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T.B. Traveler Tells His Side of Story

Aired June 6, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive -- his wedding and honeymoon set off a global panic and set the stage for today's incredible scenes in Congress.

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: He was a walking biological weapon.


KING: You're in the about to meet the T.B. traveler, who, hours ago gave Senate testimony by phone from his isolation room in a Denver hospital, amid dramatic he said/she said from health officials.


ANDREW SPEAKER, HAS BEEN IN ISOLATION ROOM AT NATIONAL JEWISH MEDICAL & RESEARCH CENTER, DENVER: Everyone knew I was going. I didn't go running off or hide from people. It's a complete fallacy and it's -- it's a lie.

KING: And, for the first time anywhere, we'll hear part of a tape that he says captures health officials telling him he was not contagious before he ever got on a plane.




KING: But what else is on that tape?

The T.B.-infected groom himself, with his new bride and his family in their first live primetime interview.

It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Our guests tonight, at Denver's Jewish Hospital, Andrew Speaker, the tuberculosis patient infected with a rare, often fatal form of T.B. Earlier today, he testified from his hospital room to a Senate subcommittee by phone.

And his bride, Sarah Speaker. Her father, by the way, Robert Cooksey, is a microbiologist who works with T.B. and other organisms at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And here in New York, Ted Speaker, Andrew's father -- he and his son have a personal injury law firm based in Atlanta -- Cheryl Speaker, who is Andrew's mother, and Kimberly Speaker, who is Andrew's sister.

We will be devoting most of our attention in the opening moments to Andrew and Sarah, and then bring everybody in.

Before we get underway, Andrew Speaker has provided us with an exclusive tape recorded by his father when Andrew attended a May 10 meeting with the Fulton County Department of Health.

The tape was recorded without the knowledge of the Fulton County health officials at the meeting.

We'll be playing parts of that exclusive tape during the show tonight. And we should also note that we invited representatives from the Fulton County Health and Wellness Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to join us tonight and they both declined.

Andrew, when did you discover that you had tuberculosis?

SPEAKER: Mr. King, it was around -- it first came up on an X-ray at the beginning of January. And then through subsequent tests, I'd say around the end of January/early February it became aware that I had tuberculosis.

KING: Did you think of putting your wedding and everything in your life on hold?

SPEAKER: At that time, you know, with tuberculosis, standard tuberculosis, you start out a treatment regimen of a standard four drugs. And at that time I was asymptomatic. I was smear negative.

Once they were finished doing the tests, they put me on a standard regimen of four drugs and that, you know, there's thousands of people across America doing that right now, going about and living out their lives without any problems.


KING: I'm sorry, what did you say?

S. SPEAKER: No, I said -- I said from what I hear, a third of the world has tuberculosis. So we -- I think at first we realized that it was a worldwide problem. I don't think that we were particularly alarmed about -- we didn't realize it would have the severity, you know, now.

KING: But just to be safe, Andrew, why didn't you say to your bride, let's get married in the United States. Let's keep me close to hospitals here, doctors here that I'm aware of, and not risk the idea of travel? SPEAKER: I -- I think that something that hasn't come across -- you know, like anyone who gets a diagnosis that they're sick, you go to your doctors and you ask them about your condition. There was never a sense conveyed about, you know, doom of my condition, that it was -- it was just something you had to take care of. You got on the treatment and you took care of it. There was...

KING: But, I mean just by your -- by your own sense, Andrew -- I know a lot of people who have told me today that if they had tuberculosis, whether they were told it was contagious or not, they wouldn't fly off to a foreign country.

SPEAKER: And everyone is going to have their own opinion on that. I looked at my doctors and I looked to the health officials and the whole time I asked, am I threat to anyone?

Nothing was ever conveyed. There was never this sense of, you know -- here I am in an isolation room. My wife has a mask on. Even up until the -- I'm sure we'll get into it -- the meeting on May 10, no one ever wore a mask around me. No one ever told me it was necessary. No one ever gave the impression that I was a threat to anyone. No one ever told me that anyone in my family was at risk.

This whole attitude of quarantine and isolation, the first time I heard about that was over a week into my honeymoon, long after they knew about my condition and about my treatment options and how severe my diagnosis was.

KING: All right, let's get to that...

A. SPEAKER: But...

KING: Let's get to that.

A. SPEAKER: ... just to...

KING: I'm sorry.

Let's get to that May 10 meeting.

How did that come about?

Why was there a meeting?

A. SPEAKER: As you know, this morning in front of the Senate we discussed the steps that led up to that. And basically the CDC was running tests to determine the resistance on my -- my tuberculosis strain. I had had a bronchoscopy. I was already started on the standard four drug regimen. And they got back test results saying that I was resistant to some of those drugs and they wanted to have a meeting to discuss the next step, what needed to go on with treatment, what sort of drugs were left, what the toxicity of those drugs were and where I should go to get treatment.

It was very much a meeting to discuss just my medical background and my future medical prognosis. KING: What were you told at that meeting about your condition?

A. SPEAKER: I was told that, you know, again, let me set the stage. I was told, you know, it's my father, my father-in-law, my wife, my doctor and the Fulton County health official. And we're all sitting down in a close room -- no masks. And they basically told me they've gotten back some resistance tests and those resistance tests have stated that I'm resistant to the front line drugs and most of the second line drugs that they have.

Now, mind you, that doesn't make me any more contagious. It makes what I'm going to have to deal with more difficult.

And they started talking about here's the drugs that are left. Here's the -- you know, a lot of them are very toxic and, quite frankly, they said it's above their heads in Atlanta and that in order to get treatment, I basically had one shot. If they lost any more drugs, then they weren't sure if they could cure me.

And so they wanted me to go out to Denver. I wanted to stay in Atlanta with my family. They said I need to be out in Denver, because out in Denver at National Jewish here, they're the best in the world. They do tests that even the CDC doesn't do and they could monitor, in those first initial weeks, my blood levels and my toxicity levels to make sure that the stuff they're giving me didn't kill me.

KING: Why didn't you go there?

A. SPEAKER: Well, that's the thing. At this meeting, they knew it would take two to three weeks. We still don't have back my susceptibility tests. It was going to take two to three weeks to get my susceptibility tests back. It was going to take two to three weeks to get a bed secured for me out in Denver. And it's not that I was being isolated during those two to three weeks. I am walking around, going to work.

No one ever told me any different. No one ever told me stay away from your wife. No one ever told me you're a danger to your daughter. I was walking around, going to work, doing everything like I would any other day of the week -- going to work out, going jogging the day before I left.

So if my life is not -- my life was essentially -- the way it was conveyed to me -- not going to be affected by this at all in the day to day. I was even told when I was out here that there was no need to sequester me because of the fact that I wasn't contagious.

KING: All right, I want...

A. SPEAKER: so if it's going to take three weeks -- yes, sir?

KING: I've got you. So you had the time and you did your -- you led your life.

In that meeting, you insist you were told you were not contagious. Now, let's hear part of the tape that starts with your father asking about a stay at that Denver hospital.



TED SPEAKER, TRAVELER'S DAD, RECORDED SON'S MAY 10TH MEETING WITH HEALTH OFFICIALS: And where does he stay? Physically at the hospital?

A. SPEAKER: Like, for three weeks am I just sitting in a hospital bed?

BENNING: Yes, now that I don't know. But because of the fact that you actually are not contagious, there's no reason for you to be sequestered.


KING: We'll be right back with more.

Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A worldwide search for the passengers and flight crew who may have been exposed to the most dangerous form of tuberculosis.



BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR: We now know his name and his identity. We, amazingly, also...



CHARLES GIBSON, ANCHOR: It turned into a medical manhunt and international health scare.



WILLIAMS: Because one man with a dangerous and virulent strain of tuberculosis traveled...


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... say he was told not to fly two days before he left the country.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... raises many questions about what he was told and when.


KING: Ted Speaker, why -- why did you tape that meeting?

T. SPEAKER: I tape things frequently. I'm a little hard of hearing. One-on-one, I have no problem. When there's a microphone, I have no problem. But I enjoy tapes and when I travel in the car, I listen to tapes all the time. And I just normally...

KING: Do you tape people -- when you're having conversations with people you tape them?


KING: All right.

Why did -- I know you released part of it.

Why not all of it?

T. SPEAKER: We released the portion that we were primarily interested in as far as they stating that he was not contagious.

KING: But when you...

T. SPEAKER: Now, the rest of it...

KING: If you had released it all, then we could say at least they -- they might have said something else germane.

T. SPEAKER: The rest of it really pertained to his medical condition and his medical treatment. We felt that that was private information.


Now Fulton County's Dr. Steven Katkowsky told a Senate panel today the patient's chart indicates he was told he was not highly contagious.

Now, Andrew, that's different from not contagious, isn't it?

A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir. I -- I think that has a lot to do with why they and the CDC didn't show up tonight, because this morning in the Senate, both of their comments I showed weren't true. And, you know, this is my private... KING: They lied?

A. SPEAKER: This is my private medical information that we're releasing. You know, talking about where my I.V.s are going to go, what type of medication I'm going to get. This is nobody's business. But when you have the CDC and the Fulton County Health Department coming after my family and my reputation and my life, you know, you don't have a choice. And when they're saying that I just took off when I knew that I was dangerous to people and I knew that I was contagious, well, that's not what my doctors and that's not what the Fulton County Health Department told me.

And if they...

KING: If...

A. SPEAKER: You know, I apologize if I put people at risk. But I -- I wanted to be sure that people knew that I was counting on what the people I thought I could trust to tell me my condition.

KING: You then -- when you flew in with all those people, you had no doubt in your mind that you were not harming anyone?

A. SPEAKER: No, sir. If I -- if I was a threat to anyone, long before even the consideration of putting strangers in jeopardy, wouldn't I have made sure that my own daughter and my wife were not in jeopardy?

And my parents, my father and my father-in-law at that meeting, would they have let me put their wives in jeopardy if they had of said that you were a risk to your family?

They never said any of that. And if they're...

KING: The...

A. SPEAKER: ... going to say now that I was a threat, then they should have said that a long time ago so I can protect my wife and my child.

KING: The Fulton County doctor who attended the actual meeting, Dr. Benning, talked to CNN. It was earlier this month.

Let's hear some of what he had to say.


BENNING: The health department did -- did tell him, we recommended to him that he not travel. Now -- and, again, the reason that I'm making that distinction is because I want to make sure that -- that people understand the -- the jurisdiction that we have and that -- that we are not a -- a police authority. But we did tell him in no uncertain terms that he should not travel and we told him the reasons why.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: So, Andrew, why did you not listen to them?

A. SPEAKER: If I can walk around going about my daily life for the next two to three weeks; if I'm told I'm not contagious, I'm not a threat to anyone, that there's no reason to have me sequestered; if I can be around my family and sleep at night with my wife; and they say, you know, we prefer you not travel -- well, I told them you haven't told me any reason why I shouldn't travel.

S. SPEAKER: And he didn't give us any reason for why he made that statement during that meeting. I mean I was there and the only reason we seemed to get was that it was just to cover himself. But there was never told to us the reason for that.

KING: Cover himself how?

Why would a doctor...

A. SPEAKER: Well, just...

KING: Why would he have to cover himself?

A. SPEAKER: Just to be able to say that if anything did happen down the road, that he did tell me that. But...

KING: All right.

Sarah, were you in favor of traveling overseas?

S. SPEAKER: Yes, I was. I was, Mr. King. I -- I was at that meeting for a reason. I wanted to make sure that we were very clear about what our plans were. We gave them an itinerary. They knew exactly where we would be. We made sure during that meeting that we were not putting anyone in harm's way and we confirmed that several times.

Only after that -- if they had at any point had said to us someone is going to be in harm's way -- they could have told us, hey, go ahead and fly, but someone is going to be in harm's way -- we could have canceled our trip automatically.

KING: We have another piece of tape...

S. SPEAKER: So at the time...

KING: Hold it.

We'll come right back to you, Sarah.

Another piece of tape we're going to hear.

This is Andrew asking what he'll have to deal with at the hospital.



A. SPEAKER: Am I going to be able to get out or I am going to be stuck in a room or...

BENNING: Yes, I mean, again, as far as we can tell you, you're not a threat to anybody right now, so

A. SPEAKER: That's stage two of the discussion that we'll get to in a second. I'm just covering lifestyle.


KING: We'll be right back, and we'll include the entire family. And they'll be with us throughout the rest of the program.

Don't go away.


A. SPEAKER: When it was finally verified that T.B. -- I believe it was early to mid-April -- Fulton County called me up and asked me to come down. I cleared my schedule that afternoon and went down, got another smear test, which turned up negative. Got more blood work.

And, actually, on that day -- I'm sorry I don't have the exact date -- but I spoke with an official from the CDC, conveyed my plans about the wedding. They did know about this. This wasn't something hidden. This was something that was out in the open, that numerous officials at the CDC, at the county level, my doctors and everyone knew about.

And I started treatment at that point.



KING: April 23rd -- Fulton County health officials were told about Speaker's case by his physician.

May 10th -- Andrew Speaker and others meet with Dr. Eric Benning, from the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. Andrew's father, Ted Speaker, recorded the conversation on his cell phone, and you're hearing parts of that tonight.

May 11, the following day -- Fulton County officials send a letter to Speaker strongly recommending he not make his planned trip to Europe. County officials say they made unsuccessful attempts to hand-deliver the letter and call Speaker.

May 12 -- Speaker flies from Atlanta to Paris, two days sooner than scheduled.

May 16 -- test results show Speaker has extremely drug-resistant T.B. May 22nd -- the Centers for Disease Control contact Speaker in Rome. He's told to report to an Italian hospital and not to travel commercially.

May 24th -- Speaker flies commercially to Canada and then drives to the United States.


KING: The entire family is assembled.

Ted Speaker, you've already explained that you didn't give us the whole recording because the rest of the part of it was medical information, right...

T. SPEAKER: That's correct.

KING: ... regarding your son?

Did you tell the meeting that were you taping them?

T. SPEAKER: I did not.

KING: You did not.

Why not?

T. SPEAKER: Number one, I just didn't think about it.

KING: Well, as a trial lawyer, were you going in suspicious?

Were you like sort of protecting yourself...

T. SPEAKER: I wasn't going...

KING: ... and your client, your son?

T. SPEAKER: I wasn't going in suspicious, but I wanted to make sure that I could review it and I know in my own mind what he's up to, what diagnosis they have and what problems he's going to have, where he's going -- to the Jewish National Hospital.

KING: In Denver?


KING: Why would they be backing off if they said what they said?

T. SPEAKER: Why would they be backing off?

KING: Yes.

T. SPEAKER: Well, you heard the...

KING: Why would they?

No one caught tuberculosis. No one was infected by this trip...

T. SPEAKER: That's correct.

KING: ... to our knowledge.

T. SPEAKER: They're already backing off.

KING: Yes, but why?

T. SPEAKER: I have no idea why. The only thing I can assume is they're trying to cover themselves. You know, Americans, I think we stand tall by saying the buck stops here. But they don't say the buck stops here. They say it stops over here...

KING: But they...

T. SPEAKER: ... over here.

KING: But they did say don't travel?

T. SPEAKER: They did not say do not travel. They said we prefer you not to travel. They never gave any restrictions. As a matter of fact, when we sat at that meeting, we were all sitting together. We were in a little reception area. And they didn't have any masks on. There was no confusion about him being contagious. They certainly didn't think he was contagious.

KING: But if -- now, if my doctor said to me don't travel, I wouldn't travel.

A. SPEAKER: I don't -- I don't think I would do that. If he said...

KING: You would travel if a doctor told you not to?

A. SPEAKER: He didn't tell me not to, nor did he tell Andrew not to. He said I prefer you not to.

KING: What's...

T. SPEAKER: I think there's a big difference.

KING: What's this done to you, Cheryl?

C. SPEAKER: It's a nightmare. We're just living a nightmare. And no American family should live this nightmare. It didn't need to happen. It shouldn't have happened. We're a loving, caring, hard- working, middle class American family. We go through life doing the right thing.

My husband is a retired military man. He served three tours in Vietnam. He was shot down three times. That's why he doesn't hear very well. And he doesn't want to say that, but he doesn't, and so he tapes a lot of things.

KING: What... C. SPEAKER: I worked for the Girl Scouts 15 years. We're just a regular family, but we're living a nightmare, and we really don't want any other American family to ever have to go through this again.

KING: What's it been like for you, Kimberly?

KIMBERLY SPEAKER, SISTER OF T.B.-INFECTED TRAVELER ANDREW SPEAKER: Well, I think that you can see what our family is dealing with. And we had a bit of a nightmare with Andrew's diagnosis before. This spotlight -- my family, my brother, my new sister, they need to be focusing on getting him home and out of that hospital.

KING: At the height of it, when we were all dealing with the scare factor, what did that do to you...

K. SPEAKER: You know, unfortunately...

KING: Like a monster was loose.

K. SPEAKER: ... the scare factor came from -- we didn't have any control over that. The scare factor came because officials decided to release information without the entire story. And they created a panic. And...

KING: Let's -- let's hear another piece of tape recorded by Andrew's father. In this clip, we're going to -- this clip, rather, we're going to hear Andrew's doctor.


A. SPEAKER: Three weeks of that -- I'm going to go nuts.

ANDREW SPEAKER'S PHYSICIAN: OK. Some of those questions too are predicated on the assumption that your infectious status does not change, which we cannot guarantee that either.


KING: Andrew, it sounds like the doctor is saying your condition could change.

A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir. I've had this for a year-and-a-half, at least. My X-rays didn't change at all from January until April.

S. SPEAKER: His infection status has never changed.

A. SPEAKER: My infectious status hasn't changed up until today. In fact, when I got back, I had four negative smear tests at Bellevue. I've had three negative here. My X-rays actually looked better when I got back from Europe than they looked at the set before I left. And...

KING: Why Andrew, you...

A. SPEAKER: ... again...

KING: I understand you told health officials you planned to leave for the wedding and honeymoon May 14, but you flew out May 12.


A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir.

KING: Why two days...

A. SPEAKER: At that point, I had already -- you understand, on May 10, you know, I show up at a meeting and I find out I'm likely going to have the upper right lobe of my lung taken out. It's still -- that's the -- that's what they think they're going to have to do, is they're going to take out the right upper half of my lung. I'm going to be on treatment and I.V.s for about two years. And while I'll still be able to work and do everything else, it's not going to be pleasant. And I'm not going to be able to go anywhere, because every day someone is going to have to come by my house for about an hour to give me an I.V.

And my already -- I already took her parents to the airport at that point. My cousins had already headed over there. My parents were heading over early. My wife is in a trial class with her law school all day.

S. SPEAKER: The whole weekend.

A. SPEAKER: And I'm not sleeping. This is pretty miserable.

And she said, "Honey, why don't you go ahead and go and just get away? Because once you go, you'll be able to forget about Denver and forget about all that treatment and surgery. And we're going to have a nice honeymoon. And we're going to come home and we're going to go to Denver and we're going to take care of you. And we're going to get you better."

But there was -- there was never a need -- you know, if they -- they say -- they keep trying to turn that they couldn't stop me or they couldn't do this. They knew way ahead of time, weeks -- and, with my doctors, months ahead of time -- that I was going on this honeymoon. If they wanted to stop me, it's very simple. In Fulton County, in the state of Georgia, you file and...

S. SPEAKER: And the CDC knew. A. SPEAKER: ... you put an order in.

S. SPEAKER: The CDC knew. And I think when they say that they didn't know we were traveling, they did know we were traveling.

And I also want to say, Mr. King, that we established in Rome that his infection status had not changed. That was something we asked explicitly. We were told he's not contagious, he's not infectious, he's no risk. In Rome, we're still told his infection status has not changed. So I just want to establish that we didn't...

A. SPEAKER: And I think there's a large degree of misunderstanding about Rome, that we called to check in with our daughter and to say hi and see how she was doing. And we were asked to call the CDC. We still had two weeks left on our trip. And we called the CDC. We talked to Dr. Kim. And he said this is XDR and you need to come home. You need to cancel your trip and we're going to call you tomorrow with your travel arrangements.

S. SPEAKER: And I'm sorry, Mr. King, did you say that they knew on May the 16th?

KING: No. I don't know when they knew.


KING: I wasn't privy to when they knew.


A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir.

That night we canceled our trip. We were supposed to head out to Florence the next morning on a train. We canceled our trip right then. They said call tomorrow around 1:00 or 2:00 our time and we'll tell you your travel arrangements.

So we stopped our trip and we waited around until that next night. And that's the next time we talked to the CDC.

KING: All right, I've got to...

A. SPEAKER: So we were, up to that point, complying.

KING: I've got to get a break.

Coming up, his bride has got a mask on.

Have they kissed since exchanging vows?

We'll find out when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


DR. STEVEN KATKOWSKY, FULTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & WELLNESS: Upon making his status known to him, the other piece of information that was transmitted was no, you should not travel.

The question that's been asked over and over again -- was Mr. Speaker prohibited from traveling, was he ordered not to travel?

And the answer to that was no. The local health department does not have the authority to prohibit or order somebody not to travel.



KING: We're back.

It may be none of our business, but we will ask it anyway. Sarah, do you exchange romantic moments with your husband?


S. SPEAKER: I think -- I think about as romantic as we get on our honeymoon is probably holding hands as of late. But we're rediscovering the joys of "Scrabble" and cards.

So, but -- but I must say, up until we got that call, you know, we were kissing and very affectionate. And, so, it's been...

A. SPEAKER: This has been the most pitifully non-physical honeymoon...



A. SPEAKER: ... I think you can possibly imagine.


S. SPEAKER: Uh-huh.

A. SPEAKER: When you're kissing your wife through a duck-billed mask...

S. SPEAKER: Right.

A. SPEAKER: ... it kind of loses some of the...

KING: Yes.

A. SPEAKER: ... sensitivity.

KING: Were you advised...


KING: Were you both advised not to have relations?

A. SPEAKER: Well, once -- once I got back here, I'm in quarantine. You know, she's got to wear a mask or she can't come in the room to see me.


S. SPEAKER: And mind you, we were -- we were in a tiny condo in Atlanta. And -- and we slept next to each other every night, a full year-and-a-half that he has had this tuberculosis, with nobody ever saying anything.


KING: What you're saying, Sarah, is, you're not worried for your health? S. SPEAKER: I have had negative skin results. I am very encouraged by what the doctors say, that his -- the chance of transmission of this bug is very low, based on all the tests.

My doctor -- my daughter has come back negative. Our entire family has come back negative. So, no -- no, Mr. King, I'm not currently concerned about me.

KING: We...


A. SPEAKER: You know, everyone wants to focus on the travel issue. And I don't understand why more people aren't concerned that they can have TB.

I'm not a doctor. Why would -- if I have TB, especially -- and then I have drug-resistant TB, why, nowhere along that point, does someone tell me that my wife and my child is at risk?

KING: Yes.

A. SPEAKER: Because everyone sitting -- you know, now you hear on the news that your level of contagion isn't zero. It's low, but it's not zero.

S. SPEAKER: And we were told...

A. SPEAKER: That's not what I was told.

S. SPEAKER: Right.

A. SPEAKER: I was told I am contagious, not that I'm slightly contagious.

KING: OK. Let me...

A. SPEAKER: And, so, they're putting my family and my daughter at risk.

KING: Let me read a letter sent to you on May 11, 2007.

"This letter will serve as a follow-up to Dr. Eric Benning's meeting with you on May 10," the letter that -- that's that famous meeting now of which your father recorded and which we have presented portions of that meeting. We have not been given the full tape.

"The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness has been notified that you are planning to travel to Greece on May 14, 2007. As a precaution, it is strongly recommended that you postpone your travel and see a specialist in Denver, Colorado. In the event you do not comply with this recommendation, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness cannot be responsible for the exposure of this to the public. It is imperative that you are aware that you are traveling against medical advice. Sincerely, Aliya Yamin, M.D."

KING: Why didn't that stop you, Andrew?

A. SPEAKER: Well, with all due respect, sir, I never received that letter, and I don't know when that letter was sent. I don't have that letter.

S. SPEAKER: And I -- and I, Mr. King, I have to say, his father -- they knew where his father's office was. In fact, they had gone there and tested him. He was there until May the 14th.

They had our phone numbers. I'm in the phone book. If they wanted to deliver a letter...


KING: Can you say, unequivocally, had you received that letter, you would not have traveled?

S. SPEAKER: Right. If we had received a letter of that magnitude, I -- I -- but we never received that. And we had no knowledge of that letter until weeks later.


A. SPEAKER: But, again, part of my problem is...


A. SPEAKER: ... why now am I in quarantine and I'm a danger and a threat to my family and my loved ones, and why did no one ever tell me that before? That's what I don't understand.


KING: All right. How -- let me ask your dad.

Ted, how do you explain this?

T. SPEAKER: The letter?

KING: Yes, the letter and this whole thing of now he's in quarantine; then, he wasn't.

T. SPEAKER: Now he's in quarantine because CDC sent out this national, worldwide fear threat. That's my opinion. Now...

KING: And, of course, he's always explained why he left early on the trip.

T. SPEAKER: That's correct.

KING: We understand it, yes. We have gone through that.


T. SPEAKER: Let me explain this letter, if I may. Number one, they say they couldn't get ahold of him. I heard extensively they were going on the computers, trying to find us. Number one, I was in my office all day Friday. I was in my office all day Saturday. They knew where my office was because they came to my office previously, the Health Department, to give me a test. And I tested negative. So, they knew exactly where my office was.

I was in the phone book. My name is right there in the phone book. There's no mistake about it.

KING: Are you saying this letter was somehow -- it was put together after that date?

T. SPEAKER: No, I'm not saying this. I'm saying anyone that writes a letter, and they don't use common investigative procedures, like using a phone book, like going where you know the person is, where he works, where he lives -- they -- they never even tried.

KING: Still ahead: They may not have broken any laws. Do Andrew and Sarah feel they did anything wrong?

When we come back.


DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We have tried to balance the need to respect the patient's needs and wants and emotional state and compelling needs with our requirement to try to protect the people's health.

We gave the patient the benefit of the doubt at several points here. And, in those cases, we failed to take the aggressive action that we could have used with legally sanctioned methods to restrict his movement more effectively.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dunleavy (ph) was among 292 Americans on board with Speaker on the May 12 flight from Atlanta to Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will sleep better at night, after getting checked out, but it hasn't been anything that has bothered me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have all either have already gotten tested or made arrangements to go get tested some time today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he, you know, owes an apology to -- to close to 400 people that possibly he -- he could have infected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they told me that, if I do test positive, that I'm not contagious, and it's just the infection, which can be treated. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ted Speaker, you said there are three things they could have done to stop them from flying.


Well, number one and the first occurrence was the letter that you just read. They knew where my office was, because they had been there to test me. They knew where I worked. They knew where I lived. All they have to do is look at their telephone book. They would find my name. Sarah, she's in the book. They could have looked at her. Her dad works for CDC. They could have asked me.

KING: So, you're saying they deliberately didn't send that letter?

T. SPEAKER: I don't know what they deliberately did. All I'm saying is, that's the first time they could have...


T. SPEAKER: The second time was in Rome itself. They knew where he was in Rome.

And, by the way, that's a fallacy that CDC called him. He called them once he heard that they wanted to talk to him. And they knew where he was. He told them his hotel and everything. They said, fine. We will let you know when they are going to come and -- and deliver you to isolation.

They said, in the meantime, go ahead out and have a nice dinner, enjoy yourself.

KING: Huh.

T. SPEAKER: And, all night long, did they send any sheriff, or whatever they call the police power in Rome, to get him? If he was that contagious, and they knew exactly where he was, why did they tell him to go out and enjoy himself and look around the city?


T. SPEAKER: Why didn't they go get him?

The third time was in New York, when he arrived in New York. He told them, I'm here.

And did they say, stop right there; don't move? Did they care about him driving or stopping, getting something to eat? No.

KING: Why do you think they didn't? I mean, why?

T. SPEAKER: I don't think they have a protocol, and they don't know what to do. KING: We have an e-mail from Lisa in Atlanta: "Why didn't you postpone your wedding for a few months, at least until you had sought treatment?"


A. SPEAKER: Mr. King, like I said, at that meeting, it was clear that it was going to take two to three weeks to figure out what drugs to put me on. It was going to take two to three weeks to get me a bed in Denver. Everyone knew that I was going to go to Denver.

And, so, if I'm just going to be sitting around Atlanta...

S. SPEAKER: Yes, that's right.

A. SPEAKER: It's not like I was sitting in a solitary room. I was going to be walking around Atlanta, going to work, doing everything I would any other day, because, as you have heard and as you know, they told me I was not contagious.

So, if -- if I'm going to be sitting around Atlanta and going to work and going to dinner and doing my regular thing, why don't I go on my honeymoon, if they can't even get a bed ready and my medication ready until I get back?

So, the plan was, I would go over to Europe, go on my honeymoon. When I got back, I would be back two days. Then I would go off to Denver for two to three weeks.

KING: That makes sense.

We have another e-mail from James, Calgary, Alberta: "Mr. Speaker, since you are a personal injury lawyer, I ask, if I were on an international flight with a person who had a potentially fatal airborne disease, and he or she knew it, and yet carelessly insisted on traveling, would you represent me, should I want to take legal action against such an individual?"


A. SPEAKER: I think my first question would be, knowing that -- you asked something very important before we took the break. You asked me whether or not I did anything wrong.

KING: Right.

A. SPEAKER: Or I believe you said, do -- would I do anything different? It was something along those lines.

And, knowing what I know now, everything would have been different. If they would had told me, instead of telling me that I'm not contagious, if they would have said, you have a chance of putting your daughter at risk, I never would have gotten on a plane. I wouldn't have gone back home.

I would have found somewhere else to stay, and I would have stayed away from my daughter and my wife...

KING: So, I got to get a break.

A. SPEAKER: ... so, long before I would have gotten to a stranger.


KING: So, if you would have gotten that letter...

A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir.

KING: ... you would have complied?


A. SPEAKER: Well, I'm just asking you, in that letter, did they tell me I was contagious or I was a threat?



A. SPEAKER: They keep avoiding...


KING: No, they're not, but they are telling you not to fly.

A. SPEAKER: But why?

KING: They don't say why. But they ask you to postpone it as a precaution.

A. SPEAKER: That's because, at the meeting, they told me I wasn't a threat to anyone.

KING: They say it's a precaution.

A. SPEAKER: Yes, sir.

KING: Got to get a break.

Before we get a break, let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour.

Anderson, what's up?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Larry, coming up at the top of the hour: A 15-year-old girl missing for nearly a year turns up alive. She was found today in what amounts to a secret room. It is an amazing and a frightening story. We will tell you how police actually found her, what she is saying, and who police have in custody.

We will also bring you the latest on the saga of the indicted Congressman William Jefferson. You heard he is being brought up on 16 felony counts. But did you know, if he's convicted and goes to jail, he could still get his congressional pension? You're paying for it. We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- all that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: That's Anderson Cooper, "A.C. 360," 10: Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Up next: Sarah's father works at the CDC, which now says it's investigating his role in all of this. We will learn how he's dealing with that scrutiny -- when LARRY KING LIVE returns.



REP. DAN LUNGREN (R), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Speaker is the person who bears the initial responsibility for here.

And I would have to disagree with you, Doctor, to say he had compelling reasons not to follow advice. He had self-absorbed reasons. He wanted to have his wedding in Europe.

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: Mr. Speaker obviously wanted to have his wedding cake and eat it, too. And that's very unfortunate, because he put a lot of people at risk.


KING: That was a House hearing this morning.

You hear stuff like that, Andrew, do you at all say to yourself, maybe, maybe I was reckless?

A. SPEAKER: You know, Mr. King, sincerely, if we thought we were putting people at risk, we wouldn't have gone.

But, now that we're back, I hope -- I hope you and I hope other people understand that what's being said now about our risk of contagiousness is not what we were told. And I was very sincere with that first interview when I am very sorry that people were scared. I'm very sorry that people have had to worry about this and have feared about this.

And I hope they do understand that, long before anything, I would never have put my daughter and my wife at risk, if I was told that they were at risk.

And, I mean, I may not get a...


KING: I understand.

Cheryl, do you know if Andrew's father-in-law is being investigated? C. SPEAKER: I don't believe so. I think -- I think Kimberly probably knows more than I do.

KING: Kimberly, you know about that?

K. SPEAKER: I believe that there's an investigation around the entire incident.

KING: They are looking, then, to Fulton County; they are looking at the CDC?

K. SPEAKER: And we understand that this is so confusing, especially when, every day, there's new statements released and stories change.

But look at Andrew. And he is consistent throughout, because, you know, we will stand by he was told that he was not contagious. There are no differing statements that will come out of the Speaker or Cooksey family.

KING: We have got a call. Let's take it from Atlanta.


CALLER: Mr. Speaker, Hi.

I wanted to ask you, do you feel as if you're being treated like a fall guy for the errors of the CDC and the Fulton County Health Department?

S. SPEAKER: Well said.


A. SPEAKER: I -- I -- their story changes constantly.

This morning, with the Senate -- I believe, Larry, they were supposed to come on tonight, as of yesterday.

KING: Yes.

A. SPEAKER: But, this morning, they gave a timeline for what they knew and when they discovered it.

And my first comment to the Senate was, sir, that's a lie, that that's not at all the case.

They tried to say that they didn't know I was going. They tried to say they didn't know that I had drug-resistant TB before I left. They were the ones doing the test.

And then Fulton County today, I think they were going to make a statement tonight. But their statement this morning was that they told me that I was not highly contagious.

And I told the Senate this morning that that was a lie, that they told me that I was not contagious.


A. SPEAKER: And I -- I don't mean to get riled up. I'm sorry.

But we are not the type of people that put people in harm. We are a good family.

S. SPEAKER: A very good family.

A. SPEAKER: We're -- you know, we're from Atlanta. That's our home.


A. SPEAKER: And people there know that we are not those kind of people.

KING: Let me get another call.

Birmingham, Michigan, hello.


Andrew said that -- his statements have been inconsistent, because he said that he went on the trip, and he was not contagious, but, then, on the honeymoon, they -- or the -- all they did was play "Scrabble." How does he explain that behavior?

S. SPEAKER: Oh, no.

It's been since we're back, since we're now in isolation. No, I -- I assure you that the first two days of our honeymoon were rather eventful, and there was no "Scrabble."

A. SPEAKER: When -- when my wife got to Bellevue, you know, I'm locked up in quarantine. And she went down to the Target and got "Monopoly"...


A. SPEAKER: ... "Scrabble," and a bunch of food. And we sat there and ate chips and salsa and played solitaire -- I mean, "Scrabble," because I'm in quarantine.

Before that, no, we were walking around the city.


KING: I have got to get one more break.

When we come back: the man in the middle of the international health scare and his bride and family will wind things up -- when LARRY KING LIVE returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ROBERT COOKSEY, FATHER-IN-LAW OF TUBERCULOSIS PATIENT: My son-in-law's T.B. did not originate from myself or the CDC labs, which operate under the highest levels of biosecurity.

I wasn't involved in any decisions my son-in-law made regarding his travel, nor did I ever act as a CDC official or in an official CDC capacity with respect to any of the events of the past weeks.



KING: Now we come back to tonight's text-voting portion of the show.

Earlier this week, we asked: Do you think tuberculosis is a threat today to our health? Sixty-five percent of you voted yes; 32 percent said no.

Tomorrow night, we are going to have a major discussion on depression. Tonight's question is: Have you ever suffered from depression? Text-vote from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 26688. Text KINGA for yes and KINGB for no. You can also always e-mail questions to our guests by going to

We only have a few minutes remaining.

Andrew, someone asked -- I think they phoned in, or -- why didn't you try to get home without flying commercial?

A. SPEAKER: We -- you know, when we called, they told us, call the next day and we will give you your travel arrangements.

They told us they weren't comfortable sending us home by plane. They weren't comfortable by sea. And, you know, at that time, as I described, I was told, if I wasn't in Denver with those doctors, and I didn't get the right treatment, then they would lose my last chance at treatment.

And they said, why don't you -- we're going to send over the Italian hospital authorities in the morning to take you into quarantine.

And they -- I said, well, can't -- isn't there a CDC jet? Isn't there something.

And they said, no, unless you can raise up to $140,000.

And I don't have that kind of money. Neither does my family.

They said, unless you can raise $140,000, you're going -- you could -- you're going to be there up to two years, or possibly indefinitely. And I assumed that they were asking me to voluntarily turn myself in. And they said yes.

And I got home. KING: Yes.

A. SPEAKER: You know, again, we're still going under the impression that I am not contagious and I am not a threat to anyone.


And, again, we remind you that the tapes that were provided tonight that were taped by Ted Speaker of that meeting with the Fulton County officials, we -- we got portions of the tape. The rest, Mr. Speaker said, that he did not deliver were private medical matters involving his son and tuberculosis and the Fulton County officials.

We thank Andrew and Sarah Speaker. They're in Denver, Colorado, at Jewish Hospital. And we thank Ted Speaker and Cheryl Speaker and Kimberly Speaker for joining us here in New York.

Tomorrow night, Robin Givens will join us, a fascinating story, and also the legislator Patrick Kennedy, on the road to recovery, we hope.

Right now, the road goes across the hall, I think.


KING: Yes, right down the hall, to...

COOPER: That's right.

KING: ... Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360" -- Anderson.

COOPER: Hey, Larry. Thanks very much. Fascinating hour.


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