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CNN Larry King Live
Tug of War Over 8-Year-Old; Families of Missing NFL Players Hold onto Hope
Aired March 04, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an explosive international tug of war over an 8-year-old American boy caught in the middle of an ugly custody battle so high profile that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is using her clout to try to bring the boy home. His heartbroken father lives a nightmare and he makes his case right here.
And relatives of the Brazilian mother tell their side of the story.
But first, lost at sea exclusive -- friends and family of two missing NFL players speak for the first time about what they know and why they can't give up hope that their loved ones could be found alive.
All right now on LARRY KING LIVE.
Those family members of the missing players will join us later in the program.
We have breaking news first. Former First Lady Barbara Bush, a good friend, had heart surgery in Houston today. We understand she's resting comfortably at this hour. We'll have updates as we get them and we'll let you know the nature of the surgery, as well. Apparently it was a precautionary step after she suffered shortness of breath last week.
David Goldman has been waging an international legal battle to gain custody of his son Sean. His fight began championed -- his fight is being championed, rather, by the U.S. government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Before we talk with David, here's some background on the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yippee.
KING (voice-over): 2004 -- David Goldman drops off his wife and 4-year-old son Sean at Newark Liberty International Airport for a two week vacation in Brazil. He has no idea he could be saying goodbye for good. Shortly after Goldman's wife Bruna arrives in her native country, she calls him with shocking news -- she wants a divorce. What's more, she's staying in Brazil and keeping their son.
Ever since, Goldman has lived a nightmare, fighting an uphill battle to get his son back. And meanwhile, Bruna remarried, got pregnant, and, in a bizarre twist, died while giving birth last summer. Goldman thought he was getting his son back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GOLDMAN, WANTS SON BACK: I believed that -- that he would be coming home and we'd finally be able to reunite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But he was wrong. A Brazilian family court judge granted custody of Sean to Bruna's new husband. Today, the now 8-year-old boy still lives in Rio de Janeiro, thousands of miles from his father.
CHILD: Hi, dada.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KING: Joining us now is David Goldman, a resident of New Jersey.
He's with us here in Los Angeles. His fight championed today by Hillary Clinton. We'll talk about that later.
You've been caught up in this for a long time now.
First, why did you break -- what caused the breakup of the marriage?
GOLDMAN: I don't know. Apparently, she decided she wanted to live in Brazil, where she said she had more friends and more family and where she was known.
KING: Did she want you to live in Brazil with her?
GOLDMAN: That wasn't an option.
KING: Were you apparently -- did you feel happily married?
GOLDMAN: Yes, I thought we were happily married.
KING: So this was just...
GOLDMAN: And I thought she thought we were happily married.
KING: So this was a call out of the blue?
GOLDMAN: I was completely blindsided and crushed.
KING: She was down there on vacation?
KING: Took your boy with her?
KING: And he was how old?
GOLDMAN: He was four. He had just turned four. And then I drove her and her mom and her father to the airport with my son -- love, hugs and kisses and, you know, have a nice trip. And I'll see you in a couple of weeks to come back. I was going to join them for the end of the trip and fly back with them.
KING: So you're not -- what happens now?
What's your next move?
What do you do?
GOLDMAN: Keep -- I'll never -- I'll never quit. I'll do what...
KING: What did you do then?
GOLDMAN: Well, I get a -- I get a phone call. My mom tracked it down as being Father's Day, about three days after they arrived. The first call was they got there safe, everything was OK. And then I get a phone call and a very serious voice -- a voice they didn't recognize, really, as being, you know, it was out of her normal tone.
And Bruna says, David, we need to talk. You're a great guy. You're a wonderful father, but our love affair is ended, is over. I've decided I want to live in Brazil and you need to come down to Brazil immediately and sign 10 pages of papers with my attorney. And there was a list of demands on these papers. One was giving her full custody. Another was to never go to the courts to file any claims of kidnapping or criminal charges...
KING: This she sent to you?
GOLDMAN: No. This is what she was telling me on the telephone.
GOLDMAN: In fact, I asked her to send them to me.
KING: You never got them?
KING: So what did you do after she hung up?
She's going to divorce you.
What's your next move?
GOLDMAN: Well, you know, I picked myself up off the floor in shock and disbelief and started calling family and friends and asking, did you know this was going on?
I know, you know, some of her friends were schoolteachers that she would see every day and other friends -- and does anybody know what's going on?
Does any -- and no one had a clue. You know, everyone was blind- sided.
KING: Did you get to talk to your son?
GOLDMAN: I got to talk to my son. In fact, I got to speak with -- with all of them in the beginning, while they were still trying to get me to go down there and be trapped in this custody battle.
And so at that point, I wasn't the enemy until I didn't meet her demands and I did go to the courts.
KING: Do you think she'd met a guy there who she eventually married?
Do you think that?
GOLDMAN: It could be. I don't know.
KING: Did you make, since then, trips to Brazil?
GOLDMAN: I've been to Brazil, I guess, eight times.
KING: Did you get to see her before she passed away?
GOLDMAN: I haven't ever. I never saw her again since...
KING: Well, when you went, who did you see?
What did you do?
GOLDMAN: I went to the courts to -- there's a convention, the Hague Convention, which should have had my son returned within six weeks.
GOLDMAN: And I went to every ruling on every court proceeding and with the guise that they would honor the Hague Treaty and return any son. And every time it just got worse and worse.
In the first instance, they kept Sean for over a year before they made this ruling. And then they said well, you know, yes, he was taken unlawfully and he should have been returned, but now he's settled with the mother. These are Brazilian judges have even admitted that he's been held unlawfully and wrongfully and then the...
KING: But since he's been there, what the hell?
GOLDMAN: With the mother. He's settled with the mother, so this is the best. He's adapted. So I fought this all the way up into the supreme court and there was...
KING: Of Brazil?
GOLDMAN: Of Brazil. And in the meantime, we had orders from the courts of America -- rulings for his immediate return. And they ignored those rulings. And then they keep going on with their cases.
KING: So then an incredible thing happens -- and we'll get too that right after the break. His wife remarries, she's giving birth and dies in childbirth.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLDMAN: Kisses for Dukie (ph).
GOLDMAN: What's that, Dukie?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a perfect place for -- for a kid to grow up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little Tom Sawyer place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's her backyard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Those were happier days.
OK, Bruna the wife is down in Brazil.
Did she tell you she was remarrying?
GOLDMAN: No. I didn't know. No one from their family...
KING: Did she divorce you in Brazil?
GOLDMAN: I guess so.
KING: You don't know? GOLDMAN: Well, I guess to marry this guy -- she married this guy 10 months before she passed away having this new baby. But we were still married in America, where we were married.
KING: Is she a bigamist?
GOLDMAN: I suppose according to American law, when we were married.
KING: How did you hear she died?
GOLDMAN: I have friends who kind of have an ear to the ground in Brazil. And there were -- there was some articles that came out in some local Brazilian newspapers and they did some right here on the -- the Internet and said she'd passed away.
KING: The child was healthy?
GOLDMAN: As far as I know.
KING: So as far as you know, her ex-husband, her husband -- her late husband -- she's the late -- he's living with your son and his child?
GOLDMAN: That's what we're being told.
KING: Did they have a boy or a girl?
GOLDMAN: A girl.
KING: All right. Did you immediately -- were you shocked -- well, you had to be shocked.
KING: Did you try then to get the child back legally?
GOLDMAN: Yes. As soon as I was notified, I called both council in Brazil and in the U.S. And they said it should be over. You know, we have stacks of court records and all these treaties and it's always been about Bruna and David, Bruna and David. There's no more Bruna. By all matters of law, international and national and Brazilian law, no one has a legal claim of custody but the living, biological parent. Go down to Brazil and bring your son home.
GOLDMAN: And I did.
KING: But you didn't bring him home?
GOLDMAN: I went to Brazil and I find out...
KING: Did you meet father of the other...
GOLDMAN: No. KING: Did you ever meet him?
GOLDMAN: I saw him in a court last February.
KING: What happened in court?
GOLDMAN: In this past court, we finally got a visitation ruling. But when I went down the first time to bring my son home, he -- we find out that this man doesn't file custody, but he files to remove my name from a Brazilian birth certificate that they had issued for my son, who was born in Red Bank, New Jersey.
And with that, they gave him a provisionary guardianship -- a provisionary.
KING: Obviously, he wanted the boy.
KING: How did you get to see the boy?
GOLDMAN: We went to a superior court judge in Brasilia, who had a jurisdictional issue, because the family wants it in the state court and make it a custody battle. And the Brazilian federal lawyers filed an amended Hague application for the continuation of my son's return.
And a judge stayed both proceedings, had us in front of him and said this man needs to see his son and this is why we're here.
While I decide the jurisdiction, you need to see your son.
KING: When did you see him?
GOLDMAN: I saw him in Rio.
GOLDMAN: In a residence outside, in a common area of a gated community.
KING: His residence?
GOLDMAN: It was actually the residence of her family. But I don't know whose.
KING: How old was he then?
GOLDMAN: My son?
KING: And how old was he when you were (INAUDIBLE) him, seven?
When you were with him? GOLDMAN: Oh, he was -- I just saw him this last February for the first time.
KING: Oh, OK. A month ago.
GOLDMAN: A month ago.
KING: What was that like?
He hadn't seen -- did he know you?
GOLDMAN: Yes, he knew me. It was -- it was -- our bond wasn't broken.
KING: Did he call you daddy?
GOLDMAN: Yes, he did.
KING: Did he wonder, at eight years old, did he ask you why he's not with you?
GOLDMAN: He asked he why I haven't come to see him in all this time. And that was very, very painful -- and the anguish on his face when he asked me that question. And I didn't want to tell him that the situation that I'm not allowed -- that they weren't allowing me, they're holding him. So I just told him that I had been there many times with his grandmother, with his grandfather, with his cousins, with family friends to see him, sometimes staying for up to two weeks and the courts -- it was difficult.
KING: How long did you have with him?
GOLDMAN: I saw him for two days a total of about six hours.
KING: How -- how did you say goodbye?
GOLDMAN: It was very, very difficult. I just kept telling him the whole time how much I love him, how much I miss him.
KING: Did you tell him you were going to try to get him back?
GOLDMAN: No. I told him I'm going to always try to be with him. I don't want him to be put in any type of awkward situation or uncomfortable situation. I just told him I love him, I miss him and everyone at home loves him. And he remembers things at home. We spoke English.
KING: So you never talked to the man that he's living with?
KING: You never saw his half-brother or sister?
GOLDMAN: Yes, well, I was playing with my son, every once in a while they would bring the -- his half sister in front of us in a, you know, a baby carriage or something, just to throw that out there, I guess.
KING: How much is this costing you?
GOLDMAN: I'm over $360,000 now and growing.
KING: What do you for living?
GOLDMAN: I run a boat in New Jersey -- a charter boat. And I still do some modeling up in the city.
KING: We'll be right back with David Goldman.
I want to remind you about the breaking news tonight. Barbara Bush has had heart surgery in Houston. Here is a statement from Methodist Hospital: "Former First Lady Barbara Bush is recovering from successful heart surgery Wednesday at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. The aortic value replacement was scheduled last week after she experienced shortness of breath and physicians detected a hardened valve in her heart. But she is awake, alert as she recovers in the ICU, with her husband at her bedside."
"I'm very impressed with and grateful to the wonderful team of doctors and nurses at the hospital who have helped Barbara," said former president, George H.W. Bush. "And we have every confidence she's in the best of hands."
Dr. Gerald Lawrie, the heart surgeon at the De Baake Heart and Vascular Center performed the surgery -- it took two-and-a-half hours -- replacing her aortic value with a biologic valve. A hardened aortic valve needs to be replaced because when left untreated, it can result in heart failure or sudden cardiac death. They anticipate she'll be discharged in seven to 10 days.
And we wish her every good wish. This -- these valve surgeries are normally very, very successful.
Next Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is using her clout in the Goldman custody case.
See you in 60 seconds with that.
KING: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has raised the Goldman case with the Brazilian government. In an NBC News interview, she had this message for David.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "TODAY," COURTESY NBC)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I would tell him that he's been very brave, as he has fought to have his son returned to him. His son is the most precious person in the world to him and he has gone not just the extra mile, but mile after mile, back and forth, trying to make it clear that his son Sean deserves to be returned to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How does that make you feel?
GOLDMAN: Hopeful. Hopeful. I'm grateful that -- that our government has stood behind me and with me for my son and for all the other children.
KING: Yes. There are a lot.
Anything you'd say to her?
GOLDMAN: To the secretary of State?
GOLDMAN: I'm just -- I'm so grateful and thankful that -- that she's helping me and she knows what's right and sees what's right and she cares about children and parents rights to be with their own flesh and blood.
KING: There's another side of the story. We'll get to it next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Joining us now from Seattle, Washington is Helvecio Ribeiro. He's the uncle of the late Bruna Bianchi Goldman, Sean Goldman's mother. He's the U.S. spokesman for the Bianchi family and for Sean's Brazilian stepfather.
All right. From what you've heard just far -- thus far, Helvecio, what can you possibly say to David?
HELVECIO RIBEIRO, BIANCHI FAMILY SPOKESMAN: Well, I believe that he has engaged in a very successful campaign here in the United States. He created this persona that is very salable -- that he has been selling for six months now without any challenge from our part. And he has been quite successful.
Now, the simple fact that I am here talking to you, Mr. King, is a great indication that something is terribly wrong with this story.
Why did he have to wait until Bruna died to start this campaign?
That's something that people are simply forgetting to ask. And it has a lot to do with the fact that she's not here to defend herself anymore.
KING: But, Helvecio, the fact is he is still the boy's father.
RIBEIRO: No question about it. He is the biological father. That's true. KING: And the child was taken without his permission.
RIBEIRO: The child was taken on a vacation trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And Bruna had a travel authorization with his handwriting. If I'm not mistaken, he had filled out the form himself and signed the form. Bruna started the divorce procedure in Brazil while the authorization was still valid.
KING: Who is -- is the boy -- who is Sean living with?
RIBEIRO: His social father now.
KING: But he's not his father, he's a -- what do you call him, a stepfather?
RIBEIRO: That's right.
KING: And he wants to keep him?
RIBEIRO: That's right.
KING: Why do you think that David should not have his son?
RIBEIRO: There are two...
KING: Why shouldn't he have his -- it's his son.
RIBEIRO: That's right. And I don't question the biological right. The fact of the matter is that in order to be a parent, you have to be more than just a DNA donor, Mr. King. Fatherhood is not about making home movies and taking pictures, it's about sacrifice. It's about providing support to your child. It's about being there even when you're not there.
And Mr. Goldman, while Bruna was still alive, failed to do so. I'm not sure if you know that, but he hasn't paid one single dime of child support so far. And he has been making allegations all over the place about us not allowing him to visit his child. They are completely untrue.
You probably have an e-mail from our lawyers here in the United States to his lawyers actually talking about our willingness to pay all expenses -- tickets plus, you know, hotel and whatever. And it's dated as of 2006, if I'm not mistaken, right after Bruna tried to establish some fresh contacts with him, as well.
So it's simply a bunch of lies and he can go on and on with that because...
KING: We're going to have...
KING: We're going to have David respond a little bit. You've said you think that money motivates him.
RIBEIRO: That's right.
KING: And you gave us a copy of a $150,000 check made out to him by Bruna's parents.
RIBEIRO: That's right. That's right. The same people...
KING: There we see the check. And you said that that supports the claim. Explain this.
RIBEIRO: Because that's the same people that he has been accusing of kidnapping. I mean, the accusation was not only toward Bruna, it was also toward Bruna's parents. Because apparently he thinks that my brother and my sister-in-law came here to the United States to support Bruna to move back to Brazil with Sean behind his back. And, therefore, they're also guilty of kidnapping.
So in this case, specifically, Mr. Sean is receiving money from the kidnappers that he accused in the case.
KING: We'll take a break and come right back with Helvecio. And then we'll have David with a chance to respond.
Take our quick vote tonight -- have you been involved in a custody battle?
Let us know at CNN.com/larrykung -- larryking. I forgot my own name.
Coming up, with more of Sean's Brazilian family after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHILD: Hey, dada.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Helvecio Ribeiro.
He is in Seattle.
Helvecio, you mentioned that he didn't pay any child support.
Why should he pay child support if the child were taken away from him without his permission?
RIBEIRO: Well, because it's the law. And, also, it shows commitment. Even if it is a symbolic value, even if it is just a dime.
I'm quite sure that Bruna would have refused. But at least it would have give an indication that Mr. Goldman is really committed to making -- you know, making sure that the people he claims to be the kidnappers of his son can actually provide for the child.
KING: Do you question... RIBEIRO: And, also...
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
RIBEIRO: Oh. Also, this would address one of his main issues that they (INAUDIBLE) go visit Sean in Brazil. If I'm not mistaken, in one of the e-mails that I sent you, there is a reference about Mr. Goldman being afraid to get in some sort of legal problem in Brazil when he arrived. That was one of the reasons he gave for not visiting Sean when we offered him to pay the expenses.
The law states in Brazil that a parent has to pay child support in order to have visitation rights. And he failed to do that. He never did that.
KING: Do you question whether David loves his child?
RIBEIRO: Oh, absolutely. I think that it's really easy to say that you love someone, but you have to act and show that. Mr. Goldman never had any interest on actually going down to Brazil, even to visit.
I mean the child is not guilty of his parents' mistakes. I mean divorces happen all the time. And the parents should be responsible and work their way toward finding an agreement in which, you know, both parents are part of the children's lives. And he failed to do that because it was not in his best interests.
KING: As we've seen, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in on this.
Here's what she told NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "TODAY," COURTESY NBC)
HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: A child belongs with his family, and there is no reason why David Goldman should not get his child back. And we're hoping that that will be resolved very soon. Obviously, if not, we will continue to raise it with the Brazilian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: so what do you say, Helvecio, to the secretary of state?
RIBEIRO: Well, if I could say anything, I would say that she's probably basing her opinions on the fact that she knows one side of the story. Probably, when she knows more about Mr. Goldman's real character, she will rethink if he is actually morally fit to be a parent.
KING: Well, you know, you're saying a lot of salacious things about David Goldman tonight, pretty rough things. Tell us about the man who he's now living with. What does he do for a living? What is his relationship with Sean?
RIBEIRO: Well, you mean Sean's stepfather?
RIBEIRO: Oh, yes, he's a lawyer. But he is not the same lawyer that represented Bruna during the custody case, if that's what, you know, is being implied here. He's not the same person.
KING: How close is he with Sean?
RIBEIRO: Very close. Sean knows exactly that he is not his biological father, but he also calls him Daddy. Sean knows that, you know, Mr. Goldman is his biological father. Even though it was not mentioned during this interview, Sean normally talks to Mr. Goldman or at least used to talk to Mr. Goldman and also her -- his grandmother here in the United States. So he knows exactly the difference. He knows exactly who is who.
KING: How is this going to be resolved, do you think?
RIBEIRO: To be totally honest, I'm very afraid. I think that Mr. Goldman has like six months ahead of us. Like I said, the fact that Bruna is not here to defend herself anymore makes it very complicated to make any point across.
As you pointed out, the only thing that I can say right now is based on the documentation that I have. You mentioned -- you mentioned one check. There is more evidence that is still in Brazil, but we are being extremely careful not to, you know, make any accusations that cannot be backed up by documentation.
KING: Thank you for joining us, and we have not seen, obviously, the last of this.
Next David Goldman is back with his attorney and a congressman to respond to what you just heard. Stay with us.
KING: An update on our breaking news story. Former first lady Barbara Bush underwent heart surgery today in Houston. Jill Becker, chief of staff for former president George H.W. Bush, said that Mrs. Bush, age 83 now, is fine following the surgery. In fact, she's awake, Becker said.
Wednesday's surgery was not related to the surgery she had in November for a perforated ulcer. It's related to shortness of breath she experienced last week. Her husband's with her in the hospital. She's expected to remain for seven to ten days. She'll do right fine.
Now joining David Goldman with us here in the studio in Washington is Representative Chris Smith, Republican of New Jersey, who's helping David in his fight to regain custody of his son, who traveled to Brazil with David last month.
And in New York is Patricia Apy, the attorney for David Goldman. She specializes in international custody cases.
Patricia, why isn't this open and shut?
PATRICIA APY, ATTORNEY FOR DAVID GOLDMAN: It is open and shut. When this child was originally abducted in 2004, I told my client in my office that the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of child abduction applies, this child would be immediately returned, that Brazil was a signator. I had every confidence. We are now 4 1/2 years later on the second round of the Hague Convention, and Sean is still not returned. So...
KING: Congressman, this must be dumbfounding.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: It certainly is, and to hear one of the family members saying -- first slandering David on national television. But also suggesting that he ought to pay child support to a kidnapper.
The Hague Convention is all about wrongful removal and wrongful retention. Brazil signed the Hague Convention. We have a bilateral agreement that went into force in 2003. The Brazilian government has to step up to the plate. Thus far, they have not. And Sean has to be reunited with his father. This is an outrage.
KING: David, what do you say -- what are you saying in response to what the uncle said?
DAVID GOLDMAN, FATHER: I think it's disgusting. I think it's disgusting. What can I say? He's attacking my moral fiber and my character and questioning my love for my son.
KING: You have had opportunities, you said, to talk on the phone with your son. And have you taken them?
GOLDMAN: Oh, no, I had. He said I did have the opportunities to speak with my son. They began to slam the phone down on me. They began to slam the phone...
KING: When he said did, I thought he said that you didn't take advantage of it.
GOLDMAN: No, I did, and they talked -- receiving presents that I would send.
KING: What is the $150,000 all about?
GOLDMAN: My attorney, Patricia Apy, can explain that. It was a legal...
KING: He made it sound like some sort of payoff.
APY: Yes, well, not so much. This is a situation in which the New Jersey court found that Bruna and her parents were both acting wrongfully. The New Jersey court has heard all of the arguments you've heard this gentleman indicate and more and rejected them. And we were litigating the damage portion of the case which dealt with what damages should be attributable to the Ribeiros. They settled the case, rather than continue that litigation. The exposure was much greater than the mere $150,000 that this case was settled for. And it was settled primarily to ensure that there would not be ongoing litigation that could be misconstrued in the Brazilian court while the Hague process was going forward.
I also want to say there was mention of the telephone issue. We have supplied to Brazilian authorities and we supplied to Brazilian press as well as U.S. press transcripts of the Ribeiros' testimony under oath in which they admit that they would not permit David to speak with his son.
So I can only assume that this gentleman speaking tonight has only been given the opportunity to hear a very limited amount of information and hasn't been provided any of the court papers or any of the process in New Jersey. Because if he had, he would know that these arguments were raised and were dealt with.
KING: By the way, before we continue. On the phone now is Dr. Gerald Lawrie, the man who performed the surgery on Barbara Bush today.
Doctor Lawrie, this was valve replacement?
DR. GERALD LAWRIE, PHYSICIAN: Yes, usually the aortic valve has to be replaced.
KING: What caused that?
LAWRIE: This is a very common aging change. It's estimated as much as 70 percent of people over 70 are going to need this type of surgery. It's basically a wear and tear of the aortic valve that leads to calcium deposit and the whole valve becomes like a rock.
KING: Does he have a pig heart or a manufactured heart valve?
LAWRIE: She's got a pig valve, which is what we use most commonly in this age group.
KING: Because they last a long time. They last 25 years, right?
LAWRIE: Yes. The new generation of pig valves is really a lifetime replacement.
KING: So would you say that, barring any unforeseen complications, she should do right well?
LAWRIE: Yes, she really should. She's a remarkable woman, as you know, and a tremendous strength of mindset. And she woke up from the surgery joking with us, you know. That's not that common.
KING: Yes, that's her. Do you know if her son, the former president has called? LAWRIE: Yes. The family have all been in very close communication with each other. President Bush left her room right off of surgery and called all the family personally. And there's been a lot of back and forth before and after the surgery.
KING: Thank you, Dr. Lawrie. That's a wonderful hospital. I've visited it, and you do great work.
LAWRIE: Thank you so much, Larry. You have a good evening.
KING: You, too.
We're back in 60 seconds. Stay with us.
KING: We asked the State Department to comment on this case. Here's their response: "The Department of State is working diligently to ensure that David and Sean Goldman are accorded their rights under the Hague Convention of 1980 on the civil right aspect of International Child Abduction. We'll continue to insist that the Brazilian government fulfill its obligations under the treaty and international law."
Congressman Smith, why would Brazil resist this?
C. SMITH: Well, unfortunately, the federal government, only up until recently, has been very negligent, in my view. They have not done what they could have done to try to get Hague-literate judges to handle the case. And it's been handled at the state courts, rather than federal courts.
And until the political pressure and the diplomatic levers were pulled, this case, which should have -- as Patricia said should have been a slam-dunk, easily adjudicated case. Clear violation of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Sean should have been back with his daughter four years ago or more.
Unfortunately, it has taken raising it to the political level to get the attention of the president. I think we have gotten that attention. I have a resolution pending that has over 50 co-sponsors. We expect it to be on the floor next week. We're not going to let this go. The State Department is not going to let this go.
And when you hear the uncle talking the way he was, slandering David, I think most Americans are going to be outraged by that attitude of impunity that we have seen.
I was with David and saw the look in his son's eyes when he saw him, when they reunited for the first time in 4 1/2 years. It was a remarkable moment and several hours.
KING: We are seeing, of course, throughout Brazil, as we are throughout the world. I hope we're making some impact there, no matter how you view this.
Are you confident, David?
GOLDMAN: I'm hopeful.
GOLDMAN: I've been kicked in the teeth so many times going down there to try to be with my son and bring him home. And then to hear these bogus allegations. I mean, again, he can keep my son. They can keep my child and expect me to support that act. I mean, it's just ludicrous. So if that's the best they have, and my son is being kept there with that -- lies and he's not home, how can I be...
KING: Good luck, David.
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
KING: And thank you, Congressman.
Thank you, Patricia.
APY: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Next -- thank you. Next, the missing NFL players. Their desperate families still holding onto hope that they may be alive. They're here right after this.
KING: Let's check in with Anderson Cooper, the host of "AC 360," coming up at the top of the hour.
What's up, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, tonight we're following breaking news. Former first lady Barbara Bush underwent heart surgery. We'll update you on her condition.
We'll also follow the condition the battle between Rush Limbaugh and the White House. Did all this begin as part of a plan set by Democrats to link Republicans to Rush? Some Republicans are calling it a left-wing conspiracy. Some Democrats are calling it smart politics. We'll have the latest tonight.
And President Obama unveils his plan to help homeowners, the details of the plans, and how you can save your home tonight.
George Clooney also joins us. The actor and activist speaking out tonight about the arrest warrant issued today for Sudan's president. A major blow to a sitting world leader. Our exclusive interview with George Clooney tonight.
And a surprise at the White House for the first daughters, Sasha and Malia. We'll tell you what that is tonight on 360 -- Larry.
KING: Thanks. That's Anderson Cooper at the top of the hour, 10 Eastern, 7 Pacific. Two NFL players, Oakland Raider linebacker Marquis Cooper and free agent defensive lineman Corey Smith are still missing, along with their friend, William Bleakley. Their small boat capsized during a fishing trip over the weekend. One survivor was plucked from the chilly waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. After what it called a tremendous effort, the Coast Guard called off all search efforts yesterday.
Joining us from Tampa are Yolanda Newbill, Corey Smith's sister. She's the youngest of six children; Wyman Smith Jr., Corey Smith's older brother; Nikki Shaw, who is Corey's girlfriend. Rhonda Lilly (ph), his other sister, is pictured, but she will not speak on camera. And with us on the phone is Bruce Cooper. He is Marquis Cooper's father, as well as being a sportscaster on Channel 12, KPNX, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Bruce, on the phone first, do you still hold out hope?
BRUCE COOPER, FATHER OF MARQUIS COOPER: Oh, absolutely, Larry. No doubt about it. We are just absolutely elated. Though the Coast Guard has called off the search, we have started up a private search, and today we had three planes in the air and 12 boats on the water, continuing the search efforts. And so that's done nothing but renew our spirits, give us a lot more optimism that our son and everyone still out at large will be found.
And as for tomorrow, three planes and 15 boats will go out again. There's a possibility of seven planes up. So we are just ecstatic and optimistic, as I said.
KING: All right. Wyman Smith, you're Corey's older brother. Do you share that optimism?
WYMAN SMITH JR., COREY SMITH'S BROTHER: Yes, sir, Larry. I know that God is in control, and I just have to wait on God and depend on God.
KING: But Bruce seems so confident. Are you that confident that -- that your brother's going to be found?
W. SMITH: Larry, I know that God has all power, and I'm just leaving it in his hands and trusting God.
KING: Nikki, what are your feelings?
NIKKI SHAW, COREY SMITH'S GIRLFRIEND: I just know that Corey is a very strong and determined person, and I just know that he wouldn't give up. And so I feel that we can't give up.
YOLANDA NEWBILL, COREY SMITH'S SISTER: Yes.
KING: What do you think?
NEWBILL: Personally, Larry, I know Corey is a strong man. I know that the friends that were with him would not have given up either. And I know that if it was his family members, they wouldn't give up either so I am trusting and hopeful. And all of the families involved are going to get together and we're going to make it, make this work out for all of them.
KING: Sure hope so. Bruce, have you been in touch with Nick Schuyler, the one survivor so far?
COOPER: No, I have not. I didn't really know Nick, but I know he is a friend of Marquis. And so that's good enough for me. Marquis is a gregarious, outgoing person, and he always encompassed new friends. So it will be totally impossible for me to keep up with all the friends that he makes and encounters.
KING: Wyman, did you -- did you know Mr. Schuyler?
W. SMITH: No, Larry, I didn't.
KING: Have you talked to him?
W. SMITH: No, I haven't, Larry.
KING: Nikki, do you intend to try to go see him and talk to him? That would be invaluable.
SHAW: We would like to. We would like to reach out to him, and we wish him well. We were very happy when he was rescued, and we are praying for his recovery. So that is something that we would like to do
KING: Yolanda, Schuyler told authorities that hours after the boat flipped both Smith and Cooper took their life jackets off and drifted out to sea, which sadly looks like they were giving up hope. What do you make of that?
NEWBILL: Well, personally, Larry, I think that that's speculation on what Schuyler stated. Personally, I have reached out to the family and had the opportunity to speak with Will's family. And I really would prefer to have the opportunity to speak with Nick myself before speculating.
This is information that may have been provided, but I want to make sure that we, as a group and as a family, are speaking on the behalf of our family and not necessarily on Nick's.
So until I speak with Nick, that story is purely speculation. We have not bought into that. We are continuously hopeful, and we know our brother would not have given up. None of them would have given up hope.
KING: I understand that completely.
NEWBILL: It's not the character of any of them.
KING: We'll be right back with more moments with the family. Right back. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our understanding is a boat capsized at some point Saturday evening somewhere around 5 p.m., give or take. Time frames are a little sketchy there.
We found one cooler and one orange life jacket in near proximity to each other approximately 16 miles southeast of where the vessel was found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Bruce Cooper, who is Marquis Cooper's father and a sportscaster in his own right, do you plan to see Nick Schuyler?
COOPER: Well, I'd like to, but it really wouldn't be important, Larry. I, too, have heard where he said that Marquis, that he reportedly said Marquis became delusional, took off his life jacket and dove in the water, to give up.
Now, first and foremost, it should be noted that Nick and Marquis and all the gentlemen on the boat are friends, so Nick wouldn't want to say anything disparaging about Marquis.
COOPER: What I believe, Larry, is that that is his recollection as to what happened. And so I can accept that and don't have a problem with it. But I can tell you without a doubt that that is not the absolute truth, because it's not what happened. It is what Nick remembers happening in his own mind.
My son, Marquis Cooper, I know his personality. I know his character. I grew up with him. I raised him. He is a fighter to the end. He would not give up. He has so much to live for. He has a 3- year-old daughter that's the center of his life. He has a wife that he loves, a sister that, though they're seven years apart, are as close as any brother and sister could be.
No way could he do that. And no way, shape, or form will I dispute Nick's recollection of what happened, because that is what he believes happened in his mind.
KING: Wyman, was Corey a good swimmer?
W. SMITH: Yes, he was, Larry.
KING: Because that has to be your best hope, right?
W. SMITH: Well, Larry, like I said, I know that God is in control. Miracles do happen. It was a miracle that they found Nick in the water after 40 hours, so I'm just keeping hope for Corey.
KING: By the way, for anyone who wants to make a donation to help with the NFL search and rescue efforts, they can e-mail ResearchAndRescue at gmail -- one word -- dot com. NFL search. Let me get it right. NFL search and rescue -- all one word -- at gmail -- one word -- dot come com. If you'd like to help in this tremendous rescue effort and these brave people who carry on for their -- for their family.
We wish them well and we hope to keep in close contact with them. And we would love to be able to announce the day that they're found.
CNN.com, Larry King. You tell us you what think about this show or others. Click on our blog. We read all your comments.
And while you're on our Web site, download our latest podcast. Sign up for e-mail text alerts, check out our upcoming guests.
On a couple of personal notes, I want to congratulate Manny Ramirez and Frank McCourt, the owner of the Dodgers, and Scott Boros (ph), the agent who reported last night, maybe a little prematurely, but it finally came through today, Manny will be back.
And now a great honor to Senator Edward Kennedy, one of our good people, who is now a "sir." He has been awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth, in part for his work in bringing peace to Northern Ireland. And British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his honor today in a speech before Congress.
Congratulations, Senator, on this great recognition. No one deserves it more.
Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" -- Anderson.