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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Controlling the Message; Tea Party Racism?; Inside the Chandra Levy Murder Case; Remembering John Lennon; Preview: Almighty Debt
Aired October 20, 2010 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: they want your vote, but they don't want the accountability that comes with earning your trust. Politicians dodging reporters; one even had his security team put a guy in handcuffs. We've got unsettling new facts about that incident.
We uncovered more like it, as well as a troubling pattern of would-be lawmakers acting, well, kind of like a law unto themselves. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
Also, the NAACP puts out a blistering report about the Tea Party, allegations it gives platforms to racists and bigots. But, tonight, we have some hard questions for the head of the NAACP. Why did they hire a group which has denounced the Tea Party to write this allegedly fair report about the Tea Party? And how come so many of the allegations they make seem to be based on innuendo and guilt by association?
Also, the Chandra Levy story: a promising Washington intern vanishes. A congressman's career is ruined. Years later, a suspect emerges, and now the trial is finally on -- "Crime & Punishment" tonight.
We begin, though, tonight, as we always do, "Keeping Them Honest" with a remarkable number of politicians this year who want your vote, but they don't want to answer tough questions to get it.
Now, some of them are simply ducking reporters. And we've seen that time and time again, not talking to anyone who might disagree with them. Others, though, are going further, trying to intimidate reporters who are trying to get questions answered.
You may have seen what happened a few days ago in Alaska. A reporter named Tony Hopfinger with "The Alaska Dispatch" was handcuffed, not by police, though, but by private security guards. It happened at Central Middle School in Anchorage at a town hall meeting that Republican senatorial candidate Joe Miller was holding.
Now, Miller's people said that Mr. Hopfinger physically assaulted someone and made threatening gestures and movements towards the candidate. Hopfinger says he was there to question Joe Miller. He says he was surrounded by hostile people and shoved someone to get a little space.
Now, whatever the case may be, the guys handcuffing him were not the police. And as you'll see, they felt comfortable threatening at least one other reporter who was videotaping the aftermath. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is what's going to happen. If you don't leave right now, I'm going to put you in handcuffs, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. And who are you? What's your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're trespassing, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name? How do I know that you rented this --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you're trespassing. You need to leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me your name, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you? You're not even with the school. No. You're not with the school. You're not --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- don't listen to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're with the event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what's the event? And what's the event? And what's your name? What's your title of the event?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- this is not a public property.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It's a private event. Guess what? It's private, and we're telling you to leave now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, let's remember, those guys in suits with the earpieces, they're not Secret Service. They're not police. They're just guys with little earpieces doing what they want.
So who are they? Well, it turns out they were members of Mr. Miller's private security detail employed by a company called DropZone. We have since learned that two of the guards, a guy named Tyler Ellingboe and Alexander Valdez, are active-duty soldiers, and, according to Army spokesman quoted in "The Anchorage Daily News," didn't have permission from their current chain of command to be working for this company, DropZone, in Alaska.
But what's more interesting, frankly, is what we learned about this guy, William Fulton, the one who threatened the other reporter to be in handcuffs as well. He is the head of DropZone and is reportedly an associate of Alaska's Citizens Militia, an extreme right-wing paramilitary group.
Now, Mr. Fulton denies belonging to the militia. However, he doesn't deny posting on this Alaska Citizens Militia message group on Google, where militia leader Norm Olsen praised him, saying -- quote -- "I commend Bill at DropZone for serving as the supply sergeant for many units."
I guess he's talking about militia units.
Olsen goes on: "He and others hold the vision of a mighty force upon the plain able to send a clear and unmistakable message to tyrants: Don't tread on me."
Now, you might just say, look, this is an isolated incident. Ok. But it's not the only time where people trying to document events at political functions lately have been met with force or intimidation.
Take a look at this encounter at a campaign event in Florida for Republican congressman -- congressional candidate Allen West -- not congressman -- congressional candidate.
A Democratic tracker, one of those people from both parties, frankly, that both parties send out to videotape the opposition, is met by a pack of bikers. That's right, bikers. The first voice you hear is the candidate's voice, saying: "I don't want him here. Please escort him away. So, please leave." Bikers.
Bear in mind this is happening at a public park, though the West campaign says it is a private event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I don't want him here. Please escort him away, because this is a place of honor. And the organization that you represent has no honor. So, please leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really want to do this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stalking is a crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not stalking. It's a public place. (CROSSTALK)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't bump into me, son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't bump into me. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a free place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes? And we're free to stand here. We're free to stand here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok, fine, as long as you don't touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to walk that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't really give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) where you were trying to walk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not touch you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will stand right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The guy's name is Wolf, I think.
The Florida Democratic Party has removed the tracker from the campaign trail out of concerns for his safety.
Now, the West campaign claims the tracker was stalking them and accuses Florida Democrats of playing politics by releasing the tape now. The incident happened last month. And, look, they very well may be playing politics by releasing the tape, but it doesn't -- doesn't take away from the fact that the incident did happen.
So, that's two incidents, isolated examples, you might say. They're certainly extreme examples, but never have we seen so many politicians choosing only friendly media outlets to talk to or just dodging the press entirely.
Take a look on the wall, five politicians we have been reaching out to, Democratic and Republican, who are making news, but have just refused to come on this program: Rand Paul, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Some of them because they're avoiding questions about one scandal or another, others -- and this is what is different this year -- because they think that not answering questions will get them elected.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MILLER (R), ALASKA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We have drawn a line in the sand. You can ask me about background. You can ask me about personal issues. I'm not going to answer. I'm not.
SHARRON ANGLE (R), NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We needed to have the press be our friend. We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer, so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will make ourselves available. I know Sharron's got a very tight schedule.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ms. O'Donnell, I'm going to ask you that one question you promised you would answer.
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I did answer it.
TUCHMAN: No, about the rentals last year.
TUCHMAN: Why were you paying rent money with campaign money?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, tonight, is not happening.
TUCHMAN: Well, that was the one question I had.
O'DONNELL: I answered it.
TUCHMAN: No, you didn't answer it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's talk about it now with Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and author of "Third World America".
Arianna, does it seem to you that more candidates than ever are avoiding talking to any kind of critical reporter?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: It does seem so, Anderson, for a good reason. This is an unprecedented election year, when we have so many candidates who have bubbled up to be the party's nominees who are not really ready for prime time.
And, if they win it, it will be because they are not the incumbent. If Sharron Angle wins in Nevada, it will not be because of her position but because she's not Harry Reid. So, in those cases, it actually makes sense for them to avoid all the land mines.
And any question can lead to an answer that becomes a land mine. So, the more they are just not present, the more they are basically just simply not the incumbent, the more likely they are to win.
COOPER: Alex, it's not just Republicans or Tea Party candidates, though. There's Democrats as well and long-term, you know, Democratic candidates. I have been trying to get Congressman Sanford Bishop from Georgia on this program to answer questions about this Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarship money that he was supposed to give to needy kids, and in fact was giving out to -- to friends and relatives.
He won't come on. He's just flat-out dodging us, even though we call literally every single day.
Is it good -- I mean, does it make sense? Do you advise candidates, look, don't talk to anyone who's going to question you, you know, aggressively?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't know that you would advise someone to not talk to somebody who's going to question you, but the market has changed so much, Anderson.
I think, you know, it's fragmented. It used to be there were four broadcast networks. Now, of course, there's cable, CNN, yes. And there's so many other ways for people to get information, computers, on the Internet, e-mail from their friends. We get our political information in a very decentralized way now.
So, what does that mean? That means that a consultant like me can tell a candidate, you know, this -- this is not the path to go to talk to this reporter. It's a problem. You will get a better opportunity if you go another way.
COOPER: But it's interesting, Alex, though, because you have candidates coming out and saying -- I mean, Sarah Palin telling Christine O'Donnell to only speak through FOX News, or Sharron Angle saying, you know, we want the -- the press to report the news the way we want it to be reported.
CASTELLANOS: There's --
COOPER: I mean does she realize what she's saying? Does anyone care?
CASTELLANOS: Well, sometimes they do care, and sometimes they see an advantage in avoiding problems.
But, other times, I think they also miss opportunities. Politics is the art of consensus-building. You have to reach a lot of people. You have to reach across the 50-yard line and get that 51 percent. So, the price, I think, that some of these candidates pay is, they narrow themselves just to a base. A base is not enough to win an election. You've got to reach across the middle.
COOPER: But it's interesting, Arianna, too, because hatred of the media is --
HUFFINGTON: Well --
COOPER: -- is now kind of so widespread, that it's become kind of a point of pride by some candidates, you know, to say, look, the "lame stream media" or the mainstream media, you know, they're -- they're not going to ask fair questions, and, therefore, we're just not going to talk to them. And that seems to kind of help them, actually, with their core supporters.
HUFFINGTON: Well, the hatred, the mistrust of the media is really part of the mistrust of all establishments, which is the leitmotif of this election.
And Alex is right. Especially in a general election, a presidential election, it's much harder to -- to do this kind of narrowcasting strategy. But, in a midterm election, when it's all about turnout, and when turnout isn't going to be anywhere near as high as it was in '08, it may work for some candidates.
It's a terrible thing for democracy -- there's no question about that -- especially when you combine it with the propensity of certain candidates, like Paladino -- like Carl Paladino or Joe Miller, to actually use sort of more thuggish methods to deal with the press.
COOPER: Well, Alex, I mean, Arianna raises the -- the Joe Miller incident, where, you know, these private security guards, the head of whom seems to be part of some sort of Alaskan militia, though he -- he denies this, you know, are literally putting handcuffs on somebody. Does this make any sense whatsoever? I mean, has this crossed a line?
CASTELLANOS: I haven't put it on a survey, but I would bet you that arresting a few reporters would probably get you some votes in a Republican primary somewhere.
COOPER: Well, I have no doubt about that, but is it a good thing?
CASTELLANOS: It's not a good thing. You know, one of the things that when you -- when you elect someone to office, you want stability and maturity, especially in uncertain times. And when you see somebody driving off, you know, beyond the lines that are on the side of the road, you begin to question their leadership.
How they comport themselves in a campaign is important. I mean, the reason we have campaigns is to test our prospective leaders. We want to see how they respond when questioned, how they respond in debates, how they respond to the give-and-take of -- of the campaign and the press.
If voters get the sense that you're denying them -- you're not denying reporters, you're denying the audience that reporters talk to. If voters get the sense that they're being shut out of the process, it will only be to the candidate's detriment.
COOPER: It's a fascinating time.
Arianna Huffington thanks for being with us.
Alex Castellanos thanks.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, let us know what you think about it. Join the live chat right now at AC360.com.
Up next: just days before the election, the NAACP puts out a bombshell report accusing the Tea Party of giving platforms to racists and anti-Semites. We'll talk to the head of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, in just a moment.
Also, a lot more tonight -- we're taking a look at the latest on the Chandra Levy case. Nine years after she disappeared, her alleged killer finally goes on trial. We'll look at the case that rocked Washington and cost one congressman his career.
And later: my exclusive conversation with Yoko Ono about that horrible night John Lennon was murdered and whether she can ever forgive his killer.
COOPER: Well, 13 days until Election Day, and the NAACP has just released a report that claims the Tea Party has provided platforms to white supremacists, anti-Semites and bigots, among others. The report has outraged members of the Tea Party, who focus both on the content, the claims, and the timing of its release.
Joining us now to talk about the report is NAACP president Ben Jealous.
Ben thanks very much for being with us.
BENJAMIN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: Sure. Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: The critics of this say, look, you're releasing this thing 13 days before an election. How can this not be about politics and trying to mobilize people to vote and change -- and affect their vote at the voting booth?
JEALOUS: We -- we made this call back in July. And we said the report would be coming out then. The report's finished, and we have released it.
You know, the -- this is a call.
COOPER: But why release it now, 13 days before an election?
JEALOUS: We -- we have released it now because we need to call this country to -- to basic civility.
You know, this report really shouldn't be controversial. When we made the call before, you know, and they came out and said, oh, this is baseless, and, then, a week later, they threw out Mark Williams. Now, a few weeks after that, they kicked out Mr. Ravndal for suggesting that gay people should be killed.
You know, we -- we keep on hearing them denying the facts. We keep presenting them to them. They have made a few good steps. We're saying, look, stop denying it. Here's the truth. Do something about it.
COOPER: So you're saying this has nothing to do with politics, and it's just a coincidence that it's 13 days before an election? I mean, you could have held it until after the election? You could have released it months ago.
JEALOUS: Well, actually, we couldn't have released it months ago because it wasn't done yet. And we have released it now because it is.
I mean, you've heard the reports as recently as yesterday. From Texas, there were allegations that members of the Tea Party were scaring voters in the early voting. You know, we have got to blow the whistle and say, look, you know, you can believe this, you can believe that. You can go this way, you can go that way. But there's one thing we can't compromise on any of us, and that's basic civility.
COOPER: Well, let me ask you then about this report. This report was co-authored by a guy named Leonard Zeskind.
COOPER: And he has a group called the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and your group.
COOPER: And your group, the NAACP, hired them to do them.
This is clearly a left-wing group which is opposed to the Tea Party. If you wanted an unbiased report about the Tea Party --
JEALOUS: He's a MacArthur Genius Award winner. He won his MacArthur Genius Award because he --
COOPER: Well, but yes, but, nevertheless his -- are you telling he's not -- he doesn't come -- has a complete liberal agenda that's anti-Tea Party?
JEALOUS: He's a MacArthur Genius Award winner who won that very prestigious prize because he exposed groups like White Aryan Nation.
You know, all of us are very clear, I have been very clear that we're not calling the Tea Party racists. We're calling them to repudiate racism.
COOPER: Right. But if you're doing a study that you want people to believe and you want people to believe is fair, why hire an organization which clearly has a left-wing agenda and does not like the Tea Party?
JEALOUS: Again, you know, the reality here is, he actually is a MacArthur -- he's won a prize for --
COOPER: I know, MacArthur Award, it's a great thing, but the guy can be -- he can hate the Tea Party, and he can be a genius and hate the Tea Party. Does it mean he should do a report?
JEALOUS: Yes, that's not it. That's not it. That's absolutely -- look, you can go through the footnotes. This is a 94-page report. Go through it again and again and again.
And what you'll see as you go through this report, as you go through those footnotes is that this guy -- and we didn't hire him. You've really got to check your facts. This -- this -- this report wasn't funded by us. I wrote the foreword to it. We did it because --
COOPER: Well, his organization sent volunteers and personnel out to -- to groups, and they co-authored this report. So, whether you hired them or not, you are relying on their expertise and --
JEALOUS: Right but what I'm saying is --
COOPER: -- and -- and you believe, their accuracy.
JEALOUS: What I'm saying is -- what I'm saying -- and so does the MacArthur Foundation. This is a guy who is one of the most distinguished people in this country --
JEALOUS: -- when it -- when it comes to tracking, you know, white extremist groups. The -- the --
COOPER: Leonard Zeskind -- let me -- let -- he gave a talk at the NAACP Convention in -- in July. And this is what he said about the Tea Party movement.
He said, and I quote, "These are not populists of any stripe. These are ultra-nationalists or super patriots who are defending their special pale-skinned privileges and power."
I mean, does that sound like someone who's going to write an unbiased report?
JEALOUS: Again, he's talking about the groups that have worked their way into the Tea Party. He's talking about people like the head of 1776 Tea Party who started out in the Minuteman Project, who has called for violence and actually shooting undocumented people on the border. That's what we're talking about here.
COOPER: Your report, though, focuses on a lot of the smaller Tea Party groups. There are literally thousands of Tea Party groups.
And, in the report, you say -- and I want to make this very clear -- you say that the majority of the Tea Party supporters are sincere and they're people of good faith and goodwill.
But, in the report, it does seem to use a lot of innuendo and a lot of guilt by association.
I want to read one --
JEALOUS: And I'm --
COOPER: I just want to read one line.
It says: "Tea Party organizations have given platforms to anti- Semites, racists and bigots. Further, hardcore white nationalists have been attracted to these protests, looking for potential recruits and hoping to push these white protesters towards a more self- conscious and ideological white supremacy."
Because there are literally thousands of these small Tea Party groups, is it really fair to cherry-pick a handful of extremists who may have gotten time on a mike or -- or attack the Tea Party because some white supremacists glommed on to a rally to hand out flyers?
If a communist group went to a -- a liberal rally, it wouldn't be -- would it be fair to say the liberals are therefore communist or attract communists?
JEALOUS: Look, we faced these same types of -- of denials the last time we issued the call. And, a week later, they threw out Mark Williams, the head of the Tea Party Express, not for the first time he had made racist comments, but for the sixth, seventh, eighth time he had made racist comments.
You know, the -- then you have the 1776 Tea Party, one of the biggest factions, headed up by people who are part of the -- I mean, who are the executive director and the head of the communications of the Minuteman Project.
Then you have the fact that five out of the six Tea Party factions are led by people who are birthers, you know, who -- literally, our first black president, and they stand here and they question whether or not he is a valid citizen of this country.
You know, these are very serious allegations. They go right to the top of some of these groups. We've seen one of their leaders fall after people say, oh, I -- we don't know where it is. We don't -- well, Mark was doing it before we made the call, but you threw him out after we made the call.
Same thing with the guy who was the head of the Big Sky Tea Party Association; they threw him out for calling for, you know, killing gay people.
You know, this is serious stuff. And if it was just a couple of people here and there, we wouldn't be saying anything. But when you have the head of Tea Party Express and you have the head of the 1776 Tea Party, and then you see things going down the line in various groups, then you've got to take it very, very seriously.
COOPER: Right, but -- but a number of the mainstream Tea Party groups have repudiated -- repudiated these statements and repudiated people in their organization, as you have pointed out here, thrown them out.
Your organization, you're focusing on much smaller groups that don't have the same kind of central authority.
One of the things the report also takes issue with is the Tea Party movement's battle cry, you know, take it back, take your country back. You hear lot of people at Tea Party rallies saying, I want to take my country back.
And the report suggests that this is nationalism, it's really a form of racism in disguise. I want to just play for you that statement being made by some other folks. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, we stand in common purpose to take our country back. SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To take back our country.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We are going to take our country back.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's going to be because of you that we take our country back.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To make sure we take our country back.
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: Are you ready to take our country back?
AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: This is the year we take our country back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why is it when Democrats say, take our country back, no one says that's extreme nationalism, but when Tea Party supporters say it, it's ominous and racism in disguise?
JEALOUS: Well, you've got to put it in context.
You know, when you see a Confederate battle flag flying in South Carolina, it's one thing. Maybe somebody can argue its heritage. It's often tinged with a whole bunch of other things.
But when you're in Washington State, and you see people flying Confederate battle flags, it's a -- it's a very different sign. This isn't about heritage. They're about as far away as you can get from the former Confederacy.
And the -- the -- the reality is that the -- that these groups, you know, again, going all the way up to the top, they deny, they deny, they deny, and then they throw out Mark Williams. And the interesting thing with Mark Williams is it was the Tea Party Federation who pushed him out. Tea Party Express still hasn't completely disowned him.
You know, they made comments: he's still very much connected to our group. He's still part of the family and so forth.
And -- and the reality is, the reason we issued this poor -- this -- this -- this report is to ensure that somebody blows the whistle. You know, I was there for months saying, look, stand up and say -- and just call them out for -- for calling John Lewis the N-word, for calling Barney Frank a vicious slur. And, finally, we blew the whistle and we started to see some action.
COOPER: But -- but you do understand --
JEALOUS: And we want to see them keep on going. COOPER: You do understand, though, why people would raise questions about this report, given the organization, who -- who is -- you know, and the man who is co-author of it.
JEALOUS: He's a MacArthur Genius Award winner.
COOPER: I understand, ok, he may be a genius. I have no doubt about that. He may be a genius, but, clearly --
JEALOUS: But why he won the prize, because he's documented white supremacist activity better than anybody else in this country.
COOPER: I have no doubt. I have no doubt about that, but he clearly has a thing about the Tea Party and has made statements about it back in July to your organization. Can he really put out a fair report on the Tea --
JEALOUS: He spent a year doing the research. He was talking about the groups who are insurgent into the Tea Party.
The reality is that, you know, who gets better when the Tea Party does what they did to Mark Williams because we called on them, when they did what they did to Ravndal because we called? They get better. You end up at the end of the day with a better Tea Party, just like when we called on the Democratic Party in the 1960s to deal with the white supremacists in their ranks, and they got better.
COOPER: I just don't think they're going to listen to this report, because they're going to discount the organization behind it.
We're out of time. We're actually way over time.
But, listen, in this age where people don't come on television and take hard questions and stand up for reports they put out, I appreciate you coming on and doing that. We just had -- showed a whole lot of politicians who don't. So, I do appreciate you coming on, Ben Jealous.
JEALOUS: All right. Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Thank you very much.
Up next: Just a day after one court opened the door to gays and lesbians openly serving in the military, another court closes that door. We have late details after -- after their ruling.
Also later, a "360 Exclusive": the murder of John Lennon as remembered by his widow, Yoko Ono.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOKO ONO, WIDOW OF JOHN LENNON: And when he said that, that he passed away, I said: "No, he didn't. He's alive." You know, I'm very, very upset about it. And I just refused to think that he died. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Following a number of other stories tonight. Tom Foreman joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is back in effect, at least for now. A federal appeals court today temporarily suspended the recent ruling that stopped the military from enforcing the controversial policy, which means the military can once again bar openly gay and lesbian troops from serving while the appeals court decides whether to overturn the lower court's decision.
Last year's shooting rampage at Ft. Hood could have been far worse, according to a witness at a military hearing who said the suspected gunman had 177 rounds of ammunition on him and a second weapon. Major Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 people in that shooting spree. The hearing is to determine if he'll be court marshaled.
And former JetBlue flight attendant Steve Slater's apartment was broken into, allegedly by his partner's brother. Police say it happened while Slater was in court on charges he deployed an emergency chute at JFK in August.
COOPER: It just gets weirder and weirder. You can't make this stuff up.
FOREMAN: Certainly does.
COOPER: Tom thanks.
Up next, her disappearance nine years ago captivated the nation's capital, brought down a sitting congressman. Now Chandra Levy's murder trial is finally under way. We take you inside the case tonight -- "Crime & Punishment".
And later, part two of my exclusive and pretty revealing interview with Yoko Ono about the night that John Lennon was gunned down, and whether his killer deserves any kind of forgiveness.
COOPER: Tonight's "Crime & Punishment," the Chandra Levy case. It's been nine years -- imagine that -- since the 24-year-old intern vanished in Washington. Now jury selection is under way in her murder trial.
The former congressman with whom Chandra Levy was romantically linked, California Democrat Gary Condit, may be called as a witness. Condit's attorney reportedly says his client has written a tell-all book but will hold off shopping until after the trial.
Joe Johns has more on the case.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the spring of 2001 when Washington and the country first heard the name Chandra Levy, an attractive and ambitious young woman who came to D.C. from California for an internship with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Just days after that internship ended, she vanished.
(on camera): Chandra Levy was living in this apartment building in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. April of 2001, she was getting ready to go home. Her internship had ended. She told her landlord she was moving out, canceled her gym membership. And then suddenly, she just disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know anything about where Chandra Levy is?
JOHNS (voice-over): Then it emerged that she had been a close friend of a married congressman, Gary Condit. Sari Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the "Washington Post" who covered the case co-authored a book about it.
SARI HORWITZ, CO-AUTHOR, "FINDING CHANDRA": Chandra Levy had told her aunt that she was having an affair with Gary Condit. She had also told a friend. And when she disappeared and the police were looking for her, these people came forward.
And Gary Condit didn't want to talk about it. He talked to the police privately, but he felt like his personal life was his personal life, and he was up for re-election. And he didn't want to talk about it.
JOHNS: Critical of the D.C. police, Chandra's wealthy parents hired a top former federal prosecutor and two former D.C. homicide detectives to do their own investigation. Everybody had a lot of questions for Condit.
SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA'S MOTHER: I urge him if he does have any information to please be man enough to step forward and talk about it.
JOHNS: Months after Chandra vanished, Condit did go on ABC. He made it clear he had nothing to do with her disappearance but would not be specific about their relationship.
CONDIT: Well, I met Chandra last October. And we became very close. I met her in Washington, D.C.
CONNIE CHUNG, ABC NEWS: Very close meaning?
CONDIT: We had a close relationship. I liked her very much.
CHUNG: May I ask you, was it a sexual relationship?
CONDIT: Well, Connie, I've been married for 34 years and I've not been a perfect man and I've made my share of mistakes, but out of respect for my family and, out of a specific request from the Levy family, I think it's best that I not get into those details about Chandra Levy.
JOHNS: That was late August of 2001. Just a few weeks later the attacks of 9/11 would push the Chandra Levy story off the front page and for more than a year her body went undiscovered in a ravine here in the dense woods of Rock Creek Park.
(on camera): The fact is police searched the woods several times but never found the body. After all, both Chandra Levy and Gary Condit both lived near Rock Creek Park.
Chandra also searched the computer on the day she disappeared to locate this mansion in the park, Klingle Mansion, suggesting she might have tried to come here.
(voice-over): So why didn't the police find the body nearby?
SCOTT HIGHAM, CO-AUTHOR, "FINDING CHANDRA": The chief of police at the time said I want all the roads and the trail searched; a hundred yards off of all the roads and all the trails in Rock Creek Park.
When they executed the search that day, they only went 100 yards off the roads and not the trails, and they missed Chandra's body by about a half a football field. And that would have changed everything. They would have had evidence. They would have had DNA.
JOHNS (on camera): Instead, the badly decomposed body of Chandra Levy was found by a guy out walking in the woods. It was spring of 2002, more than a year after she'd disappeared. Clearly, she had been murdered. The question was how, and who did it.
(voice-over): Over the next several years, the investigation would slowly begin focusing on a young, illegal immigrant from El Salvador, Ingmar Guandique. He'd been sentenced in 2002 for attacking two other women in Rock Creek Park. Years later he allegedly admitted to fellow inmates that he had killed Chandra.
HORWITZ: He used to sit on that curb over there and watch the women joggers coming by down this path. And Chandra Levy, we believe, was walking down this path on a beautiful, sunny, May 1st day in 2001.
Now, Guandique has confessed to attacking with a knife two other women who walked down this path. And he has been serving a ten-year sentence for those assaults.
JOHNS: Guandique is now on trial for the murder of Chandra Levy, but legal experts say it will be a tough case for the prosecution. Guandique denies he murdered Levy, and there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
COOPER: And Joe joins us now along with Midwin Charles, legal contributor from "In Session" on our sister network, TruTV. Midwin, as Joe just said, this is actually going to be a tough case; no evidence, no DNA. It's basically based on something he allegedly said to some other prisoners, and that kind of stuff is notoriously unreliable.
MIDWIN CHARLES, LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. Like you said, very difficult case. No DNA, no physical evidence, no confession, which is something that they tried really hard to get. And like you said, you know, to rely on a jailhouse snitch, the jury I think is going to have a really hard time determining their credibility.
COOPER: Joe, how reliable is this -- this person from the jail? Do we know?
JOHNS: Well, I mean, the truth is a number of people who are in jail actually talk to the authorities over the years.
But the problem here really is just credibility again and again. It can be shot down, shot holes in it, because the first thing you have to think about is somebody who's locked up, has, you know, a motive to try to get free. Maybe they want early release or they want some deal with the prosecutor.
Then there's the possibility of some altercation. Maybe somebody got in a fight in the joint or whatever. A whole list of questions and that's why so many of these so-called jailhouse confessions or whatever get thrown out.
And former congressman, Gary Condit, is expected to testify. Are we likely to kind of finally get the story of what happened between them?
CHARLES: Well, we might. I mean he hasn't been subpoenaed yet, but it is expected that he might be called to testify. And who knows whether he'll delve into their romantic relationship. I for one don't know how relevant it is. Rather I can see them asking questions such as when was the last time you saw her.
COOPER: Couldn't the defense try to bring that up, as sort of a possible, you know, alleging some sort of interaction between them and alleging some sort of alternate motive, if they're coming up with other theories of the crime?
CHARLES: Well, of course. One of the things that they want to definitely try to do is kind of like cast that light on him and away from their client.
But they rarely -- I don't even see why they need to do that, because there just isn't that much evidence here. If there was ever a better case for a defense attorney, it's this one.
COOPER: What's -- Joe, what's happened to Gary Condit since this whole drama? JOHNS: Well, he lived out on the West Coast, moved to Arizona, started a couple Baskin-Robbins stores, and that sort of went down. Not doing that any more. Still married, writing a book.
And I hear from people in the inside that he's still pretty upset about how he was treated by the media.
COOPER: I can imagine. Joe Johns, appreciate it.
And Midwin, thanks so much; great to have you on the program.
CHARLES: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead -- part two of my exclusive interview with Yoko Ono. Tonight, you'll hear her describe the night of John Lennon's murder and what she thinks should happen to the man who killed him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I know you've spoken about the man who killed John. Do you worry about him getting parole and every time he comes up for parole?
YOKO ONO, JOHN LENNON'S WIDOW: Yes, I'm very concerned about that because, you know, he's not a very stable person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tonight, more of my exclusive interview with Yoko Ono. She doesn't give a lot of interviews, and we're grateful she agreed to talk with us candidly about John Lennon and her life with him. They met more than 40 years ago. It has been that long.
In December it's going to be 30 years since Lennon was murdered, shot dead outside the Dakota apartment building here in New York where he and Ono lived.
As news of his death broke, a crowd gathered outside the Dakota. Mourners stayed throughout the night. Ono vividly remembers hearing them singing the night she was widowed. She still lives at the Dakota today, and just across the street in Central Park is Strawberry Fields, the memorial dedicated to Lennon five years after his murder on what would have been his 45th birthday.
Both locations are part of Ono's core, so that's where we went to talk.
COOPER: Why did you decide to stay at the Dakota?
YOKO ONO, JOHN LENNON'S WIDOW: Well, because it is our home. You know, you don't just leave home. And also for Sean, that was the only home that he knows with -- having time with his father. You know? Everything in the house really reminded us of him. Every room is where he touched. How can you leave that?
COOPER: I would find it hard. I mean, after my brother died, we moved from the building, because I -- I know my mom and I both found it just really hard. But for you it gives you strength.
ONO: For me it gives me, it's a reminder of love that we had, too. You know? It gives me power.
COOPER: We talked a little bit about remembering how John lived as opposed to how he lost his life. Do you think about the day he died?
ONO: The day he died? Not always, no, because I -- that's one thing that I don't really want to know about it. I mean, at the time, when I went to the hospital, and I was waiting and then the doctor came, and he was carrying something of John's, you know, like the rings, and that's when I thought, what is it? What is it? You know? Just funny feeling about it. And when he said that he passed away, I said, "No. He didn't. He's alive," you know? I was very, very upset about it, you know? And I just refused to think that he died.
COOPER: So you had -- it was really at the hospital is where you found out?
COOPER: I know you've spoken about the man who killed John. Do you worry about him getting parole? I know every time he comes up for parole --
ONO: Yes, I'm very concerned about that, because you know, he's not a very stable person. And you don't know that, you know, he might have been a very, very agreeable too around that time, too, so nobody noticed that he was that bothered (ph). He's not the kind of person who wears a (INAUDIBLE) face, you know, so now that he's very charming or something.
He was probably charming then, too, you know? So I don't really have a trust in what happens when he comes out.
COOPER: Some people forgive the people who have done great harm to them. Is that something you think about, whether or not you want to forgive him? Or is that too much to ask?
ONO: Well, I don't really know. I have to think about that. But you know, Sean especially, and me too. But it's a very different situation. And we can't get out of it in a way.
COOPER: Do you still come here to Strawberry Fields often?
ONO: Well, you know, when I take a walk -- I walk a lot because it's very good for your health and everything. So when I take a walk in the morning, of course I pass here, just checking. Everything's all right, you know, that kind of thing. COOPER: What's your feeling when you come here?
ONO: Well, I feel good that I made this tribute to John. I mean, this is a tribute to John, and I realize that it was very important to do it.
COOPER: I think a lot of people don't realize Strawberry Fields was actually a real place that John used to go to as a child.
ONO: You see, the thing is, John was raised by his aunt, Aunt Mimi, and his mother was somewhere else, and his father was somewhere else and so -- and Strawberry Fields was the orphanage right next to it. And whenever -- you know, if he was a bad boy, Mimi would say, "You're going to be there. I'm going to send you there."
COOPER: To the orphanage?
ONO: To the orphanage. And so he was really frightened about it.
COOPER: I mean, we all remember the day -- the night he died, and people coming spontaneously and thousands of people outside singing. Did you hear those songs?
ONO: Of course. Because I was -- my bedroom was right in front of it. I'm right next to it. And so all night I'm listening to them sing or sometimes they'd have the radio, John -- John singing.
And when John was singing, it just made me feel strange because he's supposed to be in bed with me, and then, you know. It wasn't very -- easy.
COOPER: Was it helpful? Did it make it harder?
ONO: It made it very hard. Yes.
COOPER: I hadn't realized that Mark David Chapman had actually spent the day outside your house and had actually seen you and seen you pass by and gotten an autograph from John.
ONO: I know. Oh.
COOPER: Do you --
ONO: Well, he got the autograph from John that very day. You know, we were going to go to the studio, and John was a very, very astute person in that sense. You know? To go to the studio at the right time, you know? Not an hour later or two hours later, and most musicians wouldn't care, but he was very prompt about those things.
So we had the car. I got in the car, and I saw that John was still signing autograph to Chapman. I said, "John, we have to go now."
And he said, "Yes, yes, OK."
COOPER: And now, I mean, on his -- the 70th birthday, what -- what do you want people to celebrate? What do you want people to --
ONO: His spirit, and the fact that there's so much that he gave to us and to sort of thank him. And I know that people loved him for what he has given them, you see, because he did give a lot.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: We want to give you a preview of an extraordinary documentary you're going to see tomorrow night on CNN, it's called "ALMIGHTY DEBT". It's a "Black in America Special Report" and it's about a church that's fighting a financial crisis from the pulpit. Leading the fight, a pastor who believes with all his heart that debt is the new slavery. Here's Soledad O'Brien.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY JEFFRIES, REAL ESTATE BROKER: I'm not nervous. I'm just not nervous. Are you nervous?
DOUG JEFFRIES, LUXURY CAR SALESMAN: I'm going with positive thoughts and bringing a positive spirit, positive vibe.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Doug Jeffries is a luxury car salesman. His wife, Mary, is a high-end real estate broker. But they haven't paid their own mortgage in two years. And now they could lose it all.
Today, they're headed to a meeting with the housing counselor who is working to save their home.
(on camera): Do you remember the day you moved in?
M. JEFFRIES: October 12th, 2002. It was rainy.
O'BRIEN: Oh, no.
M. JEFFRIES: Cold.
O'BRIEN: Oh, no.
M. JEFFRIES: Just the messiest day.
O'BRIEN: Oh, that's terrible.
M. JEFFRIES: But it was sunshine in our hearts.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): They lived in a 3,500 square foot, four- bedroom home on a corner lot, complete with a three-car garage for their BMWs. M. JEFFRIES: This is the living room. I'm a girl from Newark, New Jersey. We grew up in a one bedroom apartment and it was four girls and one boy. So I would always say, oh, I can't wait until I get grown I'm going to buy the biggest house, I'm going to do this. The pool would probably have been back there; the deck, the pool, and a tennis court.
DR. JULIANNE MALVEAUX, ECONOMIST: You don't know what the next person is doing but I think there's some psychology in the African- American community around spending that's connected with having felt less than and wanting to feel as good as.
DEFOREST SOARIES, PASTOR: Let's give God some praise.
O'BRIEN: The Jeffries are drowning in the kind of debt their pastor, Buster Sores, preaches against just about every Sunday.
SOARIES: Live within your means. People that don't manage their money wisely are not managing our lives wisely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's interesting because Dr. Malveaux in the piece talks about a psychology in the African-American community. Do you think that applies to the Jeffries?
O'BRIEN: I think it applies to actually everybody. When I asked Pastor Soaries is this an African-American problem or an American problem? He said consumerism is an American problem but the impact is so great in the African-American community where the wealth is so much less.
I talked to my mom who as a child she'd work in stores, they had clothes in these stores that you weren't allowed to touch because you were black. You were allowed to sell them, you couldn't wear them.
When you then become a market segment people are selling to you, psychologically that is a big leap. And I think there is a psychology around people who don't have much and suddenly can have whatever they want. I think that's true.
COOPER: And throughout the documentary we see the pastor stepping in to try to literally kind of bail out or help people in the congregation. How common is that?
O'BRIEN: Very common. I mean the church is set up to do exactly that for the community. Not just the community within the church but also outside of the church. The pastor is involved in people who are trying to save their homes. He's involved in helping a young man get into college. He's involved in helping someone get a job who's desperate and everything else and burying people and christening babies and everything else in between. Because he sees the role of the modern church today as an extension of the role of the civil rights agenda.
But now the focus is financial because if African-Americans can't fix that problem we will never be able to survive another economic downturn.
COOPER: Do we find out what happened to the Jeffries?
O'BRIEN: Of course we do, but I don't want to tell you now. You have to watch the documentary.
COOPER: We look forward to it. Remarkable work; it's an important story. Don't miss "ALMIGHTY DEBT: A BLACK IN AMERICA SPECIAL" for tomorrow 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.