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Closing Arguments in Connecticut Home Invasion Murder Trial; California Gubernatorial Campaign Heats Up

Aired October 1, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us, everyone.

Tonight: gone, but not fired. The Michigan law enforcement official, an assistant attorney general who for months has singled out a college student for attacks, he's on leave, but his boss, Michigan's attorney general, is on record saying he can't be fired.

Tonight,: new evidence he can be and new evidence of close political ties between the attorney general and the man he admits is a bully on his staff. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

We're also "Keeping Them Honest" in a bitter campaign for the California's governor's office, claims and counterclaims about one of the candidates employing an illegal immigrant. The candidate says she will take a lie detector test. We're putting both sides' arguments to a fact-check.

And later: closing arguments in the crime trial that's riveted the country, the Connecticut home invasion horror, a woman and her two daughters held captive and killed at home, two men charged facing death. We will show you what happened in court today and what happened in the home when the robbery turned deadly.

We begin, though, tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with new developments in what is the strangest story we have been following in a long, long time, the case of an assistant attorney general in Michigan who, for months, has singled out a guy college student for attack.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, that's him on the left. And the college student is Chris Armstrong, and that's him on the right. Calls for Mr. Shirvell to be fired have been growing for days, since he appeared on this program.

Well, today, it was announced that Mr. Shirvell is now on voluntary personal leave. He's not been fired. He still has a job, but he faces a disciplinary hearing when he returns.

His boss is the attorney general of Michigan, Mike Cox. That's him. He says he can't fire Shirvell because Shirvell has the right of free speech in his spare time.

A lot of legal experts disagree, saying his actions go way beyond what's appropriate for a public official and way beyond matters of free speech. So, the question is, why hasn't he been fired or at least reprimanded?

On this program, the attorney general implied that Shirvell was just a minor functionary in his office. Well, tonight, we have uncovered evidence suggesting that Shirvell's political ties to the attorney general go way back. We will get to all that in a moment.

But, first, I just want to bring you up to speed on the case. Andrew Shirvell launched his blog targeting Chris Armstrong after Armstrong became the firstly openly gay student president of the University of Michigan. After months of being attacked online, confronted on campus by Shirvell, Chris Armstrong requested a public protection order on the 13th of last month.

The University of Michigan has also barred Shirvell from setting foot on campus, in part because of activity like this. A viewer sent in this photo of Andrew Shirvell picketing outside a nightclub that Christine O'Donnell was in. Shirvell also admits hanging around Armstrong's home at night with a video camera.

Now, remember, Chris Armstrong is a college student. Mr. Shirvell, though off-duty, is a public official. He's also a University of Michigan alum. So there's court action pending against Andrew Shirvell and a no-trespass order in effect. Yet, today, when we contacted the attorney general's office, they asked us for details about both from us, seemingly unaware of either.

We also uncovered evidence that calls into question Attorney General Cox's statements minimizing the role of and his connections to Andrew Shirvell.

I first asked him about those ties on Wednesday.


COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin last night on this program, a CNN legal analyst, said that this is more about you than about -- that -- about Shirvell. And he...


COOPER: ... he said that Shirvell is a political ally of yours who worked on your campaign, and that the -- you know, you campaigned on family values and weren't very supportive of -- of, you know, gay rights, and to fire him would be politically difficult for you, and that that plays a part in this story.

I wanted you to be able to respond to that.

COX: Well, you know, Mr. Toobin reminds me of the old joke, "I'm not a lawyer, but I play one on TV."


COOPER: He went on to emphasize it was a free speech issue and his hands were tied.

Other than attacking Toobin, though, he really didn't answer the question about his political ties.

Here's what we uncovered in a search of Michigan campaign finance records: thousands of dollars paid by the Cox campaign to Andrew Shirvell. And this goes back, way back to 2002, to a campaign, consulting fees, payroll fees, and other campaign-related expenses.

Shirvell, it turns out, also worked on Mr. Cox's 2006 campaign. As for his job, Attorney General Cox described him as a front-line grunt assistant prosecutor. In fact, he works in the office's -- in the office's appellate division, which makes him more than just a simple grunt.

We invited Mr. Cox to come back on the program and talk. He declined. He did, however, take a shot at former Attorney General and current Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who tweeted yesterday that if she were still attorney general, she would have fired Shirvell by now.

Cox said today: "I don't know why she's so freaking irresponsible. She went to Harvard Law School. The civil service rules are a huge shield for free speech, and she knows that."

Actually, we looked it up. Section 2-6, Subsection 1, Item B, Subitem 2 says: "An appointing authority may discipline a classified employee for just cause."

Just cause includes but is not limited to the following: conduct unbecoming a state employee.

Governor Granholm, who we ought the point out is a Democrat who does not share Attorney General Cox's political views, clearly believes Mr. Shirvell's conduct was unbecoming, and so does her predecessor, Frank Kelley, who was Michigan's attorney general for 37 years.


FRANK KELLEY, FORMER MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, when he was barred from the University of Michigan because of his actions, that raises the question of sexual harassment and intimidation.

Right away, there's laws against that. I would have my lawyers check into it. And if he had -- if he had done any of those things, he violated his agency and should be disciplined immediately.


COOPER: Well, joining us now is senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin, and Michigan Democratic State Representative Alma Wheeler Smith, who has also had run-ins with Andrew Shirvell.

Jeffrey, first of all, what do you make about these political ties? Clearly, Mike Cox knows Andrew Shirvell pretty well, going back to 2002. His campaign was paying money. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: In every attorney general's office where the attorney general is elected, there's kind of an inner circle of people who are political allies of the attorney general. There's nothing wrong with that. That's just -- you have to get elected...


COOPER: So, attorney general's offices are very political.

TOOBIN: They're political. You don't get to be attorney general in most states unless you are elected.

But if you are part of that inner circle, you are a political ally. There are a lot of people in the attorney general's office who are civil service employees who are not particularly political.

COOPER: Right. Attorney General Cox says: Look, I have 500 employees.

TOOBIN: Exactly. And he's right. And most of those are not political allies. They stay there through administrations.

But, clearly, Shirvell is a political ally. He is a campaign worker. And that puts him, not legally, but factually, in a very different category than the run-of-the-mill assistant attorney general.

COOPER: Representative Wheeler Smith, you have had run-ins with Andrew Shirvell over the years. You're a public official, though, so it's really not the same as this college student, Chris Armstrong. What is Andrew Shirvell like? What have your encounters been like?

ALMA WHEELER SMITH (D), MICHIGAN STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, the encounters have been hostile.

They have been rather intimidating. If I were a regular individual, I think I would have been very nervous about them. But I'm a politician, and I'm used to running across people who disagree with me. So, I certainly reached that point with Andrew Shirvell.

But, on a couple of occasions, he just got very aggressive in pursuing people that were associated with me. I had been asked to be on the board of a bank here in Ann Arbor, and I was challenged in that position, or the president of the bank was challenged because he appointed me to the board, because I was pro-choice. And...


COOPER: So, Shirvell contacted the president of the bank?

WHEELER SMITH: Yes, contacted the president of the bank, challenged him for putting me on the board, because the president of the bank was a Catholic.

And he said: She's pro-choice, and you really shouldn't be having anyone on your board who is pro-choice.


WHEELER SMITH: To his credit, the bank president said, you know, that's none of your business, and I have her on the board because she is a smart head, and I'm going to keep her.

COOPER: Let me -- Jeffrey, let me ask you...


COOPER: ... what does -- I mean, so he's on -- he's on leave now. He's going to face a disciplinary hearing when he comes back. Why do you think now this has happened? I mean, what -- what's going on?

TOOBIN: Because Mike Cox is feeling the heat. I mean, this has now become a major national story. You had Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, today talking about how dangerous it is when people are intimidated because of their sexuality.

This is something that is just so obviously offensive, so wrong, this conduct, that, even though Mike Cox has defended him in the past, and he's raised, frankly, what I think are phony First Amendment arguments in defense of Shirvell, it's just become politically untenable to keep him -- to keep him around.

And so they announced that he's leaving voluntarily. But the point is, he's out, at least temporarily.

COOPER: Representative Wheeler Smith, what do you think should happen in this case? I mean, you obviously believe, what, he should lose his job?

WHEELER SMITH: Well, I certainly think he should be dismissed.

He uses his presence in the attorney general's office as a bullying tactic. A student at -- at Michigan State university was in a counterpicket to one of the demonstrations that Andrew Shirvell was attending, and there was a clash of opinions. And Andrew used his position as attorney general, deputy attorney general with the university, Michigan State University in this case, to get the student dismissed from a course.

I think he is beyond the pale, if you will. He should be dismissed from the attorney general's office. He's using the power of that office, he's using the representation of the office in his encounters in order to intimidate and win favor and points for his cause.

COOPER: It's interesting. This has become now involved in -- in politics in Michigan the -- there's people now campaigning to be the new attorney general, because Mike Cox is -- is leaving in a few months.

(CROSSTALK) COOPER: The Democratic candidate says that he should be not only let go, but that the Republican candidate should also call upon the attorney general.

Do -- what would happen -- when Mike Cox leaves as attorney general, what happens to those, like, political appointee people? I mean, what -- what -- if Andrew Shirvell still had his job at that point, Jeff, what would happen?

TOOBIN: Well, he's a civil service employee, and -- and he's subject to the rule you just read. So, if the new attorney general said this was conduct unbecoming, he could fire him.

You know, it's worth pointing out that the First Amendment does not protect all words. You know, if I say to you, give me $1 million or I will kill you, that's extortion. That's a crime. I can go to prison for that. If someone in a workplace says to a subordinate, sleep with me and you will get a promotion, that's sexual harassment. They can be fired for that.


COOPER: That's not free speech.

TOOBIN: That's not -- none of those things are free speech, and just as this kind of conduct targeted at a -- an undergraduate at -- at the University of Michigan is not simply free speech.

Just because it's words doesn't mean you get a free ride, period -- period.

COOPER: We will continue to follow it.

Jeff Toobin, thanks.

Representative Alma Wheeler Smith, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Let us know what you think at home. Join the live chat now at

Up next: an apparent bombshell in the California governor's race, charges the Republican candidate knowingly employed an illegal immigrant, countercharges that this is a political setup. We will get beyond the mudslinging, bring you the facts.

And later: You're looking at heartbreaking pictures of a horror story in progress -- a wife, a mom, desperately pulling money out of the bank for the men who were holding her family captive. She would die soon after these images were taken. Her daughters died as well.

Today, closing arguments in the trial -- we will tell you what went -- what went on inside that courtroom.


COOPER: Well, charges and countercharges in the race to be California's next governor.

The Republican -- the charges are the Republican candidate, Meg Whitman, employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper. Now, Ms. Whitman says the controversy is being orchestrated by the campaign of her opponent, Jerry Brown.

Today, the former housekeeper spoke, along with her attorney, Gloria Allred, who unveiled what she said was a smoking-gun letter from the federal government questioning the housekeeper's status.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Until she decided to run for governor in 2009, it appears that Ms. Whitman had no problem or concern about employing an undocumented worker. Apparently, she knew that employing an undoc -- undocumented worker while running for a high-profile public office was a potential liability.

NICKY DIAZ SANTILLAN, FORMER HOUSEKEEPER FOR MEG WHITMAN: I was shocked and hurt that Ms. Whitman would treat me this way after nine years. I realized at that moment that she didn't appreciate my work. I felt like she was throwing me away like a piece of garbage.


COOPER: Well, that's the backdrop.

Tom Foreman has been fact-checking both sides' claims -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred clearly intended to drop a bombshell on Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman with all of this.

Her claim, as you said, is that Whitman knowingly employed an illegal immigrant named Nicky Diaz Santillan, exploited her, denied her wages, and finally fired her, and kept voters in the dark about all of this.

Whitman says, no. Listen.


ALLRED: ... attempt to deceive the public and hide the fact that she knew that she was employing an undocumented worker long before she fired Nicky in 2009 has failed. Meg Whitman is exposed as a liar and a hypocrite.

MEG WHITMAN (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Make no mistake, these allegations are completely untrue. They lack any merit whatsoever. This is truly a political smear on me, on my family, and based on lies.


COOPER: Tom, what's the truth here? FOREMAN: Well, we know that Nicky Santillan was Whitman's housekeeper. We know that she provided Whitman with Social Security card, a driver's license, and an official federal form that Ms. Santillan appears to have signed herself swearing that she's here legally.

Look at this, Anderson. She even put a little smiley face right down here on the whole thing. So the simple truth is that the immigration officials say, by law, that's all that Whitman had to check out. She didn't have to follow up on any of that.

It appears Social Security sent a letter to Ms. Whitman also and her husband saying there might have been a problem with Ms. Santillan's Social Security number. Ms. Allred says that letter is proof that they were in effect told that she was here illegally.

But immigration and Social Security officials said, no, lots of these letters go out for lots of reasons. It's not even necessarily a red flag. That's what they told me when I called today. And the candidate has said, when she found out about the illegal status, she did fire Ms. Santillan, which, under law, she would have to do, and she's even said she will take a lie detector test about all of this -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, let's look at the other side of the coin here. I mean, what don't we know?

FOREMAN: Well, what we don't know is, these accusations that Ms. Whitman somehow misused Ms. Santillan, we have no real proof of that.

Ms. Whitman's claim that her opponent, Jerry Brown, orchestrated this attack, we have no proof of that either. Although Ms. Allred is an avid supporter of Mr. Brown, she said she's had no contact with his campaign in all of this.

COOPER: Also, Gloria Allred has launched a similar claim late in a political race before, didn't she?

FOREMAN: Yes. Yes. Just before Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger won the governor's office, Ms. Allred went to the media with a woman who claimed that he fondled her and took lewd pictures of her on a movie set. In short, that case came to nothing.

But listen how Ms. Allred reacted when pressed about that on an L.A. radio show this week, Anderson.


HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You did this to Arnold in August of 2003 for Rhonda Miller. Did Rhonda ever win a judgment against Arnold?

Making allegations against a gubernatorial candidate?

ALLRED: Yes, I made allegations. Yes, that's true.

HEWITT: Did Rhonda win a judgment?

ALLRED: Rhonda did not proceed with her case through litigation.

HEWITT: Is that a no?

ALLRED: Well, she decided not to go -- the case was litigated, and the case basically ended up being dismissed. She decided not to appeal.

HEWITT: Oh, it was dismissed.

ALLRED: Wait a minute. She decided not to appeal from the dismissal, which she had every right to do.


FOREMAN: We cut that down to give you just the essence of it, but while she kept saying that she wants to get the facts out in this new case, she showed no real interest in being cross-examined on them.

In fact, in the end, she hung up on Hugh Hewitt, the talk show host there.

So, Anderson, on our scale, the claims against Ms. Whitman in this case appear to be a very tall tale.

COOPER: Tall tale, indeed.

Tom, thanks for that, "Keeping Them Honest."

Still ahead on 360: just the -- the story that has just shocked the nation. The Connecticut home invasion murder trial, it is now headed to the jury. The man accused of murdering Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, along with an alleged accomplice, could get the death penalty. But did prosecutors present a strong enough case? We're digging deeper tonight.

And a motorcycle leads police on a wild chase in Indiana, reaching speeds up to 100 miles an hour. We're going to show you how it all ended.


COOPER: Coming up on 360: Find out about the U.S. government medical experiment conducted in Guatemala that the State Department now calls reprehensible.

But, first, Joe Johns has a 360 bulletin -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, deadly flooding along the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Northeast has caused at least eight deaths, including seven in North Carolina, which has suffered the worst flooding, with many areas submerged. Many people there had to be rescued by boat. The town of Windsor is said to be in dire condition, with water six feet deep in many homes and businesses. Rescuers in Chile now believe they may reach the 33 trapped miners later this month, rather than in November. That's because they have successfully tested a rescue capsule and drills are cutting ever closer to those miners, who have been stuck in that mine since August 5.

No luck so far in the search for two American balloonists lost off the coast of Italy two days ago. They were competitors in an international balloon race, and organizers say it looks like their balloon made a rapid decent into the Adriatic Sea during rough weather.

And a guy on a motorcycle tried to outrun Indiana police yesterday, bobbing in and out of traffic during a high-speed chase that stretched across three counties. In the end, he ditched the bike, and apparently tried to run away. But, as you can see there, he just didn't get very far at all.

COOPER: It's so stupid. Everyone gets caught in the end. I don't know why people try to do this.

JOHNS: Yes, I don't know.


JOHNS: It's amazing.

COOPER: All right.

You likely heard about the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. Tyler, who was 18 years old, took his life after a video of him having a sexual encounter with another man was broadcast online secretly by his roommate.

A criminal charge has been filed against two students. The president of Rutgers today pledged to meet with the school's gay community to explore how he can -- quote -- "better support their needs."

That pledge, though, comes just a day after Tyler's body was pulled from the Hudson River.

Now, all next week, we're going to be taking a hard look at bullying, why it's happening, and what all of us can do to stop it. We are going to hear from experts, from educators, and from kids who live with the painful taunts and attacks every day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came out of the closet as gay in eighth grade. A kid had a knife on school premises, and said: "I'm going to kill him. I want that faggot dead."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been verbally abused because of my religion. I'm a Muslim girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't even see him coming. He just came out of nowhere and hit me.

COOPER (voice-over): Bullying -- not only at school -- it follows kids home, online, on their cell phones, nowhere to hide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People can just post things anonymously. It's for bullies that are afraid to say it to your face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "You're fat. You should just kill yourself. We don't need you in our school. The world would go on without you."

COOPER: Other kids bystanders scared into silence.

(on camera): Is there a fear in talking to teachers or talking to the principal?




COOPER: How so?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You -- you could just get called a snitch.

COOPER: It can actually make it worse?


COOPER: As for the victims, a long day at school or back at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just think, I have to go face them again. I have to spend another eight hours in that prison. And no matter what you do, you can't escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death is the only escape, because, if you kill yourself, it's done. You don't have to do it anymore.


COOPER: "Bullying: No Escape" all next week right here on 360, and then a special town hall at the end of the week.

Up next on the program: closing arguments today in the home invasion murder trial in Connecticut, a mom, her daughters brutally killed. We want to take you "Up Close" tonight. What really happened inside that home? How did a robbery turn into murder? And what are the chances the two men accused of the crime will get the death penalty?

Also tonight, we have all seen surfers riding big waves, but what is it like -- what is it like to ride a monster wave, 80-, 90-, even a 100-foot wave? World-renowned surfer Laird Hamilton joins us, taking us inside the waves many thought impossible to ride, but he does.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, the home invasion and murder trial in Connecticut. The closing arguments were made today. The jury could begin deliberating on Monday.

Steven Hayes is accused of murdering Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters back in 2007. During the trial police testified that Hayes drove Hawke-Petit to a bank -- and this is the video from the bank -- demanded she withdraw $15,000 while his alleged accomplice stayed back at the house, holding her family hostage.

The video here was taken just a short time before Mrs. Hawke- Petit was killed. She hoped the money would buy their freedom. It was not to be.

Hayes could face the death penalty if convicted. Now, in a moment we're going to talk to Jeff Toobin and Sunny Hostin about what happened in court today. But first Randi Kaye takes a look at what we know about the crime.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A vibrant house in a quiet Connecticut suburb became a house of terror and horror. That's how the prosecutor described it in today's closing arguments against Steven Hayes. He is accused of raping and strangling Jennifer Hawke- Petit.

Police say he and accomplice Joshua Komisarjevsky broke into the family's home back in 2007. Komisarjevsky, they say, sexually assaulted 11-year-old Michaela Petit, then left her and her sister, Haley, to die in a fire they allegedly set. Only Dr. William Petit escaped, though he was brutally beaten.

In court today, the prosecutor said it all began on a classic July summer day. The Petit family went to church. Dr. Petit played golf and picked up corn to have with dinner on his way home. His wife and daughters went to the supermarket.

The defense closed by suggesting it was Komisarjevsky, who goes on trial later, not Steven Hayes, who is to blame. Hayes' defense attorney admitted, quote, "He's guilty of sexual assault of Mrs. Petit. There isn't any question about it." But he added he kills Jennifer Petit at the request of Joshua Komisarjevsky.

The defense told the jury Hayes is no angel but said it was Komisarjevsky who controlled the situation, and that things just got out of control.

The prosecution fired back, saying, "He said things got out of control. It wasn't things, it was them. They were out of control."

This is the moment jurors may never forget. That's Mrs. Hawke- Petit at her bank in Cheshire, Connecticut, where she was last seen alive July 23, 2007, 9:17 a.m. Surveillance video shows her desperate attempt to save her family, withdrawing $15,000 from her bank. She hoped that money would be enough to convince the two suspects to spare her family's lives.

At the bank, she reaches out for help but has to be discrete, because Steven Hayes was allegedly outside. The bank manager quietly calls 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. The people are in a car outside the bank. She is getting $15,000, that if the police are told they will kill her children and the husband. She is petrified.

KAYE: minutes later, she leaves the bank with the ransom money, and within hours she is murdered.

(on camera) During the trial, the details of the attack and the sheer brutality of it brought jurors to tears. They were forced to look at pictures of the victims' burned bodies and hear how the girls were allegedly tied to their beds before bleach and gasoline were poured over them.

(voice-over) Husband and father William Petit sat through nearly all of it, stoic at times, crying during others. He would leave the court when the evidence was too graphic for him to bear. But mostly, he sat, gripping the courtroom banister, staring at the alleged murderer of his wife and children.

Both Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky have pleaded not guilty to try and avoid the death penalty. They are being tried separately, but prosecutors say they are both equally guilty, that they acted together to rape, rob and kill.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: Unbelievable.

"Digging Deeper" now, Jeffrey Toobin is back with us. He's CNN senior legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. And Sunny Hostin, a legal contributor on "In Session," which is on our sister network, TruTV. She's also a former federal prosecutor.

Sunny, did the defense really try to do everything they could to basically pawn responsibility off onto the other co-defendant, away from Hayes, and portray the other guy as kind of the ring leader. Did it work?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": I don't think it worked. It certainly was their strategy throughout this trial, and what they started with their closing was "We have all been affected by this gruesome evidence." And that is how the defense started their closing argument.

But I think it was clear when you saw the reactions of the jury, and two of the jurors were crying. There were reporters in the courtroom, Anderson, that were crying during the prosecution's rebuttal. I think it was pretty clear that they may not have bought this argument that Komisarjevsky was the ring leader, and Hayes was just sort of along for the ride and had no responsibility.

I will say, though, that the defense did admit to Jennifer Hawke- Petit's murder. They did admit to her sexual assault. They admitted the burglary. They admitted the arson. They did not concede that Hayes was responsible for the deaths of the two girls. I think that was what they were most concerned about...

COOPER: Right.

HOSTIN: ... because they died so horrifically.

COOPER: Jeff, in capital cases it's common for the defense to kind of try to plant seeds in this phase of a trial that they have an impact later on. Did that happen?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's clearly been the strategy from day one. Look, they're saying, "We don't want to convince 12 people that he's not guilty. We want to persuade one person that he doesn't deserve the death penalty."

COOPER: Because that's all it takes.

TOOBIN: That's all it takes." And the -- and frankly, I think that's all the defense could do here. In the end, the defense -- the evidence is far too overwhelming to contest whether he was, in fact, guilty.

And, you know, when you are conceding rape and murder just for starters, I mean, gives you an idea how bad this crime is and how bad the case is.

I don't know how the jury will react. Remember, this is Connecticut. This is not a state that has many death penalty cases. You don't have patterns for knowing what jurors react to in death penalty cases and not.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: But the jurors -- one thing prosecutors always can say in a case like this is, if not the death penalty for this case, then for what?

COOPER: You know, Sunny, we've seen the pictures now of this guy buying, I guess it was Hayes, buying gasoline before they even did this job. You know, did the robbery that then turned into the murder. That seems to show premeditation to at least want to burn down the house, which seems to indicate they maybe were planning to kill these people.

HOSTIN: Well, certainly, and I think that's been the question all along. Did he have the intent to kill? Because in his statement to the detective that interviewed him right afterwards, he said, "I was just in this for the money. The plan changed. Things got out of control." But the fact that he was caught, as we're showing, on tape buying gasoline, and he also admitted to pouring gasoline on the staircase, which was the only exit for the Petit girls, I think it's very difficult to believe that he was just in it for the money and had no intent to kill them. It just really doesn't make sense.

And I'm sure this is something that the jury is going to have to grapple with. But bottom line is, does it make sense?

TOOBIN: The rape also hurts him on the "just in it for the money" defense.

COOPER: Right. There was also accelerant used around the bed, I think, of the girls.

TOOBIN: Right. And that's what they were contesting at summation today. I mean, it's not very -- it's sort of not very credible to think that he poured the gasoline on the stairs but not by the girls, but that's the defense.

COOPER: Right. Sunny, how long do you think it would take for a jury to come back with a verdict?

HOSTIN: It's interesting. It's something that we've been talking about sort of behind the scenes, how long is this going to take? And I don't know what Jeff thinks, but I would say this case is going to the jury mid-afternoon on Monday. And I think we'll have a verdict by Monday.

One thing that I did notice in the courtroom, and I've tried, you know, sex crime cases, juries usually don't want to look at the defendant, because it's hard to pass judgment on another person. This jury, Anderson looked at the pictures of this horrible crime and glared at this defendant. They were certainly ready to pass judgment on this defendant. So I think we'll have a verdict by Monday.

COOPER: Jeff, do you think it will be that quick?

TOOBIN: I don't know when it will be, but I know what -- what the verdict will be. I think this trial will really begin in the penalty phase.

COOPER: And then how do we find -- how long until we find out about whether or not it's a death penalty?

TOOBIN: Well, they usually move right into the penalty phase, if not that day.

COOPER: So they're not going to wait for the trial of the other guy?

TOOBIN: No, no, no, they go with the same trial.

COOPER: All right, Jeff Toobin, thanks. Sunny Hostin, as well. Appreciate it. It's a tough case to cover. Appreciate your talking to us about it. Still ahead tonight, the California couple accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive for nearly two decades. They faced a judge and the charges against them.

Plus, chasing danger. Giant waves and the surfers who dare to ride them. These images are amazing. You've got to watch this. We talked to pro surfer Laird Hamilton about what it's like riding 100- foot waves.


COOPER: You've got to feel extraordinarily alive in that moment.



COOPER: Tonight, a look at a little-known monster, the kind that can swallow ships whole but can also be a thing of beauty to behold. Talking about rogue waves, massive ocean swells, hundreds of feet high.

For years scientists denied they even existed, but now author Susan Casey has written "The Wave," a book that reveals the truth about these magnificent monsters and the world-class surfers who search the world for the chance to ride them.

Legendary surfer Laird Hamilton has pioneered the sport of riding huge waves. He's towed onto them by a Jet Ski. You can't paddle into these things. I sat down with Casey and Laird Hamilton for this week's "Big 360 Interview."


COOPER: Laird, when you started surfing, what was the biggest wave that people thought you could -- that one could surf?

HAMILTON: You know, probably in the 20- to 25-foot range, which would mean, you know, maybe a 30- or 40-foot face. The front of it would be 30 or 40 feet, which had at that time been the biggest waves anybody had ever ridden and was about the limit of your physical capability.

COOPER: What's your biggest wave you've ridden now?

HAMILTON: Eight to ten stories.

COOPER: Eight to ten stories. How many feet is that?

HAMILTON: You know, I mean, it's -- I always have a hard time saying it, but I know wave that we were on waves that, like, were 100 feet. We've been on waves that are -- I could say 100 feet, no higher, maybe a little less, but at that point it doesn't really matter. It's giant. COOPER: And I mean, what is it -- I mean, it's eight to ten stories, but it's moving and, I mean, explain the -- what that really means, eight to ten stories.

SUSAN CASEY, AUTHOR, "THE WAVE": Well, it is. It's an apartment building that's moving. And when they get above 60 feet, they start to do something a little different. They get more vertical, and they -- they actually advance as a vertical wall for a little bit of time, with feathering happening at the time, before all the energy can sort of gather itself up in order to break. Like, is that land? Is that the moon doing something? And in fact it's, you know, there's a moment of recognition where it's like, oh, no, that's a wave.

COOPER: And when you're riding that, I mean, you can't -- obviously, you don't -- do you have a sense of how big...

HAMILTON: Look back.

COOPER: You don't look back, do you?

HAMILTON: If you have the time to look back, then you're -- you're in a really luxurious position at that point. But, yes, no, normally you're not -- you can feel it.

COOPER: You feel it.

HAMILTON: You feel it. You know where it is.

COOPER: You must hear it.

HAMILTON: Hear it, but it's one of the few things you're actually able to do where you're looking ahead to see what's behind you. And you can know what the water is doing in front of you, and that will tell you what the wave is doing behind you.

COOPER: You've got to feel extraordinarily alive in that moment.

HAMILTON: Absolutely. Nothing like it.

COOPER: Right.

HAMILTON: I mean, it's...

COOPER: Every molecule has got to be sort of trained.

HAMILTON: Everything's turned on. Your hearing is as good as it ever is going to be. Your vision is as strong as it's ever going to be. Your -- your decision-making is as -- as acute as it's ever going to be, and you really are -- you have no exterior, you know, cluster. There's no -- there's nothing coming in. You're not thinking, "I've got to be somewhere." You don't have any distractions.

COOPER: "I've got to take the garbage out," nothing.

HAMILTON: None of that. No taxes, nothing. It's zero. You've got one thing, which is to -- is to make it, and when you -- and when you ever get in a position where you feel like you're not, you know right away, and you're like, "OK, here we go." It's all...

COOPER: You know you're going to fall?


COOPER: I think what a lot of people don't realize is, in some of these places, in Tahiti and other places, if you fall off an eight- to ten-story wave, you're hitting coral in many cases.

HAMILTON: Absolutely. I mean, of course, you know, live coral bottoms in places where you're surfing, barrier reefs. We're surfing...

COOPER: And the coral is only a few feet from maybe the surface of the water.

HAMILTON: Sometimes, it can be as shallow as six to eight feet. Could be even shallower, depending on the wave and the -- and the position.

I mean, we have other issues on deeper water waves, where you can be held down, where it's breaking in 50 or 60 feet of water, where, you know, Tahiti, you have the issue of hitting the bottom. In another place, in Hawaii like King's Reef or Jaws, you have the issue of being held down.

COOPER: Jaws is a -- is a big wave in Hawaii.


CASEY: Right. The notion of being like pinned underwater on a 60-foot wave, you know, with your head coming up against a cave, it just was so terrifying that I wanted to see it. So we swam out and looked around, and there were these crevices and like little gullies and overhangs. And you could easily, you know, see how a body would just get pinned in there.

COOPER: Are you scared, though?

HAMILTON: Yes. I mean, you want to be scared. I mean, if you're not scared, you're not assessing what's happening.

COOPER: So fear is a good thing?

HAMILTON: Absolutely. It's a fear -- it's a fair assessment of what's occurring. If you're out and it's 80 feet or 60 feet, and -- and you're being held down, you want to be scared. I mean, that's -- that's only good math. You know?

COOPER: I read in the book you say, "If I scare myself once every day I'm a better person. It helps to have that jolt of perspective that life is fragile."

HAMILTON: Absolutely. Critical.

COOPER: Keeps things in perspective? HAMILTON: Because that's really the truth of how it is. Our existence is -- you know, dying is easy. It happens in two seconds. Living is a tricky game. And so to think that it's not ever-present, to be in denial of death's presence, is like -- is not a fair assessment of living.

COOPER: Are there more big waves than there used to be? Is something changing in the ocean?

CASEY: Well, this is one of the main questions that I set out to answer. And I asked every scientist that I came into contact with this exact question. And to a person they said yes.

There were varying degrees of how they said it. Occasionally, they would say, yes, you know, because they're scientists and climate change is such a complicated and, you know, big thing. And we don't fully understand it.

But the things that they do know are that the sea levels are rising, which of course means, you know, higher water, and that there is -- the extremes are getting more extremes.

COOPER: What do the giant waves tell us?

CASEY: I think that nature is a lot more powerful than we are. Insofar as we want to live next to the ocean, and 60 percent of the global population lives within 30 miles of a coastline, we need to spend more time understanding it.

COOPER: There is -- the ocean is really not well known in so many ways.

CASEY: Not at all.

HAMILTON: It's our life support system. That's what people don't realize. It's our life support system for our planet.


COOPER: The book is "The Wave." It's really cool and Laird Hamilton is a just incredible, incredible surfer.

Up next, an apology for a horrible, unthinkable experiment. The U.S. government says it's sorry for intentionally infecting people in Guatemala with sexually transmitted diseases decades ago.

Plus, take a look at this: Anderson Cooper arrested. What? We'll tell what you really happened, next.


COOPER: All right, so a headline caught my eye today. And once you see it, I think you can guess why. Take a look.

The headline -- I don't know if you can see it there -- says, "Anderson Cooper and 1 arrested in Internet scam." So I was very worried when I read this, and of course, I realized I hadn't actually been arrested, so I stopped kind of freaking out.

But it turns out two guys, both from Africa, were arrested in the Philippines today. According to officials, a Filipino businesswoman got an e-mail from Anderson Cooper, claiming that I'd just arrive in Manila with a suitcase filled with $10 million. Apparently, the woman was waiting for a package from her boyfriend who lives in Africa, so she assumed this was it, which of course, makes absolutely no sense either. Let's just ignore that part of the story.

Anyway, she was told she'd have to pay $500 to get the suitcase with $10 million out of customs. So she met with Anderson Cooper, who's this guy, and yes, he is from Africa. Apparently, that didn't raise any suspicion with her either. And she paid the money.

Later, she realized her mistake, and the police nabbed Anderson Cooper, and it turns out the person playing the part of me was McDonald Tony Bombaka.

My favorite part of the whole story is the quote in the article from one of the law enforcement officers. Let's put it on the screen. Yes. I don't know what it says. I don't -- I don't read Tagalog, but I just thought it was kind of funny. And I think here's another page to it, isn't there? Or is that the whole quote? Oh, that's the whole quote. All right. No idea what it means, but I liked the looks of it.

Anyway, so if you get an e-mail saying that I've arrived in your town with a suitcase full of $10 million, probably not true. I'm not Oprah.

We're following several other important stories tonight. Joe Johns is back with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's incredible, Anderson.

New charges today in the Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case. Phillip and Nancy Garrido, the California couple accused of holding Dugard captive for nearly two decades, face at least 18 counts, including kidnapping and rape. They previously pleaded not guilty to 29 felony counts.

President Obama today offered his, quote, "profound apology" to the president of Guatemala for a study that infected hundreds in that country with sexually transmitted diseases. The 1940s experiments were similar to those conducted on poor African-Americans in Tuskegee, Alabama, some 40 years ago.

It's official. President Obama today announced Rahm Emanuel has stepped down as White House chief of staff. The president praised Emanuel for his, quote, "unmatched level of energy and enthusiasm." Emanuel, who is expected to run for mayor of Chicago, has been temporarily replaced by his deputy, Pete rouse.

Remember in May when the stock market took a sudden nose dive and no one knew why? Federal regulators today said the so-called "flash crash" was sparked by a large investor using automatic trading software to sell futures contracts. The name of the investor was not released.

And how's this for a mix up? Football star Chad Ochocinco's new cereal is being pulled from the shelves after the makers realized a phone number on the boxes is a sex line. It should have been for a children's charity. Ochocinco has apologized. And as for the sex line, it has been disconnected.

That is just pretty incredible. How do you mess that up?

COOPER: Yes, that's -- that is some mistake.

All right. So, Joe, I've got to admit. I'm not a fan of people trying to be funny on airplanes or, like, pilots who like to talk a lot when passengers just want to sleep. I feel like I don't tell the pilots my troubles at work. I'd rather they not explain the route in excruciating detail. But anyway, this video shows some flight attendants who, well, just wanted to dance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When outside the aircraft, manual inflation tubes are on both sides. Blow to release air. Push and release air. Lights will automatically illuminate once the tab is immersed in water. Do not inflate the vest inside the aircraft. Please be reminded that unauthorized removal of flight vests from this aircraft is a criminal offense.


COOPER: Katy Perry and to Lady Gaga. We found this video on YouTube. I don't know. On Huffington Post. I've got to say this is the point where I would have demanded to get off the airplane.

It was shot aboard a flight on Cebu Pacific Airlines, a Philippine carrier, which is actually where that Internet scam was, as well. The flight attendants dancing, obviously, just danced to Lady Gaga and to Katy Perry's "California Girls." Passengers actually gave them a round of applause at the end of the demonstration.

JOHNS: They're having too much fun. Somebody's got to file a complaint.

COOPER: Right, exactly.

All right, Joe, have a great weekend.

Up next, a special report. Three-sixty M.D. Sanjay Gupta on the "Doctor Detectives," saving lives in cases too tough for anyone else.

I'll see you Monday.