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Investigating Fort Hood Massacre; Oprah Winfrey's Farewell Date

Aired November 20, 2009 - 20:00   ET



RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, the questions we want answered: Did a radical Muslim preacher influence the suspected Fort Hood shooter? It's an exclusive report you will see here first, Anwar al-Awlaki and his followers around the world.

Also, who was the power behind the scenes of the deadly terror rampage in Mumbai? We watched in horror nearly a year ago. Tonight, something you haven't seen that's absolutely chilling, cell phone videos made by the terrorists themselves during the attacks. You will hear what these terrorists say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You're very close to heaven, brother. Today's the day you will be remembered for, brother.

SANCHEZ: And tonight: why television will never be the same.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": After much prayer and months of careful thought, I have decided that, next season, season 25, will be the last season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

SANCHEZ: Oprah Winfrey announces the end of her 25-year run. What's it mean for her media empire, her fans, and what's next?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to shake her hand, yes. I shook Oprah's hand.


ANNOUNCER: CNN prime time begins now.

In for Campbell Brown, Rick Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: Hi, everybody.

And we have got breaking news tonight. There's a plea deal in the case of a woman who faced 15 years behind bars after a line- cutting incident at a Wal-Mart. We're getting details right now. We are going to have a live report, by the way, from outside the courtroom.

But, first, what do you say we do the "Mash-Up"?

Our top story tonight, it's a numbers game, the number to hit, 60. And right now, there is some likely serious arm-twisting that's happening on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is counting every single vote, as he battles to bring his $848 billion health care bill to the floor.

Of course, the Senate being the Senate, before they vote on this thing, they have to vote on whether to even have a debate. And that, of course, requires a debate of its own. As we speak, they're still at it, we hear. Here's the view from both the left and the right.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's so many ways in which this bill in front of us literally will save lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about saving lives and saving money, protecting Medicare and stopping insurance companies and their abuse.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: We should stop these abuses by health insurance companies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we do not pass this bill, health insurance premiums are going to continue to skyrocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This 2,074-page bill.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This bill would raise taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be higher health insurance costs, higher taxes, Medicare cuts, and then, unfortunately, more government control over health care decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like, no matter how many times a day we say it, our Democratic friends don't hear it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This 2,074-page bill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This 2,074-page Reid bill.


SANCHEZ: Yes, it is a big bill. But one Democratic senator says enough already.


REP. TOM UDALL (D), NEW MEXICO: Talk to people in a truthful way about these stacks of paper. First of all, they're one-sided. So, you only have print on one side, with isn't even the way we print them up around here. I have had mine printed up on both sides, so I use both sides of the paper. So, they have made an attempt here to make it look a lot higher than it is.


SANCHEZ: That was Tom Udall of New Mexico. A vote on this historic legislation is expected tomorrow night.

Speaking of health care, for the second time this week, women are hearing mixed messages about some vital testing. First, it was mammogram confusion, now new recommendation tonight on Pap smears.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it comes to the cervical cancer screenings, less is more, but the challenge here changing, really, a culture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did try actually to tell patients, oh, you don't need to come in every year, I will see you in two years, and they don't like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't buy it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't like that. It makes them nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say women can wait until age 21. Women 21 to 29 should get screened every two years, and those 30 and over, every three years. Previous cervical cancer screening guidelines called for women to start at age 18 or three years after becoming sexually active.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The doctors who came up with this new schedule for Pap smears say the recommendations were two years in the making -- but releasing them today, bad timing.


SANCHEZ: Oprah Winfrey choked up tonight as she announced on her show that she's calling it quits in 2011.


WINFREY: After much prayer and months of careful thought, I have decided that next season, season 25, will be the last season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

These years with you, our viewers, have enriched my life beyond all measure. And you all have graciously invited me into your living rooms, into your kitchens, and into your lives.


SANCHEZ: The entertainment industry as a whole is wondering what's next, especially after a legacy like this.


WINFREY: I'm Oprah Winfrey. And welcome to the very first national "Oprah Winfrey Show."


WINFREY: You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!


WINFREY: I have lost, as of this morning, as of this morning, 67 pounds. This is what 67 pounds of fat looks like.

Did he ever beat you?


WINFREY: Nobody can repay you, but I wanted to at least try with a few of my favorite things.


WINFREY: We have never seen you behave this way before.


WINFREY: Have you ever felt this way before?


WINFREY: James Frey is here.

And I have to say, it is -- it is difficult for me to talk to you, because I really feel duped.

So, I think we have come up with the answer to your prayers. This is what I think we're going to do. We are buying you a house!



SANCHEZ: Now from her own show to her own network. That's next. But what's it going to look like? I'm going to bring you a full report on this in just a couple of minutes.

Sarah Palin was on with Winfrey this week. And it's led to some record book sales. Palin has reportedly sold more than 300,000 copies of her book just this week, which may also have been helped by some late-night comics.


CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": Sarah Palin is everywhere right now. Have you noticed that? This week, Sarah Palin is going to appear on "Oprah," "Good Morning America," "ABC World News," "Nightline," "Sean Hannity" and 20/20.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Unnamed McCain aides calling you a diva -- you know this -- a whack job.

WINFREY: Let's talk about the interview with Katie Couric.





KATIE COURIC, HOST, "CBS EVENING NEWS": What newspapers and magazines did you regular read?

PALIN: All of them, any of them.

SANCHEZ: She had been prepared specifically on both of those questions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, especially with the...

PALIN: I knew it wasn't a good interview.

Those are back-assward ways of trying to fix the economy.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": That's what I don't about her right there. It's that, when you peel back the pretty, shooty layers of the Palin onion, there's no onion.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": ... what they're calling you now?


O'REILLY: Evita, Eva Peron.

PALIN: Well...

O'REILLY: That's who they're calling you now.

PALIN: I don't know. I think I'm having more fun now though, so...


SANCHEZ: Meanwhile, there's good news tonight on the H1N1 virus. The Centers for Disease Control is saying it's on the wane in some parts of the country -- 43 states now report widespread flu activity, though. It was 46 states last week.

Still, it's much higher than in the past years. One of its victims, by the way, my colleague Anderson Cooper, maybe.

Here's what he told Conan O'Brien last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": I had a cough that was so bad, I thought my heart was going to explode.

O'BRIEN: Right.

COOPER: And we had Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is a CNN medical correspondent...

O'BRIEN: Yes, I know.

COOPER: So, I went with him -- I went to him one night desperate. And I said, you know, is it possible I have swine flu? And he said no, no, there's no way you have swine flu.

The next day, he was hospitalized with swine flu.


COOPER: And -- yes. So, then, like a week later, we're back and we're on the air, and I'm interviewing him. And he says, oh, by the way, I think you had swine flu, too.


COOPER: And I was like, isn't there like a confidentiality thing, like you shouldn't announce this on the air?


O'BRIEN: Well, let's get to the important question.


O'BRIEN: Do you have swine flu now?


O'BRIEN: What the hell is this?


O'BRIEN: Where's my salad spit-guard? Yes, and he's coughing. That's great. Oh, that's great, Anderson. This is terrific.



COOPER: It's OK. Don't worry about it.


O'BRIEN: What the hell was that all about?



SANCHEZ: And there you have it, the "Punchline" courtesy of Conan O'Brien once again. Good night for him. Here's his take, by the way, on how being the leader of the free world tends to age a guy.


O'BRIEN: Now, in a recent interview that just came out, President Barack Obama talked about the pressure of his job. And he said it's starting to take its toll on him. And it was very compelling. Take a look.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm eating fine and I'm sleeping fine. My hair is getting gray. And it is the butt of a lot of jokes from my wife, as well as my friends. You have a convergence of factors.





SANCHEZ: And that is the "Mash-Up."

All right, tonight, some of the stories we're following for you, first of all, this one, a plea deal in the case of a woman who faced up to 15 years behind bars for an incident that started with her cutting in line at a Wal-Mart. How did it get to that? We're going to have a live report from outside the courtroom.

We're also going to have this surveillance tape that you're seeing right there and what happened in court -- this exclusive report also on the radical preacher who seemed to have an influence on the suspected Fort Hood killer.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Awlaki is still getting his message out, because even though his Web site is down and he's in hiding from Yemeni authority, DVD box sets of his teachings are still for sale, openly taking a prominent place in bookstores like this in London, keeping his radicalizing message alive.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Again, we're following breaking news on that Missouri Wal-Mart case, a very racially charged case. And we're going to be taking you there in just a little bit. But first tonight, CNN has learned from Major Nidal Hasan's lawyer that there will be a hearing tomorrow in his case, likely the first hearing in this case so far. And guess where it's going to take place? In the accused killer's hospital room. The hearing seems to be about whether Hasan is well enough to be removed from the hospital.

We know this. He is well enough to have coherent conversations with his attorney. Meanwhile tonight, there is another clue into what may have driven Hasan to the edge. And it's not really about a what. It's a whom, a Muslim preacher, an imam, who is two things really. He's very Americanized and he's also very radicalized.

This is a CNN exclusive you will see here first. The reporter is Nic Robertson.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Anwar al-Awlaki.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): The radical Yemen-based preacher seen here online. His followers in Britain say he's like Osama bin Laden.

ABU MUWAZ, SALAFI YOUTH MOVEMENT: He reminds me of, for example, Sheik Osama bin Laden and also Ayman al-Zawahri in terms of he's soft- spoken and at the same time, the knowledge that they have, the foundations they have.

AL-AWLAKI: ... and said, hand me over your scrolls.

ROBERTSON: This is the same Anwar al-Awlaki who exchanged e- mails with Major Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood.

After the killings, Awlaki praised Hasan on his Web site, calling him a hero. The Web site is down now. Six years ago, he moved from the U.S. to London.

Abu Muwaz was one of thousands who flocked to his lectures.

MUWAZ: He was well-revered. People loved him. People his classes. People loved the way he explained things.

ROBERTSON: For these radical Muslims in London, Awlaki was God's messenger.

ABU NUSYABH, MUSLIM: He doesn't say fight until there's no more corruption left. It's Allah who says that. So, reality, he may quote a verse. It's the verse that inspires the people, not Imam Anwar al- Awlaki.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And Awlaki is still getting his message out, because even though his Web site is down and he's in hiding from Yemeni authorities, DVD box sets of his teachings are still for sale, openly taking a prominent place in bookstores like this in London, keeping his radicalizing message alive.

(voice-over): The newest DVD set released last month sells out in the open for $100. The storekeeper tells me he's doing good business. Even more frightening, the people he sells them to think Awlaki is mainstream.

And this video with the ominous title "The End of Time: A New Beginning" shows Awlaki inspiring his followers in a 45-minute live Internet broadcast to an audience in London. And whether he wants it or not, Awlaki has inspired people to terrorism. In London, court transcripts reveal that at least some of the group that conspired to blow up passenger jets en route to the U.S. in 2006 were Awlaki devotees, so too terrorists in Toronto convicted of planning to blow up targets in Canada and in the United States, the six men arrested in May 2007 and convicted of planning to kill soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever since I heard this lecture, brother, I want everyone to hear about it. You know why? Because he gives it to you raw and uncut.

ROBERTSON: What you are hearing are three of the Fort Dix plotters praising Awlaki -- why Awlaki is so influential is a combination of birth and upbringing. He was born in the United States. His father was a minister in the Yemeni government. He is smart and privileged. He preached in Imam Johari Malik's mosque in Virginia.

IMAM JOHARI ABDUL-MALIK, DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH, DAR AL HIJRAH ISLAMIC CENTER: Young, handsome, Californian, has the benefit of English without an accent, and who also is proficient in the Arabic language. In fact, he is technically an Arab. What better mix?

ROBERTSON: He doesn't agree with Awlaki's extreme views, and denounces the killings at Fort Hood. But it was here at Malik's mosque, Awlaki met Major Hasan, as well as two of the 9/11 bombers.

The 9/11 Commission reports that, even before this, he was on the FBI's radar. According to the commission, "By the time we sought to interview him in 2003, he had left the United States."

But what's on everyone's mind now is what influence Awlaki may have had on Major Hasan in those e-mails they exchanged months before the Fort Hood shootings.

AL-AWLAKI: So, he told them, where are you heading?

ROBERTSON: It is evident that the money is pouring in and the message is getting out. So, where's the money going? And what will Awlaki's followers do with the message?

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


SANCHEZ: Paul Cruickshank guest is an expert on terrorism whose article on radicalization U.S. news -- in the U.S., I should say, is about to come out on "Newsweek"'s Web site.

All right, this imam, it seemed like the more radical he became -- and, as we just saw in that report, he maybe wasn't so radical at one point -- but the more radical he became, the more radical Hasan became as well.

Am I wrong?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, FELLOW, CENTER ON LAW AND SECURITY: Well, that may well be the case. They -- it seems they knew each other in Virginia when Awlaki was a preacher in Virginia.

But, since then, Awlaki has built up a one-man online jihadi publishing empire. So, if Hasan wanted to reach out to the guy, it wouldn't be difficult to find his e-mail. He's got YouTube videos. He's got a Facebook site, in which he interacts with people.

And the...

SANCHEZ: I'm just wondering, is -- is there any doubt in your mind that this is the guy who was guiding Hasan -- and I don't mean directly, like they had communication -- but somehow it was like his mentor, so to speak?

CRUICKSHANK: That is possible. We just don't know enough yet about the contents of these e-mail communications. But that is certainly very possible.

We have seen a number of cases -- Nic referred to it in the package -- with the airline plotters in the United Kingdom and other plots where Awlaki has had a big influence on these people. So, it's very possible.

SANCHEZ: And why then -- I got to ask you this question -- why then does a guy who's a major in the Army who's following someone who seems to be radicalized like this, why isn't that spotted?

If -- I would think, if I was on the Web site following this guy, somebody would be calling me, no?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, it does seem that they discovered that he had been contacting Awlaki, but that doesn't seem to have raised the red flags that maybe it should have raised. You know, al-Awlaki...

SANCHEZ: That seems crazy, by the way. It seems crazy that it didn't raise those red flags.

And I guess, you know what, we will just leave it there.

Paul, good stuff. I look forward to reading your article.

A third straight day of protests on University of California campuses. Students are mad as hell over tuition increases. And, today, it turned ugly. You're going to see this one for yourself.

Also, we have been telling you about this breaking news. Just minutes ago, there was a plea deal in an incident at a Missouri Wal- Mart that started with a woman cutting in a line. How did it get to this then? Is she going to jail? Is she a victim? Does she deserve it? What's going on? We're taking you in the courtroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looked at me and she told me that I wasn't anything but a stupid white, uneducated Wal-Mart employee. And she called Betsy (ph), an old gray-headed lady, the cashier...



SANCHEZ: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Rick Sanchez.

Mad at the media, a group of extremists take it out on a television newsroom. The chaos is caught on camera. And you're going to see it.


SANCHEZ: She's pulling the plug on her legendary television show. If you're Oprah Winfrey -- and here's the question we're going to be looking into tonight -- what do you do next?


SANCHEZ: Look at this chaos in a television newsroom today. This happened in Mumbai, India, where extreme right-wing activists are furious at the media.

I mean, look, these are people who are against Christians or any other religion besides Hindu in their country. What they did, by the way, was caught on tape.

While dramatic, what happened in that newsroom is nothing compared to the carnage nearly a year ago in that same city, when 10 young Pakistani men walked into a hotel and unleashed several nights of hell. It was a slaughter. Now a new HBO documentary hosted by our own Fareed Zakaria brings -- shows what happened from the inside.

It's called "Terror in Mumbai." It is tonight's "Breakout."


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice-over): The first pair of gunmen made for one of Mumbai's best-known bars. They left behind a bomb in their taxi set to explode in an hour's time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came from a taxi. And they were talking on the phone for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thinking they were foreigners, I asked, "Want a T-shirt?"

They said, "No." Then they asked, "Is the Leopold Cafe famous?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He was wearing a beige shirt, height, 5'9'', 5'8'' height, and blue cargo trousers with pockets. When he came in, we noticed he was very good-looking, very handsome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They stood like this with their faces close together and hands on each other's shoulders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They were very, very happy, talking and smiling. Then, after 10 minutes, they took something from their bag and brew it.

ZAKARIA: A grenade ripped through the bar. The gunmen emptied their automatic weapons, then reloaded to finish off the people who couldn't run away.

As scores of people were being gunned down at the railway station, another pair of clean-cut Pakistani boys in their early 20s blasted through the entrance of one of Mumbai's top five-star hotels, the Trident Oberoi.

The lead gunman was Fahadullah, who wore black.

CONTROLLER (through translator): Fahadullah, are you there?

GUNMAN (through translator): Yes, I'm listening.

CONTROLLER (through translator): You're very close to heaven, brother. Today's the day you'll be remembered for, brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fahadulla (ph) and his accomplice killed nine staff and three guests in the lobby. (GUNSHOTS)

CONTROLLER: How are you, Ali? Everything OK?

GUNMAN: Thanks be to God, I'm fine. It's taken a long time to break down the doors down.

We've managed to break into three or four rooms facing the sea and we've set fire to them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, the Taj hotel, Mumbai's most iconic landmark, was ablaze. Brother Wasi and his fellow controllers were watching the action live on international TV channels. It was an image Brother Wasi knew would travel round the world.

CONTROLLER: My brother, yours is the most important target. The media are hovering your target, the Taj hotel more than any other.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: That's "Terror in Mumbai." It's now airing on HBO.

There is breaking news tonight in the case of a woman charged with attacking police officers after cutting in line at Wal-Mart. There is the video that we've been getting on this story.

A plea deal has just been made while the jury was deciding her fate, interestingly enough. We're going to be going live to the courthouse in just a little bit, where tow of our correspondents are following this developing story.

Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey gives her two-year notice. But already everyone wants to know what's next and how is it going to work with her own network. We're going to be right back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

In the past hour, we got word of a last-minute plea deal in the case of a woman who cut in line at a Wal-Mart. This is in Kenneth, Missouri. Heather Ellis has been named (ph). She'd been charged with attacking police officers and then the case took on racial overtones on both sides with the NAACP showing up for rallies, as well as some on the other side, counter-demonstrating, holding banners with swastikas and the rebel flag. It got ugly, folks.

In just a minute, we're going to be going to David Mattingly at the courthouse to get the details on this sudden plea deal. But first, here's CNN's Gary Tuchman who shows us how this case really unfolded.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The person highlighted is a 21-year-old woman, and prosecutors say she is kicking a police officer. One of two cops they say she assaulted.

Three years later, Heather Ellis, an African-American, the cop she's accused of hitting and kicking are white. Her supporters say she was actually assaulted by the cops. Video shows Heather Ellis' hand moving another customer's items back in the conveyer belt four times. Witnesses have testified she was cutting in line and was profane and rude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looked at me and she told me that I wasn't anything but a stupid white uneducated Wal-Mart employee. And she called Betsy an old gray-headed lady, the cashier.

TUCHMAN: Five police officers were involved in the arrest. One of them was Albert Fisher (ph) who testified she told me I was a stupid mother (expletive deleted). He added, she let me know I didn't know who I was (expletive deleted) with. And then he says when he asked her name, she said, "My name is Donald (expletive deleted) Duck."

He claims he was kicked many times as they brought her to the squad car. But Heather Ellis' defense attorney is fighting back ferociously. Jurors now know prosecution witnesses had pretrial meetings with the prosecutor. Ellis' defense attorney hinted they could have conveniently matched their stories, and he wonders why the police did not independently investigate the surveillance tapes which he says left out many of the key moments --


SANCHEZ: Guys, that's Gary Tuchman. Our David Mattingly is also joining me now. He's at the courthouse in Kenneth, Missouri, where he's been following this. And then our CNN legal analyst, Lisa Bloom, is going to be joining me and she's going to be filling up -- filling us in on some of the legal perspectives here.

And by the way, speaking of legal challenges here, this thing came out of the blue, didn't it, David?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It sort of did, Rick. We weren't expecting to see it happen the way it did. The jury had this case. They were back there deliberating. All of a sudden the judge called everyone back in and said we have a plea deal. And here's how it breaks down.

Heather Ellis has to plead guilty to disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. And for that the penalty is, she has to serve one year unsupervised probation. She will have to spend four days in county jail over the next year. And then she has to go through an anger management program of not less than two hours, plus pay for court costs.

Now, she seemed to be happy while her attorney said that they were sort of -- felt that that was appropriate. The prosecutor said that this was appropriate for someone for a first-time offense. I spoke to Heather about it and here's what she had to say.


HEATHER ELLIS, ACCUSED OF BREAKING LINE AT WAL-MART: I didn't break line. She actually broke in front of us. We also found out that I was shoved first by Theresa Kinder (ph). We also found out I didn't yell or curse.

I was speaking in a loud tone, as I do always. And I thought that it was -- I actually still think it's important that my story got out, that people understood the truth and heard it. And if I would have signed a plea bargain or anything before, I wouldn't have the opportunity to let the world know now and let the jurors know what actually happened.


SANCHEZ: All right, that's David Mattingly. We're going to be going back to David in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, I want to bring in Lisa Bloom. Lisa, I got to tell you, when I first started following this case, it looked like she really was the victim in this case. After hearing some of that testimony in court, you start to wonder if she may not have, in many ways, exacerbated the situation herself. That's not to say she's the only one who did amp this thing up. But she may have played a part, right? LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Rick, nine out of 10 cases end in a plea bargain. Most criminal cases don't go to trial. But it's very unusual for a plea bargain to take place after the case has gone to the jury and before they reach a verdict. And to me, that's a recognition that there are problems on both sides of this case.

Heather Ellis, for all of her tough talk and for all of her attorney's tough talk, had to realize there were just too many witnesses against her. And there was probably going to be a guilty verdict against her on some of these counts. And so by pleading guilty to two misdemeanors and getting a relatively light sentence, she was probably beating the odds against her.

On the other hand, the prosecution had to recognize that this case was overcharged. This is a case that began with a woman who was angry at Wal-Mart. Being angry at Wal-Mart is not a crime. Being angry while black at Wal-Mart sounds like it is a crime to some people in Missouri who see this as a racially motivated prosecution.

So, when everything settles, when all the dust settles in this case, it looks to me like there were some good issues on both sides of this case. Heather Ellis made some mistakes, but it was overcharged and it all boils down to a couple of misdemeanors. But keep in mind, Heather Ellis was in legal jeopardy for almost three years for what started out as a very minor offense.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and it's not every day that you see some line cutting turn into something involving charges, potential charges of up to 15 years. But again, I go back to what we learned in testimony today, stuff that we had not heard before. That does not make her out to be a total victim in this case.

BLOOM: Right.

SANCHEZ: Police officers are supposed to be obeyed. And when you use that kind of language with police officers, you know, you're bringing it on yourself, aren't you?

BLOOM: Well, Rick, I'm going to disagree with you a little bit on that. She was not in custody when a police officer told her to calm down. She is not required to follow anything a police officer says to her when she is not in custody. It is not a crime to be angry and walking away from Wal-Mart and even uttering profanities. And the police officer may have been aggrieved by the fact that she didn't calm down upon his order. But she's an American citizen and she's not required to do that because she was not in custody.

SANCHEZ: No, I get -- I get what you're saying. Look, my brother's a cop. I get it. It takes two to tango in cases like this. And the officer needs to deescalate situations --

BLOOM: Exactly.

SANCHEZ: Not amp them up. But you have to understand as well -- and I guess maybe that's the point I'm coming from this wasn't like the police officer came in there to a person who was being very quiet and cooperative, and suddenly started hitting them or doing something offensive to them.

BLOOM: OK, but, Rick, just quickly, a week from today is black Friday. There's going to be a lot of people pushing and shoving in line. Are they all going to be arrested and facing 15 years in prison?

SANCHEZ: Point well made.

BLOOM: I don't think so. Are five cops going to be called for each of them? This case was overcharged from the beginning. I think this plea deal is a good resolution.

SANCHEZ: Overcharged, by the way, through external forces as well from some of the protests that we saw after incident. But my thanks to you. Always a delight to have a conversation with you and get your perspective on these things.

BLOOM: Thanks, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Lisa, appreciate it.

BLOOM: My pleasure.

SANCHEZ: Oprah Winfrey says 25 years of asking questions on daytime TV is enough. But there's one question we have about her -- what's next? We're going to have some answers.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Oprah Winfrey calls it quit and gets emotional about it. Here it is.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Over this holiday break, my team and I will be brainstorming new ways that we can entertain you and inform you and uplift you when we return here in January. And then season 25. We are going to knock your socks off. So the countdown to the end of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" starts now.


SANCHEZ: It's interesting. The countdown for the show may have started, but the brand is not going anywhere. In fact, let me share some numbers with you.

This is her empire, OK? Let's go by the numbers here.

Her show has seven million daily viewers. "O" magazine has a circulation of 2.3 million. Harpo produces the "Dr. Phil" and the "Dr. Oz" shows among others. It also produces movies like "Precious" and "Beloved" and has an annual revenue of $345 million. How's she doing? Pretty good.


SANCHEZ: She's doing all right, isn't she?

Oprah Winfrey, is she just getting started? This is Steve Adubato. He is a media analyst. Also entertainment and corporate PR strategist Marvet Britto is going to be joining us from Miami. Glad you're both here.

Why would she leave something like this? Why not, hey, why not continue to do the show and also have a network and also continue to have a bunch of really smart people running all this stuff for her?

ADUBATO: First of all, Rick, it's really great to be Oprah because you can do pretty much anything you want which is very rare in this industry. She has done doing a daily show. And I don't think people understand what it really takes to be totally engaged, totally involved, totally consumed with the show.

She goes -- by the way this is a heck of a ride, the two years we're going to be saying goodbye to her, right?


ADUBATO: It's like a baseball player retiring years from now.

SANCHEZ: But why can't -- back to the question, why can't she continue to do her show and do all that other stuff?

ADUBATO: She could. She could but she would rather have the flexibility of going to the Oprah Winfrey network, joining discovery. You know those folks, they join it together, she owns half, they own half. She'll make other people -- she'll go on the air when she wants to go on the air. But let me tell you something.

SANCHEZ: She wants to be a manager, not a talent in other words.

ADUBATO: She may want to be a manager. But the reality is, that thing is not going to work without Oprah -- the middle of the doughnut. She's got to be on the air more than I think she thinks she needs to be on the air, but not every day the way she is right now. More than what she's planning to do. Who wants to pay to see Oprah the manager? It's Oprah the star.

SANCHEZ: But Oprah -- Marvet in Miami, Oprah the manager is what we're going to be looking at next. What are you hearing about this network and what are you hearing about the plans for what we're going to see in the next couple of years? What's it going to look like?

MARVET BRITTO, CORPORATE PR STRATEGIST: I'm hearing that people are excited about the next evolution of Oprah. We're excited to see what she'll do next.

We've seen for 25 years that she's been a pioneer and a visionary as it relates to daytime television. Now we want to see how Oprah will take her equity, the brand equity that she's masterfully built over the last 25 years, and bring that to her own network. SANCHEZ: But what America needs is another network, right? Just like it needs a hole in your --

BRITTO: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Just like we need a hole in our head. Last time I checked, there's like 600, 700, 800 channels on my DVR.

ADUBATO: But, Rick, I'll tell you something.

BRITTO: Yes, but Oprah --

ADUBATO: It is a slap in the face -- it is a slap in the face on some level, whether Oprah intended it or not, for broadcast network television. She's saying I'm going to cast my lot with cable. I'm going to go this way. I'm going to be there because frankly, it is a better place for her.

People are saying, wait a minute. How could you give up a network gig every day? Oprah has figured out more flexibility, more control. She can make and break other people. And I'll tell you what, I don't think she wants to work as hard.

SANCHEZ: What is she going to get -- what happens to that -- look, I got to tell you, I used to be a local anchor. The biggest thing about Oprah was she made television news in the local markets. If you got her as your lead-in, you were going to win. I don't care if you were CBS, ABC, NBC, no matter who you were, someone's going to have to fill that void. Is she going to pick that person, Marvet?

BRITTO: I don't think she's going to pick that person. I think Oprah's concerned with Oprah. Oprah has launched the shows that she wanted to launch, with Dr. Phil and Oz, you know, individuals who came on her show and showed tremendous pedigree and had something to offer.

Oprah's not concerned with the fact that the cable networks, that there are a ton of them. There were a lot of daytime talk shows but none survived and thrived the way that Oprah did. So she'll take her vision and take it to cable and she'll be wildly successful because she's got equity that very few have seen in television.

SANCHEZ: They want us to close this out. Go ahead, Steve.

ADUBATO: Local news program, particularly the ABC folks that she leads in, most of the places across the country, they're in trouble because there is no other Oprah and she has pumped up those numbers artificially. They're going to find out what it's like to be carrying their own weight. They're going to take a hit.

BRITTO: Absolutely.

ADUBATO: They're going to take a big hit.

SANCHEZ: Steve, Marvet, my thanks to both of you. Great conversation, appreciate it.

ADUBATO: Good to be here.

SANCHEZ: We're just minutes away, by the way, from "LARRY KING LIVE." And coming up, tonight's intriguing person, the journalist who broke the story of a heartbreaking scandal, thousands of babies born with terrible birth defects after their mothers unknowingly -- unknowingly, key word there, took a dangerous drug.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. Tonight's intriguing person is a legendary newsman, Sir Harold Evans, took on the British government nearly 40 years ago to show the world the devastating effects on children from a pill that their mothers took to avoid morning sickness. It's called thalidomide. Kids were born with deformed arms and legs, even brain damage.

Now just this week, all these years later, the British government announced that it will offer cash settlements to the victims after approving the drug for use. It's just one of the stories that Sir Harold Evans tells in his new book, "My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times." He recently sat down with Campbell.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have lived this incredible life.


BROWN: Still going on. Editor of the "Sunday Times" publisher at Random House, a whole bunch of other impressive titles. But talk to me about what was the most -- what has been and maybe is the most rewarding time in your career.

EVANS: I think trying to get some kind of justice for the thalidomide children who were born without arms and legs.

BROWN: Tell people the story.


BROWN: Because I was going to ask you about this, but I figured it would be.

EVANS: What happened was that their mothers when pregnant were given a pill prescribed on the National Health Service by their doctors.

BROWN: It was supposed to be a pill for morning sickness.

EVANS: Exactly right. And it was called Distaval. And all the pregnancies, when they took it at a certain period, ended with the mothers giving birth to children without legs, arms and sometimes with massive internal injuries.

BROWN: Just horrible birth defects. EVANS: I mean, and the mothers were so shocked and so distressed. And then they had the prospect -- I mean, one particular case, the mother brought her lovely child home, even though no legs, no arms, and the husband said, either that monster goes or I go. And so he went.

And so the trouble was the government would not acknowledge its responsibility. It would not have an inquiry. The parents were left to sue. The drug company would not give them any decent money. And there they were, abandoned year one, abandoned year two, abandoned year three.

In the meantime, the entire British press, broadcasting, newspapers, were told, on no account can you talk or inquire about this story while it's before the courts. Because the penalty for that is to go to prison.

So I started a series, "Our Thalidomide Children." Big splashy pages, photographs of the kids. And I said, pay up, compensate them.

BROWN: This is a huge scandal at the time.

EVANS: A major scandal. It's absolutely major. And I still look back. Even today, when I went to Britain quite recently, I've met them. They've grown up. They came to when I spoke. Very, very touching.

One of them said to me, "You're our hero." I said no. No, never say that again. The heroes are your parents who brought you up and the heroes today are you.

BROWN: I mean, is writing this book and being out here publicly talking about the book now, I mean it must have brought all of this back for you and this is such a powerful way.

EVANS: OK. Well, anger overcame it in the end. And we won. We won the money for them.

BROWN: Again, it is such a powerful testament to, I think, what great journalists can accomplish.

EVANS: Exactly right. If you don't have newspapers, which we're prepared to do that, you will get just an increase in injustice.

BROWN: So what do you see as the answer to this challenge? Because clearly, you know, newspapers are in real trouble. And not just newspapers, journalism more generally is in real trouble.

EVANS: Well, I think it's a terrible mistake when very large corporations, first of all, don't put something away for a rainy day and just exploit short-term profits. I think we are -- possibility of getting a golden age of journalism because the web which enables you to get original documents so quickly and easily, she's a marvelous facility, and all the capacities for research enables journalism to be done more effectively. So it could both be skilled investigating as you can, but they have to be financed. BROWN: So you really do think the best is still ahead? You're the only one who thinks that, by the way.

EVANS: Well, I -- I carry a health warning -- beware, this man is an eternal optimist.


SANCHEZ: That was a good interview, wasn't it? Sir Harold Evans with Campbell Brown.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a couple minutes. His special guests, the finalists from "Dancing with the Stars."

Up next, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure." The video we just cannot resist. The high school football play that was so cool it's got more than a million hits on YouTube.


SANCHEZ: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up. He's on deck. First, Mike Galanos with tonight's "Guilty Pleasure."

I played high school and college football, so I love breaking down formations. I love the Wildcat. And I understand you've got something a little weird for us tonight.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: Yes, we call this one "the bouquet toss." You know at the wedding, the bouquet toss, that's what we have here.


GALANOS: Keep your eye on the quarterback, Rick, all in one motion. Fake the pitch. No look over the head, touchdown. This is Bethel College.

It's ingenious.

SANCHEZ: Well --

GALANOS: Write that one down, coach. Come one.

SANCHEZ: Well, hold on. OK, let's see. We got a pro right with a slot going. And he's going in motion. Let's see that again. The quarterback takes the ball.

GALANOS: One motion.

SANCHEZ: And throws it over his head. Wait a minute, that's a stupid play. Let me tell you -- let me tell you --

GALANOS: Come on, it worked.

SANCHEZ: Let me tell you why that's a dumb play. Because it looks like that guy's covered. And he's real lucky the guy was in the right place.

GALANOS: He wasn't coming to that. Touchdown, Sanchez.

SANCHEZ: All right. We're down to 10 seconds. We'll break it down.

Thanks, Mike.

Here now, "LARRY KING LIVE."