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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Tremors Felt Up and Down East Coast; Libya Coverage; Jon Huntsman and Wife Discuss Relationship, Mormon Faith; Rebels and Gadhafi Loyalists Fight in Tripoli

Aired August 23, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST (voice-over): Shock waves around the world. On the East Coast, earthquakes and tremors for a 100 miles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). The building rattled, I grabbed my coat and cell phone and said, "Let's get out of the building."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: In Libya, history in the making -- rebels overrun Gadhafi's compound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main fight has been won.

(GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have to start another fight, is gather the people and build the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Who will run Libya post-Gadhafi?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-two years have gone by and we missed out on so much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is something that we've all been dreaming of forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Plus, the sexual assault case that made headlines everywhere. And now, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is free.

And tonight, the men who defended him sit down with me in their first television interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BENJAMIN BRATMAN, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: This case was treated as a crime when it was not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Also tonight, more of my exclusive interview with Jon Huntsman, the only presidential candidate who can do this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(JON HUNTSMAN SPEAKING CHINESE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Good evening.

An extraordinary day of news around the world. In this country, an earthquake near Washington stuns millions up and down the East Coast. Buildings are evacuated in the capital, and as far away as North Carolina and New York -- cell service, airports, and train travel disrupted.

On the other side of the world, in Libya, rebels stormed Gadhafi's compound.

In the midst of chaos and gunfire, another question remains: who will rule the new Libya?

All that plus my exclusive interview with the attorneys of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Tonight, the first time they talk about their client and his family and what they felt to what they call a nightmare.

But I want to begin with my colleague Wolf Blitzer, who's in Washington. He's following both the earthquake which he suffered from and the breaking news in Libya for us -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "SITUATION ROOM": Piers, thanks very much.

Today's magnitude 5.8 quake hit about 88 miles southwest of Washington, near the town of Mineral, Virginia. It was the second most powerful in Virginia's history.

I was here in Washington, D.C. when the tremors struck this afternoon. The building started shaking a bit. I could feel what was going on.

A lot of office buildings, most of the federal government closed immediately, they closed many of the monuments right here in the nation's capital. We were evacuated from our building here in Washington near Capitol Hill. Other areas felt the quake as well. In fact, if you go beyond Washington, it was felt as far north as Bath, Maine, and as far south as the Carolinas.

In New York City, there were evacuations as well. Very seriously, a power plant in Virginia, the North Anna Plant, less than 20 miles from the epicenter of the quake, it shut down after the first tremors out of an abundance of caution. But we're told everything is OK over there.

Some of the monuments as I said were closed down. Engineers were inspecting for damage. And take a look at this. The National Parks Service closed down the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the old Post Office tower, and as I said, most of the federal office buildings were closed. But they reopened late in the afternoon, although a lot of workers went home early.

Helicopters inspected the Washington Monument. There were some reports that maybe it was leaning. It was found to be structurally sound.

In New York, at that news conference, the prosecutor in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn news conference, watch this. He sent reporters in the press conference running because all of a sudden, the floor started shaking. People started getting nervous and Cyrus Vance, the prosecutor, ended that news conference pretty quickly, although he did note that he was from Seattle, so he was very familiar with earthquakes.

The earthquake is a huge story. But the other big story, around the world tonight, of course, what's going on in Libya. History unfolding.

And we have breaking news right now of a defiant Moammar Gadhafi, vowing death or victory in what he calls the fight against aggression. "Reuters" now reporting he made that vow in a radio address to the Libyan people just a little while ago.

I want to go straight to CNN's Sara Sidner. She's doing a terrific job reporting for us, very courageous journalist.

Sara, where are you and what's going on?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are in Green Square, that the rebels are now calling Martyr Square. They are here. They are driving around the square. It is 3:05 in the morning.

They are screaming "God is great." They are screaming, "Die, die, Mr. Moammar Gadhafi." They are screaming, "Libya is free."

What we saw about a half an hour ago, a crowd of about 200 people, they were blowing off every single -- anything that would basically fire. They were shooting into the air here.

This square looked very differently 48 hours ago when the rebels first made it into the city. They were really in fight mode. They were looking around for snipers.

Now, a very different scene. People just celebrating -- not fighting, not thinking about fighting. Literally just celebrating here in the middle of town -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Do they have any instinct or any hints at all where Gadhafi may be hiding out? Do they think he's still in Tripoli, someplace else in Libya? Do they believe he may have escaped the country?

SIDNER: It depends on who you ask, Wolf.

But the general consensus is they do believe that he is somewhere underground. Just so you know, that loud bang was one of those anti aircraft machine guns that have blasted into the air. So it's just celebratory.

But if you ask different people, they will say they believe --

(GUNFIRE)

SIDNER: -- that they believe he is underground somewhere.

I know it's -- I know it's very difficult to hear me with all of these loud booms and bangs behind us. But rest assured, it is celebratory gunfire.

But we have seen people here have a general consensus, that they believe that there are literally tunnels in Tripoli underground where he has some sort of a --

(GUNFIRE)

SIDNER: I can fell the ground shaking there, is so much gunfire. Unfortunately, because of our camera, I have to say this was not going on five minutes ago. They see the camera light and people go nuts.

But in talking about Moammar Gadhafi, obviously, he's still alive. People think he is still alive. People think his family and some of his close allies are with him. They think he's underground. They don't believe that he's out of Tripoli, but they don't really know where he is.

There are checkpoints all over the city. We have had to stop at about 20 checkpoints on the way in here.

Security very tight in the city, but, yes, Wolf, nobody really knows where he is. In hearing his address, he says I'm going fight to the death. No one knows where he's going to take that fight to or if he's even capable of doing that at this point.

BLITZER: Sara, how do you know when it's celebratory or when it's the real thing? Because I got to tell you, a lot of viewers here in the United States and around the world are very nervous when they see you standing there and they hear all of those gunshots.

SIDNER: Yes, them and my mother also, who is watching CNN's coverage. We get a general sense, because we can actually hear incoming fire. And a lot of times, what you will hear is outgoing fire and then suddenly, you'll literally hear bullets flying past you, when we get in a situation like that, we get out of dodge.

But we know we've been in this square for about an hour now, and this has been the scene of massive, massive blasts, but those blasts we can actually see where they're coming from. We have direct eye contact where it's coming from. And it is celebratory tonight in Green Square.

BLITZER: We certainly hope that's case. Sara, you've done an amazing job for us. Please be careful. We're going to check back with you throughout the night into tomorrow.

Sara Sidner, reporting for us from Tripoli.

What a story that is. History unfolding in Libya right now.

Piers, back to you.

MORGAN: Thanks, Wolf.

Prince Mahdi al-Senussi is a member of the Libyan royal family. He plans to go back and help to rebuild his country. And he joins me now.

Prince al-Senussi, obviously, a remarkable day for you, your family and your country. What are your thoughts?

PRINCE MAHDI AL-SENUSSI, MEMBER OF THE LIBYAN ROYAL FAMILY: My thoughts, I'm so grateful for this day -- the end of tyranny, the end of brutal dictatorship, the beginning of a new universe, a new horizon for Libya. And to come together as a nation to build, to live under rule of law and to join the community of nations.

MORGAN: Your family were exiled in 1969. Do you intend to go back yourself?

AL-SENUSSI: Absolutely. No question. I intend to go back and join my countrymen, and sisters and brothers and our children to build our country, and give it -- and give it all I've got -- you know our talent, our experience, our knowledge, to put it to use for the benefit of our country.

And your family's ensign has been waved by the rebels. It must have been a very proud moment for you all. What would you like to say to the rebels, if you got the chance?

AL-SENUSSI: They are -- you are freedom fighters. You have -- you have really earned the world's respect. You have -- you have shown how brave and courageous you are, and you put an end to a -- to repression, to tyranny and you have demonstrated that you can -- you can overcome all of the hurdles and obstacles ahead of us.

I am looking forward to joining them to build our country.

MORGAN: And what would you like to see happen to Gadhafi?

AL-SENUSSI: I would like him really to get caught and be put on trial, because a lot of Libyans who suffered under Gadhafi -- who he has killed, maimed, brutalized. They need to have closure. The only way is that it has to be done under the rule of law.

MORGAN: Has this been the best day of your life?

AL-SENUSSI: It's the beginning. It's a new beginning, like I am born again. I look forward to seeing my loved ones that I haven't seen over the years who have been deprived. I have not seen, and look forward to join them. And I will never let go again, ever.

This freedom that we have, that we have earned it today, and I must thank to the international community for believing in Libya, in Libyan people.

MORGAN: Prince al-Senussi, a great day for you, and your family and your country -- thank you very much.

AL-SENUSSI: Thank you for having. I appreciate it.

MORGAN: Around the world, no one has been able to look away from the dramatic pictures coming out of Libya, including the White House, where the president's national security team watched history in the making today.

Joining me is one of that team, Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser.

Deputy Director, an extraordinary day. It really was history in the making. What has been your view from the White House?

DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, Piers, it's really nice to be with you. Thank you for the chance to be here.

We've been watching these developments, obviously, with great interest. We've seen frankly over the course of the last three or four days, a sense of cohesion and coordination and communication among these disparate elements of the Libyan position taking command. We think that's a good sign -- a good sign for the Libyan people and a good sign ultimately for U.S. national security interests.

So, we watched with great interest and we're also obviously very pleased to see the developments unfolding as rapidly as they are.

MORGAN: And, obviously, it's very exciting and everyone is feeling very positive about this. But there is no sign of Moammar Gadhafi.

Do you have any inkling where he may be? Or how they may be getting him away?

MCDONOUGH: We're hearing all sorts of rumors but we try not to focus on rumors on here but rather on facts. The facts are such that we know that he is now not in charge of Tripoli. He does seem to be struggling to have command and control of his armed forces. So, all of the indications are that as far as the facts go, that this is trending dramatically away from him. And as the president said two nights ago, the tipping point has come and now, the future is in the hands of Libya's people.

MORGAN: I'm sure you weren't going to be complacent at all at the White House about this. But, obviously there, are concerns about who now takes over, who exactly these rebels are. How confident is the White House in the rebels and in the future plan for Libya without Gadhafi?

MCDONOUGH: We've been very gratified to hear the very sound statements from the TNC's leadership, that is to say the opposition group's leadership, including as early as today from one of their ministers, Jibril is his name, gave a very good set of comments about the kind of inclusive government they see going forward.

The fact that they see themselves as a transitional authority, not trying to take over control of the government as Gadhafi did now 42 years ago, if you can imagine that.

MORGAN: I'm playing devil's advocate for a moment. Gadhafi wasn't always seen as the enemy by America or by the West. How confident are you guys that in the short to midterm, the stability of the region will be stabilized and not, in fact, further endangered by instability of him actually going after so long?

MCDONOUGH: Well, I think what we've seen, obviously, is that his ruthless ways did not bring stability, but a great deal of instability. And, obviously, I don't need to remind you about the fact that prior to 9/11, he was the terrorist with more blood on his hands than any other terrorist, more American blood on his hands than any other American -- than any other terrorist.

MORGAN: Final question. Obviously, when Osama bin Laden was turned (ph) and he was killed and his body was dispatched into the ocean, what is the preferred exit plan for Colonel Gadhafi, if you're in a position to make a choice? Would you like to see him brought back to America to face a trial? Or would his death be a preferred option?

MCDONOUGH: Well, the important thing here, Piers, is that we're not in a position to decide that. That's squarely in the hands of the TNC. We're going to keep pressing them to do the right thing. We'll coordinate, share intelligence and information as we can with them. But ultimately, this will be their decision.

MORGAN: Deputy Directory, thank you very much for your time.

MCDONOUGH: Good to be with you. Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, Libya without Gadhafi. Who will rule after four decades of dictatorship? And my exclusive with the attorneys who defended Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the sexual abuse charges that made headlines everywhere and got sensationally dropped today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(GUNFIRE)

SIDNER: There's gunfire -- it's becoming completely out of control with the gunfire, because people are just going off. They've got so much ammunition that they have taken from the Gadhafi regime. They feel like they can waste it now. They feel like he is completely --

(GUNFIRE)

SIDNER: Let's get back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Extraordinary footage there of Moammar Gadhafi's compound falling to Libyan rebels.

But how will a post-Gadhafi Libya take shape? That's the real question.

Reza Aslan, an expert of the Middle East and the author of "No god but God."

And Neil Livingstone, terrorism expert and Republican candidate for governor of Montana.

Reza, let me start with you. Actually, we spoke yesterday about this situation moving very fast by the hour, remarkable pictures there of the compound being seized. Obviously, he's not there.

What do you think is going to happen now? What is the end game for Gadhafi personally?

REZA ASLAN, MIDDLE EAST EXPERT: Well, I think he -- we talked about this yesterday. He's not the kind of guy who after 40 years is going to just simply hand himself over for a trial. I mean, I think that he would much rather see this go down with his so-called martyrdom than with anything else.

But, really, for the rebels themselves, they've got to figure out a way to get a hold of Gadhafi and his sons as fast as possible because until they do so, they're not going to be able to put down the loyalists to the regime that still have a few pockets in Tripoli under their control.

MORGAN: Let me turn to you, Neil Livingstone. You are in touch with the Gadhafi family as recently as six weeks ago. What is your view and assessment of what exactly may be happening now?

NEIL LIVINGSTONE, TERRORISM EXPERT: Well, what the family wanted was some type of exit strategy and they didn't have that. Because the international community really said we're going to put you on trial in The Hague. We've confiscated all of your resources. There really wasn't any good exit strategy. MORGAN: I mean, obviously, the son that was on television last night, Saif al-Islam, very bombastic, absolutely determined to see this out. His father in his last statement said, you know, we're going nowhere.

Is this all just bluff, do you think?

LIVINGSTONE: I think a lot of it is. Saif, as you know, has been living in London for many years. He came back when the problem started in Libya, and he is not indicated in any way that he wants to go down with the regime. At least my experience and the information I have suggests that he wanted to make a deal that he wanted to find some way to get out of Libya, where the family could be assured that it would have security, safety, and perhaps access to some of its resources.

MORGAN: The obvious thing for Libya now is how much faith can be put in this transitional council? Because there is a lot of faith going into it. A lot of money going into it.

You know, I think on the plus side, a lot of people were skeptical about Libyan rebels and they've done an extraordinary job. Because of that, can we have more confidence that the NTC will do a good job here?

ASLAN: Well, the leadership of the NTC, of course, are primarily former Gadhafi loyalists. These are technocrats and bureaucrats. Mustapha Abdul Jalil, the head of the NTC, the former justice minister. Mahmud Jibril, who's been in Europe, really being a liaison between the NTC and the European capitals, has been doing a pretty marvelous job.

And they put together a pretty good plan as to how to move forward, which includes getting a constitutional assembly together as fast as possible, writing a constitution, appointing a provisional government. They want to have full elections in 20 months. Now, that may seem a tall order, but it's not out of the realm of the possible.

It's got the money necessary to sort of get back on track. The question is: can they create an equitable distribution of that money? Particularly between Tripoli and Benghazi -- I mean, this is mostly a government based in Benghazi and the people in Tripoli don't have the best view of people in Benghazi. They sort of see them as the equivalent of country bumpkins and they may not be happy having a government made up mostly of people from Benghazi telling them what to do. That's going to be a tough thing.

MORGAN: It will be fascinating to see how they square that off.

Reza and Neil Livingstone, thank you, both, very much.

Coming up next, the men who defended Dominique Strauss-Kahn. My exclusive interview with his attorneys.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BENJAMIN BRATMAN, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: This was not a forcible encounter. You can engage in inappropriate behavior, perhaps, but that is much different than a crime. And in this case was treated as a crime when it was not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was Dominique Strauss-Kahn's attorney, Ben Bratman, today right after a New York judge sensationally dropped the case against the IMF chief.

Strauss-Kahn issued a statement, saying, quote, "These past two and a half months have been a nightmare for me and my family. I want to thank all of the family and friends in France and in the United States who have believed in my innocence."

And joining me now exclusively in their first interview since Strauss- Kahn's arrest, attorneys Benjamin Bratman, who's represented Sean P. Diddy Combs and Jay-Z, and his co-counsel, William W. Taylor.

Mr. Bratman, I'll start with you. Obviously, a great day for and you your team and for Mr. Strauss-Kahn.

Were you always confident that this day would come?

BRATMAN: Yes. I didn't think would come so quickly. I think both Mr. Taylor and I believed from the very beginning that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was innocent and that if pushed to a trial, he would be acquitted.

But to have the case dismissed after indictment on motion of the district attorney's office, I don't think we expected that. But we certainly appreciate that decision and believe it was the right thing to do.

MORGAN: And, obviously, the sexual assault charges were dropped. Do you -- does your client, for example, concede that he behaved inappropriately, if not in any criminal way, but just inappropriately?

BRATMAN: I think what we said from the beginning, there was an act in that room that was consensual, not forcible and I think we're going to leave it at that. I don't think it's appropriate to discuss exactly what happen. And I don't think there's any point to it.

MORGAN: Mr. Taylor, obviously a huge uproar in France when your client was pretty well-humiliated. He went through this infamous perp walk which happens in New York courts. He was dragged off an Air France flight in pretty embarrassing circumstances.

What is your view of how the legal system people like Dominique Strauss-Kahn before they are being convicted of anything?

WILLIAM W. TAYLOR, III, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: Well, it's difficult to celebrate entirely on a day like today, when it wasn't three months ago when he was in Rikers Island in an orange jumpsuit. And we were at that point, persuaded that he was not guilty, we urged the D.A. not to take a heavy position on bail and not to force themselves into a rush to judgment in the case. But they chose to do otherwise.

And as they said today, the post-indictment investigation is what resulted in his liberation. So do I think the system worked? Yes, but the system has its flaws and it goes to show that anyone, whether he's rich or poor or French or American, can lose his liberty on the word of someone which is not true. The man did not commit a crime, and today the -- the D.A. stood up in court and acknowledged that.

MORGAN: Mr. Bratman, let me play you a clip from ABC's Robin Roberts who spoke to supposed victim Nafissatou Diallo and I'll come to you after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAFISSATOU DIALLO, SUPPOSED VICTIM: He came to me and grabbed my breasts and said, "No, you don't have to be sorry." I said -- stop. Stop. I don't want to lose my job. And he pushed me in to the bedroom and he closed the door, locked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And I suppose the obvious question really is your client would have been watching that interview i GUESS somewhere, possibly with his wife. Pretty degrading testimony, a lot of which obviously today lies in tatters. But how -- how has this manifested itself on their relationship, your client and his wife?

BRAFMAN: I said outside court today -- and I'll repeat it again -- that unless you yourself have been accused falsely of a serious crime that you did not commit, I think it's impossible to really understand the full measure of relief that Dominique Strauss-Khan and Anne Sinclair felt today. It's just a horrific nightmare that, thank God, has now gone away.

But these two remarkable individuals have I think impressed all of us who worked on this case with the grace, with the way they treated all of us with kindness and courtesy. There was never any acrimony that I witnessed between them or between and among any of the people who worked on this case.

I think there is an understanding that he did not commit a crime, that the objective was to resolve the criminal case. And the relationship between them, from what I've seen, is an interesting relationship. They are both charming, interesting, brilliant, remarkable people, who I've come to have a great deal of affection and respect for.

Is he embarrassed? Yes. He was publicly humiliated. He has paid a heavy price already. But he is now out of the clutches of the criminal justice system. And that is a relief that I think no one can fully appreciate, unless they've actually been in the clutches of that system.

TAYLOR III: I'd like to add that one of the things that persuaded the prosecutors to dismiss the case was the skill with which this alleged victim was able to describe acts of violence which had been perpetrated on her by others, and then turned out to be absolutely false. So the fact that she gives something like an Academy Award performance on television is exactly the problem.

She is an accomplished actress, has persuaded many people that things have happened to her that turn out to be absolutely false.

MORGAN: Hold that thought for a moment, gentlemen. When we come back, I want to talk about accusations against Dominique Strauss-Khan back home in France.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with me exclusively, the attorneys of Dominique Strauss- Khan, William W. Taylor and Benjamin Brafman.

Mr. Brafman, how does your client feel about the way the media treated him? In particular, there were headlines in some of the daily tabloids, "Le Perv," playing off his French background, and off the supposition that he was obviously guilty?

BRAFMAN: I think the media is partially at fault in this rush to judgment that Mr. Taylor spoke about earlier. I think the media banned in the presumption of innocence and assumed that he was guilty. I have often seen this in cases where is a powerful, well-known celebrity is in the cross hairs.

They don't get the same treatment as John Q. Public. People believe celebrities get a better brand of justice. I don't think they do. He is not happy with it. He took it as well as can be expected under the circumstances, has a good sense of humor, shrugged it off, recognized that when you are as important a man and as well known as he is, that the media is going to take their shots.

I was more offended by it, in many ways, because I see the just outrageous rush to judgment, where you call someone essentially a criminal before they have actually had their day in court.

MORGAN: Mr. Taylor, how would you describe Dominique Strauss-Khan's mood today, after all of this?

TAYLOR III: He is certainly happy. He is also, as Ben says, a -- quite a philosophical gentleman and a student of the world. He understand fate. And he is not bitter in the sense that one might expect him to be. But at the same time, he does not think that he was treated very well by the system, which hauled him off an airplane and put him in Rikers Island on the word of a woman who turns out to be a liar, and was forced to live in a situation which cost him and his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars in order not to be in jail.

MORGAN: Mr. Brafman, your client had the nickname back in France of the Great Seducer. Clearly his own private life has been palled over by the global media in this case. Do you think that he will face any further actions back home? Particularly the French journalist Tristan Benault (ph) filed a lawsuit against him last month accusing him of attempting to rape her eight years ago. Are you worried about any of these kind of cases now progressing against him?

BRAFMAN: I think, with respect to questions involving allegations in France, I am going to turn to my partner, Bill Taylor, who has dealt with those issues primarily.

TAYLOR III: Piers, of course, we're not representing him in France. But I have been in close touch with the lawyers in Paris who are representing him. And I know something about the Benault allegations. They are no more worthy of credit than are the ones which are here. And we fully expect that that case will be treated essentially the same way.

There is absolutely no merit in the allegation that he forced himself upon this young woman. And of course the fact that she comes forward eight years after the alleged fact is the first question that anybody asks about.

MORGAN: I suppose a question many viewers will be wondering is does Mr. Strauss-Khan, despite the fact he's walked free today and these charges appear to have been trumped up against him -- clearly his behavior wasn't perfect. Does he have a sense of regret personally about his actions?

BRAFMAN: I think what we don't do in the United States of America is prosecute people criminally for behavior that someone else might find to be either inappropriate or offensive. We have laws. If you violate the law, you get prosecuted.

Do I think he is proud of this incident? No. Do I think he regrets this incident? I think he regrets this incident with all of his heart. And at the end of the day, is he a perfect individual? No.

But I don't think I've ever met anybody who is perfect. So at the end of the day, on balance, he's a pretty impressive individual, despite the flaws that he may -- he may have.

MORGAN: Mr. Taylor, you've known him a long time. You've worked with him a long time. He was, until this incident, tipped to be potentially the next president of France. What are his aspirations now politically? Is he keen to get back in the fray?

TAYLOR III: I don't think he's had an opportunity to think that through. Until today, we weren't able to advice him that he was free to move about, or certainly not to move about to France, nor with any confidence what his schedule was likely to be. I'm sure that he and his family and his advisers will talk about his options, about where they will go and when they will go.

And that's a wonderful development for this family to be able to do, having been restricted to New York for such a long time.

MORGAN: How expensive has this all been for him, in legal fees, in relocating to New York, in having to put his family up and so on? What has been the financial cost?

TAYLOR III: Well, the financial cost has been enormous. And as you know, there is no way to get that back.

MORGAN: And obviously, he's now free to go. Presumably, he's going to go back to France. I would like to ask both of you, because you're both Americans, what do you think the American legal system, perhaps the media as well, can learn from all this? Because it's been a hell of a mess, in terms of the way this case has played out.

BRAFMAN: Let me say initially that I think all of us learned something from this. And hopefully the world and the public does as well. But the one thing you need to keep in mind is that, unlike the medical system or the medical profession, we don't have blood tests and MRIs and X-Rays. At the beginning of the case, we work off instinct, evidence that we rely on.

Our system is not perfect. In this case, it was flawed at the outset. A man who was innocent sat in jail and was restricted on high bail. So it didn't work perfectly.

But the one thing I'd like the world to recognize is that it ultimately did work. What happened today was extraordinary. What happened today was not powerful lawyers winning a trial. What happened today was a district attorney of New York County standing up and saying, we do not have faith in this case, and we're going to move to dismiss it.

So to the extent that there was some misstep at the beginning, I give Cy Vance a lot of credit for having the guts to do that today. I contrast this with the Duke lacrosse case, with a district attorney knowing that the case was based on false testimony, took a dive and went down at the end of the discussion with the witness in that case.

So I hope America is not viewed as a bad place because of this case. At the end of the day, we're not perfect, but we're a lot better than most other countries.

MORGAN: Mr. Taylor, I mean, I've got to put this to you. The accusers' attorney, Kenneth Thompson, said the hospital examination showed clear evidence of rape. What was your reaction to that specific claim?

TAYLOR III: It's absolutely false. The hospital records showed no evidence of trauma. And indeed, if you read the hospital record carefully, it shows that she did not complain of pain, nor did she have any bruising or scarring on her body, nor did the alleged accuser's body have any scarring.

If you ask me what I learned from this case, if you have a big problem in New York City, you should call Ben Brafman, which is what I did.

MORGAN: Well, a lot of people would second that. It's another great notch on your victory belt, Mr. Brafman. What would your client's view of his accuser be today?

BRAFMAN: I think collectively we view her as either evil or pathetic or both. I think this is a woman who has been used by others. I'm not certain how many others were involved in using her in this episode. I'm not going to get into whether she's getting good advice or bad advice.

At the end of the day, she lied. She imploded. We didn't cross- examine her. This is a victory that Mr. Taylor and I share jointly. But at the end of the day, we did not win this case in the courtroom Because we did a great cross-examination.

This witness imploded herself by lying. So if you lie in a case like this, the only way the case ends is the way it ended today, if the system works. In other countries, people lie maybe and get away it with it. Here, ultimately, we win this case, because she's not going to survive a good cross-examination with as many lies as she put into the mix. But --

MORGAN: Given -- let me jump in there. Given the fact the case has collapsed today, what kind of chance does she have in any kind of civil case? Because surely it can't not be factored in that this has collapsed today?

TAYLOR III: That's right. She doesn't have much, if any, chance in a civil case. The same difficulties, the same lies will come back to haunt her in a civil case as occurred in the criminal case. And we are not really worried about the civil case.

MORGAN: Thank you very much for joining me.

BRAFMAN: Thank you, sir.

MORGAN: When we come back, the Mandarin speaking, former rock and roller who wants to be your next president. More and very revealing stuff this time from my exclusive interview with Jon Huntsman.

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MORGAN: Jon Huntsman may be that very rare thing in the Republican thing, a moderate. He believes in global warming, civil unions and was once in a rock band. Now more from my exclusive interview with him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: I'm joined, I'm delighted to say, by his extremely glamorous wife of 29 years, Mary Kaye. When did you first meet Jon?

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Careful.

MARY KAYE HUNTSMAN, WIFE OF JON HUNSTMAN: I met him in high school. I grew up in Florida. He grew up in California. We met shortly thereafter in high school. And I was a sally girl in a restaurant. He was a dish washer. And I fell in love with a rock and roll guy. What can I say?

MORGAN: Did you think you were marrying the next Freddy Mercury?

M. HUNTSMAN: Oh, yeah. I thought he was going around in a rock band --

HUNTSMAN: Boy, did I let her down.

M. HUNTSMAN: But he still has that in him today. I laugh when anyone says boring. I think he is probably the most colorful guy I know. I mean, it's rock and roll, motocross, Harley. He --

MORGAN: Harley? You ride Harleys?

HUNTSMAN: Forty year ride, 40 year motorcycles.

MORGAN: You ride Harley-Davidsons. you wanted to be a rock star. I'm told you play jazz piano. Is that right?

HUNTSMAN: Something like that.

MORGAN: Why should he be president?

M. HUNTSMAN: Because I think he's the greatest leader out there. He's been there and he's done that, and taken a state to number one right there. I think that the confidence is there. And I think people would have a confidence. They'd know that we are in good hands from day one with Jon at the helm.

MORGAN: It is an impressive record you had in Utah. In simple terms, easy to understand terms,. how would you get America back to work? What is your great master plan?

HUNTSMAN: The principles are the same, whether in Utah or whether on a national basis. We've got to make ourselves a safe haven for the attraction of brain power and thing aggregation of capital. One, we need tax reform. You can't have the second highest business tax in the developed world and expect to compete.

I want to do what we did in Utah. You phase out the deductions and the loopholes and the biases. And you buy down the rate and you broaden the base. It's not a difficult thing to do.

Two, we have to get the regulatory monkey off our back. There's no predictability in the marketplace. Capital isn't flowing. And people aren't being hired because of the red tape and regulatory measures.

Three, energy independence is the lowest of low-hanging fruit. T. Boone Pickens says 500,000 jobs over five years and I believe it. Those are the three steps that I believe would be the most powerful immediately in getting this country going again. And the marketplace would respond.

MORGAN: The one part of the whole debt ceiling debate that I was surprised about involving you -- because you're a pragmatic, sensible member of the Republican party. Not all of them are. And there came the moment when you were all asked, look, if you cut spending by 10 dollars, would you prepare to get a dollar up in revenue. You voted against that.

And I would have thought the pragmatist would have said -- it doesn't set right. You're the compromise guy. You're the guy that gets deals done. Why would you vote against that?

HUNTSMAN: I'm not the compromise guy. I'm the guy who would lead out based upon principles and what I've done.

MORGAN: I've had the pleasure of meeting some of your family, your oldest daughter, and also your two adopted daughters, one from India, one from China. All delightful ladies. An interesting thing to do. You had five children of your own and you adopt two others. What was the thinking there?

M. HUNTSMAN: The thinking there was we had a little more love to give. We lived in Taiwan for a little while and ran into an orphanage where there were all these children, you know, waiting to have homes.

MORGAN: Two of your sons going into the Navy. One wants to be a Navy SEAL. Obviously, that carries with it, as we know from recent events, serious danger, potentially. And you could have a situation where your husband is the commander in chief, sending your sons into battle, which may lead to, you know, a terrible event unfurling. Are you prepared for that.

M. HUNTSMAN: I don't know that you're ever prepared. I will say that I'm proud. I'm proud that they have made a decision to serve. I have many tears as a mother would have at the thought of what they could be doing. And I think those tears are tears of pride. I couldn't be more proud.

Each day I wake up and think we can do this. And, you know, there's a country out there that is divided right now. He's a consensus builder. He knows how to bring people together. He's a leader. And I think he's exactly what our country needs.

MORGAN: You can't be doing too bad if a lady like Mrs. Huntsman here, after 29 years, still gives you such a ringing endorsement. Finally, I want to ask you both really about the whole issue of the Mormon faith aspect of your lives. Because I interviewed the Romneys. And they are pretty strict Mormons, I would say.

From what I've read about you both, you're not as strict. Where do you see the line drawn in terms of your adherence to the Mormon faith?

HUNTSMAN: I have a deep belief in God. I'm a very Christian person. I am very, very proud of my Mormon heritage. In our relationship, where Mary Kaye draws from an Episcopalian background, you know, you blend two cultures. You blend two traditions. You try to raise kids in a responsible fashion, drawing from the strengths of both. And you come up with something that is kind of a hybrid model, that, first and foremost, puts God at the center of your life.

MORGAN: One of your daughters recently married in an Episcopal church, which was -- you know, I wouldn't say controversial, but raised a few eyebrows. And I would imagine some of your opponents could use that against you, as evidence that you're not proper Mormons. What would you say to that?

HUNTSMAN: I'd say, you know, there are 13 million Mormons around the world today. It's increasingly a very heterogeneous bunch, a very diverse bunch. And we probably add somewhat to that diversity.

I come from a long line of saloon keepers and proselytizers, you know, some rabble rousers in the bunch. People forget to see that the Mormon population is a lot more diverse, a lot more heterogeneous, a lot more free thinking, in certain instances, than people might give it credit for.

MORGAN: You think you are kind of the racier end of the Mormon faith, as opposed to boring old Mitt Romney? Is that what you're getting at?

HUNTSMAN: You start out by calling me boring. And now you're calling us racier at the end. I think I'll take that.

MORGAN: I think you've succeeded, governor.

HUNTSMAN: I'll take that.

MORGAN: You've made your point.

Been a pleasure, governor. Thank you very much.

HUNTSMAN: Great to see you, Piers.

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Coming up, we'll go back to Libya for more on tonight's breaking news.

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MORGAN: Back to Libya for more on the breaking news situation there.

ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we're hearing fighter jets overhead right now as I speak to you here from the international airport in Tripoli. There has been some heavy battles taking place here, the eastern part especially.

Gadhafi's forces have been trying to regain control of this airport complex. There are two military bases located just to the east of it. Rebel forces here have been speculating that perhaps some sort of VIP, someone that the regime wants to protect might be somewhere in these farm lands.

Because the rebel fighters are telling us that they did not expect this intense of a fight at this international airport. They also have found it strewn with weapons. There have been complex attacks launched on it simultaneously as well.

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.