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"Occupy Wall Street" Spreads; Values Voter Summit Day 2; Perry Backer: Mormonism A "Cult"; Feeling the Economic Squeeze; Ron Paul Wins New Straw Poll; Inside the Life of A Transgender; Michael Jackson's Doctor on Trial; Spinal Cord Victims Assistance; Amputee to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro; Foreclosed and Sued

Aired October 8, 2011 - 15:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The latest presidential straw poll results are due in just a matter of minutes. We're waiting for those results taken at the Values Voters Summit, a gathering of social conservatives this weekend in Washington. Our Peter Hamby is standing by and he will join us in just a few minutes to tell us who won.

Anti-corporate anger keeps spreading. "Occupy Wall Street" sister demonstrations have been held in more than a dozen cities across the country. Protestors are taking on a number of issues, including income disparity and corporate greed.

And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says any agreement to leave American troops in Iraq past the deadline to withdraw them at the end of the year must include immunity from Iraqi prosecution. Panetta made his comment after top Iraqi leaders agreed that a number of U.S. troops should remain in Iraq, but said it was unnecessary to grant them immunity.

Kansas City police say they're getting less cooperation from the family of a missing baby girl. The parents of Lisa Irwin dispute that.

The baby was last seen in her room late Monday night. Police say the girl's mother failed a lie detector test and that her father walked out on an 11-hour questioning session. The father says he needed a break.

Football fans are mourning the loss of legendary coach and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. The Raiders won countless championships under his direction and three Super Bowls. Davis also served as AFL commissioner.

He suffered numerous health problems in recent years. Al Davis died at the age of 82.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg sharply criticizing "Occupy Wall Street." He said the protest over high unemployment and corporate greed could destroy jobs in Lower Manhattan.

National correspondent Susan Candiotti in New York, following this movement. So Susan, Saturdays, well, have seen the most activity. What's been going on? SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, now there is additional activity by way of a second location, because now "Occupy Wall Street" has set up a second base of operations about two miles north of where they were before. That - that park still is full with protestors down at Zuccotti Park, which is near Wall Street, but now they're in a historic park called Washington Square Park, built in the 1800s. And it is home to street performers and street artists and chess players and people who just like to hang out on a beautiful day like this.

But, on this day, at this hour, there is a rally that just started by "Occupy Wall Street." Unlike the other location, they are not going to be camping out here, but they will be here.

Why? They chose this location primarily, Kyra, because it's very close to New York University, and that of course, they said, would make it much easier for students to be able to participate more because it's much closer to their campus.

It's also the day when they have brought out the second edition of their homegrown newspaper. It's called "The Occupied Wall Street Journal." And it has some photographs of the rally that took place earlier this week that attracted thousands of people. And, below the fold, a sub-headline reads, "This Rebellion Will Not Stop."

So they have a lot of activities planned for today. Again, this rally that's happening now -


CANDIOTTI: -- and then later on in the day, Kyra, they're planning to have an art show at a location nearby here, and then they're planning to march some of that artwork down to this park.

Kyra, back to you.

PHILLIPS: Our Susan Candiotti live there in New York City. Susan, thanks.

So what exactly is the message of "Occupy Wall Street" and similar protests across the country? Well, several Atlantic protesters joined our T.J. Holmes earlier this morning.


JIM NICHOLS, OCCUPY ATLANTA PROTESTER: Social and economic inequalities hit a tipping point, and people are - are hungry for getting involved and trying to do something to change it. When nine out of 10 races in - in politics is won by the candidate with the most money; when, you know, one in four kids in Georgia right now are in poverty, that's a 21 percent increase since the recession started.

You know, people are struggling. It's - it's almost like a "I want the American dream back" movement.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, what do you do to change it, though? You're here, you got our attention, we've got you here, we've been covering the protest, now what?

JOHN REYNOLDS, OCCUPY ATLANTA PROTESTER: I think the first step is acknowledgment. I mean, people coming together in unity, acknowledging these issues and saying we have to be more progressive, more ingenuitive about coming up with solutions.


PHILLIPS: Now, the protesters said that all Americans need to get involved in order to overcome the country's problems.

To track "Occupy Wall Street" and to contribute your own angle, visit It's a new way to get involved and share your voice. Again, that's

Well, the Values Voter Summit of Social Conservatives continues at this hour in Washington. We're going to bring you live results of a presidential straw poll as soon as they become available.

Participants heard from two Republican presidential candidates this morning, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Both of them blasted President Obama, with Romney getting in a dig over federal loan guarantees that went to a solar panel company that later went bankrupt.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Twenty-five million Americans are out of work, are out of hope. Chronic unemployment is higher than it's ever been in recorded history. Home values and retirement funds have been devastated, and all this didn't come cheap. In one term he have amassed, or will have amassed, more debt than all of our prior presidents combined.

We need stability and solvency. We got Solyndra.

REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The restraints are placed on the federal government, so as long as we allow the federal government to grow and we don't obey those restraints, things will get worse.

But the good news is, there's a whole generation of Americans right now rising up and saying, we were on the right track at one time. Let's get back on that track. Let's restore liberty to this country and prosperity and peace.


PHILLIPS: Well, in his remarks today Romney made no direct mention of a controversy surrounding his Mormon religion. A Baptist pastor who supports Romney rival Rick Perry called Mormonism a cult. Well, Perry says he disagrees with that statement, but he hasn't denounced the pastor.

Now, that pastor who called Mormonism a cult yesterday is not backing down. I actually had a chance to speak with Pastor Robert Jeffress about an hour ago. He still says that Mitt Romney is a moral man, but Mormons are not Christians and he has the right to support a Christian presidential candidate.


REV. ROBERT JEFFRESS, SR. PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF DALLAS: John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the author of the Federalist Papers, and he said, quote, "We have a duty and a privilege as Christians to select and prefer Christians as our leaders." I hardly think John Jay was a bigoted person.

The fact is those of us who are evangelicals had every right to prefer and select a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian. And again, Kyra, it's not the only issue, but it's certainly one issue that we who are evangelicals are going to consider.

PHILLIPS: Well, let - let me throw something back at you, then. Let's talk about Article 6, Paragraph 3 of the constitution that says there's no religious test to being president. So are you going against the constitution?

JEFFRESS: Kyra, that is an outrageous statement. That refers to government cannot improve a litmus test. But, as individual citizens, we have every right to impose litmus tests on the kind of person we prefer.

I mean, is it bigoted to choose a - a conservative over a liberal or a liberal over conservative? You can show preference without being a bigot, and certainly without violating the constitution. The most simple constitutional student knows that Article 6 applies to government imposing no test and has nothing to say about individuals having their own tests.

PHILLIPS: All right -


PHILLIPS: Well, Jeffress and other social conservatives are attending the Values Voter Conference in Washington, and once again we're expecting the results of their straw poll in just minutes. When it's released we'll bring it to you live.

Inside the life of a transgender.


TRACY WILSON, MALE-TO-FEMALE TRANSGENDER: I had to answer certain things, not only from a religious standpoint but from a personal standpoint of am I better as a male or a female? Which is right for me?


PHILLIPS: Later in the NEWSROOM, the transformation from man to woman.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Checking international headlines now, anger and unrest in Syria following the assassination of a prominent Syrian Kurdish opposition leader. His funeral turned into a protest rally today.

Syrian troops opened fire on demonstrators. There are conflicting reports about the number of people killed and injured.

Now to Pakistan, remember Osama Bin Laden's three wives and eight kids? They're taken into custody by the Pakistanis when U.S. troops invaded Bin Laden's compound and killed him back in May.

Now Pakistan is trying to send them home. Islamabad has contacted the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen in an effort to repatriate them.

And in Libya, intensified fighting in Moammar Gadhafi's home town of Sirte. Rebels say that the town could be in their control - could be in their control, rather, in a matter of days. That cannot be soon enough for Libya's new leaders on the National Transitional Council. They plan to declare liberation once the birthplace of Gadhafi is under their control.

Unemployment stands at 9.1 percent nationwide, but depending on where you live that story could be quite different. In this week's "Fortune Brainstorm" Ali Velshi talks with Richard Florida, senior editor at the "Atlantic"; and CNN's Christine Romans about America's new job geography.


RICHARD FLORIDA, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: In places that are way out on the coast that had, you know, economies that were in the Sun Belt, built up on the housing boom and the credit bubble - Las Vegas; Riverside, California; even the places in Arizona like Yuma, which are over 30 percent; and those old manufacturing centers like Detroit, tragically, 15 percent, and in the city of mayor has said it could be as high as 50 percent.


FLORIDA: But - but you have this other thing going on where college towns right next door to Detroit, like Ann Arbor, have very low rates of unemployment, with medical centers, education, technology; Boulder, Colorado; and down in Florida, Gainesville as well. And in the knowledge centers of the economy, Washington, D.C. performing very well. And then, what's really striking is the Plains - Bismarck and Fargo and Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, and Oklahoma City in that belt.

So you have this new geography of America emerging, where some places almost don't feel the recession, and others have been just whacked with long-run structural unemployment and - and no - no new job creation.

VELSHI: Christine, the idea of packing up and moving to a - to a job, to a place that is more prosperous than where you are, is that strategy sensible? You know, you and I have argued about this.


VELSHI: I think people should, and - and you're saying maybe they sometimes can't.

ROMANS: Well, there's two pieces of conflicting advice I can't square here. One is that there are these places in the country that are doing so well, the opportunities are there. You talk about Ann Arbor, North Dakota, Iowa, some parts of Texas.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: Great. Go in there. Get a job.

On the other hand, you know that people are hiring people they know. The most important way to get a job right now is networking. If you don't have a network somewhere, how are you going to be the one that's going to break in?

If you can square those two pieces of advice, I say yes, move. If you are not beholden to a house that's 25 percent underwater and you can move, if you know the schools are good where you want to go, fine, move.

But remember that we know that the way to get a job in this economy is knowing someone who knows you or knows someone who knows you who's helping you get in a place that is a good fit for both you and the company.


PHILLIPS: All right, and the results from the straw poll from the Voters Value Summit is in. We will have those right after the break.


PHILLIPS: Now back to the Values Voter Convention, a gathering of social conservatives in Washington. We have been waiting for those results of the Republican presidential straw poll.

I told you just moments ago they're in, and CNN political producer Peter Hamby is standing by. So what do we know, Peter?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, the big winner, as he often is at these straw polls, is Ron Paul, who had a commanding win. He picked up 37 percent of the vote. There are about 3,000 participants here at the Values Voter Summit, which is a big gathering of social conservatives, religious conservatives.

The Ron Paul supporters are very dedicated. They often kind of get their people out to these straw polls, you know, to do a good showing.

So take a look at who else finished well. Herman Cain continues to surge. He's doing well in the polls right now. He gave a rousing speech here yesterday, Kyra. He came in second with 23 percent. And I'm reading the results from my BlackBerry here. Rick Santorum, a fierce social conservative, staunch opponent of abortion, also gave a pretty powerful speech here, came in third place with 16 percent. And the two national frontrunners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, finished farther down the line, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And we'll get to them. I'm looking at the same thing, I guess, that you just got. We'll look at the choices for VP, but those who were surveyed, can you describe them?

HAMBY: Yes. There's a lot of folks here from all over the country, you know, who are involved, you know, in - in church groups locally. This is put on by the Family Research Council, a big social conservative group run by Tony Perkins, so there's a lot of religious conservatives, social conservatives. Again, that's why you saw somebody like Rick Santorum and Herman Cain do pretty well here.

Mitt Romney finished at only four percent in the straw poll. He's the national frontrunner, but he's never really endeared himself to this crowd, and that was kind of reflected in the straw poll results.

But, you know, behind me there's all kinds of booths, you know, focusing on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, creationism, that sort of thing. So that's - that's the kind of crowd that showed up here today, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: And shall we give the top four finishers here as the choices for VP?

HAMBY: Sure. They did survey who would be the best number two. They didn't give us hard numbers, but the top finishers were Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Marco Rubio, who is the consensus number one draft pick, if you will, for - for Republicans because he is a Latino, he's articulate, he can raise money, he's conservative. He said that he wouldn't seek the VP nod, but, you know, when the presidential nominee comes calling next year, we'll see if he changes his mind.

But Rick - Rubio is popular across the board among social conservatives, establishment conservatives, foreign policy conservatives. So he's a popular pick here, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. And Ron Paul winning that new straw poll.

Peter Hamby, thank you so much.

All right, Jacqui Jeras, what's happening around the country weather- wise?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: A lot of rain, Kyra. Oh my gosh, it is a washout of a day in parts of the country that actually really need it, across parts of Texas, and then Florida getting hit very hard as well.

We'll zoom in here and show you the state of Florida that's just been getting pounded, Melbourne in particular right now. They had five inches of rain in the ground since yesterday, and it's still coming down, and it's still coming down hard.

We've got an area of low pressure here that's trying to develop, and the Hurricane Center says there's a small chance that this could become a tropical or a subtropical system. But either way you slice it, it's certainly spelled a huge rainmaker, a big wind maker as well. We could see gusts as much as 50 miles per hour throughout the weekend, and this is going to be a real slow mover, it's going to be real slow to organize and eventually make its way on up towards the north and to the east.

How much rainfall are we talking about on top of what you already had? Well, this computer model forecast showing you over the next 48 hours, so this gets into Monday. We could see as much as four to six inches just on the coast. So you can really see where the heaviest of this is expected to be, moving on up towards Georgia, and then on up into the Carolinas. In fact, throughout the week we could see this whole thing make its way on up towards the East Coast.

Rainfall amounts in addition are going to be very heavy. We'll see those gusts, we'll see rip currents as well, and some really big waves. Not a good day to get out on the sailboat or any kind of boat out in the ocean there where we could see eight to 10 footers as well.

I want to take you over to Texas now, where the drought-ridden state is finally getting some relief here. This is not a drought buster, however it is going to put a nice dent in here. Taking a look at midland Texas, for example, they have had 2.22 inches of rainfall in the last year. Yes, a year. Well, you could double that number just in the next 24 hours.

So flood watches have been posted here. The ground is very dry, so a lot of this runs off very quickly instead of getting absorbed into the ground, so that's a bit of concern as well. This is due to a stationary front that's kind of parked in the nation's midsection, so this is going to continue to be the focus of wet weather through the weekend, even into the Columbus Day as well. It's also what's responsible for bringing that snow into the Rockies.

Believe it or not, Kyra, I'm hearing some ski resorts have opened up in - for the weekend because they've seen that much snow. But just - just for the weekend.

PHILLIPS: All right.

JERAS: It's going to melt off pretty quick.

PHILLIPS: Here we go, though. Pretty soon we're going to be talking about all the record numbers of snowfall.

JERAS: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Jacqui.

Well, Chaz Bono has brought the transgender community into the spotlight, and for many people it's been their lifestyle for years. Now one person offered this advice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILSON: At some point in time you're going to come across somebody that is transgender, gay or lesbian. If you don't understand, ask that person. We're normal people, too.


PHILLIPS: Going from southern jock and military man to single female, next in the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Chaz Bono's turn on "Dancing with the Stars" is seen by many transgenders as a positive, pivotal moment in public perceptions. Changing from one sex to the other is often an agonizing decision that follows years of major inner turmoil.

CNN's Julie Peterson has one woman's story.


WILSON: I love you. I say, I will be home tomorrow night.

JULIE PETERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tracy Wilson, parent of four, divorced and a college graduate. Wilson has seen a lot.

WILSON: I am a military veteran, United States Air Force, served six years; Gulf War veteran; and I moved from the military into law enforcement.

PETERSON: And that was all before Wilson became a woman a few years ago.

WILSON: I've had what is referred to as FFS, facial feminization surgery; augmentation of cheeks; a little work on my chin and my nose; forehead reduction; bossing, where they remove the brow line, make it smaller.

A year and a half later, I underwent a gender confirmation surgery, actual surgery on my genitalia, to fashion from male to female.

PETERSON: Wilson traveled from South Carolina to Atlanta recently for two transgender conferences. Here, she can connect with others who, like her, say they've always known they were born with body parts that didn't match who they are in head and heart.

(on camera): What emotional pain do you have to be at? What point do you have to be at where you're willing to do this? You've got children, you've got a wife.

WILSON: For me, pain - I'm a person that I can withstand a lot. For me, it was more of a feeling of gravity pulling me towards this change.

PETERSON (voice-over): It's a hard decision, and an equally hard path.

WILSON: I've been turned away because of being transgendered. I ended up losing my marriage.

PETERSON (on camera): Did you want to keep your marriage?

WILSON: Yes, I did. I very much wanted to keep my marriage, and to this day I still love her deeply.

PETERSON (voice-over): Nevertheless, Wilson says she'd do it all again.

Besides camaraderie, transgenders come here to meet with medical doctors and psychologists like Mickey Diamond. Diamond studied transgenders since the 1960s.

DR. MICKEY DIAMOND, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII: Transexuals, we're not sure yet of what the numbers are, but probably about one in 1,000. Doesn't surprise me if it turns out that way.

PETERSON: In this community, he's a rock star. Diamond says his research of identical twins makes him certain this condition has genetic roots.

DIAMOND: We believe this is much more biological, it's much more built into it you, that leads to who you are.

PETERSON: He says transgenders do not suffer from a mental disorder, as claimed by some.

DIAMOND: Nature loves variety. Society hates it. That's a hubris that we don't need.

PETERSON: With celebrity and transgender Chaz Bono in the spotlight, with his role in "Dancing with the Stars," the hope here is that transgenders will be better understood.

WILSON: We're everyday people, and all we want to do is go to work, live our lives. We want to pay our taxes, have good-paying jobs.

PETERSON: Julie Peterson, CNN, Atlanta.


PHILLIPS: And joining me now to have a further conversation on transgender, Eric - Erin Swenson. I almost said Eric.



PHILLIPS: -- right?

SWENSON: That's been a long time ago.

PHILLIPS: You - yes, indeed, 15 years ago you had the surgery. Is that right?

SWENSON: I think I actually transitioned like 16 or 17 years ago and finally had - had a sex reassignment surgery, which for me was really not a very big part of it. My - the actual changes were the - the really dramatic changes happened way before the surgery occurred. The surgery was kind of like between me and my doctor, and -

PHILLIPS: Was this an easy or difficult decision to make? You probably - probably in some ways it was a no-brainer, you knew what you wanted to do, but -

SWENSON: No, no. It took - it took a long time for me to get to the place where I was ready to -

PHILLIPS: To actually do it.

SWENSON: I was - I was so acutely aware of - that it was going to drag all these people in my life that I loved and cared deeply about. I - I was a therapist in Atlanta, was well-known. I'd helped pass our - our licensing bill here in the legislature for marriage and family therapists, and -

PHILLIPS: Married, two kids.

SWENSON: Married, two kids. Presbyterian minister. I had all that stuff.

And, you know, to - to - the idea of transitioning just didn't occur to me as something that I would need to do.

PHILLIPS: How did you finally make the decision? And - and how did you tell the family?

SWENSON: Well, my - my wife had some inkling, thank goodness. I mean, she - she knew me pretty well. I think she sometimes knows me better than I do.

And our two kids were the hardest. They didn't have any inkling, so it was really - it hit both of them pretty hard. My older daughter was getting ready to get married and had images of her daddy walking her down the aisle, and I kind of destroyed that.

PHILLIPS: Did that happen?

SWENSON: Her granddad did, and so I got to help her get ready in the bridal place, with - with all the women. It was wonderful.

PHILLIPS: And you're close with the family.


PHILLIPS: Everybody's in a good place with this now?

SWENSON: Yes. In fact, my whole family, without exception, has not only come to accept it but has come to really appreciate that my gender transition was a positive thing. My sister - I was making a joke one time with my sister, thinking, well, maybe I'll just go back. Because, you know, it really isn't easy being a woman in this world. And -

PHILLIPS: I can - I can attest to that.

SWENSON: And she looked at me and she said over my dead body. I didn't like that person. Oh, really? OK. Maybe I better not. OK.

PHILLIPS: Now, you've chosen to be single. Why not have a relationship, be in love?

SWENSON: Kyra, I don't really feel single. I know I am single and, I guess, the legal sense, and we have divorced, but I'm still very close with my family. We have two gorgeous daughters. One is a mother, she lives up in Tennessee, so I have a granddaughter. And then our younger daughter has severe and multiple disabilities, which have had a profound impact on her life, and she is probably my biggest hero, so -

PHILLIPS: And you - you know, these conferences that took place, we were talking about the discrimination factor, the stereotyping that takes place. How do you explain to people because you know how people judge, oh, they're gay, they're lesbian, they're sexually perverse.


PHILLIPS: You've heard it all. You've had to battle all of that. What do you say to that? How do you deal with that on a regular basis?

SWENSON: Well, it's great when you can get into a conversation with someone about it. The problem is that people are out there holding on to their preconceptions and misconceptions and not doing anything with it. They don't pay any attention. They're not interested. They want to hold onto their misconceptions.

What's wonderful are having things like this where we can talk and really begin to open it up, because I'm not gay. I don't - of course, some people could say because I was married for 27 years to a woman who is a very attractive woman and still is -

PHILLIPS: And you love her very much?

SWENSON: I love her deeply. And, you know, you could say that was lesbian perhaps. But none of that really makes much sense to me.

My gender identity is really separate from my sexual attraction to people. And for some people, you know, I think it does feel a little closer to the gender thing. I mean, I know some gay men who love to do drag, and, you know, it's a part of their connection with femininity and the feminine side of life, which I think is wonderful.

But I think most of the transgender people I know were all over the spectrum in terms of sexuality. Some are straight, some are gay. Some folks are asexual. They're just sort of, you know, say I don't care about that at all. And many are bisexual and find themselves being able to enjoy loving relationships with people regardless of their gender.

PHILLIPS: I know. As a pastor you love people on a daily basis. And I saw your reaction to Chaz Bono, too, what a voice and your voice as well (ph).

SWENSON: He is. You know, what an amazing voice he is. He is just a - you know, he's well-known. I love the fact that he is female to male, FTM, because for so many years people thought if you were transgender you were always a trans-woman like I am. And Chaz has really helped us to understand the great depth of the transgender community, because we are filled.

We have so much people who have such great talent who have the opportunity to contribute to our world and our culture. They lose their jobs because of being transgender, and they're very often some of the most talented people in the workplace. And it's just a terrible loss not only for the workplace but for those transgender people themselves.

And as I hope you understand, not just them but their families. You know, when someone loses their job in this culture, we know that families are under great stress because of the economy.

PHILLIPS: That's pretty brutal. Well, you talk about Chaz being such a good voice. So are you. And thank you for sharing your story -

SWENSON: Oh, thank you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: -- with us today as well.

SWENSON: Thank you so much. What a privilege.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

We're checking top stories. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says if Iraq wants any U.S. troops to stay past December, well, give them immunity from prosecution. Negotiations are still going on with Iraqi leaders who say they want U.S. forces to help with training and security but don't think legal immunity is necessary.

And Monday is the new deadline to reach a labor deal between NBA players and owners. If there isn't one, Commissioner David Stern says he'll cancel the first two weeks of the season. He also says the entire season could be in jeopardy. At issue is how to split the profits between the owners and the players.

And more legal problems for Casey Anthony. She's expected to plead the fifth during a video deposition in Florida today. The location is being kept secret since Anthony's attorney says her life is in danger. A woman who shares the same name as the fictitious nanny Anthony claimed abducted her daughter is suing her for defamation.

Well, each time a witness takes the stand, we learn more about what happened the day Michael Jackson died. Two our legal eagles get ready to dissect the testimony so far in the trial of Jackson's doctor.


PHILLIPS: A lot of drama this week in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's personal doctor, Conrad Murray. The jury is off today, but not before hearing some explosive testimony.

Earlier, I spoke to former Federal Prosecutor Sunny Hostin and Criminal Defense Attorney Holly Hughes about Murray's police interview.


SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: I think it helped Dr. Conrad Murray's case. Bottom line is he sounded reasonable. He sounded cautious. He sounded concerned about Michael Jackson, and, Kyra, he got the chance to testify basically before this jury without being cross-examined.

This was almost a slam dunk for the defense. He painted Michael Jackson out to be this chemically addicted man who had vast pharmacological knowledge, whose veins were dried up, who have been given propofol by doctors in Las Vegas, doctors in Germany. He basically said that he didn't even know he had signed onto this. He didn't know he'd be giving Michael Jackson propofol six days a week.

I think all in all when you look at the totality of this interrogation, it was very, very helpful to the defense.

PHILLIPS: And Holly, three of Dr. Conrad Murray's girlfriends testified this week. What did you make of that, and why was this brought up - why was this brought into the testimony?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Kyra, the reason that they wanted the girlfriends is because they established a timeline. And I thought they were very careful about not character assassinating Dr. Murray. It wasn't about the fact that he was having multiple affairs outside of his marriage. It was really about the standard of care, which is the whole issue in this case.

While his patient is under the influence of propofol, he is on the phone with one girlfriend and we know that from the timeline. At 11:57 A.M., she says I'm speaking with him and then suddenly the phone goes dead. She can't get him back on the line. We can assume from that that's when he discovers Michael Jackson.

We then know that 911 isn't called until 20 minutes after 12:00. That's a lapse of 23 minutes. What's happening during that time?

The other girlfriend, we know that while Dr. Conrad Murray is in the ambulance with his patient rushing to the hospital to try and save his life, he calls another one of his girlfriends. That is not good medical care.


PHILLIPS: Our legal panel may change, but you can catch our legal discussion every Saturday at noon Eastern.

Teenagers who suffer spinal cord injuries get the support they need, thanks to our CNN Hero and you'll meet him right after the break.


PHILLIPS: We're introducing you to CNN's Top Ten Heroes every Saturday, and this week hero was nominated for his role in assisting young people injured on the football field. Dozens of teens suffer spinal cord injuries while playing the sport that they love. Eddie Canales started Gridiron Heroes and is working to improve the lives of these paralyzed teens.

Eddie, great to see you.

EDDIE CANALES, CNN HERO, GRIDIRON HEROES: Thank you very much. Great to see you.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's pretty amazing what you're doing, but unfortunately it took a really tough moment in your life to get to this point. And that was when your son, Chris, was playing football. Take us back to that moment.

CANALES: Well, it was a tough moment to see your son go down like this and being told that it was a possibility of spinal cord injury. At the time when we went down on the field, we just tried to think that it was only a stinger. And so it was a very tough time.

But I'd like to also, you know, start by saying something else. I'd like to ask the viewers, we need your help in prayers. Two days ago we received a call that another young man in Texas suffered a spinal cord injury in a small town of Vega, Texas in the Panhandle. He was playing for Vega High School.

And so we'd like to ask for your help in prayers for Luis Morales and his family. We have already reached out to his family and to the school and the coaches. And we just ask for your help and prayers right now.

PHILLIPS: You know, Eddie, and you bring up - actually, you bring up an interesting point. I mean, I lived and worked in Texas. You know the state well. This is big for high school football. I mean, it's huge.

CANALES: It is. Yes.

PHILLIPS: Which is why you see a lot of injuries, and that's why you were so involved with football, your son so involved with football.

But here's what's amazing. We're going to talk a little bit more about what you're doing for these athletes, but it was your son that actually said to you at some point when he was really struggling, dad, we got to do something, right?

CANALES: Right. That's correct. At his lowest point, I took him to a state championship game just to get him out of the house. And we had almost lost Chris twice in ICU and once when he came home. All we could offer at the time was that, you know, if the Lord wanted him by his side, he had three chances to take him. Something good would come out of his injuries.

So taking him to that game, we were there for a purpose, as we look back on it. And being there at his lowest point, we witnessed the young man go down, but Chris turned to me and said, dad, we've got to go help him. I know what he's going to go through and you know what the family is going to go through.

And that was the starting point, the inspiration behind Gridiron Heroes.

PHILLIPS: So Eddie, tell me what the scope -

CANALES: Chris and I actually -

PHILLIPS: No, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

CANALES: Well, actually, Chris and I are already making plans. Tomorrow we head to Amarillo where this young man is at right now. He's in ICU, and we will be meeting with the family and the coaches. It's a good 10-hour drive, but this is something that we have to do.

PHILLIPS: And tell me about that. Eddie, since we have a case that has happened so soon, explain to our viewers what exactly you and Chris will do to basically step in and try to tell this young man, you know, it's going to be OK?

CANALES: Well, this is the hard part. You know, Chris and I, we all have to relive that injury, and that's the hard part about, you know, being there for the families. But what we want to do is be able to provide the best way to say if is information, inspiration and hope. A lot of times the hope is taken away.

The family is going to be given the worst-case scenario, and you know, we've seen other situations where coaches - or where the doctors have provided the worst-case scenario, and we've had situations where young men that have suffered a similar injury are now walking.

So, you know, we wanted just to make sure that they're there. That they don't feel alone. Because they may have a whole ICU room full of people, but as a parent going through this, you feel so isolated because very few people will understand what this family is going to go through. We do. And so we've walked those shoes and we live it every day.

So being able to have someone to talk to and offer the information and guidance is very important. And that's where we come in. Being there for them immediately, organizing the community, the coaches on how to help, you know, this young man and his family. And so that's so important. Because, again, there's a lot of people that might want to help, but have no clue how to help.

PHILLIPS: Well, they're going to know now.

CANALES: We can guide those families.

PHILLIPS: Darn right.

CANALES: Yes, ma'am.

PHILLIPS: Gridiron Heroes, and Eddie Canales, not only are you our hero, but we got - we should put your son Chris right along with you. Thank you so much for talking about the program.

CANALES: Oh, yes.

PHILLIPS: We so appreciate having you with us.

CANALES: Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: You bet.

And CNN has announced its Top 10 Heroes for 2011. Who are these inspiring people doing extraordinary things? Well, check them out at and vote for your top choice for Hero of the Year and watch them or DVR it. "CNN Heroes, an All-Star Tribute" live on Sunday, December 11th, 8:00 P.M. Eastern, 5:00 P.M. Pacific.

Well, climbing Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro is quite a feat within itself. But a 25-year-old Georgia man who was born a quadruple amputee is taking on the awesome task, all while raising awareness for African children with disabilities.

WGCL reporter Hena Daniels has the story.


KYLE MAYNARD, TRAINING TO CLIMB MT. KILIMANJARO: I think Kilimanjaro is going to be the toughest test I've ever faced.

HENA DANIELS, WGCL REPORTER (voice-over): And Kyle Maynard knows all too well about challenges. He's a quadriplegic born with no arms and no legs.

MAYNARD: To me I'll never know any difference. So my parents raised me with that. You just go and believed that, you know, the disability was there, but it wasn't something that was going to affect my life.

DANIELS: And it hasn't. The 25-year-old has competed in wrestling, martial arts and cross fit. But now he's preparing to climb more than 19,000 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

MAYNARD: So looking forward just to send a message to people that, you know, just, you know, get up and do something. We got to get out of that mentality that, you know, we just whine and complain about all the bad things that can go and happen to us.

You know, just go and say, like there's life to live. Like I'm just going and start to do something now, you know, live it.

DANIELS: Kyle and his team prepare for the climb on Stone Mountain. Kyle will not use any prosthetics or be pulled up with any equipment.

MAYNARD: So basically just doing a bear crawl down on all fours.

DANIELS: All he has is mountain bike tires wrapped around his limbs with gorilla tape.

MAYNARD: There's no Ace Hardware in Africa where we're going to, you know, to pick up gears. So if something breaks like we've got to make sure that we can fix it.

DANIELS: Team Kilimanjaro consists of Kyle and his friends who will connect with children in Africa also affected by disabilities.

MAYNARD: People would think that like a grown guy born without arms and legs that that's the worst thing that can happen to him. To me, you know, I view that as, you know, probably the greatest gift I've ever been given.



PHILLIPS: Well, have you ever wondered what it might feel like to fly over planet earth? Well, take a look at those photos and you might just get an idea.

This is actually a time lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits the earth. And it starts over the Pacific Ocean, continues over North and South America. It's from the gateway to astronaut photography of Earth Project, and that's teamed up with NASA, by the way. It hosts the best and most complete online collection of astronaut photos of the earth. Already it's had more than five million views on YouTube. Pretty cool stuff.

Well, banks foreclosing on homes, then suing the homeowners. We're going to tell you why they're doing it right after the break.


PHILLIPS: Well, imagine losing your home and then facing a lawsuit from the bank that foreclosed on your home. It's a financially devastating one-two punch that's happening to people all across the U.S.

Here's CNN's Lisa Sylvester.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's been a lot of upheaval in Ray Falero's life in the last few years. He and his wife divorced. He couldn't make the payments on their Orlando home on his income alone and the bank foreclosed on it. Now he's being sued by his former mortgage company.

RAY FALERO, HOME FORECLOSED: What more do they want from me, is my question. I don't - I don't know. They've already taken the home. They've resold it. Now they're getting less money on the side. Now they want to recoup on me?

SYLVESTER: A growing number of troubled homeowners are not only losing their homes but facing lawsuits. It's something called a deficiency judgment.

Take Ray Falero's case. The bank loaned him $188,000, but only got $110,000 from the sale of the foreclosed home. Falero is now being sued for the difference, $78,000.

More than 30 states allow banks to sue the homeowner when the lender recoups less on a foreclosure or short sell. For years, banks didn't pursue homeowners in such cases, but that's changing, says lawyer Matt Englett, because of the sheer volume of foreclosures.

MATT ENGLETT, ATTORNEY: Most likely the bank's not going to be the one doing it. What they're going to do is sell it to a third-party debt collector who's in the business of collecting debt and they're going to try to collect as much as they can.

SYLVESTER: James Saccacio, the CEO of RealtyTrac says banks are more likely to go after people who borrowed for a second home, like a vacation home or an investment property.

JIM SACCACIO, CEO, REALTYTRAC: Where people who may have other assets are just saying, you know what, take this property back. I'm going to go on with my life and you keep the obligation. In that instance, I believe that, you know, the banks have a right to receive some - some money if the borrower has it.

SYLVESTER: But in Ray Falero's case, this was his primary home. He says he tried working with his lender to save it, but still couldn't make the payments. Walking away from the house he thought would be the end of it, but it didn't work out that way.

(on camera): Ray Falero has now hired a lawyer to fight that lawsuit. Now, a key thing here for homeowners who may be in a foreclosure or short sell situation, it's very important to get a release from the bank clearing the borrower of any obligations to pay under the promissory note. If not, then the bank or a debt collector can pursue the difference, even after the house is long gone.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.