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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Winter Storm Slams Midwest; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies; Prostitute Recants Story about Senator; Dow Hits Record High
Aired March 5, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Ali, thanks very much.
Good evening, everyone. We've got breaking news tonight on two fronts. One of them a major storm front. Another massive winter weather monster hammering the Midwest and moving east. Record snowfall in Chicago. Thousands of flights canceled or delayed right now. It's the third big storm in weeks. People are getting pretty tired of it.
Also tonight the death of a world leader who made it his business to sell America's oil then use the profits to make America mad.
First, though, the storm and Alexandra Steele in the Weather Center.
What's the latest right now? Chicago we know is getting hammered. What's happening?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. Well, here it is. You can see here's Chicago. The worst pretty much over for Chicago. We've seen about six, seven inches. Tonight here's the radar. What we're seeing more snow showers around. You can see the pictures from Chicago. So it certainly was substantial and a record for the day in Chicago.
Tonight we're going to see these winds at about 30 miles per hour. So blowing and drifting of the snow that fell about six, seven inches thus far. Breaks the record for the day. Most snow Chicago's seen, believe it or not, since 2011 on that Groundhog Day blizzard. Seems today, Anderson, 26.3, a little bit shy for the season, although it's the third snowstorm we've seen thus far, still about four inches below average.
COOPER: And it's heading to D.C.
STEELE: That's right.
COOPER: I know D.C. has a history of late winter monster storms.
STEELE: You know, they do. But also this will be -- they've only had an inch and a half this entire season. They're 13 inches below where they should be. So they're certainly going to see a big storm. And it will be the first of the season and before the cherry blossoms come, we're going to get a little snow. But here are the top five in March. In 1947, they have 11.5 inches. In 1909, they had nine, so you get the picture. Eight in 1999, eight in 1900. So we should get up there, but Washington's a really interesting forecast. And I'll show you why.
So here's that area of low pressure. Right now in Chicago winding down. Again snow showers, but kind of the bulk of the accumulations are done. The area of low pressure will move east. And then what we're going to see tomorrow is going to kind of transfer its energy, become a coastal low. And coastal lows are kind of a different animal. We're going to watch it move to the north and east.
And then on Thursday New York to Boston could see maybe a slushy one to two inches, but it's an inland affair. So Indianapolis maybe eight inches, but here's Washington, Anderson. Within the beltway four to eight inches. East toward Annapolis, 20 miles, maybe one to three slushy inches, west toward Dulles, how about 15 inches there. So where this moves really will make a big difference.
COOPER: Right. And I know, you said, thousands of flights right canceled or delayed across the country.
COOPER: Alexandra, appreciate the update.
Now the breaking news on the death of a world leader who made America see red, as in Fidel Castro red, Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chavez. He knew how to push hot buttons which may explain why getting news of his passing the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, quote, "good riddance to this dictator."
President Obama tonight was more diplomatic saying the U.S. supports the Venezuelan people at this challenging time.
Now Hugo Chavez fought and lost a long battle with cancer. Fought a longer battle to reshape Venezuela to suit his own idiosyncratic ad often eccentric vision. Adding a star to the flag, changing Venezuela's time zone, ordering the nation's Coat of Arms altered on the suggestion of his then young daughter.
Beyond those eccentricity, he's spent 14 years challenging American influence in Latin America and the world and embracing global pariahs like North Korea and Iran.
In a moment I'm going to talk to Christiane Amanpour and Larry King who both spent time with the late president. But first Jim Clancy on his turbulent years in power.
TOM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The roar of applause was music. The surging crowd his dance partner. And for Venezuela's Hugo Chavez politics was performance art. The script came easily to Chavez. Anything that might warrant outrage in Washington wasn't a cause for concern but rather the measure of success. Chavez beamed and embraced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the Iranian leader toured leftist Latin America. Knowing well the global concerns Tehran was aiming to develop the bomb, Chavez joked a nearby grassy knoll would suddenly open up and a nuclear warhead would sprout. They laughed.
What Chavez really relished was playing on the world stage.
PRES. HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (Through Translator): Yesterday the devil came here. And it smells of sulfur still today.
CLANCY: Standing at the lectern that President George W. Bush used the day before Hugo Chavez sniffed the air and made it personal, accusing the American leader of talking as if he were the owner of the world.
When an earthquake rocked Haiti, Chavez claimed it was the result of U.S. weapons testing, an excuse to send American troops into the country.
Chavez, of course, had humanitarian aid programs of his own. When cash-strapped Americans were shivering in the winter cold, Chavez volunteered Venezuelan oil to heat homes in the Bronx for free. Local politicians and local media turned out, too.
Chavez was never afraid to wield his oil wealth against his foes or he'd use it to win friends and influence his neighbors. He once rewarded his three millionth Twitter follower with a new home. She was thrilled. So what if, as his critics said, the other 2,999,000 didn't get a thing. Online and in the streets the crowds cheer.
In the end Hugo Chavez even suggested his cancer could be the result of an American conspiracy. He quoted Fidel Castro's warnings to be careful what he ate and watch out for small needles.
The images of Hugo Chavez rallying the crowds, hurling insults and ridiculing his enemies survived, an official portrait of the Venezuelan leader.
Even his staunchest rivals admit he could have been re-elected again and again. That bombastic rhetoric embraced by his supporters, embraced as the courage to stand up to the powers that be. It elevated him, and he knew it. Courageous, outrageous, it's what made Hugo Chavez larger than life.
I'm Jim Clancy.
COOPER: Well, he was 58 years old when he died. The funeral is now set for Friday. By the suggestion in Jim Clancy's report that America somehow caused his cancer was neither the first nor the last touch of suspicion to come from Chavez's government. Just today officials accused two American Arab attaches at the embassy in Caracas of encouraging members of the Venezuelan military to try to destabilize the country.
Joining me tonight on the phone, Larry King, who interviewed Chavez back in 2009, and Christiane Amanpour, host of "AMANPOUR."
Larry, you actually met Chavez, you spoke with him about President Obama and President Bush after he had some tough things to say about both men. You asked him about that. I just want to play for our viewers some of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING NOW": Don't you think that insults, Mr. President, don't harbor peace?
CHAVEZ (Through Translator): Well, if you talk about insults and name calling, well, if we withdraw the insults on those name calling, then we can have peace? Well, we need to do that, but all of us. Now how Bush called me. The U.S. -- the Bush government toppled me. They asked for my assassination. They disrespected us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'm wondering, Larry, how he struck you. I mean, did he believe that? Did he seem rational to you?
KING: Well, Christiane and Anderson, good to talk to you both. There's something -- a lot of things interesting about the late Hugo Chavez. First, when he came into a studio, it had been a long day for me. I had taped Ahmadinejad in the morning, then I taped Chavez and then I met Gadhafi all in the same day. They were here for the U.N.
Chavez came and he spoke -- he spoke in English to me. We spoke about music. He spoke about his love of baseball. Apparently he knew everything about American baseball. He was jovial, hugging. Then we started the interview and he had an interpreter.
I thought that was a little strange why he didn't just converse in English. He was very defensive. We went all over the lot on many things. He was -- he said that Bush tried to assassinate him and he had proof because he had certain people confess that they were among the assassins.
He called -- he said that Hillary Clinton would be a failure as a secretary of state. This was in 2009. So Obama had been in office about seven months at the time.
I found him fascinating. It's an appropriate word. He was -- had he been -- if he were an American politician or Republican or Democrat, he'd been elected. He was -- he had a manner about him that was effusive. You couldn't help but like him while despairing of a lot of things he did. So I found him terribly interesting.
COOPER: Christiane, how much did Chavez change not only Venezuela, but its -- but Venezuela's relationships with other nations? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, "AMANPOUR": Well, I think really a lot. And I think what Larry just said, I mean, all those people Larry interviewed in one day?
AMANPOUR: I like to call it loosely, you know, the axis of friendship that Chavez collected around himself. You know, really sort of professionally kicking sand in the eyes of Uncle Sam as one analyst put to it me. This was part of his international allure, the idea of standing up against the United States. And don't forget while he had so many petrol dollars while the price of oil is so high and he has the highest, the biggest oil reserves in the world, he was able to dispense a lot of largesse and therefore have a lot of friendships based on petrol diplomacy.
Inside his country, he was the populist leader, he was the man who appealed to the poor, to the downtrodden. And you can see on the streets there's a lot of outpouring of grief for him. Obviously in his later years there were, you know, the institutions, the Supreme Court, all sorts of institutions were compromised by him.
But in the last election, he won 55 percent. His opponent won 44 percent. And it was the closest the opposition have come to him. And I think that's where people are going to be look. Is his death a game changer for the future?
COOPER: You know, Larry, it's interesting him speaking in Spanish during the interview. I'm wondering how much of that was for -- because he wanted the interview to be understood by people in Venezuela more than he was interested in it being understood by people in the United States. So that, for him, the reason to do the interview, the target audience was really the people back home.
KING: I think that's a -- that's a good point. Another thing unusual about him, Christiane and Anderson, if you find this interesting, is a lot of the leftist leaders are very anti-religious, but he professed to meet at the observant Catholic, totally believed in Jesus Christ and was observant.
COOPER: Christiane, it's interesting that -- because, I mean, you don't hear that, as Larry said, from a lot of, you know, some of the -- some of the other leaders certainly, you know, Castro.
AMANPOUR: You don't. I mean, the pictures of him with Larry and him elsewhere, Hugo Chavez is always carrying a crucifix and sort of fingering it like worry beads. I'm not sure how much that played in terms of his cult appeal. But certainly the -- you know, the people of Venezuela are very religious. And perhaps there was a real sort of connection there.
Look, no matter how much he was a pain in the neck to the United States and to other countries, he also, as I said, had this cult following, had this sort of populist leadership that played on a lot of the needs and desires of people in his own country. And even you're going to hear, no doubt you're going to report on some of the praise that's come from the United States, some certain Congress people who have talked about how he put his oil at the disposal of the poor and dispossessed not just at home but in the U.S. and elsewhere as well.
So he was somebody who knew how to play the crowd and who was 15 years president of Venezuela, and was this cult, and now can his chosen successor carry that on? Most people don't think that he will have that authority, that cult, that -- you know, that sort of charisma, if you like, to be able to maintain Chavezmo at the level that Hugo Chavez did.
COOPER: Yes. Christiane Amanpour, thank you.
Larry King, great to hear. Larry, thanks.
Let us know what you think about the death of Chavez. Follow me on Twitter right now @Andersoncooper.
Just ahead, who smeared the senator? He's accused of partying with prostitutes but now the story's falling apart. The question is who cooked it up in the first place? Late word on where suspicion is pointing.
Also a report that may make you question everything you thought you knew about the blade runner. The side of Oscar Pistorius that's been hidden from the public largely. What investigative correspondent Drew Griffin uncovered while he was in South Africa. He joins us from there.
COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight. The growing anatomy of what appears to be a smear. New words stunning if true about who might have been trying to set up a powerful Democratic senator. Reporting that again if true gets us closer to uncovering who cooked up this story that Senator Robert Menendez had been patronizing prostitutes in the Dominican Republic and shortchanging them to boot.
Now the accusations were leveled on tape by two Dominican escort. That's one of the interviews there done by the Web site, "The Daily Caller." They ran it and the story extensively in the days leading up to the election. Now as we've reported the woman claiming to be one of those escorts has come forward with a sworn statement that she doesn't even know Menendez and was paid to make the allegations against him. And even before she did, everyone from CNN's Drew Griffin to the FBI tried and failed to verify the escorts' taped claims.
ABC News actually interviewed the escorts but also failed to verify their stories so they have never even broadcast those interviews. Well, tonight ABC is reporting that Republican operatives -- again Republican operatives set the whole thing up.
More from Dana Bash who joins us now.
So, Dana, the senator seemed pretty eager to talk to CNN today. What did he have to say about these latest developments.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right. He clearly feels vindicated. He was pretty eager to effectively say, I told you so. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: I don't know more than what I've read. But I do know that from the very beginning I said that nameless, faceless, anonymous sources took the main -- from right-wing blogs took this story which were just false smears right before an election cycle, attempted to do it then, and ultimately drove into it the mainstream press. But they were never anything other than false smears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now the senator makes the point that all this exploded right before the election. Do you have a sense that this was a political hit job?
BASH: You know, there are a lot of theories. One is that. In fact, I talked to a Republican operative, Anderson, tonight who was involved in trying to defeat Democrats in the Senate who admitted that they were working very hard to try to dig things up on Senator Menendez. It's politics as usual. Both sides do it.
But you mentioned that ABC News admitted in a report that it was -- Republican political operatives who hooked them up with interviews with these women. One theory that Menendez sources who I've been talking to have is that it wasn't Republican operatives who were hired for partisan reasons but perhaps hired by a client who was focused on his bottom line and the almighty dollar.
And the reason is because another allegation that's out there against Senator Menendez is that he's been trying to help his friend and donor get a dormant contract for port security up and running in the Dominican Republic. So the theory is that perhaps somebody who stood to lose money from that was trying to take Senator Menendez down.
COOPER: And that port theory might dovetail the questions of influence peddling by Menendez, right?
BASH: Exactly. And that's something that we should keep in mind here. The most salacious part of this -- the scandal that has been plaguing Senator Menendez may, emphasize may, be subsiding, and that of course is allegations that he was with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, but the FBI and the Senate Ethics Committee, they are still investigating, according to sources, the fact that he was influence peddling and trying to help this friend of his, Salomon Melgen who was a donor, a big donor, and close to him, trying to help him not only with this port security contract, which could have -- it could give Dr. Melgen lots and lots of money but also perhaps help him perhaps get through some allegations of healthcare fraud and other things. So those are definitely still on the table and plaguing him. COOPER: What about "The Daily Caller"? Are they standing by their story?
BASH: They absolutely are standing by their story. They allege that the woman who gave an affidavit in the Dominican Republic saying that she was actually paid to lie is not the woman that they interviewed. And it's hard for anybody to really know what's true because if you look at the Web site "The Daily Caller" put up with -- there you see it, with the woman, her face is blotted out.
Now they can't come up with proof that she was or wasn't the woman, so they're just sort of asking us to take them at their word, as well. But they're absolutely standing by their story.
COOPER: All right. Dana, appreciate the update. Thanks very much.
Just ahead a record day on Wall Street. Stocks hitting a new high. Want to take a look what this means for your 401(k).
And later the surprising changes in airline security that the TSA unveiled today. You still have to take off your shoes but a flight attendant's union is calling these new changes dangerous. We'll tell you what they are and what you can now bring on board. It's going to surprise you.
COOPER: Looks like as soon as tomorrow we could hear the questions that the jurors have for Jodi Arias in her murder trial. We have details on that and today's testimony when we continue.
COOPER: You may not have realized this, the Dow hit a record high today adding more than 125 points to close at nearly 14254. It's a new high. Broke through levels last seen in 2007, 5 1/2 years ago. You may remember the economy was on the verge of a tailspin. Today the gains in the Dow come amid a much different economic picture.
The question is what does it all mean for everybody, especially 401(k)s?
Chief business correspondent Ali Velshi joins me now.
I heard one CEO said that this may be the biggest bull market of his career.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been huge. I mean, the market hit a low on March 9, 2009 while we were in the midst of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. And back then people didn't feel like investing. Average investors didn't feel like investing, but that was a low.
You and I were on TV together when that was going on. You know, to prosper in this country, one of three things needs to happen. You either have to have your investments increasing in value, your home increasing in value or your wage increasing. We haven't seen wage increases at the rate we've needed to. Homes are coming back. But that's a long-term investment. You've got to have credit and capital to put into it. So the stock market is what one expert called TINA, there is no other alternative. There's no alternative. It's the only place money can go.
If you are trying to grow your money, banks don't give you any interest.
VELSHI: Bond funds aren't working. So the money, because of low interest rates, because of the Fed, has been pushed into the stock market, and this has happened since the Fed started propping up the economy back in early 2009.
COOPER: Bottom line for people's 401(k), what does it mean?
VELSHI: Well, listen, if you're invested, this is good. You need to look at your investments. There are some stocks you may have held or funds that have really gained. You need to be careful. You never want to be piling in at the top of market. We don't know it's the top. So you want to be in the market.
If you need to make money off of your money, you've got to be invested. Remember, more than half the revenues from the companies on the Dow or the S&P 500 that you might have 401(k)s in are derived from overseas. So there are other economies that are doing well. Make sure you're well diversified. But, you know, there are still people who think this market has some distance to run. It's not done yet.
COOPER: This is -- this could go on for a while?
VELSHI: This could go on for a while. I mean the market looks ahead many, many months. Unemployment numbers look backward. There are lots of reasons other than the government stepping in to trip the economy that this could actually become --
COOPER: And all this evening even though all these problems in Washington with the sequester and --
VELSHI: Despite the problems in Washington --
COOPER: It's all factored in.
VELSHI: -- this continues to happen. It is factored in.
COOPER: Ali, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
VELSHI: All right.
COOPER: Let's get caught up inside the other stories we're following. Isha is here with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in a letter to U.S. Senate Randy Paul Attorney General Eric Holder stopped short of absolutely ruling out a drone strike against an American citizen on U.S. soil. He also said it had never been done and the Obama administration had no plan of ordering such a strike. The issue came up during the Senate's consideration on John Brennan to lead the CIA.
The TSA is easing some rules and the Flight Attendants Union is calling the changes dangerous. Starting April 25th passengers will be allowed to carry small pocket knives and some sports equipment on to planes for the first time in more than a decade. Only knives with blades less than six centimeters will be allowed, razor blades and box cutters are still banned.
And, Anderson, Lamborghini is marking its 50th anniversary with its fastest model ever. The Veneno. It costs a cool $3.9 million.
SESAY: Only three are being made. The company telling us that two of the buyers live here in the United States. So I put it to you, Anderson Hayes Cooper, are you buying?
COOPER: Yes -- no.
Please, are you kidding me?
COOPER: And that seems moronic. I mean who would spend $3 million for a car? That's just crazy.
SESAY: So you'll be on your bike?
COOPER: It'll be a scratch -- yes, I'll be on my bicycle. I'm fine on my bicycle. And you know what, in New York City traffic I will beat that Lamborghini on a bicycle.
SESAY: Cycle on, Coops. Cycle on.
COOPER: Yes, I will.
Isha, thanks very much.
Still ahead, Jodi Arias on the stand trying to explain how one gunshot, 29 knife wounds and one cut throat somehow added up to self- defense. Tomorrow it's the jurors' turn to ask questions. We're going to talk to Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos and also Nancy Grace about the trial.
Also ahead, the dark side of a hero. Why some people who knew the so-called blade runner, Oscar Pistorius, aren't surprised he's accused of murder. We'll explain. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: To fans Oscar Pistorius' the athlete to beat odds, mass stereotypes, to others, that's not the whole story. Coming up, what Drew Griffin uncovered in South Africa.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, Jodi Arias has been on the stand in Arizona for weeks now talking about her relationship with Travis Alexander and the day that she killed him back in 2008.
Now it's the jury's turn to ask her questions. The judge has received 100 questions from the jurors, which the lawyers are going to review tomorrow. Arias was back on the stand today for the second day of re-direct trying to make the case that she killed Alexander in self-defense.
Randi Kaye reports. And again, a warning, some of the testimony is graphic.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you believe what Jodi Arias says on the stand, Travis Alexander told her marrying her would be like winning the wife lottery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had he ever proposed to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he did over the phone once.
KAYE: So if their relationship was so good that even marriage was being discussed, how on earth did it get this bad? Again today Arias' defense team tried to prove it was all self-defense. She shared this story of past abuse, of Alexander choking her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first I thought of clawing at his face, but then I couldn't -- I couldn't do that. It didn't feel right to gouge his eyes out or something.
KAYE: Arias told the court she would have sex with Alexander because it stopped his anger from escalating. She says she even tried that on the very day she killed him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he grabbed your arm and bent you over the desk on June 4th, 2008, how did you view that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a way for him to relieve his anger.
KAYE: Citing examples like Alexander tying Arias to the bed with rope, the defense tried to show Alexander controlled her and when he wanted sex, he took it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would it be fair to say that he had an all- access pass to your body?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE (on camera): And what about Arias' failing memory the day Alexander died? She has testified that she shot Alexander first and doesn't remember anything after that. Here in court her defense lawyer tried to raise even the slightest doubt that it was Arias who stabbed Alexander nearly 30 times and sliced his throat so deep his head was nearly cut off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any memory of slashing Mr. Alexander's throat?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you were asked on cross-examination if you did that, do you recall telling us that you did?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that a recollection or a logical assumption on your part?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was definitely not a recollection.
KAYE (voice-over): What might have been Arias' motive? Was she perhaps driven to kill after finding out Alexander had been seeing another woman?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I certainly wasn't thrilled. No, I was devastated when I discovered that he wasn't being faithful to me.
KAYE: The defense was quick to point out Arias knew Alexander was cheating for some time and still kept having sex with him. An attempt to show Arias didn't just snap on the day of the killing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something you had a longstanding knowledge of before June 4th of 2008, isn't that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE: For the first time Arias told the jury she wishes she could turn back the clock and make some different decisions regarding Alexander. She said she thought he needed help especially after she says she found him masturbating to a picture of a young boy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a startling event, was it not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it was very shocking.
KAYE: The prosecutor cast doubt on this claim by questioning Arias about why she didn't share such a shocking event in her journal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Also, a highly negative event and it was a negative experience for me. Not something that I wished to remember.
KAYE: Nor does she want to remember the day Alexander died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The events of June 4th, 2008, do you want to remember those?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a part of me that doesn't ever want to remember it. I feel like I'm the person who deserves to sit with those memories.
COOPER: Randi Kaye joins me now live from Phoenix. Randi, just before the close of court today Arias made a big statement. How did the jurors react? What did she say?
KAYE: Anderson, it happened at the end of testimony. Jodi Arias was crying on the witness stand. She was trying to explain to the court why she felt she had no other choice, but to kill Travis Alexander that day.
And here's what she said in this statement. She said, it should have been her. She said that maybe she did have a choice, which is something we certainly haven't heard before. She's always said it was self-defense and she had no other choice.
Then she also added it's not OK to kill someone under any circumstances. So certainly she's had some time to think about this all these year in jail. Of course, you would think that the jury might have been moved by all of this emotional testimony.
Well, in fact, juror number one, Anderson, who sits closest to Jodi Arias at the witness stand let out this giant yawn during this very emotional moment certainly not the reaction that the defense team was looking for.
COOPER: Yes, and that's the question. Are jurors just tired of being on the stand listening to this for days and days? Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, HLN's Nancy Grace and criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos, co-author of the upcoming book "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works and Sometimes Doesn't."
Nancy, for you, what was the headline out of today's testimony, clearly seemed like defense was trying to convince the jury that Alexander's alleged abuse pushed Arias to kill him in self-defense. Was that the headline for you?
NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": I would say that that would be the headline for the defense, but what stunned me is that the defense chose to go back into Arias buying multiple gas cans and filling them up with gas. I don't know if you do that on a long trip, Anderson, but clearly so she wouldn't be detected traveling to Alexander's home where she murdered him.
TOOBIN: What was especially bizarre about today's testimony is she had an explanation for why she bought gas, which was it was cheaper, so she thought she would buy gas and put it in canisters and take it with her. Now, I don't care how much you're economizing.
I've never heard of anyone buying gas and putting it in cans. I just thought if you're going to try to lessen the hurt, at least come up with a somewhat believable explanation instead of making the problem worse, which is what I thought they did today.
GRACE: What explanation would that be? I want to burn the body? I want to burn the evidence? What other explanation is there for carrying gas cans in your trunk?
TOOBIN: I've never seen a defendant testify for anywhere near this long particularly in a case that's -- I mean, it's not that complicated.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I've tried 30 murder trials that have taken less time than this case than she's been on the stand.
TOOBIN: Now, as Mark has suggested in previous days, maybe the jury, having been exposed to her for so long, is starting to feel some sympathy for her as a human being and thus will not vote to execute her. That has to be the defense strategy.
GRACE: Toobin, Toobin, I hardly believe close-up shots of her behind is endearing her to this jury. The longer she's up there, the more they keep showing it, please. I'm numb from those shots.
GERAGOS: Don't you think that after -- or taking this thing through Friday, if that was the strategy, you had accomplished it, why go into the final week? I mean, at a certain point some of those jurors are saying enough is enough.
COOPER: She also said today, Nancy, that basically any time anyone yelled at her, it affects her memory. I mean, it seems like an awfully convenient excuse.
GRACE: There's a caveat to that, Anderson. There's a caveat. Now, she had that problem up until she was 14, she says, when she lived at home. Then for all of those years between 14 until the time she met Travis Alexander, she didn't have a memory problem. Now it's reoccurring on cross-examination.
COOPER: They were also sort of alleging this child porn or child -- interest in child sex against Travis Alexander. I mean, are they just trying to kind of smear him as much as possible?
TOOBIN: They're trying to smear the victim as if he somehow brought this on himself. The defense here, to the extent there is a defense, is self-defense. So the idea that he's this horrible aggressive person is crucial to the defense. What the defense mostly has brought out is that this was an enthusiastically consensual sexual relationship. Yet another reason I don't understand why she's been on the stand so long.
GRACE: You certainly know how to put perfume on the pig, Jeff, an enthusiastic sexual relationship that's not how I would describe it, but go ahead. What she said, Anderson, if you look at the testimony carefully, she happened to walk in. She knows he's in the next room. He had laid out on his bed all these photos of scantily clad little boys and he was masturbating to them. Now, in this day and age, the police came, they found not a single image on his desktop, his laptop, his cell phone.
He didn't even visit one of those websites about child porn. Who has downloaded hard copy images of naked or near-naked boys and they're not on your computer?
GERAGOS: They knew going into it what the evidence is. They know they'll come back and say there's nothing downloaded. She can't go and say he had it downloaded, he was watching on an iPad or computer. She has to say --
COOPER: You were saying the allegations of abuse are just the way in the door.
COOPER: Explain that.
GERAGOS: This is all just a vehicle. Jeff says to the extent that they're --
GRACE: A setup for the expert.
GERAGOS: This is the way you have to lay a foundation to get into the expert testimony. You have to lay a foundation.
GRACE: Whether it's true or not.
GERAGOS: You have to get to mitigation. Well, it's the same -- we'll say the same thing, the prosecution does the same thing. What she's doing and her legal team is doing is they're saying, OK, it's abuse.
That allows me to get into all this other stuff, which Jeff will characterize as a smear and that they're hoping will resonate with a juror or jurors in terms of getting them to say, yes, I understand it. I had a bad boyfriend like that.
GRACE: You made that sound so good, Geragos. You made that sound like something that you'd actually want to do, lie to a jury to get an expert based on her allegations and there's nothing to prove anything she said.
GERAGOS: Remember, all you've got to do -- it isn't lying to a jury. It's the same way what prosecutors do all the time when they make allegations.
TOOBIN: Mark, that's not right.
GRACE: Quit talking about prosecutors. You're talking about this case.
TOOBIN: Defense lawyers have a legal -- it's more legally permissible to sort of be inventive with the facts. Prosecutors can't just decide to make up allegations to get an expert witness in.
GERAGOS: Defense lawyers have the duty to zealously defend their client.
COOPER: Mark Geragos, Jeff Toobin, Nancy Grace, thank you so much.
You can watch continuing coverage of the Jodi Arias trial tomorrow all day on our sister network, HLN. Like today, it should be riveting stuff.
Coming up a side of the so-called blade runner you've never seen. What CNN's Drew Griffin has uncovered in South Africa about him, the man who is facing trial for killing his girlfriend.
COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, Olympic runner and accused murderer, Oscar Pistorius, has been keeping a low profile since he was released on bail eight days after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Now during his dramatic four-day hearing last month, Pistorius wept as his lawyers read his account to that deadly night. As we all know by now, Pistorius said he thought that his girlfriend was an intruder when he fired into his bathroom.
Throughout the hearing prosecutors said the story didn't add up. They claim Pistorius had a history of violence and killed his girlfriend after an argument. Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has been in South Africa looking into those claims that Pistorius has a darker side. What he found is very much at odds with the blade runner's public image.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since he's been charged with premeditated murder some who say they knew this once beloved South African sports star are now willing to tell another side of Oscar Pistorius.
MARC BATCHELOR, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCCER PLAYER: It's like, well, we're waiting for something like this to happen.
GRIFFIN: Marc Batchelor, a South African soccer player, who socialized with Pistorius in South Africa's glamour and sport circles says he never bought the idyllic image being portrayed in the media.
BATCHELOR: He would have a trip switch and he'd get violent and angry and he'd fight with people and cause a lot of problems. And I mean that's -- the incident with me and him was because he was drunk at a party and he started shouting, swearing on the phone.
GRIFFIN: Batchelor describes that incident as beginning when Pistorius thought a girlfriend was cheating on him. Despite Batchelor's size he says, Pistorius wanted a fight. BATCHELOR: He said he's not scared if I want him to come down there, blah, blah. But I left it, you know.
GRIFFIN: One thing many don't know Batchelor says is that Pistorius was armed nearly everywhere he went. He even applied to become a licensed gun collector so he could buy more than the four guns allowed by South African law.
Just last January, though the facts are in dispute, friend and boxer, Kevin Lerena, said Pistorius was holding a gun at this outdoor cafe when it went off. He says Pistorius was showing the gun to a friend.
KEVIN LERENA, FRIEND OF PISTORIUS: That was a major mistake what happened on Oscar's part. It wasn't intentional. That could have been a bad event and something that could have been very tragic. We were all very fortunate that day. After that event Oscar was very apologetic.
GRIFFIN: There are no police records. CNN could get no comment from the restaurant. When questions were asked in the papers an unidentified Pistorius friend said it was he who brought the gun to the restaurant, not Pistorius. South African media has always adored Pistorius, some would say even protected him, by minimizing his problems.
GRAEME JOFFE, SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS JOURNALIST: He was one of the biggest stories at the Olympic games.
GRIFFIN: Graeme Joffe is one of the few South African sports journalists who has been critical of Pistorius. He said the PR machine behind the so-called blade runner has all but made him untouchable.
JOFFE: On record there really isn't a problem. That's the thing. So many incidents that have happened, well documented, over the last five or six years with Oscar Pistorius, and these kinds of cases have disappeared.
GRIFFIN: Take the blade runner's 2009 boating accident. Oscar Pistorius himself says he was nearly killed when the speed boat he was driving hit a submerged object. It happened February 21st. He had to be airlifted and underwent facial reconstruction surgery. Yet at the time doctors downplayed the injuries as minor.
Three days later, local news reported police found alcohol bottles inside the submerged boat. A police spokesperson was quoted, "We are investigating the possibility that the consumption of alcohol had played a role in the boating accident.
But the very next day there was an about face. The same police spokesperson said she was misquoted and even said police could not confirm Pistorius was even the driver. Pistorius' manager strongly condemned the report saying that's the problem with South African media. They don't get their facts straight and they love to speculate. Police eventually dropped their negligent driving charge against Pistorius. On Valentine's Day morning, when Joffe heard the news of Reeva Steenkamp's shooting, he says he almost knew it was coming.
JOFFE: Probably more shocked me, but didn't surprise me, mainly because of what has transpired over the years. I saw something developing. Some of the things I didn't know about him, the guns, arms ammunition, it's something I didn't know.
But it all pieces together that here you had a troubled athlete. Not so much -- you had this incredible role model to the rest of the world, no question about that. But deep down this was a troubled athlete.
GRIFFIN: A troubled athlete perhaps, but even friends who criticize Pistorius' actions defend him.
LERENA: He's a good guy who could have fun with his mates. Never was he reckless and never in my company aggressive towards anyone.
GRIFFIN: Pistorius facing charges of premeditated murder is not in jail. He's awaiting his trial here at his uncle's multimillion dollar mansion and we've learned there's more.
(on camera): Even the terms of his release seem to have changed since Oscar Pistorius got out of that jail cell. He now lives here. And though he was supposed to visit the police twice a week, the authorities now will visit him here and only occasionally.
(voice-over): CNN has repeatedly asked the Pistorius family and his lawyers for comment. We are told there will be no more. His next court appearance is not scheduled until June.
COOPER: Drew Griffin joins me now. Drew, this picture of Pistorius that you painted is definitely much different than the one presented since the last Olympics. Does it seem like any of this will come out at the trial?
GRIFFIN: It seems logical that it would, Anderson, but I must tell you police are absolutely mum on any part of their investigation. But I can imagine they are going to try, if they believe that Oscar Pistorius is indeed guilty of premeditated murder, to also look in his past relationships.
To see if there were anger issues, any kind of domestic abuse in his past and really reach out to the same women in this country that we've been trying to find who also, Anderson, are remaining very quiet on their relationships with Oscar Pistorius.
COOPER: A fascinating case. Drew, thanks.
Drew also talked to Reeva Steenkamp's family for the first time since Pistorius was released. What they told Drew is pretty stunning. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to be face-to-face with him and forgive him, forgive him what he's done. And that way I can find what is probably more peace with the situation.
GRIFFIN: And you would forgive him, Mike, whether this was a tragic accident or whether this was murder?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever the outcome, I feel with my belief and if Christ could forgive when he died on the cross, why can't I? Who am I not to forgive him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's not all what her uncle shared with Drew. We're going to have the exclusive interview for your tomorrow on 360. Up next, find out who is on the "Ridiculist."
COOPER: It is that time of the night for "Ridiculist." Tonight, we got a story of a park in Sacramento where a couple of geese live. Take a look at them. They're cute, peaceful looking, but looks can be deceiving.
Because these particular geese, they're kind of jerks. Like certain celebrities, it turns out that they get all ticked off when anyone takes their picture. They'll lash out for no apparent reason like some kind of Hitchcockian nightmare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not afraid of these guys?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes, it goes for the vital bits. One intrepid reporter braved the park to get the story. Take a gander.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll tread lightly here. There's a certain zone around them where they don't want any people. The only thing they do seem to want is water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now speaking of water, apparently when these two geese try to go to the pond in the park all the other ducks and geese squawk and flap at them. So that could be why they maybe have such bad attitudes. The other birds are bullying them so they're in turn terrorizing all the people in the park.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they extend their neck and hiss, then you know they're ready to attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they probably got traumatized by either dogs or teenagers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm OK because I know they can't hurt me. They just got these little beaks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Those little beaks can do some damage. I like to think that geese and people will be able to live side by side in peace, but doesn't look like that day is coming any time soon. Here's Exhibit A.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get, get, get up front! Gosh, almighty. Crazy ass goose. Damn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yikes. Exhibit B. Now, why are geese such jerks? I guess it's because they're always feeling down. Still it's no reason to take it out on the rest of us. We're just trying to go to work or go kayaking. You just want to have a nice, relaxing day in the park and end up on a wild goose chase.
That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now. Another edition of 360 10:00 p.m. Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.