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THE SITUATION ROOM
Jury Finds Michael Jackson's Doctor Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter; Michael Jackson's Doctor Remanded Until Sentencing; Woman Publicly Accuses Herman Cain of Sexual Harassment; New Accuser: Herman Cain Groped Me; The Best of Silvio Berlusconi's Gaffes; Gloria Allred Interview
Aired November 7, 2011 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Just want to update our viewers who may just be tuning in. We are here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting.
We have a guilty verdict. Dr. Conrad Murray convicted of one count of involuntary manslaughter. He will be sentenced for the pop star Michael Jackson's death. The verdict against Dr. Murray revealed a little while ago. This hour we are waiting it hear from the Jackson family, some members of the family. Maybe we will hear from some of the jurors. We'll have breaking news coverage.
We are also watching other important news here in the United States, including an ugly new allegation of sexual misconduct by Herman Cain. This time the woman is publicly telling her story. I will speak this hour with the accuser's lawyer, Gloria Allred. Breaking news, political, all straight ahead. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM. We are watching all of the breaking news.
But let's go back it Los Angeles. Here the prosecution team is about to make a statement. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ready?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
STEVE COOLEY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: All right, very good. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Our major crimes division under the leadership of then head deputy Pat (ph) Dixon (ph) and current head deputy Gary (ph) Herberger (ph) worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and county coroner personnel to determine what had happened.
The coroner ruled the death a homicide. LAPD investigators secured and then poured through evidence to see where it led. It led to Dr. Conrad Murray. After an exhaustive review of all of the evidence and consideration of the following standards employed by this office, it was determined that Dr. Murray would be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Deputy district attorneys David Walgren and Deborah Brazil, both veteran trial attorneys, worked closely with detectives and coroner's personnel during the lengthy investigation. They consulted with a wide variety of relevant experts. They put together a compelling case based upon competent evidence. Their presentation of the evidence in the court was superb.
Walgren and Brazil exemplify the dedication, professionalism, and discipline of the prosecutors of the Los Angeles county district attorney's office. They work serves as a model for others.
We are gratified the jurors saw the evidence in this case t led to one conclusion, that doctor is guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson. We thank the jurors for their hard work and thoughtful deliberations.
We also want to acknowledge the court Judge Pastor in particular, court personnel, bailiffs, and many others who assisted in ensuring that best sides this this cased a fair trial.
Finally, we want to extend our personal sympathies to the Jackson family, especially to Prince, Paris, and Blanket. They have lost a beloved father. Nothing can make up for that loss.
Now deputy D.A.'s Walgren and Brazil, like all other district attorney personnel, take their ethical obligation as prosecutors seriously. They believe it is not appropriate and believe that justice has been completed. They will be more available obviously when Conrad Murray is sentenced, and that will take place, as the judge indicated, on November 29th.
With that, we will answer any questions if we can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For those out there who say that this is a lot of effort on the part of your office, with very little pay off, that this person may not see state prison, may not see county jail, though he is seeing some today, respond to that, the importance of this case, despite the fact that he won't get much time in state prison.
COOLEY: Well, there was a homicide. Someone lost their life. Three children lost their time with their father because of someone's criminal negligence. So the effort in that regard was worth it just to make that point and prove that point. But you make a point also. A b-109 that will eliminate potential for traditional state prison sentence in state prison in this case, because this case is one of the so-called nonviolent, non-serious, non-sex offenses.
AB-109 was a fool's errand. I have been speaking out against it since it was first proposed. Unfortunately the governor and legislature and some others who have embraced it have gone on this course, and this is probably the first of many, many, many poster children cases that will reveal how 109 is a potentially a complete failure, a criminal justice disaster, and it will impact public safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, one follow-up. To what degree was this case a message to physicians, because doctor shopping is an issue, particularly in Hollywood, individuals looking for physicians to do their bidding? To what extent does this send a message to them? COOLEY: It was a very strong and powerful message that this sort of conduct does rise to the level of criminal negligence, and to the extent someone dies as a result of them playing the role as Dr. Feelgood, they will be held accountable.
Unfortunately, death from prescriptions, prescribed medications, is the number one cause of death in the United States of America this year. It used to be automobile accidents. Now it's prescribed medications. And in this particular town, Los Angeles, we see many examples of high profile people succumbing, giving up their lives because of their addiction to prescribed medications. They are oftentimes aided and abetted by unscrupulous and corrupt doctors. So fair warning to them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have been through this every day. Your thoughts at this point?
DAVID WALGREN, PROSECUTOR: The only thing I would say at this point is I just want to thank Judge Pastor for overseeing a very fair and well-run trial. And I would also thank most importantly the jury for being so conscientious in their duties as a judge indicated in court. They were so diligent, punctual, and respectful of the process and the system, and they did this at great sacrifice to themselves. At this point I just thank the jury. and our sympathies go out to the Jackson family at this time, for the loss they suffered, not a pop icon, but a son and brother. And I think that's most important to keep in mind today. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
COOLEY: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone already mentioned the notion of Dr. Murray may not do much jail time. Does the suspension of a medical license, which I think is part of a possible sentence, does that stand like a smoky hole on the landscape for the medical profession and those who would doctor shop?
COOLEY: It is my understanding that the conviction given the context of this sort of negligence will result in the automatic suspension of his medical license. He will lose his medical license.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that just here or in other states as well?
COOLEY: I hope that other states will honor California's conviction. They've all had a chance to see the consequences of the doctor's actions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that send a message though?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question.
COOLEY: Sure. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have heard commentators throughout the trial talk about how this is a medical malpractice case. But quite frankly, in view of this evidence quits nicely into a theory of second degree murder. And then there were people, of course Michael Jackson fans, who wanted murder. So can you talk about that decision, to go with manslaughter? I understand it --
COOLEY: There is a theory of second degree murder based upon implied malice, that the doctor's conduct was so reckless that it amounted to malice in this context. This theory of murder was examined carefully based upon the evidence gathered by LAPD and coroner's findings. Many lawyers in our office reviewed that as possible alternative. And after careful consideration we redounded to involuntary manslaughter as the most accurate charge of the doctor's misconduct. His conduct certainly was clearly medical malpractice, but his conduct also resulted in a criminal homicide.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steve, there's been a number of high profile cases under your watch, obviously --
BLITZER: We will continue to monitor what is going on with the prosecution team. They are explaining what is going on. But they clearly said that he would lose his medical license, ability to practice in California, and hopes also states follow suit.
You saw it all unfold live here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Dr. Conrad Murray led off to jail in handcuffs without bail moments after he was convicted in the death of the one of the most famous performers in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Conrad Robert Murray, guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter in violation of penal code section 192 subsection B. Alleged victim, Michael Joseph Jackson, alleged date of June 25, 2009, as charged in count one of the information, this 7th day of November, 2011, foreperson juror ID number 145, seat number three.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: There it is, the guilty verdict in the trial of Michael Jackson's physician, Dr. Conrad Murray.
Ted Rowlands was inside the courtroom when the verdict was read. Let's bring in Ted right now. It was pretty dramatic when the police, they came up to him and shortly thereafter and put handcuffs on him and basically escorted him. And he is on his way it jail.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well the whole thing was dramatic, as you might imagine, Wolf. Inside the courtroom you had not only jurors filing in, but you had Murray sitting there to hear his fate. But you had so much anticipation from the general public, the cameras rolling.
And then you had the Jackson family with the largest contingency it date inside the courtroom, 17 members of the Jackson family were there awaiting the reading of this verdict. Then have you Dr. Murray's family, his sister, his daughter, his mother, and his girlfriend as well, the mother of his child, all waiting desperately for this verdict.
One way or another, the emotion was, as you can imagine, extremely incredible. Jackson family, their reaction, we got some audible reaction from LaToya Jackson. But for the most part, most of the family was fairly somber. They looked at each other and smiled a bit.
After the jury left, David Walgren, the lead prosecutor, hugged a couple members of the Jackson family, including Jermaine and Mrs. Jackson in a very poignant. But when it came down to it, after the jury left, that's when we found out that Dr. Conrad Murray would not be going out on bail. His attorneys argued he was now a flight risk, but the judge in this case, as you heard, said no way. He is remanded to custody. And they put the handcuffs on him at that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE MICHAEL PASTOR: Public protection, as far as I'm concerned, dictates that the defendant be remanded without bail in view of the fact that Dr. Murray has been convicted of a crime involving homicide. This is not a crime involving mistake of judgment. This is not a crime involving administration of drugs per se. This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being. That factor demonstrates rather dramatically that public should be protected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: And right after that, a few minutes after Conrad Murray was led away, Wolf, the bailiff came out with his clothes, his suit, and handed Conrad Murray's suit to his mother, who was waiting in courtroom to take that. We will see Conrad Murray back in the courtroom in front of judge pastor at the end of November. The 29th is the date set up for his formal sentencing.
BLITZER: As you pointed out, he certainly knew this was a real possibility he would not leave the courtroom if he were convicted. He would be immediately sent to jail which is exactly what happened. Ted, stand by.
Jeffrey Toobin is our senior legal analyst. Why did the judge consider him such a flight risk?
JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well as I said earlier, Wolf, I'm surprised by that decision to take his bail away and remand him to prison. You start with the fact as we have been discussing, both because of the nature of the crime and because of this new rule in effect, because of California's terrible fiscal problems, he might not get a substantial prison sentence at all. So remanding him essentially decides the sentencing issue in advance.
And the two issues that the judge considered, risk of flight and danger to the community, you know, given the way I've seen those decisions made in the past, he did not seem like much after risk of flight. He is now a major public figure. He has a substantial bail keeping him in California. He has no ties to Grenada where he is from anymore. He's been in the United States for many, many years.
And danger to the community -- he is not practicing medicine anymore. He is not a violent criminal. So I was surprised by the decision to remand him. I don't think it was irrational. I don't think it was a terribly wrong decision, but I think a lost judges would have seen it another way.
BLITZER: You have heard the judge say, he has had a lot of time to get ready for this possibility. And of course that possibility did occur. Stand by for a moment.
Stand by for a moment. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent is with us. Sanjay, the prosecution put an anesthesiologist on the stand back on October 20. This is what he said about the drugs that Dr. Murray was using to try to help Michael Jackson sleep. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. STEVEN SHAFER, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: So, had Conrad Murray been at the head of the bed, head of the bed is irrelevant. If he had been with the patient, with Michael Jackson during period of time, he would have seen the slowed breathing and the compromise in the flow of air into Michael Jackson's lungs. And he could easily have just turned off the Propofol infusion, done some chin lift, maybe put an n an oral airway. In worse case, bag, mask, ventilation. He could have easily done these things and there would have been no injury to Michael Jackson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A very dramatic moment in the trial, Dr. Steven Shafer, anesthesiologist making that point. That seemed to me, and I was watching it on and off, as certainly one of the most damn be pieces of evidence against Conrad Murray, Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, he basically said this was a totally preventable death. Even at the point where the medicine had been given. Maybe a dose that was too much had been given, even if you got all the way up to that point, he was making this the case this was still preventable if someone had been there, if someone was actually monitoring the patient in this case, Michael Jackson.
What happens with Propofol, because it suppresses your drive it breath on your own, as he was saying, simply opening up the airway, letting the medication obviously wear off, giving oxygen, supplemental oxygen if necessary. But pretty simple measures, Wolf, I think is the point he was making.
BLITZER: And if someone is taking Propofol, you should never leave that patient totally unmonitored as he apparently did.
GUPTA: Yes. That is very basic in people trained to use this medication, which, by the way, there a training process to use this medication as well. It's typically, as you might guess, Wolf, administered by anesthesiologist, although other doctors can train to use the medication. But one of the things they tell you is the patient has to be monitored. Someone has to be present at all times. The monitoring equipment needs to be present. Resuscitation equipment needs to be present. There is a whole process when giving a medication like this.
BLITZER: He did have good medical credentials, medical school. He did have all of the licenses that you need to practice medicine, not only as you point out in California, but some other states as well.
GUPTA: Yes. And you heard, Wolf, during the trial that there were patients of his, former patients of his which the defense called up who certainly talked about the quality of care they had received from him. He was -- there was obviously a connection between some of the patients and Dr. Murray. They seemed to really like him. These were obviously defense witnesses, so it is not a big surprise that there was a, besides credentials, there is a record the defense is trying to present that this was a good doctor. This is someone who was trying to take care of patients including Michael Jackson. They were trying to paint him as someone trying to get Michael Jackson off of these medications which had long predated Dr. Conrad Murray. In the end, they apparently did not make that case well enough.
BLITZER: You heard also, the D.A. in Los Angeles, just to say, just say right now, he is never going to practice medicine in California again. Even after he is released he's going to serve up to four years of prison. He is not going to practice medicine in California. They will revoke his license. But he could potentially practice in other states, although the D.A. expressed hope that other states would follow California's lead.
GUPTA: Yes, it is interesting. I got some of the exact language, because, as you might guess, this is in some ways an obvious decision. Someone convicted after crime like this, related to administering drugs and you know, attempting to practice medicine, it would lead it an immediate suspension of his license. That state board still makes that decision.
But I think as you heard, the D.A. was saying that this is so obviously aligned with the practice of medicine, this particular involuntary manslaughter conviction, that there is no way he can practice. And in Texas, Nevada, and Hawaii where he also has licenses, he is suggesting they follow suit.
BLITZER: The other thing that is fascinating, if you follow the medical part of this, one thing that autopsy, it wasn't just Propofol. There were a lot of other drugs that they found that Michael Jackson was using.
GUPTA: Absolutely. And it was interesting because you know, between the autopsy results and the first information from the autopsy results and what we learned in the trial, there was new information emerging, Wolf, I thought it was interesting. And that became part of the narrative by the defense as well, that in fact Michael Jackson had had received some of the Propofol at the hands of Dr. Murray, but then it had worn off. Dr. Murray was out of room. Michael Jackson got up, again according to the defense, took other pills also present in his room, including Lorazepam, valium, I believe, anti-anxiety medication in pretty high doses, and gave himself another dose of Propofol. Again, the defense, this was their narrative.
So they found evidence of these other medications in his stomach, and that was sort of their evidence that that is what happened.
BLITZER: You know, because you kept hearing from Michael Jackson's family, friends, the prosecutors, that he was rehearsing for a big show. He seemed to be, when he was on the stage, in pretty good shape, but he obviously having trouble sleeping at night.
GUPTA: Yes. They played the recordings, Wolf, you remember of him in the state where he sounded in a stuperous (ph), but awake, and just at times incoherent. Listening to that recording, people sort of interpreted two different ways. Some people said, look, this is man getting too much medication. You know, just listen to the way he sounds. But the defense was playing the tape to make the case that despite the medication, he is still awake. This is man who cannot sleep. Dr. Murray was trying to help him sleep by giving him things like Propofol. So that is again, the story they were painting.
BLITZER: Sanjay, stand by, because I'm going to come back to you. We are following the breaking news. Dr. Conrad Murray convicted. One count involuntary manslaughter. He is now in jail. He will be sentenced November 29, could serve four years in prison. More breaking coverage after this.
Also we are following a another huge development today. A fourth woman has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain. We will update on you that. Well speak with that woman's attorney, Gloria Allred, all of that coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: Hi, you saw the news, Dr. Conrad Murray convicted one count involuntary man slaughter in Los Angeles for the death of Michael Jackson. The crowds outside the Los Angeles county superior court as the verdict was read, they were excited. They were very -- here it is, watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, you can see they are happy he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
We just got statement, by the way, from the lead attorney for Dr. Conrad Murray. Ed Chernoff spoke with our own Alan Duke as he was leaving the courthouse. This is what Chernoff said. He said "What matters right now is trying to keep Dr. Murray from taking up a prison sell in this community. That's what we are focusing on right now and we'll deal with an appeal of that." There state from Ed Chernoff.
We'll have more on this story from Los Angeles later this hour, but there is another breaking news story we are following in the sexual harassment allegations against Republican presidential front-runner Herman Cain. A Chicago woman went public today with a very specific claim that she was groped by Herman Cain when he was head of the National Restaurant Association here in Washington and she was asking him for help getting a job. She is fourth accuser, we know of, the first to tell her story publicly in front of reporters and cameras.
Our own Mary Snow has covered the story for us. She's joining us from New York. You were at the news conference today. Set the scene, because we will be speaking with her attorney in a moment, but Mary, tell us what happened.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, first of all, the news conference was jam-packed. We should point out this woman's claim is so specific we want to warn our viewers about the sexual explicit description in her account before we air it. The accuser said she wants to be the face and voice to other women who cannot or do not wish to come forward and have been sexually harassed.
Even before her press conference was over this afternoon, the Cain campaign came out to say the allegations are completely false.
SNOW: Her name is Sharon Bialek and she is the first woman to publicly step forward and accuse Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexually inappropriate conduct. With her new attorney, Gloria Allred by her said, Bialek, described as a registered Republican, detailed an alleged encounter in July of 1997 when Cain was then head of the National Restaurant Association. Bialek says the two went out for dinner and that afterward Cain allegedly told her he was taking her to the offices of the NRA.
SHARON BIALEK, CAIN ACCUSER: Instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over, and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked. I said, "What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn't what I came here for." Mr. Cain said, "You want a job, right?" I asked him to stop. And he did. I asked him it take my back it my hotel, which he did, right away.
SNOW: Bialek did not take any questions and CNN cannot independently verify her story. Described now as full-time single mother, Bialek says she asked to meet Cain in 1997 because she had recently been fired from her job at the education foundation of the NRA. And need a job. The NRA confirms she wormed there between December 1996 through June of 1997 but would not comment further. Bialek said she knew Cain from meeting him at an NRA convention in Chicago. She did not report the incident to the NRA because she no longer worked there, but alleges she told two other people of the incident at the time. So why is she making these allegations now 14 years later? She said this in her statement.
BIALEK: I really didn't want to be here today and wouldn't have been here if it had not been for the three other women who have alleged sexual harassment against Mr. Cain. I want you, Mr. Cain, to come clean, just admit what you did.
SNOW: Herman Cain's campaign is denying all of the allegations and in a statement, said "Just as the country finally begins to refocus on our crippling $15 trillion national debt and the unacceptably high unemployment rate, now activist celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred is bringing forward more false accusations against the character of Republican front-runner Herman Cain. All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr. Cain has never harassed anyone."
SNOW: And Wolf, we should point out attorney Joel Bennett, the lawyer for one of Cain's other accusers, told CNN that he believes Sharon Bialek's news conference corroborates his client's story alleging it was similar conduct by the same person, but did not go into any further detail.
And we should point out that Herman Cain is lashing out at the media, saying, "Once this kind of nonsense starts, the media's rules say you have to act in a certain way. I'm well aware of these rules and I refuse to play by them."
That's in a statement that just came out a short time ago -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, it's a very long statement. We just got a copy of it, Cain's commentary. "The media is obsessed with nonsense. The voters and I are not."
I will read the last line from that statement, Mary. "If the media want to continue talking about nonsense, that's fine. I'm not going to join them. It doesn't look like the citizenry plans to join them either."
That's part of the statement, the long statement, from Herman Cain.
But let's talk right now to the lawyer representing Herman Cain's accuser. Gloria Allred is joining us from New York.
Gloria, thanks very much for coming in.
GLORIA ALLRED, REPRESENTING SHARON BIALEK: It's my pleasure.
BLITZER: Why did this woman decide to go public right now? Because she held this secret, except for two of her friends, for all these years since 1997.
ALLRED: Well, because, as she said, Wolf, that there are three other women who have reportedly made claims of sexual harassment, two allegedly had settlements. One, of course, said anonymously to a reporter, I think Associated Press, he had sexually harassed. And none of them came forward and put a face on it, gave a voice to it, gave their names. She was willing to do so, and she wanted to be supportive of them, but she also felt that it was time to break the silence about it.
And I might add, Wolf, it's a very important fact that she is a registered Republican herself. And she liked Herman Cain. But this is wrong, what he did to her, and she felt that she needed to speak out, and that this country does need a leader who is going to come clean and be honest and set a moral example when he's in office. And unfortunately, Mr. Cain is not doing that.
BLITZER: Is it your sense that not only is she a Republican, but she's a Tea Party activist? Would she describe herself as Tea Party activist?
ALLRED: Well, she describes herself as a registered Republican. And that's who she is.
BLITZER: But she's not affiliated -- or is she affiliated -- with any of the other Republican presidential campaigns? Because you know the allegations that maybe other campaign put her up to it or anything like that. You have had conversations with her. What has she said to you?
ALLRED: She said that she specifically has not made any donations to any of the other campaigns. She has not been involved with any of the other campaigns, and that she is speaking out because she alleges that Herman Cain sexually harassed her.
BLITZER: Is she the same woman who called up Joel Bennett, the attorney here in Washington? He mentioned the other day he got a voicemail from a woman who said that she was sexually harassed by Herman Cain when she worked at the National Restaurant Association. When he called back, she said never mind.
Is this the woman that you are representing now?
ALLRED: You would have to ask Mr. Bennett who called him.
BLITZER: Mr. Bennett -- who called who?
ALLRED: No, I'm saying, if he is saying that someone left a voicemail for him --
ALLRED: -- then he would be the one to identify the person.
BLITZER: Well, he seems to say that, yes, the woman that you represent now had originally left a voicemail for him.
ALLRED: Yes. I can't comment on who she may have left voicemails with and whether -- if she left a voicemail for Mr. Bennett. I just can't comment on that. BLITZER: All right. Contemporaneously, she says she informed two of her friends, her then-boyfriend and another friend, about what happened. They've signed documents now --
ALLRED: Yes, they did.
BLITZER: -- saying that what she says is true. Are you releasing those documents?
ALLRED: No, I'm not. I did read the contents of the two affidavits which were signed under penalty of perjury and which I have in my possession. I did read that to some members of the press after the news conference. I did not disclose the name.
One of them is a physician. The other one is a businessman. And they both, independently of each other, sent us declarations which we asked for to corroborate that she did in fact indicate, contemporaneously with, or shortly thereafter the incident, with Mr. Cain, that she has alleged, that they were told by her that he was sexually inappropriate with her and that it was very upsetting to her.
BLITZER: Are these two individuals willing to go public and let their identity be known and speak out?
ALLRED: Not today. I know their identity. Our office has spoken with both of them. I have spoken with both of them. And we're not revealing that today.
But they're both, I think, very responsible members of the community. And they have known her for a long time. They vouch for her honesty and her decency, and for the fact that she told them about it, although not the details that we revealed today, many years ago, because she was very kind of embarrassed and humiliated by the situation at the time.
BLITZER: Is that why she didn't go public at the time?
ALLRED: Well, I can't say why she didn't go public at the time, but she didn't move ahead. And I might add, her motives are pure. She is not suing anybody. She is not -- she could have sold her story.
She has not accepted money for this story. She is not going to accept it. She just wants the truth to come out as she knows it, as she's lived it, as she sees it. And that's why she did what she did today.
BLITZER: Are you considering any legal action against Herman Cain right now, civil or whatever?
ALLRED: No. She is not intending to file any claim, not intending to file a lawsuit, not asking for any criminal charges to be filed. None of that at all.
BLITZER: And the reason is? Why wouldn't she? Is there a statute of limitations that has expired? Is that why?
ALLRED: Well, there is a statute of limitations on everything under the law except for murder, for which there is no statute of limitations. But I won't say the statute of limitations is the reason, but I will say that's not her intention and that's not what she is going to do.
BLITZER: So what is your message and your client's message to Herman Cain right now?
ALLRED: Well, our message is really very simple. I, for one, I'm disgusted by sexual harassment.
If the allegations of all of these women, including my client, are true, then Mr. Cain is a serial sexual harasser. And that is very harmful to women.
Whoever is elected president of the United States is going to be the employer of the largest workforce in the country. Those are federal government employees. And that person has to set the standard.
That person has to really be a leader in every way. And sexual harassment interferes with the enjoyment of equal employment opportunity. And our message is sexual harassment is wrong, it matters, it hurts women. And in the words of my client, it's time for Mr. Cain to come clean.
BLITZER: What advice to do you have for the three other women who don't want to go public for a variety -- for whatever reason?
ALLRED: Well, Wolf, it's a very personal decision. We do more sexual harassment cases as a private law firm in our country than probably any other private law firm in the nation. We have for 36 years. So, it's an individual decision whether a woman can speak out, wishes to speak out, or does not wish to speak out.
There are -- most of the time, sexual harassment are settled with nondisclosure clauses, and agreements or confidential settlements. And most of the time, in order to accept a monetary settlement, there is a condition of the employer that the employee not speak out.
Now, even if it's waived, it may be that the women would like it retain their privacy. Obviously, anyone who does speak out is going to be attacked. There are attacks on my client already, and she understood that that was a risk, that she was going to be attacked and scrutinized, and many of those attacks will be unfair, many of them will be inaccurate.
So I can understand why people don't speak out. It does take a great deal of courage.
I admire the women who filed the claims of sexual harassment against him in the first place if they felt there was a basis for it. And they did assert and exercise their rights, and they did vindicate them by the settlement, is my opinion.
And so I'm glad for those women. And if they can speak out, that's great. But if they can't, I'm very happy they stood up for themselves in their workplace. BLITZER: Tell us a little bit more about Sharon Bialek, why she decided to go public right now. I assume when she heard about the other sexual harassment cases, that motivated her, but you know better than I do.
ALLRED: Yes, it did motivate her. And also, it was disturbing to her in the light of what she alleges occurred. That is, what she alleges that Mr. Cain did to her, that Mr. Cain kept denying it. And she felt that if she came forward, that there was a chance that he would finally take responsibility.
As I said, she had admired Mr. Cain for a long time. She thought he was a very charismatic speaker, he was very warm and hospitable to her when she working for the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association. But she was very shocked and disturbed by his conduct in the car, and then the way he basically brushed of what the women said.
He didn't take responsibility last week, and she felt that it was time for someone to have the courage to speak out. And that's what she has done.
BLITZER: Did you ask her, was there ever a sense that he felt that maybe she was leading him on? Because when he invited her to come to the Capital Hilton Hotel here in Washington, he upgraded her to a beautiful suite. Did she say or do anything to suggest to him that, you know what, maybe they were going to have an affair or anything like that?
ALLRED: Absolutely not, Wolf. And as a matter of fact, he had met her boyfriend, the physician, at an event where -- I'd say it was the National Restaurant Association conference. And, in fact, even asked them up to an after-party.
And her boyfriend came with her. So he had met her boyfriend. And that is why it was her boyfriend who suggested, after she was no longer working for the National Restaurant Association, why don't you call Mr. Cain, Herman, and see if maybe he can help you get a job, perhaps on the state level, instead of the national level?
And she thought that was a good idea because Mr. Cain had been very cordial to her and to her boyfriend. And as I say, she had met Mr. Cain on more than one occasion. So she thought maybe he would help her.
And she contacted his secretary, and then he called her back. They made the appointment.
And she thought when she got to her room, and it had been upgraded, that maybe it was her boyfriend who had surprised her and done that since he had made the reservations. And only later did she find out from Mr. Cain -- Mr. Cain allegedly said to her that he had arranged for the upgrade.
So, no. Did she come on to him? Absolutely not. And as a matter of fact, when he made advances to her, as she alleges that she indicated, "You know I have a boyfriend." And of course he would know that because he had met the boyfriend.
So, this is not what she came for. She made clear what she came for. And it just was so very disturbing to her.
BLITZER: Why did the National Restaurant Association fire her?
ALLRED: Well, you would have to ask the National Restaurant Association, but part of the reason that she stated today was that they alleged that she hadn't raised enough money for the foundation. And she could not understand that, because she alleges that she had raised more than had been raised before, for the foundation.
But in any event, she was no longer there. And that's why she was meeting with Mr. Cain, to see if he could help her get a job elsewhere.
BLITZER: So, bottom line right now -- and I will let you go, Gloria -- where do we go from here as far as your client is concerned? What's next from your perspective?
ALLRED: Well, I think this is now in the court of public opinion. I find Sharon to be a very sincere, very credible person.
I might add that her two friends that she told contemporaneously with the situation, about the sexually inappropriate behavior that she alleges, also have vouched for her honesty and her decency. And so I think now it's for the voters to decide.
She is not going to tell the voters to do anything particular. It's just for them to take this into account. And I'm very proud of her courage, because it was a big risk for her, it is a big risk. But she has been willing to speak out, and I'm glad that she did.
BLITZER: Gloria Allred is the attorney representing Sharon Bialek.
Gloria, thanks very much for coming in.
ALLRED: Thank you very much.
BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, who is joining us right now.
How much pressure does today's developments, the latest accusations, a fourth woman now making these accusations, put on Herman Cain, who arguably is the Republican presidential front-runner right now?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on him, Wolf. These are specific allegations from a specific woman.
She claims to have statements from people who say, yes, she told us about this at the time. And we spoke with Joel Bennett, the lawyer for the first accuser, who called what this woman did today corroborating evidence to what his client is claiming.
What we have heard from Mr. Cain today, Wolf, is a long statement claiming that the media is publishing a bunch of nonsense here, but not specifically responding to this woman's charges. And I just got off the phone with a conservative activist who said to me, "Mr. Cain needs to respond." And some conservatives in Iowa, a very, very important state for Herman Cain, are now saying that this has become essentially a tipping point, and that he needs to respond specifically to what this woman is claiming.
BLITZER: Because a lot of people are already asking, can he survive politically in his race for the Republican nomination?
BORGER: Well, I think it's very difficult.
Look, he has had problems prior to this event. He was flip-flopping on the question of abortion, over whether he'd put Muslims in his government, et cetera, et cetera. So I think he had problems before this.
But, Wolf, one thing to keep in mind, which a conservative reminded me today, is that women are the largest number of Republican primary- goers. He was already not going well with women. This could potentially hurt him.
And when you look at the electorate at large, there is a new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll out on this evening on just the opinion of Herman Cain. You can see there that his unfavorable ratings have about doubled.
However, Wolf, he is still in the top tier among Republicans. But if he doesn't start answering these allegations more specifically, I think he is going to start dropping dramatically.
BLITZER: All right. Gloria, stand by.
We're going to continue to assess what's going on. A very dramatic day in Herman Cain's quest for the Republican presidential nomination.
James Carville, Alex Castellanos, they are standing by live. We'll get their views on what is going on, their assessment, when we come back.
BLITZER: A fourth woman has come out now, accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment.
Let's discuss the political fallout. Joining us, our Democratic strategist, the CNN political contributor James Carville, Republican strategist, also a CNN contributor, Alex Castellanos.
James, let me go to you first.
Is this going to be a big deal, a little deal in Herman Cain's quest for the Republican nomination? JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, my opinion has always been that he was never going to be the Republican nominee. To the extent that you can reduce the chances of something from never then this hurts some.
And what's happened here is I think a lot of Republicans are paying attention to this. And, you know, now this is the fourth person. Who knows when the fifth one is coming out?
And I have no idea -- by the way, I'm not saying that Herman Cain is not telling the truth or this woman is not telling the truth. I have no idea. But I've experienced this kind of thing before. And generally, as these things mount up, it takes a pretty good toll. And I suspect that we're going to see this toll be taken here in the next week or so.
BLITZER: It's been a little bit more than a weak since the accusations first came out, reported first by Politico.
But Alex, he's raised more than $2 million in this week. That's almost as much as he raised in weeks and weeks going into this accusation. So, financially, and in terms of poll numbers, he seems to be weathering it, at least so far.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, until this point, Wolf, that's right. He framed this as a debate really between Herman Cain and the news media. Pick which one you believe is telling the truth. Well, he can't do that anymore.
Now there's a witness out there. There's human evidence. And it's much more difficult.
I think you can say today that the Michael Jackson jury found Herman Cain guilty in the court of public opinion today. The dots now, you don't have to connect them. They're beginning to connect themselves. And this is a blow to the campaign.
I talked to the Herman Cain campaign actually this morning, and they weren't expecting this. They were talking about how they're going to move on to the next chapter, get back to policy and tax cuts and those kinds of things. So, I think now, clearly, this is something they're going to have address, which is not what they had been expecting to do.
BLITZER: He issued a long statement, James, and I'll read a bit of it and get your reaction.
He said, "Contrary to the belief of experts, so wise and learned in the ways of Politics, I do know what the established rules say I am supposed to do. I simply refuse to do it. That's because the rules are ridiculous, and they produce leaders like Barack Obama." It goes on to say, "If the media want to continue talking about nonsense, that's fine. I'm not going to join them."
A statement like that, James, is that going to be enough? CARVILLE: And again, I understand what he's doing. I think politically he's doing what's sort of available to him. And there's no question that the media is not popular among the people that he needs to get to vote for him.
Having said that, people are going to say, well, gee, this is four. When is the fifth going to come? And even if everybody is lying about it, does it become a point where this becomes sort of crushing, that he can't talk about the things that we want to hear?
I don't know, but I think that it's going to take a toll. I can't imagine it's not. But I would reiterate what I've thought from the beginning, that I never thought he was in any way going to be the Republican nominee. I certainly didn't think so before, and I certainly don't now.
BLITZER: Alex, who benefits among the other Republican candidates the most from this aggravation that Herman Cain is going through right now?
CASTELLANOS: Probably all of the other second-tier candidates, but probably a candidate like Newt Gingrich benefits the most, because right now Romney is on one tier. He is the candidate that Republicans aren't passionate about, but they know he can stand up to debating Obama, they know he would be competitive in a general. And then there are these second-tier candidates who haven't quite matured enough.
It may be their first lap around the track. But they have the passion of the party even if they -- the party is not confident that they would make the best nominee.
So, if Romney collapses, any of these second-tier candidates could end up as the nominee. And Herman Cain was the leader of that set.
So, I disagree with James. There was a path for Herman Cain. But I think right now it's much more difficult.
James' point I think is dead on, which is you can't have as a campaign slogan, "Everybody is lying but me." And at some point where this is just too much of this, it begins to create a pattern that tells you something about the character of a candidate.
And people begin to look at it and say, well, wait a minute. Even if I believe it, I'm not sure that others will in a general election against Barack Obama.
So this is at a serious point now. And I think what Cain is doing is saying, hey, I'm just going to ignore this, this is an evil conspiracy against me. That's not going to get him there.
BLITZER: Well, we'll see what happens.
Guys, thanks very much. James and Alex, good analysis.
More news coming up, including the bizarre gaffes that helped make the career of Italy's embattled prime minister. Jeanne Moos, coming up.
BLITZER: The unique and colorful career of Italy's prime minister on the fritz. Silvio Berlusconi, clinging to power, despite rumors he might resign.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Close to calling it quits? Say it ain't so, Silvio.
If Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi leaves, who's going to get caught on camera telling offensive jokes? Who else is going to call President Obama suntanned?
Even when he stops talking, there's never a dull moment with Berlusconi. What other world leader inspires list after list of his worst gaffes?
Rate the biggest blunder. Put his top 10 to music.
MOOS: Gaffes like the time Berlusconi arrived at a summit with his cell phone plastered to his ear, leaving his hostess, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on hold. True, he was trying to iron out a summit sticking point with Turkey's prime minister, but he looked like a turkey talking and talking and talking, while Chancellor Merkel greeted other leaders and waited. After about eight and a half minutes, she gave up and left.
Then there was the recorded phone conversation in which Berlusconi allegedly called Merkel -- well, we can't even begin to say it on TV.
(on camera): The two words that will be forever associated with Berlusconi are actually one word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bunga-bunga parties.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bunga-bunga.
STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT RAPPORT": Bunga-bunga.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Bunga.
MOOS (voice-over): This is a masked parody of a bunga-bunga party, parties featuring women like the poetically named "Ruby the Heart Stealer," parties so hot --
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: -- his bunga-bunga party.
MOOS: -- that even George Clooney bailed. CLOONEY: It became a very different kind of evening than anyone though. It was like, I have to go. No. Where are you going? It's going to be a party. No, I've got to go.
MOOS (on camera): Berlusconi's dirty old man image is such that he even gets blamed for pranks he didn't pull.
(voice-over): For instance, this comes from a film farce featuring an actor portraying Berlusconi, yet it circulates on the Web as if it's the real thing.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": You know who else is in town? Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. So, good luck getting a hooker.
MOOS: But even when Berlusconi gets tripped up, he still manages to land on his feet.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): That's amore.
MOOS: -- New York.
BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
I'm Wolf Blitzer, in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The news continues next on CNN.