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Congress Grills Top U.S. General in Iraq; O.J. Simpson's New Book: Fact or Fiction?; Democratic Leadership Battle Heats Up

Aired November 15, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Thanks much.
Voters said they want a new strategy for Iraq. So, today on Capitol Hill, America's top general tried to lay it out. But he left a whole lot of senators angry, frustrated, and confused.


ANNOUNCER: Battle over Iraq.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Hope is not a strategy.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Basically, you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people, in the last election, said, that is not an acceptable question.

ANNOUNCER: General Abizaid taking hits, talking troops levels, warning that time is running out.

Voters said corruption matters. But Congressman Jack Murtha calls a new ethics bill total crap. And that's not all.


SPECIAL AGENT ANTHONY AMOROSO, FBI: I went out and I got the $50,000, OK?

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Look, I'm not interested.



MURTHA: At this point.


ANNOUNCER: Will House Democrats elect the star of an FBI sting tape to be their new leader?

And O.J. Simpson's new book.

O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I don't think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood.

ANNOUNCER: He calls it, "If I Did It." So, is it fiction or fact?


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Well, thanks for joining us, our viewers in America and watching around the world tonight on CNN International.

We begin tonight with the hard business of doing what Americans said they want, changing course in Iraq -- tonight, all the angles on how senators tried to hold General John Abizaid, America's top commander for Iraq, accountable -- also, the politics of the war. The race for '08 is on. And, today, we heard from two potential heavyweights, tough questioning from Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

And a reality check on the remaining options for dealing with Iraq from a man who literally wrote the book on how the war was planned and how it all fell apart.

First, though, General Abizaid's day in the hot seat and CNN's Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two big ideas for a change in course in Iraq got a big thumbs-down from the top U.S. military commander for the Persian Gulf region, who wants no marching orders from Congress.

GENERAL JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: At this stage in the campaign, we will need flexibility to manage our force and to help manage the Iraqi force. Force caps and specific timetables limit that flexibility.

MCINTYRE: Bad idea number one, argues General John Abizaid, is the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops within four to six months, advocated by some Democrats, like incoming Senate Armed Serviced Committee Chairman Carl Levin.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), INCOMING CHAIRMAN, SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: That is not precipitous. It is a responsible way to change the dynamic in Iraq, to stop the march down the path to full- blown civil war, on which the Iraqis are now embarking.

MCINTYRE: But Abizaid insists, any withdrawal now would simply make things worth.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: What do you believe, General, would be the effect on the sectarian violence in Iraq? ABIZAID: I believe it would increase.

MCINTYRE: Bad idea number two, says the general, adding more U.S. troops to restore stability in the short term, as advocated by senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

ABIZAID: No, I do not believe that more American troops right now is the solution to the problem.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do we need less American troops?

ABIZAID: I believe that the troop levels need to stay where they are. We -- we need to put more American capacity into Iraqi units, to make them more capable in their ability to confront the sectarian problem.

MCINTYRE: Abizaid advocates, essentially, putting the current strategy on steroids, adding more trainers and advisers, kicking the turnover to Iraqi forces into a higher gear.

He thinks the current goal, of full transition to Iraqi control in 12 to 18 months can be done faster. How much faster, he doesn't know.

It's a middle-ground that infuriated Senator John McCain, who could not understand how more U.S. troops wouldn't help bring violence under control.

ABIZAID: Senator, I believe in my heart of hearts that the Iraqis must win this battle with our help. We can put in 20,000 more Americans tomorrow and achieve a temporary effect.

MCINTYRE: At a second session, the generals heading the CIA and DIA painted a gloomy picture -- the CIA director citing formidable obstacles facing Iraq, including what he called the Iranian hand stoking violence, even between rival Shia groups, and al Qaeda, which, despite the loss of many leaders, he says, still has a pretty deep bench.

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CIA DIRECTOR: We are dealing with deep historical forces, and it will require patience and wisdom, as well as just power to deal with them. This will, unfortunately, be a long struggle.


COOPER: Jamie, what was so fascinating today was to really this -- this clash between politics and promises and -- and -- and military thinking, at least. Everyone is expecting some kind of big changes in Iraq. Abizaid seems to be pouring cold water on what. What's going to happen?

MCINTYRE: Well, you know, it's -- it's -- it's interesting, because, as you say, Anderson, everyone is expecting a major course correction. Abizaid seems to be talking about minor tweaks to the policy. So, it will be interesting to see, when this Iraq Study Group comes out with its recommendations, how the military receives that.

The -- the White House initially said that they would listen to what the Iraq Study Group had to say, but not necessarily follow it. Then, with the selection of Robert Gates as defense secretary, a lot of weight was put on what the study group would come up with. And now Abizaid seems to be talking about a different policy. So, it will be very interesting to see how it all works out.

COOPER: Difficult days ahead.

Jamie, thank you.

More now on the grilling General Abizaid got, not just from Democrats, many of whom believe the voters gave them a mandate for change, but from a pair of Republicans. One could be running for president. That would be John McCain, of course, who launched an exploratory campaign committee today. The other is a seasoned expert on military affairs. Neither is happy with the way things are going in Iraq.

And, as CNN's Dana Bash reports now, they made it very clear today.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the first Iraq hearing since Democrats won control of Congress, but it was the Republicans, reeling from their election losses, who were the toughest.

Outgoing GOP Armed Services Chairman John Warner noted, "Iraq has lasted almost as long as World War II, with little progress."

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We're still confronted with an extraordinary situation of civil disruption, the inability of the government to fully exercise the reins of sovereignty. How do you explain that in simple terms to the American people?

ABIZAID: I believe that we can move forward, although the work ahead will be tough.

BASH: Some of the toughest exchanges came from senators eying a 2008 run for the White House -- a moment of vindication for senator John McCain, who said from the start not enough troops were sent to Iraq.

MCCAIN: Would -- would more American troops have made a difference?

ABIZAID: I think you can look back and say that more American troops would have been advisable in the earlier stages.

BASH: And frustration when General Abizaid said more troops now is not the answer.

MCCAIN: Basically, you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people, in the last election, said, that is not an acceptable condition.

ABIZAID: Senator, I agree with you. The status quo is not acceptable. And I don't believe what I'm saying here today is the status quo.

BASH: Abizaid rejected Democratic ideas to partition Iraq and start bringing some troops home. Senator Hillary Clinton said she sees no path to victory.

CLINTON: Hope is not a strategy. I mean, I have heard over and over again: The government must do this; the Iraqi army must do that. Nobody disagrees with that. The brutal fact is, it is not happening.

ABIZAID: And I would also say that despair is not a method. And -- and, when I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I'm in Iraq, with my commanders, when I talk to our soldiers, when I talk to the Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing.

BASH: But members in both parties made clear, they're downright exacerbated. And, after the hearing, the committee's top Democrat and Republican said they're working together on a new proposal to change course in Iraq.

WARNER: A constructive, bipartisan agreement , to which hopefully the majority of the committee can agree upon.

LEVIN: Staying the course is no longer, as far as I'm concerned -- and the American people clearly spoke on it -- a viable option.

BASH (on camera): Any new proposal won't happen until January, when Democrats take over Congress. But one thing is clear. The election forced Republicans, as well as Democrats, to demand a new strategy in Iraq.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Well, some perspective now "New York Times"' chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon. He's the co-author of the bestselling book "Cobra II." If you haven't read it, you should. It's the inside story of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Michael joins us now from Washington.

Michael, your take on today's developments?

MICHAEL GORDON, CHIEF MILITARY CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think General Abizaid pretty much told it the way it is in Iraq, which is -- I was there last month.

And while the politicians in the United States would like to see a withdrawal of forces, particularly on the Democratic side, that's simply not realistic, given how precarious the security situation is at this point in time.

COOPER: So, you're not hearing from anyone on the military side that they think any kind of drawdown or phased withdrawal, or, you know, you can call it whatever you want -- John Murtha talks about redeploying troops outside Iraq, keeping them in the region to respond to terror attacks that happen in the country.

On the military side, from the folks you talk to, you're not hearing any support for any of that?

GORDON: Well, I think -- I was in Al-Anbar Province in western Iraq in July. And, there, we simply don't have enough forces to really contest al Qaeda.

And, in Baghdad, it's the American military that really is the primary guarantor of security. Unfortunately, the Iraqi security forces aren't adequately doing the job. So, it's just the American military that stands between Iraq and civil war at this point.

COOPER: Well...

GORDON: And, in that context, you can't withdraw a lot of troops.

COOPER: Why aren't the -- the Iraqi military standing up? I know you were embedded with -- with Iraqi troops. I have gone out on patrol with Iraqi troops. Why aren't they doing better?

GORDON: It's not a question of numbers.

At the Pentagon, they trot out all these figures. There are 115,000 troops, with all their equipment. But the problem is, a lot of them, these forces, were developed locally. Some of -- a number of battalions refused to deploy to Baghdad when ordered to do so. They have gone AWOL. They're not necessarily politically reliable.

We had a reporter with a unit north of Baghdad, who their commander was essentially signaling out Sunnis and arrested them as part of a Shiite kind of ethnic cleansing campaign.

The problem is the political reliability of the Iraqi forces and their -- their loyalty to the new Iraqi government.

COOPER: But, Michael, you know, there are a lot of folks who say, and -- and a lot of Democrats who are saying right now, look, everything we have done so far doesn't seem to be working.

Why not tell the Iraqis, look, we're going to be withdrawing in six months, or phasing down, or -- or -- or, you know, redeploying troops, and force them to stand up, force them to do something that -- that they're not doing. In your opinion, from what -- the people you have talked to, is there something the Iraqi -- Iraqis politically, the government of Maliki, could be doing that they're not doing?

GORDON: Well, there's a lot they could be doing.

First of all, they have to overhaul their security forces. They could be engaging in reconstruction projects in Baghdad, which they're not adequately doing. They could be engaging in political reconciliation. That's well-known.

But this notion that the United States can pressure the Iraqi government into doing these things by threatening to withdraw or by beginning to withdraw, as Senator Levin has proposed, I think, would not work.

And that's because there are a significant number of players in Baghdad today who don't mind if the Americans withdraw. These are the militia leaders. They would be happy if the United States withdrew, because, then, they can go and carry out their ethnic cleansing campaign against the Sunnis.

I think General Abizaid laid out a course. He wants to kind of give it one last real try -- and he didn't put it that way, but that's kind of what it comes down to -- to really improve the Iraqi security forces, with a stepped-up training and advising effort.

COOPER: But, you know, to a lot of people -- and I think it was Senator McCain who said it today -- that just sounds like status quo, whether -- whether you call it status quo on steroids, as -- as some have, but it -- it sounds like stay the course.

GORDON: Well, I think General Abizaid is in a little bit of a difficult position.

I mean, the White House is reviewing policy. Baker and -- and Lee Hamilton are reviewing policy. It seems like everybody in Washington is reviewing policy and trying to develop a plan B. So, he's not really in position to come up with a -- a very different strategy this month. That's going to be determined by the White House.

But I think what he's trying to do is work with what he has. There are not a lot of American forces to deploy in Iraq. Our -- our military is simply too small for that. And, so, that's not a big option. Withdrawing is not a good option.

What does he have left? Improving the Iraqi security forces -- so, that's what he's going with.

COOPER: Well, difficult days ahead, no matter what the plan is.

Michael, appreciate it. Appreciate your writing. Thank you very much, Michael Gordon, from "The New York Times."

Well, while General Abizaid sees a light at the end of the tunnel, many Iraqis are living in the dark. Here's the "Raw Data."

According to the U.S. State Department, for the first week of November, there were only 8.6 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad. For the week, nationwide, power was only on for half the day. That's down 3 percent from the same period last year.

Well, Congressman John Murtha, a retired Marine who we just talked about, helped make Iraq a major issue, of course, in the midterm elections. Now he's a contender for House majority leader. And he's under attack -- coming up, a quarter-century-old sting that still haunts him, the FBI videotape -- you're seeing some of it -- that has resurfaced, been brought back out on the eve of the vote. The question is, is Murtha being swift-boated, as he claims, or is his past conduct still an issue today?

Plus: O.J. Simpson is back. Some are calling it a new low for a man who has already sunk pretty far in life. He's written a new book describing how he could have killed his wife and her friend, if he had. He says, it's fiction. We will see what the father of one victim, Ron Goldman, says. We will talk to him. And we will also, later, talk to O.J. prosecutor Christopher Darden -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well, as you certainly know by now, Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration's Iraq war policies. And his calls for change help make Iraq a major issue, of course, in the midterm elections.

And his longtime alley Nancy -- ally -- Nancy -- Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, has tapped him as her choice for majority leader. Her endorsement has left Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland kind of scrambling to stay in the race. The vote is tomorrow. And it's really the first major leadership test for Pelosi.

It's being complicated right now, though, by Murtha's controversial past. To put it simply, suddenly, everything old is new again.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you're a congressman like John Murtha, running for the second most powerful job in the House of Representatives, about the last thing you need is for a grainy old videotape like this, made by the FBI, no less, to resurface from a quarter-century ago.


SPECIAL AGENT ANTHONY AMOROSO, FBI: This is Special Agent Anthony Amoroso, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation.

JOHNS: A tape starring an undercover agent and the congressman in a townhouse with stacks of money.


AMOROSO: In front of me is $50,000 in five packets. Each packet contains $10,000 in $100 bills.


JOHNS: Sounds like a bribe, right? And it was, part of the now infamous Abscam sting, launched to ferret out crooked politicians. The FBI offered money to Congressman Murtha and others as a bribe to help a fictitious Arab sheik get into the country. And what did Congressman Murtha do?

For the record, Murtha turned down the bribe, but he didn't seem to exactly slam the door on the idea.


AMOROSO: ... we were willing to pay. And I -- OK, I got -- I went out and I got the fifty thousand, OK? From what you're telling me, OK, you're telling me that that's not what you -- you know, that that's not what...

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Look, I'm not interested.



MURTHA: At this point.


MURTHA: You know, we do business for a while, maybe I will be interested. Maybe I won't, you know?


JOHNS: As you might imagine, Congressman Murtha has been explaining his side of this story ever since the full tape of this episode came out in September. He says he was trying to make deals for investments in his home district. He was never charged with a crime, not even punished by the House Ethics Committee. And he says he didn't do anything wrong.

MURTHA: Well, that's true. I was trying to make deals with Arab sheiks. I had no idea. They offered me money, and I didn't take it.

JOHNS: But the guy who came up with the tape, a writer for the conservative "American Spectator" magazine, says, not so fast.

DAVID HOLMAN, "THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR": Just because something is legal does not make it ethical. And there's a huge difference here. He may not have sealed the crime by taking the bribe, but he certainly showed that his office may have been for sale.

JOHNS: Murtha says the only thing on the table, in his mind, was jobs for the folks back home.

MURTHA: But I talked to several people. I said, where can we put a big investment from some Arab sheiks in our district, where we can get some jobs going? We -- we were struggling.

JOHNS: Now the job that's on the line is the job of majority leader in the House of Representatives. And, though Murtha claims he's the victim of a right-wing smear job, Democrats in the House will have to decide who they want to believe.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, also, Nancy Pelosi's prestige is on the line with this vote. Coming up, we are going to check in with our political roundtable and separate the spin from the substance.

And O.J. Simpson -- and, of course, he was acquitted of murdering his son. Tonight, Fred Goldman speaks out about Simpson's new book. We will talk to Fred in a moment. It's billed as fiction. Could it really be a confession in disguise?

You're watching 360. Stay tuned.


COOPER: So, we were just talking about the FBI's attempted sting of Congressman John Murtha way back when, and what he said when offered a pile of cash, "No," then, "Not now." He's taking heat for that right now.

But he also has won major support in his campaign to be House majority leader because of his position on Iraq.

More on that, as well as today's Senate hearing on Iraq -- joining me, CNN's Candy Crowley, and John King, as well.

John, what about it? This old tape, I mean, Congressman Murtha says: Look, I face this every time I run for reelection in my district.

The voters don't seem to care in his district. Will Democrats in the Congress care?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's not running in his district, Anderson. He's running for the number-two job in a Democratic Party that just won a majority, in part by campaigning against the Republican Party as corrupt.

Anything you do in public life, whether it's 20 years ago, 30 years ago, or 20 minutes ago, is fair game, especially in the age of the Internet, the age of cable news. And Congressman Murtha knows that full well.

It is potentially damaging to his campaign, not even so much the Abscam tape from 30 years ago, but what he has said more recently about ethics legislation in Congress. He's an old-timer. He thinks some of these rules are too restrictive. But, in this atmosphere, those -- such comments like that -- and the tape feeds into it -- have certainly hurt his campaign. And his campaign is on the line, but so, as you noted earlier, is Nancy Pelosi's prestige.

COOPER: Candy, which way do you think this is going to break?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think the vote count, at least if you listen to Steny Hoyer -- and he's pretty good at counting votes -- probably goes to Hoyer.

I -- I think, obviously, Murtha has hurt himself, but, in the end, I think Hoyer always had what looked like the stronger campaign.

COOPER: Just for those, John, who aren't -- aren't following this quite as closely, what does it really matter for the Democrats? I mean, what is the difference between John Murtha or Steny Hoyer in this position?

KING: Well, number one, the majority leader is a big deal. You run the House on a day-to-day basis. You lead from the floor. The speaker rarely gives floor speeches. It's the majority leader who is the day-to-day manager of the House Democrats in this case.

What is the difference? Steny Hoyer is someone who says he has the experience to lead the Democrats on all of the issues. John Murtha certainly made his name on Iraq in the last campaign, and the Democrats certainly owe him a debt on that. But it is a very big position, especially with a narrow majority. That's what the Democrat will have. You're trying to get legislation through the House of Representatives.

You are the day-to-day face of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives. It is a very big job.

We're also joined right now by CNN's Bill Schneider. Want to bring him into the conversation.

Bill, what about this? Is this just dirty politics?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: (INAUDIBLE) a majority. But remember one thing. And this is the dirtiest part of all. This is a secret ballot. Nobody knows how anybody is going to vote. They -- both Hoyer and Murtha both claim they have the votes. Nobody knows. There's been plenty of instances in the past of people going in, absolutely certainly they had a majority, and then they come out feeling betrayed.

COOPER: Candy, so fascinating testimony today, with John Abizaid testifying before those senators -- it -- it's really this clash of -- of politics and promises.

There have been a lot of promises made on both sides of the aisle to voters about -- about a change, about not having just status quo. And, yet, we had this top general today kind of talking about status quo. Or, at least, that's the way it sounded to an awful lot of people.

Where -- where does this go? I mean, there are not a lot of great options out there.

CROWLEY: Well, and -- and that's what I think this entire hearing did.

It is a lot easier to vote for something or against it than it is to do something about it. And I think what came out of this was that, obviously, General Abizaid didn't please either the Republicans or the Democrats in his answers. But it was crystal clear at the end of this that there really are no good answers, that nobody has gone down a path that everybody can get around.

And while he -- I mean, he kept saying -- General Abizaid kept saying: I'm not -- I'm not advocating status quo.

He, nonetheless, gave answers that satisfied anybody on that committee.

COOPER: And -- and, politically, John, is -- is that -- is that a viable argument to be making these days? I mean, given what -- given the results of the election -- you know, we just had Michael Gordon from "The New York Times" on, talking about all the military people he's talked to, and that, you know, none of them are really behind this notion of some sort of withdrawal, or phased withdrawal, or redeployment, whatever you want to call it.

And, yet, it seems like, now, there is this groundswell that something has to change. And it seems like, certainly on the Democrats' side, that there's this groundswell for some sort of troop reduction.

KING: There is a groundswell among the Democrats for a troop reduction over the next four to six months. There are some Republicans saying, send in more troops in the short term.

If you listened to General Abizaid today, he seemed to think that that might be a good idea -- or a small amount of troops, not a large amount of troops.

But, look, the general is a military man. He will take his orders from the civilian leadership, including the new defense secretary, Bob Gates, once he's confirmed, and, more importantly, from the president of the United States, who, right now, Anderson, has not shown just what he wants to do, just how he will change the policy.

So, until then, General Abizaid is in a box. It's not his position to talk about what will come next. He needs to wait until he gets his orders.

But four words today, quite striking -- Jamie McIntyre and Dana Bash laid it out at the top of the show, the drama of all this. General Abizaid said this: "General Shinseki was right."

If you remember the beginning of the Iraq war, General Shinseki lost his military career, a distinguished military career, because he said, you need at least twice as many troops. And Donald Rumsfeld said no.

COOPER: And it was -- that was a startling -- very briefly, Bill, what happens if -- if the voters aren't listened to? Voters said they want a change. If -- if they don't get enough change, what happens?

SCHNEIDER: Well, then, there will be held to play politically, is what happens.

The voters have made it very clear the status quo is unacceptable. And, if General Shinseki was right, as Abizaid said today, then, they have done it all wrong.

COOPER: Bill Schneider, John King, Candy Crowley, thanks for your expertise.

From violence in Iraq to an act of violence that grabbed the attention of a nation -- flashback, 1995, Los Angeles: O.J. Simpson found not guilty of killing his ex-wife and her friend in the criminal trial. Now he has a new book, if you can believe it. And he's calling it "If I Did It."

Tonight, we will talk to Fred Goldman, the father of one of the victims, and former prosecutor Christopher Darden. Hear what they have to say about O.J.'s latest moves -- when 360 continues.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder, in violation of penal code section 187A, a felony upon Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being, as charged in count one of the information.


COOPER: That of course, the verdict from what came to be known as the trial of the century. In the mid-90s, the O.J. Simpson trial had this country glued to the television. The wealthy former football star accused of brutally killing his beautiful ex-wife and her male friend and leaving them in a pool of blood and driving home to take a shower.

In the 11 years since his acquittal, Simpson's rarely shy from public attention. He signs autographs for money. And that's something he's sure to get plenty more of in the coming days, as he begins a new book tour.

CNN's Randi Kaye explains how it's all happened.


ANNOUNCER: On Monday, November 27, the interview that will shock the nation.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shocking yes, and chiming. An interview with O.J. Simpson, acquitted of double murder in a criminal trial, held responsible for those murders in a civil court. Now he says he's speculating, asking what if?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wrote, "I have never seen so much blood in my life."

O.J. SIMPSON, AUTHOR, "IF I DID IT": I don't think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood.

KAYE: It's O.J., the author, pitching his provocative new book, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened". Placing himself metaphorically at the center of what was called the crime of the century: the vicious murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman, a young waiter who happened to be in the wrong place at the worst possible time.

It was the night of June 12, 1994, when the sound of a barking dog brought a neighbor to 875 South Bundy Drive in Brentwood, California. He made a gruesome discovery. Two bodies, stabbed, nearly decapitated, left in the driveway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a horrendous crime.

KAYE: Police collected the now very familiar evidence at the scene: a bloody glove, a blue wool cap, and found a trail of blood leading away from the scene of the crime. And though they didn't call him a suspect, they searched for Nicole's ex, O.J. Simpson.

COMMANDER DAVID GASCON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Obviously, we're not going to rule anyone out. We will pursue whoever we need to until we bring the party to justice.

KAYE: Four days later, an arrest warrant was issued for O.J., but he wouldn't go easily. He led police on this now infamous slow- speed chase on the L.A. Freeway, in a white Bronco, carrying his passport, a fake mustache, a pile of cash, and a gun.

His murder trial, which began more than seven months later, was the quintessential media circus, televised for all the world to see. Police said Simpson killed Nicole in a jealous rage, then killed Ron Goldman, who had come to her home simply to return a pair of glasses.

They said Simpson then returned home, changed his clothes, met his driver, and hopped a flight to Chicago.

But Simpson's lawyers said it was instead a case of police racism, crime lab incompetence and falsified evidence, which the so- called Dream Team whittled away.

JOHNNY COCHRAN, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.

KAYE: The trial would take more than eight months, but the jury took less than four hours to render its verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.

KAYE: O.J. was acquitted and now he's back, not with a confession, but a book and a TV special with a title that can only further taunt police, prosecutors, and the grieving families of two victims. "If I Did It", but so far he hasn't revealed how.

Randy Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, Simpson was acquitted but not everyone believed the jury made the right decision, certainly not Fred Goldman, father of Ron Goldman, who was murdered, alongside O.J.'s former wife. Mr. Goldman joins us now from Phoenix.

I appreciate you being with us. I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. When did you first hear about this?

FRED GOLDMAN, RON GOLDMAN'S FATHER: Originally, some weeks ago when there was a story that "The Enquirer" had about a book, didn't know if it was true or not. But then just yesterday it all came to fruition. We found out that this, in fact, was a book. And in fact, FOX was going to air a two-hour interview with this murderer.

COOPER: I don't believe there's any such thing as closure when you lose someone. You know, the pain never goes away. And I can only imagine what you and your family continue to go through, but this has got to just bring it all right back.

GOLDMAN: Well, there's no doubt about it. It's always there, and this just adds insult to injury. This is a guy who viciously, brutally murdered two people. And now 12 years later, he writes a book. As far as I'm concerned, he writes a book to tell us all how he did it.

And it's going to add a little information to suggest that if he did it, he might have changed a few things so maybe he wouldn't have gotten caught.

COOPER: Can -- can you do anything about this? Can you -- I mean, he's going to be making money off this. I read, you know, in the millions of dollars range for this book. I don't know what his deal exactly is. I guess he's making money off this TV show that's going to be on FOX. Can you at least -- can the victims' families get some of that money?

GOLDMAN: The answer is no for the moment. But I would imagine that knowing him and knowing his various disgusting team that he works with, that he's probably been paid that money already.

And interestingly enough, you can be assured that FOX and -- and the book publisher... COOPER: Judith Regan.

GOLDMAN: ... Judith Regan, has probably written that check out to someone else to help him avoid the judgment, which, again, is just more despicable behavior from these two characters.

COOPER: You also think about his children with Nicole Brown. I mean, to put them through this, it just -- it's -- it sort of -- it boggles the mind.

GOLDMAN: I think you hit the nail on the head. It is -- it is truly unbelievable that he cares so little about anything other than himself that he would write a book, go on national TV, and tell the world how he did or would murder the mother of his children and Ron.

It is truly the lowest level of sensibility and morality that Regan Books and FOX could ever, ever reach.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, it's an interesting decision on the part of these companies to go ahead and air this. I mean, it's one thing -- you can understand Simpson's motivation, I guess. Clearly, you know, I guess they think a lot of people are going to watch.

And I guess that's, you know, as -- I guess it's getting a lot of attention now. I guess you certainly hope that people will not watch this.

GOLDMAN: I hope that not only does no one watch it, I hope that no one buys his book. I hope that the public sends a signal to every book -- every book company, every retail store that if you carry it, we'll boycott you.

If -- if you put this piece of trash on the air, that the public will not only not watch it, but they will choose to not watch any FOX programming at all, if this is the kind of trash that they want to put on the air for the American public to have to -- have to watch.

COOPER: Do you follow this man, O.J. Simpson? I mean, do you, in terms of -- you know, every now and then you see his name in a small article somewhere or he shows up someplace selling his signature. You know, you see him out golfing in Florida. Do you try to follow him or do you not want to think about him?

GOLDMAN: Well, the reality is no, I don't want to think about him. But the fact is, he murdered Ron; he murdered Nicole. And that fact never will go away.

And all he does by rearing his ugly, ugly head is add insult to injury, to insult the mother of his children, to insult the families, to insult victims. He's a narcissistic, low-class, murdering SOB, and we can't -- we could never expect anything different than this kind of low-class behavior from him.

But frankly, for -- for the publisher and for FOX to do this, even reaches a lower level than I could ever imagine. COOPER: Fred, again, I'm sorry we're talking under these circumstances, but I do appreciate it. I wanted to give you a chance to respond and appreciate you coming on.

GOLDMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: All the best to your family.

GOLDMAN: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Fred Goldman.

At the time of the trial, the participants, of course, became household names. Americans followed their every move. The next hour we're going to talk to another man who was deeply involved in this trial, a 360 exclusive. You'll hear what former prosecutor, Christopher Darden, thinks about this new book on -- by O.J. Simpson.

First, though, what about the others? Martha Clark, Kato Kaelin? Where are they now? We'll take a look next on 360.



COCHRAN: O.J. Simpson with a knit cap, from two blocks away, is still O.J. Simpson. It's no disguise. It's no disguise. This makes no sense. It doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.


COOPER: Remember that? Closing arguments from the late Johnny Cochran. Now the case is back in the headlines. We've been telling you tonight O.J. Simpson has written a new book called "If I Did It", basically how he tells how he would have killed his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman, if he did.

With us now, Court TV's Lisa Bloom. She worked with the law firm that represented Nicole Brown Simpson's estate during the criminal trial. Plus, Lawrence Kobolinsky, professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. And Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and author of "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson".

Jeff, what do you make of this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I consider myself a fairly worldly person, and this is one of the most repulsive, disgusting, hideous spectacles I've ever seen. I mean, the idea that this guy would rub the world's nose in the fact that he got off on a crime that he's now more or less admitting that he did, I mean, it's sickening. It's awful.

COOPER: And Lisa, I mean, there's no way he can be retried for this, even if he came out and said, "I did it." LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: Well, yes, can't be retried for the murders. He could potentially be tried for perjury, because he testified under oath in the civil case that he did not kill her, he did not assault her, he did not lay a hand on her, he did not kick her, he did not do any damage to her whatsoever. He now admitted it.

COOPER: So that's why he's speaking hypothetically?

BLOOM: Right. This is probably the first book written in the subjunctive tense. Don't know whether to put it in the fiction or the nonfiction section, right next to James Frey, maybe. It's crazy. But they're trying to get around, I think, an explicit confession because of the possible perjury indictment, I think.

COOPER: Dr. Kobolinsky, in terms of forensics, would there be -- I don't know if you can read this book, but if you did, would there be details that you would be looking for?

LAWRENCE KOBOLINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Yes, very much so. You know, follow the evidence. The one problem that I have is we don't know what happened to the murder weapon. We don't know what happened to the clothing. We don't know what happened to the shoes. I hope to learn more once I take a look at that book. There are still some unanswered questions.

TOOBIN: But not the unanswered question of who killed these people. I mean, sure, every crime has unanswered questions about how things happened. But there's no mystery about the result of what he did.

BLOOM: Or how he did it. It was a knife attack. It was a personal, one on one knife attack of two people. So that he's revealing how it happened, we all know how it happened. The question is who.

COOPER: And just for those that have forgotten, the evidence. I mean, Bruno Magli shoe prints found at the scene. He was wearing Bruno Magli shoes.

BLOOM: Yes, those ugly shoes.

COOPER: Both the victims' blood in his car.

BLOOM: His hair on Ron Goldman, who he said he had never met. A glove in his home, a glove at the crime scene that matched. It had the blood of all three on each of them.

TOOBIN: I mean, O.J. is the ultimate O.J. junkie. He knows the evidence very well. He follows the coverage of the case very carefully. And one -- absolutely, and one thing that I bet he asserts in this book is that, "Well, maybe I was guilty, but I was also framed."

He will assert that Mark Fuhrman planted the glove on his -- on his territory -- on his property behind Kato Kaelin's room. So I think he will try to establish his victimhood in some way, because that's a big part of how he's dealt with this over the past decade.

COOPER: And to the extent that he still has support, it's -- I mean, not that he has a groundswell of support, but to those who still maybe like him in some way, it is him as a victim of the system that he has garnered whatever support he's got.

TOOBIN: Absolutely. That has been -- I mean, he -- you're right. He doesn't have much support at all, but the notion that this was a guy who was treated unfairly by a police department that has a history of treating black men unfairly is about the only thing he's had going for him.

COOPER: He reportedly made $3.5 million from this book. Who knows what sort of deal has been made for this TV show on FOX. I'm amazed that the family of Ron Goldman cannot get this, that the family of Nicole Brown cannot get this.

BLOOM: Well, it depends on how the money's paid. If it's paid to him, they'd have an outstanding civil judgment. They would have the right to go against it.

TOOBIN: But he's no fool.

COOPER: He's in Florida, which is, you know, a tax free...

BLOOM: Look -- Son of Sam Law in Florida. And by the way, you know, he's not the first criminal to write a book about what he did. I mean, Henry Hill wrote "Wise Guys", which was made into "Goodfellas". That went to the Supreme Court, and it was upheld.

Mary Kay Letourneau wrote a book about her crime. So people do write true crime books. Just that he's very high profile.

TOOBIN: But the thing that's an absolute certainty is that he structured the payment of the money in such a way, whether it's to a trust for his kids, whether it's some limited liability corporation, it will not be in any way that is easy for the Goldman family to get their $33 million judgment.

BLOOM: Well, you subpoena FOX. You subpoena Judith Regan. You subpoena the publishers. You follow the money. I mean, civil attorneys do that.

TOOBIN: You were a civil attorney.

BLOOM: It's not hard.

TOOBIN: Oh, come on.

COOPER: He could name somebody else as the beneficiary of this money, some friend of his who gets all the money.

BLOOM: But we know who's paying the money, Anderson, so they don't have to look at O.J. OK? The civil attorneys can go after FOX. They can go after Regan Books. They can see where the money is being paid to and who it's being paid so they can follow the money. I mean, this isn't the first time somebody has tried to avoid a judgment. Courts are there to look at these kinds of things.

COOPER: Would you watch this?

KOBOLINSKY: To be honest with you, yes, I really want to see what he has to say. I get the feeling that he thinks that this was justified in some way. I think in the back of his head, -- we really would love to get into his mind. And I think maybe by watching him and seeing how he reacts to really frank questions just to see what's on his mind.

COOPER: Lisa, would you watch?

BLOOM: I don't have a Nielson set, so I'll watch. Nobody will know if I watch.

TOOBIN: I devoted 2 1/2 years of my life to this case. How could I not watch?

BLOOM: Everybody wants a free copy of the book, then.

COOPER: You're a better man than we are. I just can't. I'm not going to do it.

Guys, thank you very much. We'll be talking again in the next hour. The panel will be taking your calls. The number is 877-648- 3639. That's 877-648-3639. That's in the next hour of 360.

And what about the other key players in this whole affair? Remember Kato Kaelin? He's gone from house guest to TV personality, kind of. He's not alone. We'll have an update on what the Simpson players are doing now. Plus, we'll talk -- we'll also talk to attorney Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors on the case.

Also, the top U.S. commander in Iraq on the hot seat on Capitol Hill. Senators on both sides of the aisle demanding answers. We'll have all the details when 360 continues.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After you gave the defendant a $20 bill, what did you next do?





KAELIN: I went to the house with him.


COOPER: That was Kato Kaelin of course, O.J. Simpson's house guest, on the stand back during the trial.

Simpson never took the stand in his defense. He has not stopped talking, however, as we've been discussing. Later this month, he's going to offer up a hypothetical describing the new book, which he says could have happened if he were the real killer.

Simpson aside, the trial made household names out of people whose lives took a whole new path after the verdict, people like Kato Kaelin. Here's a quick update on some of the familiar faces.


COOPER (voice-over): With cameras in the courtroom and millions watching from home, the 1995 trial of O.J. Simpson may have been TV's first reality show. And there were plenty of players to go around.

Each had their own 15 minutes of fame, but that was then. Nearly a dozen years later, what are they up to now?

JUDGE LANCE ITO, PRESIDED OVER O.J. SIMPSON TRIAL: Then I'll consider other sanctions.

COOPER: We begin at the bench and Judge Lance Ito. Ito hasn't traveled too far from the room. He continues to preside over cases as a superior court judge for the Los Angeles County.

CHRISTOPHER DARDEN, PROSECUTOR IN O.J. SIMPSON TRIAL: Who in the past has ever raised a hand to this woman?

COOPER: What about the prosecutors, Christopher Darden and Marcia Clark? He's practicing law in California. Clark is a legal correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight".

Who could forget this witness?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us, please, what it was you offered these lawyers in that room about your vocabulary, Detective Fuhrman?

MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LAPD DETECTIVE: That I don't use any type of language to describe people of any race such as what is alleged by Kathleen Bell.

COOPER: Mark Fuhrman, the detective who found the bloody glove, was exposed on the stand for making racist comments. Fuhrman now makes his living as a radio host and has written several crime books.

As for the world's most famous house guest, Brian "Kato" Kaelin, now 47, after a short-lived career on talk radio, he's now the host of a syndicated TV court show called "Eye for an Eye". As for the trial that made him famous, Kaelin says he's learned a lot.

KAELIN: You've got to realize one thing of people: everybody has their own agenda, and they all want something. COOPER: Denise Brown is the sister of Nicole. She remains certain that Simpson is the killer. And on her web site, Brown says she's dedicated her life to ensuring that her sister did not die in vain.

And then there's the leader of the dream team, Johnny Cochran.

COCHRAN: If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.

COOPER: His fame began before the trial, and Cochran's name grew even larger after it. Last year, the attorney and activist died of cancer at age 67.


COOPER: Well, in the next hour of 360, we'll talk to attorney Christopher Darden, the prosecutor in the case. We'll also be taking your calls for our panel with Jeffrey Toobin and Lisa Bloom and Dr. Kobilinsky. The number is toll free: 877-648-3639. That's in the next hour.

Randi Kaye joins us now with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Randi.


New leads tonight in the disappearance of 2-year-old Trenton Duckett. His mother, Melinda Duckett, shot herself in September after being named a suspect. Now a sheriff in Marion County, Florida, says new testimony might mean the boy is still alive.

A woman reportedly saw the mother come through a Wendy's drive- through with the child the day that she reported him missing, then returned alone a short time later. Authorities believe Duckett may have dropped Trenton off with someone to keep him away from his father.

Another Enron sentencing today, former chief accounting officer Richard Causey getting 5 1/2 years in prison, two years probation for fraud. He'll also have to pay a $25,000 fine and forfeit any money owed to him from the now defunct energy company.

U.S. Airways says it wants to buy Delta Airlines when the carrier comes out of bankruptcy. If the $8 billion bid is accepted, U.S. Airways says it might keep the Delta name and could complete the deal by mid-2007.

And on Wall Street, the proposed airline deal helped clinch another record close for the Dow. Blue chips up nearly 34 points. The NASDAQ gained 12 points, while the S&P is up three points.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Randi, thanks. Still to come tonight, General John Abizaid's rough day on Capitol Hill. What he said about Iraq and why neither Democrats nor a few top Republicans were pleased to hear it. In a moment, hear for yourself.

Then the hunt for Osama bin Laden and a provocative new study out of West Point that says maybe it doesn't matter as much as a lot of people think. There are other terrorists who are far more important. We'll take a look at how the terrorist threat is evolving.

And more on the O.J. Simpson book and our exclusive interview with prosecutor Christopher Darden and taking your calls. Stay with us.



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