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CNN Larry King Live

Senator Craig: I Am Not Gay; Owen Wilson's Suicide Attempt

Aired August 28, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight...

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: I am not gay. I never have been gay.

KING: A Senator caught in a sex sting.


CRAIG: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport.


KING: So why did an undercover cop think that Idaho Republican Larry Craig wanted to engage in lewd conduct in a men's room?

And did his attempt at damage control today only do more damage?

Just released, police logs say actor Owen Wilson did attempt suicide on Sunday.

What was said in the 911 call from his home?

The latest from the hospital where he's recovering.

Britney versus K-Fed.

What's behind the new so-called abuse investigation and will it cost her custody of their kids?

That and more.

All the latest on LARRY KING LIVE.

We have an outstanding panel to kick things off discussing the Craig matter.

They are John McArdle, reporter for "Roll Call," the Capitol Hill daily newspaper. He's in Washington. He broke the story of Senator Craig's arrest for allegedly making sexual advances in a men's restroom.

Michelle Laxalt is the Republican strategist.

James Carville is the Democratic strategist and CNN contributor. And here in Los Angeles is Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of "Loveline," the nationally syndicated radio talk show. He is assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the KEC-USC School of Medicine.

Before we begin our discussion of conservative Senator Craig's political future, let's take a look at some of what the married father of three had to say at a news conference today in Boise, Idaho.


CRAIG: First, please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho.

I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans. And for that I apologize.

In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends or family. That was a mistake and I deeply regret it.

Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed.

For a moment, I want to put my state of mind into context on June 11. For eight months leading up to June 11th, my family and I had been relentlessly and viciously harassed by "The Idaho Statesman". If you saw the article today, you know why.

Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay.

Still, without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, "The Statesman" has engaged in this witch-hunt.

In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of "The Idaho Statesman's" investigation and the rumors it has fueled all around Idaho.

Again, that overreaction was a mistake and I apologize for my judgment. Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself and I should have told my family and my friends about it. I wasn't eager to share this failure, but I should have anyway because I am not gay.

I love my wife, my family. I care about friends and staff and Idaho. I love serving this great state.


KING: The guilty plea was August 8th.

John McArdle, you broke the story.

What took so long to get it? JOHN MCARDLE, "ROLL CALL" REPORTER BROKE SENATOR CRAIG SEX-STING STORY: To be completely honest with you, Larry, I'm still wondering what took so long to break it, as well.

We got a tip last week, mid last week, that he had actually pleaded guilty in this case, went and found documents with the airport police department, with the Hennepin County District Courthouse. Was able to finally secure all the documents on Monday, talk to the senator's office and that's why we did the article on Monday.

But it's amazing that the story slipped through the cracks for that long.

KING: If, Dr. Pinsky, this charge, as he plead guilty to, so we only assume it is true...


KING: what kind of person, who is gay, would rail against gays?

PINSKY: Well, that's an interesting question. There is a separate category, which is men who have sex with men. And so people can genuinely get up and say I'm not gay but I'm still one of these people that have sex with men.

KING: They're not gay, but they have sex with men?

PINSKY: There is a category that people -- and, you know, this is political speak and these are attorneys talking. And they may split hairs like that.

So I don't know what he means when he says that, in fact.

All we do know -- if you read the police report, it's obvious what was going on in that stall. Either the...

KING: The cop had to be a weird liar.

PINSKY: ...the cop had to be a delusional maniac or he got the wrong guy or something is going on there and he needs to explain that. And his grandiosity has been his defense, which is, you know, I'm a senator. I don't need to put up with this.

And he almost did get through the cracks, didn't he?

He almost pulled it off.

That's really the point here.

KING: Michelle Laxalt, what's the effect on the Republicans?

MICHELLE LAXALT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think the effect on the Republicans is one that should give every Republican in the party great pause. I happen to have come into the Republican Party during the more civil libertarian era of Barry Goldwater -- Bill Buckley, Paul Laxalt, Ronald Reagan and their philosophy. The view about judging people regarding their personal lives was a live and let live philosophy.

And somehow during the ensuing years, there has been a faction, who call themselves the Moral Majority -- we all remember the bumper stickers many years ago floating around Washington which read "The Moral Majority Is Neither."

And here we find ourselves, virtually every single time, getting whacked because of what is perceived to be a hypocrisy factor.

The Republican Party needs to have some retro -- some very serious introspection and return to the values that started us out. And that is individual liberties and a live and let live policy when it comes to people's private lives.

KING: James Carville, what do the Democrats do with this, if anything?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, nothing. I mean, you know, we've had everything happening here, from Foley to Professor Haggard to this thing. And, you know, it -- what happens is people are human beings. And these people go out and they attack other people. And they attack other people for the way that they are, the way that they're born and they say these things.

And I think Michelle is exactly right. There are a lot of people in America that this has completely turned off. Larry Craig was a big cultural warrior. He was against gays in the military. He was against gays having rights. And I'm thinking, I hope the good that comes out of this is that everybody calls a truce in this stupid culture war and goes to talking about things that really matter and leave these people alone.

But I've got to tell you, I'm a little bit vexed that the good doctor said he's not gay, but he's a man having sex with a man. That's a distinction that I'm -- somehow or another I'm missing the difference there.

KING: Yes, what is that doctor?

PINSKY: It's a distin -- I mean you can look -- go to the Centers for Disease Control Web site.


PINSKY: They make that distinction. It's a clinical distinction that we make.


PINSKY: And so somebody who's trying to make an argument to defend themselves could use that legitimately, it seems to me.

KING: By saying I'm not gay, but I have sex with men?

PINSKY: Right. I mean it's a separate category.

KING: We learn something every day, James.


KING: We'll be right back.

CARVILLE: At 62, I'm always open to something, Larry.

LAXALT: But I'd like to ask the doctor what the present stats are, whether it's two of 10 who are deemed to be gay in our population now...

KING: Yes.

LAXALT: What are the statistics?

PINSKY: Well, people argue about that all over the place.

KING: Do we know?

PINSKY: We really don't know. That's the bottom line. People throw around the 10 percent number an awful lot. But it may be a little bit lower. It may be quite a bit higher.

Again, because this -- the AIDS research has created this other category of men who have sex and men who are not gay.

KING: We'll be right back with more.

Don't go away on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.


CRAIG: I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in hopes of making it go away. I am not gay. I never have been gay.



KING: John McArdle of "Roll Call," who broke this, where does the story go?

MCARDLE: The legal side, it seems like it's pretty much over. I mean he's plead guilty to this charge, although, if he wants to -- I was talking to a lawyer at the University of Minnesota's Law School that said he could file a motion requesting a withdrawal of his guilty plea if he feels so strongly that he did the wrong thing and he entered a guilty plea wrongly and he regrets it now.

But I think on the legal side it's pretty much over. On the political side, we've only seen it just begun in the past 24-hours. And I think it's going to continue to go.

KING: Michelle, Republican leaders are already calling for an ethics investigation.

Does that surprise you?

LAXALT: It did surprise me, yes. I think -- I think what we're seeing is a follow-on to the Mark Foley incident, which occurred just before the elections, when the Republicans lost control of the House and the Senate. And many attribute it to the Foley situation and how the leadership in the House handled that.

So leadership have to look at things from a political perspective. I tend to look at things a little bit differently, and that is a presumption of innocence, even within your own caucus, even within your own family.

I think Democrats are a lot better, frankly, about protecting their own. I think about Mr. Torricelli and others. And they will stand by their own literally until they're right there at the guillotine.

KING: Mr. Carville, what -- do the Democrats go full steam, take advantage of this?

CARVILLE: Well, no. I don't think they do. And I don't -- I mean the ethics charge, it looks like the man was engaging in lewd and a misdemeanor activity in an airport. It goes beyond me whether this rises to the level of an ethics charge. Maybe he tried to use his Senate card to get out of it, you know. But there's always the possibility that there's going to be other shoes to drop here, and on other Republicans. And if that's the case...

LAXALT: And Democrats.

CARVILLE: And Democrats, always.

Look, you know, the problem is, is we have human beings that serve in Washington. And when you have human beings, you have human behavior. And I think it would be good for all of us to pause and understand that, be they Republicans or Democrats.

It sticks more on Republicans because they pontificate and they claim to be morally superior to everybody else. And Michelle and people like Michelle's dad never did anything like that, and they were part of a Republican Party that respected people's individual liberty.

And maybe the Republicans will get back to that and quit that sort of holier than thou preaching and talking down to people. If they do, it will be a good thing for everybody.

KING: Dr. Pinsky, why men's rooms?

PINSKY: Why men's rooms?

KING: Over the years -- no, we've often heard of...


LAXALT: As opposed to ladies rooms?

KING: ...that things take place...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the place men hang out.

KING: Is that because it's a safe kind of cover?

PINSKY: Yes, it's an anonymous behavior. There's a ritual element to it. I mean they tend to be public spaces where people can sort of hide away and sometimes can be quiet. I mean parks are sort of the characteristic place for it. I don't know about airports. I wasn't aware that airports were a very commonplace (INAUDIBLE) because there's plenty of traffic.

KING: Does he need -- if everything appears is as true, does he need help?

PINSKY: Oh, my God, yes. I mean I feel very sorry for this man. He must be just torn apart inside. I mean I know -- I know that we all feel sort of -- this sort of sense of righteous indignation because he was, you know, championing against lascivious acts and here possibly engaging in them himself, and we're offended by that.

But the reality is that human being who he seems to be is somebody that really must be suffering and needs a lot of help.

And I agree with Mr. Carville, that we are human beings and we need to have a little bit of empathy for one another.

CARVILLE: You're a better man than me, doctor. This man wanted to cut off aid to Katrina. He was the most moral pontificator against Bill Clinton. He voted against gay people all the time. I want to find it in my heart to feel sorry for him, but after the press conference today, I've got to admit, I'm not proud of myself, but I find a hard time feeling sorry for this man. I really do.

LAXALT: And that's really the point is that when you really get right down to it and we have this kind of a conversation, James and I can open with it's time we call a truce on this kind of stuff.

KING: Yes.

LAXALT: and within 10 minutes into the session, James is playing gotcha.

So, James, come on.

CARVILLE: Well, I said...

LAXALT: Let's reinvigorate the truce.

CARVILLE: I'm being...

LAXALT: You feel about it but whack, whack, whack. CARVILLE: I'm being honest. I'm being honest about it. I wish I could feel sorry for him. The doctor's -- I'm admiring of his humanity. I did feel sorry for him until today, when he got out there and denied the obvious.

MCARDLE: And, Larry, we were talking about it over the commercial break here, just imagine yourself being Larry Craig for the past two- and-a-half months when this incident occurs.


MCARDLE: And waking up every day wondering is this thing going to come out?

I mean it's been so long. You're -- going back to your original question. I mean I can't imagine what he went through every day waking up wondering if it was going to come out.

PINSKY: He might have been in total denial. He might have been -- had sort of a grandiose defense or he assumed it wouldn't.

KING: Well...

PINSKY: But the fact is, now that it is out, it has got to be painful.

KING: Thank you all very much.

We have certainly not heard the last of this.

John McArdle, Michelle Laxalt, James Carville and Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Coming up, actor Owen Wilson recovering tonight at L.A.'s famous Cedar Sinai Hospital after a reported suicide attempt.

We're going to take you there for the latest and you'll hear from some celebrity journalists who have been following the story. That's next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have breaking news on what's next for this troubled star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have uncovered the police calls for service logs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The call to help Owen as an attempted suicide.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Owen Wilson rushed to the hospital.

Was it a suicide attempt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may have tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills and slashing his left wrist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So was it a suicide attempt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New details from within inside the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, rumors are rampant that something terrible happened yesterday inside actor Owen Wilson's home.


KING: Oscar-nominated actor and beloved guy, Owen Wilson was taken to the hospital from his home on Sunday. Officers came in response to a 911 call to the Santa Monica Police Department characterizing it as a suicide attempt. He is now in Cedar Sinai hospital.

Our panel -- and they'll be with us for the rest of the way, discussing other topics, as well -- is Harvey Levin, managing editor of, attorney and journalist and sometimes host of this show.

Dr. Reef Karim, director of psychiatric services at Wonderland Residential Treatment Facility and attending psychiatrist and addiction specialist, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Mike Fleeman is the West Coast editor of "People" will feature this story on its cover tomorrow.

Jann Carl, the famed host of "Entertainment Tonight" and "Weekend" anchor.

And at Cedar Sinai, at the medical center, is CNN entertainment correspondent, Brooke Anderson.

What's the latest from there -- Brooke?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, Larry, is that a call log from the Santa Monica Police Department indicates that authorities did respond to a call on Sunday from the block in which Owen Wilson lives in Santa Monica.

We can deduce it was from Owen Wilson's home, but they did not specify an address nor did they specify from whom the call was from.

OK, the really disturbing thing about this call log, Larry, is that the reason given for the call -- the reason listed is attempted suicide.

Now, Owen Wilson was initially reportedly taken to St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica and then later transferred here to Cedar Sinai Hospital, behind me, here in Los Angeles.

According to the Associated Press, yesterday a hospital spokesperson said he is in good condition.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, as well as Owen's brothers, Luke and Andrew, have been spotted here visiting him while he is in the hospital recovering.

Also, Owen's publicist -- Owen only 38 years old, by the way -- his publicist released a statement to CNN on his behalf. And it reads: "I respectfully ask that the media allow me to receive care and heal in private during this difficult time."

So, Larry, obviously Owen Wilson, right now, going through some very serious and very troublesome issues.

KING: Do we know why, Brooke, he was moved from St. John's to Cedar Sinai?

ANDERSON: You know, there are a lot of medical privacy issues at this point, so everyone is very tight-lipped about that and the details are few and far between, so we do not know the reasons for that transfer at this time.

KING: Harvey Levin, who appears to always know everything, what do we know?

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: You know, I've got to tell you, Larry...

KING: By the way, the sympathy for him is unbelievable, right?

LEVIN: It's unbelievable, and rightly so. He's a really good guy.

Look, I mean on TMZ we break a lot of stories about stars in court. If there's ever a case where stars deserve privacy -- and I think there are places where they do deserve privacy -- this is it. I mean, he's having a tough time. He's asked people to let him deal with his struggle. He hasn't done anything wrong. And I don't want to speculate on this.

I mean you hear things, but I think that -- that celebrities have a zone of privacy and it's appropriate to respect it.

KING: You're saying that?

LEVIN: I am saying that. I believe it.


LEVIN: Larry, I believe that.

KING: Should we not be doing this?

LEVIN: You know, I think it's OK...

KING: We're not going to speculate.

LEVIN: Yes, I mean, I think it's OK to say, look, this happened. There's a police record of it, you know, talk about the sympathy factor of it and the fact that celebrities go through the same troubles that everybody else does.

But I don't think this is a case of a celebrity doing a misdeed. I think he deserves this privacy.

KING: Mike, what's your magazine reporting tomorrow?

MIKE FLEEMAN, PEOPLE.COM WEATHER WEST COAST EDITOR: What we can tell you is we've been able to confirm some of the things that you've been hearing out there; that it was, in fact, a suicide attempt. And, tragically, he did cut himself. He also took some pills. He was initially taken to St. John's Hospital then transferred to Cedar Sinai.

So the reports that you've been hearing are actually true.

KING: How do you play this story, Jann?

JANN CARL, WEEKEND ANCHOR, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Well, I think there's a lot of different ways.

First, you try to get to the facts. But I think, you know, I have to agree with Harvey on a lot of it. I spoke this afternoon, late this afternoon, with someone that's close with Owen, saying that he would be really mortified -- he would be horrified at the conjecture, at some of the rumors. Quite honestly, this person said some out and out lies. And they came right out and said and the bullshit that's out there right now.

So I think we have to talk about the fact that he is a very talented, he's a very, very smart writer, actor. He's grossed over $2 billion at the box office -- very, very successful films.

His reputation, Larry, in Hollywood is that of someone that is there on time, a great attitude, very sensitive and very private.

KING: Doctor Karim, when you know so little, but you do know, obviously, as people -- that it was a suicide attempt, what does it tell you?

What, someone 38-years-old?

DR. REEF KARIM, DIRECTOR, PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES, WONDERLAND RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT FACILITY: Well, I mean essentially suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem, right?

We all have problems in our lives and when you're emotionally so invested in pain -- you have so much pain in your life and you're so overwhelmed, you feel like you can't do anything about it.

But when you think about it, 2 to 5 percent of Americans have attempted suicide at some point in their life.

KING: Is it gutsy?

KARIM: Celebrity -- is it gutsy?

You know, I think some people believe it's gutsy when they're doing it. But obviously it's not. It's -- you want to check out. You want to check out of life because you're overwhelmed mentally by all the pain that you have.

KING: But you always wonder right, Mike, someone so successful, so talented, so loved, you know, what could be wrong?

FLEEMAN: Well, that's what was so surprising to us, as we reported this story. You know, of course, he has the slacker comedic persona in the movies. And we found a long history of very private and difficult pain. You know, we found he has been battling drug addiction for many years, to the point that he was actually receiving -- went into rehab a couple of times about seven or eight years ago.

So there's another side to that clown you see in the movies.

KING: We'll be back with more right after this.

Don't go away.


OWEN WILSON, ACTOR: Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Big Horn. But this book presupposes it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: maybe he didn't?

WILSON: Are you a homeowner, Greg?



So things are going real, real well for you, aren't they, at Neuberger (ph), hey, Kevin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, things have been going so great.

WILSON: Amos O'Toole (ph).


WILSON: I'm ready to get drunk.



KING: Brooke Anderson at Cedar Sinai. Is there a lot of attention at the hospital?

ANDERSON: Actually, Larry, there's a lot of areas close to the hospital that you can't even get near because of the red curbs, because of the medical issues there. So we're actually about a block away.

And not really. Things seem to be operating as standard procedure here. People have asked me, you know, why am I here? Who am I reporting on? And I've told them. And people have heard about it, sure. But I do have to agree with Harvey and with Jann, you know, I am conflicted.

As a reporter -- you know, he has requested his privacy. And I know it's my job as a reporter to relay the facts, inform the viewers, but at the same time, he obviously is struggling with very deep serious issues. So hopefully his story, his experience can help others who may be going through similar things.

KING: We've addressed the issue of suicide many times on this program including actress Halle Berry, who revealed it for the first time. Watch.


KING: Was it true that you once thought of taking your own life? Was that ever true?

HALLE BERRY, ACTOR: Yes. Yes. Sad but true.

KING: What was the situation?

BERRY: Divorce.

KING: What snapped you out of it?

BERRY: The thought of my mother when I was in that moment and sitting in the car, I was going to asphyxiate myself in the garage. When I was sitting there really with all my heart wanting to end my life, I thought of my mother. And I thought wow, how unfair. I would break her heart. My heart is broken and I'm going to kill myself. I would break her heart. I would break her heart. And I...

KING: Someone once said suicide is a selfish act.


KING: Harvey Levin, what has been the reaction on all of your Web sites to Owen Wilson?

LEVIN: I mean, overwhelming.

KING: In favor?

LEVIN: Well, with feeling compassion and sympathy. You know, people -- this connected with people because it just seemed so unexpected. He just didn't seem the kind of person who would do something like this on the surface.

But I think it really points to the absurdity of Hollywood that this whole machine has been built on these fairy tale lives where everybody has perfect lives and they look perfect and they dress perfectly and they have perfect marriages and they're just like everybody else.

KING: But hasn't that always been true?

LEVIN: It has always been true but it has been masked. And, you know, I think just because of the way the media has gone that a lot of these things come to the surface. But it has always been this way.

KING: Jann, are you conflicted as to how to cover this?

CARL: Of course I am. I think that when we all read Owen's own words, I mean, this is a quote from him, not from a representative, asking for his privacy during this difficult time, sure.

But I think -- and again, maybe as Brooke said, maybe someone can learn something from this. Maybe someone can get help because of this and, you know, maybe it's also a way for us to let Owen know that there is a lot of concern and a lot of love heading his way. And maybe if he hears that, maybe it will help him.

KING: How does People deal with it?

FLEEMAN: Well, we deal with this every week. The way we look at it is that we will share in their wonderful moments. So when they have babies or when they get married or engaged, and this is just another part of life.

And I think as long as we report it responsibly and sensitively and accurately and put it in some context, it serves some good.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Dewey, Jacksonville, Florida. "Do we know, does depression run in the Wilson family? Was Owen on any kind of medication?

Would that help you, Dr. Karim, in understanding this? You say he was.

FLEEMAN: He spoke about depression with a small d, not as a diagnosed disease. But he did talk about when he was making "Bottle Rocket" how depressed he got when things weren't going well in the editing room. And test audiences didn't like him. He would go days without talking about people. He was once quoted as saying, I have an Irish strain of depression and I work through that.

KING: Do all suicide attempts automatically equal depression?



KARIM: No, 95 percent of suicides that are completed, those people have some kind of psychiatric illness. That's the first thing. But if you look at schizophrenics -- you look at schizophrenic patients out there, 50 percent of them will attempt suicide in their lives, one out of two.

KING: And that's not depression? KARIM: No. Bipolar patients, depressed patients. Patients that have some major loss, that are grieving.

KING: E-mail from Susan, Franklin, Tennessee: "Since the police report says Owen Wilson made a suicide attempt, will that effect his ability to work? Will producers in studios be able to get insurance on him once he is treated?"

CARL: OK. I know that the film he is supposed to be going into very soon now is being done by Ben Stiller, a very close friend of his. So my guess is Ben is going to be standing right by his side and that Owen will be there if he in any way can be.

He is also set to star with Jennifer Aniston in "Marley & Me," that is not supposed to start until January. I think, as we've all seen, Hollywood is very forgiving. And my guess it will not affect his ability as long as he feels he's well enough to go back to work.

KING: Hollywood may be forgiving, but are insurance companies?

FLEEMAN: You know, we're in the post-Lindsay Lohan era and Hollywood stood up to Lindsay. Now she was late to the set. She had a lot of problems. As long as Owen Wilson doesn't cost money to any production, as long as he gets to the set, hits his marks, knows his lines and the films make lots of money as they have, he'll have a long and successful career.

CARL: And I think we have to be really careful not to put Owen in the same category as some of the other people who have bad reputations of holding up production, being late, arrest records, all of that.

KING: Brooke, does hospital say in any report that he's doing well?

ANDERSON: According to the Associated Press, a spokesperson for Cedar Sinai yesterday said that Owen Wilson is in good condition. But no other details since then. As I say, a lot of medical privacy issues involved. I do want to say that Hollywood is really shocked by this news, reeling from reports that are out there.

And really, Larry, a wall of silence has come down around Owen's inner circle of family and friends. But most people I speak to are just incredulous that a seemingly happy go lucky, easy going, outgoing guy could reportedly try to take his life. So a lot of people are very, very stunned.

KING: Never married, Harvey?

LEVIN: No, I don't think he was married.

CARL: No, no, I believe Andrew, the oldest, is the only one who has ever been married.

KING: Well, we certainly wish Owen Wilson a speedy recovery tonight. And when we come back, more celebrity news from the dogfighting case of pro footballer Michael Vick, to the horrible accident Hulk Hogan's son was involved in. When we come back, the ongoing custody battle between Britney Spears and her K-Fed ex. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Britney Spears reportedly being investigated for possible charges of child neglect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: K-Fed going after Brit pretty hard, looking to get Kevin Federline primary physical custody of the two kids. They've been serving subpoenas left and right.



KING: And now we turn to the Britney Spears-Kevin Federline custody battle, which is the biggest story in Internet history, right?

LEVIN: For us.

KING: And our panel remains. All right, where do we stand on that? What have we got now, brutality charges here?

LEVIN: Well, a bunch of stuff. The Department of Children and Family Services is investigating Britney Spears right now. There was a report that she -- that her kids had poor dental hygiene, that they weren't eating or sleeping properly. So there is an investigation going on.

And then at the same time, it has gotten so ugly with this custody battle, that last night K-Fed's process server tried to serve papers on a friend of Britney Spears. He says the guy tried to run him over. A police report was filed. Now there is a criminal investigation into assault with a deadly weapon.

KING: How does a psychiatrist, Dr. Karim, look at something like this story?


KING: Examine them both, huh?

KARIM: Yes. There's a lot of work there. Obviously, I don't know her. I don't treat her. But it's about emotional development. It's about growing up. We all grow up and we learn skills over time. We learn to cope when we get stressed out. We learn to deal with day to day activities.

When you start so young from the "Mickey Mouse Club" on and you become this sex symbol when you're physically ready but you're not emotionally ready, she's a girl mentally, but an adult woman physically, for years. And we have all these expectations on her that she couldn't handle. KING: How does People treat her, Mike?

FLEEMAN: Well, fairly and compassionately, I hope. I think this is as much a legal and financial story as it is psychological. Kevin Federline has a financial stake in the custody arrangement. A lot of his -- in fact, probably all of the income stems from her support payments. So the more custody he gets, the more money he gets.

KING: Could she lose custody, Jann?

CARL: Yes, I think it's certainly possible. I think we all agree that for the mother to lose custody, I mean, it's probably a much higher bar than for the father.

KING: Are there drugs involved with her?

CARL: You know...

KING: That could almost automatically lose them.

CARL: The street talk right now is that it's not what she's taking, it's what she's not taking in terms of maybe she has been on medication, diagnosed with various things from a doctor. That's what is on the street. But nothing has been confirmed.

LEVIN: Again, he's not asking, Larry, for full custody. Right now they have a 50/50 split. Crazily enough, it's about -- he wants 70/30 rather than 50/50. So it's not about taking the kids away. It's this adjustment, a couple of nights a week that is triggering all this stuff.

KING: Brooke Anderson, what do you hear on this one?

ANDERSON: Well, basically, the main continuous thread throughout this very contentious custody battle is that K-Fed is basically waging an all-out war, wanting more physical custody. His legal team has served subpoenas to a number of people in Britney's inner circle, including former personal assistants, a former bodyguard.

We haven't been hearing much from Britney Spears' legal side. But bottom line is Kevin Federline, who would have ever thought that he would have come out looking like the doting dad? But he is really working hard with the public relations image to make it look like he is sincerely concerned about those children and their welfare. And let's hope he's being authentic.

KING: Mike, is his talent being married to her? I mean, what is...


FLEEMAN: Certainly his station in life, yes, is being married to her. Before that, he was a backup dancer. And before that, he was a kid in Fresno. He's trying to make it as an actor. He just did an episode of "One Tree Hill." So maybe that will go better than the rapping. KING: Why so many stories like this, doctor?

KARIM: Celebrities are our new mythology. I really believe that. We used to have Zeus and Aphrodite. And we would look up to them with all of this glamour and how beautiful and strong they are. Now our celebrities, we raise them to let them fall. And to watch them fall.

KING: We want them to fall?

KARIM: I really believe that we -- we look at them. But we also -- we look at them in a positive and a negative way. It's almost like nowadays it would be what steroids is Zeus on and what diet pills and laxatives does Aphrodite take? I mean, we are looking at the negatives as well as the positives. And it's sad.

FLEEMAN: I think we're looking for a human side to them. I think people are looking for a connection. And one of the easiest connections is when they act human, and then they don't act godlike or maybe like royalty. So it's not necessarily when they fall, it's just when they act like us.

KING: Well, that story will never end. Now we'll come back and we'll look at the case of Nick Hogan, the son of Hulk Hogan, the tragic crash of his hot-rodding teenage son Nick. Just how much trouble is he in for the wreck that seriously hurt his good friend? We'll find out what the panel thinks next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventeen-year-old Nick was allegedly speeding when he lost control of the Toyota Supra and rammed it into a palm tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mangled metal. The worried star on the scene. How serious are his son's injuries?


KING: Before we talk about the Nicholas Hogan matter, let's get down to New Orleans, check in with Soledad O'Brien who will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour.

What's up, Soledad?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Larry. Thank you very much. You'll remember, of course, two years ago tonight Hurricane Katrina was just out there somewhere, right off the Gulf Coast. Who would have thought that two years later we would be standing here with New Orleans looking like this? It's one of the reasons we're here tonight.

But we begin with today's storm for the Idaho senator, Larry Craig, as you were talking about earlier. He had to call a press event to announce he's not gay. We're going to show you a large chunk of his statement and also talk about some of those details about his arrest that pushed him to make that statement. All that's ahead coming up at the top of the hour on "360" -- Larry.

KING: Thanks, Soledad. That's at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific, Soledad O'Brien from New Orleans.

And now we have the matter of Hulk Hogan's son Nick involved in a car accident Sunday night. has been updating this story. What's the latest, Harvey?

LEVIN: Well, it's really unbelievable. This kid has been driving for a year.

KING: He's what, 17?

LEVIN: He's 17 years old. We found three tickets he has gotten for speeding. And I'm talking 104 miles an hour. Just crazily speeding.

KING: In L.A.?

LEVIN: In various places. But I have to tell you, Larry, he has gotten in a car accident on the reality show he did when he was doing Formula race car driving. But we happened to be at the Ivy Restaurant when he and his mother were there a few months ago. And we have video of him just tearing out of the Ivy and his mom is standing back and laughing about it. So I mean, this kid was literally an accident waiting to happen.

KING: There he goes. That is a congested street, Robertson Boulevard, right?.

LEVIN: Pardon me?

KING: At Robertson Boulevard.

LEVIN: Oh, yes, yes. And you know the area. I mean, there it is, he just tore out. And his mom is standing back.

KING: All right. Dr. Karim, what is your analysis of this one? Too much too soon?

KARIM: Too much too soon, yes, some of that. As an adolescent -- this is really interesting, check out this setup. In our growth and development with our brains, when we're in an adolescent state, our accelerator, our drive for motivation, for new stuff to constantly look around and speed and try new things, all of that, develops before our brakes do, before the area of our brain that goes, whoa, whoa, whoa, that's not a good idea. We shouldn't do that.

So you get so many teenagers that are constantly trying out all these new things, trying to do all this crazy stuff, but yet their parents need to be their brakes a lot of the times. And if the parents don't watch them or if they don't have social support around them, a lot of kids will just keep running around and doing things.

KING: Mike is...

CARL: That's how these parents get disliked (ph).

KING: Is People covering this?

FLEEMAN: Yes. Yes, we are. You know, Nick just -- he issued a statement earlier today, you know, saying, please pray for my friend. And what he's doing is he's not hiding. He's coming out there. He's taking some degree of responsibility. And trying to show people that he's not an out of control teenager.

KING: How serious is that friend?

FLEEMAN: From what we hear he's in critical condition.

KING: Critical?

CARL: Yes, we hear critical condition.

KING: Brooke Anderson, do you have any follow-up on this one?

ANDERSON: Well, Nick, this happened on Sunday, allegedly speeding, crashed his car into a palm tree. Police are investigating. They don't believe alcohol was involved. Nick was hospitalized and released. And we did receive a statement from Nick's mother, Linda Hogan, yesterday and she told us Nick suffered minor injuries and has been treated and released from the hospital.

At this time his friend John Graziano, remains hospitalized. Nick is currently at the hospital with John and his family. His sole concern is for the well-being of his friend. "On behalf of my family, we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with John and his loved ones."

And by the way, Larry, I do want to mention that Nick is a licensed professional race car driver, 17 years old.

KING: Do you think, doctor, this will straighten him out, the injury to the friend?

KARIM: Scared straight? You know, I would hope it does. I really hope it does. If it doesn't -- I mean, first off, I think when you encounter any injury like this, injuring somebody else or yourself, you need to talk to somebody about it.

KING: Jann, what do celebrity children face?

CARL: You know, it's interesting. As we have talked about, sometimes it's too much too soon. I think what we've seen lately is sort of a trend of not having the parent there to be the conscience if you have too much too soon, too much celebrity, too much money, too much freedom.

So I think they also face a great deal of, you know, the microscope. And sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad. I think we've seen that.

KING: Harvey? This getting more attention than it deserves? LEVIN: Well, it's horrific. I mean, it's really horrific. And I think, you know, it's not just a car crash. It's a car crash that was a long time in coming. I mean, that's what makes it so really incredible. This was not just...

KING: You could have seen this coming?


KING: And in our remaining moments, we'll talk about the lingering story that won't go away, the court case that put a great football career on hold, the latest on Michael Vick when we come back.


MICHAEL VICK, FOOTBALL STAR: Offer my deepest apologies to everyone. And I will redeem myself. I have to. So I've got a lot of down time, a lot of time to think about my actions and what I've done and how to make Michael Vick a better person.



KING: Michael Vick will be sentenced in December. The recommendation is 12 to 18 months. The judge can go either way, can get less, more, probation, whatever. There will be preliminary reports and Mr. Vick will testify against others as well.

Harvey, a guy -- a football player beats up his girlfriend. He gets less attention than a guy with a dog. Why?

LEVIN: Well, you see, I don't buy that. You know, I don't think you can say it's a competition between beating up a girlfriend and torturing animals. They're both horrendous. You know, on its own, what Michael Vick did was beyond awful. I mean, he tortured living, breathing creatures. And I just take issue with people who try to make it a contest between humans and dogs. It's not.

KING: Doctor, what is your analysis of someone who is in this sport?

KARIM: Yes, I think it's the concept of above the law. I think of that Steven Seagal movie.

KING: But what attracts them to?

KARIM: Impulsivity, competition, impulsivity, being in control of these animals, doing what they're doing. Overseeing the whole thing. It's power.

KING: How does People play this Vick story?

FLEEMAN: People magazine and has not played it that much. It's a football story. We have overwhelming female readership. So it hasn't resonated the way, say, the Owen Wilson story has. You know, Michael Vick's future is going to depends on how much time he spends in prison and how fast he can run the 40 when he gets out.

KING: Jann, are the viewers dog lovers?

CARL: Oh, I think Yes. Again, with Entertainment Tonight, we have a huge female audience. And I think that that goes to -- yes, they love the animals. And they are mortified and horrified by this story.

KING: Brooke, how has CNN Entertainment covered it?

ANDERSON: Well, you know what, Larry, I think that a celebrity, whether a movie star or a sports star, sometimes has a feeling of entitlement, a feeling that they're untouchable. So, you know, I think we're all pretty relieved that Michael Vick does have to face some consequences because the allegations were horrific.

And, you know, I am an animal lover. But at the same time I'm a human being. And I think a lot of people feel that way. And hopefully this will teach a lesson to anybody out there ever considering taking part in these sorts of actions.

KING: He canceled a radio interview with my friend Tom Joyner today. Should he do interviews, Harvey?

LEVIN: Well, I -- you know, I'm guessing he's not. And I think the reason, Larry, is what's really going on behind the scenes in this case is the Feds want to get other people in these rings. And they think Michael Vick is the key to this. And that's why his sentencing is December because they have leverage over him right now.

There is a big range of what Michael Vick can get. And if he snitches on other people in these killing rings, it's probably going to impact his sentence. And I think he'll probably lay low. And that's what this is about.

KING: Will he play again, doc?

KARIM: Depends on the commissioner, what Roger Goodell says. It depends on the media. It depends on the people. I mean, torturing animals is a big deal. But I think money talks.

KING: Will they forget in two years, let's say?

FLEEMAN: Two or three years, yes, I think this is going to die way down. And it will just depend on whether he is legally allowed to play, and if not, he could perhaps go to Canada or overseas. And whether he's still going to have the physical ability to play at the level that he does.

KING: We never run out of stories do we, Jann?

CARL: No, unfortunately and fortunately, sort of it's a double- edged sword for us. KING: The world goes round and round.

CARL: Yes. It does, it does.

KING: Thank you all very much, Harvey Levin, Dr. Reef Karim, Mike Fleeman, Jann Carl, and our own Brooke Anderson.

Don't forget to check out our Web site, You can download our newest podcast, Bill Maher, or submit Webcam questions or e-mails to our upcoming guest. You can even participate in our quick votes or sign up for our newsletter. It's all at

And now to New Orleans and Soledad O'Brien and "AC 360" -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. Larry, thank you very much.