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Russia to the Rescue?; Interview with Senator John McCain; Searching for Diplomatic Solution; Zimmerman Versus Zimmerman; Bomb Explodes At Government Building In Benghazi

Aired September 11, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone.

A busy night on Syria, the diplomatic maneuvering, political pushback, doubts about the reliability of Russia and the shaky practicalities of the disarming a chemical super power during a civil war.

Senator John McCain joins us, so does the man that led the U.N. weapons inspection team in Iraq.

Later, new developments in George Zimmerman's confrontation with his estranged wife that ended like this. Now, Shellie Zimmerman stepping to the spotlight and her lawyer speaking out about the angry incident.

And Christopher Story, murdered, execution style, at age 4. His mother condemned to die for ordering the hit. Now after more than two decades on death row she is free. The question, though, is justice finally being done or is a killer going free because of bad police work all those years ago?

We begin, though, with the growing concerns that a proposed deal with Russia and Syria could be nothing more than a bid by those countries to buy time and growing doubts whether it would even be possible to neutralize Syria's chemical weapons stockpile at all.

This of course all happening on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The president and the vice president marking the occasion this morning in the White House. 9/11, you'll remember, beget anthrax letters, then smallpox fears, then a war with Iraq over alleged weapons of mass destruction, a war that, just like today, was proceeded by diplomatic overtures, U.N. initiatives, weapons inspectors comings and goings, and serious doubts about the wisdom and judgment of the commander-in-chief.

There are echoes of that today as Secretary of State Kerry departs tonight for Geneva and two days of talks with his Russian counterpart. Each bringing proposals for putting the Syria chemical stockpile under international control.

Now the two countries divided over whether force should remain an option if Syria does not live up to a deal. Then there's the sheer mechanics of locating, securing and possibly destroying tens of thousands of tons of mustard gas, sarin and nerve gas. In fact no one even knows exactly how much chemical weapons, what tonnage there really is.

Back home, doubts being voices not just about Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, but also President Obama after his speech last night.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: He cannot speak to the nation as a commander-in-chief. He cannot speak to the world as a commander-in- chief. He just cannot do it. And I don't know what it is.


COOPER: Republican Senator Corker there questioning the president's ability as president, basically, also complaining that he's not making the case that America's credibility is on the line. We're going to hear from his colleague John McCain shortly, but first, Jim Acosta is at the White House.

So, Jim, what's the latest from the White House on this proposal from Russia? What's happening?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the White House is first of all not going to get into a back-and-forth with the Senator Corker, but as you mentioned, the president is sort of getting back to the ceremonial duties that you sometimes see with a commander-in-chief.

He was honoring the victims of the September 11th attacks. Today he was at a volunteer event for the chronically ill, bagging lunches for those folks.

But as for this Russian proposal, Jay -- first of all, the White House is not setting any kind of timeline as to when Syria is going to have to give up its chemical weapons. That was something that was asked time and again today. They're not giving a timeline at this point, but you really got the sense, Anderson, that the White House is setting expectations for this Russian proposal.

They were saying at the press briefing earlier today that Russia is Assad's best friend, that the Russians have been cooperative in recent years, and this was all sort of punctuated by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when he said Russian prestige is on the line with this proposal. Here's what he had to say.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Russia is Assad's and Syria's closest ally. Russia has played the role of blocking international efforts thus far to hold Assad accountable. And the proposition that they put forward to deal with Assad's chemical weapons presents a real opportunity, if it were to be successful.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ACOSTA: Now it's interesting to point out, Anderson, at the end of the news conference, Jay Carney called on a Russian reporter who said now, wait a minute, this whole Russian proposal came from these constructive conversations that were going on between the president and President Putin of Russia, and Jay Carney had to say, you know what? You've got a point there -- Anderson.

COOPER: Secretary Kerry, obviously, as we said is heading to Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart. How optimistic is the administration that they will actually give or hash out some sort of deal especially since the sides seem so far apart?

ACOSTA: Well, you get the sense that they are cautiously optimistic about this but -- at the same time, Jay, you're hearing -- or Anderson, you're hearing the same thing that you heard from Jay Carney here at the White House that you're hearing over at the State Department.

The State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at this briefing earlier this afternoon with reporters that what Secretary Kerry is doing over there in Geneva is testing the seriousness, as she put it, of the Russian proposal.

So, really, they're just at that point in the game right now looking at what's going to be on paper at this point, let alone what might be coming down the road. At one point during this briefing Jen Psaki said that they're going to this meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, with their eyes wide open.

So a measure of optimism, Anderson, but also a whole lot of caution. They're just not sure if this will work out and they're setting those expectations.

COOPER: All right. Jim, I appreciate the reporting.

Jim Acosta at the White House.

Now the skeptics in Congress today. The Senate officially dropped consideration of a use of force resolution. At the same time lawmakers joined the White House in opposing any deal with Russia and Syria that precludes military action up front.

Here to talk about it, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain, Vladimir Putin has said that the threat of military force has to be off the table in order for a deal to get done. Does that make any sense to you?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Makes no sense and it may be indicative that we're going to have a lot of difficulties with this Russian sponsored resolution, and so, no, makes no sense whatsoever.

COOPER: You know, there's a lot of people out there who think the United States is essentially being played, the Obama administration, the U.S. is being played by Russia, by Syria. To them, you say what? MCCAIN: I'm very, very concerned and very skeptical. I'm concerned that John Kerry has to fly to Geneva to meet with Lavrov about a resolution that is going through the United Nations Security Council. Why isn't Lavrov coming to New York while they shape this agreement?

I note with some interest that yesterday the -- Bashar Assad's aircraft began their bombing operations and killing operations, which had been stood down while the threat of the United States launching attack was prevalent, and so I am very skeptical and I hope that I'm wrong.

COOPER: I talked to David Kay, a former chief U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq last night. I'm going to talk to him again tonight. But he said this has never been done before. This has never been done in the midst of a civil war that, you know, if it takes 500 to 1,000 inspectors, there aren't that many -- qualified inspectors ready to go.

So what kind of a timetable do you actually see for some sort of tally of the sites and securing of the sites? I'm not even talking about destruction of the actual weapons.

MCCAIN: The resolution could take a couple of days. The -- all the problems that you just outlined in that of David Kay are very important. The Syrian government knows where these weapons are. So we would ask them to show the international monitors where they are. We would then take charge of those, and a lot of them are in areas that are not totally contested.

Would it be a complicated and difficult exercise? Yes, indeed. But as opposed to allowing those chemical weapons to be continued to be used as we know Bashar Assad has done a number of times in the past, just not to the degree that this latest atrocity was, that -- then I think we have the lesser of two evils.

COOPER: Logistically, would there be some sort of international security force on the ground to protect the inspectors?

MCCAIN: I don't think it would have to be robust. I do think that the -- I know the Free Syrian Army would not interfere with those activities because of the threat of those weapons being used against him. Now in the areas that are controlled by al-Nusra and al Qaeda and I will freely admit, there is one more of them flowing in every single day, then I think it is very complicated, and we'd have to look at perhaps an international force.

We might have to look at some things, but you can also look at a negotiated departure of Bashar Assad, his people, to say that we will secure these areas where these weapons are stored, as well.

COOPER: For you, though, bottom line, moving forward in the next hours and days, you're saying there is no way the U.S. should take the threat of military force off the table?

MCCAIN: I don't see how you can and have credibility. If someone can explain to me how that's possible, I'd like to hear that discussion, but with the weapons have to go out first. But again, I would not ignore the Free Syrian Army because as long as this conflict goes on, the more killing is going on, and you're the last person I have to tell what the effects in the refugee camps are, the 100,000 killed, the children refugees, and the destabilization of the surrounding countries, including Iraq, which is rapidly descending into chaos.

COOPER: Senator McCain, appreciate your time.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

COOPER: Senator McCain said is worth underscoring, neither a deal nor the prospect of one are likely to change the bloody dynamics on the ground. The killing goes on. According to the opposition, regime air forces today hit a hospital in northern Syria, killing 11, wounding dozens more.

That won't change. What worries the senator and others is that neither will Russia. That country, as you know, has been Syria's enabler for decades and more generally whether it's Syria or Edward Snowden, an all around thorn in America's side.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When President Putin, who was prime minister when Medvedev was president, came back into power, I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti-American.

CARNEY: We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step.

OBAMA: I've encouraged Mr. Putin to think forward as opposed to backwards.

CARNEY: We have a lot of fish to fry if you will with the Russians.

OBAMA: Obviously this is disputed by President Putin.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: If the president of Russia chooses yet again to ignore it, that's his choice.

OBAMA: On Syria, I said, listen, I don't expect us to agree.

KERRY: Because of the guaranteed Russian obstructionism --

MARIE HART, DEPUTY STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We've seen two years of Russian intransigence.


OBAMA: And it has been resisted by Russia.


COOPER: Quite a recent history. The question is what, if anything, is different now. The Obama administration seems to think something may have changed.

Joining us is Mike Doran, former Bush administration national security official, currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, also chief political analyst Gloria Borger.

So, Mike, we just heard Senator McCain saying, he doesn't see how you can have credibility if the consequences of an action by Assad does not involve a threat of military force. There has to be the threat of military force. Do you agree with that?

MICHAEL DORAN, SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: I do, except that I think that we have basically unilaterally disarmed. The vote that the president was looking at in the House at the last count was 25 votes in favor of 217 that he needed. And so I think it's very clear that we're not going to get the kind of authorization of force that he needs to have a credible threat.

So that leaves him with two choices, one is just to play this out, to string it along, to make it look like there is more there than there really is, and the other is to do what Senator McCain said and it's to think more broadly about the conflict as a whole, not just about chemical weapons, and develop a strategy on the ground that strengthens the Free Syrian Army and shows a credible threat of force from that direction, not unilateral American force, but a coalition supportive of the Free Syrian Army.

COOPER: Gloria, I mean, is it possible that if this deal falls apart, doesn't work out, whether that's a week from now or several weeks from now in the details that then the president can go back with the strength in hand and get approval for military action?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, it's very hard to count votes on this now. It's very hard for me to see how his hand would be strengthened in all of this, Anderson.

Look, I think what they've got to be thinking at the White House is that yes, this could fall apart. OK? Because if the Russians are saying you have to take the threat of force off the table, that's kind of non-negotiable, I would think, from our point of view. So what is their plan B?

It could be, Anderson, that the president could decide having made the moral case to the American public, having tried to go to Congress that he could actually go without Congress, that raises all kinds of political questions for him, or he could decide, for example, to just have a vote in the Senate where perhaps he might have a little bit more support and then not have a vote in the House.

I mean, there is precedent for this with Bill Clinton and Kosovo and the NATO air strikes there. He had approval from the Senate and went. COOPER: Mike, what about that? And the possibility that the Obama administration could decide to go at it alone because even though they tossed it over to Congress, he said all along that the president has the authority to go at it alone.

DORAN: I -- those options make sense to me as theoretical options. The sticking point for me is that I just can't see this president doing that just because all along on Syria, from the very beginning, he's shown a deep, deep reluctance to get involved and to use force. And in general, as he himself said in the recent interviews, I came to end wars. He said in the second inaugural that I brought a decade of war to an end.

I think he sees this as part of his legacy, and he would really have to go through a massive paradigm shift to do that.

BORGER: But he -- but, you know, he has made the case that this would be limited, as Secretary of State Kerry said, that it would be unbelievably small, so if he sticks with what he originally said this would be, and don't forget at the outset in this whole process that's played out over the last two or three weeks, the president seemed willing not to go to Congress, then seemed to have a change of heart, and went to Congress.

So why wouldn't he then decide after this plays out that he's played out this string and he might just decide to do what he originally seemed to be intending to do.

COOPER: Well, also, Mike, I mean, and Gloria, there is a logistical timetable in terms of military readiness on the part of the U.S. that we have to talk about. I mean, a U.S. Military official telling us that this high readiness level is got to be reassessed in the next couple of weeks, that the U.S. can't maintain this readiness level in the region for that length of time. The destroyers need to be switched out. This official asked rhetorically how long can you stay in a three-point stance.

What about that, Mike?

DORAN: Look, you know, it's quite possible. He may -- when really faced with it, if the Russians are not forthcoming and he has a tremendous political embarrassment in front of him, in the end he'll look after his best interest and he may -- and he may have a change of heart. But I was struck just watching him over the last two weeks.

We had Kerry coming out. Kerry channeled his inner Churchill and President Obama played Hamlet. And we saw that several times. Churchill, Hamlet, Churchill, Hamlet. It's really hard to imagine.

BORGER: You know, I think the timetable here, though, is really key. As Jim Acosta was saying, the White House is saying there is no timetable. I think here we heard Senator Graham say this yesterday, that people want to see impatience on the part of John Kerry, and they want to see something within the next couple of weeks as far as the U.N. is concerned.

COOPER: Yes, and a lot of that is going to be worked out between Kerry and his counterpart.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Starting tomorrow.

Gloria, Mike Doran, thanks very much.

Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper.

Coming up next, what happens if and when weapons inspectors actually hit the ground? How would it actually work or not work, especially when recent history shows them ducking sniper fire.

And later, an angry confrontation outside George Zimmerman's estranged wife's house. His wife called the police. Tonight she goes before the cameras on what she did and did not say about the incident.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back. While the world's top diplomats debate the possibility of Syrian chemical disarmament, there's another group of people, weapons inspectors and other technical experts, scrambling to figure out, how do you actually make it happen? It's not going to be easy as a point of reference.

Both Russia and America agreed to destroy their chemical stockpiles more than 15 years ago, they're still in the process of doing it and that's two nations in peace time, not a country torn by civil war run by a dictator who's already made life dangerous for outsiders sniffing around his chemical program.

More now from Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The first time independent monitors were sent to Syria, it didn't go well. Arab League monitors in Damascus in December of 2011 were forced to end their mission a month later citing deteriorating conditions.

But the call for independent inspectors grew louder after numerous allegations of chemical attacks. Just last month, a team of U.N. weapons inspectors was in Damascus when a large scale chemical weapons attack occurred. The inspectors wanted to visit the site but were confined to their hotel by the Assad regime for five days.

KERRY: I've personally called the foreign minister of Syria and I said, if as you say your nation has nothing to hide, then let the United Nations in immediately and give the inspectors the unfettered access.

ROBERTSON: Finally, the team was given permission to inspect the scene. But as the convoy passed through a buffer zone between government and rebel controlled areas, it came under attack. Unidentified snipers shot at the convoy, multiple times, hitting a vehicle but causing no injuries. And the team continued on.

KERRY: When the U.N. inspectors finally gained access, that access as we now know was restricted and controlled.

ROBERTSON: Restricted and controlled. A familiar pattern in Syria for inspectors trying to operate in the middle of a volatile war.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Lebanon.


COOPER: Well, would anything be different this time? Digging deeper now with CNN analyst and former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, he currently serves on the State Department's International Security Advisory Board, also former CIA officer Bob Baer.

David, when we spoke last night on this program, you said you thought it might take somewhere between 500 and 1,000 inspectors just to inspect and secure the stockpiles. You've now revised that estimate. What number are you thinking?

DAVID KAY, CNN ANALYST: Well, as a number of us who have carried out inspections have talked during the day, I think the argument becomes much stronger for an estimate close to 2,000 inspectors. Now there obviously are some things we don't know. We don't know the total size of their inventory. We don't know exactly where they are located, how they are divided among them, and we don't know if we also are going to be faced with the issue of, there looks like there is something that's not here.

COOPER: Right.

KAY: I mean, the first thing the inspectors are going to want to do is see the production records of their chemical weapons production, so you know what they should have produced, you know what they are now reporting and is there a discrepancy. That takes a lot of technical manpower to do.

COOPER: And this may be a dumb question, David, but how many experienced or capable inspectors right now are there in the world?

KAY: Nowhere close to that number that are certified chemical inspectors. And the fact of the matter is, most of them are in the military, and most of them, those are in the U.S. military.

COOPER: And so there is a big question whether Syria would want or even allow -- or the Russians even allow U.S. military inspectors on the ground in Syria. That seems highly unlikely, right, David?

KAY: I think it's very unlikely and I'm not sure even the administration would want U.S. military inspectors on the ground. That really is boots on the ground.

COOPER: Bob Baer, what do you think of this whole -- that the likelihood that the Assad regime would actually give up their chemical weapons?

ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's close to zero, Anderson. Bashar al-Assad has told his inner circle that the chemical weapons are the last line of defense. If the civil war should go very badly they would use them. He's made it very clear in the inner circle and now we're asking him to give this stuff up with essentially nothing in return.

I think you're absolutely right, he's buying time, hoping this goes away. They can go on with this offensive, which they've started the last couple of days. In any case, the Syrian regime has never opened that country up for anything. It's never cooperated with the U.N., international inspectors have never been there. It doesn't like the U.N. and it has a close leadership, which isn't going to respond well to this and it could take five, six years to account for all of this stuff in any case.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Bob, I think back to even -- was it a year ago when Kofi Annan was there and they made a cease-fire deal and that quickly broke apart even though the regime had made various promises they continued their attack on the city of Homs.

As someone who used to work in intelligence, Bob, how reliable do you know is our intelligence on exactly where Syria's chemical weapons are and how much they have? I mean, I've heard estimates all over the map.

BAER: No, Anderson, I can answer that question, I can tell you what we know. Their stuff is very good. VX and sarin, it's very sophisticated. It reached a high level. We were never able to monitor the actual quantity produced. So if they should produce records now, we have no way to verify those are correct.

COOPER: And David, that's what we really would have to rely on, correct? The Syrian regime's own account?

KAY: Well, the -- no, not really.


KAY: The interesting thing about records of production is there -- it's very hard to fake all the internal connections. There is inputs, there is production, there is intermediate products and we proved in the case of Iraq who also tried to lie about their production that if you get the numbers you can detect that.

It's like a complex accounting effort. It really is hard to lie. It's easier to lie about easy things, we don't have anything, we don't have anything there. Once you admit you have it, you have the production facility open, it gets very much more difficult to lie.

COOPER: David, in terms of -- you know, I've heard you use that term securing the sites. What exactly does that mean? We're not talking about destroying the actual weapons. Securing the sites. Is that active monitoring? How do you secure a site? KAY: Look, you're in a warzone. It's 24/7 personnel. Inspectors are not trained to secure sites. I mean, they -- they know technology that can bring SEALs, cameras and all that. But look, you've got to, if you assemble these weapons, you get them in several places, maybe five places, you've got to provide protection and that really is military-style protection. I see no way around that problem.

COOPER: And, Bob, I mean, you've worked in the region, you helped some of the former Soviet Republics try to clean up their chemical and nuclear stockpiles and that process took years, right?

BAER: It was a nightmare. I supervised looking at the old Soviet stuff, same sort of chemicals, anthrax, nuclear. We couldn't even keep track of the bombs in Kazakhstan. You know, we saw the silos where it kept the warheads but they couldn't explain what happened to the warheads. I mean, this went on for years and years and years --

COOPER: And that was a regime that wanted to give -- them up or just cooperating, right?

BAER: Hundred percent. They'd fly us out there. We'd look at this stuff. The State Department had complete control over this and the CIA and they just could not produce the records or anything. We don't know what happened to these facilities wide open. We never did get a good estimate of what they had and what was lost.

COOPER: Interesting. Bob Baer, appreciate your time. David Kay, as well.

For more on the story you can go to We're going to talk to David Kay more on AC 360 later at 10:00 tonight.

The remarkable sight of George Zimmerman handcuffed in the street after his alleged confrontation with his estranged wife. Now his wife's attorney is speaking out. The story that apparently just won't go away.

Also tonight, Diana Nyad hits back at critics with questioned her marathon swim from Cuba to Florida.


COOPER: Welcome back. An attorney for Shellie Zimmerman, the estrange wife of George Zimmerman, says that his client wants their marriage to end with a whimper not a bang and she doesn't want to talk about it anymore. Ironically he made a statement in a news conference this evening with Shellie standing by his side in front of news cameras.

Now earlier today, police in Lake Mary, Florida said that as of right now, no charges will be filed in the alleged confrontation between the couple. Shellie Zimmerman called police Monday afternoon claiming George Zimmerman threatened her and her father with a gun. Police say no gun was found in the incident or was involved in the incident.

Shellie claims she recorded the incident on an iPad, but that George smashed it. Police say it could take weeks or months to recover that video, if at all. More now on this tangled story tonight from Victor Blackwell.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New dashcam video shows George Zimmerman and another man being ordered out of this truck at gunpoint Monday by Lake Mary, Florida police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him back out there.

BLACKWELL: Police suspected Zimmerman was armed after receiving this frantic call from his estranged wife, Shellie Zimmerman.

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: He's in his car and he continually has his hand on the gun and keeps saying step closer. He's just threatening all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Step closer and what?

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: And he's going to shoot us.

BLACKWELL: Police say they did not find a gun. According to police, there was a confrontation at the home the Zimmermans once shared, a home owned by Shellie's father, David Dean.

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: He accosted my father and took my iPad out of my hand and smashed it and cut it with a pocket knife.

BLACKWELL: This is Dean after the alleged attack, which police say was not caught on camera. Police say Mrs. Zimmerman was using the new smashed iPad to record video of what was being taken from the home. In this home surveillance video footage George Zimmerman volunteered to officers. You can see George smashed the iPad. Now that iPad is at the center of the investigation.

OFFICER ZACH HUDSON, SPOKESMAN, LAKE MARY: You got George Zimmerman saying he was struck with the iPad and then you have Shellie saying that there was physical contact with George. The iPad is important because we want to see what is on that iPad. That iPad would have been running while this was going on.

BLACKWELL: Everyone was questioned and released. No charges were filed.


COOPER: We should point out that Shellie Zimmerman said there was a gun. Police said they didn't find a gun. Victor Blackwell earlier has reported police did not actually search the vehicle that George Zimmerman had because they didn't have a search warrant.

And on this program, I talked to Mark O'Mara, George Zimmerman's attorney, in this incident who said in fact, he did have a gun present. There is a lot more happening tonight. Isha is here with the 360 Bulletin -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a powerful car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya today on the first anniversary of the attack at the U.S. Consulate that killed four Americans. State TV reports the bomb blew up outside a government building. No one was injured or killed.

A former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran and charged with spying to the CIA says the charges are false and that he was forced to make a televised confession. Amir Hekmati says Iran is only holding him as a pawn to secure the release of two Iranians being held abroad on security related charges.

Diana Nyad insists that she swam from Cuba to Florida on her own with no assistance from anyone on her team. She held a conference call last night with fellow marathon swimmers who questioned the speed of her 53-hour crossing. Nyad is a guest tonight on "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" coming off right after 360 at 9:00 Eastern.

And retired General David Petreaus heckled by students at the City University of New York. reports he teaches a class this fall. One student calls him a war criminal presumably for his role leading U.S. troops in Iraq. Yes, I would say a rough day there for him.

COOPER: I couldn't believe that video, to be honest. The students, I -- I was kind of stunned by this. I don't know. It's --

SESAY: He keeps his game face on. He keeps on moving.

COOPER: I feel bad for him walking around. They are calling him a war criminal and trying to teach a class.

SESAY: The other guy showing his belly for some strange reason.

COOPER: Yes, there's a guy behind him showing his belly and they are threatening to follow him from class to class and do this all the time. There is the guy with the belly there on the right.

SESAY: Yes. He needs to put it away.

COOPER: Yes, charming. All right, Isha, thanks very much.

Up next, Crime and Punishment, his mother was sentenced to death for his murder more than 20 years ago. Now she is getting a new trial. Why her conviction was overturned and why it might be harder this time for prosecutors to win?

Also tonight, just eight days after saying I do, she allegedly pushed her new husband to his death. She was back in court today. We'll tell you what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Crime and Punishment tonight, an Arizona woman who has spent more than two decades on death row is free tonight awaiting a new trial. She was a young woman when she was sentenced to death in 1990 and now she's nearly 50. The crime she was convicted of, the most heinous of the books, the murder of her own child.

But just months ago, a U.S. Court of Appeals threw that out that conviction. Prosecutors are now preparing to retry their case, but this time they have to go to trial without the testimony of their key witness. Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was December 1989, all little Christopher Milke wanted to do was see Santa Claus, but that's not what happened. He wasn't taken to the mall to sit on Santa's lap. He was taken to the desert and shot execution style. He was just 4. Within hours, investigators identified two suspects, James Styers and Roger Scott.

During their interrogation Scott cracked then led investigators to the boy's body. But why did they do it? The story began to unfold when Phoenix Police Detective Armando Saldate said Scott told him the boy's mother had also been involved. So the Saldate quickly zeroed in on Debra Milke.

MICHAEL KIMERER, DEBRA MILKE'S ATTORNEY: He in his mind, based upon the little bit of information that he had was just convinced that this woman did it.

KAYE: Saldate arrested Milke, a 25-year-old insurance company clerk and within 20 minutes, he announced she confessed to arranging for the men to kill her son. The alleged motive, a $5,000 insurance pay out. Debra Milke was charged with first-degree murder. The arrest and charges based on solely on Detective Saldate's statements. At Milke's murder trial, Saldate was the state's star witness.

ARMANDO SALDATE, RETIRED PHOENIX POLICE DETECTIVE: She decided that it would be best for Christopher Milke to die.

KAYE: Milke shot back.

DEBRA MILKE, FREED FROM DEATH ROW: I looked at Saldate and I said, if I didn't want my son, then I could give him -- I would have given him to my family, my sister or someone else in my family.

KAYE: Still, the jury believed the detective. In 1990, Milke was convicted and sentenced to die.

(on camera): That was just the beginning of this strange case. For more than two decades her story has captivated the state of Arizona especially those here in Phoenix who have been asking would Milke really have had her own son killed for $5,000? And if so, why did the two men she supposedly hired to do the job refuse to testify against her. Milke has always maintained her innocence and never gave up on her appeals. (voice-over): Milke insisted she never confessed. Private Investigator Paul Huebl believes her. He was working for a local TV station when Christopher Milke was killed and interviewed Debra a couple of hours after Detective Saldate did.

PAUL HUEBL, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Yes, did you tell the police you had anything to do with the death of your son? She glared at me. Her eyes got really big, and said that's crazy, who told you that? I had nothing to do with the death of my son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is probably my favorite.

KAYE: But her ex-husband Christopher's father disagrees, he always has.

(on camera): Do you believe your ex-wife killed your son?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know she did. I don't believe it. I know she did.

KAYE (voice-over): So that's where things stood until March of this year as Debra Milke sat on death row where they stood until a stunning turn of events. A panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided Debra Milke should get a new trial. In a scathing opinion, Federal Judge Alex Kozinski tossed out her conviction suggesting her confession had been illegally obtained adding it probably never occurred.

(on camera): Court documents show Saldate didn't record the alleged confession or his interrogation of Debra Milke. There were no other officers present in that interrogation room. Nobody was watching through a two-way mirror and there were no cameras or microphones to record it. And there's more, Saldate never asked Debra Milke to put her confession in writing and he even skipped the most basic step of having her sign a Miranda waiver.

(voice-over): The Federal Appeals Court judges didn't say Milke is innocent, but other than her so-called confession, there is no physical evidence linking her to the crime. Judge Kozinski also found prosecutors failed to disclose what they knew about the Detective Saldate's history of misconduct, disciplinary action and lying.

The judge sited eight cases where confessions, indictments or convictions were tossed out or set aside because Saldate had either lied under oath or violated constitutional rights. In one case, Saldate led a motorist with a faulty taillight go in exchange for sex then lied to his superiors about it. The judge determined this would likely have cast doubt on Detective Saldate's credibility and may have influenced the verdict.

BILL MONTGOMERY, MARICOPA COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It was still a fact that she was convicted of the murder of her 4-year-old son.

KAYE: On Friday, September 6th, 23 years after she was sent to death row, Debra Milke, walked out of prison a free woman for now. She was finally able to hug her mother for the first time in more than 20 years. Now 49, Milke is preparing for yet, another trial, but this time around, things may be different. A judge will soon decide if her alleged confession is even admissible in court, and Detective Saldate, he may ask for immunity and not testify.

KIMERER: They don't have Saldate to testify if they don't have a confession, this case probably has to be dismissed.

KAYE: Which means Debra Milke may get used to life on the outside. Randi Kaye, CNN, Phoenix.


COOPER: Well, we'll be following that case closely.

Coming up, she's a newlywed bride accused of murder allegedly pushing her husband off a cliff after they were married for just over a week. She was in court in Montana today. Kyung Lah was there. We have the latest from her next.

Also ahead, the governor of Massachusetts says it was quote, "dumb" for Boston's Logan Airport to do a training drill today on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, what airport officials have to say coming up.


COOPER: Beams of light from lower Manhattan where the twin towers once stood, we'll remember those who lost their lives on September 11, 12 years ago, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Crime and Punishment report tonight, in Montana, a woman was in court today accused of killing her husband by pushing him over a cliff in Glazier National Park. Jordan Lynn Graham and Cody Johnson had been married for just a little more than a week when this happened and Graham's version of what happened changed several times.

Kyung Lah joins me now life from Missoula, Montana. So you were in the court. What happened?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a detention hearing, Anderson. What prosecutors want is they want her to stay in jail, but her attorneys are arguing that she has no criminal history. They want her released with conditions the judge expected to make some sort of decision before noon local time tomorrow.

COOPER: Allegedly, she changed her story several times. What are you learning about that? How significant is that?

LAH: Yes, quite a web of lies from what we're hearing. What police say is that they were told four different stories. It's gelling with what we're hearing from friends. They have been told a number of stories they tell me. They say it fits though with the woman they know. She is emotionless according to these friends and they also say that during the wedding she was quite odd. Listen to what one of grooms men told us.


CAMERON FREDRICKSON, CODY JOHNSON'S FRIEND: During the wedding when they were exchanging vows, Jordan was looking down and wasn't looking at Cody when she was exchanging vows. To me, that's odd, you know, you're up there with the love of your life. You're usually lost in each other's eyes, you know, sharing your vows with this person so they know you mean it and she couldn't even look at him. It -- it was odd.


COOPER: I guess you can interpret that a whole bunch of different ways. What are you hearing from the husband's family?

LAH: Well, the husband's family says that Cody was an only child, that his mother is quite distraught. We spoke to his uncle. He says what he saw from this woman, this young bride just married eight days ago. She was texting at her new husband's funeral as the eulogies were given. Listen to what he said.


RICHARD SOTO, CODY JOHNSON'S UNCLE: She seemed very distant, stone cold, didn't shed a tear. She didn't even use a piece of tissue the whole time, didn't cry, was on her phone at one point. She was completely detached. It was like she wasn't even there. She would rather be somewhere else.


COOPER: I mean, is there any actual --

LAH: Obviously --

COOPER: -- evidence that she did this?

LAH: There is quite a bit of evidence. We heard even more of it today. A fake e-mail account that prosecutors say was used as cover up. We've heard about text messages that were exchanged where she expressed regret about getting married. So prosecutors says they are still investigating and they are still compiling the evidence, but feel they have a strong case, which is why, Anderson, they want her to stay behind bars.

COOPER: All right, Kyung Lah, appreciate the reporting. Thanks. Let's get some of the other stories we're following. Isha is back with the 360 Bulletin -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, the man who posted the video online confessing that he drove drunk and killed a man pleaded not guilty in an Ohio court today. Matthew Cordle's attorney says that initial plea is standard and his client will plead guilty at a later date. He faces a maximum 8.5 years in prison. Officials at Boston's Logan International Airport are acknowledging they made a mistake by scheduling a training day, the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. During the drill, fire crews were on the tarmac and smoke was visible.

Anderson, a new video commemorates rebuilding at Ground Zero and replaced this time lapse video showing the construction of One World Trade Center. Incredible to see.

COOPER: Yes. Isha, thank you very much.

Tonight at the site of the towers, light are rising to the sky once again. Just ahead, we remember those who lost their lives.


COOPER: Those two blue beams of light rising to the sky from Lower Manhattan came on at dusk and will shine until dawn, one for each at the World Trade Center Towers that fell 12 years ago today. Twelve years later, we will never forget.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father, an amazing father, keep watching over us and we love you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us all throughout this time of silence, of prayer and of meditation.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Even more than memorials of stone and water, your lives are the greatest tribute to those that we lost, for their legacy shines on in you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother who became a grandfather for the first time this year, and she's just like you. She lights up every room she's in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From tragedy has sprung hope.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My grandfather, Carlos Segerra, who I never had the opportunity to meet. I hope you're proud of me and Christian. I love you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Above all, let us all have the courage like the survivors and families here today to carry on no matter how dark the night or how difficult the day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may be gone but you are truly not forgotten.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Not forgotten, nor will they ever be. We'll be back one hour from now another edition of 360, "AC 360 LATER." "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" is next.