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CNN Larry King Live

Michael Jackson's Dermatologist Sets the Record Straight; Homicide Probe in Sweat Lodge Deaths

Aired October 16, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Michael Jackson's friend and dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, is back. Four months after the king of pop's death, he sets the record straight.

Did he give Michael drugs?

Is he the father of the kids?

He'll answer questions that won't go away.


KING: Do you ever say to yourself I should have done something differently?


KING: Plus, how did a self-help retreat dedicated to life go fatally wrong?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Crystal Power (ph).




KING: Two people die. More than a dozen are overcome in a sweat lodge rite run by "The Secret's" James Arthur Ray.

And how can he explain this tragedy to his followers?

And then, American college student Amanda Knox, charged with the savage murder of her roommate in Italy.

Did a bizarre sex game turn deadly, as authorities claim, or is an innocent woman being railroaded?

As closing arguments loom, Amanda's desperate parents tell us what they're doing to save their daughter from decades behind bars.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

A great pleasure to welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, Dr. Arnold Klein, the famed dermatologist who was Michael Jackson's longtime physician and friend.

Also with us, Garo Ghazarian. He is Dr. Klein's criminal attorney, and Richard Charnley, who's the civil attorney for Dr. Klein.

Why do you need attorneys, Arnold?


Why do you need doctors?


KLEIN: It's the same reason. I mean we live in a world where you need attorneys to protect yourself and you need doctors to make yourself heal.

KING: Is there a possibility of criminal charges against you?

KLEIN: I don't think whatsoever. I haven't broken any laws. There's no proof whatsoever that I have broken any laws. You can ask my lawyers.

KING: And Garo, do you feel any criminal coming?

GARO GHAZARIAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I don't. Based on everything I have done thus far, I am fairly confident and comfortable, although this is against the general rule to have a client on the air. It goes against everything...

KING: True, during an investigation.


KING: There's still an ongoing investigation.


GHAZARIAN: There is an ongoing investigation.

KLEIN: Can I just say, the people who pointed their fingers at me should really consider those people who pointed their fingers at me.

I mean how reliable, how credible were they?

KING: All right.

KLEIN: I mean...

KING: And what about the threat of civil suits? RICHARD CHARNLEY, CIVIL ATTORNEY: Well, I haven't heard any civil litigation pending against Dr. Klein. I think it has been reported, and it's true, that Dr. Klein has filed some suits of his own.

KING: Against?

KLEIN: Against?

CHARNLEY: We have -- we have a suit right now pending against Dr. Stephen Houghlan in connection with some statements that he made to "The Sun" a month-and-a-half ago.

KING: We'll do more on that later.

Has this impacted your practice, Dr. Klein?

KLEIN: Well, I mean, I will tell you one thing that, you know, I think people should know who I am. Basically, I'm a full professor -- because I was looking at (INAUDIBLE) -- I'm a full professor of dermatology and medicine at UCLA. OK, I invented minimally invasive aesthetics. I think I'm the best at what I do. You know, what I do is I'm still dealing with the FDA, trying to make the FDA a better place, because if we're going to fix medicine in America...

KING: I know. We did that last time. But I want to...

KLEIN: I know.

KING: Anything...

KLEIN: OK. Has it affected my practice?

Only to the degree that it's taken time away from treating patients, which is my primary purpose.

KING: But you haven't lost patients?

KLEIN: Not so -- not that I know of.


What was it like to have your office searched?

KLEIN: It was horrible. This whole thing has been horrible.

GHAZARIAN: Well, let me clarify that. His office was never searched. There were records that were sought...

KING: Were taken?

GHAZARIAN: ...that were sought and we provided them voluntarily. The office was never -- no law enforcement agent ever set food in his office.

KLEIN: Right. You know, can I just say one thing? KING: Please.

KLEIN: They had meetings in front of my office, but they never came into my office.

KING: What as your reaction to the charge that it was homicide?

KLEIN: By -- by Dr. Murray?

KING: By whatever doctor.

KLEIN: You know, I think that he had...

KING: He hasn't been charged so...

KLEIN: He has not been charged. The grand jury is meeting. But I think you have to look at the picture -- the entire picture. And if you give him medicine without controlling it, it becomes a medical problem -- a severe medical problem. So I think when you deliver a certain medication, you have to be controlling it. But this is, again, something that lawyers would answer, not something that I would answer.

KING: OK. Other things on a different nature -- and I'll get back to this. You've never really said yes or no on fatherhood, those two...

KLEIN: That's not something I'll ever answer, because you know what, it -- it was buried with Michael. And that's not a question that I can ever answer, nor will I ever answer so...

KING: So you won't say no?

KLEIN: I won't answer it.

KING: Did you ever give him drugs?

KLEIN: Did I ever give him medication?

When I used to do surgical procedures on him I gave him medication. I once gave him a muscle relaxer for the last seven years and that was about it, to the extent of giving him anything. I never gave him anything to take home that was addicting. I mean I was aware that he had used Propofol, this drug we talk about a lot, before, which is a drug of addiction that people don't know and it's very poorly controlled by the government.

KING: That's usually given in different circumstances.

KLEIN: It's given under anesthesia...

KING: Yes.

KLEIN: someone with proper monitoring.

KING: Did you ever tell Michael, as his friend, to get help? KLEIN: I -- I made two interventions on Michael myself. I made an intervention on Michael in Las Vegas. I flew to Las Vegas to intervene and threw the doctors out of the room when they were giving him drugs. And I also did a second intervention on him after he appeared in Mexico and got him help. And he went, at that point, to England and he withdrew.

So I made him very much aware that in the '90s, he was given a great deal of Propofol by a physician. And I, you know, went through a whole situation with him and told him this was a very dangerous drug, that it was addicting.

KING: Do you agree it was homicide?

KLEIN: It's very hard for me to say because I wasn't there, but I feel if a doctor gives a patient inappropriate things -- I can't use the term homicide.


KING: What is the correct term?

GHAZARIAN: Well, homicide is the death of a human being...

KING: I don't want to involve any named doctors...

GHAZARIAN: No, no. The homicide...

KING: So just what...

GHAZARIAN: Homicide, the definition of homicide is death of a human being by another, which means proximately caused by another. In order to determine that, one needs to have the entire set of facts before him or her to make a judgment call.

I don't think Dr. Klein or any one of us here has the entire set of facts. That's why I believe the grand jury is convening, to determine if charges ought to be filed and against whom, if any.

KING: Was he addicted?

KLEIN: I mean, you can be addicted to Propofol. It can be an addicting drug.

KING: You can.

KLEIN: And it's an addicting drug. And it's an addicting drug that usually you see mostly among doctors and nurses, because they have the adequate equipment to giving it to you. I did not know that he was getting Propofol.


KLEIN: So you ask me if he was addicted, I had no idea he was addicted. GHAZARIAN: There's a time context, Larry. Because when you say was he addicted, a person may be addicted in 1993, recover from the addiction and move on...

KING: And they're still called an addict.

GHAZARIAN: ...and be still called an addict. It doesn't mean that they are a practicing addict, obviously. So one may go beyond what one was once.

I believe Dr. Klein is talking about in the '90s -- mid-'90s or thereabouts, about some issues that he had intervened with.

KLEIN: You see, Bill Wilson, who founded A.A. Who I know, because I wrote a book on heroin addiction, which is when I first met him. When you talk to someone who's an addict, you always talk about someone recovering. But Propofol is not a drug that we commonly see addicting. It's now being abused more than everything ever since it's been mentioned (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: How do you go get it?

KLEIN: You get it by prescription. It's not really controlled that well, but you must be controlled with what's called a pulse oximeter, knowing the -- the heart rate and all those things while you use it.

KING: Do you think, Dr. Klein, that he could have done 50 concerts?

KLEIN: I think he was in great physical condition. I think the autopsy showed that he was in great physical condition. And I think he was -- you know, he was not this person without a nose that was portrayed initially in the press. The press has been hysterical and the press has been so sensational about me, about everything. There is no truth in the press anymore. I mean there's no truth anywhere anymore in what you read.

So I think he was totally capable of doing this. But they wanted to show him as a meek individual. Michael was far from meek. Michael was probably one of the most talented, strong -- and strong people I've ever met.

KING: Richard is he any -- is Dr. Klein in any civil trouble?

CHARNLEY: No, I don't think he's in any civil trouble. I don't think there's any connection between any procedures or medical care that was given by Dr. Klein in the several months leading up to Michael Jackson's death and the actual cause of death. And that would be the threshold that one would look at to determine.

KING: Got it.

Garo, has anyone officially said to you, he is cleared?

GHAZARIAN: No. No one has said so, but silence speaks for itself, as well. I will reserve judgment. But I have continued on with my duties. And the more I have uncovered, the more I have felt comfortable...

KLEIN: Have I been helpful with the -- with the investigation, though?

GHAZARIAN: Well, you know, Dr. Klein has been anybody...

KING: Cooperative.

GHAZARIAN: ...more than any client...


KING: Would you say you'd be shocked if he was charged with anything?

GHAZARIAN: I would be shocked, yes.

KING: We'll take a break.

We'll be right back with Arnold Klein and doctors -- with Dr. Klein and Garo Ghazarian and Richard Charnley.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Dr. Arnold Klein and Garo Ghazarian and Richard Charnley. And we obviously are not through with this, as the investigation continues.

You never saw Michael administer Propofol, right -- or have it administered to him?

KLEIN: When -- I was there when he had surgery once. And, of course I saw the -- the anesthesiologist use medication on him (INAUDIBLE) milk of Magnesia. But I was not there when he was using it with Dr. Murray. I never even knew who Dr. Murray was. I had never met him.

KING: Well, he -- we're assuming --he -- we don't know anything. Dr. Murray may be under investigation and he may not. So I don't want to...

KLEIN: OK. We'll not say that.

KING: All right.

A judge ruled earlier this month that you have no legal standing to raise any concerns about the welfare of his three kids. The last time you were on this show, you did express concern.

KLEIN: No. I'll tell you why I went to court. That's what's so -- you know, again, it's -- it's wrong. I went there to make sure that their money would be their money, that the children's money would not be taken by the parents. And I succeeded in doing that. They separated the money from the children -- the trust from the children from the trust of the parents.

KING: Since you're not the father -- or you won't say whether you're the father or not, what do you care?

KLEIN: Because I care about the welfare of children.

KING: Do you think the parents would have harmed the children?

KLEIN: They wouldn't have harmed them, but I was worried about the money. Because you're dealing in a situation where people had no money. I mean the family had gone bankrupt. The parents had lost -- Jack -- Michael's father and mother had lost their house. Latoya was bankrupt. And I was worried they would seek out the children's money. So I wanted to make sure the money went to the children.

GHAZARIAN: He got what he wanted, Larry, because he wanted the court to appoint counsel for the minors. The court did that.

KLEIN: But that's what I wanted.

GHAZARIAN: By him intervening, that's what we wanted to accomplish.

KING: So his intervention helped?

GHAZARIAN: That's right.

KING: Do you have any idea when this investigation will be concluded?

GHAZARIAN: I'm told that it's going forward slow. The wheels of justice are slow and we have no problem with that.

KING: None. But might -- Dr. Klein might have a problem with this...


KING: ...if it continues to affect him.

GHAZARIAN: He may. But he's -- he's been understanding.

KLEIN: Yes, I don't -- I think that I don't have the problem with it that I had before. I don't have paparazzi traveling around me. I don't have people using news conferences in front of my office. I really have done nothing wrong, so I don't see why I would have a problem with it.

I would have a problem with it if it really hurt my reputation. In the beginning, it prevented my patients -- all the paparazzi -- from coming to see me. And I have a problem with it because of one thing -- it prevents me from doing what I want to do, which is help people who -- and I want to work with the medical care system. I want to make the FDA less a greedy organization. KING: Don't all patients ask you about it?

KLEIN: Every single person asks me about it, because Michael Jackson was probably the best known entertainer of our generation. But they ask me about it not about my guilt and association, about my concern.

Don't forget, I lost my best friend.

KING: I understand.

As you look back and honestly look at yourself, do you ever say to yourself, I should have done something differently -- me?

KLEIN: I mean I don't know what I would have done differently (INAUDIBLE).

KING: I mean when you think, is there anything -- when you -- in retrospect?

KLEIN: Had I known, yes. But not knowing, I can't change it. Retrospect is (INAUDIBLE) we all would love to have. And we all...

KING: Yes. It's never wrong.

KLEIN: Never wrong. And I would like -- when I went skiing that one day, I wish I hadn't gone skiing and things like that.

But, you know, in retrospect, in the care of Michael Jackson, I was promising (INAUDIBLE) to him and to every single patient I see, I give the best possible care I know how to deliver.

KING: What kind of client is he, Richard?

CHARNLEY: Well, you know, I started working with Dr. Klein several weeks before Michael's death. I met him in his office. We enjoyed a good relationship. He has his point of view and he's -- he's one of these people that is very strong, has definite opinions and is what he call sort of a semi-high maintenance client. But...

KLEIN: High maintenance?

CHARNLEY: High maintenance.

CHARNLEY: But -- but I will tell you what...

KLEIN: What kind of doctor am I?

CHARNLEY: It's -- it's a great, great, great deal to work for him and he's a fantastic physician. I've been working with him for quite some time. And through all this media blitz we've had, not one person has ever, ever criticized a single thing that Dr. Klein has done medicinally.

KING: But since he's so bright, that could be annoying to others, though. CHARNLEY: Well, I don't see his words annoying. I think it's -- it's difficult sometimes when you have somebody that's out in the Mensa category to keep ahead of them.

KING: What is he like for you?

GHAZARIAN: He's a delight. He's a delight because, as a criminal defense attorney, I represent folks who oftentimes are accused of things and -- and then when I look at it, at first glance, I try and decipher the degree of culpability.

And with Dr. Klein, there is no degree of culpability.

So it's -- it's every defense attorney's dream to have him as a client.

KLEIN: And, you know, I like my lawyers because they're really honorable.


KLEIN: And I think that I'm pretty lucky to have them.

KING: We will have you back soon.

I want to do a show on the FDA with you.

KLEIN: I would love to do that.

KING: One other quick thing.

Have you gotten over the death yet?

KLEIN: I don't think I ever will be over the death.

I mean have you ever lost your father or your brother or anything like that?

KING: I sure have.

KLEIN: I have.

KING: You never get.

KLEIN: You're never quite the same. I will never be the same, because we lost the most talented man of our age. Like when Danny Kaye died...

KING: Yes.

KLEIN: I lost him and I still remember him well.

KING: Dr. Arnold Klein, Garo Ghazarian and Richard Charnley, we'll be calling on you again.

Thanks. KLEIN: Thanks, Larry.

CHARNLEY: Thank you very much.

GHAZARIAN: Thank you.

KING: We'll be back in 60 seconds with the tragic sweat lodge deaths in Arizona. Wait until you hear about this and hear pleas for help, too, in 60 seconds.


KING: Authorities in Arizona are investigating the deaths of two people after a sweat lodge rite. It was part of a retreat conducted by self-help expert James Ray, well known for his appearances on "Oprah" and his contribution to the wildly popular, "The Secret." More than two hours into the ritual, someone called 911.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two people aren't breathing with no pulse.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Is this the result of a shooting or something?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It was a sweat lodge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you there by yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. There's a lot of people here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right. Well, get them out of the sweat lodge, for one.



KING: In addition to the deaths, a number of people were hospitalized. As many as 50 or 60 may have been crowded into a tent made to accommodate far fewer.

We'll talk about it with "The Secret's" John Assaraf, right after the break.



SHERIFF STEVE WAUGH, YAVAPAI COUNTY, ARIZONA: Because of information that we have obtained from interviews from the participants in the most recent spiritual warrior retreat and from other past participants in them, we have elevated this investigation from an accidental death investigation to a homicide investigation.


KING: Well, you probably heard all about the story -- people sweating to death in a sweat box ritual conducted in Arizona by James Ray. Ray a very popular figure due to the book, "The Secret," and appearances once or twice on this show, including on "Oprah."

Watch him.


"The Secret" ASSARAF, FEATURED IN "THE SECRET": We have an absolutely unlimited power within us and it's really an exciting time, Oprah, because it's a time where spiritual traditions and science are now in total agreement.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: Yes. I think this is so exciting, because, as I said, I've been talking about this in one form or another all since 1785 (ph) on this show.


KING: With us from Del Mar, California is John Assaraf, who has also been on this program, the entrepreneur and founder of OneCoach Inc. And like James Arthur Ray he's featured in the book and the film, "The Secret".

Now, you've known James for over 10 years. You've worked with him on "The Secret".

What happened?

ASSARAF: Well, first and foremost, Larry, I think on behalf of the entire personal development field, I want to extend our condolences and love to the families and the participants at this event, because something tragic happened. And I think there's a lot more questions than there are answers right now. And it's unusual to have these types of results at a spiritual retreat, let alone a sweat lodge.

KING: Have you talked to James?

ASSARAF: I haven't, Larry. The day after the incident happened, I gave him a call just to send my prayers to -- to him and the families. And he hasn't returned my call and it wasn't expected that he would. But he did send an e-mail out to all of his friends and database saying that, you know, he was sad, he was sorry, he didn't know what happened, he's looking for answers and he's trying to make sense of all of this. But he has not return any of my calls. I only called him once.

KING: Do you know of any criminal charges that have been -- have been filed at all?

ASSARAF: I don't know of any criminal charges that have been filed, Larry. I think that there's an investigation going on right now. I think authorities are looking to speak to James and to find out what happened at the sweat lodge, how many people were there and what precautions were taken.

Was medical staff available?

How fast did people respond to the emergency?

And I think there's a lot of -- a lot of questions that still need to be answered by the participants and by James and by the authorities.

KING: What is a sweat lodge?

ASSARAF: Well, a sweat lodge is an ancient Indian or Native American ritual where it's really connecting to your higher spiritual power. And you usually enter a sauna-like environment that has got lava rocks that are heated by pouring water on them. And you really are looking toward having yourself connect spiritually with your higher power, really transcending the uncomfortableness or the pain of being in such a hot environment. And it's done as a -- as a beautiful ritual that the Native Americans have been doing for thousands of years effectively, without harm and with great results.

KING: In a crowded room like that?

ASSARAF: Well, you -- you normally would have 10 to 12 people in a room that they normally do sweat lodges in. From what I understand, this construction for 50 or 60 people was done especially for this size of sweat lodge or for this size of sweat lodge.

What, obviously, we don't understand is did anybody take into consideration the oxygen in that room with that many people, with that size?

You know, those are the questions that I think are going to need to be answered to see, you know, what was done before the sweat lodge was done, what was done from a health perspective, what was done from a physics perspective. And -- and nobody has those answers right now. And I think that's what everybody is waiting for, is where are the answers and -- and what could have been done to prevent that and what can be done in the future to make sure this doesn't happen again.

And, as you know, there were, you know, 19 or 20 of the 60 people were affected by this. Two died and one was in critical condition and may still be in critical condition. And so we need some more answers to understand what occurred. And that's what people are waiting for.

KING: Would you do it?

ASSARAF: Well, you know, I think, if I take into consideration the thousands of times that sweat lodges have been done, yes, I would do it. Personally, I would make sure that I'm in the right health, make sure that I was hydrated properly, make sure that I was guided by somebody who knew what they were doing.

And I know that James has done this before without any incidents in the past of anybody, you know, hurting themselves to this effect. And James -- I can speak that he's a conscientious individual and I know that his intentions were to have a spiritual connectedness and an environment that people could really grow and develop in. And nobody expected this tragedy.

I think this is a perfect example of something going very, very wrong in -- in an environment that we don't have all of the information about yet.

KING: John, the price, I understand, is $10,000 for five days.

Couldn't you go to La Costa and go into the sweat room every day for a number of hours for a lot less?

ASSARAF: Yes. I think we've got to separate, you know, the sweat lodge portion of this. You know, this is a spiritual ritual that the Native Americans do and they will do it for free. So there isn't really a fee to do a sweat lodge. In some cases, there's a nominal fee.

You know, James charges his fees based on the total transformation that he's expecting to help people over the five days and his personal attention. So it's not $9,000 or $10,000 for a sweat lodge. It's five days worth of an experience, instructors, James teaching, helping people.

KING: I got it.

ASSARAF: And so I think we need to -- to make sure that people understand that.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with John Assaraf. We'll show you a little bit of James Ray on this program when we come back.

First, this.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW," COURTESY HARPO PRODUCTIONS) WINFREY: The buzz keeps building. It is "The Secret." And see why people everywhere are talking about it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secret is gaining momentum. The DVD has sold more than a million copies.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE EARLY SHOW," COURTESY CBS) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's take a look at the hottest self-help program in years.


KING: We're back with John Assaraf, entrepreneur and founder of OneCoach Inc. He's featured in the book and the film, "The Secret".

James Ray has been on this program.

Let's take a look at him talking about the law of attraction.


KING: What is the law of attraction?

JAMES RAY: Well, Larry, science tells us that every single thing that appears to be solid is actually energy. Your body is energy. Your car is energy, your house, everything -- money. All of it is energy.

You put it under a high powered microscope, it's nothing more than a field of energy and a rate of vibration. And like vibrations are attracted to each other and dissimilar vibrations repel. So the law of attraction says when you're in a certain vibration, you're going to attract to you that which you're in vibration or harmonic vibration with.


KING: John, frankly, could people who are influenced by some self-help experts be willing to do some things that actually may be harmful to them? Should they think about it more?

ASSARAF: Actually, I think, we're put in an environment or we put ourselves in an environment where somebody is leading us, we have to have our self-responsibility as well. And there's a lot of people who really conform to the trap of following a self-help expert or a professional expert to the nth degree and do things that are beyond their comfort zones or beyond what they should be doing for their physical or mental abilities, and so absolutely.

And I think it is the responsibility, obviously, of the leader, to be able to pace people and make people feel comfortable to go to their own limits and not beyond that.

KING: Did he apologize?

ASSARAF: Oh, I think absolutely. I think, you know, he's apologized, in an e-mail that I received. I think it went to the general population. I think James will apologize. I think he is in shock. I think he is looking for answers.

I think, Larry, he is also being guided, obviously, by lawyers, and possibly publicists, who want him to have all the information before he makes any statements. And I definitely think he should apologize and I think he will. Knowing James, I think he will. And you know, the timing is what I think a lot of people are questioning right now, because its been almost a week.

KING: Do you think it will effect "The Secret"?

ASSARAF: I don't think it will effect "The Secret". You know, James, and I, and 21 other individual were in a documentary, you know, about "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction. And we all have our own businesses. We all have our own ways of teaching our clients. Whether it's business growth, which is what I do, or personal development, which is what James does. And so, you know, "The Secret" has nothing to do with our individual businesses or the way that we run our businesses.

And there are thousands and thousands of teachers that have their methodologies for teaching. And so I don't think it should have any affect on the book, whatsoever. It is not even in the same league.

KING: You're standing up for him tonight. Do you think some of them are going to try to distance themselves, some of your fellow self-help experts, from James?

ASSARAF: Well, you know, I'm standing up for the industry more than I am standing up for James. Other than the fact that I know he's a good guy and his intentions are great. I was advised not to be on this show by several publicists. And I said, well, if I don't speak out and the people of my industry don't speak out, for the millions of people that we do help, that things go right -- and we teach them ways to transcend their beliefs and transcend the things that are holding them back from having happy, successful lives and businesses, who is going to speak out?

So, a lot of them won't speak out in fear that there is going to be a backlash of either our clients or other people. And I think it's important to understand that we are a safe industry, safety is first. We really care about people and our only hope is to help people really live outstanding, happy, fulfilling lives.

KING: We have a statement from James Ray, I'd like you to comment on it.

He attended a speaking event Tuesday night, and while no media cameras were allowed inside, James did start the evening by addressing what happened and this is part of what he said.

"I've lost people I love and really care about. It is a challenging time that we really test who we are. I'm being tested. We are working with authorities and we'll continue to. I have no idea what happened."

Could you comment on those statements by James?

ASSARAF: Uh, I believe that he doesn't know what happened. I think he does have some answers that he's questioning himself, the authorities, the construction of the sweat lodge -- you know, what could they have done medically? Did they take all the precautions? And so, I think he's really trying to find the answers.

And this is a trying time for everybody -- the families who lost loved ones -- I think it's the Shore (ph) family and the Brown family, I believe -- the participants who were at the event.

There are so many confusing stories that I'm hearing of what happened, what didn't happen, was it safe, wasn't it safe? So I think that he's taking his time to really get the right information in the right order and then come out with a statement. At least, I sure hope that's what he is doing.

KING: John, thank you so much, we'll be calling on you again. And we appreciate your coming.

ASSARAF: Thank you, Larry, always great to be on your show.

KING: John Assaraf.

They're calling it Italy's trial of the century. Amanda Knox's parents are going to be here in a couple of minutes to talk about it next.


KING: Welcome back. It's being called the "trial of the century" in Italy; 22-year-old American exchange student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend are accused of the murder and sexual assault of Amanda's British housemate, Meredith Kercher. Kercher was found semi-naked, her throat slit, in the house she and Amanda shared with two others in November of 2007.

A third person -- a man from the Ivory Coast -- was convicted of the brutal killing in a separate proceeding last year. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. His appeal is slated for next month. Amanda's trial got underway in January. Testimony and evidence presentation has now been complete. Closing arguments begin November 20. The jury will deliberate on December 4th.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Edda Mellas and Curt Knox, the parents of Amanda Knox. She's been in a prison now for two years. You talked to her. How's she doing?

EDDA MELLAS, MOTHER OF AMANDA KNOX: You know, she's hanging in there. It's been a long time, she's -- you know -- innocent and has sitting in -- sitting it in jail, so it's scary, but she's doing the best she can.

KING: How are you doing?

CURT KNOX, FATHER OF AMANDA KNOX: We're hanging in there, we're -- we're being strong for her. I mean --

KING: Do you go over and see her?

KNOX: Oh, absolutely. I think both Edda and I have made at least 12 trips over there, back and forth over the last couple of years.

KING: Few days ago, the court rejected her request for an independent review of contested evidence. What are your lawyers tell you about how serious that is?

EDDA MELLAS: Well, I mean it could be good or it could be bad. I mean we asked for the independent review because we were sure that anybody independently looked at it, would support our position. Maybe the court decided that they don't even need that support, that our arguments have already been good enough.

KING: What do you make of the whole thing Curt? What's -- what's your view of this? I mean you were not there.

KNOX: I believe that there was a huge mistake made very, very, early on by you know having a -- literally a case closed, you know, presentation by the police over there. And then when they really found out that -- that Rudy Gooday (ph) was the one that actually did it --

KING: The man convicted.

KNOX: The man convicted -- that they were just too far into it and they've been trying to press it ever since.

KING: Now was your daughter and her boyfriend present at --

KNOX: Not at all, they -- they stayed at her boyfriend's house the night that the murder took place.

KING: Why were they arrested?

KNOX: You know, in the time between when Meredith was found and the time of their arrest, there was total of ninety hours in that window. During that time, they were questioned and interrogated for over 41 hours. The last of that was a 14 hour all night interrogation, where there was psychological abuse, physical abuse, where she was hit. And at that stage of the game, I think, you know, they made conclusions.

KING: Were they tried together? Her and --

MELLAS: Yes, they are being tried together.

KING: Amanda testified in June sometimes in English, sometimes in Italian. Here's a little of what she said about her interrogation by police several days after Meredith Kercher's murder, watch.


AMANDA KNOX, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: They called me a stupid liar. And they said that I was trying to protect someone. So I was there and they told me I was trying to protect someone. But I wasn't trying to protect anyone. And so I didn't know how to respond to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: And at the immediate aftermath of the murder, your family in Germany -- you have family in Germany?

MELLAS: Yes --

KING: -- suggested that Amanda come and stay with them. You said she made a big mistake in not leaving Italy.

MELLAS: Yes. Actually many people asked her. We all asked her.

KING: She should have split.

MELLAS: Absolutely, she had many opportunities the police have that on record but didn't release that until almost a year after the crime. And but they did have on record that many people asked her to leave but she said no. "I'm going to stay. I'm going to try and help. I'm going to try and finish school" And one of the reasons that they said they were holding her and not releasing her because she was a flight risk. But she never planned to flee.

KING: What was her motive, Curt? What does the state say was her motive in killing this person?

KNOX: Well, the state said that it was a drug infused sex orgy --

KING: Between her, her boyfriend, and this woman?

KNOX: Yes.

KING: And the other guy. Four people were there --


KNOX: Yes, and that -- they didn't even know this other guy.


KING: The state's contentions were four people were present and one died. One has been convicted? Does your daughter know this person that's been convicted?

MELLAS: You know she had vaguely met him. You know when she was arrested and he was arrested, she couldn't even remember his name. And he's the only one that left DNA, finger prints, everything all over the crime scene. Nothing of Amanda, but still she's in the same kind of boat that he is in.

KING: What a puzzle! We'll be right back with more, don't go away.


TEA LEONI, ACTRESS: Hi, I'm Tea Leoni. As one of CNN Hero's Blue Ribbon panelists in 2007, I helped recognize the extraordinary work of every day people who are changing the world. As both a board member and goodwill ambassador for the US Fund for UNICEF, I advocate for the world's children, and work to increase awareness and funding for their needs.

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KING: I interviewed him. What a great story! Have the Knox's ever considered the possibility -- possibility that their daughter could be guilty? Back after this.


KING: Edda Mellas and Curt Knox remain, the parents of a Amanda Knox. Joining us in New York, John Q Kelly, former prosecutor and famed civil litigator, frequent guest on LARRY KING LIVE. It's good to see him. It has been a while. What are your thoughts on this case John?

JOHN Q. KELLY, FMR. PROSECUTOR: My thoughts, Larry, it's probably the most egregious, international railroading of two innocent young people that I have ever seen. This is actually a public lynching based on rank speculation, and vindictiveness. It's just a nightmare what these parents are going through and what these young adults are going through also.

KING: You don't know John, do you?

MELLAS: No, no.

KING: What do you make of it John? Why would they do this? If they already convicted someone, why go after Amanda and this other guy?

KELLY: Well, as I said, it's almost because Amanda showed too much stoicism after the death of her roommate, who she barely knew. These were two girls living together less than eight weeks.

And, you know, Larry, you've always seen this in these murder cases and things like the husband didn't cry enough, or they weren't upset enough when the children went missing. This is one of these things where, I guess, under the Italian culture, she did not respond the way they wanted her to respond. And they sort of put together a case with, you know, gum and toothpicks to try to make a case against her. And it is outrageous.

KING: Edda, do you ever think she might have done it?

MELLAS: Never.

KING: Do you, Curt?

KNOX: Never.

KING: John, the court's recent decision to reject her request for an independent review, does that help or hurt on appeal, if she's found guilty?

KELLY: Well, first of all, I certainly hope she's not found guilty. It would help her appeal, because it would show she was deprived of something that could have been very significantly helpful to her. She lost her own forensic expert, who, I think, left the team in May or so.

So -- but I mean, there's no forensic evidence. There's no physical evidence. There's no motive. There's no opportunity. There's no confession. There's no substantive evidence whatsoever against Amanda.

KING: Well, who has the state presented as witnesses?

KELLY: I think the only forensic evidence they had was a small portion of Amanda's DNA on the handle of a knife in Raffaele's apartment, where she was all the time. And it's not even consistent with the murder weapon that was used. The murder weapon was a three and a half inch knife. This is a six and a half inch knife that had a minute portion of Amanda's DNA on it, and inconclusive tests that on the tip of it there was some of Meredith's blood.

And it's just -- it wouldn't even hold up before a grand jury, and now we're trying to send these young people away for life.

KING: Now, John, you're a former prosecutor. Normally, prosecutors stick together, so we appreciate your standing up here. What is your knowledge of Italian courts? Are the juries generally open and fair?

KELLY: The problem with this is the jury's made up of six lay people and two judges. The jurors are not sequestered, and there are these huge lapses in the trial. Like right now, we have a month and a half now between this and closing statements where the jurors are home, watching the news, being inundated with whatever spin the local media wants to put on it. Obviously, they're not favorable, certainly, towards Amanda. They love showing the shot you're showing there that shows some sort of indifference. What I think it shows is some sort of compassion and care between them, and that they're upset about what happened to Meredith.

But, you know, the case is being tried in the public. There is nothing that's substantive that links into the crime, but it's just sort of -- it's almost like gotcha time. The Italians and this prosecutor want to get Amanda regardless of her guilt or innocence.

KING: Do you think that is because she is stoic? Is that the kind of person she is?

MELLAS: You know, she's very much a person who internalizes. She was extremely upset, and her roommate testified that when she found out it was Meredith that was killed, she was very upset. She cried. She did all of that. But by the time those photos were taken, it was hours later, and she was being comforted by Raffaele.

And those that know her, you could see the shock in her face. She was just devastated.

KING: Do you know the boy?

KNOX: Yeah, I have met him over there a few times.

KING: They're no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, right?


KING: But they're still together, and they're still --


KNOX: They're still friends, but they're being tried together.

KING: We'll be back with more. Judy Bachrach, the contributing editor of "Vanity Fair," has written about this case, who's lived in Italy, she'll join us. Don't go away.


KING: News cameras are not allowed in the courtroom during some of the testimony. So what you're seeing was shot off a TV screen. It explains the less than perfect quality that we're used to showing you.

Joining us is Judy Bachrach, contributing editor at "Vanity Fair." She's in Washington, written about this case for the magazine. She's lived in Italy, was back there less than three months ago. What's your read, Judy?

JUDY BACHRACH, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": Well, there are two Italys, which nobody seems to really understand who lives in this country. And one is the Italy of the privileged and government officials, and for instance, of Silvio Berlusconi, who runs the country. And he tries to have laws passed that allow him immunity in the event he's charge with corruption.

And then there's the Italy that tries the ordinary person. And the ordinary person is considered guilty until proven innocent. Italy's laws are direct descendants of the Inquisition. And therefore, Amanda, who is, after all, an American and a foreigner, and somebody to be suspicious of, is going to have the book thrown at her.

Nobody's going to believe her. She's going to be kept, as she indeed was, in isolation, grilled for 14 hours at a time, slapped around by the cops. And whatever comes out of those so-called interviews is going to be taken as gospel.

KING: You think, therefore, she's going to be found guilty?

BACHRACH: I think that in Italy, there's something called "brutta figura," which literally means you show a bad faith to the world. If they don't convict her, if she's found innocent after two years of being in jail for a crime she didn't commit, then Italy looks like it has a very corrupt judicial system.

It has a "brutta figura," which it really does. It has a very corrupt judicial system, and they will show an ugly face to the universe. And that's the last thing they want. And that is something that Edda and Curt have to be aware of, that this is a country that looks at an ugly face as the worst thing that can possibly happen to Italy. Not convicting a girl of something she didn't do, but of looking bad in the eyes of the universe.

KING: But don't they love Americans in Italy, Judy?

BACHRACH: They love some Americans. I have to say, in this instance, they don't love Amanda. Perugia's a very small town. It is very -- in -- in a sense, it's very close-minded. It is not Rome. It is not Paris. And it looks at Amanda in a different way than, say, she'd be looked at if she was living in Sydney or New York City.

They're very provincial. The prosecutor is famously incompetent and very right wing. He does not like her; he did not like her style of life. And she is being judged on that rather than anything she may or may not have done to that poor British girl.

KING: John, what would a -- what would -- what --

BACHRACH: -- of evidence.

KING: I -- I gather you're as strong as John on this. John, what would an appeal be like?

JOHN: Well, ironically, both sides could appeal. I mean, Amanda can be acquitted --

KING: Really?

JOHN: She could leave the country, and then, on appeal, they could convict her and seek to extradite her back to Italy, after an appeals court -- KING: Whoa.

JOHN: -- would convict her. And there's -- there's such a level of vindictiveness here, I could see that almost happening.

KING: Edda and Curt, you guys feel --

BACHRACH: I can -- I can see it happening --

KING: Hold -- hold on a second, Judy. Hold it Judy.

KING: Edda and Curt, you must feel very apprehensive.

MELLAS: It's scary.

KNOX: It is. It's one where we have to believe that what they're hearing in court -- and it's so clear that she had nothing to do with it -- then they'll come out with the right answer. I mean, that's -- that's what we have to believe.

KING: When are you going over there?

MELLAS: We're leaving just as the -- as the closing arguments go and the verdict. So the end of November.

KNOX: Yes.

MELLAS: Yes, there's always somebody over there. My brother's there right now. My husband's going next week.

KING: Thank you very, very much. Thanks for coming. We wish you the best. Thank you Judy Bachrach and John Q Kelly, as always, thank you.

BACHRACH: My pleasure.

KING: By the way, you'll find the link to Judy's very detailed article about the Amanda Knox case on our blog. Just go to

"Anderson Cooper 360" starts right now. Anderson?