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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Is Zawahiri Dead?; Celebrity Obsession; Scandal and Politics

Aired January 13, 2006 - 21:00   ET

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


BILL MAHER, CNN HOST: Tonight, from Anna Nicole Smith to the Alito hearings from Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel to Pat Robertson's latest outburst, politics, scandal, controversy, we'll cover it all with Representative David Dreier, now assigned to probe relationships between Congressmen and lobbyists, nice gig; former Senate Majority Leader and international peace negotiator George Mitchell; David Gergen, the former White House adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton; high profile defense attorney Mark Geragos; former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti and me, Bill Maher, your guest host for the next hour on LARRY KING LIVE.
OK, I'm Larry King today, so you two will behave yourselves or I will draw down the hammer. When I say Tom DeLay, we're going to get to that. We're going to get to a lot of stories.

We have two topics tonight. Basically we're going to cover politics and then we're going to cover the justice issues in the second half of the show. Let's start with some of the stories that are breaking now.

I saw this just before I came on. Apparently we may have gotten the number two man in al Qaeda. I've heard many times that we got the number three man. We got the number three man about 100 times. That's the easiest position to fill in al Qaeda.

But apparently Ayman al-Zawahiri, we've heard that name many times, he is bin Laden's Karl Rove, if you will, his Trotsky, apparently we may have gotten him on the Afghan/Pakistani border. The CIA may have done it. If that's true, what is the significance? Let me ask you gentlemen first. Then we'll go to David Gergen.

REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, let me just say it's good news but as we know the global war on terror is not about a single individual. President Bush said that from the very beginning and you're right. The other "Z", Zarqawi, is the one who supposedly has been gotten many times, the operative in Iraq. But I do think that anything that can be done to break right at the root of al Qaeda is a positive, so this is obviously encouraging.

MAHER: Is it significant?

GEORGE MITCHELL, FMR. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: It is very significant if it is true, less significant than it would have been five years ago because one of the paradoxes of the war on terror has been that the terror organizations are now more in number, less centralized and more dispersed but it's still a very significant action and a very good one if it is true. MAHER: David Gergen, would you agree with that?

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Absolutely but I would underscore as well though George Mitchell's point about how fragmented al Qaeda has become. You know there are a lot of -- there are a lot of sleeper cells now around the world that are not centrally directed or just for a variety of reasons now we just got a lot of, you know, single entrepreneurs out there, if you would, terroristic entrepreneurs who are willing to strike and will continue to strike. But, again, if the CIA's gotten the guy they ought to be congratulated.

MAHER: Yes, I would disagree with all of you. I don't think it's significant at all. I've said this on this show before that I made a comparison, I said getting any of these top guys would have the same significance as when Ray Crock (ph) died had at McDonald's.

DREIER: Do you wish he were still alive?

MAHER: The franchise -- no, of course I don't but the franchise has already been built and partly because I think we went into Iraq, al Qaeda metamorphisized (ph) into a lifestyle when before it was an organization and I think a lot of the guys you see who are carrying out the terrorist attacks have no contact with the home office.

But, let me ask you this, I read in "The New York Times" yesterday that al Qaeda in Iraq is now fighting the homegrown insurgency in Iraq. They are fighting each other. Is that significant?

DREIER: Well, it's significant and it's not surprising. I mean it's something that has been going on for a while and we know that Iraq is what has been described as ground zero in the war on terror. And frankly, again, I think it's a positive...

MAHER: Only we see it.

DREIER: ...we then kept it -- well, I mean...

MAHER: We've made it that.

DREIER: ...just look what's -- look what's taken place there, Bill. I mean we know that it is that and that...

MAHER: But it wasn't that, it wasn't that before we went (INAUDIBLE).

DREIER: Well, it wasn't that when Saddam Hussein had a nice peaceful, peaceful world in Iraq that's true.

MAHER: Right.

MITCHELL: It's clearly significant, by itself not decisive just as the Zawahiri thing will not be decisive but it is a step in the right direction and, if the insurgency can be split and there are natural -- there are naturally different objectives for parts of them then that's a movement toward ending it. By itself it won't do it but it's one of several steps.

MAHER: We always said that we would not negotiate with terrorists but plainly we are negotiating with terrorists, claiming that we have identified the enemy as terrorists and obviously we are negotiating with them. What do you make of that David Gergen?

GERGEN: Well, you always set your principles and then you see if they fit and if they don't fit sometimes they're inconvenient as you know, Bill, you sometimes go another way.

MAHER: Right.

GERGEN: But I think it's the right principle not to negotiate but now we've got to get the Sunnis into this government and that's really important to us. You know the big question right now is whether the Iraqis can put together a government that can rule or it's going to disintegrate into three big major parts.

And, right now with the Iranians starting to build this or moving toward nuclear weapons, you know, in this new very dangerous way, it's extremely important that Iraq not develop into say the bottom southern third of Iraq become an Iranian ally. We're going to have a hell to pay in the Middle East if that all happens.

MITCHELL: Every government has said in this modern age of terror that we won't negotiate with terrorists and every government has done so when the circumstances warrant it. It's a general rule that has many exceptions, including the United States.

MAHER: How do you define terrorism?

DREIER: Well, terrorism obviously is when a threat is being posed to the stability of individuals, when you see people being brutally killed, innocent individuals brutally killed. I mean those are terrorist acts.

MAHER: Isn't it when a government or a group of individuals purposely target civilians? I think that's how President Bush defined it but by that definition the United States has conducted its own form of terrorism, Hiroshima, Dresden, those are acts purposely perpetrated against civilians.

GERGEN: You're starting to sound...

DREIER: Yes.

MITCHELL: Yes.

MAHER: What's this?

GERGEN: You're going to -- you're starting -- no, that's not terrorism. Terrorism is wanton murder.

DREIER: Yes, of course not.

GERGEN: And, you know, there are such things as self defense and there are also acts in war that Hiroshima I think can well be defended as saving lives not taking lives.

DREIER: Yes, that...

MAHER: But all war is -- all war is perpetrating terror on people.

DREIER: But we know that the terrorists are not in the business of trying to save lives at all, as David says and I think that -- I think it's clear that destabilization and trying to kill people...

MAHER: Or they would...

DREIER: No, no, they're not trying to save anything.

MAHER: They would say they're trying to save Muslim lives.

DREIER: They're killing -- no, no, you know, they're killing themselves as they are in this process so they're not saving lives by doing this, Bill.

MITCHELL: If your definition of terror is that if you kill anybody you're engaged in terrorism, then you are correct but I don't think that's the definition of terror.

MAHER: Well, if you purposely target civilians as a method of war I think was the definition. All right but let's -- let me move on to what went on this week in Washington with the Alito hearings. I'm anxious to get your reaction to that because it seems to me, and I think to a lot of people watching that, that maybe this process has outlived its usefulness.

I remember when George Bush was running the first time, he said "I'm not going to play the gotcha game," remember that and I actually admired him for that. It seems like these hearings are one big gotcha game.

They try to get the guy on the stand to say something that he's going to regret and that's going to give them some ammunition to vote against his nomination and he tries to say nothing and, of course, he practices and generally succeeds in saying nothing.

DREIER: As I watched those hearings I came to the conclusion that they were clearly in violation of the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment. I think maybe not just -- not just...

MAHER: See I told you we didn't need a comedian on the show.

DREIER: ...not just for the witness but for the audience as well.

MAHER: Yes.

DREIER: But the fact -- the fact is, you know, if you look at the issues of racism, sexism and all the other things that came into this, I think that it's very unfortunate. We know -- we know that Sam Alito is going to be confirmed and he has the support of an appellate court judge who was appointed by Bill Clinton, Democrats and Republicans alike.

But you're right. I mean this gotcha thing I hope is something in the past. You know the Republicans had been voter supporters of Ginsburg and of Breyer as well, so you know I think -- I hope we can move beyond that.

MITCHELL: Well, I don't agree with that. I think the hearings serve a very useful purpose. The Constitution is quite clear. The president has the authority to nominate.

DREIER: You don't agree with Bill. You didn't disagree with me yet.

MITCHELL: Both, both of you.

DREIER: Well I didn't...

(CROSSTALK)

MAHER: He's just disagreeable then.

MITCHELL: The Senate has the obligation to confirm, to review and make confirmation if justified and it's an important task that they perform to find out about people and to make inquiry about their background, their views, try to make a judgment on it. Now the fact that it is sometimes abused by both sides doesn't render the process invalid. I think it's serving a real purpose and I think...

MAHER: All right, I got to take a break.

MITCHELL: ...and you might not like the way it goes but that's -- that's (INAUDIBLE).

MAHER: I want to ask you when we come back a follow up question about why if the Democrats are all against his nomination they're not going to stop it but we have to wait. We have to take a break. More on political hot button topics ahead on LARRY KING LIVE stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: OK, we are back. We have right here in the studio David Dreier and George Mitchell and we got Mr. Gergen there on the satellite. Let me ask you again, I was about to say this before we took a break, I heard all the Democrats say today they are not going to vote for Mr. Alito and this to me is the problem with the Democratic Party and I think the perception of the Democratic Party is they need more spine.

And I think like a lot of people who are, as they would say, left leaning a little bit, we say to ourselves well if you guys are so against it, why don't you do more to stop it? Why don't you filibuster if he is such an unacceptable addition to the court?

MITCHELL: You heard the Democrats on the committee say they're against it but it's doubtful that every single Democrat in the Senate will be against it. DREIER: That's correct.

MITCHELL: And therefore it's an open question whether they get the 41 votes needed to filibuster, the six members of the committee. There's no right to filibuster in committee. They'll be outvoted. It will go to the floor and then you need 41 to have a filibuster on the floor.

MAHER: But it just sounds like they've given up without a fight, which is I think our complaint with them in so many instances.

MITCHELL: Well, I don't think...

MAHER: (INAUDIBLE).

MITCHEL: It's interesting. The Republican complaint is that they've been filibustering too much and, in fact, the Republicans are proposing a dramatic action called the nuclear option, which would be complete violation of Senate rules because they say the Democrats are filibustering enough, so I don't think you're right and I don't think the Republicans are right.

MAHER: David Gergen, you've worked for both Democrats and Republicans, do you think this group of Democrats who are in charge now does need a little more moxie?

GERGEN: Absolutely, absolutely. Let me go back to -- let's go back to the start of this. George Mitchell says the process is important. It is important but the process has gone into a ditch. These hearings have become basically a charade.

An example is Judge Alito says he has an open mind and that was quoted seriously all around the country, open mind. Everybody took that seriously. Everybody took that at face value.

We know that the very reason so many Republicans are lining up to vote for him is that they think he does not have an open mind on the question of abortion that he has a mind that's well made up and he wants to, you know, pare it back or gut it.

We know the reason that so many Democrats are lining up to vote against him is they don't think he has an open mind. I mean we don't -- it's like a Kabuki dance. There's no, you know, there's -- we all go through the process here when we know one thing is being said on the television and another thing is reality and that's what's really moving this.

And, the Democrats, I think their failure here, Bill, was not one of standing up to them. I think the failure was one of not dramatizing how big a change this is for the court.

The conservatives this week have achieved, and David Dreier I think would underscore this, I think conservatives this week have achieved one of the most important victories of their past 40 years and that is that they have been working for a long time to change the direction of the court and they have succeeded, led by President Bush. And they will -- they will look to him now as this is one of his single accomplishments that he is moving the court in the direction the conservatives have been working for, for a long time, and the Democrats failed to dramatize that.

DREIER: And, David, it's going to be done with strong bipartisan support. There may be 60, as many as 65 votes in favor of the Alito confirmation.

GERGEN: We'll see.

DREIER: And the committee vote will likely be 10-8 but it will be significantly higher than many had anticipated, not as high as Roberts but it will be high.

MAHER: We hear a lot that liberal judges are the ones who legislate from the bench. Well there was a study done recently of 64 Supreme Court decisions since '94 that asked judges, the justices to uphold or strike down congressional provisions.

The ones who most voted to strike down congressional provisions were Thomas, Kennedy and Scalia, 65 percent for Thomas, 56 percent for Scalia. The ones who voted the other way, Stephens 39 percent, Ginsburg 39 percent, Breyer 28 percent, were the liberals. Doesn't this tell you that the judicial activists are the conservatives?

DREIER: Well, maybe the Congress wasn't taking the best action. It hasn't always done that.

MAHER: Well that's having it both ways isn't it? When they're right we can...

MITCHELL: Well, well you say it's been said, of course it's said by Republicans and conservatives. It doesn't make it true. Of course it's not true. This whole notion that the only activists are liberals is simply untrue.

The most -- the most egregious act of judicial activism was the election of President Bush by the Supreme Court. That was the most egregious act of judicial activism in modern times. So, because it's said doesn't make it true.

MAHER: Speaking of egregious acts, Tom DeLay looks like he's on his way. Is that David Gergen (INAUDIBLE)?

GERGEN: Yes.

MAHER: Thank you, David.

(CROSSTALK)

MAHER: Well, I mean come on now for such a crazy guy I mean (INAUDIBLE).

GERGEN: Just like egregious and Tom DeLay, you know, they're synonymous you know in your opinion the way you were... MAHER: Well I mean Jesus hung out with lepers and tax collectors and hookers. Don't you think he would have drawn the line at Tom DeLay? I'm just asking a question here fellows. What is this man's future? Does he have any future?

DREIER: You're asking me if he has a future? Well, the guy's running for reelection and he feels strongly about issues. I know he wants to go back onto the Appropriations Committee. There's a lot of work that needs to be done and he is somebody who's very, very committed to doing those things. He's not going to be majority leader. We know that. But he's still going to be involved in the process.

MAHER: But isn't he bad for your party right now? Isn't he the face of what's wrong with people perceived as a very corrupt political operation going on right now?

DREIER: Well you're pretty bad for my party right now too, Bill, so you know.

MAHER: I know but I'm not on the inside of the tent. Remember Lyndon Johnson said better to be on the inside of the tent than being out.

DREIER: Yes, right, right.

MAHER: OK.

DREIER: That's not what he said, come on.

MAHER: What did he say?

DREIER: I'm going to let you say it.

MAHER: He said better to be (INAUDIBLE).

DREIER: Something like that.

MITCHELL: Something like that.

MAHER: Anyway, I'm on the outside of the tent. He's on the inside of the tent. You know this connection with Mr. Abramoff, I was just reading this article in The New Yorker which basically disowns this theory that it's a bipartisan scandal, the Abramoff scandal.

It says that that was a complete Republican operation and that really the scandal behind the scandal is that what Jack Abramoff was trying to do was to completely turn K Street into a Republican bastion, which I think is, I mean lobbyists are dangerous enough. It's really dangerous...

DREIER: I wish they were.

MAHER: ...if they're all from one party but aren't they really? Isn't that really what happened? DREIER: Well, I'll tell you one of the concerns was the fact that initially that K Street was filled with nothing but Democrats early on and I know that was -- that bringing about some kind of balance in that process was something that was sought.

We have a great opportunity to bring about reform here and to do it in a bipartisan way. I was just telling George as we were in the Green Room getting ready to come out here that this is something that I think does need to enjoy bipartisan support as we work on reform.

And, I've been working with Democrats and Republicans. I've spoken with John McCain. I'm hoping to meet with him this week to talk about this. And, the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has given me this charge to be bold in doing it and we want to do it with both the House and the Senate. But, at the same time, we want to make sure that we don't undermine the First Amendment rights of every American to petition their government.

MITCHELL: I just -- I just want to say I don't think Tom DeLay's objective was political balance.

DREIER: Tom DeLay, George, Tom DeLay, as you know, has resigned as majority leader.

MITCHELL: Right.

DREIER: He's not majority leader and...

MITCHELL: Right.

MAHER: Well he was forced to resign as majority leader.

DREIER: Yes but he -- but he...

MAHER: Tom DeLay...

DREIER: And he's not making an attempt to seek that job.

MAHER: Because he couldn't get it. I mean let's get real.

DREIER: OK but I mean that's history though, Bill. I mean that's behind us and now we're trying to move ahead and bring about bold reform and I think we have a chance to do it.

MAHER: Very quickly, David Gergen, do you think it is possible in this atmosphere, bold reform at this point?

GERGEN: I believe David Dreier who is in charge of it in the House has an opportunity to do something about it and I think he's -- I think he's very dedicated to that proposition so I'm pleased that he's the one taking charge of it.

And, I've told him it seems to me, Bill, the most important thing is transparency here is a lot more openness. We've had way too much secrecy in the executive branch and in the congressional branch about the way business is done. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, as Justice Brandeis said a long time ago.

DREIER: Absolutely.

MAHER: Nice words.

DREIER: Yes.

MAHER: From Mr. Gergen.

DREIER: I remember his Brandeis quote during Iran contra.

MAHER: OK, we will be back. Pat Robertson's death wish for Ariel Sharon and I guess we'll be taking some calls, I hope so. I want to talk to you. OK, we'll be back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT ROBERTSON: I would say whoa unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or the United States of America. God says this land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.

I ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people of Israel for saying what was clearly insensitive at the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: All right, we're back here at LARRY KING LIVE with my special panel and David Gergen on the satellite. OK, let's talk about Pat Robertson. He's done it once again.

I don't know how many times this guy is going to be able to get away with something that is outrageous and I say that as someone who has gotten into trouble a number of times for saying things that are outrageous but I don't say things like Pat Robertson says. If you haven't been following it, he said...

DREIER: Unlike Pat Robertson you don't apologize though.

MAHER: That's right because I'm not wrong. Pat said that the Bible says anyone who divides God's land invites God's enmity and that's why he was not terribly upset when God struck down Ariel Sharon. So, fellows, isn't religion very silly?

I mean come on this is very, very silly stuff, very silly. It's silly to believe isn't it that a person, a human being knows what God is thinking and what God says isn't that silly?

MITCHELL: It is silly, outrageous, clearly inappropriate, however you want to describe it. I think they all fit.

MAHER: I saw on the front page of the paper today, 345 Muslim pilgrims were killed in a stampede.

DREIER: Yes, at the Hajj, yes.

MAHER: It seems to happen every year. It seems like it's part of the ritual and I just wonder how much more advanced humankind would be if we all, not just that religion but every religion took that energy that you're putting toward whatever they're doing, going around throwing stones at a wall because they think it's the devil, whatever it is, every religion has some kooky stuff, and put it toward something that would actually help mankind. Anyone want to sign on to that?

MITCHELL: Well...

DREIER: Not quite.

MITCHELL: I wouldn't describe it as kooky. The fact is...

MAHER: Really?

MITCHELL: ...every religion establishes rituals and has principles and ideals that are important both to acquire and retain adherence and it becomes an important part of the religion. You may disagree with what some of them are but things that you take for granted in your religion...

MAHER: I don't have one.

MITCHELL: ...well others like you...

DREIER: (INAUDIBLE) your religion.

MITCHELL: ...may seem strange to Muslims just as some of their principles and practices may seem strange to you.

MAHER: Because they're traditions don't they survive just because people always did them?

MITCHELL: They are an important...

MAHER: People don't reinvent them.

MITCHELL: They are an important way of binding people to a community or an ideal or a practice. I mean the flag, the recital of the Pledge of the Union, things that inculcate the concept of freedom and democracy in Americans you don't think those are kooky nor should you.

MAHER: I don't but I don't think we need religion for them.

DREIER: Belief in a higher -- belief in a higher being is obviously something that has dramatically improved the quality of life for people here and I'm glad that Pat Robertson apologized. And, I agree with George that the statement is just absolutely outrageous. I think that Ariel Sharon has been a phenomenal leader and we all pray for his speedy recovery.

MAHER: OK, we got some calls starting with Spokane, Washington, are you on the air?

CALLER FROM SPOKANE: Yes.

MAHER: How you doing what's your question?

CALLER: Yes, thank you Bill. My question is for Congressman Dreier. Congressman Dreier, don't you believe that if President Bush does not pull the troops out within the next six months that he will lose the entire control of Congress? And as a liberal Democrat I will be so happy when the Republicans do lose control because that's where you belong back in the minority where you were. Thank you.

DREIER: Well, thank you very much for that. I'll put you in the undecided column. Let me say...

MAHER: That was good.

DREIER: Let me say that...

MITCHELL: He's a threat to you.

MAHER: Oh, let's not go that far.

DREIER: Yes, no not that far. I would not want that. Let me just say that very clearly I believe that George Bush has been a phenomenally strong president for this country.

We began this program by talking about the prospect of the number two al-Zawahiri being killed. We've kept terrorism off of our soil and I think that's a very positive thing.

We today are enjoying one of the strongest economies that we have seen in modern history with 4.9 percent unemployment rate and we've got a great corporate leader sitting to my left here, George Mitchell, who works hard at one of my great constituent companies, Disney, and I'm very proud of his work there.

And, I think all of this has come about because of Republican leadership from George Bush to the leadership that we're providing in the United States Congress. Thanks for giving me that chance, Bill.

MAHER: Yes, wait a second I was fired by Disney.

DREIER: Hey, that was the best decision that's why they're doing so well, Bill. Are you kidding? That was a good decision. George did you make that decision to fire Bill?

MAHER: No, no.

MITCHELL: But I'd just say though the caller is right in one -- on one point.

DREIER: You bet only one.

MITCHELL: There's no doubt in anybody's mind there's going to be a substantial withdrawal of American troops from Iraq prior to the election this year.

DREIER: Well it's happening right now.

MITCHELL: Yes.

DREIER: I mean it's happening right now and it began after the December 15th election as Don Rumsfeld said two months ago that it would.

MITCHELL: But they're going to make sure they don't go into this election with the status quo in Iraq.

DREIER: Well, as we see Iraqis, George as we see Iraqis take control, as we see more approaching a quarter of a million Iraqis trained as part of the ISF and as we see a government actually take hold that is going to be the reason for us to be able to bring about that withdrawal.

MITCHELL: We hope and pray that that aspiration becomes a reality.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Thank you very much and you're going to pray for it too?

MAHER: I called it the let's not and say we did administration of George Bush. OK, up next millions and millions of reasons Anna Nicole Smith was probably watching this week's Alito hearings. That's ahead when LARRY KING LIVE continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: All right. Before I bring on our new guest, I want to thank Congressman Dreier and Senator Mitchell and David Gergen. Nobody told me. I'm new at this type of show. They didn't say kiss these people good-bye. I would have happily kissed them good-bye. But they were good guests. And I wish they could stay.

So right now we go from politics to the justice system. And two people who know all about it, defense attorney Mark Geragos and former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti.

I am saying that right, right? Fulginiti?

MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You said it perfectly first time out of the box.

MAHER: Well, I've been practicing all day. And I am from New Jersey like Justice Alito. Even Dreier was asking me, he said, oh yes, you're from New Jersey? I said yes, you know, the southern part of New Jersey is all full Alitos. And we knew a lot of Alitos back then.

So Judge Alito went through all this to get on the Supreme Court. Looks like he's going to. And apparently he went through all this nonsense so that he could pass judgment on Anna Nicole Smith. And I just wanted to ask you two, because I guess you probably would know, for the layman like myself, I have no clue why Anna Nicole Smith's case, which I feel like I've been hearing about since I've been in high school in New Jersey, is now reaching the Supreme Court.

Could you enlighten me on that?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Because did you watch the hearings? Because that's normally what happens in the Supreme Court. If you had the choice of seeing that or seeing Anna Nicole Smith in front of you, wouldn't you take Anna Nicole Smith?

MAHER: Why has it risen to this level that the Supreme Court should decide about Anna Nicole?

FULGINITI: You know, I think it's a pretty interesting question because here it is case that was decided in the state court of Texas, probate decision that she was not to get any money from the inheritance. She files bankruptcy here in bankruptcy court in California, which is a federal court.

And they find, you know, not only along with whatever bankruptcy issues she had, but that she actually is entitled to some money. In fact, Judge Carter, who is a U.S. district court judge here in the central district of California, confirmed that. He may have lowered the amount, but he said, yes, you are entitled to about $88.5 million.

So the issue here ultimately that is rising to the Supreme Court is should the federal government ultimately get involved in state court probate proceedings. The ninth circuit of appeals said absolutely not.

MAHER: What was the original settlement? Did she have a prenup?

GERAGOS: She had a pre-nup. The son challenged it. There was a huge award. And then, as Mary says, a lesser award here. So obviously it's about a difference of, what is it, $300 million, give or take a couple of columns.

MAHER: But if it's a pre-nup, if it's written in black and white, again, this is for the layman, but why -- it seems like nothing in this country, no matter how much you write it down, cannot be challenged.

GERAGOS: When you're talking about $300 million, a swing of $300 million, that's a lot of attorney's fees hours. And there's always going to be some lawyer who is going to tell you whatever you want to hear, if you want to spend the money and you want to fight over it.

MAHER: But those judges in the afternoon TV shows, they just look at it and they go, OK, this is written down here. Now, pay for the dry cleaning. I understand why it doesn't work that way all the way up.

All right. Let's talk about some of the other cases that are covered here a lot on court TV. I mean, CNN. Michael Skakel, Skakel, right? The Kennedy guy was convicted. And now they're saying he should have been prosecuted as a juvenile, because he committed the crime as s a juvenile. Again, to the layman, that makes sense to me.

GERAGOS: Well, they waited a long period of time to prosecute that case. And he was a juvenile at the time, and so then the question for the judge was in the juvenile court whether or not to keep him there.

And then the question became is, once they transferred him, he lost the case and they went up on appeal, was that the right decision. Today they said that it was.

FULGINITI: Yes, in fact, I think one of the most contentious aspects of the decision today, they affirmed obviously his conviction on all seven counts, was whether or not the statute of limitations had run.

Because in 1975 it was a five-year statute of limitations across eight felonies, which were murder in the state of Connecticut. In 1976, they changed that statute, and they've removed it to life. So there was no statute of limitations.

And so they challenged whether or not it should be the five-year application or whether or not it should be the new amended '76 application. And the Supreme Court said, sorry, no more five years. You don't get it.

MAHER: It's always a tough one when somebody who is a juvenile commits a horrendous crime. Because we have a crazy view of kids in this country. On the one hand, we coddle them and make them feel like they are adults when they aren't.

You know, we've all been on a plane with a 7-year-old that's running amuck, and it's because the parents don't tell them, you should be seen and not heard, and you're not my peer. They don't do that anymore.

But when they commit a horrible crime, suddenly they're children. I remember, Geoffrey Fieger once had the kid in Florida, Tate (ph), I think when he was first on trial. He beat a girl to death. And I think he was only 12 or 13 at the time.

And Geoffrey walked into the court holding his hand. You know, he was holding his hand. He practically had the big lollipop and the propeller on his beanie. Jerry, how could you convince this poor little boy, holding his hand walking into court.

FULGINITI: Well, you know, what you're seeing more and more too. You're seeing more and more prosecutors, really, try juveniles as adults if they're 15 or 16, especially 17 years old, and they commit such heinous crimes like murder.

MAHER: Shouldn't they be?

FULGINITI: Depending on the circumstances.

GERAGOS: I don't know. Do you remember when you were 15 as a boy?

MAHER: And I never killed anybody.

GERAGOS: Right. But some of the crimes they prosecute as adult crimes are things that I'm sure you did. I know I did at age 15.

MAHER: Like what?

GERAGOS: We now get into the adulthood. Things that were vandalism back when -- we would call vandalism.

MAHER: Stealing hub caps?

GERAGOS: Anything like that has now been elevated to adult crimes to get prosecuted. There really is not a great soft touch.

FULGINITI: Yes, but it's more likely in the heinous crimes where it's murder, sexual assault, rape or even in the Pamela Vitale case where you have, you know, really just a torturous crime that was committed by, allegedly by, you know, who is on trial, who was 16 years old at the time.

GERAGOS: Yes, but in those cases, those are ones, there are certain crimes where it's almost mandatory for, and it is mandatory for the D.A. to file it. I worry about the ones where it's discretionary. Because then it's just up to each individual judge.

And, look, if you wanted to solve the crime problem, all you would have to do is just take all 15-year-old to 24-year-old males and just warehouse them and crime would be eliminated immediately. Because that's the -- 90 percent of all crimes is committed by that age group.

FULGINITI: Yes, but in all fairness to the judge, there's a factor, a multi-factor test that they apply and they're supposed to go through, and they normally do actually in those proceedings to determine whether or not it's justified to try a kid as an adult.

MAHER: OK.

Still ahead, lessons in sex that lead to lessons in the legal system. Talk about hot for teacher. Up next, the look at the epidemic of female teachers accused of doing nothing more than homework with their male students. Stay ahead. That's LARRY KING LIVE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: OK. We're back with Mark and Mary. Mark and Mary? Sounds like a morning show, doesn't it? Hot coffee with Mark And Mary.

Well, speaking of hot, show that picture, if you can -- is that Debra Lafave? Is she the hot one? There's so many teachers...

GERAGOS: There's about three now that are pending that are very, very cute.

MAHER: Cute, but this is an epidemic of teachers, female teachers in their 20's...

GERAGOS: About 30 years too late, too.

MAHER: ... 30's having...

FULGINITI: This is what I'm going to hear from the two of you this evening. I can just hear it.

MAHER: Calm down, Geragos.

GERAGOS: But I have defended these cases, and I still don't understand...

MAHER: I bet you have. You defended them at home with your wife is where you're defending them.

GERAGOS: Exactly just explain to me why this is a crime. I don't understand it. If the kid is over 15, I don't understand why it is a crime.

MAHER: I have made this case for 15 years on the air.

FULGINITI: I told you, this is exactly what I'm going to hear.

MAHER: But it's true. Sometimes a double standard is right. Because there are two sexes. Yes, double standards.

FULGINITI: No, but what you guys are missing is these in particular are teachers. They are in a position of power, and they have a responsibility for trust.

(CROSSTALK)

MAHER: They absolutely should be fired. I'm not arguing that. It is wrong for the teacher to have sex with the student. Absolutely.

FULGINITI: But you don't think it should be criminal behavior?

MAHER: No, it should not. Jail time? that's ridiculous.

GERAGOS: That's ridiculous.

MAHER: This woman -- who was the first one, Mary Kay Letourneau, right?

GERAGOS: Right.

MAHER: Went to jail for how many years?

GERAGOS: Seven years was, I think, her original sentence. MAHER: Turned out that love affair was so strong that they came out, got married. They have two kids. It was like the Woody Allen -- I mean I criticized Woody Allen a lot when he went through his thing. But, you know what, at end of the day, obviously he wasn't just using this girl. Because he married her. They had kids together.

FULGINITI: Oh, but that's the exceptional case though. You have to realize that many boys -- what happens in many situations -- no, it's that, yes, the relationship inevitably ends. And what happens is the boy, you know, drops into depression. His grades start to fail.

MAHER: Oh stop it.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: You know what happens? What happens is the mothers get involved. And the mothers start flipping out. And then the kid has to deal with a psycho mom. But other than that...

MAHER: What boy ever dropped into depression because he was...

GERAGOS: Right. Because he got laid by his teacher?

MAHER: Right.

FULGINITI: Oh, come on. Even the maturity level of boys at the ages of 13 or 12 years old...

MAHER: Can I see the hot teacher again?

GERAGOS: Yes, exactly.

MAHER: Could I see her up one more time? I would like to see this woman and see if I would drop into depression. Yes, I might be depressed that I'm not with her anymore. Oh, that's not depressing. That is so not depressing.

GERAGOS: Right. Can you imagine a 15-year-old who is going to be depressed because he is not banging this gal anymore?

MAHER: You would be depressed because now he's going out with the girl with the braces.

I read this story in the front page of "The New York Times" about two weeks ago about a kid, a boy, who wound up in a rather steamy affair. He was on the web, and somehow he got in chat rooms with men. And, you know, they said, we'll send you 50 bucks if you just take your shirt off in front of your web cam. And he did.

You know, I mean, it's not right, but then, we were, well, maybe we'll give you more money if you masturbate. And so he was like masturbating for money in front of the camera. I don't think it's right. I'm just saying if that had been available when I was that age. I'd have more money than Bill Gates right now.

GERAGOS: And some D.A. would prosecute you. MAHER: And yes, I mean, I do think we have criminalized things in many areas.

FULGINITI: Yes, but, you know, there's a new case, Bill, actually where this woman took off to Mexico, and she took this eighth grader with her. And she was the teacher, and he was her eighth grade student. Oh, but come on, you guys.

(CROSSTALK)

GERAGOS: And he had a hall pass probably from his dad.

FULGINITI: Have you lost your mind?

GERAGOS: No.

MAHER: Well, that's wrong.

FULGINITI: That's absolutely wrong. But this is what happens. So what are you going to do, not criminalize that behavior?

GERAGOS: Just take them down the street here in L.A. That's close enough.

MAHER: Not Mexico. That's just wrong. I mean, what goes down there, not Tijuana, I hope.

FULGINITI: OK. Next.

MAHER: Well, all right, so there's a new accusation against Michael Jackson? What's up with that?

FULGINITI: Surprise, surprise. I'll let you respond.

GERAGOS: I'm not commenting on that.

MAHER: This one says he played -- what do you mean you're not commenting? That's what you're here for. You think I want to talk about Michael Jackson?

FULGINITI: You know what, I'm going to get my good on this because I didn't do it last time.

MAHER: This kid says he, not only did he abuse him, he plagiarized his song lyrics and melodies.

FULGINITI: Well, first of all, I don't think it's actually any surprise that there's somebody else coming out of the woodwork about Michael Jackson obviously.

However, you know, last time when you had said that, you know, prosecutors should never have even gone forward with this case. They should have declined it. To be perfectly honest, no prosecutor in their right mind, Bill, would have ever declined this case. Especially given the fact of all these other people that have come forward, the allegations. And the fact that this 45-year-old guy went on television and told the world it's OK to sleep in bed with little boys.

GERAGOS: I'm telling you, I don't think that there's another prosecutor around who would have filed that case.

FULGINITI: I would have as a prosecutor of the case.

GERAGOS: I saw the reports.

FULGINITI: You know what, I've read a lot of them.

MAHER: All right, you two. Anyway, Mark and Mary in the morning.

All right. More LARRY KING LIVE coming up after the break, including your phone calls.

But first, here's Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up at the top of the hour -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Bill, thanks very much.

Yes, coming up tonight on "360" at 10:00, has the United States killed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man? It is the burning question in intelligence circles tonight. Reports of a pre-dawn air strike targeting Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan where he was believed to be hiding. Local sources say 17 people were killed in the attack.

The question is, is al-Zawahiri among them? We're going to bring you the latest on the breaking story.

We're also going to take a look at a new black market technology that will let just about anyone with your cell phone number and a few dollars find out every incoming and outgoing cell phone call that you have made on that phone. It sounds kind of wild and scary. We'll tell you how it's done and how you can make sure it doesn't happen to you.

That's all coming up "360" at the top of the hour. We'll have more of LARRY KING LIVE with guest host Bill Maher coming up in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: Mark and Mary in the morning. I'm Bill Maher sitting in for Larry King. We're back. We have a caller on the line. Oakland, California.

CALLER: Hi, Bill. Thanks for taking my call.

MAHER: Sure.

CALLER: And we saw you live in San Francisco a few years ago. We love you, and thanks for filling in for Larry. Great job. MAHER: Oh actually. I'll be back in San Francisco at the beginning of February not that I was going to plug stuff, but with my show "Real Time," I think, now that you mention it. This is a great caller. Comes back, I believe, February 17th on HBO. But that's not what matters. What's your question?

CALLER: My question is...

MAHER: Did I mention my book? No.

CALLER: Thanks again for taking my call. My call is to you, and more specifically, Mark Geragos. When you're talking about relationships between students and teachers, if a -- if Mark Geragos was to have a 15-year-old son, and he was to have sexual relations with a male hot teacher, would that be okay?

GERAGOS: A male what teacher?

CALLER: A hot male teacher.

MAHER: A hot male teacher.

GERAGOS: A hot male teacher?

MAHER: So you're talking about a homosexual.

GERAGOS: A homosexual one? I was merely commenting on those three teachers that they put up on the screen. My 12-year-old, when he gets to 15 -- hopefully he's not listening tonight -- when he gets to 15, he's going to be like every other 15-year-old male. He's going to have a fantasy about his teacher. And the idea of prosecuting that criminally, if it were to actually happen, is beyond me. So, no, I've got a teenage boy and a teenage girl. And I have a double standard when it comes to that.

MAHER: And they're both gay. No. But that is a very good question she asked. That does sort of throw it back in our lap.

GERAGOS: It does. But I can have a double standard there, as well. It makes it a quadruple standard, and I'm comfortable with that. Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

MAHER: Let's talk about the NSA domestic surveillance issue that is very important, and being talked about in Washington. The president has not backed down one bit. If you don't know what's going on, and I'm sure you do, if you watch CNN, the NSA on President Bush's orders has been listening in on people's calls since 9/11, in the interest of national security. President Bush says, if you are talking to al Qaeda, we want to know why.

But he has done it without -- outside of the law. There is a law that allows for this. And --

GERAGOS: Yes, the FISA law.

MAHER: FISA law. GERAGOS: What's amazing about this is if you take a look at it -- because I've been involved in probably over the last 25 years, six or seven federal prosecutions where there's been FISA warrants issued and everything else. If you take a look at it, they, I think with one exception, have never turned down a warrant. The secret court that exists in Washington has -- with I think only one exception, ever turned down a warrant. Why they would go to the extent of avoiding a court that is the very definition of rubber stamp is beyond me.

MAHER: And you can do the wiretap and get the warrant after the fact.

GERAGOS: After the fact.

MAHER: You have three days after to get the wiretap.

GERAGOS: Exactly.

MAHER: However, I have to tell you, this is one area where I'm kind of with the president. Because it's not as simple as people make it out. If President Bush was not so challenged linguistically, he could have explained this better. And the truth of the matter is, is that it's not as simple as calls come in from the United States to another country. It's where they're routed. Same thing with e-mail. All of the e-mail is routed through the United States. And this is one area where, you know what, I would rather be safe than sorry.

GERAGOS: But that's the, I think, the misnomer in the defense. All they've got to do is go to this court. And as you've stated --

MAHER: Yes, but --

GERAGOS: -- they can actually do it after the fact. It's just to keep a record of it. Why not keep a record.

MAHER: Maybe there's too much of a volume.

FULGINITI: I think the argument on the other side is, I think clearly the president thought there might be some bureaucracy. There was certainly in his mind an urgency to do what he did. Whether or not it was supported legally, I think, is really a serious question here, though, because he's relying on Article 2 of the Constitution. He's relying on, you know, his commander-in-chief skills. You've got federal prosecutors --

MAHER: Relying on his commander-in-chief skills, Mary said. Oh, that's good.

FULGINITI: You have federal prosecutors here that were questioning this. I mean, John Connally who used to be an AOSA (ph) and the U.S. attorney, I believe, in New York for a period of time. Even Ashcroft, they went to him in the intensive care unit at the hospital, and he expressed initial reluctance to doing so. So given the FISA Act that was established in 1978, I'm actually surprised and appalled by the fact that they didn't go for it. I've gotten a number of wiretaps in my days as a prosecutor. The procedure is a very arduous one. I had to apply. It was a multi-page affidavit, about 70 to 80 pages. I would have to go in every ten days on what they called sort of updates to the court.

GERAGOS: But isn't the solution -- if you're going to do it, isn't the solution just to go back under the Patriot Act which strips away all civil liberties anyway, and just strip away whatever the arduous nature is and do it by the law? Why have the exception?

MAHER: Because I don't want a dirty bomb to go off in Long Beach. It would ruin the view in Beverly Hills.

More ahead with Mark and Mary in the Morning when Larry King Live wraps up right after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAHER: I'm ready. Stop panicking. We're here on "In the Morning" with Mark and Mary. We've got a caller from St. Louis, Missouri. I love St. Louis. How you doing?

CALLER: Hi, Bill. I wanted to let you know that everything I learned about politics I learned from you.

MAHER: As it should be. Thank you very much. You're obviously a very bright woman.

CALLER: And a liberal. My question goes to Mark Geragos. Mark, you just recently, I guess about a year ago, defended Scott Peterson. And the million-dollar question is, did he confess to you anything? I know you probably --

GERAGOS: The million-dollar question was, is if he did, it would be covered by attorney client privilege and I'm not willing to hand you my bar card here tonight. I could not answer any question as to anything that Scott told me in confidence. For a million dollars or even more.

MAHER: What do you think the fascination is these days with cases like Scott Peterson? I was tweaking CNN a minute ago, and I kid them, but I watch it all the time. I love Larry's show. I love Larry. But it does seems like Natalee Holloway, Elizabeth Smart, Lacy Peterson, Jon Benet Ramsey -- it does seem like --

GERAGOS: Beautiful, white women.

MAHER: To the exclusion of really important stories. I mean, yesterday it was in the paper that the frogs are all dying. If I was producing news, I would say that's all we should be talking about. They are the canary in the environmental coal mine. And what is it -- what will it take Americans to get off their kick with matters of inconsequence?

FULGINITI: It's a shame, because they're obsessed. We're in a celebrity-obsessed society, to some extent. And then when it comes to crimes, people are becoming, I think, more obsessed with crimes as the media covers them more. But the more beautiful the victim or the more beautiful the perpetrator, I think the more likely it's going to get a lot more media coverage and people are going to be more interested in it.

MAHER: All right. I thank you both for being here.

That is LARRY KING LIVE for tonight. Thanks for watching. And thanks to Larry for inviting me to fill in for him tonight.

Anderson Cooper standing by in New York with the Friday edition of AC 360. Anderson?

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