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Sanjay Gupta Turns Down Surgeon General Job; Brown Charged With Two Felonies

Aired March 5, 2009 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Tonight, superstar Chris Brown is charged with two felonies today in the alleged beating of girlfriend Rihanna. The shocking accusations. Police say he punched her, bit her, threatened to kill her. And that's not all. Legal documents reveal that he had her in a head lock and tried to throw her from his car.

Is Chris Brown going to go to jail? Is Rihanna still with him? Where does his career go now?

We're live from the courthouse now on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening, breaking news, singer Chris Brown in serious trouble tonight. He's facing jail time if convicted of felony assault and making criminal threats against Rihanna. He did not enter a plea during a court appearance just hours ago. He'll be arraigned April 6th. He can contact Rihanna but was ordered not to harass her or threaten her in any way.

More on that shortly.

But, first, breaking news about CNN's own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, long rumored to be the main candidate for U.S. surgeon general. He's taken himself out of the running. Joins us now here in Los Angeles to talk about it. Why?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN: Well, first of all, it was a really tough decision, and a long decision and a long process for sure. And I was incredibly flattered, humbled by the consideration even for the position.

I think for me it really came down to a sense of timing more than anything else. You know, I have two daughters. Our third daughter is now imminent. In fact, I have my phone on right here, I might get called off the set.

KING: As we talk.

GUPTA: As we talk, my wife is imminent with our third child. You know, this job that we have collectively takes us away from our children for so many years at once, and I sort of came to grips with the fact that I'd probably be away at least the first several years, four or five years -- there's my existing two daughters, one more on the way -- but several years of their lives. And I just didn't feel like I should do that now.

And the other thing, let me just add, you know, you know me and a lot of people know me, obviously, as a journalist for CNN, but you know, I continue to practice neurosurgery, Larry. You and I have talked about that, and I...

KING: You do brain surgery all the time.

GUPTA: Yes. And it's an important part of my life. And I work at a county hospital. That's the hospital I've chosen to work at in Atlanta. And I really enjoy that.

I came to grips with, ironically, that being surgeon general, I probably would not be able to continue to practice surgery.

KING: How about the cut in pay?

GUPTA: Well, you know, that's a sacrifice we were willing to make. I think, you know, either you're a public servant or you're not a public servant. I've always been drawn to public service. So that really wasn't a consideration for me.

KING: Was it an offer or a would you consider if?

GUPTA: It's a little bit of a funny thing -- and I've never been through this process before. I guess the formal part of it is when you are nominated. I was not nominated, but I had conversations with the senior most people that would make an offer, and they told me they wanted me to do this job. So...

KING: Was it the thoughts of Senator Tom Daschle, who was going to be secretary of health, that you be his surgeon general?

GUPTA: Well, I did have conversations with him, but you know, the fact that he withdrew did not play as big a role in my mind in terms of not considering the job. Again, I think either you do public service or you don't. You want your job to be as precisely defined as possible, for sure, but that wasn't a major factor.

KING: The way it was presented, then, you feel that you would have been offered it even if Daschle had not left or had left, no matter what?

GUPTA: I think so. You know, I mean, you know, I've had a lot of conversations with the White House folks. I think there was a big interest on their part, and obviously they know of my dedication to public service. I think there was a real melding there.

KING: Do you have anyone you would recommend for that job?

GUPTA: You know, no one off the top of my head. I mean, I think whoever takes that job really does have to make it a higher-profile job. I mean, this is an important job. I have a great deal of respect for the office and for the commissioned corps. You've seen the work they do. They do life-saving...

KING: A lot of clout.

GUPTA: Yes, a lot of clout, life-saving, life-preventing work -- or life-preserving work -- all over the country every single day. And I think that it has to have a little bit of a higher profile. Whoever takes this job has to be out there really advocating the issues of public health. At no time is it probably more important than right now, as we're dealing with health care reform. These issues really go hand in hand.

KING: Well, their losses is a continuing our gain.

GUPTA: I appreciate that.

KING: If I may speak to it.

GUPTA: I would miss this witty banter for sure, back and forth.

KING: May I speak for CNN. But you had to be flattered.

GUPTA: I was flattered. And you know, I have a great deal of respect for that office. And I in no way want people to think that I don't. This is really more about my family and my surgical career.

KING: Couple other notes. I know you're just back from India. I want to ask about that.


KING: President Obama held a health care summit today at the White House. More than 100 experts, policy makers took part, including some who opposed the Clinton's administration's health care reform back in the '90s. Here's some of what the president said.


OBAMA: We didn't get here by accident. The problems we face today are a direct consequence of actions that we failed to take yesterday. Since Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform nearly a century ago, we have talked and we have tinkered. We have tried and fallen short. We've stalled for time, and, again, we have failed to act because of Washington politics or industry lobby.

And today, there are those who say we should defer health care reform once again. That at a time of economic crisis, we simply can't afford to fix our health care system as well.

Well, let me be clear, the same soaring costs that are straining families' budgets are sinking our businesses and eating up our government's budget, too.


KING: Do you support his aims? GUPTA: He is drawing an inextricable relationship between the economy and health care. As people talk -- the economy is issue number one, as we talk about all the time. But he's making the point, I think, and he has been for some time, even while he was campaigning, that you cannot talk about the economy without talking about health care.

The businesses have to provide health care insurance for their employees. It is often very difficult for them to do that, in addition to trying to reach some sort of profit from their product. So I -- that message, I think, has been pretty loud and clear, and I think it is resonating.

He's also talking about the fact that you can't fix the health care system without bringing down costs of health care overall. And since you brought it up, I was just in India, and one of the stories that I was doing was about medical tourism. Here is a good example -- 750,000 Americans leave the United States every year to go abroad for life-saving operations. Why? Mainly because of cost. It can be up to a tenth of the cost in some of these countries such as India, such as Singapore.

KING: Open-heart surgery in India might be one-tenth of what it costs here?

GUPTA: One-tenth. Hip surgery, neuro surgery. All -- a lot of these various operations. And the real question, and I think it's a question worth exploring, is why? How can they do it so much cheaper? How can they offer good-quality care? I saw it. It is good-quality care. I saw that with my own eyes. What do we have to learn? And how can we use this to help reform our health care system?

KING: Is therefore an assumption that we have the best doctors, that we do it better than anybody else, that's an American assumption?

GUPTA: Yes. And I think, you know, we do provide very good health care for people who have access to it.


GUPTA: And I think that's part of the problem.

KING: That's the rub, though, right?

GUPTA: That is the rub. And I think there are really two schools of thought, which we are going to hopefully distill down, as we talk about this issue more and more. One is, do you revamp the entire health care system? Do you say, look, this health care system is broken, toss it all out, let's start all over again? Or do you say, look, it works pretty well for a fraction of the population. Let's see who it doesn't work for and fix those things only. So don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let's target what's broken and focus on that.

KING: What role in all of this will the new surgeon general play? GUPTA: I really don't know. I'm not sure. At one point...

KING: He would have to be a proponent for it, you would think.

GUPTA: You know, the surgeon general has an interesting position, and this is something that I learned. It is truly one of the more apolitical positions at that senior level. So they are really the nation's doctor. I think that they really have to focus on making sure that best health practices are constantly known. It's amazing how high the health illiteracy rate remains in this country. To remind people how to best take care of themselves.

KING: By the way, Sanjay Gupta is going to host this show next Wednesday night, and the subject will be health care in the United States.

GUPTA: Best seat in news right there. Can't wait.

KING: Thank you. We will all be looking forward to that.

One other thing. Do you think it's going to -- do you think we're going to get a new health care program?

GUPTA: I think so. It's going to take a long time. I think that it may not even happen within this first term, if there is a second term for him. So I think it's not going to be something that happens certainly overnight. The fact that they had a health care summit this early on I think is probably a good sign of at least his commitment to this issue.

KING: If you were surgeon general, would you have done your first interview here?

GUPTA: Of course. Not even -- you didn't even need to ask that question.

KING: Thank you, doc.

GUPTA: Any time.

KING: As always. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, hosting next Wednesday night right here, the CNN chief medical correspondent, a practicing neurosurgeon.

Next, the charges against R&B star Chris Brown. What do they mean for him, for Rihanna, and the whole issue of domestic abuse. We're on top of it. Stay with us.


KING: Big news today regarding Chris Brown. Let's go right to the L.A. County Superior Court. Standing by Kevin Frazier, correspondent and weekend host for "Entertainment Tonight," he covered the appearance today.

What happened? KEVIN FRAZIER, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Larry, it was really a day of revelation for us. Chris Brown charged two felony charges for the alleged attack on Robyn Fenty, better known as Rihanna. And a little bit after those charges came down, Larry, then the revelation of the police notes from that night. And the severity of the attack, the things that Chris Brown said to Rihanna as he strangled her at one point in the car and she almost lost consciousness.

He bit her, punched her, and those things, I think, kind of -- even shocked the media that was assembled down at the courthouse. Finally, around 3:30, Chris Brown arrived at the courthouse. He went underneath the courthouse, ushered in. His family, meanwhile, caused sort of a media -- frenzy as they made their way to the front door.

The hearing lasted about 4 1/2 minutes and the big news was that it was continued into April 6th, when Chris Brown will come back, again, to the same courthouse. And you have to figure that Chris and his lawyer, Mark Geragos, will work hard behind the scenes to work out some kind of plea bargain so that he can avoid jail time.

Now, Rihanna's lawyers told "Entertainment Tonight" that if called in a court case, she will testify, which is something that's really, really interesting, Larry.

KING: Kevin, we'll check back with you.

As always, Kevin Frazier, right on top of the case.

We've got a copy of a search warrant issued in connection with Chris Brown's alleged assault on Rihanna. Pretty ugly stuff.


KING (voice over): According to a sworn police statement, the couple got into an argument over a text message while driving in the car and the affidavit says, Brown opened the car door and attempted to force her out.

He took his right hand then shoved her head against the passenger window. Brown allegedly punched his passenger in the face, causing her mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over the clothing and the interior of the car.

Brown allegedly put his victim in a head lock and applied pressure, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness. Brown also allegedly bit her left ear and her left ring and middle fingers.

The sworn police statement also says that Brown declared, "I'm going to beat the (expletive) out of you when we get home. You wait and see!" And, "Now I'm really going to kill you!'


KING: We'll meet an outstanding legal panel joining us. In New York, Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of her TV court show, a former D.A. of Westchester County. In Los Angeles here with us defense attorney Trent Copeland, in Los Angeles is -- rather in -- down in Florida is Judge Larry Seidlin.

Judge Larry Seidlin is the former Florida Circuit Court judge, was an administrative judge for the family division in Broward County, and here in L.A. is Stan Goldman, professor of law at Loyola Law School.

Your reaction, Judge, to all of this.

JEANINE PIRRO, TV COURT JUDGE, FORMER D.A.: Well, Larry, my reaction is that this is a classic domestic violence case. What you've got is a very serious battering and there's no question it wasn't the first. My concern right now is for Rihanna's safety. Because if indeed she has gone back with Chris Brown, irrespective of whether she says she'll testify, then she doesn't realize the danger that she's in.

I read the search warrant. There are at least 18 different pummelings that I counted and you can multiply that by two or three. The picture that we saw from TMZ, multiply it two or three times worse by, you know, a couple of days later when she's really swollen. You've got a real victim of domestic violent.

KING: Trent, though, is that what she is telling the police? I mean he didn't see this, right?


KING: So he's running down what she said.


KING: So what can she say in court?

COPELAND: You know, look, Larry, I wouldn't go so far as to say that he's writing down verbatim everything that she's saying. Remember, when she was met by the police, those first responders, she's in a pretty, you know, awkward situation. She's hurt, she's injured, she's battered, she's angry, she's upset.

You know, so, a lot of times, things that you see in these affidavit and these police reports are a little bit exaggerated. I'm not -- I'm certainly not undermining what happened in this incident. We've all seen those pictures. We've read this affidavit and like most of the media who are assembled at this court, it was a pretty -- it's a pretty graphic affidavit.

But let's take one big step back. The reality is that she was texting during this alleged beating. She was making a phone call during this alleged beating and she's now back reconciled with Chris Brown. So, you know, I'm not certain, I wouldn't be so quick to say that this is a beating that...

KING: All right. Judge Seidlin , would you be affected if you were the judge in this case by the fact that they reconciled? LARRY SEIDLIN, FMR. FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: Well, historically in these kinds of cases, the victim, many times, doesn't want to go forward. And it puts a tough burden on the prosecutor what to do in this kind of case. And the prosecutor here now filed two felony counts against the defendant.

And I think he got the attention of the defendant. And I think he took a continuance today, the defense attorney, to give himself some time to work out the case with the prosecutor.

I think they want to show, first of all, remorse. This young man was out there on a jet ski in Miami and that's not the picture he should be showing. He should show that he's sorry. In Latin, would be mea culpa. I did wrong and I'm sorry. And then he has to show that he's getting therapy and then he should be going to a diversionary program and that's what's going to happen in the next few months.

KING: All right. When we come back, I want to ask Stan Goldman, professor of law, do we totally -- is an affidavit a fact?

What do you make of Rihanna dating Chris Brown? That's tonight's quick vote. Go to and cast your ballots. We've got results later in the show.

More on the case in 60 seconds.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now more on the Rihanna-Chris Brown saga.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The allegations in the affidavit are shocking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 19-year-old Chris Brown has been charged with two felony...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shocking new details in the reported Rihanna beating comes alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One count of assault and one count of making criminal threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is media frenzy here at the criminal courts building in L.A.


KING: Chris Brown has lived with abuse. He says his own mother was a victim of domestic violence. And here's what he told Tyra Banks on her show back in December of 2007.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS BROWN, SINGER: I know some people, my family go through domestic violence, stuff like that, I don't want to mention a person's name but it's somebody that hurt my mom, you know, and we're having to deal with that from the age, like, 7 all the way to 13. Me seeing that and be it -- like visually abused by it. So...

TYRA BANKS, HOST, TYRA BANKS SHOW: And how did it affect you?

BROWN: It affected me, you know what I'm saying, basically, especially towards women, I treat them differently because I don't want to go through the same thing or put a woman through the same thing that that person put my mom, you know what I'm saying?


KING: We want to hear from you on this. Go to Click on blog, tell us what you're thinking. And don't go anywhere. We're really just getting started.


KING: We're back. Stan Goldman is professor of law at Loyola Law School. Is an affidavit a fact?

STAN GOLDMAN, PROFESSOR, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: No, of course not. As a matter of fact...

KING: What is it?

GOLDMAN: You know, usually the most pro-prosecution, pro-police document you can ever find is a thing like a search warrant affidavit. It's what the police, you know, believe they probably heard some witnesses say. It's not sworn by anybody except that the police believe they said that.

You know, I don't know if she's going to testify or not. All of this business about the idea that she's testifying, she says she's going to testify, she doesn't have to testify under California law. It used to be they could lock her up if she didn't testify.

July 1st last year Schwarzenegger, our governor, signed some bill into law that changes it, says you can't lock somebody guilty of -- who's a victim of a domestic violence for refusing to testify. So now if she says, you know, I don't want to cooperate, that's why the D.A. didn't file this as a domestic violence case. They think, and I think they're wrong, that they can get around this prohibition against putting her in jail by filing it simply as an assault.

KING: Judge Pirro, does this look like a plea bargain?

PIRRO: No. Absolutely not. And I'll tell you why, Larry. The fact that they filed these charges after they knew that Rihanna and Chris Brown got back together tells me they know exactly what they are dealing with.

When I was a D.A., one of the things that I did was I immediately got a medical release from crime victims and victims of domestic violence. So if they decided not to testify, I could go forward with their medical records, in this case, with the witness who found her in the car, with the two assistants to whom she made phone calls and text message with a medical injury, and I respect Trent, but I disagree with him greatly, that is totally consistent with the beating that she alleges.

It's all there. It's the people of the state of California, not Rihanna, against Chris Brown, but the people. And they don't need her. They've got the evidence. And the fact that they went forward after they got back together tells me the D.A. is confident and the D.A. should not take a plea bargain.

KING: Is there a tendency here...

COPELAND: Larry...

KING: Trent, hold it. Is there a tendency here based on what she just said that he's convicted?

COPELAND: Well, of course there is. I mean, you know, look, this is a feeding frenzy. You know you put these pictures up of Rihanna, a beautiful young woman, juxtapose those pictures with her when she's all glammed up at any of these media events, and sure, there's a feeding frenzy. But the assumption can't be that he's immediately guilty. There has to be the presumption of innocence. And...

KING: I thought that's the constitution.

COPELAND: That's the constitution. And I think, you know, we'll just take a big step back here. And I do. I respectfully disagree with Jeanine. She and I have argued on this program and others about things like this. But, look, the reality is that this is a plea bargain if I've ever seen one. I don't see Chris Brown going to federal prison for four years and eight months as a result of this.

Look, there's no question...

PIRRO: Federal prison? This is the L.A. D.A.

COPELAND: I mean, state prison. There is no doubt that this is a terrible, terrible criminal offense and he ought to be punished if he's found guilty, but I don't think that this is a felony case. And it goes to state prison.

KING: Judge Seidlin, they -- hold it a second. The judge in this case did not issue a no contact order to keep Chris Brown away from Rihanna. Rihanna's attorney had this to say after the proceedings then I'll have you comment. Watch.


DONALD ETRA, RIHANNA'S ATTORNEY: The one issue that arose in court concerning her rights is whether or not the court should issue a stay away order in this case. Rihanna requested that no such order be issued.


KING: Does that impress you, Judge Seidlin?

SEIDLIN: Well, historically and traditionally, the victims tend to go back to the individuals that caused them harm. But there's a couple points here. Number one, the prosecutor, and I used to be a D.A. The prosecutor wants to prevail. This is a contest between a prosecutor and a defense attorney. And every prosecutor wants to win that case. And they are going to have -- they are going to have to have that victim come into the courtroom and try to show that jury that this incident took place.

Since 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court says, we have to have the Sixth Amendment take place here. We must bring in the witness. We must allow the defendant to cross-examine the witness and the state attorney, the prosecutor, cannot prove the case solely on the physical evidence, on the blood, on the messages.

PIRRO: No, no. You know what...

KING: OK, Stan. Hold it, hold it, Judge. Stan Goldman, is he right?

GOLDMAN: Yes, he's absolutely right. Look, if the only way...

KING: So it's not just the cop who only -- it's hearsay to the cop, right?

GOLDMAN: It's hearsay to the officer. And unless she comes to court, what she told the police is not coming in.

KING: So if she...

GOLDMAN: Even if she denies.

KING: Then if she doesn't come, there's no case.

GOLDMAN: If she doesn't come, they better prove it some other way. They better have an awfully darn pictures and somebody else who saw it. I don't think they can prove this case without...

KING: Judge Pirro, what do they do?

PIRRO: Larry, look, when I was a district attorney, we had a case where a woman was almost murdered and left on top of a roof by her boyfriend. She not only refused to testify for me and I wasn't going to punish her by putting her in jail. She testified for the defense. I had enough evidence that I went forward and convicted him of attempted murder in spite of the fact that she did not testify.

Now this is being done all over the country and the L.A. D.A. knows it which is why he filed felony charges. And by the way, she said she will testify. You've got the -- look, in a homicide case, Larry, is the victim there to say what happened? Of course not. The victim is dead. You do it by circumstantial evidence.

KING: Are pictures evidence?

PIRRO: Yes, they're evidence.


PIRRO: They are proof of the injury.

KING: I got it. We'll be right back.

Have something to say, by the way, about Chris Brown and Rihanna, go to right now, click on our blog and sound off. We'll have some of your comments later in the show and more with our legalese next.


KING: Before we continue, we're taking a quick look at Rihanna's extraordinary talent. Her's the pop star performing "Umbrella" from her music video.


KING: The man, by the way, at the center of the legal storm is a musical sensation. Here is Chris Brown, the performer in his musical video, "Run It."


KING: We're back with our panel. Trent, you told me during the break that the recent Supreme Court decision makes this case tougher for the prosecution. How?

COPELAND: It make it is tougher, Larry, because the victim has to testify. They can't do this now via hearsay. They can't just have the police officer or those first responders come to the witness stand and testify about what Rihanna -- she must testify and if she does not testify, then I think the gut of the prosecution's case is completely gone.

KING: Stan?

GOLDMAN: If she doesn't testify, they have photographs; maybe they have witnesses. But they don't have her testimony. The key to the Supreme Court was they used to prosecute these cases when the witness didn't want to testify by using the witness' statements to the police. The U.S. Supreme Court a few months ago said, you can't do that, because the defendant doesn't get a chance to question anybody. It violates their Constitutional rights.

KING: Judge Seidlin, if she doesn't testify, does this make it a tough case for the prosecution?

SEIDLIN: What the prosecution did, they made Brown have to go the bathroom. They filed felony charges against him. They shook him up. So when they start talking about misdemeanor, which they will, simple battery, simple assault, he will be very receptive to that. You give this some time and the perspiration will be all over Brown. And he will start to say, misdemeanors look pretty good. I'll take probation. I'll take my rehabilitation.

He'll have to fall on his own sword, Larry, say, I'm sorry.

KING: Doesn't that sound logical?

PIRRO: Look, if that were the case -- you're assuming the only evidence is the statement by Rihanna to the police. That's not the only evidence. First of all, you've got an admission by Chris Brown, who called her assistant and said, she didn't tell them it was me, did she? Did she identify me? You've got the admission there.

You've got the medical injuries. You've got a witness who comes upon Rihanna in the car because she's screaming. You've got her in Chris Brown's car. And he literally extricated himself from the car and left.

This case can be provable. I know, I've done it. I've run a DA's Office. But you know what my biggest concern is, Larry? My concern is that she is someone who is beautiful and who is falling back into the trap of believing that it's not going to happen again. This is going to happen again unless someone takes action, and Chris Brown is made accountable for what he's done.

KING: Quickly, Trent.

COPELAND: I understand what Jeanine's saying. But the reality of this is, they've got the police statements, they've got the blood splatters, apparently. But what they don't have is a willing, cooperative witness. And she's the star witness in this case. If she's not there, they don't have a case.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling -- we have a difference of opinion on that. Next, a guest who puts all of this in perspective. She runs the National Domestic Violence Hotline, when we come back.



A.J. HAMMER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Just when you think the story can't get any more shocking or dramatic, it does. A brand new report, now says Chris Brown and Rihanna are back together. And not only that, they are spending quality time in one of Sean Ditty Combs' mansions on Miami Beach. "People Magazine" is also reporting that the couple reconnected just last week, when Brown called Rihanna on her 21st birthday. They say the couple still cares deeply for each other.


KING: We will talk to Sheryl Cates in a moment. Kevin, what is the show business community's reaction to all of this.

FRAZIER: I think everybody is a little surprised. Let me put it straight, Larry, everyone is shocked that they are back together. But I think also everyone understands that these are two kids. Remember, Chris Brown is 19 years old. Over the last five years, I've had a chance to talk to him several time, especially right before his 18th birthday. We talked about, for the first time, he's going to be able to go out on the road without his mother.

So now he's traveled a little bit without his mother. And even at 19, you still need that supervision. But what do you do when you have a kid, who is bringing in tens and millions of dollars into the household, and you have this situation with both these kids?

Hollywood is really divided, because they are surprised about the situation, and especially that they are back together. You just hope that these kids get the help they need.

KING: Thank you, Kevin. Kevin Frazier right at the courthouse. Now we got to Austin, Texas. Sheryl Cates is CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She's at the hotline center. What is the impact of this matter on your group?

SHERYL CATES, NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: Well obviously, Larry, we have seen an increase in calls since this incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown. It's tragic for Rihanna and it's tragic for the 1.3 million women who are abused by those who say they love them.

KING: What do you make of those, apparently on the Internet, more than a few suggesting that she provoked him?

CATES: Well, Larry, we hear that often times when people are trying to blame the victim. Obviously, we believe that this is a situation where -- obviously she was protecting herself, trying to get out of the car, trying to find a way to calm down the violence, or keep the violence from happening, period. And I think that what we need to look at is that he needs to be held accountable for his violence, and that Rihanna needs to be given some space to define what is happening for her, get some help with some professionals who know how to help her, obviously the hotline at 1800-799-SAFE.

We'd be glad to talk with her and help her in terms of safety planning. Help her talk about what her options and opportunity -- what opportunities that she has available for her.

KING: The question that --

CATES: That she has an opportunity to go forward.

KING: All right. The question that boggles mankind, why do women stay in relationships where they are beaten?

CATES: Well, obviously, Larry, we hear this often times. People ask, why do women stay? And we know that this is not abnormal that someone would go back to an abuser or go back to someone who says that they love them, says that they are sorry, says that they will change. And love is a funny thing, because I think that oftentimes women do love this person. They are not bad all the time. They do not hit them all the time or abuse them in this manner all the time. So they are not a monster all the time.

And so I think oftentimes they believe that they will change. They want them to change. They want the violence to stop. But they hope that this will be the last time.

KING: Thank you, Sheryl Cates. We'll be calling on you again, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. We'll have blog comments next. Your turn in 60 seconds.


KING: Tonight's news about Chris Brown has generated a lot of traffic on our blog. Let's hear what you're saying. Here is our blog correspondent Sarah Schnare live from the courthouse in downtown L.A. Sarah?

SARAH SCHNARE, BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Larry. We've been following the blog very closely tonight, And we've been getting a lot of mixed reactions tonight. Not that people want to downplay Chris Brown's role in any of this, but they are saying that we need to acknowledge both parties. Domestic abuse happens among men and women.

Others are wondering where's the parents? For example, Frankie says, "guys, they are kids. They are too young to understand what is going on. They are blinded by love. They just don't know."

Others are less judgmental, like Debbie. She writes, "these are talented young people. It disturbs me to hear about this. But I only wish them the best."

So a lot of activity tonight, Larry. People are following the story very closely. You know where to go, and jump into the conversation. Larry?

KING: Thanks, Sarah. Always on the scene, doing a great job. A number of celebrities have appeared on this show, revealing personal, sometimes harrowing accounts of abuse at the hands of loved ones. Take a look.


ROBIN GIVENS, ACTRESS: I write about the first hit in a book. And I think as painful as that was, to have years later Michael recount it as well, and remember it as well as I had remembered it, enough to describe it to someone as his best punch ever, was terribly disturbing to me.

PAM ANDERSON, MODEL: I think at some point you lose all of your self-esteem and scared and think you're going to be on your own, because a lot of the abuse stems from them trying to control you and be the powerful person. And you feel weak. And it's scary. The hardest thing I ever did in my life was to leave Tommy in that situation.

TINA TURNER, SINGER: I realized that I wasn't appreciated. No matter that I was staying because I was paying a debt of being loyal or whatever, it was just getting worse. And I realized I also wasn't really helping by staying there.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: I loved him so much, I think, on some level, and desperately wanted a father. But having him come back into our home and being violent and being an alcoholic and sort of abusing my mother and my sister, but never me, I think I grew up with a lot of guilt.


KING: Next, the impact of the Chris Brown case. Stick around.



KING: Now we welcome Reverend Rosy Grier, former NFL star, former pastor to O.J. Simpson, program administrator for the Milkin Family Foundation. In New York is Marvet Britto, founder and CEO of the Britto agency. They're a PR agency and a brand architecture firm. I love that term. And in New York as well is Dr. Robi Ludwig, psycho- therapist, contributing editor of "Cookie Magazine" and best selling author of "Til Death Do Us Part." You lived in a violent world that was legal. You were paid to be violent. What do you think of this?

REV. ROSEY GRIER, MILKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION: I think it's sad. These two people could have been hurt very badly. I thank god that they got a chance to change the lifestyle and that's what it's about. It's about people learning to get along and changer their lifestyle/ The violence in your life, you've got to get rid of it, because all it's going to lead to is trouble.

KING: Are you optimistic that he can change?

GRIER: He must change because he certainly can't last going the way he is going. No one can. I mean, that's on the road to death. And you've got to change.

KING: Margaret, what does the Britto Agency do?

MARVET BRITTO, CEO, BRITTO AGENCY: We do PR, but we also reposition brands, launch brands and help folks get their selves on the right track in cases such as these.

KING: Chris Brown, then, being a brand?

BRITTO: Chris Brown is a brand and Rihanna is a brand. And their brands need to be protected. And they have been convicted in the most dangerous court, and that's the court of public opinion. So what's important for them both to do is, you know, speak about what has transpired. We have yet to hear from Chris Brown or Rihanna. We don't need to read or hear prepared statements. We need to hear a contrite, remorseful Chris Brown accept responsibility for what he has done.

KING: Are you saying, if you were representing him, you'd suggest come out?

BRITTO: Absolutely he needs to come out. You know, we've -- he's been convicted by, you know, the tabloids, by the media. We have yet to hear from him, to hear his side of the story or Rihanna's side of the story. So they haven't allowed themselves to be privy to the compassion that we typically like to give when people mess up.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, there's obviously problems here and trouble. Do you recommend as a pyscho-therapist that the person allegedly doing this come forward?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, first of all, he needs to understand what happened and why he was vulnerable to acting in such a violent way. Because what we know about batterers and abusers is they only get worse, because really what they're defending against is a feeling of worthlessness and feeling out of control. So when they beat up their partner, they feel this sense of strength, and that they are in control.

And Chris Brown saw abuse in his home. So what we know also about abusers is that they grow up watching abuse. What they say to themselves in their mind, probably unconsciously, is, I could either be a victim or an abuser. So if I'm an abuser, then I won't be a victim.

KING: Speaking of that, talking with Tyra Banks last December, Chris said he had a family history of abuse. Said his stepfather used to beat his mother. Watch.


TYRA BANKS, TALK SHOW HOST: Did you ever talk to your mom about it?

BROWN: All the time. you know what they way, when a woman is in love, they always say, I (INAUDIBLE) I guess when a women is in love, she don't look at it like that.

BANKS: Why do you talk to a lot of people right now that are going through that. What can you tell them, if their mother is going through domestic violence, and they're scared, and they don't want to get out of the bed like you? They don't know what to do and they feel helpless. What can you tell them to give them some strength?

BROWN: That's hard, because -- I think just try to overcome it and pray. You know what I'm saying? What I did, I prayed all the time. I had the Bible under the pillow. So I was scared.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: What would you say to him, Rosey, if you were counseling him? He is in denial there or these allegations aren't true. One or the other.

GRIER: I think he said that he needs to pray, but he needs to pray to god and not just pray to be praying, to let his heart go, take him there. I think a lot of people say a lot of things with their mouth because it's convenient, but he understands you don't jive god. And that's an issue he's really dealing with there. And he needs to really turn to god with his life, as we all should, in order to change what's going on in our world today. Because that's happening with us, we're lost.

KING: We'll hear from you by phone. Are there lessons to be learned from all this? We'll find out after the break.


KING: Should Rihanna date Chris Brown, that's tonight's quick vote. Right now, 98 percent of you say no. Still time to have your say, Let's grab a phone call. Dayton, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. I met you in Reno. I'm the author of "Escaping Domestic Violence, How Women Get Out and Stay Out." An in chronic abuse, a woman's brain chemistry actually changes. She will go back.

So the question is why are we blaming the victim for going back? It only takes one in domestic violence, and there's never an excuse for abuse.

KING: Dr. Ludwig, do you agree?

LUDWIG: Well, I don't know if anyone is blaming her. I would certainly hope not. But we do know that these women hope that their love is so powerful that they can somehow change it. They're also seduced. And I think what the CEO of the Domestic Violence Center was saying is very true, how they are seduced and they understand that their boyfriend is not all bad, that there's a good part too.

So it's very confusing for these women. And what we need to do is an educational approach of zero tolerance for any type of abuse, period.

KING: A week after his alleged assault, Chris Brown released a statement. It said, "words cannot begin to express how sorry and sad I am over what transpired. I'm seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones. And I'm committed with god's help to emerging a better person." Rosey, if you could look into the camera and talk to both of them, this still couple, what would you say?

GRIER: You're young people, and you have a lot to live for. God has blessed you with a lot of gifts and you could take those gifts and do some really good things with it. Don't go out fighting and trying to control one another. You have to let the other person be free to be who they are. And God will bless you both and send you out into the light to shine for others to see the goodness that is in you.

KING: Would you have her go public too?

BRITTO: Absolutely. She could be the biggest, brightest voice that domestic abuse and battered women could have. She shouldn't be the poster girl for it. Of course, she should heal and do it in her own time. But we need to hear from Rihanna. And I think Rihanna could really be the voice of change for this issue, which really touches a lot of women. I think she shouldn't condone his actions. And seemingly, we think that that's what she's done, because we haven't heard from her.

KING: A lawyer would tell them both not to say anything.

BRITTO: A lawyer might tell them both not to say anything. But the public can continue to make assumptions, which is never good, because it will be harder for them to overcome the public's perception of what they have done, or lack thereof. It's not our place to judge them, but we do need to hear what's behind's Rihanna's motivation for taking him back?

KING: In fact, though, Dr. Ludwig, aren't we judging him?

LUDWIG: Yes, because we're going to judge somebody who is violent, who threatens to kill his girlfriend. And in a way that behavior deserves judgment. But he also needs treatment and hopefully he will get that. There is treatment specifically for batterers. That's what I would recommend as a therapist.

KING: We're also judging her, aren't we, reverend, by getting mad if she goes back.

GRIER: She's free to do what she wants to do with her life. And I think she's running to him for comfort. That's too bad, but that's the way people do it.

KING: Have you been called on as a minister to counsel violence?

GRIER: Not really violence. I work with gang kids and that's the potential. So you what you try to do is point them in new direction, a better way.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling -- obviously, we'll be calling upon you again. It's that time again, when we salute another incredible hero. Tonight, we honor a young man who's making a difference in the Philippines.


KING: This week's hero nominee comes to us from Manilla in the Philippines. He's Efron Penaflorida (ph), the founder of Dynamic Teen Company or DTC. It's an organization aimed at reaching out and helping impoverished and troubled children. How did you get the idea to do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw kids, children sifting for food in a dump site, I said to myself, if only I can do something. That's when somebody told me that the power of faith and education that can help them.

KING: Is it working?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right now, it's still working.

KING: You must feel very good that you're helping a lot of kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are a bunch of great kids. They have good ideas and be dedicated to their work.

KING: We salute you for your work. Congratulations.


KING: Hey, don't forget our website, Join our blog or download our new daily pod cast. Finally tonight, a shout out to our good buddy Robin Williams. He's going to undergo aortic valve replacement, the same surgery performed on Barbara Bush yesterday. Robin, we're thinking of you. You're such a great guy. Humor will not leave that operating room. You'll have them cracking up and you'll be back soon, back on tour, and hopefully right here with us. "Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" is next. Anderson?