Return to Transcripts main page


North Korean Rocket Launch Fails; George Zimmerman Appears in Court

Aired April 12, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

Two big breaking stories tonight in the Trayvon Martin case and also a world away.

That North Korean rocket that a lot of folks were worried about, well, at least for now, you can stop worrying. It is no Sputnik, more like kaput-nik, a dud. It broke up just after launch, we're told. But it's been giving the region and the rest of the world a case of the willies because of North Korea's nuclear program.

We have an exclusive report from inside North Korea coming up a little bit late on.

But the other breaking news tonight is in the Trayvon Martin case, the first hints of what prosecutors know about the night George Zimmerman shot and killed the 17-year-old, the first inkling of how they might persuade a jury that Zimmerman pursued Martin, confronted him, and committed murder in the second degree.

The defendant, appearing by video hookup today from the Seminole County, Florida, jail for a probable cause hearing, saying very little.


JUDGE MARK E. HERR, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Mr. Zimmerman, you're appearing here for your first appearances -- or first appearance at this time for charge of murder in the second degree and you are represented by Mr. O'Mara, is that true?



COOPER: Judge Mark Herr ruling there is probable cause to proceed. Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, not yet asking for bail. As for Zimmerman's first night in custody, ABC News citing a law enforcement official, says he was kept in isolation under observation and was seen weeping at times. ABC News also reporting that there were no signs of scarring on the back of his head.

Now, remember, Zimmerman and his family paint Trayvon Martin as the aggressor in this, saying that Zimmerman was, as his brother was told Piers Morgan last night.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: Surprise attacked, punched so hard in the nose that their nose is broken, sat on their chest, using their last available breaths to call and scream for help.


COOPER: Now, as you might imagine, the prosecution has a different take, and tonight for the first time, we have the beginning of the outline of it. They lay it out in the Probable Cause Affidavit they gave the court today. Here are the main points as they see it. There's Zimmerman's call to 911.

Quote: "Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in the neighborhood." Later, while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated -- quote -- "These a-holes, they always get away," and also said -- quote -- "These f'ing punks."

Two things jump out here. First, the prosecutors appear to have analyzed the tape and concluded that Zimmerman did not utter a racial slur, as some believed. Second, that they appear to be tying the two remarks together and making the case that Zimmerman had already made up his mind, that he was pursuing a potential criminal. Then there's this. Listen.


911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?


911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don't need you to do that.



COOPER: The affidavit highlights this point -- quote -- "Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin, who was trying to return to his home."

Now the picture they're painting, and remember, it is their picture, not a proven fact, is of George Zimmerman pursuing Trayvon Martin, as if he were a suspect. The affidavit also gives credence to Martin's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him, almost until the end -- quote -- "The witness," prosecutors write -- quote -- "advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn't know why."

Now this squares with what the witness, his girlfriend, told the Martin legal team and indicates the prosecutors believe her. Then crucially and contrary to George Zimmerman's claim of being ambushed and sucker punched while heading back to his SUV, prosecutors write -- quote -- "Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued." Now remember this is the prosecution's version, not fact. They go on to mention that witnesses heard the struggle, but do not elaborate on who or how many witnesses they have actually interviewed. They say cries for help were caught on a 911 tape, which Martin's mother identifies as those of her son. They don't say whether they have done any voice analysis. Zimmerman and his family claim he was the one crying out.

The affidavit also says that Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest, cites the fact than an autopsy was done, gives no specifics, mentioning only that Martin died of a gunshot wound. It ends, though, with a big hint of more to come -- quote -- "The facts mentioned in this affidavit are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and information in this case, but are only presented for a determination of probable cause for second-degree murder."

Certainly there's a lot to talk about with defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Mark NeJame, also author and former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, Marcia Clark. Her newest book "Guilt by Degrees" comes out next month.

Marcia, let me start with you. I -- the probable cause affidavit quotes George Zimmerman on the 911 calls as saying, "These f'ing punks." That last word has been open to fierce debate especially for the possibility of a federal hate crime charge. The fact that they -- that they're saying it's the word "punks" and not other word, a racial epithet, that some believe, what does that mean to you? What does it mean for the case?

MARCIA CLARK, FORMER L.A. DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: My estimation of this right now, Anderson, is that they're being very careful, as they should be. This is, remember, just an affidavit of probable cause, it's in the very early stages of the investigation, and the case itself, and I think they're just being very careful not to put something that incendiary, that they may not ultimately be able to prove.

Before you throw out a word like we're thinking of, the one that was earlier shown on an enhanced tape by your show, before you do that, you better be very, very sure that you have the technicians, the advisers and all the technical support you can possibly muster with enormous credibility to say, yes, that is what this tape, in fact, shows. Until they have that, they had better not put it out there.

I don't necessarily believe that the word "punk" is going to be written in stone and it will stay there. I think it can change. But they're not doing it right now. And I think that's actually very responsible of them.

COOPER: And just for the record, when we isolated those two phrases and that word on the show, we did not make any determination of what word was used. We left that up to viewers to determine what they felt they had heard, and many of our viewers felt --

CLARK: Right.

COOPER: -- they had heard different things.

Mark Geragos, to you, I mean, it does say in this affidavit, these are the bare facts. Do you anticipate that there are a large number of other facts that they have access to at this point? They -- I mean, why not give more facts now?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, I always laugh that the standard for probable cause is, is my client breathing? And that is so you don't have to put out a whole lot. And in this case, that probable cause declaration is about as bare bones as you can get.

Having said that, the things that they are looking for, you don't need anything in terms of a racial epithet or anything like that. If it's punks and then you're talking about a-hole or somebody getting away with it, that in and of itself, the prosecutor could argue, shows the ill will or depraved heart or depraved mind that you need for malice for second-degree.

So to the extent that they have some mental state, that's fine. The problem with this probable cause affidavit, I think is, it still doesn't address the Florida law. Because the Florida law, even if he's the aggressor, there's at certain points where George Zimmerman can make the argument that Trayvon Martin should have retreated, and that Trayvon Martin, once there was a scuffle, should have retreated.

So there's so many nuances in this and it's so complex because of this particular law and the way that it's written, that we're just going to have to wait until it unfolds. And actually, I think, wait until the immunity hearing. Because the immunity hearing is what's going to be make or break for Zimmerman.

COOPER: Well, Mark, to your point, at one point in the affidavit, it says, Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher, continued to follow Martin, who was trying to return to his home. Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.

Now that's open to fierce debate because Zimmerman supporters have said he stopped pursuing Martin and that it was Martin who confronted him. And on one point on the tape, Zimmerman said that Martin is approaching him. So the fact they are quoting it like that way, a struggle ensued, does that give any insight as to what the prosecutor -- evidence the prosecutor has, or are they just trying to leave it as vague as possible?

GERAGOS: I -- I think -- no, I think, Anderson, I think you've hit a home run there with your analysis because I think they don't have someone who can fill in that gap between when the tape says, you know, don't follow, and then a struggle ensues. I think that that probably telegraphs, they have only got a witness who saw the struggle, they don't have anything after the 911 or in between to fill in the 911 and the phone call with the girlfriend.

So, I think otherwise they would have put something in -- in between that gap. They're just fast forwarding to "struggle ensues." And they still, even with the struggle, still have to deal with this common -- you know, the Stand Your Ground law because even if there's a struggle, Zimmerman still has potentially the right to use deadly force.

COOPER: Mark NeJame, how tough will it be for George Zimmerman's attorney to actually get his client out on bond?

MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he should be able to get him out on bond in light of the facts that we know. Zimmerman apparently does not pose a risk of flight. The man turned himself in, while rumors were flying everywhere that he might have fled the country, which he had really every right to do before the charges were brought, or weren't filed.

The fact of the matter is, is he stayed here and he turned himself in as soon as it became public and as soon as he became known that a warrant was out.

Secondly, it does seem like conditions of bond could be crafted to show that he's not a danger to society. Home confinement or matters such as that could easily be established.

Also understand that in Florida, the hearing is going to be proof evident, presumption great. Is the proof evident, is the presumption great that, in fact, he is responsible for second-degree murder? With all the questions flying? Absolutely not.

COOPER: Marcia Clark, to -- you know, in the affidavit, the prosecutor is saying the word "punks" was used. Can she then later on, during the trial, say, actually, a racial epithet was used and here's the evidence of that? And would the fact that she said it was "punks" in this affidavit, would that be used against her?

CLARK: I don't think it would, Anderson. I think that -- she can say exactly as I have, look, I'm being very careful, I'm not going to throw out something as inflammatory as a racial slur unless I'm absolutely sure I can prove that that is indeed what it is. And I'm going to be very careful. So it actually shows her to be responsible. I think she can explain it that way.

If she does wind up having the technical support to justify claiming later that there was a racial slur used, and that's a big if. We don't know right now whether she'll be able to do that.

With regard to the self-defense, the Stand Your Ground law, I want to point out one thing. You know people have been naming this law as though it's something unusual and unique to Florida. It isn't. California has Stand Your Ground law, it's the same thing, the same language used in the self-defense instruction.

What you have to remember is it still requires the person who's claiming self-defense to say that they had a reasonable belief in imminent death or great bodily injury. Reasonable belief. That's an objective standard.

GERAGOS: Right. But the --

CLARK: You cannot just say, hey, he looked scary to me so I thought I had to defend myself.

GERAGOS: But Marcia -- yes, but Marcia, the big difference is you've got the --

NEJAME: But it is not an objective standard --


GERAGOS: Right, it's a subjective standard and you have this intermediate step of the immunity hearing.

NEJAME: It's absolutely a subjective standard.

GERAGOS: Right. And you have the intermediate immunity hearing which --

CLARK: Right. Right.

GERAGOS: -- by a preponderance or clear and convincing. And that's something that's completely absent from California law.

NEJAME: And Marcia, you say that that's an objective standard. Anything --


CLARK: Right, wait, that's true. That's procedure --

NEJAME: If anything -- if anything --

COOPER: Marcia, I'm sorry, let -- let Mark NeJame go and then --

CLARK: Hold on, hold on, Mark. Hang on. Hang on. I'm only saying if that's a procedural issue and Mark is correct about that, we don't have that hearing, although we would certainly have hearings and pre-trial motions, where the defense would say, look, I want this whole thing thrown out on 995 -- well, I'm not going to throw out the code sections, Mark, you know what I'm talking about.

They have a specific procedure in Florida.


CLARK: All I'm saying is that the law itself is -- the law itself is really been basically the same. And we -- in many, many states you have the right to stand your ground. You're not obligated to retreat. But in all states, you have to prove that you have a reasonable belief in imminent death or bodily injury.

COOPER: OK. Mark NeJame, go ahead.

NEJAME: Yes, but what it is -- the difference is, is the standard law for self-defense, you can repel like -- or force with like force. Here, it's a purely subjective standard. You could have somebody who might be factually wrong that they're in imminent -- that real harm could come to them, but their belief that they're in imminent fear of bodily harm or death is enough to cross the threshold.

COOPER: Mark --

NEJAME: So there's a real issue here.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, Zimmerman's attorney requested all future court records be sealed. What's the strategy in that? And would that also include autopsy reports, forensic evidence, and the like?

GERAGOS: Yes, I think that's what it is. I don't think he's going to get very far with that. Mark -- the other Mark here can probably tell you, Florida may be the most open Sunshine State in terms of their laws of any place I have ever seen.

I think what the thinking is, is that he wants to try this in the courtroom and not in the press. To -- yes, one of the observations I have made today after hearing the probable cause or reading the probable cause is that interestingly enough, the media has had most of this stuff out there in pretty good detail and has had a pretty good accurate recitation of what their evidence is. So there wasn't a whole lot of new things that I saw in there or heard in there, and not a whole lot of surprises in that. So --

COOPER: Right.

GERAGOS: I don't think this thing is going to be a slam dunk for the prosecution as a lot of people think.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there.

Mark Geragos, Marcia Clark, Mark NeJame, appreciate it.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

Ahead, we have got more inside details on that failed North Korean rocket launch.

Also next, Trayvon Martin's family, his mother, and family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, are here. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Well, welcome back.

The breaking news tonight, we now have the prosecution's early road map to the case against George Zimmerman, who faced a probable cause hearing tonight after his first night in jail. The judge ruling there was indeed enough evidence to proceed. The prosecution's affidavit laying it out.

In their view, George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin, decided he was a potential criminal, as they put it, then pursued him, confronted him, and killed him after a scuffle that should not have happened. Again, that's the prosecution's take. The Zimmerman family says their son was attacked, nearly killed, and only fired to save his own life. Now it is up to the legal system, which is what the Martin family wanted from the beginning.

Joining me now are Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his brother, Jahvaris, and family attorney, Benjamin Crump.

I appreciate all you being here.

Sybrina, I wonder, did you watch the hearing today? Did you actually see George Zimmerman in court?

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: We watched certain parts of it, but we didn't actually sit down to see the whole thing.

COOPER: What is that like to see it? I mean, this is something you've been wanting for so long, ever since your son was killed.

S. FULTON: It actually helps a little to see that the person that shot and killed Trayvon will be held accountable for what he has done.

COOPER: Jahvaris, as a brother, what is it like to see that?

JAHVARIS FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S BROTHER: I'm relieved that it's happened, you know, we finally are starting to get some justice for my brother. So I'm happy about that.


Benjamin, for you, this is really just the first step.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Yes, sir. Anderson, this is the first base, really, in the true sense of the word in this case, because we have this Stand Your Ground law, and that's going to be second base. And we've got to get through that before we can get to actually prosecution and the jury. And so we're preparing ourselves for the long jury. And it took us so long to just get to this point. We're relieved, especially for Sybrina and Tracy, to get to this point, to know that they -- he'll have to stand accountable.

COOPER: Right. Sybrina, earlier you made comments that you believe what happened between your son and George Zimmerman was an accident. That got a lot of -- a lot of coverage, a lot of people interpreting it different ways. I wanted to give you an opportunity to explain what you meant or how you feel about that.

S. FULTON: That wasn't actually my intent. It was taken out of context. What I actually said was, I repeated what Tracy had just said, that George -- if George Zimmerman had not gotten out of his vehicle, we would not have been there and this wouldn't have happened. And I simply said that I felt that the actual encounter was an accident. But George getting out of his vehicle and having some type of confrontation with Trayvon, that that was the accident. By no means do I, you know, believe that he shot and killed my son by accident. I think it was deliberate. He got out of that vehicle, with the intent to kill -- shoot and kill my son. And that's what I believe. That's what I have said from the start, that he chased my son down like an animal and he killed him.

COOPER: You've talked about justice for your son. Is -- how do you define justice now? Is justice just having a trial? Is justice having this man convicted? For you, what is justice?

S. FULTON: Well, justice is a few things, but first of all, we needed an arrest. Because he cannot be held accountable for what he's done if he has not been arrested. So that was our first step. Now we're going to move into the second level of the trial and getting him sentenced and prosecuted and everything, so that we can move forward with this. Because we want him to be held accountable for what he's done.

COOPER: Jahvaris, what do you want people to know about your brother? We haven't heard much from you in all this time. I can't imagine how hard this has been for you. What do you want people to, you know, in all of this remember about your brother?

J. FULTON: I would like them to remember that he wasn't this, you know, violent, confrontational person that George Zimmerman is making him out to be. You know, he loved kids, he loved sports. You know, he was just a regular kid. I mean, he -- the stuff, you know, they say, I disagree with. That wasn't him.

COOPER: When you heard that this had happened, I mean, what was your -- beyond the grief of it, did it seem real? I mean, did it seem impossible to you that this had happened?

J. FULTON: I didn't believe it at all.


J. FULTON: I -- I remember that conversation I had with my mother on the phone and --

COOPER: She called you to tell you?

J. FULTON: And, you know, I asked her -- I told her I didn't understand. It didn't make sense at all.

CRUMP: Anderson, the 911 tapes, the objective evidence there is there. You can listen to -- he was pursuing Trayvon. The only thing that we have where Trayvon confronts him is George Zimmerman's version. And I think the evidence is what matters here. Not what he say, because it's very self-serving now. And Trayvon isn't here to tell his side of the story.

COOPER: Ben, George Zimmerman's attorney is trying to get bond -- wants ultimately to get bond for his client. Is that -- do you want George Zimmerman out on bond? Is this something that you think is acceptable? CRUMP: Well, what we want is the judge to think about the charge, because it's a very serious charge. He shot an unarmed kid, and if convicted, he's facing a lot of time. We already saw a lot of erratic behavior on his part, so can we be sure if he's bonded out that he's not going to try to flee from justice?

We hear a lot about him turning himself in. As we understand, there was a capias issued. So had he not turned himself in, I want to believe the government would have come and got him, just as if Trayvon had been the shooter, they certainly would have got him. And we believe, Anderson, Trayvon would have been arrested on day one, not 44 days later.

COOPER: Was it -- was it shocking for you to actually finally see George Zimmerman? I mean, after all this time, there has been pictures of him, of course, but to the actually see him, just a video of him? Was that strange?

S. FULTON: Well, we -- the first time I did see him was the courthouse when we filed a lawsuit for the 911 tapes, so that was the first picture that I have seen. And then I have seen the second picture when he was arrested. But I haven't seen him yet. It wasn't shocking --

COOPER: So you haven't watched video of the hearing today? We actually saw him on video.

S. FULTON: I actually saw him on the video.


S. FULTON: And really outside of your studio, I have seen pictures of him. COOPER: But -- and I'm sorry, I guess, I ask this again, but is it disturbing -- I mean, is it shocking -- I don't know, just -- I guess I'm just curious about what is your reaction of actually seeing this person walking around?

S. FULTON: I have a strong faith in God and I just believe that he's a human being. At the end of the day, he's a human being. There are good people and there are bad people. And I just believe he's a human being. I don't have any hate for him in my heart. I lost my child and that hurts me a great deal. So I just want him to be held accountable for what he's done.

COOPER: But you don't have hate in your heart?

S. FULTON: No, I don't.

COOPER: That's a hard -- that's a remarkable thing. I think a lot of people would be -- find it hard not to feel some hate.

S. FULTON: Well, I have faith in the legal system and I feel that he'll get his -- whatever's due to him, he'll receive it. It's not for me to judge him.

COOPER: Sybrina, I appreciate you being with us. I know it's not easy, and Jahvaris, as well, thank you very much. And Benjamin Crump as well. Thank you so much.


COOPER: We continue obviously to follow this.

And we're following another story tonight, the firestorm over what a CNN political contributor, Hilary Rosen, said about Mitt Romney's wife, Ann. Many saw her remarks as an attack on stay-at-home moms. Hilary Rosen joins me ahead, along with Bay Buchanan.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: In "Raw Politics" tonight: the backlash over comments made by CNN political contributor, Hilary Rosen, on this program last night.

The Twitter sphere erupted after Rosen said this about Mitt Romney's wife last night.


HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I'm hearing. Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life.

She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and how do we -- and why do we worry about their future.


COOPER: Ann Romney, herself, was one of the first to respond on Twitter at 10:18 p.m. She fired off what was apparently her first- ever tweet saying -- quote -- "I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work."

This morning, Mrs. Romney had more to say on FOX News.


ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices, to have a career and raise a family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that. That's wonderful. But you know, there are other people that have a choice.


COOPER: Well, in the hours before that interview, Ann Romney was trending on Twitter, where tweets about Rosen's comments were flying including this one from one of Romney's five sons, Josh. Josh Romney said, "Ann D. Romney is one of the smartest, hardest working women I know. Could have done anything with her life. Chose to raise me."

Now, the White House was quick to condemn Hilary Rosen's comments. Obama campaign manager Messina tweeted this: "I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off-limits. She should apologize."

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter responded to his tweet saying, "Families must be off-limits on campaigns and I personally believe stay-at-home moms work harder than most of us do."

Rosen did apologize to Mrs. Romney saying, her words were poorly chosen, but her apology has not stopped the criticism. Today first lady, Michelle Obama tweeted, "Every mother works hard and every woman deserves to be respected."

Just hours later, President Obama weighed in.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no tougher job than being a mom. And when I think about what Michelle's had to do, when I think about my own mom, a single mother raising me and my sister, that's work.

So anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement. More broadly, I don't have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates.


COOPER: Well, over the past 24 hours, both the White House and the Democratic National Committee have been distancing themselves from Rosen, a veteran Democratic strategist. They told CNN she has no official role in the White House or the DNC.

Meantime, the Romney campaign has tried to link Rosen's comments directly to the White House. In an e-mail to supporters, they called Rosen an Obama adviser.

The campaign's Web site also issued call for support for Ann. Part of the text reads, "We stand with Mitt and Ann in saying that all women play an important role in our country. America deserves a president who will bring us together, not pit us against each other." Seems to be implying that President Obama attacked stay-at-home mothers. You just heard what he said about Rosen's comments. He doesn't agree with her.

Tonight, we've asked Hilary Rosen back to talk about all this. Also here, Republican strategist Bay Buchanan. She's also the author of "Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected Lessons I Learned as a Single Mom," and a senior advisor to Mitt Romney.

Hilary, welcome back. I want to give you a chance to say what you'd like about your comments: defend them, explain them. Also address the firestorm they've caused over the last 24 hours.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think I've characterized them often enough over the last 24 hours, Anderson. And it is clear that anybody who knows me knows that I am actually a mother, that I was even a stay-at-home mother for several years; that the idea that I would create a division between stay-at-home moms and working moms is just silly. That has nothing to do with what I said.

What I care about and what I think the American people care about is whether or not we are going to have a president who is focused on the struggles of women who have economic challenges. And we need to know that our president understands that, cares about that, has policies to fix that.

I've seen 23 straight months of job growth under President Obama and a significant amount of support for women and women's issues. I have not seen that with Mitt Romney and his history at Bain Capital or as governor. You know, that's the issue that people -- if everyone wants to make this about me, that's just a distraction. That's not the issue.

COOPER: But on -- but on the specific things that you said, I mean, do you -- do you stand by it, saying that Ann Romney hasn't worked?

ROSEN: You know, being a stay-at-home mom is a lot of work. It's work inside the home, not outside the home. She is lucky, though, that she has choice, and she referred to that herself. I admire the way that she talks about her own life.

Many women do not have the choice or the luxury of being a stay- at-home mom. We have to go and work and support our children and like as Bay's written in her pretty meaningful book, some -- many, many women are single moms doing the same thing.

So, you know, that's my only point. It's not an attack on Ann Romney. I apologized for that. I'm not going to go groveling over again when I really feel like we need to get back to the issues. This is -- this is not about Ann Romney or anything else other than let's talk about what women's opportunities are and what president is going to serve them best.

COOPER: Bay Buchanan, what do you make of Hilary Rosen's comments?

BAY BUCHANAN, MITT ROMNEY ADVISOR: First of all, Hilary has said very clearly that she used some poor words. It was a poor way to express herself, and she apologized. I accept that. There's no -- I would not question her sincerity for a moment. I do believe that she recognizes she made a mistake.

And let me add, Anderson, Hilary is a very savvy political person. In addition, she is passionate about her issues, and she's been extremely loyal to this president and the administration. I have enormous respect for all three counts. And in this business that we are in, this awful rotten business of politics, there's no reason why you can't understand that we, being humans, are going to make mistakes sometimes, and you distance yourself from the words. You don't distance yourself from the person.

Hilary has been enormously loyal and committed to this president, and to have them, to spend a day just trying to distance themselves, say she's not an adviser, she's not this. That is unacceptable to me. She has been too good to them, for them to treat her this way.

And Anderson, I've seen it too many times in politics. There's no reason we can't say, "Hey, this person, terrific, smart, made a mistake, something I'll probably do tomorrow. Let's move on." And that's what I think it's time to do.

And I accept what Hilary has to say, and I acknowledge -- and I'll make one more point. I hope they don't listen to her over there. She's too smart, and it won't be in our best interests if they do.

COOPER: Hilary, Romney surrogates have been calling you an Obama campaign adviser, a DNC adviser. Just to clear up the issue, what is your relationship there? Do you advise either of them, even unofficially?

ROSEN: No. I mean, I think you heard from the White House today. I'm not a -- I'm not a White House or DNC adviser.

BUCHANAN: Yes, but in fairness, she's been over there 35 times. Hilary, you're not going to lunch over there like the rest of us go to McDonald's. It's once a month. So surely she's given them advice, Anderson. Whether they want to acknowledge it or not, I think that's what's outrageous.

This is a smart gal. I shouldn't say gal; you're going to beat me up after this interview. She's a smart woman who is very knowledgeable, enormous experience. Acknowledge it. She has been a very good aide and supporter of theirs. I don't know why they have to distance -- again, why they have to distance themselves from Hilary. And that's what I find despicable.

ROSEN: You know, I appreciate Bay's comments a lot, but here's, I think, really something that's going to be more important tomorrow and the next day and the next day, which is this is going to be, for so many reasons, the amount of money that's going to be spent, the social media and intense media environment these candidates and campaigns are operating in, the high stakes that this country is in right now.

You know, we have North Korea, you know, itching with weapons. We have, you know, cases of racial tension all across the country. We are in a very tense place right now in our country, and our politics are reflecting a really ugly part of our way to deal with it.

And I think that that's going to be our challenge over the next six or seven months, is to not do this to each other and to say, "You know what? I know that person. I know that they didn't mean that. Or maybe they did mean it and they need to say that they -- back it up with facts."

So you know, I just think that this is, tomorrow, you know, we're all going to wake up, and I'm going to stay off TV. But, you know, Mitt Romney, I believe is still going to have a problem selling himself to American women as a good economic savior. Bay will feel differently about that. Hopefully, the debate will go back to the issues.

COOPER: Bay, do you see this, this debate over who's waging a war on women, is anyone waging a war on women? I mean, is this going to continue forward?

BUCHANAN: I think the key issue here is that that was what the Democrats started. And I know that Hilary disagrees with me on this, but the evidence is overwhelming, that it's out there, whether it's Nancy Pelosi or the chairman of their party has put it in words, this is a Republican war on women.

And so, of course, we responded. We are not at war. And if you want to say anyone's at war, take a look at their record and what they've done to women in the workplace.

You know, 92 percent of the unemployment in the last three years has been the women losing their jobs. So this has been devastating to women.

I think, Anderson, the point is the economy is what we need to be talking about. And Mitt Romney has a terrific plan. Obama has failed miserably on this, turning the economy around, getting people back to work. Men and women, all of us, Americans, coming together again. And let's see that we have a country that can thrive under a Romney presidency.

ROSEN: I'm OK. That's the debate we ought to be having.

BUCHANAN: I couldn't agree more.

COOPER: Hilary Rosen, appreciate it. Bay Buchanan, thank you very much.

We're following breaking news tonight. North Korea defied international warnings; launched a rocket tonight. There are reports the test failed. The latest on that just ahead.


COOPER: More now on the breaking news out of North Korea against repeated international warnings, it launched a rocket tonight. Didn't get much further than the launch pad. The U.S. government believes it broke apart shortly after liftoff.

CNN's Stan Grant is in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

Stan, what's the latest you're hearing on what happened with this launch? STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely nothing on the ground here, Anderson. Extraordinary, isn't it? You know, they brought the world's media here, unprecedented access, even took us out to the launch site just the other day, and we were supposed to see this all unfold. We saw, we heard nothing. We've just put it through our minders not long ago, our government minders are here, and they're denying they know anything about this at all.

I'm just receiving word, though, that we will be taken somewhere they're calling under heavy security in about four hours from now. I've just walked from the press center that's being set up here for this event, and there is an empty chair where the official was meant to sit to talk about this.

So absolutely getting no confirmation at all. An extremely embarrassing moment for this country. Because all of this was meant to be to the glory of the man they call the founding father of the country, Kim Il-Sung, the so-called Great Leader, 100 years from his birth, and this was meant to be the pinnacle of the celebrations. It seems to have literally blown up in their faces -- Anderson.

COOPER: So the question, I guess, is then how are they going to be dealing with this? Will they -- will they admit it? Will they say it was a success? Do we have any sense?

GRANT: We know that in the past they've carried out these types of tests, 2006, 2009, and even then, they still don't admit that they were failures, despite the confirmation from elsewhere.

And remember, there are two stories here. One, the story that the rest of the world will get, and the other, the story that the people here are going to get. The legitimacy of this regime depends on their ability to show strength to their own people. Even the food aid that they get is often celebrated here as a tribute to the great leadership of this country. These people are locked away, and they are told what they are told.

We're not hearing yet what that story's going to be, but it's no doubt going to be a very different story to the type of things we're hearing from the United States, Japan and South Korea right now.

COOPER: Stan Grant will continue to follow tonight. Thank you.

We've been talking about the death of Trayvon Martin. Tonight the death of another man is also seeking what they say would be justice. He was a vet with a heart condition. One night his medical alert alarm went off. Police showed up at his house; he ended up dead. His family says it was murder, but no one has been charged. Soledad O'Brien has the story, next.


COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, a New York grand jury is investigating a fatal shooting that some are comparing to the Trayvon Martin shooting. Now, in this case, an unarmed elderly veteran was killed, shot to death in his own home by police officers who broke down his door. Five months later, no one's been charged. The family's -- the man's family is demanding what they say would be justice.

Here's Soledad O'Brien.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The alarm rang in at 5 a.m. on a cold winter morning. A 68-year-old Vietnam vet with a severe heart condition had set off his medical alert device. But instead of an ambulance, police arrived at Kenneth Chamberlain's apartment. Neighbors saw guns drawn, a riot shield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They stated that if he didn't come and open the door, they was going to knock it down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right across from the elevator.

O'BRIEN: His niece, who lives upstairs, told police at the scene he'd set off the alarm accidentally, to please let his family talk to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just kept hearing my uncle respond, "Please leave me alone. Go away. I didn't call you. I don't need your help."

O'BRIEN: Chamberlain and the police were being recorded by the alert device.

KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN JR., SON OF SHOOTING VICTIM: You hear one of the officers then use an expletive, and that's when he said he didn't give an "F," used the "N" word.

O'BRIEN (on camera): The "N" word?


O'BRIEN (voice-over): Law enforcement sources confirm that's on the tape.

But there's more. Later the district attorney showed the family two videos in their custody. One from a hallway security camera. Another recorded by a camera on a Taser gun. Kenneth Jr. demonstrated what he saw.

(on camera) What is your dad saying? What's he doing?

CHAMBERLIN: He's standing there. He's looking at them, and you hear the officers saying, "Hit it again, hit it again, hit it again." And then at one point, you hear the officers say, "Shut it off." So the last part that I saw on the video with my father was him just like this.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Police say Chamberlain threatened them with knives.

DAVID CHONG, WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK, PUBLIC SAFETY: The officers first used an electronic Taser, which was discharged, hit the victim, and had no effect. While the officers were retreating, the officers then used a shotgun, a bean bag shotgun.

O'BRIEN: So then they fired two real bullets. An autopsy report obtained by CNN shows them entering the side of his arm, indicating that Chamberlain was not facing the officers or had turned away.

RANDY MCLAUGHLIN, LAWYER FOR SHOOTING VICTIM: So the story that the police put out, that he was an ax-wielding black man, designed -- trying to hurt a police officer, is what it is, a flat-out lie.

O'BRIEN: Chamberlain's lawyers acknowledge he did throw out a silver object.

MCLAUGHLIN: At that moment, a bolt cutter comes from the police officers and removes the object. So from that point forward, there's absolutely no evidence that at any time Mr. Chamberlain had a weapon in his hands.

O'BRIEN: There is no way to know. The Taser video suddenly cuts off before the shots are fired.

(on camera) So you must have thought it is ironic, in sort of a terrible way, that someone summoned to your father's door to help save his life, if he had been having some kind of heart emergency...


O'BRIEN: ... ended up shooting him?

CHAMBERLIN: Yes. And they took his life. Unnecessarily. They didn't have to.

O'BRIEN: The shooter, Police Officer Anthony Carelli, is a decorated officer. His lawyer said, "We trust that the grand jury will rightfully determine that Officer Carelli's actions, while perhaps not understandable or acceptable to family members, attorneys, and other emissaries of the Chamberlain family, were justified under our laws."

Chamberlain's niece will soon testify before that grand jury. She wants to know why police couldn't diffuse the confrontation and wouldn't ask the family to help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to hear him constantly say, over and over again, "Please leave me alone. I'm OK." And the way they mocked him and picked at him, it's very hurtful.


O'BRIEN: Anderson, I'm going to have more on this story tomorrow morning when I talk to Kenneth Chamberlain's son on my show, "STARTING POINT," tomorrow at 7 p.m. COOPER: So there was a 911 call. Why were police there?

O'BRIEN: Well, the 911 call basically says a person has triggered their alarm, and that will trigger an ambulance, but often the police will get there ahead of time. So the police just happened to get there first.

COOPER: And what kind of condition was he in? Was he capable of being aggressive?

O'BRIEN: We had a chance to look at his medical reports. What you see in the medical reports is a person who has, you know, serious heart and sort of breathing problems. So he's described as someone who couldn't really walk up a flight of stairs. Could get halfway before he'd have to stop.

At the same time, law enforcement has said that they've been called to his address before, and he's never been arrested. They won't elaborate on what called to the address before really means.

COOPER: And this was all being recorded, unbeknownst to police?

O'BRIEN: Well, that's the thing, and we're going to obviously hope to get access to those recordings. But recorded three ways. There was a camera in the hallway of the apartment -- outside of the apartment. There was the Life Alert also records. Once it's triggered, it starts a recording device. So that entire hour or so was reported of conversations. And then, of course, the Taser. The minute you take the safety off, you unhook the safety, starts recording video.

COOPER: Soledad, appreciate it. Thanks, we'll continue to follow it.

Coming up, "The RidicuList." We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding rumors of the death of Boo. Now, if you're unfamiliar with the Boo oeuvre, the Boovre, if you will, I have to warn you: set your phasers to adorable.

Boo is widely considered the cutest dog in the galaxy. He has nearly 4 million fans on his Facebook page, which is adorned with picture after picture of Boo in his Booey goodness, if you will. And yes, I said four million fans.

It's easy to see why. There's no denying it. This is one fetching little Pomeranian. Lock at this guy. Boo also has a book deal. This is the book "Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog." Look at that picture.

Speaking of canine superlatives, as long as we're on high cuteness alert, can we just pause and watch this clip of the world's smallest dog? It's from my daytime talk show, "Anderson." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We actually have heard that, according to one of the world records, she is the smallest dog.

COOPER: What kind of a dog is this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she's a mutt. She is a rescue dog. She was the last one to come out, and she wasn't breathing.

COOPER: So you did mouth to mouth to bring her back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, and she survived, and she is just a survivor.



COOPER: It's very cute. Anyway, getting back to Boo, yesterday a rumors started online that, sadly, Boo had died. The reports said a blog writer started the rumor on Twitter, and in no time at all the Internet blew up -- look how cute that dog is! Where was I? Oh, yes, the Internet blew up with reports that Boo -- reports of Boo's demise.

Thank you for taking down the picture. Now I can concentrate.

People lamenting the passing of the world's cutest dog, "R.I.P., Boo," hash tags all over the place. You know the drill.

Well, I'm happy to report that Boo is alive and well. Today the statement went up on Boo's Facebook page. "Hi, friends, I heard the rumors, and I would like all my friends to know that I am happy and kicking. I asked human if I could do a press conference to reassure everyone on camera, but she reminded me that I can't talk."

That's perhaps the most darling reminder ever to not believe everything you read. A Twitter rumor cleared up on Facebook by a Pomeranian. We are down the rabbit hole, people. We are down the rabbit hole.

But I think this whole Boo-haha also shows how little times have changed and how much. I'm reminded of the great New Yorker cartoon, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." That was from 1993. And to think, here we are 19 years later and dogs have their own Facebook pages.

Still, erroneous death rumors happened long before the dawn of the Internet. They are precisely what led to Mark Twain's off-quoted line about the report of his death being greatly exaggerated. Maybe that's not as cute as Boo's statement, but it is still darn near perfect. How I wish Mark Twain was on Twitter.

Anyway, I think I can speak for all of us when I say with great relief, at least we still have Boo.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching.


ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 Bulletin -- News & Business Bulletin."

A shaky truce has finally taken hold in Syria, but the big question is will it last? And today was not completely free of violence. There was sporadic shelling in the besieged city of Homs. And opponents of the Assad regime said at least 21 people were killed today.

JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon has been charged with interfering with a flight crew. You'll recall that Osbon was said to be acting erratically aboard a flight from New York to Las Vegas last month and he was locked out of the cockpit and had to be restrained by passengers and crew.

Jury selection began today in North Carolina in the trial of John Edwards, the former senator and presidential candidate. He is accused of diverting money from his 2008 presidential campaign to support his former mistress, who later gave birth to their daughter.

And this famous painting, "The Scream," by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, can sell for upwards of $80 million when it's put up for auction next month in New York. Right now it's on display in London. It's one of four versions of "The Scream" and the only one still in private hands.

Now here's Anderson.