Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Floyd Landis

Aired July 28, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, primetime exclusive, the new Tour de France champ whose abnormal tests have raised doping questions in the racing controversy that's got the whole world talking. Now, Floyd Landis tells his side of the story.

Plus, another primetime exclusive, Rusty Yates, his ex-wife Andrea Yates just found not guilty of drowning their kids by reason of insanity. Now he's lashing out at her prosecutor.

And then, yet another exclusive, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery, their first interview since returning from their five million mile journey to outer space. What did they see up there?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Last Sunday, American Floyd Landis won cycling's biggest race, the Tour de France. He did it after one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the event. But a doping test, which showed an abnormality, has cast a major doubt over the victory. And today in his first public appearance since the controversy broke, Landis proclaimed his innocence and he joins me now from Madrid.

Was all this, Floyd, a shock to you?

FLOYD LANDIS, TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER: Good evening, Larry, and yes it was a shock as much to me as to anyone else.

KING: Now tell me about the testing process. Do they test you right after? When does the test take place?

LANDIS: The way it works is they test three people each day. They test the winner of each stage. They test the leader of the race. And then they test a random person in a race. All of these take place directly at the finish line. It turns out the leader of the race has often things to do at the podium and awards but immediately after that, so within half an hour I would say maximum.

KING: Have you ever had a problem like this in your career?

LANDIS: No, this is the first I've had to go through this.

KING: Your defense is that there were naturally high levels of testosterone in the test. What can cause that?

LANDIS: Well, I don't know. That's why I have some experts helping me out to try to understand what's going on here. What this test shows is an abnormal ratio of two naturally occurring substances. It's not a positive test in the same criteria of finding something exogenous in the body.

That's all I know. I have a lot of very intelligent and experienced people helping with this and hopefully some of them are here tonight to help you understand that.

KING: Why did they suspend you?

LANDIS: Currently I have not been suspended. I'm waiting now a requested B sample test. They take a test at the finish line and they split that in two so that the second test in the event of an abnormality can be performed under the witness of the person who is being tested or a person who has the right to witness it on their behalf.

So, the B sample will come back and in the event that that is positive we will go through some more tests for this testosterone ratio to try to show exactly what's causing this. As far as when the suspension actually occurs I cannot say. I have not been suspended at this point by the federation.

KING: I'm told it's your team that has suspended you is that correct?

LANDIS: My team has asked me not to race in the meantime until this has been resolved.

KING: What does testosterone do in the body that makes someone a better racer?

LANDIS: That is a good question that you'll have to ask the doctors if they're here at this moment. I think they can better answer that.

KING: So you have not been told what effect testosterone has pro or con on someone being a good racer?

LANDIS: No. You know contrary to what may be the perception of the public, I along with the majority of bicycle racers are not experts on what possible doping products could do to make you a better bicycle racer.

In the last two days since this transpired I have done my best to learn as much as possible but I've been overwhelmed more by the personal things dealing with people, like my mother for example who now has to go through something she never deserved to go through.

And so a lot of my energy is put in the emotional side of it. Hopefully in the next few days I can learn a lot more about what may be the reason for this being a problem.

KING: Do you think part of it might be the fact that the comeback was so amazing that people didn't believe it was possible?

LANDIS: I think that part of hurts my argument. Again, I was tested six times before that and two times afterwards, all of them -- I don't receive the results when they're negative so I don't know exactly what the numbers were but all of them were within normal ranges. But, yes, I think the performance, which by the way I'm very proud of, probably makes it more suspicious.

KING: Did you think you could come back?

LANDIS: You know when I started that stage that morning I had spent a little time with a couple of the teammates of mine talking about what the possibilities were and we thought the way we raced the race and the way you saw in that was our plan.

We didn't know if it was possible to come back. I was pretty sure if I did what I did that I would win the stage but an eight minute deficit was almost insurmountable and we didn't have any misconceptions that that was not done before but we were out to try certainly.

KING: What did it?

LANDIS: What did it was heart and determination and 15 years of hard work and it was my dream. And, when you get to that point, when you're inspired and you're somewhere you always dreamt of being and nothing else matters, you can -- you can push yourself to limits you couldn't push yourself to before.

KING: Now there had been I think the night before the 17th stage, I think this is admitted that you had done some drinking is that true and, if so, what effect did it have?

LANDIS: You know there was some speculation earlier that it may have some effect. I don't know. I had a very bad day, if you were watching, on that stage and I can say that it was one of the worst days of my life because until that point I was very confident that I could win the Tour.

That day everything went wrong. I was dehydrated at the end and I felt miserable. And when I got to the finish, I did what a normal person would do on an ordinary bad day and had a beer and a little bit of Jack Daniels and felt much better and relaxed and laughed with my teammates and then got some sleep.

KING: Floyd, I know that there have been some problems. You had a very bad hip. There was a thyroid condition. Were there medications you were and are taking?

LANDIS: I take currently medication for the thyroid problem. For the hip, like I told the world before I had a cortisone injection spread out over three weeks to try to reduce the inflammation from the arthritis pain in the right hip.

Again those two things both of which are accepted, the cortisone has to have an exemption but I have a legitimate reason for using it. The thyroid is not a performance enhancing drug. It's not a banned drug. It doesn't require an exemption, both of which I don't know if they have any effect whatsoever on -- on what happened here.

KING: Are you going to continue in this sport?

LANDIS: I'd love to continue in the sport. It's been my passion and my dream and it's a beautiful sport. And I think the people who were watching, even if they're not cyclists themselves, were -- were caught in the moment and I think it was something special to watch. It certainly was something special to be part of. I would love to keep racing and I'm going to do my best to defend my dignity and my innocence.

KING: Former winner Greg LeMond said, "I really believe Floyd is clean. You will always find riders who transgress the laws. I really did believe Floyd was not among them." Is there to your knowledge a lot of this going on in your sport?

LANDIS: Well, to people watching you see that there are often doping scandals in our sport. It seems to me possibly because I'm in the sport more than other sports. I don't know what the outside perception is but I'm guessing it's the same.

This is always the first I've heard of it whenever it comes to the press, so whatever you guys see is what I know and it feels to me like there's more problems than there should be. But the good thing is that the people in this sport that makes mistakes aren't -- aren't ignored. They're publicized and they're punished for it.

KING: Now what about the second tests are you taking them yet or awaiting results or what?

LANDIS: The protocol the way it works is after the A sample, I'm notified of the abnormality. I have five days to request a B sample test. I'm not waiting for any particular reason. I just spent the last two days trying to come up with a plan and organize things in my life. Excuse me, Larry.

KING: Sure.

LANDIS: But this evening here, United States time, the fax needs to be sent to Colorado Springs to the federation there. We'll be requesting the B sample be tested.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with Floyd Landis and lots more to go on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Before we get back to Floyd and meet his doctors, well we have with us on the phone Lance Armstrong, the seven time winner of the Tour de France, the newly retired Lance Armstrong, who's been through some doping allegations himself. What do you make of all of this, Lance?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER (by telephone): Well, it's -- I was obviously surprised. I was at the Tour. I watched Floyd the two days that we've just been watching there, obviously the bad day that he had but the follow up day which was -- which was spectacular.

I thought it was unlike anything I'd ever seen in cycling and I mean that in a good way. I thought it was -- I thought he was tough. I thought the guys behind, who were chasing him, didn't do a great job but he showed a lot of heart and gut and determination that day.

And, all I can say, you know, without knowing the specifics of his case and just sticking to the facts that I know is what I know about Floyd and we spent three years together on the same team, obviously, you know, spending massive amounts of time training and racing together.

If we ever suspected anything, if there was suspicious behavior or anything to lead us to believe he was a cheater, then we would have parted ways long before we did. And when he did leave he left for a better offer from another team and we had to respect that.

The only other thing I will say and add to this that, you know, without getting too -- too crazy or too much of a conspiracy theorist is that keep it in mind the laboratory here that found this abnormal reading is the same lab that I've been involved in with all the allegations over in France.

And this is the same lab that through the independent investigation and that process would not answer the simplest of questions to the independent investigator about the ethics of what they did and who conducted the testing and what conditions were -- they were done under. You know I'm a little skeptical of this particular laboratory and the report backs up that skepticism.

KING: What do you think all this does to your sport?

ARMSTRONG: Well, look, it's everywhere. You know, you turn on the TV, I mean you don't talk about cycling every day on LARRY KING LIVE. And, you know, it's on the cover of USA Today. It's rolling constantly on ESPN. And it's not a -- it's not a glorified story here.

This is a -- it's a negative story, although I still believe in Floyd and I believe him to be innocent. This is not good for cycling and this is just one of -- I mean many people could say, look, this started ten years ago and I was somebody that kept these stories alive for seven years.

I've lived it and I know what it's like but it's not good and for somebody who really loves cycling it's not anything you want to -- you want to turn on the TV and watch.

KING: Do you feel any tinge of anti-Americanism here?

ARMSTRONG: Well, listen, I'm a realist. I know that there is that. I don't know that that's the motivation behind this but, I mean for any American watching or listening that's been over to Europe recently, last couple years, the relations just aren't great. I wouldn't -- I wouldn't say that that's the reason that Floyd's going through this.

KING: Did you miss racing this year?

ARMSTRONG: No, not at all. I was happy to be a spectator and quite honestly I was -- I was really happy to see Floyd win and I was happy to see the jersey stay on American soil. But, no, I'm nearly 35 years old and it's time for me to move on and do something else.

KING: Would you call Floyd an exceptional rider?

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely. No, when we took -- listen, I have to say when we took Floyd to the team this was a -- this was a kid with a very interesting background. I mean obviously the story is well known now but came to the mountain bike side of the business and somebody that, you know, perhaps had the reputation of being a little tough to manage.

But above and beyond everything else he was -- he was one of the toughest young kids that I'd ever come across and we could see that. I mean we'd bring the kids to training camp and I was trying to get fit and trying to win a Tour and you had this young kid with this incredible tough attitude that was challenging me on every hill and at every opportunity. So, we knew then that he was -- he was our kind of guy and he was a tough bike rider.

KING: Lance, good luck to you, hope to see you soon. Thanks for checking in with us.

ARMSTRONG: You bet, thanks Larry.

KING: Lance Armstrong, seven time winner of the Tour de France, staunchly defending his friend and former teammate.

And we'll be back with more after this.


KING: Floyd Landis is with us, the cyclist, winner of the Tour de France, now fighting doping allegations. He is in Madrid, Spain.

Joining us now here in Los Angeles is Dr. Brent Kay. He's Floyd Landis' personal physician. He's a board specialist in both sports and internal medicine. What do you make of this, doctor?

Well, the last 24 hours have been pretty crazy and, you know, it's almost bordered on hysteria. And, you know, my position from the beginning is that, you know, the testing process is just that. It's a process and it's not complete. And, I think Floyd's entitled to that process to be complete.

KING: You mean this is just a phase of it?

KAY: Yes. I mean he has the opportunity now to have the B test performed and, you know, that will complete the testing process. KING: And could the B contradict the A?

KAY: Oh, definitely. If the B sample comes back negative, it's a done deal. There's nothing here.

KING: Then what would the assessment be of the A if the B comes back negative? Would we say the A was wrong?

KAY: Yes, exactly. In medicine it would be what's referred to as a false positive, just like if you go to your doctor. You get a blood test. Something is abnormal.

KING: It could have been lots of things.

KAY: Yes, you would -- typically your doctor would send you to go get another one, go get a repeat to see if, in fact, it was a real abnormality.

KING: How do you explain the high level of testosterone?

KAY: Well, I think that's been one of the problems is that he does not have a high level of testosterone. That's not been documented.

KING: Well why are we getting this?

KAY: He has a -- he has a high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in his urine.

KING: Meaning?

KAY: Which could be due to an elevated testosterone level, it could be due to a low epitestosterone level and it could be do to a variety of other factors with handling and specimen contamination and various other things.

KING: I asked Floyd this. He says it's better answered by you. What does testosterone do for a race driver?

KAY: For a cyclist it would be my opinion that it would make you worse. I think...

KING: Worse?

KAY: I think that's the crazy thing here. I think everybody really needs to take a step back and look at what we're talking about because testosterone is a body-building steroid that builds mass. It builds mass over long term use of weeks, months, and even years.

And, it's crazy to think that a Tour de France professional cyclist would be using testosterone, particularly in the middle of a race. It's a joke. Every sports medicine expert, physician, trainer, scientist that I've talked to in the last day really same opinion, no way, this is a joke. KING: Floyd, since it's happened to others, Lance Armstrong in particular, do you have any thoughts this might be an anti-American thing?

LANDIS: You know I have to be careful not to speculate on that because I don't have any concrete evidence. This is circumstantial and I've met plenty of wonderful people in every country I've gone to. So, I'm cautious about saying things like that.

KING: All right. Can alcohol raise -- he took some alcohol near the end can that raise testosterone?

KAY: Well, I think that's been kind of a bit of a joke that people have been talking about but there are, in fact, a number of studies that show that alcohol definitely can have an effect on this, one study that shows it can actually triple the level but we're not speculating that that was the cause but certainly there's documentation in the scientific literature.

KING: Could any of his medications, and you would know them, have affected that first test?

KAY: I wouldn't have anticipated any to do so. We've talked to a number of experts who have voiced the same opinion. And, certainly his thyroid medication, he's been on that for a while, it's been stabile and we wouldn't anticipate that would have any -- any effect on it.

KING: Floyd, you have a bad hip right? I understand you, in fact, may even get a hip replacement. If true, how are you able to continue racing?

LANDIS: Oh, before this happened it was a full schedule of things to do without this but I'm a guy who doesn't turn down a challenge and I'm willing to fight this fight, first of all for my dignity and to show everybody that I am innocent.

And, on top of that I love to race my bicycle and the hip thing was an unfortunate incident and it turned into something worse but, hey, we all have our battles to fight in life and you take what you get and you make the best of it.

KING: Doesn't it hurt while you're racing?

LANDIS: It does. The racing time is usually the best of it because the racing consumes my attention and there's adrenalin and there's excitement, so the pain is still there but it's not noticeable. The pain is more of an arthritis pain that's worse in the evening usually and aching pain from using it too much. It doesn't affect the outcome of the race in any way.

KING: He's very strong isn't he, doctor?

KAY: Oh, definitely.

KING: Is that the plus in this with regard to the hip and the like that he could continue racing like this?

KAY: Yes, definitely his high level of fitness but, like he says, cycling is not really a weight bearing type of activity. There's not a lot of pressure on the hip, a lot of motion but he's tolerated that relatively well. I think Floyd's bigger problems come with everyday living and sleeping and, you know, constant chronic pain.

KING: What will it be like when he gets a new hip?

KAY: I think it's going to be great and, you know, that's our big thing. That's what's next in line. And, you know, I think he's going to come through that great. We have some exciting, you know, new prosthesis that are out there and, you know, I anticipate a full return.

KING: We have some e-mails from our website at Let's get to a few and then more in a couple minutes.

Guy in San Luis Obispo, California says, "Floyd, is it correct to say that since you have been riding bicycles professionally that you have never used any banned substance?"

LANDIS: Absolutely that is correct.

KING: So, since that simply put if correct, Dr. Kay, how can he even get in a jam like this? How could there even be a false positive?

KAY: Well, you know, I think the initial thing is that we have to see the B sample. We have to complete the testing process. That's a standard medical, you know, testing process.

There is a long list of potential problems with this test. This is the original test that was designed and put into place 25 years ago and has not really been significantly altered during that time period.

KING: Frankly, should it have been made clearer that this is a two-phase test and did we, the collective we, overreact to the first phase?

KAY: Oh, for sure. You know the rules are that the rider is notified of an adverse analytical finding when there's an abnormality and then is able to have the B test confirmed. It's a standard thing in medicine and it should remain private but in this case, you know, I think it got out right after the Tour de France and there wasn't, you know, any hiding at the point.

KING: We'll be right back with Floyd Landis, this year's winner, and Dr. Brent Kay, his physician. Don't go away.




ARMSTRONG: It's always going to be a case of did he or didn't he, but it's always been a case of did he or didn't he. I mean, this is not the first time someone has come along and said, ah, he's doped, ah, he rode too fast, ah, his story is too miraculous. No way, he's doped.

This has been going on for seven years, and I suspect it will continue. And I thought, you know what? I retire and I move on in life and perhaps this stuff will fade away, and boom, this comes along. So no, this is not the first or the last time.


KING: That was Lance Armstrong on this program last August. Floyd, what do you make of what he had to say? He's there talking about himself?

LANDIS: I spent three years of my life with Lance, and those three years were some of the best years of my career. I watched him win the Tour. We spent a lot of time together training. Everybody knows we had our little differences the following year, but we're back to being friends again, and I saw what he went through, and I didn't feel it because I hadn't been through it myself, but now I can relate. I see what the guy really had to deal with.

KING: We have another e-mail from Tim in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. "Can you release or authorize the release of the actual document showing the test results, not only after stage 17 but others from the Tour and from before and after the Tour?"

Floyd, could you authorize that?

LANDIS: I don't know if I can, because I don't have the other tests in my possession. I don't have the actual test in which I was accused of having an abnormal reading. The team has a copy. I could get it.

The other tests we're in the process of trying to acquire. Ordinarily, we don't receive any kind of correspondence from the testers unless there is a problem, so I have never in my life received any kind of results from the tests.

KING: But Dr. Kay, would you have any problem releasing anything?

KAY: No, I think we'd all like to see it, and you know, if you back with this test, what you're really looking to see is this ratio like the old East German numbers, 100 to one, the bodybuilders, or is it five to one or 10 to one. The ECR, the World Antidoping Association, I should say, has lowered this limit over the last few years from 10 to six to four, and that's just the inherent problem with the test.

On the front page of the technical document on the World Antidoping Association Web site, to paraphrase, they basically say this is a poor test and has problems with inaccuracy.

KING: Nicholas in Medford, New Jersey, an e-mail. "During past race day drug testing, has Floyd exhibited a pattern of normal but high testosterone levels? If not, what physiological explanation can account for the spike?" Doctor?

KAY: Well, Floyd has been tested countless times. I think we talked about maybe 20 this year alone, and all you are given after those tests are negative results. He is normal. He has been normal on all the tests. So he's never received the documentation of the actual laboratory values. You're not entitled to those.

KING: Should you be?

KAY: So we've had those questions over and over. It would be nice to see them now, but I think that's their position.

KING: Katie in Sayreville, New York, Floyd. "What's the opinion of your Mennonite parents about you being in the public eye, and do you enjoy the attention?

LANDIS: That's sweet of her to ask, because those are some of the dearest people to my heart. And yesterday, I had to deal with a situation where there was a lot of press at my mother's house, and it hurt me a lot, because she lives a simple life, my father, that's the way they want to live, and it makes them happy and they don't deserve to deal with this.

It wasn't my doing that brought this on them, but it was an incidental thing due to what happened to me that brings them into it. And I had a bit of an emotional conversation with my mom, because I felt awful about the situation.

As far as me enjoying the attention? I could take it or leave it, but I certainly don't mind it.

KING: You feel sorry for your parents?

LANDIS: Now I'm OK. I felt much better after speaking with my mom, because she's tough, too. Both of them are tough, and they can handle it. But I think I felt worse just because of me, because I felt like they had to answer question that they didn't know how to answer, and they should never have been brought into this in the first place. And I blame the press more. It was partly my fault for not being available to talk, but I was trying to collect my thoughts. And so they went to the first people they can think of, and so be it, they went to my parents, and yeah, I felt bad, but they'll be OK.

KING: I don't know every aspect of the Mennonite faith, but do they have television? Do they watch you win?

LANDIS: They don't have a television. I grew up without a television or radio, other than the tape player. We had gospel songs and that kind of thing. But they watched the race. They went to some friend's house down the street, some neighbors, each day, and they got to see it. KING: Doctor, tell me about Floyd, the patient and the man?

KAY: Well, Floyd is about as tough as they come. Having ridden a bike with him on a fairly regular basis in the last four years, I've seen that first hand. I've seen his training data. I've seen how hard he works. His training is legendary in the cycling area. This performance he had on this big stage to Morzine (ph) was not unexpected. He has training data that compares what he did that day, and the big thing with that performance today was that he was the only one who would do that on the first hill, the first of five hills. And you watched the other leaders there with him, they had the opportunity, perfectly capable of going, and they said no.

But I think Floyd's big thing is he's honest, hardworking, a lot of integrity and ...

KING: Is he the best bicyclist in the world today?

KAY: Oh, without a doubt.

KING: Thank you, Floyd. We'll be keeping close tabs on this.

LANDIS: Thank you both, Brent and Larry.

KING: Thank you. Floyd Landis, the winner of the Tour de France, and Dr. Brent Kay, his personal physician.

By the way, Sheryl Crow will be our special guest on Monday night on LARRY KING LIVE.

And when we come back, Rusty Yates. What a story. Don't go away.


ARLENE LANDIS, MOTHER: Floyd talked to me in a lot (inaudible) the media press that he's getting. But you know, the fact is that there's nothing proven, that anything is wrong with his test. He said this test is so irregular, and there's no reason why it wouldn't show up in other days he was riding if that was the fact. So I'm not concerned. I think God is allowing us to go through this as (inaudible).





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The State of Texas versus Andrea Pia Yates, we the jury find the defendant Andrea Pia Yates not guilty by reason of insanity.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Welcome back. In 2001 Rusty Yates' then wife Andrea killed their children by drowning them one by one in a bathtub. She was originally tried and convicted. That verdict was overturned because of some incorrect testimony. And this week the jury in her retrial found her not guilty by reason of insanity.

Rusty joins us exclusively now from Houston with his thoughts on the retrial and Andrea's acquittal. Were you there the day of the verdict, Rusty?


KING: Were you surprised?

YATES: We were ecstatic. I mean, yes, I was surprised. I was listening very intently last trial, when the judge read the verdict. I was really expecting a not guilty verdict. And this time after having lived through that and after, you know, being through all this this past five years, I wasn't too sure what to expect. So when she said not guilty by reason of insanity, boy, I was just so happy. Just a great verdict. You know, can't --

KING: Where is Andrea now?

YATES: I think she's still here in the jail here in Houston. And you know, they're going to transfer her up to Vernon, Texas, which is northwest of Dallas for a while. That's where the persons found not guilty by reason of insanity first go.

KING: And eventually, where will she be?

YATES: Well, she's going to go through , they kind of step them down from, that's kind of a, you know, kind of intensive care hospital that they all go to, and then once they're deemed well enough to go to the next step down, they'll do that. And next step down, they sort of step them down through the hospitals. I expect she'll probably go back to Rusk next, which is where she has been for the, you know, six months or so.

KING: Is the hospital situation, when someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, is it a progressive, is it a good system in Texas? Because in some cases I've had psychiatrists tell me they would rather have the patient go to jail than to some psychiatric prisons.

YATES: Well, she's, I mean, she's not going to be in a psychiatric prison. She'll be in a state hospital. So it is better. The down side of it, you know, is that in order to be freed she has to be cleared by a panel of doctors and the judge. And you know, the judge, she'll be in for a long time either way. She needs to be in for a long time either way. But there's sort of a punitive element to it. You know, it's not just how well they are. It's kind of what they did. So the worse the offense, the longer they stay in the hospital system.

KING: You told reporters that the prosecutor's murder case was built on lies. In response to that an assistant told the Associated Press, I don't think about Rusty Yates, I don't want to think about Rusty Yates, and he should stop thinking about us. What do you mean by lies?

YATES: Well, first of all, you know, they didn't have to prosecute Andrea in the first place. You know, they never looked past what she did to see why she did it. And you know, from day one, really in five years they haven't learned any more than they had on day one. So, what they did in order to, you know, counter the defense's claim that she was insane was to get false testimony by at least two policemen that I know of, you know, false testimony by an inmate, who had a history of lying, and false testimony by two, quote, you know, hired guns, Park Dietz and Dr. Wellner, who were paid to testify, you know, for the state.

So you know, Andrea's case is a textbook case of postpartum psychosis. And what's disappointing to me is, you know, the state chose to prosecute her. They didn't have to choose that. They could have sent some treating psychiatrists in the first week who would have found that she was insane and sent her to a hospital right away. So we wasted five years of pain on the part of, you know, my family, and we've been talking about the wrong things for five years.

You know, the first discussion was was it the death penalty or life? Then the discussion was should it be life or not guilty by reason of insanity? I think the discussion right off the bat should have been how do we get better medical, you know, mental health care treatment for these people? And then not to mention all the money that was blown, you know, a million and a half dollars of taxpayers' money. And then you know, Andrea and I put in $110,000, which as I said, you know, that's a lot for a government employee to put in. You know, it's just a big, big waste. No one benefits from prosecuting her, and I'm very, very happy that she's finally going to get some treatment, you know.

KING: Rusty Yates, by the way, is an employee of NASA, and at the end of the program we'll be talking with the astronauts just back from outer space.

John Roberts is in northern Israel. He will host "ANDERSON COOPER 360." He'll also host this program on Sunday night. John, what's up this evening?

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you Larry. We're just a short distance away from the Israeli-Lebanon border. Behind me you can see some of the reinforcements that are being brought up to join in the fight. Even though it's 4:00 in the morning, we can still hear the sound of machine gun fire in the air. Artillery is being fired on Hezbollah positions. The fierce firefighting still goes on, Larry. We're going to have a complete set of details for you tonight on "360," coming up at 10:00 Eastern. Larry?

KING: Thanks, John. That's 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. And we'll be back with more of Rusty Yates right after this.


KING: We only have a short time left, Rusty. What are you going to do now with the rest of your life? I know you've remarried. Are you going to stay closely involved with how Andrea does?

YATES: Well, yes. We talked about that the other night after the verdict, you know, when I visited her. And I do want to continue to see her and talk with her. You know, we just reminisce about our children and the life we had. But you know, our primary focus will be on, you know, developing the new family that I have and eventually I would like to take some of what I've learned through this, you know, ordeal and try to make some good come from it all, you know, help either in the medical side or legal side or, you know, even helping people with recovery from loss or --

KING: Do you want more children?

YATES: You know, we may try for a while. I think, you know, my wife and I have talked about that, and I think we're going to be happy either way. But, you know, we may try for a year or so and see what happens.

KING: Rusty, we've got the astronauts coming on. You were in charge of developing the infrared camera the crew tested on this trip, right?

YATES: That's true.

KING: That's your baby.


KING: Congratulations. Rusty Yates, the ex-husband of Andrea Yates. He's been with us throughout this whole ordeal and it's always nice seeing him. And we'll meet the people he helped go up and come buck right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we were to lose another vehicle, I will tell you right now that I would be moving to figure out a way to shut the program down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have announced a scrub for today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our goal is to fly these flights as safe as we possibly can.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I very strongly feel that we are not risking crew for foam, or I wouldn't feel comfortable launching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And lift-off of Space Shuttle Discovery, beginning America's new journey to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.


KING: There they are at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the astronauts from Space Shuttle Discovery. this interview, this is their first interview since they all got back safe and sound. And with us on the phone is former Senator John Glenn, Democrat of Ohio, who also carved his name in the history books of American space flight, the first American to orbit the earth, and at age 77 in 1998 the oldest person to orbit.

Commander Lindsey, would this be called a complete success?

CMDR. STEVE LINDSEY, COMMANDER DISCOVERY MISSION: Yes, Larry, I think so. It was a complete success. We had two major goals. One is to complete the flight test objectives we started after the Columbia accident with STS-114. And the second goal was to get the Space Station ready for assembly again. And I think we accomplished both of those goals successfully, and I think we're hopefully back in business and we'll be very cautious and careful with future flights. But we're ready to start assembling stations starting the end of August.

KING: Pilot Mark Kelly, did anything surprise you?

PILOT MARK KELLY, SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: Well, you know, it was a busy flight and you know, we had little bumps in the road along the way but overall it was very successful. You know, we got all our objectives done, and it was an exciting time for us and it's great to see the shuttle program back on track.

KING: Mission specialist Mike Fossum, what's the most special thing about going into space?

MISSION SPECIALIST MIKE FOSSUM, SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: For me the most special thing would be to see the Earth from up above, to see it without the borders, the colors that we draw on the map. The second thing would be just having a challenging mission and accomplishing all our objectives.

KING: Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak, what was it like coming back?

MISSION SPECIALIST LISA NOWAK, SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: You know, we really had a lot of fun up there, and we worked really hard, but coming back to Earth and seeing your family and seeing everybody, the whole team that worked real hard to make this mission happen was very gratifying, and of course it was nice to come back and have some fresh food and a shower, too.

KING: Mission Specialist Stephanie Wilson, would you do it again?

MISSION SPECIALIST STEPHANIE WILSON, SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: Oh, absolutely. I would absolutely do it again, a shuttle mission or a long duration mission on the International Space Station or go back to the Moon or on to Mars. I'd absolutely do it again.

KING: Mission specialist Piers Sellers. I know you left an astronaut up at that space station. Would you have volunteered for that?

MISSION SPECIALIST PIERS SELLERS, SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY: Larry, probably so as long as I could get enough of the kind of food that I can manage. yes, I think so. I'd have to negotiate it.

KING: Now with us on the phone, gentlemen and ladies, is former Senator John Glenn. John, what do you think as you look at this crew and remember, you were the first one to orbit the Earth. What's it like for you?

FMR. SEN. JOHN GLEN, FIRST AMERICAN TO ORBIT EARTH: I'm glad to look at this crew and see Steve looking as good, he looks as good as he always does, of course. And they couldn't have a better flight commander for this one. The things have gone along so great on this mission also, you know, I think it was 100 percent on that when they came back. So that's great. And now we can get on with building that station out, get a more full crew up there and get back to some of the research that was originally scheduled for. It's been limited now, and the plans are now just to limit it to research that will be applicable going to the Moon and to Mars. But I think if you do a much broader role in the space program than just that.

KING: Do you miss it, John?

GLENN: Oh, yes, sure. Anytime you're taking part in some things like that I think you miss it and you really watch every flight that goes up after that and sort of Walter Mitty (ph) yourself into the crew to think what it would be like if you were up there yourself. But just great to see everybody on this crew looking so good. They look great.

KING: Commander Lindsey, I would imagine, guessing, John Glenn would be one of your heroes.

LINDSEY: He was. He was one of my heroes growing up. I remember watching him and watching the Apollo astronauts that followed him. I remember as an 8-year-old kid watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. You know, something I always wanted to do. And boy, I would have never thought in a million years that 20, 30 years later I'd get to fly with John Glenn in space again. And John, as you know, it was a real thrill to fly with you and boy, it was just wonderful to do that. And it's wonderful to be in this program, be involved in exploration, the things we're doing with the shuttle program, the station program, and the next generation vehicle we're getting ready to build as well.

KING: Mike Fossum, what's it like to walk in space?

FOSSUM: More than I could have imagined. That first step out of the air lock, hanging on to the hand rail, looking down at the moonlit Earth, 220 miles below, will take your breath away for a moment. After that it was just like we practiced, start reaching for the first handrail and get on with the job.

KING: Piers, what was it like for you?

SELLERS: Well, a lot of work, Larry. I've got to tell you, we were outdoors three times, total of about 21 hours, and we were pretty much jumping out the hatch and going straight to work. We were working flat out. So I think Mike and I only got a few little breaks and saw the Earth in glimpses in between, you know, bolting this and wrenching that. A lot of work.

KING: Mark Kelly, you ever get nervous?

KELLY: Well, you know, I think you understand the risk involved in flying the space shuttle. I mean, it's a complicated machine. It takes a lot to get that amount of mass into space. So you do understand the risk. And I think if somebody isn't just a little bit nervous when they go out to the launch pad, they probably don't completely understand what's going on. So it, yes, I'd admit that there is a little aspect of nervousness. But you know, you've got a job to do, and you focus on what your task is and the mission, and you just work through that.

KING: John Glenn, I thank you for giving us the time. I know you did it when you were 77. John, would you do it again?

GLENN: Oh, absolutely. I'd be down there tomorrow morning. It would be great, Larry. I look for them to continue some of the studies on aging that we really got started out back then. We have a database of only one now. We need a lot more than that.

KING: Thank you all very much. Lindsey, Kelly, Fossum, Nowak, Wilson, Sellers, and John Glenn, an American hero, all of them combined in this great space program from the early days of John Glenn and now to the Shuttle Discovery back safe and sound. We thank you all very much. Congratulations on a very successful voyage. That's what they are, voyages. Tomorrow night we'll repeat our interview with John Walsh. Sunday night John Roberts will sit in and host the show form the Middle East and we'll be back Monday night live with LARRY KING LIVE. John Roberts is sitting in tonight for Anderson Cooper in northern Israel. John, it's yours.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines