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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Did Virginia Tech Killer Share Plans of Attack?; Baldwin Meltdown?
Aired April 20, 2007 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin with breaking news tonight. Every since Seung-Hui Cho went on his rampage, people have been asking, what made him choose his first victim? And did anyone know of his plans?
Tonight: some new developments in the search for answers.
CNN's David Mattingly is working this late-breaking story, joins us now from the Virginia Tech campus.
David, what we do know, first about the idea that other people might have known?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, some new details tonight.
According to ABC News, this is what is being reported. Virginia State Police are looking -- they are asking for new search warrants in this case. They want to have a look at Cho's cell phone records. They also want to look at the computer servers here at Virginia Tech.
They're looking into the possibility he may have had contact with someone prior to these killings. Specifically, they want to see if he sent any kind of e-mail to Emily Hilscher. She was one of the first two victims, the first two students to die on Monday in the dorm room early Monday morning.
At this point, police say they have been able to determine through ballistics that Cho's gun was used in those two murders. But they haven't actually connected fully Cho to either of those two people or to that murder.
So, if they look at these communication records, they might be able to find that link. We know already that police have gone through Cho's dorm room. We had video earlier this week that went through there. We saw it is fairly common accommodations for here on campus.
When police searched there, they seized two computers that belonged to Cho, books, notebooks, a digital camera, and a combination lock and chain. That's what they found in his dorm room. Now they're hoping that -- they would look at the computer records here, they will find more about what he might have been saying and to who he might have been saying it to prior to the murders.
ABC News also reporting tonight that the police have already obtained Cho's medical and counseling file from the student health center. Up to this point, university officials have not been able to confirm publicly that Cho actually had any sort of contact with the counselors here at school.
So, it will be interesting to see what they learned with these new search warrants, what they learn from the computer records and the cell phone records of Cho. What was he possibly saying to anyone prior to these murders? -- Anderson.
COOPER: The significance, of course, David, of Emily Hilscher is, she was his first victim, along, then, with the R.A., Ryan Clark. And police initially had thought that this was some sort of perhaps lovers' spat.
They were investigating her boyfriend, because one roommate had testified that -- or had told police that they had seen the two out shooting at a nearby range. Is that correct?
MATTINGLY: That's correct.
Now, this new report is showing that police are specifically looking, trying to link Cho to Emily, trying to find out if he somehow reached out to her via e-mail or phone records, if he had some kind of contact with her prior to this murder, something they have not been able to find yet.
COOPER: And we know that he had done that with at least two other young women, both of whom complained to police. And that's why he sort of went on the police radar, but they never actually filed charges.
With those young women, it was basically e-mails that they found creepy or instant messages, correct?
MATTINGLY: According to his roommate, it was something that the girls did find that was rather creepy. He was finding out information about them, approaching them with that information. They felt like that he was learning too much about them, and in an inappropriate way.
And they used the word stalking, that they felt very uncomfortable by the attention that he was giving them.
COOPER: David Mattingly, appreciate it with the late-breaking developments.
We continue to follow it over the course of these next two hours. If we learn anything more, we will tell you about it.
We're joined by a pair of two renowned psychiatrists. Dr. Park Dietz is in Southern California. And with me here is Dr. Gail Saltz, author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."
It's good to have you both with us.
Dr. Dietz, let me start with you.
How common is it for murderers to communicate their plans ahead of time?
DR. PARK DIETZ, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: One hundred percent.
The -- the crimes that are most commonly communicated ahead of time are assassinations and mass murder. I have never seen a case of either that didn't have some communication ahead of time.
COOPER: You have never -- really? You have never seen a case of that?
But -- but the problem is, the communications aren't always clear, and, generally, are not received by people capable of analyzing them properly.
COOPER: How do you mean?
DIETZ: Well, I mean, sometimes the communications are garbled, either by falsely identifying who the ultimate victim or victims will be, or by giving bits and pieces to different recipients.
And that's why part of the preventive strategy has to be to combine the information that multiple witnesses and observers receive, because no one person gets the whole story, unless it's a very intense confidante.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, we have been talking in the last couple of days how Cho was -- or how people in this position are trying to sort of keep a lid on whatever paranoid psychotic thoughts they're having, sort of dissembling, denying, not seeking out help.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY, THE NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL WEILL-CORNELL SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Yes.
COOPER: How does that jibe, though, with someone who is also reaching out to talk to somebody else about what they may be doing?
SALTZ: Well, when someone is very psychotic, if they have enough -- in other words, if they're not so psychotic that they have some insight to the fact of what's going on in their mind, then they may be more guarded.
In other words, they have some insight: If I reveal this information, I am going to be put in jail. I am going to be put in a mental institution, or people are going to be angrier with me. On the other hand, if they're more floridly psychotic, information does leak out, because they can't contain it any longer.
SALTZ: That's where you may hear bits and pieces leaking out. COOPER: Dr. Saltz, just so we're clear on the terminology, when you say psychotic, this is -- a psychotic person has lost touch with reality to some degree.
COOPER: But -- but Cho seemed to be able to function...
COOPER: ... on a very basic level.
SALTZ: There -- I hear people disagreeing on this. But, from my perspective and from what I have seen, a person can be psychotic, which means, one, they have broken with reality. And, two, it also means they're thought disordered.
In other words, their -- their thoughts don't follow a natural progression, as someone who's not mentally ill. That being said, basically, you know, someone can be psychotic and still have part of their mind functioning in a way that they can function.
Think about John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind." In other words, he was able to do the math. There are artists who are able to do the art. There are people who are able to do their work, still being impinged upon by a psychotic disorder.
COOPER: Dr. Dietz, I interviewed a school shooter last year, a young man who had shot several people in his high school. He said -- he told me that he had victims in mind, but he couldn't end up finding them, so he just shot a bunch of other people.
Do most mass murderers, the one you have studied, do they seek out specific individuals or is it all about numbers?
DIETZ: It's about the numbers when we're talking about this kind of incident.
And I want to set aside mass murders in the family, which are very different. But where it's an institution where the mass murder occurs, there may or may not be some targets in mind. But, by the time the decision is made to do the attack, it's really not about any particular people. It's about the level of destruction, the reporting that they will achieve, how much they can get the press to focus on them, how much they can become biographical figures, and little else.
COOPER: You -- Dr. Saltz, you also think he was schizophrenic?
SALTZ: Well, you know, again, you cannot diagnose someone...
SALTZ: ... you have not interviewed. But...
COOPER: Can somebody be psychotic and schizophrenic? SALTZ: If they are schizophrenic, then they likely have psychotic episodes. But you can be psychotic and not be schizophrenic, because you can have a psychotic depression. You can be psychotic during bipolar disorder.
But he had so much paranoia, he was so guarded, he was so clearly thought-disordered, he had such a flat affect, he had been socially isolated for such a long time, that those are all big red flags that certainly would make you think about paranoid schizophrenia.
COOPER: And schizophrenia is something which comes often in your early 20s?
SALTZ: For men, particularly between 15 and 25, for women, a little bit later, although it can occur at different ages. So, this is a prime time, early 20s, for a first psychotic break from paranoid schizophrenia.
And, in addition, the grand numbers and the references to Jesus Christ and Moses and Ishmael, all very grandiose. The wanting to take out many people and send it to NBC News, those are grandiose thoughts also consistent, potentially, with paranoid schizophrenia.
COOPER: Dr. Dietz, we also heard that, in the last months, he had -- you know, he had gotten a hair cut. He had been working out, kind of building up or changing his identity. Dr. Saltz talked about this Ishmael axe on his arm that he had put on the NBC return address.
Do you see that in people you have interviewed? Is there a -- does someone need to go through some sort of metamorphosis in order to become a mass killer?
DIETZ: No, I don't think that's the case.
I think that the two prime psychological ingredients for mass murder are depression, which usually has to be profound and to the point of suicidality, because half of them are dead by the end of the day. And the other characteristic is paranoia. Or, for the really young, anger might be enough.
In other words, they have to be willing to die, think life is miserable, and also be very angry and blame other people for their suffering.
COOPER: Dr. Dietz, appreciate your expertise, and, Dr. Saltz, as well.
We are going to talk to you later on in the program. We are also going to be taking your calls. You will be able to ask questions to both doctors.
A lot is happening today. For the first time, we heard from Cho's family.
Details on that now from CNN's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The statement comes just days after Seung-Hui Cho's senseless slaying of his classmates and his own death, an apology stained with shame.
"We are so deeply sorry for the devastation my brother has caused. No words can express our sadness. We are heartbroken. We grieve alongside the families, the Virginia Tech community, our state of Virginia, and the rest of the nation and the world."
It was released by Cho's sister, Sun-Kyung Cho.
Of the victims, she writes, "Each of these people had so much love, talent, and gifts to offer, and their lives were cut short."
It is clear from her words Cho's family is struggling, too: "We are humbled by this darkness. We feel hopeless, helpless and lost. He has made the world weep. We are living a nightmare."
Seung-Hui Cho lived here until he was 8, an apartment in a poor neighborhood of Seoul. Then the family moved to the U.S. That's when his mother began to worry about Cho's odd behavior. He was quiet and withdrawn.
KIM YANG-SOON, GREAT AUNT OF CHO SEUNG-HUI (through translator): Every time I called and asked how he was, she would say she was worried about him. She said she couldn't deal with him. She didn't what to do. Cho's father and grandfather worried about that. Who would have known he would cause such trouble? The idiot.
KAYE: Cho's sister acknowledges her brother struggled to fit in.
REGAN WILDER, CLASSMATE OF CHO SEUNG-HUI: He was just known as that kid that didn't speak. He just -- he never spoke. And that's how everyone remembered him.
KAYE (on camera): Cho's parents left South Korea in hopes of a better life. They worked as dry cleaners, his sister for a State Department contractor. They had hope for Cho, too.
But now, living in seclusion, buried in grief, Cho's family members have become his victims, too.
(voice-over): "This is someone that I grew up with and loved. Now I feel like I didn't know this person. There is much justified anger and disbelief at what my brother did. And a lot of questions are left unanswered" -- questions whose answers may never come.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: What that family must be going through.
The family statement was just the latest in a string of other developments today, a day of remembrance, both on campus and across the country, but also a day that saw key new details emerge about the rampage itself.
COOPER (voice-over): Today, we learned Seung-Hui Cho fired as many as many as 225 rounds of ammunition Monday morning. Law enforcement sources tell us he emptied at least 17 ammunition clips. And another source says most of his victims, survivors and dead, were shot at least three times.
Also today, the first and only known connection between Cho and one of his targets. According to "The New York Times," classmates of Ross Alameddine said he sat next to Cho in an English class and tried on several occasions to reach out to him.
As for the university's handling of the mentally ill student and its response to the shooting, Virginia's governor is appointing former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to lead the investigation.
TOM RIDGE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY CHIEF: Virginia Tech is now suffering incredible pain and trauma associated with it. And I think the governor said, look, we have got to learn from the lessons here and be applied nationwide.
COOPER: Across the country, bells rang out to remember the victims. Their bodies and the killer's body were released to their families today, back on campus, a silent remembrance to the fallen, as the state and nation pay tribute to each of them.
But there were also small steps toward a return to normalcy. The Virginia Tech baseball team played a game tonight to a full house, emotions spilling onto the field. And, at a memorial outside Burris Hall, one more stone was added, the 33rd for the killer. By it, a note left reads in part, "I feel bad in knowing that you did not get help that you so desperately needed."
COOPER: Well, this story has generated such an outpouring of interest and questions. A lot of questions still remain.
In our next hour, we are going to bring back Drs. Park Dietz and Gail Saltz, and take your calls. You can ask questions to the doctors -- the toll-free number, 877-648-3639. That's 877-648-3639. We will be opening the line shortly. But this is going to be in our next hour. Or you can e-mail us your questions at CNN.com/360, and click on the instant feedback link.
We will have more on the breaking news tonight. We will also talk about the Alec Baldwin phone conversation. If you haven't heard the tape, you will -- coming up next.
COOPER: All week, we have been learning that so many people saw signs of the darkness inside Seung-Hui Cho, even though they probably couldn't imagine precisely how or if he would act on it.
Nikki Giovanni, his first English professor, of course, was so unnerved, that she refused to have him in her class. We know that. Lucinda Roy, who ran the English department at the time, ended up tutoring Cho one on one.
She sat down this week with CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Soledad joins me now from Atlanta.
Good evening, Soledad.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, good everything to you.
Yes, you're absolutely right. It was absolutely unnerving for many people in the English department. What's been so disturbing for friends and family members are all the red flags that seemed to have been missed.
We sat down with Lucinda Roy to talk about exactly what she did to intervene.
LUCINDA ROY, ENGLISH PROFESSOR, VIRGINIA TECH: But it was only when Nikki Giovanni brought him to my attention, because he was in her class. And she was very uncomfortable with some of the things that he was doing.
And I realized, when I read his work and spoke with her, that I needed to intervene and try and do something.
O'BRIEN: What kinds of things was he doing in her class that was making everybody uncomfortable?
ROY: He had a cell phone, and he was taking photographs under the table. And we assumed that was so that he could get candid photos of the girls under the tables.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Disturbing actions accompanied by disturbing words -- classmates described Cho's plays as the stuff of nightmares. Students and Giovanni felt threatened, so Roy decided to teach Cho one on one.
ROY: I realized that I couldn't -- if I put him back into a classroom, then it would be very difficult for me to sleep at night, because I would be concerned.
And, so, I decided that, really, the only option would be to work with him one on one, and then make sure that there were not too many people around, just my assistant.
O'BRIEN (on camera): You couldn't oust him?
ROY: It is incredibly difficult to do that. You just can't take a student out and say, I'm sorry, you don't get an education, unless they have made an explicit threat.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Roy began teaching him in the fall of 2005. Shortly thereafter, Cho was deemed mentally ill by a Virginia court and was ordered to seek outpatient treatment. But the state would never hear from Cho again.
(on camera): Do you think the university dropped the ball on this?
ROY: That is a heartbreaking question for me. This is my community. So, what I have tried to do this week is not say, you did this, or -- now, I am saying it to myself. I feel I have the right to say that. I can say, oh, I wish I had done more.
And that will always haunt me. And I will never be the same, because there's such a hole in my heart.
But I don't want to -- I don't want to say to other people that I love -- I don't want to make their grief any larger, because their grief is so huge that it takes up all the space in them.
O'BRIEN: And yet that doesn't quite answer the question, because you can grieve...
ROY: No. So, probably, you want to pose the question to someone else who is not grieving quite as much as I am.
O'BRIEN: Roy was so nervous about Cho when she was doing her one-on-one tutoring, Anderson, she actually worked out a code word with the security guard who would stay nearby during their sessions.
And, yet, she's not ready to place blame. She says and others say they want the focus to be on the victims, not on the killer. Roy, I should note, attended King's College in London during the bombings by the IRA. And she says, you know, security could be beefed up on campus. You could have more security guards, but -- and this is a big but -- it would be very expensive, and people may not quite be ready to pay for it -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, we will see what happens after this.
You can see the rest of Soledad's report this weekend on an all new "CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Massacre at Virginia Tech." It airs Saturday and Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
You know, many at Virginia Tech also sensed something off-balance with Seung-Hui Cho, not just the teachers, the roommates, the suite mate. But, you know, forcing to get someone treatment can be a difficult process.
Joining me again tonight is Pete Earley. His son Mike started showing signs of mental illness in college. Early sought medical help for him in Virginia, but found getting help nearly impossible. His book, "Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness," chronicles this unbelievably frustrating experience.
Pete, thanks for being with us again.
You know, the court ordered Cho to have follow-up visits with a therapists after being released from the hospital. How hard is that to enforce that, though, in this system?
PETE EARLEY, AUTHOR, "CRAZY: A FATHER'S SEARCH THROUGH AMERICA'S MENTAL HEALTH MADNESS": In our system, it's almost impossible.
Look, if you have someone who wants to get help, it's almost impossible for them to get it. So, if you have someone who doesn't think he's sick, who wants to ignore the system and simply disappear, it's extremely easy.
COOPER: And, unless someone is viewed as a threat to others, and, in your case, unless your son made a threat against you, you could not get him hospitalized; is that correct?
EARLEY: That's absolutely correct.
I had to lie. Even after my son had talked about killing himself, even after he had wrapped tin foil around his head, he was hearing voices, even after he slipped out of the house, broke into a stranger's house to take a bubble bath, even, then, the police told me, unless you say to the psychiatrist he threatened to kill you, they will turn him loose.
COOPER: So, in a case when there's not a parent involved, as it seems, in Cho's case, there was not, and no friends who seem to know what's going on, there's no one to do what you did?
And, you know, he is not alone. We have abandoned chronic schizophrenic men and women to the streets. And Cho reminds me, in some ways, of that homeless psychotic who's on the street, because we look at him, we go, oh, I don't want to get near that person.
And we walk around and ignore them and leave them in total isolation. And you don't know how, when somebody's so abandoned, how they're going to react.
COOPER: So, you say there needs to be some subtle changes to the laws regarding mental illness to start with. What can be done immediately, or, you know, very quickly to fix the situation?
EARLEY: Well, in Virginia -- Virginia has one of the most restrictive laws. It's left over from the days when we were trying to keep people out of these dreaded asylums, where people were thrown rather easily. And it's imminent danger.
Just dropping the word imminent, saying danger, would give people a latitude. But, you know, changing the law is the first step. We have to improve community services. We have to detect someone like Cho earlier on and plug them into the mental health system. But we have to have a system.
You know, in Miami, there are 4,500 people who have severe mental illnesses. They live in 650 boarding homes; 400 of those boarding homes can't pass basic safety and health standards. I visited one hole in the roof. Rain's coming through, pills on the table, people walking around half-naked, no therapy, no jobs, no hope, no recovery.
That's our community-based mental health system. OK, you get angry and you say, how can somebody run a slum like that? All right. Dig a little deeper. The federal government pays the people who own those homes $29.90 a day to take care of a psychotic person. When I go out of town, I put my dog in a kennel. It costs me $31 a day.
So, we're paying people to take care of psychotic, schizophrenic people who are sick $1 less than what I pay to have my dog treated in a kennel.
COOPER: It's a -- it is a shocking system.
Pete Earley, appreciate you coming on. We will have you on again, Peter Earley.
The book, again, is "Crazy."
You can catch our coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre on the 360 daily podcast. And you don't need an MP3 player. Just go to CNN.com/AC360podcast. Watch it on your computer or get it off iTunes, where it's the number-one news and information download.
Up next: the heroes of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Hear from the brave students who helped others escape the terror.
Also tonight: Actor Alec Baldwin, well, kind of loses control, caught on tape. The question is, why has the tape been made public? Well, you will hear for yourself.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I am going to let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Who was he talking to? He was talking to his 11-year- old daughter. You will hear the entire outburst and what he's saying about it now, and, again, why it all has become public -- ahead on 360.
COOPER: We want to update you on some breaking news. ABC News is reporting that Cho might have shared his plans to -- to someone before going on his rampage. Now, we emphasize the word might. But we do not know exactly who that person or persons might have been. We do know that authorities are zeroing in on the possibility that he shared his plans.
Tonight, we will continue to follow that throughout the evening.
And what we do know, however, and always have known all throughout this week is that there were heroes at Virginia Tech on Monday.
We want to introduce you to some of them tonight, like the school's emergency medical technicians, what they did then, and how they're doing now.
David Mattingly reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're trained to deal with trauma. You're trained to deal with people that are hurt or have a traumatic injury. But you're not necessarily trained to deal with people that you can't help.
MATTINGLY: Medic Jeff King hasn't been able to sleep since he experienced the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre. Things he saw inside the engineering building that day make him afraid to close his eyes.
KING: I can't sleep. I can't eat. Every time I close my eyes, or I walk into a room, I see dead people.
MATTINGLY: King is among first responders learning to live with the psychological wounds inflicted by the student killer. He refuses to take time off. He says staying close to others who share his pain is his best source of comfort.
(on camera) Jeff, to me, it sounds like you're having a really tough time.
KING: I am having a tough time. And the only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I have a family, and that family is my rescue squad.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Emergency medical technicians from the student-run campus rescue squad say they have never been closer. Mac Green and Matt Lewis haven't taken time off either, acting as the spokesmen for the largely student team of rescuers.
They were the first on the scene, the first to save lives.
(on camera) When all of you get together and talk things out, what is the one thing that comes up most?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably our emotions, how are we going to deal with this.
MATTINGLY: How are you dealing with this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, we're dealing -- we're just leaning on each other as one big family. Virginia Tech campus is 26,000 brothers and sisters. Virginia Tech rescue squad is 40 of your closest family. Just as close as blood relatives.
MATTINGLY: It's two minutes to 12. Are you guys going to do something at the moment of silence?
(voice-over)) While at the station house, there was the statewide moment of silence. Everyone paused as bells tolled, remembering those who could not be saved.
(on camera) That moment of silence, what was going through your minds just then?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just, I mean, again, during the incident we're trained to put our emotions aside, and now just kind of reflecting that this really happened. It's just a tragic time, a tragic loss for the Virginia Tech community, the families of those involved and just -- it's a tragic loss for the world.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): In the days since the tragedy, comforting words of gratitude from countless e-mails from around the country have been posted on the walls.
"You provided hope when there was none in sight."
"Hold your heads up high. You were truly leaders today."
"Out of darkness there are diamonds of brilliance and pride."
And every kind word, every thoughtful gesture has been taken to heart.
(on camera) With the experience you've had after and the experience you had during that terrible event, what do you think is going to stay with you the longest? The experience you had after Monday or the experience you had on Monday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think both parts of it will stay with us. The most amazing thing to me, which I'll always remember, is that the tragic events will occur. Goodness will always prevail. We'll always be able to overcome and move forward and unite. There's always going to be some bad individuals, but as a whole, the world is a great place.
COOPER: Dave, what's next for these guys?
MATTINGLY: Well, these two guys are students. They want to get back to class. Classes start on Monday. They feel like if they get back into that routine, something that they're familiar with, it's going to help them on their own recovery as they go through this.
COOPER: All right. David Mattingly, thanks.
We've got a lot more on this story tonight, following the breaking developments on those search warrants. Also, we're going to be taking your calls. The toll-free number: 877-648-3639, 877-648- 3639. We'll have Dr. Park Dietz as well as Dr. Saltz here to take your questions. You can e-mail us your questions as well as CNN.com/360 and click on the instant feedback link.
But up next, change of pace. Politicians saying the darnedest things these days. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He said the Iraq war is lost.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "Bomb Iran".
(singing) Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran.
COOPER: He's singing about bombing Iran. Is there something weird in the Washington water? Plenty of raw material for "Raw Politics" tonight.
Also, Alec Baldwin goes ballistic.
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR; You better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me so I can let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. OK?
COOPER: He was talking to his 11-year-old daughter. What was he thinking? And how did this private tirade go public? Find out next on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I'm going to let you know how angry just how disappointed in you I am and how angry I am with you that you've done this to me again. You've made me feel like (expletive deleted), and you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Alec Baldwin. Doesn't sound like he's acting there. A phone call upgrading and cursing his young daughter has become public. How this became public? Well, that's a big part of the story.
At the heart of his rant is the bitter custody fight he's been waging with his ex-wife, Kim Basinger. Once, they were once one of Hollywood's hottest couples, but that seems awfully long ago.
CNN's Randi Kaye has more on the marriage and the break-up. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosive Alec Baldwin lashes out at his young daughter, and it's caught on tape.
BALDWIN: You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old or 11 years old, or that you are a child. You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone.
KAYE: That nasty phone message left by Baldwin for his daughter is the latest chapter in one of Tinseltown's nastiest divorces. The tape was released by the website TMZ.com.
For years, Baldwin and actress Kim Basinger have been locked in a very bitter, very public custody battle over their daughter, Ireland.
KIM BASINGER, ACTRESS: We're getting through it, and it has taught me -- it's been an invaluable education.
KAYE: That was Basinger in 2006. And this is Baldwin, airing the couple's dirty laundry on "The Today Show" the year before.
BALDWIN: Sometimes if you have one litigant is someone who can't move on and they like to argue, they like to fight and they've got the wrong lawyer, the thing is just interminable. It never ends.
HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: On the Richter scale this is absolutely a ten with a tsunami following.
KAYE: TMZ's managing editor Harvey Levin won't say how he got the recorded rant but calls the Baldwin-Basinger break-up Hollywood's ugliest split, each publicly trashing the other.
LEVIN: She's accused him of having an explosive temper, being unreasonable, being abusive. He's accused her of being psychologically unstable, addicted to various things. They have slung the mud every which way.
KAYE: But it wasn't always like this.
BALDWIN: The happiest day of my life.
BASINGER: I always loved these days.
KAYE: The Baldwin-Basinger love affair began in 1991 on the set of the romantic comedy, "The Marrying Man". They wed two years later and had a child.
On-screen, they had continued success with 1994's "The Getaway". But off-screen, trouble was brewing.
LEVIN: When things were good, they were passionate. And you know what? They're still passionate. The passion has just turned from love to hate.
KAYE (on camera): The TThe marriage ended in December 2000, when the couple separated. A month later, Basinger filed for divorce. It was granted the following year.
Until now, the couple has shared custody of their daughter, Ireland. But in response to Baldwin's phone message, a judge has forbidden him from contacting his daughter until a hearing in June.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: You just heard some portions of the angry phone call. Here's more of what he said. In fact, here's the whole recording. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Hey, I want to tell you something, OK? And I want to leave a message for you right now. Because again, it's 10:30 here in New York on a Wednesday and once again, I've made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone to call you at a specific time.
When the time comes for me to make the phone call, I stop whatever I'm doing and I go and I make that phone call. At 11 o'clock in the morning in New York and if you don't pick up the phone at 10 o'clock at night, and you don't even have that (expletive deleted) damned phone turned on.
I want you to know something, OK? I'm tired of playing this game with you. I'm leaving this message with you to tell you, you have insulted me for the last time. You have insulted me!
You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being. I don't give a damn that you're 12 years old or 11 years old, or that you're a child. Or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do as far as I'm concerned.
You have humiliated me for the last time with this phone. And when I come out there next week, I'm going to fly out there for the day just to straighten you out on this issue. I'm going to let you know just how disappointed in you I am and how angry I am with you that you've done this to me again.
You've made me feel like (expletive deleted). And you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again. And this crap you pull on me with this (expletive deleted) damned phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother. And you do it to me constantly. And over and over again.
I am going to get on a plane and I am going to come out there for the day, and I'm going to straighten your ass out when I see you! Do you understand me? I'm going to really make sure you get it! Then I'm going to get on a plane and I'm going to turn around and I'm going to come home.
So you'd better be ready Friday the 20th, to meet with me. So I'm going to let you know just how I feel about what a rude little pig you really are. You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, OK? (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, Alec Baldwin released a statement about the call. Here's part of it, and I quote, "I'm sorry, as everyone who knows me is aware, for losing my temper with my child. I've been driven to the edge by parental alienation for many years now. You have to go through this to understand (although I hope you never do). I'm sorry for what happened. But I'm equally sorry that a court order was violated which had deliberately been put under seal in this case."
Baldwin's conversation, his tirade may have made an impact on his custody with his child. We're going to deal with both issues tonight.
William Beslow is a divorce attorney whose past and present clients include Robert De Niro, Tatum O'Neal and Mia Farrow. Also with us is Constance Ahrons, a senior scholar at the Council on Contemporary Families and author of "We're Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents' Divorce". Both joined me earlier.
COOPER: Mr. Beslow, when I heard this tape, I assumed that Kim Basinger or somebody on her team leaked it, because it doesn't seem to have, certainly, benefited Alec Baldwin. You don't think that's necessarily the case?
WILLIAM BESLOW, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: No, there are alternate theories that one could use. The first of which is Ms. Basinger had already obtained an order of the court suspending visitation, thus it would not be to her interest to do anything to damage her credibility.
COOPER: They'd already played this tape for a judge?
BESLOW: My understanding is that the court had already suspended visitation based upon the tape. So at that point in time there was no reason for Ms. Basinger to do anything to impair her ability before the court. And she has a superbly sound tactician, Mr. Hersh, who I know personally, know to be an honorable lawyer, ethical lawyer, but as a litigator he would not have taken this step.
COOPER: So who? Someone in the court or who else?
BESLOW: There are several possibilities. It is not uncommon for there to be leaks within a court system. It is not inconceivable that someone Mr. Baldwin sought, for example, might have determined to make a leak of the tape.
COOPER: Why would someone who is a friend or in support of Alec Baldwin or Alec Baldwin himself leak this tape? It certainly doesn't make him look good.
BESLOW: The leaking of the tape might be effective. For example, you have Mr. Baldwin's attorney as inquisitor. You have Mr. Basinger and Mr. Hersh as targets. You have the court system now conducting, possibly, a hearing, which will probably go nowhere, because there will be a shield law protection for the press coverage. There will be attorney/client coverage for Mr. Hersh. The hearing will go nowhere. Yet, there may be the specter that possibly Ms. Basinger leaked the tape.
COOPER: There will be a hearing of the investigation of who leaked the tape and is this a chance to paint her as a villain?
BESLOW: Correct, so now there's a side show. And the side show is that she herself may have used bad judgment. There will probably never be a resolution.
And now Mr. Baldwin's so-called apology, in effect, is a document designed to suggest that he is now the victim and that the person who has been guilty of the most egregious misconduct is Ms. Basinger.
COOPER: Professor Ahrons, in the statement, it does sort of imply that men are often deprived of rights more than women.
CONSTANCE AHRONS, AUTHOR, "WE'RE STILL FAMILY: I think the courts are a little bit different today. But it's not just the courts. It's how parents are deciding they're going to work out their parenting arrangements with their kids.
So it's not so much we shouldn't be thinking of the rights of the parents, as much as we should be thinking about the rights of the child.
COOPER: And certainly, in this case, you know, this is the worst possible thing for this child, to have two parents -- and in any divorce -- have two parents just completely, still, battling each other some seven years after the divorce is finalized.
AHRONS: You're absolutely right. And I like what you said, for any parents who are having a custody battle. Custody battles are never in the best interests of children. They're power struggle is between parents. It's the wrong system for children to even be involved in, when parents are trying to resolve how they're going to parent their kids. How they're going to raise their children.
COOPER: You say it's the wrong system. Because what, it's an adversarial system?
AHRONS: That's right. Because it's an adversarial system. It's a win-lose based, and when it gets into the adversarial process and lots of strategies, there are today alternative methods that are far better to resolve issues around parenting, with kids, when parents are divorcing.
There's collaborative divorce. There's mediation. There are other ways for parents to do this that are in the best interests of children.
COOPER: Mr. Beslow, when you're counseling a client, I mean, and there's hatred, you know, the love has turned to hate, how do you counsel them not to, you know, bring that out and have it affect the child? BESLOW: As a divorce attorney, to be a primary role to indicate to clients when the client's judgment is being skewed and impaired in the way Dr. Ahrons mentioned, and to attempt to resolve custody matters, not only amicably, but in all cases without the involvement of the children, which parents often abuse. Often parents -- there's a syndrome called the overburdened child syndrome, where parents will make their children confidantes, lovers, friends, bring them into play into matters in which they have no business participating in.
COOPER: Professor Ahrons, how do -- how do you change that? How do you have that not happen?
AHRONS: Well, first of all, if the parents will enter into a process that is a civilized process -- you know, it's a family dynamic process, and it should be dealt with within that realm, not within a court.
COOPER: Professor Ahrons, we appreciate your expertise.
And William Beslow, thank you very much.
AHRONS: Sure, thank you.
COOPER: Not within the court and certainly not within the public court with release of tapes like this, the Baldwin-Basinger divorce continues to be costly.
There have been pricier breakups, however. Here's the raw data.
"Forbes" magazine has come out with its list of the most expensive celebrity divorces this week. At No. 3, Steven Spielberg and his first wife, Amy Irving. It's estimated to have cost the director $100 million.
In second place, Neil Diamond. The singer settled his divorce for roughly $150 million, which is pretty close to Michael Jordan's price tag, which could be the most expensive settlement ever. According to "Forbes", the former basketball star may end up giving his ex-wife more than $150 million.
Well, the Senate majority leader says the Iraq war is lost. And a presidential candidate is heard singing about bombing Iran. It's all in Raw Politics next.
Also ahead, a standoff in NASA. A gunman, hostages, high drama.
And an explosive crash caught by surveillance cameras. Take a look at that. At the gas pump, how it all happened, ahead, on 360.
COOPER: Well, with all that's happened this week, you might have missed a few inside the beltway items. Some say Attorney General Alberto Gonzales might be going over the classified ads in the Sunday paper. And the battle over whether the Iraq war is lost or won rolls on.
Nothing like a little "Raw Politics" to start the weekend. Here's Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, some "Raw Politics" inside the attorney general's widely panned performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.
Bottom line, Alberto Gonzales is still hanging onto his job, despite some pretty broad hints. Alabama's Jeff Sessions, a Bush loyalist, told CNN that Gonzales needs to spend the weekend thinking about whether he can still be effective.
Meanwhile, some Bush administration officials are leaking out names of possible Gonzales replacements. Yikes!
A caution for those measuring for curtains at the Justice Department: Gonzales' job is dependent on a constituency of one, George W. Bush, who pronounced himself pleased with Gonzales' testimony.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: As long as we follow the president's path in Iraq, the war is lost.
CROWLEY: Senator Harry Reid has stepped in it, suggesting that if the president's Iraq policy is followed, then, quote, "the war is lost," three words that set off Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain. McCain said he was taken aback that such a statement would be made while young men and women are in harm's way trying to win the war.
McCain is taking some incoming, as well.
MCCAIN: The old Beach Boys song, "Bomb Iran"?
(singing) Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran.
CROWLEY: The liberal group MoveOn is going to air ads in Iowa using McCain briefly singing "bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys song "Barbara Ann".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John McCain? We can't afford another reckless president.
CROWLEY: McCain says he was joking with old veteran friends, and critics ought to lighten up and get a life.
Lesson: unlike the 2000 Straight Talk Express, the 2007 version is getting word by word coverage.
Now, talking about your good hair days. John Edwards, whose quest for the presidency is built on an anti-poverty platform, says he will repay his campaign for those $400 hair cuts he got from a Beverly Hills stylist, two of them.
And that, Anderson, is Raw Politics.
COOPER: Candy, thanks. How do you spend $400? How much hair is there to cut?
Anyway, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us for the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, a deadly day at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Police say a gunman took a man and a woman hostage in a building there, killing the man before shooting himself to death. The woman was found unharmed.
The gunman worked for a NASA contractor. There's no word, though, on what sparked that shooting.
The FDA is looking into whether some ingredients used in the recalled pet food may have been intentionally spiked with a chemical to boost the amount of protein. That chemical, melamine, has been found in wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China. It is toxic to animals. It's primarily used in plastics and fertilizer.
Hog farms, by the way, are also now on alert. One in California has been quarantined after melamine was found in pig urine.
On Wall Street, stocks soaring this Friday. The Dow hit a third straight record high to close at 12,961. The blue chips gaining 153 points, following some strong earnings reports. The NASDAQ added 21, while the S&P climbed up 13.
And check out this video coming from a West Virginia gas station. A driver falls asleep at the wheel. As you can see, crashes into the gas pump, creating an explosion. He never slowed down, slammed into the convenience store, narrowly missing two men and the clerk.
Luckily, and perhaps amazingly here, no one was hurt badly. Just, Anderson, a few scrapes.
COOPER: Unbelievable video.
Up next on 360, the Virginia Tech gunman's sister speaks for the first time since the shootings. Her emotional words.
Plus, our revealing interview with Cho's roommates. From his odd behavior to his imaginary girlfriend named Jelly, they describe what it was like to live with someone who'd become a killer.
And we're going to be taking your calls in the upcoming hour. It's your chance to weigh in on the shootings and to ask question to Park Dietz and our other guest, Dr. Saltz. The toll-free number is 877-648-3639. That's 877-648-3639. Be right back.
COOPER: Did Cho Seung-Hui share his murderous plans? And how did he choose his first victims? Tonight, breaking news on how investigators are trying to find out.
CNN's David Mattingly is following the late breaking developments. He joins us now from Virginia Tech.
David, what you have learned?
MATTINGLY: Anderson, new details tonight. This coming from ABC News. They're reporting that Virginia state police -- that's the lead agency in this investigation -- are asking for new search warrants. They want to be able to look at phone records that belong to Cho. They also want to be able to look at his computer records. They want to get a look inside the server at Virginia Tech.
They will be looking for any sort of contact communication he might have had with anyone in the days leading up to his -- his rampage that happened on Monday. They will also be looking specifically at whether or not he sent any e-mail to Emily Hilscher. She was the first to die early Monday morning in a dormitory.
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