Return to Transcripts main page


Suspect in Libya Attack in Custody; Gambling Scam Takedown

Aired March 14, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast and a very full night of news to tell you about.

Breaking news, exclusive word on the access that U.S. law enforcement now has to a new suspect in the killing of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Also tonight, an outrageous scheme that claimed to help veterans, but looks more like one big scam. We will tell you where it happened and how.

Plus, 62 seconds, that's how long prosecutors say Jodi Arias had shortly after taking those photos of her boyfriend -- for her boyfriend to attack her, for her to flee, get a gun, grab a knife, and kill him, 62 seconds. Hear her answer when confronted with that very short time frame and see if you believe it.

And if you think you're watching a skydiver plummet to his death, well, that is exactly what his dive partner thought at the time. The man who fell to earth at great speed lived. He joins us to tell you what it's to think you're about to die when you're falling.

We begin, though, with breaking news, exclusive new details on a suspect in the Benghazi attack. We already know that Libyan authorities have picked up this man, Faraj al-Shibli, a Libyan native, one of about a dozen people they have been focusing on. He is the only known suspect being held in connection with the terror attack that claimed four American lives, including the ambassador to Libya.

Now exclusively, thanks to the reporting of National Security Contributor Fran Townsend, we know what the FBI and Justice Department have not officially commented on, their role with regard to this suspect.

Fran joins us now with what her sources are saying.

What have you learned?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Anderson, this guy was taken into Libyan custody on the eve of the prime minister, the Libyan prime minister and foreign minister who met with the president just this week. The FBI was given direct access. That's a huge accomplishment for the FBI.

Oftentimes, this is the subject of negotiation. I don't suspect it was any different here. But as the prime minister was preparing to meet with President Obama, they obviously decided to permit the FBI under Libyan supervision while Shibli is in custody for the FBI to put questions directly to him.

COOPER: Was he just captured? Do we know?

TOWNSEND: It appears, Anderson, from my Libyan source that the individual, Shibli, has been in Libyan custody not for a prolonged period of time, but they obviously wanted their opportunity to question him directly themselves.

After some period of time, it may have been brief, but after some period of time, they did give the FBI direct access. That's only been in the last couple of days.

COOPER: How much do we know about his involvement that he may have had?

TOWNSEND: Not clear.

And so the Libyan source I spoke to was very clear to me. This is all the subject of the investigation, the questions, the interviews that are being put to him. They don't know whether or not he was present or directly involved in the attack on the Benghazi consulate, and they want to know whether or not and how he might have participated in the planning.

COOPER: You said the FBI is able to put questions to him. Does that mean physically, like they are in the room?

TOWNSEND: That's right. And that's not a given in a foreign country, right. Once an individual is in the custody of a foreign law enforcement service, you can request direct access. Sometimes, it's granted, sometimes, it's not, but it's very important for the FBI's assessment of the individual and the information they're providing to be able to get in a room and to watch and to put the questions to you.

COOPER: And is it known what group he belongs to or may be affiliated with?

TOWNSEND: Not clear. It is known from the investigation thus far that he's got contacts with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That's the al Qaeda group in Yemen. Known that he's got contacts with al Qaeda in Pakistan. He is sort of an al Qaeda-type known personality in Eastern Libya and in the region, and so it would make sense.

Of course, it's really important from a law enforcement sense with four dead Americans to try and very carefully and deliberately put the pieces together so you understand his role and by the way, who else can he identify, can he direct them to other physical evidence so they can put the case together.

COOPER: From a law enforcement background, does it surprise you that it's taken this long? TOWNSEND: Well, you know, these kind of investigations overseas where you don't control the environment are particularly challenging. Remember, we reported here that it took the FBI weeks to get the security situation sufficiently under control that they could even get to the Benghazi consulate.

And that's a real indication of why this is so complicated. I think it's a real testament. You remember right around the time that Secretary Clinton was testifying before Congress in mid-January, FBI Director Mueller, it was publicly reported that he had gone and met with the Libyans to encourage and try to push them for additional cooperation. Seems like it's paying off.

COOPER: All right, Fran, appreciate the reporting. Thank you very much.

We should also say that Fran is a member of the CIA External Advisory Committee. In August of 2012, she visited Libya with her employer, MacAndrews & Forbes and met with Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Now "Keeping Them Honest," a massive action to break up what authorities call a $300 million illegal gambling operation, a scam they say that suckered people into so-called convenience casinos with the lure of helping America's combat veterans. No surprise. You have been following our reporting on other such scams involving veterans groups. It now looks like only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions in gambling proceeds actually went to vets; 57 people have been charged in half a dozen states, most significantly, in Florida, where the scandal has triggered the resignation of the lieutenant governor. We will tell you why in a moment.

Drew Griffin has the story and joins us tonight.

Drew -- so, Drew, what's the basic charge here?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you have got these Internet cafes. Supposedly you would go in, you would rent space on a computer and surf the Internet, but that's not what was going to happen here, according to the indictment.

It was actually sit down at a computer and start gambling, that these were actually Internet gambling halls, all consolidated under the umbrella of the Allied Veterans of the World, a nonprofit charity giving the illusion that this was some sort of veterans charity, when in fact, according to the sheriff of Seminole County, Florida, in the years it was operating, this group netted, netted $290 million, Anderson, and gave all told $6 million to charity. That is just 2 percent.



DON ESLINGER, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA, SHERIFF: Allied Veterans of the World, they say that they are a veterans organization. Instead, through a three-year investigation, we revealed a sophisticated criminal network designed purely for personal profit. It is and was a web of fraud and corruption with little benefit to veterans.


COOPER: Drew, you have done so much reporting on charity scams, particularly ones that use veterans. And this sounds yet again like another charity scam using sympathy or support towards veterans as a hook to bring in donations and business.

GRIFFIN: Absolutely.

As we found in all of our charity reporting, it's the veterans label group that gets the most donations, Anderson, because it gets the most support and sympathy from the American public. When you look at what they actually do for vets, they are some of the worst, many getting F-ratings from watchdog groups.

And I think that's what's so appalling to Florida officials. They were buying Ferraris and boats with some of this money. The attorney general and the governor went on camera yesterday and said this alleged criminal ring was really using that sympathy for veterans to run this gambling ring. They called it appalling.


PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is shameful that Allied Veterans of the World allegedly attempted to use the guise of a charitable organization to help veterans in order to lend credibility to their $300 million scheme.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I want any funds from these groups to be immediately given to charity. I have zero tolerance for this kind of criminal activity, period.


COOPER: What's so crazy about it is it turns out the lieutenant governor in Florida was actually doing ads for this charity. Take a look at this from a few years ago when she was a representative, a state representative. She sounds like she's endorsing this group.


JENNIFER CARROLL (R), FLORIDA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: As a veteran who served during the Gulf War, I personally know how hard it is for service members to be apart from their families. Allied Veterans of the World is making it easier for them.


GRIFFIN: That is embarrassing.

I will tell you, I talked with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today, and they are talking about investigating further what the political connections were with this group. You know, this Allied Veterans, they spent more than $400,000 lobbying in the state of Florida, put tens of thousands of dollars into the pockets of campaign coffers. Now, Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, she has done the right thing, apparently. She resigned over this. She was questioned in the investigation and she consulted for this group, Allied Veterans of the World, for a couple of years, 2009 to 2010, while she was that state representative.

As of this point, Anderson, no one is saying that she's part of this. She's not part of the 57 charged in this, but certainly it is an embarrassing moment and she has now resigned as lieutenant governor of Florida over this.

COOPER: Yes. And what did that mean, that she was consulting and not to know anything?

This apparently has been going on for a long time. How did they get away with it, especially because it seems so obvious these were gambling halls?


I mean, it was so obvious that that's where the initial tip came in. A couple years ago, a veteran walked in, actually looking for help, and looked at what was going on and came back out and told authorities this is a gambling hall. I don't know what you guys are doing.

But, apparently, they don't like the word gambling. They use the word gaming. You know, that was according to the police part of the scheme, although you would allegedly go and sit down at an Internet computer and start gambling on various games. The staff would call it gaming. You wouldn't cash in your chips. You would redeem points. But, in fact, according to the charges, these were strictly gambling halls, casinos, really.

The points were money and there was no doubt. They weren't in there playing "Pac-Man" or "Call of Duty." These were casino games going on.

COOPER: It's just -- again, you have done such great reporting on this over the last couple months. And it's just so infuriating. Drew, I appreciate the update. Thanks.

Yes, we will continue on stay on this.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

Up next, what a difference a new pontiff makes. He's trading in the limo for a V.W. And, as you will see, that's not the only way the Catholic Church's highest figure is getting down to earth. We look at that, as well as some troubling allegations from his past in Argentina. Perspective from John Allen and Father Thomas Rosica of the Vatican. Later, the man who fell to earth and lived to tell about it, literally, how things went terrifyingly wrong for a skydiver and how he amazingly survived.


COOPER: Welcome back.

Well, last night at this time, I was in Rome and spent several hours in St. Peter's Square along with more than 150,000 other people witnessing history. It was, of course, extraordinary, an extraordinary moment for many in Rome and watching around the world.

For Pope Francis today, it was time to get down to business. And he did it in a way that no other pope ever has.


COOPER (voice-over): Pope Francis returned to the Sistine Chapel on his first day as pontiff to deliver his historic first sermon. Catholics around the world searched for meaning in his words.

POPE FRANCIS, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): If you don't walk, stop. If you don't build on stone bases, well, then what happens? What happens to children on the beach? If they build sand castles, it all falls down.

COOPER: Lasting just over seven minutes and spoken in Italian, his homily was widely interpreted to be a calling for the church to move forward, to settle past controversies.

Pope Francis was known to live a humble life in Argentina and since assuming the chair of St. Peter, signs indicate that will continue.

ARCHBISHOP TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK: He's supposed to go up these steps on to a platform and sit on a white throne and then we're each supposed to come to him and kneel in front of him to give him our love and loyalty. He just said, no, I'm going to stay down here and greet each of my brothers. That's a powerful sign.

COOPER: After addressing his flock for the first time, he refused to ride in the car prepared for him, instead, riding the bus with other cardinals.

At his first dinner as pope, the Vatican says he toasted the cardinals and showed his self-deprecating sense of humor, joking about his election -- quote -- "May God forgive you for what you have done."

But as the world's spotlight turns to Francis, questions are beginning to merge about his past. In the 1970s, he was head of the Jesuits in Argentina as the country's military junta kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands of dissidents. Allegations surfaced that he withdrew his protection from two fellow Jesuit priests, giving the military a green light for their abductions. He has flatly and repeatedly denied the charge. And for those faithful who hope for a pope more liberal on social issues than his predecessor, Francis' record is staunchly conservative. He's against abortion, of course, and clashed with his own country's endorsement of same-sex marriage and free contraception.

But defenders say Pope Francis has long been a champion of the poor and his record backs that.

POPE FRANCIS (through translator): We lived in a situation of poverty, scandalous poverty, from the lack of jobs or the diseases that massively affect us, and that hit the hardest because of the lack of justice.

COOPER: The world's 1.2 billion Catholics will now look for their new pope to champion the church and to lead it out of turmoil and into the future.


COOPER: Well, the new pope's backstory is fascinating, the challenges facing him daunting, to say the least. The time he has at age 76 to deal with them, by the actuarial numbers, limited.

Joining me tonight, Vatican spokesman Father Thomas Rosica and senior Vatican analyst John Allen, who is also a senior correspondent for "The National Catholic Reporter."

Father Rosica, it's been a remarkable start for the new pope. There's a lot of coverage talking about him taking the bus, his stopping by to pick up his luggage, paying his hotel bill. Do you see this as a new era?

FATHER THOMAS ROSICA, VATICAN PRESS SECRETARY: It's different, let's put it this way. He's taking charge and he's just continuing what he did in Buenos Aires.

He was used to doing things by himself, very simply, and that's just continuing here, except it's probably upsetting people here a little bit more than usual, especially this morning's famous stop. He told the driver let's just stop by and pick up my luggage, and then go in to pay his bill. But he also thanked the help in the house. He thanked the housekeepers and the cooks and everything else. He's a very thoughtful person.

COOPER: John Allen, is there a substance here? Is there meaning in this new style, the vehicle he rides in, the style of vestments he wears? You can say these are small things when compare them to making decisions on church teachings and the way the church is run. But do you think there's a message here?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, look, Anderson, the plain fact of the matter is that popes teach not only with their words, but also with their deeds, with their gestures.

I mean, you're right. These are small things at the very outset of a pontificate, but he's setting a tone. In addition to the things you mentioned, I was also struck by the fact that when the cardinals were leaving the Casa Santa Marta, the papal limousine was ready for the new pope to hop in and separate himself from the crowd.

And instead of doing that, he decided to get on the bus with the fellows and ride with the other cardinals, which in Catholic -- we would call a gesture of collegiality. That is, the pope is not above the other cardinals and other bishops of the church, but he is one of them. You know, I think all of this is about setting a tone. We are going to have to see how it plays out in the concrete acts of management and governance this pope has to take.

But at the beginning, I think most Catholics looking at this would say this is a very promising start.

COOPER: But, certainly, John, when it comes to doctrinal issues or controversial issues, abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, things that the pope -- there's no indication that the pope is any way taking a new direction on any of those issues.


Listen, my experience of interviewing Catholic bishops across the developing world -- and, of course, Pope Francis comes from the developing world, from Argentina -- is that by Western standards, by the standards you and I are familiar with, Anderson, it's a sort of counterintuitive mix of conservative on some things and liberal on others.

So, when it comes to the hot-button issues of the culture wars in the West, particularly sexual morality, things like gay marriage, abortion, contraception, you're going to find bishops from the developing world, including the new pope, to be quite conservative.

But on a whole laundry list of other things, on social justice questions such as concern for the poor, war and peace, the environment, fairness in international relations, on those kind of issues, they're going to profile to us as very liberal. That's the Catholic ethos in the developing world generally. And I think you will find it to be true of this pope.

COOPER: Father, when a new U.S. president takes office, a new staff comes with him, and they flip the switch, there's major change which happens fast or at least tries to happen fast, executive orders, new Cabinet officials, how does it work at the Vatican? There has been talk in the past 24 hours about Pope Francis possibly shaking up the church bureaucracy, but how does it actually start and when would actually somebody see any kind of actual change?

ROSICA: Very good question.

I don't think we would operate in the same way as the government in the White House or prime minister in Britain or whatever. But the pope does bring in certain people with him, people with whom he's worked, he's felt comfortable with, and there are also some key positions that are opening in their normal course. So one of the key positions we're all watching for is who is the person that will be assigned to be secretary of state, sort of like the prime minister. The pope is the pastor reaching out to the world and somebody has to run the operation home to make sure all of the parts are connected with proper communication.

And so that position, the secretary of state, Cardinal Bertone is already past the age. He has submitted his resignation. And that will probably be one of the appointments to watch for. It will come about not next week or whatever, but that's high on the agenda.

Also in the immediate household, the circle of the pope, he will have to bring in his personal assistants, secretaries. For example, who will be the group of people that will look after him in the house? Pope Benedict had a wonderful group from Communion and Liberation, four women known as the Memores Domini.

Pope John Paul II had Polish sisters. Who will Pope Francis bring in? Those are the kind of things. And they will happen in the next little while because he has to unpack, get used to a whole new way of life. And in a sense, this is public living now. No matter how private you want to be, everything is going to be looked after.

But the difference is, this guy's got his own will. And I don't think he's going to let the system or the structure dictate to him.

COOPER: It was a fascinating day.

Father Rosica, thank you so much, as always, John Allen as well. Thanks.

Up next, the Jodi Arias murder trial. The defense put an expert on the stand today to help explain Arias' memory loss. How convincing was he? Our Randi Kaye was in the courtroom.

And, later, a skydiver's parachute fails. The backup parachute does as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the air, I knew I was going at a speed that I was not probably going to survive.



COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight: the Jodi Arias murder trial.

She's accused of course of shooting ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, stabbing him dozens of times, cutting his throat. Now, if she is found guilty, she could be sentenced to death. Today, the defense relied on expert testimony. More on that in a moment.

Arias herself, as you know, spent 18 days on the stand testifying she doesn't remember much of the attack, which she calls self-defense, what the prosecution calls premeditated murder. Her testimony ended in a face-off with the prosecutor.

Here's Randi Kaye in Phoenix.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please stand for the jury.

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On her final day on the stand, Jodi Arias was schooled in mathematics. Do the math, the prosecutor attempted to show. Her story doesn't add up.

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: At some point in your life, you have owned watches, right? You know about time, ma'am. You know that movement takes time, don't you?

KAYE: Martinez says Arias simply would not have had enough time given the evidence to first go searching for the knife she used to stab Travis Alexander nearly 30 times and slit his throat.

He says she must have had the knife with her in the bathroom when she was taking these digital pictures of a naked Alexander in the shower.

MARTINEZ: It would have taken time to actually look for it, wouldn't it?

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I guess under that theory.

MARTINEZ: Sure, under that theory. It would take time, right?

ARIAS: Yes, I guess.

KAYE: To prove his theory of premeditation, the prosecutor showed these two photographs, taken just 62 seconds apart, according to their time stamps.

Arias says this accidental photo of the ceiling was taken after she dropped Alexander's camera, when he was still alive. That's when she says he lunged at her.

MARTINEZ: In the 62 seconds between that photograph and exhibit 162, you are body-slammed, you get away, you get the gun, you shoot him, and then after you're able to get away, you go get the knife and he ends up at the end of the hallway, all in 62 seconds. That's what you're telling us?

ARIAS: No, that's not what I'm saying.

KAYE: Regardless of what Arias is saying, the photo time stamps say something else. In this second photo taken just over a minute later, Arias' foot is seen next to Alexander's bleeding body in the bathroom.

By now, he's been stabbed and shot. Would just 62 seconds between the photos have been enough time to support Arias' scenario that a chase and a struggle occurred? More than a month into her trial, on her 18th day on the stand, Jodi Arias offered a brand-new scenario for how the knife came into play. Listen to this.

MARTINEZ: You needed to go get that knife at that point, correct?

ARIAS: No, it's possible Travis grabbed the knife first.

MARTINEZ: You never told us that he had any knife there, did you?

ARIAS: No. I wasn't asked.

KAYE: Jury members also had questions for Arias about the knife. Seems they, too, were trying to make sense of her changing stories.

JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA, SUPERIOR COURT: "You said you remember putting the knife in the dishwasher after killing Travis, but you also say you don't remember anything after dropping the knife on the bathroom tile. Which is correct?"

ARIAS: I have a vague memory of putting a knife in the dishwasher. I'm just not sure if that's the memory from June 4.

KAYE (on camera): And there were more questions about the gun Arias used to kill Alexander. Was it in a holster or not when she says she grabbed it out of Alexander's closet? Just last week, she told the jury she believes the gun had been in a holster. Now, suddenly, she's not so sure.

And this is key, because the state believes she brought a gun with her to kill Alexander and never really grabbed a gun from Alexander's closet.

(voice-over): Arias seemed to get tripped up again on this question about whether or not the gun was loaded.

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Did you tell the jury when you were talking about the attack, in response to one of their questions, that you believed the gun was unloaded? Do you remember saying that? Yes or no. That's all I'm asking. Yes or no. Do you remember saying that?


KAYE: After that, the prosecutor let her have it.

MARTINEZ: What were you going to do with the gun, throw it at him?

KAYE: For once, even Jodi Arias seemed too flustered to respond.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Let's dig deeper now. Our legal panel joins me. Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, co-author of "Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Justice System Works, and Sometimes Doesn't."

So Jeff, the prosecutor made a lot of this 62 seconds that the crime would have had to have been committed in. Saying basically it was impossible. Why was that such an important point?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, because it's the key to her whole story. She has an explanation of how this time unfolded. And the photographs are weirdly -- I mean, that's one of the just weirdest things about this case. -- are basically a time- stamped version of how the case unfolded. Her version does not seem to make any sense.

I mean, I thought Martinez was so effective today, in pointing out just how absurd it is that she could have done all of that in 62 seconds.

COOPER: And Mark Geragos, what do you think of the expert that the defense had, talking about memory loss? I just want to play some of what he said for our viewers who didn't watch it.


DR. RICHARD SAMUELS, PSYCHOLOGIST: People who suffer from stress producing trauma will frequently not recall what happened for a certain period starting at the beginning of the trauma until sometime thereafter, which could be measured either in hours or even days or sometimes weeks.


COOPER: Mark, what do you think of how he did?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's something that you see, or I see in the practice all the time. It was exactly what I expected. My theory is...

COOPER: You said this would happen.

GERAGOS: Yes. This is exactly what you expect. That this was -- when we're trying to analyze her testimony before we've heard the expert testimony it doesn't quite make sense. Once you see it in context, now you'll understand what it is, the kind of narrative that the defense has been telling.

TOOBIN: I thought this Dr. Samuels was one of the best expert witnesses I ever saw.

COOPER: Really?

TOOBIN: I thought he was clear; he was conversational. Now, it may be total hocus pocus. It may be that the jury doesn't buy it at all. So, if the jury is looking for a reason not to give her the death penalty, Samuels did it. I thought it was extremely effective.

COOPER: Mark, do jurors buy so-called expert testimony? I mean, hey know he -- I assume he's being paid by the defense. He's supposed to be impartial, but they must take that into account.

GERAGOS: One of the trends recently in recent years is to get experts who are appointed by the court, as opposed to being a defense expert or a psychiatric expert for the prosecution.

Having said that, I think Jeff is right. At least so far, every account that I've seen, he seems to have come off extremely well.

I think there is a tendency amongst jurors to use the expert in the following fashion. If he says something that you agree with, that kind of resonates with you -- and I've used that word a lot in this trial -- then you tend to adopt his argument. And that's what you -- what you say to others or the argument you make to others when you're in the jury room and you're deliberating.

In this case, I think if there's anybody there who wants to cut her some slack, that this expert, combined with her testimony, will certainly give them the ability to do that and argue that she shouldn't be put to death.

TOOBIN: He's not saying -- the expert is not saying that she's legally insane. All he's saying is that she has PTSD, she doesn't understand -- her memory loss is understandable. I find that, frankly, very hard to believe. But I do think that, as Mark said, if someone's looking for a reason to cut her a break, he certainly provided it.

COOPER: The idea, though, that she couldn't fake memory loss, I mean, do you buy it? Frankly, her explanation of the memory loss and it seems kind of shifting, I'm not sure how effective it is.

TOOBIN: That certainly is a weak point in her testimony. And Mark, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

GERAGOS: Yes, I was going to say the same thing as Jeff. I -- I've seen people feign memory loss, and not just defendants. I've seen cops frequently feign memory loss whenever you catch them. So I'm not so sure that it has to be PTSD or anything else. I think that sometimes people conveniently lose memory when they get cornered.

TOOBIN: And the problem here is also that her memory loss is so convenient. It's always the incriminating stuff she remembers and the exculpatory stuff -- I'm sorry, the incriminating stuff she forgets, and the exculpatory stuff she remembers.

GERAGOS: She -- the expert had a pretty good explanation for that today, I think. And what I expected, I think, that basically that that is the trauma, that the things that are the most traumatic are what will produce this reaction, the psychiatric reaction that will cause somebody to lose memory. TOOBIN: See, the "I don't want to get convicted" syndrome. Is that what it is?

GERAGOS: Well, that's a different -- the prosecutors will call it that. The defense will say that it's trauma.

COOPER: The prosecution can just bring in their own expert who can say, you know, this is contrived. You can try to fake this and she's clearly trying to fake it.

GERAGOS: And that's exactly I think back to your other question, Anderson, a lot of times what will happen is that the psychiatric expert by the prosecution is really good. Then a lot of times you'll see jurors just say, "We'll cancel it out. A pox on both your houses."

COOPER: The prosecutor seemed really concerned the defense was trying to get into the jurors' heads with this defense expert. I mean, is there -- is there a line on this?

TOOBIN: Not really. That's why they call them. That's why he's there. Again, it's a subtle thing and particularly in a death penalty case. The task of the defense in a death penalty case is very different than in a guilt/innocence case. Because PTSD might not even be relevant at all if this were simply a case where life imprisonment is at stake but because her mental state and her testimony is so important on the issue of death, it really takes on a much more outsized importance.

Also, just another reminder of why death penalty cases are so much more expensive than other cases, because you have testimony like this that the state has to pay for.

COOPER: Yes. Jeff Toobin, Mark Geragos. Guys, thanks very much.

Up next, free fall. Take a look at this.


I felt that this was it. This was how I was going to die.


COOPER: A skydiver's chute fails. He lives to the tell the tale. We'll tell you how.

And another Carnival cruise with yet another big stinking problem at sea. If they could see us now on a fun ship cruise.


COOPER: His main chute tangled. Take a look at this. The backup chute snagged, and he thought, "This is it. I'm going to die." Not only is the man in this gut-wrenching video alive, you'll hear him tell his story next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. You never know a man named Craig Stapleton almost died a few days ago in a heart-stopping skydiving accident.

Sunday, the master of 7,000 skydiving jumps crash landed. He and his partner were attempting a complex stunt when his parachute failed and his backup parachute failed. He spun uncontrollably through the air, survived without a single broken bone. The question is how is that even possible?

Earlier today I spoke to Stapleton and his jump partner, Katie Hanson.


COOPER: Craig, just looking at the video, I mean, it gives me a pit in my stomach. Walk us through what happened. When did you realize things were not going as planned?

CRAIG STAPLETON, SURVIVED CRASH LANDING: When Katie and I were flying, things were great. We were just in our little parachutes flying along. And as we separated out, when we got to the end of the line and we were supposed to turn down, I went from zero tension in that line to just boing and it just flipped me upside down. I actually flipped up through my gear and back down.

And right then my parachute started spinning, I was flopping at the end of the line that we had at the flag. And right then I knew I had a real serious issue.

COOPER: How long were you spinning out of control for?

STAPLETON: Well, it seemed like most of my life, but it was merely probably 10, 12, 15 seconds where I was really flipping around, where I didn't have time to communicate to Katie that I had an issue.

COOPER: What was your last thought before you hit the ground?

STAPLETON: My last thought before I hit the ground was actually to exhale and survive the impact.

COOPER: I also heard that you were thinking to yourself that you didn't want to land on some spikes? Where were there spikes?

STAPLETON: Out where we jump there's a lot of grape stakes, vineyards, and they're essentially grape plants with a five foot iron rod and then concertina wire or piano wire, whatever, running between all the plants. So...

COOPER: Is that a good place to be jumping?

STAPLETON: It's great if you don't land out there. If you fly over it it's awesome. It's very pretty. If you land in it, you better be going down the rows. So I knew... COOPER: But I mean, how fast are you traveling at this point before you hit?

STAPLETON: I think I was doing about 30 or 35 miles an hour just prior to impact. It's hard to judge from the video. I'm not a great judge. But in the air I knew I was going at a speed that I was not probably going to survive.

COOPER: Did you think, "This is it, I'm going to get killed"?

STAPLETON: I thought early on in the dive I was going to die. And once I had a serious malfunction with the main and the flag was still attached to me and I couldn't get a lot of problems solved, I felt that this was it, this was how I was going to die.

COOPER: And what is -- that goes through your mind when you think that?

STAPLETON: Well, I was really sad for my wife and kids. I really was sorry that I had screwed up and left them alone and really sorry for the things I was going to miss out in the future.

I was really sorry for the people on the jump. I knew it was going to affect them, and for the people around me, it was going to be really hard. But that's also why I wasn't going to give up.

COOPER: You came close to one of those stakes, didn't you?

STAPLETON: Absolutely. A couple feet.

COOPER: A couple -- and did you actually see it? When you were about to land?

STAPLETON: I actually, as I was coming in to land, I remember looking across and I could see all the vineyard disappearing into the distance. It's really pretty. The sun was at a right angle, it was very aesthetic. And I remember I was at the right height to look across all those plants and lines, and like wow, that's really pretty. And I could see the plant going by me and I was like "I wonder how far the one is behind me." And the next thing I know, I was on dirt. And just thankful to be on dirt.

COOPER: Katie, as you run over to him, I mean, you must have thought the worst.

KATIE HANSON, SKYDIVING PARTNER: Oh, I did. I -- I was spiraling down, once we separated, I was spiraling down following him, you know, rooting for him to clear all the problems, and following him down so I could get to him as fast as I could. And I saw him hit, and I remember just thinking that's an unsurvivable thing.

And then I landed on, like, a little driveway in the vineyard and dropped all my gear and ran over there. And I couldn't believe when I saw him moving. And I -- I had to see him move twice to actually believe it, and I just started yelling at him not to get up in case things were bad, which I assumed that they were. And I got over to him and he was talking and trying to pull his gear off. And I couldn't believe it. I was so happy.

COOPER: How do you feel now?

STAPLETON: I'm a little sore. It takes me a few minutes to get out of bed in the morning.

COOPER: I would think so.

STAPLETON: Yes. It's -- going up and down the stairs, I don't run two or three steps at a time. But, you know, every day I get better. And you know, I feel in a few more days, I'll be back doing what I want to do.

COOPER: Well, Craig, I've got to ask this question and I kind of am worried what the answer is going to be, but are you going to skydive again?

STAPLETON: Oh, yes. Want to go with me?

COOPER: Dude, no. Sorry, sorry. I don't know if you're the luckiest guy or the unluckiest guy. I'm not sure.

STAPLETON: Yes. I -- I plan on jumping again. That's not my last skydive. You know, I don't know what will ever be my last skydive, but that's not it.

COOPER: It's important for you to do it again?

STAPLETON: Katie and I are in a competition at the end of this month. It's important for me to do it again. If all I do is one more, I'm doing one more.

COOPER: Well...

STAPLETON: And when I teach students and when I teach people, I always tell them the goal on every skydive is get to the next skydive.

COOPER: Well, I'm so glad you're OK and getting better every day. Craig, thank you so much for talking to us. And Katie, as well.

STAPLETON: Thank you.

HANSON: Thank you.


COOPER: Incredible.

A lot more happening tonight. We're going to update you on the trial of two local football heroes in a rape case that is dividing an Ohio town and shocked the country.

Also, another Carnival cruise ship turns into a giant floating toilet. We'll tell you how the nightmare ended. Next.


ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: I'm Isha Sesay with the "360 Bulletin."

A stage partially collapsed tonight in Miami as crews were setting up for a music festival that starts tomorrow. A local official says four people were hurt in the collapse, one of them critically.

Day two of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape trial wrapped up this evening. Two high-school football players are accused of raping a 16- year-old girl last summer. Much of the case is focused on cell-phone pictures of the alleged abuse that were circulated in text messages and on social media.

Two women who were shot by Los Angeles Police during the manhunt for killer ex-cop Christopher Dorner will get $40,000 to replace their bullet-ridden pickup truck. The truck looked similar to the one that Dorner was thought to be driving. The women's attorney says they are not doing well and are still suffering physically and emotionally.

And another Carnival cruise gone wrong. The company is flying passengers on the Dream ship back to Florida. The Dream ship's generators failed yesterday while it was docked in the Caribbean. All the lights went out. Some of the toilets stopped working, and no one was allowed onshore. Oh, dear.

Well, the celebrations over Pope Francis are still going strong in Spanish-speaking countries. The choosing of a Spanish-speaking pope is meaningful in many churches right here in the United States, as well, where the number of Hispanic Catholics is on the rise. Tom Foreman has our "American Journey" report.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The appearance of the Spanish-speaking pope from across the Atlantic electrified the crowd in Italy and lit up U.S. shores too.

ALEX DOALLIN, CATHOLIC: I was just full of joy. Happy. Very happy.

DAN ZEIDLER, CATHOLIC: As we say in Latin America, "Viva le papa."

FOREMAN: Over the past few decades, American Catholic churches like this one in D.C. have undergone a profound transformation. The number of Hispanic numbers has been soaring, pushed so fast by immigration and birth that they no account for one out of every three Catholics here.

GREG SMITH, PEW RESEARCH CENTER: And it's a number that's likely to continue to rise, because Latino Catholics tend to be younger than Catholics as a whole. Fully one half of all Catholics under the age of 40 today are Hispanics.

FOREMAN: While many white Catholics have been slipping away from the church amid sexual abuse scandals, debates over abortion rights and the role of women, Hispanic arrivals have more than made up for the losses. So much so that Catholics still comprise about a quarter of the country, just as they have for decades.

(on camera): Mind you, that shift in demographics has dramatically changed the religious map. Once a largely northeastern and Midwestern faith, Catholicism is now growing fastest in the south and the west.

(voice-over): The new pope has an audience ready coast to coast in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So the fact that he can speak our language is very significant. I think he can get the message through more effectively.

FOREMAN: And what they share, maybe more than Spanish, is the language of change.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


SESAY: Anderson is back next with the "RidicuList."


COOPER: Time for the "RidicuList." Tonight, there's a whole new way to start your day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sexcereal. That's right. It's a breakfast cereal that's supposed to improve your sex life.

Sexcereal is also touted as the world's first gender-based cereal. The cereal for men has ingredients that support testosterone, according to the company. And the cereal for women has ingredients that support hormonal balance.

So now look, I know what you're thinking. Why, oh, why did they not call it Porn Flakes? I don't know the answer to that question. Seems like a real missed opportunity, if you ask me.

So Sexcereal is basically granola but it also has stuff in it like bee pollen and ginger. But the real question is does it work?

Jane Velez-Mitchell filled in as a host of my talk show today. She and Tamar Braxton and some guy in the audience did a taste test.


TAMAR BRAXTON, REALITY TV STAR: Looks like trail mix. Hold on. That's good.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: You feeling sexy, dude?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the aftertaste. You know, the original initial drive was coming but then the aftertaste kind of took it away. BRAXTON: Well, I'm feeling very, very, very sexy right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Be careful. It's good.


COOPER: I leave the show for one day to cover the new pope in Rome and, sure enough, out comes the sex cereal. Stay classy, San Diego.

They also tried it on "Live with Kelly & Michael."


KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH KELLY & MICHAEL": Or as we've taken to calling it, Pornios. You can tell it works, because look at this great big spoon.

And on the back, on the back, inexplicitly, there's a woman playing the clarinet for a cobra.

MICHAEL STRAHAN, CO-HOST, ABC'S "LIVE WITH KELLY & MICHAEL": Out the basket. All right. Here we go.



COOPER: Pretty much all the endorsement you need. Forget the Cap'n Crunch, step away from Froot Loops, and start your day with Sexcereal. It's part of a hormonally-balanced breakfast, on "The RidicuList," at least.

That's it for us. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts next.