Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Insight on the Casey Anthony Trial Verdict; The Cost of Looking for Caylee; Debt Deal Showdown
Aired July 7, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We are live from the Kennedy Space Center tonight. Tomorrow morning, weather permitting, space shuttle Atlantis will lift off from Launch Pad 39-A, four astronauts on board; the final flight in America's shuttle program.
We say weather permitting because they have had a stormy few days here. In fact, the lightning struck twice near the pad today, no damage done. And even though tomorrow's forecast calls for more of the same, there's a chance that skies may clear up just by launch time, 11:26 a.m., to light the candle.
We'll have more on the mission later tonight.
We begin though with breaking news from just up the road in Orlando, where Casey Anthony learned today she will be a free woman this time next week. New insight tonight into how jurors reached their verdicts: the sequence of events inside the jury room and how their positions evolved during deliberations toward an acquittal on all serious charges.
It comes tonight from Juror Number Two, who so far has declined to be identified. "The St. Petersburg Times" reporting tonight that the jury first disposed of the four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators. Juror Two calling it -- quote -- "a gimme."
Then they turned to first degree murder, the charge that Casey deliberated murdered -- deliberately murdered her daughter, Caylee. The initial vote was 10-2 against. Juror Two telling the paper -- quote -- "We didn't know how she died. Technically, we didn't even know where she died."
He told "The Times" to him it was aggravated manslaughter, believing Casey was guilty of culpable negligence. And initially he said five others agreed. He tells the paper the vote that on Tuesday was 6-6 on manslaughter. He says the two sides hardened and arguing until the jury foreman calmed them down.
He says no one believed anything Casey's father, George, said on the stand. But more crucially, Juror Number Two says none of the jurors believed the state established whether the grandparents or Casey was in fact the child's caretaker when she died.
In other words if it was murder, who did it; and if it was manslaughter, who was negligent in not reporting for 31 days after Caylee was last seen? The paper reports that juror number two believed Casey should still have been held accountable. He says he was the final holdout, but ultimately he agreed to vote not guilty.
New revelations too about defense attorney Cheney Mason seen here kind of flipping off photographers on Tuesday while celebrating the verdict at a restaurant across from the courthouse. Also that day you will remember he had some pretty choice words for the media and legal commentators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. CHENEY MASON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I hope that this is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years, bias and prejudice, and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be.
I'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this. And I can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about it and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. Now you have learned a lesson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest" though, on those talking heads Mr. Mason seems to hold in such low regard he once was one of them in this very case before, and he got it wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: It could have been an accidental death, like we talked before and an improper disposal. It could have been an outright brutal homicide. We don't know. They have no credibility whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it all plays out as many expect --
MASON: You can pretty well predict that there's going to be a life sentence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "In Session" correspondent Jean Casarez spoke with Cheney Mason today. She joins us now.
Jean, the next big question seems to be when Casey is released where is she going to go? Did Mason give any kind of hints about that?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION" TRUTV: You know, he said that plans are being made. He would not tell me what they were. But he is concerned for her safety; they all are. They do realize the public opinion in this nation deems Casey Anthony may be one of the most hated women in America right now. So they are taking security precautions for her safety.
COOPER: Yes. I want to play some of what he said about their fears for her safety. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: Sure. Yes. Everybody around her knows they have to be concerned for her safety. There's -- there's a lot of nuts out there that don't believe in the Constitution of the United States, don't believe in the jury system. And all you have to do is go downstairs and on the sidewalk and you will see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He wouldn't say, though, what precautions they're taking to ensure her safety, right?
CASAREZ: No. He wouldn't even tell me where she's going to go. He does not think she can live in Orlando, Florida, or even the state of Florida, and wonders where in the United States she can become anonymous and just sort of blend into the society.
I think that is the critical issue right there. He had mentioned possibly that she could go to his house with he and his wife. Now he says that probably is not the likely scenario. But even if it was, he said he would not tell.
COOPER: Jean, one of the headlines that came out of this is that Casey is not going to have to report to her probation officer for the next year once she's released.
CASAREZ: Everybody has been saying that Casey's going to be on probation for the next year. Casey will not be on probation for the next year.
The check fraud case that she pleaded guilty to a year ago in January -- that had a year of probation. That was served from January 2010 to this January. So that is done. She will be a free woman next Wednesday. And the reason it will be only six days is because of good time and gain time.
Gain time is actually time that someone who has been in protective custody 23 hours a day, they get even more time allotted for when they can get out. So that is helping her. Otherwise, it would be about a year from now.
COOPER: You also asked Mason how he believed that Caylee Anthony died. I just want to play that exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: How did Caylee Anthony die?
MASON: I know nothing different than what has been presented, is she drowned in the pool. And there's never been anything different than that.
CASAREZ: Do you believe that?
MASON: Yes. I believe it. And I have no reason to think otherwise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You say he left a little wiggle room in his response. How so?
CASAREZ: Well, he said, "That's what I have heard."
So I thought that was a little vacillating. But yet he holds firm that that is what happened. I asked him, though, the American people want answers. They want to know. And he told me he doesn't think the answers will ever come to the people of this country.
COOPER: Jean Casarez, I appreciate it.
As we said at the top, Casey Anthony will go free next Wednesday. That was by no means clear when she appeared in court this morning, though, convicted of four counts of lying to investigators. Nor was it clear what kind of crowds would gather outside the courthouse.
Tonight, we know both those things, as well as some of the new financial liabilities that Anthony could be facing.
Martin Savidge has more on that and the sentencing hearing today.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a very different-looking Casey Anthony who faced Judge Belvin Perry for sentencing; letting her hair down for the first time since the trial began, talking and smiling.
And there was a rare bit of humor as Judge Perry asked her attorneys if they still wanted to pursue that mistrial issue, something made pointless by Tuesday's dramatic verdict clearing Anthony of the charges that she abused and killed her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, ORANGE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: You had asked me to reserve ruling on your motion for mistrial.
MASON: We withdraw that, Your Honor.
PERRY: Ok. That takes care of that.
SAVIDGE: Then it was down to the business of sentencing Anthony for her four misdemeanor convictions of lying to police. Her attorneys argued they should be reduced to just one, citing double jeopardy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your Honor, before sentencing, we respectfully request the court address the violation of double jeopardy at issue with respect to counts five, six and seven. Because all four statements in the indictment arose during the July 16th interview between Detective Melich and Miss Anthony, all four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer were one continuous criminal act with a single intent.
As such, each false statement separately charged violates double jeopardy and must be reduced to one conviction based on one occurrence and course of conduct.
SAVIDGE: But Judge Perry disagreed, saying Anthony's lies sent authorities on four different wild goose chases.
PERRY: As a result of those four separate and distinct lies, law enforcement expended a great deal of time, energy and manpower looking for young Caylee Marie Anthony.
SAVIDGE: And then came the judgment.
PERRY: I will sentence you to one year in the Orange County jail, imposing a $1,000 fine on each count, all four counts to run consecutive to each other, giving you credit for the time that you have previously served.
SAVIDGE: Realizing she wasn't going free today, the smile was gone from Casey's face. And it would take the court the rest of the morning to do the complicated math of time served and good behavior to come up with a release date.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, at this time, her release date has been calculated as July 13th, 2011.
SAVIDGE: Outside the courthouse, police were prepared for any possible reaction, beefing up security with deputies on horseback and a helicopter overhead. The crowds may have been smaller than expected, but they reflected the huge debate that has raged on air and online since Tuesday's verdict.
CROWD: Caylee. Caylee.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boycott. Nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boycott.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Buy no books, no movies.
SAVIDGE: Anthony's legal troubles are far from over. The state of Florida has filed a motion to bill her for what it calls special investigation and prosecution costs.
A woman who says Anthony falsely identified her as the nanny who kidnapped Caylee has filed a lawsuit.
And the rescue group Texas EquuSearch says it's considering suing Anthony for the more than $100,000 the group says it spent looking for Caylee. All seem to be eyeing the money many expect Anthony could make from her newfound fame once she is free, which by the way will be almost exactly three years since Caylee was reported missing, July 15, 2008, by her frantic grandmother.
911 OPERATOR: 911. What's your emergency?
CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: Yes. I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she's been missing.
SAVIDGE: The call that started it all.
COOPER: Martin, the judge in the case heard a controversial motion to unseal the names of the jurors involved. What do you know about it?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, this is a debate that came up as a result of the news media. And it was triggered as a result of the fact that the jury immediately after the trial declined to talk.
Now, that's their right. They don't have to. But of course, so much focus on the jury wanting to know how did you come up with the decision, the verdict that you did? So the news organizations asked for the names. The judge is not comfortable, because he says, look, there's been so much attention and so much anger, he's worried about their own safety. So here's what he said: "I will give it a cooling- off period."
So we may get the names in a week or so. That remains to be seen -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Martin thanks.
Again, two jurors have spoken out. One wants to remain anonymous, but Juror Number Three, Jennifer Ford, is speaking out on camera, telling ABC News why she voted to acquit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER FORD, JUROR: How did she die? If you're going to charge someone with murder, don't you have to know how they killed someone or why they might have killed someone or have something where, when, why, how? Those are important questions. They were not answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now, Marcia Clark, former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, O.J. Simpson prosecutor and author of the novel "Guilt by Association"; also Casey Anthony's former defense lead attorney Andrea Lyon.
Well, Marcia, to that juror's question, do you have to know how somebody died and what the motive was in order to find them guilty?
MARCIA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: No. No, you don't. No, you don't, Anderson.
The prosecution is required to prove all the elements of the crime. That is all they're required to prove. A motive is not an element of any crime. You are not required to prove motive. And neither are you required to prove cause of death.
As a matter of fact, there's many times when we have cases, homicides that have no body. I had a few of them myself. And I had a jury return guilty verdicts on all of them, and one of them a first- degree murder conviction. When you have a no-body case, you don't have a cause of death. You don't have a murder weapon. You have none of those things. Yet the juries were able to convict.
So, what she is saying basically is that she wants the prosecution to answer every single question raises that -- she can raise in her mind. There's no possible way that any prosecution can do that. And it sounds to me more like an excuse to vote not guilty.
COOPER: Well, you heard that also from an alternative juror, Andrea. Do you think that makes sense that they felt that the state didn't show -- because the state didn't show necessarily motive or in their opinion didn't show an absolute cause of death, that that was reason to find her not guilty?
ANDREA LYON, FORMER CASEY ANTHONY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that's not what the jurors said. I mean what they said was that it was as likely that this was an accident and a cover-up as it was a murder; and if that was the case, then that means that there is reasonable doubt.
So this isn't like somebody saying, you know, maybe Martians captured her or some other crazy scenario. They're saying that the evidence in front of them is -- is least in equipoise as to how -- as to whether or not this was a homicide at all. And if that's the case, you cannot convict somebody when you don't know if there's a crime.
The fact that people naturally want to know why someone does something -- and generally speaking -- I have to disagree with my colleague, Miss Clark -- most of the time the why is kind of apparent because of some former enmity or a robbery or whatever the motivation might be -- is a natural human thing.
But the jury's instructed that they do not have to -- have to -- the prosecution doesn't have to prove motive. But they do have to prove murder. And they didn't do that in this case. And that's what the jurors were saying.
COOPER: Marcia, the judge ordered the sentences for the misdemeanors to be served consecutively, not concurrently. Even so, she's still going to get out next week. Do you think the judge was trying to send a message today, basically doing what he could to give her the maximum penalty?
CLARK: I don't think it was a message so much as he's sentencing her appropriately given the conduct. What she did in lying to the police for as long as she did and what she said -- excuse me -- really prevented the police from locating the body for quite some time. And it had a very serious impact on the case. And having -- he acknowledged the serious impact that the case -- that these lies had. They sent the police off on a wild goose chase in many different directions and had -- it obstructed justice and he sentenced her accordingly.
I don't think this judge particularly bends to public opinion or anybody else's. He doesn't dance to anybody else's drummer. He really does his own thing.
He's a wonderful judge. He's been so impressive throughout these proceedings. I think this is the one beacon of light that I have seen lately in a trial. It's very impressive.
COOPER: And Andrea, you think that Casey --
LYON: I don't agree, but ok.
COOPER: -- that there's no reason to keep her, that she should have been released today.
LYON: Well, I do.
And this is -- this is one of the things as a defense lawyer that we call -- and I don't mean to sound flip -- the jury tax. If you go to trial and you lose, you end up with a bigger sentence than maybe you would have if you pled and had been compliant. That's sort of normal in the criminal justice system.
But if this were someone else and -- this would have been a concurrent sentence -- it might not have even been jail time. It's who she is and the fact that she was acquitted.
And I have to take issue with Miss Clark again regarding Judge Perry. As far as I can tell -- and I don't mean that he's an unkind person or rude or anything like that -- what I mean is as far as I could tell, he granted every single request of the prosecution. He let every piece of evidence they wanted, no matter the sniffer machine, everything.
He stopped cross-examination on Baez. He pretty much did everything the prosecution wanted. As far as I can tell, he granted one objection of the defense in the entire trial. So, I would say --
LYON: I would say that, at least from just a -- from the calls alone, that it appeared that he was pro-prosecution.
Now, that doesn't make him unusual. Most judges are pro- prosecution and do tend to vote with the prosecutors anyway. I mean that's not unusual. (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: Marcia, I see you shaking your head, Marcia.
CLARK: No. It's not no, no. I really -- yes, I'm shaking my head. She's not right.
Just because -- you can't go in and count the rulings and say, oh, the prosecution won nine out of 10 rulings and therefore he's pro- prosecution. If the rulings fairly under the evidence go to the prosecution, then that's the way he should rule. That doesn't mean he's biased.
It just means that the prosecution is making good motions, motions that are based on the evidence and that are appropriate.
When it comes to letting in evidence, he let in evidence on both sides. That was what we'd call a little bit more fringy than maybe some other judges might have let in, in an effort to let the jury see both sides of the coin and see as much evidence as possible.
And I really disagree with the attitude that counts these motions. Oh, the prosecution won this many. The defense won that many.
CLARK: This is not a horse race and it's not a baseball game.
COOPER: I -- we've got to leave it there.
Andrea Lyon, I appreciate it; Marcia Clark as well.
Let us know what you think. Of course, we're on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will try to be tweeting tonight.
Up next: the hatred being directed at Casey Anthony outside the courthouse and online. We will also be joined by the attorney for Casey Anthony's parents, George and Cindy, who were in the courtroom today and on Tuesday of course for the verdict. Prosecutors saying Cindy Anthony could be facing perjury charges for her testimony. We will talk to her attorney about that.
And later both sides may still be far apart on a deal to let the government pay off its bills. But Washington insiders say all sides expect a budget deal. But if that's the case, why did they wait until the very end to get there? We have the "Raw Politics" on what's going on in D.C.
COOPER: Well, we just heard from Marcia Clark, but the truth is, you don't need Marcia Clark on the program to be reminded of the parallels between this verdict and O.J. Simpson's, the reaction to the verdict. Almost everyone is comparing the two: biggest since O.J., most shocking since O.J., most people talking about it since O.J.
Marcia Clark herself last night called the verdict in many ways worse than O.J. Thankfully there's no racial component to this -- to this case and unlike back then, the people weighing in publicly are mostly undivided. The voices for the most part are loud and angry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Caylee. Caylee. Caylee. Caylee. Caylee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Some of the people we have seen outside the courthouse. Enough anger there and beyond for Casey's lawyer to say he fears for his client's life.
You can find some of the worst of it online.
Tom Foreman takes a look tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That (EXPLETIVE DELETED) needs to die the most painful (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and horrible, slow death ever.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you judge by the videos flooding YouTube, it would be easy to think that Casey Anthony might just be the most hated woman in America right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to know why this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Casey (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Anthony pisses me the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off? I will (EXPLETIVE DELETED) explain it for you.
FOREMAN: Over and over again, people served up some nasty words for a mother who was acquitted of murdering her child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thumbs up and comment if you think Casey Anthony is a stupid (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that needs to go to hell.
FOREMAN: On Facebook, tens of thousands of people have already joined the I Hate Casey Anthony group, users saying things like "I will kill the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)" and "Can we at least sterilize her so she never has any more kids?"
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An eye for an eye.
FOREMAN: And offline the venom aimed at Anthony was just as relentless. As her sentence was announced, people outside the courthouse who had no personal connection to the case unleashed their rage for the TV cameras.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any time she comes out is too soon for me, ok? What she did was a disgrace --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to all -- not just Caylee, but all innocent children in the world.
FOREMAN: With the public outrage reaching the boiling point, Anthony's lawyers naturally are scared about what might happen to her once she's released.
Here's what defense attorney Jose Baez told ABC's Barbara Walters.
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Are you worried about her safety? There's such antagonism towards her.
JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: I am. I am. And I'm afraid for her.
WALTERS: Will she have bodyguards?
BAEZ: You know, we're in the process of trying to take that next step for her and assist her in that regard. So I don't know.
FOREMAN: Some people think she should find a way to escape the public scrutiny, perhaps leave Florida or maybe disappear for her own good.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: I think she's physically in harm's way. I have seen -- if you check YouTube today and look at people's outrage and the kind of incredible fury and frenzy that people are worked up into now, I actually think she's going to have to probably go into hiding for awhile.
FOREMAN: Next week, Casey Anthony will walk out of jail a free woman. But she may never be able to escape an enraged public still convinced that she got away with murder.
Tom Foreman, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, Casey's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, are also getting threats. Cindy may end up facing perjury charges as well for testimony during the trial. That's according to one of the prosecutors. It remains to be seen whether they actually would bring charges against her.
Both parents were in court for the sentencing today. Their attorney, Mark Lippman, joins me now.
Mark thanks for being with us.
MARK LIPPMAN, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY'S FAMILY: Thank you very much.
COOPER: How did your clients react to today's sentence?
LIPPMAN: They listened, as we did the other day when the verdict came back. And they're assimilating it and weighing everything that's happened.
This has been a fantastic week as far as everything that's happened. And when I say fantastic, I mean just the amount of information going on. It wasn't good or bad. My clients will comment on that when they're ready. But there's so much that happened this week that they're just soaking it all in and trying to figure out where they go from here.
COOPER: You know, every day, I know George Anthony, your client, had a picture of Caylee on a badge that he -- that was on a notebook that he carried and that he looked at throughout the trial.
We're learning now that we're hearing from -- from jurors that they really didn't buy George Anthony's testimony a lot of times. One of the jurors was saying that she found him to be, quote, "dishonest".
Any reaction from him on that? Were you surprised by it?
LIPPMAN: I'm -- I'm surprised by it, because -- and obviously I'm an insider and I know my clients better than most.
But he's -- he's been nothing but honest and forthcoming in everything that he's done. A lot of the things that the jurors may have seen, obviously they don't know the back story as to why he may appear to be angry or have a problem coming together with what he wants to say, because he knows that he can't take his anger out on the attorney for the comments that he made in opening, and he was just there to answer the questions.
But there's just so much emotion there that it was hard for him to keep it contained.
COOPER: Do you expect Cindy Anthony, who is also your client, might be charged with perjury in connection with her testimony about the Internet searches on the family computer?
LIPPMAN: You know, that question has been going around for week since she's testified. And we're ready. If the state wants to do anything, certainly they have a right to do whatever they deem is something that they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
I hope and pray they wouldn't take that and go forward with that. But certainly they can. But my client still maintains that she did those searches for chlorophyll and then by virtue of that search she searched chloroform. And because of those searches, everybody thinks that somehow she perjured herself because it wasn't found on the 17th or the 21st.
COOPER: There's a lot of questions I would like to ask you that I know basically I can't because you can't answer them because of attorney-client privilege. So I'm not even going to waste your time trying to get you to answer them.
COOPER: But all along, you have said that your clients, George and Cindy, want justice for Caylee. They want to know what happened. Do they feel they have gotten justice for Caylee?
LIPPMAN: Well, I can answer the question about do they know what happened. No, nobody has any answers out of this case, other than that a group of Casey's peers have found her not guilty. But we still don't know what happened to Caylee.
Hopefully, one day, maybe that truth will come out. But at this point, there's more questions than answers, other than that they know that this chapter of their lives has ended and they won't have to face another trial.
COOPER: I'm also amazed. They haven't had direct contact with Casey in how long? Like two years?
LIPPMAN: Since 2008, actually.
COOPER: So are they hoping to see her? Are you trying to arrange that with her attorneys? What's -- what's -- what's the next step in terms of the family?
LIPPMAN: Well, your previous segment was about the security. So I can't necessarily go into what everybody would like to see happen or do because of attorney-client privilege and for security reasons. But if they decide they're going to talk about it, I'm sure that everybody will.
COOPER: Ok. Mark Lippman, listen, I appreciate your time. I know you have been busy. I appreciate you talking to us tonight. Thanks.
LIPPMAN: Thanks very much.
COOPER: We've got some breaking news, breaking news tonight. Authorities have recalculated Casey Anthony's release date -- we are just now learning -- and have tentatively moved it back to Sunday the 17th of this month. Previously, it was supposed to be next Wednesday. So now it's going to be Sunday the 17th.
Coming up, another lawsuit could be coming Casey Anthony's way. The head of the firm that helped with the search for Caylee says he wants his money back. I will speak with him next.
And Jaycee Dugard speaks about her ordeal, abducted at age 11, held captive for 18 years. For the first time, hear Jaycee talk about what it was like to be 14 years old, giving birth to a child fathered by her kidnapper. That's coming up, and also the debt talks in D.C.
COOPER: Well, we just learned now breaking news about Casey Anthony's release from jail. The Orange County Corrections Department has recalculated her release date. Now it says she'll be out on July 17; that is 10 days from now. At the top of the program before the breaking news, before we learned it, we thought it would be six days from now on -- next Wednesday. Still the legal wrangling in the case far from over, the state of Florida wants Anthony to pay -- pay back the costs of investigating her case. A motion for a hearing was filed just today.
Then there's the defamation suit from Zenaida Gonzalez, who says her reputation was ruined when Casey said that it was her fictional nanny's name.
And the head of a firm called Texas EquuSearch that helped look for Caylee Anthony said he might sue, as well, to get back the money that was devoted to her case, the search. His name is Tim Miller. He says his firm spent more than $100,000 looking for Caylee when she was reported missing back in July of 2008. I spoke with Tim Miller earlier.
COOPER: Tim, at what point during this whole nightmare did you start to think about maybe suing Casey Anthony?
TIM MILLER, DIRECTOR, TEXAS EQUUSEARCH: The minute Jose Baez opened his mouth and said that Caylee was never missing in his -- in his opening statements. And it was like how in the world could even Jose ask us to stay there and search? And of course, Cindy and Casey. And in the opening statements, he had allowed us to spend $112,000 plus and literally just used and lied to every one of us.
COOPER: And I assume with you it's not -- it's not just the amount of money your organization spent searching, which is no small amount of money, because you exist from donations, but it's also the time you invested in this when you could have been out searching for other people.
MILLER: Well, Anderson, that's exactly it. I mean, we've just -- we're a non-profit. We strictly live off of donations and the fundraisers we try to -- we don't produce our own self. And there were several phone calls that we got from families that really needed us when we were in Florida searching for Caylee and we -- we couldn't help them.
You know, it was -- it was surprising. I mean, we've done 950 plus cases prior to that. So I learn how to read families pretty well. And in four days I was in that house with her, she never one time said the word "Caylee". Casey never said her daughter's name. The closest she came to saying it was to, "Mr. Miller, I know that she's alive out there. So please do everything you can do to bring her back."
COOPER: Do you worry that a case like this and people's attitude toward it is going to make your job all the harder, that it's going to make people not want to volunteer to search for people who are missing. It's going to want to make people --
MILLER: No. You know what?
COOPER: -- not donate to groups like yours?
MILLER: Of course it will. And right now, I mean, we're basically getting zero donations, because we're in the toughest economic time in basically my lifetime for sure.
COOPER: Do you think you will sue?
MILLER: I really -- you know what? I spent all day with my attorney today. And my attorney, of course, was on the phone with a law firm out of Florida. It cost money, and it cost time. And that's one of the things we don't have -- we don't have enough of either.
But I think I have to look at every one of our options. And I think I have to make some type of attempt. If I don't make an attempt and I sit back, I'm letting down our donors. I'm letting down our future phone calls for the families that are going to be calling us. And you know what? I can't take it just sitting down.
You know, if it gets to the point where it looks like this is really going to be a struggle. It's going to be expensive. And yes, you're going to get a judgment but will you ever get your money. Somebody better be prepared for it in Florida. That's all I can say.
COOPER: Well, Tim, I appreciate what you do. And I know you'll proceed as you think you need to. But I know you'll continue to keep searching for others. So thanks for being with us.
MILLER: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: His own daughter went missing long ago, Laura.
We're following several other stories tonight. Joe Johns joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, California kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard says she revels in the simplest freedoms after being held against her will for 18 years. She talked with Diane Sawyer of ABC News about her ordeal, including what it was like to give birth to the first of two daughters in captivity. They were fathered by the man who kidnapped her, Philip Garrido.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAYCEE DUGARD, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: They were painful, but when I saw her, she was beautiful. I felt like I wasn't alone anymore. I had somebody that was mine. I wasn't alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Lawyers for Dominique Strauss-Kahn say he will not be accepting a plea deal. A New York hotel maid has accused the former international monetary fund chief of attempted rape. Prosecutors have revealed credibility issues with the maid but have not dropped the case.
This Sunday, Britain's most-read tabloid is printing its final edition. Rupert Murdoch's "News of the World" is shutting down amid claims it hacked into the voice mails of various people, including celebrities, politicians, and terror victims.
And San Francisco police have arrested a suspect who was caught on surveillance video moments after they say he stole a Pablo Picasso sketch from an art gallery. They say the New Jersey man walked into the gallery, just took the sketch off the wall, and walked out. And how much is it worth? Anderson, the Picasso piece is valued at around $200,000.
COOPER: Wow. That's amazing. He just walked in and took it. Crazy.
Still ahead: "Raw Politics" tonight. Did today's White House meeting move Democrats and Republicans any closer to a deficit reduction deal? Or are they bluffing about the lines in the sand they've drawn? We'll have the latest ahead.
Also Willie Nelson's Texas pot case takes an unexpected turn, landing the judge on "The RidicuList".
COOPER: In "Raw Politics" tonight, Congressional leaders met earlier today with President Obama at the White House for talks on debt reduction and the debt ceiling. Now, the 90-minute meeting didn't produce a deal, but President Obama called the talks constructive and scheduled another meeting for Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to emphasize that nothing is agreed to until everything's agreed to. And the parties are still far apart on a wide range of issues.
But again, I thought that all the leaders here came in a spirit of compromise, in a spirit of wanting to solve problems on behalf of the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, President Obama putting a positive spin on a showdown that, in fact, has been empty of compromise so far. With the August 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling looming there's been no letup in posturing on either side. Republicans vowing they will not bend to tax increases --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We are not going to raise taxes on the American people. We're not going to raise taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to help grow jobs. Everything's on the table except raising taxes on the American -- on the American people.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: There's a difference between revenue raisers and tax increases. There are ways of raising revenue without raising taxes. If it's a tax increase, that's something that Republicans in the House and in the Senate are not going to support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Democrats are just as adamant about refusing to touch entitlements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We do not support cuts in benefits for Social Security and Medicare. Do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Don't touch Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So what's the reality behind all this rhetoric? And how close or far from a deal are they really? Let's talk to chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin, along with senior political analyst David Gergen.
So Jessica, what is really going on? What is the latest on where things stand tonight?
JESSICA YELLIN, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, the President tomorrow, Anderson, is going to meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, no doubt to address some of the Democratic concerns about where things stand.
And meantime, the staffs from the various Congressional offices are working with White House staff over the next 48-plus hours to see if they can cobble together a deal ahead of this Sunday meeting.
During this meeting that happened today, the President did two big things. One, he unequivocally ruled out a short-term deal. He said no way is he going to sign any small debt ceiling increase. It -- he has to have a deal that goes through 2012.
Secondly, he laid out the terms that he'd like a deal. The deal that they're discussing up until Sunday would be the bigger deal, something that is $4 trillion over 10 years.
And the thinking on that is, going for some bigger deal allows, essentially, John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, to try to put more into a deal, get more deficit reductions, and add more sweeteners and more that could get conservative Republicans on board so he could bring more of his people in to vote for this.
And you could also potentially get more Democrats in to vote for it, more people along all around. A terribly optimistic-sounding scenario, but it's the optimistic solution they're looking at for the next few days.
COOPER: Well, David, if both sides now -- I mean if the Democrats are saying, "Well, look, you can't even think about looking at Social Security" and Republicans are saying, "You can't even think about or talk about tax increases," where is -- where is the compromise going to be?
GERGEN: Anderson, as much as I'd love to see a compromise, and it would be wonderful for the country if they reached a $4 trillion deal, I just don't see how it's going to happen right now. It would require, as you say, a major cave on the part of the Republicans on taxes. They are very firm; they're united on that point. They're not going to cave.
What they're looking for, instead, is for the Democrats to cave not once but twice; that Democrats would cave first on accepting all these entitlement cuts, and secondly, that if they would buy the Republican position, no real revenue increases here.
I can't see how the Democrats would buy that. So I don't see how they get there. I think we're much more likely to get what the President promised he did not -- and would not accept, and that is a short-term deal.
COOPER: But Jessica, you're saying -- the White House is saying absolutely no way a short-term deal?
YELLIN: They're saying absolutely no in a short-term deal. But look, there is a third way here. So by -- by setting out this third option, this big $4 trillion deal, you can then fail on that and fall back on the $2 trillion deal they were discussing for two months.
So they've set up this sort of -- I don't want to call it a straw man, but it's an extra option they've thrown out at the last minute. So if this one doesn't work, now suddenly they can go back to the original Biden negotiations and try to push that one through. And suddenly, that looks like a compromise position and not, you know, the original negotiating stance. So they've created another way for themselves.
COOPER: Do you think both -- go ahead, David. Sorry.
GERGEN: I think that's possible. I still think it's more likely they'll come up with a mini deal, as President Clinton said the other day.
COOPER: David, Boehner said that he thinks the odds of him and the President reaching a deal may be 50-50. That's an actual quote: "Maybe 50-50."
Clearly, you think that sounds optimistic? But for the President and for John Boehner, do they both have motivation to try to get a big deal? I get why Obama would want a big deal. Does Boehner have that same motivation? Because it seems like other folks in his party and other folks in the Democratic Party clearly have other motivations in wanting to, you know, say absolutely nothing, no tax raise and absolutely no touching, you know, big entitlements.
GERGEN: John Boehner is saying, "Look, it's 50-50 there's a 50 percent chance we think that the Democrats will agree to what we're insisting upon. That seems to me not going to happen. But he is basically saying they'll accept our position on that.
If he were to do that, John Boehner would be a hero within his party. I mean, if he brings -- actually gets $3 or 4 trillion worth of cuts out of spending, the Tea Party will be celebrating from now, you know, to the end of the year. So it's just hard to see that happening.
What I do think is fascinating here, Anderson, is the degree to which -- the number of chips that President Obama is moving onto the table in a sharp disagreement with many members of the left of his party.
You know, his politics for 2012 is becoming apparent. He wants to win the Independent vote. He does that by getting the big deal. But he needs to cut entitlements: Medicare and Social Security to get there.
The Democratic Senators and House members, especially on the left, have been saying -- Nancy Pelosi said the other day, there are three big issues for 2012 as far as we're concerned: Medicare, Medicare, and Medicare. And here the President is talking about we're going to cut Medicare. Pelosi wants to run on we're going to protect Medicare. So they're going to have a very, very interesting meeting tomorrow.
COOPER: Yes. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that.
Yes, Jessica -- quickly.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just want to point out that job numbers come out tomorrow, Anderson. They're not going to look good for the White House or Congress. And so pushing for something big on all fronts helps everybody look like they're trying. If it fails they can at least say -- the White House can at least say, "Hey, we tried. We're trying to do something for the economy." What did they do?
COOPER: All right. We'll look for that meeting tomorrow.
Jessica thanks very much. David Gergen as well.
Still ahead, breaking news in the Casey Anthony case we're following.
Plus, countdown to history: the final space shuttle mission could be just hours away. We've had terrible weather here all day today. We'll have the latest on tomorrow's scheduled launch here at Kennedy Space Center, still scheduled.
Also ahead, Willie Nelson busted for pot. But he's not the one on tonight's "RidicuList". No, no, no. Someone else tied to the case is. We'll explain, ahead.
COOPER: Looking there at the room at the top of the launch pad 39 A, the main hatch of the Shuttle Atlantis. Tomorrow morning, four astronauts are scheduled to walk through that room, go through that hatch. Then they will be the last one to do it.
Shuttle mission STS-135 will be the final flight for Shuttle Atlantis, the last mission of the program.
Thirty years ago, the first orbiter, Columbia, lifted off. It was followed, of course, by Challenger, Discovery and then Atlantis in 1985. Enormous accomplishments: putting a telescope in space, building a home in space. The nation of course, mourned when Challenger was lost in 1986 and Columbia back in 2003.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(EXPLOSION OF SHUTTLE "CHALLENGER")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Who can forget that moment?
Tomorrow, weather permitting, Atlantis will roar into orbit, bringing three decades of tears and triumph to a close. We'll be covering it live, of course.
Again the weather has been very bad here. Good chance the mission may be delayed. But we'll be here covering it all.
Time now for "The RidicuList"; Tonight, well, tonight we got to add the judge in Willie Nelson's latest marijuana case.
Here's what happened. Last year, you may remember, Willie Nelson was on the road again and got arrested for pot possession again at a border stop in Texas. There was apparently a very specific odor emanating from Mr. Nelson's tour bus.
How much do you want to bet that vending machine in the Border Patrol break room was subsequently relieved of all its Cool Ranch Doritos.
Anyway, Willie worked out a plea deal, paying a $500 fine and court costs. But the judge is apparently not at all stoked. She just rejected the plea deal. So now the case is back in limbo.
The judge told the "New York Times" that she thinks the prosecutor is giving Willie special treatment because he's a fan. And it is true: the prosecutor -- prosecutor did once joke about lowering the charges if Willie came and sang "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" in court. The judge apparently was not amused.
But let's have a little perspective here, people. It was three ounces of pot on Willie Nelson's tour bus. I mean, am I the only one who's assumed that on a Willie Nelson tour bus the bus pulls a flatbed trailer behind it covered with an entire acre of marijuana, tended by chiefs Chong and Snoop Dawg? Three ounces? Willie Nelson's own -- his braids weigh more than that.
And I get it. The judge wants to make a point about not giving famous people special treatment. She says, and I quote, "If you're not going to do it for the guy on the corner, why do it for a celebrity?" When asked for comment, the guy on the corner shouted "Free Willie" and went back to listening to "Dark Side of the Moon."
By the way, has anyone told Nancy Grace about this? She could get all fired up. Start calling somebody Pot Mom. Well, just a suggestion really.
I'd also like to find out what our own Joe Johns thinks about this latest development. Because I don't know if you remember, but when Larry King interviewed Willie a while back, we kind of reedited the entire interview, and Joe didn't quite get it. Anyway, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST: Did you smoke today?
WILLIE NELSON, SINGER: You mean smoke cigarettes?
KING: Did you smoke pot today? Today, this day.
KING: You did before you came in here.
KING: Never saw the sun shining so bright, a memory of love's sweet refrain.
(on camera): Love you Willie.
NELSON: Thank you, love you too.
JOHNS: That's kind of extraordinary. I mean a long pause there.
COOPER: Well, we reedited it. It didn't actually happen. We made that up. We edited all the pauses together --
JOHNS: Oh, I got it.
COOPER: Yes. I love that you believed it, Joe, too.
JOHNS: I know. I totally fell for it.
COOPER: That makes it even better. Well, some people out there don't believe it. Yes, we re-edited. He wasn't that stoned that he was, like, totally silent and then singing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, Joe, it never gets old.
JOHNS: I know.
COOPER: Sorry, Joe.
JOHNS: It just keeps coming back again and again. You know? Now I'm on the "RidicuList."
COOPER: No, you're not on "The RidicuList" now.
So Texas, come on. Don't mess with Willie Nelson or else you get a token spot on "The RidicuList."
So Joe thanks for being a good sport about it.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
Piers Morgan starts now.