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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

The Politics of Race; Millions Recovered for Jackson Family

Aired July 24, 2009 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.

Tonight: the amazing possibility that the racially charged, politically explosive, hotly argued story of a professor, a police officer and the president of the United States might end over beers at the White House.

That is not how it began, of course. Harvard Henry -- Harvard's Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrested at his Cambridge home after heated words with a white police sergeant, James Crowley. That is not what it morphed into when President Obama said Cambridge police acted stupidly, and the controversy grew, or earlier the , when state and local police officers stood up in support of Officer Crowley.

Then, unexpectedly, this afternoon, President Obama walked into the White House Briefing Room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanted to address you guys directly, because over the last day and a half, obviously, there's been all sorts of controversy around the incident that happened in Cambridge with Professor Gates and the police department there.

I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved. And I have to tell you that, as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was a outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation. And I told him that.

And I -- because this has been ratcheting up and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think, I unfortunately, I think, gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department or Sergeant Crowley specifically. And I could have calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sergeant Crowley.

I continue to believe, based on what I have heard, that there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home to the station. I also continue to believe, based on what I heard, that Professor Gates probably overreacted as well.

My sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve the incident in the way that it should have been resolved and the way they would have liked it to be resolved. So to the extent that my choice of words didn't illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.

What I would like to do then is make sure that everybody steps back for a moment, recognizes that these are two decent people, not extrapolate too much from the facts, but, as I said at the press conference, be mindful of the fact that because of our history, because of the difficulties of the past, you know, African-Americans are sensitive to these issues.

And even when you've got a police officer who has a fine track record on racial sensitivity, interactions between police officers and the African-American community can sometimes be fraught with misunderstanding.

My hope is, is that as a consequence of this event, this ends up being what's called a teachable moment, where all of us, instead of pumping up the volume, spend a little more time listening to each other and try to focus on how we can generally improve relations between police officers and minority communities, and that instead of flinging accusations, we can all be a little more reflective in terms of what we can do to contribute to more unity.

Lord knows we need it right now. Because over the last two days, as we've discussed this issue, I don't know if you've noticed, but nobody's been paying much attention to health care.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: One last point I have guess I would make. There are some who say that as president I shouldn't have stepped into this at all, because it's a local issue.

I have to tell you that that thing -- that part of it, I disagree with.

The fact that this has become such a big issue I think is indicative of the fact that, you know, race is still a troubling aspect of our society. Whether I were black or white, I think that me commenting on this and hopefully contributing to constructive, as opposed to negative, understandings about the issue is part of my portfolio.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, late reaction from Professor Gates, the professor e-mailing CNN's Don Lemon.

He writes: "I was very pleased that the president called me today, and I was pleased that he proposed that I meet with Sergeant Crowley at the White House, since I had offered to meet with him since last Monday," the professor adding, "I'm eager for this to be used as a teaching moment to improve racial relations in America."

Sergeant Crowley, while speaking to the president, had suggested to president he would come to the White House for a beer with the professor.

In a few minutes, we will talk one-on-one with the police officer who was on the scene when Gates was arrested, an African-American officer.

But, first, we're joined by political analyst Roland Martin and Syracuse University Professor Boyce Watkins, author of "What If George Bush Were a Black Man?"

Also, on the phone, senior political analyst David Gergen.

David, let's start with you.

What Professor Gates did not say in that e-mail was how he felt about the president today essentially said Gates probably overreacted, just, as in the president's opinion, Sergeant Crowley overreacted.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is an interesting point, Anderson.

I talked with Charles Ogletree, who -- a professor at the Harvard Law School who has been representing Skip Gates. I talked to him tonight. And he said they applauded the president, indeed, because they had been seeking for the last couple of days, calling Cambridge officials to see if they could set up a peace summit.

But they leave it there. And I must tell you that, from my perspective -- and I think I hear in between the lines perhaps from theirs -- there is some disappointment that the -- and a surprise that, in making this very generous and wise statement the president did make today -- and he deserves credit for that and is trying to defuse the situation, and walking it back, walking back his own statement, at the same time, he did create an equivalence between the police officer and Skip Gates, as if they were both equally wrong.

And, of course, if you are -- you know, if you are -- if you are a black man in America who has been arrested like that, you sort of think you have been badly violated. And I was surprised at that.

I -- as much as I applaud the president for trying to bring reconciliation, it still seems inappropriate that he was handcuffed and hauled off like that from his own house.

COOPER: Roland, the president not wanting to say, I'm sorry. But, essentially, today, wasn't this an apology?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, it wasn't an apology. And, if it was, the president would be clear enough to actually make that statement.

He made it perfectly clear in terms of reiterating his comments on the arrest. And that really is how this thing should have went off. When he made the comment about stupidly arresting Gates after he proved that he was the homeowner, critics of the president said he called the cop stupid, he called Crowley stupid, which he never did. And so that's how it began to expand. But he also broadened by saying that, look, you have to recognize that we still have this issue of racial profiling. We have differences in terms of how we look at various things.

And there is no doubt. Crowley says, I wasn't approaching this because of race. You have Gates, who is saying, I'm hearing something and experiencing something different.

And, so, when the president says, let's sit down and talk about it, we do have to have that kind of conversation, because one person's perception is somebody else's reality.

COOPER: Professor Watkins, if this is a teachable moment, as just about everybody seems to say, in your opinion, what is the lesson?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, I think that Skip Gates, I'm hopeful that he understands that the first step toward being a good professor is to know how to be a good student.

So, the thing is that we should all be students in this teachable moment. That starts with Sergeant Crowley, Skip Gates, as well as the rest of the country.

One of the questions that I have is, why did we decide that racial profiling suddenly exists because it happened to a Harvard professor, allegedly? Because I'm going to tell you this. I don't believe that this situation was necessarily the violation -- just the violation of a black man's rights.

If it was a violation at all, it was a violation of an American's rights. And if you have a problem with the -- the procedure, then you check to see if Sergeant Crowley followed procedure. If he did follow procedure, then you need to take that to the legislator, because the officer is just a soldier that executes the law.

So, effectively, I'm not sitting here trying to say that Sergeant Crowley didn't make a mistake or that he didn't overreact. But the truth is that we can all learn from this.

And what I say also is that we have to learn from this with humility. Skip Gates and Sergeant Crowley have to ask themselves this hard question, which is tough for men with big egos: Are you willing to apologize and admit that maybe you made a mistake?

When I hear that, then I will start to feel better about this situation.

MARTIN: You know what, Anderson? What is interesting is that I saw the police officers' news conference as well, when they said the president owes all law enforcement an apology, although he was speaking directly to the Cambridge folks.

But here's the deal. Police officers there have continued to say it was a just arrest, but they dropped the charges. And, so, where I come from, if you believe that you were right, if you believe that he was disorderly, well, then you move forward with it.

Why drop the charges?

COOPER: Well, we are going to ask that question to one of the officers on the scene, an African-American officer. We will find out his answer in just a moment.

David Gergen, thank you.

Roland Martin, Boyce Watkins, stick around. The conversation continues.

It also continues online right now at AC360.com. Join the live chat. Let us know what you think about this.

You will also want to hear from our next guest, Sergeant Leon Lashley, the African-American police officer who arrived on the scene after Sergeant Crowley. You will hear his take on the arrest and whether he thinks it would have different -- had a different outcome, if he had been the first officer on the scene.

Later, breaking news: more Michael Jackson developments, a new search, and millions of dollars recovered for the family. We will tell you what was searched for and who is giving back some big bucks -- tonight on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There are two versions of what happened inside Professor Henry Louis Gates' home. Unless tapes of the officers' radio are released, we may never know for sure exactly what happened, whose version of events is correct.

But Sergeant Crowley was not the only police officer on the scene. Take a look at the snapshot of Professor Gates being led out in handcuffs. In the lower right-hand corner, you will see another member of the Cambridge force, Sergeant Leon Lashley.

He says he stands by Officer Crowley 100 percent, but told me things might have ended differently if he had been there first. We spoke earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Sergeant, thanks for being with us.

You heard what President Obama said this afternoon. What was your reaction?

SERGEANT LEON LASHLEY, CAMBRIDGE POLICE DEPARTMENT: I was relieved that he came up, and, hopefully, with that statement that came out from President Obama, we can put an end to this.

COOPER: As far as you're concerned, it's time to move on? LASHLEY: Yes, definitely. It's time -- but I also agree with the president that it's -- in that we -- we do have to continue to fight the fight of ending racism and ending the discrimination that goes on in this country when it's there. And...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But, in -- in your opinion, this is not a case where it is there?

LASHLEY: This definitely was not a case where it is involving racism.

COOPER: I understand you were -- you spoke with Sergeant Crowley after he spoke with the president. I think you may have even been there while he was speaking to the president.

What was Sergeant Crowley's reaction to the president's call?

LASHLEY: He was -- he thinks -- he said that the president is a class guy. He felt that he was -- he supported him in the beginning. He supported him during it. Even after his statements, he still supported President Obama. And he was just really relieved, and that, hopefully, this will put an end to it.

COOPER: Take us -- take us through that day. What happened when you got the call to Professor Gates' house? You came after other officers had arrived, correct?

LASHLEY: Yes. Yes, I did.

I -- I arrived on the scene. There was -- Officer Crowley -- Sergeant Crowley and Officer Figueroa were inside the building -- or inside the house. I stepped on the sidewalk where the call -- the caller was on scene. And she was giving an interview with Officer Rosa (ph), who was speaking to her.

And I sent another couple officers inside to see what was going on. I stayed out with Officer Rosa.

COOPER: And, so, you -- you could hear conversation inside the house, though. What did you hear?

LASHLEY: I heard some conversation inside the house. And as -- then, all of a sudden, it got a little bit louder, with the -- I heard the comments of: "This is how a black man in America is treated. And I'm being placed under arrest in my own home because a white woman called the police."

COOPER: You know, the -- one of the questions a lot of people would have on this is, why -- why arrest Professor Gates? I mean, if -- if he's just talking back to police, and -- and President Obama says overreacting, perhaps, why not just let him do that in his own home and -- and leave the scene?

LASHLEY: Well, once he -- once he came out of his own home, it became something different. It was -- he was in -- he was in the public view, and he was causing much of a -- it was just getting out of control after he came outside.

COOPER: But he was on his front porch, right?

LASHLEY: He's outside.

COOPER: So, you have absolutely no qualms at all that he should have been arrested, that he should have been taken in?

LASHLEY: I have no qualms with that.

And one of the things that we want to -- would it have been different had I shown up first? And I think it probably would have been different. And...

COOPER: Because?

LASHLEY: But had he acted that -- because of the black man to black man, it probably would have been different. And had he continued to do the -- ended up -- if it didn't go the way that I would assumed it would had gone had I been there first, I, too, would have probably had placed him under arrest, if it had gotten too much further out of control.

But I believe Sergeant Crowley was within his rights to make that arrest at that location and at that time.

COOPER: Sergeant Lashley, I know you are a busy man. I appreciate your time. And I appreciate all you do. Thank you.

LASHLEY: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Cambridge Police Sergeant Leon Lashley talking about the bus, the president's call, and the beer at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: At the end of the conversation, there was discussion about -- my conversation with Sergeant Crowley, there was a discussion about he and I and Professor Gates having a beer here in the White House. We don't know if that's scheduled yet, but...

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: ... but we may put that together.

He also did say he wanted to find out if there was a way of getting the press off his lawn.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I -- I informed him that I can't get the press off my lawn. (LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Back now "Digging Deeper" with Professor Boyce Watkins and Roland Martin.

So, Roland, is -- does it make sense to have these two men get together at the White House over this?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I mean, the president extends the invitation. I think what makes sense is that they actually get together, I mean, because...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Because it does seem as if, certainly, from the police officer's standpoint, according to his friend, the fellow officer, he is ready to move on. And it does seem as if Professor Gates or his representative is kind of moving back a little bit from some of the stronger rhetoric that we heard early on.

Do you think that...

MARTIN: No, actually -- no, actually, they are not moving back. Skip Gates said when he -- when Soledad O'Brien interviewed him that he was leaving all his options over. He said that, if the officer did indeed apologize that, as a Christian, he would accept that. And, so -- so, he was saying...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But his attorney is now saying it doesn't -- that it is not about so much a race incident.

MARTIN: Well, first of all, I mean, I have also talked to Professor Charles Ogletree, and that is not what we talked about.

So, I can -- so, I can only go on what I have heard from -- from -- from Charles Ogletree, who is Skip Gates' attorney. And, so, again, they said their options are indeed open as to how they want to move forward.

But I still, though, believe that a conversation is important, because, again, here is the other piece. The officer said he was within his rights. They dropped the charges. If you believe he was wrong, if you believe should have been arrested, why drop them?

COOPER: Well, I think it was actually edited out of our interview. The question, when I asked that to the other officer, he said that it was a misdemeanor and probably would have gotten adjudicated away anyway.

MARTIN: Yes, but -- but, also, what happens, Anderson, you and I know that, when charges are dropped, and the public perception is, you really didn't enough evidence -- you didn't have anything to sustain the arrest, knowing full well he likely wouldn't be convicted.

COOPER: Professor Watkins, do you believe this is an issue about race, or do you think this is an issue of two people with -- with big egos or clashing egos?

WATKINS: I think that the answer is that we don't know.

And that is the problem, that we were making bandwagon assumptions based on things we didn't know. Look, either Sergeant Crowley violated procedure or he didn't. If he did violate procedure, he either violated it because Skip Gates was black or for some other reason.

But the truth is that we can't read this man's mind. And, so, the truth -- the reality is that this could have happened to someone of another ethnicity, potentially, particularly when you look throughout Sergeant Crowley's record.

And I assume that he wouldn't be teaching classes on racial sensitivity if he had a record of arresting black men for no reason. Now, I'm not trying to say that this did not happen in this case. I'm not anybody is a liar.

But what I'm saying is that we can't use this case as a -- some sort of poster child for racial-profiling issues across America, because there is real racial profiling that goes on, on places other than Harvard University, because I guarantee you this much.

MARTIN: Anderson...

WATKINS: Skip Gates is a guy who knows he is Skip Gates.

And being a black professor at Harvard, with all the money that Skip has, I guarantee you he has probably got more privilege than most white Americans have anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Anderson, race -- race is involved, because you all -- look, when you step back and say, here, you have an African-American professor in his home. The cop comes there.

The black officer said, I think it may have been -- differently if it was an African-American cop with this actual black male here. What we have to learn here is, what is going through a black man's mind when this kind of thing is happening?

Again, people say, well, it needs to be overt. Well, people all self-perceive things differently. What is implied? What is inferred? And, so, here, he is standing here saying, this is how I am interpreting this.

We cannot dismiss that and say, well, that is not relevant. It is relevant, because it happens every day. People make assumptions. Women make assumptions based upon, well, is this happening to me because I am a woman? Is this happening to me because I am Hispanic? COOPER: But some assumptions are correct and some assumptions are not.

MARTIN: Absolutely. But that's why we can't...

WATKINS: Right. Absolutely.

MARTIN: That's why there is no hard-and-fast rule to say, well, was race a role?

It could have been a role. And, so, we have to examine that. That is why the conversation is so important, so we can understand the give-and-take and what people feel and what they experience and what perception is.

WATKINS: And -- and we -- and we have to understand that -- that racial healing is something that is going to require patience.

I think that Dr. Gates and all of us...

MARTIN: And work.

WATKINS: Let's assume Dr. Gates is right about this. He needs to ask himself a question: What would Martin Luther King do? How would he handle this?

Would he say, I demand that he -- he should beg me for my forgiveness, and I might give it to him?

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: Or would he say, look, I forgive you?

Because, remember, the disease of racism, Roland, it affects all of us. All of us are victims of this.

MARTIN: Oh, I agree, Boyce. I...

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: And, so, you know, when you're...

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS: ... who may or may not do something wrong, you have got to at least approach that situation with strength and understanding at the same time.

COOPER: We have got to...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: A final thought, Roland.

MARTIN: Well, you know, he's also an African scholar. He also may say -- for a look at how Malcolm X looks at it. Look, we can all try to hold Dr. King up, but the bottom line is, Skip Gates is not Dr. King. He is Skip Gates. He has to look at it from his perspective, and no one else's.

COOPER: Well, we're going to leave it there.

Roland Martin and Boyce Watkins, good discussion, as always. Thank you, gentlemen.

As always, a lot more to see online at AC360.com, including a new blog posting from Professor Watkins. It's a good read, and a complete copy of the arrest report, which is also fascinating to read.

There's breaking news tonight in the Michael Jackson case to tell you about -- authorities searching a clinic in Beverly Hills. Randi Kaye has that, the latest, and a new money angle, to the tune of millions of dollar suddenly found.

Also, the evangelist charged with having sex with minors, some as young as 9 years old -- that man -- he maintains his innocence. You will see what a jury had to say -- when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Still ahead tonight, breaking news involving the estate of Michael Jackson -- Randi Kaye is following that story. And, again, tonight, she has information you won't see anywhere else. We're going to talk to her in a minute.

But, first, Erica Hill has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, horror for a Minneapolis family online. The parents of 20-year-old Jamal Bana, missing now for months, finally their son on the Internet in a photo showing the young man shot in the head.

He had actually died thousands of miles away in Somalia. The FBI says Bana's death is part of an investigation into a recruiting effort in the United States by a Somali terrorist group.

Arkansas evangelist Tony Alamo plans to appeal his conviction. A jury today found him guilty of taking five girls as young as 9 years old across state lines for sex.

The second -- second-ranking Democrat in the House says lawmakers may not be able to vote on a health care bill next week. But that doesn't mean they will get that planned summer vacation right away -- Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland suggesting House leadership might need to keep lawmakers in Washington past the schedule August break to continue working on the overhaul.

And the so-called octomom, Nadya Suleman, has signed agreements now for each of her 14 children to earn $250 a day to star in a reality TV show. That contract guarantees the kids will collectively earn $250,000, Anderson, over the next three years.

COOPER: Not a surprise.

HILL: Not so much, yes.

COOPER: I guess that was only a matter of time.

All right, up next, breaking news: We have new information about Michael Jackson's estate. Plus, investigators looking into the pop star's death search for clues at yet another medical clinic.

Also ahead, Michael Ware with a chilling portrait of a Taliban commander once paid by the CIA who now may be holding an American soldier hostage in Afghanistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, breaking news involving the estate of Michael Jackson -- it concerns millions of dollars that have apparently just surfaced, as well as personal property belonging to the singer.

Randi Kaye has the details.

There is an estate hearing scheduled, what, for early August?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: August 3, right.

And we have been waiting on that. But, really, the executors of -- of his estate are already hard at work. They are not wasting any time getting down to business. They have really only been formally in charge of this estate for about a week.

And I got the news today that they have just recovered $5.5 million from one of Jackson's former advisers. They won't say who the adviser is, but 5.5 million bucks.

Also, court documents we have explaining all of this say they have also recovered -- quote -- "substantial amounts of personal property" -- no amount given there. And the documents say -- quote -- "The special administrators are in the process of negotiating numerous business agreements for the benefit of the estate which will generate tens of millions of dollars in revenues."

This money will likely be used to help pay the monthly support payments have requested go to the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, and his three children, who, at least for now, she has custody of. The executors say the cash flow should be enough to cover that.

COOPER: We know about the medical facility, Dr. Murray's office, being raided. You have learned about another facility.

KAYE: I have. This one is in Beverly Hills. It's called the Spaulding Pain Medical Clinic in Beverly Hills. We actually confirmed with a source close to this investigation that the clinic was searched on Monday by investigators from the coroner's office. I'm told this search was, quote, "in connection with the Michael Jackson investigation." My source could not say what led investigators to that clinic or what they took. I called the clinic to find out more, and the receptionist told me, quote, "We've been told to say, 'No comment'." No surprise there.

But Anderson, here is what is really interesting. Take a look at this. This is the birth certificate on the screen there. It's for Paris Jackson, Michael Jackson's daughter. She's 11 years old now. And if you look at the place of birth listed there, it says Spaulding Pain Medical Clinic, 120 S. Spaulding Drive, Beverly Hills," gives the birth date, lists her father as Michael Jackson, the mother, his ex- wife, Debbie Rowe. Coincidence, Michael Jackson's daughter was born here? We don't know.

But it is curious, Anderson, since from what we can tell, this is not your typical setting for a baby delivery. It's a pain clinic.

COOPER: That -- yes, that's an odd coincidence, if it is that.

You -- last night you talked about the items that were taken by authorities from Dr. Murray's office. One of those items sort of caught your eye tonight.

KAYE: It did. Because -- and again, we don't know -- we use that word coincidence again, because it is something strange. We're not sure what's going on here. But we do know that detectives earlier this week raided those two locations: Jackson's doctor's clinic and the storage facility that he was renting.

Well, here's what caught my eye. Along the items -- among the items seized were two Yahoo! account e-mails from the office and one piece of correspondence from the storage facility. The e-mails and the correspondence appear to be with the same person. We're not naming that person. But it is curious.

We're working, of course, to find out who this person is, if this person even exists, because there have been so many false names used in connection with Michael Jackson, as you know, in connection with many false prescriptions, maybe, that were written in somebody else's name. So we just want to know who this person is and where they might be.

COOPER: What happens -- I mean, a lot of these -- some of these questions, I guess, will be answered when the toxicology report comes out. What do we know about that? There are a lot of conflicting reports.

KAYE: There are so many reports. And another one out today, actually, suggesting there is a draft report already done, a draft report of the final toxicology report. Sounds like it would make sense, since we are supposedly just days away from the final report being made public.

But I spoke with a source close to the investigation today, and I was told, quote, "We don't have a draft report. We don't put anything down preliminarily on paper until all the toxicology is complete." When that's done, the doctor assigned to the case will amend the death certificate, which right now, we know, reads "deferred," because they don't know.

This source would not comment if the case has moved any closer toward a homicide investigation, even though we reported earlier this week the search of his primary doctor's clinic was an attempt to find evidence related to manslaughter. He simply said this is an ongoing investigation, and sometimes tests aren't completed for about eight to 10 weeks.

Now, another source with knowledge of the autopsy told me it seems to be on track, that we can expect the results to be released by the end of next week. We've heard that before.

COOPER: Yes.

KAYE: But it seems to be on track.

COOPER: All right. Randi Kaye on top of it. Randi, thanks a lot.

As the investigation moves forward, we want to show you the home that Michael Jackson wanted to call his own. It's in Las Vegas. Just like Neverland, it's a pretty unusual place, full of surprises and actually, even, secret tunnels. We have an exclusive look inside.

Here's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the home Michael Jackson wanted but at the time even he couldn't afford, according to his Las Vegas realtor, Zar Zanganeh. This ten-acre walled estate was to be Michael Jackson's Vegas wonderland.

ZAR ZANGANEH, MICHAEL JACKSON'S REALTOR: This is the only house I showed Michael out of probably ten or a dozen where he came outside. And he came outside with no umbrella, no mask on, just came out here with the kids to see the grounds of the property.

Through this gate here we have an apartment. It's about 1,000 square feet, and the kids wanted to make this into the play room, and Michael loved that idea.

GRIFFIN: Instead, Zanganeh placed Jackson and his family in this lease home. It was not up to par, says Zanganeh, but Jackson was building a life in Las Vegas and also trying to build back his wealth, entertaining casino owners who were offering Jackson deal after deal to make him stay.

ZAGANEH: I know that Michael really liked the idea of being able to perform in one location night after night. He had met with Celine Dion after seeing her show one night on the strip and talked to her about that and talked about the pros and the cons and loved the fact that people would come to him instead of him having to travel from town to town. He loved the fact that the kids could actually have a place to call home and not move around with him, since they're always going everywhere with him. That was an idea that very much appealed to him.

There's a couple secret tunnels through here.

GRIFFIN: The estate is filled with quirky appeals, secret tunnels leading to a gun range Jackson wanted to turn into a music studio, a barber chair in the master bath, a full gym, theater room and a 20-car garage where he and his family could load into and out of cars out of view.

(on camera) What was he most interested in when he'd come into a house?

ZAGANEH: Michael's biggest concern, in my opinion, was always the safety of his children. There's eight-foot walls around the property. There's only two gates in and out of the home. And there's no HOA's or associations to tell you what you can do, so you can raise your wall, you can put barbed wire around the wall, you can have cameras installed all around the property, in addition to what's already here.

GRIFFIN: At the time, just back from his self-exile in Bahrain and Ireland, Jackson simply couldn't afford the $22 to $25 million price tag. Zaganeh says he believes the concert tour would have been Michael Jackson's pathway back to this house, a permanent show in Las Vegas and a new retreat he would have called Wonderland.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Las Vegas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What might have been, I suppose.

A reminder: you can join the live chat right now at AC360.com.

Next on the program, he was once funded by the CIA. Now he may be holding a U.S. soldier hostage. Michael Ware joins us for a chilling profile of the top Taliban commander, a former ally who's now the enemy.

And later, a 360 special, "America's High: The Case for and Against Pot." We'll introduce you to a doctor who calls marijuana the greatest medication he has ever worked with.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We learned today that, for the first time since taking office, President Obama is going to award the Medal of Honor, and it's going to go to a soldier who died in Afghanistan. Next month's ceremony pays tribute to Staff Sergeant Jared C. Monti. The 30-year- old Massachusetts native was killed in action in 2006, sacrificing his own life to save a comrade's.

Right now, there are thousands of U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan. There is also one soldier in the hands of the enemy. The American was kidnapped by the Taliban earlier this month, and it appears a Taliban commander who was once paid by the CIA may be behind it. So who is he?

Michael Ware reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. soldier Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his unit more than three weeks ago. The Taliban quickly claimed credit, and this proof of life appeared soon after.

PFC BOWE BERGDAHL, U.S. ARMY: I have a very, very good family.

WARE: It came from men who take orders from this man, one of the Taliban's senior commanders, Jeladine (ph) Hakani. For the U.S., however, this is a bitter role reversal, because this warrior spent almost a decade fighting on behalf of the CIA.

BERGDAHL: It is very unnerving to be a prisoner.

WARE: As for this video, this is the nightmare scenario for the parents and commanders of any U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Twenty- three-year-old Bergdahl had been fighting in this area of Afghanistan. Hakani has been fighting here for almost 30 years. Here, he and his men were battling to drive out Soviet troops. Back then they were funded by the CIA, and Hakani was fighting for America in a secret war.

With CIA money, training and weapons like stinger missiles, he and his men killed more Soviet soldiers than almost any other Afghan commander. Famed Texas Congressman, now retired, Charlie Wilson once described Hakani as goodness personified.

That war in Afghanistan is often called "Charlie Wilson's war," because Wilson almost single-handedly pushed Congress to fund it. And when Wilson secretly visited Afghanistan during the Cold War, he did so as the guest of Hakani.

But then, with the Soviets driven out, the U.S. turned its back on Afghanistan. Hakani and his men were adrift until they joined forces with the Taliban. Now, years later, they've turned their guns on American troops.

This is a classic "that was then and this is now" story. But there is one more player to add. Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI. Back in the Soviet era, Washington and the CIA used the Pakistanis to coordinate with Hakani and the other Afghan fighters. And now today Pakistan army spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas says the ISI could again be the go-between with Hakani.

MAJ. GEN. ATHAR ABBAS, PAKISTAN ARMY: The contact doesn't mean the states as the policy, as a policy is providing them the physical support or the funding or the training. But having said that, no intelligence organization in the world shuts its last door on any other organization. GRIFFIN: And if it wants to bring home Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, there is no doubt the U.S. will now have to talk again with the Taliban warlord, Jeladine (ph) Hakani.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Michael Ware joins us now.

So I mean, the Taliban, this fits into a larger picture.

WARE: Very much so. And for the Obama administration. The plight of this soldier illustrates much of the problem with the Afghan war. I mean, Hakani takes sanctuary inside Pakistan. That's almost certainly where this poor soldier is being held right now.

COOPER: Inside Pakistan?

WARE: Almost without a doubt. That's where Hakani's bases are.

Now, Obama is going to need a political solution to this war. And the Pakistanis have named four key commanders that they can bring to the table. The Americans have named four key commanders they're prepared to talk to. Those names match, and one of them is Hakani.

COOPER: Michael Ware, appreciate it. Thanks. Interesting look.

Up next on 360, a major drug bust, more than $1 billion worth of pot seized in a state where it's not too hard to get it legally. Are doctors and patients, though, taking advantage of medical marijuana laws? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And later, Governor Sarah Palin's picnics. The farewell gathering before she leaves office this weekend and the new poll numbers she may not want to hear. Later on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Major drug bust with ties to the war next door. State, local and federal authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of marijuana plants in Fresno County, California, yesterday. They also rounded up 82 Mexican nationals with alleged ties to drug cartels.

Fresno County is about the size of Connecticut with sparse population and terrain that's simply well suited to pot growing.

Right now, more than a dozen states have laws that legalize marijuana for medical use. Patients don't need prescriptions to get pot, just a doctor's recommendation.

And when it comes to getting that recommendation, the question is, are doctors and patients taking advantage of the situation? Tonight, Dan Simon is "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. ALLEN FRANKEL, MARINA DEL RAY: So it's pain, anxiety? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And depression.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Allen Frankel is a so-called pot doc. On a typical day, he says he'll see 13 patients at his Marina Del Ray office and recommend they use marijuana to help them with their various aches and pains.

FRANKEL: I'm not trying to get patients stoned. I'm trying to get patients to feel normal.

SIMON: Instead of a prescription to obtain medical marijuana, a patient needs a doctor's formal recommendation, a letter. It's how you get inside one of the state's hundreds of dispensaries. You need to be at least 18. Minors can get it if their guardian approves.

Dr. Frankel started his practice three years ago after nearly 25 years working as a regular internist.

FRANKEL: I think it's the greatest medication I've ever worked with. I really do.

SIMON: For those who want it, getting access to medical marijuana in California is relatively easy.

CHRIS PEREZ, PATIENT: I'm here to sign up for a new patient.

SIMON: Chris Perez is a typical new patient, complaining of insomnia and depression.

(on camera) How does marijuana help you?

PEREZ: It calms me down. It eliminates the confusion and the congestion out there.

SIMON (voice-over): After a 45-minute appointment, which includes a thorough briefing on the types of marijuana, Dr. Frankel gives him the recommendation.

PEREZ: I'm legal. I can legally do this now in the state of California.

SIMON: Finding a pot doc in L.A. is like trying to find a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills: they're everywhere, in the classifieds and on the Web. Dr. Frankel charges his new patients $200.

By law the recommendation can only be good for up to a year. Patients then have to go back to the doctor to get a renewal. It's a system that is also being fueled by the explosive growth of dispensaries.

(on camera) There are more than 600 in Los Angeles alone. To put that number in perspective, there are more dispensaries here than Starbucks, 7-Elevens and even McDonald's.

(voice-over) That's not what architects of the medical marijuana law, like Reverend Scott Imler envisioned when California voters passed it in 1996. He says the dispensaries today are little more than dope dealers with store fronts.

REV. SCOTT IMLER, CO-AUTHOR OF PROPOSITION 215: That just wasn't the intention of Prop 215. It was to get people off the black market, not to institutionalize the black market.

SIMON: Even Dr. Frankel estimates that about half of those buying medical marijuana are doing so just to get stoned. He says those users harm the industry and make it difficult for marijuana to be viewed as legitimate medication. At the same time, though, he says there is little doctors do to combat misuse.

FRANKEL: It's true. Will people lie? Yes. They'll lie to get anything. I am not that concerned about that, because what they're just getting is cannabis.

SIMON: Getting cannabis. At its worst, California has created a system with plain-old drug abusers hiding under the cover of state laws. At its best, medication to help people manage their pain.

Dan Simon, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot more on this coming up at the top of the hour. "America's High: The Case for and Against Pot," a 360 special, starts in about ten minutes from now.

Up next, though, Sarah Palin is saying goodbye. She's firing up the grill in her last few days as governor. But her new poll numbers are anything but hot right now.

And the ousted president of Honduras makes another attempt to reclaim his office. We'll show you what happened this time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Still ahead, stump the muggle anchor. Erica tests my Harry Potter knowledge in our "Shot of the Day." I'm not looking forward to that.

First, a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm looking forward to it. I've been waiting a long time for this one.

First, though, Anderson it looks like it's one step forward, one step back for the ousted president of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya walking into the country from Nicaragua, meting resistance and then pulling back.

All of this, of course, just a month after the military forced him from office. Mr. Zelaya, meantime, is now taking some heat from Secretary of State Clinton, who is urging all sides to avoid any provocative action that may escalate the power struggle. A 360 follow tonight: murder charges in the killing of a gay serviceman, Seaman August Provost, who was shot and then set on fire at Camp Pendleton last month. Well, Navy officials now saw the suspect, Jonathan Campos will not face hate crimes charges. The killing, they say, was simply part of a larger crime spree.

Starting today you can trade in that old jalopy gas guzzler for a more fuel-efficient ride and get a little cash back from Uncle Sam. As much as $4,500. There are one or two catches. Find the rules at Cars.gov.

And with just two days left in her tenure as Alaska governor, Sarah Palin is throwing a picnic tonight in Wasilla. The grill heating up. Recent polling, though, show that her national approval numbers are actually cooling down.

And another reminder of Governor Palin's time is almost up. A moving truck seen at the governor's mansion earlier this week, Anderson.

COOPER: All right.

Coming up, can we afford to make pot legal? Can we afford not to? A 360 special: "America's High: The Case For and Against Pot" starts at the top of the hour.

But first, the case for Potter, Harry Potter. Bah-dum-bah. He's casting a new spell in theaters to rake in the money. So we thought we'd play tribute with tonight's "Shot." We'll play name that media mogul, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: All right. I'll take "The Shot" from here, Anderson Cooper. Don't you worry. I know that you may not be a huge Harry Potter fan. You've seen at least one movie, read one book.

COOPER: I saw one of the -- how old are those kids now? They're like 60, right?

HILL: They're like 35, I think.

COOPER: Yes. Are they still dressing up as children?

HILL: And having a mid-life crisis about it. But we don't have time for that. What we do have time for...

COOPER: OK.

HILL: ... is a little quiz for you in honor of the new movie, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

COOPER: OK.

HILL: The characters and their look-alikes. A Web site called MediaEye.com (ph) put these together. So here's how it works: I'm going to show you the Harry Potter character.

COOPER: OK.

HILL: You tell me the media muggle who looks like the character.

COOPER: Media muggle being the real person.

HILL: Who works in some form of media?

There's our man, Ron Weasley, Harry's BFF. Do you see a resemblance to anybody there?

COOPER: Bill Gates?

HILL: Interesting.

COOPER: I don't know. Who?

HILL: Try late night.

COOPER: Conan O'Brien?

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Just because he's got red hair?

HILL: Well, that's part of it.

COOPER: That is ridiculous. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

HILL: All right. I'm not done.

COOPER: They look nothing alike.

HILL: Professor of the dark arts, Mad Eye Moody. Where is he? Here he comes. Who does he look like?

COOPER: I don't know. Lou Dobbs.

HILL: Sadly, no.

COOPER: I'm kidding. Have you ever seen Lou late at night?

HILL: Chris Matthews.

COOPER: Chris Matthews. All right. There you go. Fine.

HILL: Now, the evil Lucius Malfoy.

COOPER: I'm going to get e-mails.

HILL: You are.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: I think Lou Dobbs just e-mailed you.

COOPER: That's right.

HILL: Lucius Malfoy. Anybody? Anybody? Doesn't have to be a TV personality.

COOPER: I don't know.

HILL: Apparently Graydon Carter from "Vanity Fair."

COOPER: What? Who's been smoking pot?

HILL: And we know that, you know, he's in big for trying to get Voldemort, He Who Must not Be Named, back in power. Not Paris Hilton.

COOPER: I don't know -- you're literally -- I see your lips moving. I don't know what you're saying.

HILL: Should we try one more or should we go straight to the money shot? I think we should go to the money shot.

COOPER: OK.

HILL: All right. We're going to go to the money shot now. Ready? Fleur Delacour, who of course came from the Beaux Baton Academy of Magic.

COOPER: How many of these books have you read, Erica Hill?

HILL: I've read all the books, and I own them all. All right. Fleur, who later went on to marry Bill Weasley, of course, Ron's brother. They have three children.

COOPER: I don't know. Who could that possibly look like?

HILL: How about the silver fox Anderson Cooper?

COOPER: What?

HILL: Oh, yes. Here's why.

COOPER: What?

HILL: You want to hear why? And I quote, "that silvery hair, the bewitching eyes. How could you not be transfixed? This is what Fleur Delacour and Anderson Cooper have in common." Yes, they're both very accomplished. She competed for the Beaux Baton...

COOPER: I honestly don't know a word -- understand a word you're saying.

HILL: I'm telling you why they think you look alike. They call you a cornerstone of our primetime here, but really they say you're both pretty. COOPER: Are we done? I'm completely mystified. I don't know what just happened.

HILL: Magic can do that to you.

COOPER: I think I've been insulted somehow.

HILL: No, I don't think you were.

COOPER: I'm going to replay the tape.

HILL: Hey, go to the movie this weekend.

COOPER: Are we done? Are we done yet? Yes, Friday night.

HILL: I think I'm done.

COOPER: We're done. We're so done.

Coming up at the top of the hour, a 360 special report, "America's High: The Case for and Against Post," compelling stories from both sides and the facts. You can make up your own mind. Have a great weekend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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