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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Interview With Mother of Dru Sjodin; Interview With Roy Disney
Aired December 3, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: "In Focus" tonight: the race against time in the Ohio highway shootings case before another attack.
The suspect in the missing college student case on his way to face kidnapping charges in North Dakota, as hundreds continue to search for Dru Sjodin. We'll talk live with the missing woman's mother.
And Roy Disney speaks out on what he says is the downfall of his uncle's entertainment empire and his battle against Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you with us.
Also ahead, NFL great Lawrence Taylor will be here. He has been making headlines with a new book that details years of cocaine and crack addiction.
And a judge sets a date for the murder trial of Scott Peterson. We'll bring you up to date on that.
Plus, the three keys to winning the war on terror from our regular contributor and former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke.
Also, the police beating of an Ohio man is declared a homicide. We'll be talking with members of his family.
First, though, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.
The jury in the trial of accused sniper Lee Boyd Malvo will not get to see a letter he wrote in which he said his father might kill him. A judge ruled today against allowing the letter as evidence. Defense attorneys believe "father" refers to convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad.
In a courtroom on the other side of the country, Scott Peterson was arraigned today. Peterson pleaded not guilty to charges he killed his wife Laci and their unborn son. A trial date was set for January 26. We'll have more on the Peterson case a little bit later on in tonight's program.
The Bush administration expected to announce tomorrow that it will lift tariffs on foreign-made steel. The tariffs were to keep cheap steel imports from being dumped on to U.S. markets. Pressure from international trading partners led to the move. "In Focus" tonight, the search for missing college student Dru Sjodin. Her believes she is still alive. Today, her father urged searchers not to give up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLAN SJODIN, FATHER OF DRU SJODIN: What we want is everyone to continue doing what they've been doing, just like these folks have been saying. Check your shelter belts. Check your buildings. Check anything. Check everything. We want information. We have the strength and wherewithal to be out there. We're going to be there, honey. We're going to find you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And, in just a moment, we'll be talking to Linda Walker, Dru Sjodin's mother.
But, first the investigation, the man charged in the kidnapping waived extradition at a hearing today. He will be forced to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where the search for Sjodin, missing since November 22, is now centered.
Joining us from Grand Forks is Police Captain Michael Kirby.
Captain, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
CAPT. MICHAEL KIRBY, GRAND FORKS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you, Paula, for having me.
ZAHN: Sir, is there anything new in your investigation that would make you believe that Dru might be alive tonight?
KIRBY: Well, Paula, there's absolutely no reason for us to believe at this particular time that she may not be. So it's very important for us, it's very important for the searchers that were out today, it's very important for the family that we continue to maintain a positive attitude and keep trying to work real hard to have a good positive end to this, if we can.
ZAHN: Is Alfonso Rodriguez your only suspect tonight?
KIRBY: Well, we certainly have -- we don't want to put blinders on, for lack of a better term, and narrow our investigation. We'll continue to follow all available leads that we have. We're now well over 1,300 leads that are being worked on this case.
But, certainly, as it is obvious, Mr. Rodriguez has been charged and he will be going to court tomorrow morning for a bail hearing.
ZAHN: Mr. Rodriguez a level-three sex offender, which is the highest risk of re-offending. Knowing that rape is a progressive crime of violence, does that make you even more concerned about Dru's fate?
KIRBY: Well, certainly it does. And there's no doubt about that. We have to be straightforward.
But, by the same token, we have every reason to believe that, until we have something that turns us in a different direction, we are going to continue to do the types of thing we can do and assist the community. And the community is actually assisting us with over 1,700 volunteers today out and about going through the snow and in this pretty cold weather here and trying to locate Dru. And we're going to keep working hard to do that.
ZAHN: So you say the leads are still pretty good at this hour?
KIRBY: I'm sorry?
ZAHN: The leads are still pretty strong at this hour?
KIRBY: Oh, absolutely. As I said, we're -- well over 1,300 leads. We're still getting calls into the tip line. If I may be so bold as to give that number, it's 701-780-8213. We want to encourage anyone who's seen the photos of Rodriguez's vehicle, seen photos of him, if they saw him around the mall there on that Saturday the 22nd of November, they need to give us a call, because any one lead could be the lead that pulls a lot of pieces together for us.
ZAHN: Well, Captain, we wish you a tremendous amount of luck. And we're going to try to get that number up at the tail end of this segment, so people can jot that down once again. Again, thank you for your time this evening, sir.
Now, friends and family of Dru Sjodin have not given up hope. Every day, hundreds of volunteers search for her. And those closest to her are praying she will come home safely.
Joining us now from Crosslake, Minnesota, is Dru Sjodin's mother, Linda Walker.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight.
LINDA WALKER, MOTHER OF DRU SJODIN: Thank you, Paula, for being a voice for Dru this evening.
ZAHN: I think it's so tough for any of us to imagine the pain that your family is enduring at this hour. And yet I'm told you still have a fair amount of hope.
WALKER: We do. We're very steadfast in the fact that Dru has a very strong spirit, a kind soul. And we know that she has the strength and will to survive the situation.
ZAHN: How are you getting your information from police?
WALKER: Law enforcement have been incredibly sensitive to the situation. They have been very supportive, in constant contact with us.
FBI, Paul McCabe (ph) has been at our home here in the Pequot Lakes area since last Wednesday. Information is always there and available from him...
WALKER: I'm sorry. From him and the local police of Grand Forks.
ZAHN: I know today was an especially difficult day for you, because Alfonso Rodriguez had his brief extradition hearing. And, apparently, one of his neighbors begged him, for the love of his mother, to please tell everybody where Dru is.
Do you believe Rodriguez knows where your daughter is?
WALKER: Of course, I only believe that purely through the fact that he is arrested. And I hope that he will cooperate with the law enforcement and give up Dru, Dru's whereabouts.
ZAHN: Is there any plea you would like to make to him or any members of his family?
WALKER: That his mother please speak to her son and his sister to please speak to her brother and ask, on the behalf of all of us, the love that we have for Dru and the love from the community, that we want her back in our arms.
ZAHN: I know a lot of your focus has been on the search and trying to react to some of the tips law enforcement have gotten. How are you getting through each one of these days, where you just have to wait for little strings of information to come in?
WALKER: I think, through the power of love, there are many miracles that can happen. And you go through that, those thoughts. I have been in contact with Patty Wetterling, which is with her son that she lost several years ago, Jacob.
I have been in contact with Erika Dalquist. Her family, they are presently still searching for their daughter locally. The outpour of the community and people that I don't even know has been incredible.
ZAHN: Well, from a distance here, it's been quite extraordinary to watch the level of concern in your community and the amount of help that your family has been given. And we wish you the best of luck as you live this waiting game.
WALKER: Thank you so much, Paula, for, like I said, keeping Dru's face and her voice out there for us.
ZAHN: Linda Walker, again, thank you.
WALKER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now on to the ongoing search for whoever is responsible for a dozen shootings along the interstate circling Columbus, Ohio. One shooting left a 62-year-old woman dead.
Martin Savidge is in Columbus with today's developments. Good evening, Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Paula.
No major breaks in the case, unfortunately. There was a new scare last night. There was a shooting on a highway about 90 miles north of Columbus. Nobody was hurt. The concern was, the shooter might have moved, though investigators today say that they do not believe that incident was related to the shootings down here.
It does point out, though, they are very concerned about the prospect of copycats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're always concerned about that. And that's something we guard against, is copycats. And that's one reason that, some information, we do not release, so that we don't have somebody that mirrors what we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, the sphere of fear, if you can call it that, has continued to grow, mainly with the discovery of a bullet in an elementary school near the area where the highway shootings have been taking place.
That shot was fired three weeks ago. Authorities recovered the bullet. They put it down to vandalism. Then, on Monday, they turned it over to the highway shooting investigators. They ran a ballistics test. It matches with the gun that fired the fatal shot of last week that killed that 62-year-old woman. Now it's not just drivers that are concerned, but also the parents of children who attend schools near that area -- Paula.
ZAHN: Martin Savidge, thanks so much for the update.
Now for more on how police deal with a case like this, we're joined by former New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir.
Always good to see you. Welcome, sir.
HOWARD SAFIR, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Good to see you.
ZAHN: So, at what point will police be able to decide if, indeed, these shootings are the work of a sniper or snipers?
SAFIR: I think you have to call it what it is. They have four ballistic matches. The Franklin County Police sheriff has pretty much said that most of these are related. I think you have to assume you have a sniper.
ZAHN: So why are they not saying that?
SAFIR: They're not saying it because they don't want to cause the kind of panic that was caused by the Malvo and Muhammad shootings in Washington last year. But this is very different.
ZAHN: Is it different, or don't you think that sense of panic already exists? People are changing their routes to work. There are some folks that can't avoid that stretch of the highway who have business to do that need to travel in that direction. But other people are finding ways to get off the interstate.
SAFIR: I think there is a sense of panic. I don't think there's the sense that there was, because the Malvo and Muhammad team was so confident. This appears to be somebody who is not a great shot. I don't think it is two people.
ZAHN: Now, why are you so sure this would be the work of -- but you have hunches. You have been in law enforcement for a long time. What would make you think it probably is one shooter, based on what you know?
SAFIR: Because of the property damage, the lack of physical injury, the fact that the unfortunate woman who was killed was shot through a door. It does not seem as if the individual is targeting humans. It seems like he's shooting at cars.
ZAHN: Just to create fear.
SAFIR: Apparently to create fear.
ZAHN: Now, the police have the tough job of sifting through all the tips they're getting. Help us understand how they siphon through all that.
SAFIR: You have to create a task force. You have to create a database. And you have to prioritize each lead that you get. And you have to bounce that information off against the investigative information that you have so far in the case.
And then you have to make sure that you don't discard anything. You may remember that the Chevy Caprice in the Washington shootings came up very early in the investigation and was discarded. And, in hindsight, when you look back at that investigation, that was a serious mistake. And there are lives that probably could have been saved had they not discarded that Chevy Caprice information to begin with.
ZAHN: But isn't it, in fact, the toughest judgment to make between a credible and a noncredible tip?
SAFIR: Right. But you can follow every one up. You can follow some up with interviews. You can follow some up with database information. But you have got to follow every single one of them.
ZAHN: But the process you're talking about is pretty darn time- consuming, isn't it?
SAFIR: Yes. But you don't use your operational people for that. You use analysts to do that. And you have to do link analysis to make sure that you link all of that information together, while your operational people are out on the streets following physical leads and interviewing people.
ZAHN: Realistically, how long can that take? Are you talking about weeks worth of investigation here or months?
SAFIR: Well, hopefully, it will be weeks. It could be months. But you have to get lucky.
The fact is, there is somebody out there right now who knows who this shooter is or knows somebody who may be the shooter who is acting in a strange manner. That is the tip that the police have to get. They have to get lucky and they have to get a tip from somebody who knows this individual.
ZAHN: If you lived there, wouldn't you be nervous?
SAFIR: Of course I'd be nervous.
The reason that you're so nervous when somebody is doing this kind of activity is because it's so random. There's no targeting. It's anybody at any time, anywhere. And that is why it's so important to solve this case.
ZAHN: Former Police Commissioner Howard Safir, thank you for spending a little time with us this evening.
SAFIR: Good to be here.
ZAHN: Good to see you.
We're going to ask former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke about the search for Osama bin Laden and the keys to winning the war on terror.
Also, the latest developments in the case of Nathaniel Jones, the man who died after being beaten by Cincinnati police. His death was ruled a homicide today.
And fighting for his family name -- my conversation with Roy Disney, speaking out against Michael Eisner.
ZAHN: Winning the war on terror, what will it take? How long will it last? Well, tonight, former Pentagon spokesperson and regular contributor to our show Victoria Clarke is here with three keys to winning the war on terror. She joins us live from our Washington, D.C. bureau.
Torie, always good to see you. It always seem so formal when we call you Victoria. So Torie it will be.
VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You and my mother.
ZAHN: Oh, please don't tell me that. All right, what is... (LAUGHTER)
ZAHN: No, I do like your mother.
Let's talk about what you see as the key heart in winning this war on terror?
CLARKE: Boy, I don't know if I have the answer to it.
But I'll tell you, I do think there are three things people need to take into consideration. And, first and foremost, I'm getting worried, because I hear a lot of people out there who make it sound like this war on terror is going to be over soon. Nothing is further from the truth. And it is not about capturing UBL and cleaning up a few things in Iraq.
As a concept, this is much more like the Cold War than any individual conflict we've ever thought of. So, I think people need to be aware of the fact that this is a long, tough, hard haul that we have got ahead of us.
And, secondly, I think people need to remember, and we have got to stay focused on the fact, it's not just about people in military uniforms, our forces, hunting down and killing terrorists, as important as that is. It's a multifaceted war. We have got to go over the financial sources, the trafficking of money around the world. We have got to go after those states that sponsor and harbor these people.
So it's not just a military war. It's also economic and financial and legal and diplomatic.
ZAHN: Do you think the American public understands those first two points, or do you think it's adequately been explained to the American public by the administration?
CLARKE: It's interesting. I think we've lost sight of it a little bit.
I remember, back in the fall of '01 and the beginning of '02, we focused hard on it. And a lot of people talked about it. And you saw some coverage, for instance, of what was going on in trying to find these financial networks and dry them up and drain the swamp. I know the activity is still going on. It's very hard. But you see less of a focus on it. So I don't know if the American people fully appreciate how important those factors are.
ZAHN: All right, but Torie, when you say we lost sight of it, are you referring to the administration?
CLARKE: Oh, I think there's a lot of responsibility out there, as I know. I know there are people at the Treasury Department working with their counterparts around the world who are trying to crack that nut. It's a very, very tough one. But there are only so many issues people can and will focus on in a day. And I think we've lost sight a little bit of the multifaceted nature of this war.
ZAHN: And the third point you want to make is focusing on the roots of terror.
CLARKE: It's so -- it's almost like we're dealing with the tip of the iceberg, but we're not really paying attention to what's underneath.
And I think it goes to two things. And this is Torie Clarke's personal opinion. I think a lot of the terrorism is a result of the fact that there is a war, a civil war, if you will, in the Islamic faith. And, in my opinion, the extremists are hijacking that faith. And then a very real and terrible manifestation of that is these extremist madrasas. For every terrorist we take off the street -- and we are making progress. The Brits just today got a big one, which is very important.
But for every terrorist we get off the street or we kill, there are dozens and hundreds and thousands of young boys who every day are being taught that their mission, their reason to get up every day, is to go out and kill Westerners. That is very bad. And we need to address it. We have got to find ways to help those countries who want to find alternative sources of education for their people. We have got to help them find those ways.
ZAHN: At a time when the Bush administration is being criticized for taking much-needed resources out of Afghanistan and fighting the war on terror there and moving them to Iraq, how important is it for the credibility of the administration to either kill or capture Osama bin Laden?
CLARKE: We've talked about this a few times.
It is a factor. It's an important factor. I've always believed, from the very beginning, that, if you looked at the al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden obviously important, symbolic reasons, emotional reasons. But there are always any number of people who could and would step up and assume operational responsibilities. So I think you have got to be concerned about pinning too many hopes on capturing one person. It would be a blow. It would be an important blow to al Qaeda, but it's bigger than that, unfortunately.
ZAHN: Torie Clarke, we're going to leave it there this evening. Thanks so much for your time.
CLARKE: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and his tales of the dark side of pro football.
And an American train conductor makes a connection to children in need.
ZAHN: Welcome back.
You no doubt have heard the heart-wrenching stories of Romanian orphans, tens of thousands of abandoned children whose only home has been a rundown state shelter. For thousands more, it's even worse. They live on the streets. But for one American woman, that was simply unacceptable. And she gave up the career fast track to help.
Deborah Feyerick reports.
SUSAN BOOTH, FOUNDER, ARCHWAY: Tickets, please. Hi. Thanks very much.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Constructor Susan Booth rides the train like an old friend.
BOOTH: That's your return trip, sweetie.
FEYERICK: The faces feel familiar.
BOOTH: A lot of times, children on the train will remind me of a child that I know over there.
FEYERICK: Over there for Susan Booth are the streets and sewers of Bucharest, the children, hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned or runaway kids. They survive by begging, stealing, or selling sex.
BOOTH: They're the children that nobody thought would survive. They are the children that nobody wants to look at and certainly nobody wants to deal with.
FEYERICK: Nobody except maybe Susan Booth; 15 years ago, after traveling to Bucharest in search of orphanages, she created ARCHWAY, a charity for Romanian kids.
BOOTH: We have stories of kids that were brought in from the country and left on street corners by their mothers or their fathers.
FEYERICK: 1997 Romanian figures show 100,000 children abandoned in state facilities. But many others are living on the streets.
(on camera): Does the government see these boys as contributing to a crime or petty crime problem?
BOOTH: Yes. Yes, they do. And they persecute them because of that.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Through grants and donations, ARCHWAY feeds about 3,000 kids every day. They have five trucks, 11 workers and a house for 26 of the most needy children. Booth's Connecticut porch is loaded with gifts of used clothing and shoes destined for Bucharest.
BOOTH: I just tell people, whatever you've got.
FEYERICK: To focus on her charity, Booth left Metro-North management, returning to work as a conductor and choosing afternoon and weekend shifts on the New Haven-Manhattan line. A Tennessee couple riding her train once donated $10,000.
BOOTH: I want to get every child who wants to come out of the sewer out of that sewer and give them a chance at having a good, happy life, a productive life.
FEYERICK: A life like Susan Booth's, known to these kids as American Susie.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: The coroner calls it homicide. Then who is to blame for the death of Nathaniel Jones after a struggle with Cincinnati police?
And the battle to take control of the Disney empire from CEO Michael Eisner. We'll be talking to the man leading the fight, Roy Disney.
And tomorrow, a couple reveals how they survived polygamy, the lifestyle, the culture, and the decision to leave it all behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would get depressed and discouraged and think, I might as well be a single mother, because I've got children, but I don't have much of a husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Welcome back.
Here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.
A campaign aide for Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt is accused of making threats against Missouri state employees. Two prominent union leaders say the aide threatened retaliation if workers supported Howard Dean instead of Gephardt. The Gephardt campaign has not yet commented on this.
President Bush, meanwhile, has signed a forest management bill he says will help protect communities from devastating wildfires, like the recent ones in California. The Healthy Forest Bill streamlines the approval process for clearing out overgrown forests. Critics say it's a giveaway to lumber companies.
The Supreme Court is deciding whether to require the release of Vince Foster's autopsy photos. Investigators say the Clinton administration attorney killed himself. But a California lawyer says he thinks Foster was murdered and he wants to see the photos to prove it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that correct, Mr. Peterson? You're pleading not guilty to the two charges of murder, plus denying the special allegations?
SCOTT PETERSON, DEFENDANT: That's correct, Your Honor. I'm innocent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: A judge has set January 26 as Scott Peterson's trial date. Peterson appeared in court today for arraignment, pleaded not guilty, as you just heard, to charges he murdered his wife and unborn child. If convicted, prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.
Joining us from San Diego is criminal defense attorney Robert Grimes. And joining us from Sacramento, KFBK reporter Chris Filippi. He was in the courtroom today.
Welcome, gentlemen. Glad to have both of you with us.
CHRIS FILIPPI, KFBK REPORTER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Chris, for the first time, the prosecution actually revealed some details on their theory about how Peterson killed his wife. What were those?
FILIPPI: It's really one of the striking aspects of this case, that so much of it remains under wraps, despite the preliminary hearing that lasted 12 days.
Now, through this filing, through the truck, we understand that the prosecution is going to argue that Scott Peterson committed the murder at the Peterson home. They haven't said that explicitly before. Not only that, but he used his truck to transport the body from the home to the warehouse, which is also in Modesto, and then on to San Francisco Bay.
So now we're starting to piece together not only a timeframe, but how he may have transported the body.
ZAHN: So, Robert, when you heard that information today and you had to be on the other side of the team, how would you confront that?
ROBERT GRIMES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it makes sense.
I was looking for them to tie their evidence together as a theory. And this is their latest theory. But one thing the prosecution is going to remind this jury at trial is, they don't have to prove exactly how Scott killed Laci. They have to prove that he did kill her. And so how strongly they stick to this particular scenario of the house to the warehouse and the warehouse to the bay, they don't really have to prove all those details.
ZAHN: So how tough does that make for the defense, Robert?
GRIMES: Well, I'll tell you, this case, a lot of people talk about the circumstantial nature of the case and the fact that there's no cause of death and everything.
But we have to remember, this case had been declared a homicide before they even found the body. And there are a lot of people in state prison now, even on death row, on less evidence than this. So he might be acquitted, because it's certainly not an ironclad case. But there really is quite a bit of circumstantial evidence in the case.
ZAHN: Chris, you were in the courtroom today during the arraignment? What was Scott Peterson's demeanor?
FILIPPI: He is obviously a guy who has been through a lot of stress. He's lost a lot of weight over the past few months.
But he came across to me as someone that seemed fairly confident. He seemed fairly comfortable sitting next to Mark Geragos. He was glib at some times. He was trying to make eye contact and talk a little bit with his mom, who was also in the courtroom. He seemed like a guy who had a bit of confidence that he's going to be able to beat this rap.
But I think part of that has to come from the preliminary hearing. You talk to a lot of the observers, a lot of folks who watched that prelim. Certainly, some circumstantial evidence was presented, enough to hold Peterson over for trial. But there are some serious doubts about this case. We didn't hear nearly as much as we expected.
ZAHN: Robert, in that short piece of tape, Scott Peterson appeared to be laughing almost. Was that sort of an inappropriate thing to see today?
GRIMES: I think so, Paula.
I think he makes a very good appearance, he's a nice-looking young man, appears to be pretty intelligent. And his demeanor usually is very appropriate. But he has to be very careful not to appear cocky. And he should appear devastated and still grieving, is how he should be appearing.
ZAHN: Is that the way he looked to you today, in just that short little piece of tape we just saw?
GRIMES: Yes, it did, although I do have to be cautious on that, because, sometimes, if we see somebody for a few seconds, that doesn't necessarily reflect how their mood is for the entire day.
ZAHN: Well, Robert Grimes and Chris Filippi, thank you so much for your time tonight.
Just a quick reminder. Peterson's trial is scheduled to begin in late January, although we're told that could be delayed. Gentlemen, again, thanks for your insights tonight.
ZAHN: Former NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor in his own words, how cocaine almost destroyed the life of one of pro football's greatest players.
And the trouble brewing in the Disney empire between the CEO and the man holding the family name. I will ask Roy Disney why he wants Michael Eisner out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY DISNEY, FORMER DISNEY BOARD MEMBER: What the company needs is new fresh blood that is excited about the company and excited about the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: In the 1980s and early '90s, Lawrence Taylor may have been the most feared player in the NFL. As a linebacker for the New York Giants, Taylor crushed quarterbacks for a living.
But, in his new book, "L.T.: Over the Edge," Taylor talks about how cocaine almost destroyed his life. He was arrested on drug charges several times. His marriage was over and his family went through hell. Well, so did he.
Lawrence Taylor joins me now.
LAWRENCE TAYLOR, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Are there mornings where you wake up where you are surprised you're still alive?
TAYLOR: A lot of people ask that.
It's all relevant. A lot of things could have happened. But, by the grace of God, I'm still here and I'm here to tell the story.
ZAHN: How did you blow it so badly? What happened to you?
TAYLOR: Well, I wouldn't say blow it.
It was this thing that, I got into a different type of world. I had been a ballplayer, a person who called my own shots for a lot of years. I was, I thought, as good as it came when it comes to playing ball.
ZAHN: Well, you were.
TAYLOR: Well, that doesn't always constitute being the same way in the game of life. You can't play -- the same way you play the game of football, you can't play life the same way. It doesn't work that way.
ZAHN: I understand that. But you were such a strong guy physically. You had everything going for you. Have you figured out what your weakness was?
ZAHN: What made you fall prey to all that?
TAYLOR: Just wanted more.
Sometimes, you just wanted to do more and more. And you got that sense of invincibility, that nothing will actually stick on you.
ZAHN: So the adulation of the fans wasn't enough? Your records weren't enough?
TAYLOR: No. What is that? That's all -- that's nothing. That's all...
ZAHN: So it was all fleeting?
TAYLOR: Yes. That's all -- that's nothing. What is that?
ZAHN: In the book, you admit to some really awful stuff. Now, as a reader, am I supposed to be...
TAYLOR: What is awful? What is awful?
ZAHN: Well, at one point, when you weren't even employed, you were spending $1,000 a day on escort services, $1,000 on cocaine.
TAYLOR: That was after I finished playing ball, though.
ZAHN: And you had no income coming in.
TAYLOR: No income coming in. Just because you're not working, that don't mean you have
ZAHN: Yes, but it wasn't the money stream you had when you were playing pro ball.
TAYLOR: Well, I never had a problem with money, now. I never had a problem with money.
ZAHN: But when people read that, do you want them to feel pity for you?
TAYLOR: No, I don't ask for anything.
ZAHN: What do you want people to think when they read this?
TAYLOR: I really don't care what people think.
ZAHN: You don't want sympathy?
TAYLOR: No. No. I never asked for sympathy. I walk it like I talk it. I don't ask for anything.
If somebody can gain strength through this book, then glory be to them. I think that's what it's all about. I mean, throughout this -- over the last couple weeks, since this book has come out, I have had a whole lot of people come to me and say, listen, you know what? I understand. This book is not written for everybody. It may not be written for you. You may not be able to understand what's in this book.
But a lot of people who struggle with things, who have crossed the line and don't know how to get back and think there's no way back, and they're destined to be lost, hey, they'll find a way back, yes. You can make it. And this book might be written for them. They'll understand it. Now, everybody don't understand it.
ZAHN: It's interesting, because I had a couple different emotions when I read through it. One was disgust that you had this golden opportunity to achieve -- and you did on the field -- and then sympathy for you in the end. So you understand how people could feel both emotions.
TAYLOR: Yes, but sympathy is not what you look for, what I look for.
I don't run from anything. I play the game as hard as I could. I live as hard as I could. The only thing I feel sorry for is what I put my family through.
ZAHN: And you talk about apologizing to your ex-wife. You talk about letting your children down.
TAYLOR: Yes, but they are my best -- my ex-wife is my best friend, one of my best friends right now. My current wife, she's never seen that side of me. She doesn't know that part of me. And I would never let her see it. So it works out.
ZAHN: Is it true you didn't take the concept of rehab seriously until you thought you might end up in prison?
TAYLOR: Oh, absolutely.
I have been to rehab a couple times. And it was just like a vacation to me, just a detox, just out there -- just a vacation.
ZAHN: Why? Why did you put it that way?
TAYLOR: I didn't feel that I had to.
Just, why does anybody do anything? And it's a funny game you get yourself caught into. And why do you have to almost lose everything before you finally get it? Most people don't get it the first time, second time, third time. They go through it many times.
I've been in enough rehabs. I've heard enough stories. I've heard all the stories. I've heard them all. My story, I have told my story so many times, I know it frontwards, backwards. And most people know it anyway. Why? Because it's the nature of the game. It's the nature of the drug. And that's what it does. And it tears from the inside and works its way throughout the body.
And I was no different. Yes, I could cheat the game of football. I could be flexible. I could not do this and not do this and still have a hell of a game, hell of a game on Sunday. But I couldn't cheat the game of life. I tried to think of a new way to do it, a new mousetrap. But it doesn't make a difference. You always get back to the same old square root.
ZAHN: How afraid are you, you might fall over the edge once again?
TAYLOR: Well, I will -- I can't say I will never go back.
I can't say it, because, at one point in time, I always said: Well, I will never do this. And I will never stay up all night. I will never stay up for three days. I will never go out and buy it. I will never do -- all "I never' turn out to be stuff I was doing routinely. So, I can't say I will never.
Every day, I stay clean. Every day, I tell my story. Every day, I'm comfortable with my situation and what I've done and don't try to make up for it or anything like that. I just accept it and go on from here. I get comfortable with it. I'm comfortable with myself. I'm comfortable with who I am. The likelihood of me going back to that life is very, very slim, especially with my new wife. She won't have it.
ZAHN: What would she do to you, Lawrence, if that happened again?
TAYLOR: She's really tough.
ZAHN: You might be out of that house, Lawrence Taylor.
TAYLOR: Yes. She's really tough. But...
ZAHN: Well, the book is fascinating and equally excruciating to read in some parts.
TAYLOR: Yes. It was excruciating to write.
ZAHN: The name of the book, "L.T.: Over the Edge."
Thank you for your time tonight.
TAYLOR: Thank you.
ZAHN: I understand you have one heck of a golf game these days.
TAYLOR: Rumor has it I'm pretty good.
ZAHN: Rumor has it?
ZAHN: It's not true?
TAYLOR: It's very true.
ZAHN: All right, take care.
ZAHN: Good luck to you.
Coming up, I'll ask Roy Disney about his campaign to bring down Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
And some new developments today in the case of the Cincinnati man who died after a fight with police. The death will be ruled a homicide.
ZAHN: Now to our interview with the man who has launched a public campaign to get rid of Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
Over the weekend, Roy Disney, the last family member to serve on the board of the Walt Disney Company, resigned. And he demanded Eisner do the same. So why is Disney trying to push out the man many believe turned the company around?
Well, Roy Disney joins us now to explain.
Good to see you, sir. Welcome.
DISNEY: Thank you.
ZAHN: I wanted to start off tonight by looking at some numbers.
In 1984, when Mr. Eisner took the helm with Frank Wells, profits were $97 million. Last year, they were $1.2 billion. In 1984, revenues of $1.7 billion. Last year, $25.3 billion. And we're told the stock price, if it stays on track for the year, will be up significantly this year.
What's wrong with that picture?
DISNEY: Well, here's another way to look at the same numbers. If you invested $1,000 in Disney in 1984, when Michael Eisner and Frank Wells together came into the company -- and that was very much our doing, trying to right the company from a course that we thought was astray at that time. If you invested $1,000 then, you would have, I think -- I believe it's accurate to say about $89,000 today.
However, if you invested that same $1,000 in Disney seven years ago, you would have $1,000 today. And it should have been in the bank. And there's been something like $5 billion, $6 billion of cash invested in a number of things in that period of time that have simply not added to the value of the company.
ZAHN: Do you want Mr. Eisner's job yourself?
DISNEY: I've never wanted Mr. Eisner's job myself. I didn't want it 20 years ago.
And, no, what the company needs is new, fresh blood that's excited about the company and excited about the future.
ZAHN: Who would you like to see replace him, if he goes?
DISNEY: Well, I obviously am not in a position to name names, because -- and we get asked this a lot -- because we know that anybody's name that we might bring up would be so trashed so quickly that we wouldn't have a friend left. So there are plenty of people out there that could do this job. And I have to leave it at that.
ZAHN: What are the chances, Mr. Disney, that Mr. Eisner will survive all this?
DISNEY: We need to convince people over the next period of time. Whatever that period is, I'm not sure yet. God knows, if I could give you a list of the e-mails and phone calls and Web site comments that we've had over the last two days, it sounds more like a revolution to me than anything else.
ZAHN: I would like to read to you a statement that the Disney board put out -- quote -- "It is a disservice to shareholders and to employees that the company faces this distraction at a time when its performance is improving."
Now, I saw you interpret numbers a little bit differently than a lot of analysts did at the top of this interview. Do you buy into the fact that the company's performance has improved this year and, if it continues, you might even see a 35 percent growth rate?
DISNEY: Well, I can't really comment on those particular percentage kind of numbers.
But, yes, indeed, the company over the last some months has improved. We don't look at it in terms of short-term, quarterly improvements. We look at it -- I particularly happen to have the name Disney attached to me. And I look at it pretty much over a much longer time span. And the last seven, eight, nine years, we've been absolutely flat as a pancake. ZAHN: Mr. Disney, you attempted this tactic back in 1984, when in fact you helped bring in Frank Wells and Michael Eisner. What happens if you fail this time around? What does it mean for the future of the company?
DISNEY: I really don't know.
As I say, if I could predict the future by way of the support I've been shown by hundreds, literally thousands of people -- I've met people on the street who've patted me on the back who I had never met before and said: Good going. Keep it up. Get it done.
So we're not packing up our bags and leaving. We're just out here in the real world. As board members, we were prohibited to talk with you, the press, to talk with shareholders, to talk with anybody, even, practically, amongst ourselves. It was taboo to talk about the company's business. And it was time to leave that situation and come out here and talk about reality to the real world.
ZAHN: In the end, if Mr. Eisner doesn't go, has this been a waste of your time to resign from the board?
DISNEY: Nothing is a waste of time. Living is the most important thing. And we're going to be around here for a long time. So, there's a lot to look forward to in the future.
ZAHN: Roy Disney, thank you for your time this evening. We really appreciate your spending some time with us.
ZAHN: The death of a Cincinnati man whose beating at the hands of police was caught on tape was ruled a homicide today.
We'll have the very latest.
ZAHN: The death of Nathaniel Jones will now be ruled a homicide. The 350-pound man attacked Cincinnati police over the weekend. And then his beating at their hands was caught on videotape. But the Hamilton County coroner today said a combination of factors led to his death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CARL PARROTT JR., CORONER: His death must be regarded as a direct and immediate consequence in part of the struggle, potentiated by his obesity, his heart disease and his drug intoxication. Absent the struggle, however, Mr. Jones, however, would not have died at that precise moment in time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Jones' family says his death was unnecessarily.
Joining us now is their attorney, Kenneth Lawson.
Welcome, Mr. Lawson.
KENNETH LAWSON, ATTORNEY FOR JONES FAMILY: Hello, Paula.
The coroner also saying that, if Nathaniel Jones had not been using cocaine and other drugs, he probably would have survived the struggle with police. Do you buy that?
LAWSON: I don't know, because I think, with the enlarged heart and the ability not to breathe, would have -- the pressure that's put on him at 350 pounds when he was laid down on his stomach, Paula, I think would have still -- the lack of oxygen still would have probably generated a heart attack the same way.
And I think the coroner would not disagree with that. They knew he was on medication for high blood pressure. Obviously, the coroner found out that his heart was enlarged. And when you're putting pressure on him as you're trying to put the cuffs on him by kneeling on his back and pressing him down while he's on his stomach -- most people that size can't sleep on their stomachs, because they can't breathe.
ZAHN: When you said they knew what medicines were in him, are you suggesting the police knew that he had, according to the coroner, high levels of PCP, cocaine, methanol and formaldehyde in his system?
I'm saying that they collected his medication showing that he had high blood pressure. I'm not talking about the police now. I'm talking about, the coroner knows that, absent the drugs, based on the high blood pressure medication that Nathaniel was taking, along with the fact that his heart was enlarged, I believe that, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, he still would have had a heart attack from the lack of oxygen, which would have generated that cardiac arrest.
ZAHN: Mr. Lawson, the police department put out the statement today when it ruled -- the coroner ruled that this was, indeed, a homicide that this word should not be interpreted as implying inappropriate behavior or the use of excessive force by police, that the word does not imply hostile or malign intent. Who do you blame for Mr. Jones' death?
LAWSON: I blame the police and, in part, the paramedics and the fire unit.
I'm not saying that the officers did not have a right to engage in self-defense, I wouldn't say that at all. I think, though, after you see Mr. Jones go down and then come up on his knees, on the tape you will see, Paula, that his hands are open. His palms are open. They're not clinched in a fist in a fighting mode. He is trying to get into a surrender position.
ZAHN: Mr. Lawson, unfortunately, we've got to leave it there. Thanks for your time tonight.
Thank you all for being with us. We'll be back again tomorrow night.
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