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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Anna Nicole Smith Dead; Paternity Dispute over Daughter Dannielynn Hope; Celebrity Rehab; Secrets of the Delta; Winter Weather

Aired February 9, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we like to say we're keeping them honest. We never thought we'd have to also say don't try this at home.
Coming up tonight, wait until you see what happened to a reporter in Canada. Believe it or not, he was only trying to ask an optician a few questions about some alleged shady practices. His beat nearly earned him a beating, then things really got rough and weird. We'll show you how it turned out a bit later on in the program.

But we again tonight with Anna Nicole Smith. Her sudden death, her chaotic legal affairs and what happens to an innocent baby girl caught in the middle.

Ms. Smith died yesterday, of course as you know, at age 39 in a hotel room in Hollywood, Florida.

Well, today there was an autopsy and the local medical examiner gave his initial report.

Details on that now from CNN's John Zarrella.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: We do not make a determination of the cause and the manner of death.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): After a six- hour autopsy, it could still be three to five weeks before tests determine how Anna Nicole Smith died. But, today, we know how she didn't die.

PERPER: The autopsy was able to exclude any kind of physical injury, such as blunt-force trauma, gunshot wound, stab wounds, or asphyxia.

ZARRELLA: The chief medical examiner said, no tablets or pills were found in Smith's stomach.

PERPER: There are no findings which would indicate continued drug abuse.

ZARRELLA: Here is what we have learned from law enforcement sources about that happened Thursday. A private nurse was in the room with Smith. At about 1:39, she noticed Smith not breathing. The nurse called the bodyguard, who came in and began CPR. Nurse then called Howard K. Stern, Smith's companion. She can't reach him right away. Only after he calls back does the nurse call front-desk security, which called 911.

It is not yet clear how much time elapsed before 911 was called, but a source close to the investigation told us, quote, "It was a longer than usual delay," end quote.

Smith's attorney said she had fever for several days. The medical examiner said Smith could have died as a result of natural causes, or medication, or a combination of the two.

Seminole police say...

CHARLIE TIGER, SEMINOLE, FLORIDA, POLICE CHIEF: At this point no evidence has been revealed to suggest that a crime occurred. We found no illegal drugs, only prescription medicines.

ZARRELLA: Smith tried to commit suicide in the Bahamas after the death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel, in September, "Entertainment Tonight's" Mark Steines said today on CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICAN MORNING")

MARK STEINES, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT" CO-HOST: We have found out that after the death of Daniel, at some point, Anna did jump in her pool, attempt suicide at that point, and was found by Howard face down in the pool.

Howard screamed for help. Her bodyguard, Moe (ph), came out, who is a -- who is paramedic, and took her from the pool, administered CPR, and -- and saved her life at that point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Anna Nicole Smith.

ZARRELLA: This year, on January 6, a smiling, but subdued Smith attended a boxing match held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino by fight promoter Don King, one of her final public appearances, ironically, at the same hotel where she died.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: How involved was this autopsy? How long did the examination go on for?

ZARRELLA (on camera): Yes, it was quite involved. It went on for a full six hours, Joshua Perper told us. But he also told us that, you know, the toxicology isn't in. They have to wait on those results of the investigation of the blood, the investigation of the organ tissue, before they're going to be and able to figure out, Anderson, exactly what was the cause of death because there was nothing clear, nothing obvious in this six-hour autopsy -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John Zarrella, appreciate the reporting.

There's still a lot of mystery, of course, about Anna Nicole Smith's life, what her final days were like, and about the people who were surrounding her.

Some perspective now from "Extra's" Jerry Penacoli, who interviewed Anna Nicole many times over the year.

Jerry, it's good to see you.

You interviewed her, as I said, countless times throughout the years. What kind of person was she? What kind of entourage did she have? Because from the outside it always looked like she was sort of out of control and not really fully aware of all the stuff going on around her?

JERRY PENACOLI, "EXTRA" CORRESPONDENT: You know, consistently, Anderson, Anna had this persona that was very ditzy, kind of flaky, floozy, if you will you. But Anna Nicole Smith was, was actually a very bright person.

She liked to project a certain persona because of her obsession with her screen idol Marilyn Monroe. It was almost as if she was emulating Marilyn in her public behavior.

But in her private behavior, when she wasn't kind of fuzzy, which I have to admit she was quite often, many times over the years -- and it's been about 13, 14 years that I've interviewed her -- she seemed less than lucid and she would consistently cry, just arbitrarily break down during interviews. And I would ask her why she was crying. And she would say because she's so lonely. She's very alone. The very thing that she sought her entire career -- her entire life, really, was just fame and success. She felt as she was getting more and more into her career that it was trapping her. And she just felt very, very lonely.

I think that actually is very key to her relationship with Howard K. Stern. Because Howard, for better or for worse, was always there for her. First as her lawyer, then as her confidant, then a friend. And then who knows? We're still finding out.

COOPER: You know, I'm always dubious about attorneys who, you know, cross over that line and end up in a personal relationship with a person who was their client.

What's your take or if you have one, on, I mean what kind of impact did he have on her life? What kind of a force was he? A force for good? Do we know?

PENACOLI: He was her great protector. That's how Anna saw Howard K. Stern. And I think that their relationship developed. If it did become romantic, if it did blossom into that, it was by default. Because Anna always complained about not having someone in her life. She had many men. I think she had many sexual encounters, but didn't have anybody that was close to her that she could count on in that respect. Howard K. Stern became that man. COOPER: I remember seeing a Larry King interview where he's sitting right next to her and she's saying, I have no one I can trust. I can't trust anyone in my entire life. And, you know, this guy who supposedly is her friend or lawyer or whatever is sitting right next to her. It seemed sad to me.

PENACOLI: I think she meant, you know, and I've heard her say that with Howard in her presence, and I think she meant present company excluded.

COOPER: Why do you think he's been so resistant to a DNA test?

PENACOLI: You know, that's the million dollar question, Anderson. And if I had to speculate, and I'm not really in a position to speculate. That's not my job. But if I were to give you my opinion, I would say it's because he's not necessarily the person that he's saying he is, and that is Dannielynn's father.

COOPER: You know, you talked about her sort of playing this role, playing it up maybe based on her sort of fixation on Marilyn Monroe. But did you feel that she was running the show? I mean, was she running the Anna Nicole Smith show or were other people kind of running her?

PENACOLI: She was running it probably more than she wanted anyone to let on. She was not anyone's fool. Very kind, very sweet, very generous woman. But very, very insecure, extraordinary number of vulnerabilities. And extraordinarily fragile. So she needed the support group around her to kind of hold her up. And yet, she still wore the pants.

COOPER: Interesting. Jerry, it's good to talk to you. Jerry Penacoli, appreciate...

(CROSSTALK)

PENACOLI: Thanks, Anderson, for having me.

COOPER: ... your being on the show. Thanks.

As we've been reporting, there are -- well, there are a couple of mysteries tonight. How Anna Nicole Smith died, of course, and who fathered her daughter.

More now on that from CNN's Brooke Anderson, who joins us right now -- Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT" CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, yes the paternity battle rages on. It's been happening for several months now. And today a judge refused to grant an order to expedite DNA testing on Anna Nicole Smith's body. That motion was filed by Debra Opri, attorney for Larry Birkhead.

Larry Birkhead, a former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith, claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole's 5-month-old child, Dannielynn Hope. On the other hand, you've got Howard K. Stern. You guys were just talking a lot about Howard. Longtime lawyer and partner of Anna Nicole Smith. He's also claiming to be the father. His name is the one on the birth certificate for Dannielynn in the Bahamas.

The judge ruled today that Anna Nicole's body, her remains will be preserved and kept in Florida at least until February 20th. And that is when he has scheduled a full hearing.

I do want to mention that Debra Opri said she wanted to obtain this DNA, wanted it expedited to make a connection between Anna Nicole Smith and the baby. She didn't want any sort of bait and switch with the babies. To which, Ron Rale, who represented Anna Nicole Smith and who was in court today on her behalf, responded to that, that's pretty ridiculous and there was never any talk of any sort of bait and switch.

But Anderson, you've got these two men claiming to be the father. But that's not all. Today, a third man tossing his hat into the ring, claiming that he could be the potential father as well. Zsa Zsa Gabor's latest husband, Prince Frederick Von Anhalt says he had a 10- year relationship with Anna Nicole Smith and that he could be the father. He actually held a news conference today discuss this and said some pretty demeaning things about Anna Nicole Smith. Listen to what he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRINCE FREDERICK VON ANHALT, ZSA ZSA GABOR'S HUSBAND: There are a lot of guys. I mean, I told you, I mean, she was a woman, she liked love, you know. She liked her life. And I'm sure there are other men. There could be easily 20, 30 men.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Now, Von Anhalt said he doesn't want to get involved here, Anderson. I think it's a little bit late for that. He said he wants the court to decide how this proceeds, that he's very happy with his wife. But he did say if the court awards custody to Larry Birkhead or to Howard K. Stern, he will step in and will take further action. There you have that.

COOPER: Yes, that's mighty big of him. I love how he said, like he doesn't want to get involved. And yet he held, he called a press conference. It's not as if people were beating down his door because they knew of this. This is a guy who sent out press releases, held a press conference. But no, he doesn't want to get involved.

ANDERSON: No.

COOPER: Only in Hollywood. Brooke, appreciate the reporting, thanks.

Up next, trouble in paradise. How the battle over baby Dannielynn is playing out in the Bahamas right now. A live report from the island, next. Plus this...

The ups and downs of Anna Nicole Smith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA NICOLE SMITH, DECEASEAD: I can't trust anybody. I just, I can't. I get sued all the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The centerfold at the center of so much controversy. Tonight, a look back at the life of a former stripper, who went all the way to the Supreme Court.

Plus, the public fall from grace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: I am deeply sorry. I have hurt someone I care deeply about.

TARA CONNER, MISS USA: Thank God I have the chance to make it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: For beauty queens, politicians and Hollywood actors, these days the way to make it right is to enter rehab, celebrity rehab. A sincere move or publicity stunt? You decide, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it was in the Bahamas where Anna Nicole Smith's son died and her daughter was born. Tonight, that daughter, Dannielynn hope, remains on the island while the legal fight over her future continues here in the states.

CNN's Rusty Dornin is in Nassau with the latest -- Rusty.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's a little unclear right now where the baby is at this moment.

From reports, we do understand that she was left with a high ranking Bahamian official, Shane Gibson, while Anna Nicole Smith and Howard Stern were in Florida.

As of now, we understand that Howard Stern's sister and mother are either on their way or they're here in Nassau, trying to see after the welfare of the daughter, as is Anna Nicole Smith's mother, who is also trying to see after the welfare of the baby. But there is no word on where the baby is right now.

Now, here in the court system here, if there's a custody battle -- obviously there is going to be -- the baby could be turned over to the social services here in Nassau. And of course, it's going to be a long and drawn out legal battle over the custody of Dannielynn -- Anderson.

COOPER: Why did Anna Nicole Smith end up in the Bahamas?

DORNIN: Well, I think part of it is this is an island where people feel -- who are famous -- feel that they can have some anonymity. They seek refuge here. She -- from some of the locals that I talked to, they said they did see her, they knew she was here. Although, when she came here, from the time she came, she was surrounded by death and by scandal. Even when she came here, apparently when she gained residency, that was even surround by rumor and scandal, that she had gained it too quickly, how did they gain it? There was some debate over the house she was living in.

The man who owned the house claimed that he had not given it to her. She claims that he had given it to her.

So, there was always a cloud, as it seemed, wherever Anna Nicole Smith went, there was a cloud of controversy, a cloud of legal battles that were following her.

COOPER: Even her attorney on that island is now suing her, her former attorney -- I spoke to him last night -- for legal fees of about $115,000. And that, of course, is just one of the things. The inquest will be happening later on as well into the exact cause of Daniel's death.

Rusty, appreciate the reporting.

I spoke with CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin earlier about what is sure to be a long legal fight over Anna Nicole Smith's daughter and the money. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Jeffrey, you know, this thing just keeps getting more and more sort of tawdry and bizarre. We now have -- we have Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's partner and attorney, I guess her husband, depending on whether you believe there was a real marriage ceremony. You have Larry Birkhead, Smith's ex-boyfriend, both whom claim they are the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. And then you have this guy, allegedly calling himself Prince Frederick Von Anhalt, whatever that means, Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, who says that he and Smith have been having an affair for the past 10 years or so and that he's the father. I mean, can people just keep showing up? Where does this thing go?

TOOBIN: Well, they can. I mean, the one thing about paternity is unlike everything else in this case, it's going to have a factual clear resolution. I mean, they are eventually going do a DNA test on this poor little baby girl and find out who her father is.

COOPER: But there's no guarantee just because one of these guys has paternity that they would necessarily get custody of this child. I mean, for all we know, Anna Nicole Smith's mother could say these people are unfit and I should have custody.

TOOBIN: That's right. Although the main unknown at this point is whether Anna Nicole Smith had a will. Because...

COOPER: Can you -- is there any way she did not have a will? I mean, she's been surround by attorneys for years and any responsible attorney, one of the first things they always say is like, you know, make a will.

TOOBIN: I mean, we don't know, but I would be willing to bet that she doesn't have a will.

COOPER: Really, why?

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: Oh absolutely. Because most people in their 30s don't have a will.

Second, she just had a baby five months ago. She's had a lot going on. I doubt she's had the -- I doubt she's been focused enough to make a will during that brief period. Well, we'll find out.

COOPER: But I mean, isn't that the point of having these attorneys. I mean, she's now allegedly married to an attorney. You would think, you know, whether she's responsible or not, that some responsible people in her life, if they care about her, would say, make a will.

TOOBIN: Well, I mean, you're talking about the concept of responsibility for a woman whose 5-month-old baby was, you know, in a different country than she was. I mean, this is not a conventional mother relationship. She was not a conventional person. I have very little doubt that she died intestate, as the lawyer says, meaning she died without a will.

COOPER: On the paternity issue, Howard Stern's lawyer says he doesn't have to provide a DNA sample. But obviously, this whole thing would be cleared up if he did. Why wouldn't he provide a DNA sample, I mean legally?

TOOBIN: Well, I think, I mean, the only logical inference you could draw is he's afraid of what the result will show, which is that it might show he's not the father.

I mean, you know, just as prosecutors often use a suspect's willingness or lack of willingness to take a lie detector test as a pretty good sign of whether they're telling the truth. You know, the willingness to take a DNA test is a pretty good sign of whether someone really thinks they're the parent.

Larry Birkhead, the photographer boyfriend, has been screaming that he wants a DNA test.

You know, that -- I don't understand the reason why Howard Stern's lawyer is saying he doesn't want to take a DNA test. It seems preposterous, like a lot of things in this case. But I have no doubt that this poor child, you know, who has no parent at this point, a judge is going to insist that any claimants to paternity take a DNA test.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That was CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Coming up, a teenage bride, a "Playboy Playmate, a woman who died too young. A look back at Anna Nicole Smith's unusual life. That's next.

Also tonight, first comes the apology, then the admission. Rehab and celebrities, why it seems be to the "in" thing in Hollywood these days, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, her life was flashed across the tabloids, one headline after another. She was famous for being famous. But before that, she was just a small town girl from Texas.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has her rise and her fall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the stripper and centerfold who went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The woman the world knew as Anna Nicole Smith, was born Vickie Lynn Hogan, to a single mother in a small Texas town in 1967.

LARRY KING, CNN'S "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: It was a tough childhood.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH, DECEASED: At a time, tough time.

TUCHMAN: At 16, she dropped out of high school and married a chicken fry cook. At 19, she gave birth to a son, Daniel Smith. In 1992, her big break.

SMITH: There was an ad in the paper for "Playboy's" Playmates. And I went to the ad and took some pictures. And "Playboy" called me and flew me to Los Angeles. And I was on the March cover of 1992.

TUCHMAN: This was the cover and the moment Anna Nicole Smith became famous.

She was named "Playmate" of the year. Her voluptuous figure caught the eye of Guess Jeans, who gave her a contract and a new identity.

SMITH: Anna Nicole came from Guess Jeans. Paul Marciano and me and one of his friends, we were sitting around, coming up with a stage name and that's where that came from.

TUCHMAN: Movie roles followed, and then controversy. SMITH: I never had love like that before. No one has ever loved me and done things for me and respected me and didn't care about what people said about me. I mean, he truly loved me and I loved him for it.

TUCHMAN: In 1994, the 26-year-old Smith married 89-year-old Texas Oil Magnate J. Howard Marshall, II. Fourteen months later Marshall died, leaving an estimated $1.6 billion. His son battled her over Marshall's fortune. He said she was not one of the rightful heirs.

It was a fight that would take her all the way to the Supreme Court. Last year the justices ruled in her favor. But the case is still being fought in lower courts. And her attorney said today she's never gotten a dime.

As her fame grew, so did her weight. Tired of what she said were all the fat jokes, Smith lost the weight and became spokeswoman for TrimSpa weight loss pills.

Last year she said she was pregnant, but wouldn't say who the father was, which has led to an ongoing paternity dispute.

And on September 7th of last year, in a hospital in the Bahamas, Smith gave birth to a baby girl. It should have been the happiest time of her life, but just three days later, her 20-year-old son collapsed in Smith's hospital room. He died. The coroner she hired says it was are from an overdose of methadone and antidepressants.

HOWARD K. STERN, SMITH'S PARTNER AND ATTORNEY: Daniel, you know, he's more than a son to her. They're great friends, best friends. And you know, Daniel was her rock. So everything that she's gone through, Daniel has been there with her. And you know, I honestly, I don't know how we're going to get through this.

TUCHMAN: Five months later, Anna Nicole Smith was dead at 39. Her life was strange and it was sad.

SMITH: I can't trust anybody. I just, I can't. I get sued all the time. I can't trust anybody.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A hard life indeed. Anna Nicole also faced rehab at one point, something a lot of big names can certainly relate to.

Plus, the public fall from grace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: I am deeply sorry. I have hurt someone I care deeply about.

TARA CONNER, MISS USA: Thank God I have the chance to make it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: For beauty queens, politicians and Hollywood actors, these days the way to make it right is to enter rehab, celebrity rehab. A sincere move or publicity stunt? You decide.

Plus, a meltdown caught on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM PLIMMER (PH), OPTICIAN: Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you? Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. What? What? You going to hit me? You going to hit me?

PETER SILVERMAN, "CITY NEWS" CORRESPONDENT: You hit me and I'll (expletive deleted).

PLIMMER (PH): Get out of here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Somebody's having a very bad day. The story behind this wild video, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, unless you've been living under a rock, you probably noticed that repentance isn't something done in private anymore, at least not if you're a public figure.

This week, San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom announced he's started rehab for a drinking problem just days after admitting he'd had an affair with one of his staffers, the wife of one of his close friends. Scandalous perhaps, and well, pretty familiar as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: I am deeply sorry.

COOPER (voice-over): When the famous implode, it's a favorite playbook.

NEWSOM: I have hurt someone I care deeply about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to apologize to my family.

DAVID ROTH, ATTORNEY FOR MARK FOLEY: Mark explicitly reaffirms his acceptance of responsibility and remorse.

COOPER: From mayors to beauty queens to politician, after the apology often comes this.

DONALD TRUMP, CO-OWNER, MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION: She's agreed to go into rehab.

ROTH: Mark voluntarily entered a substance abuse and mental health facility on Sunday.

NEWSOM: I am accountable for what has occur and have now begun the process of reconciling it.

COOPER: San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom, it is the fallout of an affair with his friend's wife. Newsom embraced rehab after she confessed to her husband as part of her rehab for a substance abuse. Ironic, maybe. Surprising? Not at all.

MICHAEL LEVINE, HOLLYWOOD & MEDIA EXPERT: Today, not only is there no social stigma, it's actually considered in some quarters of American life, to be somewhat popularizing and hip and chic.

COOPER: Rehab may be chic today, but it wasn't always. When Elizabeth Taylor checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in 1983, she didn't hold a press conference, but she paved the way for others.

TARA CONNER, MISS USA: Thank God I have the chance to make it right.

COOPER: Miss USA isn't alone. Mark Foley, Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Isaiah Washington, the Reverend Ted Haggard. They've all embraced some sort of recovery program in the last seven months alone.

Haggard's lasted just three weeks -- long enough, we were told, for a revelation. He's completely heterosexual.

LEVINE: I thought it was among the silliest statements I've heard in the public arena in some time and that's saying quite a lot.

COOPER: Michael Richards said quite a lot as well in his racist rants at a comedy club, and then seemed baffled by his behavior.

MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR COMEDIAN: I'm not a racist, that's what is so insane about this.

COOPER: Whether the problem is a racist rant, a sex scandal or addiction, the word rehab gets tossed around a lot. But as experts point out, rehab isn't a cure all.

JON MORGENSTERN, SUBSTANCE ABUSE EXPERT: If the implication of some of these events are that people can go into rehabilitation to cure a problem with lying or having, not behaving well, that's a misnomer. That's not what addiction rehabilitation is about.

COOPER: Mel Gibson blamed his anti-Semitic rant on alcohol, an excuse that didn't win much sympathy.

(On camera): Why should people believe you're genuinely sorry?

MEL GIBSON, ACTOR: Beats me. And that's not my problem. I have to keep my side of the street clean and I'm doing it.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So you don't really -- it doesn't worry you what people think?

GIBSON: Of course. But, you know, there's nothing I can do about that. I mean, I move on. I've moved on. That was six months ago. And I have moved on.

COOPER (voice-over): There's no test for sincerity and no guarantee that rehab will tame every personal demon.

MORGENSTERN: There isn't a recovery program per se for people who lose their temper and say racist remarks. People have real moral regret. I think that's something that only a person knows for himself.

CONNER: And I plan on walking out of this the best Miss USA that you've ever seen.

COOPER: Maybe some are playing the sympathy card or maybe they're truly sorry or maybe it's a little of both. And maybe their public confessions are medicine for all.

MORGENSTERN: I think anything that encourages people to recognize that they have a problem. If a mayor of San Francisco stands up and says, you know what? I have a drinking problem. I'm taken responsibility for it and I'm getting treatment. That's a very good thing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Well, I talked about this trend with Dr. Drew Pinsky a short time ago. He's an addiction specialist and a host of "Discovery Health."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You know, Dr. Drew, there's so much skepticism about these celebrities, high profile people, using these treatment programs as like a get out of jail free card. You don't think that's the case?

DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: I really don't. There's two issues. One is, these are major medical illnesses. Your probability of dying from addiction, if you have it, is actually worse than most cancers. It's a fatal illness that needs to be dealt with as a serious medical condition and we shouldn't be making light of people that go to treatment.

COOPER: Someone like Isaiah Washington, who uses an anti-gay slur, saying he's going into a treatment program...

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: No, well, here's the problem.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Is there a treatment for that? PINSKY: Well, no, there isn't. In fact, we -- we don't know -- the press is reporting it as something. I don't know what he did or what is his diagnosis and what kind of treatment?

Unfortunately, the term rehab gets tossed around an awful lot and that's a term that really means nothing to me. All we know is they're getting some sort of mental health treatment, presumably at an appropriate level of care, for some diagnoses.

I mean, you know, the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic Manual for Psychiatry, is, you know, thousands of pages. There's something going on for this person and presumably they're getting the appropriate level of care.

One other thing about the P.R. spin on this, I've talked to at lot of P.R. agents about this and they all say the same thing. This is never good for their clients, not only in terms of the spin in the public, but also in terms of being able to work. They have to pass insurance physicals. They have to be insurable. And if they have a chronic or active psychiatric problem, they can't work, they can't be insured to be on a film, they can't be insured to be on a television show. So this is a serious liability and just not something that they're going to toss around for P.R. purposes.

COOPER: And you said that you can spot warning signs when celebrities are addicts. And you say you saw it with Anna Nicole Smith?

PINSKY: Well, Anna Nicole, I mean, you know, I think everyone else began to talk about how serious her drug addiction was, and there's slurred speech, inappropriate behaviors. Where there's smoke there's fire with most addicts. If you see somebody who's personality has changed, who's judgment is up, who is having consequences in specific spheres of their life -- work, school, finance, health, relationships or legal matters. If you're having a lot of consequences in those areas and yet you don't change your behavior, you can't adjust, at the very least we know there's a mental health issue and more often than not there's a substance issue.

COOPER: What is so tragic, though, in our culture today, all these tabloids magazines which follow the antics, the comings and goings of these people, but it's like we're all watching a train wreck and everyone knows kind of what's coming. And these people seem to be surrounded by sycophants and lawyers who don't really seem to be looking after their best interests.

PINSKY: And the fact is, the celebrities or the addict or the person with the mental health issue won't tolerate other people around them. They reject everybody else. And these people get a lot of secondary gain out of it.

So there's many different issues here that have to be addressed when it comes to a celebrity.

The other thing is, we have industries built around and speculating on what, who these people are, why their relationships don't work out. And yet, there's really actually almost no objective data on who they are, what's wrong with them, what they're living with.

I just recently published a study, we were able to show that celebrities have a very high incidence of narcissism personality constructs, high incidents of attachment problems and substance use. And that, the degree of the pathology that we found had no relationship to the amount of time that they were a celebrity.

COOPER: But you say that people entering, celebrities entering rehab or getting into trouble can actually help the larger public. How so?

PINSKY: Listen, we all need to be more literate with our interpretation of what the media offers us. Things -- you know, just what's been happening lately in the media, is people with some sort of behavior problem are going to rehab and people aren't given the opportunity to sort of learn about what these things are.

If the media were -- if the reporting was more specific. This a certain kind of mental health problem. Here are the manifestations. Here is how that kind of person is treated. There would be an opportunity for us all to be empathic about those people and what they're suffering with and also to learn more about mental health and what the manifestations are.

COOPER: Certainly, we don't know much about what happened with Anna Nicole Smith. Still trying to find that out.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, it's always good to talk to you. Thanks.

PINSKY: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, ahead on 360, we take you inside a rebel army fighting over oil, taking hostages. We'll tell you why it may affect you at the pump.

And caught on camera, an optometrist goes kind of berserk. He unleashes his anger and a whole lot more on a 75-year-old reporter. Yikes. When 360 continues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PLIMMER (PH): Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. Go ahead, hit me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: This next story is about the gas in your car, the oil that heats your home. There's a place in Africa, known as the Niger Delta. It's in Nigeria. It is rich in oil, but the people are stunningly poor and they want a cut of the oil wealth.

Now, a rebel army says they'll stop at nothing to help their people. Some new developments in the story.

Tonight, CNN's Jeff Koinange takes us back into the heart of darkness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A treasure lies beneath these brackish waters, billions of barrels of oil. But, where there are vast riches in Africa, there is also something else, bloodshed.

The blood these days comes in a high speed guerrilla war skimming across the waters. After an e-mail invitation we believe came from the militant's mysterious rebel leader, a man named Jomo, we came to the delta and were suddenly face to face with hooded men.

The fighters told us they were with his group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The acronym is MEND. But they did not seem happy to see us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times do you come here with your cameras and didn't do anything? We don't want you guys to come here again.

KOINANGE: The militants eventually relaxed and led us to one of their hideouts in the swamps and showed us their strange spirit dance. It was there we encountered 24 Filipino captives held hostage for nearly a month.

RUBEN ROBLE, CAPT. BACOLINER II: We're all OK but only we want to be free. We want to be released.

KOINANGE: The kidnappings, the murders and the bombings here are not so surprising. MEND fighters compare themselves to Robin Hood. It's dedicated to stealing from the oil rich and powerful and giving the money back to the poor who live in the vast delta, whose lives are actually damaged by the oil operations.

But in the village we visited before meeting with the rebels, it appears nothing has been given back to them. Once upon a time, Ekwa (ph) was a thriving fishing community deep in the Niger Delta.

On this day, this fishermen has only managed to reel in a single fish which, he says, took him four days to catch. He blames rich multinational oil companies that, he says, have polluted the river, destroying his livelihood without providing any compensation.

SUNDAY KANYOFA, FISHERMAN: None of my children is going to school. No scholarship. No nothing. We are suffering here. You see. We are suffering here.

KOINANGE: In villages further along the river, stories of neglect and abandonment and of people living in abysmal conditions.

This dirty pond is where villagers like Monday Como (ph) collect their drinking water. Makeshift homes are made from sticks and thatch. There's no sanitation, no running water and very little food to eat.

And in a region where fishing has always been the community's mainstay, even the fish seem to have gone away.

The situation is identical in village after village in this depressed area twice the size of Maryland. Scenes of abject poverty very similar to what you'd find in a refugee camp. What we found was a region where time seems to have been standing still and where people live the most meager of existences, leaving them bitter and angry from being denied the benefits of the black gold that makes Nigeria Africa's largest oil producer.

This has helped turn people like Ike West into angry young men. He says he's ready to sabotage pipelines like this one to disrupt 2 million barrels of oil the country produces daily.

IKE WEST, VILLAGER: I'm ready to blow off this station. I have decided to die because of my oil. I am ready to face anything that comes up.

KOINANGE: The nearby gas flares are vivid evidence of Nigeria's thriving oil production. Last year oil exports reaped more than $30 billion. That amounts to 90 percent of Nigeria's foreign exchange earnings. And yet, locals here see little if any of that.

That enormous difference between the wealthy and the poor is why MEND says it exists.

Back at the camps, the fighters had finally agreed to take us to their leader. Because of his superstitions, the leader, a man calling himself Major General Tamuno God's Will, could only talk to us in the middle of the river.

(On camera): And how far are you willing to go, sir? How far is MEND willing to go to accomplish your goals?

MAJ. GEN. TAMUNO GOD'S WILL, MEND: MEND has come to stay and there is no force in the universe that will stop MEND in achieving these demands.

KOINANGE (voice-over): We never did meet the mysterious e-mailer who invited us to the Delta, the mysterious Jomo. But instead of the ragtag band of rebels with an ax to grind, what we saw was a terrifying group of disciplined angry young men, bold, powerful, on to the tee and eager to fight. All this for a share of the billions of barrels of oil beneath these murky waters.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Jeff, your reporting on the Niger Delta has kind of turned into an international incident. First, the Philippines and those hostages, they've been held for a month. What do you know about efforts to free them? KOINANGE (on camera): Anderson, the Philippine government strongly hinting today that it would approve the payment of ransoms to win the freedom of these hostages. The government also said that negotiations are being handled by Nigeria and that there was no reason not to trust the Nigerian government.

COOPER: All right, well let's talk about Nigeria. The government has been extremely critical of this report. In fact, today the Nigerian minister of information issued a statement, saying in the report, and I quote, "sends the wrong signals to the international community about the state of affairs in the country, create unnecessary panic, foster the feeling of insecurity, advance an out- dated thesis of neglect of the Niger Delta and portray Nigeria as a country in perpetual crises. It also glorifies criminality and undermines global efforts of eliminating terrorism."

The statements also complained that our report did not include interviews with any government officials. How do you respond, Jeff?

KOINANGE: I'll tell you what, Anderson, straight up. While we were there, we did put in an interview request with Nigerian President Olesugun Obasanjo, but a spokesman from the president's office told us that he was busy on the campaign trail and would not be available.

We also twice -- make that twice -- put in a request to interview the Nigerian navy. And not only that, go on patrol with Nigerian forces in the Niger Delta, spend a day with them, but they told us that kind of request would take anywhere from two to three weeks. So we did very much try to get a comment from Nigerian officials.

COOPER: What about the so-called rebels, this group, MEND. What does that mysterious leader, Jomo, have to say?

KOINANGE: Well, Anderson, you got to remember, we never did meet anyone who identified himself as Jomo, you know, the man who via e- mail gave us permission to go down to the delta.

Well, he's also complaining now. He says that the fighters you saw in our piece were not MEND fighters and that MEND did not kidnap those 24 Filipino sailors.

You know, frankly, this is really getting confusing. We'll tell you that the militants you saw in the piece, they did, in very clear terms say that they are MEND militants and that the emancipation of the Niger Delta and securing oil rights and taking them back to the villages is their goal. So there is no reason to believe that those men were not who they said they were.

COOPER: Fascinating developments. Jeff Koinange, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, spanning the world tonight from the Nigerian Delta to Upstate New York where they have as much as 10 feet of snow right now.

Plus, a story you kind of have to see to believe.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PLIMMER (PH): Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you? Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. What? What? You going to hit me? You going to hit me?

SILVERMAN: You hit me and I'll (expletive deleted).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: What sparked this brawl between a 75-year-old reporter and an optician? That, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: After receiving a call from a viewer, 75-year-old reporter for "City News" in Toronto, Canada, went to get answers from an optician accused of selling counterfeit glasses. The problem, the optician apparently has a temper. What he did next got our Correspondent Peter Silverman's attention and ours. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PLIMMER (PH): Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you? Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. What? What? You going to hit me? You going to hit me?

PETER SILVERMAN, "CITY NEWS" CORRESONDENT: You hit me and I'll (expletive deleted).

PLIMMER (PH): Get out of here. Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. All right? I'm sick of your (expletive deleted). Go ahead, hit me.

SILVERMAN (voice-over): This all started when Diana Eromin said she had paid Optician Adam Plimmer (ph) $400 for glasses which she never received.

DIANNA EROMIN, KING WEST OPTICAL CUSTOMER: I'm ready to pick up my glasses. Everything was hunky dory. And he said you're not getting. But he didn't say it like that. He was screaming, you're not getting.

SILVERMAN: And then there was Katherine Ng, who paid Plimmer (ph) $700 for a pair of glasses which also included a free eye test. But when Plimmer (ph) couldn't get her prescription right, she wanted to cancel the deal.

KATHERINE NG, KING WEST OPTICAL CUSTOMER: And then he said no, if you don't get out of my store, I'm going to call the cops on you.

EROMIN: Then he says, get the hell out.

NG: He threatened me.

SILVERMAN: So we went to see Adam Plimmer (ph) about the two women.

ADAM PLIMMER (PH), OPTICIAN: I don't have anymore to say to you. You're all full of (expletive deleted). You're all full of (expletive deleted). You deal with my lawyer.

SILVERMAN (on camera): Whoops. Well, on Tuesday we received this phone call from Mr. Plimmer (ph).

PLIMMER (PH): Mr. Silverman, I've become a new man. I witnessed the power of God and I want to tell you, Mr. Silverman, that I do love you and you want to come back here again, you can talk to me.

SILVERMAN: Did that mean that Mr. Plimmer (ph) was ready to pay restitution to the two women? We hoped so. So back we went to see him. And that's when his protestations of love started to became a bit unglued.

PLIMMER (PH): Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Did I hit you? Did I hit you? Get the (expletive deleted) out of here. What? What? You going to hit me? You going to hit me?

SILVERMAN: You hit me and I'll (expletive deleted). Get away...

PLIMMER (PH): Get the (expletive deleted) out of here.

SILVERMAN: ... the cameraman.

PLIMMER (PH): I'll break your face in half. Do you understand me. Get the (expletive deleted) off. (Expletive deleted) you. Do you hear me? (Expletive deleted) you. (Expletive deleted) idiot.

SILVERMAN: Punches, door mat, spit and now snowballs.

PLIMMER (ph): You, too, get the (expletive deleted), don't stand in front of my building. I don't care. Stop looking at my store.

SILVERMAN (voice-over): Telling me to go away is one thing, telling the cops to disappear is another.

PLIMMER (PH): (Expletive deleted) you.

SILVERMAN: From then on, the situation ratcheted up, Plimmer (ph), now barricaded in his store, refused to come out. And that led to the emergency task force coming in.

It was in inglorious end, Plimmer (ph) being led away in handcuffs. He is being charged with assault and assault with a weapon.

For us, it was not the end we wanted. We much preferred to have Plimmer (ph) pay restitution and not end up in jail. We'll keep you posted.

I'm Peter Silverman, for "City News."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Wow, keeping them honest. The eyeglass shop owner was charged with a criminal count of assault and assault with a weapon. He's out on bail, but there's a retraining order that requires him to stay away from the reporter, the TV station and any of the station's employees.

"City News" also pointed out to us that the reporter only put up his fists as a defensive move.

Just like them, at 360, we want to have you help us keep them honest. If there's a wrong that needs to be made right in community, go online, tell us about it at cnn.com/360.

Back across Lake Ontario, here in America, a real mess. Digging out from nearly 100 inches of snow and it is not over yet. A live report, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In Upstate New York, it's been snowing for five days straight. Some spots in Oswego County have nearly 10 feet. And that's where Reggie Aqui is tonight.

Reggie, how bad is it?

REGGIE AQUI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, 70 inches, I was wondering what that was going to look like here in Oswego. And it should be up to about my eyelashes. I'm a pretty tall guy, but the snow obviously is not there. And that is credit that should be given to the folks who know how to deal with this stuff. They're very good at it. In fact, they've really been hit so hard this week. But every day they've been out shoveling this stuff out, plowing it out. And that's why, Anderson, tonight it doesn't look like the 70 to 100 inches that this area is getting.

The reality is, it could get worse overnight. We're expecting that we could see anywhere between a foot, maybe even two feet in some areas. It all depends on what happens with this lake effect snow. And as you know, lake effect is really concentrated in one little area. And it's been like someone has just had a vacuum, sucking that water out and then pushing it back on this town over and over again, day after day.

And so these guys are getting hit like they really haven't been hit in many, many years, Anderson. And they're getting, to be honest, a little tired of it.

COOPER: As I'm sure you are getting tired of being standing out there for so long. Reggie, get inside. Thanks for the reporting. I appreciate it.

"LARRY KING" is next.

Thanks very much for watching. We'll see you next week.

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