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Unrest Grows in Syria; Shocking Day in Casey Anthony Trial

Aired June 17, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Breaking news tonight: On a day of bloodshed and murder in Syria, we learn tonight that the Obama administration is taking early steps that would be needed to indict Syria's dictator and make a case against him as a global war criminal, to bring Bashar al-Assad before the same international court that tried Slobodan Milosevic and other butchers, to free Syrians from having to ask what one refugee recently asked of our CNN correspondent Arwa Damon: Why is our president killing us?

They ask that daily in Syria, and daily they are answered with lies and with gunfire and with torture.

As always, a warning: There's graphic video ahead tonight.

Today, massive new demonstrations across Syria. Because the regime doesn't let reporters in, this is amateur video, in this case of what seems to be a peaceful protest in homes that quickly turns into a killing zone. You will hear shortly from a Syrian human rights activist who says at least 19 people were killed today, estimates are at least 1,100 since the uprising began, 1,100 who died, most of them simply because they have called for freedom.

And human rights groups say 10,000 people have been arrested, even the young children taken, tortured, murdered, then returned to their families to terrify them into silence and obedience.

As we have tried to document on this program, the Assad regime is also engaged in a campaign of mass-produced lying, lying to its own people and lying to the rest of the world.

Listen to what a spokeswoman for the regime recently told the BBC about the people who fled by the thousands into Turkey from a northern Syrian town that had been targeted for retribution by Assad's military and security forces.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The army has not moved into this area. This is a farm. So, who are they fleeing from? They are fleeing from these armed groups who have massacred 120 people. There is no army in Jisr Al-Shugur.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The armed groups she mentioned is the term they always use to describe overwhelmingly unarmed protesters.

She claims there was no army in Jisr Al-Shugur. She said that on the 9th. Troops rolled into that town on the 10th. Yet, even as she was speaking, security forces had already occupied a neighboring town. Fleeing refugees were already reporting columns on the outskirts of the city. They were already telling us that troops were burning their crops, torching their wheat fields as punishment.

Then, the next day, even Syrian state TV showed scenes like these troops on mostly now abandoned streets of Jisr Al-Shugur. They said they were liberating the people from armed thugs who had killed Syrian troops. Yet, the city streets they liberated are largely deserted.

And now that city is a ghost town. YouTube video shows -- from just yesterday shows tanks and choppers still surrounding it. Again, the spokeswoman, this attractive face of a very ugly regime, saying -- quote -- "The army has not moved into this area. This is a fact."

In fact, troops were in the area as she said those words, and in the city the very next day. And listen to how she explains those refugees.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of them find it very easy to move across because their relatives are there. It's a little bit like having a problem in your street and your mom lives in the next street, so you go and visit your mom for a bit.


COOPER: Like having a problem in your street, she says, like visiting your mom, she says, in her British-accented English.

She's trying to make it all seem normal. Refugees fleeing in terror is a normal family visit to her. There is no normal in Syria right now, except oppression and murder. That is normal now. Take a look at what happened to these apparently unarmed protesters. They can't even make it out of that alley.

They're hemmed in by tanks and snipers, as, one by one, they make a life-or-death decision whether to even cross the street. Watch. By the way, that spokeswoman you saw talking to the BBC was replaced and demoted this week by the regime. We can only assume her lies were so obvious, they became an embarrassment.

But that doesn't mean the lies will stop. The regime denied reports of a mass grave near the city of Daraa, remember, the one you're looking at right now, as many as 20 bodies reportedly dumped into a shallow ditch. And what of the little 13-year-old boy named Hamza, who we showed you moments ago, arrested, tortured, killed, held for a month? That's all that remained of his body after that. The regime denied it all. They say his injuries, which, according to observers, including having his penis cut off, were the result of the body naturally decomposing. Then, after all that, they trotted out his father and uncle to praise the regime on state TV, the father calling Bashar al- Assad -- quote -- "the best president ever."

The lies will not stop because they have changed the spokesperson. The regime of Syria has to lie, because the truth of what they are doing is too monstrous to admit -- again, 19 reported dead today, at 1,100 killed so far.

And tonight's breaking news: the Obama administration gathering evidence of possible Syrian war crimes, considering whether or not to refer it to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

I talked about all this evening with Professor Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Hoover Institution, as well as Wissam Tarif, a Syrian human rights activist.


COOPER: Fouad, how important do you think is that -- that -- this report now that Obama administration is possibly looking into referring charges to the International Criminal Court?


This is a moment of reckoning for the Obama administration. You will remember, even two-and-a-half years ago, when President Obama came to office, he had the promise of engaging the regimes both in Tehran and Damascus.

And even as late as May 19, just about three, four weeks ago, President Obama was still holding open the possibility for Bashar that he could either lead Syria towards reform or get out of the way. So, now the decision to refer him to the International Criminal Court is the right decision. It's a little too late for the Obama administration, but better late than never.

COOPER: Wissam, you're actually in The Hague right now. And you have submitted to the ICC evidence of crimes against humanity by the Assad regime. What kind of crimes?

WISSAM TARIF, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, the Syrian regime have committed -- have seized city, used the army against civilians.

We have enough evidence, and we have already submitted the communication to the office of the prosecutor of the ICC with enough evidence that support the claim that there are crimes against humanity committed by the regime and the head of the regime, President al- Assad, in Syria.

COOPER: How important do you think it is for the U.S. to be involved in this process? TARIF: Well, the court, the ICC, does not have jurisdiction in Syria, as Syria is not a member of the Rome Statute. Nevertheless, the ICC has jurisdiction when it comes to the type of crime, because it's crime against humanity, and also the crimes happened after 2002.

Nevertheless, to -- for the ICC to have full jurisdiction on the case, we need a United Nations Security Council resolution. And to have the Obama administration board calling for a referral is of extreme importance to start moving toward a -- seeing some justice happening in Syria.

COOPER: Fouad, does this have an impact? Would it have an impact, do you think, if the U.S. got involved? It's not sure if Bashar is going to be particularly concerned about the ICC, is he?

AJAMI: Well, I think he will be concerned. We're not going to send the Marines and get this man and bring him to The Hague, but I think it's very important that he be identified for the criminal that he is, because this is a young man, a young ruler who had illusions about being a member of the community of nations.

He is now being banished. What Wissam and his colleagues are doing, they're in fact telling us that there's a future for Syria beyond Bashar al-Assad.

And I think, for the Obama administration, again, all the illusions pinned on dealing with Bashar, the illusions entertained by none other than Senator John Kerry, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, that Bashar will see the light of day, all this is junk.

COOPER: Wissam, every Friday, I -- in one sense, I sort of hope for what is going to happen in Syria, that -- that people will continue to come out and protest. On the other hand, I fear the inevitable crackdown, the inevitable murders that will occur.

What happened today? How bad was it?

TARIF: Indeed, Anderson.

Unfortunately, today, also the military and the security forces continued oppressing the protesters. And the death toll so far is 19. We're talking about hundreds of people detained. We're talking about more than 60 people injured all over Syria.

This Friday, the number of protesters at Hama (INAUDIBLE) Damascus occurs. All over Syria, the crowd was much bigger and people are sending a very clear message. No one is talking about reform anymore. I think it's too late. We have reached the point of no return quite awhile ago.

And the crowds are asking al-Assad to step down and to leave. And now the question is how the transition can happen, what and how can the transition happen. I think that is the important question, that the Syrian opposition has to assume the responsibility and start answering it.

COOPER: Have you started to see, Fouad, cracks in the regime?

AJAMI: Well, that's the hope. The hope is that, in fact, this regime would crack from within, because we know there is no foreign military intervention.

You have NATO's secretary-general -- just in case Bashar doubted that maybe he should worry about NATO, you have the secretary-general of NATO saying, we intend not intervention in Syria. So, the hope is that it will be from within.

And, in fact, the Syrian opposition is now doing something very important and very intelligent. They are speaking to the Alawi community, to the community from which Bashar al-Assad hails. And they are telling them...

COOPER: Which is a relatively small community in the overall population.

AJAMI: Absolutely small, but powerful enough and located in the intelligence services and the army and the killer brigades which are controlled and led by Bashar's younger brother.

COOPER: So, the protesters are trying to speak to that community, saying what?

AJAMI: They are saying to them, look, you don't have to go down with this man and with this regime and with this ruling cabal. There is a life for you after Bashar.

And they are trying to reassure them that it's not Bashar's tyranny or Muslim fundamentalism. Don't be afraid of your fellow Syrians. That really is the message of the protests at this time.

COOPER: Wissam, what is it that continues to bring people out in the streets? Because they know what is going to happen. They know some of their numbers are going to get killed. They know that women and children are going to get killed, that men will be killed and tortured and taken.

TARIF: Freedom. People want to live free, enjoy freedom, be able to contribute and build their own future. It's as simple as that. And the young people of Syria have taken that decision, and they are not going back to their homes.

COOPER: Wissam Tarif, thank you.

Fouad Ajami, thank you very much.


COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight as well.

Up next: a "Keeping Them Honest" report that is going to make you angry and wonder why no one in the government is stepping up and taking responsibility -- a U.S. government operation that was supposed to track guns and smugglers in Mexican drug cartels, well, it managed to lose track of 1,800 weapons, including one that ended up being used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent. And, so far, not one single high government official in the U.S. has taken responsibility. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And later: a shocking day in the Casey Anthony trial, a fistfight outside the court, damaging testimony inside the court. And the defense's surprise witness says he has nothing to do with this case at all. We will have the latest and talk with Casey's father's attorney.


COOPER: Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest": new developments in an epic government foul-up that no one is taking responsibility for. And this is a foul-up that ended up with a U.S. Border Patrol agent dead.

This is the name who died. His name was Brian Terry, shot dead less than two weeks before Christmas.


ROBERT HEYER, COUSIN OF KILLED BORDER AGENT: Brian's attention to detail had insured that all the Christmas gifts he had meticulously selected for his family had already been bought and sent in the mail prior to his arrival.

Brian did ultimately come home that Christmas. We buried him not far from the house that he was raised in just prior to Christmas Day.


COOPER: That was Brian Terry's cousin, who's a Secret Service agent, testifying before the House Oversight Committee.

Now, this all started with an ATF operation called Fast and Furious, which was aimed at tracking the flow of guns like these into Mexico. But it all went terribly wrong. The ATF lost track of at least 1,800 weapons that went into Mexico, including the weapon that ended up being used to kill Agent Terry.

Now, this was a high-level operation. It's the kind of operation that an attorney general may sign off on or even someone in the White House. But, so far, no one has taken responsibility. There's late word tonight in Washington that head of the ATF may actually lose his job over this. But neither he nor his bosses have yet to stand up and say the mistake was theirs.

Here's White House spokesman Jay Carney earlier today.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you that, as the president has already said, he did not know about or authorize this operation. But the Department of Justice has said repeatedly that fighting criminal activity along the Southwest border, including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico, has been and is a priority of the department.


COOPER: And Attorney General Holder, well, last month, he told the oversight committee that he'd only heard of the operation a few weeks ago -- a few weeks before, even though a federal agent had died as a result of it months before that.


REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Now that you have been briefed on it, the president has said on March 22 that you didn't authorize it. Did your deputy attorney general, James Cole, authorize it?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: My guess would be no.

ISSA: How about the head of the Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer? Did he authorize it?

HOLDER: I'm not sure whether Mr. Breuer authorized it.


COOPER: Well, he went on to say he would wait to see more until an ATF inspector general finishes investigating.

Now, we put Drew Griffin and the CNN Special Investigations Unit on the story, "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): December 14 of last year, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry approaches what looks like a routine scene, men gathered along the Arizona-Mexico border.

It turns out they are bandits helping smuggle illegals into the U.S. There's a gunfight, and Agent Terry is shot dead. An investigation reveals the weapon used to kill him was purchased in the U.S. And here's the catch. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms knew about that illegal weapon and actually allowed it into Mexico.

(on camera): And, in fact, you believe the people who formulated this plan have blood on their hands?


GRIFFIN (voice-over): How the gun that killed Agent Terry got into Mexico was part of a program run by the ATF called Operation Gunrunner or Fast and Furious. The plan? Monitor the illegal guns crossing the border, link them to drug cartel leaders, then somehow arrest some of the most dangerous men in Mexico.

The problem? Once the guns got into Mexico, agents had no idea where they went. ATF agent and whistle-blower Rene Jaquez was the attache in Mexico City at the time.

(on camera): The only way you're going to find those guns in Mexico is where?

JAQUEZ: At crime scenes, at the death, at the site of somebody who's dead, at a gun battle between the police and the bad guys, in which either the bad guy was killed and his gun was left at the scene or -- or used during the commission of a crime in which the gun was left behind.

GRIFFIN: That makes no sense to me.

JAQUEZ: Between reasonable men within the law enforcement community, no, there is no reasonable explanation to let these guns walk.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): At least 1,800 guns in all, AK-47s, ammunition, all the firepower the cartel needed to continue its slaughter in Mexico.

JAQUEZ: There is no doubt in my mind that there is accountability that needs to be held here. And those that need to be accountable sit at the top table for ATF.

GRIFFIN: Jaquez isn't the only one who wants answers, like who actually authorized the plan.

This week, hearings were held in Congress. The Justice Department didn't have much to say. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that's unacceptable. He says it was a decision that most likely came from Washington and the highest levels of American law enforcement.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We think it goes very high up in the Justice Department. But how high, I'm not sure.

GRIFFIN: Right now, the Justice Department is trying to keep the investigation focused on Arizona, sending CNN a copy of the letter to the Senate saying, "The operation was approved by the ATF Phoenix field office, and the United States attorney's office in Arizona, per normal practice."

The ATF has refused to comment, given the ongoing investigation. Jaquez says the secret program was doomed from the start because it required Mexican law enforcement to be involved. What he says about that is simply stunning.

JAQUEZ: There was no way that this operation could take place without their cooperation.

GRIFFIN (on camera): But they weren't cooperating.

JAQUEZ: They weren't cooperating, partly because they didn't know about it. They were never informed that this operation was taking place. GRIFFIN (voice-over): The most dangerous legacy of all is, the guns are mostly still missing, 1,800 weapons which the U.S. government simply allowed into the hands of criminals, some of which have been used to deadly effect.

JAQUEZ: The long-term effect of Project Gunrunner is that these guns, unless 100 percent of them are recovered, there's going to be bodies stacking up in Mexico on a daily basis.


COOPER: Drew, this is just a remarkable story, an incredibly outrageous one.

How can it be that the master plan was basically attract these guns to crime scenes in Mexico, and no one even told the Mexicans?

GRIFFIN: That's what's so absurd. This goes against the grain of what every law enforcement officer I have ever talked to is trained.

Anderson, the plan itself was flawed beginning. ATF had no way to track those guns into Mexico. Mexican authorities, as you said, had no idea the guns were even there. So the only way you're going to find these guns in essence is to pull them off of dead bodies at crime scenes.

And that is what has the Senate, the Congress just shaking their heads.

COOPER: And we have an American Border Patrol agent dead with one of these weapons. In hearings this week, lawmakers have directed most of their anger at the Justice Department. Do we know, I mean, who approved this? Do we know what level of the Justice Department was involved in all this?

GRIFFIN: Well, the frustration on Capitol Hill this week centers around the Department of Justice, because the senators, the congressmen believe the Department of Justice is stonewalling.

Five months now, and the Department of Justice can't tell you who authorized this program. A program this size, this -- quote, unquote -- "groundbreaking," it should take five minutes, Anderson. Keep in mind, this was what they call a T-3 investigation. Size and scope would require approval from headquarters.

And Congressman Darrell Issa released e-mails -- he's a Republican from California -- which seems to insinuate the ATF acting director, Kenneth Melson, was watching these sales, knowing about these sales in real time. So, for the Department of Justice to still not be able to tell us who authorized and at what level seems pretty ridiculous to the Congress and the senators who are asking these questions.

COOPER: Also, ATF agents have testified this week about retaliation from their superiors for questioning the wisdom of the program.

GRIFFIN: Yes, even though they were raising red flags from the very beginning. They're getting shunned in their offices. We talked to one agent who's literally retiring over this because he's sort of been blackballed.

There were a lot of people who, as soon as they thought -- heard about this plan to let these guns just go into Mexico, they raised the question, and they were told basically, you shut up.

Just imagine if this was the other way around, if Mexico had some grand plan to do this in reverse, and we were finding guns at crime scenes that the Mexican government allowed into this country.


GRIFFIN: It really seems outrageous from the get-go.

COOPER: It's incredible.

Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Well, we will keep following that -- that investigation.

Coming up for -- some good news for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She's being treated on an outpatient basis now, and she has some plans for the weekend that we will tell you about, something she's been looking forward to for awhile now. That's next.

And later: more drama in the Casey Anthony trial, a bizarre fistfight that happened outside the courtroom. We will tell you why they were fighting and what happened in the court today -- the defense putting a bug expert on the stand contradicting the prosecution's bug expert. We will also have the latest from inside the court and talk with the attorney for Casey's father, George. Our question: Does George Anthony want his daughter to be found not guilty? We will ask his attorney.


COOPER: There was more dramatic testimony at the Casey Anthony trial today, as well as some drama outside the courtroom. Look at this, a brawl between people fighting to actually get a seat in the trial. We will have the latest on that coming up.

But, first, Tom Foreman has a 360 bulletin -- Tom.


Good news for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She is in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, this weekend for a short visit with her family. Giffords' husband says they have been dreaming of a trip for awhile. The doctors say returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery.

The man dubbed the Barefoot Bandit pleaded guilty in Seattle today to federal charges after leading police on a two-year chase, before being captured in the Bahamas. Colton Harris-Moore stole an airplane, flew it without a license, robbed a bank, and stole a boat. He faces several years in prison when he learns his sentence in October.

Angelina Jolie is in southern Turkey visiting with Syrian refugees. Jolie was named goodwill ambassador for the U.N.'s Refugee Agency in 2001. She's visited more than 20 countries since then.

And maybe you've seen this picture of the couple kissing in Vancouver, seemingly oblivious to the post-Stanley Cup rioting going on all around them. The couple has now come forward, and they told "The Toronto Star" that the woman actually got knocked down by a shield from a police riot squad, and her boyfriend was kissing her to calm her down. Mystery is solved there.

COOPER: Interesting. All right, Tom, time for tonight's "Shot," which comes from the U.S. Open in Maryland.

FOREMAN: Near my house.

COOPER: Golfer Rory McElroy being interviewed. But it's actually the young man in the background who caught our attention. Look at the eyebrow control on that guy. He's been dubbed Eyebrow Dance Kid online. I'm sure his parents are very proud.

Yes. We love that in TV, when people behind the people we're interviewing start making faces and stuff.

FOREMAN: Yes. We actually have a pretty good school system out there. This is not testimony to it.

COOPER: That's right. Yes. All right, Tom, we'll check in with you shortly for more stories.

We've got a lot more coming up inside the Casey Anthony trial. The defense takes new swings at the prosecution's case. They put their own bug expert on the stand today and basically poked holes in what the other bug expert for the prosecution said.

Plus all the drama outside the courtroom today that we've been talking about.

Also ahead, a one-way ticket to "The RidicuList" for a woman who thinks a degree from a fancy school means you get to talk loudly and be rude on trains.


COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment," take a look at the scene today outside the Casey Anthony trial. An all-out brawl broke out as people waited to get inside the courtrooms. Space is obviously limited. Apparently, the fight erupted when two men tried to cut the line. Some people have been waiting all night to make sure they got a seat inside. That's how riveting the trial gets. Fist fights over courtroom seats. It's been three years since 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was last seen alive. Her mother Casey didn't report her missing for a month. We all know that. The toddler's remains were found six months after she disappeared.

Well, inside the courtroom for the second day, the defense tried to punch holes in the prosecution's case. The focus was on what was found inside the trunk of Casey Anthony's car, where prosecutors contend Caylee Anthony's body was stored for days after she was killed. Bugs have become a big focus in the trial. Now, the types of bugs that feed on decomposing bodies, that's what we're talking about.

Here's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His testimony was most unusual.

TIM HUNTINGTON, ENTOMOLOGY EXPERT: What I did is, I obtained pigs, had them killed. I didn't physically kill them myself. And placed them in the trunk of the car.

TUCHMAN: This is insect expert Dr. Tim Huntington, an entomologist from Nebraska who Casey Anthony's attorneys hope helps convince the jury of their shocking theory. They say Caylee accidentally drowned in the family pool.

And then they claim the man who later found her remains actually got the body much earlier, tampered with it, and then deposited it in the woods right before it was discovered. His name is Roy Cronk. He was a utility meter reader. The prosecution hopes to convince the jury that a key piece of evidence in the case, the duct tape found on Caylee's face, may have been placed there by Cronk, not Casey.

HUNTINGTON: There's no good reason at the scene why they shouldn't be there.

JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY: And what does that tell you?

HUNTINGTON: What that indicates is that the body was moved or transported from some other location to the site where it was -- where it discovered.

TUCHMAN: It sounded like what Casey Anthony and her team wanted to hear, that the body was transferred to the woods weeks or months after the little girl died. But then, the prosecution swung into action.

JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: Do you mean to suggest to this jury that this body was fully skeletonized in another location and was then moved?

TIMOTHY HUNTINGTON, ENTOMOLOGY EXPERT: No, sir, I did not say that. TUCHMAN: The prosecution theory is that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter, put the body of Caylee in her car for a few days, and then disposed of it in the woods. But before prosecutor Jeff Ashton drilled down on that, he made fun of experimenting with a pig in a car in Nebraska, which he says is a bad comparison with a little girl wrapped in a blanket in Florida.

JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: Why didn't you wrap your pig in a blanket? I promised I'd say that, judge. But seriously, why didn't you wrap your pigs in a blanket?

HUNTINGTON: Thank you for saying that.

ASHTON: That's OK. We needed it right now.

TUCHMAN: Laughter erupted in the courtroom from what some may consider a morbid joke. Even Casey Anthony laughed, although she then covered her mouth with her hand. But it was the beginning of a larger point.

ASHTON: You would agree that this is not a fair representation of what Caylee's body or what the trunk would have looked like with Caylee's body in it, because she was wrapped in a blanket, two bags and a laundry bag. So you agree this is not an accurate description, right?

HUNTINGTON: If you are looking at the final product of decomposition, then that would be correct.

TUCHMAN: That's not testimony defense wants to hear from its own witness.

But other testimony was even more damaging.

ASHTON: So how many days is it that you feel, at this temperature we're experiencing right now, that that body was someplace else before it went to that location? And it's around 95 degrees today, as I understand.

HUNTINGTON: Probably around two to three or maybe four days.

TUCHMAN: Only, two three or four days before Caylee's body ended up in the woods, which is not what the defense wants the jury to think.


COOPER: So Gary, we showed there the craziness, the fighting in line to get a seated inside the courtroom. Are officials going to do anything about that?

TUCHMAN: Well, it was the first few days, Anderson, the running into the courtroom and the long lines, semi-amusing. But the amusement has gone out of it now when people get injured, when the fighting takes place. So they've rejiggered everything. They don't want any more lines overnight. There are no lines here right now. There is court tomorrow morning. What they're saying now is you line up shortly before 4 p.m. in the afternoon, the first 60 people on line will get their names registered. And then they come back the next morning to get their tickets.

But the problem I see, as the days go on and we get closer to the possibility of Casey Anthony testifying, is that people will still be lining up overnight to be waiting here at 4 in the afternoon. So we'll see if that works. They did it for the first time today, 4 in the afternoon. There were no problems.

COOPER: Well, they got to do something. Gary, thanks.

That brawl wasn't the only drama outside the courtroom today. A surprise witness the defense wants to question, a man named Vasco Thompson, held a news conference.

Casey Anthony's lawyers filed a motion Tuesday saying they only recently discovered Mr. Thompson and now want to ask him about four calls allegedly made to George Anthony, Casey's father, before Caylee was reported missing back in of 2008.

Here's what Mr. Thompson said today.


VASCO THOMPSON, PROPOSED DEFENSE WITNESS: I thank God for being here so I can straighten this mess up. I have no idea who George Anthony is. I just met him, seen him on TV. I never talked to George Anthony. Like I say, I never -- don't know him. And the phone number they got in question, I didn't have that phone number until February of '09.

And I don't know why they got me involved in all this mess. And that's all I have to say about it.


COOPER: Well, the judge hasn't ruled yet on whether Thompson will become part of the trial.

Earlier I talked to Mark Lippman, the lawyer who represents George Anthony. Cindy -- represents not only George but Cindy and Lee Anthony, Casey's parents and brother.


COOPER: Mark, the defense tried to raise questions about phone calls your client allegedly made to a telephone number that's now belongs to a man named Vasco Thompson. Mr. Thompson today said he'd never met or spoken to George Anthony, didn't know who he was other than what he'd seen on TV. To your knowledge has there ever been any contact between the two men? MARK LIPPMAN, ANTHONY FAMILY ATTORNEY: No, Mr. Cooper. I asked my client point blank, and generally, I never talk about attorney- client privilege stuff, but he authorized me to say this. He's never met this man, never talked to him, never placed any phone calls to him.

COOPER: As you sit in this trial and listen to the defense make all sorts of allegations about your client, about Casey's father, George Anthony, what goes through your mind? I mean, it -- clearly, it seems like day after day they are trying all they can to raise as many questions about George Anthony as possible.

LIPPMAN: Well, that's -- that's my own personal battle between being a human being and being an attorney. As an attorney I have to represent my client zealously, but also maintain composure and follow the Florida bar rules and the Constitution on behalf of my clients.

But as a person, it just infuriates me personally that these things are being said when there's no basis or foundation for any of the things said about anybody in the family.

COOPER: Yesterday I believe it was the defense raise the issue of paternity tests done on your client, on George, and also on his son, Lee, Casey's brother. The defense basically then asked a question which cleared Lee, but they didn't ask the question about George Anthony, which seemed to leave open in perhaps a juror's mind that maybe there was some sort of an indication of paternity.

LIPPMAN: If -- if that's what the defense is trying to hang their hat on, I'm hoping that the jury is smarter than that. But George was the very first witness called by the state. And the prosecutor at the time, Mr. Ashton, asked him, "Have you ever sexually molested your daughter?" And he very clearly said no.

COOPER: Why is it so important for George and for Cindy Anthony to be in court every day?

LIPPMAN: This is such a unique situation. They've lost their granddaughter, and their daughter is facing the death penalty. And they don't know what happened to their granddaughter. So they're trying to find out what the truth is. And they hope to get closure through this. And that's the main reason that they're sitting in the courtroom every day.

COOPER: I mean, do they want Casey to be found not guilty?

LIPPMAN: No. They want to see justice done. And they want to see that this case does come to some type of conclusion. Certainly, they don't want to see the ultimate sanction that the state of Florida is looking for, but they want to know what happened to their granddaughter.

COOPER: I can't imagine the situation they are in, the difficulty of it. Mark Lippman, I appreciate you being on. Thank you, Mark.

LIPPMAN: Thanks very much.


COOPER: The defense is not just trying to poke holes in the prosecution's case. It's trying to sell the jury on their own story about what happened to Caylee, a story that involves making George Anthony a villain. I spoke earlier to Sunny Hostin, a former federal prosecutor, now a legal contributor to "In Session" on TruTV, and Jean Casarez, a correspondent for "In Session."


COOPER: Jean, you just heard Mark Lippman there, George Anthony's attorney. It's got to be such a difficult situation for George Anthony and even for his attorney to hear this stuff day after day, these allegations that are made about him that are completely, at this point, unsubstantiated.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": It's unbelievable. It really is. And, you know, they sit right below me in the courtroom. And I see them writing. I see the button with Caylee's picture. I see them with their arms around each other.

But as you can see, Mr. Lippman is evasive. You know, he says that they want justice. Well, normally, when someone says they want justice, that means they want justice for the victim in this case, which is Caylee.

But they have to be divided. This is a death penalty case. The state is seeking death. They want the jury to recommend death. And believe me, Anderson, if there's a conviction in this case, and there's a death penalty portion, this couple will fight for Casey's life.

COOPER: Sunny, the defense called a bug expert today who said that the smell in Casey Anthony's car trunk could have been food and not a decomposing body. Is this going to come down to a battle of the experts?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": I think there's no question about it, Anderson. I mean, I think he gave this defense team several nuggets that they're going to be able to use in closing arguments to poke holes in this prosecution's case.

Remember, this is a circumstantial case. There is no direct evidence tying Casey Anthony to Caylee Anthony's death. So this bug expert did a pretty decent job with helping the defense dismantle this prosecution's case.

COOPER: And Jean, the bug expert, testimony about what kind of bugs were in the vehicle or in the trunk of the vehicle, seems to contradict what the prosecution's bug expert had said.

CASAREZ: Exactly. Because what the prosecution's bug expert said was that the initial colonizers -- that's what they call them -- when decomposition begins, that they come and do their job and then they leave through the cracks in the trunk. .

Well, today the expert said they should have been in there. So they should have been dead in the trunk, because they can't leave the trunk. They die in the car. They weren't found there. That's one of the strongest points, I think, for the defense today.

But the entomologist put on an experiment, at least pictures of it for the jury. And Anderson, it was very tough to look at. It was a pig that he had put in the trunk of a car. And the pig decomposed for 11 days. And the jury had to see pictures of this decomposing pig.

Well, on cross-examination you can imagine what the prosecution did. They said, "You're in Nebraska. It's in the fall. It's 60 degrees. It's not Florida with 90 degrees. It was a totally different car. It was a pig. It was a pig without a blanket around it." And everybody laughed at that because a pig in a blanket.

But you see Caylee's remains had a blanket around them, they believe. And in a trash bag and in a laundry bag. The pig didn't have that. So prosecution made a lot of points with that cross- examination.

COOPER: And Sunny, the defense's surprise witness, I mean, this is sort of a bizarre thing. You know, he's now come out and said, "Look, I didn't even know George Anthony, never heard of the guy."

Does this make the defense look desperate and just kind of throwing up whatever they think might stick?

HOSTIN: Well, I think the way it's being portrayed it does. But Anderson, let me say this. I have a copy of the motion that the defense filed. What they filed was a motion asking, basically, permission to depose this witness. Because they went to Mr. Thompson, and they wanted to speak to him. They wanted to ask him questions. He refused to meet with them. He also refused to speak to law enforcement.

This press conference was the first time, I think, that the defense heard this story, his version of events, that in fact, he didn't have this phone in February of 2008. Or rather he got it in February of 2009. He didn't have it in the summer of 2008. But they didn't know that.

Not only would this man not speak with the defense, but when their investigator found him that he, Vasco da Gama Thompson, called the police on the investigator. So they felt they had no other course but to do what they did. They still don't have confirmation that he got the phone number in 2009. They say they want that. They may do a deposition tomorrow afternoon of this man.

COOPER: Sunny, you've been around -- around a lot of courtrooms. Have you ever seen people waiting to get in to look at -- to watch a trial actually end up in fist fights outside the courtroom? There was a fistfight outside. A scuffle started when the public was on line to get into the courtroom today. People had been sleeping outside to get into the courtroom. And they're falling asleep; they're getting kicked out. Have you ever seen anything like this?

HOSTIN: I have never seen anything like this. Anderson, you know I've tried a lot of cases. I've covered a lot of cases. This is something that is just so unusual. I don't know if it's a result of social media and people thinking that they really know the players and feel connected to the players.

I don't know if it's a result of the fact that this -- the fabric of our society is sort of on trial here, a mother potentially murdering her little girl, the sort of cuts against what we believe in as a society.

I think there are a lot of factors in play here as to why this is such an important trial for so many people to watch -- to be a part of. But it is something I have never, ever seen.

COOPER: Jean Casarez, appreciate it.

Sunny Hostin, thank you.


COOPER: Well, coming up on 360 breaking news, the possibility of war crime charges against Syria's dictator. The regime's deadly crackdown continues there.

And for tonight's "RidicuList," we're all boarding the crazy train. Find out why being well educated will not keep you off the list.


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding a woman whose name we don't know. But we'll just call her the educated lady.

All aboard, people. Here's what happened. On a commuter train here in New York, a passenger was reportedly being very loud and cursing, and a conductor asked her to quiet down. Now, the only thing I have to go by is a video that someone surreptitiously took of part of the incident. So ,I don't know if the passenger was indeed cursing. But I do know what happened next. The audio is not perfect but I think it's worth a listen anyway.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, do you know what schools I've been to and how well educated I am?


COOPER: That's right. Excuse me, polite conductor lady. Clearly, you don't know who you're dealing with here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me. Do you know how well-educated I am? That you think I was talking in a private conversation to my friend.


COOPER: Tell it, sister. I hate when you're having a well- educated private conversation in public and someone tells you to keep it down. Rude. And then the conductor had the nerve to accuse her of using profanity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you think I was being profane? I'm sorry. Please repeat to me the words I was being profane with.


COOPER: She's well-educated. There's no way she was being loud or profane. As we all know, well-educated people do not raise their voices or use swear words. They're way too busy singing in a cappella groups and tying sweaters around their necks.

Do you need more proof of how well-educated this lady is? Well, here you go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ride this train all the time in the morning to work and from work all the time.


COOPER: See? She rides the train all the time: in the morning to work, and then later she rides the train again from work. She has mastered the art of telling time.

I cannot tell you how many people I see -- you know, like people who went to state schools -- who have no idea they're supposed to get on the train in the morning to go to work. They just roam around the station all night, all uneducated and disoriented. But not you, well- educated train lady. Oh, no. You know what's what.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you claim that I -- oh, I touched you. Oh, I'm sorry. Now I need to be kicked off.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Please kick me off. I do not -- I want my money back for riding this train.


COOPER: The problem is, she can get her money back, but she cannot get back all the time she's wasted having this inane conversation when she could have been doing something, well, more educated.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. Please stop the train, then. Please stop the train. I would prefer that.


COOPER: That's right. Stop the train. Who cares if it's nowhere near a station? Stop the train.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I would prefer to have my money back and not give the Metro North any of my money.


COOPER: See what you did, nice, calm, conductor lady? Well- educated lady wants her money back. She's going to boycott the train. And she'll be just fine. She won't get run over or anything walking to work in New York City traffic instead, because she has that veritable force field of education that would make the taxis just bounce right off her. They teach that at the better schools.

But then the whole train would just be filled with lesser- educated people, acting all polite. Will that make you happy, calm conductor lady?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't touch me. That's No. 1.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't need to touch you. Get away from me.


COOPER: That's right. Get away from her. Some of her education might rub off. Listen, calm conductor lady, I know you were doing your job, and it looks like you were doing it very well. But come on. You're dealing with a very well-educated person. It's not like she's a crazy person.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not a crazy person. I'm a very well- educated person.


COOPER: Note to self: when somebody says they're not a crazy person, they seem like a crazy person. So please, train conductors of America, before you accuse rude passengers of being rude, just take a minute to think about what schools they might have attended. Otherwise, more of them will end up trying to get off the fast track to "The RidicuList." We'll be right back.