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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Jackson Memorial; Ticket Winners; Chaos in Honduras; Palin's Bombshell; Serial Killer Dead
Aired July 06, 2009 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you.
Tonight, a judge has taken control of Michael Jackson's estate, taking it away from Jackson's mother. Jackson's attorney and his longtime friend will control those assets at least for now. And 17,000 tickets have been handed out to fans as Los Angeles prepares for tomorrow's memorial spectacle.
Also, Governor Sarah Palin gives a hint of her political ambitions after her stunning resignation last week. She also has a warning for the liberal media establishment.
And violence worsening in Honduras -- the ousted president trying to return to power, but his plane is blocked from landing. And tonight, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez blaming the United States for his ouster.
Tonight, Los Angeles is preparing for Michael Jackson's memorial and the family planning a private ceremony just hours before the public event. More than 17,000 tickets for tomorrow's memorial have been distributed to fans, another 9,000 to the Jackson family. And Jackson's mother, losing control of her son's estate. A judge has turned the estate over to Jackson's personal attorney and a longtime friend, at least for now.
We have extensive coverage beginning with Ted Rowlands outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Ted, what are you learning about those plans for tomorrow's memorial?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the plans here will start at 10:00 a.m. and what we're learning before the public memorial, the family is holding what they're calling a very private, intimate gathering at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. That will start two hours before the public memorial here.
What we don't know is if Michael Jackson will be buried during this gathering or as Jermaine Jackson has already told CNN, he would like Michael, his brother, to be buried at Neverland Ranch, if he will be interned somewhere down the line. But we do know that the family will first gather two hours before people come out here to celebrate Jackson's life in a very public forum here at the Staples Center.
What we're learning about the actual event here is that it will be a very highly produced event, the producer that runs the Grammy Awards, that produces the Grammy's is in charge here and there are a lot of A-list celebrity guests, including Usher, Stevie Wonder, a long list, including some sports stars as well, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson. What we're seeing out here right now, as you can see, a huge gathering of fans trying to get access here to the front of the Staples Center.
They are letting -- police are letting some people in here to sign a couple of large murals here. You also see a massive media attendance here. You see networks from across the world have descended on Los Angeles. Because this is a free feed and it will be broadcast worldwide, there are literally worldwide media outlets from around the world who are here anchoring their coverage, expecting that hundreds of millions -- or tens of millions of people, at least, will be watching this event, which starts, again, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Lou?
DOBBS: Ted, who is paying for this memorial, this spectacular?
ROWLANDS: Well, it's a good question. The events going on inside will be privately funded, from what we've been told. But everything out here, when you're talking about security, that is the city of Los Angeles. And they did, in a news conference over the weekend, sort of imply that they wouldn't mind some donations from the Jackson estate, but don't hold your breath to see those coming in. And there has been a little bit of a public backlash. Why should the public pay for this. They say they have a budget for events like this, it's just like a demonstration, this is in their budget and they can handle the cost.
DOBBS: All right. Ted Rowlands from just outside the Staples Center, which will be of course the site of the memorial tomorrow. Thank you, Ted Rowlands.
Since Michael Jackson's death, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton have both been serving as unofficial spokesmen for the Jackson family. Each has held news conferences on behalf of the Jackson family and some have even suggested that the two men are vying for a lead role at the Jackson memorial. Late this afternoon, a list of participants for the memorial service was released and Reverend Sharpton is on the list, Reverend Jackson is not, but we're told the list is still subject to change.
Michael Jackson's mother, today, lost control of her son's estate. A California judge said the executors of Jackson's will should control the estate. Jackson's attorney, John Branca, and longtime friend, John McClain are executors of Jackson's will. Katherine Jackson had applied to oversee the estate before the will naming Branca and McClain surfaced.
The judge scheduled another hearing, set now for August 3rd. Michael Jackson's mother has custody of Jackson's children for now. Jackson stated in his will he wanted his mother to have custody of the children. Jackson's ex-wife, however, Debbie Rowe, the mother of the two eldest children, reportedly considering a fight for custody. But she wasn't interested in answering questions about the matter in this very heated exchange with paparazzi and reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Debbie, are you ready to fight for your kids, Debbie? Are you ready to fight for your children? Are you ready to fight for your children?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not touch me!
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Nobody touched you here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just did, don't!
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you ready to fight for your children?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to get your butt kicked? Don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) touch me!
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Debbie...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Rowe was intentionally left out of Jackson's will. She will not be in attendance at tomorrow's memorial. Her attorney said Rowe would be an unnecessary distraction, as he put it. We'll have much more on the custody battle, her potential battle, over the Jackson children here later. It's the topic of our "Face Off" debate tonight. Who should have custody of Michael Jackson's children? That will be here later in the broadcast.
Thousands of people in Los Angeles today waited in line to pick up their tickets for the memorial service for Michael Jackson. They were the lucky winners. More than 1.5 million people went online, registering for the tickets in that lottery. Eighty seven hundred people won two tickets each. Thelma Gutierrez reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Veronica Lee could barely contain herself. She just learned this morning she won the golden ticket.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I checked it this morning, and it was there. Like, I had the e-mail, saying that, you know, that I had got it.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What did you do? All weekend long you were excited and...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Screamed -- I screamed, I jumped up and down, I woke up all the kids in the house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). You can pick any lane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all are open, sweetheart. Get your tickets and you're out of here, baby.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK...
GUTIERREZ: The single mother of three from Burbank, California, told me her win is bittersweet. She was looking forward to seeing Michael Jackson in concert.
VERONICA LEE, JACKSON MEMORIAL TICKET WINNER: It's sad that he's not there, but I'm just happy to, like, be here. To be able to finally get the tickets.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You're so emotional right now. Tell me what's going through your mind?
LEE: He was like the greatest, you know, musician I think that ever will be on this earth.
GUTIERREZ (on camera): How long have you been a fan of Michael Jackson?
LEE: Since I was a baby. Like, dancing in my crib to his music.
GUTIERREZ: Was there a particular song that you loved?
LEE: "I'll be There".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love hearing that song.
GUTIERREZ: What does it say to you?
LEE: Well, now it's kind of like since his passing, it's just you know, it's just like that to me it kind of like seems like it's speaking to him, like you know like he'll always be there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually have some more good news for you. You did make the Staples Center show.
LEE: Oh, my god!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang on to that.
LEE: Thank you!
GUTIERREZ (voice-over): Tomorrow, she says, she will say good- bye and mourn the greatest entertainer who ever lived. And in some way, she says, part of her youth.
(on camera): Organizers say the entire area around Staples Arena will be so tightly controlled that unless you have your tickets and your gold band, you're better off watching the memorial service from home. Lou?
DOBBS: Thelma Gutierrez reporting from the Staples Center. Stay with CNN for complete, live coverage of the memorial service. It begins at noon Eastern tomorrow here on CNN. And we'll have much more on Michael Jackson.
And China putting an entire city in lockdown after ethnic violence leading to at least 150 deaths, hundreds of injuries.
And chaos in Honduras as ousted President Manuel Zelaya tries to return to power.
DOBBS: Today was the deadliest day in almost a year for American forces in Afghanistan. Seven of our troops were killed, four American military trainers died in a roadside bombing in the northern part of the country in what had been a relatively peaceful region. Two of our troops died in a roadside bombing in southern Afghanistan. Another soldier was killed in a firefight in the eastern part.
The ousted president of Honduras today failed in a dramatic effort to return to his country. Manuel Zelaya's next move appears to be to talk with U.S. officials. That puts the United States in a peculiar position standing by a leftist ruler who has often criticized the United States for meddling in his country's affairs. Ines Ferre with our report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More clashes in Honduras' capital over the military ousting of leftist President Manuel Zelaya. At least one person died and...
FERRE: ... when pro-Zelaya protesters called for his return, a demand Washington supports.
IAN KELLY, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: We're very focused on our common goal, which is a restoration of a democratic order.
FERRE: Yet one of Zelaya's biggest supporters is Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, their relationship has focused mainly on cheap oil for Honduras. It was Chavez who provided the plane that tried to take Zelaya home on Sunday. The military blocked the landing. Zelaya says it's not just about him returning to power.
MANUEL ZELAYA, OUSTED HONDURIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is the people who choose and not the military nor the elites nor the politicians, but the people who choose whomever they want to govern them. FERRE: Zelaya was ousted by the military eight days ago after pressing ahead with a plan to hold a referendum on allowing him to run for a second term, something the country's Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional. This professor of Latin American studies says Zelaya was testing the limits of democracy.
PROF. PATRICIO NAVIA, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: He was selected democratically, but he was not governing democratically. In fact, he was doing a number of things that undermine democratic institutions. But after he was pushed aside by the military on Sunday morning, he all of a sudden became a victim and a champion of democracy.
FERRE: The ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says that in joining Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, the U.S. is quote "serving as an echo chamber, not helpful to our political, economic or security interests in the region." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Zelaya tomorrow, the most senior U.S. official to do so since his ouster.
FERRE: And Chavez has asked President Obama to clarify his stance on the coup, even though the president has already condemned it. At the same time, Chavez says the Honduran army's intervention is supported by quote "the Yankee empire."
DOBBS: And the Chavez strategy in Central and South America proceeds?
FERRE: Well, their strategy is to gain -- I mean to keep Honduras as their ally. I mean that's what they want. And also one of the experts I was talking to is saying that he wants to test to see how far the OAS can actually go. What can they do? Because if they don't do anything, then that means that in other cases other leaders could do other things then (INAUDIBLE).
DOBBS: And there's no history of the OAS having done anything, is there?
FERRE: Well, the OAS has actually just -- they...
DOBBS: I mean in concrete action?
FERRE: Right. Exactly.
DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much, Ines Ferre. Thank you.
Well China's state-run news agency reports that more than 150 people were killed, 800 injured in ethnic violence, which broke out in the capital of China's far west region over the weekend. Authorities responded by putting the entire city in lockdown. Thousands of ethnic Urumqi's (ph) had taken to the streets angry over what they say is rampant discrimination against Muslim Chinese by the Xingjian (ph) Chinese. Authorities sent in hundreds of soldiers and riot police, reportedly rounding up more than 700 people. In Iran, evidence of a split among the country's religious leaders after last month's disputed election. That election set off massive antigovernment protests and led to a bloody crackdown on the demonstrators. But this weekend, top clerics and seminary students in the holy city of Quam (ph) issued a statement criticizing the vote count. They also said opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi's (ph) rights have been violated.
Up next, first it was Governor Palin's stunning resignation, now she's bypassing mainstream media for Twitter and Facebook. We'll tell you what she's got to say.
And Congressman Peter King thinks the reaction to Michael Jackson's death is just plain wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May have been a good singer, did some dancing, but the bottom line is would you let your child or grandchild be in the same room with Michael Jackson? What are we glorifying him for?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: We'll have much more on Michael Jackson's death, the investigation into his death in this broadcast and dramatic new developments to report tonight in a South Carolina town's search for a serial killer.
DOBBS: Since Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her resignation Friday, she has avoided mainstream media. Instead, she's taken to the Internet to communicate directly with her supporters and hinting at some future for her in the public eye. But even today, Alaskans are still expressing shock at her decision to quit. Sean Callebs has our report tonight from Anchorage.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a shocker that upset the summer serenity of the last frontier.
NANCY HAYES, ALASKA RESIDENT: I heard Sarah Palin had resigned and I was like, what!
CALLEBS: It's all people here are talking about. What's next for her and why? At diners and on the street I found it's easy to get people to weigh in on Sarah Palin. And some believe if she has aspirations of putting Alaska in the rearview mirror, for a shot at Pennsylvania Avenue, why not walk away now?
BRIAN ARNOLD, ALASKA RESIDENT: She's had a lot of people here file ethics complaints and if she's getting set up for 2012, I believe that she's probably going ahead and cutting her losses now to make her less of a liability in the future. CALLEBS: The FBI is making the unusual declaration that Palin is not under investigation following accusations on the Internet that she was stepping down because she may be facing charges. Palin is fishing with her family far from Anchorage, but getting her side of the story out on Twitter and on Facebook.
Saying, "how sad that Washington and the media will never understand it's about country and though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason, a different standard applies to decisions I make." But it's not just Washington and political commentators criticizing her for walking out on the job. Some of the loudest voices are her constituents.
RON CLARK, ALASKA RESIDENT: My personal opinion that there would be some consequences to pay for that because people in general they don't like quitters and they look at this as being a quitter.
BRIAN MANGOLD, ALASKA RESIDENT: She has a commitment to the people of Alaska that she made a contract with and I was kind of surprised that she took that avenue.
CALLEBS: A lot has been made about the timing of the governor's announcement on July 3rd, just before the July 4th holiday. Well, her attorney tells CNN it was no accident that Sarah Palin chose that day as quote "her declaration of independence from politics as usual." And Lou, the attorney went on to say she may not pursue another elected office, because she has become such a lightning rod. Instead, believes that she could champion such items as overhauling the energy plan, drilling for oil and gas here in Alaska, and pushing for smaller government from a very public, but not elected post. Lou?
DOBBS: Before she joined the McCain ticket, Sean, as you well know, she had an 80 percent approval rating in Alaska. What is the -- how does that compare to today?
CALLEBS: It has dropped significantly, Lou. I can tell you that. It is down in the 50s right now, which a lot of governors would take. But when you're up in the 80's, that's a big drop. And to a person, the people we approached on the street, they all said they supported her, all liked her, but every single one of them said were really disappointed that she's quitting, that she's walking away from this. They all had harsh words.
DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much, Sean. Sean Callebs reporting from Alaska.
Well, South Carolina Republicans are holding a conference call tonight and the subject of their discussion is the future of their unfaithful governor. They're discussing how to formally respond to the drama that Governor Mark Sanford set off when he admitted he had an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. Governor Sanford is trying to reconcile with his wife. He was back at work today after spending a weekend in Florida with his family. Al Franken today made his first appearance on Capitol Hill as Minnesota's senator-elect. The former "Saturday Night Live" comedian stood by Majority Leader Harry Reid and promised he's ready to get to work. Franken will take the oath of office tomorrow after what has been an eight-month-long battle. Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed Franken's election just last week. He defeated incumbent Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes out of more than two million cast.
Well I'll have a few thoughts about these stories and all the latest developments. Join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for "The Lou Dobbs Show" 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon in New York on WOR 710 radio and go to loudobbs.com to get the local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio. And you can follow me on Twitter @loudobbsnews and I hope you will.
Some other stories we're following here tonight -- police in North Carolina have killed the man that authorities now believe is a serial killer. A gun used by the suspect in that shoot-out with North Carolina police does match the weapon used in a series of murders in Gaffney, South Carolina. David Mattingly joins us now from Gaffney. David, what is the latest on this startling development in the investigation?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, this case coming to a very unexpected and violent end in the early morning hours this morning in North Carolina when police converged on a house that they got a call of a possible break-in. When they got there, they found a man that they questioned and then attempted to serve a warrant on. And that's when he pulled a gun, shot a police officer.
They returned fire and killed him. But the case wasn't done there. They continued to look and find out that this man's appearance seemed to match the suspect they were looking for in a string of five murders in South Carolina. It took hours -- it took the entire day, but finally a ballistics match came back and police now believe -- now say that they have caught their man.
That the man responsible for killing five people in the last nine days here in South Carolina is now dead at the hands of police after a shoot-out early this morning in North Carolina. Here's what investigators had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REGGIE LLOYD, DIR., S.C. STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIV.: Right now, there's ballistic evidence that we feel really good about, that links him here and there's some other evidence that we're trying to confirm right now that we believe put him in the vicinity of each of these murders here in South Carolina. So we're just confirming that evidence, but right now we feel really good that this is the individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: This was such an unusual case. These murders didn't seem to fit any real pattern and there didn't seem to be any profile that they could put this so-called serial killer into. So police were sort of at a loss on where to proceed. They didn't feel like they had any really good leads, that they felt like they were closing in on him.
This was exactly the break they were hoping for. Again, this man, this suspect coming to a violent end in North Carolina and police now say that the people of South Carolina and possibly other states can sleep a lot more easily tonight, knowing that he is not out there. Lou?
DOBBS: David, thank you very much. David Mattingly from Gaffney, South Carolina. An area some 50,000 residents have been terrorized as that serial killer, as David reported, responsible for the murders of five people in that community alone.
Police in Nashville say former NFL star Steve McNair's girlfriend bought the gun used to kill him, just days before his murder. McNair found dead Saturday in his condominium. He had been shot four times, twice in the chest, twice in the head. McNair's girlfriend was also found dead with a single shot to her head. Police initially could not find the weapon, because it was under McNair's girlfriend's body. They found it when they moved her. Police have not determined whether the shooting was a murder/suicide, but they say nothing has been ruled out.
Up next, shocking words from a prominent congressman labeling Michael Jackson a pervert and a pedophile and taunted by the paparazzi, the mother of two of Michael Jackson's children won't say whether she'll fight for custody of them. This is what she did say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to get your butt kicked? Don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) touch me!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: The custody battle over Jackson's children, the subject of tonight's "Face Off" debate.
DOBBS: For now, Michael Jackson's estate is in the control of the executors named in Michael Jackson's 2002 will. His attorney, John Branca, and music executive, John McClain. His children remain in the custody of Jackson's mother, Katherine. But the battle over who will win permanent custody is only beginning to take shape.
And who should have custody of Jackson's three children is the subject of tonight's "Face Off" debate. Joining us, children's rights attorney, Wendy Murphy (ph) and attorney and child advocate, Gloria Allred. Thank you both for being here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You bet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. DOBBS: Gloria, you said that Debbie Rowe has definite rights to these children. How so?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY AND CHILD ADVOCATE: Well, Lou, she definitely has the legal edge, if there is going to be a battle for custody of the two older children of Michael Jackson, who were born during her marriage to Michael. And that is because she is the only surviving parent. The courts still will have to look at what's in the best interest of the children, but unless Katherine Jackson can prove that it would be detrimental to those two older children to be with their mother, then she will certainly have the right to have them.
DOBBS: And Wendy, you say that Debbie Rowe should absolutely be removed from a list of possible guardians. Why is that?
WENDY MURPHY, CHILDREN'S RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Look, she may have a legal presumption because she is their mother, in terms of biology, and she was married to their father for a while, but I would throw her out on her ear, Lou, if I were the judge in this case, for so many different reasons. Number one, she really has never treated them as her children. She has said she never let them call her mom. Why? Because quote/unquote, they weren't mine, they were Michael's, I gave them to him.
But here's the real reason, she didn't really give them to him, because she charged him $8 million plus. She gave up her rights the first time for over $8 million. That's not a gift, that's a sale. And guess what, the appellate court in California said you can't do that, Debbie Rowe, you can't sell your children. That's why we're giving you back your parental rights. We know you tried to give them up for money, but you can't do that. Lou, just like if I tried to sell my kids tomorrow, I would be in jail and no one would call me a fit parent. She's not a fit parent.
DOBBS: Not a fit parent, you say. By the way, just out of curiosity, the court didn't say anything about returning money, though.
MURPHY: That's right. She got to keep the money and she got her rights back, which is craziness. She doesn't deserve the privilege of motherhood.
ALLRED: The reason that the court of appeals -- the reason that the court of appeals decided she hadn't properly relinquished her parental rights was because the trial court had not seen to it to appoint an independent attorney to represent the children in the relinquishment. And the children's interests need to be represented. And that is why she retains her parental rights. By the way, she also retains the right to visitation, which she tried to exercise over the years. And in addition, she tried to, especially, assert her rights during the time that the father, Michael Jackson, was accused of child molestation, and also at times when --
MURPHY: Gloria, the problem -- but Gloria --
ALLRED: -- she had concerns at that time about her children. MURPHY: The problem is, Gloria, she said she had concerns and then when she got a big fat check, she walked away. That's how concern she wasn't. That's why she is not a good mother. She can be out of the picture. The question is between Katherine, the grandmother, and the nanny, who has raised them since birth. Katherine should get legal custody and grace should get emotional guardianship. Grace is the only person in their life that's treated them without exploiting them.
ALLRED: Wendy, the problem with the mom, with Katherine Jackson, the grand mom, is that, part of it is her age, she's 79 years old. We hope that she's in good health; hope that she's going to live a long life, but that could be an issue. That could be raised by Debbie Rowe. In addition, we don't know whether Joe Jackson, whether he's going to be living with Katherine Jackson. And Michael Jackson made serious allegations that Joe Jackson abused him. And la Toya made those allegations and later retracted them. The question would be, if Joe Jackson were near the children, that is, his grandchildren, would there be a risk of harm and would Katherine Jackson be able to protect these children if in fact she wasn't able to protect Michael against Joe Jackson.
DOBBS: Diana Ross is named as a successor guardian should Katherine Jackson die. Where does she fit into this, if at all?
MURPHY: You know, my sense is, Lou --
ALLRED: She is an alternative guardian --
MURPHY: She may not have accepted guardianship in the alternative. Someone should say, do you know that you were named in the will and would you take these children if something happened to Katherine. If she says no, then it's really irrelevant.
ALLRED: That's true, but also it may also be irrelevant, because even though Michael Jackson indicated his press conference, there is never binding on the court. The court still has to look at what's in the best interest of the children.
DOBBS: The friction, and that may be a kind and gentle way to put what is happening, the friction between Katherine Jackson and the attorneys who are now administering the Michael Jackson estate, what are the implications of that antagonism, at least as it appears right now? Wendy, go ahead.
MURPHY: You know, it's hard to say. There's a lot we don't know in court documents that may never be revealed. A lot of the trust is in secret. I think one of the interesting things is, though, the attorneys who are now in charge of the estate have said publicly that they were disappointed, and I think that was them being kind, in Katherine's quote/unquote rush to the courthouse. She rushed to get emergency guardianship. She rushed to get control of the estate. And in those pleadings, she said, as far as I know, Michael has no will. We now know that's not true. We now know Katherine was named in the will. So did she really think he didn't have a will or was just this an attempt to control the estate, even against her own son's wishes? DOBBS: You get the last word, Gloria.
ALLRED: And Lou, she is -- she did go there, apparently thinking there was no will. So therefore, she was appointed special administer, which did expire today, and now that there is a will that has been lodged with the court, now that the will indicates Michael Jackson's preferences for the executor of the estate, the administrator of the estate, those preferences will rule unless and until another will is lodged with the court. We don't know if there's going to be another will. There's 30 days to lodge the will. If not, I think these are going to be, that is, the attorney and the music person that he named, those are going to be the ones who are going to be --
DOBBS: Obviously, more to come. We're out of time. Wendy Murphy, thank you so much, Gloria Allred, thank you very much. Appreciate you both being here.
Up next, more on the battle over the Jackson estate. Why a judge denied Jackson's mother control of that fortune. And Congressman Peter King, harsh words about Michael Jackson and the media coverage.
DOBBS: Joining me now for the latest on Michael Jackson's memorial and the battle over his estate are Joe Levy, he is editor in chief of "Maxim" magazine, and music journalist, Alan Light. He's the former editor of "Spin" magazine, and in Los Angeles, CNN contributor Bryan Monroe. A former editorial director at "Ebony" magazine and the last person to interview Michael Jackson, conducting that interview in 2007.
First, I want to say thank you to each of you for being here. And turn quickly to the superior court judgment today. Granting control of those assets to the executors named in his will. What is the likely impact of that? Is this setting the stage for a huge court battle in your opinion?
JOE LEVY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MAXIM MAGAZINE: I think we're going to see a court battle. This was a temporary measure today, not a final decision. We know we'll be back in court soon. This could drag on for quite a while. At the same time, control has been given to the lawyers, to the advisers that Michael worked with throughout his career. This is not, necessarily, a bad development.
ALAN LIGHT, MUSIC JOURNALIST: I would agree with that. I don't know the legal ramifications of taking control away from the family in this situation, but John Branca is one of the leading music attorneys in the business. John McClain worked very closely with Michael, very, very closely with Janet in developing her career. These are people with a long relationship with him that played this kind of field. It's going to be a complicated thing to work out this estate.
DOBBS: Bryan, your thoughts? BRYAN MONROE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's a lot at stake with the estate. There's hundreds of millions of dollars for Michael's career, and most importantly, Michael's share of the Sony/ATV catalog. When he bought the catalog that the Beatles songs in it for $47.5 million back in 1985, that is now worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion of real money. CNN just learned that deep inside that catalog, amongst the Beatles and Elvis' music was the catalog of Little Richard. You know, tooty fruity, good golly miss molly. We talked to Little Richard today and found out that shortly after Michael bought that catalog, he quietly and his lawyer, John Branca, went over to see Little Richard, sat down with him and said, look, Little Richard, you have been so important to my life, you've made such an impact in music, here, we want to give you your music back. At the same time, it was worth, what, $4 million to $5 million in revenue streams each year. Ultimately, they couldn't work out the details with Sony, but Little Richard told us today, and he'll be at the services, both the private memorial and the public memorial tomorrow, he told us today that that indeed happened and that it meant so much for him, for Michael Jackson, who -- and that's the best part of Michael's story we don't hear a lot about, that humanitarian side.
LIGHT: There were rumors, nothing that were ever confirmed a few months ago that Michael wanted to amend his will to have the Beatles catalog, to have those rights return to Paul McCartney on his death. That's a story that came and went very quickly. Also the Sly Stone catalog. It is a major possession. But nobody really knows how to put a value on that right now. The whole music business is in such disarray, very hard to know what the worth of a publishing catalog is right now.
LEVY: Also, what we have to understand, John Branca is the person who engineered that purchase all these years ago. He's someone who does understand music publishing, understands it well, and while the music industry may be crumbling, publishing is the one thing you can continue to make money on. Remember, you have the Beatles songs in there. You're about to see a Beatles rock band video game come out. People are going to start downloading those songs to play them on this video game. That holding is going to be worth a tremendous amount of money, just in the next few months.
DOBBS: All of the discussions -- and you had the last discussion, Bryan. The discussion about being broke, owing $500 million, is starting to sound like while he was tremendously in debt, his net worth was seriously underestimated. Which is the correct view?
MONROE: Well, I think it's a distinction between being in debt and quite frankly, being leveraged. With the catalog, with his interest in the My Jack publishing catalog, also his interest in some of the Motown hits that he and the Jackson 5 did, plus his other properties, he had basically loans against those properties and he had his own personal debt, but he was really leveraged. And in business, you use leverage to gain you better footing. Just take a look at what has happened over the last week or so with the sales of his music. And his music has gone through the roof. There's money generated and revenue generated right there. DOBBS: Alan, your thoughts?
LIGHT: Well, this has true, but if you talk about $500 million in debt and that he sold 2.3 million downloads, 300, 400,000 copies of an album, that's a lot of sales, that generates a few million dollars. In terms of what his actual catalog is going to generate to pay off these debts, there's a long way to go. In terms of these other holdings, we need to see what the market actually values. These are all highly leveraged with a lot of question marks around their worth.
DOBBS: All right. And your concluding thoughts here gentlemen, we're running out of time.
LEVY: You know I wish we could say Michael was leveraged in order to gain money for new investments. Unfortunately, he was leveraged to pay debts. He spent a lot of money, a millionaire who spent like a billionaire, it's been said before. We'll see what he's worth going forward. We know that there are assets there, there are tremendous debts there as well and we really hope that this struggle over the will, over anything, over his children can be resolved quickly and quickly as well, the control over the estate can be established so we can hear this unreleased music we keep hearing about, which we're beginning to hear more and more about every day. Fans are hungry to hear this.
DOBBS: All right. Thank you for being with us, Joe. Good to have you, Alan. Thank you very much, Bryan Monroe.
Up next, the president meeting with Russia's president in Moscow.
And what Governor Palin's stunning resignation means for her political future and perhaps for the 2012 presidential race.
DOBBS: President Obama concluded the first day of his meetings with Russian President Medvedev in Moscow today. The two men reached a series of agreements, including a preliminary deal to cut each country's nuclear stockpile weapons to about 1,500. Russia also agreeing to allow the United States to fly troops and weapons through Russian air space to Afghanistan. President Obama says the first summit is a first step in repairing what has been a strained relationship between the former cold war rivals.
Joining me now are three of the best political analysts in the country, Reihan Salam, a contributor for the dailybeast.com, glad to have you with us. He is also the author of "The Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream," good to have you with us. Mark Halperin, editor at large, senior political analyst for Time magazine, good to have you with us Mark. And in our Washington, D.C. bureau, Republican strategist, Leslie Sanchez.
Let me start, if I may, Mark, with the politics of Moscow and Washington. Any significance and substance to today's deal? MARK HALPERIN, TIME MAGAZINE: It lays the groundwork for a lot of cooperation, not just on nuclear weapons, but on a range of issues. This would be a great thing for President Obama to get done for the country and a lot of the problems the United States faces. Iran, North Korea, the Russians could play a big part in trying to solve these problems, if he can revive the relationship. The meetings today are important. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. His meeting with Putin is probably a bigger deal. I think this first meeting with Putin will probably do more to answer the questions, can the United States get something out of this relationship?
DOBBS: Do you believe that it's necessary that we find out what Mr. Putin is thinking before anything real can be accomplished?
REIHAN SALAM, DAILY BEAST CONTRIBUTOR: I definitely agree with that. I also think that Russia is at a very vulnerable point right now. It makes sense that they're willing to play ball. With the oil price where it is right now, they are not as not as formidable and I think they have very good reason to pull back.
DOBBS: Governor Palin, we're not going to be saying that very much longer, and you are talking about resurrecting the Republican Party. Is this a setback or an advancement for the Republican Party?
SALAM: I think it's actually an advancement. Because I think that Sarah Palin represents a kind of cultural war politics that has been very potent for Republicans. There's going to be a place for it, but she represented that to the exclusion of all else. She was kind of a tribal identity candidate. I think they need more --
DOBBS: I love that, tribal identity candidate.
SALAM: T.I.C., I call it.
DOBBS: OK. Leslie, what say you?
LESLIE SANCHEZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it's the -- an older battle between economic conservatives and social conservatives, but fundamentally, you had so many conservatives who didn't think she had the intellectual weight to be compromised with. They were the first ones kind of throwing criticisms her way, especially within the party think it's going to be interesting what her next move is. I take her at her word are we street to that. You talk to social media. And the fact she's tweeting basically on twitter, explanation after explanation. I think any PR head and a lot of operatives in Washington are really concerned in terms of how seriously she's taking this next step, especially as it lays the groundwork for how she's viewed politically.
DOBBS: And, Mark, where are we with the Republican Party, when -- I'm going to ask for a very independent view here. The Republican Party, Sanford, are going the way of whatever, and Governor Palin -- these are three luminaries, at least presumptive luminaries, for 2012. What happens then?
HALPERIN: Well maybe the mayor. I'm not sure John Ensign and the governor we're particularly well known until their scandals. None of those three people I think were going to be strong candidates for 2012 on the trajectories they were on. This clears a way and it opens an opportunity. The question is, can someone step into that vacuum? Can Governor Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, can Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, step up now? I don't think Sarah Palin was the answer. Version of Sarah Palin we saw Friday. The version, as Leslie said, who's out there handling her image in a way that I think doesn't help her, is not the savior of the Republican Party. She might be that person if she changes. I don't think the loss of any of those three make a difference.
SANCHEZ: I would tell you, the interesting part of that is there's so many people, state party heads, a lot of people who have been strong advocates and supporters of the governor who said she really need to understand the snakes in the pit not only in Washington that were going to be the naysayers, but kind of politically to help guide her steps. And, again this kind of falls back on does she -- what kind of counsel does she have? She's not alluding to what her intent is. It all really -- setting back her -- a potential candidacy and it looks like it may be motivated by book deals or other type of profits.
DOBBS: Let me turn right back around -- Joe Biden saying what the president said about two weeks ago, suggesting that they didn't know how bad the economy was when they passed the stimulus package, the biggest in this country's history. Is that the sort of stuff for which a future for the Republican Party could be built?
SALAM: Absolutely. The most significant development at the weekend was actually Colin Powell's. When he said President Obama, somebody I supported, is spending too much -- it's a mammoth deal because I think he speaks to this independent nation you speak to as well. There are a lot who want to give him the benefit of the doubt. For one of those guys who said I gave him the benefit the doubt, he struck me as a pragmatic, sensible guy. He seems to be moving in a direction that a lot of independents are uncomfortable with. For Colin Powell to say that, think is a very big deal. And you wonder if the Republican Party is going to think, you know, maybe we need to turn to someone like that.
DOBBS: Perhaps, Leslie, that might cross someone's mind, until they thought about the fact that it was George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress that had amassed this huge debt, had spent this government into just an unsustainable structure. I mean, we have two parties to choose from. Both seem hell-bent on bankrupting the nation.
SANCHEZ: Well, there's two -- there's a couple interesting parts there. Let's not forget 1992 when you had Ross Perot and kind of the appeal to his candidacy was government deficits. It was spending. That was really what galvanized a lot of people, especially independent voters. You're going to see that again. I think you're on point there. It's not this $800 billion that we so loosely throw around. It's really --
DOBBS: Leslie, I'm sorry -- SANCHEZ: $14 trillion --
DOBBS: Noble defense of the Republican Party. So noted. Mark, we're talking 2010, if I can be pedestrian about it and talk about midterm elections. Is there any prospect at all for any gain at this stage at least for the Republican Party that you see?
HALPERIN: They need more fund-raising, better recruitment and they need a positive message.
DOBBS: All right. Mark, thank you very much. Moran, thank you very much, Leslie, thank you.
A change of heart from General Electric. A CEO who has the guts to actually say the United States should be a technology based manufacturing exporting nation and the number one exporting nation, we'll tell you who that is and what he had to say next.
DOBBS: We're just going to take note of a CEO in this country who had the guts to change his mind and to set forward a vision for the country. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, speaking before the Detroit Economic Club said, "In my career, I have never heard an American CEO say that the United States should be leading in exports. Well, I'm saying that today." Immelt told the audience the idea that America could go from a technology-based export powerhouse to a services-led consumption-based economy and still expect to prosper was, in Immelt's words, just flat wrong. We talked with Immelt recently when he and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced a new General Electric technology center to be built in Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFFREY IMMELT, CEO, GE: Look, you can't run GE and not be a free market guy and I am a free market guy but I do believe in the power of public/private partnerships. The future of this country, particularly in this economic cycle, is going to be driven by business investment and exports. And I think the extent to which we can work with governors and the federal government to drive more investments faster to lead us to be a better exporter and drive more manufacturing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: And to be clear, this is not the first time that Immelt has pointed to his company's aggressive efforts to build manufacturing. Calling for, in fact, a 20 percent of the economy to be manufacturing-based, which must, I hope you realize, upset the chamber of commerce, requiring some considerable courage on the part of Mr. Immelt and we just wanted to take time to salute him tonight.
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Now, Campbell Brown.