Return to Transcripts main page

RICK'S LIST

Interview With California Attorney General Jerry Brown; Bishop Eddie Long Accused of Sexual Abuse

Aired September 21, 2010 - 20:00   ET

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


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, folks. Here's the lawsuits. I'm holding them right here. And as I take you through some of the material that is accused -- alleged, I should say, in these complaints, you will likely be horrified.

Stay with us. We're getting right into that. Here's what else is on the LIST tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): It's prime time and here's what's making RICK'S LIST.

Busted in Bell, California, eight city officials behind bars for allegedly lying and stealing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing I would really like to do is see every one of you in jail. I would like to see all of you in orange jumpsuits that says L.A. County Jail on the back of them.

SANCHEZ: The DA calls it corruption on steroids.

Attorney General Jerry Brown joins me live.

Who's on the list you don't want to be on? Democrats in my home state doing somebody wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. So glad that you're here with us.

These are the documents that I'm going to be taking you through here in one minute. Pardon me for the shadows. Eddie Lavandera is going to be joining me in just a little bit. He's standing by over here as well. So let's get to it.

The story that I'm about to tell you about is shocking many Americans tonight, many churchgoing Americans. This is a story about a preacher with a following of 25,000 people. He drives a Bentley. He flies around, travels all over the world in private planes. He's appeared on this network and others speaking out against homosexuality. Guess what? Tonight, this so-called man of God is being sued by two young men. They say that he coerced them into sexual relationships. He allegedly bought them gifts, cars. He housed them, jewelry, flew them around the world, all of that and more in exchange for sex.

We're talking about Bishop Eddie Long, one of America's most popular Christian preachers. He's got his own television show. He's a best-selling author. His church is based right here in Georgia, from where we're broadcasting.

The family of Martin Luther King Jr. chose him to officiate the funeral for Coretta Scott King, where he spoke before a crowd of the nation's VIP, including four U.S. presidents.

I want to you listen to what the Southern Poverty Law Center in fact has said about this pastor. You know the Southern Poverty Law Center. They follow bigoted organizations all over the country and they keep them in check and they study them and they research them. Here's their direct quote, to us, tonight: "one of the most virulently homophobic black leaders in the religiously based anti-gay movement."

Now, consider that as you hear this. I want you to listen to what the bishop told us here on CNN when we asked him about this last year. Play it, Dee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BISHOP EDDIE LONG, NEW BIRTH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH: We have had members of our congregation, et cetera, who were of a gay lifestyle, et cetera, and that's nothing that we can deny. A lot of times, we never addressed it. We act like it wasn't there, et cetera.

And when you get in the body of Christ and people of faith, I'm finding that different sides, the way you interpret scripture. I think the bottom line is of the whole thing is, number one, respect, number two, love. But if my conviction would be -- personally, if my conviction was, well, I don't believe in the gay lifestyle, and I believe it's not God's way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: He doesn't believe in the gay lifestyle and he doesn't believe it's God's way, direct quote.

Keep in mind, this is the man accused of now having sex with teenaged boys, members of his church known as his spiritual sons throughout the congregation. Their lawsuit alleges that he convinced them to do those things by giving them cash and extravagant gifts throughout. It's all right there in the documents.

The attorney for these two young men is speaking out tonight. I want you to listen now as she details, sometimes using graphic language, exactly what these two young men are saying about their preacher.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B.J. BERNSTEIN, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING PLAINTIFFS: Slowly but surely, a hug turns into a kiss, it turns into something more, until the bishop wanted to do something very, very special for his birthday. And he flew this young man on commercial airlines to New Zealand, to Auckland, New Zealand, the beautiful Hyatt Hotel, which was a trip for Anthony's 18th birthday.

And on that 18th birthday, Bishop Long engaged in the act of oral sodomy with this young man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: This is obviously troubling information. I have the complaints in front of me here.

I have Ed Lavandera, who's actually been working on this story for quite some time.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.

SANCHEZ: You're prepared to break the news that you have known about it for quite some time, but have been holding back to make sure we had all sides covered and that we could be as fair as we possibly can be in this case. Tell us what you know.

LAVANDERA: Well, I mean, just you have kind of hit the nail on the head here.

We have got clearly a case, a couple of cases that are going to send kind of shockwaves through this church. And it is a massive church. I don't think you can really underestimate the influence that this Bishop Long has, and kind of the spiritual empire that he's built.

SANCHEZ: No, listen...

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: ... I mentioned this a little while ago. We're already getting thousands and thousands of tweets from people, many people who are saying, I'm having a tough time believing this. So, let's go through what is alleged, what the document actually says.

Here are the two plaintiffs. One is Maurice Robinson. And the other one is a boy named Anthony Flagg, right?

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: Right now, one of them is 20 years old. The other one is 21 years old.

SANCHEZ: When they came to the church, they were 14 years old?

LAVANDERA: They came to the church. What is interesting in the background of all this is that one of the things that Bishop Long does, and he's long kind of advocated helping young people, especially young men become -- young boys become good men in society.

So, he has what is called the LongFellows Youth Academy. And starting about the age of 14, a lot of parents bring their kids to this academy.

SANCHEZ: Especially fatherless young kids.

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: Yes, absolutely. That's one of the things, troubled kids to kind of put them on the right path. And so it's a multistep program.

SANCHEZ: Let me add to what you're saying. You ready? Here we go. Mark, over my shoulder, if you can.

Defendant Long utilized his spiritual authority as bishop and leader of defendants' ministries to coerce certain young male members and employees of defendant New Birth and pupils of defendant LongFellows -- that's the organization you talk about where they counsel the young men -- into engaging in sexual acts and relationships for his own personal gratification.

Then it goes on to say that certain young men were singled out as a select group of young male church members and using his authority as bishop over them to ultimately bring them to a point of engaging in a sexual relationship.

It sounds like he's working them.

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: That's what they're alleging. And it's really important to be clear here at this point is that, based on what we have read in these documents, that there doesn't appear to be at this point any kind of allegations that suggest that what happened here is criminal in nature.

The age of giving sexual content in the state of Georgia is 16.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: And they were 16 by the time they started having a sexual relationship?

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: Right, 17 and 18, although they had met the bishop and had been into this program and had later become employees of the church, and that's what -- the beginning of that relationship.

SANCHEZ: But beyond that, let's suppose it's something that he might argue they were willing to do, right, as difficult as that is. Leaving the consensual aspect of this apart, here's where I think a lot of people are going to be interested in this part of the story.

Mark, over my shoulder again.

Defendant Long used his monetary funds from the accounts of defendant New Birth, so, in other words, money from the congregation, New Birth and defendant LongFellows, among other corporate and nonprofit corporate accounts to entice the chosen spiritual sons with cars, clothes, jewelry and electronics. That's going to be troubling for people who have been giving money to this congregation.

LAVANDERA: Another thing to remember here as well is that if you remember back a few years ago, there was a big congressional push to investigate these megachurches across the country.

Senator Chuck Grassley was one of the leaders in that effort. This is one of the churches. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Long's church, is one of the churches that had been kind of pinpointed into this.

How that comes back and plays back into that investigation will be interesting to see in the coming months.

SANCHEZ: This is troubling, and especially about the part where the young man, this is -- I forget their names now -- Anthony Flagg.

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: Anthony Flagg.

SANCHEZ: Was a young man who apparently didn't have a father. He went to him. He was looking for spiritual guidance from a male, which he wasn't getting in his own home.

And then he goes on to describe that the spiritual guidance he got was not what he really was looking for. Let me stop right here for a moment. Stay here. Here's what I want to do. I want to take a quick break, because, to be perfectly fair, there are a lot of people tonight from his congregation and others around the country who believe in this man still and are doubtful of what these allegations are saying.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: So, let's go through what those folks are saying. And then let's hear how they're answered by B.J. Bernstein, the attorney tonight, who held this news conference.

And we should also let you know that we're going to let you hear a large chunk, as it were, of what B.J. Bernstein had to say tonight when she talked to attorneys during her news conference.

Let's take a quick break, Dee. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez.

There is very troubling information tonight about Bishop Eddie Long, powerful, well-known reverend and pastor who has a television show, one of those megachurches with 25,000 people in it.

Just looking through the affidavit, it reads with very specific detail how defendant Long would come to this house where these boys were put to live and sleep. And he would sleep in the same bed with the defendants, how he engaged in sexual massages with them, how he increased the sexual contact to include -- quote -- "oral sodomy."

Overnight trips, defendant Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with the plaintiffs, kissing, massaging, et cetera, et cetera, when the boys would travel with him on trips in private jets, sometimes flying back on commercial planes.

Now, Eddie, how is it possible, I'm just asking myself, and a lot of people are probably wondering as they listen to this, how do you coerce someone to do something like this, based on the word of God, for example? What does God, what does religion have to do with these things? What do they say took place? Was there some kind of ritual or something?

LAVANDERA: At this point, we haven't spoken with these two young men. We have spoken to their attorney.

And so basically what we have to go on is the documents we have been talking to from here. But when you read through this, one of the things that it mentions several times is that essentially what they accuse the bishop of doing is kind of creating this atmosphere where engaging -- in the words here, engaging in a sexual relationship was a healthy component of developing your spiritual life, that that's exactly -- they say that that's what the bishop had convinced them of.

And there's a couple stories in here where this was a ritualistic thing that happened, that at some point he had chosen -- and you had mentioned this idea of being Bishop Long's spiritual sons. And in these documents, it says that this was actually like a private ceremony that had taken place.

SANCHEZ: Kind of like wedding vows?

LAVANDERA: Yes, like a covenant that had taken place between Bishop Long and these two men, where essentially the bishop is saying to them, I will be your spiritual father, there for you all the time.

SANCHEZ: And they exchanged jewelry?

LAVANDERA: Well, the jewelry part is -- one the other levels of intrigue here is that, a few months ago, there was break-in at the bishop's office, at the church, there at New Birth Church. It turns out that two men were arrested for that -- $100,000 in jewelry was stolen from the bishop's office.

SANCHEZ: And that's one of these young men who is making these allegations?

LAVANDERA: Maurice Robinson is named. We have the arrest warrant as well.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: He says he wanted to take away what this bishop loved the most, and that's why he's apparently referring to the jewelry.

LAVANDERA: Right, these material goods. And we have spoken -- you mentioned we have reached out to Bishop Long's attorney.

SANCHEZ: Why isn't he talking yet?

LAVANDERA: They say that they're still going over these lawsuits. They tell us quickly that his spokesperson and his attorney have said tonight that they adamantly deny these accusations, that they're disheartened that these young men had gone down this path in filing this lawsuit.

SANCHEZ: All right, listen to what we're getting from a lot of -- not everybody, but there are some people out there who defend their minister, believe in him, love him as a man, and are willing to forgive him already.

Let's go to some of those, if we can.

"Rick Sanchez, stop it, stop it, stop it. Eddie is a man of God."

Here's the next one that comes right after that. "I don't care what the lawsuit says. Our man of God would never do anything like that."

And there's one more. "Until Bishop Long admits to doing it or there is video of this sick act, I refuse to believe it."

So, there's a small consensus forming of people who truly believe in this who are saying, no, this can't be true.

Now, B.J. Bernstein answered those people today during her news conference. And I want to share this now with our audience. Go ahead. Take that, Dee, if you got it, please.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNSTEIN: These young men were 17 and 18 years old. That is not child molestation in the state of Georgia.

However, I will tell you this. And, obviously, my background, everyone knows I'm a criminal defense lawyer and a former prosecutor. When I met all three of these young men, I will tell you, the first thing I did is -- excuse me -- two.

When I met these two young men. I did -- the first thing and the most important thing was, I picked up the phone and I called federal authorities. I have to go ahead and speak out now because there are kids at risk. There are young men at risk. And that's why we have gone ahead and filed suit today.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: All right. That's obviously not the sound that we were talking about.

But, at one point, she goes on to say that this is not about the church. She says there are many good men in that church who can take over this organization and continue preaching the word of God. So, she gave a pretty direct answer to what defendant Long is doing in this case. It's a heck of a story.

LAVANDERA: And I have spoken with her as well. And she says, look, for these two young men to come out and make these accusations is incredibly difficult for them as well.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: Well, sure. They're young men.

LAVANDERA: Right.

SANCHEZ: And then there's the whole issue of whether they're gay. And apparently she said that they're not. They tried to have girlfriends, but he blocked that. In fact, let me see if I can read you that real quick, because I thought that was interesting as well.

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: She talked about how it's affected their relationships in today's world.

SANCHEZ: This is interesting.

When the young males, confused by the sexual contact with defendant Long, find girlfriends or engage in sexual contact with females, pursuant to their own desires, defendant Long initially attempts to block those relationships by increased contact and spiritual talk as to the covenant between the spiritual son and himself.

It's creepy. But it is what it is. These are allegations. Bishop Long will have obviously a chance to defend himself. We invite him to come on the show and give us his perspective on this, as we do his representative.

Eddie, thanks. We will talk more about this...

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: We have made that -- reaching out to Bishop Long tonight. So, everybody knows, we have tried repeatedly today.

(CROSSTALK)

SANCHEZ: All day long?

LAVANDERA: Oh, yes, as soon as this was filed this afternoon.

We have let them know that any time the bishop wants to come out and speak...

(CROSSTALK)

LAVANDERA: His people are saying that, look, they're still looking over the paperwork. They're still looking over these complaints. This has obviously happened in the last few hours, so that...

SANCHEZ: No response?

LAVANDERA: Yes, no response so far.

SANCHEZ: OK.

Former President Bill Clinton is making headlines on this night as well, his comments about the Tea Party and about Sarah Palin. And, tonight, he's also talking to CNN. That's ahead.

Also, remember the man who got on a school bus and threatened kids after he heard that they were picking on his daughter? Well, he's now speaking out. What would you do in that situation? What would you do?

That's next right here on the LIST. Stay with us, a lot of news coming in.

Oh, the entire news conference held by B.J. Bernstein earlier tonight, we're going to play that for you, so you can see it.

Stay there. This is your LIST, RICK'S LIST.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: I know we have been talking about controversy since we began this newscast. But let me take you now through the list of the most controversial stories of the day, a dad apologizing for storming a school bus and spouting profanity because he thought that his disabled daughter was the victim of bullies.

This comes in at number 4.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES JONES, FATHER: I'm going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you up and everybody on this (EXPLETIVE DELETED). This my daughter and I will kill (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to back her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: James Jones says he snapped -- he admits it -- when his daughter, who has cerebral palsy, told him that somebody threw a condom at her and laughed at her. It turns out, it happened, but his daughter wasn't the victim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JONES: Yes, that time, I was a bully. And I apologize again for that. You see the tape. I just -- I thought I was backed up against the wall as a parent. And I just didn't know where else to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Jones says that he's speaking out now to draw attention to the anti-bullying organizations.

Now to controversy number three. A Florida reporter is chased away from a national park for simply checking to see if he can find remnants of the BP oil spill. He was digging on a beach in Pensacola when he was approached by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent and then a guy from the National Parks Service. They both told him he just couldn't dig there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though it's a public beach, open to the public, still a national seashore, and you can't dig.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, sand castles, none of that, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Hmm, no sand castles? Many are asking, who are these guys protecting? They say no one can now dig on the beach more than six inches period.

There's more controversy. Here's number two. A Bellevue, Washington, city council member was walking his dog outside his family's lake home last week when his wife heard him shouting, bear, bear. A 149-pound female bear grabbed him. I want to you hear now for yourself -- this is really something -- I want you to hear the frantic 911 call that she immediately placed. Hit it, Dee.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is curled up. And, oh, my God. His head is all bashed in.

911 OPERATOR: OK. Where's the bear now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's -- John. John, wait.

911 OPERATOR: Where is the bear now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't see him. He was at the door. And I scooted him away.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: By the way, "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer" reports the councilman is in stable condition with puncture wounds to his face and his head. His wife says he's got to remain in the hospital so doctors can monitor his progress.

So, what's the number-one story on controversy list on this night?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And these people who are here who we elected to represent us turn our backs and steal money from our -- ourselves. You know, we're all mad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Turned their backs and stole money from them. That's what you heard him say, right? Well, now, the state is saying the same thing. Remember those Bell, California, city officials whose salaries outraged residents and damn near everybody else? Well, authorities lowered the boom on them today.

California's attorney general joins me next to explain just what happened.

Also ahead the LIST: The vote on don't ask don't tell comes before the Senate. Was President Obama able to make good on a campaign promise to repeal it? And what did the other side do? Both of those when we come back on RICK'S LIST. Stay right there. We have got a lot of news tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: By the way, I just want to let you know that we started the newscast with these accusations against Bishop Eddie Long, which has obviously created quite a stir on Twitter and on social media. And we are going to play for you in just a little bit the news conference you may have heard from the attorney of these two young men who are filing this lawsuit and these allegations. Stand by for that. It's coming up in just a little bit.

Meanwhile, it's being called one of the most egregious examples of corruption by elected officials in this country right now. That's why it's number one on our list of controversies on this night.

I'm talking about Bell, California. Here we go, a small working- class suburb of Los Angeles where the district attorney says town officials paid themselves millions of dollars and used the city's coffers like their own little private piggy bank. This story sparked outrage all over the country. The community felt like they were cheated and told that these guys -- in fact, they told these guys right to their faces. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: you need to all go to jail, so we don't have to pay you back one penny.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want you guys to resign. Do the city a favor. We don't want you here. And we aren't your people. (APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope that I say goodbye to you people tonight. You're a bunch of crooks. We don't want you around. Even if you offer to work for nothing, you were a crook yesterday, you're a crook today, and you will be a crook tomorrow. You're all crooks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Talk about getting in their faces. Those are the citizens of Bell, California. You heard that. Well, guess what? Now it's payback time, eight city officials arrested today, busted and booked into the L.A. County Jail, chief among them, former City Manager Robert Rizzo. Prosecutors say he was the ringleader.

He's charged with a 53-count indictment. Here he is being led away from his home in handcuffs, all part of an early-morning raid. Police had to use a battering ram to break down the front door to arrest another official. Authorities are calling it corruption on steroids.

And here now, California's attorney general. This is Jerry Brown. He's good enough to join us. He's now running for governor. He's suing current and former Bell officials. And he's with to us take us through this story.

When did you first hear about this? What was your reaction? And why have you come to this decision that these guys need to be punished for what they have done?

JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I heard about it a few months ago, and, as soon as I heard it, I thought it was an outrage.

And I asked my attorneys, look into what legal principles, what statutes have been violated. And we quickly concluded that these officials violated their trust, their fiduciary obligation. They have engaged in waste of public funds. And they violated their own city charter, which says that salaries must be commensurate with the work to be performed.

They didn't do any of that. And, so, based on that, I brought actions on civil fraud and waste of public assets. And I intend to get as much of that money returned, and, therefore, get as much of their future pensions stopped and rolled back.

My action is civil. The district attorney is going by way of criminal indictment. He's doing his thing based on a criminal statute. I'm proceeding under the authority of the state law that bans the kind of activity that these officials have engaged in.

SANCHEZ: Well, that's important. And I will tell you why that's extremely important to many of the people who are listening to the sound of your voice tonight here on CNN.

It's because it's one thing to give them a salary, which for the most part is paid for by the people who live in Bell, California. But when you start talking about pensions, not just from these characters, but maybe other public officials in different parts of the country, then it's the state and other people who may not even live in their community that got to pick that up.

That really makes people mad. You are doing something which would stop them from collecting that pension, right?

BROWN: Exactly. Anything from the point of illegality, whether it was fraud on the taxpayer or abuse of their public trust, that is the point where their salaries have to be rolled back. Nothing more than that can ever be given to them, under the law, if our complaint succeeds, as I think it will.

But I'm not stopping with Bell. I have subpoenas out for the city of Vernon. I have further investigation looking at salaries in excess of $300,000 in dozens of other cities throughout California.

SANCHEZ: Really.

BROWN: This matter is an outrage in Bell, but there's smaller outrages in many other communities and I think we got to rein this stuff in.

SANCHEZ: Well, you're making some news here on CNN. We're going to follow up with you on this. Let us know what other communities are involved, and we'll work with you to report that information. Jerry Brown, attorney general for the state of California, we thank you, sir, for taking time to be with us on this night here on RICK'S LIST.

BROWN: OK, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B.J. BERNSTEIN, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING PLAINTIFFS: A pastor of a church, whether it's the Catholic church, locally, we've seen it with Reverend Paul, whoever it is, you cannot have any sort of sexual relations or sexual relationship with one of your parishioners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Shocking allegations against Bishop Eddie Long. He's being accused of having sex with teenage boys. You're going to hear from their attorney who will take us through some of the most difficult or graphic allegations that are being made on this night.

Stay with us. This is RICK'S LIST, your national conversation. We're hard at it. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: It's a story that is shocking many Americans on this night. One of the country's most famous Christian pastors is being accused of having sex with members of his church. Not just any members. We're talking about teenage boys he may have met when they were as young as 14, and then according to the allegations may have had relationships with them after they had turned 16 and above.

In a lawsuit, two men in their 20s now are saying the bishop, Eddie Long, took them on trips, gave them gifts, bought them a car, gave them cash, gave them jewelry, all as a ploy to have sex with them. And they say it was the church's money that he was giving to them.

His lawyer is denying the allegations. But I want you to listen to some of the most graphic details in this lawsuit. Straight from the attorney who shocked many tonight when she stood before cameras and told this story of Eddie Long. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

B.J. BERNSTEIN, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING PLAINTIFFS: There, the pastor started to do what adult pedophiles do with younger, younger people, which is starting to spend time with them, casually watch TV with them and lay his legs on him, and then asked him to massage him. And then start explaining to him how special he was to him. And it was special for the bishop to be able to spend time with them. They did devotional readings together. He was over there on a regular basis at this house.

Eventually, it turned into such a relationship that the bishop had a ceremony with Anthony Flag called a covenant. Within that covenant, it was essentially a marriage ceremony where there were candles, exchange of jewelry and biblical quotes given, in order for Anthony to know and for the bishop to tell him, I will always have your back and you will always have mine. He would use biblical stories to talk about how important it was to follow your leader and your master and let him know that the acts he was engaged in were not necessarily meaning that he was a homosexual or that either of them was. But rather, the pastor, Bishop Long, was releasing his passion and his love for Anthony.

Meantime, we have Maurice Robinson. And while Anthony is living in this house, he's bought a Mustang car. He's given money. He is on the payroll of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church as reflected by the federal tax returns. And he starts to travel with the bishop. He goes to the "W" hotel in New York's Times Square. He goes to the "W" hotel in Dallas where Anthony specifically remembers that he saw the zoo in town and that he wished he had gone to the zoo. But instead on that trip, he accompanied the bishop everywhere the bishop went, including sharing a bed in the same hotel room on that trip and many others.

They join this church, and the next thing he knows, he starts to immediately get to know the bishop. And the bishop -- this is a very handsome young man. Very charismatic young man who wants nothing more to do what a lot of young African-American males want to do like their idols of being in the music business perhaps. And he introduces them to famous people. He meets T.I. He meets Chris Tucker. He meets all -- Tyler Perry. He meets all kinds of famous people in the company of Bishop Long. And Bishop Long gives him a car. In fact, Bishop Long lets him drive his Bentley automobile. That's right, Bishop Long has a Bentley. Or the church does, whoever owns it. And allows a young man at 17, 18 years ago old to drive it around.

The feeling of power. And he gives him money. And he puts him on the New Birth Missionary payroll which again will be reflected by the 1040 forms that he received. And in fact, Anthony has just in the accounting and the payroll, over $11,000 of payments on the payroll from New Birth Baptist church as an employee of a 17 or 18-year-old young man. And that's not counting the cash, the gifts and the trips.

He, too, went on a number of trips, but for Maurice, he was a little bit tougher because his mother and father were both in his life. And yet, his mother recounts how the bishop -- she thought there was nothing better for her son in their entire life to be handpicked as a personal attendant around the bishop.

Crossing the line, in which you have sexual contact of any sort with your parishioners and particularly vulnerable young men that you're supposed to protect, it's our belief that these two are just two of the brave ones who are willing to come forward. And I'm going to tell you now, you all are going to be chasing them around for interviews, and I'm not putting them through that. For them to sit down and reach out and tell me what happened, and it is the gory details in this complaint of the sexual acts that occur is more than enough. And we did not hide their names. This is not a John Doe lawsuit. But at the same time, they don't need to be in front of cameras. They will tell this in a deposition and they will tell it to a judge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: A couple of quick caveats tonight. First of all, many of you have been asking about the bishop. Yes, he is married and he has several children, as shown in his Web site that interestingly enough has just crashed. And we've been trying to get back to it but we looked at it earlier in the day.

As to this attorney, B.J. Bernstein, if she looks familiar to many of you, it's because she was the attorney who crusaded on behalf of a young man named Genarlow Wilson. Genarlow Wilson was a young African-American man growing up in Georgia, outside of Atlanta, who was unjustly accused of being a sexual predator. And she stayed on his case until she finally was able to get him released from prison. That's just some information you might need as you filter through the story.

Obviously, this is a still developing story. We will monitor all the details as they come in. And as soon as we hear from Bishop Eddie Long tonight or one of his representatives, we will put that information on the air. And again, for several hours now, we have been contacting them here at CNN and so far to no avail.

Did you hear that another member of the Obama administration is leaving the White House? He's one of the closest people to the president. As a matter of fact, that's ahead. And former President Bill Clinton says that Sarah Palin is a force to be reckoned with. What does he mean by that? You'll be able to hear it for yourself in just a little bit. Stay right there. I'm coming right back.

By the way, before we go to break, I want to show you how we put our newscast together. This is something you can check out every single day. Just go to my blog. My blog is CNN.com/ricksanchez and there you could see what my stuff calls the "Rick vid."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It is surreal to suddenly be at a point where you're actually the person that people are showing up to listen to. It's an awesome responsibility and it makes you understand, you know, if nothing else, the power of social media which is the thing that we read about.

When I was in Long Island, I was taken aback by the fact that a lot of the folks in the audience were young kids. They were like 16. Let's put it this way. Several of the people who came to listen to me in Long Island had to be driven there by their parents.

Of course, I went home and I told my sons, my kids. I said, you know what, you guys don't know how lucky you are. There are people who drove long distance to hear me talk. And every time I tell you guys something, you leave the room or look the other way. So it just goes to show you, you can't be a king in your own home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Here we go, the "Political" list. Welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. There's a lot of news on this day. I'm glad you're here with us and we can share most of this information together.

Let's start with Bill Clinton. He is, as you know, let me just put it this way. He is the king of triangulation. He can take your issues and make them his. Take your supporters and make them his. And that's what he says Democrats should think about doing with the Tea Party.

Our political segment begins with number four. And that's the former president. He sat down with our own Wolf Blitzer today in New York. He says, yes, some Tea Party supporters are extreme. But in any other year, he says a lot of them could easily be swayed into voting Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Are the Democrats underestimating the Tea Party Movement?

BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know. I think it would be a mistake. I think what we should say is those Tea Partiers, 20 percent of them, by the way, say they'll vote for Democrats if there are no Tea Party candidates.

In their purist form, the Tea Partiers are saying I've been let down by big business and big government. The funders of the Tea Party Movement tend to be pretty far right extremists who want their goal is to destroy the power of government to mediate the power of corporations. And I don't really think that is a sustainable position.

My advice for the Democrats is, don't play games. Make this about the American people. Tell them what we're going to need to do and what you would do about it and ask them if they really think you're more likely to do it than your opponent. I think we should just play it straight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Here now, political story number three. One of the president's top economic advisers is leaving the White House. Have you heard? He's going to do so at the end of the year. That's Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council. He announced today he's going back to Harvard to teach. The president has been dropping hints lately that he'll shake up his economic team after the midterm elections. House Republican Leader Boehner had called on him to fire Summers, along with Treasury Sec Tim Geithner.

Here is number two.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: He said he would work on it, but not necessarily be able to do it. That was back in January. Well, President Obama said he would try and do just that, pledge to end the military's controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy by the end of the year.

Well, today, Senate Republicans said, not so fast, Mr. President. They voted unanimously to block his bill, a bill that could repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy from even coming up for debate on the Senate floor.

So what is the number one most important political story that is making our list on this night? Once again, Delaware Senate Christine O'Donnell we go.

Today, "The Washington Post" has dug up a quote from just four years ago where O'Donnell called homosexuality an identity disorder. But that's not the only reason that she's making news on this night. More is coming up.

Stay right there. RICK'S LIST continues. We've got the news. No bloviating. We don't tell you how to think. And more of that. Stay there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Hey, welcome back. I'm Rick Sanchez. And we top our political rundown now with the Tea Party's darling of Delaware. She is number one on our list tonight.

Christine O'Donnell raced away from CNN reporters last night as they tried to get answers about her use of campaign money. The campaign watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has filed an FEC complaint against O'Donnell. They say that she used more than $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

Now, I spoke to the group's executive director, Melanie Sloan. Here, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY & ETHICS IN DC: The biggest problem is not that she was not an announced candidate. The biggest problem was that she was treating her campaign like it was her own bank account and whipping out the campaign's ATM to pay for things, willy-nilly, whether or not they were campaign expenses.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. By the way, I'm just curious now. Let's suppose you and I run for office, right? And we lose. But we've got a lot of money left over that we didn't spend. What are we supposed to do with that money?

SLOAN: Well, some candidates keep it to save it for their next campaign. Others often give it to away to other candidates. But one thing you can never do with the money is keep it and use it for your personal living expenses.

SANCHEZ: Is there a possibility she didn't know that? Is there any chance that ignorance could be used as a viable defense here?

SLOAN: Ignorance of the law is never an excuse.

SANCHEZ: Right.

SLOAN: First of all, Miss O'Donnell was hardly the novice she paints herself to be. This is her third campaign after all. But in any event, we don't say, oh, well, if you didn't know, that you couldn't rob a bank but you robbed a bank. No foul there. Ignorance is never an excuse. And certainly, it's clear that Miss O'Donnell did know because she lied on her FEC forms.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Yesterday, O'Donnell told reporters that she's done absolutely nothing wrong.

Now this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: Why are you listening to a liberal organization in the first place? They're scared that the person that Harry Reid called his pet is not going to get the seat. The momentum surrounding this campaign is obvious. That's why they're creating baseless allegations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk about --

O'DONNELL: I am confident that we have been ethical. We have not -- I personally have not misused the campaign funds. We have our FEC lawyer, a great attorney, answering those charges if it ever goes anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Just to be clear, the accusation she makes about the little organization is completely incorrect. These accusations were first leveled by Republicans and conservatives against her who live in Delaware. Still, when CNN's Gary Tuchman tried to nail her down on specifics, O'Donnell ran for the hills. Maybe we're going to get some answers on October 13th. That is when we can now share with you that CNN will host a debate between Christine O'Donnell and her Democratic rival, Chris Coons. Wolf Blitzer will moderate the showdown which you can watch right here on CNN. Must-see TV for sure.

Now, they say a real captain goes down with the ship. Not if this crew has anything to say about it. This is one unbelievable piece of video. I'll take you through the story. Next, it's in ah, dios mio. "Fotos."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: I should let you know that in this book, I talk about much of what we've talked about tonight. The gospel of prosperity is examined in this book. I want to give one of these books away now. And interestingly enough, we pick the best tweet of the night. And who gets it? Here we go.

This is Terrell. He writes, "Do you ever get the feeling that Rick Sanchez doesn't have a producer for his show? He calls shots like he's in a control room. LOL."

My executive producer is Angie Massie (ph). She's fabulous. She's in my ear throughout the entire -- she tells me everything. Except for this.

We have to go to break right now. Oh, that's right, Angie. Sorry. We have to go to break right now. Here we go. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: There's only time for one item, so let's do "Fotos."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ah, dios mio. SANCHEZ: The man is on a boat in Croatia. A man comes to rescue him. The man on the boat says, no, I don't want to be rescued. Leave me alone. Finally, the man on the boat comes to the rescue and just in time. Because look what happens to boat. Boat goes underwater. If man had not been rescued, man would have likely drowned, under water in his boat. Thank God for rescuer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ah, dios mio.

SANCHEZ: Thought you'd love to hear the abridged version.

Here now, "LARRY KING LIVE."