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Farrah Fawcett's Battle with Cancer

Aired May 18, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Farrah Fawcett's desperate fight against cancer documented -- but does it really tell her story?

Did alternative treatments help or hurt her?

Farrah's doctor is here to set the record straight.

Plus, swine flu death exclusive -- the husband of the first American to die from the virus will break his silence. He says her death had nothing to do with another condition. He tells us who he's suing and why. And meet his newborn daughter -- the baby her mother never got to hold.

And then, Drew Peterson has pled guilty not guilty to murdering his third wife and remains jailed on $20 million bond.

Will the woman he's accused of killing convicting him from the grave?


We begin with, in Los Angeles, Laura Spencer, the host of "The Insider," who interviewed Farrah's friend, Alana Stewart, today.

And from Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Thomas Vogl, one of the doctors featured in "Farrah's Story.." He's a radio-oncologist at the J.W. Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt.

Now, everyone's talking about "Farrah's Story." Nine million people watched it.

You, Lara, talked with Farrah's close friend, Alana Stewart, about Farrah's prognosis.

Let's watch.


LARA SPENCER, HOST, "THE INSIDER": You talk to the doctor almost every day.

Has he given Farrah a prognosis?

Has he given her time?

ALANA STEWART: No. And, you know, she's said to me many times during the last couple of years, she said, if there comes a period where I only have two months left to live, I want to know. And so far, no one has said to her you have two months to live. So I'm -- I'm looking at that as a really good sign.


KING: How long does -- Lara, does Alana speculate as to how long this is going to -- how -- what's going to happen, possibly, to Farrah?

SPENCER: She won't speculate, Larry. She doesn't want to throw out a number. And neither does Farrah. They're bonded with their -- with their hope for a miracle. And she just won't do it.

She said, I mean how long do any of us have to live?

And she said Farrah said to me, look, I want to know. If it's two months, I need to know to get my affairs in order. And nobody has told me that.

So they're still hoping for that miracle.

KING: Did Farrah and Ryan watch the show?

SPENCER: They did. They watched it together with Alana. And Alana said it was the ultimate in bittersweet. You know, they're reliving two years of hell that they've endured together.

And I just want to say that everybody should have a friend like Alana Stewart.

KING: Yes, you're not kidding.

SPENCER: I mean this woman is amazing. And it's so touching.

And they had a tough night. But it was also bittersweet. And at the end of it, Farrah was very happy.

Alana said, did you like it?

And Farrah said, I liked it very, very, very, very, very -- I think it was eight verys -- very much.

KING: You also talked to her about how Ryan is doing.

Let's watch.


STEWART: He walks in the room and she just lights up. And she -- if he's not there, she asks for him and -- but he's there. You know, he's staying with her all the time. And I think he's like her Rock of Gibraltar.

How would he be if -- when she passes away?

STEWART: Well, if and when it happens, I think he will just be beyond devastated.


SPENCER: He will.

KING: All right, Dr. Vogl in Germany, stay with us a moment, Lara.

You -- you were featured in the documentary.

Did you see the program?


KING: Yes.

Did you see the show?

VOGL: I only saw part of the show.

KING: From what you saw, what did you think?

VOGL: I think from -- from at least the parts I was looking at, I had the feeling that it will help a lot of other patients and people to understand what cancer means and how brave -- you can nowadays follow treatment and also develop relationships to the people who are caring.

KING: Lara, Ryan said the film made him fall in love with -- with Farrah all over again.

Do you think there's a possibility that might happen, they might marry again?

SPENCER: He said you never know. He was cagey about it. And, you know, I think he would in a second. He's so madly in love with her. Larry, this is like the ultimate love story. You know, just watching how he's been there for her -- her Rock of Gibraltar. And she was there for him. Remember, he's also battling leukemia.

KING: Yes.

SPENCER: And he carried out her wishes with this documentary. She wasn't strong enough to get in the editing room. And he's so proud that she liked it.

KING: Dr. Vogl, frankly, how desperate is her condition?

VOGL: You know, I'm sitting here in Germany -- Frankfurt, in University Hospital, so I cannot tell you in detail. But at least what I see from the records and a lot of communications, I think the situation is very, very serious.

KING: When she came to you, was she looking for a cure, a long shot? What was she expecting in Germany?

VOGL: I think that's a difficult story. You know, here in Germany, we are -- or she contacted us because she had a local problem in a special organ of the cancer. And we are quite specialized in treating highly aggressive, but localized cancer. And that was why she contacted us in order whether we could be of help to her.

KING: What kind of patient was she?

VOGL: I think, of course, if you treat the person for a longer time, you will always have a very special relationship. But from a lot of treatments and contact and communication, I think she is extremely special, an extremely brave person. And she was very charming and keeping under her characteristics a lot of people very, very controlled and engaged and the like.

KING: Lara, how do you explain the Alana Stewart?

Why does she do what she does?

SPENCER: Because she is an amazing person. She's Farrah's best friend. And that's what friends are for. You know, I said before, I wish we all had an Alana.

And Farrah -- you know, this didn't start out with any set mission. Farrah just wanted to document her journey so that she could remember what the doctors were telling her to do. She wanted to keep it all straight in her head.

So Alana was just doing that for her.

But can you imagine, Larry, your friend asking you to basically live your hell with you?

KING: Right.

SPENCER: You know, the strength that it took for Alana to go through this and then to sit and watch it with Farrah -- you know, it's agonizing for her to do this.

KING: Right.

SPENCER: And all through it, she is this -- just this optimistic person. She and Farrah have this, you know, resolute hope for the miracle. And, you know, you were just asking how bad it is. It is -- it's terribly bad. But don't ask -- you know, Farrah won't tell you that. She is...

KING: I got you.

SPENCER: She's set out to do this as a -- she said that this was going to be the story of her cure.

KING: Yes.

Lara, thank you so much.

We'll be calling on your frequently.


KING: Lara Spencer, an outstanding reporter with "The Insider."

Dr. Vogl remains with us.

And we'll discuss Farrah's treatment with a number of medical experts, including our own Dr. Gupta, next.


KING: Remaining with us on the phone from Frankfurt is Dr. Thomas Vogl.

Joining us from here in New York, is Dr. Allyson Ocean, medical oncologist at the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at New York's Presbyterian/Cornell Medical Center -- named, by the way, for Katie Couric's late husband.

In Los Angeles is Dr. Paul Song, radiation oncologist, adjunct member of the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

We'll be joined momentarily by our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

In "Farrah's Story," which ran last night, she gave us a little insight into her battle.



FARRAH FAWCETT, ACTRESS: Professor Vogl calls this disease a terrorist -- so unpredictable, filled with hate and powerful enough to destroy all that is good and healthy. Cancer is my own private war -- the strain, the nausea, the fever take turns challenging my strength, my mind and my spirit.


KING: Dr. Ocean, is anal cancer rare?

DR. ALLYSON OCEAN, MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN/WEILL CORNELL MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, it is rare. There are only about 5,000 cases diagnosed in the United States on a yearly basis. So it's -- it represents less than 2 percent of all gastrointestinal malignancies.

KING: And does it usually spread?

OCEAN: No, it doesn't usually spread. Most -- most cases are cured. Only about 10 to 15 percent of cases are advanced cases.

KING: So she's not your patient... OCEAN: No.

KING: ...but in case it spread, right?


KING: All right.

By the way, do you know its cause?

OCEAN: There are various causes for this disease. One of the causes is a virus called the human papilloma virus, which is a sexually transmitted virus. It seems to be more common in women, in general, outside of any viral infections. Smoking is actually a risk factor.

KING: Really? With anal cancer?

OCEAN: Yes. Because it's also associated with cervical cancer, as well, smoking. And it can be, also -- the viral ideology can play a role in both diseases.

KING: Dr. Song, have you treated it?

DR. PAUL SONG, RADIATION ONCOLOGIST, VALLEY RADIOTHERAPY ASSOCIATION: Yes. We treat quite a bit. Although it is a rare malignancy, this is very curable with chemo and radiation when caught in its early stages. The chances are that with Miss. Fawcett's case, there was something that was a little bit more aggressive, that it didn't respond to conventional treatment.

But if caught early enough -- and even in those cases where lymph nodes are involved -- this is a very treatable, responsive disease.

KING: When you say catch it early, what are its signs?

SONG: Usually, the most common manifestation is some rectal pain and bleeding, often mimicking hemorrhoids. And when patients go in for an examination, many times thinking they have hemorrhoids and in rare occasion are found to have this ulcerative lesion so.

KING: So if you're bleeding rectally, go to the doctor?

SONG: Yes, absolutely.

KING: Is it more common in women than in men?

SONG: Yes, it is. Although the overall incidence is quite rare, it is slightly more predominant in women.

KING: Dr. Vogl, how is it treated in Germany?

VOGL: At least what I can summarize from the treatment, Farrah's problem was a very aggressive cancer, like the colleague said before -- unusual. And her main manifestations had been attached to -- to the liver. KING: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is CNN's chief medical correspondent.

He's with us from Atlanta.

He is a brain surgeon.

How familiar are you with this one, Doctor?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I learned about this in medical school. And then, you know, at certain points along the way. But it is a pretty rare cancer. So, you know, there's quite a bit that's written about G.I. cancers, in general.

But with anal cancer in particular, it is so rare that there's not as much literature on this as a lot of other tumors -- Larry.

KING: And the way you have to -- do you agree with Dr. Vogl, this has to be aggressively fought when spread?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's an interesting balance, Larry. And I think that probably strikes at the heart of what's happening with Farrah here, to some extent. You want to be aggressive, but you want to be aggressive with some data to support that your aggression or your aggressive therapies are going to be of benefit and are going to help, you know?

And that's where it gets difficult, because when you have something that's a Stage 4 cancer like this, it -- the tumor is sort of released out into the body. It's going to be very difficult to treat. You want to make sure that everything you're putting the patient through has some sort of objective here.

And sometimes with rare cancers like that, it's hard to get that sort of data. You just don't know exactly how much benefit it's going to provide.

KING: As we go to break, we'll look at Farrah being treated in one of the clips from the show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Dr. Vogl is putting a needle through the skin directly into some of the tumors. And that needle has, at the tip of it, a laser, with the idea of then lasering the tumor and having it die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they go in through the rib cartilage into the liver, in this case. And it is painful.




KING: We're back.

Here's another quick look inside Farrah Fawcett's battle with cancer, as seen on "Farrah's Story" on NBC. She calls its her own private war.



FAWCETT: The drugs that are necessary for me to live and at the same time meant send the tumors away have begun to be highly toxic themselves. The I.V. will continue to flow through a vein that has been damaged by chemo, radiation and so fragile that it might blow at any time. Like I said, my own private war.


KING: Dr. Ocean, if the treatment is toxic, this is catch-22, isn't it?

OCEAN: At times, yes, it is. It's -- it's very hard, because you want to do everything you can to try to slow down the progression of the disease. But we do have supportive therapies that -- that we give patients along the way to help them get through some of these harder treatments.

So there are pain medicines. There are ways of dealing with nutrition and other things that we can help people get through these therapies.

KING: Dr. Song, have you seen this condition in Stage 4 cured?

SONG: Not -- not with anal cancer. I have seen it with other G.I. malignancies such as rectal cancer. But anal cancer is a little bit more difficult to treat. We don't generally see this extent of liver metastases.

When I was watching the segment, the C.T. image there, it was clear that she had a really large mass in the liver. And, generally, those are not very responsive to most of the conventional treatments.

KING: We'll back in a moment.

By the way, I'm in the hot seat tomorrow on my own show. I'm going to be answering questions posed by Regis Philbin, Joy Behar and Anderson Cooper all about my new book, which comes out tomorrow. It's called "My Remarkable Life," tomorrow night. You might want to watch it.

We've got more on Farrah.

Don't go away.


KING: Dr. Gupta, Dr. Ocean just told me that that cervical vaccine which has been historic in helping young women also would prevent anal cancer.


GUPTA: It might. There is some -- some literature to suggest that the -- the same virus that is, in part, responsible for cervical cancer and can be vaccinated against by that vaccine could help preventive with anal cancer, as well.

But, see, the things is we're not sure exactly what causes anal cancer in a lot of the cases. So in some of the cases, it could be helpful. But it's hard to say that it would be absolutely foolproof -- Larry.

KING: She apparently, Dr. Vogl, refused a colostomy, which would have caused her to wear a bag.

Was that true?

Do you know about that?

VOGL: Yes. She refused to do that, yes. Absolutely.

KING: Would it have helped her?

VOGL: I'm not truly convinced. Farrah always had a very special -- and has a very special insight and very clear thinking. And I think if you see it now, I think she, in a way, was right.

KING: We'll show you one more clip here about her bravery and courage.



FAWCETT: Sometimes this disease makes me feel like a stranger to myself, like a blond nothingness alone inside a body that wants what's mine, but that's been damaged by radiation, chemo and all those drugs necessary for me to live. All those chemicals that are highly toxic and slightly paralyzing, forcing me to experience intolerable suffering and the pain I have never known.


KING: Dr. Song, if the treatment is this unbearable, why do it, if you're going to pass away anyway?

SONG: Unfortunately, for anal cancer, in order for us to eliminate the disease, there is a tremendous amount of toxicity that's associated with it, where we are aiming the radiation fields.

But the overall cure rate, though, is actually quite good. And the eventual recovery is usually a full recovery, with full function. So, unfortunately, we do need to put patients through that.

With Miss. Fawcett, it really is unfortunate that she was one of the rare patients that did not respond to this treatment.

KING: Would a colostomy mean anything now, Dr. Ocean?

OCEAN: It wouldn't be necessary to do that now, once the disease has spread. But usually in patients that undergo chemotherapy and radiation as a primary treatment, if they then get a recurrence of the cancer, usually they can be cured be with -- with surgery that requires a colostomy.

KING: Dr. Vogl, as I understand it, no doctor really knows about demise.

Is there any prediction in this kind of case?

VOGL: No. Absolutely, no. It is so rare a case. And it's a rare disease and so it's difficult to control. I think there are no really date available.

KING: Dr. Gupta, would you agree -- I've been told that by others -- a doctor should never tell a patient you have six months.

GUPTA: Well, I mean, you know, there is something to be said for hope and optimism and how that might influence someone's overall ability to -- to beat a disease or to have a better recovery. So, you know, it's tough.

I think you -- you have to be absolutely honest with patients, but, you know, you don't want to strip away their hope and optimism, either.

There are people, Larry, as you know, who beat the odds. And every patient wishes that they were -- they were one of those patients.

KING: Dr. Song, how important is attitude?

SONG: I think attitude has a lot to do. And I think one of the most powerful things that Miss. Fawcett did in this documentary was give patients a sense of hope and to just show how she's handled this with such courage and dignity.

I think that when our patients do have a positive attitude, they are able tolerate treatment much better. Their overall state of mind allows them to just handle the situation in a way that I believe really helps them get through treatment a little bit easier.

KING: Dr. Gupta, is there any question you would ask Dr. Vogl?

GUPTA: Well, you know, one of the things that came up as we were sort of investigating this is that Miss. Fawcett decided to come to Germany because she was told she couldn't get the operation at UCLA. She had just had radiation and the thought was that her tissues were too weak to be able to tolerate surgery.

Was that what she told you?

And, I mean, did you agree to operate on her despite what she had been told in Los Angeles?

VOGL: OK. Thank you for (INAUDIBLE) correction. But to answer honestly, she -- we had discussed her case in our comprehensive cancer center here in Frankfurt. And we thought that, in a way, by doing either localized laser therapy, which is our specialty, or localized chemotherapy, we had the impression and our tumor court decided that, together with my colleagues, that we could try and perform a localized therapy and try to help her.

KING: It didn't work?

VOGL: What you would say, it didn't work.

KING: Yes. We talk about hope.

What hope does she have, Dr. Ocean, frankly?

OCEAN: Well, going through cancer is -- is a very difficult battle. And the hope that someone has, has to remain with them to get through it. And...

KING: To each his own, then?

OCEAN: To each his own. But you have -- but if you don't have hope, you don't have anything. So she -- she, you know, is a very brave woman to be able to go out there and tell her story and everything that she suffered. And she wants to let people know that -- that she did it, that there are available treatments.

I don't know if she necessarily needed to go to Germany to receive treatments, but she -- because we have excellent medical care here and clinical trials and new treatments here, as well.

So, you know, she -- you have to have hope. You can't deprive anyone of hope.

KING: Thank you all very much.


Dr. Thomas Vogl by phone, thank you, from Frankfurt.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as always.

Dr. Allyson Ocean and Dr. Paul Song.

The first American to die from swine flu had a baby right before she passed away. You're going to meet the child and her father -- a LARRY KING LIVE exclusive, next.


KING: Joining us now in Corpus Christi, Texas is Steven Trunnell. His wife Judy was the first American to die from swine flu.

With him is Mark Rosenthal, Steven Trunnell's attorney. Steve, your wife was eight months pregnant when she got sick, then she had a C-section.

Was that to save the baby?

STEVEN TRUNNELL, WIFE WAS FIRST AMERICAN SWINE FLU DEATH: Pretty much. It was to -- because of her condition deteriorating so rapidly they opted to take the baby out. And pretty much that was the reason for the emergency C-section.

KING: Did Judy ever get to hold her baby?

TRUNNELL: No, sir. She never did.

KING: You have a 4-year-old daughter already, right?

TRUNNELL: That's correct. She's sitting right behind me over here.

KING: What were the first signs of the flu, Doctor?

I mean not Doctor -- I'm sorry -- Steven.

TRUNNELL: The first signs, you know, she began with a numbing feeling to her left side of the face as well as the body aches. We took her to her doctor and they did determine that she had influenza but just like the regular influenza, what everybody else gets, she was sent home with prescription medications and as the days went on, she just wasn't getting any better. That's when I took her to the emergency room and discovered otherwise.

KING: All right. You said she was -- did she die of swine flu?

TRUNNELL: She died the complications of the swine flu.

KING: OK. And you're saying that the media reports that she had a preexisting medical condition are not true. Right?

TRUNNELL: That's absolutely false. She was a healthy, pregnant woman who was eight months pregnant until she contracted the virus. She became acutely ill but she was never diagnosed with any major medical complications of any kind.

KING: Mark, help me understand something. As I understand it, Steven is suing Smithfield Foods, famous company, who owns the pig farm where the virus strain started. What's the suit based on?

MARK ROSENTHAL, ATTORNEY: Well, Larry, in Texas, this is filed in Texas state court. The rules of procedure allow us to initiate a suit to investigate a wrongful death claim and that means to collect facts, to collect probative evidence that will allow us to make more allegations against Smithfield Foods and/or whoever might be responsible for contributing to the creation of this deadly virus.

KING: OK, are you saying, Mark, then at this point you don't know, you just want the right to find snout. ROSENTHAL: Well, that's correct, Larry. But where there's smoke there's fire and there are certain indicators that cause us to believe that there is a reasonable likelihood that Smithfield Foods may have contributed to the origin of this. We do not know this for a fact yet. Let me clarify that and that's the purpose of obtaining an order from the court that would allow us to proceed with depositions and so forth.

KING: We have a statement from Smithfield Foods. Hold on, then we'll have you respond. And the statement is -- "On April 26th, Smithfield Foods Inc. stated that it has found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza in the company's swine herd or its employees at its joint ventures in Mexico. Based on available recent information, Smithfield has no reason to believe that the virus is in any was connected to its operation to Mexico."

Does that mean, Mark, why it has no interest in at least finding out?

ROSENTHAL: Well, to me, what that means is it's -- it's a fox guarding the hen house, Larry. We will have qualified experts, scientists and medical doctors in the top of their fields and will participate in analyzing the situation and we'll conduct independent testing rather than the testing that Smithfield purports to rely upon.

KING: Steven, your wife was a teacher at the school right near the border in Mexico. Is that how you think she was exposed, at school?

TRUNNELL: It's -- it's anybody's guess. We may have no idea where she may have contracted the virus. I mean, the school, you know, there are a lot of sick kids out there. But I don't know for a fact that's where she may have picked it up from.

KING: Are you worried about yourself or your children?

TRUNNELL: My children, yes, my newborn, yes, of course, and my 4-year-old, as well.

KING: Are you OK?

TRUNNELL: We're holding up as good as we can. We're still in disbelief and trying to adjust to different life now. There's absolutely nothing normal about the way we're living right now. So just trying to get back on track as far as finding some normal routine.

KING: When we come back, we'll have Dr. Sanjay Gupta join us. Swine flu, by the way, the danger is still out there. We'll find out what you need to know after this.


KING: Joining us now, back with us is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, remaining Steven Trunnell and Mark Rosenthal.

Sanjay, an assistant principal at high school here in New York died Sunday. What can you tell us about that one?

GUPTA: Well, we're getting the details with everyone else. It sounds like there may have been some sort of preexisting condition, something that you were just talking to Steven about, as well.

What we know, Larry, what we have been hearing is that people who have some sort of a preexisting condition may have a weakened immune system. Their immune system not able to fight off the virus as well and that might make them more susceptible to getting sick and possibly even dying from this.

But Larry, some of those details are just coming out. We know he was in the hospital for sometime. There was some different treatments that were tried. But as we know, nothing in the end really seemed to help him.

KING: All right, OK. Now, this will be the sixth death from swine flu if it's confirmed and Steven believes his wife caught it at school. Apparently this teacher, the assistant principal was at school. Do you think that's the highest place of risk, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Well, with these types of viruses, part of the reason that they do spread is among people that are sort of in close quarters. So schools are one place that people think about. Army barracks was something we were talking about in medical school, always a place that you've got to be concerned about viruses like this spreading.

So, yeah, people in close quarters who may be, you know, exchanging, touching things and touching their eyes, their nose, their mouth. That's how it spreads.

KING: All right. What, Sanjay, this is just an iffy question, what could Smithfield have done to prevent this?

GUPTA: It's a tough question. And as you know, Larry, I was down there in Mexico. I actually went to that same pig farm that Steven and his lawyer are talking about. They say they inoculate the pigs against the influenza virus. Swine flu is not new. A lot of people are hearing about it for a first time but swine flu has been around for a long time, so this idea of inoculating or vaccinating pigs is something that is not new either. So they say that they have done that. They say that there was no evidence that swine flu or at least this H1N1 of 2009 started there. So, you know, I don't know. What else? The vaccinations I guess are key.

KING: Mark, what are you looking for?

ROSENTHAL: Well, Larry, that's something that's going to have to be determined by the experts. There are differing schools of thought among the experts about how something like this starts. In our situation, one thing that we're sure about is, Smithfield Foods operated a very shoddy operation so far as health and safety is concerned.

There were a lot of violations down there. It was operated just in a very deplorable condition when it comes to sanitary issues. There are many experts that believe that increases likelihood of a virus like this being created and that's one of the things we are going to focus on and trying to determine if it originated there if that is ground zero.

KING: I hope we get the answers. Steven, how's your 4-year-old doing with regard to the death of her mother?

TRUNNELL: Well, when she first learned of it, of course, she was devastated. I had the burden of, you know, explaining to her that her mom wasn't coming home anymore. She is in heaven now. And she didn't take it very well. Now IT seems like she's coming around a bit. She still asks to this day when are we going to be going to heaven and it's still a tough question for me. So -- but for the most part, she's coming around more or less.

KING: Sanjay, it continues to spread but the response seems to have died down. There's no more grave media coverage. Are we wrong?

GUPTA: Well, you know, if you look at sort of the natural history of viruses like this at least in the Northern Hemisphere where we live, come summer months, it just doesn't transmit as much as it did in the fall and the winter or even in the late spring as the case may be.

So I think it is probably slowing down although we are still hearing about cases that maybe developed maybe even a few weeks ago so I think the numbers may still go up for a while even though the overall trend may start to decrease. But you know, I think it's a message for the fall and winter that we've got to be vigilant when fall and winter roll around again.

KING: We'll have a vaccine, won't we?

GUPTA: I don't know the answer to that. I know you've asked the experts on this. They're still making that decision as to whether or not they will, A, have it and B, whether it will be in time. Sometimes they have to trade off by making this vaccine and they may not have enough of the regular flu vaccine, which as you know, kills tens of thousands of people a year.

KING: Eight schools still closed in New York. What do you make of that?

GUPTA: Well, there's been a lot of back and forth on the appropriate course of action. When a single individual or a couple of individuals have swine flu, folks in the CDC say look, you could send those folks home, not let them come in contact with any of the other students and maybe the schools could stay open. But I don't know the specific situations of schools if they felt like it was enough of a threat that they had to close the schools down.

KING: Steven, nothing but the best of luck to you and our warm, warm wishes for you. And Mark, you keep us posted as to what develops and Sanjay, as always, thank you. Thank you, guys. Don't forget "My Remarkable Journey," my autobiography comes out tomorrow in bookstores everywhere and they're also going to feature me as the guest on my own show tomorrow night. Regis Philbin, Anderson Cooper and Joy Behar will be the hosts.

Drew Peterson was in court today, entered a plea. Why does the state want a new judge in this case? We'll talk about it in 60 seconds.


KING: Drew Peterson was arraigned today charged with the murder of his third wife. "Chicago Tribune" reporter Steve Schmadeke was in the courtroom. Steve, what was Peterson's demeanor? He pled not guilty as we said. In the past he joked around, laughed it up. What was it like today?

STEVE SCHMADEKE, REPORTER, CHICAGO TRIBUTE: Today, he was a little more reserved, there was no joking. He was not smirking or anything in the courtroom, yeah.

KING: How long was the court in session?

SCHMADEKE: It was about maybe half hour, 40 minutes.

KING: Did he appear confident?

SCHMADEKE: He did, yeah, he did.

KING: What's the next court date?

SCHMADEKE: The next date is Thursday where the chief judge Gerald Kinney will rule on whether there will be a new judge assigned to the case.

KING: Why would that happen?

SCHMADEKE: Prosecutors today in kind of an unusual move asked that the current judge on the case be removed on the grounds of prejudice to the state.

KING: based on?

SCHMADEKE: They don't have to say. They haven't said yet. The defense attorneys are -- say they'll plan on filing a motion asking them to -- I guess demonstrate that there was actual prejudice.

KING: That had to be a big surprise, wasn't it?

SCHMADEKE: It was, it was. It's unusual for prosecutors to ask for that, yeah.

KING: Thanks so much, Steve. We'll keep in touch with you closely. And when we come back, more on this, the men who speak for Drew Peterson, his attorneys join us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Before we meet Drew's lawyers, here's Anderson Cooper. He'll host "A.C. 360" right here in New York at top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Larry. Like you, we've been looking at the swine flu continuing to spread. Tonight, another man is dead. More schools closed in New York City. Thousands of students out of school. Is this a real pandemic? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join us for that.

Also, President Obama walking a fine line on abortion this weekend when he gave that commencement address at Notre Dame. But has the president lived up to his promises on other domestic issues? Is he actually abandoning the people who put him in office? We'll have the raw politics tonight.

And take a look at this case. Is this a case of police brutality? The allegation tonight facing two police officers, a 14- year-old boy bloodied and bruised. We'll show you the tape. You can decide for yourself. All that ahead tonight on the program tonight, Larry.

KING: That's Anderson Cooper, "A.C. 360" right at the top of the hour, 10:00 Eastern/7:00 Pacific.

Joining us now in Chicago, Drew Peterson's attorneys Joel Brodsky and Andrew Abood. First, Joel, what do you make of the prosecution's request to remove the judge?

JOEL BRODSKY, PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: I think it just clearly shows that they don't have a strong case. If they had a strong case or believed they had a strong case, they wouldn't care what judge had it.

KING: Is Drew acting any better, Andrew? He is not kidding around anymore.

ANDREW ABOOD, PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: Drew's always been great around us and followed our instructions. He has a pretty good understanding of the process and it eliminates a lot of the need for us to educate him on the intricacies of what happens in court.

KING: Joel, I'm told that this judge dismissed some sort of gun charge against Drew previously. Is that true?

BRODSKY: Yeah. That was about six months ago but we have to remember that -- we made a motion to dismiss in that case and the judge ruled against us. The judge was very even handed. The state appealed the dismissal. And we appealed the failure to dismiss on our motion so we cross appealed.

This judge is right down the middle. I think that clearly the reason for asking what the state's telling us by making this type of motion, what they're telling the world is that they don't have any confidence in their case.

KING: Andrew, how about all these stories by others of threats made against third and fourth wives, statements apparently documented that she said this to me?

ABOOD: I don't think they're documented per se. They may be written in some letters. We haven't been provided those letters. Ultimately, those will all have to be tested in court. Whether they'll actually come in or not, the reliability and credibility of those statements is a long history of jurisprudence in this state and across the country that has said those types of statements aren't that credible. And I think the jury, if they come in, will see that. And if the judge makes the right decision based upon the law, they'll be excluded.

KING: Joel, what do you make of the law passed in Illinois for after the crime?

BRODSKY: Are you talking about the hearsay law?

KING: The hearsay law.

BRODSKY: Well, we think it's unconstitutional, but you have to remember, even if they find it to be constitutional, at least as far as hearsay goes, this law was passed in 2008. The offense that is charged against Drew occurred in 2004. And there's no way, it's an ex post facto law. That's in the constitution. You can't apply a law retroactively. So I really don't see how it's going to have any application in this case, no matter how much the prosecution touts it.

KING: Andrew, is the key to this case for the prosecution forensics?

ABOOD: Well, I -- the key to this case is to throw out the facts and throw out the law and hope the jury just hates our client because we went on forensics. We went on the facts. We went all day long with an independent, objective jury.

The only way that people are going to convict Drew Peterson at the end of the day is simply because they don't like him. And the government's done a good job of impugning his personality to the people.

KING: Joel, you have to be concerned logically as a good lawyer about public opinion.

BRODSKY: Well, you know, I've been trying cases for 25 years. I mean, it is a concern. I won't deny that. But I think all the juries that I've dealt with, there's been a few, except for just a couple of really tried very hard to put personalities aside, the personalities of the lawyers, the personalities of the officers and the personalities of the defendants and just diligently try to look at facts.

That's why I have the utmost confidence in the jury system. And I think if we get a fair-minded jury that just concentrates on the facts, it's going to be a clear not guilty. It won't even be close.

ABOOD: And it won't matter who the judge is in this case, Larry.

KING: And we'll be calling on both of you again. Thanks for being with us.

ABOOD: Thanks for having us, Larry.

KING: Drew Peterson -- thank you, guys. Drew Peterson predicts that he'll be found innocent at trial. Why so confident? We'll ask prominent attorneys next.


KING: Joining us here in New York, Joe Tacopina, defense attorney, Jeanine Pirro, host of "Judge Jeanine Pirro," former district attorney and prosecutor. Is $20 million too high, Joe, for bail?

JOE TACOPINA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, in a case like this it is. Don't forget, this has been an accident for years and there's been no new evidence. The only evidence is we know he killed the fourth wife. We just can't prove it. So let's go try his third one. He'll exhume the body.

KING: Does it fit the charge, $20 million?

JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know, it really is a lot, but what you have is a guy who is charged with murder and not because, I mean, basically because for years they ignored the fact that she actually was a homicide victim. And at the end of the day what you've got is a guy here, Larry, who really has roots in the community, he has children, you know, he had a job.

KING: Do you think it will be reduced?

PIRRO: I think it will be reduced. I think for 18 months he hasn't gone anywhere. And believe me, I think the bail should be very high, but it will be reduced.

KING: Key problem for the defense?

TACOPINA: Drew Peterson.

KING: Himself.

TACOPINA: Himself. I mean, he is just his worst nightmare. He's the defense attorneys' worst nightmare. I'm not impressed with this charge. I mean, the prosecution starts with one foot in the grave had they have their forensic pathologist from the state initially deeming this an accident. There's been no new evidence. They didn't come up with a videotape of this.

KING: They exhumed the body.

TACOPINA: They exhumed the body and yes because they want to get him on something. And look, the prosecution is going to have a hammer here. And the hammer is Drew Peterson and the presumption of guilt.

KING: What's the biggest problem, Jeanine, the prosecution faces? PIRRO: Well, I think that the prosecution has a great deal of evidence. They are going to rely on what they now call Drew's Law. And there will be constitutional attacks on that law. But here's the bottom line. You can get in spontaneous statements, excited utterances. There are exceptions of the hearsay rule. I tried many of these homicides. And you can get many of these states.

KING: So what is their problem, then?

PIRRO: The prosecution's problem is asking the judge to get off the case. I mean, that is one of the most -- yes. It's one of the most extraordinary things for the chief prosecutor to ask the chief judge to recuse himself because he's prejudice? How is he prejudice? What, he ruled against you in a case?

They risk three things. Number one, every case that prosecutor brings is going to be in jeopardy. Number two, they risk the public thinking they need an edge and they're trying to get a new judge. And number three, if I were the defense attorney, Joe, what I would do is I'd say I'm going with a bench trial with this jury. I don't want a jury.

TACOPINA: She's right. If they lose this motion, the prosecution, and they want to put that judge, this judge was called out publicly, nationally, by this prosecution for what reason?

KING: Why did the prosecutor do that? California prosecutor?

PIRRO: Illinois.

TACOPINA: I'm sorry, Illinois prosecutors. You know, you think about it, why they did it, Larry, I think they did it maybe based on this because they ruled against them in this prior case.

PIRRO: So what?

TACOPINA: Jeanine, I'm with you on this.


TACOPINA: We actually agree.

PIRRO: Right.

TACOPINA: This is a shared moment. But we agree on this. Look, Drew Peterson is going to do himself in because your third wife was killed, is dead. Your fourth wife is missing, OK.

PIRRO: She's murdered.

TACOPINA: She's dead. It's generally not the subject matter of jokes, Larry. And someone -- a juror is likely to think he's more guilty than someone who should be mourning.

KING: The defense somehow has to overcome that.

TACOPINA: Yeah, and I just don't think they're going to be able to do it.

PIRRO: They have to overcome a guy who makes jokes about the mother of his children has been deemed to be a homicide victim. And the fourth mother or the fourth wife is also missing. I mean, you don't walk around and talk about the bling that you're wearing. You don't make fun. He's cocky. He's inappropriate. The jury's not going to like him.

KING: Do you think a lot of this evidence, statements made by others will not get in?

TACOPINA: I think a lot of it will not get in. Joel Brodsky was right. This is ex post facto. This is creating a law to try and fit the case. It generally works the other way.

PIRRO: But you don't need a law. There are exceptions to the hearsay rule. You don't even need a law.

TACOPINA: But this isn't one of them. This isn't one of them.

PIRRO: So ignore the law.

KING: Drew Peterson's second wife -- I want to get this right -- Vicki Connelly told "The Chicago Sun Times" in April of last year during their marriage he threatened to kill her and make her death look like an accident. She was quoted as saying "he had the knowledge, the means and the experience to do it." Will she be called?

PIRRO: You know what? I think if she's called, they risk a great deal of prejudice, the prosecution, in that case because you cannot use a statement someone uses before the crime unless it is somehow relevant. He didn't even know the third wife at that point. So you say something slipped. You can't bring that in in a murder trial.

KING: Do you think it's wrong for the "Sun Times" to have printed it?

PIRRO: No, not at all.

KING: Does it prejudice it?

PIRRO: No, not at all. This is public. Everything in this country that we do is public. They have a right to print that. They have a First Amendment right to print that. You know that.

TACOPINA: I think Drew Peterson has called attention to himself. You know, these jokes he makes, these impromptu press conferences. Really defense attorneys worst nightmare.

KING: I know they have the right to print it. Should they have printed it?

PIRRO: Yes. I think they should have.

KING: All right, thank you both. We'll have you back again. PIRRO: Good to see you. Thank you.

KING: I know you're on opposite sides, but you two --

TACOPINA: I let her win once in a while.

PIRRO: Oh, right, Joe.

KING: Hey, want the chance to win a trip to Los Angeles and meet me and watch this show live? Then enter our contest at Send me a question about my life that you'd like me to answer. If it's read on the air, you'll win an autographed copy of my new book, "A Remarkable Life," and a chance to this trip. All the details are at Check it out. And good luck.

And right now, he doesn't need luck, he's good, Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360." Anderson?