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Laura Coates Live

Supreme Court Will Decide If Donald Trump Can Be Kept Off 2024 Presidential Ballots; Biden Accuses Trump Of Sacrificing U.S. Democracy For Power; Alaska Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Window Appears To Have Blown Out After Takeoff; Laura Coates Interviews Heidi Fleiss; CNN Interviews Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 05, 2024 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look at that. The Supreme Court is right where it did not want to be. Smack dab in the middle maybe of the 2024 election with the first votes in just a few days. Tonight on LAURA COATES LIVE.

Okay, so if we're being honest, we knew this day was coming, right? I mean, either the Supreme Court did not want this day to come. They're probably still recovering a little bit from Bush v. Gore, and this seems to be the worst kind of deja vu.

Maybe that's why after several hours behind closed doors talking today -- drum roll, please -- the Supreme Court said "yes" to the dress. They will decide whether Donald Trump, a former President of the United States, one who is trying to become the president yet again, can even actually be on a ballot after his role on January 6th.

Well, which ballot? Well, this one concerns Colorado. But the Supreme Court knows that the floodgates, they're about to open. It has already been, and I can't believe it either, three years as of tomorrow, since this attack you're seeing right here on the screen.

And while prosecutors have been dragged for taking so long to get the prosecutorial ball rolling, well, the court not at all known for lightning speed, well, now, they're wasting no time. Their oral arguments are set for February 8th.

Donald Trump saying just a little while ago that he hopes the justices that he appointed will be -- I'll use his word -- fair.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you are a Republican judge and you're appointed by, let's say, Trump, they go out of their way to hurt you so that they can show that they have been fair.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COATES: Hmm. A little bit of reverse psychology, maybe. But even before today's announcement, the former president was sending a message to the court. Listen to one of his lawyers boldly calling out individual justices.


ALINA HABBA, TRUMP ATTORNEY: I think it should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them. You know, people like Kavanaugh, who the president fought for, who the president went through helped to get into place, he'll step up.


COATES: Hmm. Well, that can't be your legal strategy, right? Thinking justices owe him something for appointing him. They don't owe you, and you don't own them.





COATES: You knew I was going to bring a reference, right? It's Friday night, people. But you know what? We've already seen that the justices, they may not be dancing in white suits in a trio, there are nine of them, but they have not always ruled the way that Trump wanted them to. You know this.

The Supreme Court in 2022, remember they cleared the way for the IRS to release Trump's tax returns to a democratic-led House committee? The court also rejected a request from the former president to allow a special master to review about 100 documents marked "classified" that had been seized from Mar-a-Lago.

Coming back to you now, and let's not forget, in December of 2020, the court threw out the Texas lawsuit contesting the 2020 election results in four battleground states. So, nothing is a foregone conclusion, not even keeping him off the Colorado ballot.

Let's start now with Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who joins us now. Secretary, I'm so glad that you have joined us. We've been following this story for a very long time as, of course, you have. But now, the Supreme Court is wasting no time taking up this case. It actually could lead to some clarity, not just for your state, but for others around the country. How are you feeling about the fact that the Supreme Court is saying yes to at least hearing it tonight?

JENA GRISWOLD, COLORADO SECRETARY OF STATE: Thanks for having me on, Laura. It seems like you're going to have a fun show tonight. My general reaction is I think it's a good thing that the Supreme Court decided to take this case so quickly. The American people deserve to know whether someone who has engaged in insurrection can run for the highest office in this country.


And also, as secretary of state of Colorado, we would like to know the answer very quickly. We are a Super Tuesday state. Our presidential primary is off and starting. I certified the candidates today. So, the quicker that the Supreme Court can act, it will just allow us to administer elections in the best way possible.

COATES: But, of course, the Supreme Court, whether you like it or not, they're not on your timeline. That's the unfortunate reality if you're talking about planning around them. So, what would be the biggest hurdle for you if the court doesn't rule until -- what if they ruled at the end of their term, which is June? What if they waited even a month from now after you've already, of course, had that printing deadline for your ballots? What then?

GRISWOLD: There's a lot of hypotheticals that could come out of the United States Supreme Court taking this case. But to take a step back, I certified Trump to the ballot today because that's what the Colorado Supreme Court ordered in their decision.

The Colorado Supreme Court stated Trump did engage in insurrection. He is responsible for many of the actions on January 6th. And because of his engagement in insurrection, he is disqualified from the Colorado ballot. But the court added on a caveat that if an appeal was filed, I was to place him on the ballot.

You know, Donald Trump, his name is very likely to be printed on the ballots, just given the timeline. If the court were to order that he is not a qualified candidate, well, we have scenarios under Colorado law similar to that that have played out in the past, and we would not count the votes for him if he was a disqualified candidate.

COATES: So that would -- that could possibly mean that he would be on the ballot this time, say ballots were cast and votes were cast in favor of Donald Trump. Let's just use a hypothetical that the court comes back and says this person was not eligible to be on the ballot in the first place. That means that those votes in favor of him would no longer be counted in front -- in light of Colorado law?

GRISWOLD: A similar situation happened actually during the 2020 presidential primary. We are a vote by mail for all state. We send a mail ballot to every registered voter and then have weeks of early voting, unprecedented in-person voting access. We want to make sure eligible people can have their voice heard.

And during the last presidential primary on the democratic side, two candidates actually dropped out during early voting, and we were not able to count the votes cast for those candidates because they are no longer eligible. They dropped out. They weren't candidates anymore.

So, I think no matter what happens, uh, this will be a great election in Colorado, definitely a unique one, because it's not normal to have candidates for president who engage in insurrection and try to run for office again. COATES: I mean, I think the words "normal" and "unique" are perhaps the most appropriate and yet misnomers of all. We're thinking about what's going on. We are going to be following this closely because this is so important. I think just having that flow chart and thinking about the if then and what the court may ultimately decide, this is a matter of extreme consequence.

Secretary of State Griswold, thank you so much.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

COATES: Now, I want to bring in Ian Millhiser. He is a senior correspondent at Vox where he covers the Supreme Court. He's also the author of several books, including "Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted." That requires me to have some good "my fair lady" diction.


I love it. Thank you about the rain in Spain and something about a plane.


COATES: By the seashore.


COATES: Okay. Okay, Ian. I love this. Thank you so much. Let me ask you about what's going on. I have a kind of flow chart in my mind when I think about this, and I was fascinated by what she said about there being some contingencies. First of all, he is now on the ballot.


COATES: But this doesn't mean this whole thing has been performative, right?

MILLHISER: Yes. So, first of all, we are talking about the Supreme Court of the United States, and we are talking about the Constitution. And the Constitution trumps everything. So, maybe Trump isn't the word I should use there.


COATES: It's appropriate tonight. Go ahead.

MILLHISER: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. So, like, if the Supreme Court decides that Trump is constitutionally unable to run for president, all the other procedural niceties don't matter. Like, if the Constitution steps in, then it overcomes any other concern that might arise.

COATES: They could conceivably say, okay, I know you have a printing deadline, but we're not on your schedule, so you can maybe change that or maybe reprint at huge cost, by the way --


COATES: -- to the state. But you're not entirely convinced that the Supreme Court is going to say he's off the ballot. Why?

MILLHISER: I mean, lots of reasons. Broadly speaking, there's three ways this can play out.


So, one is the court could say, all right, he's off the ballot, he committed an insurrection. The Constitution says, if you do that, you're out. I don't think that's likely. I mean, it's still -- there's a six to three Republican super majority.

The court, I think, is likely to be cautious about a case of this magnitude. There's actually real reason that, like, one could disagree with the Colorado Supreme Court's decision.

COATES: Like what?

MILLHISER: I think the biggest problem with the Colorado Supreme Court's decision, so Colorado has a process where you can challenge a candidate if you don't think they belong on the ballot. It has historically been used for very minor things, things like if a school board candidate is running and they don't live in the place where they need to live in order to run for the school board.

Those are very simple cases. It is a truncated process. It doesn't have the sort of discovery and ability to call witnesses and other stuff that you know -- that you normally think of in a trial.

And, you know, I think it would be perfectly appropriate for the Supreme Court to say this process isn't enough for such a monumental decision, a new constitutional issue, one that requires a great deal of fact-finding. And so, the court could say, we're going put this off, say, until his criminal trial is resolved.


MILLHISER: And if he is convicted of trying to steal the 2020 election, then they can come back and revisit this question of whether he should be on the ballot.

COATES: I want to play a little game called the "reality housewives of the Supreme Court" for a second. We're going to have a little confessional for a moment in terms of who is actually going to be deciding this.

Number one, assuming all nine justices are there, you already know that you have Trump's lawyer making the comment about, well, you know, Kavanaugh, like basically them paraphrasing here, he'll step up here. There is this notion that's being articulated that somehow the justices, you scratched our back by getting us here, we'll scratch yours. Does that offend the court in a way that makes them go, hold on, or does it just kind of water off a duck's back?

MILLHISER: It is a stupid thing to say. I mean, here's the thing about Donald Trump. He does not have a good reputation specifically amongst lawyers who might take him on as a client. The phrase that I've heard before is he doesn't listen to legal advice and you don't know if he's going to pay the bills.

So, good lawyers, like the big Supreme Court lawyers that you would normally expect to see on a brief involving a former president of the United States, they aren't on this case.

And so, without the good lawyers to rely on, he gets this woman who goes on T.V. and starts saying, hey, I think Brett Kavanaugh is going to rule in favor of us because he's corrupt now.

COATES: Well, she did clarify to suggest it's because they'd follow the law and they're in favor of the law, but the intimation was there that you'll do something for us.

MILLHISER: Yeah, yeah. You don't say that kind of thing. I mean, Brett Kavanaugh is a conservative guy. He was vetted by the Trump White House because they thought that he would normally do the sort of stuff that the Trump White House wants a justice to do. But that doesn't mean that he's not a human being. It doesn't mean that he doesn't care about his professional representation.

If there's any law students out there listening to this interview, my advice to all of them is never say that thing --


-- about a judge you are appearing in front of.

COATES: And by the way, we're talking about the Colorado case, but they've got other things, like the immunity discussion, whether a president would have absolute immunity. There are other things to wrestle with. They're aware that if they talk about one state, there's already things going on in other states right now where the court wants to resolve it probably fulsomely.

But this doesn't get on the right foot to suggest that, you know, anything other than the law, which might actually turn out in Trump's favor in this instance --


COATES: -- would be their guiding post.

MILLHISER: Yeah. I mean, everyone, like judges certainly say that now. I mean, in practice, in any case, you know, especially in hard cases, and this is a hard case.

You know, the reason why this case is difficult is because the particular provision of the Constitution, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, deals with what happens if an official who formerly was in very high office then engages in an insurrection against the United States. We are very fortunate as a country that that has not happened very much.


MILLHISER: And so, there's no case law on it. And the problem with cases where there isn't a lot of precedent, there isn't a lot of case law, is that judges often really can decide those cases however they want because there isn't any authority telling them they have to decide it one way or another.

COATES: What could go wrong with reverse engineering a solution of something so consequential. Ian Millhiser, thank you so much.

MILLHISER: Thank you.

COATES: Up next, the gloves are off. I mean, if the gloves were ever on, I don't know. But President Biden is saying that Donald Trump is willing to sacrifice our democracy to put himself in power. Is it a winning message?

Also, there are new revelations from the latest round of Jeffrey Epstein documents. I have got the perfect guest to talk about A- listers behaving badly who don't want to have their names on a list. Remember the Hollywood madam, Heidi Fleiss?


She's up.


COATES: Well, you know what they say, with great power comes great responsibility. The Supreme Court has great power. And now, it has the great responsibility of deciding if Donald Trump belongs on the ballot. It's a decision that will shape U.S. democracy. And today, President Biden left no doubt that he thinks how America decides in November will determine whether democracy lives or dies.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Democracy is on the ballot. Your freedom is on the ballot.


This is the first national election since January 6. Insurrection placed a dagger at the throat of American democracy since that moment. We all know who Donald Trump is.


COATES: Well, Donald Trump is responding tonight, insisting that he's not the threat, Joe Biden is.


TRUMP: That's why Crooked Joe is staging his pathetic, fear-mongering campaign event in Pennsylvania today. Did you see him? He was stuttering through the whole thing. He's going -- I'm going -- he's a threat to democracy. They've weaponized government. He's saying I'm a threat to democracy. He's a threat to democracy.


COATES: Well, joining me now is CNN political commentator Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist, and Shermichael Singleton, who's a Republican strategist.


I have to ask, first of all, if you thought the days of sort of going below the belt or those moments you think, is it presidential and role model behavior? Ladies and gentlemen, exhibit A from what you've just seen. But Paul, you called the speech today from Biden, Biden at his best. Why?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Because, well, first, he needs to thank Donald Trump for setting the bar so low. You know, all these right-wing commentators and Mr. Trump himself, they say, oh, Biden is old and he's feeble and he can't.

You saw the president mocking his speech impediment, his youthful speech impediment, which we did not see in action today. He was powerful, he was passionate, he was forceful. By the way, he was really effective. He took it right to Mr. Trump. And you saw it definitely hurt Trump. That's why he was responding like that.

COATES: Effective? But did it resonate?


COATES: I mean, that's how you judge it, right?

SINGLETON: Yeah. I mean, look, one of the lines the president stated, our campaign is about the future. And if I were advising the former president, I would say, well, let's look at the present as an indicator of the future.

Let's look at the state of economics under the Biden administration. Are you better after the past four years? Let's look at the border where folks are just flooding the country, hundreds of thousands, we have no clue who they are, where they come from. Let's look at some of the cities that are impacted by this. New York, for example, is spending $8 million a day to house these people, $4.8 billion by this summer having a budget shortfall.

Let's also look at some of the money that we're sending to foreign countries. We have no idea how much money we're going to send and when we're going to stop, yet we see more and more Americans that are now homeless. We've seen the number of Americans who are now living in poverty increased by 4.7% compared to 2010, the highest it has been since. We've seen household incomes decrease.

COATES: I didn't hear any of this from Trump. SINGLETON: That should be, that should be, Laura, if I were advising him the Republican message against Democrats.

BEGALA: He should listen, but he won't.


BEGALA: Because he's a narcissist. He's a sociopath. He can't talk about anything but himself.

COATES: My why wasn't rhetorical, though.


BEGALA: Biden, you get it, right? I thought the best line that President Biden had today was, he said, Donald Trump's campaign was about him. Not America. Not you. Therein points the way. Too many Democrats say, oh, Trump's a criminal or he's a fraud. Those things are all being litigated in the courts.

What I think Biden is going toward is saying, he's for himself, I'm for you. He cares about his grievances, his lies about the election, his legal problems, his sweetheart deals with China and other foreign companies, his tax cuts for his fellow billionaires. He doesn't give a rip story about you.

The people who voted for Donald Trump are good people. They have been hornswaggled by con men. That's a better argument for Democrats than simply saying, oh, if you vote for Trump, you're evil or Trump himself is a criminal.

SINGLETON: I mean, it's much better to talk about issues.

COATES: Could you please Google -- could you Google hornswaggle?


BEGALA: He's a fellow Texan, he knows.

COATES: I think it's H-O-R-N-S-W-A-G-G-L-E. Google it for me. Ask it for a friend.

SINGLETON: I mean, to that point, to that point, people do want to know what you're going to do to solve the problems of today for tomorrow. And I do believe that it does not fall into by talking so much about the past.

I remember Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia State, several months ago. If the nominee of the party is still relitigating 2020, that person is likely not going to win the state of Georgia. I would beg the former president to listen to Brian Kemp who won by a pretty small -- large numbers.

COATES: Well, I do wonder about that, because I keep thinking about -- Biden is also talking about January 6. Is that the exception to talking about the -- quote, unquote -- "past?" Because, remember, Kellyanne Conway made that statement a few months ago about Democrats waking up every morning and thinking and hoping that every day is January 7th to hold a seasons opportunity and talking about it. I do wonder about the exception for that.

But you did hear from other candidates, including, interestingly enough, seem to agree with what you've just said about Trump and how he is for himself, not for you, Nikki Haley, one. DeSantis as another. Nikki Haley is still playing cleanup, though, tonight, guys. Cleanup on aisle three is still happening. And frankly, I'm stunned that she's still trying to clean this up for Civil War comments. Why?

BEGALA: Because she wants the votes of white nationalists if she's the nominee. She's not a stupid person. She knows what caused the Civil War. It was slavery and it was in her state that it began. Why does she say that?

Do you remember in February of 2016, Jake Tapper, our colleague, interviewed Donald Trump? Donald Trump had just been endorsed by David Duke, the former Klan leader. And Jake says, well, Mr. Trump, do you disavow David Duke and his Ku Klux Klan background? Mr. Trump couldn't do it. He couldn't do it. So, I don't really know anything about it. And Jake asked him three times.

Why did Trump do it? Because he wanted -- now, I want to be careful about the fallacy of composition. Right? All the racists are for Trump. But not all the Trump supporters are racist. Most of them -- I know some. I'm related to some. Okay? Most of them are really good people.

But I think Governor Haley has made a mistake, but I think she's looking toward those white nationalist fringe.

SINGLETON: But, Paul, let's say we validate the premise of that argument, right? Those people are never going to vote for Nikki Haley.


BEGALA: Right.

SINGLETON: Nikki Haley is not going to become the Republican nominee. So, my point is, why attempt to placate to people who aren't interested in voting for you anyway?

BEGALA: Right.

SINGLETON: They don't like you anyway. I mean, perhaps she forgot there's some melanin in her skin as well, and maybe someone should remind her.



SINGLETON: And I actually like Nikki Haley. But we need to not play politics with history. Again, if you can't trust a political leader to be aware or tell the truth about the past, how in the world can voters expect you to make sound decisions in the present to impact the future? They can't.

COATES: You're not getting the Christmas car from them this year.


Paul Begala, Shermichael Singleton, thank you both so much.

We have breaking news. An Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing tonight. A passenger telling CNN, get this, a window blew out in flight, an actual window. The plane was headed from Portland, Oregon to Ontario, California.

Let's bring in CNN's Pete Muntean on the phone. Pete, we are looking at an image right now of a window gone from an airplane. What is happening?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): All you can say is wow, Laura. I mean, this is actually more than a window. This is part of a fuselage in the 26th row there. A, B, and C are the seats there, 26 A, B, and C on this 737 MAX 9. Incredible but no one was seated in the window seat there.

That is typically a spot on the 737 MAX 9 that could have an emergency exit if the plane is configured for a certain seating capacity. In this case, it did not. It had a plug there.

And what is apparent, at least from FlightAware and also from passengers, is that this flight got up to about 16,000 feet, so only about halfway up to its final cruising altitude of 33,000 feet. About a few minutes into the flight, only seven minutes into the flight, this issue apparently happened.

And the crew, after leaving Portland, Oregon, they were bound for Ontario in Southern California, made an immediate emergency return back to Portland, an emergency dissent, got the airplane under control, and made a successful emergency landing, although you have to put yourself in the perspective of the passengers who are going to this terrifying moment.

The oxygen masks came down. It sounds like there was even some close point pulled off of passengers. At least that's a conjecture that we're seeing online although that's still a bit unconfirmed.

So, this was a really harrowing, an incredible scene. After we've seen all of these issues with the 737 MAX, not to mention the (INAUDIBLE) crashes in 2018 and 2019, issues abroad, there have been manufacturer defects with the MAX, real fits and starts here.

So, you have to think what is going through the minds of Boeing executives right now with this breaking story. The good news is the flight crew did everything they were trained to do and got this plane on the ground without any issue. Nobody hurt on board, 171 passengers and six members of the crew, Laura.

COATES: Oh, my God. Thank, God. And I swear, this is not CNN promoting our Sunday whole story about "Sully" that happened 15 years ago. I'm telling you, it is unbelievable to think about that this has happened on a plane. The picture is unbelievable. This reminds me of a "Twilight Zone" episode. Thank God no one was hurt.

MUNTEAN (via telephone): Yeah.

COATES: Pete Muntean, thank you. Keep us posted, please.

MUNTEAN (via telephone): Any time.

COATES: I hope never again. But there's a new batch of Epstein documents that are out. And when I heard about it, one name came to mind: Heidi Fleiss. Yes, the Hollywood madam who ran a high-class prostitution ring that catered to wealthy clients. Guess what? She is here next.




COATES: Tonight, there is a new round of Jeffrey Epstein documents that's offering yet another look into his dark history of sexual abuse. The disgraced movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, appearing in a 2005 handwritten note that was left for Epstein.

I want to bring in someone who has been sifting through all of these unsealed documents, and I do mean all of them, CNN correspondent Kara Scannell. Kara, it's so good to see you this evening. Your eyes must be burning. But before we get to the latest developments, take a step back with me, first of all. How did we even get here?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this story begins 20 years ago, Laura. That is when the initial allegations about Epstein began in Florida, and there was an investigation by Palm Beach detectives into allegations that he was having sexual relations with minors.

You know, one of the detectives who gave deposition testimony in this case, he said that he interviewed 30 girls who said they were recruited to give Epstein massages, and massages turned sexual. That's the allegation that kind of started this whole thing.

Now, the local office in Florida had brought charges against Epstein in 2006 for solicitation of prostitution. At the same time, there was a federal investigation. That ended up getting resolved with a non- prosecution agreement, essentially giving Epstein immunity as well as four female co-conspirators. In exchange, he agreed to plead guilty to the state charges. So, he served a brief time in state jail.

Now, one of those women, those girls at the time who was allegedly assaulted by Epstein, was Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She's the one who brought the defamation lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend and who was convicted of helping him recruit girls for sex trafficking.

So, she brings this defamation lawsuit against Maxwell, and that had been going on, going through the normal litigation process. There are subpoenas, there is testimony. That's where things were heading. There were a number of accusers who brought private lawsuits, often known as Jane Does.

Well, then in 2018, the "Miami Herald" wrote a story, an investigative series, where they revealed this non-prosecution agreement, which had been private, had been hidden.


And so that prompted the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan to open an investigation into Epstein. They then brought federal charges against him for sex trafficking of minors. In 2019, he dies by suicide in jail while awaiting his trial.

One year later, Maxwell is charged as a co-conspirator of Epstein. She is later convicted, but it's after she is charged that the judge overseeing Giuffre's defamation lawsuit decides that she is going to begin the unsealing of documents.

It has been a slow rollout since 2020 or so, and we're getting kind of this final big bulk of all of these documents that are being unsealed over the past several days. This will continue into next week, too.

COATES: This blows your mind. I mean, 20 years ago, this began, all of the twists and turns, all the different steps to even get to where we are now, before people were even publicly aware of who he was in this category. It's unbelievable, Kara.

And the batches of documents, we're now on the third batch of documents. What are you learning? Are there any newly revealed Epstein associates?

SCANNELL: There were some other boldface names that came out, some from Hollywood. Harvey Weinstein, as you mentioned, his name came up today because there was copies of one of these old spiral notebook- bound phone messaging books that was found in Epstein's home in Florida, and there is a handwritten note from 2005 that says that Harvey Weinstein had called.

Now, Giuffre's lawyer wrote a book in 2020. In that book, he says that Harvey Weinstein and Epstein were friends and that they had a falling out after Weinstein became too aggressive with one of Epstein's favorites. You know, Weinstein, of course, was not -- he was not charged with anything in this case, but he did -- he was convicted in both New York and L.A. for unrelated sex crimes. He's serving a prison sentence for that.

I mean, another name that came up in this was David Copperfield. He allegedly attended a dinner at Epstein's house, and a woman who had worked for Epstein had given a sworn testimony where she said she was talking to Copperfield. She said, he questioned me if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls.

One of Giuffre's lawyers had asked another woman who had worked for Epstein, a separate woman, had asked her if she was aware of Copperfield getting tickets for Epstein to bring young girls to the show and to meet him backstage, but that woman had asserted her Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions. Copperfield's team has not gotten back to us all week.

COATES: Kara, this is unbelievably dense. It's kind of the thing -- the joke in Washington, D.C. is whenever a book is published, you turn to the back and see if your name is mentioned somewhere in there. Looks like this list is going to be one of those things as well. And the allegations, although you've mentioned many of whom you've just named have not been charged or accused of any wrongdoing, no one wants to be in this orbit. Kara Scannell, thank you so much.

So, who exactly is on that list? You know what I keep thinking about this week, frankly, when I think about names being revealed or wanting people to reveal names? Heidi Fleiss. Remember her? The so-called Hollywood madam who ran a high-class prostitution ring that catered to Tinseltown's rich and famous? She served almost 20 months in federal prison.

And remember, she had that little black book that everyone wanted her to reveal names from. She said she did not. But clients were hoping that their names were written in invisible ink, and she is going to join us right after this.




COATES: Tonight, a new round of Jeffrey Epstein documents offers another look into his dark history of sexual abuse. We have the perfect person to talk about this whole thing, Heidi Fleiss, the so- called "Hollywood madam" who ran a high-class Prostitution ring that catered to Tinseltown's rich and famous. Heidi Fleiss joins me now.

Heidi, I can see you over there. How you doing? Thank you for joining tonight. I had to tell you, I have been thinking a lot about all of the news surrounding your case. When everyone wanted to know who was in your black book, you wouldn't reveal. But I want to know what you think about this fascination with Jeffrey Epstein's web of associates.


COATES: You didn't. you never revealed it. I remember someone asking you famously about it. It's not your style. But because of that, do you think these names should be made public?

FLEISS: Have what?

COATES: Do you think the names surrounding Jeffrey Epstein should be made public?

FLEISS: Hear me but when people -- can you hear me?

COATES: Yes, I can. Heidi, I'm asking -- can you hear me? FLEISS: I can hear you.

COATES: Okay. Do you think the names should be made public from Jeffrey Epstein? This is a cliffhanger because I really want to know what her answer is, but I don't think she can hear us. Can you hear us, Heidi?

FLEISS: I can't hear you.

COATES: I don't know why she can't hear us. We'll have to take a break really quick. We're going to work it out because I want to hear her answer. This is a bit of a cliffhanger. We're not going to keep you hanging too long, though, everyone. I want to know if she thinks the name should be released. We'll come right back after a quick break. We'll work it out.




COATES: All right, we got her back because I really wanted to hear what she had to say. We have her on the phone. Here to talk about the Jeffrey Epstein documents, Heidi Fleiss, and she wanted me to add the convicted Hollywood madam because she says she is the real deal, not an imposter. She joins me now. Heidi Fleiss, thank you for joining.

First of all, look, I remember a time when everyone wanted you to reveal who was in your black book. I wonder what you think about the concern and the questions about who is in the Epstein public sphere. What do you think? Should their names be made public?

FLEISS: The Epstein case is totally different.

COATES: It is.

FLEISS: Even if people had nothing to do with it, sex trafficking or whatever, they're still already labelled no matter what.

COATES: Is that fair?

FLEISS: What is that?

COATES: Is that fair?

FLEISS: It is -- you can't avoid it. That's how the public is. Some things you can't avoid. And it just goes hand in hand. But most of the people I dealt with, they wouldn't see right through Epstein. I dealt with real rich people, real powerful, the most powerful family in America, the largest liquid petroleum producer in the world, things like that. They're not going to fall for someone like Epstein.

It is -- he was a con man, a fraud. That's the -- there's a lot of -- you know, rich and famous people want to hang out with rich people because they want things for free. COATES: Well, you know, of course, CNN cannot -- has not confirmed the family or anyone you referenced right now, but I take your larger point about being close to perceived power. When you look at, and obviously it goes without saying, the convictions and the allegations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein and, of course, his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, distinct from the case surrounding you, including the fact that minors are involved in the Epstein matter instead --


FLEISS: Yeah. I wasn't trafficking children. It's disgusting.

COATES: I know.

FLEISS: I think everyone could agree it's reprehensible and a violation of basic human rights. It is disgusting. I dealt with adults making adult decisions.

COATES: So, what happens when the identity of these clients or the people who were around Jeffrey Epstein, and you mentioned it's unavoidable that the public will hear and know more names, even those who did not engage in the behavior, what happens when the identity comes to light?

FLEISS: They're going to be tainted, and there's no way around it. I think it's funny in a way.

COATES: Is it? Why?

FLEISS: It's because it's just -- I'm sure it's not for them, but it's kind of like that's what you get for thinking this guy was so cool when it's -- no one looked deeper into anything about him. Why did he get that New York apartment for free? How did he get his money? Why does he have these under young girls around?

No one looked any deeper. They just thought it was cool that he was a big philanthropist and this money. No one looked any deeper into anything. And so, they're going to get labeled as part of the whole thing. But as far as the trafficking thing, it sounds like he was the only one they were trafficked to, I guess.

COATES: Let me ask you, Heidi, there is one name or one label that is now on an associate of Jeffrey Epstein, and it's convicted felon and now prisoner. I'm talking about Ghislaine Maxwell --

FLEISS: Oh, yeah, she is cruising around --

COATES: -- because she's a former girlfriend.

FLEISS: She's cruising around like elementary or junior high school, picking up 13-year-olds. It's disgusting. And what is it supposed to be for a prominent family and a socialite? What made her -- she wanted the money and that's what happens when you want the money.

COATES: What does it say to you? Because one of the often comments that I often hear is the irony, although she has been convicted of what has been only described as the disgusting behavior that you have talked about, that it's ironic to some people that it's a woman right now who is serving time, that a man has not been held criminally liable and to account for what took place and the allegations against Epstein. Does that strike you in any way?

FLEISS: No, because, look, anyone who is involved, it doesn't matter if you're male or female, if you're trafficking kids, you're trafficking kids. If it comes out, there's another man that has -- was having sex with kids. So far, who's the other man that was having sex with a kid? And so that has been 13 and 14-year-olds, cruising schools and stuff like that. Who's the other person?

COATES: It certainly just reiterates how disturbing the allegations and the conviction really is in a case like this. And trafficking, people really look into sex trafficking and what this means and what it looks like across this country. By the way, it happens here in the United States and abroad. It really is so disturbing.

I've read something that you told "The Hollywood Reporter." It always struck me. I want to bring it to your attention again. It's back in 2019. It was about the "Me Too" movement. And you talked about wanting no part of some kind of what you called a redemption narrative. What did you mean?

FLEISS: Well, I don't know anyone an excuse or an explanation for what I did. It was adults making adult decisions. Women came to me in droves and wanted to meet wealthy guys. There was no trafficking involved. And I don't blame them. Why do you want to go out and meet a loser for? You know? Who wants to go out and meet a loser? Isn't it you prefer to meet any single person but prefer to meet someone successful with their act together and whatnot?

And I don't exactly know what I was referring to in that comment, though, but what I ran is completely different. It was much more -- I mean, look, who are the other people that were trafficked to? It sounds like he was the only person they were trafficked to.

COATES: Well, that's the big question. That's really the issue. And many people are leaning in for all the documents, Heidi Fleiss, to figure out who else might be on that list or who might have been in that orbit. But it's fascinating to talk to you in particular about that just in your viewpoints after all these years in particular.

Heidi, thank you for joining us. I'm glad we were able to talk. Although I couldn't see you, I certainly heard all of you had to say. Thank you so much.

FLEISS: Okay. Thank you so much.

COATES: Abuse, control, murder, and now maybe for the first time, freedom.


Gypsy Rose Blanchard was told that she was always sick. She was told that she had leukemia. She was told to use a wheelchair. But none of that was real. She says her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, conned doctors and really everyone, tricking them into thinking her daughter was deeply ill. Gypsy eventually told herself that there was only one way out. So, she convinced her then-boyfriend to murder her mother.


GYPSY ROSE BLANCHARD, CONVICTED OF MURDER (voice-over): My mother controlled everything I did. I was forced to use a wheelchair. She started telling people that I have cancer. Well, none of it was true. I started to feel like it was either her or me.


COATES: Well, she is now out of prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 2016. She's also the subject of the new lifetime documentary, "The Prison Confessions of Gypsy Rose." CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister sat down with Gypsy Rose Blanchard for a fascinating new interview.


ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: If your mother were here today, what would you tell her, Gypsy?

BLANCHARD: I would say that I understand. I see her in the way that she was not an evil woman, she was not a monster, she was just a sick woman, and she would have needed a lot of mental health care. I see her for who she is now or who she was.


COATES: Fascinating for a lot of reasons. Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.