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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Jack Kevorkian: Hero or Killer?

Aired June 4, 2007 - 21:00   ET

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


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the man known as "Dr. Death" -- Jack Kevorkian.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK KEVORKIAN, ASSISTED SUICIDE ADVOCATE: When your conscience says that law is immoral, you don't follow the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Three days ago, he walked out of prison, where he spent eight years for murder after helping a man kill himself to end the agony of Lou Gehrig's Disease. He promised not to help anyone else commit suicide.

But would he still like to?

Jack Kevorkian -- to some he's a hero, to others a cold-bloodied killer. And now, the suicide doctor's controversial story in his own unedited words, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're in suburban Detroit, Michigan with Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who has been out of prison now for about 72 hours.

What was that like?

KEVORKIAN: Prison?

KING: Yes.

KEVORKIAN: Well, where I was -- the last one I was at didn't seem like a prison. It seemed more like a geriatric ward. There were sick, crippled people all over. There were wheelchairs and canes everywhere. And there were no bars and the doors were freely open and accessible to anybody.

KING: So not bad?

KEVORKIAN: If you like living in a geriatric ward.

KING: Well, you're 79 years old.

That's part of the scene, isn't it?

KEVORKIAN: That's right. But I don't like living in a geriatric ward.

KING: Were the earlier prisons tough?

KEVORKIAN: They were tougher. The first one I went to was maximum security for protection.

KING: Of you?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. And there were a couple of guys there from other states for the same reason. And I sort of felt good there. I had a room to myself. It was fairly large. And it was tightly controlled. We couldn't carry even a napkin out of the mess hall. And...

KING: Did anyone ever bother you?

KEVORKIAN: No. In fact, there was a fellow who came by and put his arm around my shoulder and he says, "Listen, if anybody gives you any trouble, just let me know."

KING: Did you ever -- were you bitter? Did you ever think to yourself, why am I here?

KEVORKIAN: Not -- I knew why I was there. But it wasn't why me...

KING: No?

KEVORKIAN: No. It was that I thought that that was the end of my work for anything, you know? And you feel -- I felt that it was the end of everything that I wanted to do. And, you know, that's a pretty -- a pretty hopeless situation.

KING: You were also one of the older prisoners in America, weren't you?

KEVORKIAN: Well, there were several older than me there at the last place -- at one prison, not there, but in Jackson Prison, which is a real prison, one fellow was -- had been in prison for 55 years. And he was about -- he in his -- near 90.

KING: Did any prisoner seek medical advice?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes.

KING: Yes?

KEVORKIAN: And I was told by the wardens everywhere -- I was told by the authorities don't give any medical advice.

KING: Why?

KEVORKIAN: Well, you can -- you can guess why. They -- they're manipulative. And you say something that's contrary to what the prison doctor says and that's all they wanted.

KING: You're not a doctor anymore, are you?

KEVORKIAN: I'm a doctor, I just can't practice. KING: So you can't be called doctor?

KEVORKIAN: Sure. I have the degree, M.D.

KING: But your license was removed?

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

KING: And is that in perpetuity?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know. Probably.

KING: Would you apply to get...

KEVORKIAN: Well, it doesn't matter. At my age, it's perpetuity.

KING: Would you apply to get it back?

KEVORKIAN: No.

KING: We want to touch a lot of bases, but one thing I want to get to right away...

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: You permitted "60 Minutes" to show you with a patient.

KEVORKIAN: Mm-hmm.

KING: Let's -- let's run that and get your reaction.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "60 MINUTES," COURTESY CBS NEWS)

KEVORKIAN: And this paralyzes the muscles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he's still alive at this point?

KEVORKIAN: He's still alive. But -- and that's why...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I can see him breathing just a trifle.

KEVORKIAN: That's why I have to -- yes. Now, you see -- now that this -- the lack of oxygen is getting to him now. But he's unconscious deeply, so it doesn't matter. Now I quickly inject the potassium chloride to stop the heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the straight line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's dead?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. The heart has stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Why did you let them do that?

KEVORKIAN: I filmed many patients. I videoed many patients.

KING: But why did you let them show it?

KEVORKIAN: I wanted to bring this, eventually, to the Supreme Court, U.S.

KING: And you thought this would help?

KEVORKIAN: That's the only way.

KING: Explain.

KEVORKIAN: You see, if you petition the court without any case or anything, I guess they'd call that I have no standing. The court isn't very particular on that point.

KING: So you had to show them a reason?

KEVORKIAN: And the reason, the best reason in the world is a conviction that has to be appealed. And I thought that would force the court to decide the constitutionality of the issue, because that's what the Supreme Court is for.

KING: But they turned you down?

KEVORKIAN: They didn't accept it.

KING: Yes. They didn't take the case.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: What -- by the way, what are the conditions of your parole?

KEVORKIAN: I can't talk in any detail about assisted suicide or euthanasia. I can talk in generalities trying to get it legalized, but I can't talk detail about procedures or give advice to individuals.

KING: So you can't tell me tonight how you did what you did?

KEVORKIAN: Not -- not -- I can tell you in secret, but I shouldn't because that would be violating the parole.

KING: What else -- can you travel out of the state?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know. Not that I know of yet, but maybe we can -- depending on how I behave in parole, the officer may allow me to travel out of the state.

KING: You have to report to a probation officer?

KEVORKIAN: Yes, I do.

KING: You got out early because of good behavior? KEVORKIAN: Mostly, but there was also, I think, a subconscious knowledge that this doesn't -- this crime -- this is really not a crime, in a way. That's the way that the public feels. And I think the officials feel that way, too, but they have to follow the law.

KING: Wasn't it hard, though, even though I know you were taking people out of pain, wasn't it hard for a doctor who takes that oath to administer life to help people die?

KEVORKIAN: Well, it's not to help them die. See, everyone's got this backwards. It's to relieve them of their intolerable and unending suffering. The patient's wish -- see, that's not my wish. And that's what Hux -- Hippocrates says. He says you are the servant of the patient. The servant. But doctors today consider themselves, you know, the overlord of the patient. They've got that twisted backwards.

So I've got to do what the patient requires. So I always felt that their wish comes first, no matter what.

KING: What's it like to be out?

KEVORKIAN: It's nice to be able to walk around and -- although you're in a virtual -- you're in a virtual prison yet, in two ways. One way, because the stipulations of your parole limit you in some things. I can speak only of certain things. I can't be associated with any felons, anybody with a record or anybody who's got a weapon in the home, you can't visit that home -- not even a weapon or part of a weapon.

KING: And what else?

KEVORKIAN: So if someone's got one bullet in his house, I can't be there.

KING: And?

KEVORKIAN: And the other one is -- let's see -- what -- I forgot (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: You can't visit, you can't be with felons, you can't...

KEVORKIAN: Yes. Oh, the virtual -- virtual prison.

KING: Oh, it's still a prison in a sense?

KEVORKIAN: That is...

KING: An outdoor prison?

KEVORKIAN: That's part of it.

KING: Let me get a break.

KEVORKIAN: But there's another one, too. There's another part of it, which slipped my mind temporarily. I'll think of it.

KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He's out. He's with us. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: You pull a string.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A string?

KEVORKIAN: And that opens a valve.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do you want to go ahead with this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: When a patient needs help, I'll help a patient, I don't care what.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: As soon as you fall asleep, your arm will drop and that's automatic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: Medically, it's up to me with my expertise to determine whether or not this desire is justified. That's all. I can't do anything else. If it's justified and the patient still wants to go ahead, I am obligated to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: When they take a freedom away, no one says a word. Not a word. People are insane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: We have a fascist state in this area. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: He calls it a murder, a crime, a killing. I called it a medical service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: When your conscience says that law is immoral, you don't follow the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: I'm angry. Sure, I'm angry. I'm angry at society. I'm angry at the perversion. I'm angry at everybody. It's time to get out of the dark ages. It's time to move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: I'll break the law because it's immoral. And if you send me to jail, you'd better keep me there, because I'll do it again when I get out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Well, you can't do it again, right?

KEVORKIAN: No. I wouldn't. Voluntarily, I refuse to do it.

KING: What changed your mind from that statement?

KEVORKIAN: My mind wasn't changed. I evaluated -- in prison, I evaluated the situation early.

KING: And?

KEVORKIAN: And I says what good would it do if I did it again?

And I says, my mind tells -- my instinct tells me it's counterproductive. It wouldn't change anything. It would just continue the same old circus that I was through.

Since the thing happened -- I didn't receive the decision that I wanted, I realize it's hopeless. So there's no sense in going on with it.

It's up to others. If they want this right, they've got to get active. Because obviously I was in no position to help legalize it.

KING: Why, doctor -- what was the other subtle reason?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, the other subtle reason was that you don't have the freedom to go anywhere you want, even if you could. When you go shopping or something, people stop. They want to talk to you. They all gawk at you and -- and when I go to -- I remember when I would go to the supermarket earlier, you know, before my trial, I would always check the aisle to make sure nobody was there, to avoid this contact.

KING: You knew you were breaking the law, right?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes.

KING: All right.

Why did you knowingly do that?

KEVORKIAN: The same reason Rosa Parks did it. She knew that was a right of hers and sir, I knew that this was a right of mine. These are natural rights.

KING: Why have the courts constantly turned you down and why -- only one state, Oregon, that's in your corner?

KEVORKIAN: They're not in my corner.

KING: Well, they have -- they allow assisted suicide, don't they?

KEVORKIAN: But they think I'm too radical.

KING: Oh, they have it as a different way than you were doing it?

KEVORKIAN: They don't do it completely and right.

KING: How do they do it wrong?

KEVORKIAN: A person who can't swallow can't get the service. Also, he has to be able to move his hand and arm to get the pill up to his mouth. Some can't do that. Some can't swallow. There have been people who couldn't have the service in Oregon. Now that's not a medical service.

KING: When did this start for you, Jack?

When did you (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KEVORKIAN: Strangely -- I've always felt this way, but I was in California back in the '80s, the 1980s. I don't want you to think I'm that old. And I was in a small lobby of this hospital where I'd go occasionally and "60 Minutes" came on with the segment on euthanasia in Holland. I was surprised.

I said what?

I didn't know they did it openly. And I said I've got to go over there and find out how they do it and why, you know?

Well, I went over there but it didn't enlighten me much. And they think my ideas were too radical, too. So I came back and I says, we've got to get this going in this country. We've got to get this right.

KING: And that's -- what kind of physician were you? Were you a specialist?

KEVORKIAN: I'm a pathologist. That's -- that's like a doctor.

KING: Yes, well, you would read the blood, right, and...

KEVORKIAN: What's that?

KING: You would get the blood samples and tell me what it was?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. We get the surgical specimens they take out and...

KING: So you...

KEVORKIAN: ... and then we would do the autopsies.

KING: So you worked at hospitals?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: And you did autopsies?

KEVORKIAN: We did autopsies.

KING: So you were around death?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. Death was my profession.

KING: Did you dislike the term "Dr. Death?"

KEVORKIAN: Not really. My friends called me that before I even got into this thing.

KING: If you could go back, would you do it over again?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. I'd do it over, but differently here and there. Yes.

KING: But all the people you helped go on to their last reward, you would help again if you could go back...

KEVORKIAN: If they deserved it medically. You know, people don't realize this, but for everyone I helped there were four or five who, after I talked to them, the panic went out of their mind and -- the families wrote me this. They said they were so much easier to live with and help and they didn't complain anymore about their pain and suffering at all, because they realized that option was available here with me.

And that alone helped them go on and endure until they died.

KING: Ever have a procedure where the person died and you had second thoughts?

KEVORKIAN: Never.

KING: Never?

KEVORKIAN: Never.

KING: A hundred thirty people you assisted.

KEVORKIAN: Over -- a little over.

KING: Not one did you ever say, maybe...

KEVORKIAN: No. No. I would never do it if I did. You know, I was ready to help one person -- I haven't told this publicly. I was ready to help one person. It was my second visit to them. And I was all prepared. And I said, oh, you'd better ask once more, because they had signed the permission and everything.

I says, do you want to die?

And the person ah. I looked around. I was ready to go with the thing. And I looked around and says, I'm sorry, I can't help him. I've had a couple of cases like that. The instant I was going to do it, they changed their mind. But I didn't know it until I asked.

KING: Yes.

They had to go through quite a procedure before they did it, right?

KEVORKIAN: Yes, they did. Yes, they did.

KING: Did you ever consider that maybe they were out of their minds?

KEVORKIAN: Well, we always used to check with a psychiatrist if there was any doubt. We demanded a psychiatric report from them. A psychiatrist -- as a rule, doctors wouldn't communicate with me because I was taboo still.

KING: Were all your killings painless?

KEVORKIAN: Don't say "killings," please.

KING: What do we call them?

KEVORKIAN: Your medical procedures, were they painless?

KING: OK.

Were all your medical procedures painless?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. Of course. Why, they had enough -- they have enough pain already.

Why would I add to it?

KING: We'll be right back with Jack Kevorkian after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: Have you thought this over well?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I've thought about it for a long time, a long time. Yes, I have. And I have no qualms about my (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KEVORKIAN: What is it you want? What is it in plain English?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I want to -- I want to die.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COMMERCIAL

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did not want her lifestyle to change one iota. She didn't want to learn to live with M.S. She wanted the M.S. gone. August 13th, '97, my entire family's lives changed forever, and not for the better. We've been living in hell ever since.

I just -- I miss her so much. The deep love was always there. I want her back. I want a do-over. Thanks to Jack Kevorkian that can never happen.

He always -- or has often said in his trials that he does what he does to eliminate the patient's pain and suffering. Well, Jack Kevorkian, will you please eliminate my parents' and my brothers' and my pain and suffering and use that Mercitron on yourself?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was Tina Allerellie. She was Karen Shoffstall's sister. In 1997 you assisted in ending her life after she contacted you after suffering from years of M.S. Karen was 35, still young and active, according to her family. Her family claims that her biggest problem with the illness was depression.

How do you respond to that?

KEVORKIAN: I don't remember details of the case. It's hard for -- hard for me to answer that. But I can tell you that if there was any sign of depression that we could detect, we would have required immediately a psychiatric consultation where she had to give a consultation with a psychiatrist.

There are many patients I referred to psychiatrists.

KING: But, doctor, isn't a major side effect of multiple sclerosis depression?

KEVORKIAN: That...

KING: And don't a lot of depressed people -- don't know they're depressed?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. But I -- it's up to the psychiatrist to determine that. And we didn't...

KING: Do you remember this case?

KEVORKIAN: I don't remember the case. You know, we've -- I've had cases in which the patients said I don't want my family here and then late -- after it happened, the family criticized me publicly. They don't realize that the person -- and it wasn't just once they said that. They said it during the consultation and they said it just before the procedure. I don't want my family -- they were estranged.

So -- so the family used that as a criticism.

KING: Was it hard to do what you did?

KEVORKIAN: No. Technically it was easy for any doctor. But emotionally, for some, it would be hard.

KING: Honestly?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Do you think a lot of it is done?

KEVORKIAN: Of course. They admit it. There were polls in which almost half the doctors say they have done it secretly. And that's immoral.

KING: More than just pulling a plug out of the wall?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes. They've helped them die -- overdosed them.

KING: Overdosed them?

KEVORKIAN: That happens now all the time. They tell the patient now don't turn it up too much and then, you know, the patient has got control over the dosage and they know that puts an idea in their mind.

KING: Is it a crime if a doctor removes all medication?

KEVORKIAN: If the patient doesn't want to remove it, it would be a crime.

KING: But a lot of times the patients don't know or are at the mercy of the doctor.

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

KING: A doctor gives you a prescription and you take it.

KEVORKIAN: That's right. Then it has to be with the permission of the family.

KING: But you think there's people -- all right we won't call it killing -- procedures are going on right now, today, in this country, in which lives are being terminated?

KEVORKIAN: Many. Many.

KING: Always with the patient's knowledge?

KEVORKIAN: I guess not always. I don't know. I have no experience with it. Doctors don't talk to me much.

KING: What was the whole procedure like, the battle for you, in which, at the end you defended yourself?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Why did you -- what was that like for you?

KEVORKIAN: Difficult, because I couldn't do what a lawyer would be able to do in a normal case of so-called murder. We weren't allowed -- I wasn't allowed any defense witnesses -- even the family. You know why they wouldn't let the family testify. They'd be for me, not the prosecution.

KING: Do you think you were -- you were dead from the beginning, no pun intended?

KEVORKIAN: Sure, I knew that. But it didn't matter. The Supreme Court was important. And...

KING: Were you surprised they didn't take the case?

KEVORKIAN: Not really, but I was hopeful -- naively hopeful. But that they refused to even consider the case, a constitutional issue that's never been decided before by a Supreme Court in 235 years...

KING: Why don't we have the right to our own lives?

KEVORKIAN: You do.

KING: Except I can't take my life.

KEVORKIAN: And what stops you from taking it?

KING: The law.

KEVORKIAN: Right.

KING: Why is suicide illegal? Because it is, right? If you attempt -- now nobody is ever arrested, if you attempt suicide and you fail...

KEVORKIAN: Yes?

KING: ... you live, you're not put in jail.

KEVORKIAN: No, I know, but it's illegal for the same reason.

KING: Why?

KEVORKIAN: Illegal means against the law.

KING: Why is suicide against the law?

KEVORKIAN: Because the law says you can't do it. And the law...

KING: All right, let's go back (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KEVORKIAN: The government has the force to make sure you don't do it.

KING: Is that a religious law?

KEVORKIAN: Partly. It's based religion -- that's -- you see all these -- abortion, euthanasia -- you know the church didn't oppose abortion way back. And then suddenly somewhere in the early Dark Ages they said oh, that's against God's will, that's the sanctity of life and you're infringing it.

So it -- the law -- they dictated the law in the old days. The church controlled the secular law.

KING: What's the country -- was it the Netherlands that you said has it?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. They're the only ones that do it the right way.

KING: And the right way is what? What is the law?

KEVORKIAN: A doctor there in attendance all the way through and they can inject if the patient can't take a pill.

KING: And how many people sign off that it's OK for this patient to die?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know. I don't know anything about -- details about how -- what happened in the Netherlands. But -- and they may also help psychiatric patients, which shocked some Americans, you know, American doctors. But there are tremendous suffering in some psychiatric cases -- I mean sometimes worse than physical suffering.

KING: How -- because you're so dedicated to this and even your former attorney...

KEVORKIAN: Because it's a right that they've taken away from me.

KING: Even Mr. Fieger, your previous attorney, said he thought you would do it again.

KEVORKIAN: Oh...

KING: What would you do if you ran into someone severely in pain, in dire need of your help? What would you do?

KEVORKIAN: I'd refer them to a pain clinic -- a good one -- and just say -- it would be painful for me to refuse because I'm a physician and if a patient comes to me with a request that I won't -- I won't fulfill, not because I don't want to or shouldn't, but barred by law.

KING: We'll be right back with Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: Tom, do you want to go ahead with this?

TOM: Yes.

KEVORKIAN: Shake your head.

Tom Youk didn't come to me because I want to die -- kill me. He came to me to say please help me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack Kevorkian killed Tom Youk by injecting him with drugs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: Do you see what he calls a killer?

If you do, then you must convict.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With regard to count one, what is your verdict?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One is guilty of the lesser charge of second degree murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You invited yourself to the wrong forum. You must always stay within the limits provided by the law. You may not break the law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: In plain English, what is it you want.

SUSAN WILLIAMS, FOURTH SUICIDE ATTEMPT: I want to die, really.

KEVORKIAN: People would say that's rather, to put it mildly, extraordinary.

WILLIAMS: No, it's -- civilian, watching the dead go in and out.

KEVORKIAN: Could you put that on your nose and mouth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Kevorkian should be telling her you should not use it.

KEVORKIAN: We do say that.

(CROSSTALK)

WILLIAMS: And I think that's what he's trying ...

(CROSSTALK)

KEVORKIAN: No, Mary, the word...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That he is letting her go through with something he shouldn't have. He should be telling her, I will not help you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Did you have a lot of disputes over your actions?

KEVORKIAN: No. Did you know that more than half of my patients were Catholic?

KING: Which is probably the faith that is most against it.

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

KING: By the way, your attorney, Maier Morgenrath (ph), we're at his offices, by the way, and we thank him very much for cooperating, tells me that Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands have assisted suicide.

KEVORKIAN: Like Oregon. KING: Oh, they're like Oregon.

KEVORKIAN: It's limited.

KING: And that Hawaii passed it but the governor vetoed it.

KEVORKIAN: That's right.

KING: Do you expect it to come in this country?

KEVORKIAN: Late, after others have made it legal.

KING: In other words, we'll be gone.

KEVORKIAN: Maybe. I don't know if we'll be gone but I think the English-speaking countries will be the last ones to take it.

KING: The last?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: You mean, we're the least progressive in your ...

KEVORKIAN: We're the most religious, pseudo-religious.

KING: According to autopsies done by the state of Michigan, a significant number of the people you assisted were not terminally ill. Many were disabled with conditions such as M.S. Several had no serious physical illnesses that could be determined by autopsy.

How do you react to that?

KEVORKIAN: All I can say is the one where the medical examiner says he couldn't find a cause of death, you know, the report from the patient's physician was this patient has cancer of the -- I forget where it was and yet he couldn't find it in the autopsy.

He opposed me, by the way. That medical examiner was violently opposed to what I was doing.

KING: So you're saying the autopsies were wrong?

KEVORKIAN: There have been crooked pathologists. There have been pathologists who have done -- who testified on so-called autopsy findings. The patient was -- I mean, the person was convicted. They exhumed the bodies and they found out they hadn't even been cut.

KING: What was your...

(CROSSTALK)

KEVORKIAN: I know personally of that happening.

KING: Really?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. KING: What was your first case?

KEVORKIAN: Atkins, Janet Atkins.

KING: Tell me about her.

KEVORKIAN: She seemed rational when you talked to her. But she had no -- her memory was faulty. And she was a very active person and quite bright, and musical. And she -- her husband contacted me and I said, fine. Has she seen a psychiatrist? And her personal physician, can you get his letter or something?

Well, actually, I talked to his -- her personal physician on the phone, and he said that he has no objection at all.

KING: How did the...

KEVORKIAN: But then lied later on after the event.

KING: How did the husband know to contact you?

KEVORKIAN: I had advertised it. So not...

KING: Advertised?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: What did you do, in the newspaper?

KEVORKIAN: They wouldn't -- I forget where I advertised it. Oh, I know, the -- when I made the machine, I think it was newsworthy and I think "Newsweek" put out a little article on it, a little blurb.

KING: And that you would do this?

KEVORKIAN: That it's available. Yes, it's available. I tried to advertise in a medical journal, a county medical journal, which that takes advertisements from all doctors and dentists.

But this, I knew what would happen. They refused to take it.

KING: What was it like to do it the first time?

KEVORKIAN: I was nervous. Are you kidding? You can imagine the first time, you know, and my knees were shaking. In fact, I knocked over a solution in the van I was so nervous. So I had to postpone it and go home and get another bottle of solution.

And I couldn't have done it without my two sisters who I don't know; I think they were nervous -- more nervous than I, but filial loyalty, you know, won out. And just without them I couldn't have done it.

KING: Did you know it would work?

KEVORKIAN: That is what makes you nervous. You know, it -- dry runs, it works. You run the machine, it works, you know because once they click that machine, there is nothing you can do.

KING: They click the machine.

KEVORKIAN: They click the machine. And I was nervous. I was nervous. And then afterwards when they had all the authorities there and the medical examiner and everything, and they're taking notes -- by the way, we run the EKG tape along with it. People don't know that.

KING: Oh, you do?

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes. We can tell what's happening to the heart. With Thomas Youk I did it. I had an EKG running and I kept glancing down at it.

KING: Youk was the one who helped himself, right?

KEVORKIAN: No. That's when I injected.

KING: You had to do the deal.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: The reverse.

KEVORKIAN: And I said, we're all set. And she says, let's go, you know, and she hit it. And I said, have a good trip, you know. And we had gotten -- after all of the initial authority, the questions and investigation, they asked me to stop by the state police station there and give a report. No one read me the Miranda rights, nobody. And I didn't make any issue of that.

KING: And she had Lou Gehrig's disease?

KEVORKIAN: No, Alzheimer's.

KING: Alzheimer's.

KEVORKIAN: And she was afraid of going -- of completely losing her mind. It terrified her. And the husband was absolutely in support of her.

But then in the courts, I have no chain. Everything broke loose. I couldn't even go to the motel that night.

KING: We'll be back with Jack Kevorkian. Not a dull life. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one should have to suffer to make other people who kill...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this psychopath ought to be in jail.

YOUNG GIRLS: Free Dr. K. Free Dr. K.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that he should be put in jail. I think he's a killer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't even want to fight the...

TRACY WATSON, GIRLFRIEND OF PROSPECTIVE VICTIM: I used to wish that somebody would kill him. And then I realized that won't solve anything. There's always going to be another Jack Kevorkian out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: In the face of such insanity masquerading as authority who wouldn't be strident? Larry, if there's a law that prevents this, I will thumb my nose and another part of my anatomy at that law because that's not a law, that's a religious victim.

Instead of jail, wouldn't you rather see me burned at the stake? I not only welcome prosecution and a trial, I welcome conviction. I dare you to charge me, D-A-R-E. If you don't, you're either a coward or a liar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: I kind of forced their hand.

KING: You forced the hand.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: You brought it about.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: You wanted it.

KEVORKIAN: Yes. I had to get to the Supreme Court to end this. Otherwise there's no end to it.

KING: When you were on this show in '95, you said you didn't think it would be long before physician-assisted suicide would be an accepted medical practice all over. What went wrong?

KEVORKIAN: False faith in human nature, also not knowing really how -- almost, I can't say illogical -- the authorities are intelligent but out of some kind of religious conviction or philosophy, they act contrary to what human nature is. And I think deep down they all know that this is what they would want if they were in that situation. But they have got to uphold the law. And their loyalty to law is more important than their loyalty to human rights.

KING: Well, we're a nation of laws, is what they say, right?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Aren't we?

KEVORKIAN: Yes. Jeremy Bentham said every law is an infringement of liberty. So every time they pass a law, a piece of your liberty is gone.

KING: You can't drive past a red light.

KEVORKIAN: Yes. You have got to wear a seat belt. I wonder when they're going to make mountain climbing a crime.

KING: Are you against the seat belt law?

KEVORKIAN: Sure. If you want to use it, use it. If you don't want to use it, don't. How can that be a crime not to use to a seat belt?

KING: Therefore motorcycle helmets.

KEVORKIAN: Same.

KING: OK, you're on a motorcycle...

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: ...no helmet...

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: ...you crash.

KEVORKIAN: Yes. KING: Why should I transport you in a state-operated ambulance to a state-operated hospital?

KEVORKIAN: yes.

KING: Why?

KEVORKIAN: You're not obligated to, but the state said they will. If anyone -- look at, there is this -- I forgot what the saying was, that the death -- unnecessary death is not martyrdom.

KING: Are you permitted under parole -- can you go around advocating changing the law? Are you allowed to speak out?

KEVORKIAN: Only in generalities that I -- this should be legalized. And you can't -- that doesn't do much. You know my effect -- my influence in this issue is now minimal. It's up to others to fight for their right.

KING: How do you react to Steve Hopcraft, who is a lobbyist for a California assisted suicide measure? He's trying to get this passed in California. But he says, "Jack Kevorkian is the equivalent of a back-alley abortionist."

KEVORKIAN: Well, that's what any opponent would say. I'd like to know what the equivalence is that you're trying to avoid prosecution. You're trying to prevent the family from being prosecuted.

KING: Do you think all current activists should be thankful for you?

KEVORKIAN: I don't know if they should or shouldn't. My opinion, though, doesn't matter. You see, Larry, I'm fighting for my right. And if it helps everybody, fine. If they don't care about their rights, that's there business.

KING: While you were in prison, did you read, hear, see, discuss the Terri Schiavo case?

KEVORKIAN: Well, only on television.

KING: What did you think?

KEVORKIAN: Farce.

KING: A farce, you mean, to keep her...

KEVORKIAN: No, it's the whole -- they made it a farce. The authorities made it a farce.

KING: Congress.

KEVORKIAN: The president. The president -- he's the main one and all of Congress. Look at; they said that -- eventually the court said the patient's wish should be granted. So they said, cut out the food and water. And that is what they said in the Nazi concentration camps too, you know.

KING: An e-mail question from Anna in Greenwood, Nova Scotia: "I want to know, is Dr. Kevorkian religious? Does he have a faith?"

KEVORKIAN: My faith is in reason. No. I'm like Jefferson and Madison and Franklin. They were deists. They weren't Christians, see. And to them, reason was important.

KING: Do you believe in a higher being?

KEVORKIAN: No.

KING: We'll be right back with Jack...

KEVORKIAN: There could be one, though. KING: Could be.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Nobody knows.

KEVORKIAN: That's right. That's why I don't believe it.

KING: We'll be right back with Jack Kevorkian. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY YOUK, BROTHER OF THOMAS YOUK SUICIDE VICTIM: This was his choice. It was something -- it was the way that he wanted to end his life with some controls, peace, and some dignity while he still had some control and some dignity to communicate. I was also very grateful to Jack and his compassion in honoring my brother's request.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVORKIAN: I assisted Thomas Hyde in a merciful suicide.

THOMAS HYDE, DR. KEVORKIAN SUICIDE VICTIM: I want to end this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Another e-mail question from Christina Lee, Gainesville, Florida: "Dr. Kevorkian, what is your advice to aspiring doctors about balancing their ethics and their drive for scientific advancement?"

KEVORKIAN: Ethics comes first. If you do anything that's not ethical, it shouldn't be done.

KING: Your former attorney Geoffrey Fieger has said that you are one of the most famous people in the world when you went to prison in 1998. Do you feel forgotten now? Do you feel out of the spotlight?

KEVORKIAN: I really -- of course, you feel somewhat out of the spotlight. But it didn't matter to me because I knew my effective work was ended. I was never going to do it again.

KING: So you put it away.

KEVORKIAN: Sure.

KING: And we got the wrong date. You went to prison in 1999.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Thank you. The last time you were on the show, you said you bugged people because you were very forthright and strident.

KEVORKIAN: Oh, yes.

KING: Do you think you still are?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: I think you still are.

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Do you think -- what do you think you've accomplished?

KEVORKIAN: Not much. I still don't have the rights. That is why it is of secondary importance to me, you know, assisted suicide, because it's implicit already in the Constitution that I have that right. People don't know that.

KING: Well, implicit is one thing.

KEVORKIAN: Explicit. It's explicit.

KING: All right. Explicit is one thing, actual is what?

KEVORKIAN: Actual is the Ninth Amendment.

KING: So why isn't it -- what you're saying, it's happening anyway.

KEVORKIAN: Yes, but it's -- the Ninth Amendment says it is a -- you seeing the founding fathers of this country based everything on natural rights not enacted rights, not in statutory rights. We are based on statutory rights, and you know why? Because tyranny flourishes under statutory rights but cannot flourish under natural rights. That's why natural rights are kept hidden.

KING: Do you think the state of Michigan was out to get you?

KEVORKIAN: Oh surely. They passed laws specifically against me.

KING: But was there a person?

KEVORKIAN: Several, not just a person. The governor was really against me, but then he's Catholic, what -- I expected that.

KING: Prosecutor? Was the prosecutor...

KEVORKIAN: Well, prosecutors are all dissemblers anyway.

KING: Meaning dissemblers of what?

KEVORKIAN: Anything they do. They lie just to get a conviction. Look at the -- this, what do you call, this case in, this lacrosse case or whatever it is.

KING: Yes, Duke.

KEVORKIAN: Yes. Now he's in hot water because he lied.

KING: Because the conviction mattered more than ...

KEVORKIAN: Of course. That's how Giuliani got to run. Otherwise, who is he? A lisping man, that's all.

KING: How's your own health?

KEVORKIAN: Fair. I feel all right. But there's always the threat of flare-up of hepatitis.

KING: That's what you have, Hepatitis C?

KEVORKIAN: Yes.

KING: Do you fear death?

KEVORKIAN: It isn't a fear of death, it's a concern. I mean, if you enjoy living, you don't want to leave this life. You see I fear everybody will get to the point if he suffers long enough where he no longer fears death.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Dr. Kevorkian and we'll ask him what now. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TINA ALLERELLIE, SISTER OF SUICIDE VICTIM: When he was released, he felt that it was high point of his life. Well, you know what, all of his victims over a 130 people that he, in my mind, murdered; did he give them a second chance to experience a high point? No, he attacked them in their low point and made damn sure that he would -- they would never have a high point that he got to experience when he was released.

YOUK: I had never met anybody that will stand up with his own life on the line like Jack for something that he believes very strongly not just for himself but for the potential of others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to take my life even though...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you intend by aiding the suffering?

KEVORKIAN: To alleviate the pain and suffering in accordance with the autonomies wish of the patient who is fully informed of all options and procedures. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, Dr. Kevorkian, with all due respect, you don't really intend to end pain and suffering. You really just want the patient to die, isn't that true?

KEVORKIAN: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. You -- any more books coming? I know you wrote a lot of books.

KEVORKIAN: No, the books I've written are enough, I think, because it's opened up a whole new mission for me.

KING: Did you write in prison?

KEVORKIAN: These were written in prison.

KING: Are they coming out?

KEVORKIAN: They're out.

KING: They're out now?

KEVORKIAN: yes.

KING: You can get them? Do all the stores have them?

KEVORKIAN: Yes, but it didn't get pushed -- I didn't go on any tour or anything.

KING: But they're available.

KEVORKIAN: They're available, right. In fact, one is quite cheap. The most valuable one is very cheap.

KING: What's it called?

KEVORKIAN: "Amendment IX, Our Cornucopia of Rights."

KING: "Amendment IX, Our Cornucopia of Rights."

KEVORKIAN: Right.

KING: We'll look for it. What's your financial situation? In '99, a settlement awarded Michigan 90 percent of your bank accounts and your private pension as well. How will you fix ...

KEVORKIAN: They even wanted to take my paintings.

KING: Did they?

KEVORKIAN: No. Luckily my lawyer could save them for me.

KING: So? KEVORKIAN: I lived -- I had enough money already and they left enough in my account to let me be comfortable. And...

KING: So you're OK.

KEVORKIAN: I'm OK.

KING: Where you living?

KEVORKIAN: I'm living in a private home in a very nice suburban neighborhood.

KING: Are you going out on a speaking tour?

KEVORKIAN: No. I will if I am asked to go out.

KING: Your attorney said you are getting offers of up to 100,000 for lectures.

KEVORKIAN: Yes. I don't -- I haven't heard that figure but it doesn't matter. The lecture depends on who I'm talking to. I want to talk to young people, high school and college because I think the old ones have petrified minds. That's us, you know.

KING: Thanks Jack. Thanks for joining us.

KEVORKIAN: My pleasure.

KING: Jack Kevorkian.

Text question time. Last week we asked you, should doctor assisted suicide be legalized. Jack, you'll be interested in this. Ninety-two percent said yes, eight percent said no.

Wednesday night we have the man that's been in the news for flying with T.B., Andrew Speaker. He will be joined by his wife and family. We're going to hear his side of the story and what he says the officials told him about flying.

The text question is do you think tuberculosis is a threat today to our health? Text vote from your cell phone to CNNTV which is 26688. Text KINGA for yes, KINGB for no.

You can also e-mail questions for our guests by going to cnn.com/LarryKing. We'll reveal them to you Wednesday night when the TV show is on because tomorrow night we'll be on following the debate for a two-hour presentation on Politics 2007.

We thank Dr. Jack Kevorkian. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next from Detroit. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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