like this. What it indicates to me is that the pilots may not be getting the kind of training that they need, and not enough chances to manually practice flying the airplane and lack the confidence that makes them reluctant to intervene when the automation isn't doing what they expected.

COOPER: Captain Sullenberger, appreciate you for being on. Thank you.

SULLENBERGER: Good to be with you.

COOPER: For more on the story, you can go to cnn.com. Just ahead tonight, the man who silenced the key moment of history for deaf South Africans and people that hired him to translate Nelson Mandela's memorial service. The man you're looking at, the sign language interpreter is apparently fake according to the deaf community in South Africa. How did he get on the stage?

The Montana newlywed accused of shoving her husband off a cliff, why she allegedly blind folded him moments before he died.

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COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight the deaf community in South Africa is outraged, calling it a travesty. You probably remember this guy up on the stage for the whole four hours translating the words of all the speakers into gestures by all accounts were basically gibberish. He's apparently a fake. Deaf South Africans are outraged they missed out on a key moment of their nation's history. Brian Todd has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He seems to be gesturing with authority, signing to keep pace with the speaker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALEA: Must live side by side dreaming the same dream.

TODD: But this sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial service was a fake according to the Deaf Federation of South Africa. They claim he's had no formal training, the signs he's making are not used in South African sign language and he never used facial expressions, a key part of signing. The federation says there are established signs for famous people in South Africa.

DELPHIN HLUNGWANE, SOUTH AFRICAN SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER: He has now flicked his hand. This has no meaning and I think he's even signed help because this is a sign for help. So -- or help someone. So who is being helped is not known because the speaker has said former president and nowhere does the sign name for him appear and he should know that if he's interpreting at that level.

TODD: The deaf community in South Africa is outraged.

ABRAM MARIPANE, DEAFSA LANGUAGE TRAINER: Because he's a fake interpreter and been signing arbitrary signs.

TODD: A deaf member of South Africa's parliament tweeted during the ceremony, "He's just making up, get him out of TV site." If this man was a fake, was he a security risk? He stood inches from President Obama and other world leaders. The White House seemed uncomfortable talking about it.

JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would refer you to the South African government about who that person was and what their responsibilities were.

TODD: Who is he? It's a mystery. The South African government won't comment saying it's investigating. Former Secret Service Agent Larry Johnson says for these events, the host organization provides names of everyone in the inner perimeter to the Secret Service 48 hours in advance so names, backgrounds can be checked but --

LARRY JOHNSON, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Being bad at your job is not a concern of the Secret Service. The concerns are is he someone that shouldn't be there because he has bad intentions. He's known to law enforcement? He's a security risk.

TODD: Johnson says it looks to him like those red flags didn't show up in the background checks. Did the Secret Service vet him? The agency tells us agreed upon security measures between the Secret Service and South African security officials were in place during the ceremony. The Secret Service says the host organizing committee was responsible for the selection of the interpreter. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's just incredible. Obviously, we'll find out more how he got to be on stage? Who that person is? Let's get the latest and other stories we're following. Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, breaking news tonight, NASA says there is a problem with the cooling system on the International Space Station. A NASA spokesman tells CNN's John Zarrella that one of two cooling pumps has failed. The spokesman says they are working on the problem, and the crew is not in danger.

There are child porn accusations tonight against Senator Lamar Alexander's chief of staff. The senator's office says Jessie Ryan Loskarn has been put on unpaid leave after his house was searched. In a statement, Senator Alexander says he is stunned and his office is cooperating with the investigation.

The House has passed a bill that would take $13 million a year set aside for political conventions and instead use it for pediatric research at the National Institute of Health. The bill is named after 10-year-old activist Gabriella Miller who before she died urged Congress to work together to support child cancer research.

Pope Francis has been named "Time" magazine's "Person of the Year." The top ten included Miley Cyrus, Edward Snowden and Senator Ted Cruz.

COOPER: I didn't know that Miley Cyrus and Senator Ted Cruz have ever been said in the same sentence. Susan, thanks very much.

Up next, "Crime and Punishment," day three of the newlywed murder trial, a woman accused of killing her husband by pushing him off a cliff just eight days after they were married. On the stand today, the groom's friends also talked that she may have blindfolded him on that day.

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COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment," tonight, day three in the trial of the woman accused of murdering her husband just eight days after they got married. Jordan Graham, who pushed her husband Cody Johnson while they were at Glacier National Park and he fell off a cliff. The defense says she pushed him in self-defense, his death was an accident.

The prosecution says it was murder noting that Graham changed her story about what happened. In court today a piece of evidence came up that could play into a prosecution theory that Graham blindfolded her new husband on that cliff and several of Johnson's friends took the stand. Kyung Lah reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cody Johnson's friends arrived for the third day of his murder trial, with their grief visible and still raw. They testify Jordan Graham was not an overwhelmed newlywed who accidently pushed her husband of eight days off a cliff, but a regretful bride who planned to kill. Eddy Clone said he saw his friend, Cody Johnson, the day he died and asked him to go golfing. Johnson said he couldn't because Jordan said she has a surprise for me. Three witnesses testified the same thing, including Steven Rotlidge, Graham's own stepfather who said his new son-in-law also mentioned the surprise to him. The defense downplayed it and Graham later told the FBI the surprise was just a barbecue with friends.

Later that night, Johnson plunged to his death off the steep cliff at Glaciers National Park. Graham's lawyers call the death an accident and the couple was fighting on a cliff. Johnson grabbed her, she pushed and he fell to his death. Prosecutors have a different version. They say Graham wanted out of the marriage and plotted to kill her new husband.

Deputy Coroner Richard Stein testified downstream from Johnson's body he found a black cloth. Prosecutors have raised the theory that at the cliff, Graham blindfolded her husband possibly with a black cloth before pushing him in the back with two hands face-first to his death.

Defense attorneys have already began fighting how this cloth was handled by police alleging contamination of evidence. Prosecutors say Graham spun a web of lies, lying to one of the groomsmen, Cameron Fredrickson, who said in court what he told CNN this summer.

CAMERON FREDRICKSON, GROOMSMEN: She actually changed her story and stated she was at the house when Cody left, and that she saw him leave in a dark-colored car. So, between the two days, two completely different stories, and at that time, that's when I became suspicious and then actually went to the authorities.

LAH: Where she continued lying to Detective Corey Clarke.

(on camera): Have you had many people lie to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to talk about that.

LAH: But he did talk on the stand, testifying Graham created a fake e-mail account so she could send e-mails that would cover her tracks. Jordan Graham continued the lies to police, friends and family until an FBI interrogation where she was shown this image. It's a snapshot on surveillance camera at the entrance of Glaciers National Park. It's clear Graham is a passenger in the car sitting next to her husband, putting her at the scene of the crime.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Kyung Lah joins me now live from Montana. So that surveillance picture, which officials say shows her and her husband in the park in their car, the last time Johnson was seen alive, that got Graham to finally tell the truth? What was the reaction from the defense?

LAH: It had to have hurt. Even though they knew it was coming, just because you were braced for the punch doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. What this does is really shows two sides of the same person. The jury just yesterday actually saw her lie seamlessly to police in two different videos. Today, a totally 180 from her and so it's very difficult for defense to recover from that. Anderson, we spoke to the defense attorney. He's looking forward to presenting his side.

COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, appreciate it. We'll continue to follow it. Thanks.

Still ahead, we honor the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a preview of tonight's special documentary that airs at 10:00 tonight. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: This Saturday marks the first anniversary of the day that changed life forever in the community of Newtown, Connecticut. On December 14th, 2012, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School as you know and opened fire murdering 26 people including 20 children.

Tonight, at 10:00 Eastern Time, we're going to broadcast a special report called "Honoring The Children at Newtown One Year Later." It examines the legacies left behind by three of the first graders who died. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was sure she was going to walk out. I didn't understand the magnitude of the situation until about 2:00 in the afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was at work, and I was driving back, and I'm calling her, and asking her for information. I'm like why am I getting better information off AM news radio than I am from you? You're standing right there. I was about a mile from Newtown, when they came out and said 20 children had been killed, six adults and it struck me. Thank God it was only a mile from there because if I had been driving on 84, I would have run the car off the road because it was such a disturbing moment.

KAITLIN ROIG-DEBELLIS, TEACHER, SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY: Eventually, a knock came. It was a police officer and I unlocked the door, and there was SWAT team. I grabbed two of my students' hands. A swat member grabbed a hand or two and we fled out the back of the school.

COOPER (voice-over): Kaitlyn Roig-Debellis and her 15 first graders all survived. Three of the five first grade classrooms escaped unharmed that day and the other two, a different story.

JACKIE BARDEN, DANIEL BARDEN'S MOTHER: They finally said, if you're in this room and you're waiting, there is, you know.

MARK BARDEN, DANIEL BARDEN'S FATHER: Your loved one is not coming back.

COOPER: Among the 20 children and six educators who died that day.

JEREMY RICHMAN, AVIELLE RICHMAN'S FATHER: I think there is not a minute, not a second of any day that goes by where somewhere in my head I'm thinking I don't have my daughter, Avielle. She's gone. That's always in my head. JENNIFER RICHMAN, AVIELLE RICHMAN'S MOTHER: It's every second of every day that she's not with me, and that's enough.

JEREMY RICHMAN: Literally, days after we lost her, we said we have to do something. It's just in our nature.

JENNIFER RICHMAN: It may have even been that very day. I remember asking why would somebody walk into the school and kill my child? I need to know that answer. I have to have that answer.

COOPER (on camera): Do you think there is always a why?

JENNIFER RICHMAN: Because we don't know the answer doesn't mean there isn't a cause.

JEREMY RICHMAN: Yes.

COOPER (voice-over): Even before Avielle's funeral, her parents set on a mission to honor her by searching for answers. They weren't the only ones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't go back in time, but we can take what we've learned and honor our daughter by doing something with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are kind of faced with do you want to do something, or do you want to do nothing? There was no question.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The special report "Honoring The Children, Newtown, One Year Later," airs a little over an hour from now at 10:00 Eastern. We hope you join us for that. We'll be right back.

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COOPER: Hope you tune in one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for our special report, "Honoring The Children Of Newtown, One Year Later." "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to the viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, Miley Cyrus, Edward Snowden and the pope (unaudible) the spiritual leader beat out everyone to become "Time" magazine's prestigious "Person of the Year." I'll ask how his Father Billy Graham is doing. Also, Donald Trump on the selfie seen around the world, on the Obama-Castro handshake and his advice for the president on Obamacare.