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Police Officer Helps Deliver Baby Amidst Blizzard; Snow and Ice Paralyze Atlanta; New Legal Trouble for Justin Bieber; New York Congress Threatens Reporter; Family's Two-Month Battle To Remove Brain Dead Pregnant Woman From Ventilator; Royal Caribbean's "Explorer Of the Seas" Returns Two Days Early After Nearly 700 People Got Sick

Aired January 29, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And we're going to see you back here tomorrow. Thank you as always for joining us. I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. And "AC 360" starts right now.

Hey, Anderson, I've been watching you a lot lately but I haven't gotten a chance to see you.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I'm so glad you're back. Welcome back. How are you feeling? How's the baby? So beautiful, so adorable.

BURNETT: Thank you. I'm feeling great. And, you know, I didn't realize I could exist on so little sleep and function, and I'm learning more about myself.


COOPER: Well, I'm so happy for your whole family. Welcome back.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks. Good to see you.

COOPER: Good evening, everyone. Thanks for joining us tonight.

Atlanta's weather disaster which is still ongoing. The officials who dropped the ball, the excuses that they made for it. We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

Also tonight breaking news, chaos in Toronto as Justin Bieber turns himself in on yet another criminal charge. This is not the one in Miami. This is a new one in Toronto.

And later in their first interview, husband and mother of Marlise Munoz on their legal battle that had no victory, only the comfort of knowing they could finally, finally follow her wishes that she be allowed to die with dignity.

They are breaking their silence tonight.

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the snowstorm that crippled a major American city and what looks like a blizzard of blame shifting in the wake of it. This is what just 2.6 inches of snow -- 2.6 inches of snow and ice did to the Atlanta metro area when it hit yesterday afternoon. As you look at the traffic jam, consider this. Some of those people down there are just now getting home. Still others are returning now to the highway to retrieve cars that they had to abandon after six, 12, even 18 hours stuck behind the wheel.

Some people slept in their vehicles in the cold, others took shelter in stores and churches and public buildings, wherever they could find a warm place just to lie down. Thousands of area children slept at school, some got home only a few hours ago.

Officials in one of the big suburban counties report that 911 operators have been handling almost 10 calls a minute all day from people stranded by the storm. That's nearly 24 hours after it began.

The fact that it hit just before rush hour in a southern city that doesn't see much of this sort of thing with schools, stated offices and local businesses all open, obviously did not help.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, a lot of people may have been led to believe their state and local officials were on top of the storm when in fact they were not. Yesterday morning Atlanta mayor, Kasim Reed, tweeted, "Atlanta, we are ready for the snow." And here he is a short time later not in some kind of situation room or emergency operations center but with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal accepting an award for Georgian of the Year.

Nothing to worry about, Atlanta. We are ready, he said.

As for governor deal who's responsible for all the miles of interstate highway that are still a mess even now, he also found time as the storm drew closer to host an event yesterday promoting Georgia tourism, complete police with Scarlett and Rhett impersonators. He issued no warning until just after 4:00 p.m., well into the nightmare.

Here's how he described it just a short time later.


GOV. NATHAN DEAL (R), ATLANTA: We have been confronted with an unexpected storm that has hit the metropolitan Atlanta area.


COOPER: Now unexpected, not quite. All the governor had to really do was turn on the TV starting on Monday.

Our own Chad Myers predicted it the day before. So did the Weather Channel which actually located in Atlanta. The two dozen meteorologists at Delta Airlines Flight Operations Center also headquartered in Atlanta saw it coming. They were cancelling hundreds of flights.

By today the governor was no longer saying he had no warning but he was still pointing fingers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAL: I did not mean to imply that we didn't know something was coming. What I was referring to was that the National Weather Service had continually had their modeling showing that the city of Atlanta would not be the primary area where the storm would hit.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest," thought, that isn't true, either. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: This is what's going on with the winter weather advisory and the winter storm warnings. It goes until tomorrow morning. Temperatures are not going to rebound really at all today. It's going to stay cold. Could see accumulations of 1 to 2 inches, parts of metro Atlanta.


COOPER: That's from yesterday's noon broadcast on the expanded National Weather Service warning covering the Atlanta area. An advisory that was already nearly nine hours old. Again, it would take more than four hours for the governor to issue any warning.

Now we invited the governor to come on the program tonight and he declined. And 24 hours later, it is still a major mess with Michael Holmes right in the middle of it, joining us now.

So what's the latest? What are conditions like right there now, Michael?

We're obviously having some trouble getting to Michael. I'm not sure if that's weather-related or just technical malfunction. We'll try to get back to him.

At one point yesterday, 5:20 p.m. to be precise, the number of people stuck in traffic grew by one. Take a look. There she is, Grace Anderson. No relation. She's doing fine tonight. So is Amy, her mom, and Nick, her dad, thanks in no small part to a police officer named Tim Sheffield who tells us the story tonight.

So, Officer Sheffield, you were actually on your way to an accident when you saw this car on the side of the road and decided to pull over. Walk us through what happened.

TIM SHEFFIELD, SANDY SPRINGS, GEORGIA, POLICE OFFICER: Yes. I was on my way to an accident on 285 just before Riverside Drive. And I was checking on stranded motorists as I was going along. And I saw this Suburban pulled over to the right-hand side. And the driver was out of the car. And -- so I got out and I said, are you stuck? Are you OK? And he just calmly said, no, we're having a baby.

COOPER: Wow. SHEFFIELD: And I could tell that he was on the phone with 911, which they did an awesome job. I could hear them talking. So I walked up and I looked, and I could see that the baby was just about to come on out. So I went back and got my first aid kit. And I walked back up there. And the dad was, you know, real calm. And the mom was a super trouper. I mean, she was doing awesome.

COOPER: How long had they been there, do you know?

SHEFFIELD: That I don't know. You know, I didn't really get to talk to them much because by the time I got there, about a minute after I arrived, you know, the baby was being born.


SHEFFIELD: So I didn't -- I didn't get a chance to talk. But I could hear a 911 dispatcher talking to him, you know, walking him through, doing a great job. So you know --

COOPER: Have you ever delivered a baby before? I mean, is this something you're trained to do?

SHEFFIELD: No. You know, there is no training, but with this call and -- you know, I've been doing it for awhile, I have actually delivered before but never on the side of the interstate in an ice storm.


COOPER: I can imagine, yes, it's a pretty unique circumstance.

SHEFFIELD: But, you know, the father and the -- the father did -- you know, the mom did all of it, really, because that baby was definitely coming no matter what, who said anything. You know, the father did great. And he -- you know, he -- I was just there to assist. But it was definitely an awesome experience.

COOPER: And what happened after the baby was born? I mean, then did you take them away? Or I mean, how do you -- what happens then?

SHEFFIELD: Once the baby was born, you know, because we were the only ones there, you know, and then I looked up. I looked down to my medical supplies to try to get a blanket to put the baby in. And I looked to my right and the fire department and the emergency like Expeditions pulled up. And they came over. And one of the firemen, you know, he did a great job. He had the equipment, he came over, and started cleaning off the baby.

So I just kind of backed out of his way and stopped the -- you know, some of the traffic over so I could get the ambulance in there and they loaded up the mom and the baby, and they drove off. And the father followed in behind them. And I just left there and went down about a half a mile and started working accidents with a jackknifed tractor trailer.

COOPER: You just kept on working. That's -- I mean, that's the job of a police officer, I guess. But I also understand it was actually your birthday yesterday, is that true?

SHEFFIELD: It was. And that's what I had told the father. I said it is a girl, right? He said yes, it's a girl. And I said, that's awesome. I said today's my birthday. So, you know, it was kind of a neat birthday surprise.

COOPER: Well, you and baby Grace now share a birthday. And I'm sure it's one you will never forget.

SHEFFIELD: I will never forget. And the father, he was -- you know, he looked like a pro. He was just real calm and collected. And the mom with -- you know, with no anesthetic or, you know, any medicine, pain medicine, you know, she just -- she was definitely a trouper.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

Officer Tim Sheffield, listen. I appreciate all you do. And not just yesterday where every day. And I appreciate you talking to us. Thank you.

SHEFFIELD: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Let's get an update on what it's like out there right now. We managed to reconnect to Michael Holmes who's out on the road.

So what's the latest? What are conditions like right now, Michael?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can tell you it's starting to get very cold here again. You were talking earlier, Anderson, about sort of the legacy of this. I can tell you this sort of thing. The cars, we've been driving around the interstates all day. And we have seen hundreds and hundreds of these cars just abandoned by the side of the road.

It's been quite extraordinary. You can see actually on this one the police have come along and they put these little tapes on here because they were checking every car to make sure no one was in it overnight. Hundreds, thousands of these cars. A lot of people were in the traffic so long as you were saying, you know, 10, 12 hours, more in some cases. A lot of them ran out of gas. And we've seen cars parked in the middle of off ramps, like right in the middle.

Nobody's come back all day to get them. Have a look at the freeway behind me. You can see it's pretty empty really. That's because everybody is at home now. And so the freeways are actually moving pretty well. But you know, these cars, Anderson, everywhere. Thousands of them.

COOPER: And are there worries that the water on the road can refreeze?

HOLMES: Yes. That's a good question. But the trucks are another big thing, too. All the trucks are starting to get moving along these interstates now, too. They were clogged up.

Yes, it is now getting back to freezing. It's below freezing, in fact. And where there is moisture right behind us and around us it is slick. It's a sheet of ice. On the main roads, though, they've finally got all the salt trucks and grit trucks out. And the main roads seem to be pretty dry and moving pretty well.

It's the side streets that are going to be the problem. You can get home on the freeway. But once you get off you've got to watch where you're going. And that's going to be a problem tomorrow morning -- Anderson.

COOPER: So was this just a matter of -- I mean, they just weren't, you know, prepared, they hadn't planned out for this kind of -- this kind of eventuality. Schools were opened, businesses were opened, and during rush hour people are just going home and just the highways got clogged? Is that basically what it was?

HOLMES: Yes. You touched on this beautifully just a minute or two ago. When you had the city basically coming and saying, hey, don't worry, this happened back in 2011 but we got you covered this time. It didn't happen. It didn't happen. There was no pre-treating on the roads. And then the key thing was all the schools in Atlanta let out at the same time, and then you had tens of thousands of parents going to get those kids.

The school buses were on the road and then corporate Atlanta said, hey, it's snowing. Everybody, go home. This all happened pretty much within an hour. And so you literally had a million people hitting these roads at the same time and when that snow then started to ice up, parking lot.

This whole freeway along here yesterday, which is why these cars have been abandoned, no one was moving for 10, 12, 15 hours. This was a four-lane highway was just absolute parking lot. And that was because everyone went out at once. A million people hit the roads at once.

COOPER: Crazy.

Michael Holmes, appreciate you reporting for us. Thanks very much.

You can follow me on Twitter now @andersoncooper. Tweet us using #ac360.

Up next, we have breaking news. Justin Bieber is in there somewhere turning himself in on a serious new charge tonight in Toronto. This isn't the whole Miami fiasco. This is what's happening in Toronto today. We have details on that ahead.

And later my conversation with Erick Munoz about the wife and the mother that he loved and whose wish not to be kept on life support he finally got to honor.


ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND OF MARLISE MUNOZ: I promised her. I told her. I will honor your wishes. For me and her dad that was the hardest. Because we looked her in the eye and told her. And for the state of Texas to not let us do that was hard. You know, you want to keep your word to your loved one.



COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We have breaking news tonight. Somewhere in the middle of that scrum there somewhere surrounded by bodyguards and photographers and screaming groupies is Justin Bieber. And yes, he's got a new legal trouble tonight.

Just moments ago as you're watching right now he turned himself in to police in Toronto.

Want to go now to Toronto where the CBC's Steven D'Souza is reporting for us.

So, Steven, what exactly are the charges here?

STEVEN D'SOUZA, CBC REPORTER: Well, he's facing an assault charge. And, Anderson, this goes back to an incident on December 29th where Bieber and some friends were seen at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. And later in the evening, a limo driver in a limousine with Bieber and his entourage was pulled over. Not far actually from the police station where we are in.

The driver at the time alleged that somebody in the entourage assaulted him and police weren't giving us very much information at the time and it wasn't clear whether or not Bieber himself was actually involved but there was a subsequent incident --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three and a half billion people need me to interrupt you so --

D'SOUZA: Excuse me, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry about that.

D'SOUZA: So -- anyway, so you can see --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- people in the world have more problems.

D'SOUZA: This is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's 3.5 billion. This is not news.

D'SOUZA: This is bringing a lot of very interesting people as you can tell. But what happened at the time was police weren't saying very much. But subsequent investigation went on. And Bieber himself has turned himself in as you saw to face these assault charges and that crowd, as you saw made up -- was made up of not only news media, entertainment media, but of course a lot of fans who came down. Because CBC just broke this news at 5:00 this afternoon.

And once that happened, about 100 people descended here in some pretty frigid conditions. About minus 30 degrees Celsius right now. And fans came out to get a glimpse of the pop star as he made the walk of shame through the doors into the police station here.

COOPER: And so -- I mean, it seems clearly it's brought out a lot of just a lot of characters to say the least. But in terms of what he's actually facing, what happens next?

D'SOUZA: Well, right now he's actually inside the police station getting fingerprinted, getting a mug shot taken and speaking with detectives. It's not clear how serious in fact the charge will be because we know that the driver, the limo driver, wasn't taken to the hospital. There was no serious injuries from that. But what we have been told is that he will not be kept overnight and that he will be released on his own recognizance with a promise to appear at a bail hearing later.

And the way the Canadian police system works and justice system works, unfortunately, we won't get a chance to see his mug shot like the mug shot in Miami. So that's one thing you won't get to see. But we will be standing by here in case they do bring him outside. And I'm sure you can see a lot of fans here are expecting him to come out as well. And quite a few got jostled by the police as they were being brought in.

The police were locking arms, security was there trying to bring him in through the side door. And our cameraman got pushed by a few police officers. And there are a number of young fans as well who were subsequent to the cameras getting pushed, they themselves got pushed back. So quite a violent scene.

And I can tell you, Anderson, having covering our Mayor Rob Ford and some of the scrums that surround Rob Ford, this was -- well, a lot worse than -- a lot worse than any of those.

COOPER: All right. Steven D'Souza, appreciate you out there for us tonight. Thank you very much.

Now to "Equal Justice," our legal panel, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and criminal defense attorney and very, very well known among others, Mark Geragos, joining us.

So, Mark, we have this alleged assault on a limo driver in Toronto. The DUI and resisting arrest incidents in Miami, the alleged egging in L.A. County of his neighbor's house, then this just a short time ago as he was about to turn himself in, he posts this, a photo on Instagram. He says, "A new song." I mean this kid -- I mean, he basically just seems like he's kind of out of control.

As a lawyer what do you do in this case?

MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't know. He's -- well, as a lawyer he's 19. I suppose I'm envious that he's, you know, the most famous pop star in the world. And, you know, he's busted in a yellow Lamborghini and he's posting, and has got 29 million followers. I don't know that he's out of control. He's a 19-year-old kid with more money than he knows what to do with. Most of these things are not the biggest deals in the world. I'm sure Roy's going to take care of the Miami thing. I don't think anything untoward is going to happen there.

This case certainly doesn't rise to the level of what the mayor of Toronto's involved in. So I can't imagine there's going to be much consequence to this. He's going to have to go or try a lot harder if he thinks he's going to get into trouble based on these things.

COOPER: Sunny, do you agree with that? I mean, they're all -- little minor things.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: But just spoken like a true defense attorney. I think Mark's attitude, and that's sort of usually the attitude of the defense bar is the problem here. This is a kid clearly out of control. This is a kid who has no one really looking out for his best interests. And the bottom line is, these are serious things.

We're talk about felony vandalism, we're talking DUI which could lead to someone not only Justin Bieber but he could have killed someone. And we're talking about now an assault on a limo driver that was driving Justin Bieber and his friends.

COOPER: Well, an alleged assault.


HOSTIN: An alleged assault.


GERAGOS: Sunny? Wait, Sunny, can I just ask you a question?

HOSTIN: So the bottom line is -- just wait a minute, Mark.

GERAGOS: Sunny --

COOPER: Let her finish, Mark.


GERAGOS: If you're saying --

HOSTIN: This is the time --

COOPER: Let her finish, Mark.

HOSTIN: This is a time when the justice system should get involved and save him from himself.

GERAGOS: The egging of -- the egging in L.A. is a felony?


GERAGOS: A felony vandalism? COOPER: Mark, you're saying it's (INAUDIBLE).

GERAGOS: Well, I just -- a felony vandalism in L.A. Come on. Give me a break. Egging?

HOSTIN: You see?

GERAGOS: You know, God save me from something -- God save me from something, Sunny, that your kids or my kids wouldn't do.

HOSTIN: This is -- this is when --

COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.

GERAGOS: This guy hasn't done -- he hasn't done anything, Sunny, that's violent or --

HOSTIN: DUI is nothing.

GERAGOS: You know, the -- well, the DUI is serious. That's the most serious out of the three. Do I think that that's going to be the death knell for him? No. And -- give him break. He's 19.

HOSTIN: Give him a break?

GERAGOS: Yes. Because he's --

HOSTIN: But this is the opportunity, Mark, for the justice system to step in.

GERAGOS: To do what?

HOSTIN: And hold him accountable. Because he's never held accountable.


HOSTIN: Look at Lindsay Lohan.

GERAGOS: It's the --

HOSTIN: I think the justice system being involved finally, finally got her on the -- on the right track. Your own client, Chris Brown, with the justice system getting involved, he is finally, it seems, getting the help that he needs.

This is the prime example of someone that could be rehabilitated.


COOPER: Mark, for all we know, though, I mean, and you probably have a ton of experience with this as well, when, you know, people see an opportunity maybe to get their name in the paper or to have, you know, have this thing settled, they might make charges or they may sue the -- I mean, these people get sued all the time. These people have things being brought up against them all the time. And a lot of them end up just kind of going away, don't they?

GERAGOS: Of course they do. I probably had 100 of similar type of these nonsense-style incidents involving a variety of celebrities in the last couple of years. They are targets. People make up stuff. People basically want to extort them. And that's what happens. And then, you know, you get people like Sunny who start talking about oh, they're out of control.

HOSTIN: He is out of control.

GERAGOS: The government needs to come in. The government needs to come in and, you know, take control. The government is not -- you know, it's --

COOPER: Well, I don't know if anybody is talking about the government coming in.

GERAGOS: I mean, he's got somebody --

COOPER: And taking control of Justin Bieber. Thank God.


GERAGOS: Well, the government -- remember what we're talking about here.

HOSTIN: We're talking about prosecutors. Holding him accountable.

GERAGOS: Prosecutors is the government.


GERAGOS: That's what they're called.



GERAGOS: Prosecutors are nothing but the government.


GERAGOS: Why do you always want the government getting involved?

HOSTIN: He's terrorizing his neighbors.

COOPER: Mark, Mark, you're making it sound like President Obama addressed this in the State of the Union last night.

HOSTIN: He's terrorizing his neighbors. He's terrorizing --

GERAGOS: No. Remember -- remember who funds the prosecutors.

COOPER: He's -- Sunny, he's terrorizing?

(CROSSTALK) HOSTIN: He's terrorizing his neighbors. Causing $20,000 worth of damage --

COOPER: All right. We're done. We're done.

HOSTIN: -- to his neighbors.

GERAGOS: Next thing you know he'd -- he T.P.ed a house. Big deal, Sunny.

HOSTIN: This is someone that needs help.

COOPER: OK. We're done. We're done.


COOPER: How do you do $20,000 damage with an egg?

GERAGOS: Somebody needs --

HOSTIN: He did.

COOPER: OK. Allegedly, I don't know what he did.

All right, Sunny, thanks so much.

GERAGOS: Somebody needs to egg Sunny's house.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, thank you very much.

HOSTIN: Thanks, Geragos.

COOPER: Thanks.

As always you can find more on the story and other stories at

Just ahead the fallout from a U.S. congressman's meltdown. Take a look.


MICHAEL SCOTTO, NY1 REPORTER: Why? I just wanted to ask you --


REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: If you ever do that to me again --


COOPER: Representative Michael Grimm physically threatening a reporter for asking him a question he didn't like. He talked about tossing him off the balcony.

Also the family of Marlise Munoz is speaking out tonight only on CNN sharing details about their battle, months-long battle to honor her wishes after she was declared brain-dead but was kept on a ventilator under a Texas law because she was pregnant.


COOPER: Well, after every State of the Union address we expect to hear lawmakers give their opinions of the president's speech. What we don't normally expect is for U.S. congressmen to physically threaten the reporter asking questions.

House Republican Michael Grimm of New York did exactly that, flying to a rage when a hometown reporter asked him a question he didn't like about the federal investigation into his campaign fundraising. He was caught on camera in the capitol rotunda.


GRIMM: Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) balcony.

SCOTTO: Why? I just wanted to ask you --


GRIMM: If you ever do that to me again --

SCOTT: Why? Why? This is a -- it's a valid question.


GRIMM: I'm telling you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). No. No. You're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half like a boy.


COOPER: Well, the video has certainly gone viral. Twenty-four hours later Grimm is in damage control mode. The former Marine admits he overreacted. Those were his words.

Athena Jones joins me now.

So Congressman Grimm initially was pretty adamant in standing by his threats to that reporter. Do we know what made him change his mind and apologize?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I don't know about you but I've never had someone I'm interviewing threaten me with physical violence. That's what happened, and so Grimm was getting a lot of negative attention. There were a lot of reporters waiting for him and following him around today. And as you mentioned, the video of that confrontation was circulating widely on Twitter and other places on the Internet.

Now initially as you said he was pretty defiant. Here's what he told New York 1 initially. I think you have that statement to put up on the screen. He said, "I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor."

So that's what he initially said to New York 1 but by the time we caught up with him outside of his office this morning after morning votes he was ready to apologize.

Let's take a listen.


GRIMM: I apologized. I called Michael Scotto. He was very gracious and accepted my apology. We're going to have lunch sometime next week and just make sure this is all behind us.

The bottom line is sometimes I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I was wrong. It shouldn't have happened. And that's why I apologized to him so -- you know, made my apology. He was gracious and he accepted it. And now I've got work to do on flood insurance. So I need to get back to work. And, you know, look, I'm passionate. My constituents know that.


JONES: And that reporter, Michael Scotto, he tweeted that he accepts the apology but I'll tell you, Anderson, I'd love to be there at that lunch that they're going to have next week.

COOPER: So -- I mean, I guess, what he was upset about is he agreed to talk about the State of the Union and that's clearly what he wanted to talk. Clearly did not want to talk about this investigation into his campaign financing. And that's what the reporter asked him about, which is what sparked his fury, I guess, just him asking a question about this investigation, correct?

JONES: Right. But the reporter says that there was no prior agreement about staying away from other topics. And of course this has been an ongoing investigation. The reporter wanted to take the opportunity to ask a question.

COOPER: Right.

JONES: And I asked Grimm today, I said, you know, last night you seemed to not like being asked this other question. Was it inappropriate? He said it was absolutely a fair question. So a real turnaround for Grimm today -- Anderson.

COOPER: It would also sort of guarantees more attention on the federal investigation of the congressman, which probably something a lot of people didn't even know about before.

Athena Jones, appreciate the update. Thanks.

Just ahead, a cruise ship carrying hundreds of sick passengers back in port. We're learning the outbreak may have been worse than first thought. New details about how bad it was on board.

Also a 360 exclusive tonight, Erick Munoz explains how his late wife, Marlise, made him a stronger man and why he is certain he did the right thing by fighting to honour her wishes to die with dignity.


ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND OF MARLISE MUNOZ: I have no doubt. I have no doubts. I sat there and tried to argue with myself. But knowing Marlise, knowing that she fights for what she believes in, I can't say that four years ago I would have done the same thing because her personality rubs off on people. And her fight for what she believed in and what was right rubbed off on me.



COOPER: Tonight, a 360 exclusive, for the first time the family of Marlise Munoz is speaking about the beloved wife, daughter and young mom they've lost in their battle to honour her wishes after she died. It took them two months in an exhausting legal battle, but they did honour her wishes just this past weekend.

Now they're trying to find a way forward in their grief. They told me they want to make sure that no other family has to go through what they did. In a moment, you'll hear from Marlise's husband, Erick and her mother, Lynn. First though, a quick look back at how this tragedy unfolded.


COOPER (voice-over): This past November, 33-year-old Marlise Munoz wakes up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle for her young baby boy. A paramedic whose husband is also a paramedic, Marlise is 14 weeks pregnant with the couple's second child when she collapses on the kitchen floor of an apparent blood clot in her lung.

Shortly after being taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, doctors tell her husband, Erick, his wife is brain-dead and will never recover.

MUNOZ: I can't say enough about her. Everything I do will always be short of what she was. I can't do her justice.

COOPER: Marlise's body is connected to a ventilator despite her family's wishes and what her family says were her wishes. Erick Munoz says as paramedics it was a conversation he and Marlise had often.

MUNOZ: We've seen things out in the field and we both knew that we didn't want to be on life support.

COOPER: But hospital refuses to unplug the ventilator because Marlise is pregnant. Texas is one of about 30 states that restrict a woman's ability to be disconnected from life support if she's pregnant, regardless of the patient or family's directive.

MUNOZ: We reached a point where you wish your wife's body would stop.

COOPER: After more than a month, the family files a lawsuit demanding that Marlise be immediately disconnected and her body turned over to them for proper burial. The case sparks a passionate debate over end of life decisions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want the hospital or if it does go to court to forget that there is a child involved.

COOPER: Tom Mayo is a law professor at Southern Methodist University. He helped write the law and says the hospital misinterpreted it because Marlise can't be brought back to life.

THOMAS MAYO, SMU LAW PROFESSOR: I don't see how we can use a provision of the law that talks about treating or not treating a patient in a case where we really don't have a patient.

COOPER: Attorneys for the family reveal that despite a heartbeat, the fetus inside Marlise is distinctly abnormal, saying, quote, "even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined." After more than two months since she collapsed, a judge orders the hospital to declare her dead and withdraw life support.

The hospital says it will comply with the court saying in a statement "JPS health network has followed what we believed were the demands of a state statute. From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make or contest law but to follow it." On Sunday, the devices that have kept Marlise Munoz's heart and lungs working for two months are switched off and her family is finally able to lay her to rest.


COOPER: For all that coverage that the story has gotten, the most painful details were intensely private obviously. The loss of Marlise is still obviously very raw for her family. The Munoz's 15-month-old son is too young obviously to understand what's happened. From now at least he's spared from that heart break.

Earlier Erick Munoz and Marlise's mom told me they want their story to be heard to save other families from going through the same nightmare. Here's our exclusive interview.


COOPER: Let's go back to when she first had the embolism. She was at that point 14 weeks pregnant.

MUNOZ: Yes. Once we got to the hospital and after the doctors do their initial procedures that they do to try to determine what's causing the problem, see if they can fix it, they showed us a CT of her brain. And I'm not a doctor, but you take enough stroke patients to the hospital and you see their CTs because we see the CTs. We see them. I knew I guess I can't tell you exactly what I was looking at but I knew it was wrong.

COOPER: And even then, even in those early days, you were all on the same page. You felt you knew her wishes that she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially through extreme measures. LYNNE MACHADO, MARLISE MUNOZ'S MOTHER: Yes. Yes. We've known for years. We've known for years. I knew that it was over for her when they brought us back to the ER. I don't have anything scientific to back that up. It was just I walked in. She had already coded. Her heart had stopped again. And I remember a nurse being on the table administering CPR. I turned to my husband and I said why are they doing that?

She's gone and so I knew in the E.R. then it was clarified from one of the doctors in the ER that showed us the CAT scan. And they brought us up to ICU so we would have a little bit of privacy for when she was disconnected. And by the time we got up here, or up to the third floor, that's when we found out that there was this little-known law in Texas that even to this day we have yet to have someone that has known about it.

COOPER: So the doctors initially didn't even didn't know about this law.

MUNOZ: No. Actually we were called back into her room in ICU and the doctor told us about this. Of course, we're like no, we want to disconnect her and his words were, we were asking for an explanation. His words he's like I'm sorry. I just found out about this law 5 minutes before you did. I've been told to notify you of it.

COOPER: When they told you this, I mean, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. You're in this horrific situation and you've made this difficult decision based on conversations that you've had with your wife, with your daughter in the past. What goes through your head when a doctor says we're not going to follow your wishes?

MACHADO: For me, I thought there must have been a miscommunication of some way. We said no, no, no, that's not what she wanted. She wanted never to be on life support and that's when they're saying, well, but she's pregnant. And then it went from there. So we knew we weren't going to let this rest because it wasn't right. It was not honouring her wishes.

COOPER: I think a lot of people think, well, maybe if you had had something in writing that would have made a difference if she had written down, if there was an advanced directive or something. But under this Texas law, even if it's in writing it gets overridden.

MACHADO: Exactly, exactly.

MUNOZ: She could have been detailed everything exactly how this happened, detailed it and it wouldn't have mattered.

COOPER: There are some families in that situation who think, well, maybe she can come back from this, maybe a miracle can happen.

MUNOZ: I mean, we still held the hope. I mean, I did. I can say I did. But for me it was, at least for me, I couldn't turn off the knowledge that I know of what was going on and even though I did want to keep the hope it's my wife. I'd do anything. Many a nights that I asked God to take me instead. But you can't turn off that knowledge that you know how bad it was.

And like I said, I promised her. I told her. I will honour your wishes. For me and her dad, that was the hardest because we looked her in the eye and told her. And for the state of Texas to not let us do that was hard. You want to keep your word to your loved one.

COOPER: What was she like?

MUNOZ: She can light up a room with her smile, personally like I said contagious. I am not one to talk a whole lot. But it was just being around her to me was natural. It was just relaxing. I could do things that even my parents, I felt a lot more relaxed with her than I did with my parents. But she's contagious, I mean, that smile, that personality, that kind, noble heart that she has is indescribable.

MACHADO: Towards the end as the body reacted to the amount of time it had been on life support and the deterioration that had started. It made it very hard to look at this body that used to be our daughter and to know that nothing about her was there.

COOPER: And you could even you could see deterioration.

MACHADO: Very much and you could smell it.

COOPER: Really?

MACHADO: Smell the deterioration. I had said when I go by to if I'm close to her head, I smell death.

COOPER: I understand you learned that you were going to have a daughter.

MUNOZ: They had done several sonos throughout the process. For the initial ones they couldn't determine. So after the court hearing, I said, I would like to know the gender to give my baby a name. I know it's nothing legal.

COOPER: What did you name her?

MUNOZ: Nicole. It was my wife's middle name.

COOPER: One of the reasons you're both speaking out, this is not easy. You're not looking to get on television here certainly.


COOPER: But you want people to have this conversation with their loved one.


COOPER: You hope this sparks conversation in families and whether it's getting stuff in writing, but even in this case that wouldn't have made a difference, but to have that conversation.

MACHADO: To have the conversation, to make sure your relatives or other loved ones know what your wishes are. Again, that helped with us being on the same page from the very beginning.

COOPER: One thing I hadn't thought about and I actually got a lot of e-mails and tweets about this from viewers who were saying, well, this family is not going to be given a bill by this hospital for this. There's no way that could happen because that would be unthinkable, did they present you with a bill?

MUNOZ: Well, I have received bills to my house. They have not come to me and said how that's going to work. But I believe I've heard several media outlets saying that they've asked about that. They have asked that question. They said they would continue normal billing.

COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know?

MACHADO: For me, closure began after she was disconnected. I was able to get a sense of closure and of course, now we're starting the grieving process. And it was hard to do, hard to start the grieving process when we still had this body that we knew was an empty shell in front of it. We really couldn't start grieving, but now we can. For me our story does not end here. It will end when we have laws changed.

COOPER: You're going to continue to fight for that?

MACHADO: Yes. Yes, we are. Yes.

COOPER: I wish you I'm so sorry for all you've gone through as a family. I wish you strength in the days ahead.

MACHADO: Thank you. Thank you.


COOPER: One of things that Marlise's mom said gives her strength is the belief, the firm belief that Marlise is in heaven and was there to greet her baby, Nicole, when she got to heaven.

Up next, nearly 700 people got sick on a cruise ship, throwing up, having symptoms, other symptoms as well. The ship came back today. What the CDC is now saying about what happens next coming up.


COOPER: Welcome back. Well, it's certainly was not the vacation they were hoping for. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship "Explorer of the Seas" returned two days early and will be explored by the CDC. Nearly 700 people on board got sick with symptoms consistent with the norovirus. It basically means they were a lot of vomiting and diarrhea happening on the cruise. The ship returned to Bayonne, New Jersey just today.

Senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is there. She joins me now live. So it sounds like a nightmare people getting sick all over the place. I know you are getting new details. How bad was it?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, from what the passengers have told us it was quite bad. I hope you don't mind I'm going to get a little graphic on you, Anderson. They describe walking around and seeing people sort of hunched in a corner vomiting into bags. One woman said she was in the dining hall and another woman was throwing up into a napkin. Another passenger said she saw someone in his pajamas just soiled from diarrhea and vomiting. It really sounded unpleasant. Let's hear directly from one passenger about her experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I was in my room I didn't know about the other people until my husband went out and told the crew attendant. They come up, they got me a wheelchair. They put me in a wheelchair as they pushed me through the fifth floor, which was where the shops are through everyone. And we went down. When we went downstairs on the lift they opened the doors, you could see absolutely everyone sitting there being sick in buckets, in bags. It was awful. They just gave as us number to wait. I had to wait three hours to be seen.


COHEN: Now while some passengers were critical of Royal Caribbean and how they handled it. Others were quite complimentary and said they did a great job.

COOPER: So what's next for the cruise line? What happens now?

COHEN: Now Royal Caribbean says they're doing a thorough sanitation of the vessel. We asked the Centres for Disease Control what are they required to do after an outbreak like this. It turns out there aren't specific things that they have to do, cleaning up wise or hygiene- wise. There aren't specific things they need to do. They need to have a plan, but it's not clear how this cleaning will be more super duper than any other cleaning they do between cruises.

COOPER: Do passengers get compensated since the whole thing was cut short?

COHEN: You know, we've been told that they will get 50 percent of their money back, and then 50 percent off a future cruise. And then they got perks like free Wi-Fi because of this and $400 of cash to spend on board, and they got free wine and rum, according to the passengers. I'm not sure that's really what I would want to be drinking if I were in this condition. But you know, there it is.

COOPER: Free wine and rum and Wi-Fi, wow.

COHEN: There you go.

COOPER: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it.

COHEN: While you're sick, you know, comfort.

COOPER: Thanks very much.

If you've never been to Norway, the question is if you've never been to country like Norway are you actually qualified to be ambassador to a country like Norway? You might be surprised. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." On the off chance you haven't been obsessively watching the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings with President Obama's ambassador nominees. Let me fill you in. It may come as a surprise in order to be an ambassador to a foreign country one doesn't necessarily have to be super familiar with that country. Take Senator Max Baucus of Montana, nominee for U.S. ambassador to China.


SENATOR MAX BAUCUS, MONTANA: Senator, I am no real expert on China.


COOPER: No real expert on China. An aide for the senator says he was just being humble because that is the Montana way. I guess, that makes sense. To be honest, I'm no real expert on Montana. So what do I know? Surely, though, if you're going to be an ambassador to a country you'd travel there at some point, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to Norway?

BAUCUS: I have not.


COOPER: I guess, the guy who's going to be the ambassador to Norway hasn't been there. George Sunes is his name. He's a businessman, been nominated for the ambassadorship to Norway versus Senator John McCain, ambassador of Sass. It got pretty esoteric!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Norway has been very quick to denounce them.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The government has denounced them? Are they part of the coalition of the government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stand corrected. I would like to leave my answer at it's a very open society.


COOPER: I stand corrected. Look, not many businessmen would be able to intelligently discuss the political makeup of Norway's government. That's true. But they're not trying to be ambassador to Norway. I'm not sure Sunes even Goggled Norway. He made reference to the country's president, which by the way Norway does not have and stumbled over just about everything else. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heart of our in services, but there are important that we continue interesting.


COOPER: I tied an onion to my belt. Interesting, suddenly I have a great idea for a new U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Iraq, everywhere like such as.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dama, people out there in our nation don't have that. And I believe that our education like in South Africa and Iraq, everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and Asian countries.


COOPER: It's only a matter of time before she's nominated. Look, I just want to see Senator John McCain do the interview portion in a Miss Teen USA pageant.


MCCAIN: I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.


COOPER: Senator John McCain putting the bad ass back in ambassador hearings on "The Ridiculist." That does it for this editor of 360. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10 p.m. eastern, live edition of AC360. Hope you join us. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.