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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Herman Cain Campaign; Interview with Alveda King; Iranian Protests
Aired November 29, 2011 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, HOST: Thanks, John. The super committee speaks to OUTFRONT. They're under pressure to make a terrible situation a lot worse tonight. What's on the table? We put it there for you.
And then sentenced, Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray gets the max, but how much time will he actually serve? And breaking news on Herman Cain; some key endorsers jumping ship a day after a woman alleged a 13-year affair with Cain.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight we begin with breaking news. Herman Cain losing key support in New Hampshire one day after a Georgia woman claims she had a 13-year affair with the candidate. One New Hampshire state representative, William Panek, confirming to OUTFRONT that he is withdrawing his support for Cain and switching to Newt Gingrich, adding the alleged affair was quote, "the final straw" and within the last hour, the presidential candidate sending a message to his supporters.
And I read it in part, quote "This woman's story is completely false. I am asking for your friendship. I am also asking for your prayers and support. This is a trying time for my family, my campaign, and for me." And I'm looking at the letter here which concludes with, the ability to buy Herman Cain t-shirts and donate money. Money is what this is going to come down to.
Cain's plea for support comes after telling staffers this morning that he is quote "reassessing his campaign". A top campaign aide told CNN today, a decision will likely be made within a couple of days. Now as of yesterday Cain was adamant about staying in the race but he said there was one person who could change his mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As long as my wife is behind me, and as long as my wife believes that I should stay in this race, I'm staying in this race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Support for the Republican candidate has been eroding ever since allegations of sexual harassment first came to light. That of course was just last month. Now Herman Cain denies the affair. He also denies all accusations of sexual harassment. Alveda King is a friend of Herman Cain's. She's a volunteer adviser to his campaign. She's OUTFRONT tonight. Alveda, thank you very much for being with us. You have been, I know, texting in contact with Mr. Cain today. What has he been telling you?
ALVEDA KING, FRIEND OF HERMAN CAIN: Well Mr. Cain is reassessing the campaign. Simply any time that you have something hit the campaign you have to reassess. You have to look at your resources. You have to decide how to allocate them. You know he is already prepared to go to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, all of these states. And so it is simply an assessment to pay attention to what needs to be done to continue to go forward.
BURNETT: All right, so when do you expect, obviously, sources had told CNN he could be making a decision in terms of his candidacy within the next couple of days. What did he tell you in terms of his time line?
KING: I expect his decision will be that he will press on to Iowa and I'm joining him at his request. He and his family, his wife, praying for all of them, wonderful, wonderful people and I believe that we should continue to be friends of Herman Cain and support him and his march to Iowa and beyond to the White House.
BURNETT: And obviously, I want viewers to know you are looking at a live picture of Herman Cain here speaking tonight at a fund- raiser. Alveda, let me just ask you, you've known him. Tell me -- tell our viewers, how long have you known Herman Cain? I know you don't know Ginger White, the woman who accused him of the 13-year affair. And I know you don't know his wife terribly well but what do you know of Herman Cain?
KING: I have known Mr. Cain since 2000. He and his wife Gloria attend the church, Antioch Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. My father was very close friends, Reverend A.B. King (ph), with the pastor of that church and I've known Mr. Cain a strong warrior for life, for marriage, for family, for the economy. He is a rocket scientist. He worked for the Navy, you know graduated from Morehouse College, a historically black college, pro-life man and all of that.
But you know this really boils down to if you have two African- American men in the general election with opposing political views, the race card goes away. There can be no question of race. They're both black men. And it will change that base. Many people who voted for Mr. Obama in the last election did so based on skin color. So you have two men with the same color skin and we are going to hear real political issues from opposing political viewpoints and that's really what this is about.
BURNETT: All right, so tell me, Alveda, as you've known Herman Cain for a long time. You're a woman though and obviously women sometimes see these sorts of allegations differently than men. Why do you believe Herman Cain? And is there a little part of you just somewhere inside that says gosh, where there's smoke, there's fire. I've got a little bit of doubt. KING: Well there are so many women who know Mr. Cain. We've known him for many years. A woman knows a skirt chaser when a woman sees a skirt chaser. Mr. Herman Cain doesn't chase skirts. He chases solutions for America. So you know these allegations are not true.
And you know it's so strange that many of these women, for three years coming out of the Restaurant Association, many affiliated with Chicago and the man is not a skirt chaser. There are too many women for Herman Cain who will tell you that unequivocally and I'm one of them and I get text messages from him and you know there's nothing improper about those conversations at all.
BURNETT: And you have specific reasons for not believing Ginger White.
KING: Well, you know, one reason, if you think about Miss White she says she's had an affair with Mr. Cain for 13 years. And it was intriguing, it was exciting. Now this is a man who has been fighting cancer. He victoriously won it on chemotherapy with a low libido who was supposed to be having an affair with a lady at the time that he was recovering from cancer on chemotherapy. You know so how much affair was going on? No affair. The lady is not telling the truth.
BURNETT: Alveda, are you going to stick with him and what -- how will you feel if it turns out that any of these allegations turn out in fact to have been true?
KING: This is tabloid politics. You know, people really want to hear about the issues. We want to hear Mr. Herman -- more about 9-9- 9, about opportunity zones, about his energy plan. These are these things that America wants to hear. We want to get rid of the race card. Send two black men into the general election. Let them talk from different perspectives. Hear what Mr. Herman Cain is saying. America wants solutions. America wants a leader. No more tabloid politics. President Obama is chasing around stimulus dollars on a failing stimulus plan and here's the man with the solution that can heal America.
BURNETT: Alveda, thank you very much. A passionate defense up for Herman Cain, as you can see who at this moment is speaking in Hillsdale, Michigan and as our sources say, expected to make a decision possibly on the future of his candidacy in the next few days. Let's bring in John Avlon now, senior columnist for "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast", Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist and Scott Stanzel, former Bush deputy press secretary and Republican strategist.
OK. Let me just put this question to you, Scott. Can he survive this? I mean there is the whole smoke/fire question. There is also the fact that nobody wants anybody talking about their libido on national TV, even in defense of them.
SCOTT STANZEL, GOP STRATEGIST: Yes, that's right. And I do think it is solely up to Mr. Cain as to whether or not he stays in the race. Ultimately he'll have to make the decision as to whether he can recover from this. Whether the odds are too long and whether he can continue to see this sustained damage of his reputation. You know his campaign was built on media attention last month. That's how he gained his rise to the polls.
It was an untraditional campaign. Not built on organization. And I think in this case it is a little bit of live by the sword, die by the sword. Because the media coverage of his campaign obviously has turned very swiftly and I'm not sure he can recover. I think the allegations that we heard this week about the affair lead to that, where there is smoke, there may be fire. And it seems that he may be smoked out of the race because of all of it.
BURNETT: All right, let me throw up a poll here, CNN poll in November. Who is your second choice for GOP voters? Newt Gingrich, number one, 38 percent of would-be voters who are voting for Cain at the time said they would vote for Gingrich if Cain wasn't in the race and 25 percent said Romney. John Avlon, I mean what do you think of that? This is Newt's win.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's exactly right and this is -- the poll was done before these latest round of allegations really sunk in. What you see is that Gingrich is coalescing the conservative alternative to the Romney vote that had moved from Perry to Herman Cain in the month of September. But really we've spent a month of this presidential campaign talking about this man's sex life with allegations that are ugly and harmful. And it is a sign of how much the side show has just moved into the big tent and now we drag this out this week. Ultimately Herman Cain and his wife Gloria are going to decide whether this campaign goes on.
BURNETT: And of course the donors, right? I mean --
AVLON: Right and in that donor e-mail tonight, they categorically said Ginger White's story was false --
AVLON: And his own lawyer gave the classic non-denial, denial last night not saying that, so you set up a real problem here. You can't contradict yourself you know this way --
BURNETT: Jamal, Jamal, let me ask you, it's interesting because Newt Gingrich gaining from this of course has its own level of irony, right? Newt Gingrich has survived in his past affairs to which he has admitted. He has been forthright about that. Newt -- his quote was quote, "Newt has been honest and forthright about the fact he has had moments in his life that he regrets, that he has had to seek reconciliation and go to God for forgiveness." So it's on his own Web site here. But how do you think this affects -- there is an irony here. Am I wrong?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh it's certainly an irony. And it would take Herman Cain to make Newt Gingrich's personal life not look so outrageous. So you know sometimes when you're Herman Cain, you've got to just -- you've got to pick your chips up and your cards, leave the table and buy yourself into another game unless you're going to spend all your money here, he doesn't have anything left. So I think if Herman Cain really wants to be a speaker and a writer, an author, and get a show or whatever else he wants to do, now is maybe the time for him to get moving and go find something else to do. But it's amazing that we've spent the last you know few weeks talking about this when this is not -- these are not the issues of the country. Herman Cain is not going to be president.
BURNETT: It's a fair point.
SIMMONS: He's not going to win the nomination. If he wins the nomination, it's a very steep road for him to beat the president of the United States. So I would like for to us get back to talking about you know some of these other candidates who really do stand a chance --
BURNETT: And the issues, which forgetting Herman Cain, there is something to be said for a tabloid level of focus on all candidates.
AVLON: That's right. I mean when sex scandals suck up the oxygen we don't talk substance. We don't talk policy. And the other candidates have a hard time getting into the conversation, especially if they're trying to put forward real policy plans. That only cheats the American people and reduces the whole level of the presidential campaign.
BURNETT: All right, well --
SIMMONS: I mean Erin --
SIMMONS: You know the thing about Newt Gingrich is Newt Gingrich probably does know who the president of Uzbekistan is, so you know at least Newt Gingrich reads his briefing books and we know when he sits down at the table, he came seriously ready to play.
BURNETT: That's right. All right, well thanks to all three. We appreciate your taking the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, American Airlines files for bankruptcy. They don't have showers on their planes. I'll explain.
A crowd of protesters storms the British Embassy in Tehran after Iran's parliament voted to expel the British ambassador and the latest from the Syracuse molestation scandal. The police chief admits his force failed to follow up on tips of abuse they got nine years ago.
BURNETT: American Airlines parent AMR filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. One of the big problems was labor costs which AMR CEO Tom Horton discussed with our Richard Quest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HORTON, CEO, AMR CORP.: Our labor costs alone are something on the order of $800 million higher than our big competitors on average.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right rising oil costs and the weaker global economy also hurting American Airlines forcing it to file for bankruptcy. But this brings us to our number tonight, 34. That's how many passenger airlines have filed for bankruptcy in America in the past 10 years. One airline we spoke to says that American Airlines and we're talking about the group now, just not the company, faced stricter rules and more taxes than many of their international counterparts and that hurts them. It sure shows.
Take a look at some of these pictures from Singapore. That's coach on Singapore Airlines. Lufthansa, that's not coach and Emirates -- I believe that's Lufthansa -- and Emirates Airlines, nice seats, yes that's Emirates, OK and do you know what that is? That's a shower. Not that. But you just saw it, a shower on Emirates. All right and we're not saying we should go that far but airlines are sort of something where it is a point of national pride and they stand for your country around the world.
Someone gets on an American Airlines plane, you know the tray table is nasty and it has sticky food on it and you get on Lufthansa and the tray table is clean. Well it's a tough thing. It's a point of national pride, so it's just something we wanted to think about. For those of you who are planning to flight on American Airlines, don't worry, your flight should be unaffected by the bankruptcy filing, but just something to chew on.
All right, a crowd of Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy in Tehran today, breaking down the door and throwing rocks. Now it ended with a dozen arrests and the protests came after Iran's parliament voted to expel the British ambassador for the nation's economic sanctions after a report suggested Iran was working on acquiring nuclear weapons.
Joining us from Cambridge, Massachusetts is "New York Times" Washington correspondent David Sanger. David, hey, great to see you and let me just ask you, what really happened today? Obviously we've had protests before at this Embassy, but this was violent. There was a lot of vitriol. What happened?
DAVID SANGER, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NYT: Well, Erin, I think what was remarkable about this particular protest is that it appeared to have been government sanctioned at a fairly large number of what the Iranians said were students, but perhaps they could have been members of the C (ph) force or some other official Iranian force. Came in literally, ransacked the Embassy.
The Embassy building in Tehran for the British is a very large complex. It's on about 50 acres, roughly the size of the whole White House complex. And they tore up the place. They lit a car on fire. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not they may have briefly held some employees hostage. They were later released --
BURNETT: Wow. SANGER: -- and eventually riot police got them out.
BURNETT: So what happens here? I mean obviously the -- Britain have gone a little bit further even than the U.S. when it comes to the Central Bank of Iran. They said hey we're not going to do business with you anymore. That was something that the U.S. which has been so you know gung-ho on sanctions pulled back a little bit from. Is this just indicative of how much that hurt Iran or intended to be a lesson or a signal to the U.S.?
SANGER: Well I think that there were a couple of things going on as you suggested. The first is there is no U.S. Embassy.
SANGER: There hasn't been one since the U.S. and Iran broke diplomatic relations after the hostage crisis in 1979. So the British were the next best target. Secondly, as you indicate, the sanctions in recent weeks that the British have invoked are significantly harsher. They've basically cut off all dealings with the Central Bank. The Obama administration didn't go that far because they were concerned that if they did, they would have to cut off relationships with banks of friendly countries that do business with Tehran including the Japanese, the South Koreans and others. I think the third thing that's going on though is that Tehran wants to indicate that they're not going to simply sit and take these sanctions that there will be a price to be paid in the West.
BURNETT: And David, what's your bottom line view on this? You've spent years and years reporting on this story, but Iran and a nuclear weapon. Is it really inevitable?
SANGER: You know, I think at this point it would be very difficult to stop if the current regime in Iran remains in place. And what you've really seen happen in the past two or three years is really a race against time in which the United States and Israel have tried to among other countries, slow the Iranian program partly through sanctions, partly through sabotage like stuck Smith (ph), the computer virus that killed off many of the centrifuges for a while. And what they're hoping is that there is some change of political decisions about the nuclear program in Iran while it slowed down. But you can't slow it forever and it's unclear right now despite what governments say whether or not they're really willing to take further steps.
BURNETT: All right, well that's going to be a story the world watches. David Sanger thanks.
SANGER: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: Late today the credit rating agency S&P downgraded six major American banks. Now this was thanks in large part to exposure to Europe. Now this could mean loans are harder to come by in America and interest rates are higher for borrowers. It is further proof of just how much Europe matters to regular Americans. But the truth is there is not a lot of appetite in America to help Europe right now and the administration says it won't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We do not in any way believe that additional resources are required from the United States from American taxpayers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Taxpayers, maybe so but here's the bottom line, Europe matters so much to America that we already are helping them every single day. Ben Bernanke is the man in charge. Lou Green (ph) is an economist with DRW Holdings and he explains that the U.S. Federal Reserve led by Ben Bernanke has made unlimited dollars available to European banks, including a few downgraded by S&P today, like Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas and the Fed can go further.
Ben Bernanke has the authority to buy the debt of foreign governments. Now the Fed has told Congress they will not use this power to quote "bail out foreign governments", that they'd only purchase quote "highly rated foreign government debt." But that's all rhetoric because as of tonight that means the Fed can buy the debt of Germany, France and Britain. They're all highly rated.
So the U.S. Treasury could be out there buying bonds to keep Europe from crashing. Now we called the Fed and didn't get a comment tonight. But by the way, for those of you keeping score, the Standard & Poor's batch downgrade included two banks that got upgraded, both of them are Chinese.
Well OUTFRONT next the "OutFront 5", Facebook getting ready for $100 billion IPO?
And speaking of privacy "We Can't Resist" telling you all about something we're not supposed to talk about. We'll be back.
BURNETT: And now a story, "We Can't Resist" even though maybe we should. All right the World Toilet Summit was held in China this week. It is the 11th annual summit of that particular sort. The annual event brings together top government officials in academics to solve the world's sanitation problems. But they also know how to have some fun. And in addition to some very serious lectures and discussions, the summit also includes a showcase of exciting developments in the world of toilets and toilet accessories.
This year the heads of the world's largest toilet companies in the world and we assume their number two's were also there were wowed by one particular product. A toilet made entirely of gold. Yes, and like a car show, a beautiful lady to show it. This fully functional toilet is coated with a layer of 24 karat gold and valued at more than $200,000. Yes, that's one expensive toilet and but -- there's always a but.
Before you drop a few large on a new toilet, you should know this isn't your only luxury option. There are loads of gold plated and Swarovski crystal studded toilets even, all available online. And if you're looking for toilets cheaper than these you're in luck because there are some innovations available for the mere mortals among us. A British company called Captive Media has developed a urinal mounted video game for bars.
You see it here. According to the company, the user is presented with three targets and a 12-inch LCD console. Now so far the unit offers just two games. A pub quiz and a skiing challenge but more are planned and if you're the competitive type, it allows to you immediately post your score to Twitter and a live leader board, so good luck going for number one. We just couldn't resist.
BURNETT: Still OUTFRONT the "OutFront 5": Sentenced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't have probation.
BURNETT: A chance to heal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God said in order for him to forgive me of my sins, I had to forgive Terry Nichols (ph).
BURNETT: All this OUTFRONT in our second half.
BURNETT: We start the second half of our show with stories we care about where we focus on our own reporting, do the work, and find the OUTFRONT 5.
Number one tonight: Herman Cain's new message to supporters. We had it in the past hour. The GOP candidate said to donors that the affair claimed by Georgia woman Ginger White is, quote, "completely false."
Cain friend and volunteer campaign adviser Alveda King came OUTFRONT tonight. She said she does believe any allegations of an affair. She said that Cain is not a, quote, "skirt chaser" and that his libido would be too low from his cancer recovery to have an affair. King also said she believes Cain will run in Iowa and not drop out.
Number two: one of the eight unidentified victims of serious killer John Wayne Gacy is no longer a John Doe. DNA tests identify William George Bundy as one of eight remains exhumed this summer by investigators in an attempt to finally offer some closure through DNA tests. There are now seven unidentified victims.
The sheriff's office told OUTFRONT that it is waiting for results of DNA tests on five other families. Gacy killed 33 young men and boys in the '70s, with most of the bodies found hidden in his Chicago area home. Number three: Facebook settled a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that the site lied when it said user information would be private. Now, Facebook agreed to 20 years of privacy audits and will you now warn users of privacy changes.
The FTC tells OUTFRONT tonight it has the power to fine Facebook $16,000 per violation per day. Facebook could probably afford those fines. Recent reports on a likely Facebook IPO put the company's value at $100 billion.
Number four: consumer confidence jumped to its high he was level since July. That's great news for the economy. The conference report it easily outperformed expectations showing consumers think the economic situation in America is improving.
Now, despite the good news, analysts told OUTFRONT that consumer confidence could drop again based on the failure of the super committee combined with the crisis in Europe.
Speaking of the super committee, it has been 116 days since America lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
We certainly didn't get any help from the deficit super committee. Last week's super failure to reach a deal to reduce the deficit led to automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion. Now, those don't go into if he can until early 2013.
It's a so-called sequestration. A big word that is really all that stands between us and another credit downgrade.
But Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are already working on a plan to weasel out of the scheduled $600 billion in defense cut. Today, Democratic Representative Jim Clyburn, a member of the super committee said he is open to rolling back those cuts, too. President Obama is on the record on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Already, some in Congress are trying to undue these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts, domestic and defense spending.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Representative Chris Van Hollen was a member of the super committee. He's OUTFRONT with us tonight.
Congressman, good to have you with us. We appreciate it.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: You, too, Erin.
BURNETT: And let's cut straight to this issue of the sequestration, the defense cuts in particular. John McCain and Lindsey Graham open to rolling it back. Jim Clyburn, a member of the -- Democratic member of the committee also open to it. Are you?
VAN HOLLEN: I'm not. The president is absolutely right to threaten to veto of any effort to undo the sequestration because if you undo the $1.2 billion sequestration, you immediately automatically increase the deficit by $1.2 trillion. That sends a terrible signal to people in the markets and other places around the world. And it would be bad for the economy.
So I think that's a bad idea. What we should try and do is find a way to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion in a reasonable way. Not in an across the board way. Of course, that's what the super committee unfortunately failed to do.
BURNETT: And is there any chance that there could be some sort of a break through from this point? Or it's done. You guys are disbanded.
VAN HOLLEN: Erin, I'm afraid it is done. And it's very difficult to see how this issue will get resolved before the election at this point. You know, the super committee had these expedited powers -- meaning if we came up with a recommendation, you would get an up or down vote.
VAN HOLLEN: No dragging their feet in Congress. Without that, it makes it much more difficult.
BURNETT: It's really a tragedy. Let me ask you about something that happened today, sir, if I could. Obviously, the payroll tax and the extension of unemployment benefit insurance are up right now for discussion. The payroll tax, in particular, a lot of talk today.
Senate Republicans saying, OK, we want to extend it. That's $1,500 per family on average in tax savings next year if they do. They're not willing to put a surtax on millionaires to pay for it.
Obviously, most Americans are supportive of taxing millionaires more. But it is also true that it is hard to imagine a tax, surtax becoming temporary. And it would end up becoming permanent. What is your view on this?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, my view first of al is we should definitely extend the payroll tax holiday. Senator Kyl, one of the leading senators the other day said the Republicans did not want to extend it and it is important for people to understand that would be an immediate tax increase on every working American, beginning January 1st, which obviously would be very bad for a very fragile economy.
So, we need to get that done. I think that the Senate Democratic proposal to ask the folks at the very top, millionaires, to pitch in, to try and pay for this is the right way to go. But if there are other ideas for doing it, I'm certainly open to looking at them. But again, they've put a proposal on the table, the Senate Democrats. Let's see an alternative. BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate it. We look forward to having you back on again as we try to solve this problem.
VAN HOLLEN: Thanks, Erin. Likewise.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, sir.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: We turn to the latest on the Syracuse sex abuse case. Syracuse police Chief Frank Fowler admitted today that in 2002, police failed to follow up on tips. That Syracuse university assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine had been accused of sexual abuse by a former team ball boy.
Fine was fired on Sunday after the recording of a call between his wife Laurie Fine and a third victim appeared to show that she was aware of the abuse. In an ESPN radio interview today, the Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim was asked about how he and the team have been weathering the scandal.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JIM BOEHEIM, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL COACH: The players have no distractions. The players are not a part of anything. They don't know anything about it. It's stuff that happened a long time ago. And they are focused on being a good basketball team and being good players. That's what their focus should be.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: Also, just in. New York Knicks player and Syracuse alum Carmelo Anthony appeared at a Brooklyn Boys and Girls Club a short time ago and broke his silence about the scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARMELO ANTHONY, NEW YORK KNICKS, SYRACUSE ALUM: My heart goes out to the families. And that's it. I have no comment about Fine's situation. That's a sensitive situation, a sensitive topic right now that I don't even want to go near it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. Well, we're going to go near it now. Let's go to the Syracuse campus and bring in Ed Lavandera. He has been covering the story for us.
Ed, with the admission by the police chief today about his predecessor dropping the ball, you know, getting the tip in 2002, almost 10 years have gone by. They didn't follow up on it. They dropped the ball. This seems we have come down to a case of who knew what when, right?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Erin. And what police here in Syracuse are telling me is we didn't have enough to open up a formal investigation. They said that all the contact they had with Bobby Davis, who is the first accuser in this case, initially came through a woman that he knows who reached out to police and that it was only a short phone call that Bobby Davis had with investigators back in 2002. They say Bobby Davis never came in. And the police chief at the time, it went all the way to him and they said they would now open up a formal investigation unless that accuser Bobby Davis came in and met with the detective or pointed detectives some other directions of other victims that corroborate by these stories.
What's interesting, Erin, is that the police chief of the Syracuse police department at that time, back in 2002, a man by the name of Dennis DuVal. Many people who follow Syracuse basketball know him as Sweet D. He was a prominent player for the Syracuse University basketball team back in the early '70s, just a few years before Bernie Fine got here to the campus.
BURNETT: Wow, that's interesting. And I know that you're obviously, Ed, it's raining there. The game is going on in the stadium behind you. Do you anticipate any kind of statement from coach Boeheim tonight?
LAVANDERA: Sorry. Lost the microphone.
BURNETT: Sorry. I wasn't sure. It was raining so hard, Ed. It could have just been the rain. There you go.
LAVANDERA: I apologize. We're going to make it work here.
Yes. The basketball game just tipped off a little while ago. Here as well, Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse University basketball team on the court playing Eastern Michigan. When the team came out, Boeheim got a strong ovation from the crowd that was already in the stadium. So, we couldn't hear any booing or anything like that.
What will be interesting will be what happens after the game. I was here for when the story first broke. And Boeheim had to be prodded a little bit. But he did talk about the Fine situation. At the time, they had left a seat open on the bench. He had been put on administrative leave. That seat is not being left empty in his honor.
So, the tone of what Boeheim has said has changed quite dramatically over the last few weeks. We'll see how his demeanor changes here in the post-game press conference coming up shortly.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Ed, thanks so much. Good to see you. And, of course, we'll be talking to Ed as he keeps covering the story at Syracuse.
Still OUTFRONT, Conrad Murray sentenced today. He got the max for involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson. But how much time is he really going to serve?
BURNETT: We do this at the same time every night, our "Outer Circle." We reach out to our sources around the world.
And tonight to Pakistan, where the government says it's boycotting an international conference about the future of Afghanistan. This after NATO killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Reza Sayah is in Islamabad.
And, Reza, how much pressure are Pakistanis putting on their government to do this boycott?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure domestically to take a tough stand after this incident. Remember, to a lot of militant groups here, Islamist groups, this government is already viewed as a U.S. lackey. They're already viewed as the enemy because of their partnership with the U.S.
So, if they're perceived as being soft after this incident, if they're perceived as being OK, that U.S. forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, they could lose a lot of public support. But more importantly, it could be a rallying cry for these militant groups to start attacking the government. Something they've done many times before, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Reza, thank you. And now to Britain where public sector workers are expected to strike tomorrow about pension reform.
Richard Quest is in London.
Richard, how is this strike going to affect London?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, with 2 million public sectors workers going out on strike, it promises to be one of the biggest disputes for decades. Hospitals will be hit, schools will be closed.
Britain's airports will be affected. There won't be so many passport offices to check passports and immigration. Long, long delays are expected. Flights will be canceled. And passengers are being told, if you don't have to travel to Britain tomorrow, don't -- Erin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Murray abandoned his patient and is and remains dangerous. You can't have probation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Four years in jail. That's what Dr. Conrad Murray received for causing the death of Michael Jackson. The judge gave Murray the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter after delivering a scathing stale to the court, saying Murray had abandoned his patient and is a disgrace to the medical profession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUDGE MICHAEL PASTOR, L.A. COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Dr. Murray created a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine, the practice of Propofol for medicine madness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: As Murray was let out of the court, he stopped to blow a kiss to a person in the gallery and will be serving his sentence in the Los Angeles County jail.
We got a panel of experts to talk about this case tonight.
Brian Oxman, a lifelong Jackson family friend; Paul Callan, a former prosecutor and legal contributor; and Charles Peckham, Conrad Murray's civil attorney, which is a very important part of this story.
But, Paul, let me start with you. The four-year sentence, the maximum possible. Likely, obviously he could be out in less time than that -- two years.
So, walk me through how this happens -- how he gets out and what happens then.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it seems like a very light sentence, doesn't it, for the death of a human being. And under California law, he gets an automatic reduction to two years as a result of their sentencing laws. And because of prison overcrowding in California, he is going to serve that time in the Los Angeles jail as opposed to a more serious state prison.
So, compared to what he would be doing time-wise in other states, I think it would be viewed as a relatively lenient sentence.
BURNETT: Brian, how does the Jackson family feel? I know, obviously you've known them for 20-plus years. What do they think about the sentence?
BRIAN OXMAN, ATTORNEY FOR JOE JACKSON: They approve of the sentence but the real factor that really struck me as I talk to Randy Jackson was that this is empty. There is nothing but tears left to talk about here. It doesn't bring Michael back. It doesn't solve the problem.
There are other people who are involved in Michael Jackson's death that have simply been ignored. And I think the bottom line of all this is, is that there is no feeling of justice and certainly no feeling of retribution.
BURNETT: So many people, of course, who felt if not him, it would have been someone else. I want to play a clip from an interview that Conrad Murray did with the "Today" show and then I'll get your reaction to that, Paul and Charles. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON'S DOCTOR: I don't feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong. I am very, very sorry for the loss of Michael. Michael is a personal friend. I -- it's heartfelt. It's been painful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Did that hurt him, Paul?
CALLAN: It killed him. It's another example of criminal law not being reality TV. I mean he made that statement to the "Today" show before he went to trial. And the judge at sentencing today said you're not getting probation because you have not expressed remorse or sorrow for what you did. Just play the video.
He killed himself by doing that before trial.
BURNETT: So, Charles, what do you think about that? That interview with the "Today" show. And how does that play into your situation now where the judge has said Conrad Murray has to pay the Jackson estate $100 million in restitution. Obviously, he doesn't have the money.
How do you defend this case when he's been convicted on the criminal side?
CHARLES PECKHAM, CONRAD MURRAY'S CIVIL ATTORNEY: Well, of course, you know, the judge did not award $100 million in restitution. They're going to have a hearing on that in January.
Of course, Dr. Murray is distraught. This was a terrible thing to have happened. He never wanted Michael Jackson to die. He never wanted to harm Michael Jackson.
I think if there's a mistake that Dr. Murray made, it was taking on a difficult patient like Michael Jackson to begin with. This was a guy that was obviously drug addicted at the time.
PECKHAM: And that's the problem.
BURNETT: And you're saying so the final $100 hub million in restitution will be decided in January, so you think you've got room there?
PECKHAM: Well, I think this judge, if he's smart and acts like most lawyers would expect him to act, would leave it up to a civil jury to determine those kind of damages. This is not something for restitution. I think Mr. Oxman would probably agree with that.
BURNETT: Would you, Brian?
OXMAN: I would say so. We have a civil case pending. Charles Peckham and I have talked many, many times about where this case goes and what happens to it.
I think the bottom line of today is that the prosecutor was not happy. The defense attorneys were not happy. And the Jackson family, they don't feel that this is really going to bring any kind of change. This was a losing situation all the way around.
BURNETT: Brian, are they going to pursue any other criminal charges, say, the concert promoter or anyone else? That you know of?
OXMAN: The concert promoters are part of the civil lawsuit and they are going to have to answer the questions as to what their responsibility was. I think the judge said something very important. This was money medicine and the concert promoters really were the ones who had the money at stake.
BURNETT: Paul, will he practice medicine again?
CALLAN: No, I don't think he will, although I will tell you, theoretically, it's possible. His license will be pulled automatically for conviction of a serious felony related to the practice of medicine. I think it's unlikely that it would be restored, but you can't rule it out, five, six, seven years down the line.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much.
PECKHAM: That's just not true. That's not true at all. But --
CALLAN: He can petition -- he can petition for restoration. He's admitted in three states, Nevada, Texas and California. Now, they almost never get their license back, but they try to do it and they petition in states to do it. So, it is possible.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you. All three of you, we appreciate you taking the time. Obviously, this is going to keep going.
Well, it has been more than 16 years since Jannie Coverdell lost her children in the Oklahoma City bombings. A lot of people wouldn't recover from that. They have a lot of hate for the people who did the crime. Not only has Jannie forgiven the men responsible, she actually responds with one of them.
She comes OUTFRONT with her story, next.
BURNETT: Here's a story of almost hard-to-believe forgiveness. We know you remember the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19th, 1995, 168 people were killed, hundreds more injured. Timothy McVeigh has been executed for that crime. His co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving a life sentence.
And a lot of people are happy to see Nichols rot in prison, but not our next guest. Jannie Coverdale lost her grandsons, 5-year-old Aaron and 2-year-old Elijah in the Oklahoma City bombing. She had full custody of the boys and had just dropped them off in the daycare center in the building that morning.
Jannie joins us now from Oklahoma City. Jannie, thank you so much for being with us.
You've been writing letters back and forth with Terry Nichols for the past, about seven years. What made you reach out and write that first letter?
JANNIE COVERDALE, CORRESPONDS REGULARLY WITH TERRY NICHOLS: Well, I had questions, and I wasn't getting any answers, and they had just finished having Terry Nichols' trial here in Oklahoma. So I got his address and I wrote him. And I said, since God has seen fit to spare your life again, now it's time for you to tell us what really happened.
And I didn't expect Terry to answer my letter because I heard so many things about him being a racist and a government hater, and I really didn't expect him to answer my letter. And he did. So we started writing.
BURNETT: And then what did he say?
COVERDALE: Well, the first -- I can't remember exactly what was on the first letter. I know he talked about the bomb and he talked about how sorry he was for what had happened. And -- but you have to remember this was during the time Terry had not confessed to his family that he had participated in the bombing. He was still -- he still was leading them to believe he had nothing to do with it.
So, we just talked about mostly nothing, and eventually Terry apologized to me. He asked for my forgiveness. And he said for all the pain and suffering I've caused you and your family, please forgive me.
BURNETT: And in your heart -- your heart of hearts, you truly feel that you have forgiven him?
COVERDALE: In my heart of hearts, I know I have forgiven him.
BURNETT: And how often do you write and what else do you, I guess for lack of a better word, talk about in your letters?
COVERDALE: Terry and I write each other about at least once a month. And we talk about my adopted son. He asked about my adopted son because Adrian plays football and he wants to know all about Adrian and the football.
We talk about Terry's oldest son Josh who's in prison. We talk about Terry's mother who has been in and out of the hospital. She has cancer. And then we talk about his other two children.
BURNETT: And when you have corresponding with Terry, obviously in Oklahoma City, so many people were touched by this terrorist attack -- do other family members of people who died that day understand what you're doing? Are they angry with you? What's their reaction been to your decision to become friends in a sense with Terry Nichols?
COVERDALE: They don't say anything one way or the other. I don't try to push it off on them. And if they -- they don't act like they're angry with me. And if they resent me writing Terry, I haven't heard anything about it.
BURNETT: Well, Jannie, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Sad in some ways but such an amazing story. And I know, obviously, Aaron would be 22 today and Elijah 18. Thank you for being with us.
COVERDALE: You're welcome.
BURNETT: Just an amazing story.
Well, thanks so much as always for watching OUTFRONT tonight. A great night. We'll see sometime tomorrow.
"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.