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New Video of Michael Jackson on Fire; Interview With Jesse Ventura

Aired July 15, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, just revealed -- the shocking footage of Michael Jackson with his hair on fire. We'll show you what could have started the king of pop on painkillers -- a horrifying moment that may have changed his life. The never before seen images expose second and third degree burns.

Are the injuries to blame for Jackson's purported dependence on drugs?

And then, Jesse Ventura. He calls Sarah Palin a quitter.

What's he calling Senator Al Franken and his questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor?

The former governor of Minnesota sounds off.


Good evening.

Never before -- our special guest to begin things is our friend, Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "INSIDE EDITION." And, by the way, Jim is also an attorney.

Never before seen footage from the 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot during which Michael Jackson's hair caught fire has been obtained and made public by "Us Weekly." There's no audio, but the raw images tell the story.



KING: I see Miko Brando in there, Jim, helping put this out.

You were covering that, right?

JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION" CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: I was a local reporter at the ABC station here in Los Angeles at the time. And -- and you look at it, we've never seen that view before. We'd only seen a grainy image from the front.

And you realize that for 10 seconds, perhaps, Michael Jackson's hair was on fire. He didn't even know it. And...

KING: Yes. Because he kept doing the shake, yes. MORET: Doing it. And -- and when people realize it, you see that they came to his aid. But he had second and third degree burns, a tremendous amount of pain. He had to undergo surgeries and skin grafts. He -- he later -- he took Demerol for -- for the pain. The pain...

KING: That we knew all about, right?

MORET: We knew about that. And I -- and we also knew later that he became dependent upon Demerol. And you look at that moment certainly in the context of the last days of his life and you wonder if that marked his undoing, unknowingly (INAUDIBLE).

KING: That was a commercial for Pepsi?

MORET: Right. That was a commercial that they were shooting with the Jacksons. And that was, I believe, the sixth take. The pyrotechnics went off too early -- about four seconds too early. He was going down stairs. They were supposed to -- they were supposed to erupt when he was down the stairs. But he was at the top of the stairs and they went off too soon.

And -- and a spark hit his hair. He had hair product in his hair. It ignited and you see what happened. It just...

KING: Did any of the clips ever become a commercial?

MORET: There was a commercial. Yes, but not...


MORET: But not, obviously, clearly...

KING: Not that.

MORET: No. Yes, sure.

KING: But they might have used an earlier clip.

All right. What -- what were you -- what were you thinking at the time?

MORET: Well, at the time we realized it was serious. And you did see -- I think you saw him coming -- he was fully bandaged. But had his white glove, the sequin glove. And he waved to the fans as he was being wheeled into the ambulance.

And you thought everything was OK. But you realized that it was serious. And he was sent to the burn center, I believe, in Sherman Oaks -- a very famous facility.

But -- but now you realize we never saw the footage with -- with the scalp that was -- that was revealed.

KING: Stories that he was bald may be true, then?

MORET: They may be. They may be.

KING: Michael Jackson's dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, alluded to the '84 fire when talking about Michael and painkillers last week on this show.



KING: What about pain killing medications?

Did you prescribe any?

DR. ARNIE KLEIN, MICHAEL JACKSON'S DERMATOLOGIST: I mean I've used some sedatives for, you know, when he had surgical procedures (INAUDIBLE), because, don't forget, he had a lot of -- he had that burn -- the severe burn when he was burned on the Pepsi commercial and a severe hair loss when he, you know, contracted lupus, also.

So when you have to fix all these areas, you have shave a little bit.

But if you took all the pills I had given him in the last year at once, it wouldn't do anything to you.

KING: What was the strongest medication you gave him?

KLEIN: I once -- you know, I, on occasion, gave him Demerol to sedate him. And that was about the strongest medicine I ever used.


KING: This would be a guess, Jim Moret, but do you suggest maybe the fire incident played a role in -- in Michael Jackson's seeming obsession with plastic surgery?

MORET: Well, he did have plastic surgery a few years prior. But he clearly had most of his plastic surgery after that time. And maybe he was so insecure with his looks after that, that he just kept going.

He -- Dr. Klein said to you that Michael Jackson viewed his face as a work of art. But, you know, I think his first operation was in '79, the first nose job. This was in '84, this particular accident. But he had the bulk of plastic surgery after that.

So it's hard to say. But clearly, he needed operations on his head, for sure.

KING: That was that -- he could have died.

MORET: He could have died, absolutely, and clearly endured a great deal of pain.

KING: What's the latest on the investigation, by the way?

MORET: The LAPD is not, still, saying whether or not this is an accident or a homicide investigation. The door is open. The toxicology report could be released as early as Friday, but probably mid-week. And I think that at that time, the LAPD will announce whether it's a homicide investigation.

KING: All right. Now, TMZ reports that the LAPD was treating the Michael Jackson case as a homicide. LAPD tells CNN that isn't so.

What do you know?

MORET: Well, I think that's -- they are saying they're not treating it as a homicide investigation. But homicide detectives are investigating.

You also look back, if this was a homicide -- viewed as a homicide early on, they certainly didn't act like it. They didn't secure the premises, as they should have.

KING: With the yellow rope around it, yes.

MORET: Several days went by -- that it's not to say that they won't deem this a homicide investigation in the future.

KING: When are the autopsy reports -- the brain, the whole thing -- when is all that in?

MORET: We should have it by midweek next week at the latest.

KING: And will that put, maybe, a wrap on this?

MORET: I don't know if anything is going to put a wrap on this.

KING: Do you think?

MORET: We talked about how long this could go on. There are so many questions. But it will help focus the investigation. It will focus which doctors they're looking at, what they're looking for, what drugs were in his system at the time and where did he get them.

KING: Jim is coming back with us later.

Don't go away.

Deepak Chopra is among the few who can say he knew Michael Jackson well. And we'll show you that video again of Michael's hair on fire, when we come back.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Deepak Chopra, a frequent and always welcome guest, physician, spiritual teacher, best- selling author and longtime friend of Michael Jackson.

Let's look another look at that newly revealed footage from Michael Jackson's 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot and the accident that he later admitted triggered his use of painkillers.


KING: What are your thoughts as you watch this, Deepak?

DEEPAK CHOPRA, PHYSICIAN, SPIRITUAL TEACHER, LONG TIME FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Well, certainly, I mean it makes you understand why he would have required narcotics and painkillers. Second and third degree burns can be extremely painful. But, you know, Larry...

KING: Does it make you rescind prior criticism of his getting painkillers?

CHOPRA: Well, you know, when you're a celebrity, you're such a powerful person and you're such an important person, you frequently end up getting the worst care, because it's difficult for a doctor to refuse you.

KING: Yes.

CHOPRA: The patient, whatever they demand, the doctor submits to it. And what happens is, ultimately, it leads to the addiction.

KING: Did -- did Michael ever talk to you about that incident?

CHOPRA: He did talk to me about that incident.

KING: What did he say?

CHOPRA: He was obsessed after that about his appearance; also about the fact that he was disfigured. We had long discussions about the fact that I felt that he had a lot of self-loathing, he had a lot of shame and that his...

KING: Over what?

CHOPRA: ...obsession with mutilation was part of his, you know, childhood stress.

KING: He was disfigured or did he just lose hair?

CHOPRA: Well, he had lupus. He had extensive patches of white that were very disfiguring. And he had vitiligo. And these autoimmune diseases, by the way, Larry, are -- there's a report in "Psychosomatic Medicine" this year that children who experienced a lot of trauma or stress or who were physically or verbally abused in childhood will go on to get autoimmune diseases 20 years later, 30 years later.

KING: Yes. Concerning lupus, though, Dr. Daniel Wallace of Cedar Sinai Medical Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine, one of the word's leading experts on lupus, issued a statement about reports that Michael Jackson had the disease. And he said: "Reports that Michael Jackson had discoid lupus, a localized form of lupus that affects the skin and spares the internal organs, included some misconceptions about the disease, particularly the hypothesis that lupus is linked to childhood traumatic stress. There has never been any evidence-based studies specifically linking the development of lupus to physical or psychological trauma in childhood."

CHOPRA: And there's a specific write-up about that in "Psychosomatic Medicine," February of this year and these doctors...

KING: Denying what the doctor says?

CHOPRA: Well, they should look -- just Google it. You can Google it right now and you'll see it's a study of over 2,400 patients.

So I'm surprised that these experts have missed it.

KING: So you're saying the doctor is wrong?

CHOPRA: I'm saying that they've missed the study.

KING: But he's an expert on lupus.

CHOPRA: Well, that -- well, I'm sorry, but he hasn't kept up with the literature.

KING: You were on a program the day after Michael's death, along with his friend and long time employee, Miko Brando. And you spoke about Michael's drug use.



KING: Did he take a lot of pills and stuff?

MIKO BRANDO, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FRIEND: I mean, not more than anyone else. I mean, if he had a headache, he took something. It wasn't anything that he was on a daily binge.

KING: Deepak, you don't agree?

CHOPRA: No. I know for a fact that he did. I saw bottles of OxyContin. I knew he was getting shots. I knew his doctors were enablers.

So what can I say?

KING: What did you say?

Did you say...

CHOPRA: I confronted him many times with this. And when I did, he would stop returning my calls until we changed the topic.

KING: Lisa Marie Presley, his ex-wife, writes on her MySpace blog that Michael once told her he was afraid he would end up like her father. Did he talk about death?

CHOPRA: He did. He said I'd rather, you know, Miko's father was also my friend. I used to go to their house all the time and have Indian food. Martin would bring in Indian food.

But Michael would often say, particularly to my son, I'd rather go out like Elvis than Marlon Brando.


KING: A couple of critiques of that. Some people have criticized you for tarnishing Michael's image.

CHOPRA: I loved Michael. He was one of my best friends. He was a tortured soul. If you understood the context of his life, you would feel only love and compassion for Michael.

I'm not tarnishing Michael's image. I am so upset by enabling doctors who write multiple prescriptions for the same patient using fictitious names. I'm upset by doctors who give prescriptions knowing that their patients are getting prescriptions from other patients.

Many of these enabling doctors are what I call concierge doctors -- you pay them a monthly fee and you can get anything you demand from them.

So I wasn't tarnishing Michael's image at all. I was saying if you really understood the conditions of his life, you would be totally understanding of what he was going through.

KING: Yes.

More with Deepak.

We'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: Do you think, also, Deepak, in retrospect, that in talking about his physical condition, you were violating some kind of code of confidentiality that a physician would have?

CHOPRA: Well, first of all, Michael is not alive anymore.

KING: But that's still true...

CHOPRA: And we are trying to...

KING: ...(INAUDIBLE) last, doesn't it?

CHOPRA: ...understand some...

KING: Even if you're dead, doesn't that still?

CHOPRA: Yes. But we're -- every doctor you've had here has been discussing Michael's condition, Larry.

KING: They weren't his doctor. Except doctor...

CHOPRA: Oh, I was not Michael's official doctor. I was his best friend, actually, at one stage of his life. I never (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Did you try to help him?

CHOPRA: I tried to help him as a friend, of course. But, you know, I have a license in California. I have narcotics license. Michael knew that. So he asked me for a prescription. And I said I'm not going to give it to you.

KING: Was it hard to turn him down?

CHOPRA: No. I said, I love you, Michael and I'm not going to give it to you because this could kill you.

KING: What did he say?

CHOPRA: He said, you don't understand me and...

KING: Was he angry?

CHOPRA: He was angry and he made me feel guilty. He was very manipulative about it. But -- he said, my other doctors understand me. I said, I'm not your doctor but I am a doctor. It doesn't mean I'm your doctor and I'm not going to give you this.

KING: Addicts are good at that, aren't they?

CHOPRA: Addicts are very good...

KING: Giving guilt for the...

CHOPRA: But I think physicians have to be very careful that they do not perpetuate the addiction. And they normally have to be careful.

KING: We're going to do...

CHOPRA: They don't know -- that they don't know enough about addiction.

KING: We're going to do some major programs on this coming, by the way.

Deepak remains.

Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us, right after this.


KING: What you're watching now may be, arguably, the most shocking video ever shot of Michael Jackson. It's the newly revealed raw footage of the 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot during which fireworks ignite his hair.

We're joined now -- Deepak Chopra remains -- with Dr. Drew Pinsky, the host of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab," author of "The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America". Some suggest from that moment on, he might have altered the course of his life, Dr. Pinsky.

Do you agree with that?

DREW PINSKY, HOST, "CELEBRITY REHAB," ADDICTION EXPERT: I think the evidence does, in fact, suggest that. I mean he really sort of took a turn after that experience. And naturally enough, after a severe burn, you would be exposed to large amounts of opiates. And very often, in my work, people that are exposed to opiates for sustained period of time -- two weeks, four weeks, eight weeks -- are inadvertently addicted.

KING: What is a doctor supposed to do, though, if after the result of that, the man is in constant pain, not relieve the pain?

PINSKY: Well, there's something called hyperalgesia that's been increasingly reported, which is that opiates and opiods actually intensify pain. If you saw "Celebrity Rehab," I treated Jeff Conway there for pain that's because of his opiods. And, of course, the addiction, it's a very complicated biology.

KING: But what do you do if you're between a rock and a hard place?

PINSKY: Well, in -- in my world, my average patient today on opiates in pain comes in complaining of a 20 out of a scale of 10 pain. They always say it's above the scale, if I ask them, because they want you to know how severe it is.

I take them off opiates and opiods...

CHOPRA: And they get better.

PINSKY: ...and within two weeks, they tell me it's four or under, almost without exception.

KING: Why do you think, Deepak, Michael didn't want to get better?

CHOPRA: Michael had a lot of emotional pain, also, in addition to his physical pain. He did want to get better.

Who doesn't want to get better?

But there's an internal dialogue that says that if I don't get this drug, I'll probably die, especially at that stage, right?

PINSKY: Well, that is actually the biology, because these drugs usurp the normal survival systems and survival itself becomes consistent with the biology of the drug.

On top of that, 90 percent plus of people who chronic pain opiate addicted have a history of childhood trauma, which we know Michael also had. KING: Federal health authorities have recalled some lots of the generic version of the anesthetic Diprivan Michael reportedly took, before it was tainted with enda -- endotoxin.

Any possibility this could have anything to do with the death?

CHOPRA: If he got that, then somebody gave it to him. Somebody had to...

KING: You don't give that to yourself?


KING: Right.

CHOPRA: That's given intravenously. And if he got that and it was slightly an overdose, the cumulative effect of that could have actually killed him.

PINSKY: In terms of the lots that were recalled, he didn't get one of those lots. I read the reports on what had happened. And the kinds of side effects that occurred from those lots were nothing related to the cause of death in Michael Jackson's case, as far as we know so far.

However, I've got to tell you that I keep thinking that this is Diprivan plus -- Diprivan plus a combination of something else. And there's a medicine that is commonly used in pain these days, which is methadone, that is more increasingly frequent...

KING: It's not a narcotic, though?

PINSKY: Oh, yes, it's a narcotic. It's a very powerful one.


PINSKY: And he...

KING: But it takes you off heroin, doesn't it?

PINSKY: Well, but you're switching one for another -- one opiate and opiod. And I just keep wondering if it's possible that methadone was -- was a part of his -- of his treatment, because you add something like a Diprivan to that and you see increasing incidence in men over 30 of sudden death...

KING: But...

PINSKY: ...and the kind of sudden death that a cardiologist might not (INAUDIBLE).

CHOPRA: And Diprivan shouldn't be given unless you have facilities to intubate a patient and put him on a respirator.

PINSKY: Right.

KING: It's like getting a hospital procedure.

CHOPRA: In a surgical...

KING: I keep repeating that...


KING: ...for my cataract.

PINSKY: Right. Right.

KING: But, if you take Diprivan, why would you need anything else?

You're going to go right to sleep. Diprivan knocks you out.

PINSKY: Right. But he...

KING: Guaranteed.

CAFFERTY: Correct. But if you are on a maintenance medication of something like Ciboxin or methadone, you still can have other symptoms on top of that, like anxiety and agitation, irritability and insomnia, that then they start treating with other medications.

There have been reports that he was taking short acting benzodiazepams like Xanax that cause withdrawal symptoms, the most common feature -- insomnia.

KING: Did the family intervene?

PINSKY: So we don't know.

KING: To your knowledge, Deepak, did the family ever intervene?

CHOPRA: To my knowledge, yes, the family tried to intervene a year ago but...

KING: It didn't work?

CHOPRA: (INAUDIBLE) in fact, he stopped (INAUDIBLE).

KING: He got mad at them?


KING: Why does an intervention often fail?

PINSKY: Well, I mean, it's a very complex issue. You have to have leverage, first of all. You have to have somebody who's (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: You have to have something to...

PINSKY: An employee or money or something that you can leverage the patient to motivate them -- to cause them to get motivation. The only thing a family really has is their love. And they can -- they can agree that they're going to withhold that. But it's very difficult for a family to do that. And when someone is intoxicated, they really may not feel -- they may not care.

CHOPRA: Drew, what's the responsibility of the physicians in such cases?

PINSKY: Well, that...

CHOPRA: I mean he's a specialist. We should talk about, you know, the role of the physicians in this case.

PINSKY: And this is what Deepak and are practically apoplectic about, which is that the one thing I've told peer journals when they've interviewed me is like don't ever do this alone. When you're working with a very powerful individual who is an addict, make sure you have a team around them.

KING: So you can then be start -- should licenses be taken?

PINSKY: You know, I am not a legal expert. I feel -- the reality, Larry, I feel sorry for these people who got themselves in this situation.

I'm not sure they really understood what they were getting into. Maybe they did. We'll find out when the facts are in. Maybe there's -- maybe it's something completely unrelated to these people's care.

KING: We are...

PINSKY: But it's...

KING: A lot of this is...

PINSKY: It's speculation.

CHOPRA: Absolutely.

KING: We're surmising.


KING: Supposing the autopsy says heart attack.

CHOPRA: Yes, but you can't...

PINSKY: That's too late.

CHOPRA: That's too late.

PINSKY: That would have been already -- we would have known that already.

CHOPRA: Yes, we would have known that. And, you know, the fact is, if he died from an overdose of whatever, these drugs cannot be given unless there's a prescription. And I think it's very important for people listening to this program to realize that the number one cause of drug addiction in our country is not street drugs, but legally prescribed physicians...

PINSKY: Twenty-five hundred...

CHOPRA: drugs.

PINSKY: Correct. Twenty-five hundred 12 to 17-year-olds will abuse prescription medication for the first time today and...

KING: And that aren't celebrities.

They're getting it, right?

PINSKY: There -- it's -- it's

CHOPRA: And from doctors.

KING: So why are doctors?

PINSKY: Well, you're into very complex territory. First of all, I would say these are very effective medications. It's not the medication's fault. And we learn as physicians very early that we can take away suffering and pain. It's one of the most gratifying things for a doctor to do.

But if you don't also train them about the identifying, referring and treating, what happens to that subset that has the genetic potential for addiction, if you don't see it coming, you can cause real harm.

CHOPRA: And, Drew, answer this question, because you're the expert. A number of these doctors themselves have problems with addiction.

KING: Oh, a lot -- doctors are the biggest addicts, they say.


PINSKY: There's a lot of (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: They have access.

CHOPRA: Well, the...

PINSKY: It's hard to treat and they have access and we know too much.

KING: Yes.

Thanks, guys.

We'll have you back, probably tomorrow.

Next, the latest on the Jackson investigation with the legal experts. Mark Geragos and O.J. prosecutor Marcia Clark will be here right after the break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KING: Before we meet our next guest, we have breaking news from Michigan right now. A gasoline tanker explosion that's forced the shut down of an Interstate highway in suburban Detroit. A tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of gasoline near or on I-75 apparently crashed and exploded. And when we have more details, we'll get them right to you.

All right. Jim Moret returns.

We're joined now by Michael Geragos, defense attorney, who, by the way, represented Michael Jackson in that child molestation case.

And Marcia Clark. It's nice to have her back -- the former prosecutor, contributor to

And we'll start with Marcia first.

Welcome back.


KING: Do you think there's going to -- this is going to lead to some criminal prosecutions?

CLARK: It's looking that way so far. It's very clear, when you see, especially, the most recent footage of Michael Jackson, he was doing better than ever. It seems very, very unlikely that it was a normal or naturally caused death.

And that means that it's likely drug-induced. And that means that it's some kind of a drug combination or a cocktail that probably he shouldn't have had. And that means somebody gave him drugs they shouldn't have given him.

KING: And is that a crime?

CLARK: That's a crime, very likely.

KING: Mark, do you think criminality is coming here?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's a high profile case. There's a lot of public attention on it, as given by the fact that I think you're on day 39 of doing the coverage. And you have those comb -- that combination with the DEA, the DOJ, the DA, the LAPD. That is the formula -- in fact, it's a prescription, if you'll excuse the pun, for a criminal prosecution.

KING: You're not saying the doctors don't deserve some sort of punishment in this thing?

GERAGOS: I don't. We don't know. KING: If they...

GERAGOS: As you've said before, we don't really know anything at this point.

KING: Correct. But hypothetically.

GERAGOS: Hypothetically, if you have a doctor who is giving somebody Diprivan and that person is taking it in the home, I -- I've said it before, conceivably, I could see a -- an aggressive prosecutor filing an implied malice, second degree murder case against that person.

KING: Jim, is this a long time for an autopsy result?

MORET: I don't think so. Listen to what Mark just said. It's a very high profile case. You really need to do things correctly. The family wanted a second autopsy. I think they're taking their time and they should take their time.

You don't want to come out with results piecemeal. That's for sure. We heard that from the coroner itself. I think that it's a reasonable time. Don't you think?

GERAGOS: It's not unreasonable.

CLARK: It's not about the autopsy. That's done. It's about the toxicology. That takes a while. And they had a lot of drug screening.

GERAGOS: Right. Then they have to go backwards. Somebody has to take the drugs; find out what the lot number is, if it doesn't have a prescription on it; find out where that got shipped to; find out who had it; and then see if they can connect the dots.

MORET: They also had to take the brain. You had to wait a certain period of time for that organ to harden.

KING: That may be why they're waiting to bury, right? This is probably in the civil area. Marcia, could the will be challenged if the person writing it was a drug abuser?

CLARK: You could challenge the will on the basis of him being not of sound mind. You would have to come up with some kind of indication, some evidence that shows that at the time he signed the will and testament that he was not of sound mind. I sincerely doubting even with prescription drug abuse that may be shown, that they will be able to say, at the time he signed the will, which was 2002, that he was under the influence to the extent he didn't have his own free will.

KING: How much affect will all -- if this is a criminal charge, how much affect will all this publicity, us included, have on the case.

GERAGOS: As we discussed on other cases, it poisons the jury pool. It makes it virtually impossible to get a fair trial. There's all of these things that are out there. We don't know if they're true or they're untrue. But they're already -- people view them as facts. They're in the ether.

And it's one of the reasons we should have a contempt of court act, just like they have in England.

KING: Agree, Jim? In England this would not be covered.

MORET: I think that to suggest that you would never have a fair trial -- you have a lot of high profile cases these days. I don't know that it taints all the jurors. Look, I think --

KING: Do you think it does, Marcia?

CLARK: It can, of course it can. The problem is that you can't stop. A sequestered jury, it doesn't matter, because a sequestered jury has family.

KING: That's worse.

CLARK: It is worse, as I've learned. I have heard. I don't know by personal experience. But the family comes to visit the jurors. They come and say what they've heard. You can't monitor everything.

GERAGOS: The problem is what we call stealth jurors, jurors who lie to get on the jury because it's high profile, because they've got --

KING: I want to go on this trial. It might go 12 months. We'll be right back with more of our legal eagles. Don't go away.



JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: I keep watching Paris. She wants to do something. As far as I can see -- they said, Blanket, he can really dance. That's what they say. He can really dance, Blanket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen blanket dance?

J. JACKSON: Not yet. I'm trying to wait and see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think they might have a little bit of entertainer in them?

J. JACKSON: I think they got a lot in them, just got to come out. They're Jacksons. Of course.


KING: Do you think he might have an effect on this case, Marcia? CLARK: I think he will, but of course in a negative way. And it's one of these things where if anybody has been allowing him access to these children, then that person should be the one excluded from custody, any consideration of custody. Whoever does get the children should have a condition put in that he's never allowed to have unmonitored visits, never.

KING: What do you make of him?

GERAGOS: I know Joe. I like Joe. I don't have a problem with him. I don't think there's any -- I don't think Joe is going to, at any point, say I want custody of these kids. I haven't seen him or talked to him for years. My experience always was that if Katherine is there and Grace is there, it's not a problem.

KING: Michael had bitter feelings about him.

MORET: He stated that he felt his father abused him physically and emotionally. I cringe when I see that. I do. I really do. He speaks and he says things that seem so out of left field and inappropriate.

Marcia's going to beat me up over this. But I think Debbie Rowe gets upset when she sees that too, because she doesn't want her kids around him.

CLARK: I think if what Debbie Rowe is concerned about is Joe Jackson having access, then she can make sure the court puts in the condition I just talked about, no unmonitored visits. You don't go after the money because you're concerned about Joe Jackson visiting the kids. That's not a way to punish Joe Jackson.

GERAGOS: Every family got in laws that don't get along.

KING: He's gotten maybe a deserved bad rap.

GERAGOS: He's getting a bad rap out of it. I'm not here to defend -- I like Joe. And Joe is Joe. He is what he is.

KING: Where is it all going to go, Jim? We asked this the other night, legs. Where does this go? Will it end with the autopsy?

MORET: No. I think it -- Well, I think if criminal charges are filed, it will just be beginning on that part. Then we have to see what happens to the kids, what happens to the estate. I think there are a lot of tentacles to this.

KING: Let me get a call in. Phoenix, hello. Phoenix, are you there?

CALLER: Larry, how are you doing?

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: I have a question for the defense team, the experts here. If these doctors are found liable, and, in fact, partially or fully responsible for the death of Jackson, what kind of penalty or sentencing are they going to face?

KING: What do you think, Marcia?

GERAGOS: If it's an involuntary manslaughter, it's two, three or four years. If it's a second degree implied malice murder, you're looking at 15 to life. If it's some other kind of B&P, business and professions code, it's 16, two or three.

KING: As a prosecutor, would you come down hard on it, if the evidence pointed that way on the doctor?

CLARK: I sure would. This is really --

GERAGOS: Would you want her coming at you if you were the doctor? That's a bigger nightmare than going to the joint.

CLARK: I think, you know, part of the reason that this case does have life is that it's an issue for our time. The issue of prescription drug abuse has become such a large issue in our society. It's always really bad -- usually framed, when it comes to celebrities who have the access that we don't have. The irony in the case --

GERAGOS: You combine that with somebody who is now being lionized and that is your victim. This is a prosecutor's dream.

CLARK: Something else; you or I could not get this kind of access to drugs. You have to be a celebrity to be able to get ruined this way. I think if you go against the doctors, you go after them firmly, then you discourage doctors across the board from doing it with anybody. That's worth it.

KING: Some more with this outstanding group right after this.


KING: We're back. We're going to go back one more time to that horrifying video of the Pepsi commercial from 1984, the incident where Michael's hair caught fire. The incident he later said started him using pain killers.

While it rolls, let's get the comments of each of our guests. Marcia, what do you think as you see this?

CLARK: I can't watch it again. It's just horrifying. It's painful. It hurts to watch this. It's just a really frightening thing. I totally believe Dr. Drew when he said this is possibly the start of the prescriptive drug addiction.

MORET: It's incredible to see him. It really does give you chills to see it, and realize that that right there is the moment that could have sent him down the wrong path.

KING: Mark, did he ever talk to you about it?

GERAGOS: No. Never.

KING: What do you think as you see it?

GERAGOS: I just don't understand why we keep playing it. I guess it's good for ratings.

KING: It's rather gripping, isn't it?

GERAGOS: It is. But so are car accidents and beheadings.

KING: We stop and look at them too.

GERAGOS: We try not to show beheadings.

KING: What have we become? Is that what you're saying, Mark?

GERAGOS: There is something to that, Larry.

KING: Marcia, your whole thoughts on all of this. You know about celebrity cases, maybe the most celebrated celebrity case. Where do you think this is going?

CLARK: I suspect this is going to land in a criminal prosecution. I expect there's one, if not more than one, doctor that will be prosecuted. Certainly, if the cause of death is proven to be a combination of Methadone and Diprivan. There's no such thing as a prescription for that. So whoever they can prove provided that to Michael Jackson, if that's part of cause of death, is definitely going to get prosecuted.

KING: Mark, where do you think it's going?

GERAGOS: I, based on absolutely nothing but speculation, think there's going to be a criminal prosecution.

KING: Jim, you heard doctors are being paid regularly by celebrities?

MORET: I talked to a director of a treatment facility who said he has had celebrity patients who had doctors basically on retainer for as much as 50,000 dollars a month, so they can get drugs whenever they want them.

KING: In other words, a doctor would get paid 50,000 a month, and get a call on Tuesday and --

MORET: They're there. It's shocking.

KING: That's not a crime, is it? You can retain a doctor.

CLARK: You can retain a doctor. But what you can't do is get prescriptions for drugs that you've not been diagnosed as needing. In other words, there has to be a real medical need for it. You just dial a doctor, and ask for a drug, that's not legal.

However, you're not likely to be the one prosecuted. The doctor is, because the doctor's in control, right? KING: Thank you all? You'll come back again. We like having you here. Geragos, why don't you just sit there. You'll be back tomorrow. Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark, Jim Moret.

Would you vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor? That's tonight's quick vote. Go to Let us know what you think. Jesse Ventura will tell us what he thinks, next. Don't go away.



KING: Joining us now from Minneapolis, the former governor of Minnesota, best selling author of "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me," Jesse Ventura. You have appointed, Jesse, as governor, more than 70 judges while you were in office. How does Judge Sotomayor impress you as a nominee?

JESSE VENTURA, FMR. GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: Well, first of all, Larry, she has already held numerous appointments. She was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, I believe, to the federal bench. So this is a woman with a vast amount of experience.

You know, when they get to these hearings, it's more about political posturing of the two political parties, in my opinion. It's almost laughable. Because if the appointment's a Democratic appointment, all the Republicans attack. If it's a Republican appointment, the Democrats attack.

And it seems to be the litmus test is always Roe v. Wade. They all wand to know how are you going to vote on Roe v. Wade, abortion. So that's how it comes through the wash to me.

She's totally qualified and, in my opinion, should be appointed to the bench.

KING: Al Franken finally got into the United States Senate from your state. What do you make of that whole election?

VENTURA: Well, it was the process, Larry. The election was so close that it required the recount regardless of lawsuits or the court or anything like that. When the recount was completed, they did it slowly and hopefully correctly.

Then Senator Coleman had his option of challenging to the court. He took it to the Minnesota Supreme Court, lost, and it ended there.

What I find more disturbing is this, Larry; there's been letters to the editors here in Minnesota now saying how embarrassing it is that we have now elected a writer/comedian, just as before we elected a pro wrestler.

Well, I think that Minnesota truly is following what our forefathers had in mind of a citizen government. I am more disturbed that people think we should elect career politicians and lawyers. You know? What this country was founded upon, Larry, was people bringing their life experience, be a citizen government.

And the one positive thing I can say about Al Franken over Norm Coleman, at least this is his first time. Senator Coleman has been cashing government checks for 35 years, and I find that very strange out of a Republican.

KING: By the way, Senator Franken questioned Judge Sotomayor today. Here's an excerpt. We'll get your comments.


SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: What was the one case in Perry Mason that --

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I wish I remembered the name of the episode, but I don't. I just was always struck that there was only one case where his client was actually guilty. And --

FRANKEN: And you don't remember that case?

SOTOMAYOR: I know that I should remember the name of it, but I haven't looked at the episode.

FRANKEN: Didn't the White House prepare you for -- for that?


KING: That needed a little humor today, didn't it, Jesse?

VENTURA: I suppose, but, again, total nonsense. I guess, I would counter and say my friend Vince Bulliosi (ph), he only lost one case, too. He was successful in 105 out of 106 prosecution convictions. So it's possible.

KING: By the way, did you consider running for that Senate seat?

VENTURA: Yes, I did. It came down to a flip of the coin. I flipped a coin and it came up tails. And I said, heads I run, tails I don't. It's kind of funny, Larry, because everywhere I go in the Twin Cities, people come up to me all the time, and say to me, we wouldn't have had this problem if I would have ran.

But that's neither here nor there. I didn't want to do it.

KING: All right. Let's move to Governor Palin, the former governor, soon to be former Governor Palin. What do you make of her resigning?

VENTURA: She's a quitter. Let me put it to you this way, Larry; by not being sexist, She could never make it as a Frog Man or Navy SEAL. Because if you utter the words in BUDS training, Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training, I quit, you're gone.

I don't remember one person in my class that quit. I remember every person I graduated with. It offends me over the fact that she told the people of Alaska she wanted to be their governor. And she wanted -- and that's a four-year commitment. And now, right in the middle, she quits?

Well, if she's got plans of running for higher office, I would never vote for her, because if it gets too hot in the kitchen, she is liable to quit.

KING: Do you think there's an underlying reason maybe we don't know?

VENTURA: Well, I don't think she was put under anymore scrutiny with the media than I was as an independent. My children were attacked in Minnesota. Everything I did was put under the microscope.

But the point is, Larry, you don't quit. When you make an obligation and you take an oath, doesn't it mean anything anymore?

KING: We'll be back with more of Jesse Ventura, who is never dull. And his book is "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me."

We have two web exclusives for you on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. Go to to read both takes on the issue; one by Maria Cardona, the other by Terry Holt. Sotomayor and the political divide at And more with Jesse when we get back.


KING: Let's take a call for Governor Ventura. Sante, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi. How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: I wanted to ask, does he have any other future plans of running for, you know, governor or some state senator or something beyond that? And I like his stand on average people getting more involved in their citizenry.

KING: Will you run again for something?

VENTURA: I have no plan to do that right now. I did six years in the Navy, four years as a mayor, four years as a governor. I am liking private life a lot right now. Larry, I just wanted to tell you, it is my birthday today. And only for you would I come out and do an interview on my birthday. I played golf today at the Tournament Players' Club in Minneapolis, where we just had the 3M championship of the seniors today. And then I come on with you on my birthday.

KING: I'm honored!

VENTURA: Only for you, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

VENTURA: Nobody else.

KING: You have been a critic of media in your time. What do you make of the media coverage of Michael Jackson?

VENTURA: Well, I think it's over-exposed by far. You know, Michael was a great entertainer, one of the biggest the world's ever seen. But, you know, to me, enough is enough. You know, our media's gone far too much to the entertainment side, and to the ratings side, as opposed to the information side and the knowledge side.

Honor Michael. Do a tribute to him. But it should not last for weeks going into months.

KING: Congressman Peter King of New York, who shared the view of over-coverage, called Michael a low life, a pervert and criticized society for glorifying him.

VENTURA: What was he talking about, a few of his Republican colleagues? You know? Who are they to talk? I mean, you got Republicans cheating on their wives left and right. You got them, you know, in the bathrooms at the airport here in Minnesota. And these are all the people that supposedly run on family values.

You know, unless you got a clean closet, keep your mouth shut.

KING: What part of a politician's private life is our business?

VENTURA: I think none of it, unless they run on a family value platform. If they tell you that they're for this, quote, family values, Larry, then that opens up the box of worms on them on the moral issues.

I liked it better in the days of John F. Kennedy. People talked that he had affairs, this and that. You know what? It wasn't brought out to the public. They stuck to the issues and they stuck to governing.

Look at it this way, Larry. They spent 100 million dollars to discover Bill Clinton cheated on Hillary, when on 9/11 they only allocated four million to find out who killed 3,000 people.

KING: Another area; ultimate boxing has now replaced boxing in popularity.

VENTURA: Ultimate fighting.

KING: Ultimate fighting. They don't wear shoes. They kick. They Fight. They jump on each other.


KING: What do you make of that sport?

VENTURA: I think it's terrific, because I have been to them and I think it's very professionally run. Bar what Brock Lesner (ph) did Saturday. I was ashamed of his behavior at the end of the fight. But for the most part, for the most part, they're honorable. They're respectful. These guys volunteer to do it. The referees are very good. I've been there. I think boxing's really more dangerous, because in ultimate fighting, the moment the guy is stunned, the referee jumps in and stopped it. Where in boxing, they give you standing eight counts, and they let it resume again and again and again.

So I think this is less dangerous, actually, than boxing.

KING: Why do you the public -- the totals on the Pay-Per-View the other night were incredible. Why do you think the public likes it so much?

VENTURA: Because it's something new. They call it the ultimate martial arts. You combine wrestling. You combine Jujitsu, Karate, Judo, boxing. It is all combined and it's all legal.

Yet, you can't hit to the groin. You can't do eye techniques or anything like that. But I think that's what draws it, is it's the ultimate fighter. When all the arts are allowed to go, this is the ultimate winner.

KING: In your younger days, would you have tried it?

VENTURA: No, I don't think so. As my instructor Terry Moi (ph) told me in the SEALS when we asked about hand to hand combat, he said, with a Stoner Machine Gun, no one should ever get that close.

KING: Finally, how's Obama doing?

VENTURA: I think it's still, in my opinion, too early to judge. I will withhold judgment until he's been in office at least one year. And then at that point in time, I'll look back at the first year and make some judgments.

Right now, he is still getting his feet wet. But he is doing a heck of a lot better than his predecessor did.

KING: Do you think he's over-exposed?

VENTURA: I never believe any president in the United States is over-exposed. You know, they're the leader of the free world and the leader of the United States. And we need to know what they're doing at all times.

KING: So you don't mind a speech a day?

VENTURA: No, because you can turn the channel. You don't have to watch it. You know?

KING: You're right.

VENTURA: That's your option.

KING: Hey, Jesse, thanks for doing this. Happy 58th birthday. God, he's 58. Happy 58th birthday to Jesse Ventura.

VENTURA: It's golden birthday for me, Larry. Thank you. Because I was BUDS class 58 and now I am 58.

KING: Thank you so much, Jesse.

VENTURA: Always, Larry. My pleasure. Bye-bye.

KING: Jesse Ventura. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?