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CNN Larry King Live

Med Student Charged with Murder; Miss California Controversy; Interview With Bill Ford

Aired April 21, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, is this clean-cut medical student the Craigslist killer -- a savage who stalked women advertising their services online?

His friends are here to tell us what they know and what they didn't know about the man that the D.A. calls a predator.

Plus, the battle over the beauty queen and the comments that cost her a crown. Perez Hilton and Dennis Prager take on the issue and each other.

And the "Slumdog Millionaire" scandal -- did a father really try to sell his own daughter?

The actress who stole our hearts in the film, the reporter who went undercover and has evidence joins us.

And then, Bill Ford, the CEO of an American institution, said no to a bailout.

But can Ford survive without it?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

After a surprising arrest, a med student pled not guilty today when being charged as the so-called Craigslist killer.

For those of you who don't know, Craigslist is the Internet version of a newspaper's classifieds.

Twenty-two-year-old Philip Markoff is being held without bail, charged with murder.

Joining us in Boston, "The Boston Globe" newsroom, in fact, Maria Cramer, crime reporter with "The Boston Globe," who was in the courtroom today.

And in New York, James Kehoe, one of Philip Markoff's best friends, in college together at SUNY in Albany.

We'll talk to James next.

But, Maria, you were in court today.

What happened?

MARIA CRAMER, CRIME REPORTER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Well, what happened was Philip Markoff was brought in. He looked very calm -- at least his face looked calm. But his body language signaled something different. He was blinking rapidly, you know, breathing quickly. And he stood before the court and pled not guilty to charges of murder and kidnapping and robbery.

And they laid out the facts of the case there, which are that he allegedly killed Julissa Brisman, a 26-year-old New York woman, when she struggled with him as he tried to bind her and gag her, as he had another victim four days earlier, according to police.

KING: Were friends and family in court, Maria?

CRAMER: Only Julissa's father was in court. There were no friends or family that we know of there on be half of Philip Markoff.

KING: All right. James Kehoe, as we told you, is with us.

Also, Joe Coe. Joe was a classmate of Mr. Markoff. Markoff spent lots of time in his apartment.

James, what do you make of this?

JAMES KEHOE, MARKOFF'S FRIEND, SUNY ALBANY: Well, you know, I think I share the same sentiments as -- as many that were, you know, at least relatively close to him, which is just complete and utter shock at -- that something like this could happen and that Philip could be accused of something like this. And whether it's true or not, I have no idea.

But, you know, it comes as a surprise to, I'm sure, you know, me and the rest of his classmates, his friends and family.

And I just have to give my -- my condolences to Miss. Brisman's family, first of all, and the pain they must be feeling, as well as Mr. Markoff's family and, you know, what they're going through.

KING: Is he a good student, James?

KEHOE: That was one of things that surprised me the most. He was one of the best students I've probably ever encountered, you know, in my life, especially a SUNY at Albany. He was the kind of kid that -- he would always do his work. He would never put anything in front of his work. He was a -- he was a premed student. You know, he had great aspirations to be a doctor.

And he -- he really, I feel like he took heart to it. And I feel like he had, you know, the drive to be a doctor and everything he did reflected on that. He didn't go out when he had work to do. He was, you know, to my knowledge, straight A student.

KING: Joe Coe, you said -- is it -- am I correct that you said he did make sexist or racist remarks? JOE COE, MARKOFF'S CLASSMATE, SUNY ALBANY: Yes. But as much as most white privileged men do in our society. So there was nothing extraordinarily crazy about the remarks that he made.

KING: Are you surprised at this?

COE: I am surprised that it hits home that it was someone that I've shared meals with, that has been in my apartment. But unfortunately, in the society that we live, this type of men's violence against women is pervasive. So unless we start taking proactive steps as men to stopping violence toward women, this is going to happen. It's going to be our friends and brothers and co- workers and fathers.

KING: Maria, is it true that the police have been tracking him for a while?

CRAMER: Yes. They had been surveilling him throughout the weekend. We know that. And the big break actually came last week through the death of Julissa Brisman.

What happened was that they traced an e-mail that was sent from his address to her, to his home in Quincy. And so that was the first big break.

But they had 100 -- more than 150 tips from the public after they released these photos of him from the hotels that they had to sift through before they could hone in on him.

KING: If you go, Maria -- help me if I'm right -- if you go on Craigslist to make a contact, there is a record of that.

CRAMER: Yes. Yes. I mean, you know, essentially he left a lot of electronic records, not just e-mails, but also through a Craigslist. So he -- there is a -- there is a lot of evidence that police have at their disposal in this case.

KING: James, you...

CRAMER: But we should say he pled not guilty today in court.

KING: Right.

James, you must be -- it must hit your mind a lot, you must be thinking was there ever a moment where I could have suspected something?

KEHOE: And you know what?

I was -- I would never have suspected anything. I mean, as long -- you know, everyone has their faults and everyone has their -- their little quirks. But, you know, for the most part, you never want to think about, you know, what could possibly become of, you know, somebody's little, you know, mini quirks or, you know, their little things that they do. I mean, you know, just for me, it's not something you want to think about. I mean it's -- you never want to have to watch out for the quiet ones, because there are a lot of quiet ones. I mean there are a lot of normal people...

KING: Yes.

KEHOE: And you never want to have to, you know, sift through every normal person's life and try to track them up with something that they could possibly do and then connect it to something, you know, as sinister as, you know, what happened here. And, you know, even if the allegations are true or untrue, you don't want to have to...

KING: Joe did he...


KING: Joe, to your knowledge, did he have a girlfriend?

COE: To my knowledge, he had a girlfriend. I didn't -- I can't speak about the relationship, because I didn't know them well.

What I can speak about is that if we start to look at the things that we could say is there something that we noticed, we live in a society where sexist and racist comments are commonplace. So if we ever -- like most people do that. So we really can't go back and try to figure out like who is going to be a perpetrator, who is going to be violent against women, because we all have the -- the opportunity living in a society. And that's a word that -- in a sexist society -- to become the Phils or the Joes or whoever the perpetrator would be.

KING: Yes.

Thank you, guys.

We'll be doing lots more on this.

Was the suspect in this case leading a double life?

And if so, how did he do it?

Maybe some answers after the break.

Stay with us.


KING: We're talking about the so-called Craigslist murder. Philip Markoff is suspend in the death of 26-year-old Julissa Brisman. She was found unconscious with multiple gunshot wounds at Boston's Copley Marriott Hotel back on April 14th. She died a short time later at the Boston Medical Center.

Maria Cramer of "The Boston Globe" remains with us.

Joining us in Washington is Pat Brown, the criminal profiler.

And in New York is Judge Jeanine Pirro, former D.A. and now judge and host of her own television show.

All right. Pat Brown, what do you make of this?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I -- I'm really curious about Markoff's friends, who are saying there's not much they ever noticed, like little teeny quirks. I'm like wait a minute. Here you've got a guy who's apparently a psychopath, who commits violent crimes and one cannot tell me that 24 hours a day he's able to hide all of this personality, that he's never -- psychopaths tends to be pathological liars, manipulators. They have grandiose thinking.

KING: OK. Hold it, Pat.

BROWN: There's got to be some of this coming out.

KING: Let Pat -- we have to fix your audio. I hear you, but apparently they didn't hear it on the air. So we'll come back to you.

Judge Pirro, what do you make of it?

JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, "JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO," FORMER D.A. AND PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, I think it's interesting that Markoff's friends said that he exhibited tendencies that indicated he had problems with women and people of color, like most heterosexual males.

Right off, that tells me there is an issue here with him and his friends.

But as far as I'm concerned, what you have is a guy here who's apparently -- if he is guilty of these crimes, Larry, leading a double life. I mean, you've got a guy who's a gambler, is gambling and robbery the motive.

Or is he rewarding himself?

Because two days after he robs the one victim, he goes to the Foxwoods Casino. And then two days after he allegedly kills a second, he goes to a casino.

I mean how many medical students do you know of who have a credit line in a casino?


KING: Maria, there are apparently other charges, right -- other crimes?

CRAMER: There is. We know of one other, yes. Well, I should say that they are investigating what they say is a very strong connection to another attempted robbery in Warwick, Rhode Island that occurred a couple of days after Julissa's body was found.

And in that case, a 26-year-old woman was -- who had advertised lap dances, basically, on Craigslist, she was assaulted. She was bound. And the only reason that it looks like she got away OK was because her husband stormed in and interrupted the robbery from happening.

KING: Now, Pat, apparently the engineering folk were a little wrong. We did hear everything you said because I figured it was something -- because I heard everything you said.

I don't want to convict someone before we even have a trial. And certainly everyone until proven guilty.

But tell me then, generally, how do you -- how does a -- if a medical student were to do this, a pre-med student with good grades and apparently good family, what does that tell you?

BROWN: Well, it tells us that we have someone with a psychopathy who's grown up in a family who can give him lots of things -- give him a lot of support, give him money, give him education.

You know, just because have you money and are higher status in society doesn't mean you can't be psychologically disturbed from a young age. So there is something going on as he was growing up that developed into this psychopathy.

And I'm with Maria. I don't think this is about robbery. This is about power and control. He got a thrill out of these acts that he did. And the robbery probably is probably just part of the enjoyment he got.

KING: By the way, following our Twitter at kingsthings -- that's our Twitter location -- here is some of what people are saying, Jeanine.

One person says: "He looks like a normal, cute guy I might talk to at a party." Another: "You should not be giving out personal info via the Internet. No one should give that out. Craigslist is a breeding ground for weirdoes."

PIRRO: Well, you know...

KING: Do you buy that?

What's this going to do to Craigslist, Judge?

PIRRO: Well, I think a couple of things. I think, on the one hand, we have a preconceived notion, Larry, unfortunately, as to what evil should look like. You know, for 30 years -- I know it comes in all shapes and sizes. And we should not think that Melissa Huckaby, who is charged with the murder of Sandra Cantu, or this individual, Philip Markoff, is not capable of crimes because they look like nice people.

And to answer your second question, in terms of Craigslist, people have to be careful. It can be a breeding ground for victims.

Did Philip Markoff select his victims from Craigslist because he thought that no one would care about them, because possibly they were engaged in illegal activity, whether it was, you know, prostitution, as the first victim apparently admitted, or, you know, that the police wouldn't care about them?

Because you've got a bright guy here, Larry, who got into medical school -- that is not easy -- who knows that there are computer records, e-mail, cell phone records, forensic evidence.

I mean this guy either wanted to get caught or he was so arrogant he didn't think he could.

KING: Maria, does he have a prominent attorney?

Who's representing him?

CRAMER: He's being represented by a private attorney, John Salsberg. He -- he is, by all accounts, a very good attorney. He has a good reputation. And he -- this is an attorney that was privately retained by his family. It's not a public defender.

KING: All right. We're going to be calling on all of you again frequently in this -- as this matter goes on.

Maria Cramer, Pat Brown, Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Perez Hilton versus Dennis Prager -- they're battling it out over the gay marriage issue and Miss California.

Back in 60 seconds. Get ready to rumble.


KING: Gay marriage is stealing the headlines following the Miss USA pageant on Sunday.

Here's what started it all.

Let's watch the Q&A between judge, Perez Hilton, and Miss California, Carrie Prejean, and her response to the controversy.


PEREZ HILTON, JUDGE, MISS USA PAGEANT: Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Do you think every state should follow suit?

Why or why not?

CARRIE PREJEAN, CONTESTANT: Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, in my country and in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be -- between a man and a woman. Thank you.



PREJEAN: I knew, at that moment, after I answered the question, I knew that I was not going to win because of my answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you had spoken from your heart?

PREJEAN: Because I had spoken from my heart, from my beliefs and for my God.

And when I'm asked a specific question, I'm going to give a specific answer. I'm not going to stand in the middle. I'm going to take one side or the other.


KING: We're just getting warmed up. The debate, Perez versus Prager, is next.

Stick around.


KING: We're talking about gay marriage, as a result of this week's Miss USA pageant.

Gay marriage will be legal this year in Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa and Connecticut.

Washington and D.C. -- Washington, D.C., rather -- and New York recognize gay marriages from other states. And last week, the New York governor introduced a marriage equality bill. A state poll showed 53 percent of New Yorkers support it, 39 percent do not.

The fate of California, by the way, currently lies with the state Supreme Court.

Here in Los Angeles, Perez Hilton returns -- celebrity blogger, judge in the Miss USA pageant. He's openly gay and supports gay marriage.

In Washington, D.C. is Dennis Prager, conservative radio host of "The Dennis Prager Show." He is opposed to gay marriage.

We'll start with Dennis.

What do you care, Dennis, what people do?

If gay people want to get married...


KING: what?

PRAGER: I totally understand it. And, in fact, my sympathy is completely with them. It's -- it's exactly what one would want. I fully understand.

The question in these matters is not, though, what does compassion demand, but what is the definition of marriage.

Every religious and nonreligious tradition, every major moral thinker in history, not one of them in any tradition has ever advocated for changing the definition of marriage to same sex. I would like children to be raised to believe that when they grow up, they will get married and that they are not asked when they are six or seven years old, will you marry a boy or a girl?

KING: All right...

PRAGER: I think that there is enough -- enough sexual confusion in the life of children not to add that. I want gays to have every right. However, redefining marriage is not called for.

KING: Perez, what's wrong with a civil union -- no word of marriage, but a civil union?



HILTON: Well, first of all, I'm talking about civil marriage, not religious marriage. And I should not have to settle for anything less and unequal than what everyone else is getting.

KING: How about his...

HILTON: You know, marriage has been redefined in the past and it should be redefined again.

PRAGER: Well...

HILTON: In the past, this country did not allow people of different races to marry and now we do. And we look back at the time when it was illegal and we say wow, I can't believe that was (INAUDIBLE)...


KING: Dennis, how about changes?

PRAGER: Yes, yes...

KING: Blacks and whites couldn't marry in Alabama.

PRAGER: That's...

KING: And that was their definition of marriage. PRAGER: That is absolutely right. And that was never the value of any religious tradition or any non-religious tradition. That was racism. And there's no comparison between the two for one incredibly important reason -- there is no difference between people of different races. There are immense differences between people of the two sexes.

The notion that sex and race or gender and race are parallel is -- is invalid. There is no difference between a black human and a white human. There are enormous differences between a male human and a female human.

KING: All right, then...

PRAGER: We allow Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Is that the same as Black Scouts is and White Scouts?

Of course not.

KING: Are you saying, Perez, that the definition has changed?

Where have you seen this change?

HILTON: Well, in several states that recently now do allow same- sex marriage. There are over a thousand rights, privileges and protections that come with marriage which gays and lesbians should have access to. I don't want to feel like a second class citizen in America.

And I'm not asking to get married in a church. I'm asking for the United States -- my state of California to no longer institutionalize discrimination.

KING: Why can't we separate it, Dennis?

Civil marriage is different than religious marriage. And civilly, let's say, a couple can marry who are both of the same sex, but not in a church or a synagogue.

PRAGER: Well, first of all, the civil marriage is the way we define marriage in society. What religions do is their business.

And what does a secular person do?

So the -- you can't separate them. There is a -- there is a marriage that is done in churches which is totally a church matter. The society doesn't recognize church marriages, necessarily.

I got married in a synagogue. The society doesn't recognize that marriage. It recognizes it as a civil marriage because the rabbi was confirmed by the State of California as one who could do a marriage.

Religious marriage is entirely a separate issue, as it should be in a country that separates church and state.

KING: And... HILTON: I agree. I agree. I'm not talking about religious marriage. I'm talking about equality. The principals that this country were founded on, that we all should be treated equal.

PRAGER: Right. But not the same.

KING: Do you think...

PRAGER: Yes, treated equal, but not the same. We're not the same. Male and female aren't the same.

Why do you allow -- Perez, I'm curious...

HILTON: How are they not the same...

PRAGER: Please, allow me to ask you.


PRAGER: Do you believe that there should be Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or is that separate -- is that also separate and equal and, therefore, not allowable?

HILTON: I believe that men and women are the same.

PRAGER: No. No. You're not answering me. Tell me.

HILTON: They both have...

PRAGER: Oh, we're not...

HILTON: intellect. I think they're both equally...

PRAGER: Oh, you -- OK.

HILTON: ...should have. Explain yourself again, please, because I -- I believe that...


HILTON: I believe that I am the same as my sister.

PRAGER: If you believe that...

HILTON: We may have different body parts, but we're...

PRAGER: No. If you only think...


HILTON: ...and make equal contributions...


All right, Perez...

HILTON: society.

PRAGER: Perez, I actually respect your intellectual honesty here. See, a lot of people I debate on this acknowledge that men and women are profoundly different. Perez thinks that we are, except for body parts, identical. If you believe that, then it doesn't matter what gender you marry.

But if you acknowledge that men and women are profoundly different, that a mother can give something to a child that no two men can give, that a man can give to a child something no two women can give, then you want to retain marriage as specifically male/female.

HILTON: Well, I think that marriage as an institution is great for families. And when you deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, you are hurting American families.

Is that what you want to do?

KING: All right. Now these...

HILTON: Do you want to hurt American families?

PRAGER: No. No. I -- no. But I would like the family to be based on the most important institution we have in society, marriage, where given that 97 percent of society is straight, I don't think we need to redefine marriage when we can be...

HILTON: I would have to argue with that number...

PRAGER: ...when we can be fair to gays and give them all the rights that married people have without redefining the term so that little kids will have to be asked -- I'll give you one example. Like, here. EHarmony is a company that matches people together. They were forced by gay groups in court to have to -- they have to, they have no choice. They must allow people to seek people of the same sex.

Why can't we have the freedom to have a singles meeting place where men meet women and have gays allowed to meet on their own places on the Internet? Why force...


KING: Do you favor the eHarmony ruling?

PRAGER: Did I or Perez?

KING: No, did you?

PRAGER: No, of course, it's not right.

If a comp -- if a company wishes to match men and women, it should be allowed.

And if a company wishes to match men and men, it should be allowed.

KING: But you said also that you have compassion.


PRAGER: I absolutely do.

KING: But that would be a door shut to them.

PRAGER: Yes, it's a door shut to them in the same sense that there are places that want to appeal to gays that are shut to me as a straight. People should be allowed.

KING: What places?

PRAGER: There are competing goods here. There is compassion on the one side and there is freedom of the association on the other.

KING: All right. All right. Hold it.

HILTON: I think it has nothing do with compassion and it has everything to do with equality. For example, if I wanted to go to your country club but they said no gays allowed, do you think that's fair?

PRAGER: No. That would not be fair. But if my country club was for men and -- or there was a women's country club, I think that that is fair. I think it's OK for men to be with men.

KING: Well, Perez...

PRAGER: I think it's OK for women to be with women.

HILTON: I think it's OK for men to be with men, as well.

PRAGER: I'm sure that's true.

HILTON: And I think it's OK for men to marry men.

KING: Well, I thought we'd solve this tonight.

Thank you both very much.


KING: Perez Hilton and Dennis Prager. Next, "Slumdog" scandal -- did the father of one of the movie's stars try to sell his daughter?

The man who says he has evidence is here.

Don't go away.


KING: There are stunning claims in the British tabloid "The News of the World" that the father of one of the child stars in the Oscar winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" tried to sell his daughter to an undercover reporter. The father and the daughter are denying the allegation. Before we get into it, here is a quick clip of the nine year old girl, Rubina, in "Slumdog Millionaire," holding the baby at the end of the scene. Watch.




KING: All right, our guests are, in New Delhi, India, Sarah Sidner, reporter for CNN. On the phone is Mazher Mahmood. He is investigations editor for "News of the World." On the phone from Mumbai is Noshir Dadrawala, co-director of the Jai Ho Trust, established by the "Slumdog Millionaire" filmmakers to look after the child actors in the film.

Sarah, bring us up to date. What's the latest on all of this? I'm talking to Sarah.

SARAH SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Basically one of the Indian -- sorry, Larry. The family of Rubina Ali, one of the child actors, who people fell in love with in the movie "Slumdog Millionaire," is really emotionally being torn apart at this moment because of allegations that the father tried to sell his daughter for about 290,000 dollars.

Now these allegations are not coming from police or any other Indian authorities at this point. Indian authorities are investigating. But the allegations started with an investigation by a British tabloid called "News of the World."

Now, basically, "News of the World" said it sent a couple to Mumbai. The couple posed as a wealthy couple from Dubai who wanted to adopt nine-year-old Rubina, to give her a better life. You have to know she still lives with her father and stepmother, who live in the slums at this point.

Now, basically, they say that this couple was able to speak with the father, and that the father agreed to this illegal adoption, but that he wanted about 290,000 dollars for it to -- to make it happen.

That's where we are now. Police are looking into this. As you mentioned earlier, the father and Rubina herself have denied these allegations flatly. Larry?

KING: All right. Mazher Mahmood on the phone with us. We won't say where he is calling from to protect him. Are you standing by your story, that the father absolutely tried to sell this little girl?

MAZHER MAHMOOD, "NEWS OF THE WORLD": Oh, 100 percent, Larry. Let me tell you I had three days consecutive meetings with the father, Rafiq, and other members of his family. We have seven hours of covert videotape that we will be handing to the police. We stand by this story 100 percent.

Most importantly, let me tell you, this is not something we initiated. I received information from somebody very close to Rafiq about a month ago that he was interested in selling his child. All we did was investigate that and the allegations that were made.

KING: Why didn't you report it immediately to the police?

MAHMOOD: Look, we are newspaper. We had to get the evidence, which we did, then make our evidence available to the paper -- to the police rather. Let me tell you, selling children in India may make huge global news around the world now. It's something that's very common. It is a social evil that exists. And it's something that we have exposed before in the newspaper. In fact, only a year ago, I was in India exposing the very same thing, buying children that a social worker was selling.

With Rubina, it's now made global news.

KING: Noshir, what do you make of this?

NOSHIR DADRAWALA, THE JAI HO TRUST: One of our trustees has contacted the father and the same thing, he has denied that and said no such thing.

KING: Are you -- have you nothing to -- you have no other course but to believe him. What about the information that Mazher has, assuming he has all this on tape?

DADRAWALA: The father says that I've just not said any such thing. The media hounding us. (INAUDIBLE) That's the only thing --

KING: Can anybody -- can anyone assure that these young children won't be used by adults in the future? Some answers next.


KING: Sarah Sidner in New Delhi, where do you see this going? Does Mazher have to present a lot of proof to the police for this to go anywhere?

SIDNER: Yes, the police are looking into it, as I mentioned earlier, Larry. Of course, they are also saying yes, we will take a look at the video. I want to make a point about the video, something that maybe we can ask Mazher. We received some of that video. "News of the World" handed the video out to different news organizations including CNN. But it was mute. There was no sound on it. There was just a father and his brother, who were sitting next to each other, supposedly doing this negotiation.

But you can't hear anything. So we ourself could not verify what happened during that alleged sting. Authorities are now looking at -- I'm curious whether or not authorities have the video that has the full sound on it, so they can hear exactly what happened.

The father is saying he does not speak English and that he didn't understand what was going on at first. And how had -- things had to be translated. He said he feels like he was tricked. Larry?

KING: Do you want to respond to that?

MAHMOOD: It's completely untrue. The reason there is no audio on the section we put out on the Internet is because the conversation was in Urdu. So that's no excuse. I speak fluent Urdu, and I spoke to Rafiq in his own mother tongue, over three days. As I say, We have seven hours of tape, from two different video cameras, two angles.

It's indisputable. Nothing gets in the "News of the World" newspaper unless it is 100 percent. This is.

KING: What definitively criminal will you turn over to the police?

MAHMOOD: Sorry, I didn't hear that.

KING: What definitively criminal will you turn over to the police?

MAHMOOD: We are happy to let police have our entire evidence. I mean, there's absolutely no doubt whatsoever that all of this was initiated by the family. And not only did they offer to sell me Rubina, who is the celebrity child, who had a higher price on her head because she has won an Oscar. The family also offered to sell me two other children. And we have meetings with the other children as well.

So I think they have got themselves in a bit of a problem here.

KING: Noshir, do you believe the father?

DADRAWALA: I cannot say for sure. I have not personally met him. My trustee has. She has reasons to believe that the father feels he had been framed unnecessarily, and that he is innocent.

KING: Do you think the little girl knew what was going on?

MAHMOOD: Initially, she didn't. We made absolutely certain that she didn't know when she was meeting us that her father was here discussing her sale. We tried our best to protect her. But subsequently, in the aftermath, she has been made aware of it. In fact, in one of the interviews she says that daddy says I may be going to live in the Middle East. I think that even his own daughter, and certainly his elder daughter and the national mother, have confirmed that our story is 100 percent accurate. And they are aware of the man's evil intentions.

KING: We thank you all. We have not heard the last of this. We'll stay on top of it. Sarah Sidner will be right there with us.

Bill Ford's company did not take the bailout money. Is he about to change his mind? We will ask him next. We'll take your calls. See you in 60 seconds.


KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a return visit with Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Car Company. He's the great grandson of the company's founder, the late Henry Ford. What's the latest situation with Ford? No to no money, that stands?

BILL FORD, CHAIRMAN, FORD MOTOR CAR COMPANY: No money from the government. We are pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. And we like being independent. And we plan to remain that way.

KING: When did you make that decision?

FORD: Frankly, the -- to have the freedom to run your own company without government interference is a compelling argument. And when we looked and see what's happening with GM and Chrysler and some of the banks, it really became very clear to us that our freedom and our ability to operate our company unencumbered was something that was very important.

KING: But you were in trouble, weren't you? Had to be a reason for the offer.

FORD: Frankly, we went to Washington to support our industry. We were not asking for money. And, you know, we are still not asking for money. It is important to us, though, that our industry is healthy, because it is not just Ford, GM and Chrysler. It is also the supply base.

And should GM and/or Chrysler go into bankruptcy, we have to make sure that our supply basis remains viable.

KING: There are reports, Bill, that GM plans to layoff 1,600 white-collar workers in the next few days, 1,600 white collar. Any layoffs at Ford?

FORD: We have already -- we have taken a lot of restructuring actions over the last year. We don't see anything coming on the horizon. I mean, we like our plan. We are working our plan. We are focusing very much on being a green safe company, which is where I think society would like us to go. Frankly, that's where I would like us to go.

So our -- our plans are working and we are just keeping our head down and going as hard as we can.

KING: We know how competitive the automobile business is. Would you hire any of these former GM employees?

FORD: Well, if we are in the hiring mode, sure we would. No. You know, we are now at sort of our fighting trim. And we are -- we have the right structure for us to go ahead and deliver our plan. But there is no question, they're incredibly talented people at all the companies. GM and Chrysler both. So -- great engineers.

You know, should that time come, of course.

KING: Were you surprised that Rick Wagoner was forced out?

FORD: Well, you know, I guess I never thought I would live to see the day where the president -- the CEO of General Motors was dismissed by the president of the United States. That to me was quite a moment. And whether or not that deserved to happen, I don't know. I mean, it is -- that really is not for me to say.

KING: You were shocked?

FORD: I was shocked at the way it happened, absolutely.

KING: We are going take a break and come back. I want to find out what is Ford doing without needing any bailout that the other companies -- what are you doing? We will be right back with Bill Ford. We will include your phone calls too. Don't go away.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The 1908 Model T earned better gas mileage than the typical SUV in 2008. Think about that; 100 years later, and we are getting worse gas mileage.


KING: Was that good for you, since it was a Ford product, or did that sting you?

FORD: Well, actually, it is kind of great that the Model T was so enduring.

KING: It is amazing. They were all black, weren't they.

FORD: They were. Any color you wanted, as long as it is black.

KING: What's Ford doing that -- you don't need the money. What are you doing?

FORD: Couple of things. First, we borrowed a lot of money back when the credit markets were free and open. And we actually took heat for that. People said, you know, why are you mortgaging everything to borrow? And now people are saying, gee, were you really smart and saw this coming? No, we didn't. But what we did know was there was a very favorable window that we wanted to take advantage of, because we had a big restructuring to do of Ford, not just the negative restructuring of closing plants and people, although there was some of that. But also to invest in the green technology that we are introducing today.

So we borrowed money to do it. And then when the credit window closed, it looked like a really good move. In fact, it was a good move. We are watching our cash very closely. Because, you know, overall sales of the industry are really not very good. Our sales are pretty good. Industry sales are lousy.


KING: What do you think of the president?

FORD: Listen, I love what he's doing with our industry because he's paying attention to us. He wants a viable American car industry, and he's listening. And that's really important.

One of the things we've never had in the past is an administration that wants to pull all the parties together and figure out an energy policy, an -- how to make a strong automotive industry. And he's doing that. And I think it's very, very positive.

KING: Let's take a call for Bill Ford. Lake Arrowhead, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello there. I'd like to comment first upon the independence that Ford has shown. I appreciate that very much because it's very responsible at a time when other people have not been so. Bill, I've watched your family and your career closely. I admire your stances towards labor and human resources issues, as well as the environment.

I understand that you gave every employee in your company a home computer. That could be wrong, but maybe you could clarify. And I'm interested, how do these ideas evolve for you personally, and how do they distinguish you from the other two Detroit giants? And finally, have they proven profitable, and will they continue to be profitable for you?

KING: I hope you've made a list of those.

FORD: There's a lot to that question. But --

KING: Did you give a computer?

FORD: We did give computers a few years ago to all our employees around the world. But I think what underlies all this is the fact that Ford Motor Company, to me, is very much of a family company. Not just my family, but all the employees. And what's really different about us is we have third, fourth and even fifth-generation employees at Ford.

And one of my favorite things to do is to go into our plants and to hear our employees say, you know, my grandfather worked with your grandfather, or my aunt knew your dad. And to me, that's something that is very hard to capture. Most other companies don't have. And so -- so if I believe that, that we are really all an extended family, then I try and think about, well, what would make their lives better? What can we do to keep them loving Ford Motor Company?

KING: Growing up with that name and that business, did you always want to go with the business?

FORD: You know, it's interesting. No. But I was so surrounded by it. And I got out of college in '79, and you'll probably remember, that's when, you know, the oil started to spike, and we were in a recession then. And all the auto industry was kind of on its heels. And I left college thinking, you know, I want to see if I can help. And I looked back, and that was kind of a naive thought. But that's how I felt.

I felt everything I had in life was due to Ford Motor Company. And therefore I wanted to see if I could help.

KING: What would you have done if you didn't get into the auto business?

FORD: Well, it's interesting. I think right out of college, maybe I would have gone into -- you know, into banking, as all of my college friends were.

KING: Banking, help your own company.

FORD: Or -- and later in life, you know, I really thought I'd do -- work with an NGO on environmental issues, because environmental issues -- yes -- have been important to me my whole life. And it's always put me a little out of step with the rest of Detroit.

KING: You're not kidding.

FORD: But I felt strongly about it. And that's why I'm so excited by what's happening today. I mean, it's all coming to bear now. Yes, I think it's great.

KING: Would you buy a Ford? That's our quick vote at Your blog and Twitter comments are next.


KING: We've got a call for Bill Ford from, appropriately enough, Detroit. Hello.



CALLER: I have a question for Mr. Ford. I am a former employee, who was laid off earlier this year while on family leave. And I firmly believe one of the reasons is because I was asking difficult questions of senior management and executives. For example, when are some of the perks going to go away, like the insurance coverage for the second vehicle and things like that? When are we going to see that?

FORD: Well, we're looking at --

KING: What does that mean?

FORD: We're looking at all the perks and all the pay mechanisms of the company, because as we restructure -- and, first of all, I'm very sorry that this happened to her. And I'm sorry that -- I mean, that she feels this way because, unfortunately, when we go through stuff like this, there's no question that there hard feelings. And I hate that.

But we are looking at all the pay mechanisms. We're looking at everything we're doing. It's one of the things that we talk about all the time, is what can we do to, you know, make sure that we do have enough cash to get through this period? So as I say, all I can say to her is I'm very sorry.

KING: What's insurance on the second car?

FORD: Well, I'm not sure about that one, in particular. I'll look into it, because I actually don't know that specific issue.

KING: Are you confident the industry's going to get through all this?

FORD: Well, it's going to get through it in some shape. I guess the question is who's going to be the industry? And what we're really focused on is making sure that Ford's one of the survivors, because people are always going to need automobiles. They're always going to need trucks that work. People want transportation. We're going to need ambulances and police cars and all the things that our vehicles provide.

But there's no question that this is a really tough market. And that's why we actually need some stimulus to get it going. And one of the things that we feel very strongly about, and the president does, too, is this fleet modernization program, where basically people bring in their older car. They get a voucher from the government for X amount of money, and they trade it in for a much more fuel-efficient car.

What that does is really two things. One, it helps the environment by getting the less fuel-efficient, less clean cars off the road. And the other thing it does is it helps stimulate sales.

KING: Is Ford going to make a lot more, in the end, of the green car?

FORD: Absolutely. That's actually -- it's really cool when you look at the technology that's coming. And actually, some of it's right here now. But we've got bio-fuels. We have, like, Ethanol. We have Hybrids. We have plug-in hybrids. We have full electric vehicles. They're all coming. These aren't just pie-in-the-sky things. These are coming this year, next year, the year after.

We are really at the dawn of a new age of transportation.

KING: A couple of quick Twitters. For Ford, commit to the truly innovative green and forward-thinking. Show some long-term projects and goals. Stand behind all your sales. You've got to agree with that, right?

FORD: I completely agree with that.

KING: I only buy Ford trucks, but I only buy them when I have a steady income.

FORD: Well, I agree with that, too.

KING: Pretty good. A new car doesn't seem like a very attractive investment when money seems scarce. FORD: Well, that's right. It is the second biggest purchase in people's lives, behind their house. So it's a big layout for customers. And that's why, you know, it's so important we get people working in this country, so they can not only afford cars but afford houses.

KING: Closing any dealerships?

FORD: We are, unfortunately. And it's -- you know, that's also a painful thing. But if you look at our industry, we've built this infrastructure up over 100 years. And so, you know, it tends to get big, and we've got to cut it down to size.

KING: Look forward to your next visit, Bill.

FORD: Thank you so much, Larry.

KING: Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?