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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Tension in the Gulf; Chemical Bombs; Dumping Patients; Wrongfully Incarcerated

Aired February 22, 2007 - 23:00   ET


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That Iran may attempt to disrupt the world's oil supply by attacking the Strait of Hormuz.

GA LUFT, INSTITUTION FOR THE ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL SECURITY: The Strait of Hormuz is the most important choke point in the world. We have about 17 million barrels a day flowing through this area, which is about 20 percent of the world's oil market.

FOREMAN (on camera): The strait is not very big. At its narrowest point, it's only about 30 miles or so across. That's not big at all. But its impact on world oil markets is enormous.

Why? Well, because it connects some of the Middle East most critical oil supplies with the rest of the planet. These are the Saudi Arabian oil facilities, and every hour of every day the oil that flows out of here is heading for the Strait of Hormuz.

(voice-over): One military leader says concern is at unprecedented levels because the Iranians have been staging naval maneuvers and testing weapons in that area, then showing their capability on the state-run news network.

The commander of the U.S. Fifth Fleet Vice Admiral Patrick Walsh said, "in the last nine months, you see the open display and the implication of the use of mines."

(on camera): Now, should the strait be shut down or even temporarily disrupted, the alternatives for that Saudi oil, for example, are just not good. Yes, there is an old pipeline that stretches all the way over to the Red Sea, but oil industry analysts say it takes longer, it's not used much and it may not be reliable.

(voice-over): Protecting the strait through warfare with Iran would open another troublesome battling front. But doing nothing could be costly too.

LUFT: If there is a disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, all of us, every American will feel the pain.

FOREMAN: Even if the United States tapped its strategic oil reserves, world markets would become chaotic and industry analysts say the price at the pump could rise dramatically to $7, $8 a gallon.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Two huge concerns for the U.S., of course, Iran's nuclear program and the Strait of Hormuz.

Abbas Milani is the director of Iranian studies at Stanford University and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. He joins me from Palo Alto, California.

Appreciate you being with us. What is next for the U.S.? I mean, does America really have the ability to halt at this point Iran's nuclear program by applying more pressure?

ABBAS MILANI, DIRECTOR OF IRANIAN STUDIES, STANDFORD UNIVERSITY: I don't think the United States has the power to unilaterally do that, but I think the U.N., if it continues in its path, will have a serious impact. And I think the presence of the United States' armada there might be the added muscle. But what has been effective, I think so far, what has gotten the Iranian regime to begin rethinking their position is the first U.N. resolution and the possibility of a second one.

COOPER: But there are a lot of folks who look at what the U.N. has done and hasn't done and say it's been basically a failure.

MILANI: Well, I think if you look at the Iranian politics in the last month and the changes in the position of many of the top leadership, if you look at the signals that they have been sending in the last couple of weeks that they are willing to negotiate, I think you would be convinced that the U.N. resolution has had a profound effect. Because what allowed the regime in Tehran to have its way essentially for the last two, three years was that they played the United States against Europe, China, against Russia and everybody against everybody else.

Now the U.N. resolution shows a united front in the world and of the most important powers of the world and that has gotten the regime seriously worried.

And the presence of the military, of course, is a two-way sword. It could be seen as the added necessary muscle to convince the Iranians that they must rethink their position, or it could be a prelude to what I think would be a disastrous war with Iran.

COOPER: So all this tough talk from Ahmadinejad, is that a lot of sort of distraction? He's not really pulling the strings when it comes to the future of Iran's nuclear program?

MILANI: Well, I think Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is not unlike the judge in Nicole Smith's case. He does not have the power to do much. He does not have a grasp of all the complicated realities of the world. And he is very happy to be at the center stage. He wants to stay in the center stage. But in the actual realm of Iranian politics, his constitutional role is very limited. His political role is drastically and on a daily basis diminishing because of his utter failure in the domestic front, his utter failure in the economic front and...

COOPER: Which gets me to my next question which is, who has more to lose from a destruction -- I mean, if it did get to a military attack on oil facilities or the like, who has more to lose from a cutoff of Iranian oil, the United States or Iran itself? Because without Iranian oil, there's not much that Iran can depend on?

MILANI: Absolutely. Iran depends for about 80 percent of the government's budget from the export of oil and Iran imports at least 50 percent of its own gasoline use. In other words, the Strait of Hormuz is as much a lifeline for the Iranian regime as it is for the rest of the world. It would be extremely unlikely, I think, that they would think about closing it because they would need to have a new source of income. They would need to essentially bring every car in the country to a grinding halt because, as I said, 50 percent of the gasoline of daily use in Iran is imported from the Strait of Hormuz.

COOPER: Interesting. Abbas Milani, I appreciate your expertise. Thank you, sir.

MILANI: Thank you.

COOPER: Next door to Iran, in Iraq the threats seem to multiply every day. Last night we told you about this new weapon being used by Iraqi insurgents, dirty bombs filled with chlorine.

Today the U.S. military said a raid this week near Fallujah uncovered caches of weapons, including chlorine canisters.

Earlier, I talked to CNN's Michael Ware about this development, which he says is actually not so new. Take a look.


COOPER: You say that insurgents have actually been experimenting with these chemicals since 2003, 2004. Why a surge in these attacks now?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I don't know. That's a good question, Anderson.

I mean, we do know that the insurgents have dabbled with different forms of chemical munitions. I mean, I have seen some of their arsenals, where they have been emptying mortars and refilling them with certain substances.

Now, on one occasion, one of these substances actually burned my throat when I breathed it in. On another occasion, they sent me a substance as an example of what they were doing, and I had to have a hazmat team come to my house in Baghdad and take that away.

One theory -- and this is a theory that might also apply to the current strategy of attacking U.S. helicopters -- that al Qaeda is, by and large, behind these things. We have seen, with the sectarian divide that's increased here in Iraq, more and more Baathists and former members of the army driven towards al Qaeda, secularists who don't share the Islamic agenda, but feel they have got no other choice.

Now, they may have taken certain skills with them to al Qaeda. And, remember, there was a massive military industrialization commission here in Iraq. Also bear in mind that these are very simple bombs. Much of the chlorine is being burned up in the actual explosion itself. Chlorine is very hard to use as a weapon. Its real impact is terror.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it gets to my next question, which is, is it the explosions which kill more people or the actual chemicals which kill?

I mean, we have talked in the past -- and the U.S. military has made a point to point out how this is a learning enemy. The insurgency learns from our tactics. They change their tactics accordingly. How good are they right now at chlorine attacks?

WARE: Well, this is still very, very embryonic.

I mean, we -- we now know of at least such attacks of varying natures. There's two types, basically. One is your car strapped full of explosives, that you are heading off to attack a target. You throw some chlorine cylinders in there with it. That's one type.

The other type that we have seen is actually a chlorine gas tanker truck that is rigged to explode. But, either way, there's problems with distributing that chlorine as a cloud, as a weapon.

So, what we know is, for example, in Ramadi, in one of the three cases we know of, 16 people were killed. But it's unclear just how many were killed by the explosion, how many were killed by the gas.

We do know that in the two attacks this week, one in Baghdad, one just north of Baghdad, 11 people killed. The real -- the real number, though, is more than 200 hospitalized with respiratory illness. Those people don't have to die to spread the fear amongst the community.

COOPER: There is true, certainly that.

Michael Ware, stay safe. Michael, thanks.

Well, now a developing story. CNN has confirmed that a U.S. soldier has been sentenced to 100 years in prison for the gang rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family. Sergeant Paul Cortez pleaded guilty this week to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy to rape. He said he conspired with three other soldiers. The case is considered among the worst atrocities by U.S. military personnel in Iraq. Cortez will be eligible for parole in 10 years. He was also given a dishonorable discharge.

Still to come tonight, judgment day in the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's body.

Also, this...

How could this happen? Just a couple weeks ago, a paraplegic man dumped in a gutter on L.A.'s skid row. The hospital is accused of doing the unthinkable with homeless patients.


ORLANDO WARD, SPOKESMAN, THE MIDNIGHT MISSION: These aren't some numbers that you're trying to get out of your emergency rooms. These are people.


COOPER: We're keeping them honest.

Plus, one man arrested for a horrific crime.


JAMES WALLER, WRONGLY CONVICTED: When they said guilty, I couldn't believe it. I thought I was dreaming. I said, well, I'll wake up.


COOPER: He did, to a nightmare. His battle for justice, when 360 continues.


COOPER: Pretty remarkable statistic for you. In Los Angeles, dozens of homeless patients have been dumped on the city's skid row streets; most recently, a helpless paraplegic.

There's not even a law against it, although lawmakers proposed one today.

Our Randi Kaye helped uncover this problem for us two years ago. And tonight she's still keeping them honest. A warning, though, some of the details are disturbing.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1:00 a.m., Los Angeles Midnight Mission in the heart of skid row. A security camera captures an ambulance, then two attendants wheeling a paraplegic man, Gabino Olvera, on a gurney. Another camera picks them up as they enter the mission's courtyard. A third, shows the attendants talking with the mission's security guards about getting Olvera a room. Less than two minutes later, the camera shows him being wheeled back outside.

ORLANDO WARD, SPOKESMAN, THE MIDNIGHT MISSION: we understood he was going back to the hospital that night. In this particular circumstance, we thought that was the best place for him.

KAYE: But this is where he ended up, the gutter. Midnight Mission's Orlando Ward says they couldn't take Olvera without a wheelchair and medication. He was returned to the hospital, but several hours later was taken downtown again and left in the street. Police say Olvera was discovered crawling in the gutter at Gladys Park, just five blocks from the mission. It was broad daylight.

CAPTAIN ANDREW SMITH, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: And he was disoriented. He had a colostomy bag which had apparently broken open inside of the van and he was covered in his own human waste. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He had his property bag in his mouth. One of the witnesses described it as like a dog holding his property bag, a plastic property bag, as he literally crawled from the side of the street, from the gutter, onto the sidewalk, pulling his legs behind him with his hands.

KAYE (on camera): We first met L.A.P.D. Captain Andrew Smith two years ago when he had witnessed one of the earliest cases of alleged patient dumping on Skid Row.

Today, we're keeping them honest. The L.A. City Attorney's Office announced it's investigating reports of 55 cases of alleged dumping involving at least seven L.A. hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The van stopped approximately right here on the street.

KAYE: In this latest case, Officer Eric De La Cruz tried to help Olvera.

OFFICER ERIC DE LA CRUZ, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: I asked him why did he want to be here in this particular area. And he answered that he was in a hospital, but he was asked to leave, that he could no longer be at this hospital.

KAYE: Spokesman Dan Springer, with Hollywood Presbyterian, which discharged Olvera, calls the situation extremely troubling and regrettable.

DAN SPRINGER, HOLLYWOOD PRESBYTERIAN MEDICAL CENTER: Someone must be taken to a location where it is clear that there are sleeping accommodations. It might be their home. In this case, it might be a mission or a shelter.

KAYE: Springer says there was a breakdown in communication. The city attorney is investigating just like he did back in 2005 when this same hospital was accused of dumping. That case is still under investigation.

Because there isn't a law in the books that actually makes it illegal to dump patients here, only one hospital has ever been indicted.

Last year this 63-year-old woman was caught on tape stepping out of a taxi on Skid Row, wearing her hospital gown and socks. That resulted in charges of false imprisonment and dependent adult endangerment for Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower Medical Center. Kaiser has denied any wrongdoing, saying the woman was discharged by mistake. WARD: At this point we need to recognize that these aren't statistics, these aren't some numbers that you're trying to get out of your emergency rooms. These are people. And they are people at their most vulnerable state within our society.

KAYE: Witnesses told police the driver of the van carrying Gabino Olvera was more interested in applying her makeup than in helping him out of the gutter.

Today, Olvera is back in the hospital. This time at U.S.C. Medical Center, where he is in fair condition.


COOPER: Well, Randi, today they announced this new legislation to try to make dumping illegal on Skid Row. If it passes, do you think it'll really stop?

KAYE (on camera): Well, Anderson, officials are certainly trying to get tough. The new law would make it a misdemeanor for anyone to transport patients anywhere other than home without informed consent. This could mean jail time or fines up to $10,000. So that may be enough to make whoever is dumping reconsider.

We talked today to the Southern California Hospitals Association, and they told us they oppose any legislation that would criminalize hospitals. Bottom line, they say, when patients are no longer in need of acute care, they have to be discharged.

But one big question tonight, Anderson, still unanswered is why any patient would be discharged at 1:00 in the morning, which is when Olvera showed up at the midnight mission. You just have to wonder who is looking out for these people.

COOPER: Yes, it doesn't sound like many people are.

Randi, appreciate the reporting. Keep it going.

The plight of the people on Skid Row goes far beyond L.A. Here's the raw data. According to one study, 3.5 million Americans are homeless. Of that number, more than 1.3 million are children and 42 percent of those kids are under 5 years old; 49 percent of the homeless are African-American.

Coming up tonight, one man's battle to return home after a legal battle that no one should ever face.

Plus, the legal drama of the day. Courtroom tears, judgment day in the Anna Nicole Smith saga. It's not over yet. All the angles when 360 continues.


COOPER: This week on 360, we're bringing you stories of incarceration from different angles. Tonight, one man's fight for justice after being convicted of a brutal crime. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a fall day in 1982, police came to James Waller's Dallas home.

JAMES WALLER, WRONGLY CONVICTED: They put handcuffs on me and put me in the back of the patrol car.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Did you know what was going on?

WALLER: I didn't know what was going on.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Waller learned he was being charged with a horrible crime, the rape of a 12-year-old boy. The primary evidence? The child's identification of the rapist.

(on camera): This victim told the police initially you were 5'8", 150 pounds.

WALLER: Roughly.

TUCHMAN: You could be wrong with that?


TUCHMAN: How tall are you?

WALLER: I'm 6'4".

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The jury deliberated for only 46 minutes.

WALLER: When they said guilty, I couldn't believe it. I thought I was dreaming. I said, well, I'll wake up.

TUCHMAN: He did wake up, convicted of rape, in a Texas prison.

WALLER: I just knew they had the wrong person, but wasn't nothing I could do.

TUCHMAN: But there was. Last month Waller went back to court and heard a judge apologize to him. The determination, James Waller had indeed been innocent all along.

JUDGE JOHN CREUZOT, CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT: A lot of times we are tested in life and you certainly had a terrible test. Okay? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) persevere it also.

TUCHMAN: It has not been easy.

(on camera): When you stand here, how does it make you feel?

WALLER: It really give me goose bumps. It's really, really kind of -- it not comfortable standing here. TUCHMAN: This is the first time Waller has been back to the street where he lived when he was arrested. The victim, who lived a block away from his apartment complex, said the rapist was black.

WALLER: I was the only black living in the complex. They said they had said a black guy did it. They just picked me up for it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): After nearly 11 years in prison, he was paroled, but was still considered a sex offender. He continued the battle to clear his name. In the midst of that battle, tragedy. His wife, Doris and an unborn child they were going to name Grace, were in a car accident.

WALLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 10 to 15 minutes, and then the doctor came back out. He said we couldn't save them. And then they said they lost the baby also.

TUCHMAN: He buried his wife and daughter and left a spot for himself.

WALLER: That's the only time that I thought about just giving up. I could have gave the whole thing up and just died right there.

TUCHMAN: But he kept fighting to prove his innocence. And he was backed by one of the directors of the New York City-based Innocence Project.

BARRY SCHECK, INNOCENT PROJECT: I think anybody who is at all sensible in this country knows that race is always part of the equation in the criminal justice system.

TUCHMAN: Since 2001, 11 people in Dallas County, Texas, have been exonerated by DNA testing, more than any other county in the U.S. The Innocence Project got Waller's DNA testing done, and it showed there was no match between Waller and the victim. Waller became exoneration number 12.

(on camera): And how did you feel?

WALLER: I screamed for, oh, thank you, Lord! And I screamed and people started coming from the house.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The new district attorney in Dallas County also apologized to Waller in court.

CRAIG WATKINS, DALLAS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: In my mind, this system has failed us.

TUCHMAN: D.A. Craig Watkins is now asking for an examination of every DNA appellate request in Dallas County.

(on camera): What do you say to your prosecutors who say, hey, we've been raised in this culture where we're judged how successful we are based on our percentage of convictions?

WATKINS: I tell them that's not what we're about. We're about justice.

TUCHMAN: This DNA evidence has done more than clear James Waller's name. It has done something that when you think about it, is quite disturbing. It has established that somebody else has gotten away with raping a child.

WALLER: God bless you.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): James Waller has a job, a college degree and helps feed the homeless, but he still doesn't officially have his name back. The governor has to sign off on the exoneration and hasn't done so yet. But the now 50-year-old man is for the first time in a long time planning for the future.

WALLER: Personally, I want to get married again. I want a wife and I want a baby and I probably will name her Grace because that's the name that I came up with -- me and my wife. So that's one thing I want to do.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Can I tell you one thing, if you have a boy, don't name him Grace?

WALLER: If I have a boy, I may name him Mercy.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Spoken from a man who's been at the mercy of the system.


COOPER: Well, Gary, the judge and district attorney, as you said in the piece, have both apologized to Mr. Waller, acknowledged he's innocent, but the governor still needs to authorize the exoneration. It's been six weeks. What's the delay?

TUCHMAN: it's a bit mysterious, Anderson. The hearing was on January 17th. The district attorney told us he would have liked the governor to have signed off on it that day.

However, we talked to a spokeswoman in the governor's office, Governor Rick Perry's office. She said the governor is "going through the normal process," that's her quote, and says there is no time frame in which the governor has to act. So it's clear, we don't know the reason why, but the governor does not seem to be in any big rush.

COOPER: And does Mr. Waller get compensated by the state of Texas for keeping him in prison all these years?

TUCHMAN: The state has a provision in which it pays people who are wrongly imprisoned $25,000 a year for up to 10 year, maximum cap of $250,000. But Mr. Waller does not believe that is worth it. He wants to file a civil suit. He feels that being away in prison for that long and picking cotton for a few cents an hour makes it worthwhile for more money than that.

COOPER: All right we'll be following.

Gary Tuchman, thanks.

Up next, another legal fight, one that's probably attracting a lot more attention. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): The weeping verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas. I want them to be together.

COOPER: But can all sides work together and let Anna Nicole Smith finally rest in peace?

Living with autism in a world made for others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you define yourself as an autistic person, Amanda?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the word for people whose grades look like mine last I checked.

COOPER: One woman's crusade to change your expectations, when 360 continues.




JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: I have suffered with this. I have struggled with this. I have shed tears for your -- your little girl and your -- and your grandchild.


COOPER: An emotional end to the strange courtroom battle over Anna Nicole Smith's body. The judge who entertained courtroom observers with his antics during the hearing broke down while announcing his decision, and that was just how the day ended.

Once again, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The final day did not disappoint.

LARRY BIRKHEAD, SMITH'S FMR. BOYFRIEND: Anything that I make for any of the photos is going to fight for my daughter. And if I have to sell more photograph, if I have to sell this shirt or this tie, I'm going to sell it.

KAYE: Larry Birkhead, Anna Nicole Smith's former boyfriend, testified about his failed attempts to get her off prescription drugs, even during her pregnancy.

BIRKHEAD: At times I took her medicine and I was told by Mr. Stern to give it back to her because she needed it to live.

KAYE: More than once birkhead blamed Howard K. Stern, Smith's lawyer and companion, who like Birkhead is also claiming he is the father of Smith's baby daughter, Dannielynn.

BIRKHEAD: And they kept bringing more and more drugs in the house.

KAYE: Even Judge Larry Seidlin at one point wondered out loud if Stern wasn't at least partially responsible.

SEIDLIN: He would be called maybe an enabler because he -- your objection so noted. He lived in the home.

KAYE: Always a showman, the judge pontificated...

SEIDLIN: Anna Nicole Smith was one complicated individual. Shakespeare -- she could have filled maybe the character in Shakespeare and Hamlet, Ophelia...

KAYE: ... and played coach.

SEIDLIN: My friend, we're searching to get up that mountain. Just search with me, get me the truth.

KAYE: Virgie Arthur's lawyers finally got their turn and played a video clip for the court, home video that Stern shot of Smith in the Bahamas when she was pregnant, apparently drugged and dressed in clown makeup.



STERN: Is this a mushroom trip?


STERN: Is this a mushroom trip?

SMITH: What do you mean?

STERN: I'm kidding.

KAYE: Then the really big twist of the day.

SEIDLIN: I'm done.

KAYE: The judge said he would rule in minutes rather than wait another day.

SEIDLIN: Justice is not perfect. It's what... KAYE: Finally, the decision.

KAYE: ... Richard Milstein, Esquire, as the guardian ad litem for Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, is awarded custody of the remains of Anna Nicole Smith.

JAMI FLOYD, COURT TV ANCHOR: He punted. He gave all of the authority and jurisdiction to the guardian ad litem. He didn't give custody of the body to either of the parties that came forward to him.

KAYE: Richard Milstein will decide where Smith is buried, but the judge gave his opinion.

SEIDLIN: I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas. I want them to be together.

KAYE: Smith's mom, Virgie Arthur, buried her head in tears, while Stern wiped away a tear.

(on camera): After court, the guardian of 5-month-old Dannielynn met with the other parties and their attorneys. Together, they told the world they had reached an agreement to bury Smith in a private funeral in the Bahamas. But Smith's mother now says she will appeal tomorrow morning.

Now that, too, will have to be settled before Smith's body is buried.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, let's talk to CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

You know, I know you've been following this closely all day. As I said earlier, I've only watched a few minutes of this, but I had to turn it, because I wanted to scream at the screen every time I saw these people -- "There's a war on! There's a war on! There's a war on!"

I mean, I don't have a question for you, frankly. What comes next in all this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, just sort of stepping back from the spectacle, you know, and putting aside the rather arcane legal issue of who gets control of the body, you know, there was something pathetic about Anna Nicole Smith's life that was on display here. Is that this woman was an ATM machine with big breasts.

Everyone around her was using her for money. You know, her mother was involved with the tabloids. Howard K. Stern hadn't had a job since 2002, this supposed lawyer. He paid -- she paid for everything. Larry Birkhead, her boyfriend, you know, was the house photographer, sold photographs of her. She was a meal ticket for everyone. And, you know, there was just something pathetic about someone who had no authentic relationships.

COOPER: Well, I mean, and also, in terms of contribution to society, I mean, you know, I'm sure she was a nice person and she had children, and I'm sure she loved them and stuff. But it's not as if we're talking about something that really matters to anyone other than a -- or should matter to anyone but a small circle who stand to reap the benefits of this, but clearly people are fascinated by this.

So what...

TOOBIN: Well, you know, she -- I'm sorry.

COOPER: What does come next in terms of legal battle? There's money and there's the paternity of the kid, right?

TOOBIN: Those are the two big things, and they're related. I mean, you know, one reason why people are coming out of the woodwork to claim paternity is that they see this pot of gold. And it is a real pot of gold.

The -- you know, the inheritance from the -- Marshall, her first husband, you know, is at least $88 million, and is likely to be much more than that. So, I mean, all these people, it is very safe to -- it is I think fair to assume are not as interested in parenthood as they are glomming on to this little child because she stands to inherit so much of that dough.

COOPER: And, I mean, you've spent a lot of time in courtrooms. Do you have to sit and listen to a judge as he just says whatever comes in to his head?

TOOBIN: You know, at that point you really have no choice. And, you know, the world of full of eccentric judges. Not this eccentric.

The shame of it is, is that people get the impression that that's what court is like when you have a high-profile case like this. And, you know, the name that was flashing through my head all day was Lance Ito, who wasn't nearly as bad a judge as this guy, but who also let proceedings meander, meander on for month after month. And, you know, this country is full of conscientious, good judges, and it's a shame that when we have cameras in the courtroom, we often wind up focusing on judges who just aren't up to the job.

COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, appreciate it.

Thanks, Jeff.

TOOBIN: OK, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, forget everything you think you know about autism. You're about to meet a woman who will probably change your mind about the disorder and the people who suffer with it.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta with a story that, frankly, is fascinating, next.


COOPER: Well, last night we introduced you to Amanda Baggs. She's a young woman from a small town in Vermont who happens to be autistic. We got such an incredible response to her story, we wanted to bring it to you again. It will likely change the way you think about autism and autistic people.

Here's 360's M.D. Sanjay Gupta.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Amanda Baggs, rocking back and forth. She does not make eye contact. Her movements are erratic, her behavior eccentric. She cannot speak. And, for most of us, this is precisely what we expect when we see a person with autism.

But Amanda will absolutely change your expectations.

(on camera): Would you define yourself as an autistic person, Amanda?

AMANDA BAGGS, AUTISTIC (through voice synthesizer): That's the word for people whose brains look like mine, last I checked.

GUPTA (voice-over): As you will see, Amanda has a lot to say. Her brilliance is laced with a wry sense of humor. We first came across Amanda on YouTube, her appearance there so startling, I wanted to meet her. I had so many questions.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): the way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization, that some people do not consider it thought at all. It is only when I type something in your language that you refer to me as having communication.

GUPTA: Amanda calls herself bilingual.

For other autistic people, she has movements and gestures to communicate. But, for the rest of us, she made this video to teach us how it works. She jokingly calls us neurotypical, meaning we do not have autism.

She communicates with a keyboard and her computer, and, for visitors, a voice synthesizer.

(on camera): So, you have seen the video with your own eyes. I want to show it you through Amanda Baggs' eyes. She lives in this building, and she lives alone.

(voice-over): This is where Amanda made the video. She shot it, edited, and posted it on the Internet, all completely on her own. Surprised? If we must label her, she won't like it, but, medically, she is a low-functioning autistic. (on camera): Part of the reason people watched it was because they were so stunned that a person who carries this label of autism, who doesn't speak, could put together such an astonishing video.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I put together several videos before, and not a lot of people watched them.

(voice-over): But, this time, she got through.

(on camera): Amanda, when you hear about people with autism that are institutionalized, that -- that no one has really ever made a -- a concerted effort to try and reach out to, to communicate with in some way, what do you say to -- what do you say to those people?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Everyone interacts with their society. If someone is shut off from interacting with society, then someone else is shutting it off, because it sure doesn't seem to me that I have ever seen someone who doesn't interact with society.

GUPTA (voice-over): In fact, Amanda interacts with everything around her.

(on camera): What about this? This was interesting to me. You are actually -- you can read, obviously, but you're actually putting your face in the book. What does -- what -- Why? What does that mean?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I like the smell and the texture of that particular paper. That book has very rough paper.

GUPTA (voice-over): Amanda says this is her natural way of thinking, in patterns and in colors. Thinking with language and written words, as we do, is not natural for her. Therefore, she struggles with it.

(on camera): If you wanted to -- to -- to talk to me, could you do it?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I could make speech sounds. At this point, I could not make them mean anything I was thinking.

GUPTA: Does that frustrate you?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Not really. I type very fast.


GUPTA: Yes, you do.

(voice-over): Yes, she types very fast. When she's feeling good and not distracted, Amanda types about 120 words a minute. But her ability fluctuates.

Some days, she can only type with one finger at a time. And, occasionally, she cannot type at all. On rare days, Amanda can become catatonic.

Distractions, interferences, sensory overloads all present huge obstacles for Amanda. So, she is most secure and most comfortable here at home, with her dog, Billy Jean (ph), and with all of her computer equipment as well. But, when she leaves here, she's assaulted by too much stimulation.

I went with her to see her dentist. She use a wheelchair, not because she can't walk. She can. But she says the very act of balancing herself proves too distracting.

And you will notice she's focused on her keyboard. In the dentist's chair, the buzz and flicker of the fluorescent lights are overwhelming for her. They can trigger migraines.

So, Amanda soothes herself. She fiddles with her blocks. They are familiar and calming.

When Amanda hit herself, I was startled, but not surprised. It is a familiar autistic behavior. She must be so frustrated, such a bright woman, so trapped.

And yet, I wondered, how is it that Amanda has been able to reveal so much about herself? And how many more people are there just like her?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Burlington, Vermont.


COOPER: We're going to have more of Amanda's story coming up next. See how other technology is helping her communicate and how you can communicate with her.

More with Dr. Sanjay Gupta after the break.


COOPER: Well, before the break Sanjay introduced us to Amanda, an autistic woman who can't speak in the traditional sense, but certainly has a lot to say.

Here again is Sanjay with more of her story.


GUPTA (voice over): It's a bit disconcerting talking to Amanda. Typical of people with autism, there is no eye contact.

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): There's problems I don't know on (ph) my meds.

GUPTA: Until she responds with her keyboard and voice synthesizer, it's hard to know if what I'm saying actually registers.

(on camera): If you didn't have this, how would I communicate with you? How would I understand what you were trying to tell me? How would you guide me or at least help me understand you?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): I tend to kind of bludgeon people over the head with that kind of communication. Not sure.

GUPTA (voice over): Growing up, Amanda attended regular public schools. She could read at an early age.

It's called hyperlexia, and it's common for people with autism. She says she learned spelling by reading. She learned to type with a teaching software. Then in her teens she slowly lost her ability to talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The camera boots (ph).

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Great.

GUPTA (on camera): Would you say that people would be surprised to find out how well you can communicate being a person with autism?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Generally, if they see me first before they see me talk, they are surprised. And sometimes disbelieving. And then sometimes if they first see me write, they think that I'm not autistic.

DR. ERIC HOLLANDER, MT. SINAI SEAVER AUTISM CENTER OF EXCELLENCE And what's extraordinary is, some individuals that you think are mentally retarded and have no language, once they're able to communicate through a keyboard, they have high level processing and thinking about the world, and they're able to communicate in an expressive fashion.

GUPTA (voice over): Remember, that's how we first found Amanda, via her computer on YouTube. In fact, the Internet has allowed her to leave her secure and orderly little apartment to meet others with autism.

For example, she likes to go to an online community called Second Life, where she's created an animated alter ego who looks and acts like her. Even here in her virtual world she's typing and rocking back and forth.

HOLLANDER: The big advantage of the Internet for people with autism is it does filter out all of the facial expressions and the body large. So people don't have to spend time trying to disentangle or understand the nonverbal forms of communication.

GUPTA (on camera): What are we missing here? Why has autism been this -- something that people have not really been able to get their arms around in terms of being able to communicate, being able to understand it fully?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): There is a communication gap that goes two ways. It's not a one-way street, and so part of the problem is that the people are thinking, if they don't understand us, it's because we're broken. And if we don't understand them, it's because we're broken. GUPTA (voice over): As for communicating with others who have autism, Amanda said it's not about words. I asked her about an autistic woman she wanted to meet.

(on camera): Why didn't you just look at her and make a motion like "Hello" or "Hi," or wave the hand, or something to acknowledge her at the time?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): That would be a bit invasive, wouldn't it?

GUPTA: Well, it happens all the time. I mean, I think -- I think a lot of people would understand that sort of gesture. Do you think that she would have been offended by it or that it would have been too invasistic to her?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): When I'm around other autistic people where the meaning is known already, why bother with forcing an arm to do all that when you can already make the meaning clear? It's redundant.

Why would I spend not only the physical energy on doing the motion, but the cognitive energy working out which particular motion is the one you want out of me right then? That's like running calculus in your head to say "Hi," and it's not usually worth it in the long run.

GUPTA (voice over): In other words, meeting our expectations is not important for her. It can actually overwhelm her.

(on camera): What is the message then for the parents, for the people who are providers? I mean, try harder to communicate?

BAGGS (through voice synthesizer): Listen to other autistic people. In fact, expose autistic children to a wide variety of autistic adults. It may be the autistic adults who do have either typing or speech who are far more equipped to be able to communicate with other autistic people.

GUPTA (voice over): Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Burlington, Vermont.


COOPER: It's a fascinating look at communication.

The Autism Society of America estimates 600,000 adults live with autism, which those numbers are frankly remarkable, but the number of adults living with autism is bound to rise. Brand-new numbers from the CDC estimates one in 150 kids has some form of autism, so soon a new generation of adults will be living with the disorder.

Last night we asked you to send our questions about autism to Amanda. You can read her answers and her blog by logging on to There you can also find a link to Amanda's personal Web site

Up next, peanut butter troubles. A recall. People sick. The latest developments when 360 continues.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight. Pakistani military sources tell CNN that Pakistan has successfully test-fired a new version of its long-range nuclear-capable missile. The ballistic missile was launched from an undisclosed location and successfully hit its target.


COOPER: Well, a reminder. We want you to help us keep them honest. If there's a wrong that needs to be made right in your community, tell us about it --

Larry King is next.

I'll see you tomorrow night.