CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Interviews With Howard Lutnick, Tom Barbash, Mariel Hemingway, Susan McDougal, Linda Fairstein, Peter Brown
Aired February 22, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 19, 2001)
HOWARD LUTNICK, CEO, CANTOR FITZGERALD: Every person who came to work for me in New York, everyone that was in the office, every single one who was there isn't there anymore. You can't find them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Howard Lutnick of Cantor Fitzgerald. He lost 658 workers, including his brother, on September 11. How is he doing? And how is he handling claims that he betrayed victims' families?
And then, Mariel Hemingway, on the Hemingway curse and how she's beaten it despite her own addictions and a near-death experience. Whitewater figure Susan McDougal. Why she went to jail rather than testify against the Clintons. And Linda Fairstein, from prosecuting sex crimes, to dreaming them up, for best-sellers. And Peter Brown, the real back stage story of The Beatles -- from debauchery to the moment of inspiration that changed the world. They're all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
We begin things tonight on LARRY KING WEEKEND with Howard Lutnick. Howard is the chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. You know him well from previous appearances on this program, and of course, the tragedy of 9/11. And concerning that, Tom Barbash is with us. He's the author of "On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick and 9/11, a Story of Loss and Renewal."
Howard, how did this come about?
LUTNICK: Well, right after September 11, Tom, who I went to college with, gave me a call to offer his condolences. And my world was such a blur. It was turning into a blur, and really it was surreal. So, I asked Tom if he could come to New York and help me record what was happening, so at least I wouldn't forget the days and weeks that followed. Because really it was a strange nightmare that I was living, and I thought I really needed to get exactly what was happening down.
KING: But the author is Tom, and are the words yours or his?
LUTNICK: Well, I think there are about 40 pages of the book which are literally mine in there in italics. And then Tom, who was literally with me day by day and week by week as the story unfolded, as we went forward in October, November, December, he talked -- he had complete access, and he talked to everybody at the company and anyone he wanted, and the book is really raw, riveting, and it's what happened.
KING: Tom, is it at all biased by the prism of friendship?
TOM BARBASH, AUTHOR, "ON TOP OF THE WORLD": Well, I think that I bring a certain amount of empathy to the story, because obviously of my long friendship with Howard and my friendship with two of my friends who went to college with me and Howard. But I tried to tell the story exactly as I saw it and as I experienced it. But it's not -- in many ways, I tried to get out of the way. I think that there are many voices in the book. They're the voices of the survivors, the voices of spouses, and I tried to give a sense of what it was like to go through this period of time.
And it's not simply a book about September 11. It's really a book about October 5 and November 15 and December 20, all the way through that whole period of time.
KING: And for some time, there was criticism of Howard, when we mistakenly misunderstood what was going on there until we found that out. Is that in the book?
BARBASH: That is. That is discussed what happened. Shortly after, I'd say in about mid-October, there was a tremendous amount of misunderstanding that was taking place. There was a lack of information that people had as to what was Cantor Fitzgerald at this point and what could the company do for anybody.
KING: And, Howard, why did you -- I don't want to -- let that happen? You could have gone on more. When these people were complaining, you stayed mum. Why?
LUTNICK: Well, I went on television the first time to let people know that, A, that Cantor Fitzgerald was reopen for business, and it was -- the purpose of going into business was to take care of our friends' families who we lost. And then I came on your show, Larry, to announce that we were going to donate 25 percent of our profits for the next five years to these families and cover 10 years of their health care, which by the way, as of now, we've managed to give them $9 million as of now.
So -- but after that, what was there more to say? I was the busiest person. I had to make sure this company survived.
KING: But you were taking heat.
LUTNICK: Well, you know, that's what happens when people see a CEO cry, they think, you know, what's wrong with this picture? A guy running a company who cries. Without ever thinking for a moment of putting themselves in my shoes, which god knows I wouldn't want someone to do. I lost my brother, I lost my best friend. I lost 200 people I hired, and some people actually suggested that I cried crocodile tears. You know, it just didn't warrant the response. It warranted focus on the business, taking care of my families, and trying to rebuild my life, and that's what I did.
KING: There is an incredible photo in the book, taken at 8:45 a.m. 9/11. Howard has just taken his son, Kyle, to his first day at kindergarten at Horace Mann. The first day of school. At 8:46, American Flight 11 bound for L.A. from Boston tore into the north side of the WTC Tower. The picture was just a memento of his first day, Howard?
LUTNICK: Sure. The classic first-day photo, my son with his, you know, wet hair around his ears, standing on his backpack right in front of the school. And I kneeled down next to him to take that picture, and basically that was the moment that saved my life, and my boys know that they saved my life by taking them to school.
KING: And refresh our memory. How did you learn of the tragedy?
LUTNICK: Well, as I walked him upstairs to his first day of kindergarten, my phone beeped, and you know, I couldn't get a signal. And then, the school administrator said, "Mr. Lutnick, there's a call for you." And I picked up the phone, and it was Jimmy Mayo (ph), my driver who features in the book quite a bit. And he said, "A plane has hit the building." And I'm thinking Piper Cub (ph).
And so, I run down the stairs and get in the car, and we drive right to the building. And I get to stand in the door of the building, grabbing people as they come out, and of course, then Tower Two falls. If Tower One falls, I'm not on this program, but because Tower Two fell, and I ran from that tornado of smoke and I was maybe 20 yards from it, and it engulfed me. And then, you know, all of this is in the book, but also everybody else's views of exactly what happened are in the book as well.
KING: Tom, where were you?
BARBASH: On September 11, I was out of the country. I had just finished my first novel, which came out last fall -- in the fall of 2001. And so, I was in Spain, and I watched CNN that night actually and saw what had happened. And of course, my first thought was Howard and Doug and Calvin and Gary (ph). And I called New York and found out what had happened.
KING: Doug and Calvin, were your friends from your student days?
BARBASH: They were our friends from Haverford College.
KING: Did they live?
BARBASH: They did not.
KING: Did you try to get home right away?
BARBASH: I tried to, but nobody could get home from Europe right away. That Saturday, I got home. And I put a call in to Howard, and we spoke, I'd say it was probably 5:00 in the morning New York time, 2:00 in the morning my time, and his voice was hoarse. And it was just as amazing experience for me. I wanted so much to talk to him and to be there with everybody.
KING: Howard, how on earth do you deal with tragedy? Your mother died of cancer when you were 16. Your father was diagnosed with cancer when you were 18. He dies after mistakenly given an overdose of chemotherapy. You lose your brother and all of these friends. How do you get up in the morning?
LUTNICK: Well, I think you need purpose, and I think what happened to me and my wife and my sister was that, you know, we've suffered through so much, there was only one thing to do, which was really to have purpose in life. And the purpose was, why am I alive? I should have been in that office. I should have been with my friends, but I wasn't. And the reason I think I'm alive is because I have 658 families who could use my help and who need me to help them if I can. And that's the commitment that I have.
And I think what's amazing about Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed is that's the commitment of all our employees, and remarkably our customers have stood by our side as well. So, it's really been purpose and reason for being is what drives me to get up in the morning.
KING: By the way, where are you located now?
LUTNICK: Well, we're currently on 57th and Lexington, and we're all together, and it was a great feeling to be there. And hopefully, we'll be able to rebuild the headquarters in New York. We're talking to the city and state, and hopefully we can work out something where we'll be able to stay in New York.
KING: Are you going to stay on lower floors?
LUTNICK: You're darn tootin' I'm going to stay on lower...
KING: That's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
Tom, how did you begin the contact? Where did you start when you -- obviously you had all of the statements of Howard and living through him. But then you went around and visited families.
BARBASH: Yes, well, I think originally, the thought was that it might be a memorial. There was no -- if you think about what Cantor Fitzgerald was, four floors at the top of the World Trade Center, the 658 people who were up there at that time, everything is gone. So, in the aftermath of it, it did not appear though there would be anything left of Cantor Fitzgerald. And my thought was that after a little while, Howard would have some time and would sit down and talk about what that place was, and talk about his experience of living through this and talk to other people's experience. But we didn't realize what the next four months would bring, and that it would begin this complicated relationship that Howard had with the families and with the media and how that would turn out. There was one point just in terms of the period around the media in which there was an article in a newspaper -- Howard had gone out to get a pair of shoes for his wife in the midst of everything. And there was an article in the paper that said that he'd been -- this was clear that he was ignoring the families and was out buying shoes. I don't know if you remember that, Howard.
We'll take a break and come right back with Howard Lutnick and Tom Barbash. The book is, "On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick and 9/11, a Story of Loss and Renewal."
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: You'll need a great deal of support in getting through this. So will I. So will many, many people in New York City and around the globe. The best way to do it is to support each other and to help each other and to assist each other. And to remember the following, if I may say it: We're right, and they're wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Howard Lutnick and Tom Barbash are our guests. The book is, "On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick and 9/11, a Story of Loss and Renewal."
Howard, the federal fund established for the families of 9/11 intended to compensate those families is being administrated by Kenneth Feinberg. And there's a suit by seven Cantor Fitzgerald families accusing the administrator of acting illegally and unfairly and running rough shot over the legislation and alienating and disenfranchising the constituency. What do you make of that?
LUTNICK: Well, I think the book is really impressionate on these topics. Ken Feinberg came to a meeting of 1,400 of my families. I invited him. I said, 'Why don't you come meet my families?' And he agreed. And at the Marriott in New York, he walked in the room and there were 1,400 people there. And this scene -- I mean, Tom was there, so he really captured the scene of these people asking him, because now they're looking to him for how is he going to deal with the fund? And I think what has happened is he has not really been straight with them and telling them exactly what's happened, and exactly what they're going to get. And so, they have tremendous doubt, and tremendous doubt, tremendous fear and tremendous worries, created just the issue that you were talking about.
You know, I am there helping them all of the time. I saw Ken Feinberg just this week and spent some time trying to nail these issues down. But until it's resolved, will he stick to the statute that the president signed? KING: Yes.
LUTNICK: If he does, I think these families will be well taken care of. It's unprecedented in America what Congress and the president did for these families, but it's got to be the fact.
KING: Why would he not stick to it?
LUTNICK: Well, I don't know. I mean, I think that people view themselves having political realities or trying to make the program come in with a lower price or something like that, whereas the Congress and the president signed a law that said give these families their economic and non-economic loss. Just take care of these families. And I hope to god that he'll do that, because they've been through enough.
KING: Tom, what was that meeting like?
BARBASH: Oh, it was overwhelming. I think of an illustration of what life was like at the time of that evening. Early in the evening, Howard had had his annual partnership meeting, and so we arrived. It was uptown at the Hudson Hotel. And as we got there, I think Howard had -- there was a room set up for about 70 or 80 people, and there were drinks afterwards for people. And we got in there, there were about three people there, and eventually 15 showed up. So, you had the sense -- I think he knew that that was the case, that 170 of his partners had died. But he didn't remember as he was going to the meeting.
So, the partnership meeting is over, and then I travel with him to go to the meeting with Ken Feinberg, and you walk into a room and there are 1,400 people. And as far as you can see, there are people in chairs. And the meeting was very emotional, because I think for many people, they got up and spoke, and they didn't simply ask a question. They started talking about what they had gone through. And to understand that that was where the life was, was in these meetings with the families.
And it was interesting, too, to see there was a transference in the early meetings. You'd see a tremendous amount of skepticism towards Howard. He had a different role. People doubted him, and then Ken Feinberg filled those shoes, moved in in front of people, and there was a tremendous amount of doubt towards them. And then, Howard had a different role, and that was an interesting thing to watch from my perspective.
KING: Howard, do you still fear for New York City?
LUTNICK: Well, I think New York City remains a target, because it is an awesome city and is a wonderful city, and it is what those who wish the West harm dislike the most, the beauty, the fantastic vibrancy and life of New York. And I love New York City, and the people of New York have been so supportive. It's a tremendous, tremendous place.
KING: What was the -- we have a tape, so we're going to be showing it, of the Cantor Fitzgerald. What was the memorial service like, Howard?
LUTNICK: Well, the first -- you know, each of them has been different. The first service was so raw, and really our wounds were left open. And this September 11, the one-year anniversary, I think it was tremendously uplifting, because we read out loud each and every name. Carol King came and sang for us. Judy Collins came with the Harlem Boys Choir. And it was such a community to see the friends of family, the parents of those people who lost their lives working at Cantor Fitzgerald completely together as one with such unity. I'll tell you, the energy and the love in Central Park that day was the most uplifting thing you've ever felt.
KING: Tom, did any people refuse to talk to you?
BARBASH: No, in general, but that was -- I stayed back for a long time in the beginning. But then I think people started to approach me and want to talk to me. So, I think that I explained to them what I was doing, in essence, that the book would be their book, because in many ways, this is not simply a book about Howard. This is a book about -- there are so many other people who are involved in saving this company, Phil Marber (ph) and Leah Matiff (ph) and Steven Merckle (ph), people in London and people on Los Angeles. And so, I think for them -- so I had the opportunity to talk about what it was that they went through.
You have -- to lose one or two people, it's a terrible sadness, and all of us have experienced that. But to lose 100 of your friends is something that you can't possibly describe or to know.
KING: How is the company now, Howard? How many people are employed? How is it doing?
LUTNICK: Well, eSpeed, our public company, the stock is double what it was on September 10, 2001. I mean, think about what the employees of eSpeed have accomplished. It was up more than 100 percent last year with the Nasdaq being down about 25 percent. Cantor Fitzgerald will earn more than $100 million, and therefore give $25 million to our 658 families. Each September 12, we have a charity day, where we donate not our profits, but 100 percent of the revenue, all income, any money the company gets in goes right to the families. So, we take care of the fiancees. We help parents out. You know, every issue where let's say there is a couple had split up and the first wife has the children, we take care of both families.
So, the company has pulled together remarkably, and I have to tell you, I have never been more proud to be associated with the people and employees of the firm than I am of Cantor Fitzgerald and eSpeed. They have been incredible, absolutely spectacular.
KING: Are you fully staffed?
LUTNICK: Well, we have about -- we had 325 people after September 11, and now we're up to about 500. And I'll tell you something about the people who applied for jobs and come to work at the firm. They have a view that Cantor Fitzgerald is not only working to run the business and be successful, but they know they're doing more. They're helping taking care of these 658 families, paying for 10 years of their health care, and giving 25 percent of their profits to these families.
So, it really creates a really warm feeling, even with employees who joined us since September 11.
KING: Thank you both very much. I really look forward to reading this.
Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, and Tom Barbash, the author of "On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick and 9/11, a story of Loss and Renewal," available everywhere that books are sold.
Back with more of LARRY KING WEEKEND right after this.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND one of the loveliest people on the planet, Mariel Hemingway, very talented too. Granddaughter of the late Ernest Hemingway, sister to the late model/actress Margaux Hemingway, Oscar-nominated actress herself and the author of a terrific new book climbing the best-seller list, "Finding my Balance: A Memoir."
Were you unbalanced that you are finding it?
MARIEL HEMINGWAY, AUTHOR, "FINDING MY BALANCE": Well, I would say that I was in a home that was dysfunctional and painful and that I -- my life is all about finding balance I think every day.
KING: So much tragedy though. Do you think a lot of this, Ernest, going back to killing himself, was chemical?
HEMINGWAY: I think there was some chemical unbalance certainly in the family, and I think what I have tried to do and tried to show in this book is by changing your environment, changing the way that you live, finding peace in your life by changing the way that you eat so that you can actually balance the chemicals, because I truly believe that the food that we put into our bodies is like a drug. So balancing that, obviously staying away from alcohol and drugs in my family is a good idea. And yoga and meditation for me and my spiritual life has been extraordinarily powerful and transformative to me.
KING: Was it a blessing to have the name or not?
HEMINGWAY: It was -- you know what? I've never been Mariel Jones. I've only been Mariel Hemingway. So, I think it's a...
KING: Would you ever think of changing it?
HEMINGWAY: No, I like the benefits. No, I mean...
KING: Yes, there's nothing wrong with that.
HEMINGWAY: And I thought it was going to help sell the book.
KING: No problem when you have a famous name.
HEMINGWAY: No, it's a famous name...
KING: That opened doors, right?
HEMINGWAY: It opens doors, but in order to stay there, you have to prove that you have some talent. Otherwise, people are very, very anxious to pull you down.
KING: So, in order to write a good memoir, you have to be very honest, right? So, you had to open up about all of the things that happened to you.
HEMINGWAY: Well, it's a memoir, but it's -- see, I think it's very -- I would think it would be self-indulgent to write a memoir at my age. I'm only 41. So, I wrote it so that I could share the experience of how I healed through yoga, through meditation, through finding a place of peace and being present, eating well -- all of those things.
KING: What was the low point?
HEMINGWAY: What was the low point in my life?
KING: Yes, to lead you to even get on a road to heal. What did you have to heal?
HEMINGWAY: You know what? I don't think you ever know -- when you're in the low point, you don't know you're in it.
KING: There wasn't a day.
HEMINGWAY: No, there wasn't a day that I said -- I just know that the accumulation of your life -- I mean, now I realize in looking back how afraid I was for so many years.
KING: Are you?
HEMINGWAY: So afraid of -- my mother was ill when I was a child, and I took care of her. She had cancer. I was afraid of -- you know, we talked about it the last time I was here. You know, the whole idea that my family had a curse, which was -- you know, I didn't think I did, but I didn't know. And I mean, I realize that that's absolutely not true. But I -- you know, I lived in fear of falling down.
KING: What got you started up?
HEMINGWAY: You know, I started practicing physical yoga about 20 years ago, and I would say about 15, I got very serious about it, and 10 years ago, it led me to a meditation practice, which has become really a very important part of my life. And really the thing that made me able to ask questions about myself and then ask questions about the problems that I've had.
KING: What does it do when you -- you meditate every day?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I do.
KING: For how long?
HEMINGWAY: Anywhere from 20 minutes twice a day to an hour twice a day.
KING: In addition to the physical.
HEMINGWAY: And in addition to the physical yoga, yes.
KING: How can you explain it to the layman? I imagine you do it very well in the book.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I do.
KING: How do you explain what meditation does?
HEMINGWAY: Meditation is. Well, meditation teaches you how to be present. We live in a world where we're not present. To actually be here talking to you and not doing anything else is a talent, because we usually have so many things going on in our mind, you know...
KING: How to focus.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, just to be able to focus. It enables you to focus, because I think we live in a society where we're multi-tasking and doing so many things that I wonder if we do one thing really well. So, I think it enables you to focus on one thing. And...
KING: How long does it take to learn it?
HEMINGWAY: You know what? It is a process. It's not like you sit down and all of a sudden, oh, I feel so joyous, and you know, it's kind of that peace-love granola thing. It's a process. You -- finding peace in your life takes time. Why I do the physical yoga is because it does calm my body, and then I'm able to sit in meditation and be quiet, because finding stillness, finding peace within inside yourself is so beautiful.
KING: Does your husband and children do it?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, they do actually. Well, I have two teenagers, so they don't do it so much anymore. They go, yes, my mother made me meditate.
KING: Can you explain what you're thinking about when you meditate?
HEMINGWAY: You know -- well, the whole idea -- a lot of people would say, you know, when you meditate, you let all of your thoughts go out of you. Well, that's...
KING: It's impossible. HEMINGWAY: There's no way that's going to happen. What you do is you allow thoughts to come, but you allow them to go, because if important ideas come to you, they will come to you again. So, you know, you focus on the breaths. I do what's called kreay (ph) yoga, which is a high form of breathing that brings -- you know, it just makes it quicker to get to a place of peacefulness and hopefully joy and bliss. But it's really a focus on the breath and just trying to keep focused on it. The thoughts come and then you bring yourself back to the breath. You just keep bringing yourself back to you.
KING: Is it healthy?
HEMINGWAY: It is absolutely. It's absolutely healthy. It's kept me -- it's made me a better parent, which I think is one of the most important jobs I have on the planet right now.
KING: Suicide has been a part of your life, but your sister, you've always denied it, right?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I have. I still believe that it's absolutely...
KING: Is it officially listed as suicide?
HEMINGWAY: I don't know if it officially was. That's how they announced it in the press, and I think it made a better story that way, and I think that's why it was done that way. But she absolutely did not commit suicide.
KING: Are you still doing a lot of acting?
HEMINGWAY: I am.
KING: Were we in a movie together, or were we not?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, we were.
KING: We were in the...
HEMINGWAY: "The Contender."
HEMINGWAY: KING: ... "The Contender."
HEMINGWAY: "The Contender." You're absolutely right, yes.
KING: Correct? I interviewed the vice president...
HEMINGWAY: Yes, you did.
KING: And you had an affair with her husband.
HEMINGWAY: No, no, no, she had an affair with my husband.
KING: She had an affair with your husband.
HEMINGWAY: She took my husband away.
KING: She took your husband away from you.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, hey...
KING: We've acted together.
HEMINGWAY: How could they do that to me?
KING: Do you continue to act?
HEMINGWAY: I do continue to act. I am directing. I'm directing my grandfather's book, "A Movable Feast." And Billy Bob Thornton is my producing partner, and I'm very excited about that.
KING: Is he going to be in it?
HEMINGWAY: No, he's not. He's just producing with me, and I'm only directing. I'm not going to be in it.
KING: That's a great -- but it was never made into a film?
HEMINGWAY: No, it wasn't. It's a wonderful story of my grandfather in the 20s in Paris. I mean, it's going to be exciting.
KING: How old were you when he died?
HEMINGWAY: He died four months before I was born.
KING: Is he someone -- have you read him? Did you read his books?
HEMINGWAY: Oh, absolutely.
KING: Someone you would have loved to have known.
HEMINGWAY: Oh, absolutely. I feel very much that I kind of got gypped on that deal.
KING: Do you ever wonder why he killed himself?
HEMINGWAY: You know, my opinion is, he loved to write, he was a very creative man, and because of the chemical imbalances probably from the alcohol abuse that he underwent in his lifetime, which was very fashionable at the time, he couldn't write anymore, and that was what he lived for.
KING: Well, I'm glad you're writing. I hope you write more.
HEMINGWAY: Thank you very much.
KING: Thank you. Thank you for sharing some time with us.
HEMINGWAY: Thank you.
KING: Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of the late Ernest Hemingway, sister of the late model/actress Margaux Hemingway, the Oscar-nominated actress herself, and the author of a terrific new book, "Finding my Balance: A Memoir."
Back with more after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CONTENDER")
HEMINGWAY: Will handled -- Will was in charge of Layne Billings' first senatorial campaign. He was with her all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you suggesting the senator, the nominee had an affair with your husband?
HEMINGWAY: I'm sorry, yes, yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND a return visit with Susan McDougal, the author of "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk: Why I Refused to Testify Against the Clintons and What I Learned in Jail." It's No. 12 on "The New York Times" best seller list, and she's looking wonderful. It's good to have her back with us again. What do you mean by what I learned in jail, Susan?
SUSAN MCDOUGAL, AUTHOR, "THE WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T TALK": Well, you know, when I went -- when I first went to jail, I think I was on your show the night before I first went to jail.
KING: You were.
MCDOUGAL: I was pretty scared and really very bitter about the independent counsel and what had happened to me. And when I met the women there, it was an amazing transformation. You couldn't meet those women, how young they were, how -- what terrible backgrounds they came from, how abused they had been and, you know, still feel sorry for yourself or still wonder, you know, how did I get here? I was grateful that I was there. I really learned so much from them on how to survive and how to do it with humor, how to do it with grace. Because when you live the kind of lives those women lived and you make it, you have done a great thing, even if you end up in jail. Just to have survived was a miraculous thing for most of those girls.
KING: Back to basics. I guess the essence, people kept asking this all the time, why wouldn't -- you could have talked and not been in jail.
MCDOUGAL: That's right.
KING: So, why not talk? MCDOUGAL: They had a story that they believed. They had a witness that had given them a story, David Hale, and they believed his story. And if I had gone in and contradicted it, who would have believed me? Who would have believed I was telling the truth? And I knew that they were not looking for the truth. I had tried to talk to them, I tried to answer their questions and they weren't interested.
And so, when you're trying to talk to someone who already believes something that you know to be a lie and they won't listen to you, there's just no point in going on.
KING: This is a very honest book, by the way, with some harrowing moments while in jail. But you served the maximum 18 months, right?
MCDOUGAL: That's correct.
KING: For civil contempt, refusing to testify. Now, there must have been days you were sitting there saying, maybe I made a mistake.
MCDOUGAL: Yes, you know, there was a glass cell at the twin towers facility there in Los Angeles, total isolation. If someone walked up to the glass and screamed as loudly as they could, you couldn't have heard them. And I was in there for three months in total deprivation of any sound, any contact. There was a sign outside the cell that said, "If Susan McDougal talks to anyone going or coming from her cell, do not let her out again." And it was signed by the sheriff of L.A. County.
And there were times in that three months that I wondered, you know, can I make it? Can I make it through this?
KING: The president pardoned you. In fact, I think you were on this show the night after the pardon.
MCDOUGAL: That's right.
KING: Were you surprised?
MCDOUGAL: I was so surprised. I hadn't asked for it. I had not petitioned for it. I didn't think it was proper for me to do that, because it was really his decision. But if there was one person in the world that knew I was innocent, it was Bill Clinton.
KING: Now, many of his critics believe that you had an affair with him, even some of his friends thought that. What was the story there?
MCDOUGAL: Well, the story really began with the independent counsel. You know, for some reason, and I don't know what it was, they believed that they could trap Bill Clinton or they could get him somehow in sexual -- with sexual problems. And it really began early on in the investigation with me, when they came to me and said, "You know, if you would say this, we would be able to work with you and make you a deal if you would just say you'd had an affair with him." And as you know, the investigation ended up all about sex with Monica Lewinsky.
So, as I often laugh when I'm telling about my book, you know, most of the women in Arkansas have had to deny having an affair with Bill Clinton. I deny it as well. It never happened.
KING: Your ex-husband died in jail, did he not?
MCDOUGAL: Yes, he did.
KING: Where did he go wrong?
MCDOUGAL: Well, he went wrong making a deal with the independent counsel. One of the parts of his -- one of the parts of his agreement was that they would put him in a jail hospital and that they would keep him safe. And Jim McDougal died naked on the concrete floor of an isolation cell, calling the independent counsel begging for their help. But by that time, they had Monica Lewinsky, and they were no longer interested in the lies that Jim McDougal was willing to tell for them.
KING: Do you think in the Ken Starr story you were a pawn?
MCDOUGAL: Oh, worse than that. I think I was roadkill, as they say in Arkansas. He didn't care who he ran over. I don't think he cared at all what happened to me or who I was. It was just on the road to getting Bill Clinton, which is one reason I was angry, so angry all the time, because I don't think he actually spent one day thinking, you know, who is Susan McDougal? Is she telling me the truth? And does it matter? It just mattered that he needed my testimony to bolster this false story, and that is one of the reasons that I have such trouble ever forgiving him.
KING: What are your feelings about Mr. Hare (ph)?
MCDOUGAL: Mr. Hale?
KING: David Hale, I'm sorry.
MCDOUGAL: That's OK. I feel that he was a man who had stolen millions of dollars. He admitted to that. And he was trying to cut the best deal he could. He was a Jim McDougal trying to make the best deal. He had a family. He didn't want to go to prison. And he was willing to use Bill Clinton to cut a deal. I feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for his children. He didn't want to go to prison either, but once you're caught, it's hard not to, you know, turn that other person in to try to save yourself.
KING: The book is a rising best seller. Obviously the funds will be helpful. What do you intend to do now with your life?
MCDOUGAL: Well, all I'm doing right now is working for women in jail. That's what I've been doing, other than taking care of my parents, which is almost a full-time job in and of itself. I visit the jails. I try to see the conditions in the different jails that I go to and do something about them.
KING: I guess the general presumption is that women's jails are better than men's jails.
MCDOUGAL: Oh, that is certainly not true. Larry, you wouldn't believe the women that I heard begging in the night, screaming and begging, pregnant women who lost their children. One was a youth. She screamed all night long for medical care and lost her baby the next morning. You wouldn't believe the kind of medical issues that women have that cannot be attended to, because the jails are just not ready for the numbers and numbers of women that we have in there now. It's an incredible amount of women, because of these new minimum sentencing laws. They are being held in jail, and the medical issues that they have are so different from what the jails are used to. And that doesn't even take in the mental illness that I saw while I was there and how badly they were treated. They threw sheets over their head and beat them against the wall, because they couldn't get them to conform to the rules.
MCDOUGAL: It's just an awful situation for the women.
KING: By the way, the forward to this book is written by the veteran journalist, Helen Thomas, who stands up to authority, as does the author.
Thank you, Susan.
MCDOUGAL: Thank you.
KING: And continued good luck.
MCDOUGAL: Thank you.
KING: Susan McDougal, the book is "The Woman who Wouldn't Talk: Why I refused to testify against the Clintons and what I learned in jail." No. 12 on "The New York Times" list.
Back with more of LARRY KING WEEKEND right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to say something?
MCDOUGAL: I don't know what to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big smile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND Linda Fairstein. I've looked forward to this, because she is some heck of a writer, and I love mysteries. And her latest is "The Bone Vault," and "The Bone Vault" is No. 10 on "The New York Times" best-seller list, No. 9 in London. She herself is the former head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan district attorney's office, and of course the best-selling author.
What turned you to writing?
LINDA FAIRSTEIN, AUTHOR, "THE BONE VAULT": It was something I always wanted to do. It was a dream before I went to law school.
KING: Even while sending bad people away.
FAIRSTEIN: Long before I went to law school, and I started by doing a nonfiction book about the reforms and the work we had done, but this was a dream I'd had. And so, I started doing the fiction. This is the fifth book in the series.
KING: They all sell well, right?
FAIRSTEIN: They've all done well, absolutely.
KING: The first one was what?
FAIRSTEIN: "Final Jeopardy."
KING: And you keep the same character running...
FAIRSTEIN: The same character, who happens to be a sex crimes prosecutor in Manhattan with two cop sidekicks. And she carries on through all of the events and through New York City (UNINTELLIGIBLE) character in the book.
KING: So, plots always ran through your mind.
FAIRSTEIN: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. You know, in the courtroom, I was bound by facts. Here it can be a little more creative.
KING: Any of the books based on real cases?
FAIRSTEIN: No, I used -- the murders are all things that I've made up, but the books are what I call procedurals. They take from many of the real cases I've had, the motives, things that people have said to me about their experiences, a lot of the bad guys that have crossed my desk I use bits of.
KING: How did you get to prosecute in the sex crimes unit?
FAIRSTEIN: Well, when I...
KING: Which is now a big "Law and Order" thing.
FAIRSTEIN: Which is as Dick Wolf has made an entire series of.
FAIRSTEIN: When I went to the D.A.'s office in '72, Frank Hogan was the D.A., and there were 200 lawyers, 7 women. Mr. Hogan said to me, it's too tawdry a job for someone like you, a woman with a good classical education. And obviously, as (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I used to say, I thrived on tawdriness, because I stayed 30 years and loved it. I mean, it was a time when...
KING: How long in the sex crimes though?
FAIRSTEIN: Twenty-five of the 30 years. When Mr. Hogan died, the unit had been newly-formed. The woman who formed it was terrific, left to do something else, and so there were only six of us there, and I was the only other woman who tried sex crimes. And I said, I'm not sure I want to do a steady diet of this and (UNINTELLIGIBLE), so do it for a year and I'll let you out. And I never wanted to leave.
KING: Is a good prosecutor a good prosecutor? Or is this a specialty?
FAIRSTEIN: I think this is a specialty. I think a lot of people don't have the interest to do it. I mean, you've had so many lawyers on this show, I think you need all of the skills of a great trial lawyer, but you need an extra compassion. You need that extra element of hand-holding. These are not like other cases. These are not getting a victim through the system without a lot of emotional content.
KING: Does "Law and Order" do it well?
FAIRSTEIN: They do it very well. They do it very well. Dick Wolf, all of his shows have been good, and I love watching Stephanie March. She's the prosecutor. And Mariska Hargitay who does a great job as Detective Benson. It's fun.
KING: What's "The Bone Vault" about? It's No. 5.
FAIRSTEIN: It gets into the museums in New York City, which have always fascinated me -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. I'm fascinated by the fact that more than 90 percent of the things in the collections of these museums are things we never see. There's just no room for them. So, they're in basements and attics.
And what fascinated me about natural history is that we've all seen the dinosaur fossils and the wooly mammoths. There are more than 50 million human bones -- human bones in the Museum of Natural History. Twice as many in the Smithsonian and museums all over the country.
FAIRSTEIN: And I...
KING: Bones of who?
FAIRSTEIN: Bones of who? Bones, why aren't these people buried where their ancestors were?
FAIRSTEIN: And most of them were Native Americans, average and old Indians from different parts of the world, who were treated like curiosities.
FAIRSTEIN: And Amoral Perry (ph) brought back six living Eskimos from Greenland in 1898 and had them live in the basement of the Museum of Natural History, and people paid money to look at them. Needless to say in a couple of months, five of them were dead of pneumonia.
KING: What do we find in "The Bone Vault?" We have a body?
FAIRSTEIN: We have a body. We start in the beautiful Temple of Dendur in the Met on 5th Avenue. Alex Cooper (ph), the sex crimes prosecutor, is at a cocktail party, and the director of the Met learns she's there and has just unfortunately discovered that in an ancient (UNINTELLIGIBLE) being shipped out to a museum in the Middle East, there happens to be not a mummified princess, but a very dead young museum worker. And so, Alex (ph) and her partners have to figure out what happened in the museum that would have caused someone to be killed.
KING: Do you know where your plot is going before you start?
FAIRSTEIN: I try, because I think that writing crime fiction, you really do sort of need to structure it and have an ending that works. So, I know who did it before I start writing, and I generally know where and how it ends. It always takes twists and turns along the way that even surprise me and so much research going through it that I took different directions.
KING: Are you not always writing?
FAIRSTEIN: I am always writing, but the violence issue is my passion, and I spend a lot of nonprofit time doing work on that issue.
KING: The what issue?
FAIRSTEIN: Violence against women and children in particular
KING: Oh. Why do we who love these books, why do we love them?
FAIRSTEIN: Well, I think...
KING: Why do we like death? Why do we like reading about it?
FAIRSTEIN: Well, I assume...
FAIRSTEIN: Right. I assume probably it's not so much the death we like to read about, but the fact that in these books generally the moral order is restored, and we can solve them. And you know, for me it's seeing that justice is done. If I couldn't do it in the courtroom, I can change the ending here. I can give myself the conviction that maybe I didn't get.
KING: Sometimes we even get an affinity for the villain.
FAIRSTEIN: Sometimes some books are very definitely written that way. Not this one.
KING: Yes, I bet you enjoy writing it, though?
FAIRSTEIN: I love writing it. I have such a good time doing it.
KING: Yes, I can't wait to read it. I read the other four.
FAIRSTEIN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex crimes unit at the Manhattan district attorney's office. She knows what of she writes. The latest, No. 10 on "The New York Times" best-seller list, "The Bone Vault."
More right after this.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND Peter Brown, the former director of the Apple Corporation, the Beatles' financial parent company, a close friend of all of the band members, was best man indeed to John Lennon's wedding to Yoko Ono. He's co-author of a major best seller, "The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles," now issued in trade paperback with a new forward. New, because this book was originally published in 1983. It begins with Cynthia Lennon discovering John with Yoko Ono in May of '68, and ends with John's murder on December 8 of 1980.
"The Washington Post" called it the "best backstage memoir yet of the most amazing musical phenomenon of our time." And "Rolling Stones" said, "It should sell forever," and obviously it is, since 20 years later it's back.
Why now, Peter? Why back?
PETER BROWN, AUTHOR, "THE LOVE YOU MAKE": Well, it seems there's no end to interest in the Beatles, and they get to go on and on. I mean, it's 31 years -- 32 years since they broke up, and there seems to be no end to the interest.
KING: New forward?
BROWN: New forward. There was a guy who wrote the forward, who is a really well -- knowledgeable about the industry, and I thought it was better that he wrote it, Anthony DeCurtis, and he was better at writing this than I was.
KING: Well, the book had -- as I remember, sensational attention when it first came out... BROWN: Right.
KING: ... partially due to the revelation that John Lennon had had a relationship with a man, right?
BROWN: Well ...
KING: As I remember it.
BROWN: ... I hedged it slightly as to the fact that there was a relationship between him and Brian Epstein.
BROWN: I didn't go into great detail. I just said that that was what indeed had happened, and which is true. I mean, if you're going to tell these stories, you have to tell all those stories.
KING: Is John of the four the most complex?
BROWN: Probably, yes. I mean, he was the most -- I think he was the most interesting. He was brilliant and very, very complicated, but he was fascinating to be with. I mean, he was -- you never knew who you were going to get with John.
KING: At their height, Peter, what were they like to be around?
BROWN: Well, you know, the thing -- the problem with them at their height was the fact that we were always running after the next hit. So, it wasn't a case if you sat back and say, isn't this great? Because every time there was a hit record, they immediately went back into the studio and it was the next one. And of course, the world was watching, and it became very, very much more difficult, because everything -- the communications weren't like they are now, but everything had to be released simultaneously, every disc jockey wanted to know when it was coming out. I mean, it was -- the attention was unbelievable.
KING: The book gives its artistic due to Paul, does it not, who often felt shadowed by John?
BROWN: Well, Paul was always the hard worker. Paul was the doer. Paul is the good public relations person. Paul is the charming one. And Paul should get enormous praise for all of the drive that he put in it. It was Paul really that founded Apple. It was Paul that made Apple work. And John, of course, didn't have that drive. John wasn't interested. John was more interested in the artistic side. But Paul did an enormous amount of work and was not always given credit for that.
KING: That Apple company became an industry, did it not?
BROWN: It did.
KING: The Beatles were an industry? BROWN: Well, the idea was that we should build this company, where we would be a little more kind and generous to struggling artists, and we did try very hard to do that. It was tough, and we had the world coming with crazy, weird projects. But it worked, and the record company was enormously successful, and it's still successful. I mean, the Beatles CD they put out just over two years ago sold 20 million CDs worldwide, which is more than any contemporary artist now.
KING: What was George Harrison like?
BROWN: George was a sweetheart. I mean, he was a sweet, kind man, who of course, had a slight problem because he wrote beautiful songs, but of course, he was always overshadowed by his colleagues, Lennon and McCartney, who wrote in many ways more songs that were certainly more prolific than George, and of course, they got more songs on the albums.
KING: Was Ringo Starr some -- falsely accused when they called him the "accidental Beatle?"
BROWN: He was lucky, of course, because the former Beatle -- the former drummer...
BROWN: ... Pete Best was axed at the last minute, and so it was a scramble to find another drummer. But Ringo was a very good drummer, and actually he also was very good in the balance of the personalities. He was the kind one, he was the nice one, he was the one that everyone liked, and he was a good drummer. He kept them together.
KING: Were George, Paul and Ringo angry at the book or not?
BROWN: No, they were not angry. I mean, they collaborated with me, and they helped me put it together, because what I tried to do with the book is it wasn't my recollection, it wasn't George's recollection, it wasn't Ringo's recollection. It was -- I went to everyone and their wives and their drug dealers and their best friends and whatever, and all of this information went into the part and came out as accurately as you can possibly make it.
KING: Why? Why were they willing to have you tell so much?
BROWN: Because I was the only one around. I mean, first of all, they knew me so well, and I'd been part of the story. And somebody had to tell the story, because a lot of books were coming out, which were very inaccurate, and they were inaccurate because there were no prime sources. Nobody would talk to these people. There was an inner circle that wouldn't talk to outsiders. So, the answer was, we in the circle had produce something of their own, and this is what this book is. It's the inner circle truthful version of the story.
KING: Peter, I remember it well. I will read it again with the new forward. And again, I think it's certainly the top three best- selling show business books ever written.
BROWN: "The Love You Make."
KING: I'm going to repeat the title. Peter Brown, the author of "The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles," updated from its original publication, available in trade paperback with a new forward everywhere that books are sold.
Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. See you tomorrow night, and good night.
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Hemingway, Susan McDougal, Linda Fairstein, Peter Brown>